Possible Italian Panic Emptying ATM Machines?
Possible Italian Panic Emptying ATM Machines?
Qaradawi Responds to Violations of al-Sheikh and the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars with al-Azhar, Cairo*
By Yanira Farray
Chairman of International Union of Muslim Scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi in a sermon at the Mosque of Omar ibn al-Khattab in Doha responded to demands of the Saudi council of senior scholars for annexing Al-Azhar or merging it within the Saudi council of senior scholars.
Qaradawi confirmed that the Egyptian people is living under subservience and submission to Saud Family,” while they were in earlier times “the highest peaks in various fields, including religion and politics, spreading Islam and Islamic civilization.”
Al-Azhar should not compromise with spreading the message of Islam. Saudi council of senior scholars as estinssor parrots in Al-Azhar land” are such tyrants unanimously agreed to decide our future”, Sheikh Qaradawi added.
Qaradawi accused Saudi Arabia of coordinating with the Jews and entrusted the security of the Two Holy Mosques to the Israeli security company “G4S” in the past years. They should ask God forgiveness for killing Muslim pilgrims in Mina last year. The dream of annexing Al-Azhar to the Saudi council of senior scholars is a chimera!, and Al-Azhar will not kneel in front of traitors, and Al-Sheikh shall repent to God before it is too late to save themselves from His torment”, Qaradawi said.
It is noteworthy that Al A-Sheikh in a statement in Turki Ben Abdulllah Mosque in Riyadh demanded councils of scholars in Muslim countries such as Jordan, Algeria, Lebanon and Saudi senior scholars to change the name of Al-Azhar as the Saudi Grand Mufti Wishes.
In the name of of Allah the compassionate , the Merciful Praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help , we glorify Him and ask His forgiveness! we seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and from our bad deeds. O Muslims! In the current era the Muslim nation lives in a critical juncture between humiliation and helplessness . The Egyptian people, in particular, lives in subservience and submission. Egyptians in the past were at the highest peaks in various fields, including the field of religion and Islamic Da’wah. Al-Azhar was a model of islamic organizations because in earlier times it made its destiny alone, led separately and independently took its decisions. Al-Azhar enjoyed the power and glory in the Muslim world.
It has been a leading organization in Da’wa ( teaching of Islam) organizations and in the Muslim nation, but now things changed and winds of Complacency embarked upon, and the sun of Al-Azhar began eclipsing and now the weak became strong ( little bird became an eagle) in our land and tyrants unanimously agreed to decide our future. I mean Saudi council of senior scholars (Fatwa authority) whose concern is interfering in Muslim affairs. Now because of weakness and complacency in the leadership of Al-Azhar and the sweetness of Saudi dollars paid for some of the Al-Azhar scholars, they dare with no shame or conscience to conspire against islamic organizations to lead them, dreaming of subordinating Al-Azhar Al-Sharif to the Saudi Council of senior scholars. We tell them boldly and affirm frankly “that is a chimera”! Al-Azhar will remain independent despite what it passed through recently. This is what is happening in Egypt, the mother of the world, because those ruling the country, Selling Egyptian civilization in exchange of Saudi petrodollars. Some of Al-Azhar scholars sell our religion and honour for these dollars as well. We affirm that we will never bow before those who entrust the security of the Two Holy Mosques during pilgrimage to an Israeli security company and cooperate with the Jews. God said in Holy Qur’an Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and pagans ”
Today, holding fast , all together, to the rope of God is confined to declaring your dissatisfaction from Saud family whose hands outstretched tentacles throughout the Muslim world. O Muslims! Hold on to God and be not divided among yourselves. They built their state on the bones of the Arabs and the differences between Muslims in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. They became drinkers from the fountains of the devil. Finally, I advise them to repent to God from killing pilgrims ( Allah’s guests) during pilgrimage and in Mina scandal. Instead of plotting divisions among Muslims and suppressing light of guidance, they should repent to God the door of repentance is open. I recommend the Saudi Grand Mufti Al A-Sheikh to fear God before it is too late; the punishment of God is coming.
And Allah most certainly knows those who believe, and as certainly those who are Hypocrites. And the Unbelievers say to those who believe: “Follow our path, and we will bear (the consequences) of your faults.” Never in the least will they bear their faults: in fact they are liars!
Pentagon Approves U.N. Use of Force against Civilians*
The Pentagon has approved a scheme allowing U.N. peacekeeping troops to “police” US citizens.
The federal government have announced their support for a set of principles that allow U.N. troops to police and use force in order to “protect citizens” in the event of an armed conflict.
The United States has announced its support for a set of principles that give a green light for U.N. peacekeeping troops and police to use force to protect civilians in armed conflicts.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told a high-level U.N. meeting Wednesday focusing on the responsibility to protect civilians that the United States was “proud” and “humbled” to join 28 other countries that have pledged to abide by the 18 pledges.
U.N. peacekeepers from these 29 countries are now required to act in cases where civilians are in danger.
“The Kigali Principles are designed to make sure that civilians are not abandoned by the international community again,” she said, recalling how U.N. peacekeepers left Rwanda before the 1994 genocide and Srebrenica before the 1995 massacre.
Obama Signs Executive Order Allowing Military to Fight U.S. Citizens
President Obama has signed an executive order that allows for the U.S. military to use force against American citizens for the first time in history.
The order was signed on July 1st, 2016 and is titled “Executive Order — United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in U.S. Operations Involving the Use of Force“.
The order looks like the rules of engagement between the military vs. ordinary U.S. citizens have significantly and unconstitutionally changed.
Executive Order — United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in U.S. Operations Involving the Use of Force
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UNITED STATES POLICY ON PRE- AND POST-STRIKE MEASURES TO ADDRESS CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN U.S. OPERATIONS INVOLVING THE USE OF FORCE
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. United States policy on civilian casualties resulting from U.S. operations involving the use of force in armed conflict or in the exercise of the Nation’s inherent right of self-defense is based on our national interests, our values, and our legal obligations. As a Nation, we are steadfastly committed to complying with our obligations under the law of armed conflict, including those that address the protection of civilians, such as the fundamental principles of necessity, humanity, distinction, and proportionality.
The protection of civilians is fundamentally consistent with the effective, efficient, and decisive use of force in pursuit of U.S. national interests. Minimizing civilian casualties can further mission objectives; help maintain the support of partner governments and vulnerable populations, especially in the conduct of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations; and enhance the legitimacy and sustainability of U.S. operations critical to our national security. As a matter of policy, the United States therefore routinely imposes certain heightened policy standards that are more protective than the requirements of the law of armed conflict that relate to the protection of civilians.
Civilian casualties are a tragic and at times unavoidable consequence of the use of force in situations of armed conflict or in the exercise of a state’s inherent right of self-defense. The U.S. Government shall maintain and promote best practices that reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties, take appropriate steps when such casualties occur, and draw lessons from our operations to further enhance the protection of civilians.
Sec. 2. Policy. In furtherance of U.S. Government efforts to protect civilians in U.S. operations involving the use of force in armed conflict or in the exercise of the Nation’s inherent right of self-defence, and with a view toward enhancing such efforts, relevant departments and agencies (agencies) shall continue to take certain measures in present and future operations.
(a) In particular, relevant agencies shall, consistent with mission objectives and applicable law, including the law of armed conflict:
(i) train personnel, commensurate with their responsibilities, on compliance with legal obligations and policy guidance that address the protection of civilians and on implementation of best practices that reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties, including through exercises, pre-deployment training, and simulations of complex operational environments that include civilians;
(ii) develop, acquire, and field intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems that, by enabling more accurate battlespace awareness, contribute to the protection of civilians;
(iii) develop, acquire, and field weapon systems and other technological capabilities that further enable the discriminate use of force in different operational contexts;
(iv) take feasible precautions in conducting attacks to reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties, such as providing warnings to the civilian population (unless the circumstances do not permit), adjusting the timing of attacks, taking steps to ensure military objectives and civilians are clearly distinguished, and taking other measures appropriate to the circumstances; and
(v) conduct assessments that assist in the reduction of civilian casualties by identifying risks to civilians and evaluating efforts to reduce risks to civilians.
(b) In addition to the responsibilities above, relevant agencies shall also, as appropriate and consistent with mission objectives and applicable law, including the law of armed conflict:
(i) review or investigate incidents involving civilian casualties, including by considering relevant and credible information from all available sources, such as other agencies, partner governments, and nongovernmental organizations, and take measures to mitigate the likelihood of future incidents of civilian casualties;
(ii) acknowledge U.S. Government responsibility for civilian casualties and offer condolences, including ex gratia payments, to civilians who are injured or to the families of civilians who are killed;
(iii) engage with foreign partners to share and learn best practices for reducing the likelihood of and responding to civilian casualties, including through appropriate training and assistance; and
(iv) maintain channels for engagement with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other nongovernmental organizations that operate in conflict zones and encourage such organizations to assist in efforts to distinguish between military objectives and civilians, including by appropriately marking protected facilities, vehicles, and personnel, and by providing updated information on the locations of such facilities and personnel.
Sec. 3. Report on Strikes Undertaken by the U.S. Government Against Terrorist Targets Outside Areas of Active Hostilities. (a) The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), or such other official as the President may designate, shall obtain from relevant agencies information about the number of strikes undertaken by the U.S. Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016, as well as assessments of combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from those strikes, and publicly release an unclassified summary of such information no later than May 1, 2017. By May 1 of each subsequent year, as consistent with the need to protect sources and methods, the DNI shall publicly release a report with the same information for the preceding calendar year.
(b) The annual report shall also include information obtained from relevant agencies regarding the general sources of information and methodology used to conduct these assessments and, as feasible and appropriate, shall address the general reasons for discrepancies between post-strike assessments from the U.S. Government and credible reporting from nongovernmental organizations regarding non-combatant deaths resulting from strikes undertaken by the U.S. Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities.
(c) In preparing a report under this section, the DNI shall review relevant and credible post-strike all-source reporting, including such information from nongovernmental sources, for the purpose of ensuring that this reporting is available to and considered by relevant agencies in their assessment of deaths.
(d) The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs may, as appropriate, request that the head of any relevant agency conduct additional reviews related to the intelligence assessments of deaths from strikes against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities.
Sec. 4. Periodic Consultation. In furtherance of the policies and practices set forth in this order, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, through the National Security Council staff, will convene agencies with relevant defense, counterterrorism, intelligence, legal, civilian protection, and technology expertise to consult on civilian casualty trends, consider potential improvements to U.S. Government civilian casualty mitigation efforts, and, as appropriate, report to the Deputies and Principals Committees, consistent with Presidential Policy Directive 1 or its successor. Specific incidents will not be considered in this context, and will continue to be examined within relevant chains of command.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) The policies and practices set forth above are not intended to alter, and shall be implemented consistent with, the authority and responsibility of commanders and other U.S. personnel to execute their mission as directed by the President or other appropriate authorities, which necessarily includes the inherent right of self-defense and the maintenance of good order and discipline among U.S. personnel. No part of this order modifies the chain of command of the U.S. Armed Forces or the authority of U.S. commanders.
(b) No part of this order modifies priorities in the collection of intelligence or the development, acquisition, or fielding of weapon systems and other technological capabilities.
(c) No part of this order shall prejudice or supplant established procedures pertaining to administrative or criminal investigative or judicial processes in the context of the military justice system or other applicable law and regulation.
(d) The policies set forth in this order are consistent with existing U.S. obligations under international law and are not intended to create new international legal obligations; nor shall anything in this order be construed to derogate from obligations under applicable law, including the law of armed conflict.
(e) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 1, 2016.
Paris at War, Media Blackout*
By Baxter Dmitry
This photo could turn out to be one of the most important images of our time. Taken during the Euro 2016 final outside the Stade de France in Paris, it shows a nationalist spectacle on a giant screen blinding people to what is happening on the streets. Police, gendarmes, and paramilitary – operating as servants of the ruling class, working against ordinary people – keep protestors at bay with teargas and water cannon.
We have entered the third month of ongoing protests as the French rise up in their millions against a ruling class determined to take away their rights. They are protesting against undemocratically imposed anti-worker laws that are designed to enrich and protect a wealthy elite at the expense of ordinary people.
There is anarchy on the streets of France, and the mainstream media continues to collude with the establishment to cover up the scale of events and suppress the Nuit debout (“At Night on our Feet”) movement.
Violence on the fringe of massive street marches has coalesced with other anti-establishment acts, with government spokesman Stephane Le Foll acknowledging 30 government buildings had been attacked in recent weeks, including one sprayed with gunfire.
Violence during three months of street protests has resulted in almost 2,000 arrests and left hundreds of riot police hurt in running battles with groups of protestors, many of them chanting anti-establishment slogans.
The police tried to garner sympathy away from protesters when they claimed they were too “exhausted” to deal with the non-stop protests. French leaders threatened a ban on protests – with even tougher crackdowns by police – after Prime Minister Manual Valls claimed that the protesters were planning “to kill a police officer.”
The threatened ban by the French government on demonstrations was reverted on June 22 after a widespread backlash criticising the government’s authoritarian plans.
France’s police watchdog is now dealing with 48 judicial inquiries into police brutality during three months of civil unrest and strikes against the government’s anti-worker laws.
One police officer is facing criminal prosecution after being filmed punching a restrained high school student on the sideline of a school demonstration in March. The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said he was shocked by the case.
Another investigation has been launched after leaked footage showed a masked, plain clothes officer beating pupils into submission at the same demonstration. A further investigation is under way after a student protester in Rennes lost an eye when riot police opened fire with “flash-ball” weapons to control the crowd of students.
Following the Paris street demonstration on 26 May, a 28-year-old has come out of a coma and is recovering in hospital. Investigators are looking at whether his severe head injuries were the result of a police grenade.
France’s government, overriding the voice of the protesters and conscientious objectors in its own ranks, invoked ‘special powers’ to impose labour legislation by decree that will take away basic rights from employees, while benefiting their employers.
President Hollande and Prime Minister Manual Valls insist they will not listen to the millions of protesters or the massive majority of citizens who disapprove of the law.
However as the government, police and mainstream media continue to suppress this important movement’s progress, the people continue to rise up.
In a months-long stand-off, neither side wants to cave in and lose face over a reform plan that opinion polls say is opposed by more than two in three French voters.
Polls also show that voters are getting tired of the protests and want a deal. But Jean-Claude Mailly, leader of the Force Ouvriere union, said it could continue for many more months.
“We’ve made proposals, counter-proposals, but the government has not budged,” he told reporters.
“If the government keeps being stubborn – though I hope it won’t – we’ll see during the summer and also at the start of the school year (in September).”
President Francois Hollande’s government hopes the labour reform will cut stubbornly high unemployment. But less than a year from elections, the decision to ram through the deeply unpopular reform without parliamentary support is a political gamble for the unpopular Hollande and his government, with the country seething and millions of people demanding political revolution.
Since the French protests began the elite have continually attempted to hinder their cause and silence the protestors. Every measure to dismiss the protesters has been attempted, from police brutality to the Prime Minister Valls portraying protestors as “rioters” and “ultra-violent youths.” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had the audacity to tell protesters “to find within themselves a little humanity, tolerance and respect.”
Humanity, tolerance, and respect – that is exactly what the people are asking of their government. The people are rising up, demanding the abolishment of authoritarian laws designed to enrich the elite at the expense of ordinary people. They are asking for elected officials to be held accountable, and democracy to live up to its promise.
Red Cross cuts Family Visits to Palestinian Prisoners*
By Clare Maxwell
Naimeh Shamlawi missed her youngest son more than ever during Ramadhan, which concluded earlier this month.
Ali, 19, has spent the last three years in Israeli military detention on attempted murder charges. Israeli prosecutors claim that he and four friends threw rocks at an Israeli settler’s car, causing a crash that resulted in the death of a young Israeli girl.
Though they took a plea deal, Ali and his friends, known as the Hares Boys, have maintained their innocence throughout their trial and incarceration.
The evidence against them, they say, was based on “confessions” extracted under torture. But that’s small comfort to their mothers who say they felt the loss acutely every time the rest of the family gathered to break the Ramadan fast.
Naimeh, who has been permitted see her son only twice a month, is determined to spend every moment she can with him even though it means a six- or seven-hour journey for a 45-minute visit.
“The last time I saw my son, he told me not to come during Ramadhan, because the journey would be too difficult while I am fasting,” Naimeh recalled.
“But how can I leave him, especially now?”
Unfortunately for the Shamlawis, as well as thousands of other Palestinian families who have loved ones in Israeli military prisons — according to Addameer, a prisoner advocacy group, as of May 2016 there were a total of 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention — the opportunities to visit are about to be drastically reduced.
Halving visiting time
In late May, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that it was reducing coordinated visits between adult male Palestinian prisoners and their families from the West Bank by 50 percent, starting in July.
Families of prisoners from Gaza are exempted.
The announcement has worsened already fraught relations between Palestinian prisoner advocacy groups and the ICRC, but the latter shows no sign of relenting.
The rationale, according to Nadia Dibsy, a public relations officer with the ICRC in Jerusalem, is due to a decrease in the number of families showing up for scheduled visits. Based on the number of those participating in the program, the ICRC does not have the budget or personnel necessary to support twice-monthly visits, she said.
“Following an in-depth assessment, the ICRC decided independently that the second visit per month that it is currently facilitating will continue to be provided only for minors and female detainees.
“This decision is based on the fact that in the last few years, we have noted a clear decrease in the number of people showing up for these visits. This concern was communicated repeatedly in the last years to the families, the detainees and the authorities.”
Naimeh and her family, however, rely on the ICRC to help with travel permit applications, coordination with the Israel Prison Service, and buses to take families from the West Bank into Israel, which they are restricted from entering without a permit, and on to faraway prisons such as the Ramon prison in the Naqab desert where Ali is currently being held.
Without the buses, the cost of travelling to Ramon could cost approximately $250 per visit, according to the family. Obtaining the necessary permit to cross into Israel in the first place becomes much more difficult without ICRC support.
The ICRC has worked with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention — most of whom are convicted for political reasons — since 1948. The prison visit program started in 1968 and has remained one of its most important human rights programs in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The organization’s role there is governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that it is illegal for an occupying power like Israel to transport prisoners out of occupied territory such as the West Bank.
Yet out of 19 Israeli detention centers that hold Palestinian prisoners, just one is located within the West Bank. Ensuring prisoners incarcerated in Israel have the same visitation rights they would enjoy if they were held in facilities in the West Bank becomes a matter of upholding their rights under international law.
Already on every Tuesday, a coalition of prisoner support groups holds a sit-in outside the ICRC offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah to push for action on a number of issues. And since the decision to reduce the number of visits was announced, the coalition has included a demand for twice-monthly visits on their agenda.
Samidoun activists in New York City have also staged a protest outside the ICRC offices there, demanding that the program of visits continue as is.
For its part, the ICRC is adamant that it has been communicating with families, detainees and advocacy groups over the possibility of reducing visits.
Yet representatives from prisoner rights groups insist that the announcement came as a surprise to them. Communications with the ICRC have fallen to the point, they say, that they depend on weekly protests to relay their demands. And disappointment with the decision among the protesters during one recent visit was palpable.
“Our work is the same as the Red Cross,” said Khitaan Saafin, who works with the Union of Palestinian Women and is a regular protester outside the ICRC offices in Ramallah.
“But they do not respond to us.”
Ali Shamlawi is due to spend another 12 years in prison. His mother will be 69 by the time he is released. Naimeh is afraid she won’t be alive then. For her, every moment they can spend together is precious, even if it is in an Israeli prison, surrounded by guards and with a plate glass window between them.
She’s already lost a lot of time with her son; now she is losing even more to bureaucracy.
Still, she will take what she can get. Even if they can only spend a total of nine hours a year together, they’ll make the most of it.
“I will spend every minute with him,” Naimeh said.
U.K’s New PM’s Husband is a Senior Executive to an Investment Fund that Profits from Tax Avoiding Companies*
By Ted Jeory, Jon Stone
The relatively unknown investment fund where Theresa May’s husband Philip works as a senior executive is one of the world’s largest and most powerful financial institutions, controlling $1.4 trillion in assets.
Its portfolio also includes $20 billion of shares in Amazon and Starbucks, both of which were cited by the Prime Minister-designate in her pledge to crack down on tax avoidance yesterday.
Latest filings to U.S. authorities show that Los Angeles based Capital Group owns huge stakes in a variety of companies, including investment bank JP Morgan Chase, defence giant Lockheed Martin, tobacco company Philip Morris International, the pharmaceutical sector’s Merck & Co, and also Ryanair.
The company, which has a low profile outside the financial sector, has confirmed that Mr May, a pension fund expert, works out of its Mayfair office in London, with a spokeswoman telling The Independent:
“Philip is a client relationship manager who stays in contact with organisations and institutions in the U.K. to ensure they are happy with the service being delivered by Capital Group and that we understand their goals. Philip is not involved with our investment research or portfolio management activities.”
However, the company he works for has benefited from its investments in the likes of Amazon and Starbucks, both of which have been criticised for tax avoidance structures and which were mentioned by Ms May as she outlined her manifesto for Downing Street yesterday.
“We need to talk about tax. It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks: you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to your fellow citizens, you have a responsibility to pay your taxes. So as Prime Minister, I will crack down on individual and corporate tax avoidance and evasion.”
It is not clear whether she was aware that her husband’s company was such a significant investor in the Amazon and Starbucks.
According to latest filings on 31 March this year, Capital Group, through its various divisions and funds, including Capital World Investors and Capital Research Global Investors, owned at least 32 million shares in Amazon, worth about $20bn.
Following the news that Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom was set to withdraw from the Tory leadership race – leaving Ms. May to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister on Wednesday – long-term Tory voters and members are tearing up their membership cards and joining the UK Independence Party (UKIP) seemingly en masse.
Life-long Tory voters were cancelling their memberships to join UKIP as early as midday, announcing their moves on Twitter and Facebook, ostensibly in protest at Ms. May’s authoritarian and anti-Brexit views. Some also protested about her term in office as Home Secretary, which has seen the curtailment of civil liberties, the praise of Shari’ah law, and the failure to abide by a 2010 manifesto pledge to drastically reduce migration into the U.K.
Many members clung on to their membership to vote for Ms. Leadsom, who seemed to be the grassroots’ favourite. On her withdrawal, she appeared to take supporters with her, many of whom blamed ‘dirty politics’ for forcing her out of the race. But no longer seeing the Conservative Party as their natural home, joined UKIP.
UKIP sources told Breitbart London that the membership department had seen a major influx of supporters on the back of the day’s events, but were unable to put a number on new membership applications.
Brexit voters are expressing their concerns over the commitment of Ms. May, who supported the Remain campaign during the referendum, even following her speech earlier today, and her repeated “Brexit means Brexit” mantra, with many UKIP converts stating that she cannot be trusted.
On social media, the electorate stated concern over delays in triggering Article 50, the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union (E.U), and Ms. May’s commitment to not reneging on the voters’ position to stop automatic free movement.
Some expressed their disillusion in the democratic process, believing that there would be more “gerrymandering by the elite and europhiles”, and that the only party that the only way British voters would “get what they voted for” would be to join UKIP.
U.S. Congress Passes Restrictions on Trade and Travel to Cuba*
Legislation passed this week aims to reverse President Obama’s policy of normalizing relations with the blockaded island nation.
The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a number of clauses that seek to toughen U.S. sanctions on Cuba in the budget bill for 2017 financial services and general government services.
The new measures are at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy of thawing relations with Cuba, which has been under a U.S. blockade for more than 50 years. To become law, the measures still need to pass the U.S. Senate and receive President Obama’s signature, neither of which is guaranteed.
Under the legislation, financial transactions with entities linked to the Cuban military are restricted. It would also be prohibited to grant trademarks and intellectual property rights to businesses or owners of properties confiscated by the Cuban government.
The clauses also limit certain “people to people” educational exchange trips and ban the use of funds for trafficking confiscated property.
Amendments were made to remove restrictions of agricultural exports and travel to Cuba. Congressmen Rick Crawford hoped to limit the trade restrictions, which would allow Cuban companies to buy U.S. agricultural products. Congressman Mark Sanford wanted to open flights to and from Cuba to benefit the economy
The amendments were later rejected by the majority of the Republican Party. Republican Congressman John Katko said he was concerned about the number of flights to Cuba, casting limits as a security policy.
The clauses within the bill come as a blow to the thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, where diplomatic relations were restored last year following 50 years of a blockade by the U.S. Although Barack Obama is expected to use his presidential powers and veto the bill in order to continue the thawing process between the two countries.
Over the last year both governments have been trying to improve relations and interconnectedness through foreign investment, travel and telecommunications