Friday, January 12, 2018

Today's links

1-- Trump waives Iran nuclear sanctions, but for last time: White House

US President Donald Trump has reluctantly agreed not to reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran, but said it would be the last time he issues such a waiver, according to the White House.
"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance," Trump said in a statement on Friday.

Trump said he wanted America's European allies to use the 120-day period before sanctions relief again comes up for renewal to agree to tougher measures and new conditions, otherwise, he noted, Washington would pull out of the deal.
"I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw," he said.

The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached between Iran and six world powers -- the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany -- in July, 2015.
The deal puts limitations on parts of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program in exchange for removing all nuclear-related sanctions.

Trump said that he was willing to work “with Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran. But any bill I sign must include four critical components.”

He said, first, Iran must “allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors.”

However, since the JCPOA Implementation, the IAEA has been verifying and monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance.

Second, the president added that the bill “must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon,” but Tehran itself has always asserted that it never sought to build a nuclear weapon.

Third, Trump noted that “unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date.”

His administartion has been upset at the deal's "sunset clauses" that will put an end to restrictions on Iran's nuclear program after a few years as well as the agreement's “total silence on Iran's missile programs.”

Finally, he said, “the legislation must explicitly state in United States law—for the first time—that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions.”

Washington claims Iran’s missile program is in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal.

Tehran, however, insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolutions because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Trump also said that he had “engaged with key European allies in seeking to secure a new supplemental agreement that would impose new multilateral sanctions if Iran develops or tests long-range missiles, thwarts inspections, or makes progress toward a nuclear weapon.”

“And, like the bill I expect from Congress, these provisions of a supplemental agreement must never expire,” he said, adding, “The United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.”

Trump had come under heavy pressure from European allies to issue the sanctions waiver.

On Thursday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, together with foreign ministers of France, the UK and Germany delivered a strong defense of the deal in separate statements, which were issued following a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels.

While Trump approved a sanctions waiver, the US Treasury Department announced that it has imposed sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and companies, including Iranian Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.

Trump again supports violence in Iran

The Republican president used his statement to, once again, voice support for a recent wave of violence in Iran.

2--Trump's announcement on nuclear deal 'desperate attempt': Iran FM

The "JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance -just like Iran," Zarif added.

3-- Warning for Democrats, and Indeed for All Americans

Hayden headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005. It was on his watch that the NSA made the decision to spy on American citizens when he championed the Trailblazer Program. It was Hayden who targeted whistleblowers Thomas Drake, Bill Binney, and Kirk Wiebe. It was Hayden who created a domestic call telephone database to keep a record of every phone call and text message made by every American and to hold it forever. And he’s been utterly unapologetic. Hayden said during his confirmation hearings that intercepting the communications of Americans was “consistent with the Constitution,” even if it meant overriding or ignoring laws forbidding warrantless wiretapping.

Hayden served as CIA director from 2006 to 2009, where he oversaw the agency’s system of secret prisons and the extraordinary rendition program. While there, he steadfastly supported the agency’s torture program, lied to Congress about it, and tried to loosen regulations that would have allowed drone strikes based on the “behavior of ground vehicles.”

And don’t forget that Hayden, along with others relegated to the dustbin of history like former CIA leaders George Tenet, Jose Rodriguez, Mike Morrell, John McLaughlin, and Philip Mudd, all co-authored a “rebuttal” of the Senate Torture Report, saying that torture worked. And it wasn’t really torture. Shameful. (“Won’t somebody please think of the torturer!”)...

Brennan also had no respect for the Congressional oversight committees. He famously ordered his spies to hack into the computer system of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, lied about it, and then when caught, filed a “crimes report” with the Justice Department asking that the Intelligence Committee investigators be arrested. If that isn’t anti-Constitutional authoritarianism, I don’t know what is.

An even more important thing that we should remember about Brennan is that he was not a johnny-come-lately to intelligence. He didn’t just appear in the Obama campaign as a fresh-faced CIA Democrat. He had been the Number 3 at the CIA during the George W. Bush administration. He was up to his neck in the torture program, his denials notwithstanding. He was no liberal.....

James Clapper is perhaps most famous, or infamous, for looking Senator Ron Wyden in the eye in an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee and telling him point blank that the NSA was not, repeat not, spying on American citizens. Lying to Congress is a crime. Spying on Americans is a crime. But Clapper paid no price for his insolence.

When Clapper finally submitted his resignation in 2016, Wyden said, “During Director Clapper’s tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in a deception spree regarding mass surveillance. Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them.” That’s Clapper’s legacy. He’s a liar.

4--Trump attempting to sabotage Iran nuclear deal: Analyst

US President Donald Trump’s plan to impose additional sanctions against Iran that are separate from those covered under the international nuclear agreement violates the “spirit” of the deal and is a “clever way” of sabotaging it, says Gareth Porter,  an American investigative journalist and policy analyst.

“Now there are indications that there's a strategy that the White House has agreed to, obviously at the behest of its foreign policy advisors, to basically do something more clever, which is not to withdraw from the agreement officially, but rather continue to levy new sanctions against Iran which are not in keeping with the agreement,” Porter told Press TV on Friday.

“That appears to be a way of satisfying the necessity to frustrate the essential requirements of the agreement on one hand while at the same time basically taking a position that is clearly at odds with the spirit of the agreement and which Iranians and everyone else associate it with the nuclear agreement and recognize as sabotaging,” he added.

In October, Trump extended the nuclear-related sanctions relief but refused to certify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, warning that he might ultimately terminate Washington’s participation in defiance of all the other signatories.

This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly verified Iran’s adherence to the terms of the JCPOA since January 2016, when the deal took effect

5-- Catherine Deneuve and the French Feminist Difference

And then, after a few weeks, the tone in France began to shift. Intellectuals began voicing their concerns that such denunciations were going too far. Ms. Deneuve, in a televised interview, declared: “I will certainly not defend Harvey Weinstein. I have never had much consideration for him. I always felt there was something disturbing about him.” However, she said she found extremely shocking “what is happening on social networks around it. It is excessive.” And she wasn’t alone.

There was something about the recent big displays of American sisterhood laid out on the cover of Time magazine, and at the Golden Globes ceremony, where women turned up dressed in black with their “Time’s Up” pins, that seemed to trigger Gallic irritation. In this week’s letter, the signatories worried that the “thought police” were out and that anyone who voiced disagreement would be called complicit and a traitor. They noted that women are not children who need protecting. But there was also this: “We do not recognize ourselves in this feminism,” they said, which “takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality.”

Call it a cliché if you like, but ours is a culture that, for better and for worse, views seduction as a harmless and pleasurable game, dating back to the days of medieval “amour courtois.” As a result, there has been a kind of harmony between the sexes that is particularly French. This does not mean that sexism doesn’t exist in France — of course it does. It also doesn’t mean we don’t disapprove of the actions of men like Mr. Weinstein. What it does mean is that we are wary of things that might disturb this harmony.

And in the past 20 years or so, a new French feminism has emerged — an American import. It has embraced this rather alien brand of anti-men paranoia that Ms. de Beauvoir described; it took control of #MeToo in France, and this same form of feminism has been very vocal against the Deneuve letter. Today, Frenchwomen, too, have the girls’ nights out that Ms. de Beauvoir once found so foreign.

Ms. de Beauvoir was in many ways easy to mock: She wrote in a direct, authoritative, self-assured way that may have sounded arrogant to readers unaccustomed to its bluntness. But the epidermic reaction across the Atlantic, to both Ms. de Beauvoir and to that letter, may in fact underscore the sharpness of the French critique. To many of us in France, Simone de Beauvoir could have been writing yesterday: “Relations between men and women in America are one of permanent war. They don’t seem to actually like each other. There seems to be no possible friendship between them. They distrust each other, lack generosity in dealing with one another. Their relationship is often made of small vexations, little disputes, and short-lived triumphs.

6-- Congress unleashes propaganda coup aimed at Putin

7----US-Backed Forces In Syria Release And Regroup Captured ISIS Fighters - For Round 2

8--Trump gives green light for Israeli repression of Palestinians

9--North Korea Moves Toward Détente With Seoul

10--Trump Keeps U.S. in Iran Nuclear Deal But Adds New Sanctions

President Donald Trump decided Friday to continue to waive economic sanctions related to the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, leaving the deal intact for now, but issued new sanctions against 14 people and entities involved with the country’s ballistic missile programs and a crackdown on government protesters.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the nuclear agreement negotiated by his predecessor and in October declined to certify that it’s in the interests of the U.S. But he has so far stopped short of pulling the U.S. out of it altogether. Trump said this would be the last time he issues a waiver to maintain the accord, and he bluntly put the onus on European nations to agree to changes.

“Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said in a statement issued Friday. “This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”...

“We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are also targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people.”...

On Friday, the U.S. also sanctioned Iranian entities including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Electronic Warfare and Cyber Defense Organization and Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace and National Cyberspace Center. Several Chinese nationals and Chinese companies, as well as Malaysia-based Green Wave Telecommunication, were sanctioned for providing procurement support to Iran.

11-- Trump’s Demand to Rewrite Iran Deal Tests a Weakened Diplomatic Corps

The nuclear deal, Mr. Trump said, drove Iranians into the streets because the government misused the proceeds from the lifting of sanctions. “It has served as a slush fund for weapons, terror and oppression, and to further line the pockets of corrupt regime leaders,” he said in a statement....

The administration, other experts said, is locked into a policy that has two major pillars: dismantling Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal and confronting Iran on its aggression in the region, through its support of militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and other proxies in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

That is not surprising, given that the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, and the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, are former commanders who served in Iraq and blame Iran for the death of American soldiers there.

by former Brit spy, Christopher Steele) and its dissemination (by Steele and the Democrat hired contractor, FUSION GPS,) to the FBI and the press, is fully exposed, the American people will be confronted with the stark dilemma of how to deal with the fact that there was a failed domestic coup attempted by members of the U.S. intel and law enforcement community. The facts will show that the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the CIA and the FBI conspired and meddled in the 2016 Presidential election. They lied to a Federal judge about the origins of the dossier and used those lies to get permission to spy on Trump and members of his campaign staff.

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