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Jason Ditz

GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Sought Trump Deal With Assange

Last month, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This meeting led to a potential deal being brought to the White House by Rohrabacher.

Under this deal, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal, Assange would provide conclusive proof that Russia was not the source of hacked emails WikiLeaks published. In return, he would be offered a pardon, or some other assurance that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by the US for involvement in WikiLeaks.
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White House Continues to Talk Up ‘Preventative War’ Against North Korea

While there has been a concerted effort from some members of the Trump Administration to downplay the risk of an imminent nuclear war with North Korea, the possibility of such a conflict is still palpable, with White House officials openly talking about launch a “preventative war” to resolve the situation.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is seen as one of the leading advocates of this idea, which seeks to avoid the question of how much of a threat North Korea will pose in the future by just attacking them outright now, consequences be damned.
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US Airstrikes Kill at Least 43 Civilians in Syria’s Raqqa

New reports out of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa say US airstrikes hit a number of residential districts in the city over the course of Saturday, killing at least 43 civilians and wounding an unknown, but substantial number of others.

There was no obvious specific target for the strikes, though the US has been generally targeting ISIS forces within the city to try to back the Kurdish-led invasion. The casualties in this case, however, appear to be overwhelmingly civilians.
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Pence Cheers New Russia Sanctions Bill, in Split with Trump

The Trump Administration’s continued struggle to get on the same page with one another on foreign policy messages continued today, as Vice President Mike Pence, touring Eastern Europe, issued statements praising the new Russia sanctions bill signed earlier this week.

The bill was passed by vast majorities in both the House and Senate, and signed by President Trump, though the president has since slammed the bill as the reason for worsening US-Russia relations, which he termed to be at “an all-time and very dangerous low.
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Netanyahu Opposes US-Russia South Syria Ceasefire Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear today that he and his government oppose the ongoing ceasefire in Southern Syria, a deal negotiated between the United States and Russia, and which has continued to hold throughout the past week.

Netanyahu made the comments during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, declaring himself totally opposed to the ceasefire. Israeli officials revealed that the objections are primarily related to Iran still having forces inside Syria supporting the Assad government.
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House Approves $696 Billion Military Spending Bill


In a 344-81 vote yesterday, the House of Representatives passed their version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $696 billion spending bill which far exceeds the amount of money sought by the Pentagon and the Trump Administration.

The bill has a base $621.5 billion funding, nad $75 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, which includes at least $10 billion that are earmarked as part of the OCO but intended to be spent on domestic military spending.
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US Tells North Korea It Is Prepared to Go to War

The top US general on the Korean Peninsula, Gen. Vincent Brooks, today issued a statement announcing that the United States is totally prepared to start a war against North Korea at any moment, and that it is only “self-restraint” that has kept the US from attacking so far.

Gen. Brooks went on to insist that America’s self-restraint “is a choice,” and that America can change their choice whenever they want to, ending the armistice and restarting the 1950 Korean War. This comes amid President Trump repeatedly talking up military action against North Korea, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster insisting that all of the options prepared for Trump involve a military component.
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US Troops Kill Three Civilians After Afghan Roadside Bombing

A US military convoy in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province was hit by a roadside bomb earlier today, with Pentagon officials quick to insist that no one was wounded in the incident. Three civilians, however, two of them children, were killed in the immediate aftermath.

The US troops responded to the bomb hitting their vehicle by getting out and firing indiscriminately, according to Afghan police, who say that the US gunfire killed a brickworker named Ziyar Gul, and two of his children, both 10-year-old boys. A third son who was present at the scene survived, running to get help, though by the time he returned everyone else was dead.
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