Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić was due to meet Kosovo leader Hashim Thaçi on Saturday at the White House. This was at the behest of US envoy for Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Richard Grenell, after his much-publicized success in organizing the meeting. However, his success was short lived after Thaçi became indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity on June 24 by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.
The US meeting has been put on hold until further notice, but as Vučić revealed, the EU will take over discussions between Belgrade and Pristina at a later date. It appears that France and Germany specifically will spearhead these meeting with the French Embassy in Kosovo saying on Thursday that "France and Germany expect Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia to resume soon. Together with Chancellor Merkel, President Macron remains ready to host a Summit in Paris." German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt tweeted: "Our governments stand ready to be helpful with [a] proposed meeting in July."
Due to prosecutors in The Hague indicting Thaçi’s alleged war crimes during the 1998-99 Kosovo war, Kosovo’s new prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, said he could not travel to Washington to conduct talks with Serbia.
The Palestinians have continued to refuse to just simply sit down and enter into negotiation based on President Trump’s Vision for Peace there.
~ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, May 20, Remarks to the Press
Pompeo was responding to a two-part question: Could he comment on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement the previous night ending agreements with Israel and the United States, including security arrangements; and could he comment on the process or progress of Israel annexing West Bank/Occupied Palestinian Territory by July 1 – constituting 30 percent of that land – as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced unilaterally in January.
Pompeo answered the first question but ducked the second; it was Netanyahu’s plan, Abbas had explained, that prompted him to end some agreements dating back to the Oslo and other accords of the 1990s.
Why would the Secretary of State portray Palestinians as refusing to negotiate peace? Why would he refer to the Palestinian leader as "Abbas," dispensing with the civility of "Mr." let alone the diplomatese of "President"? And why would Pompeo explain he had been "in communication with our teams there that very morning," and that he had been to Israel the previous week, yet demur when asked directly if he had spoken with Palestinians, "I don’t have anything to say on that."
Nils Melzer, UN Rapporteur on Torture, belatedly learned that Julian Assange was being tortured. Meltzer came to realize that he had been misled by the “news” about Assange in the Establishment media, so he did his own investigation.
With his findings and impressions in hand, Melzer thought that June 26, the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, would be a fitting occasion to publish an op-ed on the results of his investigation. It turned out that his draft was as welcome as the proverbial skunk at a picnic. Here is a note that Melzer appended to his op-ed once it was finally posted – in Medium:
“This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek. None responded positively.”
One Year Ago (June 27, 2019), I received the very sad news that my longtime friend Justin Raimondo had died. He had spent the previous two years fighting lung cancer.
Justin and I had been political partners for over 40 years, working on many political campaigns and organizations. In 1995, we started Antiwar.com, which grew to become the premier pro-peace and anti-intervention site on the World Wide Web.
Justin was one of the most brilliant and prolific writers of his time, and I had the privilege to work beside him. My association with him changed the course of my life for the better, and enabled me to enjoy a career working and fighting for what I believe in.
Not a day goes by without my missing his presence in my life and my work at Antiwar.com.
The Trump administration is considering ending the process of giving Congress informal notification about pending arms sales:
While congressional aides were not surprised by the proposed move, which they said the Trump administration has been considering as far back as two years, a decision to end the informal consultation would be seen as a major slight to Capitol Hill’s oversight authority.
“That would be viewed as going nuclear,” said Juan Pachón, the communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez.
Arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE have become a point of contention between Congress and the administration because the president is determined to evade Congressional oversight in order to keep the weapons flowing to the war criminals in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Last year, the administration abused a provision in the Arms Exports Control Act to declare an “emergency” that didn’t exist in order to expedite arms sales that most members of Congress wanted to block. The bogus emergency declaration led to the passage of several Congressional resolutionsdisapproving of the arms sales, and then the president vetoed those resolutions. That bogus emergency declaration has since become the subject of investigation by Steve Linick, the State Department’s Inspector General, who was then fired at Secretary Pompeo’s urging earlier this year.
Now the administration is considering another way of restricting Congress’ role in overseeing arms sales. Note that this isn’t happening because Congress is blocking arms sales for frivolous or purely partisan reasons, but because the weapons being solid to these governments are used to commit war crimes against civilians in Yemen. Congress is rightly challenging a monstrous policy of arming war criminals, and the president is looking for every loophole he can find to make sure that the war criminals get the weapons. Both houses of Congress have voted more than once to end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen, and Trump has stubbornly refused to halt our government’s shameful support for the Saudi coalition. Taking away informal Congressional notification of pending sales is an attempt to destroy Congress’ influence over arms sales in general and the US government’s support for the war on Yemen in particular.
The great Frederic Bastiat said that “Trade barriers constitute isolation; isolation gives rise to hatred, hatred to war…” This is the path that should be avoided. If America is unattractive to entrepreneurs, and is falling behind competitively because it is saddled with the biggest government on earth, perhaps the focus should be setting the American entrepreneur free from the bureaucracy. For obvious reasons, American politicians do not want to decrease their power. They would much rather point the finger outwards. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: