Osama bin Laden's youngest son, Hamza, purportedly released an audio recording earlier this week in which he called for young Saudis to get involved with al-Qaeda in Yemen and in which he called for retaliation against ongoing US military operations in several countries in the greater Middle East. Said the younger bin Laden: "We will continue striking you and targeting you in your country and abroad in response to your oppression of the people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and the rest of the Muslim lands that did not survive your oppression." Should we listen to him and start thinking about removing his recruiting tools, or do we keep doing that which helps him and others like him recruit more terrorists? Our thoughts in today's Liberty Report... read on...
Will Hungary be the next nation to exit the dysfunctional European Union? The question isn’t at all as far-fetched as it might seem. On October 2, voters in Hungary will participate in a nationwide referendum to vote whether they agree to the forced settlement of migrants in Hungary by the EU or not. It’s a major issue in Hungary, a land of proud and staunchly independent-minded people who have endured 150 years of Ottoman rule; wars with Habsburg Austria until the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 created a peaceful coexistence under the dual Monarchy of Austria–Hungary.
After that, Hungarians were subject to the Soviet Union since 1945, initially under the dreaded Mátyás Rákosi, until it became the first Warsaw Pact communist country to declare a constitutional republic in October, 1989 and open its borders to Austria, setting in motion the domino fall of East Germany and then of the entire Warsaw Pact and, ultimately, the Soviet Union. Like every nation, they have a very special history.
It might well be said that Hungarians, always an ethnic melting-pot population whose parliament enacted the first laws of ethnic and minority rights in the world in 1849, are not a passive people when they sense something is wrong in the way they are being treated. So it is today regarding the Brussels proposal that Hungary and other EU member states must accept a Brussels-determined number of political war refugees from the Middle East and pay for all their costs whether they want them or not. Countries that refuse to take their quota would face severe financial penalties. In 2015 some 400,000 refugees arrived in Hungary in 2015 before a four-meter high razor wire fence was erected on the border with Serbia. read on...
The reported remarks Monday by Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim regarding a 3-step road map for ending the Syrian conflict would be the latest indication that Ankara is tiptoeing toward restoring Turkish-Syrian relations at the diplomatic and political level.
Yildirim’s road map envisages future Syria to be a unitary state that has an inclusive political system with constitutional safeguards that prevent domination by any sectarian, ethnic or regional groups. Its constructive ambiguity over the core issue of the fate of President Bashar Al-Assad is absolutely delightful. It abandons the pre-condition that President Assad should step down in any transition.
Yildirim instead leaves it to the Syrian electorate’s majority will to decide on Assad’s political future. He thinks Assad may not get a popular mandate, but then, he won’t deny Assad the right to seek one, either. Now, isn’t that a leap of faith? (Hurriyet)
People living in some western portions of America with liberalized medical marijuana laws have some extra protection from the United States government prosecuting them for violations of US marijuana laws thanks to a decision issued Tuesday by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. However, only congressional action can promptly ensure such protection is provided to people countrywide.
The appeals court’s United States v. McIntosh ruling decides ten consolidated appeals and petitions for writs of mandamus pursued by appellants who have been indicted for violating the US Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The appellants argue that a prohibition on funding US prosecutions related to medical marijuana should require the dismissal of their indictments and the stopping of their prosecutions. Looking at appropriations legislation for the Department of Justice (DOJ) enacted in 2014 and 2015, the court concludes that a provision of the enacted appropriations bills, which the court refers to a section 542 based on the provision’s location in the 2015 appropriations, “prohibits DOJ from spending funds from relevant appropriations acts for the prosecution of individuals who engage in conduct permitted by the State Medical Marijuana Laws and who fully complied with such laws.”
The result for the appellants, the court explains in its decision, is that, if the DOJ decides to continue with prosecution, the appellants “are entitled to evidentiary hearings to determine whether their conduct was completely authorized by state law.” If the conduct was authorized, then the prosecution must end. The court further clarifies that the matter to be decided in such a hearing is if the actions of the appellants “strictly comply with all relevant conditions imposed by state law on the use, distribution, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana.” read on...
The Saudis have purchased more than $100 billion in weapons from the US during the Obama presidency. Much of it has been used to attack next-door Yemen in attempt to restore a deposed president. Over the past several days the Saudis have bombed a school, a hospital, and a potato chip factory. Scores of civilians have been killed. Washington has yet to condemn the slaughter carried out by the Saudis with US weapons. Now the Saudis want another billion dollars worth of weapons from the US to continue their war of aggression. There is little push-back in military-industrial complex-controlled Washington. But is this foreign policy good for America? read on...
There is a nasty pattern in American political speech, going back into the 1980s at least: when a senior US official labels you a thug, often times wars follow. Thug is the safest word of American Exceptionalism.
So it is with some concern that lots of folks are pushing each other away from the mic to call Putin a thug (fun fact: Putin has been in effective charge of Russia for 15 years. As recently as the Hillary Clinton Secretary of State era, the US sought a “reset” of relations with him.)
While the current throwing of the term thug at Putin is tied to the weak evidence presented publicly linking a Russian hacker under Putin’s employ to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computers, there may be larger issues in the background. But first, a sample of the rhetoric.
Putin the Thug
Obama on Putin: “a thug who doesn’t understand his own best interests.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered a major foreign policy speech in Ohio yesterday which was once again a very mixed bag. On the one hand he promised an end to regime-change and nation-building, which if he had just stopped there and stuck to it would have been a positive development. Unfortunately his positions are less driven by principles and policy than by desire to please both the pro-war and antiwar factions. Therefore he swore to defeat radical Islamic terrorism by dropping even more bombs in the Middle East, obviously not understanding that it was US bombs in the Middle East that created the problem in the first place. He wants to blame Obama and Hillary Clinton for ISIS without understanding that they were just carrying to its conclusion the interventionist policies of George W. Bush. We take a look at the ups and downs of Trump's foreign policy speech in today's Liberty Report... read on...
As much as Washington may hate it, the fact is Beijing and Manila are diplomatically discussing the situation in the South China Sea.
Champagne bottles are not popping yet, but Special Philippine envoy, former President Fidel Ramos, did go to Hong Kong, and on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, got together with Fu Ying, the chairwoman of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress. On the record, Ramos made sure that Manila is all in for formal negotiations.
The starting block concerns some fishy business - literally. Beijing and Manila may be on their way already to open the highly disputed Scarborough shoal, which falls right into what Manila describes as the West Philippine Sea, to both Chinese and Filipino fishermen, as in the joint development of fish farms.
Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, let it be known that Ramos’s visit to Hong Kong was just an opener. Of course his next step will have to be a trip to Beijing to talk to the high-stakes power players. Then the way will be paved for a formal Duterte state visit. read on...
Day by day the situation in Yemen becomes more difficult for the people on the ground. The Saudis have renewed bombing and seemingly hit everything in sight - no matter what. Food is running out. But Yemen now has a new legitimate government. And the Saudis will have to either follow the conditions it will set, or all-out lose the war.
UN supervised negotiations between the former Yemeni president Hadi, supported by the armed forces of various Gulf countries, and a delegation of the Houthi alliance with the former president Saleh have failed. The Saudis demanded total surrender to their demands: A retreat of the Houthi from the capital Sanaa, a complete re-installment of Hadi as president, and a handing over of all serious weapons. The Houthi/Saleh side could never have agreed to such conditions. The fighting on the ground continued throughout the four month negotiations.
When the failure of the negotiations was obviously imminent, Houthi and Yemeni army forces re-invaded Saudi Arabia. For 200 km of the Saudi-Yemeni border from the Red Sea to inland eastwards Yemeni forces initially invaded at 6 locations 5-20km deep. Video showed them in sight of the Saudi city Narjan, with half a million inhabitants, shelling the electricity station and military barracks. Laughably a joint statement from the governments of the UK, USA, Saudi Arabia and UAE demanded that:
the conflict in Yemen should not threaten Yemen’s neighbours.
When President Nixon closed the gold window on August 15, 1971, he sold it to Americans as a way to recover from the "war economy" of Vietnam and a way to combat inflation. As we know 45 years later, the proliferation of paper dollars has, if anything, made war all the more attractive, giving people the impression that it can be financed with dollars out of thin air. And inflation? While officially it sits at around zero, in fact you would need $594.28 to purchase today what you could purchase for $100 in 1971. The warfare state is driven by the fiat dollar. More on the fateful Nixon decision and its implications in today's Liberty Report... read on...