Tag: war on terror
IN THE WAKE OF EVENTS IN SYRIA, WE NOW HAVE RAPID ESCALATION OF MILITARY PREPARATION AS THE US SETS SIGHTS ON NORTH KOREA.
HERE”S A COUPLE OF MAINSTREAM NEWS REPORTS FROM THE LAST FEW HOURS AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING:
As a US strike group led by an aircraft carrier steamed toward the Korean peninsula Sunday, a senior official said President Donald Trump has asked to be provided with a range of options for eliminating the North Korean nuclear threat.
The US naval move will certainly raise tensions in the region and comes hard on the heels of a US cruise missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as putting Pyongyang on warning over its refusal to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
North Korea denounced Thursday’s attack as an act of “intolerable aggression” and one that justified “a million times over” the North’s push toward a credible nuclear deterrent.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted in an interview broadcast Sunday that the United States does not intend to try to remove the regime of Kim Jong-un.
“That is not our objective and so the whole reasons underlying the development of a nuclear program in North Korea are simply not credible,” Tillerson told the ABC program “This Week.”
He said the United States expects China, the main ally of North Korea, to do more to rein in the regime in Pyongyang.
“They have indicated that they will, and I think we need to allow them time to take actions,” Tillerson said.
US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster insisted, however, that in the meantime it is “prudent” to send the strike group to the Korean peninsula, criticizing North Korea as a rogue, nuclear-armed nation engaged in provocative behavior.
“Presidents before and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable, that what must happen is the denuclearization of the peninsula,” McMaster told Fox News.
“The president has asked them to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat,” he added, apparently referring to Trump’s advisers.
Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.
Expert satellite imagery analysis suggests the North could well be preparing for a sixth, with US intelligence officials warning that Pyongyang could be less than two years away from developing the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.
North Korea on Wednesday fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan ahead of a US-China summit.
The isolated North is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology.
In February, the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on US bases in the neighboring Asian country.
Last August, Pyongyang also successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) 300 miles toward Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests, in what Kim hailed as the “greatest success.”
A nuclear-capable SLBM system would take the North’s threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a “second-strike” capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
Asked if the development of a long-range ballistic missile would mark a red line for Trump, Tillerson said: “If we judge that they have perfected that type of delivery system, then that becomes a very serious stage of their further development.”
US unilateral action?
The White House said Trump spoke Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the US cruise missile attack on an airbase in Syria and agreed to cooperate more on regional issues including the North Korea nuclear threat.
On Thursday and Friday, Trump hosted his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks during which he pressed Pyongyang’s key ally to help curb the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Trump has threatened unilateral action against the reclusive communist state, a threat that appeared more palpable after Thursday’s strike on a Syrian airfield following an apparent chemical attack.
The head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which provides missile detection for the region, said Thursday she was “extremely confident” of US capability to intercept a potential intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) bound for America from the North.
But General Lori Robinson expressed concerns for the type of ballistic missile powered by a solid-fuel engine that Pyongyang said it successfully tested in February.
“Amidst an unprecedented pace of North Korean strategic weapons testing, our ability to provide actionable warning continues to diminish,” Robinson said in written testimony to senators.
And while a US unilateral strike on North Korea from a shorter range might be more militarily effective, it likely would endanger many civilians in South Korea, experts warn.
China and South Korea vow ‘strong measures’
China has agreed to “strong” new measures to punish North Korea if it carries out a nuclear test, Seoul said Monday after the US signaled it may act to shut down Pyongyang’s weapons program.
South Korea’s top nuclear envoy made the comment after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei.
“We agreed that there should be strong additional measures based on UN Security Council resolutions if the North pushes ahead with a nuclear test or an ICBM launch despite warnings from the international community,” Kim Hong-Kyun told reporters.
The North may stage a “strategic provocation” to mark key political dates this month, Kim said, adding that Wu’s visit would serve as a “strong warning” against Pyongyang. Wu did not speak to the media after the talks.
Agence France-Presse, PRI’s The World
China has moved 150,000 troops and medical supplies to its North Korean border fearing a refugee crisis in the event of US airstrike, it has been claimed.
Donald Trump’s decision to launch missiles into Syria last week in retaliation for President Assad’s gas attack caused widespread alarm in China, it is believed.
Japan’s daily newspaper Sankei said it was taken in China as “warning” of a possible attack on North Korea.
Trump and his team met with China’s President Xi last week and North Korea’s nuclear programme was top of the agenda alongside trade.
But it remains a highly sensitive topc in China, and according to Sankei, China’s state news service Xinhua made no mention of North Korea whatsoever in its report on the talks.
But over the weekend, reports spread via Chinese social media that medical supplies and support troops were being sent to the border of North Korea.
One picture shared widely online claimed to show a line of military trains moving around Shenyang, a city just over 200 miles from the North Korean border.
Submarine fleets have also been sent to the area, it was reported.
It was estimated that around 150,000 Chinese troops have been mobilised in anticipation of North Korean refugees fleeing the country in the event of an American airstrike.
It comes after one of President Trump ‘s military advisers confirmed they have been asked to come up with a list of options to smash North Korea’s nuclear threat.
Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster said his Commander-in-Chief has made the order as a U.S. carrier strike group heads for the region.
It is believed that among the options are combined special forces raids and pre-emptive missile strikes.
One of the problems facing an American-led operation to hit Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong-Un is the intricate tunnel network under the capital.
War-planners have had difficulty mapping out the subterranean complex and believe there are hundreds of underground artillery and airplane sites.
McMaster described the decision to redeploy the USS Carl Vinson to the Sea of Japan as ‘prudent’ given North Korea’s ‘pattern of provocative behavior.’
Speaking to Fox News, McMaster said: “It’s prudent to do it, isn’t it?
“Presidents before and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable, that what must happen is the denuclearization of the peninsula.
“The president has asked [us] to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat.”
The news comes after Trump launched cruise missiles against Assad in Syria last week, the first time the US has directly targeted the regime during the conflict.
North Korea denounced Trump’s attack as an act of ‘intolerable aggression’ and one that justified ‘a million times over’ its push toward a nuclear deterrent.
North Korea missiles: US warships deployed to Korean peninsula
The US military has ordered a navy strike group to move towards the Korean peninsula, amid growing concerns about North Korea’s missile programme.
The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships.
US Pacific Command described the deployment – now heading towards the western Pacific – as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region.
President Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.
“The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilising programme of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” US Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham said.
The strike group comprises the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser.
As well as massive striking power, the carrier group has the capability to intercept ballistic missiles.
It was originally due to make port calls in Australia but instead has been diverted from Singapore to the west Pacific – where it recently conducted exercises with the South Korean Navy.
North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and experts predict more could be in the offing as the country moves closer towards developing a nuclear warhead with a big enough range to reach the US.
On Wednesday North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan.
The test – condemned by Japan and South Korea – came on the eve of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump.
The two leaders discussed how to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes as the US steps up the pressure on China, a historic ally of Pyongyang, to help reduce tension.
China has however been reluctant to isolate its neighbour, fearing its collapse could spawn a refugee crisis and bring the US military to its doorstep.
Mr Trump said in a recent interview that Washington was ready to act without Beijing’s co-operation: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
The North is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN, though it has repeatedly broken those sanctions.
Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan from the Tongchang-ri region, near the border with China.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe called it a “new stage of threat”.
The US Treasury recently slapped sanctions on 11 North Korean business representatives and one company, while US politicians overwhelmingly backed a bill relisting the North as a state sponsor of terror.
North Korea responded by warning that it will retaliate if the international community steps up sanctions, saying the US was forcing the situation “to the brink of war”.
China has long been North Korea’s closest diplomatic ally and trading partner, but the relationship has become increasingly strained over Pyongyang’s refusal to halt nuclear and missile testing.
There are fears that Pyongyang could eventually develop the ability to launch long-range nuclear missiles capable of striking the mainland US.
THIS IS FROM MY MSN FEED THIS MORNING, NO AUTHOR ATTRIBUTION:
The cruise missiles struck, and many in the mainstream media fawned.
“I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night,” declared Fareed Zakaria on CNN, after firing of 59 missiles at a Syrian military airfield late Thursday night. (His words sounded familiar, since CNN’s Van Jones made a nearly identical pronouncement after Trump’s first address to Congress.)
“On Syria attack, Trump’s heart came first,” read a New York Times headline.
“President Trump has done the right thing and I salute him for it,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens — a frequent Trump critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist. He added: “Now destroy the Assad regime for good.”
Brian Williams, on MSNBC, seemed mesmerized by the images of the strikes provided by the Pentagon. He used the word “beautiful” three times and alluded to a Leonard Cohen lyric — “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons” — without apparent irony.
Quite the pivot, for some. Assessing Trump’s presidency a few weeks ago, Zakaria wrote that while the Romans recommended keeping people happy with bread and circuses, “so far, all we have gotten is the circus.” And the Times has been so tough on Trump that the president rarely refers to the paper without “failing” or “fake” as a descriptor.
But after the strikes, praise flowed like wedding champagne — especially on cable news.
“Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far,” wrote Sam Sacks, a Washington podcaster and journalist. “And all he had to do was start a war.”
Why do so many in the news media love a show of force?
“There is no faster way to bring public support than to pursue military action,” said Ken Paulson, head of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center.
“It’s a pattern not only in American history, but in world history. We rally around the commander in chief — and that’s understandable.”
Paulson noted that the news media also “seem to get bored with their own narrative” about Trump’s failings, and they welcome a chance to switch it up.
But that’s not good enough, he said: “The watchdog has to have clear vision and not just a sporadic bark.”
Clara Jeffery, editor in chief of Mother Jones, offered a simple explanation: “It’s dramatic. It’s good for TV, reporters get caught up in the moment, or, worse, jingoism.”
She added: “Military action is viewed as inherently nonpartisan, opposition or skepticism as partisan. News organizations that are fearful of looking partisan can fall into the trap of failing to provide context.”
And so, empathy as the president’s clear motivation is accepted, she said — “with no mention of the refugee ban keeping those kids out, no mention of Islamophobia that has informed his campaign and administration. How can you write about motive and not explore that hypocrisy?”
Mocking “the instant elevation of Trump into a serious and respected war leader,” Glenn Greenwald in the Intercept recalled John Jay, one of the Federalist Papers authors, who wrote more than 200 years ago: “However disgraceful it may be to human nature . . . nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it.”
In fact, Jay wrote, “absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it” — except, of course, to scratch that eternal itch for military glory, revenge or self-aggrandizement.
Groupthink, and a lack of proper skepticism, is something that we’ve seen many times before as the American news media watches an administration step to the brink of war.
Most notoriously, perhaps, that was true in the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, the start of a long disaster there.
Stephen Walt, Harvard professor of international affairs, thinks the press and the public should have learned some things by now.
“Syria remains a tragedy because there are no good options,” he wrote in Foreign Policy, and America’s interventions in the Middle East very seldom end well.
Walt later told me that the news media now must look forward and ask deeper questions.
“What is Trump’s overall strategy for Syria,” given that “the balance of power on the ground is unchanged and we are no closer to a political settlement.”
Missile strikes may seem thrilling, and retaliation righteous.
But journalists and commentators ought to remember the duller virtues, too, like skepticism, depth and context.
And keep their eyes fixed firmly there, not on the spectacular images in the sky
Still running the show, regardless of who the President is.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Wednesday the deadly chemical attack in Syria crossed “many, many lines” and abruptly transformed his thinking about Syrian President Bashar Assad. Still, he pointedly refused to say what action the U.S. might take in response.
Facing one of his first global crises, Trump blamed the attack squarely on Assad’s forces, even as the embattled Syrian leader and his Russian backers denied it. He suggested that the attack that killed 72 people had cut into his former reluctance to plunge the U.S. further into the complex and dangerous turmoil in the Middle East.
“When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies, little babies — with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. U.S. officials said the gas was likely chlorine, with traces of a nerve agent like sarin.
While continuing to blame predecessor Barack Obama for much of the current situation in Syria, he acknowledged that dealing with the crisis is now his own responsibility and vowed to “carry it very proudly.”
Only days earlier multiple members of Trump’s administration had said Assad’s ouster was no longer a U.S. priority, drawing outrage from Assad critics in the U.S. and abroad. But Trump said Tuesday’s attack “had a big impact on me — big impact.”
“My attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much,” he said.
Yet Trump was adamant that he would not telegraph any potential U.S. military retaliation, even as his U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, was promising a strong and perhaps even unilateral American response. Trump said disclosing military action ahead of time was a mistake the Obama administration had repeatedly made.
“I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or another, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you,” Trump said.
Since the attack Tuesday in rebel-held territory in northern Syria, Trump has been under increasing pressure to explain whether the attack was egregious enough to force a U.S. response. After all, Trump’s first reaction to the attack was to blame Obama’s “weakness” in earlier years for enabling Assad.
Obama had put Assad on notice that using chemical weapons would cross a “red line” necessitating a U.S. response, but then failed to follow through, pulling back from planned airstrikes on Assad’s forces after Congress wouldn’t vote to approve them. Trump and other critics have cited that as a key moment the U.S. lost much global credibility.
“I now have responsibility,” Trump said. “That responsibility could be made a lot easier if it was handled years ago.”
Standing alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah II at a joint news conference, Trump appeared to adopt the first part of Obama’s stance — that chemical weapons use is intolerable — while stopping short of saying what might come next.
The strongest indication that the U.S. might act actually came at the United Nations, where Trump’s envoy held up photos of the attack’s victims in an emotional plea to the Security Council to intervene.
“When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” Haley declared.
Though Trump has assigned no blame to Russia or Iran — Assad’s two staunchest allies — both Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have argued adamantly that both must use their influence to prevent Assad from mounting further attacks. As the Security Council weighed a resolution condemning chemical weapons use in Syria, Haley accused Moscow of blocking action and closing its eyes to the “barbarity” of three previous chemical attacks, also blamed on the Syrian government.
The most recent attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun bore telltale signs of nerve agent exposure such as victims convulsing and foaming from the mouth. Videos showed volunteer medics using firehoses to wash chemicals from victims’ bodies and lifeless children being piled in heaps.
Early U.S. assessments show the attack most likely involved chlorine and traces of the nerve agent sarin, according to two U.S. officials who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about intelligence assessments and demanded anonymity. Use of sarin would be especially troubling because it would suggest Syria may have cheated on its previous deal to give up chemical weapons.
After the 2013 attack, the U.S. and Russia brokered a deal in which Syria declared its chemical weapons arsenal, agreed to destroy it and join the Chemical Weapons Convention. Chlorine, which has legitimate uses as well, isn’t banned under that convention except when used in a weapon. But nerve agents like sarin are banned in all circumstances.
As Trump and other world leaders scrambled for a response, the U.S. was working to lock down details proving Assad’s culpability. Russia’s military, insisting Assad wasn’t responsible, has said the chemicals were dispersed when a Syrian military strike hit a facility where the rebels were manufacturing weapons for use in Iraq.
An American review of radar and other assessments showed Syrian aircraft flying in the area at the time of the attack, a U.S. official said. Russian and U.S. coalition aircraft were not there, the official said.
Associated Press writers Vivian Salama, Ken Thomas, Lolita C. Baldor and Bradley Klapper in Washington, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
By Jon Rappoport
Some, but not all, waves of immigrants result from wars that leave people helpless and terrified. They run, they flee, they emigrate to the West.
We must have more immigrants, according to self-styled “liberals.”
So let’s have more wars. That’ll make liberals feel good about themselves, and that’s what we want, right?
If the wars stopped, lots of potential immigrants would stay where they are. They wouldn’t come to the West. That would make liberals depressed. We can’t have that.
I would suggest we’re looking at the Hillary Clinton formula: love war, wage war, and thus bring more glorious immigrants to our shores. Just a thought.
The whole point of our society these days is people feeling virtuous, and signaling each other about their mutual virtuousness. We must cater to these folk. They are the beautiful ones.
They place their own heartfelt goodness on the highest pedestal. There must be NO analysis of the cost of immigration. There must be NO ceiling on immigration. There must be no assessment of the crimes committed by immigrants. Facts and figures and limits are heartless and cruel and elitist.
LET EVERYONE IN.
No borders, no nations, no deportations.
Somehow, some way, this will lead to utopia.
How exactly? That’s a secret. But don’t worry. It’ll come to pass.
Who knows? We may have to destroy the village in order to save it.
And all those immigrants who aren’t migrating to the West because of wars? The ones who are coming for the free government goodies? The ones who refuse to accept the traditions and laws of the country they’re entering? The ones who hate the countries they’re entering and prove it by committing heinous crimes? That’s not really a problem. With enough love from the “liberals,” they will be transformed in time. And even if they aren’t, that’s all right, because in their own way they’ll be breaking down the gross evil called “sovereign nations”—which we all know is code for Nazism. Nothing should be sovereign. Borders are artificial. They’re just lines on a map. What a scintillating insight! (Most college students these days are enlightened by this staggering revelation, aren’t they?)
I say: worship the Pentagon. Worship the military industrial complex. They find ingenious ways to launch wars. Therefore, they help bring more immigrants here. They do their part. They give us the chance to show our humanitarian soul.
War is God’s plan to allow us to be virtuous.
War is the universe saying, “Let your love shine through.”
Everything happens for a reason.
Let us launch the Church of War.
The Church will teach us we are one planet without nations.
Finally, we will have peace.
And then we can build a memorial to the recently deceased David Rockefeller, who knew all along that peace through war would lead to one global governance system with no nations, no borders, no exclusions:
Everyone laboring under the same sun. Everyone fitting into a predetermined slot, ridding us of the scourge called freedom. Everyone cooperating in the new civilization. Everyone saving everyone.
We will triumph as One Glob, indivisible.
All along, the impulse for war has been persistent; difficult if not impossible to eradicate.
Now, finally, we know why.
It was a great Good, masquerading as Evil.
…those who are obsessed with appearing to do good must have victims they can help; if there aren’t enough victims—create them.
Be a war monger who preaches peace and unity.
IF YOU’RE IN THE ARMED FORCES AND YOU’RE VERY LUCKY, YOU MIGHT PARTICIPATE IN AN ATTACK, AN INVASION, A WAR THAT WILL DISLOCATE HUGE NUMBERS OF DESPERATE CIVILIANS. SOME OF THEM WILL EMIGRATE HERE, WHERE OUR OWN CITIZENS FERVENTLY WISH TO DO GOOD AND HELP THEM. YOU WILL ENABLE OUR CITIZENS IN THEIR QUEST TO PROVE THEMSELVES VIRTUOUS. THEY WILL GIVE SANCTUARY TO THE IMMIGRANTS YOU DISPLACED.
It all works out, doesn’t it?
Use this link to order Jon’s Matrix Collections.
LISTEN TO DADDY BUSH:
FOUND THIS ON MY MSN FEED TODAY< NO AUTHOR CREDITED:
From Tuesday on, passengers traveling to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will not be allowed to have iPads, laptops or any communications device larger than a smartphone in the cabin of the plane.
If you are traveling from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or the UAE on Egypt Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Turkish Airlines, and you want to use your laptop on the flight, you are probably out of luck.
So why is the United States doing this, and how can it get away with it?
The U.S. says it’s all about security
The Trump administration says the new rules were introduced because of intelligence that shows terrorists are continuing to target airlines flying to the United States.
An unidentified person familiar with the issue has told The Washington Post that officials have long been worried by a Syrian terrorist group that is trying to build bombs inside electronic devices that are hard to detect.
However, as Demitri Sevastopulo and Robert Wright at the Financial Times suggest, non-U. S. observers are skeptical of this explanation.
They note that the United States has not been forthcoming about whether the ban is based on recent intelligence or long-standing concerns. There is also no explanation for why electronic devices in the cabin are a concern, and electronic devices in the baggage hold are not.
There is an alternative explanation
It may not be about security. Three of the airlines that have been targeted for these measures — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — have long been accused by their U.S. competitors of receiving massive effective subsidies from their governments.
These airlines have been quietly worried for months that President Trump was going to retaliate. This may be the retaliation.
These three airlines, as well as the other airlines targeted in the order, are likely to lose a major amount of business from their most lucrative customers — people who travel in business class and first class.
Business travelers are disproportionately likely to want to work on the plane — the reason they are prepared to pay business-class or first-class fares is because it allows them to work in comfort. These travelers are unlikely to appreciate having to do all their work on smartphones, or not being able to work at all.
The likely result is that many of them will stop flying on Gulf airlines, and start traveling on U.S. airlines instead.
As the Financial Times notes, the order doesn’t affect only the airlines’ direct flights to and from the United States — it attacks the “hub” airports that are at the core of their business models.
These airlines not only fly passengers directly from the Gulf region to the United States — they also fly passengers from many other destinations, transferring them from one plane to another in the hubs.
This “hub and spoke” approach is a standard economic model for long-haul airlines, offering them large savings. However, it also creates big vulnerabilities. If competitors or unfriendly states can undermine or degrade the hub, they can inflict heavy economic damage.
The United States is weaponizing interdependence
As we have argued in the past, and talk about in forthcoming work, this can be understood as a variant form of “weaponized interdependence.”
We live in an interdependent world, where global networks span across countries, creating enormous benefits, but also great disparities of power. As networks grow, they tend to concentrate both influence and vulnerability in a few key locations, creating enormous opportunities for states, regulators and nonstate actors who have leverage over those locations.
In this context, the United States is plausibly leveraging its control over access to U.S. airports, which are central “nodes” in the global network of air travel between different destinations.
It is using this control to attack the key vulnerabilities of other networked actors, by going after the central nodes in their networks (the hub airports) and potentially severely damaging them.
There may not be much that Gulf airline carriers can do
Gulf airlines have tried to defend themselves against political attacks from U.S. competitors by appealing to free trade principles. The problem is that standard free trade agreements, such as World Trade Organization rules, don’t really apply to airlines (although they do apply to related sectors, such as the manufacture of airplanes).
This has allowed the Gulf airlines to enjoy massive subsidies, without having to worry too much about being sued in the WTO.
However, it also makes it hard for Gulf states or the states of other affected airlines to take a WTO case against the new U.S. rules, even if these rules turn out to be motivated by protectionism and the desire to retaliate, rather than real underlying security questions.
If this were happening in a different sector, it would make for a pretty interesting case. States preserve carve-outs from international trade rules when they feel that their security is at stake.
Would the United States prevail in a case like this, where there is a colorable security justification, but where there is also a very plausible argument that the real motivation doesn’t have much to do with security?
Or would the WTO defer to the United States’ proposed justification? It’s very likely that the Trump administration will make more unilateral rules that are justified using the language of national security, but are plausibly motivated by protectionism, so we may find out.
Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:55AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:31PM EDT
LONDON — A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage at the heart of Britain’s seat of power Wednesday, mowing down pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before stabbing an armed police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. Four people were killed, including the attacker, and about 20 others were injured.
Lawmakers, lords, staff and visitors were locked down as the man was shot by police within the perimeter of Parliament and just yards (meters) from entrances to the building itself. He died, as did two pedestrians on the bridge, and the police officer.
A doctor who treated the wounded said some had “catastrophic” injuries.
In the House of Commons, deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle announced that the sitting was being suspended and told lawmakers not to leave.
Police said they were treating the attacks as a terrorist incident and had launched a full counterterrorism investigation. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“We are satisfied at this stage that it looks like there was only on attacker,” said Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley. “But it would be foolish to be overconfident early on.”
The threat level for international terrorism in the U.K. was already listed at severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely.”
Wednesday was the anniversary of suicide bombings in the Brussels airport and subway that killed 32 people, and the latest events echoed recent vehicle attacks in Berlin and Nice, France.
As lawmakers were voting inside Parliament, many reported hearing the sound of gunshots. Parliament was locked down for two hours, and adjoining Westminster subway station was shuttered.
Conservative parliamentarian Tobias Ellwood, whose brother was killed in the Bali terror attack in 2002, performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the police officer who was stabbed and later died. About 10 yards away from the police officer was the attacker who was shot dead by police after scaling the security wall toward the Parliament’s grounds.
Ellwood, who served in the British military and served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kuwait and Cyprus, applied pressure to the police officer’s multiple lacerations.
Photographs showed Ellwood’s bloodied hands and face from the police officer’s wounds while the alleged attacker was seen nearby.
Ellwood has been an undersecretary at the Foreign Office since 2014, covering the Middle East and Africa.
After leaving a trail of destruction on the bridge in a grey SUV, the attacker managed to get through tall iron gates and into Parliament’s New Palace Yard, a cobbled courtyard in the shadow of the Big Ben clock tower.
Just yards to the right is the entrance to 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the parliamentary complex, busy with visitors and school groups. Beyond that, a corridor leads to the building’s Central Lobby, flanked by House of Commons and House of Lords chambers.
Prime Minister Theresa May was among lawmakers near the Commons at the time of the attack, and was quickly ushered away by security officers and driven back to Downing St.
To get that far, the attacker would have had to evade the armed officers who patrol the Parliament complex in pairs, as well as Parliament’s own security staff, who don’t carry guns.
The attack unfolded within sight of some of the city’s most famous tourist sites, including the London Eye, a large Ferris wheel with pods that overlook the capital. It stopped rotating and footage showed the pods full as viewers watched police and medical crews on the bridge, which has at its north end Big Ben and Parliament, two iconic symbols.
“The whole length of the bridge there were people on the ground,” witness Richard Tice told Sky News. The London Ambulance Service said it had treated at least 10 people on the bridge, and British port officials said a woman was pulled from the River Thames, injured but alive.
Dr. Colleen Anderson of St. Thomas’ Hospital said a female pedestrian died and around a dozen people were hurt.
“There were some with minor injuries, some catastrophic. Some had injuries they could walk away from or who have life-changing injuries,” she said.
The French Foreign Ministry said that three students on a school trip from Saint-Joseph in the Brittany town of Concarneau were among the injured.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve offered support to the British and to “the French students wounded, their families and their schoolmates.” London is a common destination for French school trips.
Witness Rick Longley told the Press Association that he heard a bang and saw a car plow into pedestrians and come to a crashing stop. Images from the scene showed pedestrians sprawled on the ground, with blood streaming from a woman surrounded by a scattering of postcards.
“They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben,” he said. “A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman. I have never seen anything like that. I just can’t believe what I just saw.”
At Parliament, a body was seen lying in the yard. It wasn’t clear if it was the attacker.
Dennis Burns, who was just entering Parliament for a meeting, told the Press Association he heard a radio message saying an officer had been stabbed. Police and security rushed outside as he was going in.
“When I got inside I was wondering what the hell was going on and I saw dozens of panicked people running down the street,” he said. “The first stream was around 30 people and the second stream was 70 people. It looked like they were running for their lives.”
Daily Mail journalist Quentin Letts said he saw a man in black attack a police officer outside Parliament before being shot two or three times as he tried to storm into the House of Commons.
“He had something in his hand, it looked like a stick of some sort, and he was challenged by a couple of policemen in yellow jackets,” Letts told the BBC. “And one of the yellow-jacketed policemen fell down and we could see the man in black moving his arm in a way that suggested he was stabbing or striking the yellow-jacketed policeman.”
Lett said the other officer ran to get help and the man in black ran toward the entrance.
“As this attacker was running towards the entrance two plain-clothed guys with guns shouted at him what sounded like a warning, he ignored it and they shot two or three times and he fell,” he said.
London has often been the target of terrorist attacks, from IRA campaigns in the 1970s and 80s to more recent Islamist plots.
On July 7, 2005, four Al-Qaida-inspired British bombers blew themselves up on three subway trains and a bus in London, killing 52 people.
British security forces say they have thwarted some 13 terror plots over the past four years, but in recent years the U.K. has largely been spared major international terror attacks such as the ones seen in Belgium and France.
Last year, a far-right supporter shot and killed British lawmaker Jo Cox, who had campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the European Union. Prior to that, an attacker claiming to be motivated by Syria stabbed three people at a London subway station.
The most gruesome recent attack occurred in 2013 when two Muslim converts of Nigerian descent attacked Lee Rigby, a British Army soldier who was walking down the street. The men ran Rigby down with their vehicle and then used a cleaver to hack him to death as bystanders watched in horror.
Paisley Dodds, Sophie Berman, Gregory Katz and Rob Harris in London and Lori Hinnant in Paris, contributed to this report.