News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 4/8/20

US News

  • DHS announces the implementation of the REAL ID Act will be delayed by a year to October 2021. [Link]
  • The Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly resigns. Modly fired the captain of the USS T Roosevelt last week. Then, Modly addressed the ship slamming its former captain. After the speech was leaked, Modly faced widespread calls to resign. [Link]
  • The US government is giving huge financial support to the arms industry and pushing the weapons makers to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. [Link]
  • Julian Assange attended a hearing for his extradition trial. The judge would not grant a delay for the substantial part of the trial set to begin in May. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban withdrew their negotiation team from Kabul after talks with the Afghan government broke down. [Link]
  • The US is threatening to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan because two people are claiming to be president. Ghani and Abdullah both claim the presidency and have set up separate administrations. The US has already cut $1 billion in funding to the Afghan Army. [Link]
  • The Afghan Defense Minister reports his military has been waging a silent war against the Taliban since the US/Taliban “peace agreement” was signed. [Link]

Middle East

  • The US comes out against the IMF giving Iran a $5 billion line of credit to help the country deal with the coronavirus. The US holds the most sway over the IMF. [Link]
  • The US says the future of US troop deployments will be discussed in major talks with the Iraqi government scheduled for mid-June. [Link]
The US Is Making More Weapons in Response to Coronavirus

The US Is Making More Weapons in Response to Coronavirus

On FPF #476, I discuss the US government is buying more weapons and giving financial support to the weapons markers. The finical assistance was approved through the $2 trillion bailout. The Navy announced it was buying an additional $2 billion in torpedos and missiles to prop up companies who make parts for weapons. The defense industry has been deemed essential, and employees are allowed to violate social distancing to make weapons. While the coronavirus should be revealing to the American people and the US government, we spend too much money on warfare. However, the pandemic is being exploited by the government to expand the war machine. 

News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 4/7/20

US News

  • The US daily output dropped 29% since the first week of March. [Link]
  • The Secretary of the Navy gave a speech to the crew of the USS T Roosevelt slamming the recently fired captain of the ship. The secretary is receiving a lot of backlash and calls to resign. [Link]
  • Canada is angry that the US blocked three million masks from being delivered to Canada. [Link]
  • Barbados claims the US blocked a shipment of ventilators from being exported. [Link]
  • The US designates a Russian nationalist group, a terrorist organization. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Afghan government reports capturing the head of ISIS-K. [Link]
  • The Taliban are working with the Afghan government to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. [Link]
  • The Taliban break off talks with the Afghan government, saying the Afghan government is making excuses to delay the prisoner swap. [Link]

Africa

  • AFRICOM reports carrying out three airstrikes in southern Somalia. AFRICOM claims eight militants were killed in the strike, and no civilians were harmed. [Link]
  • Gunmen killed 25 soldiers at a base in Mali. [Link]
News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 4/6/20

US News

  • The FDA will allow medical staff in the US to use Chinese made KN-95 respirators. The respirators are an alternative to the N-95s. [Link]
  • Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to prevent 3M from exporting respirators. [Link]
  • The fired Captain of the USS T Roosevelt tests positive for coronavirus. [Link]
  • The military is seeking $20 billion in new weapons and equipment to deploy against China in the Indo-Pacific. [Link]
  • Sources say Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper have agreed to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty with Russia. [Link]
  • The Navy has expanded its deployment of warships off Venezuela’s coast. [Link]

Europe

  • Julian Assange will not be released from prison during the coronavirus pandemic. The UK is allowing some prisoners with short sentences to be released, but Assange is only being held for the US extradition hearing. [Link]
  • Germany accuses the US of diverting a delivery of 200,000 masks. The masks were rerouted in Thailand in an act Germany calls ‘modern piracy.’ The US denies rerouting the masks. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The sources say the US is planning to cut $1 billion in funding to the Afghan security forces. Secretary of State Pompeo announced the cut after traveling to Kabul and being unable to work out a power-sharing deal between the two men claiming to be the president of Afghanistan. [Link]
  • The Taliban say the peace agreement with the US is at its breaking point because of the failure of the prisoner swap. [Link]
The US Is Making More Weapons in Response to Coronavirus

Is the US Going to War with Venezuela During the Covid Pandemic guest Will Porter

Will Porter returns to FPF to discuss the aggressive actions Trump has taken towards Venezuela in recent weeks. The US indicted Maduro then offered a $15 million reward for his arrest. Similar actions were taken in 1989 before the US military invaded Panama and captured the country’s leader. The US has offered a “new” proposal to drop sanctions once Venezuela’s president Maduro resigns. However, Maduro will not step down and turn the country over to his opposition as the US demands. Now, in the name of fighting the drug war, Trump deployed several warships and anti-drug ships off of Venezuela’s coast. 

News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 4/3/20

US News

  • Over 6.6 Americans filed for unemployment this week. That is nearly double last week’s record-setting number. 
  • New York City police are arresting people for failing to social distance. Once arrested, they are put in a holding cell with dozens of other people. [Link]
  • A federal watchdog group calls for an ethics investigation into Senator Loeffler’s stock trading this year. Loeffler made several trades that were financially beneficial because of the coronavirus pandemic. [Link] 
  • The feds seized medical equipment from a man who they say was hoarding it. The equipment went to hospitals in NY and NJ. [Link] 
  • An additional 540 troops will deploy to the southern border to help enforce immigration law. Some of the troops will engage in mobile surveillance to help catch people entering the country illegally. [Link]
  • The US will spend about $2 billion on missiles and torpedoes from Boeing and Raytheon to help keep companies in the supply chains from the weapons afloat. [Link] 
  • The Captain of the USS T Roosevelt has been relieved of his command. He wrote a letter to the Pentagon requesting urgent action on his ship that had an outbreak of coronavirus. The letter was leaked to the media. [Link]

NATO

  • North Macedonia officially joined NATO as its 30th member. [Link]

Middle East

  • After oil dipped below $20 per barrel, reporting began that Saudi and Russia are close to a deal to cut production. The price of oil rebounded to over $26 per barrel. [Link]
  • The US and Iran are moving closer to confrontation in Iraq. [Link]
The US Is Making More Weapons in Response to Coronavirus

War Under the Cover of Coronavirus

On FPF #474, I discuss the US moving towards war with Iran under the cover of Coronavirus. Trump took to Twitter to threaten Iran if an attack is carried out against American forces in Iraq. Trump’s Tweet creates a situation that means any attack in Iraq – with Iran’s support or not – is likely to result in the US attacking the Shia militias in Iran, if not attacking within Iran. The attack could enter the US into a tit-for-tat cycle with Iran that escalates into a larger war. 

Links

  • The Guardian – US drone strikes in Somalia.
News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 4/2/20

US News

  • The US will allow the sailors on the USS T Roosevelt to quarantine sick sailors in Guam. The Captain of the aircraft carrier wrote a letter warning about a catastrophic situation on the ship as he was unable to stop the spread of coronavirus. [Link]
  • Trump orders the Pentagon to engage in additional counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. [Link] 
  • Trump orders anti-narcotic ships to patrol off the coast of Venezuela. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Afghan government and the Taliban will begin a prisoner swap by releasing 100 Taliban captives, and the Taliban will release 20 Afghan government prisoners. [Link]
  • A roadside bomb in Afghanistan kills eight members of a family. [Link]

Israel 

  • Israeli conditions any coronavirus aid to Gaza on the recovery of the remains of two Israeli soldiers who died in Gaza in 2014. [Link]
  • Netanyahu says all Israelis must wear masks in public. [Link]

Middle East

  • An attack on a pipeline halts natural gas transfers from Iran to Turkey. Iran believes the PKK is behind the attack. [Link]
  • The US issues sanction waivers for Iran to continue to have international companies work on their nuclear reactors. [Link]
  • Germany uses the EU-made INSTEX system to sell medical equipment to Iran for the first time. The system was set up last year and has gone unused as the US threatened it with secondary sanctions. [Link]
  • Trump warned Iran not to carry out a sneak attack on American forces in Iraq. [Link]

Africa

  • The US killed two civilians in two drone strikes in Somalia in February. The US claimed to kill al-Shabaab militants in each strike. However, an investigation by Amnesty International reveals the US lied. [Link]
  • The EU will deploy warships off the Libyan coast to enforce a UN arms blockade of the country. [Link]
News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 4/1/20

US News

  • The Department of Justice Inspector General found that every FBI FISA warrant had several problems and abuses. The average warrant had 20 problems, with one having as many as 65. [Link]
  • The Pentagon wants to make its 5-year spending plan classified. [Link]

Coronavirus

  • States across the US are releasing some prisoners to try to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Most people being released are low-level and non-violent offenders. In New York, at least three child rapists have been released. [Link]
  • The amount of money the US spends annually on nukes could pay for 300,000 ICU beds, 10,000s of ventilators, and 100,000s of doctors and nurses. [Link]
  • The Department of Defense planned to purchase 1,400 ventilators but has now increased the contract to acquire 8,000. [Link]
  • An Army Captain assisting the NJ National Guard is the first soldier to die of coronavirus. [Link]
  • The Captain of the USS Theodore Rosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is pleading for help from the Navy as several of his sailors have tested positive for coronavirus. At least 100 have the virus on the ship that is now docked in Guam. The Captain reports not having sufficient room to quarantine all the sick sailors. [Link]
  • A UN human rights expert calls for the lifting of sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, and Zimbabwe because of the coronavirus. [Link]
  • Indonesia is set to release 30,000 prisoners in response to the coronavirus. [Link]
  • Turkey plans to release 45,000 prisoners in response to the coronavirus. [Link]

Venezuela

  • The US unveils a new policy where if Maduro steps down and allows the opposition to appoint a new president, then the US will lift sanctions. The US said Maduro could run in elections that would be held in six to 12 months. [Link]
  • Venezuela rejected the US proposal. [Link]

South Korea

  • The disagreement between the US and South Korea – over how much South Korea will pay the US to keep nearly 30,000 American troops stationed in South Korea – has led to the US laying off 4,500 South Koreans who work for the US. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban sent a three-member team to Kabul to discuss beginning the prisoner release process. [Link]
  • The Taliban delegation that is in Kabul will oversee the Taliban prisoner release. [Link]
  • A firm was paid $120 million to run pro-American ads in Afghanistan. Many of the ads never ran. [Link]
The US Is Making More Weapons in Response to Coronavirus

The US is Exploiting Covid-19 to Push Regime Change

On FPF #473, I discuss the US attempts to exploit coronavirus outbreaks to overthrow governments. In Venezuela, the US already has a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign going. The over a year-long campaign has failed to force the countries president, Maduro, from power, but has killed 10,000s of civilians. Rather than seeing COVID as an opportunity for diplomacy and saving the lives of Venezuelans, the Trump admin is viewing it as a chance to force Maduro from power. The scheme will likely fail, as all sanctions campaigns do. Maduro will likely be more empowered, and the politicians supported by the US will be marginalized as the people of Venezuela understand that their suffering is exacerbated by the US.

News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 3/31/20

Coronavirus

  • The coronavirus is spreading the US prison system. Nearly 350 Guards and inmates have tested positive. Prisoners report having no way to protect themselves from the virus.[Link]
  • The first federal inmate dies from the coronavirus. [Link]
  • The Pentagon reports the number of coronavirus cases in the Department of Defense increased to 560 over the weekend. [Link]
  • Canada says it strongly opposes the deployment of US troops along its border. [Link]
  • Governments around the world are seizing new powers in the name of fighting the coronavirus. [Link]
  • Australia will deploy its army to enforce the coronavirus quarantine. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea says the US isn’t interested in nuclear talks. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban killed at least 27 Afghan security forces in several attacks across Afghanistan. [Link]
  • The Afghan government announces it will delay the release of Taliban prisoners. The prisoner release is meant to kick start talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. Confusion over who is actually in charge of the Afghan government is also hampering talks. [Link]

Middle East

  • Earlier this year, the US deployed 3,000 paratroopers to the Middle East to “deter Iran.” Those troops are now scheduled to come home. However, it does not appear the soldiers will be coming home. There is some confusion as the Pentagon has ordered troop movements frozen for 60 days, and CENTCOM head Gen. McKenzie asked for an extension on the troop deployment. [Link]
  • The political wing of the Syrian Kurds is lobbying for sanctions against Assad to be removed to help the fight against coronavirus. The Syrian Kurds have been in opposition to Assad, and aligned with the US, throughout the war. The White Helmets, who are aligned with the jihadist opposition to Assad, are pushing to keep the sanctions on. [Link]
  • A riot broke out in a Syrian prison run by the Syrian Kurds. The US said low-level ISIS fighters were held at the prison. There are some reports of escaped prisoners, and others were murdered during the riot. Relatives of prisoners said many in the prison were attested for failing to apply with the Syrian Kurdish policy of focused conscription. [Link]
  • The US deploys Patriot Missile Systems to a base in Iraq. The US is looking to deploy the missiles at two more bases. [Link] 
  • Saudi Arabia carried out several airstrikes in Yemen’s capital. The strikes hit military facilities, the presidential palace, and a school. At least one person and 70 horses were killed by the strikes. [Link]
News Roundup 4/8/20

News Roundup 3/30/20

US News

  • The New York Police Department is using drones to monitor if people in parks are social distancing. [Link]
  • Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to force GM to make ventilators. [Link]
  • Rhode Island police are pulling over and questioning people with New York license plates. [Link]
  • Rhode Island police and National Guard have started going door to door to search for New Yorkers. [Link]
  • Trump’s tariffs on China are making it more costly for the makers of hand sanitizer to import some of the products needed for manufacturing. Gojo Industries – makers of Purell brand hand sanitizer – applied for exemptions from the tariffs, but were denied. [Link]

Venezuela

  • A former Venezuelan general, who was listed as a co-conspirator with Maduro on US drug charges, has turned himself in to the DEA. The former general had fallen out with Maduro years ago and fled to Colombia. [Link]
  • Juan Guaido says he needs to release Maduro as the leader of Venezuela to secure humanitarian aid to fight the coronavirus. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea test-fires two short-range ballistic missiles tests. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • The Taliban refused to engage in talks with the 21-person negotiation team the Afghan government put forward. [Link]

Middle East

  • US sanctions are preventing drugs and medical devices from reaching Iran. [Link]
  • The US is repositioning troops in Iraq and Secretary of State Pompeo is pushing a plan to wipe out a Shia militia. Lt. Gen. White, commander of forces in Iraq, wrote a letter to the White House arguing attacking the militia was a mistake. [Link]
  • Saudi claims to intercept two missiles fired by the Houthi. [Link]

Mali

  • France is failing to make progress in its seven-year-long war in Mali. [Link]

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