Tag Archives: war

Ben Swann Breaks Down ABC News Fake Video of Syria Massacre

Mainstream media outlets across the country have been rigorously covering the news of President Trump pulling troops out of Northern Syria. But are these outlets telling the truth? Is President Trump actually betraying the Kurds? And why won’t Congress officially declare war in this situation?

I discuss this and more in an interview with Daniel McAdams, the Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. We talk about the mainstream media’s disingenuous narrative surrounding this complex issue, particularly an ABC News report that used video footage of a gun range demonstration and claimed it as footage of Turkish forces slaughtering Kurds, and the lack of accountability faced by corporate media when publishing false news content.

Origin of ISIS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6kdi1UXxhY&t=

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Judge Napolitano: War and the Separation of Powers

A popular way to begin the first day of class in constitutional law in many American law schools is to ask the students what sets the U.S. Constitution apart from all others. Usually, they answer that it’s the clauses that guarantee the freedom of speech, privacy and due process.

Yes, each of those guarantees — if upheld — is vital to restraining government, but the overarching and most important unique aspect of the Constitution is the separation of powers. The constitutions of many totalitarian countries pay lip service to free speech, privacy and due process, but none has the strict separation of powers that the U.S. does.

Under our Constitution, the Congress writes the laws, the president enforces them and the courts interpret them; and those powers and functions may not constitutionally be mixed or exchanged. The Congress also declares war. The president also wages war. The courts also invalidate the acts of the other two branches when they exceed their constitutional powers.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the separation of powers is integral to the Constitution not to preserve the prerogatives of each branch of government but to divide governmental powers among the branches so as to keep power diffused — and thereby limited and protective of personal freedom.

James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, wanted not only this diffusion by separation but also tension — even jealousy — among the branches so as to keep each in check.

Thus, even if one branch of government consented to ceding an essential power to another branch, such a giveaway would be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled, because the core functions of each branch of the federal government may not be delegated away to either of the other two without violating the separation of powers.

I am writing about this not as a history or constitutional law mini-lesson but rather because it’s necessary background information to address a real and contemporary problem. Two weeks ago, on the basis of evidence so flimsy that his own secretary of defense rejected it — and without any legal or constitutional authority — President Donald Trump dispatched 110 missiles to bomb certain military and civilian targets in Syria, where the president argued the Syrian government manufactured, stored or used chemical weapons.

Trump did not seek a congressional declaration of war, nor did he comply with the U.N. Charter, a treaty to which both the U.S. and Syria are signatories. Though Trump did not articulate any statutory basis for his use of the military, his predecessors often cited as legal support for their unconstitutional uses of military force two statutes — one enacted in 2001 and the other in 2002, each known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF.

The AUMFs refer to either the Taliban or al-Qaida or their affiliated forces in Afghanistan or Iraq as targets or to pursuing those who caused the attacks in America on 9/11 or those who harbor weapons of mass destruction.

Can the president legally use military force to attack a foreign land without a serious threat or legal obligation or a declaration of war from Congress? In a word: No. Here is the back story.

The Constitution is clear that only Congress can declare war and only the president can wage it. Federal law and international treaties provide that — short of defending the country against an actual attack — without a congressional declaration of war, the president can only constitutionally use military force to repel an enemy whose attack on America is imminent or to defend U.S. citizens and property in foreign lands from foreign attack or in aid of an ally pursuant to a treaty with that ally.

In the case of Trump’s bombing Syria earlier this month, none of those conditions was met.

Prior to the strike on Syria — but no doubt prodded by the prospect of it — a bipartisan group of senators offered legislation supported by the president that would rescind both AUMFs, which are now seriously outdated and of no useful moral or legal authority, in favor of an unconstitutional mishmash that would permit a president to strike whomever and wherever he pleases. The president would be restrained only by a vote of Congress — after hostilities have commenced.

Such a statute would give the president far more powers than he has now, would directly violate Congress’ war-making powers by ceding them away to the president, would defy the Supreme Court on the unconstitutionality of giving away core governmental functions, would commit the U.S. to foreign wars without congressional and thus popular support, and would invite dangerous mischief by any president wanting to attack any enemy — real or imagined, old or new — for foreign or domestic political purposes, whether American interests are at stake or not.

The proponents of this legislation will argue that Congress would retain its war-making powers by its ability to restrain the president. That is a naive contention because congressional restraint, which can come only in the form of prohibitory legislation or withdrawal of funds, would certainly be met by a presidential veto — and a veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate.

What’s going on here? It is little more than the lust of the military-industrial complex and its allies in both major political parties in Congress for war. War unifies disparate politics, arouses deep patriotic instincts, enhances the government’s success in obtaining the people’s sacrifices, enriches arms-makers and kills innocents. War is the health of the state.

The Constitution, written in war’s aftermath, strictly limits its offensive use only to when the people’s representatives in Congress have recognized a broad national consensus behind it.

When Donald Trump ran for president, he condemned foreign wars that have served no real American purpose and he condemned presidential war-making; and he promised to end both. Where is that Donald Trump today?

Donald Trump Denies Calling Afghanistan Invasion a Mistake

During an interview on Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate and billionaire mogul Donald Trump called the invasion of Iraq a mistake but denied describing the invasion of Afghanistan as such, marking a difference from comments he made earlier this month.

Trump received publicity when he criticized rival Jeb Bush’s comments about former President George W. Bush keeping the American people safe even though 9/11 occurred under his watch.

Following those comments, Trump told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that he believes he would have had a better chance at keeping the U.S. protected if he were in office.

“This all started because Jeb made the statement that ‘under my brother we were safe,'” Trump said. “Well, he would have qualified by saying ‘after the attack,’ but he didn’t do that.”

Trump continued, “You can say ‘yes, we did well after,’ but then we also made mistakes there, because yes we were safe in a sense, but we went into Iraq, which was a disastrous decision, just a disastrous decision. Not Afghanistan, because that’s probably where we should have gone in the first place. But Iraq was a disastrous decision.”

Trump claimed that while he wasn’t saying he could have prevented the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, he does think that he would have had a chance because he is “pretty good at this stuff.”

“I would have had a much tougher visa program, the visas are too easy,” said Trump, who also claimed that while the CIA warned of a possible attack, the main U.S. intelligence agencies weren’t working together.

“Then we went out and we attacked the wrong country,” Trump said. “We went out and attacked Iraq, they had no weapons of mass destruction, as you know and as we found out.”

Trump’s most recent comments contradict an earlier interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Oct. 6 when Trump was asked whether he thought keeping boots on the ground in Afghanistan was a good idea.

“I wouldn’t totally disagree with it, except, you know, at some point, are they going to be there for the next 200 years?” Trump replied.

“We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place,” Trump continued. “We had real brilliant thinkers that didn’t know what the hell they were doing. And it’s a mess. It’s a mess. And at this point, you probably have to [stay] because that thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave.”

When Camerota questioned Trump about his previous comments during Tuesday’s interview, he insisted that he “never said” that the U.S. made a mistake by invading Afghanistan.

“We made a mistake going into Iraq,” Trump said. “I’ve never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan.” Trump denied making the October 6 comments about Afghanistan despite Camerota reading his comments on air back to him, as shown in the above-embedded video.

For more election coverage, click here.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton Support Keeping U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both indicated support for President Obama’s decision to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016.

During Obama’s re-election campaign, he promised that he would end the war that was started by former President George W. Bush in 2001.

Obama announced his plan to leave the current 9,800 troops in Afghanistan on Thursday.

“While America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures,” Obama said. “I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”

[RELATED: President Obama Cancels Plan to Withdraw from Afghanistan]

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lent support for Obama’s decision during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday.

[pull_quote_center]I think what you’re seeing with President Obama is a perfect example of a leader who has strong convictions about what he would like to see happen, but also pays attention to what’s going on in the real world. And his decision is one that I agree with.[/pull_quote_center]

Clinton said she wouldn’t specify what she would do if she were President, but that she believes the U.S. should “continue to work with the government of Afghanistan to try to help strengthen security for them.

“I will not sit here today and say what I would do upon taking office because, again, we want to bring our troops home,” Clinton said. “We certainly don’t want them engaged in on the ground combat. We want them to help support and train the Afghan army.”

Clinton concluded, “So, I can’t predict where things will be in January of 2017. But I support the president’s decision.”

[RELATED: U.S. Turns Blind Eye To Afghan Allies Abusing Children]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also showed support for Obama’s decision on ABC’s “This Week” when he was asked by host George Stephanopoulos if he would keep troops in Afghanistan.

Stephanopoulos said that Obama is “keeping 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through next year. More than five thousand after that. You just heard Ben Carson saying he supports that decision. So does Hillary Clinton. Do you?”

“Well, yeah- I won’t give you the exact number,” Sanders replied. “Clearly, what the president has been trying to do and I say this as somebody who voted against the war in Iraq, a war which destabilized the entire region.”

“Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, and I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs.”

Sanders said he would not “get into hypotheticals” when pressed by Stephanopoulos to explain which circumstances might push Sanders to authorize unilateral action to use force.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0W4qwqsRn0

 

For more election coverage, click here.

Leaked Documents Reveal Details about Obama’s Drone Program, U.S. ‘Assassination Complex’

While President Obama has made bold claims about using restraint in terms of declaring war on countries in the Middle East, his use of drone strikes on Middle East targets has abounded.

A new series of documents obtained by The Intercept “offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone war” by revealing the inner workings of the United States military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

During a September meeting with a small group of veterans and Gold Star mothers of slain U.S. military personnel, Obama boasted about being different from Republicans in Congress regarding foreign policy.

“Right now, if I was taking the advice of some of the members of Congress who holler all the time, we’d be in, like, seven wars right now,” Obama said.

“I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been counting. We’d be in military actions in seven places around the world,” Obama continued, referencing the countries of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen, which have all been targets of U.S. drone strikes.

[RELATED: Game of Drones: Majority of Americans Support Strikes, While Uninformed]

The Intercept noted that when the Obama administration “has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an ‘imminent’ threat is present and there is ‘near certainty’ that the intended target will be eliminated.”

However, according to documents leaked by an anonymous whistleblower, the actual numbers paint a much different picture. The whistleblower, granted anonymity by The Intercept, said he provided the documents because of the need for people to understand the reality of individuals being placed on kill lists.

“We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it,” said the source.

[RELATED: Obama Has Sentenced Whistleblowers to 10x the Jail Time of All Prior U.S. Presidents Combined]

From January 2012 to February 2013, as a part of the campaign Operation Haymaker in Afghanistan, the documents reveal that “U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people,” but only “35 were the intended targets.”

The documents note that during a five-month period of the same operation, “nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source said. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate.”

The source also claimed that the program for targeting and locating suspected terrorists, which uses a phone number or email address to locate the target, is very unreliable, and he has come across countless instances where the intelligence was faulty.

“It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people,” the source said. “And it isn’t until several months or years later that you all of a sudden realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this really hot target, you wind up realizing it was his mother’s phone the whole time.”

The source also noted that the military has a practice of “dehumanizing the people before you’ve even encountered the moral question of ‘is this a legitimate kill or not?’”

[pull_quote_center]They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst. You eventually get to a point in the target’s life cycle that you are following them, you don’t even refer to them by their actual name.[/pull_quote_center]

In 2012, Ben Swann asked President Obama directly about the “Presidential Kill List” that has included U.S. citizens such as Anwar al-Awlaki. Watch Obama’s response in the video below, as well as Swann pointing out that Obama’s drone strikes have occurred well outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrRuNOaNYME

 

Russia ‘Intercepts’ American Drones Over Syria

SYRIA, October 7, 2015– In the last week, Russian fighter jets have reportedly closely shadowed American predator drones over Syria since the start of Russia’s air campaign last week. Two U.S. intelligence officials confirmed the uncomfortable encounter.

[pull_quote_center]“The first time it happened, we thought the Russians got lucky. Then it happened two more times,” said one official.[/pull_quote_center]

The officials claimed that the encounters took place over ISIS’ Raqqa headquarters, as well as on the Turkish-Syrian border near Korbani. The final encounter occurred in the northwest, near the city of Aleppo.

[RELATED: Russia Says ‘Volunteers’ Likely to Fight in Syria]

Intelligence officials said that drones were not stealth, and easy to spot on radar.

According to one official, although the Russian fighter jets did not attempt to shoot down any of the American drones, they instead flew “intercept tracks,” a term meaning that the Russians flew close enough to indicate their presence.

According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Russia has been pouring troops and heavy military equipment into Syria.

“So we have seen a substantial military buildup by Russia in Syria, both in the air with the combat planes and air defense systems, but also an increasing number of ground troops,” he said. “In addition to that, they have deployed naval assets, a large number of naval assets close to the Syrian shores. And they continue to do so.”

On Tuesday, Stoltenberg expressed concern as he condemned Russia for violating Turkish airspace.

“We see the violation of the Turkish airspace becomes more important, more dangerous, because it happens in a context where we see more fighting, more Russian military presence in Syria,” said Stoltenberg.

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Russian Official Accuses U.S. of Bombing Desert, ‘Pretending’ to Bomb ISIS

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the lower house of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told French website Europe 1 that the United States’ airstrike campaign was a failure, and the U.S. was only “pretending” to stop the advancing Islamic State.

“I think it’s the intensity that is important. The U.S.-led coalition has pretended to bomb Daesh (IS) for a year, without results,” Pushkov told Europe 1. “If you do it in a more efficient way, the results will be known,” he added.

Pushkov’s comments come days after Russia began its own airstrike campaign against IS in Syria. Russian officials have stated that they expect the campaign to last three to four months. Pushkov told Europe 1 that the U.S.-led coalition had launched more than 2,500 air strikes and had little success.

The International Business Times reported:

“Speaking at the UN in New York on 1 October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the country would also attack other terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda affiliate) and ‘other terrorist groups recognised by the UN Security Council or Russian law.’

‘If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?’ Lavrov responded when asked to define what constitutes ‘other terrorist groups’.”

[RELATED: War Crimes Probe Urged After US Airstrikes Kill 22 Civilians in Kunduz Hospital]

These comments have created concern among U.S. officials that Russia may target groups who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including the U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army (FSA). Pushkov said, “The main target are the Daesh groups situated closest to Damascus. We need to eliminate this group or at least neutralise it and afterwards we’ll see what Syria’s future is.”

[RELATED: Russia Says ‘Volunteers’ Likely to Fight in Syria]

According to a translation of Pushkov’s Twitter provided by Sputnik, Pushkov stated, “[Senator John] McCain accused us of striking out at US-trained insurgents… However, since they have either run away or joined al-Qaeda, hitting them is a mission impossible.”

“The US-led coalition spent a whole year pretending they were striking ISIL targets but where are the results of these strikes?” Pushkov wondered.

Sputnik also reports that a Russian defense ministry spokesman said that the Russian air force had targeted Islamic State military equipment, communication facilities, arms depots, ammunition and fuel supplies, and had done so without hitting civilian targets.

The BBC reported that Assad called the U.S.-led coalition’s air strikes “counter-productive” measures which have only spread terrorism. Assad is now calling for a coalition between Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq must succeed “or else the whole region will be destroyed.”

 

Australian Government May Soon Use Armed Drones from the U.S.

An Australian Senate committee has approved the purchase of armed drones drones from the United States.

The Senate Foreign Affairs released a report calling on Australia’s Department of Defence to make sure armed unmanned vehicles are only operated by Australian military.

News Australia writes:

“In the report, tabled in parliament on Thursday, the Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade committee said the coming Force Structure Review was likely to contain an option for the acquisition of unmanned platforms capable of carrying weapons.”

A policy statement governing the deployment of armed unmanned platforms should be clearly articulated by the Australian government,” it said.”

The report says the drones may be used only in accordance with “Australia’s international legal obligations.” Australia already operates drones for surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Department of Defence said armed drones are an inevitably for the nation.  Defence did acknowledge moral and ethical questions regarding drones and other autonomous weapons systems.

The purchase of drone aircraft from the U.S. has been expected since at least February of 2015, when Darren Chester, Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, said “It would be remiss of Australia not to continue to develop our knowledge of this technology to ensure we are able to gain the greatest benefit from unmanned aerial systems and the best protection for our troops on future operations.”

Currently Britain is the only nation flying armed U.S. drones. It would appear that Australia will become number two as the United States continues to export weapons of war and murder.

The announcement from Australia comes as forty-four veterans of the United States Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines have launched a campaign calling on drone operators to refuse to fly drone surveillance and attack missions. The veterans are working with KnowDrones.com to distribute a letter and airing a 15-second television commercial as part of the “Refuse to Fly” initiative.

The use of armed drones by Britain and Australia should not be a surprise, however. The two nations are walking nearly identical paths towards tyrannical government and a mass surveillance state.

Walker or Bush: What difference does it make?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker innocuously popped up and was thrust upon the 2016 Republican Primary stage seemingly out of no where. He hasn’t even announced, and he tops multiple polls across the country.

His greatest asset is also his greatest weakness. Most people have no idea who he is with regards to policy. In virtually every poll that is conducted, the majority of voters say they do not know enough about him. So, he tops the polls, but people don’t know enough about him? Says a lot about American voters. While this gives his campaign advisers the opportunity to mold Walker however they like, come debate time, he will face quite a challenge trying to hide behind his newly crafted image.

Most of Walker’s support seems to come from conservatives. Not Republicans, but conservatives. The same conservatives that disdain Bush seem to like Walker, which is quite odd, given that they have virtually identical policies. Unless, of course, Walker pulled a Romney and flip flopped.

The Supreme Court could soon be dealing a critical blow to Obamacare. Conservative candidates like Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz want a total repeal. Meanwhile, Walker says that Congress should fix Obamacare if the Court dismantles the law, which puts him in line with Washington’s establishment Republicans. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Walker went against the wishes of conservative legislators in Wisconsin and implemented Obamacare. Conservative Wisconsin State Sen. Lasee once noted that Walker was not serious about fighting Obamacare, protecting state sovereignty and healthcare freedom. This alone proves that Walker simply doesn’t understand the constitutional and economic impact of Obamacare. But wait… there’s more.

On immigration, Walker and Bush both support amnesty. In 2002, Walker signed a resolution urging Congress to support amnesty legislation. Of course, as of late, he has had a change of heart.

President Bush brought us the Patriot Act and NSA. President Obama put it on steroids. While conservative candidates like Paul maintain that we can fight terrorists without allowing President Obama’s NSA to shred the Constitution by spying on every single American citizen, Walker and Bush (Jeb) have pushed hard for full re-authorization of the Patriot Act and NSA spying.

War in Iraq? Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham are hungry for more war. Unsurprisingly, Walker is supportive of another “full blown invasion of Iraq”.

Jeb Bush makes no apologies for his love of Common Core. He is one of its biggest proponents. Scott Walker is also a huge supporter of Common Core. He now says he is against it, but a simple look at Wisconsin education laws prove he has purposefully done nothing to get rid of Common Core. After all, he is the one who brought it in. He now maintains that the state allows local school districts to “opt-out”, but cash hungry locals never opt out of federal money. Anyone inside the beltway of state or federal politics knows that Walker’s latest flop against Common Core is nothing more than theater to pander to conservatives.

So, there you have it. Common Core, Obamcare, NSA spying, foreign policy and immigration are five of the biggest issues on GOP voters’ minds. Where exactly are Scott Walker and Jeb Bush different on any of these issues?

Not to worry. Walker took it upon himself to redefine what it means to “flip flop” on an issue so that the term no longer applies to him. Lucky dog.

So, Walker or Bush?

In the words of Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make?”

Report: At Least 1.3 Million People Killed In US War On Terror

A recent report found that in the estimated number of casualties from the United States’ “War on Terror,” at least 1.3 million people were killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. While the report emphasizes that this is a “conservative estimate,” 1.3 million is 10 times higher than the number of casualties previously reported by mainstream media in the US.

The report, titled Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror, was put together by the groups Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. They recorded the lives taken in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan from 2003 to 2013 which occurred as a result of the “War on Terror” declared by the United States in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan,” stated the report. “Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs.”

The report claimed that while the US-led Multinational Force in Iraq and the NATO International Security Assistance Force and US Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan have kept a total of casualties, the military’s only interest has been in counting “their” bodies.

According to the report, the total estimate of 1.3 million casualties was a “conservative estimate,” due to the fact that the total number of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan “could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.

The report cited multiple studies, which claimed that by 2008, there were already “over one million Iraqis” that had died as a result of war, occupation and indirect consequences.

In Afghanistan, the report found that from Oct. 2001 to Dec. 2013, 55,000 individuals defined as members of the “Taliban” were killed, along with 22 journalists, 281 NGO workers, 1,700 civilian employees of the US government, 3,000 private US security forces, 3,409 ISAF and OEF solders, 15,000 Afghan security forces, and between 106,000 and 170,000 Afghan civilians.

The report stated that in Pakistan, from 2004 to 2013, while 26,862 individuals described as “militants” were killed, 45 journalists, 5,498 Pakistani security forces and 48,504 Pakistani civilians were also killed. Between 416 and 951 civilians were killed by drone strikes.

Henry Kissinger Warns of Return of “Cold War Conditions”

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned the United States and Russia to avoid a return to Cold War Conditions.

Henry Kissinger is warning the United States and Russia to consider diplomatic resolutions to the conflict in Ukraine or a return to Cold War conditions is imminent. Speaking to the BBC’s World this Weekend, Kissinger also stated that limits on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations should be lifted if they are to develop an adequate defense against Russia.

“NATO has to develop military  capacities that are relevant to dangers that they foresee. If they are determined to resist further Russian military moves it means that defense limitations should be lifted. It is inevitable that we are in a cold war strategy with Russia.”

He blamed less than cordial diplomacy between NATO and Russia for the current state of Ukraine. “I think it is essential that both Russia and NATO take a serious look at their diplomatic solutions because if they fail then I think a return to Cold war conditions is very likely.” 

The warning comes on the heels of an announcement by the United States to send $75 million worth of military equipment to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists. The equipment includes small unarmed drones, Humvees, and other forms of aid but none of the requested lethal weapons. President Obama is reportedly still considering sending weapons to Ukraine.

At the same time the United States has sent tanks and armored vehicles to Latvia as part of NATO military exercises known as Operation Atlantic Resolve.  RT reported that more than 120 armored tanks and vehicles were sent to Latvia. Latvian Minister of Defense Raymond Vejonis called the exercise and equipment, “a confirmation of solidarity and security in the region.”

Operation Atlantic Resolve involved Canadian and American soldiers working with Latvian soldiers.

Russian Deputy defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said NATO is using the situation in Ukraine as cover for getting closer to Russia’s border.

“Instead of uniting forces to fight evil, the worst of which is terrorism, Western nations are drawing new divisive lines, trying to realize containment schemes against unwelcome states. Today, Russia has been chosen as the target,”
– Russian Deputy defense Minister Anatoly Antonov

In late 2014, I asked Is America Preparing for War with Russia?I suggest a reading of that article to understand the build up between the two nations. The United States continues to push Russia with sanctions yet Russia seems undeterred.

One of the most troubling actions from either country came in the last days of 2014.  On December 26 President Putin approved an updated war doctrine for Russia. The doctrine makes it clear that Russia will use military force to protect its citizens. The doctrine also stated that the US and NATO allied countries pose a military threat to the existence of Russia as a sovereign free nation.

Putin said Washington is to blame for the changes, with it’s own war doctrine of pre-emptive attacks, deployment of anti-ballistic missiles, and buildup of NATO forces on Russia’s border. Russia also acknowledged attempts at regime change through “actions aimed at violent change of the Russian constitutional order, destabilization of the political and social environment, and disorganization of the functioning of governmental bodies, crucial civilian and military facilities and informational infrastructure of Russia.”

As several independent media outlets have reported, there is much evidence indicating the United States and other Western Non-Governmental Organizations have had a role in fomenting unrest in Ukraine.

Mint Press News reported:

The U.S. has loaded the Ukraine government and key businesses with Americans or U.S. allies. Nuland was caught on a telephone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, picking the next leader of Ukraine. The call is more famous for her closing line — “Fuck the EU” — but in the call she also says that the next leader of Ukraine should be the former banker Arseniy Yatseniuk, who she calls by a nickname “Yats.” Indeed, he has since become the prime minister of the post-coup Ukrainian government.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is identified in State Department documents as an informant for the U.S. since 2006. The documents describe him as “[o]ur Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko.” The State Department documents also report that Poroshenko is “tainted by credible corruption allegations.”

Last March Ben Swann examined the links between Western governments and the ongoing  situation in Ukraine.

North Korea fires missiles into the sea as drills begin

As South Korea and the United States were about to begin their annual military exercises in the area, North Korea protested the drills, once again, by firing two missiles into the sea on Monday.

According to Reuters, the two missiles were fired from a military base on the western coast of North Korea near Nampo City. The missiles reportedly traveled about 305 miles to the east, landing in the Sea of Japan.

The missiles were fired hours before the joint U.S. and South Korean military drills, known as Foal Eagle and Key Reserve according to CNN, were set to begin. North Korea has always been angered by the drills, saying they are nothing but a “smokescreen” used by the U.S. and South Korea so the two countries can invade their country.

North Korea’s state-run news outlet, KCNA, said, “The situation on the Korean peninsula is again inching close to the brink of a war.” They also noted how the North Korean military will not remain “passive” forever.

However, as many people know, this is not the first time North Korea has fired missiles in protest to the U.S. and South Korean military exercises.

The 2013 drills, in particular, led to the North Korean government threatening nuclear strikes over the drills, according to the BBC. The drills went on as planned and no retaliatory strikes were ever carried out by North Korea.

Kim Min-seok, the South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson, said at a briefing Monday, “North Korea in the past did fire (projectiles) in a very similar manner… On several occasions, they fired (projectiles) from the west coast to sea off east of the Korean Peninsula.” Kim also said the drills were simply a warning against any “reckless” or “provocative” act the North Korean military may carry out.

KCNA however, said these drills are acts of “aggression” and they will be met with “merciless strikes.”

The South Korean Defense Ministry believes the missiles were either Scud-C or Scud-D missiles.

CPAC Straw Poll Winner Rand Paul Battles The Bush Machine—Goldwater Style

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2015—As the winner of the past three Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) Straw Polls, Senator Rand Paul excels at generating meaningful political and economic discussions among college students and young professionals. The same generation that is known for speaking in bewildering acronyms continues to gather in force to ask and to answer difficult questions that are essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. Their answers will ultimately determine the future of the nation.

The Senator’s most recent economic stand will endear him to anyone who has ever interfaced with the Internal Revenue Service. He promised to introduce the largest tax cut in American history. In his speech to attendees of CPAC, he mentioned that he is poised to propose a tax plan “that would get the IRS out of our lives.” He indicated his intention to cut taxes “for everyone from the richest to the poorest.”

“It’s time for a new way predicated on opportunity and freedom!” said Paul to a wildly supportive crowd. The Senator attacked America’s indiscriminate foreign aid policies, especially the large sums of money sent without the permission of taxpayers to countries that consider The United States an enemy. “Not one penny more to these haters of America!” said Paul.

His speech had the tenor of a well-run, focused campaign and was eerily similar to comments made by Senator Barry Goldwater exactly 50 years ago on the campaign trail leading up to his landmark GOP presidential nomination. “You cannot stop a man who has vowed to bury you by handing him a shovel,” said Goldwater, “By feeding and clothing his friends, while denying your friends the means to help protect you!” Goldwater believed that removing foreign aid would ultimately prevent wars.

Several members of the Young Jewish Conservatives attending CPAC this year specifically mentioned the foreign aid issue as a driving force behind their support for Rand Paul for president. Paul’s straight talk appeals to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.

Two weeks prior to CPAC, the Students for Liberty (SFL) held its national conference in Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 students from across the world attended. The group was largely inspired by the ideas presented to them by Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul. Now it is the fastest-growing political group on college campuses globally, and is surpassing both the College Democrats and College Republicans groups on American campuses.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is another group inspired by the Paul family’s articulation of limited government principles. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. The large presence of both SFL and YAL at CPAC is telling, and has seemingly eliminated the establishment hostilities doled out to them by fellow attendees when they were the minority at previous conferences. The young libertarians gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting. They are also getting elected to offices across the land, a clear sign that they are not going away anytime soon.

Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along, aging Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.

The same Rockefeller Republicans who sandbagged Goldwater after he won the GOP nomination from the floor are currently working financial and legal channels on behalf of Jeb Bush. The 2016 Republican nomination is seemingly fixed for the top fundraiser and his delegate-donors, a complete violation of the nominating process. Sources say Jeb Bush bussed hundreds of people to CPAC from their Washington offices just to fill seats during his speech and to presumably raise his standing in the straw poll. This effort did not succeed in preventing him from being handily booed every time his name was mentioned, including while he addressed the attendees who remained after a protest/walkout. His temporary seat-filling strategy was met with disdain by attendees who saved and spent their own money to attend the duration of the event and cast their ballots.

One of Paul’s leading critics is fellow Senator and former GOP nominee John McCain, a man who praises Goldwater with his lips while shunning everything he stood for by his actions.  Just two years ago, the 80-year-old McCain called Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Congressman Justin Amash, “wacko birds.” He called their supporters, the Under 40 crowd that supports Paul’s limited government principles, “impressionable libertarian kids.”

Yet, the vibrant, liberty-leaning younger crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP is the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of “big tent” gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear, and they know they will eventually outlive the generation that got the country into this mess in the first place. They seem to be ready to get to work.

ISIS burns and destroys over 8,000 books in Mosul

Militant members of ISIS have reportedly broken their way into the Mosul public library, where they burned an estimated 8,000 books, some of which were rare and historical manuscripts.

A bearded militant, according to CBS DC, told residents living near the library, “These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned.”

Ghanim al-Ta’an, the director of the public library, said the militants used an improvised explosive devices against the library with the hopes of destroying it, but when these efforts failed, the militants looted the books instead.

According to the Fiscal Times, the library housed many historical items and texts such as manuscripts written in the eighteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, and books printed in the nineteenth century in the first Iraqi printing house.

Militants are known to regularly burn books and manuscripts and destroy tombs and shrines of the cities and areas they have claimed as part of their caliphate. The militants also destroyed the church of Mary the Virgin and the Mosul University Theater on the same day, according to Breitbart.

A history professor at the University of Mosul spoke with the Lebanon Daily Star and said militants had started to destroy other public libraries in the area last month. Archives in a Sunni Muslim library, a library belonging to a 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers, and works in the Mosul Museum Library were destroyed. Some of the works which were destroyed dated back to 5,000 B.C.

Rayan al-Hadidi, an activist and blogger in Mosul said, after the burning of the books from the library in Mosul, “900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes…and burned. One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him… the ideas have wings…but I cry today over our situation.”

News agency reports they have obtained ‘Spy Cables’

Al Jazeera, a news broadcasting agency owned by the government of Qatar, has reported they have obtained hundreds of confidential and hidden documents, which the agency are calling the “Spy Cables.”

The report from Al Jazeera announcing the cables says the documents offer “an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.” Al Jazeera also says they will release the documents over the next couple of days alongside the newspaper the Guardian.

The leaked documents, according to the Business Insider, come from many government agencies around the world, including Russia’s FSB, South Africa’s SSA, Britain’s MI6, and others. Documents from any American intelligence agencies though seem to be absent from the Spy Cables.

Even though documents from American intelligence agencies are not included, some of the documents point to the CIA working in correspondence with South Africa’s SSA agency. The documents also allegedly say the CIA had attempted to contact the group HAMAS, even though the U.S. government has labeled the group a terrorist organization.

Other documents say MI6 had attempted to recruit a spy in North Korea with the help of the South African government. MI6 reportedly met with a North Korean man and offered him an “undisclosed amount of money” for the man’s cooperation in a “long term clandestine operation.”

Another document claims Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu had exaggerated Iran’s nuclear production levels in a 2012 declaration made in front of the UN. A secret Mossad document released in the leak, however, says Iran was not at the time “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

Al Jazeera writes they will only publish documents which they believe serve the public interest. They also write, “We believe it is important to achieve greater transparency in the field of intelligence…. Publishing these documents, including operational and tradecraft details, is a necessary contribution to a greater public scrutiny of their activities.”

More leaked documents will be released in the next few days on Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

South Korea to teach anti-ISIS classes in schools

The government of South Korea is in the works to present a curriculum to elementary, middle, and high school students which is meant to inform and prevent students from joining the terrorist organization ISIS.

This new curriculum comes as a Korean teenager, whose surname is Kim, crossed the border from Turkey to Syria in order to join ISIS last month. Kim reportedly learned about ISIS through their various ISIS propaganda campaigns online and through people he contacted about the group.

According to the Korea Times, Kim, 18, was on a trip to Turkey when he met an unidentified man in the town of Besiriye near the Syrian border. The man in question is believed to be a member of ISIS.

“We are introducing the lessons because ISIS uses social networking services (SNS) to conduct propaganda activities and attract people to join it,” said a Ministry of Education official. “Kim’s case showed that Koreans are no longer safe from the ISIS activities… Elementary, middle and high school students will learn the truth about ISIS.”

This official also said material about ISIS has been in development by the ministry and would be completed and distributed to schools soon.

Government officials are worried however that presenting their students with too much information on ISIS would only pique some student’s interest. Because of this, the lessons would not only inform the students about the terrorist group, but also discuss in detail the dangers of joining such groups.

The government has also said they will strengthen monitoring programs of internet activity with the hopes of deterring discussions online about ISIS.

President Obama considering arming Ukrainian forces

World leaders have been struggling with how to confront the issue of the war in Ukraine, and President Obama on Monday said he was considering sending aid in the form of lethal defensive arms to the Ukrainian government.

“The 21st century cannot have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of the gun,” Obama said at a White House news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to ABC News.

 

The president also said Russia had violated “every commitment” outlined in the Minsk Protocol, which was signed in September 2014, by representatives from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic, and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Russia has maintained they have not sent troops or supplies to rebels in the affected areas.

Chancellor Merkel and the French President Francois Hollande, according to FOX News, are planning for a peace conference later this week where leaders from Russia and the Ukraine would be in attendance. If the peace talks fail however, President Obama has said, “what I’ve asked my team to do is look at all options… The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined.”

“Both Angela and I have emphasized that the prospect for a military solution to this problem is always been low,” President Obama said. “My hope is that through diplomatic efforts, those costs have become high enough that Mr. Putin’s preferred option is for a diplomatic solution. ”

According to the BBC, the details of the peace talks have not been released, but a demilitarized zone is thought to be included which would cover 50-70 km, or 31-44 miles, around the affected war zone.

Until the peace talks are completed, Vice President Joe Biden, who attended the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, said, “We will continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance not to encourage war, but to allow Ukraine to defend itself.”

UN courts dismiss claims of genocide between Serbia and Croatia

The highest court within the UN has ruled the acts of war committed by Croatia and Serbia against the other’s population in the 1990’s does not qualify as genocide.

The International Court of Justice says they recognize acts of rape, torture, and widespread killings had taken place between the two countries, but by the formal definition of genocide, no such act was carried out during the conflict.

According to the official report, genocide implies there is a laid out plan to systematically wipe out an entire population of peoples and to prevent any further births from occurring within the targeted population. While the acts of war carried out were brutal, the court claims there was no such plan on either side.

According to NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, the decision should come as no surprise since the “U.N. courts have never charged any Serbs or Croats with genocide in each other’s territory.”

“The Croatian government alleged that Serbia committed genocide in the town of Vukovar and elsewhere in 1991,” said Nelson. “Tens of thousands of ethnic Croats were displaced, and hundreds of Croat men were detained and killed. Serbia later filed a counterclaim over the expulsion of more than 200,000 Serbs from Croatia.”

Peter Tomka, the president of the International Court of Justice, said, according to Reuters“Croatia has not established that the only reasonable inference was the intent to destroy in whole or in part the (Croatian) group.”

Tomka went on to say the desire to expel ethnic groups from towns and cities does not constitute genocide since the intention is not to destroy the groups. This also led Tomka to say Serbia’s counterclaim of genocide did not met the definition either, and therefore denied the country’s claim. 

The foreign minister of Croatia, Vesna Pusic, said, according to the New York Times, she hoped this ruling would help bring a “better and safer period for people in this part of Europe.” Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic of Serbia echoed these hopes.

One prisoner exchanged for Sgt. Bergdahl has made suspicious communications

One of the five prisoners exchanged for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May 2014, is reportedly being investigated for making suspicious phone calls to Afghanistan over the past few months.

According to CNN, this is the first known time one of the five detainees who were released has been suspected of attempted to make contact with any militant groups in the Middle East, but this one instance has raised the question of whether the other four will follow suit.

All five former detainees are said to be in Qatar, where their communications have been monitored by a U.S. intelligence program for months. The program in question is saying they have evidence showing the former detainee in question had “reached out” to militant groups and encouraged further militant activity.

However, one official told NBC News the former detainee had called family members in Afghanistan and there is no evidence showing the phone calls were to members of any militant group in the area. This official also added the content of the phone calls contained no “threatening activity or planning.”

No matter what the content of the suspected phone calls, the governments of Qatar and the U.S. are working together on this new issue.

Rear Admiral John Kirby had an interview on the show ‘Erin Burnett Out Front,’ where he said, “We have a strong security partnership with Qatar, and are in constant dialogue with Qatari government officials about these five detainees and we are confident that we would be able to mitigate any threat of re-engagement by any of these members.”

The Pentagon released a statement saying they would not comment on cases involving the detainees. The statement also said, according to the Daily Mail, “we take any incidence of re-engagement very seriously, and we work in close coordination through military, intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic channels to mitigate re-engagement and to take follow-on action when necessary.”

Rand Paul releases own State of the Union speech

After President Obama gave his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Senator Rand Paul released his own State of the Union speech online.

Paul starts by saying, “All is not well in America,” and from here he outlines what he thinks is wrong in the country.

The first thing Paul says is needed in America is “new leadership.” He does not mean get rid of the president, rather this is a call for a limit to the number of terms congressmen and other high ranking officials can serve. Currently, the U.S. has 11 people in the House or Senate who have served 35+ years as political leaders. Paul says by eliminating the limitless number of terms these leaders can have, new blood will flow into Washington, bringing fresh and new ideas.

As the president took time in his speech to outline his plan to continue to fight the war on poverty, Paul says he believes the war on poverty has failed. “Income inequality has worsened under this administration, and tonight, President Obama offers more of the same policies,” said Paul. “Policies which allow the poor to get poorer, and the rich to get richer…[Americans] don’t want a handout but a hand-up.”

Then, Paul takes a jab at Congress for their failure to balance the national budget, asking how Congress cannot balance a budget like every other American household? Paul says if Congress cannot balance the budget for one reason or another, an amendment should be added to make balancing the budget a mandatory act of Congress.

After mentioning an increase in the national debt, Paul calls out Hillary Clinton and what he calls her war in Libya. “Libya is now a jihadist wonderland,” says Paul, who then says we are more at risk for terrorist attacks “than ever before,” because of the actions in Libya.

Shortly afterward this mention, he says we need to not worry about the Middle East since war has been in the region for thousands of years, and instead we should worry about our issues here in the U.S.

Then in an odd instance, Paul seems to advocate for universal healthcare, but not President Obama’s version of healthcare. “It is a noble aspiration and a moral obligation to make sure our fellow man is provided for, that medical treatment is made available to all.”

While President Obama may have limited the choice of doctors available to some citizens, Paul says we should have the option to choose which doctor we want within our healthcare plan. “Everyone knows our healthcare system needed reforming, but it was the wrong prescription to choose more government instead of more consumer choice and competition. Obamacare restriction freedom…” Paul’s answer to fix the president’s healthcare plan, “Let’s try freedom again, it worked for over 200 years.”

A moment was also taken to propose a flat tax, as well as a cut to national spending.

In the last minutes of his speech, Paul rehashes many of his main talking points which have been seen in the news and heard in his many speeches. He wants to hold political leaders accountable for their actions, he asks how we can trust members of Congress since they only have a 10 percent approval rating, and then says the government has no right to collect our phone data and he backs this up with a mention of the Constitution.

Before ending, Paul says he will propose an audit of the Pentagon to “seek ways  to make our defense department more modern and efficient without breaking the bank.”

The speech does not seem to be a response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, rather it appears to be a gathering of all of Paul’s talking points over the last few years, compiled into one consistent speech. He doesn’t offer many counterpoints to the president’s speech, or alternatives to what the president said. Instead, he tries to strengthen his political stance on a few issues, and he attempts to reach the moderates who are upset with the state of politics in Washington.