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U.S. warms up to Cuba, sensing Russia’s renewed military cooperation

As the Obama administration’s policy of normalisation of relations with Cuba runs into obstacles Cuba may be tempted to look towards Russia, its old Cold War patron. In that case a resumption of military cooperation between Russia and Cuba is very likely.

German Gorraiz Lopez

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An end to the United States’ trade embargo on Cuba was demanded for the 25th consecutive year by the General Assembly of the United Nations and was passed by the overwhelming majority of 191 votes in favour with just two abstentions (the United States and Israel).

This called for an end to an outdated embargo established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, and would reinstate the principles of free trade and open waters as between Cuba and the US.

However the embargo will continue in force because the voting is nonbinding.

It could mean direct or indirect losses of $110 billion according to the United Nations Development Program and more than $1 trillion according to the Cuban government.

Prensa Latina has estimated that between May 2012 and April 2013, the Cuban public health system incurred unnecessary expenses of $39 million because it had to acquire vital medicines and equipment from faraway markets.

The embargo has lasted for 52 years and runs the risk of becoming interminable with all the side effects that might bring, and President Obama has identified its resolution as being of utmost importance.

Beginning of  the US-Cuba Détente

The decision to set free all 75 opponents and independent journalists arrested in 2003 in the “Black Spring,” announced at the beginning of July 2010, marked the start of a relaxation in the previously hostile relationship between the United States and Cuba.

In return, in 2010 Obama reinstated the Clinton policies toward Cuba, which had been repealed by George W. Bush in 2003, reducing restrictions on travel and money sent between the two countries. But he has held strong on the necessity for Alan Gross to be released for new concessions to be made, including the release of “The Five.”

The story of “The Five” starts with Rene Gonzalez, who spent 13 years in prison in the United States for supposedly infiltrating an organisation of Cuban exiles in Florida.

He was accused of being part of the “Wasp Network,” which involved more than 40 Cuban intelligence agents and informants in southern Florida, detained in 1998 and convicted of espionage in 2001 in Miami along with Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González.

Alan Gross, on the other hand, was a contract worker for USAID in a pro-democracy program and was detained in Cuba in 2009 for “the illegal distribution of Internet equipment.”

Four years after the arrest of Alan Gross, a Jewish-American and a US citizen and a presumed spy, who was sentenced in 2011 to 15 years in prison for committing “actions against the territorial integrity of the state,” we are seeing the beginning of a new, intricate diplomatic undertaking that could result in the trade of Gross for “The Five” as a gesture of goodwill.

This would be a necessary step toward the end of the outdated U.S. embargo on Cuba and a new era in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

The diplomatic manoeuvres began when Gross sent a personal letter to President Obama on the fourth anniversary of his arrest in Cuba, in which he expressed his disappointment, saying:

“I fear that my government — the very government I was serving when I began this nightmare — has abandoned me. … I ask that you also take action to secure my release, for my sake and for the sake of my family”

This was followed by another letter along the same lines sent to the White House by Gross’s family.

These letters were followed a month later by yet another letter written by a bipartisan group of 66 senators, led by Democrat Patrick Leahy, urging Obama to “act expeditiously to take whatever steps are in the national interest to obtain his release.”

Gross was convicted in Cuba in 2009 for “giving sophisticated communication equipment to Jewish Cubans.”

Ever since 2009 Obama’s administration has publicly and privately asked for Gross’s release, and the situation has turned into the primary obstacle to the process of relaxing restrictions that he initiated at the beginning of his presidency.

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed

“In the case of Mr. Gross, we’ve had any number of initiatives and outreaches over the last several years … and we are currently engaged in some discussions regarding that, which I’m not at liberty to go into in any kind of detail.”

In addition to these official measures, there is word of secret conversations between Arturo López-Levy, a Jewish-Cuban professor at the University of Denver, and the Cuban authorities to negotiate a trade of “The Five” for Gross, which would eliminate a significant obstacle in the long road to establishing normality between the U.S. and Cuba.

Arturo López-Levy created and taught a summer postgraduate class at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and has direct access to Raul Castro because his cousin, the son of a general of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, is married to one of Castro’s daughters.

An End to the Embargo or a New Missile Crisis?

The measures taken by the Obama administration have followed the lead of the Clinton administration by relaxing communication restrictions, allowing more remittance money to be sent to the island, and initiating a round of conversations about immigration.

But they have left the embargo intact, and haven’t substantially changed policies in Washington.

At the least, the measures reflect a consensus of a good percentage of U.S. citizens in favour of a change in policy towards Cuba, encouraged by the Cuban regime’s lessening of state control of the economy and its permitting some free trade and small enterprise.

Nevertheless, the automatic renewal of the trade embargo for another year by the United States, and the implementation of regressive measures driven by the anti-Castro lobbyists in Miami (U.S. banks not permitting the Office of Interest of Cuba to use their services, and the obstruction of open access to news from Prensa Latina) threaten current international financial and political systems.

This could mean losses of $50 billion for Cuba and economic asphyxiation for Castro’s regime, even as the Obama administration starts moving slowly toward establishing the foundation for a new doctrine of “between equals” between the U.S. and Cuba.

If the discreet conversations between López-Levy and Raul Castro fail, a new disregard for Obama could emerge in Cuba, creating a perfect opportunity for Russian President Putin to arrange a new Cuban-Russian military treaty (recalling the secret pact signed in 1960 in Moscow between Raul Castro and Khrushchev).

A new radar and listening base could be installed in the abandoned Lourdes military base, perfect for listening comfortably to secret whispers in Washington, and bases could be equipped with Iskander missiles and military planes with nuclear weapons (for example, those fearsome TU-160s known in the West as “Blackjacks”).

We could see the revival of the Kennedy-Khrushchev missile crisis, and the subsequent signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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