Students Will Sail From Washington, D.C. For Cuba, Despite U.S. Travel Warnings

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By Staff of Progresso Weekly – Despite U.S. warnings against travel to Cuba, a 130-foot American school schooner operated by Ocean Passages of Portland, ME, will sail this week from Washington, D.C. for an educational voyage in southern Cuba. On board the ship are U.S. crew and Gap Year students ages 18 – 24. The ship will spend a total of four months in Cuba engaged in ecological site visits assessing long-term sustainability. The owners, crew, and students of the Harvey Gamage have carefully reviewed the U.S. administration’s recent travel warnings and are committed to continuing their mission in Cuba. The ship, currently moored at the Capital Yacht Club on the D.C. waterfront, will set sail for Cuba this Wednesday, October 25. At an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday morning aboard the schooner, representatives of Ocean Passages and the students will discuss the value of legally authorized “people-to-people” travel in Cuba begun under the Obama administration. They will describe their determination to “stay the course” despite the Trump administration’s changes in U.S. policies towards Cuba. This marks Ocean Passages’ third consecutive year of student voyages to Cuba. In addition, U.S. tour operators and Cuban experts will discuss the negative impacts of the recent State Department travel warning and other measures on educational and cultural exchanges with the island and on Cuba’s burgeoning small-scale, household-based tourism businesses.

Newsletter: Chelsea Manning v. US War Criminals

We Stand with Chelsea Manning

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Chelsea Manning saw crimes and exposed them. Her detractors are aware of the crimes and even commit them. Rather than self-evaluation they continue to hide the crimes even though they are in the public and people can read them. For her part, “Manning said Harvard’s decision signaled to her that it’s a “police state” and it’s not possible to engage in political discourse in academic institutions. “‘I’m not ashamed of being disinvited,’” she said. “‘I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself.’” The so-called Deep State of Security, Intelligence and foreign policy agencies could learn a lot from Manning about shame. Unlike her, they fear people knowing the truth about them, indeed they fear looking in the mirror and seeing the unpatriotic truths about themselves.

Cambodia Exposes, Expels US Network

Image: US Knows best. NDI "teaches" Cambodians how to run their nation.

By Joseph Thomas for NEO – Corporations like BP, Chevron, Citigroup, Coca Cola, Exxon, defence contractor Honeywell and IT giant Microsoft are not interested in promoting democracy. They are using democracy promotion as a means behind which to create conditions more conducive to expanding markets and increasing profits. This includes undermining governments impeding foreign corporate control of national resources and markets, or entirely removing and replacing governments with more obedient client regimes. The contemporary history of American foreign wars and its practice of “regime change” and “nation building” provides self-evident confirmation of the motives and means used to expand US hegemony and clearly illustrates where organisations like NDI fit into the process. In Cambodia’s case, a much larger, overarching agenda is in play than merely national resources and markets. US activities in Cambodia to coerce or replace the current government in Phnom Penh is done specifically to encircle and contain China through a united front of client states assembled by the United States across Southeast Asia.

Why US-South Korea Military Drill Could Provoke North Korea’s Ire

The US M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System fires an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile during a US and South Korea joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 5. Picture: South Korean Defence Ministry via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

By James Law for News – THE US and South Korea will join forces on Monday for a provocative 10-day military drill, which North Korea says could lead to “nuclear war”. While Kim Jong-un appeared to back off on his threat to attack Guam yesterday, the North Korean leader has made it clear that the military exercise could raise his ire again. The joint military drill, known as Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, happens every year, but it has antagonised the North more than usual given the heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. The North sees the massive land, air and sea war games as a provocation, because it believes it is a way for the South to prepare for an invasion. Washington and Seoul, which will each deploy tens of thousands of troops for the exercise, maintain the exercise is defensive and a response to North Korea aggression. Past drills are believed to have included simulated “decapitation strikes”, which see soldiers carry out trial operations to kill Kim Jong-un and his top generals.

Iran Threatens To Send Warships To Atlantic And Ramp Up Nuclear Activities If US Continues Sanctions

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By Aaron Kesel for Activist Post – Amid Americans’ concerns that North Korea threatened to launch a missile at Guam, Iran is planning on building up a flotilla of warships in the Atlantic Ocean, while Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani has threatened to revitalize the country’s nuclear program if the U.S. continues “threats and sanctions.” If Washington continues with “threats and sanctions” against Iran, Tehran could easily ramp up its nuclear activities Rouhani said in Iranian Parliament, AP reported. In an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced (nuclear) level than at the beginning of the negotiations. “The U.S. has shown that it is neither a good partner nor a trustable negotiator,” Rouhani added. “Those who are trying to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past hallucinations. They deprive themselves of the advantages of peace.” Iranian lawmakers reportedly shouted “death to America” as they passed the bill to increase military spending. The legislation also imposes sanctions on U.S. military officials who are in the region. Meanwhile, after the announcement of a massive $500 million investment in war spending, Iran has planned to send flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean in response to the U.S. proposed sanctions against the country.

Berlin Calls For Retaliation Against ‘Illegal’ US Sanctions On Russia

The Reichstag building © Tobias Schwarz / Reuters

By Staff of RT – New penalties against Moscow proposed by US lawmakers violate international law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures, the German economy minister said on Monday. “We consider this as being against international law, plain and simple,”Brigitte Zypries told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain. “Of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures,” she added. According to the minister, “the Americans can not punish German companies because they operate economically in another country.” Last week, both chambers of the US Congress decided to impose new sanctions against Russia over its Crimea reunification and alleged meddling in US elections. The bill has still to be signed by US President Donald Trump. This is the first time Washington has made a move against Moscow without European consent. The bill appears to target Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany. The proposed expansion would double the existing pipeline’s capacity and make Germany EU’s main energy hub. The legislation seeks to introduce individual sanctions for contributing in Russian energy projects and targets major sectors of Russia’s economy, including defense, railway, and banking industries.

Deep State, Riyad & Tel Aviv Sabotage Good Relations With Russia

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By Federico Pieraccini for Strategic Culture Foundation – After months of debate over the bad state of relations between the United States and Russia, the G20 offered the stage for the two leaders to meet and start discussing the various problems facing the two countries. In the days following the summit in Hamburg, the Kremlin and the White House revealed that Putin and Trump met three times in bilateral talks to discuss how to improve relations between the two nations. The ceasefire reached in southern Syria is therefore intended as the first step in a new direction set for Washington and Moscow. As was easy to foresee, the deep state did not like this prospect of cooperation, immediately unleashing the mainstream media on Trump, because repeated meetings with Putin at the G20 were apparently suggestive of some sort of collusion, as if the leaders of two nuclear powers cannot even speak with each other. Obviously uncomfortable with these meetings, the sabotaging of relations between Russia and the US has taken a new turn. The previous ceasefire in Syria, reached by Kerry and Lavrov during the previous administration a year ago, was sabotaged by the US Air Force’s bombing of Syrian troops at Deir ez-Zor, which killed and injured more than a hundred Syrian soldiers.

Urgent Warning: Time To Hit The Reset Button On US-Korean Policy

From ZoomInKorea.org

By Medea Benjamin for Code Pink – Touching down in Washington DC Friday night after a peace delegation to South Korea organized by the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea (STIK), I saw the devastating news. No, it was not that Reince Priebus had been booted from the dysfunctional White House. It was that North Korea had conducted another intercontinental ballistic missile test, and that the United States and South Korea had responded by further ratcheting up this volatile conflict. The response was not just the usual tit-for-tat, which did happen. Just hours after the North Korean test, the US and South Korean militaries launched their own ballistic missiles as a show of force. Even more incendiary, however, is that South Korean President Moon Jae-in also responded by reversing his decision to halt deployment of the US weapon system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense). President Moon gave his military the green light to add four more launchers to complete the system. South Korea’s new, liberal president came into office on May 10 on the wave of a remarkable “people power” uprising that had led to the impeachment and jailing of the corrupt President Park Geun-hye.

US Deep State: Sabotaging Putin-Trump Ceasefire Agreement In Syria

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By Federico Pieraccini for Strategic Culture Foundation – The most eagerly anticipated meeting of the year, that between Putin and Trump, lasted far more than the scheduled 20 minutes, extending past two hours. This is not too much of a surprise given the points of friction that needed to be discussed, the many outstanding issues in international relations, and the fact that this was the first official meeting between the two world leaders. The results achieved exceeded initial ambitions, and the personal chemistry between Putin and Trump seems to have been sufficient to reach an important agreement in Syria as well as to conduct discussions surrounding cyber security. Trump even asked Putin about the alleged Russian hacking in the US presidential election as a way of appeasing detractors back home. The statements of both presidents following their meeting underlined their positive intentions. Putin called Trump a very different person from the one portrayed in the media, mentioning that he was reflective and very attentive to details. Trump, for his part, praised the meeting with Putin, stating the importance of dialogue between nuclear-armed superpowers. The most important agreement concerned a ceasefire in southern Syria along the border with Israel and Jordan.

How Al-Qaeda Became An American Ally In ‘The War On Terror’

Members of al-Nusra Front gesture as they drive in a convoy touring villages in the southern countryside of Syria’s Idlib province, Decembe, 2014. (Photo: Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News – WASHINGTON, D.C.– Despite ostensibly being the United States’ “Public Enemy No. 1” following the 9/11 attacks, the international terror group al-Qaeda has instead been a beneficiary of U.S. military aid in the post-9/11 world, particularly in Syria. With the Syrian conflict well into its sixth year, al-Qaeda’s active branch in that war, widely known as Jabhat al-Nusra or the al-Nusra Front, has continually received arms and military protection from the United States, an outcome that is clearly counterproductive to the U.S.’ global “War on Terror.” Yet, while the arming and propping up of al-Qaeda in Syria may not serve the U.S.’ fundamental goal of eradicating terrorism, it certainly has helped the U.S. political establishment pursue a decades-old goal of regime change in regionally strategic Syria. Gareth Porter, an award-winning independent investigative journalist, and historian told MintPress News that such tactics are part of the U.S. government’s long-standing “bureaucratic habit of mind that really privileges short-term advantages against state adversaries over the long term, fundamental interests of the American people.”

Soft Coups Made In USA To Control Latin America: Bolivia

Attendees of the book release of "Geopolitics and Regional Integration — Latin America in the World System." | Photo: Bolivian vice presidency

By Staff of Tele Sur – While the U.S. employs brute military force in the Muslim world to obtain foreign policy objectives, soft coups are reserved for Latin America. Cesar Navarro, Bolivia’s minister of Mining and Metallurgy, emphasized Wednesday that the main objective of the United States is to implement soft coups in order to reestablish hegemony over Latin America during a speech launching a new book, according to Prensa Latina. The official was commenting on “Geopolitics and Regional Integration — Latin America in the World System,” a compilation which includes a variety of prominent Latin American intellectuals. He noted that while the United States employs brute military force in parts of the Muslim world to obtain foreign policy objectives, soft coups are reserved for its southern neighbors or as top U.S. officials — including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry — refer to the region as its “backyard.” To support his claim, Navarro cited the removal of democratically-elected Manuel Zelaya in Honduras; Fernando Lugo in Paraguay; and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, describing how the United States supported their ouster despite the fact that it goes against all claims of supporting democracy.

Join DC Protest Friday On Korea as President Moon Meets President Trump

From ZoomInKorea.org

By Staff of Yonhap News Agency – SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) — Thousands of South Koreans staged a protest rally in central Seoul on Saturday demanding the withdrawal of the deployment of an American high-tech anti-missile defense system as President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump are set to meet in Washington D.C. next week. “The deployment of THAAD, which is unnecessary for the defense of the Korean Peninsula, should be pulled back,” the protesters said in a rally held in Seoul Plaza at the heart of Seoul. The rally’s organizer put the number of participants at 3,000. The rally came ahead of the first Moon-Trump summit to be held from June 29-30, which is expected to feature the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). After taking office last month, Moon ordered the deployment to be delayed until an environmental impact assessment is carried out at its deployment site. “The South Korea-U.S. summit to come next week should be a venue where the review of the THAAD deployment should be assured,” the protests said. They also demanded the U.S. stop enforcing the deployment.

Yemen To Probe Alleged Interrogation Abuses By United Arab Emirates, U.S.

John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is among senators calling for investigations into the reports. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

By Ahmed Al-Haj for Associated Press – SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s internationally-recognized government on Saturday ordered the creation of a committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations, following reports that U.S. military interrogators worked with forces from the United Arab Emirates who are accused of torturing detainees in Yemen. A copy of the order issued by Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghr was obtained by The Associated Press. It said the investigation would focus on areas liberated by government forces from Shiite rebels known as the Houthis and their allies. The six-member committee will be chaired by Justice Minister Jamal Mohamed Omar and include representatives from the Human Rights Ministry, security agencies and the prosecution. It will immediately start work and have 15 days to conclude its investigation and report back to bin Daghr. The reports of the abuses were revealed in an AP investigation published Thursday. The investigation detailed a network of secret prisons across southern Yemen where hundreds are detained in the hunt for al-Qaida militants. American defense officials said U.S. forces have interrogated some detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in, or knowledge of, human rights abuses.

US Implicated In Brutal Torture In Lebanon

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By Maggie Michael for AP News – MUKALLA, Yemen (AP) — Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found. Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture The United Arab Emirates and Yemeni forces run a secret network of prisons where prisoners are brutally tortured. The U.S. has questioned some detainees, and have regular access to their testimony — a potential violation of international law. (June 21) The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Gulf nation, drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of prisoners, civil rights lawyers and Yemeni military officials.

Are Demands On Qatar By US Arab Allies A Sign Of Coming Attack On Iran?

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By Staff of BBC News – The stakes have just been raised, dramatically. The sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others two weeks ago had failed to produce the result they wanted. Qatar has remained defiant, rejecting their accusations and pulling in help from Iran and Turkey. The list of demands now being made are humiliating for Qatar – closing its flagship TV channel Al Jazeera, for example, would spell an end to a 21-year drive to put Qatar firmly on the global media map. Some Gulf commentators believe these demands may be just a starting point for negotiations but the Saudi and UAE governments are in no mood for compromise. They don’t trust Qatar’s word. So if there really is no room for manoeuvre on the demands that would leave only two courses: total capitulation by Qatar and its return to the Gulf Arab fold, as a meek and much reduced national figure; or a defiant Qatar expelled from the GCC and quite possibly becoming a dependent ally of Iran’s. Qatar’s critics may yet regret what they have started.