A "male prostitute" at OAS: Luis Almagro

Washington and its Organization of American States (OAS) show Venezuela as hell, while silencing the Brazilian debacle.

Thus published on Thursday The New York Times in a report by journalists Simon Romero and Dom Phillips.

They wrote from Rio de Janeiro that President Michel Temer, besieged by the complex situation of the country, deployed Wednesday federal troops in the capital, Brasilia.

Previously, they said that hundreds of protesters had clashed with the security forces, with people injured, beaten and detained.

Afterwards, Brazilian Defense Minister Raul Jugmann assured that when Temer ordered street patrols, he only tried to “restore order”.

Journalists Romero and Phillips added that the protesters set fire to the Agriculture Ministry and other government offices were looted.

According to estimates by regional officials, the newspaper indicated that around 35,000 people participated in Wednesday’s protests in Rio de Janeiro alone.

"A protest that should have been peaceful deteriorated into violence, vandalism and disrespect”, Jungmann said.

For their part, Romero and Phillips recalled that the use of the armed forces Brazil is something very sensitive for those who hate the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985. Historical brutal scenario where thousands of Brazilians were detained, tortured, murdered and disappeared.

One of those victims was Dilma Rousseff, today’s former president who is seeing her enemies involved in corruption acts now. Tensions rise in Brazil, sped up by a scandal linked to Temer.

What happened? An entrepreneur recorded a dialogue with the latter, where he approved to pay bribes to buy silences and to obstruct anticorruption probes.

The disclosure of those recordings on May 18 prompted the collapse of Brazil’s financial markets, a probe against Temer and widespread calls for his resignation.

Victor Guimarães, a 26-year-old activist from the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement, said he was in front of Congress, when the police attacked them (protesters).

"The largest contingent of the protest hadn’t reached the place yet, and even so, they shot grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets”, he added.

"The police wanted to expel everyone from the esplanade", assured Guimarães, who was hit on the head by a bullet.

The report by Romero and Phillips added that "Temer has also been accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes and illegal payments".

Meanwhile, scholars specializing in the history of Brazil bet that tensions will continue there.

However, important US outlets do not dedicate the same space, continuity or language, when they publish them.

What would happen, for example, should Venezuela’s armed forces take the streets of its main cities, as it happened in Rio de Janeiro?

Something that, of course, has deserved no word of rejection from the illustrious Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.

                                                               

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff






Bolivia's Evo Morales Says Racism a Tool for World Domination

Morales warned against the perils of racism, referring to the state of ignorance, turned economic and institutional apparatus, as a tool of domination.

"Racism is one of the instruments of domination, subjugation, and humiliation, not only in Bolivia but throughout the world," said President Evo Morales.

RELATED: Bolivia's Evo Morales Criticizes How the OAS is Manipulated

A member of the Aymara nation, and the first Indigenous president of Bolivia, Morales was speaking at the Fifth Session of the Ibero-American Network Against Discrimination in the city of Santa Cruz.

During his speech Morales warned against the dangers of racism, referring to the state of ignorance, turned economic and institutional apparatus, as a weapon of domination. He added that what is needed to free Pachamama from the scourge of racism was a “plurinational planet.”

"Like here, in Bolivia, the cost was hefty. We suffered a lot in 2006, 2007, 2008, to form a plurinational state. Our goal should be, our desire should be, to develop a plurinational America, a plurinational planet, and not only a plurinational state of Bolivia because our people are so diverse around the world," Morales emphasized.

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The Bolivian president said that approving measures against racism is simple, but difficult to implement and enforce.

He suggested taking counsel from young people to achieve a more just society, free of racism and discrimination.

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US & Saudi Arabia say it's necessary to maintain Syria whole & united – White House

The Syrian conflict must be solved through political means with the country’s unity and territorial integrity maintained, the US and Saudi Arabia has said in a joint statement released by the White House on Tuesday.

Washington and Riyadh “emphasized the importance of reaching a permanent solution to the conflict in Syria based on the Geneva declaration and Security Council resolution 2254, in order to maintain the unity and integrity of Syrian territory,” the statement read.

 
U.S. President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and arab leaders pose for a photo during Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh © Jonathan Ernst

The announcement, which summed up the discussions of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last weekend, said that after the end of hostilities, Syria must become “a country that represents the entire spectrum of the Syrian community and free from sectarian discrimination.”

The Geneva II Communique (2014) and UNSC resolution 2254 (2015) envisages a roadmap for a political solution of the Syrian conflict, urging a ceasefire, transitional government and free elections in the country.

Saudi Arabia has also backed “President Trump’s decision to launch missiles at Shayrat Airbase” Tuesday's statement said further.

The US President ordered a barrage of Tomahawk missiles fired at Syria’s Shayrat airbase in response to an alleged chemical attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the country’s Idlib province on April 4. Washington immediately labeled Bashar Assad’s government as the perpetrators of the attack despite Russia calling for an impartial investigation and Syria denying the charge.

“The two sides emphasized the importance that the Syrian regime adhere to the 2013 agreement to eliminate its entire stockpile of chemical weapons,” the statement read.

During Trump’s visit to the Gulf kingdom, the US President and King Salman ”agreed to boost cooperation in order to to eliminate Daesh, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations,” the statement also said.

“The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to curb the flow of foreign fighters and cutting off funding supplies for terrorist organizations.”

Saudi Arabia had previously been blamed for backing extremists in Syria, with Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails saying the Saudis are “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups.”

READ MORE: Trump strikes arms deal with Saudis worth $350bn, $110bn to take effect immediately

The US has provided weapons to the so-called “moderate” rebels fighting the Syrian government with the arms often ending up in the hands of Islamic State or the al-Qaeda offshoot, Jabhat al-Nusra.

Washington and Riyadh also supported the Iraqi government’s efforts to tackle the Islamic State (IS, Daesh, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group while underlining the importance of “preserving the unity and integrity of Iraqi territory.”

Trump and the Saudi monarch then turned on Iran, saying they need to “contain Iran’s malign interference in the internal affairs of other states, instigation of sectarian strife, support of terrorism and armed proxies, and efforts to destabilize the countries in the region.”

READ MORE: US changes tactics against ISIS, working on plan with 'enthusiastic' Russians

They also said “the nuclear agreement with Iran (signed under the Obama administration) needs to be re-examined in some of its clauses,” the statement read.

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Venezuela Slams Colombia for Provocative Border Occupation

Less than two months ago, on March 31, Colombia security officials were gathered near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge in Cúcuta.

On Sunday, the Government of Venezuela expressed displeasure with what it viewed as an antagonistic stance taken by Colombian security forces, who posted near the Paraguachón region of La Guajira.

RELATED: Despite Police Attacks, Colombia's Civil Strike Continues

Armored combat vehicles occupied space only a few meters from their shared border. The Venezuelan government viewed this as a provocative move on the part of the Colombian State.

According to a statement from the authorities, this is not the first seemingly aggressive action by the Colombians. Less than two months ago, on March 31, Colombia security officials were gathered near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge in Cúcuta.

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The statement also pointed out that, recently, top Colombia officials have made false declarations that migrants from Venezuela to Colombia are committing acts of large-scale violence. "The provocation aims to divert attention from the political and social crisis in the Valle del Cauca, Buenaventura," the statement explained.

The Venezuelan government has warned the international community about the threat to the peace accords signed in 2016. The officials fingered their neighbor's actions as an aim to undermine international peace initiative that contributed to ending a war that had ravaged the region for decades.

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Blair prosecuted for Iraq War? Ex-PM’s legal immunity challenged in court

The first steps towards overturning a legal ban on prosecuting former Prime Minister Tony Blair over the Iraq War will be considered by the High Court on Tuesday.

A private criminal prosecution against the former Labour PM was blocked last year when it was ruled Blair had immunity from any charges related to the Iraq War and that any such case could also “involve details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act.”

 
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair meets British troops, Iraq, May 29, 2003. © Stefan Rousseau

A more senior judge will consider on Tuesday whether there are sufficient grounds to grant a judicial review of the rejection of the prosecution.

Last year’s private prosecution, brought by a former top Iraqi general now living in exile – General Abdul-Wahid ar-Ribat – wants Blair, his foreign secretary Jack Straw, and Lord Goldsmith, who was attorney-general in the run up to the invasion, to face trial in a British court.

It seeks their conviction for the crime of “aggression” and follows last year’s damning Chilcot report, which found Britain invaded Iraq under the false pretext that deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction.

The High Court judge on Tuesday will consider paper submissions made by lawyers on both sides. There will be no public hearing.

It will also decide whether the government’s top law officer, Attorney-General Jeremy Wright QC, can join the case. Wright wants the ban upheld, believing it is in the public interest that private prosecution be blocked.

“The next stage will be the court considering the papers and making a decision on whether to grant permission for a judicial review,” a spokesperson for Wright told the Guardian.

“The attorney is seeking to intervene to represent the public interest.”

Chilcot reveals Blair's letters to Bush

Wright argues that the case for the crime of aggression does not exist in English law, even though it does in international law.

That argument, however, appears to have been undermined in a document written by Goldsmith himself. In his 2003 memo on the legality of the Iraq War, Goldsmith, who was then attorney-general, wrote: “Aggression is a crime under customary international law which automatically forms part of domestic law.”

READ MORE: Chilcot’s forgotten witnesses – Britain’s Iraqi diaspora (VIDEO)

After the Chilcot Report was released, some families of British service personnel who died fighting in Iraq called for Blair to face criminal charges.

It is not clear when the decision by the High Court will be made public.

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Trump says he had ‘absolute right’ to share data on 'flight safety & terrorism' with Russia

Donald Trump said he wanted to discuss “facts” with Russia, ranging from airline safety to terrorism, during last week’s White House meeting. A Washington Post story has accused him of revealing classified information to Russian officials.

In a tweet, Trump said he had an “absolute right” to discuss these matters with Russia, noting that the conversation was held at an “openly scheduled” White House meeting.

@realDonaldTrump As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining....

The “facts” discussed included terrorism and airline flight safety, according to Trump, who noted that he wants Russia to “greatly step up their fight” against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

@realDonaldTrump ..to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.

Trump sent out the tweets after a Washington Post story accused him of revealing highly classified information to Russian officials during last week’s Oval Office meeting.

The claims in the Washington Post have been refuted by multiple White House officials, including National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

US President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov © Russian Foreign Ministry

The story – which cited unverifiable sources and unnamed current and former officials – claimed that Trump disclosed “code-word information” related to IS during the May 10 meeting.

The information was allegedly disclosed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

The report claims the information had been obtained from “a US partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement,” and was not authorized to be shared with Russia, the US’ allies, or even within much of the US government.

Trump and his staffers have been repeatedly accused of having ties to Russia, allegations which the White House denies.

Later on Tuesday, the Kremlin dismissed the Washington Post allegations, saying the story included nothing worth discussing.

“This is not a topic for us. It’s nonsense," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “We do not want to have anything to do with this nonsense. This is utter nonsense and it is not something to either confirm or deny,” Peskov said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the report as part of a coordinated effort to put pressure on the Trump administration.

"This is another attempt to exert pressure on the new US administration and make deals related to various political appointments and lobbying. We can’t even say now that the media are biased because they are openly carrying out a political order," the diplomat told Kommersant FM.

Senate investigators are currently looking into the alleged ties, though Trump's critics are calling for an independent investigation into supposed communications between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey last week, admitting that "this Russia thing" was on his mind when he made the decision. Comey had been leading an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's advisers and Russian officials when he was abruptly fired.

 

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Argentines protest Supreme Court ruling on Dirty War sentences

Tens of thousands of Argentines protested on Wednesday against a Supreme Court ruling that could decrease jail time for those convicted of human rights abuses during the country’s 1976 – 1983 military dictatorship that killed as many as 30,000 people.

The ruling was widely criticized, including by President Mauricio Macri, and Congress passed a law earlier on Wednesday to block future reductions of sentences for killings, torture, kidnappings and other human rights violations during the so-called Dirty War. “Judges: Never again. No free genocidists,” read banners in the Plaza de Mayo of Buenos Aires.

The Supreme Court’s May 3 decision ruled in favor of Luis Muiña, who was sentenced in 2011 to 13 years in jail for kidnapping and torturing five people during the dictatorship. The court said a law known locally as “two for one” that allows every day spent in jail before a final sentence to count for two days when more than two years have been served, could apply for human rights cases.

“I would like to congratulate the Congress for the speed at which it resolved the legal vacuum left by this unfortunate 2-for-1 law,” Macri said in a press conference earlier on Wednesday. “I am against any tool that is in favor of impunity, more so when this tool is applied to crimes against humanity.”

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No secret message: Lavrov didn’t deliver anything from Putin to Trump, says presidential aide

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not exchange any messages through Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov when he met Trump in Washington DC, the Russian presidential aide Ushakov confirmed.

Yury Ushakov on Thursday addressed journalists, rejecting earlier reports about Lavrov passing on a message.

 
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. © Reuters

During his three-day visit to Washington Lavrov held talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump. Moscow has welcomed the results of the talks, but noted that it is “too early to draw any conclusions” as huge work is still ahead, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

“Of course, the fact that the conversation is being held is rather positive. The presidents have already talked three times by phone and further to this dialogue at the highest level, Mr. Tillerson was hosted in Moscow and Lavrov was hosted in Washington. That is why these facts are certainty positive,” Peskov said. He added that there should be “cautious optimism” speaking about any thaw in the relations between the two countries.

Speaking about the possibility of Putin and Trump meeting face to face, the Kremlin spokesperson noted that this may happen during the G20 summit, which will take place in Hamburg in July.

Lavrov’s visit is one of the highest-level contacts between the Russian and the US governments since Trump took office in January. The sides agreed to continue cooperation to solve international problems, including the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, despite any difficulties in bilateral relations.

READ MORE: Lavrov trolls NBC before Trump meeting as US media, Democrats lose it over Russia

Prior to the meeting with Trump, Lavrov held talks with Tillerson, in which the two diplomats discussed progress in the fulfillment of the Minsk peace agreements and touched upon crisis in Syria.

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