US Sanctions Likely Preclude Them Getting Uniforms
When the US and UN try to impose new sanctions on North Korea, as they do every few weeks, the question that inevitably rises is: what’s left to sanction. The Winter Olympics are underscoring just how far this has already gone.
Just participating in the hockey event is a challenge. North Korea is forbidden, by UN sanctions, from buying hockey sticks, because they’re “recreational sporting equipment.” In past events, North Korean participants have had to borrow all sticks, and return them before leaving.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. North Korea also has to find a third party to supply uniforms for them, because the uniform sponsor, Nike, is afraid that doing business with them will violate US sanctions.
Across North Korea’s participation, this is a recurring problem. The singers and dancers they agreed to send are coming by ship, but the ship may not have enough fuel. Buying fuel would be in violation of the sanctions, so the ship is stuck en route.
Samsung is giving all the Olympics participants Galaxy Note 8 phones, but some are claiming they count as “dual use” because of their processing power and GPS capabilities. The suggestion again is North Korea might be forced to give phones back at the end of the event.
Olympic games are meant to be a time to emphasize international cooperation, and while North Korea’s involvement started as an exemplar of sports diplomacy, increasingly it underscores just how obscene the anti-North Korea sanctions already are, and how petty they’ve become.
Officials “apologize” to Israel for “oversight.”
Signing up for an internationally accessible website almost always means including your country of origin. The same has been true of NBA.com, for years.
Then today, Israel suddenly expressed outrage at that fact, with their Sports Ministry having noticed that occupied Palestine is an option, declaring that to be “an imaginary state” and demanding it be removed.
Sports Minister Miri Regev insisted there is no such thing as occupied territory, and that the NBA’s listing was not in keeping with President Trump declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Perhaps even more incredibly, the NBA immediately relented, saying it was an “oversight,” and apologizing for including Palestine as an option.
It’s not at all clear what provoked Israel to go after NBA.com, as virtually every website with a registration system has similar options for Palestinian users. That the NBA immediately caved in, and even apologized, likely means they won’t be the last, and that Israel is going to start brow-beating websites on a regular basis.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D – NH) is pushing a bill that would seek a Justice Department investigation of whether television station RT America is “coordinating with the Russian government,” saying there is reason to believe that there are financial ties between the channel and the Russian government, and that “the American public has a right to know if that is the case.”
It is the case, of course. RT was founded by RIA Novosti in 2005 as a nominally “autonomous” non-profit organization. RIA Novosti is wholly owned by the Russian government. Continue reading “Senate Dem Seeks Investigation of RT for Being Russian-Funded”
Hypocrisy is not an unfamiliar site in the comments of top political officials, but Secretary of State John Kerry really took it to new levels today, complaining it was “inappropriate” for President-elect Donald Trump to publicly criticize internal policy of other nations, after Trump’s comments panning Germany allowing refugees into the country.
That Trump’s comments were the same sort of simplistic distrust of “illegals” copied and pasted onto another country in a totally different situation is all true, though really beside the point, as Kerry’s argument wasn’t that Trump was wrong, rather it was that he should keep his mouth shut.
Continue reading “Kerry: Inappropriate for Trump to Directly Comment on Other Nations’ Policies”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s latest report on the alleged “election hacking” by Russia includes a substantial section focused around the idea that Russian government-funded channel RT is overtly anti-American. This is a common enough accusation, but when set out in a multi-page report format, a lot of the charges fall remarkable short.
Nowhere was this more apparent, however, than on the first page of the Annex on RT, which presented the fact that RT America hosted US presidential debates which included third-party candidates.
Continue reading “US Spy Chief Presents Third-Party Debates as Proof RT Is Anti-US”
It took a few days to get there, but the Washington Post has finally made the circuitous voyage from a headline declaring “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical security, officials say” to finally arriving at “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation.”
One big thing you’ll notice about the second headline is that it’s not really a story in and of itself. Russia not hacking the US electric grid would not, on its own, be even a low level story in a newspaper, because every single day of history Russia has managed to not hack Vermont and not bring down the nation’s electrical grid.
Continue reading “WAPO Admits: Russia Didn’t Hack US Electrical Grid”