Moscow: US Seeks to Use Space as Theatre of War, Refuses Discussion with Russia

TEHRAN (FNA)- The head of the Russian General of Staff, Andrei Sterlin, stated that the United States is looking to use space as a theatre of war, condemning Washington for its refusal to engage in talks on the non-deployment of weapons with Russia and China.

"The Pentagon considers space as a potential theatre of military operations and demands to maintain complete freedom of manoeuvre in this direction. In this regard, the United States refuses to hold talks on the basis of the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in space and the formation of an international legal framework limiting its ability to use space for military purposes”, Sterlin noted, according to RIA Novosti.

US President Donald Trump in February signed a directive to establish a new Air Force branch, the US Space Force, which will focus on global surveillance, missile targeting, and countering Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapons, among other priorities.

Russia condemned the move, calling on the United States to avoid an arms race in space. China echoed Moscow's stance, stressing that Washington is trying to justify its supremacy in space by undertaking this step.

  • Published in World

Cuban Residents in China Condemn US Hostility

Cuban residents in China on Monday denounced the intensification of the hostile policy by the United States against their country and the objective of further hindering development with measures that tighten the economic, financial and commercial blockade on the Caribbean island.

During a meeting at the Cuban Embassy in Beijing, that community condemned Washington's efforts to suffocate the island nation with actions aimed at hindering progress and increasing deficits in all spheres of society. However, they expressed their conviction that it is another test that Cubans will pass again with more unity and initiatives to counter the White House's maneuvers.

'The blockade is like a wall through which we have to go on our own with intelligence and patience. We have to be united so that domestic decisions become the master key to open the doors to prosperity,' the journalist Abel Rosales told Prensa Latina.

He noted that this hostility forces Cuba to create its own path to development, and predicted its end sooner or later 'in light of the strength of good actions'.

Meanwhile, Chef Miguel Nicolao called on his compatriots to remain aware, united and to continue to work as they have done so far, because during the six decades of the Cuban Revolution, it has always been under the US siege and it has always resisted it.

'More than one thousand like (President Donald) Trump have passed and they have not been able to defeat Cuba. I don't think this will do,' said Nicolao, who demanded an end to all punitive measures taken by the US Government.

Similar statements were made by Anaisy Antunez, who also urged to redouble the struggle against the blockade and condemned the damage caused to all citizens in Cuba and abroad.

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Pompeo threatens Iran with more 'sanctions and isolation' after nuclear expansion

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that Iran faces “further isolation and sanctions” as Tehran increases its uranium enrichment beyond the limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Iran’s latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions,” Pompeo tweeted on Sunday. “Nations should restore the longstanding standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world.”

Speaking to reporters at an impromptu interview in New Jersey later in the afternoon, President Donald Trump added that "Iran better be careful" after breaching the nuclear cap.

As of Sunday, Iran is set to start enriching uranium above the agreed maximum purification level of 3.67 percent set by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a deal that the US unilaterally withdrew from last year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said earlier on Sunday that this step is intended as a “remedial” measure intended to force the European parties to the deal to fulfil their commitments. Zarif also added that the increase is permitted by the deal if Iran believes any signatories have not kept up their end.

Tehran has insisted that the Europeans expand their special payment system with Iran to trade in the country’s oil, a defiance of US sanctions. At present, the system only allows the trade of food and medicines.

Despite Pompeo’s warning, a purification level of 3.67 percent is still well below the roughly 90 percent needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

Since withdrawing from the JCPOA a year ago, Washington has reapplied biting economic sanctions to the Islamic Republic, targeting Iran’s energy, shipping and banking sectors, as well as the country’s military. Furthermore, the US has threatened to sanction any country importing Iranian oil, with no exemptions.

European leaders have sought to keep the deal alive, without upsetting Washington. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he intends to “resume dialogue” with Tehran, but cautioned that non-specific consequences “would necessarily” follow Iran’s breaking of the enrichment threshold. Britain and Germany both urged Iran to halt any further enrichment, but no European country has outright threatened sanctions.

The Trump administration’s hardline policy on Iran has stepped up in recent months, as military tensions flared in the Persian Gulf. The US accused Iran of bombing two oil tankers in the gulf, then promised retaliatory strikes when Iran downed an American spy drone late June. President Trump said that he called off the strikes at the last minute, but warned that the US was “cocked and loaded” to respond.

  • Published in World

U.S. Cyber Command back in the Headlines

Although the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) mission was top secret at first, it has gradually become crystal clear.

Its operations, surrounded by mystery for over a decade, are back in the headlines. According to press reports, after the downing of a U.S. drone last Thursday and the subsequent last-minute cancellation of airstrikes against Iranian’s military targets by Trump, the USCYBERCOM elite forces stroke back with a computer virus attack.

According to AP, the computer virus attack targets military objectives and “was a demonstration of the U.S.’s increasingly mature cyber military capabilities and its more aggressive cyber strategy under the Trump administration. Over the last year U.S. officials have focused on persistently engaging with adversaries in cyberspace and undertaking more offensive operations.”

In the same way, the New York Times released this month a news article where it was confirmed that Washington tried to sabotage Russia’s power grid and insert some computer viruses to activate them in case of conflict, or signs of a new Kremlin’s meddling in the U.S. internal affairs.

The BBC affirms that the USCYBERCOM is a virtual army, a new type of weaponry, a never seen before fight machinery.

The article adds that such elite unit of the Pentagon is responsible for defending the country and attacking its enemies in a war zone made up of codes and bits since 2009. The Cyber Command is one of the 10 combatant commands of the DoD (Department of Defense).

In the view of Michael Warner, USCYBERCOM historian who was quoted by the BBC, the creation of USCYBERCOM marked the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of institutional change and was then nominated as a special unit working in collaboration with National Security Agency (NSA) sharing its headquarter in Fort Meade, Maryland.

In 2017, the Pentagon decided to appoint USCYBERCOM as a “combatant command” and suggested the possibility of separating it from the NSA. A year later, the unit culminated the process of creation of its Cyber Combat Mission Force, which gathered nearly 6,200 soldiers organized in 133 teams.

“The Cyber Command is responsible for carrying out operations in the military computer network whereas the NSA is responsible for cyber espionage,” pointed out Max Smeets — cybersecurity investigator at Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC).

According to its website, the Cyber Command not only “leads operations and defends the U.S. networks.” But they also, “at the appropriate time,” look to “engage in military operations in the cyberspace” to guarantee the freedom of action of the U.S. and its allies” while “preventing the enemy to do the same.”

Moreover, Smeets believes that even though military cyber organizations (units, services, commands) operate under different legal, political, and operational restrictions, most of them lead a very specific operation:

“Causing a specific cyber effect, targeting, in a certain given period of time; with a strategic mission and overcoming other possible negative implications.”

Michael Ahern, Director of Power System at the Worcester’s Polytechnic Institute, told BBC Mundo thatthe security of electricity grids has become a concern for many nations,not only because of the possibility of “terrorist” attacks “, but also by “enemy“ governments.

He explained that “as modern societies become more and more dependent on computers and the exchange of data through the Internet, they have also become more vulnerable to cyber threats.

“Hence, a cyber-attack may potentially damage water pumping stations and other services of critical need can have more devastating effects than weapons in conventional wars.

“That is why it is likely that all nations are working to improve their cybernetic capabilities There have been a couple of attacks that caused power cuts in Ukraine, and in North America, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires network operators that comply with a critical infrastructure protection plan,” he pointed out.

In March, Venezuela suffered a cyber-attack leaving the country in the dark. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro denounced back then that “the sabotage against the power grip was carried out in order to trigger civil outrage aiming at undermining the political power” had been ordered by the U.S. Southern Command and staged from Houston and Chicago, two American cities.

According to experts quoted by the BBC, the USCYBERCOM has drastically grown in the last decade. Hence, its budget, workforce and operational range have multiplied considerably. The budget allocated by the government to this unit —US$120 in 2010— topped US$600 in 2018.

From June 2018 on, the Pentagon has granted even further authority to USCYBERCOM to implement more aggressive campaigns. Under the auspice of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the USCYBERCOM is allowed to “carry out clandestine military activities” in the network without seeking the President’s clearance.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSí Translation Staff

Cuba Condemns New US Unilateral Measures

The United States has no right to impose unilateral measures on entities from Cuba or any other country that do business with Venezuela, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Twitter.

The minister's statement came after the Government of the United States included the company Cubametales in its unilateral list of sanctioned enterprises for doing business with Venezuela, as the firm continues to import oil from the South American country.

The United States has no right to impose unilateral measures on entities from Cuba or any other country that do business with Venezuela. It is a violation of international law, of the norms that govern trade and an attack on relations among sovereign States, Rodriguez wrote on his account @BrunoRguezP.

According to the US Department of the Treasury, Cuba, in exchange for oil, continues to provide support, including defense, intelligence and assistance to security, to the administration of President Nicolas Maduro.

Washington has used Cuba's support for Venezuela on several occasions to justify new measures against the Caribbean island.

In light of that interfering stance, Havana has repeated that its solidarity with Venezuela is not negotiable.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba Loses again in Baseball Friendly

The Cuba baseball team lost 2-4 to the United States national team in the second match of the 2019 bilateral friendly series in North Carolina.

For the host team, that were first to hit, it was their second win, since they had previously defeated Cuba 5-1 in the first of five-games series, the eighth since the resuming of such events in 2012.

Cubans took an early lead in the fourth inning with a homer of Yordanis Samon with Raúl González standing on first base after a single.

Samón connected three hits like his fellow Cesar Prieto, as part of a 10-hit offensive against three rival pitchers.

Asa Lacy, the winner, Cole Wilcox and Tyler Brown worked from the mound at the BB & T Ballpark, of Charlotte, four, three and two innings, respectively.

The North American team tied the game in the sixth inning thanks to a hit of Spencer Torkelson with Tanner Allen on base; he also produced the tie-break run after a base on ball to Casey Opitz granted by the second relief pitcher Pedro Álvarez with the bases loaded.

All scored runs went to the defeated pitcher, Freddy Asiel Álvarez, who was substituted by Yudiel Rodríguez after 17 outs, with five strike outs.

Pedro Alvarez suffered the winning run of the North American college students, driven in by an outfield pop up of Torkelson that became a sacrifice.

pitcher Wilson Paredes also worked for Cuba, and he conceded two hits in three innings of the total of 11 hits by the local team, which has 21 wins and 15 loss over the past seven years.

This Thursday, the series will move to Durham, where the last match will be played on Saturday.

  • Published in Sports

USA Defeats Jamaica and will Defend Crown in Gold Cup

United States, current champion, beat Jamaica 3-1 today and will face Mexico in the Gold Cup final of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football within three days.

The current champions defeated the other finalists of previous edition of this tournament, number 14, in 2017, with a goal of Weston McKennie and two of Christian Pulisic, on the 52 and 87.

The game was held at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, the game was halted for almost an hour and a half, since the 17th minute, by a dangerous electrical storm.

Shamar Nicholson (69), scored for the Caribbean team with a header, the only player who has scored against the North American team in this competition.

On the road to the finale, the U.S. team dominated group D with wins 4-0, 6-0 and 1-0 against Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama, and in the quarterfinals they beat the surprising Curaçao team.

On the other hand the Mexican team beat Haiti 1-0 in the first semifinal and won access to the final match on July 7th at the Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Mexico, leader of group A and punisher of Costa Rica in the best of eight, had a rough time because the decisive goal came in the third minute of overtime after the draw in the regular time.

Raúl Jiménez kicked a penalty for a team that had no ideas on the pit and on top of that met a strong Haitian defense.

In addition, the Aztec team, top winner of this competition with seven titles suffered the absence on the bench of its technical director, the Argentine Gerardo Tata Martino, due to the excessive accumulation of yellow cards.

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World Peace Council Condemns Blockade and Sanctions against Cuba

The World Peace Council (WPC) on Monday repeated its condemnation of the blockade and new sanctions imposed by the United States on Cuba to destroy its Revolution.

'We want to express our unrestricted support for the Cuban people and nation who are victims of the most horrible persecution by the United States and its president, Donald Trump,' WPC President Socorro Gomes said in a brief video sent to the Prensa Latina office in Brasilia.

The Brazilian pacifist and politician charged that Trump 'is implementing Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to strangle the Cuban economy and install suffering and chaos in order to destroy the Cuban Revolution'.

'That would be impossible, because the Cuban Revolution has been confronting the US genocidal blockade for 60 years and keeps its banner of self-determination, of self-defense of the sovereign and socialist State. We know that once again, the Cuban people will win,' she underlined.

In the video, Gomes expressed indignation over the criminal attitude by the United States, which is trying to destroy a sovereign nation that lives in peace and seeks to share its people's fruits and wealth for all.'

  • Published in Cuba
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