“ … The United States and China will fight a war within the next 10 years over islands in the South China Sea, and “there’s no doubt about that”. At the same time, the US will be in another “major” war in the Middle East. … Those are the views – nine months ago at least – of one of the most powerful men in Donald Trump’s administration, Steve Bannon, the former head of far-right news website Breitbart who is now chief strategist at the White House. … ”
US soldier Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after serving seven years for leaking thousands of diplomatic cables and military files to Wikileaks.
A US Army spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that she had left Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.
Most of what remained of her 35-year sentence was commuted by then-US President Barack Obama in January.
Her lawyer earlier said she was excited but likely “anxious”.
“She’s ready to finally be able to live as the woman that she is,” Nancy Hollander told the BBC. The 29-year-old soldier was born Bradley Manning.
A day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, Manning said she had felt female since childhood and wanted to live as a woman called Chelsea.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” she said in a statement last week ahead of her release. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world.”
James Mattis, US Defense Secretary, rarely gives interviews to news outlets — and if he does, they’re not very long.
The retired four-star Marine Corps General pretty much dropped from the national spotlight as the Trump administration battles several investigations about whether aides colluded with Russia during the campaign. One official reportedly said, “He sees no value in having his name in the paper.”
The photo that revealed Mattis’ cell phone number.
So when he gave a student at the Mercer Island High School newspaper a 45-minute interview in late June that resulted in a nearly 6,000 word article — covering topics like ISIS and the differences between the Trump and Obama administrations — the big question was: How?
Teddy Fischer described the process to BuzzFeed News as “miracle after miracle.”
In May, Fischer, who will be a junior at the Seattle-area high school in fall, came across an article from the Washington Post about President’s Trump’s longtime bodyguard. The photo showed Trump’s bodyguard walking with a stack of papers, and on a yellow piece of paper was a Mattis’ cell phone number.
Fischer called the number. No one responded, and Fischer didn’t leave a message.
So he texted Mattis instead, stating who he was, that he was from Mattis’ home state, Washington, and that he was writing an article on US foreign policy. (Fischer wasn’t — at the time.)
Fischer saved the number in his phone as “Jim M.” A week later, while in his journalism class, Fischer looked down at his phone to see “Jim M’ calling.
"I didn’t think this would happen so when he called, I wasn’t ready. It was a little awkward because I think he was ready to do it right on the spot,” Fischer told BuzzFeed News.
By now, you have probably heard that gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, Russia are being kidnapped, tortured and killed in facilities that reportedly are comparable to concentration camps. Dozens of men are in hiding.
Here’s part of the story you may not have heard: The Russian LGBT Network, an advocacy group that’s been helping Chechens escape, has been in touch with the U.S. embassy about securing visas for people trying to flee. While the U.S. hasn’t outright denied anyone yet, it has said in as many words that it will not be providing visas to Chechens trying to get out.
“We were informed there was no political will,” said the spokesperson, who asked her name be withheld because of security concerns. “They’re not going to provide visas. They’re going to support us in other ways, but not with visas.” […]
A US State Department spokesperson said on background that all visa applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and the Chechens are eligible to apply. But US law does not have a visa category that allows someone to come directly to the US because of threats in their home country. Unless their situation fell into an unrelated category — like if they had a job offer in the US or were being reunited with a family member — they would only be eligible for tourist visas that would require them to prove they would return to Russia.
“Nonimmigrant visa classifications and qualifications are set by U.S. law, as passed by Congress,” the spokesperson said. “There is no visa classification designated specifically for humanitarian relief.” […]
The Chechens are not eligible to apply to come to the US as refugees because they are still inside their native country — someone fleeing persecution generally can only be considered a refugee once they’ve left their country of origin. A Russia LGBT Network official said US diplomats recommended Chechens try applying to the US after leaving Russia, but he worried that this could jeopardize their ability to ultimately reach a safe country legally if that route failed. There is also a risk they could be returned to Russia on trumped up charges. Many of the foreign fighters who have joined groups like ISIS have come from Chechnya, leading to concerns about Chechen asylum seekers.
“They need refuge,” he said. “Not once did officials offer any specific solutions.”
Officials say they’re still looking for other ways that Chechens could come to the United States safely:
The Council for Global Equality, which advocates for LGBT rights in US foreign policy, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the organization was still hopeful an avenue could be found for the Chechens to come to the US despite the fact that the “Russian LGBT Network has been discouraged by their interactions with U.S. officials.”
“We believe there are still options available in extreme cases like this and we are in contact with Russian LGBT activists and US government officials to continue to explore those options,” the statement said. “We hope there is political will on the Hill and within the Administration to provide a safe haven in the United States for carefully vetted claims. As advocates, it’s our job to try to make that case here in Washington.”
Is this the “great again” America we were promised, Mr. President? Is this what greatness looks like to you?
1) Destabilize governments for geopolitical leverage. 2) Supply arms to warring factions under the blanket of “fighting terror.” 3) Then make a case for military intervention couched within humanitarianism. Isn’t this how the West works?
Donald Trump does not travel well. At his first major summit, he was too tired to walk through the Sicilian streets with the other G7 leaders, and took to his golf cart. He literally pushed aside the prime minister of a small European country to stand at the head of the pack. He found himself in a minority of one over the Paris climate accord, rejecting arguments that he was ceding world leadership to China.
Saudi Arabia is an overseer on the U.N. panel on human rights, the appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council and the UN.
How much does this friend and ally of the US, EU and the UN differ from ISIS et al ?
In that line of thinking, I can’t help but feel “The US is responsible for everything bad” and “The US is a special, exceptional country that has always been a force for good” are two sides of the same coin.
They’re both extremely US-centric views which ascribe agency only to the United States, even though the former ostensibly aims to fight back against US imperialism. But isn’t it ironic both views see the US as the only force with historical agency? Everyone else is supposed to be sitting around waiting to receive US benevolence or malice. American exceptionalism still? No doubt the US is a military juggernaut, but if we really want to understand the various conflicts around the world, we really do have to get out of the mindset that everything is about what the US did or did not do. It needs a critical recognition that there are other countries or non-state actors with their own (sometimes equally unscrupulous) agenda. And US foreign policy interacts with that.
Barack Obama authorized over 10 times more drone strikes than George W Bush, and automatically painted all males of military age in these majority-Muslim regions as combatants, making them fair game for remote controlled killing.