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BREAKING: Russia responds to new US sanctions, vows to retaliate

Russia has been targeted for alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election, an allegation that Russia denies and which has not been backed by any convincing public evidence.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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A new bill introduced by US legislators seeks to impose new economic sanctions against Russia, including North Korea and Iran. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects the bill to become law, pending approval from US President Donald Trump.

The US House of Representatives approved a sanctions bill by a vote of 419-3 on Tuesday a new version of a bill that would impose sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, and limit President Donald Trump’s ability to lift the restrictions on Moscow. The measures target Russia’s defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries, and restrict dealings with Russian banks and energy companies.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, warned if the new anti-Russian sanctions bill is to be approved, retaliatory measures will be imposed by Moscow.

Ryabkov told the media Wednesday, “What is happening defies common sense. The authors and sponsors of this bill are taking a very serious step towards destroying any potential for normalizing relations with Russia.” He added, “We told them [US] dozens of times that such actions would not be left without a response. I believe the signal went through even though present-day Washington tends to listen to and hear from no one but itself.”

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists:

“It can be said now that the news is very sad from the perspective of Russian-American relations and the perspectives of their development,” “This is no less disheartening from the point of view of international law and international trade relations.”

“The attitude to this [law] will be formed on the basis of a thorough analysis, and the decision [on how to respond] will certainly be taken by the head of state, President [Vladimir] Putin.”

“The Russian president makes foreign policy decisions, and we will inform you if and when they are adopted. All other statements are quite understandable. We are talking about extremely unfriendly manifestations, so the reaction is obvious.”

The new round of anti-Russian sanctions by Washington is “equally dreadful from the point of view of international law and international trade relations,” Peskov added.

France and Germany have so far spoken out against the bill that the US House passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday as one that adversely affects European industries while advancing US commercial interests.

“This is concerning not only for the German industry. Sanctions against Russia should not become a tool of industrial policy in the US interests,” German Foreign Minister spokesman Martin Schaefer said at a press briefing.

READ MORE: A choice for Europe: costly US liquified gas versus cheap Russian pipeline gas

The US bill also sparked concern in Europe, with European governments and business leaders fearing the sanctions would hurt crucial joint energy projects with Russia and may be motivated by Washington’s desire to take over the European natural gas market from Russia in favor of American liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris recently analyzed the potential impact of the new sanctions against Russia:

“The new sanctions package will not have the big impact on the Russian economy that some are expecting. The Russian economy has sailed through the previous far more severe sectoral sanctions which were imposed on Russia in July 2014, and the collapse in oil prices which took place in the second half of that year. The result was only a short and shallow recession, out of which Russia is now rapidly emerging. Indeed there are some who calculate that growth this year will be enough by itself to wipe out all the output loss during the recession, though I do not share this view.

The new sanctions in economic terms do not add significantly to the sanctions which were imposed in 2014. They appear intended to target the personal assets of super-wealthy Russians – a deeply unpopular class still wrongly referred to as “oligarchs”, though the days of their power in Russia are long gone – and to impede Western and specifically US participation and investment in certain of Russia’s industries, first and foremost those in the extractive sector.”

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lmimkac
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lmimkac

Stop bitching, mourning and witching (BMW) about how unfair it is… bla-bla… and do something about it… The EU countries BMW only when it concerns them… Why the hell you need anything from Siemens? Stand up and work on your own products… I long expected this attack on Russia, just never knew when it was going to happen…

tom
Guest
tom

Now, instead of buying from Siemens, Russia will compete with it. When will the German people grasp the glaringly obvious fact that their political “leaders” don’t work for them, but for Washington? ‘Sanctions are contrary to Europe’s interests. Nevertheless European governments accommodated Washington’s agenda. The reason was explained to me several decades ago by my Ph.D. dissertation committee chairman who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask him how Washington managed to have foreign governments act in Washington’s interest rather than in the interest of their own countries. He said, “money.” I… Read more »

John Mason
Guest
John Mason

Nicely put Tom. Answer to your last phrase would be if a global war broke out and those responsible are sought out and executed, no trial. Something like the Russians did to their royal family.

Guy
Member
Guy

You mean the Bolsheviks did to their Royal Family ,the Romanovs.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

lol

Tahau Taua
Guest
Tahau Taua

Fuck the Royal Family! You should be saying, “what the Romanovs did to the millions of peasants and workers who perished for the sake of the Romanovs in World Imperialist War One, prior to 1917?” Or maybe even the undisclosed numbers who died in the Czar’s centuries old Gulag system and at the hands of his Secret Police, long before Stalin revised it. Take that and chew on it creep!

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

The Bolsheviks were Russians and at that time immensely more popular than the Romanovs. Not that the execution was justified, even in the grim conditions of a civil war. After all, the Imperial family, precisely due to its unpopularity, was not a threat. On the contrary, the monarchists were a liability for the Whites.

House Clipart
Guest

“You should be saying, “what the Romanovs did to the millions of peasants
and workers who perished for the sake of the Romanovs in World
Imperialist War One, prior to 1917?” I agree with Thau Taua?

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

But this would be a global war of entirely different dimensions.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

the bolsheviks were funded by the zionists…………… the french rev. was funded by zionists, even marx was an illuminati……….. sherbert……… then there is the 5th column, that traitor mevdev……………… a yankee underdog………….. PUTIN IS NO SUPERMAN ………. THAT ONLY HAPPENS I DISNEYS FILMS………… walt disney was a illuminati scoundrel………….. library is closed for today.

Tahau Taua
Guest
Tahau Taua

So according to your logic, every time people want to free themselves from a bunch of fuck’n halfwits; the Zionists are always there to give them money? Mason, go back to Disneyland!

ghartwell
Guest

‘When will the German people grasp the glaringly obvious fact that their political “leaders” don’t work for them’ reminds me of the German generals realizing that Hitler was destroying Germany. Few would agree with my thesis that he was an agent of the elite doing his job well and staying under cover. (As was Borman in this theory). So it is obviously happening again. The German people have been whipped into submission so they can be submissively destroyed.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

never mate………….. these people will die confortably, reagen- alzheimer, macdog- brain cancer, jamie dimon–prostate cancer——— elizabeth will fall off her horse, trump will be murdered, ad china will take over…… ahahha they can die by the millions , but the middle kingdom will never die.

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tom
“…Now, instead of buying from Siemens, Russia will compete with it…”

That is very doubtful.

Putin has squandered many years 2000 to 2017 of proper management and development of Russian industry which has resulted in its decline.

Example:
Motor Manufacturing
Civilian Aircraft Manufacturing
Electricity Generating Turbines
Railway Engines and Carriages
Etc.

Even the Electricity Generating Turbines are made in Russia under Siemens patents and licences as are Railway Engines and Carriages.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

I guess you are using old data to prop up your arguments against Russia because you certainly havent seen or bothered to read the latest news: http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/study-russia-insulated-further-sanctions-import-substitution-success/ri20491

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Gonzogal Thank you, already know the RI article, LoL:))) I had been doing Pro Mr Putin, Pro Russia propaganda for many years until March 2017 and have all the latest info to hand. RI is just running a spin to give comfort to its readers like the Duran is doing in this article. I can challenge all the RI spin but at present don’t have the time. Just an example: Goods and Services Russia produces internally are in Roubles not US$s. Whilst the Kosher Oligarch cabal Putin has assembled around him have a voracious appetite for US$s causing approx 30%… Read more »

manfred127
Guest
manfred127

Okay—-if we know the American corporations are holding tons of money offshore—-and 30 to 40% of Russia is being siphoned off—what is being done with all this money if its not “working”in any country?

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manfred127
You have asked a very good question.

Its a mystery why people siphon of US$ Billions into offshore places.

Its better to put the money to use building hospitals, clinics, schools, colleges, homes, infrastructure, farming, etc.

Those people must have high Neanderthals DNA to ignore the plight of mankind in the world today.

tom
Guest
tom

“Sanctions against Russia should not become a tool of industrial policy in the US interests…”

Ha ha, very funny. As if they had ever been anything else – and as if he didn’t know that perfectly well. Dishonest reptiles.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

If the Russians do not respond in kind then I will suspect they have given up on their independence. God help us! When will the Russians realise that they are NOT wanted by the west? Not now and not ever!
Except as a slave state, of course!

spoint
Guest
spoint

Jews did this so retaliate against the right target.

ghartwell
Guest

Jews destroying Germany again?

Kaput
Member
Kaput

Hitler was a roths descendent, merkel is probably his daughter……… germans are pro zionists, just like Churchil, and many others were………. until someone came knocking…….. elizabeth is german, her husband is german, just do soe search about european royalty……….. even clinton is a cousin of a cousin of a cousin……….. bad blood is abundant.

dave3200
Guest
dave3200

Actually, Vee, many of us who helped Trump in his election considered his promise to warm relations with Russia to be a very important part of his mission. The 62,000,000 voters who elected him have deep respect for Russia and consider Russian people to be similar to us in culture and values. We haven’t given up hope that our nations will come together. It just may take longer than hoped. There’s a lot of ugly politics going on here now. We need to defeat it before anything good can happen. Also, keep in mind that the sanctions bill is illegal… Read more »

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Just five in the House and Senate voted against this bill. That is an amazing display of pure ignorance and power. As a British Indian, I do not have a dog in this fight. But it is time for the EU to stand up to this war lobby and teach them a few things.
Russia will go from strength to strength but EU will suffer.
Did you know that Russian is a bigger exporter of wheat than the US or Canada? Things have sure changed from Soviet times, but it has escaped the US attention.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

I am a citizen of the EU, and the sooner it is dismantled the better………. ahahah a nwo organisation

dave3200
Guest
dave3200

Vee, I agree 100%. Unfortunately, the false propaganda machine from the U.S. deep state and military-industrial complex has sold the congress (and Trump?) a terrible bill of goods. The strength of the ignorance is outweighed only by the stench of the swamp.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

sorry you sound either ignorant or derranged……….. no offense meant…………. revenge is better served in a cold plate……..

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VeeNarian (Yerevan)
You have hurled abuse or let’s say “harsh words” when reality has been presented to you.

Putin has already made Russia into a slave state.

Reality:
Putin’s Modus Operandi, operating style which is:
Do nothing
Do it very slowly
Do the minimum
Wait and see what happens

In the past this type of MO has resulted in:

1. 1917 Russian Empire, looted and plundered by the Khazars

2. 1917 – 1991 USSR, looted and plundered by the Khazars

3. 1992 – 2005 Russian Federation, looted and plundered by the Khazars approved by Yelsin

4. 2005 – 2017 Russian Federation, still looted and plundered by the Khazars approved by Putin

John Mason
Guest
John Mason

Trump can not be trusted, he will approve of the Bill or the establishment will. A President stands for those that elected him/her but Trump has failed whether deliberately or otherwise to endorse the policies that he was elected on. Trump is either a very weak individual or is a part of the swamp or both. US trying to force Russia into a corner are making a big mistake, Russia will respond and there are many nations that have an axe to grind with the US.

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

Expel all U$ Americans /pro U$ Americans from RF or RF associated Country’s

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Vtran
Are you practicing your script for a late night comedy show, LoL:)))
The RF associated countries are typically Iran, Cuba, North Korea, etc.

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

What of country’s of the BRICS, BRICS alliance, SCO, EEU …..

I appreciate none of those country’s are of the West … the 30 -40 odd country’s that think they are the World, International Community where in Fact they are just 30 – 40 country’s out of 220 Country’s of the World

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Vtran Very good answer but am surprised you do not know the power behind the BRICS Project which was created by Jim O’Neill for Goldman Sachs, Rothschild Group & Associates in the background. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8900851/Jim-ONeill-Welcome-to-a-future-built-in-BRICs.html Goldman Sachs, Rothschild Group and Associates, foster, guide and control the economies of BRICS+A (Argentina) countries. The BRICS+A are economically tied and dependent on the US, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, NZ for trade which is conducted in US$s. Excluding you, many Russians love the US$s. Brazil, India China, South Africa, Argentina love making US$s. SCO countries are primarily independant Militaries and a talking shop who carry… Read more »

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

The BRIC or something similar word was bounded around a long time ago … however the BRICS of today is a different beast

The BRICS are not tied to the U$ American Dollar … however Do appreciate the vassal states that U$ Americans called fiends are … U$ americans have no friends !

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Vtran
Non US$ Trading by BRICS countries is priced in US$ and hedged against the US$.

There is one BRICS, BRICS old is the same as BRICS new, its economies are fostered, guided and controlled by Goldman Sachs and Rothschild Group and Associates.

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

BRICS / BRICS Associated country’s use all currency denominations … U$ america dollar is there …. but decreases daily !

However do not Fret, UK, Australia, Canada etc will still use U$ American Dollar until destruction

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Vtran Clinging to BRICS hope whilst neglecting Putin’s stupidity is not wise. The US economy including the US$ is declining slowly at approx 1% to 2% per year, so it could take until 2030 to 2040 before the decline is serious. In the meantime the Khazar people are steps ahead and have taken control from the Baltic to the Black Sea, Poland and Ukraine, the “Land Wall” between Russia and Western Europe. These people will destroy the Russian Federation economically as well as loot and plunder it. They have already done it and continue to do it. 1. 1917 –… Read more »

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

Glad where ever you come from is so much better than the RF / Putin !

RF / Putin are no where near perfect … but wherever you are it must be Utopia … so off you go and enjoy it …

Eggie Offo
Guest
Eggie Offo

Oh dear Russia powerful nuclear superpower a country I admire what are you doing in the face of all these sanctions? Just talk, talk ,talk and nothing. Mr. Putin the smartest and the most intelligent head of state amomg among all world leaders but I think he is also timid. What is Russia doing, just talk,talk and nothing done. I have heard the same Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov talking, warning and nothing happens.Two weeks ago the same man warned “we shall retaliate ” and respond after America expelled 35 diplomats and seized Russia’s diplomatic property violating international law… Read more »

ghartwell
Guest

I agree why is Russian revenge so slow and so sure?

Kaput
Member
Kaput

revenge ………. got the wrong country mate………………… smart efffective retaliation no doubt……. coming soon in a nearby wall street theater.

Peter Hallam
Guest
Peter Hallam

Revenge is slow; and Russia is taking it’s time, because this is a job Russia can leave to Europe. Europe is the one being threatened by this. Not really Russia. Russia will use this as an opportunity to diversify it’s economy some more. Other countries that are under U$ sanctions will see what is going on an say: “They did this to me as well. We have something in common.” The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Russia has been nice for a long time. Many in Europe; despite the what the MSM say, already know this. Many in… Read more »

Mistaron
Guest
Mistaron

Since when have we been privy to the fight going on BEHIND the curtain? What should Putin do, start a war with no winners? US is going down with self-inflicted wounds being recognised by more and more interests. When we hear from world leaders, identifying Washington’s lackeys becomes quite obvious as they speak for themselves and not the people. It’s taken a while, but some of these ‘leaders’ are beginning to see the writing on the wall and are quickly becoming aware that we, the people, have caught on and that the electoral carte-blanche once enjoyed, is about to be… Read more »

Kaput
Member
Kaput

does Putin sound worried ??????? Does Putin need the yankees ????????? who cares about a “sandwich ” country ????? a squeeze from canada, another from mexico, the pacific, the atlantic….. not to mention the big dragon squeeze lol………. dollar toilet paper ????? aahha I just love this guy….. patience is a virtue………. the one who laughs last, is the one that laughs better……. by the way stop providing those gadgets to get yankees back home from the moon lol. it seems that the yankees are placing sanctions in their own turf……….. , reminds me of Napoleon, the higher you go,… Read more »

manfred127
Guest
manfred127

I too try to read such tea leaves as I can.I think I see more of a chess player than a timid plodder.The west is mired in debt which is not sustainable.In the past the west had primacy in technology and production and ceded that to what is more or less known as “globalism” to manage international capital flow as a primary objective.A very dangerous time for all.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

dnt take more crack……….. is damaging your 2 heads.

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Eggie Offo
No way Putin will do more than talk, talk, talk.
Putin will ask Lavrov to write a letter of complaint to the UN, LoL:)))

Silviu Costea
Guest
Silviu Costea

Tell me the last war USA won? I really cannot remember. In the recent history, the russians where they fought, they won: Georgia, Ukraine, Syria… In fact your leaders are always barking like a stupid dog, but they were so fucked by the Russians. You lost the Near East… You lost Qatar, Turkey… Your old “allies” goes on the oppposite side. Funny, isnt? They can see very clear, at least clearest than you.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

And as long as the US continues to have domestic problems, this hacking story won’t go away and serves to distract Americans.

Guy
Member
Guy

The Russian administration will retaliate .For those of us that have lost patience ,I would just state that it is not the Russian way to jump to retaliation without having thought through the next move . Remember ,this geopolitical game that is being played for all the world to see ,is much like a game of chess .The actions of the US , totally compromised congress critters and senators , is much like a thrashing beast and acting out of self preservation as it knows the final act is in play . They are losing their imperialist power and they… Read more »

Dan Kuhn
Guest
Dan Kuhn

Thats good news for Russia as these sanctions are really beating the European Dog, which is being pushed into a corner by the US. Look out when that Dog feels it has no place to go and decides to come out of that corner. Russia only has to wait. However while waiting patiently Russia should ban all EU and American Oil companies from doing or owning any business in Russia. That smack in the head would get the attention of even the thickest American legislators.

gbardizbanian
Guest
gbardizbanian

I’m sick and tired reading about these sanctions taken by the US. Why doesn’t anybody take sanctions against the US?

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gbardizbanian
Like who ?

Peter Hallam
Guest
Peter Hallam

Hell YES! So long over due! @ MORE. Every country in the world that has felt the U$’s or NATO’s boot should put some form of sanctions on the U$. At least 158 countries around the world have been targeted by the U$ for something or other; mostly regime change or an economic hit job. Even Australia has been subject to the U$’s desire for regime change. Some ally huh. For those interested: Look up something called The Dismissal. And read up on what happened to Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Governor General Sir William Kerr. That was a… Read more »

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Headline:
“…BREAKING: Russia responds to new US sanctions, vows to retaliate….”

Yeah like what?

Oh yes, like Putin’s well known masterstroke, he will ask Lavrov to write a letter of complaint to the UN, LoL:)))

Michael DeStefano
Guest
Michael DeStefano

You’re an extremely silly and supercilious individual.

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Michael DeStefano
Not at all as you have failed to provide any counter opinion because you cannot face reality.

Reality:
Putin’s Modus Operandi, operating style which is:
Do nothing
Do it very slowly
Do the minimum
Wait and see what happens

gatobart
Guest
gatobart

We Will Retaliate.

I have heard that Putin tune so many times already I dont believe a word of it by now.

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

We should remember Putin’s reply to the person who wanted to know why Russia hadn’t responded to US sanctions by, for example, stopping supplying them with rocket engines? He said “we never do anything stupid. They are a good source of income to us – why should we deprive ourselves of that”.
Remember there’s an old saying “Russians take a long time to saddle up – but they ride exceeding fast”.

mdufour
Guest
mdufour

Sure keep getting the good money Putin while the opponent try to kill you with the help of those satellites that they put in orbit using your cheap but efficient technology.

WOOLY COAT ALASKAN
Guest

Hacking is cited by the Obama Regime and by our beloved media as the cause for Mrs.Clinton’s loss to President-elect Trump. It’s as if the voters had no say in the matter, when the reality is that–had Mrs. Clinton been elected instead of Trump–we would have had one lyin sack o ____ replacing the current one.

samo war
Guest
samo war

puttin = addolff hi$tler ?

Geno
Guest
Geno

Russia under Putin has made great strides, but the so-called grand master still operates under the rules set by the ancient European Elite, whose front men are the likes of the Rothschild, Rockefeller and other such sundry human slave-masters. Nato is but their military arm, The city of Lodnon and Wall street their economic control centers, the IMF and World Bank their financial outlets of false legitimacy. Unless and until Putin and Russia follow the economic policies of Sergey Glazeyev, and nationalize the presently Western Central Bankers controlled Russian Central Bank, then he effectively maintains Russia’s subservience/servitude to Russia’s ancient… Read more »

Latest

Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

Published

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

The Duran

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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