Thursday, April 28, 2016

FBI arrests brother of San Bernardino terrorist and 2 others after searches - U.S. Thursday April 28th, 2016 at 2:39 PM

FBI arrests brother of San Bernardino terrorist and 2 others after searches - U.S.

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LOS ANGELES (Tribune News Service) — Federal agents arrested three people, including the older brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, on charges of marriage fraud conspiracy and lying to federal investigators on Thursday morning, according to a criminal complaint.
Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook, Mariya Chernykh and Tatiana Farook were all arrested Thursday morning and charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court that centers around a fraudulent marriage between Chernykh and Enrique Marquez, who has been charged with aiding in the deadly Dec. 2 attack.
Two people were arrested at Raheel Farook’s home after the FBI conducted a search warrant on Thursday morning, according to Sgt. Paul Mercado, a spokesman for the Corona Police Department. A second search warrant was also served at Chernykh’s home in Ontario, federal prosecutors said.
In the course of the investigation into the terrorist attack, federal investigators determined that Marquez received money to marry Chernykh, who only took part in the wedding in order to gain legal status in the U.S. FBI agents interrogated Chernykh as part of the probe into the terror attack, and prosecutors say she lied during those interviews, saying she lived with Marquez, when she actually resided in Ontario.
All three are expected to appear in federal court later Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
FBI agents have executed three search warrants at Raheel Farook’s home since Dec. 2, when Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and wounded several more in a mass shooting at a conference room at the Inland Regional Center.
The husband and wife died hours later in a gun battle with police. Federal agents searched the older brother’s home, where several Farook family members live, in the days after the shooting.
They conducted a second search in February, after the investigation pivoted to a search for key evidence that might help the FBI track Farook and Malik’s movements after the Dec. 2 shooting. The hard drive of Farook’s laptop has eluded FBI agents and has become something of a holy grail in the investigation as the FBI tries to determine whether Farook and Malik had any help in planning or carrying out the attack.
Raheel Farook’s marriage to a Russian national also came under suspicion in the weeks after the December attack. The elder Farook and Enrique Marquez — a friend of Syed Rizwan Farook who has been charged with buying weapons used in the assault — were married to a pair of sisters from Western Russia: Tatiana and Mariya Chernykh.
Tatiana was married to Raheel Farook, while Mariya was wed to Marquez in 2014. Late last year, Marquez was charged with marriage fraud after federal prosecutors accused him of receiving money to marry Mariya Chernykh.
Records have shown Mariya Chernykh resided in Ontario and did not live with Marquez.
In the days after the shooting, friends and neighbors of the brothers said they were polar opposites. While his younger brother has been named as the architect of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 2001, the elder Farook was a Navy veteran who received medals for service in the “Global War on Terrorism.”
The older brother was the extrovert of the two, friends say, loud and sociable when compared to Rizwan Farook.
While there has been no indication the elder Farook brother had any knowledge of his brother’s plans, police were called to his Corona home days after the attack at the Inland Regional Center because of a domestic disturbance. At the time, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office said the agency was reviewing the case.
Calls to the district attorney’s office spokesman seeking additional comment Thursday were not immediately returned.
©2016 Los Angeles Times
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Больше половины 300-миллионного состояния Принца уйдет на выплату налогов 

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From: golosamerikius
Duration: 02:04

Больше половины 300-миллионного состояния Принца уйдет на выплату налогов; «Честную» компанию Джессики Альбы обвинили во вранье; журнал «Форбс» опубликовал список самых высокооплачиваемых актеров планеты. Подробности – в новостях шоу-бизнеса.

Russia's Opposition Splits Ahead of Parliamentary Elections - Newsweek

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Russia's Opposition Splits Ahead of Parliamentary Elections
Navalny Kasyanov Russian opposition leaders Alexey Navalny, left, and Mikhail Kasyanov arrive for a conference to outline election plans, in Moscow, April 18, 2015. Navalny has decided not to run alongside Kasyanov's party during the 2016 parliamentary ...

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Ex-Mayor of London Suspended by Labour

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Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, was confronted by a Labour Party member, John Mann, after what was seen as an anti-Semitic remark. Mr. Livingstone was suspended by Labour on Thursday.

French lawmakers vote for lifting EU sanctions against Russia - Deutsche Welle

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Deutsche Welle

French lawmakers vote for lifting EU sanctions against Russia
Deutsche Welle
In early April the Austrian President Heinz Fischer told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Austria could help remove EU sanctions - on condition that Russia ensured a complete fulfillment of its side of the Ukraine ceasefire deal. Fischer's ...
French Assembly adopts resolution calling to end anti-Russian sanctions imposed by EURT
French National Assembly Backs Lifting Anti-Russia SanctionsThe Moscow Times (registration)
French lawmakers adopt non-binding proposal to lift Russia sanctionsYnetnews
Sputnik International
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In Rome, Cheap Public Housing Hid for Years in Plain Sight

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The city owned so many apartments that no one was certain how many there were or who lived in them, and many were doled out in a political spoils system.
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Syria’s peace talks begin to look like a cover for more war

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Parties are paying lip-service to a ‘political solution’ even as a dysfunctional truce collapses around them
Bombs hitting hospitals, doctors and rescue workers killed, civilians starving, scores of dead and injured every day – the raw, bleeding statistics of Syria’s unending war are making a nonsense of an already fragile truce and destroying the slim hopes that peace talks can even carry on.
Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy for Syria, is a consummate diplomat, but this week he has struggled to mask a sense of rising panic – appealing to the US and Russia to come together to stave off what his humanitarian coordinator warned on Thursday would be a new “catastrophe” if violence did not stop.
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Демонстрация силы или хулиганство? 

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From: golosamerikius
Duration: 04:33

Лихачество российских военных летчиков - стало привычной темой новостей. США, ЕС, НАТО считают такие инциденты опасными и провокационными. Москва же традиционно не видит проблемы. Чем опасна показная бравада российских военных - мнение политолога Ариэля Коэна в проекте "Контекст".
Originally published at -

US Lawmaker Asks All Nations to Join Fight Against IS

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A U.S. lawmaker who has taken a leading role in trying to protect religious minorities in the Middle East says the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria is a fight for civilization itself that needs broader support from all nations. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry told VOA's Kurdish Service in an interview that Sunni Arab nations in particular must cooperate with the United States and its Western partners in working to contain IS and to resolve the "horrific" refugee situation in the region. Fortenberry, a Republican from Nebraska, sponsored last month's U.S. congressional resolution declaring as genocide the Islamic State group's campaign of violence against Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minorities. The resolution passed unanimously, 393-0, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Fortenberry said it "puts the full weight and authority of the United States government in declaring the reality of what has happened: a systematic attempt to exterminate entire groups of people based upon their faith." The congressman said the United States is continuing its extensive support for humanitarian aid to help those fleeing Islamic State terror, but there also must be a broader effort to create conditions for security, stability and political reform in the areas ravaged by IS. The Sunni Arab world must play a more robust role in reform efforts, he added. Looking to the future, Fortenberry said U.S. military forces devoted to fighting Islamic State may increase, but no one should expect to see thousands of American troops arriving in the region. "This is a responsibility of the Middle East itself," he added. Wiping out Islamic State, which he described as a gang of "8th-century barbarians," is separate from the task of stabilizing war-torn Syria, Fortenberry said. Although removing President Hafez al-Assad from power is an absolute goal of many many opposition groups in Syria, the congressman noted: "To simply demand that Assad go, and create a vacuum, could make the circumstances worse. To 'protect' Assad and his brutality is unconscionable. So you have to have a transition period here." The United States and its partners must address all aspects of the refugees' flight from Syria, Fortenberry told VOA's Kurdish Service: “The United States shouldn’t do this alone, nor can we do it alone. It's particularly incumbent in the Middle East on Sunni Arab nations to fight for values, to fight for the protection of innocent life, to fight for the principles of civilization, and stability and order itself," he said. Fortenberry estimated the United States is currently spending about $1 billion a year to help regional governments - Iraq's Kurdish regional government and the central government in Baghdad, as well as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon - care for refugees. Protecting civilians' lives and respecting human dignity is a complicated task in areas where Islamic State has mounted systematic efforts to exterminate religious minorities, Fortenberry said. Looking forward, he proposes a system of "safe havens" where returning refugees can begin to re-establish stable societies. "If we don't do this, and the Middle East is emptied of people simply because there is security and cultural conflict, then there is no chance in the future" to heal the wounds that extremists have caused, the congressman said. "That's why this proposal is so important. It not only meets the needs of the humanitarian crisis, but it creates long-term conditions for stability," said Fortenberry.

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NATO Building Black Sea Fleet 

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The Russian foreign Ministry reacted to the plans of NATO to create the black sea fleet

LNR latest news resource

The official representative of Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova believes that the project of creation of the black sea fleet, NATO has seriously undermined security and stability in the region. This is stated in the document, published on Wednesday, April 27, at site Department. Zakharova said that the plans of the Alliance are forcing Moscow to take adequate steps to ensure their own security.
“It is obvious that the conversations on this topic, not to mention practical solutions, if they, of course, will be, will not promote the conservation of the Black sea as a region of peace and good neighborliness”, — said the representative office. Zakharov stressed that the bloc’s leadership, this project does not comment.
In April, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said, that Kiev is ready to join the creation of the black sea fleet. In January, the media reported that the Ministry of defence of Romania start the negotiations with NATO on the issue of formation of such Alliance connections.
To be part of the new naval group that Bucharest wants to see in the region can, Navy ships, United States, Germany, Italy and Turkey. It is assumed that a new fleet may be similar in structure with the already existing ones that do not reside in the Black sea. The project is under control of Prime Minister of Romania, Dacian ciolos and the Minister of national defence of Mihnea Motoc.
In the Black sea regularly come warships of US, UK and other non-black sea countries-members of NATO. So, in October 2015 there was American missile destroyer “porter”, which conducted exercises with the Ukrainian Navy ships and coast guard of Georgia, visited Odessa and Batumi.
The residence time of ships nachimovsky States in the Black sea is limited to 21 days. This term is defined by the Montreux Convention, signed on 21 July 1936, USSR, Turkey, great Britain, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia, Australia and Japan.
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FBI arrests brother and other relatives of San Bernardino attacker

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Authorities in California arrested three people on Thursday who are tied to one of the San Bernardino attackers, charging them with lying under oath and participating in a fraudulent marriage.

General Dunford: I Would Do More Against ISIS if I Could

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Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified during a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing Thursday that he wished he could do more to fight the Islamic State, but political limitations were playing a role.
In the clip noted by the Weekly Standard Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who has been highly critical of the Obama administration, questioned Dunford, saying that not enough has been done to fight ISIS.
“So I just want the whole country to know this, that the president’s goal is to destroy ISIL,” he said, using another name for the terror group. “I share that goal. I know you do too. The military strategy that we are embarked on is the best way to destroy ISIL and it’s what you recommended, or is it limited by conditions put on you by the White House?”
“Senator, to clarify, so if I say that certain-” Dunford said.
Graham stepped in to rephrase his question.
“Would you do more if you could?” Graham asked.
“I would do more if I could, but the limitation is not just a political limitation, part of it is our partners on the ground,” Dunford said.
“Right,” Graham said.
This testimony comes as 250 more American troops are being sent to Syria to supplement the 50 troops that are already there. All 300 are special forces operators who are focused on training and fighting along with local militias.
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About 16 military disciplined in Afghanistan hospital attack

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior U.S. official says that about 16 U.S. military personnel, including one general officer, have been disciplined for mistakes that led to the bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 people.
U.S. officials say that the service members received administrative punishments, ...

GOP senator blocks vote on Army secretary over Guantanamo

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is blocking a vote on the nomination of Eric Fanning to be the next Army secretary. At issue are efforts by the president to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the United States.
Republican Sen. John McCain ...

Brazil prosecutors charge Rousseff campaign strategist

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CURITIBA, Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors have filed unspecified charges against political strategist Joao Santana, the architect of President Dilma Rousseff's 2010 and 2014 campaigns, according to a statement delivered before a news conference on Thursday.

Brawl breaks out in Turkey's parliament – video 

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Skirmishes between lawmakers from AK Party and the pro-Kurdish opposition break out on Wednesday causing a delay on government’s efforts to pass legislation on a migration deal. The parliament has now been suspended until the following week
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Chinese Ambitions in South China Sea Must Be Resisted, Think Tank Says - Bloomberg

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Chinese Ambitions in South China Sea Must Be Resisted, Think Tank Says
The professionalism displayed by China's navy in some of the world's most contested seas is masking an underlying challenge to the existing order in the East China Sea and South China Sea that must be resisted, according to a report by an Australian ...

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Turkish security forces open fire on Kurds – video

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Award-winning photographer and video journalist Refik Tekin captures the moment Turkish security forces open fire on Kurds without warning. The footage was shot in the Kurish city of Cizre, south-east Turkey, in January this year. Tekin was with a group of Kurds who wanted to evacuate bodies and injured people from the street
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European TV Channel Puts Controversial Magnitsky Film On Hold 

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A European television channel will not air a controversial new film on the case of the 2009 death of Russian auditor Sergei Magnitsky next week as previously planned.

Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq Amid Political Crisis

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Iraq for talks with Iraqi leaders "focused on encouraging Iraqi national unity and continued momentum" in the fight against Islamic State. "The Vice President will also be discussing steps the international community can take to promote Iraq's economic stability and further regional cooperation," a statement from Biden's office said. Biden is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Iraq since his previous trip to the...

Islamic State turns to selling fish, cars to offset oil losses: report

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State earns millions of dollars a month running car dealerships and fish farms in Iraq, making up for lower oil income after its battlefield losses, Iraqi judicial authorities said on Thursday.

Luxury Yacht Of Ex-Kremlin Media Boss Lesin, Found Dead In Washington, Is Sold 

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A luxury motor yacht belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin's late press minister has been sold to an unnamed buyer nearly six months after the former Kremlin insider was found dead in a Washington hotel room.

Netanyahu Stands Firm on Peace Talks for Israel, Palestine

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poured cold water on a French initiative to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, saying the two sides should be speaking directly rather than through a third party.

Egypt tries to divert eyes to citizen who died in London

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Under scrutiny in Europe for its handling of the torture death of an Italian student in Cairo, Egyptian authorities are seeking to focus attention on the fate of an Egyptian who died in a London fire.
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Brain Damage in Zika Babies Is Far Worse Than Expected

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Researchers say the Zika virus attacks lobes of the fetal brain that control thought, vision, movement.

Afghanistan Outraged About Taliban's Pakistan Visit

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Afghanistan has criticized Pakistan for allowing a Taliban delegation to visit the neighboring country, saying “a terrorist organization” should not have been been allowed to undertake such activities. The objection came a day after the Islamist insurgency confirmed a three-member Taliban delegation traveled to Islamabad from its Qatar-based political office for talks with Pakistani officials on “border-related issues” and “problems” facing Afghan refugees in the country. While...

Spooked by Russia, Lithuania spares no money for defense

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PABRADE TRAINING AREA, Lithuania (Reuters) - The town doesn't have a name yet, but its buildings are nearly finished and its roads are all laid out. Yet nobody will ever call it home.

FBI Serves Warrants In San Bernardino Inquiry

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A local police cruiser drives by the home of Raheel Farook, brother of San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook, in Corona, California

India orders tanker with disputed Libyan oil to await U.N. instructions

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has instructed an Indian-flagged oil tanker not to discharge its cargo of oil from Libya’s rival eastern government and await instructions from the United Nations, a senior Indian government official said on Thursday.

Iraq Memo: With Iraq Mired in Turmoil, Some Call for Partitioning the Country 

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The political system is malfunctioning as Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis fight to control a nation that might be better off if split among them, some experts say.
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British officials deny reports of security breach

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British officials have admitted that a computer system used to screen for extremists crashed briefly but deny newspaper claims that national security was compromised.

Syrian Truce in Tatters Amid Government Airstrikes, Messy Battles 

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U.S. allies in northern Syria, fighters from a Kurdish-dominated alliance and militiamen from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), clashed Thursday as Russian and government warplanes increased airstrikes on and around the city of Aleppo. As fighting intensified, the U.N. envoy to Syria pleaded with the United States and Russia to intervene "at the highest level" to revive struggling peace talks, saying a partial truce reached in February was now “barely alive.” Rebel...

Fragile economy forces Iran's top leaders to form alliance

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ANKARA (Reuters) - President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may have sharply ideological differences but the fragility of Iran's economy has forced them into an uneasy alliance at least for the time being.

An attack rocked Kabul last week. And a former Bagram detainee may have played a key role. 

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According to local news reports, the suicide bomber may have been a former prisoner released by Karzai in 2014.

Iraqi authorities shut down Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau

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The Al Jazeera Media Network says Iraqi authorities have shut down their bureau in Baghdad and banned its journalists from reporting in the country.

For Top Federal Contractors, Investments in Lobbying, PACs Yield Big Returns - (blog)

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For Top Federal Contractors, Investments in Lobbying, PACs Yield Big Returns (blog)
James RClapper Jr., the director of National Intelligence, served on the board of directors of Booz Allen before taking the nation's top intelligence job. John M. McConnell, who left Booz Allen to become director of National Intelligence under former ...

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House panel pushes ahead with defense budget 'gamble'

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Despite Pentagon objections, the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved a plan to take $18 billion out of the Islamic State war budget in 2017 and instead pay for more soldiers, military training and equipment.

Army officers accused of bribery in Pentagon acquisition scandal exonerated 

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A federal court on Wednesday exonerated four former high-ranking Army officers accused of orchestrating a large-scale bribery scheme involving under-the-table payments to Pentagon acquisition officials in an attempt to secure lucrative Defense Department contracts for their Virginia-based government contracting firm.
Edwin Livingston III, 67; Ronald Tipa, 68; Thomas Taylor, 66; ...

Secret Service proposes 'taller, stronger' White House fence

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The Secret Service has called for heightening the security fence surrounding the White House by five feet, among other changes, in hopes of reducing the number of intruders amid an increase in "fence jumpers."
Details concerning the agency's proposal were made available Wednesday after NBC News's local affiliate acquired an ...

Chris Matthews: ‘We Don’t Even Know What the Facility’s Called’ Where the Benghazi Attack Happened 

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MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Wednesday that “we don’t even know what the facility’s called” where the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack occurred that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Discussing Donald Trump’s attack on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not being awake for the phone call about the attack, Matthews appeared not to remember it occurred at the diplomatic compound in the Libyan city.
“Ever since the horror that happened to Chris Stevens and the other Americans in Benghazi, ever since that very confusing night, out in the middle of a facility, we don’t even know what the facility’s called, that horror went on, Hillary’s been accused of somehow dereliction of duty,” Matthews said. “Not that she spun the PR the wrong way afterward, not that she failed to meet the refurbishing needs of an outlying facility, but that she somehow didn’t care about her friend. She let him die.”
Matthews has never shown a disposition for taking the Benghazi attack seriously. He once said“things happen” while discussing the attack, and he also dismissed probes into the attack and its subsequent handling by the Obama administration as “this thing called Benghazi.”
Matthews and many other liberal media members have routinely shrugged off investigations into Clinton’s conduct as a partisan witch hunt, and the press delighted in calling Clinton’s 11-hour testimony about the attack in October a triumph for her campaign.

Russian Warplane Flies Within 50 Feet of U.S. Spy Plane in Asia

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A Russian MiG-31 jet flew within 50 feet of a U.S. surveillance aircraft in Northeast Asia last week, Moscow’s latest aerial saber-rattling against American ships and planes, according to defense officials.
“On April 21, a U.S. Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft flying a routine mission in international airspace was intercepted by a MiG-31 Russian jet in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Benham said the intercept was “characterized as safe and professional.”
“Intercepts between the United States and other militaries occur often and the vast majority are professional,” he noted. “For intercepts that are deemed unprofessional, the U.S. takes appropriate measures through military and diplomatic channels.”
A defense official familiar with the MiG-31 intercept said the jet flew within 50 feet of the P-8, a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
The incident took place near the Russian city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a port located on the southeastern end of the peninsula.
Kamchatka is Russia’s main military hub in the Pacific and the focus of a buildup of Russian military forces that Moscow has said is intended to match the U.S. military rebalance to Asia.
Several military bases are located there, along with a major naval base. The peninsula is also the main impact range for Russian missile flight tests launched from the central part of the country.
The latest aerial incident involving a Russian jet followed two dangerous encounters over the Baltic Sea last week.
A Russian Su-27 flew within 50 feet of an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft on April 14 and executed a barrel roll over the surveillance plane in what the Pentagon called an “unsafe and unprofessional manner.”
Two days earlier, two Russian Su-24s buzzed the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, coming very close to its deck as the warship sailed in the Baltic Sea. The Pentagon protested both incidents.
On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the recent incidents are an indicator of “tension that has built up in Europe especially over the last couple of years since events in Crimea and Ukraine.”
On the recent buzzing of the Cook, Carter said “it is unprofessional behavior, and whether it is encouraged from the top, whether it was encouraged from higher up or not I can’t say.”
“But we do expect it to be discouraged from higher up from now on,” he added. “These pilots need to get the word, ‘Hey, knock it off. This is unprofessional. This is dangerous. This could lead somewhere.’”
Carter, appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the recent incidents were “dangerous” and could have led to a conflict, noting that “we can’t be accidentally stumbling into something.”
The P-8 flight appears to have been part of an effort to spy on Russia’s deployment of a new missile submarine at Petropavlovsk.
Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the Pacific Command, told a Senate hearing in February that Russia is building up its military in the Pacific, where Moscow’s Far East forces had declined sharply after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
“Russia continues modernizing its military forces, homeporting its newest Dolgurukiy-class ballistic missile submarine in Petropavlovsk, and revitalizing its ability to execute long-range strategic patrols, highlighted by last July’s deployment of Tu-95 Bear bombers near Alaska and California, and last month’s bomber flights around Japan,” Harris told the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 23.
Retired Navy Capt. Jim Fanell said the close-in MiG-31 intercept is significant.
“The 50-foot closest point of approach by Russian Far East MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors to a U.S. Pacific Fleet P-8 reconnaissance flight is an indicator the Russian Navy has likely transferred their first Dolgorukiy-class SSBN to the Pacific Fleet,” Fanell said, using the acronym for ballistic missile submarine.
The new missile submarine, armed with Bulava nuclear missiles, marks a significant upgrade of Russia’s aging fleet of Delta III missile submarines.
The arrival of the first Dolgorukiy “places an additional ‘hold at risk’ tasking on the U.S. Pacific Fleet which has also had to account for the introduction of [People’s Republic of China] Navy JIN-class SSBN patrols in 2015,” Fanell said.
The need to monitor new Russian missile submarines adds to the already overloaded requirements for U.S. submarine forces.
“This clearly represents another clear and present danger to U.S. national security,” Fanell said. The “nation needs more ballistic missile and fast attack nuclear submarines, and fast.”
A Su-27 in January flew within 20 feet of an RC-135 over the Black Sea in a dangerous maneuver.
Last October, the Russians used threatening aerial maneuvers against the aircraft carrier USS Reagan in the Sea of Japan. Two Russian Tu-142 bombers made low passes near the aircraft carrier near the Korean peninsula.
Earlier, on July 4, 2015, two Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers flew within 40 miles of the California coast prompting intercepts by U.S. jets.
Moscow also has sent Tu-95 bombers to circumnavigate the Pacific island of Guam on several occasions. The island is a major military hub and central to the U.S. military’s pivot to Asia.
The Russian navy’s Pacific Fleet conducted exercises in the Sea of Japan on April 22, a day after the P-8 was intercepted, according to a Twitter search.
Russian naval forces from Kamchatka also carried out missile and artillery fire exercises in recent days.
The military activities may have been a target of the P-8 surveillance operations.
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Latest Defense Bill Could Decimate Visa Program for Afghan Allies 

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Afghan interpreters who worked with the FBI, the State Department, and other U.S. agencies in Afghanistan could be deemed ineligible for U.S. visas by the 2017 defense appropriation bill, according to advocacy groups.
Under the Special Immigrant Visa program, Afghans who worked as translators for the U.S. military and support operations are eligible to apply for American visas if their lives are at risk in Afghanistan.
But according to advocates for the SIV program, the latest version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act in the House of Representatives would limit eligibility to translators who worked directly for the U.S. military or intelligence agencies. Interpreters in other support roles, such as working with the American embassy in Kabul or for base security, would no longer be qualified for the visa program.
As U.S. troops pull out of the region and the security situation deteriorates for American allies, thousands of Afghans currently under threat from the Taliban could be impacted.
“If this becomes the law of the land, in all intents and purposes there will not be an SIV program anymore,” said Matt Zeller, a former Army captain who runs the interpreter advocacy group No One Left Behind. “And we will be outright turning our backs on a group of people we have made a fundamental promise to.”
Zeller said the current version of the bill is “remarkably ambiguous” in defining which interpreters would be unqualified for the program. He called it a “wink and a nod to the State Department to start denying anybody who’s applying for a [special immigrant] visa.”
“All the people who worked for the FBI, the DEA, our very own State Department, none of those people suddenly qualify,” said Zeller, adding that the changes could also cause problems for Afghans who worked in covert capacities for U.S. intelligence agencies.
“As far as the Taliban are concerned, they worked for the U.S. military and they should all die,” he said.
The bill also does not allocate additional visas despite a backlog of 10,000 applicants. Currently, 4,000 visas are still available from last year’s congressional allocation, but the State Department has requested another 4,000 so it can process new requests.
“Thousands of Afghans have given sacrificial service to our country in Afghanistan, and our country has made a promise to them,” said Betsy Fisher, policy director at the International Refugee Assistance Project. “When we fail to provide them with safe passage as we’ve promised to do, we leave them in danger. But we also jeopardize our national security, in light of our ongoing military presence overseas.”
The bill is being drafted by the House Armed Services Committee, but sources say the obstacle on visa allocation lies with the House Judiciary Committee, which has authority over immigration and visa issues.
Fisher said the failure to earmark additional visas means “those people in the backlog have no avenue for safety.”
“There hasn’t been any explanation about what those extra 6,000 people should do,” Fisher said. “It’s unclear whether this means they’re unwilling to grant further visas ever, or just reticent to do so right now. Certainly there’s a need for those visas immediately.”
Zeller said the bill could have “profound consequences for our trust and goodwill” in the region.
“How could members of Congress put our current troops in this much danger?” he asked. “What happens if the current Afghans working as translators decide they can’t trust the U.S. to keep its promise, and just quit?”
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