Will Porter returns to the show to talk about the chaos in Iraq. Over the weekend, the US bombed several positions claiming to be striking back against the "Iranian-backed" Shia group that killed two Americans and a British soldier. However, the Iraqi government reports the US only killed Iraqi soldiers, police, and civilians. Will explains what the US is trying to do in Iraq and how Trump's policy is failing.
On FPF #464, I discuss Chelsea Manning and the US bombing Shia militias in Iraq. Chelsea Manning was imprisoned for a year for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury about leaking documents to WikiLeaks. Manning took the stand for Julian Assange - who the grand jury was empaneled to investigate - and against the unjust grand jury system. Manning attempted suicide before learning she would be released this week.
A recent attack on an Iraqi base killed two American soldiers and one British soldier. The attack was blamed on "Iranian-backed" Shia militias. However, the US or UK government failed to provide any proof for this claim. The lack of evidence did not stop the US and UK from jointly bombing several Shia militia targets in Iraq.
On FPF #463, I discuss the political instability caused by two different men claiming to be president. Incumbent Ashraf Ghani and his former Cheif Executive Abdullah Abdullah have both claimed victory in an election that happened in September. They exploit the rampant violence, extortion, and voter fraud that surrounded the election to claim their victory. It appears that Ghani will remain the president recognized by the US.
Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to discuss the International Criminal Court's inquiry into US war crimes committed in Afghanistan. Will looks at the alleged crimes, like torture, that will be investigated. Kyle updates the situation in Afghanistan a week after the "peace deal" with the Taliban was signed. Will and Kyle review the first week of the agreement.
On FPF #461, I discuss Congress pushing for war more than Trump. A new bill in the House looks to prevent the US from drawing down troops in Africa. Throughout the Trump presidency, Congress has a history of attempting to prevent Trump from drawing down forces or removing sanctions. At the same time, Congress is almost completely ignoring Trump deploying troops and fighting undeclared wars.
On FPF #460, I discuss the chaotic and dangerous situation unfolding in Idlib, Syria. Turkey is backing the al-Qaeda linked rebels who remain in opposition to the Syrian government. The Syrian Army - along with its Russian ally - are attempting to retake the Idlib Province of Syria. Turkey is invading Syria in an attempt to prevent this from happening. Turkey has asked the US and European allies to get involved and establish a no-fly zone over Idlib. The no-fly zone would result in the US shooting down Russian planes. NATO rejected Turkey's demands. Now Turkey is allowing some of the 3 million refugees - who settled in Turkey during the Syrian War - to cross into Europe. Turkey hopes this will pressure the European powers to act in Syria.
Will Porter returns to FPF to discuss the peace deal signed by the Taliban and the US government. The deal did not include the Afghan government. It calls for the US to drop troop levels to 8.600 within 135 days and a full withdraw of US forces in 14 months. The deal is rumored to have secret annexes that would allow the US to keep counterterrorism force in Afghanistan. Will and Kyle explain their skepticism of the deal bringing an end to America's longest war and why calling this a peace agreement is misleading.
On FPF #458, I discuss Julian Assange's extradition hearing. Assange is being forced to sit in a bulletproof glass box. Julian is barely able to hear what is going on in the trial, and he is unable to confer or speak with his lawyers to get clarification. He continues to face dehumanizing tactics like repeated strip searches. Assange is unable to get a fair trial because he exposed the crimes of the empire. His court fight is now the fight for a free press.
On FPF #457, I discuss the deep state is rolling out Russiagate for the 2020 election. Now Trump and Bernie have been accused of receiving Russian support in this election cycle. Just like in the first Russiagate, no one has presented evidence of the alleged Russian conspiracy. It seems the goal of the deep state is to hem in the likely candidates of the two major parties.
On FPF #456, Will Porter returns to the show to discuss the evolving justification for Trump's assassination of Soleimani. Will explains how the Trump admin has now given several reasons that they needed to and had the power to kill Soleimani. Will and Kyle look at the failure of Trump to have appropriate authorization for the strike and the strategic failures of the strike.
On FPF #455, I discuss the Senate voting on a War Powers bill to constrain Trump's ability to start a war with Iran. Trump has continued on the presidential tradition of killing whoever he wants, and he is unbound by the Constitution. The House will also need to pass the bill. However, Trump has threatened to veto the legislation, and Congress is unlikely to get the needed 2/3 in each house to override it.
On FPF #454, I discuss recent progress made in negotiations with the Taliban. The US and Taliban will soon implement a reduction in violence pact. If successful, the pact could be the first step in a peace deal between the US and the Taliban. However, there are a lot of potential paths that could lead the US away from peace. Including the president's erratic decisions on foreign policy.
On FPF #453, I discuss Trump's firing of impeachment witnesses, insider attacks in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Trump fired EU Ambassador Sondland and NSC Ukraine expert Vinland. Both men testified in the House impeachment hearing providing Democrats with great soundbites and little evidence. In Afghanistan, two US soldiers were killed by an insider attack. The attack is further proof the war is failing. Iraq says the attack that Trump used as an excuse to assassinate Soleimani was carried out by ISIS and not a Shia militia group. If the Iraqi military and intelligence is correct, then Trump was duped by jihadists into a conflict with Iran.
On FPF #452, I discuss Trump's acquittal and the special guest at his State of the Union address. I explain how impeachment turned into dangerous anti-Russia propaganda. Adam Schiff and the Democrats used undying zombie of Russiagate to try to remove Trump from office. As predicted before impeachment started, Trump was acquitted by Senate votes almost entirely along party lines.
Trump invited failed Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido to his SOTU. The failed coup attempt has led Trump to place deadly sanctions on Venezuela. The invite to the SOTU indicates the US will continue to support Guaido's illegitimate and weak claim to power.
Michael Maharry returns to the show to discuss Afghanistan and his new book, Constitution Owner's Manual. Mike and Kyle describe how Trump has ramped up the war in Afghanistan. Mike answers questions about how the Constitution can be used to limit the president's war-making abilities. He explains the problems with the War Powers Act and the AUMFs.
Michael Maharrey serves as the national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center and the managing editor of the SchiffGold website. He hosts his own podcast, Thoughts from Maharrey Head, as well as the Friday Gold Wrap podcast and the It’s Your Dime interview series for SchiffGold.
On FPF #450, I discuss the House vote to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force. The bill was passed in 2002 allowing President Bush to start a war with Saddam's regime in Iraq. Saddam was hung in 2006 and his army disbanded. However, both presidents Obama and Trump invoked the AUMF as giving them "authority" to carry out military operations in Iraq. The House vote is an attempt for Congress to regain some control over the president's near-endless war-making powers.
On FPF #449, I cover some of the details of Trump's "Deal of the Century" and explain why it is meant to be rejected by the Palestinians. While Trump claims the deal creates a Palestinian State, the deal actually gives limited autonomy to a collection of several small, disconnected areas that will be called Palestine. The Palestinians will not have a military and minimal border crossings. For these reasons - and many more - the Palestinians denounced the peace plan. I argue the point of the plan was for the Palestinians to reject it, so Israel will have the excuse to continue the occupation and theft of Palestinian land.
On FPF #448, I discuss several news stories that are being ignored as the media obsessively covers impeachment. In Afghanistan, a US plane was downed and the UN announced it needs to provide basic aid to an additional three million Afghans this year. The US Embassy in Baghdad was hit with a rocket. The Iraqi security force continues to kill protesters. Many of the protesters are demanding American forces leave. Trump announced his Isreal/Palestine "Deal of the Century." The deal appears DOA as it fails to meet even basic Palestinian demands.
On FPF #447, I discuss the Democrats push to demonize Russia in a failing attempt to impeach Trump. Rep Adam Schiff has led with Cold War rhetoric to try to pump up a lacking case. The narrative the Democrats are pushing forward against Trump is dishonest and dangerous. Fanning the flames of Russiagate will lead to a potential war and more of our tax dollars wasted.
On FPF #446, I discuss the US continuing to push Juan Guaido's failed coup attempt against Maduro. Nearly a year ago, Guaido declared himself president of Venezuela with the backing of the US. He claimed this authority from his position as the leader of a legislative body. Gaudio lost his position in the congress and seemingly his claim to the presidency. However, Secretary of State Pompeo recently said the US would continue to support Guaido and announced more sanctions against Venezuela.
On FPF #445, I debunk lies about North Korea and Iran. On North Korea, the blob often claims the US must take an aggressive position on North Korea because of North Korean nuclear weapons. I explain how the North Korean nuclear weapon program is a reaction to America's hostile policy towards North Korea. The war state is also pushing the claim that Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon. Iran continues to be inspected by the IAEA and does not have a nuclear weapons program.
On FPF #444, I discuss the Congressional hearing of the Inspector General for the Afghan War. During his testimony, he said US officials have a "disincentive" to tell the truth about the situation in Afghanistan, and we have created a situation that basically requires people to lie. The lies being told about Afghanistan ensure the US will not leave the country after nearly two decades, and Americans do not know the war has long been lost. So we will continue to send our money and children to Afghanistan to be wasted.
On FPF #443, I discuss the fallout of the Soleimani assassination and the lies the Trump administration is telling. Trump and his team have had to walk back all their claims that Soleimani was an imminent threat. Now, Pompeo has claimed the decision was made to establish real deterrence over Iran. The Iraqi government is now pushing the American forces to leave, but the US is refusing to listen. Protesters have taken to the street in Iran to protest their government after a Ukrainian flight was shot down by the Iranian military.
Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to talk about Trump's 'maximum pressure' strategy. Will covers the recent news that Iran shot down the Ukrainian civilian flight, killing 176 people. Will and Kyle explain how Trump's maximum pressure against Iran created the tensions leading to the deadly event. Will and Kyle breakdown their recent article Maximum Failure: Trump’s Convulsive North Korea Strategy Can’t Bring Kim to the Table. The article explains how Trump squandered his opportunity to bring peace to North Korea with maximum pressure and poor staffing decisions.
Will Porter is a staff writer at RT. He publishes articles at Consortium News, Antiwar.com, and the Libertarian Institute.
On FPF #441, I cover the assassination of Soleimani and the subsequent Iranian missile attack. The Iranian missile attack did not kill anyone, and that appears to have been the Iranian intention. The symbolic response to Trump's act of war, allowed Trump to back away from the brink of a shooting war with Iran. However, I argue it is incorrect to believe Trump is a strategic mastermind playing 3D chess. Heightened tensions with Iran only exist because Trump withdrew from the Nuclear Deal and started an unprovoked economic war against Iran. The US economic war put the US and Iran on the path to a shooting war, and the US will remain on that path until it abandons sanctions.