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US actions against Russian diplomatic and consular property are illegal–here’s why

US actions against consular and diplomatic property in the United States violate the letter and spirit of the Vienna Conventions. The Vienna Conventions are clearly codified, internationally recognised laws which the UN has sanctioned to prevent the unwarranted molestation of diplomatic and consular property and the individuals working therein.

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The United States has once again seized diplomatic and consular properties belonging to the Russia Federation and is in the process of conducting raid style searches of the properties which are set to formally begin on the 4th of September.

These actions which first took place in the final full month of Barack Obama’s Presidency and are now taking place at additional Russian diplomatic and consular facilities in the United States under Donald Trump’s Presidency, violate clearly codified international laws which are contained in documents known as the Vienna Conventions.

The following are the provisions of the Vienna Conventions that are presently being violated by the United States.

From the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Article 22

1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents
of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of
the head of the mission.

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all
appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any
intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.

3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other
property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be
immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

From the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

Article 31

Inviolability of the consular premises

1.Consular premises shall be inviolable to the extent provided in this article.

2.The authorities of the receiving State shall not enter that part of the consular premises which is
used exclusively for the purpose of the work of the consular post except with the consent of the head of the consular post or of his designee or of the head of the diplomatic mission of the sending State. The consent of the head of the consular post may, however, be assumed in case of fire or other disaster requiring prompt protective action.

3.Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, the receiving State is under a special
duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the consular premises against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the consular post or impairment of its dignity.

4.The consular premises, their furnishings, the property of the consular post and its means of
transport shall be immune from any form of requisition for purposes of national defence or public utility.

If expropriation is necessary for such purposes, all possible steps shall be taken to avoid impeding the performance of consular functions, and prompt, adequate and effective compensation shall be paid to the sending State.

In summary, these statues of international law codified by the United Nations in 1961 (Diplomatic) and 1963 (Consular) mean that irrespective of the condition of relations between the sending state (in this case Russia) and the receiving state (in this case the US), the diplomatic and consular properties in question must remain free from any kind of molestation including searches, raids, property seizures and the infringement of normal and dignified working practices.

Each of these items of law has been clearly violated by the United States. The US has prohibited diplomatic and consular workers from pursuing their work under normal circumstances. The US molested the peace and freedom of such workers and their families on a personal level and the US is in the process of preparing raid the diplomatic and consular properties which the law states are clearly inviolable.

Even in times of conflict that run much deeper than the current political disputes between Washington and Moscow, the Vienna Conventions have a precedent of being adhered to.

In 1984, an individual inside the Libyan Embassy in London shot and killed a UK police officer. The shots were fired from inside the embassy onto the street below.

Although many  called for the suspect to be brought to trail in an English court, the UK government at the time, a government that had generally poor relations Libya in any case, observed the Vienna Conventions and allowed the embassy workers to return to Libya safely after being named persona-non-grata, something which is sanctioned by the Vienna Conventions.

The US itself raised a claim in the International Court of Justice against the Islamic Republic of Iran over an incident involving the taking of US hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran in 1980.

In 2005, during the second term of George W. Bush, the United States withdrew from an optional provision of the Vienna Conventions allowing for disputes arising between states on matters involving diplomatic and consular facilities and individuals to be dealt with by the International Court of Justice.

This means that if Russia wanted to take legal action against the US for violating its protections under the Vienna Conventions, Russia would have to file the complaint in a US court which is subject to accusations of bias vis-a-vis an international court dealing with a dispute between sovereign states.

The aggregate effect of this means that the US is breaking international law with impunity while giving the victim of this anti-diplomatic aggression few realistic options to deal with the issue, other than to attempt some sort of equivalent retaliation.

Instead of scrutinising the United States for a flagrant violation of international law, the mainstream media is instead pontificating on why smoke is coming out of the chimney at the soon to be closed Russian Consulate in San Francisco, even though such a matter has no real legal implications. Until the premises is involuntarily vacated, the Russian consular staff have the right to use their facilities as they fit.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued the following statement to the conspiracy theorists who have taken an interest in the smoke,

“Now in San Francisco, another circus begins – a new round of baiting called ‘What are you doing there?’.

After giving 2 days for the emergency conservation of the building and deciding to conduct a search in the premises, which had for many years had diplomatic immunity, a search involving FBI employees, the “host party” in the afternoon of September 1 “accidentally noticed” smoke above the building. The truth is that they also did not happen to notice that the was coming from a  pipe.

Immediately there were prepared photo reports about the “emergency situation”, and, as the top of sadism, fire protection was called. Just in case. Suddenly, Russians need help: they still had a couple of hours left to clear the premises.

And then the questions of American journalists poured down about what kind of trickle of smoke rose over the Russian consulate general.

I answer: measures are being taken to preserve the building. In this regard, the windows can be closed, the curtains can be lowered, the light may turn off, water may come down, the doors may be locked, garbage can be disposed of, heating devices must be switched off, life support systems switched on, and much more.

It is unbearably embarrassing to monitor the actions of the US authorities and the entire information campaign. Later everything will be like it always happens in the USA: there will be those who stood behind all this Russophobic hysteria, another mistake will be recognized, perhaps we will hear miserable apologies. But all this will be, as always, later. And now, at this very minute, instead of the celebrations on the occasion of September 1 and the labor routine for issuing passports and visas, the employees of the Consulate General professionally oriented towards the development of bilateral relations are engaged in the conservation of the building…

The wider truth of the matter is that the only thing up in flames is the American government’s respect for international law.

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K WalkerBased ✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗgbardizbanianJonFranz Kafka Recent comment authors
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Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

“United States violate the letter and spirit of the Vienna Conventions”

Show me ONE international law signed and ratified by the United States, that they respect. ONE.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

It seems to me that the US government has chosen to cease observing the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. That means, of course, that other nations no longer need to observe the Convention’s rules with regard to US government representatives and property.

Unless the US government chooses to explain to the international community why the Convention should apply to all other nations, but not to the USA.

Muriel Kuri
Guest
Muriel Kuri

We are acting totally against the law. This is despicable.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

The United States proves that it is a Rogue State once again

The United States signs international Treaties and tears them up in public before telling the world that it believes in the Rule of Law….

The United States has gone barabarian….

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

The united states has never been anything else but barbarian and savage, from Day One, I’m afraid. It’s just that, for a while, it did a superb job of pulling the wool over the eyes of millions, and convincing them that it was a beacon of light on a hill.
Turns out the light was from the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

And it continues to pull wool over their eyes. What I fail to understand how so many people continue in awe of the US…unless they are totally ignorant of what the US has been pulling.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The Scum of the Earth is in awe of the Untied Snakes.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

It never stopped of being a rogue state, since its creation.
It is absolutely crazy to see the number of wars started by US in merely 240 years of existence.

“The United States has gone barabarian….”
Or better said in Oscar Wilde aphorism, “America is the only country , which jumped from barbarism to decadence, without civilization in between”.

seby
Guest
seby

Excuse me if I cannot take seriously someone protesting against rogue states who ignore international law and have what looks very much like a zionist symbol as their avatar.

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Hasbara Tactics.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Got to agree with you there Seby.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

They say it was Clemenceau or someone like that. Not Wilde. I always hoped that it was De Tocqueville.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Never mind Who, it is about what is being said, Franz and I know that you know.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The devil is in the details. Facts matter.

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

Nice observation by Wilde – I hadn’t caught up with that one, thanks Daisy. As Sigmund Freud said “America is a mistake. A big big mistake”.

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

The USA “has gone barbarian”? It always was.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Yes… You are correct.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Run by Democrats/Communists for the past 60 years

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

Key provisions of Vienna Convention, regulating diplomatic exchanges between sovereign countries:
Article 31. The host nation may not enter the consular premises, and must protect the premises from intrusion or damage.
Article 35. Freedom of communication between the consul and their home country must be preserved. A consular bag must never be opened. A consular courier must never be detained.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“It is unbearably embarrassing to monitor the actions of the US authorities”

It is also mind boggling to know which international laws the US refused to ratify. Among them: Convention on Cluster Munitions, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Protocol to the Convention against Torture, Mine Ban Treaty …

louis robert
Guest
louis robert

Illegal?

Thanks for the detailed demonstration… but, but, but… the Empire has been constantly acting illegally and with impunity for decades upon decades. Illegality is the Empire’s very modus operandi! It respects absolutely nobody and absolutely nothing.

All that matters, really, is therefore how to prevent said Empire from making such a criminal, public nuisance of itself worldwide any longer. In a nutshell, the world must stop and neutralize that Empire asap.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Quarantine the USA.

louis robert
Guest
louis robert

You may be too lenient, Franz.

In this case, the disease being not merely a relatively minor contagious one, quarantine may not be quite in order. The disease in question is a major one of the mind, of the soul. Only confinement to one of the most renowned world mental institutions specialized in locking up and treating long, long term, the most violent compulsive criminals would seem to be appropriate, I’m afraid.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Boycott Brand America. Boycott them; one person, one company, on institution at a time: Boycott them all.

Sanctions begin with the individual; by the individual, against the individual. Boycott everything. Food, products, media, Hollywood, electronics, tourism: Choose something OTHER than ‘made in America.’

There is an ENTIRE PLANET of people who would like to do business with you, want to be friends and will treat you with the respect you deserve. Just Boycott Brand America.

This is how the individual Sanctions a Nation. Boycott Brand America.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal
Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards themselves?) That the US Gestapo is 100% unreliable and an extension now of the proxy terrorists inflicted on the people of the multi-polar world is obvious. “What Goes Around Comes Around” as We the Pimple[sic] love to say. Relish the fact alone that Mueller of the FBI was the point man on the Cheney-Silverman/Silverstein WTC demolition. He is now in charge of the demolition of the Democracy in the United States – such as it was, like the WTC damaged beyond repair and full of asbestos. That Quarantine is now the… Read more »

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“where will the people of the USA run to”

Only directly into the fire of the destruction from within of their country…their apathy and outright support towards their governments actions in breach of International Law and their support for its illegal wars of conquest “over there” for DECADES means they DO NOT DESERVE a place “to run to”

For those who are awake, aware and against their regimes actions….get out now if you can to a country willing to stand up to the hegemon and hope that your US passport will be accepted!

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Houston, we have a problem! It is “America first”, so no way to go?
The American nationals should start to claim their name, properties and their land in their state where they were born, back. They are no property of the US INC. which is nearly bankrupt, so hurry up otherwise you all “have to” pay the debts of the federal government again! May be two hundred trillion Federal Reserve-paper dollars?
IMO, this Banksters trick is running since 1865.

TS
Guest
TS

Perhaps it is better to base the Consulate on the water, a cruise ship [http://www.ships4ever.com/]. NYC property value is still high.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Vienna Convention? Where is Vienna or what is it? As long as the US’ favoured ‘level playing field’ tilts towards the US. The more I read about the US, the sicker I feel to my stomach.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The captive people of the US should ask for a ‘no-fly zone’ to be policed by Russia and China so they might have a hope in hell of finally making the only regime change that matters.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

It is very simple. Nietzsche’s “People of consummate cant” have added Lavrov’s ‘agreement-incapability’ and handed it all over to Hussein’s and Ahmadinejad’s ‘Great Satan’.
If the AntiChrist has a locus, it is certainly on the axis between Tal Habib and Washington.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

This is Mueller’s doing. The noose tightening around his neck has forced him into rash acts.
He plans to plant evidence. As the point man for the WTC demolition he has some experience in this sort of thing.

ghartwell
Guest

Children need to be taught the common courtesy of please and thank you. They can be disciplined and trained to align with social expectations. But what happens to the world’s peaceful existence when a large strong nation does not follow established law in international relations? Chaos, instability and uncertainty result.

Trust of America again goes down. Russia, China and the peace – loving nations have this counterfoil to display their tolerance and adherence to law.

Putin’s legal training and absolute firm adherence to international law now looks even more attractive.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

VERY well said!

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

And of course his intelligence background and experience not to forget.
Which in these kind of situations is going into the direction of the survival for the world.

Russian Federation for the Nobel Peace Prize I’d say.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The US has now committed the one act which, by their own definition, makes them a rogue state desrving of sanctions and military retribution. Like the fetishized object of Anglo-Zionist hatred, Iran did almost half a century ago, The United States have seized an embassy.

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Yes. They have “NOT YET” breached international law, but are about to do so.

Boycott Brand America. Boycott Brand America. What what you buy; and extract all your money, commerce and investments from the U.$. (For your own protection)

K Walker
Guest
K Walker

Sanction my country – the USA. The UN needs to set boundaries – better for the citizens here and better for the world.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal
Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

It is sad, and unwarranted that someone as yourself may suffer as a result of something beyond your control; but unfortunately, America CLAIMS to be a democracy; and as such, the actions of the nation are a reflection on the individual.

Maybe it’s time for you to emigrate?

K Walker
Guest
K Walker

It claims is true but we are a Republic and allegedly governed by the rule of law.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

UN? … Are you sure that you need the UN, K?

K Walker
Guest
K Walker

Who else would do it?

Feudal Peasant
Guest
Feudal Peasant

I venture to guess, all on behalf of Netanyahu who needs dirt in Putin

Shahna
Guest

“The wider truth of the matter is that the only thing up in flames is the American government’s respect for international law.”
——————

… and the wider world’s respect for the USA.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

BIG difference….Russia followed International Law!
comment image

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

The US is learning fast from Ukraine how to turn the whole world against you and distrust you.
What the Deep State with her secret service is doing here will come back to hunt them, without a doubt.

To break into international diplomatic codes in this way is a blamage, unforegivable. It looks like a desperate Deep State act which is gearing into under niveau “street fighting”.

ColinNZ
Guest
ColinNZ

US government still trying to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that their ‘leaders’ are playground bullies in a school for children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

johnplatinumgoss
Guest
johnplatinumgoss

I suspect any country that would bring down skyscrapers and murder its own citizens to go to war all over the Middle East (9/11) would have no compunction in violating the Vienna Convention. Don’t they make decent people sick?

gbardizbanian
Guest
gbardizbanian

By acting this way the US behaves like a rogue state which has no respect for international law.

Based ✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗ
Guest
Based ✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗ

USA has been spying on that consulate for decades. I used to live up there in the 70s-80s and every single day there were white vans, PGE trucks, UPS trucks, phone trucks parked across the street from the consulate all day long.

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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