It was easier for me to pass through Cuban customs and immigration than it was for me to come home to the U.S. “Be sure to try our rum while you’re here!” said the Cuban official. “You’ll need to pay duty on that rum,” grumped the American official a week later, after the retinal scan, facial recognition scan, photo, passport inspection, agricultural questioning, and bag check that allowed me home.
The rum is in a way what a trip to Cuba for an American is really all about. Rum, and el bloqueo.
It becomes the first Spanish word you learn after the glasses are filled: El bloqueo, the blockade, the economic and political embargo. Some 60 years ago the United States slapped a near-complete economic embargo on Cuba, a Cold War spasm that lives on long after the struggle it may have served ended. It accomplished little of substance in Cuba except perhaps to impoverish some while fostering blackmarkets and corruption that enriched others. And like that other imperial boil, Guantanamo, the embargo sits atop Cuba as a symbolic wet blanket of American foreign policy, maintained by presidents Democratic and Republican alike.
The embargo is also why you can’t buy Cuban rum in America.
A widely-supported bill in the House and Senate would make it a felony to support or endorse efforts to boycott the state of Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians. Conviction could result in a maximum $250,000 civil fine plus a $1,000,000 criminal fine and 20 years in prison. Regardless of one’s views of the Israel/Palestine conflict, the right to boycott anything, anywhere for political reasons is political speech protected by the First Amendment of our Constitution. Will Congress succeed in overthrowing this fundamental principle upon which our republic was founded? We take a good look at the issue in today’s Liberty Report:
The US House is expected to vote tomorrow on yet another round of sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Russia and Iran are targeted for their role in fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, which Congress calls “destabilizing.” Russia is also targeted for its involvement in the 2014 Ukrainian coup d’etat, which was in fact started by the United States under the Obama Administration! Will President Trump veto this bill, which will prohibit him from removing the sanctions without Congressional permission? He’s leaning toward signing it, in what looks like a big surrender to the deep state..
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.
After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.
Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump is pro-torture. He said on the campaign trail he’d approve waterboarding “in a heartbeat,” plus “a hell of a lot worse.”
He added: “Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.”
There are certainly a lot of stupid people then, because everyone from interrogators to researchers have repeatedly concluded that torture doesn’t work. People will say whatever you want them to say to make the pain stop, making torture not only inhumane but also bad for intelligence.
A 2009 Senate Armed Services Committee review concluded that torture “damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.” That’s why the Senate voted in 2015 to turn the presidential ban on torture into official law.
To his credit, Trump did water down his original support for torture, allowing Defense Secretary James Mattis – who opposes torture – to override him.
Former Marine intelligence officer and UN Chief Weapons Inspector for Iraq, Scott Ritter, joins the Ron Paul Liberty Report today to shed light on the phony “17 intelligence agencies agree on Russian election hacking” story and to explain why in his vast intelligence and WMD experience why the UN “investigation” into the April “sarin gas” attack in Syria was deeply flawed and should not be believed. Also don’t miss Ritter’s fascinating explanation of the real purpose of the so-called “White Helmets” in Syria!