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NATO and US Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead

RootsAction.org held a news conference Thursday on “NATO and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead” hosted by the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Speakers:
Matthew Hoh: Former State Department official, diplomat in Afghanistan and U.S. Marines company commander in Iraq
Ann Wright: Retired U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat who served at the NATO subcommand Allied Forces Central Europe
Martin Fleck: Physicians for Social Responsibility

The event was moderated by Norman Solomon.

Media Advisory: “NATO and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead”

Media Advisory

“NATO and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangers Ahead”

WHAT:  News Conference at the National Press Club

WHEN:  10 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2019

WHERE:  National Press Club, Zenger Room, 529 14th St. NW, 13th floor, Washington

On the same day that President Trump is scheduled to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House, this news conference will focus on the U.S.-NATO relationship.

SPEAKERS:

*  Matthew Hoh — former State Department official, diplomat in Afghanistan and U.S. Marines company commander in Iraq

*  Ann Wright — retired U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat who served at the NATO subcommand Allied Forces Central Europe

*  Martin Fleck — Physicians for Social Responsibility

News conference sponsored by Action for a Progressive Future / RootsAction.org and hosted by the Institute for Public Accuracy

For further information:

solomonprogressive at gmail.com

_______________________

Matthew Hoh: As a State Department official, Hoh resigned in protest of U.S. escalation of the war in Afghanistan in 2009. He previously took part in the American occupation of Iraq on assignment with the State Department and as a Marine Corps company commander. He has been a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy since 2010.

Ann Wright: Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She was on the small team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001. Previously, she served at the NATO subcommand Allied Forces Central Europe, the U.S. Southern Command and the Office of International Security Affairs of the Secretary of Defense. She also was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war.

Martin Fleck: On the staff of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Fleck is Director of the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program. He has been working to promote nuclear disarmament for 35 years. Fleck’s recent work for PSR has included organizing delegations to promote the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations.

Statement by Floyd Abrams in response to Attorney General nominee William Barr’s remarks on the First Amendment

“It’s one thing to say that there could be circumstances in which a journalist’s need to protect her sources could lead to a potential finding of contempt of court if she refused to obey a court order requiring such disclosure. But the notion that a journalist could properly be jailed for publishing material that the government thinks could ‘hurt the country’ is something else entirely and would be deeply threatening to First Amendment norms in general and journalistic freedom in particular.”
FLOYD ABRAMS, author, The Soul of the First Amendment

Statement on NAFTA’s “Kafkaesque” Turn

Associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Manuel Pérez-Rocha wrote the articles, “NAFTA Pushes Many Mexicans to Migrate,” and “NAFTA’s 20 Years of Unfulfilled Promises: The trade deal has become an engine of poverty in Mexico.” 

The supposedly concluded renegotiation of NAFTA has reached a Kafkaesque stage. As the United States Trade Representative has stated: “The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement in principle, subject to finalization and implementation.”

Not only the negotiations have not been finalized, and without Canada, but the texts remain hidden from the public.

However, it is not surprising that the governments have conducted the negotiations in complete secrecy from the very beginning of Trump’s imposition to renegotiate NAFTA.

What is unconceivable is the blind support of Mexico’s newly elected government, not only to the current Mexican government’s negotiating position, but the whole process. AMLO’s [President Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador] office came out immediately, yesterday, to support the “understanding between Mexico and the United States in the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement.” It declared that “it reflects the main concerns raised by the president-elect’s team. Especially, those related to the Mexican energy sector; the labor and salary conditions of our workers and the maintenance of trilateral spaces for the settlement of disputes, as well as the medium-term certainty of the Treaty itself.”

Unfortunately, the public doesn’t have an idea of what the exact decisions on energy are, labor organizations have been kept completely aside from the negotiations and in terms of the settlement of disputes these mechanisms will only handcuff AMLO’s government when it starts office on Dec. 1.

With respect to Chapter 11 of NAFTA and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that give supranational rights to transnational corporations, and rights to avoid the host country courts, it is paradoxical that the Mexican government is the one that wants to keep it. Mexico is the fifth country most sued under these investor-friendly rules and has had to pay more than $200 million in “compensation” for profits lost over governmental decisions in favor of the public interest and the environment. Moreover, under pending suits under NAFTA and other investment treaties (notably with European countries) it may be already liable to pay billions of dollars to transnational companies.

The newly elected government of Mexico must ensure that preeminence is given to human and environmental rights of Mexican communities instead of yielding to investors’ demands. The renegotiation of NAFTA in the present terms and process is incompatible with AMLO’s new project for the nation.

What’s the Cost of Medicare for All?

Even a Koch-backed think tank finds Medicare for all would cut health care spending. In a report released by the Mercatus Center, a single-payer health care system would offset costs with even greater savings.

The Intercept and other media reporting on this are citing the work of Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler. They are distinguished professors of health policy at the City University of New York at Hunter College and lecturers in medicine at Harvard Medical School. They have written an analysis of the work of the Koch-backed think tank, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, which is shown below.

PDF of the report

Comments_on_Blahous_analysis_of_Sanders__Bill__1_.doc

Trump Team Hired Israeli Spy Firm Used by Harvey Weinstein to Attack Obama Officials on Iran Deal

Ronan Farrow reports in The New Yorker: “Israeli Operatives Who Aided Harvey Weinstein Collected Information on Former Obama Administration Officials.”

Mark Townsend and Julian Borger broke the story in the Observer this weekend: “Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal,” which states: “Aides to Donald Trump, the U.S. president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a ‘dirty ops’ campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal.

“People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to ‘get dirt’ on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.

“The extraordinary revelations come days before Trump’s 12 May deadline to either scrap or continue to abide by the international deal limiting Iran’s nuclear [program].”

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052 at comcast.net, @richards1052, Skype: richards1052
Silverstein writes on security and other issues for a number of outlets. He was among the very first to highlight the role of Israel in connection to scandals around the Trump administration and will continue updating at his blog Tikun Olam.

His past pieces include “Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying About Trump Sabotage of Security Council Resolution Against Israel Settlements,” which notes that: “Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts with Jared Kushner to torpedo a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. These included lobbying the Russian ambassador to help in this campaign by delaying or cancelling a vote on the matter.” See also, “Trump, Kushner and Mueller: the Smoking Gun and the Bullet.”

See related Institute for Public Accuracy news releases including “Why is Israelgate Being Downplayed?

From the desk of Noam Chomsky

Celebrate and help continue the work of IPA as we approach our 20th anniversary and launch a legacy fund in honor of Ed Herman. Noam Chomsky explains:

Dear Friend of IPA,

As the Institute for Public Accuracy celebrates its 20th anniversary this April, they are launching the Edward Herman Memorial Fund to honor Ed’s life and work and to continue his legacy revealing critical truths and contesting the entrenched propaganda system.

Like you, I deeply appreciate the key role the Institute for Public Accuracy plays providing the media with informed and expert commentary on the crucial events of the day, offering a broader and richer range of independent sources on which reporters depend.

We are asking IPA’s supporters to collectively match what Ed left IPA in his will. Ed got IPA halfway to $100,000, which is a boost they need to challenge more giving during this important year. This will help IPA to keep pushing old media structures as far as possible while buttressing new ones, and supporting and promoting whistleblowers and other pressurized truths-tellers and various civil liberties.

Will you join me in supporting IPA today with a tax-deductible contribution?

Apart from its constructive contributions to media comprehensiveness and accuracy, for individuals who are seeking a better understanding of evolving world events IPA has been an incomparable source of critically important news that had escaped notice or received inadequate or misleading coverage, as well as acute analysis that is hard to find or completely missing in the mainstream. Speaking personally, I have found it invaluable as a source of insight and information, and for leads to pursue that I would otherwise have missed.

I urge you to support IPA with whatever you can contribute. If each of us sends $50 – just a few dollars for each year they’ve been getting progressives into the media – we could help them raise $100,000 with Ed’s generous match.

Thank you,

Noam Chomsky

15 Years Later: The Whistleblower Who Almost Blocked the Iraq War

Media Advisory:

Press Conference to Mark 15th Anniversary

Of Leak by GCHQ Translator Katharine Gun

Revealing US “Dirty Tricks” at UN for Iraq War

When:  Thursday, 1 March 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Where:  Head office, National Union of Journalists

Headland House, 72 Acton Street, London, WC1X 9NB

Who:  Katharine GunThomas DrakeMatthew HohJesselyn Radack

This press conference will take place the day before the 15th anniversary of the Observer’s publication of the explosive March 2, 2003 story “US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war” — based on a leak by GCHQ linguist and analyst Katharine Gun — revealing the US National Security Agency’s UN surveillance memo that aimed to grease the way for the Iraq invasion. She will be depicted by Keira Knightley in the film “Official Secrets” which is to start shooting in March.

Thomas Drake was a senior NSA executive at the time.

Matthew Hoh later fought in Iraq as a US Marine and then became a US State Department official before resigning in protest of the war in Afghanistan.

Jesselyn Radack was a whistleblower at the US Department of Justice in connection with the “war on terror” before becoming a national security and human rights attorney representing Drake as well as Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers.

The four speakers will assess the significance of the revelations that Katharine Gun provided 15 years ago and discuss the current conditions for whistleblowers and freedom of information in the UK and the US.

For further information:

ExposeFacts, Institute for Public Accuracy

norman at accuracy.org

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Statement on Surveillance Legislation

At this late hour (with all the fear mongering by national security authorities pushing to reauthorize and expand an unconstitutional warrantless surveillance program), unless the Amash-Lofgren Amendment is passed, Congress may end up passing a bill (S. 139) that actually gives criminal suspects more Fourth Amendment protections than innocent people.

I urge all Americans who care about their privacy rights protected by the Fourth Amendment to call their Representative in Congress and tell them to vote for the Amash-Lofgren amendment instead and the proposed USA RIGHTS Act.

The USA RIGHTS Act reforms Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by ending the pernicious and pervasive mass surveillance practice that licenses the secret backdoor warrantless searches and data mining of US person calls, emails, texts and other Internet and digital communications under the cover and color of spying on foreign targets.

I blew the whistle right after 9/11 on the original mass domestic warrantless electronic surveillance program known as STELLARWIND, and its secret subversion of privacy rights protected by the Constitution and paid a very high price for doing so.

This reauthorization bill just further codifies and expands the mass surveillance regime under the guise of protecting people by stripping their privacy protections.

National security does not trump our inalienable rights as a people, especially when the government want to “collect it all to know it all” and bypass the rule of law for secret executive rules to keep us safe from ourselves using legislative acts to make it all legal.

News Conference at Department of Justice on Threats to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange by Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Media Advisory

When: Friday, April 28 at 10 a.m.

Where: U.S. Department of Justice Building between 9th and 10th Streets NW (Constitution Avenue entrance)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently stated that Julian Assange’s arrest is a “priority” of the Trump administration. This has caused numerous individuals — with differing perspectives on WikiLeaks — to warn of a growing threat to press freedom.

The following will address U.S. government policy toward WikiLeaks and whistleblowers:

* Ann Wright is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, and a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves. As a U.S. diplomat, Wright served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia and helped re-open the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan in 2001. In March of 2003, she resigned in protest over the invasion of Iraq. She is co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.

* Jesselyn Radack is National Security and Human Rights Director of WHISPeR — Whistleblower and Source Protection Program — at ExposeFacts. Her clients have included NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. She’s also a whistleblower herself. While at the Justice Department, she disclosed that the FBI committed an ethics violation in their interrogation of John Walker Lindh.

* Ray McGovern, a former Army officer and CIA analyst who prepared the President’s Daily Brief (under the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations), is co-founder of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity (see: samadamsaward.ch), which gave Julian Assange its annual award in 2010. Sam Adams Associates strongly opposes any attempt to deny Julian Assange the protections that are his as a journalist.

Contact at ExposeFacts (a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy):
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, sam [at] accuracy dot org.