Going Down With the Bad Ship U.S.A.

Source:  Black Agenda Report
March 15 2018

going down with the bad ship.jpgGoing Down With the Bad Ship U.S.A.

“All that it can offer to the emerging nations of the world is a bad example and the threat of annihilation.”

There is no mystery to the ideological collapse of U.S. ruling class politics under late stage capitalism and imperial decline. Simply put, the corporate duopoly parties have nothing to offer the masses of people except unrelenting austerity at home and endless wars abroad. A shrunken and privatized Detroit serves as the model for U.S. urban policy; Libya and Syria are the scorched-earth footprints of a demented and dying empire. The lengthening shadow of economic eclipse by the East leaves the U.S. Lords of Capital with no cards left to play but the threat of Armageddon.

As China reclaims its historic place at the center of the earth, alongside the huge and heavily armed landmass of Russia, Washington flails about in a frenzy of firewall-building, buying time with the blood of millions, hoping to somehow preserve its doomed hegemony. But the “exceptional” superpower has no Marshall Plan to rescue itself from the throes of systemic decay, and all that it can offer to the emerging nations of the world is a bad example and the threat of annihilation. Its own people tire of the “Great Game,” finally realizing that they are the ones who have been played.

“Washington flails about in a frenzy of firewall-building, buying time with the blood of millions.”

George Bush drawled the “last hurrah” of empire with his declaration of “Mission Accomplished,” 15 years ago — and was quickly contradicted. With the failure in Iraq, the pretense of “spreading democracy” came ingloriously undone. A refurbishing of the imperial brand was attempted, with a bright and shiny new face – a Black-ish one — plus a new logo to justify invasion and regime-change: “humanitarian” intervention. But Obama’s assault on Syria revealed that the U.S. and its junior partners could only project power in the region through an alliance with Islamic jihadist terror. The architects of the War on Terror were, in fact, the godfathers of al Qaida.

“Do you realize now what you’ve done?” Vladimir Putin demanded of the Americans, at the United Nations, in 2015. “It is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.”

The U.S. and its junior partners could only project power in the region through an alliance with Islamic jihadist terror.”

Washington’s jihadist strategy has rapidly unraveled ever since. The empire was unmasked in the world’s most public forum, revealing the utter depravity of U.S. policy and, more importantly, the weakness of Washington’s position in the region. The mighty fortress of global capital, the self-appointed defender of the world economic “order,” was revealed as, not just in collusion with head-chopping, women-enslaving, sectarian mass-murdering terrorists, but militarily dependent on the very forces it claims to wage a twilight, “generational” battle to destroy. The U.S. has been spouting The Mother of All Lies, and most of humanity knows it. Deep down, most Americans suspect as much, too.

With its intervention in Syria as a stalwart foe of jihadism and in defense of the principle of national sovereignty, Russia spoke the language of international law and morality, presenting a fundamental challenge to U.S. imperial exceptionalism. By deploying his forces against Washington’s jihadist proxies, in a region infested with American bases, Putin put muscle behind his call for a “multi-polar” world order.

China understands clearly that the ultimate U.S. aim is to block China’s access to the region’s energy and markets, at will. Beijing has praised Russia’s military role in the war, and stood with Moscow in vetoing western Security Council resolutions targeting Damascus. China routinely joins with Russia – and most other nations on the planet — in pursuit of a more “multi-polar world.”

“Putin put muscle behind his call for a “multi-polar” world order.”

The U.S. now uses the desperate Kurdish militia as surrogates in Syria, in an attempt to justify its presence in the country, while continuing to arm, finance and train other “rebel” groups, reportedly including former ISIS fighters. The U.S. has always avoided targeting the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, formerly known as the al Nusra Front — which, with ISIS on the run, remains the most effective anti-government force in the country.

The Trump administration declares that it will remain in Syria for the foreseeable future — without even a fig leaf of legal cover. Although there is now no possibility for a jihadist victory, Washington seems intent on drawing out the war as long as possible. The truth is, Washington doesn’t know how to extricate itself, because to do so would amount to yet another admission of defeat, and lead quickly to the dissolution of the jihadist networks the Pentagon has so long cultivated.

Withdrawal from Syria — and, sooner rather than later, from Iraq, whose parliament this month called for a timetable for U.S. forces to vacate the country — would totally unravel U.S. strategy to dominate events in the oil-rich region. Obama launched the jihadist war against the Syrian government in 2011 to force his way into the country. ISIS’s seizure of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, gave the U.S. the opportunity to return to that country, militarily. There will be no third chances, in Syria or Iraq.

“Washington doesn’t know how to extricate itself, because to do so would amount to yet another admission of defeat.”

The American people will not stand for another such adventure. They feel tainted by the experience in both Syria and Iraq, and don’t trust what their government says about the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in the Arab world. If only for reasons of racism, they want out.

Everyone smells U.S. defeat, inside and outside the empire. It is a stink that only Americans that were conscious in the Vietnam era can remember. It makes folks anxious — like the loss of a cocoon. Just as whites reaped a “psychological wage ” from Jim Crow privileges, according to W.E.B. Dubois, even if they were poor, so do citizens of empire feel psychological benefits, even when the cost of the war machine is impoverishing the country. U.S. politics in the era of imperial decline will be nasty, stupid, petty and racist — just as we are already experiencing. There must be scapegoats for the national de-exceptionalization. The Russians fit the bill, for now, and so does anybody that talks like a Russian, or a Chinese — for example, people that would like to live in a “multi-polar world.”

Do not expect the Republicans or the Democrats to make any sense of a world of diminishing empire. The duopolists are incapable of seeing any future beyond their rich patrons’ vision –- and the rich have no vision beyond continued accumulation of wealth, which requires a harsher and harsher austerity.

Most dangerous, they cannot imagine a world in which they are not on top. We will have to fight to keep them from blowing us all up, in rich man’s despair.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

Why is the US at War in West Africa?

Source:  “Information Clearing House“/ wsws.org
October 15 2017

By Eddie Haywood

American military operations throughout the African continent have been conducted almost entirely in secret

us military in africa 3.jpg

The October 4 killings of four US Green Berets in Niger has provided a rare glimpse into the far-reaching American military operations throughout the African continent which have been conducted almost entirely in secret.

Pentagon officials on Friday told reporters that the ambush was carried out by a self-radicalized group supposedly affiliated with ISIS. The Pentagon additionally admitted that at least 29 patrols similar to the one that was fatally ambushed have been carried out by American soldiers in Niger.

According to AFRICOM, the US military command based in Stuttgart, Germany, the US special forces deployed to Niger are tasked with providing training, logistics, and intelligence to assist the Nigerien military in fighting militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda in Mali and Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria. AFRICOM has officially stated that its forces interact with the Nigerien army in a “non-combat advisory” capacity.

US military forces arrayed across the continent taking on the character of an occupying army

The circumstances surrounding the ambush which resulted in the deaths of the four Green Berets expose AFRICOM’s claim of non-engagement as a lie. The killings occurred during a joint patrol of elite American soldiers and Nigerien forces in a remote hostile region on the border with Mali known for frequent raids conducted by Islamist militants. Some 800 US commandos are deployed to bases in Niamey and Agadez making quite clear the offensive role that the American military is playing in Niger.

Underlining the incident is Niger’s configuration in Washington’s imperialist offensive across Africa. The expanding levels of US military forces arrayed across the continent have increasingly taken on the character of an occupying army. According to the Pentagon, there are a total of 1,000 American troops in the vicinity of the Chad River Basin which includes northern Niger, Chad, and the Central African Republic. An additional 300 troops are stationed to the south in Cameroon.

Related:  AFRICOM’s Secret Empire: US Military Turns Africa Into ‘Laboratory’ Of Modern Warfare

After its establishment in 2008 as an independent command, AFRICOM has significantly expanded American military influence and troop deployments on the African continent. Measuring the breadth of US military expansion is the construction of a $100 million base in Agadez in central Niger, from which the US Air Force conducts regular surveillance drone flights across the Sahel region.

Augmenting the special forces contingent in the region are military personnel stationed at several dozen bases and outposts including a US base in Garoua, Cameroon.

The genesis in 1980

The special operations units in Africa have their genesis in 1980, after the Pentagon created Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to conduct a raid on the US embassy in Tehran, Iran to rescue American hostages. Over the years, SOCOM has vastly broadened its scope, and currently has forces stationed on every continent around the globe.

Made up of various units of the US military, including Green Berets, Delta Force, and Navy Seals, SOCOM carry out a broad spectrum of offensive operations including assassinations, counter-terrorism, reconnaissance, psychological operations, and foreign troop training. Under AFRICOM, these forces form a subgroup of SOCOM designated as Special Operations Command in Africa (SOCAFRICA).

A 2000 per cent increase and the renewed scramble for Africa under Obama

Between 2006 and 2010 the deployment of US special forces troops in Africa increased 300 per cent. However, from 2010 to 2017 the numbers of deployed troops exploded by nearly 2000 per cent, occupying more than 60 outposts tasked with carrying out over 100 missions at any given moment across the continent.

The scale of the military expansion which began in earnest under the Obama administration is part of a renewed “scramble for Africa”, comprised of a reckless drive for economic dominance over Africa’s vast economic resources which threatens to transform the entire continent into a battlefield.

The immediate roots of the Niger ambush

The immediate roots of the Niger ambush can be traced to the 2011 US/NATO war in Libya which resulted in the removal and assassination of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. Under the Obama administration, Washington cultivated and armed various Islamist militant groups with ties to Al-Qaeda as a proxy force to carry out its aim of regime change. The resulting US/NATO bombardment left Libyan society in shambles, and the Islamist fighters spilled forth and out across North Africa and south to the Sahel.

In 2012, as a consequence of a US and French backed coup against the government in Bamako, Tuareg rebels in Northern Mali took advantage of the chaos resulting from the coup to stage a rebellion. After the Tuareg militants began taking control over cities and territory as it cut deeper into southern Mali, France with the Obama administrations backing deployed 4,000 troops to the country to neutralize the Tuareg rebels, eventually stabilizing the government it placed in Bamako.

While the Tuareg rebellion may have been halted by the US-backed French offensive, Islamist fighters from Libya were pouring into Mali, with many taking up arms against the Western backed puppet government. The Islamist fighters largely united into one large group, declaring allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). The military forces of Niger and Chad which participated in the US/French intervention in Mali have become frequent targets by the Islamist militants who began conducting cross-border raids and launched attacks on patrols and garrisons.

Transforming West Africa into a battlefield is the end result of Washington’s works

The rise of these warring Islamist militias which have transformed West Africa into a battlefield is the end result of Washington’s decades-long strategy in cultivating these forces as a proxy army in its wars for regime change, at first, in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and subsequently in Africa.

Underscoring France’s military deployment are the French economic interests it seeks to protect not only Mali, but throughout West Africa, the region which was once part of its colonial empire. In Niger, the French energy giant Arven has established mining operations extracting the country’s rich uranium resources.

For its part, Washington has enlisted the participation of the military forces of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Mali in its drive for dominance of the Sahel and West Africa, with all of these countries featuring US outposts or bases.

Washington’s military expansion in response to China’s economic influence

A key element of Washington’s military expansion in the region are the significant economic resources that it aims to secure for American corporate interests. On behalf of these interests, and complimentary to its military operation, Washington has constructed a $300 million embassy in Niamey.

Washington’s military interventions in Africa must also be seen as an effort to offset China’s growing economic influence on the continent. Beijing in recent years has secured investment deals with African governments in nearly every sector of Africa’s economy.

China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) purchased the permit for oil drilling in Niger’s Agadem Basin, and CNPC also constructed and operates the Soraz refinery near Zinder, Niger’s second largest city. Deals by Beijing for the construction of pipelines traversing through Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon are currently in the development stage, causing no small amount of consternation in Washington.

This article was originally published by WSWS 

Copyright © 1998-2017 World Socialist Web Site

Obama Declares Cuba and Venezuela National Security Threats

The executive order allows the president to use national emergency resources to fight the threat, such as enforcing sanctions against the country.

 raul y obama in cuba.jpg

In March, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years. | Photo: Reuters

Consistent with their new strategy of planning and working for regime change in Cuba through indirect and covert means,  the US government, through President Obama, has extended for another year economic sanctions against Cuba despite abstaining recently in the vote to end the blockade at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

A national emergency

The United States declared a national emergency to deal with perceived “threats” in Cuba and Venezuela on Friday, along with Iran, Libya, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and countries Washington claims “support terrorism.” The declarations effectively extend for another year economic sanctions already in place.

RELATEDObama Declares Venezuela a Threat to National Security

President Barack Obama warned that one of the main national security threats to the U.S. is mass undocumented immigration from Cuba, days after he ended the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy, which granted residency to Cubans who arrived in the U.S. without visas, reported Sputnik.

Obama used an executive order in March 2015 to declare that the situation in Venezuela has “not improved.” He cited human rights violations, persecution of political dissenters and restrictions on the freedom of the press.

When a national emergency was declared against Venezuela in 2015, Obama also ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, saying they would be banned from traveling to the United States and any and all assets and properties belonging to them would be frozen.

Under the National Emergencies Act sanctions must be renewed every year, however, the executive orders Obama signed Friday are not set to expire until two months into the Trump administration. The move appears to suggest that the Obama administration is concerned that the renewals could get overlooked in the expected chaos of Trump’s White House. If he chooses to, Trump could rescind the sanctions by executive order.

OPINIONThe Audacity of Obama’s Farewell Address

The extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran come despite the historic agreement reached last year between the two countries. The extension of sanctions against Russia, imposed in response to their actions in Ukraine and Crimea, come amidst recent hysteria about suspected interference in the U.S. election by the Putin regime. Some have speculated that Trump’s pick for foreign secretary, Rex Tillerson, may soon move to remove the sanctions given they block a multi-billion dollar project he negotiated with Russia while CEO of ExxonMobile.

The United States currently has 31 officially declared national emergencies.

Sources:  TeleSUR, Curacao Chronicle

Obama Is Pathetic on Human Rights in North Dakota

Source:  readersupportednews.org

November 4 2016

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

human rights in north dakota.jpg

 Police use pepper spray against protesters trying to cross a stream near an oil pipeline construction site near Standing Rock Indian Reservation, north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, November 2, 2016. (photo: Jason Patinkin/Reuters)

We’re monitoring this closely. And, you know, I think, as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans. And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline in a way…. So—so, we’re going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans….

– President Obama on the Now This News website, November 1, 2016

Isn’t that sweet? The President gave lip service to “the traditions of the first Americans.” He didn’t mention treaties between sovereign nations, of course, because he’s not about to break with the traditions of the second Americans: that such treaties are only a means to a genocidal end and aren’t to be taken seriously by the United States of exceptional, manifestly destined Americans whenever such treaties interfere with what the US wants.

That’s what “properly attentive” means historically. Freely translated, “properly attentive” means “make a show of peace talk, them roll over them with whatever force necessary after it’s too late to affect the election.” The legal mind is nothing if not properly attentive to elegant turns of phrase in its unyielding hypocrisy.

Sacred lands

If the President had any intention of honoring anything relating to the sacred lands of Native Americans, he would not be planning to “let it play out for several more weeks.” Sacred lands have already been destroyed. Sacred lands are being destroyed no, not only by the pipeline construction but also by the massive militarized police response to nonviolent protest. Letting it play out for several more weeks only opens the door to the destruction of more – even all – of the sacred lands in the path of this lethal-to-the-planet pipeline.

What is happening, what has been happening for months in North Dakota, is a travesty – of justice, of common human decency, of the rule of law and standards of international law. And our president is on the wrong side of all of it, just barely responding in his docile, passive, articulate evasiveness.

“We’re monitoring this closely,” says the President

If the President is monitoring this closely and remains willing to let it play out for several more weeks, that’s a pretty clear signal that he has no serious problem with the creation of police state conditions in North Dakota. Besides an unknown number of private security forces working for Energy Transfer Partners (the pipeline sponsor), there are law enforcement officers from at least seven states that have cost about $10 million so far. That seems a ridiculously high price to pay to contain peaceful protest. And it’s an even more ridiculous price for taxpayers to shell out to protect private profits.

If the President is monitoring this closely without responding, that is a tacit admission that he has no serious problem with any of the egregious behavior so far by official and quasi-official paramilitaries and their wide-ranging mistreatment (apparently including criminal assault) of American citizens. In particular, he has allowed and continues to allow himself to be seen as approving:

  • Unlicensed, apparently untrained private security forces using dogs to bloody peaceful protesters (who call themselves water protectors).
  • State officials arresting and over-charging journalists for committing journalism.
  • A local sheriff inflaming the public with false reports of “pipe bombs,” when what he had actually heard was talk of “peace pipes.”
  • Law officers shooting nonviolent water protectors in the back and front with rubber bullets.
  • State officials housing arrestees in dog cages and conditions that violate international law against torturing prisoners.
  • Law officers on the riverbank using mace and pepper spray against nonviolent water protectors standing in the water.
  • Official surveillance helicopters flying low to panic horses.
  • Official surveillance helicopters mysteriously going off duty just before “persons unknown” start a prairie fire (with such ineptitude that the wind blows it away from the Standing Rock Sioux gathering ground).
  • Apparent contempt of court by Energy Transfer Partners, who sent its bulldozers to destroy a burial ground that, once destroyed, could no longer be a reason for a federal court to rule against the pipeline. Desecration is not a criminal act, apparently, when you have a government permit for it, even when that permit is under litigation.

That’s a lot of official abuse to tolerate, even for a president, and that’s just a sampling of the police state techniques being tested in Middle America these days.

“And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline in a way …”

The President paused there, leaving the thought unfinished. The pipeline has already been re-routed, away from the state capital city of Bismarck after residents there expressed fear that the pipeline threatened their water supply. Now the pipeline threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux (and thousands of others), but that is more acceptable to the American power structure. The President has expressed no dismay at the idea that a pipeline rupture along the Missouri River would devastate huge numbers of “the first Americans,” who have no other source of water. As one water protector put it: “If it were to be contaminated,… it would be a death sentence.”

Protecting  Energy Transfer Partners

Why does the President think rerouting a climate-hostile pipeline is any kind of an answer to anything other than protecting the speculative bets of Energy Transfer Partners? If he were to consider this pipeline (any new pipeline) in terms of its impact on global climate values, this would be a no-brainer: no more pipelines. This is the Army Corps of Engineers we’re talking about – the Army – and the President is the commander in chief who has no difficulty blowing up wedding parties and funerals with drones in some imaginary defense of national security. Why does he have such reluctance to protect planetary security? Why does he not just order the Army Corp of Engineers to go back to square one and re-do this process which was fast-tracked in the first place, for reasons that remain murky, and with the exclusion of interested parties with legal standing. But President Obama, on full salary as he campaigns for Hillary Clinton, shows no inclination to do any of this well or right. He’s apparently much more confortable with false equivalencies and blaming the victims (also on Now This News):

Yeah, I mean, it’s a challenging situation. I think that my general rule when I talk to governors and state and local officials, whenever they’re dealing with protests, including, for example, during the Black Lives Matters protests, is there is an obligation for protesters to be peaceful, and there’s an obligation for authorities to show restraint. And, you know, I want to make sure that as everybody is exercising their constitutional rights to be heard, that both sides are refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt.

For someone supposedly monitoring this closely, the President might be expected to know that people have already been hurt and most if not all of those hurt were nonviolent, peaceful protestors set upon by dogs and assaulted by rubber bullets, sound cannons, and chemical weapons. What fundamental, callous irrationality prompts this president to bring in Black Lives Matter? That is strange beyond comprehension. But perhaps it shines a light on that dark place in his soul that allowed him to react with almost no help or pity for the people of Flint, poisoned by their own governments, including the one President Obama is supposed to lead.

World War 3 has never been so close

Russian Reaction to US Attack

Source:  Information Clearing House

Date:  September 23 2016

us bombs syria.jpgAs we have already said many times, the main aspect of this political season is not elections, but war. But if elections do have importance somewhere, then this is in the US where, once again, they are closely connected to war. Two days ago, on Saturday, September 17th, the likelihood of this war was breathtakingly high. As we know, American troops, who no one ever invited to Syria, bombed the positions of the Syrian army at Deir ez-Zor. As a result of the bombing, 60 Syrian soldiers were killed.

A war declariation on Russia

This strike was extremely important for ISIS militants, whom the US is informally advising and arming while supposedly fighting them. This crossed the line. Bombing Syrian soldiers is one thing, but this means declaring war not only against Syria, but also Russia, which is fighting in Syria on Assad’s side. And this means that we have reached a climax.

Sure, the US leadership immediately reported that the airstrike was a mistake and warned the Russian leadership not to express any emotions. But Americans can only be lying, as modern technology allows satellite objects to be seen from a desktop. Theoretically, American bombers could not have simply confused such a strike. And what’s most important: if they had told you that they were preparing to bomb you, and you said nothing, then does that mean you agree?

US is preparing to start a war against Russia

It is completely obvious that the US is preparing to start a war against Russia. Border incidents represent reconnaissance operations. But how will Moscow, Putin, and the Kremlin react? The point of no return has not yet been crossed, but did Moscow’s reaction not show just how many Russians are ready for a direct, frontal confrontation with the US and NATO? This was why the airstrike was launched against Syrian army positions.

A war needed before Trump gets in office

The globalist US leadership obviously cannot rule the whole world and, what’s more, the threat posed by Trump puts their control over America itself into question. Now, while the puppet Barack Obama is still in office and the globalist candidate Hillary Clinton is falling apart in front of American voters’ very eyes, is the last chance to start a war. This would allow them to postpone elections or force Trump, if he were to win, to begin his presidency in catastrophic conditions. Thus, the US neoconservatives and globalists need war. And fast, before it’s too late. If Trump gets into the White House when there will be peace, then there will be no such war, at least for the foreseeable future. And this would spell the end of the omnipotence of the maniacal globalist elites.

Thus, everything at this point is very, very serious. NATO’s ideologues and the US globalists falling into the abyss need war right now – before the American elections. War against us. Not so much for victory, but for the process itself. This is the only way for them to prolong their dominance and divert the attention of Americans and the whole world from their endless series of failures and crimes. The globalists’ game has been revealed. Soon enough, they’ll have to step down from power and appear before court. Only war can save their situation.

Russia doesn’t need a war

But what about us? We don’t need war. Not now, now tomorrow, never. Never in history have we needed war. But we have constantly fought and, in fact, we have almost never lost. The cost entailed terrible losses and colossal efforts, but we won. And we will always win. If this were not so, then today we wouldn’t have such an enormous country free from foreign control.

But in this case, we need to buy as much time as possible. The Americans have essentially attacked our positions, like the Georgians in Tskhinvali in August 2008. Russians are under fire, and this cannot be ignored. Our reaction is extremely cautious and balanced. We have expressed what we think about this American act of aggression, but in very deliberate terms.

The struggle for peace

The fatality of the situation lies in that, if Washington decides to opt for war now, then we cannot avoid it. If they will insist and repeat the September 17th situation again and again, then we will have to either accept the challenge and go to war, or knowingly admit defeat.

In this situation, the outcome of the struggle for peace which is, as always, fully in our interests, does not depend on us. We really need peace, to buy time until November 8th, and then everything will be much easier. But will the collapsing colossus allow us this time?

God forbid that this happens. But those who could pray prayed on the eve of the First and Second World War. In any case, our goal is always and only victory. Our victory.

The Americans are bombing our guys. A Third World War has never been so close.

Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin is a Russian political scientist. He has close ties with the Kremlin and the Russian military, having served as an advisor to State Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznyov and key member of the ruling United Russia party Sergei Naryshkin

U.S. Government Could Do More to Limit Blockade on Cuba

Source:  Prensa Latina
October 1 2016

josefina-vidal-4U.S. President Barack Obama could even take other measures to ease the financial, economic and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba, Josefina Vidal, director general of the United States Department at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), said on Friday.

During a Q&A session on Twitter, the MINREX official noted that the U.S. president could, for example, approve the exports of more products to Cuba, authorize U.S. investments in the Caribbean nation and normalize banking relationships.

Despite Obama’s announcement

Vidal stated that despite Obama’s announcement to allow use of the U.S. dollar in Cuba’s international transactions, the Caribbean island has so far been unable to make payments to third nations in that currency or to make cash deposits.

Although the area of telecommunications is the most benefited so far by the recent measures, difficulties such as the impossibility for Cuba to access dozens of Internet sites and services belonging to U.S. companies remain, she said.

U.S. citizens still cannot visit Cuba freely

Regardless of the recent restoration of regular flights between the two countries, U.S. citizens cannot visit Cuba freely, because of the blockade, she added.

According to the MINREX official, the opportunities in Cuba for U.S. companies are big, but the real obstacle is the economic, financial and commercial siege.

Six new cooperation agreements

However, Vidal pointed out that the two nations signed six new cooperation agreements in sectors of mutual interest such as law enforcement, seismic monitoring, the exchange of meteorological information, protected marine areas, search and rescue operations and the response to oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.

Those agreements will be adopted, if possible, before this year ends, she said.

After responding to some questions from Twitter users, Vidal said that there is still a long way to progress towards the full normalization of ties between the two countries.

She added that the fifth and final meeting of the Cuba-United States Bilateral Commission corresponding to the Obama administration will take place in December, but Havana maintains its interest in and willingness to continue that mechanism in the future.

US elections

According to Vidal, Cuba expects that regardless of the results of the upcoming elections in the United States, the elected president will continue the way towards the normalization of relations.

‘Our will and aspiration are that the process that started on December 17, 2014, be irreversible. We have been working in that direction to create the bases for that. We will see what the future tells us about this issue,’ she said.

Obama Wants Kaepernick to Consider Military Families’ “Pain”

Source:  TeleSUR
September 29 2016

I want them to listen to the pain that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat,” Obama stated.

obama to kaepernick.jpg

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting with members of the military community hosted by CNN’s Jake Tapper at Fort Lee in Virginia, U.S., September 28, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

As the racial battle of narratives heightens, almost everyone in the United States has voiced their opinion on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s highly-publicized protests against police brutality—including President Barack Obama.

RELATED:  ‘I Won’t Be Silent:’ Black Athletes Pick Sides in US Race War

While the “Commander-in-Chief” has remained relatively mute on the spate of recent, highly-publicized instances of police violence against Black people, he wants Kaepernick to think about the “pain” he’s causing military families next time he chooses to take a knee during the national anthem.

“Sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama said during a CNN town hall with members of America’s armed forces community on Wednesday. “So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”

Perhaps to his credit, the president did add, (though almost as an afterthought): “I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

RELATED: Kaepernick Protest Continues to Inspire More Players and Fans

Courtesy call to the major

These comments come on the heels of protests against the killings of 3 Black men by police in the last couple of weeks, the latest in a roster of continuing violence across the country. While Obama has released no statement on the latest extra-judicial killing, claiming the life of Alfred Olango in El Cajon, California, he did have comments on protests that broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina, in demonstrations against the murders of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, respectively.

Instead of offering condolences to the victim’s families, however, he opted instead to extend the courtesy call to the major of the cities amidst the ensuing protests.

The unevenness of Obama’s response is consistent with a pattern that dates back at least to his first presidential campaign when, instead of expressing any sympathy, he instead chastised New Yorkers angry about the acquittal of three police officers who had opened fire on 23-year old Sean Bell as he left his bachelor party at a Queens strip club, killing the young African-American the day before his wedding day.