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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Pompeo’

Biden’s Betrayal of the Western Hemisphere — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on February 22, 2021

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/02/16/biden-betrayal-of-western-hemisphere/

Martin Sieff

Biden, showing exactly the same legendary independence of mind and intellect that has characterized him since he first became a United States Senator 48 years ago, is boldly going exactly where Bolton insisted on treading.

At my age, I should have known better: Expecting the worst from idealistic American liberal Democrats will always prove you prescient and wise. But giving them the benefit of the doubt or expecting any decision from them that is decent, humane or simple common sense will blow up in your face every time.

On December 10, I suggested in these columns that President-elect Joe Biden might at least improve on the wicked, hypocritical, repressive and ruinous U.S. policies towards Latin America that he inherited from his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden, I suggested, could end Trump’s embarrassing and truly witless efforts to topple the repeatedly democratically elected government of Venezuela and replace President Nicolas Maduro with the worthless and more than slightly sinister Juan Guaido.

This should have been a no-brainer even for Biden since Guaido had been personally handpicked as Washington’s latest jaw-jutting, fake leader and favorite boy toy of the moment by then-national security adviser John Bolton, a figure so extreme, stupid and incompetent that even Republicans were embarrassed by him.

But no, Biden, showing exactly the same legendary independence of mind and intellect that has characterized him since he first became a United States Senator 48 years ago, is boldly going exactly where Bolton insisted on treading. He is doubling down on backing Guaido and maintaining the embarrassing fiction that he is the true president of Venezuela.

Biden could easily have quietly dropped the ridiculous Guaido – who has also been enthusiastically championed by such Democrat bogeymen as former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham – right wing Republicans all.

Biden’s decision is at least totally consistent with his patterns of behavior in decision-making throughout his long career, past and present. After all, he signed on to the U.S. economic war to impoverish and ruin the people of Venezuela with the first imposition of economic sanctions in 2014 by his then-boss, President Barack Obama.

Biden’s eagerness – without losing a second’s sleep – about the morality of toppling the democratically elected leader of an independent nation halfway around the world from Washington was already clear in his equally enthusiastic support for the Maidan coup that to violently tippled democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014 in what Wikipedia now farcically calls “The Revolution of Dignity.”

And now, of course, Biden is even, insanely, trying to meddle in the internal political affairs of a thermonuclear superpower by lecturing President Vladimir Putin on what to do about Akexei Navalny, whom Biden and his foreign policy clowns (sorry – I should have written “team” I suppose) have clearly chosen as their Guaido clone to dismantle Russia.

Biden, like the 19th century fast-fading last Bourbon kings of France, in Talleyrand’s famous epigram, has remembered nothing and forgotten nothing. Only last week, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Oxford University personal favorite Myanmar Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was toppled by the country’s armed forces after a shamelessly manipulated election “victory.” Perhaps Biden felt a particular personal empathy with her.

But not all of “the indispensable hyper-power’s” irresistible powers of influence and persuasion nor all the shining example of perfect democracy it continues to provide to the rest of the human race kept Suu Kyi in power for an extra minute. And not all of Washington’s huffing and puffing looks remotely likely to restore her to her old pretensions of office.

Guaido, Suu Kyi and Navalny are all so high on their opium dreams of democratic righteousness, global acclaim and coming total power that they will likely never wake up to the simple reality that betting on Joe Biden to dynamically propel them to victory is like booking a steerage class sailing ticket on the “Titanic.”

However, Biden’s typically anal-reactive decision to passively go on backing Guiado (sort of) may have wider and serious implications across South America.

First the continued economic and diplomatic war on Venezuela will continue to lock nations like Colombia, which have enormous problems of their own, locked into continued sterile and self-destructive isolation and confrontation with Venezuela, Biden and his secretary of state Antony Blinken will not allow them to have it any other way. Blinken’s phone conversation on January 30 with Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum served notice of this.

Second, President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, a figure so personally reckless and inept an that he and he and his entourage even spread COVID-19 to Trump’s own inner circle on a visit to Florida, looks likely to be tolerated or even encouraged by the Biden team as he continues to run the great nation of Brazil and its 200 million plus people into the ground.

Under Trump, U.S. political puppeteers negated the freely expressed will of Brazil’s people – the largest democracy in the history of South Latin America – in four honest, transparent free and fair elections that they wanted to be ruled by two successive social democratic presidents who preferred close association with Russia and China to the embrace of the United States.

But now Bolsonaro is openly and shamelessly manipulating upcoming legislative elections in Brazil to lock the political infrastructure of his dictatorship into place for a new term. So far Biden has not uttered a breath of disapproval about these outrageous moves.

Early signals from Washington strongly indicate that Biden and Blinken will push for a fig leaf of “responsible” environmental promises to slow down the destruction of the Amazon rain forest in return for going ha long smoothly with Bolsonaro’s officials on everything else.

Of course, as long as modern suburban and city “Green” Democrats are concerned, hundreds of millions of real human beings can be fed to the wolves without regret every day as long as their environmental fantasies are still fed.

Only little Bolivia, boldly reasserting its genuine democratic heroic recent achievements under President Evo Morales and his worthy new successor Luis Arces, former minister of economy and public finance, looks like holding out in the short term against Biden’s malign upholding of Trump’s hemispheric status quo.

For the rest of Latin America, the outlook remains bleak.

© 2010 – 2021 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : The Unwelcome Return of the Real Purveyors of Violence

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

Take returning Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, for example. More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland not only passed out snacks to the coup leaders, she was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/january/18/the-unwelcome-return-of-the-real-purveyors-of-violence/?mc_cid=3bb95bc451

Written by Ron Paul

With the mainstream media still obsessing about the January 6th “violent coup attempt” at the US Capitol Building, the incoming Biden Administration looks to be chock full of actual purveyors of violent coups. Don’t look to the mainstream media to report on this, however. Some of the same politicians and bureaucrats denouncing the ridiculous farce at the Capitol as if it were the equivalent of 9/11 have been involved for decades in planning and executing real coups overseas. In their real coups, many thousands of civilians have died.

Take returning Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, for example. More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland not only passed out snacks to the coup leaders, she was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared.

Unlike the fake Capitol “coup,” this was a real overthrow. Unlike the buffalo horn-wearing joke who desecrated the “sacred” Senate chamber, the Ukraine coup had real armed insurrectionists with a real plan to overthrow the government. Eventually, with the help of incoming Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, they succeeded – after thousands of civilians were killed.

As we were unfortunately reminded during the last four years of the Trump Administration, the personnel is the policy. So while President Trump railed against the “stupid wars” and promised to bring the troops home, he hired people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to get the job done. They spent their time “clarifying” Trump’s call for ending wars to mean he wanted to actually continue the wars. It was a colossal failure.

So it’s hard to be optimistic about a Biden Administration with so many hyper-interventionist Obama retreads.

While the US Agency for International Development (USAID) likes to sell itself as the compassionate arm of the US foreign policy, in fact USAID is one of the main US “regime change” agencies. Biden has announced that a top “humanitarian interventionist” – Samantha Power – would head that Agency in his Administration.

Power, who served on President Obama’s National Security Council staff and as US Ambassador to the UN, argued passionately and successfully that a US attack on the Gaddafi government in Libya would result in a liberation of the people and the outbreak of democracy in the country. In reality, her justification was all based on lies and the US assault has left nothing but murder and mayhem. Gaddafi’s relatively peaceful, if authoritarian, government has been replaced by radical terrorists and even slave markets.

At the end of the day, the Bush Republicans – like Rep. Liz Cheney – will join hands with the Biden Democrats to reinstate “American leadership.” This of course means more US overt and covert wars overseas. The unholy alliance between Big Tech and the US government will happily assist the US State Department under Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Assistant Secretary of State Nuland with the technology to foment more “regime change” operations wherever the Biden Administration sees fit. Finish destroying Syria and the secular Assad? Sure! Go back into Iraq? Why not? Afghanistan? That’s the good war! And Russia and China must be punished as well.

These are grave moments for we non-interventionists. But also we have a unique opportunity, informed by history, to denounce the warmongers and push for a peaceful and non-interventionist foreign policy.


Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Washington “One-China” Policy Dead As Pompeo Lifts Restrictions On US-Taiwan Relations | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on January 10, 2021

No doubt there will be defense guarantees. That means war with China when China wants to take back their teeny tiny, inconsequential to US freedom and liberty island.

Would China go to war against US in the name of Puerto Rico?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/washington-one-china-policy-dead-pompeo-lifts-restrictions-us-taiwan-relations

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

The embattled Trump administration has just nuked the decades long US recognition of the “One China” policy status quo in what surely constitutes the biggest shot across Beijing’s bow after months of anti-China escalation.

Despite the globe’s attention focused on the Capitol protest chaos and Democrats readying a charge to impeach under Pelosi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday announced this absolute bombshell, namely that he’s now lifting “self-imposed restrictions” on the relationship between the United States and Taiwan. He announced in an official statement:

Today I am announcing that I am lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions. Executive branch agencies should consider all “contact guidelines” regarding relations with Taiwan previously issued by the Department of State under authorities delegated to the Secretary of State to be null and void.

The US will no longer act in accord with viewing the island in context of a single sovereign China when it comes to relations with Taiwan as has kept the unsteady “peace” for decades.

His statement began by describing the complex impediments restraining US action which have been in effect since at least the 1980’s (since 1979, and outgrowth of Carter’s Taiwan Relations Act) regarding the official ‘One China’ doctrine which he’s just effectively declared null and void:

Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and reliable partner of the United States, and yet for several decades the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate our diplomats, servicemembers, and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts. The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more.

Crucially the shock announcement comes just ahead of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft’s controversial visit to Taipei, which Beijing has already slammed as a “crazy provocation”.

China had further already warned this week that Washington will pay a “heavy price” should it move forward with sending Kelly on the official visit.

To be sure, the Chinese govt will not be happy about this memo, but (from their perspective) at least @SecPompeo referred to Taiwan as an “unofficial partner.” — Julian Ku 古舉倫 (@julianku) January 9, 2021

Pompeo’s full statement continued:

Additionally, any and all sections of the Foreign Affairs Manual or Foreign Affairs Handbook that convey authorities or otherwise purport to regulate executive branch engagement with Taiwan via any entity other than the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) are also hereby voided. The executive branch‘s relations with Taiwan are to be handled by the non-profit AIT, as stipulated in the Taiwan Relations Act.

The United States government maintains relationships with unofficial partners around the world, and Taiwan is no exception. Our two democracies share common values of individual freedom, the rule of law, and a respect for human dignity. Today’s statement recognizes that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship need not, and should not, be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our permanent bureaucracy.

This is sure to create more transition chaos with a mere week-and-a-half left till Biden’s inauguration.

The timing of it will also be a huge factor in determining Beijing’s response, given it may look to Biden for assurances that he’ll roll back whatever “damage” Trump’s dumping of the longstanding ‘One China’ has done on the way out the door. 

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‘The War on Assange is a War on Truth’ – Ron Paul’s 21 September Column

Posted by M. C. on September 22, 2020

Why would they do such a thing? Partisan politics. Journalists – with a few important exceptions like Greenwald himself – are no longer interested in digging and reporting the truth. These days they believe they have a “higher calling.”

We cannot have a self-governing society as was intended for our Republic if the government, with the complicity of the mainstream media, decides that there are things we are not allowed to know about it. President Trump should end the US government’s war on Assange…and on all whistleblowers and their publishers.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/assangetrial?e=4e0de347c8

Sept 21 – It is dangerous to reveal the truth about the illegal and immoral things our government does with our money and in our name, and the war on journalists who dare reveal such truths is very much a bipartisan affair. Just ask Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was relentlessly pursued first by the Obama Administration and now by the Trump Administration for the “crime” of reporting on the crimes perpetrated by the United States government.

Assange is now literally fighting for his life, as he tries to avoid being extradited to the United States where he faces 175 years in prison for violating the “Espionage Act.” While it makes no sense to be prosecuted as a traitor to a country of which you are not a citizen, the idea that journalists who do their job and expose criminality in high places are treated like traitors is deeply dangerous in a free society.

To get around the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press, Assange’s tormentors simply claim that he is not a journalist. Then-CIA director Mike Pompeo declared that Wikileaks was a “hostile intelligence service” aided by Russia. Ironically, that’s pretty much what the Democrats say about Assange.

Earlier this month, a US Federal appeals court judge ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records was illegal. That bulk collection program, born out of the anti-American PATRIOT Act, was first revealed to us by whistleblower Edward Snowden just over seven years ago.

That is why whistleblowers and those who publish their information are so important. Were it not for Snowden and Assange, we would never know about this government criminality. And if we never know about government malfeasance it can neve be found to be criminal in the first place. That is convenient for governments, but it is also a recipe for tyranny.



While we might expect the US media to aggressively come to the aid of a fellow journalist being persecuted by the government for doing his job, the opposite is happening. As journalist Glen Greenwald wrote last week, the US mainstream media is completely ignoring the Assange extradition trial.

Why would they do such a thing? Partisan politics. Journalists – with a few important exceptions like Greenwald himself – are no longer interested in digging and reporting the truth. These days they believe they have a “higher calling.”

As Greenwald puts it, “If you start from the premise that Trump is a fascist dictator who has brought Nazi tyranny to the US, then it isn’t that irrational to believe that anyone who helped empower Trump (which is how they see Assange) deserves to be imprisoned, hence the lack of concern about it.”

That may seem like a good idea to these journalists in the short term, but for journalism itself to become an extension of government power rather than a check on that power would be deeply harmful.

We cannot have a self-governing society as was intended for our Republic if the government, with the complicity of the mainstream media, decides that there are things we are not allowed to know about it. President Trump should end the US government’s war on Assange…and on all whistleblowers and their publishers.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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‘Trump Must Back Iraq Withdrawal Promise With Action’ – Ron Paul’s 31 August Column

Posted by M. C. on September 1, 2020

Unfortunately there is a pattern in this Administration where President Trump announces the withdrawal of troops from one of the seemingly endless conflicts we are involved in and an Administration official – often Pompeo – “clarifies” the president’s statement to mean the opposite of what the president has just said.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/fauciout-114989?e=4e0de347c8

Aug 31 – Earlier this month, while meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister, President Trump reaffirmed his intent to remove all US troops from Iraq. “We were there and now we’re getting out. We’ll be leaving shortly,” the president told reporters at the time.

Although President Obama should never have sent US troops back into Iraq in 2016, it is definitely well past time to remove them as quickly as possible.

Over the weekend, the Administration announced it would be drawing down troops currently in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,500. That’s a good start.

One big roadblock to finally leaving Iraq alone is President Trump’s de facto Secretary of War, Mike Pompeo. Although he’s supposed to be the top US diplomat, Pompeo is a bull in a china shop. He seems determined to start a war with Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, and probably a few more countries.

Unfortunately there is a pattern in this Administration where President Trump announces the withdrawal of troops from one of the seemingly endless conflicts we are involved in and an Administration official – often Pompeo – “clarifies” the president’s statement to mean the opposite of what the president has just said.

When the president was questioned over the weekend about a timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, he turned to Pompeo for an answer. Pompeo’s response did not inspire much hope. “As soon as we can complete the mission,” said Pompeo. What is the mission? Does anyone know? Aside from “regime change” for Iran, that is.

At his speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for re-election last week, Trump declared, “unlike previous administrations, I have kept America OUT of new wars — and our troops are coming home.” That sounds good, but how can he achieve that goal if the people he hires to carry out that policy not only disagree with him but seem to be working against him?

The US invasion of Iraq 17 years ago was correctly described at the time by the late NSA Director Bill Odom as “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.” After a relentless barrage of lies about former US ally Saddam Hussein having “weapons of mass destruction,” the US attack and destruction of Iraq did not bring the peace and prosperity promised by the neocon war promoters.

Instead, the US “liberation” of Iraq killed a million Iraqis, most of whom were civilians. It destroyed Iraq’s relatively prosperous economy. It did not result in a more peaceful or stable Middle East. The US had no idea how to remake Iraqi society and in picking and choosing who could participate in post-invasion Iraq the US helped facilitate the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS. A secular Iraq had been turned into a sectarian incubator for terrorists and extremists. And the biggest winner in the war was Iran, who the US has demonized as an enemy for over four decades.

Yes, General Odom was right. It was a strategic disaster. Turning the US into a global military empire is also a strategic disaster. Trump’s promise to bring troops home from overseas wars sounds very good. But it’s time to see some real action. That might mean some people who disagree with the president need to be fired.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Exposing Pompeo’s phony UN snapback stunt in two sentences – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on August 24, 2020

Of course there are two big problems with this approach, the first of which is that while yes, Iran has violated some of the JCPOA’s terms, it has done so only after Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement and reimposed crushing sanctions. And second, in order to trigger the “snapback” mechanism built into the agreement, you have to be a participant in the agreement, which of course, the U.S. ceased to be when Trump exited it in 2018.

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/08/21/exposing-pompeos-phony-un-snapback-stunt-in-two-sentences/

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed miserably in his efforts on Thursday to force the United Nations to reimpose its pre-JCPOA sanctions on Iran.

To briefly summarize, the Trump administration and its allies in Washington have been pushing to pile even more sanctions on Iran, and to do that, it hatched a plan to try to get the U.N. to “snapback” its pre-JCPOA sanctions for purportedly violating the nuclear deal’s terms.

Of course there are two big problems with this approach, the first of which is that while yes, Iran has violated some of the JCPOA’s terms, it has done so only after Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement and reimposed crushing sanctions. And second, in order to trigger the “snapback” mechanism built into the agreement, you have to be a participant in the agreement, which of course, the U.S. ceased to be when Trump exited it in 2018.

So the U.N. Security Council has snuffed out this bad faith effort for what it is, as its permanent members have already said they will reject it. What’s more is that Pompeo himself inadvertently revealed the folly of this whole exercise during a press conference on Thursday after notifying the Security Council of the U.S.’s request for snapback.

After a reporter wondered how the U.S. can snapback U.N. sanctions while no longer being part of the deal, an exasperated Pompeo responded, “This — look, just, it’s important to emphasize this,” he said, adding that the U.N. Security Council Resolution endorsing the JCPOA “gave every one of the participant states the right to execute snapback unconditionally.”

And he’s right. U.N. Resolution 2231 states that “the Security Council, within 30 days of receiving a notification by a JCPOA participant State of an issue that the JCPOA participant State believes constitutes significant non-performance of commitments under the JCPOA, shall vote on a draft resolution to continue in effect the terminations of the provisions of previous Security Council resolutions.”

But of course, the United States is no longer “a JCPOA participant state,” a fact that Pompeo himself said back in May, 2018 (emphasis added):

“Two weeks ago, President Trump terminated the United States participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Of course none of these bad faith efforts on Iran and shameless lying should be a surprise. But the question now is how the U.N. will ultimately deal with the U.S. snapback request in an official capacity. Indeed, the International Crisis Group has a suggestion for those at the U.N. who want to preserve the JCPOA: “ignore the U.S. drive to restore terminated sanctions on Iran.” And if that’s indeed the path they take, it may mark the first time in history that the U.N. Security Council has ghosted the U.S.

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Did Mike Pompeo Mislead Congress About Syria’s Oil? | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on August 5, 2020

SHOCK HEADLINE: YOUR GOVERNMENT LIED!

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/did-mike-pompeo-mislead-congress-about-syrias-oil-166158

by Matthew Petti

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified to Congress last week that a deal for an American company to develop Syria’s oil fields is in “implementation,” but the Syrian Kurdish-led administration denies that any contract has been signed.

President Donald Trump has long said that he wants to keep U.S. forces in Syria in order to “secure the oil” held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. But the actual development of the oilfields has been mired in legal roadblocks and bitter competition for a contract.

Pompeo and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) hinted at a U.S. agreement to extract the oil during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, stirring up frantic speculation and driving a wedge between the Kurds and the Syrian central government.

Graham claimed that the Syrian Democratic Forces have “signed a deal with an American oil company to modernize the oil fields,” and Pompeo added that the deal “took a little longer…than we had hoped” and is now “in implementation.”

But the deal may not be as close to completion as Pompeo and Graham insinuated.

The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria told the National Interest that no company has a signed contract yet.

“[M]any other companies such as Russian and American wanted to work in the region but [none] of them so far signed any contract with the Administration,” an official affiliated with the administration, who asked not to be quoted by name, wrote in a text message.

Ahed Al Hendi, a Syrian-American analyst who has worked closely with the Syrian Kurdish-led administration, confirmed that several issues related to any prospective deal have not been resolved yet.

Administration co-chair Abed Hamed Al-Mehbash told a similar story to North Press Agency.

“We are intending to study requests by many Russian and American companies to operate in north and east Syria,” Al-Mehbash said.

A Syrian Kurdish diplomat had confirmed to Al Monitor last week that a company called Delta Crescent LLC had an agreement with the administration, without offering any more details.

But the northeast Syrian official explained to the National Interest that Delta Crescent LLC only had a “license from the US,” not a signed contract, and was “still discussing it” with the administration.

U.S. citizens who want to deal with Syrian oil require a special license from the U.S. Treasury, due to economic sanctions on Syria.

Delta Crescent LLC. a newly-registered company with no public-facing website, could not be reached for comment. Several of its executives are known quantities in the energy and security industries, one of whom worked in Syria before the current civil war.

“The decision to allow an American company to operate is a good thing, but it is not finished yet,” Al Hendi wrote in Arabic. “Senator Graham and Pompeo rushed in their announcement, especially because the deal will not be complete without settling all the logistical issues in a legal manner.”

He confirmed that the company has a Treasury license, but explained to the National Interest that it is still unclear whether neighboring Iraq will allow the Kurdish-led administration to legally ship oil to the outside world.

The Treasury Department declined to comment on any specific license, citing concerns under the Privacy Act and Trade Secrets Act.

It was unclear why Pompeo and Graham announced an unfinished deal in such a high-profile way. The Kurds are currently in delicate negotiations with the Syrian central government, which has been sensitive about the status of natural resources outside its control.

Indeed, the Syrian foreign ministry called the rumored U.S.-Kurdish agreement “null and void,” “aggravated theft,” “an assault against Syria’s sovereignty,” and “a continuation of the U.S. hostile approach towards Syria,” according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

Al-Mehbash rejected these accusations, insisting that the northeast Syrian administration would only accept investment for the benefit of all Syrians.

Syria’s daily oil production plummeted from a prewar high of 385,000 barrels to only a few thousand barrels over the past few years.

Graham’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The State Department responded after this article was published, through a spokesperson who asked not to be named.

“​We are not involved in the commercial decisions of our local partners. However, as a general matter, we work to ensure that our sanctions are in line with our foreign policy interests and target the Assad’s regime [sic] continued violence against the Syrian people,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

“The populations in areas liberated from ISIS make their own decisions on local governance,” the spokesperson continued. “Syrian oil is for the Syrian people and we remain committed to the unity and territorial integrity of Syria. The United States government does not own, control, or manage the oil resources in Syria.”

Matthew Petti is a national security reporter at the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter: @matthew_petti.

This article has been updated with a statement from the State Department.

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Presumptuous Pompeo Pushes Preposterous ‘Peking’ Policy – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2020

As a first-hand witness to much of this history, Freeman provided highly interesting and not so well-known detail mostly from the Chinese side. I chipped in with observations from my experience as CIA’s principal analyst for Sino-Soviet and broader Soviet foreign policy issues during the 1960s and early 1970s.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/07/28/presumptuous-pompeo-pushes-preposterous-peking-policy/

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Quick. Somebody tell Mike Pompeo. The secretary of state is not supposed to play the role of court jester — the laughing stock to the world. There was no sign that any of those listening to his “major China policy statement” last Thursday at the Nixon Library turned to their neighbor and said, “He’s kidding, right? Richard Nixon meant well but failed miserably to change China’s behavior? And now Pompeo is going to put them in their place?”

Yes, that was Pompeo’s message. The torch has now fallen to him and the free world. Here’s a sample of his rhetoric:

“Changing the behavior of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] cannot be the mission of the Chinese people alone. Free nations have to work to defend freedom. …

“Beijing is more dependent on us than we are on them (sic). Look, I reject the notion … that CCP supremacy is the future … the free world is still winning. … It’s time for free nations to act … Every nation must protect its ideals from the tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party. … If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party, whose actions are the primary challenge today in the free world. …

“We have the tools. I know we can do it. Now we need the will. To quote scripture, I ask is ‘our spirit willing but our flesh weak?’ … Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it because … our nation was founded on the premise that all human beings possess certain rights that are unalienable. And it’s our government’s job to secure those rights. It’s a simple and powerful truth. It’s made us a beacon of freedom for people all around the world, including people inside of China.

“Indeed, Richard Nixon was right when he wrote in 1967 that “the world cannot be safe until China changes.” Now it’s up to us to heed his words. … Today the free world must respond. …”

Trying to Make Sense of It

Over the weekend an informal colloquium-by-email took pace, spurred initially by an op-ed article by Richard Haass critiquing Pompeo’s speech. Haass has the dubious distinction of having been director of policy planning for the State Department from 2001 to 2003, during the lead-up to the attack on Iraq. Four months after the invasion he became president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a position he still holds. Despite that pedigree, the points Haass makes in “What Mike Pompeo doesn’t understand about China, Richard Nixon and U.S. foreign policy” are, for the most part, well taken.

Haass’s views served as a springboard over the weekend to an unusual discussion of Sino-Soviet and Sino-Russian relations I had with Ambassador Chas Freeman, the main interpreter for Nixon during his 1972 visit to China and who then served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992.

As a first-hand witness to much of this history, Freeman provided highly interesting and not so well-known detail mostly from the Chinese side. I chipped in with observations from my experience as CIA’s principal analyst for Sino-Soviet and broader Soviet foreign policy issues during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Ambassador Freeman: Read the rest of this entry »

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State Dept-funded Transparency International goes silent on jailed transparency activist Julian Assange | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on July 27, 2020

Transparency International has been vocal in defending jailed opposition activists in states like Zimbabwe, Russia, and Venezuela. But when it comes to Assange – far-and-away the world’s most prominent imprisoned transparency activist – the NGO has not said a word since a week after his arrest in April 2019. 

Transparency International happens to be funded by the UK government which is currently jailing Assange, and by the US State Department, which is headed by Mike Pompeo – the former CIA director who presided over a black operations campaign to destroy Wikileaks.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/07/21/state-dept-transparency-international-silent-jailed-julian-assange/

By Patrick Maynard

BERLIN, GERMANY – On a cool July day, the Berlin neighborhood where Transparency International’s global headquarters is situated feels a thousand miles away from London’s Belmarsh Prison. But it is not just the pleasant setting a few blocks from the Spree River that makes the influential NGO seem so detached from the maximum security penitentiary’s most famous inmate, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Transparency International has been vocal in defending jailed opposition activists in states like Zimbabwe, Russia, and Venezuela. But when it comes to Assange – far-and-away the world’s most prominent imprisoned transparency activist – the NGO has not said a word since a week after his arrest in April 2019.

When Transparency International did mention Assange’s arrest, it came in the form of a mealy-mouthed blog post that referred to the Wikileaks founder as “polarizing” and failed to condemn his persecution.

Transparency International happens to be funded by the UK government which is currently jailing Assange, and by the US State Department, which is headed by Mike Pompeo – the former CIA director who presided over a black operations campaign to destroy Wikileaks.

Much has changed since Transparency International last issued a statement about Assange. A UN special rapporteur found evidence that Assange may have been tortured. The judge on the case was switched after significant conflicts of interest were discovered.

Assange’s bail-jumping penalty of 50 weeks was also exhausted in April, meaning that for many weeks, the British have been holding him purely as a favor for their American allies, without Assange being formally charged with a British crime. And, perhaps most relevant to the case, 36 members of the European Parliament have recently called for Assange to be released from Belmarsh on press freedom and humanitarian grounds.

Unlike Transparency International, several other large NGOs have been vocal about the case within the last year. Those groups include Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Courage Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. A total of 40 rights groups recently signed an open letter urging Assange’s release.

Ignoring the world’s most prominent jailed transparency activist

Julian Assange first became well-known when Wikileaks published a series of document troves that embarrassed the United States and its allies. Several stashes of military information exposed possible war crimes on the part of U.S. soldiers, while a collection of State Department cables from 1966 through 2010 showed American diplomatic officials being manipulated to act on behalf of U.S. companies abroad.

Shortly after those releases, Assange was investigated over a possible sexual assault in Sweden. Assange and his team worried that the investigation might be a pretext to detain and extradite him into U.S. hands, so they offered to have him testify via video link from Britain. Swedish authorities refused. Assange jumped his British bail and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he lived for nearly seven years. The sexual assault investigation was later dropped.

Following Assange’s arrest in April 2019, a federal grand jury in the U.S. returned an 18-count superseding indictment charging the publisher with computer intrusion and with breaking the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917.

A key part of the U.S. government’s case is the idea that, by publishing leaked information, Wikileaks damaged the safety abroad of people friendly to the American cause. Asked by The Grayzone by email if the Justice Department would be willing to name a single person who had been killed or injured as a result of Wikileaks material, the DOJ declined to comment.

US State Department, UK government support – and corporate influence peddling

There was an initial groundswell of solidarity from abroad after Assange’s arrest, with publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post commenting on how the Espionage Act charges threatened press freedom. A few major international human rights NGOs spoke out as well.

That support has been uneven over the last 15 months or so, however. After the initial burst of coverage, the hearings faded into the background, with few mainstream American or British media organizations reporting on Judge Emma Arbuthnot’s ties to UK intelligence and defense interests while she presided over pre-extradition hearings.

Asked whether Transparency International had commented on the judge’s seeming conflicts of interest, Transparency spokesman Paul Bell told The Grayzone that the international secretariat “hasn’t made any statements in relation to Lady Emma Arbuthnot.”

The group’s silence over the past year stands in contrast to earlier times when it had been vocal about freedom of speech, and had not been shy about bringing up Assange’s name as a hook for its blog posts on the topic.

Tracking outside influence on Transparency International can be difficult, as it is made up of more than 100 independent chapters around the globe.

But the organization’s USA chapter honored the notoriously war-profiteering oil services giant Bechtel with its  “Corporate Leadership Award” in 2016.

Two years earlier, Transparency USA honored the arms manufacturer Raytheon “for anti-corruption efforts.” Both Bechtel and Raytheon were major donors to the organization at the time.

In 2017, Transparency USA was finally disaccredited for fostering apparent pay-for-play relationships under the guise of anti-corruption efforts. However, Transparency’s Secretariat defended the USA chapter’s honoring of Hillary Clinton with its “Integrity Award” in the face of revelations of influence-peddling by the Clinton Global Initiative.

The Little Sis database, which tracks relationships of organizations by analyzing their donors, board members and leadership, indicates that Transparency has shared adjacencies with organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Infraguard – which the FBI describes as a “partnership between the FBI and the private sector” that is “dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the U.S.”

On its website, Transparency International lists funding from the US Department of State, which is currently headed by the former CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who apparently authorized the spying ring that targeted Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy.

It also receives support from the Department of International Development of the UK government, which is currently prosecuting Assange.

In fact, much of the NGO’s funding comes from EU governments.

Bell, the Transparency spokesman, stated in an email to The Grayzone that his organization’s international board has not received pressure regarding the Assange extradition hearings from U.S. or U.K. entities, including governments.

“There is a principle and a precedent at stake … no matter how you feel about Julian Assange”

Assange has made some powerful enemies over the years. He angered Republicans by exposing inconvenient truths behind the military interventions initiated by George W. Bush, and infuriated Democrats by dumping a cache of embarrassing emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal server just before the 2016 election.

Parker Higgins, the advocacy director at Freedom of the Press Foundation, argues that individual feelings about Assange shouldn’t get in the way of a clear-eyed view of the gravity of the extradition case.

“The importance of this case goes far beyond the facts of who Julian Assange is and what he is alleged to have done,” Higgins said in an email to The Grayzone. “There is a principle and a precedent at stake that are important considerations for press freedom, no matter how you feel about Julian Assange himself.”

Higgins asserted that large countries are now attempting to extend their own jurisdiction globally – especially on what he calls “borderless issues” like censorship – and that an Assange extradition would be a deepening of that trend.

China, for example, has recently attempted to assert that non-citizens in foreign countries are subject to its new national security law regarding speech about Hong Kong. That has chilled activism as far away as Canada. In the case of Assange, the United States is attempting to apply its rarely used 1917 Espionage Act to an Australian journalist operating in Europe, activists argue. In doing so, they say, the U.S. government is extending its jurisdiction and setting up a potentially dangerous template for future generations to follow.

Spying, denial of legal access, “torture and neglect”

There are other aspects of the Julian Assange case that trouble many close observers. Assange‘s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said in April that there had been no “direct access” with his client for “more than a month.”

That situation has gotten worse as the COVID-19 outbreak has continued, with a recent hearing featuring Assange literally boxed in inside a glass container, through which it was difficult to hear.

Back when Assange did have regular access to legal counsel – during his time in the Ecuadorian embassy – his interactions with others were secretly recorded by a Spanish contractor with ties to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, as The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal has documented in detail.

In most American court cases, surveillance of attorney-client meetings would result immediately in a mistrial being declared.

Additionally, Assange’s health has been declining. In June, 216 doctors from 33 countries wrote to medical journal the Lancet, protesting what they called “torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange” and stating that, “under the Convention Against Torture, those acting in official capacities can be held complicit and accountable not only for perpetration of torture, but for their silent acquiescence and consent.”

While some reporters have argued that Assange’s extradition would not set a precedent for cases against other journalists, since Assange is accused of helping a source crack a password, Higgins argues that future judges are not necessarily likely to parse that difference.

“There’s no guarantee that the line a journalist draws now is going to be the one that future judges follow,” Higgins stated. “The threat of criminal charges for talking to sources is sure to have a chilling effect.”

Patrick Maynard is a journalist whose work has featured in the Baltimore Sun, Truthout, Vice and The Grayzone.

 

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Pompeo Lays Out New US Cold War Against China

Posted by M. C. on July 26, 2020

The US government changing a superpower’s behavior. What could possibly go wrong?

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/25/pompeo-lays-out-new-us-cold-war-against-china/

Written by Jason Ditz

Following near daily screeds against China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now laying out US hostility, and the goal of “changing” China as part of what is effectively a new Cold War, likening it to Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Saying that the US had changed Soviet behavior, Pompeo expressed confidence that they could change China as well, saying that the nations of the world have a duty to help the US “defend freedom.” He also warned that “our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Communist party.”

This seems to be harkening back to the language of the historic red scares, and the idea that China is a real threat to dominate the future is likely intended to scare Americans into supporting more hostility, as opposed to a serious policy reality.

Either way, it seems like the era of diplomacy with China, at least so far as the administration is concerned, is over, with Pompeo saying that the US can “never go back to engagement,” declaring China “a Marxist-Leninist regime” and following a “bankrupt totalitarian ideology.”

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