A Syria Plan That Breaks the Law, by Cory Booker, Oona A. Hathaway

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently announced that American troops will remain in Syria even after the fight against the Islamic State has ended. If the administration carries through on this promise, it will commit the American people to an indefinite conflict that could bring our troops into direct confrontation with the armed forces of Syria and its closest allies, Iran and Russia. In the process, it will break just about every relevant law on the books.

As repulsive as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is, an American-backed attempt to prevent it from re-establishing control over Syrian territory, as Secretary Tillerson indicated, would embroil the United States in a new prolonged, bloody and increasingly complicated conflict. Indeed, Turkey’s cross-border air and ground assaults in recent days on Afrin, a northern Syrian enclave held by American-supported Kurdish militias, demonstrate how fragile the situation is.

To be sure, any course of action in Syria risks dire and deadly consequences. Nearly half a million people have died since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. The horrors of the violence there defy description, and the role and intent of Russian and Iranian forces backing Mr. Assad remain of deep concern.

Yet even though the consequences of bringing American troops home after the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria are uncertain, far more dangerous are the consequences of remaining indefinitely.

Yes, the United States has a role to play in holding Mr. Assad accountable for the crimes he has committed against his own people and preventing him from committing more. But the president doesn’t have the power to unilaterally make the decision to commit American troops to stop Mr. Assad by force. He needs to make his case to Congress and the American people, as well as the international community. Inserting American troops into this situation on his own is not just bad policy, it is illegal under both the Constitution and international law.

Start with the Constitution. The founders created a system in which the power to declare war rests with Congress, not the president. The 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of introducing armed forces into hostilities in the absence of a declaration of war. The president must then terminate the use of armed forces within 60 days (with 30 days for withdrawal) unless Congress has declared war or otherwise authorized the use of military force.

The Trump foreign policy team has made clear that it does not think it must abide by any of these rules, and the new commitment announced by Secretary Tillerson shows that it is ready to break them. Clearly and lamentably, the president is prepared to flout constitutional limits on his authority to commit our troops on his own.

The Trump administration might argue that the troops are already in Syria, so keeping them there isn’t “introducing them.” But that would make a mockery of the statute. The Obama administration explained in 2015 that the authorizations for the use of military force that Congress agreed to in 2001 and 2002 provided the legal basis for operations against the Islamic State because they were broadly aimed at terrorism as a threat. That justification was tenuous, but surely nothing in the statutes could plausibly be said to extend to an American military presence in Syria after the Islamic State has been credibly debilitated.

We’re not the first ones to point out such concerns. Senators Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, and Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, have worked for years to draw attention to the absence of legal authorization for military operations in the Middle East. And Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made clear at a recent committee hearing that if the United States were to remain in Syria to fight Iranian proxies, “the authorizations are not there for that kind of activity.”

If the constitutional violations weren’t troubling enough, the announced plan would also put the United States in direct violation of international law. The American operations against the Islamic State and Qaeda elements in Syria were made in the defense of the United States and its allies, particularly Iraq. This was the basis for the American explanation to the United Nations of its military operations in Syria, provided by Ambassador Samantha Power on Sept. 23, 2014. That explanation was reiterated in a letter to Congress from Secretary Tillerson last fall.

Some critics have said this use of the self-defense exception is overbroad. But even if that argument was plausible before, the indefinite commitment of United States troops to hold territory in Syria cannot be defended on similar grounds.

Stabilizing the territory taken from the Islamic State is undoubtedly essential to ensuring terrorist threats do not re-emerge, and that must be a priority for the United States. But as the threat from the Islamic State diminishes and the Syrian conflict returns to a battle over whether Mr. Assad will regain full control over land held by rebels who are divided among themselves, it is no longer possible to argue that the mission is one of self-defense. If the president were to order American troops to hold Syrian territory in those circumstances, he would be ordering them to act in clear violation of the United Nations Charter.

In so clearly breaking international law, we would not just put our troops in harm’s way; we would also be licensing malevolent leaders the world over to follow in our footsteps. And we would be doing so when the world’s approval of American leadership has dropped to a new low — down to 30 percent from 48 percent just a year earlier. This course of action would significantly undermine America’s hard-earned global leadership as a champion of law-bound international action, perhaps irreparably.

For several decades now, Congress has gradually ceded its war authority to the executive branch. If it does not act now, it may lose what authority remains. Congress has to attend to its constitutional duties: Our troops and their families deserve a public debate over the precise scope of their mission if we’re asking them to put their lives on the line.

Congress must tell the president he cannot engage our troops in an illegal war in Syria. To allow this blatantly illegal action would spell the end of congressional authority over war. And it would offer incontrovertible evidence that the United States under President Trump is no longer a champion of the world order, but is ready and willing to tear it down.

Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article199477.html

All hell breaks loose as ‘explosive’ FISA Memo that will ‘put people in jail’ is released to House of Representatives

memo wikileak


All hell is breaking loose in Washington D.C. after a four-page memo detailing extensive FISA court abuse was made available to the entire House of Representatives Thursday. The contents of the memo are so explosive, says Journalist Sara Carter, that it could lead to the removal of senior officials in the FBI and the Department of Justice and the end of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.

These sources say the report is “explosive,” stating they would not be surprised if it leads to the end of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into President Trump and his associates. –Sara Carter

A source close to the matter tells Fox News that “the memo details the Intelligence Committee’s oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance.” An educated guess by anyone who’s been paying attention for the last year leads to the obvious conclusion that the report reveals extensive abuse of power and highly illegal collusion between the Obama administration, the FBI, the DOJ and the Clinton Campaign against Donald Trump and his team during and after the 2016 presidential election.

Lawmakers who have seen the memo are calling for its immediate release, while the phrases “explosive,” “shocking,” “troubling,” and “alarming” have all been used in all sincerity. One congressman even likened the report’s details to KGB activity in Russia. “It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News. “It’s troubling. It is shocking,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn’t read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., offered the motion on Thursday to make the Republican majority-authored report available to the members.

The document shows a troubling course of conduct and we need to make the document available, so the public can see it,” said a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the document. “Once the public sees it, we can hold the people involved accountable in a number of ways.”

The government official said that after reading the document “some of these people should no longer be in the government.” –Sara Carter

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) echoed Sara Carter’s sentiment that people might lose their job if the memo is released:

“I believe the consequence of its release will be major changes in people currently working at the FBI and the Department of Justice,” he said, referencing DOJ officials Rod Rosenstein and Bruce Ohr.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/374683-All-hell-breaks-loose-as-explosive-FISA-Memo-that-will-put-people-in-jail-is-released-to-House-of-Representatives

Wife of Pennsylvania police chief who tried to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl breaks her silence

The wife of a disgraced Pennsylvania police chief has broken her silence after her husband was arrested on Friday for trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, KDKA reports. 

Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold made headlines earlier this year when he lost part of his left arm in a near-fatal fireworks accident. But after his story garnered him support from across the country, the hometown hero swiftly fell from grace.

The 40-year-old police chief was arrested on Friday and charged with unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse after it was revealed he had sent an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl multiple inappropriate photos and even tried to meet up with her in person.  

Danielle Reinke Diebold, the former police chief’s wife, sent a statement to KDKA on Sunday describing the impact her husband’s alleged crime has had on her family. 

“They say God will never give you more than you can handle, but he did this time.

I have never hurt so bad in all my life.

I don’t know how to pick up all these broken pieces and find a way to put them back together and go on with my life, but I have to try to find a way for my children. Our lives have been completely shattered.

I am broken, devastated, humiliated, and I was completely blindsided.

He was the first man ever in my life who never made me question, never gave me a gut feeling, never a bad instinct or sign and we were even in the process of planning to extend our family.

This is not who we knew. We knew a loving, caring father and husband and we are grieving the loss of that man.

On the other hand, we are dealing with the raw emotions of having someone you loved and admired be charged with committing a terrible crime.

I feel like they are two different people — but they are not.

I will never find the right words to say but I want to say I am truly so sorry to everyone out there including any minor that may have been involved, our community, family and friends.”

Diebold and his wife married in a televised ceremony in July 2017, less than a month after his life-changing accident, according to CNN. The pair had welcomed their infant son not long beforehand. 

Photo: Facebook

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro slammed Diebold’s actions as “particularly heinous” because he is a public official who is “sworn to serve and protect the community.”

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of children and my office will prosecute any offender to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who they are,” he added. 

After he was arrested, Diebold allegedly told investigators that he was aware that sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old child was illegal and that his life was “totally over.”

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/wife-pennsylvania-police-chief-tried-153800956.html

Somali migrant breaks into Italy hospital tries to rape woman while giving birth

Home » Breaking News, Crimes, Europe, Multiculturalism » Somali migrant breaks into Italy hospital tries to rape woman while giving birth


An unreal situation in the Italian capital Rome, according to Libero; a Somalian man managed to get past the security of Sant’Eugenio Hospital and stormed a delivering room where he attempted to rape a woman in labour.

Migrants have been found guilty of various terrible crimes but this is a first. Luckily the monster was stopped before he could harm the woman and her baby.

The criminal is a 38 years old Somalian, already charged for other crimes in the past.

The man managed to get his hands on a green uniform and sneaked in the delivery room where he started to touch and fondle the woman in labor while masturbating.

The cries of help of the woman alerted the personnel in the surrounding area who entered the room and incapacitated the man and subsequently delivered the animal to the police.



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