With Russian planes bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda targets this week, the air traffic on a piece of land smaller than the state of Oregon is getting crowded. The danger of a tragic accident that could escalate in unknown directions is ever-greater. The US and its Gulf allies are warning the Russians against bombing the terrorists without also trying to overthrow Assad. Saudi Arabia is warning Russia against civilian casualties in Syria even as the Saudis have killed nearly 3,000 innocent Yemeni civilians over the past five months. US-paid NGOs are pumping out the anti-Russian propaganda. What could possibly go wrong? Today’s Liberty Report is on the Syrian powder keg:

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

More than 50 intelligence officers from the Defense Intelligence Agency have formally complained that their work is being altered before it is sent to senior Obama Administration officials – and even to the president himself. Concerns over the effectiveness of the year-long new US war in Iraq and Syria are being covered up and a more rosy picture is being painted. The media has largely ignored this replay of the kind of lies fed the run-up to the 2002 Iraq war and, as could be expected, Congress is totally uninterested. Today’s Liberty Report is not uninterested, however. Ron Paul’s take below:

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

During the discussion on the Iran nuclear deal, it has been strange to hear US politicians fiercely condemn Iranian human rights abuses while remaining silent about worse abuses by US ally Saudi Arabia. Not only is the Saudi regime repressive at home and abroad, but US weapons and US support for the regime make Americans complicit. So let’s look at the regime the US government counts as its close friend.

1. Saudi Arabia is governed as an absolutist monarchy by a huge clan, the Saud family, and the throne passes from one king to another. The Cabinet is appointed by the king, and its policies have to be ratified by royal decree. Political parties are forbidden and there are no national elections.

2. Criticizing the monarchy, or defending human rights, can bring down severe and cruel punishments in addition to imprisonment. Ali al-Nimr was targeted and arrested at the age of 17 for protesting government corruption, and his since been sentenced to beheading and public crucifixion. Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for writing a blog the government considered critical of its rule. Waleed Abulkhair is serving a 15-year sentence for his work as a human right attorney. New legislation effectively equates criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism. The government tightly controls the domestic press, banning journalists and editors who publish articles deemed offensive to the religious establishment or the ruling authorities. Over 400,000 websites that are considered immoral or politically sensitive are blocked. A January 2011 law requires all blogs and websites, or anyone posting news or commentary online, to have a license from the Ministry of Information or face fines and/or the closure of the website.


US special operations forces are operating in 81 countries according to the Wall Street Journal. Their budget has increased five-fold since 2001 and their personnel have doubled. They operate in secret, most often without Congressional oversight or even knowledge. Is it dangerous for the president to have what is de facto a personal army like this? Tune in to the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

On the sparsely populated Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Circle, there is a giant “doomsday” seed vault, which houses samples of the seeds of crops from gene banks around the world. The theory behind this plan was that some huge cataclysm might wipe out some important types of plants and the frozen vault would serve as a last-chance place for humanity to recover some of those seeds.

It was opened back in 2008, and it’s already had its first withdrawal.

The cause was the Syrian Civil War, and in particular the years of fighting over Syria’s former financial and industrial capital of Aleppo. Among the many things that were located in Aleppo was the International Center for Agricultural Research in The Dry Areas (ICARDA), which had been the primary gene bank for a lot of seeds that can grow in dry climates like Syria.

Luckily, the group had deposited copies of the seeds at the doomsday vault, and having had to relocate from the rubble that used to be Aleppo to Lebanon, they’re withdrawing those seeds, to replace all the ones that got destroyed in Aleppo. The plan is to make copies of those seeds and send those back to the vault, in case Northern Lebanon isn’t as safe as it seems right now.

For decades, Cuba had been ruled out by international organizations, such as the OAS (Organization of American States), the WTO (World Trade Organization), the Commission on Human Rights, among others.

Sanctions and isolation were based on the premise that Cuba violates human rights and oppresses its own people. Under the The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act or “Helms Burton Act” of 1996 this set off provisions that were aimed at a peaceful transition to a representative democracy and market economy in Cuba.

What had been neglected for a long time, was the path of self-determination of Cuba and its people and a promotion of diplomacy instead of hostility. Steps to bring democracy into Cuba have been forced upon with an economic embargo for nearly 5 decades. The trade embargo still exists; named after the originators of the laws Torricelli and Helms-Burton and other laws signed by former President George W. Bush.

This plan tried to bring the collapsing of Cuba and the transition to a democratic system. But in recent years, changes in the political landscape of Cuba and its international involvement in “medical diplomacy” have brought the island state to gain significant influence. President Obama’s move to normalize U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations was not an act of benevolence. Apart from polls stating the support of normalizing relations by Cuban-Americans, the millions of Dollars spent in holding up the failed policies, and the lack of results it brought, the international support for Cuba was a key factor. In fact, improved relations with Cuba will open the path for better cooperation between the U.S. government and the Latin American states.