[VIDEO] Iranian Jet Picking Up Obama Administration’s Prisoner Release Ransom Payment of $400 Million in Swiss FrancsPosted: December 29, 2016
A video from Jan. 17, 2016, shows an Iranian government jet as it departs Geneva, Switzerland, with $400 million in Swiss francs from the Obama administration. It was the same day four American prisoners were released from Iran.
Egypt’s military and national airline say debris from the crashed EgyptAir flight has been recovered in the Mediterranean.
Flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew when it vanished early on Thursday.
Egypt’s army spokesman said wreckage and passenger belongings were found 290km (180 miles) off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt.
EgyptAir also confirmed the discovery to the BBC.
Greek, Egyptian, French and UK military units have been taking part in a search operation near Greece’s Karpathos island.
Greece said radar showed the Airbus A320 had made two sharp turns and dropped more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before plunging into the sea.
Egypt says the plane was more likely to have been brought down by a terrorist act than a technical fault.
Most of the people on board Flight MS804 were from Egypt and France. A Briton was also among the passengers. Read the rest of this entry »
An EgyptAir flight traveling to Cairo from Paris crashed early Thursday with 66 passengers and crew members on board, Egyptian aviation officials confirmed.
Flight 804, an Airbus A320, was lost from radar at 2:30 a.m. Cairo time (8:30 p.m. EDT) when it was flying at 37,000 feet 175 miles north of the Egyptian coast., the airline said. EgyptAir later confirmed that one of the plane’s emergency devices sent a distress signal approximately two hours after it vanished.
Officials from Civil Aviation ministry said the “possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed,” as the plane failed to land in any nearby airports.
Egyptian armed forces were searching for debris from the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew. EgyptAir later confirmed the nationalities of those on board as including 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian.
Greece sent two aircraft to join the search and rescue operation: one C-130 and one early warning aircraft, officials at the Hellenic National Defense General Staff said. They said one frigate was also heading to the area, and helicopters are on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.
“We are not ruling out any hypothesis,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Thursday. “We are trying to gather all the information available.” Valls later told RTL radio France was “ready” to join the search operation if Egyptian authorities requested his country’s assistance. Read the rest of this entry »
VIENNA (AP) — George Jahn and Matthew Lee report: Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks plan to announce Monday that they’ve reached a historic deal capping nearly a decade of diplomacy that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, two diplomats told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The envoys said a provisional agreement may be reached even earlier — by late Sunday. But they cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out. Once it is complete, a formal, final agreement would be open to review by officials in the capitals of Iran and the six world powers at the talks, they said.
Senior U.S. and Iranian officials suggested, however, there might not be enough time to reach a deal by the end of Sunday and that the drafting of documents could bleed into Monday.
All of the officials, who are at the talks in Vienna, demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.
“We are working hard, but a deal tonight is simply logistically impossible,” the Iranian official said, noting that the agreement will run roughly 100 pages.
The senior U.S. official declined to speculate as to the timing of any agreement or announcement but said “major issues remain to be resolved.”
Despite the caution, the negotiators appeared to be on the cusp of an agreement.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Thursday had threatened to walk away from the negotiations, said Sunday that “a few tough things” remain in the way but added “we’re getting to some real decisions.”
En route to Mass at Vienna’s gothic St. Stephens Cathedral, Kerry said twice he was “hopeful” after a “very good meeting” Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had Muslim services Friday. Read the rest of this entry »
Scientists are hunting one of the biggest prizes in physics: tiny particles called wimps that could unlock some of the universe’s oldest secrets
A wimp—a weakly interacting massive particle—is thought to be the stuff of dark matter, an invisible substance that makes up about a quarter of the universe but has never been seen by humans.
Gravity is the force that holds things together, and the vast majority of it emanates from dark matter. Ever since the big bang, this mystery material has been the universe’s prime architect, giving it shape and structure. Without dark matter, there would be no galaxies, no stars, no planets. Solving its mystery is crucial to understanding what the universe is made of.
“If we don’t assume that 85% of the matter in the universe is this unknown material, the laws of relativity and gravity would have to be modified. That would be significant,” says physicist Giuliana Fiorillo, a member of the 150-strong team searching for the particles at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory, 80 miles east of Rome.
The quest for dark matter has intensified since the discovery of the Higgs boson particle two years ago, which helped to narrow the field in which wimps might be hiding. Today, more than 20 different teams of researchers are hunting for the elusive stuff, using some of the most elaborate and delicate experiments ever devised.
Dark-matter detectors have been installed on the sea bed nearly 8,200 feet beneath the surface. Others operate deep inside mines. There is one on the International Space Station. China’s new dark-matter experiment sits 1.5 miles beneath a marble mountain. When it restarts later this year, the Large Hadron Collider will look for wimps, too, by smashing together subatomic particles.
Scientists estimate that visible matter makes up just 4% of the universe, while dark matter makes up 23%. The remaining 73% is an even bigger puzzle, a repulsive force known as “dark energy.”
Dark matter neither emits nor absorbs light. We know it is out there, because scientists can measure the immense gravitational force it exerts on stars, galaxies and other cosmic bodies. The best candidate for what dark matter consists of is the wimp: an ethereal being that barely interacts with normal matter. Every second, billions of wimps flow through the Earth without hitting anything. Read the rest of this entry »
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 20, 2014
Ex-CIA Agent Bitch-Slaps Snowden’s Spy Fantasies: ‘Computer Technician with a Walter Mitty Complex’…’Lacking Common Sense’Posted: May 31, 2014
Former CIA Agent: Snowden probably in contact with Russia Since 2007
For The Daily Caller, Giuseppe Macri writes: Distinguished former CIA officer and author Robert Baer said on the BBC’s “Today” radio program Thursday morning that ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been in contact with the Russian government for the last seven years.
“He was a systems administrator. When he worked for the CIA in Geneva he was a communicator. That means he sits in an office and relays messages. That’s not a spy.”
“My suspicion is that the Russians were probably in touch with him in Geneva,” Baer said, speculating they first made contact in 2007 while Snowden was stationed in Switzerland with the CIA. “I can’t prove it. But this was such a brilliant operation. And his landing in Moscow just makes old Cold War warriors like me very suspicious.”
“Secondly, the NSA doesn’t have spies overseas. It’s got technicians who sit in American embassies. They are not even analysts.”
Baer also dismissed Snowden’s assertion on his first U.S. television network interview with NBC’s Brian Williams Wednesday that he “was trained as a spy,” and described him as little more than a computer technician with a “Walter Mitty complex” lacking “common sense.” Read the rest of this entry »
Geneva (AFP) – Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal to introduce the world’s highest minimum wage, which would have guaranteed every worker in one of the world’s priciest nations at least $25 an hour.
…the initiative flopped as voters heeded warnings from government and other opponents that it would deal a death blow to many businesses and would weaken Switzerland’s healthy economy…
A proposal to introduce a minimum wage so high it could pass for mid-management pay elsewhere, was rejected by 76,3 percent of Swiss voters.
…Swiss voters also overwhelmingly voted in favour of harsh laws against convicted paedophiles, with 63.5 percent supporting a lifelong ban on them working with children, regardless of the gravity or nature of their crime.
A series of referendums in Switzerland also saw voters nix a multi-billion-dollar deal to buy fighter jets from Sweden and massively support a lifelong ban on convicted paedophiles working with children.
The massive rejection of the “Decent Salary” initiative was widely seen as a slap in the face to its union backers, who insist at least 22 Swiss francs ($25, 18 euros) an hour, or 4,000 francs ($4,515, 3,280 euros) a month, is needed to get by in Switzerland. Read the rest of this entry »
“They will note the breathtaking naiveté of American and European officials who let a brutal theocracy undermine Western interests throughout the Middle East”
“They will note the breathtaking naiveté of American and European officials who let a brutal theocracy undermine Western interests throughout the Middle East,” he writes for The Daily Beast:
At one of Iran’s most vulnerable moments, America threw the mullahs a life-line; an ill-conceived nuclear deal coupled with a complete inability to stop Syria, Iran’s closest ally, from continuing to slaughter en masse. Western diplomats speak optimistically of a deal with Syria in Geneva, while the region’s thugs use force of arms to impose their will.
Reza Kahlili writes: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called America’s assertions about the interim nuclear agreement reached recently in Geneva “nonsense” and said the Islamic Republic’s strategy will collapse the sanctions program.
U.S. officials have called the nuclear agreement a first step in rolling back the Islamic regime’s nuclear program. President Barack Obama praised them as “substantial limitations” on Iran’s nuclear activities — but Zarif said Iran can easily reverse any enrichment limitations.
Zarif, reporting on the Geneva negotiations to the regime’s parliament last Wednesday, alluded to deceiving the Obama administration and the 5+1 world powers, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany.
“The Americans talk nonsense [on enforcing limitations on Iran’s nuclear program]… All of these [negotiations] are ultimately for [the representatives] to protect the interests of the country,” he said.
Referring to what Iran claims is its right to enrich uranium, he added, “This right is there, regardless if the West accepts it or not.”
Zarif said there is nothing in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that can affect “the inalienable right of all the parties to the treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. An inalienable right is an inherent and undeniable right that no one can take away… American claims are nonsense.”
Zarif told parliamentarians that the regime’s goal is to lift U.N. sanctions, which would prevent the U.S. and the European Union from enforcing their own sanctions.
“I promise you, the moment the U.N. Security Council sanctions are lifted, all other U.S. sanctions will be nothing but scrap paper,” he said.
Adam Kredo writes: The White House is currently examining ways to enable Iran to have its own “domestic” uranium enrichment program, according to a senior Obama administration official.
As the details of a six month interim nuclear deal between Iran and Western nations are hashed out, the White House is exploring the practicality of permitting Iran to continue certain enrichment activities, an issue that Iranian officials have described as a “redline.”
“Over the next six months, we will explore, in practical terms, whether and how Iran might end up with a limited, tightly constrained, and intensively monitored civilian nuclear program, including domestic enrichment,” White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Caitlin Hayden told the Washington Free Beacon.
“Any such program,” she said, “would be subject to strict and verifiable curbs on its capacity and stockpiles of enriched uranium for a significant number of years and tied to practical energy needs that will remain minimal for years to come.”
The White House clarified its openness to a limited Iranian enrichment program just days after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised to “forge ahead” with the country’s controversial nuclear program. Read the rest of this entry »
Surrender in Geneva
Iran got everything it wanted
Mark Steyn writes: ‘Iran, U.S. Set to Establish Joint Chamber of Commerce within Month,” reports Agence-France Presse. Government official Abolfazi Hejazi tells the English-language newspaper Iran Daily that the Islamic Republic will shortly commence direct flights to America. Passenger jets, not ICBMs, one assumes — although, as with everything else, the details have yet to be worked out. Still, the historic U.S.–Iranian rapprochement seems to be galloping along, and any moment now the cultural-exchange program will be announced and you’ll have to book early for the Tehran Ballet’s season at the Kennedy Center (“Death to America” in repertory with “Death to the Great Satan”).
In Geneva, the participants came to the talks with different goals: The Americans and Europeans wanted an agreement; the Iranians wanted nukes. Each party got what it came for. Before the deal, the mullahs’ existing facilities were said to be within four to seven weeks of nuclear “breakout”; under the new constraints, they’ll be eight to nine weeks from breakout. In return, they get formal international recognition of their enrichment program, and the gutting of sanctions — and everything they already have is, as they say over at Obamacare, grandfathered in.
Many pundits reached for the obvious appeasement analogies, but Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argued that Geneva is actually worse than Munich. In 1938, facing a German seizure of the Sudetenland, the French and British prime ministers were negotiating with Berlin from a position of profound military weakness: It’s easy to despise Chamberlain with the benefit of hindsight, less easy to give an honest answer as to what one would have done differently playing a weak hand across the table from Hitler 75 years ago. This time round, a superpower and its allies accounting for over 50 percent of the planet’s military spending was facing a militarily insignificant country with a ruined economy and no more than two to three months’ worth of hard currency — and they gave it everything it wanted.
Reza Kahlili writes: Iran boasted on Tuesday that it has created a major crack in the international sanctions against its nuclear program, claiming it has achieved its goal of acceptance of its nuclear development.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment process “will never witness the stop of enrichment in Iran and that enrichment is our red line.”
Early Sunday, Iran and the 5+1 world powers, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, reached an agreement in Geneva over its illicit nuclear program. Under the agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, will keep much of its nuclear infrastructure, is limited to enriching uranium at the five percent level for six months, will convert its highly enriched uranium of 20 percent to harmless oxide and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will be limited to only agreed-on facilities. (RELATED: Iranian leader: Nuclear negotiations merely a maneuver to reach Islamic goal)
Rouhani said the Geneva agreement will transform the country’s banking system.
“The most important fact is that there will be no new sanctions,” he said. “This means that the sanctions regime has been broken.”
James Jay Carafano writes: No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.
The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.
The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.
This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown. They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.
What does Israel do now?
John Bolton writes: Negotiations for an “interim” arrangement over Iran’s nuclear weapons program finally succeeded this past weekend, as Security Council foreign ministers (plus Germany) flew to Geneva to meet their Iranian counterpart. After raising expectations of a deal by first convening on November 8-10, it would have been beyond humiliating to gather again without result. So agreement was struck despite solemn incantations earlier that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
This interim agreement is badly skewed from America’s perspective. Iran retains its full capacity to enrich uranium, thus abandoning a decade of Western insistence and Security Council resolutions that Iran stop all uranium-enrichment activities. Allowing Iran to continue enriching, and despite modest (indeed, utterly inadequate) measures to prevent it from increasing its enriched-uranium stockpiles and its overall nuclear infrastructure, lays the predicate for Iran fully enjoying its “right” to enrichment in any “final” agreement. Indeed, the interim agreement itself acknowledges that a “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program.” This is not, as the Obama administration leaked before the deal became public, a “compromise” on Iran’s claimed “right” to enrichment. This is abject surrender by the United States.
The Times Of Israel is reporting that a team of negotiators led by White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has been conducting secret talks with Iran about it’s nuclear weapons program for the past year.
The report states the deal submitted in Geneva earlier this month was a direct result of these secret year-long negotiations between teams headed by Jarrett and Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi. That deal was ultimately rejected when France and Israel raised strong objections, and talks are expected to resume this Wednesday.
The White House was very quick to issue a categorical denial of the report. According to White House spokesperson Bernadette Meehan, “Those rumors are absolutely, 100 percent false.”
If this report is found to be accurate despite the administration’s fast denial, the fact that Jarrett is leading the U.S. negotiating team on Iran’s nuclear weapons program is very troubling. She does not appear to have any foreign policy experience or history of being involved in such high level negotiations of this nature.
GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.S.-Russian deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal contains nothing about the potential use of force if Syria fails to comply, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said he almost vomited after reading Russian president Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times, which was published late Wednesday evening.
“I got an e-mail with what president Putin had to say — and I have to be honest with you — at dinner and I almost wanted to vomit,” Menendez said, during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The reality is, I worry when someone who came up to the KGB tells us what is in our national interests an what is not.”
Menendez cautioned, however, that it was not time to end diplomatic discussions with the Russians, particularly since Secretary of State John Kerry was traveling to Geneva to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.