Cuban Communist Icon Fidel Castro Dead at 90


fidel-castro-90-birthday-pointing-finger-ap-640x480

Castro’s reign over the island-nation 90 miles from Florida was marked by the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The bearded revolutionary, who survived a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died eight years after ill health forced him to formally hand power over to his younger brother Raul, who announced his death late Friday on state television.

Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades, he served as an inspiration and source of support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa.

His commitment to socialism was unwavering, though his power finally began to fade in mid-2006 when a gastrointestinal ailment forced him to hand over the presidency to Raul in 2008, provisionally at first and then permanently. His defiant image lingered long after he gave up his trademark Cohiba cigars for health reasons and his tall frame grew stooped.

“Socialism or death” remained Castro’s rallying cry even as Western-style democracy swept the globe and other communist regimes in China and Vietnam embraced capitalism, leaving this island of 11 million people an economically crippled Marxist curiosity.

He survived long enough to see Raul Castro negotiate an opening with U.S. President Barack Obama on Dec. 17, 2014, when Washington and Havana announced they would move to restore diplomatic ties for the first time since they were severed in 1961. He cautiously blessed the historic deal with his lifelong enemy in a letter published after a month-long silence.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/fidel-castro-has-died-at-age-90-brother-says/

Obama Admin Covering Up Key Iran Deal Details in Final Days


Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna

Senior Obama administration officials in their final days in office are seeking to cover up key details of the Iran nuclear deal from Congress, according to documents and sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about continued efforts by the White House to block formal investigations into secret diplomacy with Tehran that resulted in a $1.7 billion cash payment by the United States.

As leading members of Congress petition the Obama administration for answers about what many describe as a $1.7 billion “ransom” payment to Iran, Obama administration officials are doubling down on their refusal to answer questions about the secret negotiations with Iran that led to this payment.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), a vocal opponent of last year’s nuclear deal with Iran, has been seeking answers from senior Obama administration officials since at least late September. However, officials continue to stonewall the senator’s inquiries, according to senior congressional sources and formal communications between Rubio and the State Department obtained by the Free Beacon.

Rubio and several other lawmakers have petitioned the Obama administration for documents and information about the secret negotiations that resulted in Tehran receiving $1.7 billion in cash and a promise from the United States to further roll back sanctions on an Iranian financial institution that helped finance the country’s illicit ballistic missile program.

A spokesman for Rubio told the Free Beacon that the administration’s continued obfuscation has motivated the senator to take steps to help President-elect Donald Trump kill the nuclear agreement once he enters office next year.

“Senator Rubio looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and his team to scrap this fundamentally flawed deal and hold Iran accountable for its cheating and regional aggression,” the spokesman said.

Rubio submitted a list of questions about the deal to Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sept. 29 during a hearing aimed at examining these payments to Iran.

Blinken finally provided answers to these questions last week, but declined to address all specific questions Rubio posed about the secret negotiations over the $1.7 billion payment.

While the Obama administration has maintained for months that the payment was not part of a ransom package, the Free Beacon and other publications have disclosed in recent weeks that the United States did engage in secret diplomacy with Iran on a range of issues, including the release of American hostages and the $1.7 billion payment.

These issues were addressed in three separate agreements that were only finalized once the United States agreed to provide Tehran with the $1.7 billion payment. Secret documents stored on Capitol Hill and treated in a classified manner show that each of the agreements hinged on the cash payment, the Free Beacon first disclosed in October.

Rubio and other lawmakers have also sought answers from Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who would have played a role in signing off on the agreements. Lynch has declined to answer questions, prompting Rubio and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), the incoming CIA director, to accuse her of “pleading the fifth” before Congress.

The White House has not responded to similar questions submitted by Rubio on Sept. 10, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has not answered a series of queries posed on Oct. 25, according to sources who accused the administration of intentionally dodging congressional oversight.

Rubio asked Blinken to provide information on any U.S. official who signed off on the secret deals, and to specify if the agreements were part of the formal nuclear agreement or were inked separately. He also asked whether the deals were tied to the release of U.S. hostages.

Rubio hopes to obtain the name of the Iranian official or officials who signed these documents. Sources familiar with the deals and secret documents stored on Capitol Hill told the Free Beacon it is likely the United States inked these deals with a representative of Iran’s intelligence apparatus.

Blinken did not provide firm answers to any of these questions, according to a copy of his formal communication to Rubio viewed by the Free Beacon. He maintained that the cash payment was part of a decades-old legal dispute with Tehran before the international claims tribunal at the Hague.

“The timing of the Hague settlement was a consequence of the United States taking advantage of the opening of diplomatic opportunities with Iran on several fronts simultaneously, including the opportunity to minimize litigation risk with respect to Iran’s contract claims arising under the U.S.-Iran Foreign Military Sales (‘FMS’) Program,” Blinken wrote, repeating a talking point issued by several Obama administration officials.

The payment was not a ransom, Blinken said.

“Regarding the allegations that this settlement constituted ransom to free American citizens who were released from prison in Iran on January 17, the Administration has repeatedly made it clear since January, and President Obama recently reiterated, that this settlement did not constitute ransom and that the United States has not and will not pay ransom,” he wrote. “Upon Iran’s release of several unjustly detained Americans, the United States provided relief to certain Iranian citizens charged with primarily sanctions-related crimes, several of whom are dual U.S.-Iranian nationals, as a one-time reciprocal humanitarian gesture.”

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/obama-admin-covering-key-iran-deal-details-final-days/

US TO LEAVE 8,400 TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN INTO 2017, 35 PERCENT MORE THAN EXPECTED


nato-afghanistan

America’s combat mission in Afghanistan “came to a responsible end” a year and a half ago, Obama said. Forces there are now focused on “two narrow missions”: training and terrorism prevention. “But even these narrow missions continue to be dangerous.”

The US will leave 8,400 troops through the end of the Obama administration, the president announced. Obama had planned to drop troop levels from 9,800 to 5,500 troops by the end of 2016. But the increase of Taliban attacks have intensified calls to leave more troops there.

The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious,” Obama said. The Afghan military still needs our help, the president added.

“It is in our national security interest, esp after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested over the years, that we give our partners in afghan the best chance to succeed.”

http://www.infowars.com/us-to-leave-8400-troops-in-afghanistan-into-2017-35-percent-more-than-expected/

MODERN PROPAGANDA IS THE MANHATTAN PROJECT SQUARED


Hillary Clinton called for a Manhattan Project-scale effort by the government and Silicon Valley to resolve national security concerns over unbreakable encryption.

http://www.infowars.com/modern-propaganda-is-the-manhattan-project-squared/

9/11 COMMISSION: NO SAUDI SMOKING GUN


911-saudi12

More than a decade after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States filed its report, a new push has erupted in Washington to force the administration to released the so-called “28 pages.”

These pages on purported Saudi involvement were withheld by the George W. Bush administration from a report by a special joint congressional committee that pre-dated the commission.

The commission co-chairmen, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, put out a lengthy statement on Friday. They said their investigators worked off leads in those 28-pages, but could find no evidence that the Riyadh Islamic government was involved in the al Qaeda attack by 19 hijackers, 15 of them Saudi nationals.

http://www.infowars.com/911-commission-no-saudi-smoking-gun/

 

FBI Paid More Than $1 Million to Hack San Bernardino iPhone


BN-NR150_0421ap_J_20160421151527

The Federal Bureau of Investigation paid more than $1 million for a hacking tool that opened the iPhone of a terrorist gunman in San Bernardino, Calif., the head of the agency said Thursday.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London, FBI Director James Comey didn’t cite a precise figure for how much the government paid for the solution to cracking the phone but said it was more than his salary for the seven-plus years remaining in his term at the FBI.

is annual salary is about $180,000 a year, so that comes to $1.26 million or more.

“[We] paid a lot’’ for the hacking tool, Mr. Comey said. “But it was worth it.’’

http://www.wsj.com/articles/comey-fbi-paid-more-than-1-million-to-hack-san-bernardino-iphone-1461266641?shareToken=stc49f0fb503724bfda09fa60c424f21e1&mod=e2tw

 

FBI PAID MORE THAN $1 MILLION TO HACK SAN BERNARDINO IPHONE


fbi-encryption

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London, FBI Director James Comey didn’t cite a precise figure for how much the government paid for the solution to cracking the phone but said it was more than his salary for the seven-plus years remaining in his term at the FBI.

The debate between privacy and national security has never been more heated, with Apple and other tech firms going up against the government. So how are text messages encrypted, and what are the controversial “backdoors” that could allow access to them?

His annual salary is about $180,000 a year, so that comes to $1.26 million or more.

http://www.infowars.com/fbi-paid-more-than-1-million-to-hack-san-bernardino-iphone/