Category Archives: International Agreements

After Cutting All UNWRA Humanitarian Aid, US to Award Israel with $3.3B/Year in Military Aid

The bill, combined with even more aid given to Israeli missile defense, would give $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, roughly equivalent to $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel over the next decade.

By Whitney Webb. Published 9-14-2018 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

A massive spending bill, which would deliver $3.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next year, passed the House on Wednesday under cover of a media blackout. The U.S. Senate had passed a different version of the same bill in early August, a vote that also went largely unreported.

Now, after the House’s passage of a slightly altered version of the Senate’s spending bill, officially titled the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” all that remains is for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile their versions before the product is sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. According to Skopos Labs, the bill now hasa 90 percent chance of being enacted. If enacted, the bill will be the largest aid package in American history. Continue reading

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Reinforcing US Status as ‘Bully and Hegemon,’ Bolton to Threaten ICC Over Probes into America’s War Crimes

Human rights advocates decried the Trump administration’s attack on the International Criminal Court as “another low point” in its effort to skirt accountability for war crimes

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-10-2018

Afghans have been waiting decades for justice for war crimes, including some allegedly committed by U.S. forces. The ⁦ICC⁩ is the only hope they have for justice at the moment,” wrote Heather Barr, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Reinforcing the worldwide perception of the U.S. as “a bully and a hegemon” that will not tolerate attempts by the global community to hold it accountable for its deadly actions overseas, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is set to deliver a speech on Monday that will reportedly threaten International Criminal Court (ICC) officials with sanctions if they dare to move ahead with probes into U.S. or Israeli war crimes.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton will say at an event hosted by the right-wing Federalist Society, according to a speech draft viewed by Reuters. “If the court comes after us, Israel, or other allies, we will not sit quietly.” Continue reading

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‘Stunning But Not Surprising’: Trump Administration Slammed for Secret Meetings About Venezuela Coup

“There are few nations that can lecture other nations on human rights & democracy but the one nation that can never lecture anyone is the United States of America.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2018

The New York Times reported Saturday that the Trump administration met with Venezuelan military officials who sought to overthrow their nation’s president, Nicolás Maduro. (Photo: Noticia al Día)

Critics across the globe are expressing alarm over the “stunning but not surprising” revelation reported by the New York Times on Saturday that, according to 11 American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander, “the Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.”

Some called out the Trump administration for the United States’ record on human rights. American activist and political analyst Ajamu Baraka tweeted, “There are few nations that can lecture other nations on human rights [and] democracy but the one nation that can never lecture anyone is the Unite[d] States of America.” Continue reading

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Worldwide #RiseForClimate Events Kick Off to Demand Action on Crisis of Warming Planet

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time,” say 350.org’s executive director. “It is a crisis of democracy, justice, and human rights.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2018

Activists gathered in Melbourne, Australia on Friday as part of the weekend’s global #RiseForClimate movement. (Photo: @350Australia/Twitter)

Building up to a mass mobilization planned for hundreds of cities across the globe on Saturday, campaigners have already kicked off #RiseForClimate demonstrations that aim to raise awareness about the climate crisis, encourage urgent action from policymakers to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and call for a full transition to renewable energy.

More than 800 actions are planned throughout the world and in the United States, from smaller towns and cities like Portland, Maine, to the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice event in San Francisco—expected to draw thousands for the West Coast’s largest ever climate march. Those interested in participating can locate events using the movement’s map and searchable database. Continue reading

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House Democrats Praised for New War Powers Resolution to End US Support for ‘Catastrophic War in Yemen’

“The U.S. must stop aiding those that deliberately conduct illegal attacks on weddings, hospitals, and children in school buses.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2018

April’s Vigil for Yemen. Photo: Felton Davis/flickr

As the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition admitted for the second time this week that its bombing campaign in Yemen last month killed dozens of children and adult civilians, peace advocates praised a group of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday for announcing a new effort to revoke American support for the “catastrophic” conflict that has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Led by Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Michael Capuano (Mass.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.) revealed that they plan to invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from all involvement in the war. Continue reading

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China Offers African Nations $60 Billion in Development with ‘No Strings Attached’

In response to accusations of encouraging “debt trap” diplomacy in Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the announced aid package is not “a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others. Rather it is about greater openness, sharing and mutual benefit.”

By Emma Fiala. Published 9-4-2018 by MintPress News

Chinese President, Xi Jinping addressing African Leaders during the 2015 China-Africa summit held in South Africa. Photo: ICiR

Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered a $60 billion aid package to African countries over the next three years, in response to the continent’s increasing debt distress — with no strings attached.

China’s investment plans include $5 billion in African exports, $10 billion for development, and $15 billion grants and interest-free loans. A $20 billion credit line will also be included, as well as emergency food aid, scholarships and vocational training, and increased agricultural development. Continue reading

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UN Probe Says Repeated Bombing of Yemen Civilians by US-Backed Saudi Coalition Likely Amounts to War Crimes

“Despite the severity of the situation we continue to see a complete disregard for the people in Yemen,” says co-author of UN’s investigative report

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2018

A young boy runs with his tire past buildings damaged by Saudiled airstrikes in Saada Old Town in Yemen. (Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA)

Evidence presented as part of a wide-ranging investigation sponsored by the United Nations and released Tuesday shows that the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates waging a war in Yemen—armed and with backing from the United States and the United Kingdom—have likely “perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, violations and crimes under international law.”

Conducted by the Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen, a body of Yemen and regional experts created by the UN Human Rights Council, the report documents how indiscriminate bombing by the Saudi-led coalition has devastated the Yemeni population and details how civilian targets have repeatedly been struck. Continue reading

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Eyeing Landmark Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case, Vietnam Demands Monsanto Be Held Liable Over Agent Orange

“We believe Monsanto should be responsible for compensating Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange for the damages caused by the company’s herbicides”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-27-2018

A man wears a shirt calling for justice for Agent Orange victims during the March Against Monsanto in San Francisco on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

In the wake of a U.S. court ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man who says its weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer, Vietnam has called on the agrichemical giant to pay reparations to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

“This case is a precedent that rejects previous arguments that the herbicides supplied to the U.S. military by Monsanto and other U.S. chemical companies during the Vietnam War are not harmful to people’s health,” spokesperson for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Phuong Tra said to reporters last week. Continue reading

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Trump Administration Announces $200 Million Cut in Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

“The U.S. administration is demonstrating the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2018

The Trump administration announced Friday it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid. (Photo: Begemot/Flickr/cc)

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid, redirecting the funds to what it called “high priority projects elsewhere.”

The decision comes three months after Trump administration officials including senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv—a move that provoked outrage among Palestinians as well as in the international community—while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot and fired tear gas at protesters, killing more than 50 people including an eight-month-old baby.  Continue reading

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Trump’s Drastic Cuts to UNRWA Spell More Poverty, Hopelessness, and Radicalization in Palestine

In an attempt to pressure the Palestinian people to accept his “deal of the century,” Trump decided to drastically cut the annual U.S. contribution to UNRWA from about $350 million to $65 million and pressured other countries, including Britain and Australia, to reduce their contributions as well.

By Hisham H. Ahmed, Ph.D. Published 8-17-2018 by MintPress News

Schoolgirls at the UNRWA Rimal Girls Preparatory School in Gaza. Adel Hana | AP

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, was established in December 1949 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 to address the basic humanitarian needs of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who became refugees in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

As its name reveals, UNRWA’s mission was centered on providing relief rations, basic healthcare, education and employment opportunities for the refugees who lost all of their livelihood. Underlying UNRWA’s establishment was the goal to integrate refugees into the neighboring Arab host countries, so as to diffuse tensions and promote regional peace and stability. Continue reading

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