US Blockade Affects all Cuban Sectors

The rector of the University of Havana (UH), Miriam Nicado, said Friday that the US blockade against Cuba affects all sectors of society , even the academic.

'The confrontation goes beyond the ideology, it extends very strongly towards the academic side', denounced the Cuban MP in a meeting with the members of Pastors for Peace, who visited the University.

After thanking the presence of the North American group of solidarity with Cuba, Nicado recalled the continuous visits of Lucius Walker to the Caribbean nation in front of such a noble project, with which, he affirmed, he won the affection of the people of the island.

'Having her daughter here (Gail Walker) makes you feel that the story has not stopped and (...) is an example of the continuity of their work and solidarity,' she said.

Nicado praised the Pastors for Peace as patriots for their unequaled defense of collaboration and respectful relations between the Cuban and US people.

Similarly, the rector said that the new measures of the United States Government hinder academic exchange and, therefore, affect professionals at the University of Havana.

She added that every day the Cuban people feel more strongly the negative effects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington for almost 60 years, which she considered an attempt of isolation and homicide against the Cubans.

Gail Walker thanked the caravan members, who come from the United States, Mexico and Canada; and many of them are for the first time in the Caribbean nation, she said.

  • Published in Cuba

Assange lawyer reveals Pentagon behind pursuit of WikiLeaks publisher

A lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has confirmed that the Pentagon – not the White House or any other government agency whose secrets he leaked – was driving the nearly decade-long campaign to destroy the publisher.

After asking officials at the Obama administration if they “really wanted” the publisher for whistleblowers and warning that “there are dangerous precedents here,” Assange lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said they responded:

We don’t want him, but the Pentagon does, and the Pentagon may eventually get its way.

Robertson’s “high connections” got him an audience with Obama administration insiders after he learned of the secret grand jury they had convened against Assange in 2010, he told Phillip Adams on ABC’s Radio National on Thursday. When Robertson warned them of the First Amendment implications of charging a publisher under national security laws, however, they already knew what kind of precedent it would set.

While the Obama administration charged more leakers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined, it never attempted to wield the law against a publisher.

And the Pentagon has finally gotten its way. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a request for a US extradition order earlier this month, and Assange will face a full extradition hearing in February.

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He is charged with 17 violations of the Espionage Act, including obtaining and disclosing national defense information, plus an earlier count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, concerning a massive trove of classified documents given to WikiLeaks by military intelligence analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning. The Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, as they were titled for publication, exposed US atrocities including the torture of detainees and murder of civilians and constituted the largest leak of military secrets in US history.

If he is found guilty – and it is highly unlikely that the Eastern District of Virginia court where he will be tried and where no “national security” defendant has ever won a case, will acquit him – he faces 170 years in prison.

The grand jury investigation of Assange at its peak involved the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the FBI, the State Department, and the Diplomatic Security Service, according to WikiLeaks. But it was the Pentagon, as early as 2008, which began the quest to bring down the publisher, launching its war on WikiLeaks through its Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

According to award-winning anti-war journalist John Pilger, their plot involved a media war using reputational smears and “threats of exposure [and] criminal prosecution” aimed at shredding the “feeling of trust” at the core of WikiLeaks’ operations. 

Also on rt.com ‘Assange extradition should be warning to liberals who believe in American democracy’ – Zizek...

The Pentagon’s mission is all but accomplished. Assange has been so thoroughly smeared most of his supporters doubt he will ever get a fair trial. Not only has he been demonized as a rapist, traitor, fascist, and every other name in the book, but even those journalists who have profited off his work – at the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other mainstream media that published WikiLeaks disclosures years ago – have gleefully turned on him.

  • Published in World

We won’t sell out our allies or principles to strike Syria deal with US, says Putin

Russia will not reach any agreement with the United States on the future of Syria at the cost of Syria itself or Moscow’s interests and principles, President Vladimir Putin has said.

During his annual Q&A session on Thursday, a journalist asked Putin if there would be a “grand deal” with the US on Syria as the country begins to recover from years of hostilities and destruction.

“What do you mean ‘a grand deal’? Sounds like some commercial act. No. We don’t sell out our allies, our interests or our principles,” Putin said.

He said that Russia is willing to negotiate a political transition in Syria with various stakeholders. “Can it be done? I believe it can, provided there is goodwill of everyone involved in the conflict.”

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Putin highlighted Turkey and Iran as Russia’s immediate partners in resolving the Syrian crisis, but said countries like the US, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan have legitimate interests in what happens in Syria as do the European nations, which were hurt by mass migration triggered by it. “We have to work together on it,” he stressed.

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Russia slams US Navy for ‘unacceptable’ behavior after warships’ near-miss in East China Sea

Russia has accused the US Navy of “unacceptable” and dangerous maneuvering, after a US warship almost caused a catastrophic collision with a Russian destroyer in the East China Sea.

The Russian Navy said that the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, unexplainedly changed direction and came within just 50 meters of the Admiral Vinogradov on Friday at 6:35 Moscow time. It added that a collision was only prevented after the Russian crew implemented emergency maneuvers and changed course.

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A statement from Russia’s Pacific Fleet added that a complaint had been lodged with the command of the American cruiser.

We made our protest to the command of the American ship on an international wavelength and pointed out that such actions are unacceptable.

The US Navy denied responsibility for the near-collision. Instead, it blamed the Admiral Vinogradov for accelerating at Chancellorsville while it was waiting for its helicopter to land onboard.

This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.

Also on rt.com Pentagon chief Shanahan says US done ‘tiptoeing’ around China, but did it ever?...

The incident follows a period of growing tensions in the waters around China, with Washington frequently sending its warships on so-called ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises to challenge China’s territorial claims. In recent months, American incursions in the South China Sea have seen US vessels come within 12 nautical miles (22km) of Chinese islets, the closest they may stray without violating international law.

Following another tense near-collision between Chinese and US warships last October, China’s defense ministry said it “resolutely opposes” any actions by foreign vessels that challenge its territory under the guise of freedom of navigation.

  • Published in World

The Only Thing that Works with Iran is Respect,' Iranian FM Said

Tehran, June 3 (Prensa Latina) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Yavad Zarif has demanded respect for his nation, which, according to him, it is the only possibility of listening to the other side.

In an interview with ABC TV, broadcast in Tehran on Monday, Zarif passed remarks on the book 'The Art of Agreement', written by Donald Trump, in which the US president describes some trading methods.

It may progress in the market, but not with Iran, Yavad Zarif said, and added that it can be effective with other nations in a short period and not in the long term, 'but not with Iran in a short period, or in the medium and long term. The only thing that really works with Iran is respect', he said.

Zarif warned threats never work with Iran; try with some respect, that can really work, he added.

According to Zarif, Iranians will not lost courage by the art of the agreement pressure, the strategy followed by the US government with sanctions to renegotiate another nuclear agreement.

In any case, he said, there will be serious consequences if the United States holds its economic pressure campaign, which he termed as an economic terrorism that affects the Iranian people.

'If President Trump's objective is to impose pressure on ordinary Iranians, he is certainly getting done', but he will not make up with his political goals by using pressure', he said.

The Iranian FM rejected claims about an alleged Iranian threat to the region and replied that the US Navy is really the one that destabilizes.

'We call this region Persian Gulf for just one reason, it is by our side. We have the right to defend ourselves. What if Iran went to California or Florida coasts', he asked.

The United States, he denounced, is the one sending nuclear warships to our jurisdictional waters, to our region.

  • Published in World

London's Mayor Sadiq Khan Compares Trump to 'The Fascists of the 20th Century'

U.S. President Donald Trump is stirring controversy ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom this week by throwing his political weight behind Brexit and hand picking a successor for Prime Minister Theresa May who announced she will resign in the coming weeks.

In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper ahead of his state visit to Britain starting Monday, Trump said the next British leader should send arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage to conduct talks with the EU.

Trump said Britain must leave the EU this year.

“They've got to get it done,” he said. “They have got to get the deal closed.”

“If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away. If you don’t get a fair deal, you walk away.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, compared the language used by Trump to that of “the fascists of the 20th century.” Khan published an editorial in the Sunday Observer entitled, "It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump," in which he chastised Trump for what he sees as the president's embrace of white nationalism and urged outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May to publicly condemn the U.S. president.

Trump repeated his backing for those candidates to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May who have said Britain must leave on the due date of Oct. 31 with or without a deal.

Those candidates include former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump praised in an interview with the Sun newspaper on Friday, along with former Brexit minister Dominic Raab and interior minister Sajid Javid.

Trump also said it was a mistake for the Conservatives not to involve Farage, the Brexit Party leader, in negotiations with Brussels after his success in European Parliament elections last month.

“I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer - he is a very smart person,” Trump said. “They won’t bring him in but think how well they would do if they did. They just haven't figured that out yet.”

On the Brexit divorce bill, Trump said: “If I were them, I wouldn’t pay 50 billion dollars. That is a tremendous number.”

Trump also said he would have “to know” veteran Socialist Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn before authorising U.S. intelligence to share its most sensitive secrets with a hard-left government.

He warned British ministers they must be careful not to jeopardize intelligence-sharing by letting Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd into Britain’s new 5G mobile phone network.

  • Published in World

Values Are Weapons as Cuba Defends Doctors against US intervention

The George W. Bush administration initiated the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program (CMPP) in 2006. The idea was to persuade overseas Cuban doctors to abandon their posts and relocate to the United States. Cuba’s medical solidarity programs, in place for half a century, would suffer. President Obama ended the CMPP in January, 2017. Now the U.S. government wants to reinstate it.

Cubans defending medical outreach associate what the doctors do with ideals of human dignity and solidarity. U.S. rationales for their own interventions are either unconvincing as to humane purposes or not for public knowledge.

The U.S. government thus speaks of bringing democracy to Cuba and Venezuela. That those nations are under U.S. siege brings to mind the Vietnamese town Ben Tre. U.S. forces destroyed it in 1968 in order “to save it.” Otherwise, what many regard as the actual purpose of U.S. interventions, the commandeering of power and wealth, is unmentionable in mainstream circles.

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Cuba demonstrates coherence between intervention in the health care of other peoples and values. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, speaking in Buenos Aires in 2003, stated that, “Our country is able to send the doctors that are needed to the darkest corners of the world. Doctors, not bombs!” He had just proclaimed Cuba’s unwillingness (and inability) to launch “preventative surprise attacks in any dark corner of the world.”

Marisnely Echemendía Concepción recently sounded a strong note of human solidarity. “[F]ormed by the revolution and following the teachings of Marti, Che, and Fidel,” the Cuban doctor carries out “health promotion and disease prevention” in Caracas.

“I believe in altruism, in humanitarianism, and in internationalism,” she states. “These make up the essence of medical education in my country and validate this teaching of the Apostle (Marti): ‘Helping someone in need is part duty and part happiness.’”

And, “I would have it known and widely so – by the peoples of Our America and throughout the world – that my humanist and solidarity-based vocation can be relied upon, always. My sole interest is to improve the health of those we care for. Political affiliation, race, and religious creed don’t matter.”

Besides, “We Cuban medical graduates take on an international commitment that remains and goes with us wherever we are needed. After all, a doctor is only a slave to his or her calling as a humanist.”

Revolutionary Cuba puts values into practice. Some 600,000 Cubans have provided medical services “in more than 160 countries.” Cuba has educated 35,613 health professionals from 138 countries at no personal cost to the students.

In assailing the Cuban doctors, U.S. officialdom has machinations, lies, and force at its disposal, but little else.

On May 7 Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey asked Secretary of State Pompeo to reinstitute the CMPP. Rubio and Menendez had previously introduced a Senate resolution to that effect.

That resolution cited “human trafficking,” “forced labor,” and “salaries directly garnished by their government” as characterizing Cuban doctors’ experience in Brazil. Some 8000 of them had joined former President Dilma Rousseff’s “More Doctors” program to care for destitute and underserved Brazilians. In late 2018 the Cuban government withdrew them due to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s animosity.

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U.S. ally Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, backs restoring the CMPP. He views Cuba’s pay arrangements with other states as “modern slavery.” Cuba uses its doctors for “cementing alliances with other countries.”

Serving abroad, the doctors receive their regular salaries to which are added bonuses for overseas work and coverage for living expenses abroad. Salaries are deposited in a Cuban bank or paid to a family member. Most countries hosting the doctors reimburse Cuba’s government at rates high enough for the funds to serve other purposes.

Funds received from Brazil paid for medical equipment and modernization of Cuban medical facilities. In return for the services of Cuban doctors, Venezuela guarantees Cuba delivery of low priced oil.

Thus U.S. meddling in Venezuela impinges upon Cuba. A recent New York Times report charged Cuban doctors in Venezuela with pressuring patients to support the government and political party of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The implication was that all the Cuban doctors did likewise.

National Security Advisor John Bolton and others in the Trump administration claim that 20,000 Cuban military personnel operate in Venezuela. The unspoken hint is that 20,000 Cuban health workers serving now in Venezuela are military people. Cuba’s Granma newspaper offers perspective: “140,000 Cuban health workers have provided … services in Venezuela” – which would have been lots of soldiers.

The Times article and the Bolton allegations are slanderous. Bolton is an old hand. As under secretary of state for arms control in 2002, he falsely charged Cuba with having ”provided dual-use biotechnology to … rogue states.”

Cuban journalist Randy Alonso Falcon explains why the U.S. government would revive the CMPP. He cites “barefaced brain drain” and disruptive effects leading to reduced income for Cuba’s government. He could have mentioned U.S. enthusiasm for sullying the image of Cuba as paragon of medical solidarity.

Weeks before he died in combat in 1895, emblematic Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti advised a young person in the United States: “Whoever has a lot inside doesn’t need much outside. Whoever is all display on the outside, doesn’t have much inside.”

Dr. Fernando González Isla, head of Cuba’s medical mission in Venezuela, tweeted the quotation. Dr. Marisnely Echemendía Concepción re-tweeted it. Identification with values and ethics must be Cuba’s special weapon in this conflict.

Putin submits bill on suspension of INF Treaty

President Vladimir Putin has submitted to Russia’s parliament a draft resolution on Moscow’s suspension of the INF Treaty with the United States. If the Duma approves the bill, the suspension will become law.

The State Duma will consider the draft later on Thursday. Russian president will be able to renew the suspension at his discretion.

In February, the US announced its unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty. It claimed that Russia’s testing of the 9M729 missile breached the terms of the deal.

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The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty came into force in 1987 and banned both the Soviet Union and the US from developing and deploying land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. The agreement was signed to de-escalate tensions in Europe, where both countries had dozens of such missiles deployed, posing a risk of an accidental nuclear exchange.

The missiles only needed minutes to reach their targets, leaving a very small window for the other side to decide whether a detected attack was a real one, requiring immediate retaliation, or a false positive.

The United States is set to formally leave the treaty in August. 

Also on rt.com INF Treaty is about European security, not American; US left it to get new missiles – Russian envoy

  • Published in World
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