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Donald Trump to meet press on 11 January over conflict of interests

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World has been looking for the news about real policies of newly elected US President Donald Trump to have an idea about what kind of presidency he would prefer to install- particularly if he would make nay departure from the usual US foreign policy matters with regards to Russia and Palestine or he would also continue the Neocon ideas of regimes everywhere by terror wars to make entire world to promote US agenda for the world.

Already, Trump has revealed his conflictual mindset by making contradictory statements, especially its readiness to promote Israel in Mideast to shield the crimes being perpetrated by its military and police against humanity in Palestine. His policy statement would make the matter somewhat clear to the world.

Precedent has seen American presidents-elect field numerous press conferences during the transition to power to discuss matters such as their choices to fill their cabinet and policy plans for the incoming administration. The methods of the new president communicating news about the transition have been unorthodox for an incoming head of state.

President elect Donald Trump has largely snubbed thus far the tradition that the presidential news conference has become. Instead Trump has relied largely on rallies, photo ops, select interviews and — in unprecedented fashion — on tweets.

Trump, elected in November, has not held a press conference since July, and his announcement gave just the latest date set for the much-delayed event previously due to take place 15 December.

In a tweet, Trump said he will hold a press conference on 11 January, during which he has previously indicated he would unveil his governance plans in order to avoid any conflict of interest between the White House and his business dealings.

Economic announcements of this magnitude are rare and generally take place through a news release or a carefully planned press conference, requiring the efforts of many public relations experts who carefully consider every word and gesture. Last month, he unexpectedly announced to reporters camped in the lobby of his Manhattan Trump Tower skyscraper that Masayoshi Son — the flamboyant head of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank and a self-made billionaire — had announced a $50 billion investment in the US that would create 50,000 jobs. Steven Mnuchin, tapped to become Secretary of Treasury, and Wilbur Ross, the commerce pick, announced on CNBC television that they had been appointed to their Cabinet positions by Trump. The official announcement was published several hours later.

Trump voiced new doubts that Russian hackers attempted to influence the US election on his behalf, accusing Democrats of lax security and saying WikiLeaks had denied Moscow was behind the documents it made public. Trump, in a spate of notes on Twitter, continued to raise questions about the findings by US intelligence agencies that Russia was behind a series of leaks that embarrassed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign ahead of the Nov. 8 vote. Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager, were leaked to the media in advance of the election. One email showed the Clinton campaign received a question in advance of a town hall forum.

Trump, who will take office on Jan. 20, is scheduled to receive a briefing from intelligence officials on the hacking issue on Friday. He has suggested the briefing was postponed to give intelligence officials more time to build their case.”The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Over years of occupational and expansionist brutalities of the Zionist regime in Palestine have emboldened the Israeli soldiers (heroes”) to kill any Palestinian anywhere at will because they know the Israeli government would call the state crimes like this as heroism.

Meanwhile, a Jewish soldier , another “Our hero!” , who shot dead a Palestinian lying wounded and motionless on the ground in the occupied West Bank was surprisingly convicted of manslaughter on January 04 Wednesday in one of the most polarising cases in Israel’s history. So far Israeli courts do not punish any Jew even if he or she commits heinous crèmes against Palestinians.

The decision to court-martial Sergeant Elor Azaria, who shot the Palestinian after he stabbed a Israeli soldier last March for routine harassment, stirred public controversy in Israel from the start, with right-wing politicians calling after the verdict on President Reuven Rivlin to pardon the 20-year-old defendant. As the decision was being read at a heavily guarded military court in Tel Aviv, several hundred far-right core backers of Azaria – one of them even carrying a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” banner – willingly clashed with police. Ten months ago, Azaria was an army medic serving in the Israeli-occupied city of Hebron when two Palestinians carried out the stabbing. Hebron has been a longtime flashpoint of violence, and the incident occurred during a wave of Palestinian street attacks on Israeli criminals. .

While one of the two Palestinians was shot dead by troops, the other was shot and wounded. Eleven minutes later, as the wounded man, Abd Elfatah Ashareef, 21, lay on the ground incapacitated, “hero” Azaria shot him in the head with an assault rifle. At the trial, Azaria contended that he believed the Palestinian, though motionless, still posed a danger because his knife was nearby, and that he might have been carrying explosives. “He deserves to die,” Azaria was quoted in the verdict as telling another soldier after pulling the trigger. The three-judge panel rejected Azaria’s argument.”One cannot use this type of force, even if we’re talking about an enemy’s life,” the court said in its verdict. “We unanimously convict the accused of manslaughter and of conduct unbecoming (a soldier).”Azaria, who was smiling as he awaited the verdict as the chief judge read out the conviction.

Video footage of the shooting, taken by a Palestinian human rights activist, showed the knife was not within Ashareef’s reach, and no bomb was found. The video was distributed to news organisations, ensuring that the incident drew international attention amid allegations by Palestinians and rights groups that Israeli soldiers have been using excessive force against the Palestinians they come across on daily basis.

The point is the Israeli military thinks Trump is going to be on the side of Zionists to shield their crimes as his own and, as his predecessors haves done, would naturally work against Palestinians.

Guantánamo Bay controlled by CIA-Pentagon duo in Latin America to terrorize Muslims the worst possible inhuman ways is the most shameful black blot on western democracy claims. The 59 prisoners who remain at Gitmo today have never faced a fair trial. Many – like more than 700 before them – are held on the basis of a mix of bogus statements, made under torture or coercion. Unfortunately, Trump – a self-proclaimed patriot – appears happy with this most un-American state of affairs.

The president-to-be obviously knows nothing about Guantánamo Bay, like many other things, including foreign policy, said that “There should be no further releases from Gitmo.” His tweet adds: “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.” And on top of leaving people to rot in Gitmo without trial, President-elect Trump promises to bring back “a hell of a lot worse than water boarding”. Trump doesn’t “think it’s tough enough.” Trump seems to be fairly ill-informed about torture techniques as well: the main conclusion of the US Senate’s 2014 probe into Bush-era torture was that it “was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence.”

What Trump doesn’t appear to understand is that most Gitmo prisoners can’t go “back to the battlefield” – because they were never there in the first place. In 2002, the last Republican administration said that those held at Guantanamo were “the worst of the worst,” but thus far the vast majority of the prisoners held there have been cleared. Most of the men there were never the worst of anything.

Those who Trump would keep forever without trial, but for whom my charity Reprieve will continue to advocate, including a former Pakistani taxi driver who was mistaken for a terrorist called Hassan Gul, and taken to a secret prison for “unauthorised” torture over a year. And a young man from Yemen who had travelled far from home in search of work, and then got caught up in the chaotic aftermath of 9/11. The US military was offering life-changing sums of bounty money to Afghans and to Pakistanis if they turned over Arab men.

The outgoing president Obama was dead right to say that Gitmo is a blot on the US. As long ago as 2004, an intelligence agent opined that for every detainee we hold at Guantanamo, we have provoked 10 people to want to do us harm. Today, the same expert would no doubt revise this estimate up to hundreds. Osama bin Laden estimated that he had 100 followers in 2001.

It is time to make America great again, and to apply such Trump parlance where it rightly belongs. That is emphatically not torture, rendition, detention without trial and assassination. It is respect for human rights, and US values like due process and the rule of law.

The horrific ways in which Guantanamo’s prisoners have been repeatedly tortured makes it surprising there aren’t more who hold a mighty grudge. In my experience, the overwhelming majority just want to return home, rebuild their lives and forget the terrible nightmare of the last decade and more.

Meanwhile, much peace loving Americans seek a month of resistance leading up to the president-elect’s inauguration on January 20. Thousands of activists, journalists, scientists, entertainers, and other prominent voices took out a full-page call to action in the New York Times on Wednesday making clear their rejection of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence with the simple message: “No!” Trump is “assembling a regime of grave danger” that is an “immoral peril to the future of humanity and the earth itself,” the call to action continues. “Millions must rise up in a resistance with a deep determination such that we create a political crisis that prevents the Trump/Pence fascist regime from consolidating its hold on the governance of society.” “Stop the Trump/Pence regime before it starts! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!” the ad states, followed by a list of signatories that includes scholar Cornel West; author Alice Walker; Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux; educator Bill Ayers; poet Saul Williams; CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill; Carl Dix of the Communist Party USA; and numerous others.

Trump can end bloodshed in Palestine as well as entire Mideast or help Israel complicate the saturation further. Does he also seek disasters?

Choice is Trump’s

As the unusual president elect, Trump would do well by pursuing a new set of policies abroad that would greatly benefit the shivering humanity. Terror wars must end. Trump should recognize Palestine and ask Israel also do the same for the sake of creating the necessary preconditions for the natural establishment of Palestine and for peace in Mideast.

Hopefully Trump would have to let the world know that he cares for humanity and peace in the world and he is well reformed from being a mere political hawk to become a genuine statesman to lead America and world positively and in the best ways possible.

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Americas

‘Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People’: Time to retire

Mohammad Ghaderi

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Again, another mass shooting, again a school, again a troubled teen, a racist, a white supremacist, a Bloods or Crips gangster, a refugee, a war veteran, a mad policeman, a terrorist from al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front or from the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Daesh) terrorist outfits … what difference does it make and again dead bodies lying on the ground in their blood. Who believes they were alive seconds ago. The story goes on and to my surprise it is having less effect than it used to have years ago. Why?

We are getting bad. We are not hurt anymore. Too much violence has made us numb.

What does the motto on the entrance of the United Nations building says? A poem by the Iranian influential poet Sa’adi, from the 13th century, the medieval period. The poem has many translations however one is this:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others,
You are unworthy to be called by the name of a Human.

Give it a thought, try to put it in practice, politician and statesmen in the United Nations, New York, United States. It is ludicrous that almost all of them call for end of wars, urge foe peace and tranquil but at the same time produce and sell arms.

War, violence and killing is simply unacceptable, nasty and painful in any kind and form, whether it occurs in a house, street, city, countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine or the United States of America.

U.S. teen confesses to mass shooting at Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

A troubled teen with alleged ties to a white supremacist group confessed on Thursday to murdering 17 people at his former high school in Florida, as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) admitted it had received a tip-off about the 19-year-old gunman yet failed to stop him.

As Americans reeled from the country’s worst school massacre since the horror at Sandy Hook six years ago, the U.S. President Donald Trump suggested the root cause of the violence was a crisis of mental health — and defied calls to address gun control.

Terrified students hid in closets and under desks on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, texting for help as the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, stalked the school with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, appearing on Thursday afternoon before a judge who ordered him held without bond.

After being read his legal rights, “Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds,” court documents showed.

Cruz also admitted he discarded his rifle — which he bought legally in Florida — and tactical gear in order to blend in with the crowd to flee the campus, the documents showed.

The recent mass shooting at a school in Florida is the latest reminder that the United States is a “very violent country,” a journalist in Detroit says.

After the shooting, he stopped at a Wal-Mart store and then McDonald’s, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters. He was detained 40 minutes later, after police identified him using school security camera footage.

Expelled from school for disciplinary reasons, Cruz was known to be fixated on firearms — and had reportedly been identified as a potential threat to his classmates.

In a somber televised address to the nation in response to the 18th school shooting so far this year, Trump vowed to make mental health a priority — after tweeting about the “many signs” the gunman was “mentally disturbed” — while avoiding any talk of gun curbs.

Earlier in the day, Trump had asserted that “neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

But U.S. authorities themselves were under scrutiny, after the FBI confirmed it was alerted last September to a message posted on YouTube, in which a user named Nikolas Cruz vowed: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In a statement, the FBI said it had carried out “database reviews and other checks” but was unable to identify the person who made the post.

Trump cites mental health, not guns, in speech on shooting

Declaring the nation united and grieving with “one heavy heart,” Trump promised on Thursday to tackle school safety and “the difficult issue of mental health” in response to the deadly shooting in Florida. He made no mention of the scourge of gun violence.

Not always a natural in the role of national comforter, Trump spoke deliberately, at one point directly addressing children who may feel “lost, alone, confused or even scared.”

“I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be,” Trump said. “You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you.”

However, the ones killed were alone when they were shot in cold blood in fear and hope. The ones who lost their precious lives had many hopes and ambitions.

Now they are dead, and it could be every and each one of us, at a school, stadium, concert hall, cinema, home, Middle East, Americas… anywhere, it could be.

Such incidents are cause of sorrow and pain, I cannot explain how I felt when I saw the horrible pictures of the Florida High School shooting, just like how I felt when I saw the massacre committed by the ISIL terrorists killing cadets in Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. At the time of the attack there were between 4,000 and 11,000 unarmed cadets in the camp. ISIL terrorists singled out Shia and non-Muslim cadets from Sunni ones and murdered them.

Who arms and supports terrorist groups like ISIL? No one can be so naeive to believe that they have just popped out. I recall the U.S. President Trump as saying on his election campaign to Hillary Clinton that the U.S. created ISIL. Well done!

While Trump stressed the importance of mental health and school safety improvements, his latest budget request would slash Medicaid, the major source of federal funding for treating mental health problems, and cut school safety programs by more than a third. Last year, he signed a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

Trump’s silence on guns was noted with displeasure by many who are seeking tougher firearm restrictions. But the White House said the president wanted to keep his remarks focused on the victims.

Before he was a candidate, Trump at one point favored some tighter gun regulations. But he embraced gun rights as a candidate, and the National Rifle Association spent $30 million in support of his campaign.

During his brief, televised statement, Trump said he wanted to work to “create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life,” a phrase likely to resonate with his conservative base.

In contrast, former President Barack Obama tweeted out a call for “long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws.” Obama wrote: “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job.”

In reacting to previous mass shootings, Trump has largely focused on mental health as a cause, dismissing questions about gun control. After a shooting at a Texas church in November left more than two dozen dead, the president said, “This isn’t a guns situation.”
The US has averaged one school shooting every 60 hours since the beginning of 2018, data shows.

Trump was criticized in early August for saying that both white nationalists and counter-protesters were responsible for the violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While Trump has offered somber responses to some tragedies, he has also drawn criticism for other reactions.

After the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub that left 49 dead in June 2016, then-candidate Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” In the wake of a deadly terror attack in London last June, he went after Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter.

Sadiq Khan compares the US president’s rhetoric against Islam to tactics used by ISIL to inspire terror attacks in Western cities.

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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On Jettisoning Failed Leaders and Mass Shootings in the U.S.

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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The scene is the House of Commons; the date May 7, 1940.  A simple motion to adjourn for the ten-day Whitsun recess is of little concern to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who has a comfortable 213 seat majority.  Then things take a turn.  A plan approved by the first Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill to land troops in Norway and engage the Germans directly has been a disaster with huge losses, and the eventual naval evacuation of the expeditionary force — an Arctic Dardanelles planned by the same man.

Chamberlain rises to defend Churchill and the conduct of the war in what has now come to be known as the “Norway Debate”.  In the most unlikely of scenarios and with no evidence of Winston trying to put his name forward — in fact the opposite — when the tide turns against Chamberlain, within three days as more favored candidates are shed, he has become prime minister.  Such is the parliamentary system.  Margaret Thatcher is another example, toppled shortly after success at the polls.

The American system, however, puts the president beyond such reach other than through a laborious impeachment.  Analogous to the third Roman Emperor Caligula, Donald Trump, too, has no military or political experience.  Caligula made his horse a senator or some say consul; Trump has the equivalent running government departments and agencies.  Caligula declared himself a god; Trump tweeted he is a ‘stable genius.’  If Caligula’s reign ended with assassination, Trump’s will be more prosaic — just disaffected voters.

Another mass shooting this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Seventeen are dead and  many more injured.  The gunman, identified as Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15 assault type rifle, a weapon far deadlier than a pistol — perhaps he watched the coverage of the Las Vegas shooting.  He was a former pupil who had been suspended from the school, and who students recalled as disturbed and scary.

President Trump in his remarks following the incident did not bring up the obvious question of why an AR-15 was so easily available for purchase.  Gun owners and the gun lobby are part of his constituency.

Following a mass shooting in April 1996 when a man armed with two semi-automatic rifles killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, the Australian government put together strict gun laws.  They were supplemented with a mandatory gun-buyback program through which 650,000 firearms were destroyed.  Did the program work?  The data tells the story more vividly:  From 1979 to 1996, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings; since 1997 it has had none.

Under his usual theme of ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’, President Trump continues to talk about finding ways to deal better with disturbed people.  The sure Australian way is to stop them acquiring guns.

Lost in the Florida school story was another shooting the same day when trigger-happy guards let loose at a National Security Agency entrance.  The forested area is a confused mass of entries and exits.  It has happened before that somebody inadvertently makes a wrong turn and panics when faced with shouting armed guards.  In this incident, bullet holes can be seen in the windshield and the three men in the car were injured.

Introducing the Gates Foundation’s annual philanthropic letter a few days ago, Bill and Melinda Gates appealed to Donald Trump to not cut foreign aid — “even a 10 percent cut could lead to 5 million deaths in the next decade”, Bill Gates warned.  Will President Trump listen?

Despite the many wonderful aspects the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, when it comes to jettisoning incompetent leaders, it is difficult to best the parliamentary system for immediacy.

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Trump’s new nuclear doctrine just rhetoric

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Recently the US President Donald Trump unveiled his new nuclear doctrine which had remained unchanged since 2010. Many experts consider Trump’s new doctrine which enjoys many ambiguities as just campaign rhetoric. To shed more light on the issue we reached out to Prof. Filip Kovacevic, University of San Francisco geopolitics.

The US new nuclear doctrine was published several days ago. This document had remained unchanged since 2010. What are the reasons for new changes?

According to the US military establishment, the most important reason for changes is that the world has been a more dangerous and geopolitically unstable place. What the generals are not saying, though, is that it was their own actions which are responsible for this state of affairs. The hegemonic US foreign policy, the attempt to force a neo-liberal Pax Americana on the diversity and richness of the world’s cultures and traditions, is the cause of the present world problems.

Of course, you won’t find this stated openly in the doctrine. What you will find there, in a typical manipulative fashion, are the accusations of others for the problems that the US foreign policy has caused itself. In fact, this hypocritical pattern of behavior, where you take the legitimate reactions of others to your own provocations and aggressive moves as the main cause of tensions and conflicts, goes back many decades into the past.

What is the most significant difference between the new doctrine and the previous one?

In my opinion, the most significant difference is that a lot more money will be poured into the development of nuclear weapons. This will inevitably lead to a nuclear arms race with other states and to the proliferation of nuclear weapons as more and more countries will want to acquire them. But it will bring tremendous profits to the US military-industrial complex. In fact, the Trump administration is completely under the control of this section of the US corporate oligarchy. Trump is essentially breaking down all the institutional checks and balances in the US political system and paving a way for a military dictatorship. I have no doubt that the next US president will be a military officer. This means that we are about to see more wars and more deaths around the world, including in the Middle East. Many old, frozen conflicts will be re-opened across Asia and, apparently, the US is also setting a stage for the first-time use of a low yield nuclear weapon. Let’s not forget, though, that the bombs with depleted uranium have already been extensively used in the US /NATO conflicts, starting with the attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, causing horrific public health and environmental problems for generations to come.

In new doctrine, the use of nuclear weapons is allowed in extraordinary situation. There are some ambiguities around this. What are those extraordinary situations exactly?

The fact that the US reserves the right to respond with a nuclear weapon to a non-nuclear attack is nothing new. In fact, the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki even though there was no nuclear threat from the Imperial Japan. However, what is new in this doctrine is that now the US considers the potential use of a nuclear weapon against a large-scale cyber-attack. This is extremely worrying, because, as is well known, it is very difficult to correctly attribute the source of a cyber-attack. This could make a false-flag attack by some rogue terrorist faction or by the inside provocateurs misinterpreted as an attack by another nuclear power and lead to the nuclear annihilation of all life on Earth.

As the US considers the first strike on Russia acceptable, it means the spirit of the cold war is governing this new doctrine. Why has the US taken this approach?

Provoked by the rapid and aggressive expansion of the US political, economic, and cultural influence in Central and Eastern Europe under the umbrella of NATO, Russia has embarked on the campaign of re-arming and strengthening its defense and security apparatus in recent years. It appears that the US thought that Russia would cave in under its demands and accept to be a third-rate power in Eurasia. However, this was a serious misunderstanding of the Russian history and tradition. Now that Russia pushes back, the US establishment does not know what else to do but to make threats. However, these are empty threats because any kind of use of nuclear weapons against Russia or against its allies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization would quickly lead to mutual destruction. The spirit of the old Cold War has returned, and it will be with us for a long time to come. Accordingly, we will see the flare-up of proxy conflicts and covert actions across the world.

How do you assess the US new doctrine toward Iran? What are the new points?

Iran is one of only four states separately mentioned in the doctrine. The others are Russia, China, and North Korea. Iran is given the least coverage because it is not seen as an immediate nuclear danger to the US .The main emphasis is on what will happen after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ends in 2031. It is stated that after this period, Iran will be able to produce a nuclear weapon within a year. Interestingly, there is no mention of the US getting out of the JCPOA before that time, which is in contradiction to what the US president Donald Trump has been saying recently. It appears that Trump’s statements are just campaign rhetoric intended to please some important and wealthy interest groups, but that, in reality, it will be difficult for the US to get out of the JCPOA, considering that all other signatories are still backing it. However, this is not to say that the US will not use all other means at its disposal, including its vast media and intelligence resources, to sow discord within the Iranian political elite and create an economic and political crisis in the country.

First published in our partner Mehr News Agency

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