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The Secret Trump Dossier -- What Does It Mean?

The strange UK "former" spy-produced report on information the Russians may have to compromise President-elect Donald Trump has been widely denounced and the website that released it in its entirety, BuzzFeed, criticized for irresponsibility. However, Buzzfeed has actually done us a service by letting us look at the cockamamie report in its entirety rather than filtered through biased media sources. So says RPI Director Daniel McAdams in this RT panel discussion...
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One Final Expansion of the Surveillance State as Obama Heads for the Door

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President Barack Obama's administration ending its eight-year rule by expanding the sharing of intercepted communications and data between federal agencies may feel a little bit like a final giant middle finger to the many critics of the massive, secretive surveillance state.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch just signed off on changes that will increase the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to share some raw intercepted data with other agencies before the process of filtering out private information from people unconnected to actual targets. The snooping itself is not changing, but more people will have access earlier in the process.

Specifically this is surveillance authorized by Executive Order 12333, the provisions that outline the conduct of intelligence agencies. These are rules separate from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the PATRIOT Act, and the new USA Freedom Act. The 12333 rules are specifically intended to oversee surveillance of foreign targets and foreign countries. It has very little oversight outside of the executive branch.
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Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich Ask President Obama to Free Chelsea Manning

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Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama requesting that Obama “grant the application for clemency submitted by Chelsea Manning and commute her sentence to time served.” The result of Obama taking this action would be the whistleblower’s prompt release from prison.

Noting that Manning “has already spent more time in prison than anyone previously convicted for providing information to the media,” the two former US House Members who have both run for president in their respective parties’ primaries, declare their belief that Manning “received a sentence that was excessively punitive and intended to send a chilling message to future potential whistleblowers acting in the public interest.”
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The Tillerson Hearing: Will Trump Have A Neocon Foreign Policy?

Watching the Senate hearing for President-elect Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, it seemed arch-neocon Bill Kristol might have been hiding somewhere feeding the former Exxon CEO his lines. He's going to stop China from accessing islands it has constructed in the South China Sea? He endorses the neocon line about Russian "aggression" against Ukraine and Crimea? If America doesn't "lead" the rest of the world, there will only be chaos and confusion? He wants to give Saudi Arabia a "pass" on its dismal human rights record? Let's hope Tillerson is just telling the likes of Marco Rubio (R-FL) what he wants to hear, but should we bet on it? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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American Troops 'Roll Into Poland' In Largest Deployment Since The Cold War

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"American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have US troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia."

That's how the AP begins its report on the first deployment of US soldiers into the central European country, previewed here earlier in the week as "One Of Largest Deployments Since The Cold War", even as Russia warned that the move represented a threat to its national security, and the Kremlin said "Russia regarded the move as an aggressive step along its borders."

NATO, however, has ignored Russian concerns and threats of retaliation and as a result soldiers in camouflage with tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland on Thursday morning from Germany and headed for Zagan, where they will be based.

While in the past the US and other Western nations have carried out exercises on NATO's eastern flank, this deployment, which includes around 3,500 US troops and 2,800 tanks, trucks and other military equipment, marks the first-ever continuous deployment to the region by a NATO ally. It also represents a commitment by outgoing President Obama to "protect" a region that became deeply nervous over Russia's response to the CIA-orchestrated presidential coup in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and the resulting proxy war in east Ukraine.
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Will the CIA Retaliate Against Trump?

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In a truly remarkable bit of honesty and candor regarding the U.S. national-security establishment, new Senate minority leader Charles Schumer has accused President-elect Trump of “being really dumb.”

Was Schumer referring to Trump’s ideology, philosophy, or knowledge about economics or foreign policy?

None of the above. According to an article in The Hill, he told Rachel Maddow on her show that Trump was dumb for taking on the CIA and questioning its conclusions regarding Russia.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you…. He’s being really dumb to do this.”

Maddow then asked Schumer what he thought the intelligence community might do to Trump to get back at him.

Schumer’s response was fascinating and revealing. He responded, “I don’t know.”

So, Schumer knows that there are six ways from Sunday for the intelligence community to get back at Trump but then, a few seconds later, can’t enumerate even one of those ways? That makes no sense, unless he was a bit scared to go into the details for fear that one of those “six ways from Sunday” might be employed against him.
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Where Was Meryl Streep When Obama Was Prosecuting Whistleblowers & Bombing Weddings?

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Okay, first let’s get one thing out of the way: I adore Meryl Streep. Judge all you want, but The Devil Wears Prada is a classic and I won’t apologize for saying it.

Streep’s anti-Trump speech on Sunday night at the Golden Globes was a sublime performance. It was delivered with emotion and grace. A real tear-jerker for anyone worried about the oncoming era of Trump.

And yet... it also stank. It reeked, in fact. Of pure, unadulterated hypocrisy. Because Streep, sadly, is that common breed of liberal Hollywood hypocrite. You know, the ones whose bleeding heart credentials are suddenly nowhere to be found when the occupant of the White House is a cool Democrat who’s besties with Beyonce.

In her impassioned speech, Streep called on her peers and fans to join with her in donating to the Committee to Protect Journalists: “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution,” she said.

She’s right, of course. But one wonders is Streep even aware, for instance, that the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all of his predecessors combined? It’s a tradition Trump is likely to continue, of course, but it’s rather strange that the issue never crossed her mind until now.
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Confirmation: Tillerson's Turn In The Hot Seat

President-elect Trump's choice for Secretary of State, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, has infuriated Senators and the mainstream media by doing business with Russia, doing business with Iran even while sanctions were in place, and having personal investments in China and Russia. We may argue that these "shortcomings" may indicate that he will be more hesitant to endorse counterproductive sanctions on those countries that resist Washington's will. However, it remains to be seen whether he will "grow" while in office to adopt the prevalent neocon view of the world. Our preview of tomorrow's confirmation hearing in today's Liberty Report...
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Washington Invented Hacking and Interfering in Elections

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Is the United States the victim of an unprovoked cyber and media attack by Russia and China or are the chickens coming home to roost after Washington’s own promotion of such activity worldwide? On Thursday Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asserted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that while no foreign government had been able to interfere with actual voting machines, “US agencies are more confident than ever that Russia interfered in America’s recent presidential election. And he called the former Cold War foe an ‘existential threat’ to the nation.” Pressed by Senator John McCain whether the “attack” constituted an “act of war,” Clapper demurred, saying that it would be a “very heavy policy call” to say so. He also said that he could not judge if the election outcome had been changed due to the claimed outside interference.

Clapper also claimed that the Russian effort included including the creation and dissemination of fake stories, explaining that “ While there has been a lot of focus on the hacking, this is actually part of a multifaceted campaign that the Russians mounted.” Clapper singled out Russian state funded TV channel RT, previously called Russia Today. “Of course RT…was very, very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system.” [Full disclosure: I have been on RT numerous times.]

Apart from the nonsense about foreign broadcasters being part of a conspiracy to “disparage our system” and destroy our democracy, I confess that I was willing to be convinced by what seemed to be the near-unanimous intelligence and law enforcement agency verdict but, any such expectations disappeared when the 17 page report on the hack was actually released on Friday. Entitled Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, the report is an exercise in speculation minus evidence indicting alleged Russian interference in the recent election. It even came with a significant caveat, “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”
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Sen. Jeff Sessions: Libertarian Or Authoritarian?

Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up Donald Trump's nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be his Attorney General. Sessions is billed as a "Constitutional conservative" but how is his record on civil liberties? The drug war? Whistleblowers? We hold a pre-hearing hearing in today's Liberty Report...
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