http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/rss.aspx?blogid=3 Sat, 21 Jan 2017 16:43:40 GMT Sat, 21 Jan 2017 16:43:40 GMT US intervention in Syria? Not under Trump Gareth Porter http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/21/us-intervention-in-syria-not-under-trump/

A new coalition of US-based organizations is pushing for a more aggressive US intervention against the Assad regime. But both the war in Syria and politics in the United States have shifted dramatically against this objective.

When it was formed last July, the coalition hoped that a Hillary Clinton administration would pick up its proposals for a more forward stance in support of the anti-Assad armed groups. But with Donald Trump in office instead, the supporters of a US war in Syria now have little or no chance of selling the idea.

One of the ways the group is adjusting to the new political reality is to package its proposal for deeper US military engagement on behalf of US-supported armed groups as part of a plan to counter al-Qaeda, now calling itself Jabhat Fateh al Sham.

But that rationale depends on a highly distorted presentation of the problematic relations between those supposedly “moderate” groups and al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot.

Plan for a Clinton White House...

The “Combating al-Qaeda in Syria Strategy Group” was formed last July by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), according to the policy paper distributed at an event at the Atlantic Council on 12 January.

The “Strategy Group” also includes Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute and Jennifer Cafarella of the Institute for the Study of War, both of whom have advocated direct US military force against the Syrian regime in support of the armed opposition.

But it was CNAS that had the political clout to bring the coalition together under what appeared to be very favourable circumstances. Michele Flournoy, the founder and CEO of CNAS and a former third-ranking Pentagon official, was reported to be Clinton’s likely choice for secretary of defence during the 2016 presidential primaries. And the June 2016 report of a CNAS “study group” co-chaired by Flournoy was in line with Clinton’s openly declared support for a more muscular US intervention in Syria.

That report had called for a US-declared “no bombing zone” to protect armed opposition groups, vetted by the CIA, from Syrian and Russian attacks. Flournoy had then described the policy in an interview as telling the Russian and Syrian governments: “If you bomb the folks we support, we will retaliate using standoff means to destroy [Russian] proxy forces, or, in this case, Syrian assets.”

The new coalition of think tanks began meeting last summer when the politics in the United States seemed favorable for a political campaign for US military intervention in Syria.

On 30 September, Lister published a lengthy essay calling on the United States to provide shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to ”moderate” opposition groups as well as to threaten attacks on the Syrian army if it violated the ceasefire. Lister was obviously hoping that President Clinton would adopt that policy option a few months later.

...repackaged for a Trump presidency

Now the new strategy group is trying to sell the same proposal to Trump, calling it “a holistic, preventative counter-terrorism policy that empowers moderate Syrians... to overcome extremists in Syria....” It argues that al-Qaeda is seeking to gain control over areas now controlled by “moderate” forces in order to establish “an enduring Sunni extremist order in Syria”.

But the argument that these armed groups, which the US has supported in the past, would be prepared to resist al-Qaeda’s long-term caliphate with more money and arms and US bombing of Assad’s air force, is too divorced from reality to have traction in Washington now. In fact, the so-called “moderate” armed groups have never been truly independent of al Qaeda in Syria. They have depended on the highly disciplined troops of al-Qaeda and its closest allies and the military strategy devised by al-Qaeda commanders to pressure the Assad regime.

Lister himself has been clear on this point. Under his proposed plan for the United States to use the threat of military force against the regime, the CIA-vetted “moderate” armed opposition groups were not expected to end their military cooperation with Fateh al-Sham or to separate themselves physically from its forces, as had been provided in both the February and September ceasefire agreements.

Lister stated explicitly his assumption that such cooperation was “unlikely to diminish significantly” - even if his proposal were to be carried out.

Rather, the idea of Lister’s plan was to force negotiations on the Assad regime. That aim would still obviously have required the continued military power of Fateh al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham to succeed.

Lister and his fellow coalition members are not likely to be able to sell the new administration on the idea that any of the Syrian armed groups the CIA has supported would even consider seriously resisting Fateh al-Sham under any remotely believable circumstances.

Syrian army: The only alternative?

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius recently recalled meeting with leaders of Harakat al-Hazm, considered the most promising “moderate” armed group in Syria, at a safehouse in Turkey in late 2014. He found them “despondent”, because the United States had just carried out a rare air strike on al -Qaeda operatives believed to be plotting a terrorist attack on the West.

They told Ignatius that, because of the US bombing what was then called the Nusra Front would no longer tolerate the group’s operations. Soon after the meeting, the Nusra Front did indeed eliminate Harakat al-Hazm and appropriate all the TOW missiles and other military equipment the CIA had given them.

The Ignatius account reflects a fundamental reality throughout northern Syria, from 2013 onwards, that was simply ignored in media coverage: all of the opposition groups have been absorbed into an al-Qaeda-controlled political-military order. The idea that the “moderate” groups could be a bulwark against al-Qaeda, which is now being peddled by Lister, Cafarella and CNAS, no longer has any credibility even in those quarters in Washington that were once open to it.

A tell-tale sign of the shift in attitude toward those groups' mood in Washington is the fact that Ignatius used the past tense in referring to the CIA’s programme of arming the “moderate” groups in Syria in his article last month.

The US military leadership was never on board with the policy of relying on those armed groups to advance US interests in Syria in the first place.

It recognised that, despite the serious faults of the Assad regime, the Syrian army was the only Syrian institution committed to resisting both al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

It seems likely that the Trump administration will now return to that point as it tries to rebuild a policy from the ashes of the failed policy of the Obama administration.

Reprinted with author's permission from Middle East Eye.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/21/us-intervention-in-syria-not-under-trump/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/21/us-intervention-in-syria-not-under-trump/ Sat, 21 Jan 2017 16:43:40 GMT
What Trump Could Do Jeff Deist http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/20/what-trump-could-do/

Today Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. American voters rejected the devil they know so well — Hillary Clinton — for the devil they don’t. Why they did so, and how Trump prevailed, is the biggest political story of our age. But the rejection of progressive hubris, what Friedrich Hayek called the “fatal conceit” of those who would presume to plan our lives, is at the heart of that story.

The Left views Trump’s election as an absolute calamity, despite his support for unions and protectionist trade policies, despite his identity as a New York elite rather than some despised red state politician, and despite his ambivalence toward the social issues that animate Christian conservatives. One would think Democrats would be relieved not to suffer an ideologue like Santorum or Cruz in the White House. Yet their hysteria and lack of self-awareness prompt them to attack the Electoral College, of all things. 

Progressives bear direct responsibility for Trump’s victory. They grossly miscalculated in nominating Mrs. Clinton, an avaricious and humorless technocrat who utterly failed to engage ordinary people. They abandoned populist economic themes and union halls in favor of global trade deals. They stayed silent while the Obama administration spent two full terms at war. They excused Obama’s NSA scandals. They cheered the growth of an imperial presidency and an activist judiciary, both of which they are now shocked to imagine outside their control.

But worst of all, progressives have poisoned America with vicious identity politics and a deeply false narrative of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and privilege. How could a backlash not result? By demonizing history, religion, traditional families, and middle America, they deliberately politicized whole areas of life that should be off limits to government. Politics is war, but it is also sales. 

Yet Trump represents no victory for conservatives. The political Right, despite installing an ostensible Republican in the White House and gaining seats in Congress, is in ideological tatters. It has no coherent ideology of individualism, capitalism, and opportunity to counter the progressive narrative of dependency and victimhood. Republican identity lies simply in being less progressive than progressives, in merely wanting to engineer society toward different ends. The GOP long ago forfeited any claim to limited government or constitutionalism, as demonstrated by the disastrous debt-fueled presidency of George W. Bush. Republicans remain deeply committed to interventionism and nation-building, a foreign policy doctrine that originated with leftwing radicals. They refuse to address entitlements, either structurally or in the more important sense of rejecting government’s role in healthcare and retirement. Most importantly, conservatives have forfeited the wider culture: progressives now dominate academia, media, literature, performing arts, philanthropy, churches, synagogues, and boardrooms across America.  

So what can Trump actually do, in the face of this political and cultural stalemate? That’s the wrong question. What matters is what he can undo, or at least avoid doing. The last thing we need is more laws, New Deals, or Contracts with America. What we do need is less political control of society, meaning less state involvement in the economic, cultural, and social issues of the day. Can Trump possibly choose forbearance over action, at least in a few key areas?

Let me offer three suggestions.

First, Trump should stand by his pledge to pursue an “America first” foreign policy. Both the Left and Right oppose this, which suggests it’s a very good idea. Voters plainly want an end to our intractable conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they don’t want another dollar or drop of blood expended to install western democracy in the sectarian Middle East. Trump must resolve to stay out of Syria, stop the saber rattling toward Iran, and reject the crazed calls for resurrecting a Cold War with Russia. He must refuse to normalize constant war as an acceptable feature of American life. By trusting his deal-making nature and refusing to start — or intensify — another conflict, Trump could shock the world by actually presenting a kinder, gentler America.

Second, Trump should get serious about the Federal Reserve. By purchasing Treasury debt, the Fed is the shabby enabler of a deficit-addicted Congress. Interest rates are too low, savers (especially seniors) are suffering, and business malinvestment is once again creating bubbles throughout the economy. Interviewing John Allison — the former BB&T executive who understands sound money — for vice-chair of the Fed was a good sign that Trump understands this (nominating former Goldman Sachs insider Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary, however, was tone deaf). The Fed is the biggest source of cronyism in the economy, and thus anti-Fed populism is both good policy and good politics. It’s time to dispel the myth that monetary policy can make us richer. For starters, Trump should pressure Congress to pass Senator Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed bill.

Finally, Trump should use his platform to continue attacking the illiberal code of political correctness. PC is not just another social issue, like abortion or marriage. It underlies all other issues, because it attempts to frame how we think and speak. The conscious manipulation of language is inherently authoritarian, and Trump’s reflexive disdain for PC comes from his better angels. Trump’s twitter feed can serve him well here.

Reprinted with permission from Mises.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/20/what-trump-could-do/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/20/what-trump-could-do/ Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:19:37 GMT
We’re Still Here, 1/20/17, Consumed Most of All by Our Fears Peter Van Buren http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/20/we-re-still-here-12017-consumed-most-of-all-by-our-fears/

One of my favorite quotes includes the lines “I awoke this morning to find that it was not judgment day – only morning. Morning: excellent and fair.” I think that sums up a part of my thinking, but certainly not all.

A nuclear reckoning, war with China, or anything else quite so violently apocalyptic is imminent, or even underway, as far too many of us think. I live in one of those bubbles, the sum of which make up America now. Many of the people I talk to, in person and here online, seem to believe, truly believe, the world is coming to something of an end. These are by and large educated, once-rational people, some of whom have been voices of reason in the past. They are not that way now.

We are however falling, some important threads of our nation being teased apart, and our best days are behind us. But this did not start on November 8, 2016, or January 20, 2017, thoough historians will note those dates as significant milestones (same as September 11, 2001.) But not because of Donald Trump. Because his name just happened to be attached to what has been growing inside us since the end of WWII.

The Russians did not elect Trump. They may or may not have tried to get involved in the election, but we did this to ourselves. As the historian you have probably not read but should read Morris Berman predicted years ago, we are eating each other.

We are consumed most of all by our fears. Fear of what the Soviets, and maybe the Chinese, would do after WWII. We created a nuclear arsenal measured in how many multiples of times it could destroy the world. We dragged our country through disasters like Vietnam, that murdered so many and cracked apart our nation. Our fear of race, our war on drugs, and then of course our fear of a world beyond our control after 9/11. Another quote that seems to fit is “The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.”

The fears were encouraged at every opportunity by those who profited from them, either by rawly making money, or by acquiring power and control, or in most cases, both. We are unconcerned — it’s normal — that politicians routinely leave office wealthy despite modest salaries. We have so much, and share so little. We enthusiastically abandoned so many of the good things about America, such as our Bill of Rights. America’s pre-WWII Constitutional Era was grossly imperfect. Yet for its obvious failings, there was a sense of the possibility of progress; halting, awkward, unfinished, but, well, for lack of a better word and to use a word that has become a symbol of modern irony, hope. 

Of course none of that was close to perfect, but it was good and it is gone in some arenas and going away in most of the rest. We’ll still be allowed to rant on Twitter, a modern day bread and circus, but the real stuff of standing up and speaking back to government will happen only with handfuls of whistleblowers who will sacrifice their lives and freedom to say what they need to say.

I thought we had a chance at change in 2008 but instead was proven to be a dupe. I thought he might turn it all around, in those first weeks he could have asked the rivers to flow backwards and they just might have. He could have grounded the drones, torn up the Patriot Act, held truth commissions to bring into the light our tortures, re-emancipated America in ways not unlike Lincoln did in the 1860s. Slam shut the gates of Guantanamo, close the secret prisons that even today still ooze pus in Afghanistan, stop the militarization of Africa, bring the troops home, all of it, just have done it. What a change, what a path forward, what a rebirth for an America who had lost her way so perilously. One man could have made a difference and when he did not even try, he helped solidify in America a sense of cynicism and powerlessness that empowers evil people further. If there was no Obama there would be no Trump.

A new generation, and me again, thought there was another chance with Bernie Sanders. We were stupid. He was a distraction, and showed his true colors throwing away everything he said previously to support a candidate of the same old old school we’ve been voting for since WWII. 

Trump is at best/worst a symbol of all this. How powerful people play us against each other and exploit our differences. How fear (currently fear of Trump filtered through fear of Putin) can be used to manipulate us. How the ideas of democracy can be so easily tossed aside so that our most progressive thinkers are convinced elections are illegitimate, and anything from silly name calling to demands for something akin to a coup are justified when the enemy is as perceived evil as Trump. Echoing the famous lines from Vietnam, it is in their minds necessary to destroy democracy in order to save it.

I’ve written here before open letters to my daughters, talking about the world they are maturing into. This is in that spirit. Somebody, maybe them, is one day going to stop and wonder how they got to where they ended up, an oligarchy that profits from mouthing the nice words of our Founders while ignoring them. Maybe they will find this essay, dated for convenience only, January 20, 2017.

Reprinted with permission from WeMeantWell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/20/we-re-still-here-12017-consumed-most-of-all-by-our-fears/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/20/we-re-still-here-12017-consumed-most-of-all-by-our-fears/ Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:48:27 GMT
Obama's Wasted, Deadly, and Destructive Presidency Jacob G. Hornberger http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/19/obamas-wasted-deadly-and-destructive-presidency/

Eight years ago, President Obama’s administration started with hope and change. Eight years later, we end up with a legacy of nothing but waste, death, and destruction.

Libertarians never had any hope, of course, that Barack Obama would dismantle any aspect of the welfare state. As a died-in-the-wool liberal, his commitment to socialism, regulation, and economic interventionism is unwavering. When, for example, he addressed the healthcare crisis brought on my Medicare, Medicaid, regulation, and interventionism by foisting Obamacare onto the American people, we libertarians were not surprised.

Where libertarians (and lots of liberals) had hope was that Obama would change the direction that the George W. Bush administration had set for America with respect to foreign policy and civil liberties.

After all, Obama had made a big deal of having opposed Bush’s war on Iraq. On the campaign trail he also emphasized his supposed deep commitment to civil liberties, especially given his legal understanding of constitutional principles.

Alas, no change. Obama’s eight years turned out to be nothing more than a continuation of Bush’s eight years, which, like Obama’s, consisted of waste, death, and destruction.

What a shame. Obama had the opportunity to go down in history as having had an extraordinary presidency, one that brought an end to foreign empire and foreign interventionism, brought all the troops home and discharged them, ended Bush’s “war on terrorism” (and war on Muslims), and dismantled the extraordinary totalitarian powers that Bush had unilaterally adopted and that were supposed to be only “temporary.”

Today, U.S. troops are still fighting, killing, and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no end in sight. Many Americans have no hope that they will ever be ended. They have both become America’s forever wars.

Americans today continue to live under a regime that has the omnipotent power to assassinate them, put them into concentration camps, torture them, and secretly spy on them. How in the world are such totalitarian-like powers reconcilable with the principles of a free society?

Unfortunately, that’ s not all. Obama also initiated one of the national-security state’s classic regime-change operations, this one in Libya. Like all the others, the result is chaos, crisis, civil war, violence, death, and destruction.

It’s no different, of course, in Syria, another target of a U.S. regime-change operation — this one against a ruler, Bashar al-Assad, who once served as a torture-rendition partner in the U.S. war on terrorism. Just ask Canadian citizen Mahar Arar, who the CIA kidnapped at Dulles Airport and renditioned to Syria under a torture agreement that is still so secret that the American people are not permitted to know its terms. It bears mentioning that Arar, after suffering a year of brutal torture in Syria because of the CIA, turned out to be a totally innocent man.

The result of the U.S. government’s regime-change operations in Syria? Ongoing death, destruction, and misery, just like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

Let’s also not forget the massive refugee crisis in Europe produced by all this U.S-produced mayhem.

The news media is reporting that Obama’s forces dropped more than 26,000 bombs in the Middle East in 2016 alone. That obviously begs a question: How many bombs did they drop in the previous 7 years? It has to be a lot. And as everyone knows, when bombs are dropped, the results include death and destruction.

Indeed, after eight years as president, Obama didn’t even succeed in closing the Pentagon’s and CIA’s prison and torture center in Cuba. He had, of course, promised to do that when he was running for president eight years ago.

On top of all that, Obama succeeded in igniting a new Cold War against Russia, especially by breaking the U.S. promise to Russia to keep NATO in check. Instead, breaking the promise, NATO began gobbling up former Warsaw Pact countries and moving NATO forces (which include German soldiers) and missiles inexorably closer and closer to Russia’s borders.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that those moves, along with the U.S.-supported coup in Ukraine, would produce a crisis with Russia with respect to Crimea and Ukraine. After all, what would the U.S. national-security state do if Russia started sending troops and missiles to, say, Cuba or Mexico? We all know that U.S. officials would go ballistic, just like Russian officials did when they ordered the takeover in Crimea in response to what what the U.S.-run NATO was doing.

Meanwhile, during his eight years in office Obama went after government whistleblowers with a passion and a fierceness that defies credulity. After all, whistleblowers ordinarily disclose government wrongdoing. Isn’t that something good? Apparently not to Obama, notwithstanding his very late commutation of the draconian sentence meted out to military whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who committed the cardinal sin of disclosing grave wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. military.

What gives? Why did Obama end up continuing and expanding the Bush legacy? What happened to the hope and change?

Those are fascinating questions, ones that unfortunately the mainstream press isn’t asking.

My hunch is that Obama simply lacked the power and the fortitude to overcome the segment of the federal government that is really running the show — the national-security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

I recommend reading the excellent book National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, a professor at Tufts University. Glennon hits the nail on the head. He shows that it’s the national-security establishment that is really in charge of the federal government. It permits the other three sections — the president, the Congress, and the judiciary — to maintain the appearance that they are in charge.

In my opinion, that’s why Gitmo is still open. I think the Pentagon and the CIA wouldn’t permit it to be closed and mobilized their forces in Congress to ensure that it wouldn’t be closed. I think that’s why the U.S. is still in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East and in Afghanistan. That’s why there is a Cold War II with Russia. That’s why American warships have “pivoted” to the South China Sea, where they can gin up crises with China. Indeed, I think that’s why U.S. forces are being sent to Poland in the last week of the Obama presidency.

I could, of course, be wrong. It’s entirely possible that Barack Obama suddenly decided, for some unknown reason, to abandon his pre-election promises and principles and shift course by using his presidency to mimic the legacy of George W. Bush. I just think that my explanation — that Obama found himself unable to stand up to and oppose the overwhelming power of what President Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” — makes more sense.

After all, let’s not forget who has been the beneficiary of sixteen continuous years of death and destruction and loss of liberty and prosperity — the national security establishment.

Will the next four years be any different from the last 16 years? We will soon find out.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/19/obamas-wasted-deadly-and-destructive-presidency/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/19/obamas-wasted-deadly-and-destructive-presidency/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:06:07 GMT
McCain's $5 Trillion Military Budget: Will It Make America Great Again? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/19/mccains-5-trillion-military-budget-will-it-make-america-great-again/ put it so well recently in Davos, the US has wasted $14 trillion on wars over the past 30 years. More on this today in the Liberty Report:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/19/mccains-5-trillion-military-budget-will-it-make-america-great-again/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/19/mccains-5-trillion-military-budget-will-it-make-america-great-again/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:28:37 GMT
Obama’s Achievement: Whitewashing Permanent Warfare With Eloquence Nile Bowie http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/obama-s-achievement-whitewashing-permanent-warfare-with-eloquence/

Judging from how the mainstream media has characterized the legacy of Barack Obama so far, the outgoing president will be most remembered for his many rousing aspirational speeches and well-timed shows of emotion.

His talent as a persuasive public communicator and the strength of his personal brand, bolstered by years of apple-shining from liberal magazines and newspapers, has been Obama’s most valuable asset.

This perception of Obama that has been propagated from the top, the view that he is essentially a benevolent figure with deep integrity or the personification of a modern liberal-statesmen, is a stunning smokescreen.

The contradiction between the high-minded rhetoric of the president in contrast to the actual policies pursued by his administration has been stark and utterly scandalous.

To hear Obama wax poetic about ‘the politics of hope’ and ‘how ordinary Americans can steer change’ feels deeply perverse coming from a figure that has institutionalized a vast, unaccountable permanent warfare state.

In the face of Obama’s global covert assassination program, his numerous secret wars without congressional approval, a mass electronic surveillance capability unprecedented in history, the speeches reveal themselves as little more than banal platitudes and vapid sloganeering.

As the sun sets on Obama’s presidency, to say the press has given him a pass is a grand understatement. Some outlets have occasionally run criticism of Obama’s drone policies or inconvenient relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Other voices invert reality altogether, chastising Obama for his reluctance to militarily engage Syria, despite the US dropping over 12,000 bombs on the country in 2016 alone.

Contrary to his predecessor, Obama had a firmer grasp on the political risks inherent in the large-scale deployment of US troops in sustained military campaigns, but his strategic objectives differed little, and his belief in American exceptionalism was total.

Rather than ‘shock and awe,' Obama proffered ‘leading from behind,' culminating in NATO support and air power for insurgents that toppled the Libyan government on the pretext of defending human rights, turning the country into a cauldron of rival fiefdoms and lawlessness.

The Obama administration and the CIA fueled a proxy war in Syria with arms and training for insurgents, many of whom took up arms with ISIS or Al-Qaeda affiliated groups. The US military’s presence in Syria and support for non-state actors abjectly violates international law, and John Kerry’s leaked comments make clear how the administration cynically leveraged the threat of ISIS against the Syrian government.

Not only did Obama fail in his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay torture facility, he effectively replaced enhanced interrogation with an unaccountable covert assassination complex, endowing himself with the roles of judge, jury, and executioner.

By virtue of his suave and benevolent public persona, top-tier entertainers and figures of the liberal intelligentsia were largely willing to acquiesce to the precedent set by Obama’s unrestrained executive powers, exercised in near-complete secrecy.

They believed Obama would use the entrenched military and surveillance capacities of the US government judiciously. They swallowed the Democrats’ rhetoric of social inclusion and focused their political energies largely on identity issues.

Liberal figures didn’t protest against the president’s ability to spy on countless Americans suspected of no crime, nor did they organize against the president’s extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens and non-Americans without trial or due process.

Liberals hardly spoke out against the thousands of civilians killed by Obama’s drone bombings. Oddly enough, many seemed more outraged at Trump’s campaign rhetoric against Muslims and Mexicans than the reality of President Obama engaging in military hostilities against seven Muslim countries and deporting more people than any president in history.

Frankly, far too many Americans have been utter cowards in the face of the outgoing Democratic presidency. Obama will soon leave office as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms at war.

Despite his tense relationship with the Israeli prime minister and token opposition to the expansion of settlements, Obama signed the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance to Israel in history, enabling the cancerous Israeli occupation and further brutalization of Palestinians.

As the Saudi military ceaselessly bombarded towns and cities across impoverished Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, in a botched attempt to reinstall an ousted proxy government, the Obama administration offered muted criticism and a $115 billion arms deal.

Obama’s administration has in fact brokered more arms sales than other since the second world war. Despite campaigning on the building of ‘the most transparent administration in history,' he has waged war against whistleblowers and official leakers, invoking the 1917 Espionage Act more than all previous presidents combined.

Obama spoke of his dramatic commitment to building a nuclear weapons-free world on the campaign trail. Once in office, he committed the country to a trillion-dollar modernization of US nuclear production facilities and weapons, including warheads with adjustable yields that, according to the New York Times, make the weapons “more tempting to use.”

One of the most consequential international developments to occur under Obama’s watch was the deterioration of US-Russia relations and the revival of Cold War antagonisms, marked by the covert American role in the 2014 coup in Ukraine that brought to power a crude, corrupt and pervasively anti-Russian regime.

The largest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the second world war has unfolded under Obama’s watch, and the White House has moved in lock-step with the US intelligence community to propagate the anti-Russian line that has now captured American politics.

His administration’s pivot to Asia policy aimed to transfer 60 percent of the US naval presence to the Asia Pacific region by 2020, while the now-botched Trans-Pacific Partnership sought to – in the words of Senator Charles E. Schumer – “lure”other countries “away from China.”

On the domestic front, there have hardly been any clear-cut achievements for President Obama. He has overseen an obscene transfer of wealth from the middle class to the billionaire class, becoming the first two-term presidency that has failed to post a three percent GDP growth on an annualized basis over two terms.

The much-touted streak of job recovery rests on the proliferation of insecure part-time and temporary jobs with the low protection characteristic of the gig economy, while the share of workers in temporary jobs has risen from 10.7 percent to 15.8 percent under his watch.

Wall Street banks hoarded funds fueled by the quantitative easing policies of the Federal Reserve to triple the size of stock values. Corporate profits reached an 85-year peak under Obama while the total compensation of employees’ wages and salaries slipped to levels last recorded in 1929.

The wealth of the richest 400 Americans increased from $1.57 trillion in 2008 to $2.4 trillion in 2016.
The market-driven Affordable Care Act, Obama’s primary domestic initiative, did extend medical coverage to segments of American society, while millions of others were forced to pay higher premiums for substandard care. This shifted health care costs from employers and the state to working individuals in a move that effectively amounts to a bailout for private insurers.

And finally, there is the obscene proliferation of police brutality that has unfolded under Obama’s watch, with offending officers rarely held to account for their actions. African-American males were found to be nine times more likely to be killed by police officers in 2015 than white men of the same age.

But despite Obama’s troubled and deeply hypocritical track record, he remains a figure that many Americans continue to admire and respect, especially as the country moves rapidly toward a new and highly divisive political era.

A great deal of Americans, especially those in African-American communities, desperately and sincerely wants to believe in the hope that Obama inspired in them. Unfortunately, Obama’s key achievement has proven to be his skillful usurpation of progressive rhetoric in the interest of an extremely militaristic and pro-corporate political agenda.

While many fear the specter of Donald Trump’s incoming presidency and the new forms of authoritarianism and state violence that will inevitably accompany it, none should forget that it was President Obama who set a precedent for the extreme executive authority that President Trump will soon enjoy.

Reprinted with permission from RT.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/obama-s-achievement-whitewashing-permanent-warfare-with-eloquence/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/obama-s-achievement-whitewashing-permanent-warfare-with-eloquence/ Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:35:02 GMT
Chelsea Manning Clemency: Did Obama Do The Right Thing? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/chelsea-manning-clemency-did-obama-do-the-right-thing/
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A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/a-demand-for-russian-hacking-proof/

MEMORANDUM FOR: President Barack Obama

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: A Key Issue That Still Needs to be Resolved

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office Friday, a pall hangs over his upcoming presidency amid an unprecedentedly concerted campaign to delegitimize it. Unconfirmed accusations continue to swirl alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “Russian hacking” that helped put Mr. Trump in the White House.

As President for a few more days, you have the power to demand concrete evidence of a link between the Russians and WikiLeaks, which published the bulk of the information in question. Lacking that evidence, the American people should be told that there is no fire under the smoke and mirrors of recent weeks.

We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated, “we-assess” judgments by the intelligence agencies. Otherwise, we – as well as other skeptical Americans – will be left with the corrosive suspicion that the intense campaign of accusations is part of a wider attempt to discredit the Russians and those – like Mr. Trump – who wish to deal constructively with them.

Remember the Maine?

Alleged Russian interference has been labeled “an act of war” and Mr. Trump a “traitor.” But the “intelligence” served up to support those charges does not pass the smell test. Your press conference on Wednesday will give you a chance to respond more persuasively to NBC’s Peter Alexander’s challenge at the last one (on Dec. 16) “to show the proof [and], as they say, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of the intelligence. …”

You told Alexander you were reluctant to “compromise sources and methods.” We can understand that concern better than most Americans. We would remind you, though, that at critical junctures in the past, your predecessors made judicious decisions to give higher priority to buttressing the credibility of U.S. intelligence-based policy than to protecting sources and methods. With the Kremlin widely accused by politicians and pundits of “an act of war,” this is the kind of textbook case in which you might seriously consider taking special pains to substantiate serious allegations with hard intelligence – if there is any.

During the Cuban missile crisis, for instance, President Kennedy ordered us to show highly classified photos of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and on ships en route, even though this blew sensitive detail regarding the imagery intelligence capabilities of the cameras on our U-2 aircraft.

President Ronald Reagan’s reaction to the Libyan terrorist bombing of La Belle Disco in Berlin on April 5, 1986, that killed two and injured 79 other U.S. servicemen is another case in point. We had intercepted a Libyan message that morning: “At 1:30 in the morning one of the acts was carried out with success, without leaving a trace behind.” (We should add here that NSA’s dragnet SIGINT capability 30 years later renders it virtually impossible to avoid “leaving a trace behind” once a message is put on the network.)

President Reagan ordered the U.S. Air Force to bomb Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s palace compound to smithereens, killing several civilians. Amid widespread international consternation and demands for proof that Libya was responsible for the Berlin attack, President Reagan ordered us to make public the encrypted Libyan message, thereby sacrificing a collection/decryption capability unknown to the Libyans – until then.

As senior CIA veteran Milton Bearden has put it, there are occasions when more damage is done by “protecting” sources and methods than by revealing them.

Where’s the Beef?

We find the New York Times- and Washington Post-led media Blitz against Trump and Putin truly extraordinary, despite our long experience with intelligence/media related issues. On Jan. 6, the day after your top intelligence officials published what we found to be an embarrassingly shoddy report purporting to prove Russian hacking in support of Trump’s candidacy, the Times banner headline across all six columns on page 1 read: “PUTIN LED SCHEME TO AID TRUMP, REPORT SAYS.”

The lead article began: “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.” Eschewing all subtlety, the Times added that the revelations in “this damning report … undermined the legitimacy” of the President-elect, and “made the case that Mr. Trump was the favored candidate of Mr. Putin.”

On page A10, however, Times investigative reporter Scott Shane pointed out: “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission.”

Shane continued, “Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’ There is no discussion of the forensics used to recognize the handiwork of known hacking groups, no mention of intercepted communications between the Kremlin and the hackers, no hint of spies reporting from inside Moscow’s propaganda machinery.”

Shane added that the intelligence report “offers an obvious reason for leaving out the details, declaring that including ‘the precise bases for its assessments’ would ‘reveal sensitive sources and methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.’”

Shane added a quote from former National Security Agency lawyer Susan Hennessey: “The unclassified report is underwhelming at best. There is essentially no new information for those who have been paying attention.” Ms. Hennessey served as an attorney in NSA’s Office of General Counsel and is now a Brookings Fellow in National Security Law.

Everyone Hacks

There is a lot of ambiguity – whether calculated or not – about “Russian hacking.” “Everyone knows that everyone hacks,” says everyone: Russia hacks; China hacks; every nation that can hacks. So do individuals of various nationalities. This is not the question.

You said at your press conference on Dec. 16 “the intelligence that I have seen gives me great confidence in their [U.S. intelligence agencies’] assessment that the Russians carried out this hack.” “Which hack?” you were asked. “The hack of the DNC and the hack of John Podesta,” you answered.

Earlier during the press conference you alluded to the fact that “the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks.” The key question is how the material from “Russian hacking” got to WikiLeaks, because it was WikiLeaks that published the DNC and Podesta emails.

Our VIPS colleague William Binney, who was Technical Director of NSA and created many of the collection systems still in use, assures us that NSA’s “cast-iron” coverage – particularly surrounding Julian Assange and other people associated with WikiLeaks  – would almost certainly have yielded a record of any electronic transfer from Russia to WikiLeaks. Binney has used some of the highly classified slides released by Edward Snowden to demonstrate precisely how NSA accomplishes this using trace mechanisms embedded throughout the network. [See: “U.S. Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims,” Dec. 12, 2016.]

NSA Must Come Clean

We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks. If NSA can produce such evidence, you may wish to order whatever declassification may be needed and then release the evidence. This would go a long way toward allaying suspicions that no evidence exists. If NSA cannot give you that information – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any.

In all candor, the checkered record of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for trustworthiness makes us much less confident that anyone should take it on faith that he is more “trustworthy than the Russians,” as you suggested on Dec. 16. You will probably recall that Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013, about NSA dragnet activities; later apologizing for testimony he admitted had been “clearly erroneous.” In our Memorandum for you on Dec. 11, 2013, we cited chapter and verse as to why Clapper should have been fired for saying things he knew to be “clearly erroneous.”

In that Memorandum, we endorsed the demand by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner that Clapper be removed. “Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it,” said Sensenbrenner in an interview with The Hill. “The only way laws are effective is if they’re enforced.”

Actually, we have had trouble understanding why, almost four years after he deliberately misled the Senate, Clapper remains Director of National Intelligence – overseeing the entire intelligence community.

Hacks or Leaks?

Not mentioned until now is our conclusion that leaks are the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures in question – not hacking. Leaks normally leave no electronic trace. William Binney has been emphasizing this for several months and suggesting strongly that the disclosures were from a leaker with physical access to the information – not a hacker with only remote access.

This, of course, makes it even harder to pin the blame on President Putin, or anyone else. And we suspect that this explains why NSA demurred when asked to join the CIA and FBI in expressing “high confidence” in this key judgment of the report put out under Clapper’s auspices on Jan. 6, yielding this curious formulation:

“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.” (Emphasis, and lack of emphasis, in original)

In addition, former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray has said publicly he has first-hand information on the provenance of the leaks, and has expressed surprise that no one from the New York Times or the Washington Post has tried to get in touch with him. We would be interested in knowing whether anyone from your administration, including the intelligence community, has made any effort to contact Ambassador Murray.

What to Do

President-elect Trump said a few days ago that his team will have a “full report on hacking within 90 days.” Whatever the findings of the Trump team turn out to be, they will no doubt be greeted with due skepticism, since Mr. Trump is in no way a disinterested party.

You, on the other hand, enjoy far more credibility – AND power – for the next few days. And we assume you would not wish to hobble your successor with charges that cannot withstand close scrutiny. We suggest you order the chiefs of the NSA, FBI and CIA to the White House and ask them to lay all their cards on the table. They need to show you why you should continue to place credence in what, a month ago, you described as “uniform intelligence assessments” about Russian hacking.

At that point, if the intelligence heads have credible evidence, you have the option of ordering it released – even at the risk of damage to sources and methods. For what it may be worth, we will not be shocked if it turns out that they can do no better than the evidence-deprived assessments they have served up in recent weeks. In that case, we would urge you, in all fairness, to let the American people in on the dearth of convincing evidence before you leave office.

As you will have gathered by now, we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian-hacking-WikiLeaks-publishing operation is no better than the “intelligence” evidence in 2002-2003 – expressed then with comparable flat-fact “certitude” – of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Obama’s Legacy

Mr. President, there is much talk in your final days in office about your legacy. Will part of that legacy be that you stood by while flames of illegitimacy rose willy-nilly around your successor? Or will you use your power to reveal the information – or the fact that there are merely unsupported allegations – that would enable us to deal with them responsibly?

In the immediate wake of the holiday on which we mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems appropriate to make reference to his legacy, calling to mind the graphic words in his “Letter From the Birmingham City Jail,” with which he reminds us of our common duty to expose lies and injustice:

“Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, ret.

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

Brady Kiesling, former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (Associate VIPS),

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/a-demand-for-russian-hacking-proof/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/18/a-demand-for-russian-hacking-proof/ Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:41:23 GMT
Executive Power In The Age Of Trump Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/17/executive-power-in-the-age-of-trump/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/17/executive-power-in-the-age-of-trump/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/17/executive-power-in-the-age-of-trump/ Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:21:57 GMT
Who Is Michael Morell? Jiri Valenta and Leni Friedman Valenta http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/who-is-michael-morell/

“No doubt Putin is playing Trump!” Yes, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell is indeed at it again. During the presidential campaign he repeatedly attacked Donald Trump as an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” In the same vein, anonymous CIA officials have supposedly provided evidence of our new president’s nefarious dealings with the Kremlin and its agents.

Didn’t Trump’s own lawyer, Michael Cohen, meet in Prague with a Kremlin agent in August 2016? And isn’t this final proof of the ongoing secret liaisons between the tycoon and the tyrant? ‘​Fraid not. But it is déjà vu. Fifteen years ago, Morell vetted and took to the White House, a preliminary report that 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta, met with an Iraqi intelligence officer, Ahmad Samir, Al-Ani at the Iraqi embassy in Prague on April 9, 2001. Both reports have turned out to be bogus.

On August 6, 2001, Morell served as the CIA debriefer for President Bush’s most critical ever Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB); the one that read, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” It was essential that he impress upon Bush the importance of the memo. But he didn’t. Morell recollected in his memoir that NSC staffer Steve Biegun, who accompanied Morell to the Crawford Ranch where Bush was vacationing, apparently relayed to others that he, Morell, had indicated to the president, “there was no need to worry about an Al Qaida attack on the homeland...” Morrell himself directly observed that in retrospect, “I did not treat it as a ‘hair on fire’ or action-forcing piece and the president did not read it that way either.”

Surely Bush was not given the assessment that Morell’s colleague, counter-terrorism expert, Cofer Black, gave to Condoleezza Rice weeks earlier: “An attack is impending” and “this country needs to go on a war footing now.” On 9/11, close to 3,000 people perished in attacks on both New York and Washington.

The 2003 Iraq War provided an opportunity for Morell to advance his career. Leading a group of CIA analysts, he was assigned to help prepare Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 U.N. Security Council speech.

Justifying the forthcoming invasion of Iraq, a passage in the speech affirmed that Iraq possessed "biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” False! We still don’t know who was directly responsible for leaving this passage in Powell’s speech. However, Morell was in charge of the CIA analysts who were vetting it. In 2015, Morell apologized to Powell.

Fair Use Excerpt. Read article here.]]>
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Antiwar And Anti-Violence: The Revolutionary MLK Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/antiwar-and-anti-violence-the-revolutionary-mlk/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/antiwar-and-anti-violence-the-revolutionary-mlk/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/antiwar-and-anti-violence-the-revolutionary-mlk/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:44:50 GMT
Abolish the CIA Michael S. Rozeff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/abolish-the-cia/

Every American who looks at the CIA objectively or in a balanced way and judges it by any number of criteria, such as moral, legal and pragmatic, should reach the conclusion that the CIA should be abolished. JFK wanted to break it into a million pieces. Trump is right to dismiss its intelligence reports about DNC hacking. The CIA war on Trump shows us immediately that the CIA is a rogue organization within the U.S. government and a severe threat to America.

The CIA is an internal threat to the rule of law and to the government that it supposedly serves. Senator Schumer acknowledges the CIA’s unbridled power, its subversive power, its power to undermine even a president, especially one that wishes to control or alter the organization, when he says:

“Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. For a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Schumer is saying that the CIA is so powerful that a president should not attempt to control it or else! The CIA is so powerful that elections do not matter when it comes to the CIA. The CIA stands alone. The Constitution that empowers the president as the Executive, the boss of government operations, does not matter. Basic American institutions and laws must bow before the threats that the CIA possesses. This is the assessment of a Senator beginning his 4th term and who is the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate in his post as minority leader.

The CIA is an organization that perpetually undermines traditional American values and moral values. It consistently kills innocent people. It continually causes instability and wars. It undermines other societies and our own. It interferes constantly in foreign nations, to the detriment of them and us. It is an unelected power that challenges elected officials. It favors abuses of power, including torture. Its actual value at generating usable intelligence is minimal, often wrong, often misleading, inaccurate and harmful as in the WMD that were never found in Iraq.

“The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust." This quote and a detailed timeline of CIA atrocities is available.

William Blum has listed CIA interventions for us.

All that needs to be done to understand the enormity of CIA crimes against humanity is to associate each of these interventions with the deaths, injuries, disruption of lives and destruction that they have caused. The most recent of these are

Afghanistan 1980s *
Somalia 1993
Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *
Haiti 2004 *
Somalia 2007 to present
Honduras 2009
Libya 2011 *
Syria 2012
Ukraine 2014 *

The asterisks indicate a case where the CIA overthrew a government.

As long as Trump is at war with the CIA, a war that the CIA launched against him, not that this matters much because Trump has every right to change the CIA and the CIA has no right to disobey or blacken his name, he should attack the CIA much more completely and thoroughly. It deserves to be attacked. He should abolish it altogether. For a bone to those who have fears that the republic will fall without the CIA, whatever small amount of residual value that is present in its intelligence operations can easily be retained or transferred to other agencies. The latter are already in profuse abundance in Washington. The fact is, however, that the republic is more likely to fall further than it already has in the presence of the CIA than in its absence.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/abolish-the-cia/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/16/abolish-the-cia/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:46:32 GMT
Protesters Succeed In Preventing Conservative Speakers From Appearing At The University of California At Davis Jonathan Turley http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/15/protesters-succeed-in-preventing-conservative-speakers-from-appearing-at-the-university-of-california-at-davis/

We have been discussing the largely successful efforts by students and faculty to prevent certain conservative speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos from being able to speak on campuses. The latest such example is University of California at Davis where protesters succeeded in preventing fellow students and faculty from hearing Yiannopoulos. There is one promising element to the story however. Unlike school administrators who have either supported or yielded to the “heckler’s veto,” Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter denounced the effort to not only silence an opposing voice but to deny the right of others to hear that voice on campus. While the school professes “let there be light” on its seal, the school is now cloaked in a forced silence after the ignoble victory of protesters in curtailing the exercise of free speech.

Protesters blocked efforts to have Yiannopoulos and controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli speak on campus. Screaming “shut it down,” the protesters threatened the safety of organizers and attendees, according to the sponsors who finally cancelled the event.

I have been a critic of the erosion of free speech values on our college and university campusesAs discussed recently, Yiannopoulous has been the target of some of the most aggressive efforts to silence certain speakers and prevent other students from hearing opposing views.

Obviously, such success in silencing opposing views only encourages others to replicate such censorship or obstruction on other campuses as was the case this month at LSU.  Once schools allow students and faculty to taste the silencing of speech, the appetite becomes insatiable and we find ourselves on a slippery slope of censorship as groups and individuals cite microaggressions and discomfort from speech.  As academics, we are playing with our own demise in fostering this new age of speech regulation.That point was made by Hexter who spoke clearly and strong in favor of free speech. Here is his statement:>
Dear UC Davis students, faculty, and staff:

In recent days, many members of our community have expressed deep concern over an upcoming event on campus sponsored by the Davis College Republicans, a registered UC Davis student organization. The event, scheduled for this evening, features Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News known for provocative anti-leftist political and cultural commentary, and guest speaker Martin Shkreli, a controversial hedge fund founder and former pharmaceutical executive.

All of those who expressed concern referenced Mr. Yiannopoulos’s notoriety for making disrespectful and often offensive utterances directed at certain segments of our society, or global society, and for denigrating ideas with which he disagrees. They view the beliefs and statements in question, along with similar ones attributed to Mr. Shkreli, as being in sharp conflict with the type of institutional environment that UC Davis is committed to supporting—one that is inclusive and respectful to people of all backgrounds, and dedicated to the pursuit of deeper understanding through the free and civil exchange of ideas.

Because I believe that many of you have similar concerns, let me clarify the position of UC Davis administration on this event.

We affirm the right of our students—in this instance, the Davis College Republicans—to invite speakers to our campus. Any public university must do everything it can to make sure that all members of its community are free to express their views—both because free expression is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution and enshrined in University of California policy, and because it is an essential ingredient of excellence in higher-education teaching and research.

Indeed, our position on objectionable speech in general is consonant with the following statement by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on “racist, sexist and homophobic” utterances:

“Where racist, sexist and homophobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech—not less—is the best revenge. This is particularly true at universities, whose mission is to facilitate learning through open debate and study, and to enlighten. When hate is out in the open, people can see the problem. Then they can organize effectively to counter bad attitudes, possibly change them, and forge solidarity against the forces of intolerance.”

To this, let me add my personal belief that a university is at its best, is most true to itself, and makes proper use of its unique intellectual resources when it listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially ones that many of us find upsetting or even offensive.

To ensure that a respectful and rational exchange of ideas is the strong focus of this event, we urge all involved students, faculty, and staff to participate in a manner in keeping with our UC Davis Principles of Community. To veer from this course due to intentional provocation would constitute missing an important opportunity to publicly demonstrate the character, values, and critical ability of the UC Davis community.

We hope and expect that this event will be conducted professionally and in keeping with our community values. Even so, I want to assure you that our Student Affairs office, the Davis College Republicans, campus security personnel, and others are taking all of the appropriate measures to create a safe and secure environment.

In sum, UC Davis acknowledges Mr. Yiannopoulos and Mr. Shkreli as invited guests of a registered campus student group. We appreciate the opportunity that this event provides us to hear and evaluate their views as well as to affirm our support for untrammeled freedom of expression. This does not mean, however, that we take an approving or even neutral position with respect to speech intended to express hate or to denigrate or offend others, even if that speech is employed as part of a political strategy or for the purpose of self-promotion. Such speech we unequivocally condemn. It is our sincere hope that, in Mr. Yiannopoulos’s and Mr. Shkreli’s visit to UC Davis, they will strike the right balance between frank expression and due respect.

Sincerely,

Ralph J. Hexter
Interim Chancellor
I am still a bit unclear why the speech was cancelled since there were no arrests or property damage. The police appear to contradict the claim of property damage but there are various sites reporting that Shkreli was assaulted with dog poop. According to Yiannopoulos, there were assaults and property damage. He posted the following statement:
“Left-wing thugs scared UC Davis into canceling my event last night by damaging property, hurling excrement at guests and starting fights. It was the university and campus PD who told us the event could not go ahead. Why is the university and its police force trying to pretend otherwise? Who are they trying to protect?”
It is the responsibility of the university to ensure that speakers and students are not silenced by those who want to prevent others from expressing contrary views. Nevertheless, the words of Hexter are a welcomed departure from too many administrators who are complicate in the growing denial of free speech on our campuses.

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/15/protesters-succeed-in-preventing-conservative-speakers-from-appearing-at-the-university-of-california-at-davis/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/15/protesters-succeed-in-preventing-conservative-speakers-from-appearing-at-the-university-of-california-at-davis/ Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:27:56 GMT
Will Trump Continue the Bush-Obama Legacy? Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/15/will-trump-continue-the-bush-obama-legacy/

This week, Congress passed a budget calling for increasing federal spending and adding $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Most so-called “fiscal conservatives" voted for this big-spending budget because it allows Congress to repeal some parts of Obamacare via “reconciliation." As important as it is to repeal Obamacare, it does not justify increasing spending and debt.

It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obamacare repeal would be used to justify increasing spending. Despite sequestration’s minor (and largely phony) spending cuts, federal spending has increased every year since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Some will attribute this to the fact that the Republican House had to negotiate with a big-spending Democratic president — even though federal spending actually increased by a greater percentage the last time Republicans controlled the White House and Congress than it did under President Obama.

The history of massive spending increases under unified Republican control of government is likely to repeat itself. During the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump came out against reducing spending on “entitlements.” He also called for a variety of spending increases, including spending one trillion dollars on infrastructure.

One positive part of the infrastructure proposals is their use of tax credits to encourage private sector investments. Hopefully this will be the first step toward returning responsibility for building and maintaining our nation’s infrastructure to the private sector.

Unfortunately, the administration appears likely to support increased federal spending on “shovel-ready” jobs. Claims that federal spending helps grow the economy rely on the fallacy of that which is not seen. While everyone sees the jobs and economic growth created by government infrastructure projects, no one sees the greater number of jobs that could have been created had the government not taken the resources out of the hands of private businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs. Despite what some conservatives seem to think, this fallacy applies equally to Republican and Democrat spending.

President-elect Trump has criticized the past two administrations’ reckless foreign policy, and he has publicly shamed the powerful Lockheed Martin company for wasting taxpayer money. Yet, he continues to support increasing the military budget and has called for increased military intervention in the Middle East.

The fact is the United States already spends too much on militarism. Not only does the United States spend more on the military than the combined military budgets of the next eight highest spending countries, but Pentagon waste exceeds the total Russian military budget.

America can no longer afford to waste trillions of dollars on a militaristic foreign policy. Donald Trump should follow-up his attacks on wasteful military spending by dramatically changing our foreign policy and working to cut the Pentagon's bloated budget.

If the new administration and Congress increase spending, they will need the Federal Reserve to monetize the growing debt. The need for an accommodative monetary policy gives the Federal Reserve and its allies in Congress and in the deep state leverage over the administration. This leverage could be used, for example, to pressure the administration to abandon support for the Audit the Fed legislation.

Fed action can only delay the inevitable day of reckoning. Raising levels of federal spending and debt will inevitably lead to a major economic crisis. This crisis is likely to be reached when concerns over our national debt cause more countries to reject the dollar’s status as the world's reserve currency. The only way to avoid this crisis is to stop increasing spending and instead begin reducing spending on all aspects of the welfare-warfare state.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/15/will-trump-continue-the-bush-obama-legacy/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/15/will-trump-continue-the-bush-obama-legacy/ Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:17:36 GMT
Is Trump Already Finished? Paul Craig Roberts http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/14/is-trump-already-finished/

It did not take long before we knew there was no hope of change from President Obama. But at least he went into his inauguration with an unprecedented number of Americans on the Mall showing their support for the President of Change. Hope was abundant.

But with Trump, we are already losing faith, if not yet with him, at least with his choice of those who comprise his government even before Trump is inaugurated.

Trump’s choice for Secretary of State not only sounds like the neoconservatives in declaring Russia to be a threat to the United States and all of Europe, but also sounds like Hillary Clinton in declaring the South China Sea to be an area of US dominance. One would think that the chairman of Exxon was not an idiot, but I am no longer sure. In his confirmation hearing, Rex Tillerson said that China’s access to its own South China Sea is “not going to be allowed.”

Here is Tillerson’s statement: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also not going to be allowed.”

I mean, really, what is Tillerson going to do about it except get the world blown up. China’s response was as pointed as a response can be:

Tillerson “should not be misled into thinking that Beijing will be fearful of threats. If Trump’s diplomatic team shapes future Sino-US ties as it is doing now, the two sides had better prepare for a military clash. Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories.”

So Trump is not even inauguarated and his idiot nominee for Secretary of State has already created an animosity relationship with two nuclear powers capable of completely destroying all of the West for enternity. And this makes the US Senate comfortable with Tillerson. The imbeciles should be scared out of their wits, assuming they have any.

One of the reasons that Russia rescued Syria from Washington’s overthrow is that Russia understood that Washington’s next target would be Iran and from a destroyed Iran terrorism would be exported into the Russian Federation. There is an axis of countries threatened by US supported terrorism—Syria, Iran, Russia, China.

Trump says he wants to normalize relations with Russia and to open up business opportunities in the place of conflict. But to normalize relations with Russia requires also normalizing relations with Iran and China.

Judging from their public statements, Trump’s announced government has targeted Iran for destabilization. Trump’s appointees as National Security Advisor, Secretary of Defense, and Director of the CIA all regard Iran incorrectly as a terrorist state that must be overthrown.

But Russia cannot allow Washington to ovethrow the stable government in Iran and will not allow it. China’s investments in Iranian oil imply that China also will not permit Washington’s overthrow of Iran. China has already suffered from its lost investments in Libyan oil as the result of the Obama regimes overthrow of the Libyan government.

Realistically speaking, it looks like the Trump Presidency is already defeated by his own appointees independently of the ridiculous and completely unbelievable propaganda put out by the CIA and broadcast by the presstitute media in the US, UK, and Europe. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and BBC have lowered themselves below the National Enquirer.

Possibly, as I wrote earlier today, these statements from Trump’s appointees are nothing but what is required to be confirmed and are not operational in any sense. However, it is possible to stand up to the bastards in confirmation hearings. I stood up in my confirming hearing, and the embarrassed Democrats requested that the entire hearing be deleted from the record.

If the Chairman of Exxon and a Lt. General are not capable of standing up to the imbecilic Congress, they are unfit for office. That they did not stand up is an indication that they lack the strength that Trump needs if he is to bring change from the top.

If Trump is unable to change US foreign policy, thermo-nuclear war and the destruction of Earth are inevitable.

Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/14/is-trump-already-finished/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/14/is-trump-already-finished/ Sat, 14 Jan 2017 14:46:01 GMT
The Secret Trump Dossier -- What Does It Mean? RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/13/the-secret-trump-dossier-what-does-it-mean/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/13/the-secret-trump-dossier-what-does-it-mean/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/13/the-secret-trump-dossier-what-does-it-mean/ Fri, 13 Jan 2017 19:09:48 GMT
One Final Expansion of the Surveillance State as Obama Heads for the Door Scott Shackford http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/13/one-final-expansion-of-the-surveillance-state-as-obama-heads-for-the-door/

President Barack Obama's administration ending its eight-year rule by expanding the sharing of intercepted communications and data between federal agencies may feel a little bit like a final giant middle finger to the many critics of the massive, secretive surveillance state.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch just signed off on changes that will increase the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to share some raw intercepted data with other agencies before the process of filtering out private information from people unconnected to actual targets. The snooping itself is not changing, but more people will have access earlier in the process.

Specifically this is surveillance authorized by Executive Order 12333, the provisions that outline the conduct of intelligence agencies. These are rules separate from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the PATRIOT Act, and the new USA Freedom Act. The 12333 rules are specifically intended to oversee surveillance of foreign targets and foreign countries. It has very little oversight outside of the executive branch.

Because of the intelligence community's attitude of "collect everything and sort it out later," the surveillance taking place through 12333 also ends up gathering all sorts of communications and data from domestic sources. What had been happening is that the NSA would filter out anything other agencies shouldn't be getting access to and then pass the info along. Under the new rules, these other agencies will be able to search through the raw information itself but would still be required to purge unrelated communications.

So the end result is not more surveillance, but more federal staffers will have greater access to the surveillance that's already happening. According to The New York Times, the NSA is aware of the increased risk of private data getting out and will grant requests that are partly based on how potentially damaging it could be if people's private data were "improperly used and disclosed."

Fair Use Excerpt. Read article here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/13/one-final-expansion-of-the-surveillance-state-as-obama-heads-for-the-door/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/13/one-final-expansion-of-the-surveillance-state-as-obama-heads-for-the-door/ Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:53:27 GMT
Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich Ask President Obama to Free Chelsea Manning Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/ron-paul-and-dennis-kucinich-ask-president-obama-to-free-chelsea-manning/

Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama requesting that Obama “grant the application for clemency submitted by Chelsea Manning and commute her sentence to time served.” The result of Obama taking this action would be the whistleblower’s prompt release from prison.

Noting that Manning “has already spent more time in prison than anyone previously convicted for providing information to the media,” the two former US House Members who have both run for president in their respective parties’ primaries, declare their belief that Manning “received a sentence that was excessively punitive and intended to send a chilling message to future potential whistleblowers acting in the public interest.”

In 2013, Manning, who had been an intelligence analyst in the United States Army, was convicted in a military court and sentenced to 35 years in prison. The case against Manning centered on Manning providing government information to WikiLeaks. Paul and Kucinich note in their letter that among the information provided to WikiLeaks was “previously unseen footage of journalists and other civilians being killed by U.S. helicopter attacks in a video known as ‘Collateral Murder.’”

Paul and Kucinich also contend in their letter that Manning suffered in 11 months of pre-trial detention that violated Manning’s “right to be protected from punishment without trial” and was “cruel and unusual punishment as enshrined in the 5th and 8th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.” The former House members detail that this detention included being “confined within a segregation cage for two months in Iraq” and being detained for nine months at the Quantico military brig during which time Manning was “confined for 23 hours a day to a small cell with no personal possessions, and was reportedly shackled at the wrists and legs during visits.”

Read Paul and Kucinich’s letter to President Obama here.

Media inquiries: media@ronpaulinstitute.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/ron-paul-and-dennis-kucinich-ask-president-obama-to-free-chelsea-manning/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/ron-paul-and-dennis-kucinich-ask-president-obama-to-free-chelsea-manning/ Thu, 12 Jan 2017 19:12:34 GMT
The Tillerson Hearing: Will Trump Have A Neocon Foreign Policy? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/the-tillerson-hearing-will-trump-have-a-neocon-foreign-policy/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/the-tillerson-hearing-will-trump-have-a-neocon-foreign-policy/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/the-tillerson-hearing-will-trump-have-a-neocon-foreign-policy/ Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:31:08 GMT
American Troops 'Roll Into Poland' In Largest Deployment Since The Cold War Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/american-troops-roll-into-poland-in-largest-deployment-since-the-cold-war/

"American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have US troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia."

That's how the AP begins its report on the first deployment of US soldiers into the central European country, previewed here earlier in the week as "One Of Largest Deployments Since The Cold War," even as Russia warned that the move represented a threat to its national security, and the Kremlin said "Russia regarded the move as an aggressive step along its borders."

NATO, however, has ignored Russian concerns and threats of retaliation and as a result soldiers in camouflage with tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland on Thursday morning from Germany and headed for Zagan, where they will be based.

While in the past the US and other Western nations have carried out exercises on NATO's eastern flank, this deployment, which includes around 3,500 US troops and 2,800 tanks, trucks and other military equipment, marks the first-ever continuous deployment to the region by a NATO ally. It also represents a commitment by outgoing President Obama to "protect" a region that became deeply nervous over Russia's response to the CIA-orchestrated presidential coup in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and the resulting proxy war in east Ukraine.

Two convoys of 20 vehicles were pictured leaving Brueck near Lehnin in Germany today heading to Poland. They spent the night 80km from Berlin. Troops will also deployed to Romania, Bulgaria and across the Baltics.

The Pentagon now plans to keep the full deployment in Europe and immediately replace those returning after their 9-month stays. The US troops will carry out training exercises with NATO forces once there.

As AP adds, the arrival of the US troops will be feted on Saturday in official ceremonies attended by Poland's prime minister and defense minister.

Despite the Polish celebrations, clouds hung over the historic moment. As the AP puts it, "there are anxieties that the enhanced security could eventually be undermined by the pro-Kremlin views of President-elect Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Russia appears provoked by the deployment of American troops on its doorstep."

"We perceive it as a threat," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "These actions threaten our interests, our security. Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders," Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. "It's not even a European state."

Worries about the permanence of the new US security commitments are rooted in a tragic national history in which Poland has often lost out in deals made over its head by the great powers.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/american-troops-roll-into-poland-in-largest-deployment-since-the-cold-war/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/january/12/american-troops-roll-into-poland-in-largest-deployment-since-the-cold-war/ Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:00:35 GMT