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Daniel McAdams

House Passes New Russia Sanctions, Pumps Adrenaline Into Cold War 2.0

Late this afternoon the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HR 3364, the "Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act." The vote was 419-3, with the only nays coming from Republicans Justin Amash (R-MI), John Duncan (R-TN), and Thomas Massie (R-KY). 

The bill adds additional sanctions on Russia as punishment for the as-yet-unproven claims that Moscow somehow interfered in US elections to help secure a victory for Donald Trump. It also seeks to punish Russia for its supposed involvement in Ukraine -- ignoring that unrest in Ukraine stems from the US-initiated coup against the democratically elected government of Yanukovich in 2014.

The legislation ties the president's hands in an unprecedented way, as should Trump decide in the course of his Constitutional authority as Executive to pursue a foreign policy requiring the canceling of sanctions he is not free to do so. He must write to Congress asking permission to end the sanctions and give convincing reason why Congress should agree. Congress then has 30 days to consider the President's request during which time he is forbidden from taking any action on the matter.
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NATO 'Collective Defense'? These Brave US Reps Disagree

While Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Charter is inarguably non-binding on Member countries to use military force to defend other Members, that such a response is required has become an article of faith through repeated mis-interpretation of the Article. In fact, a careful reading of Article 5 makes it clear that other NATO Members are free to do nothing at all if another Member is attacked. A NATO Member is only bound to take "such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area." It may well be deemed necessary to ignore an attack on a NATO Member in many circumstances.
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Showdown: Senate 'Block Saudi Weapons Sale' Vote Tomorrow

The Senate is expected to vote as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon on a measure to disapprove of President Trump's announced deal to transfer half a billion dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The bipartisan measure, introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), could lead to the Senate blocking the massive weapons sale, striking a serious blow to what the President touted as a major achievement of his first foreign trip last month.
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Rep. Walter Jones to Congress: Stop Funding Afghan War!

Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC) has looked at war from both sides. As he has readily shared with us, he was hoodwinked by the US intelligence community in the run-up to the Iraq war. He attended the briefings and he trusted the "professionals." As the neocon promised "cakewalk" turned out to be a slaughterhouse, he began to think hard about what he had been told about Iraq and terrorism and 9/11.
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Sen. Paul Will Attempt to Block Trump's Huge Saudi Arms Sale

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is expected to offer legislation as early as tomorrow (Wednesday) to force a Senate vote on President Trump's freshly-inked deal to sell $110 billion in US weapons to Saudi Arabia. Using the increased authority over the transfer of American-made weapons overseas granted Congress by the 1976 Arms Control Export Act, Senator Paul, according to an aide, will introduce a motion of disapproval regarding the sale.
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Senate Extends Idiotic Iran Sanctions by 99-0 Vote!

Forget that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) agreed between Iran and the so-called P5+1 consisting of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and the European Union has by all accounts been one of the few real foreign policy successes in the eight years of an otherwise war-dominated Obama Administration. Forget that the promise of normalizing trade relations with Iran would produce untold wealth -- and jobs -- for both the US and Iran. Forget that the Europeans are flocking in droves to resume lucrative trade with Iran, despite president-elect Trump's inexplicable Iranophobia. Forget that as the "Germany of the Middle East," Iran brings to the table "80 million people, an educated workforce, and a proud tradition of manufacturing"and a potential economic bonanza for its partners.
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US Congressman to John Kerry: Are We Committing War Crimes in Yemen?


On Tuesday, US Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) wrote a remarkable letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. Citing the "civilian carnage caused by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in Yemen," Rep. Lieu expressed concern to Kerry that the US government might be "liable for war crimes in Yemen," based on continued US material support for the ongoing Saudi attack on its southern neighbor. 

According to Rep. Lieu, it seems clear that the Saudis are intentionally targeting civilians in Yemen and for the US to support Saudi Arabia in such an illegal and immoral war would mean Washington shares Riyadh's guilt.
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CIA's Brennan to Senate: I'm Not Sorry I Spied on You

CIA director John Brennan lost his cool at Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR) in a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee today when the Oregon Senator suggested the spy chief should apologize for spying on the Senate. 

It was back in 2014 with the Senate was investigating CIA torture activities that Brennan's agency, as his own CIA Inspector General concluded, gained "improper" access to Senate computers with the intent of snooping on the investigation.
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US House Resolution Seeks New Conflict in Ukraine

The US House of Representatives, which never ceases sticking its nose in other people's business, is tomorrow scheduled to take up H. Res. 348, a bill "Supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to freely elect their government and determine their future." The bill can only increase tensions in Ukraine and threaten the fragile eight month old "Minsk II" ceasefire agreement.

The "Minsk II agreement" continues to produce relative calm in eastern Ukraine -- earlier this month both Kiev and the breakaway regions of the east have agreed to withdraw remaining tanks, artillery and mortars from front line, in a move the Telegraph (UK) observed "could signal end of war."

The US was not a party to the Minsk II talks, which took place earlier this year between Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany. US involvement from the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine -- starting with open US support for the unconstitutional coup in 2014 -- has been to exacerbate tensions rather than to help ameliorate them.

It is a US position that continues in H. Res. 348, a bill scheduled on the House "suspension calendar" reserved for "non-controversial" legislation. The Resolution completely distorts objective reality in Ukraine to continue the discredited story that the Ukraine unrest began not as a result of US support for a coup in February 2014, but because of a Russian invasion.
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