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Purveyor's Journal
Purveyor's Journal
April 11, 2012

Lieberman Resolution on Iran Means War: Top Military, Intelligence Officials

By Kate Gould
Posted: 04/11/2012 12:20 pm

Top national security officials have warned that prospects for a diplomatic solution between the U.S. and Iran could be undermined by legislation likely to reach the Senate floor in the immediate aftermath of the April 13-14 round of U.S.-Iran talks. The legislation pushes impossible preconditions for diplomacy and radically lowers the threshold for war.

As early as next week, the Senate could vote on legislation that Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, said "reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran."

Wilkerson has joined me in lobbying members of Congress and their staff against the legislation, pointing out that it is "effectively, a thinly disguised effort to bless war."

Colin Kahl, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East from 2009 until late last year, is another of the top national security officials who have blasted the legislation and the policy shift that it endorses. At a Capitol Hill briefing earlier this year, Kahl warned that this resolution and similar initiatives could "box in our negotiators from being able to find a diplomatic solution." The majority of Congress has ignored these warnings, and have endorsed ultimatums that if pursued, would make diplomacy virtually impossible.



April 11, 2012

Iran Stops Oil Exports to Germany


Iran has halted oil exports to Germany, according to Iranian television, in an apparent effort to strengthen its position ahead of a fresh round of nuclear talks with Western powers in Istanbul on Saturday. It stopped crude exports to Spain and Greece on Tuesday to preempt the EU's embargo on oil imports, which come into force in July.

Iran halted oil exports to Germany on Wednesday, a day after it stopped crude exports to Spain and Greece, according to Iran's official Press TV news network. The move appears to be an attempt to boost its position ahead of talks with world powers on its nuclear program in Istanbul on Saturday.

The station said the halt of exports was preemptive retaliation for an EU embargo on Iranian oil imports that is due to take effect in July. Iran has already stopped sales to Britain and France.

The West suspects Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb and this year tightened its sanctions in the long-running dispute. In an indication that Tehran's "counter-sanctions" are having little impact, Spain's biggest refiner said it had already replaced Iranian crude with Saudi Arabian oil months ago.

Iran said it would halt crude oil deliveries after the EU announced its embargo in January, part of a range of tough new sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to curb the nuclear work that the West suspects is part of a nuclear weapons program.



April 10, 2012

NATO Silent on Libya Operation Consequences – Lavrov

MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti)

NATO has not yet provided a full account of the effects of its intervention in Libya last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

The international NATO-led military operation in Libya began on March 19, 2011, two days after the approval of a UN resolution on "targeted measures" to protect civilians from ongoing clashes between forces loyal to former leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels seeking his overthrow.

“Our NATO partners have not yet given an accounting of their actions in Libya and the consequences of the ongoing crisis there on other North Africa countries,” Lavrov said, adding that the U.S.-led alliance has so far avoided a fair discussion on “the Libyan post-crisis syndrome.”

Russia has repeatedly criticized the NATO-led operation in Libya for exceeding the UN mandate by supporting rebel forces in their fight against troops loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for more than 40 years before he was deposed by rebel forces in August.



April 10, 2012

McCain And Lieberman Meet With The Free Syria Army

Posted By Josh Rogin Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 12:20 PM

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are on a surprise trip to the Turkish-Syrian border to meet with leaders of the Free Syria Army and visit Syrian refugees, who have been under attack by Syrian government forces.

The senators' trip was not associated with the efforts of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, whose cease-fire agreement seems to have failed to stop the violence. McCain and Lieberman said in a statement that Syrian President Bashar al Assad has violated the terms of Anann's cease-fire and that the only practical way forward is to arm the Syrian opposition.

"We respect Mr. Annan's desire to find an end to the killing in Syria. Unfortunately, Bashar al-Assad does not share this goal. That fact has been clear to many of us for months, but it should now be undeniable for everyone," the senators said. "Indeed, reports indicate that Assad has used the time provided by the recent diplomatic initiative to kill up to 1,000 additional men, women, and children in Syria. And just yesterday, Syrian forces fired across the border with Turkey, killing and wounding people in a refugee camp on Turkish territory."

McCain and Lieberman were in Hatay province Tuesday and met with the leaders of the Free Syrian Army, General Mustafa al-Sheikh and Colonel Riad al-Asaad. They also toured a refugee camp and met Syrians who had recently arrived from across the border. They are the first members of Congress to meet the FSA leaders and to visit the border, and the senior-most U.S. officials to do so.


April 10, 2012

Israel Tries To Save West Bank Settlements It Vowed To Dismantle

By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times

April 11, 2012

JERUSALEM — Israel's government is scrambling to find ways to save some of the unauthorized West Bank settlements it once promised to dismantle, including some that are built partly on private Palestinian land.

The new strategy seeks to retroactively legalize some outposts and, in other cases, relocate Jewish settlers to nearby land that is not privately owned, in effect creating what critics say would be the first new West Bank settlements in years.

The approach by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government appears designed to avoid the need to carry out high-profile military evictions of settlers in order to appease conservative lawmakers, who have accused Netanyahu of betraying the settlers' cause.

But it raises questions about past promises by the succession of Israeli governments — to Palestinians, the international community and Israel's own Supreme Court — to stop building new settlements and evacuate many of the illegal outposts, particularly those built on Palestinian land without official Israeli authorization.



April 10, 2012

Iran Says It Captured Israel-Backed ‘Terrorist Team’

By Thomas Erdbrink, Tuesday, April 10, 11:38 AM

TEHRAN — Iranian security forces arrested an Israeli-backed “terrorist team” days before crucial nuclear talks with world powers, the Intelligence Ministry announced Tuesday.

The announcement, reported by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), said that “terrorists, backed by the Zionists,” were arrested following months of intelligence operations in central and border provinces and that the “Zionist regional headquarters” was discovered in a regional country. In Iran’s ideological vocabulary, Israel is called the “Zionist state.”

While the report did not name the regional country, Iranian media in recent months have quoted several officials as accusing neighboring Azerbaijan of providing shelter for operatives plotting attacks inside Iran.

The Intelligence Ministry said security forces identified and arrested all of the team’s members. It said they “had planned to carry out terrorist operations inside the country, but they were arrested before implementing their plan,” IRNA reported.



April 9, 2012

Homeowner Association Could Be Sued In Trayvon Martin Case

(04-09) 00:06 PDT Sanford, Fla. (AP) --

If Trayvon Martin's family sues over his death, they might not target George Zimmerman but instead the homeowners association of the neighborhood where the shooting happened and Zimmerman lived.

That's because if Zimmerman's claim that he shot the unarmed 17-year-old in self-defense is upheld by prosecutors, a judge or a jury, Florida's so-called stand your ground law would protect him from a lawsuit. But his clearance or acquittal wouldn't stop Martin's parents from suing The Retreat at Twin Lakes homeowners association — and its insurance policies and assets would make it a much more lucrative target than Zimmerman, even if he is eventually convicted of a crime.

Plus, lawyers say, Exhibit A would be a newsletter sent by the association to residents in February, the same month as the shooting. It said Zimmerman was the go-to person for residents who had been the victims of a crime.

Under the heading "Neighborhood Watch," the newsletter's message recommended that residents first call police and then "please contact our Captain, George Zimmerman ... so he can be aware and help address the issue with other residents."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/04/08/national/a235945D24.DTL#ixzz1rZ5U5v28

April 9, 2012

Israel 'Satisfied' With Iran's Rejection Of West's Demands

Senior state officials were satisfied Sunday with Iran's rejection of Western proposals for the nuclear crisis. "As far as Israel is concerned, the Iranian response is good," one state official said. It has been estimated that this will force US President Barack Obama to toughen sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Senior state officials said that Iran is hardening its position in an effort to challenge Obama. "They believe that the White House does not want a conflict on an election year," one state official said. "Once they form an official stance we'll know how financially stressed they are.

"If Obama sees he's being challenged he will be forced to toughen the sanctions in an unequivocal manner."

Another senior official said the Iranians are stalling for time. "As far as Israel is concerned the Iranian response is good because ultimately Obama will be forced to toughen the sanctions."



April 9, 2012

Trayvon Martin Death Won't Go To Fla. Grand Jury


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Special prosecutor Angela Corey says she will not bring the Trayvon Martin shooting death before a grand jury.

Corey said Monday she continues to investigate the case and will not involve a grand jury set to meet Tuesday

That means the decision now rests solely with Corey

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NEIGHBORHOOD_WATCH_DEATH?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-04-09-12-01-10

April 8, 2012

North Korea Rocket Installed On Launch Pad

North Korea has positioned a long-range rocket on its launch platform ahead of launch which has raised tensions with its regional neighbours and Western powers.

North Korea says the rocket will launch a satellite, but the US and its allies say the launch is a thinly disguised ballistic missile test.

Officials allowed foreign reporters to visit North Korea's space centre ahead of the launch, which they say could take place any time between Thursday and next Monday.

The journalists, who arrived by a special train, were able to observe the rocket from 50 metres away. It was painted in white with sky blue lettering. There were no indications when it would blast off.



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