Cuban Foreign Minister calls John Bolton the biggest threat to global security

Havana, July 13 (RHC)-- Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Friday slammed US National Security Adviser John Bolton as the biggest threat to global security.

"The influence of US National Security Advisor is the most serious threat to international peace and security", he wrote on Twitter.

The island´s top diplomat added that invoking the Monroe Doctrine in the Western hemisphere "is an attack on the sovereignty and free determination of peoples".

John Bolton, also described by Bruno Rodríguez in recent days as a 'pathological liar without treatment', for his trajectory of 'inventions' and 'falsehoods' constructed to justify aggressions against governments that are not liked by Washington,  in 2002 accused Cuba of being part of what he called “the Axis of Evil” and of producing biological weapons of mass destruction. Cuba then demonstrated, with great detail, Bolton's  infamous lie, who made a fool of himself in the face of world public opinion.

Last April, during a speech in Miami, Bolton reaffirmed that the Monroe Doctrine 'is alive and in good health' and threatened Cuba to end what the 2506 mercenary brigade  could not finish in 1961 in Playa Girón.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

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Bolton and Netanyahu killed 2005 Iran talks, ‘lured’ Trump into shredding 2015 deal - Iranian FM

National Security Advisor John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scuppered a 2005 nuclear agreement between Iran and the west, and did the same with President Trump, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.

“Bolton & Netanyahu killed Paris agreement between E3 & Iran in '05 by insisting on zero enrichment,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday. “Result? Iran increased its enrichment 100 fold by 2012.”

Referring to Bolton and Netanyahu as the “B Team,” Zarif then said that “they’ve lured Donald Trump into killing JCPOA w/the same delusion,” referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran Nuclear Deal.

Also on rt.com As Iran is pushed to step further away from nuclear deal, what’s next?...

Iran stepped up its uranium enrichment on Monday, going beyond the JCPOA-mandated cap of 3.67 percent purification level, in response to the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA last year, and application of biting economic sanctions on Iran. The step-up in enrichment was also carried out as a response to the JCPOA’s European signatories' failure to live up to their trade obligations with Iran under the deal.

Prior to Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, Netanyahu had pressured his American counterpart to abandon the deal, calling it a “historic mistake” and accusing Tehran of cheating on the deal - with the aid of a theatrical slideshow. In the run-up to the US withdrawal last year, Bolton, a longtime Iran war-hawk, called the deal a scam and promised regime change in the Islamic Republic by the year’s end.

Also on rt.com The world knows Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons – Revolutionary Guard’s chief...

A similar situation played out in 2005. After reaching an agreement with Germany, France and Britain, Iran agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment and to fully cooperate with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Though the US remained absent from negotiations, Washington then lobbied its European allies to demand that Iran have no uranium enrichment facilities on its own soil, under any circumstances. 

Hardliners within Iran considered the diktat unacceptable, and newly-elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abandoned the deal and resumed enrichment the following year. “We do not humble ourselves in the poisoned atmosphere created by foreign sources,” he said in his inauguration speech in August 2005.

As a result, an IAEA report in 2012 claimed that Iran had produced around 190 kilograms of 20-percent-enriched uranium – enough for a single nuclear warhead if further enriched. “Once you get to 20 percent,” Middle East analyst Paul Heroux told RT, “you’re basically 99 precent of the way” to weapons-grade uranium.

Also on rt.com ‘Unilateral bullying is worsening tumor’: China blames US pressure for Iranian nuclear crisis...

After passing the 3.67 percent enrichment threshold on Monday, a spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency threatened to once again up enrichment to 20 percent and to reactivate centrifuges that had lain dormant since the 2015 deal was signed. 

With the events of 2005 playing out again, Heroux cautioned that further sanctions and military action are out of the question for the west. 

“You can’t eliminate the knowledge Iran has,” he said. “You can’t bomb Iran’s knowledge out of existence. The right way is to go back to the negotiating table with Iran, and we’re probably going to get a worse deal.”

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US arms control office critically understaffed under Trump, experts say

A state department office tasked with negotiating and implementing nuclear disarmament treaties has lost more than 70% of its staff over the past two years, as the Trump administration moves towards a world without arms control for the first time in nearly half a century.

The Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence Affairs, normally a repository of expertise and institutional knowledge that does the heavy lifting of arms control, has been whittled down from 14 staffers at the start of the Trump administration to four, according to the former staffers. The state department declined to comment.

The state department has instead focussed its arms control efforts on “creating the environment for disarmament” (CEND)shifting the onus for disarmament from the nuclear weapons powers to non-weapons states.

An invitation to a 2 July state department conference on the subject invites non-nuclear states to come up with “measures to modify the security environment to reduce incentives for states to retain, acquire, or increase their holdings of nuclear weapons”.

The shift in approach comes as the administration claims to be conducting a review on whether to extend the New Start agreement limiting US and Russian strategic nuclear warheads, or find an alternative to it that would include China and new weapons systems.

Vladimir Putin has said Russia is in favour of a New Start extension, but warned that time is running out.

“If we do not begin talks now, it would be over because there would be no time even for formalities,” Putin told the Financial Times.

There was no sign Putin and Trump came any closer to agreement when they met at the G20 summit in Osaka on Friday. The White House said the leaders agreed to keep talking about a “21st-century model of arms control, which President Trump stated as needing to include China”.

China has ruled out participation in an arms control agreement with US and Russia whose nuclear arsenals are 20 times bigger than the Chinese, estimated at less than 300 warheads. Even if Beijing were willing, a trilateral agreement would require extensive and prolonged negotiation. But former officials and arms control experts in Congress say there have been no serious consideration of what to do when New Start expires in February 2021.

“There is no one home,” a congressional staffer involved in arms control said. “There is no serious effort to come up with a plan. There is nothing real going on.”

Frank Rose, under-secretary for arms control until 2017, said he had tried to rebuild the strategic stability bureau when he was in office, especially by recruiting a young generation of experts.

“We’ve got a real problem,” Rose said. “Regardless of your views on whether we should extend New Start or negotiate a new agreement, you need to have career expertise to actually do the negotiations.”

He added: “You don’t grow these people overnight. It takes time and nurturing.”

Pranay Vaddi, a former member of the strategic stability office, said: “The main mission and that office is implementing the existing arms control agreements with Russia the nuclear ones, New Start and INF and the sort of running the interagency process.”

After an exodus of most of the office’s staffers at the end of last year, Vaddi said: “The bottom line is that, for a myriad of reasons, the state department isn’t equipped [to pursue arms control negotiations]”

Few experts believe that the downgrading of the state department’s capacity to negotiate disarmament agreements is a case of negligence. It is more widely seen as a deliberate strategy directed by John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, and a lifelong opponent of arms control agreements which he sees as unnecessary constraints on US sovereignty.

Over little more than a year on Bolton’s watch, the US has pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which will terminate on 2 August.

Bolton is also reportedly pushing for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 but not ratified by a Republican Senate, to be withdrawn from Senate consideration and “unsigned”, as a possible prelude to a resumption of US nuclear testing.

Bolton has also made clear that he is firmly against the extension of the 2010 New Start treaty, which limits US and Russian deployed strategic warheads to 1550 each and also limits delivery vehicles. He told the Free Beacon news website an extension is “unlikely”, and that it would be “malpractice” to preserved a treaty he argued was so fundamentally flawed.

Bolton and other critics of New Start say it does not account for the rise of China and the emergence of new weapons such as hypersonic glide vehicles. However, according to the state department, the Russian Avangard hypersonic weapon would be covered by New Start, as could other new Russian weapons.

Arms control advocates argue Bolton has convinced Trump to insist on Chinese participation fully aware of Beijing’s adamant refusal, as a “poison pill” to kill off prospects of a new arms control treaty.

“Pursuing talks with other nuclear-armed states and trying to limit all types of nuclear weapons is an admirable objective, but such a negotiation would be complex and time-consuming,” Daryl Kimball, the head of the Arms Control Association, said. “There is no realistic chance a new agreement along these lines could be finalized before New Start expires.”

‘We blindfold ourselves’

If New Start is allowed to expire in February 2021 the world will be without any form of formal arms control agreements for the first time since 1972. Since the Cold War, the number of warheads around the world has shrunk from 70,000 to 14,000 now (more than 90% belonging to the US and Russia).

Nuclear arms experts believe that as the world moves back to unregulated nuclear competition, those numbers will start to rise again, especially as the accelerated development of missile defences ordered by Trump, increase Russian and Chinese anxiety about the reliability of their own deterrence.

The new era will be all the more dangerous without the mutual transparency provided by arms control agreements. Over the life of New Start, Russian and US experts have inspected each others nuclear weapons sites over 300 times, and there have been more than 18,100 notifications, in which the states have exchanged data.

“These are very specific: location information, notifications regarding the movement of our strategic forces, the specific locations of our strategic forces,” Joan Rohlfing, the head of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, said. “It’s quite extraordinary transparency and all of that would go away if we withdrew from the treaty or didn’t extend it.”

Rachel Bronson, the president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, likened the situation to a pistol duel. “We are so worried about what others might be doing elsewhere, that we blindfold ourselves.”

Bolton played down concerns that arms control would go off a cliff after New Start expires in February 2021. “I’ll just tell you as an old arms control negotiator, if you really want to negotiate, you can do it fast,” he told the Free Beacon.

New Start took 21 months from the start of negotiations to ratification. The JCPOA took 20 months to negotiate and was not subject to ratification.

Bolton’s previous record suggests that he is much better at knocking non-proliferation accords down than building them up. His earlier scalps include the Agreed Framework with North Korea and the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty. In his memoir, Surrender is not an Option, Bolton boasts of the bureaucratic cunning involved in sinking these agreements, and derides the diplomats in the state department as appeasers.

The national security adviser has displayed the same deft infighter’s skill since his return to government. He is steadily consolidating his grip on the National Security Council (NSC). The new director of relations with Europe and Russia, in charge of day-to-day contacts with Moscow, Tim Morison, a close Bolton ally and a fierce critic of New Start and other treaties. Morison will keep his current NSC arms control portfolio, diplomatic sources said.

The state department, which customarily takes the lead in arms control, has been hobbled by internal wrangling. The assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, Yleem Poblete, resigned in May after clashing with her boss, Andrea Thompson.

Thompson, the under secretary for arms control and non proliferation who does not have a background in arms control, has herself been weakened by a scandal involving undisclosed connections with the boyfriend of a convicted Russian agent, Maria Butina.

The lack of political appointees with a mandate from the White House to pursue arms control seriously, Vaddi said, is even more of a handicap than the lack of staff.

“The expert dialogues are only as valuable as the political empowerment that is given to them,” the former staffer now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said.

According to several sources, the NSC tried to stop a meeting between Andrea Thompson, the under secretary for arms control and non proliferation, and Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov in Geneva in January, according to two sources familiar with the arrangements.

The meeting went ahead but was kept brief, in the face of Bolton’s resistance to setting up a permanent dialogue with the Russians. A second Thompson-Ryabkov meeting in Prague on 12 June wrapped up after two hours and a half-hour lunch, with no timetable for future meetings or a plan for negotiations.

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US Disregards Negative Impact of New Measures on Cuban People

The U.S. administration has tried this Tuesday to justify the new travel restrictions to Cuba with the argument that they are measures against the government, despite the warnings of their negative effects on the people.

Republican President Donald Trump, who has considerably increased hostility against Cuba, announced Tuesday that he will prohibit citizens of this country from going to Cuba under prior authorization known as people-to-people educational group trips.

In addition, according to a statement from the State Department, 'will no longer allow visits to Cuba through passenger and recreational boats, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.

With these controversial steps, the federal agency said it seeks to prevent U.S. travelers from 'enriching Cuba's military, security and intelligence services.

In its statement, the State Department once again linked the measures against Cuba with the solidarity it maintains towards Venezuela and the constitutional government of Nicolas Maduro, which Washington insists on disregarding despite having been re-elected in May 2018 with 68 percent of the vote.

Trump's administration will continue a failed 60-year policy that harms the Cuban people and denies Americans their freedom,' Engage Cuba coalition President James Williams wrote on Twitter after the new limitations spread.

When National Security Advisor John Bolton announced on April 17 that new restrictions would apply to non-family travel, different groups and legislators also referred to the impact on Cubans.

The announcement of the administration of new hard-line restrictions causes pain to families and affects the growing Cuban private sector, said then Florida Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

  • Published in Cuba

Bolton calls on Venezuelan military to ‘protect the constitution’ by backing Guaido coup attempt

US National Security Advisor John Bolton called on Venezuela’s military to side with Washington protégé Juan Guaido, after the opposition leader declared a military coup in Caracas on Tuesday.

Bolton, one of the leading US figures in the operation to topple the Venezuelan government, called on Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino to side with Guaido, claiming this would protect Venezuela’s constitution.

: The FANB must protect the Constitution and the Venezuelan people. It should stand by the National Assembly and the legitimate institutions against the usurpation of democracy. The United States stands with the people of Venezuela.

Padrino earlier rejected Guaido as a traitor and said on Twitter that the national armed forces (FANB) were loyal to the legitimate President Nicolas Maduro.

Also on rt.com Venezuelan defense minister says army stands with President Maduro, denounces Guaido as traitor...

Guaido, the US-backed self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela, announced on Tuesday morning that the time for decisive action against the Maduro government has come and showed a group of people in military uniform standing by his side.

The government said only a small number of ‘traitors’ were supporting Guado’s ‘attempted military coup’ and promised to take control of the situation.

READ MORE: ‘Traitor troops’ stage coup attempt in Venezuela – VP

The opposition figure claimed to be the leader of Venezuela in January, declaring its elected president a ‘usurper.’ Washington immediately recognized him as such, as did US regional allies. The US has treated Guaido as if he were the actual leader of the country, allowing him to seize US-based assets belonging to Venezuela, appoint ‘officials,’ and otherwise act in an ‘official’ capacity.

The US has also provided a shipment of ‘humanitarian aid’ for Guaido’s people to take across the Colombian border into Venezuela, and supposedly distribute it to the local population in a bid to gain some popularity. The attempt was rejected by international relief organizations as a politicized publicity stunt, and ultimately failed when border guards wouldn’t take Guaido’s site and stopped the trucks.

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US cracking down on tourism, remittances and banking in Cuba sanctions push – Bolton

The US is targeting Cuba with additional sanctions, including restricting travel to the island nation, limiting remittances, and sanctioning additional entities, White House national security adviser John Bolton said.

US citizens sending remittances to Cuba will be limited t $1,000 per person per quarter, Bolton said on Wednesday. Non-family travel will be restricted to reduce “veiled tourism” that benefits the Cuban government and military, he added.

“Through the Treasury Department, we will also implement changes to end the use of ‘U-turn transactions,’ which allow the regime to circumvent sanctions and obtain access to hard currency and the US banking system,” Bolton said in a speech to veterans of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, when CIA-backed Cuban exiles tried to overthrow Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government.

"Obama administration sought to normalize relations with a tyrannical dictatorship that targets American citizens, murders and tortures political opponents and tramples upon every freedom known to man," says .

"The Trump administration is proud to announce several further measures we are adopting to reverse the consequences of the disastrous Obama-era policies and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism," says in Miami speech.

The move comes a day after the White House announced it would stop issuing waivers on implementing the Helms-Burton law, which would penalize anyone in the world who did business with Cuban entities using property seized from US owners following the 1959 Cuban revolution.

“No one will take the fatherland from us, neither by seduction nor by force,” Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Also on rt.com Trump opens Cuba up to property confiscation lawsuits, angering allies & foes alike...

Treasury has not officially announced the new sanctions, but Bolton said five entities will be added to the Cuban blacklist, including the military-owned airline Aerogaviota.

The US cut diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961, and over the following decades imposed a wide range of sanctions on the island nation, just 90 miles south of Florida. Former president Barack Obama sought to soften the US policy in 2015, leading to the reopening of the US and Cuban embassies and loosening of travel restrictions.

In June 2017, however, Trump rolled back all of Obama’s changes, returning to a hard-line policy on Cuba. Additional sanctions were introduced this year, as part of the US effort to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela spearheaded by Bolton and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), son of Cuban exiles.

The Trump administration has accused Cuba of “occupying” Venezuela, claiming that the Cuban military was helping Maduro stay in power.

 

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Bolton says Trump ‘very serious’ about ‘all options’ as Venezuela dismantles ‘terrorist cell’

Donald Trump is not kidding when he says “all options” to topple Maduro are open, National Security Adviser John Bolton said, as the Venezuelan government busted wannabe president Juan Guaido’s aide for running a terrorist cell.

“President Trump himself has been clear on this point on any number of occasions when he says all options are on the table. I think people need to understand and believe that; he’s very serious about it,” Bolton told Breitbart.

While refusing to explicitly confirm or deny whether the US is willing to arm the opposition or is mulling an all-out invasion of the country, Bolton did stress that the US has “no higher duty internationally” than to protect up to 50,000 Americans living in Venezuela from “violence and intimidation.”

Also on rt.com Bolton’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’ remark on Venezuela arrogant & insulting to all of Latin America – Lavrov...

A similar concern for some 800 American students at the US-run St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada was used as an excuse to invade that island nation in 1983 to oust the country’s leftist government. The tiny tropical paradise is located just 160 kilometers (99 miles) north of Venezuela.

Once again referencing the notorious Monroe Doctrine, Bolton essentially admitted the US plans to impose its hegemony over Venezuela, and to prevent Russia and China from even trying to help Caracas overcome its economic crisis – which the socialist government maintains was caused by US sanctions and the Washington-led global effort to isolate the country financially and politically.

Also on rt.com Lavrov’s deputy to war-hawk Abrams: Venezuela ‘aid’ op unacceptable, Russia to protect its interests...

“Our goal is to make sure these foreign influences are not controlling Venezuela and adversely affecting the United States and our interests in our own hemisphere,” he said. “So we’re talking here about wresting control away from a socialist autocracy and keeping the Monroe Doctrine alive in the Western Hemisphere to have powers outside the hemisphere not dictating what goes on here.”

Also on rt.com ‘Armed terrorist cell’: Venezuela’s Interior Minister confirms arrest of Guaido’s aide...

Maduro made another “big mistake” when he arrested Roberto Marrero, the aide of self-proclaimed ‘interim’ president Guaido, Bolton stated earlier on Thursday, threatening that the move “will not go unanswered.”

Venezuelan security forces said they caught Marrero red-handed and accused him of being “directly responsible for the organization of criminal groups” and of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks against the public and senior government officials.

  • Published in World

‘Embrace democracy, Venezuela!’ Bolton threatens new sanctions, Pompeo vows ‘action’

Failure of the attempted forcing of US “humanitarian aid” into Venezuela has not deterred the Trump administration hawks from seeking regime change in Caracas. They now threaten new sanctions unless Venezuela "embraces democracy.”

Convoys of USAID supplies intended for supporters of US-backed “interim president” Juan Guaido were supposed to cross into Venezuela from Brazil and Colombia on Saturday, but were turned back amid sporadic clashes between the opposition and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro.

Undeterred, US officials have doubled down on regime change rhetoric. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the violence as being “perpetrated by Maduro’s thugs” and said the US backs the families of those who suffered in their “demand for justice.”

The US will take action against those who oppose the peaceful restoration of democracy in Venezuela.

Also on rt.com Coups are Peace, Censorship is Trust, Intolerance is Love: 3 Orwellian slogans Western leaders adore...

Pompeo also called Maduro a “sick tyrant” for stopping trucks filled with aid, posted images of burning vehicles on the border bridge and appeared to endorse claims by Guaido supporters that the trucks were set on fire by Venezuelan security forces. There was no evidence to back that claim, however. The trucks had never crossed into Venezuela, and caught fire on the Colombia side of the bridge, where they had been surrounded by opposition activists.

We denounce Maduro’s refusal to let humanitarian assistance reach . What kind of a sick tyrant stops food from getting to hungry people? The images of burning trucks filled with aid are sickening.

Pompeo was echoing the words of US national security adviser John Bolton, who praised Guaido for “personally leading the effort to bring aid to Venezuelan people” in the same tweet in which he urged the Venezuelan military to defect to the US-backed pretender and “choose the road of democracy” over Maduro and a “band of thieves.”

Masked thugs, civilians killed by live rounds, and the burning of trucks carrying badly-needed food and medicine. This has been Maduro’s response to peaceful efforts to help Venezuelans. Countries that still recognize Maduro should take note of what they are endorsing.

According to RT correspondent Dan Cohen, who was on the ground in Cucuta, Colombia, Guaido was nowhere to be seen on Saturday, despite making a flashy appearance at a charity concert the day before and promising he would lead the charge back into Venezuela.

Also on rt.com Venezuela crisis: Border clashes, ‘masked thugs’, torched ‘aid’ & fake Red Cross...

Carrot and stick

Just over two dozen Venezuelan military and security personnel actually defected to the rebels on Saturday, according to another Guaido cheerleader, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida). Apparently frustrated by the pace of defections, Bolton has issued another threat to the Venezuelan military:

Venezuela’s military has a choice: Embrace democracy, protect civilians, and allow in humanitarian aid; or face even more sanctions and isolation.

Most high-ranking Venezuelan officials are already blacklisted by the US, and the country itself is under an economic, political and diplomatic blockade almost on the level of US sanctions against Iran and North Korea, so it is unclear what more Bolton could threaten them with.

Also on rt.com ‘All options open’? Venezuela’s Guaido set to meet Pence, ‘formally’ requests aid to topple Maduro...

On Thursday, Rubio insinuated that the US would be targeting the family of Ivan Hernandez, commander of Maduro’s presidential guard: “You should think very carefully about the actions you take over the next few days in Venezuela. Because...”

... your actions will determine how you spend the rest of your life. Do you really want to be more loyal to Maduro than to your own family?

On Saturday, Bolton was offering a carrot to balance out the proverbial stick, saying that Guaido has given amnesty to Venezuelan military members who defect, and that they can now “stand proud to work on behalf of a democratic Venezuela”

Also on rt.com ‘All options open’? Venezuela’s Guaido set to meet Pence, ‘formally’ requests aid to topple Maduro...

Even though he campaigned on a platform opposing nation-building, regime change and US interventions, President Donald Trump seems fully on board with the Caracas gambit. He has tried to leverage the Venezuela policy against Democrats at home, arguing that he is opposed to “socialism” anywhere. Pompeo and Bolton have already made threatening comments about Cuba and Nicaragua as well.

On Saturday, though, Trump merely linked a video from his speech about Venezuela in Miami earlier this week, preceded by a one-liner, “God Bless the people of Venezuela!”

  • Published in World
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