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Gaza Violence: Blowback For Jerusalem?

As President Trump's daughter and son-in-law were celebrating the US embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinian protesters were being shot dead in Gaza protesting the move. Supporters of the embassy move say it will bring a new era of peace to the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine, but it's hard to see their rosy predictions coming to pass. In fact, yesterday's violence seems to be a classic case of blowback from a wrong-headed US foreign policy move. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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The Ruinously Expensive American Military

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America’s Republican politicians complain that “entitlements,” by which they mean pensions and medical care, are leading the country to bankruptcy even as they fatten the spending on the Pentagon, which now takes 12 percent of the overall budget. And it should be noted that while workers contribute to the social programs during all their years of employment, the money that goes to the military comes straight out of the pockets of taxpayers before being wasted in ways that scarcely benefit the average citizen unless one seriously thinks that folks over in Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan actually do threaten the survival of the United States of America.

I was in a Virginia supermarket the other day checking out when the woman behind the cash register in a perky voice asked me “Will you give $5 to support our troops?” I responded “No. Our troops already get way too much of our money.” She replied, “Hee, hee that’s a funny joke” and I said “It’s not a joke.” Her face dropped and she signaled to her boss over in customer service and asked her to take over, saying that I had been rude.

If there is any group in the United States that exceeds the sheer greed of our politicians it is the military, which believes itself to be “entitled” as a consequence of its role in the global war on terror. I am a veteran who began service in a largely draftee army in which we were paid “twenty-one dollars a day once a month” as the old World War 2 song goes. When we got out, the GI Bill gave us $175 a month to go back to college, which did not cover much.
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Is Gina Haspel Qualified To Be CIA Director?

Will the Senate confirm career CIA officer Gina Haspel to be the Agency's next director? Sens. McCain and Paul, who don't often agree, have both vowed to oppose Haspel due to her past involvement in torture and cover-up of torture. They have a good point. But is there a bigger issue in play here? If we are going to have the kind of government agency that the CIA has become -- fomenting coups, arming jihadists, paramilitary activities, etc. -- maybe, and sadly, she's just the right person for the job!
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Trump’s Ten Lies: A Response to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Speech

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After listening to Trump’s speech explaining his decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Trump’s speech contained "over ten lies." Khamenei didn’t go on to name the lies.

So, what were the lies Trump told?

Lie #1
"The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror"
The United States has long known that its ally, Saudi Arabia, and not its enemy, Iran, is the leading state sponsor of terror. All recent attempts to link Iran to terrorism have failed. Even America’s own reports on terrorism don’t list Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorisms “rarely identifies a terrorist incident as an act by or on behalf of Iran.” And, the most recent Global Terrorism Index from the Department of Homeland Security clearly states that, not Iran, but “ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qaeda” are the biggest terrorist threats. None of these four groups is Shiite and none is aligned with Iran, but combined they are “responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism.” The Index also clearly identifies “ISIL,” not Iran “as the deadliest terrorist group.”

As The US well knows, Saudi Arabia is the leading state sponsor of terror. As early as 2009, the State Department had already declared that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban . . . and other terrorist groups.” A widely circulated 2012 classified Defense Intelligence Agency Information Intelligence Report identified the "supporting powers" of ISIS to be "Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey." Two years later, Vice President Biden was still making the same case against, not Iran, but Saudi Arabia: "[O]ur allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria .
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Trump’s Plan for Iran: Put Terrorists in Charge

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Back in the 2008 presidential race, I explained to then-candidate Rudy Giuliani the concept of “blowback.” Years of US meddling and military occupation of parts of the Middle East motivated a group of terrorists to carry out attacks against the United States on 9/11. They didn’t do it because we are so rich and so free, as the neocons would have us believe. They came over here because we had been killing Muslims “over there” for decades. How do we know this? Well, they told us. Osama bin Laden made it clear why al-Qaeda sought to attack the US. They didn’t like the US taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict and they didn’t like US troops on their holy land.
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Trump's War Against Iran

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Israel launched waves of air attacks and ground shelling on a score of alleged Iranian military positions in Syria this week.   Was this a big step forward in the plan by Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his ally Donald Trump to provoke a major war with Iran?


It certainly looks so.  The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, then Sunni Muslim jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria.  As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel.

In fact, the alleged Iranian rocket barrage was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.
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When Washington Think Tanks Call for ‘Action’ in the Balkans, Expect Trouble

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Any time two prestige think tanks in Washington issue a report calling for US “action” in any region of the world, hold onto your hat – you can be sure that trouble is a-brewing. That’s doubly true if the call relates to the Balkans, the place where in the 1990s the post-Cold War pattern was set for American wars of choice and then taken on the road to Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

On May 1, the über-establishment National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the East-West Institute jointly issued a report, “Time for Action in the Western Balkans.” As stated in the summary:
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been engaged in the Western Balkans to ensure a Europe that is 'whole, free and at peace' and a reliable partner for dealing with global challenges. Our goal has been to stabilize the Balkans, and to enhance security throughout Europe, through the integration of the Western Balkans into trans-Atlantic structures. We have succeeded only in part.  Although the Western Balkans are better off now than they were in the 1990s, they are stagnating and risk instability as a result of three factors: deficient internal governance and weak economies, continuing tense relations between ethnic groups and neighboring states, and the malign influence of outside forces.
One is reminded of the famous quip by Mary McCarthy about Lillian Hellman: “every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ 

Perhaps that’s too harsh. Not every word in the summary paragraph is false. There is indeed a region in Europe known as the Balkans, and as the report notes, some countries lie in the western part of it: “Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.” (Wait, there’s some fibbing here too. Kosovo is not a country, it’s an occupied province of Serbia. Nobody is quite sure what exactly Bosnia-Herzegovina is supposed to be. Why no Croatia, is it located in another part of Europe now?)
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Leaked Doc Reveals White House Planning 'Regime Change' In Iran

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It appears Rudy Giuliani wasn't lying. 
Just a few days after the former NYC mayor and latest member of President Trump's unexpectedly let it slip that "we got a president who is tough, who does not listen to the people who are naysayers, and a president who is committed to regime change [in Iran]", the Washington Free Beacon has obtained a three-page white paper being circulated among National Security Council officials with drafted plans to spark regime change in Iran, following the US exit from the Obama-era nuclear deal and the re-imposition of tough sanctions aimed at toppling the Iranian regime.
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That Time John Bolton Promised Regime Change In Iran Before 2019

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In July of last year neoconservative death cultist John Bolton, now the National Security Advisor of the United States, gave a speech at the Grand Gathering of Iranians for Free Iran in which he openly called for regime change in Tehran.

Bolton, who is so stupid, crazy and evil that he remains one of the only high-profile individuals on this planet who still insists that the Iraq invasion was a great idea, spoke about the need to prevent the Iranian government from achieving "an arc of control" through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He decried the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), claiming that Iran was still a nuclear threat under the existing agreement, and spoke glowingly of aggressive sanctions against Tehran. He concluded his speech with the following statement:
"There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I had said for over 10 years since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs' regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that's why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!"
Whoa there, Grandpa Clusterbomb. Back up a bit.
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Europe 'Can No Longer Trust US For Protection.' Good.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are upset that US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement. We agree that it was a dumb move on his part that will likely bring us closer to yet another war, but when Merkel said the Europeans needed to start taking care of their own security and stop relying on the Americans, a silver lining was revealed in an otherwise dark cloud. European countries spend very little on defense compared to the US and benefit from the US picking up more than one-fifth the total NATO budget. A Europe that takes care of its own security would likely be less belligerent toward Russia, thus lowering the risks of a catastrophic war. More silver linings in today's Liberty Report...
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