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The Three Most Important Aspects of the Skripal Case so Far … and Where They Might be Pointing

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I have now asked a total of 50 questions around the Skripal case, which you can find here and here. Having gone back through these questions, as far as I can see only three have been answered by the release of public information or events that have transpired. These are:

Are they (Sergei and Yulia Skripal) still alive?

If so, what is their current condition and what symptoms are they displaying?

Can the government confirm that its scientists at Porton Down have established that the substance that poisoned the Skripals and D.S. Bailey was actually produced or manufacturedin Russia?

On the first two points we are now told that Yulia Skripal’s condition has significantly improved to the point where she is said to be recovering well and talking. However, although this provides something of an answer to these questions, it also raises a number of others. Is she finally being allowed consular access? Is she being allowed to speak to her fiancé, her grandmother, or her cousin by telephone? Most importantly, how does her recovery comport with the claim that she was poisoned with a “military-grade nerve agent” with a toxicity around 5-8 times that of VX nerve agent?
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FARA: Freedom of the Press, But On the Government’s Terms

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate if Al Jazeera, the news outlet connected to the Qatari government, should register with the Justice Department as an agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA.)

This has broad implications for our First Amendment, our access to dissenting opinions, and in how the rest of the world views us.

The lawmakers claim Al Jazeera “directly undermines American interests” and broadcasts “anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel” material. Al Jazeera would joinRussian outlets RT and Radio Sputnik, Japan’s Cosmomedia, the Korean Broadcasting System, and the China Daily in registering as foreign state propaganda outlets. DOJ has also been asked to look into a range of other Chinese media.

Ironically, the bipartisan request to force Al Jazeera to register comes amid a controversy over the network’s filming of a documentary critical of pro-Israel lobbying in the US The network used an undercover operative to secure footage revealing possibly illegal interactions between advocacy groups and lawmakers.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act was never intended to regulate journalism. The legislation in fact includes finely-worded exemptions for approved journalists, scholars, artists, and the like, who are not required to announce themselves as “agents of a foreign principal” regardless of what they create.
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Interventionistas Outraged Over Trump's Syria Withdrawal: 'We Took The Oil. We’ve Got To Keep The Oil'

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Regime change advocates, neocon beltway hawks, and all the usual armchair warrior zero-skin-in-the-game think tank interventionistas are in continued meltdown mode after Trump confirmed plans to withdraw American forces - some 2000+ troops and personnel - from Syria. On Friday the president told senior White House aides that US forces will be exiting Syria after public comments made earlier.

In statements carried by Reuters, Trump said, “Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be.” As we noted last week, the timing of Trump's dramatic Syria turn corresponded with news of an American soldier killed in Manbij in northern Syria (killed likely by an IED alongside a British coalition soldier overnight last Thursday).

Perhaps to be expected, the weekend editorials and cable news pundit shows reacted in disbelief and horror - with charges of "chaos" at the Trump White House over Syria policy, and claims that "ISIS will come back" if America leaves. Nevermind the fact that Trump himself while on the campaign trail in 2016 stated in public speeches and in a tweet (and linking to a declassified intelligence memo) that US support to jihadists in Syria under President Obama is precisely what fueled the rise of ISIS in the first place

CNN, for example, painted a picture of mass revolt among the ranks of military officers and career State Department officials, asserting that, "Any decision by Trump to pull out of Syria would also go against the current military assessment, a fact that left some national security officials concerned about the impact of a withdrawal, another senior administration official told CNN."
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Sarkozy's Hand in the French Cookie Jar?

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There was something refreshing about watching former French president Nicholas Sarkozy being interrogated in a French jail. Particularly since he may soon be accused of conspiracy in the murder of my old friend, Col. Muammar Khadaffi of Libya.

Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Guéant, are being investigated for secretly accepting at least fifty million Euros from Khadaffi for his 2007 electoral campaign. Such a payment violated France’s maximum permissible limit for political donation, not to mention a ban on foreign financing of candidates and failure to report the payments. Sarko also faces investigation over secret payments from the Gulf oil states.

French political candidates often have to wade through the sewers to finance their campaigns because spending limits were set relatively low to prevent big money from buying the elections, as in the United States.

These charges against Khadaffi and Guéant have been percolating for years with only a muted response. Sarkozy also got into hot water after he was accused of bilking large sums of cash from a senile heiress to France’s L’Oréal cosmetics company.
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Economic Storm Clouds Gather, but Ending the Fed Provides Hope

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The Federal Reserve recently increased interest rates to 1.75 percent. This is the highest interest rates have been since 2008, but it still leaves rates at historic lows. While the Fed says economic growth justifies future rate increases, an honest examination of the economy suggests that future rate increases are unlikely.
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Russia ‘Novichok’ Hysteria Proves Politicians and Media Haven’t Learned The Lessons of Iraq

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If there’s one thing to be gleaned from the current atmosphere of anti Russian hysteria in the West, it’s that the US-led sustained propaganda campaign is starting to pay dividends. It’s not only the hopeless political classes and media miscreants who believe that Russia is hacking, meddling, and poisoning our progressive democratic utopia – with many pinning their political careers to this by now that’s it’s too late for them to turn back. As it was with Iraq in 2003, these dubious public figures require a degree of public support for their policies, and unfortunately many people do believe in the grand Russian conspiracy, having been sufficiently brow-beaten into submission by around-the-clock fear mongering and official fake news disseminated by government and the mainstream media.
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Privacy Denied: Students May Bring Only Clear Backpacks to School

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KERA radio in Dallas, Texas aired a news report this week relating that the Ennis school district in North Texas, starting in the fall semester, will allow students at district schools from prekindergarten through high school to bring only “clear, PVC backpacks to school.” The school district also is implementing right away mandatory backpack searches on middle and high school students. Plus, police dogs will be on campuses more often.

Making a typical excuse for the new anti-privacy school district policies, Ennis Police Chief John Erisman said in a report on the Dallas NBC television station that “anything that’s gonna keep our kids safe, our students safe — if we have to deal with a mild inconvenience in order for our kids to be safer, I am all for that.”

In announcing the clear backpack requirement, the school district is following in the footsteps of Broward County school district in Florida that, Dakin Andone reported earlier this month at CNN, imposed on students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a clear backpacks mandate in the name of enhanced security after a mass murder occurred earlier this year at the school.

These privacy-invading actions are just the beginning. Both school districts are adopting further requirements including that students wear IDs on campuses. Also, KERA reports that the Ennis school district will install security gates at its schools, while the CNN story relates that metal detectors and metal detector wands may be used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Each morning students can be welcomed to school by being herded through a security checkpoint. Hopefully, there will be a lower level of harassment at the schools than is imposed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at airports and elsewhere.
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Non-Interventionism: America's Original Foreign Policy

We are facing a presidential "war cabinet" more aggressive than any in history. John Bolton, "Mad Dog" Mattis, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, "Bloody" Gina Haspel, and more. If we are not able to turn this ship around and return to a non-interventionist foreign policy, we may soon find that there is nothing left to preserve or conserve. What is one of the single most important and most effective ways of challenging the warfare state and its seeming monopoly over the mainstream media? It's actually quite easy: we can get together, discuss, join forces, listen to speakers, network. As Jacob Hornberger says in today's Liberty Report, that is the one action that totalitarian countries will NOT tolerate: allowing the dissenters to gather peacefully and oppose their policies. So let's do just that next month at our South Carolina conference! - while we still can! Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Strange Things Happen to European Countries Resisting George Soros’ Assault

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Strange things happen in East and Central Europe that get little mention from media outlets.  Two heads of state, the prime ministers of Slovenia and Slovakia, resigned almost simultaneously. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was a victim of the scandal over the murder of Jan Kuciak, a journalist who was investigating government corruption.  The PM had to step down amid mass street protests.

Mr. Fico was known for his support of a stronger Visegrad Group. He opposed Brussels on many issues. It’s worth noting that he called for lifting sanctions and improving relations with Moscow. The PM was adamant that Russia was a reliable energy partner.  Is it a coincidence that he was forced to resign amid the anti-Russia campaign triggered by the Skripal case and other obviously concocted stories used as false pretexts for incessant attacks on Moscow? Wasn’t he a threat to the so-called unity of the EU against Russia? He definitely was.  

The PM did not hide the fact that his decision was made under great pressure. The ouster was engineered by outside forces, including philanthropist billionaire George Soros. For instance, Slovak President Andrej Kiska had a private meeting with the billionaire in September, 2017. It was a one-on-one conversation. No Slovak diplomat was present there.

According to Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, “George Soros is a man who has had a major influence on the development in Eastern and Central Europe and beyond. That is a fact that cannot be questioned.” Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán had this say about the event: “George Soros and his network are making use of every possible opportunity to overthrow governments that are resisting immigration.”
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