The Defense Department ratcheted up its rhetoric against Iran on Monday, saying it will hold Tehran ultimately responsible for a spate of recent drone and rocket attacks on American troops in the Middle East.
While the Pentagon does not have information that the government of Iran “explicitly ordered” the attacks on U.S. forces in the past week, the groups responsible for the incidents are backed by Tehran, DOD spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters on Monday.
A number of U.S. troops were injured during the attacks, which spanned several days and bases in Iraq and Syria, and an American contractor died of a cardiac episode while running from a false alarm at al Asad air base in Iraq.
“By virtue of the fact that they are supported by Iran, we will ultimately hold Iran responsible,” Ryder said.
With little fanfare, the Biden administration on Oct. 18 eased sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, which should allow the beleaguered socialist nation to export more oil to the United States and to global markets. Venezuela is one of the world’s most oil-rich countries, but incompetent, repressive dictators and US sanctions have wrecked much of the industry and left it pumping a fraction of its potential.
The Biden administration says the sanctions relief is aimed at cajoling Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro into holding free-ish elections next year. The deal has a six-month shelf life and can either be extended or canceled, based on whether Maduro seems to be abiding by the terms.
But there’s good reason to think the Biden administration cares about oil supplies at least as much as the prospect for democracy in Latin America. Research firm ClearView Energy Partners thinks Venezuela is one of four sources of additional oil the Biden administration has been trying to draw on to the market for the last several months. Two other sources — Iran and Saudi Arabia — may now be off the table due to the mushrooming war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. The fourth source is Russian crude, via relaxed enforcement of a US-led price cap scheme that went into effect last December.
What the hell was that? A mess of false equivocations, pan handling, and calling Americans bigots.
His speech aimed to draw a link between the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel and he urged Congress to take action and pass an aid package supporting both nations.
Biden didn’t actually say how much he was seeking in extra funding, but is expected to be asking for $100bn.
Notable quotes from his speech include:
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”
“If we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine he won’t limit himself to Ukraine.”
Having our bumbling dementia-ridden president meet personally with foreign leaders will only embolden our enemies and worry our allies. This will not got well.
President Joe Biden’s decision to visit Israel caps a week of intense US diplomacy aimed at shoring up its closest Middle East ally and trying to prevent Israel’s war with Hamas from spreading to the region.
The Americans are worried that the audacity of the Hamas attack and the ferocity of the Israeli counter-offensive could spark violence in the West Bank and beyond.
The president will be joining his Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who’s been on a frantic swing through the Middle East. Mr Blinken has stressed full US support for a forceful response to the deadly Hamas raid, which killed more than 1,400 Israelis.
But he is also trying to mitigate the civilian casualties in Gaza, the enclave that is governed by the Palestinian militant group. Israel has already killed nearly 3,000 Palestinians in relentless airstrikes, and blocked food, water and electricity to Gaza, plunging it into a humanitarian crisis.
Yeah, things tend to get a little uncomfortable when you voice support for monsters who flew into towns to rape grandmas and behead babies. Funny that.
After the statement was released, Jewish student groups pushed back and accused them of supporting the Hamas attack. Students in the pro-Palestinian groups have denied those claims and said the statement was misinterpreted.
“This is the most tense campus has ever been by far,” Hejir Rashidzadeh, a Harvard law student, told ABC News.
Students alleged to be in those student groups are now facing intense backlash on campus and online. Students in pro-Palestinian groups and in the Jewish community at Harvard told ABC News they are feeling scared and isolated.
“Imagine feeling like the place that you’re from is going to get wiped off the map. I feel certain that in a week I’m going to wake up and it’s going to be that Gaza has been flattened and that there is nothing left. I can’t breathe. I can’t see.”
The Palestinians attacked across the border into Israel. When you are the aggressor, you can’t whine when someone punches back.
Asked by a reporter about graphic photos, Blinken says that what they show is “beyond what anyone would want to imagine. Babies riddled with bullets, young people burned alive… It’s simply depravity in the worst imaginable way.”
He’s then asked about the situation in Gaza.
He repeats a line said by President Biden in his speech earlier this week.
“Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields”, Blinken says, stressing the perspective that Hamas has been intentionally putting civilians in harm’s way.
Around 1,400 have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched retaliatory air strikes.
Blinken says he’s spoken to Israeli officials about options to provide civilians safe passage who want to get out of Gaza.
Personally, this monstrosity has pushed me to the point of “never again.” And to make it never happen again, Hamas, Hezbollah, and anyone who supports them needs to be bulldozed into the sea. The world community is offering a way out for innocents. If they don’t take it, then we have to understand that they support the butchering of babies. To hell with them all. Literally.
This time, we are seeing many people who usually mouth platitudes about restraint and a two-state solution taking a much, much firmer stance against terrorist barbarism. Will it hold? One can hope…
Mr Ben Zion said Hamas gunmen who killed families, including babies, were “just a jihad machine to kill everybody, [people] without weapons, without nothing, just normal citizens that want to take their breakfast and that’s all.”
Some of the victims, he said, were decapitated.
“They killed them and cut some of their heads, it’s a dreadful thing to see… and we must remember who is the enemy, and what our mission is, [for] justice where there is a right side and all the world needs to be behind us.”
Another officer pointed to a bloodied purple sleeping bag. A swollen toe poked out. He said the woman underneath had been killed and decapitated in her front garden.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations to take immediate action against the continued “Israeli aggression” toward Palestinians.
Abbas made the remarks on a phone call with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, according to the state news agency WAFA.
Abbas called on the UN to “immediately intervene to stop the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” WAFA reported on Monday.
The Palestinian president emphasized the urgent need for medical and relief aid in Gaza, drawing attention to the looming humanitarian crisis. He urged the UN to “uphold its responsibilities as recognized by international legitimacy and ensure protection for the Palestinian people.”
Iran/Hamas has a clear strategy.
- Attack Israel across the border
- Make the attacks so horrific by intentionally targeting civilians, old women, and children, as to force Israel to respond with overwhelming force.
- When Israel responds, cry foul and call for Arab nations to attack Israel.
Whining to the UN is an intermediate step between steps 2 and 3 to give step three more perceived legitimacy.
Iran/Hamas’ attack was a clear war crime and utterly barbarous behavior. I hope Israel pushes Hamas into the sea.
In a surprise attack, Palestinian militants fired at least 2,200 rockets toward Israel, the IDF said. Hamas claimed at least 5,000 rockets were fired, all landing in southern and central Israel.
At least four American citizens were killed in the attacks in Israel over the weekend, senior administration officials told top House lawmakers on a call Sunday evening, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
That figure could rise in the coming days, the Biden administration officials told Congress. The administration is also still investigating unconfirmed reports of American citizens being taken hostage by Hamas.
The flubs are one thing, but is anyone going to ask why we’re spending $40 billion on infrastructure for the Pacific Islands?
President Joe Biden got briefly marooned while announcing a plan to invest $40 billion in infrastructure for Pacific islands – then skipped over the acronym for the new program he was touting after botching the name during delivery.
Biden announced the Pacific Islands Initiative at the start of a White House summit for Pacific island nations.
‘We call it the P … PI … anyway, doesn’t matter what we call it, but that’s what it is,’ he said.
The acronym comment was just one of Biden’s flubs at the event.
In a bizarre comment, he said he and Mark Brown, the prime minister of the Cook Islands, were both from Baltimore, when neither of them are from Baltimore. Biden spoke of how the two nations would benefit from boosting ties, while announcing diplomatic relations.
‘The real reason is we are both from Baltimore, but that’s a long story,’ he said.
Biden was born in Scranton, which lies north of Baltimore, and attended the University of Delaware, and there was no apparent connection between Brown and Charm City. According to his official bio, Brown is a longtime government employee and former Agriculture minister who studied at Massey University in New Zealand and got an MBA at the University of the South Pacific.
How much went to the Big Guy? That’s the only rational explanation for a deal this terrible.
Five American citizens being held hostage by Iran will be released in return for the unfreezing of $6 billion held in South Korean banks, the U.S. government announced on Monday – enraging Biden administration critics, particular as the timing coincided with the anniversary of 9/11.
The five U.S. hostages – businessmen Siamak Namazi, 51, and Emad Shargi, 58; environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 67; and two anonymous individuals – will be freed once the money has been transferred from South Korea to an intermediary, Qatar, and then on to Iran.
Five Iranian citizens held in the U.S. will also be released.
Speculations about the replacement of Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister since November 2021, have been rife for months.
While personally not accused of any wrongdoing, the man by President Zelensky’s side since day one of the Russian full-scale invasion was seen as unable to stop corruption penetrating his ministry.
Military procurement scandals and accusations of bribery against officials at enlistment centres made him damaged goods in the eyes of Ukrainian society, currently in need of a morale boost in the wake of a slower than expected offensive.
Irrespective of your opinion on whether or not the United States should be funding the Ukranian war machine, it is no secret that the entire government has been riddled with corruption for many, many years. Just accept that billions of dollars have been siphoned into corrupt pockets and our weapons have been sold to bad actors around the world. And yes… it is almost certain that a significant amount of money has made it back into American bank accounts – particularly politicians and their families.
Yes, there is a justification to support the war. I don’t agree with it, but there is a rational argument. But that does not change the fact that we are shoving billions of borrowed dollars and millions of weapons of war through an irrevocably corrupt system. We will be uncovering corruption for years and feeling the negative impact for a generation.
We have a right and a duty to fortify and protect our border. If someone gets themselves killed while trying to illegally enter our country, that’s on them. Sad to say, but it will take more deaths before people get the message that it is in their best interests to immigrate legally instead of paying a coyote to traffic them across the border.
One body was found stuck in the lines of orange buoys installed by Texas authorities near the U.S.-Mexico border. A second body was discovered separately in the area of the buoys by the Beta Group of Piedras Negras, according to a statement from Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary and Mexico’s Migration Institute.
The Texas Department of Public Safety notified the Mexican Consulate in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon that a person was found dead in the southern part of the floating barriers. Members of the Mexican National Institute of Migration’s assistance unit are spearheading efforts to recover the body, according to the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“So far, the cause of death and nationality of the person is unknown,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
On Thursday, however, a source close to the investigation told ABC News that both of the people found were men. The man found by the buoys was from Mexico and is believed to have been dead for some time. The other man, who was found further away, was from Honduras. He is believed to have died more recently, the source said.
Added DPS Director Steven McCraw: “Preliminary information suggests this individual drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys. There are personnel posted at the marine barrier at all times in case any migrants try to cross.”
The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeated its condemnation of the buoys, calling them a “violation of our sovereignty.”
Mexico can get bent.
It’s a death cult, and it’s unconscionable.
An expansion of the criteria for medically assisted death that comes into force in March 2024 will allow Canadians like Pauli, whose sole underlying condition is mental illness, to choose medically assisted death.
Canada legalized assisted death in 2016 for people with terminal illness and expanded it in 2021 to people with incurable, but not terminal, conditions. The legal changes were precipitated by court rulings that struck down prohibitions on helping people to die.
The new mental health provision will make Canada one of the most expansive countries in the world when it comes to medical assistance in dying (MAID), according to an expert panel report to Canada’s parliament.
I’m not sure that I trust any of the news coming out of the area – even (especially) by Western journalists – but something is up in Russia. Putin’s response validates that this is a serious threat. Or it could be a planned provocation to give Putin an excuse to seize more power. But does he need more power? He’s proven that he has full control of the nation already. So it maybe that this is exactly what it looks like… an armed rebellion by the Russian power players who are frustrated with Putin’s actions.
ROSTOV-ON-DON/VORONEZH, Russia (Reuters) -Russian military helicopters opened fire on Saturday afternoon on a convoy of rebel mercenaries already more than half way towards Moscow in a lightning advance after seizing a southern city overnight.
President Vladimir Putin vowed to crush an armed mutiny he compared to Russia’s Civil War a century ago.
Fighters from Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private Wagner militia were in control of Rostov-on-Don, a city of more than a million people close to the border with Ukraine, and were rapidly advancing northwards through western Russia.
A Reuters journalist saw army helicopters open fire at an armed Wagner column that was advancing past the city of Voronezh with troop carriers and at least one tank on a flatbed truck. The city is more than half way along the 1,100-km (680-mile) highway from Rostov to Moscow.
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Shelters in a Texas city struggled to find space Saturday for migrants who authorities say have abruptly begun crossing by the thousands from Mexico, testing a stretch of the U.S. border that is typically equipped to handle large groups of people fleeing poverty and violence.
The pace of arrivals in Brownsville appeared to catch the city on the southernmost tip of Texas off guard, stretching social services and putting an overnight shelter in an uncommon position of turning people away. Officials say more than 15,000 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, have illegally crossed the river near Brownsville since last week.
That is a sharp rise from the 1,700 migrants that Border Patrol agents encountered in the first two weeks of April, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
“It’s a quite concerning because the logistical challenge that we encounter is massive for us,” said Gloria Chavez, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector.
Wasn’t this the SOP anyway? Also, can South Korea really rely on the US to hold up our end of the bargain if push comes to shove? Do we, Americans, really still want to be on the hook for defending South Korea?
US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have secured a landmark deal which includes plans to periodically deploy US nuclear-armed submarines in South Korea.
Washington has also agreed to involve Seoul in its planning for any use of nuclear weapons against North Korea.
In return, South Korea has agreed to not develop its own nuclear weapons.
The deal, called the Washington Declaration, will strengthen the allies’ co-operation in deterring a North Korean attack, Mr Biden said.
He spoke on Wednesday during a joint press conference with Mr Yoon, who is in Washington this week to discuss issues including the war in Ukraine, climate change, cyber co-operation and nuclear power.
The South Korean leader said the Washington Declaration – the centrepiece of this week’s state visit – marked an “unprecedented” step to enhance extended deterrence, a commitment from the US to deter attacks and protect US allies using its military power, including nuclear weapons.
It would be one thing if Ukraine was paying for this, but they are not. We are. There’s a lot to digest in this story.
The Scranton Army Ammunition Plant is at the vanguard of a multibillion-dollar Pentagon plan to modernize and accelerate its production of ammunition and equipment not only to support Ukraine, but to be ready for a potential conflict with China.
But it is one of just two sites in the U.S. that make the steel bodies for the critical 155 mm howitzer rounds that the U.S. is rushing to Ukraine to help in its grinding fight to repel the Russian invasion in the largest-scale war in Europe since World War II.
The invasion of Ukraine revealed that the U.S. stockpile of 155 mm shells and those of European allies were unprepared to support a major and ongoing conventional land war, sending them scrambling to bolster production. The dwindling supply has alarmed U.S. military planners, and the Army now plans to spend billions on munitions plants around the country in what it calls its most significant transformation in 40 years.
The Army is spending about $1.5 billion to ramp up production of 155 mm rounds from 14,000 a month before Russia invaded Ukraine to over 85,000 a month by 2028, U.S. Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo told a symposium last month.
Already, the U.S. military has given Ukraine more than 1.5 million rounds of 155 mm ammunition, according to Army figures.
But even with higher near-term production rates, the U.S. cannot replenish its stockpile or catch up to the usage pace in Ukraine, where officials estimate that the Ukrainian military is firing 6,000 to 8,000 shells per day. In other words, two days’ worth of shells fired by Ukraine equates to the United States’ monthly pre-war production figure.
The factory — built for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad just after 1900, when the city was a rising coal and railroad powerhouse — has produced large-caliber ammunition for the military going back to the Korean War.
But the buildings are on the National Historic Registry of Historic Places, limiting how the Army can alter the structures.
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s last exports of livestock by sea have been completed and live exports have ceased, its agriculture minister said on Friday, as it fully implemented a ban on export shipments of animals on the grounds of their welfare.
The government announced in 2021 that shipping animals offshore, largely for building herds in trading partners like China, would be halted but farmers would be given two years to transition out of the profitable export business.
“Our position on the map means that the journey to northern hemisphere markets will always be a long one and this brings unavoidable animal welfare challenges,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said in a statement announcing that live exports had ceased.
US prosecutors have arrested two men in New York for allegedly operating a Chinese “secret police station” in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighbourhood.
Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, both New York City residents, face charges of conspiring to act as agents for China and obstruction of justice.
They are expected to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday.
China has previously denied operating the stations, calling them “service centres” for nationals overseas.
Mr Lu of the Bronx and Mr Chen of Manhattan worked together to establish the first overseas police station in the United States on behalf of China’s Ministry of Public Security, the US Department of Justice alleged on Monday.
The outpost was closed in autumn of 2022, the department said, after those involved became aware of an FBI investigation into the station.
“This prosecution reveals the Chinese government’s flagrant violation of our nation’s sovereignty by establishing a secret police station in the middle of New York City,” said Breon Pearce, the top prosecutor in Brooklyn.
According to prosecutors, Mr Lu was closely connected to Chinese law enforcement, and was enlisted to help China with “repressive activities” in the US beginning in 2015, including harassing Chinese dissidents.
In 2018, he allegedly participated in efforts to push a purported Chinese fugitive to return to China, including repeated harassment and threats to the individual and his family, living in China and the US. And prosecutors said he was also enlisted to locate a pro-democracy activist in China. Mr Lu denied these actions when confronted by US authorities.