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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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The United States Lost the Cold War

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As the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall, Americans remain more convinced than ever that the United States won the Cold War.

The Cold War brought us a national-security state, which consists of an enormous military establishment, a vast military-industrial complex, an empire of foreign and domestic military bases, ever-growing military budgets, and the ever-increasing militarization of American society.

In his Farewell Address in 1960, President Eisenhower pointed out that type of governmental system was alien to the American way of life. By that he meant that the national-security state was no part of America’s governmental system when the Constitution called the federal government into existence and for the next 160 years. It was called into existence for the sole purpose of waging the Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union.

Several days ago, the New York Times made a startling admission. Quoting a former high U.S. official, the Times pointed out that the communist regime in North Korea is also a national-security state.
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Still Letting the Neocons Lead

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In a rational political system, the American neocons would be the most discredited group in modern U.S. history. If not in the dock for complicity in war crimes – from Central America in the 1980s to Iraq last decade – they would surely not be well-regarded scholars at prominent think tanks and welcomed as op-ed columnists at major publications.

But the United States doesn’t currently have a rational political system. Instead of being prosecuted or ostracized, the neocons continue to dominate Official Washington’s foreign policy thinking. They and their “liberal interventionist” sidekicks continue to demonize disfavored “enemy” leaders – just as they did in Central America and Iraq – and bait doubters for “weakness” if they don’t climb onboard.

And, the mainstream U.S. news media, led by the likes of the New York Times and the Washington Post, falls into line or is actually led by neocons. Then, politicians, even those who should know better like President Barack Obama, don’t dare alienate the opinion leaders and thus end up reinforcing the neocon themes by sounding “tough.”

It may be highly naïve at this point to think that President Obama will ever demonstrate true leadership by repudiating the neocon “group think” regarding a whole variety of issues including today’s hotspots, such as Iran, Syria, Iraq, Russia and Ukraine.
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Russia invades Ukraine. Again. And Again! And Yet Again!!

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Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.
None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

The story continued:
The Obama administration has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.
Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.
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