Mario Vargas Llosa Is the Perfect Poster Boy for Spanish Unionism

Last Sunday in Barcelona, the forces opposed to allowing any change in Catalonia’s political status within Spain staged a rally in Barcelona. Given the clear minority position of such hard-core unionists (defined here as people who neither want a vote on, nor a negotiation about, the matter of greater Catalan self-determination) within in the Catalan Autonomous Community, it was necessary to bus people in from all over Spain to bring the rally’s numbers – 350,000 according to the Catalan police – up to anything remotely approaching those achieved in recent weeks and months by the pro-independence forces.

Among the many unionists to arrive in Barcelona from the other parts of the state on Sunday was the Nobel-Prize winning Peruvian-Spanish novelist, Mario Vargas Llosa, who stood before the crowd and issued yet another iteration of the critique of Basque and Catalan nationalism that he has been monotonously issuing over the past 25 years.

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Did Trump Call for Ten Times More Nukes?, asks Ron Paul

The media is having a field day with a supposedly leaked report that President Trump called for a ten-fold increase in US nuclear weapons in July. That is the occasion of Secretary of State Tillerson calling the president a “moron,” according to the media. It’s all supposed to point to how ridiculous President Trump is for wanting more nuclear weapons. But who’s idea was the current one trillion dollar nuclear weapons “modernization” plan? It was then-president Obama’s idea. And who appropriated the money to get started? Congress. More on the bipartisan support for military corporate welfare in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Ron Paul on Horrific New Revelations on CIA Torture

The CIA has been forced to declassify some 270 memos from its secret torture facilities in Afghanistan. The story these memos tell is horrific and jolting. The people tortured were not terrorists. They were suspects. Some may say this is all ancient history, but consider the current president’s view on torture. He said he’s torture in a heartbeat. Are we still “torturing some folks”? Tune in to today’s Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

The US War in Afghanistan Is Now 16 Years Old. Trump Has No Plans to End It.

On October 7, 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The war is now 16 years old — and that’s not even counting the decade of U.S. intervention in the country during the Cold War.

Donald Trump once advocated the “speedy withdrawal” of U.S. troops from that country. As president, however, he’s gone in the opposite direction, demanding the U.S. must now “fight to win.”

As Phyllis Bennis, director of the IPS New Internationalism project, explains in this short video, Trump’s plans to extend the war he once supported ending are even more worrisome for their lack of transparency. He’s not said how many new troops he’ll send or how long they’ll be deployed. Worse still, civilian casualties in multiple U.S. wars have been on the rise since he took office — by 67 percent in just six months.

It’s clear by now that the solution to terrorism won’t come from using military power, Bennis explains. That can only be achieved by diplomacy. “It’s harder, it takes longer, it’s not as sexy, it’s not sexy on CNN, it’s not any of those things,” she concludes. “But it’s the only thing that will work.”

Video by Victoria Borneman and Peter Certo. Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Reprinted from Foreign Policy in Focus with permission.

A Nobel Prize for Sanity?

The Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a wonderful tribute to the many millions of people around the world who have struggled over the years against the insanity of nuclear weapons.

Congratulations to the courageous and far-sighted organizers who founded the campaign! And Congratulations to all who are or have been part of the worldwide movement for nuclear disarmament!

The Nobel Prize is an affirmation not only of the goal of nuclear abolition but of the essential role of civil society activism in helping to achieve that goal.

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What’s Good and What’s Missing in the 702 FISA Reform Bill

My colleague Pat Eddington has already taken a first pass at the newly unveiled legislation aimed at reforming Section 702, the controversial foreign intelligence surveillance authority that empowers warrantless surveillance of foreigners outside the United States. While Pat focused primarily on the defects of the bill, I’d like to start by briefly surveying what I think it gets right, and then note a few other elements I was disappointed not to see included.

Probably the two most salient features of the “USA Liberty Act” for civil libertarians are that it partially closes the so-called “backdoor search loophole” in 702, and that it codifies the recent end of Upstream “about” collection. For those not steeped in electronic surveillance law, both of those will require a bit of explanation.

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