Europe at heart of US, Russian battle over missile treaty

Ending INF Treaty, as threatened by Trump, could put pressure on EU and possibly start new arms race, analysts say.

US missile systems in Poland and Romania have led Moscow to accuse the US of violating the INF Treaty [Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo]
US missile systems in Poland and Romania have led Moscow to accuse the US of violating the INF Treaty [Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo]

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was crafted in 1987 by then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with both nations agreeing to eliminate all of their ground-launched nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km (310 miles to 3,420 miles).

But both sides have accused the other of violating the treaty in recent years. The US, under former President Barack Obama, said in 2014 that Russia tested cruise missiles which violated the INF Treaty since 2008.

For its part, Russia says the US violates the INF Treaty by deploying Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (MK-41) in Romania and Poland.

The MK-41 launchers are currently used for defensive purposes, but Moscow alleges they can be repurposed to fire offensive missiles.

(back in the seventies, didn’t they say we already had enough nukes to destroy our planet three times over?!)

Advertisements

Opinion: “Trump is a threat to National Security.”

By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

President Donald Trump is a threat to national security. His lies rev people up, inspiring hate. A slew of bombs have been discovered this week, targeting people and organizations Trump regularly vilifies: the Obamas, the Clintons, Congressmember Maxine Waters, CNN, ex-CIA chief John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder and billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros. While Trump fabricates national security concerns to foment fear, he ignores genuine threats.

Take the migrant caravan, for example. At a Houston rally on Sunday, Trump called it “an assault on our country.” Thousands of people making their way from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are fleeing violence, poverty and desperation, seeking refuge and asylum in the United States and Mexico. In a tweet on Monday, Trump claimed “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.” When challenged by a reporter for evidence, he flippantly replied, “There’s no proof of anything.”

A real threat that knows no borders is climate change. Hurricane Michael roared across the warming waters of the Gulf of Mexico and tore into the Florida Panhandle two weeks ago. The town of Mexico Beach was practically wiped off the map. Fifteen miles farther west along the coast is Tyndall Air Force Base, home of a fleet of 55 F-22 stealth fighters. Before Hurricane Michael leveled the base, at least 33 of these jets were flown to safety. But as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dave Philipps reported, at least 17 of the planes, costing $339 million each, were likely left behind and possibly destroyed. Climate scientists point out that while no individual storm can be blamed on climate change, global warming increases their frequency and intensity. Hurricane Michael was the first recorded Category 4 hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle, and was among the top three strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S.While Pentagon reports identify climate change as a major threat to national security in the 21st century, Trump calls it a hoax perpetrated by China to hurt the U.S. economy.

“To abandon facts is to abandon freedom,” writes Yale historian Timothy Snyder in his book “On Tyranny.” In the past few weeks, nothing illustrated this better than the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi monarchy. On Oct. 2, Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and never came out. The Saudi government lied, saying he had left soon after. Reports almost immediately surfaced that Saudi Arabia had dispatched a 15-man “kill team,” which tortured, killed and dismembered Khashoggi in the consulate. Rather than denounce the murder immediately, Trump declared he would await Saudi Arabia’s investigation of itself, but would not cut record weapons sales to the kingdom. Saudi Arabia is waging a war on Yemen, and its relentless, U.S.-backed bombing has driven at least half of the Yemeni population to the brink of famine. The United Nations has declared Yemen to be the greatest human catastrophe on the planet today.

In the midst of the Khashoggi horror, President Trump held a rally in Montana praising a congressmember who pleaded guilty to criminally assaulting a reporter. At the campaign event, Trump hailed Congressmember Greg Gianforte, saying, “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of … guy.” During his 2016 campaign, Gianforte body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

To the shock of many, at another rally this week, Trump officially declared himself a nationalist — a label long associated with white supremacy and Nazism. “You know, they have a word — it’s sort of became old-fashioned — it’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist.”

Desperate for Republicans to maintain their control of Congress, Trump continues to unleash the dark, divisive and destructive forces of racism. All of this has taken place in the month of October. Add one more dangerous move by Trump, just this week: On Saturday, he announced he is pulling the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The INF banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges. Many fear this could stoke a new arms race with Russia, further destabilizing the world.

As Trump campaigns around the country, he gins up fears of foreign enemies attacking the United States. But he has shown again and again, through his words and deeds, that the greatest threat to U.S. national security is Trump himself.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Political tensions, financial worries drive doomsday bunker sales

North Korea’s nuclear tests, severe weather and fears of a financial meltdown are boosting demand for underground bunkers in Maine.

Northeast Bunkers of Pittsfield is “busy as the dickens,” its owner said about the recent nuclear threats and hurricanes.

“Generally speaking, we have higher sales with these types of events,” said owner Frank Woodworth, a former general contractor who started his underground shelter business 15 years ago.

His two-person company sells four to six steel shelters a year ranging from 8×13 feet for two people to 8×20 feet for four people. Prices range from $40,000 to $60,000 installed. Customers are located across Maine, but mostly west of the 20-mile area near the coastline. He’s installed about 50 bunkers to date.

Customers who install bunkers are secretive about it, he said, declining to refer the Bangor Daily News to any of them for comment.

His company uses camouflage and indigenous trees and brush to hide the entrances. The bunkers, buried three to four feet underground with a doorway and stairs to get down to them, also have leach fields for septic, are near groundwater and have filtration systems to keep out gases.

Bunkers were popular in the 1950s and 1960s, especially during the Cold War and Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. One such shelter, built by an Augusta man in the 1950s, made the news in 2011 when officials said it was blocking a $17.3 million sewer project. The former owner said it was protection against a nuclear attack.

Nowadays, bunkers are built not just for doomsdayers, but for the wealthy worried about safety, and for others concerned about civil unrest, financial collapse and nuclear attacks. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian reportedlyordered an elaborate underground shelter after she was attacked in Paris.

Rising S Company of Murchison, Texas, is one of the largest bunker makers in the country, producing about 160, or 10 a year, since it started. About 30 of those bunkers are in Maine, including some near Portland, he said.

Echoing Woodworth’s comments about clients wanting privacy, he said only half a dozen of the total shelters he’s installed were done so with a building permit. Permits typically are required for expansions or buildings added to existing property.

Customers typically decide to order bunkers based on an accumulation of concerns, not because of one event, like the changing of a president, Lynch said.

“But we’ve seen an increase in sales recently in the last couple months with North Korea’s talk about and then doing missile tests,” he said. That includes four bunkers his company installed in Japan.

His shelters, which are custom built of steel and are square to allow more room, range from $39,500 up to the most expensive he’s sold so far, a $14 million, 8,000-square-foot bunker in metropolitan Los Angeles. It has a swimming pool and a bowling alley.

In Maine’s Farmington region, Margaret, a retired school teacher, and her husband, a retired Air Force colonel, had a 1,000-square-foot Rising S bunker installed in March. So far, the longest they’ve stayed in it without coming out has been 18 days. They bought the bunker over worries about war and the instability of the banking system.

“The U.S. is an enemy to so many nations,” said Margaret, who spoke via email through Lynch on the condition that her last name and exact location not be used.

She described the bunker as having three bedrooms and an open floor plan with a kitchen, dining and living areas. It sleeps 10 people. The amenities include an air filtration system, plumbing and a homey feel inside.

“I have decorated it with family portraits and other things from around our home so it really feels good when we go inside,” she said.

download (1)

Comrade Trump, in bed with Putin. Does Amerika give a fuck?

The New York Times is reporting Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 campaign after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump Jr. and Trump’s then-campaign chair, Paul Manafort, attended the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower two weeks after Trump won the Republican nomination. Since the news broke, Donald Trump Jr. has given at least two conflicting explanations for the meeting. On Saturday, he first issued a statement that made no mention of being promised information on Clinton, saying only that the meeting was about the U.S. adoption of Russian children. Then, on Sunday, Trump Jr. issued another statement about his meeting with the Kremlin-linked lawyer, saying, “I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign.” The New York Times’s revelations come as President Trump is facing multiple investigations into his ties to Russia and whether members of his campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere in the U.S. election. Donald Trump Jr. also faced criticism on Saturday for retweeting a doctored clip of the movie “Top Gun,” edited so it appears that President Trump is a fighter pilot shooting down a jet with the CNN logo. This comes less than a week after President Trump faced criticism for tweeting a doctored video of himself body-slamming and punching a figure whose head has been replaced by the CNN logo. The Trump White House is also considering blocking a pending merger between Time Warner—CNN’s parent company—and AT&T, amid Trump’s escalating feud with the network. Meanwhile, another one of Trump’s children, Ivanka Trump, also sparked criticism when she took her father’s seat briefly at the G20 summit, sitting between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The move was widely criticized back in the United States, given that Ivanka Trump is a businesswoman with no diplomatic experience and no elected position in the administration. Both Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner serve as senior advisers to Trump. We’ll have more on the Trump family, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, later in the broadcast.

~

Following theG20 meeting with Trump, Russian President Putin said Trump had accepted his denial of election interference.

President Vladimir Putin: “Our position is well known. I’ve spoken about it. There are no grounds to believe that Russia interfered in the election process in the United States. He asked a lot of questions about this issue. I answered these questions as well as I could. It seems to me he accepted it and agreed. But you are better off asking him what he thought about it.”

Trump is now backpedaling on the plan to form a joint cybersecurity unit with Russia, after facing widespread backlash over the weekend, including from South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “And he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin. Two hours and 15 minutes of meetings, Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyberattacks on the American election of 2016.

Thousands March to Demand Trump’s Impeachment HeadlineJul 05, 2017

Thousands of protesters marched in dozens of cities across the United States on Sunday to demand President Trump’s impeachment. Marchers took to the streets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia, New York City, in Davenport, Iowa, and other U.S. cities. These are two protesters in Los Angeles.

Protester 1: “Resist. And resist loud, so loud that we won’t even hear the door slam when he’s dragged out of office.”

Protester 2: “I really think his mental state is unstable. And I think everyone kind of knows that, but we don’t say it about our president.”

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, more than 20 Democratic lawmakers are now backing a bill introduced by Maryland Congressmember Jamie Raskin that would create a commission to determine if the president is mentally or physically unfit for office. The bill has gained support over the last week, after Trump issued sexist tweets attacking MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, calling her “crazy” and falsely claiming she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

Thousands of protesters marched in dozens of cities across the United States on Sunday to demand President Trump’s impeachment. Marchers took to the streets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia, New York City, in Davenport, Iowa, and other U.S. cities. These are two protesters in Los Angeles.

Protester 1: “Resist. And resist loud, so loud that we won’t even hear the door slam when he’s dragged out of office.”

Protester 2: “I really think his mental state is unstable. And I think everyone kind of knows that, but we don’t say it about our president.”

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, more than 20 Democratic lawmakers are now backing a bill introduced by Maryland Congressmember Jamie Raskin that would create a commission to determine if the president is mentally or physically unfit for office. The bill has gained support over the last week, after Trump issued sexist tweets attacking MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, calling her “crazy” and falsely claiming she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

U.N.: Cut Emissions Sharply by 2020 or Face Climate Catastrophe

The United Nations warns humanity has just three years left to dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions or risk facing a world that’s uninhabitable to many of its residents. The warning by six climate experts was published in the journal Nature. It finds that without immediate action by 2020, the Earth’s average temperature will rise by more than the 2-degree Celsius upper limit set by the Paris climate accord.

The warning came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said this year’s G20 summit in Hamburg will focus on climate change.

Chancellor Angela Merkel: “The European Union stands fully behind its Paris commitment, and it will rapidly and decisively implement the agreement. Furthermore, since the decision by the United States of America to leave the Paris climate deal, we are more determined than ever to make it a success.”

The White House said President Trump will meet next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20.

(YOU WANTED A KING.  WELL, YOU GOT ONE.)