REPORT: Russian Forces Take Syrian Chemical, Biological Weapons Under Control

DEBKAfile
Dec 22, 2012

The chemical warfare threat looming over Syria’s civil war and its neighbors has taken an epic turn with the announcement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday, Dec. 22, that “the Syrian government has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations amid a rebel onslaught and they are under control for the time being.”

He added that Russia, “which has military advisers training Syria’s military, has kept close watch over its chemical arsenal.”

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report: The Russian foreign minister’s statement was a message to Washington that the transfer of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction to one or two protected sites was under Russian control.

This had removed the danger of them falling into the hands of the al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra ,which had come ominously close Friday, Dec. 21, when the Islamists spearheaded a Syrian rebel assault for the capture of the al-Safira military complex and Bashar Assad’s chemical and biological stores.

Lavrov did not go into detail about how this arsenal was removed and to which locations. But his reference to “Russian military advisers training Syria’s military” clearly indicated that Russian forces were directly involved in removing the WMD out of the reach of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists.

His assertion that they were “under control” indicated that Russia was also involved in safeguarding them. SOURCE

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House Passes NDAA 2013 with Indefinite Detention Intact

Yesterday, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act which funds the Pentagon and military operations for 2013 to the tune of $633 billion.

The vote was 315-107, but the final draft must still be approved by the Senate.

The Senate version included an amendment that was supposed to protect Americans against indefinite military detention. That amendment was reportedly scrubbed from the final House version of the NDAA.

The Feinstein Amendment provided that:

an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States unless an act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.


Some have argued that the NDAA 2012 act of Congress negates this amendment making it impotent to begin with. However, this amendment apparently stated Americans’ rights too clearly, so the House had to rewrite it in legalese.

Spokespeople for the Senate said the amendment was replaced with the following language:

Nothing in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541) or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112–81) shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution to any person inside the United States who would be entitled to the availability of such writ or to such rights in the absence of such laws.

Some say this convoluted form does nothing to protect a right to trial for detained Americans.

“This language doesn’t do anything of substance,” said Raha Wala, a lawyer at Human Rights First. “It doesn’t ban indefinite detention within the United States or change anything about existing law.”

Senator Rand Paul, who has been outspoken against indefinite detention, eviscerated the new wording and blamed Senator McCain for the change:

‘The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional,’ Sen. Paul said.

‘I voted against NDAA in 2011 because it did not contain the proper constitutional protections. When my Senate colleagues voted to include those protections in the 2012 NDAA through the Feinstein-Lee Amendment last month, I supported this act,’ Sen. Paul continued.

‘But removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year’s NDAA. When the government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity.

Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus – the right to be presented before a judge – is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole.

Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators’ convenience. When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury.’ (Source)

It’s unclear who pulled the amendment from the House version, but the White House likely pressured Congress to change it. Immediately following the passage of the amendment, the White House threatened to veto the bill citing it “limits his ability to pursue his defense strategy and trespasses on his power.”

Other activist groups are encouraging the President to veto the bill over restrictions placed on dealing with Guantanamo detainees.

Now that the bill is back to being as tyrannical as it can be for the American people, we can expect President Obama to once again sign it into law under the cover of darkness like he did last year late New Year’s Eve. SOURCE

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Winter solstice brings deadly cold wave to northern Europe

December 22, 2012MOSCOW – A vicious cold snap across Russia and Eastern Europe has claimed nearly 200 lives, officials figures showed Friday, as forecasters warned it would last until Christmas Eve. In Russia, the cold has killed two people in the past 24 hours, the Ria-Novosti agency reported, citing medical sources, bringing the total number of deaths over the past week to 56. The freeze had also left 371 people in hospital. Thermometers have been stuck below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in Moscow — and below minus 50 degrees (minus 58 F) in some parts of Siberia — for a week. Russian weather forecasters said temperature in the Khabarovsk region in eastern Russia had dropped to minus 43 Celsius, while Krasnoyarsk in Siberia reported minus 47. This “abnormal” frost would last till Monday because of a persistent anticyclone, they added. In Russia’s European region, meanwhile, the mercury is expected to fall to minus 31 degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve before rising rapidly afterwards. Other European countries hit hard by the extreme temperatures were counting the toll as temperatures gradually started to return to normal. Authorities in Ukraine, which has been battling heavy snowfall for weeks, said 83 people had died of cold, with 57 of the victims found on the street. The homeless are traditionally the hardest-hit by the region’s bitter winters. Another 526 cold victims were reportedly receiving hospital treatment in Ukraine. Overnight temperatures in Ukraine reached an average minus 15 degrees Celsius, which is common at this time of year. Ukrainian authorities said 93 villages — mainly on the Crimean peninsula in the south of the country — were still hit by a power outage. In Eastern Europe, police in Poland said Friday that 49 people had died of exposure this month, with most of the victims homeless, as temperatures plunged to minus 10 degrees Celsius. At least six people have died of exposure in Lithuania in the past weeks, police and emergency services said there.  In Latvia, temperatures reached minus 14 Celsius on Friday morning. In the capital Riga, authorities decided to drop public transport fares to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home and prevent crashes and jams. On Christmas Eve temperatures in Latvia are expected to drop to minus 28 Celsius, a record low. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, temperatures hovered around zero on Friday. Czech police said several people had died of exposure in recent weeks, but no overall statistics were available for the country. –TD
49 die in Poland: Polish police said Friday 49 people have died from the cold since the beginning of December as temperatures in Poland plunged to minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). Most of the deaths from the freezing temperatures have been among the homeless, said police who have begun informing them of where they can find hot meals and shelter. Poland’s first cold wave this season in October left 15 people dead and five more died in November. Last winter around 200 people died of hypothermia. –TD
Russia’s coldest winter since 1938: Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized. The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia. The Emergency Ministry has issued warnings in 15 regions, which have been put on high alert over possible disruptions of communication and power. Across the country, heat pipelines have broken down due to the cold. In southeastern Russia’s Samara, the cold has broken down many heat pipelines, leaving hundreds of homes without heating, including an orphanage and a rest house. Many schools and kindergartens have been closed for almost a week. The cold spell, along with snowfalls, has disrupted flights all over the country, and led to huge traffic jams. In the southern city of Rostov-on-Don some highways were closed due to snowfalls over the past two days, triggering a traffic collapse. Over the weekend, meteorologists predict temperatures will plunge even lower in the Moscow region, hitting -25. The Russian capital is also expected to be swept with snow, RIA Novosti reported. –Wunderground
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Chile raises alert on Copahue Volcano to red, issues air-traffic alerts

December 24, 2012CHILE – Chilean authorities on Sunday issued a red alert — the most severe in their warning system — that the Copahue Volcano, high in the Andes Mountains on the border with Argentina, might be poised for a significant eruption. A familiar threat to New Zealand air traffic is emerging from a mountain 10,000 kilometers away. The Andes Copahue volcano on the Argentinian-Chilean border has started erupting, sending up ash and gas high into the atmosphere. When the Cordon Caulle volcano erupted in June this year, the ash reached New Zealand about three weeks later, forcing some airlines to curtail flights. While Air New Zealand continued its flights, although at a lower flight level, Qantas and Jetstar suspended domestic services on both sides of the Tasman. The BBC reported Copahue started erupting on Saturday and sent a plume of smoke and ash up about 1500 meters. The ash plume has gone over Chile and aviation authorities in South America have warned fliers to avoid the area. Auckland has direct flights to Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires in Argentina but they have yet to be affected. The June ash which hit Australia and New Zealand moved from west to east before reaching here. –Stuff, CNN
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Syrian Christians seek safe harbor

by F. Michael Maloof Email | Archive

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syrian-christians

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Christians are beginning to leave Syria in increasing numbers as the civil war intensifies and Syrian opposition forces seek the removal of embattled Shi’a Alawite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who until now has protected Christians and other minorities from the threats from Sunni Muslims, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Many of the Christian refugees are venturing down into the Baqa’a Valley, which is predominantly controlled by Shi’ites, particularly the Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese resistance group that the United States, Israel and Canada have designated as a terrorist organization.

Former Gen. Michel Aoun, a Lebanese Christian who leads the faith community there, has an alliance with Hezbollah, ostensibly to protect what’s left of the Christians today in a country where they at one time formed a majority of the population.

Lebanese Armenian Christians similarly have allied with Hezbollah to seek protection from the Sunnis which comprise portion of the population.

Today, Christians comprise perhaps some 25 percent of Lebanon’s population, and it is dwindling. Shi’ites make up 45 percent while Sunnis comprise 30 percent.

However, safety is the primary concern for these Christians who are settling in the area of Zahle, which is at the crossroads of the highway that leads to Damascus and further into the Baqa’a Valley.

The entire Baqa’a Valley is regarded as a Shi’ite stronghold, with visible signs of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah pictured alongside Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini up and down the main roads heading north.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/syrian-christians-seek-safe-harbor/#utpxCmWffRgIYeg2.99

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15 Signs That The Ring Of Fire Is Waking Up As We Head Into 2013

Ring Of FireWhile most of the world has been focused on other things, the Ring of Fire has been quietly waking up.  Over the past couple of months, there has been a steady string of noteworthy volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that have occurred along the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.  But because none of them have happened near a highly populated area, we really haven’t heard much about them in the news.  But if activity along the Ring of Fire continues to increase, it is inevitable that a major event will happen near a major city at some point.  When that happens, the entire world will be focused on the Ring of Fire once again.  Most people don’t realize that approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur along the Ring of Fire.  The entire west coast of the United States sits along the Ring of Fire and a massive network of faults runs underneath California, Oregon and Washington.  Fortunately, the west coast has not experienced any devastating seismic events in recent years, but scientists assure us that will change at some point.  So it is important to sit up and take notice when there are reports of increasing activity along the Ring of Fire.

Unfortunately, most Americans cannot even tell you what the Ring of Fire is.  The following is how Wikipedia defines the “Ring of Fire”…

The Pacific Ring of Fire (or sometimes just the Ring of Fire) is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements.

It runs roughly along the rim of the Pacific Ocean.  Coastal residents of four different continents realize that a major event along the Ring of Fire could fundamentally change their lives in a single moment.

Nearly all of the worst earthquakes in modern history have occurred along the Ring of Fire.  When the Ring of Fire is very active, it is a very big deal.  That is why so many people are alarmed that the Ring of Fire seems to be entering a period of increased activity.

The following are 15 signs that the Ring of Fire is waking up as we head into 2013…

#1 Mount Lokon, which is located in Indonesia, has erupted more than 800 times since July.  On Monday, volcanic ash from the volcano reached heights of up to 10,000 feet.

#2 An “orange alert” had been issued for towns and villages near the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador.  On Tuesday it erupted and shot lava up to a half mile above its crater.

#3 Lava is still flowing out of the Tolbachik volcano which is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula.  Anyone that has ever played the board game “Risk” knows where Kamchatka is located.

#4 Lava also continues to flow and ash also continues to rise from the Fuego volcano in Guatemala.

#5 On Tuesday, an ash plume more than 2.5 kilometers high had risen from the Paluweh volcano in Indonesia.

#6 There was an average of about 4 seismic events per hour at the Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico on Tuesday.

#7 Scientists recently discovered “one of the world’s weirdest volcanoes” on the floor of the ocean just off the coast of Baja, Mexico.

#8 Mt. Fuji (located not too far from Tokyo, Japan) has been dormant for about 300 years, but in recent months there have been increasing signs of activity there.  One study recently found that a “magma chamber under the mountain has come under immense pressure“, and one prominent scientist is warning that Mt. Fuji is due for “a big-scale explosive eruption“.  Authorities were alarmed when a tunnel leading to Mt. Fuji collapsed on December 2nd, killing 9 people.

#9 Scientists are now warning that there is a very dangerous build up of magma at a large number of Japan’s 110 active volcanoes.

#10 A magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia on Monday.

#11 A magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit the New Britain region of Papua New Guinea on Saturday.

#12 A magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck the Gulf of Alaska in mid-November.

#13 A magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit Japan earlier this month.

#14 There has been a substantial increase in earthquake activity in the Long Valley caldera region of California, and authorities tell us that “magma is indeed moving down there“.

#15 Over one recent five week period, more than 170 significant earthquakes were detected in one town in Chile.  That town is now being called “one of the shakiest places on earth”.

All of those events occurred along the Ring of Fire.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are certainly a lot of theories out there.

In the United States, a large percentage of the population is convinced that an increase in natural disasters is evidence that we are in the “last days” described in the Bible.  In fact, one recent survey found that a whopping 36 percent of all Americans believe that the increase in natural disasters that we have seen in recent years is an indication that we are in the end times…

More than a third of Americans believe the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in the “end times” described in the New Testament — a period of turmoil preceding Jesus’ Second Coming and the end of the world.

“There is a significant proportion of Americans who see these phenomena through a theological lens,” said Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, which released a poll on religion and climate change on Thursday (Dec. 13) in partnership with Religion News Service.

“It’s hardly a fringe belief. It’s nearly four in 10 Americans who are embracing this,” Cox said.

The conviction is particularly strong among white evangelical Protestants (65 percent), and less common among Catholics (21 percent) and the religiously unaffiliated (15 percent).

Other Americans believe that there are other causes for all of these natural disasters, and a large number of Americans are absolutely convinced that nothing unusual is happening at all.

SOURCE

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22 Stats That Prove That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With Young Men In America

By Michael, on December 17th, 2012

Young MenWhen are we finally going to admit that we have a very serious problem with this generation of young men in America?  We have failed them so dramatically that it is hard to put it into words.  We have raised an entire generation of young males that don’t know how to be men, and many of them feel completely lost.  Sometimes they feel so lost that they “snap” in very destructive ways.  Adam Lanza and James Holmes are two names that come to mind.  Why is it that mass murderers are almost always young men?  Why don’t young women behave the same way?  Sadly, Adam Lanza and James Holmes are just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem in our society.  Our young women vastly outperform our young men in almost every important statistical category.  Young men are much more likely to perform poorly in school, they are much more likely to have disciplinary problems and they are much more likely to commit suicide.  In the old days, our young men would gather in the streets or in the parks to play with one another after school, but today most of them are content to spend countless hours feeding their addictions to video games, movies and other forms of entertainment.  When our young men grow up, many of them are extremely averse to taking on responsibility.  They want to have lots of sex, but they aren’t interested in marriage.  They enjoy the comforts of living at home, but they don’t want to go out and pursue career goals so that they can provide those things for themselves.  Our young men are supposed to be “the leaders of tomorrow”, but instead many of them are a major burden on society.  When are we finally going to admit that something has gone horribly wrong?

There is even a name for this generation of young men that does not want to grow up.  It is called the “Peter Pan generation”.  They want to enjoy the benefits of being grown up without ever taking on the responsibilities.  A member of this “Peter Pan generation” recent wrote an article for the Daily Mail in which he discussed what he and his friends are going through…

I haven’t yet had to grow up so, well, I haven’t.

Reckless, irresponsible and immature? Yes. But at least I can take comfort in the fact I am not alone.

Last week, I read that there is even a name for people such as me. We are the ‘Peter Pan generation’; a sizeable group of 25 to 40-year-olds who exist in a state of extended adolescence, avoiding the trappings of responsibility — marriage, mortgage, children — for as long as possible.

‘Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood,’ says Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist who has been studying this phenomenon, at the University of Kent.

‘Another word sometimes used to describe these people is “adultescent” — generally defined as someone who refuses to settle down and make commitments, and who would rather go on partying into middle age.’

Young men in America didn’t always behave this way.  Several decades ago, men in America moved away from home, got married and had children much earlier than they do now.  But the young men of today seem to want to put off the “markers of adulthood” for as long as possible.  The following is from an outstanding article by Sandy Hingston

Sociologists cite five “markers” or “milestones” that have traditionally defined our notion of adulthood: finishing school, moving away from the parental home, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child. In 1960, 65 percent of men had ticked off all five by age 30; by 2000, only a third had. The experts have plenty of explanations for what’s come to be called “extended adolescence” or “emerging adulthood”—or what New York Times columnist David Brooks calls the “Odyssey Years.” They blame helicopter parents, the burden of student loan debt, much higher poverty rates among young people (nearly half of all Americans ages 25 to 34 live below the national level), and a dearth of vo-tech training and manufacturing jobs. Almost 60 percent of parents are now giving money to their grown kids—an average of $38,340 per child in the years between ages 18 and 34. Whatever happened to the son looking after his mom?

So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are a whole host of reasons.  But certainly parents and our education system have to bear much of the blame.  In the old days, young men were taught what it means to “be a man”, and morality was taught to young men both by their parents and in the schools.  But today, most young men have very little understanding of what “manhood” is, and our society has taught them that morality doesn’t really matter.  Instead, television and movies constantly portray young men as sex-obsessed slackers that just want to party all the time, so that is what many of our young men have become.

How much better off would our society be if we had trained this generation of young men to love, honor, protect and take care of others?

How much better off would our society be if we had nurtured the manhood of our young men instead of teaching them to be ashamed of it?

How much better off would our society be if we had disciplined our young men and taught them morality when they were getting off track instead of just letting them do whatever they wanted?

The following are 22 stats that prove that there is something seriously wrong with young men in America today…

#1 Males account for approximately 70 percent of all Ds and Fs in U.S. public schools.

#2 About two-thirds of all students in “special education programs” are boys.

#3 The average American girl spends 5 hours a week playing video games.  The average American boy spends 13 hours a week playing video games.

#4 The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

#5 One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that video game addiction is approximately four times as common among boys as it is among girls.

#6 At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#7 In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.

#8 According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find the nation of Iraq on a map.

#9 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all young people enrolled at U.S. colleges are women.

#10 It is being projected that women will earn 60 percent of all Bachelor’s degrees from U.S. universities by the year 2016.

#11 Even if they do graduate from college, most of our young men still can’t find a decent job.  An astounding 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed during 2011.

#12 Pornography addiction is a major problem among our young men.  An astounding 30 percent of all Internet traffic now goes to pornography websites, and one survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access in the United States even visit sex websites while they are at work.

#13 In the United States today, 47 percent of all high school students have had sex.

#14 The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate on the entire planet.  If our young men behaved differently this would not be happening.

#15 In the United States today, one out of every four teen girls has at least one sexually transmitted disease.  If our young men were not sex-obsessed idiots running around constantly looking to “score” these diseases would not be spreading like this.

#16 Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 year old age bracket are living at home with their parents.

#17 According to one survey, 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.

#18 Young men are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as young women the same age are.

#19 Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.

#20 Today, an all-time low 44.2% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.

#21 Back in 1950, 78 percent of all households in the United States contained a married couple.  Today, that number has declined to 48 percent.

#22 Young men are about four times more likely to commit suicide as young women are.

So what do you think about this generation of young men in America?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

22 Stats That Prove That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With Young Men In America

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