Tag Archives: Department of State

US State Dept. Under Fire for Using Official Website to Promote Pompeo’s “Christian Nationalist Talking Points”

“The Department of State looks more like it should be representing the Republic of Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale than an America that respects religious equality under the law.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his address, titled “Being a Christian Leader,” to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo: Screengrab/State Department Website)

The State Department on Monday was accused of blatantly violating the constitutional principle of separation of religion and government by plastering the homepage of its website with an October 11 speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touting his Christian faith.

Pompeo delivered his “Being a Christian Leader” address to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. The Secretary of State’s trip to Nashville was funded by U.S. taxpayers. Continue reading

Share

‘Outright Blackmail’: Trump Admin. Reportedly Offered Captain Multi-Million Dollar Bribe in Effort to Seize Iranian Tanker

“The U.S. complains loudly that Iran engages in ‘blackmail.’ Yet Brian Hook is directly emailing tanker captains offering bribes to get them to bring their ships into U.S. clutches.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-4-2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo . (Photo: Fox Business)

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused the Trump administration of engaging in “outright blackmail” after the Financial Times reported a State Department official offered the captain of an Iran-owned oil tanker millions of dollars to divert the ship to a nation which would detain it on behalf of the United States.

According to FT, Brian Hook, head of the State Department’s Iran Action Group, sent an email promising the captain of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 “several million dollars” to do the bidding of the Trump administration. Continue reading

Share

US Blamed Venezuelan President for Burning AID Trucks. Wrong.

“They tried a false flag operation, that supposedly the people of Venezuela had burned a truck carrying rotten food — no, no, no — it was they themselves”

By Common Dreams. Published 3-10-2019

Aid trucks burn on Venezuelan-Colombia border, February 23, 2019. Media around the world got it wrong. The Panama Post headline: “Police forces loyal to Maduro burnt trucks with humanitarian aid; The dictatorship’s repressive authorities allowed three trucks of humanitarian aid to cross the border, only to set them on fire once they were over the bridge.” (Twitter)

On February 23, a caravan of large cargo trucks was crossing a bridge from Colombia into Venezuela delivering food and other aid when they dramatically went up in flames. US officials seized upon the event as evidence of a “sick tyrant” stopping food from getting to hungry people:

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: Continue reading

Share

In Latest Assault on Palestinian Rights, US Shutters Jerusalem Consulate

Critics say so-called merger “is nothing more than a smokescreen trying to camouflage what is essentially an opening of American embassy in Jerusalem”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-4-2019

U.S. Ambassador David Friedman spoke on July 25, 2017 at a special meeting in the Knesset, organized by the Knesset Caucus for U.S. (Photo: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr/cc)

The U.S. officially closed its consulate general in Jerusalem, which had served as the de facto diplomatic mission for Palestinians.

While the State Department framed the move as a “merger” with its embassy in the city, critics say it’s another setback for peace that puts Israeli interests over Palestinian rights. Continue reading

Share

New Study Details ‘Staggering’ $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War

“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-15-2018Wa

Total U.S. spending on war and all of its related costs will hit nearly $6 trillion by the end of 2019, according to the Watson Institute (Photo: Carpetblogger/flickr/cc)

While the human costs will remain impossible to calculate, a new analysis shows that the Pentagon barely scratched the surface of the financial costs of U.S. wars since September 11, 2001 when it released its official estimate last August regarding how much the U.S. has spent on fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs reports (pdf) that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. will have spent $5.9 trillion on military spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, as well as veterans’ care, interest on debt payments, and related spending at the Homeland Security and State Departments. Continue reading

Share

‘Bolton Gonna Bolton’: Trump’s National Security Adviser Pushing to Ditch Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia

Critics warn that “withdrawal would be stupid and reckless.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-19-2018

President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is reportedly seeking to ditch a Cold War-era treaty with Russia focusing on nuclear arms control. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump’s notorious warmonger of a national security adviser, John Bolton, reportedly “is pushing for the U.S. to withdraw from a Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia,” a move that critics denounced as a “stupid and reckless” mistake that would fuel nuclear weapons production, alienate allies, and increase the threat of conflict.

Despite resistance within the administration and from key allies abroad, Bolton wants the United States to bail on the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) on the grounds that Russia is violating the agreement, sources briefed on the effort told the Guardian. Continue reading

Share

For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

Share