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

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

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Via Zerohedge


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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craig watson
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Arrest at least one corporate American and a traveling Canadian citizen now, for any obscure reason at all, please, today. The entire planet has to isolate and cut-off the USA from all interactions with all other nations for any chance for the continuing survival of any life on earth. Something overwhelming and extreme is required to destroy the USA from within and without.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Empires come…empires go. Too bad that the American “empire” is taking so long to implode – causing so much pain and misery all over the globe.

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

If China and Russia would just get on that gold standard it would end up causing “something overwhelming and extreme” to the west. The Trump administration, by its stupid actions, seem to be pushing for that event.

Informed
Guest
Informed

Absolutely I couldn’t agree more. The psychopaths at the deep state must be destroyed at all cost

MIke
Guest
MIke

There is no obscure reason here as everything is lay down in public view pal… Its time for China to stop hiding their manigances and play with the same rules as everyone else!

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Get real….Canada kisses the ass of the debt money bankers and will do nothing to free her.

MIke
Guest
MIke

No, Canada follows the law where China modifies the law to fit their needs. Politician in Canada have no influence whatsoever on the legal side unlike China and the CP that controls all courts of law in China. At least if anyone gets arrested in Canada they can expect justice to be fair unlike in China!

JPH
Guest
JPH

Bolton being aware and this NSA not really sure whether his president was aware while sitting in trade truce talks with China…Looks like a neocon setup.

Guy
Member
Guy

I would not be surprised at all by anything that the failing empire is doing these days .They love making noise don’t they . Once the toilet is flushed there is no turning back , down it goes.

fred
Guest
fred

the death throws of a dying beest

JPH
Guest
JPH

Guess Being is aware that preventing extradition is a much better option for all the parties involved than exerting pressure after extradition. After extradition US pride (and hubris) gets involved…you know that’s the kind of lack of common sense which led to Iraq, Libya and 17 years in Afghanistan and counting.

Platon
Guest
Platon

It is the kind of pride that led to WW1.

TEP
Guest
TEP

I think it’s “exceptional arrogance” rather than pride.

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

What’s on my mind? Trying to make sense of this reason I just read in The Toronto Star for the US request CanaDa arrest the Chinese Executive. “The U.S. authorities allege Meng committed fraud by telling an HSBC executive her company was in compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran limiting communication technology. The meeting took place in 2013, but the location was not revealed.” I know it’s a crime to lie to the FBI, but even if she did lie to an Executive of the British Bank, not a US Bank, outside the US, there is no US Law against… Read more »

Platon
Guest
Platon

THis is Ukro-Fascist Soros’ dwarf’s pet project. Turdeau would not ‘get it’ even if he was not passed out with his bong.
Freeland, the FM of Canada is setting herself up to take control of Canada for Soros. If this fails, its Turdeau’s fault. If it succeeds, which is impossible by any sane understanding of the word, it will be to her credit

Platon
Guest
Platon

“I know it’s a crime to lie to the FBI”
In the same sense as it would be to lie to the Mafia or to ISIS. In other words, in no sense at all, but probably hazardous to your health and freedom.

fred
Guest
fred

exposed Trump as an unreliable, untrustworthy negotiator and Face of America.
everybody already knew the US is not to be trusted

rmm
Guest
rmm

Well, perhaps the time for Dr. MLK Jr’s prophecy has come:he heard God saying to America:
“You’re too arrogant! If you don’t change your ways, I shall rise up and break the backbone of your power – and give it to a nation that doesn’t even know My name.”
Communist China is officially atheistic = “doesn’t even know God’s name.”
America has not mended her ways since the time of MLK. Indeed, she got more and more arrogant. Therefore, backbone-breaking time is upon her, I should say.

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

MLK was not a messiah. He was an Ivy Leaguer tool used for societal deconstructive miscegenation of the American white middle classes. Mission accomplished.

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

To China. For the safety of all non-nationalised Chinese citizens in America and Canada as well as all rights and assets China own in the US and Canada, withdraw all that is yours and advise your travellers and diaspora of the risks of staying in the US and Canada. Let’s see how the US and Canada function without anything Chinese.

Win
Guest
Win

5 Eyes at work here. Add Australia, New Zealand and the UK to that list.

rmm
Guest
rmm

Sound advice.

MIke
Guest
MIke

Yes, Canada should kick-out all Chinese and keep their properties. Its their fault if nobody can buy a house in Vancouver anymore!

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Canada should stop being the Yanks’ lap dog. Let the Americans do the dirty work themselves. Canada is not the all-around maid…or is it?

Platon
Guest
Platon

Incompetent, Ukro-Fascist dwarf, Foreign Minister of Canada is consulting with her master, George Soros. Why should she answer the phone? (Chrystia Freeland revealed proudly that she has been hand-picked by Soros as his Official Biographer.) She did not reveal that she has an apartment on the Maidan in Nulandistan and that her grandfather was the Nazi Editor for the Germans of a hate-inciting newspaper for The occupied Ukraine.) Trudeau has almost no understanding of anything and nothing to do with this except in the sense of full culpability. The Foreign Minister is in charge of Canada. Or rather, through her,… Read more »

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

This amounts to state sanctioned kidnapping by a country that self-professes to ‘champion human rights’.

Platon
Guest
Platon

All US ‘claims’ are fabricated and vetted by Elon Muskrat.

Guy
Member
Guy

Christopher Black is representing Ms Meng in Canada.
https://www.journal-neo.org/2018/12/08/canada-takes-a-hostage-free-meng-wanzhou/
The request for the pending extradition is not legal under international law given the reasons for same by the US .If it happens then it becomes political .The next move will be for China in it’s relations with Canada, which have mostly been very good until now .We will see what Trudeau and or Canadian law is made of.

jmg
Guest
jmg

Yes, in your linked article they say:

“The pretext for her arrest is that Huawei has violated US sanctions against Iran. But the “sanctions” imposed on Iran by the US recently are illegal under international law, that is under the UN Charter that stipulates that only the Security Council can impose economic sanctions on a nation. The latest American sanctions are not approved by the Security Council. Sanctions imposed unilaterally by one nation against another are not legal and are violation of international law.”

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

Maybe there’s a method to Trump’s madness?

If he crashes the Global-US Economy, which already happened with the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbour in 2008, with the Social Chaos that would result, Trump could assume the Dictatorial Powers buried deep in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Just like Porky Poroshenko in Ukraine 🙂

Lennart Mogren
Guest

Nobody seems to touch on the real reason for attacking Huawei which
“is that the Chinese firm uses a system of encryption that prevents the NSA from intercepting its communications. A number of governments and secret services in the non-Western world have begun to equip themselves exclusively with Huawei materials, and are doing so to protect the confidentiality of their communications.”
It’s a weak dog barking.

Lennart Mogren
Guest
Platon
Guest
Platon

Blackberry, one of the most successful Canadian companies ever, was killed by the Ottawa regime on orders from the CIA.
It was secure.
That is treason and industrial sabotage, by the entity that calls itself the Canadian Government.

In theory no operatives of Ottawa are any longer protected by National or International law. This case simply reaffirms that truth.

rmm
Guest
rmm

Good point. Wonder how C. Black missed that…

Blue Pilgrim
Guest
Blue Pilgrim

If Trump did not know this was going down he should fire Bolton and those others involved in this clandestine operation, for usurping his foreign policy prerogatives, charge them with subversion and kidnapping, issue a full pardon for anything Meng might have done, and apologize to her and to China. Let Trudeau hang in the wind. (If anyone makes so much trouble for him as to be a threat to national security, he has the legal power to drone or otherwise assassinate them, after all, American citizen or not — happens all the time, and an attempted coup of the… Read more »

fred
Guest
fred

the legal power to drone or otherwise assassinate them,
a power the US gave to themselves

Blue Pilgrim
Guest
Blue Pilgrim

Yes. Internationally it’s just murder, of course, and counter to the US constitution as well. But they just kidnapped Meng, by international law, and unconstitutionally I would think. These all just lawless acts of gangsters, which is the habit of the US, including Trump. The Clintons and the rest are about the same, and nearly as bad as in Ukraine, and much of the West: last stages of the end of empire and fascist plutocracy. I expect China, Russia, and a few other countries are intensively planning a devastating, even if not immediately obvious, response to this. It’s a watershed… Read more »

Czar
Guest
Czar

Chinese are seen as weak hence the constant provocations from western nations.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Its time for China to dump hundreds of billions of US Treasury Bills then I think.
The Chinese people are able to cope with some hardship, whereas the American people are not and the result would be civil war in the US 🙂

fred
Guest
fred

threatening a US executive
just one? what about 10
and kick the canadian ambassador out

TEP
Guest
TEP

A ‘tit for tat’ response from China, whilst unsavoury, may be the only workable response. Anything less and the neocons will proceed with their bullying, anything more and it escalates to seriously harm them both. I agree with a previous comment – the target at this point needs to be Canada, i.e. pre-extradition.

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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