Israel wary of Russian military build-up in Syria

Officials hint Israeli rules of engagement under review

HERZLIYA, Israel, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Indications of increased Russian involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad are prompting a reassessment in Israel about how to handle fall-out from the conflict without risking a clash with Moscow.

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, Israel has occasionally fired across the Golan Heights in response to spillover shelling or bombed advanced arms it suspected were to be transferred to Assad’s Lebanese guerrilla allies, Hezbollah.

U.S. and regional reports that Moscow’s diplomatic and logistical support for Assad is shifting into major military backing has raised the prospect of Israel and Russia accidentally coming to blows.

“There could be ramifications for us, certainly,” Ram Ben-Barak, director-general of Israel’s Intelligence Ministry, told Reuters when asked if Russian intervention in Syria might necessitate new Israeli rules of engagement.

He was speaking at a security conference organised by the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, where Russian policy in Syria was described both as an effort to shore up Assad and mobilise with other world powers in suppressing Islamic State insurgents.

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Resurrecting a monster virus: Scientists to ‘awaken’ bug that has laid dormant in frozen Siberian wastelands for 30,000 years

Virus is called Mollivirus sibericum, which means ‘soft virus from Siberia’

A giant virus that has been perfectly preserved in the frozen wastelands of northeastern Russia is about to be brought back to life.

Scientists said they will ‘reanimate’ the 30,000-year-old bug to learn more about it and discover if it is harmful to animals or humans.

Called Mollivirus sibericum, it is the fourth prehistoric virus to have been found since 2003, and experts warn climate change and thawing ice could resurrect similar, dangerous pathogens.

Read more: Resurrecting a monster virus: Scientists to ‘awaken’ bug that has laid dormant in frozen Siberian wastelands for 30,000 years

Agenda 21: L.A. to Replace Car Lanes with Slow Public Transportation

“…What are you going to do, take two hours on a bus?” asked resident

This city of fast cars and endless freeways is preparing to do what not long ago would have been unthinkable: sacrificing car lanes to make way for bikes and buses.

The City Council has approved a far-reaching transportation plan that would reshape the streetscape over the next 20 years, adding hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes, bus-only lanes and pedestrian safety features as part of an effort to nudge drivers out from behind the wheel.

Not surprisingly, in the unofficial traffic congestion capital of the country, the plan has set off fears of apocalyptic gridlock.

“What they’re trying to do is make congestion so bad, you’ll have to get out of your car,” said James O’Sullivan, a founder of Fix the City, a group that is planning a lawsuit to stop the plan. “But what are you going to do, take two hours on a bus? They haven’t given us other options.”

Read more: Agenda 21: L.A. to Replace Car Lanes with Slow Public Transportation

Local cops suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an FBI informant

Suspicions have long swirled in Boston about the true nature of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s relationship with the FBI

There’s a remarkable statement buried at the bottom of Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen’s farewell to the soon-departing special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, Vince Lisi. According to the law enforcement friendly Cullen, Lisi was uncharacteristically open during their interview. “Lisi is the most candid FBI leader in Boston, ever,” Cullen writes.

But the friendly goodbye column closes with reporting that strikes a vastly different tone:

For the record, Lisi denied that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a firefightwith Watertown police, was an FBI informant. He also denied that Ibragim Todashev, a suspected accomplice of Tsarnaev in a triple murder in Waltham, was an FBI informant.

Todashev was shot dead by an FBI agent in Florida two months after the Marathon bombings, after he allegedly attacked the agent and a Massachusetts state trooper.

That I had to ask the question — and that there are others in law enforcement who suspect that one or both were FBI informants— suggests whoever replaces Vince Lisi has their work cut out for them. Like statutes, candor has its limitations.

Talk about burying the lede.

Suspicions have long swirled in Boston about the true nature of TamerlanTsarnaev’s relationship with the FBI, dating back to at least 2011. In March 2014 the defense team for Tamerlan’s younger brother filed a brief in federal court asserting that the FBI had tried to recruit the elder Tsarnaev. The FBI has always denied that Tamerlan ever worked for them in any capacity as an informant. In response to the Tsarnaev defense motion, the DOJ reported that it could discover “no evidence” to support the claim that the Bureau approached Tamerlan with such a request.

But despite these denials, the rumors Globe columnist Kevin Cullen reports do not constitute the first public questions government officials have raised about the FBI’s conduct—or honesty—in this case.

Back in October 2013, Senator Chuck Grassley wrote the FBI a public letter asking, among other questions, whether Tamerlan was ever approached to inform for the FBI—and if not, why not. Grassley’s letter was apparently prompted by concerns brought to the Iowa republican by Cambridge law enforcement whistleblowers.

Among those whistleblowers may have been an MIT police officer who was on duty the night officer Sean Collier was killed on campus. The officer later told local reporters that he and other MIT cops suspected the FBI knew where Tamerlan wasthat fateful night, and that the bomber was under FBI surveillance. (This is notable in part because the FBI’s official narrative states that the Bureau did not know who the brothers were until much later, after a firefight in Watertown that ended with Tamerlan’s death and Dzokhar’s escape.)

Watertown police chief Ed Deveau has since publicly questioned the FBI’s conduct that week, suggesting that had the bureau recognized the man they’d previously investigated, Collier would be alive and the shootout in his town never would have happened.

Rumors about Tamerlan’s involvement with the FBI are nothing new. Despite having paid very close attention to the case over the past few years, however, I’ve never heard that Ibragim Todashev, the man killed by FBI agents in Orlando just a month after the marathon attacks, could have also been an informant. During the Tsarnaevtrial, Todashev’s mother in law stood outside of federal court in Boston holding a sign emblazoned with a photo of her deceased son in law, along with the words “I am dead because I knew the Tsarnaevs. I knew the truth.” (Read much more about the strange case of the Todashev killing here, here, and here.)

Russian American journalist Masha Gessen wrote a book about the Tsarnaev brothers, in which she asserts that “the explanation that best fits the facts” in the case is “a cover-up.” Upon the publication of Gessen’s book in April 2015, none other than former DHS head Janet Napolitano took to the New York Times opinion pages to slam the author as a conspiracy theorist. But according to local gumshoe Kevin Cullen, there are plenty of local cops in the Boston area who think there’s something to that theory.

And in a few weeks, the Hollywood film about the Boston FBI’s most infamous informant ever, Whitey Bulger, airs in move theaters nationwide.

Original post: Local cops suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an FBI informant

Muslim Refugees Chant “Allahu Akbar,” “F**k You,” Attack Citizens, Throw Feces

The footage that TV networks don’t broadcast

Muslim “refugees” in Budapest chanted “Allahu Akbar” and “f**k you” while others in Italy attacked an old lady and threw feces at bystanders as Germany announced that it would be prepared to take 500,000 asylum seekers every year.

Although mainstream media coverage of the migrant crisis has focused on happy families and children, footage not broadcast by TV networks shows a different side to some of those crossing into Europe.

A video shot just outside Budapest’s Keleti railway station shows Muslim migrants chanting “Allahu Akbar” and “f**k you” as they engage in running battles with police.

Another clip of Muslims on a train in France shows a man screaming out slogans before all the passengers chant “Allahu Akbar” in unison.

Meanwhile, an eyewitness at the Italy-Austrian border relates how she saw an elderly Italian woman grabbed by her hair and pulled from her car by a group of “aggressive young men” who wanted to steal the car to get to Germany, while others threw excrement at bystanders.

“Half an hour ago on the border between Italy and Austria i saw a huge crowd of immigrants. With all solidarity to people in difficult circumstances I have to say that what I saw arouses horror. This huge mass of people – sorry – but it’s an absolute wilderness … Vulgar, throwing bottles, shouting “We want Germany”. So what, Germany is now a paradise?”

“I saw an elderly Italian woman in a car that was surrounded by the immigrants. They pulled her by the hair out of the car and wanted to use it to go to Germany. They tried to topple the bus I was in. They threw feces at us, banging on the door for the driver to open it, spat on the glass. My question is- for what purpose? How do they want to assimilate in Germany? For a moment, i felt like in a warzone. I really feel sorry for these people, but if they would reach Poland – I do not think they would receive any understanding from us.”

Footage taken at a migrant camp near Milan shows refugees rioting over “poor living conditions”.

Another compilation video shows African migrants and others tearing down traffic lights, attacking shops and beating people up.

The wave of migrants crossing into Europe shows little sign of abating, with Germany announcing that it would be willing to take 500,000 “asylum seekers” every single year in addition to the 800,000 expected to arrive before the end of this year.

As we document in the video below, many of the so-called “refugees” are actually economic migrants who are fleeing to a higher standard of living, and not from war or ISIS persecution.

“If Europe does not seal its borders, what is to stop the Islamic world and Third World from coming and repopulating the continent with their own kind, as the shrinking native populations of Europe die out?” writes Pat Buchanan in his new column.

Original post: Muslim Refugees Chant “Allahu Akbar,” “F**k You,” Attack Citizens, Throw Feces

WH ‘Actively Considering’ Approaches to Refugee Crisis

Mulling “resettlement”

The Obama administration is mulling “resettlement” among other steps in response to a refugee crisis dubbed the worst in Europe since the end of World War II, a White House official said on Monday.

“The administration is actively considering a range of approaches to be more responsive to the global refugee crisis, including with regard to refugee resettlement,” National Security Council spokesman Peter Boogaard said in a statement.

“We are also in regular contact with countries in the Middle East and Europe who have been greatly impacted by the increased refugee flows,” he said.

In a situation that worsened dramatically over the summer, hundreds of thousands of migrants, including many from war zones in Syria and Iraq, have entered southern Europe, in many cases after making risky sea crossings.

Read more: WH ‘Actively Considering’ Approaches to Refugee Crisis

Conservative Dissent is Brewing Inside the Vatican

Papal power, Burke warned, “is not absolute”

VATICAN CITY — On a sunny morning earlier this year, a camera crew entered a well-appointed apartment just outside the 9th-century gates of Vatican City.

Pristinely dressed in the black robes and scarlet sash of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church, the Wisconsin-born Cardinal Raymond Burke sat in his elaborately upholstered armchair and appeared to issue a warning to Pope Francis.

A staunch conservative and Vatican bureaucrat, Burke had been demoted by the pope a few months earlier, but it did not take the fight out of him. Francis had been backing a more inclusive era, giving space to progressive voices on divorced Catholics as well as gays and lesbians. In front of the camera, Burke said he would “resist” liberal changes — and seemed to caution Francis about the limits of his authority. “One must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope,” Burke told the French news crew.

Papal power, Burke warned, “is not absolute.” He added, “The pope does not have the power to change teaching [or] doctrine.”

Burke’s words belied a growing sense of alarm among strict conservatives, exposing what is fast emerging as a culture war over Francis’s papacy and the powerful hierarchy that governs the Roman Catholic Church.

Read more: Conservative Dissent is Brewing Inside the Vatican