"To militarize [the police], to give them military weapons...it creates a culture. Guns and tanks and gasses that are illegal in wartime are being used. It is an atmposphere that encourages police to over-react," Ron Paul told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today. read on...
In recent years, President Obama, his European friends, and even some Middle Eastern allies, have supported “rebel groups” in Libya and Syria. Some received training, financial and military support to overthrow Muammar Gadhafi and battle Bashar al Assad. It’s a strategy that follows the old saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and it has been the American and allied approach for decades in deciding whether to support opposition groups and movements.
The problem is that it is completely unreliable — and often far worse than other strategies. Every year there are more cases in which this approach backfires. The most glaring and famous failure was in Afghanistan, where some of the groups taught (and supplied) to fight the Soviet Army later became stridently anti-Western. In that environment, Al Qaeda flourished and established the camps where perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were trained. Yet instead of learning from its mistakes, the United States keeps making them.
Washington and its allies empowered groups whose members had either begun with anti-American or anti-Western views or found themselves lured to those ideas in the process of fighting. According to interviews with members of militant groups, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s Al Nusra Front (which is aligned with al Qaeda), that is exactly what happened with some of the fighters in Libya and even with factions of the Free Syrian Army. read on...
We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a US attack on Iraq. We all remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and the story was false, but it was enough to turn US opposition in favor of an attack.
This month, yet another US president – the fourth in a row – began bombing Iraq. He is also placing US troops on the ground despite promising not to do so.
The second Iraq war in 2003 cost the US some two trillion dollars. According to estimates, more than one million deaths have occurred as a result of that war. Millions of tons of US bombs have fallen in Iraq almost steadily since 1991.
What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq! read on...
If Brown was a suspect in a crime of that kind, this case would have uncanny similarities to the 1974 incident in which another teenaged suspect, Edward Garner, was fatally shot while attempting to flee from a Memphis police officer following a burglary. As noted previously, that case went before the Supreme Court a decade later, resulting in the 1985 Tennessee v. Garner ruling in which the Court held that “The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable.” This was a rejection of the “Any Felony Rule” under which officers in many states, including Tennessee, were authorized to use deadly force to stop a fleeing or resisting suspect.
The “Any Felony Rule,” it should be pointed out, didn’t enjoy universal approval, even in the supposedly barbarous 19th Century. In an 1858 editorial, the New York Times expressed alarm over the promiscuous use of lethal force by officers of the newly created NYPD against fleeing suspects: “The pistols are not used in self-defense, but to stop the men who are running away. They are considered substitutes for swift feet and long arms… [W]e doubt the propriety of employing them for such a purpose. A Policeman has no right to shoot a man for running away from him.” read on...
The difference between what happened in Boston in the wake of the Boston Marathon explosion and what is happening now in Ferguson, Missouri, is not in the government’s response but in the community’s response.
This is what happens when you ignore the warning signs.
This is what happens when you fail to take alarm at the first experiment on your liberties.
This is what happens when you fail to challenge injustice and government overreach until the prison doors clang shut behind you.
Consider that it was just a little over a year ago that the city of Boston was locked down while police carried out a military-style manhunt for the suspects in the Boston Marathon explosion. At the time, Americans welcomed the city-wide lockdown, the routine invasion of their privacy, and the dismantling of every constitutional right intended to serve as a bulwark against government abuses.
Fast forward 14 months, and Americans are shocked at the tactics being employed to quell citizen unrest in Ferguson, Missouri—a massive SWAT team, an armored personnel carrier, men in camouflage pointing heavy artillery at the crowd, smoke bombs and tear gas—where residents are outraged and in the streets in response to a recent police shooting of one of their own: a young, unarmed college-bound black teenager who had the misfortune of being in the wrong time at the wrong place. read on...
Let’s count the ways. It goes without saying that Obama is now busily bombing American military equipment. Some of that equipment is pretty high tech gear and especially lethal — not the kind that jihadists ordinarily train with in their desert lairs or mountain redoubts.
But then again, ISIS got provisioned by none other than the Iraqi Army. The latter not only dropped its uniforms for civvies during the battle for Mosul, but also left behind armored Humvees, heavy artillery, night vision systems, state of the art firearms and much else of like and similar nature. Nor was this the first time that the Iraqi Army disarmed itself unilaterally. A while back they also surrendered their uniforms and guns when another American President — George W. Bush — bombed them.
That was called “shock and awe.” Afterwards, the remnants of the Iraqi army must have found it indeed shocking and awesome that Washington immediately pivoted — after hanging the country’s leader — and spent $25 billion re-equipping and training them in brand new uniforms and with far better weapons.
Fast-forward to 2014. The hasty hand-off of these American weapons to ISIS during its June blitzkrieg was easy enough to explain. On their way out of Baghdad, the Washington “nation builders” had equipped and trained a native army so that it could defend a “nation” which did not exist. What passed for “Iraq” was some very long, straight lines drawn on a map exactly 98 years ago by the British and French foreign offices as they carved up their winnings from the Ottoman Empire. What passed for governance within these so-called Sykes-Picot boundaries was a series of kings, generals and dictators — culminating in Saddam Hussein — who ruled from the barrel of whatever gun had been supplied by the highest bidder among the Great Powers. read on...
What obligation does the US have to go into Iraq for a third time? According to RPI Chairman Ron Paul, there is none. More US intervention will not solve the problem, he tells RT, but will only make matters worse. In fact, sending weapons into iraq has made matters worse for the Kurds, as many of the weapons have been captured by ISIS and are being used to against them. The Kurds would have been a lot better off if the US had never gone into Iraq in the first place, he says. read on...
This is the way the multi-trillion dollar Global War on Terror (GWOT) ends: not with a bang, but with a bigger bang.
The GWOT, since its conceptualization 13 years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, is the gift that keeps on giving. And no gift is bigger than a Transformer Al-Qaeda on steroids – bigger, brasher, and wealthier than anything Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri had ever dreamt of; the IS (Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS) of Caliph Ibrahim, former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
US President Barack Obama, before deploying his golf holidays in Martha’s Vineyard, casually dropped that bombing the Caliph’s goons in Iraq will take months. One may interpret it as another layer of the Obama administration’s self-avowed “Don't Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine, not so subtly mocked by prospective presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Shock and Awe in 2003 destroyed the whole of Baghdad’s infrastructure in only a few hours.
Obama also confirmed the US was showering Iraq again with humanitarian bombing “to protect American interests” (first and foremost) and, as an afterthought, “human rights in Iraq.”
One could not possibly expect Obama to declare the US would now bomb “our” allies the House of Saud, who have supported/financed/weaponized IS, in Syria and Iraq. The same erstwhile ISIS that thoroughly enjoyed the marvels of US military training in a secret base in Jordan read on...
Some ten years ago, as a financial strategist/fund manager in post-crisis Moscow, while laboring away over my strategy monthly “Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance)” with its recurrent theme that Russia was embarking upon her New Asian Century (i.e. turning away from the West to build bridges to China), I was surprised to receive a polite rejoinder from one of my readers: the prominent Stanford academic Michael McFaul – even then seen as a rising star in Eastern European policy for the US Democrat Party.
The professorial McFaul gently admonished me that I was deeply misguided in my belief that the Russian Bear would embrace the Chinese Dragon. Quite the opposite, he intoned, “The Russians are so terrified of China that they will be forced to beg Washington for a military alliance – at whatever price the Pentagon sees fit to demand!”
The ensuing years have not been kind to that prediction. While we fund managers are judged upon our track records, and few careers would survive such a blunder, being a politician (or a journalist) means never having to say, “I’m sorry”.
A few years later, as US-Russian relations were becoming increasingly envenomed, McFaul was drafted in as ambassador to Moscow with a mission to salvage Obama’s desperately imperiled “Russia Reset.” A worse choice could hardly have been imagined. read on...
Just as I predicted in my article “Why Not Simply Abolish the CIA?” critics of the CIA’s illegally hacking into the computers of U.S. senators who were investigating CIA torture are calling for reform, rather than abolition, of the CIA. Stuck in the mindset of the national-security state, they simply cannot raise their vision to a higher level—to one that restores a constitutionally limited government republic to our land.
Here’s one example: an op-ed today entitled “The CIA vs. the Senate: The Constitution Demands Action” by constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman in the Los Angeles Times, in which the author states: “CIA spying on the Senate is the constitutional equivalent of the Watergate break-in. In both cases, the executive branch attacked the very foundations of checks and balances.”
After criticizing some of the reform proposals being circulated, Ackerman does the predicable: He himself calls for reform.
Or consider this one: “Obama and the CIA” by Melvin A. Goodman, which is posted at Counterpunch. Detailing some of the CIA’s transgressions, Goodman wants to “restore the rule of law at the CIA.” How does he propose that that be done? Through reform, primarily by getting better people into public office. read on...