http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/rss.aspx?blogid=3 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:33:32 GMT Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:33:32 GMT Trump To Embrace Nuclear First Strike Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/16/trump-to-embrace-nuclear-first-strike/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/16/trump-to-embrace-nuclear-first-strike/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/16/trump-to-embrace-nuclear-first-strike/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:33:32 GMT
70 Years of Disinformation: How the CIA Funded Opinion Magazines in Europe Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/16/70-years-of-disinformation-how-the-cia-funded-opinion-magazines-in-europe/

When an intelligence agency arranges to disseminated fake news it is called “disinformation” and it is a subset of what is referred to as covert action, basically secret operations run in a foreign country to influence opinion or to disrupt the functioning of a government or group that is considered to be hostile.

During the Cold War, disinformation operations were run by many of the leading players in both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in the opposition Warsaw Pact. Sometimes the activity and the sponsorship were clearly visible, as when Radio Free Europe and Radio Moscow would exchange barbs about just how bad daily life was in the opposition alliance. Sometimes, however, it took the form of clandestinely placing stories in the media that were clearly untrue but designed to shift public perceptions of what was taking place in the world. The Vietnam War provided a perfect proxy playing field, with stories emanating from the US government and its supporters presenting a narrative of a fight for democracy against totalitarianism while the Communist bloc promoted a contrary tale of colonial and capitalist oppression of a people striving to be free.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inherited the mantle of covert action operations as a legacy from its OSS predecessor, which had had considerable success in conducting disinformation operations during World War 2. But there was from the start considerable opposition to continuing such programs as they were both expensive and subject to devastating blowback when they were identified and exposed. In Western Europe, powerful domestic communist parties were quick to publicize US intelligence missteps, but nevertheless the ability to manipulate the news and information media to place stories critical of the Soviets and their allies led to major programs that funded magazines and books while also seeking to acquire a cadre of journalists that would produce pieces on demand proved too tempting to ignore.

There has been considerable ex post facto examination of the CIA’s use of covert funding mechanisms including the Congress of Cultural Freedom to fund writers and magazines in Europe, the best known of which were The Paris Review and Encounter out of London. As there was a low intensity war going on against communism, a conflict which many patriotic writers supported, funding magazines and finding contributors to write appropriate material was relatively easy and hardly challenged. Some senior editors knew or strongly suspected where their funding was coming from while some did not, but most didn’t ask any questions because then as now patrons of literary magazines were in short supply. Many of the writers were in the dark about the funding, but wrote what they did because of their own personal political convictions. The CIA, seeking value for money, would urge certain editorial lines but was not always very aggressive in doing so as it sought to allow the process to play out without too much interference.

Opinion magazines were one thing, but penetrating the newspaper world was quite a different story. It was easy to find a low or mid-level journalist and pay him to write certain pieces, but the pathway to actual publication was and is more complicated than that, going as it does through several editorial levels before appearing in print. A recent book cites the belief that CIA had “an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977” who could be directed to post or kill stories. While it is true that US Embassies and intelligence services had considerable ability to place stories in capitals in Latin America and parts of Asia, the record in Europe, where I worked, was somewhat mixed. I knew of only one senior editor of a major European newspaper who was considered to be an Agency resource, and even he could not place fake news as he was answerable both to his editorial board and the conglomerate that owned the paper. He also refused to take a salary from CIA, which meant that his cooperation was voluntary and he could not be directed.

CIA did indeed have a considerable number of journalist “assets” in Europe but they were generally stringers or mid-level and had only limited capability to actually shape the news. They frequently wrote for publications that had little or no impact. Indeed, one might reasonably ask whether the support of literary magazines in the fifties and sixties which morphed into more direct operations seeking journalist agents had any significant impact at all in geopolitical terms or on the Cold War itself.

More insidious was so-called Operation Mockingbird, which began in the early 1950s and which more-or-less openly obtained the cooperation of major American publications and news outlets to help fight communist “subversion.” The activity was exposed by Seymour Hersh in 1975 and was further described by the Church Commission in 1976, after which point CIA operations to influence opinion in the United States became illegal and the use of American journalists as agents was also generally prohibited. It was also learned that the Agency had been working outside its founding charter to infiltrate student groups and antiwar organizations under Operation Chaos, run by the CIA’s controversial if not completely crazy counterintelligence Czar James Jesus Angleton.

As the wheel of government frequently ends up turning full circle, we appear to be back in the age of disinformation, where the national security agencies of the US government, including CIA, are now suspected of peddling stories that are intended to influence opinion in the United States and produce a political response. The Steele Dossier on Donald Trump is a perfect example, a report that surfaced through a deliberate series of actions by then CIA Director John Brennan, and which was filled with unverifiable innuendo intended to destroy the president-elect’s reputation before he took office. It is undeniably a positive development for all Americans who care about good governance that Congress is now intending to investigate the dossier to determine who ordered it, paid for it, and what it was intended to achieve.

Reprinted with permission from the American Herald Tribune.
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/16/70-years-of-disinformation-how-the-cia-funded-opinion-magazines-in-europe/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/16/70-years-of-disinformation-how-the-cia-funded-opinion-magazines-in-europe/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:33:50 GMT
Who Killed Martin Luther King...And Why? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/who-killed-martin-luther-kingand-why/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/who-killed-martin-luther-kingand-why/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/who-killed-martin-luther-kingand-why/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:27:40 GMT
Earmarks Are Not the Problem Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/earmarks-are-not-the-problem/

Last week President Trump urged Congress to reassert its constitutional authority to direct how federal agencies spend taxpayer dollars. Ironically, many constitutional conservatives and libertarians disagree with the president. The reason is, President Trump wants Congress to reassert its authority by bringing back earmarks.

Earmarks are line items in spending bills directing federal agencies to spend federal funds on specific projects in a representative or senator’s district or state. Congress ended the practice of earmarks several years ago after a public outcry fueled by a widespread misunderstanding of the issue.

Earmarks are added to spending bills after the spending levels have been determined. Therefore, earmarks do not increase federal spending. What earmarks do is limit the federal bureaucrats’ ability to decide how to spend taxpayer money.

When I served in Congress, I was amazed when self-proclaimed constitutionalists complained about how earmarks prevented funding of federal bureaucrats’ priorities. These “constitutionalists” seem to have forgotten that the Constitution gives Congress sole authority over deciding how taxpayer dollars should be spent.

My support for earmarks in Congress did not add one penny to the spending in the bills. I believed that some of the tax money sent to Washington should actually make it back to Congressional districts rather than remain in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. In the end, I always voted against final passage of the bloated spending bills.

Some call earmarks a gateway drug to big spending. They point to how congressional leadership denied earmarks to members unless the members voted for big spending and other anti-liberty legislation. It is true that congressional leadership used earmarks to reward and punish members. During my years in Congress, earmarks for my district were stripped from bills in an (unsuccessful) attempt to make me stop voting against unconstitutional legislation.

Congressional leaders do not need earmarks to reward or punish members. They can, for example, deny plum committee assignments to those who refuse to toe the party line, or discourage donors from supporting them.

Presidents can still use the promise of federal funds to influence congressional votes. “Presidential earmarks” were crucial to passing Obamacare, and President Trump has threatened to withhold aid from states whose senators oppose his agenda. The removal of earmarks has given the president even greater influence over the legislative branch!

The fact that there are more representatives and senators willing to vote against big government than in past years has nothing to do with the lack of earmarks. Instead, the liberty movement has led to more liberty-minded members being elected to the House and Senate.

While the ideas of liberty are growing in popularity, the majority of the people and certainly most politicians still believe the US government should run the economy, run the world, and run our lives. This misplaced faith in big government, not the presence of earmarks, is why most politicians vote for big spending. No politician ever said, “Now that I can’t receive earmarks, I am abandoning my support for the welfare-warfare state.”

Earmarks are a way for elected representatives to ensure their constituents’ tax dollars are spent in a manner that matches constituent priorities. Earmarks do not by themselves expand government. Those who oppose earmarks should work to stop so many Americans from demanding government-provided economic and personal security. Earmarks are not the cause of runaway spending, and removing them has done little or nothing to shrink government and regain our liberties.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/earmarks-are-not-the-problem/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/earmarks-are-not-the-problem/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:04:47 GMT
A Warning for Democrats, and Indeed for All Americans John Kiriakou http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/a-warning-for-democrats-and-indeed-for-all-americans/

Many Americans, at least most in my circle, are enjoying watching Donald Trump self-destruct. It’s bad for the country, but to some of us it’s as much fun as watching a train wreck. And maybe if the Democrats can get their act together, they can win back the House in 2018 and the Senate and White House in 2020. Trump is making it look like it might be easy.

But I have a warning for Democrats, and indeed for all Americans. For God’s sake, don’t elevate the likes of former CIA directors Michael Hayden and John Brennan and the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to the position of “senior statesmen.” They are not the voices of reason, either for the Democrats or for anybody else. They are monsters who have ignored the Constitution, the US code, and international law. They have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. We should shun them, not celebrate them.

Hayden is probably the most public of the three. The former director of both the NSA and the CIA has never seen a camera that he didn’t want to get in front of. He’s a regular on the Sunday morning talk shows, the cable news networks, and even Comedy Central. He sucks up to the right and then sucks up to the left if he thinks it’ll get him a little screen time. But let me tell you something from personal first-hand experience: I am convinced that he’s a danger to the American way of life.

Hayden headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005. It was on his watch that the NSA made the decision to spy on American citizens when he championed the Trailblazer Program. It was Hayden who targeted whistleblowers Thomas Drake, Bill Binney, and Kirk Wiebe. It was Hayden who created a domestic call telephone database to keep a record of every phone call and text message made by every American and to hold it forever. And he’s been utterly unapologetic. Hayden said during his confirmation hearings that intercepting the communications of Americans was “consistent with the Constitution,” even if it meant overriding or ignoring laws forbidding warrantless wiretapping.

Hayden served as CIA director from 2006 to 2009, where he oversaw the agency’s system of secret prisons and the extraordinary rendition program. While there, he steadfastly supported the agency’s torture program, lied to Congress about it, and tried to loosen regulations that would have allowed drone strikes based on the “behavior of ground vehicles.”

And don’t forget that Hayden, along with others relegated to the dustbin of history like former CIA leaders George Tenet, Jose Rodriguez, Mike Morrell, John McLaughlin, and Philip Mudd, all co-authored a “rebuttal” of the Senate Torture Report, saying that torture worked. And it wasn’t really torture. Shameful. (“Won’t somebody please think of the torturer!”)

Like Hayden, John Brennan did incredible damage to our civil liberties during his tenure as Barack Obama’s deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism and as CIA director. It is impossible to calculate the number of people John Brennan killed during his time in government, none of whom had the Constitutional benefit of having been charged with a crime, of having evidence presented against them, or of facing their accusers in a court of law. Brennan, the keeper of the infamous “kill list,” decided who would live and who would die. It was as simple as that. Brennan had no respect for the law and no tolerance for any journalist or citizen who challenged him on it.

Brennan also had no respect for the Congressional oversight committees. He famously ordered his spies to hack into the computer system of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, lied about it, and then when caught, filed a “crimes report” with the Justice Department asking that the Intelligence Committee investigators be arrested. If that isn’t anti-Constitutional authoritarianism, I don’t know what is.

An even more important thing that we should remember about Brennan is that he was not a johnny-come-lately to intelligence. He didn’t just appear in the Obama campaign as a fresh-faced CIA Democrat. He had been the Number 3 at the CIA during the George W. Bush administration. He was up to his neck in the torture program, his denials notwithstanding. He was no liberal.

>Brennan is now a fellow at Fordham University, his alma mater, where he is free to propagandize the young people of our country. He’s also a frequent talking head at the Council on Foreign Relations and other groups where the swells meet to think the big thoughts. The rumor in Washington is that he’s on every Democrat’s short list for Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense post-Trump. God help us.

James Clapper is perhaps most famous, or infamous, for looking Senator Ron Wyden in the eye in an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee and telling him point blank that the NSA was not, repeat not, spying on American citizens. Lying to Congress is a crime. Spying on Americans is a crime. But Clapper paid no price for his insolence.

When Clapper finally submitted his resignation in 2016, Wyden said, “During Director Clapper’s tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in a deception spree regarding mass surveillance. Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them.” That’s Clapper’s legacy. He’s a liar.

That brings us back to the issue of statesmanship. It is possible, and in this case obvious, that you can have a situation where there is no good guy. It’s time for the Democrats to clean up their act. They’re going to be the party of freedom, civil liberties, and human rights or they aren’t. They need to choose. They can still end up on the right side of history. But that’s only if they shun monsters like Mike Hayden, John Brennan, and Jim Clapper and others like them, and if they start paying a little more attention to the Constitution.

Reprinted with permission from Reader Supported News.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/a-warning-for-democrats-and-indeed-for-all-americans/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/a-warning-for-democrats-and-indeed-for-all-americans/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:21:57 GMT
Fed's Misconduct in Cliven Bundy Case Stems from Ruby Ridge James Bovard http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/feds-misconduct-in-cliven-bundy-case-stems-from-ruby-ridge/

Federal judge Gloria Navarro slammed the FBI and Justice Department on Monday, Jan. 8, for “outrageous” abuses and “flagrant misconduct” in the prosecution of Cliven Bundy and sons, the Nevada ranchers who spurred a high-profile standoff with the FBI and Bureau of Land Management in 2014. Navarro condemned the "grossly shocking” withholding of evidence from defense counsel in a case that could have landed the Bundys in prison for the rest of their lives. Navarro, who had declared a mistrial last month, dismissed all charges against the Bundys.

Navarro was especially riled because the FBI spent three years covering up or lying about the role of their snipers in the 2014 standoff. The Bundys faced conspiracy charges because they summoned militia to defend them after claiming FBI snipers had surrounded their ranch. Justice Department lawyers scoffed at this claim but newly-released documents vindicate the Bundys. In an interview Saturday, Ammon Bundy reviled the feds: “They basically came to kill our family, they surrounded us with snipers. And then they wanted to lie about it all like none of it happened."

Many of the heavily-armed activists who flocked to the scene feared that the FBI snipers had a license to kill the Bundys. Their reaction cannot be understood without considering a landmark 1990s case that continues to shape millions of Americans’ attitude towards Washington: the federal killings and coverups at Ruby Ridge.

Randy Weaver and his family lived in an isolated cabin in the mountains of northern Idaho. Weaver was a white separatist who believed races should live apart; he had no record of violence against other races — or anyone else. An undercover federal agent entrapped him into selling a sawed-off shotgun. The feds then sought to pressure Weaver to become an informant but he refused.

After Weaver was sent the wrong court date and failed to show up, the feds launched a vendetta. Idaho lawyer David Nevin noted that US:
“Marshals called in military aerial reconnaissance and had photos studied by the Defense Mapping Agency. They prowled the woods around Weaver’s cabin with night-vision equipment. They had psychological profiles performed and installed $130,000 worth of long-range solar-powered spy cameras. … They even knew the menstrual cycle of Weaver’s teenage daughter, and planned an arrest scenario around it.”
On August 21, 1992, six camouflaged US Marshals carrying machine guns trespassed onto the Weavers’ property. Three marshals circled close to the Weaver cabin and killed one of their dogs. A firefight ensued and 14-year old Sammy Weaver was shot in the back and killed as he was leaving the scene. Kevin Harris, a family friend, responded by fatally shooting a federal marshal who had fired seven shots in the melee.

The next day, the FBI sent in its Hostage Rescue Team snipers with orders to shoot to kill any adult male outside the Weaver cabin. A federal appeals court ruling later noted that:
“FBI agents formulated rules of engagement that permitted their colleagues to hide in the bushes and gun down men who posed no immediate threat. Such wartime rules are patently unconstitutional for a police action.” 
 FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot Randy Weaver in the back after he stepped out of his cabin, wounding him. Horiuchi then shot and killed Vicki Weaver standing in the cabin door holding their 10-month old baby.

Fair use excerpt. Read the rest here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/feds-misconduct-in-cliven-bundy-case-stems-from-ruby-ridge/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/15/feds-misconduct-in-cliven-bundy-case-stems-from-ruby-ridge/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 05:29:41 GMT
Neocon Think Tanks Not Russian Media Are the Enemy Within John Wight http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/13/neocon-think-tanks-not-russian-media-are-the-enemy-within/

The latest salvo in the ongoing attempt to de-legitimize and demonize Russia-based media has arrived with a directive from the US Justice Department that Sputnik News in the US must register as a foreign agent.

In this regard Sputnik now joins RT America (previously directed to register as a foreign agent) in being stigmatized as peddling propaganda instead of news and news analysis, its journalists and contributors smeared by association, in the context of a wider neo-McCarthyite offensive unleashed with the aim of pushing back against opposition to neoconservative nostrums and influence on Western foreign policy, along with its neoliberal economic counterpart.

What needs to be stressed is that this offensive is being waged not so much against Russian media as against Western dissident voices who dare appear on Russian media. It is an attack on the free speech of US citizens — and also on UK and European citizens given that the same offensive is underway in those parts of the world — on their right to ply their trade as journalists, writers, broadcasters and political analysts.

The reasoning behind this censorious campaign is not, as claimed, because those dissident voices are engaged in peddling falsehoods, lies and propaganda; instead it is because they deign to expose the actual causes of the seemingly unending wars and economic, social, political and refugee crises that are the norm in our time.

The most penetrating truths are often the most simply expressed, a truism given credence by the life and words of US labor leader and anti-war activist, Eugene Debs at the turn of the last century. "War does not come by chance," the great man said in the context of his unstinting opposition to the First World War. "War is not the result of accident. There is a definite cause for war, especially a modern war."

In our time the "definite cause for war" is Washington's determination to maintain the ability of Western global corporations to rampage across the globe unimpeded, Wall Street to suck up the world's surplus capital, and the continuing supremacy of the US dollar, backed up by a gargantuan military which stands as a monument not to democracy but imperialism.

Those committed to attacking those Western dissidents who appear on and work for Russian media do so on the basis of defending and maintaining this status quo, providing political and ideological support for regime change without end, no matter the scale of the carnage, human suffering and destabilization that ensues in its vapor trails.

By 'those' I refer specifically to the murky network of neocon think tanks such as theHenry Jackson Society, the Atlantic Council, and the Council on Foreign Relations, along with the veritable rogues gallery of funders and sponsors supporting them and their works. The aforesaid think tanks are, along with too many others to mention, institutions in which a coterie of expensively-educated, democracy-denying, regime change cranks work day and night producing papers 'exposing' Russian media and strategizing against supposed Russian influence and interference in the internal affairs of Western democracies. This they do while ascribing lurid and sensationalist motives to the actions of countries, such as Russia, whose refusal to bow to Washington marks them as the enemy without at the same time as its media, and by implication those who work for and contribute to its media, as the enemy within.

The pressing problem a world interested in the rule of law and stability has to contend with, however, is not alleged Russian interference in the internal affairs of Western democracies; the problem has and continues to be Western interference — or attempted interference — in the internal affairs of Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Libya, and Iraq, etc. This is the true source of the ills the world is grappling with.

When you have a mainstream media outlet in the West such as Foreign Policy magazine carrying an article under the less than cryptic title, ‘It's Time To Bomb North Korea', you start to gain an insight into the virulent strain of moral sickness which has those who pen such articles, not forgetting the media that publishes such articles, in its grip. And when you have former NATO staffers such as Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council publishing articles exploring the work of Sputnik contributors, such as myself, with the intention of extrapolating some dark conspiratorial motive for the pattern of said articles, you know you must be doing something right.

As an aside, I would like to extend Mr Nimmo a friendly invitation to come on my Sputnik radio show, Hard Facts, to discuss these matters further. It could be the radio equivalent of Ali-Frazier. I'll be Ali, gliding round the ring popping him with a righteous jab, exposing his lack of movement, mobility and defense, while he can be Frazier, coming at me in straight lines, bobbing and weaving, trying to land that famous left hook but hitting fresh air.

The claim that Russian media is propaganda is in itself propaganda. The claim that Russia is interfering in 'our' democracy is in itself interference in 'our' democracy, what with those making this charge arrogating to themselves the right and power to adjudicate over election outcomes and ascribe legitimacy or illegitimacy to them as they deem fit. For such people there are invisible red lines beyond which people tread at their peril.

Dare, for example, to declaim against NATO as a Western military alliance engaged in the projection of imperial power rather than the defender of peace and democracy it claims to be, you are deemed beyond the pale. Describe the 2003 US-led war on Iraq as a crime entirely compatible with Western cultural values, rather than a mistake wholly out of keeping with those values, and you are deemed beyond the pale. Refuse to accept that head-chopping extremists in Syria are 'moderate rebels', and refuse to refer to the Syrian government as the Syrian regime, and you soon find yourself regarded aspersona non grata.

However, paraphrasing English liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, better an anti-imperialist pilloried and demonized than a fanatical neocon in clover.

Reprinted with permission from Sputnik News.
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/13/neocon-think-tanks-not-russian-media-are-the-enemy-within/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/13/neocon-think-tanks-not-russian-media-are-the-enemy-within/ Sat, 13 Jan 2018 17:21:38 GMT
Trump Takes on Pakistan Eric Margolis http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/13/trump-takes-on-pakistan/

Henry Kissinger rightly noted that it’s often more dangerous being an ally of the United States than its enemy. The latest victim of this sad truism is Pakistan, a loyal ally of the US since the dawn of our era.

President Donald Trump’s visceral hatred of Muslims (never mind what kind, or why, or where) erupted this week as he ordered some $900 million in US aid to Pakistan to be abruptly cut off. Trump accused Pakistan of lying and deceiving the US and providing a safe haven to Afghan resistance forces of Taliban ("terrorists" in US speak) battling American occupation forces.

Frustrated and outwitted in Afghanistan, US imperial generals, Pentagon bureaucrats, and politicians have been trying to cast blame on anyone they can find, with Pakistan the primary whipping boy. Next in line is the notorious Haqqani network which is blamed for most US military failures in Afghanistan, though its active combat role is modest. I knew its founder, old man Haqqani. In the 1980’s, he was the golden boy of the CIA/Pakistani-led effort to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan.

Why has Washington given billions in aid to Pakistan? In 2001, Washington decided to invade Afghanistan to uproot or destroy the Pashtun resistance movement, Taliban, which was wrongly blamed for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. The ethnic Pashtun warriors President Reagan had hailed as "Freedom Fighters" became "terrorists" once the west wanted to occupy Afghanistan.

But invading land-locked Afghanistan was an awesome undertaking. US troops there had to be supplied through Pakistan’s principal port, Karachi, then up twisting mountain roads and across the torturous Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. The huge amount of logistical supplies required by US troops could not be met by air supply. It cost $400 per barrel for one gallon of gasoline delivered to US troops in Afghanistan, and as much as $600,000 per sortie to keep a single US warplane over Afghanistan. Without 24/7 air cover, the US occupation force would have been quickly defeated.

Invading Afghanistan without Pakistani cooperation would have been impossible. Pakistan at first refused to let US armed forces cross its borders. But as Pakistan’s former military leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf  told me, "the US put a gun to my head and said let US troops enter and use Pakistan or we will bomb you back to the Stone Age."

That was the big stick. The carrot was some $33 billion in US cash to secure "Ground Lines of Communication" (the Karachi-Bagram route) and "Air Lines of Communication."  In fact, Pakistan briefly closed them in 2011 after US warplanes killed two dozen Pakistani Army soldiers. Pakistan could do it again unless Washington stops treating it like an enemy state.

Trump and his men just don’t understand that Pakistan has paramount national security interests in next-door Afghanistan. Thirty million Pakistanis are ethnic Pashtuns. They dominate Pakistan’s armed forces. Another 1.4 million Pashtun are refugees in northern Pakistan. Narrow-waisted Pakistan sees Afghanistan as its strategic hinterland in a next war with old enemy India.

The US-installed regime in Kabul routinely blames Pakistan for its glaring failures. Its powerful Communist-dominated intelligence agency routinely spreads untruths about Pakistan, claiming it supports "terrorism."

In fact, the warlike Pashtun tribes along the Durand Line, the artificial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan imposed by the British colonialists, have been on the warpath since the 19th Century. Winston Churchill even approved the use of poison gas on the "unruly tribesmen."  The wonderfully named Faqir of Ipi kept threatening to ride down from the Hindu Kush Mountains and put to the sack the British garrison at Peshwar.

Today, one hears threats in Pentagon circles that the US may begin bombing "Taliban sanctuaries" (actually villages where these Pashtun locals live) and then send in air mobile US troops to attack them. This would make the longest war in US history even longer. Washington just can’t seem to accept that its military machine was defeated in Afghanistan, well-known as the Graveyard of Empires.

It’s also clear that the US has not given up its ambition to neutralize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Attacking so-called terrorist enclaves in northern Pakistan would offer a perfect cover for a major us air and ground assault on Pakistan’s nuclear complexes and dispersed storage sites. India and Israel have long been pressing the US to attack Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure.

Any major US moves against Pakistan are very likely to push it closer to Beijing and expand Chinese influence in the region. China is unlikely to allow old ally Pakistan to be torn apart by US power. Unlike the US, China remembers its old friends.

Reprinted with permission from EricMargolis.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/13/trump-takes-on-pakistan/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/13/trump-takes-on-pakistan/ Sat, 13 Jan 2018 14:44:43 GMT
The Persecution of Julian Assange Paul Craig Roberts http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/12/the-persecution-of-julian-assange/

“We need a political intervention to make this situation end. He (Assange) is the only political prisoner in Western Europe.” Juan Braco

The persecution of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is now seven years old. Ecuador has protected Assange for the past half decade from being turned over to Washington by the corrupt Swedish and British for torture and prosecution as a spy by giving Assange political asylum inside the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. Ecuador has now given citizenship to Assange and attempted to provide his safe transit out of England by giving him diplomatic status, but the British government continued in its assigned role of jailer by rejecting Ecuador’s request for diplomatic status for Assange, just as the most servile of Washington’s puppet states rejected the order by the UN Committee on Arbitrary Detention to immediate release Assange from his arbitrary detention.

Assange got into trouble with Washington, because his news organization, Wikileaks, published files released by Bradley Manning. The files were a tremendous embarrassment to Washington, because they showed how Washington conspires against governments and betrays its allies, and the files contained an audio/video film of US military forces murdering innocent people walking down a street and then murdering a father and his two young children who stopped to give aid to the civilians the American soldiers had shot. The film revealed the heartlessness and criminal cruelty of the US troops, who were enjoying playing a real live video game with real people as their victims.

It was Manning who suffered, not the troops who committed murder. Manning was held for two years in conditions that experts said constituted torture while a case was framed against him. Some believe the harsh conditions affected his mind. Manning was convicted by a kangaroo court and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but Obama in an act of humanity unusual for Washington pardoned Manning. 

Washington wanted Assange as well, and the chance came when two Swedish women who, attracted to Assange by his celebrity status, seduced him. The two women had not secured the cooperation they wanted from Assange in the use of condoms and, brainwashd by HIV fears, wanted Assange to join them in being tested.

Assange, misreading the extent of their fears, was too slow to comply, and the women went to the police to see if he could be required to be tested. According to the women, the police made up the charge of rape. The women themselves disavow the charge. 

The charges were investigated, and the chief Swedish prosecutor Eva Finne dismissed the charges, saying “there is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.”

Mysteriously, the case was reopened by another prosecutor, Marianne Ny, who many suspect was operating at the behest of Washington. On November 30, two days after Assange began publishing the Cablegate materials leaked by Bradley Manning, Ny issured an Interpol “red alert” arrest warrant for Assange. This was an unusual request as no charges were outstanding against Assange, and hitherto extradiction from one country to another on an arrest warrant required actual charges, whereas Ny said she wanted Assange for questioning. Most everyone in the know understood that Washington had ordered Sweden to get its hands on Assange and to turn him over to Washington.

Assange challenged the legality of the arrest warrant in British courts, but the British court, many believe following Washington’s orders, ruled against the law and in favor of Washington. Assange assented to the arrest and presented himself to a British police station. He was placed in solitary confinement at Wandsworth prison. If memory serves, the daughter of Sir James Goldsmith paid his bond and he was placed under house arrest. When it became clear that the Swedish prosecutor wanted Assange for Washington, not for any charges against him in Sweden, Ecuador give him asylum, and he fled to the embassy in London.

Where he has been ever since.

Sweden has closed the case a second time, and Assange is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden. Therefore, there is no longer any reason for the British to hold him for Sweden. But the British government never were holding Assange for Sweden. The British were holding him for Washington. And they still are. Even thought Sweden has closed a case based on a false report by police and have no basis for any charges against Assange, the British government says it will grab him the minute he steps outside the embassy. 

The British are so desperate to serve their Washington master that once they even declared that they were going to violate diplomatic immunity and invade the Ecuadoran Embassy and seize Assange. 

The British excuse for a once proud government’s continuing servitude to Washington as Assange’s jailer is that by taking asylum in the embassy Assange jumped bail and therefore the British have to arrest him for not surrendering a second time to the police for an investigation that has been closed.

Stefania Maurizi, an Italian investigative journalist for La Repubblica, smelling the stench of fraud that covers the entire case, has been trying for two years to get her hands on the correspondence between the UK, US, and Swedish governments pertaining to the case in order to pull back the shroud of the Washington-orchestrated propaganda that colors the case. A British tribunal refused to release any documents on the grounds that it had to protect the British Prosecution Service’s relationship with foreign authorities.

That tells you all you need to know. Julian Assange has lost seven years of his life because stinking dirty Washington wanted revenge on Assange for exercising the US Constitution-protected right of a free press, and the stinking dirty governments of Sweden and Britain did Washington’s dirty work. What we know for certain is that Assange is totally innocent and that there is no honor and no integrity in the US, Swedish, and British governments. Law means nothing to the scum that misrule these countries.

In the US and probably throughout Europe, politicians and feminists, with the exception of Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff, used the presstitute media to paint Assange as a rapist and as a spy. The feminists cared nothing about any truth; they just wanted a man to demonize. Truth was the last thing on politicians’ minds. They just wanted to divert attention from Washington’s crimes and betrayals of allies by portraying Assange as a threat and traitor to America. They were unconcerned that Assange could not be a traitor to America as he is not an American citizen. In actual fact, there is no basis in law for any US claim against Assange. Yet because of Washington and its servile British puppet state, Assange remains interred in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Clearly, honor and respect for law reside in Ecuador, not in the US, UK, or Sweden.

But facts, along with law and civil liberty, have ceased to mean anything in the Western world. The corrupt US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the arrest of Assange is a “priority.” The British police, mere lackeys of Washington, said that they would still arrest Assange, despite the case being dropped, if he left the embassy.

For the British, serving Washington is a higher calling than the honor of their country.

Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/12/the-persecution-of-julian-assange/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/12/the-persecution-of-julian-assange/ Fri, 12 Jan 2018 19:04:05 GMT
Who or What Is Feeding the Unrest in Iran? Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/12/who-or-what-is-feeding-the-unrest-in-iran/

There are two general theories about the protests that are taking place in Iran. One, unfavorable to the Iranian government and establishment, is that the widespread discontent and rioting is over mismanagement of the economy that has particularly hurt poorer Iranians. The other is that we are seeing a contemporary replay of 1953 Iran and the downfall of Mohammad Mossadegh, which was orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British MI-6.

The Iranian public’s expectation that the nuclear deal would lead to improvements in their lives were wrecked by Donald Trump’s decertification of the agreement and expectations that the pact would be wrecked by America’s renewing sanctions on Iran later this month. All of Trump’s advisers are hostile to Iran and it has also been reported that tearing up the agreement derived from a personal pledge made by Trump to Israeli/American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who also demanded that the US Embassy be moved to Jerusalem.

The vanishing nuclear deal and struggling economy bore fruit in the 2018 government budget that cut subsidies on food and government services while increasing fuel and commodity prices. Religious institutions controlled by the Supreme Religious Council and the business entities run by the Revolutionary Guards were reportedly spared the cuts, fueling popular anger.

If Donald Trump had really cared about the protesters or democracy, he would have said nothing about the protests. Instead, he appears intent on using the Iranian government suppression of the demonstrations to finally kill the nuclear deal by reinstating sanctions. He has tweeted five times, supporting the Iranian people who are seeking democracy but also giving the Tehran government a club to use against the demonstrators by claiming that they are tools of foreign governments, which is exactly what it is doing.

But given the history of foreign interventions in the Middle East, is the United States or Israel plausibly involved in the demonstrations? The answer to that is both yes and no. There is considerable evidence that the United States and possibly Israel, joined by Saudi Arabia, have set up several command centers in Iraq and Afghanistan to support the protests. They have been using social networking as well as radio broadcasts to encourage the people to get out and demonstrate. One such station called AmadNews, broadcasting from outside Iran, called on demonstrators to attack police stations and government buildings. It appears to be a US government front manned by Persian speaking Israelis. It’s actual ability to drive the demonstrations appears, however, to be questionable.

On the covert action front, neither the CIA or Mossad has the resources on the ground to infiltrate and direct crowds of people to act, so the Iranian government claim that there are outside agitators can largely be regarded as propaganda for its own domestic audience. The CIA’s infrastructure in Iran was devastated in the 1990s and was never effectively reconstituted. The Agency post-Director George Tenet also concentrated heavily on paramilitary activity and lost much of its ability to spot, assess, recruit, train and run agents. Developing a spy network in a country like Iran where the United States lacks any physical presence and does not even have an Embassy is a daunting task.

This is not to say that the US and Israel are not heavily focused on Iran. In a recent conference, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster claimed, completely inaccurately, that Iran is the source of sectarian violence and supports jihadist networks “across the Arab world.” Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council’s former senior director for intelligence had previously commented that the White House intended to use American spies to “regime change” the Iranian government.

With that objective in mind, in June new CIA Director Mike Pompeo created a special Iran combined task force under Michael D’Andrea, nicknamed the Dark Prince or Mike Ayatollah, a controversial but highly regarded Middle East specialist who is himself a convert to Islam. D’Andrea has reportedly been very active, but reconstituting a network takes time and is, of necessity, work done carefully and methodically. Pompeo, in his desire to relearn old fashioned spying and covert action, has more recently announced that the Agency will be working to recover its “viciousness,” but it is presumably not there yet.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
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House Approves More FISA Spying...Can The Senate Stop Them? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/11/house-approves-more-fisa-spyingcan-the-senate-stop-them/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/11/house-approves-more-fisa-spyingcan-the-senate-stop-them/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/11/house-approves-more-fisa-spyingcan-the-senate-stop-them/ Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:07:02 GMT
The British Empire in Yemen Jacob G. Hornberger http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/11/the-british-empire-in-yemen/

Over the holidays, I began watching a Netflix/BBC series entitled The Last Postwhich revolves around a contingent of British troops in the early 1960s stationed in Aden, a port city in Yemen, the Arabian country today that Saudi Arabia and the United States are bombing to smithereens.

The British troops were there as a remnant of the British Empire, which once controlled foreign lands all across the globe but which, mostly as a result of World War II, had been pretty much dismantled. The British troops in Aden were able to have their families living with them. One of their favorite pastimes was enjoying the amenities of a beautiful seaside resort in Aden.

But not all was hunky dory. Periodically British patrols were being ambushed and killed by Yemeni terrorists. The terrorists also kidnapped the 8-year-old son of a British officer and threatened to kill him if the British refused to release a Yemeni terrorist who had been arrested for killing British troops.

One British soldier innocently asked another, “Why do they want to kill us?” He really didn’t know. The soldier to whom he addressed the question responded, “I just don’t know.”

And they really didn’t seem to know. After all, the British were bringing highways, schools, manners, and culture to this backward land. Security too, in the form of British military police. Why would anyone want to kill people who were willing to travel so far away from their home country to make such big sacrifices for people in overseas lands?

As I was watching the program, I wondered what the average American would say when he heard the exchange between those two soldiers. Would he recognize why they wanted to kill those British troops? Or would he be as clueless as the British soldiers?

It was easy for me to see why they wanted to kill British troops, but of course I’m a libertarian. The Yemenis were saying to the British Empire: No matter how many benefits you might be bringing to this part of the world, our part of the world is none of your business. Get out of here. Go home. Leave Yemen to the Yeminis.

What was happening to the British Empire in Aden is essentially what is happening to the United States today, all over the world. Unfortunately, that is something that all too many Americans just do not want to see.

Of course, Americans don’t like to think of their own country as an empire. After all, the United States was born in rebellion against empire, the British Empire.

Nonetheless, what was happening to the British Empire in Aden is what is happening around the world to the United States. Foreigners are saying to the U.S. government: What is happening over here in this part of the world is none of your business.  Get out. Go home. Leave us alone.

One of the reasons that Americans are unable to draw the parallels between Great Britain and the United States is that the U.S. version of empire hasn’t followed the British model. Instead of converting foreign lands into colonies, the U.S. government has followed the Soviet Union’s model of empire that was established in Eastern Europe. It uses local proxies or “puppets” to serve as agents for the U.S. government, just as the Soviets did in Eastern European countries. This has enabled the United States to maintain the façade of supporting “independent” regimes in the countries it controls, which just happen to “invite” the United States to maintain military bases in their countries.

In fact, I wonder how many Americans know that the U.S. government maintains a giant military base in Yemen today. Indeed, I wonder how many Americans realize that the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, which preceded the 9/11 attacks, took place in Aden.

Today, the most popular mantra among the American people involves thanking U.S. troops for protecting our rights and freedoms or, in American churches, asking for God’s protection for those who are making the “ultimate sacrifice” in the defense of our rights and freedoms. That mindset is undoubtedly one of the most successful propaganda and indoctrination programs in history.

I can’t help but wonder if the British people ever believed that British troops in Aden were protecting their rights and freedoms. My hunch is that they didn’t. After all, the Yemenis never desired to attack and invade England and conquer the country, which is the way they would take away the rights and freedoms of the British people. All that the Yemenis wanted was to end the British Empire’s control over their part of their world. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, trying to win one’s independence from the British Empire is not the same as threatening the rights and freedoms of the British citizenry at home.

Of course, it’s no different with respect to the massive worldwide presence of U.S. troops and U.S. military bases. No foreigner and no foreign regime is threatening to invade the United States and take over the federal government, which is how someone would take away our rights and freedoms. Foreigners are killing American troops to resist the control, domination, and presence of the U.S. Empire in faraway lands, just as Yemenis were doing against the British in Aden in the early 1960s.

Indeed, that was also why the Vietnamese people were killing French troops in Vietnam in the 1950s. It was why Cubans and Filipinos were killing Spanish troops in Cuba and the Philippines in the late 1800s. No matter what benefits that Spanish, French, British, or American officials think they are bringing to foreign lands with their troops, whether with highways, schools, security, or other such things, people over there respond with: Our problems are none of your business. Go home.  Leave us alone.

Ironically, what inevitably ends up happening is that an overseas military empire ends up destroying one’s own country, specifically in two ways.

First, there is the massive, ever-growing spending and debt that is needed to sustain the troops, their bases, and their overseas projects. That means higher taxes and increasing debasement of the currency. The end of this road is governmental bankruptcy, which means lower standards of living for the citizenry.

Second, there is the ever-growing threat of terrorist retaliation, both abroad and here at home. That inevitably leads to ever-increasing measures to keep us safe here at home. As the empire clamps down on people overseas to overcome resistance, the threat of terrorist blowback increases, causing officials to expand their control at home, with measures like mass surveillance, assaults on financial privacy, and travel restrictions. Empire abroad means destruction of liberty and privacy at home.

Thus, the notion that the troops are defending our rights and freedoms with their activities abroad is totally wrong-headed. In actuality, it’s the exact opposite. What the troops are doing abroad is, indirectly, bringing about the destruction of the rights and freedoms (and economic well-being) of the American people at the hands of their own government.

The solution to all this is clear: End America’s experiment with empire. Bring all U.S. troops home (and discharge them). Leave people in foreign lands free to resolve their own problems. Restore America’s founding principles against empire and foreign interventionism. Restore a limited-government republic to our land. Unleash the private sector to interact with the people of the world. Build a model society of freedom here at home for the world to emulate.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/11/the-british-empire-in-yemen/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/11/the-british-empire-in-yemen/ Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:42:22 GMT
NATO’s Fraudulent War on Behalf of Women George Szamuely http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/10/nato-s-fraudulent-war-on-behalf-of-women/

In a recent Guardian article titled “Why NATO Must Defend Women’s Rights,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Soltenberg and Hollywood movie star Angelina Jolie assert that “NATO has the responsibility and opportunity to be a leading protector of women’s rights.” NATO, moreover, “can become the global military leader in how to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict.” The two vowed to identify “ways in which NATO can strengthen its contribution to women’s protection and participation in all aspects of conflict-prevention and resolution.”

The pairing of a NATO bureaucrat and a famous movie actress may at first glance appear odd. However, this partnership has been long in the making. Some years ago, NATO, always on the lookout for a reason to justify its continued existence, not to mention its perpetual expansion, came up with a new raison d’être: It would be the global champion of women. “Achieving gender equality is our collective task. And NATO is doing its part,” said Mari Skåre, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, in 2013. In March 2016, on International Women’s Day, NATO held a so-called “Barbershop Conference” on gender equality. Stoltenberg took the opportunity to declare that gender equality was a frightfully important issue for NATO because “NATO is a values-based organization and none of the Alliance’s fundamental values—individual liberties, democracy, human rights and the rule of law—work without equality.” Diversity was a source of strength. “We learned in Afghanistan and in the Balkans that by integrating gender within our operations, we make a tangible difference to the lives of women and children,” Stoltenberg explained. He stressed that NATO is proud of its record in embedding gender perspectives within its work. Last November, Stoltenberg was at it again: “Empowering women is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do: it makes countries safer and more stable. NATO is determined to make a difference.”

NATO has indeed made a difference but not through empowering women. When it isn’t bombing, killing, blowing up bridges and buildings, destroying wedding receptions, empowering jihadis, triggering refugee flows and ruining the lives of countless women, NATO holds unctuous press briefings, organizes self-congratulatory conferences and publishes articles such as the one by Stoltenberg/Jolie seeking to present a gargantuan 29-state military coalition as a do-gooder charity helping out the needy.

This is where Angelina Jolie comes in. Jolie is a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and, in that capacity, wanders around the world berating the “international community” for not doing enough to address humanitarian crises. Her take on these crises is invariably the same as that of NATO. “It is important that we intervene in a timely fashion,” she once explained, “diplomatically if we can, with force if we must.” In October 2011, following seven months of relentless NATO bombing, Jolie rushed to Libya and excitedly hailed the Libyan “revolution”:
I’m…here on behalf of the Libyan people to show them solidarity. I think this revolution on behalf of human rights, which is what I feel these people really have been doing and what they have pushed for, and to help them to implement these new laws and help them with the future of their country.
Sometimes it’s breathless enthusiasm for “revolution,” sometimes it’s tearful pleading for plain, old-fashioned “humanitarian intervention”—Angelina Jolie is nothing if not consistent in her advocacy for Western use of force. When it comes to Syria, Jolie has declared that “some form of intervention is absolutely necessary.” She sneered at the U.N. Security Council permanent members that stood in the way of intervention. “I feel very strongly that the use of a veto when you have financial interests in the country should be questioned and the use of a veto against humanitarian intervention should be questioned,” she said in an interview. Jolie was of course simply echoing the blustery words of the Obama administration. Recall Susan Rice’s tirade following Russia’s and China’s veto of a February 2012 Security Council resolution calling for Bashar al Assad to step aside and for the Syrian army to return to its barracks. Rice, then U.S. permanent representative at the U.N., called the vetoes “disgusting and shameful.” The countries “that have blocked potentially the last effort to resolve this peacefully…will have any future blood spill on their hands.”

This kind of attack on the veto-wielding Security Council members has become a staple of the humanitarian intervention crowd. For example, former French President François Hollande told the U.N. General Assembly in September 2013 that when mass atrocities were taking place, U.N. Security Council permanent members must give up their veto powers:
The U.N. has a responsibility to take action. And whenever our organization proves to be powerless, it’s peace that pays the price. That’s why I am proposing that a code of good conduct be defined by the permanent members of the Security Council, and that in the event of a mass crime they can decide to collectively renounce their veto powers.
Taking action, of course, means taking military action. It never means, say, the lifting of sanctions so that food, oil, medical supplies could get through. To the contrary, if military action is ruled out, the humanitarians immediately resort to demanding the tightening of sanctions. Interventionists such as Hollande, Rice, et al., never explain why it is necessary for U.N. permanent members to give up their veto if the right course of action is so self-evident. The unstated assumption obviously is that any reluctance to sanction the use of force must be motivated by moral failings such as greed, selfishness, political ambition or lack of compassion.

The heartlessness of the so-called international community was the message of the 2011 film she wrote and directed about the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, In the Land of Blood and Honey. The film, she said, points a “finger at the international community, which should have intervened in the Bosnian war was much sooner.” She proudly boasted that among the experts she consulted in making the film were Richard Holbrooke and Wesley Clark, two figures who played prominent roles in the devastation of Bosnia and Kosovo. The film, predictably, features villainous Serbs persecuting innocent Muslims. Asked whether her film should have been a little more balanced, Jolie replied “The fact is that the war was not balanced. I could not make a film where it’s 50-50. It’s inaccurate to what happened.” This is standard NATO stuff, particularly the part about NATO’s military intervention as having finally brought peace to Bosnia.

Jolie is useful to NATO not only because she can be relied on to echo the military alliance’s self-justifying rationales for its favored solution to any problem, namely, the threat to use force. Jolie’s is the glamorous face of NATO’s revamped PR campaign. NATO would have us believe that it’s not only bringing enlightenment to backward societies but also to us, NATO member-state citizens, by informing us about something of which we had hitherto been apparently unaware: sexual violence occurs during wartime. The obvious remedy—doing everything possible to avoid war—is not one that either NATO or Jolie favors. NATO can’t very well be expected to advocate itself out of existence. In NATOspeak you threaten and defend military action even as you bemoan in lachrymose terms its predictable consequences, namely, war crimes, including sexual crimes.

In April 2014, Jolie traipsed around the Balkans with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, visiting the Srebrenica memorial center in Potocari, Bosnia. During the visit, Jolie stated, “The use of rape as a weapon of war is one of the most harrowing and savage of these crimes against civilians. This is rape so brutal, with such extreme violence, that it is even hard to talk about it.” Hague and Jolie jointly launched a campaign called Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, the goal of which was “to address the culture of impunity, ensure more perpetrators are brought to justice and ensure better support for survivors. We’re campaigning to raise awareness, rally global action, promote international coherence and increase the political will and capacity of states to do more.”

Hague earnestly explained, “I started this campaign with Angelina Jolie because foreign policy has got to be about more than just dealing with urgent crises—it has to be about improving the condition of humanity.” Then Hague warmed to his theme: “Tens of thousands of women, girls and men were raped during the war in Bosnia. We are visiting to draw the world’s attention to their search for justice, and to call for global action to end the use of rape as a weapon of war once and for all.” In a BBC interview Hague claimed that sexual violence in conflict was “one of the great mass crimes of the 20th century and the 21st century….If anything, this is getting worse—war zone rape as a weapon of war, used systematically and deliberately against civilian populations.”

Hague was of course British foreign secretary during NATO’s 2011 Libyan bombing campaign. It hardly needs to be said that NATO did nothing to help Libya’s women. To the contrary: Thousands of women lost their lives as a direct result of NATO and Hague’s humanitarian bombs. NATO destroyed government, law and public order, institutions that before its intervention had protected the women of Libya from sexual crimes. Most striking of all, NATO helped deliver perhaps millions of women into the hands of ISIS. Here is an account of the record of ISIS rule in Libya from Human Rights Watch (a reliably pro-interventionist outfit) in its 2017 country report on Libya: “In the first half of 2016, fighters loyal to ISIS controlled the central coastal town of Sirte and subjected residents to a rigid interpretation of Sharia law that included public floggings, amputation of limbs, and public lynchings, often leaving the victims’ corpses on display.”

Not to worry: In June 2014, Hague and Jolie co-hosted in London a grand three-day Global Summit to End Sexual Violence. Participants included Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. According to one report, the summit cost £5.2 million to host. The food bill alone was more than £299,000, while total expenditure on taxis, hotels and transport reached £576,000. Jolie declared:
We need to shatter that culture of impunity and make justice the norm, not the exception, for these crimes. We need political will, replicated across the world, and we need to treat this subject as a priority. We need to see real commitment and go after the worst perpetrators, to fund proper protection for vulnerable people, and to step in to help the worst-affected countries. We need all armies, peacekeeping troops and police forces to have prevention of sexual violence in conflict as part of their training.
Punishing the perpetrators of sexual violence sounds laudable enough. The trouble is that NATO’s record of making incendiary charges and then failing to back them up with serious evidence is not one that inspires confidence. During the Bosnian war, for example, the media reported obsessively on the use of rape as an instrument of war. In 1992, Dame Ann Warburton’s European parliamentary delegation estimated that 20,000 rapes had already taken place in Bosnia. In January 1993, Newsweek carried a lengthy cover-story charging Serbs with the rape of as many as 50,000 women, mostly Muslim, as part of “deliberate programs to impregnate Muslim women with unwanted Serb babies.”

Systematic research on the subject however resulted in findings that were insufficiently dramatic to make it into the papers. On Jan. 29, 1994, the U.N. secretary-general issued a report on rapes in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Croatia, based on a study by the U.N. Commission of Experts. The report found “126 victims, 113 incidents, 252 alleged perpetrators, 73 witnesses.” The report also stated “some of the rape cases” were “clearly the result of individual or small-group conduct without evidence of command responsibility. Others may be part of an overall pattern. Because of a variety of factors, such a pattern may lead to a conclusion that a systematic rape policy existed, but this remains to be proved.”

Allegations of mass rape were a key component of NATO’s propaganda campaign during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook regaled the public with lurid tales of Serbs forcing women “to endure ‘systematic rape’ at an army camp at Djakovica.” Clare Short, Britain’s international development secretary, added that the rapes were “deliberately performed in front of children, fathers and brothers.” The British Foreign Office followed up with claims of having discovered three more rape camps: “Refugees reported orchestrated rapes at Globocica, Urosevac and an unidentified point on the Kosovo-Albania border.” Subsequently, when it was too late to matter, the media sheepishly admitted that the rape-camp stories, like most of NATO’s allegations, were a fabrication. The Washington Post reported that “Western accusations that there were Serb-run rape camps in the cities of Djakovica and Pec, and poorly sourced allegations in some publications that the Serbs were engaging in the mutilation of the living and the dead—including castration and decapitation—all proved to be false.” Even Human Rights Watch’s Fred Abrahams, who had worked as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, admitted in testimony that he had found no evidence to support the incendiary rape-camp allegations.

Still, NATO remained undeterred. During NATO’s next campaign, the one directed against Libya, rape stories made their appearance within days of the launch of the first bombs. Susan Rice, the U.S. Permanent Representative at the U.N., informed the Security Council that Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, was supplying his troops with Viagra in order to help them commit mass rape. Though Rice offered no evidence to support her claims, her charge was sufficient for the International Criminal Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to announce that he had “information to confirm that it was a policy in Libya to rape those who were against the Government. Rape is a new aspect of the repression.” Moreno-Ocampo even accepted as confirmed Rice’s Viagra story: “We are finding some elements confirming this issue of acquisition of Viagra-type of medicaments to show a policy. They were buying containers with products to enhance the possibility to rape, and we are getting the information in detail confirming the policy.”

In the end, predictably enough, NATO’s rape allegations turned out to have been made up out of whole cloth. Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty International, reported that the organization had “not found any evidence or a single victim of rape or a doctor who knew about somebody being raped.” Rovera also dismissed the Viagra story. She said that “rebels dealing with the foreign media in Benghazi started showing journalists packets of Viagra, claiming they came from burned-out tanks, though it is unclear why the packets were not charred.”

Though one allegation after another has proved to be false, NATO will continue to make them, seizing on whatever is the hot-button issue of the moment. NATO does nothing for women and does nothing to stop sexual crimes, whether in NATO member-states or anywhere else in the world. What NATO does do well, thanks to its multimillion dollar sophisticated PR machinery, is seizing on highly emotional issues such as rape and turning them into justifications for bigger budgets, more weaponry, more expansion, more deployments in more countries and, in the end, military action.

George Szamuely, PhD, author of Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia, is Senior Research Fellow at the Global Policy Institute of London Metropolitan University.

Reprinted with author's permission from Counterpunch.]]>
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Trump To Embassies: Sell American Weapons! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/10/trump-to-embassies-sell-american-weapons/
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Showdown: Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Memo vs Legalization Momentum and Public Support Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/09/showdown-jeff-sessions-marijuana-memo-vs-legalization-momentum-and-public-support/

On Thursday, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum in the Department of Justice (DOJ) that many people are concerned will lead to a crackdown by the US government on people acting in compliance with state laws under which, in varying ways, the growth, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana is legal. While the issuing of the memorandum is an important development, there are several reasons to expect that the public support for, and the momentum in favor of, marijuana legalization will overpower any potential US government effort to counter states’ legalization.

In the memorandum, Sessions addresses prior DOJ guidance regarding marijuana prosecutions that included suggesting the exercise of limited restraint in prosecuting some people whose actions comply with state marijuana laws but violate US marijuana laws. Sessions declares that guidance “rescinded, effective immediately.” In the place of the prior guidance, Sessions writes: “In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the [DOJ’s] finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions.” Sessions elaborates that these principles “require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.”

Most important is what Sessions did not include in the memorandum. He does not provide guidance that prosecutors should start prosecuting any people complying with state or local marijuana laws that prosecutors have been refraining from prosecuting. In fact, though well-known for his anti-marijuana rhetoric, Sessions declined to direct or even suggest any increase in marijuana prosecutions whatsoever.

While Sessions’ memorandum stripped away some guidance favorable to people complying with state marijuana laws, it is wrong to characterize that previous guidance as providing secure protection for people complying with state and local laws legalizing marijuana. Indeed, the earlier guidance provided much wiggle room for prosecutions of such individuals. Writing in March about the August of 2013 “Cole memorandum” that laid out much of the guidance for restraint, I discussed several of the avenues that memorandum’s guidance left open for prosecutions. I wrote in part:
The Cole memorandum itself provides Sessions and the DOJ with significant avenues for expanding marijuana prohibition enforcement. The memorandum states that “attorneys and law enforcement” are directed to “focus their enforcement resources and efforts, including prosecution, on persons or organizations whose conduct interferes with” any of eight listed priorities, “regardless of state law.” Included among the listed priorities are preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is illegal, and preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other public health problems from marijuana use.
In short, even before Sessions issued his Thursday memorandum, a large factor restraining US attorneys from pursuing marijuana prosecutions was their own exercise of self-restraint. Guidance from DOJ leadership likely helped encourage prosecutors to exercise more of such restraint, but it also left plenty of room for prosecutions of people complying with state and local marijuana laws.

Indeed, after Sessions issued his marijuana memorandum, several US attorneys quickly announced that the memorandum would have minimal or no effect on their marijuana prosecution activities. For example, Bob Troyer, the US attorney for Colorado (one of the two states where recreational marijuana was first legalized via votes on ballot measures in 2012), indicated in a Thursday press release that, for US prosecutors in Colorado, the Sessions memorandum changes nothing:
Today the Attorney General rescinded the Cole Memo on marijuana prosecutions, and directed that federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions. The United States Attorney’s Office in Colorado has already been guided by these principles in marijuana prosecutions -- focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state. We will, consistent with the Attorney General’s latest guidance, continue to take this approach in all of our work with our law enforcement partners throughout Colorado.
Even if the DOJ wanted to significantly increase arrests and prosecutions of people complying with state marijuana legalization, it would find itself largely on its own, without help from state and local governments in the eight states and Washington, DC that have adopted legal recreational marijuana. Among these states is California, America’s most populous state, where legal sales of recreational marijuana began last week. Given the vast state-legal marijuana operations already in place and their expected expansion into more states in the coming years, pursuing such a major marijuana law enforcement effort would look ludicrous to many. Making a bold statement against legal marijuana and in favor of the US government’s war on the plant is one thing; expending a great amount of resources to stand in front of the powerful legalization locomotive and be run over by it is another.

Supposing the US government proceeds to engage in mass arrests of people complying with state marijuana laws, how does it propose to obtain from juries unanimous guilty verdicts? Jury nullification would be a real challenge in mass prosecutions in these states. In fact, with the strong support for marijuana legalization in America generally and the growing number of state governments moving toward legalization, fear of jury nullification and loss of public support should lead prosecutors to be more reluctant to pursue marijuana cases even in states where prohibition persists.

And marijuana prohibition can be expected to steadily erode over the coming years. The two state governor elections held in November were both won by candidates who promoted rolling back marijuana laws in their election platforms. In Virginia, the governor-elect campaigned for marijuana decriminalization, while, in New Jersey, the governor-elect campaigned for legalization. Phil Murphy, who will be sworn in as the New Jersey governor later this month, has said marijuana legalization will be one of his priorities this year. Meanwhile, Vermont may as soon as this month become the first state to legalize marijuana via a bill passed by a state legislature and signed by a state governor instead of via a ballot measure. And much more legalization and decriminalization seems likely to occur soon across the country.

Overall in America the support for legalization indicated in an October Gallup poll was 64 percent. This total not only shows a high level of support. It also fits into a trend of increasing support over decades of polling. As Justin McCarthy wrote at the Gallup website:
Gallup first asked national adults about their views on the topic in 1969, when 12% supported legalization. Support had more than doubled by the end of the next decade but changed little throughout the 1980s and 1990s. By 2001, however, about a third of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, and support has steadily increased since. A majority of Americans have consistently supported legalizing marijuana since 2013.
An October Pew Research Center survey finds similarly that 61 percent of polled Americans say marijuana should be legalized — double the support registered in the year 2000.

As would be expected, polling further indicates the percentage of Americans opposing the US government enforcing US anti-marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana is even greater than the percentage supporting legalization.

The growing majority support among Americans for marijuana legalization, along with the increasing number of states adopting medical and recreational marijuana legalization, as well as state and local enactment of decriminalization, have helped produce much greater resistance in the US Congress to US marijuana prohibition and, especially, to US government efforts in contravention of state and local liberalization of marijuana laws.

While congressional leadership has prevented bills focused on rolling back the war on marijuana from reaching the House and Senate floors for debates and votes, partial hemp legalization was achieved via the 2014 farm bill and provisions intended to require the US government to respect liberalized state laws regarding medical marijuana have made it into law via amendments to appropriations legislation. Absent leadership resistance, more roll backs of the war on marijuana likely would have passed in Congress.

Notably, the medical marijuana provisions that have since 2014 been included in successive DOJ appropriations bills are intended to impose a legal restraint on prosecutions of people complying with state medical marijuana laws, and Sessions has no power to override such provisions. As I discussed in an August of 2016 article, a decision by the Ninth Circuit found the provisions protect people complying with state medical marijuana laws from prosecution by the US government. But, I also noted that the means to ensure full and lasting protection across America would be to enact a law that provides more unambiguous protection than the language in successive appropriations bills and that ensures the protection is not in jeopardy of disappearing each time appropriations are considered in Congress.

While the top leaders of the Republican majorities in the US House and Senate are not suggesting they will support legislative action to roll back the US government’s war on marijuana, the top Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have spoken against the threat to state-legal marijuana suggested by Sessions’ memorandum. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote at Twitter that Sessions’ “decision to rescind the Cole memo was a very bad” decision that Schumer opposes, as well as that “recreational & medical marijuana” are “one place where states’ rights works.” Also, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated in a press release in response to Sessions’ memorandum her support for continuing to include the medial marijuana protection in the appropriations bills while also noting that “Congress should now consider expanding the provisions to cover those states that have decriminalized marijuana generally.” This is an approach that leadership across-the-board can hopefully soon support, with the clarification that legalization, in addition to decriminalization, should be protected. Even better, legislation could be passed to entirely end the US government’s prohibition on marijuana (both medical and recreational) and hemp, leaving state and local governments to deal with such matters as they choose.

At Marijuana Moment, Tom Angell has posted a compilation of Twitter posts from American politicians, including US House and Senate members, expressing opposition to the Sessions memorandum and the potential arrests and prosecutions the memorandum suggests could start occurring. Notably included in the compilation are comments from Republican politicians. Some of these Republicans, such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) who says he is prepared to hold back action on all DOJ nominations in response to Sessions’ action and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) who says she “repeatedly discouraged Attorney General Sessions from taking this action” that she terms “disruptive to state regulatory regimes and regrettable” are from states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Even in states that have yet to adopt recreational or even medical marijuana legalization, we should expect more congressional Republicans (a much higher percentage of whom have opposed roll backs in the war on marijuana than have their Democratic colleagues) to challenge portions of or all of the US government’s war on marijuana. Last year, for the first time, Gallup’s periodic polling on marijuana legalization found majority support for legalization among Republicans. And that majority support can be expected to increase as younger Republicans are the most supportive of legalization among Republicans. Expect less and less Republican House and Senate members to support the war on marijuana as their states roll back marijuana prohibition or as the majority of their general election voters, or even just a substantial enough minority of their primary voters, become legalization advocates.

Keep in mind as well that in politics money talks. Marijuana has increasingly become a big state-legal business in America since California voters approved medical marijuana legalization in 1996. Companies in the new legal industry and their employees can be expected to spend some dollars pushing back against a US government crackdown should one occur.

Sessions’ marijuana memorandum so far has amounted to all bluster and no action. Maybe that is how he wants it — an opportunity to state as policy his anti-marijuana views for all to see without directing actions that would meet head-on the growing majority public support for marijuana legalization, the strong momentum for legalization’s expansion across the country, and the growing rejection among Congress members of US government marijuana law enforcement efforts. Sessions must know that, if the US government pursues large-scale action against people complying with state marijuana laws, the backlash would be powerful. Indeed, such enforcement action may be the surest way to accelerate the progress toward the Congress finally voting to pull the plug on the US government’s marijuana prohibition.]]>
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Korea Breakthrough Talks Today: Victory For Sports Diplomacy Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/09/korea-breakthrough-talks-today-victory-for-sports-diplomacy/
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Steve Bannon's Done - But It's Way Too Late David Stockman http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/09/steve-bannons-done-but-its-way-too-late/

Good riddance to Steve Bannon. The last thing America needed was a conservative/populist/statist alternative to the Welfare State/Warfare State/Bailout State status quo. Yet what Bannonism boiled down to was essentially acquiescence to the latter -- even as it drove politicization deeper into the sphere of culture, communications and commerce.

Stated differently, the heavy hand of the Imperial City in traditional domestic, foreign and financial matters was already bad enough: Bannonism just gave a thin veneer of ersatz nationalism to what was otherwise the Donald's own dogs' breakfast of protectionism, nativism, xenophobia, jingoism and strong-man bombast.

By the latter, of course, we mean Trump's essentially content free notion that America was falling from greatness mainly due to stupidity, corruption and a penchant for bad deals among Washington pols; and that the undeniable economic malaise, if not decline, of Flyover America was due to some kind of grand global zero sum-game.

That is, what rightly belonged to America was being stolen by immigrants, imports, and the nefarious doings of foreign governments and globalist elites. What was needed to make America Great Again (MAGA), therefore, was a Washington-erected moat to hold back the tide of bad people and unfair foreign economic assaults and a new sheriff in the Oval Office with the "smarts" (with which he believed himself amply endowed) to start "winning" again.

In truth, Trump had it upside down from the beginning. The unfortunate arrival of Steve Bannon to his campaign in August 2016 only served to give the Donald's disheveled basket of bromides, braggadocio, and bile a rightist political edge and proto-intellectual rationalization.

The real problem, in fact, was not the evil flowing into the American homeland from abroad -- whether imports, illegals or terrorists. Rather, it was the outward flow of Washington's monetary and military imperialism that was gutting capitalist prosperity domestically and generating terrorist blowback abroad.

Needless to say, Bannonism never identified the real culprits: Namely, the Wall Street-enriching Bubble Finance policies of the Fed, which forced foreign central banks to buy dollars and trash their own currencies to keep exports "competitive"; the military-industrial-intelligence-foreign aid complex of the American Imperium; and the massively insolvent institutions of the Welfare State social insurance system (Social Security and Medicare) and prodigious spending on means-tested entitlements (Medicaid, food stamps EITC, etc.).

Consequently, the Bannonized agenda had no inkling, either, that fiscal catastrophe was imminent. And that the Trump administration had no real choice except the politically unpalatable path of cutting spending and/or raising taxes -- or eventually getting buried by the inherited fiscal tidal wave cresting at the end of a failed ((102 month old) recovery.

Nor did it grasp that the real cause of Flyover America's distress is the Fed's multi-decade regime of financial repression and Wall Street price-keeping policies which: (1) deplete the real pay of workers via the FOMC's absurd 2 percent inflation target; (2) savage the bank balances of savers and retirees via ZIRP; (3) gut jobs, investment and real pay in the business sector via the C-suites' strip-mining of corporate balance sheets and cash flows to fund Wall Street-pleasing stock buybacks, fatter dividends and M&A empire building; and 4) impale the bottom 80 percent of households on a unrepayable treadmill of (temporarily) cheap debt in order to sustain a simulacrum of middle class living standards.

At the same time, these pernicious monetary central planning policies did fuel the greatest (unsustainable) financial asset inflation in recorded history, thereby showering the top one percent and 10 percent with upwards of $35 trillion of windfall wealth (on paper). At bottom, Fed policy amounted to "trickle-up" with malice aforethought, and it was sponsored and endorsed by the beltway bipartisan consensus.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Trump's flawed candidacy and pastiche of palliatives and pettifoggery appealed to the left-behind working classes of western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa---as well as to the retirees of Florida and culturally-threatened main streeters domiciled in the small towns and countryside of Red State America.

In these precincts, the election was not especially won by Trump. Rather, the electoral college was essentially defaulted to him by a lifetime denizen of the Imperial City who had no clue that war, welfare and windfalls to the wealthy were no longer selling in Flyover America.

Reprinted excerpt with permission from David Stockman's ContraCorner.]]>
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Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us John W. Whitehead http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/09/justice-denied-the-government-is-not-going-to-save-us/

“The warlords of history are still kicking our heads in, and no one, not our fathers, not our Gods, is coming to save us.”— Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: it will not hear the case of Young v. Borders.
 
Despite the fact that a 26-year-old man was gunned down by police who banged on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense, the justices of the high court refused to intervene to address police misconduct.
 
Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, only to be gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex, the Supreme Court refused to balance the scales between justice and injustice.
 
Despite the fact that police shot and killed nearly 1,000 people nationwide for the third year in a row (many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, minors or were shot merely because militarized police who were armed to the hilt “feared” for their safety), the Supreme Court will not act to right the wrongs being meted out by the American police state.
 
Although “knock-and-talk” policing has become a thinly veiled, warrantless—lethal—exercise by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night, the Supreme Court will not make the government play by the rules of the Constitution.
 
The lesson to be learned: the U.S. Supreme Court will not save us.
 
No one is coming to save us: not the courts, not the legislatures, and not the president.
 
According to journalist Michael Harriot:
More people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe (21). More people died at the hands of police in 2017 than the number of black people who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow (161 in 1892). Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists did (four). They killed more citizens than airplanes (13 deaths worldwide), mass shooters (428 deaths) and Chicago’s “top gang thugs” (675 Chicago homicides).
Americans are dying at the hands of the police, and the U.S. government doesn’t care.
 
In Kansas, a prank caller placed a fake 911 call (the tactic is referred to as “swatting”) that prompted a SWAT team to open fire on a 28-year-old unarmed man who had been spending a quiet evening at home with his family. The man was shot dead within moments of appearing outside his home, clearly confused to find his home surrounded by police on all sides, guns pointed in his direction, and orders being shouted at him. Thus far, all the blame has rested with the prank caller and little with the cops who shot first and asked questions later.
 
In New York, a 68-year-old former Marine was shot and killed by police who did a welfare check on him after he accidentally set off his emergency medical alert device. Although Kenneth Chamberlain insisted he was fine, police refused to leave, eventually kicked open the door, zapping Chamberlain with a stun gun, shooting him with beanbag ammunition and then killing him with a pistol shot. The cops were not charged.
 
In Arizona, a police officer was acquitted after he shot an unarmed man outside his hotel room while the man cried, begged and pleaded for his life. As the Associated Press reports:
“The shooting occurred in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa after officers ordered Shaver to exit his hotel room, lie face-down in a hallway and refrain from making sudden movements — or risk being shot. Shaver, 26, sobbed as he begged police not to shoot and was ordered to crawl toward officers. As he inched forward, he reached toward the waistband of his shorts. Brailsford said he fired his rifle because he believed Shaver was grabbing a handgun in his waistband. While no gun was found on Shaver’s body…the detective investigating the shooting had agreed Shaver’s movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but has said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl toward officers.”
It gets worse.
 
You see, it’s not just that the U.S. government appears unconcerned about the fact that Americans are dying at the hands of the police.
 
Right now, the U.S. government is actively doing everything in its power to ensure that the killing spree continues.
 
Take Jeff Sessions, for example.
 
While the president’s conveniently-timed tweets distract the public and dominate the headlines, his attorney general continues to bulldoze over the Constitution, knocking down what scant protections remain between the citizenry and the hydra-headed police state.
 
Within his first year as attorney general, Jeff Sessions has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.
 
What this means is more militarized police, more asset forfeiture, more private prisons, more SWAT team raids, more police shootings of unarmed citizens, and more wars waged by the government against the American people.
 
And while the crime rate may be falling, the death toll—casualties of the government’s war on the American people—is growing.
 
The body count will continue to mount as long as the courts continue to march in lockstep with the police state, as long as police unions continue to strong-arm politicians into letting police agencies get away with murder, as long as legislators continue to care more about getting re-elected than about protecting the rights of the citizenry, as long as police continue to treat their fellow citizens as enemy combatants on a battlefield, as long as the media continues to focus the spotlight on circus politics, and as long as the citizenry fail to be alarmed and outraged every time the police state shoots another hole in the Constitution.
 
Even so, it’s not just the police shootings that are cause for concern.
 
We are inching ever closer to a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen before, and “we the people” are woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with a government that is corrupt, topsy turvy, unjust, immoral, illegal, brutal, violent, war-hungry, greedy, biased, imbalanced, unaccountable, non-transparent, fascist and as illegitimate as they come.
 
Where do we go from here?
 
We’ve been through troubled times before.
 
In fact, it was 50 years ago this year, in 1968, when the country was buffeted by assassinations, riots and protests: “The assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The riots that shook Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and other U.S. cities. Campus protests. Civil rights protests. Vietnam War protests. The Tet Offensive. The My Lai massacre. The rise of Richard Nixon and the retreat of Lyndon Johnson.”
 
Fifty years later, we’re no better off.
 
The nation is still being buffeted by economic instability, racial inequality, injustice, police brutality, government misconduct and a rising discontent on the part of the populace.
 
I can’t help but wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would have to say to about his dream today.
 
Certainly, the reality we must contend with is far different from King’s dream of a world without racism, militarism and materialism: America has become a ticking time bomb of racial unrest and injustice, police militarization, surveillance, government corruption and ineptitude, the blowback from a battlefield mindset and endless wars abroad, and a growing economic inequality between the haves and have nots.
 
King himself—in life, a hard-talking, charismatic leader, voice of authority, and militant, nonviolent activist minister/peace warrior who staged sit-ins, boycotts and marches and lived through police attack dogs, water cannons and jail cells—has been so watered down in death that younger generations recognize his face but know very little about his message.
 
Yet King had a lot to say that remains relevant to our day and age.
 
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
 
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time — the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”
 
“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
 
“We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.”
 
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.’”
 
We cannot afford to wait until it is “too late.”
 
This is no time to stand silently on the sidelines. It’s a time for anger and reform. Most importantly, it’s a time for making ourselves heard. And there is no better time to act than the present.
 
As Robert F. Kennedy reminded his listeners in a speech delivered at the University of Cape Town in 1966, “Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives. Everything that makes man’s life worthwhile—family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children and a place to rest one’s head—all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people.”
 
What can ordinary citizens do?
 
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, instead of sitting around and waiting for someone else to change things, take charge. Never discount the part that everyday citizens play in our nation’s future. You can change things, but there can be no action without education. Get educated about your rights and exercise them. Start by reading the Bill of Rights. You can do so online at www.rutherford.org. Or, if you want a copy to keep with you, email me at staff@rutherford.org and I’ll send you a free one.
 
Most important of all, just get out there and do your part to make sure that your government officials hear you. The best way to ensure that happens is by never giving up, never backing down, and never remaining silent. To quote Dr. King, “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.”
 
It doesn’t matter whether you’re protesting the economy, the war, the environment or something else altogether. What matters is that you do your part. As that great revolutionary firebrand Samuel Adams pointed out, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.”
 
Take some time right now and start your own brushfire for freedom. Learn about the issues and then take a stand: attend local government meetings, contact your representatives, raise awareness within your community, and generally make your voice heard.
 
It’s midnight in America right now. But the real question is, will there be a dawn?
 
That’s up to you and me. The future is in our hands.

Reprinted with permission from the Rutherford Institute.]]>
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Who Killed The Iran Protests? Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/08/who-killed-the-iran-protests/

One prime indicator that anti-government protests in Iran have truly died down to the point of now being completely snuffed out as reports today suggest, and as we began reporting at the end of last week, is that current headlines are now merely focused on the barely lingering and ephemeral "social media battle" and anonymous YouTube activism, along with multiple postmortem accounts of a failed movement already out. It seems there's now clear consensus that Iran's streets have grown quiet. 

It was evident by the end of last week that demonstrations were fizzling - even as the headlines breathlessly attempted to portray a bigger and more unified movement than what was really occurring on the ground. By many accounts, it was the much larger pro-government rallies that began to replace the quickly dying anti-regime protests by the middle of last week.

But a central question that remains is, who killed the Iran protests? There seemed to be a direct correlation between Western and outside officials weighing in with declarations of "solidarity" and support for regime change, and the drastic decline in protest size and distribution. 

One such postmortem on the now dead Iran protests published on Sunday begins by lamenting:
Less than 10 days ago, a few sporadic demonstrations about economic hardships across Iran sparked a global media frenzy. In a matter of hours, social media became delirious with #IranProtest, awash with confident assertions that “The Iranian People want regime change”. Donald Trump waded in with his support. Nigel Farage, the unlikely new champion of Iran’s revolution, hosted an LBC radio Iran special.

Despite all of this excitement, reports from Tehran over the past few days have suggested that #IranProtests may - for now - be fizzling out (read brutally contained by the authorities).
Within the first days of protests and rioting, we posed the obvious question, "Are we witnessing regime change agents hijacking economic protests?" - this after the US State Department's first statement declared solidarity with "freedom and democracy seeking" protesters while prematurely speaking of "transition of government". Immediately came the predictable flurry of tweets and statements from government officials and think tankers alike echoing the familiar script which seems to roll out when anyone protests for any reason in a country considered an enemy of the United States.

And then there was Bibi Netanyahu's surprising televised address to "the Iranian people" on behalf of the state of Israel, wishing them "success in their noble quest for freedom" - something which we predicted would only have an adverse effect on the demonstrators' momentum, considering that authorities in Tehran accused protest leaders of serving the interests of and being in league with foreign "enemies" like Saudi Arabia and Israel nearly from day one.

The address was surprising precisely because it was the surest way to kill the protests as quickly as possible. From the moment Netanyahu publicly declared, "When this regime [the Iranian government] finally falls, and one day it will, Iranians and Israelis will be great friends once again" - all the air was sucked out of whatever momentum the protesters had. 

For many average Iranians who had not yet joined anti-government demonstrations at that point, Bibi's speech gave them every incentive to stay home. All that the regime had to say at that point was, "see, you are in league with enemies of the nation!" And that is exactly what Tehran did. It was on the very Monday of Netanyahu's speech that Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced it would be taking charge of the security situation in Tehran, though likely they were mobilized earlier.

Early on Sunday the IRGC declared that rioting, sedition, and demonstrations are now finished: "Iran’s revolutionary people along with tens of thousands of Basij forces, police and the Intelligence Ministry have broken down the chain [of unrest] created... by the United States, Britain, the Zionist regime [Israel], Saudi Arabia, the hypocrites [Mujahideen] and monarchists," a statement from the group’s Sepahnews website said. Also on Sunday state TV reported that Iranian Parliament held a closed-door meeting to assess the security situation throughout the country - no doubt they were talking about the plotting of external enemies to exploit Iran's domestic situation.

And who can blame the Iranian authorities for believing this? Even France seemed to be in rare agreement with both Russia, China, and even the Iranian authorities on this one.

Speaking of Iran's parliament, Iranian citizens probably remember very well that a short time ago (June 2017), parliament was hit by a deadly ISIS attack which involved gunmen and suicide bombers terrorizing central Tehran, leaving 12 dead and 42 injured. What was Washington's response? The White House essentially said that Iran had it coming: White House response to the June 2017 ISIS attack on downtown Tehran: "We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

So likely, Iranians don't believe for a minute that either the American or Israeli governments actually care for people protesting on the streets - only a short while ago they were told "it's your fault" as ISIS shed blood in their streets and government buildings. 

During Friday's UN emergency session in which the US found itself isolated, France stuck by President Macron's earlier words blaming the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia for stoking tensions and exploiting Iran's domestic unrest in a situation he said could lead to war. French Ambassador Francois Delattre urged Iran's enemies to back off, saying just before the UN meeting, "Yes, of course, to vigilance and call for full respect of freedom of expression, but no to instrumentalization of the crisis from the outside - because it would only reinforce the extremes, which is precisely what we want to avoid." 

His call to cautiously prevent the "instrumentalization of the crisis from the outside" was a clear reference to the repeat Israeli and US officials' demands for international solidarity with the anti-Tehran protesters in cause of regime change. Or perhaps France also simply understood the obvious truth... that all the premature foaming at the mouth talk of Tehran regime overthrow coming out of Washington and Tel Aviv or other Western capitals would be the surest way to halt protests dead in their tracks. 

Because nobody wants to be hijacked in their cause... nobody wants to play stooge to foreign powers... nobody wants to be a geopolitical pawn, not the least of which the Iranians, who've had a long and bloody history of outside foreign meddling in their politics. Though the usual pundits will now simply fault the brutal and efficient IRGC for snuffing out the protests, they should look much closer to home.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/08/who-killed-the-iran-protests/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/08/who-killed-the-iran-protests/ Mon, 08 Jan 2018 21:12:39 GMT
Just Say No to Jeff Sessions Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/08/just-say-no-to-jeff-sessions/

Attorney General Jeff Sessions kicked off the New Year by reversing the Obama-era guidance for federal prosecutors to limit their enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. In what is almost certainly not a coincidence, Sessions’ announcement came days after California’s law legalizing recreational marijuana sales went into effect. Sessions’ action thus runs counter to the wishes of the majority of the people in the most populous US state, as well the people of the 28 other states (and DC) that have legalized some form of marijuana use.

Federal laws criminalizing marijuana and other drugs have failed to reduce drug use. However, they have succeeded in giving power-hungry politicians and bureaucrats what was, before 9-11, the go-to justification for violating our civil liberties. The federal war on marijuana has also wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Far from reducing crime, outlawing drugs causes crime by ensuring criminals will control the market for drugs. Outlawing drugs also provides incentives for drug dealers to increase the potency, and thus the danger, of drugs, as higher potency products take up less space and are thus easier to conceal from law enforcement.

The US Constitution does not give the federal government any authority to criminalize marijuana. Thus, the question of whether marijuana is legal is one of the many issues reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment. If the Constitution gives Congress the power to ban marijuana, then why was it necessary to amend the Constitution to give Congress the power to ban alcohol?

Sessions’ usurpation of state marijuana laws is the type of federal intrusion into state issues usually opposed by conservatives. Sadly, too many conservatives are just as willing to sacrifice constitutional government and individual liberties for the war on drugs as they are for the war on terror.

Conservative hypocrisy is especially strong when it comes to medical marijuana. Many Americans have used medical marijuana for conditions such as cancer and glaucoma. Yet many conservatives who (properly) decry Obamacare’s mandate forcing every American to purchase health insurance cheer Jeff Sessions’ effort to deprive suffering individuals of the medical treatment of their choice. Cruel paternalism in healthcare policy is often associated with progressives, but unfortunately conservatives are just as guilty.

States that have legalized medical marijuana have fewer deaths related to opioid abuse. These states have also experienced a decrease in crime and black market activity. This is perhaps because some have found medical marijuana a viable alternative to opioids.

Laws outlawing marijuana criminalize peaceful behavior that, while potentially harmful to the individual, does not violate the rights of others. Therefore, these laws, like all laws authorizing government force against peaceful, if immoral, actions, are incompatible with a free society. Once again we see the hypocrisy of conservatives who decry progressives’ war on tobacco and fatty foods, yet support jailing marijuana users.

Federal laws outlawing marijuana violate the Constitution, justify violations of civil liberties, and increase violence. By criminalizing nonviolent behavior voluntarily chosen by individuals, drug laws undermine the moral principles underlying a free society.

President Trump should fire Jeff Sessions and replace him with someone who respects the Constitution and individual liberty. Also, officials from states with legal medical or recreational marijuana should refuse to cooperate with those tasked with enforcing federal marijuana laws. If President Trump and state officials stand up for liberty, the people will join them in saying no to Jeff Sessions.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/08/just-say-no-to-jeff-sessions/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/january/08/just-say-no-to-jeff-sessions/ Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:20:14 GMT