July 7, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 1:44 PM

AMEN:


Posted by orrinj at 1:38 PM

NO FAIR ACTING LIKE YOU'RE A SOVEREIGN NATION TOO!:

Iran didn't ask for this crisis, but it won't stand for Trump's bullying (Hossein Mousavian, 7 Jul 2019, The Guardian)

For one thing, cooperation requires dialogue between the countries' respective military establishments in the region. US Central Command (Centcom) and Iran's revolutionary guard corps' Quds force are both responsible for their countries' extraterritorial operations. The IRGC's designation as a terrorist organisation - and Iran's reciprocation against Centcom - has ended the possibility of negotiation between these two extremely influential state entities.

Next, in an unprecedentedly aggressive action, the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Iran's ultimate source of authority according to its constitution, namely the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Just as in the US the president has the authority to determine the general trajectory of foreign policy, the supreme leader in Iran is the one who sets the foreign policy of that country. Let's not forget it was the supreme leader who allowed direct negotiation with the US over the nuclear issue in the first place. By sanctioning Ali Khamenei, Trump has effectively killed off any chance of diplomatic rapprochement so long as he is in office. And it is not only the political leadership of Ali Khamenei that is relevant here; he is also a religious scholar with millions of Shia Muslim followers - not just in Iran, but Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bahrain and elsewhere.

In addition, last week, the treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was looking to levy penalties against Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who trained in the US and is one of the most distinguished career diplomats in Iran's recent history. Zarif has been compared to the popular prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who nationalised Iran's oil industry and was deposed in 1953 in a coup organised by Britain and the US. Sanctioning Zarif is a mistake if the US ever wants to reengage with Iran, because he is in charge of the diplomatic channels that would be necessary to resolve this crisis. As Wendy Sherman, who led the US negotiating team in the talks that led to the 2015 accord, put it: "I can't think of anything that makes less sense than sanctioning a key person who might actually be helpful if there is ever a dialogue with the US."

The Iran nuclear deal is the most comprehensive agreement in the history of non-proliferation. As part of it, Iran accepted the most intrusive transparency measures and stringent limits on a nuclear programme ever demanded of a non-proliferation treaty member. What is more, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently judged that Iran was in full compliance with the terms and conditions of the JCPOA.

But where Iran has kept its end of the bargain, it has been rewarded with sanctions and additional pressure, and the benefits Iran was supposed to receive have been suddenly snatched away. The Trump administration made a decision to undermine the diplomatic legacy of Obama, but it may not have fully understood that in doing so it would also be obliterating any possibility of brokering its own diplomatic solution.

Posted by orrinj at 1:33 PM

THE WEB'S GREATEST TROLLING OPERATION:


Posted by orrinj at 1:14 PM

IT'S HIS BASE:


Posted by orrinj at 10:43 AM

DEHUMANIZATION IS THE KEY:

Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex. (SIMON ROMERO, ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, MANNY FERNANDEZ, DANIEL BORUNDA, AARON MONTES and CAITLIN DICKERSON JULY 6, 2019, The New York Times and The El Paso Times)

CLINT, Tex. -- Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town's main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children's dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents' own clothing -- people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.

"It gets to a point where you start to become a robot," said a veteran Border Patrol agent who has worked at the Clint station since it was built. He described following orders to take beds away from children to make more space in holding cells, part of a daily routine that he said had become "heartbreaking."

Not so much, since they're violating the First Law of Robotics.


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

GOT HIS NUMBER:

In leaked cables, UK ambassador calls Trump's Iran policy 'incoherent' (AFP, 7/07/19)

In one of the most recent reported dispatches filed on June 22 Darroch criticized Trump's fraught foreign policy on Iran, which has prompted fears in global capitals of a military conflict, as "incoherent" and "chaotic."

"It's unlikely that US policy on Iran is going to become more coherent any time soon. This is a divided Administration," he wrote, according to the Mail.

He allegedly said the president's assertion, that he called off retaliatory missile strikes against the Iranian regime after a US drone was shot down because it risked killing 150 Iranians, "doesn't stand up."

"It's more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020," Darroch reportedly stated, referring to the next presidential election.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

TRUMP'S LONGTIME FRIEND JEFFREY EPSTEIN ARRESTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING MINORS IN FLORIDA, NEW YORK (CHRISTINA ZHAO, 7/6/19, Newsweek)

A federal judge in February ruled that Epstein sex-trafficked underage girls and President Donald Trump's Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, who served as a federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, illegally kept details of Epstein's plea from his victims. [...]

Not only has Epstein been friends with Trump for over two decades, former president Bill Clinton is also among the list of prominent people who have been associated with the convicted sex offender.

In 2002, Trump told New York magazine Epstein "enjoys his social life."

"I've known Jeff for fifteen years," Trump said. "Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

KNOWING YOUR ALLIES:

Trump administration 'uniquely dysfunctional', says Britain's ambassador to U.S.: newspaper (Reuters, 7/06/19) 

Britain's ambassador to the United States described President Donald Trump's administration as "dysfunctional", "clumsy" and "inept", the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported, citing a series of confidential memos.

In memos to the British government which date from 2017 to the present, Kim Darroch said Trump "radiates insecurity" and advises officials in London that to deal with him effectively "you need to make your points simple, even blunt".

"We don't really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept," Darroch wrote in one, according to the newspaper.

In others, the newspaper said he had described the administration as "uniquely dysfunctional" and that media reports about White House "knife fights" are "mostly true".