Five Minutes Five Issues: Iraq Agreement, Mass Surveillance, Paul Snooping, Afghan Presence, Distrust Government
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
In 2011, United States and Iraq government negotiators failed to create a status of forces agreement that would allow US troops to stay in Iraq. A key disagreement was over US insistence, opposed by Iraq, that US troops have immunity against liability for their actions in Iraq.
With an agreement not reached, many US troops left the country. Then, US troops returned to Iraq in increasing numbers, first, in 2014, under a justification of saving people on a mountain in Iraq who were in danger from the Islamic State (ISIS), and then, to support a broader mission involving fighting the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria.
A Thursday Associated Press article relates anonymous US and Iraq officials saying that the US and Iraq governments are again negotiating an agreement. This agreement would facilitate the continuing presence of US troops in Iraq after any conclusion of fighting against the Islamic State.
There is not much reason to celebrate the National Security Agency’s (NSA) announcement that it has placed some limits on its use of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). That is the conclusion of Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst and Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board Member Andrew Napolitano in his Thursday editorial.
The NSA, Napolitano writes, can continue to engage in mass surveillance without going through the rubber-stamp FISA court process “because the NSA relies on vague language in a 35-year-old executive order, known as EO 12333, as authority to conduct mass surveillance.”
On Friday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) posted on Twitter that he had formally requested information from the White House and congressional intelligence committees regarding whether the Obama administration or the US intelligence community surveilled him. A few minutes earlier, Paul posted on Twitter a question asking if the Obama administration used “warrantless ‘wiretapping’” on candidates besides Donald Trump. Paul competed, as did Trump, in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
Kristina Wong reported at Breitbart later in the day that Paul said “numerous sources” have said his campaign was spied on.
Ron Paul Institute Academic Board Member and College of William & Mary Professor Lawrence Wilkerson predicts the US military will stay in Afghanistan for another 50 years. The rationale, Wilkerson said in a Thursday interview at the Real News Network, has much to do with challenging China. Wilkerson explains:
…I think the strategic rationale has shifted, I think we're staying in Afghanistan for the next 50 years. And the reason I say that is because Afghanistan presents us with the only opportunity, land opportunity, territory opportunity, upon which to put US forces that can, at any given time that they desire to, that the president orders it, interdict, interfere with, or give the Chinese some trouble with their one belt, one road theory — essentially building a new Silk Road from Xinjiang Province all the way through the region and up into Europe.Later in the interview, Wilkerson offered this interesting comment: “We use terrorism as an excuse to be places or to do things when, in fact, it has very little to do with terrorism and everything to do with great power, economics, and the finances associated with that great power.”
A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April indicates that Americans’ trust in the US government is at nearly the lowest level in about sixty years of polling. Only 20 percent of polled individuals said they trust the government to do what is right either just about always or most of the time. In fact, that answer has garnered no more than 30 percent agreement in Pew polls over the last ten years — making that period the low point in trust for government. This year, 11 percent of people polled even volunteered an answer more negative than any answer offered as a choice in the poll. They said that they never trust government to do what is right.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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