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Drones, Tanks, and Grenade Launchers: Coming Soon to a Police Department Near You

Why does a police department which hasn’t had an officer killed in the line of duty in over 125 years in a town of less than 20,000 people need tactical military vests like those used by soldiers in Afghanistan?  BearcatFor that matter, why does a police department in a city of 35,000 people need a military-grade helicopter? And what possible use could police at Ohio State University have for acquiring a heavily-armored vehicle intended to withstand IED blasts?

Why are police departments across the country acquiring heavy-duty military equipment and weaponry? For the same reason that perfectly good roads get repaved, perfectly good equipment gets retired and replaced, and perfectly good employees spend their days twiddling their thumbs—and all of it at taxpayer expense. It’s called make-work programs, except in this case, instead of unnecessary busy work to keep people employed, communities across America are finding themselves “gifted” with drones, tanks, grenade launchers and other military equipment better suited to the battlefield.
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Ron Paul: The US is in the Middle of an Intellectual Revolution


RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, in an interview Thursday with John Stossel on Fox Business, explains that the United States is in the middle of an intellectual revolution powered by the "message of liberty." Paul points to grassroots opposition preventing a US government attack on Syria as a manifestation of the revolution.

Watch the 6 minutes report and interview here:
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Understanding Media Propaganda About Recent Talks Over Iran’s Nuclear Program

Irangeneva

There are a couple points worth noting about recent reporting on the recent talks between the U.S. and its Western allies and Iran over its nuclear program.

1) The first is that the media effectively accepts the U.S. government’s framework that Iran’s rights derive from Washington, D.C. Here’s the New York Times this week:
As Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers from other world powers sought to work out an interim agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian government’s insistence on formal recognition of its “right” to enrich uranium emerged as a major obstacle, diplomats said Sunday…. Iran has asserted repeatedly that it has the right to enrich uranium, a necessary step in producing nuclear fuel both for power plants and, at a much higher level, for weapons…. The Obama administration is prepared to allow Iran to enrich uranium to the low level of 3.5 percent as part of an interim agreement, as long as Iran agreed to other constraints on its nuclear activity. But the administration is not prepared to acknowledge at this point that Iran has a “right” to enrich…. “The United States does not believe there is an inherent right to enrichment, and we have said that repeatedly to Iran,” a senior administration official said before the latest round of talks in Geneva.
The Times uncritically parrots the government position, leaving readers with the impression that Iran’s claim lacks any basis. Naturally, there’s not one word in the article about the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), to which Iran is a party. How can this be? How can the Times report about the issue of Iran’s right to enrich uranium and the U.S.’s rejection of that right without presenting readers with a discussion of what the NPT has to say about it?
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The Iran Question – What Next?

Rouhanip5 1

It is only natural if there is a sense of deja vu over the inconclusive end to the P5+1 and Iran talks in Geneva over the weekend – and of course its photo finish dripping with high drama. The United States-Iran standoff has edged tantalizingly close to resolution many a time in the past in its three decades of history but only to remain on track. 

This time around, however, there could be a qualitative difference, although the templates of an adversarial relationship hardened through decades cannot be made to shift easily, even with the best of intentions. 

The first thing, of course, is to comprehend what really happened in Geneva to dash the high hopes that were aroused. Different interpretations are available, but most accounts agree that France was at its epicenter. The French motives in apparently throwing the wrench at the wheel need to be understood. The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius publically implied that Israel’s concerns were not adequately reflected in the interim agreement that the US, EU and the Iranian diplomats worked out. But beyond that, an impression has also gained ground that France was actually bidding to please Saudi Arabia and the other petrodollar-rich Gulf Arab regimes while ingratiating itself with Israel…
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Quitting Over Syria

No War Syria

The release of the White House “Government Assessment” on August 30, providing the purported evidence to support a bombing attack on Syria, defused a conflict with the intelligence community that had threatened to become public through the mass resignation of a significant number of analysts. The intelligence community’s consensus view on the status of the Syrian chemical-weapons program was derived from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) completed late last year and hurriedly updated this past summer to reflect the suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians.

The report maintained that there were some indications that the regime was using chemicals, while conceding that there was no conclusive proof. There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing. These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable pushback against the senior analysts who had authored the report.
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Handing Off Ron Paul's Chevette 'Green Pea'

We gathered last weekend at Dr. Paul's house in Texas to hand over the keys to the famous 1979 Chevette "green pea" to generous Ron Paul Institute donors Jonathan and Nita Cole. Readers will recall that this is the car that made then-Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill see red when Paul's then-chief of staff Lew Rockwell had the House photographer take a picture of it parked next to the Speaker's gas guzzler as he was calling for rationing for everyone else.

In addition to the Chevette, Mr. Cole was given some related memorabilia, including a signed photograph of the Chevette next to O'Neill's limo, the press release issued when the photograph was taken -- signed by then chief of staff Lew Rockwell -- and magnetic Ron Paul campaign signs to go on the side of the car.
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What Is The Real Agenda Of The American Police State?

SWAT

In my last column I emphasized that it was important for American citizens to demand to know what the real agendas are behind the wars of choice by the Bush and Obama regimes. These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II. Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million per soldier.  Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.

In other words, it is the cost of these two wars that explain the explosion of the US public debt and the economic and political problems associated with this large debt.
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Obama’s Refusal to Respect Iran’s Sovereignty and Treaty Rights is Leaving America on the Self-Defeating Path to War

Kerry P5 1

Notwithstanding France’s simultaneously arrogant and craven grandstanding over Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, the main reason for the failure of last week’s nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 was the Obama administration’s imperious refusal to acknowledge Tehran’s right to enrich uranium under international safeguards.  On this point, we want to highlight a recent post by Dan Joyner on Arms Control Law, titled, “Scope, Meaning and Juridical Implication of the NPT Article IV(1) Inalienable Right.” 

Dan opens with a favorable reference to our recent post on the issue, see here; he then focuses on how to interpret the NPT Article IV(1) right to peaceful nuclear energy—a subject he has already written about at some length.  He usefully inserts an excerpt from his excellent 2011 book, Interpreting the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Interpreting the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Pages 79-84.  This excerpt lays out Dan’s argument that the right to peaceful use of nuclear technology should be interpreted as “a full, free-standing right of all NNWS [non-nuclear-weapon states] party to the treaty, and not as a contingent right, contrary to the interpretation of some NWS [nuclear-weapon states].”
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FBI v. The First Amendment: The US Government's Investigation of Antiwar.com

Antiwar Magnify

Federal Bureau of Investigation documents released last week reveal the FBI investigated antiwar.com, a website regularly publishing content critical of US foreign policy, for at least six years based on the content and audience of the antiwar.com website. as well as an asinine mistake by the FBI.

According to Julia Harumi Mass of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which is representing Antiwar.com in a lawsuit against the FBI, the FBI produced in response to a document request in the lawsuit documents confirming "that the FBI targeted and spied on Antiwar.com [and the website's founding editors Eric] Garris and [Justin] Raimondo based on their First Amendment protected activity and kept records about that activity in violation of federal law."
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Who’s to Blame for Battlefield America? Is It Militarized Police or the Militarized Culture?

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is responsible for the growing spate of police shootings, brutality and overreach that have come to dominate the news lately, whether it’s due to militarized police, the growing presence of military veterans in law enforcement, the fact that we are a society predisposed to warfare, indoctrinated through video games, reality TV shows, violent action movies and a series of endless wars that have, for younger generations, become life as they know it—or all of the above.

Whatever the reason, not a week goes by without more reports of hair-raising incidents by militarized police imbued with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a battlefield approach to the communities in which they serve.

The latest comes out of New Mexico, where cops pulled David Eckert over for allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Suspecting that Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together,” the officers forced Eckert to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy. No drugs were found.
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