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Jacob G. Hornberger

Will the CIA Retaliate Against Trump?

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In a truly remarkable bit of honesty and candor regarding the U.S. national-security establishment, new Senate minority leader Charles Schumer has accused President-elect Trump of “being really dumb.”

Was Schumer referring to Trump’s ideology, philosophy, or knowledge about economics or foreign policy?

None of the above. According to an article in The Hill, he told Rachel Maddow on her show that Trump was dumb for taking on the CIA and questioning its conclusions regarding Russia.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you…. He’s being really dumb to do this.”

Maddow then asked Schumer what he thought the intelligence community might do to Trump to get back at him.

Schumer’s response was fascinating and revealing. He responded, “I don’t know.”

So, Schumer knows that there are six ways from Sunday for the intelligence community to get back at Trump but then, a few seconds later, can’t enumerate even one of those ways? That makes no sense, unless he was a bit scared to go into the details for fear that one of those “six ways from Sunday” might be employed against him.
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Foreign Policy Blowback in Germany

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Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one of the things that has fascinated me most is the response of the mainstream media. Supporting the retaliatory invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, ever-increasing budgets for the national-security establishment, and constantly expanding infringements on civil liberties and privacy, mainstream reporters, commentators, and pundits have steadfastly resisted focusing on the root cause of anti-American terrorism: deadly foreign interventionism on the part of the United States and other Western countries in the Middle East.

In fact, woe to those who have focused attention on U.S death and destruction in the Middle East as the motivating factor in the 9/11 attacks and the anti-American terrorist attacks that have come after 9/11. Whenever a libertarian has focused on terrorist blowback that comes with foreign interventionism, the response among the supporters of interventionism has been quick and fierce: “Are you blaming America for the terrorist attacks? Are you saying we are responsible for those attacks?”

Americans witnessed this phenomenon in the first Republican presidential debate in the 2008 presidential race. Referring to the blowback produced by US interventionism in the Middle East, Paul said something to the effect of “They came here to kill us because we were over there killing them.” By “we” Paul was referring to the US government.

As Paul immediately learned, he had committed the grave sin of focusing people’s attention on US foreign interventionism as the root cause of anti-American terrorism. His opponents, the mainstream press, and liberals and conservatives alike went on the attack with variations of “Oh, so you’re blaming us for the attacks? You think America is responsible for the attacks?”
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Karma Over Russia?

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Not surprisingly, the mainstream media is aghast that President-elect Donald Trump is not automatically deferring to the CIA and its pronouncement that Russia intervened in the US presidential election with the intent of helping Trump defeat his Democratic Party opponent Hillary Clinton. 

Never mind that the CIA has provided no evidence to support its claims. In the eyes of the mainstream media and the national-security establishment, that’s irrelevant. Trump’s responsibility, they hold, is to automatically, without question or challenge, defer to the authority of the CIA and accept whatever it says.

Of course, one big problem here is that the CIA, along with the rest of the national-security establishment, sometimes lies. In fact, CIA officials are expected to lie if they feel that “national security” depends on it.
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The Horrific Consequences of US Interventionism

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Two seemingly unrelated stories in the New York Times yesterday serve as potent reminders of the deadly and disastrous consequences of US interventionism in the Middle East. The stories involve Iran and Libya.

Referring to Donald Trump’s campaign vow to tear up the nuclear agreement entered into last year between the United States and Iran, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, told an audience at Tehran University, “America cannot influence our determination, this nation’s resistance and its struggle. America is our enemy; we have no doubt about this. The Americans want to put as much pressure on us as they can.” During the talk, the student audience chanted, “Death to America.”

Rouhani is especially chagrined at what he perceives to be a double cross by US officials, who have continued their regime of brutal sanctions against Iran notwithstanding Iran’s signing of the nuclear agreement.

What’s important to realize, however, is that the bad relations between the United States and Iran are rooted in US interventionism, specifically the CIA’s violent coup in 1953, which succeeded in destroying Iran’s experiment with democracy.
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OSU's Foreign Policy Blowback

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Those who keep hoping that gun control will protect them from terrorist retaliation for U.S. interventionism in the Middle East had their hopes dashed last week at Ohio State University. That’s because the lack of gun didn’t stop Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali-born Ohio State student, from intentionally driving a car into pedestrians and then slashing people with a butcher knife.

This is what all too many Americans just don’t yet get — that local, state, and federal government officials cannot keep everyone safe all the time from the threat of terrorist retaliation for the U.S. national-security state’s continued interventionsim in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Last summer I was speaking at the annual Freedom Fest conference in Las Vegas. When I walked outside in daytime and nighttime, I was absolutely stunned by the large crowds on the sidewalks. I thought to myself: All of us are sitting ducks for anyone who wishes to kill Americans in retaliation for the U.S. government’s perpetual killing machine in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan.
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The War Against Castro Comes to an End

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With the passing of former Cuban president Fidel Castro over the weekend, the decades-long U.S. war waged against him finally comes to an end, even if the decades-long embargo against the Cuban people continues.

Castro was one of the most tyrannical dictators in the world. After taking power in 1959, he refused to permit democratic elections, suppressed dissent, censored the news, and controlled travel. And, of course, Castro was a communist or socialist. As president, he imposed a socialist economic system on the island, which entailed the nationalization of all private property. Most everyone became an employee of the state.

But that begs an important question, one that the U.S. mainstream media is loath to ask: Under what moral or legal authority did U.S. officials repeatedly try to murder Castro, and under what moral or legal authority did they try to effect regime change in Cuba?

Most of the mainstream media accounts of Castro’s life mention that the CIA tried to assassinate Castro hundreds of times. They also remind people of the U.S. invasion at the Bay of Pigs.
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Trump: Don't Follow the Bush-Obama Foreign Policy Legacy

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Eight years ago, President Obama had a chance to change the warmongering direction that outgoing President Bush and the U.S. national-security establishment had led America for the previous eight years. Obama could have said, “Enough is enough. America has done enough killing and dying. I’m going to lead our country in a different direction — toward peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.” He could have ordered all U.S. troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan to return home. He could have ended U.S. involvement in the endless wars that Bush, the Pentagon, and the CIA spawned in that part of the world. He could have led America in a new direction.

Instead, Obama decided to stay Bush’s course, no doubt believing that he, unlike Bush, could win the endless wars that Bush had started. It was not to be. He chose to keep the national-security establishment embroiled in Afghanistan and Iraq. Death and destruction are Obama’s legacy, just as they were Bush’s.

Obama hoped that Hillary Clinton would protect and continue his (and Bush’s) legacy of foreign death and destruction. Yesterday, a majority of American voters dashed that hope.

Will Trump change directions and bring U.S. troops home? Possibly not, especially given he is an interventionist, just as Clinton, Bush, and Obama are. But there is always that possibility, especially since Trump, unlike Clinton, owes no allegiance to the U.S. military-industrial complex, whose survival and prosperity depends on endless wars and perpetual crises.
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Another US Massacre in Afghanistan

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The latest massacre of many innocent people by US forces in Afghanistan provides another demonstration as to why it is imperative that the American people stop deferring to the authority of the national security state and demand the immediate withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan.

In a war that has now gone on for 16 years, US forces just killed at least 32 more civilians, many of whom were children. Another 25 people were wounded. Of course, this is on top of all the wedding parties, hospitals, and other victims of US bombing attacks that have brought the death toll from US interventionism in Afghanistan to more than 200,000, not to mention the wounded, maimed, homeless, and refugees. In the last seven days alone, 95 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and 111 injured.

How many of those 30 people, including the children, who are now being buried had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks? It is a virtual certainty that none of them did.

How did this latest US massacre occur? Afghan government forces, assisted by US troops, decided to raid a home in a densely populated neighborhood in a village where a Taliban commander was supposedly having a meeting. The soldiers got trapped in a narrow dead-end street, where they began taking enemy fire from surrounding homes.
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Washington's Meddling in Foreign Elections

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As US officials continue to accuse Russia of meddling with the US presidential election, an accusation that they have provided no evidence whatsoever to support, let’s review some of the US government’s history of meddling with elections in others countries.

1. In 1951, the democratically elected parliament of Iran elected a man named Mohammad Mossadegh to be Iran’s prime minister. Mossadegh angered British Empire officials by nationalizing British oil interests in the country.

British officials then turned to the CIA for assistance. In 1953, the CIA secretly fomented a violent coup in Iran, which succeeded in ousting Mossadegh from power and making the Shah of Iran the supreme unelected dictator of the country.

To fortify the Shah’s dictatorial hold on power, the CIA helped organize and train the his domestic police force, the Savak, which was essentially a combination of the CIA, the NSA, and the military. Part of the CIA’s training involved teaching Savak agents the art of torture.

For the next 26 years, the Iranian people suffered under one of the most brutal and tyrannical dictatorships in the world, one that US officials fully supported and called an ally and friend of the United States.
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Purchasing Loyalty with Foreign Aid

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A dispute that is taking place between Saudi Arabia and Egypt indirectly demonstrates the nature of US foreign aid. After dumping a walloping $25 billion in foreign aid to help the Egyptian military dictatorship’s economic woes, the Saudis are hopping mad. Why? Because last month in the United Nations, contrary to Saudi Arabia’s wishes, Egypt voted in favor of a Russian resolution on Syria.

In the world of foreign aid, that’s a super no-no. When a regime has received $25 billion from another regime, it is expected to vote the way its benefactor wants it to vote.
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