Category: war

US Warrant for Seizure of Airplane Owned by Russian Oil Company

The United States today announced the unsealing of a warrant for the seizure of a Boeing 737-7JU aircraft owned by PJSC Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft), a Russian integrated energy company headquartered in Moscow, Russia, headed by Igor Ivanovich Sechin. According to court documents, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security issued sanctions against Russia. The sanctions impose export controls and license requirements to protect U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. The Russia sanctions expanded prohibitions on the export, reexport or in-country transfer of, among other things, U.S.-manufactured aircraft to or within Russia without a valid license or license exception for aircraft owned or controlled, or under charter or lease, by Russia and/or Russian nationals. In this case, these sanctions bar a plane that was built or manufactured in the United States from entering Russia without a valid license. 

Chinese foreign minister warns of conflict unless U.S. changes course -AP + Corruption Ledger #RealityCheck

BEIJING — Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned Tuesday that Beijing and Washington are headed for “conflict and confrontation” if the U.S. doesn’t change course, striking a combative tone at a moment when relations between the rivals are at a historic low.

China blames Ukraine crisis on ‘invisible hand’; U.S. intrusion into Taiwan is “red line”

At wide-ranging press conference, Foreign Minister Qin Gang also describes Taiwan as a ‘red line’ in relations with US.

Double the Challenger tanks for Ukraine? British MOD says no

LONDON — Britain is to double the number of main battle tanks it is sending to bolster the Ukrainian defenses, the country’s ambassador in London said in a interview with Europe’s Radio Liberty. But the British Ministry of Defence has rowed back on any suggestion Challenger 2 numbers heading for the Ukraine are to be doubled from 14 to 28…

Russia bans Transparency International

The Prosecutor General’s Office has declared Transparency International unwelcome in Russia, describing the Berlin-based organization on Monday as going beyond its mandate to interfere into the country’s internal affairs. “It has been established that the activities of this organization clearly go beyond its declared goals and objectives,” the office said in a statement. “Formally acting as an organization fighting corruption…

Inquest Highlights Abuses in Canada’s Immigration Detention

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Central East Correctional Centre in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, February 10, 2021. 
© 2021 Kawartha 411

A coroner’s inquest into the 2015 death of Abdurahman Hassan, a refugee from Somalia, has brought to light shocking details about Canada’s immigration detention system and abusive conditions in provincial jails. In response, 40 organizations have renewed their call on the federal government to stop incarcerating people in provincial jails for administrative immigration purposes.  The letter was also endorsed by former cabinet ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock.

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Our #WelcomeToCanada campaign is going coast to coast. The federal government has contracts with provinces across Canada that allow for immigration detainees to be held in provincial jails. Call on the federal government of Canada to cancel these contracts!

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Abdurahman lived in Canada for two decades before he was placed in immigration detention pending his deportation. He was stripped of his legal status because of several run-ins with the law. Abdurahman had several mental health conditions. After completing his criminal jail sentence, he was incarcerated in immigration detention for three years in a maximum-security provincial jail in Ontario. He was repeatedly subjected to prolonged segregation, in one instance spending 95 consecutive days in isolation.

On top of these punitive and inhumane conditions, Abdurahman’s prolonged detention was unnecessary and arbitrary. His deportation could not be carried out because Somalia was too dangerous for Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers to escort him. There is no legal limit to the duration of immigration detention in Canada, so Abdurahman never knew if or when he would be released.

At the inquest, correctional staff who knew Abdurahman testified that jail was not the right place for him. He could not access the treatment and support he required, and they feared for his safety. Nevertheless, nearly eight years after Abdurahman’s death, CBSA continues to detain people with mental health conditions in provincial jails so they can “access specialized care.”

The inquest counsel recalled the testimony of a correctional officer, one of the last people to spend time with Abdurahman at the hospital. The officer testified they spent the day talking about old times. He helped bathe and feed Abdurahman. “It was a good day,” he said.

Such humane treatment should be the norm. “It should be our goal as a society to ensure that all people, including immigration detainees like Mr. Hassan, be treated with this degree of dignity and care,” the inquest counsel concluded in his closing submissions. “The question is whether there is a will to make that happen.” 

The inquest jury made 53 recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future. Their first is that the federal government should stop using provincial jails for immigration detention in Ontario. Four provinces have already committed to ending this practice, although CBSA insists negotiations are ongoing. It’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to finally stand up to CBSA and stop this rights-violating practice across Canada.

Ukraine to keep troops besieged in key city – Zelensky’s office

The office of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said senior military commanders have agreed to hold onto Artyomovsk – a key Donbass city – after German media outlets claimed a top Ukrainian general had encouraged withdrawing from Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, weeks ago.

Taiwan warns China’s military may make ‘sudden entry’

Defence minister says Taiwan prepared to ‘fire the first shot’ if Chinese forces enter its territorial space.

RU / Russia and Cuba working to counter US sanctions – ambassador

“The introduction of independent settlement mechanisms is being successfully carried out, which will help protect cooperation with Cuba from the negative impact of the US trade, economic and financial blockade, as well as establish ties bypassing the financial organizations of unfriendly states,” the Russian diplomat said. In January, the chairman of the Russia-Cuba Business Council, Boris Titov, said that in order to mitigate the effect of Western sanctions, the countries are considering new mechanisms for mutual settlements, including in ruble and cryptocurrencies, as well as clearing schemes.

Moscow has been also promoting its SPFS interbank messaging system as an alternative to SWIFT as the West has ramped up economic restrictions. Nearly 470 participants, including foreign entities from 14 countries, have already joined the SPFS. Russia has also accelerated efforts to move away from the US dollar and euro towards settlements in national currencies.

Syrian state media: Israeli strike damaged Aleppo airport

DAMASCUS (AP) — An Israeli airstrike hit the Aleppo airport early Tuesday and put it out of service, Syrian state media reported. Citing a military source, the state news agency SANA said Israel “carried out an air attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport.” SANA said the strike “caused material damage” to…

Civilians flee embattled Ukrainian town of Bakhmut

Pressure from Russian forces mounted Saturday on Ukrainians hunkered down in Bakhmut, as residents attempted to flee with help from troops who Western analysts say may be preparing…

Japan resumes imports of Russian oil – data

Japan has resumed imports of Russian oil after an eight-month hiatus in deliveries, S&P Global Platts reported this week, citing the country’s ministry of economics, trade and industry.

EU offers Russian banks alternatives to SWIFT – media

According to the report, the alternatives encompass “non-specialized financial messaging services” such as phone, fax, or email. Banks that are not on the EU sanctions list can use these channels to conduct business with European financial institutions if the transactions are also not subject to sanctions, the document states. It specifies payments for imports and exports of non-sanctioned goods as…

Blinken lied about exchange with Lavrov – Moscow

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Blinken revealed that he and Lavrov “spoke briefly” on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in India. Among other things, the American official said he had “raised the wrongful detention of Paul Whelan,” a former US Marine currently serving a 16-year prison term in Russia for espionage. “The United States has put forward a serious proposal. Moscow should accept it,” Blinken added. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied those claims on Friday, saying she had asked Lavrov about the exchange with Blinken. The top Russian diplomat told her that his American counterpart had not brought up Whelan’s case, with Zakharova describing Blinken’s statement as “lies” and an example of “astounding” behavior by the US government.

Australia vows to protect US nuclear ‘crown jewels’

Australia has insisted it will keep US nuclear propulsion technology under tight lock and key after it gains access to sensitive information, with Canberra’s envoy to Washington pledging to safeguard America’s crown jewels.

New York Taxpayers Foot Bill for Abusive Police

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New York City police detain a legal observer during a peaceful protest in Mott Haven on June 4, 2020.
© 2020 C.S. Muncy

In an agreement made public yesterday, New York City will pay up to $4-6 million to partially settle a legal case brought by hundreds of people trapped, beaten, and wrongfully arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the summer of 2020.

A Human Rights Watch report and video produced with Situ Research documents the incident that is the subject of the lawsuit, which took place on June 4, 2020 in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. The report and video reveal how the NYPD – with no provocation or warning – surrounded, assaulted, and arrested hundreds of protesters in the majority Black and brown neighborhood that has long experienced police brutality and systemic racism.

This settlement, while important, is only partial, as many other related claims are ongoing. It is also no substitute for real accountability.

These are just some of the abuses that organizations like Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Communities United for Police Reform, the Legal Aid Society, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and others have documented for decades.

Just yesterday, the NYPD failed to show up for a city council hearing about the litany of substantiated complaints filed against the Strategic Response Group (SRG), an NYPD unit responsible for many of the abuses Human Rights Watch documented. The NYPD cited ongoing litigation, no excuse for not showing up at an oversight hearing.

The settlement is one of many that the city has made over the years for police abuses, costing taxpayers $121 million in the past five years alone. In 2014 the city paid $18 million to settle police misconduct cases connected to protests during the 2004 Republican National Convention; the actual price tag was even higher because the city spent roughly the same amount defending the cases.

The NYPD has also failed to adequately discipline or charge many of those responsible for this and other incidents connected to NYPD actions during the 2020 protests, according to a Civilian Complaint Review Board report, yet New York Mayor Eric Adams continues to want to boost the NYPD’s $5 billion budget.

Here’s the bottom line: Police misconduct during the Mott Haven protest reveals deep, systemic problems requiring comprehensive reforms. This includes re-imagining community safety, a vision that should include dramatically decreasing the NYPD’s size, the scope of issues police respond to – including peaceful protests – and its funding. Instead, historically underserved communities like Mott Haven need investments that will improve access to education, housing, and health care.