Monday, September 28, 2009

United States Transfers Three Guantanamo Bay Detainees to Foreign Nations

/PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice announced September 26 that three detainees have been transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the control of the governments of Ireland and Yemen.

As directed by the President's Jan. 22, 2009 Executive Order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of each of these cases. As a result of that review, these detainees were approved for transfer from Guantanamo Bay. In accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the Administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer each of these detainees at least 15 days before their transfer.

Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a native of Yemen was transferred to the government of Yemen. On May 4, 2009, a federal court ruled that Ahmed may no longer be detained under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and ordered the government to release him from detention at Guantanamo Bay.

In addition, two additional detainees were transferred to the government of Ireland. Pursuant to a request from the government of Ireland, the identities of these detainees are being withheld for security and privacy reasons.

These transfers were carried out under individual arrangements between the United States and the governments of Yemen and Ireland. The United States has coordinated with the governments of each of these nations to ensure the transfers take place under appropriate security measures and will continue to consult with these governments regarding these detainees.

Since 2002, more than 550 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Chad, Denmark, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

JCRC Calls Iran a 'Rogue Nation Whose Leadership Cannot Be Trusted'

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The JCRC of Greater Washington (Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington) calls upon Congress to immediately pass The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act and the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act to prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons they have threatened to use against Israel. We call upon President Obama and U.S. allies to remain steadfast in denying Iran the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.

Two days after Iranian President Ahmadinejad delivered an anti-Semitic and anti-American rant at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly denying Iranian nuclear weapon ambitions, it has been revealed that Iran has concealed the existence of a second uranium enrichment plant buried underneath a mountain near the ancient city of Qom. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the existence of this secret facility, which President Obama this morning declared "inconsistent with that of a peaceful facility." British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined the President in his condemnation of Iranian rule-breaking.

Today's revelation demonstrates that Iran is a rogue nation whose leadership cannot be trusted.

News of this hidden plant arrives one week prior to the first official U.S.-Iranian talks in thirty years. The Geneva discussions will include Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

The revelation of a secret nuclear enrichment facility demonstrates Iran's continued defiance of international commitments and determination to develop weapons of mass destruction. Yesterday hundreds of people in D.C. joined thousands across the nation to rally in opposition to Iran's nuclear ambitions, human rights abuses and support for international terrorism.

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Pelosi Statement on Iran's Covert Nuclear Facility

/PRNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today concerning revelations that Iran has built a covert facility for uranium enrichment:

"Iran's effort to conceal a major nuclear facility sends a clear signal that the regime has not worked in good faith to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and around the world.

"One of the strongest pillars of America's national security is non-proliferation, and I commend President Obama for standing with fellow leaders to condemn this development and call on Iran to cooperate in our pursuit of a world free of weapons of mass destruction.

"An Iran with nuclear weapons is simply unacceptable. It is a threat to the region, to the United States, and to our allies across the globe. Iran must take the necessary steps to demonstrate its willingness to live as a peaceful partner in the international community. And we must use the tools at our disposal -- from diplomacy to sanctions -- to stop Iran's march toward nuclear capability."

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

7,000 Rally Against Ahmadinejad in New York

/PRNewswire/ -- 7,000 Iranians staged a rally outside the United Nations in New York on Wednesday, to protest against the presence of the Iranian regime's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the United Nations. The participants declared their support for recent uprisings in Iran and the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, home to members of Iran's main opposition.

The protesters said Ahmadinejad and the regime lacked any legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people, who through their uprisings during the past three months showed that they want the mullahs out.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, told the rally through a video message that the West's policy of appeasement was completely out of touch with the reality of today's Iran.

"The policy of 'direct negotiations without precondition' that intended to miraculously end nuclear tensions has failed. Once again I reiterate that thwarting this regime's nuclear threat has one and only one solution and that is democratic change in Iran. The Iranian people through their uprising and resistance will eventually determine the fate of this regime. But the backward policy of appeasement has not only failed but is ethically wrong," Rajavi stressed.

Speakers said the Iranian people have demonstrated that they have the will, the courage and the capability to bring about democratic change in Iran. The world must stand with them. "Instead of addressing the UN, Ahmadinejad must face an international tribunal for crimes against humanity and his regime be compelled to accept free elections under UN supervision," they added.

The Iranians emphasized that the U.S. must guarantee the rights of the Ashraf residents in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law in order to prevent violence against them and their forcible displacement. They also called on the U.S. to take immediate measures to secure the release of the 36 residents abducted by the Iraqi agents of the Iranian regime.

They called on the UN to make necessary arrangements for deployment of a UN supervised monitoring team in Ashraf and to ensure that the fundamental rights, safety and security of the residents of Ashraf are protected.

Several members of Congress, including Carolyn Meloney (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) send messages of support for the rally's objectives.

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Fact Sheet on the United Nations Security Council Summit on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Disarmament UNSC Resolution 1887

"We harbor no illusions about the difficulty of bringing about a world without nuclear weapons. We know there are plenty of cynics, and that there will be setbacks to prove their point. But there will also be days like today that push us forward – days that tell a different story. It is the story of a world that understands that no difference or division is worth destroying all that we have built and all that we love. It is a recognition that can bring people of different nationalities and ethnicities and ideologies together. In my own country, it has brought Democrats and Republican leaders together."
President Barack Obama

In an historic meeting, the United Nations Security Council today convened at the head of state/government level and unanimously cosponsored and adopted a resolution committing to work toward a world without nuclear weapons and endorsing a broad framework of actions to reduce global nuclear dangers.

The meeting, which was called for and chaired by President Obama during the United States’ Presidency of the Security Council, shows concrete progress and growing international political will behind the nuclear agenda that President Obama announced in his speech in Prague in April 2009.

The session was the fifth Summit-level meeting of the Council in its 63 years of existence and the first time that a Security Council Summit has been chaired by a U.S. President.

The new measure, UNSC Resolution 1887, expresses the Council’s grave concern about the threat of nuclear proliferation and the need for international action to prevent it. It reaffirms that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are threats to international peace and security and shows agreement on a broad range of actions to address nuclear proliferation and disarmament and the threat of nuclear terrorism. Broadly, the resolution supports:

A revitalized commitment to work toward a world without nuclear weapons, and calls for further progress on nuclear arms reductions, urging all states to work towards the establishment of effective measures of nuclear arms reduction and disarmament.

A strengthened Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a Review Conference in 2010 that achieves realistic and achievable goals in all three pillars: nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The resolution supports universality of the NPT, calls on all states to adhere to its terms and makes clear the Council’s intent to immediately address any notice of intent to withdraw from the Treaty. The resolution also notes the ongoing efforts in the NPT review to identify mechanisms for responding collectively to any notification of withdrawal.

Better security for nuclear weapons materials to prevent terrorists from acquiring materials essential to make a bomb, including through the convening of a Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, locking down vulnerable nuclear weapons materials in four years, a goal originally proposed by President Obama, minimizing the civil use of highly enriched uranium to the extent feasible, and encouraging the sharing of best practices as a practical way to strengthen nuclear security and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G-8 Global Partnership.

The Security Council’s authority and vital role in addressing the threat to international peace and security posed by the spread of nuclear weapons and underscoring the Council’s intent to take action if nuclear weapons or related material are provided to terrorists.

Addressing the current major challenges to the nonproliferation regime, demanding full compliance with Security Council resolutions on Iran and North Korea and calling on the parties to find an early negotiated solution.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) essential role in preventing nuclear proliferation and ensuring access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under effective safeguards. This is particularly important to ensure that the growing interest in nuclear energy does not result in additional countries with nuclear weapons capabilities.

Encouraging efforts to ensure development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a framework that reduces proliferation risk and adheres to the highest standards for safeguards, security and safety and recognizing the inalienable right of parties to the NPT to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

National efforts to make it more difficult for proliferating states and non-state actors to access the international financial system as well as efforts to strengthen export controls on proliferation-related materials and stronger detection, deterrence and disruption of illicit trafficking in such materials.

Key nuclear agreements, including START follow-on agreement, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and its 2005 Amendment.

UNSC Resolution 1887 includes new provisions to deter withdrawal from the NPT and to ensure that nuclear energy is used in a framework that reduces proliferation dangers and adheres to high standards for security. The Council committed to address without delay any state’s notification of withdrawal from the NPT and affirmed that states will be held responsible for any violations of the NPT committed prior to their withdrawal from the Treaty.

The Council also endorsed important norms to reduce the likelihood that a peaceful nuclear program can be diverted to a weapons program, including support for stricter national export controls on sensitive nuclear technologies and having nuclear supplier states consider compliance with safeguards agreements when making decisions about nuclear exports and reserve the right to require that material and equipment provided prior to termination be returned if safeguards agreements are abrogated .

The Council also expressed strong support for ensuring the IAEA has the authority and resources necessary to carry out its mission to verify both the declared use of nuclear materials and facilities and the absence of undeclared activities and affirmed the Council’s resolve to support the IAEA’s efforts to verify whether states are in compliance with their safeguards obligations.

The resolution calls upon states to conclude safeguards agreements and an Additional Protocol with the IAEA, so that the IAEA will be in a position to carry out all of the inspections necessary to ensure that materials and technology from peaceful nuclear uses are not used to support a weapons program. The Council also endorsed IAEA work on multilateral approaches to the fuel cycle, including assurances of fuel supply to make it easier for countries to choose not to develop enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.

These steps are important in helping address situations where a country uses access to the civilian nuclear benefits of the NPT to cloak a nascent nuclear weapons program and then withdraws from the NPT once it has acquired sufficient technical expertise for its weapons program.

The resolution strengthens implementation for resolution 1540 which requires governments to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their means of delivery. Full implementation of resolution 1540 by all UN member states will require additional financial and political support. The Council reaffirmed the need to give added impetus to the implementation of resolution 1540 by highlighting the options for improving the funding of the 1540 Committee’s activities, including through a voluntary trust fund, and reinforcing the Council’s commitment to ensure effective and sustainable support for the 1540 Committee’s activities.

The Security Council meeting was attended by:

President Barack Obama, United States of America
President Óscar Arias Sánchez, Republic of Costa Rica
President Stjepan Mesic, Republic of Croatia
President Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, Russian Federation
President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, United Mexican States
President Heinz Fischer, Republic of Austria
President Nguyen Minh Triet, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Republic of Uganda
President Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China
President Nicolas Sarkozy, France
President Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Japan
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Republic of Turkey
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General
Director General Mohamed Elbaradei, International Atomic Energy Agency
Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

'Time is Running Out' to Prevent Nuclear Iran

/PRNewswire/ -- Former U.S. Senators Daniel Coats and Charles Robb and General (ret.) Charles Wald, members of the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Security Initiative, today released a report warning that "time is running out" to prevent a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Concluding that "the Islamic Republic will be able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by 2010," the report, entitled "Meeting the Challenge: Time is Running Out," calls on the Obama Administration to adopt a more forceful, phased strategy towards Iran, including: accelerated, defined diplomatic engagement; more "coercive" international sanctions; and, if Iranian defiance continues unabated, potential surgical military action.

Remarking on the need to update the original report, the authors jointly stated, "We are alarmed by how much progress Iran has made toward obtaining nuclear weapons capability and remain skeptical about the sincerity of Iran's new-found willingness to negotiate. We hope that the bipartisan strategy we propose can help guide our government to resolve this difficult and urgent national security challenge."

Emphasizing that a nuclear weapons-capable Iran would be "strategically untenable," the authors argue that the current U.S. approach does not reflect the rapid progress of Iran's nuclear program. It is this advancing Iranian threat and the desire to avoid a possible Israeli military strike, the authors argue, that should drive U.S. policy--not concerns over Iran's political turmoil.

The authors applaud President Obama's attempts at diplomatic outreach and call upon the international community to join together in imposing sanctions on Iran's banking and energy sectors following next week's G-20 summit. Noting that Russia and China are unlikely to support such sanctions, the report states that the efficacy of sanctions will largely depend upon the willingness of key European nations to curtail their commercial ties to Iran.

Should increased pressure on Tehran not yield credible progress by the end of 2009, the authors recommend that "the Obama Administration should elevate consideration of the military option." They argue that "the U.S. military is more than capable of launching a devastating strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities," and that "only the credible threat of a U.S. military strike will make a peaceful resolution of the crisis possible."

This report is an update of a BPC report issued in September 2008, entitled "Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development," that was the result of a high-level bipartisan task force. The entire group could not be reconstituted, as some members are now serving in the Obama Administration. The co-chairs of the original task force--Senators Daniel Coats and Charles Robb--together with General (ret.) Charles Wald, felt that the political, technological, diplomatic, and military developments of the past year needed to be addressed.

Calling on the U.S. political leadership to make hard choices, the authors argue "we cannot shirk responsibilities that will protect the national security interests of our country."

For more information on "Meeting the Challenge: Time is Running Out," or the BPC's National Security Initiative, please visit:

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Over 10,000 Have Viewed The Third Jihad as Part of 9/11 Free Online Streaming Campaign

/PRNewswire/ -- The producers of The Third Jihad announced that more than 10,000 concerned Americans have watched the film as part of an initiative to stream the film to the public free of charge on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The film (regularly priced at $19.95) is available for free streaming in its entirety through Tuesday, September 15 on the film's official website:

"Tens of thousands of concerned citizens have already seen this important film," said Raphael Shore, Executive Producer of The Third Jihad. "Together we need to educate thousands more if we are to stand up and mobilize against the threat of radical Islam in the U.S."

The film is being made available as part of a grassroots initiative to educate the public about the threat that radical Islam continues to pose to national security and the American way of life.

"It is important to remember the motivations behind the worst attacks on American soil since the civil war--and to recognize that these same motivations remain eight years later," added Shore.

Individuals are encouraged to watch The Third Jihad and share the film with others. The free stream can also be embedded on any website, blog, Facebook page or social media platform.

Instructions for embedding the stream can be found here:

"Almost a decade after the 9/11 attacks, radicals continue their fight with persistent attacks on our freedoms and democracy. These attacks take place daily in our courtrooms, our press, our banks, our prisons and even in our children's schools."

Viewers are encouraged to purchase the DVD to support this educational project. In addition, special screening kits are available for those who wish to screen the film to family, friends and communities.

The Third Jihad, the newest offering from the producers of the award-winning documentary film, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, explores the growth of radical Islam in America.

The film, narrated by devout Muslim American Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, opens with the following statement: "This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are radical. This film is about them."

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TSA Implementing New Enhanced Threat Detection Capability at Checkpoints Nationwide

/PRNewswire/ -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today it is further bolstering existing explosives detection capabilities by deploying additional tools to screen powdered substances at checkpoints.

"Every day, TSA officers work at over 450 airports nationwide screening approximately 2 million passengers to keep the traveling public safe," said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. "These enhancements are part of TSA's efforts to stay ahead of emerging threats while continually strengthening our layered approach to security."

Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are experienced in identifying items that may pose a threat to transportation security utilizing explosives detection tools. TSA knows certain powders could be used in improvised explosive devices. While there is no specific threat at this time, TSA is deploying powder explosives detection kits to airports around the country to enhance our existing explosives detection capabilities and further strengthen our layers of security. TSA piloted these kits in late 2008.

Passengers should know that while common powders are not prohibited, a small percentage may require additional screening. Typical security checkpoint procedures will remain the same. The vast majority of commonly carried powders, like most medication, infant formula and makeup, are unlikely to need further screening.

Officers will use X-ray technology to determine which substances may require additional screening with a powder test kit. If the substance does require additional screening, officers will use a powder test kit to collect a small sample and apply a solution to it to test for traces of potential explosives. If a particular powder is determined to be a potential threat, it will not be permitted into the secure area or checked baggage.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Air Force Doctor Advances Cyanide Poisoning Treatment

In espionage novels, cyanide capsules are swallowed by captured spies who would rather commit suicide than divulge classified information. But the highly toxic chemical used in so many works of fiction is a real threat for being used as a terrorist weapon.

Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Vik Bebarta, a physician and medical toxicology specialist, outlined the real-life concerns about cyanide during a Sept. 2 webcast of "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on Pentagon Web Radio.

"It was [possibly] used in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, which many people were not aware of," Bebarta said. "It was used in the sarin nerve gas bombing [in Tokyo] in 1995; and in the last two years, there have been four foiled plots in Europe and a couple of domestic plots also that have been foiled."

Aside from terrorist attacks, exposure to cyanide may come from inhaling smoke from burning plastics during industrial or home fires. Swallowing or breathing even a small amount of cyanide, from 200 to 300 milligrams, is all it takes to become ill, Bebarta said. Toxic effects include severe sedation, lower blood pressure and acid buildup in the blood.

That is why Bebarta, chief of medical toxicology at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, sees a need for better tools to diagnose and treat acute cyanide toxicity in critically ill patients, such as those stricken in a terrorist attack.

During a year-long study, Bebarta and his colleagues tested the standard, 50–year-old drug treatment against a newer medication made with the metal cobalt.

"We conducted an experiment comparing the old antidote kit with the new one and looking at a very critically ill [lab animal] model. Comparing blood pressure and other parameters, [we saw] that there's a difference," Bebarta said.

That difference showed better results using the newer antidote to raise blood pressure and eliminate all cyanide from the blood.

In May, the comparison study received the Best Basic Science Research Award from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. Bebarta is especially honored, he said, because, "typically, these awards go to civilian and [National Institute of Health]- funded researchers."

Bebarta now is looking for ways to use biomarkers to more easily diagnose cyanide poisoning. "In the last 10 years or so, this field's exploded with technology," he said. "And [scientists are] able to measure thousands of proteins in the blood and measure three or four proteins together as a pattern. If that pattern of proteins is present, then that disease is present or that illness is present."

In addition to improved diagnostic tools, Bebarta said, he hopes to develop cyanide antidotes that can be given in pill form or injected directly into muscles instead of intravenously, "because when you have a big exposure, for example, a large building that catches on fire, [or a terrorist event] and you need to treat several patients in the field or in an ambulance, you need something that a paramedic can give quickly to several patients -- and putting in an IV [vein catheter] for all these patients is not feasible."

In the future, Bebarta said, he would like to conduct research to determine which treatments for cyanide toxicity support the best long-term neurological outcomes for patients.

(Author Judith Snyderman works for the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)