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Justin Raimondo

Purge the CIA

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified at a hearing on “Russian interference” in the election that there’s a difference between “skepticism” of the intelligence community’s assessment and “disparagement” of said community. While stopping short of asking for a “safe space,” this admitted liar used the opportunity to cry on the shoulders of Donald Trump’s assembled enemies: “We’re not perfect,” he burbled, but hey everybody makes mistakes.

Clapper’s remarks were clearly aimed at Trump, who has tweeted his contempt for the effort by the CIA and allied agencies to conjure up a Russian conspiracy to put him in the White House. Citing Julian Assange’s statement to Sean Hannity that a teenager could’ve hacked the Podesta emails, Trump’s tweets evoked the rage of the Washington Establishment – how dare he question those who failed to prevent 9/11, told us Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction,” and failed to foresee the rise of ISIS, which they (through President Obama) characterized as “the JV team”!

The hearing quickly degenerated into a “Hate Assange” session, with McCain asking Clapper "if any credibility should attached to this individual” given WikiLeaks’ “record of leaking materials that put U.S. lives in direct danger.”

"Not in my view," Clapper replied.

Only in Washington would this exchange not be followed by howls of jeering laughter. It was Clapper, after all, who lied under oath to Sen. Ron Wyden and the Senate when asked about the extent of spying on US citizens engaged in by the National Security Agency, and later was forced to apologize for it.
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The Uselessness of NATO: Do We Really Need to Defend Montenegro?

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The latest entrant into the NATO alliance, Montenegro, underscores both the absurdity of this archaic cold war relic and the dangers it poses to the United States.

Yes, Montenegro is a real country, kind of: with a little over 600,000 citizens, and around 5,000 square miles, it has an army of under 2,000 soldiers and sailors. During the medieval era it was divided into warring clans who were unified only by their fierce opposition to Ottoman rule: the boundaries, and the rulers who presided over what became a duchy, were fluid, like the boundaries of neighboring Balkan states whose instability and propensity for conflict gave rise to the phrase “balkanization” as a synonym for volatility. 

Once the ancient bastion of Serbian nationalism – the country was bombed by the US during the Kosovo war – Montenegro’s demographics underwent a transformation and now the country is pretty evenly split between Serbs and other nationalities: the country’s politics, too, are polarized, with the pro-Serb pro-Russian opposition parties and the pro-EU pro-NATO parties almost evenly matched, although the latter have tenuous control of the government at present.

A referendum severing Montenegro from the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav Federation was successful, but only after a protracted campaign by the state-controlled media – already in the hands of pro-NATO forces – and a 1997 coup led by Milo Djukanovic, the current President. The New York Times describes President Djukanovic as “notoriously devious,” and he is otherwise known as “Mr. Ten Percent,” an allusion to his reputation for corruption.
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What Would an ‘America First’ Foreign Policy Look Like?

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As Donald Trump takes the reins and we all prepare for the next four years, the need to translate rhetoric into reality comes to the fore. Trump spent the campaign repeating a phrase that horrified the elites – especially the foreign policy Establishment – even adopting it as his official campaign theme: “America first.”

The elites were aghast because the phrase evokes the legacy of the biggest anti-interventionist movement in American history: the America First Committee, a coalition of conservative businessmen and progressive activists (including the socialist Norman Thomas) who not only opposed US entry into World War II, but also pointed to the authoritarian tendencies of the Franklin Roosevelt administration, which they feared would be exacerbated in wartime – as indeed they were.

Smeared by pro-war liberals and their Communist party allies as “Nazi sympathizers” — in the same way antiwar activists were later accused of being pro-Communist, pro-Saddam Hussein, pro-terrorist, etc. – the AFC has not fared well with historians, who, for the most part, are Roosevelt partisans, and globalists in any case. The America Firsters are the original “isolationists” the War Party warns us about, “dangerous” subversives who saw that in the quest for a “world order,” Americans would lose their old republic.
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Assange's Fate

The saga of Julian Assange seems to be drawing to a climax – one that will decide the fate of this historic whistleblower who, for years, has been a giant thorn in the side of governments everywhere.

His role in exposing the machinations of the US government over the years earned him the plaudits of liberals – until the Bush era ended, and he started exposing the crimes of the Obama administration and – most pointedly – the hypocrisy and venality of Hillary Clinton and her journalistic camarilla. Now we see right-wing figures like Sean Hannity and – yes! – Donald Trump praising and defending him, while the ostensible liberals take up the cry of the Clinton campaign that he’s a “pawn of the Kremlin” and a “rapist.”
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Libertarianism and War: The Rothbard Rule

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The year was 1956: the icy winds of the cold war were blowing across the political landscape. And it was a presidential election year, pitting the internationalist Republican Dwight Eisenhower against Adlai Stevenson, the darling of the Democratic party’s left wing. The “isolationist” faction of the GOP, led by Sen. Robert A. Taft, had been finally defeated by what Phyllis Schlafly later called the Republican “kingmakers” of the Eastern Establishment. And the looming menace of the cold war turning hot was everywhere in the headlines. While Eisenhower was rallying the nation against the alleged Communist “threat,” Stevenson was calling for a nuclear test ban, negotiations with the Soviet Union, and an end to the military draft.
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Two Boys in Aleppo

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Oh, it was a very big deal, one of those Defining Moments our media likes to chortle over. There was Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson on “Morning Joe” being interviewed by a panel of pundits including Mike Barnicle. “What,” asked Barnicle, “would you do about Aleppo?”

Johnson looked puzzled, because he was: “And what is Aleppo?” he answered.

“You’re kidding,” said Barnicle.

“No,” said Johnson.

“Aleppo is in Syria,” explained Barnicle, looking and sounding both smug and incredulous. “It’s the epicenter of the refugee crisis.”

The media – which has finally realized that Johnson is taking more votes away from Hillary than he is from Trump – was all over this. Joe Scarborough declared – as if he were delivering a Papal Bull – that this automatically disqualified Johnson from any serious consideration as a presidential candidate. And the rest of the media pack followed suit: How could he not know about Aleppo? After all the propaganda about that poor little soot-covered boy, Omran Daqneesh, who was uninjured but very photogenic, and those dastardly Russians bombing those sweet innocent Islamic rebels – how could Johnson not know that Aleppo is the epicenter of the War Party’s latest attempt to drag us into yet another foreign war?
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The Campaign to Blame Putin for Everything

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Hardly a day goes by without some “news” about the Russian “threat,” and in the past twenty-four hours the hate-on-Russia campaign seems to have picked up speed. After learning from Hillary Clinton that Vladimir Putin is not only responsible for the Trump campaign, but also for the “global nationalist movement” that yanked the British out of the European Union, mainstream media are telling us that Russian interlopers are supposedly invading our electoral process by hacking into voter databases. The Washington Post “reports”:
Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russian hackers were behind the assault on the election system in that state.

The bureau told Arizona officials that the threat was ‘credible’ and severe, ranking as ‘an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10,’ said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.

As a result, Secretary of State Michele Reagan shut down the state voter registration system for almost a week.
So the Russkies are invading the American polity, launching a cybernetic assault on the very basis of our democracy? Really?
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Who Hacked the DNC?

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We haven’t seen this kind of hysteria since the darkest days of the cold war: a spy scare that is being utilized by one political party against another in a national election, with charges of disloyalty and even “treason” being hurled by one side against the other. The publication of the Democratic National Committee’s emails by WikiLeaks has caused a storm of spin and counter-spin that threatens to throw the entire election discourse off balance – not that it was all that centered to begin with – and cause an international incident with perilous consequences for us all.

The media, one and all, have decided that the DNC hack was the work of the Russian government, and the Democrats have taken this one step further and declared that Moscow is pushing the candidacy of Donald Trump due to his oft-stated hope to “get along” with Vladimir Putin. And US government officials have added their voices to this chorus, with the New York Times reporting that unnamed members of the “intelligence community” believe “with high confidence” that the Russian state is behind the hack.

This is impressive, at least in Washington, D.C., where the pronouncements of government officials are taken as holy writ. For the rest of us, however, who remember that this same “intelligence community” declared with certainty that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction,” this assertion should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Indeed, one might almost be tempted to write this conclusion off as quite obviously erroneous and self-serving, given the record of the people who are making it.
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The Saudis Did 9/11

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News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it’s just circumstantial evidence, and there’s no “smoking gun.” Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it’s hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.

To begin with, let’s start with what’s not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words “CIA” or “FBI,” instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it’s reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it’s contained in the portions we’re not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.

In any case, what we have access to makes more than just a substantial case: it shows that the Saudi government – including top officials, such as then Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and other members of the royal family – financed and actively aided the hijackers prior to September 11, 2001.
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Rehearsing for World War III

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As I write this, US troops are building a bridge across Poland’s Vistula river, and conducting a nighttime helicopter assault to secure the eastern part of the country against a Russian assault.

Has World War III started? Well, not quite yet, although it’s not for want of trying.

This is Operation “Anakonda 16.” Thirty-one thousand troops, 14,000 of them American, are conducting war games designed to secure an Allied victory in World War III. The exercises involve “100 aircraft, 12 vessels and 3,000 vehicles,” and precede the upcoming NATO summit, which is expected to approve the stationing of yet more troops – mostly Americans – in eastern Europe.

NATO claims this is all strictly “defensive” in nature, designed to deter Russian “aggression” – but who is the real aggressor?
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