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Syrian Christians: 'Help Us to Stay - Stop Arming Terrorists'

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Outgoing artillery shook St Elias church as the priest reached the end of the Lord's Prayer.

The small congregation kept their eyes on the pulpit, kneeling when required and trying to ignore the regular thuds that rattled the stained glass windows above them.

Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the hard to reach Syrian agricultural town of Izraa has stood the comings and goings of many empires over the centuries.

But as the country's civil war creeps closer, it is threatening to force the town's Christians into permanent exile: never to return, they fear.

"I have been coming to this church since I was born," said Afaf Azam, 52. "But now the situation is very bad. Everyone is afraid. Jihadists control villages around us."
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We Are the Enemy: Is This the Lesson of Ferguson?

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Should police officer Darren Wilson be held accountable for the shooting death of unarmed citizen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014?

That the police officer was white and his victim black should make no difference. In a perfect world, it would not matter. In an imperfect world such as ours, however, racism is an effective propaganda tool used by the government and the media to distract us from the real issues.

As a result, the national dialogue about the dangers of militarized, weaponized police officers being trained to act like soldiers on the battlefield, shooting first and asking questions later, has shifted into a largely unspoken debate over race wars, class perceptions and longstanding, deep-seated notions of who deserves our unquestioning loyalty and who does not.

Putting aside our prejudices, however, let’s not overlook the importance of Ferguson and this grand jury verdict. Tasked with determining whether Wilson should stand trial for Brown’s shooting, the grand jury ruled that the police officer will not face charges for the fatal shooting.
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'Coercive Diplomacy' and the Failure of the Nuclear Negotiations

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After more than a year of negotiations between the United States and Iran, the two sides have failed to reach an agreement by the agreed deadline in July.  They have agreed to continue negotiating, but the failure to meet the deadline was clearly not caused by the lack of time. 

To understand why the talks have remained deadlocked, it is necessary to review the Obama administration’s stance on diplomacy with Iran in the context of the long US history of favouring “coercive diplomacy” over traditional negotiations in managing conflicts with adversaries.

Reliance on coercive diplomacy is deeply imbedded in the strategic culture of US national security institutions. It has evolved over decades of US military and economic dominance in international politics, which has allowed the United States to avoid genuine diplomacy repeatedly.

Based on that military supremacy, the United States avoided negotiations with its communist adversaries up to the early 1970s, when Henry Kissinger courted China and launched his détente policy with the Soviet Union. But that brief period of serious negotiating came in the wake of political pressures for reducing US military spending and foreign military presence during the long and exhausting US war in Vietnam.  It soon gave way to renewed reliance on coercive diplomacy during the Reagan administration.
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What Does Hagel's Ouster Mean for US Syria Policy?

Does today's pink slip to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signal a big victory to the humanitarian interventionists and neocons pushing President Obama to go for broke against Assad in Syria? RPI's Daniel McAdams was on RT this morning to give his take.
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Reform the CIA? What Good Would That Do?

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After all, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, these two agencies operate in secret. Moreover, they know that they can do anything they want, including breaking the law, and that nothing will ever happen to them.

Suppose, for example, that Congress were to enact a law that prohibits the NSA from monitoring everyone’s email. Let’s assume that the NSA decides that monitoring people’s email is necessary for national security. Does anyone really think that the NSA is going to fail to protect national security, even if that means violating the law? In the minds of NSA officials, that’s their job — to protect national security, including when Congress takes actions that jeopardize national security.

It’s no different with the CIA. It’s going to do whatever is necessary to protect national security, even if that means breaking the law.

In the minds of NSA officials and CIA officials, national security is everything. Their attitude is: What good are the laws if the nation goes down? Their adage is: The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Let’s assume that the NSA and the CIA violate duly enacted laws that reform these two agencies. What will happen to the officials who knowingly break the laws?


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Defeat of USA FREEDOM Act is a Victory for Freedom

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It will not shock readers to hear that quite often legislation on Capitol Hill is not as advertised. When Congress wants to do something particularly objectionable, they tend give it a fine-sounding name. The PATRIOT Act is perhaps the best-known example. The legislation had been drafted well before 9/11 but was going nowhere. Then the 9/11 attacks gave it a new lease on life. Politicians exploited the surge in patriotism following the attack to reintroduce the bill and call it the PATRIOT Act. To oppose it at that time was, by design, to seem unpatriotic.
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ISIS: Fighting the Modern Wahabis

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Sir John Baggot Glubb, better known as Glubb Pasha, was one of the modern Mideast’s most colorful and romantic figures. He and ‘Chinese’ Gordon of Khartoum were the last of the great British imperial officers.

Seconded by Britain to its protectorate, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Glubb built up its small Bedouin army, the Arab Legion, into the Arab world’s finest military force.

Glubb’s Arab Legion would likely have defeated Israel’s forces in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War had Britain and Jordan’s double-dealing king Abdullah not blocked the Legion’s advance, as Glubb Pasha bitterly recalled in his memoires.

When asked which of his many medals and honors he valued most, Glubb surprisingly replied , “Defender of the Shepherds of Iraq, ” This obscure award was conferred upon Glubb by the King of Iraq when Sir John commanded the Iraq Border Constabulary during the 1930’s.
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Lew Rockwell: Europe Bowing to US Hegemon on Russia Sanctions

Mises Institute Chairman and Ron Paul Institute Board Member Lew Rockwell speaks out against US-instigated sanctions on Russia in a recent RT interview. With reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be easing toward the notion of dialogue with the Russian leadership, Rockwell warns that unless Europe wakes up and stops taking orders from the US, its foolish policy toward Russia may well lead the EU into a serious recession.
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Ron Paul: 'Help!'

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Looking at the entrance to the little, spartan headquarters of my Institute for Peace and Prosperity here in Clute, Texas, I wonder how long it will be here. Not long, I am afraid, without your help.

I marvel at how much has been achieved with so little over the past year and a half. My tiny Ron Paul Institute has become an antiwar powerhouse, publishing thousands of cutting-edge articles challenging the politicians, the warmongering neocons, and the mainstream media. Our small staff, led by my long-time Congressional foreign policy advisor Daniel McAdams, has been featured in hundreds of television and radio interviews all over the world. That is bang for the buck!

When last summer it looked like the neocons would get away with bombing Syria, my Institute went into high gear. One by one we refuted the lies served up by the neocons and the mainstream media. Had US bombs fallen on the Syrian government last summer, the black flag of al-Qaeda or ISIS would now be flying in Damascus. And Syria’s Christian community, dating back to the time of Christ, would be obliterated.
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Biden in Ukraine, War Surely to Follow

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US Vice President Joe Biden's plane has touched down in the Ukrainian capitol to meet with US-backed president, Petro Poroshenko, and prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. If the past is prologue, we should expect a full-fledged assault by Kiev on the breakaway eastern part of the country to begin at anytime.

Biden's last trip to Ukraine was in April, where he told unelected post-coup prime minister Yatsenyuk that "You will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you." Within days of Biden's assurance of support, Kiev's offensive on eastern Ukraine markedly intensified. Soon thereafter, artillery shells fell on densely-populated civilian centers killing hundreds at a dramatically increased rate.

The two Ukrainian leaders took power after a US and EU-backed coup overthrew the elected government in February. They are expected to again ask the US administration for the overt provision of deadly force to be used against those seeking independence in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. The US has thus far declined to overtly provide lethal weapons, though several visits by top CIA officials and US Special Forces suggest that covert assistance and training may already have been provided.
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