Tag Archives: Cuba

6 Reasons We Should All Hope Trump Doesn’t Add John Bolton to His Cabinet

The president’s rumored replacement for H.R. McMaster is an Islamophobic ultrahawk.

By Jacob Sugarman. Published 3-15-2018 by AlterNet

John Bolton. Screenshot: Fox News

 

Earlier this week, Donald Trump tapped a charter member of the Tea Party to lead the State Department and an established torturer to head the CIA. Both appointments were perfectly monstrous, but if there is a governing law of this administration, it’s that things can always get worse. Consider the president’s rumored replacement for national security adviser H.R. McMaster: According to multiple outlets, Trump has met with John Bolton at the White House and could offer him the position as early as next week.

That the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has the president’s ear at all should be a cause for concern. Over the course of his checkered career, Bolton has proven himself a hawk of the first order, enthusiastically endorsing the war in Iraq and more recently calling for a first strike on North Korea. He’d almost certainly encourage Trump to flex his military might, and with the president’s approval numbers floundering and a wave election looming, there’s every reason to believe Trump could take his advice. Continue reading

Share

State Dept Accused of Watering Down Human Rights Ratings to Advance Obama Trade Agenda

Reuters investigation shows American diplomats played politics with annual human trafficking report

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-4-15.

Fisherman raise their hands when asked who among them would like to go home. (Image via US State Department)

Fisherman raise their hands when asked who among them would like to go home. (Image via US State Department)

The U.S. State Department is being accused of playing politics with human rights after a damning new Reuters investigation published late Monday revealed that high level officials watered down the opinions of rights experts hired to evaluate nations’ human trafficking records seemingly to advance a number of the Obama administration’s key agenda items.

Exposing a “degree of intervention not previously known,” according to the investigation, there were 14 instances where senior American diplomats overruled the analyst opinions to inflate the record of “strategically important countries” for this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, released last week.

Among those cases, Malaysia had its status upgraded from the lowest level “Tier 3” to the “Tier 2 Watchlist,” which is one rung down from “Tier 2,” despite analysts finding no improvement in the country’s trafficking record. Rights observers charge that this was a deliberate move to pave the way for the passage of the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

In June, Congress passed a provision barring the U.S. from entering into trade agreements with “Tier 3” countries. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D), who had spearheaded that effort, issued a statement after the investigation was published, saying: “If true, the Reuters report further confirms what I, along with the human-rights community, have feared all along: The State Department’s trafficking report has been blatantly and intentionally politicized.”

Reuters reports:

Congressional sources and current and former State Department officials said experts in the [Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, or J/TIP] had recommended keeping Malaysia on Tier 3, highlighting a drop in human-trafficking convictions in the country to three last year from nine in 2013. They said, according to the sources, that some of Malaysia’s efforts to end forced labor amounted to promises rather than action.

The country has been cited for having a robust sex slavery industry as well as forced labor camps.

Though the news of Malaysia’s pending status change first broke last month, human rights groups on Monday reiterated their discontent.

“The vultures circled,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia Division for Human Rights Watch, told Huffington Post. “What you are seeing is significant damage to the credibility of that report because of these political games played back in Washington.”

Other countries where the State Department issued such “inflated recommendations,” according to human rights analysts, included: China, India, Cuba, Mexico, and Uzbekistan.

Reuters notes that “while a Tier 3 ranking can trigger sanctions limiting access to aid…such action is frequently waived.” However, the real power of the trafficking report “is its ability to embarrass countries into action.”

Lawmakers, including Menendez, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are convening on Thursday to review the State Department report.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Share

Have A Cigar And Follow The Money

Last Wednesday President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba made simultaneous announcements that the two nations would start working towards normalizing relations between the two countries 54 years after diplomatic ties were severed.

Cuban flag. By Madden (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Cuban flag. By Madden (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

The reactions in the US, as with anything else over the last six years, was basically split along ideological lines, with the conservatives claiming it to be just another example of failed foreign policy. On the liberal and moderate side, it was hailed as a step towards greater freedom and an economic boost to Cuba. Of course the economic boom would also mean the expansion of US corporations into Cuba. But, why is this happening now? Continue reading

Share

What Have We Learned?

Photo By User:Hohum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By User:Hohum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On June 28th 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot to death by Gavrio Princip in Sarajevo. The alliances between the European countries at that time made armed conflict inevitable. On July 28th 1914 the first shots of World War One were fired. During this war of tactical stalemate, modern weapons of mass destruction were invented, deployed and perfected.

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, China in July of 1937, and portions of Vietnam in 1940. Germany invaded Poland on September 1st 1939 which started the war that would become World War Two. On June 25th 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. In October of 1961 the United States invaded Cuba. In 1964 the North Vietnamese fired on US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin escalating the Vietnam War. In 1967 the Israeli’s launched surprise attacks against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in what became known as the Six-Day War. On December 27th 1979, Russia invaded Afghanistan. The list is seemingly endless.  Invasions and wars in Lebanon, The Falklands, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq (again), Afghanistan (again), and in 2014 Crimea and Ukraine.

And as of today, July 17th,  2014, we learn that Israel has invaded the Gaza Strip which was part of the territory it fought over in 1967. In yesterday’s post we read about the horrors of DIME munitions and White Phosphorous. One of the horrors of World War One was Phosgene gas.  While not related to White Phosphorous, the pattern of using chemical weapons against an enemy has only gotten more refined in the last 100 years.

With today’s advances in weaponry making war more impersonal and the ravages of war more heinous, we ask the question, “What have we learned?”

We have learned that in the past 100 years, sadly, we CAN’T all get along. And that wars and conflicts will be waged for the same reasons that they were waged in 1914. Munitions makers will gladly provide weaponry to whichever side can afford it. Genocide is still attempted. Mechanized warfare is even more impersonal if much more deadly than ever before.

Occupy World Writes stands in solidarity with the true losers in these conflicts. Innocent civilians whose lives and livelihoods are disrupted or ended tragically by the ravages of war.

 

 

Share