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Assassinations: Is This 'American Exceptionalism'?

A new US government whistleblower has come forward to share highly disturbing information about the US worldwide assassination program, deceptively called "targeted killing." Most of those killed with bombs fired from drones were not the intended targets, we learn, but they were classified as "enemies killed in action" anyway. Today's Liberty Report takes a look at this major new exposé of the US assassination policy -- is America losing its moral compass?
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Is Hillary Clinton Above the Law?

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What did we learn from the Democratic presidential debates? We learned that Hillary Clinton hates Edward Snowden, loves the Patriot Act, and considers “the Iranians” among her biggest enemies. In short, we learned that she may very well be Lindsey Graham in drag.

And we also learned what many already knew: that she considers herself above the law. What we didn’t know, however, but do now, is that Bernie Sanders agrees with her. Or, as he put it:

“Let me say — let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”
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Obama Won’t Admit the Real Targets of Russian Airstrikes

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The US response to Russia’s new Syrian military campaign in support of the Assad regime has struck a pose of moral superiority by arguing that the Russians have not been targeting the Islamic State but rather the non-ISIS Syrian opposition to the Assad regime. 

That US response is superficially accurate but deliberately misleading. Although the Russians are not focusing on targets in ISIS-controlled territory, there is a very good reason: it is not ISIS but the forces aligned with al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra or al-Nusra Front, that pose the most immediate threat to the very existence of the Assad regime. 

In a series of statements on the Russian military campaign, the US Defence Department has hammered the Russians for not targeting ISIS as Moscow initially claimed - later on the Russian rhetoric shifted to “terrorists”. The US statements strongly implied that it was the US-backed “moderate” Syrian groups opposed to the Assad regime that are being attacked.

Major news media have taken the same line in covering the Russian offensive. In an Associated Press story on 13 October, for example, Ken Delanian described the CIA as supplying “so-called moderate rebels to oppose Assad” for more than two years, along with its “Arab allies” and that American officials “have watched in recent days as the Russian bombs and missiles have targeted those groups”.
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ISIS In ‘Retreat’ As Russia Destroys 32 Targets While Putin Trolls Obama As ‘Weak With No Strategy’

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Perhaps the most amusing thing about Russia’s intervention in Syria is the degree to which it made the world wake up and question the West’s “anti-ISIS” strategy. 

While everyone has been quick to characterize Moscow’s actions as the latest and perhaps greatest example of Vladimir Putin calling Washington’s bluff, it’s important to understand exactly why that’s an accurate characterization here. That is, this is more than just Moscow betting it could support Assad and Washington would simply move out of the way.

This was Russia and Iran realizing that the only reason the US and its regional allies have been able to keep up appearances in the eyes of the public with regard to the “campaign” against ISIS, is because the public has never seen what happens when someone powerful makes a serious effort to eradicate the group. Once Russia moved in, gave the superpower greenlight for Iran to abandon all pretense that it isn’t also directly involved, and began racking up gains in a matter of days, the Western public was left to wonder why the US couldn’t accomplish in 13 months what Russia appeared to have accomplish in a matter of (literally) 72 hours.
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Obama's New War In Africa: Do We Need It?

The Obama Administration's disastrous invasion of Libya scattered well-armed jihadists throughout Africa and the Middle East, including to Syria and Cameroon. After emptying out Gaddafi's arsenals, these groups proceeded to spread their mayhem. Yesterday, President Obama announced that he was sending US troops into Cameroon to help defeat one of the groups who benefitted from the US-led intervention in Libya, the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram. Today's Liberty Report look at whether another US intervention can solve the problems created by intervention in the first place...
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How Can Anyone Still Be An Interventionist?

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Given the ongoing disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and the rest of the Middle East, how can anyone in his right mind still be an interventionist?

Look at Iraq. The US invasion and multi-year occupation of that country was supposed to bring a paradise of peace, prosperity, and harmony to the country. That’s what killing all those Iraqis was about — sacrificing them for the greater good of a beautiful society. Wasn’t it called Operation Iraqi Freedom?
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MH-17 Final Report: Who Shot Down The Plane?

The long-awaited final report of the Dutch Safety Board on the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine came out yesterday, but it offered very little in terms of what actually happened. With the most powerful intelligence apparatus on earth, how is it that the US cannot bring forth evidence to back its claims about Russian responsibility? As Liberty Report guest, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says today, it's not that the US does not have the information but rather that the evidence it has does not match the US propaganda line...
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The New McCarthyism

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Cold War II is upon us. Once again, to write the phrase “the Kremlin” is to evoke images of an Oriental despotism both ominous and inscrutable, only slightly less sinister than the Dark Tower. Russia, once thought to have been liberated from its Soviet chains, is now the new Mordor. And, of course, Vladimir Putin is the new Sauron: cunning, amoral, inhumanly ruthless, he is routinely likened to Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator who murdered millions and imprisoned many more in the gulags.

Not that Putin has murdered millions, or even as many as a dozen, but the ethics of the new McCarthyites – yes, they’re back – aren’t overly punctilious. Their polemics are even less exacting than their forebears’ for the simple reason that Communism, as an organized international movement with its epicenter in Russia, is dead, and will doubtless remain so. Furthermore, “Putinism,” if such an ideological creature can be said to exist – a problematic proposition – is not a global movement, let alone an international conspiracy: there are no “Putinist” parties outside of Russia, assiduously subverting the moral and political foundations of the West and harboring the 21stcentury version of the Rosenbergs. No Whittaker Chambers will emerge to reveal the dark secrets of these saboteurs of democracy and shine a bright light on their moral espionage – but never fear, because we have Cathy Young.

A columnist for various and sundry outlets, and long associated with Reason magazine, Young – born Ekaterina Jung – came to the US when she was 17 and became a naturalized citizen in 1989, the year her book, Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood was published. The book, which details life under the totalitarian rule of the Communists, might have ensured her a career as a defected Soviet dissident, perhaps a female version of Natan Sharanksy, but – alas – the Soviet Union fell before such promise could be fulfilled and she had to find another ideological niche, eventually zeroing in on the absurdities of radical feminism in her second book, and promoting a movement known as “Women Against Feminism.”
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The "A" Word That Terrifies Washington

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Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has declared that there will be a thorough investigation of the recent US destruction of a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 22, including 12 of the medical staff, with more than thirty still missing in the rubble. The hospital, run by Geneva-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), had informed the US headed international military force of both its location and its activities in order to avoid becoming a target for either side in fighting around Kunduz but that apparently was not enough. The US military command in Afghanistan approved the bombing, which reportedly included multiple attacks from a C-130 gunship and lasted over half an hour, though there is some confusion over what constituted the “threat” that was being responded to, MSF claiming that there were no Taliban militants anywhere near their building either using it for shelter or as a firing point. Both MSF and some senior United Nations officials regard the attack as a war crime. President Barack Obama uncharacteristically apologized for a “mistake” though he took pains not to blame the US military.

Ashton might be a brilliant physicist but he has never been a soldier in spite of his long service in the Department of Defense. I don’t doubt his good intentions when it comes to declaring United States government willingness to let the chips fall where they may but he has no idea what he is up against. The uniformed military will stonewall, run circles around him and work hard to construct a narrative that ultimately blames no one but the Afghans for what happened. In the unlikely event that they fail in that, a soldier at the low end of the process will be punished with a slap on the wrist to demonstrate that military justice works while pari passu protecting the senior commanders. And the report will not even appear until long after Kunduz is forgotten. At that point Congress and the White House will have no stomach for going after our valiant warriors so the buck will ultimately stop with a toothless report that accomplishes nothing at all.

The Secretary of Defense, who reportedly had a dual major at Yale that included medieval history, might well consider the historical precedents for his initiating an investigation. He should appreciate above all that the “A” word that must never be spoken inside the United States government is “accountability,” which is by design as the government must never be made to look bad. Without demanding accountability even meticulous investigations into possible war crimes have no meaning and are literally not worth the paper they are written on.
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Syria Quagmire? Copyright Tyranny. Weird Politics. Around the World With Lew Rockwell

Why is the US trying to destroy Syria, the bulwark against jihadists and protector of the Middle East's Christians? Because, says Lew Rockwell in today's Liberty Report, like all empires the US pursues a divide and conquer strategy. More on Lew's take on Syria events as well as a look at the GOP presidential race thus far in today's Liberty Report...
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