Time to Investigate ‘Israelgate’

If the FBI director wants to uncover foreign meddling in U.S. elections, says Phil Giraldi, he ought to look at Israel, and specifically, NSA-designee Michael Flynn’s call, at Benjamin Netanyahu’s request via Jared Kushner, to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 22, 2016.

By Philip Giraldi

Recently there was a slight misunderstanding between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu claimed that the Trump administration had been discussing with him a plan for annexing the large Israeli settlements—illegal under international law—on the Palestinian West Bank. He told a Likud Party gathering that “on the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time.” White House spokesman Josh Raffel responded testily for the president, saying that “reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false. The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal. . . .”

Was it just another misunderstanding between two friends who also happen to be heads of state? Hardly. Netanyahu expected the White House to rubber stamp whatever he decided to do. That has been the way it has worked with Trump up until now and the assumption by Netanyahu was that it would continue to operate in the same fashion.

Score one for Trump, who also dropped a bomb on Netanyahu by opining that Israel might not be truly interested in making peace with the Palestinians. It was not a brilliant observation, but it was welcome nevertheless.

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The sideshow that is Israel’s manipulation of the United States government has recently played out largely behind the scenes while much bigger dramas were surfacing relating to the various investigations surrounding the 2016 elections. A major revelation was provided by the so-called “Nunes memo,” prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which maintained that the salacious and largely fabricated Democratic National Committee-commissioned “Steele dossier” had been used as a primary source by the FBI in obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant to investigate a Trump staffer over suspicion that he was acting as an agent of Russia. This was followed by a letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which filled in some of the blanks in the Nunes memo by providing convincing detail on the activity of former British spy Christopher Steele in making the case against Trump with the apparent collaboration of the FBI and others in the intelligence community.

And the most recent bombshell is that the Robert Mueller commission investigating the Trump campaign has finally issued an indictment in its seemingly endless investigation, naming 13 Russians and three Russian entities as being involved in conspiracy and identity theft relating to the election.

But somehow lost in the shuffle is the Israeli connection, which all started when Trump National Security Adviser designate Michael Flynn called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, on Dec. 22, 2016. The call was made at the direction of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who, in turn, had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama administration was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a UN resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included the call to the Russians. Kislyak took the call but did not agree to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed unanimously on December 23.

What exactly did Kushner seek from Flynn? He asked the soon-to-be national security adviser to get the Russians to undermine and subvert what was being done by the still-in-power American government in Washington headed by President Barack Obama. In legal terms this does not quite equate to the Constitution’s definition of treason since Israel is not technically an enemy, but it most certainly could be construed as covered by the “conspiracy against the United States” statute that the Mueller investigation has exploited against former Trump associate Paul Manafort and also in the recent Russian indictments.

Mueller’s indictment, which was publicized on Feb. 16, claims that the Russians created false U.S. personas while also stealing the identities of real U.S. people in order to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The indictment states that the goal of the entities and people identified was to both influence and disrupt the election, with some defendants posing as “U.S. people” communicating with “individuals associated with the Trump campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”

The “defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” the indictment reads, but it does not maintain that they had “any effect on the outcome of the election.” Purchases were made “to carry out those activities, including buying [$100,000 worth of] political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities.” The accused Russians are being charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

In the case of the Kislyak phone call, initiated by Kushner acting for Israel, Russia is being accused of involvement in activity that Israel engages in all the time and in the open. Israel has always been involved in U.S. elections down to the local level, most notably in promoting Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012, and it has an enormous and well-funded lobby in AIPAC that interferes aggressively in American foreign and domestic policy formulation through “coordinating political activities” to benefit Israel. And the Israeli government’s propaganda arm uses its hasbara to go around the Internet with false identities to confuse and deflect stories that are critical of the Netanyahu government. They do so routinely and do not even try to hide what they are doing. Part of their agenda is to smear critics and elect politicians favorable to them.

So when will Mueller and the several congressional committees that are investigating the Russians move on to the topic of Israel to find out what a really effective foreign influencing operation looks like? Given Israel’s power over Congress, probably never.

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. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

Fatal Delusions of Western Man

Regarding trade imports from China, Buchanan says, “We fed the tiger, and created a monster.” Elites of both parties are responsible for this “epochal blunder,” and he says the import of millions of immigrants will lead to a similar outcome.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“We got China wrong. Now what?” ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post.

“Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?” asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence.

America’s elites believed that economic engagement and the opening of U.S. markets would cause the People’s Republic to coexist benignly with its neighbors and the West.

We deluded ourselves. It did not happen.

Xi Jinping just changed China’s constitution to allow him to be dictator for life. He continues to thieve intellectual property from U.S. companies and to occupy and fortify islets in the South China Sea, which Beijing now claims as entirely its own.

Meanwhile, China sustains North Korea as Chinese warplanes and warships circumnavigate Taiwan threatening its independence.

We today confront a Chinese Communist dictatorship and superpower that seeks to displace America as first power on earth, and to drive the U.S. military back across the Pacific.

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Who is responsible for this epochal blunder?

The elites of both parties. Bush Republicans from the 1990s granted China most-favored-nation status and threw open America’s market.

Result: China has run up $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States. Her $375 billion trade surplus with us in 2017 far exceeded the entire Chinese defense budget.

We fed the tiger, and created a monster.

Why? What is in the mind of Western man that our leaders continue to adopt policies rooted in hopes unjustified by reality?

Recall. Stalin was a murderous tyrant unrivaled in history whose victims in 1939 were 1,000 times those of Adolf Hitler, with whom he eagerly partnered in return for the freedom to rape the Baltic States and bite off half of Poland.

When Hitler turned on Stalin, the Bolshevik butcher rushed to the West for aid. Churchill and FDR hailed him in encomiums that would have made Pericles blush. At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

“I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. … We regard Marshal Stalin’s life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us.”

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, “I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of “ending tyranny in our world.”

What is the root of these astounding beliefs — that Stalin would be a partner for peace, that if we built up Mao’s China she would become benign and benevolent, that we could reshape Islamic nations into replicas of Western democracies, that we could eradicate tyranny?

Today, we are replicating these historic follies.

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia.

If Putin’s Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down — or face a nuclear confrontation.

Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation.

Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers’ wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of 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 Online Store.


Law Enforcement Failures, Corruption to Blame for School Shooting, Not Guns

Yet another government agency is mired in “misconduct,” and this time the deaths of 17 students and teachers is drawing more attention to the criminal behavior. Could potential lawsuits filed by an angry, grieving school community be the tipping point to clean up an apparently dirty sheriff’s department?

By Sophia Myer 

Lawsuits could be filed against Florida’s Broward County Sheriff’s Department (BSO) and Sheriff Scott Israel (D) if extensive research reported by a blogger called Sundance at “The Conservative Treehouse” website proves accurate. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the Feb. 14 shooting by 19-year-old expelled student Nikolas Cruz that left 17 people dead, is in South Florida’s Broward County.

In the wake of this latest schoolyard massacre, the media has revealed the sheriff’s department had been contacted between 23 and 39 times over the course of about 10 years by Cruz’s family and others concerned about his violent outbursts and actions, mental health struggles, and wellbeing. The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) had conducted what it calls an investigation at one point, but it closed the case without referring the boy for case management services. The nonprofit mental health agency tasked with assessing Cruz on two occasions, Henderson Behavioral Health, failed to recommend holding him for assessment under the Baker Act, Florida’s law that allows temporary detention in a mental health facility for the purposes of psychological evaluation, despite school counselors’ concerns.

Cruz had been diagnosed with autism and multiple mental health disorders. As a longtime student in the Broward County Public Schools system, he surely should have been receiving extensive exceptional student services up until Douglas High School finally expelled him earlier this year for fighting.

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The Broward District Schools Police, which says on its website it provides the district’s “law enforcement services through collaborative partnerships with the county’s municipal police departments and the Sheriff’s office,” certainly knew of Cruz’s previous violent incidents and should have been monitoring him. Yet the school resource officer at Douglas high and as many as three other deputies remained outside the building as shots rang out rather than rushing in to stop the carnage. Fortunately, the killing spree came to an end without their help when Cruz’s gun jammed, according to witnesses.

On top of all these local “safety valves,” the FBI had received at least one specific warning about Cruz that he commented he would become a “professional school shooter.” Apparently, no one at the bureau thought to notify the South Florida branch.

Among these myriad warnings provided to law enforcement and other officials tasked with keeping Floridians safe, some people, including Cruz’s family members, even went so far as to express concern specifically that he was “a school shooter in the making.”

Yet in spite of all of these warnings, Cruz was not prevented from legally purchasing a firearm in spite of background checks having been conducted, according to the media. He is reported to have owned multiple weapons, none of which were ever confiscated in spite of his apparent proclivity toward violence and obvious mental health issues. And he was never arrested or Baker Acted (held involuntarily for psychological evaluation) even once, if reporting is accurate.

This level of incompetence at every level is stunning, and Gov. Rick Scott (R) has ordered an investigation into the massive failures within Sheriff Israel’s department. Many residents are demanding that investigation be broadened to include the other agencies that failed to prevent the murders.

However, an article published at “FreedomOutpost.com” based on research conducted by the blogger Sundance reveals this utter lack of action to prevent Cruz from using a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 to slaughter students and teachers cannot be blamed on incompetence. Instead, asserts the author, it is because “at every level, the government failed us by not enforcing our laws or even abiding by simple, logical standards of behavior,” and involves the Broward County School District and local law enforcement agencies.

The core of the problem, explains the article, stems from an effort between the agencies to end the longstanding disproportionate levels of exclusionary discipline being meted out to black students—laudable on its face—that turned into a willful, coordinated failure to arrest youth for crimes from minor misdemeanors to even felonies.

A report at “The Last Refuge” blog on “Conservative Treehouse” explains: “Over time, even the most severe of unlawful conduct was being filtered by responding police. We found out about it when six cops blew the whistle on severe criminal conduct they were being instructed to hide. The sheriff and police chiefs were telling street cops and school cops to ignore ever-worsening criminal conduct.” Results of an internal investigation were buried, the article notes.

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Now, RT reports corruption at BSO runs even deeper, and the department is currently “facing a total of 66 misconduct investigations” into a series of “accusations that Israel’s deputies and other employees are responsible for drug-trafficking, armed kidnapping, falsifying records, battery, assault and more,” over the last six years. A lawsuit against the department for the shooting death of an unarmed man in 2013 notes, “Approximately 66 BSO deputies and other employees, including supervisory personnel were arrested for, charged with, and/or convicted of crimes that run the gamut from armed kidnapping, to battery, assault, falsifying records, official misconduct, narcotics trafficking, and other crimes involving dishonesty and violence in the years immediately proceeding [sic] 2013 when Jermaine was killed. Most of the offenses on the list occurred in the years 2012-2013,” writes RT.

The “FreedomOutpost” article suggests: “Instead of worrying about guns, the media should be asking how could local police pay 39 different visits (Broward police claim it was ‘only’ 23 visits) to one student without that student ever spending time in prison or a psychiatric ward. They should be asking why the local police wouldn’t share information about this high school kid with social services or other law enforcement agencies.” The media should also be questioning why that young man did not have a criminal or mental illness-related record, which would have barred him from legally purchasing firearms.

Regardless of apparent wrongdoing in his department for many years, Sheriff Israel had the audacity to say, “I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency,” during a segment on CNN. He has repeatedly rejected statewide, bipartisan calls for him to resign. “Of course, I will not resign.”

The cowardly school resource officer (SRO) who failed to do anything to protect the students he’d worked with for 25 years when called upon to do so has resigned in shame after being suspended by the sheriff. Asked what he thought of the SRO’s inaction, Sheriff Israel stated, “Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words.” Many Floridians, including the grieving and outraged parents, families, and friends of the most recent victims, might offer the same response if asked how they feel about the years of corruption under Sheriff Israel’s command.

The investigation ordered by Gov. Scott must dig much deeper than simply into the failures to prevent or respond properly to the rampage at Douglas High School. It needs to uncover the dirt that must be cleaned up and should clean out the BSO personnel who have allegedly unjustly imprisoned and otherwise destroyed the lives of many while profiting from their deep corruption. Prison cells will be freed up and ready for these unethical “public servants” when that happens.

Originally from the Midwest, Sophia Meyer is a freelance writer, editor, and avid gardener now living on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Is the (Tea) Party Over?

Initially formed to fight the “too big to fail” bank bailouts, the tea party grew quickly, opposing “big spenders in both parties.” Almost overnight the tea part was coopted by the GOP, however, when the danger of this informed, organized citizenry was realized. The tea party has since abandoned its focus on fiscal conservatism as it backs neocon-driven militarism, and many are asking if the tea party is dead.

By Ron Paul

The recently passed big-spending budget deal’s failure to generate significant opposition from the “tea party” has led some to pen obituaries for this once-powerful movement. These commentators may have a point. However, few of them understand the true causes of the tea party’s demise.

The movement commonly referred to as the tea party arose in opposition to the 2008 bank bailouts. The tea party grew as its focus shifted to opposition to President Obama’s policies, particularly his stimulus spending bill, cap-and-trade legislation, and, of course, the healthcare plan tea party leaders successfully branded as Obamacare. In its early days, the tea party was equally opposed to big spenders in both parties. In fact, it was often harder on Republicans than on Democrats. Tea party groups even backed primary challengers to Republican incumbents.

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Unfortunately, the tea party was quickly coopted by the GOP. As a result, while tea party groups still opposed Republican policies, they began muting their opposition to all but the worst Republican politicians. Now that Republicans control the White House and Congress, tea party groups have even muted their opposition to the policies. This reinforces the tendency of Republicans to support spending bills backed by Donald Trump or George W. Bush that they would have fought tooth and nail if they were proposed by Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.

The tea party’s effectiveness as a force for fiscal conservatism was also crippled by the support of too many of its leaders and favorite politicians for a hyper-interventionist foreign policy. Support for foreign interventionism logically requires support for huge military budgets, which conflicts with a commitment to fiscal conservatism.

Some tea party-backed politicians tried to reconcile support for militarism and fiscal conservatism by claiming to be “cheap hawks.” The problem with this formulation is that the so-called cheap hawks accept the neoconservative premise that American exceptionalism justifies US military intervention around the globe. This makes it impossible for them to resist the calls for increased military spending to ensure the United States has the ability to police the world in the name of “democracy.”

Devotion to protecting the military-industrial complex from the budget ax leads defense hawks to cut deals with progressives to increase spending on both warfare and welfare. We saw this with the recent budget deal, where so-called fiscal conservatives defended a $65 billion increase in domestic spending because it was necessary to get progressive support for an $80 billion increase in military spending. One cannot be both a budget hawk and a defense hawk.

Fortunately, while the tea party is dead or at least on life support, a related movement is alive and growing. This is the liberty movement that grew out of my 2008 presidential campaign. Ironically, one of the first events of that movement was called a “tea party.”

Unlike the tea party, the liberty movement does not just focus on domestic policy. It works to roll back government in all areas. Thus, the liberty movement is just as committed to ending unnecessary and unconstitutional wars and protecting civil liberties as it is to repealing Obamacare. Liberty movement leaders and activists also refuse to compromise their principles for the benefit of the Republican Party. The commitment to consistency and principle may be why the liberty movement is so attractive to young people. This growing movement is a source of hope that the cause of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government will prevail.

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 www.ronpaulinstitute.org.

Copyright © 2018 by RonPaul Institute

Protect Kids or Confiscate Guns?

Pat Buchanan points out what many are asking: How did “the system,” for which we taxpayers pay such a high price, fail so utterly in preventing Nikolas Cruz from slaughtering 17 people at the high school from which he had been expelled? But is Cruz “evil”? Should he be quickly put to death, as Buchanan suggests, which would mean Florida taxpayers would not have to foot the bill to house Cruz for as long as he lives? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In days gone by, a massacre of students like the atrocity at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would have brought us together. But like so many atrocities before it, this mass murder is tearing us apart.

The perpetrator, the sick and evil 19-year-old who killed 17 innocents with a gun, is said to be contrite.

Having confessed, he faces life in prison. For the next half-century, Nikolas Cruz will be fed, clothed, sheltered, and medicated at the expense of Florida taxpayers, including the families of those he murdered.

Cruz’s punishment seems neither commensurate with his crimes nor a deterrent for sick and evil minds contemplating another Columbine.

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It didn’t use to be this way.

On Feb 15, 1933, anarchist Giuseppe Zangara tried to assassinate President-elect Franklin Roosevelt in Miami. His arm jostled, he killed instead Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. Five weeks later, on March 20, 1933, Zangara died in the electric chair.

Swift, sure and pitiless, but that legal justice system worked.

With Cruz, the system failed up and down the line.

Cruz should never have been allowed to purchase or possess a gun. He was angry, alienated, isolated. Police had been to his family home to deal with complaints 39 times.

Yet he had no arrest record when he purchased his AR-15.

Classmates at Douglas High had speculated that if there ever were a school shooting, Cruz would be the one to do it. The FBI was alerted a month before that Nikolas Cruz was a time bomb ready to explode.

The NRA was not responsible for the system-wide failure from Douglas High to the FBI. As the NRA’s Dana Loesch told CPAC Thursday:

“The government can’t keep you safe and some people want us to give up our firearms and rely solely upon the protection of the same government that’s already failed numerous times to keep us safe.”

As for the AR-15, it is the most popular rifle sold. Five million to 8 million are in circulation. Veterans since Vietnam have trained with, and many fought with, the M16, which is first cousin to the AR-15. Veterans are among the millions who own them.

While all agree AR-15s should be kept out of the hands of crazies like Cruz, the establishment insists that it is the gun that is the problem.

We hear demands that AR-15s be banned and confiscated.

Proponents should put that proposition to a vote. But a prediction: The moment it is brought up for a vote, sales of AR-15s will explode, as they have before. If the weapon is banned, as alcohol was banned in Prohibition, millions of law-abiding Americans will become law-breakers.

And who will barge into America’s homes to seize and collect the rifles?

Moreover, if people have decided to mass murder classmates or co-workers, inviting “suicide by cop,” are they going to be stopped from acquiring a semiautomatic by a congressional law?

Have our drug laws halted drug use?

Many of the guns confiscated by police are in the possession of thugs, criminals, and ex-cons who have no legal right to own them. Yet, if we are going to prosecute the illegal sale or transfer of weapons severely, we will have hundreds of thousands more in prisons, at a time when we are instructed to empty them of nonviolent offenders.

As for mental illness, it seems more prevalent than it used to be, and the numbers of those on medication seems a greater share of the population.

Do doctors decide which of their patients are fit to own a gun, and which are not? Should doctors be held criminally liable if they fail to alert police and one of their patients uses a gun in a violent crime?

Who will maintain the federal registry of the mentally sick unfit to own a firearm?

The anger and anguish of those who lost family or friends in this atrocity is understandable. But passion is not a substitute for thought.

There are twice as many guns in America as there were just decades ago. And a primary reason people acquire them is because they believe they need them to protect themselves and their families, and they no longer trust the government to protect them.

They view the demand for banning and confiscating specific weapons as a first step down the inexorable road that ends in the disarmament of the people.

Most mass shootings take place in gun-free zones, where crazed men of murderous intent know their chances of maximizing the dead and wounded are far better than in attacking a police station.

Our embassies are defended by Marines with M16s. Security guards with guns defend banks and military bases, presidents, and politicians.

The best way to protect kids in schools may be to protect schools, and run down and incarcerate the known criminals and crazies who are the primary threats.

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 Online Store


Barack’s Big-Ticket Boondoggle

The planned Obama presidential library in Chicago, dubbed “Obamaland,” is an extravagant waste of taxpayer dollars, in a city that is already at the financial breaking point. And do W’s signed baseballs or Walt Disney memorabilia belong in presidential libraries? When even Bill Clinton thinks they’re a joke, what are we taxpayers actually paying for—and why?

By Philip Giraldi

America’s presidential libraries are, generally speaking, monuments to vanity and political mendacity, but the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center outdoes them all. It does not even call itself a library, as it will contain no books or documents to enable researchers to study what happened and why in the White House between 2004 and 2012. All the carefully selected and screened material in the center will be digitized and on computer while the original source material will be retained by the National Archives in Washington. At best, the center will be a curiosity, dear to fans of the former president but attracting few others.

The lack of seriousness of the presidential libraries was evident at the most recent dedication ceremony, that of George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where Bill Clinton even joked about the library’s displays, which included W’s collection of signed baseballs, as being the “latest, grandest example of former presidents to rewrite history.” Another critic described the library experience as “legacy polishing.”

There should be some concern over how “presidential libraries” are often colocated at major universities, because it creates a perhaps unhappy matrix where politics, personal commemoration, and archival information that is presumed to be both reliable and comprehensive have to coexist.

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There are 13 presidential libraries, many including museums and supporting foundations, all of which are now operated by the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA) at a cost of $100 million per year, meaning that essentially partisan political entities are being taxpayer funded. Most of the libraries actually attract few visitors, leading them to include book signings and unrelated exhibits. Even the most popular Reagan library recently featured a display of Walt Disney treasures.

The architect’s plan for Obama’s bid to greatness will center on an oddly shaped tower rising in a prime location of 20 acres along Chicago’s Lake Michigan shorefront. The city of Chicago is providing the land while construction costs for the building will be privately raised. Groundbreaking is in 2019 and it is expected to open in 2021. Though it is not part of the nearby University of Chicago, it does have “collaborative” status with the “host” institution. The university is under fire because it reportedly paid something like a secret bribe to the center’s organizers to obtain approval for the Chicago location. University President Robert Zimmer is already promoting the center as a major international attraction for scholars and the general public alike, adding that it will serve as a “catalyst for economic and cultural opportunities as well as community programing,” whatever that is supposed to mean.

The center will include a reading room, museum, exhibit rooms, a test kitchen, a recording studio, a rooftop community garden, a sledding hill, a playground, and office space for the Barack Obama Foundation. It doesn’t sound much like a real library, but that is because it is in fact more envisioned as something like a community outreach program for the black communities running to the south and west of the site. The Chairman of the Obama Foundation describes the development as a “dynamic, vibrant forum for civic participation, education, action and progress.”  It is already being dubbed in the Chicago media as “Obamaland.”

Obama, like his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, is not very easy to define, meaning that an assessment of his time in office will inevitably take on the coloration of whoever is structuring the narrative and to what end—which means that it will likely leave out more than it includes, and therein lies the dilemma.

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Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize will no doubt be prominently on display, but there will be no critical documents to explain the arguments made for assassination by drone. Position papers and meeting notes would be invaluable in trying to assess what occurred 10 years ago, but those documents will not be in the library archive, as they potentially disrupt the narrative and are considered both too recent and too sensitive for public consumption.

Obama should perhaps get top marks for his opening to Cuba and his willingness to negotiate with Iran, but there ought to be plenty of room for a serious discussion over the questionable mandate referred to as Obamacare as well as regarding the two wars in Libya and Syria motivated by “regime change,” initiated by the White House against nations with which the U.S. was not at war.

And then there are the innocent victims of the U.S. foreign policy that has been a hallmark of both the Bush and Obama years, an estimated 3-4 million Muslims who have perished in the so-called “War on Terror,” to include the more than 3,000 civilians who were killed under Obama by drones. And there needs to be some explanation for the treatment of whistleblowers who have attempted to expose criminal and unconstitutional activity only to be silenced through imprisonment, as well as for the “renditioned” and tortured foreigners seeking redress in U.S. courts who were blocked through repeated invocation of the State Secrets Privilege.And there is much more downside than that.

The land the library will be built on will be taken from Jackson Park, one of Chicago’s finest and a National Historic Register site, which is regarded in itself as a “dangerous precedent.” It is being slammed in the Chicago media as an “ugly waste of taxpayer resources” due to the $100 million plus of “renovations” and “improvements” to surrounding roads and the lakefront, which will have to be paid for by the city, which has no money to spare, and the state of Illinois, which is broke. The Center’s much criticized “soft-boiled egg” central tower will overwhelm surrounding buildings. Two hundred professors from the University of Chicago have signed a letter denouncing the design, the location, and the cost to the taxpayer.

All recent presidential libraries are flamboyant wastes of taxpayer money. The Obama Center is even worse, an ego trip that will diminish the part of Chicago where it will be placed. It is time to reconsider both it and its location before ground is broken next year.

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. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

Nunes Duels the Deep State

Given the assorted cover-ups, lies, omissions, obfuscations, and now demotions and firings at the FBI, is it any wonder Americans have quit trusting the bureau . . . and pretty much every other political entity in the country? 

By Patrick J. Buchanan

That memo worked up in the Intel Committee of Chairman Devin Nunes may not have sunk the Mueller investigation, but from the sound of the secondary explosions, this torpedo was no dud.

The critical charge:

To persuade a FISA court to issue a warrant to spy on Trump aide Carter Page, the FBI relied on a dossier produced by a Trump-hating British spy, who was using old Kremlin contacts, while being paid to dig up dirt on Donald Trump by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Not only were the Clinton campaign and DNC paying the spy, Christopher Steele, for his dirt-diving, the FBI put Steele on its own payroll, until they caught him lying about leaking to the media.

In their requests for search warrants, the FBI never told the FISA court judge their primary source was a 35-page dossier delivered by Steele that their own Director James Comey described as “salacious and unverified.”

IRS Loses Cases

From the Nunes memo, there was, at the highest level of the FBI, a cabal determined to derail Trump and elect Clinton. Heading the cabal was Comey, who made the call to exonerate Hillary of criminal charges for imperiling national security secrets, even before his own FBI investigation was concluded.

Assisting Comey was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife, running for a Virginia state senate seat, received a windfall of $467,000 in contributions from Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.

Last week, McCabe was discharged from the FBI. Seems that in late September 2016, he learned from his New York field office that it was sitting on a trove of emails between Anthony Weiner and his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, which potentially contained security secrets.

Not until late October did Comey inform Congress of what deputy McCabe had known a month earlier.

Other FBI plotters were Peter Strzok, chief investigator in both the Clinton email server scandal and Russiagate, and his FBI girlfriend, Lisa Page. Both were ousted from the Mueller investigation when their anti-Trump bias and behavior were exposed last summer.

Filling out the starting five was Bruce Ohr, associate deputy attorney general under Loretta Lynch. In 2016, Ohr’s wife was working for Fusion GPS, the oppo research arm of the Clinton campaign, and Bruce was in direct contact with Steele.

Now, virtually all of this went down before Robert Mueller was named special counsel. But the poisoned roots of the Russiagate investigation and the bristling hostility of the investigators to Trump must cast a cloud of suspicion over whatever charges Mueller will bring.

Now another head may be about to fall, that of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

If Mueller has given up trying to prove Trump collusion with the Kremlin and moved on to obstruction of justice charges, Rosenstein moves into the crosshairs.
For the heart of any obstruction scenario is Trump’s firing of James Comey and his boasting about why he did it.

But not only did Rosenstein discuss with Trump the firing of Comey, he went back to Justice to produce the document to justify what the president had decided to do.
How can Rosenstein oversee Mueller’s investigation into the firing of James Comey when he was a witness to and a participant in the firing of James Comey?

The Roman poet Juvenal’s question comes to mind. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchmen?

Consider where we are. Mueller is investigating alleged Trump collusion with Russia, and the White House is all lawyered up.

The House intel committee is investigating Clinton-FBI collusion to defeat Trump and break his presidency. FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz is looking into whether the fix was in to give Hillary a pass in the probe of her email server.

Comey has been fired, his deputy McCabe removed, his chief investigator Strzok ousted by Mueller for bigoted anti-Trump behavior, alongside his FBI paramour, Page. Bruce Ohr has been demoted for colluding with Steele, who was caught lying to the FBI and fired, and for his wife’s role in Fusion GPS, which was being paid to dig up dirt on Trump for Clinton’s campaign.

If Americans are losing confidence in the FBI, whose fault is that? Is there not evidence that a hubristic cadre at the apex of the FBI — Comey, McCabe, Strzok foremost among them — decided the Republic must be saved from Trump and, should Hillary fail, they would step in and move to abort the Trump presidency at birth?

To the deep state, the higher interests of the American people almost always coincide with their own.

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.


National Defense Strategy Is Offensive

Defense Secretary James Mattis recently delivered “bombastic” remarks on the U.S.’s new National Defense Strategy report, which former spook Philip Giraldi calls “occasionally . . . actually delusional” and “bizarre.” His remarks have again revealed the idiocy and aggressiveness of current U.S. foreign policy.

By Phil Giraldi

On Jan. 19, Secretary of Defense James Mattis delivered prepared remarks on the upcoming year’s National Defense Strategy report. His comments were based on the unclassified summary of the document, which was also released on the same day.

Reading the report is illuminating, to say the least, and somewhat disconcerting, as it focuses very little on actual defense of the realm and relates much more to offensive military action that might be employed to further certain debatable national interests. Occasionally, it is actually delusional, as when it refers to consolidating “gains we have made in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.”

At times Mattis’s supplementary “remarks” were more bombastic than reassuring, as when he warned, “those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day.” He did not exactly go into what the military response to hacking a politician’s emails might be and one can only speculate, which is precisely the problem. The report opens the door to all kinds of mischief wrapped in a poorly defined and infinitely expandable package that claims to represent essential “national security.”

One of the most bizarre aspects of the report is its breathtaking assumption that “competitors” should be subjected to a potential military response if it is determined that they are in conflict with the strategic goals of the U.S. government. It is far removed from the old-fashioned constitutional concept that one has armed forces to defend the country against an actual threat involving an attack by hostile forces. With this document, none of that need apply when Washington seeks to flex its muscles, and, as the possibility of an actual invasion from Mexico or Canada is infinitely remote, the entire concept of forward defense is clearly an excuse for serial interventions overseas.

The report summary states, “Failure to meet our defense objectives will result in decreasing U.S. global influence, eroding cohesion among allies and partners, and reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in our prosperity and standard of living.” It supports overwhelming military strength and reliance on hard power to maintain “influence” and friends while also enabling higher living standards for some lucky Americans even though diplomacy and soft power can accomplish the same things without having to threaten half the world.

Some real zingers in the report and in the remarks by Mattis relate to China and Russia. He said, “We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models—pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.” He clearly is referring to Russian attempts to minimize the impact of a hostile NATO having expanded up to its very doorstep and to Chinese assertion of maritime zones relating to disputed islands that it has occupied in the South China Sea. There is, however, no evidence that either country is exporting “authoritarian models,” nor are they vetoing anything that they do not perceive as direct and immediate threats frequently orchestrated by Washington, which is intervening in local quarrels thousands of miles away from the U.S. borders. And when it comes to exporting models, who does it more persistently than Washington?

The report goes on to state that Russia and China and rogue regimes like Iran have “. . . increased efforts short of armed conflict by expanding coercion to new fronts, violating principle of sovereignty, exploiting ambiguity, and deliberately blurring the lines between civil and military goals.” As there is no evidence whatsoever that Russia, China, and Iran are actually seeking to threaten the United States militarily, there is considerable irony in the claim about confusion of civil and military. It is what the United States itself has been doing in various places, to include the initiation of armed conflict, most notably in Libya, Iraq, and, currently, Syria.

But the scariest assertion in the summary is the following: “Nuclear forces—Modernization of the nuclear force includes developing options to counter competitors’ coercive strategies, predicated on the threatened use of nuclear or strategic non-nuclear attacks.” That means that the White House and Pentagon are reserving the option to use nuclear weapons even when the opponent is not nuclear armed and where there is no imminent or existential threat as long as there is a “strategic” reason for doing so. Strategic would, of course, be defined by the president and Mattis while the War Powers Act allows the country’s chief executive to legally initiate a nuclear attack.

What might that mean in practice? Back in 2005, I reported how Vice President Dick Cheney had requested “a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States . . . [including] a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons . . . not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States.”

The planned use of nukes was also confirmed by award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. The possible employment of a “weapon of mass destruction” was reportedly in response to intelligence suggesting that conventional weapons would not be able to penetrate the deep underground hardened sites where many of the Iranian military facilities, to include their presumed nuclear weapons labs, were believed to be located.

As it turned out, Iran had no nuclear weapons program at that time and attacking it would have been totally gratuitous, which should surprise no one. Some other neocon-inspired plans to attack Iran also had a nuclear contingency built in because it was feared that the country would actually resist and not roll over when confronted by the American force majeure. To make it cease and desist, a small nuke might well be dropped in a sparsely populated area to send a message.

Thus, we Americans can anticipate another year of playing at defense by keeping the offense on the field. Hopefully we will get lucky and nobody in the White House or Pentagon will decide to drop a nuke.

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. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

Read Newly Released House Memo Blasting FBI Here

Regular readers of AFP know that U.S. law enforcement regularly abuse their powers to investigate and arrest everyday Americans. It is no small comfort that law enforcement at the highest levels now stands accused of committing similar contentious acts against a presidential contender who was a threat to the establishment.

By AFP Staff

On Feb. 2, the House Intelligence Committee released a secret memo alleging the Justice Department abused its powers to surveil the Trump campaign.

As per the law, President Donald Trump was required to authorize the release. He could have chosen to redact key parts, but the billionaire president decided to release it in its entirety so the public could see for themselves the abusive process.

The memo was originally compiled by House Intelligence Committee staff, led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), from classified documents provided by the Department of Justice.

The Justice Department and the FBI both objected to its release but the House and the president overruled them. Read the memo by clicking the link here.

In a Trump Hunt, Beware the Perjury Trap

Robert Mueller is on a “Trump hunt,” says Pat Buchanan, and the president’s legal team should not allow him to testify in what has become an obvious “perjury trap.”
By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked if he would agree to be interviewed by Robert Mueller’s team, President Donald Trump told the White House press corps, “I would love to do it . . . as soon as possible. . . . under oath, absolutely.”

On hearing this, the special counsel’s office must have looked like the Eagles’ locker room after the 38-7 rout of the Vikings put them in the Super Bowl.

If the president’s legal team lets Trump sit for hours answering Mueller’s agents, they should be disbarred for malpractice.

For what Mueller is running here is not, as Trump suggests, a “witch hunt.” It is a Trump hunt.

After 18 months investigating Trumpian “collusion” with Putin’s Russia in hacking the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails, the FBI has hit a stone wall. Failing to get Trump for collusion, the fallback position is to charge him with obstruction of justice. As a good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, the tactic is understandable.

Mueller’s problem: He has no perjury charge to go with it. And the heart of his obstruction case, Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, is starting to look like something Trump should have done sooner.

IRS Loses Cases

Consider what is now known of how Comey and the FBI set about ensuring Hillary Clinton would not be indicted for using a private email server to transmit national security secrets.

The first draft of Comey’s statement calling for no indictment was prepared before 17 witnesses, and Hillary, were even interviewed.

Comey’s initial draft charged Clinton with “gross negligence,” the requirement for indictment. But his team softened that charge in subsequent drafts to read, “extreme carelessness.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, among others, appears to have known in advance an exoneration of Clinton was baked in the cake. Yet Comey testified otherwise.

Also edited out of Comey’s statement was that Hillary, while abroad, communicated with then-President Obama, who had to see that her message came through a private server. Yet Obama told the nation he only learned Hillary had been using a private server at the same time the public did.

A trial of Hillary would have meant Obama in the witness chair being asked, “What did you know, sir, and when did you know it?”

More information has also been unearthed about FBI collusion with British spy Christopher Steele, who worked up—for Fusion GPS, the dirt-divers of the Clinton campaign—the Steele dossier detailing Trump’s ties to Russia and alleged frolics with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

Books from Pat BuchananWhile the Steele dossier was shopped around town to the media, which, unable to substantiate its lurid and sensational charges, declined to publish them, Comey’s FBI went all in.

Not only did the Steele dossier apparently trigger a wider FBI investigation of the Trump campaign, it served as the basis of FBI requests for FISA court warrants to put on Trump the kind of full-court press J. Edgar Hoover put on Dr. King for the Kennedys and LBJ.

Amazing. Oppo-research dirt, unsourced and unsubstantiated, dredged up by a foreign spy with Kremlin contacts, is utilized by our FBI to potentially propel an investigation to destroy a major U.S. presidential candidate. And the Beltway media regard it as a distraction.

An aggressive Republican Party on the Hill, however, has forced the FBI to cough up documents that are casting the work of Comey’s cohorts in an ever more partisan and sinister light.

This cabal appears to have set goals of protecting Obama, clearing Hillary, defeating Trump, and bringing down the new president the people had elected, before he had even taken his oath.

Not exactly normal business for our legendary FBI.

What have these people done to the reputation of their agency when congressmen not given to intemperate speech are using words like “criminal,” “conspiracy,” “corruption” and “coup” to describe what they are discovering went on in the FBI executive chambers?

Bob Mueller, who inherited this investigation, is sitting on an IED because of what went on before he got there. Mueller needs to file his charges before his own investigation becomes the subject of a Justice Department investigation by a special counsel.

As for Trump, he should not sit for any extended interview by FBI agents whose questions will be crafted by prosecutors to steer our disputatious president into challenging or contradicting the sworn testimony of other witnesses.

This a perjury trap.

Let the special counsel submit his questions in writing, and let Trump submit his answers in writing.

At bottom, this is a political issue, an issue of power, an issue of whether the Trump revolution will be dethroned by the deep state it was sent to this capital to corral and contain.

If Trump is guilty of attempted obstruction, it appears to be not of justice, but obstruction of an injustice being perpetrated against him.

Trump should be in no hurry to respond to Mueller, for time no longer appears to be on Mueller’s side.

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



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, 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 that 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.

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.

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.

AFP Visits Texas Church Massacre Site

AFP’s interview with a witness to the Dec. 10 church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas left this reporter with unanswered questions. The Air Force failed to notify the FBI of the shooter’s conviction on spousal assault charges, and now 26 churchgoers have been killed and 20 more wounded by a man who should never have been allowed to purchase the AR-15 he used to slaughter these innocent people. 

By Mark Anderson

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas—A key witness of the senseless shooting at a southern Texas church, which police say left 26 dead and 20 wounded, spoke with AFP on Dec. 10, vividly describing the assault from the very place she witnessed it exactly five weeks earlier. Her recollections raise important questions about the chain of events and the time frame.

Terrie Smith, 54, who runs a food counter at the Valero gas station across the road from First Baptist Church in her quiet hometown of Sutherland Springs, recalled that, on that tragic Sunday, Nov. 5, her food counter was closed, as was customary, but she was at the station to get gasoline that morning when a gruesome chain of events began.

“My fiancé and I had just gotten out of the vehicle when an SUV was coming this way . . . and he made a quick U-turn right in front and pulled in [turned left] onto FM 539,” she said.

The driver pulled to the right and parked across from First Baptist Church at least 50 feet from the church’s front door, with the SUV’s rear end facing the Valero station.

“As soon as he got out of his vehicle, he started shooting,” Ms. Smith continued. “He kept on shooting all the way around. He went around the building . . . . He made a complete circle.”

“He went all the way around the building?” AFP asked.

“He shot the whole outside first,” she replied, seeing much of the attack from several feet outside Valero’s front door to get the best view under the trying circumstances. As the assailant circled the entire building, possibly twice, he was walking fast and not actually running, as he repeatedly shot apparent AR-15 rifle rounds at the building, she said.

Liberty Stickers

The overall church facility is not rectangular, because the main sanctuary adjoins a long narrow offshoot of rooms, externally painted tan, that are used for meetings and Sunday school. Going all the way around the building represents a considerable distance.

The sanctuary section, still covered with what appears to be the original white asbestos siding, was patched so well that one can now scarcely tell a shooting took place, save for an undetermined number of faint, filled-in external and internal holes.

Neither the tan-painted areas, large sanctuary windows, nor other windows show obvious bullet impacts. They appear to still consist of the old glass, with crumbling old caulk and no new spackling. Ms. Smith and her fiancé, both of whom had waved away approaching motorists, then crawled to and entered the Valero station, telling the few on-site customers to take cover.

Things suddenly got very quiet when the shooter “went [back] to his vehicle and then he ran straight to the church,” she said, meaning he even took the time to return to his pearl-colored SUV before invading the building to carry out the worst of the assault.

“That took about how long, everything you’ve said so far?” AFP asked.

“Ten to 15 minutes at the most,” she replied.

She saw only one person exit the church. He made it to the Valero, “with blood on his arms and on the side of his face,” she said. Regarding that survivor, she recalled, “He just collapsed right there on the floor.” Evidently grazed by a bullet shot from the outside, he survived.

Asked to carefully recollect his precise words before he fainted, she replied: “He said, ‘Somebody’s in the church; they’re shooting everybody in the church; my family’s in there . . . my family’s in there.’ ”

IRS Loses Cases

Ms. Smith soon heard a different gun sound as longtime local resident Stephen Willeford, an NRA instructor donning a pistol, shot at the assailant.

Willeford reportedly then flagged down young Johnnie Langendorff as he entered town from the south on Highway 87. In Langendorff’s truck, the two pursued the assailant—identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels—at speeds up to 95 mph northerly on 539, reportedly for 11 miles.

The two called police en route. The police took over after Kelley crashed his SUV near New Berlin. He was found dead with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and had been wounded by Willeford even though he’d been wearing armored black tactical gear.

The Air Force had dishonorably discharged Kelley in 2014 after a military conviction on spousal assault charges. Weapons-related charges stemming from Holloman AFB, N.M. were dropped. Kelley should not have been able to even purchase firearms, but the Air Force failed to file Kelley’s conviction with the FBI, meaning he was not flagged on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database as he bought guns.

A police spokesman told AFP the Texas Rangers are still investigating the Sutherland Springs shooting. The expected release date for a final public report is unknown.

One question among several is how the assailant was able to attack the congregation with such impunity when he called so much attention to himself—apparently shooting for an extended time period—well before entering the sanctuary.

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. He invites your thoughtful emails at truthhound2@yahoo.com.

St. Nicholas Would Be Amazed at the Holiday He’s Taken Over

While certain aspects of many Americans’ Christmas celebrations are derived from ancient traditions, some of our customs have evolved fairly recently. Whether your family traditions revolve around solemn candlelight or Santa Claus—or both—we hope each of you have had a very “holly jolly,” peaceful, and joyful Christmas this year!

By S.T. Patrick

The traditional staples of Christmas in America derive their origins from places that are uniquely cultural, religious, traditional, and profitable. From the traditional madness of Black Friday to the dulcet tones of crooner Bing Crosby, Americans either bask in or avidly detest the season that folksinger Burl Ives once called “holly jolly.”

Many of the Christmas traditions that are exhibited today are relatively modern creations based in some history—or historical legend. Parsing their origins between natural, cultural evolution and pure pursuit of profit can often bring out the Grinch in even the most positive person.

The phrase “Black Friday,” for example, dates back to Philadelphia in 1961. Its meaning has evolved from a negative description of increased pedestrian and automobile traffic to one of economic prosperity. It is the time of year when many retail ledgers move from losses (“the red”) to profit (“the black”). Spending in America during the Christmas holiday season now tops $600 billion annually, 73% of which is spent on gifts. The average American spends over $800 on gifts.

While Black Friday is traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, recent years have seen an increase of what is called “Christmas creep.” Many retailers have attempted to extend the seasonal deluge of consumer debt backwards, to Thanksgiving Day or before. Those now irked by Christmas music in October, aggressive seasonal advertising campaigns in November, or QVC’s month-long “Christmas in July” sale of sparkly, overstocked tchotchkes, may believe that “Christmas creep” refers to the corporate vice-president who created the idea of inching the season toward Halloween.

Retail and big business did not let a crisis go to waste, even during the worst economic times. Beginning in the Great Depression, banks began offering Christmas club savings programs that encouraged struggling patrons to save now so that they could spend later. Shortly thereafter, Sears introduced its first Sears Wish Book so that financially strapped citizens would know exactly what to buy.

Santa Claus, the holiday’s most iconic figure, is the subject of some myth and debate, though it is generally agreed today that he has supplanted His birthday celebration. The idea that Coca-Cola created the modern image of Santa Claus solely to sell soft drinks, for instance, is a myth. The imagery of Santa in a red-and-white outfit had existed for decades before Coca-Cola first used the benevolent character to sell products in the 1930s.

One thing that can be said of Santa Claus is that he is typically American. Though generous, who else but an Americanized icon would be known for separating people by his own unilateral definitions of naughty and nice?

IRS Loses Cases

The image and legend of Santa Claus is something that has been built over centuries and stems from a historical character, St. Nicholas. Nicholas was a third-century figure born in the then-Greek and now-Turkish village of Patara. When his wealthy parents died early in his life, Nicholas used his inheritance to follow the Christian teachings he had learned. He gave everything he had inherited to aid the sick and the suffering.

Promoted to Bishop of Myra as a young man, he suffered persecution, exile, and imprisonment under the anti-Christian Roman emperor Diocletian. Upon his release, Nicholas attended the Council at Nicaea in A.D. 325. Though his name does not appear on all existing lists of attendees, his presence is corroborated on the oldest existing Greek list, as well as five others. Many of the most accurate legends of Nicholas involve him saving innocents and the unjustly persecuted from prison. When he died on December 6, A.D. 343, legend says that an unusual liquid substance called manna mysteriously formed in his grave. Because manna is said to have healing powers, the legend of Nicholas spread throughout the region and created a following more widespread than any he had experienced in his lifetime.

The responsibility for canonization—the bestowing of sainthood—in the Roman Catholic Church was given to the pope in the late 1100s. Nicholas was given the status of sainthood prior to the East vs. West schism in 1054; therefore, debate exists as to whether St. Nicholas is a saint at all. Although 40 saints were removed during the Roman Catholic calendar revision of 1969, Nicholas was not one of them, so the celebration of his feast day is optional.

Despite commercialism that often borders on the vulgar, America remains the most giving nation in the world. If Christmas still brings a season of giving that would make the ghost of St. Nicholas—and the magi themselves—gloriously gleeful, then just maybe we can all patiently embrace a premature airing of Perry Como’s “Home for the Holidays.” After all, the generosity of the season is still exhibited in our motives and actions if not in our culture.

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.