Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fwd: Korea

'Satellite images of North Korea have captured what appears to be the imminent public execution of a group of people with six anti-aircraft guns.

Released by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and AllSource Analysis, a US-based image interpretation company, the pictures were taken on October 7, 2014, from above the Kanggon Military Training Area, some 24 kilometres north of Pyongyang.

On a small-arms firing range, analysts have identified six ZPU-4 anti-aircraft guns lined up in front of a viewing area. Behind the weapons are what appear to be a line of troops or equipment, while parked nearby are a number of military trucks, a large trailer and a bus.

In a press release, Greg Scarlatiou, executive director of HRNK, suggests the bus indicates that senior officers or VIPs were on hand to witness what was happening.

About 30 metres down the firing range, and throwing distinct shadows, are a line of what appear to be people.

"The most plausible explanation of the scene ... is a gruesome public execution", said Mr Scarlatiou. "Anyone who has witnessed the damage one single US .50 calibre round does to the human body will shudder just trying to imagine a battery of 24 heavy machine guns being fired at human beings.

"Bodies would be nearly pulverised", he said. "The gut-wrenching viciousness of such an act would make 'cruel and unusual punishment' sound like a gross understatement".'

Fwd: Iran

'If Iran strikes a deal with the West, all sanctions will be lifted very quickly and there's nothing the U.S. Congress can do to stop it, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a New York audience Wednesday.

In a set of blustery and self-righteous remarks, Iran's top diplomat assured the crowd at New York University that President Barack Obama would be compelled to stop enforcing sanctions only days after any nuclear agreement was signed and would have to figure out how to lift congressional sanctions on Iran within weeks, no matter what Congress has to say about it. He also said that any future president, even a Republican, would be compelled to stick that agreement.

Fwd: Navy

'CNN has learned that U.S. Navy warships will now accompany every U.S.-flagged commercial vessel that passes through the Strait of Hormuz due to concerns that ships from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps navy could try to seize a U.S. cargo ship.

The classified plan was approved by the Pentagon Thursday, according to a senior defense official.

While the Navy maintains a routine ship presence in the Persian Gulf and the North Arabian Sea, this new effort specifically requires an armed warship to be in the narrow channel between Iran and Oman when a U.S. commercial vessel passes through.

Fwd: Communities

'When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they're not protesting. … They're stealing. They need to be treated as criminals…


'Without making any excuse for criminal activities that take place in these communities, what we also know is that, if you have impoverished communities that have been stripped of opportunity, where children are born into abject poverty, they've got parents, often because of substance-abuse problems or incarceration or lack of education themselves, can't do right by their kids—if it's more likely that those kids end up in jail or dead than they go to college, in communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to young men—communities where there is no investment, and manufacturing has been stripped away, and drugs have flooded the community, and the drug industry ends up being the primary employer for a whole lot of folks—in those environments, if we think that we are just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there, without, as a nation and as a society, saying, "What can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity," then we are not going to solve this problem.'       Obama 4/27


Monday, April 27, 2015

Fwd: Europe

'The humanitarian disaster unfolding on the Mediterranean is likely already providing a "shield" for Islamist terrorists to infiltrate waves of migrants attempting the perilous crossing from North Africa to Europe, terrorism experts and other strategic observers are warning. And they say a UN plan to resettle 1 million refugees in Western nations would turn the situation into a full-blown security crisis.

The exodus now unfolding, as well as the UN call to take in refugees from war-torn Middle Eastern and African nations over the next five years, is providing a "shield for the passage of jihadists to Europe," said one analyst. Once absorbed into the societies of Europe and other rich countries such as the United States, ISIS operatives would be set to eventually gain all the freedoms of other citizens of those countries – including the freedom to travel, often without having to go through the extra scrutiny involved in obtaining a passport visa.

"ISIS has threatened to [infiltrate the migrants] and German intelligence already said that this is a real threat," Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders told from The Netherlands. "An open door policy would – both for the USA and Europe – mean that the threat of Islamists and terrorists entering our countries would increase to a very dangerous level."'

Saturday, April 25, 2015

GOP double-crossing traitors

"If a Republican majority in both houses of Congress can't stop Obama from issuing illegal immigrants Social Security cards and years of back welfare payments, there is no reason to vote Republican ever again."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fwd: Europe

'Europe must urgently set up an effective rescue operation for migrants at sea and commit to receiving significantly higher numbers of refugees, top U.N. officials and the International Organization for Migration said on Thursday…

Thursday's statement was co-signed by the U.N. refugee boss Antonio Guterres, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, U.N. special representative for migration Peter Sutherland and William Lacy Swing, head of the International Organization for Migration.'

Fwd: Food

'Being dangerously overweight is all down to bad diet rather than a lack of exercise, according to a trio of doctors who have reopened the debate about whether food, sedentary lifestyles or both are responsible for the obesity epidemic.

In an article for a leading health journal the authors – who include British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, an outspoken critic of the food industry – accuse food and drink firms such as Coca-Cola of having wrongly emphasised how physical activity and sport can help prevent people becoming very overweight.

The truth, they say, is that while physical activity is useful in reducing the risk of developing heart disease, dementia and other conditions, it "does not promote weight loss".


"In the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels in the western population. This places the blame for our expanding waistlines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed."

The authors add: "Members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a 'healthy weight' through calorie counting, and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise." '


Still No Reports of "Hillary Fever" Outbreaks | Human Events

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fwd: Problems

'Incredibly, in Sunday's weekly video address, President Obama said, "Today, there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change."  I say "incredibly" because that just isn't true – and if President Obama really believes it is, then it is time to panic. Given the state of the world and the urgent problems facing us that directly affect our prospects for peace and prosperity, global warming shouldn't even be in the top five on the list of problems our president should be worrying about. In case this administration hasn't noticed, a lot of the world is burning and global economic growth is so stagnant that it feeds the prospects of instability at home and abroad.

Fwd: Greece

The idea that free trade is beneficial to all sides derives from a theory of the classical economist David Ricardo, whose essay on comparative advantage was published in 1817. Comparative advantage asserts that free trade allows each nation to pursue the production and export of those products in which the nation has some advantage, expressed in profits, and that even if a nation has a wide range of advantages, focusing on the greatest advantages will benefit the country the most. Because countries benefit from their greatest advantages, they focus on those, leaving lesser advantages to other countries for which these are the greatest comparative advantage.


To begin with, the law of comparative advantages does not mean that each country does equally well. It simply means that given the limits of geography and education, each nation will do as well as it can. And it is at this point that Ricardo's theory both drives much of contemporary trade policy and poses the core problem for the European Union. The theory is not, in my opinion, wrong. It is, however, incomplete in looking at the nation (or corporation) as an integrated being and not entities made up of distinct and diverse interests. There are in my mind three problems that emerge from the underlying truth of this theory.


The first of these is the problem of geopolitical consequences. Economic power is not the only type of power there is. Disparate rates of economic growth make the faster growing economy more powerful in its relation to the slower growing economy. That power is both political and military and can be used, along with economic advantage, to force nations into not only subordinate positions but also positions where their lesser comparative advantage diminishes even further. This does not have to be intentional. Maximizing comparative advantage makes some powers stronger than others, and over time that strength can leave the lesser power crippled in ways that have little to do with economics.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fwd: Ukraine

'The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, is expected to sign a package of laws on "decommunisation", recently passed by parliament, which will lay down an official version of Ukrainian 20th century history. The laws ban Nazi and Communist symbols and the "public denial of the criminal nature of the Communist totalitarian regime 1917–1991"; they open former KGB archives; replace the Soviet term "great patriotic war" with the European second world war, and provide public recognition to anyone who fought for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century.

Proponents say the legislation, based on other post-Soviet countries such as Poland and the Baltic states, is long overdue to free Ukraine of a painful past and create a new national identity based on events repressed or rewritten by the Soviet regime.'


A Nuclear Turning Point

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fwd: Doubt

'C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan, was an ardent crusader against smoking. As he said of himself in 1998, "I frequently spoke of the sleazy behavior of the tobacco industry in its attempts to discredit legitimate science as part of its overall effort to create controversy and doubt." Koop was referring to doubt surrounding the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

The word "doubt" carried special resonance. It conjured an infamous 1968 internal memo from the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company. "Doubt is our product," a B and W executive instructed his colleagues… "[It] is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the public… of establishing a controversy."

The tobacco companies are no longer blowing smoke about the hazards of combusted-tobacco cigarettes. But the critics of electronic cigarettes — an important new technology that has the potential to replace smoking worldwide – have begun mass-producing doubt about the product.

Only 8 percent of all former smokers have converted to vaping. That percentage needs to grow. But agencies such as the CDC and state of California are doing their best to halt the progression….

The CDC and the California Department of Health have ripped a page from the Big Tobacco playbook. "Strongly call out the point – Controversy! Contradiction! Other Factors! Unknowns!" as Hill and Knowlton, the PR firm that advised the tobacco industry, urged it to do in the 1950s and 60s.

By warping the perception of risk, these agencies will surely create enough doubt about the very real benefits of e-cigarettes that smokers will simply say to themselves, "Why switch?" And keep inhaling dangerous smoke. If there were such a thing as public health negligence, the nation's flagship public health agency and California's health department could rightly stand accused.'

Friday, April 17, 2015


'The FBI has huddled with Mexican authorities in Ciudad Juarez to develop a "press strategy" in response to reports of an ISIS presence just across the border in Mexico, according to a Washington watchdog


"Publicly, U.S. and Mexico have denied that Islamic terrorists are operating in the southern border region," the organization continued, "but the rapid deployment of FBI brass in the aftermath of JW's report seems to indicate otherwise.

"A Mexican army field grade officer and a Mexican federal police inspector were among the sources that confirmed to JW that ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas. The base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as 'Anapra' situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua."

The report from Judicial Watch earlier this week followed other reports from the organization in recent months that Islamic terrorists have been captured in Texas after coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.

Judicial Watch said its sources within the Department of Homeland Security said several ISIS terror group members were arrested by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

The reports conflict with claims by the Department of Homeland Security that there is no imminent danger of ISIS breaching the nation's southern border.

In its report this week, Judicial Watch said its sources for the information about the ISIS camp were high-level.

The report detailed the terror group in Anapra and said there was more.

"Another ISIS cell to the west of Ciudad Juárez, in Puerto Palomas, targets the New Mexico towns of Columbus and Deming for easy access to the United States, the same knowledgeable sources confirm," Judicial Watch said.

It was during a recent joint operation that "Mexican army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as 'plans' of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation that houses the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation," Judicial Watch said.'



Hillary, Her Grandparents and Integrity

Exclusive: Boston Bomber’s Mom Calls Her Son “Best Of The Best’

Fwd: China

'China's island building program in the South China Sea may result in it gaining control of some of the world's most important waterways, the U.S.'s most senior military commander for Asia said.

"If this activity continues at pace, is that it -- those would give them de facto control" of the maritime territory they claim, Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the U.S. Senate. Locklear said China could install long-range detection radars, base warships and warplanes on the islands, potentially giving it the ability to enforce an air defense identification zone.

Satellite photos this month showed images of Chinese dredgers at work at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, a feature also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan. President Barack Obama said April 10 that the U.S. is concerned that China is using its "muscle and power" to dominate smaller countries in the region.

Locklear said the pace of China's building program was "astonishing" and added that the islands would improve China's ability to locate a maritime security force in the waters that would be larger than the combined coast guards of the Southeast Asian countries…


Locklear said the increasing number and technical sophistication of the submarines in the Indo-Pacific was changing the dynamic of how the U.S. navy operates in the area. He estimated that of the 300 submarines in the world that aren't U.S. vessels, 200 are in the Indo-Pacific, which he said was the "most militarized part of the world.'


Fwd: 2/3

'Talk-show host Mark Levin erupted.

"The United States Senate just rewrote the treaty provision of the Constitution," he exclaimed. "This may be over the heads of most commentators … but it's not over my head, and it won't be over yours."

He said under the Constitution, the president has the power to negotiate treaties, and they are approved "provided two-thirds of the senators present concur."

He said such a supermajority (67 votes) was called for by the nation's Founders because they believed that leaving such decisions to a single person or a single body wasn't responsible.

"Alexander Hamilton tells us" that joint possession of such power provides the greater prospect of success, he said.

Under the proposed legislation, Congress can review the president's deal with the radical Islamists and can reject it with a 60-vote margin. But Obama then can veto it, and it would take a 67-vote total to overturn the veto.

"We've turned the treaty provision on its head," Levin said. "Instead of requiring two-thirds of the senators present to approve, this bill explicitly" demands 67 votes to stop the president.

"You need 67 votes to override a presidential veto to undo what Obama's done," he said. "Now we need a supermajority to override '

Fwd: Iran

'Yet what makes the framework nuclear deal so grotesque and dangerous isn't Iran's trail of deception. The real reason to block any nuclear accord with Tehran's rulers isn't that they always lie. It's that they don't.

Even President Obama admits Iran could abide by the terms agreed to and just wait for them to run out in a little more than a decade.

Maybe Iran would cheat on the loophole-ridden deal being promoted by the Obama administration. But it wouldn't have to. Even President Obama admits Iran could abide by the terms agreed to and just wait for them to run out in a little more than a decade. "At that point, the breakout times [to nuclear weapons capability] would have shrunk almost down to zero," the president told NPR. Cheat or don't cheat, the end is the same: The Lausanne deal paves Iran's path to the bomb either way.

And then it will be clear — apocalyptically clear — that the ayatollahs were telling the truth.

They were telling the truth last November, when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards proclaimed "the US is still the great Satan and the number one enemy of the [Islamic] revolution and the Islamic Republic."

They were telling the truth in February, when Ali Shirazi, a senior Iranian cleric and aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that his troops are in a global war that will bring "the banner of Islam over the White House."

They were telling the truth a decade ago when Hassan Abassi, a high-ranking intelligence operative, warned that Iranian agents had identified "29 sensitive sites in the West, with the aim of bombing them."

They were telling the truth when a commander of Iranian forces insisted "America has no other choice but to leave the Middle East region beaten and humiliated." And when Iran's supreme leader raged that "there is only one solution to the Middle East problem, namely the annihilation and destruction of the Jewish state." And when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted that "a world without America is not only desirable, it is achievable."

And when, over and over, they have incited crowds in chants of "Death to America."

Tehran's rulers may have lied for years about their nuclear activities; their negotiated commitments to suspend enrichment and submit to inspections may not be worth the ink they sign them with.

But the mullahs don't lie about what matters to them most: death to America, the extermination of Israel, unrelenting global jihad. They say they are deadly serious.

Believe them.'


'The new 150-page book distributed on file sharing sites this week follows other titles in the ISIS series including an e-book on how the jihadists plan to sack Rome.''


'An ISIS e-book on how to accomplish their caliphate goal of sacking Rome stresses enlisting "the Islamic State's secret weapon = secret white converts" to take on Italy.

Much of the book, "Black Flags from Rome," is dedicated to laying out a case for why Muslims in Europe should rise up and assist ISIS from within, citing justifications for discontent from modern-day anti-immigration protests back to post-Ottoman creation of Muslim "ghettos."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fwd: Vietnam

'The removal of the US trade embargo against Vietnam in 1994 opened up an era of economic cooperation, leading to a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement in 2000, normalisation of trade relations in 2006, and Vietnam's ascension to the WTO in January 2007. As a result, US–Vietnam bilateral trade has grown from US$451 million in 1995 to nearly US$35 billion in 2014. US direct investment in Vietnam rose from US$126 million in 2000 to US$1.1 billion in 2013…

Military relations have begun to accelerate since 2009 as the security interests of Vietnam and the US have converged. In 2009, China drew a nine-dashed line claiming 80 per cent of the South China Sea, before placing a huge oil rig within Vietnam's claimed exclusive economic zone in 2014.


Fwd: Coal

'The case being heard on April 16 deals with just one major legal defect in EPA's proposed rule. It seeks to require states to regulate coal-fired power plants even though EPA already regulates those same plants under the hazardous air pollutant program. As the Clinton EPA explained, such double regulation is expressly prohibited by the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act.

Indeed, EPA's arguments defending its actions are so blatantly contrary to the Clean Air Act that even Laurence Tribe — a noted liberal constitutional scholar and former mentor of President Obama's at Harvard — likened the regulations to "burning the Constitution," in recent congressional testimony.

What makes this case unique — outside of the fact that courts typically do not hear arguments until after a rule is finalized — is that the EPA's repeated threats to finalize that rule this summer are causing immediate and irreparable harm now. As recently as March 11, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy declared, "The EPA is going to regulate ... If folks are thinking any of those pieces aren't going to happen — and [the Clean Power Plan] isn't going to be implemented, I think they need to look at the history of the Clean Air act more carefully. This isn't how we do business."

That's not how government agencies should do business in this country. An agency should not be permitted to threaten to impose a rule that it knows will never survive judicial review, in order to scare utilities, power plants, and coal mines into closing their doors in anticipation of the rule being finalized.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fwd: Iran

'Then there's the oil-for-goods deal, which has been under discussion for about a year and may already have started. It would involve supplies of about 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian food and industrial goods, bringing back about half of the export volume that Iran lost because of international sanctions. Such a deal wouldn't violate the UN sanctions against Iran, and can circumvent financial sector restrictions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union by using barter. In recent days, Russian officials have said the swap is taking place.

Iran won't confirm or deny the arrangement, possibly because the U.S. is worried about it and stepping up cooperation with Russia in this way could jeopardize the multilateral deal and so delay the easing of international sanctions. Yet Russia's willingness to get involved in the swaps is another signal to the Iranian regime that, while Western nations are still hesitant to rekindle ties with them, Russia is open to big energy deals immediately, even before anything is settled on the nuclear issue…

Doing more business with Iran wherever possible should also help Putin build a political alliance with a major Middle Eastern regional player, cemented by the strong anti-Americanism in both Moscow and Tehran. '

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fwd: Russia/Iran

'Russia yesterday lifted a ban on supplying Iran with an air defence missile system which could be used to protect nuclear sites.

Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead for the deal, with the defence ministry saying it was ready to supply the S-300 missile equipment 'promptly'.

The move is likely to anger both the U.S. and Israel at a time of heightened tensions between the world powers and following a landmark deal on nuclear weapons.

Moscow blocked deliveries of the surface to air missiles to Iran in 2010 after the United Nations imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme, barring hi-tech weapons sales.'


Bart Ehrman Freedom From Religion Foundation Lecture

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fwd: Lost Biscuit

'When you're President of the United States, you can lose a vote, you can lose popular support, and you can lose a round of golf. But you're never, ever supposed to lose the biscuit.

That's what they call the card the president is meant to keep close at hand, bearing the codes that he has to have in order to launch a nuclear attack. And for several months during the Clinton administration, a former top military officer says they lost the biscuit.

Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served under Clinton as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells the story in his memoir…

"At one point during the Clinton administration," Shelton writes, "the codes were actually missing for months. [...] That's a big deal -- a gargantuan deal." '

Fwd: Iran

'If Iran's enriched-uranium stockpile remains in the country and is only reduced to powder, Iran will retain the capability to make eight or more nuclear weapons in about three months. Former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen recently published a chart on Iran's nuclear "breakout" time that shows how Iran could make enough enriched uranium for one weapon in twelve weeks from reactor-grade uranium using 6,000 centrifuges, and how it could do so in 16 weeks using only 1,000 centrifuges.


  The decision to let Iran keep its previously secret, heavily fortified Fordow enrichment facility is a major American cave. President Obama said in 2012 about this facility: "We know they don't need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordow in order to have a peaceful [nuclear] program."


  The preliminary agreement legitimizes — and even allows the advancement of — Iran's uranium-enrichment program. It does not appear to delay the breakout time for an Iranian nuclear weapon. Incredibly, no enrichment equipment or facilities will be disassembled or destroyed. Given Iran's long history of cheating on nuclear agreements and covert nuclear activities, allowing it to do any uranium enrichment is very dangerous.'


'"Negotiations . . . to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability . . ."— Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, the Wall Street Journal, April 8


   It was but a year and a half ago that Barack Obama endorsed the objective of abolition when he said that Iran's heavily fortified Fordow nuclear facility, its plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor, and its advanced centrifuges were all unnecessary for a civilian nuclear program. The logic was clear: Since Iran was claiming to be pursuing an exclusively civilian program, these would have to go. Yet under the deal Obama is now trying to sell, not one of these is to be dismantled. Indeed, Iran's entire nuclear infrastructure is kept intact, just frozen or repurposed for the length of the deal (about a decade). Thus Fordow's centrifuges will keep spinning. They will now be fed xenon, zinc, and germanium instead of uranium. But that means they remain ready at any time to revert from the world's most heavily (indeed comically) fortified medical isotope facility to a bomb-making factory.


   And upon the expiration of the deal, conceded Obama Monday on NPR, Iran's breakout time to a nuclear bomb will be "almost down to zero," i.e., it will be able to produce nuclear weapons at will and without delay. And then there's cheating. Not to worry, says Obama. We have guarantees of compliance: "unprecedented inspections" and "snapback" sanctions. The inspection promises are a farce. We haven't even held the Iranians to their current obligation to come clean with the International Atomic Energy Agency on their previous nuclear activities. The IAEA charges Iran with stonewalling on eleven of twelve issues.'


Fwd: Stops

'As a candidate and in City Hall, Bill de Blasio played a facile numbers game. It went as follows: The cops were arresting or issuing summonses to only 12% of the people whom they had stopped on suspicion of criminality. Thus, the vast majority of the NYPD's then-annual 700,000 stops targeted people who had done nothing wrong. Thus, the NYPD was violating the rights of huge numbers of people…

Starting under Commissioner Ray Kelly and continuing under Commissioner Bill Bratton, the NYPD has sharply cut the number of stops. They are projected to total about 40,000 this year. At the same time, the hit rate has climbed to 18%...

He spoke proudly — and incorrectly. By his own standard, at a hit rate of 18%, the cops are still letting go 82% of the people they've stopped.'


'So let's do the math. 12% of 700,000 is 84, 000 people who broke the law in some way. And 18% of 40,000 is 7,200 people who broke the law in some way. 

 Now the article does not mention what type of criminal activity was committed by these individuals or what weapons may have been confiscated during the stop-question-frisk program. But what we do know is that 76,800 "alleged" criminals are on the street because the program has been curtailed. '

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fwd: Islands

'China is creating a 'great wall of sand' in the South China Sea, the US Navy has said.

The latest huge land mass is 1.5 square miles (four square kilometres) in size and was created by dumping sand on live coral reefs, possibly damaging local ecosystems.

But this is just one of several artificial islands China has been creating in the region - and the exact purpose of them is unknown. 

The large expanses of sand and concrete - the latest being Johnson Reef - are being built among the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

China is creating the area by using dredging vessels to dig up sediment from the sea, and then dumping it on subermeged coral reefs to make islands, Ethan Rosen - a geopolitical researcher in China - explained

And experts have told MailOnline that the activities could be hugely damaging to local ecosystems. 

China has supposedly been carrying out the land reclamation in order to build airstrips and other structures in the region.

Five islands in total have been built in this way, and two more are in development.'


'US Wary of Possible China Island Fortresses

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the U.S. was concerned by China's land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea and by the possibility that construction there has a military dimension.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani on Wednesday, Mr. Carter said the U.S. prioritizes stability in the Asia-Pacific and wants to ensure "no changes in the status quo are made coercively and that territorial disputes, which are long-standing, are not militarized."

China has embarked on a dramatic expansion of construction of artificial islands on disputed South China Sea reefs, which defense experts say could form a network of island fortresses to help China control most of the South China Sea. Chinese officials have defended the construction work as necessary and lawful.'


'US military commander: Russian military 'far more capable' than Soviet Union's'



Federal Court Shoots Down Challenge to 2012 Obama Amnesty Order

California's Water Crisis | True News

Check out this video on YouTube:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fwd: Iran

'Obama Undermines His Own Case for the Iran Deal

In the aftermath of the Iran nuclear agreement reached last week, President Barack Obama has had a lot to say about sanctions.

On the one hand, the president doesn't think they really work. Obama now concedes -- as does Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif -- that while Iran was facing crippling sanctions it continued to install thousands of centrifuges at its illicit facilities. In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama said there were three options for Iran's nuclear program: aerial bombardment, his deal, and sanctions. Not surprisingly, Obama warned that sanctions "always led to Iran making more progress in its nuclear program."

Here's the catch: Two days earlier, at the announcement of the framework agreement, Obama praised the efficacy of renewing sanctions in case Iran cheats. "If Iran violates the deal," he said. "Sanctions can be snapped back into place."

All of this presents a major problem for Obama and his team as they try to sell their deal to a skeptical Congress. If Obama doesn't think the sanctions that have cut off Iran's banks from the international finance system and blocked the Tehran government from legally selling its oil will halt the regime's nuclear program, why does he think snapping them back would deter Iran from cheating?'



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fwd: Iran

'Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We will work to conclude the JCPOA based on these parameters over the coming months.


  • Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will go from having about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only 5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10 years. All 6,104 centrifuges will be IR-1s, Iran's first-generation centrifuge.
  • Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years.
  • Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years.
  • All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage and will be used only as replacements for operating centrifuges and equipment.
  • Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
  • Iran's breakout timeline – the time that it would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon – is currently assessed to be 2 to 3 months. That timeline will be extended to at least one year, for a duration of at least ten years, under this framework.

Iran will convert its facility at Fordow so that it is no longer used to enrich uranium

  • Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years.
  •  Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow facility so that it is used for peaceful purposes only – into a nuclear, physics, technology, research center.
  • Iran has agreed to not conduct research and development associated with uranium enrichment at Fordow for 15 years.
  • Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years.
  • Almost two-thirds of Fordow's centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed. The remaining centrifuges will not enrich uranium. All centrifuges and related infrastructure will be placed under IAEA monitoring.

Iran will only enrich uranium at the Natanz facility, with only 5,060 IR-1 first-generation centrifuges for ten years.

  • Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation (IR-1 models) centrifuges at Natanz for ten years, removing its more advanced centrifuges.
  • Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for ten years.
  • Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years. Iran will engage in limited research and development with its advanced centrifuges, according to a schedule and parameters which have been agreed to by the P5+1.
  • For ten years, enrichment and enrichment research and development will be limited to ensure a breakout timeline of at least 1 year. Beyond 10 years, Iran will abide by its enrichment and enrichment R&D plan submitted to the IAEA, and pursuant to the JCPOA, under the Additional Protocol resulting in certain limitations on enrichment capacity.

Inspections and Transparency

  • The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran's nuclear facilities, including to Iran's enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordow, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies.
  • Inspectors will have access to the supply chain that supports Iran's nuclear program. The new transparency and inspections mechanisms will closely monitor materials and/or components to prevent diversion to a secret program.
  • Inspectors will have access to uranium mines and continuous surveillance at uranium mills, where Iran produces yellowcake, for 25 years.
  • Inspectors will have continuous surveillance of Iran's centrifuge rotors and bellows production and storage facilities for 20 years. Iran's centrifuge manufacturing base will be frozen and under continuous surveillance.
  • All centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure removed from Fordow and Natanz will be placed under continuous monitoring by the IAEA...'
'Dubai/Beirut: All United Nations Security Council resolutions related to Iran`s nuclear programme will be lifted immediately if a final deal is agreed, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday, stressing the benefits to Iran of this week`s negotiations.

After leading Iranian negotiators to a preliminary deal with world powers in Switzerland, Zarif must now convince a domestic audience that the talks are heading toward a final deal that is in Iran`s interest.

He disputed a "fact sheet" released by the United States shortly after the deal that emphasised Iranian concessions and referred to sanctions being suspended rather than lifted and only after confirmation that Tehran has complied with the terms of the agreement.

"The Americans put what they wanted in the fact sheet... I even protested this issue with (U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry himself," he said in a television interview cited by the Fars news agency, adding that U.N. Security Council would oversee any deal.

"Either side in this agreement can, in the case of the other side violating the agreement, cease its own steps," Zarif said. He mirrored earlier comments by U.S. President Barack Obama that sanctions could be reapplied if Iran did not stick to its word.

"Whatever work we have on the nuclear programme can be restored... Our knowledge is local and no one can take that away from us," he added.

Iran`s lead negotiator, who was welcomed back to Tehran by cheering crowds on Friday, insisted that Iran had negotiated from a position of strength to secure a good preliminary deal.

He pointed to the changes in the demands of the P5+1 group of countries - the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China - as evidence of the success of negotiations that began two years ago.

"They realised they can`t shut down Iran`s nuclear programme."

Zarif said Iran would keep its promises so long as the West also did so, and suggested a deal could open the door to more productive relations with the international community, echoing comments on Friday by President Hassan Rouhani.

"We don`t want anything more than our rights," he said. "We`ve never pursued a bomb in the past or now. We`re also not looking for regional hegemony. We want good relations with our neighbours in the region."

U.S. officials have insisted that a detailed list of specific items agreed at the Lausanne talks, which the U.S. side released on Thursday, was not open to further negotiation and would be part of the final overall agreement to be worked out by end-June.

A senior U.S. official told reporters on Friday that Iran and the six nations had agreed they could release their own interpretations of the deal, but there were not to be any discrepancies about facts.

"We understood we would have different narratives, but we wouldn't contradict each other," the official said.

The U.S. fact sheet described its contents as "the key parameters" of a final deal to be agreed by June 30. It said key details were subject to further negotiation, adding that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

Separately, France has released its own fact sheet on the nuclear deal, which includes additional detail about the easing of limitations on Iran`s enrichment programme after 10 years. While it does not contradict the U.S. fact sheet, it notes that Tehran would eventually be able to use advanced centrifuges.

The French fact sheet said Tehran would be allowed a "gradual and precisely defined increase in (enrichment) capacity between the tenth and thirteenth years with the introduction of advanced IR-2 and IR-4 centrifuges."

The fact that under a final deal Tehran would eventually be permitted to use advanced centrifuges that purify uranium several times more efficiently than the first generation IR-1 machines Iran currently uses is likely to raise concerns in Israel and Republican-dominated U.S. Congress.

Under the Lausanne agreement, Tehran would only use IR-1s for the first decade'


Mere minutes after the U.S. released a fact sheet that purportedly lays out what the basic framework agreed upon by the Iranian regime and P5+1 world powers entailed, Iranian officials accused the United States of misleading the public about its agreement.

"The solutions are good for all, as they stand. There is no need to spin using 'fact sheets' so early on," tweeted Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif.

Iran's state-run Press TV reported that the agreement allowed for Iran to continue enriching uranium, and none of its facilities would be shut down.

"In the framework of the agreement, none of Iran's nuclear facilities as well as the previous activities will be stopped, shut down or suspended and Iran's nuclear activities in all its nuclear facilities including Natanz, Fordow, Isfahan and Arak will continue," said the Iranian media report.

Iranian media also reported that all of the UN Security Council, United States, and European Union sanctions against the regime will be lifted immediately, once the Joint Plan of Action has been implemented.'