Saturday July 30, 2016
When NATO murdered Gaddafi and blitzed his country in 2011, they hoped the socialist "Jamahiriya" movement he led would be dead and buried. Now his son has been released from prison to a hero’s welcome with his movement increasingly in the ascendancy.
There were various moments during NATO’s destruction of Libya that were supposed to symbolically crown Western supremacy over Libya and its institutions (and, by implication, over all African and Arab peoples): the "fall of Tripoli" in August 2011; Cameron and Sarkozy’s victory speeches the following month; the lynch-mob execution of Muammar Gaddafi that came soon after. All of them were pyrrhic victories - but none more so than the death sentence handed down to Gaddafi’s son (and effective deputy leader) Saif al-Gaddafi in July 2015.
Saif had been captured by the Zintan militia shortly after his father and brother were killed by NATO’s death squads in late 2011. The International Criminal Court – a neocolonial farce which has only ever indicted Africans – demanded he be handed over to them, but the Zintan – fiercely patriotic despite having fought with NATO against Gaddafi – refused. Over the next two years the country descended into the chaos and societal collapse that Gaddafi had predicted, sliding inexorably towards civil war.
Friday July 29, 2016
The developments in Turkey are taking a dramatic turn. All Indications are that the Turkish government is in possession of definite information that the attempted military coup was orchestrated by the United States. (Anadolu)
The Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag made an open allegation in a television interview:
The US knows that Fethullah Gülen (the cleric who lives in Pennsylvania) carried out this coup. Mr. Obama knows this just as well as he knows his own name. I am convinced that American intelligence knows it too.
Bozdag is known to be one of the closest and trusted political associates of President Recep Erdogan. The well-informed Turkish political commentator Semih Idiz wrote that “This belief (Bozdag’s allegation) goes all the way to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It implies that Washington knew what was coming and did nothing to warn Ankara. The pro-government Islamist media has even claimed that the U.S. tried to kill Erdoğan with this coup attempt.”
The government has taken into confidence Turkey’s two main opposition parties – the Kemalist party CHP (Republican Party) and the nationalist party MHP (Nationalist Movement Party). The ruling AKP (Justice & Development Party) and the CHP and MHP have set aside their political differences and have voiced support for Ankara’s demand to Washington for the extradition of the Islamist cleric Fetullah Gulen. No doubt, this grand reconciliation could have implications in the downstream for the fractured Turkish political landscape. (VOA)
Friday July 29, 2016
We haven’t seen this kind of hysteria since the darkest days of the cold war: a spy scare that is being utilized by one political party against another in a national election, with charges of disloyalty and even “treason” being hurled by one side against the other. The publication of the Democratic National Committee’s emails by WikiLeaks has caused a storm of spin and counter-spin that threatens to throw the entire election discourse off balance – not that it was all that centered to begin with – and cause an international incident with perilous consequences for us all.
The media, one and all, have decided that the DNC hack was the work of the Russian government, and the Democrats have taken this one step further and declared that Moscow is pushing the candidacy of Donald Trump due to his oft-stated hope to “get along” with Vladimir Putin. And US government officials have added their voices to this chorus, with the New York Times reporting that unnamed members of the “intelligence community” believe “with high confidence” that the Russian state is behind the hack.
This is impressive, at least in Washington, D.C., where the pronouncements of government officials are taken as holy writ. For the rest of us, however, who remember that this same “intelligence community” declared with certainty that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction,” this assertion should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Indeed, one might almost be tempted to write this conclusion off as quite obviously erroneous and self-serving, given the record of the people who are making it.
Thursday July 28, 2016
As many neocons shift over to support Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, there are appearing a few bumps in the road. Last night at the convention, for example, former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta found himself drowned out by chants of "no more war!" as he touted Hillary's hawkishness. There are insurgent antiwar factions in both major parties but the establishment is trying to minimize their power and influence. How long can the center hold? More today in the Liberty Report...
Thursday July 28, 2016
The bones of our democracy — the core elements that separate that way of life from others — lie in the First Amendment to the Constitution, specifically the rights to free speech and a free press.
Without the ability to speak freely, and to have things about our government reported equally freely to us, most of the rest of the concept of what was laid out on July 4, 1776 and later falls away. Thomas Jefferson himself stated that an “informed citizenry” was the key to everything.
So it is with more than a little anxiety that we learned secret rules allow the FBI to spy on journalists with such ease that the restraints are really nothing more than a bit of paperwork. As always, the ostensible justifications for another deep step into Post Constitutional America are terrorism, security, protecting the homeland. And, as always, the outcome seems to be much more about stomping out whistleblowers than anything else.
As revealed by an anonymous whistleblower to The Intercept (the government refused to release the information), secret rules allow FBI agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from only two internal officials. No warrant needed. No outside oversight. No courts, no judges, no hearings, no public records.
Wednesday July 27, 2016
Has Vladimir Putin taken over the US electoral process? That has been the media mantra over the past 24 hours or so, since a Wikileaks data dump revealed a deeply flawed presidential selection in the Democratic Party. Rather than address how Democratic National Committee employees colluded with the media to push their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and the media have claimed that the whole release was engineered by Russian president Vladimir Putin. They claim Putin is seeking to get Trump elected. RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams appears on RT's flagship political debate program Crosstalk to discuss...
Tuesday July 26, 2016
Reporters and pundits covering the presidential campaign of Donald Trump have been torn between two conflicting narratives: The first is that Trump is a reckless amateur and, as president with his finger on the nuclear button, he would bring the world to the brink of catastrophe. The second is that Trump is a cat’s paw for Russian President Vladimir Putin and, as president, he would, advertently or inadvertently, work to implement Moscow’s agenda for world domination.
The first narrative is a familiar one. Past Republican presidential candidates—Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan—have all had to fight off accusations that, if elected, they would waste no time before launching World War III. The second narrative however is somewhat unusual. It is not often that Republicans are accused of acting as witting or unwitting tools of the Kremlin—at least not by so-called liberals.
For it is liberal media outlets that are the most enthusiastic purveyors of this tale of Putin, the manipulative mastermind, and Trump, his would-be hand puppet. Most of these stories depict Trump as a buffoonish narcissist, easily susceptible to the empty flattery doled out by a predatory Putin. In a story titled “Putin’s Puppet,” Franklin Foer in Slate claimed that Putin “has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump.”
Tuesday July 26, 2016
Politics is entertainment.
It is a heavily scripted, tightly choreographed, star-studded, ratings-driven, mass-marketed, costly exercise in how to sell a product—in this case, a presidential candidate—to dazzled consumers who will choose image over substance almost every time.
This year’s presidential election, much like every other election in recent years, is what historian Daniel Boorstin referred to as a “pseudo-event”: manufactured, contrived, confected and devoid of any intrinsic value save the value of being advertised. It is the end result of a culture that is moving away from substance toward sensationalism in an era of mass media.
As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.” In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.
Tuesday July 26, 2016
How many of us does it take to move the US in a direction toward a more peaceful foreign policy and the restoration of civil liberties at home? Not as many as people might think. But what is critical is that we educate ourselves and then do our best to help educate others. Some of the drug decriminalization we are seeing today would be unheard of just a few years ago. People's opinion begins changing until a tipping point is reached, and then policy changes. RPI Senior Fellow Adam Dick joins the Liberty Report to discuss his new book, "A Tipping Point for Liberty," which points us in the right direction...
Monday July 25, 2016
Wikileaks over the last few days dumped tens of thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.
The disclosures of dirty tricks directed against Bernie Sanders contained in those emails are startling, and only add to the whirlpool of corruption and sleaze surrounding Hillary Clinton and the wheezing corpse of the democratic process.
There's a lot to unpack here:
-- The same people on the Clinton team who made enormous efforts to claim her private email server, which operated unencrypted over the Internet for three months including during trips to China and Russia and which contained Top Secret national security data, was not hacked by the Russians now are certain that the DNC server was hacked by the Russians.
-- Many in Camp Clinton and the media labeled Bernie Sanders' supporters are paranoid when they made claims during the primaries that the DNC was working against them. The hacked emails confirm the DNC was working against them, including suggestions that the DNC find ways to suggest Sanders was an atheist to discredit him in religious areas.