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The Russia Investigation is about Criminalizing Peace

The Russia Investigation is about Criminalizing Peace

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“For those who long wondered why throughout the presidential campaign Trump could not bring himself to say a critical word about Russian President Vladimir Putin, we now know the answer: Trump was hoping to do business in Russia, and doing so would require the approval of Putin.” – USA TodayOpinion

Make no mistake, the mainstream left and state serving-media voices are trying to gaslight an entire generation into believing any candidate that wants peace with Russia may be a foreign conspirator worthy of prison, shame, and family persecution.

Former congressman Ron Paul, as a peace presidential candidate, did not regurgitate war propaganda against Russia either. Neither did Senator Rand Paul when he ran. What Paul hotel do you see in Moscow? Yet for future generations, many in the media want to ensure no such candidate ever runs again without baked-in misgivings of treason and criminality.

No serious observer of recent events can honestly believe the mono-narrative the old media, including “hard news” outfits, has tried to curate about the 2016 election. However, the aim of the last two years of conspiratorial hysteria has been to sear into the minds of low information voters suspicion of any successful political figure who even half challenges the conventional wisdom that America must perpetually spend hundreds of billions on NATO, collect citizens’ private conversations, sanction Russian citizens, and intervene in Russia’s local border disputes.

This is nothing new. When Martin Luther King Jr. used his national spotlight to challenge the moral authority of the Vietnam War, he was denounced as a subversive agent of enemy foreign powers.

What voters need to understand is that those who challenge bipartisan orthodox foreign policy are the leaders most likely to keep them safe from foreign authoritarians.

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Pompeo: US/Saudi Partnership ‘Vital’ – American Taxpayers May Disagree!

Pompeo: US/Saudi Partnership ‘Vital’ – American Taxpayers May Disagree!

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has published a bizarre op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming that Saudi Arabia has been a guarantor of stability in the Middle East and a bulwark against “expansionist” Iran. Perhaps he forgot about Saudi support for jihadists in Syria and the Saudi destruction of Yemen? Is carrying water for the murderous Saudi kingdom in the Middle East really the best way to demonstrate “American values,” as Pompeo claims? We break down Pompeo’s neocon screed in today’s Liberty Report:

The Only Regime Change that Is Needed Is in Washington

The Only Regime Change that Is Needed Is in Washington

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Secretary Pompeo officiates the Swearing-In Ceremony for Ambassador James F. Jeffrey. Image credit: U.S. Department of State/ flickr)

One of the things to look forward to in the upcoming holiday season is the special treats that one is allowed to sample. Fruitcake and nuts are Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites. They usually come in tins or special packages but it seems that this season some of the nuts have escaped and have fled to obtain sanctuary from the Trump Administration.

Currently, there is certainly a wide range of nuts available on display in the West Wing. There is the delicate but hairy Bolton, which has recently received the coveted “Defender of Israel” award, and also the robust Pompeo, courageously bucking the trend to overeat during the holidays by telling the Iranian people that they should either surrender or starve to death. And then there is the always popular Haley, voting audaciously to give part of Syria to Israel as a holiday treat.

But my vote for the most magnificent nut in an Administration that is overflowing with such talent would be the esteemed United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey. The accolade is in part due to the fact that Jeffrey started out relatively sane as a career diplomat with the State Department, holding ambassadorships in Iraq, Turkey, and Albania. He had to work hard to become as demented as he now is but was helped along the way by signing on as a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
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President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’?

President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’?

It’s not often that US Government officials are honest when they talk about our foreign policy. The unprovoked 2003 attack on Iraq was called a “liberation.” The 2011 US-led destruction of Libya was a “humanitarian intervention.” And so on.

So, in a way, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was refreshingly honest last week when, speaking about newly-imposed US sanctions, he told the BBC that the Iranian leadership “has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.” It was an honest admission that new US sanctions are designed to starve Iranians unless the Iranian leadership accepts US demands.

His statement also reveals the lengths to which the neocons are willing to go to get their “regime change” in Iran. Just like then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it” that half a million Iraqi children died because of our sanctions on that country, Pompeo is letting us know that a few million dead Iranians is also “worth it” if the government in Tehran can be overthrown.

The US Secretary of State has demanded that Iran “act like a normal country” or the US would continue its pressure until Iran’s economy crumbles. How twisted is US foreign policy that Washington considers it “normal” to impose sanctions specifically designed to make life miserable – or worse – for civilians!

Is it normal to threaten millions of people with starvation if their leaders refuse to bow down to US demands? Is the neoconservative obsession with regime change “normal” behavior? Is training and arming al-Qaeda in Syria to overthrow Assad “normal” behavior? If so, then perhaps Washington’s neocons have a point. As Iran is not imposing sanctions, is not invading its neighbors, is not threatening to starve millions of Americans unless Washington is “regime-changed,” perhaps Iran is not acting “normal.”

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Trump Is Right, the Fed Is Crazy

Trump Is Right, the Fed Is Crazy

President Trump recently called the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes crazy. Leaving aside President Trump’s specific complaint, which is likely motivated by the belief that low rates will help him win reelection, he is right that “crazy” is a good way to describe the Federal Reserve.

When not forced to use a government-created currency, individuals have historically chosen to use a precious metal such as gold or silver as money. The reasons include that precious metals are durable and their value tends to remain relatively stable over time. A stable currency ensures that prices accurately convey the true value of goods and services.

A main value of a precious metal is it accurately conveys the true price of money, which is the Interest rate. If the interest rate reflects the manipulation of central bankers and not true market conditions, individuals will be unable to properly allocate resources between savings and current consumption.

In contrast to market money, government-created fiat currency is anything but stable. Central banks constantly increase and decrease the money supply in an attempt to control the economy by controlling the interest rates. This causes individuals to misread market conditions, leading to a misallocation of resources. This can create an illusion of prosperity. But eventually reality catches up to the Federal Reserve-created fantasies. When that happens, there is a recession or worse, leading the Fed to start the whole boom-and-bust cycle over again.

When central banks create money, those who first get the new money enjoy an increase in purchasing power before the new money causes a real increase in prices. Those who receive the money first are members of the banking and financial elite.

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Ten Years After the Last Meltdown: Is Another One Around the Corner?

Ten Years After the Last Meltdown: Is Another One Around the Corner?

September marked a decade since the bursting of the housing bubble, which was followed by the stock market meltdown and the government bailout of the big banks and Wall Street. Last week’s frantic stock market sell-off indicates the failure to learn the lesson of 2008 makes another meltdown inevitable.In 2001-2002 the Federal Reserve responded to the economic downturn caused by the bursting of the technology bubble by pumping money into the economy. This new money ended up in the housing market. This was because the so-called conservative Bush administration, like the “liberal” Clinton administration before it, was using the Community Reinvestment Act and government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make mortgages available to anyone who wanted one — regardless of income or credit history.

Banks and other lenders eagerly embraced this “ownership society”’ agenda with a “lend first, ask questions when foreclosing” policy. The result was the growth of subprime mortgages, the rush to invest in housing, and millions of Americans finding themselves in homes they could not afford.

When the housing bubble burst, the government should have let the downturn run its course in order to correct the malinvestments made during the phony, Fed-created boom. This may have caused some short-term pain, but it would have ensured the recovery would be based on a solid foundation rather than a bubble of fiat currency.

Of course Congress did exactly the opposite, bailing out Wall Street and the big banks. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to historic lows and embarked on a desperate attempt to inflate the economy via QE 1, 2, and 3.

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Why Are We Siding With al-Qaeda?

Why Are We Siding With al-Qaeda?

Last week, I urged the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to stop protecting al-Qaeda in Syria by demanding that the Syrian government leave Idlib under al-Qaeda control. While it may seem hard to believe that the US government is helping al-Qaeda in Syria, it’s not as strange as it may seem: our interventionist foreign policy increasingly requires Washington to partner up with “bad guys” in pursuit of its dangerous and aggressive foreign policy goals.

Does the Trump Administration actually support al-Qaeda and ISIS? Of course not. But the “experts” who run Trump’s foreign policy have determined that a de facto alliance with these two extremist groups is for the time being necessary to facilitate the more long-term goals in the Middle East. And what are those goals? Regime change for Iran.

Let’s have a look at the areas where the US is turning a blind eye to al-Qaeda and ISIS.

First, Idlib. As I mentioned last week, President Trump’s own Special Envoy to fight ISIS said just last year that “Idlib Province is the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.” So why do so many US officials – including President Trump himself – keep warning the Syrian government not to re-take its own territory from al-Qaeda control? Wouldn’t they be doing us a favor by ridding the area of al-Qaeda? Well, if Idlib is re-taken by Assad, it all but ends the neocon (and Saudi and Israeli) dream of “regime change” for Syria and a black eye to Syria’s ally, Iran.

Second, one of the last groups of ISIS fighters in Syria are around the Al-Tanf US military base which has operated illegally in northeastern Syria for the past two years.

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New York Times Undermining Peace Efforts by Sowing Suspicion

New York Times Undermining Peace Efforts by Sowing Suspicion

undefinedThe New York Times continues to outdo itself in the production of fake news. There is no more reliable source of fake news than the intelligence services, which regularly provide their pet outlets (NYT and WaPo) with sensational stories that are as unverifiable as their sources are anonymous. A prize example was the August 24 report that US intelligence agencies don’t know anything about Russia’s plans to mess up our November elections because “informants close to … Putin and in the Kremlin” aren’t saying anything. Not knowing anything about something for which there is no evidence is a rare scoop.

A story like that is not designed to “inform the public” since there is no information in it. It has other purposes: to keep the “Russia is undermining our democracy” story on front pages, with the extra twist in this case of trying to make Putin distrustful of his entourage. The Russian president is supposed to wonder, who are those informants in my entourage?

But that was nothing compared to the whopper produced by the “newpaper of record” on September 5. (By the way, the “record” is stuck in the same groove: Trump bad, Putin bad – bad bad bad.) This was the sensational oped headlined “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”, signed by nobody.

The letter by Mister or Ms Anonymous is very well written. By someone like, say, Thomas Friedman. That is, someone on the NYT staff. It is very cleverly composed to achieve quite obvious calculated aims. It is a masterpiece of treacherous deception.

The fictional author presents itself as a right-wing conservative shocked by Trump’s “amorality” – a category that outside the Washington swamp might include betraying the trust of one’s superior.

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America First, Helsinki, and Trump’s Existential Threat to the Empire

America First, Helsinki, and Trump’s Existential Threat to the Empire

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The major – perhaps only – redeeming virtue of the Donald’s ersatz campaign platform was his clear intent to seek a rapprochement with Russia, revamp America’s commitments to NATO and other cold war relics and to discard “Regime Change” as the core tenant of foreign policy. In essence, “America First” was to become the new route to domestic security and safety.

Those eminently sensible notions struck the Deep State’s raison d’etre to the quick during the campaign; and by hook or crook, the Donald’s rapid fire actions toward these objectives since April have induced a palpable shock in the Imperial City.

Clearly he means to withdraw America’s 29,000 military hostages now stationed in South Korea in return for some sort of peace treaty, economic normalization and denuclearization arrangement with Kim Jong-un.

Likewise, he has sensibly suggested that demonizing Russia and Putin has accomplished nothing, and that they should be invited back into the G-8. And as soon as Robert Mueller finishes his RussiaGate farce, Trump can get rid of the present asinine sanctions on various Russian officials and Putin cronies, too.

We also now know – owing to the sullen reporting of the Washington Post – that Trump has been hounding the national security bureaucracy about another utterly ridiculous artifact of the Empire. Namely, the fact that 73 years after Hitler descended into Hades from his bunker and 27 years after the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history, there are still 35,000 US troops in Germany:

The Pentagon is analyzing the cost and impact of a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of American troops stationed in Germany, amid growing tensions between President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to people familiar with the work.

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America’s Incredible Shrinking Influence

America’s Incredible Shrinking Influence

Just two weeks after President Trump pulled the US from the Iran nuclear agreement, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, issued 12 demands to Iran that could never be satisfied. Pompeo knew his demands would be impossible to meet. They were designed that way. Just like Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia in July, 1914, that led to the beginning of World War I. And just like the impossible demands made of Milosevic in 1999 and of Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003, and so many other times when Washington wanted war. These impossible demands are tools of war rather than steps toward peace.

Secretary Pompeo raged at Iran. The mainstream news media raged at Iran. Trump raged at Iran. But then a strange thing happened: nothing. The Iranians announced that they remained committed to diplomacy and would continue to uphold their end of the nuclear agreement if the Europeans and other partners were willing to do the same. Iranian and European officials then sought out contacts in defiance of Washington in hopes of preserving mutually-beneficial emerging commercial relations.

Washington responded to the European snub by threatening secondary sanctions on European companies that continued doing business with an Iran that had repeatedly been found in compliance with its end of the bargain. Any independent European relationship with Iran would be punished, Washington threatened. But then, again, very little happened.

Rather than jump on Washington’s bandwagon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made two trips to Russia in May seeking closer ties and a way forward on Iran.

Russia and China were named as our prime enemies in the latest National Security Strategy for the United States, but both countries stand to benefit from the unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran deal. When the French oil company Total got spooked by Washington threats and pulled out of Iran, a Chinese firm eagerly took its place.

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Decades of Unconstitutional Wars

Decades of Unconstitutional Wars

Despite United States Congress members insisting that Congress debate and vote on US military actions overseas, congressional leadership has chosen inaction, allowing military actions unilaterally pursued by the executive branch to continue unrestrained. And, when, this year, consideration has begun to move forward on an authorization for use of military force (AUMF), it is in the form of legislation (S.J.Res. 59) sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) that would rubber-stamp the US government’s existing wars and sweepingly authorize the executive branch to choose to pursue much more additional military action across the world.

How did we reach this situation so far removed from the US Constitution’s dictate that Congress alone decides if the US goes to war, as well as what is the scope of any such wars? Constitutional scholar Louis Fisher examines this question in detail in his article “Unconstitutional Wars from Truman Forward” in the latest issue of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship’s journal Humanitas.

In his article, Fisher, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Academic Board, lays out the clear direction in the Constitution that it is Congress alone that has the power to place the US into war as well as to define the limits of any war it authorizes. Fisher supports this argument with a discussion of both the wording of the Constitution and context including statements of Founding Fathers.

The legislature’s power over war, Fisher notes, was recognized in the judiciary in the early years of the US. As an example, Fisher discusses an 1804 US Supreme Court decision requiring the payment of damages for a US naval captain seizing a Danish ship that was sailing from a French port.
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War Codes in Trump’s Iran Proclamation

War Codes in Trump’s Iran Proclamation

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Today President Trump announced that he was canceling US participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. The president’s assertions were ludicrous and factually incorrect, but the neocons who were no doubt behind the speech have never been all that wedded to the truth. It became obvious fairly on that Trump’s rationale was not to be taken seriously, when he cited last week’s comical stage performance by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “Iran Lied” about its nuclear program.

Netanyahu’s fairy tale required us to believe that the Iranians were storing their most sensitive national security (paper) documents and compact discs in an unguarded desert hut, which the crack Israeli team of intelligence operatives were able to discover and remove by the truckload right under the noses of what they claim is among the most totalitarian “regimes” on earth.

And even if one believes that fairy tale, one is required to suspend logic and reason and conclude that evidence that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons technology but had halted the program by 2003 is actually proof that Iran is currently pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities — despite repeated inspections that have concluded otherwise. Really, it’s something a child could see through. Which is perhaps why the neocons were so successful at packaging it for Trump’s consumption.

Likewise Trump’s claim that Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism…for among other things fighting actual terrorists (al-Qaeda and ISIS) in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government!

Only in the twisted world of the neocons can one country arming al-Qaeda and ISIS (the US) be “anti-terrorist” and another country killing al-Qaeda and ISIS (Iran) be “pro-terrorist.”

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What Will Weapons Inspectors Find in Syria…And Does it Matter?

What Will Weapons Inspectors Find in Syria…And Does it Matter?

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have finally arrived in Douma, Syria, to assess whether a gas attack took place earlier this month. It has taken a week for the inspectors to begin their work, as charges were thrown back and forth about who was causing the delay.

Proponents of the US and UK position that Assad used gas in Douma have argued that the Syrian and Russian governments are preventing the OPCW inspectors from doing their work. That, they claim, is all the evidence needed to demonstrate that Assad and Putin have something to hide. But it seems strange that if Syria and Russia wanted to prevent an OPCW inspection of the alleged sites they would have been the ones to request the inspection in the first place.

The dispute was solved just days ago, as the OPCW Director-General released a statement explaining that the delay was due to UN security office concerns for the safety of the inspectors.

We are told that even after the OPCW inspectors collect samples from the alleged attack sites, it will take weeks to determine whether there was any gas or other chemicals released. That means there is very little chance President Trump had “slam dunk” evidence that Assad used gas in Douma earlier this month when he decided to launch a military attack on Syria. To date, the US has presented no evidence of who was responsible or even whether an attack took place at all. Even right up to the US missile strike, Defense Secretary Mattis said he was still looking for evidence.

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We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament

We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the US war on Iraq. The “shock and awe” attack was launched based on “stove-piped” intelligence fed from the CIA and Pentagon through an uncritical and compliant US mainstream media. The US media was a willing accomplice to this crime of aggression committed by the George W. Bush Administration.

Despite the lies we were constantly bombarded with, Iraq never presented a threat to the United States. Iraq never had the weapons of mass destruction that the neocons used to frighten Americans into supporting the war. How many of them knew all along that there were no WMDs? We’ll never know. Attacking Iraq and overthrowing its leader was long a plan in the neocon playbook and they used the 9/11 attack on the US as an excuse to pull the plan off the shelf and put it into action.

The US “regime change” war on Iraq has directly resulted in the death of at least a quarter of a million civilians, and indirectly perhaps a million Iraqis have been killed. The Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed and the country was set back many decades in development. Far from the democratization we were promised, Iraq has been turned into a hell on earth. Due to the US use of depleted uranium and other chemical weapons like white phosphorus, Iraqis will continue to suffer from birth defects and other related illnesses for generations.

How did we get there? War propaganda was essential in paving the way for the Iraq war. Americans are generally skeptical about launching new wars, so it takes a steady media bombardment about the alleged depravities of any targeted regime before public opinion begins to shift in favor of war.

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The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities

The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities

A Russian pilot has been killed by US-armed terrorists in Syria. The Ron Paul Institute‘s Daniel McAdams writes the following about this new development:

“The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses US weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the US and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict.”

McAdams is not fearmongering; he is stating a plainly obvious fact. The Trump administration has just announced that it is restructuring its nuclear weapons policy to take a more aggressive stance toward Russia than that which was held by the previous administration. This is coming after this administration’s decision to arm Ukraine against Russia, a move Obama refused to take for fear of escalating tensions with Moscow, as well as its decision to continue to occupy Syria in order to effect regime change, along with numerous other escalations. The Council on Foreign Relations, which is without exaggeration as close to the voice of the US establishment as you can possibly get, is now openly admitting that the “United States is currently in a second Cold War with Russia.”

In a recent interview with The Real News, leading US-Russian relations expert Stephen Cohen repeated his ongoing warning that “this new Cold War is much more dangerous, much more likely to end in Hot War, than was the 40-year of Cold War, which we barely survived.” In a previous interviewwith the same outlet, Cohen elaborated more extensively:

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