When are the neocons and the hawks going to stop getting us into more trouble, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Ron Paul during an appearance on Hardball. “Well I wish they’d look at reason and look at what is happening,” replied Paul, but “I think it’s unfortunately going to stop when we go broke and there’s nothing left and then the people will find out that it is a total failure.”
The other consequence of the constant wars the US is engaged in, added Paul, is that eventually the wars get turned inward against the American people. And that’s why we have this attack on civil liberties.
“But I concentrate on foreign policy in my new book, he adds, because “these wars are needless, they are immoral, they are unconstitutional, and they hurt us.”
Paul and Matthews discuss the “Giuliani Moment” in Ron Paul’s 2008 run. Paul points out that while many said his campaign was finished because of his discussion of blowback in the debate, in fact from that moment his candidacy actually took off and it was Giuliani who was all but finished.
Chris Matthews finishes the interview telling his audience that if they like the way this man is thinking, his new book is titled Swords into Plowshares.
Watch the whole interview here:
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
Last week, McClatchy’s Marisa Taylor reported on two cases showing the new appeals process for whistleblower retaliation claims ordered by President Obama is now operational; in the cases of Army whistleblower Michael Helms and CIA whistleblower John Reidy, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Charles McCullough, has bounced the appeals back to the agencies in question for re-review.
That McCullough has chosen to bounce these two appeals back to the agencies is notable enough, because his commitment to whistleblower issues has never been apparent. Instead, McCullough has spent his time as IG conducting leak investigations. And last year, a complaint email sent to Daniel Meyer, who oversees whistleblower issues for the intelligence community, somehow got shared with the subject of the complaint. So McCullough’s record on these issues is less than stellar.
But McCullough’s move is particularly interesting when you consider the details of the appeal of the second complainant, John Reidy.
Reidy was not a CIA employee – his complaint spans the time from 2005 to he 2011, during which he was a subcontractor to SAIC and then, after he lost his contract with them, with Mantech, although another CIA contractor, Raytheon, got involved in alleged retaliatory actions leading to his firing from Mantech in 2011. In addition, Reidy’s whistleblowing appears to have led to an adjudication flag that has held up his security clearance renewal, which prevents him from getting any more contracts going forward.
An appellate decision on the long-running dispute between a former prosecutor and the Department of Justice may provide a new way for journalists to protect their government sources.
The decision came as a result of former prosecutor Richard Convertino’s effort to sue DOJ for Privacy Act violations tied to a 2004 leak to Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter. Ashenfelter reported that Convertino was under investigation by DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility for misconduct on a terrorism trial.
There are no heroes in the underlying suit. Convertino claims DOJ investigated him not for prosecutorial misconduct, but instead to retaliate for criticism of their conduct under the War on Terror and testimony provided under subpoena to Congress. The claim deserves consideration given the lenient treatment DOJ has given to egregious prosecutorial misconduct in other cases (such as Ted Stevens), not to mention other failures to comply with discovery obligations, especially on terrorism trials. But Convertino’s alleged conduct – withholding evidence from defense attorneys – was also inexcusable.
The dispute has sucked Ashenfelter up in a long running fight over whether he should have to testify about his sources. He first tried to refuse by invoking reporter’s privilege, which a judge rejected. But when, in 2008, Convertino tried to depose the reporter, Ashenfelter invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to each question. To defend doing so, Ashenfelter pointed to Convertino’s own claims that he had conspired with criminals at DOJ, as well as to a series of cases (including those under the Espionage Act) and public statements suggesting DOJ might prosecute someone for using documents illegally obtained from the government to do reporting.
On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, a tiny Persian Gulf emirate. Three days later, US president George HW Bush fielded questions from reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. The key line from, and substance of, those remarks: “This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.”
Two days after that, Operation Desert Shield commenced with the arrival of US troops in Saudi Arabia. Desert Shield transitioned into Desert Storm – a short, sharp, successful air and ground attack resulting in the ejection of Saddam Hussein’s troops from Kuwait.
The early days of this military adventure were marked by spirited debate on its merits and trepidation over the possibility of large-scale chemical warfare and mass US casualties.
But by late May of 1991, when I returned home from my tour of duty as a Marine infantry NCO, the war seemed an unqualified success. Saddam’s forces had been routed with fewer than 300 Americans killed and only 800 wounded.
Parades were held. Medals were awarded. Returning troops in uniform got free beer at airport bars. Yes, really – I drank my Budweiser on layover at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. And I drank the Kool Aid that followed, too: Desert Storm had blown away the dark cloud cover of Vietnam and looked set to go down in history as a “good war” not unlike World War II.
Now that NATO officially supports Turkey’s revitalized war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Turks might soon request American weapons, intelligence and diplomatic assistance for their onslaught. When that time comes, we should say no.
Those who would again have us commit American resources to Turkish authoritarians ought to examine the past repercussions of their longstanding policy. From 1985 to 1995, the US government granted $5.3 billion worth of military "protection" to the Turkish government, endowments that at one point accounted for more than three-quarters of Turkey’s imported weaponry. In reality, this "protective" assistance facilitated the brutal repression of innocent Kurds in a state that prohibited the use of Kurdish languages in public spaces and accosted Kurdish civilians for their involvement in dissident political parties. In its effort to eradicate the PKK, the Turkish government incinerated Kurdish homes and wielded Western weapons to extirpate communities, to torture people wantonly, and to assassinate political opponents without trial.
The Turkish government’s illiberal streak still exists today. Over the past couple of weeks, the authorities have attacked antiwar protesters with water cannons and have detained hundreds of Kurdish activists upon the resurgence of Turkey’s war with the PKK. As people who often use Kurdish suffering to justify Western attacks in the Middle East, American statesmen should find this situation appalling.
Early last week, the US publicly announced that it was not going to publicly blame China for the OPM hack.
The evidence of China’s responsibility for the hack has not been made public, and doesn’t seem particularly strong. The FBI initially suggested several possible candidates, including “state actors.” Media outlets took this to mean China, and started reporting China was being blamed. Congressmen took the media reports as proof China did it, and other media outlets took the Congressmen’s comments as proof China did it.
The idiocy through which we got here is neither here nor there though, as the US, which still hasn’t “publicly” blamed China, despite publicly saying they weren’t going to do so, is now publicly saying they’re going to carry out some sort of revenge act against China.
Officials are said to be split on how big of a revenge attack to conduct, and some are afraid that it will spark a revenge attack from China, which would be followed by a revenge-revenge attack, and so on.
Those calling for more aggressive attacks are said to believe it will be a “deterrent” in the future, despite it also being obviously more likely to result in retaliation. The question of whether China even did the OPM hack in the first place seems long since forgotten.