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Sy Hersh: Zelensky's Pocketing Our Money!

Seymour Hersh is back with another blockbuster investigative report, this time showing that not only is the Ukrainian government outrageously corrupt - right up to Zelensky himself - but that the CIA is well-aware of it and isn't at all bothered. Hundreds of millions are being stolen from American taxpayers, Hersh writes, and the Biden Administration could not care less. Also today, US sanctions Hungary - its own ally! And: DC think tanks furious that Syria is making peace with its neighbors. Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Macron’s Musings on Europe’s ‘Strategic Autonomy’… Much Ado About Nothing, But US Insecurity Is Palpable


French President Emmanuel Macron has got the Americans in a flap with his comments advocating greater European strategic autonomy and for the old continent to avoid becoming embroiled in a US-China confrontation over Taiwan.

Macron made his remarks while traveling back from China where he appeared to have been well received by President Xi Jinping. The trip reportedly garnered several lucrative trade deals for French businesses at a time when Élysée Palace is assailed with nationwide public protests and strikes over economic woes.

The American chagrin over Macron’s musings about European strategic autonomy is revealing in at least two ways.
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House Dems To Biden: 'Hands Off Assange!'

A group of House Democrats have sent a letter to the Biden Administration demanding that all charges be dropped against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Yesterday marked his fourth year being held in the notorious Belmarsh prison in the UK, awaiting extradition to the US. In Australia and New Zealand a similar cry for his release is coming up from politicians of all stripe. Also today: FBI infiltrating Catholic Churches? Say it aint so! Finally: White House to media: 'shut up about the leaks!' Watch today's Liberty Report...
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'Connect to Opportunity': State Department Pushed LinkedIn to Censor 'Disinformation'


We have been discussing the growing amount of evidence of government censorship efforts using third party organizations as well as direct agency action. One source of funding for such effort was the State Department and its Global Engagement Center, or GEC. Now, litigation brought by Missouri and Louisiana shows that State Department officials pushed companies to get onboard with blacklisting efforts. Despite such evidence of direct government censorship efforts, Democratic members continue to oppose attempts to expose the full scope of such government programs and grants. Witnesses who testified about the dangers of such censorship efforts were even denounced as “Putin lovers” and apologists for insurrectionists and racists by leading Democrats.

The latest evidence involves the site LinkedIn, an employment-focused social media site. The concern is that the effort to enlist LinkedIn could reflect an effort to target blacklisted individuals. The company’s “connect to opportunity” takes on a more menacing meaning when used as part of a blacklisting system.

I previously wrote that the congressionally created, federally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) supported blacklisting efforts at the British-based Global Disinformation Index (GDI). The index was widely ridiculed for targeting ten conservative and libertarian sites as the most dangerous sources of disinformation; it sought to persuade advertisers to withdraw support for those sites, while listing their most liberal counterparts as among the most trustworthy.

Shortly after my column posted in The Hill, the NED wrote to me to say that it was discontinuing support for the GDI. Microsoft also was forced into retreat after it was shown to be pushing the GDI’s biased blacklist.

Then we learned of additional funding through the State Department’s GEC.
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We are Closening to a Move Through the Cycle – But First Will Come Disorder


The question posed at this point is: Is the collective West nearing the end of a cycle? Or are we still in mid-cycle? And is this a four-generational mini-cycle, or an epochal point of inflection?

Is Russo-Chinese Entente and the global tectonic discontent with the “Rules Order” – on the heels of a long trajectory of catastrophes from Viet Nam, through Iraq to Ukraine – sufficient to move the West on to the next stage of cyclical change from apex to disillusionment, retrenchment and eventual stabilisation? Or not?

A major inflection point is typically a period in history when all the negative components from the outgoing era “come into play” – all at once, and all together; and when an anxious ruling class resorts to widespread repression.

Elements of such crises of inflection are today everywhere present: Deep schism in the US; mass protest in France, and across Europe. A crisis in Israel. Faltering economies; and the threat of some, as yet undefined, financial crisis chilling the air.
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Time to Revisit the Maria Butina Case


Yesterday, I wrote about the concocted, made-up, fake crime that US officials used to incarcerate Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for some 14 years of his life, until he secured his freedom from incarceration in the trade with accused drug-law violator Brittney Griner.
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Lindsey Graham: 'Let's Fight China!'

In a Sunday interview, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes the US should be willing to go to war with China over Taiwan. "I would be willing to fight for Taiwan," Graham said. Of course he wouldn't be doing the fighting... Also today: US sends more war ships right up to Chinese territory. Finally: Macron has a De Gaulle-ian epiphany in China and the neocons are freaking out. Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Presidents Are Legally Immune for Their Most Dangerous Crimes


Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg has charged former president Donald Trump with thirty-four felonies tied to his payments to two women prior to the 2016 election. Some pundits are outraged that a former president is facing charges, and others are jubilant that Trump now has a mug shot. But this case will do nothing to curtail the most dangerous immunities that presidents possess.

Neither presidents nor any federal officials were entitled to break the law when this nation was founded. John Taylor, a US senator, wrote in 1820 that the Constitution “wisely rejected this indefinite word [sovereignty] as a traitor of civil rights, and endeavored to kill it dead.” But the following year, Chief Justice John Marshall concocted the doctrine of sovereign immunity out of whole cloth: “The universally received opinion is, that no suit can be commenced or prosecuted against the United States; that the judiciary act does not authorize such suits.” The Supreme Court declared in 1945 that sovereign immunity is “embodied in the Constitution,” but the justices have never revealed exactly where they found it.

In 1977, former president Richard Nixon told interviewer David Frost, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Somewhat dumbfounded, Frost replied, “By definition?” Nixon answered, “Exactly. Exactly.” Nixon’s comments were considered scandalous at the time. But “It is not a crime if the president does it” is now conventional wisdom in Washington.
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Perspectives from Eastern Europe


Back in the 1970s I was part of the Field Trade Craft course for new Case Officers at the Central Intelligence Agency’s principal training facility, located at Camp Peary, near Williamsburg, Virginia. Peary was and still is referred to by one and all as “the Farm,” though it engaged in animal husbandry only in the most basic sense. One of the instructors had part of a poem by Rudyard Kipling displayed on his office door. It read:

The toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth-point goes:
The butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to the toad

Some of the students began referring to themselves as “toads” and were expecting the worst from the instructors to bring them into conformity with Agency expectations, while they also identified the instructors as the butterflies who were telling them to shut up and play along if they wished to be certified to go overseas. Everyone knew it was a matter of perception of one’s role or status, with the students resigned to punishment or worse like the toads, while the instructors, whose viewpoints and expectations were quite different, could blithely assure their victims that everything was proceeding just as it should be.

That there will always be toads and butterflies engaged in national security issues is a given, while perceptions of what is important or significant will vary depending on one’s individual life and cultural experiences. Or, to put it another way, one’s basic views are not predetermined and will depend very much on which side of a fence one is standing on.
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