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'Russiagate' -- National Security Threat...Or Just Politics?

The latest "Russiagate" breathless revelation is that President Trump revealed secret information to the Russians in the Oval office. The Washington Post cites unnamed "former and current" intelligence sources for the leaked information. The leakers were obviously not in the room, but National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster who was in the room and refuted the claims was buried in the eighth paragraph. What's behind frenzy? Differences in policy? Do the Democrats and their new neocon allies oppose Trump's plans for military escalation in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere? Or is it really about power? We pick it apart in today's Liberty Report...
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Israel Minister: 'The Time Has Come To Assassinate Bashar Assad'

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Israel's Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad following yesterday's US State Department report that the Syrian regime was using a prison crematorium to hide mass killings outside Damascus, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at a conference outside Jerusalem, Galant, a retired Israeli Defence Forces general, said that in light of recent allegations that Assad’s regime carried out mass executions and burned the bodies of the victims, he had to be killed.

"The reality in which people are executed in Syria, being hit deliberately by chemical weapons, their bodies being burned, something we haven’t seen in 70 years. In my view, we are crossing a red line. And in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad. It’s as simple as that,” said Galant, who previously served as the head of the IDF’s Southern Command. The minister said Assad’s actions in Syria amount to nothing less than a “genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed."
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The 'Giuliani Moment'

MR. GOLER: Congressman Paul, I believe you are the only man on the stage who opposes the war in Iraq, who would bring the troops home as quickly as -- almost immediately, sir. Are you out of step with your party? Is your party out of step with the rest of the world? If either of those is the case, why are you seeking its nomination?

REP. PAUL: Well, I think the party has lost its way, because the conservative wing of the Republican Party always advocated a noninterventionist foreign policy.

Senator Robert Taft didn't even want to be in NATO. George Bush won the election in the year 2000 campaigning on a humble foreign policy -- no nation-building, no policing of the world. Republicans were elected to end the Korean War. The Republicans were elected to end the Vietnam War. There's a strong tradition of being anti-war in the Republican party. It is the constitutional position. It is the advice of the Founders to follow a non-interventionist foreign policy, stay out of entangling alliances, be friends with countries, negotiate and talk with them and trade with them.

Just think of the tremendous improvement -- relationships with Vietnam. We lost 60,000 men. We came home in defeat. Now we go over there and invest in Vietnam. So there's a lot of merit to the advice of the Founders and following the Constitution.
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Are They Really Out to Get Trump?

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President Donald Trump is not exactly known for his self-restraint. The recent firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey was not handled with any delicacy and has unleashed a firestorm of criticism coming from across the political spectrum. And since Comey’s abrupt dismissal the backstabbing has become even worse, with many coming around to the view that Trump is actually crudely threatening Comey over the issue of what might or might not have been said at dinners and meetings between the two men.

What exactly drove the firing at this time remains somewhat of a mystery though the media has been quick to link it directly to Trump’s reported anger at the seemingly endless investigation into his Administration’s possible ties to Russia, an investigation that nominally Comey headed as FBI Director. But that explanation somehow makes no sense as even a white-hot Trump would have realized that getting rid of Comey would only make the Russiagate problem worse as everyone would assume cover-up and would come after the White House with even greater intensity, which is precisely what has happened. Was Trump dumb enough to dig himself into a deeper hole? Possibly, but it seems unlikely.

What is real, however, is that constant innuendo means that anti-Russian hysteria has been mounting, including completely speculative pieces wondering whether the entourage of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had sought to sneak a recording device into the White House during last week’s visit.

And what if there really is a conspiracy against Donald Trump being orchestrated within the various national security agencies that are part of the United States government? The president has been complaining for months about damaging leaks emanating from the intelligence community and the failure of Congress to pay any attention to the illegal dissemination of classified information. It is quite possible that Trump has become aware that there is actually something going on and that something just might be a conspiracy to delegitimize and somehow remove him from office.
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Jeff Sessions' Authoritarian Drug Crackdown Won't Work

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo to Federal Prosecutors on Friday to reverse his predecessor's directive to, when appropriate, seek less severe sentences for some drug offenses. This return to much more robust prosecution of drug offenses will lead to many more and much longer prison sentences. We already spend some $40 billion per year to prosecute and house the approximately 300,000 drug offenders in the US, many of whom non-violent. The one trillion dollar, nearly half-century war on drugs has bee an utter failure and a return to harsher penalties will do nothing to solve the problem. Why will it fail? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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President Trump: Toss Your Generals’ War Escalation Plans In the Trash

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By the end of this month, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster will deliver to President Trump their plans for military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Trump would be wise to rip the plans up and send his national security team back to the drawing board – or replace them. There is no way another “surge” in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus a new one in Syria) puts America first. There is no way doing the same thing over again will succeed any better than it did the last time.
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Ron Paul Rewind (2010): 'End the War in Afghanistan Now!'

As the tenth anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan approached, Rep. Ron Paul took to the Floor of Congress to demand an end to that unwinnable war. "It was said that it's hard to quit a war, and we shouldn't be quitting. But the real problem is that it's too easy to start a war," he said. In his speech, given some seven years ago, he pointed out the central problem of US intervention in Afghanistan and elsewhere: "The enemy is said to be the Taliban. Well the Taliban certainly don't like us and we don't like them. And the more we kill, the more Taliban we get." But, as he points out, the original military authorization was to retaliate against those who attacked us and the Taliban did not attack us. So here we are, seven years after this speech, and we are talking about yet another major "surge" into Afghanistan. Even though those who did attack us are long gone. When will it all end -- and where might we be if they had listened to what Ron Paul said in this speech...
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Comey Fring Justly Knocks FBI off its Pedestal

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President Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey provides a welcome chance to dethrone the FBI from its pinnacle in American politics and life. Last September, Comey denounced Twitter "demagoguery" for the widespread belief that the FBI was not "honest" or "competent."

But the FBI has a long record of both deceit and incompetence. Five years ago,Americans learned that the FBI was teaching its agents that the bureau "has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others." This has practically been the FBI's motif since its creation.

J. Edgar Hoover, who ran the FBI from 1924 until his death in 1972, built a revered agency that utterly intimidated official Washington. In 1945, President Truman wrote: "We want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. ... This must stop." But the bureau’s power soared after Congress passed the Internal Security Act of 1950, authorizing massive crackdowns on suspected subversives. Hoover compiled a list of more than 20,000 "potentially or actually dangerous" Americans who could be seized and locked away at the president’s command. "Congress secretly financed the creation of six of these (detention) camps in the 1950s," noted Tim Weiner in his excellent 2012 book, Enemies: A History of the FBI.

From 1956 through 1971, the FBI’s COINTELPRO (counterintelligence programs) conducted thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to smear innocent people by portraying them as government informants, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, white racist and anti-war organizations. FBI agents also busied themselves forging "poison pen" letters to wreck activists’ marriages. COINTELPRO was exposed only after a handful of activists burglarized an FBI office in a Philadelphia suburb, seized FBI files, and leaked the damning documents to journalists.
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Shut Down the ‘Russia-gate’ Farce

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The level of lunacy we’ve reached can be measured by the brouhaha over the presence of Russian photographers in the Oval Office during Sergey Lavrov’s visit: no US photographers were allowed, but the Russians somehow got in and the Paranoid Brigade went into overdrive. They may have planted “bugs” there! No, this wasn’tnutjob Louise Mensch, the queen of the Russia-haters, but “former intelligence officials,” including the former deputy director of the CIA, David Cohen.

Given this kind of paranoia, why allow Lavrov in the Oval Office? After all, he could slip a bug into that sanctum just as easily as somehow who works for Tass – indeed, it would be far easier for him to do so, since photographers are routinely searched before they enter, and I doubt the Russian Foreign Minister is subjected to the same procedure.

Aside from that, the same people who are making a fuss about this are convinced the Trump administration is a cabal of Kremlin agents: so why would the Russians even need to plant a bug in the Oval Office? After all, according to the conspiracy theorists, they’re getting the same intelligence directly from the White House.

Yes, folks, I’m really writing about this nonsense. Because that’s where we’re at these days.

Now the conspiracy theorists who have taken over the Democratic party are screaming that the firing of James Comey is all a part of the plot: Trump did it to scotch the year-long investigation into “Russia-gate,” which has so far yielded nothing. The White House denies this, although we’re now hearing a different and probably far more accurate account: the President was pissed off that Comey wasn’t investigating leaks of classified information, and was paying too much attention to the Russia probe.
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Will Trump Agree to the Pentagon's Permanent War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria?

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The two top national security officials in the Trump administration – Secretary of Defence James Mattis and national security adviser HR McMaster - are trying to secure long-term US ground and air combat roles in the three long-running wars in the greater Middle East – Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Proposals for each of the three countries are still being developed, and there is no consensus, even between Mattis and McMaster, on the details of the plans. They will be submitted to Trump separately, with the plan for Afghanistan coming sometime before a NATO summit in Brussels on 25 May.
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