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Daniel McAdams

Why is US Ambassador McFaul Sticking His Nose Into the Navalny Trial?

As Bradley Manning finds his escape routes from a life sentence for his whistle-blowing quickly shut down by judges who are closely tied to the prosecutors, and as whistle-blower Edward Snowden faces life on the run from the largest intelligence network in history along with its army of drones, US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul found time to Tweet his extreme dissatisfaction with a criminal trial in Moscow. “We are deeply disappointed in the conviction of Navalny and the apparent political motivations in this trial,” he announced to his Twitter followers. The irony escaped him, to be sure.

Like the majority of Russians who have never heard of Alexei Navalny, most Americans are likely unfamiliar with the dissident so cherished by the neoconservative regime change crowd in the US.  To Washington Post’s extreme Russophobic editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, Navalny is a “daring opposition blogger” who is to be held up as the model of a civil society that would emerge if only the tyrant Putin were overthrown.
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Goodbye, Janet

As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano departs her post for the fairer climes of the University of California, she leaves behind a government monstrosity that not only is not in better shape than when she arrived, but is teetering on the verge of total collapse. The woman whose husky voice reminded us -- in the Metro, in Walmart, everywhere -- to say something if we see something, has left behind a workplace where the employees have the lowest morale anywhere in government -- despite pay boosts and numerous colorful special recognition awards programs.

In all fairness, it would be wrong to blame only Ms. Napolitano for the fact that most DHS employees would rather get a root canal than go to work. Imagine the humiliation of working for the Transportation Security Administration, for example, where days are spent either irradiating innocent Americans or groping them. Snatching an iPad from someone's bag may give a temporary boost, but in all it is miserable work.
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Obama's Second Term Foreign Policy: A Full Tank or Running on Empty?

At the Ron Paul Institute, our job is to look critically at US foreign policy and point out the disasters of successive interventionist and empire-building administrations. But asked to more clearly define what this Administration is really up to thus far in its second term -- what are its goals, what values does it seek to convey worldwide, what are its motivations -- we often feel at a profound loss.

What does the president want to see happen in Egypt? Syria? What happens next in Afghanistan, Obama's "good war"? Russia re-set?
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Congress to Obama: Punish Iranians!

The House Foreign Affairs Committee plays hide and go seek with Iran's imaginary nuclear weapons programs this week, demonstrating the utter futility in hoping for any sort of foreign policy intelligence coming from the "People's Branch" of government. As Professor Rozeff points out in a recent LRC blog post, all but one member of the House Foreign Relations Committee signed a letter "urging President Obama to increase the pressure on Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs."
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Father Francois Murad Beheaded By US-Allies in Syria

Thanks to RPI contributor Pat Lang for putting a face to the victim of the US-backed Syrian rebels' latest ghastly atrocity. Father Francois Murad was a Franciscan priest who had been in hiding since the monastery he was building in Syria came under attack from the US-allied rebels. Accused of collaborating with the Syrian government, Father Murad was beheaded with what appears a small kitchen knife, as his attackers yelled "Allah Akbar."
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Obama's Syrian Allies

The Washington Times is reporting that the US shift in favor of overtly arming the Syrian rebels was celebrated by the rebels with an orgy of innocent blood. According to the Times, a Christian priest and another Christian believer were beheaded by the US-allied radicals after claiming that the two Christians were siding with Syrian president Bashar Assad.

Writes the Times:
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What Can One Person Do Versus the Leviathan?

Over at Lew Rockwell's blog, RPI Academic Board Member Butler Shaffer has written a thought-provoking piece on how the (thus far) successful escape of NSA leaker Edward Snowden reveals how the individual with his innumerable complex and ever-changing calculations and perceptions based on self-interest can triumph over the lumbering bureaucracy, which huffs and puffs and in the end falls back on its own weaknesses and contradictions. It is an uplifting tale for those of us feeling a bit saggy under the weight of the immensity of exposed leviathan.
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US Military to Egypt?

KCEN-TV is reporting (via Drudge) that a group of US soldiers from Fort Hood are preparing to deploy to Egypt in a riot control capacity and to "protect" Egypt's border with Israel.

The brief report raises far more questions than it answers, such as why the US military is protecting the Israel/Egypt border, whether this actually means the US military is helping enforce the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip, and why the US military is being used to defend the Egyptian regime in the case of civil unrest.
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New Tourism Opportunities in Egypt

Post Arab Spring Egypt is a barrel of laughs.

Just over two years ago the president glowingly praised the US-assisted Arab Spring, claiming a triumph of US-style values. He reaffirmed American exceptionalism and his "firm belief that America’s interests are not hostile to people’s hopes; they’re essential to them."

But things haven't turned out so well. In Luxxor, home of the most important ancient Egyptian treasures, for example, US-allied president Mummahad Morsi has just appointed as new governor a member of the Gamaa Islamiya terrorist group, which which was responsible for the 1997 massacre of 58 tourists.
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Who is Ben Rhodes?

Ben Rhodes
photo: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

Everyone is wondering who is Ben Rhodes, a 30-something who ascended from literally nowhere to be what seems a main driving force behind Obama's foreign policy. He is credited with convincing the president to embrace the Arab Spring, convincing the president to bomb Libya, and, now, convincing the president to start yet another war, this time against Syria.

Who is he? How did a 24-year old aspiring fiction-writer in 2002 suddenly become one of the drafters of not only the 9/11 Commission report but also the Iraq Study Group Report? Then move on to Obama's presidential campaign as a speechwriter and then to Deputy National Security Advisor, from where he announced the beginning of a US war on Syria while the president met with supporters in the East Room of the White House? Those familiar with Washington know that such miraculous ascents rarely happen on their own and are equally rarely the result of pure, raw talent.


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