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Phony Hysterics Over North Korea

A lot of my job as editorial director of Antiwar.com is cutting through the veil of obfuscation with which the War Party masks its ill intentions. But sometimes you don’t even have to read between the lines to see what our conniving rulers are up to. Such is the case with the current war scare around North Korea.

President Trump is playing this for all it’s worth, summoning the Senate to a special conclave at the White House to inform them of the supposedly dire threat. This ostentatious display was preceded by a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee at which Admiral Harry Harris, in charge of the US Pacific Command, sounded the alarm:

“Kim Jong-Un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today, in my opinion. I have suggested that we consider putting interceptors in Hawaii that . . . defend (it) directly, and that we look at a defensive Hawaii radar.”

The idea that the North Korean despot is going to pull off another Pearl Harbor is so off the wall that one has to wonder what the Admiral is smoking. To begin with, the North Koreans don’t have the technical capacity to reach Hawaii: their most recent test, reportedly of a medium range ballistic missile, failed on launch. Another failure of a medium range missile test occurred earlier in the month, when the rocket went haywire in the skies and exploded in a fiery crash in the sea. And in March, they chalked up two failures, when they fired a flurry of test missiles, only four of which landed 160 miles off the coast of Japan, and another of a medium range missile that “exploded within seconds of launch.”

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Berkeley Police Refuse To Protect Coulter, Speech Cancelled

Debunking Trump’s Casus Belli

Wars and rumors of wars have been dominating news cycles of late. No one should be surprised that there is a “former intelligence officer” subculture that is particularly noticeable in the Washington, DC, area. We stay in touch, communicate regularly, have lunches to discuss the “old days,” and sometimes organize to raise objections to some of the foreign follies pursued by the U.S. government. Though we often try to stay under the radar, making personal but discreet contact with sympathetic congressmen and journalists, we sometimes work together to get letters to the editor or articles placed in national publications. More rarely we appear on television or radio to discuss our own perspectives on current events.

There is an additional element that helps shape our perceptions—namely, that many of us are in contact with friends who are still in harness with the Intelligence Community or who are working as post-retirement contractors. Though current employees generally are highly cautious about what they are doing, and we are acutely aware that it is not a good idea to ask anything specific, frustration over specific governmental policies and actions is occasionally vented.

Recently, with the cruise missile attacks on a Syrian airfield, there has been a considerable loosening of the normal restraints that employees exercise regarding their duties. Even more than the invasion of Iraq, which was viewed skeptically by many in the community, the decision by President Trump to retaliate with force against Damascus has been met with dismay among many of those closest to the action in the Middle East.

Many officers have expressed frustration and anger over what has taken place—not to challenge national-security policy, which they leave up to the politicians, but because they are perceiving a tissue of lies, as in Iraq. They have expressed their concerns in very specific ways to former fellow officers and friends. For the first time, people on the inside of the process are really talking. And we have been listening, astonished at the level of anger.

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George Soros Group Sues Alex Jones Infowars

CIA Fights Disclosure of Secret Aid to Israel

On March 30 Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan found it "neither logical nor plausible" for the CIA to claim it had no intelligence budget expenditure data of support to Israel between the years 1990 and 2015. The court then ordered the Department of Justice legal counsel to "meet and confer" about responding to the original Freedom of Information Act request for the data and file a response by April 24.

The original FOIA request sought public disclosure of the secret portion of US taxpayer-funded foreign assistance delivered to Israel. (PDF) Although "memorandum of understanding" packages, the most recent guaranteeing $3.8 billion per year over a decade, and additional Israel-bound appropriations passed by Congress are publicly known, secret US intelligence aid is not.

On September 11, 2013 journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency was pumping electronic intercepts of communications of American citizens to Israel, with no legally binding limits on how the data could be used.

On August 5, 2015 President Barack Obama quantified the possible dollar value boundaries of intelligence aid during a speech at American University, claiming "…due to American military and intelligence assistance, which my administration has provided at unprecedented levels, Israel can defend itself against any conventional danger…" Given historic military aid is publicly known, secret intelligence aid to Israel in 2015 was either an additional $1.9 billion per year or $13.2 billion if the president adjusted for inflation. These are the amounts Obama would have had to provide to meet "unprecedented" combined levels of military and intelligence assistance.

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Only thing Democrats & Republicans agree on is 'more war!' – fmr US senator

Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

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The Secret Saudi Arabian Massacre

War Cries Drown Out ‘America First’

"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" tweeted President Donald Trump on Easter Sunday.

Earlier, after discovering "great chemistry" with Chinese President Xi Jinping over "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake" at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, "I explained … that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!"

"America First" thus takes a back seat to big-power diplomacy with Beijing. One wonders: How much will Xi end up bilking us for his squeezing of Kim Jong Un?

Trump once seemed to understand how America had been taken to the cleaners during and after the Cold War. While allies supported us diplomatically, they piled up huge trade surpluses at our expense and became virtual free-riders off the U.S. defense effort.

No nations were more successful at this than South Korea and Japan. Now Xi is playing the game – and perhaps playing Trump.

What is the "North Korean problem" Beijing will help solve in return for more indulgent consideration on future U.S.-China trade deals?

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CIA-NATO Press for Turkey-Russia War

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Trump Walks Into Syria Trap Via Fake ‘Intelligence’

In the summer of 2013, the international media was aflame with reports that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had murdered 1,400 civilians in the town of Ghouta: using deadly sarin gas, children, women, and men had been horribly slaughtered, and Syria’s Islamist opposition, in concert with the Washington foreign policy Establishment, was agitating for US intervention. It was the culmination of a years-long propaganda campaign, which then President Barack Obama had stubbornly resisted – and now, finally, he was about to give in and give the order for US missiles to fly. Yet, at the back of his mind, he still had  unsettling doubts, and these were confirmed shortly before the day of the planned strikes when the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, interrupted his daily presidential briefing, as Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The Atlantic:

“Obama was also unsettled by a surprise visit early in the week from James Clapper, his director of national intelligence, who interrupted the President’s Daily Brief, the threat report Obama receives each morning from Clapper’s analysts, to make clear that the intelligence on Syria’s use of sarin gas, while robust, was not a ‘slam dunk.’ He chose the term carefully. Clapper, the chief of an intelligence community traumatized by its failures in the run-up to the Iraq War, was not going to overpromise, in the manner of the onetime CIA director George Tenet, who famously guaranteed George W. Bush a ‘slam dunk’ in Iraq.

“While the Pentagon and the White House’s national-security apparatuses were still moving toward war (John Kerry told me he was expecting a strike the day after his speech), the president had come to believe that he was walking into a trap – one laid both by allies and by adversaries, and by conventional expectations of what an American president is supposed to do.”

Indeed, the “intelligence” assigning to Assad the responsibility for the sarin gas attack at Ghouta was very far from a slam-dunk: it was, in fact, a lie, a hoax, a false flag operation undertaken by the Islamist rebels and their Turkish allies who were desperate to draw the US into the Syrian civil war. Yes, sarin gas had been released at Ghouta, but, contrary to the “intelligence” provided to the President, it wasn’t the Syrian government that was responsible. As Seymour Hersh showed in a piece published in the London Review of Books, this was proved by “intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack.” As one intelligence official told Hersh:

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NK FLEET MOVES FOR SURPRISING DESTINATION... THIS IS A GAME CHANGER

Behind Trump’s Syria Turnabout

Trump came into office touting his “America First agenda,” disdaining NATO, and asking “Why is it a bad thing to get along with Russia?” He told us he abjured “regime change” and held up Libya as an example of bad policy. Now he’s turned on a dime, bombing Syria, and welcoming tiny (and troubled) Montenegro into NATO. His intelligence agencies are even accusing Russia of having advance knowledge of the alleged chemical attack in Syria (although the White House disputed that after it got out). And all this in the first one hundred days!

How did this happen? It’s easy to explain, once you understand that there is no such thing as foreign policy: all policy is domestic.

That’s the core principle at the heart of what I call “libertarian realism,” the overarching theory – if such a grandiose term can be applied to what is simply common sense – that explains what is happening on the world stage at any particular moment. And there is no better confirmation of this principle than the recent statement by Eric Trump, the President’s son, who said: “If there was anything that Syria [strike] did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.”

Oh yes, and Ivanka was “heartbroken” – and so it was incumbent upon the President to change course, break a major campaign promise, and declare via his Secretary of State that “Assad must go.”

Got it.

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150,000 Chinese Troops Mass on N. Korean Border

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Costa: Ivanka and Jared Kushner Operate with ‘Ruthlessness’

Washington Post journalist Robert Costa shed light on the intimidating presence Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump use to wield influence inside the Trump White House during a Thursday appearance on the Laura Ingraham Show.

“No one wants to go against Jared or Ivanka,” Costa said. “Now you have Ivanka Trump inside of the West Wing, she’s a federal employee, so there a constant presence in the Oval Office around the president,” Costa continued.

“They really operate quietly but with some ruthlessness around the administration, having their fingerprints on all aspects of foreign, diplomatic relations, domestic policy,” Costa said.

It is this influence, asserted Costa, that likely has something to do with what appears to be Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s declining clout and the president’s sudden shift to a more Establishment, neo-conservative direction regarding Syria.

“Some of Bannon’s friends tell me he’s very frustrated at times with the New York wing of the White House,” said Costa, referring to moderates like Kushner. “The president has instincts that are populist and nationalist,” Costa stressed. However, “he’s susceptible to influence,” Costa continued.

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US Strikes Syria, Russia Set to Respond

By Jingo, an "Act of War!"

The latest Democratic Party shill to demonize Russia is, I am ashamed to say, my state of Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner, who, on Thursday said “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election.” Last Thursday, Warner was the top Democrat on a Senate Intelligence Committee panel investigating Moscow’s alleged interference in last year’s presidential election. The panel inevitably included carefully selected expert witnesses who would agree with the proposition that Russia is and was guilty as charged. There was no one who provided an alternative view even though a little Googling would have surfaced some genuine experts who dispute the prevailing narrative.

Warner joined many of his esteemed colleagues in Congress who have completely accepted the allegations that Russia meddled in the election in spite of the failure of the Obama Administration to provide any indisputable evidence to that effect. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland has called Moscow’s claimed interference an “attack” and labeled it a “political Pearl Harbor.” A number of other congressmen, to include Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Eric Swalwell of California have called it an act of war. And then there are echo chambers Senators John McCain and Mark Rubio on the Republican side of the aisle while former Vice President Dick Cheney was speaking at a business conference in New Delhi saying the same thing. Yes, that Dick Cheney. Why anyone in India would pay to hear him speak on any subject escapes me.

Democrat Adam Schiff of California is leading the charge for his party as he is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. He outlined his case against Russia two weeks ago, providing a heap of minimally factual “information”, relying heavily instead on supposition and featuring mostly innuendo. And again, it was largely evidence-free. One assertion is almost comical: “In July 2016, Carter Page, one of Trump’s former national security advisers, traveled to Moscow after being approved to do so by the Trump campaign. While there, Page gave a speech in which he was critical of the U.S. and its efforts to fight corruption and promote democracy.”

Almost everyone I know who follows such matters is also critical of U.S. (hypocritical) efforts to promote democracy, a formulation wildly popular among Hillary Clinton style Democrats to enable attacking Muslim countries that have somehow offended either Israel or the Washington Establishment. But what is particularly disturbing about the constant denigration of Russia and Vladimir Putin in the media and among the political class is the regular invocation of war doctrine, that hacking a server by a foreign power, if it took place, is in the same category as the attack on Pearl Harbor. That World War 3 would be a nuclear holocaust does not seem to have occurred to politicians seeking a punchy line so they can get cited in The Washington Post. It leads one to the inevitable conclusion that war is far too serious a business to be left to politicians.

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Smoking Gun: Susan Rice Unmasked

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Why Is Kim Jong Un Our Problem?

"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

So President Donald Trump warns, amid reports North Korea, in its zeal to build an intercontinental ballistic missile to hit our West Coast, may test another atom bomb.

China shares a border with North Korea. We do not.

Why then is this our problem to "solve"? And why is North Korea building a rocket that can cross the Pacific and strike Seattle or Los Angeles?

Is Kim Jong Un mad?

No. He is targeting us because we have 28,500 troops on his border. If U.S. air, naval, missile and ground forces were not in and around Korea, and if we were not treaty-bound to fight alongside South Korea, there would be no reason for Kim to build rockets to threaten a distant superpower that could reduce his hermit kingdom to ashes.

While immensely beneficial to Seoul, is this U.S. guarantee to fight Korean War II, 64 years after the first wise? Russia, China and Japan retain the freedom to decide whether and how to react, should war break out. Why do we not?

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Ecuador Election: Moreno declared winner in presidential vote

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An American Century of Carnage

On February 17, 1941, almost 10 months before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Life magazine carried a lengthy essay by its publisher, Henry Luce, entitled “The American Century.” The son of Presbyterian missionaries, born in China in 1898 and raised there until the age of 15, Luce essentially transposed the certainty of religious dogma into the certainty of a nationalistic mission couched in the name of internationalism.

Luce acknowledged that the United States could not police the whole world or attempt to impose democratic institutions on all of mankind. Nonetheless, “the world of the 20th Century,” he wrote,

“if it is to come to life in any nobility of health and vigor, must be to a significant degree an American Century.” The essay called on all Americans “to accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world and in consequence to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such measures as we see fit.”

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States wholeheartedly onto the international stage Luce believed it was destined to dominate, and the ringing title of his cri de coeur became a staple of patriotic Cold War and post-Cold War rhetoric. Central to this appeal was the affirmation of a virtuous calling. Luce’s essay singled out almost every professed ideal that would become a staple of wartime and Cold War propaganda: freedom, democracy, equality of opportunity, self-reliance and independence, cooperation, justice, charity — all coupled with a vision of economic abundance inspired by “our magnificent industrial products, our technical skills.” In present-day patriotic incantations, this is referred to as “American exceptionalism.”

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Rand Paul's Audit The Fed Bill Passes House Committee - What Does This Mean For The Federal Reserve?

Did the Government Spy on Trump? Of Course. It Spies on All of Us!

There was high drama last week when Rep. Devin Nunes announced at the White House that he had seen evidence that the communications of the Donald Trump campaign people, and perhaps even Trump himself, had been “incidentally collected” by the US government.

If true, this means that someone authorized the monitoring of Trump campaign communications using Section 702 of the FISA Act. Could it have been then-President Obama? We don’t know. Could it have been other political enemies looking for something to harm the Trump campaign or presidency? It is possible.

There is much we do not yet know about what happened and there is probably quite a bit we will never know. But we do know several very important things about the government spying on Americans.

First there is Section 702 itself. The provision was passed in 2008 as part of a package of amendments to the 1978 FISA bill. As with the PATRIOT Act, we were told that we had to give the government more power to spy on us so that it could catch terrorists. We had to give up some of our liberty for promises of more security, we were told. We were also told that the government would only spy on the bad guys, and that if we had nothing to hide we should have nothing to fear.

We found out five years later from Edward Snowden that the US government viewed Section 702 as a green light for the mass surveillance of Americans. Through programs he revealed, like PRISM, the NSA is able to collect and store our Internet search history, the content of our emails, what files we have shared, who we have chatted with electronically, and more.

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