Aletho News


It’s Wrong to Take Clinton’s Claim of Possible US-Russia ‘Reset’ Seriously

Sputnik – January 18, 2016

MOSCOW  – A possibility of “a reset” in the Russian-US ties voiced by US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cannot be taken seriously, experts told Sputnik Monday, stressing that the statement was a tactical ploy by an “opportunistic” politician.

Earlier in the day, former US Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said a hypothetical “reset” of Russia-US relations is possible, but would depend on what Washington obtained from it.

“It would be a mistake to place any hope in Hilary Clinton,” John Laughland, the director of studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris, said, adding that she is “a very opportunistic woman who will say anything without thinking about it very much.”

Under Clinton, the idea of “a reset” was inconsistent, Laughland highlighted, citing as an example the appointment of Michael McFaul as US Ambassador to Russia, who in fact was “one of the most catastrophic ambassadors that America has ever sent anywhere I would say.”

“Clinton’s comment clearly is an electoral gimmick meant to present her as a realist ready to constructively re-engage with Russia. But after the failure of Obama’s earlier reset, and given Clinton’s record as a hardliner, Moscow is not going to be in the least impressed,” Vlad Sobell, a professor of politics at New York University in Prague, told Sputnik.

He also reminded of the failure of a previous “reset,” in which Clinton even pressed “a reset button” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and which resulted in Washington’s “multifaceted aggressive campaign against the Russian Federation.” A new “reset” would require almost impossible conditions and circumstances, and the essential thing for Washington to revise and renew contacts with Moscow is dropping its exceptional idea, a political analyst on Russia outlined.

“A fundamental reset would be possible only when the US elite gives up on its quest to establish absolute world hegemony,” Jon Hellevig noted.

Meanwhile, Laughland called the process “a reality check,” which envisaged the need for Washington to understand that the world was composed of other states with different and sometimes conflicting interests, and those interests could not be overruled by US exceptionalism.

The United States needs to stop thinking that its power and leadership are the necessary ingredients for the world peace, he noted, adding, nevertheless, that those passages have been an integral element of all the US strategic documents.

Looking at the future of Russian-US ties, the experts appear to be quite pessimistic regardless of who is elected the US president.”It is now beyond doubt that US policy is not driven by the White House but by the military-industrial complex, or the so called deep state. And this uncontrollable monster is demonstrably hell-bent on deepening the US-Russia confrontation,” Sobell suggested.

Hellevig pointed at Donald Trump as “the one that offers a hope for a real change in America and its relations to the rest of the world.”

If Trump stands for what he has said during his campaign, he could pose a threat to the present US elite, the political analyst said.

“But it is difficult to see how a mere president of the United States could in reality stand against those interest groups,” Hellevig admitted.

Russia-US ties have been strained since 2014, when Washington, as well as the European Union and their allies, introduced several rounds of sanctions against Moscow over its alleged involvement into an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, and what the Western officials and media described as “annexation” of Crimea.

The Black Sea peninsula reunified with Russia in March 2014 following a political referendum in the region, in which 96 percent of the population voted in favor of joining Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly insisted that the vote was held in full compliance with democratic procedure and international rule of law.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Erdogan files $32k lawsuit against opposition leader who called him a ‘dictator’

RT | January 18, 2016

Attorneys for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have filed a lawsuit against a major opposition leader for stating that Erdogan is a dictator, presidential sources and the opposition party told Reuters. The president is reportedly seeking $32,000 in damages.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu made the controversial comment on Saturday, just one day after Erdogan urged prosecutors to investigate academics who signed a declaration criticizing military action in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast. Twenty-seven of the signatories were briefly detained.

“Academics who express their opinions have been detained one by one on instructions given by a so-called dictator,” he said during a speech to his party’s 35th General Congress in Ankara, referring to those who have signed petitions opposing the military crackdown on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and urging an end to curfews.

“You may not agree with the content of the declaration. We also have issues with it, we also have our disagreements. But why limit freedom of speech?” Kilicdaroglu added.

Erdogan’s lawyers are seeking 100,000 lira (US$32,000) in damages, according to Turkish media.

A petition presented to the public prosecutor’s office also asked for a civil lawsuit to be launched against the CHP, Turkey’s Anadolu agency reported. The biggest opposition party in Turkey, with 134 seats in the 550-member Turkish parliament, the CHP, has been led by Kilicdaroglu since May 2010.

In addition to the lawsuit, an attorney from the Ankara prosecutor’s office has also launched an investigation into Kilicdaroglu’s comments on charges of “openly insulting the president,” local media reported.

In Turkey, insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in jail. Although Kilicdaroglu has immunity from prosecution because he is a lawmaker, parliament could vote by a simple majority to remove that protection.

It’s not the first time that Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu have clashed. In June 2015, Erdogan filed a 100,000 lira ($32,000) lawsuit against the CHP leader for “mental anguish” following a public spat over claims that there were golden toilet seats installed in the presidential palace.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Israeli violence continues as Palestinians protest recent killing of protester in Bethlehem


Medics standing in front of the ambulance with a broken windshield
International Solidarity Movement | January 17, 2016

Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine – This Friday, on the 15th of January, hundreds of Palestinians gathered on the main street of Bethlehem to protest against the recent killing of Srour Ahmad Abu Srour, who was killed by Israeli forces in nearby Beit Jala last Wednesday. Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition at the protesters.

On Wednesday afternoon, 21-year-old Srour Ahmad Abu Srour, origanally from Aida refugee camp, was killed during protests against the Israeli military invasion of the western part of Bethlehem, Beit Jala. Palestine News Network reported that 4 Israeli army jeeps entered Beit Jala and set up a flying checkpoint and started raiding homes and shops on the busy Al-Sahl street in Beit Jala. Srour Ahmad Abu Srour was hit in his chest by a live bullet, and later succumbed at Beit Jala public hospital. The director of the Red Crescent ambulance and emergency crew in Bethlehem, Mohamed Awad, said that many young men were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets or by suffocation due to the large amount of tear gas fired during the protest.

Every day since the killing of Srour Ahmad Abu Srour, Palestinians from Bethlehem have marched the streets in protests of Israel’s ongoing violence. On this Friday demonstration Israeli forces entered the streets of Bethlehem and fired hundreds of tear gas canisters towards the protesters. Protesters, passersby and residents of the neighborhood were severely affected by the amount of tear gas that was fired. One passerby was taken away from the scene in an ambulance due to the excessive inhalation of tear gas.

Two injuries by rubber-coated metal bullets were reported, one of which was a journalist. One protester was shot in his lower leg with live ammunition, and was taken to hospital.

According to medics, 5 people were injured with rubber-coated metal bullets and 5 people with live ammunition during protests in Bethlehem with its surrounding villages. One medic was injured when a rubber-coated metal bullet was fired at the windshield of his Ambulance during protests in near by Em Rokbaa.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

The End of Impunity in El Salvador?

By Michael Busch | teleSUR | January 18, 2016

Former members of a U.S.-trained death squad in El Salvador may finally face justice after massacring 6 priests and two women 26 years ago.

In El Salvador, the beginning of a new year brings with it the opportunity to heal old wounds.

In the first weeks of January, nearly 20 retired military officers accused of human rights violations during the country’s civil war have been called to answer for their crimes. While the great bulk of the charges being leveled against the former soldiers relate to a single massacre carried out in San Salvador, at least one of the former commanders is known to have directed multiple atrocities during the 12-year conflict. In all, some 75,000 were killed during the war, while thousands more were disappeared in a rampage of human rights atrocities largely perpetrated by the U.S.-backed, right-wing government’s forces.

The importance of these developments cannot be underscored enough.

In addition to the closure that may be offered to victims of civil war-era human rights abuses and their families, the apprehension and trial of accused war criminals in El Salvador signals the end of impunity enjoyed by members of the old guard—some of whom were responsible for brutal campaigns of violence, like the massacre of six priests and two others at a university in San Salvador.

On Nov. 16, 1989, a small band of soldiers stormed the campus grounds of the Central American University (UCA). Members of El Salvador’s elite Atlacatl Brigade—a death squad armed and trained by the United States—murdered a group of Jesuit priests, a campus housekeeper, and the woman’s teenage daughter. Among the dead was Ignacio Ellacuria, rector of the university, prominent proponent of liberation theology, and a critic of the conservative ruling regime governing El Salvador during the war. The other five priests were Spanish nationals.

The military initially tried pinning the blame on FMLN rebels. The Actlacatl Brigade used weapons that had been captured from guerilla fighters and, after murdering those inside the compound, staged a phony assault on the campus to make it appear as if rebels had carried out the slaughter. In order to ensure that no one would question who was responsible for the UCA massacre, the troops placed a cardboard sign near their victims which read: “The FMLN has executed the spies who informed on them. Victory or death. FMLN.”

Despite the fact that few believed the military’s deception, justice in this case—as it was for countless other victims of human rights violations during the civil war—has proved elusive. In 1991, a group of the officers involved were put on trial. Two soldiers were found guilty, and sentenced to prison. Shortly after, however, all of the accused were relieved of responsibility for the killings. An amnesty law approved by the legislative assembly following the 1992 peace accords offered the shelter of impunity to everyone implicated in war crimes over the previous decade.

Until now.

On Jan. 5, a Spanish court asked that arrest warrants be issued for the 17 retired military men connected to the slaughter at the university. The following day the Salvadoran government signaled its willingness to cooperate. Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales, speaking at a press conference, told reporters that “there is an obligation to prosecute these acts and, in the absence of domestic justice, there is an obligation to collaborate with the legal process that the Spanish National Court is leading in this case.”

Spanish authorities have tried to have the officers arrested in the past, but to no avail. In 2011, Spain pushed for their apprehension but was rebuffed by the Salvadoran high court. The court found that the warrants issued by Interpol for the 17 soldiers mandated that Salvadoran authorities locate the men in question, not apprehend them, and that the officers were protected under the old amnesty law governing civil war crimes. This changed last year in a welcome reversal by the court, which has opened the door to their arrest and extradition.

The impending arrests aren’t the only sign that the limits of impunity for past crimes may have been reached in El Salvador. A week after the 17 military officers were identified for arrest, a former minister of defense, Jose Guillermo Garcia Merino, was deported from the United States—where he had been residing since the late 1980s—to El Salvador for war crimes committed on his watch. Among other incidents, Garcia has been tied to the murder of four American nuns, the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, as well as the Rio Sumpul and El Mozote massacres.

In expert testimony included in the case of Garcia-Merino, Terry Lynn Karl, professor of political science at Stanford University, argued that El Salvador’s armed forces “engaged in a widespread pattern and practice of massacres, torture, and arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings, and other gross violations of human rights” under Garcia’s command. “General Garcia presided over the worst period of repression in modern Salvadoran history,” Karl wrote. “At least 75 percent of reported violence in El Salvador occurred during General Garcia’s tenure as Defense Minister.”

These developments mirror a similar push for justice underway in the region more broadly. Most prominently, a series of actions have been taken against military officers in Guatemala accused of human rights violations in that country’s civil war. While the trial of former strongman Efrain Rios Montt has been subject to a lengthening series of delays, prosecutions of other alleged war criminals appear to be advancing successfully. And on the same day that El Salvador agreed to take action against those involved in the UCA massacre, Guatemala arrested 18 of its own retired soldiers for war crimes.

Even as Guatemala appears poised to make steady advances to ensure transitional justice, El Salvador faces many obstacles in following suit. Foreign courts were responsible for kickstarting these latest proceedings against Salvadoran war criminals while, to date, domestic courts themselves have not taken up the mantle of pursuing cases related to crimes committed during the war. Indeed, while government officials have promised to extradite the seventeen officers to Spain, none have yet been brought into custody. Nor is it clear what legal fate awaits Garcia following his deportation from the United States.

And there are still serious concerns about the selective nature of accountability in the country. The constitutional court’s recent ruling on “terror,” for example, came back into focus recently when Chief Inspector Joaquin Hernandez demanded that El Diario de Hoy be investigated for instigating “fear and terror” in its coverage of the gangs. Repugnant as El Diario’s politics may be, claims that the paper is abetting terror raise alarming questions about press freedom in El Salvador, and could set an ugly precedent in the government’s war against the gangs, and political opposition.

Nevertheless, the fact that government officials appear ready to play their part in the apprehension and prosecution of those charged with war crimes suggests an important shift has taken place in El Salvador. The ruling establishment has historically been wary of broaching issues of transitional justice leftover from the war. To his credit, former president Mauricio Funes took courageous steps by acknowledging the state’s role in wartime atrocities, but nothing came of it. Over the past several weeks, however, official reluctance to redress past wrongs seems to be dissipating.

Whatever the cause—domestic or international pressure, successful internal maneuvering by brave judges and lawyers within the country’s judicial system, or something else—an opportunity to begin striking down the impunity haunting El Salvador for decades has presented itself. Will the government shy away due to the very real political risks involved in dredging up the past? Hopefully not. Will it honestly reckon with the country’s recent history, and those responsible for its bloodiest episodes, to ensure that justice for those victimized by a ruthless war is no longer denied, even after all these years?

Better late than never.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia Gives Green Light for Trial of Ex-President

teleSUR – January 17, 2016

The probe involves 12 former state officials in total, including opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina, over alleged economic crimes.

The Bolivian National Assembly approved Saturday the decision to probe former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada over “prejudicial contracts to the State, anti-economic behavior and unfulfillment of duty,” the Congress presidency said in a report sent to AFP.

Sanchez de Lozada, who is a fugitive from Bolivia’s justice system is currently living in the United States since he was accused in 2006 for violation of human rights. He was governing Bolivia during the privatization of various state-run companies, particularly the railway firm ENFE in 1995.

Sanchez Lozada is accused of having under-sold the state shares for an amount of US$13 million, while its value was estimated to reach US$29 million.

Lawmakers approved a report issued by the legislative commission of justice, which was issued after a year investigation into the capitalization and privatizations of public companies carried out between 1990-2001.

The General Attorney’s Office will now be in charge of the judicial proceedings before the country’s Supreme Court.

Sanchez de Lozada fled to the United States in 2003, after riots and clashes with security forces resulted in the death of 60 people, known as the “Black October massacre” ending de facto his presidential term.

The United States granted him asylum, while the Bolivian government is still demanding the U.S. extradite him.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Transparency is Expensive — NYPD Charges News Network $36,000 For Body Camera Footage

By John Vibes | The Free Thought Project | January 18, 2016

New York, NY – In the wake of growing controversy surrounding police violence, more police departments are equipping their officers with body cameras. However, while police-worn body cameras can bring extra evidence into cases on both sides, they are far from a fix for police brutality. The main obstacle with these cameras is the fact that the footage is still entirely controlled by police departments.

The officer in the field has an opportunity to turn the camera on and off at their discretion. The cops in the office then have a second opportunity to edit the footage or redact parts that might make the officer look bad or incriminate them. Additionally, police departments are often guilty of withholding body camera footage from victim’s families and news organizations.

In one recent case, the NYPD charged a TV news network $36,000 for body camera footage, stating that it would cost them that much to prepare the footage for the network. The network is now suing the police department, stating that the high price undermines the transparency that body cameras have been promised to bring. Charging obnoxious prices for the release of body camera footage is just another trick that the police use to keep their activities from going public.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Time Warner Cable News NY1:

“[NYPD] denied NY1’s request for unedited footage without specifying what material it plans to redact, how much material will be excluded from disclosure, or how the redaction will be performed. Instead, Respondents suggested that they may provide NY1 with edited footage, but only on the condition that NY1 remit $36,000.00, the alleged cost to the NYPD of performing its unidentified redactions.”

The lawsuit also stated that the NYPD’s policy was “counter to both the public policy of openness underlying FOIL (Freedom of Information Law), as well as the purported transparency supposedly fostered by the BWC (body worn camera) program itself.”

The police department claims that their fee is “reasonable” considering the time and effort required to edit the footage.

In a response to NY1, the NYPD sent a letter explaining their costs.

The letter stated that:

“The RAO’s estimate of the cost of processing a copy of the BWC footage was reasonable based on an estimate that the total time of footage recorded during the five weeks specified in the FOIL request was approximately 190 hours, and in addition to the 190 hours required to view the recordings in real time, an additional 60% (or 114 hours) will be required to copy the BWC footage in a manner that will redact the exempt portions of the BWC footage, for a total of approximately 304 hours. The lowest paid NYPD employee with the skills required to prepare a redacted copy of the recordings is in the rank of police officer, and the costs of compensating a police officer is $120 per hour. Multiplying $120 by 304 hours equals $34,480 which closely approximates the amount estimated by the RAO. This approximate cost does not include the time required to locate and collate the recordings, for which no charge is made, as that time is a part of the search for responsive records, and not a part of the time required for copying. In sum, the copying cost, as estimated by the RAO, is reasonable and commensurate with the breadth of the FOIL request.”

Even if their claims are true, which they most likely are not, having the police handle body camera footage “in house” is obviously not the best option for transparency or cost, considering the inflated budgets that police officers enjoy.

Many advocates for police accountability suggest that body camera footage should be open source, and in the hands of the people and not the police. This could likely be handled by teams of volunteers and donors who could keep the project running without a large budget.

When there is a project that has enough support, it will usually receive sufficient donations from individuals, businesses and charity organizations to keep the program operating. We saw this in the U.S. a few years back, when the government pulled the plug on funding for the SETI space program. This was a program that many people still wanted despite the government’s decision to cut funding. In fact, they wanted it around so badly that over 2,400 different donations were received in a single week, easily surpassing their goal of $200,000.

If put in the hands of the public, police body camera footage could work in the same way, but this option has been unanimously rejected by police departments across the country.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

At Least 26 Dead After Saudi-Led Airstrikes Hit Sanaa Police Headquarters

Press TV – January 18, 2016

Dozens of people have been killed in a series of air raids by Saudi Arabia on police buildings in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a as well as other areas across the war-torn Arab state.

Medical sources and police said on Monday that the overnight air strikes hit a local police building and the headquarters of the traffic police in the Yemeni capital, killing at least 26 people and injuring scores more.

Saudi fighter jets also targeted several locations in the southern province of Ta’izz, with reports suggesting that three civilians were killed in an air raid on a house in Dhubab district.

Similar assaults were also reported on schools in the same area, with no immediate account available on the potential casualties.

Saudis also targeted a livestock unit in the northwestern coastal province of Hudaydah, inflicting heavy losses on the facility, which was described by the local sources as one of the biggest producers of dairy products in Yemen.

Yemen’s al-Masirah TV said Saudi warplanes also carried out attacks in the western province of Amran, while residential areas also came under attack in the northern province of Jawf.

Saudi Arabia says its military campaign, which started on March 26, is meant to undermine the Ansarlluah movement and restore power to the fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Yemenis say, however, that the attacks are aimed at destroying Yemen’s wealth and fragile infrastructure.

More than 7,500 people have been killed in more than nine months of incessant air strikes, while millions more are reported to have been stranded across the country.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Iran to test new missiles despite US sanctions: Defense minister

Press TV – January 18, 2015

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says the Islamic Republic will unveil new domestically-designed and manufactured missiles in the near future in defiance of new US sanctions against the country over its missile program.

“[Any] attempt to impose new sanctions [against Iran] under irrelevant pretexts is indicative of the continued US hostile policy and acrimony toward the Iranian nation, and a futile effort to undermine Iran’s defense might,” Dehqan said on Monday.

He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missile industry is fully domestically-manufactured and anchored in science and expertise of the country’s defense sector.

“Hence, sanctions against [certain] people and companies will have no impact on the development of the industry, and we will actually demonstrate [their ineffectiveness] by displaying new missiles,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country will continue to enhance its missile capabilities in defiance of the “destructive” US sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s missile program.

“We will respond to such propaganda stunts and disruptive measures by more robustly pursuing our lawful missile program and promoting our defense capabilities and national security,” the statement added.

It further noted that Iran’s missiles serve defensive and deterrent purposes and have not been designed to carry nuclear warheads.

“The Iranian missile program has by no means been designed to carry nuclear weapons and is not in contravention of any international principle,” the statement pointed out.

The US Department of the Treasury said in a statement on Sunday that it has imposed new sanctions on several individuals and firms over Iran’s ballistic missile program, claiming that the program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security.”

The statement said five Iranian citizens and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China were added to a US blacklist.

On October 11, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired its first guided ballistic missile dubbed Emad. Washington slammed the test, claiming the projectile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It vowed to respond with more sanctions.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

US State Department Has ‘No Comment’ on Legality of New Iran Sanctions

Sputnik – 18.01.2016

The US Department of State has no comment on the recent accusation of Tehran on the “illegal” nature of the new US sanctions against entities involved in ballistic missile procurement for Iran, the Office of Press Relations told Sputnik on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Hossein Jaberi Ansari stated the US sanctions have “no legal or moral legitimacy.” Moreover, the country’s foreign ministry said that Tehran will reply on the sanctions by a more robust approach to the national ballistic missile program and its national defense and security capabilities.

“We have no comment on this,” the press relations office said, highlighting the country’s President Barack Obama’s Sunday statement on Iran.

On Sunday, Obama stated that the nuclear agreement reached by Iran and world powers in July proved possibilities of US diplomacy.

On the same day, the US Treasury Department sanctioned 11 entities and individuals, including six Iranians and one Chinese citizen, over their involvement in procurement on behalf of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

In November, media reported that Iran allegedly tested a surface-to-surface Emad (Pillar) missile in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.

The United States has earlier weakened sanctions targeting Iran as global nuclear watchdog IAEA verified on Saturday Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear agreement reached last July.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

When Peace Breaks Out With Iran…

By Ron Paul | January 17, 2016

This has been the most dramatic week in US/Iranian relations since 1979.

Last weekend ten US Navy personnel were caught in Iranian waters, as the Pentagon kept changing its story on how they got there. It could have been a disaster for President Obama’s big gamble on diplomacy over conflict with Iran. But after several rounds of telephone diplomacy between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the Iranian leadership – which we are told by the neocons is too irrational to even talk to – did a most rational thing: weighing the costs and benefits they decided it made more sense not to belabor the question of what an armed US Naval vessel was doing just miles from an Iranian military base. Instead of escalating, the Iranian government fed the sailors and sent them back to their base in Bahrain.

Then on Saturday, the Iranians released four Iranian-Americans from prison, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. On the US side, seven Iranians held in US prisons, including six who were dual citizens, were granted clemency. The seven were in prison for seeking to trade with Iran in violation of the decades-old US economic sanctions.

This mutual release came just hours before the United Nations certified that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear treaty signed last summer and that, accordingly, US and international sanctions would be lifted against the country.

How did the “irrational” Iranians celebrate being allowed back into the international community? They immediately announced a massive purchase of more than 100 passenger planes from the European Airbus company, and that they would also purchase spare parts from Seattle-based Boeing. Additionally, US oil executives have been in Tehran negotiating trade deals to be finalized as soon as it is legal to do so. The jobs created by this peaceful trade will be beneficial to all parties concerned. The only jobs that should be lost are the Washington advocates of re-introducing sanctions on Iran.

Events this week have dealt a harsh blow to Washington’s neocons, who for decades have been warning against any engagement with Iran. These true isolationists were determined that only regime change and a puppet government in Tehran could produce peaceful relations between the US and Iran. Instead, engagement has worked to the benefit of the US and Iran.

Proven wrong, however, we should not expect the neocons to apologize or even pause to reflect on their failed ideology. Instead, they will continue to call for new sanctions on any pretext. They even found a way to complain about the release of the US sailors – they should have never been confronted in the first place even if they were in Iranian waters. And they even found a way to complain about the return of the four Iranian-Americans to their families and loved ones – the US should have never negotiated with the Iranians to coordinate the release of prisoners, they grumbled. It was a show of weakness to negotiate! Tell that to the families on both sides who can now enjoy the company of their loved ones once again!

I have often said that the neocons’ greatest fear is for peace to break out. Their well-paid jobs are dependent on conflict, sanctions, and pre-emptive war. They grow wealthy on conflict, which only drains our economy. Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , | 2 Comments