It Was All a Lie | The American Conservative – Peter Van Buren

March 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The short version? Mueller is done. His report unambiguously states there was no collusion or obstruction. He was allowed to follow every lead unfettered in an investigation of breathtaking depth.

It cannot be clearer. The report summary states, “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election…the report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.”

Robert Mueller did not charge any Americans with collusion, coordination, or criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. The special counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated,” a much lower standard defined as an “agreement, tacit or express,” with Russian election interference activities. They did not.

Everything—everything—else we have been told since the summer of 2016 falls, depending on your conscience and view of humanity, into the realm of lies, falsehoods, propaganda, exaggerations, political manipulation, stupid reporting, fake news, bad judgment, simple bull, or, in the best light, hasty conclusions.

Source: It Was All a Lie | The American Conservative

Ari Fleischer Lied, and People Died | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

March 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Ari Fleischer, the former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush, ignited a firestorm of controversy Wednesday when, while commenting on the 16th  anniversary of the U.S invasion of Iraq, he sought to defend the reputation of his boss when it came to the veracity of the claims about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that underpinned President Bush’s case for war.

“The Iraq war began sixteen years ago tomorrow,” Fleischer tweeted on March 19. “There is a myth about the war that I have been meaning to set straight for years. After no WMDs were found, the left claimed ‘Bush lied. People died.’ This accusation itself is a lie. It’s time to put it to rest.”

Fleischer goes on to declare that “The fact is that President Bush (and I as press secretary) faithfully and accurately reported to the public what the intelligence community concluded,” before noting that “The CIA, along with the intelligence services of Egypt, France, Israel and others concluded that Saddam had WMD. We all turned out to be wrong. That is very different from lying.”

Source: Ari Fleischer Lied, and People Died | The American Conservative

Paul Manafort: Eulogy for a Straw Man | The American Conservative – PETER VAN BUREN

March 14, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

No one weeps for Paul Manafort. The irony is that his sad but relatively uneventful life as a parasite of a corrupt political system would not have mattered a jot if special counsel Robert Mueller hadn’t thought that he could bring down the president. That Trump is still standing means we need to prepare for Act II, what happens post-Mueller.

But first the eulogy. Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation in 2014, centered on the sleazy consulting work he did for Ukraine’s former ruling party. The surveillance was discontinued that same year and the FBI dropped the matter for lack of evidence. Then Manafort’s less-than-three-month tenure as Trump’s campaign chairman provided the good-enough-for-government-work hook when the FBI went fishing for ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.

Source: Paul Manafort: Eulogy for a Straw Man | The American Conservative

How Politics Trump Intel in the US-Russia Nuke Treaty Pullout | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

February 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States has a track record of asking nations to prove a negative when it comes to compliance with arms control agreements, and then holding them to account when they fail to do so. The deficit of integrity over U.S. claims against Iraq regarding weapons of mass destruction and Iran and its nuclear program speaks volumes about how corrupt America’s policy making apparatus has become. Now the United States is making the same mistake again by pulling out of the INF Treaty, which it claims Russia violated.

“A high degree of confidence is required before the United States will publicly charge another party with violation of an international agreement.” Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Thomas Graham, Jr. delivered those remarks during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 1994. At that time, the ACDA served as the lead agency regarding arms control compliance. The intelligence community supported the ACDA’s mission of making firm compliance judgments by providing the necessary intelligence information and analysis.

Source: How Politics Trump Intel in the US-Russia Nuke Treaty Pullout | The American Conservative

Hungary Shows the West the Path to Survival | The American Conservative – Scott McConnell

February 8, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

A specter is haunting the European Union—the specter of Eastern Europe. Hungary is a country slightly more populous than Virginia, and its population diminishes slightly every year. It receives substantial subsidies from richer EU countries, produces nice wines, but has little industry not tied to German auto plants. Its military has roughly zero external intervention capability.

And yet in Europe, Hungary is always in the headlines. The glossy French center-right weekly Le Point warns with alarm that Hungary’s president Viktor Orbán “outlines the shape of another Europe.” A few months ago, the European Parliament subjected Orbán’s government to a sort of trial under “Article 7,” a process that could lead to Hungary being denied its parliamentary voting rights. Le Point (again) speaks ominously of a menacing “axis” between Poland, Hungary, and the new populist government of Italy.

Source: Hungary Shows the West the Path to Survival | The American Conservative

Trump is Right: The Intelligence Community Needs to ‘Go Back to School’ | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

February 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier this week, the collective leadership of the United States intelligence community briefed Congress on the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report. In doing so, they provided testimony that seemed to contradict virtually every aspect of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, including the decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, the threat posed by Iran, North Korean denuclearization, and improving relations with Russia.

The president, in typical fashion, lashed out, criticizing the intelligence community’s collective analysis, which predictably elicited criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. They accused him of undermining public confidence in the pronouncements of the intelligence agencies and damaging national security.

In this case, Trump is right and his detractors are wrong.

Source: Trump is Right: The Intelligence Community Needs to ‘Go Back to School’ | The American Conservative

Who Says Economic Sanctions Work? | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

November 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The imposition of new, more stringent sanctions targeting Iranian oil sales by the Trump administration has once again raised the question: is this even a viable policy?

The Council on Foreign Relations defines sanctions as “a lower-cost, lower-risk, middle course of action between diplomacy and war.” In short, sanctions do not represent policy per se, but rather the absence of policy, little more than a stop-gap measure to be used while other options are considered and/or developed.

Not surprising, sanctions have rarely—if ever—succeeded in obtaining their desired results. The poster child for successful sanctions as a vehicle for change—divestment in South Africa during the 1980s in opposition to the Apartheid regime—is in reality a red herring. The South Africa sanctions were in fact counterproductive, in so far as they prompted even harsher policies from the South African government. The demise of Apartheid came about largely because the Soviet Union collapsed, meaning the South African government was no longer needed in the fight against communism.

Source: Who Says Economic Sanctions Work? | The American Conservative

Bolton’s Ridiculous ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Speech | The American Conservative

November 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Andrew Bacevich appropriately ridicules John Bolton’s silly “troika of tyranny” speech from earlier this week:

Targeting the ‘triangle of terror’ might strike a chord with right wing Floridians. But when it comes to advancing the cause of national security or of human decency, its benefits will be nil.

Source: Bolton’s Ridiculous ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Speech | The American Conservative

Trump Surrenders to John Bolton on Russia and Arms Control | The American Conservative

October 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Declaring that “there is a new strategic reality out there,” President Donald Trump’s hardline national security advisor John Bolton announced during a visit to Moscow earlier this week that the United States would be withdrawing from the 31-year-old Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. “This was a Cold War bilateral ballistic missile-related treaty,” Bolton said, “in a multi-polar ballistic missile world.”

“It is the American position that Russia is in violation,” Bolton told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Russia’s position is that they aren’t. So one has to ask how to ask the Russians to come back into compliance with something they don’t think they’re violating.”

Source: Trump Surrenders to John Bolton on Russia and Arms Control | The American Conservative

Iran Deserves Credit for the Ruin of ISIS | The American Conservative

October 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Until recently the United States viewed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as a major threat to regional stability in the Middle East. Barack Obama made it a mission to roll back ISIS’s territorial and propagandistic gain, and Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to “kick ISIS’s ass.” The United States expended considerable effort, both military and political, in a campaign to defeat the terror group in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Syria.

But there is also no doubt that the bulk of the effort came from Iran, not the United States. Without Iranian involvement, ISIS would still have a formidable presence in both Iraq and Syria.

ISIS was born out of the ashes of the American invasion of Iraq. Their rise was the logical extension of a process that saw the fabric of secular Sunni society torn asunder by an American occupier unwilling to further empower a Sunni ruling elite that had been loyal to Saddam Hussein. Washington failed to understand the resentment engendered within the Sunni community when Iraq’s Shia, some of whom were beholden to Iran, came to power.

Source: Iran Deserves Credit for the Ruin of ISIS | The American Conservative

Is Trump Letting Al-Qaeda Sympathizers Survive in Syria? | The American Conservative

September 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

On September 13, 2018, two days after the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard addressed her colleagues from the floor of the House of Representatives. “Two days ago, President Trump and Vice President Pence delivered solemn speeches about the attacks on 9/11, talking about how much they care about the victims of Al-Qaeda’s attack on our country,” she observed. “But they are now standing up to protect the 20,000 to 40,000 al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria, and threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran with military force if they dare attack these terrorists.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson backed Gabbard’s statement by noting, “More than 10,000 rebels in [Idlib] province are believed to be aligned with Al-Qaeda. So that would mean that 17 years after 9/11, America could soon find itself bombing a country to protect al-Qaeda sympathizers. Why would we do that?”

The short answer is: Russia.

Source: Is Trump Letting Al-Qaeda Sympathizers Survive in Syria? | The American Conservative

The Proxy War Over Trump’s Foreign Policy | The American Conservative

September 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Six years ago, Republican Senators Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham had a “crazy bastard” fight over foreign policy and civil liberties. Politico reported three years later that the entire purpose of Graham’s 2016 presidential run was to “take down Rand Paul.” In June, Jim Antle explored how “Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham battle for clout with Trump.”

This war between libertarian realist Paul and uber-hawk Graham is not new.

Source: The Proxy War Over Trump’s Foreign Policy | The American Conservative

U.S. Again Cries ‘Chemical Warfare’ in Syria | The American Conservative

September 13, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Author’s Update 9/12/18: The Syrian government, backed by Russian airpower and Iranian advisors, is preparing to undertake a major offensive designed to retake the province of Idlib from opposition forces. The newly appointed State Department Special Representative for Syria, Jim Jeffreys, claims that there is “Lots of evidence” that Syria is preparing to use chemical weapons, specifically chlorine gas, in support of the Idlib operation.

For its part, Russia claims to have specific intelligence that al Qaeda affiliates, working in conjunction with the White Helmet organization, is preparing to stage a chlorine gas attack designed to look like it was done by the Syrian government. The U.S. has warned that it would launch a major military strike against not only the Syrian government, but also Russian and Iranian targets in Syria, if chemical weapons were used in Idlib.

Source: U.S. Again Cries ‘Chemical Warfare’ in Syria | The American Conservative

Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians | The American Conservative

August 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

It was a remarkable moment in a remarkable press conference. President Donald Trump had just finished a controversial summit meeting in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and the two were talking to the media. Jeff Mason, a political affairs reporter with Reuters, stood up and asked Putin a question pulled straight out of the day’s headlines: “Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a U.S. grand jury?”

The “12 Russian officials” Mason spoke of were military intelligence officers accused of carrying out a series of cyberattacks against various American-based computer networks (including those belonging to the Democratic National Committee), the theft of emails and other data, and the release of a significant portion of this information to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The names and organizational affiliations of these 12 officers were contained in a detailed 29-page indictment prepared by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and subsequently made public by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on July 13—a mere three days prior to the Helsinki summit.

Source: Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians | The American Conservative

John Brennan, Melting Down and Covering Up – LewRockwell

July 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

It isn’t a pretty face, but one scarred from a dark past, repackaged now by the frenzy of “resistance.” Accusing Donald Trump recklessly, implying he knows more than he lets on, promising redemption: John Brennan is the face of American politics in 2018.

But before all that, Brennan lived in a hole about as far down into the deep state as one can dwell while still having eyes that work in the sunlight. He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, helping the president decide who to kill every week, including American citizens. He spent 25 years at the CIA, and helped shape the violent policies of the post-9/11 Bush era. He was a fan of torture and extrajudicial killing to the point that a 2012 profile of him was entitled, “The Seven Deadly Sins of John Brennan.” Another writer called Brennan “the most lethal bureaucrat of all time, or at least since Henry Kissinger.” Today, however, a New York Times puff piece sweeps all that away as a “troubling inheritance.”

Source: John Brennan, Melting Down and Covering Up – LewRockwell

Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians | The American Conservative

July 19, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

 

It should be noted that the indicted 12 have not violated any Russian laws. But the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty doesn’t close the door on cooperation in this matter. Rather, the treaty notes that “The Requested Party may, in its discretion, also provide legal assistance where the conduct that is the subject of the request would not constitute a crime under the laws of the Requested Party.”

It specifically precludes the process of cooperating from inferring a right “on the part of any other persons to obtain evidence, to have evidence excluded, or to impede the execution of a request.” In short, if the United States were to avail itself of the treaty’s terms, Russia would not be able to use its cooperation as a vehicle to disrupt any legal proceedings underway in the U.S.

Source: Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians | The American Conservative

Ron and Rand Paul Call Out Foreign Policy Hysteria | The American Conservative

July 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

 

When Mitt Romney called Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe” during the 2012 election campaign, Barack Obama mocked him: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Vice President Joe Biden dismissedRomney as a “Cold War holdover.” Hillary Clinton said Romney was “looking backward.” John Kerry said “Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.”

Romney’s Russia warning came at a time when Republicans were eager to exploitPresident Obama’s hot mic comments to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev where he promised “more flexibility” on missile defense issues after the election. Romney, to the delight of Republican hawks and neoconservatives, was eager to portray Obama as capitulatingweak, and dangerous. For his part, Obama, who once vowed to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations, painted Romney as outdated for disparaging diplomacy.

Source: Ron and Rand Paul Call Out Foreign Policy Hysteria | The American Conservative

Trump Needs to Put Up or Shut Up on Russian Arms Race | The American Conservative

July 15, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

 

President Trump heads to Helsinki next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a summit that has drawn the ire of his critics and faint praise from his supporters. There is no doubt that this meeting is timed to stick a thumb in the eye of Robert Mueller, Congress, and a skeptical media, all of which have genuine concerns over the role played by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

It is doubtful that Trump will raise the issue of Russian electoral interference in any meaningful way, despite bipartisan pressure to do so. The United States has already ceded Syria to Russia and the Assad government, perhaps to gain Moscow’s support for minimizing Iran’s influence in that region. And while the Ukraine crisis will undoubtedly be discussed, Russia has made it clear that its absorption of Crimea is irreversible and non-negotiable, which makes the rollback of economic sanctions a virtual non-starter. Beyond reaffirming the bon homme that exists between these two leaders, the Helsinki Summit offers few opportunities for accomplishments of substance—unless one considers arms control.

Source: Trump Needs to Put Up or Shut Up on Russian Arms Race | The American Conservative

At NATO, Trump Should Declare MAGA Doctrine of Self Defense | The American Conservative

July 12, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

 

At the forthcoming NATO summit, President Donald Trump should tell the other 28 other members what Congressman John Randolph of Virginia told Greek proponents of American military assistance during their war of independence against the Ottoman Empire: “Let us say to those seven millions of Greeks, ‘We defended ourselves, when we were but three millions against a Power, in comparison to which the Turk is a lamb. Go and do thou likewise.’”

In short, President Trump should tell the other NATO nations that the United States will no longer defend them from external aggression unless Congress declares war as is constitutionally required by the Declare War Clause of Article I, section 8, clause 11.

Source: At NATO, Trump Should Declare MAGA Doctrine of Self Defense | The American Conservative

American Empire Demands a Caesar | The American Conservative

June 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States has adorned its president with extravagance that makes Roman emperors appear frugal by comparison. And such visible signs of the deification of our president are complemented by legal doctrines that echo Richard Nixon’s once discredited claim to David Frost: “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

These extra-constitutional developments reflect the transformation of the United States from a republic, whose glory was liberty and whose rule of law was king, to an empire, whose glory is global dominion and whose president is law. The Constitution’s architects would be shocked to learn that contemporary presidents play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to any person on the planet deemed a threat to national security on the basis of secret, untested evidence known only to the White House.

Source: American Empire Demands a Caesar | The American Conservative

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