US Ambassador David Friedman opened the ceremony with the American anthem and a video message of congratulations from President Donald Trump declaring that every nation has the right to choose its capital, including Israel, and pledging friendship. Continue reading
The injuries were newly reported, but appear to have been caused by previous attacks of unknown origin directed at American diplomatic staff. The Cuban government insists it had nothing to do with them, and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says no new “incidents” have occurred at the embassy.
MANAGUA, NICARAGUA — On the rim of a volcano with a clear view of the U.S. Embassy, landscapers are applying the final touches to a mysterious new Russian compound.
Behind the concrete walls and barbed wire, a visitor can see red-and-blue buildings, manicured lawns, antennas and globe-shaped devices. The Nicaraguan government says it’s simply a tracking site of the Russian version of a GPS satellite system. But is it also an intelligence base intended to surveil the Americans?
“I have no idea,” said a woman who works for the Nicaraguan telecom agency stationed at the site. “They are Russian, and they speak Russian, and they carry around Russian apparatuses.” Continue reading
In the early morning of June 6, a uniformed Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) guard stationed outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow attacked and beat up a U.S. diplomat who was trying to enter the compound, according to four U.S. officials who were briefed on the incident.
This previously unreported attack occurred just steps from the entrance to the U.S. Embassy complex, which is located in the Presnensky District in Moscow’s city center. After being tackled by the FSB guard, the diplomat suffered a broken shoulder, among other injuries. He was eventually able to enter the embassy and was then flown out of Russia to receive urgent medical attention, administration officials confirmed to me. He remains outside of Russia.
The attack caused a diplomatic episode behind the scenes that has not surfaced until now. The State Department in Washington called in Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak to complain about the incident, an administration official said. Continue reading
As if there weren’t enough crises to worry about in the world already, from shooting rampages to accelerating species loss, the US and NATO continue to ‘poke the bear’ and risk an outbreak of war with Russia.
I wish this were idle speculation. But if you haven’t been paying close attention, you’ll probably be shocked at just how much direct military and diplomatic provocation has been going on between NATO/US and Russia over the past several years — and in recent weeks, in particular.
Even more shocking is that no one in power can provide us with a compelling reason for exactly why these tensions are flaring. It seems that Russia’s main sin is in not entirely, completely and immediately giving the US/NATO anything and everything they request.
In other words, it’s imperial hubris and petulance that seems to be driving the ship of state. That’s a dangerous thing. Continue reading
The Obama administration has spent three years engaged in secret talks with Iran that resulted in the payment of nearly $2 billion in taxpayer funds to the Islamic Republic, with more payouts likely to come in the future, according to a recent letter issued by the State Department and obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. Continue reading
Escalating tensions between Iran and the Sunni Arab gulf states will further polarize the Middle East along sectarian lines, stoke the proxy wars waged by Tehran and Riyadh, and reduce the already low chances of forging diplomatic agreements to defuse civil wars in Syria and Yemen.…
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been bitter rivals competing for regional dominance since the 1979 Iranian revolution injected an ideological hostility into a relationship already strained by competing nationalisms (Arab vs. Persian) and sectarian differences (Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shiite Iran). Continue reading
Secret files held by Yemeni security forces that contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say.
U.S. intelligence officials believe additional files were handed directly to Iranian advisors by Yemeni officials who have sided with the Houthi militias that seized control of Sana, the capital, in September, which led the U.S.-backed president to flee to Aden.
For American intelligence networks in Yemen, the damage has been severe. Until recently, U.S. forces deployed in Yemen had worked closely with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government to track and kill Al Qaeda operatives, and President Obama had hailed Yemen last fall as a model for counter-terrorism operations elsewhere. Continue reading
U.S. Embassy Marines in Yemen handed over their M-9 pistols and M-4 carbines before evacuating the chaotic country with diplomatic personnel, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
The Marines also left behind several vehicles at the airport in the capital city of Sanaa before departing on a civilian flight, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
Warren said the Marines destroyed their machine guns and other crew-served weapons before leaving the Embassy for the airport. He also said that it was unclear who now had custody of the weapons and vehicles that were surrendered. Continue reading
Someone jabbed him with a needle in an airport in Nigeria. Was it the beginning of a new type of terrorism?
The terminal at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, was packed. Inside, a small team of U.S. air marshals wormed its way through the crowd. They had a plane to catch: United Flight 143 to Houston. It was Sunday, Sept. 7, and that was the day’s mission.
The exact size of this group of air marshals is an operational secret. Even how many people are employed by the federal air marshal service is not shared. But the number has certainly grown since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, renewed fear of hijacked planes.
The air marshals in Lagos were following an expediter – a Nigerian airport worker charged with guiding them through the terminal and helping them get through security, said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. But the air marshals were having trouble keeping up. They kept losing sight of the expediter. He was moving too fast. The air marshals were walking through the airport, nearly to the security checkpoint, other travelers passing them in every direction, jostling for space, when two men approached from the opposite direction. These two men didn’t stand out, until they brushed past the U.S. agents.
It happened in a flash, Adler said. One of the men jabbed a hypodermic needle into the arm of an air marshal and then melted into the crowd, he said. No shouting. No fighting. It took a moment to even realize what had occurred. By then, the two passing men had disappeared. Continue reading
Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who’s who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades.
Intelligence historian Christopher Andrew said the vast dossier, released by the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University, was considered “the most important single intelligence source ever” by British and American authorities.
Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB’s foreign intelligence headquarters — and a secret dissident. For more than a decade, he secretly took files home, copied them in longhand and then typed them and collated them into volumes. He hid the papers at his country cottage, or dacha, some stuffed into a milk churn and buried.
The world did not learn of Mitrokhin until Andrew published a book based on his files in 1999. It caused a sensation by exposing the identities of KGB agents including 87-year-old Melita Norwood, the “great-granny spy,” who had passed British atomic secrets to the Soviets for years. Continue reading
As Congress debates whether to support President Obama’s call for a limited strike against Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons, Iran is vowing to back Bashar al-Assad’s regime to the hilt and threatening to unleash terrorism should the U.S. strike.
Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Forces, Wednesday told the Assembly of Experts — the body that chooses the supreme leader — that “[w]e will support Syria to the end.”
And in an unprecedented statement, a former Iranian official has warned of mass abductions and brutal killings of American citizens around the world and the rape and killing of one of Obama’s daughters should the United States attack Syria. Continue reading
As Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi digs in his heels despite calls for him to step down, roughly 500 U.S. Marines deployed to Italy and Spain are poised to react if their presence is needed to calm the brewing violence in the North African country, according to Stars and Stripes.
“We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies.” Continue reading