• Saudi-led coalition used cluster bombs in Yemen - Human Rights Watch

    08/Jan/2016 // 313 Viewers

     

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Saudi-led coalition fighting in the conflict in Yemen dropped decades-old US-made cluster bombs in a civilian area, independent monitor Human Rights Watch said Thursday, branding it a war crime.

    The group's report included a photograph of a section of casing from a CBU-58 cluster bomb, which it said showed it was manufactured in 1978 at a US ammunition plant in Tennessee.

    The United States is a close ally of Saudi Arabia and supplies much of the ordnance its forces use, but it has not exported cluster bombs of the type found in Sanaa for many years.

    The watchdog's report said the cluster bombs hit a residential neighborhood in Yemen's capital Sanaa and left the tell-tale pockmarks of multiple exploding bomblets on civilian buildings.

    It was not immediately clear whether anyone was hurt, but such bombs are indiscriminate weapons.

    This is especially true of older models such as the one found in Sanaa because they often contain dud rounds that linger in the area and explode long after the strike.

    "The coalition's repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime," said Steve Goose, arms director at HRW.

    The United States said it was aware of the report and would continue to work closely with its allies to urge them to adopt tactics that would prevent the loss of innocent life.

    "We continue to urge all sides in the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition, to take pro-active measures to minimize harm to civilians and to investigate all credible allegations of civilian harm," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

    "We've previously discussed reports of alleged use of cluster munitions with the coalition, underscoring that such weapons should not be used in locations where civilians are known to be present."

    Yemeni groups, the United Nations and other observers have been increasingly concerned by the mounting civilian toll in Yemen and the dire humanitarian crisis.

    Yemen descended into chaos in March when the coalition began air strikes to push back Huthi rebels who had seized Sanaa.

    More than 5,800 people have been killed and 27,000 wounded since then, according to UN figures.

     

     

     

     

     

    AFP


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  • Anti-IS coalition members doing 'nothing at all': Pentagon chief

    23/Jan/2016 // 207 Viewers

     

     WASHINGTON (AFP) - Several members of the US-led coalition attacking the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria are doing "nothing at all" to help destroy the jihadists, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Friday.

    His comments mark a departure from the Pentagon's typical depiction of the 65-member coalition, which carries the slogan "One mission, many nations," and is frequently touted to highlight global resolve in the predominantly US effort to defeat the IS group.

    "Many of them are not doing enough, or are doing nothing at all," Carter said in an interview with CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We can do a lot ourselves ... (but) we are looking for other people to play their part."

    In a separate interview with Bloomberg TV, Carter called the anti-IS alliance a "so-called" coalition, highlighting frustrations the Pentagon has with partners -- particularly Arab and Gulf nations -- not doing enough.

    "We need others to carry their weight, there should be no free riders," he said.

    Carter has spent the past week in Europe, primarily in Paris, where he sought to persuade allies to step up their efforts against the IS group.

    On Friday, he reiterated calls for one of these partners, Turkey, to bolster its fight against the jihadists.

    Turkey is allowing the United States to use Incirlik, a geographically vital air base in the south, to strike IS targets in Iraq and Syria, but Carter said Ankara needs to do much more to secure its lengthy border with Syria.

    "Turkey is a long-time friend of ours," he said during a question-and-answer session in Davos.

    But "the reality is, it has a porous border for foreign fighters going in both directions. So I think the Turks could do more."

    Some Arab and Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia are nominally part of the coalition, but are now more focused on fighting Iran-backed forces in Yemen.

    Carter's exasperation perhaps reflects pressure from Washington, where hawkish critics say the Obama administration is moving too slowly to defeat the IS group.

    The coalition has been bombing the jihadists since August 2014 but despite killing thousands of their fighters and reclaiming large areas they once held, the IS group is still launching attacks around the world, including in Jakarta, Afghanistan and Paris.

    "Since no country is immune from an ISIL attack, no country can afford to ride free," Carter said in an opinion piece on Politico.com, using an alternative name for the IS group.


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  • U.S. tightens visa waiver program in wake of Paris attacks

    01/Dec/2015 // 134 Viewers

    The White House announced changes to the U.S. visa waiver program on Monday so that security officials can more closely screen travelers from 38 countries allowed to enter the United States without obtaining visas before they travel.

    Under the new measures, which were prompted by the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants, the Department of Homeland Security would immediately start to collect more information from travelers about past visits to countries such as Syria and Iraq, the White House said.

    The changes will "enhance our ability to thwart terrorist attempts to travel on lost or stolen passports," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Paris, where President Barack Obama is attending U.N. talks on climate change.

    The DHS would also look at pilot programs for collecting biometric information such as fingerprints from visa waiver travelers, the White House said.

    The DHS would also ask Congress for additional powers, including the authority to increase fines for air carriers that fail to verify passport data, and the ability to require all travelers to use passports with embedded security chips, the White House said.

    The White House also wants to expand the use of a "preclearance program" in foreign airports to allow U.S. border officials to collect and screen biometric information before visa waiver travelers can board airplanes to the United States.

    The White House urged Congress to pass legislation before leaving Washington later in December for a holiday recess.

    "Surely over the course of the next three weeks, they should be able to do something that actually would strengthen our national security," Earnest told reporters.

    A task force in the House of Representatives plans to meet on Tuesday to discuss the program and wants to craft legislation to pass "by the end of the year," Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, said on Monday.

    McCarthy told reporters that lawmakers were interested in requiring all countries in the waiver program to issue “e-passports” with chips and biometrics. One change would be to make sure that passengers were screened against a database of lost and stolen passports.

    After the Paris attacks, the House passed a bill that would bar refugees from Syria and Iraq from entering the United States until security officials certify that they are not threats. The bill would cripple Obama's plan to accept 10,000 refugees in the next year and he has vowed to veto it.

    But the White House has decided to give regular updates to state governors about refugees who resettle in their states, Earnest said.

    U.S. officials have quietly acknowledged that they are far more worried about the possibility that would-be attackers from the Islamic State or other militant groups could enter the United States as travelers from visa waiver countries rather than as Syrian refugees.

    The U.S. government routinely takes 18 to 24 months to screen would-be Syrian refugees before they are allowed to board flights to the United States.

    In contrast, an estimated 20 million people fly to the United States each year from visa waiver countries such as France and Britain.

    Officials have acknowledged that a European traveling to Syria to train with a group like Islamic State might be able to later enter the United States without significant scrutiny, if they are not already known to U.S. intelligence or partners such as Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5 or France's DGSI.

     

    Source: Reuters


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  • VIDEO: President-elect Donald Trump, fires first salvo, issues stern warning to Arabs, Muslims on Israel

    01/Dec/2016 // 1273 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 1, 2016: (DGW) Amid the growing tension in the Middle East on Arab-Israeli relations, the United States of America President-elect, Mr. Donald Trump  in his historic campaign speech vowed to open a new page in American-Israeli relations by voicing solidarity with the state of Israel.

    Donald Trump who was declared the duly elected President of the United States after a hotly contested presidential election last month among other things read the Riot Act to Arab states on Israel vowing to fight and end the days of treating Israelis as second-class citizens when he becomes the President of the world's most powerful country.

    Speaking further, Donald Trump , reminded everyone that when he says anything, it must not be dismissed with a trivial hand.

    According to him, ''when I say something, I mean it'', he said.

    He told the cheering audience that he will meet the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately having known him for many years with a view to bringing  peace and stability to Israel and the entire region.

    He further warned the Arabs that the hatred for Israel has to stop henceforth. 

    He criticized the Palestinian society adding that the heroes there are the ones that murder the Jews, but he warned that Donald Trump presidency can not let that continue or happen any longer.

    The Palestinians, he warned , must end their education of hatred and that has to be now.

    Watch video below:




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  • Pope secretly met gay marriage row clerk Kim Davis on US trip

    01/Oct/2015 // 225 Viewers

     AFP / Brendan Smialowski | Pope Francis travels to a Mass for the World Meeting of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Pope Francis secretly met Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, during his visit to the US last week and offered her words of encouragement, she and her lawyer told American media Wednesday.

    Rowan County Clerk Davis said her husband met with the pope during the Washington leg of his US visit, after the Vatican reached out to her several weeks ago.

    “It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to, you know, meet me or know me,” Davis told the ABC television network. “I put my hand out, and he grabbed it, and I hugged him, and he hugged me and he said, ‘Thank you for your courage’.”

    “He told me before he left, he said, ‘Stay strong’. That was a great encouragement,” Davis said.

    Davis said knowing that the pope agreed with what she was doing “kind of validates everything”.

    ABC said the pope gave Davis a rosary, which she plans to give to her Catholic parents.

    Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed the meeting had taken place, but refused to reveal the content of the conversation between Davis and the pope.

    “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comment to add,” he said in a statement.

    Mat Staver, Davis’s attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, told CBS News that the pope met Davis and her husband at the Vatican embassy in Washington last Thursday.

    The report of the meeting came after Pope Francis largely avoided the contentious issue of same-sex marriage during his historic visit to the United States, where he addressed Congress, met with the homeless and urged the country to welcome immigrants.

    Human rights issue?

     

    The pope, speaking to reporters as he returned home from his 10-day trip to the US and Cuba on Monday, said government officials had a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty if they felt it violated their conscience.

    Staver, whose client was jailed for five days in September for refusing to comply with a judge’s order to issue the licenses in line with a US Supreme Court ruling, told CBS his team did not want to disclose the meeting until now to avoid interfering with the pope’s broader message during his visit.

    Davis has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her church belongs to a Protestant movement known as Apostolic Pentecostalism.

    Conservative Christians, including some Republican presidential candidates, have said Davis is standing up for religious freedom.

    But the American Civil Liberties Union, which went to court to ensure same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses in Rowan County, has argued she has a responsibility as an official to issue the licenses, regardless of her views.

    The ACLU, in papers filed on September 21 with the judge hearing the case, asked the court to require Davis to stop making alterations to the licenses, such as removing any reference to the Rowan County clerk’s office.

     (DailyGlobeWatch with Reuters)


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  • Obama Insults Black Americans - Dr Tom Barrett

    01/Oct/2016 // 524 Viewers

     

    This should shock no one, but Obama actually had the gall to order black Americans to vote for Hillary. In his final address to the Congressional Black Caucus, he shouted, “After we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good send-off? Go vote.”

    This was insulting in so many ways…
    1) He assumes that blacks are not smart enough to vote on their own, and they need him to tell them whom to vote for.

    2) He assumes that they will obey his command without question.

    3) He assumes that he and his party “own” the African American vote.

    4) After years of telling us that his presidency has transcended race, in his farewell he admitted that was not the case.

    He told the CBC that, because they were black, it would be a “personal insult” to his legacy as the first black president if they strayed off the Democrat plantation and dared to vote like white people. His not-too-subtle message was that whites could vote however they chose, but blacks were expected to vote Democrat – or face the wrath of Obama.

    Link to news source: http://ipatriot.com/obama-insults-black-americans/


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  • Watch Video: John Kerry slapped in Rome, Italy, attacker says he created ISIS [See bloodied face]

    01/Sep/2016 // 11596 Viewers

     

     

    Kerry did aid in creating the vacuum that the Islamic State filled, with the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the American support for the weak Shia government in Baghdad. He also helped arm the Islamic State by sending weapons to “moderates” who either weren’t moderate and gave their weapons to the Islamic State, or who were weak and allowed their weapons to be captured by the Islamic State.

    John Kerry’s recent voyage to Italy almost ended in him getting a black eye.

    Image result for John kerry slapped in rome with blood stains

    He traveled here in order to meet with Italian foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and discuss new ways on how to combat ISIS terrorists.

    However, the most interesting thing happened at the end of the conference. One of the journalists who were sitting in the front rows suddenly got up and shouted at Kerry with the words “It was YOU who created ISIS!” and tried to charge at him with her fists.

    Watch Video: 

    Naturally, the woman was immediately pounced on by the carabinieri, a scuffle ensued. But she quickly left the room.


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  • Obama says world should carry out its end of Iran nuclear deal

    02/Apr/2016 // 235 Viewers


     AFP | US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference during the Nuclear Security Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Apri1 1, 2016 in Washington, DC


    WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said Friday that world powers should carry out their end of the Iran nuclear deal and allow companies to do business in the Islamic republic.

    "So long as Iran is carrying out its end of the bargain, we think it is important for the world community to carry out our end of the bargain," he said after a nuclear security summit with other world leaders.

    This year, the international community lifted a raft of sanctions on Iran in exchange for the country curbing its controversial nuclear program.

    But this month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Washington of failing to respect the terms of the agreement.

    Meanwhile, international businesses have been cautious about returning to do business in Iran, fearing that they could fall afoul of continuing US sanctions aimed at Tehran's other non-nuclear policies.

    "What I would say is also important is Iran's own behavior in generating confidence that Iran is a safe place to do business," Obama said.

    The US president said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and his counterparts within the P5+1 nations that negotiated the deal with Iran would be "providing clarity to businesses about what transactions are in fact allowed."

    "And it is going to take time over the next several months for companies and their legal department to feel confident... there may not be risks of liability if they do business with Iran.

    "But the spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community of businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative action that might scare business off," he said.

    "When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous."

    The limited polls that are conducted in Iran show skepticism about the country's economic situation following decades of sanctions.

    A host of non-nuclear sanctions related to terrorism sponsorship, ballistic missile programs and a crackdown on demonstrators remain in place.

    According to a CISSM and IranPoll.com survey released Thursday, Iranians have a less favorable impression of the country's economic situation now than they did before the deal came into effect in January.

    While a majority of those polled back deeper economic engagement with the West, almost 70 percent do not believe the United States will meet its promises under the agreement.

    Officials say that even with sanctions lifted, US and other non-Iranian companies have been reluctant to do business with Iran for fear of getting tangled in a thicket of US regulations.

     


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  • Obama, world leaders urge action on nuclear security, terror

    02/Apr/2016 // 164 Viewers

     

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- World leaders declared progress in safeguarding nuclear materials sought by terrorists and wayward nations, even as President Barack Obama acknowledged the task was far from finished.

    Closing out a nuclear security summit on Friday, Obama warned of a persistent and harrowing threat: terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear bomb. He urged fellow leaders not to be complacent about the risk of catastrophe, saying that such an attack by the Islamic State or a similar group would "change our world."

    "I'm the first to acknowledge the great deal of work that remains," Obama said, adding that the vision of disarmament he laid out at the start of his presidency may not be realized during his lifetime. "But we've begun."

    Despite their calls for further action, the roughly 50 leaders assembled announced that this year's gathering would be the last of this kind. This year, deep concerns about terrorism were the commanding focus, as leaders grappled with the notion that the next Paris or Brussels could involve an attack with a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb.

    Obama said of the terrorists, "There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material they most certainly would use it to kill as many innocent people as possible."

    So far, no terrorists have obtained a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb, Obama said, crediting global efforts to secure nuclear material. But he said it wasn't for lack of the terrorists trying: Al-Qaida has sought nuclear materials, IS has deployed chemical weapons and extremists linked to the Brussels and Paris attacks were found to have spied on a top Belgian nuclear official.

    Throughout the two-day summit, growing fears about nuclear terrorism tempered other, more positive signs of the world coming together to confront the broader nuclear threat.

    The U.N. Security Council members who brokered a sweeping nuclear deal with Iran held up that agreement as a model for preventing nuclear proliferation, as they gathered on the summit's sidelines to review implementation of the deal.

    Obama also spent part of the summit huddling with the leaders of South Korea and Japan about deterring nuclear-tinged provocations from North Korea, in a powerful show of diplomatic unity with two U.S. treaty allies. Similarly, Obama's sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the two strategic rivals a chance to illustrate mutual concern about the North, a traditional Chinese ally.

    Undeterred, North Korea only hours later fired a short-range missile into the sea and tried to jam GPS navigation signals in South Korea — precisely the kind of act that South Korean President Park Geun-hye had warned would trigger even tougher sanctions and more isolation.

    Aiming to show concrete action, leaders came to the nuclear summit with commitments in hand, known in diplomatic-speak as "gift baskets."

    Latin America and the Caribbean are now free of highly enriched uranium, the White House said, praising Argentina by name for converting its remaining stockpile into a less dangerous form. Fissile materials like highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium are necessary ingredients to make nuclear bombs.

    The United States, in newly declassified statistics, said its own national inventory of highly enriched uranium has dropped from 741 metric tons two decades ago to 586 metric tons as of 2013. And the U.S. and Japan announced they'd finished removing hundreds of kilograms of weapons-grade material from a Japanese research reactor, and pledged to do the same at another.

    On the global front, a strengthened nuclear security agreement was finally poised to take force, extending safeguards for nuclear materials being used, stored and transported while requiring criminal penalties for nuclear smuggling. Those tweaks were approved in 2005, but have sat dormant awaiting ratification from a critical mass of nations, reached only in the past few days.

    Still, frustration over the slow pace of reducing nuclear stockpiles shadowed the summit. The absence of key players — especially Russia — further underscored the lack of unanimity confronting global efforts to deter nuclear attacks.

    After six years of prodding by Obama and others before him, the global stockpile of fissile material remains in the thousands of metric tons. What's more, security officials warn that the ingredients for a "dirty bomb," such as cesium and cobalt, are alarmingly insecure in many parts of the globe.

    Ahead of the summit, fewer than half of the countries participating had agreed to secure their sources of radioactive substances, which are widely present in hospital, industrial and academic settings. Obama said as the Islamic State is squeezed in Syria and Iraq, the world must anticipate it will lash out elsewhere, citing recent attacks in Belgium and Turkey as examples.

    Obama has held four such summits in hopes of advancing the disarmament goals he set at the start of his presidency, when he declared in Prague that nuclear weapons were "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War."

    "This summit is not the end of our quest to make the world safe from nuclear terrorism," Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said. He said the assembled leaders were passing the baton to international organizations. "Should the need arise, I know that everybody here will be ready to return."


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