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08/25/2019 - 08/31/2019

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The Irresponsibility of Small Nations

REPORT BY PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
ECONOMICS & GEO - POLITICAL ANALYST
INVESTIGATIVE NEWS REPORTER
GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA

After falsely accusing Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), Washington unilaterally repudiated the treaty. Thus did the US military/security complex rid itself of the landmark agreement achieved by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev that defused the Cold War.


The INF Treaty was perhaps the most important of all of the arms control agreements achieved by American 20th century presidents and now abandoned in the 21st century by US neoconservative governments. The treaty removed the threat of Russian missiles against Europe and the threat of European-based US missiles to Russia. The importance of the treaty is due to its reduction of the chance of accidental nuclear war. Warning systems have a history of false alarms. The problem of US missiles on Russia’s border is that they leave no time for reflection or contact with Washington when Moscow receives a false alarm. Considering the extreme irresponsibility of US governments since the Clinton regime in elevating tensions with Russia, missiles on Russia’s border leaves Russia’s leadership with little choice but to push the button when an alarm sounds.


That Washington intends to put missiles on Russia’s border and pulled out of the INF Treaty for this sole purpose is now obvious. Only two weeks after Washington pulled out of the treaty, Washington tested a missile whose research and development, not merely deployment, were banned under the treaty. If you think Washington designed and produced a new missile in two weeks you are not intelligent enough to be reading this column. While Washington was accusing Russia, it was Washington who was violating the treaty. Perhaps this additional act of betrayal will teach the Russian leadership that it is stupid and self-destructive to trust Washington about anything. Every country must know by now that agreements with Washington are meaningless.


Surely the Russian government understands that there are only two reasons for Washington to put missiles on Russia’s border: (1) to enable Washington to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike that leaves Russia no response time, or (2) to enable Washington to threaten such a strike, thus coercing Russia to Washington’s will. Clearly, one or the other of these reasons is of sufficient importance to Washington for Washington to risk a false alarm setting off a nuclear war.


Military analysts can talk all they want about “rational players,” but if a demonized and threatened country with hostile missiles on its border receives a warning with near zero response time, counting on it to be a false alarm is no longer rational.

The 1988 treaty achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev eliminated this threat. What purpose is served by resurrecting such a threat? Why is Congress silent? Why is Europe silent? Why is the US and European media silent? Why do Romania and Poland enable this threat by permitting US missiles to be stationed on their territory?


Little doubt the Romanian and Polish governments have been given bagfulls of money by the US military/security complex, which wants the multi-billion dollar contracts to produce the new missiles. Here we see the extreme irresponsibility of small countries. Without the corrupt and idiotic governments of Romania and Poland, Washington could not resurrect a threat that was buried 31 years ago by Reagan and Gorbachev.


Even the American puppet state of occupied Germany has refused to host the missiles. But two insignificant states of no importance in the world are subjecting the entire world to the risk of nuclear war so that a few Romanian and Polish politicians can pocket a few million dollars.


Missiles on Russia’s borders that provide no response time are a serious problem for Russia. I keep waiting for Moscow to announce publicly that on the first sign of a missile launching from Romania or Poland, the countries will immediately cease to exist. That might wake up the Romanian and Polish populations to the danger that their corrupt governments are bringing to them.


Why aren’t the Romanian and Polish provocations sufficient justification for Russia to pre-emptively occupy both countries? Is it more provocative for Russia to occupy the two countries than it is for the two countries to host US missiles against Russia? Why only consider the former provocative and not the latter?


No one is capable of coming to Romania and Poland’s aid even if anyone was so inclined. NATO is a joke. It wouldn’t last one day in a battle with Russia. Does anyone think the United States is going to commit suicide for Romania and Poland?

Where are the UN resolutions condemning Romania and Poland for resurrecting the specter of nuclear war by hosting the deployment of US missiles on their borders with Russia? Is the entire world so insouciant that the likely consequences of this act of insanity are not comprehended?


It does seem that human intelligence is not up to the requirements of human survival.

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of 
our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.

25 August 2019 21:49:40
Floods kill more than 60 in Sudan

 

August 25, 2019

"Israel’s Ban on Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Backfires"

During Congress’s August recess, a group of 41 Democratic and 31 Republican congressmembers traveled to Israel on a delegation sponsored by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC subsidizes congressional trips to Israel in order to further the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid: $3.8 billion annually. AIPAC is the chief Israel lobby in the United States and a consistent apologist for Israel’s oppressive policies toward the Palestinians.


Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, had planned their own “Delegation to Palestine,” scheduled to begin on August 17. Tlaib, who was born in the U.S., planned to travel to the West Bank to visit her 90-year old Palestinian grandmother, whom she hasn’t seen for a decade. But, aided and abetted by Donald Trump, Israel withdrew permission for the trip unless Tlaib agreed to remain silent about Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians. She refused to abide by the gag order and the trip was cancelled.

Tlaib said in a statement, “Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.” She added, “Being silent and not condemning the human rights violations of the Israeli government is a disservice to all who live there, including my incredibly strong and loving grandmother.”


Omar, who expressed “strength and solidarity” with Tlaib in a tweet, toldreporters, “[Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu’s decision to deny us entry might be unprecedented for members of Congress. But it is the policy of his government when it comes to Palestinians. This is the policy of his government when it comes to anyone who holds views that threaten the occupation.” She tweeted, “We cannot let Trump and Netanyahu succeed in hiding the cruel reality of the occupation from us.”


Israel’s refusal to allow members of the U.S. Congress entry into Israel-Palestine without muzzling them backfired. It has garnered widespread criticism, even by AIPAC, and focused the national discourse on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which Tlaib and Omar support.


Omar, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, “It is my belief that as legislators, we have an obligation to see the reality there for ourselves. We have a responsibility to conduct oversight over our government’s foreign policy and what happens with the millions of dollars we send in aid.” She says the U.S. must ask Netanyahu’s government to “stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land and ensure full rights for Palestinians if we are to give them aid.”


Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “the idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage,” adding, “And if Israel doesn’t want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what’s going on … maybe [Netanyahu] can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel.”

Tlaib and Omar Planned to Witness the Occupation Firsthand

Tlaib and Omar were scheduled to meet with members of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) and Palestinian and leftist Israeli activists and nonprofits, as well as international human rights organizations in Jerusalem and the West Bank. They were also set to confer with members of Breaking the Silence, a group of former members of the Israel Defense Forces who now actively oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. Omar tweeted that the goal of the delegation “was to witness firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine and hear from stakeholders —our job as Members of Congress.”


The visit by Tlaib and Omar “was to be something else” in contrast to the AIPAC delegation, James Zogby, co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute, wrote in the Forward. Tlaib and Omar “weren’t going to focus on officials,” according to Zogby. “They were going to expose the reality of Palestinian daily life under occupation. They were going to visit the Wall that separates Palestinians from their lands. They were going to refugee camps now cut off from US funding. They were going to see how Hebron has been horridly deformed by a settler invasion and military occupation.”


Israel had approved the Tlaib/Omar trip last month. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said, “Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America,” Israel would not deny entry “to any member of Congress.”

But Donald Trump reportedly told several of his advisers that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should bar Tlaib and Omar because they supported BDS. Hours after Israel cancelled the trip, Trump tweeted, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people.”


The Israeli government agreed to allow Tlaib to visit her grandmother, provided she agree in writing not to discuss her support for BDS. But after emotional conversations with her family, Tlaib refused to submit to the condition that she not discuss the Israeli occupation.

Tlaib “was forced to make a choice between her right to visit her grandmother and her right to political speech against Israeli oppression,” Sandra Tamari wrote at In These Times. Tamari has been barred from seeing her family in Palestine for more than 10 years because of her advocacy for Palestinian freedom and justice. Tlaib “ultimately chose the collective over the personal: She refused Israel’s demeaning conditions that would have granted her a ‘humanitarian’ exception to enter Palestine, so long as she refrained from advocating for a boycott of Israel during her visit,” Tamari added.

What Is the BDS Movement?

In 2005, Palestinian civil society — including 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, women’s organizations, professional associations, popular resistance committees and other Palestinian civil society bodies — issued a call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

BDS is a nonviolent movement for social change in the tradition of boycotts of South Africa and the southern United States. It is aimed at ending Israel’s illegal occupation. In 1967, Israel took control of Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights by military force. UN Security Council Resolution 242 describes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and calls for the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the [1967] conflict.”


But Israel continues its illegal occupation and exercises total control over the lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Israel regulates the ingress and egress of the people, as well as the borders, airspace, seashore and waters off the coast of Gaza. Israel expels Palestinians from their homes and builds illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.


Israel’s 2014 massacre in Gaza led to the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, and the wounding of 11,231 Palestinians. These actions likely constituted war crimes, according to the UN Human Rights Council’s independent, international commission of inquiry.

Former UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, Flavia Pansieri,said that human rights violations “fuel and shape the conflict” in the occupied Palestinian territories and “[h]uman rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are both cause and consequence of the military occupation and ongoing violence, in a bitter cyclical process with wider implications for peace and security in the region.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, writing in the Tampa Bay Times, cited the 2010 Human Rights Watch report which “describes the two-tier system of laws, rules, and services that Israel operates for the two populations in areas in the West Bank under its exclusive control, which provide preferential services, development, and benefits for Jewish settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians.” Tutu wrote, “This, in my book, is apartheid. It is untenable.”


The call for BDS describes boycotts, divestment and sanctions as “non-violent punitive measures” that should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

What Are Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions?

Boycotts encompass the withdrawal of support for Israel and Israeli and international companies which are violating Palestinian human rights, including Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.


Divestment campaigns urge churches, banks, local councils, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from all Israeli companies and international companies involved in the violation of Palestinian rights.

Sanctions campaigns pressure governments to hold Israel legally accountable by ending military trade and free-trade agreements and expelling Israel from international fora.


The BDS movement has had a major impact on Israel. BDS was a critical factor in the 46 percent reduction in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Individuals and entities who have heeded the call for divestment include George Soros, the Bill Gates Foundation, TIAA-CREF public sector pension fund, Dutch pension giant PGGM and Norwegian bank Nordea. Several churches, including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ and many Quaker meetings, have divested from companies the BDS movement has targeted. The security services company G4S is planning to sell its subsidiary in Israel because the Stop G4S campaign resulted in a loss of millions of dollars in contracts. The withdrawal of French multinational utility company Veolia from Israel led to billions of dollars in lost contracts.


Tutu, who finds striking parallels between apartheid South Africa and Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, supports BDS. He has called on“people and organizations of conscience to divest from … Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard,” which profit “from the occupation and subjugation of Palestinians.”


Twenty-seven states have enacted legislation targeting boycotts of Israel, but activists have successfully defeated anti-boycott laws in several states. These bills are unconstitutional infringements on protected First Amendment activity.

In banning Tlaib and Omar, Israel relied on its 2017 law prohibiting entry to any non-Israeli citizen who “has knowingly published a public call to engage in a boycott” against Israel “or has made a commitment to participate in such a boycott.”

And the United States’ overwhelming support for Israel is reflected in a resolution the House of Representatives adopted on July 23. H. Res. 246, which passed easily on a 398-17 vote, opposes the BDS movement. Tlaib and Omar voted against the resolution.

Questioning U.S. Aid to Israel

Interestingly, although the Republicans on the AIPAC trip tweeted vociferously about their visit, there was near silence on Twitter from the Democratic members of the delegation, although the group had given Netanyahu a standing ovation. “The absence of chatter from the Democrats obviously reflects the misgivings that the Democratic base has about the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel,” Philip Weiss and Michael Arria wrote at Mondoweiss. “A recent survey shows that a majority of Democrats support sanctions against Israel over settlements, even as the House votes overwhelmingly to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.”


The outrageous exclusion of members of Congress from Israel-Palestine has focused unprecedented attention on the Israeli occupation and the BDS movement. This is the time to pressure congressional representatives to rethink their uncritical support for Israel and the $3.8 billion annually the United States provides to Israel.


To learn more about the BDS campaigns, see https://bdsmovement.net/.

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught for 25 years. The former president of the National Lawyers Guild and criminal defense attorney is a legal scholar and political analyst who writes books and articles, and lectures throughout the world about human rights, US foreign policy, and the contradiction between the two. She has testified before Congress and debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. Her columns appear on Truthout, HuffPost, Salon, Jurist, Truthdig, Portside, CommonDreams and Consortium News, Global News Aruba and she has provided commentary for CBS News, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio.
GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of  our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.

Kirsty Wark speaks to former BBC Royal Correspondent, Michael Cole.

"Security Council Face Off: China/Russia v. US"

REPORT BY STEPHEN LENDMAN
INVESTIGATIVE NEWS REPORTER
GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA

At the request of Russia and China, a Thursday Security Council session was held on the Trump Administration development of short-and-intermediate-range missiles prohibited by the landmark 1987 INF Treaty.


The key pillar of arms control (and earlier ones) are gone because the US unilaterally abandoned its obligation— the INF pullout announced in February, formal withdrawal occurring on August 2.


Russia and China correctly warned that the White House move threatens international peace and security — what’s true about Washington’s geopolitical agenda overall under both extremist wings of its war party.


Ahead of Thursday’s SC session, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the following:

“The (meeting) was based on the plans announced by the US, which concern the deployment of intermediate-range missiles to the Asia-Pacific region” close to China and North Korea, adding: “Clearly, it is only the first step, and in the future, the US may deploy such weapons to other regions of the world, including Europe” near Russia’s border — heightening world tensions more than already.


On August 18, the US war department said the Pentagon “conducted a flight test of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California” — banned by the INF Treaty it failed to explain, adding:

“The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight.”

“Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the (war department’s) development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”


Moscow invited international inspections of missiles objected to by the US. They never took place because Trump Administration hardliners pressured their NATO counterparts not to accept the offer.


Sergey Lavrov earlier explained that US INF Treaty violations began 20 years ago under the Clinton co-presidency and continued under Bush/Cheney, Obama and Trump.


Not a shred of credible evidence suggests Russian noncompliance, just the opposite. False accusations are all about giving the US an unjustifiable pretext to abandon its international obligations — what it does time and again.


Trump's withdrawal from the INF Treaty was planned long before announced last February.


The pullout is all about leaving the US unrestrained to develop and deploy short-and-intermediate-range/nuclear-capable cruise and ballistic missiles close to the borders of its adversaries — notably Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela and Iran.


During Thursday’s Security Council session, China slammed the Trump Administration unilateral INF Treaty pullout, its UN envoy Zhang Jun saying the following: Since agreed on by Soviet Russia and the US in 1987 until abandoned by the White House this month, “the treaty effectively mitigated the arms race on intermediate-range missiles between the US and USSR in Europe and helped to enhance strategic mutual trust between major powers, ease international relations and advance nuclear disarmament process.”


China: Russia and the US “should have properly handled differences over treaty compliance through dialogue and consultation to earnestly safeguard the effectiveness of the treaty.”Unilaterally withdrawing from the INF Treaty “will have a far-reaching negative impact on global strategic balance and stability, regional security in Europe and Asia as well as international arms control regime,” China stressed.


Beijing has “no interest (in) and will not be part of…so-called arms control negotiations with the” with the US, its envoy stressed, adding:

“(A)ll its land-based intermediate range missiles are deployed within (its) territory…for defense purposes only and pose no threat to any country.”


Russia’s deputy UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy stressed the importance of the INF Treaty now gone. After observing its treaty obligations “for a while,” compliance became “inconvenient” for the US side, “believ(ing) in (its) exceptionalism,” said Polyanskiy, adding:The US is “determined to impose inequitable unilateral schemes of international relations on others” — breaching its international obligations unaccountably.Putin said Russia won’t breach INF Treaty provisions except in response to US violations — clearly what happened.

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of 
our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.

" US Abandonment of INF Treaty Planned Long Before Announced "

REPORT BY STEPHEN LENDMAN
INVESTIGATIVE NEWS REPORTER
GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA

US pullout of the JCPOA nuclear deal and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was planned by Trump hardliners long before announced.


In June 2002, the Bush/Cheney regime withdrew from the landmark 1972 ABM Treaty, the move announced six months earlier.


Agreed to by Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev, the treaty prohibited both countries “from deploying national defenses against long-range ballistic missiles and from building the foundation for such a defense,” the Arms Control Association explained, adding:

“The treaty was based on the premise that if either superpower constructed a strategic defense, the other would build up its offensive nuclear forces to offset the defense.”


“The superpowers would therefore quickly be put on a path toward a never-ending offensive-defensive arms race as each tried to balance its counterpart’s action.”


New START is next on Trump chopping block for elimination when expires in February 2021 if DJT is still in power.


Agreed to by the US and Russia in April 2010, it succeeded START I (1991) and the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).


New START limits deployment of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, a major reduction from earlier levels, a verification agreed on to assure both sides comply with their obligations.


In June, Bolton said extending New Start on expiration is unlikely. Despite knowing nothing about its important provisions, Trump called it a “bad deal.”


Putin said Trump official “is willing to talk about (extending New START) with us.” By letter in June to Trump, eight House and Senate Dems urged him to extend the treaty, saying:

Failure to continue “the benefits of New START by (not) extend(ing) the agreement would be a serious mistake for strategic stability and US security.”


Failure to extend it by Trump will abandon the last pillar of arms control in favor of unrestrained weapons of mass destruction development and deployment.


Time and again, the US falsely accused Russia and other countries of breaching their obligations to unjustifiably justify abandoning its own mandated commitments.


A hugely dangerous arms race began, including likely deployment of short-and-intermediate/nuclear-capable cruise and ballistic missiles close to the borders of US adversaries — notably Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.


Putin said Russia won’t breach INF Treaty provisions except in response to US violations, adding:

“Russia has all the military technical premises for that, its reaction (to) be rapid. I know what I am talking about, but this is classified information so far. I am sure the Americans are fully aware of that as well,” adding:


Russia will start full-scale development and deployment of INF Treaty-banned missiles in response to the US taking this step.


“Before such weapons enter the arsenal of the Russian army, real threats to Russia in connection with the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty will be reliably counteracted by our existing means.”


If the US abandons arms control treaties, “there would be no instrument in the world to curtail the arms race,” Putin stressed — a hugely dangerous development with bipartisan neocon extremists running things in the US, hellbent for endless wars of aggression and other hostile actions.


Putin lamented that during the Cold War, “there were at least some rules that all participants in international communication more or less adhered to or tried to follow.”


“Now, it seems that there are no rules at all. (T)he world has become more fragmented and less predictable, which is…most important and” recklessly dangerous.


His long ago attempt to save the ABM Treaty fell on deaf ears in Washington — what he called “the cornerstone of the entire international security system” now gone.


The US bears full responsibility for “cross(ing) out many years of efforts aimed at reducing the prospect of a major military conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.


Sergey Lavrov explained that Trump intended to abandon the INF Treaty long before announced last February.


Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said months before the Trump regime’s announced withdrawal, the US “budget…included funds for the development of” INF Treaty-banned missiles.


Lavrov said the decision was taken without dialogue with Russia. 


US war department spokesman Robert Carver falsely claimed the move is “purely defensive.”


US military actions are hostile and aggressive at a time when its only enemies are invented. No real ones exist — not Russia, China, Iran or any other nations.


US tests of INF Treaty-banned missiles began in mid-August on San Nicolas Island, California, the Trump Administration war department announced, more surely coming unrestrained.


In early August, US war secretary Mark Esper said “we would like to deploy (INF Treaty-banned missiles) sooner rather than later” in the Indo/Pacific region near China and North Korea.


Days before the Trump Administration formal INF Treaty pullout, Pompeo falsely said the US “will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russia” — a bald-faced Big Lie, while concealing US violations since the end of the Clinton co-presidency, according to Lavrov.


On Tuesday, US army secretary Ryan McCarthy said the war department intends developing nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles.


Deployment of nuclear-capable INF Treaty-banned missiles in Europe may follow their installation in East Asia.


Endless US wars of aggression and by other means on targeted nations, abandonment of arms control treaties and other hostile actions, heightened the risk of nuclear war.


What’s unthinkable is possible.

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of 
our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected]com. Read our disclaimer policy for more information.

" What Globalism Did Was To Transfer The US Economy To China "

REPORT BY PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
ECONOMICS & GEO - POLITICAL ANALYST
INVESTIGATIVE NEWS REPORTER
GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA

The main problem with the US economy is that globalism has been deconstructing it. The offshoring of US jobs has reduced US manufacturing and industrial capability and associated innovation, research, development, supply chains, consumer purchasing power, and tax base of state and local governments. Corporations have increased short-term profits at the expense of these long-term costs. In effect, the US economy is being moved out of the First World into the Third World.


Tariffs are not a solution. The Trump administration says that the tariffs are paid by China, but unless Apple, Nike, Levi, and all of the offshoring companies got an exemption from the tariffs, the tariffs fall on the offshored production of US firms that are sold to US consumers. The tariffs will either reduce the profits of the US firms or be paid by US purchasers of the products in higher prices. The tariffs will hurt China only by reducing Chinese employment in the production of US goods for US markets.


The financial media is full of dire predictions of the consequences of a US/China “trade war.” There is no trade war. A trade war is when countries try to protect their industries by placing tariff barriers on the import of cheaper products from foreign countries. But half or more of the imports from China are imports from US companies. Trump’s tariffs, or a large part of them, fall on US corporations or US consumers.


One has to wonder that there is not a single economist anywhere in the Trump administration, the Federal Reserve, or anywhere else in Washington capable of comprehending the situation and conveying an understanding to President Trump.


One consequence of Washington’s universal economic ignorance is that the financial media has concocted the story that “Trump’s tariffs” are not only driving Americans into recession but also the entire world. Somehow tariffs on Apple computers and iPhones, Nike footwear, and Levi jeans are sending the world into recession or worse. This is an extraordinary economic conclusion, but the capacity for thought has pretty much disappeared in the United States.


In the financial media the question is: Will the Trump tariffs cause a US/world recession that costs Trump his reelection? This is a very stupid question. The US has been in a recession for two or more decades as its manufacturing/industrial/engineering capability has been transferred abroad. The US recession has been very good for the Asian part of the world. Indeed, China owes its faster than expected rise as a world power to the transfer of American jobs, capital, technology, and business know-how to China simply in order that US shareholders could receive capital gains and US executives could receive bonus pay for producing them by lowering labor costs.

Apparently, neoliberal economists, an oxymoron, cannot comprehend that if US corporations produce the goods and services that they market to Americans offshore, it is the offshore locations that benefit from the economic activity.


Offshore production started in earnest with the Soviet collapse as India and China opened their economies to the West. Globalism means that US corporations can make more money by abandoning their American work force. But what is true for the individual company is not true for the aggregate. Why? The answer is that when many corporations move their production for US markets offshore, Americans, unemployed or employed in lower paying jobs, lose the power to purchase the offshored goods.

I have reported for years that US jobs are no longer middle class jobs. The jobs have been declining for years in terms of value-added and pay. With this decline, aggregate demand declines. We have proof of this in the fact that for years US corporations have been using their profits not for investment in new plant and equipment, but to buy back their own shares. Any economist worthy of the name should instantly recognize that when corporations repurchase their shares rather than invest, they see no demand for increased output. Therefore, they loot their corporations for bonuses, decapitalizing the companies in the process. There is perfect knowledge that this is what is going on, and it is totally inconsistent with a growing economy.


As is the labor force participation rate. Normally, economic growth results in a rising labor force participation rate as people enter the work force to take advantage of the jobs. But throughout the alleged economic boom, the participation rate has been falling, because there are no jobs to be had.


In the 21st century the US has been decapitalized and living standards have declined. For a while the process was kept going by the expansion of debt, but consumer income has not kept pace and consumer debt expansion has reached its limits.

The Fed/Treasury “plunge protection team” can keep the stock market up by purchasing S&P futures. The Fed can pump out more money to drive up financial asset prices. But the money doesn’t drive up production, because the jobs and the economic activity that jobs represent have been sent abroad. What globalism did was to transfer the US economy to China.


Real statistical analysis, as contrasted with the official propaganda, shows that the happy picture of a booming economy is an illusion created by statistical deception. Inflation is undermeasured, so when nominal GDP is deflated, the result is to count higher prices as an increase in real output, that is, inflation becomes real economic growth. Unemployment is not counted. If you have not searched for a job in the past 4 weeks, you are officially not a part of the work force and your unemployment is not counted. The way the government counts unemployment is so extraordinary that I am surprised the US does not have a zero rate of unemployment.


How does a country recover when it has given its economy away to a foreign country that it now demonizes as an enemy? What better example is there of a ruling class that is totally incompetent than one that gives its economy bound and gagged to an enemy so that its corporate friends can pocket short-term riches?


We can’t blame this on Trump. He inherited the problem, and he has no advisers who can help him understand the problem and find a solution. No such advisers exist among neoliberal economists. I can only think of four economists who could help Trump, and one of them is a Russian.


The conclusion is that the United States is locked on a path that leads directly to the Third World of 60 years ago. President Trump is helpless to do anything about it.

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of 
our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.
 

NOTICIAS DE LATINO AMERICA

 

( image courtesy of gefraud.com )

GE Fraud? Bigger Than Enron?

BY STEPHEN LENDMAN
CONTRIBUTOR
INVESTIGATIVE NEWS REPORTER
GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA

Enron Online became the first Internet-based commodities transaction system.


It rescinded regulations in place since 1922. Derivative scams went wild.


Enron fleeced investors and energy purchasers with impunity until its house of cards collapsed.


Then-Fed chairman/maestro of misery Alan Greenspan endorsed derivatives — falsely calling them a way to share risks, ignoring unprecedented speculation with these instruments.


They turned the 2008-early 2009 economic downturn into a Great Depression for most households, exacerbated by neoliberal harshness.

Economic hard times continue for most US households. Maybe another sharp leg down is coming — turning America more into a nation of paupers than already, while privileged interests get richer at their expense.


In November 2005, whistleblower/financial analyst/accounting expert Harry Markopolos exposed Bernie Madoff’s hedge fund as a colossal fraud.


Explaining numerous red flags about his shady operation, he called Bernie Madoff Securities “the world’s largest Ponzi scheme.”

He was later convicted of securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements, perjury, making false filings with the SEC, and theft from an employee benefit plan — sentenced to 150 years imprisonment for all of the above grand theft, swindling thousands of investors.


Markopolos is at it again, along with John McPherson, this time targeting once-bellwether Dow stock General Electric (GE).

Their website gefraud.com said after nearly a year of analyzing the company’s financials and accounting practices, they discovered what they called “an Enronesque business approach that has left GE on the verge of insolvency,” adding:

“GE has been running a decades long accounting fraud by only providing top line revenue and bottom line profits for its business units, and getting away with leaving out cost of goods sold, SG&A, R&D and corporate overhead allocations.”


“To make it impossible to compare GE’s numbers across multi-year time periods, GE changes its Financial Statement reporting formats every few years. This is only detectable by reading at least 10 years of 10-K’s back to back. We read 17 years from 2002-2018.”


Last Thursday, GE stock plunged 10% on the news, recovering much of the loss the next day. What’s ahead remains to unfold.

Markopolos called the analysis of GE’s financials his Fraud Investigators Team’s “ninth insurance fraud case in the past nine years and it’s the biggest, bigger than Enron and WorldCom combined,” adding:

“GE’s $38 Billion in accounting fraud amounts to over 40% of (the company’s) market capitalization, making it far more serious than either the Enron or WorldCom accounting frauds.”


The team alleges that GE committed accounting fraud by concealing $29 billion in longterm care insurance losses, another $9.1 billion in loses from a 2017 investment in oilfield services company Baker Hughes.


It claims GE buys businesses at high prices, selling them later at huge losses, “baking its ledgers and cooking its books” to conceal them.

GE CEO Lawrence Culp denied the Markopolos team’s claims, a company statement, saying:

Accusations “by Mr. Markopolos are meritless. The company has never met, spoken to or had contact with Mr. Markopolos, and we are extremely disappointed that an individual with no direct knowledge of GE would choose to make such serious and unsubstantiated claims,” adding:

“Mr. Markopolos openly acknowledges that he is compensated by unnamed hedge funds. Such funds are financially motivated to attempt to generate short selling in a company’s stock to create unnecessary volatility.”


True or false, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and US Justice Department are investigating the company’s accounting practices.


Markopolos said his team paid the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and AM Best Databases to access official GE financial statements filed with state insurance commissions.


“(T)hey revealed (that) GE was hiding massive loss ratios, the highest ever seen in the LTC (Long-Term Care) insurance industry, along with exponentially increasing dollar losses being absorbed by GE, said Markopolos in his team’s report, adding:

“(A)pproximately 86% of GE’s LTC claims are ahead of them and the accompanying losses are growing at an exponential and un-survivable rate.”

“(I)mpending losses will destroy GE’s balance sheet (and) debt ratios…(The company) has almost no cash…”

“My team has spent the past 7 months analyzing GE’s accounting and we believe the $38 Billion in fraud we’ve come across is merely the tip of the iceberg.”


If SEC and/or Justice Department probes into GE’s accounting practices uncover anything similar to what Markopolos’ team claimed and don’t conceal it, the corporate giant could fall like Enron and WorldCom years earlier.

“Chief investment officers, portfolio managers, analysts, and directors of research would all comment on how they believed GE’s earnings numbers couldn’t be true because they always met or beat consensus earnings estimates every quarter, year after year, no matter what the economy was doing,” the team’s report said — an obvious red flag.


Based on his team’s findings, Markopolos believes once-bellwether GE is heading for bankruptcy, claiming accounting fraud by the firm dates at least from the mid-1990s when Jack Welch was chairman and CEO.


The company uses “many of the same accounting tricks as Enron did, so much so that we’ve taken to calling this the GEnron case,” said Markopolos.


Is it heading for the same fate? The company was co-founded by Thomas Edison, JP Morgan and others.


Its numerous businesses include financial services, medical technology and biopharmaceuticals, nuclear power plant technology, aircraft engines, oil and gas, among others.


Its 2018 revenue was $121.6 billion. Its debt load last year was double its market cap, its credit rating cut to BBB+.


After losing 25% of its market value in Q I and II last year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) removed the company from its 30-stock index.

For the year, it lost 57% of its market value, one of the worst DJIA performers. From 2000 through last year, its market value fell from around $600 billion to about $65 billion.


In mid-December 2018, the Wall Street Journal headlined “GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out,” adding:

“(T)he company that was once America’s biggest…became a shadow of its former self.”

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of 
our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient. He has been a contributor and freelance journalist and writer of Global News Aruba since 2009.

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.
 
 

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught for 25 years. The former president of the National Lawyers Guild and criminal defense attorney is a legal scholar and political analyst who writes books and articles, and lectures throughout the world about human rights, US foreign policy, and the contradiction between the two. She has testified before Congress and debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. Her columns appear on Truthout, HuffPost, Salon, Jurist, Truthdig, Portside, CommonDreams and Consortium News, Global News Aruba and she has provided commentary for CBS News, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio.

Army soldiers watch as helicopters circle above during a dust storm at Forward Operating Base Kushamond, in Afghanistan, on July 17, 2009.THE U.S. ARMY, VIA FLICKR

" Candidates Must Commit to Immediate US Withdrawal From Afghanistan "

By Marjorie Cohn
Contributor
International Human Rights Attorney & Law Professor
Global News Aruba

On July 30, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the Afghan government and international military forces, primarily the United States, caused most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2019. That’s more killings than those perpetrated in the same time period by the Taliban and ISIS combined


Aerial operations were responsible for 519 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 156 injuries), including 150 children (89 deaths and 61 injuries). That constitutes a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from aerial attacks. Eighty-three percent of civilian casualties from aerial operations were carried out by the international forces.


The targeting of civilians amounts to war crimes under the Rome Statuteof the International Criminal Court (ICC).

These war crimes promise to continue unless the U.S. military completely withdraws from Afghanistan. While the United States and the Taliban have had discussions aimed at ending the 18-year war, the eighth round of those talks concluded on August 12 without reaching a peace deal. The two threshold issues are the schedule for the withdrawal of the remaining 14,000 U.S. troops and how to prevent “terrorist attacks” against the U.S. and allies in Afghanistan. The Taliban want the U.S. forces to withdraw before a ceasefire. But U.S. officials seek to maintain 7,000 troops, including Special Operations forces, in Kabul for several years.


Team Trump’s deadly actions are a continuation of the Bush and Obama administrations’ commission of the most heinous crimes in Afghanistan. On April 12, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber found a “reasonable basis” to believe that the parties to the Afghan conflict, including the U.S. military and the CIA, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, most of them occurring between 2005 and 2015. They include “the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the U.S. authorities.”

The chamber, however, refused to open a formal investigation into those crimes, as recommended by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. In concluding that “an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice,” the chamber questioned the feasibility of such a probe. An investigation would be “very wide in scope and encompasses a high number of alleged incidents having occurred over a long time period,” the chamber wrote. It noted the extreme difficulty in gauging “the prospects of securing meaningful cooperation from relevant authorities for the future” and found “the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited.”


In her appeal petition, Bensouda noted that the chamber’s decision was unprecedented. “This is the first time that any Pre-Trial Chamber has held that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the ‘most serious crimes’ within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed, and that potential cases concerning those crimes would be admissible, but not proceeded to authorise the opening of an investigation,” she wrote.

What caused such an unprecedented refusal by the chamber to open an investigation?


Seven days before the chamber declined to initiate an investigation, the Trump administration revoked the visa of ICC prosecutor Bensouda because of her advocacy for an investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the I.C.C. does not change its course.”


Apparently, the U.S. refusal to cooperate with an investigation and its thinly veiled efforts at blackmail of the ICC are having the desired effect – impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Meanwhile, regional Afghan forces commandeered by the CIA have “operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity,” according to The New York Times.

In a July 23 meeting with the prime minister of Pakistan, Donald Trump in effect threatened to commit genocide in Afghanistan. He said he could cause Afghanistan to be “wiped off the face of the earth” but he didn’t “want to kill 10 million people.”

In the meantime, the violence in Afghanistan is growing deadlier. In July, 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded, in the most lethal month for the past couple of years.


Of the Democratic presidential candidates, only Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg have committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during their first year in office.


When the candidates were asked if there would be U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of their first term, Elizabeth Warren said, “No”; Bernie Sanders replied, “I suspect not”; Beto O’Rourke responded, “We have to begin to bring these wars to a close”; Kirsten Gillibrand said, “I believe that we need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria”; Cory Booker noted, “We cannot have forever wars in this nation”; Julian Castro replied, “We need to withdraw in a way that is orderly, that respects our allies”; Amy Klobuchar responded, “We have been there longer than some of our young people have been on this earth”; Andrew Yang opined, “It’s impossible to know that for sure, given that reality on the ground might lead us to have more people there”; Marianne Williamson said, “I would make no move in Afghanistan until first I spoke to Afghan women”; and Kamala Harris answered, “We need to have a presence there in terms of supporting what the leaders of Afghanistan want to do.”


Sanders tweeted, “The American people do not want endless war. Congress must reassert its Constitutional authority over the use of force and responsibly end these interventions [in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria].” Joe Biden promised to “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East.”


As the carnage continues with no end in sight, all of the Democratic candidates should be making immediate and complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and indeed, all countries in which the United States is fighting, a central pillar of their platforms. They must also renounce impunity and commit to cooperate with any future ICC investigations.


Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. GLOBAL NEWS ARUBA and its Editor in Chief Norberto Tjon Ajong, has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor, news reporter, or affiliated news agency.  Contact the source and author and journalist for any further question on any article. or contact [email protected] Read our disclaimer policy for more information.