Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is calling for drastic reductions in planned U.S. missile defense as U.S. and Russian officials spend the last week of the year negotiating a new nuclear disarmament treaty in Geneva, Switzerland. The most recent agreement, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), expired on December 5, but both countries have agreed to continue observing it until a new accord is settled. They are also bound by the 2002 Moscow treaty which limits nuclear warheads.
As has been widely reported, al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch is proudly claiming responsibility for the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day in Detroit. The alleged attempted perpetrator and therefore al-Qaeda co-conspirator, Umar Abdulmutallab, is a well-born Nigerian educated in London with an expressed affinity for another advocate of terrorism against America, the radical American-born imam, Anwar al-Awlaki.
In the twilight of the pre-dawn on Thursday, bombs dropped on the home of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born, Yemeni-based cleric. Yemeni Air Forces carried out the attack in an effort to kill al-Qaeda militants reportedly gathered there to plan attacks on Western concerns. At the time of this writing, it is unclear whether the controversial imam was actually killed in the early morning air strike.
A Lithuanian Seimas investigating committee has concluded that he Soviet-era holdover “Committee for State Security” spy agency had struck a deal with the CIA in 2002 to create secret “black site” prisons in Lithuania to interrogate terrorist suspects outside of U.S. legal restraints. But the parliamentary committee was unable to confirm that actual interrogations and torture had taken place. Upon accepting the conclusions of the Seimas (parliament) investigation, Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said that the United States had manipulated Lithuanian officials with "essentially Soviet methods."
Tony Blair, global-warming activist and former British prime minister, is under fire from the media for allegedly trying to cash in on climate change. His company, Windrush Ventures, Ltd., registered a new Internet name of "Low Carbon Capital Fund" just weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. David Derbyshire with the Daily Mail reports that some view this as Blair's way of preparing to make money off green technology. Derbyshire questioned Blair's office, and a spokesman responded, "From time to time, we register names in an area we may be interested in."