Wounded Warriors Project is a Fraud- Making Millions Off Disabled Veterans

WWPscoundrels

My first experience with the Wounded Warriors Project came in 2006, when I made several donations from between $200 and $500 to the organization. I was a stock broker at the time and my income allowed for such idiocy. I guess you could say that I had more money than I had sense, but more importantly, I gave the money because I felt that I needed to do something to take part in the war effort, and what better way than to provide financial assistance to those who were coming back from the wars in the Middle East maimed and wounded. At least that is where I thought the money that I was donating was going.  Continue reading

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Drug Lord El Chapo Tells ISIS His Men Will Destroy Them

el chapo ISIS

The world’s most wanted drug lord has declared war on the Islamic State, promising the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, that his narcotics cartel will wipe them off the planet.

“My men will destroy you,”’ El Chapo huffs to the ISIS leader in an encrypted email that was leaked to a cartel-linked blogger in Mexico. Continue reading

Story Unravels: NBC News Confirms Obama Lied About Bin Laden Raid: Sources Include High Level U.S. Intelligence Officers

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Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Samuel Hersh claimed yesterday that the Obama administration lied to the American people about certain aspects aspects of the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. According to Hersh, the United States did not act alone when Navy SEALs were sent to capture or kill the world’s most wanted terrorist. The real story, according to the report, is that members of Pakistani intelligence services were privy to the raid months before it happened and that it was a “walk-in” Pakistani intelligence officer who gave up the location of Bin Laden rather than a CIA operation that tracked him down by following various couriers. Further, it has been claimed that Bin Laden was not buried at sea the way the Obama administration said, but rather, his limbs were simply thrown from the helicopter after the mission (suggesting that some portion of his body, perhaps his head, were retained for posterity’s sake). Continue reading

The CIA Just Released the Documents That George W. Bush Used to Sell the Iraq War

Twelve years after the U.S. launched its invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the secret intelligence report repeatedly cited by the George W. Bush administration as it campaigned for war has finally been made available to the American public.

The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate provides further proof that the president and his aides purposefully mischaracterized and exaggerated the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime in an effort to stoke fear about a nuclear or biological attack on the U.S. and its allies. A close reading of the report, which reflects the consensus of U.S. intelligence at the time, reveals an intelligence community at odds with itself about the nature of the potential threat.

Continue reading

US against new sanctions as Iran prepares to protect ‘inalienable’ nuclear right at P5+1 talks

Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran (AFP Photo)The leading US negotiator in nuclear diplomacy with Iran has asked US politicians to pause any new sanctions against Tehran. Meanwhile Iranian lawmakers seem adamant to protect the “inalienable right” for nuclear research during the next P5+1 talks.

Continue reading

10 reasons why diplomatic solution is unlikely in Syria

Over the past few days, there has been a tremendous wave of optimism that it may be possible for war with Syria to be averted. Unfortunately, it appears that a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria is extremely unlikely.

Continue reading

Majority of Latin Americans believe Iran poses no threat to Mideast

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Source: Press TV

(Considering Iran has not waged an aggressive war with a neighboring country in over 200 years, when it was more accurately known as “Persia”, and the fact that the country is literally SURROUNDED by U.S. military bases leads me to the conclusion that the average Latin American’s position on this matter is very sound indeed!)

A total of 1700 adults in six countries, including Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru participated in the poll, which was conducted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti through face-to-face interviews from March 2 to March 5, 2013.

The news agency released the results of the poll on April 12, 2013. The respondents were asked whether Iran poses any threat to the stability of the Middle East. The results showed that a staggering 89 percent of the respondents considered Iran as no threat to the region. A mere eight percent believed otherwise, while three percent answered, “I don’t know.” The Islamic Republic has been seeking to expand relations with Latin American countries over the past years, describing the endeavor as one of its major foreign policy strategies. Iran’s growing popularity in Latin America has raised major concerns in the US, which regards the region as its strategic backyard and traditional sphere of influence. In December 2012, the US President Barack Obama enacted a law “aimed at countering Tehran’s alleged influence in Latin America.”

Dubbed as ‘Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012,’ the act calls for the US State Department to develop a plan within 180 days to “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity” in Latin America.

The US Pre-Declares War with Iran – Senators Approve Resolution 65 to Assist Israel in Iran Strike – Its A War Resolution!

Senators Approve Resolution 65 to Assist Israel in Iran Strike

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted on Tuesday a resolution which stipulates that the U.S. will assist Israel if it is forced to take action against Iran.

The resolution, Senate Resolution 65, was introduced last month by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and was co-sponsored by 15 Senators, including Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

It states that the United States has a vital national interest in and unbreakable commitment to, ensuring the existence, survival, and security of the State of Israel; reaffirms the United States support for Israel’s right to self-defense; and urges that if Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States will stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.

It also states that U.S. policy is to halt Iranian nuclear ambitions. Senate Resolution 65 gained the support of 70 of the 100 senators.

 

 

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/167205#.UXYCCLVfAls

Text of the Resolution:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.RES.65:

 

Its a war resolution.

They clearly paint Iran as the “biggest” current threat, then call for military force. It’s blatantly obvious what this is, they even have to end it by saying that it’s not a declaration of war. Its completely fork-tongued like most resolutions.

There is no authorization to go to war, the House doesn’t get to make that call, they just URGE the Congress to.
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-us-pre-declares-war-with-iran-senators-approve-resolution-65-to-assist-israel-in-iran-strike-its-a-war-resolution/#KcSOID5B1QUjxivs.99

Oops: The U.S. Secret Service almost accidentally shot Iran’s president

  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes a victory sign after attending the funeral ceremony for Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez at the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2013. Chavez died on March 5 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer. He was 58. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Associated Press/Fernando Llano – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes a victory sign after attending the funeral ceremony for Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez at the military academy in Caracas, …more 

According to Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady, an unplanned shotgun blast in 2006 nearly caused a global calamity

The public has all but forgotten the U.S. Secret Service’s Colombian prostitute scandal, but the past 24 hours have probably dredged up bad memories for the agency’s PR department. One Secret Service agent traveling with President Obama in Israel is in hot water for reportedly junking the president’s heavily fortified limousine by filling it with diesel instead of gas (“This is why we bring multiple vehicles and a mechanic on all trips,” says agency spokesman Brian Leary.) Hours later, The Atlantic published a short but eye-catching excerpt from Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry, an upcoming book by The Week‘s Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. The hook? “How the Secret Service almost shot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

The incident happened in September 2006, when the Iranian president was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. First, a quick reality check (or perhaps spoiler) from Reuters‘Anthony De Rosa:

 

The Secret Service didn’t almost shoot Ahmadinejad, but an agent accidentally discharged a shotgun in his proximity soup.ps/Xr0bkp

SEE MORE: Even a majority of Republicans support legalizing undocumented workers

— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) March 21, 2013

That probably underplays the seriousness of the event, though. This incident showed up as a “particularly chilling item” in President George W. Bush’s daily national security briefing the next day, “and it scared the hell out of the dozen or so White House officials cleared to read it,” say Ambinder and Grady. The briefing reportedly said that the “apparent accident” happened outside the InterContintental Hotel, as Ahmadinejad was loading his motorcade. 

At the time, the Bush administration was weighing how to deal with the Iranian nuclear-weapons program. And here a Secret Service agent had just given Iran a potentially devastating public-relations coup…. The agent was adjusting the side-mounted shotgun on one of the motorcade’s armored follow-up Suburbans when it discharged. “Everyone just stopped. The Iranians looked at us and we looked at the Iranians….” [Deep State, via The Atlantic]

In other words, says Gawker‘s Taylor Berman, “this could have been bad.” Yes. But it wasn’t.SEE MORE: 9 negative effects divorce reportedly has on children

 

“…The agent began to apologize. Ahmadinejad just turned his head and got into his car.” And that was it. The Iranians told no one. Their silence led several White House aides to begin to see Ahmadinejad in a new light. Here was evidence that maybe Iran was acting strategically, and therefore cautiously. [Deep State, via The Atlantic]

A lot of unanswered questions remain — “apparent accident”? — and frightening what-ifs in that anecdote, but as the sitcoms used to say, we all learned something from it. And while we still haven’t figured out exactly how to deal with Iran’s nukes, it’s a lot easier to pursue a non-military strategy when you’re not at war over a misfired shotgun blast.

US Senate: Will back Israeli attack on Iran

 

WASHINGTON — Members of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee have adopted “Senate Resolution 65,” according to which the US will support Israel in case it is compelled to take military action and actualize its right to self defense in the face of an Iranian threat.

The resolution stipulates that Israel will enjoy Washington’s diplomatic, economic and military aid.

According to the resolution, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Lindsey Graham, the US’s policy is to halt Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Senate Resolution 65 has successfully gained the support of 70 of the 100 senators.

In a statement issued by AIPAC it was noted that “The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has sent a very clear and enormously important message of solidarity with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat—which endangers American, Israeli, and international security.”

President Barack Obama sent his holiday wishes to Israel on its 65th Independence Day, stating: “On this date 65 years ago, the Jewish people realized their dream of the ages – to be masters of their fate in their own sovereign state.”

“The strong and prosperous Israel we see today proves Herzl’s vision – ‘if you will it, it is no dream,” the US president added.

AFP contributed to this report

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4368598,00.html

Major earthquake rocks Iran, hundreds feared dead

 

Hundreds of people are feared dead as a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked Iran on Tuesday.

As per the US Geological Survey, the quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale had its epicentre on the Iran-Pakistan border at a depth of 15.2 kilometres. It was located 86 kilometres east-southeast of the Iranian city of Khash.

A government officials told a news agency that “it was the biggest earthquake in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead”.

There are no further details of the extent of the damage. The rescue teams are being sent to the quake stricken areas.

The quake was felt in Iran, Pakistan and a major part of West Asia.

At least 37 people were killed and 850 wounded when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit south-west Iran on April 10.

Joe Biden Vows ‘To Be The First In’ During Any North Korea Nuke Strike

With the possibility of North Korea escalating on the threat of a nuclear attack against US bases and possibly Hawaii or the west coast of the US mainland, Joe Biden reassured Democrats during a recent California speech that he’ll personally take the fight to the enemy.’  “I’ll get myself on a B-52 and drop the damn thing myself if that fat little pinko chink bastard Kim tries anything funny.”

Again, Biden claims it’s all a show and the North Koreans go through this each spring when food and fuel supplies have dwindled over a long winter.

“These commie clowns are just looking to stir stuff up and are trying to get a few handouts from folks like us, ” said Biden as he tried to ease the tension among west coast supporters who find themselves in the eye of the storm for the first time since WW II.

Biden supporters cautioned California voters to hang tough and possibly dig a few really deep holes in their backyards just in case and mentioned that the Vice President probably won’t be visiting again for awhile.

In Washington, the President’s inner-circle have prepared a proposal that would give the North Korean regime EBT cards, or as they’re more commonly know as..Food Stamps, to ease the annual shortages of food and other household staples. According to Valarie Jarrett, the President’s most trusted adviser  “Look those people over there are real skinny and not much over 5’6″…So really, how much can they possibly eat anyway? Besides, we have half the world’s fat people on EBT and WIC cards now so, what’s a few more skinny ones?”

The Vice President’s staff say Biden is being realistic about fighting for our country and in fact, has taken the afternoon off to participate in a one-on-one Kung Foo class just in case the B-52 gets shot down or crashes.

 

 

http://suckersonparade.blogspot.com/2013/04/joe-biden-vows-to-be-first-in-during.html

Peres: Obama Will Attack Iran if Diplomacy Fails

Peres and Obama(israelnationalnews.com) President Shimon Peres said that he believes that U.S. President Barack Obama will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomatic efforts fail.

“I have no doubt that if diplomatic talks fail with Iran and Tehran doesn’t stop accelerating its nuclear development – U.S. President Barack Obama will conduct a military attack against Iran,” Peres told the Israel Hayomnewspaper this week, in an interviewahead of Israel’s 65th Independence Day next week.

“Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon isn’t only an Israeli interest, but a global and an American interest. As long as the U.S. is in the lead — why shouldn’t we use its assistance?” Peres said.

“It could be that the Iranians are trying to buy time, but they are also losing. The situation in Iran is greatly deteriorating, the economy is collapsing, and the people understand this very well,” said Peres. The full interview with Peres will be published in Israel Hayom on Monday.

 

The latest round of international discussions with Iran over its nuclear program ended in Kazakhstan this past week without any breakthroughs and the sides even failed to set a new date and time for a resumption of talks.

In fact, Iran insisted this week it will not suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent nor will it ship out its existing stockpile, two keys demands of world powers in failed nuclear talks with Tehran.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Peres in a meeting that “President Barack Obama is not bluffing when he says he will stop Iran’s nuclear program.”

“We understand the nature of the threat of Iran. And as the President has said many times — he doesn’t bluff. He is serious. We will stand with Israel against this threat and with the rest of the world, who have underscored that all we are looking for is Iran to live up to its international obligations. No option is off the table. No option will be taken off the table,” Kerry said.

Iran this week marked its National Nuclear Technology Day by announcing theopening of two new uranium mines and a new plant capable of producing 60 tons of raw uranium (also known as “yellow cake”) per year.

Western nations have “tried their utmost to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but Iran has gone nuclear,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech on Tuesday.

“They caused restrictions and issued threats, thinking that the Iranian nation cannot achieve nuclear energy … The best way for you is to cooperate with Iran,” he said.

On Friday, Russia responded to Iran’s unveiling of the new uranium production facility, warning the move could hurt progress in negotiations with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.

An unnamed source in the Russian foreign ministry told Interfax that Iran’s announcement does not actually breach its obligations under various international nuclear agreements.

U.S. Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture, Kill, and Abuse Civilians

u.s., commandos, in, 75, countries, are, teaching, militaries, to, torture,, kill,, and, abuse, civilians, US Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture Kill and Abuse Civilians

(PolicyMIC) -While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens.

The training of foreign militaries to serve the interests of the American state goes all the way back to at least the Cold War. The U.S. used taxpayer money and weapons to subsidize foreign governments and militaries that were “anti-communist” even if the regimes were incredibly brutal and ruthless. All an authoritarian had to do was refer to his political opponents as “communists” and the Americans came rushing in.

In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads. Cheaper and less visible than directly invading and overthrowing governments the U.S. didn’t like, sock puppet dictators were the preferred means of implementing policy.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left very little justification for an American imperial position throughout the globe, yet those same Cold War policies were not only not discarded, but expanded upon. Back in 2010, President Obama and the Pentagon began implementing a strategy with a larger emphasis on “combat operations” and military-to-military coordination. U.S. Special Forces are now operating in (at least) 75 countries, teaching their governments more efficient means of subjugating their populations, creating chaos, and serving the interests of the American empire.

Syria is the most recent example of this policy. While publicly claiming that the U.S. is helping build schools and hospitals in Syria, the Associated Press and New York Times reports document that the U.S. is training and arming Syrian “rebels” opposing the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad. With the help of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, most of the weapons are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, many of whom belonging to groups that just a few years ago were killing U.S. Marines in Iraq.

President Obama, secretly and without the consent of Congress, sent more than 150 Special Forces to Jordan to train the anti-Assad fighters on the use of sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

What is even more disturbing is that the Syrian “rebels” have most likely already used chemical weapons, have a reputation for beheading prisoners, and that U.S. support is prolonging the conflict in the region. The reasons for U.S. intervention are of course complicated and multifaceted, but it most likely has to do with attempts to destabilize Iran’s strongest ally and what the Romans called divide et impera.

Syria may be the most dangerous example of the Obama administration’s enhanced policy of covert military training and assistance, but unfortunately it is nowhere near the only one. In Mali, along with building a brand new drone base, U.S. AFRICOM chief General Carter Ham admitted that while training Mali’s military, they “skipped ethics.” Targeting dissidents based on ethnicity and executing them is a staple of the U.S.-trained Mali government.

In Indonesia, the Obama administration resumed training and assisting an elite Indonesian military unit whose members have been convicted of massive human rights abuses in East Timor. U.S.-trained forces in Guatemala have incredibly close ties to some of the region’s most violent drug cartels and are notorious for their brutal treatment of civilians during the Guatemalan civil war.

A report from the Washington Office on Latin America details a U.S. policy called “the Merida Initiative” designed to “help the region’s militaries take on internal security roles” and use American police to train local police. Although President Obama publicly denounced the 2009 military coup in Honduras, Wikileaks cables later revealed that the Obama administration had members of the State Department meet with the illegitimate new Honduran “president” to help coordinate the implementation of the Merida Initiative.

The policy of militarizing, arming, and subsidizing foreign governments, especially those with well-known and documented human rights abuses and commissions of war crimes, appears to be a staple of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. But these policies help contribute to the spread of dictatorships, humanitarian crises, and instability while making the possibility of resentment and blowback much more likely.

It is becoming more and more clear that the bipartisan consensus policy of military interventionism is a threat to peace and security. Neutrality and non-intervention, as the Founders recommended, is a far more practical alternative and is still the best way to spread the American values our politicians are so fond of endorsing.

North Korean army claims it has final approval for nuclear strike on US

North korea missile east sea march 15 2013The North

(globalpost.com) Korean army said it has final approval to launch “merciless” military strikes against the United States, including the use of nuclear weapons.

In a statement published by the North’s official KCNA news agency, the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said the United States had been formally informed that its “reckless nuclear threat” would be “smashed by strong will of all the united service personnel… and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means,” according to Reuters.

More from GlobalPost: Pentagon: Missile defense system deployed to Guam in response to North Korea

“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the statement reads, warning that war could break out “today or tomorrow.”

“The merciless operation of our revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” it read.

According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the statement also said the North would “take a series of strong, actual military countermeasures as the Supreme Command solemnly declared at home and abroad.”

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday that the hermit kingdom’s threats presented a “real and clear danger” to the United States and its allies, South Korea and Japan.

“They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now,” said Hagel. “We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously.”

The Pentagon confirmed earlier on Wednesday that an advanced ballistic missile defense system was being sent to Guam to protect US interests as a precaution against North Korea’s threats.

Also on Wednesday, the North barred South Korean workers from the joint Kaesong industrial park. Earlier in the week, Pyongyang said it was restarting the Yongbyon nuclear reactor to step up production of nuclear weapons materials.

The North has condemned the US deployment of advanced weapons such as B-52 and B-2 bombers, F-22 fighters, and a nuclear-powered submarine and destroyer to the Korean Peninsula for annual joint military drills with the South, Yonhap noted.

North Korea threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States last month, and last week its supreme army command ordered rocket units to be combat ready, according to Agence France-Presse.

China’s foreign ministry said, “All sides must remain calm and exercise restraint and not take actions which are mutually provocative and must certainly not take actions which will worsen the situation,” according to The Daily Telegraph.

More from GlobalPost: North Korea bars entrance to Kaesong industrial park

Iran to prepare lawsuit against ‘Argo’ filmmakers

 (PressTV) -Iran is planning to sue those Hollywood companies and filmmakers that contributed to the production of anti-Iran propaganda films such as Argo.
Iran cultural officials talked to an internationally-renowned French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre over filing a lawsuit against Hollywood during a meeting held in Tehran’s Palestine cinema on March 11.
The meeting was held alongside a conference titled The Hoax of Hollywood organized by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
“The conference was held to unify all cultural communities in Iran against the attacks of the west, particularly Hollywood,” said the conference secretary general Mohammad Lesani.
The Hoax of Hollywood conference was programmed to review Hollywood’s plans for the production of anti-Iran movies which promote Iranophobia.

“I will defend Iran against the films like Argo, which are produced in Hollywood to distort the country’s image. I will stand by the Iranian people to inform the world about the dissemination of propaganda against Iran,” said Coutant-Peyre in the conference while making the remarks on the issue.

Many critics believe that Argo is an attempt to describe Iranians as overemotional, irrational, insane, and diabolical while at the same, the CIA agents are represented as heroically patriotic.
Made on a budget of about USD 44 million by the Warner Bros, Ben Affleck’s Argo is replete with historical inaccuracies and distortions in cinematic representation of the 1979 US embassy incident in Iran.
The Iranophobic film Argo as “an arrant instance of Hollywoodism” is a far cry from a balanced narration in which everything is narrated one-sidedly.
This was not the first time Hollywood has pushed a distorted picture of Iran and Iranian culture.
Brian Gilbert’s 1991 family drama Not Without My Daughter chronicles the story of an American woman who is married to an Iranian doctor.
Poking at the Iranian customs and traditions, the movie depicts the couple who live happily in America but once they travel to Iran, the man suddenly changes from a well-bred and highly educated man to a rustic boar who decides to force his wife to stay in Iran.
In 2007, the American movie 300, as Greeks-versus-Persians action flick, also insulted ancient Iranian culture and distorted true Image of Persian civilization.

US sequester cuts will hit military aid to Israel and Egypt

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(Digital Journal) -As the sequester cuts on the military kick in, military aid to  Israel and Egypt may face cutbacks to help save military spending domestically.

Israel is working to protect US military aid. The $85  billion in automatic cuts that Obama approved on March 1 could involve up to  $729 million less in aid for Israel. Funding for missile-defense systems such as  the Iron Dome and Arrow are threatened.

Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren said:“The Israeli  Embassy still doesn’t know what will be the extent of the sequester. The aid to  Israel is included in the federal budget. Just as this budget is cut, so can the  aid to Israel. As the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East, Israel  understands the complex budgetary challenges the Americans face. We are ready to  carry our share of the burden, while trying to maintain the same projects that  are essential to the security of the State of Israel, among them the Iron  Dome.” Israel may try to keep funding for its missile defense system at the  expense of general military aid.

Funds for the Iron Dome shield are additional to the regular military aid to Israel. As noted  in a Washington Post article last May:The Iron Dome funds, already in  legislation before Congress, will be on top of the $3.1 billion in military aid  grants being provided to Israel in 2013 and every year thereafter through  2017.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham  (R-S.C.) introduced a Senate motion that says the United States should help  Israel militarily and economically if it acts against Iran in  self-defense.“We have no better friends in that part of the world than  Israel. Last year President Obama told the people of Israel, ‘We have your  back.’ Our resolution builds upon that statement and makes it clear that if  Israel is one day forced to protect themselves we will stand with Israel.”

While there will probably be some cuts  to Israeli aid, military aid to Egypt will face even higher hurdles. US  lawmakers generally favor aid to Israel but the $1.3 billion a year aid to Egypt  is coming under fire by more and more US lawmakers.The aid has included fleets  of M1A1 tanks and F16 fighter jets.

John Kerry has insisted that  disengaging with Egypt would be a mistake. He is meeting this weekend in Cairo  with Egyptian leaders. The US wants to review military aid policy to Egypt now  that they do not have an established pro-western authoritarian such as Mubarak  in power but a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Already bills have been  introduced in the House and Senate to halt military aid temporarily or end them  entirely. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida said:“Why are we  giving billions to Egypt, when in my mind it is not a friend of America? We’re  drowning in a sea of debt. Why are we spending so much money in a part of the  world that doesn’t like us?”

Since 1979, after the signing of the  Camp David Accords peace deal, Egypt and Israel have remained the top recipients  of US foreign aid. Those accords are very unpopular among the Egyptian populace.  Egyptian dependency on US foreign aid gives the US leverage that induces the  Egyptian government to adhere to the terms of the agreement. If  aid is  withdrawn the Egyptian government would not have as much incentive to continue  following an unpopular policy. Egypt also helped negotiate a ceasefire during  the Gaza conflict.

David S Adams, assistant secretary of state for legislative  affairs said:“Maintaining this relationship and assisting with the  professionalization and the building of the Egyptian Armed Forces’ capabilities  to secure its borders is one of our key interests in the region. Egypt continues  to play an important role in regional peace and stability.”

John MacCain the Republican senator  from Arizona takes a more moderate approach in suggesting that aid to Egypt  should be focused more on tools for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. John  Kerry maintained that cutting off Egyptian aid would be very damaging to US policy  interests in the middle east:“Egypt is a quarter of the Arab world. It is  critical to everything we aspire to see happen in the Middle East.”

 

Israel media reports that Obama will threaten strike on Iran in June

 

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(RT) -President Barack Obama says the United States could launch an attack on Iran as early as this June, Israeli media reports.

According to a report on Israel’s Channel 10 News that has since been picked up by the Times of Israel, Pres. Obama will use an upcoming meeting overseas to discuss a military strike on Iran. Pres. Obama is scheduled to visit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month, and during the get-together the two leaders will reportedly work out the details for a possible assault.

 

Pres. Obama will tell Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June, Channel 10 claims.

 

Israel has long-urged the White House to use its military prowess to intervene in Iran’s rumored nuclear weapon procurement plan, demands which have by-and-large been rejected by the Obama administration. According to the latest reports, though, the United States might finally be willing to use its might to make a stand against Iran’s race for a nuke.

 

“I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon, because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel, and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race,” Pres. Obama said during an interview on the television program 60 Minutes last year, but not before adding that he’ll continue to block “noise” from Netanyahu’s camp. “Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis — on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence,” he said.

 

But five months after those remarks, Iran is still inclined to become a nuclear power. Only days earlier, The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu said the details of a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested that that Iran had begun installing advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility, sparking “very grave” concerns that Israel could be hit with a nuke.

 

 

 

 

Right now, five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany are holding talks with Iranian officials in Kazakhstan, with the goal of reaching a diplomatic answer to the nuclear crisis. However, domestic tensions within Iranian political elite do not make the prospect of a solution any more viable for now. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second and final term in office is set to wrap up this June, and political fights within the country’s top contenders for the position has prompted possible presidents to take harsh stance on the issue and resist outside pressure.

 

“President Ahmadinejad’s second term in office expires in half a year. The law prohibits him from running for the third term. What is happening could be an intensifying power struggle,” Andrei Baklitsky of the Russian Center for Policy Studies tells the Moscow Times of the latest “5+1 talks” in Kazakhstan. “At first [Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar] Salehi signals the possibility of direct talks with the United States and then the supreme leader rejects it. But as Salehi is Ahmadinejad’s man, the controversy should be viewed through the prism of an internal political standoff rather than as Tehran’s official policy.”

 

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, told reporters in Berlin, “My hope is Iran will make its choice to move down the path to a diplomatic solution.”

 

When Netanyahu critiqued the United States’ reluctance to act first last year, a meeting between the prime minister and Pres. Obama was subsequently cancelled by the White House. Just next month, though, the commander-in-chief will travel to the West Bank and Jordan for the first time during his second term in office. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor has said of the trip that it will mark an “opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria.”

Researchers say Stuxnet was deployed against Iran in 2007

 

 
 
 
Iranian soldiers stand guard on an anti-aircraft machine gun inside the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, 322km (200 miles) south of Iran's capital Tehran March 9, 2006. REUTERS/Raheb

 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Researchers at Symantec Corp have uncovered a version of the Stuxnet computer virus that was used to attack Iran’s nuclear program in November 2007, two years earlier than previously thought.

Stuxnet, which is widely believed to have been developed by the United States and Israel, was discovered in 2010 after it was used to attack a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, Iran. It was the first publicly known example of a virus being used to attack industrial machinery.

Symantec researchers said on Tuesday they have uncovered a piece of code, which they called “Stuxnet 0.5,” among the thousands of versions of the virus they recovered from infected machines.

They found evidence Stuxnet 0.5 was in development as early as 2005, when Iran was still setting up its uranium enrichment facility, and the virus was deployed in 2007, the same year the Natanz facility went online.

“It is really mind blowing that they were thinking about creating a project like that in 2005,” Symantec researcher Liam O’Murchu told Reuters.

Security experts who reviewed Symantec’s 18-page report on Stuxnet 0.5 said it showed the cyber weapon was already powerful enough to cripple output at Natanz as far back as six years ago.

“This attack could have damaged many centrifuges without destroying so many that the plant operator would have become suspicious,” said a report by the Institute for Science and International Security, which is led by former United Nations weapons inspector David Albright and closely monitors Iran’s nuclear program.

ALTERNATE APPROACH

Although it is unclear what damage Stuxnet 0.5 might have caused, Symantec said it was designed to attack the Natanz facility by opening and closing valves that feed uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges, without the knowledge of the operators of the facility.

Previously dissected versions of Stuxnet are all believed to have been used to sabotage the enrichment process by changing the speeds of those gas-spinning centrifuges without the knowledge of their operators.

“The report provides even more concrete evidence that the United States has been activity trying to derail the Iranian nuclear program since it was restarted under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reign,” said John Bumgarner, an expert on cyber weapons who works as chief technology officer with the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit.

The Natanz facility has been the subject of intense scrutiny by the United States, Israel and allies, who charge that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb.

The United States began building a complex cyber weapon during the George W. Bush administration to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, U.S. officials familiar with the program have told Reuters. The government has declined to comment on the reports and has launched investigations into leaks on its cyber programs.

Since Stuxnet’s discovery in 2010, security researchers have uncovered a handful of other sophisticated pieces of computer code they believe were developed in tandem to engage in espionage and warfare. These include Flame, Duqu and Gauss.

Stuxnet 0.5 was written using much of the same code as Flame, according to Symantec’s report, which was published at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, an event attended by more than 20,000 security professionals.

Symantec said it has now uncovered four versions of Stuxnet and there are likely others that have not been discovered yet. Researchers at Symantec and elsewhere are still trying to understand the full extent of the virus’s capabilities.

“This fills in some of the gaps,” said O’Murchu.

He said the researchers found no evidence to prove who was behind Stuxnet.

Later versions of Stuxnet, which manipulates industrial control software known as Step 7 from Siemens AG, used more sophisticated methods to infect computer systems, he said.

Siemens previously said it plugged the security holes that allowed Stuxnet to breach its software. A company spokesman had no immediate comment on Symantec’s latest research.

Argo wins Oscar in Hollywood’s dirty anti-Iran game: Analysts

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(Press TV) -The granting of the Best Picture Oscar to the Iranophobic movie Argo has long been foreseeable as the Machiavellian maneuvering of Hollywood propaganda harbors a much more elaborate imperialistic scheme, political analysts say.

“I put my money on this film to win the Best Picture Oscar (even though there is nothing remotely “best” about it) especially if Obama can pull off winning the Presidential election,” wrote cultural critic Kim Nicolini in an article published in October 2012.

“Argo, above all else, is a piece of conservative liberal propaganda created by Hollywood to support the Obama administration’s conservative liberal politics as we move toward the Presidential election,” she said before Obama was re-elected for the second term.

“It also primes the war wheels for an American-supported Israeli attack on Iran, so that Leftists can feel okay about the war when they cast their vote for Obama in November (2012),” the critic pointed out.

At the 85th edition of Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on Sunday, Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, announced Argo as winner of the Best Picture Oscar, live from the White House.

The thriller directed by US filmmaker Ben Affleck is loosely based on the allegedly historical account by former CIA agent Tony Mendez about the rescue of six American diplomats during the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The revolutionary Iranian university students who took over the US Embassy believed that the embassy had turned into a den of espionage which aimed to overthrow the nascent Islamic Republic establishment.

Argo only tells the rescue operation of the six Americans from the Canadian Embassy in Iran, with no mentioning of the 53 Americans who spent 444 days in the US Embassy.

Nicolini lashed out at Argo for completely neglecting to provide the Iranian’s side of the story, noting, “The film is a sanitized version of the events.”

She argued that “there is nothing authentic about the film’s manipulation of historical events,” and described the movie as “pure political propaganda.”

“Given the vast number of people who have died in the Middle East (Americans, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, etc.), why should we give so much attention to 6 white American diplomats who were saved by Hollywood and the CIA? What about all the other people from so many cultural demographics who have and are continuing to be massacred, murdered and tortured daily?” the critic questioned.

One of the most disputed aspect of Argo’s version of events has to do with Canada’s role in the escape, as the film is considered to be a very inaccurate dramatization of a purported joint CIA-Canadian secret operation.

Former Canadian Ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor has heavily criticized the movie, saying, “The amusing side is the script writer (Chris Terrio) in Hollywood had no idea what he’s talking about.”

He said Argo downplays the actual extent of the Canadian involvement which was considerable.

Taylor criticized Argo for incorporating a myriad of creative liberties that included the “black and white” portrayal of Iranian people and fabricated scenes, adding that Argo “characterizes people in a way that isn’t quite right.”

The former Canadian envoy argued that Argo didn’t portray “a more conventional side,” and “a more hospitable side” of the Iranian society as well, an “intent that they were looking for some degree of justice.”

Political analysts say Argo unmasks the elaborate US scheme to employ every medium in its propaganda apparatus to incite Iranophobia across the globe.

“Argo is an arrant instance of Hollywoodism. In point of fact, it is yet another attempt to foment Iranophobia not only in the USA but across the world as well,” Iranian academic Dr. Ismail Salami wrote in an article on Press TV website in November 2012.

“In recent years, Iranophobia has come to encompass a wider scope of media including cinema which is incontestably capable of exercising a more powerful effect on manipulating the audience,” he said.

The analyst also lashed out at Argo’s director for portraying a “stereotyped and caricatured view” of the Iranian society and noted that Affleck has consciously sought to ridicule “the very customs and traditions” of Iran.

In an interview with Press TV, top Iranian official Masoumeh Ebtekar who was a spokeswoman of the students who took over the US Embassy in 1979, says she initially thought that the film would be a balanced representation of events, but after seeing the film, she says it does not tell the story of the takeover as it actually happened.

“The group who took over the American Embassy were a group of young, very orderly and quite calm men and women … The scenes that you see in Argo are totally incorrect,” Ebtekar said.

Iranian film critic Masoud Foroutan told Press TV that Argo was “politically-motivated,” noting, “The making of the film from the technical aspect is ok but the story is not authentic. The story is custom-made and you could see where it would end up. The film was a politically-motivated one.”

On the 19th of January 1981, the Algiers Accords was signed by the United States and Iran which secured the release of the American diplomats. A day later, the 53 Americans were released in Tehran and minutes later former US President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.

Meanwhile, political observers contend that the US has always sought to keep the Algiers Accords hidden from the general public and it comes as no surprise as Argo makes no mention of the accords either.

Iranian Oops: US may have broken own sanctions by buying Tehran’s oil

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(RT) -There is a high probability that US sanctions against Iran have been violated by its own army. Part of the $1.55 billion in fuel the US bought from Turkmenistan for the Afghan army in the last five years may have originated in Iran.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) suggested that “despite actions taken by DOD to prevent the purchase of Iranian fuel with US funds, risks remain that US economic sanctions could [have been] violated” from 2007 to 2012.

Most of the fuel for domestic Afghan consumption comes from neighboring Iran. Because of the US sanctions on Tehran restricting the trade of Iranian oil and petroleum products, the ISAF has been required to abide by the regulations and buy petrol from eight Afghan-owned companies that deliver petroleum from Turkmenistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

The SIGAR report also acknowledged there are no plausible oversight mechanisms to make sure Iranian petroleum products are not included in future fuel purchases.

Turkmenistan is a major regional oil producer, which also trades for petroleum products made in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Iran. Petrol vendors in Turkmenistan use flexible supply schemes, meaning that fuel of various origins could potentially be blended together.

In response to a draft of SIGAR report, the US Embassy in Kabul stated that “it is possible that if blending is taking place in Turkmenistan it could contain some Iranian fuel,” but refused to admit that fuel imported from Russia could also be blended with Iranian fuel prior to its import into Afghanistan.

All fuel imports carry a ‘verified Fuel Passport’ from the refinery, which provides information on the origin, quantity, quality, and specifications of the fuel,” the embassy explained.

“Suppliers are unlikely to blend Iranian fuel, or any other product, with other sourced fuel because of the potential that blending could cause product deviation from specification standards and potentially cause a rejection of the entire shipment,” the embassy said.

In 2012, the Pentagon reportedly spent over $800 million on imports from Turkmenistan, most likely for fuel purchases.

Iran escaping sanctions

Western sanctions have taken their toll on Iran: Tehran was formerly OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, exporting 2.2 million barrels of oil daily. The sanctions more than halved that figure, to 890,000 barrels of oil exported a day by September 2012.

The Iranian economy has lost billions of dollars in revenue, plunging to decades-low figures. The value of the national currency, the rial, has taken a kamikaze dive; the Iranian leadership, including incendiary President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was forced to publicly admit the sanctions were having an effect.

But Tehran has quickly recovered from the US-EU sanctions imposed on its oil trade. By the end of last year, Iranian crude oil exports rose again to 1.4 million barrels per day. Most of the Iranian oil is sold to Asian countries such as China, India and Japan, where demand for energy is growing. The expansion of Iran’s tanker fleet also helped the Islamic Republic circumvent the sanctions.

The US believes that the most common trick Iran uses to dodge sanctions is ship-to-ship transfers (STS), in which large tankers leaving Iran’s ports offload Iranian oil to smaller vessels. Then, the Iranian oil is blended with that of another country to disguise it. After that, new shipping documents are issued, giving the blended oil shipment a new identity, Reuters reported.

The US has scrambled to enact countermeasures on the news that its sanctions are being skirted. Reuters reported on Thursday that the US State Department is planning to target companies that deliberately disguise Iranian oil shipments to evade Western sanctions.

Also, an unnamed US official said that the US authorities are “increasingly aware of this STS issue,” and that companies involved in covert deals for Iranian oil will be punished. Sanctions violators could be prohibited from trading with the US companies, for example.

Iranian immigrant suffering ‘delusional disorder’ begs judge to be allowed to continue hunger strike even if it kills him

  

 
 

 
 

(Independent)A hunger striking Iranian man begged a High Court judge this afternoon to let him continue his fast even if it results in his eventual death.

The 50-year-old man, a former doctor who cannot be named for legal reasons, stopped taking food and liquid in protest at the UK Border Agency’s refusal to return his passport after his asylum application failed.

Psychiatrists say the man has a “delusional disorder” which has affected his capacity to use rational free will to fast to death and his treating doctors want the court to allow them to force feed him. An interim order has been in place since early December allowing him to be forcibly fed and hydrated but they want the order to be permanent until and if he regains capacity.

The man insists, however, that his protest is a deliberate decision he has made using rational free will.

In an emotional plea to the Court of Protection today he called on Mr Justice Baker to stop doctors from force feeding him.

Speaking through a Farsi translator he described how wanted to leave Britain but had been in limbo ever since his asylum application had been refused.

“I am currently living like a prisoner in this country,” he said. “I don’t have permission to leave this country, nor do I have permission to stay. If you place yourselves in my shoes, in the position of somone who is not allowed to leave this country, nor study or live a normal life, how would you react?”

He later added: “I have decided to go on with my hunger strike regardless of the consequences.”

Asked by Mr Justice Baker whether he recognised that those consequences “will be that you will die” the man replied: “Under no circumstances do I wish to die. I wish to study, to live a normal life. However if I am to live like a prisoner I will continue my hunger strike.”

The judge reminded the man, who says he fled political persecution in Iran, that it was not in the Court of Protection’s power to decide whether or not he remained in the country. The judge added that the UK Border Agency showed no sign of being moved to return his passport because of his hunger strike. But the man has nonetheless vowed to continue his protest.

Earlier this week, three treating clinicians testified that the man, who is being treated at a hospital in the South East of England, “lacked capacity” to decide whether it was a good idea to go on hunger strike and called on the judge to approve the continued administration of nutrition and hydration.

As the former doctor took the stand today he was questioned by a barrister representing the Official Solicitor, the government appointed official who represents in the Court of Protection those who have lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves. It is the Official Solicitors job to make sure that they protect the “best interests” of incapacitated people – which can range from those in a coma to more complicated patients where capacity is variable because of, for example, learning difficulties or mental health issues.

Much of the questioning centred around what the Official Solicitor’s representative described as the “unusual claims” the Iranian man has made about his persecution in Iran and what he believes to be the continued surveillance by Iranian intelligence agents since leaving the country.

His doctors previously testified that the man’s psychiatric disorders often took on a persecutory tone with delusions of grandeur. In a will he wrote during one period of hunger striking last year he alleged that his home and car in Iran had been bugged by Iranian security forces; that an attempt to apply for a credit card was stymied by intelligence agents; that Iranian students in Cambridge pressured him to return to Iran and see the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and that Iranian agents had tried to poison his food on two occasions while he lived in South London.

Under questioning, the man said that while he believed his home and car had been bugged back in Iran, he may have “misunderstood” the other events because he was under “intense pressure at the time”. He thanked his treating clinicians for the care they had shown him over the past five months but said he believed their diagnoses that he suffered from a delusional disorder were wrong.

Mr Justice Baker has called for further written submission from lawyers and said he would hand down a reserved judgement as soon as possible.

Kissinger: The Iran Nuclear Situation Will Come To A Head In The ‘Very Foreseeable Future’

(Business Insider) Henry Kissinger recently gave an ominous forecast on the future of Iran’s nuclear program: that it will be taken care of one way or another very soon.

attached imageSpeaking at the World Economic Forum at a Swiss ski resort in Davos, Kissinger said, “People who have advanced their view will have to come to a determination about how to react or about the consequences of non-reaction,” he said.

“I believe this point will be reached within a very foreseeable future.”

Also at Davos, Agence France Presse reports that President Shimon Peres said, “There will be more attempts to try and negotiate, but there will always be in the horizon a military option, because if the Iranians think it’s only economic and political, they won’t pay attention.”

Kissinger, Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak all seem to think that the Iran nuclear situation will come to close in some way in the next few months.

However, exactly how that will happen remains a subject of debate — where some see military threat and possible strikes as integral, , others report that sanctions have crippled the country, opening up critical lanes for upcoming nuclear talks with the U.N. Security Council.

One recent Haaratz report said that Iran’s income from oil had plummeted 50% in recent months, and the country has been unable to find the space to store its excess oil. Iran’s oil represents 80 percent of its income, and the U.S. has almost unilaterally banned the import of that oil. On the other side, Iran’s major importers are Asian countries (though China is exempt, it still represents an ally) — countries likely to, and more importantly, able to, put pressure on the U.S. to drop sanctions.

While Iran may try to delay and quibble over locations for the negotiation, it looks like economic sanctions may well cause their hand to fold, and soon.

Homeland Security’s Napolitano invokes 9/11 to push for CISPA 2.0

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(RT) -In an attempt to scare the public with a looming cyber attack on US infrastructure, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is once again pushing Congress to pass legislation allowing the government to have greater control over the Internet.

Napolitano issued the warnings Thursday, claiming that inaction could result in a “cyber 9/11” attack that could knock out water, electricity and gas, causing destruction similar to that left behind by Hurricane Sandy.

Napolitano said that in order to prevent such an attack, Congress must pass legislation that gives the US government greater access to the Internet and cybersecurity information from the private sector. Such a bill, known as CISPA or Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was already introduced last year, but failed to pass in Congress due to concerns expressed by businesses and privacy advocates.

“We shouldn’t wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of the damage,” Napolitano said in a speech at the Wilson Center, a Washington, DC think tank.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also been a strong advocate for increased governmental grip on the web and in October warned that the US is facing a possible “cyber-Pearl Harbor” by foreign hackers.

“A cyber attack perpetuated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” he said during a speech. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

Last September, Napolitano reiterated disappointment with Congress for failing to pass the cybersecurity legislation in August.

“Attacks are coming all the time,” she said in a speech at the Social Good Summit. “They are coming from different sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in seriousness and sophistication.”

Despite Homeland Security’s constant warnings that hackers could shut down critical US infrastructure, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was shot down by the Senate in August, even though the Obama administration had pushed for the bill in numerous hearings and briefings.

Privacy advocates had expressed concern that the US government would be able to read Americans’ personal e-mails, online chat conversations, and other personal information that only private companies and servers might have access to. The head of the National Security Agency promised it wouldn’t abuse its power, but critics have remained skeptical.

A coalition of Democrats this year pledged to make this legislation a priority.

“Given all that relies on a safe and secure Internet, it is vital that we do what’s necessary to protect ourselves from hackers, cyber thieves, and terrorists,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

The White House is also working on an executive order that would encourage companies to meet government cybersecurity standards.

US supports governments in 4 of 7 least free nations

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(Digital Journal)  –  The United States provides economic, military  and diplomatic support to four of the seven least free nations on earth,  according to a Digital Journal analysis of this year’s Freedom House freedom  rankings.

Freedom House, a Washington, DC-based think tank that conducts  research on democracy, freedom and human rights, has released its annual report  on the state of freedom around the world. The report, “Freedom  in the World 2013,” gave seven nations the lowest possible rankings for both  political rights and civil liberties. Of these seven– North Korea,  Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia,  the United States provides significant economic, military and/or diplomatic  support to the governments of four of them. Here’s a breakdown of how the Obama  administration aids and enables brutal repression in each country:

Saudi Arabia:  Arbitrary arrest and torture  of reform advocates, religious minorities and totally innocent people are  commonplace. The Saudi legal system is a cruel farce, with defendants often denied  legal counsel and tortured into making false confessions. This has led to  wrongful executions, usually by public  beheading. Among the crimes for which one can be beheaded in Saudi Arabia:  apostasy (renouncing Islam), blasphemy, prostitution, witchcraft,  sorcery, adultery and homosexuality. Lesser criminals often have their hands and  legs amputated without anesthesia.

Being born female in Saudi Arabia is to  be condemned to a hellish life of virtual slavery. Not only are women not  allowed to vote, they cannot drive cars. They cannot be treated in a hospital or  travel without written permission from their husbands or male relatives. One  woman who was kidnapped and gang-raped was sentenced  to 90 whip lashes for being with unrelated males. When she went to the media to  complain, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes. In 2002, 15 schoolgirls  needlessly died when  members of the dreaded morality police locked them inside their burning school  and stopped firefighters from saving them simply because the girls were not  properly dressed in robes and headscarves.

The Saudi education system reinforces  this medieval barbarism. School textbooks disparage women, call for gays to be  put to death, teach how to cut off thieves’ hands and stress the importance of  the destruction of the Jewish people. “The hour of God’s judgment will not come  until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” reads  one textbook.

Such is life in the absolute monarchy  of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom without an elected parliament where the courts are  run by religious extremists, adherents of a super-strict brand of Islamic  fundamentalism called Wahhabism.  It was Wahhabism that spawned al-Qaeda; Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11  hijackers were Saudis. In a bid to consolidate and protect its power and curry  favor with powerful extremist clerics, members of the Saudi royal family  routinely make large donations  to Islamic ‘charities’ that in turn fund terrorist groups. The Saudi government  also supported the Taliban right up until 9/11 and then refused to help US  intelligence officials with background checks on the Saudi hijackers.

These truths have been ignored by  successive US administrations, including Barack Obama’s. Rather than rebuke  Saudi repression, Obama rewarded it by allowing the sale of $60  billion worth of advanced military aircraft to the kingdom and by warmly  welcoming Saudi King Abdullah to the White House.

Equatorial Guinea:  This tiny but oil-rich West African nation is ruled by the fantastically corrupt Teodoro  Obiang, Africa’s longest ruling leader and a close US ally. Obiang, who was  trained in Franco’s Spain, rose to power in 1979 after executing his even more  brutal uncle. The US State Department report on Equatorial Guinea cites “torture  of detainees by security forces, life-threatening conditions in prisons, and  arbitrary arrests.” Locals joke– behind closed doors, of course– about North  Korea’s Kim Jong-un being Obiang’s role model.

Oil exports and corruption have made  the Obiang family among the richest in Africa, with the dictator’s personal  fortune worth an estimated $600 million. His family lives in ostentatious  opulence while one out of every three Equatorial Guineans dies before the  age of 40.

Somehow, despite the misery of most of  his people, Obiang still managed to “win”  reelection with 95 percent of the vote in 2009.

Obiang has endeared himself to the Bush  and Obama administrations (Condoleezza Rice called him a “good  friend”) by opening his country’s oil wealth up for exploitation by US  corporations, which have invested billions of dollars there. Secret diplomatic  cables published by Wikileaks in 2009 reveal that Washington advised  “abandoning a moral narrative” regarding the brutal Obiang regime and the Obama  administration was more than happy to oblige. Just two months before he “won”  his impossible landslide reelection victory, Barack and Michelle Obama met the  friendly dictator and posed for photos with him and his wife at a lavish  Manhattan reception.

Uzbekistan: This  Central Asian country is a police state that has been ruled continuously by the  wicked Islam  Karimov since it was part of the Soviet Union. There is zero freedom of  expression or of the press in Uzbekistan, and although Karimov holds periodic  elections, they are farcical affairs in which he always receives around 90  percent of the vote.

But Uzbekistan sits smack in the middle  of the region’s massive oil and natural gas resources and is also a valuable  ally in the War on Terror. The Northern Distribution Network, a supply line to  Afghanistan, passes right through it.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of  Uzbek political prisoners are locked up in horrific conditions and subjected to  medieval tortures. Prisoners are forced to stand in freezing water for hours,  have their skin torn off with pliers or are occasionally boiled  to death. Uzbek authorities have also imprisoned, tortured or killed  thousands of Muslims just for practicing their faith.

The Bush administration cozied up to  the vile Karimov regime, inviting the dictator to the White House and lavishing  him with half a billion dollars in aid, much of it directly funding the police  and intelligence services that torture and murder. When Uzbek forces committed a  vodka-fueled massacre of  hundreds of peaceful protesters in Andijan in 2005, Pentagon officials helped block  an international investigation of the incident.

President Obama has continued to extend  the hand of friendship to Karimov, sending Hillary Clinton, Gen. David Petraeus  and the late Richard Holbrooke to Tashkent to shore up relations. Last February,  Obama announced that the US would resume  military aid to the despotic regime despite its continued grave human rights  abuses.

Turkmenistan: Home to  the world’s fifth-largest natural gas reserves, Uzbekistan’s southern neighbor  was for decades run by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, whose bizarre  cult of personality knew no limits. Niyazov renamed a town, a meteor and the  month of January  after himself. He also scrapped the Hippocratic Oath for  doctors and replaced it with an oath to– guess who– Niyazov. The eccentric  dictator outlawed gold teeth, opera, ballet and lip-syncing. He even published a  ‘Book of the Soul’ that was elevated to the level of the Bible and Koran. When  one Islamic cleric objected, he was sentenced to 23 years behind bars.  Stalinesque show trials, torture and murder were everyday facts of life.

Niyazov died  in 2006. But the nation remains one of the most repressive and corrupt  in the world. Successive US administrations, however, have  ignored the brutality as they pursue lucrative pipeline deals and access to  routes to supply the war in Afghanistan. The dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow  “won” reelection last year with 97 percent of the vote, a troubling development  that was met with silence and continued friendship from the Obama  administration. The US has also provided millions of dollars in aid to the  brutal tyrant.

 

Iran answers IAEA questions if it sees an end to process: Analyst

 

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(PressTV) -A political commentator says Tehran is ready to answer International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) questions provided that when they are answered the process comes to an end.

“I have talked to Iranian diplomats and they told me that Iran has constantly expressed its willingness to answer all the questions that have been raised [by IAEA], provided that when the questions are answered, the process comes to an end,” Hamid Reza Emadi said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.
He went on to say that the United States has stopped the IAEA from fulfilling its duties, making the agency unwilling to end its questioning process with regards to Iran.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is clearly working under a US-dictated mandate that has prevented it from performing its professional obligations, wants to maintain the pressure on Tehran. The agency, as the diplomats told me, does not want the case to be closed any time soon and they want to raise more questions, to raise more issues once the existing questions are fully answered by Iran. So this is going to be an endless process,” Emadi pointed out.

The political commentator further noted that the past dealings of the IAEA with the Islamic Republic show that the atomic agency is not willing to reach an agreement on any framework for mutual cooperation.
“Just take a look at the history of IAEA’s dealings with Tehran, they first raised the issue of a laptop that they got from nowhere and focused on it for several years and then totally forgot about it and moved on to a different issue which is the Parchin military site.”
Emadi stated that Iran is ready to give access to Parchin once a structured framework for cooperation is finalized and signed by the two sides.
“But the IAEA, under pressure from the West, does not want anything to be finalized at this point in time and they want to prolong the issue for an unspecified period of time,” he added.
Referring to reports quoting Western diplomats as saying that Iran has put “unacceptable conditions on the table,” Emadi said, “The bottom line is [that] Iran wants to resolve all the so-called outstanding issues once and forever, provided that the agency wants to do the same thing.”
“This is what those Western diplomats, who I believe most probably work for the IAEA, are rejecting as unacceptable conditions,” Emadi concluded.

American Hypocrisy and Idiocracy in violence- Sold by the media bought up by the general public

 

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(CAV News) – When the big bad Federal government and the darlings of corporate media want something discussed, then we discuss it. I’ve come to this conclusion years ago in my teenager days. Why it’s taking some so long to figure that out is beyond me.

This couldn’t be any more true than what happened after the horrific incident at Sandy Hook.

On our Facebook page we posted a few items about the hypocrisy surrounding the government and corporate media in regards to policy. Of course, this was met with quite a few comments such as, ” stop pushing your agenda during a tragedy,” “not now, too soon,” and the ever so popular comment, when someone disagrees, “I’m unliking your page.”

So what was ticking off these people who actually came to like things we touch upon everyday? Idiocracy and hypocrisy and more specifically, UAV strikes a.k.a drone strikes that kill children… just not our children.

That’s right killing children and innocent others in Yemen or Pakistan, is ok.  But I don’t think people really feel that way. I think the government and the media feel that way. I think people are a product of what they see and hear. Do you see FOX, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, or ABC showing you the horrific acts of violence to the children of Yemen? Do you see national stage pundits from both elite parties discussing whether or not this is a good foreign policy to carry on?  Hardly if ever.

That’s because Americans (of course, not all) or the general public only talk about what the media and politicians wish you to know about.

If the corporate media and political elites think you should take your flu shots, well most of you do. Even if the CDC says its effective rate isn’t all that impressive. If the corporate media tells you to spend, spend, spend, and look it here at all of these deals we are getting reports on, you probably go out and spend. If the media tells you Iran is even closer than ever at launching their nuclear program, you just bought yourself a new fear and perceived enemy. Finally, if the media tells you that gun control is crucial, needs to be done, needs support, well you get behind that and support it, don’t you?

The passion the general public shares on gun control was thoughtfully executed  out by the mainstream and political elites. 

The latest survey from PEW Research Center shows that 55% of Americans favor a ban on assault – style weapons.

                                 HYPOCRISY:

We all agree shooting up schools is terrible. You won’t read or hear anybody on this page contesting that. So why does the general public think we should surrender our 2nd amendment rights because of the violence a few nut jobs created, but when it comes to drones and torture… well that’s okay?

In 2009, the American public didn’t find it necessary for Congress to investigate torture tactics carried on by the Bush administration. According to CBS,  the poll said 62% of people could give two turds about the treatment of not convicted detainees but suspected detainees. Is this the same public that went balls to the wall with their demands on gun control to Congress? Are we starting to think that certain violence is okay? Doesn’t sound civilized to me.

Again in 2009, an Associated-Press survey found that just over half of Americans felt that torture was okay and at times necessary. Could this be because they are told so? Do you really think people (sane, rational) think it’s okay to torture? “Well Derek, that was three or four years ago, surely things have changed.”

“No ,you idiot they haven’t .”  Take two more pieces of evidence to show you I’m not wrong. The liberal paper, Huffington Post, conducted a poll that showed 47% Americans think torture is always justified to 41% who thought it is rarely justifiable. Even if the government hasn’t publicly justified to us who we are torturing and why. That’s because they sold you on terrorism. Which is also a huge money-making and global strategical scheme.  Lastly on torture, consider the recent success of the pro-torture film, Zero Dark Thirty. According to box office reports, the movie is a top spotter and has made an estimated $24 million dollars.

                                        DRONES:

Some people will argue that UAV’s or as we simple folks call them, drones, are better for our military. I don’t disagree. Nobody gets hurt, on our side. Yet, we never consider other grey areas when it comes to the use of U.S drones against countries such as Yemen and Pakistan. Who are they targeting and why? What is the end result of these strikes? How much they cost?  How long do we need to use them?

Now if people on network pages like Facebook, asked photos to go viral of Pakistani children covered in blood because of a suspected terrorist was in the region they would probably be disturbed. However, and unfortunately, that doesn’t quite catch the eye to the general American public.  More importantly, an intelligence report based on suspicion killed a child. Yet where’s the media or public uproar? Obama keeps surrounding himself with kids and making cute statements, ‘that not another kid will be killed because of senseless violence,’  and that’s because the media gives him that venue.

Politico, another cute lefty page, released a poll that showed Americans support the use of drones. I don’t think that’s true. I think Americans support what the news anchor tells them when they report fabricated news. “Today a drone strike wiped out six terrorist suspects.” Of course, they didn’t mention the civilians and even worse they are only suspects.

Getting back to that Politico poll released last year, over 80% of Americans agree with Obama’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles against suspected terrorists and two-thirds agree that it is okay to use them on American citizens abroad.

That’s an astounding number if you believe in polls. However, the media only shows you the suspects, with a patriotic American flag in the backdrop, and pretty much makes up your mind for you that this was ok. It took out suspected terrorists. No big deal. Yeah who cares about the people who had nothing to do with any of this?

I think it looks sexier and better for the Obama administration when CNN issues a headline that reads “Civilian causalities plummet in drone strikes,” as opposed to ” over 160 children dead due to drone strikes.” You know because a child is so precious that we should just not report about it but only when it comes down to pushing forward an agenda. 

This is absurd. And what’s more absurd is if these polls are correct (I think they are), then we have become an idiocracy and hypocrisy. Not only have we become barbaric but we have fallen under the same spell that most do when an empire takes control of their people. 

Hypocrisy and Idiocracy, how much longer will it rule our country into the ground?

               Written By: Derek Wood

 

Boeing’s 30,000-Pound Bunker-Buster Improved, U.S. Says

(Bloomberg) Efforts to improve the performance of the U.S.’s heaviest “bunker-buster” bomb have succeeded, according to the Pentagon’s testing chief.

Tests of the 30,000-pound (13,600-kilogram) Massive Ordnance Penetrator made by Boeing Co. (BA) demonstrated the redesigned weapon “is capable of effectively prosecuting selected hardened, deeply buried targets,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, said in a report to Congress.

Pentagon officials have said the bomb could be used if the U.S. decides to attack Iran’s nuclear program, with its deeply buried and hardened Fordo uranium enrichment facility that holds a stockpile of enriched uranium.

While Gilmore didn’t mention any specific uses for the bomb, he said it is intended to hit targets “requiring significant penetration” that are located in “well-protected facilities.”

The testing assessment is the first public discussion of the bomb’s capabilities since early last year, when the Pentagon disclosed a need to improve it.

Testing of modifications involved five bomb drops from B-2 stealth bombers at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico from June to October and two ground tests, according to Gilmore’s annual report on Pentagon testing, which he sent to Congress on Jan. 11.

The bomb is six times bigger than the 5,000-pound bunker- buster that the U.S. Air Force and the Israeli Air Force have in their arsenals to attack deeply buried nuclear, biological or chemical sites.

Israel’s Intentions

Israel has said it may launch an attack on its own, raising questions about whether it could effectively halt Iran’s nuclear program unless the U.S. joined in with the bigger bomb.

Iran, which is under pressure from economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union, has said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Herbert Carlisle cited the 30,000-pound bomb at an industry conference in March as among U.S. capabilities in a potential attack on Iran.

The bomb made by Chicago-based Boeing has “great capability and we are continuing to make it better,” he said. “It is part of our arsenal if it is needed in that kind of scenario.”

‘Hard Target’

The move to improve the bomb was made shortly after the Air Force took the first delivery in September 2011. The action may have been a response to Iran’s announcement on Jan. 9, 2012, that it would begin uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility near Qom that’s tunneled into mountains, said Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East military analyst for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service in Washington.

“This is a very hard target, and the international community believes that if Iran were to attempt a nuclear breakout, it would be conducted at this site,” Katzman said last year.

The Pentagon won congressional approval in February 2012 to shift $81.6 million in funds to improve the bunker-buster.

The Pentagon request to upgrade the bomb was submitted 11 days after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the enrichment activity. The location at Qom is 90 meters (295 feet) under rock, according to David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s B-2 stealth bomber is the only aircraft capable of carrying the weapon.

Tail-Fin, Fuse

Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said in a Jan. 20, 2012, request to Congress that the money was needed to “fix issues identified in testing, including tail-fin modifications and integrating a second fuse, enhance weapon capabilities, build test targets and conduct live weapon testing. The request funds the immediate requirement to support the desired upgrade schedule.”

The 20.5-foot-long bomb carries more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and is guided by Global Positioning System satellites, according to a description on the website of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The bomb has a hardened-steel casing and can reach targets as far as 200 feet underground before exploding, according to a December 2007 statement by the Air Force News Service.

Most Israelis disagree with Netanyahu on Iran: Poll

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 
 
(PressTV) -Despite the rhetoric by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu to sensationalize the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program, a recent survey shows that the majority of Israelis believe the issue of economy, not Iran, is the most critical issue they face.

According to a poll conducted by the Times of Israel, 43 percent of the respondents consider economic issues as the most important issue in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Israel.

Only 12 percent of the respondents, 23 percent of right-wing voters and only 2 percent of left-wing voters, said they were concerned about Iran and its nuclear energy program.

This is while Netanyahu has been trying to bring ‘security’ and diplomacy issues to the forefront of the January 22 elections.

On December 23, 2012, Netanyahu said that Iran’s nuclear energy program would “remain” his central issue in the next term if he was re-elected in the January elections.

Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear energy facilities based on the unfounded allegation that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program may contain non-civilian aspects.

Iran has vehemently refuted the allegations against its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful objectives.

Repeating the war-mongering rhetoric on November 5, Netanyahu said he is ready to order a strike on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities.

However, several current and former Israeli military and intelligence figures have come out against Netanyahu’s war rhetoric against Tehran, saying such a move will in fact be to the detriment of the Israeli regime itself.

On January 11, former Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert strongly criticized Netanyahu for wasting billions of shekels for preparing futile war plans against Iran and said, “In the past two years, we have spent more than 11 billion shekels on security hallucinations that were not performed and will not be performed.”

Fmr PM: Binyamin Netanyahu ‘wasted $3bn on Iranian attack plan’

Ehud Olmert

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has accused the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, of wasting $3bn preparing for a war on Iran that never took place. Photograph: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images

(Guardian) –Israel‘s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has accused the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, of wasting almost $3bn preparing for a war on Iran that never took place, underlining how seriously Netanyahu considered launching an attack in the last two years.

The public criticism of Netanyahu, who is expected to be re-elected later this month, follows some scathing criticism of the prime minister by the former head of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin. Diskin accused Netanyahu of spending the money on “harebrained adventures that haven’t, and won’t, come to fruition”. The charge was levelled by Olmert as Netanyahu once again pledged that Iran would be top of his agenda if he was re-elected.

Speaking in a television interview on Israel’s Channel 2, Olmert said: “In the last two years, 11bn shekels [$2.9bn] were spent on operations which were not and will not be carried out. These figures go well beyond the multi-year budgets. We were told that 2012 was the decisive year. They managed to scare the entire world, but nothing was done in the end.”

Olmert also appeared to back the claims by Diskin that Netanyahu and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, discussed launching an attack on Iran over alcohol and cigars.

“Did I hear about it? Yes. Should Diskin have talked about it? I’m glad he didn’t reveal operative details, but when it comes to issues like this, it was his duty to speak up,” said Olmert.

“If a man like Diskin, who has behaved responsibly during all his years of public service, reaches the conclusion that the Israeli public must know what’s going on when their fates are being decided on, it is vital that he does so.”

PM to US Senators: My priority is Iran nuclear march

Netanyahu shakes hands with McConnell, Jan. 2013

Netanyahu shakes hands with McConnell, Jan. 2013 Photo: GPO

(Jerusalem Post) -Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a group of visiting US Senators on Friday that if reelected he will work to stop Iran’s illicit nuclear march.

“My priority, if I’m elected for a next term as prime minister, will be first to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” he told the group, which included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I think that was and remains the highest priority for both our countries. I appreciate the American support and your support for that end.”

Even as Netanyahu refocused on the Iranian threat, the UN nuclear agency chief said Friday he was not optimistic about talks with Iran next week on getting access to a military base Western powers suspect has been used for atomic-weapons related work.

“The outlook is not bright,” Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in Tokyo.

Western powers say Iran is trying to develop the capability to make atomic weapons, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

Amano said in Japanese comments translated into English: “Talks with Iran don’t proceed in a linear way. It’s one step forward, two or three steps back … So we can’t say we have an optimistic outlook” for the January 16 meeting.

 

At the meeting with Netanyahu, Senator McConnell touted strong bipartisan support for Israel in the United States, even while the Republican and Democrat parties face off on other issues.

“As everybody in Israel knows, there are a lot of things we disagree on in America, we’ve had big battles over deficit and debt, but there’s broad bipartisan support for Israel, and our agenda in this part of the world is the same as your agenda,” he said. “You’re one of our best friends and we’re happy to continue that relationship.”

US President Barack Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to the defense secretary position raised eyebrows in Jerusalem and among pro-Israel politicians in the US, concerned over the former Senator’s Israel record. Critics accuse Hagel of opposing sanctions and being satisfied with containing Tehran, as opposed to preventing it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

New report highlights ethics and policy dangers of ‘military human enhancements’

 

(EndTheLie) -The U.S. military’s constant move towards increasing so-called “human enhancements” or, as California Polytechnic State University researcher Patrick Lin says, “mutant powers,” has raised entirely novel ethical and policy concerns, according to a new report for the Greenwall Foundation.

Massive advances in technology are requiring a radical re-thinking of the future of war in other areas as well, such as weaponized hallucinations, fully automated weapons systems (also known as “killer robots”) and rapidly advancing drone technology opening up the realistic possibility of perpetual drone flight.

Yet this type of research aimed at directly changing human body – in an effort to build what some call “super soldiers – is in a league of its own. The military’s “enhancements” cover a wide range of technologies from drugs and nutrition to genetic manipulation to electroshock to robotic implants, prosthetics and more.

In a new 108-page report prepared for the Greenwall Foundation by Patrick Lin, PhD, Maxwell Mehlman, JD and Keith Abney ABD, the many risks are outlined along with some of the many “human enhancement projects recently or currently pursued by militaries worldwide.”

“Insomuch as the US military is the most transparent about its research projects as well as the most heavily invested, most but not all of our examples are projects based in US, drawn from open-source or unclassified information,” the researchers note. Some of the technologies they outline include exoskeletons designed to radically increase a soldier’s strength and endurance, external devices designed to aid mobility and allow humans to scale walls like geckos and spiders, liquid body armor and flexible fabrics capable of stiffening into armor and “virtual capabilities” designed to prevent the soldier from even being on the battlefield at all.

One such project is the “Avatar” program spearheaded by the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) aimed at creating “interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.”

In addition there are efforts to increase “situational awareness” through “better communication, data integration from different sources, threat identification, coordinated efforts, and so on.”

Current projects include DARPA’s Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System, a visual aid that employs a computer to instantly identify threats that otherwise “warfighters might only subconsciously see, given that only a fraction of our visual data is consciously registered.”

A similar project is DARPA’s Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras, or SCENICC, which “seeks to develop electronic contact lenses” to accomplish similar superhuman awareness.

While caffeine has long been a staple in war as an attention stimulant, the US military now uses amphetamines to “increase focus” although there are quite obviously “possible serious side-effects.”

Indeed, in one case, it seems that the stimulants were at least partially responsible for the deaths of four Canadian troops in Afghanistan, as Danger Room notes.

“Case in point: On April 18, 2002, a pair of Air Force F-16 fighter pilots returning from a 10-hour mission over Afghanistan saw flashes on the ground 18,000 feet below them,” David Axe writes. “Thinking he and his wingman were under fire by insurgents, Maj. Harry Schmidt dropped a 500-pound laser-guided bomb.”

The flashes were actually Canadian troops conducting a live-fire training exercise and the Air Force eventually dropped criminal charges. Schmidt told Chicago magazine, “I don’t know what the effect was supposed to be. All I know is something [was] happening to my body and brain” that could have influenced his judgment.

Currently, the US and other militaries are “using or exploring the use of modafinil and other drugs, which are already used illicitly to enhance academic and workplace performance,” according to the report.

Even memory is a target of potential manipulation with DARPA’s Human Assisted Neural Devices program, aimed at strengthening and restoring memories. Other programs are focused on developing drugs and treatments capable of erasing memories.

Programs are also aimed at using artificial intelligence to enhance decision-making and planning in military situations.

DARPA’s Deep Green, for instance, “automatically infers the commander’s intent and produces a plan from the commander’s hand-drawn sketches to facilitate rapid option creation, and plan recognition and understanding capabilities ensure the commander’s intent is fully represented in the system.”

DARPA is also researching enhanced learning methods with programs such as “Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts, Accelerated Learning, Education Dominance, Augmented Cognition, and Training Superiority programs.”

Real-time language translation is another area of DARPA research with programs like “Boundless Operational Language Translation (BOLT), Robust Automatic Translation of Speech (RATS), TRANSTAC, and other programs.”

Communication with military systems is also an area of increased focus with systems capable of facilitating “direct communication between pilot and aircraft” and “projects [that] seek to enable communication through thought alone, such as the brain-computer interface work—or “synthetic telepathy”—funded by the US Army Research Office.”

There are also programs focusing on specific senses such as telescoping contact lenses, DARPA’s RealNose project aimed at mimicking a dog’s sense of smell, a Canadian project aimed at filtering out “environmental noises while enhancing verbal signals” and another Canadian project seeking to develop “a tactile cueing system for pilots to detect motion without visual or auditory cues.”

Even human metabolism is an area of military focus with DARPA’s Peak Soldier Performance program aimed at “boost[ing] human endurance, both physical and cognitive.” Dietary supplements like quercetin are “being investigated for cognitive-enhancing effects under stress” as well.

“Relatedly, US and UK scientists are researching genetic and cellular (mitochondrial) enhancements to enable soldiers to run for long distances and to survive longer without food, e.g., as Alaskan sled dogs are able,” the researchers add.

DARPA’s Crystalline Cellulose Conversion to Glucose (C3G) program is aimed at eventually allowing soldiers to “eat otherwise indigestible materials, such as grass.”

Avoiding that pesky thing called sleep is another focus of military research with DARPA-funded research programs into “light and magnetic therapies to safely maintain wakefulness.”

The list grows considerably when one considers so-called “dual-use research” which includes “military-funded research projects in therapeutics or healing” with dual-use applications as enhancements for soldiers.

Areas of focus include research into stress, circulatory issues, metabolism, toxins and radiation, prosthetics, diagnostics, drug delivery systems and basic science which, oddly enough, includes DARPA’s “Living Foundries” program.

Every single area includes ethical, legal and policy considerations, all of which are likely even greater than we think since this report relies solely on publicly available information. The researchers conclude that the Pentagon needs to begin working on a framework for military human enhancement immediately.

However, as is the case with drones, this technology might – and, one might argue, likely will – be used extensively without any formal rules, guidelines or legal frameworks in place.

Hillary Clinton in hospital amid speculation of plane accident in Iran

 

(DebkaFile) -US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s admittance to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Monday, Dec, 31 – with a blood clot caused by concussion – gave wings to a cloud of rumor and conspiracy theories surrounding her state of health. The hospital, where Saudi King Abdullah was also treated two years ago, stated that the Secretary was receiving anti-coagulents and her condition would be assessed after 48 hours.

However, NBC television’s medical correspondent Robert Bazell was skeptical about the blood clot being caused by an earlier concussion because, he said, it if were, it would not be treated with anti-coagulents. “So either it’s not really related to the concussion and she’s got a blood clot in her leg or something, or there’s something else going on that we’re not being told.”

Speculation about her condition started flying about in early December, when she cancelled without notice, her participation in the Friends of Syrian forum in Marrakesh on Dec, 6. Not only was she one of the founders of this forum, but her presence was vitally needed at the time because NATO and Washington were picking up suspicious movements of the Syrian army’s chemical weapons, which marked a disastrous turn in the Syrian conflict.

She was first reported to have come down with flu and, three days later, on Dec, 9, with a stomach bug. On Dec. 10, the day before she was due to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the September 11 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi – in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US diplomats lost there lives –   the State Department which has been heavily under fire over the episode, announced that Clinton had sustained a concussion after fainting out from dehydration. None of the details normally released in such cases, such as when exactly she fainted, the seriousness of the concussion she suffered or how she was being treated, was offered. A State Department source was only willing to say it was “not severe.” According to another unofficial report, she was apparently working from home. No one in the office appeared to have been delegated her functions although the secretary herself has not been been absent for three weeks. Then, Friday, Dec. 21, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as next Secretary of State. Clinton had made it known for some time that she intended stepping down at the start of Obama’s second term of office. It was reported that she had talked to the president and Kerry, and commended the senator as having proven his mettle in a long and wide-ranging military, political and diplomatic career. Nothing was said on this occasion about her state of health.

But around Tehran and the Gulf Emirates, debkafile was already picking up insistent rumors claiming that Clinton was seriously injured while on a secret mission in the region in the first week of December. Some claimed that in the same incident, Americans in her party – advisers and security personnel – were either injured or killed. Those rumors did not say what her secret mission was.  However, the episode described occurred shortly after Dec. 1, when, as debkafile reported at the time, Obama administration officials and senior representatives of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launched secret talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

Although our sources have not identified the negotiators on either side of the table, one of the theories floating around certain capitals claimed that Hillary Clinton three weeks ago was on her way to a secret meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in regard to those negotiations. The plane carrying her from Bahrain logged its destination as Baghdad, but  is described as having changed direction in midair and headed for Ahvaz, capital of the south Iranian province of Khuzestan. There, it was said, the Iranian president was awaiting her arrival. But then the plane ran into technical trouble and made an emergency landing and that was when she was injured, according to this theory.

The unexplained death of Commander Job Price, 42, SEALs commander in Afghanistan is tied by some of the speculation to that incident. At the time, the Pentagon reported that his sudden death on Dec. 22, in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, was under investigation. It is now suggested that Commander Price was head of the security detail attached to Clinton for her Iran mission and he was one of the casualties of the accident.

In the nature of things, the impact these kinds of rumors have lingers even when they are officially denied – especially given Secretary Clinton’s unusually long absence from the public eye. The medical report promised Wednesday after she is monitored at the hospital for 48 hours to assess her condition, “including other issues associated with her concussion,” is tensely awaited. After that, said the hospital announcement, “her doctors will determine if any further action is required.”

Clinton, known as the most traveled Secretary of State in US diplomatic history, has been in the international spotlight since 1992 when her husband Bill Clinton was elected president and she became first lady. She then served in the US Senate and later ran for the presidency against Barack Obama.

Ron Paul: New Year’s Resolutions for Congress

 

Ron-Paul

(Ron Paul) -As I prepare to retire from Congress, I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider.  For the sake of liberty, peace, and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian constitutional approach to government in 2013.

In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.  They should reread Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath.  Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say no in the face of pressure from special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oaths. Congress does not exist to serve special interests, it exists to protect the rule of law.

I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas.  Stop the drone strikes; stop the covert activities and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe “good faith and justice towards all Nations” as George Washington admonished.  We are only making more enemies, wasting lives, and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative, interventionist mindset that endorses pre-emptive war that now dominates both parties.

All foreign aid should end because it is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs–and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal, and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayer dollars.

Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. US debt, monetized by the Federal Reserve, is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.

Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity better than any legislation or regulation. Understand that economic freedom IS freedom.  Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults.  Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they do want to.  Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness.  Protect property rights.  Protect the individual.  That is enough.

There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of everything members of Congress do in 2013.

Delisting MKO reeks of Washington’s redefinition of terrorism

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton walks past the members of the terrorist MKO group (file photo).

 
(PressTV) -An Iranian academic says delisting the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the list of US terror organizations by Washington is an egregious instance of redefining terrorism by Washington.

“Truly known to be one of the most misinterpreted and misused words, terrorism is defined and refined by the West according to the context where it proves deleterious or beneficial to those who define the term,” Ismail Salami wrote in an article published by Press TV.

The MKO was taken off the State Department’s blacklist on September 28.

The MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of Iraq’s executed dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up its camp near the Iranian border.

Out of the 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, 12,000 of them have fallen victim to the acts of terror carried out by the MKO.

Salami added that the US State Department cited the group’s lack of involvement in terrorist acts for a decade while solid evidence suggests that they have been complicit in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists in the last few years in Iran.

Referring to the establishment of al-Qaeda by the US and CIA in the seventies in an attempt to counter the influence of the former Soviet Union, Salami said the terrorist group is “sowing seeds of blind extremism and religious sectarianism in the world.”

“This CIA-created Frankenstein’s monster has not changed for the better but has grown up monstrously,” the Iranian academic said.

Salami stated that the dichotomization of ‘terrorists’ into good and bad is far uglier than any form of apartheid, and that “a comparatively similar story is being repeated in Syria.”

The analyst noted that while supporting most terrorist groups in Syria, Washington has branded the Qatar-funded Al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization because the group to a large extent flies in the face of Washington’s policies in Syria.

“Terrorism is terrorism and it cannot be defined otherwise unless the interests of one party tilt the scale in disfavor of another and the dichotomization of the terrorists in Syria into good and bad by the West casts doubt on its claim on democracy,” Salami concluded.

237 Israeli soldiers committed suicide in ten years: Report

Israeli soldiers (file photo)

(PressTV) -At least 237 Israeli soldiers have committed suicide over the past ten years, a report says.

According to secret data released by the Israeli military, an average of 24 troops decide to take their own lives every year, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Thursday.

According to the report, an annual average of 40 Israeli army forces also killed themselves between 1990 and 2000.

The official data regarding the suicide rate had been released for the first time by an unknown Israeli blogger, who was later investigated by Israeli police.
The blogger also found out that the real number of suicides in the Israeli army had been much greater than what the official data show.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv published an article in 2003, saying that suicide had been the number one cause of death in the Israeli army.
The Israeli ministry for military affairs recently reported that the number of Israeli soldiers who committed suicide exceeds that of those killed in battles.

U.S. Gov’t Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Cases of Americans Killed by Drones

 

a1obdrone

(Activist Post) – As Americans mourn the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults in the Newtown, CT tragedy – and the gun control debate has reached a fever pitch – autonomous killing systems are being funded by American taxpayers, and drone strikes continue to kill an increasing number of civilians abroad.

Barack Obama and the U.S. government policy makers have shown an incredible level of hypocrisy before; on the one hand lamenting such senseless deaths as have occurred in “mass shootings” while conducting their own mass killing, torture, and terror campaigns in foreign lands.

A culture of violence can’t have it both ways, though, and the welcoming of drones into American skies by Congress is sure to unleash physical havoc shortly after concerns over surveillance and privacy are dismissed.

As a clear sign of what can be expected, the U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by the families of three Americans killed by drone strikes in Yemen. If federal courts rule that these cases are without merit, it will set a dangerous precedent that only the executive branch of government can decide which Americans have a constitutional right to due process, while further enhancing a framework where the government will decide who is fit to be mourned and who should be forgotten