Top Democrat proposes bill to stop Trump from relaxing sanctions on Russia, with GOP McCain and Graham support

“[Obama] wanted to make sure that [Trump] had grave difficulty in maintaining any normal strategic policy at all and particularly with regard to Russia. So he left that time bomb if you like…Schumer himself is a rabid, and I use this word advisedly, rabid, political advocate concerned only with domestic political outcomes. He’s certainly not looking at the strategic picture, he’s absolutely trying to undermine the Trump administration.”
Gregory Copley, editor-in-chief of the Defense & Foreign Affairs journal

From RT

January 23, 2017

A top Senate Democrat is planning to introduce bipartisan legislation designed to stop President Trump from relaxing US sanctions on Russia. Critics argue that the bill is a “rabid and short-sighted” move to undermine the new administration.

President Donald Trump’s cautious statements about the desirability of working towards rapprochement with Moscow, which could include easing economic sanctions on Russia, have not gone unnoticed by some in the US establishment.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on Sunday that a bipartisan group of US Senators was preparing to introduce a bill that would significantly restrict the president’s ability to lift the sanctions that Washington imposed on Russia in 2014 after Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin it in a referendum.

The bill would demand that any changes to the restrictions be put to a vote in the US Congress, thus preventing the president from acting unilaterally.

“We repeal sanctions, it tells Russia, ‘Go ahead and interfere in our elections and do bad things;’ it tells China; it tells Iran. That would be terrible,” Schumer told ABC’s This Week show, adding that he has secured support from GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

“We need more sanctions against Russia. We should not relax them,” McCain said on the same program, adding “if we don’t keep those sanctions on and even increase them, it will encourage Vladimir Putin, who is a war criminal.”

Earlier in January, Trump floated the idea of lifting the sanctions as part of a new nuclear weapons reduction deal.

“For us to repeal sanctions, given what Russia has done in Ukraine and threatened the Baltics, and now they have clearly tried to intervene in our election – whether it had an effect or not – that is something, that’s a danger that we have never faced to this extent in American history,” Schumer went on.

However, Gregory Copley, editor-in-chief of the Defense & Foreign Affairs journal, told RT that the bill was surely designed “as a part of the legacy that the then-president Obama wanted to leave for President Trump.”

Republicans will try to stop Trump from getting close with Moscow – fmr asst US def sec

“[Obama] wanted to make sure that he had grave difficulty in maintaining any normal strategic policy at all and particularly with regard to Russia. So he left that time bomb if you like,” Copley asserted.

Allegations that Russia interfered in the US elections are unsubstantiated, the expert continued, while noting that Washington itself has waged “political warfare” against other countries in the past.

“There’s a lot of material around to show that the Obama administration interfered with the election processes in Ukraine, in Israel and in other countries,” he said.

“Schumer himself is a rabid, and I use this word advisedly, rabid, political advocate concerned only with domestic political outcomes. He’s certainly not looking at the strategic picture, he’s absolutely trying to undermine the Trump administration,” Copley concluded.

https://www.rt.com/usa/374745-senators-trump-russia-sanctions/

On final Ukraine trip, Biden urges Trump administration to keep Russia sanctions, as McCain and Rubio want more sanctions

From The Guardian

January 16, 2017

Comments while meeting with Ukraine’s president came after Trump indicated he could end Crimea-related sanctions in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal

Vice-president Joe Biden, on a last foreign trip before leaving office, met Ukraine’s president on Monday and called on the incoming Donald Trump administration to retain Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia.

Biden’s comments at a briefing with President Petro Poroshenko came after Trump indicated in an interview with The Times and Bild that he could end sanctions imposed in the aftermath Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal.

Trump’s attitude to Russia and praise for President Vladimir Putin has been a consistently controversial feature of his rise to the White House, which will be completed with his inauguration in Washington on Friday.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to covertly influence the US election in Trump’s favour and against the Democratic nominee, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump has recently admitted that he believes Russia did orchestrate such hacks, but has nonetheless fuelled a bitter feud with intelligence officials over the issue.

“The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression,” Biden told reporters, standing alongside Poroshenko, in remarks which did not include reference to Trump by name.

“The Crimea-related sanctions against Russia must remain in place until Russia returns full control to the people of Ukraine.”

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Other US sanctions are connected to Russia’s involvement in the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

 

“Together with our EU and G7 partners,” Biden said, “we made it clear that sanctions should remain in place until Russia fully, emphasise fully, implements its commitments under the Minsk agreement.”

Poroshenko said Ukraine believed in good cooperation with the new US administration and urged sanctions to stay, without mentioning Trump’s remarks on a deal with Russia.

Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev on 16 January.
Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev on 16 January. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Andy Hunder, the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, said Kiev would have to put much time and resources into dealing with the new US administration.

“On 20 January Ukraine will be waking up to a new reality,” he told Reuters. “There is a concern in Kiev about how the new relationship will develop. It will require building new bridges to the influencers, the gatekeepers and decision-makers.”

Kiev has taken steps to win the good favour of the those calling the shots in the Trump administration. Days after the election in November, Poroshenko’s office started planning an official visit to Washington in early 2017.

A bipartisan group of US senators, including the Republicans John McCain and Marco Rubio, said last week they wanted to slap a wide range of sanctions on Russia over its cyber activities and actions in Ukraine and Syria. A sanctions bill with similar provisions is being written in the House of Representatives.

“Our job is to make sure this attention on Ukraine does not wane,” Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Valeriy Chaly said on Wednesday.

As Biden left the room on Monday, a journalist asked if he thought the Trump administration would give Ukraine the same priority as he had. Biden gave a thumbs up.

“Hope springs eternal,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/16/joe-biden-ukraine-visit-russia-sanctions

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

 

Partners in crime, McCain teams up with his friend, fugitive Saakashvili, on Ukraine “reform” advisory group

McCain and Saakashvili may cause a radical redefinition of the word “reform”.

Besides their open encouragement of and support for the far-right radical leaders of Ukraine, their war crimes, and the gutting of due process and civil rights, these two will, no doubt, have additional schemes for privatization (i.e. stripping Ukraine of its assets and handing them over to banks and investors), and further austerity measures which target the public.

More bad news for Ukraine.

Posted on Global Research, May 15, 2015
From RT

Georgia’s fugitive ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili and hawkish US Senator John McCain have been approved as members of the newly-formed International Advisory Group that will help Ukraine’s president in “conducting reforms.”

Saakashvili has been appointed as head of the new advisory group, says the statement on Ukraine’s presidential website.

The list of members included in the advisory group mostly includes current and former European politicians. Among them are the German member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, Sweden’s former Prime and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda, and Lithuania’s former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

Back in February Saakashvili was appointed as a non-staff adviser to Poroshenko. The ex-Georgian president, who was in power from 2004 to 2013, faces numerous charges at home, including embezzlement of over $5 million, corruption and brutality against protesters during demonstrations in 2007. Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched proceedings to indict Saakashvili and place him on the international most wanted list, but Kiev refused to hand over the fugitive president, despite an existing extradition agreement between Ukraine and Georgia.

Saakashvili is known for his strong anti-Russian stance, which garnered heavy US support. In August 2008 during his term in office Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia, killing dozens of civilians and Russian peacekeepers stationed in the republic. Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinval prompted Russia to conduct a military operation to fend off the offensive. Despite Saakashvili’s claims that the conflict was “Russian aggression,” the 2010 EU Independent Fact Finding Mission Report ruled that Tbilisi was responsible for the attack.

Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili's Page)Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)

Meanwhile Senator John McCain, for years spearheading the anti-Russian and particularly anti-Putin crusade, said that while he “would love to do anything” to help Ukraine, he has not yet cleared his new appointment under the US Senate rules.

“I was asked to do it both by Ukraine and Saakashvili and I said I would be inclined to do it but I said I needed to look at all the nuances of it, whether it’s legal under our ethics and all that kind of stuff,” McCain told BuzzFeed.

At the onset of the Ukraine’s Maidan protests against former president Viktor Yanukovich, McCain appeared in Kiev to support the uprising that months later culminated in a coup.

“We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States,” the US Senator told a crowd of some 200,000 anti-government protesters in the central square of Ukraine’s capital.

Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili's Page)Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)

Following the new Kiev authorities’ attempt to suppress dissent in the east of the country and Crimea’s ascension into the Russian Federation, McCain became the main engine of lobbying for lethal arms supplies to Ukrainian forces to “defend themselves” and Europe from “Russian aggression.”

“The Ukrainian people don’t want US or Western troops to fight for them; they are simply asking for the right tools to defend themselves and their country,” he said late last month at a hearing on US security policy in Europe. “Russia’s invasion and dismemberment of Ukraine should remind everyone of the true nature of Putin’s ambitions and the fragility of peace in Europe.”

McCain’s statements following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement make it clear that peace in Ukraine is not something the hawkish politician supports. Despite the general agreement that Minsk Accords is the only way forward for a political resolution to the crisis, McCain rejected the agreement as “solidifying the gains of Russian aggression.”

In addition, the Senator is a strong supporter of the NATO buildup on Russian borders. McCain insisted recently that the Baltic allies should help secure eastern borders of the alliance as they cannot “continue with business as usual” claiming that Russia poses a “geopolitical challenge… to our entire vision of Europe.”

McCain has also been hinting at starting a new nuclear arms race with Russia. “Negotiating further strategic nuclear reductions with Russia would be a dangerously naive non-starter with the US Senate. It simply defies common sense to negotiate nuclear reductions with Vladimir Putin,” he said last month following US administration’s call for further strategic nuclear reductions.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/mccain-appointed-to-ukraine-reform-advisory-team-headed-by-fugitive-georgian-leader-saakashvili/5449619

http://rt.com/news/258389-saakashvili-mccain-ukraine-advisors/

US funds “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong, promotes sedition

Image: While the Washington Post would have readers believe National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is in the business of promoting “freedom of expression” and “democracy” the corporate-financier interests represented on NED’s board of directors are anything but champions of such principles, and are instead notorious for principles precisely the opposite. 

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/11/the-arab-spring-a-virus-that-will-attack-moscow-and-beijing/248762/

US Now Admits it is Funding “Occupy Central”
By Tony Carlucci
Land Destroyer Report,  October 1, 2014

Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

The very concept of the United States ”promoting democracy” is scandalous when considering it is embroiled in an invasive global surveillance scandal, guilty of persecuting one unpopular war after another around the planet against the will of its own people and based on verified lies, and brutalizing and abusing its own citizens at home with militarized police cracking down on civilians in towns like Ferguson, Missouri – making China’s police actions against “Occupy Central” protesters pale in comparison. “Promoting democracy” is clearly cover for simply expanding its hegemonic agenda far beyond its borders and at the expense of national sovereignty for all subjected to it, including Americans themselves.

In 2011, similar revelations were made public of the US’ meddling in the so-called “Arab Spring” when the New York Times would report in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” that:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding NED specifically, that:

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

Pro-war and interventionist US Senator John McCain had famously taunted both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping’s predecessor in 2011 that the US subversion sweeping the Middle East was soon headed toward Moscow and Beijing. The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would report that:

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Considering the overt foreign-funded nature of not only the “Arab Spring,” but now “Occupy Central,” and considering the chaos, death, destabilization, and collapse suffered by victims of previous US subversion, “Occupy Central” can be painted in a new light – a mob of dupes being used to destroy their own home – all while abusing the principles of “democracy” behind which is couched an insidious, diametrically opposed foreign imposed tyranny driven by immense, global spanning corporate-financier interests that fear and actively destroy competition. In particular, this global hegemon seeks to suppress the reemergence of Russia as a global power, and prevent the rise of China itself upon the world’s stage.

The regressive agenda of “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership, and their shameless exploitation of the good intentions of the many young people ensnared by their gimmicks, poses a threat in reality every bit as dangerous as the “threat” they claim Beijing poses to the island of Hong Kong and its people. Hopefully the people of China, and the many people around the world looking on as “Occupy Central” unfolds, will realize this foreign-driven gambit and stop it before it exacts the heavy toll it has on nations that have fallen victim to it before – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, and many others.

Source:
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.ca/2014/10/us-now-admits-it-is-funding-occupy.html

Also:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-now-admits-it-is-funding-occupy-central-in-hong-kong/5405680