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.

Israel Makes Request To U.S. To Dismantle Life Support System For 5 Million Palestinians

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By Jonathan Cook for AlterNet – Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy. The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood. Danon makes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu look moderate. He has backed Israel annexing the West Bank and ruling over Palestinians apatheid-style. Haley appears unperturbed. During a meeting with Netanyahu, she told him that the UN was “a bully to Israel”. She has warned the powerful Security Council to focus on Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbollah, instead of Israel. To protect its tiny ally, Washington is threatening to cut billions in US funding to the world body, plunging it into crisis and jeopardising peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

Miami Conference Signals Further Militarization Of US Policy In Central America

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

By Jake Johnston for CEPR – In a high-level meeting Friday, the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will discuss the region’s security with American and Mexican officials. Innocuous enough, you may think. But part of the meeting will be held on a US military base in Miami, Florida ― the headquarters of the US Southern Command, the Pentagon’s regional subsidiary that oversees American military operations throughout Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Under President Donald Trump, the militarization of US foreign policy is about to stretch more deeply into Central America. Central America policymaking, hardly an open book to begin with, is set to become more secretive. With the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America just days away, there is no official agenda of speakers or publicly listed events and no involvement of civil society organizations, and even press access is extremely limited. What we do know is US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be there, as will Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and of course, General John F. Kelly, the director of Homeland Security and the previous head of SOUTHCOM.

Killer Drones And The Militarization Of U.S. Foreign Policy

The MQ-9 Reaper, a combat drone, in flight. Wikimedia Commons / Ricky Best

By Ann Wright for AFSA – The militarization of U.S. foreign policy certainly didn’t start with President Donald J. Trump; in fact, it goes back several decades. However, if Trump’s first 100 days in office are any indication, he has no intention of slowing down the trend. During a single week in April, the Trump administration fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield, and dropped the largest bomb in the U.S. arsenal on suspected ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan. This 21,600-pound incendiary percussion device that had never been used in combat—the Massive Ordinance Air Blast or MOAB, colloquially known as the “Mother of All Bombs”—was used in the Achin district of Afghanistan, where Special Forces Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar had been killed a week earlier. (The bomb was tested only twice, at Elgin Air Base, Florida, in 2003.) To underscore the new administration’s preference for force over diplomacy, the decision to experiment with the explosive power of the mega-bomb was taken unilaterally by General John Nicholson, the commanding general of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In praising that decision, Pres. Trump declared that he had given “total authorization” to the U.S. military to conduct whatever missions they wanted, anywhere in the world—which presumably means without consulting the interagency national security committee.

Statement Of Cuba In Reaction To Trump’s New Cuba Policy

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By Staff of Cuba Min Rex – On June 16, 2017, US President Donald Trump delivered a speech full of hostile anti-Cuban rhetoric reminiscent of the times of open confrontation with our country in a Miami theater. He announced his government’s Cuba policy, which rolls back the progress achieved over the last two years since December 17, 2014, when Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and engage in a process towards the normalization of bilateral relations. In what constitutes a setback in the relations between both countries, President Trump, gave a speech and signed a policy directive titled “National Security Presidential Memorandum”, which provides the elimination of private educational “people-to-people” exchanges and greater control over all travelers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of business, trade and financial transactions between US companies and certain Cuban companies linked to the Armed Revolutionary Forces and the intelligence and security services, under the alleged objective of depriving us from income.

U.N. Says 300 Civilians Killed In U.S.-Led Air Strikes In Raqqa Since March

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By Stephanie Nebehay for Reuters – Intensified coalition air strikes have killed at least 300 civilians in the Syrian northern city of Raqqa since March, as U.S.-backed forces close in on the stronghold of Islamic State forces, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Wednesday. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a U.S.-led coalition, began to attack Raqqa a week ago to take it from the jihadists. The SDF, supported by heavy coalition air strikes, have taken territory to the west, east and north of the city. “Coalition air strikes have intensified around the city,” said Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry. “As the operation is gaining pace very rapidly, civilians are caught up in the city under the oppressive rule of ISIL, while facing extreme danger associated with movement due to excessive air strikes,” he told reporters. Karen Abuzayd, an American commissioner on the independent panel, said: “We have documented the deaths caused by the coalition air strikes only and we have about 300 deaths, 200 in one place, in al-Mansoura, one village.”

Trump’s Sword Dance Sets Off The War Of The Wahhabis

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

By Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News – The current Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, now “guilty” for not blaming Iran as the root of all evils in the Arab peninsula, might even be following the steps of his own father, Hamad, who invented modern Qatar and deposed himself – under Saudi pressure – in favor of his son in 2013. We can’t forget that Bandar bin Sultan, a.k.a. Bandar Bush, notorious former top assembler/weaponizer of jihadis, and frustrated “liberator of Syria”, had famously described Qatar in the past as “300 people and a TV station”. So what is really going on in this noxious petrodollar swamp? The Israel-UAE connection. Let’s cut to the chase and establish that this nasty inter-GCC cannibalization has nothing to do with the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Among massive disinformation crossfire, a trail of evidence points to a concerted strategy elaborated by the Israeli lobby (via the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, founded, among others, by nefarious casino schemer Sheldon Adelson, and very close to Bibi Netanyahu); US neocon/Ziocon/neoliberalcon elements; and the UAE ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba.

Engaging The ISIS Threat: Time For A Method Yet Untried

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

By Marc Pilisuk for TRANSCEND Media Service – Part of ISIS, (sometimes considered to be the whole thing), is an organization that has military power, controls vast territory in Syria and in Iraq and has information access throughout the Middle East and beyond. Its leaders express an ideology regarding the restoration of a caliphate or a religious state. This part of ISIS does command oil revenues and arms. It is an organized jihadist group that controls territory and seeks statehood. Acknowledging the overwhelming military superiority of the US and NATO, the leaders adopt a strategy geared to polarization of adversaries and the zeal of potential sympathizers. As reported in the Guardian, the tactics have been described: Hit soft targets: ‘Diversify and widen the vexation strikes against the “Crusader- Zionist” enemy in every place in the Islamic world, and even outside of it if possible, so as to disperse the efforts of the alliance of the enemy and thus drain it to the greatest extent possible. … Strike when potential victims have their guard down.

Students Urge End To US-Israel Police Exchanges

Students gather on campus at California State University, Long Beach in support of a divestment resolution. (Facebook)

By Nora Barrows-Friedman for EI – The student government of California State University, Long Beach passed a resolution earlier this month calling on the administration to pull its investments in companies profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. The vote comes in spite of strong pressure on student senators by the university’s president to reject the resolution. Meanwhile, students in Wisconsin also passed a resolution standing up to the US-based weapons and policing industries that profit from Israel’s human rights violations. In the weeks leading up to the successful vote at Cal State Long Beach, Jane Conoley, the university’s president, echoed Israel lobby claims that the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is to blame for an increase in anti-Semitism. In a letter addressed to the student senators in late April, Conoley claimed that the passage of divestment resolutions “has often been accompanied by increases in anti-Jewish graffiti.” Her letter repeats a common false and anti-Semitic trope used by Israel lobby organizations to stifle debate: that Jews – conflated as a monolith with the state of Israel – are being singled out by Palestinian rights campaigners for special scrutiny.