Iran has announced this week they will be enriching Uranium to 5%, which is over the 3.67% cap agreed to in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed under the Obama administration in 2015.
Most mainstream news outlets are running headlines like, “Iran Announces Further Uranium Enrichment in Breach of Deal,” but the fact is the Iranian’s are breaching nothing. The U.S. withdrew from the deal over a year ago, last May, and begin imposing sanctions back on the Islamic Republic.
U.S. sanctions have a devastating impact on the Iranian economy. Oil exports have fallen to about 300,000 barrels per day, compared with the 2.5 million barrels Iran was selling in April 2018.
British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on Thursday. The tanker was suspected of delivering oil to Syria, which would be a violation of U.S. and EU sanctions. Sanctions have caused dire fuel shortages in Syria, forcing the Assad government to ration fuel and ordinary Syrians struggled to heat their homes last winter.
Both the Spanish foreign minister and Iranian officials accused the U.S. of ordering the seizure of the ship. No U.S. officials have admitted to giving the order, but National Security Advisor John Bolton celebrated the seizure in a tweet on Thursday, “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions. America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.”
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander threatened to seize a British ship in retaliation. “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker,” IRGC commander Mohsen Rezai tweeted on Friday. If the Iranian’s do seize a British ship in the Persian Gulf, no doubt the Trump administration will call it unprovoked aggression and it will lead the two nations even closer to war.
Trump followed his instinct a few weeks ago when he decided to call off an airstrike against Iran that his generals estimated would have killed 150 Iranians. Trump rightly thought the deaths would have not been a proportionate response to Iran shooting down an unmanned drone, which they said violated Iranian airspace. According to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 2,182 registered voters, 78% agreed that Trump made the right decision to not bomb Iran.
If Trump truly cared about Iranian lives, he would lift sanctions, go back to the deal and tone down the rhetoric against the Islamic Republic. The president has created a powder keg in the Persian Gulf and any moment now it can explode.
After President Trump’s unexpected meeting with North Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas, the New York Times reported the administration was considering a deal to negotiate a nuclear freeze, not total denuclearization. The report seemed to upset John Bolton who tweeted on Monday, “I read this NYT story with curiosity. Neither the NSC staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to ‘settle for a nuclear freeze by NK.’ This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President. There should be consequences.”
Steve Biegun, Trump’s North Korea negotiator did tell reporters when he returned from North Korea, “What we are looking for is a complete freeze of WMD programs.” The negotiator went on, “freeze and an idea of an end state, and then within that we have a discussion of a roadmap.” Biegun’s comments were not made public until a few days after the New York Times story and did show there was truth to the story, despite Bolton’s claims. This is a good sign that Bolton, who is notoriously hawkish on North Korea, may not be involved in these new rounds of negotiations.
On Wednesday, North Korea’s UN mission released a statement accusing the Trump administration of trying to undermine the peace process. The statement cited a letter from the U.S., Britain, France and Germany to UN member states calling for all North Korean workers abroad to be sent home, to comply with UN sanctions based on a breached cap on refined petroleum imports. The letter came just a day before Trump and Kim met.
The UN mission statement also mentioned U.S. sanctions, “It is quite ridiculous for the United States to continue to behave obsessed with sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK, considering sanctions as a panacea for all problems.” North Korea could be trying to set a precedent for negotiations, showing that they won’t settle for anything less than sanction relief.
Regardless of the statement from North Korea, Trump meeting with Kim and the U.S.’s negotiator showing flexibility with a possible nuclear freeze are good signs. Pompeo said fresh rounds of talks between the two nations will start “sometime in July.”
A migrant detention center in Libya’s capital city Tripoli was hit by an airstrike on Tuesday, killing at least 53 civilians. The UN backed unity government in Tripoli blamed the attack on rebel leader and former general Khalifa Hafter. The rebel leader denied responsibility, although he did admit to striking a military target nearby.
Hafter, a U.S. citizen and former CIA asset, has been leading a months-long campaign against the UN backed unity government in Tripoli. The UN security council condemned the airstrike on Friday and called for a ceasefire between the warring parties.
The airstrike comes after U.S. made weapons were found in a base used by Hafter. The markings on the weapons indicated they were sold to the United Arab Emirates in 2008. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) penned a litter to Pompeo demanding an investigation into the weapons.
Back in April, Trump called Hafter to praise him for his success in securing oil fields and fighting terrorists. The phone call came after Hafter started his offensive on Tripoli against the government the U.S. is supposedly backing.
In 1987, Hafter was captured in neighboring Chad while on a mission for Moammar Gadhafi. He gained his freedom by joining CIA backed anti-Gadhafi efforts. These efforts did not last long and after a Gadhaffi-backed coup in Chad, Hafter was forced to leave. The former general fled to the U.S., where he was granted citizenship and took up residence in Northern Virginia, just a short 20-minute drive to CIA headquarters. Hafter returned to Libya after the 2011 Libyan civil war.
Hafter’s history of cooperation with the CIA, his 20-plus years living in the U.S. and recent phone call with Trump make the recent discovery of U.S. made weapons in his possession all the more suspicious. After he spoke with Trump, Hafter hired a lobbying firm in Washington to help with “international coalition building.” The U.S. may be officially backing the unity government in Libya, but Hafter seems like he may be the man the Trump administration would like to see in power in Tripoli.
U.S. and Taliban officials have been holding peace talks in Qatar. “Eighty-Ninety percent work on the peace agreement is finished,” Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Al Jazeera, “Spectacular progress made in this round.”
Despite the progress, fighting is still raging on in Afghanistan, the Taliban have made it clear they will keep fighting the U.S. backed government until all foreign troops are withdrawn. This has been a particularly violent week, at least 246 pro-government forces and 58 civilians were killed in Afghanistan from June 28th to July 4th, the highest death toll so far of 2019.
“I’ve wanted to pull them out. And you know, I have pulled a lot out. We were at 16,000. We’re down to about 9,000, which a lot of people don’t know,” Trump told Tucker Carlson in an interview Monday night. Although a senior military official contradicted the president and said 14,000 troops still remain, it shows Trump’s willingness to get out.
Trump also said he would keep a “strong intelligence” presence in the country, something the Taliban may not find acceptable.
The Houthis have continued drone attacks inside of Saudi Arabia, repeatedly attacking military targets at Jizan airport and Abha airport in the south. The Saudi’s, with help from the U.S., have been waging a brutal bombing campaign on Yemen since 2015. They have launched over 19,000 airstrikes on the country, targeting civilian infrastructure and enforcing a blockade on the country so aid cannot get in. The situation in Yemen is dire, a UN report released this year said if the conflict ends in 2019 it will account for 233,000 deaths, 140,000 of those deaths being children under five.
Most media outlets refer to the Houthis as Iran-backed rebels, but they have had control over a large part of Yemen for a few years now, serving as a government. Defining the Houthis as an Iranian proxy ignores the country’s history, and journalists repeating it as fact does nothing but push us closer to war with Iran. It allows Trump’s hawks and Iran’s nemesis, Saudi Arabia, to frame the Houthi’s defensive drone attacks as “Iranian aggression.”
The Houthis started as a Zaydi Shia movement in the 1990s, Zaydi Shia Imam’s ruled over the north of Yemen for over 1000 years until 1962 when North Yemen became the Yemen Arab Republic. North and South Yemen united in 1990 and the Zaydi of the north did not feel that the government represented them.
The Houthis fought a series of brutal wars against the government of Yemen from 2004-2010. A Wikileaks cable from the former US Ambassador to Yemen to the U.S. State Department in 2009 said, “Contrary to ROYG(Republic of Yemen Government) claims that Iran is arming the Houthis, most local political analysts report that the Houthis obtain their weapons from the Yemeni black market and even from the ROYG military itself.”
Although this cable is from 2009, it shows the Houthis are a homegrown rebellion, not some creation of Iranian influence.
The United Arab Emirates are reducing their military presence in Yemen, citing tensions in the Persian Gulf with Iran. They are also pushing to increase the size of UAE-loyal militias in the country, so as to not lose influence.
It’s been six months since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself president of Venezuela, with the blessing of the Trump administration. President Nicolas Maduro still remains in power after a few failed attempts to turn the military against him.
Speaking in Caracas on Friday, Venezuela’s Independence Day, Maduro called for dialogue with his opposition and said, “There is room for all of us within Venezuela… We must all give up something in order to reach an agreement.”
Guaido told reporters on Friday, “There is no longer any valid euphemism to characterize this regime, other than dictatorship,” making it clear he still seeks regime change.
The Trump administration has continued its policy of aggression towards the Maduro regime. U.S. sanctions are still in effect in Venezuela, which the Center for Economic and Policy Research had determined were responsible for the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans in a report they released in April.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill Wednesday suspending Russia’s participation in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. President Trump announced U.S. suspension of the deal months ago.
The 1987 treaty forbids both the U.S. and Russia from making medium-range land-based cruise and ballistic nuclear-capable missiles. The U.S. accused Russia of violating the deal with a recently developed missile, but Russia denied the accusation and said the missile was only tested for ranges shorter than the INF restriction.
The withdrawal from the deal raises concerns by Russia, that the U.S. plans on putting medium-range missiles in Eastern Europe, close to the Russian border. The Trump administration has increased NATO-troop presence in the area, another example of Trump’s anti-Russia foreign policy that in itself should prove he is not taking orders from Putin, despite what his democratic critics say.
Communist Hammer and Sickle Painted on North Carolina WWII Memorial
The names on the memorial “are veterans and deserve the honor, respect, and dignity.”
The Communist hammer and sickle symbol was spray painted on a North Carolina World War II Memorial over the weekend.
The memorial in the Evergreen Cemetery in Charlotte honors over 500 people from the county who died in the war.
The vandals also wrote “Glory to the day of heroism June 19, 1986,” a likely reference to the violent Communist Party of Peru.
“On June 18, 1986, the Shining Path began to protest the Peruvian government’s use of torture on its members and their movement to different prisons,” the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported when another statue was vandalized with the same message in May. “Although the Peruvian government at first tried to negotiate with the Shining Path, the members refused, he said, and the government sent troops into the prisons the next day — bombing two facilities and executing inmates who were in the Shining Path.”
Over 200 people were killed.
“That day immediately began to be called ‘The Day of Heroism.’”
Fox News reports that a portion of the WWII monument that read, “Dedicated to the memory of the Mecklenburg heroes of World War II who made the supreme sacrifice that you might live in liberty, freedom and peace,” was also covered in yellow paint.
Wayne White, a US Air Force Vet, rounded up some friends and is working to help clean up a Charlotte WWII memorial after seeing on social media that it had been defaced. @FOX46News pic.twitter.com/KvrglFBwfN
— Jonathan Monté (@JonMonteFOX46) June 22, 2020
Air Force veteran Wayne White gathered friends to help clean the memorial after seeing that it was defaced on social media. He told Fox 17 that the names on the memorial “are veterans and deserve the honor, respect, and dignity.”
BREAKING: Portland Militants Attempting to Set Up New ‘Autonomous Zone’ After Seattle Version Overtaken By ‘Warlord’
One of the Seattle leaders has already been accused of sexual assault.
Militant leftists in Portland are now attempting to set up their own “autonomous zone,” free of police, after the Seattle version was overtaken by an armed “warlord” just one day in.
One of the leaders of the Seattle version has also already been accused of sexual assault and threatened to commit suicide after admitting that they are a “serial abuser.”
The Portland militants began setting up their “autonomous zone” late Wednesday evening using barbed wire fences. Apparently, walls and fences are no longer racist.
Portland Police have been attempting to discourage the construction, but were being ignored as of 11:30 p.m. local time.
“PPB says there’s criminal activity occurring in crowd, tells nonviolent demonstrator to leave. They sound not pleased by the new fence!” Portland Mercury reporter Blair Stenvick tweeted.
In Seattle, six square blocks surrounding the abandoned Seattle Police Department East Precinct have been under the control of militant leftists for several days. Within the first 24 hours, an armed Airbnb Superhost named Raz Simone took control of security operations and has been accused of using violence in multiple livestreamed incidents. He has been accused of running the area like a “warlord.”
“While Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used intimidate community members,” Seattle Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nolette told KOMO News.
There are also allegations that Simone’s team have been extorting local businesses in the area, demanding $500 protection fees.
“We have heard anecdotally of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area, this is crime of extortion,” Nolette said.
Simone has denied the allegations saying there’s “definitely no extortion, definitely nothing of that,” adding, “we’ve invited people to come in.”
The chaos caused by the autonomous zone has impacted how police can respond to calls in the city.
“Right now, we are on priority calls only, which means the people, city wide who need a police response are not receiving it,” Nolette said. “That to us is just not acceptable.”
The “warlord” isn’t their only problem, Nationalist Review reports that according to at least two exes and one current partner, the “trans lesbian” leader of the autonomous zone has repeatedly abused the women that they’ve been with.
One of the leader’s previous partners wrote, “I’m her ex. Even if she isn’t doing it consciously, she has done things like this on multiple occasions, including assaulting [people], and, despite acknowledging she’s in the wrong, has refused treatment. She has threatened suicide numerous times. She’s not being gaslit.”
Another former partner explained that just recently the leader had physically and sexually assaulted them, saying “You punched me in the f***ing face a few days before you shoved me off the bed for making a sh*t joke. I constantly push your hands away and tell you to stop touching my chest. One time I told you to stop and you cried and got all depressive.”
Confederate Soldier Statue Takes Out Vandal Trying to Topple It
The lawless mobs have faced seemingly zero consequences for their actions, until Wednesday night, when the statue won.
A vandal has been critically injured after a group of criminals attempted to illegally topple a confederate statue in Virginia.
The vandals were trying to tear down two statues in Portsmouth, Virginia, when one of them fell directly on one of their accomplices.
NEW: At least one person is critically injured in Portsmouth, Virginia, when a confederate statue falls on a protester during its removal: pic.twitter.com/ZNKquvWPkp
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) June 11, 2020
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
One person critically injured in Portsmouth, Virginia, when confederate statue is pulled onto a protester during removal. pic.twitter.com/Tnye1waXAS
— Tara LaRosa (@TaraLaRosa) June 11, 2020
“We could see that his skull was actually showing,” one witness said.
BREAKING: Protester critically injured after toppled Confederate statue landed on his head in Portsmouth, Virginia
“We could see that his skull was actually showing..”
— Baruch Sandhaus (@BaruchSandhaus) June 11, 2020
Ironically, the police were called to the scene for help by the anti-cop militants.
The vandal reportedly lost consciousness and began convulsing on the ground.
— Brett Hall (@BrettHNews) June 11, 2020
Rioters and vandals have been destroying historic statues in cities across the US in recent days. Earlier on Wednesday, a statue of Christopher Columbus was beheaded. The day before, rioters in Virginia pulled down another Columbus statue and threw it in a lake.
The lawless mobs have faced seemingly zero consequences for their actions, until Wednesday night, when the statue won.