Monthly Archives: September 2014

US House backs Obama and war operations in Syria

The US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels, backing President Obama after he personally pleaded for support. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/18/us/politics/house-vote-isis.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LedeSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news The 273-to-156 vote was over a narrow military measure with no money attached, but it took on outsize importance and was infused with drama. Speaker John A. Boehner of […]

Taking Africa: The Rise of Africom, Arab Spring and Ebola

In mid-2006, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld formed a planning team to advise on requirements for establishing a new Unified Command for the African continent. In early December, he made his recommendations to President George W. Bush.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Africa_Command  On 6 February 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced to the Senate Armed Services Committee that President George […]

PA state trooper killed in “attack on the government”

Law enforcement from three states search for suspects who ambushed two troopers at a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania, killing one and wounding the other. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/us/state-police-officer-dies-in-pennsylvania-ambush.html?ref=us The slain trooper was identified on Saturday afternoon as Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson. The wounded trooper, who was identified as Alex T. Douglass, was in critical but stable […]

Ukraine says NATO will arrange arms shipments to Kiev

Ukraine’s defense minister said on Sunday that he had discussed weapons deliveries in bilateral meetings with NATO defense ministers during a NATO summit in Wales on Sept. 4-5.http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2014/09/14/world/europe/14reuters-ukraine-crisis-heletey.html?ref=world  Earlier this month, a senior Ukrainian official said Kiev had agreed on the provision of weapons and military advisers from several members of the U.S.-led alliance of […]

Provocative military intelligence deal struck with Malaysia

Malaysia’s has reportedly invited the United States to fly spy planes out of East Malaysia on the southern rim of the South China Sea.The agreement seems likely to intensify China’s anger at American surveillance of the strategic waterway and its disputed islands, analysts say. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world/asia/malaysia-risks-enraging-china-by-inviting-us-spy-flights.html?ref=world&_r=0 The United States’ chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan W. […]

NSA and GCHQ have access to Germans private data

US and British intelligence services are able to secretly access information from German telecoms operators, according to a German newspaper report. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29196748 A programme called Treasure Map gives the NSA and its UK counterpart, GCHQ, data from operators including Deutsche Telekom, Der Spiegel said. The data is said to include information from networks as well […]

Senator McCain dogged by claims he and US created ISIS

Senator John McCain is battling persistent Internet rumors that he not only helped invent ISIS but also knows its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Muslim world and America’s latest Public Enemy No. 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/world/middleeast/try-as-he-may-john-mccain-cant-shake-falsehoods-about-ties-to-isis.html?ref=world&_r=0 The rumors are based partly on images of a Syrian fighter who resembles Mr. Baghdadi, seen in […]

Obama bypasses congress with war authorization powers

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it needed no new approval from Congress to launch an open-ended air war in both Syria and Iraq against the group known as ISIS because the campaign is covered by the existing authorization to use military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/white-house-invites-congress-to-approve-isis-strikes-but-says-it-isnt-necessary.html?ref=us The […]

Iranians trumpet ISIL is an american-made monster

“Come on, you know who has created ISIS,” said an Iranian supermarket owner, winking his right eye. “Admit it,” demanded the taxi driver, hitting his steering wheel to make his point. “It is so obvious!” concluded the talkative uncle at the birthday party. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/isis-many-in-iran-believe-is-an-american-invention.html?ref=world ISIS, Iranian leaders have been saying for a long time, is […]

Iraqi government uses ISIL fears to attack Sunni minority

A group of Iraqi Sunni refugees had found shelter in an abandoned school, two families to a room, after fleeing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They were gathered in the school’s courtyard last week when the Iraqi Air Force bombed them. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/sunni-mistrust-is-major-hurdle-for-new-iraqi-leaders.html?ref=world The bombing, in Alam District near Tikrit, may well […]

West blames Syria for more chemical attacks amid doubts

A toxic chemical, probably chlorine, was used as a weapon to attack Syrian villages in April, an international watchdog agency confirmed on Wednesday. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/watchdog-agency-concludes-chlorine-used-as-weapon-in-syria.html?ref=world The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said in a statement from its headquarters in The Hague that the information its team had collected provided “compelling evidence” that the toxic […]

From covert to overt means of arming Syrian opposition

Saudi Arabia has agreed to an American request to provide a base to train Syrian opposition fighters, American officials said on Wednesday. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-isis.html?ref=world&_r=0 “We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort — the train-and-equip program — to host that program,” said a senior Obama […]

General Motors allowed deadly defects for a decade

In February, General Motors initial recall of hundreds of thousands of cars with defective ignition switches was treated in such a routine manner at the board’s monthly meeting that the board’s chairman, Theodore M. Solso, said he had only a vague recollection of the details. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/business/gms-board-is-seen-as-slow-in-reacting-to-safety-crisis.html “I can’t remember the specifics,” Mr. Solso said in […]

US police state history and the end of Posse Comitatus

Posse comitatus is not a phrase that trips lightly off every tongue. It is typically translated from Latin as “force of the county.” Anyone who has ever watched an old Western movie will instantly recognize the first word as referring to men deputized by the sheriff to chase down some varmints who went thataway. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/us/the-rise-of-the-swat-team-in-american-policing.html […]

Office drug tests threaten legal marijuana users in US

Paralyzed in a car crash when he was 16, Brandon Coats has, been using medical marijuana since 2009 to relieve the painful spasms that jolted his body. It never hurt his performance answering customer calls for a Colorado satellite-television provider. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/us/legal-use-of-marijuana-clashes-with-workplace-drug-testing.html But when Dish Network asked Mr. Coats to take a random drug screen test […]

Apple to share your bodily functions with Obamacare

Wearable computers — attached to a wrist, a belt, a lapel or even a head — have so far been the property of serious gadget enthusiasts and calorie-counting fitness buffs. While a lot of attention has been paid to Google Glass, for example, the computer-in-eyewear is as well-known for the privacy controversy it has caused […]

Plausible deniability and the release of deadly pathogens

A number of long-forgotten deadly microbes have been uncovered in US government laboratories.  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29089867 The highly poisonous substances were found in a hunt triggered by the accidental discovery in July of vials of smallpox at a lab in the National Institutes of Health near Washington. They included vials of ricin and pathogens that cause botulism, […]

German security service must purge files on opposition

Germany’s domestic security watchdog must purge all files it has kept on a politician from an opposition party with roots in the former East Germany, a court said Friday. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/06/world/europe/politician-wins-spying-case-in-germany.html?ref=world The administrative court in the western city of Cologne upheld a complaint by the politician, Gregor Gysi, the parliamentary leader of the opposition party Die […]

Islamist militants killing christians, destroying churches

For the last decade the Chaldean Catholics of Iraq — members of an Eastern Rite church that is affiliated with Roman Catholicism while retaining its own customs and rites — have been suffering recently at the hands of Islamic militants. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/06/us/as-iraqi-christians-in-us-watch-isis-advance-they-see-a-slow-motion-genocide.html?ref=us During that period, the total Christian population of Iraq, the largest share of which […]

IRS loses more e-mails relating to tax-exempt targets

The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that it had lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/06/us/irs-says-it-has-lost-more-emails.html?ref=us&_r=0 The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails and said that there was no indication that anyone had deliberately destroyed evidence. […]