As Iraq flexes its muscle following the departure of U.S. troops, and as Iran continues to challenge the “international community” relative to its nuclear program, the civil unrest in yet another Middle Eastern country is reaching critical mass and threatens a call for more “Western intervention” in the region.
Gun fights south of Tripoli between rebel militias and forces still loyal to the late Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi left several dead and dozens wounded over the weekend, according to news reports. And it is not over yet.
On Sunday, the head of the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel for Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, Colonel J.P. Colwell, sent an e-mail ordering all lawyers under his command to defy rules authorizing and requiring officials at the naval facility’s detention center to open and read all correspondence between lawyers and the five detainees suspected of involvement in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Late last week, British prosecutors announced that they were initiating an investigation into allegations that agents of MI6, British intelligence, participated in the capture of two enemies of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and the subsequent delivery of those two rebels into the hands of the Gadhafi government where they were tortured.
Over half of U.S. immigration officials believe the White House focuses more heavily on promoting immigration than improving national security, according to a 2011 survey directed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS Inspector General (IG) audit, which was administered between January and May 2011, submitted an online survey to a random selection of Immigration Services Officers (ISOs) in all 26 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) districts across the United States.
According to the IG, the questions examined the agency’s "FY 2011 performance measures, pressure to adjudicate cases, and overall impressions about the USCIS mission."
In 2010, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a letter to the Inspector General (Todd Zinser), the USCIS Director (Alejandro Mayorkas), and the Secretary of Homeland Security (Janet Napolitano) expressing several concerns he had about the immigration benefit adjudication system. In requesting the report, Grassley asked the DHS to evaluate the following matters:
The 10th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility was Wednesday. On January 11, 2002, the first 20 prisoners arrived at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, being ordered detained as suspected “enemy combatants” in the global War on Terror which was initiated by the Congress and the President (without, it must be remembered, a declaration of war as mandated by the Constitution) in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Iranian officials are accusing the U.S. and Israeli governments of assassinating another senior nuclear scientist in Tehran, using a car-bomb terrorist attack as part of the expanding covert war against Iran. American authorities denied the allegations and condemned the violence, but a spokesman for the Israeli military left room for speculation.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a television audience January 8 that while Iran may be laying the groundwork for nuclear weapons, it is not yet far enough in the process to build any yet. Appearing on a pre-recorded segment of the CBS program Face the Nation, “Panetta cautioned against a unilateral strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying the action could trigger Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces in the region,” reported the Associated Press.
Panetta insisted that the best course of action is continued economic and diplomatic pressure on the country. “We have common cause here” with Israel, Panetta said. “And the better approach is for us to work together.”
Meanwhile, reported CNN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on January 9 that Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a facility in the northern part of the country. “The IAEA can confirm that Iran has started the production of uranium enriched up to 20 percent” at Fordo, in the mountains of Iran’s Qom province, said an IAEA spokesman. The spokesman assured that “all nuclear material in the facility remains under the agency’s containment and surveillance.”
The Obama administration may have revealed classified information related to the killing of Osama bin Laden to a group in Hollywood planning to make a film about the event. On Thursday, Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) stated that the Department of Defense was initiating an investigation into whether Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow (the team behind the 2008 war film The Hurt Locker) were provided “improper access” to unreleased intelligence about the hunt for and assassination of the former head of al-Qaeda by members of the American special operations forces that took place in Pakistan in May of 2011.