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Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), discusses the hype and the reality of the Iraq War “surge” that allowed President Bush to withdraw without admitting defeat – by sacrificing 1000 American soldiers and creating the chaos that ultimately gave rise to the Islamic State.

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  • I recently ran across a document published by the United States Institute of Peace (which I take to be a CIA front — here’s the wiki). It’s called, “Non-Violent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points,” and it appears to be targeted at young people abroad who are unhappy with the governments they live under. (I wonder how much this document has been used in Egypt, Syria or Ukraine?) But my question is, is there anything good that libertarians could learn from this? Could the tactics be used not just to cause unrest or vote in different rulers, but perhaps in thwarting the advances of government or spreading the ideas of liberty to a broader audience? Specifically, is there value in treating political activism as a project, or adopting Sharp’s methods of nonviolent action, or of using the model of multi-level marketing to expand the network? What are your thoughts on this kind of activism?

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  • As I listen to the radio during the weekday I ask myself, Is there (at present) a media-spun consensus to mutate the term “radical” as only meaning an individual who wants to join the religious extremism of Islamic State in Syria? Therefore making people conclude that “radical means Islamic State extremist” and vice versa? As a consequence, I believe other labels associated with the term may also include: contrarian, gadfly, maverick, rebel, and angry young (wo)man. The final goal, in my opinion, to label all these terms as “terrorist,” thus through the fear of this label bring the potential “radical” or any other term back into the collective instinct for a quiet and obedient statist life. Perhaps Christopher Hitchens was correct when he said in his book Letters to a Young Contrarian: “Radical is a useful and honourable term that comes with various health warnings.” (p.1) Of course we cannot forget Rothbard’s definition of the radical: “Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and antistatism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul. Furthermore, in contrast to what seems to be true nowadays, you don’t have to be an anarchist to be radical in our sense, just as you can be an anarchist while missing the radical spark.” http://mises.org/library/do-you-hate-state I could be wrong, but perhaps people aren’t being made aware that there are two types of radical. I say this because, again, I use Hitchens book: “Emile Zola could be the pattern for any serious and humanistic radical, because he not only asserted the inalienable rights of the individual, but generalised his assault to encompass the vile role played by clericalism, by racial hatred, by militarism and by the fetishisation of ‘the nation’ and the state.” (p.5)

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  • By now almost everyone of us knows about the Silent Night Truce on Christmas Eve 100 years ago this year, where there was a spontaneous truce between German and British soldiers. However, this past weekend the Wall Street Journal had a very insightful article on the subject and how this sort of cooperative behavior isn’t that unusual. Here’s a link to the article if you are interested. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-spirit-of-the-1914-christmas-truce-1419006906

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