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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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US Boosts Military Presence in Jordan after Exercises

WASHINGTON, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Along US with missiles and fighter jets, about 700 US troops will remain in Jordan after training exercises which ended this week, US President Barack Obama said in his letter to the Congress.

The troops and military equipment took part in the Eager Lion exercises in Jordan.

"This detachment that participated in the exercise and remained in Jordan includes Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems," Obama said in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.

"The deployment of this detachment has been directed in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, including the important national interests in supporting the security of Jordan and promoting regional stability, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations," the US president said in his letter.



Push To Extradite Edward Snowden From Hong Kong Could Take YEARS As Mainland China Officials Wade In

*Hong Kong Police Commissioner: The case will be dealt with according to the law

*It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong

*Hong Kong legislators have said that the Chinese government should make final decision on extradition

PUBLISHED: 10:06 EST, 22 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:49 EST, 22 June 2013

It could take years to extradite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to the USA on charges of espionage and according to legal experts, the move would likely be blocked by China.

While espionage and theft of state secrets are not cited specifically in the treaty, charged could be brought against Snowden under Hong Kong's official secrets ordinance.

Many Americans have been sent back for trial under the treaty but such extraditions can often take between three to five years.

However, it would also require the Hong Kong authorities to charge Snowden with a similar crime otherwise the extradition process could not begin and Snowden would theoretically be free to leave the city. Snowden could claim political asylum in Hong Kong, arguing he would face torture back home.

In general, the extradition agreement between the U.S. and Hong Kong excepts political offenses from the obligation to turn over a person.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346404/Snowden-extradition-set-years-mainland-China-officials-wade-in.html#ixzz2WzCpS0Ou

Find a good seat, this party is just getting started, imo

Military Police Must Decide: Is The IDF A Gang Or An Army?

About two weeks ago, several youth from the village of Qaddum were shocked to discover their photos and names appear on a placard posted near the mosque, which presented the following threat: “We are the army, dir balaq, we’ll catch you should we see you, or we’ll come to your house.” The affair was exposed in the +972. The placard was written in bad Arabic. “Dir Balaq” is roughly translated as “be careful.”

According to the testimonies of Qaddum’s residents, three IDF jeeps stopped next to the mosque in the late morning of Friday, May 31. Ten soldiers or more disembarked, and began posting the placards. A, a 16-year-old high school student, told a Yesh Din investigator that “I was shocked by seeing my picture and the threat against me. I panicked and now I am always afraid the army will capture me. My brothers are also scared and my mom cries. I can’t sleep. I haven’t returned to school since it happened and I’ve missed a final exam.”

A’s father, M., told Yesh Din, “I was shocked and stressed… I was fearful for the child and was afraid of his reactions. This is a worrying story. I saw my child shivering in fear. He entered a hard and restless state, and finds it hard to fall asleep. He also hasn’t gone to school since.” M. angrily added that “this is an act of terrorism, not the act of an organized army. This is the work of gangs, not of a democratic country. What do you mean, you turn a 15-and-a-half-year-old child into a wanted man?”

D., another of the minors mentioned in our brave lads’ placard, told Yesh Din, “I began shivering in fear and feared they would come right away to take me. The next day, I didn’t return to school even though there was a final exam. I hope the school will show consideration. I live in fear they will come and take me.”



New Documentary Sheds Light On US 'Juvenile Lifers'

AFP - Jacob Ind got the idea of killing his mother and stepfather, at the tender age of 15, from a friend who came over to his Colorado house one day and remarked how his mom was such a "bitch".

Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper, both 16 at the time, took inspiration from the Wes Craven horror movie "Scream" when they stabbed and killed their high school classmate Cassie Jo Stoddart in small-town Idaho in 2006.

And film-maker Joshua Rofe was prompted to make a documentary about them and other American juvenile offenders sentenced to life imprisonment without parole when he met a judge from Florida at a friend's birthday party.

"He was clearly conflicted" about putting a 15-year-old killer of a taxi driver behind bars forever, said Rofe, whose disturbing film "Lost for Life" premieres Saturday at the American Film Institute's AFI Docs festival.



Tests On Dog Safety Belts Show 100 Percent Failure Rate...

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A first-of-its-kind crash test for dog harnesses widely used by pet owners showed that none offer adequate protection, with not a single harness passing the test.

The non-profit Center for Pet Safety (CPS) said during its harness tests, crash-test dog dummies turned into projectiles and were even decapitated.

“We tested them to the child safety restraint standard and we experienced a 100-percent failure rate to protect either the consumer or the dog,” said CPS founder and CEO Lindsey Wolko. “That is a very real concern for consumers.”

The Center for Pet Safety would not disclose which harnesses the nonprofit tested out of fear even fewer people will secure their pets.

Wolko said that, while some manufactures do claim to do their own testing, there is no government standard, which creates unregulated industry that can be dangerous for drivers.



Detroit Recovery Plan Threatens Muni-Market Underpinnings

By Brian Chappatta and Martin Z. Braun - Jun 17, 2013
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to suspend payments on $2 billion of Detroit’s debt threatens a basic tenet of the $3.7 trillion municipal market: that states and cities will raise taxes as high as needed to avoid default.

Orr, appointed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder to oversee Michigan’s largest city, proposed a deal last week that included skipping a $39.7 million payment on pension-obligation debt. The city is also set to default on unsecured unlimited-tax and limited-tax general-obligation bonds as it grapples with $17 billion in liabilities to avoid a record bankruptcy.

By calling into question the safety of any security backed by a government’s general obligation to pay what it owes, Orr, 55, imperils similar debt across Michigan, the eighth-most-populous state. As local governments strive to rebound from the longest recession since the 1930s, they may confront higher borrowing costs.

“It definitely sets a precedent, and there’s definitely going to be a penalty going forward for the city and the state,” said Dan Solender, director of munis at Lord Abbett & Co. in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company oversees $19.5 billion of local debt.



US Steps Up Efforts To Break Guantánamo Hunger Strike

Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, according to fresh testimony from the last British resident still held in the camp.

Shaker Aamer claims that the US authorities are systematically making the regime more hardline to try to defuse the strike, which now involves almost two-thirds of the detainees. Techniques include making cells "freezing cold" to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of "metal-tipped" feeding tubes, which Aamer said were forced into inmates' stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.

The 46-year-old from London tells of one detainee who was admitted to hospital 10 days ago after a nurse had pushed the tube into his lungs rather than his stomach, causing him later to cough up blood. Aamer also alleges that some nurses at Guantánamo Bay are refusing to wear their name tags in order to prevent detainees registering abuse complaints against staff.

Speaking last week from the camp in Cuba, exactly four months after he joined the hunger strike, Aamer said: "The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead."

The momentum behind efforts to release Aamer – who has spent more than 11 years without trial inside the camp – mounted sharply last week with David Cameron raising the issue directly with the US president, Barack Obama, during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.



Icelandic Businessman Says Plane Ready To Take Snowden To Iceland

(Reuters) - An Icelandic businessman linked to WikiLeaks said he has readied a private plane to take Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs, to Iceland if the government grants him asylum.

"We have made everything ready at our end now we only have to wait for confirmation from the (Icelandic) Interior Ministry," Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson told Reuters. He is a former director of DataCell, a company which processed payments for WikiLeaks.

"A private jet is in place in China and we could fly Snowden over tomorrow if we get positive reaction from the Interior Ministry. We need to get confirmation of asylum and that he will not be extradited to the U.S. We would most want him to get a citizenship as well," Sigurvinsson said.

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden to seek asylum in Iceland.

The Icelandic government, which has declined to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson.



Bill Clinton On NSA: Americans Need To Be On Guard For Abuses Of Power By U.S.

Former US president Bill Clinton has said Americans need to be “on guard for abuses” of power by the US government through its secret interception of emails and phone calls in the name of national security.

In a question and answer session at a business dinner in Edinburgh, Clinton said the use of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept communications by foreign terrorists was justified.

And the US system also required a warrant from intelligence courts, backed up by sufficient evidence, for any surveillance activities against people within the US.

But he said it was crucial there was accountability and transparency in the use of surveillance and interceptions by agencies such as the NSA – an area which he said was “blurry, grey and made people uncomfortable”.

“There’s no question that it’s subject to abuse if people lie to the courts or if the wrong people get hold of the information and try to use it to embarrass people, but that has pretty much always been the case. It’s just we’re so aware of it now,” Clinton told his audience at the Scottish Business Awards.



'Friends Of Syria' Countries Meet To Map Out Arming Rebels

Source: NPR

Update At 10:20 a.m. ET:

Reuters reports that the "Friends of Syria" group of ministers has issued a joint statement in Doha saying they agree to "provide urgently all necessary materiel and equipment to opposition on the ground."

Here's our original post:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of ten other countries are meeting in Qatar to coordinate military support to Syrian rebels vying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

The group, dubbed "Friends of Syria", is meeing in the Qatari capital, Doha, and includes European powers and regional Sunni Muslim-dominated countries. It could provide Syrian insurgents with the anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons they say they need to defeat Assad's military.

Reuters, quoting two Gulf sources reports that Saudi Arabia has stepped up its lead role in arming the rebels.

Read more: http://wprl.org/post/friends-syria-countries-meet-map-out-arming-rebels
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