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US officials: Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely --Growing view that strike, by Israel or US, will happen --'Sweet spot' for Israeli action identified as September-October --White House remains determined to give sanctions time 17 Feb 2012 Officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its [alleged] nuclear programme, and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so... There is a strong current of opinion within the administration - including in the Pentagon and the state department - that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested.
Iran claims its navy enters Mediterranean as tensions with Israel grow 18 Feb 2012 Iran's navy claimed its warships entered the Mediterranean on Saturday to show its might to regional countries, as a high-level American official was due to arrive in Israel. The claim, released through the official Iranian news agency, came at a time of growing speculation that Israel will launch airstrikes against Iran's nuclear programme. "The strategic navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has passed through the Suez Canal for the second time since the (1979) Islamic Revolution," said navy commander Admiral Habibollah Sayari.
Iranian naval ships enter Mediterranean via Suez 18 Feb 2012 Two Iranian naval ships have sailed through Egypt's Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, in a move likely to be keenly watched by Israel. "Two Iranian ships crossed through the Suez Canal (on Thursday) following permission from the Egyptian armed forces," a source in the canal authority said Friday. The destroyer and a supply ship could be on their way to the Syrian coast, the source added. Iran and Syria agreed to cooperate on naval training a year ago, and Tehran has no naval agreement with any other country in the region.
Hague: Nuclear Iran can plunge Mideast into cold war 18 Feb 2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague claims that a "new cold war" could happen in the Middle East if Iran decides to have nuclear weapons. "If they [Iranians] obtain nuclear weapons capability, then I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons," Hague said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "And so, the most serious round of nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons were invented would have begun with all the destabilizing effects in the Middle East. And the threat of a new cold war in the Middle East without necessarily all the safety mechanisms," he warned, referring to the US-USSR rivalry.
IRGC to launch Val Fajr military drills in central Iran 18 Feb 2012 Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are to launch new military drills codenamed "Val Fajr" in the Markazi Desert near the city of Yazd. Commander of the IRGC Ground Forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said on Saturday that the maneuvers are part of annual drills staged by the IRGC to increase the preparedness of its military units. He added that presenting part of the IRGC capability to counter possible threats of extra-regional enemies is another goal of the drills, which will be the last military maneuvers by the IRGC during the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2011).
US, Israeli cyber attack on Press TV fails 18 Feb 2012 A cyber attack by US and Israeli hackers against the website of Iran's English-language 24-hour news channel, Press TV, has failed to take down the website. According to the Press TV report, the attack against the website took place on February 18, from 07:50 to 10:05 local time. However, the effective security countermeasures taken by the Press TV technical team foiled the cyber attack on the website. [Anonymous, return the favor, by taking down Faux News, etc.]
The world's biggest Nosey Parker once again injects its psychotic self: US drones monitor events in Syria: report 18 Feb 2012 A "good number" of unmanned US military and intelligence drones are operating in the skies over Syria, monitoring the 'Syrian military's' attacks against opposition forces and civilians, NBC News reported. The administration said President Barack Obama hopes to use the overhead visual evidence and intercepts of Syrian government and military communications in an effort to make the case for a widespread international response, the report said. NBC News said there has been some discussion among White House, State Department and Pentagon officials about possible humanitarian [sic] missions in Syria.
Imran vows to shoot down US drones [It's about time!] 11 Feb 2012 (Swabi) At least 12 people were wounded in an attack on a police van at a PTI public meeting venue, minutes after Imran Khan left the place telling attendants they will shoot US drones down if voted to power. The attackers lobbed two hand grenades and opened fired at the vehicle of policemen - performing guard duty at Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) meeting in Shewa playground here on Friday - injuring seven policemen and five others. Earlier, in his address Imran Khan said the rulers should be ashamed at their inability to get stopped the unending drone attacks on Pakistani soil that are killing innocent people, besides violating country's sovereignty. He also pledged that PTI will free the people of Pakistan from US slavery if it comes to power.
Oops! Audit: Army missed charge card violations 15 Feb 2012 The Army failed to uncover $1.2 million in rule-breaking payments using government charge cards, much of it spent on sport shirts, knives and fishing gear, an audit found. Pentagon auditors recommended the Army scrutinize such government purchase card (GPC) transactions better. The audit examined 112 transactions valued at $3.6 million and found 17 noncompliant transactions, only one of which the Army had noticed previously.
Paul says US 'slipping into a fascist system' [Oh, I think the horse has galloped out of the barn on that one, accelerating geometrically after the 2000 coup d'etat and Bush's subsequent 9/11 Reichstag Fire. Nonetheless, you know you're in trouble when a presidential candidate is acknowledging the fact that the US is slipping into fascism.] 18 Feb 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul warned the U.S. is "slipping into a fascist system" dominated by government and businesses as he held a fiery rally Saturday night upstaging established Republican Party banquets a short distance away. The Texas congressman drew a couple thousand standing and chanting people to Kansas City's Union Station as the party's establishment dined on steak across the street at the Missouri GOP's annual conference. "We've slipped away from a true Republic," Paul said. "Now we're slipping into a fascist system where it's a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen." Several Republicans slipped away from the banquets to join the Paul rally. Paul repeatedly denounced President Barack Obama's recent enactment of a law requiring military custody of anyone suspected to be associated with al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] and involved in planning an attack on the U.S.
NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast --Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. 18 Feb 2012 The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the elite Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned. Police talked with local authorities about professors 300 miles (480 kilometers) away in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students' names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.
USociopaths planting explosives on people again:U.S. officials say man wanted to detonate suicide bomb [that FBI gave him] near Capitol 18 Feb 2012 A 29-year-old Moroccan man who believed he was working with 'al-Qaida' was arrested Friday near the U.S. Capitol as he was planning to detonate what he thought was a suicide vest that undercover operatives gave him, officials said. Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Va., was taken into custody with a gun that didn't work and inert explosives, according to a counterterrorism official. He arrived near the Capitol in a van with the two undercover operatives, and walked toward the building, according to court papers. He was arrested before he left the parking garage. [Right, he thought he was working with al-CIAduh but was actually working with the FBI. Ergo, he was *still* working with terrorists - just a different bunch. The US government HAD the explosives and the US government PROVIDED the explosives, as usual. The terrorists *are* the US government. --LRP]
D.C. terrorism case: Suspect told others to be ready for battle, authorities said --Undercover FBI agents gave him gun, explosives that didn't work 18 Feb 2012 The Moroccan man accused of plotting to carry out what he thought would be a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol told acquaintances that America's war on terrorism was a war on Muslims and that they needed to be ready for battle, according to authorities. Then the 29-year-old unemployed man started preparations of his own and believed he was working with an al-Qaida operative on the plot, according to court documents and an affidavit. On Friday, Amine El Khalifi's goal to detonate the vest at the Capitol ended with his arrest in an FBI sting, said U.S. authorities who had been monitoring him for nearly a year.
FBI probes deadly shooting involving ICE agents in Long Beach 16 Feb 2012 About 100 FBI agents late Thursday were combing a shooting scene in Long Beach where a federal agent had wounded his supervisor before being fatally shot by another agent. The FBI agents were interviewing witnesses and processing the crime scene after the dispute between the agents with the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, at the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building. "At this time we believe this was an isolated incident and that the shooter acted alone," Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, told reporters at the scene.
Shootout between federal agents kills 1, wounds 1 17 Feb 2012 A confrontation between federal law enforcement agents erupted in gunfire Thursday evening in Long Beach, leaving one dead and another seriously injured, authorities said. The incident was sparked by an unspecified dispute between Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building near the city's oceanfront, according to law enforcement authorities. The agency said in a statement Thursday night that one of its agents died at the scene and the other was in stable condition after the shooting. But the statement did not provide details about the incident.
Facebook hacker jailed for eight months --His 'crime' was unearthed in a routine security review by the website and on June 2 he received a knock on the door from the FBI. 17 Feb 2012 A student who hacked into Facebook has been jailed in the in the "most extensive and grave" case of its kind to come before a British court. Glenn Mangham, 26, admitted infiltrating the social media website from his bedroom at his parents' house between April and May last year. His actions were said to have risked destroying "the whole enterprise" and sparked fears among American authorities of industrial espionage.
British student jailed for hacking Facebook 17 Feb 2012 A student who infiltrated Facebook in what prosecutors called "the most extensive and flagrant" case of social media hacking ever heard in a British court was jailed for eight months on Friday. Glenn Mangham, 26, admitted hacking into the website from his bedroom in Yorkshire, between April and May last year. "This was the most extensive and flagrant incidence of social media hacking to be brought before British courts," said Alison Saunders of the Crown Prosecution Service.
NSC wants rules on research that could lead to biological weapons 18 Feb 2012 The National Security Council is moving to exert greater federal control over scientific studies of highly lethal diseases and toxins in the face of mounting fears that the research could be used by terrorists and rogue states [aka the US], according to people with knowledge of the process. Under the NSC's guidance, the government plans to issue guidelines for research grants that would give agencies the authority to delay or restrict publication of findings they considered susceptible to "dual use" by terrorists or enemy states. "From our standpoint, it seems unreasonable for there to be approval of our research at every step of the way … and then, once we have completed critically important experiments, to have an outside group conclude we should not publish," said Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of virology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who helped touch off the controversy with his work on the H5N1 bird flu. [See: Kobe University lab creates 'novel' H5N1 in 'secret' lab --Kobe University PhD student Teridah Ernala confesses to creating H1N1-H5N1 "novel" viruses; Yoshihiro Kawaoka's virus thief Akiko Makino lies to Indonesian authorities to avoid arrest for attempted smuggling of H5N1 out of Indonesia, gives authorities another university as research facility she works for By Robert S. Finnegan 05 Jan 2012.]
Bird flu research to be published in full 17 Feb 2012 Two studies reporting what makes the H5N1 bird flu virus transmissible in mammals should be published fully, with no details left out, say flu experts meeting at the World Health Organisation in Geneva... The decision to publish comes just a few short weeks after the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), the US's top biosecurity panel, asked these virologists not to publish the research in detail. The NSABB worried that bioterrorists would use the information to make dangerous, transmissible H5N1 - or that other, less careful researchers would repeat the work and let the virus get away.
U.S. nuclear plants similar to Fukushima spark concerns 17 Feb 2012 As the United States prepares to build its first new nuclear power reactors in three decades [thanks to corpora-terrorist troll Obama], concerns about an early generation of plants have resurfaced since last year's disaster in Japan. The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant -- the subject of a battle between state authorities and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over its continued operation -- uses one of 23 U.S. reactors built with a General Electric-designed containment housing known as the Mark I. It's the same design that was used at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three reactors melted down after the events of March 2011.
BP idles large Washington state refinery after fire 18 Feb 2012 BP Plc idled production at its Cherry Point refinery in Washington state on Saturday, a day after a large fire broke out near the core crude oil unit of the third-largest plant on the West Coast. The sole crude distillation unit, or CDU, at the 225,000 barrel-per-day refinery was shut following the one-hour blaze on Friday, said BP spokesman Scott Dean. The fire started when residual crude oil shot out of a flange in a pipe between a heater and the vacuum unit, which boosts production on the crude unit, igniting the blaze, according to a notice the refinery filed overnight with the U.S. National Response Center.
Crews battle fire at BP's Cherry Point, Wash., refinery 17 Feb 2012 Fire crews are battling a blaze at the largest refinery in Washington state on Friday afternoon as flames engulf a tower at BP Plc's Cherry Point facility in Ferndale, according to the company and local media. The fire appeared to be contained but large flames were still visible and a plume of heavy black smoke could be seen for several miles, according to images from CBS affiliate KIRO 7.
VA to Train Homeless Vets for National Cemeteries 16 Feb 2012 The Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping to move some of America's homeless veterans off the streets in part by giving them jobs at the country's national cemeteries. The apprenticeship program comes even as the union representing federal employees slammed the VA for cutting back on its federal workforce by hiring private contractors for caretaker jobs. John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement last week that the outsourcing began during the Bush administration but has continued. Gage said the outsourcing violates the "Vow to Hire Heroes Act" intended to boost veteran employment. [The outsourcing *continued.* Do you hear that, Obamabots at MSNBC - or are you going to give Obusha a pass on this one, too? --LRP]
High court blocks Mont. campaign money ruling 17 Feb 2012 The Supreme Court on Friday blocked a Montana court ruling upholding limits on corporate campaign spending. The state court ruling appears to be at odds with the high court's 2010 decision striking down a federal ban on those campaign expenditures. The justices put the Montana ruling on hold while they consider an appeal from corporations seeking to be free of spending limits. The state argues, and the Montana Supreme Court agreed, that political corruption gave rise to the century-old ban on corporate campaign spending.
Foreclosure abuse rampant across U.S., experts say 17 Feb 2012 A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country. The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday. "The audit in San Francisco is the most detailed and comprehensive that has been done - but it's likely those numbers are comparable nationally," Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Reuters.
Study: Errors in 84 percent of SF foreclosures 16 Feb 2012 More than 80 percent of residential mortgage loans that have gone into foreclosure in San Francisco have missing documents or signatures or otherwise violate the law, according to a review ordered by the city assessor. The results hint at potentially broader problems with how foreclosures have been handled since the collapse of the housing market. While many of the errors were technical and related to paperwork, the problem shows the state needs to change its antiquated real estate regulations, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting said on Wednesday.
US gay marriage: law passes Maryland but vetoed in New Jersey 18 Feb 2012 The movement for same sex-marriage in the US lurched one step forward and took another step back last night as Maryland's House of Delegates approved a bill but New Jersey governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a similar law in his own state. Late on Friday, legislators in Maryland voted 71-67 to allow gay marriage. Led by Governor Martin O'Malley (D), the party's leadership held together a coalition to reach the critical threshold. In New Jersey, Mr Christie wielded his promised veto on a bill that passed the Assembly on Thursday, saying that gay marriage was an issue that should be put to a referendum during the presidential election in November.
Snow falls in Palestine 18 Feb 2012 Snow started to fall on elevated areas and hilltops in Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah as a fierce storm started to move across the West Bank. Onlookers in Hebron say snow started to blanket mountains in the city and the neighboring towns of Halhul, Beit Ummar and Beit Fajjar.