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Why the Gulf States Are So Edgy

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A little more than a decade ago, I was asked to address a London dinner-table of about twenty Gulf “figures” – a mix of Ambassadors and those with “ties to power”. All represented the cosmopolitan, rich élite of the Gulf. Then, towards the evening’s end, talk turned to Hizbullah: the gathering simply erupted into flames. Well, almost literally – as these grandees choked on the smoke and tongues of fire pouring from their nostrils (to say they were unhappy is an understatement). In unison, they swore oaths that they would stop at absolutely nothing to destroy “the resistance”. They choked again at the very word “resistance”. They swore to destroy it, utterly, down to the last particle.

But how times do change. Of course, in the interval, there was a war backed by these gentlemen in 2006 that was supposed to finish off Hizbullah for good (but plainly didn’t). There was also a billions-of-dollar insurrection mounted against “rejectionist” President Assad in Syria that was supposed to break the keystone to the arch (but hasn’t); and an equally massive info-war to turn Iran into a global leper. 

Yes, these well-polished gentlemen have had certain successes in squashing the so-called Arab Spring, and in fracturing and demonising Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet, after these, and after gulling the Americans and Europeans with their anti-Iranian propaganda so completely, the Gulf is fretting again. Why?
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The Railroad That Awaits Julian Assange

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The Justice Department said Thursday that it was charging Julian Assange with one felony count of conspiring to hack into a computer. In the greater scheme of things, that’s a nonsensical charge. There are probably 10,000 fat, lonely guys, living in their parents’ basements who the government could charge with that crime on any given day. 

Assange’s attorneys in the UK say the extradition process might last five years because it will likely end up in the European Court of Justice. If true, conceivably Assange could be detained for five years awaiting extradition, or roughly the same amount of time he might be sentenced to if convicted on the computer hacking charge. 

Justice Department policy defines time in detention under almost any circumstance as time served. So if there ever were a trial in the US for the computer hacking charge it would likely be nothing more than a show trial.

Additional charges after the application for extradition has been filed are unlikely, due to limitations in extradition treaties requiring full disclosure of all charges prior to an extradition being considered. But that’s not the issue here.
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Co-Conspirator: Ecuador Paid Off To Deliver Assange

The timing was hardly "coincidental." Not long after a trip by Vice President Pence to "convince" Ecuador to hand over Julian Assange, a $4.2 billion IMF loan appears on the scene. Then Ecuador follows through and delivers the Wikileaks publisher to face the wrath of the US political establishment. The move was directly out of a US government "unconventional warfare' playbook that, ironically, was released in 2008 by...Wikileaks! Join us for today's Liberty Report...
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Iraq Wrecked Me for Nothing

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I recently spoke to some college students who, I realized, were in fifth grade when I got on a plane to Iraq. They now study that stuff in history classes like “Opportunities and Errors: 21st-Century America in the Middle East.” About halfway through our conversation, I realized it’s coming up on 10 years since I first went to Iraq. Now that’s real history.

I was a Foreign Service Officer then, a diplomat, embedded with the US Army at a series of forward operating bases and in charge of a couple of reconstruction teams, small parts of a complex failure to rebuild the Iraq we wrecked. I ended up writing a book about it all, explaining in tragicomic terms how we failed (those “Errors”).

The book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People was—and wasn’t—well-received. People laughed at the funny parts, but my message—it didn’t work and here’s why—was largely dissipated at the time (2012) by government and media propaganda centered on The Surge. That was David Petraeus’s plan to pacify the Sunnis and push al-Qaeda away, while clearing, holding, and building across the country, apparently to make room so ISIS and the Iranians could move in.

Meanwhile, the new American president, elected in part based on his “no” vote on the war in 2003, proclaimed it all a victory and started bringing the troops home even while I was still in Iraq. Meanwhile my employer, the US Department of State, was unhappy with my book. After a year-long process, State pushed me into early retirement. My career was history.
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Julian Assange: Political Prisoner

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Last week’s arrest of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange by the British government on a US extradition order is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on the US Constitution. It is an attack on the free press. It is an attack on free speech. It is an attack on our right to know what our government is doing with our money in our name. Julian Assange is every bit as much a political prisoner as was Cardinal Mindszenty in Hungary or Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
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How You Can Be Certain That The US Charge Against Assange Is Fraudulent

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Julian Assange sits in a jail cell today after being betrayed by the Ecuadorian government and his home country of Australia. A British judge named Michael Snow has found the WikiLeaks founder guilty of violating bail conditions, inserting himself into the annals of history by labeling Assange “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest.” So that tells you how much of a fair and impartial legal proceeding we can expect to see from the British judicial process on this matter.

But the real reason that Assange has been surrendered by the Ecuadorian government, imprisoned by the British government, and ignored by the Australian government is not directly related to any of those governments, but to that of the United States of America. An unsealed indictment from the Trump administration’s District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, accompanied by an extradition request, charges Assange with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer” during Chelsea Manning’s 2010 leak of government documents exposing US war crimes.

This charge is premised on a fraudulent and manipulative distortion of reality, and you may be one hundred percent certain of it. Let me explain.
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Who Is Killing Whom in the Middle East? Blaming Iran Might be an Excuse for War

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Newsweek is reporting a story regarding how Iran “was responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.” The account is sourced to a newly revised estimate prepared by analysts at the Pentagon that was discussed by Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook at a State Department press briefing on April 2nd. According to Hook, Tehran is now being blamed for 17 per cent of all US military deaths because it supplied weapons to the several Shiite militias that were opposing the US invasion, occupation and subsequent presence in the country.

Hook also stated that the American casualties are in addition to the “thousands” of Iraqi troops and civilians that were killed in attacks initiated by what he referred to as the Iranian proxy forces. Hook noted that the new number is higher than the 2015 confirmed death total of 500 that was reported by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, who qualified his estimate by saying “We were not always able to attribute the casualties that we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity, even though we did not necessarily have the forensics to support that.”

There is little doubt that Tehran provided weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq after the invasion of the country by American forces in April 2003 and the defeat and replacement of the Saddam Hussein regime. The US was occupying the country at the time and Shiites were a repressed majority of the population given the fact that Saddam ruled through his Sunni minority.
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The US Government's Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedoms

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The indictment of Julian Assange unsealed today by the Trump Justice Department poses grave threats to press freedoms, not only in the US but around the world. The charging document and accompanying extradition request from the US Government, used by the UK police to arrest Assange once Ecuador officially withdrew its asylum protection, seeks to criminalize numerous activities at the core of investigative journalism.
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US Henchmen Violently Arrest Assange! Show Trial To Follow.

UK Metropolitan Police were allowed into the Ecuadorian Embassy today to violently arrest Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, after the Ecuadorian government cancelled his asylum. He's already been convicted in the UK court this morning, but the real show trial awaits him after extradition to the US. What will his show trial look like? What can you do to help him? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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