NASA Investigating First Crime Committed In Space

US Space agency NASA is investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife's private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.

The astronaut's spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden's family filed another with NASA's Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.

McClain's lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple's combined finances -- something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported.

NASA investigators have contacted both women, according to the newspaper.

McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.

Worden said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report, but that an investigator specializing in criminal cases with NASA's Office of Inspector General has been looking into the accusation, according to the Times.

  • Published in World

Protesters take center stage at Donald Trump’s July 4th event in Washington

Protesters in Washington, DC clashed with supporters of President Donald Trump outside the White House on Thursday, a few moments before the U.S. president got on stage for his “Salute to America.”

The July Fourth celebrations in the U.S. capital wasn't short on controversy for the central role that U.S. military equipment and weapons played and the multi-million dollar cost for taxpayers.  Trump swept away any criticism of the event and said the military was "thrilled" to be part of it.   But many criticized the activity, not only for its price tag but for its praise of militarism; some calling the huge event the praise of fascism in the United States.

Donald Trump hosted the Independence Day show -- called the "Salute to America" -- featuring a speech from the Lincoln Memorial, a display of military tanks and fighter jets roaring over Washington.  Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in the center of Washington, DC for concerts, fireworks and the address by Trump.

Many op-ed articles in newspapers and media strongly condemned Trump's decision to give a public speech and hold a military parade on the Fourth of July holidays, saying it has divided the country.

Supporters of the U.S. president said he was expressing love for the country and the military. However, Trump's critics accused him of hijacking and politicizing a traditionally non-partisan holiday and using taxpayers’ money to stage it.

  • Published in World

Washington sanctions threaten Middle East security – Iranian Deputy FM

US sanctions threaten the security of the Middle East, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has warned. Araqchi made his statement while on a diplomatic tour of the Gulf region, following military tension with the US.

Speaking in Kuwait on Monday, Araqchi said that Washington’s policy of economic sanctions threatened “the security of the entire region,” according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website. “Countries in the region should be vigilant about this threat,” he added.

Araqchi’s pronouncement came after several weeks of escalating military tensions in the Persian Gulf. The US deployed an aircraft carrier group and bomber aircraft to the region citing unspecified Iranian threats, and following alleged acts of Iranian “sabotage” on commercial oil tankers near the Emirati port of Fujairah, earlier this month.

Also on rt.com US ‘not looking for regime change’ in Iran, says Trump, beefing up military in Middle East...

Both sides have bandied threats at each other, but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the notion of open conflict two weeks ago, saying “We don't seek a war, and they don’t either.” Nevertheless, US President Donald Trump announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East on Saturday, ostensibly for “defensive” purposes.

After waving the stick, Trump then dangled the carrot on Monday. “I do believe that Iran would like to talk,” he said. “And if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also.”

No talks

Although Araqchi stated on Sunday that “there are no direct or indirect talks between Iran and the US,” the diplomat embarked on a tour of three Gulf states the same day, to discuss cooperation and development. Araqchi visited Oman on Sunday and Kuwait on Monday, and will wrap up the tour with a visit to Qatar.

At the same time, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Pakistan and Iraq over the weekend. Speaking in Baghdad on Sunday, Zarif welcomed dialog with Iraq, which fought a brutal war against Iran under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. The eight-year conflict claimed more than a million lives and ended in stalemate in 1988.

Zarif proposed a non-aggression pact with its neighbors, some of whom are US allies. However, he also cautioned that the Islamic Republic is ready to defend itself against any attack, be it “an economic war or a military one.”

Also on rt.com Iran proposes ‘non-aggression pact’ to Gulf neighbors as regional tensions soar...

The Iranian FM also spoke out against US sanctions, enforced since Washington unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran Deal) last year, saying the US is “bullying other countries into compliance with its unilateral measures.”

  • Published in World

USA Announces 'Assistance' for Venezuela

The United States announced on Thursday, it would give 20 million dollars in ''humanitarian assistance'' to the Venezuelan population, while the South Amnerican government denounces Washington's attempts to promote violence and a coup d''état.

A day after the US president, Donald Trump, recognized as president 'in charge' of the South American nation to Juan Guaido, deputy of the National Assembly declared in contempt by the Supreme Court, ignoring the constitutional Government of Nicolás Maduro, the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that sum.

The United States, which imposes economic sanctions on Venezuela, pressures the regional nations to join its campaign of hostility against Caracas and is denounced for its attempts to promote destabilization and subversion in that territory, refers to the money as destined to 'cope with the severe shortages of food and medicines'.

Without referring to any of the punishments applied by Washington unilaterally to hit the economy of the South American nation, a note from the State Department mentions the existence of a political and economic crisis of which it blames the Maduro Government.

The National Assembly of Venezuela has highlighted the need for immediate international humanitarian assistance. In response, the United States is ready to provide emergency assistance, adds the text on the Parliament declared without a valid board of directors by the Supreme Court of Justice.

As a continuation of the interventionist stance repeatedly condemned by Caracas, the State Department said to ask the Venezuelan authorities 'to immediately implement the economic and political reforms necessary to put an end to hyperinflation, shortages of supplies and corruption.'

This announcement also comes a day after Pompeo challenged the Venezuelan president's decision to break diplomatic relations with the United States as a result of Washington's interventionism.

Maduro denounced on Wednesday that the Donald Trump administration is conducting an operation to impose a coup d'état with a puppet government and gave 72 hours to the staff of the US embassy to leave their country.

In response, Pompeo issued a statement in which it states that the United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will carry them out 'through the government of interim President Guaido.'

Since the beginning of this month, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry warned about the destabilizing actions of the United States to promote the ignorance of the legitimate and democratic institutions of the Latin American territory in an attempted coup d'état.

Declassified documents, testimonies of officials and journalistic investigations confirm the interest of the northern nation to regain control over the energy and mineral resources that belong exclusively to the people, the institution said in a statement.

  • Published in World

Joint Cuban, U.S. probe finds no evidence of sonic attacks

The Cuban Foreign Ministry has issued a statement calling on the U.S. government to stop the "political manipulation" of alleged health issues.

A fourth meeting was held in Washington D.C. Tuesday between authorities from law enforcement agencies from Cuba and the United States, the Cuban foreign ministry said, adding that joint investigations by the agencies from both countries have found no evidence of the alleged sonic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Havana.

The statement said that the Cuban delegation urged the United States government to stop its hostile behavior and “political manipulation” towards the Caribbean country using “the alleged health incidents that became a pretext to adopt new unilateral measures that affect the operation of the respective embassies, particularly, the rendering of consular services depended upon by hundreds of thousands of people.”

The meeting was concluded with an agreement to “continue with this dialogue and to keep holding the technical meetings between the law enforcement agencies from both countries to bring bilateral cooperation to fruition,” the statement of the Cuban ministry said.

Last year, so-called 'sonic attacks' led to the withdrawal of U.S. diplomatic staff in Cuba, after 24 staff displayed concussion-like symptoms, according to the State Department. No evidence was ever found to support the allegations.

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
  • Published in Cuba

Washington: What Motivates its Repeated Anti-chavista "punishments"?

Marco Rubio, the leader of the Anti-Venezuelan circus in the U.S.

Once again, as if it were a world government, the White House passes down sanctions against those who act regardless their laws.

Journalist Patricia Mazzei for the New Herald in Miami notified so this past Wednesday.

According to her article, now Washington decided to punish eight Venezuelan prominent personalities "for their participation in the recently inaugurated Constituent Assembly of Venezuela."

How, for example, they plan to punish what they think is a mortal sin?

Mazzei wrote: Trump’s administration will freeze their assets in the United States, they are banned to travel there and they won't allow North American citizens to do business with them.

Current and former Venezuelan government members would be affected, as well as a person accused by Washington of "promoting repression."

The list includes the following people:

Francisco Ameliach, governor for Carabobo State and leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV); Tania D'Amelio, member of the Electoral National Council; Adam Chávez, governor for Barinas State and brother of the deceased president Hugo Chávez.

Also, Hermann Escarrá, constitutional lawyer and delegate of the Constituent Assembly; Erika Farías, Minister of Urban Agriculture; Bladimir Lugo Armas, colonel of the Bolivarian National Guard; Carmen Meléndez Rivas, delegate of the Constituent Assembly; and Ramón Darío Vivas Velasco, Delegate of the Constituent Assembly and leader of the PSUV.

Those new punished join another list that includes President Nicolás Maduro, the vice-president Tareck El Aissami and other 20 current and former members of the Venezuelan government.

That was not the end of it, then they published an official statement of their Secretary of Treasure, Steven Mnuchin.

"The scorn of this régime for the will of the Venezuelan people is unacceptable, and the United States will support them in opposing the tyranny until Venezuela is restored to a peaceful and prosperous democracy".

Once again it was heard the voice of whom is consider by some the advisory of Trump’s administration, the republican senator Marco Rubio.

"I support that the president (Trump) has punished these corrupt officials of Maduro’s régime ", he said.

Mazzei clarified that Marco Rubio has exercised different pressures aimed at attaining penalties against Venezuela.

The time has come for the president make his promise good of imposing significant economic sanctions to the illegitimate dictatorship of Maduro."

These were the words of the North American senator who is part of the Commission of Intelligence of his high Chamber.

Acording to journalist Mazzei, Marco Rubio has a message for Maduro:

“The path you are on will not end well for you”. But is worth answering. The path Rubio is will end well if a few years ago he virtually fled from Florida avoiding serious charges for dirty performances?

Few have forgotten, also as an example, his scandal after it was known he had paid several times with a credit card of the Republican Party to pay his personal expenses.

Neither the very difficult situation The Washington Post threw on him when, after a thorough investigation, it was revealed that Rubio lied when talking about his parents past.

What happen then? For electoral reasons for a long period of time he "sold" them as heroic anti-Castro fighters who could flee from Cuba in 1956.

That is, two years prior the triumph of the Revolution, and not for political reasons, just like thousands of Cuban back then, for economic reasons.

This is just a glimpse of what is expected to be written on these matters.

No wonder Washington appeals to monumental violations of all legal behavior to sustain its very fragile arguments.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés/Cubasí Translation Staff

Trump Divides the Cuban “Exile” in Miami

The Spanish news agency EFE insinuated so from Miami.

It highlights the controversy between followers and opponents of approaching Cuba, “it can grow larger” with the changes announced by Donald Trump scheduled next Friday.

According to the same source, this will come amidst great expectation.

Such setback they say that the “anti-Castro groups” of Miami are eagerly expecting the so-called concessions to the island.

EFE says that the core is whether or not, a turning in the politics set under Barack Obama’s administration towards Cuba.

Such a setback, it underlined, it was a promise made by Trump in his electoral campaign of 2016 at the headquarters of Brigade 2506.

That military group, created by the CIA in 1961, attacked Cuba and became symbol of the far-right with Cuban origins.

EFE highlights that its association of veterans trusts Trump to meet his end regarding the Cuban issue.

This group, and other anti-Cuban groups financed by Washington, has asked the president “a zero politics towards Havana”, reads the comment.

“Obama’s concessions were an insult to 57 years of dictatorship”, declared the head of what is left of the failed brigade, Humberto Díaz-Argüelles.

The priority for Orlando Gutiérrez, head of the group Directorio Democratico, is still “reestablishment of freedom and democracy as objective of the North American politics towards Cuba.”

A commitment that, according to Gutiérrez, passes by turning back those “unilateral concessions” towards Cuba and in the “economic opening carried out without the régime granting anything back.”

On the contrary, The CubaOne Foundation, integrated by young Cuban-Americans, asked the leader not to return to the Cold War tactics and defend the North American interests as well as the well-being of the Cuban people.

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, leader of the Democracy Movement and opposed to the so-called blockade against the island, pled that any restriction doesn't affect the ties “of people to people.”

In that panorama, a survey published last Monday by Engage Cuba Coalition dismantles the thesis that republicans oppose the politics passed by Obama toward this.

In fact, the organization asserts, a majority of republican voters want to keep ties with the Cubans.

The study, carried out last May by the entity that comprises private companies, indicates that 64% of republican voters support the changes made by President Obama, while 22% is against it.

“Our new politics towards Cuba has strengthened the economy, created employments in the United States, and reinforced national security”, said the coalition.

They also alerted that it would be a shame that Trump pull back the current politics with Havana.

“If the President is willing to negotiate with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and the Philippines, why not with Cuba?”, wondered the president of Engage Cuba, James Williams.

Last Tuesday a journalist from the New Herald, Nora Gámez Torres added:

Even when President Trump has not announced yet what his politics toward the island will consist on, a result is already evident:

Cuban opponents of different political trends approve the need to make changes to press their government.

One of the leaders who command the labyrinth of groups directed from Washington, José Daniel Ferrer, wrote to favor the change because Cuba supports Venezuela.

Ferrer, let’s remember, supported the approach that started in 2014 by Barack Obama toward Cuba.

The “dissident”, remarked Gámez Torres, didn't specify which measures the U.S. president should revert.

The journalist remembered that Obama favored changes “boosted by the private sector and not by the dissidents.”

That, according to her point of view, divided to a degree the Cuban opposition.

But now, she emphasized, many of its members prefer a political change that joins the defense of human rights and the blockade to the investing of foreign currencies in a difficult moment for the Cuban nation.

There is the true face of Cuba’s enemies, only hours away from Trump to unroll his new politics towards Cuba.

The Third Way or Political Centrism in Cuba

For some time now has been brewing, essentially in the digital media, the idea of a “political centrism” in today's Cuba as part of the United States strategies to subvert the Cuban socialist pattern, despite the huge failures and slandering of the so-called “Cuban counterrevolution”. (i) A piece of news revealed by Wikileaks in 2010, showed as Jonathan Farrar, Head of the Interests Section of Washington in Havana back then, informed to the Department of State on April 15, 2009 how that "opposition" was really disconnected from the Cuban reality, it didn't have any influence power over the youths, and was more concerned about the money than in taking its platforms to wider sectors of society. (ii)

The political centrism in its origin is a concept of geometric root: the equidistant point to all ends. Supposedly it would be a political position placed between the left and right, between socialism and capitalism, a third way that "brings together the best ideas" in the ends that give it life and where moderation rises against any type of radicalism. Lenin qualified this posture of “treacherous utopism as a result of the bourgeois reformism". No doubt those denominated third ways, or centrisms have never been a revolutionary option, but strategies to establish, save, remake, modernize or restore capitalism.

When moderation is reconsidered in front of the Cuban revolutionary radicalism – this means going to the roots, nothing related to extremism which is another thing - (iii), I can’t help but finding certain analogies between that centrism that today is attempted to articulate in Cuba, with the nineteenth century autonomism.

The autonomism as a political trend was born in the first half of the XIX century, but it becomes a political party starting since 1878, as one of the fruits of the revolution of 1868. (iv) It was a trend that shared historical time with independentism, traditionalism, and annexionism. It was the trend par excellence of moderation, of evolution, enemy of the radical Cuban independentists. They also took a position "equidistant", between the traditionalism - the defense of the status quo - and the independence, but in defining moments, they joined traditionalism to brake and attack the revolution, which they considered the worst of all evils. Famous personalities of autonomism turned to annexionist ideas after the North American intervention-occupation in Cuba. Its main leaders were recognized for their intellectual skills, they were great speakers, but with an elite thinking, essentially bourgeois, therefore they could never rallied Cuban masses behind them. The Cuban people back then what needed the least was laboratory ideas. It was for this reason that when the struggle for independence restarted in 1895, the autonomist party was completely out of place in new national reality. The autonomism defended a moderate nationalism that excluded the masses. Their main goals was not severing the bond with "the Spanish mother land", but in modernizing its governance in the Island, no wonder the Cuban patriotic vanguard, lead by José Martí, fought against their ideas so hard. On January 31st, 1893 in one of his extraordinary speeches, Martí said: "… it was the particular case that those claiming the political dogma of evolution were simply retrogrades who kept for a people formed in the revolution the solutions imagined before it… ". (v)

However, the idea of supporting in Cuba a third force - moderate, centered or third way – gain strength in the U.S. foreign policy in the late 50’s, with the goal of preventing the 26 de Julio Movement come into power, something that became an obsession for the Eisenhower administration by yearend 1958. This tendency should be equidistant between Batista and Fidel Castro and its development was stimulated in both the political and the military fields. The CIA local station in Havana was the first to handle this idea and later the main executor. Officer David Atlee Philips confirms so in his autobiographical book The Night Watch, when he highlights that James Noel – head of the CIA station in Havana - had informed him in one of his few frequent meetings, on his recommendation to the U.S. government of discreetly sponsoring the action of a third political force in Cuba, "a group between Castro in the left and Batista in the right (…) ". (vi)

In February 1958, William Morgan a North American secret service agent had joined the II National Front of Escambray lead by Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo. His mission was to become the second in command of that guerrilla, something he achieved in no time as well as his rank as Commander. Morgan would not be the only agent the United States infiltrated in that area with the intention of stimulate a third guerilla force that could oppose at some point the forces from Sierra Maestra lead by Fidel Castro. (vii) The United States was also involved in other complots where different names of personalities who could join a political option that snatched off the hands of Fidel Castro the revolutionary victory, among them: the colonel Ramón Barquín, Justo Carrillo, head of the Montecristi Group, and Manuel Antonio, Tony, de Varona. Still on December 23, 1958 at a meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower expressed his hope in the growth, strength and influences of a "third force". (viii)

The creation of a "third forces" it was not only promoted by the United States, but also by some domestic politicians. "The Third Force – highlights Jorge Ibarra Guitart - was a movement of private civic institutions that representing the feeling of important sectors of the bourgeoisie and the small bourgeoisie promoted peace measures and reconciliation with the régime. The instigator, behind the curtains was José Miró Cardona who from the Friends of the Republic Society had already planned the tactics of mobilizing bourgeois institutions to force the régime to reach an agreement. This was the time to try such tactics, because there were circumstances that favored it: the bourgeoisie, when noticing that with every passing day more revolutionary organizations gain ground was worried by the eminent threat that represented for their political and economic interests, the development of a civil war with a popular participation". (ix)

As it was impossible for the United States to prevent the victory of the Cuban Revolution and the coming into power of 26 de Julio forces, in the early months of 1959, Washington’s main objective was to support and encourage personalities who within the revolutionary government were considerate "moderate", of center, as opposed to those who were qualified as "extremist", to avoid that the Revolution did not have a deep social reach. (x)

When Fernando Martínez Heredia, highlights that today in Cuba there is a right nationalism with ambitions of center that has "a cultural accumulation to which refer (xi), he is mentioning the long history of that nationalism that has as antecedent the political attitudes of autonomism; which in the years of Bourgeois Neocolonial Republic admitted and defended the dominance. The U.S. government has used it many times with the purpose of braking, avoiding or achieving situations after the revolution that kept safe the structures of capitalist dominance in Cuba, under better permission.

Today we see that right nationalism that is stimulated by those who oppose us, under the deceiving cloth of centrism. It pursues the sole objective that the desperate attempt of restoring capitalism in Cuba. Once again, it will be failed attempt, because the main obstacle this trend has encountered is that its ideas have never sunk into the people. That people which throughout history has embraced the independent, patriotic, national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist tradition; never that of autonomism, annexionism or right nationalism.

NOTES

  

(i) See text of Esteban Morales: The Cuban counterrevolution has never existed, in: Esteban Morales and Elier Ramírez, Approaches to the conflict United States - Cuba, Political Publisher, Havana, 2015, pp.363-367. Morales wonders in this work if this counterrevolution can be considered Cuban, as it practically committed suicide after being born assuming an agenda imposed by the U.S. government.

(ii) See: : http://razonesdecuba.cubadebate.cu/cablegates-wikileaks/los-estados-unidos-y-el-papel-de-la-oposicion-en-cuba/

(iii) Speech on September 3, 1979 in the opening session of the NOAL Summit with venue in Havana, Fidel expressed: "What can be refuted to Cuba? That it’s a socialist country? Yes, we are a socialist country (APPLAUSES), but we don’t seek to impose our ideas and our system on anyone neither inside nor outside the Movement. We don't have anything to be ashamed of for being socialist! That we made a radical revolution in Cuba? Yes, we are revolutionary radicals, but we don't seek to impose anybody, and much less to the No Aligned Movement, our radicalism". See: : http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/discursos/1979/esp/f030979e.html

(iv) See Elier Ramírez Cañedo and Carlos Joane Rosario Grasso, The autonomism in the crucial hours of the Cuban Nation, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2008.

(v) José Martí, Speech in Hardman Hall, New York, October of 1889, 10 in: Speeches, Social Sciences Editorial House, Havana, 1974, p.195.

(vi) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez, in: A fascinating history. The Trujillista conspiracy, Captain San Luis Editorial, Havana, 2009, p.50

(vii) Ibidem, pp.41-42.

(viii) Francisca López Civeira, The Government of Eisenhower before the Cuban Revolution: A new scenario, in: http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/articulos/2527

(ix) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez in: Ob.Cit, p.51.

(x) Abundant information on this regard can be found on the work of Luis M.Buch and Reinaldo Suárez, Cuban Revolutionary Government. First Steps, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2004.

(xi) See Cubadebate, March 17, 2016: http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2016/03/17/obama-no-pierda-la-oportunidad-de-hacer-algo-historico-podcast-video-y-fotos/#.WSmPPDfB-sx

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