There were 5,000 WMD left by Saddam, and they wounded U.S. troops in Iraq war


It turns out that Colin Powell might have been right after all, sort of.

His speech in 2003 at the U.N. declared that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was concealing efforts to produce more. After all, Saddam had used mustard gas on Iranians during the 1980s war with the Islamic Republic, and dropped poison gas on Kurds, part of a brutal effort to decimate 50,000 to 100,000 in 1988.

But it was thought the United States never found WMD in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Until now. Continue reading


70% of Jewish Israelis don’t trust Obama


A vast majority of Jewish Israelis don’t believe President Obama has their interests at heart in rounds of talks with the Palestinians, according to a poll by Sof Hashavua, or The Weekend, a sister publication of the Jerusalem Post that is Israel’s third most popular newspaper.

It’s the latest bad news for Secretary of State John Kerry, who has spent months on shuttle diplomacy trying to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together for peace negotiations and now finds himself the butt of satire and ridicule by the right wing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday said the “curse-Kerry competition [is] the latest popular sport.”

It wasn’t always this way. Last spring, 61 percent of Israelis had confidence in Obama, writes Karl Vick, the Jerusalem bureau chief for Time. But a Western deal with Iran to freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and Kerry’s pursuit of  framework for peace talks have sent Obama’s ratings south, Vick says. The Sof Hashavua poll finds that 70% of Jewish Israelis don’t trust the U.S. president.

Read more at Time.


Military action against Iran likely, Cheney says


“I don’t have a lot of confidence in the administration to be able to negotiate an agreement. I think sanctions offer some prospect of bringing the Iranians around. I’ve talked to my friends in that part of the region. I still know them, a lot of them, and they’re very fearful that the whole Iranian exercise is going to go the same way as the Syrian exercise; that is, that there will be bold talk from the administration. But in the final analysis, nothing effective will be done about the Iranian program,” Dick Cheney says on ABC’s “This Week.” Continue reading


Afghans fed up with Taliban


U.S. officials are encouraged by grassroots uprisings against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Washington Free Beacon reports. “First and foremost, the anti-Taliban movements reflect the local populace’s growing intolerance of Taliban influence and abuse,” Air Force Lt. Col. David Simons, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Forces, the U.S.-led military coalition, tells the Beacon.

But other problems persist. … Continue reading


Tweets not refracted


As they say, “The revolution was tweeted.”

In 2009, Twitter became such a key tool for young Iranians protesting the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the State Department asked the micro-blogging site to postpone scheduled maintenance to allow demonstrators to keep organizing street rallies.

Twitter complied.

Likewise, it’s hard to imagine the Arab Spring blooming so quickly without Twitter. It continues to be a virtual bullhorn for protesters. This week, tweets have been taking jabs at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the subject of protests since last Friday. “There is now a menace which is called Twitter,” Erdogan complained in an interview, according to France 24. “The best examples of lies can be found there.”

It’s not the first time that a government has been outraged by tweets. Germany and France asked Twitter to block neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic tweets within their countries.

Twitter complied.

But in stories from The Washington Post and New York Times on PRISM — a top-secret Internet surveillance program that gleaned data on foreigners abroad — one tech giant is conspicuously absent.

According to a document leaked to the Post, the National Security Agency and FBI collect the information “directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”

Twitter, it turns out, did not comply.

 Foreign Policy breaks down the numbers:

$20 millionThe annual cost of PRISM.

$8 billionThe estimated annual budget of the NSA.

77,000The number of intelligence reports that have cited PRISM.

1,477The number of times data obtained via PRISM has been cited in the president’s daily intelligence briefing.

248 percentThe increase in 2012 in the number of Skype communications intercepted via PRISM

131 percentThe increase in 2012 in PRISM requests for Facebook data.

63 percent: The increase in 2012 in PRISM requests for Google data.

9The number of tech companies whose servers NSA has access to via PRISM.

6: The number of years PRISM has been in operation.

2: The number of presidential administrations PRISM has operated under.

1 in 7: The proportion of NSA intelligence reports using raw material from PRISM.

0: The number of times Twitter has agreed to participate in PRISM.