Will the Trump Administration Overdose on Authoritarianism?

Not only is the war on drugs unconstitutional, it also leads to richer and more powerful black-market drug cartels, increased violence, more lethal drugs, destruction of individual civil liberties both in the U.S. and abroad, and violates the bedrock of a free society—the nonaggression principle. President Trump has instructed his attorney general to “seek the maximum penalty” for even nonviolent drug-related offenses. Time will tell whether he’ll direct Sessions to violate states’ rights to determine their own drug laws as well.

By Ron Paul

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors in drug cases to seek the maximum penalty authorized by federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Sessions’s order represents a setback to the progress made toward restoring compassion and common sense to the sentencing process over the past few years. Sessions’s action also guarantees that many nonviolent drug law offenders will continue spending more time in prison than murderers.

Sessions’s support for mandatory minimums is no surprise, as he has a history of fanatical devotion to the drug war. Sessions’s pro-drug war stance is at odds with the reality of the drug war’s failure. Over 40 years after President Nixon declared war on drugs, the government cannot even keep drugs out of prisons!

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As was the case with alcohol prohibition, the drug war has empowered criminal gangs and even terrorists to take advantage of the opportunity presented by prohibition to profit by meeting the continued demand for drugs. Drug prohibition enables these criminal enterprises to make profits far above the potential profits if drugs where legalized. Ironically, the so-called “law-and-order” politicians who support the drug war are helping enrich the very criminals they claim to oppose!

The war on drugs also makes street drugs more lethal by incentivizing the creation of more potent and, thus, more dangerous drugs. Of course, even as Sessions himself admits, the war on drugs also leads to increased violence, as drug dealers cannot go to the courts to settle disputes among themselves or with their customers.

Before 9/11, the war on drugs was the go-to excuse used to justify new infringements on liberty. For example, laws limiting our ability to withdraw, or even carry, large sums of cash and laws authorizing civil asset forfeiture were justified by the need to crack down on drug dealers and users. The war on drugs is also the root cause of the criminal justice system’s disparate treatment of minorities and the militarization of local police.

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The war on drugs is a war on the Constitution as well. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to regulate, much less ban, drugs. People who doubt this should ask themselves why it was necessary to amend the Constitution to allow the federal government to criminalize drinking alcohol but not necessary to amend the Constitution to criminalize drug use.

Today, a majority of states have legalized medical marijuana, and a growing number are legalizing recreational marijuana use. Enforcement of federal laws outlawing marijuana in those states is the type of federal interference with state laws that conservatives usually oppose. Hopefully, in this area the Trump administration will exercise restraint and respect state marijuana laws.

Sessions’s announcement was not the only pro-drug war announcement made by the administration this week. President Trump himself, in a meeting with the president of Colombia, promised to continue U.S. intervention in South and Central America to eliminate drug cartels. President Trump, like his attorney general, seems to not understand that the rise of foreign drug cartels, like the rise of domestic drug gangs, is a consequence of U.S. drug policy.

The use of government force to stop adults from putting certain substances into their bodies—whether marijuana, saturated fats, or raw milk—violates the nonaggression principle that is the bedrock of a free society. Therefore, all those who care about protecting individual liberty and limiting government power should support ending the drug war. Those with moral objections to drug use should realize that education and persuasion, carried out through voluntary institutions like churches and schools, is a more moral and effective way to discourage drug use than relying on government force.

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.




Unsealed FISA Court Order Reveals Warrantless Surveillance by Obama Administration in 2016

While Trump’s Justice Department has stepped in to slightly limit the surveillance reach of U.S. intelligence agencies, we may have a much bigger problem than most Americans realize when it comes to the guidelines intended to safeguard our 4th Amendment rights.

By Robert Romano

An unsealed April 26 court ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court found that the Obama administration had violated “the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court.”

Under FISA, the court is supposed to determine whether the minimization procedures—those that are supposed to seal the identities of U.S. persons swept up in foreign surveillance—comply with Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

An example of those rules falls under USSID 18, which governs the collection, retention, and then dissemination of foreign intelligence gathered to and from U.S. persons.

Those rules are promulgated by the attorney general under 50 USC 1801(h)(2), which provides that they include “procedures that require that nonpublicly available information, which is not foreign intelligence information, as defined in subsection (e)(1), shall not be disseminated in a manner that identifies any United States person, without such person’s consent, unless such person’s identity is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.”

Under USSID 18, to have kept the communications would have required either sign-off from the attorney general if he or she believes that the “contents indicate a threat of death or seriously bodily harm to any person,” under Section 5.4.a., or the director of the National Security Agency, under 5.4.d., if he or she determines the communications contain “significant foreign intelligence” or “evidence of a crime or threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.”

For these U.S. persons to have been included in a report for dissemination could have only occurred if, under Section 7.2.c., the “appropriate approval authority” determined “[t]he identity of the U.S. person is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance” or “[t]he information is evidence that the individual may be involved in a crime that has been, is being, or is about to be committed, provided that the dissemination is for law enforcement purposes.”

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What the FISA Court is saying in its April 26 ruling is that these bare minimal rules, which do not even require a warrant to unmask a U.S. person, were not being followed. Since all the agents must show is that the information is relevant to foreign intelligence matters, that is saying something. The only explanation is that, in those cases, the searches had no bearing on foreign intelligence gathering.

According to reporting by John Solomon and Sarah Carter of “Circa.com,” “More than 5%, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.”

Circa could not ascertain how many such inappropriate searches had occurred, as the information was classified, but it does provide a window into how the FISA Court responds to these instances even when there are violations.

The federal government under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since applied to the FISA Court to change those minimization rules on March 30, which the court granted on April 26. Two days later, on April 28, the National Security Agency issued a statement that it “will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.”

According to the court ruling, “Under the revised procedures, the government may acquire communications to which United States persons and persons within the United States are parties when such persons communicate with a Section 702 target.”

The court praised this move, stating, “The Court agrees that the removal of ‘abouts’ communications eliminates the types of communications presenting the Court the greatest level of constitutional and statutory concern.”

This appears to indicate American citizens who were merely mentioning the name of a foreign target were being subjected to surveillance and potentially unmasked without warrants.

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Information previously gathered on this basis will now be destroyed: “Revisions to the NSA Minimization Procedures now state that all Internet transactions acquired on or before [March 17] and existing in NSA’s institutionally managed repositories will be sequestered pending destruction such that ‘NSA personnel will not be able to access the[m] for analytical purposes.’ NSA will destroy such sequestered Internet transactions as soon as practicable through an accelerated age-off process.”

The new rules appear to be a sharp departure from previous practice, but do they go far enough to reform minimization abuses?

In assessing whether minimization procedures are constitutional, the court applies the so-called reasonableness standard, that is, those exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement to perform a search. These typically include situations such as a police officer witnessing a crime in progress or conducting a search during the course of a lawful arrest. Nearly all of these exceptions require some nexus to criminal activity in order to justify the search. Generally, if there is no crime, then no search can be justified.

The standard used by the FISA Court, however, does not consider any of that. Foreign intelligence gathering in itself is not focused on gathering information about crimes but about threats to national security or the workings of foreign powers.

Yet, the FISA Court still uses the same precedents and language from 4th Amendment Supreme Court cases to justify itself: “In assessing the reasonableness of a governmental intrusion under the Fourth Amendment, a court must ‘balance the interests at stake’ under the ‘totality of the circumstances.’ … Specifically, a court must ‘balance … the degree of the government’s intrusion on individual privacy’ against ‘the degree to which that intrusion furthers the government’s legitimate interest.’ … ‘The more important the government’s interest, the greater the intrusion that may be constitutionally tolerated.’”

These standards were established in various cases involving traffic stops and arrests in criminal contexts. For example, in Riley v. California (2014), where the Supreme Court ruled that the contents of a cellular phone could not be searched without a warrant even when a lawful arrest has occurred. Or Wyoming v. Houghton (1999), where the nation’s highest court ruled that the contents of a vehicle could be searched without a warrant if the police had reason to believe it had been used in the commission of a crime or contained contraband.

In every case, for a warrantless search to occur, some sort of criminality was needed, and even then, certain restrictions were applied to the extent the search was constitutional.

Not so in the FISA Court, we now know, where intelligence is gathered without regards to criminality. Which is why the disclosure of classified intelligence that includes U.S. person identifiers—so-called incidental collection as happened in the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn—is such a serious crime, so that mere contacts with foreign intelligence surveillance targets are not used to create the appearance of being a foreign agent or to create legal jeopardy.

All of this raises serious constitutional questions of how FISA has been applied on U.S. soil.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning urged Congress to slow down reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA in a statement, saying: “The implications of the Obama administration unmasking hundreds of targeted people unconstitutionally leads any reasonable person to wonder how precisely this illegally gained information was used. In light of the obvious abuse of power in the Mike Flynn case of leaking Flynn’s name to the press after being unmasked for political reasons, it becomes reasonable to assume that was the intent of these unmaskings all along, and calls into question the continuance of the entire program.”

NWO in Action cover

When it comes to U.S. persons and persons on U.S. soil, the American people should consider whether they want the federal government conducting warrantless searches where no criminal activity is implicated, a constitutionally dubious standard.

If a criminality standard had been applied, Flynn’s conversation might not have ever been intercepted in the first place.

But even if that were a bridge too far for Congress—because recording every conversation by foreign ambassadors on U.S. soil is somehow deemed essential—Congress should consider the fact that the attorney general can apparently, according to the FISA Court, just reinstitute “abouts” collection at his discretion.

As the court states: “This Opinion and Order does not question the propriety of acquiring ‘abouts’ communications and MCTs as approved by the Court since 2011, subject to the rigorous safeguards imposed on such acquisitions. The concerns raised in the current matters stem from NSA’s failure to adhere fully to those safeguards.”

In other words, unless Congress acts, these types of warrantless searches—where a person who says “Kisylak” or “Putin” on the phone might be intercepted and recorded and that person’s identity might be unmasked without a warrant even if no crime has been committed—could just be reinstituted later.

The Justice Department under Sessions is to be applauded for discontinuing this practice for the moment, but Congress should act to make certain these types of abuses never happen again.

The Church Committee was convened in 1975 to get to the bottom of revelations by Seymour Hersh’s explosive report to The New York Times on Dec. 22, 1974 that the CIA had been engaged in a mass, domestic surveillance program against anti-war protestors, members of Congress, and other political figures.

We are on the edge of the abyss of tyranny Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) warned about in 1975.

To the extent the American people presently look the other way in terms of foreign government officials being under constant surveillance on U.S. soil, even with warrants, they will not do so if they believe their own activities are under threat to come under scrutiny without warrants merely because they took an interest in foreign affairs.

Or if these powers are being used against political opponents, as apparently happened in the last year of the Obama administration, against the Trump campaign and then transition after the election.

If Congress is not currently telling itself, “Never again”—if it believes such political surveillance against the opposition party in an election year is somehow justified on the most dubious of grounds—then we’ve got a bigger problem than most people realize.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.




America’s Reign of Terror: A Nation Reaps What It Sows

The shadow government’s tyranny has made the U.S. the biggest purveyor of terrorism on the planet. And it’s the American people suffering the consequences.

By John Whitehead

“The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” ― James Madison

Who designed the malware worm that is now wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers internationally by hackers demanding a king’s ransom? The U.S. government.

Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government.

What country has one the deadliest arsenals of weapons of mass destruction? The U.S. government.

Who is the largest weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world, such that they are literally arming the world? The U.S. government.

Which is the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon in wartime? The United States.

How did Saddam Hussein build Iraq’s massive arsenal of tanks, planes, missiles, and chemical weapons during the 1980s? With help from the U.S. government.

Who gave Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida “access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry”? The U.S. government.

What country has a pattern and practice of entrapment that involves targeting vulnerable individuals, feeding them with the propaganda, know-how and weapons intended to turn them into terrorists, and then arresting them as part of an elaborately orchestrated counterterrorism sting? The U.S. government.

Where did ISIS get many of their deadliest weapons, including assault rifles and tanks to anti-missile defenses? From the U.S. government.

Which country has a history of secretly testing out dangerous weapons and technologies on its own citizens? The U.S. government.

Are you getting the picture yet?

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The U.S. government isn’t protecting us from terrorism.

The U.S. government is creating the terror. It is, in fact, the source of the terror.

Just think about it for a minute: almost every tyranny being perpetrated against the citizenry—purportedly to keep us safe and the nation secure—has come about as a result of some threat manufactured in one way or another by our own government.

Cyberwarfare. Terrorism.

Bio-chemical attacks. The nuclear arms race.

Surveillance. The drug wars.

In almost every instance, the U.S. government has in its typical Machiavellian fashion sown the seeds of terror domestically and internationally in order to expand its own totalitarian powers.

It’s time to wake up and stop being deceived by government propaganda.

We’re not dealing with a government that exists to serve its people, protect their liberties and ensure their happiness. Rather, these are the diabolical machinations of a make-works program carried out on an epic scale whose only purpose is to keep the powers-that-be permanently (and profitably) employed.

Case in point: For years now, the U.S. government has been creating what one intelligence insider referred to as a cyber-army capable of offensive attacks.

As Reuters reported back in 2013:

Even as the U.S. government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks. That’s because U.S. intelligence and military agencies aren’t buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems.

As part of this cyberweapons programs, government agencies such as the NSA have been stockpiling all kinds of nasty malware, viruses and hacking tools that can “steal financial account passwords, turn an iPhone into a listening device, or, in the case of Stuxnet, sabotage a nuclear facility.”

And now we learn that the NSA is responsible for the latest threat posed by the “WannaCry” or “Wanna Decryptor” malware worm, which—as a result of hackers accessing the government’s arsenal—has hijacked more than 57,000 computers and crippled health care, communications infrastructure, logistics, and government entities in more than 70 countries already.

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All the while the government was repeatedly warned about the dangers of using criminal tactics to wage its own cyberwars.

It was warned about the consequences of blowback should its cyberweapons get into the wrong hands.

The government chose to ignore the warnings.

That’s exactly how the 9/11 attacks unfolded.

First, the government helped to create the menace that was al-Qaida and then, when bin Laden had left the nation reeling in shock (despite countless warnings that fell on tone-deaf ears), it demanded—and was given—immense new powers in the form of the USA Patriot Act in order to fight the very danger it had created.

This has become the shadow government’s modus operandi regardless of which party controls the White House: the government creates a menace—knowing full well the ramifications such a danger might pose to the public—then without ever owning up to the part it played in unleashing that particular menace on an unsuspecting populace, it demands additional powers in order to protect “we the people” from the threat.

Yet the powers-that-be don’t really want us to feel safe.

They want us cowering and afraid and willing to relinquish every last one of our freedoms in exchange for their phantom promises of security.

As a result, it’s the American people who pay the price for the government’s insatiable greed and quest for power.

We’re the ones to suffer the blowback.

Blowback: a term originating from within the American Intelligence community, denoting the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of a covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.

As historian Chalmers Johnson explains, “blowback is another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows.”

Unfortunately, “we the people” are the ones who keep reaping what the government sows.

We’re the ones who suffer every time, directly and indirectly, from the blowback.

We’re made to pay trillions of dollars in blood money to a military ind
ustrial complex that kills without conscience. We’ve been saddled with a crumbling infrastructure, impoverished cities and a faltering economy while our tax dollars are squandered on lavish military installations and used to prop up foreign economies. We’ve been stripped of our freedoms. We’re treated like suspects and enemy combatants. We’re spied on by government agents: our communications read, our movements tracked, our faces mapped, our biometrics entered into a government database. We’re terrorized by militarized police who roam our communities and SWAT teams that break into our homes. We’re subjected to invasive patdowns in airports, roadside strip searches and cavity probes, forced blood draws.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

We can persuade ourselves that life is still good, that America is still beautiful, and that “we the people” are still free.

However, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the moment you tune out the carefully constructed distractions—the year-round sports entertainment, the political theatrics, the military’s war cries, the president’s chest-thumping, and the techno-gadgets and social media that keep us oblivious to what’s really going on in the world around us—you quickly find that the only credible threat to our safety and national security is in fact the government itself.

Police State Books John Whitehead

As science fiction writer Philip K. Dick warned, “Don’t believe what you see; it’s an enthralling—[and] destructive, evil snare. Under it is a totally different world, even placed differently along the linear axis.”

In other words, all is not as it seems.

The powers-that-be are not acting in our best interests.

“We the people” are not free.

The government is not our friend.

And America will never be safe or secure as long as our government continues to pillage and plunder and bomb and bulldoze and kill and create instability and fund insurgencies and police the globe.

So what can we do to stop the blowback, liberate the country from the iron-clad grip of the military industrial complex, and get back to a point where freedom actually means something?

For starters, get your priorities in order. As long as Americans are more inclined to be offended over the fate of a Confederate statue rather than the government’s blatant disregard for the Constitution and human rights, then the status quo will remain.

Stop playing politics with your principles. As long as Americans persist in thinking like Republicans and Democrats—refusing to recognize that every administration in recent years has embraced and advanced the government’s authoritarian tactics—then the status quo will remain.

Value all human life as worthy of protection. As long as Americans, including those who claim to value the sanctity of human life, not only turn a blind eye to the government’s indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians but champion them, then the status quo will remain.

Recognize that in the eyes of the government, we’re all expendable. As long as we allow the government to play this dangerous game in which “we the people” are little more than pawns to be used, abused, easily manipulated and just as easily discarded—whether it’s under the guise of national security, the war on terror, the war on drugs, or any other manufactured bogeyman it can dream up—then the status quo will remain.

Demand that the government stop creating, stockpiling and deploying weapons of mass destruction: nuclear, chemical, biological, cyber, etc. As long as the government continues to use our tax dollars to create, stockpile and deploy weapons of mass destruction—whether those weapons are meant to kill, maim or disable (as in the case of the WannaCry computer virus)—we will be vulnerable to anyone who attempts to use those weapons against us and the status quo will remain.

Finally, stop supporting the war machine and, as Chalmers Johnson suggests, “bring our rampant militarism under control”:

From George Washington’s “farewell address” to Dwight Eisenhower’s invention of the phrase “military-industrial complex,” American leaders have warned about the dangers of a bloated, permanent, expensive military establishment that has lost its relationship to the country because service in it is no longer an obligation of citizenship. Our military operates the biggest arms sales operation on earth; it rapes girls, women and schoolchildren in Okinawa; it cuts ski-lift cables in Italy, killing twenty vacationers, and dismisses what its insubordinate pilots have done as a “training accident”; it allows its nuclear attack submarines to be used for joy rides for wealthy civilian supporters and then covers up the negligence that caused the sinking of a Japanese high school training ship; it propagandizes the nation with Hollywood films glorifying military service (Pearl Harbor); and it manipulates the political process to get more carrier task forces, antimissile missiles, nuclear weapons, stealth bombers and other expensive gadgets for which we have no conceivable use. Two of the most influential federal institutions are not in Washington but on the south side of the Potomac River–the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. Given their influence today, one must conclude that the government outlined in the Constitution of 1787 no longer bears much relationship to the government that actually rules from Washington. Until that is corrected, we should probably stop talking about “democracy” and “human rights.”

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available from the American Free Press bookstore. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.




Truth Has Become Un-American

Do the Russians and Chinese understand the true reason for Washington’s hostility toward them? Or to whom the U.S. military/security complex is truly answering? An overwhelming majority of Americans certainly don’t seem to have a clue what’s going on.

By Paul Craig Roberts

Those of us who have exited The Matrix are concerned that there are no checks on Washington’s use of nuclear weapons in the interest of U.S. hegemony over the world.

Washington and Israel are the threats to peace. Washington demands world hegemony, and Israel demands hegemony in the Middle East.

There are two countries that stand in the way of Washington’s world hegemony—Russia and China. Consequently, Washington has plans for preemptive nuclear strikes against both countries. It is difficult to imagine a more serious threat to mankind, and there is no awareness or acknowledgment of this threat among the Congress, the presstitute media, and the general public in the United States and Washington’s European vassal populations.

Two countries and a part of a third stand in the way of Greater Israel. Israel wants the water resources of southern Lebanon, but cannot get them, despite twice sending in the Israeli Army, because of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which is supplied by Syria and Iran. This is why Syria and Iran are on Washington’s hit list. Washington serves the military/security complex, Wall Street, and the over-sized U.S. banks, and Israel.

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It is unclear if the Russians and Chinese understand that Washington’s hostility toward them is not just some sort of misunderstanding that diplomacy can work out.

Clearly, Russia hasn’t interfered in the U.S. presidential election or invaded Ukraine, and does not intend to invade Poland or the Baltics. Russia let go the Soviet empire and is glad to see it gone, as the empire was expensive and of little benefit. The Soviet Eastern European empire comprised Stalin’s buffer against another Western invasion. The Warsaw Pact had no offensive meaning. It was not the beginning, as misrepresented in Washington, of Soviet world domination.

I see a lack of clarity about the threat that Russia faces in Russian media reports and articles posted on Russian English language websites. I see a lack of clarity in Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s continued efforts to work out an accommodation with Washington. How can Lavrov work out an accommodation with Washington, which intends to dominate or isolate Russia?

Lavrov and Russian media organizations do not always show awareness that it is not Washington’s intention to accommodate other national interests.

It can not be otherwise for these three reasons:

  1. The budget for the U.S. military/security complex is the largest in the world. It is larger than the Gross Domestic Product of many countries. It includes not only the Pentagon’s budget but also the budgets of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Energy, which is the location of the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant and 16 other national laboratories. When all the elements are added together, the military/security complex has annually the power and profit from $1,000 billion. An empire of this sort just doesn’t give up and go away because some president or some part of the electorate want peace. The “Russian Threat” is essential to the power and profit of the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned Americans 56 years ago. Just imagine how entrenched this power is now.
  2. The neoconservatives, who control both U.S. foreign policy and the Western media’s explanation of it, are mainly Jews of Zionist persuasion. Some are dual Israeli-U.S. citizens. The neoconservatives believe that the collapse of Soviet communism means that History has chosen the United States as the socio-politico-economic system, and that the U.S. government has the responsibility to assert the hegemony of America over the Earth. Just read the neocon documents. They assert this over and over. This is what it means that America is the exceptional and indispensable nation. If you are the indispensable nation, every other nation is dispensable. If you are exceptional, everyone else is unexceptional. The claim that the neoconservatives make for the U.S. is similar to the claim that Hitler made for Germany.
  3. As Israel controls U.S. Middle East policy, Israel uses its control to have Washington eliminate obstacles to Israel’s expansion. So far Israel has achieved the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government and chaos in Iraq, Washington’s war on Syria, and Washington’s demonization of Iran in the hope that sufficient demonization will justify war.

For the Russian Foreign Minister to believe that it is possible to reach an accommodation with Washington, other than a Russian surrender, is nonsense. Perhaps this is Lavrov’s use of diplomacy to delay the U.S. attack while Russia prepares. Or perhaps Lavrov is just a diplomat who sticks to his last, despite the facts.

Much of the Russian media, both in Russian and foreign language broadcasts and websites, thinks that the Western misrepresentation of Russia is just a mistake and that that facts, once they are established, can rectify the mistake. These Russian journalists don’t understand that Washington could not care less about facts. Washington desperately needs an enemy, and Russia is the enemy of choice.

The Chinese government seems to think that Wall Street and U.S. corporations are too dependent on the cheap Chinese manufacturing labor, which keeps the U.S. system fueled with profits, to jeopardize these profits by going to war.Gideon Elite book cover

By underplaying the risk of war, Russia and China fail to mobilize world opposition to Washington’s recklessness and, thereby, enable Washington’s move toward war.

The presstitutes serving the National Security State continue to drive toward conflict. Consider Newsweek’s May 28, 2017, cover story with Putin on the cover and the caption: “The Plot Against America: Inside Putin’s Campaign to Destroy Democracy in the U.S.”

It is difficult to imagine such ignorant nonsense from a mainstream news magazine. Democracy in America has been destroyed by special interest groups, by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave the reins of power to special interest groups, and by a hoax war on terror that has destroyed the U.S. Constitution. And here we have the presstitutes saying that Putin is destroying American democracy. Clearly, there is no extant intelligence anywhere in the Western media. The Western presstitutes are either corrupt beyond belief or ignorant beyond belief. Nothing else can be said for them.

Consider Time magazine’s cover for May 29, 2017. It depicts Trump turning the White House into the foundation for the Kremlin, which rises above the White House, symbolizing America’s subservience to Russia under President Trump. This extraordinary propaganda seems to be readily accepted by the bulk of the Western populations, peoples who will die as a result of their insouciance. [And who do not know the difference between the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Ed.]

Even writers critical of Washington, such as Paul Street’s recent article on “CounterPunch” and the English language Russian website, “Strategic Culture Foundation,” cannot bring themselves to state the truth that the U.S. military/security complex needs a major enemy, has elected Russia for that role, and intends to defend this orchestration to the end of humanity on Earth.

Street writes about “How Russia Became ‘Our Adversary’ Again.” According to Street, Russia became the enemy of choice because Russia protected part of the world’s population and resources from being exploited by global capital. Russia became the number one enemy of the U.S. also because Putin stopped the American exploitation of Russia economically. Putin is in the way of Washington’s exploitation of the world.

Much of what Street says is correct, but he is hesitant to state it in a straightforward manner. He has to dilute his message by repeating the obligatory propaganda. Street calls Trump, who originally wanted normal relations with Russia, an “orange-haired brute . . . [who admires] Putin’s authoritarian manliness.”

Trump’s problems originated in his goal of normalizing relations with Russia. Hillary is the brute who intended to worsen the relations.

Putin is a democrat, not an authoritarian. The authoritarians are in Washington. Surely Paul Street and CounterPunch know this. But Street has to protect himself from speaking some politically incorrect truths about the U.S. and Russia by throwing in some anti-Putin propaganda and denigrating President Trump.

The truth that peace with Russia and China would undermine the justification of the $1,000 billion military/security budget, and that the military/security complex is the American government, is too harsh for most writers to state.

Truth is the most rare element in the Western world, and we will not be permitted to have much of it much longer. Increasingly, truth is difficult to find. Soak it up while it is still available.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and was associate editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He has been a professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books available at www.AmericanFreePress.net.




Trump Should Appoint Special Prosecutor for Leaks

When President Donald Trump returns to Washington from his Mideast trip, he should immediately appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Obama holdovers who have been leaking secret information to the press for the purpose of embarrassing and hamstringing his administration.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Who is the real threat to the national security? Is it President Trump, who shared with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the intelligence that ISIS was developing laptop bombs to put aboard airliners? Or is it The Washington Post that ferreted out and published this code-word intelligence, and splashed the details on its front page, alerting the world, and ISIS, to what we knew.

Trump has the authority to declassify security secrets. And in sharing that intel with the Russians, who have had airliners taken down by bombs, he was trying to restore a relationship.

On fighting Islamist terror, we and the Russians agree.

Five years ago, Russia alerted us that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become a violent radical Islamist. That was a year and a half before Tsarnaev carried out the Boston Marathon bombing.

But upon what authority did The Washington Post reveal code-word intelligence secrets? Where in the Constitution or U.S. law did the Post get the right to reveal state secrets every U.S. citizen is duty bound to protect?

The source of this top secret laptop-bomb leak that the Post published had to be someone in the intel community who was violating an oath that he had sworn to protect U.S. secrets, and committing a felony by leaking that secret.

Those who leaked this to hurt Trump, and those who published this in the belief it would hurt Trump, sees themselves as the “Resistance”—like the French Resistance to Vichy in World War II.

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And they seemingly see themselves as above the laws that bind the rest of us.

“Can Donald Trump Be Trusted With State Secrets?” asked the headline on the editorial in The New York Times.

One wonders: Are these people oblivious to their own past?

In 1971, The New York Times published a hoard of secret documents from the Kennedy-Johnson years on Vietnam. Editors spent months arranging them to convince the public it had been lied into a war that the Times itself had supported, but had turned against.

Purpose of publication: Damage and discredit the war effort, now that Richard Nixon was commander in chief. This was tantamount to treason in wartime.

When Nixon went to the Supreme Court to halt publication of “the Pentagon Papers” until we could review them to ensure that sources and methods were not being compromised, the White House was castigated for failing to understand the First Amendment.

And for colluding with the thieves that stole them, and for publishing the secret documents, the Times won a Pulitzer.

Forty years ago, the Post also won a Pulitzer—for Watergate.

The indispensable source of its stories was FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt, who repeatedly violated his oath and broke the law by leaking the contents of confidential FBI interviews and grand jury testimony.

Felt, “Deep Throat,” was a serial felon. He could have spent 10 years in a federal penitentiary had his identity been revealed. But to protect him from being prosecuted and sent to prison, and to protect themselves from the public knowing their scoops were handed to them by a corrupt FBI agent, the Post kept Felt’s identity secret for 30 years. Yet, their motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Which brings us to the point.

The adversary press asserts in its actions a right to collude with and shelter disloyal and dishonorable officials who violate our laws by leaking secrets that they are sworn to protect.

Why do these officials become criminals, and why do the mainstream media protect them?

Because this seedy bargain is the best way to advance their common interests.

The media get the stolen goods to damage Trump. Anti-Trump officials get their egos massaged, their agendas advanced, and their identities protected.

This is the corrupt bargain the Beltway press has on offer.

For the media, bringing down Trump is also good for business. TV ratings of anti-Trump media are soaring. The “failing New York Times” has seen a surge in circulation. The Pulitzers are beckoning.

And bringing down a president is exhilarating. As Ben Bradlee reportedly said during the Iran-Contra scandal that was wounding President Reagan, “We haven’t had this much fun since Watergate.”

When Nixon was brought down, North Vietnam launched a spring offensive that overran the South, and led to concentration camps and mass executions of our allies, South Vietnamese boat people perishing by the thousands in the South China Sea, and a holocaust in Cambodia.

When Trump gets home from his trip, he should direct Justice to establish an office inside the FBI to investigate all illegal leaks since his election and all security leaks that are de facto felonies, and name a special prosecutor to head up the investigation.

Then he should order that prosecutor to determine if any Trump associates, picked up by normal security surveillance, were unmasked, and had their names and conversations spread through the intel community, on the orders of Susan Rice and Barack Obama, to seed the bureaucracy to sabotage the Trump presidency before it began.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority and Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?

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Mainstream Rag Demands Death for Those Who Question Big Pharma

The Boston Herald has called for the death penalty for those who would share health information that is counter to big pharma’s nostrums, parroted by mainstream media. But the history of measles in America, and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, should cause anyone to question the reassuring, dismissive pat on the head they get from most doctors when asking whether their baby really needs yet another jab.

By James Spounias

The vaccine hysteria rhetoric is heating up so much that the Boston Herald editorial board on May 10 wrote that “lying” to people about vaccines should be a “hanging offense.”

The Herald’s call to death was made in light of the widely reported story about the children of Somali refugees in Minnesota who experienced an “outbreak” of measles. Apparently, some Somali parents have opted their children out of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, enraging the establishment vaccine lobby.

The word outbreak connotes something massive, but, in real numbers, we’re talking about 46 children, 41 of whom are Somalian; none of these children are seriously ill, as of this writing.

The Herald’s full statement concluding the editorial reads: “These are the facts: Vaccines don’t cause autism. Measles can kill. And lying to vulnerable people about the health and safety of their children ought to be a hanging offense.”

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If the Herald took the effort to do even a minimal job of investigation, free of bias, they would issue an apology and investigate the many layers of vaccination, from theory to practice, instead of calling for lynching of those who question vaccine dogma. Of course, that won’t happen, and the fact that vaccine critics are educating the public in alternative media outlets is irritating the establishment to the extent that a noted media organ calls for death.

While this writer is solidly against mandatory vaccination of any kind, for reasons of personal liberty and science, one would think the push to vaccinate would actually have a profound basis, given the hyperbolic call for death.

Measles deaths were in severe decline for decades before the introduction of the measles vaccine in the U.S. in 1963 and even before the proliferation of penicillin in 1944. While a significant number of people died from measles in the 1800s, by the early 20th century, measles became manageable with knowledge of the importance of nutrition, not vaccination or pharmaceuticals.

In 1960, the official number of deaths from measles was recorded as 380 in the United States, in a population of 180,671,000 people. Compared to other causes of death, measles ranked extremely low. Even in 1963, deaths from asthma were 56 times higher than measles, from accidents were 935 times higher (motor vehicles 323 times higher), and heart disease 9,560 times higher, according to Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk in their book titled, Dissolving Illusions.

Why, then, did the establishment in 1963 foist the measles vaccine on the public when measles literally wiped itself out, without a vaccine, antibiotics or other wonder drug?

If you are conspiratorially minded, the question may answer itself: Rockefeller-inspired allopathic medicine claimed that measles needed to be “wiped out” entirely.

Wiping out a disease that is already virtually non-existent doesn’t make sense to anyone with common sense. The irony is that it was already well known among medical professionals that in most cases, measles was a benign disease from which most recovered and, as a result, actually received the benefit of immunity against a subsequent occurrence.

Dr. Humphries and Bystrianyk wrote how important vitamin A is to preventing measles from overtaking the body and that this was known in the early 1900s: “It was known that certain vitamins had a significant impact on measles outcomes. Vitamin A stops the measles virus from rapidly multiplying inside cells by up-regulating the innate immune system in uninfected cells, which helps to prevent the virus from infecting new cells.”

It’s a fact that well-nourished children didn’t die or suffer damage from a case of the measles, and that use of cod liver oil in the 1930s resulted in helping those affected. Studies in the 1990s confirmed that by using vitamin A, measles deaths could be reduced up to 90% in developing countries where children often are severely malnourished.

Better nutrition made children in America and most of the advanced world healthier, because advances in transportation brought vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables to more people. Dr. Humphries and Bystrianyk drove this point home by tracking the incidence of scurvy and measles, both of which plummeted due to better nutrition.

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The measles vaccine has a checkered history, from inception of its use in 1963 to today’s version, in spite of assurances of safety and efficacy from big pharma and its lapdog media. The first measles vaccine introduced in America in 1963, known as the KMV (killed measles virus), contained “ ‘killed’ virus (which) was an aluminum-precipitated vaccine produced from formaldehyde-inactivated monkey kidney cell cultures,” according to Dr. Humphries and Bystrianyk.

The KMV was a disaster, causing pneumonia and encephalopathy (brain swelling) in some cases, which brought the establishment to recommend it be discontinued, as early as 1967.

Not learning from this mistake, big pharma thought it a good idea to use a live vaccine, instead, and recommend that all who had received the KMV get the new vaccine as well.

As Dr. Humphries and Bystrianyk wrote, “Those who encountered wild measles or live vaccine measles, after having the killed vaccine, had a tendency to develop a more severe disease, atypical measles” because the immune system in those vaccinated wrongly programmed the immune system.

The modified live vaccine brought rashes to nearly half of those injected and fevers up to 106 degrees in up to 83% of those who received it. Don’t fear, though: The geniuses at big pharma injected a “measles-specific antibody,” which did keep excessive rash and fever under control, but brought about other health maladies in those who received it, including neurological problems. Ironically, atypical measles could appear up to 16 years after injection of the modified measles vaccine. The measles vaccine did cause neurological damage in some reported cases and, interestingly, did not contain mercury as an adjuvant—driving home the point that mercury, alone, should not be singled out as the “problem” with vaccines.

Many have heard the names of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Dr. William Thompson, in news reports. Dr. Wakefield has been wrongly attacked as a fraud when all he did was have published in the journal Lancet in 1998 a link between regressive autism and a gastro-intestinal malady named ilea nodular enterocolitis in children given the MMR vaccine. Dr. Wakefield’s paper was retracted by The General Medical Council 12 years later in what is best described as politics.

Dr. Thompson, a former Center for Disease Control (CDC) scientist, who invoked federal whistleblower protection in 2014, reported that the CDC committed fraud regarding the link between vaccines and autism. He wrote in a letter to the CDC: “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African-American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”

Given the history of measles and vaccination in the United States, is it any wonder reasonable parents object to vaccination?

The Boston Herald and the medical establishment have failed abysmally when one considers the burden of proof is on them to show that injecting viruses with various chemical adjuvants into the bodies of children should not only be safe, but should also be warranted to prevent serious, life-threatening diseases.

James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine.




WikiLeaker Revealed?

A private detective in Washington, D.C., investigating the unsolved murder last year of DNC staffer Seth Rich, claims to know who leaked Democrats’ emails—and it is not Russia …

By John Friend

New evidence and public testimony is being offered to further substantiate claims that Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer who was mysteriously murdered in Washington, D.C. late last year, provided damaging information to WikiLeaks—not Russia—in an effort to expose corruption in the Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The WikiLeaks dumps, released late last year during the heated 2016 election, revealed high-level corruption in the DNC designed to sabotage then-Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.

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Following the information released by WikiLeaks, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC, and Mrs. Clinton’s reputation was sullied even further. Clinton supporters, many mainstream media outlets, and virtually all federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies have baselessly alleged Russian agents working at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin were responsible for hacking the DNC and transferring the damaging information to WikiLeaks in an attempt to undermine American democracy and ensure Donald Trump’s presidential victory. Russia has denied these allegations, as has WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and no legitimate evidence has been presented by any federal agency or media outlet to demonstrate the theory Russia was the source of the WikiLeaks dumps.

Now, Rod Wheeler, a retired D.C.-based homicide detective and Fox News contributor, who has been contracted by the Rich family to investigate their son’s mysterious death, has alleged that Rich may be the source of the WikiLeaks dumps.

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“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” Wheeler recently declared in an interview with Fox News. “I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sit on his computer on a shelf at the D.C. police or FBI headquarters.”

Thus far, D.C. police have virtually no leads into Rich’s death and have offered little information about his murder. D.C. police have offered a $25,000 reward for information about Rich’s death, and WikiLeaks has offered a $20,000 reward.

An anonymous federal investigator who has been in contact with both Wheeler and Fox News has also backed up Wheeler’s allegations. The federal investigator has claimed that an FBI forensic report on Rich’s computer, which was conducted shortly after his death, reveal that Rich made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, who is now also dead. MacFadyen was a director at WikiLeaks and is a long-time reporter and documentary filmmaker.

“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the federal official told Fox News. He believes the emails are in the FBI’s possession, but have not been publicly released for political reasons.

According to the federal investigator, “44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee leaders, spanning from January 2015 through late May 2016, were transferred from Rich to MacFadyen,” Fox News reported. The damaging WikiLeaks dumps were published on July 22 of last year, a mere 12 days after Rich was murdered.

Rich’s family has downplayed the recent allegations by both Wheeler and the anonymous federal investigator, describing Wheeler’s claims that Rich was WikiLeaks’ source as “unsubstantiated.”

John Friend is a freelance writer who lives in California.




The Exponential Growth of Insecurity

When it comes to cyberspace, Dr. Roberts says, “There is no such thing as cybersecurity.” He asks a question the mainstream media has (yet again) failed to ask about the malware (malicious software) stolen from the National Security Agency by hackers and deployed to unsuspecting computer users worldwide recently. Who did the NSA intend to use this powerful cyberweapon against? 

By Paul Craig Roberts

There is no such thing as cybersecurity. The only choice is more security or less security, as the recent hack of National Security Agency (NSA) malicious software demonstrates.

Hackers stole from NSA a cyberweapon, which has been used in attacks at the time of this writing on 150 countries, shutting down elements of the British National Health Service, the Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica, automakers Renault and Nissan, Russia’s Interior Ministry, Federal Express, the energy company PetroChina, and many more.

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The news spin is to not blame NSA for its carelessness, but to blame Microsoft users for not updating their systems with a patch issued two months ago. But the important questions have not been asked: What was the NSA doing with such malware, and why did NSA not inform Microsoft of the malware?

Clearly, NSA intended to use the cyberweapon against some country or countries. Why else have it and keep it a secret from Microsoft?

Was it to be used to shut down Russian and Chinese systems prior to launching a nuclear first strike against the countries? Congress should be asking this question, as it is certain that the Russian and Chinese governments are. As I previously reported, the Russian High Command has already concluded that Washington is preparing a nuclear first strike against Russia, and so has China.

It is extremely dangerous that two nuclear powers have this expectation. This danger has received no attention from Washington and its NATO vassals.

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Microsoft president Brad Smith likened the theft of the NSA’s cyberweapon to “the U.S. military having some of its tomahawk missiles stolen.” In other words, with cyberweapons, as with nuclear weapons and short warning times, things can go wrong in a big way.

What if the hackers had successfully attacked the Russian Ministry of Defense or radar warning systems? Would the Russian high command have concluded that the cyberattack was Washington’s prelude to incoming ICBMs?

The fact that no one in Washington or any Western government has stepped forward to reassure the Russian government and demand the removal of the U.S. missile bases surrounding Russia indicates a level of hubris or denial that is beyond comprehension.

On May 12, I wrote in an article on my website: “The costs of the digital revolution exceed its benefits by many times. The digital revolution rivals nuclear weapons as the most catastrophic technology of our time.”

Paper files are far more secure. Malware cannot be introduced into them. To steal a person’s information required knowing the location of the information, breaking into the building, searching file cabinets for the information, and copying the information. To intercept a voice communication required a warrant to wiretap a specific telephone line.

People born into a world where the ease of communication comes at the price of the loss of autonomy never experience privacy. They are unaware that a foundation of liberty has been lost.

In our era of controlled print and TV media, the digital revolution serves for now as a check on the ruling elite’s ability to control explanations. However, the same technology that currently permits alternative explanations can be used to prevent them. Indeed, efforts to discredit and to limit non-approved explanations are already underway.

The enemies of truth have a powerful weapon in the digital revolution and can use it to herd humanity into a tyrannical dystopia. The digital revolution even has its own memory hole. Files stored electronically by older technology can no longer be accessed, as they exist in an outdated electronic format that cannot be opened by current systems in use.

Humans are proving to be the most stupid of the life forms. They create weapons that cannot be used without destroying themselves. They create robots and free-trade myths that take away their jobs. They create information technology that destroys their liberty.

Dystopias tend to be permanent. The generations born into them never know any different, and the control mechanisms are total.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and was associate editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He has been a professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books available at the AmericanFreePress Bookstore.




Comey & The Saturday Night Massacre

Cries of “worse than Watergate” went out from the mainstream media immediately after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last week. But is it worse? For that matter, is it even comparable?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, said Marx. On publication day of my memoir of Richard Nixon’s White House, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Instantly, the media cried “Nixonian,” comparing it to the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre. Yet, the differences are stark.

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The resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General Bill Ruckelshaus and the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox came in the middle of an East-West crisis.

On Oct. 6, 1973, the high holy day of Yom Kippur, in a surprise attack, Egyptian troops crossed the Suez Canal and breached Israel’s Bar Lev Line. Syria attacked on the Golan Heights.

Within days, 1,000 Israeli soldiers were dead, hundreds of tanks destroyed, dozens of planes downed by Soviet surface-to-air missiles. As Egypt’s army broke through in the Sinai, there came reports that Moshe Dayan was arming Israeli F-4s with nuclear weapons.

“This is the end of the Third Temple,” Dayan was quoted.

Nixon ordered every U.S. transport that could fly to deliver tanks and planes to Israel. Gen. Ariel Sharon crossed the Canal to the west and rolled north to cut off and kill the Egyptian 3rd army in Sinai.

The Gulf Arabs declared an oil embargo of the United States.

We got reports that nuclear-capable Russian ships were moving through the Dardanelles and Soviet airborne divisions were moving to airfields. U.S. nuclear forces were put on heightened alert.

On Oct. 10, another blow had befallen Nixon’s White House. Vice President Agnew pleaded nolo contendere to tax evasion and resigned.

Nixon immediately named Gerald Ford to replace him.

It was in this environment, with Henry Kissinger in Moscow trying to negotiate a ceasefire in the Mideast, that Cox refused to accept a compromise deal that would give him verified summaries of Nixon’s tapes, but not actual tapes. Democrat Senators Sam Ervin and John Stennis had accepted this compromise, as had Richardson, or so we believed.

Nixon had no choice. As he told me, he could not, in this Cold War crisis, have Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev see him back down in the face of defiance by one of his own Cabinet appointees.

If he had to, Nixon told me, he would reach down to a GS-7 at Justice to fire Cox: “We can’t have that viper sleeping in the bed with us.”

That Saturday night, I told friends, next week will bring resolutions of impeachment in the House. And so it did.

NWO in Action cover

How do Nixon and Trump’s actions differ?

Where Nixon decapitated his Justice Department and shut down the special prosecutor’s office, Trump simply fired an FBI director who agreed that Trump had every right to do so.

By October 1973, with two dozen Nixon White House, Cabinet and campaign officers convicted or facing indictment and trial, we were steeped in the worst political scandal in U.S. history.

Nothing comparable exists today.

But if President Trump is enraged, he has every right to be.

Since July, the FBI has been investigating alleged Trump campaign collusion with Putin’s Russia to hack the DNC and John Podesta’s email accounts—and produced zilch. As of January, ex-CIA Director Mike Morell and ex-DNI James Clapper said no collusion had been found.

Yet every day we hear Democrats and the media bray about a Putin-Trump connection and Russian “control” of the president.

In the early 1950s, they had a term for this. It was called McCarthyism, and its greatest practitioners invariably turned out to be those who had invented the term.

“Justice delayed is justice denied!” applies to presidents, too.

Trump has been under a cloud of a “Russian connection” to him and his campaign for nearly a year. Yet no hard evidence of Trump-Russia collusion in the election has been produced.

Is not the endless airing of unproven allegations inherently un-American?

In 1973, NBC’s John Chancellor suggested the ouster of Richardson, Ruckelshaus, and Cox was the “most serious constitutional crisis” in U.S. history, passing over the secession of 11 Southern states and a Civil War that cost 620,000 lives. One London reporter said that “the whiff of the Gestapo was in the clear October air.”

We see a similar hysteria rising today.

Yet that was not a constitutional crisis then, and the mandated early retirement of Jim Comey is not a constitutional crisis now.

And that the mainstream media are equating “Russia-gate” and Watergate tells you what is afoot.

Trump is hated by this city, which gave him 4% of its votes, as much as Nixon was. And the deep-state determination to bring him down is as great as it was with Nixon.

By 1968, the liberal establishment had lost the mandate it had held since 1933, but not lost its ability to wound and kill presidents.

Though Nixon won 49 states, that establishment took him down. Though Ronald Reagan won 49 states, that establishment almost took him down in the Iran-Contra affair.

And that is the end they have in mind for President Trump.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority and Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? His new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever, is available in AFP’s bookstore.




Operation Gotham Shield 2017

Are we and North Korea being set up for a false-flag attack on U.S. soil? History has shown any time multiple federal agencies, military commands and Federal Emergency Management Agency get together to conduct an exercise we should pay attention and beware.

By Ronald L. Ray

What do the Departments of Energy and Defense, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Northern Command (NORTHCOM) have in common with the offices of emergency management in the states of New York and New Jersey and the city of New York? Answer: Operation Gotham Shield 2017, a full-scale exercise (FSE) to test federal, state, and local abilities to respond to a nuclear explosion. The long-planned event took place from April 18 to May 5 and was the cause of widespread concern over a possible “false-flag” disaster to be initiated by the federal government or the “deep state.”

While Gotham Shield focused in and around New York City, it also included emergency management exercises in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Some sources claimed it was only a “table-top” exercise, but “crisis actors” and private-sector medical personnel participated with all levels of government and military officials in the long-planned event, proving it was indeed a FSE.

For example, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. saw dozens of area ambulances and a mobile emergency room from Hackensack University Medical Center assembled, as emergency response teams practiced nuclear decontamination and other skills. Other hospitals in the region likewise participated.

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While FEMA, under the Department of Homeland Security, apparently led Gotham Shield, a number of other military and civilian exercises and events strangely coincided with the drill. This unusual conjunction, which was seen before or concurrent with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook school shooting, and other supposed terror events, rapidly raised concerns internationally, including, for once, in a few mainstream media outlets, including “The Drudge Report” and Britain’s Daily Mail.

This journalistic exposure caused consternation among various Gotham Shield participants—who then made their previously public announcements “disappear”—and may have kept the exercise from “going live,” in the sense of a real nuclear detonation. If so, this is good, since the program was premised on the detonation of a ten-kiloton improvised nuclear device, either in the west end of the New York-New Jersey Lincoln Tunnel, near Weehawken, N.J., or in the air above that location. In all, four nuclear bombs—apparently fictitious, although the official description strangely does not specify—figured in Gotham Shield’s program.

If a nuclear blast of that magnitude were really to occur at Weehawken, it was projected that more than 13,000 would die and 130,000 would be injured—numbers many experts consider too low, given the area’s high population density.

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New York radio and Internet Superstation 95 even obtained and published maps and charts showing the predicted range of damage and number of casualties from a nuclear explosion of the type just described. Because the station is within the impact range, its report authors were more than a bit unnerved.

Another exercise under the Gotham Shield umbrella involved America’s amateur (ham) radio operators and the U.S. Army MARS radio messaging system. It is believed that high shortwave radio frequency bands have the best possibility of maintaining communications following a nuclear detonation and the consequent electromagnetic pulse (EMP), although no one explained how the broadcasting equipment will be shielded from EMP damage.*

In the Sept. 10, 2012 edition of American Free Press, writer Dave Gahary addressed this issue in an interview with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. Pry’s group was set up by Congress with a mandate to “provide technical, operational policy advice and legislative help to Congress” to get the nation protected against a catastrophic EMP.

And what about the simultaneous electrical blackouts in three major U.S. cities shortly before the main Gotham Shield events of April 24-26? They fell during the broader exercise date range, yet the lamestream media were almost uninterested in learning the cause. If not actual terror activities, were they part of Gotham Shield, and, if so, what does that say about the federal government’s willingness to create chaos and mayhem among its own people?

As of this writing, no actual nuclear event has occurred, and one may hope that Gotham Shield and the other exercises were just that. But given the current world situation and the federal government’s established history of false-flag terror operations to justify the growing police state at home and massive wars of aggression overseas, a real nuclear event easily could occur soon.

SC3, a major contractor for the military-industrial- intelligence complex, for example, continues to advertise for crisis actors for Washington, D.C. and for “surveillance actors” with secret security clearances for work in Newport News, Va.— right across the harbor from the world’s largest naval base and shipyard in Norfolk, Va.

Given President Donald Trump’s newfound friendship with the Zio-Trotskyite warmonger party and the rogue “deep state,” is a false-flag disaster planned for the near future in order to accomplish the New World Order’s goals of martial law in America, more war profits abroad, and an extensive depopulation event? Will it be used to justify war against North Korea? Syria? Russia or China? Will the American sheeple fly their flags and march lockstep to their own death and destruction?

Ronald L. Ray is a freelance author and an assistant editor of The Barnes Review. He is a descendant of several patriots of the American War for Independence. Contact Ron by email at write2ron@yandex.com.

For more on how you can prepare for a possible EMP attack, order EMP Attacks and Solar Storms—Expanded Edition (softcover, 117 pages, $15 plus $4 S&H inside the U.S.) by Arthur Bradley, Ph.D. from the AFP Bookstore.




Big Brother Is Watching You: Don’t Fall for the NSA’s Latest Ploy

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.” — George Orwell, 1984

By John Whitehead

Supposedly the National Security Administration is going to stop collecting certain Internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target. Privacy advocates are hailing it as a major victory for Americans whose communications have been caught in the NSA’s dragnet. If this is a victory, it’s a hollow victory.

Here’s why.

Since its creation in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency has been covertly spying on Americans, listening in on their phone calls, reading their mail, and monitoring their communications.

Police State Books John Whitehead

For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”

Not even the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated, managed to curtail the NSA’s illegal activities.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails.

Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect Internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.

It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.

What this brief history makes clear is that the NSA cannot be reformed.

This is an agency whose very existence—unaccountable and lacking any degree of transparency—flies in the face of the Constitution.

Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the NSA has continued to operate largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages, and the like, beyond the scrutiny of most of Congress and the taxpayers who are forced to fund its multi-billion dollar secret black ops budget.

As long as the government is allowed to make a mockery of the law—be it the Constitution, the FISA law, or any other law intended to limit its reach and curtail its activities—and is permitted to operate behind closed doors, relying on secret courts, secret budgets and secret interpretations of the laws of the land, there will be no reform.

Presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone over the course of the NSA’s 60-year history, but none of them have done much to put an end to the NSA’s “technotyranny.”

The beast has outgrown its chains. It will not be restrained.

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Moreover, even if the NSA could be reformed, the problem of government surveillance goes far beyond the criminal activities of this one agency.

In fact, long before the NSA became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace. Just about every branch of the government—from the U.S. Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people.

Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And, of course, that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.

Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on, and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.

Corporate trackers monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts, and other activities taking place in the cybersphere. For example, every time you use a loyalty card at the grocery store or elsewhere, your purchases are being monitored, mined for data, and sold to the highest bidder. Every time you use your credit or debit card, or your digital “wallet,” your transactions are being tracked. Uber’s ride service app knows where you are even when you are not actively using the service. Even store mannequins are being used to monitor and identify shoppers with facial recognition software.

Major cities are being transformed into “Smart Cities” filled with sensors in everything from pavement to lamp posts, and all of that data is being linked together to monitor the day-to-day lives of everyone in them. In some cities, even the sewage is being monitored and could potentially be used to find out what drugs a household may have used.

All of your medical data in the near future will be constantly monitored, and while the data is supposed to only be shared with your doctor, in practice it will be accessible by any number of government and private actors.  Microchips in “smart pills” that can communicate with tablet devices to ensure the elderly take their medications already exist. A transponder injected into the skin that contains a person’s entire medical history has been approved by the FDA. Wearable health-monitoring devices likewise can be used to monitor you, and the information collected can be used in a court of law.  Smart toothbrushes can monitor your brushing habits and communicate them to your dentist, or anyone else.  Smart alarm clocks can monitor your sleep habits.

Like all other devices relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) to communicate, these can be hacked into by government and private corporations.

The “Internet of things” (IoT) refers to the growing number of “smart” appliances and electronic devices now connected to the Internet and capable of interacting with each other and being controlled remotely. These range from thermostats and coffee makers to cars and TVs.
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Of course, there’s a price to pay for such easy control and access. That price amounts to relinquishing control of and access to your home to the government and its corporate partners. For example, while Samsung’s Smart TVs are capable of “listening” to what you say, thereby allowing users to control the TV using voice commands, it also records everything you say and relays it to a third party. Same goes for Amazon’s Echo.

“Smart houses” filled with IoT-capable devices are just starting to come into play, but by 2020 Samsung pledges that all of its devices, including its household appliances, will be IoT capable.  Such products include ovens, microwaves, vacuums (including robot vacuums), refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, as well as smart hubs which coordinate everything.  Coffee makers and toasters are also being made IoT compatible.

Smart TVs seemingly out of Orwell’s 1984 will also collect data and spy on you.  Modern gaming consoles have Internet connections, and those with cameras can be used to spy like any smartphone or computer.  Smart power outlets can turn your lights on and off remotely, and smart thermostats work similarly.

All of them monitor when you’re at home or not, as can smart home security systems.  Wi-Fi routers can even monitor the inside of your home and distinguish between different individuals in the house, while reading their lips to “hear” what they say.  Other forms of home monitoring systems for the elderly can be hacked and used by anyone.

Already the web-enabled “Hello Barbie” doll has been the center of a hacking controversy, in which security experts disclosed a number of significant security flaws with the toy.

Other smart objects include smart golf clubs, which monitor the speed, acceleration, and swing plane of your golf swing, smart shoes which track your location and can guide you on where to go. Tostitos has even unveiled a promotional smart bag of chips which can tell you if you’ve been drinking too much.

That doesn’t even begin to touch on all of the government’s many methods of spying on its citizens. For instance, police have been using Stingray devices mounted on their cruisers to intercept cell phone calls and text messages without court-issued search warrants.

Doppler radar devices, which can detect human breathing and movement within a home, are already being employed by the police to peer inside a suspect’s home.

License plate readers, yet another law enforcement spying device made possible through funding by the Department of Homeland Security, can record up to 1,800 license plates per minute. These surveillance devices can also photograph those inside a moving car. Recent reports indicate that the DEA has been using license plate readers in conjunction with facial recognition software to build a “vehicle surveillance database” of the nation’s cars, drivers and passengers.

Sidewalk and “public space” cameras, sold to gullible communities as a sure-fire means of fighting crime, is yet another DHS program that is blanketing small and large towns alike with government-funded and monitored surveillance cameras. It’s all part of a public-private partnership that gives government officials access to all manner of surveillance cameras, on sidewalks, on buildings, on buses, even those installed on private property.

Couple these surveillance cameras with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology and you have the makings of “pre-crime” cameras, which scan your mannerisms, compare you to pre-set parameters for “normal” behavior, and alert the police if you trigger any computerized alarms as being “suspicious.”

Capitalizing on a series of notorious abductions of college-aged students, several states are pushing to expand their biometric and DNA databases by requiring that anyone accused of a misdemeanor have their DNA collected and catalogued. Technology is already available that allows the government to collect biometrics such as fingerprints from a distance, without a person’s cooperation or knowledge. One system can actually scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away.

Radar guns have long been the speed cop’s best friend, allowing him to hide out by the side of the road, identify speeding cars, and then radio ahead to a police car, which does the dirty work of pulling the driver over and issuing a ticket. Now, developers are hard at work on a radar gun that can actually show if you or someone in your car is texting. No word yet on whether the technology will also be able to detect the contents of that text message.

It’s a sure bet that anything the government welcomes (and funds) too enthusiastically is bound to be a Trojan horse full of nasty surprises. Case in point: police body cameras. Hailed as the easy fix solution to police abuses, these body cameras—made possible by funding from the Department of Justice—are turning police officers into roving surveillance cameras. Of course, if you try to request access to that footage, you’ll find yourself being led a merry and costly chase through miles of red tape, bureaucratic footmen, and unhelpful courts.

And the FBI can remotely activate the microphone on your cellphone and record your conversations. The FBI can also do the same thing to laptop computers without the owner knowing any better.

Government surveillance of social media such as Twitter and Facebook is also on the rise. Americans have become so accustomed to the government overstepping its limits that most don’t even seem all that bothered anymore about the fact that the government is spying on our emails and listening in on our phone calls.

Drones, which are taking to the skies en masse, will be the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. This means drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.

It’s a given that the government’s tactics are always more advanced than we know, so there’s no knowing what new technologies are already being deployed against us without our knowledge. Certainly, by the time we learn about a particular method of surveillance or new technological gadget, it’s a sure bet that the government has been using it covertly for years already.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’ve all become suspects, a.k.a. potential criminals.

As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.

This is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: The very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, and probation officer.

So don’t get too excited about the NSA’s latest concession.

It won’t stop Big Brother from watching you.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is available from the AFP Bookstore. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.




Texas Governor Bans Sanctuary Cities, Corporate Owned Roads

Texas’s governor recently signed two outstanding bills passed by the Republican state Congress that officially ban so-called sanctuary cities and corporate ownership of roads.

By Mark Anderson

Texas is proving itself to be a national trailblazer in confronting wide-ranging controversial issues and often leading rather than following the federal government. Two of the most recent cases include Gov. Greg Abbott signing a bill that bans “sanctuary cities” in the Lone Star State, and Abbott and the Republican-led legislature coming out against building new privately run toll roads.

On May 7, Abbott signed legislation that allows local police to ask about a person’s immigration status and threatens local law enforcement with penalties, including jail time, if they declare themselves sanctuary cities by refusing to cooperate with federal authorities in carrying out one of the most fundamental tasks of government: securing the borders with neighboring nations.

“Let’s face it, the reason why so many people come to America is because we are a nation of laws, and Texas is doing its part to keep it that way,” Abbott remarked.

The first-term Republican governor signed the anti-sanctuary legislation over the usual intense opposition from so-called immigrant-rights groups and Democrats. Those factions allege that the new law echoes Arizona’s 2010 immigration crackdown, which sparked an inflated national controversy and frivolous lawsuits.

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The Arizona law required police to try to determine the immigration status of people during routine stops, but the Texas bill doesn’t actually instruct officers to ask. It does allow police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, including those arrested for a crime or even those stopped for traffic violations. Local officials also must comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation.

Texas doesn’t have any official self-declared “sanctuary” cities for illegal immigrants, but several municipal officials have considered taking such a stance. For example, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, whose jurisdiction includes liberal-leaning Austin, at first refused to honor federal detainer requests if the suspects hadn’t been arrested for immigration offenses or serious crimes such as murder. Sheriff Hernandez backed down, however, after Abbott cut county funding.

The bill cleared a final hurdle in the Republican-controlled legislature over objections from Democrats and immigrant-rights supporters who’ve often packed the Capitol in Austin. According to state Republicans, this bill is needed to ensure that those running local jails honor requests from federal officials to keep dangerous illegal-immigrant offenders behind bars.

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In the past, AFP has reported on Spanish-based Cintra trying to buy up highway rights-of-way across the country. Texas, however, tends to lead the way in pushing back at corporate money grabs.

Texas taxpayers just got some relief due to a bipartisan effort to defeat the expansion of private toll roads in the state. On May 5, a bill for the expansion of private ownership of roads was defeated, 79-51, in the state House. A majority of Democrats as well as Republicans oppose new Texas toll roads.

“Governor Greg Abbott promised to fix Texas roads without new tolls or debt, and the Texas House delivered on that promise . . . by killing Rep. Larry Phillips’s H.B. 2861,” remarked Terri Hall, founder and director of Texans for Toll Free Highways.

Ms. Hall added, “A bipartisan coalition swept the [former governor] Rick Perry-era of toll roads aside, and . . . we officially started the Abbott era that firmly opposes new toll roads, especially privatized toll roads that give an exclusive right to a single company to extract the highest possible toll from the traveling public.”

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor.




President Trump: Cancel Your Saudi Trip, Play More Golf

Ron Paul joins the chorus of those wondering what happened to candidate Donald Trump, who called for an end to U.S. interventionist policy and questioned the value of NATO? Many people are noticing President Trump’s actions when it comes to foreign policy don’t have much in common with that candidate in some regards.

By Ron Paul

President Donald Trump is about to embark on his first foreign trip, where he will stop in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, before attending a NATO meeting in Brussels and the G-7 summit in Sicily. The media and pundits have loudly wondered why he hasn’t gone on a foreign trip sooner. I wonder, why go at all?

What does the president hope to achieve with these meetings? This is a president who came into office with promises that we would finally start to mind our own business overseas. In December, he said that the policy of U.S. “intervention and chaos” overseas must come to an end. Instead, he is jumping into a region—the Middle East—that has consumed the presidencies of numerous of his predecessors.

On Saudi Arabia, Trump has shifted his position from criticism of the Saudi regime to a seemingly warm friendship with Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. He has approved weapons sales to Saudi Arabia that President Obama had halted due to Saudi human rights abuses, particularly in its horrific war on Yemen.

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While visiting Saudi Arabia, one of the most extreme theocracies on Earth—where conversion to Christianity can bring the death penalty—Trump will attend a meeting of Muslim leaders to discuss the threats of terrorism and religious extremism. No, not religious extremism in Saudi Arabia but in Iran, where Christianity is legal and thriving!

Perhaps Trump’s flip-flop on Saudi Arabia was inspired by the ten separate Washington, D.C. public relations firms the kingdom keeps on the payroll, at a cost of $1.3 million per month. That kind of money can really grease the policy wheels in Washington.

From there, the U.S. president will travel to Israel. Does he believe he will finally be able to solve the 70-year-old Israel-Palestine conflict by negotiating a good deal? If so, he’s in for a surprise.

The problem persists partly because we have been meddling in the region for so long. Doing more of the same is pretty unlikely to bring about a different result. How many billions have we spent propping up “allies” and bribing others? Yet we’re no closer to peace now than when we started. Maybe it’s time for a new approach. Maybe it’s time for the countries in the Middle East to solve their own problems. They have much more incentive to reach some kind of deal in their own neighborhood.

Likewise, his attendance at the NATO meeting is not very encouraging to those of us who were pleased to hear candidate Trump speak the truth about the outdated military alliance. We don’t need to strong-arm NATO members to spend more money on their own defense. We need to worry about our own defense. Our military empire—of which NATO is an arm—makes us weaker and more vulnerable. Minding our own business and rejecting militarism would make us safer.

Many pundits complain that President Trump spends too much time golfing. I would rather he spend a lot more time golfing and less time trying to solve the rest of the world’s problems. We cannot afford to be the policeman or nursemaid to the rest of the world, particularly when we have such a lousy record of success.

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 © 2017 by Ron Paul Institute.



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Mistrial: Protesters Get Off But FBI Informant Found Guilty

Last week, the jury in the first of three trials of supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy ended in a hung jury for four of the six defendants. Perhaps most shocking in the case was one of the two found guilty of multiple charges had been a paid FBI informant.

By Mark Anderson

LAS VEGAS, Nevada—In the three-part, landmark case that arose from the 2014 standoff near Bunkerville, Nev. between multiple federal agencies and supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy, the jury deadlocked on April 24, forcing U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro to declare a mistrial. Federal prosecutors were unable to secure convictions for four of the six defendants in the first of three trials. Shockingly, one of the two men convicted had been an FBI informant for years. His cover was blown during trial testimony.

The four defendants who escaped conviction were Richard Lovelien, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler, and Steven Stewart. The 12-member jury fell far short of convicting these four, according to defense lawyers.

The jury found two defendants in the opening trial—Todd Engel and Gregory Burleson—guilty of some charges, with Burleson bearing the brunt. During testimony, FBI agents said Burleson was an informant.

Engel was charged with obstruction of justice and using interstate commerce to commit extortion. Engel could possibly be sentenced to two years in prison, though it’s likely he’ll get considerable credit for time already served.

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The jury found Burleson guilty of multiple charges, including using a firearm to assault federal officers, interfering with federal officers, and extortion. The New American reports that Burleson of Phoenix, Ariz. has been a paid informant for the FBI for years, so don’t expect the provocateur to see the inside of a jail cell.

It is standard operating procedure for the FBI to send in informants to escalate violence in an effort to trump up conspiracy charges. Since some of the defendants in the Nevada cases were cleared earlier this year in Portland federal court of any wrongdoing for their part in the Oregon occupation-protest that ended in early 2016, the federal government is determined to secure convictions in a future trial. A staffer in the dockets department of the U.S. to Judge Navarro both confirmed that Lovelien, Parker, Drexler, and Stewart will be retried starting June 26.

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That is the same date listed in the docket for the second trial, in which longtime rancher Cliven Bundy and two of his sons, Ryan and Ammon, along with Ryan Payne and Internet radio host Pete Santilli, are the defendants. It’s expected to be an especially high-profile affair in which the bedrock fundamentals of federal land jurisdiction and control ought to be rigorously debated.

The third and final trial, involving Bundy’s sons Mel and Dave, along with Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Brian Cavalier, Jason Woods, and Micah McGuire, is expected to begin sometime in the fall.

The defendants in all three trials are being tried for their part in supporting Bundy in the now-legendary April 2014 standoff between armed federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents and the elder Bundy, four of the Bundy sons, and a host of supporters.

When the BLM showed up to impound hundreds of Bundy’s cattle for alleged unpaid grazing fees on public lands, supporters traveled to southern Nevada, near Bunkerville, to stand with Bundy in protest of federal land policies. The standoff was dubbed “The Battle of Bunkerville,” though not a single shot was fired.

Still, the federal government, which has been laboring to make its case that those who gathered with the elder Bundy pointed their weapons at heavily armed federal officers in a “threatening” manner, seeks to send all the defendants to prison—for life, if possible.

The defense maintains that Bundy’s supporters showed up only to exercise their First and Second Amendment rights in protest of BLM policies.

Assessing the situation, Roger Roots, an author and legal expert who attended nearly every day of the first trial, told AMERICAN FREE PRESS: “Maybe you can’t call this [deadlocked jury] a victory for the Bundy side. But the government’s ‘stock’ went down in this thing. And the feds, including the judge, are under a lot of pressure to try and provide speedy trials.”

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor.