Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Taliban insurgent on Donkey kills 3 American soldiers, wounds 4 Afghan soldiers

A suicide bomber on a donkey killed three American soldiers and wounded four Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan's Wardak province on Tuesday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack occurred as Afghan and coalition forces were conducting a joint operation. The attacker was riding a donkey, when he approached the soldiers and detonated the bomb.

Obama's DHS nominee under investigation by the DHS IG

President Obama's nominee for the post of Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security is under investigation for his role in helping to secure U.S. visas for foreign investors in a company run by a brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to an email sent to lawmakers on Monday by the department's inspector general, NBC News reported.
The email indicates that the FBI's Washington field office, which was conducting a background investigation of Mayorkas on behalf of the White House, was informed of the probe by the inspector general in June. The White House announced the president's intent to nominate Mayorkas on June 27. [An aide to Sen. Charles] Grassley said GOP senators want to know why the White House moved forward with the nomination when a probe into his conduct was under way.

The investigation into Alejandro Mayorkas – who currently serves as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS), an agency within Homeland Security - was opened in September 2012 based on a referral from an FBI counterintelligence analyst...

The probe is based on allegations that Mayorkas assisted with obtaining U.S. visas – which had been denied by his own agency's officials – sought on behalf of Chinese businessmen by Gulf Coast Funds Management, a financing company headed by Clinton’s brother Anthony Rodham.

Gulf Coast has received media attention in recent months over its partnership with Greentech, a controversial alternative energy company run by Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia.

The email from the Homeland Security inspector general's office states it initially included allegations that USCIS lawyers sought to obstruct an audit of the agency's EB-5 visa program... The E-5 program... provides visas to foreigners who invest $500,000 in job-creating development projects by U.S. companies that are approved by UCIS for designated "regional centers."

As the probe continued, "preliminary investigative findings" refocused the investigation in part on whether Mayorkas had "allegedly assisted with the approval" of an application for E-5 visas submitted by Gulf Coast Funds Management after the application for the visas had been denied by his agency's officials in California and the denial had been upheld by an appeals office.

During the course of the probe, the email states, the inspector general learned of other allegations "involving alleged conflicts of interest, misuse of position, mismanagement of the EB-5 program, and an appearance of impropriety by Mayorkas and other" officials within the UCSIS.

[Sen. Charles] Grassley... had asked the inspector general for a report on the probe after getting tipped off by [a] whistleblower...

At least one of the visas sought by Rodham's firm was for a vice president of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecommunications firm that has been investigated by the House Intelligence Committee over claims that it is closely tied to the Chinese intelligence services.
The AP notes that:
Chinese investment in infrastructure projects has long been a concern of the U.S. government... In October, the House Intelligence Committee warned that two leading Chinese technology firms, Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp., posed a major security threat to the U.S.
In July of 2012, the Washington Post reported that ZTE had allegedly sold banned U.S. surveillance equipment to Iran, essentially bypassing current U.S. trade restrictions and embargoes imposed on Iran. I noted at the time that ZTE USA profited substantially, in 2010, from the Obama, tax payer-funded, stimulus program.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Violence in the aftermath of George Zimmerman trial

A CBS Los Angeles news affiliate photographer and reporter were assaulted Monday night while covering a George Zimmerman protest in Crenshaw, CBS Los Angeles reported on Tuesday:
Reporter Dave Bryan was conducting an interview around 10 p.m. when the suspect tackled him and his photographer.

“All of the sudden, this guy came up from behind, he had a hood, and he knocked David on the head and he pushed the camera guy down. The camera guy went down, the camera went down, David went down,” witness Joseph Deguerre, said. “I was in shock.”

The suspect then fled the scene and the crew was treated for minor injuries...

“To attack a news reporter when he’s getting an interview? That’s just crazy,” Deguerre, 43, said.
The LA times reported on Monday that demonstrators, protesting George Zimmerman's acquittal, marched along Crenshaw Boulevard on Monday night, stomping on cars, chasing bystanders and storming a Wal-Mart...
Los Angeles Police Department officers wearing helmets and carrying batons swarmed the store as others marched through the parking lot.

Police estimated that 80 to 150 people were engaged in lawless activity along Crenshaw as they jumped on top of vehicles and appeared to assault bystanders...

One man held up a shirt that showed Zimmerman with the words "Wanted Dead or Alive" with the last word crossed out.
Additionally, the LA Times reported:
A wave of violence swept through Oakland on Monday night as demonstrators... shattered windows, lit fires and threw fireworks, bottles and rocks at police.

A waiter was struck in the head by a hammer while trying to keep the windows protected at the Flora Restaurant and Bar, which had been smashed over the weekend during similar protests.

The waiter was seen bleeding and was sent by paramedics to a hospital...

"Protesters with black masks approached the window and tried to bang at it," bartender Phillip Ricafort told the Oakland Tribune. "[The waiter] said, 'Don't do that!' and the guy turned around and smacked him in the face with a hammer" or another metal object.

Garbage was set on fire and fireworks were thrown at police officers, officials said, while graffiti was scrawled across buildings -- one message said "REVOLT," -- and some protesters burned U.S. flags. Windows were shattered at a Men's Wearhouse, a Comerica bank branch, and Youth Radio, according to police and media reports. A KPIX reporter said vandals broke into the CBS affiliate's television truck.
LA violence:

The video below shows the violent protests more vividly:

Reporter, photographer attacked during violent Protests:

Obama's reset button: Russia, China block U.N. condemnation of Iran missile tests

Russia's decision to block a U.N. condemnation of Iranian missile tests proves for the upteenth time that President Obama's resetting of U.S/Russian relations is working like a charm... Just kidding....
A U.N. Security Council committee is split over whether Iran's missile tests last year violated U.N. sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Australia's U.N. envoy said on Monday.

That division effectively rules out any expansion of sanctions against Tehran over the tests for the time being, U.N. envoys said on condition of anonymity.

Diplomats said it was Russia, backed by China, that refused to declare Tehran's missile launches a violation of the U.N. restrictions, as a U.N. Panel of Experts on Iran said was the case.

The rift on the Iran sanctions committee, which consists of all 15 Security Council members, highlights the difficulties Western powers face in persuading Russia and China to join them in keeping up the pressure on Tehran to halt banned nuclear and missile work...

U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo told reporters, "We're disappointed that the (Iran sanctions) committee was unable in this case to state the obvious."

"There is nothing ambiguous about the ban imposed by the Security Council on such ... missile launches," she said...

A report [issued by the Iran sanctions committee] also referred to Iran's alleged arms embargo violations.

Western powers accuse Iran of supplying arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and militant groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has been fighting alongside Assad's troops in Syria to defeat rebels in the civil war there.

Russia and China... opposed finding Tehran in clear violation of the U.N. ban on Iranian arms exports, council diplomats said.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jay Carney: Obama never discussed the disposition of Trayvon Martin investigation, only the painful tragedy

White House press secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters on Monday that President Obama, when discussing the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, has spoken exclusively about the tragedy and the pain that it brought to his parents, and has never discussed the disposition of the investigation. Hmmm...