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mercredi, 11 janvier 2017

La guerre contre les «fake news», fait partie d’une guerre contre la liberté d’expression

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La guerre contre les «fake news», fait partie d’une guerre contre la liberté d’expression

par Ron Paul, USA

Ex: http://www.zeit-fragen.ch 

C’est une attaque à la liberté que de s’en prendre au droit à la discussion des problèmes politiques, à la recherche de sources d’informations alternatives et à la promotion de causes et d’idées dissidentes […]. Si cet assaut continuel à la liberté d’expression aboutit, toutes nos libertés sont alors menacées.
[…]
Beaucoup d’opposants à la liberté d’expression soutiennent des lois et des règlementations visant à interdire aux activistes et aux organismes éducatifs la publication de faits touchants aux positions défendues par un candidat quelques mois avant son élection. Si ces lois sont appliquées, les seules sources d’informations sur un candidat seraient les medias et son équipe de campagne.
La Federal Election Commission (FEC) [Commission électorale fédérale] a récemment rejeté une proposition demandant d’exempter les livres, les films et les vidéos en continu de ces réglementations sur le langage. Une majorité des membres de la FEC sont donc d’avis que le pouvoir leur revient, par exemple, d’interdire la biographie d’Edward Snowden par Oliver Stone puisque celle-ci a été publiée deux mois avant l’élection présidentielle et qu’elle contient des extraits de médias, dans lesquels Hillary Clinton et Donald Trump s’expriment sur Snowden.
La menace la plus récente, et potentiellement la plus dangereuse, au «First Amendment» [Premier amendement à la Constitution des Etats-Unis interdisant au Congrès d’adopter des lois limitant les libertés d’expression, de religion, de la presse, et de réunion, ndlr.] est la guerre contre les «fake news» [nouvelles fausses, truquées ou falsifiées, ndt.]. Ceux qui mènent cette guerre utilisent en prétexte quelques «canulars» sur Internet pour justifier davantage de réglementations gouvernementales – et même de la censure pure et simple – de certains sites internet. Certains sites populaires, tel Facebook, n’attendent même pas que le gouvernement les force à réprimer les «fausses nouvelles» pour réagir.
Ceux qui demandent l’interdiction de «fausses nouvelles» veulent non seulement censurer les canulars facilement réfutables mais aussi employer des «gardiens/gatekeeper» (pour utiliser le terme fameux d’Hillary Clinton) commandités par le gouvernement, ayant le pouvoir de censurer nIMPORTE quelle information ou opinion déplaisant à l’establishment politique. Pourtant, aucun opposant aux «fausses nouvelles» n’a jusqu’à présent exprimé son inquiétude quant aux fausses nouvelles qui ont aidé à déclencher la guerre en Irak. Ces fausses nouvelles sont à l’origine de la déstabilisation du Moyen-Orient, de la montée en puissance de Daech et de plusieurs millions de morts.
La guerre contre les «fausses nouvelles» a pris un tournant inquiétant en qualifiant les sites et sources d’information alternatifs de colporteurs de propagande russe. Les cibles principales sont les critiques de la politique étrangère interventionniste américaine, les partisans de l’étalon-or, les critiques de la dette d’Etat mirobolante et même ceux qui se battent pour mettre fin à la militarisation de la police. Tous sont qualifiés d’agents russes anti-américains.
La semaine dernière, le Congrès a adopté une loi mettant en place un comité spécial composé d’importantes agences gouvernementales, chargé de contrer les interférences étrangères dans le processus des élections américaines. Certains ont appelé à une enquête menée par le Congrès sur une éventuelle intrusion russe dans les élections. Il est évident que le but de ces manœuvres est de faire taire et de discréditer ceux
qui remettent en question la propagande gouvernementale pro-Etat-providence/pro-guerre véhiculée par les grands médias alignés.
Les efforts d’interdire les «fausses nouvelles», de qualifier d’agents russes les opposants à la guerre et à la Réserve fédérale ainsi que d’autres mouvements pour la liberté et de vouloir interdire le débat sur le passé (ou le dossier) d’un candidat politique avant une élection à des organisations indépendantes, font partie de la guerre contre le Premier amendement. Tous les Américains, peu importe leur obédience politique, ont un intérêt à combattre ces tentatives de restreindre la liberté d’expression.     •

Source: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/20... du 11/12/16

(Traduction Horizons et débats)

mardi, 08 décembre 2015

Ron Paul: Are We In A Clash Of Civilizations?

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By

The Ron Paul Institute

Watch Dr. Paul give the speech here.

The credibility of all American politicians now requires acknowledging that America is engaged in a great war for survival – “the war against Islam.” Fear of “radical Islamic terrorists” requires our undivided attention. We’re to believe that the ugly and vicious violence of a very small percentage of the 1.7 billion Muslims around the world, without an army, navy, or air force, is on the verge of engulfing America and Western civilization. The claim is that the Western concept of Christianity, liberty, and free markets is threatened. If this is so, it speaks more about the weak support for these values than for the strength of a small group claiming to speak for all of Islam. It may not make much sense, but it provokes the fear required for war-mongering.

The popular belief that a gigantic clash of civilizations explains today’s conditions fits well into the propaganda efforts of the neocon inspired American Empire. One cannot deny that a group exists that associates itself with Islam and preaches violence in combination with extreme religious beliefs. Al Qaeda and ISIS do exist. Claiming that they alone are responsible for the great “clash” is purposely misleading. That misunderstanding is required by Western propagandists to gain public support for their wars in the Middle East, and for a continuation of the American Empire. Unfortunately, so far it has worked pretty well.

Fear is the tool used to galvanize a people into supporting war while sacrificing liberty. Exaggerations and propping up groups who falsely claim to represent 99 percent of Muslims, serves the interests of those in the West who want the clash of civilizations for their own selfish purposes. Current US and Western support for ISIS in Syria, even though it’s denied, is designed to remove Assad. This policy is in the tradition of our foreign policy of recent decades. Aligning ourselves with the creation of Hamas and the mujahedin (Taliban) is well documented.

The emphasis on a  clash of civilizations is more about ruthless pragmatism than it is of a great battle of two civilizations. Promoters of war must first find or create an enemy to demonize in order to gain the people’s support for stupid and illegal preemptive wars. The Iraq war was built on lies and fear-mongering. US leaders, prodded by the neoconservatives, continue to propagandize for a “crusade” against Islam in order to justify rearranging the Middle East according to their desires. Disregarding all previous failures in this effort is not a problem if the people can be convinced that the enemy is grotesque and threatening our way of life.

It’s strange, but 130 people killed in Paris has served the purpose of throwing reason to the wind, and the majority of Americans have become anxious for a showdown with Islam no matter how many lies have to be told and people killed.

If what is said by the neoconservatives about Islam is true, nuking Indonesia would seem logical. Two hundred and three million Muslims could be wiped out rather quickly. What many fail to admit is that ISIS deliberately manipulates Islam to inspire violence by some, which helps them gain recruits for their cause. This is not a reflection of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. It’s like claiming that the KKK represents sound Christian theology. Many evangelical Christians support preemptive war in the Middle East, but that doesn’t mean that Christians must give up the notion that, as Jesus said, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

Both sides of this huge so-called clash of two civilizations benefit from allowing fringe elements of both religious cultures to support the hypothesis. Both sides need the fear associated with a clash of civilizations to motivate the masses to fight a war that Western leaders have initiated. It may be a hoax, but such a war is still very dangerous and can easily spin out of control.

The death of 4 million Muslims in the Middle East over the last 14 years, since Western foreigners moved in, has rearranged the political power structure of the region. This cannot be ignored. The deliberate killing of innocent civilians and retaliation lays claim to the reality of a clash of civilizations rhetoric.

The US can’t be serious in this clash of civilizations, which is used to radicalize both sides. Our ally Turkey playing games with ISIS hardly convinces us that ISIS will bring our civilization to its knees and destroy our way of life. The United States is a loyal supporter of Saudi Arabia, a nation noted for its ruthless enforcement of Sharia law. This hardly suggests our political leaders are at war with Islam. The neoconservatives, perpetrators of the clash of civilizations rhetoric and a war against Islam, aren’t advocating bombing Saudi Arabia even with evidence of their involvement in 9/11 and the recent shootings in California.

Our foreign policy makers, both Republicans and Democrats, remain obsessed with overthrowing another secular Muslim country: Syria. That policy did not work out well in Iraq and elsewhere, and so far it has only made the Middle East an ever more dangerous place. The harder we work at remaking the Middle East, the worse the conditions become, with an ever stronger and more dangerous Al Qaeda and ISIS.

The more violent our military response is to ISIS, the easier it is for more jihadists to be recruited to its cause. And the greater the violence and political demagoguery, the more gullible Americans join the ranks of supporters for expanding this so-called “holy” war.

Republicans have a knee-jerk explanation for the violence in the Middle East which is now spreading into Europe: It’s simply “Obama’s fault.” He hasn’t killed enough Muslims fast enough. It may not be the “clash of civilizations” that many describe, but Islamic terrorism confronts a Western crusade against Islam inspired by radical minorities on each side. Neocon radicals are the greatest domestic threat to liberty here at home — not foreign invaders.

Many Americans fervently believe that our policies represent “American exceptionalism” — democracy, freedom, generosity, and a willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of mankind. They accept the notion that we have a responsibility as the world’s policeman to thwart evil. The recipients of our “largesse” and interventions don’t see it that way. They understand exactly what encroachment of empire means to them. It is understood that our presence has nothing to do with spreading humanitarian American goodness and values. Instead, the people of the region see us as invaders: stealing their oil, while corrupting and bribing puppet dictators to serve our interests. The response should never surprise us. Blowback and unintended consequences should be easily understood and anticipated.

The answer we get from those most angry with our plunder and killing comes in the form of inspired radical Islamism that pretends it speaks for all of Islam. The radicals of neither side really speak for a “civilization.”

The influence and profiteering of the military-industrial complex is never criticized by the neocons. Never do we hear an honest debate by the politicians regarding the immorality of the Bush/Cheney doctrine of pre-emptive war that was soundly repudiated in the 2008 election. Memories are short, and demagoguery is a team sport by politicians.

Transparency — and a little history — should convince the people that the clash of civilizations rhetoric is only war propaganda. The idea of the  clash of civilizations is not new or unique. Samuel Huntington responded to Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book “The End of History,” and addressed this issue. Huntington was allied with neoconservative guru Bernard Lewis and the American Enterprise Institute. The origin of this recent use of the term should tip one off as to the motivation for popularizing the idea of the “ clash of civilizations.”

clash451628975_9781451628975_hr.jpgHuntington, in his 1996 book “The  Clash of Civilizations,” encourages the notion that Western Christian civilization is destined to be in conflict with the Muslim world of the Middle East. Almost at the same time, in 1997, the neocons released their plan “For a New American Century.” Philosophical support for the war between the East and the West was especially helpful to the neocons after 9/11. It served to deflect any consideration of blowback being a contributing factor to the attack on the US on September 11th. Our instigators for war and empire have worked diligently to place the blame for the violence in the Middle East on Islam itself, with which we are now said to be at war. To suggest anything else today is “blasphemous” to the concept of “American Exceptionalism.”

Huntington’s thesis is that ideology and economic conditions are no longer important in world conflicts. That age, he claims, has ended. The world is now moving back, according to Huntington, to a more “normal” state of cultural and religious conflicts and away from state versus state in conventional war.

But it’s not quite so simple. Diminishing the importance of the state should always be helpful since less big wars and central powers would result. But that’s not their plan. World government is what the neocons and many other world leaders seek.

Espousing correct ideology and real economic understanding are the only answers to unwise cultural and religious clashes, or clashes between various governments. My sense is that although most wars have many components to them, economic conditions are always important. A healthy economy usually results from a decent respect for economic liberty, and establishing conditions that encourage peace over war. International trade diminishes prospects for war as well. Inflation and hunger encourages civil strife and violent overthrow of incompetent governments.

The argument that cultural and religious wars occur when there is an absence of an ideology and economic policy is not a reasonable explanation. It’s my opinion that ideas and economic conditions override cultural and religious differences. When economic conditions deteriorate and cultural differences arise, religious beliefs are used to mobilize people to hate and start killing each other.

Economic ideas that encourage empire-building and resentment are what hurts the economy and encourages war. Instead of understanding how free markets, sound money, property rights, and civil liberties lead to prosperity and peace, the explanation is that the ensuing wars are explained by a “ clash of civilizations” stirred up by racial tensions and religious differences. This is something that always ends badly.

Here is the sequence: First, it’s the powerful financial interests that initiate empire building and control of natural resources. Second, the people’s response is to resist, and the occupying forces compensate by establishing puppet dictators to keep the peace by force. Third, when resistance builds, preemptive war is used to circumvent national and international restraints on initiating wars. Fourth, both sides develop reactionary groups, motivated by anger, cultural, and religious differences, and a desire to expel the foreign groups that occupied their land.

Today in the Middle East it’s the various uprisings over economic conditions, plus other concerns, that prompt a struggle to push governments to reflect the people desires rather than the dictates of foreign occupiers and their stooges. Witness the growth of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups that currently saturate the entire Middle East.

In the United States, the “ clash of civilizations” is manifested by a contrived anger directed toward Islam, immigrants, and a worsening of wealth inequality. The latter results from a flawed economic policy and an ideology of entitlements.

Nearly everyone senses that there is grave danger on the horizon. This leads to an aggressive populism with an appeal to a broad spectrum of society. Note that numerous black ministers now claim they support billionaire Donald Trump’s promise of making everything right with America, delivered with an authoritarian confidence that the people welcome – a bit unusual for a Republican candidate for president.

This is a perfect set up for a clash between ISIS, inspired by a group of radical Islamists, and a tough and energetic populism promoted by Donald Trump. The ideology that encourages the use of force is engulfing the world and many are anxious to bring on the clash of civilizations for their own selfish purposes. Rough days are ahead, but ending an era of bad economic policy and lack of respect for liberty opens the door for the growing interest and understanding of liberty by a new generation. Voluntarism is far superior to the authoritarianism offered to the world today.

What seems to be support for constant escalating wars can all be reduced by replacing the bad policies of state-ism with a simple and easily understood philosophical principle: “The rejection of all aggression as a method for individuals or governments to alter society.” In spite of the chaos the world is now facing, the solution is not complex.  As the state entities continue to fail, a little common sense could go a long way in advancing the cause of liberty, peace and prosperity.

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lundi, 21 septembre 2015

Ron Paul Discusses Evangelical Zionists’ Support for US Wars

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Ron Paul Discusses Evangelical Zionists’ Support for US Wars

By Adam Dick
Ron Paul Institute & http://www.lewrockwell.com

Ron Paul, the former United States presidential candidate and Republican House of Representatives member from Texas, discussed in an August 8 radio interview evangelical Zionists who support the US government’s wars overseas. Paul examines the matter with Patriot’s Lament show host Joshua Bennett on KFAR radio of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Asked by Bennett why so many religious people in America are pro-war, Paul responds that, while the reasons vary from one person to the next, evangelical Zionism, which is taught by preachers at some churches, “has a lot to do with it.” Paul continues that the use of Christianity to support preventative or preemptive wars is “a gross distortion” of what Paul believes “the Christian faith is all about.” Paul explains in the interview that he sees Jesus as “the Prince of Peace.”

Also discussed in the 24-minute interview are Paul’s new book Swords into Plowshares — in which Paul writes extensively regarding the relationship among religion, war, and peace — as well as three projects Paul has undertaken since leaving the House in January of 2013 — the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, the Ron Paul Liberty Report, and the Ron Paul Curriculum.

Listen to Paul’s complete interview here.

Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams and Senior Fellow Adam Dick have also been guests on the KFAR radio show.

Listen to McAdams’ interview here.

Listen to Dick’s interview here.

samedi, 14 février 2015

Autoriser Obama à faire usage de la force militaire est un chèque en blanc pour la guerre mondiale

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Autoriser Obama à faire usage de la force militaire est un chèque en blanc pour la guerre mondiale

Ron Paul,  a siégé longtemps à la Chambre des représentants des USA. Il s’est même présenté à deux reprises à l’investiture du Parti Républicain pour les élections présidentielles de 2008 et de 2012. Partisan du libertarianisme, il prône une politique étrangère non interventionniste. Il s’est souvent distingué pour s’être opposé aux interventions militaires des États-Unis.

Le président demande au Congrès de voter une résolution autorisant l’usage de la force militaire contre l’Etat islamique. Le Congrès n’a pas émis de résolution similaire depuis 2002, quand le président Bush avait reçu l’autorisation de faire la guerre en Irak. L’objet de cette résolution est de donner au président l’autorité officielle pour faire ce qu’il fait depuis six ans. Cela peut paraître étrange mais c’est typique de Washington. Le président Obama affirme qu’il n’a pas besoin de cette autorité. Il fait valoir, comme l’ont fait les présidents récents, que l’autorité de faire la guerre au Moyen Orient est accordée par les résolutions votées en 2001 et 2002 et par l’article II de la Constitution. Demander cette autorité à présent est une réponse à la pression publique et politique.

On rapporte que le président va demander que l’autorité limite l’usage de forces terrestres. Toutefois, ceci ne s’appliquerait pas aux milliers de soldats déjà engagées en Syrie et en Irak. Cette nouvelle autorité reconnaîtra que davantage de conseillers seront envoyés. Plus significativement, elle paraîtra donner une sanction morale à des guerres en cours depuis des années.

Il est intéressant de noter qu’elle va réellement élargir la capacité pour le président de mener la guerre alors même que lui-même indique publiquement qu’il souhaiterait la restreindre. La nouvelle autorisation n’impose pas explicitement de limites géographiques à l’usage de forces armées où que ce soit dans le monde et elle élargit la définition de l’Etat islamique à toutes « les forces associées ». Accorder cette autorité ne fera rien pour limiter notre dangereuse participation à ces guerres constantes du Moyen Orient.

Les propagandistes de la guerre sont très actifs et gagnent le soutien de bien des citoyens américains non avertis. Il n’est pas difficile de motiver la résistance à une organisation telle que l’Etat islamique qui se livre à de tels déploiements maléfiques de violence horrible.

Nous nous battons au Moyen Orient depuis vingt-cinq ans. Il n’y a eu ni victoires ni « missions accomplies ». En dépit de beaucoup de morts et de dépenses inutiles, nous n’avons jamais reconsidéré notre politique d’interventionnisme à l’étranger. On pourrait penser qu’après l’humiliante défaite des Républicains en 2008 en réaction à la politique étrangère désastreuse de George W Bush, le peuple américain se montrerait plus prudent quant à apporter son soutien à une expansion de notre présence militaire dans la région.

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Même si notre politique n’entraînait pas davantage de bottes sur le terrain, les conséquences non voulues d’un retour de bâton et de l’obtention par l’ennemi de davantage d’armes américaines continuera. La CIA a dit que 20.000 étrangers sont en route vers l’Irak et la Syrie pour rejoindre l’Etat islamique. Notre gouvernement n’est pas plus crédible pour nous dire la vérité sur les faits qui nous forcent à accroître notre présence militaire dans cette région que ne l’est Brian Williams*. La guerre de propagande constante s’est trop souvent avérée être notre Némésis dans le soutien à la guerre permanente promue par les néo-conservateurs et le complexe militaro-industriel.

A mon avis, donner davantage d’autorité à la poursuite de la guerre au Moyen Orient est une erreur grave. A la place, l’autorité accordée en 2001 et 2002 devrait être abrogée. Une solution simple et correcte serait que nos dirigeants élus suivent les règles de la guerre telles qu’elles sont définies dans la Constitution.

L’ironie, c’est qu’il se trouvera bien quelques Républicains au Congrès pour s’opposer à cette résolution en raison de leur désir de guerre à tout va et de n’être limités en aucune façon par le nombre de combattants que nous devrions envoyer dans cette région. La seule façon de convaincre le Congrès de faire marche arrière dans notre dangereux interventionnisme, que ce soit au Moyen Orient ou en Ukraine, est que le peuple américain exprime haut et fort son opposition.

Il ne fait pas de doute que l’Etat islamique constitue un problème monstrueux – un problème que doivent résoudre les millions d’Arabes et de musulmans dans la région. L’Etat islamique ne peut exister sans le soutien du peuple dans la région. A l’heure actuelle on estime ses effectifs dans les 30.000. Ceci n’est pas la responsabilité des soldats américains ni des contribuables américains.

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Déclarer la guerre à l’Etat islamique c’est comme déclarer la guerre au communisme ou au fascisme. L’ennemi ne peut être identifié ou circonscrit. Il s’agit là d’une idéologie et les armées sont incapables d’arrêter une idée, bonne ou mauvaise, à laquelle le peuple ne résiste pas ou qu’il soutient. En outre, ce sont nos efforts qui ont renforcé l’Etat islamique. Notre engagement au Moyen Orient est utilisé comme un très efficace instrument de recrutement pour augmenter le nombre de djihadistes radicaux prêts à se battre et mourir pour ce qu’ils croient. Et malheureusement nos efforts ont aggravé la situation, les armes que nous envoyons finissant entre les mains de nos ennemis et utilisées contre nos alliés, avec des Américains pris entre deux feux. Les bonnes intentions ne suffisent pas. Une politique sage et le bon sens contribueraient grandement à œuvrer pour la paix et la prospérité au lieu de promouvoir une escalade de la violence et de motiver l’ennemi.

Ron Paul | 11 février 2015

* Présentateur de NBC limogé le 11 février pour sa version fantaisiste des dangers qu’il aurait encourus en Irak en 2003.

Article original: ronpaulinstitute.org

Traduit par Marcel Barang pour Arrêt sur Info

Source: http://arretsurinfo.ch/autoriser-obama-a-faire-usage-de-la-force-militaire-est-un-cheque-en-blanc-pour-la-guerre-mondiale/

dimanche, 30 mars 2014

Ron Paul Is Right About Crimea

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Ron Paul Is Right About Crimea

By Justin Raimondo

Antiwar.Com

The libertarian movement has always been a contentious arena: that’s the nature of the beast. After all, we’re talking about libertariansindividualists to a fault: getting them to agree on anything is often like trying to herd cats. Aside from this question of temperament, however, there have been some very substantial ideological differences over the years, and – not surprisingly – many of these internal conflicts have been over US foreign policy.

That’s because it’s relatively easy to ascertain the libertarian position on matters domestic: government spying on our emails? We’re against it. Higher taxes? We’re against all taxes, period. The National Endowment for the Arts? Abolish it.

Easy stuff. But when it comes to foreign policy – where historical context and knowledge of facts on the ground are decisive factors – it gets more complicated. And not all are up to the task: certainly Alexander McCobin, unelected “President” of Students for Liberty (SFL), isn’t. His article for the Panam Post, entitled “Ron Paul is Wrong When He Speaks About Secession and Crimea,” is an amalgam of misinformation and smears.

After waffling on about how libertarians have to be against “unnecessary wars” (although he doesn’t say which ones are or were necessary), and paying lip service to the idea that “our generation” has a “critical attitude toward foreign intervention” (only “critical”?), he finally gets to the point:

“While it’s important criticize misconduct of the United States and some of its Western allies exacerbating the turmoil in the Middle East over the past two decades, it is also important to remember that there are other aggressors in the world; Russia – with its ongoing wars in the Northern Caucasus, the invasion of South Ossetia, and it’s most recent annexation of Crimea – being key among them.

“Former Congressman Ron Paul, whose views are interpreted by many as wholly representative of the libertarian movement, gets it wrong when he speaks of Crimea’s right to secede. Make no mistake about it, Crimea was annexed by Russian military force at gunpoint and its supposedly democratic ‘referendum’ was a farce. Besides a suspiciously high voter turnout without legitimate international observers, the referendum gave Crimeans only two choices – join Russia now or later.”

McCobin is wrong about South Ossetia: like the Crimeans, the Ossetians held a referendum and voted to separate from Georgia’s central government. In response, Georgia invaded the region, sending in its troops before the Russians ever got there. They bombarded Tsinskvali, capital of the rebel province, deliberately targeting civilians, killing and wounding hundreds. According to Human Rights Watch, Georgian artillery fired directly into basements – where civilians were sure to be hiding. As the BBC put it:

“The BBC has discovered evidence that Georgia may have committed war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia in August. Eyewitnesses have described how its tanks fired directly into an apartment block, and how civilians were shot at as they tried to escape the fighting.”

McCobin hasn’t even bothered to do the most basic research: he’s simply swallowed the new cold war mythology whole. It’s easier that way.

As “evidence” for his contention that the Crimean referendum was invalid, he links to a piece by David L. Phillips, Director of the “Program on Peace-building and Rights” at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights,” and Carina Perelli, formerly head of the UN’s Electoral Assistance Division. Absurdly, the authors aver:

When a referendum is properly conducted, both winners and losers accept the outcome. However chastened, losers resign themselves to defeat because of guarantees that their rights will be preserved through constitutional and other means.”

 

By this standard, the Ukrainian “revolution” is invalid: Viktor Yanukovich, you’ll recall, was elected to the office of President, but the opposition didn’t resign themselves to defeat: instead, they turned to the US government, which funded and encouraged a rebellion that soon turned violent. Snipers shooting at protesters and police were later identified by the Estonian Foreign Minister as being aligned with the coup leaders, who wanted a pretext to blame the government and take power themselves. Armed ultra-nationalist groups – including a fair proportion of neo-Nazisstormed government buildings, and the opposition took power in a coup.

Oh, but Crimea’s referendum, organized by the elected Parliament, is “invalid.”

It’s not too surprising, however, that the authors of that Huffington Post piece McCobin links to would take such a counterintuitive stance: after all, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights is taking in scads of US government money from USAID – and the less said about the UN’s “Electoral Assistance Division” the better. Phillips and Perelli had better take Washington’s side if they know what’s good for them. If not, they’d soon find themselves out of a job.

What I want to know is: what’s Alexander McCobin’s excuse?

Ignorance? Only partially, I think, because he goes on to write:

“It’s much too simplistic to solely condemn the United States for any kind of geopolitical instability in the world. Non-interventionists who sympathize with Russia by condoning Crimea’s secession and blaming the West for the Ukrainian crisis fail to see the larger picture. Putin’s government is one of the least free in the world and is clearly the aggressor in Crimea, as it was even beforehand with its support of the Yanukovych regime that shot and tortured its own citizens on the streets of Kyiv.”

The oily conflation of supporting secession – which every authentic libertarian supports, everywhere, as a matter of high principle – with “non-interventionists who sympathize with Russia” is a typical neocon ploy. They did it during the Iraq war: by opposing US intervention, we were “supporting Saddam.” By “condoning” the right of the Crimean people to national self-determination, we “sympathize with Russia.” McCobin has been taking lessons in the Washington Free Beacon-Buzzfeed school of “journalism” – the two neocon outlets that, that coincidentally, eagerly took up this “story” of a “libertarian split” over Ukraine.

This isn’t a matter of being misinformed: McCobin is simply lying when he accuses the Yanukovich government of torture and murder. No one knows who employed those snipers, although the Estonian Foreign Minister clearly has his suspicions. And Ukraine is no more free than Russia: with no less than eight neo-Nazis holding high positions – including chief of the national police – in the unelected “interim government,” one could make a good argument that today it is far less free. While Hillary Clinton inanely likened Putin to Hitler, the reality is that one of the three top leaders of the coup belongs to a party that sided with the Nazis in World War II and actively participated in the Holocaust. The “muscle” that enabled the coup leaders to take over government buildings was supplied by “Right Sector,” an openly anti-Semitic pro-Nazi gang of skinheads.

Is this the movement the “libertarian” McCobin supports?

Oh, those anti-American libertarians like Ron Paul are always “blaming the West” – we’re Blame America Firsters, that’s the neocon line that McCobin would have us swallow. One of many problems with this tired argument is that there’s no such thing as “the West,” unless you’re talking about the entire population of Western Europe and North America. Libertarians blame the governmentsof those countries, which have intervened, using both hard and “soft” power, all over the world: Ukraine is no exception. The so-called Orange Revolution was financed, produced, and directed by those masters of the narrative in Washington, D.C., who messed up the country so badly that it turned to the loutish Yanukovich and threw the Orange Revolutionaries out in a free and fair election.

This is what McCobin and his fellow neocons-in-”libertarian”-clothing really hate about Ron Paul: he calls out Washington’s moral responsibility for a good deal of the misery and slaughter in the world, and rightly so. With the mightiest military machine on earth, “defense” expenditures totaling more than the top ten spenders combined, and a network of bases, protectorates, and client states larger than any rival by several degrees of magnitude, the warlords of Washington have taken every opportunity to extend the frontiers of their empire. And they don’t always do it by military means.

Ukraine is an example of conquest-by-subversion, as were the other “color revolutions” funded and directed by Washington in Georgia, Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, and elsewhere. Here is a partial list of the various Ukrainian drains US taxpayer dollars have been poured down. The level of US government involvement is so intense that we have Victoria Nuland telling the Ukrainians who they can and cannot have in their new “government.” What if the Russian government took an equally intense interest in our elections – would Students for Liberty think Putin is taking too many liberties with our internal affairs?

I’ve saved the worst for last, the part where McCobin issues a warning: “Everyone,” he writes, “should be very careful with showing sympathies to an autocratic leader such as President Putin.”

Yes, be careful, you guys, because the Free Beacon and Rosie Gray are watching you! You could be outed as a commie-lovin’ Putin-lovin’ KGB-lovin’ agent of a foreign power.

Be careful opposing US foreign policy, because you’ll be labeled a Russia-lovin’ traitor – just like that turncoat Ed Snowden.

That, of course, is what this new cold war is all about. Or is it just a coincidence that the Red Dawning of Washington is occurring as Snowden’s revelations of US government spying are ongoing? Snowden’s name never comes up in McCobin’s screed, not even to remark in irony that this libertarian hero has been given asylum by a government that is “one of the least free in the world.”

I did find some mention of Snowden on the Students for Liberty web site, however, including this piece describing an interview with the head of SFL’s European division – a televised segment on “Russia Today,” the Putin government’s state-owned station.

I, for one, have a policy of not appearing on any state-run propaganda media outlet, including not only Russia Today, but Voice of America, Al Jazeera, and any other government-funded venue. That doesn’t mean I hold it against the European SFL for taking the opportunity to spread their message: but I refuse to be threatened by the SFL about how I have to be “careful” lest I’m guilty of “showing sympathies” for the “autocrat” Putin when SFL is being given a platform by that very same “autocrat.”

So why were the Free Beacon, Buzzfeed, and Dave Weigel all over this ginned up brouhaha? Because of McCobin’s parting slime-ball:

“In contrast to his father, Senator Rand Paul gets it right by condemning Russian aggression while not subscribing to hawkish calls for military intervention at the same time. It is one thing to not intervene; it is another thing to applaud an autocrat for the sake of blaming our own government.”

This is laughable. As Jonathan Chait noted, Rand Paul’s boilerplate “get tough” rhetoric didn’t quite match his concrete proposal, which was to cut off all aid to Ukraine. Rand also warned against “tweaking Putin” after the coup leaders seized power. So there is no policy split between father and son: as both Rand and Ron have said, it’s a difference not of substance but of style. Yet they also have different goals: Ron set out to educate the public so that someone like Rand could actually get elected President.

The neocons won’t be happy until and unless Rand Paul commits the political equivalent of patricide – and makes the catastrophic mistake of cutting himself off from his national political base. They are absolutely terrified that the junior Senator from Kentucky is now the acknowledged frontrunner in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and they’ve just begun their work. They naturally picked as their first target the soft underbelly of the campaign – the libertarian movement itself, which is split into the real grassroots movement expanded and renewed by Ron Paul, and the astro-turf creation of the Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, of which SFL is one of many appendages.

The actual grassroots libertarian youth group – with a real membership of over 7,000 – is Young Americans for Liberty, founded by Ron Paul’s organization. YAL now has over 500 college and high school chapters. They are wisely staying out of this neocon-engineered ambush.

McCobin, on the other hand, represents nothing and no one – not even his own organization. Indeed, his foreign policy views are way out of the libertarian mainstream, if I may be permitted to utter such a phrase. In a piece for “Cato Unbound” attacking what he called a “libertarian purity test,’ he averred:

“While many libertarians opposed the invasion of Iraq, Randy Barnett wrote a strong, libertarian defense of pre-emptive intervention. While libertarians agree on things like the need for minimal government, there are many open debates on the specific policy prescriptions a minimal government would entail.”

Those libertarians, like Ron Bailey and Brink Lindsey, who supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq have long since penned their mea culpas. The issue is settled within the libertarian movement – except for Alexander McCobin. So who is this guy, anyway? He’s the “president” of a Koch front group with lots of money and very few activist members who had “come to Washington on a Charles Koch Institute fellowship,” according to Dave Weigel. The Kochs, in spite of their popular reputation, have long since given up pushing a libertarian agenda; and foreign policy is the very least of their concerns. They never gave Ron Paul a dime, and their paid minions trash-talked him at every opportunity.

When the Campaign for Liberty, the Paul organization, founded a youth group the Kochtopus quickly jumped in with SFL – which never amounted to any real competition because it concentrated mainly on staging a series of expensive conferences, with generous scholarships and students flown in from all over the world. Like all Koch Astroturf outfits, this one is run from the top, and while there’s plenty of debate – indeed, SFL is little more than a debating society – there’s less democracy than in Putin’s Russia, which at least goes through the motions of holding elections.

In response to inquiries over Twitter, SFL tweeted that McCobin’s statement was “just a statement by individuals,” and – incredibly – that “SFL doesn’t have an official stance on foreign policy.” Yet every story covering this episode headlined the alleged “libertarian split” over Ukraine.

Of course there is no such split. We American libertarians know who and what is the main danger to peace and freedom in this world, and it sure isn’t the leader of a has-been semi-Third World backwater like Russia.

For a group with no “official stance” on foreign policy, the SFL web site has a lot of gosh wow puff pieces prettifying the Ukrainian coup. And they’re hot on the Venezuelan opposition, too: indeed, they have a list of articles on both countries on the same page. What do these two nations have in common? They’re both being overrun by the American Regime-Change Machine, and SFL is cheerleading the effort – “unofficially,’ of course.

While SFL doesn’t have a lot of actual functioning chapters, and consists mainly of a self-appointed leadership fueled by plenty of Koch money, it does indeed have some actual grassroots members and one has to wonder what they think – and whether they were even consulted. How do they feel about being fed a line that is identical in all respects to the one being taken by the Obama administration – and the Weekly Standard? How do they feel about the President of their organization going public with the accusation that Ron Paul is “applauding an autocrat” – because he supposedly hates America?

In McCobin’s world, if you support the right of the Crimeans to vote on their own future you are ‘applauding an autocrat for the sake of blaming your own government.” After all, being a libertarian, you probably hate your own government – because you hate all governments, now isn’t that right? Even to the extent of going over to The Enemy, whoever that may be at the moment: Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, or the Devil himself.

Yes, you’re a traitor, that’s what you are – just like Edward Snowden.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard(Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

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