Category Archives: International Agreements

Russia: US Warplanes West of Euphrates in Syria Now Legitimate Targets

After the U.S. shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday, tensions escalate as Kremlin cuts off “deconfliction” channel

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-19-2017

“Trump’s erratic impulsiveness is a national security risk,” said Brian Klaas. (Photo: mashleymorgan/flickr/cc)

In what is being characterized as an act sure to further escalate already alarming tensions between the United States, Syria, and Russia, an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane over Raqqa on Sunday, prompting Moscow to cut off its deconfliction channel with the U.S.

“As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the U.S. side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the U.S. command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken,” a statement from Moscow reads. Continue reading

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From the Pentagon Papers to Trump: How the government gained the upper hand against leakers

 

Margot Susca, American University School of Communication

In October 1969, a national security official named Daniel Ellsberg began secretly photocopying 7,000 classified Vietnam War documents. He had become increasingly frustrated with the systematic deception of top U.S. leaders who sought to publicly escalate a war that, privately, they knew was unwinnable.

In March 1971 he leaked the documents – what would became known as the Pentagon Papers – to a New York Times reporter. The newspaper ended up publishing a series of articles that exposed tactical and policy missteps by three administrations on a range of subjects, from covert operations to confusion over troop deployments. Continue reading

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We Will Soon Be Using More Than The Earth Can Provide

Forget the GDP, it’s time for our leaders to pay attention to metrics that matter.

By . Published 6-14-2017 by YES! Magazine

From January 1 to August 2, the world’s 7.5 billion people will have used as much of Earth’s biological resources—or biocapacity—as the planet can regenerate in a year. Photo by freemixer / iStock.

Four days after President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) reported that Earth Overshoot Day 2017 will fall on August 2. Most Americans likely have no idea what that means.

The basic point is quite simple: From January 1 to August 2, the world’s 7.5 billion people will have used as much of Earth’s biological resources—or biocapacity—as the planet can regenerate in a year. During the remaining five months of 2017, our human consumption will be drawing down Earth’s reserves of fresh water, fertile soils, forests, and fisheries, and depleting its ability to regenerate these resources as well as sequester excess carbon released into the atmosphere. Continue reading

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‘Shameful’: Senate Votes to Further Arm Saudi Arabia as Yemen Suffers

Bipartisan opposition to the bill nonetheless sent a “strong message” to the Saudis—and to President Trump

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2017

Photo: Human Rights Watch

The Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a widely criticized $500 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, narrowly beating back a bipartisan effort to block the deal.

The final tally was 53-47 in favor of the sale, which is just part of a massive $100 billion arms package.

Among the sponsors of the resolution put forth to block the sale was Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who argued that despite the opposition’s defeat, the effort nonetheless sent a “strong message” to Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

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What’s Really Happening With Saudi Arabia and Qatar Will Not Be Televised

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 6-7-2017 by The Anti-Media

Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and the Maldives — spearheaded by Saudi Arabia — have severed almost all of their ties with Qatar. The move comes just days after hacked emails from the Hotmail account of a wealthy, prominent UAE ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba, showed that a number of countries were conspiring to denigrate relations with Qatar (and Iran).

The official justification for Saudi Arabia’s rift with Qatar is that the latter country aligns with terrorists and threatens national security. However, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been alleged to support ISIS, and Saudi Arabia’s history of support for terrorist organizations surpasses that of almost any other state in the world (with the exception of probably the U.S.). In fact, the British Home Office is currently refusing to release a report on terrorist funding — commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron — because it focuses too heavily on Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

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Bolivian President Warns Trump’s America ‘Main Threat to Mother Earth and Life Itself’

By ditching global agreement on climate, Evo Morales says United States denying “future to upcoming generations”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-6-2017

Bolivian President Evo Morales addresses the Ocean Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on June 5, 2017. (Photo: Xinhua/Li Muzi)

As the United Nations this week warned the world’s ocean are “under threat as never before” from global warming and other human activity, Bolivian President Evo Morales took direct aim at President Donald Trump by saying his decision to withdraw from Paris climate agreement proves the United States is now the “main threat to mother Earth and life itself.”

Addressing the first international Oceans Conference at the UN headquarters in New York City on Monday, Morales charged that by rejecting the scientific consensus and ditching the landmark agreement, the U.S.—the world’s largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions and its “main polluter”—was “denying science, turning [its] backs on multilateralism and attempting to deny a future to upcoming generations.” Continue reading

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Following Attack, Corbyn Leads Call to Unveil Saudi Role in Fueling Extremism

“We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including ISIS, here and in the Middle East,” Corbyn said

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2017

Theresa May claimed selling arms to Saudi Arabia helps ‘keep people on the streets of Britain safe’, Screenshot: BBC

Two days following the terrorist attacks in London and three days before the culmination of what has become an unexpectedly competitive election, several U.K. political leaders are demanding that a government study reportedly implicating Saudi Arabia in the spread of violent extremism be made public.

“The inquiry into revenue streams for extremist groups operating in the U.K. was commissioned by the former prime minister and is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis,” the Guardian recently reported. “However, 18 months later, the Home Office confirmed the report had not yet been completed and said it would not necessarily be published, calling the contents ‘very sensitive.'” Continue reading

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Tom Price Bought Drug Stocks. Then He Pushed Pharma’s Agenda in Australia

by Robert Faturechi ProPublica, June 1, 2017, 8 a.m.

Tom Price. Photo: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In the spring before the 2016 presidential election, the Obama administration’s 12-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, was still alive. Negotiators worked on details as Congress considered whether to ratify the pact.

The Australian government was getting in the way of one change demanded by U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Makers of cutting-edge biological drugs wanted to have data from their clinical trials protected from competitors for 12 years, as they are under U.S. law 2014 not the roughly five years permitted under the TPP. Australian officials insisted that an extension would deprive consumers of cheaper alternatives for too long. Continue reading

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‘Literal Colonialism’: Blackwater Founder Calls for ‘American Viceroy’ to Rule Afghanistan

Given Prince’s past connections to Trump, his recommendations could have some measure of influence

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-2-2017

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

Displaying what one commentator called “sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire,” Erik Prince, founder of the private mercenary firm Blackwater, argued in The Wall Street Journal this week that the United States should deploy an “East India Company approach” in Afghanistan.

The country, he wrote, should be run by “an American viceroy who would lead all U.S. government and coalition efforts—including command, budget, policy, promotion, and contracting—and report directly to the president.” Continue reading

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If Trump Ditches Paris: ‘A Crime Against the Future of People and Planet’

Climate groups slam reports that President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2017

A protest at the Eiffel Tower in December of 2015. (Photo: Carlos Felipe Pardo/flickr/cc)

Multiple news outlets reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump was about to make good on his campaign pledge to pull the United States out of the historic Paris climate agreement—a decision environmental groups said would be “a travesty” and “historic mistake.”

Axios cited “two sources with direct knowledge of the decision,” and an unidentified White House official said to the Associated Press that there could be “caveats in the language” Trump uses to withdraw. Politico adds: “Administration officials cautioned that they are still sorting out the details of how exactly Trump will withdraw, and one noted that nothing is final until an announcement is made.” Continue reading

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