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Trump Flip-Flops on Syria Withdrawal. Again.

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President Trump is reversing his foreign policy decisions so quickly these days that it almost seems like he overturns himself before making the decision in the first place. Last week he was very clear that the US was pulling its troops out of Syria. “Bringing soldiers home,” he said. “Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”
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Trump’s Imaginary Withdrawal From Syria: A Look Behind the Wizard’s Curtain

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Manjib:  The city of Manjib in northeastern Syria has become a focal point for those who have attacked President Trump for pulling American troops from Syria. Newspaper columnists, Internet bloggers and even Senators have accused President Trump of “abandoning the Kurds” and pointed to Syrian government troops moving into the city of Manjib as proof.
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Barr Changes the Dynamic, The Threat of Obstruction of Justice

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I do not believe in coincidence. I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that these three events occurred late last night:

1. The investigation of the roots of the plot to destroy Donald Trump and his Presidency is now a criminal matter.

2. A letter from Inspector General Horowitz announcing that his report on the FISA fraud would be out shortly with no major redactions.

3. The Government caved to Honey Badger Sidney Powell and allowed her to fully expose criminal conduct by Michael Flynn's prosecutors.

What is going on? Two words. Bill Barr. The Attorney General has pulled the trigger and altered the landscape in the Russiagate saga. Having been granted full authority by the President to declassify information, including intel from the CIA and the NSA, he has now acted in a powerful, but low key way.

The announcement that this is now a criminal investigation means that anyone, including FBI agents and CIA officers, who try to hold back information or hide information will be vulnerable to obstruction of justice charges. Criminal penalties attach.
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Trump and Erdogan Are Alike: Both Are ‘Thin-Skinned’ and Relied on ‘Deplorables’ to Win

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The apparent communications problems that have arisen between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are basically due to Trump’s failure to understand that Erdogan is essentially his Turkish counterpart in more ways that the title of the office that they both hold. They rose to power in a similar fashion, based on an understanding that there were large numbers of disenchanted essentially conservative voters, and they continue to rule in an unorthodox fashion that combines a high level of personal sensitivity with a tolerance for corruption plus a tendency to come out with brash misstatements.

One does not expect Trump to actually know anything about Turkey and its history, or, for that matter, about the political trajectory of Erdogan, but the American president’s businessman’s belief that his personal relationship with other countries’ leaders is enough to run a foreign policy is nevertheless seriously flawed. Trump has described Erdogan as a “friend” based on several personal meetings and phone calls, though it is very unlikely that the canny politician Erdogan would describe the relationship in the same manner. Trump’s most recent personal letter to the Turkish leader was reportedly thrown into the waste basket without being read.

Istanbul-born Erdogan, unlike Trump, came from a poor family and first became known as a professional soccer player. Also unlike Trump, he was and is deeply religious. He became a ward politician in Istanbul and was subsequently elected Mayor of the city in 1994 as the candidate of the moderately Islamist Welfare Party. Openly espoused religious parties were at that time illegal under the secular constitution imposed by the military in 1982, so he was stripped of his position by a military tribunal, banned from political office, and imprisoned for four months for the crime of “inciting religious hatred.”
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Is Trump Really Going To Take Syria's Oil?

President Trump yesterday claimed he would be leaving US troops in Syria to make sure no one takes the oil. Leaving aside who's oil it actually is (hint: it's in Syria), what are the logistics and what is the wisdom of leaving a couple of hundred US troops dispersed through Syria to guard oil facilities? Good move? Dumb move? Don't miss today's Liberty Report...
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Expert Panel Finds Gaping Plot Holes In OPCW Report On Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack

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The Courage Foundation, an international protection and advocacy group for whistleblowers, has published the findings of a panel it convened last week on the extremely suspicious behavior of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its investigation of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. After hearing an extensive presentation from a member of the OPCW’s Douma investigation team, the panel’s members (including a world-renowned former OPCW Director General) report that they are “unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018.”

I’ll get to the panel and its findings in a moment, but first I should provide some historical background so that readers who aren’t intimately familiar with this ongoing scandal can fully appreciate the significance of this new development.

In late March of last year, President Trump publicly stated that the US military would soon be withdrawing troops from Syria, causing some with an ear to the ground like independent US congressional candidate Steve Cox to predict that there would shortly be a false flag chemical weapons attack in that nation. This was because the public had already been shown that highly suspicious chemical attacks tended to happen when the Trump administration begins pushing for a reversal of standing US Syria policy, as I noted in April 2017 immediately following the alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun.
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Assange in Court

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I was deeply shaken while witnessing Monday's events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.
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USAID Funds Salaries of Venezuelan Opposition Politicians as It Doubles Down on the Coup

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American taxpayers are now paying the salaries and expenses of dozens of Venezuelan opposition figures who have created a “shadow government” inside Venezuela and abroad. On October 8, USAID signed a bilateral agreement with the faction of the Venezuelan opposition led by National Assembly president Juan Guaidó (whom the Trump administration recognizes as the “interim president” of Venezuela) that includes $98 million in assistance for Venezuelans. A memo obtained by the L.A. Times reveals that USAID is diverting $41.9 million from aid for Central America and instead sending it “to Guaidó and his faction… to pay for their salaries, airfare, ‘good governance’ training, propaganda, technical assistance for holding elections and other ‘democracy-building’ projects.”

Elliott Abrams, the White House’s special envoy to Venezuela, said in an interview that the Trump administration wants to “pay for embassies, ambassadors [and] a National Assembly office in Caracas” for Guaidó’s team. At the signing of the USAID agreement, Carlos Vecchio, Mr. Guaidó’s representative in Washington, praised the agency for helping to “enhance our capabilities… in increasing our foreign service,” confirming that funds are going to the Guaidó team. With this public admission of financing, there is now no denying that the coup is orchestrated from Washington and that whatever authority Mr. Guaidó may have is only a function of his serving as a US proxy.

To date, no information has been made public as to whose salaries are being paid and how much they are being paid. What we do know is that the hard-earned dollars of American citizens are lining the pockets of Venezuelan politicians who have demanded an increasingly harder line against the Maduro government. This harder line includes brutal economic sanctions that amount to the collective punishment of ordinary Venezuelans and have led to the death of at least 40,000 people.
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