Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Russia resume strikes of eastern Aleppo, cancels Paris talk | Putin postpones visit to France amid diplomatic tensions - Europe - Stripes | UK Report Warns of Criminals Becoming Terrorists - Security Headlines Review - 10.11.16

Russia resume strikes of eastern Aleppo, cancels Paris talk

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Russian jets resumed heavy bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Tuesday after several days of relative calm, a rebel official and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Air strikes mostly hit the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood, Zakaria Malhifji of the Aleppo-based Fastaqim rebel group told Reuters. “There is renewed bombardment and it is heavy,” he said. Rebel officials and the Observatory reported casualties from the air strikes but gave no immediate toll.
Moscow and Damascus reduced air raids in the northern city last week. The Syrian army said it was partly to allow civilians to leave opposition-held eastern neighbourhoods. The Syrian government said rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms. Insurgents denounced that offer as a deception.
President Bashar al-Assad seeks the complete recapture of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the 5-1/2-year war, and which has been divided between government and opposition control for years.
Assad’s ally Russia has meanwhile built up its forces in Syria since a brief ceasefire collapsed last month.
Rebel fighters shoot their weapons celebrating what they said was the taking over of Baraghedeh and Kafr-Ghan towns, in the northern Aleppo countryside. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Rebel fighters shoot their weapons celebrating what they said was the taking over of Baraghedeh and Kafr-Ghan towns, in the northern Aleppo countryside. REUTERS

Putin cancels Paris visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not visit Paris next week or meet his French and German counterparts for separate talks on the Syria crisis, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
“The President made the decision to cancel his visit,” Peskov told a conference call with reporters. “The President noted that he is ready to visit Paris at a time convenient for (French President) Hollande. We will wait for this convenient time to come.”
Putin’s cancellation is the latest deterioration in ties between Moscow and the West after Russia vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria. Paris’ growing anger at events in the rebel-held areas of Syria’s Aleppo had led them to reconsider whether to host Putin on October 19.
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putin resumes bombardments of aleppo - Google Search

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Story image for putin resumes bombardments of aleppo from Dhaka Tribune

Heavy Russian bombing of Syria's Aleppo resumes, 12 civilians killed

The Straits Times-1 hour ago
The raids in Aleppo killed at least 12 civilians, a monitor said, and caused ... Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, cancelled a planned trip to ... "This is the heaviest Russian bombardmentsince the Syrian regime ...

Syria conflict: Russia's Putin halts France visit amid row

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin has cancelled a planned visit to France amid a row over Syria.
He had been due to meet French President Francois Hollande and open a new Orthodox church later this month.
But after France's government said talks would be confined to Syria the visit was halted, French presidential sources said.
On Monday, Mr Hollande suggested Russia could face war crimes charges over its bombardment of Syria's city of Aleppo.
The French presidency had told the Russians Mr Hollande would attend only one event with Mr Putin during the visit planned for 19 October - a working meeting on Syria, according to the sources.
But after this Russia "let it be known that it wanted to postpone the visit", they added.
A spokesman for Mr Putin confirmed the trip had been cancelled, adding that the visit would take place when it becomes "comfortable for President Hollande".
Despite this Mr Hollande has said he will meet Mr Putin at "any time" if it would "further peace".
The development comes a day after Mr Hollande told French TV that prosecutions over Syria could take place in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"These are people who today are the victims of war crimes. Those that commit these acts will have to face up to their responsibility, including in the ICC," he said.
Neither Russia nor Syria is a member of the ICC.
Moscow has repeatedly denied attacking civilians, and says it targets terrorist groups in Syria.
The besieged east of Aleppo has come under intense aerial bombardment since a cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Moscow collapsed last month.
The area was hit again on Tuesday in some of the heaviest air strikes in days, a monitoring group and activists said.
Eight civilians were killed in strikes on the Bustan al-Qasr and Fardos districts, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Diplomatic efforts to revive the ceasefire have so far come to nothing.
The UN has warned that eastern Aleppo, where an estimated 275,000 people still live, could face "total destruction" in two months.
Last week Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution drafted by France calling for an end to the bombing in Aleppo.
» The War Criminals Of Syria – OpEd – Eurasia Review
11/10/16 11:30 from Mike Nova's Shared Newslinks
mikenova shared this story from Eurasia Review. “It is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes.” This is the charge laid by the British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft,...
» Heavy Russian bombing of Syria's Aleppo resumes, 12 civilians killed, Middle East News & Top Stories
11/10/16 11:27 from Mike Nova's Shared Newslinks
mikenova shared this story . ALEPPO, Syria (AFP) - Russia carried out its heaviest strikes in days on the city of Aleppo on Tuesday (Oct 11), as at least five children were killed in rebel fire on a school in the war-torn country's south...
» Russia Resumes Bombing of Aleppo Says Monitoring Group
11/10/16 11:26 from Mike Nova's Shared Newslinks
mikenova shared this story from Newsweek. Russian jets resumed heavy bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo  Tuesday after several days of relative calm, a rebel official and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monit...


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UK Report Warns of Criminals Becoming Terrorists
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The lines between terrorism and criminality are becoming blurred as an increasing number of former criminals join the Islamic State group and create a "gangster jihad," according to a British report released Tuesday.
Nearly 60 percent of European jihadists studied by researchers had been jailed previously, in essence creating a "super-gang," said the report from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at King's College London.
Once recruited by IS, these people easily transition to committing violence for a different cause, making the group different from other Islamist organizations such as al-Qaida, which often radicalized students, intellectuals or other previously non-violent individuals to carry out its violent aims, the report said.
"They are the perfect fit," Peter Neumann, the center's director, said of the criminals bolstering the Islamic State group's ranks.
"Islamic State doesn't require any intellectual sophistication. It doesn't ask you to study religion. It makes it all like a computer game."
The researchers said a growing Islamic State offers criminals a chance at "redemption" without requiring a change in behavior.
With recruits who are already accustomed to violence, it is less difficult to persuade them to go further. They are also familiar with weapons and are adept at "staying under the radar" and at logistical planning.
While past efforts to stop extremist attacks focused on tracing the complicated international bank transactions that financed militants, IS attacks don't necessarily require huge sums of money. The center estimated that some 40 percent of such plots in Europe are now being financed in part by street crime like selling drugs or counterfeit goods.
One of those involved in the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo financed his activities by selling counterfeit sports shoes on the streets of Paris.
The report suggests law enforcement must target all sources of funding to combat the threat.
"Based on our database, jihadists tend to continue doing what they are familiar with, which means that terrorist financing by criminal means will become more important as the number of former criminals is increasing," the report said.
The researchers warn that European prisons will become more important breeding grounds for the jihadist movement as the number of people convicted of terrorism-related offenses increases.
"Institutional silos — for example, the separation between countering crime, customs, and counter-terrorism — need to be broken down," the report said. "With criminal and terrorism milieus converging, the fight against crime has become a national security issue."

The Early Edition: October 11, 2016 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
YEMEN
The US went ahead with a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings that it could be implicated in war crimes for supporting the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen that has led to the deaths of thousands of civilians, according to government documents and current and former officials. Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay report at Reuters.
The “atrocities” committed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen would not have been possible without the “steadfast, aggressive support” of the US and the UK, Glenn Greenwald writes at the Intercept.
Two missiles were fired at the USS Mason in the Red Sea Sunday night from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, according to Pentagon spokesperson Navy Capt. Jeff Davis. [Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe]
The Obama administration should “retaliate swiftly and decisively” against the attack, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday, Kristina Wong reports at the Hill.
A ballistic missile fired from Yemen apparently targeted a Saudi air base near the holy city of Mecca Sunday, the deepest strike yet into Saudi Arabia by the Houthis and their allies, Jon Gambrell reports at the AP.
Saudi Arabia said it will investigate an airstrike on a funeral in Sana’a, Yemen, that killed 142 mourners on Saturday, expressing regret but stopping short of accepting responsibility for the attack, Ahmed al Omran and Asa Fitch report at the Wall Street Journal.
An international enquiry into whether the attack was a war crime was called for by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, supported by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who condemned both the attack and the Saudi-led bombing campaign believed to be responsible for it, Nick Cumming-Bruce and Eric Schmitt report at the New York Times.
The US condemned the strike, National Security spokesperson Ned Price saying that “US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check.” [CNN’s Ray Sanchez]
Fragments of what appear to be US-made MK-82 bombs have been found at the site of the attack,Alex Emmons reports at the Intercept.
Yemen has become “another Syria.” The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall explains how President Obama’s “hands –off” approach in Yemen, as in Syria, as well as US and UK arms sales, have fueled a Saudi-Iranian proxy war that could “blow up in the west’s face.”
SYRIA
Russian jets resumed their heavy bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo today after several days of reasonable calm, according to a rebel official and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [Reuters]
Western air forces must be prepared to confront Russian jets over Aleppo to enforce a no-fly zone, UK members of parliament will be told by a former minister during an emergency three-hour Commons debate today which is anticipated to force the UK Foreign Office to set out how it intends to respond after Russia’s veto of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in eastern Aleppo. Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.
Refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged for the second time yesterday, telling reporters he was “deeply disappointed” by the lack of unity on Syria within the UN Security Council. [AP]
France said it will ask the International Criminal Court to investigate potential war crimes in the Syrian city of Aleppo yesterday, its foreign minister telling reporters that “we do not agree with what Russia is doing.” [Al Jazeera]
Russian President Putin has canceled a planned trip to France next week over French President François Hollande’s suggestion yesterday that Russia is guilty of war crimes in Syria, CNN’s Angela Dewan reports.
Relations between France and Russia have deteriorated following Russia’s veto of a French-drafted UN Security Resolution on SyriaReuters reporting that the French President was reconsidering earlier whether to host President Putin at the meeting in Paris on Oct. 19, which at that point Russia’s ambassador to France said Putin still wanted to attend.
At least 10 people have been killed in an Islamic State bombing attack in a village in northern Syria,Reuters reports.
Medical workers in Aleppo are exhausted and the overstretched facilities there face an impending fuel shortage, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement yesterday. [AP’s Philip Issa]
The Syrian regime has adopted a “policy of terror” against the population since the beginning of the Syrian war, including “a plan to target the humanitarian mission,” the President of Doctors Without Borders Mego Terzian told Al Jazeera’s Zena Tahhan.
The Islamic State’s propaganda operations have dropped off dramatically under increased military pressure, according to a study by terrorism researchers at West Point. Scott Shane reports at theNew York Times.
IRAQ
Advance warning gives civilians hope that they will soon be liberated and encourages enemy fighters to defect, the spokesperson for the US-led coalition supporting Iraq’s military said yesterday, defending the open discussions about an imminent operation to retake Mosul. Susannah George reports at the AP.
A large Shia force plans to set up a blocking position to the west of Mosul to stop the Islamic State from escaping to Raqqa in Syria while the Iraqi army attacks Mosul, a decision that Iraq’s military is seeing as a rebuff, Martin Chulov explains at the Guardian
RUSSIA
Russia has moved nuclear weapons to its border with EuropeCNN’s Elise Labott reports.
Russia and China will hold their second joint anti-missile drills next year, Chinese state media said today, after South Korea and the US prompted anger with their plans to deploy a US anti-missile system in South Korea. [Reuters]
The US missile defense poses a great danger to Russian and Chinese nuclear potentials, the Russian Armed Forces General Staff said. [Interfax]
Russia advanced its reconciliation with Turkey yesterday, including an agreement to revive a halted natural-gas pipeline project, President Putin visiting Turkey himself – meaning he wanted to discuss regional problems face-to-face, which is “especially important” in the context of current Russia-US tensions, according to one expert. Neil MacFarquhar reports at the New York Times.
The “new Cold War’s only just begun,” Michael Weiss suggests at The Daily Beast, discussing Russia’s behavior both at home and abroad.
LIBYA
Divisions over Libya are threatening the European Union’s new push to cooperate more effectively on defense and security, Jacopo Barigazzi reports at POLITICO.
The Islamic State trained hundreds of recruits to extend its caliphate to “Europe’s doorstep” in Libya’s Sirte, recently discovered documents reveal. Maria Abi-Habib reports at the Wall Street Journal.
CHINA and SOUTH KOREA
Seoul summoned China’s ambassador to South Korea today over the alleged ramming and sinking of a South Korean coast guard vessel by Chinese fishing boats, the AP reports.
A formal complaint has been lodged with Beijing by South Korean officials over the sinking, which happened Friday and resulted in no casualties, reports the AP.
South Korea will use greater force against Chinese boats illegally fishing in its waters, it said today. [Reuters’ Ju-min Park]
CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY and TECHNOLOGY
The FBI is probably continuing to ask companies for more information than the law allows, a recently revealed subpoena shows. [The Intercept’s Jenna McLaughlan]
WikiLeaks published 2,000 new documents it says were hacked from the emails files of the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign yesterday, the Hill’s Julian Hattem reports.
Why does the US fear that Russia is hacking the presidential election? Gordon Corera sums up the issues at the BBC.
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
The Taliban entered the capital of Helmand province yesterday after weeks of fighting, the group’s most successful assault to date on the strategic city, reports Pamela Constable at the Washington Post.
A Syrian man was arrested in Germany on suspicion of plotting an “Islamic-motivated explosive attack in Germany” yesterday morning after a manhunt over the weekend, the New York Times’ Melissa Eddy reports.  The suspect was subdued by other Syrian migrants who recognized him from police wanted posters, Stephanie Kirchner reports at the Washington Post.
A planned summit to discuss the conflict in Ukraine involving Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany can only take place if there is “real progress” on the key stumbling blocks in the coming days, a French diplomatic source said today. [Reuters]
The family home of a Palestinian convicted of being an accomplice to a deadly shooting attack on Israelis last year was demolished by the Israeli military today, the AP reports.
No evidence or suspects were discovered to corroborate an intelligence report of car bomb attacks in and around Bangkok after a police search today, the AP reports.
Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a “stealth initiative to bolster Britain’s nuclear deterrent,” suggests Peter Wynn Kirby at the New York Times.
Colombia’s second-largest rebel group released a hostage yesterday ahead of an expected announcement that it is beginning peace talks with the government, the AP reports.
Turkish authorities have switched focus from alleged followers of Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to the country’s Kurdish minority community in recent weeks as the post-coup crackdown continues, observes Erin Cunningham at the Washington Post.
Death sentences for terrorism offenses are often handed down following unfair trials by special courts with no respect for human rights and the rule of law, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday. [AP’s Michael Astor]
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Why Russia Fears NATO | The National Interest Blog

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Adam Twardowski takes umbrage at arguments that I and other members of the realism and restraint camp have made that NATO’s behavior over the past two decades has exacerbated tensions with Russia. He begins his rebuttal with a drive-by smear that is increasingly in vogue among neoconservatives, dismissing such arguments as coming from “Russia’s apologists.”  Elsewhere in the piece, he resorts to the even uglier smear of NATO critics as “Putin’s apologists.”
Twardowski begins his substantive case with the argument that if Russia truly feared NATO because of the alliance’s allegedly belligerent actions “then it makes no sense from a realist perspective that U.S.-Russian relations warmed at all following the Soviet Union’s disintegration.” That is a puzzling argument. Moscow clearly hoped for a new, united European security architecture in the years following the demise of the Soviet Union. It was only when NATO intervened in Bosnia in 1995 (some four years later) and idle talk about expanding the alliance eastward turned into an actual offer (three years after that) that Russian suspicions about Western, especially U.S., intentions became prominent.
Throughout the piece, Twardowski states or implies that Russian hostility toward NATO is a new phenomenon, basically dating from 2014 and the crisis over Ukraine. Nothing could be further from the truth. I encountered numerous Russian diplomats, journalists, and scholars during the mid-and late 1990s who were mystified and resentful at the U.S. decision to expand NATO eastward—in violation of what they regarded as a solemn promise not to do so. They were even angrier about the U.S.-led military interventions in the Balkans, a traditional Russian sphere of influence, in support of anti-Slavic factions. Although Russian leaders complained about such matters, Russia was simply too weak to do anything about it except issue impotent protests.  During the Kosovo intervention, however, the commander of British forces worried that the United States was pushing Russia too far. He directly disobeyed a direct order from NATO Supreme Commander U.S. General Wesley Clark to attack Russian military personnel at Pristina airport, saying that he wasn’t about to start World War III. That was a strange fear if the Russians didn’t care about NATO’s actions.
One sign of Russia’s growing disillusionment with the West was seeing a series of generally pro-Western prime ministers under President Boris Yeltsin succeeded by the enigmatic but decidedly more nationalistic Vladimir Putin. And as Yeltsin’s successor, Putin would move to rebuild Russia’s military strength and adopt a much more assertive foreign policy.
The consequences of NATO’s arrogance became evident in 2008—long before the dust-up over Ukraine in 2014. The United States and its allies again double-crossed Russia regarding Kosovo, bypassing the UN Security Council (and a certain Russian veto) and acting as the midwife for the province’s unilateral declaration of independence. U.S. leaders then piled on the arrogance, asserting that the Kosovo situation was unique and set no precedent. Russia’s answer to that absurdity came a few months later when it exploited a reckless military move by Georgia against a secessionist region, South Ossetia, to counterattack and preside over the detachment of that region and another secessionist enclave, Abkhazia.
Twardowski argues on several occasions that NATO poses no “existential threat” to Russia. But I know of no realist who makes that argument. Indeed, “existential threat” is a concept that is used in a far too promiscuous fashion by Twardowski and his neoconservative colleagues, not by realists and not by the Russians. American hawks even use the term to describe the threat that a few thousand stateless Islamic terrorists pose—as though they truly threaten the very existence of the United States.
But NATO can and does menace important Russian interests without posing an existential threat. As I have described elsewhere, it would be a useful mental exercise to consider what the reaction in this country would be if an alliance dominated by another major power, say China, began to add the Caribbean countries, the Central American countries, and the northern tier powers of South America to a military alliance that it controlled. Consider further the probable reaction if the Chinese equivalents of neoconservatives campaigned to bring Canada and Mexico into such an alliance and deploy Chinese military forces in those countries. Would any U.S. leader—indeed, any prudent American—not consider that a threat to the nation’s security?
That is essentially what the United States and NATO have done to Russia. Yet Twardowski believes that the Russians have no legitimate complaints. His response is an operational definition of willful blindness.
Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The National Interest, is the author of 10 books and more than 600 articles on international affairs.
Image: Creative Commons. 
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Former U.S. Attorney General Responds To Trump's Special Prosecutor Comment 

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NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to Michael Mukasey, a former U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush, about Donald Trump's pledge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.



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Russia Strives to Cover Its Bases

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Moscow is looking to extend its global military reach. Citing Defense and Foreign Ministry officials, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Monday that Cairo and Moscow are negotiating a deal that would grant Russia access to military facilities in Egypt and refurbish a former Soviet air base in the Mediterranean town of Sidi Barrani. In fact, Russia has been talking a lot lately about basing rights in strategic spots around the globe, from Egypt to Vietnam to Cuba to Iran. The intent behind these explorations is fairly straightforward: When locked in a multi-theater confrontation with the United States, what better way for the Russian bear to trample the U.S. security umbrella than with a growing military footprint?
Basing can be a misleading term, however, conjuring Cold War-era assumptions of permanent basing on a large scale. People could easily conclude that new bases mean major shifts in Russia's ability to project power or in host countries' strategic alliances. After all, hosting another country on sovereign territory is no small favor. But all basing arrangements are not created equal. A state can take the route of Japan or South Korea, which host troops from various branches of the U.S. military in large numbers, tilting an entire region's strategic balance in one direction. Alternatively, a state can host another country's ship at port a few times a year for repairs and refueling, a relationship that does not necessarily imply big swings in force projection or alliances.
That said, strategic military relationships can grow from even seemingly inconsequential arrangements if the geopolitical climate is ripe for it and if both parties can find enough mutual benefit. Take Russia's Tartus port, for example. For many years, it languished as a backwater repair and refueling depot on the Mediterranean Sea with little or no strategic relevance. But the Syrian civil war — and Russia's deepening involvement in it — raised Tartus to new levels of prominence for its role as a logistical hub critical to supporting loyalist and Russian forces. Though Tartus has not yet risen to the status of a Mediterranean naval power projection hub, it represents a burgeoning dependency between Damascus and Moscow and could evolve into a more strategic naval node. Last week, the Russian government approved permanent basing for its troops in Syria, in keeping with its plans to make Tartus a more robust and permanent port.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Russia may have to check its basing ambitions. Though Iran relies heavily on Russia's support in the proxy battle it is waging in Syria, Tehran is not about to welcome its troops onto Iranian territory in any permanent or semi-permanent fashion. In August, the Islamic republic revealed its sensitivities to foreign militaries claiming base rights when Russian aircraft flying sorties over Syria from Iran's Hamadan air base incited outrage among Iranian leaders. The Russian public relations coup was short-lived; Iranian officials were turned off by Moscow's "ungentlemanly" grandstanding and publicly rescinded its access to the air base. As the Iranian defense minister put it, the arrangement was not basing but "merely a form of assistance whereby we provided them with the facility to land, takeoff and refuel … a kind of operational cooperation." Despite Russia's attempts to pressure Iran into enhancing Hamadan's infrastructure to accommodate more bombers, Tehran will be wary of offering even token assistance to Moscow, especially since Russia already has a more substantial basing presence nearby in Syria.
Meanwhile, Russia's deputy defense minister said last week that Moscow is considering restoring Soviet-era military bases in Vietnam and Cuba to assert its global presence. Moscow currently enjoys privileged access to Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay, known as the best deep-water port in the Asia-Pacific region because of its long protective peninsula and deep harbors. But that may be as good as it gets for Russia. Situated along the chokepoint between the Pacific and Indian oceans, Cam Ranh Bay occupies a vital sea lane in the South China Sea and serves as a critical component of Vietnam's maritime defense. Hanoi will not allow any single power to dominate the base and has instead used it to build relationships with multiple foreign navies, recently opening the port to Japan, Singapore and France. (As part of its increasing military cooperation with Vietnam, the United States has also shown interest in gaining better access to Cam Ranh Bay.) This strategy has allowed Vietnam to keep its options open and to position itself as a strategic partner in the region, counterbalancing Beijing's aggression. Regardless of its designs on the port, Russia will continue to be just one of many countries with access to Cam Ranh Bay.
As we learned during the Cold War, Cuba is another strategic place to plant a foreign military base. It has taken Washington decades to normalize its relations with Havana as a long-term insurance strategy to keep the island out of adversarial foreign hands. Consequently, Russia's talk of reopening its old military facilities in Cuba must be taken with a grain of salt. Now that Venezuela's economy is collapsing, Havana's quest to find a new source of energy shipments and economic patronage will become even more urgent. Cuba is still counting on the United States to get it out of this rut by lifting the trade embargo, a prospect Havana will be reluctant to jeopardize, especially when Russia cannot be expected to subsidize it as it did during the Cold War. Still, Havana can use the rumors of Russia returning to Cuba to prod the United States into following through with the normalization process.
Similarly, Egypt can play the Russian card to grab the United States' attention. The Egyptian president's spokesperson has already denied the Izvestia report on a developing deal for Russia to refurbish its Mediterranean air base, saying the "establishment" of any foreign base defies Egypt's policies. At the same time, Cairo has a pattern of invoking the Russian threat to reinforce its military partnership with the United States. In the wake of its 2013 military coup, for instance, Egypt stepped up joint training operations and defense deals with Moscow when Washington publicly distanced itself from Cairo. After enough time had passed, the United States predictably resumed its military aid to the strategic Arab state.
Egypt can also use the discussions with Russia to bargain with its Saudi patrons, who are frustrated by Cairo's zero-tolerance attitude toward Islamists and lack of cooperation on Syria. Riyadh rebuked Cairo and delayed delivering critical petroleum aid after Egypt voted in favor of Russia's position on a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria. In return, Egypt can threaten to move closer to the Russian orbit, but it lacks the luxury to be selective about its partners; Egypt still depends heavily on U.S. and Saudi aid. That will not stop Russia from trying to augment its military relationship with Cairo, though. Over the past two years, satellite imagery has revealed construction at the Sidi Barrani air base, including efforts to resurface runways and add infrastructure. Sidi Barrani has been reportedly in use as a waypoint for Egyptian and Emirati aircraft for operations over Libya, but it appears that Russia is also trying to revive its stake in the base.
Beneath the showy headlines about Russia's basing activities, the reality remains: A base's effect on a region or alliance structure is a function of the size of its infrastructure, the number of forces allocated there, the amount of money a foreign military is willing to devote to it and the terms of the agreement. 
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Trump v Clinton: the Aftermath 

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Thomas Frank on the dilemma facing the Democratic party in the USA; Saudi Arabia says it will investigate the bombing of a funeral in Yemen; Why are some people afraid of clowns? (Picture: Bobble head figurines of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greet Republican party supporters Credit: AFP/Getty Images)



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International Edition 1805 EDT - October 10, 2016 

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Top Republican leaders distance themselves from Donald Trump after his second Presidential debate with Hillary Clinton. Missiles fly by a U.S. Navy vessel near Yemen. China seeks to boost its maritime presence. Budding entertainers have a new place to learn and grow.



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International Edition 2330 EDT - October 10, 2016 

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Post presidential debate analysis and what a body language expert observed. Devastation in Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Millions are in dire need. Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States, we talk about what is becoming a growing epidemic. The Great American Beer Festival attracts big crowds.



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The Huddled Masses And The Myth Of America 

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The U.S. is a nation of immigrants. But historian Maria Cristina Garcia says many of us have lots of misconceptions about earlier waves of newcomers.



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Ashton Carter, Latin American defense chiefs to discuss regional disaster efforts

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — U.S. defense officials and their Latin American counterparts will meet here this week to try to hammer out a regionwide humanitarian and disaster relief policy, opening the door to increased cooperation on natural disasters such as the recent Hurricane Matthew.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and other senior defense leaders from Central and South America will sit down Tuesday to hash out details of the plan, a senior U.S. defense official said.
“This is the first step … and our partners in the region are really committed to push this forward,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, regarding development of the new policy. “We are seeing a lot of members in the region stepping up in a number of ways,” in terms of disaster response and humanitarian operations.
A coordinated disaster policy is one of the top issues for the biannual meeting of the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, a consortium of defense leaders from Central and South America designed to address security threats in the region.
The idea of a regional humanitarian strategy was initially proposed during consortium’s last meeting in Uruguay.
“We expect [the discussion] to be very different this time, in part because the dynamics have changed significantly” in the region, the official said. The framework for the proposed policy was drafted by defense leaders in Chile, and will be the focus of the discussions here, the official added.


“There is momentum here,” for the plan but “will require follow-on work” to formalize a policy acceptable to all members of the defense coalition.
“The Chilean proposal is very ambitious … but I am confident there will be movement” particularly in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
The Category 4 storm made landfall on Haiti’s southern coast last Tuesday, bringing in upwards of 40 inches of rain and gusting winds surging over 145 miles per hour, according to reports by The Associated Press.

The Defense Department has deployed 300 Marines aboard the USS Mesa Verde warship, alongside a swath of cargo helicopters and surveillance planes to support U.S.-led humanitarian operations in Haiti.
Additionally, U.S. National Guard units along the eastern seaboard have also been deployed for disaster response and relief operations in states hit by the storm.
As American humanitarian operations continue in the Caribbean, the damage and destruction left in the storm’s path was yet another reason for the need for a regionwide disaster response policy, the defense official said.
Separately, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator has issued an emergency appeal for nearly $120 million in aid to Haiti Monday, as local aid officials struggled to get food, medicine and water, The Associated Press reported.
“Families that were fortunate to survive the hurricane now find themselves in a struggle to survive, with thousands of homes and livelihoods washed away by the storm,” U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said.
Power was still out across much of the affected area, water and food were scarce, and officials said that young men in villages along the road between the hard-hit cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie were putting up blockades of rocks and broken branches to halt convoys of vehicles bringing relief supplies.
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Today's Headlines and Commentary 

Ashton Carter on Yemen: DOD determined to keep U.S. warships near coast despite attempted attack 

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — American warships will keep operating off the coast of Yemen, despite recently coming under fire by anti-government rebels in the country, possibly taking action against those forces should U.S. service members in the region come into harm's way again.
Washington remains "determined to preserve freedom ...

Russia, China to mull joint response to U.S. missile shield

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MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military says it will cooperate with Beijing on minimizing a threat posed by U.S. missile defense.
Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir of the military's General Staff told a security forum in China that the U.S. missile defense system will be capable of intercepting Russian or Chinese ...

Kredo: Obama Administration All Words, No Action in Syria

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Washington Free Beacon senior writer Adam Kredo appeared on One America News to break down the Syrian crisis and explain how President Obama has exacerbated the problem with his policies.
OAN anchor Liz Wheeler said that over 450,000 people have been killed and 1.8 million people have been wounded since 2011. Kredo called the crisis a “humanitarian tragedy” and said that it is important to figure out why it has gone on so long without intervention from the United States.
“We have let the forces from Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, we’ve let the forces from Russia, we’ve let the forces even from Iran run wild to prop up Assad and this is why we see continued bloodshed there, honestly,” Kredo said.
Wheeler then asked Kredo what the Obama administration did wrong in the beginning to make the conditions worse over in Syria.
Kredo said that the first mistake of the administration was doing virtually nothing in Syria after Obama promised to use military force in Syria if the Assad regime used chemical weapons.
“I think everybody will remember well these red lines that were imposed by the Obama administration. Assad cannot use chemical weapons. Red line [crossed]. What was the repercussion? None. We’ve only used words. We’ve not used action,” he said.
“We’ve not really made an effort to stymie this before it begun and the repercussions are not just the fatality of innocent civilians, the repercussions are that we have an influx of immigration in a way that we cannot vet. We have no ability to really go over the individuals we are letting into this country and we’ve also got into a place where Syria has become a training ground for Jihadists, for Iranian forces, and for other bad actors that are going to cause instability elsewhere in the region.”
In addition to Obama not keeping his promise on the “red line” strategy, Kredo pointed out Obama’s inconsistencies on how to handle Assad. Kredo said that the Obama administration has called for Assad to go and then walked that position back, which he says empowers our enemies because of instability.
Wheeler also tied Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton into the conversation since she was Secretary of State when Obama first discussed the “red line” strategy. She referenced an interview of Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook where he struggled to articulate Clinton’s strategy in Syria.
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Russia Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Lavrov says US actions threaten Russia's national security - Kyiv Post

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Kyiv Post



Russia Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Lavrov says US actions threaten Russia's national security
Kyiv Post
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends the East Asia Foreign Ministers' meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual ministerial meeting, being held in Vientiane on July 26, 2016. (AFP). Popular on ...

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Russia says US actions threaten its national security - Reuters

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Reuters



Russia says US actions threaten its national security
Reuters
MOSCOW Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday he had detected increasingU.S. hostility towards Moscow and complained about what he said was a series of aggressiveU.S. steps that threatened Russia's national security. In an interview ...
Russia's Lavrov: 'Aggressive' US Actions Threaten Our National SecurityNBCNews.com
Lavrov Says US Actions Threaten Russia's National SecurityRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
US Claims of Russia Employing Snowden 'Nonsense' - LavrovSputnik International

all 13 news articles »

ISIS Media Output Drops as Military Pressure Rises, Report Says 

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The Islamic State is releasing fewer propaganda items and has shifted its message away from that of a well-run caliphate.
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America’s Moral Duty in Yemen 

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President Obama must cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia unless it ends the carnage and returns to peace talks.

Why Terrorists Do—and Don't—Take Credit for Attacks

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Aftan Snyder
Security,
An Iraqi bomb disposal company at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq. Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Marine Corps

It’s an important strategic choice.

September 17–19: Pipe bombs and pressure bombs detonate or are discovered in New York and New Jersey, injuring at least twenty-nine. The perpetrator’s motivations remain unclear, and no terrorist group has stepped forward to claim responsibility.
September 17: a man goes on a stabbing spree in a Minnesota mall, injuring at least ten. He makes alleged references to Allah, and ISIS claims responsibility.
July 14: Truck attack in Nice, France. Eighty-six dead; ISIS claimed responsibility.
July 3: Mall bombing in Baghdad, Iraq. Over two hundred dead; ISIS claims responsibility.
June 28: Ataturk Airport bombing. Forty-five dead; no claim of responsibility (though officials strongly suspect ISIS).
June 12: Orlando nightclub shooting. Forty-nine dead; perpetrator has mixed motivations but no clear link to ISIS. ISIS does not claim responsibility.
I list these events not to terrify readers with a staggering death toll or to insinuate an increasing reach or appeal of ISIS, but to point out an interesting angle that isn’t receiving enough attention. How often is ISIS (also known as Islamic State or ISIL) claiming credit for terrorist attacks around the world? This question begs others: how many claimed attacks genuinely come from ISIS? When might a terrorist group wish to claim responsibility for some cases, but not others? Why does any of this matter for policymakers?
Understanding claims of responsibility is important for two reasons. First, it is a tool of asymmetric warfare. Groups that do not have traditional or complete militaries or weapons must resort to other means in order to ensure an impact against a more capable adversary. Claiming—or not claiming—attacks can deliver that impact. Claimed attacks can bestow a disproportionate sense of power and reach of the group itself, while anonymous attacks can sow fear and instability among the group’s target population. Any tool of warfare deserves proper consideration in order to determine how to most effectively render it useless.
Second, claims of responsibility can provide much information about a particular terrorist group. What circumstances might induce a group to speak up for one attack but remain silent about another? If we truly want to understand terrorists’ motives and rationale, then we cannot overlook this part of their decisionmaking process.
The Allure of Anonymity
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Why Russia Fears NATO 

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Ted Galen Carpenter
Security, Europe

An interesting debate continues on. 

Adam Twardowski takes umbrage at arguments that I and other members of the realism and restraint camp have made that NATO’s behavior over the past two decades has exacerbated tensions with Russia. He begins his rebuttal with a drive-by smear that is increasingly in vogue among neoconservatives, dismissing such arguments as coming from “Russia’s apologists.”  Elsewhere in the piece, he resorts to the even uglier smear of NATO critics as “Putin’s apologists.”
Twardowski begins his substantive case with the argument that if Russia truly feared NATO because of the alliance’s allegedly belligerent actions “then it makes no sense from a realist perspective that U.S.-Russian relations warmed at all following the Soviet Union’s disintegration.” That is a puzzling argument. Moscow clearly hoped for a new, united European security architecture in the years following the demise of the Soviet Union. It was only when NATO intervened in Bosnia in 1995 (some four years later) and idle talk about expanding the alliance eastward turned into an actual offer (three years after that) that Russian suspicions about Western, especially U.S., intentions became prominent.
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The 2nd Presidential Debate

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sparred at Washington University in St. Louis.

Analysis: Backed in a Corner, Trump Clawed Through Debate

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It was a presidential debate, wounded animal edition

The DNC Hack and (the Lack of) Deterrence 

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What Options Does the U.S. Have After Accusing Russia of Hacks?, asks the headline in the NYTstory yesterday by David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth.  To ask this question is to reveal once again the ineffective or non-existent U.S. cyber-deterrence policy.  Stories about Russian cyber-operations to disrupt the U.S. election have been published for months, and the government was surely aware of the operations much earlier.  And yet one day after the government formally attributes the DNC hack to Russia, the Sanger/Perlroth story makes it seem that the USG hasn’t figured out how to respond. 
We have seen a similar pattern of dithering before.  For years the United States wrung its hands in the face of billions of dollars of China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property until the finally settling on a name-and-shame strategy combined with threatened economic sanctions.  The USG also dithered in response to the Sony hack.  And it dawdled in the face of the OPM hack and ultimately did nothing, unless you include DNI Clapper announcing that he “kind of salutes” China for its actions.  And now there appears to be uncertainty about how the USG should respond to a cyber information operation directed at U.S. elections. 
Such a pattern of vacillation in response to very damaging cyber-operations will not deter our adversaries; it will embolden them.  It will especially embolden them since the responses the USG finally settles on are much less than proportionate to the damage caused. 
Some U.S. officials have touted the success of the “shame + threatened sanctions” tactics against China.  It remains unclear how much IP theft from China has dropped off, especially since the loophole-ridden cyber agreement bars China only from “knowingly support[ing] cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property” with the “intent of providing competitive advantages,” and thus allows IP theft that the Chinese government does not know about or support or does not intend to help its firms (even if it has that effect).  But even if the” shame + threatened sanctions” strategy did get China to slow its IP theft, what lessons did the episode teach U.S. adversaries?   The lesson they learned is not, as NSD John Carlin has said, that there is an intimidating “new ‘sheriff’ patrolling … cyberspace.”   The lesson learned, I submit, is that a nation can do a great deal of damage to the United States via cyber for many years in the face of U.S. complaints and threats, and in the end will suffer at most an unenforceable indictment and threatened sanctions that Michael Morell correctly describes in the NYT as “a slap on the wrist.”   The indictments and threatened sanctions were a slap on the wrist because the pain they caused China was a tiny fraction of the pain China caused U.S. firms and the U.S. economy from its gargantuan intellectual property theft over many years.  
One hopes that the USG is doing much more in secret to deter our cyber-adversaries, though one doubts it based on news reports about internal uncertainty and disarray in responding to each new offensive cyber-operation.   As far as the public record shows, the USG deterrence strategy appears to be: dithering followed by, at worst, a wrist slap.   Is it any wonder that Russia—which is increasingly antagonistic to the United States around the globe, and reeling under U.S. sanctions—is emboldened to harm the United States via cyber?   And will the hesitant response to the DNC hack do anything other than further embolden Russia and other adversaries?  “No,” and “no,” I believe.
The Sanger and Perlroth piece reviews the unattractive options the United States has to respond to the DNC hack.  The name and shame strategy has no chance of working with the Russians, and would be a laughable and self-defeating response to election-related intrusions.  Something more aggressive—like a cyber or kinetic attack of some sort against Russia—runs the risk of serious escalation, including serious escalation by the Russians to further interfere in the U.S. election.  Morell proposes instead “deep sanctions on the entire Russian economy” and an “aggressive Voice of America program in Russian to tell the Russian people that Putin is only interested in his own aggrandizement.”  Can the United States coordinate effective deeper sanctions against Russia?  Would the VOA strategy change the minds of the Russian people? I think these responses would not work in the first instance.  But the important point is that the USG must, and does, think about the Russian response to any of these tactics.  And if (as seems likely) Russia is willing to raise the stakes in cyber in response, the U.S. probably has much more to lose than win by ratcheting things up.   And so the USG responds with uncertainty and weakness, thereby emboldening adversaries in a cycle that has been repeating itself, to our detriment, for years.
The tepid U.S. response to cyber intrusions may be surprising to some, since the USG possesses the greatest offensive cyber capabilities on the planet, which it often deploys for cyber-exploitation and cyber-attacks and, one can guess, for information operations of various kinds.  Here we come to the crux of the matter.  For two basic reasons, the USG is not willing to use these tools, or its redoubtable kinetic tools, to redress fully the very serious cyber-operations by adversaries inside U.S. networks. First, our adversaries have a wide array of sophisticated digital weapons that they are willing and able to use to harm or exploit porous and poorly defended U.S. networks.  And second, the United States is by far more dependent on digital networks and the digital economy than any other nation in the world, and thus has the most to lose from any escalation related to cyber.  As Sanger and Perlroth put these points:  “Well-armed cyberpowers face few limits to their ability to escalate attacks.  And it is unclear how the United States can establish what the generals call ‘escalation dominance’ — the assurance that America can ultimately control how a conflict ends.”
China IP theft, the Sony hack, the OPM hack, and now the DNC hack are but the beginning.  Without robust defenses or effective deterrence, the United States can expect many more, and more harmful, cyber intrusions by adversaries who are asymmetrically empowered by the rise of digital networks.  There is no end to the ways that they might spy in, steal from, or disrupt U.S. networks, public and private.  That sounds bad, buts the implications are worse.  Asymmetric offensive cyber operations by our adversaries can be an effective response to every element of U.S. foreign and military power.  For all we know the Russian DNC hack is a response to sanctions for Ukraine and an attempt to win leverage in Syria.  Imagine the United States wanted to do more—via sanctions, or through military operations, or in cyber—to slow Russian operations in Eastern Europe or Syria.  The Russians could easily respond via cyber, where it appears to have an asymmetrical advantage.  Indeed, the relatively tepid USG response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and Syria may be a result of USG worries about the implications of the DNC hack.  In other words, the Russians may already be using cyber to deter the United States from seemingly unrelated foreign policy actions it might otherwise take.   One gets very scared as one starts to think through such possibilities.  It may be that the United States’ digital prowess is its Achilles heel.     
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Grab 'em by the Constitution: Trump and the Justice Department 

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I hate to say "I told you so," but gosh, I told you so.
A few months ago, during Trump's ascendancy in the GOP primaries, I wrote a piece about his likely impact on and abuse of the powers of the U.S. Department of Justice.
In response to this piece, I received an email that had no parallel in the prior history of this site: an actual request for an ethics opinion from a career DOJ lawyer about the propriety of continuing to serve in the Justice Department under a President Trump. I responded to it here.
The premise of this whole discussion was that we should take Trump seriously when he promises to use the powers of the U.S. federal government, particularly its routine criminal enforcement powers, to do things that are grossly improper. Last night at the second presidential debate, as if to emphasize this point, Trump specifically promised to use the law enforcement authorities of his office to go after his opponent, Hillary Clinton:
TRUMP: And I'll tell you what. I didn't think I'd say this, but I'm going to say it, and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we're going to have a special prosecutor.
When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails—and you get a subpoena, you get a subpoena, and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails, and then you acid wash them or bleach them, as you would say, very expensive process.
So we're going to get a special prosecutor, and we're going to look into it, because you know what? People have been—their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you've done. And it's a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up on that.
(CROSSTALK)
RADDATZ: I'm going to let you talk about e-mails.
CLINTON: ... because everything he just said is absolutely false, but I'm not surprised.
TRUMP: Oh, really?
CLINTON: In the first debate...
(LAUGHTER)
RADDATZ: And really, the audience needs to calm down here.
CLINTON: ... I told people that it would be impossible to be fact-checking Donald all the time. I'd never get to talk about anything I want to do and how we're going to really make lives better for people.
So, once again, go to HillaryClinton.com. We have literally Trump—you can fact check him in real time. Last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so I expect we'll have millions more fact checking, because, you know, it is—it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.
TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.
This was not a slip of the tongue or a slip of Trump's id. I know this because it is not the first time Trump has said things like this. Back in June, Trump appeared on CBS's Face the Nation, where he had the following exchange with host John Dickerson in which he both pronounced Clinton guilty of crimes and declared that he would have her investigated and prosecuted for them:
DICKERSON: You said Hillary Clinton should go to jail. If the FBI, which is investigating, if there's no indictment, will your attorney general go after her?
TRUMP: OK. So, I have spoken to, and I have watched and I have read many, many lawyers on the subject, so-called neutral lawyers, OK, not even on one side or the other, neutral lawyers. Everyone of them, without a doubt, said that what she did is far worse than what other people did, like General Petraeus, who essentially got a two-year jail term.
General Petraeus and others have been treated—their lives have been in a sense destroyed. She keeps campaigning. What she did is a criminal situation. She wasn't supposed to do that with the server and the emails all of the other.
Now, I rely on the lawyers. These are good lawyers. These are professional lawyers. These are lawyers that know what they're talking about and know—are very well-versed on what they did. They say she's guilty as hell.
DICKERSON: But it sounds like you were making promise for your attorney general that, if you were elected, this is one of the things—this is a commitment you were making.
TRUMP: That's true, yes.
DICKERSON: It's a commitment to have your attorney general...
TRUMP: Certainly have my—very fair, but I would have my attorney general look at it.
DICKERSON: Even if the investigation...
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: You know you have a five and maybe even a six-year statute of limitation.
DICKERSON: But even if the current investigations don't find anything, you would have your attorney general go back at it?
TRUMP: Yes, I would, because everyone knows that she's guilty. Now, I would say this: She's guilty. But I would let my attorney general make that determination. Maybe they would disagree. And I would let that person make the determination.
It is worth emphasizing that a President Trump would certainly have the raw constitutional authority to do what he is promising here.
The attorney general serves at the pleasure of the president and thus can be directed to do as the president pleases. He can be fired if he does not do so and replaced with someone who will. The president also has the authority to
have the attorney general  name a special prosecutor. Assuming, perhaps charitably, that Trump's promise to jail Clinton is a promise to do so only after she is indicted and convicted of crimes, he has the power to do that too, provided that the special prosecutor he
has named  or the attorney general he directs can actually make and prove a case against her. I have serious doubts that there is any such case to make, given that FBI Director James Comey has said flatly that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a criminal against Clinton. But let's be clear that Trump here is not promising to do anything the president lacks the constitutional authority to do.
Yet Trump's comments induced horror among many commentators—and rightly so. The reason? His promise tramples on a number of cherished norms in the relationship between the Justice Department and the White House and in the conduct of the Justice Department itself. These norms restrict presidential and departmental behavior far more than the bare bones strictures of the Constitution. They are part of our constitutional fabric and rooted in important constitutional values. But our mode of enforcing them is not legal. It is political. It is a matter of our deepest expectations of the presidency and the Justice Department. 
One of these norms is that the Justice Department doesn't use the criminal enforcement powers of the federal government to go after the administration's political opponents. This is the idea of impartial justice. But don't kid yourself. The Constitution does not require impartial justice. The president has enormous discretion—which, put more crudely, means that we expect him to discriminate. One possible basis for this discrimination is how much he likes or dislikes you. Most people have committed crimes if you look hard enough to find them. What prevents administrations from focusing on the crimes of their opponents, rather than the most serious crimes committed by whomever, is nothing more than the institutional expectations we have of the executive branch—and it has of itself. These expectations sound less in law than they do in decency and civic virtue. What Trump is promising here is precisely war on that decency and civic virtue.
Now, to his credit, he's being quite open about it: He's saying that a major law enforcement priority of his administration would be the prosecution of his opponent for acts the Justice Department and FBI have already investigated and found either non-criminal or not warranting action. "It is here," said Justice Robert Jackson while still attorney general, "that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor himself."
Another norm Trump's promises assault is the notion that while the Justice Department is part of the administration and the President is thus entitled to set policy priorities for it, the White House does not involve itself in or direct specific law enforcement operations or decisions. People don't believe this, but it really is true; it's a norm that guides the Justice Department across administrations of both parties. The President rightly decides whether drug enforcement or terrorism or child pornography or guns or financial crimes are enforcement priorities on which he thinks it important to focus. But when it comes to investigating or indicting someone, the White House generally makes a point of not getting involved—even in the highest-stakes cases. How did President Obama handle the decision of whether or not Khalid Sheikh Mohammad should be tried in federal court or in a military commission, to cite one example of interest to readers of Lawfare?
At least initially, as Daniel Klaidman reportsin his book Kill or Capture, he didn't:
On the Fourth of July, Obama and Holder stood together on the White House roof terrace watching fireworks explode over the National Mall, the Lincoln and Washington Monuments aglow at either end. Holder was flush with pride. He was the country's first black attorney general, standing with its first African American president, both guardians of the Constitution, presiding over a White House celebration of Independence Day. But he wasn't going to waste a rare moment alone with the president. He had come with an agenda, and told the president that he was thinking about prosecuting KSM in federal court. Obama had simply acknowledged that he would defer to Holder on the matter: "It's your call, you're the attorney general."
Obama only got involved and reversed Holder, when it became clear that the political system would not sit still for a 9/11 trial in New York. 
When the White House does get
involved in day-to-day Justice Department business,  bad things happen. Remember the U.S. attorneys scandal from the late Bush administration? It was about exactly this separation. But that was small potatoes—the mere dismissal of U.S. attorneys who weren't sufficiently on board administration enforcement priorities. It didn't involve interventions in specific enforcement matters, much less anything so grotesque as an instruction to investigate or prosecute political opponents. That was amateur hour compared to what Trump is proposing.
Still another norm, one sometimes honored in the breach, is that senior law enforcement officials are not supposed to publicly presume someone's guilt. It is always wrong for the President to pronounce someone guilty who has not yet been charged. It is even wrong for the President, or the attorney general for that matter, to declare that someone is guilty who has been charged but not yet convicted.Look at any press release announcing a Justice Department indictment and you'll find language like this: "An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty."
The press is similarly quite disciplined on this point as well, using the word "allegedly" as a matter of principle before factual claims where a defendant has not yet been convicted. Journalists do this not because they believe, in many cases, that there is any factual doubt about the defendant's conduct but because it's a core value of our system that we do not impute guilt until either a defendant has acknowledged it or that guilt has been proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
When Trump declares that Clinton would "be in jail" if he were president and that "everyone knows she's guilty," by contrast, he's doing violence to the presumption of innocence every bit as much as he does when he declares guilty the now-cleared men convicted in the Central Park jogger case. In both instances, Trump's conduct is made worse by the fact that these matters were exhaustively investigated, and prosecutors concluded that the evidence simply does not support the position Trump nonetheless holds.
Trump's promise both in the debate and in the CBS interview is a threefer that violates all of these norms at the same time: It's a promise of an overtly political prosecution, directed from the White House, and with a public presumption of guilt declared in advance by the president.
This is Putin-Erdogan territory, folks. It's toxic stuff.
And it's a reminder of how much of our constitutional system does not reside in the Constitution itself but in the hearts of the people who take an oath to it. It's a reminder as well that without the norms of civic decency in which we encase the Constitution, the document itself will not save us. 
If we vote for a tyrant, we will get a form of tyranny.
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Why Donald Trump's Call for a Special Prosecutor Is Different - TIME

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TIME



Why Donald Trump's Call for a Special Prosecutor Is Different
TIME
FBI Director James BComey added that while Clinton and her staff were “very careless” in their handling of classified information, there was no evidence of criminal behavior. At the debate, Clinton did not respond directly to Trump's promise to ...

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Threat to Jail Clinton Smacks of 'Tin-Pot Dictators,' Experts Say - The ... - New York Times

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New York Times



Threat to Jail Clinton Smacks of 'Tin-Pot Dictators,' Experts Say - The ... 
New York Times

The assertion takes its place in a litany of Mr. Trump's statements that many legal specialists have portrayed as a threat to the rule of law.



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US missile defense in Europe directly threatens Russia – Chinese military - RT

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RT



US missile defense in Europe directly threatens Russia – Chinese military
RT
“China and Russia have similar positions about strategic antiballistic missile systems and oppose attempts by any nation or group of nations to create such systems unilaterally at the expense of strategic international security,” the general said ...

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Frogman Spy 

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Title:                      Frogman Spy
Author:                 Joseph Bernard Hutton
Hutton, J. Bernard (1960). Frogman Spy: The Incredible Case of Commander Crabb: New York: McDowell, Obolensky
LCCN:    60014897

Subjects

Notes

  • Published in London in 1960 under title: Frogman Extraordinary.
Date Posted:      October 10, 2016
Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[1]
The story of Commander Lionel Philip Kenneth Crabb, British naval officer who was killed while attempting to obtain information on a Soviet naval vessel that had brought Khrushchev to Britain on a state visit.
[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. 155

 

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The Iran Wars 

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Title:                      The Iran Wars
Author:                 Jay Solomon
Solomon, Jay (2016). The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, And The Secret Deals That Reshaped The Middle East. New York: Random House
LCCN:    2016016783
DS63.2.I68 S65 2016

Summary

  • This is the deeply reported, riveting account of a war waged on many levels–military, financial, covert–that most don’t realize America has been engaged in for years. For over a decade, against the backdrop of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Far East, the United States and Iran have been engaged in a conflict as significant as it is hidden from view. Using a combination of economic sanctions, assassinations, global diplomacy and intelligence work, the United States has struggled to stabilize and contain what it sees as the most alarming foreign policy threat we face, while at the same time Iran has used the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and their own formidable intelligence networks and proxies to undermine the United States’ foothold in the Middle East. Through missed opportunities, miscommunication, and mistrust the two nations periodically moved toward and backed away from moments of understanding and compromise. Even as Iran built up their nuclear technologies, they were eventually brought to the negotiation table under crushing sanctions. Jay Solomon provides an unprecedented glimpse into the power struggle that the United States and Iran are locked into and the machinations that led to a historic agreement.

Contents

  • Prologue : a diplomatic ruse — The Persian domino — The missed chance — The Shiite crescent — The axis of resistance — The physics research center — The Rial war — The clenched fist — Black gold — The Arab spring — The road to Vienna — Khamenei’s shadow.

Subjects

Date Posted:      October 10, 2016
Reviewed in the Intelligencer[1]
Explores the decades-long hostility between Iran and the US, and the historic, potentially dangerous, nuclear deal. America has used diplomacy, intelligence, economic sanctions, and assassinations to undermine Iran, while Iran has used the overthrow of Saddam Hussein to counter the US presence in the Middle East, as it built a nuclear arsenal that brought sanctions raining down. Solomon has the contacts East and West to tell this story.
[1] The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, p. 138).

 

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Second Trump and Clinton Debate had one Big Loser: All of us

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After a bordering-on-embarrassing ugly second debate between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one clear loser emerged.

Suspected NSA intel thief worked for government contractor contracted to stop NSA intel theft - NewsOK.com

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Suspected NSA intel thief worked for government contractor contracted to stop NSA intel theft
NewsOK.com
Federal prosecutors said this week that 51-year-old Harold Thomas Martin III of Glen Burnie, Maryland illegally removed highly classified information and stored it in his home and car. Like Edward Snowden before him, Martin worked for NSA contractor ...

Security Risks Ultra-Wealthy Underestimate - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal



Security Risks Ultra-Wealthy Underestimate
Wall Street Journal
Avoid routine patterns as criminals often select targets with predictable schedules, says David Katz, chief executive of Global Security Group Inc., which provides security services to the wealthy. “Vary your route as well as the time you travel,” he ...

Marijuana Arrests Are The Lowest In 20 Years - Green Rush Daily

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Marijuana Arrests Are The Lowest In 20 Years
Green Rush Daily
The FBI released a new statistics report on marijuana arrests; the statistics revealed that marijuana arrests are at the lowest they've been in twenty years. ... A 2013 ACLU reportestimated taxpayers spent 3.6 billion on marijuana possession enforcement.

How FBI's Sheep Video Game Exposes FOIA Problems - The Daily Dot

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The Daily Dot



How FBI's Sheep Video Game Exposes FOIA Problems
The Daily Dot
In its effort to prevent people from becoming radicalized terrorists, the FBI is willing to get creative. Just don't ask them to explain their process. Earlier this year, the agency released a free, online video game where users play as a sheep ...

ISIS Media Output Drops as Military Pressure Rises, Report Says ... - New York Times

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New York Times



ISIS Media Output Drops as Military Pressure Rises, Report Says ... 
New York Times

The Islamic State is releasing fewer propaganda items and has shifted its message away from that of a well-run caliphate.


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China: US election in chaos, Trump's already damaged democracy forever - CNBC

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CNBC



China: US election in chaos, Trump's already damaged democracy forever
CNBC
After Monday's second presidential debate, in which Republican nominee Donald Trump threatened to jail rival Hillary Clinton if he made it to the White House, state-run media outletChina Daily took the opportunity to expound on the perils of democracy.
China reimagines the US presidential debate as a romantic karaoke session between Clinton and TrumpQuartz 



US Presidential Debate Inspires Schadenfreude in ChinaWall Street Journal (blog)

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New wartime state management system gives full power to Russian military – report - RT

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RT



New wartime state management system gives full power to Russian military – report
RT
A recent military exercise in southern Russia saw the first real-time test of the state management system that allows the Defense Ministry to assume direct control over municipal and regional authorities, police, state security and emergency services.

UK Report Warns of Criminals Becoming Terrorists

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A report by London researchers suggests the lines between terrorism and criminality are becoming increasingly blurred

Putin postpones visit to France amid diplomatic tensions

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed a meeting over Syria with French leader Francois Hollande that was planned next week in Paris amid growing diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
     

Europe's unprecedented backlash against Trump

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From the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean coast, the prospect of Donald Trump taking control of the world's greatest power has triggered widespread anxiety in European capitals. But what Trump's rise hasn't done is prompt European allies to get ready for the possibility that he could actually win.
     

Why Yemen conflict has become another Syria 

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Diplomatic neglect as well as US and UK arms sales have fuelled Saudi-Iranian proxy war that could blow up in west’s face
The brazen attempt by Houthi rebels to sink a US warship patrolling off Yemen marks a potentially significant escalation of a conflict that has been alternately fuelled and ignored by the western powers. The attack by the Houthis, whose main backer is Iran, coincides with an unprecedented ballistic missile strike 325 miles inside Saudi territory and suggests a spreading, region-wide conflagration could be nearer at hand than previously thought.
Insurrection and revolt have been endemic in Yemen since the early part of this century. But the conflict intensified in March last year when Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main rival, launched a large-scale intervention, backed by a coalition of Arab states.
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Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Arming Rebels in Yemen, Urges UN to Sanction Tehran - Haaretz

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Haaretz


Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Arming Rebels in Yemen, Urges UN to Sanction Tehran
Haaretz
Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Arming Rebels in Yemen, Urges UN to Sanction Tehran. Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-majority Iran are regional rivals and back opposing sides inYemen and Syria. The Associated Press. Sep 18, 2016 10:56 PM.
Saudis Accuse Iran of Supplying Weapons to Rebels in YemenABC News
Iran looms large over Senate fight to block arms sales for Saudi war in YemenAl-Monitor
Iran rejects Saudi claim that Tehran arms YemenPress TV
Daily Sabah -Mehr News Agency - English Version -Sputnik International
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US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Will Continue, Despite Allegations of War Crimes - Mother Jones

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Mother Jones


US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Will Continue, Despite Allegations of War Crimes
Mother Jones
Senators who opposed the resolution focused more on Iran than Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued that the recent US-Iranian nuclear deal enhanced Iran's status as regional power, and that the resolution would ...
Senate tacitly endorses US role in Yemen warAl-Monitor
Senate Ices Bill Blocking Arms Sale to Saudi ArabiaMorning Consult
Senators Struggle With Geography to Support Saudi Arabia's Yemen InterventionU.S. News & World Report
CCTV -Salon -Tasnim News Agency (press release)
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Yemen: The Graveyard of the Obama Doctrine - The Atlantic

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The Atlantic


Yemen: The Graveyard of the Obama Doctrine
The Atlantic
The deal, for $1.15 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia, including over 150 Abrams tanks, is a drop in a bucket: more than $100 billion in arms sales to the kingdom have already been approved by the Obama administration. ... When Saudi King Salman ...
Yemen president vows at UN to 'extract Yemen from claws of Iran'Reuters
Iran Condemns Saudi Airstrike on Yemeni Civilians, Urges Int'l ReactionAMN Al-Masdar News (registration)
Iran censures Saudi carnage of civilians in western YemenPress TV
Middle East Online -Al-Manar TV
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Why Saudi Efforts in Yemen Advance US Interests - The National Interest Online

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The National Interest Online


Why Saudi Efforts in Yemen Advance US Interests
The National Interest Online
That is why many operations against Iran-backed Houthi militia and Saleh forces have not been carried out. Moreover, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Saudi Arabia has received forty-one thousand Yemeni ...
US warships sent to area where Iran-backed rebels attacked Saudi-led coalition shipFox News
US 'Tacitly' Supporting Saudi Atrocities in Yemen, Bahrain: American AnalystTasnim News Agency (press release)
No, the War on Yemen Hasn't Advanced U.S. InterestsThe American Conservative

all 51 news articles »

Iran-Saudi Arabia Conflict: Cold War Tensions Rise As Iranians Warn Saudi Navy To Stay Out Of Their Waters - International Business Times

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International Business Times


Iran-Saudi Arabia Conflict: Cold War Tensions Rise As Iranians Warn Saudi Navy To Stay Out Of Their Waters
International Business Times
Iran, engaged in heavy tensions with Saudi Arabia over the war in Syria and conflict in Yemen, said the exercises are endangering a region that's already been a hotbed of war for decades, Reuters reported. "The Revolutionary Guards naval forces believe ...
Amid Yemen Fray, Tehran Warns Saudi Arabia to Keep Military Exercises Far from IranBreitbart News
Saudi-Iran tension escalates over naval war gamesDaily Sabah
America's Outdated Special Relationship With Saudi ArabiaAntiwar.com
Press TV -National Yemen -The National
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The US Should Stand with Saudi Arabia in Yemen - Defense One

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Defense One


The US Should Stand with Saudi Arabia in Yemen
Defense One
Some are calling for a suspension of the campaign, apparently content with Iranian-backed militias taking over Yemen. Others are demanding an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia largely due to findings, still uncorroborated, like those recently reported ...
Iran urges dialog after US hints at Syria attacksPress TV
Iran denies meeting held with Houthi leaders in YemenGlobal Times
Democratic Congressman Faults Kerry for Yemen CrisisU.S. News & World Report
Tasnim News Agency (press release) -National Yemen -Asia Times
all 229 news articles »

Missiles target US warship off Yemen, Pentagon says - CNN International

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CNN International


Missiles target US warship off Yemen, Pentagon says
CNN International
"We assess the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen. The United States remains committed to ensuring freedom of navigation everywhere in the world, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our ...

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Ashton Carter on Yemen: DOD determined to keep U.S. warships near coast despite attempted attack 

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — American warships will keep operating off the coast of Yemen, despite recently coming under fire by anti-government rebels in the country, possibly taking action against those forces should U.S. service members in the region come into harm's way again.
Washington remains "determined to preserve freedom ...
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