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US won’t pardon Snowden: White House

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Washington: The White House on Tuesday reiterated its refusal to pardon Edward Snowden, and said the former contractor should return to the US and “accept the consequences of his actions”.

“He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime,” Xinhua quoted White House counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco as saying on Tuesday in response to a petition about Snowden.

“Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions,” Monaco said.

The petition to the White House was created in the summer of 2013, shortly after Snowden released his documents, and has more than 167,000 signatures.

Monaco’s comments were similar to those that all government officials have given in recent months about Snowden, who is currently living in Russia.

While the Barack Obama administration was at one point discussing the possibility of leniency for Snowden, those talks appear to have dissolved.

“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and accept the consequences of his actions,” Monaco added.

(IANS)

 

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Top US Women Diplomats Speak Out on Sexual Harassment

Women from all sectors are coming out to speak against sexual harassment cases, this time U.S women diplomats lashed out against such incidents

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FILE - Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who served as the US Ambassador in Malta, addresses participants during a gay pride parade organized by the Malta Gay Rights Movement in Sliema, outside Valletta, June 30, 2012.

As U.S. lawmakers grapple with allegations of sexual harassment in their ranks, some senior American diplomats are speaking out about their struggles over the years.

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who was U.S. ambassador to Malta from 2012-2016, told her story about serving at the State Department and the White House.

“There was one occasion in the department when a boss touched me and I told him if he did it again, I’d knock the s— out of him. He did not repeat it, but he did try to get me to curtail from the position,” Abercrombie-Winstanley told the Foreign Service Journal, a publication by the American Foreign Service Association.

The former U.S. envoy recalled another incident in which she said she was harassed by a senior lawmaker while serving on the White House National Security Council.

“Initially, I parried the advance from a senior member of Congress, but when he continued to call me, I reported to the NSC’s executive secretary that it was happening, and told him that if I had to do violence to repel it, I would,” Abercombie-Winstanley said.

“I was letting him know beforehand, I said, because I did not expect to lose my job as a result,” she added. “After a moment of shocked silence, he said ‘Thanks for letting me know.’ And the member stopped calling me.”

She later told VOA these occasions are an “extremely small part of my professional journey” and declined to either comment further on details or identify the congressman.

‘Zero-tolerance’ policy

In a letter electronically distributed to all American diplomats around the world earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the department upholds a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding discriminatory and sexual harassment.

“Effective harassment prevention efforts must start with and involve the highest level possible,” Tillerson said in his policy statement.

For years, secretaries of state release their statements on diversity and harassment in the workplace at the beginning of their tenure and review annually thereafter. They usually highlight two anti-harassment policies: one prohibiting sexual harassment, the other banning discrimination.

U.S. Ambassador Laura Dogu. (U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua website)

Male-dominated circles

Still, female ambassadors said they must learn to adjust and handle the challenges involved in working in mainly male-dominated diplomatic circles.

“I am frequently the only woman in meetings outside the office with the host country, and when I have control over the guest list, I insist that we include at least 30 percent women, if not more,” U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Laura Dogu said in the Foreign Service Journal article.

Like Ambassador Dogu, former Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt said she has been the only woman or one of the only women in the room at virtually every meeting throughout her career. The key to working in such an environment, she said, is to be well-prepared and a good listener.

FILE – U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry past a traditional honor guard upon arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 5, 2016.

“So you can speak authoritatively and there is no question that you are on top of your brief. It’s also important to dress professionally, which in my book means wearing a suit at all times,” said Galt, who was appointed as principle deputy assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs earlier this month.

She also said, “Being sure to listen carefully to what others have to say so that you’re not repeating, but rather amplifying and adding value with your remarks.”

Building minority leadership

In a speech to student programs and fellowship participants in August, Tillerson said he had directed relevant committees to develop “minority leadership” at the State Department.

“Every time we have an opening for an ambassador position, at least one of the candidates must be a minority candidate. Now they may not be ready, but we will know where the talent pool is,” Tillerson said.

Seen as part of these efforts, Irwin Steven Goldstein will begin his new position next week (December 4) as the first openly gay undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

In Senate testimony, Goldstein thanked his spouse for supporting his career of developing and executing communications strategies that connect diverse audiences. (VOA)

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US Shares List of 20 Terrorist Groups Operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan with Pakistani Authorities

Top on the list is the Haqqani Network which, the US claims, has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.

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According to media reports, US has shared list of terror groups operating in Pakistan with authorities in Islamabad. Wikimedia

Washington, November 2, 2017 : The White House retains a list of 20 terrorist groups that it claims are operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan and is believed to have shared this list with Islamabad, the media reported on Thursday.

However, the list was not given to Pakistani authorities by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he visited Islamabad last week, diplomatic sources told Dawn news.

The White House list includes three types of militant groups: those who launch attacks into Afghanistan, those who attack targets inside Pakistan and those who are focused on Kashmir.

Top on the list is the Haqqani Network which, the US claims, has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan strongly rejects the charge, saying that there were no such safe havens inside the country.

The US also identified Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia.

The other militant groups in the list include Harakatul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jundullah, Lashkar-i-Jhanghvi and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. (IANS)

 

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John F. Kennedy’s Assassination : Trump Promises to Release all Documents

Trump said he is doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest.

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President John F. Kennedy's hand, visible through the foreground convertible's windshield, reaches toward his head within seconds of the firing of the fatal shot as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holds his forearm, with the motorcade proceeding along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. VOA

Washington, October 29, 2017 : US President Donald Trump has promised to publish all documents on John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 to guarantee transparency and end any conspiracy theory on the event.

“After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other agencies, I will be releasing ALL JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living,” Trump said on his Twitter account, Efe news reported.

“I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest.”

Trump had on Thursday authorised the National Archives to release 2,891 previously unpublished documents on the historic landmark, but decided to retain some of them because of what official sources described as CIA and FBI pressures.

ALSO READ Trump Delays Release of Hundreds of John F Kennedy Assassination Files, Citing National Security

“I have no choice –today– but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security,” Trump said in a memo on Thursday.

However, Trump gave his agencies six months until April 26, 2018, to review the reasons for their decision to keep certain documents related to John F. Kennedy’s assassination hidden and to minimize censored extracts so that they could be published as soon as possible.

He was not satisfied with his agencies’ insistence on keeping some materials secret and decided to give them more time to review them with the idea of publishing more documents, although the White House has not given a clear timeline for the next release. (IANS)