CIA Says They Are Working With Mexico & Colombia To Overthrow Venezuela

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By Staff of Tele Sur – The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has demanded the governments of Colombia and Mexico respond to allegations that they are working with the CIA to overthrow the Venezuelan government. In a televised interview, Maduro said, “The director of the CIA has said, ‘The CIA and the U.S. government work in direct collaboration with the Mexican government and the Colombian government to overthrow the constitutional government in Venezuela and to intervene in our beloved Venezuela.’” “I demand the government of Mexico and the government of Colombia to properly clarify the declarations from the CIA and I will make political and diplomatic decisions accordingly before this audacity,” he added. The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela.

The End Of Globalisation

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By Stuart Jeanne Bramhall for Dissident Voice – In From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation, Finbarr Livesey challenges the common neoliberal claim that globalization is the be-all and end-all of global prosperity. Livesey’s premise, which he supports with an impressive array of data, is that globalization peaked shortly after 2008 and the world economy is in a period of deglobalization. World trade is slowly declining as a percentage of GDP, and many companies who moved factories to the third world are improving their bottom line by reshoring them to the US and Europe. Livesey contends that, to a large extent, last year’s vote for Britain to leave the EU and for a US president who promised to withdraw from the TPP and bring back American jobs, merely reflect an economic trend that began nearly a decade ago. The present deglobalization was triggered by the 2008 financial crash that sucked trillions of dollars out of the global economy. However, Livesey identifies a number of other factors that influence this trend – chief among them the volatility of oil prices and shipping costs (containers must be booked months in advance) and the growing cost of labor in China and neighboring countries.

Letter to the Editor Campaign: NAFTA IS NOT FOR US

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The Trump administration’s NAFTA negotiation objectives show more clearly than ever that this agreement will not be made for us or by us. The thousands of comments submitted by the trade justice movement have been ignored as the objectives resemble the language and sentiment of the original NAFTA and defeated TPP goals. We cannot let corporations and their political representatives decide our fate. Our communities need to know that this NAFTA IS NOT FOR US. Join our letter to the editor campaign, our resistance to NAFTA must go viral!

Lawmakers Seek To Make It A Crime To Support BDS Against Israel

Mark Apollo/Pacific Press/SIPA/AP

By Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim for The Intercept – THE CRIMINALIZATION OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech. But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio.

U.S. Blocking Food Shipments To Venezuela, Says Minister

A man sits in front of a mural in Caracas, Venezuela | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Xinhua Net – CARACAS, July 12 (Xinhua) — The United States is blocking food shipments to Venezuela, a country struggling with shortages of staple goods, Venezuelan Minister of Urban Agriculture Freddy Bernal said on Wednesday. Bernal said U.S. threats of sanctions against companies doing business with Venezuela was interfering with the country’s supply of imported foodstuffs. “The United States pressures shipping companies that if they make purchases, sales or transactions with Venezuela, they will be sanctioned,” Bernal said in an interview with Caracas-based Union Radio. Bernal has coordinated a government program to deliver basic goods to families, which was put in place after Venezuela’s political and economic crises led to shortages. That aid includes both domestic products and tons of grains and meats imported from Nicaragua, Panama and Mexico, said Bernal, adding U.S. interference was impeding the national distribution of the foodstuffs. Shortages of dietary staples and other basic goods have fueled discontent in Venezuela. Bernal also denounced recent stepped-up anti-government demonstrations for destroying “30 food warehouses” that support the food aid program.

U.S., UK And France Denounce Nuclear Ban Treaty

By MAPW Australia | CC BY 2.0

By David Krieger for Counter Punch – The U.S., UK and France have never shown enthusiasm for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. It is not surprising, therefore, that they did not participate in the United Nations negotiations leading to the recent adoption of the nuclear ban treaty, or that they joined together in expressing their outright defiance of the newly-adopted treaty. In a joint press statement, issued on July 7, 2017, the day the treaty was adopted, the U.S., UK and France stated, “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.” Seriously? Rather than supporting the countries that came together and hammered out the treaty, the three countries argued: “This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.” Rather than taking a leadership role in the negotiations, they protested the talks and the resulting treaty banning nuclear weapons. They chose hubris over wisdom, might over right. They based their opposition on their belief that the treaty is “incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”

Putin, Xi Message To Trump: US Unipolar World Is Over

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By Finian Cunningham for Information Clearing House – July 07, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The US’ strategy has been to isolate Russia internationally. Evidently, it is Washington that is becoming more isolated on the global stage. This week in the run-up to the G20 summit in Germany, the reverse in fortunes could not be more glaring. While North Korea was openly defying Washington with a breakthrough ballistic missile test, and US President Donald Trump was embroiled in his usual juvenile tweeting antics, Russia and China’s leaders were proudly consolidating their strategic alliance for a new multipolar global order. Western media won’t acknowledge as much, but the meeting this week in Moscow between Putin and Xi Jinping was of historical importance. We are witnessing a global transition in power. And for the common good. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping bond through an apparent deep sense of mutual respect and wisdom about the political challenges facing today’s world. The two leaders have met on more than 20 occasions over the past four years. President Xi referred to Russia as China’s foremost ally and said that in a topsy-turvy world the friendship between the two was a source of countervailing stability.

100 Years Ago, In Spring Of 1917: Why Did America Go To War In 1917?

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By Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels for Global Research – For the overwhelming majority of the people of the United States, however, the entry of their country into the war was hardly a wonderful thing. They realized that the war raging in Europe had been a disaster, and that in all belligerent countries civilians as well as soldiers longed for a return to peace. The Europeans wanted to exit this war as soon as possible; why would Americans want to enter it? And why would they have to fight on the side of the British and the French against the Germans? Why not on the side of the Germans against the countries of the Entente? Let us examine the factors that caused many Americans to ask such questions. For a long time already, the United States had enjoyed good relations with Germany. It was not Germany but Britain that was the traditional enemy and great rival of Uncle Sam. The British were former colonial masters against whom the country’s war of independence had been fought during the 1770s, and against whom another armed conflict took place between 1812 and 1815, the so-called War of 1812; and throughout the 19th century relations with Britain had remained tense on account of issues such as the border of the US with British North America

Time For Peace Negotiations In Korea, Not Escalation

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By staff for Center for Peace and Disarmament at People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. The state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula is more volatile than ever, now that President Park has been impeached and new government is to be constituted through an early presidential election in South Korea. The Trump administration, in the meantime, is fueling the escalating tension even further with messages that it will not rule out a preemptive strike on North Korea, and that it will redeploy strategic nuclear warheads to South Korea if necessary. The situation is further destabilized by the Trump administration’s decision to send an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula. The latest military stance and strategy of Washington, however, completely overlooks the desire of Koreans for peace. The Kim Jong-un government in Pyongyang meanwhile has warned of another upcoming nuclear test it intends to conduct, poised as it is to show off its growing nuclear capabilities. An existing crisis is already escalating in Northeast Asia over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that the South Korean and U.S. governments have decided to deploy in South Korea. All these acts of military bravado, taking hostage the lives and peace of Koreans, must cease now. It is time for policymakers to be responsible and return to dialogue and negotiations and stop fueling the growing tensions.

Gorbachev: It Was Worse Than This, And We Fixed It

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By David Swanson for Lets Try Democracy – On Friday in Moscow I and a group from the United States met with former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. He said the current relationship between Washington and Moscow alarmed him. But, he said, it is possible to rebuild trust. “We had a situation that was worse, but we were able to rebuild trust. And people-to-people contacts helped to rebuild trust.” When Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan first met, presidents of the two countries had not met for six years. Members of Reagan’s cabinet opposed the meeting. Gorbachev came out of the meeting saying of Reagan “He’s not a hawk, he’s a dinosaur.” Reagan came out denouncing Gorbachev as “a die-hard communist.” But they kept meeting. Eventually and inevitably Reagan asked what the Soviets would do if the U.S. were attacked by a meteor or aliens. Both men said their countries would help each other. However, Reagan was a fan of Star Wars, both the weapons boondoggle and the movie — which he may have kept distinct from each other in his mind. Gorbachev and Reagan accomplished a great deal of disarmament, not to mention Gorbachev’s accomplishing the nonviolent dissolution of an empire.

The U.S. Behavior That Concerns Russia

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By David Swanson for Lets Try Democracy – I attended a meeting in Moscow on Friday with Vladimir Kozin, longtime member of Russia’s foreign service, advisor to the government, author, and advocate for arms reduction. He handed out the list of 16 unresolved problems above. While he noted that the United States funds NGOs in Russia, as well as Ukraine, to influence elections, and described that as a reality in contrast to U.S. stories of Russia trying to influence a U.S. election, which he called a fairy tale, the topic did not make the top-16 list. He added to the top of the list as something that could be obtainable, and something he considers very important, the need for an agreement between the U.S. and Russia on no first use of nuclear weapons, an agreement that he thinks other nations would subsequently join. Then he stressed what he’s listed as the first item above: removing what the U.S. calls missile “defense” but what Russia views as offensive weaponry from Romania, and ceasing the construction of the same in Poland. These weapons combined with no commitment to no first use, Kozin said opens up the possibility of an accident or a misinterpretation of a flock of geese leading to the destruction of all human civilization.

Why The United States Should Negotiate In Good Faith With North Korea

Above Photo: Jimmy Carter and Kim Il Sung, 1994. Former President Jimmy Carter visited North Korea in June 1994 to successfully negotiate a “freeze” on the North’s nuclear program. Kim Il Sung died a month later but, following bilateral negotiations, the two countries signed the Agreed Framework putting in place the process for dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program.

By Michael Haas for Common Dreams – The United States is technically still at war with North Korea. No peace agreement has been signed despite repeated requests from Pyongyang for high-level negotiations. Former presidents Carter and Clinton and other high-level officials have gone to the North and achieved negotiation successes, but no sitting president had done so. Now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, new to the job, has declared that decades of negotiations have not served to normalize relations, clearly unaware that American obstinacy and tit-to-tat overreactions are the main culprits. In the extraordinary Agreed Framework of 1994, the United States promised to provide light-water reactors by 2003 to supply electric power in exchange for North Korean abandonment of nuclear weapons development to be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States pledged never to go to war with North Korea and to begin negotiations for economic and political normalization of relations. Annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States, long seen in Pyongyang as a preparation for an invasion, were cancelled in 1994 and 1995 to show good faith.

Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017

Commons not Capitalism

By Peter Linebaugh for Counterpunch. The constitution of the U.S.A. began when an assembly of rich white bankers, lawyers, and slave owners gathered behind closed doors in Philadelphia in 1787. They organized a government which in the first instance monopolized money-making and war-making and in the second instance did so with a series of legal mechanisms to minimize democracy – the Electoral College, the 3/5s clause, the Senate, the Supreme Court – so familiar to us. They were led by “the father of the constitution,” a man owning more than a hundred slaves, James Madison. He makes clear the fear that underlay this constitution; it was omnia sunt communia. The states ratified this constitution over the next two years in no small part because of the tireless efforts of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison collected in The Federalist Papers. The tenth of these papers tells it all. There Madison expresses his fear of “theoretic politicians,” that is, those who advocated an “agrarian law” or equalization of land, those who favored “perfect equality,” those who were “equalized in their possessions.” In brief, the U.S.A. was to become a massive state against the commons. This was an appeal to the men of property, the men of private property, the men who commanded property as capital.

China Urges Both North Korea And The United States To Avoid War

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By Liu Xin for Global Times – Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula over the phone, promising close contact to allow for the prompt exchange of views on major issues of mutual concern. China strongly opposes actions that violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, Xi said, adding that China hopes the parties concerned will exercise restraint and avoid actions that aggravate tensions on the peninsula, the Xinhua News Agency reported. It was the second phone conversation between the presidents since Xi visited Trump in Florida on April 6. Xi noted that if the parties shoulder their responsibilities and meet each other halfway, they can solve North Korea’s nuclear issue and achieve denuclearization, according to Xinhua. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are mounting, with South Korean and US media reporting that North Korea is preparing its sixth nuclear test on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of the founding of its military. North Korea has reportedly evacuated citizens living near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where it conducted the fifth nuclear test in September 2016.

Could Proportional Representation Save French And American Democracies?

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By Natasha Hakimi Zapata for Truth Dig – The alternative is called proportional representation (PR). Under a PR system, the electorate casts its votes nationwide for whatever political party they choose, and then seats are distributed by percentage. You don’t have to win the majority of votes in any one geographically-bound district to enter the parliament. This allows for the rapid growth of minority parties, and more political diversity. So, for instance, in PR-using Israel, there are 10 political parties in the Knesset. PR-using Sweden has eight parties represented. … It’s impossible to know exactly what would result from, for instance, converting the U.S. Congress into a proportional system. But we do know that the current system is far from popular, while also very hard to dislodge. In 2016, members of the U.S. House had a 97 percent re-election rate; and yet the latest Gallup poll puts Congress’s approval rating at 24 percent. A shift like the one Mélenchon is proposing in France would also require Constitutional changes, which are very difficult to implement. But the same could be said for many of the ideas Sanders ran on, like a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.