Moment of truth for Syria

US withholding Fisa court orders on NSA bulk collection of Americans’ data
Justice Department refuses to turn over ‘certain other’ documents in ACLU lawsuit meant to shed light on surveillance practices

Google chief Schmidt ‘literally outraged’ by NSA activities
In an interview with The Guardian published on Tuesday, Schmidt said he and other Google executives have “complained at great length” to the U.S. government about the National Security Agency’s surveillance efforts and have since started to encrypt internal communications.

Snowden to ask Russian police for protection after US threats – lawyer
NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, will ask Russian law enforcers to protect him, his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, has said. The former NSA contractor is concerned about his safety after seeing death threats coming from the US.

Major Syrian opposition party withdraws from coalition
The Turkish-based oppositional Syrian National Council withdrew on Tuesday from the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition umbrella in exile, to protest the latter’s acceptance to participate in the Geneva II peace conference on Syria’s crisis, Arab media reports said.

Moment of truth for Syria, but Iran left in the cold by UN – and now Assad says he may stand in this year’s presidential election
A long-awaited peace conference on Syria is likely to go ahead without one of the major participants of the conflict after the United Nations withdrew an invitation to Iran to attend the talks in Geneva.

Russia says Iran’s absence from Syria talks is a mistake, not a catastrophe

Geneva II: Iran nixed proves US fixed
There is a good reason why Iran has been blocked from attending the Geneva II conference on Syria – because the meeting is not about finding a peaceful settlement. Rather, it is merely an American mechanism for engineering regime change in Syria.

“I Am Not the Kind of Person Who Clings to Power”: President Bashar al-Assad
President Assad: The most basic element, which we continuously refer too, is that the Geneva Conference should produce clear results with regard to the fight against terrorism in Syria. In particular, it needs to put pressure on countries that are exporting terrorism, – by sending terrorists, money and weapons to terrorist organisations, – especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and of course the Western countries that provide political cover for these terrorist organisations.

Briefing: What’s behind Iraq violence?
It’s not strictly an Al Qaeda resurgence or a deep religious hatred: It’s Syria, and it’s politics.

Iraq says it intends to make 3 new provinces
Iraq’s Shiite-led government said Tuesday it had decided in principle to create three new provinces from contested parts of the country in an apparent attempt to address Sunni grievances and counter the expansion of the Kurdish self-rule region.

Georgia protests as Russia expands border zone
Georgia has protested after Russia temporarily expanded its Olympic security zone into the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia.

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is adding a fifth demand to his negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas: That the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.”

US govt struck deal with Mexican drug cartel in exchange for info – report
Between 2000 and 2012, the US government had a deal with Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa that allowed the group to smuggle billion of dollars of drugs in return for information on its rival cartels, according to court documents published by El Universal.

U.S. Government and Top Mexican Drug Cartel Exposed as Partners
For over a decade, under multiple administrations, the U.S. government had a secret agreement with the ruthless Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed it to operate with impunity, an in-depth investigation by a leading Mexican newspaper confirmed this week. In exchange for information and assistance in quashing competing criminal syndicates, the Bush and Obama administrations let the Sinaloa cartel import tons of drugs into the United States while wiping out Sinaloa competitors and ensuring that its leaders would not be prosecuted for their long list of major crimes. Other revelations also point strongly to massive but clandestine U.S. government involvement in drug trafficking.

Rwanda in diplomatic trouble 20 years after genocide
As Rwanda marks 20 years since its 1994 genocide, the government is seeking to stress the strides the country has made since those dark days, despite international concern over its hardline leader.

The Inescapable Antagonism Between A Prosperous China and An Imperial U.S.
China has stated its goals quite unambiguously. “A moderately prosperous society by 2020″ is the first goal and “a strong socialist nation by 2049″ as the second. But this may be simplified: China’s leadership wants its people to have a standard of living equal to that of the developed nations of the West.

Is The USA The World’s De Facto Government?
It might not have seemed necessary in the 21st century to ask or answer such a ridiculous question. After all, in the last half of the prior century European colonialism collapsed politically, morally, and even legally, its pretensions and cruelties thoroughly exposed and totally discredited.

What really happened when a U.S. drone hit a Yemeni wedding convoy?
Four missiles fired from a U.S. drone hit a wedding convoy near the town of Radda’ in the central province of al-Baydah, killing 12 men.

Nearly Half of All Black Men Are Arrested by Their Twenty-Third Birthday
About 49 percent of black men are arrested for non-traffic offenses by the time they turn twenty-three, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.

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