US vies to become anti-doping policeman of the world after criminalizing it

A new bill in the US Congress will make doping in international sports a crime, which the US law would prosecute under its own jurisdiction. The act is clearly designed to punish Russia, but may affect many others.

The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, named after the controversial former head of the Moscow anti-doping lab, whose claims became the basis of sweeping doping sanctions against Russia, was submitted to both chambers of the US Congress last week.

Once adopted into law, it will make doping in international sports a criminal offense, a form of fraud, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million. It will also allow civil lawsuits to be filed in US courts against people and organizations involved. Restitution of damages may be filed by American athletes over losing prize money and by event sponsors.

Also on ‘Rodchenkov's evidence is hearsay with limited probative value’ – CAS 

The bill’s sponsors and backers, like Travis Tygart, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), don’t hide the fact that it’s aimed first and foremost at Russia. They believe international organizations, like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have failed to punish Russia for alleged doping violations exposed by Rodchenkov. WADA is currently in the process of reinstating the disgraced Russian Anti-Doping Agency after a reform while the IOC is pushing for normalization of Russia’s involvement in international sports.

“To remain a ‘city on a hill’, America must hold the crooked and corrupt accountable whenever we can. That means forcefully confronting Russia’s use of corruption as a tool of foreign policy,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D- RI), one of the sponsors of the Senate’s version of the bill and ardent Russiagate crusader since the election of Donald Trump.

The US legislation will apply retroactively, opening a way to sue Moscow and Russian officials accused of involvement in doping for millions of dollars in damages. Some may even get a jail term, if the US gets a chance to have them arrested and extradited. It sets the statute of limitations as seven years for criminal action and 10 years for civil lawsuits, with a potential for extension if an extradition is pending.

Also on ‘Look after your own backyard’ – WADA chief hits back at US critics amid White House summit row 

The IOC criticized the bill when it was first proposed in July, saying the US should first clean its own house before claiming the right to serve as the doping watchman of the world.

“We very much appreciate and welcome moves in the United States to step up the fight against doping and we assume that the very worrying existing challenges with some of the professional leagues in the United States will be addressed as a matter of urgency,” an IOC spokesman told sports news site, insidethegames, at the time. “Especially since this has become extremely obvious again in the last report of USADA which details the low level of testing currently taking place in these professional leagues.”

USADA has been criticized for conducting few or even no tests of the country’s professional basketball, football and baseball players, relying on the leagues to do the testing.

It is a matter of concern that the intention of the proposed legislation is to put athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees from around the world who take part in international competition under the criminal code of US law.

The US has a habit of imposing its criminal jurisdiction as wide as possible and treating its own court system as inherently superior to those of other nations. It also has a tendency of putting political pressure on other nations, to take over custody of people accused of crimes in the US.

  • Published in World

U.S.-Democracy: How does it work?

Nathan Larson is a self-confessed pedophile and white supremacist. And he’s currently running for Congress in Virginia.

Once again facts show how political system works in the United States. Last Tuesday, some sources described it unquestionably.

For example, ahead of the next primary elections that take place in eight states of the country, where the candidates of both parties, as well as alleged independent ones, will be nominated.

A candidate who calls himself independent, Nathan Larson, during an interview with Huffington Post daily said:

“A lot of people are tired of political correctness and being restricted by it. People prefer an outsider who has nothing to lose and is willing to say what’s on a lot of people’s minds.”

Larson, 37, is running for a congressional seat in Virginia.

Ten years ago, he ran for the House of Delegates but failed, and later he was sent to jail in 2009 for threatening to kill the then President Barack Obama.

However, this was not his biggest sin, he, father of a daughter, admitted before the press that he was the main responsible of several events via the Internet geared at advising pedophiles.  

According to the sources, the Virginia congressional candidate considers that the word pedophile is “a tag”, plays down importance to violence and dares to defend the authority of a man to beat his wife.

Another example is that of Don Blankenship, independent too, who is getting into politics now, after serving a year in prison for the death of 29 workers in 2010, because of the explosion of a coal mine, owned by the company that he managed.

Blakenship, self-defined “more Trumpist than Trump”, rejects to have a low profile while running for US Senate from West Virginia and seeks fame with statements that have been deemed disrespectful and even racist.

This controversial candidate, 68, dismissed his interest for joining the Republican Party, when he showed an electoral video accusing Mitch McConnell, its majority leader, of being a cocaine addict and benefiting himself from the money of the “Chinese family” of his wife, Elaine Chao.

Add to this scenario, Rep. Patrick Little, who previously complained of being expelled from the convention of his party held in San Diego (California) for rejecting to “serve the leadership of Israel.”

Little is self-defined as a “defender of white people”, although his possibilities for success are scarce.

This is a tight synthesis on the world of politics in the United States, country that its propaganda sells as the most democratic country on Earth,

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Leahy leads congressional delegation to Cuba

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) heads a bicameral congressional delegation that is visiting Cuba this week, during the congressional recess.

Leahy for two decades has been centrally involved in efforts to replace the failed 50-year-old U.S. Cuba policy of isolation with a new path toward normalization. Leahy is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and also serves as the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, which oversees the State Department’s budget. Other congressional leaders who accompany Leahy are two other senators and three members of the House of Representatives.

The purpose of the visit is to meet with U.S. and Cuban officials, officials of other governments, and Cubans in the emerging private sector to discuss: the presidential transition in Cuba; U.S. and Cuban investigations of health incidents involving U.S. government personnel in Cuba; cooperation on maritime security, search-and-rescue, narcotics and human trafficking, and migration issues; the impact of the withdrawal of U.S. Embassy and Cuban Embassy personnel and of revised Treasury Department regulations on U.S.-Cuban relations; and opportunities for public health, law enforcement, scientific, environmental, commercial, educational, cultural, and other engagement with Cubans.

The delegation departed the United States on Saturday, Feb. 17, and return on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

  • Published in Cuba

USA: The “almighty” Trump?

A few days ago, the billionaire stated that being president is harder than he thought, and reality endorses his opinion.

Suffix to tell, among many, two close examples to demonstrate it.

Attorneys General Brian Frosh of Maryland and Karl Racine of the District of Columbia sued him for accepting money from foreign governments.

Those incomes came from businesses still linked to the head of the White House.

During a press conference in Washington, both prosecutors stated that Trump “flagrantly violated constitutional provisions against money influence from domestic or foreign interests.

Thus wrote El Nuevo Herald on Monday, those officials consider that never before a president of the U.S. had kept such big links with economic interests of the country.

Something that according to the newspaper from Florida “jeopardizes democracy”.

Frosh, Maryland Attorney General, assured he trusts that tribunals or the Supreme Court set a precedent ordering Trump to disassociate from his businesses.

Attorneys generals manage to say he is violating clauses of the federal Constitution.

Reason? Because governments like Saudi Arabia “sweeten” their relations with the White House by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in president’s facilities, such as the Trump International Hotel.

If this were not enough, also on Monday, Spanish news agency EFE reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Atlantastruck the head of state another sensitive blow.

What was it about? It refused to reinstate the ban encouraged by Trump last March on the entry into US territory of refugees and citizens from 6 mostly-Muslim nations.

So, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit benefits those who reject the move and imposes further pressure on the Supreme Court.

In the decision, which text comprises 86 pages, the judges state:

“Immigration, even for a President is not an individual show. The president’s authority is subject to certain statuary and constitutional restrictions”.

“We conclude that the president, in issuing this executive order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress”.

So, the almighty businessman from New York has to yield to certain realities of the very complex world around.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Obama Faces New Hindrance to Close Guantanamo Prison

The plan by US President Barack Obama to close the military prison at the naval base in Guantanamo is today facing a new obstacle after the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, rejected the President''s proposal.

According to government officials who prefer to remain anonymous, the Attorney General's office objects to a measure that would allow convicts to declare themselves guilty through a video conference and would allow them to serve their sentences in other countries, without ever setting foot on US soil.

Lynch explained that these proposals by the White House would violate established rules on criminal justice procedures.

If they manage to reduce the population at the prison at Guantanamo naval base, a military facility set up in Cuba's southeastern region against the will of the Cuban Government and people, Obama would keep his political promise of closing the prison before finishing his second term of office.

A recent editorial published by the newspaper 'The New York Times' highlighted that the failure to close the prison in Guantanamo was a shameful stain on the US Congress, which has hindered all efforts to close it.

The prison, where 80 detainees remain, has ruined the image of the United States as champion of human rights and is a deplorable example to other governments inclined to violate international law.

Under the title of 'The Broken Promise to Close Guantanamo' the editorial quotes Thomas Pickering, a US veteran diplomat, who recently denounced the severe treatment and even brutal procedures, such as the force feeding of the detainees, who are kept in stainless-steel cells in solitary confinement.

Nine U.S. Governors Request End of the Blockade

Nine North American governors sent a letter to Congress leaders in Washington to request decisive steps to open the trade with Cuba and put an end to the blockade

“It’s time the Congress acts to remove the sanctions that prevent trips and the normal trade between our nation and Cuba", reads the letter dated last October 9.

The governors highlight the development of the Cuban agricultural purchases starting from a legislation change in year 2000, but indicate that a “sustainable business relationship” cannot be limited to a single sector or involve only transactions in one way.

"Although agricultural companies can legally export to Cuba under the current legislation, the financial restrictions set by the blockade limit the capacity of North American companies to get inserted in the Cuban market".

Competitors like Canada, Brazil, and the European Union are not subject to those limitations, are occupying spaces of the North American potential, refers the document.

To put an end to the blockade will create works and new opportunities in the North American agricultural sector and will open a market of 11 million inhabitants only 90 miles away, it adds.

In addition, in the letter the exchange potentialities between the two peoples are highlighted since the end of the restrictions for tourist trips of North American citizens, a constitutional right that is limited at present to 12 categories like cultural, scientific, journalistic reasons and people-to-people contacts.

The politicians showed their support to the executive measures taken by President Barack Obama, but encouraged the members of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate to act and put an end to the blockade.

The letter was signed by governors Terry McAuliffe (Virginia), Jay Inslee (Washington), Thomas Wolf (Pennsylvania), Steve Bullock (Montana), Mark Dayton (Minnesota), Butch Otter (Idaho), Robert Bentley (Alabama), Jerry Brown (California) and Peter Shumlin (Vermont).

Since the announcements of last December 17 that opened a new chapter in the Cuba-United States relationships, several North American state delegations have arrived to the country to explore business opportunities and have criticized the restrictions that still remain.

  • Published in Now
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