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The US is Playing with Fire if It Walks Away from the Iran Nuclear Deal on May 12

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A foreign policy crisis is coming May 12. President Donald Trump’s likely decision on that day to not continue waiving sanctions on Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will significantly increase the chances of war.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by China, Russia, and most of western Europe requires the American president to certify every three months Iran’s nuclear program is in compliance with the deal. In return, the next quarter’s economic sanctions are waived against the Islamic Republic. Earlier this year, Trump warned he was waiving sanctions for the final time, setting a May 12 deadline for significant changes in the agreement to be made. Failing those changes, Trump’s non-signature would trigger sanctions to snap into place.

The changes Trump is insisting on — reduce Iran’s ballistic missile capability, renegotiate the deal’s end date, and allow unrestricted inspections — are designed to force failure.

Iran’s ballistic missile program was purposefully never part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; as learned during the Cold War, trying to throw every problem into the same pot assured no agreement could ever be reached. Trump trying to add the missile program in three years after the agreement was signed is wholly outside the norms of diplomacy (and the art of dealmaking.) Ballistic missile capability lies at the heart of Iran’s defense. Sanctions have already kept the country from fielding any significant air force, and memories in Tehran of Iraqi air strikes on its cities in the 1980s when Iran lacked retaliatory capability lie deep. The missile program is the cornerstone of Iranian self-preservation and thus understood to be non-negotiable.
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Trump Cuts Off Funding For Syria's 'White Helmets'

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The Trump State Department has frozen funding to the controversial Syrian aid group known as the White Hemlets, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which provided the sole evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly used chemical weapons on his own people in an April 7 attack on the city of Douma, according to CBS News.
Having not received U.S. funding in recent weeks, White Helmets are questioning what this means for the future. They have received no formal declaration from the U.S. government that the monetary assistance has come to a full halt, but the group's people on the ground in Syria report that their funds have been cut off. -CBS News
The evidence provided by the White Helmets of the alleged chemical attack was used by the West to justify several airstrikes on Syrian scientific and military facilities throughout April - the first one conducted on Syria's T4 airbase by Israel 48 hours after the White Helmets' report. Many Douma residents, meanwhile - including Hospital personnel, say the chemical attack never happened.

The White Helmets are a 3,000 member NGO formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense. Established in "late 2012 - early 2013" after a group of 20 Syrians were trained and organized by former British army officer James Le Mesurier. The group then received funding from Le Mesurier's Netherlands-based non-profit group, Mayday Rescue - which is in turn funded by grants from the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments.
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Atlantic Council Explains Why We Need To Be Propagandized For Our Own Good

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I sometimes try to get establishment loyalists to explain to me exactly why we’re all meant to be terrified of this “Russian propaganda” thing they keep carrying on about. What is the threat, specifically? That it makes the public less willing to go to war with Russia and its allies? That it makes us less trusting of lying, torturing, coup-staging intelligence agencies? Does accidentally catching a glimpse of that green RT logo turn you to stone like Medusa, or melt your face like in Raiders of the Lost Ark?
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Is The Libertarian Moment Over? With Special Guest John Stossel

Is libertarianism cool? Legendary libertarian communicator John Stossel joins today's Liberty Report to explain whether the libertarian moment is over, whether we are winning, whether we are on the right track, and how we can better win young people over to the idea of limited government and non-interventionism. What does John Stossel say to John Bolton when they meet at Fox News Studio? You won't want to miss it!
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Congress Again Fails to Discover Collusion to Subvert the 2016 Election

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There have been a number of developments in the endless inquiry into possible collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump to manipulate perceptions and voting relating to the two presidential candidates in the November 2016 election. In particular, it has been alleged that the Russians were, with the connivance of some in the Trump team, able to obtain information damaging to Hillary Clinton while also misusing social media to send a message critical of the Democratic Party candidate.


“Russiagate” was born out of a desire to explain how Trump was able to defeat the Establishment candidate Clinton and it quickly focused on emails in possession of Wikileaks and meetings of Trump associates with Russians as a plausible explanation for the electoral result. The media opined that “It had to be the Russians,” who also had motive in their recognizing that Clinton was the stronger candidate whose harsh and steely glare was focused on the various crimes and misdemeanors alleged to be committed by Kremlin President Vladimir Putin in places like Ukraine and Georgia, not to mention Syria. Clinton’s campaign message was that she was prepared to do something about Putin while Trump was instead arguing that a good relationship with Moscow was a sine qua non for American foreign policy.

There are currently three investigations proceeding simultaneously looking into the Russian-Trump collusion, though one of them has finally come to an end. The House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee investigation has concluded that there was no evidence that there had been “collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians” to influence or subvert the outcome of the election. The committee did, however, accept that there had been Russian “active measures” interference, apparently based largely on assumptions about WikiLeaks and the alleged activities of employees of Putin confidant Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency on social media sites.
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Iran Isn’t Violating the Nuclear Agreement — America Is

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On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his most 
grandiose anti-Iranian performance to date, revealing what he believed was direct proof that Iran “lied” about its nuclear program. This isn’t the first time Netanyahu has overhyped the threat of Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program. He has been crying wolf over Iran since as far back as 1992.
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No, Your Intelligence Is Actually Bad. Very Bad

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About a year ago, one Evelyn Farkas boasted "we have good intelligence on Russia...". She was an important functionary on Russian matters in the Obama Administration and was, therefore, much involved in "intelligence on Russia". My immediate reaction when I read it was: No, you do not have good intelligence on Russia; if you did, you wouldn't be surprised all the time and your boss wouldn't be saying such silly things. In March 2015 I enumerated some of the delusions. Vide this famous quotation from a 2014 interview:
But I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything. Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking. And so we have to respond with resolve in what are effectively regional challenges that Russia presents.
Obama was surely repeating what Farkas and others told him. Wrong on all three counts: Russia makes many things; it is the second immigrant destination on the planet; and its life expectancy and population are growing. This was not hermetic knowledge, available only to the Illuminati; these facts were easily discovered by any competent intelligence agency. That is not good intelligence. He liked to tell us that “Russia is isolated” or that “its economy [is] in tatters.” Wrong again.
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Comey v. Comey: How New Disclosures Could Put Just One Week Between Comey and Perjury

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Former FBI Director James Comey continues to market his book – and himself – as a lesson in “ethical leadership.”  However, the historical record is proving increasingly at odds with Comey’s account and image. After months of spins and swerves by defenders, a consensus is emerging that Comey is indeed a leaker. The most damaging evidence, however, comes not from Comey’s critics but Comey himself.  Indeed, Comey v. Comey could be the most telling conflict in this still unfolding scandal. However, at issue, is not simply whether Comey will be viewed as a leaker or a liar, but a perjurer.


Comey’s crumbling defense was most evident in his interview last week with Anderson Cooper when Cooper challenged his self-serving definition of a leak as only involving classified information.  That is manifestly wrong, as Cooper correctly pointed out, since leaks often involve unclassified but still non-public information.

Agency rules (including most notably the FBI’s rules) ban the release of non-public agency information whether or not it has been classified.  Indeed, many leak investigations (including some under Comey) do not involve classified information, such as leaks about White House meetings or non-public statements.  The FBI, including Director Andrew Wray, confirmed that the Comey memos were not his documents (as he continues to implausibly maintain) but rather FBI material subject to rules of nondisclosure. Nevertheless, Comey gave at least four memos to Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman to leak information to the media.

However, in the ongoing Inspector General’s investigation into his conduct, Comey’s defense could ultimately collide with Comey’s own (prior) interpretation.  In the last two weeks, the divide between Comey and his former deputy (and acting FBI Director) Andrew McCabe widens.  McCabe has claimed that Comey knew about his giving non-public information to the Wall Street Journal. McCabe’s counsel directly challenged Comey and said that the public should not buy Comey’s “white knight” account of his own conduct. Comey responded by publicly stating that McCabe was found to be a liar by the IG and that he was the one who called for an investigation into the “leak.”  That’s the problem.
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Unmasking the 'White Helmets'

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British government official agencies are the patrons, managers and funders of the White Helmets, who have been the go-to source for the mainstream Western media reporting on the ongoing Syrian war.  For good measure, the U.S. State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID) has kicked in $23 million to finance Mayday Rescue, the cutout between the White Helmets and the British Ministry of Defense, the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and 10 Downing Street.  This is all a matter of public record, yet no Western major media outlet has bothered to include these "data points" in their lavish coverage of the White Helmets.

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Will Bolton Kill Korea Peace Deal?

President Trump's National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has long viewed peace and diplomacy as an abhorrent sign of weakness. We know from colleagues in the Bush Administration that he berated and pushed to dismiss any intelligence analyst whose conclusions did not match Bolton's pre-determined demands. He has a history of working behind the back of his bosses to promote his own agenda. Is he currently working to undermine President Trump's peace initiative with North Korea? We examine the evidence in today's Liberty Report...
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