The return of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri to Iran from CIA custody has news agencies wondering whether he defected or was kidnapped by the CIA during a June 2009 hajj (Islamic religious pilgrimage) to Mecca. “Americans wanted me to say that I defected to America of my own will, to use me for revealing some false information about Iran's nuclear work," Amiri said from Tehran airport last week, claiming, "I was under intensive psychological pressure by [the] CIA.... The main aim of this abduction was to stage a new political and psychological game against Iran.”
A wave of same-sex couples may be bearing down on the metropolis of Buenos Aires in the coming weeks and months after Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize homosexual marriage. The 33-27 vote from Argentina’s senate came on July 15 following intense debate that included appeals against the move from the country’s Catholic and evangelical leadership.
On Tuesday, July 13, the first seven of what is expected to be up to 52 political prisoners released from Cuba, arrived in Madrid, Spain, with family members on two commercial flights. Of the prisoners to be released, 20 have so far expressed desire that Spain be their place of exile.
AP and the New York Times reported on July 15 that on the previous day the Afghan government approved a U.S.-backed plan to establish local defense forces that will enable villagers in remote areas of the country to defend themselves against attacks by Taliban insurgents.
The recent easy escape and disappearance of Russian spy "Christopher R. Metsos" may draw more attention to Russia's beefed up presence of intelligence operatives throughout the Mediterranean. Metsos, the 11th person in the high-profile arrests of Russians in late June, is frequently referred to as the "paymaster" of the network of Russian agents.
Long-time freedom advocate and former Venezuelan presidential candidate Alejandro Pena Esclusa was arrested on July 12 by the Chavez regime on trumped-up explosives charges, according to various Latin American sources. His arrest adds to the growing list of political prisoners being held in Venezuela including journalists, opposition politicians, and judges who don’t bow down to the regime.
The Duma (the lower house of Russia’s legislature) on July 9 passed a bill that will allow the Federal Security Service (FSB) to issue warnings to people "whose acts create the conditions for the committing of a crime," the Moscow News reported three days later.
Somali Islamic militants from al-Shabab have claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks at two sites in Uganda’s capital of Kampala, killing at least 74 and leaving dozens wounded.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended Marine Corps General James Mattis July 8 to head the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the joint military command for the Middle East that includes supervision of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The U.S. Central Command combines theater command of the four service branches as well as special operations for the Middle East and Central Asia.
The French parliament voted unanimously June 29 to give final approval to a new law to criminalize “psychological violence,” prompting criticism from judges and rights groups who worry about privacy violations and how the rule will actually be enforced.
Following a meeting on July 7 between Cuban President Raul Castro and Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana, the diocesan office released an announcement that the Cuban government has agreed to set free 52 political prisoners and allow them to leave the country.