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For US Congress, Running a Torture Prison Is a Good Career Move

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Gina Haspel has now been confirmed as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by a Senate vote of 54 to 45. She had previously been approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee by 10 votes to 5, with six Democrats joining all but three of the committee’s Republicans. Haspel seems fully qualified in terms of her experience to do the job, though it is admittedly difficult to make that judgement because her full professional biography has not been revealed by CIA. Claims by supporters seeking to enhance her record that she was “under cover” for 32 years are meaningless as many officers who serve at Agency Headquarters in Langley have that status.

Accurate information on Haspel is hard to come by. Access to a top secret memo reportedly prepared by Committee Democrats concerning her possibly illegal activities has been restricted even among Senators. Nevertheless, as the first woman to become head of the Agency one might reasonably say that Haspel has certainly broken through several glass ceilings to obtain her new position.

During the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings Haspel vowed that, if approved, she would never again permit torture to be employed by the Agency. It was, of course, a necessary though empty gesture in that it appears quite clear that she did not demur at torture being used in the past. Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden expressed his opinion with a tweet when news of the confirmation became public, writing that “Gina Haspel participated in a torture program that involved beating an innocent pregnant woman’s stomach, anally raping a man with meals he tried to refuse, and freezing a shackled prisoner until he died. She personally wrote the order to destroy 92 tapes of CIA torture.”
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Brilliant Strategy Of Offering North Korea 'The Libya Model' Somehow Falls Through

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Three days before President Trump announced him as the new National Security Advisor, deranged mutant death walrus John Bolton appeared on Radio Free Asia and said of negotiations with North Korea, "I think we should insist that if this meeting is going to take place, it will be similar to discussions we had with Libya 13 or 14 years ago."

Bolton has been loudly and publicly advocating "the Libya model" with the DPRK ever since.

"I think we're looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004," Bolton said on Face the Nation last month, and said the same on Fox News Sunday in case anyone failed to get the message.

Bolton never bothered to refine his message by saying, for example, "Without the part where we betray and invade them and get their leader mutilated to death in the streets." He just said they're doing Libya again.

This was what John Bolton was saying before he was hired, and this was what John Bolton continued to say after he was hired. This was what John Bolton was hired to do. He was hired to sabotage peace and facilitate death and destruction. That is what he does. That is what he is for. Can openers open cans, John Bolton starts wars. You don't buy a can opener to rotate your tires, and you don't hire John Bolton to facilitate peace.
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A Time to Remember: Some Memorial Weekend Reading

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We’re headed into the Memorial Day weekend, and what better time to remember those stories that held your attention, briefly, weeks or even months and years ago ? Well, here’s some follow-up:

Perfidious Albion, Revisited – Remember when Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News commentator, was suspended from Fox because he highlighted the British connection to the plot to oust Donald Trump? In light of the Christopher Steele dossier, and the even more recent revelation of the Stefan Halper/Sir Richard Dearlove spying mission, it looks like the Judge was right.

Napolitano contended on air that the Obama White House used the Brits to get transcripts of conversations between Trump officials and their contacts so that “no American fingerprints” would be left on the dirty deeds. Yet it looks like they did go through our own FISA court to get a judge to sign on to the surveillance: however, there are many questions about what evidence they used to convince that judge.

The “dirty dossier” was one piece of the puzzle, the information funneled to the FBI by their spie(s) in the campaign was another, and I believe that information provided by foreign intelligence services, including the Brits, was the third addition to this brew.
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Justice Delayed Is Justice: Mueller Fights To Delay Russian Collusion Trial

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There is an old joke among criminal defense attorneys that “justice delayed is justice,” a twist of the old adage that “justice delayed is justice denied.”  The joke reflects that fact that the defense almost always benefits from the passage of time and it is the prosecution that often pushes for earlier trial debates to deny the defense enough time to absorb and address evidence. That is not the case with Special Counsel Robert Mueller who has asked federal Judge Dabney L. Friedrich to deny a speedy trial motion and delay any trial of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for efforts to influence the 2016 election. The effort reflects problems in Mueller’s matinee case, including the allegation that he has charged a company that did not exist at the time of the alleged offenses.
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Trump Yields To Bolton, Cancels Kim Summit

After repeated references to the "Libya scenario" for North Korea -- a point not lost on Pyongyang considering that the US destroyed Libya and killed its leader -- the North Korean government finally struck back verbally, calling US Vice President Mike Pence a "dummy" for again warning that North Korea could end up like Libya. That was enough for President Trump to cancel next month's historic summit meeting. Does following the neocons make Trump look tough...or weak? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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N. Korea Conundrum: ‘Washington Confuses Concept of Negotiation With Surrender’

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The US is essentially irrelevant to the solution of the Korean problem and, if a deal is made between the North and South, the US will be asked to leave, says Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Peace Institute.

Donald Trump said during a meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the US capital on Tuesday that his much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 might not happen.

Both Washington and Pyongyang have previously suggested they may not be willing to hold talks unless certain conditions are met.

RT discussed the situation with McAdams, from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Daniel McAdams: It is interesting to see how Trump and his top advisers seem to be at odds with each other. I don’t know if his management style is to create chaos and see if some order comes from it or what in fact may be his style, but a few days ago you saw John Bolton bringing up the issue of the Libya scenario. I don’t believe this was an accident. This is the same Bolton who just before he was confirmed as the president’s national security adviser wrote an article encouraging the US to have a first strike against North Korea. I don’t believe that he has changed his tune in just a couple of months.
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US Names 18th Afghan War Commander - Are We Turning The Corner Yet?

As the US names its 18th military commander in the 17 year long war on Afghanistan, is there any reason to believe that victory is in sight? The latest reports by the Pentagon to Congress show that no progress has been made and another recent report by the Special Inspector General found that the Afghan army is losing soldiers at an alarming rate. Washington's proxies in Afghanistan don't want to fight. So why not just end the war? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Mike Pompeo Hurls ‘Assassination’ Charges at Iran, but Nobody Knows What the Hell he’s Talking About

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America’s chief foreign negotiator has a message for Iran: stop assassinating people.

The problem is, nobody from security experts to Iranian dissidents has any idea what the hell he means.

The Guardian picks up the story:
Mike Pompeo’s claim that the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is carrying out 'assassination operations in the heart of Europe' has bewildered security experts and Iranian exiles, who say they are not aware of any evidence for the allegation.

The new US secretary of state referred to the alleged assassinations in his first major speech on Monday, but devoted just a single line to it amid a litany of criticisms of Iranian behaviour, giving no further details.  

'Today, the Iranian Quds Force conducts covert assassination operations in the heart of Europe,' Pompeo said, referring to the external operations arm of the Islamic revolutionary guards corps (IRGC).
Experts told The Guardian there haven’t been any assassinations in which Iran is even considered a suspect, since the early 1990s.
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Pompeo's Bombastic Iran Threats: A Sign Of Weakness?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech to the neoconservative Heritage Foundation in which he made 12 US demands of the Iranian government. The demands were in places laughably inaccurate -- demanding Iran close a heavy water reactor that has been dismantled for years -- that one wonders whether it was just incompetence or whether they simply don't care. The US is backing itself into a corner over Iran, risking losing its European allies and further emboldening Russia and China. What's next? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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The Skripal Case Is Being Pushed Down The Memory Hole With Libya And Aleppo

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On the fourth of March, in the sleepy British cathedral town of Salisbury, an ex-spy named Sergei Skripal was poisoned by an assassin with the most deadly nerve agent known to man.

The Russian government was immediately blamed by a shocked and outraged world. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson assured the people of Great Britainthat “There’s no doubt” that Moscow was responsible. In a large and sudden leap forward in cold war escalations, Russian diplomats were thrown out of countries all around the globe, including my own Australia, in a show of solidarity with the United Kingdom. It was the largest collective ejection of Russian diplomats in history.

Two months after his earth-shattering assassination, as the world stared spellbound at the weekend’s immensely popular PR spectacle of a royal wedding, Sergei Skripal was quietly discharged from the hospital he’d been staying at. The BBC reports that he is walking and approaching complete recovery.

Wait a second. Haven’t I seen this Python skit before?

So to recap, an ex-spy who had been retired and strategically irrelevant for years was reportedly poisoned by the Kremlin with Novichok, a scary Russian-sounding word which refers to a group of extremely deadly and fast-acting nerve agents that start shutting down the body’s muscles and respiratory system within 30 seconds to two minutes. Except in the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia it was several hours with a leisurely stroll, a meal, and beers in between.
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