The U.S. military on Friday released a video it said shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, suggesting the Islamic Republic sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene. Iran denies being involved, accusing the U.S. instead of waging an “Iranophobic campaign” against it. The U.S. Navy rushed to assist the stricken vessels in the Gulf of Oman, off the coast of Iran, including one that was set ablaze Thursday by an explosion. The ships’ operators offered no immediate explanation on who or what caused the damage against the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. Each was loaded with petroleum products, and the Front Altair burned for hours, sending up a column of thick, black smoke. While Iran has denied being involved in the attack, Tehran previously used mines against oil tankers in 1987 and 1988 in the “Tanker War,” when the U.S. Navy escorted ships through the region. The black-and-white footage, as well as still photographs released by the U.S. military’s Central Command on Friday, appeared to show the limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous. A Revolutionary Guard patrol boat pulled alongside the ship and removed the mine, Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said. “The U.S. and the international community stand ready to defend our interests, including the freedom of navigation,” Urban said. “The United States has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East.
The Kremlin said on Thursday the Russian military was closely tracking U.S. plans to beef up its forces in Poland and taking steps to ensure Russia’s national security was not threatened by what Moscow regards as a betrayal of trust. U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday that he would deploy 1,000 extra U.S. troops to Poland as well as surveillance drones, a step sought by Warsaw to deter potential aggression from Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would not stand by idly. “The Russian military is tracking these announcements very closely, is analysing the information, and is doing what is necessary so that such steps in no way threaten the Russian Federation’s security,” Peskov said. Sergei Ryabkov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying that Trump’s move probably reflected “aggressive” intentions. The U.S. deployment is certain to further sour already poor U.S.-Russia relations ahead of a G20 summit in Japan this month, at which Trump and President Vladimir Putin might meet. Putin said in an interview, published earlier on Thursday, that relations between Moscow and Washington were getting worse and worse. MORE TROOPS The United States plans to add around 1,000 troops to its existing rotational presence of around 4,500 personnel in Poland and to set up a sprawling network of military infrastructure, including joint combat training centres and a divisional headquarters. The U.S. Air Force will also deploy a squadron of MQ-9 Reaper Intelligence, Surveillance,
A U.S. Army base in Oklahoma that the federal government says will temporarily house children crossing the border without their parents was used during World War II as a Japanese internment camp. Historical data from the National Park Service and private organizations show Fort Sill was among at least 14 Army and Department of Justice facilities nationwide where Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants were interred. The Army’s War Relocation Authority held about 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans in “relocation centers” during the war with Japan. Tom Ikeda, executive director of Densho, an organization that documents the history of the United States’ internment of Japanese people, referred to Fort Sill as “a place layered in trauma.” He pointed to its use as a boarding school for Native American children and as a prisoner-of-war camp for Apache tribal members. “Sites like this need to be permanently closed, not recycled to inflict more harm,” Ikeda said Wednesday in a statement. “We need to stay vigilant and we need to be showing up at these places in protest. No one showed up for Japanese Americans during WWII, but we can and we must break that pattern now.” The Obama administration also used Fort Sill to house unaccompanied migrant children during a migration surge in 2014. Ikeda’s perspective echoed calls last year from state and federal leaders and locals who objected to the Trump administration looking into housing immigrant children near the site of a former internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. Those plans were scrapped.
“Things like that to me reflect incredible dishonesty and really harm the office of the presidency. I don’t think that you can just let that stuff go,” Justin Amash told his constituents. “I think you have to have proceedings to deter this kind of conduct even if ultimately the person is not convicted.”
Three days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a deal with Mexico to stem the flow of migrants at the southern border, the two countries appear unable to agree on exactly what’s in it. Stung by criticism that the agreement mostly ramps up border protection efforts already underway, Trump on Monday hinted at other, secret agreements he says will soon be revealed. “We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,” Trump wrote Monday, saying it would “be revealed in the not too distant future.” Not so, said Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, holding up a paper and pointing to the previously announced details. He told reporters the two countries agreed on two actions made public Friday and said if those measures didn’t work to slow migration, they would discuss further options. “There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained,” he said. The episode revealed the complicated political dynamics at play as Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tussle over who made out best in the agreement hashed out under Trump’s threat of new tariffs on Mexico. Trump appeared eager to declare his negotiation tactics successful, even as he tried to hype the deal with made-for-TV drama and invented measures, sparking questions and confusion. Mexico’s leaders showed they weren’t willing to play along. The White House did not respond to inquiries about Trump’s tweets.
Iran’s foreign minister warned the U.S. on Monday that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat seeking to defuse tensions. A stern-faced Mohammad Javad Zarif offered a series of threats over the ongoing tensions gripping the Persian Gulf. The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Trump also reinstated tough sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil sector. “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said. “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.” Zarif also warned: “Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.” For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisted his country and other European nations want to find a way to salvage the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But he acknowledged there were limits. “We won’t be able to do miracles, but we are trying as best as we can to do prevent its failure,” Maas said. However, Europe has yet to be able to offer Iran a way to get around the newly imposed U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, a July 7 deadline — imposed by Iran — looms for Europe to find a
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of course, is the 29-year-old bartender who last year upset the No. 4 House Democrat in a New York City primary and became one of this Congress’ most buzzy and even influential figures. Her startling victory sent shivers through incumbents and has helped galvanize liberals eager for more fresh Democratic faces in 2020.
The Trump administration granted two authorizations to U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclear power information with Saudi Arabia shortly after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, a U.S. senator who saw the approvals said on Tuesday. The timing of the approvals is likely to heap pressure on the administration of President Donald Trump from lawmakers who have become increasingly critical of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Khashoggi, a native of Saudi Arabia, left in 2017 to became a resident of the United States where he published columns in the Washington Post critical of the kingdom’s leadership. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, where Jamal Khashoggi lived, called the timing of the approvals “shocking” and said it adds to a “disturbing pattern of behavior” of the administration’s policy on Saudi Arabia. The Department of Energy granted the first part 810 authorization on Oct. 18, 16 days after Khashoggi was killed. The second occurred on Feb. 18. U.S. authorities have concluded that responsibility for Khashoggi’s death went to the highest levels of the Saudi government. Riyadh has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved. The authorizations were among seven granted to U.S. companies by Trump’s administration since 2017, as Washington and Riyadh negotiate a potential wider agreement to help Saudi Arabia develop its first two nuclear power reactors. The Energy Department has kept information in the approvals to Saudi Arabia confidential, citing protection of business
After two days of intense criticism, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reversed course Thursday and declared that he no longer supports a long-standing congressional ban on using federal health care money to pay for abortions. “If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment” that makes it more difficult for some women to access care, Joe Biden said at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Atlanta. The former vice president’s reversal on the Hyde Amendment came after rivals and women’s rights groups blasted him for affirming through campaign aides that he still supported the decades-old budget provision. The dynamics had been certain to flare up again at Democrats’ first primary debate in three weeks. Biden didn’t mention this week’s attacks, saying his decision was about health care, not politics. Yet the circumstances highlight the risks for a 76-year-old former vice president who’s running as more of a centrist in a party in which some skeptical activists openly question whether he can be the party standard-bearer in 2020. And Biden’s explanation tacitly repeated his critics’ arguments that the Hyde Amendment is another abortion barrier that disproportionately affects poor women and women of color. “I’ve been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents,” Biden said, opening a speech dedicated mostly to voting rights and issues important to the black community. “I want to be clear: I make no apologies for my last position. I make no apologies for what I’m about to say,”
“I really like her, sincerely. She’s down to earth and approachable. She’s not proud or cocky,” Gaines said. “I could see this is a person who, if elected president, will do a great job, not only in the mental health area but primarily in listening to people and understanding their needs and then getting to work on trying to help them.”