Thursday, February 18, 2016

:-)! KGB EVERYWHERE! :-)! Boutros Boutros-Ghali was KGB Double Spy and Agent - claims DEBKAfile; Evidence shows former Polish president Lech Walesa was communist-era informant, report AP and other news agencies. And even Orthodox patriarch walks with penguins! Does he try to convert them? From what to what?

Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s Secret Career as KGB Double Spy and Agent
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2016
Boutros Boutros-Ghali was never caught out in his clandestine role as a faithful Russian double spy and agent, during which he surreptitiously subverted US interests in one international crisis after another.
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Return of a Middle East Wire-Puller - Boutros Boutros-Ghali
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 13, 2000
A choice piece of intelligence that Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is unlikely to have shared with the departing US president Bill Clinton when they met in the White House Monday concerns an enigmatic international figure the Americans have no reason to love: former UN Secretary General, the Egyptian diplomat and academic Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
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Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill visiting Russia's Bellingshausen scientific station on the Island of Waterloo in the Antarctic.

Orthodox patriarch walks with penguins

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The head of Russia's Orthodox Church follows his historic talks with Pope Francis by meeting a rookery of penguins in Antarctica.
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Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s Secret Career as KGB Double Spy and Agent | Israel

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Boutros Boutros-Ghali was never caught out in his clandestine role as a faithful Russian double spy and agent, during which he surreptitiously subverted US interests in one international crisis after another.

Preparing To Watch the Saudi Monarchy Get Flushed Into the Septic Tank of History 

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U.S President Barack Obama reaches out to shake hands with King Salman of Saudi Arabia at the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.

Start Preparing for the Collapse of the Saudi Kingdom

defense one

Saudi Arabia is no state at all. It’s an unstable business so corrupt to resemble a criminal organization and the U.S. should get ready for the day after.

For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally “moderate.” So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable.
But is it?
In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or so corrupt as to resemble in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization. Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S.decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom.
In recent conversations with military and other government personnel, we were startled at how startled they seemed at this prospect. Here’s the analysis they should be working through.
Understood one way, the Saudi king is CEO of a family business that converts oil into payoffs that buy political loyalty. They take two forms: cash handouts or commercial concessions for the increasingly numerous scions of the royal clan, and a modicum of public goods and employment opportunities for commoners. The coercive “stick” is supplied by brutal internal security services lavishly equipped with American equipment.
The U.S. has long counted on the ruling family having bottomless coffers of cash with which to rent loyalty. Even accounting today’s low oil prices, and as Saudi officials step up arms purchases and military adventures in Yemen and elsewhere, Riyadh is hardly running out of funds.
Still, expanded oil production in the face of such low prices—until the Feb. 16 announcement of a Saudi-Russian freeze at very high January levels—may reflect an urgent need for revenue as well as other strategic imperatives. Talk of a Saudi Aramco IPO similarly suggests a need for hard currency.
A political market, moreover, functions according to demand as well as supply. What if the price of loyalty rises?
It appears that is just what’s happening. King Salman had to spend lavishly to secure the allegiance of the notables who were pledged to the late King Abdullah. Here’s what played out in two other countries when this kind of inflation hit. In South Sudan, an insatiable elite not only diverted the newly minted country’s oil money to private pockets but also kept up their outsized demands when the money ran out, sparking a descent into chaos. The Somali government enjoys generous donor support, but is priced out of a very competitive political market by a host of other buyers—with ideological, security or criminal agendas of their own.
Such comparisons may be offensive to Saudi leaders, but they are telling. If the loyalty price index keeps rising, the monarchy could face political insolvency.
The Saudi ruling elite is operating something like a sophisticated criminal enterprise.
Looked at another way, the Saudi ruling elite is operating something like a sophisticated criminal enterprise, when populations everywhere are making insistent demands for government accountability. With its political and business elites interwoven in a monopolistic network, quantities of unaccountable cash leaving the country for private investments and lavish purchases abroad, and state functions bent to serve these objectives, Saudi Arabia might be compared to such kleptocracies as Viktor Yanukovich’s Ukraine.
Increasingly, Saudi citizens are seeing themselves as just that: citizens, not subjects. In countries as diverse as Nigeria, Ukraine, Brazil, Moldova, and Malaysia, people are contesting criminalized government and impunity for public officials—sometimes violently. In more than half a dozen countries in 2015, populations took to the streets to protest corruption. In three of them, heads of state are either threatened or have had to resign. Elsewhere, the same grievances have contributed to the expansion of jihadi movements or criminal organizations posing as Robin Hoods. Russia and China’s external adventurism can at least partially be explained as an effort to re-channel their publics‘ dissatisfaction with the quality of governance.
For the moment, it is largely Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority that is voicing political demands. But the highly educated Sunni majority, with unprecedented exposure to the outside world, is unlikely to stay satisfied forever with a few favors doled out by geriatric rulers impervious to their input. And then there are the “guest workers.” Saudi officials, like those in other Gulf states, seem to think they can exploit an infinite supply of indigents grateful to work at whatever conditions. But citizens are now heavily outnumbered in their own countries by laborers who may soon begin claiming rights.
For decades, Riyadh has eased pressure by exporting its dissenters—like Osama bin Laden—fomenting extremism across the Muslim world. But that strategy can backfire: bin Laden’s critique of Saudi corruption has been taken up by others and resonates among many Arabs. And King Salman (who is 80, by the way) does not display the dexterity of his half-brother Abdullah. He’s reached for some of the familiar items in the autocrats’ toolbox: executing dissidents, embarking on foreign wars, and whipping up sectarian rivalries to discredit Saudi Shiite demands and boost nationalist fervor. Each of these has grave risks.
There are a few ways things could go, as Salman’s brittle grip on power begins cracking.
One is a factional struggle within the royal family, with the price of allegiance bid up beyond anyone’s ability to pay in cash. Another is foreign war. With Saudi Arabia and Iran already confronting each other by proxy in Yemen and Syria, escalation is too easy. U.S. decision-makers should bear that danger in mind as they keep pressing for regional solutions to regional problems. A third scenario is insurrection—either a non-violent uprising or a jihadi insurgency—a result all too predictable given episodes throughout the region in recent years.
An energetic red team should shoot holes in the automatic-pilot thinking that has guided Washington policy to date.
The U.S. keeps getting caught flat-footed when purportedly solid countries came apart. At the very least, and immediately, rigorous planning exercises should be executed, in which different scenarios and different potential U.S. actions to reduce the codependence and mitigate the risks can be tested. Most likely, and most dangerous, outcomes should be identified, and an energetic red team should shoot holes in the automatic-pilot thinking that has guided Washington policy to date.
“Hope is not a policy” is a hackneyed phrase. But choosing not to consider alternatives amounts to the same thing.



Sarah Chayes is senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law and South Asia Programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is the author of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. She previously was special adviser to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff … Full Bio

Alex de Waal is executive director of the World Peace Foundation and a research professor at The Fletcher School. Considered one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa, his scholarship and practice has also probed humanitarian crisis and response, human rights, HIV/AIDS and … Full Bio
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Obama Admin Could Halt New Iran-Russia Weapons Deals

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The United States has the authority to block new multi-billion dollar arms deals between Iran and Russia though the administration is not expected to exercise this authority, which was granted under United Nations Security Council resolutions pertaining to the recently implemented nuclear agreement.
Senior Iranian and Russian officials held discussions this week about inking a new arms pactexpected to be worth about $8 billion. Iran has reportedly sent Moscow a “shopping list” of various arms and military hardware it is seeking to purchase.
News of the latest deal—which comes in addition to several other Iranian-Russian arms deals inked over past months—drew ire from some on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers remain concerned that Iran is exploiting economic sanctions relief in order to carry out a massive military buildup.
Obama administration officials would not express an opinion on the latest arms deal, but told theWashington Free Beacon that it would formerly register any concerns should they arise in the future.
“We’re aware of ongoing discussions between Russia and Iran regarding possible purchases of military equipment,” a State Department official who was not authorized to speak on record told theFree Beacon in response to inquiries. “If we have concerns about specific transactions, we’ll express those concerns through the appropriate channels, whether bilaterally with Russia or at the U.N. if ‎any specific transaction violates any U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
However, critics of the administration’s outreach to Iran expressed skepticism. They maintain that the White House is turning a blind eye to Iranian violations of the nuclear accord in order to preserve diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.
“The U.N. resolution to endorse the flawed Iran nuclear deal actually gives the United States and other members of the Security Council the power to review and legally block arms sales by Russia or other actors to Iran,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), a critic of the nuclear accord, told the Free Beacon. “But as Russia and Iran further escalate their use of indiscriminate military force in the Middle East, the administration appears wholly unwilling to use this power.”
According to the terms of the U.N. resolution governing the nuclear agreement, the U.S. and other Security Council members are provided with the power to approve “in advance on a case-by-case basis” most conventional arms sales to Iran.
The statute specifically applies to the “supply, sale, or transfer” to Iran of many conventional arms, including “battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles, or missile systems,” according to the resolution.
Iran is reportedly seeking to purchase from Russia a new cadre of advanced Russian-made warplanes and other arms.
The provision requires the Security Council to individually approve the sale of these weapons for the next five years. Any member of the council has the right to veto a measure, meaning that the United States “could effectively block such a sale,” according to Michael Singh, a former White House national security official who worked on the Iran portfolio.
“It appears that the Obama administration has the authority to block any sale of fighter aircraft to Iran,” said Singh, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “In pressing for the approval of the nuclear deal by Congress, the administration discussed these arms restrictions (and related missile restrictions) as de facto bans, there will certainly be an expectation that they would use that authority.”
The U.N. measure also applies to arms manufacturing, meaning that the Security Council would also have to sign off on deals in which Iran agrees to domestically produce certain arms and aircraft parts.
“It is possible that Moscow and Tehran will try to pressure the U.S. and other P5 members to refrain from blocking the transaction, or that they are simply preparing the ground for deals that won’t take effect until the restrictions expire in five years, since major arms sales tend to take a long time to finalize,” Singh said.
Others say that the Obama administration could potentially level new sanctions on both Russia and Iran to send them a message.
“The Obama administration could use its authority under UNSCR 2231 to object to Russian military sales to Iran and push for U.N. sanctions,” Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon. “It could impose U.S. sanctions on Russian entities involved in these sales. It has done none of these things and likely will not as it continues a disturbing pattern of turning a blind eye to Iranian violations of international and U.S. law.”
Some insiders also took a critical view of the administration, saying that it is “too intimidated” to use the powers granted by the U.N. resolution.
“Supporters of the Iran deal boasted throughout the summer that the nuclear deal was a diplomatic victory because it had robust checks against Iranian cheating and aggression,” said a senior official at a D.C.-based pro-Israel organization who is involved in the Iran deal debate.
“Critics of the deal insisted that the Obama administration would be too intimidated to ever use those mechanisms because then Iran would walk away from the deal,” the source said. “This arms sale suggests the critics were right and that the deal supporters bamboozled Congress.”
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UN chief warns military action risks derailing Syria talks

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is warning that escalating military activity in Syria and threats of further use of force risk derailing efforts to reconvene peace talks and finding a political solution to the five-year-old war.









Official: Evidence shows former Polish president Lech Walesa was communist-era informant 

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Official: Evidence shows former Polish president Lech Walesa was communist-era informant.









Pope Francis Joins the 2016 Race at Key Time 

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The feud between Pope Francis and Donald Trump that erupted Thursday could not involve two more polar opposites. Trump’s name is synonymous with billions of dollars. Pope Francis chose to be named after the patron saint of the poor, Francis of Assisi. On the campaign trail, Trump routinely touts his experience with wealth. On his six-day trip to Mexico, Francis visited traditionally peripheral dioceses, including some of the country’s poorest and most dangerous areas.
But both men have an uncanny knack for getting their message out.
Pope Francis has weighed into American politics before—he has brought up climate change and the death penalty in his historic speech to Congress in September—but never before have his remarks been so blunt, delivered in such a pointed way at such a crucial time: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said in response to a direct question on the papal plane back from Mexico about Trump’s plans to deport undocumented immigrants and to build a border wall. “This is not in the Gospel.”

Pope Francis went even farther. Asked about Trump’s accusation last week that Mexico was using Pope Francis as a political pawn, Francis replied, “Aristotle defined human person as ‘animal politicus.’ So at least I am human person.” Pope Francis stopped short of answering whether or not American Catholics should vote for someone with Trump’s views. “I am not going to get involved in that,” he said. “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”
Pope Francis was not just saying Trump is wrong, he was questioning his ethical core. Trump shot back within minutes of the news, calling Pope Francis “disgraceful.” He said he was “proud to be a Christian,” and said that he “will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened.” Essentially, Trump called the most popular Christian leader in the world someone who undermines true faith.
The real estate mogul also positioned himself as Christianity’s ultimate defender. “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened,” he said. He added that his opponents “are using the Pope as a pawn” for their policies. “They should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.”
Pope Francis’ words inject sharp focus about immigration into the presidential campaign, but his critique is larger than Trump. The pope called out any politician who aims to build walls not bridges, which would implicate other GOP presidential candidates such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. His words force all the candidates, especially Republicans, to take note of his broader perspective on immigration.
That is especially noteworthy since Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are Catholic, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich was raised Catholic and even considered becoming a priest. Ben Carson and Cruz are evangelical, and are also trying to position themselves as the candidate Christians should support.
Political jockeying over Pope Francis has been going on since early last year, as politicians tried to predict how he would behave in the U.S. The Pope’s focus on issues like poverty, immigration, and climate change has rattled many Republicans, who are used to counting on Catholic support primarily for issues like abortion and marriage. Democrats have seen in Pope Francis a new ally, and the Obama administration has made building alliances with the Vatican a priority, most dramatically seen in the Cuba/U.S. detente which Pope Francis helped to broker
Bold as they are, the Pope’s comments come as no surprise. Pope Francis has made migrants a focus of his care since his first visit as pontiff to the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean, where he prayed for the hundreds who die trying to cross into Europe.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis made his priorities about migration clear again in his border mass in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico across the border from El Paso, Texas. The symbolism was hard to miss—he walked to a cross between two crowds, one American, one Mexican, separated by the border, and he blessed both sides while pausing to pray.
His immigration concerns go far beyond just the U.S. border issues—there is a global humanitarian crisis due to violence and poverty, he reminded his listeners, and migrants must not be reduced to statistics. He urged the faithful to see migrants as brothers and sisters. “Let us together ask our God for the gift of conversion, the gift of tears, let us ask him to give us open hearts,” Francis preached. “No more death! No more exploitation! There is still time to change, there is still a way out and a chance, time to implore the mercy of God.”
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Severed Human Legs Found In Oz Rubbish Dump

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New South Wales police said the legs had been surgically removed but it was not clear if they belonged to the same person.

Ankara Blast: Turkey Retaliates With Airstrikes

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Turkish warplanes have bombed Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq - as an explosion hit a military convoy in southeast Turkey.

Islamic State Twitter Reach Is 'Declining'

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The social network has suspended thousands of accounts associated with the terrorist group, limiting their growth, a report says.

Wreckage of military convoy after bomb attack in south-east Turkey – video 

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Footage shows the aftermath of a bomb attack on a military convoy in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish south-east on Thursday, which killed six Turkish security force members and seriously wounding one soldier. The soldiers had been searching for mines on the road between Diyarbakir and Lice. Military authorities said the handmade bomb was detonated by remote control. Photo: REUTERS/Cihan News Agency
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Baby dolphin dies after being paraded on beach for photographs 

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Wildlife group warns holidaymakers that the vulnerable mammals should be returned to sea if they get too close to shore after animal dies at Argentine resort











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Trial begins of woman accused of cutting unborn baby from womb 

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Colorado woman Michelle Wilkins tells court she tried to fight back in assault after responding to Craigslist ad, as details emerge about attacker's obsession with pregnancy











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Average Mohamed: The cartoon character fighting Islamic State

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Somali-American Mohamed Ahmed creates cartoon character to fight radicalisation











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Grace Kelly: her amazing life in pictures 

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In pictures: the extraordinary life and career of Grace Kelly, film star and princess









Spanish writer could face charges over 'vagina poem' based on Lord's Prayer 

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Dolors Miquel reported to Spanish prosecutors for reading out a 'blasphemous' version of the Lord's Prayer written in praise of the vagina at an awards ceremony











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Boutros Boutros-Ghali remembered for tumultuous term as UN head (+video) - Christian Science Monitor

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Christian Science Monitor

Boutros Boutros-Ghali remembered for tumultuous term as UN head (+video)
Christian Science Monitor
He worked to establish the UN's independence, particularly from the United States, at a time when the world body was increasingly called on to step into crises with peacekeeping forces, with limited resources.
In last interview, former UN Secretary-General defends Cairo's crackdownsAl-Monitor 

Boutros-Ghali attempted to assert an authoritative role: MbekiSouth African Broadcasting Corporation
Pope praises former U.N. secretary-general's generous service to world
 National Catholic Reporter 

Christianity Daily-Daily Trust-CNSNews.com
all 146 news articles »

Another faction quits Ukraine's governing coalition - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Another faction quits Ukraine's governing coalition
Washington Post
MINSK, Belarus — Ukraine sank deeper into political turmoil Thursday as the governing coalition lost its majority in parliament after a second faction bailed out. The move by Samopomich (Self Help), which has 26 seats in the 450-seat parliament ...
Cabinet creates special committee to elect new heads of largest state-run companiesUkrinform News

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Cruz tops GOP field for first time in new national poll; voters split over Supreme Court vote - CNN

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CNN

Cruz tops GOP field for first time in new national poll; voters split over Supreme Court vote
CNN
Washington (CNN) Ted Cruz has inched ahead of Donald Trump in a new national poll released Wednesday, the first national poll of the 2016 cycle that shows the Texas senator on top of the Republican field. Cruz has the backing of 28% of Republican ...
Trump says 'torture works,' backs waterboarding and 'much worse'Washington Post
My Picks For Nevada (D) And South Carolina (R)Huffington Post
Surprise: Trump Falls Behind Cruz in National NBC/WSJ PollNBCNews.com
New York Times -Breitbart News -Bloomberg
all 735 news articles »
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UN: Nearly 50 civilians killed in Syria by airstrikes on hospitals, schools - THV11.com

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THV11.com

UN: Nearly 50 civilians killed in Syria by airstrikes on hospitals, schools
THV11.com
The United Nations said nearly 50 civilians were killed Monday in missile strikes on five hospitals and two schools in northern Syria, just days before a brokered truce was to begin at the end of the week. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called the ...

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Lech Walesa Was Paid Informant to Communist Regime: Documents - NBCNews.com

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NBCNews.com

Lech Walesa Was Paid Informant to Communist Regime: Documents
NBCNews.com
Seized documents show that Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa was a paid informant for Poland's communist-era secret security service, officials said Thursday. The pro-democracy activist and founder of the 1980s Solidarity movement, who went on to ...
Polish Institute Says Walesa Worked With Communist PoliceBloomberg
Official: documents show Walesa collaborated with regimeQuad City Times

all 67 news articles »

Islamic State finds 'diminishing returns' on Twitter: report

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Islamic State's English-language reach on Twitter has stalled in recent months amid a stepped-up crackdown against the extremist group's army of digital proselytizers, who have long relied on the site to recruit and radicalize new adherents, according to a study being released on Thursday.










  

Turkish army bombs Kurdish militant PKK camps in northern Iraq: sources

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DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes bombed camps belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq late on Wednesday, security sources said, following a car bomb attack in Ankara that killed 28 people.

  

Syrian army says it captured strategic town in coastal area

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AMMAN (Reuters) - The Syrian army backed by heavy Russian aerial bombing said on Thursday it had captured the town of Kansaba in the northern countryside of the coastal province of Latakia.










  

Poland's Walesa says will defend himself in court against new communist spy allegations

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's Lech Walesa, who shot to world fame for his role in the collapse of communism, promised on Thursday to defend himself in court against new allegations that he collaborated with the communist-era secret services.

  
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Moscow expects explanation from Saudis over participation in Syria operation: TASS

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow expects an explanation from Saudi Arabia over plans to participate in the "anti-terrorist" operation against Islamic State in Syria, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Thursday, TASS reported.

  

Russia warns Assad not to snub Syria ceasefire plan

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Bashar al-Assad was out of step with the views of his main ally, Russia, when he said he planned to fight on until he re-established control over all of Syria, Russia's envoy to the United Nations was quoted as saying on Thursday.










  

Palestinian teens stab, kill Israeli in West Bank supermarket

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two Palestinian 14-year-olds stabbed and killed an Israeli in a packed supermarket in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said, as a five-month wave of bloodshed shows no sign of abating.










  

Turkey Bombs Kurdish Positions In Iraq After Ankara Blast

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Turkey says its warplanes have bombed Kurdish positions across the border in northern Iraq, following a deadly bomb attack in the Turkish capital.

Car bomb kills 28 in Turkish capital 

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From: itnnews
Duration: 01:47

A car bomb was detonated near parliament in the Turkish capital of Ankara. . Report by Lydia Batham.

Turkey vows revenge after deadly blast

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Turkey vows to retaliate against the perpetrators of a powerful blast in the capital Ankara that left at least 28 people dead and 61 injured.
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Orthodox patriarch walks with penguins

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The head of Russia's Orthodox Church follows his historic talks with Pope Francis by meeting a rookery of penguins in Antarctica.

Iran proposes nuclear power cooperation with Hungary

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Iran has proposed a project with Hungary to design and develop a small nuclear reactor that could be sold across Asia and Africa and also built in the Islamic republic, Tehran's top nuclear official said on Thursday.

  

Drone harassment legislation passes judiciary committee - messenger-inquirer

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Drone harassment legislation passes judiciary committee
messenger-inquirer
On a partisan vote, the Democratic majority of the House judiciary committee approved House Bill 155, which would make it a class A misdemeanor to use a drone for "harassing conduct," voyeurism, video voyeurism, or to facilitate a theft or burglary.
Drone Legislation Passes Kentucky Senate CommitteeWEKU

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Iraq to shrink paramilitary forces due to shortage of funds

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The Iraqi government has decided to cut the number of state-financed paramilitary forces due to a shortage of funds as the international oil price declines, a spokesman for a leading predominantly Shiite militia group said Thursday.
     

Netanyahu's envoy Gold, Russian FM discuss S. Syria situation

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February 18, 2016, 5:38 PM (IDT)
Dore Gold, director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation in southern Syria. Gold, the personal envoy of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to Russia regarding the Syrian war, was sent urgently to the Russian capital to convey Jerusalem's concern over the approach of the Russian bombing to Israel's northeastern border, as DEBKAfile reported exclusively. The envoy refused to answer questions after the talks. Another high-ranking visitor in the Russian capital is Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, who is meeting with Russian leaders on the tightening of military ties between Tehran and Moscow. 

A nervous Saudi Arabia just launched a massive military exercise - Business Insider

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Business Insider

A nervous Saudi Arabia just launched a massive military exercise
Business Insider
Saudi Arabia military parade Ahmad Masood/REUTERSMembers of Saudi security forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca September 17, 2015.

Qatar soldiers arrive in Saudi Arabia for massive military exerciseDoha News

20 nations join major military manoeuvre in SaudiYahoo News

all 149 news articles »
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US: Russian fighter jet sale to Iran would violate arms ban

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. says Russia's proposed sale of fighter jets to Iran would violate a U.N. arms embargo extended as part of the nuclear accord with Tehran.
The State Department says transferring the Sukhoi-30 planes requires the U.N. Security Council's approval. The planes are comparable to American F-15E ...

Hollywood hospital pays nearly $17K ransom after hackers seize computer files 

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Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles paid a ransom of nearly $17,000 in order to regain control of a computer system that had been compromised in a cyberattack, the hospital's president and CEO said Wednesday.
Allen Stefanek admitted in a statement that the hospital agreed to send 40 bitcoins ...

US: Russian fighter jet sale to Iran would violate arms ban

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The U.S. says Russia's proposed sale of fighter jets to Iran would violate a U.N. arms embargo extended as part of the nuclear accord with Tehran.
     

For Russia's church leader, a trip to Antarctica is not just a photo op

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A visit to an Antarctic research station Wednesday by the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church might seem like an extravagant detour for the 69-year-old Patriarch Kirill. After all, he had just wrapped up a busy Latin American trip that included historic talks with Pope Francis in Cuba. But take a closer look at Kirill, and the polar swing begins to make more sense.
     

Intelligence And Government in Britain And The United States

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Title:                      Intelligence And Government in Britain And The United States
Author:                 Philip H.J. Davies
Davies, Philip H. J. Intelligence And Government in Britain And The United States: A Comparative Perspective. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger
LCCN:    2011036810

Contents

  • v. 1. Evolution of the U.S. intelligence community — v. 2. Evolution of the UK Intelligence Community.

Subjects

Date Posted:      February 18, 2016
Reviewed by Hayden Peake.[1]
Dr. Philip Davies is the director of the Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies in London. He obtained his PhD in sociology in 1997 from Reading University, where he wrote his dissertation, “Organisational Development of Britain’s Secret lntelligence Service 1909-1979.” Since then he has published widely on the intelligence profession. This two-volume comparative treatise is his latest contribution.
The goal of the study “is to try to understand the two systems, and how they have developed, in a comparative context, seeking to comprehend each better by juxtaposing it with the other.” More specifically, Davies asks, since the two systems seek to answer similar problems, “why do they choose almost diametrically opposed solutions to the task … and why is the coordination and management of national intelligence in the United States so much more fraught than in the United Kingdom?” (p. ix) Davies’ formulation of these questions risks a predetermined outcome as the result of confirmation bias, and readers should keep this in mind.
The 24 chapters and more than 800 pages provide a top-down, chronological examination, through the eyes of a political scientist-there are no spy stories here. Davies compares organizational structure and integration, product timeliness and quality, physical separation, size, budget, political systems, staff subordination· and qualifications, security requirements, management, and operational culture-a massive task. In the end, one of his many general conclusions-there are specific ones too-is that a principal difference in the two systems is “the apparent long-term stability and relatively consistently high coordination and integration of the UK intelligence community and the discontinuous, fractious, and contentious experience of the American system.” (Vol. 2, p.314)
This judgment raises the question of whether Davies fully understands the US system. Given the much larger size of the country and its Intelligence Community, there is perhaps more frequent turbulence at the top in the United States, but Davies presents no evidence that this results in operational dysfunction. Davies clarifies his concept of the US Intelligence Community by noting that “not only is analysis particularly central to US intelligence, it stands in sharp contrast with approaches to intelligence in the UK, which typically focus on covert collection as the defining feature of intelligence.” (p. 14) He does not explain why he concludes collection is less important to the Americans, and his own treatment of the Casey years at CIA suggests the opposite. (pp. 286 ff). In any case, his concept will certainly be challenged by US intelligence professionals.
Davies returns to this point in volume 2, where he writes, “The three principal players in the US intelligence community are the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the Defense Department’s Defense Intelligence Agency.” (Vol. 2, p. 5) He may be right if he is referring only to these organizations as sources of intelligence analysis, but if he means the Intelligence Community writ large, itis a surprising statement and raises questions about the other major components of the US community. A final example suggesting he pay more attention to the US community is Davies’ comment that, after 9/11, “if the jihadist threat would ultimately intensify the friction between [US] agencies, it was serving to push the UK’s agencies closer together in an ever more intense and thorough going collegiality.” (Vol. 2, p. 266) This view too is likely to spark cries for evidence from US readers.
The comparisons that are the basic ingredients of this study of intelligence systems, though thoroughly sourced, do not make for easy reading-this work is not a primer. Frequently terminology is hard to follow.
For example, nonsociologists may be perplexed by the comment “That which is ‘distinctive’ about US intelligence culture clearly embodies the optical illusion of the common appearing singular.” (p. 14) On the other hand, Davies’ use of culture as a comparative metric is a useful contribution.
For those seeking to better understand the complexities and differences of both systems, these volumes will serve· as a challenging basis for discussion. They are most worthwhile contributions to the intelligence literature.
[1] Hayden Peake is a frequent reviewer of books on intelligence and this review appeared in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (19, 1, Winter/Spring, 2013, pp. 111-112). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Di recto rate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence. These and many other reviews and articles may be found on line at http://www.cia.gov.

 
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The Electronic War in The Middle East, 1968-70 

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Title:                      The Electronic War in The Middle East, 1968-70
Author:                 Edgar O’Ballance
O’Ballance, Edgar (1974). The Electronic War in The Middle East, 1968-70. Hamden, CT: Archon Books
LCCN:    74008965

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Date Posted:      February 18, 2016
Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[1]
The author of seven books on Middle-Eastern warfare, O’Ballance describes what he terms the first full-scale electronic conflict. He sees the war as a proxy conflict in which both the United States and the USSR battle-tested their sophisticated weapon systems, electronic sensors, electronic jammers, and countermeasure devices against each other, using the Israeli and Egyptian military forces and intelligence organizations as go-betweens. The author provides a useful account of the war that ended in a cease-fire in August 1970. He acquired his technical details on sensors and sensor countermeasures from briefings, interviews, and visits to the battlefield.
[1] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 66

 

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