Tuesday news dump: Trump's October Surprise edition
There's been a lot of speculation about what sort of underhanded surprise Trump would pull out this October. Would it be war? Would it be money? Turns out it's peace.
Public support for Trump administration-backed peace talks to end the 19-year U.S. war in Afghanistan is surging, according to a report provided to Foreign Policy, as Afghan and Taliban negotiators began talks in Qatar this weekend.
Though the talks remain mostly shrouded in secrecy from the U.S. Congress and the American public, the Eurasia Group Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit, found strong public support among both Republicans and Democrats for the planned withdrawal of all remaining U.S. troops over the next 14 months. Meanwhile, the portion of those calling for U.S. forces to stay in Afghanistan to ensure the defeat of the Taliban and al Qaeda has halved since last year, to just 15 percent of respondents.
The survey found that fatigue with the Afghan war is dovetailing with a broader public desire to see the U.S. Defense Department reduce its footprint overseas and for Congress to slash military spending while reasserting its authority over U.S. war-making authority.
Combine this with withdrawing thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the collapse of the Russian bounties story, and you have a worst-case scenario for all the neocon warmongers in the Democratic Party.
What will they do? Will they try to sell us that trump needs to be more militaristic? We need more war?
Speaking of war crimes, it seems that our leaders are afraid of being arrested if they travel overseas.
A report from The New York Times revealed that some US officials are concerned that their role in facilitating arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while ignoring the harm to civilians each country has caused in Yemen, could lead to their arrest overseas for war crimes. A Congressional hearing over these arms sales is set to take place on Wednesday.
The report said that officials from both the Obama administration and the Trump administration have considered hiring lawyers to discuss the possibility of being arrested while vacationing overseas.
Last week, the UN issued a report on atrocities in Yemen and asked the Security Council to bring actions by all parties in the conflict to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible war crimes prosecution. The Times said that legal scholars believe the ICC could charge US officials based on their knowledge of the pattern of indiscriminate killing by the parties the US supports in the conflict.
And this is even before we consider the criminal investigation by the international criminal Court for our war crimes in Afghanistan, that we are currently sanctioning.
Finally we should note Trump's latest pathetic attempt at undermining the Venezuelan government.
Venezuela's chief prosecutor on Monday accused a recently arrested US citizen of spying and planning to sabotage oil refineries and electrical service in order to stir unrest and kill innocent people.
The man, alleged to have CIA ties, had help from three Venezuelan conspirators, who were arrested last week near a pair of oil refineries on the north Caribbean coast, Venezuela's Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab said on state television.