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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Iran Nuke Deal subject to US congressional review


WASHINGTON -- After several months of wrangling between the White House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a controversial bill to increase Congress’ involvement in the Iran nuclear talks passed the committee Tuesday on a unanimous vote of 19-0. In a dramatic change from its stance only hours before the vote, the White House indicated that the president would not veto the legislation.
The bill’s apparent success is the result of last-minute negotiated changes to the text, which were hammered out by Corker and the committee's new ranking member, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), on Monday night into Tuesday morning.
According to Corker, the revised text was posted just minutes before the committee markup, which had been postponed 30 minutes to allow for last-minute discussions.
These efforts may have rescued the bill, which previously faced a veto threat from President Barack Obama and looked to be several votes short of the 67 needed from the full Senate to override a veto.
In its post-markup form, the legislation still requires the president to submit for congressional review the final nuclear agreement reached between Iran, the U.S. and its five negotiating partners. The bill also maintains the prohibition on the president's waiving congressionally enacted sanctions against Iran during the review period.
However, the review period in the measure has been shortened from 60 days to an initial 30 days. If, at the end of the 30 days, Congress were to pass a bill on sanctions relief and send it to the president, an additional 12 days would be automatically added to the review period. This could be another 10 days of review if the president vetoed the resulting sanctions bill.
The international nuclear negotiators currently face a deadline of June 30 to reach a final agreement. Under the new bill, the congressional review period would automatically return to 60 days if the negotiators ran late and concluded an agreement after June 9.
One of the key results of Corker and Cardin's efforts was the abandonment of a clause that would have required the White House to certify to Congress that Iran was not supporting terror in order to provide sanctions relief. The White House viewed requirements that were not specifically related to Iran’s nuclear program as a deliberate poison pill, and it lobbied hard to get the clause scrapped. While the president must still provide a series of reports to Congress detailing Iran’s support for terror globally, that would no longer be tied to implementation of aspects of the nuclear agreement.
Removal of the certification clause was a major requirement for Democrats, although Republicans accepted it grudgingly. During the committee markup, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the terrorism certification language as his own amendment to the modified bill.
Corker indicated that he would not support the amendment, making it impossible for it to pass along a party-line vote. After the markup, Corker and Cardin told reporters that Barrasso's move had been planned, with Barrasso aware that his amendment would not be allowed to pass.
“We all knew in advance that that was going to happen,” said Corker, who has been supportive of the terrorism reporting requirement. “We felt like that was a way for our members to express themselves appropriately."
Corker did, however, convince other members of his party to hold off on presenting amendments that would have almost certainly removed Democratic support for the bill.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who planned to introduce an amendment that would have required the president to certify to Congress that Iran recognizes the state of Israel, settled for language asserting that the nuclear agreement would not compromise U.S. support for Israel’s right to exist.
Similarly, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) agreed to hold off on his proposed amendment to treat any nuclear agreement with Iran as a treaty, which would require a two-thirds vote of approval from the Senate before it could be implemented.
Johnson made his disappointment with his party’s concessions clear. “It is a very limited role, it is a role with very little teeth,” he said of the modified oversight bill. “It is a far cry from advice and consent.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), at the request of Corker, agreed to withdraw an amendment to provide compensation for American victims of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis from fees collected for violations of Iran sanctions.
While some Republicans were disappointed with the watered-down bill, Democrats on the committee were resoundingly impressed with the outcome of Tuesday’s markup.
“I believe this bill has been changed from a point in which I do not support it to a point in which I can,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who was one of the most steadfast opponents to the original bill. In the days before the markup, Boxer filed 18 amendments to the legislation. One of her amendments proposed striking the entire text of the Corker bill and replacing it with her own Iran oversight act.
“I believe the former bill would have disrupted and upended the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. I believe that this bill will not do this,” Boxer said, voicing her support for the new text.
The unanimous bipartisan support for the legislation came as a surprise even to Cardin, who was constantly in touch with other committee Democrats in the days leading up to the vote. “No, I did not expect a 19-0 vote. I feel thrilled by that,” he told reporters.
“I think that really reflects the fact that we really did it right on the manager’s package,” Cardin continued, referring to the deal struck between him and Corker.
Perhaps more surprising than the unanimous vote was the White House’s apparent approval of the modified bill.
"The president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee today," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during Tuesday’s press briefing, just before the vote.
According to Corker, Secretary of State John Kerry had pushed back against the legislation as late as 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he presented a classified briefing on the Iran nuclear talks to members of the Senate.
Even Senate Democrats who were in contact with the White House over the upcoming committee vote seemed unaware that the Obama administration was prepared to drop its strong opposition to the bill.
“It is my hope that with the amendment and markup process today, they will reconsider, but I have no clear expectation of that,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told reporters Tuesday morning. “No one has said to me, we won’t veto this if we get this, this and this. That’s not a conversation I’ve had.”
Coons was one of several Democrats who favored congressional oversight of the Iran deal but was hesitant to vote for the original bill. Tuesday’s modifications included language similar to amendments he had proposed last week.
With Obama evidently withdrawing his opposition, Corker's bill is almost certain to become law. Several Republicans took the White House’s reversal as recognition of the weakness of its stance.
“The White House came to the deal when they saw the numbers of people, the growing support that was here,” Corker said.
Cardin, who has been in close contact with the White House over the past 10 days, declined to comment on Corker’s assertion. “I was always trying to get them to the position where they would feel comfortable and allow this bill to go forward. That was my goal from day one,” he said.
To House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), it was the Senate Republicans, not the White House, who capitulated under pressure. “We told the Senate this is going nowhere, that we are going to sustain the president's veto,” she said on Tuesday. “I don't know if that had an impact on what the Senate had to do. But they certainly produced a bill that would be more palatable to our members.”

US Helped Build ISIS – Provide Weapons from U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures with Libyan soldiers upon her departure from Tripoli in Libya
Photo: Hillary Clinton with the “Libyan rebels”.

During an appearance on Fox News, General Thomas McInerney acknowledged that the United States “helped build ISIS” as a result of the group obtaining weapons from the Benghazi consulate in Libya which was attacked by jihadists in September 2012.
Asked what he thought of the idea of arming so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels after FSA militants kidnapped UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, McInerney said the policy had been a failure.
“We backed I believe in some cases, some of the wrong people and not in the right part of the Free Syrian Army and that’s a little confusing to people, so I’ve always maintained….that we were backing the wrong types.”
Then made reference to a Bret Baier Fox News special set to air on Friday which will, “show some of those weapons from Benghazi ended up in the hands of ISIS – so we helped build ISIS,” said
In May last year, Senator Rand Paul was one of the first to speculate that the truth behind Benghazi was linked to an illicit arms smuggling program that saw weapons being trafficked to terrorists in Syria as part of the United States’ proxy war against the Assad regime.
“I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria,” Paul told CNN, adding that he “never….quite understood the cover-up — if it was intentional or incompetence”.
At the same time it emerged that the U.S. State Department had hired an Al-Qaeda offshoot organization, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, to “defend” the Benghazi Mission months before the attack.
Senator Paul was vindicated less than three months later when it emerged that the CIA had been subjecting its operatives to monthly polygraph tests in an effort to keep a lid on details of the arms smuggling operation being leaked.
CNN subsequently reported that dozens of CIA agents were on the ground in Benghazi during the attack and that the polygraph tests were mandated in order to prevent operatives from talking to Congress or the media about a program that revolved around “secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.” Key Syrian rebel leaders later defected to join ISIS.
In addition to ISIS obtaining weapons from Benghazi, many members of the group were also trained by the United States at a secret base in Jordan in 2012.
Aaron Klein was told by Jordanian officials that, “dozens of future ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”
As we have previously documented, many of the United States’ biggest allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Qatar, have all bankrolled and armed ISIS militants.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of and Prison
Source GlobalResearch

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton may be the First Female President of America

 Interview with Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton: Everyday Americans need a champion

Former US secretary of state announces 2016 White House bid to become the first female president of the country.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has declared that she is running for president in 2016, seeking to become the first female to occupy the seat that her husband Bill Clinton held for eight years, and setting up what could be the most expensive campaign in history.
Clinton made the announcement on Sunday in a video published on her website, saying "the deck is still stacked in favour of those at the top" as she sought to highlight the theme of economic inequality.
It is the second time that Clinton has run for presidency.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic nomination, said Clinton "would be an excellent president".
"She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president," Obama said from Panama, where he attended the Summit of the Americas and held a historic meeting with the Cuban leader Raul Castro.
With her first candidacy in 2008, Clinton made history as the first ever spouse of an American president to seek the highest elective office in the US.
In the biography section of her website, Clinton, a Democrat, talked about her bipartisan record as senator, crossing party lines to work with Republicans, who now control the US Congress.
But during her husband's presidency from 1993 to 2001, both Clintons repeatedly clashed with the Republicans, who tried to remove the 42nd president from office. She became a lightning-rod for Republican criticism, from her handling of the Clinton administration's failed healthcare reform to the investigations into their private lives.
$2.5bn campaign
Although a native of Chicago, Clinton has set up her campaign headquarters in New York, where she served as senator after her husband left office.
Clinton is expected to make her first campaign stop in the US state of Iowa, which will hold the first nominating process in early 2016.
Clinton is not the only high-profile US politician in the running for president. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, son of the 41st US President George HW Bush and brother of another former president, George W Bush is also expected to declare his candidacy for the Republican Party.
Not long after Clinton announced her bid on Sunday night, Jeb Bush responded on Twitter, saying: "We must do better than Hillary."

That sets up a potential Clinton-Bush matchup and a repeat of the 1992 elections, when the elderly President Bush lost to Bill Clinton, then a governor of the small southern US state of Arkansas.
According to a New York Times report, Clinton and her allies are trying to raise as much as $2.5bn to finance her campaign. The eventual Republican candidate is also expected to match that amount.
In anticipation of her announcement, the Republican Party posted on its website a 31-second video questioning Clinton's candidacy, from her role in the deadly US consulate attack in Benghazi to her decision to delete a large cache of emails from her time as the US top diplomat.
While Clinton tries to steer her campaign mostly on domestic issues, it is likely that her foreign policy record as the secretary of state during Obama's first four years, would be put under scrutiny.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ibrahim Sharqieh, foreign policy fellow at Brookings Doha Center, said that as secretary of state, Clinton "lacked serious commitment" in resolving many of the issues affecting the Middle East, particularly the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Given her record, Sharqieh said that he is "not very optimistic that she is going to make a difference on US foreign policy towards the Middle East".
He said that Clinton "failed miserably" in putting pressure on Israel and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Palestine issue.
However, he said that he expects Clinton to be more "hawkish" than President Obama, whom he called as "the most passive American president in decades" on Middle East issues.
Source: Al Jazeera