US Calls Venezuela Global Threat At UN As EU Approves Arms Embargo

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By Lucas Koerner for Venezuela Analysis – The US chaired an informal meeting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday to discuss the situation in Venezuela despite a boycott from leading members such as China and Russia. “The crisis in Venezuela today poses a direct threat to international peace and security. Venezuela is an increasingly violent narco-state that threatens the region, the hemisphere, and the world,”Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, declared during the session. Also present at the meeting were Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro and UN High Commissioner Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, both vocal critics of the government in Caracas. The meeting was also boycotted by Bolivia and Egypt, who objected to Washington’s interference in Venezuelan internal affairs. “The situation in Venezuela is an issue that is entirely the responsibility of Venezuelans and of course does not constitute a threat to international peace and security,” said Bolivian UN Ambassador Sacha Llorenty at a press conference alongside his Russian, Chinese, and Venezuelan counterparts Monday. Thanking the other nations for their support, Venezuelan UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez denounced the US for “abusing its prerogatives” as a permanent UNSC member “to impose its geopolitical agenda” in violation of the UN Charter.

USAG Humphreys: Story Behind America’s Biggest Overseas Base

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By Jon Letman for The Diplomat – At first glance, Humphreys looks like an ordinary American suburb. With K-12 schools, chapels, a library, a big box store, dental and veterinary clinics and a spacious plaza where kids can skateboard and eat ice cream, Humphreys could easily be in Dallas or Denver. It’s the security gates, razor-wire topped walls and the M1 Abrams tanks that stand out. U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys is, in fact, in Pyeongtaek, 40 miles south of Seoul, South Korea. On a guided tour of Humphreys, Army Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Bob McElroy calls it “our little piece of America.” The Army calls it “the largest power projection platform in the Pacific.” Now in the final stage of a massive base expansion, when completed around 2020, Humphreys will have tripled in size to nearly 3,500 acres — roughly the size of central Washington, D.C. — making it the largest overseas American military base in the world, capping off over a dozen years of transformation and consolidation of the U.S. military footprint in South Korea. Humphreys is a major helicopter base, home to a rotational Attack Reconnaissance squadron. Attack assets like Apache, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters fly out of Humphreys mostly at night and the 8,000 foot long airfield is large enough to land C-130s or other fighter jets from nearby Osan Air Base.

U.S. Military Is The Largest Employer In The World

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By Sue Chang for Market Watch – Travel on Uncle Sam’s dime and have taxpayers pay for your education—these are some of the perks offered by the U.S. military, and it appears its recruiting strategy is effective. The U.S. Department of Defense has been named the largest employer in the world with 3.2 million employees on its payroll, according to the World Economic Forum. The second largest is China’s People’s Liberation Army with 2.3 million on its staff roster and third biggest is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, +0.99% with 2.1 million employees. McDonald’s Corp. MCD, +0.33% came in fourth with 1.9 million workers but the World Economic Forum noted the fast-food chain would be eliminated from the list if employees at its franchise restaurants weren’t counted. “As the majority of its restaurants are franchises, this figure falls to 420,000 when they are excluded,” said the WEF.

China Shifts Course, Predicting ‘Minsky Moment’ Of Global Financial Instability

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By Jack Rasmus for Counter Punch – The past year the US and global ‘real’ economies have enjoyed a moderate recovery. Much of that has been due to China stimulating its economy to ensure real growth in anticipation of the Communist Party’s convention, which has just ended. China’s president Xi and central bank (Peoples Bank of China) chair, Zhou, have announced, post-convention, that China’s real growth will slow and have warned a global ‘Minsky Moment’ (i.e. financial crisis) may be brewing. China will now try, once again, to tame its shadow bankers and speculators who have been feeding China’s debt and bubbles, and prepare for the global financial instability that is brewing. The global financial bubbles–in stocks, bonds, currencies (crypto and real), derivatives, real estate, etc.– have been fueled since 2008 by capitalist central banks–led by the US Federal Reserve and followed even more aggressively by the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan. Central bank ‘free’ money has boosted stock and other financial asset prices into bubble territory and produced historic capital gains profits for corporations, professional investors, and the wealthiest 1% households in the US and worldwide. The world’s approximately 1500 billionaires’ wealth now totals more than $6 trillion–and that is only the officially admitted figure.

Freedom Rider: Putin, Trump And Manafort

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By Margaret Kimberley for Black Agenda Report – The American propaganda campaign being waged against the Russian Federation and its president Vladimir Putin has reached a stage of perverse perfection. It is virtually impossible to put forth a dissenting opinion that will be accepted or considered worthy of consideration. The Democrats are leading the charge to silence and censor and they are getting buy-in from people who otherwise consider themselves to be progressive. This columnist has been interviewed on Radio Sputnik on two occasions. That fact should not be at all noteworthy but in the current atmosphere of Russophobia being pushed by the corporate media and Democratic politicians, it is a risky statement to make. Sputnik International is a Russian government entity, just as the BBC is “state run media” on behalf of the British government and the CBC for Canada. But anyone and anything connected to Russia gets the double standard treatment and is targeted for attack. Marcus Ferrell was until recently a campaign staffer for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. He resigned after the Atlanta Journal Constitution revealed that he had been a guest on the program By Any Means Necessary which is hosted by Sputnik. Ferrell didn’t discuss Russia at all.

Sorting Out The Russia Mess

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By Robert Parry for Consortium News – That’s in part because his credibility has already been undermined by his guilty plea for lying to the FBI and by the fact that he now has a motive to provide something the prosecutors might want in exchange for leniency. Plus, there is the hearsay and contested quality of Papadopoulos’s supposed information, some of which already has turned out to be false. According to the court documents, Papadopoulos got to know a professor of international relations who claimed to have “substantial connections with Russian government officials,” with the professor identified in press reports as Joseph Mifsud, a little-known academic associated with the University of Stirling in Scotland. The first contact supposedly occurred in mid-March 2016 in Italy, with a second meeting in London on March 24 when the professor purportedly introduced Papadopoulos to a Russian woman whom the young campaign aide believed to be Putin’s niece, an assertion that Mueller’s investigators determined wasn’t true. Trump, who then was under pressure for not having a foreign policy team, included Papadopoulos as part of a list drawn up to fill that gap, and Papadopoulos participated in a campaign meeting on March 31 in Washington at which he suggested a meeting between Trump and Putin, a prospect that other senior aides reportedly slapped down.

Japan’s Vote For Abe Could Worsen Prospects For Peace With North Korea, China

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By Nicole L Freiner for The Conversation – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gambled by calling a snap election – and he has won big. Voters handed Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party a sweeping victory in the Oct. 22 balloting for Japan’s House of Representatives. The call for the election came in late September after North Korea had just fired another test missile, with its longest delivery system yet. Over the past months, North Korea has tested six missiles, with each test either falling into the Japan Sea or passing over Japan to land in the Pacific. This latest missile flew over Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido before falling into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, used strong threats after this missile test, saying that he hoped to see Japan sink into the sea. Abe and his hawkish, conservative coalition have been attempting to rebuild Japan’s military capabilities and to scrap its WWII-era constitution that prohibits aggression. Based on my research in Japanese politics, I believe the party’s electoral victory spells trouble for peace in Asia.

Armistice Day

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By Staff of Veterans for Peace – Veterans For Peace calls on all members and all peace-loving people to take a stand for peace this Armistice (aka Veterans Day), Saturday November 11. We call for nationally coordinated local actions to demand diplomacy not war with North Korea, and the abolition of nuclear weapons and war. Veterans For Peace joins with the wider peace movement for actions before and after November 11th. In 2017, ninety-nine years after the end of World War I, “the war to end war”, the world finds itself on the brink of a nuclear war, again. The threat of a horrific nuclear exchange is possibly higher than it has ever been. The President of the United States Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to attack North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK), going so far as to say, while speaking to the U.N., that the U.S. will “totally destroy” the country. North Korea has also caused great alarm with its own threats, while testing long-range missiles and nuclear bombs. Twitter confrontations and saber rattling have only served to escalate tensions. The road to war is a slippery slope on which one misstep can lead to the beginning of catastrophic war. Even the use of conventional weapons would lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Millions will die if there is a nuclear exchange.

Rich Man's War; Poor People's Blood

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By Ed Kinane and Judy Bello for Upstated Drone Action – Monday, 25 September 2017 at 9 AM, 7 members of the grassroots group Upstate Drone Action once again were arrested as they delivered a citizen’s war crime indictment to the chain of command at Hancock Air Force Base. Upstate Drone Action also placed a huge dollar sign [$] dripping with “blood” in the main entrance way to the base. The six-foot-high dollar sign dramatizes what the group believes determines the many overseas wars the Pentagon/CIA engages in: corporate greed. Hancock AFB — on East Molloy Rd, town of DeWitt, County of Onondaga, State of New York, just north of Syracuse – hosts the 174th Attack [sic] Wing of the NY National Guard. The 174th is one of two Reaper drone Attack Wings in NYS. Piloted from Hancock, the MQ9 Reaper drone is an unmanned, satellite-directed assassin flown over Afghanistan. CIA also uses such airborne robots for its clandestine, illegal, lethal missions over Northwest Pakistan and other majority-Islamic nations and oil lands. According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to civilians from US Practices in Pakistan,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools, such missions are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.

Korea? It’s Always Really Been About China!

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By Paul Atwood for Counter Punch – How many citizens have ever asked themselves what the United States is doing in Korea in the first place? In November of 1945, two months after the surrender of Japan, Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall spoke to President Truman and the chief figures of his cabinet about his fears of a “the tragic consequences of a divided China” as Chinese Nationalist forces and Communists resumed their struggle for power and Soviet forces seized control of large areas of Manchuria. The resumption of Soviet power in Manchuria Marshall emphasized would result “in the defeat or loss of the major purpose of our war with Japan (emphasis added). What could the general have meant by such a statement? What WAS the “major purpose” of the Pacific war? Most Americans are taught that the foremost reason the United States went to war with Japan was the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the reality was that the U.S. and Japan had been on a collision course since the 1920s and by 1940, in the midst of the global depression, were locked in a mortal struggle over who would ultimately benefit most from the markets and resources of Greater China and East Asia. Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was steadily closing the “Open Door” to American penetration of and access to the profitable riches of Asia at the critical moment.

Is The US Empire’s Reign Nearing An End?

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By Mark Karlin for Truthout – At its peak, circa 1900, Britain managed its global empire with hard and soft power, both the steel of naval guns and the salve of enticing culture. With strong fiscal fundamentals, Great Britain would dominate the world economy through London’s unequaled foreign investments of £3.8 billion and global economic leadership through the gold standard and the pound sterling. Multilingual British diplomats were famously skilled at negotiating force-multiplier alliances with other major powers, while ensuring its commercial access to secondary states like China and Persia that made up its informal empire. Its colonial officers were no less skilled at cultivating local elites … [who] enabled them to rule over a quarter of humanity with a minimum of military force. Both forms of British diplomacy were eased by the cultural appeal of the English language, highlighted through its literature, the Anglican religion, sports (cricket, rugby, soccer and tennis), and mass media (Reuters news service, newspapers such as The Times, and the later BBC radio). As the steel behind this diplomacy, the British navy of 300 ships controlled maritime chokepoints from Gibraltar through the Suez Canal to the Straits of Malacca.

Western Financial And Trade Hegemony Disappearing

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By Jon Hellevig for Russia Insider – On the eve of the BRICS Summit in China’s Xiamen in the Fujian Province, a defiant Putin hit back on the Western elite vowing to destroy the US-led Western global financial and trade hegemony. Putin says it plain and clear in an article he penned ahead of the of summit that starts September 4th. It is fitting that the master judoka Putin announced his Sun-Tzunian strategy in connection with the Chinese summit. A multitude of Sun Tzu quotes lend themselves to a description of Putin’s approach, but in this connection, we have this one in mind: “What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.” That’s precisely what Putin is about to do, by addressing the US strategy of absolute dominance of the global economy and by aiming to take down the prevailing unfair global financial and economic architecture. And, there is no shortage of able allies, now with the rise of the economies of the free world: BRICS and the other emerging countries. Of course, all those backed up with the military might of China and Russia.

Beijing’s “Belt And Road” Initiative, Towards An Economy Of Peace?

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By Peter Koeing for Information Clearing House – August 31, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Why is the world one huge fireball of hostilities, conflicts, threats of economic sanctions, propaganda of lies and mind manipulations, fearmongering – killing – massive killing – 12-15 million people killed since 9/11? – Why is that? And all provoked and executed by ONE country, and her vassals in the form of NATO, stooges of Brussels and the Middle East, and their prostituted proxies, paid mercenary whores, Islamic State, by the one Rogue Nation the world is subjected to – the United States of America. All that at the cost of trillions of dollars, tax-payers’ money – really? – More likely privately FED, Wall Street created fiat money, pyramid money, based on usury and debt, subjugating debt to be pillaged from the ordinary citizens; but government debt never to be repaid, as per Alan Greenspan (FED Chairman, 1987-2006) to an exasperated journalist who asks, when will the US ever pay back its huge debt? – “Never – we will just print new money”. – So, is it really ‘tax-payers’ money’? – Would tax-payers’ money be able to pay for these trillions and trillion spent on conflicts, wars and hostilities – hundreds of billions spent on propaganda of deception and lies to promote endless assassinations around the globe? Hardly.

More Evidence Of Failing US Empire: Key Conflicts Are Really US V. China & Russia

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By Adam Garrie for The Duran – While some pundits continue to downplay the increasingly strong partnership between Russia and China, the reality is that as Russia’s economy continues to grow and as China’s geo-political pronouncements continue to become more wide reaching, the world is witnessing the final stage of a new geo-political alignment that has been many years in the making. China and Russia are now, not only on the same side of many global issues but they are speaking in a singular voice with a similarly loud volume. Three areas where this has manifested itself include of Venezuela, Afghanistan and North Korea. In each of these cases, both Russia and China are saying almost identical things at the same time and are doing so forcefully. By contrast, during the early stages of the Syrian conflict which started in 2011, while China was always supportive of the Syrian government in its battle against terrorists, Russia took a lead in the conflict both in respect of diplomatic announcements and after 2015, in respect of military assistance to the Syrian government.

China Tells US, North Korea To ‘Hit The Brakes’ On Threats

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By Christopher Bodeen for AP News – BEIJING (AP) — China is telling the U.S. and North Korea to “hit the brakes” on threatening words and actions and work toward a peaceful resolution of their dispute, in a sign of growing concern over the standoff on the part of Pyongyang’s only major ally. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that the two countries should work together to contain tensions and permit no one to “stir up an incident on their doorstep,” according to a statement posted on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website. “The most important task at hand is for the U.S. and North Korea to ‘hit the brakes’ on their mutual needling of each other with words and actions, to lower the temperature of the tense situation and prevent the emergence of an ‘August crisis,’” Wang was quoted as saying in the Tuesday conversation. The ministry quoted Lavrov as saying tensions could rise again with the U.S. and South Korea set to launch large-scale military exercises on Aug. 21. “A resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue by military force is completely unacceptable and the peninsula’s nuclear issue must be peacefully resolved by political and diplomatic methods,” Lavrov was quoted as saying.