Three Dangerous Syria Powder Kegs – Will US Light The Match?

Al-Tanf, Idlib, Kurdish areas in the northeast. Three Syria powder kegs and the US is holding a handful of matches. The continued US occupation of a large chunk of Syrian territory is not providing stability. It is illegal and it is emboldening terrorist organizations. Now some senior military figures are saying we must stay in Syria to protect against "pro-regime" forces. Does this make any sense? We are back to "Assad must go"? Tune in to today's Liberty Report:

Celebrating another Regulatory Conviction in the Anti-Russia Brouhaha

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The mainstream press is tipping its glasses in exultation over the latest regulatory conviction in the anti-Trump, anti-Russia brouhaha. This one comes in form of a upcoming guilty plea by a 28-year-old Russian woman named Maria Butina. Her crime? Failing to register as a foreign agent of the Russian government.

The press is reporting how Butina has infiltrated the conservative movement by dating a GOP operative, making contacts with the Heritage Foundation, the NRA, the National Prayer Breakfast, CPAC, the Trump administration, and others conservative organizations and people.

This is obviously very scary stuff. I mean, just think about it: The entire conservative movement facing the danger of going Red, or at least pro-Russia. Then it’s just a matter of time before the U.S. government falls to the commies, or least the Russkies under former KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

Pardon the Red slip but all this anti-Russia brouhaha really does remind me of the Cold War, when the U.S. national-security establishment was warning Americans of the danger of communist infiltration within our nation. The main danger, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA maintained, was that posed by the Soviet Union, of which the principal member was Russia. Yes, that Russia, the same country that Butina is alleged to be a secret, unregistered agent for! America, people were told, was faced with a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the federal government and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. Yes, that Moscow! The capital of Russia!

In his famous Peace Speech at American University, President Kennedy announced an end to the Cold War racket and his intent to befriend the Russians. Of course, we all know what happened to him as a consequence. (See FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne and my current ongoing series on the JFK assassination.)

One of the interesting aspects of all this is how Russia’s strategy to supposedly take over America has shifted since the Cold War. Back then, the strategy was supposedly to conquer us by force by causing the dominoes to fall in places like Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. The final big domino was going to be the United States.

Today, on the other hand, the Russian strategy is obviously to try to make friends with the United States, just as Kennedy was trying to do with Russia when he was assassinated. In dating a GOP operative, making contacts with conservatives, and attending conservative conferences, Butina was clearly part of this nefarious plan on the part of Russia to befriend the United States.

But here’s my question: Why is dating a Republican, attending conservative conferences, and making contacts with conservatives and members of the Trump administration a criminal offense here in the United States. Aren’t such activities protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

After all, we are clearly talking about actions that involve freedom of speech and freedom of association. Before anyone says that Butina is a Russian and, therefore, isn’t entitled to exercise such rights here in the United States, let’s remind ourselves of what our Declaration of independence states: that all people, not just Americans, are endowed with fundamental, God-given rights with which no government can legitimately interfere, not even the U.S. government.

Okay, you might say, but Butina isn’t being convicted of doing those things. Why, she’s not even being convicted of spying, which is what the mainstream press continues to allege about her nefarious dating, contacts, and conference activities. She’s being convicted of failing to register as a Russian foreign agent.

Now, this might shock you and maybe even scare you, but under U.S. law it’s not illegal for Butina or anyone else to be an agent of the Russian government. It’s only illegal to fail to sign an official U.S. government registry disclosing that a person is acting as an agent for the Russia government (or any other foreign government).

Is that not sort of weird? In other words, it’s legal for a Russian to befriend the United States, including lobbying the president and the members of Congress. But the person doing the befriending is simply required to sign an official U.S. registry indicating that he or she is acting on behalf of the Russian government.

But given that everyone, including Butina and every other Russian, has the fundamental, natural, God-given rights to engage in freedom of speech and freedom of association, then why in the world must she register in order to exercise such rights? Doesn’t a registration requirement convert these rights into privileges rather than rights?

It turns out that this foreign-registration law, not surprisingly, was enacted in 1938 by the Franklin Roosevelt administration, no doubt as part of FDR’s welfare-warfare state revolution that he was implementing in the United States. At that time, federal officials were inculcating a fear of Nazi Germany into the American people and, ironically, a mindset of friendship toward Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union into the American people, who were strongly opposed to entry into World War II. Ironically, after FDR succeeded in pulling the U.S. into the war, his successor President Truman succeeded in making Hitler’s wartime enemy and America’s wartime partner, the Soviet Union, into America’s postwar official Cold War enemy.

Thus, that was what the Cold War was all about — keeping Americans afraid, very afraid, that the Russians were coming to get them. That deep fear lasted until 1989, when the Soviet Union unilaterally and surprisingly ended the Cold War, thereby depriving U.S. officials of their longtime scary bugaboo. After that, the official enemy became Saddam Hussein, and then terrorists, and then Muslims, and, to a certain extent, illegal immigrants.

But now we have come full circle, with Russia once again an official enemy of the United States. No, there has been no law enacted to that effect. And no, there has been no official declaration of war against Russia. But the Pentagon and the CIA have made it clear, especially through the mainstream press, that Russia is to be considered, once again, an official enemy of the United States. Maria Butina’s conviction for befriending the United States without having first registered her name with U.S. officials confirms that.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.

Celebrating another Regulatory Conviction in the Anti-Russia Brouhaha

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The mainstream press is tipping its glasses in exultation over the latest regulatory conviction in the anti-Trump, anti-Russia brouhaha. This one comes in form of a upcoming guilty plea by a 28-year-old Russian woman named Maria Butina. Her crime? Failing to register as a foreign agent of the Russian government.

The press is reporting how Butina has infiltrated the conservative movement by dating a GOP operative, making contacts with the Heritage Foundation, the NRA, the National Prayer Breakfast, CPAC, the Trump administration, and others conservative organizations and people.

This is obviously very scary stuff. I mean, just think about it: The entire conservative movement facing the danger of going Red, or at least pro-Russia. Then it’s just a matter of time before the U.S. government falls to the commies, or least the Russkies under former KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

Pardon the Red slip but all this anti-Russia brouhaha really does remind me of the Cold War, when the U.S. national-security establishment was warning Americans of the danger of communist infiltration within our nation. The main danger, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA maintained, was that posed by the Soviet Union, of which the principal member was Russia. Yes, that Russia, the same country that Butina is alleged to be a secret, unregistered agent for! America, people were told, was faced with a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the federal government and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. Yes, that Moscow! The capital of Russia!

In his famous Peace Speech at American University, President Kennedy announced an end to the Cold War racket and his intent to befriend the Russians. Of course, we all know what happened to him as a consequence. (See FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne and my current ongoing series on the JFK assassination.)

One of the interesting aspects of all this is how Russia’s strategy to supposedly take over America has shifted since the Cold War. Back then, the strategy was supposedly to conquer us by force by causing the dominoes to fall in places like Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. The final big domino was going to be the United States.

Today, on the other hand, the Russian strategy is obviously to try to make friends with the United States, just as Kennedy was trying to do with Russia when he was assassinated. In dating a GOP operative, making contacts with conservatives, and attending conservative conferences, Butina was clearly part of this nefarious plan on the part of Russia to befriend the United States.

But here’s my question: Why is dating a Republican, attending conservative conferences, and making contacts with conservatives and members of the Trump administration a criminal offense here in the United States. Aren’t such activities protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

After all, we are clearly talking about actions that involve freedom of speech and freedom of association. Before anyone says that Butina is a Russian and, therefore, isn’t entitled to exercise such rights here in the United States, let’s remind ourselves of what our Declaration of independence states: that all people, not just Americans, are endowed with fundamental, God-given rights with which no government can legitimately interfere, not even the U.S. government.

Okay, you might say, but Butina isn’t being convicted of doing those things. Why, she’s not even being convicted of spying, which is what the mainstream press continues to allege about her nefarious dating, contacts, and conference activities. She’s being convicted of failing to register as a Russian foreign agent.

Now, this might shock you and maybe even scare you, but under U.S. law it’s not illegal for Butina or anyone else to be an agent of the Russian government. It’s only illegal to fail to sign an official U.S. government registry disclosing that a person is acting as an agent for the Russia government (or any other foreign government).

Is that not sort of weird? In other words, it’s legal for a Russian to befriend the United States, including lobbying the president and the members of Congress. But the person doing the befriending is simply required to sign an official U.S. registry indicating that he or she is acting on behalf of the Russian government.

But given that everyone, including Butina and every other Russian, has the fundamental, natural, God-given rights to engage in freedom of speech and freedom of association, then why in the world must she register in order to exercise such rights? Doesn’t a registration requirement convert these rights into privileges rather than rights?

It turns out that this foreign-registration law, not surprisingly, was enacted in 1938 by the Franklin Roosevelt administration, no doubt as part of FDR’s welfare-warfare state revolution that he was implementing in the United States. At that time, federal officials were inculcating a fear of Nazi Germany into the American people and, ironically, a mindset of friendship toward Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union into the American people, who were strongly opposed to entry into World War II. Ironically, after FDR succeeded in pulling the U.S. into the war, his successor President Truman succeeded in making Hitler’s wartime enemy and America’s wartime partner, the Soviet Union, into America’s postwar official Cold War enemy.

Thus, that was what the Cold War was all about — keeping Americans afraid, very afraid, that the Russians were coming to get them. That deep fear lasted until 1989, when the Soviet Union unilaterally and surprisingly ended the Cold War, thereby depriving U.S. officials of their longtime scary bugaboo. After that, the official enemy became Saddam Hussein, and then terrorists, and then Muslims, and, to a certain extent, illegal immigrants.

But now we have come full circle, with Russia once again an official enemy of the United States. No, there has been no law enacted to that effect. And no, there has been no official declaration of war against Russia. But the Pentagon and the CIA have made it clear, especially through the mainstream press, that Russia is to be considered, once again, an official enemy of the United States. Maria Butina’s conviction for befriending the United States without having first registered her name with U.S. officials confirms that.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.

Foreign Policy Arrogance Undermines Our National Security

Pride goeth before the fall, we are told in the Bible. Unfortunately pride and arrogance are the lynchpins of our foreign policy. From the refusal to end the 17 year war on Afghanistan to the ever-growing military budgets to a new Joint Chiefs Chairman who promises to destroy our "enemies," it is an excess pride and arrogance among the US foreign policy and political establishment more than anything else that is undermining our national security. More in today's Liberty Report:

Mike Pompeo Remarks at the German Marshall Fund, by Mike Pompeo

Thank you, Ian, for the kind introduction. Good morning to all of you; thank you for joining me here today. It's wonderful to be in this beautiful place, to get a chance to make a set of remarks about the very work that you do, the issues that confront the Marshall Fund and confront our region as well. Before I start today with my formal remarks, it would be – I would be enormously remiss if I did not pay a well-deserved tribute to America's 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush. He was (...)

In the Eyes of the State, We are All Russian (Bots) Now

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Last September a very informative paper was published by the neoconservative Atlantic Council. In connection with this institution are such important public figures as Collin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger. The paper, written by John T. Watts, summarizes the main conclusions drawn at this year’s Sovereign Challenges Conference in Washington, DC. The text allows for a deep look into some of the minds of the American elite and their allies. Its reading is therefore highly recommended. The inclined reader, however, should sometimes overlook empty phrases and distracting rhetoric to get to the heart of the matter.

At its core, it’s about maintaining power. According to Watts, the big problem is “disinformation”, which is disseminated through new and alternative media. It destabilizes public institutions and in the worst case undermines the sovereignty of the state. This must be prevented.

Neoconservatives are fully aware that any state system ultimately depends on the trust of its citizens. Trust is the basis for the functioning of state institutions. New communication technologies, however, have increasingly enabled “extremist ideological” currents to spread their toxic messages and deprive people of confidence in existing institutions. It is precisely this loss of trust on the part of citizens that endangers the sovereignty of the state.1

The flood of information in the Internet age plays a decisive role because it makes targeted “disinformation” by small but well-organized groups possible in the first place. It leads to exaggeration, isolation and one-sidedness within one’s own “echo chamber”. According to Watts, the sudden availability of large amounts of information can overburden a society. Too much useless and qualitatively inferior information can lead to isolation and polarization. People specifically select their sources of information and limit themselves in the process. They even have to do so in view of the many alternatives available to them. But in doing so, they tend to rely on those sources that confirm and reinforce their own prejudices.

In order to underline the potential seriousness of the situation, Watts refers to Nate Silver’s book The Signal and the Noise, in which a parallel is drawn between the invention of the printing press and the advent of the Internet. This analogy was also taken up by the Scottish historian Niall Ferguson in his recent book The Square and the Tower.2 Both authors recall that the invention of printing not only made Luther’s Reformation of the Christian Church possible, but also provided a powerful means of communication for many populist and, from today’s point of view, deterrent movements. Here, for example, one can refer to the witch hunts of the early modern period. After Luther’s Reformation, Europe was also plunged into centuries of religious wars. Is something similar threatening us today in the age of the Internet? It is clear that also today existing hierarchies and power structures are questioned and start to falter. This usually leads to the old elites giving their all in order to maintain their privileged position.

But first it has to be clarified who is really behind the specter of “disinformation”. Watts refers not only to all sorts of “conspiracy theorists” like “truthers,” “chemtrailers” or “anti-vaxxers”, whose political and social impact can really be doubted, but also to Islamic terror groups or the Russian secret service, which is said to have influenced the outcome of the American presidential elections through such powerful social networks as Facebook.

At this point, however, we should pause for a moment. Is interference in the political affairs of other countries an exclusively Russian phenomenon? No. This has always been the case everywhere, especially on the part of the USA in recent history. So, if the Russian secret service is behind targeted disinformation, can the American establishment really free itself from it? Here, too, a clear no. Think, for example, of the deliberate manipulation of public opinion before various military interventions in the Middle East.

For Watts it is simply about which narrative dominates and determines public opinion. Truth is an elastic term, he claims. The question is merely: “Whose truth?” So, it is nothing but a power struggle. From this point of view disinformation is merely a truth deviating from one’s own truth and must be fought against. One’s own truth becomes the disinformation of the opponent. Therefore, according to Watts, new gatekeepers are needed in the modern flow of information. The prevailing opinion must be brought back on track.

The good thing, however, is that Watts is wrong. Truth is not subjective. It is, if at all, very limited in elasticity. And if it turns out that the hitherto so dominant narrative of the American establishment has overstretched the truth at one point or another, it is a blessing that modern communication technology makes it possible to point this out critically and effectively. We can only hope that technology will always stay one step ahead of regulators and gatekeepers – and that citizens will ultimately trust the narrative that is closest to the truth.



1. The loss of trust is reflected, for example, in this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer: Global Report. Interestingly, India, for example, has a higher trust index than the USA.

2. The interested reader is referred to Dr. David Gordon’s review of Ferguson’s book.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.

Who does Emmanuel Macron owe?, by Thierry Meyssan

President Macron is often presented as a Rothschild Boy. This is true, but secondary. Thierry Meyssan demonstrates that he owes his electoral campaign mostly to Henry Kravis, the boss of one of the world's largest financial companies, and to NATO – a considerable debt which weighs heavily today on the solution to the Yellow Vests crisis.

The Movement to Suppress and Impoverish Critics of Israel is Racist

Marc Lamont Hill, Tim Anderson, Steven Salaita, Rabab Abdulhadi, Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtasib, Norman Finkelstein and other academics have all been targets of the movement to silence their criticisms of Israel and their defense of Palestinians. This includes threats and legal actions to try to deny them employment, in violation of their free speech rights, one of the most hallowed and ancient principles of academia. Salaita and Finkelstein were, in fact, denied employment, to the great detriment of their entire career. Hill and Anderson are currently defending themselves from this threat.

It is central to our understanding of these threats that the accusers are invariably Zionist or pro-Zionist individuals and institutions. Their backers include the Israeli government, which co-ordinates the movement through its Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Israel lobbies in the US, UK, France, Australia and other countries, and the major Jewish Zionist billionaire funders, such as Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, Bernard Marcus and others. They emphatically do not include non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews, but almost always include non-Jewish Zionists.

This is already enough to conclude that there is a fundamental difference between Jews and Zionists and that many are one without being the other, including some ultra-orthodox Jews, like the Neturei Karta. The relevance of this is that the accusations against the critics of Israel are always that they are racist anti-Jews; i.e., “anti-Semitic”. The evidence consists of testimony from Jewish students and Jewish organizations that the criticisms make them feel “unsafe” or that they find them offensive.

But is any of the testimony from non-Zionist Jews? Or is it only from Zionists? Why don’t non-Zionist Jews feel offended? If none of them feel offended and only Zionists (both Jewish and non-Jewish), how can the charge of anti-Semitism be supported? This is highly relevant to the defense of such cases. If someone is offended at skin piercings or tattoos or dark skin or light skin or atheism or other types of appearance and speech, is that a reason to banish them from the campus (or elsewhere)? It is part of a free society and respect for rights that anyone so offended will simply have to live with such feelings or go elsewhere.

In a tolerant society, it is permitted to voice both Zionist and anti-Zionist views. In fact, it is permitted to voice racist views, although it is not required to provide funding or resources for such views unless they are de jure available to all members of a society, (e.g. a speaker’s platform in a public park or a meeting room in a public library).

Is Zionism or anti-Zionism racist? Anti-Zionism is not, because it’s plainly not anti-Semitism. But Zionism advocates a Jewish state and supports the ethnic cleansing of another people, the Palestinians, in order to realize and maintain such a state. It enforces draconian laws and practices against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and even stronger measures, including the deliberate shooting of unarmed civilians, against Palestinians in territories that it controls. From the beginning, it has sought to expel or eliminate as many Palestinians as possible.

On the other hand, the Palestinian movements – even Hamas – have always argued that a person’s religion or race is irrelevant to their rights in the lands that they wish to liberate from Zionism. All of the academics that the Zionist movement has targeted for persecution, silencing and dismissal support this ideal. We must therefore ask ourselves, who are the racists?

Global Cops: Will US Jail Chinese Tech Exec?

Did President Trump really have no idea that a top Chinese businesswoman and member of the country's political elite was going to be arrested in Canada just as the US president was having dinner with Chinese leader Xi Jinping? If so, did the neocons surrounding him knowingly keep him in the dark? The implications of this arrest are incalculable, as the Huawei CFO, Weng Wanzhou faces 30 years in US prison for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran! What to expect? Tune in to today's Liberty Report:

Mueller’s Investigation is Missing One Thing: A Crime

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A baby born when Robert Mueller started his investigation would be talking by now. But would she have anything to say?

We last looked at what Mueller had publicly—and what he didn’t have—some 10 months ago, and I remained skeptical that the Trump campaign had in any way colluded with Russia. It’s worth another look now, but first let’s give away the ending (spoiler alert!): there is still no real evidence of, well, much of anything significant about Russiagate. One thing that is clear is that the investigation seems to be ending. Mueller’s office has reportedly even told various defense lawyers that it is “tying up loose ends.” The moment to wrap things up is politically right as well: the Democrats will soon take control of the House; time to hand this all off to them.

Ten months ago the big news was Paul Manafort flipped; that seems to have turned out to be mostly a bust, as we know now he lied like a rug to the Feds and cooperated with the Trump defense team as some sort of mole inside Mueller’s investigation (a heavily-redacted memo about Manafort’s lies, released by Mueller on Friday, adds no significant new details to the Russiagate narrative.)

George Papadopoulos has already been in and out of jail—all of two weeks— for his sideshow role. Michael Avenatti is now a woman beater who is just figuring out he’s washed up. Stormy Daniels owes Trump over $300,000 in fees after losing to him in court. There still is no pee tape. And if you don’t recall how unimportant Carter Page and Richard Gates turned out to be (or even who they are), well, there is your assessment of all the hysterical commentary that accompanied them a few headlines ago.

The big reveal of the Michael Flynn sentencing memo on Tuesday was that he will likely do no prison time. Everything of substance in the memo was redacted, so there is little insight available. If you insist on speculation, try this: it’s hard to believe that something really big and bad happened such that Flynn knew about it but still wasn’t worth punishing for it, and now, a year after he started cooperating with the government, still nobody has heard anything about whatever the big deal is. So chances are the redactions focus on foreign lobbying in the U.S.

This week’s Key to Everything is Michael Cohen, the guy who lied out of self-interest for Trump until last week when we learned he is also willing to lie, er, testify against Trump out of self-interest. If you take his most recent statements at face value, the sum is the failed negotiations to build a Trump hotel in Moscow, which went on a few months longer than was originally stated, and that we all knew about already.

Fair use excerpt. Read the full article here.