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The Torturers and the ‘Ticking Bomb’: How Torture Became Routine in the Global War on Terror

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With all the media excitement focused on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, it comes as no surprise that some recent additional insights into how the United States became a torture regime have been largely ignored. It has been known for years that the George W. Bush Administration carried out what most of the world considers to be torture. Acting as if it really cared about illegal activity, the White House back at that time found two malleable Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Busby who would be willing to come up with a defense of torture. They discovered somewhere in their law books that it was possible to do anything to a suspect as long as it did not bring about organ failure. That became the bottom line for interrogations, though in practice some prisoners died anyway, which might be considered the ultimate organ failure. The only one who was subsequently punished over the illegal torture program was former CIA employee John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on it.

Last week there was a hearing at a Guantanamo Bay courtroom in which one of the psychologists who devised the Central Intelligence Agency torture regime testified under oath. Psychologist James Mitchell was testifying in what was a preliminary hearing relating to the eventual trial of five alleged 9/11 conspirators He discussed how he and his business partner Dr. Bruce Jessup together developed the Agency’s torture program, which internal government documents described by employing the euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques.” They were paid $81 million for their work and were able to produce a training manual that included waterboarding, stress positions and mock burials to physically and mentally destroy the target’s ability to resist. Both Mitchell and Jessup have asserted that their procedures were more designed to make a suspect uncomfortable rather than in pain and they blame interrogators who went too far for the physical and mental permanent damage that resulted.
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'Deal Of The Century' For Israel/Palestine...Or Dud Of The Century?

President Trump rolled out his "deal of the century" for Israel/Palestine peace and as could be predicted it was dead on arrival as far as the Palestinian side was concerned. Was it designed to fail? Was it designed to boost Bibi? Is endless involvement in Israel/Palestine issues really in the US interest? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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War! Glorious War!

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According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study released in 2016 the US Government was spending over $1 Billion annually on Public Relations. Approximately $626 Million of that was used by the Department of Defense to fund its PR campaign glamorizing and supporting endless wars. 

We see the propaganda everywhere. Fighter jets zoom over NFL stadiums on Sunday afternoons while a huge American flag is unfurled by uniformed military personnel. Billboards along the highway extoll the virtues of military service. Of course there is much, much more. 

But what the public is rarely if ever shown is the tragic human carnage of our never ending wars and military adventurism. As a young boy in the 1960’s I saw firsthand the “glories” of war. I grew up close to McGuire Veterans Hospital on the Southside of Richmond, VA. My older brother and I would scavenge for discarded pop bottles to turn in for the deposit money and head to the PX at McGuire for ice-cream. 

The hospital had been built hastily during WWII. In fact, it was built so fast that some of the wards were constructed to the lay of the land. Long hallways were inclined making it difficult for immobile patients to move. It was 1967 and the Vietnam War was heating up. Security at the hospital was very relaxed and my brother and I could roam the halls at will.
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Lev Parnas is Not the Impeachment Witness You are Looking For…

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Lev Parnas is who we all hope is the last “Did too! Did Not!” player in the three year effort to find someway to drive Trump from office.

Parnas is a Ukrainian-born “businessman” who claims to be the missing link between Trump and evidence needed to impeach. Parnas is also under indictment for breaking campaign-finance laws by disguising donations from foreign entities to unnamed US politicians, and so is singing like the girl from Frozen to be let go. The media christened him the new White Knight of democracy. Is he?

Nah. Parnas is mostly an opportunist, with notes of stalker, groupie, and crazy guy who imagines Jodi Foster is in love with him from afar. He takes his place as the Hail Mary play in the blob that is impeachment now. He joins James Comey, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Robert Mueller, Michael Cohen, Michael Avenatti and his aggrieved porn stars, Christopher Steele, the tattered Russian oligarchs still waiting for their checks from Christopher Steele, The Masked Whistleblower, and so many others who came before them.

Though the media label him a Rudy Giuliani henchman, associate, thug, or fixer, and thus by extension a Trump henchman, associate, thug, or fixer, Parnas instead paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for “business and legal advice.” He didn’t work for Guliani, Giuliani worked for him. And in the you-can’t-make-this-up category, Parnas’ company is called Fraud Guarantee.
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Impeachment’s Biggest Absurdity: Our Toxic Fixation On Useless And Corrupting Ukraine Aid

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The campaign to convict and remove President Donald Trump in the Senate hinges on delays in disbursing US aid to Ukraine. Ukraine was supposedly on the verge of great progress until Trump pulled the rug out from under the heroic salvation effort by US government bureaucrats. Unfortunately, Congress has devoted a hundred times more attention to the timing of aid to Ukraine than to its effectiveness. And most of the media coverage has ignored the biggest absurdity of the impeachment fight.
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Interventionism Makes Americans Less Safe

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There is something important to note about US interventionism in faraway lands: None of the people that the US government is killing, maiming, or destroying is invading and trying to conquer the United States. Neither are the governments of the nations in which the victims are citizens. No one is invading and trying to conquer the United States.

There is something else important to note about US interventionism in faraway lands: It makes Americans less safe. Let us count the ways.

1. American tourists and business people traveling abroad are now subject to angry and vengeful retaliation for the death and destruction that the US government is wreaking in those faraway lands.

Yes, I am fully aware that American tourists and business people are not responsible for the death and destruction that is being inflicted by the Pentagon and the CIA in places like Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen,  Afghanistan, and other countries. But the problem is that many victims of the Pentagon’s and CIA’s deadly and destructive crusade don’t separate private American citizens and the US government. Like many Americans do, they conflate the federal government and the American people. Thus, when they exact revenge by killing or maiming American tourists or American business travelers abroad, say with well-placed bombs, in their minds they are exacting revenge against the US government.

2. Americans here at home are now subject to angry and vengeful retaliation by American citizens here at home and foreigners living in the United States who sympathize with the victims in those faraway lands. That’s where the threat of domestic terrorism comes into play.
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US Embassy Hit In Iraq - Does This Mean War?

As anti-US protests raged across Baghdad, rockets were fired into the green zone with at least one hitting the US embassy complex. The neocons will surely blame Iran (again) and argue for a military escalation. Will this mean the hot war is back on the menu? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Woke Wonk Elizabeth Warren’s Foreign Policy Team is Stacked with Pro-War Swamp Creatures

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Elizabeth Warren has promised “big, structural change” on a range of issues related to the economy. Warren has a plan for foreign policy, too, but it appears to be scarcely different from that of the last Democrat to occupy the White House.

A close examination of Warren’s newly assembled team of international advisors presents little hope of change from the military interventionism, regime change strong-arming and drone warfare that characterized the administration of President Barack Obama. 

Earlier this month, Warren foreign policy aide Sasha Baker revealed a list of 34 “friends, colleagues, and advisors” that formed the foundation of the candidate’s foreign policy team. For the first time, observers were offered a clear window into what US foreign policy might look like under a Warren presidency.

According to CNN, these self-described foreign policy professionals have worked through “group text chains and conference calls where they brainstorm responses to urgent international events, help draft campaign statements and policy papers, and flag development.”
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A Million Iraqis Asked Us to Leave. We Should Listen.

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You wouldn’t know it from US mainstream media reporting, but on Friday an estimated million Iraqis took to the streets to protest the continued US military presence in their country. What little mainstream media coverage the protest received all reported the number of protesters as far less than actually turned out. The Beltway elites are determined that Americans not know or understand just how much our presence in Iraq is not wanted.
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