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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.

Latest

US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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