Weekly News Archive
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MONDAY JANUARY 13, 2014
U.S. and Iran 'insulate' nuclear negotiations from 'tensions' over Iran’s regional policy
The Obama administration has promised Iran to ease progress toward a nuclear accord by treating Tehran’s aggressive regional policies as a separate issue and so keeping the path clear of any obstacles which may be raised by such opponents as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Monday, January 14, senior administration sources admitted: “The United States and Iran have sought to insulate the nuclear negotiations from the tensions over Iran’s regional policies.”
Washington has thus given Tehran a free ride to a nuclear accord over the heads of regional objectors and also a license for continuing its destabilizing military intervention in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon - just so long as Iran sticks to productive nuclear diplomacy.
Sunday, the White House issued this welcome: “Beginning January 20th, Iran will for the first time start eliminating its stockpile of higher levels [20 percent] of enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible. Under the landmark deal reached in November, Iran will also halt parts of its enrichment program for six months in exchange for modest relief from international sanctions.”
The US statement confirmed the starting date of January 20 announced by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi with European Union concurrence.
US officials translate “modest sanctions relief” into $5 billion of revenue. DEBKAfile reports that this figure has no relation to the real amount of revenue about to pour into Iranian coffers. The oil-for-goods transaction Moscow has just signed with Tehran is alone worth $18 billion a year and many more international bidders for business were knocking on Tehran’s door before the nuclear negotiations with the six world powers got started in Geneva last November. The penalty regime is crumbling and even if Tehran fails to abide by its commitments under the six-month interim accord, sanctions are history.
In addition to Israel, Lebanon stands to pay the price for the US-Iranian agreement to separate nuclear and regional issues . . . .
DEBKAfile’s sources reveal . . . [the] Obama administration approval of the new Russian-Iranian strategy, which is to shunt the Syrian conflict onto two outside tracks, Iraq to the east and Lebanon to the west of Syria - and north of Israel.
Al Qaeda’s Iraqi arm (ISIS), having just taken a beating in Syria, is grabbing territory in central and western Iraq. Al Qaeda-Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, is falling back against superior Syrian army strength and redeploying in Lebanon which has an exit to the Mediterranean.
The two al Qaeda branches, rivals on the battlefield, are after the same spoils of war: a share of Syria’s oil industry and an assured outlet to the sea . . . .
The Obama administration sees great advantage in removing radical Islamic forces to countries outside Syria: it reduces the complexity of the effort to reach an agreement or, at least, an understanding, between the Assad regime and the fractured opposition camp at the Geneva 2 conference meeting in the Swiss town of Montreux on January 22 for a political solution of the Syrian conflict . . . .
[Also, although] governments near and far will attend Geneva 2, there is no thought of inviting Israel, although the events taking place in next-door Syria and Lebanon directly impinge on its security. [emphasis added]
Source: debka.com MORE
Huge Russian-Iranian oil-for-goods deal worth $18 billion [per year] nullifies sanctions
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Friday night, January 10: “We found solutions for all the points of disagreement,” after two days of nuclear talks with the five powers in Geneva. He added that implementation now depends on “final ratification of the negotiating delegations in their respective capitals for final agreement."
The EU spokesperson, speaking for the six powers was more ambivalent. He praised “very good progress on all pertinent issues. This is now under validation at the political level in capitals.”
The Americans and Europeans were evidently not satisfied, but determined at all costs to avoid putting up Iranian backs by saying so. And so the world and the Iranian public were allowed to believe that the West had finally accepted Tehran’s presentation of its nuclear program as solely peaceful.
This play on words provided a semantic screen for concealing the major shift in the negotiating balance: This time, the Iranian team arrived in Geneva without the authority to finalize any of the points at issue.
They labored under a clear directive from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to refer all decisions back to a higher authority set up in Tehran for granting prior approval before any decisions go into effect. This authority represents the government administration, the legislature and the judiciary
By handing down this directive, Khamenei gained a strong negotiating edge against the world powers:
(1) A double-strength ratification level in Tehran weakened the hand of the world powers and the US in determining the shape of the nascent nuclear accord and gave him the last word. American, Russian, French, British and Chinese leaders were forced into the position of having to wait for his by-your-leave before moving forward.
(2) To overcome the domestic squabbling at the top of the Iranian regime over the pros and cons of the interim nuclear deal, Khamenei handed the hard-liners led by the Revolutionary Guards the right to veto the decisions reached by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
The Iranian leader drew the confidence for running another circle around the six powers from the negotiations in progress with Russia for an oil-for-goods transaction worth $1.5 billion a month, that would substantially help lift Iran’s oil exports out of range of Western sanctions.
Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a transaction that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.
"Good progress is being made at the moment with strong chances of success," said a Russian source.
An Iranian source said: "Our officials are discussing the matter with the Russians and hopefully it will be inked soon, regardless of whether we can reach a (nuclear) agreement in Geneva."
DEBKAfile: By this action, President Vladimir Putin has not only pulled the teeth out of sanctions, by which President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set such store for forcing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapon aspirations. He has strengthened Tehran’s hand against going through with the concessions, such as a six-month nuclear freeze, that were provided for in the Geneva interim accord as the basis for further negotiations on a final agreement.
Neither the US State Department nor the EU has so far responded by a single word on Putin’s death stroke to nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
What emerges six months after the US-Russian accord for the elimination of Bashar Assad’s chemical stockpiles, and two months after the six-power interim nuclear accord with Iran, is the process of America pulling up its stakes in the Middle East and clearing the way for the Russians to move in and take its place.
Iran comes out of these steps well armored with Russian economic and strategic backing, while Israel is left on the minus side of the new regional equation unfolding fast in the New Year. [no further content, emphasis added]
Source: debka.com LINK
Syrian opposition assured Assad will go, urged to attend peace talks
PARIS -- The US-led group of countries backing the Syrian opposition on Sunday assured the rebels that there will be no place for President Bashar al-Assad in a transitional government they hope to see emerge from upcoming peace talks.
Stepping up their efforts to get the opposition National Coalition to negotiate directly with representatives of Assad's regime, the 11-nation Friends of Syria group said in a statement that once a transitional government is established .... "Assad and his close associates with blood on their hands will have no role in Syria."
The pledge came at the start of a new round of diplomatic efforts to end the country's civil war that continues Monday with talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Kerry flew into Paris on Sunday in a bid to help persuade the National Coalition to send a delegation to a first round of talks scheduled to be held in Montreux, Switzerland, on January 22 . . . .
Sections of the opposition coalition are wary of being drawn into a process they fear could result in Assad clinging to power and National Coalition leader Ahmad Jarba stopped short of a clear commitment to attending next week's talks ahead of a meeting of his organisation in Istanbul on Friday.
Jarba did however indicate that he had been reassured by the tone of Sunday's discussions.
"We all agreed that there is no future for Bashar al-Assad and his family in Syria," he said.
"His departure is inevitable."
Jarba added: "We are at a crossroads today in the framework of international decisions regarding the Syrian revolution.
"We have passed a milestone on the way to the end of the regime."
Jarba has previously called for Assad to stop using heavy weapons, lift sieges on a number of opposition-held areas and allow the opening of humanitarian corridors as a show of good faith ahead of any talks.
There has been no sign of progress on those issues but US officials have expressed confidence that, with little prospect of securing a military victory after nearly three years of fighting, the opposition will come to Montreux.
"We emphasised over and over to the opposition representatives that not taking part in the talks would lead to a failure of the discussions or would prevent them from taking place," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after Sunday's talks. "I hope we convinced them."
Source: AFP / channelnewsasia.com MORE
Note: see also Kerry 'Confident' Syria Rebels Will Join Peace Talks LINK
NSA Surveillance Rarely Useful, Study Shows
NSA programs almost never used for terror probes
A review of government claims by the New America Foundation has come to the conclusion that NSA chief Keith Alexander’s testimony as to the utility of NSA bulk surveillance was “overblown” and “misleading.”
The study showed that virtually all of the 225 terrorism investigations run by the US since 9/11 have centered on “traditional investigation methods.”
This was in keeping with similar findings from President Obama’s own review panel, which said the surveillance had been of little or no real benefit.
Incredibly though, the New America data suggests that not only was the NSA data not vital, it was rarely even used for terrorism investigations, with only 1.8% (2 out of 225) of investigations involving NSA bulk data collection in the first place.
The lack of even attempted uses of the NSA data for terrorism further underscores that the program itself was more about domestic mass surveillance for its own sake than some terrorism threat. [no further content, emphasis added]
Source: antiwar.com LINK
Kerry, Lavrov seek 'localized truce' in Syria ahead of Geneva 2
Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed in Paris Monday to try and bring about a localized truce in Syria, beginning with Aleppo, and other preparatory steps before the Geneva 2 conference starts in Montreux, Switzerland on Jan. 22. They were joined by the UN mediator Lakhtar Brahimi. Lavrov stressed at the same time that this should not be a precondition for the conference. It is still not clear whether Syrian opposition groups will attend the meeting. The Syrian National Coalition has delayed voting on the issue until January 17. One of the bloc's main groups - the Syrian National Council - has already said it won't attend, citing a failure by the West to put enough pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to convince him to give up power. [no further content] LINK
White House: Iran starts eliminating high-grade uranium January 20
“Beginning January 20th, Iran will for the first time start eliminating its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible,” the White House said. Under the landmark deal reached in November, Iran will also halt parts of its enrichment program for six months in exchange for modest relief from international sanctions. [no further content] LINK
Egypt leaders hope referendum grants stamp of legitimacy
CAIRO -- Egypt will hold a referendum on a new constitution on Tuesday and Wednesday, in a vote seen as a test of popularity for army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he eyes the presidency after ousting Mohamed Morsi. The military-installed interim government bills the referendum as the first of several polls it says will restore elected rule by the end of the year. The turnout and the percentage of "yes" votes will be monitored by Sisi as he decides whether to run for president, military sources say . . . The government and Sisi himself have called for a massive turnout in the referendum, amid fears that further violence will keep many voters at home. On Saturday, Sisi urged voters to turn out "in force", pledging at a conference that the army would protect them. The military had said it would deploy 160,000 soldiers to guard about 30,000 polling stations. MORE
China Plans To Seize South China Sea Island From Philippines ... Says 'Battle Will Be Restricted'
Following Japan's proclamations that it will take over another 280 'disputed ownership' islands, it appears the increasingly dis-approved of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's path of militarism and provocation is working. As China Daily Mail reports, citing experts, China intends to take back Zhongye Island - 'illegally' occupied by the Philippines, according to the Chinese. The Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea . . . China Daily Mail adds: "Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years. It will be an intolerable insult to China. According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea. The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China. There will be no invasion into Filipino territories. A report in the Philippines Star confirmed the Philippines military buildup on the island." MORE
Note: see these related items:
Japan Holds Military Drill As South China Sea Islands Dispute Widens LINK
Commentary: Geopolitics, Currency And Trade Wars: Why The Risk Of World War Is Rising LINK
Commentary: The 'Pivot To Asia': The 21st Century Tinderbox For War. 'The Dangers Of Another Global Catastrophe' LINK
16 Companies Cut Trillions of Calories From Packaged Foods
An effort by sixteen companies took 6.4 trillion calories out of food products in the U.S. between 2007 and 2012. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded the study, which found that the participating companies had caloric sales totaling 60.4 trillion in 2007. By 2012, it was 57 trillion calories. This represents 78 fewer calories per person. The goal to cut calories from food products began in 2009. That year, 40 nation-wide food retailers, non-profits, trade organizations, and food and beverage manufacturers collaborated to form the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF). Working together through HWCF, the organizations and companies aimed at reducing the rate of obesity and childhood obesity by 2015 . . . Assuming the calories were removed in a way that does promote health and weight-loss, it is an important step forward in combating obesity. ”The range of calories that we need to stop obesity is about 130 to 170, approximately, per person per day,” Kathryn Thomas of RWJF told National Public Radio. “If these companies are helping to take out 78 calories per day, that’s an important contribution toward reaching the goal.” MORE
Doctor Hyman: Never Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup! (Video)
In America today, we are eating huge doses of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. In recent history, we’ve gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year (in the form of fruit) to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. That’s a half pound a day for every man, woman, and child in America. Sugar at that dose is a toxin, and high fructose corn syrup is the worst toxin. High fructose corn syrup is the real driver behind our current epidemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. It contains mercury and other contaminants and is a marker of poor quality, processed food. Watch this video [see source website] to learn more about this poison in our food supply, where it hides, and how you can purge it from your kitchen and your life for good. MORE
Hypersonic arms race: China tests high-speed missile to beat U.S. defenses
China’s military last week conducted the first flight test of a new ultra-high speed missile vehicle aimed at delivering warheads through U.S. missile defenses, Pentagon officials said. The test of the new hypersonic glide vehicle was carried out January 9 and the experimental weapon is being dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity . . . The hypersonic craft appears designed to be launched atop one of China’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, and then glides and maneuvers at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound from near space en route to its target, the officials said . . . The United States, Russia, and China are all engaged in a hypersonic arms race. All three nations are developing high-speed aerospace vehicles. India is also developing a hypersonic variant of its BrahMos cruise missile. Hypersonic weapons use cutting edge technology for flying and maneuvering at ultra-high speeds in space and air. Future weapons will include powered and unpowered hypersonic vehicles fired from the last stages of ICBMs and submarine missiles, and from the bomb-bays of strategic bombers. Hypersonic cruise missiles and surveillance drones also are expected. The military advantages of hypersonic craft include precise targeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivability against missile and space defenses. Hypersonic speed is between 3,840 miles per hour and 7,680 miles per hour, also known as Mach 5 to Mach 10. MORE
Court won't revive Arizona's 20-week abortion ban
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has rejected Arizona's bid to put in place its ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The justices on Monday declined to reconsider a lower court ruling that the law violates a woman's constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. "Viability" of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks. Governor Jan Brewer signed the ban into law in April 2012. Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said last year such bans violate a long string of Supreme Court rulings starting with the seminal Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. [no further content] LINK
37 Muslim nations persecuting Christians
The number of Christian martyrs was twice as high in 2013 as the year before, and radical Islamist governments and groups are responsible for the vast majority of deaths and persecution around the world, according to the 2014 World Watch List. As World Net Daily reported, Open Doors USA, which assists the persecuted church around the world, compiled the World Watch list and reports 2,123 Christians were killed for their faith last year, compared to 1,201 in 2012. In fact, the killings in Syria alone (1,213) trumped the total from a year earlier. “The target of violence is mainly taking place mainly from rebel groups who are Islamic extremists, so these are jihadists practicing extreme Islam and are targeting Christian areas,” said Emily Fuentes, communications director at Open Doors USA. “Many of these Christians have had to flee, and these towns have essentially become ghost towns because they’ve cleared Christians out. In October of last year, there was a massacre in one of these towns where more than 45 people died and hundreds were injured just because it was a Christian-dominated town. “Syria is experiencing a whole new level of persecution and violence of Christians,” said Fuentes, noting that Syria is now the third worst persecutor of Christians, skyrocketing from the 36th spot it held just two years ago. While Syria is the most deadly spot on earth for Christians, Fuentes said it fits a pattern in the Islamic world. She noted, of the 50 worst nations for persecution, 37 of them are Muslim. Fuentes said another disturbing twist is the melding of radical Islam with communist and other totalitarian ideologies. MORE
MORE NEWS & COMMENTARY
Note: Views expressed in the commentaries on this website are those of individual authors and not necessarily those of Christian Media Daily or our host - Christian Media Network. Quotes are obviously the opinion of the source. A quote is just a quote and these are offered without comment. Use of a news story or commentary is not an endorsement of the source website.
Commentary: Global Terrorism and Saudi Arabia: Bandar's Terror Network (Professor James Petras)
Bandar bin Sultan has transformed Saudi Arabia from an inward-looking, tribal based regime totally dependent on US military power for its survival, to a major regional center of a vast terror network, an active financial backer of rightwing military dictatorships (Egypt) and client regimes (Yemen) and military [intervener] in the Gulf region (Bahrain). Bandar has financed and armed a vast array of clandestine terror operations, utilizing Islamic affiliates of al Qaeda, the Saudi controlled Wahhabi sect as well as numerous other Sunni armed groups. Bandar is a “pragmatic” terrorist operator: repressing al Qaeda adversaries in Saudi Arabia and financing al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere., While Bandar was a long-term asset of the US intelligence services, he has, more recently, taken an ‘independent course’ where the regional interests of the despotic state diverge from those of the US. In the same vein, while Saudi Arabia has a longstanding enmity toward Israel, Bandar has developed a “covert understanding” and working relation with the Netanyahu regime, around their common enmity toward Iran and more specifically in opposition to the interim agreement between the Obama-Rohani regime.
Source: globalresearch.ca MORE
Commentary: Mainstream Media Blackout: Maine Second State to Pass GMO Labeling Law (Melissa Melton)
Maine joined Connecticut this week as the second state in the nation to sign a genetically modified food labeling law, but you may not have heard much about it because the mainstream media hasn’t really said anything about it.
Do a basic news engine search and you’ll see that no mainstream media outlets have reported anything on this story. In fact, at the time of writing this, the most I could find was Washington Post Blog and Grist (with a ridiculously biased title).
No MSNBC. No CNN. No ABC.
No other major news outlets are touching this story. Why?
Well, I guess that speaks volumes about who owns the mainstream news and what their agenda really is, doesn’t it (that was rhetorical).
Connecticut became the first state to sign a law requiring that foods be labeled if they contain genetically modified ingredients back in December, as reported by Russia Today:
"The Connecticut bill requires at least four other Northeastern states with a combined population of no fewer than 20 million to approve similar acts before it can officially go on the books. And while so far proponents of a GMO labeling initiative have found allies in one adjacent state, it could very well be a long-time coming before the proper support is rallied."
That’s right. These laws come with some pretty big caveats.
Even though two states have signed on, they still need three more, and all states involved must be A) Northeastern states with B) a combined total of 20 million people living in them for the law to be official.
Connecticut and Maine have a combined population of about only five million.
This seems like a lot of unnecessary obstacles to pass a law the people who live in these states obviously want, doesn’t it?
As the Kennebec Journal points out:
"Proponents of the bill said the provision would quell concerns about an almost-certain lawsuit by industry groups and Monsanto, which vowed to challenge the laws in Maine and Connecticut on the basis that they violate the free speech and interstate commerce provisions of the U.S. Constitution."
Yep. That’s right. States aren’t going at it alone because apparently they are scared of being sued by Monsanto.
Also, knowing what is in your food is apparently somehow unconstitutional.
To be fair, Monsanto did threaten to sue the state of Vermont back in spring 2012 over even thinking about passing a GMO labeling bill.
Source: activistpost.com MORE
Note: see also Maine Becomes Second State To Require GMO Labels LINK
Commentary: Bailing Out Health Insurers and Helping Obamacare (Jeffrey Anderson)
Robert Laszewski - a prominent consultant to health insurance companies - recently wrote in a remarkably candid blog post ['Will There Be An Obamacare Death Spiral In 2015? ... No' LINK] that, while Obamacare is almost certain to cause insurance costs to skyrocket even higher than it already has, “insurers won’t be losing a lot of sleep over it.” How can this be? Because insurance companies won’t bear the cost of their own losses - at least not more than about a quarter of them. The other three-quarters will be borne by American taxpayers.
For some reason, President Obama hasn’t talked about this particular feature of his signature legislation. Indeed, it’s bad enough that Obamacare is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to funnel $1,071,000,000,000.00 (that’s $1.071 trillion) over the next decade (2014 to 2023) from American taxpayers, through Washington, to health insurance companies. It’s even worse that Obamacare is trying to coerce Americans into buying those same insurers’ product (although there are escape routes). It’s almost unbelievable that it will also subsidize those same insurers’ losses.
But that’s exactly what it will do - unless Republicans take action. As Laszewski explains, Obamacare contains a “Reinsurance Program that caps big claim costs for insurers (individual plans only).” He writes that “in 2014, 80% of individual costs between $45,000 and $250,000 are paid by the government [read: by taxpayers], for example.”
In other words, insurance purchased through Obamacare’s government-run exchanges isn’t even full-fledged private insurance; rather, it’s a sort of private-public hybrid. Private insurance companies pay for costs below $45,000, then taxpayers generously pick up the tab - a tab that their president hasn’t ever bothered to tell them he has opened up on their behalf - for four-fifths of the next $200,000-plus worth of costs. In this way, and so many others, Obamacare takes a major step toward the government monopoly over American medicine (“single payer”) that liberals drool about in their sleep.
Laszewski adds, “The reinsurance program has done and will continue to do what it was intended to do; help attract and keep more carriers in Obamacare than might have otherwise come.” Thus, Obamacare is being aided by having taxpayers subsidize big insurance companies’ business expenses. (Who could ever have guessed that big government and big business might be natural allies?)
But, amazingly, it doesn’t stop there. Laszewski writes that Obamacare also contains a “Risk Corridor Program that limits overall losses for insurers.” So insurers not only don’t have to pay out all of their costs; they also don’t have to swallow all of their losses [Does this all sound familiar? It's following the same pattern as the bailouts for the big banks, General Motors, AIG, etc. -Ed.] ... [emphasis added]
Source: weeklystandard.com MORE
Note: see also Commentary: Escape From Obamacare - Short-term health insurance could provide an affordable, low-risk escape route from Obamacare LINK
ADDITIONAL NEWS & ANALYSIS
Carrier Pigeons Eyed As Way to Foil Hackers, Government Snoops LINK
In several contests between bird and machine, the pigeons actually won, including one in England in 2010 when two carrier pigeons released from a Yorkshire farm delivered memory cards containing a five-minute video clip faster than it could be downloaded from YouTube
'Twister' Alert: Out in the Open: An NSA-Proof Twitter, Built With Code From Bitcoin and BitTorrent LINK
Fukushima radiation reaches 8 times government standards LINK
Sharon, Israel's bulldozer in politics, dies at 85 LINK
UK to help United States destroy Syrian chemical arms faster LINK
Syrian refugees no longer know who is fighting let alone who is winning LINK
U.S. Secretly Deployed Troops to Somalia in October LINK
Obama's use of executive power faces reckoning at Supreme Court LINK
Oral arguments slated for Monday will center on a trio of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts ... If they uphold the decision, experts say the justices could endanger hundreds of NLRB decisions
[analysis]: How To Be a Terrorist and Not Even Know It LINK
The state must actively create its own enemies because decent folks don’t like violence and would rather coexist in peace than blow each other up. Power-thirsty psychopaths consider this a weakness to be exploited, but at the same time they know that when decent folks begin massive non-violent resistance the game is up
People Not In Labor Force Soar To Record 91.8 Million ... Participation Rate Plunges To 1978 Levels LINK
[analysis]: Worst U.S. Jobs Report in Three Years shatters Claims of Economic Recovery LINK
[analysis]: Job Exclusion in America: What Caused the Crash In the Labor Participation Rate? LINK
[analysis]: Alleged Economic Recovery: No Jobs For Americans LINK
Clearly, this is not a payroll jobs report that provides cover for the looting of the prospects of ordinary Americans by the financial and offshoring elites
CFR Sweep at Fed: Obama Names Fischer, Brainard, Powell to Join Yellen LINK
Department Of Energy Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars LINK
To produce a Home Energy Score, a trained, "qualified assessor" comes to your home - for a fee - and collects approximately 40 pieces of data about the home's "envelope" (e.g., walls, windows, heating and cooling systems) during an hour-long walk-through
The Common Character Trait of Geniuses (Video) LINK
High court case: abortion clinic protest-free zone LINK
Pope Says Abortion Evidence of 'Throwaway Culture' LINK
Forget the Flu Shot: Hand-washing and Elderberry Extract Are the Best Defenses Against the Deadly Swine Flu Outbreak LINK
Tyson Recalls Over 33,000 Pounds Of Chicken For Possible Salmonella Contamination LINK
Controversy plagues school mental health screening LINK
Study: Paracetamol can disrupt brain development LINK
HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS: Join the Sound Body Yahoo group (part of the Christian Media ministry) to receive regular health eblasts LINK
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
TUESDAY JANUARY 14, 2014
- no news edition -
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 15, 2014
- no news edition -
THURSDAY JANUARY 16, 2014
- no news edition -
FRIDAY JANUARY 17, 2014
Obama withholds from Israel details of nuclear accord with Iran ... Tehran denies dismantling its program
US Vice President Joe Biden when he met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday night, January 13, refused to level with him on the detailed agreements which the Americans claimed were reached by the six powers and Iran in their talks earlier this week on the implementation of their first-stage Geneva accord. This is reported by DEBKAfile’s Washington and Jerusalem sources. It was the first time US President Barack Obama personally vetoed a briefing to Israel on the content of the international nuclear negotiations he instigated - notwithstanding his private and public pledges to Netanyahu of “full transparency.”
This secretiveness has stirred concern and mistrust in Jerusalem on two grounds:
(1) It denotes a sharp decline in the strategic relations between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government and leaves Israel in the dark on an issue of vital concern to its security.
(2) It is suspected that there is no implementation agreement at all and that the US President, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are repeating the performance they put on three months ago in Geneva. Then, they presented a very general framework of non-binding clauses reached between the six powers and Iran as a genuine, full-fledged, interim accord, when in reality it omitted the details on how and when Iran would dismantle the military side of its nuclear program, and inter alia neglected to address the critical issue of Iran’s nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
Tehran itself has contradicted these assertions as “misleading," referring specifically to the White House statement of January 12 which said: “From January. 20, Iran will for the first time start eliminating its stockpile of higher level enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible.”
Three days later, on Tuesday, January 15, Iran’s lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi, went on national television with a less than polite denial: “… different interpretations come out of a single document and that is natural,” he said. “But we had better try to have common interpretations, and that is why during the talks we paused a couple of times and continued with the participation of the higher levels.”
Homing in on the White House term “dismantling,” Aragchi countered: “We are aware of Mr. Obama’s problems in Congress, but ‘dismantling’ abuses the word after the recent deal.”
In the light of the conflicting versions coming out [of] the White House and Tehran - and Joe Biden’s refusal to level with Netanyahu on the latest rounds of nuclear talks - Israel is left wondering what in fact US-led international nuclear diplomacy has achieved in the way of curbing Iran’s progress toward a bomb – if anything.
Source: debka.com MORE
Iranian experts head to Russia, to look at replacement for S-300 missile system
Iran will to send a delegation to Russia to discuss a substitute for S-300 air defence shield, an Iranian legislator revealed on Monday.
Regarded as something of a “game-changer”, the S-300 anti-aircraft system was at one time considered one of the most potent weapons in Russia’s arsenal.
Russia and Iran originally signed a contract for the sale and delivery of five S-300 advanced ground-to-air missile systems back in 2007.
Following pressure from the U.S. and Israel however, Russia delayed delivery of the S-300 to Tehran; until in 2010 the deal was finally cancelled by the then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
In response Iran filed a $4 billion lawsuit against Russia in the international arbitration court in Geneva, which is currently pending review.
In an effort to have the lawsuit dropped, Russia offered Iran the Tor anti-aircraft systems as replacement. However, as Iran already has the Tor system in service that offer was rejected by Tehran.
Nonetheless, Russia has other anti-aircraft [systems] with which to tempt Tehran. Some of these - including the S-400 and the Antei-2500 - are more advanced and capable than the older S-300 and might be better suited to Iran’s needs.
Consequently an Iranian delegation is preparing to leave for Moscow shortly to assess what weapons systems are on offer.
In recent years Iran has made great headway in developing its own defence industry. In the face of Western arms embargoes Tehran has fielded a range of locally developed weapons: including, tanks, fighter jets, attack helicopters and naval frigates.
Having watched the Western invasion of Iraq, which was spearheaded by a massive air campaign, Iran has put special emphasis on the development of anti-aircraft systems.
This has resulted in a range of locally developed anti-aircraft systems. Including anti-aircraft guns, both towed and self-propelled; anti-aircraft missile systems, both short and medium range missile systems, including an advanced and updated version of the S-200 the Sayyad-2, which reportedly impressed visiting Russian defence experts.
In addition Iran has made major advances in radar technology, a field that is crucial to air defence, resulting in a variety of locally developed radar systems. Among these have been phased array radars, passive radars, long-range radars and over the horizon radars.
Iran has also reportedly acquired some four S-300 systems, two from Belarus and two from some other source. Nonetheless if Iran [were] able to obtain even more advanced air defence systems, such as the Antei-2500, it would present planners of potential air strikes on the country’s nuclear facilities with serious problems.
Such air strikes would be difficult at it is, although not impossible. However, if Iran were to acquire even more advanced air defence systems, such air strikes would begin to assume deadly dimensions for those air crews involved.
Crucially, if the Iranians were to choose the Antei-2500, otherwise known as the S-300VM, they would be arming themselves with a system that is optimised to counter America’s current weapon of choice; in so far as the Antei-2500 is the ideal counter to ballistic cruise missiles. [no further content]
Source: truthseeker.co.uk LINK
Iran Top Nuke Negotiator: Deal Reversible In One Day
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said this week that if Iran decides to resume enriching uranium to levels prohibited by the new nuclear deal, it could begin to do so in one day’s time . . . .
“We can return again to 20 percent enrichment in less than one day and we can convert the [nuclear] material again. Therefore the structure of our nuclear program is preserved,” said Araghchi, in a broadcast which was independently translated for The Daily Beast. “Whenever we feel the other side is not following through with its commitments, whenever we feel there are other motives involved, whenever - now, say, under pressure from Congress or something else - they take action against their commitments, say put in place new sanctions, we will immediately revert to the current status quo. And we will again continue our nuclear program in the form that it is today.”
“I can say definitively that the structure of our nuclear program will be exactly preserved. Nothing will be put aside, dismantled or halted. Everything will continue, enrichment will continue,” Araghchi said.
Source: dailybeast.com MORE
Note: see these related stories:
White House: Russian-Iran Oil Deal Could Trigger US Sanctions - The two nations are negotiating a swap that could see Russia buy up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil daily in exchange for Russian equipment and goods ... Washington expects that the reported deal would increase Iran’s oil exports, which have been cut by more than half, to about 1 million barrels a day, by sanctions LINK
Iran's Rouhani: 'World Powers Surrendered To Iranian Nation's Will' - “No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded,” the chief nuclear negotiator said ... “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue” LINK
MIT study of Ghouta chemical attack challenges U.S. intelligence
A new MIT report is challenging the US claim that Assad forces used chemical weapons in an attack last August, highlighting that the range of the improvised rocket was way too short to have been launched from government controlled areas.
In the report titled “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former UN weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), examined the delivery rocket’s design and calculated possible trajectories based on the payload of the cargo.
The authors concluded that sarin gas “could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the Eastern edge, of the Syrian government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013.”
Based on mathematical calculations, Lloyd and Postol estimate the rocket with such aerodynamics could not travel more than 2 kilometers. To illustrate their conclusion, the authors included the original White House map that depicted areas under Assad control and those held by the opposition. Based on the firing range and troop locations on August 21, the authors conclude that all possible launching points within the 2 km radius were in rebel-held areas.
“This mistaken intelligence could have led to an unjustified US military action based on false intelligence. A proper vetting of the fact that the munition was of such short range would have led to a completely different assessment of the situation from the gathered data,” the report states.
The authors emphasize that the UN independent assessment of the range of the chemical munition is in “exact agreement” with their findings.
The report goes on to challenge the US Secretary of State’s key assessments of the chemical attack that he presented to the American people on August 30th and to the Foreign Relations Committee on September 3rd in an effort to muster a military attack on Syria.
“My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack. But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct,” Postol told McClatchy publication. [emphasis in original]
Source: rt.com MORE
Source: Russia steps up military lifeline to Syria's Assad
LONDON -- In recent weeks Russia has stepped up supplies of military gear to Syria, including armoured vehicles, drones and guided bombs, boosting President Bashar al-Assad just as rebel infighting has weakened the insurgency against him, sources with knowledge of the deliveries say. Moscow, which is trying to raise its diplomatic and economic influence in the Middle East, has been a major provider of conventional weapons to Syria, giving Assad crucial support during the three-year civil war and blocking wider Western attempts to punish him with sanctions for the use of force against civilians. The new Russian supplies come at a critically fluid stage of the conflict, with peace talks scheduled for next week in Switzerland, the factious opposition losing ground, and Western support for the rebellion growing increasingly wary of the role played by foreign militants. Syria has even said some countries formally opposed to Assad have begun discussing security cooperation with his government. MORE
U.S. troops may return to Middle East to train Iraqis
The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. troops back to the Middle East to help train Iraqi forces, defense officials said Friday. It is unclear whether troops would be sent directly into Iraq or possibly conduct training in a nearby country such as Jordan. “We are in continuing discussions about how we can improve the Iraqi military,” Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday. The idea of sending U.S. military trainers back to Iraq for the first time since 2011 is one the Pentagon has emphatically rejected in recent years, but on Friday, Warren offered a carefully worded statement that did not rule out the possibility. The move comes in response to the deepening crisis in Anbar province, where militants have seized parts of Fallujah. Iraq President Nouri al-Maliki said this week that he would support a new U.S. military training mission for Iraqi counterterrorism troops in neighboring Jordan, marking the first time he has expressed support for such a plan, according to a report in the Washington Post. MORE
Note: see also Official: US Ready To Train Iraqi Troops In Third Country - Pentagon officials are not contemplating sending an American team of military instructors into Iraq, partly because it would require negotiating a legal agreement with Baghdad that proved elusive in the past ... Such a move also could spark political rancor in Washington that would revive old wounds over the controversial US-led war in Iraq LINK
Egypt constitution sails through vote but turnout key
CAIRO -- Egyptian voters overwhelmingly backed a new constitution that paves the way for the army chief to run for president, early results showed on Thursday, but turnout figures will provide a key measure of his popularity. Initial tallies reported by state media gave 90 per cent support for the new charter, which the military-installed authorities say provides greater protection for freedom of speech and women's rights. The result of the referendum was always a foregone conclusion with the Muslim Brotherhood calling for a boycott and little sign of a no campaign in the run-up to the vote. Officials have said that army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, will closely monitor turnout as he mulls going for the top job himself in an election promised for later this year. Sisi has said he is prepared to run if there is enough popular support and the two-day referendum that wrapped up on Wednesday provides the first concrete test. MORE
Note: see also Official: Egyptian Voters Have Backed New Charter LINK
Ominous warning: Admiral concedes U.S. losing dominance to China
The Obama administration’s ballyhooed military “pivot” to Asia is running into some frank talk from the top U.S. commander in the Pacific. Three years after the Pentagon said it was de-emphasizing Europe in favor of the Asia-Pacific region, Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III said this week that U.S. dominance has weakened in the shadow of a more aggressive China. “Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question,” Admiral Locklear, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, said Wednesday at a naval conference in Virginia. Although Admiral Locklear said it is obvious that Chinese military power is growing, he suggested that it is unclear whether China will seek to be a hard adversary to the U.S. in the long term, so Washington should be working overtime on steering Beijing toward a cooperative security posture. MORE
Note: see also Fighting In East, South China Seas Would Test PLA Prowess, General Says - Analysts distance themselves from remarks by Defence University official that the army should seize opportunities to test itself in battle LINK
NSA Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers
WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyber-attacks. While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the NSA has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to NSA documents, computer experts and American officials. The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target. The radio frequency technology has helped solve one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that adversaries, and some American partners, have tried to make impervious to spying or cyber-attack. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user. The NSA calls its efforts more an act of “active defense” against foreign cyberattacks than a tool to go on the offensive . . . There is no evidence that the NSA has implanted its software or used its radio frequency technology inside the United States. MORE
Space fishing: Japan to test 'magnetic net' for space junk
Japan’s space agency is subcontracting a fishing net company to develop a technology to clean up the space junk that poses a direct threat to Earth’s communication networks. The mission is planned for 2019, with first tests scheduled for this February. Tokyo’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nitto Seimo Co, a company with almost a century-long experience in fishing net manufacturing, have already developed a space net measuring 1 kilometer long and 30cm wide in a bid to clear Earth’s orbit from some 100 million pieces of man-made junk. Made of three strong and flexible lengths of metal fiber, the net is scheduled to be first tested in orbit in February. During the first phase a satellite will unreel a wire net of some 300 meters long that will use a specially generated magnetic field to reel-in the debris just above our atmosphere . . . The test is planned to last for about a year after which the net be pulled down by Earth’s gravity, incinerating the junk once the net enters the atmosphere . . . In order to protect the International Space Station from the fields of space debris, over 100 special anti-impact shields, the Whipple Bumpers, have been installed to tackle threat from objects whose velocities range between 3 and 18 kilometers per second. In addition, the orbital paths of spacecraft going to and returning from the ISS are constantly monitored for debris. MORE
Planned Parenthood Did one adoption Referral Per 149 Abortions
(CNS News) -- In its latest annual report, released in December, Planned Parenthood says it did 327,166 abortion procedures in the course of one year and 2,197 adoption referrals. That works out to approximately 149 abortions for each adoption referral. MORE
Note: see also Planned Parenthood Got $540.6 Million In Government Grants In Fiscal Year 2013 LINK
In Pakistan, new edict from 'Sharia court' bad sign for Christians
Calls for changes in Pakistan's blasphemy law are apparently falling on deaf ears while the life of an imprisoned Christian hangs in the balance. Many countries have been pressuring Pakistan for years to eliminate its blasphemy law, which carries a punishment of life in prison or death. William Stark of International Christian Concern reports the country's Sharia court ruled in December that the government must drop the option for life in prison. "This would mean that the only punishment that courts in Pakistan could consider for blasphemy cases would be the death penalty," Stark tells One News Now. The panel said any penalty for blaspheming Mohammed or the Koran other than death is unIslamic. The country has been given two months to comply with the order with a law that is often misused against Christians. One of the Christians behind bars is Asia Bibi, who wrote Pope Francis to state [that] only God could get her released from prison. "She was found guilty of insulting Mohammed during an argument with some Muslim women," says Stark. She was sentenced to death by hanging and her appeal is due in one or two years. She has been behind bars for nearly five years. Stark suggests people continue putting pressure on Pakistan and pray for Bibi and others. [no further content] LINK
MORE NEWS & COMMENTARY
Note: Views expressed in the commentaries on this website are those of individual authors and not necessarily those of Christian Media Daily or our host - Christian Media Network. Quotes are obviously the opinion of the source. A quote is just a quote and these are offered without comment. Use of a news story or commentary is not an endorsement of the source website.
Commentary: President Obama's NSA speech: 'The Costume of Constitutionality' (Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard)
Window dressing reforms constitute presidential endorsement of illegal spying
Rather than dismantling the NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance programs, or even substantially restraining them, President Obama today has issued his endorsement of them. What are billed as ‘reforms’ are mere window dressing, cosmetic changes that leave this unconstitutional system intact and, in fact, provide presidential ratification.
Today's speech - full of minimization and outright denial regarding the now-documented massive scope of NSA spying on the population - served as the presidential announcement of an intention to permanently implement a national surveillance grid and indiscriminate mass data collection. Every keystroke will still be captured, every phone call will still be logged.
The creation of a panel of advocates to purportedly represent privacy interests in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and to seek that secret Court’s approval regarding Section 215 queries is a costume of constitutionality, but not Due Process.
The FISC lacks all the characteristics of a genuine court, in which there is openness, public opinions, due process and an adversarial process. The ‘advocate’ proposal is simply a cosmetic attempt to make up an appearance - without substance - of an adversarial proceeding. Seeking 215 approvals from this court in no way meets the constitutional requirements of a warrant.
The speech today was ‘historic’ in the worst sense. It represents [an] historic failure by a president to reign in mass government illegality and violations of fundamental rights. In the 1920s and again in the 1970s, revelations of secret mass surveillance programs led to popular outrage and forced presidents to curtail the unconstitutional activities of intelligence agencies. In this case, rather than the pendulum swinging back towards respecting privacy and the Constitution, President Obama has validated mass surveillance and completely sided with the NSA.
President Obama’s speech was intended to stop the firestorm of public outrage at his government’s mass surveillance operation. Using tactics of misdirection, the president has tried to reframe the issue as who should house the massive collection of data on law-abiding people, rather than the real issue, which is that this massive indiscriminate collection and warehousing of data must stop. This speech will fail to stop the tide of opposition of people in the United States and around the world who reject living under a Surveillance State.
Today’s speech demonstrates that President Obama either lacks the courage or desire to stand up to a military intelligence agency that has acted illegally and in secret, and has aggregated unseemly and dangerous power to monitor the communications of an entire people, break-in to their property, and hijack and destroy their cherished rights to be free people.
President Obama should have announced the end to the NSA’s program that collects information on billions, if not trillions, of U.S. telephone calls and emails of law-abiding citizens of this country and others around the world.
He should have acknowledged the unconstitutionality of the NSA’s program of massive data warehousing of the online communications and transactions of law-abiding citizens, for whom there is no suspicion of criminal wrongdoing.
He should have required intelligence agencies to obtain judicial orders before issuing demands to private companies for individuals’ financial and telecommunications records. He should have ended dragnet surveillance and bulk data collection.
He did nothing of the sort.
A former constitutional law professor, Obama did not acknowledge that our basic rights include the Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our personal effects against collections and searches in the absence of probable cause. Standing at the Department of Justice, whose attorneys have crafted secret interpretations to justify blatantly unconstitutional government conduct, he endorsed the continuation of these widespread abuses.
President Obama also did not announce the release of judicial interpretations that come from the FISC. As such, he leaves in place a structure that essentially creates law entirely in secret, without public knowledge or debate . . . .
President Obama has only spoken now, over half a year after whistle-blower Edward Snowden disclosed the shocking scope of the NSA’s spying programs, because of the growing political crisis these revelations have caused.
The president has decided that a top “reform” inside the NSA in the wake of Edward Snowden’s courageous revelations is to prevent other Snowdens from coming forward. By criminalizing, threatening and outrageously punishing whistle-blowers, the administration has hoped to stop the American people from learning the truth about the government’s action. But, there are millions of people who have a conscience and it is impossible to stop each and every one from acting on it.
This fight to stop the Surveillance State is just in the beginning stage. The outcome will determine the fate of democracy in the United States. [emphasis added]
Source: justiceonline.org MORE
Commentary: Praying good things for bad people (Andrée Seu Peterson)
Last week my daughter lost her cell phone and I prayed that God would return it to her. My daughter does not acknowledge God, which suddenly threw a wrench into my praying: Is it right to ask God to do a “favor” for a person who shakes her fist at Him?
Today my next-door neighbor, who I almost never see, knocked on the door and unloaded major family problems at my kitchen table. She said she had come to me because of my faith. I assured her I would pray for her family, and then we held hands and prayed, though I am not at all sure of her relationship with God. Among the things I asked the Lord for were deliverance from drugs for a young woman who does not believe in Him, strength and perseverance for another woman who does not believe in Him, and wisdom for a young man who does not believe in Him.
Is that something I should be doing? Shouldn’t I be praying instead that my daughter become a Christian first? And shouldn’t I be praying that my neighbor’s family come to the Lord before I ask for deliverance from drug addiction or strength and perseverance? After all, if you pray for a rebellious person to have more strength and energy, aren’t you in effect asking for the very things that would enable them to be even more independent from God?
But then I thought of Luke 6:35: “… for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Of course, my first prayer for the unbeliever is that he or she would be saved. But on the basis of this statement of Jesus regarding the great love of the Father, I can also ask for His kindness in the life of the unbeliever, just for the sake of kindness. God’s kindness is meant to turn the person to Him, of course: “… God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
But He is also just kind and loving by nature, even when there is no movement toward repentance: “… He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” It is hard to come up with more damning attributes than “ungrateful” and “evil,” and yet Jesus says that His Father is kind to even people like that. So we are aligned with God when we pray good things for bad people and should pray for all. [no further content]
Source: worldmag.com LINK
ADDITIONAL NEWS & ANALYSIS
Obama clips NSA's wings [?!] ... but bulk collection to continue LINK
NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep LINK
Spy court judge slams proposed privacy advocate LINK
Fish testing at 124 times over radiation limit caught off Fukushima LINK
[Senator Chambliss]: 'Didn't Seem Like the White House Really Wanted to Get to the Bottom' of Benghazi Attack LINK
Says if he knew that Benghazi was a terror attack shortly after it happened, the Obama administration also had to know
Report: Systemic failures led to Benghazi attacks LINK
Senate report: Benghazi attackers tied to al Qaeda groups LINK
Secret amendment in Congress keeps CIA in charge of deadly drone strikes LINK
Netanyahu on Palestinian 'right of return': There is no room for maneuver LINK
PLO says peace process is not serious, calls on international involvement in negotiations
Jordan to Israeli Prime Minister: Settle with Palestinians LINK
Russia denies 'hidden agenda' as it talks with Iran, Syria Foreign Ministers LINK
Iran wants to be at Syria talks but rejects conditions LINK
"We do not accept any pre-conditions for our country's participation"
Brahimi: National Coordination Committee will not attend Geneva II LINK
Battles rage to push ISIS out of [northern Syria] LINK
Iran slams U.S. text on implementation of nuclear deal LINK
Sochi Olympics face high threat of attack LINK
Russia Aims To Implement The Tightest Security In Olympic History LINK
Obama looks to bypass Congress: 'I've got a pen' LINK
Levin on Obama: 'This is a Gradual, Quiet Coup' LINK
"This is the common parlance of the dictator: assuming that he represents all Americans, that he’s a unifying figure, that we just need to concentrate more power in his hands ... He will decide what laws are good, what laws are bad ... He will use executive orders to pass laws that Congress won’t pass ... And he will ignore laws he doesn’t like, and he’ll re-write laws that he wants to re-write like Obamacare and so forth ... This is the mindset and the language that dictators have”
Justice Antonin Scalia mocks Obama during Supreme Court arguments LINK
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia went after President Obama on Monday with a thinly veiled reference to Obama as a “self-interested president” ... “If you ignore the Constitution often enough, its meaning changes,” Scalia argued
Gates: 'We Make a Lot of Wrong Assumptions About War' LINK
China's Treasury Holdings Climb to Record in Government Data LINK
Monsanto readies first-ever GMO wheat LINK
6.5-magnitude earthquake off Puerto Rico's northern coast LINK
Newly-Discovered Human Hand Bone Puzzles Scientists ... Shows No Sign of Evolutionary Changes LINK
[They claim the bone is 1.4 million years old, but cannot understand why it is almost identical to a modern human finger bone ... It's like evolution never happened! -Ed.]
Simple take-home test may spot early Alzheimer's warning signs LINK
(See a selection of sample questions at source website)
Mosquito-borne virus spreading in Caribbean LINK
St. Martin now has as many as 200 cases of chikungunya, a virus found mainly in Africa and Asia
Abomination Alert: Oklahoma [sodomy-based] marriage ban struck down ... ruling on hold LINK
HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS: Join the Sound Body Yahoo group (part of the Christian Media ministry) to receive regular health eblasts LINK
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Luke 6:35-36 (KJV)
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Worldwatch was edited this week by Editor Robert Ellis with help from Claire Mason.