Discussions between Iran and the P5+1 group of international mediators — consisting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany — resumed at a meeting in Geneva on January 18. Four days earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held three meetings during which they sought to iron out details of an agreement that would lift stringent financial and trade sanctions imposed on Iran since 2006.
The federal government’s case against Jeffrey Sterling (United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling) — a former CIA officer who is accused of revealing a covert agency operation to provide Iran with flawed blueprints for a nuclear weapon — continues this week. The trial was moved into the national spotlight on January 15 when former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testified for the prosecution.
As Secretary of State John Kerry concluded a meeting with Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, voices rose in Congress to pass legislation that would impose new economic sanctions on Iran.
President Obama hosted a bilateral meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico on January 6, during which he will reportedly seek the Mexican leader’s advice on implementing administration policies on immigration and Cuba. The two were also expected to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
With much of Obama’s Democrat political base seeking to block misnamed “free-trade” agreements at the moment, the White House is plotting with congressional Republicans and Big Business interests to advance the controversial national sovereignty-crushing agenda disguised as a “trade” deal.
The German magazine Der Spiegel has has published a revealing exposé about the loose standards with which the Obama administration assassinated people, including many non-combatants, in Afghanistan. The December 28 story documented a quick-to-assassinate tendency which took the form of readiness to loosely classify anyone in the drug trade as a legitimate assassination target, as well as a willingness to accept large numbers of civilian casualties.
In an odd turnabout that few might have predicted a year or more ago, the United States now finds itself allied with Iran in the battle to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The release of Alan Gross, which was praised by the New York Times as a humanitarian move by the communist regime in Cuba, was cover for the real spy swap the Cubans had been seeking for years.
Speaking to both military and civilian personnel at Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey on December 15, President Obama thanked the troops for their extraordinary service and noted that “after more than a decade of war, our nation is marking an important milestone.”
The fallout from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s December 9 release of the summary of its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program continues, as the report’s critics and defenders go toe-to-toe. Many Republicans have been critical of the report because it casts a program initiated during the administration of George W. Bush in a negative light and it was compiled by a committee chaired by Democrat — Dianne Feinstein. However, even a prominent Republican has praised the report and condemned CIA torture.
The Senate Intelligence Committee on December 9 released its report on the torture — including “waterboarding” — of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration. The report was ordered released by the Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) and a copy was posted on the committee’s webpage.