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Daniel McAdams

Defense Spending Bill: $600 Million More to Train "Moderates" in Syria

Last year's National Defense Authorization Act allocated half a billion dollars to train "vetted," "moderate" rebels to attack ISIS in Syria and also to overthrow the country's sovereign government. This schizophrenic policy goal not surprisingly produced a total (after the others were killed, captured, or willingly gave their weapons to ISIS) of four or five fighters. Even this micro force of five ultimately found itself in the depths of embarrassment as it was carjacked by al-Qaeda. Half a billion dollars to have five guys carjacked! Put ten plumbers in a room and they could craft a more workable foreign policy than the entirety of the US foreign policy establishment.

So how does Capitol Hill respond to such a total failure? Reassess the policy and cut the losses? Welcome the Russian entry into the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria? Look at Iraq and Libya and decide that regime change is just an illicit fantasy of the perpetual adolescents of the neoconservative movement?
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Why is Washington Against Russia Bombing ISIS and Al-Qaeda?

On Wednesday the Russian military became active in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria. Pursuant to a request from the Syrian government, Moscow first began deploying military equipment and trainers as well as humanitarian assistance. Then the Russian parliament approved the use of force, and force was indeed used on Wednesday. 

The Obama Administration is not happy about this development. 

The US has been bombing Syria for a year without permission from the Syrian government and without a UN Security Council resolution authorizing an attack on a sovereign nation. That means US strikes on Syrian soil are illegal according to international law. However the first US response to the Russian strikes against ISIS in Syria was to condemn the Russian government for not coordinating its strikes with the US.
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US Exploited Assad's Fight Against Al-Qaeda

The US government has been relying on its standard narrative that the Syria crisis emerged spontaneously after an "Arab Spring" inspired protest was violently suppressed by the Syrian government. The entire US intervention was justified on these grounds. In other words, the "Assad must go" position of the US government was simply a reflection of his decision to attack his own citizens in 2011. Thus the Obama Administration, as it did in Ukraine, has attempted to disavow any role in fomenting the uprising and thus any responsibility for the violence that ensued.

But like much else in US foreign policy the narrative is wholly false, constructed to propagandize the American people in favor of US intervention and shield the US government from any fallout.

In fact the US government had long had its sights on regime change in Syria, starting at least with the Project for a New American Century's plan peddled to George W. Bush to overthrow five countries in five years and remake the entire Middle East. The neocons always like to think big, but like any slimy salesman they never deliver as promised. Their Iraq "cakewalk" proved a deathwalk.
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UK Assassinates British Citizens In Syria

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his government had used drone strikes to kill two British citizens suspected of membership in ISIS in Syria. This is a major escalation for a country whose parliament voted against British bombing of Syria in 2013. Cameron claimed he had no other choice but to bomb, as there was "no government to work with" in Syria -- after the past four years of US/UK "regime change" policy toward Syria had nothing to do with this! More today on the Liberty Report...
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Prisoner Of Conscience? The Case Of The Kentucky Clerk

Civil liberties, civil disobedience, judicial supremacism, state's rights, rule of law, natural rights, etc. The case of Kentucky's county clerk Kim Davis is much more complicated and nuanced than proponents or opponents of her actions would have us believe. As she currently remains in jail for refusing to sign marriage certificates for same-sex couples, the Ron Paul Liberty Report takes a look at the many ways of looking at this very difficult issue...
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White House: Russian Military Action Against ISIS in Syria Would be 'Destabilizing'

Today's lesson in how propaganda works: The rumor mill turns a trickle of a story early this week about "thousands" of Russian soldiers deploying to Syria any day -- a wholly unsourced story originating on an Israeli website -- into a torrent of hyperventilating about the "Russian invasion" of Syria. 

Today neocon convicted felon Eliot Abrams took to the Council on Foreign Relations website to amplify the Israeli article (again with no sources or evidence) to a whole new and more dramatic article ominously titled "Putin in Syria." Abrams adds "reporting" by Michael Weiss, who has long been on the payroll of viscerally anti-Putin oligarch Michael Khodorkovsky, without revealing the obvious bias in the source. Never mind, all Weiss adds to Abrams' argument is that the Pentagon is "cagey" about discussing Russian involvement in Syria before again referencing the original (unsourced) Israeli article.

See how this works? Multiple media outlets report based on the same totally unsourced article and suddenly all the world's writing about the Russian invasion of Syria.
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The War on Cash

Governments across the globe seek ways to more effectively consolidate their power over those they govern. One of the most effective and insidious ways of gaining control of citizens and their habits is to forbid the use of cash in commercial transactions. Forcing all transactions to be electronic allows the government to know everything you purchase -- and how much of it. It allows the government to better manipulate your spending habits through negative interest rates. It is also a war on the poor and those with fixed incomes. The war on cash is a war on liberty. Today's Ron Paul Liberty Report is joined by Mises Institute Academic Vice President Joseph Salerno, a well-known expert on the implications of the war on cash...
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NY Times: Why Isn't Obama Backing Al-Qaeda in Syria?

undefinedJust fourteen years after al-Qaeda attacked New York, the New York Times is wondering why the Obama Administration is not cooperating more closely with al-Qaeda. 

Of course they don't put it quite that way. In an article posted yesterday, the "paper of record" first builds up an impressive new fighting group in Syria that is, as they say, a "potential ally" of the United States, but that the Administration has for some reason found "challenging" to openly embrace:
A rebel group with thousands of fighters, political clout and close ties to key regional powers has emerged as one of the most powerful opposition forces in Syria in recent months. It has vowed to fight the Islamic State and called for engagement with the West.

But despite a long struggle by the United States to find a viable opposition in Syria to counter President Bashar al-Assad and fight the Islamic State, the Obama administration has shown no interest in working with the group, Ahrar al-Sham, or the Free Men of Syria.
A powerful force, ties to key regional powers, vows to fight both ISIS and Assad, calls for "engagement" with the West, and it even has a name straight out of Hill & Knowlton: the "Free Men of Syria." What's not to like? The New York Times presents it as a dream come true. 
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Hillary's Libyan Torturers

Remember when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was so intent on a US attack on Libya that she disregarded the US Intelligence Community, the Pentagon, and even her colleagues in the Obama Administration to force her "humanitarian intervention"? Clinton was so distrusted by the Pentagon that they opened up their own lines of communication with Libyan officials -- they knew she was feeding them and the State Department boldfaced lies. 

Even members of Hillary's own party in Congress were skeptical of her claims.

Gaddafi's son and presumed heir, Saif, told then-Rep. Dennis Kucinich (an RPI Board Member) that Hillary was using false information to justify the coming US attack on his country. (Thankfully, Mr. Kucinich understood his Constitutional obligation to act as member of an equal branch of government and did his own investigation of Administration claims.)
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Escalation in Syria: Obama To Airstrike Assad?

When the latest US-trained batch of fighters were sent into Syria, many were immediately captured by al-Qaeda. So much for US training. Some of the others called for US military air support which was granted. Subsequently, President Obama announced that the US would use airstrikes to protect any future fighters it sends into Syria -- whether against ISIS or even the Syrian government. Does this mean the US is now at war with Syria? And where is Congress? Today's Liberty Report looks at the rapidly escalating US military mission in Syria...
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