Earmarks Are Not the Problem

The fact increasing numbers of legislators are “willing to vote against big government than in past years” is not because the practice of earmarks was ended but because “the liberty movement has led to more liberty-minded members being elected to the House and Senate,” says Ron Paul. 

By Dr. Ron Paul

Last week President Trump urged Congress to reassert its constitutional authority to direct how federal agencies spend taxpayer dollars. Ironically, many constitutional conservatives and libertarians disagree with the president. The reason is, President Trump wants Congress to reassert its authority by bringing back earmarks.

Earmarks are line items in spending bills directing federal agencies to spend federal funds on specific projects in a representative or senator’s district or state. Congress ended the practice of earmarks several years ago after a public outcry fueled by a widespread misunderstanding of the issue.

Earmarks are added to spending bills after the spending levels have been determined. Therefore, earmarks do not increase federal spending. What earmarks do is limit the federal bureaucrats’ ability to decide how to spend taxpayer money.

When I served in Congress, I was amazed when self-proclaimed constitutionalists complained about how earmarks prevented funding of federal bureaucrats’ priorities. These “constitutionalists” seem to have forgotten that the Constitution gives Congress sole authority over deciding how taxpayer dollars should be spent.

My support for earmarks in Congress did not add one penny to the spending in the bills. I believed that some of the tax money sent to Washington should actually make it back to congressional districts rather than remain in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. In the end, I always voted against final passage of the bloated spending bills.

Some call earmarks a gateway drug to big spending. They point to how congressional leadership denied earmarks to members unless the members voted for big spending and other anti-liberty legislation. It is true that congressional leadership used earmarks to reward and punish members. During my years in Congress, earmarks for my district were stripped from bills in an (unsuccessful) attempt to make me stop voting against unconstitutional legislation.

Congressional leaders do not need earmarks to reward or punish members. They can, for example, deny plum committee assignments to those who refuse to toe the party line, or discourage donors from supporting them.

Presidents can still use the promise of federal funds to influence congressional votes. “Presidential earmarks” were crucial to passing Obamacare, and President Trump has threatened to withhold aid from states whose senators oppose his agenda. The removal of earmarks has given the president even greater influence over the legislative branch!

The fact that there are more representatives and senators willing to vote against big government than in past years has nothing to do with the lack of earmarks. Instead, the liberty movement has led to more liberty-minded members being elected to the House and Senate.

While the ideas of liberty are growing in popularity, the majority of the people and certainly most politicians still believe the U.S. government should run the economy, run the world, and run our lives. This misplaced faith in big government, not the presence of earmarks, is why most politicians vote for big spending. No politician ever said, “Now that I can’t receive earmarks, I am abandoning my support for the welfare-warfare state.”

Earmarks are a way for elected representatives to ensure their constituents’ tax dollars are spent in a manner that matches constituent priorities. Earmarks do not by themselves expand government. Those who oppose earmarks should work to stop so many Americans from demanding government-provided economic and personal security. Earmarks are not the cause of runaway spending, and removing them has done little or nothing to shrink government and regain our liberties.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at ronpaulinstitute.org.




Congress Reauthorizes NSA Spying on Americans

Despite cautions from members of both the House and Senate that spying by the NSA threatens Americans’ security and liberty, both houses of Congress reauthorized essentially unrestrained surveillance when they passed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act. 

By Mark Anderson

Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Authorization Act (FISA) was reauthorized Jan. 18 with a Senate vote of 65-34. Originally enacted in 2008, Section 702 provided the authorization for the warrantless surveillance program “that allows the NSA to collect texts and emails of foreigners abroad without an individualized warrant, even when they communicate with Americans in the U.S.,” explains The Hill.

The Senate vote followed an affirmative 256-164 vote in the House on Jan. 11 reauthorizing the law with only minor changes. The House rejected new restrictions proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on how the information gathered can be used.

Section 702 was set to expire as 2017 ended but was temporarily extended into mid-January, as proponents claimed letting it lapse would take the nation backwards in time, to the pre-9/11 days, proponents warned, when surveillance shortcomings helped enable the 9/11 attacks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the ability to continue spying on Americans is “essential” to national security and told his colleagues, “[W]e cannot let this capability lapse. The world remains dangerous.”

Urging senators to slow down and “consider the gravity of the issues at hand and to oppose reauthorization until we can have a real opportunity for debate and reform,” on the other hand, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) argued, “The American people deserve better than warrantless wiretapping.”

IRS Loses Cases

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed his intent to filibuster the Senate vote on Section 702 but was shut down by a 60-38 cloture vote Jan. 16 to end debate and prevent Paul from stalling the vote. An online account at libertarian Reason magazine’s website explains the cloture vote also “prevent[ed] any amendments prior to a formal [up-or-down] vote on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017,” as the bill is formally named.

The act renews and expands “the snooping powers of Section 702 . . . for another six years,” Reason continues. “Though the law has the word ‘foreign’ in its name, the reality is that it has been used to collect and access communications from Americans, often without warrants and without our knowledge.”

Sens. Paul and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) led a bipartisan group of senators who tried “to amend the bill so that it would require the FBI and National Security Agency (NSA) to get warrants in order to query or access any communications records (like emails or phone calls) from American citizens when [Americans] get drawn into international surveillance,” Reason notes.

Thus, a populist-style impulse entered the fray when Paul stepped forward to oppose Section 702 on principle. This is the kind of bipartisan cooperation could, if sufficiently focused on essential goals such as turning away from the endless “war on terror,” foil the pro-Zionist war-on-terror stratagem espoused by the neoconservatives that long ago hijacked the conservative movement and placed them in strategic positions to carry forth such a war.

“This bill doesn’t just renew Section 702 for six years,” Reason added. “It also codifies permission for the FBI to access and use data secretly collected from Americans for a host of domestic federal crimes that have nothing to do with protecting America from foreign threats.”

Furthermore, what are known as “about” searches—accessing communications that merely reference a foreign target, not just communications to and from that target—are revived under the reauthorization. These types of searches were said to have been voluntarily ended by the NSA when it became clear that communications were being accessed outside of federal authority. Yet, reauthorization restarts these probes unless Congress acts separately to curtail them.

Arguing in favor of renewing Section 702, an editorial by the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky published at the neoconservative “FoxNews.com” states: “It is a violation of the law [under Section 702] to collect information from targets inside the U.S.—whether they are Americans or foreigners—or to deliberately target the online communications of American citizens.”

But in an official news release, Sen. Paul noted that due to a “backdoor loophole,” the bill “does nothing for the thousands of Americans whose private communications are searched without a warrant every year, including those who are not even the subject of an investigation.”

A “dear colleague” letter from Sens. Paul, Wyden, Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) adds: “The so-called ‘warrant requirement’ reform in the bill applies only to criminal suspects, and then only to the government’s access to their information at the final stage of an investigation, a situation that, according to the most recent annual data from the Director of National Intelligence, has occurred once. This means that the bill actually treats those suspected of a crime better than innocent Americans.”

Sadly, these warnings went unheeded as both chambers of Congress voted to reauthorize essentially unrestrained NSA spying and all Americans’ Fourth Amendment liberties were further deteriorated.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




50 Years Later, We Don’t Know Who Killed Martin Luther King

At this 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., mainstream media has once again presented the “open-and-shut case” assumption that he was murdered by James Earl Ray. Yet numerous respected assassination researchers as well as members of King’s family have long disputed this establishment story. They suggests that, instead, Ray was merely a patsy.

By S.T. Patrick

Even through the latest JFK assassination file releases, the questions regarding the life and death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. still penetrate the American conscience 50 years later. King was shot outside the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968. James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, was captured two months later at Heathrow Airport in London. Within nine months, Ray had been convicted, legally and publicly, of assassinating King and sentenced to 99 years. He died in prison in 1998 at the age of 70.

Though the case was closed in the minds of the mainstream media and the historical establishment, doubts existed in the minds of dedicated researchers who never accepted their final conclusions. Like Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan—the supposed assassins of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, respectively—Ray seemed to be a patsy. Ray later confirmed that he was a patsy to a mysterious figure named “Raoul.”

More than Oswald and Sirhan, Ray was an archetypal figure tailor-made for the divisive times in which the murder occurred. Even the civil rights era’s most palpable black leader was killed by a racist Southerner, many thought.

IRS Loses Cases

Some of the most respected assassination researchers of the late 20th century believe that Ray was innocent of the King murder. Attorney and author Mark Lane helped free witness Grace Stephens from a sanitarium. Stephens was at Bessie’s Boarding House with her common-law husband, Charlie Stephens, when King was shot at the Lorraine. Ms. Stephens clearly saw a man running from the communal bathroom after shots were fired. When urged to testify, she refused to testify that the man quickly exiting the bathroom was Ray. Though Mr. Stephens was drunk, without his glasses, and did not see the man clearly, he fingered Ray as that man. His testimony was then used to extradite Ray from England. Ms. Stephens was sent to a sanitarium.

Dr. William F. Pepper was accused assassin Ray’s last attorney. He exhausted every option available in an attempt to gain Ray a trial before his death. Pepper still adamantly believes that Ray was never given the trial constitutionally promised to him. In 1969, Tennessee officials and Ray’s first attorney, Percy Foreman, intimidated Ray into a guilty plea. Pepper later won a televised mock trial for Ray in 1993 when the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict.

As it turns out, King’s greatest enemies did not reside in the Southern United States at all. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was targeting King throughout the Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson presidencies—away from Kennedy’s reach and with active participation from Johnson. The newly released JFK assassination files contain a 20-page FBI analysis of King that portrays him in the harshest light. The document alleges ties to communist influences, usage of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as “a tax dodge,” and philandering of the highest order.

In 1964 a package arrived at the home of King and his wife, Coretta. The package contained various tapes compromising to King’s marriage, as well as a letter that appeared to urge him toward suicide. “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is,” the letter read. The package was sent anonymously, though a Senate committee later confirmed that it had been sent by the FBI.

An Act of State, William F. Pepper
Updated version is now available from the American Free Press Bookstore!

Unlike the Kennedy family, which has remained publicly quiet on the subject of the JFK and RFK assassins, the King family has been both opinionated and active. Since 1997, Coretta Scott King and youngest son Dexter have worked with Pepper in an attempt to free Ray, literally until Ray’s death and historically thereafter. Inspired by Pepper’s book An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King, King’s daughter Yolanda and cousin Isaac Ferris were also on board to find the truth of the assassination. In 1997, Dexter King, with the aid of Pepper, even visited Ray in prison.

When, at a later wrongful death trial, a jury affirmed that they believed “others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy,” Ms. King invoked her late husband’s words: “My husband once said that the moral arch of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The civil court ruling prompted an 18-month investigation by then-Attorney General Janet Reno’s Justice Department. It ruled that a conspiracy to kill Dr. King was neither proven nor present.

As the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches in April, media attention will increase. The History Channel, Discovery Channel, and the three-letter national networks will inevitably convict Ray once more.

Skeptical authors like Phillip Nelson will release the revisionist counterpoint. Nelson’s Who Really Killed MLK? The Case Against Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover will be available in April.

As Donald Sutherland’s character says to Kevin Costner’s “Jim Garrison” in Oliver Stone’s “JFK”: “Kings are killed, Mr. Garrison. Politics is power. Nothing more.” Whether or not the FBI dossiers on King are to be believed—credible information exists that at least some of them are—the question of assassination and the guilt of Ray are still dubious at best. But when we allow political assassination to go unchecked, the spine of democracy weakens and the core threatens to crumble.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News” show. His email is STPatrickAFP@gmail.com.




Ending Pakistan Aid a Two-Edged Sword

Stopping the annual $1.3 billion “bribe” the U.S. has been giving Pakistan for years could spell trouble for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. Without any allies on bordering the country, movements of equipment and supplies will be much more difficult. Giraldi explains why, for the time being, Pakistan is worth it.

By Philip Giraldi

The Trump administration has announced that it will be stopping the subsidies given to the Pakistani government since the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The payments increased dramatically after 9/11 as Pakistan became the launching pad for U.S. efforts to overthrow the Taliban and destroy al Qaeda. They have continued since that time and currently amount to a considerable $1.3 billion a year, a sum which more or less buys the compliance of the country’s military, which serves as something like a Praetorian Guard for the nation’s civilian leaders. The money is forthcoming with the understanding that the Pakistan government, army, and security services will cooperate with the United States in efforts to stabilize the situation in neighboring Afghanistan while also combatting the possible resurgence of radical Islamic groups in the region.

President Donald Trump has tweeted his decision in characteristic fashion, stating, “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Trump’s judgment, tersely expressed, is not exactly wrong, nor is it exactly right. American policymakers who had a basic understanding of the politics of central and south Asia understand that Washington’s bilateral relationships with countries in the region are based on mutual interests, which means that they can diverge when conflicting interests get in the way. Pakistan has long been nervous about the instability in neighboring Afghanistan, which means it is supportive of some efforts at reconstruction and political reconciliation by its neighbor, but it also believes the political turmoil to be endemic, partly due to the tribal and ethnic rivalries that cannot be erased through top-down, foreign-instigated regime change.

As a result, Islamabad has had from the start its own secret arrangements with Afghan groups that are protected and even sheltered inside Pakistan, which are loyal to Islamabad and not to whomever is in charge in Kabul. This includes the Haqqani Network, which functions virtually as a semi-independent arm of the feared Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI). The Haqqanis have been involved in large-scale drug trafficking and have waged their own war inside Afghanistan against the country’s police and military. They have also been accused of bombings in Kabul as well as attacks on U.S. and other NATO soldiers.

The Pakistanis clearly see having a viable major player inside Afghanistan as a national interest that weighs more heavily than whatever it is doing with the United States. To be sure, Pakistan’s major effort to eliminate its own Taliban in 2014 was only a partial success and resulted in numerous casualties while its semi-autonomous tribal region continues to be both radicalized and restive. Pakistan’s leaders reason, and have occasionally suggested, that they and their Afghan proxies will still have to deal with what is going on in the region long after the United States becomes tired of the effort and goes home. It is not an unreasonable point of view, nor is it reasonable to expect that Washington will continue to subsidize a country that is working contrary to U.S. interests, even if those interests have been unattainable.

And even if the Pakistanis are currently playing a two-faced game it is important to recall what benefit has derived from the relationship. Without Pakistan’s cooperation the Soviets would never have been driven out of Afghanistan in the first place. In the years after 9/11, when the U.S. mission was to destroy al Qaeda, nearly every major arrest or killing of senior cadre of the group took place in Pakistan and was carried out by the Pakistani police and intelligence services. Subsequently, Islamabad allowed the U.S. to set up secret drone bases inside Pakistan, something that was revealed accidentally by former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), to track and kill suspected terrorists.

Currently, Pakistan serves as the conduit whereby U.S. and other allied forces are supplied with fuel, heavy equipment, and other war-making commodities. Most supplies arrive at the port of Karachi and are trucked through the mountains on Pakistani-provided vehicles to Afghanistan. If Pakistan chooses to play hardball with Trump, it can cut off that supply line immediately and the U.S. effort to stabilize and democratize Afghanistan—if it might be called that—would be over.

In another part of the world, the Trump administration is considering cutting off its aid to the Palestinian Authority and is delaying payment of $125 million currently due. Trump has tweeted  “[W]e pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

The threat over money appears to derive from Amb. Nikki Haley’s threatened “revenge” over recent UN votes. The president’s bizarre beliefs that Israel wants peace and that stealing Arab Jerusalem and granting it to Benjamin Netanyahu is some kind of gift is breathtaking, but one of his aides might well advise him that much of the money given to the Palestinian Authority is used to man and train a police force, which largely exists to keep Palestinians from attacking Israelis. Trump’s Zionist supporters are already cheering the decision but will find that it yields bitter fruit if the West Bank erupts in violence. The reality is that Washington should spend money when there are good reasons to do so.

Is Pakistan worth it? Yes, until the day comes when Washington departs the region. Afghanistan costs something like $100 billion per year, and the Pakistani bribe is a minimal expense.

The similar bribe to provide some separation between Palestinians and Israelis is a different game altogether. Its utility as yet another costly measure to protect an intransigent Israel is certainly debatable.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Giraldi also submits articles that can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Little Rocket Man Wins the Round

It would appear Kim Jong Un’s strategy has worked, and nuclear war has yet again been averted. Now, says Pat Buchanan, is the time to reconsider our longstanding obligation to defend South Korea.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After a year in which he tested a hydrogen bomb and an ICBM, threatened to destroy the United States, and called President Trump “a dotard,” Kim Jong Un, at the gracious invitation of the president of South Korea, will be sending a skating team to the “Peace Olympics.”

An impressive year for Little Rocket Man.

Thus the most serious nuclear crisis since Nikita Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba appears to have abated. Welcome news, even if the confrontation with Pyongyang has probably only been postponed.

Still, we have been given an opportunity to reassess the 65-year-old Cold War treaty that obligates us to go to war if the North attacks Seoul, and drove us to the brink of war today.

2017 demonstrated that we need a reassessment. For the potential cost of carrying out our commitment is rising exponentially.

Two decades ago, a war on the Korean Peninsula, given the massed Northern artillery on the DMZ, meant thousands of U.S. dead.

Today, with Pyongyang’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, American cities could face Hiroshima-sized strikes, if war breaks out.

What vital U.S. interest is there on the Korean Peninsula that justifies accepting in perpetuity such a risk to our homeland?

We are told that Kim’s diplomacy is designed to split South Korea off from the Americans. And this is undeniably true.

For South Korean President Moon Jae-in is first and foremost responsible for his own people, half of whom are in artillery range of the DMZ. In any new Korean war, his country would suffer most.

And while he surely welcomes the U.S. commitment to fight the North on his country’s behalf as an insurance policy, Moon does not want a second Korean war, and he does not want President Trump making the decision as to whether there shall be one.

Understandably so. He is looking out for South Korea first.

Yet Moon rightly credits Trump with bringing the North Koreans to the table: “I give President Trump huge credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks, and I’d like to thank him for that.”

But again, what are the U.S. interests there that we should be willing to put at risk of nuclear attack tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Korea and our bases in Asia, and even our great cities, in a war that would otherwise be confined to the Korean Peninsula?

China shares a border with the North, but is not treaty-bound to fight on the North’s behalf. Russia, too, has a border with North Korea, and, with China, was indispensable to saving the North in the 1950-53 war. But Russia is not committed by any treaty to fight for the North.

Why, then, are Americans obligated to be among the first to die in a second Korean War? Why is the defense of the South, with 40 times the economy and twice the population of the North, our eternal duty?

Kim’s drive for a nuclear deterrent is propelled by both fear and calculation. The fear is that the Americans who detest him will do to him and his regime and country what they did to Saddam Hussein.

The calculation is that what Americans fear most, and the one thing that deters them, is nuclear weapons. Once Soviet Russia and Communist China acquired nukes, the Americans never attacked them.

If he can put nuclear weapons on U.S. troops in Korea, U.S. bases in Japan, and U.S. cities, Kim reasons, the Americans will not launch a war on him. Have not recent events proven him right?

Iran has no nuclear weapons and some Americans clamor daily for “regime change” in Tehran. But because Kim has nukes, the Americans appear more anxious to talk. His policy is succeeding.

What he is saying with his nuclear arsenal is: As you Americans have put my regime and country at risk of annihilation, I am going to put your cities at risk. If we go down in your nuclear “fire and fury,” so, too, will millions of Americans.

The whole world is watching how this plays out.

For the American Imperium, our system of alliances, is held together by a credible commitment: If you attack any of our scores of allies, you are at war with the United States.

From the Baltic to the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf, from the South China Sea to Korea and Japan today, the costs and the risks of maintaining the imperium are growing.

With all these promissory notes out there—guarantees to go to war for other nations—one is inevitably going to be called.

And this generation of Americans, unaware of what their grandfathers obligated them to do, will demand to know, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan: What are we over doing there, on the other side of the world?

America First is more than a slogan.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Bookstore

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Victory for the Bundys

Federal agents and prosecutors repeatedly lied and hid evidence during the Cliven Bundy legal proceedings, prompting Judge Gloria Navarro to dismiss the entire case with prejudice. The government is thus barred from prosecuting these patriots again on these charges. The long nightmare Bundy and his family and supporters have faced is over.

By Mark Anderson

On Jan. 8, U.S. federal Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed with prejudice the case against Cliven Bundy and his sons, Ammon and Ryan, and Ryan Payne. After spending nearly two years in prison, the Bundys celebrated their hard-fought victory along with property-rights advocates and proponents of small government around the country.

Cliven Bundy spoke with AFP on Jan. 9 in an exclusive interview. He said he was filled with joy and relief over the fact that his ordeal, and that of his family and supporters, is essentially over, and chuckled that he was a bit jaded from giving nonstop press interviews

“I went into that place a free man and I intended to leave it as a free man,” Bundy stated, referring to the jail in which he spent 700 days.

During his incarceration, federal prosecutors feverishly tried to nail these patriotic men for resisting and protesting an attempted but failed impoundment of Cliven’s cattle by armed Bureau of Land Management and FBI agents.

The “Bunkerville standoff” in Clark County, Nev. in April of 2014 made world headlines. Scores of supporters, some of whom were armed in the open-carry state, showed up that spring from across the nation to stand with the Bundys. No shots were fired by either side, and the feds eventually backed down.

When AFP spoke with Bundy on the phone, his sons and other family and friends could be heard chatting and laughing in the background.

He commented that, under Article III of the Constitution, judges can hold office only during periods of good behavior.

“Good behavior is when our judges are in tune with the Constitution. When you’ve got judges like I had in my case—abridging the Constitution—nobody holds them accountable,” he remarked.

Bundy was referring to several rulings that, among other things, allowed prosecutors to retry Bundy, his sons, and his supporters—even though juries had repeatedly decided in favor of the ranchers and their friends.

Bundy summarized for AFP: “They tried to ruin my ranch, my heritage, and my posterity. But we’re in the cattle business and we intend to stay there.”

On Jan. 9, AFP spoke with popular radio show host Jim Lambley, the owner of KSDZ-FM, about the long and difficult case that was brought against Cliven Bundy, his sons, and several supporters. Lambley’s station in Nebraska, known as the “The Twister,” has reported on the Bundy case more than any other licensed broadcast-media outlet.

“The government needs to write some checks because it stole the lives of these people for two years,” Lambley commented to AFP, just after the dismissal was announced.

The Jan. 8 dismissal followed Judge Gloria Navarro’s Dec. 20, 2017 decision to declare a mistrial in the proceedings against Bundy and the three others. That alone was a stunning development in the saga of the elder Nevada rancher whose devotion to principle, like that of his sons and supporters, represents in the minds of many a repudiation of the arbitrary exercise of federal power.

Throughout this grueling case, Judge Navarro was believed to be largely unsympathetic to the defendants, but when she decided to dismiss the charges, she stated that prosecutors willfully withheld evidence from defense lawyers, which is what tipped the scales. She referred to it as “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.”

She also declared, “The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated.” Her statement implies the government’s misdeeds in this case are legion.

Government misdeeds were not limited to the courtroom. Marooning the defendants in jail for so long, of course, denied them the fair and speedy trial required by the Constitution. Both Ammon and Ryan Bundy were grossly humiliated when they were subjected to body cavity searches every time they were transferred from their jail cells to the U.S. District Court. The government even imposed solitary confinement at times.

Given the conduct of their jailers, you’d think that Bundy and company had already been convicted and sentenced.

Lambley agreed with this AFP writer’s observation that it appears the government committed an especially grave miscarriage of justice in the way it handled the series of Bundy show-trial proceedings that started in February 2016 and finally concluded Jan. 8. Nearly 20 defendants in all were tried under a 16-count indictment consisting of rather vague and redundant conspiracy, obstruction, and weapons charges, among others.

Legal expert Roger Roots, who observed the court proceedings from start to finish, feels Cliven Bundy was correct when he said, right after the dismissal, that he had been jailed for 700 days as a “political prisoner” for refusing to acknowledge federal supremacy over the public land near his southern-Nevada cattle ranch, where his cattle have long grazed. The impoundment was said to have been ordered over Bundy not paying grazing fees, but citing the area’s unique history, he maintains that federal jurisdiction was never established over Clark County.

Asked if Bundy and the 19 others had indeed been political prisoners, Roots replied: “If they had been left-wingers they would never have been looking at such ridiculous charges. The thing about Cliven and the others is that they provided real resistance with real constitutional principles.”

Crucial remaining matters include the Las Vegas Review Journal’s motion to try to force the federal government to open all of its files in this case. If the motion succeeds, the documents could reveal whether illegally secret court hearings were held and, among many other things, provide more information on the existence of federal snipers in the vicinity of the standoff and the Bundy homestead—despite denials by the prosecution that the snipers existed and relevant evidence withheld from the defense.

Roots noted that, despite the judge throwing out the case with prejudice, a government appeal of the dismissal cannot be ruled out.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




What Is America’s Mission Now?

America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley continues to make the U.S. look ridiculous and make public statements that do not agree with established U.S. foreign policy. When will President Trump rein her in or, better yet, replace her in this position that should truly represent the United States to the world? 

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Informing Iran, “The U.S. is watching what you do,” Ambassador Nikki Haley called an emergency meeting Friday of the Security Council regarding the riots in Iran. The session left her and us looking ridiculous.

France’s ambassador tutored Haley that how nations deal with internal disorders is not the council’s concern. Russia’s ambassador suggested the United Nations should have looked into our Occupy Wall Street clashes and how the Missouri cops handled Ferguson.

Fifty years ago, 100 U.S. cities erupted in flames after Martin Luther King’s assassination. Federal troops were called in. In 1992, Los Angeles suffered the worst U.S. riot of the 20th century, after the LA cops who pummeled Rodney King were acquitted in Simi Valley.

Was our handling of these riots any business of the UN?

Conservatives have demanded that the UN keep its nose out of our sovereign affairs since its birth in 1946. Do we now accept that the UN has authority to oversee internal disturbances inside member countries?

Friday’s session fizzled out after Iran’s ambassador suggested the Security Council might take up the Israeli-Palestinian question or the humanitarian crisis produced by the U.S.-backed Saudi war on Yemen.

The episode exposes a malady of American foreign policy. It lacks consistency, coherence, and moral clarity, treats friends and adversaries by separate standards, and is reflexively interventionist.

Thus has America lost much of the near-universal admiration and respect she enjoyed at the close of the Cold War.

This hubristic generation has kicked it all away.

Consider. Is Iran’s handling of these disorders more damnable than the thousands of extrajudicial killings of drug dealers attributed to our Filipino ally Rodrigo Duterte, whom the president says is doing an “unbelievable job”?

And how does it compare with Gen. Abdel el-Sissi’s 2012 violent overthrow of the elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, and Sissi’s imprisonment of scores of thousands of followers of the Muslim Brotherhood?

Is Iran really the worst situation in the Middle East today?

Hassan Rouhani is president after winning an election with 57% of the vote. Who elected Mohammed bin Salman crown prince and future king of Saudi Arabia?

Vladimir Putin, too, is denounced for crimes against democracy for which our allies get a pass.

In Russia, Christianity is flourishing and candidates are declaring against Putin. Some in the Russian press regularly criticize him.

How is Christianity faring in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan?

It is alleged that Putin’s regime is responsible for the death of several journalists. But there are more journalists behind bars in the jails of our NATO ally Turkey than in any other country in the world.

Suicide of a Superpower cover Patrick Buchanan
Have a look at Pat Buchanan’s books in the AFP Bookstore.

When does the Magnitsky Act get applied to Turkey?

What the world too often sees is an America that berates its adversaries for sins against our “values,” while giving allies a general absolution if they follow our lead.

A day has not gone by in 18 months that we have not read or heard of elite outrage over the Kremlin attack on “our democracy,” with the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails.

How many even recall the revelation in 2015 that China hacked the personnel files of millions of U.S. government employees, past, present and prospective?

While China persecutes Christians, Russia supports a restoration of Christianity after 70 years of Leninist rule.

In Putin’s Russia, the Communist Party is running a candidate against him. In China, the Communist Party exercises an absolute monopoly of political power and nobody runs against Xi Jinping.

China’s annexation of the Paracel and Spratly Islands and the entire South China Sea is meekly protested, while Russia is endlessly castigated for its bloodless retrieval of a Crimean peninsula that was recognized as Russian territory under the Romanovs.

China, with several times Russia’s economy and 10 times her population, is far the greater challenger to America’s standing as lone superpower. Why, then, this tilt toward China?

Among the reasons U.S. foreign policy lacks consistency and moral clarity is that we Americans no longer agree on what our vital interests are, who our real adversaries are, what our values are, or what a good and godly country looks like.

Was JFK’s America a better country than Obama’s America?

World War II and the Cold War gave us moral clarity. If you stood against Hitler, even if you were a moral monster like Joseph Stalin, we partnered with you.

From Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946 to the end of the Cold War, if you stood with us against the “Evil Empire” of Reagan’s depiction, even if you were a dictator like Gen. Pinochet or the Shah, you were welcome in the camp of the saints.

But now that a worldwide conversion to democracy is no longer America’s mission in the world, what exactly is our mission?

“Great Britain has lost an empire,” said Dean Acheson in 1962, “but not yet found a role.”

Something of the same may fairly be said of us today.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Bookstore

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM



Hollywood Butchers Real History

“The Post,” a new movie from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg about the famed Pentagon Papers that Daniel Ellsberg released to The New York Times in 1971, ignores the role of The Washington Post‘s CIA-controlled editors and long history of promoting U.S. intelligence agency propaganda. Instead, the movie promotes the “legend” of the paper as a stalwart American institution.

By S.T. Patrick

In the new film “The Post,” Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have once again crumpled up real history in favor of boosting the legend of a mainstream American institution. Their previous attempt, “Parkland,” which was a failure at the box office, propped up the questionable work of both Vincent Bugliosi and the Warren Commission. This time the deific canonization by two of Hollywood’s most powerful players is reserved for executive editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Katherine Graham of The Washington Post.

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst working for the RAND Corporation, released to The New York Times what would commonly be known as “the Pentagon Papers,” a top-secret study of American decision-making in Vietnam. The released report cast doubt on the U.S. government’s honesty regarding its Vietnam War policy. It was White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman who emphasized the substantial importance of the release to President Richard Nixon, who initially did not grasp the Ellsberg releases as a matter of grave importance.

“To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook,” Haldeman told Nixon on June 14, 1971. “But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing. . . . You can’t trust the government, you can’t believe what they say, and you can’t rely on their judgment. And the . . . implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong.”

Liberty Stickers

Attorney General John Mitchell sent a telegram to the Times, demanding that they stop publication of “the Pentagon Papers,” but the Times refused and continued the publication. The government then sued to halt publication. Though the paper eventually won New York Times Co. v. United States at the Supreme Court, an earlier appellate court had ordered the publication to be halted.

Correctly anticipating federal legal action against The New York Times, Ellsberg had distributed “the Pentagon Papers” to over 30 newspapers and private contacts. It was a guerrilla strategy based upon information-by-attrition. Although The Washington Post, featured in the new movie, was one of the papers that received the distributed report, they were neither more nor less important to the story than any of the others.

Jim DiEugenio of KennedysAndKing.com wrote, “Once Ellsberg made his decision to go public with the [LBJ Secretary of Defense] Robert McNamara-commissioned top-secret history, it was just a matter of how many newspapers would pick up the story after The New York Times initially published it.”

DiEugenio pointed out that in Ellsberg’s 457-page Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002) Bradlee is mentioned only once and Graham is not mentioned at all. “The Post” obviously did not use Ellsberg’s Secrets as source material for the script.

The Washington Post is no stranger to playing the public relations and media saturation games in order to create the mythology that it owned a consequential story. Though similar reporting was being done by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and others—often before The Washington Post—the official story of Watergate is now synonymous with the Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, whose account became a best-selling book and a major motion picture.

Critics of The Washington Post have long asserted that the newspaper has been used as a cover-up asset for U.S. intelligence. Woodward, for example, was portrayed by All the President’s Men as a hungry, young reporter who had been an outsider writing about filthy restaurants. In reality, Woodward had worked at the Pentagon under Adm. Thomas Moorer. According to “Watergate.com,” Woodward ran the communications center and was responsible for the delivery of messages from the Pentagon to the White House and the National Security Council. While performing these duties, Woodward nurtured a connection with Gen. Alexander Haig, who some researchers claim later provided Woodward with some of the information attributed to “Deep Throat,” Woodward’s anonymous source.

In recent years, Accuracy in Media (AIM) has criticized the Post’s lack of transparency regarding the ties of Jeff Bezos to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency. Bezos, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon.com, purchased the Post for $250 million in 2013. He has also brokered for Amazon a $600 million contract with the CIA.

Last December, the Post was the preferred outlet for anonymous CIA leaks regarding Trump and Russia. An unnamed source told the Post that a secret CIA report had concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election for Trump.

Glenn Greenwald of online news source “The Intercept” wrote about the “explosive story that, in many ways, is classic American journalism of the worst sort: The key claims are based exclusively on the unverified assertions of anonymous officials, who in turn are disseminating their own claims about what the CIA purportedly believes, all based on evidence that remains completely secret.”

In April, critics blasted the Post for allowing a lobbyist from Raytheon—which manufactures Tomahawk cruise missiles—to publish pro-war editorials without disclosing his background. After the missile strikes in Syria, Raytheon’s stock skyrocketed.

Whether influencing Hollywood productions in an attempt to disfigure credible history or allowing the infiltration of anonymous CIA influences, The Washington Post has a problem that is both historical and current.

In their perpetual drive to be the paper of record on every story that traversed the Graham dynasty, it is now apparent that the Post—the newspaper and its depiction on film—is an untrustworthy media source for those who actually prefer their truth to be truthful.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News” show. His email is STPatrickAFP@gmail.com.




Pentagon Officially Confirms Government’s Interest in UFOs

The Pentagon has officially admitted its Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, a long-term government investigation into the UFO phenomenon. Notable UFOlogists have written for decades about government programs including Majestic-12 and Project Blue Book. Given this acknowledgement by the official secret-keepers, are we closer to knowing the truth about Area 51 and possible extraterrestrial encounters? 

By S.T. Patrick

After decades of denials, chuckles, and ad hominem attacks on anyone questioning whether or not the United States government has engaged in the study of UFOs, the silence is broken.

Until now, it was easy to label amateur and professional UFOlogists as “the tinfoil hat crew” or “crackpots.” However, the Pentagon has now officially confirmed the existence of a $22 million program that collected, analyzed, and categorized “anomalous aerospace threats”—or “UFOs” in the more common vernacular. According to information released in late December by The Washington Post, the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was just another instance of what has been a long-term government investigation into the UFO phenomenon.

The investigations date back to the 1950s and 1960s, as UFOlogists such as Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist by trade, have known for years. Friedman, educated at the University of Chicago, has written Crash at Corona (1992) about the Roswell incident and Top Secret/Majic (1997) about the Majestic 12 (MJ-12) program that was formed by an executive order signed by Harry Truman.

According to Stanton, who in 1984 received anonymous documents detailing the MJ-12 roster and activities, the program was created in direct response to the Roswell, N.M. UFO crash of 1947. Created to investigate and recover alien (unknown) spacecraft, MJ-12 included such luminaries as Sidney Souers and Hoyt Vandenberg, the first two directors of central intelligence; Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the first director of the CIA; James Forrestal, the first secretary of defense; Vannevar Bush, who headed the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II; Donald Menzel, a noted skeptic who Friedman claims was a true believer, and others.

IRS Loses Cases

To his credit, Friedman has uncovered as many hoaxes as he has validated incidents he believes to be real. Some of the MJ-12 documents originally made available to Friedman were ones he invalidated as hoaxes. That, however, does not deter his avid belief that other documents, as well as the program itself, were real. Friedman points out that it is a common practice in top-secret intelligence to include a smattering of hoax documents alongside real ones.

MJ-12 was not the only government project looking at UFOs after Roswell. Project Blue Book was a series of United States Air Force studies on unidentified flying objects. It lasted from 1952 to 1970. By the time it had ceased, Project Blue Book had collected 12,618 UFO reports, most that the National Reconnaissance Office characterized as flights of formerly secret reconnaissance planes such as the U-2 and the A-12.

Annie Jacobsen, a former contributing editor to The Los Angeles Times’ magazine, is an author specializing in what has been called “war, weapons, security, and secrets.” She has written Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base (2015), Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America (2014), and The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency (2015), a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in History.

Ms. Jacobsen tackled the UFO question regarding Area 51 in a way that may be more controversial than the alien back-engineering theory that has persisted since KLAS-TV Las Vegas journalist George Knapp popularized the phrase “Area 51” while interviewing Bob Lazar in 1989. Lazar claims to have back-engineered alien spacecraft while briefly working at Area 51.

Ms. Jacobsen’s thesis is that Area 51, located in the Nevada desert, has been a vital site for national security and weapons development since its inception. Stealth technology, such as the CIA’s A-12, was developed at Area 51. Early U-2 tests were also conducted at the base. Area 51, Ms. Jacobsen writes, was strategically important during the era of Sputnik, the Bay of Pigs, the lunar landing, and the Vietnam War. It was where America’s most important espionage projects were tested and analyzed. Back-engineering was performed at Area 51, Ms. Jacobsen details, but it was a Soviet MiG and not an alien space craft.

Ms. Jacobsen likens the Roswell crash to the opening shot of the Cold War. She dismisses the alien theories altogether while hypothesizing that the supposed aliens recovered outside of Roswell were actually human guinea pigs, the result of American experimentation gone awry. The UFO rumors, then, were cover stories for the grisly experiments that were conducted on humans.

The official line was to deny even the existence of Area 51, though warning signs, motion- and sound-detection devices, and Wackenhut security lined its outer rim. Government interest in UFOs, Roswell, and Area 51 has leaked in both news and biography. Upon retirement, former CIA director Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter served on the board of directors of the National Investigations Committee for Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), which lobbied against government cover-ups of UFO information from the 1950s through the 1970s.

What we now know is that Area 51, the base also known as “Dreamland,” has been used since the dawn of the Cold War to test aviation that pushed the limits of sight, sound, and detection. Though the Nevada desert can be barren, desolate, and dry, something is, indeed, out there.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News” show. His email is STPatrickAFP@gmail.com.




Who Wants War With Iran?

The consequences of a U.S. war with Iran would be devastating, so why is Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley indicting Iran in a recent missile fired at a Saudi airport? It would appear the war propaganda campaign is ramping up.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Shortly before Christmas, President Donald Trump was the beneficiary of some surprisingly good news and glad tidings. On Dec. 17, Vladimir Putin called to thank him and the CIA for providing Russia critical information that helped abort an ISIS plot to massacre visitors to Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Dec. 18 found polls showing Trump at his highest in months. Stocks soared 200 points at the opening bell in anticipation of pre-Christmas passage of the Republican tax bill. The Dow has added a record 5,000 points in Trump’s first year.

And the Russiagate investigation may have busted an axle. Though yet unproven, charges are being made that Robert Mueller’s sleuths gained access to emails from the Trump campaign illicitly. This could imperil prosecutions by Mueller’s team, already under a cloud for proven malice toward the president. Recall: Daniel Ellsberg, who delivered “the Pentagon Papers” to The New York Times, walked free when it was learned that the White House “Plumbers” had burgled his psychiatrist’s office.

With things going Trump’s way, one must ask: What was UN Ambassador Nikki Haley doing in early December at what looked like a prewar briefing at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in D.C.?

Looming behind Ms. Haley was part of what was said to be an Iranian missile fired at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

Though the rocket had Iranian markings, it was not launched from Iran, or by Iranians. Houthi rebels, for two years victims of a savage war waged by the Saudis—using U.S.-made planes, missiles, bombs, and drones—say they fired it at the Riyadh airport in retaliation for what the Saudis have done to their people and country. If so, it was a legitimate act of war.

Indeed, so great is the Yemeni civilian suffering from a lack of food and medicine, and from malnutrition and disease, Trump himself has told the Saudis to ease up on their air, sea, and land blockades.

As there is no evidence as to when the Houthis acquired the missile, or where, the question arises: What was Ms. Haley’s motive in indicting Iran? Was this part of a new propaganda campaign to drum up support for America’s next big Mideast war? There are reasons to think so.

Ms. Haley went on: “It’s hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it.” But Iran is Shiite, while al Qaeda, which allegedly brought down the twin towers with the help of 15 Saudi nationals, is Sunni. So, too, are ISIS, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia and Islamic Jihad. Most Mideast terrorist groups are Sunni, not Shiite.

As for these Mideast “conflicts,” which did Iran start? We started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. NATO started the war in Libya. The U.S. helped trigger the horrific Syrian civil war by arming “rebels.” Only when President Bashar Assad looked like he was about to fall did Russia and Iran intervene on his side.

As for the “Shiite crescent,” from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut, who created it? Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was Sunni dominated. It was the Americans who overthrew him and brought Shiite power to Baghdad.

In Syria, it was U.S.- and Sunni-backed “rebels,” allied at times with al Qaeda, who drew Iran and the Shiite militias in to save Assad.

And the Israelis called the Shiite Hezbollah movement into being by invading and occupying South Lebanon in 1982. As Yitzhak Rabin ruefully said, “We let the Shia genie out of the bottle.”

Are we now to fight a new Mideast war against a larger enemy than any of the others we have fought, to clean up the bloody mess we made of the region by our previous military interventions? Before we march, with Ms. Haley as head cheerleader, Trump should consider the likely consequences for his country, the Middle East, and his presidency.

A war in the Persian Gulf would send oil prices soaring and stock markets plummeting, even as it would split us off from our major allies in Europe and Asia. The Airbus-Boeing deal to sell Iran 300 commercial aircraft would be dead.

While the U.S. would prevail in an air, naval, and missile war, where would the troops come from to march to Tehran to “democratize” that nation? Do we think a bloodied revanchist Iran would be easier to deal with than the one with which John Kerry negotiated a nuclear deal?

Would Hezbollah go after U.S. soft targets in Beirut? Would Iraqi Shiite militias go after Americans in the Green Zone? Would the Shiite majority in Bahrain and the oil-rich northeast of Saudi Arabia rise up and rebel?

And who would our great fighting Arab ally be? Jared Kushner’s new friend: a 32-year-old Saudi prince who has become famous for putting down $500 million each for a chateau near Versailles, a yacht on the Riviera, and a painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Bookstore. 

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM



The Times Rides to Mueller’s Rescue

The New York Times has explained it was not the “dirty dossier” from former spy Christopher Steele, paid for by the Democrats, that led to the FBI’s endless investigation of President Trump for supposedly colluding with Russia to steal the election. Rather, a drunken disclosure of information to the Australian ambassador to the U.S. prompted the massive counterintelligence investigation during the campaign. But Pat Buchanan raises numerous questions about this new “disclosure.”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

What caused the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, which evolved into the criminal investigation that is said today to imperil the Trump presidency?

As James Comey’s FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have, for 18 months, failed to prove Donald Trump’s “collusion” with the Kremlin, what was it, in mid-2016, that justified starting this investigation?

What was the basis for the belief Trump was colluding, that he was the Manchurian candidate of Vladimir Putin? What evidence did the FBI cite to get FISA court warrants to surveil and wiretap Trump’s team?

Republican congressmen have for months been demanding answers to these questions. And, as Mueller’s men have stonewalled, suspicions have arisen that this investigation was, from the outset, a politicized operation to take down Trump.

Feeding those suspicions has been the proven anti-Trump bias of investigators. Also, wiretap warrants of Trump’s team are said to have been issued on the basis of a “dirty dossier” that was floating around town in 2016—but which mainstream media refused to publish as they could not validate its lurid allegations.

Who produced the dossier?

Ex-British spy Christopher Steele, whose dirt was delivered by ex-Kremlin agents. And Steele was himself a hireling of Fusion GPS, the oppo research outfit enlisted and paid by the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Writes the Washington Times, Steele “paid Kremlin sources with Democratic cash.”

 

Yet, if Steele’s dossier is a farrago of falsehoods and fake news, and the dossier’s contents were used to justify warrants for wiretaps on Trump associates, Mueller has a problem.

Prosecutions his team brings could be contaminated by what the FBI did, leaving his investigation discredited.

Fortunately, all this was cleared up for us New Year’s Eve by a major revelation in The New York Times. Top headline on page one:

“Unlikely Source Propelled Russia Meddling Inquiry”

The story that followed correctly framed the crucial question:

“What so alarmed American officials to provoke the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?”

The Times then gave us the answer we have been looking for:

“It was not, as Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.”

The ally: Australia, whose ambassador to Britain was in an “upscale London Bar” in the West End in May 2016, drinking with a sloshed George Papadopoulos, who had ties to the Trump campaign and who informed the diplomat that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos had reportedly been told in April that Russia had access to Clinton’s emails.

Thus, when the DNC and John Podesta emails were splashed all over the U.S. press in June, Amb. Alexander Downer, recalling his conversation with Papadopoulos, informed his government, which has excellent ties to U.S. intelligence, and the FBI took it from there.

The Times’s story pounds home this version of events:

“The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russian attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of Trump’s associates conspired.”

This, the Times assures us, “answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year.”

Well, perhaps.

But if Papadopoulos’s drunken babbling to the Aussie ambassador triggered the investigation in July 2016, why was George not interviewed by the FBI until January 2017?

According to the Times, an FBI agent in Rome had been told by Steele in June 2016 what he had learned from the Russians.

And Steele was interviewed by the FBI in October 2016.

If Papadopoulos triggered the investigation, why the seeming FBI disinterest in him—as compared to Steele?

Yet another major question remains unanswered.

If, as the Times writes, the FBI was looking “into Russian attempts to disrupt the elections,” why did the FBI not open an investigation into the KGB roots of the Steele dossier that was written to destroy the Republican candidate, Donald Trump?

If Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Putin to damage Clinton was worthy of an all-out FBI investigation, why did the Clinton-DNC scheme to tie Trump to Russian prostitutes, using British spies and former KGB agents, not merit an FBI investigation?

Why was there less concern about the Clinton campaign’s ties to Russian agents than to Trumpian “collusion” that is yet unproven?

Consider what the British spy Steele and his former KGB/FSB comrades accomplished:

They have kept alive a special counsel’s investigation that has divided our country, imperiled the FBI’s reputation, preoccupied and damaged a president, and partially paralyzed the U.S. government.

Putin must be marveling at the astonishing success of his old comrades from KGB days, who could pull off an intelligence coup like this and so cripple the superpower that won the Cold War.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Bookstore

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM



Was the Democrat-funded Steele dossier a basis of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation?

 

By Robert Romano

It was not the Democratic National Committee- and Hillary Clinton campaign-funded Fusion GPS-Christopher Steele junk dossier in 2016 that caused the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign, but George Papadopoulos’s meetings with supposed Russian agents to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

That is the narrative now being fed by the mainstream media. According to The New York Times’s “bombshell” report published on Dec. 30, 2017, “when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.”

So, let’s take a look at the timeline.

The Democratic National Committee emails began appearing on WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016.

Part of the Steele dossier named former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page as one of the top Russian colluders on July 19, 2016.

Page had appeared on YouTube published July 7, 2016, speaking at the New Economic School’s commencement ceremony in Moscow, which appeared to form part of the basis for Steele’s assertion.

So, by the time Australia tipped off the U.S. about Papadopoulos, Steele had already fingered Page in his own investigation on Trump-Russia collusion.

IRS Loses Cases

Later, after WikiLeaks published on July 22, 2016, Steele alleged then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was at the heart of the conspiracy to work with Russia to put the emails onto WikiLeaks, with Page as the intermediary. According to the dossier, it was “a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership. This was managed on the Trump side by the Republican candidate’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, and others as intermediaries.”

Steele defined the conspiracy explicitly: “The Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform. The reason for using WikiLeaks was ‘plausible deniability,’ and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team. In return the Trump team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue. . . .”

Eventually, at some point, a FISA court warrant was taken out on Page, perhaps based on the dossier.

What is controversial is not whether Australia tipped off the U.S. about Papadopoulos before or after the Page warrant was ordered. It is whether Page’s civil rights were violated and a national security investigation via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court was ordered into the Trump campaign using a Democrat-funded political hit piece. Why?

Because according to the law, to get a warrant on Page, there needed to be probable cause that he specifically was acting as a foreign agent. Besides the Steele dossier, what evidence has been presented that he was acting as an agent? Was that the basis for the FISA court warrant?

What if it was inaccurate, and Manafort and Page were never coordinating with Russia on helping the DNC emails appearing on Wikileaks at all?

Plot to Scapegoat Russia book cover
For more on this topic, consider this related book, from the AFP Bookstore.

Then what you have are not only Steele’s sources being in question, if they even existed, but, Papadopoulos or no, you have the Democrats paying a British former spy to produce an intelligence dossier to pin their own troubles, that is, embarrassing emails being published in the news, on Trump in an outlandish foreign conspiracy theory.

Next, the Obama administration used that allegation to justify a full-scale counterintelligence investigation into the opposition party in an election year, which is now leading to prosecutions for anyone unfortunate enough to have been questioned by the FBI without having an attorney present.

It should not be overlooked that once campaign officials like Page or Manafort had FISA warrants into them, all their contacts with the campaign would have been subjected to surveillance as well.

Nothing in the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s guilty plea deal with Papadopoulos for lying to investigators will make any of that any better. Again, FISA court warrants are only supposed to be issued on individuals for probable cause that that individual specifically is acting as a foreign agent.

So even if Papadopoulos had communicated with Russian or other foreign contacts, that generally could not have been used to secure a warrant against Page for the same, unless those contacts had actually implicated Page like the dossier did.

Therefore, The New York Times’s “bombshell” appears to be more designed to deflect attention away from the egregious violation of rights and abuse of the nation’s intelligence powers that using the Democrat-funded dossier on Page and others would entail than it suggests that Papadopoulos’s foreign contacts somehow justified how the rest of the investigation was carried out.

There are other troubling questions. For starters, Papadopoulos was not questioned by the FBI until 2017, after the election had occurred. Was there a warrant to investigate his emails, which formed the basis for the guilty plea that he lied to investigators? If so, when was it obtained? When was Page’s warrant obtained?

Finally, was the Democrat-funded dossier, or information from the dossier, used to obtain FISA court warrants against Trump campaign and then transition officials?

Papadopoulos’s limited involvement in this whole affair does not begin to justify the breadth of the investigation that was undertaken by the Obama administration into the Trump campaign. They needed more. And the Steele dossier might have been just the thing that did the trick.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.




Manson Innocent of Murders?

The November 2017 death of imprisoned cult leader Charles Manson spurred new interest in research refuting the official story. Famed attorney Vincent Bugliosi helped frame the public’s understanding of the “Manson Family cult” but was his fascinating narrative accurate? Author Nikolas Schreck disagrees with Bugliosi and suggests in a new book there’s much more to the story than a group of deranged druggies gone wild. 

By S.T. Patrick

On Nov. 19, 2017 Charles Manson, 83, died in Bakersville, Calif. while serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca killings. He was originally sentenced to death until California banned the death penalty in 1972 and his sentence was commuted.

The reaction to Manson’s death has been both typical for and parallel to the mainstream mass media’s coverage of Manson’s case, biography, and personality since 1969. Hollywood has also reacted. Mia Farrow, a friend of murdered actress Sharon Tate, tweeted that her thoughts were with Tate and the rest of “Manson’s victims.”

One of the few undisputed facts of the Manson legal case was that he physically committed none of the Tate-LaBianca murders that rocked the Hollywood hills on Aug. 9 and 10, 1969. They were committed by those associated with Manson—Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten. Linda Kasabian was given immunity for her testimony regarding the details of the killings.

After the prosecution rested in the 1970 trial, the defense filed a few formal dismissal motions before resting three days later. Much to the dismay, anger, and surprise of Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten, no witnesses were called for the defense. Manson, in a 1989 interview, angrily said, “Had you let us put on a defense, we could have explained to you why it happened.”

Legend and lore have since been attached to the Manson case by prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who in 1974 co-wrote Helter Skelter about Manson and the case. It was Helter Skelter that perpetuated the story regarding the use of the Beatles song for which the book was named. Bugliosi argued that Manson, a failed musician, was obsessed with the Beatles and used the term to describe secret messages that signaled the chaos that would occur when a race war broke out across America. The senseless murders committed by “The Manson Family” would be the spark that ignited that war. According to Bugliosi, the “Family” members were mesmerized, zombie-like followers who executed Manson’s twisted, demented demands.

Nikolas Schreck, the author of The Manson File: Myth and Reality of an Outlaw Shaman, disagrees with what he calls “the Helter Skelter myth.” The picture of Manson and those around him at the Spahn Ranch is very different than the one painted by Bugliosi and dramatized in multiple made-for-television movies. Schreck first wrote to Manson in 1985 and spent decades corresponding with Manson and his associates.

German-English actor Ferdinand Mayne gave Schreck his first breakthrough when he told Schreck it was a well-known secret around Hollywood that Manson and his associates had known the victims personally.

Schreck dispels the myth of Manson as a spurned, untalented musician out to avenge his rock-and-roll failures. Manson was not a parasitic fame chaser, as outlined in the Helter Skelter myth. Rather, Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson was looking for a spiritual mentor at a time when he was lost and needed a cultural spark. Manson, Schreck argues, was that spark.

At over 1,000 pages, The Manson File goes into great depth in an attempt to correct the false narratives of the dramatis personae that surrounded Manson at Spahn Ranch and at trial.

Schreck describes Manson’s circle as a “group marriage” in a polygamous commune, not a cult with a unified ideology. The women were known to peers as “Charlie’s girls” and not “The Family,” which was a title later assigned by the media.

The myth of Manson’s brainwashing was first spread by Atkins, who had a well-known mafia lawyer, Richard Caballero. Schreck believes the financially “poor hippie girl” was given mafia representation to protect the mafia-drug ties that were the real reasons for the murders, a drug robbery that turned violent. Atkins’s grisly prison confessions then were attempts to build a reputation among the hardened inmates.

Van Houten’s testimony also seemed guided, according to Schreck. He believes that Van Houten took part in the LaBianca murders in an effort to free her imprisoned boyfriend, Bobby Beausoleil, jailed for killing Gary Hinman. Van Houten believed that they could commit similar crimes that would make officials believe Beausoleil didn’t actually kill Hinman. Schreck emphasizes that this was not a theory believed by Manson. Now portrayed as the most culpable of the women, The Manson File portrays Van Houten as having the most extreme ideological views of the girls charged in the murders.

Schreck characterizes Krenwinkel as the most violent of the women. He believes that the killings should actually be called the “Watson-Krenwinkel Murders.”

Related: More on Manson from Victor Thorn, in these two books available from the American Free Press Bookstore:

Conspireality by Victor Thorn       

Bugliosi puts a scared Kasabian at the scene only because she had a valid drivers license. Schreck believes she was, with Watson, a major instigator of the murders. Kasabian had already been arrested on drug charges, and Watson, on the day he met her, convinced her to steal $5,000 from her husband. She had also attended drug parties next door to the LaBianca home. Kasabian lives as a free woman today.

Bugliosi, who died in 2015, did not end his career without controversy. Though the JFK assassination research community can often be fracture, there was unity in their disapproval of Bugliosi’s 2007 work on the Kennedy assassination, Reclaiming History, in which he argued that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Schreck doesn’t defend Manson as a human being. Rather, he disagrees with the facts of the case as popularized by the prosecuting attorney with a legend to defend and a brand to build.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News” show. His email is STPatrickAFP@gmail.com.




Jail for Hillary?

As the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee continues its investigation of the FBI and its former director, James Comey, a new letter from committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson to the director of the FBI has brought to light “arguably criminal actions of main FBI insiders” in the agency’s investigation, and exoneration, of Hillary Clinton, who illegally shared classified information using a private server. Is prosecution on the horizon? 

By John Friend

More evidence is coming to light demonstrating how top officials and bureaucrats working in the FBI covered for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, ensuring this career criminal would not be punished for gross negligence and other blatant criminal acts committed during her long tenure in public office. But an ongoing congressional investigation could put an end to that and finally force the prosecution of the Clinton crime family.

In a Dec. 14 letter submitted to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who serves as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, details key edits made by FBI officials and bureaucrats to former FBI Director James Comey’s public statements declaring the exoneration of Mrs. Clinton for transmitting classified information via an unsecured, private email server, which sparked much controversy at the time.

Mrs. Clinton had been accused of not only illegally transmitting classified information via her own private email server but also of covering up these criminal actions by destroying evidence and manipulating top officials and bureaucrats investigating the matter.

Johnson’s letter sheds more light on the arguably criminal actions of main FBI insiders, who were determined to protect then-candidate Clinton while undermining GOP candidate Donald Trump, who was and remains a vocal critic of Mrs. Clinton’s criminal actions.

Liberty Stickers

Johnson’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is currently investigating the FBI and its former director, James Comey, focusing particular attention on the manner in which it conducted the inquiry into Clinton’s many criminal actions.

The letter details a coordinated effort by pivotal FBI officials and insiders who worked under Comey to essentially decriminalize Mrs. Clinton’s blatant and demonstrably criminal actions by editing key legal terms and phrases, withholding important information, and downplaying the central role various intelligence agencies played in the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal. Some legal experts have gone so far as to argue that the congressional probe could lead to charges being filed against Mrs. Clinton.

As part of Johnson’s investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation and ultimate exoneration of the former Democrat presidential candidate, the FBI submitted documents to the Senate committee, including an early draft of Comey’s public statement, which was eventually delivered on July 5, 2016, “clearing Clinton of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server,” the letter reads.

Johnson’s letter explains how senior FBI officials, including Peter Strzok, E.W. Priestap, and Jonathan Moffa, edited the legal language in Comey’s draft statements to “change the tone and substance of Director Comey’s statement in at least three respects.”

The edits were designed to “reduce Secretary Clinton’s culpability in mishandling classified information” as well as to entirely remove references to “the intelligence community’s role in identifying vulnerabilities related to Secretary Clinton’s private email server” and “downgrade the likelihood that hostile actors had penetrated Secretary Clinton’s private server.”

Critical legal language was edited as well, including removing the use of “gross negligence” when describing Clinton’s actions and substituting that phrase with “extremely careless.” Gross negligence is a legal term often invoked by prosecutors when charging an individual with criminal wrongdoing.

John Friend is a freelance author who lives in California.