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Chemical Weapons Watchdog Is Just an American Lap Dog

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A spate of leaks from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international inspectorate created for the purpose of implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, has raised serious questions about the institution’s integrity, objectivity and credibility. The leaks address issues pertaining to the OPCW investigation into allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, 2018. These allegations, which originated from such anti-Assad organizations as the Syrian Civil Defense (the so-called White Helmets) and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), were immediately embraced as credible by the OPCW, and were used by the United States, France and the United Kingdom to justify punitive military strikes against facilities inside Syria assessed by these nations as having been involved in chemical weapons-related activities before the OPCW initiated any on-site investigation.

The Douma incident was initially described by the White Helmets, SAMS and the US, U.K. and French governments as involving both sarin nerve agent and chlorine gas. However, this narrative was altered when OPCW inspectors released, on July 6, 2018, interim findings of their investigation that found no evidence of the use of sarin. The focus of the investigation quickly shifted to a pair of chlorine cylinders claimed by the White Helmets to have been dropped onto apartment buildings in Douma by the Syrian Air Force, resulting in the release of a cloud of chlorine gas that killed dozens of Syrian civilians. In March, the OPCW released its final report on the Douma incident, noting that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe “that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018,” that “this toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine” and that “the toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

Much has been written about the OPCW inspection process in Syria, and particularly the methodology used by the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), an inspection body created by the OPCW in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The FFM was created under the direction of Ahmet Üzümcü, a career Turkish diplomat with extensive experience in multinational organizations, including service as Turkey’s ambassador to NATO. Üzümcü was the OPCW’s third director general, having been selected from a field of seven candidates by its executive council to replace Argentine diplomat Rogelio Pfirter.
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Donald Trump: Peace Candidate, Presidential Warmonger

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Mr. Trump ran in 2016 almost on a peace platform in terms of foreign policy. He said things such as this:

“I share the American people’s frustration… I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money — and, most importantly, lives — trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other

I supported him vis a vis Mrs. Hillary Clinton mainly because she seemed, at least in comparison, to be a pro-war belligerent. From her support for the US invasion of Iraq, in Afghanistan and Western Sahara, she has long established herself as a foreign policy hawk. For example, as emblematic of her deeply held views, she favored a: “tough-minded, muscular foreign and defense policy…”

I along with Ralph Raico and Donald Miller started up the group called “Libertarians for Trump.” Some 5000 people signed on. It was widely bruited about that no one but hicks, red-necks, morons in flyover country could support this ignoramus. To counter this, Paul Gottfried, Boyd Cathy and I initiated a separate support group for our present president called “Scholars for Trump.” Signatories were limited to people with advanced degrees such as the Ph.D. We attracted signatures from about 150 people.
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A Massive Scandal: How Assange, His Doctors, Lawyers and Visitors Were All Spied on for the US

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It sounds like a James Bond movie, but it really happened. Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks journalists and every single lawyer, reporter, politician, artist and physician who visited the founder of WikiLeaks at the Ecuadorian embassy over the last seven years was subjected to systematic espionage. Meetings and conversations were recorded and filmed, and all the information was sent to US intelligence. Sometimes the espionage operations were truly off the wall: at one point spies even planned to steal the diaper of a baby brought to visit Assange inside the embassy. The purpose? To gather the baby's feces and perform a DNA test to establish whether the newborn was a secret son of Julian Assange.

Repubblica has had access to some of the videos, audios and photos. Meetings between the founder of WikiLeaks and his lawyers, medical examinations of Julian Assange, diplomatic encounters of the Ecuadorian ambassador Carlos Abad Ortiz, meetings between Assange and journalists. Everything was spied on.

The author of this article found that she was not just filmed, but her phones were screwed open, presumably to obtain the IMEI code that allows uniquely identifying the phone in order to intercept it. Spies also had access to our USB sticks, though at this stage it is not clear if they managed to break the encryption protecting the information stored in the USB flash drives inside our backpacks. These are very serious violations of the confidentiality of journalistic sources, given that our meetings inside the embassy were entirely professional and, as frequent visitors, we were repeatedly registered as "journalists".
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The Insider: How National Security Mandarins Groomed Pete Buttigieg and Managed his Future

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In his quest for front-runner status in the 2020 presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg has crafted an image for himself as a maverick running against a broken establishment. On the trail, he has invoked his distinction as the openly gay mayor of a de-industrialized Rust Belt town, as well as his experience as a Naval reserve intelligence officer who now claims to oppose “endless wars”.
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From Baghdad To Seoul, World Increasingly Sours On Hosting US Troops

The Trump Administration's inability to reach an agreement for the basing of 28,000 troops in South Korea highlights an increasing phenomenon across the US military empire: as the cost of US "protection" keeps going up, the value of that protection - in the eyes of the "protected" - seems to keep going down. Baghdad increasingly desires a US departure as well. Watch today's Liberty Report...
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By impeaching Trump, Democrats have made him more powerful than they could ever imagine

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From coast to coast, the Resistance is cheering the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the House. They shouldn’t be. For in seeking to destroy him, they have only made him more powerful, and undercut themselves.

Let’s not mince words: Wednesday’s vote was the culmination of efforts that began on November 8, 2016, with Trump’s shocking triumph over Hillary Clinton – or maybe even before, on whatever date the FBI actually began investigating the Trump campaign for “Russian collusion” per accusations coming from Democrats. 

All those paths, from “emoluments” and “Hamilton electors,” via the ill-fated Mueller Report into “Russiagate,” to the “whistleblower” complaint about the Ukraine phone call, they all converged on this inevitable conclusion. The actual “high crimes or misdemeanors” never mattered – or materialized, really – all anyone needed to do is repeat the mantra, Orange Man Bad.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) wore black and intoned about sadness and solemnity of the day for the American Republic and its importance for “our democracy.” It was a bonfire of hypocrisies, as the party that has spent years denouncing everything about America – its flag, anthem, founders, and even the political system – now claiming to be defending it all from the “clear and present danger” Trump somehow represented.
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The Afghanistan Fiasco and the Decline and Fall of the American Military

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A devastating investigative report was published in the Washington Post on December 9th. Dubbed the “Afghanistan Papers” in a nod to the Vietnam War’s famous “Pentagon Papers,” the report relied on thousands of documents to similarly expose how the US government at the presidential level across three administrations, acting in collaboration with the military brass and civilian bureaucracy, deliberately and systematically lied repeatedly to the public and media about the situation in Afghanistan. Officials from the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations have all surged additional troops into Afghanistan while also regularly overstating the “success” that the United States was attaining in stabilizing and democratizing the country. While they were lying, the senior officers and government officials understood clearly that the war was, in fact, unwinnable.

The story should have been featured all across the US as Afghanistan continues to kill Americans and much larger numbers of Afghans while also draining billions of dollars from the United States Treasury, but the mainstream media was largely unresponsive, preferring to cover the impeachment saga. Rather more responsive were the families of Army Chief Warrant Officer Second Class David C. Knadle, 33, of Tarrant, Texas, and Chief Warrant Officer Second Class Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, of Keaau, Hawaii. Both were killed in a helicopter crash on November 20th in Afghanistan’s Logar province while assisting troops on the ground, according to a Pentagon press release. They were participating in what was characteristically dubbed Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Both men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. The Taliban took credit for the downing of the chopper, but the Army is still investigating the cause.

Knadle and Fuchigami are only the most recent of the more than 2,400 American service members who have been killed in Afghanistan since October 2001, together with 20,589 wounded and an estimated 110,000 Afghan dead. In the wake of the Post’s report, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1974, told a CNN reporter that the Pentagon and Afghanistan Papers exposed the same governmental dysfunction: “The presidents and the generals had a pretty realistic view of what they were up against, which they did not want to admit to the American people.”
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