Last week, President Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which would allow the 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government for its apparent involvement. Many leaders in Congress claimed they had the votes needed to overcome the veto (2/3 in both houses), but it almost seemed too good to be true.
On Wednesday, the votes finally occurred and it wasn’t even a contest. The Senate overrode Obama’s veto 97-1, and the House overrode the veto at 348-77. JASTA will become law, and the principle of sovereign immunity now has an exception for terrorism. Congress doesn’t deserve praise often, but this is one of those days.
In the Catholic Church, October is "pro-life month" – an organized focus on the Church’s teaching that life should be respected from the moment of conception to the time of natural death. Yet, "time of natural death" notwithstanding, the issue of war doesn’t even get a sentence.
The letter of the Archbishop of New York City, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, chairman of the bishops’ committee on Pro-Life Activities, introducing this year’s activities, says nothing about war. There are brochures available for free download – on mercy, abortion, suicide, euthanasia and end of life care, fertility treatment, adoption, and the Care of Creation. War however is not a topic of concern. The bishops suggest intercessions and bulletin notes for the month of October, but invite no one to pray about war. The 18 page catalog of pro-life resources has nothing about war or peace. The bishops’ website section on Pro-Life Activities, has 15 topics, but nothing about war and peace. They provide lots of free social media for posts and tweets, but again, we find not one mention of war.
The mainstream media portrays the fight for Aleppo as one between Syrian President Assad and the people, painting Assad as someone killing his citizens for the fun of it. In other words, as they did with Iraq and Libya, etc. the mainstream media again happily takes up the role of mouthpiece of the US government. The reality is quite different, in fact. Today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report speaks with independent journalist Vanessa Beeley, who has recently returned from an investigative trip to Syria including in Aleppo. What’s really going on there? Tune in!
Today brings yet another announcement of more U.S. troops to Iraq. This time 600 are being sent as logistics support, advisers, and enablers (that term, “enabler,” is fuzzy indeed: enabler of what? More failure?). That brings the number of US troops in Iraq to more than 5200, but of course this figure seriously under-represents the American presence in the region. Nowadays, most “troops” are provided by private contractors, and many of these are US military veterans who discovered they could make a lot more money wearing mufti than in Uncle Sam’s uniforms. At the same time, the US continues to provide heavy-duty weaponry to the Iraqi military, including Apache attack helicopters and the HIMARS rocket system. All of this is intended to help the Iraqi military retake the city of Mosul.
That the US is yet again providing more troops as well as heavy weapons as “force multipliers” highlights the failure of US military efforts to “stand up” an effective Iraqi military. The enemy, after all, has no Apache helicopters, no HIMARS system, and no US advisers, although we certainly “enable” them with all the US weaponry they’ve been able to capture or steal. Despite a lack of US military training and aid, ISIS and crew have proven to be remarkably resilient. What gives?
In an interview with a prominent German newspaper, the commander of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Aleppo, Syria claims that the US government and its allies are providing it with weapons and training. It may seem preposterous, but the US did the same thing with the mujahideen in Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion. And we all know what that led to… History repeats? Today on the Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Former CIA official John Kiriakou, who spent two years in prison for revealing the truth about White House-sanctioned torture, became the 15th recipient of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity at a ceremony at America University.
Last year, PEN Center USA, a human rights and freedom of expression organization, honored John Kiriakou, with its “First Amendment” award. It has since become clear that while John Kiriakou sat in prison, Senate Intelligence Committee investigators were uncovering heinous details about torture by the CIA from its own original banality-of-evil cables, which showed that CIA and others had lied in claiming torture “worked.”