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A Media Unmoored from Facts

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Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh who had seen one of my recent stories about Syria and wanted to commiserate over the state of modern journalism. Hersh’s primary question regarding reporters and editors at major news outlets these days was: “Do they care what the facts are?”

Hersh noted that in the past – in the 1970s when he worked at The New York Times – even executive editor Abe Rosenthal, who was a hard-line cold warrior with strong ideological biases, still wanted to know what was really going on.

My experience was similar at The Associated Press. Among the older editors, there was still a pride in getting the facts right – and not getting misled by some politician or spun by some government flack.

That journalistic code, however, no longer exists – at least not on foreign policy and national security issues. The major newspapers and TV networks are staffed largely by careerists who uncritically accept what they are fed by US government officials or what they get from think-tank experts who are essentially in the pay of special interests.
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Syria - As Rebels Break Ceasefire Army Gathers For New Campaign

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The ceasefire in Syria held for some five weeks but is now about to end. During the ceasefire Russia reduced its forces in Syria and the Syrian Arab Army made significant progress against the Islamic State.  But the opposition and their sponsors abused the ceasefire to rearm. They prepared and executed new attacks against the Syrian government and Syrian civilians.

The sponsors of the opposition, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US delivered new arms and munition to the "moderate" opposition. It is known that up to half of all supplies the "moderates" receive is inevitably delivered to al-Qaeda in Syria. The sponsors also broke a long-standing taboo and introduced portable anti-air missiles (MANPADs) onto the battle field. Several fighters of the US and Turkey supported Al Hamza brigade posted pictures showing off their new toys. The US claims that these fighters are supposed to only fight the Islamic State. But the Islamic State has no aircraft and these weapons are clearly to be used against the Syrian government and its supporters.

Earlier this week, Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist group near to al-Qaeda, downed (video) a Syrian Su-22 ground-attack plane with a MANPAD near the city of Tal Eis, south of Aleppo city. The pilot, Lt. Col Musad Zayed Hirani, was taken prisoner by al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhat al Nusra). This incident shows that MANPADs immediately proliferate on the battle field and beyond and may soon be used against civilian planes in the Middle East and around the world.
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Dutch People Say 'No' To Ukraine Treaty - Big Blow To The NWO?

Yesterday's "no" vote in a Dutch referendum on Ukrainian accession to the European Union has Brussels in a panic. None of the other EU member states allowed a popular vote on bringing in basket case Ukraine -- their parliaments rubber-stamped the agreement. But because unanimity is required for any new members, the Dutch "no" -- even if only technically advisory -- means that the deal is scrapped. For now, at least. Brussels has a way of bringing back vote after vote until the people choose the "right" way. But for now, the result is a huge boost for the Brexit movement as well as for other Euroskeptic parties and politicians throughout Europe. Why did the Dutch vote no? Frustration and anger over Brussels' immigration policy, over the EU blindly following the US "regime change" of Ukraine that has left the country worse off than before, and over Ukraine's suspicious secrecy on the facts of the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine. What's next? It could get interesting...
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Congress Shirks War Responsibility-What Are The Costs?

Congress loves war, but it just doesn't like to have to vote for it. When you vote for a war you are on record having supported it. So what happens if instead of turning Libya into Switzerland into Libya, the bombing turned Libya into Bangladesh? Better to not have supported it on record. But there is a very dangerous downside to Congress habitually ignoring its Constitutional obligations. It leads to a general policy recklessness and inability to look at cause and effect. Dangerous for us at home and for those abroad. We try to tackle this issue in today's Liberty Report...
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Fixing The Intelligence Around The Policy...In Syria

The scandal around the fixing of intelligence around the Pentagon training program for Syrian rebels has been on slow burn for some time. The mainstream media has largely avoided it, but when Pentagon superiors quash reports of intelligence analysts because they don't match the desired outcome of the policy there is a big problem. Having spent $500 million to train rebels last year and only produced five fighters, there should be more scrutiny of this program, not less. More today in the Liberty Report...
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Happy Birthday, NATO: It’s Time to Retire!

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Birthdays are always a good time to take stock of one’s achievements, make some resolutions and contemplate the road ahead. So, with NATO turning sixty-seven today, perhaps it’s time for the military alliance to engage in some honest self-reflection.

The problem is, sometimes it’s just hard to let go. No one wants to admit their glory days are behind them. Everyone wants to feel they have a purpose, some grand vision yet to fulfill. When the time comes to hang up your hat, some bow out gracefully. Others need to be dragged kicking and screaming.

If Supreme Allied Commander General Philip Breedlove’s latest comments are anything to go by, the alliance won’t be performing a graceful exit any time soon. Instead, the 28-member bloc is simply recalibrating its efforts in an attempt to justify its existence and remain relevant.
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Ron Paul Rewind: Condemns US Support of Terrorist Insurrection in Syria (2012)

Imagine how many thousands of lives could have been saved in Syria if Congress had only listened to Ron Paul. Almost five years ago, Rep. Paul took to the House Floor to introduce legislation prohibiting the president from providing any form of military assistance -- covert or otherwise -- to any faction fighting to overthrow the government in Syria. Dr. Paul noted that it was becoming increasingly obvious that President Obama was conducting covert activities inside Syria to help the rebels fighting against the Assad government, but he warned that no one knew the real composition of the many different groups operating inside Syria and that the weapons being covertly shipped to them could well find their way into the hands of al-Qaeda, our stated enemy.
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Selective Leaks Of The 'Panama Papers' Create Huge Blackmail Potential

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A real leak of data from a law firm in Panama would be very interesting. Many rich people and/or politicians hide money in shell companies that such firms in Panama provide. But the current heavily promoted "leak" of such data to several NATO supporting news organization and a US government financed "Non Government Organization" is just a lame attempt to smear some people the U.S. empire dislikes. It also creates a huge blackmail opportunity by NOT publishing certain data in return for this or that desired favor.

Already some 16 month ago Ken Silverstein reported for Vice on a big shady shell company provider, Mossak Fonseca in Panama. (Pierre Omidyar's Intercept, for which Silverstein was then working, refused to publish the piece.) Yves Smith published several big stories about the Mossak Fonseca money laundering business. Silverstein also repeated the well known fact that Rami Makhlouf, a rich cousin of the Syrian president Assad, had some money hidden in Mossak Fonseca shell companies.
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‘The Boys Who Said No!’: New Documentary About War Resisters

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Evil is participatory, says interviewee David Harris at the beginning of a documentary in progress about Vietnam-era draft resisters, The Boys Who Said No!

Evil continuing depends on people joining in, and the first step to stopping it, he continues, is withdrawing your own participation. So Harris said no to the Vietnam-era draft, and went to jail for it.

The Boys Who Said No!

The Boys Who Said No! is set during the late 1960s and early 70s, when thousands resisted conscription at the risk of federal prison. Unlike those who evaded the draft by fleeing to Canada, getting various deferments, or resorting to violent protest, the subjects of this film chose civil disobedience.

It was a costly decision.
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Vietnam War at 50: Have We Learned Nothing?

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Last week Defense Secretary Ashton Carter laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in commemoration of the "50th anniversary" of that war. The date is confusing, as the war started earlier and ended far later than 1966. But the Vietnam War at 50 commemoration presents a good opportunity to reflect on the war and whether we have learned anything from it.

Some 60,000 Americans were killed fighting in that war more than 8,000 miles away. More than a million Vietnamese military and civilians also lost their lives. The US government did not accept that it had pursued a bad policy in Vietnam until the bitter end. But in the end the war was lost and we went home, leaving the destruction of the war behind. For the many who survived on both sides, the war would continue to haunt them.
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