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Syria Safe Zones Declared: Will The Killing Finally End?

This morning an agreement was reached at the Syria talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, to set up four "de-escalation" or "safe" zones inside Syria, where moderate rebels would be tolerated but extremists like al-Qaeda and ISIS and their various offshoots would not be tolerated. The Syrian and Russian governments would not conduct military action in such zones. The aim is to reduce the fighting and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid. Will the "moderates" really be able to separate from the extremists and terrorists? That remains to be seen. What will be the US reaction, especially from the neocons? We'll soon see. Our take on this breaking story in today's Liberty Report...
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Welcome to the White House, President Duterte

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Part of noninterventionism in foreign affairs is refraining from using threats, sanctions, foreign aid, or military attacks to make the governments of other countries change their actions in their own countries. The United States government has drifted so far from adherence to this standard that much media coverage expresses distress and amazement, due to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal domestic actions, that US President Donald Trump cordially spoke Saturday with Duterte in a phone call and invited Duterte to visit Trump at the White House.

Media stories express concern that Trump would talk to Duterte. Duterte is a killer in the drug war he has escalated in the Philippines the stories recount. But, as Trump noted in an early interview as president, the United States is not so innocent so far as killings go. Neither Trump nor Duterte will likely be changing their killing ways whether they talk or not

As far as the drug war goes, Trump, soon after becoming president, promised, in a Washington, DC speech to police, that he would pursue a “ruthless” drug war in America. Many people think the war on drugs has already been ruthless in America for decades as evidenced by the high incarceration rate, ramped up police power, and the “drug war exception to the Fourth Amendment” that the drug war has helped create.
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War or Peace?

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There is a dangerous condition in Washington, DC where people in positions of influence and great power are, at this very moment, pushing this nation and the world to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe.

We did not arrive at crisis overnight but be sure we are at a moment of peril. Unless an enlightened citizenry on campuses, in town halls, in community centers, in places of work, play and worship, is aroused and demands our government step back from the brink, we may find the life of our nation, our own lives, and the lives of our loved ones, irrevocably changed.
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Enemy Of The Week: US To Slap Iran With New Sanctions

Just when we thought the enemy of the week was going to be North Korea again. Or maybe Russia. Or Syria. It turns out that Washington's enemy of this week is...Iran! The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is pushing through a bill slapping additional sanctions on Tehran. While just a couple of weeks ago Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reported to Congress that Iran is meeting its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, President Trump accused Tehran of not abiding by the "spirit" of the treaty. Whatever that is. More in today's Liberty Report...
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The Real WMD in Syria – West’s Weapon of Mass Disorientation

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A senior Rand analyst, inadvertently, gave the game away in a recent article inculpating Syrian President Bashar al Assad over the alleged toxic massacre of civilians on April 4. The Rand Corporation, a longtime conduit for CIA propaganda, wrote: "The use of chemical weapons today provokes international condemnation… Those who order their deployment risk being charged with war crimes."

The Western objective, as tacitly admitted above, is therefore to brand the Syrian leader and his government as depraved war criminals, deserving pariah status and excommunication by the "international community."

The alleged use of chemical weapons, a particularly odious weapon of mass destruction (WMD), serves as an effective prop to channel Western public outrage against Assad. Allegedly killing civilians with bullets and bombs just doesn’t have the same psychological power to incite public disgust. Poisoning little children with lethal chemicals is a more effective label with which to demonize the alleged perpetrator.

But the more pertinent WMD issue here is Weapon of Mass Disorientation. And in particular how Western governments, their servile corporate-controlled media, like theRand Corp, New York Times, CNN, BBC, Guardian and France 24, and so on, and local proxy mercenaries inside Syria are covertly deploying deadly chemicals in a series of propaganda stunts. Not only deploying deadly chemicals against civilians in a most cynical and callous way, but getting away with their crimes of murder through an audacious distortion of reality. All made possible because of the West’s media weapon of mass disorientation.
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Big Brother Is Still Watching You: Don’t Fall for the NSA’s Latest Ploy

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Supposedly the National Security Administration is going to stop collecting certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.

Privacy advocates are hailing it as a major victory for Americans whose communications have been caught in the NSA’s dragnet.

If this is a victory, it’s a hollow victory.

Here’s why.

Since its creation in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency has been covertly spying on Americans, listening in on their phone calls, reading their mail, and monitoring their communications.

For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the US, as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active US Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”

Not even the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated, managed to curtail the NSA’s illegal activities.
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As Expected, A 'Bipartisan' Budget...More Spending!

No, the government is not going to close down. It's all a ruse. The budget "crisis" was solved by agreeing on a 1,600 page bill that spends more on the military and more on government programs at home. There's something in it for politicians of almost every stripe. The Russian "threat"? Don't worry! There's $100 million for a fun to counter "Russian propaganda" in Europe. Terrorism? There's a $15 billion appropriation to fight terrorism. Don't worry that Washington's interventionist foreign policy is the primary cause of terrorism. Just spend! More in today's Liberty Report...
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Peace: Neither Ink nor Blood

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One of the problems of the interventionista –wanting to get involved in other people’s affairs “in order to help”, while genuinely wanting to do good, results in disrupting some of the peace-making mechanisms that are inherent in human’s affairs, a combination of collaboration and strategic hostility. As we saw in the prologue, the error continues because someone else is paying the price.

I speculate that had IYIs (intellectuals yet idiots) and their friends not gotten involved, problems such as the Israeli-Palestinian one would have been solved, sort of –and both parties, especially the Palestinians would have felt to be better off. As I am writing these lines the problem has lasted seventy years, with too way many cooks in the same tiny kitchen, most of whom never have to taste the food. I conjecture that when you leave people alone, they tend to settle for practical reasons.

People on the ground, those with skin in the game are not too interested in geopolitics or grand abstract principles, but rather in having bread on the table, beer (or, for some, nonalcoholic beverages such as yoghurt drinks) in the refrigerator, and good weather at outdoors family picnics. Also they don’t want to be humiliated in their human contact with others.

For imagine the absurdity of Arab States prodding the Palestinians to fight for their principles while the potentates are sitting in carpeted alcohol-free palaces (with well-stocked refrigerators full of nonalcoholic fermented yoghurt)and the recipient of the advice living in refugee camps. Had the Palestinians settled in 1947, they would have been better off. But the idea was to throw the Jews and neo-crusaders in the Mediterranean; Arab rhetoric came from Arab parties who were hundreds, thousands of miles away arguing for “principles” when Palestinians were displaced, living in tents.
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Save Liberty, Shut Down the Government

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Congress ended the week by passing a continuing resolution keeping the government funded for one more week. This stopgap funding bill is designed to give Congress and the White House more time to negotiate a long-term spending bill. Passage of a long-term spending bill has been delayed over objections to Republican efforts to preserve Obamcare's key features but give states a limited ability to opt out of some Obamacare mandates.
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