Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.
Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border.
“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”
“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place.
“I’m satisfied we have the intelligence and the capability on our border that would prevent that activity,” Taylor said.
However, McCain was dubious, referring to recent videos released by activist James O’Keefe showing him crossing the border while wearing an Osama bin Laden mask.
Asked by McCain why agents did not stop O’Keefe, Taylor could not provide an answer.
“You can’t answer it because they weren’t there to stop him,” McCain responded.
“The fact is there are thousands of people who are coming across our border who are undetected and not identified, and for you to sit there and tell me that we have the capability or now have the proper protections of our southwest border, particularly in light of the urgings over Facebook and Twitter [by ISIL] for people to come across our southwestern border, is a great concern to the citizens of my state.”
Taylor admitted that more must be done to shore up border security in light of ongoing threats.
“The security at the southwestern border is of great concern to the department and I certainly understand the concerns of the citizens of your state,” he told McCain. “If I gave you the impression I thought the border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risks coming across the state that’s not what I meant to say.”
There is little evidence to prove that ISIL militants or other terror actors would be stopped if they attempt to cross the border, McCain said.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt, I don’t see when you look at ISIS and the growth and influence of ISIS that it would be logical [to claim they would be stopped], as they’re saying on Facebook and Twitter, to come across our southwest border because they can get across,” he said.
Other U.S. officials have warned ahead of President Obama’s speech this evening that ISIL is growing in strength and seeking the capability to attack America directly.
“We remain mindful of the possibility that an ISIL-sympathizer—perhaps motivated by online propaganda—could conduct a limited, self-directed attack here at home with no warning,” Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, said in a recent speech.
“We have seen ISIL use a range of media to tout its military capabilities, executions of captured soldiers, and consecutive battlefield victories,” Olsen said. “More recently, the group’s supporters have sustained this momentum on social media by encouraging attacks in the U.S. and against U.S. interests in retaliation for our airstrikes. ISIL has used this propaganda campaign to draw foreign fighters to the group, including many from Western countries.”
Washington Free Beacon
Current finance minister Sapin, perhaps unsurprisingly, has admitted thatFrance will miss EU deficit targets and needs more time to rein in public finances - proclaiming, as Reuters reports, that it may take until 2017 to bring it in line. Germany's response "nein, nein, nein" with Merkel demanding EU nations stick to commitments (rejecting any plans to 'bend rules') and Schaeuble blasting that Germany is "certain France is aware of its responsibilities." But the real stunner is that as France shows its utter ineptitude in managing an economy, EU President Juncker has placedformer French finance minister Moscovici in charge of Europe's taxes and finances. German lawmakers exclaimed this is "not a wise personnel decision." The core splinters...
France is failing hard... (as Reuters reports)
France announced on Wednesday it was breaking the latest in a long line of promises to European Union partners to cut its public deficit, conceding it now would take until 2017 to bring its finances in line with EU rules.The statement by Finance Minister Michel Sapin follows weeks of hints by Paris that weakness in the euro zone's second largest economy would prevent it bringing the deficit below the EU ceiling of three percent of output next year as promised.Sapin insisted France was not seeking to change or suspend the rules but wanted the deteriorating outlook for growth and inflation this year and next to be taken into account.Paris has led calls for a more flexible interpretation of EU budget regulations along with Italy,"Let France's position be clear: in the European debate now open, we are not seeking a change of European rules, we are not seeking their suspension, nor any exception for France or other countries."We are asking that everyone takes into account the economic reality we are all facing - that growth that is too weak, inflation that is too low."
But... German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected any bending of the rules and said on Wednesday euro zone countries should stick to their commitments.
"The (European) Commission is right to keep up pressure for solid budgets and reforms," she told parliament in Berlin. "What applies for Germany also applies unchanged for Europe."
And Germany's finance ministry adds:
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Tuesday rebuffed calls for Berlin to spend more to boost the euro zone economy, insisting on the need for painful structural reforms.
- *GERMAN MINISTRY 'CERTAIN' FRANCE 'AWARE OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY'
- *GERMAN MINISTRY SAYS EUROPE NEEDS FRANCE TO HAVE STRONG ECONOMY
Upholding the EU deficit-busting rules will now fall to Sapin's Socialist predecessor, Pierre Moscovici, an advocate of Keynesian demand-led economics, who was appointed European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs in the new EU executive team unveiled on Wednesday.
Germany is not happy:
- *GERMAN CDU LAWMAKER BARTHLE SAYS MOSCOVICI NOMINATION NOT A WISE DECISIONGerman lawmaker Norbert Barthle from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union says appointment of Pierre Moscovici as European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner not “a wise personnel decision.”In e-mailed statement, Barthle also says:“It will be interesting to see how Mr. Moscovici will deal with France’s excessive deficit”“It’s now up to the commission to assess a delayed adherence to the 3% deficit limit and, where appropriate, take further steps against the country”“This is where Mr. Moscovici can show that he really represents the interests of Europe”
* * *
So put the socialist fox in charge of the money hen house... what could go wrong?
But you shouldn't worry, because:
- EU'S MOSCOVICI SAYS IN INTERVIEW WITH FRANCE'S LES ECHOS NO EXCEPTIONS CAN BE MADE FOR FRANCE ON BUDGET
- EU'S MOSCOVICI SAYS FRANCE'S DEFICIT REDUCTION PLANS NEED TO BE EXAMINED OVER A LONG-TERM PERIOD
Yep - no exceptions... except we'll use a long-term average that enables an exception for France - because that's what's fair.
Credit to Zero Hedge
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(NaturalNews) The rapid explosion of mystery virus EV-D68 is sending hundreds of children to hospitals across Missouri, Colorado, Kansas, Utah and eight other states. "In Kansas City, about 475 children were recently treated at Children's Mercy Hospital, and at least 60 of them received intensive hospitalization," reports CNN. (1)
CNN goes on to report:
"It's worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care. I would call it unprecedented. I've practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I've never seen anything quite like this," said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the hospital's division director for infectious diseases.
What CNN and other media outlets are not reporting, however, is that this outbreak is occurring among vaccinated children.
Did other vaccines make children more susceptible to EV-D68 infections?
Children who have been vaccinated with MMR vaccines, influenza vaccines, polio vaccines and many others are the same children who are now being struck by EV-D68. How do we know this? Because we know how the rabid pro-vaccine media consistently reports on viral outbreaks:
Vaccine media propaganda rule #1) If an outbreak ever occurs among unvaccinated children, then the published stories will strongly condemn parents for failing to vaccinated their children while promoting vaccines as the one and only solution.
Vaccine media propaganda rule #2) If there's an inconvenient fact about vaccines that the media doesn't want the public to know, it will withhold that fact from all its stories. This was made abundantly clear in the recent media-wide blackout of the CDC whistleblower story, where top CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson openly admitted to committing scientific fraud at the CDC in order to hide the link between MMR vaccines and autism. Click here to read the once-secret letter Dr. Thompson sent to CDC director Julie Gerberding, admitting to a cover-up.
The fact that the mainstream media is right now not blaming the EV-D68 outbreak on unvaccinated children, in other words, is near-conclusive proof that this outbreak is occurring among vaccinated children.
Media doctors hopelessly clueless about what to suggest to parents
Because there is no vaccine for EV-D68, the media can't push vaccines as the solution for these infections. And so the media seems totally lost and clueless about what to report. There's no mention of protecting children's immune systems with vitamin D, and no mainstream media outlet even dares mention the words "immune support" for fear that people might realize a strong immune system is far better than a vaccine at preventing infectious disease.
The best advice CNN can come up with reads as follows:
To reduce the risk of infection, individuals should wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick; disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs; and stay home when feeling sick...
Again, note the complete lack of any discussion about zinc, vitamin D, immune-boosting herbs, avoidance of toxic immunosuppressive chemicals and food additives, and so on. This is the default position of the mainstream media: "Wash your hands." It is literally watered-down advice by a propaganda institution that functions as the vaccine industry's ministry of truth.
Even when children's lives are at stake, the media is so opposed to nutritional defenses that it consistently refuses to mention a low-cost, high-safety, readily-available nutrient like vitamin D that could save countless lives during a pandemic outbreak... even if used in conjunction with vaccines! (See my Blueprint for Safer Vaccines document here.)
Credit to Natural News
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/046810_pandemic_outbreak_EV-D68_vaccines.html##ixzz3Csvojjne
Raging monsoon floods sweeping across India and Pakistan have killed more than 440 people, authorities said Tuesday, warning hundreds of thousands more to be prepared to flee their homes as helicopters and boats raced to save marooned victims.
Authorities in Pakistan say the floods, which began Sept. 3, are the worst since massive flooding killed 1,700 people in 2010. Pakistan's minister for water and power, Khwaja Mohammad Asif, warned parliament that some 700,000 people have been told to leave their homes, which could be inundated in the next four days.
Pakistani and Indian troops have been using boats and helicopters to drop food supplies for stranded families and evacuate victims. However, the challenge of the situation grows as more than 1.5 million people are now affected as the rushing waters have destroyed the homes of thousands of families.
"This is a sad moment for all of us," Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, addressing flood victims in the country's Hafiz district. "These floods came suddenly and no one knew that such a large flood was coming."
The floods have triggered landslides in the divided Kashmir region, split between the two arch rivals, and caused much devastation in northern and eastern Pakistan.
The rains washed away houses, bridges, communication equipment and crops. Pakistani and Indian troops say they have evacuated more than 60,000 people.
Credit to Chron
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama will ask Congress to quickly authorize the arming and training of Syrian opposition forces but will press forward without formal sign-off from lawmakers on a broader military and political effort to combat militants in Syria and Iraq, administration officials said Tuesday.
Obama was to outline his plans Wednesday in a rare prime-time address to the nation, a format that underscores the seriousness of the threat posed by the Islamic State militants. The president’s broader strategy could include more wide-ranging airstrikes against targets in Iraq and possibly in Syria, and hinges on military and political commitments from allies in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Ahead of his address, the president huddled with congressional leaders at the White House. Following the hourlong discussion, the White House said Obama told lawmakers that he “has the authority he needs to take action” against the Islamic State militants but would still welcome action from Congress that would “aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat.”
Even before Obama’s meeting with Senate and House leaders Tuesday, some lawmakers suggested a congressional vote on the president’s plans was unlikely before the midterm elections in November.
“As a practical matter, I don’t really see the time that it would take to really get this out and have a full debate and discuss all the issues,” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
For Obama, a sustained US intervention in the Middle East is at odds with the vision he had for the region when he ran for president on a pledge to end the war in Iraq, where the role of American fighting forces drew to a close nearly three years ago. The timing of his announcement Wednesday night was all the more striking, with Obama’s address to the nation scheduled just hours before anniversary commemorations of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Among the president’s most urgent priorities will be seeking authorization from Congress to arm more moderate elements of the opposition fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. The president asked lawmakers earlier this year for a $500 million train-and-equip program, but the plan stalled on Capitol Hill.
With Obama ruling out sending US ground troops into combat in Iraq or Syria, bolstering the capacity of the Iraqi security forces and Syrian opposition will be crucial to efforts to root out the militant group that has moved freely across the blurred border between the two countries. US airstrikes could help give the forces in both countries the space to make gains against the Islamic State.
Administration officials said Obama sees a congressional authorization for a Syrian train-and-equip message as sending a strong signal to allies who are considering similar efforts. Secretary of State John Kerry was traveling to the region for discussions in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
On Capitol Hill, there was little consensus on the scope of Obama’s authorities. While some lawmakers said the president has the authority he needs under the Constitution, others were seeking a more central congressional role in the effort.
“I think it is to his advantage and the country’s advantage to have Congress buy into that,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before joining other Republican and Democratic leaders in the Oval Office Tuesday afternoon for a meeting with Obama.
None of the leaders spoke to reporters as they left the White House.
However, an aide to House Speaker John Boehner said the Ohio Republican expressed support for efforts to increase the effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces and for equipping the Syrian opposition. Boehner also said he would support the deployment of US military personnel to Iraq in a training and advisory role and to “assist with lethal targeting” of Islamic State leadership, according to the aide, who spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
Credit to The Times of Israel
Read more: Obama to seek arms, training for Syrian opposition | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-to-seek-arms-training-for-syrian-opposition/#ixzz3CsrnJk4u
WASHINGTON – As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization considers what action to take against ISIS, concern is mounting about the response of Turkey, a NATO member that continues to allow its borders to be crossed by Islamic fighters and launders money to finance jihad.
Informed sources tell WND that Turkey continues to keep open its borders to allow jihadists seeking to join ISIS, or Islamic State, to cross into Syria. Many of the fighters are from Europe and the United States.
Turkey has been a major gathering point for fighters throughout the world to obtain training and logistical support to join various jihadist groups and the Syrian opposition fighting Shiite-Alawite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Now, many fighters from various Sunni jihadist groups have sworn allegiance to ISIS, although some openly oppose the group. The opposition, however, now appears to be waning because of ISIS’ spectacular gains in recent months and its declaration of a Sunni caliphate ruled by Islamic law.
In addition, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Turkey remains an even greater conduit of money laundering to ISIS than Qatar.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are known financial sources to ISIS, and the funds generally are channeled through Turkey to ISIS in neighboring Syria, sources tell WND.
Analysts say Turkey is afraid of cutting off ISIS because of threats of reprisal the group has made through Turkish media.
In addition, sources say, ISIS continues to hold hostage some 49 Turkish diplomats who were captured when it took over Mosul last June. The development has been one reason for Turkey to go along with ISIS demands.
However, there appear to be more compelling reasons for Turkey to continue working with ISIS.
Turkey’s backing hasn’t gone unnoticed by ISIS, whose leadership now is considering rewarding Turkish businesses with contracts in ISIS-occupied Sunni areas of Iraq.
Turkey’s minister of economy, Nihat Zeybekci, is receptive to the notion and has been open about encouraging Turkish businesses to invest in ISIS-occupied portions of Iraq.
”Our exports to Iraq are now down to 35 percent, but Iraq cannot easily substitute other sources,” Neybekci said. ”We think there will be a boom in demand soon. We also know that IS (ISIS) is contacting individual Turkish businessmen and telling them, ‘Come back, we won’t interfere.’ That is not easy, of course. But when it the future Iraq is rebuilt, it will be Turkey doing it.”
WND requests for comment from the Departments of Defense and State Department on NATO-member Turkey’s involvement with ISIS went unanswered. The inquiries also included a request for comment on Qatar’s financial contributions to ISIS even though the U.S. has an air force base in Qatar, which also is headquarters to U.S. Central Command.
ISIS has declared creation of a caliphate extending from northeastern Syria and into western and central Iraq where all residents would be subjected to strict Islamic law, or Shariah.
ISIS also intends to extend its caliphate into the rest of the Levant, including all of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, and has indicated a desire to take over Saudi Arabia. However a recent WND report suggests the Saudi kingdom may have paid ISIS extortion money not to attack.
Turkey’s former foreign minister and now prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, denies Turkey is providing assistance to ISIS. Last December, Turkey placed ISIS on its own country’s terrorist list.
However, Turkey to this day hasn’t closed border access to Syria through which fighters and logistical equipment to ISIS in Syria flow. Critics accuse government officials of looking the other way while ISIS admits it receives help from Turkey.
In addition, Turkey continues to offer hospital assistance to ISIS fighters to recover from wounds received in fighting in Syria.
According to Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, a photo surfaced in April 2014 showing ISIS commander Abu Muhammad in a bed in Hatay State Hospital receiving treatment.
Abu Muhammad of ISIS in Hatay State Hospital in April, recovering from wounds received fighting in Syria.
There also are claims that energy-starved Turkey has been sending close to a billion dollars to ISIS for oil shipments, predominantly from ISIS-occupied Syria and Iraq. ISIS is known to be working oil drilling installations in areas it occupies to raise revenue from illicit oil sales.
Estimates are that ISIS is exporting up to 4,000 tons of fuel to Turkey daily and is earning in return $15 million each month from energy sales. Because Turkish border guards tend to look the other way when such shipments occur, villages along the border with Syria continue their smuggling virtually in the open.
Turkish expert Hilmi Demir, who also is a professor at the Hitit University Religious Studies department, said Turkey doesn’t consider ISIS as part of al-Qaida and believes the Sunni group was giving Sunnis a bad name.
Instead, Demir told Al-Monitor, ISIS similarly poses a serious threat to the Sunni population in the region. He said the Sunni label has been misused to show it is non-Shiite and instead should be regarded as Salafist-jihadists.
Demir said that making the distinction between al-Qaida and ISIS has helped ISIS to establish itself in Turkey.
”With that, Turkey also opened the door to negotiations with this group as Ankara did not consider it directly linked to al-Qaida,” Demir said.
Demir also accused the Free Syrian Army, or FNA, which uses Turkey as its base to oppose the Assad government, of joining ISIS units. The Obama administration, however, continues to receive pressure from Congress to arm the FNA to go against the militant jihadists as well as the Syrian government.
Credit to WND
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/nato-member-openly-aiding-isis/#h7IieS4GdDKAac0R.99
Russia does not rule out the possibility that it might close its airspace in response to new Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.
"If there are sanctions connected with energy or further restrictions on our financial sector, we will have to strike back in an asymmetric way, such as restrictions in the transport sphere," Medvedev said in an interview with Vedomosti, a business daily.
"We will have to respond to the restrictions imposed on us," he said. "If Western carriers cannot overfly our airspace, it may lead to the bankruptcy of many airlines that are teetering on the brink of survival."
Medvedev, however, admitted it would be a bad option. "We would just like our partners to realize that."
He stressed that additional sanctions would not help bring peace to Ukraine, but only threaten the global security system. He warned that "sanctions are always double-edged." Moreover, Medvedev expressed his hope that the Western sanctions can be turned into chances for the domestic industry to develop, adding that Russia may make further adjustments of counter sanctions imposed on Western countries.
"We should try to use the situation to bring benefits to the country and our economy," he said. "We should not harm our citizens; this is the first and most important consideration."
The European Union (EU) was due to announce fresh sanctions on Russia later Monday, although a ceasefire between government and rebel forces is generally taking hold in eastern Ukraine.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that Russia will "certainly" react if the EU imposes new sanctions against it for allegedly "destabilizing eastern Ukraine."
The EU and the United States have slapped sanctions against Moscow to punish its alleged military assistance to insurgents in eastern Ukraine. In early August, Russia imposed a one-year ban on food imports from the EU, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway in counter measures.
Credit to China Times