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The War In Trump's Ear

A new book on Trump by Washington Post writers, "A Very Stable Genius," has tongues wagging and new accusations of the president's "instability." As usual, these politicized claims miss the target completely and also misunderstand the real war for Trump's ear. The generals are out, the "realists" were never quite in, there is little "America first" in the president's foreign policy, and, with reports that David Wurmser has the president's ear on Iran, the neocons are creeping back in. Watch today's Liberty Report...
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The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

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The Trump administration sees the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an "imminent threat" has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by US foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on US targets.
In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example, makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear...
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Guaido's Last Ride

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Remember Juan Guaido? Just a year ago the Venezuelan politician, unknown even in his own country, was tapped by the US government to lead a coup against the elected government of Nicolas Maduro. In a phone call with no less than Vice President Mike Pence himself, Guaido was told that if he declared himself president the US would back him. So...he did.

Guaido hadn't received a single vote to be president in Venezuela's election - in fact he never even ran for the office - but such absurdity has never stopped the US government from backing military coups overseas. All done in the name of "democracy," to be sure.

News of US recognition of Guaido as the lawful president of Venezuela led to an avalanche of lies meant to bolster Washington's claim that Maduro must be overthrown because he was making war on his own people. The claim that the elections were invalid because of fraud were the product of the Foggy Bottom foghorn, amplified by US government funded entities like the Organization of American States instead of any actual evidence or investigation.
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How Expansive is FBI Spying?

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Cato Institute Research Fellow Patrick Eddington recently filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to find out if the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever conducted surveillance of several organizations dealing with government policy, including my Campaign for Liberty. Based on the FBI’s response, Campaign for Liberty and other organizations, including the Cato institute and the Reason Foundation, may have been subjected to FBI surveillance or other data collection.
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Keeping with its Crackdown on Alternative Voices, Google Deletes Press TV from YouTube

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Without warning, tech giant Google “permanently removed” Iranian government-owned media channel Press TV UK’s YouTube channel Monday night amid increasing American hostility to Iran.

“This attack on the freedom of speech of Press TV’s journalists seems to be part of an anti-Iran purge as the West sets its sights on regime change in Iran,” Press TV said. Its content, in its own words, focuses on “anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and covers aspects of the news which the mainstream corporate media in the United Kingdom have refused to air.”

The London-based outlet had over 28,000 subscribers on its YouTube account at the time of its deletion.

British-Sudanese journalist Ahmed Kaballo accused Google of acting like the “judge jury and executioner” for his employer’s channel, expressing his great disappointment that his journalistic output is now gone and his worry at “what this really represents” for alternative media that “show a different perspective and holds a critical lens” on war and empire.
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Russia’s Big Gamble in Libya

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First, the background. When the United States abandoned the Iran agreement, that left Turkey’s oil imports adrift due to newly imposed US Treasury sanctions on Iranian oil exports. By December 2018, Turkey was forced to look elsewhere for its oil imports with Libya being the most logical choice by price and proximity, despite the violence there. Misrata rebels allied with Libya Dawn in charge of Libya’s largest free trade port, arranged oil exports from Zawiya and Sirte to Italy* and Turkey, at favorable prices. 

Recall that Tripolitania (west) and Cyrenaica (east) are at war, and Cyrenaica has its own oil production and storage terminals in the east while most proceeds (for both belligerents) in the Libyan conflict are settled by Libya’s National Oil Company. But little of that mattered to Turkey’s oil import market and Turkey signed an energy corridor agreement with Libya. Then in April of 2019, the Libyan National Army’s offensive versus Tripolitania’s Government of National Accord (GNA) began, resulting in the fall of Sirte early this year. 

Turkey’s foray into Libyan oil ran into trouble by June of 2018. Turkey objected to LNA rogue oil deals free of NOC oversight, where the NOC’s mandate was to enforce the UN arms embargo by disbursing funds only for civilian government use. Then the LNA’s April offensive resulted in air strikes on Misrata and the west, impacting Turkey’s oil imports. The fall of Sirte and LNA strikes on NOC offices and the Zawiya oil terminal late in 2019 dealt serious blows to Turkeys’ oil ambitions in Libya.
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Trump Trial Begins - Guilty As Charged?

After a bizarre pause in the impeachment proceedings, House Speaker Pelosi has finally decided to send the House-passed articles of impeachment over to the Senate for trial. Constitutional duty...or political grandstanding? And are they missing the whole point on impeachment? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Allies warn Trump that ISIS is on the rise again. But it’s precisely because of America that Islamic State will never be defeated

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Donald Trump once bragged about the total demolition of Islamic State. Today, thanks to his and previous presidents’ policies, IS is making a dangerous comeback. Now, even staunch American supporters are ringing alarm bells.

King Abdullah’s concern 

In a stark warning, Jordan’s King Abdullah told French reporters that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is regrouping and is on the rise in the Middle East. The reason for this resurgence is simple: the manifestation of the political division that exists in Syria and Iraq brought on by the US-led effort to push back on Iranian influence in the region. This division has led to the collapse of the US military position in northeastern Syria brought on by last year’s military incursion by Turkey, and the recent cessation of US-led anti-IS operations in Iraq in the aftermath of the fallout from the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian military commander who orchestrated Iran’s anti-IS efforts in Iraq and Syria. 

This is a far cry from February 2019, when President Trump announced that the US had defeated “100 percent” of the physical territory once held by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
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