Is a Military Coup Against Trump in the Cards?

Is a Military Coup Against Trump in the Cards?
TEHRAN (FNA)- In an extraordinary US Senate hearing last week, lawmakers and military officials rounded on President Trump as being a danger to world peace due to his Commander-in-Chief powers for launching nuclear weapons.

The highlight came when the hearing was told military officers have the constitutional right to disobey the president.

This was, in effect, an open call to mutiny against the president’s authority. The Senate hearing surely counts as an outstanding moment in a year of topsy-turvy politics since Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States on November 8 last year. Yet that moment of potential sedition seemed to pass off as a rather humdrum event.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held its hearings Tuesday on the legalities surrounding the presumed executive power of the president to launch nuclear missiles. It was the first time in over 40 years since such a debate was convened on Capitol Hill, not since 1976 when Richard Nixon was about to be ousted. That reference alone speaks volumes as to what lies at stake for Trump.

Time magazine ran the headline: “Should President Trump Have the Sole Power to Launch Nuclear Missiles?”

Senator Chris Murphy (D) set the tone and purpose of the hearing by saying: “We are concerned the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, and has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US security interests.”

Hinting at the severe constitutional implication, Murphy added: “So let’s just recognize the exceptional nature of this moment, of this discussion we’re having today.”

It’s hard to imagine a more demeaning way to refer to the head of state. Basically, Trump is being painted as a nutcase with his finger on a button for Armageddon. How is the president supposed to retain authority after that?

These broadsides against Trump have been rammed by political opponents, pro-Democrat media and the US intelligence community for the past year and more. Recall when Democrat rival Hillary Clinton berated Trump during a televised debate as a security danger because of his volatile temperament and would-be access to the nuclear codes.

Even members of Trump’s own Republican Party have cast him as a threat to national security. Last month, Republican Senator Bob Corker blasted his fiery rhetoric toward North Korea as “putting the US on a path to World War Three.”

Capping his first year in office, Trump returned last week from a 12-day Asian tour claiming it a major success in terms of promoting American business interests. But former intelligence chiefs soon rained on Trump’s parade by calling him a “national security threat” in high-profile media interviews. Former CIA boss John Brennan, and ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were referring to Trump’s conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the APEC summit in Vietnam. Both former spooks, who presumably still retain close contacts within the security-military establishment, denounced Trump for “accepting Putin’s assurances that Russia did not interfere in the US elections.” Trump, they said, was “being played by Putin” and was thereby endangering the security of the US.

These comments were echoed again this week by Brian Hook, a senior State Department official, who told a conference in Washington that “Russia is a clear and present threat to the West.” As Radio Free Europe reported: “Hook’s tough line on Moscow appears to be in contrast to stated attempts by the administration of President Donald Trump to improve relations with Russia as a means to solve global crises.”

Again, it is hard to imagine how more derogatory the slurs against a sitting president could be expressed. The tenuous “Russia-Gate” accusations of “collusion” between Trump and Russia purportedly to get him elected have marked him down as a “Kremlin stooge.” On top of that, Trump is allegedly a national security threat; and now this week, a crazy buffoon who must be wrestled from the nuclear button.

One US military official giving evidence to the Senate hearings questioning Trump’s authority described him as having “God-like power to end the world.”

Bruce Blair, formerly a nuclear launch commander, said in a later media interview: “The power to destroy human civilization is unilaterally wielded by one man, who happens to be a career con artist and reality TV star known for his impulsive petulance, short temper and even shorter attention span.”

Perhaps the most significant comment came from General Robert Kehler, who commanded US Strategic Command overseeing the nation’s nuclear arsenal between 2011-2013. He told the Senate committee: “If there is an illegal order presented to the military, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it.”

Kehler said this obligation to refuse orders applies to all presidents. However, in the context of the unique and relentless media attacks on Trump over the past year, the call for disobedience takes a special significance. It is an open challenge to Trump’s ultimate authority.

Let’s be clear. Trump’s personality and behavior are suspect. He is impetuous and reckless in his rhetoric. His threats to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea are deeply disturbing. So too was his bragging at the UN General Assembly in September of “totally destroying” the Asian nation due to its nuclear weapons program. Trump’s cheap Twitter shots at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Little Rocket Man,” and more recently as “short and fat,” are gratuitously provocative and have escalated fears that a nuclear war could break out.

Nevertheless, there seems to be an ulterior agenda of opportunism going on among the American political class which has never accepted Trump’s election as valid.

Portraying Trump as a Russian stooge, a traitor and a national security danger are all par for the course in the ongoing campaign to take him down and to overturn last year’s election result.

But here’s the intriguing thing. The Senators this week in their hearings on Trump’s nuclear powers did not contemplate amending legislation to curb those powers. Senator Bob Corker told reporters: “I don’t see it happening.”

Brian McKeon, who served as acting undersecretary for policy at the Defense Department during the Obama administration, said: “If we were to change the decision-making process because of a distrust of this president that would be an unfortunate decision for the next president.”

So, there you have it. US lawmakers and military officials seem to have no problem with the fact that a president could launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against some perceived enemy state. If they did object, then they would be pushing through legislation to widen authority and consultation to restrict the use of nuclear weapons.

The real issue here should be about how any American president has been given the authority to launch a nuclear war, not just Trump.

What Trump’s opponents within the political and military-security establishment are really aiming at is to find some pretext for undermining his office, and ultimately to challenge his presidential authority on the grounds that he is unfit.

The public call this week for the US military to disobey Trump’s orders is a shot across his bow that a coup is not unthinkable.

By: Finian Cunningham

This article was originally published by Information Clearing House on November 19, 2017

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 18:30| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

US Navy Ships Involved in Deadly Crashes Reportedly Had Abysmal Training Record

US Navy Ships Involved in Deadly Crashes Reportedly Had Abysmal Training Record
A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) seen by CNN reveals damning details about the state of readiness of the US Navy ships, the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain, which were involved in deadly crashes with civilian ships earlier this year, Sputnik reported.

The report stated that the crew of the two ships failed to satisfy fundamental training requirements before the incidents.

Some of the training certifications had lapsed for more than two years, signifying a systematic failure of the Navy that might have contributed to the deadly accidents.

As of the 26th of June 2017, the USS Fitzgerald had 15 of its 22 certifications expired with some of its qualification not being renewed for almost a year.

The McCain only had 7 of its certifications lapsed, though its crew failed to fulfill its cruise missile and surface fire support requirements for over two years.

The crews' performance particularly suffered in so-called "Tier Two" mission areas, including basic seamanship and communication that sheds light on the reasons behind the fatal collisions.

All ten "Tier Two" training certificates expired on the Fitzgerald and over a half had lapsed on the McCain.

Preliminary investigation into the Fitzgerald crash found that the crew did not realize that the cargo ship was approaching and failed to take necessary maneuvers to avoid the accident.

The deadly crashes led to the dismissal of the US Navy's 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin and senior commanders on the ships involved.

The full-fledged review into the accidents is still on-going.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 18:10| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


Muslim Leaders Reject US President's Decision on Jerusalem

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) rejected the United States' decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen, speaking on Wednesday at the opening of an OIC summit in Istanbul, urged Muslim leaders to work together to present a united response to the move, Al-Jazeera reported.

"The OIC rejects and condemns the American decision," he said, adding that "This is a violation of international law... and this is a provocation of the feelings of Muslims within the world... it will create a situation of instability in the region and in the world."

Several Muslim leaders and top diplomats geared up for a special summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on al-Quds in the Turkish city of Istanbul in criticizing a US President Donald Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The OIC convened for an extraordinary summit in Istanbul to discuss Jerusalem following the US President’s controversial and historic decision last week to recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy to the city.

Turkish President, as the current chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), had asked for an emergency meeting to convene in Istanbul, calling Jerusalem the "red line for Muslims", and describing Israel as a "terrorist state" and a "killer of children".

US President announced last Wednesday Washington would be recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and ordered that work on the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds begin.

The move was hailed by Israel but condemned by the rest of the international community as one which undermines the peace talks.

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Washington's decision in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, Hebron (al-Khalil), Bethlehem and Nablus in the West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

People in different countries have also hit the streets to denounce Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 15:16| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Russia probe FBI agents’ texts imply scheme to thwart Trump 2016 victory


Russia probe FBI agents’ texts imply scheme to thwart Trump 2016 victory
Text message exchanges between a former FBI agent and lawyer from 2016 suggest an insider scheme against then-candidate Donald Trump ahead of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion probe, which they both worked on.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office”-- apparently a reference to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe -- “that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40 . . . .”

That was just one of the anti-Trump text messages former FBI agent Peter Strzok sent to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whom he dated.

In another exchange from August 2016, Page forwarded a Trump-related article to Strzok, and wrote: “And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”

Page’s stint with the FBI had ended by the time Strzok was removed from the special counsel Russia investigation this past summer when the text messages were apparently discovered by the FBI. The time of the text messages between the two former FBI employees spanned from August to December 2016. Strzok also helped open the investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump and Russia.

The roughly 375 text messages surfaced during a Justice Department inspector general investigation related to the

FBI's inquiry into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The texts were subsequently handed over to the Senate and House judiciary committees.

On Wednesday, the House committee referred to these messages and many more, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to head the probe into alleged collusion between Trump and Russia, testified to the probe’s integrity.

Lawmakers on the committee asked Rosenstein if Mueller was an appropriate choice to run the Justice Department's investigation after the discovery of Strzok and Page's text messages, due to possible political bias within the special counsel's team.

“The special counsel’s investigation is not a witch hunt,” Rosenstein said. “The independence and integrity of the investigation are not going to be affected by anything that anyone says.”

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) brought up Strzok's message that appears to state that he would try and stop Trump from becoming president.

"This goes to intent," he said. "Don't forget the timeline here, Mr. Rosenstein."

Jordan then went on to mention the events that followed the text messages, such as the dossier compiled on Trump and the investigation into Hillary Clinton.

Representative Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) grilled Rosenstein on the fact that Strzok played a large role in everything from the alleged Russia collusion investigation, to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

The committee also questioned Rosenstein about the FBI’s role in the creation of the now-infamous Trump dossier.

“Did the FBI pay for the dossier?” Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) asked Rosenstein. The Deputy Attorney General replied that he was “not in a position to answer that question.”

DeSantis then asked if Rosenstein knew the answer to his question. Rosenstein replied, but ended his answer abruptly: “I believe I know the answer, but the Intelligence Committee is the appropriate committee…”

In 2016, Strzok, was heavily involved in former FBI Director James Comey’s investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, and was also in the room when Clinton was interviewed by the FBI in 2016, CNN reported.

Further, the former FBI agent has been cited as the individual who changed the phrasing of Comey's description of how Clinton handled classified information, from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” according to CNN.

This decision could have potentially raised significant legal concerns, as federal law governing the mishandling of classified material creates criminal penalties for “gross negligence,” CNN reported.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 14:32| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

ティラーソンの北朝鮮対処方針発言 早速後退

State Dept walks back Tillerson call for talks with N. Korea
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert appeared to walk back statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for negotiations with North Korea. Nauert said Pyongyang would have to suspend weapons tests before talks could take place.

“We're ready to talk anytime they'd like to talk,” Tillerson said on Tuesday, during a question-and-answer session at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. “We are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. Let’s just meet.”

On Wednesday, Nauert said that Tillerson’s comments were not an announcement of a shift in US policy. North Korea would have to suspend its weapons program before any talks could talk place, “and we certainly haven't seen that right now,” she said.

Tillerson had signaled that the Trump administration was ready to negotiate without demanding North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs.

“It’s not realistic to say we are only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program," he said. “They have too much invested in it.”

While this was reported as willingness to talk without preconditions, Tillerson’s prepared remarks were clear that Washington expects Pyongyang to make concessions in advance of any negotiations.

“They have to come to the table with the view that that want to make a different choice,” the US secretary of state said, adding he “will continue our diplomatic efforts until the first bomb drops.”

Pyongyang would have to suspend nuclear and missile test fo an undefined period of time before any talks could commence, Nauert said Wednesday. An unnamed White House official told Reuters there were additional preconditions without specifying them.

"The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves its behavior," the official told Reuters, insisting on anonymity. "As the secretary of state himself has said, this must include, but is not limited to, no further nuclear or missile tests."

The US has put in place the “most comprehensive set of economic sanctions that I think that ever have been assembled,” according to Tillerson. He praised the effects of the sanctions, noting that fuel prices have dramatically increased, the country is no longer able to export goods, and that the citizens of North Korea are suffering under the resulting shortages.

He later called the sanctions regime placed on North Korea, “a piece of diplomacy.” North Korea has called them a declaration of war.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 13:31| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


[ワシントン 12日 ロイター]2017/12/12
- ティラーソン米国務長官は12日、北朝鮮と前提条件なしで直接対話する用意があると述べた。核放棄を対話の条件としていた従来の姿勢を修正したとみられる。



US ready ‘anytime’ for direct North Korea talks – Tillerson
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said all that stands between direct diplomacy with North Korea is their willingness "to come to the table" with a desire to "make a different choice."

“We're ready to talk anytime they'd like to talk,” Tillerson said about North Korea on Tuesday afternoon. This shift away from US policy demanding North Korea negotiate on terms of its own disarmament came during the secretary of state's remarks in Washington, DC to the Atlantic Council during an event called Reimagining the US-Republic of Korea Partnership in the Trans-Pacific Century.

He also said that the US has assured China that US troops would return to South Korea afterward if they ever had to cross into North Korean territory.

“In the meantime, our military preparedness is strong,” he continued, asserting confidence in himself to prevent war, while also expressing support for Defense Secretary James Mattis should hostilities break out.

The US's stated goals in the region ultimately have not changed, Tillerson made clear.

“Our policy with respect to the DPRK is really quite clear and that is the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson added that China and Russia shared in that goal, though “our tactics for implementing the policy may differ a bit.”

The US has implemented the “most comprehensive set of economic sanctions that I think have ever been assembled,” the top US diplomat continued.

Earlier Tuesday, the US and Japan held one of the largest joint military drills aimed at North Korea yet. American B1-B bombers, F-35 stealth fighter jets and F-18 combat jets were flown along with Japanese F-15 fighters, prompting a warning from Moscow that the exercises would “increase tension” with Pyongyang.

Iraq & Syria
Tillerson said on Tuesday that the US seeks to “stabilize” the areas of Syria and Iraq liberated from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) “to avoid a reemergence of ISIS but also to avoid a reemergence of local conflicts between various groups.”

He said the State Department has to catch up with the military to determine “diplomatic plans as to what comes after the defeat of ISIS.”

The US would also work with Russia to “promote deescalation of the violence,” he said.

Saudi Arabia & Pakistan

The secretary of state praised Saudi Arabia for making an effort to counter terrorism, but said the kingdom must “get these messages into the mosque” and “into the madrasas.”

On Pakistan, Tillerson said its relationship with the US had deteriorated over the last decade.

“Our concern is really about Pakistan's stability,” Tillerson said, warning that growth of terrorist groups in the country could cause Pakistan “to lose control of their own country.”

※ 共同2017/12/14 08:20
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 11:29| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


※  原@抵抗勢力‏ @adjajplpdxga氏の2017/12/12のツイート


posted by ZUKUNASHI at 10:53| Comment(0) | 社会・経済



Russian military delegation arrives in N. Korea, scouting any chance for dialogue
Russian Defense Ministry representatives have arrived in the North Korean capital. It is the second visit by Russian officials in two weeks, and comes as Washington claims it is ready for direct talks with Pyongyang, while still staging war games in the turbulent region.

The delegation is headed by Deputy Director of the Russian National Defense Command Center Viktor Kalganov, and has been on assignment in North Korea since Tuesday. The officials are to remain in Pyongyang for the rest of the week.

There has been no word on their mission from the Russian military. However, almost simultaneously with news of the visit, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Moscow is using "any opportunity for direct communication" and will continue to do so, including with the help of the Defense Ministry. "North Korea is our neighbor, we must develop relations with this country," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said during a briefing on Wednesday. "Political dialogue is extremely important," he added.

The Russian military have traveled to Pyongyang to "activate" a settlement of the crisis in the region, Deputy Head of the Defense Ministry's Public Council Aleksandr Kanshin told Interfax. "The aim of the military, political and diplomatic efforts is clear: all sides should be put back at negotiations table, to put away provocative and threatening military rhetoric and demonstration of force," the official said. He noted that such missions are part of a road map proposed by Moscow and Beijing, which seeks a solution to the nuclear tensions through dialogue.

Moscow has repeatedly said that only diplomatic efforts can solve the crisis. Following a recent visit to North Korea by Russian lawmakers, the delegation said that Pyongyang is ready for talks if it is recognized a nuclear power. North Korea can sit at a negotiating table with the US with the participation of Russia as a third party, it proposed.

While the Russian delegation is working in Pyongyang, Washington has made a U-turn in its hardline stance towards the North. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the US is ready for talks with no preconditions. Russia, which has always advocated a diplomatic approach, welcomed the new tone of the American rhetoric, with Ryabkov saying that previously the US treated any direct contacts with Pyongyang as “abnormal.”

At the same time, the US has not abandoned another pillar of its policy in the region, which is the continuation of a series of military drills near the Korean Peninsula. The recent maneuvers are considered to be one of the largest military drills to date aimed at North Korea.

"Unfortunately, the US carry on with their non-constructive line aimed at military build-up in North-Eastern Asia," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. She reiterated that Moscow calls on all sides to refrain from moves that only escalate the crisis.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 02:31| Comment(0) | 国際・政治