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Showing posts from February 18, 2014

Heathrow Customs Agent Interrogates Snowden Lawyer

‘Why Have You Gone to Russia Three Times in Two Months?’

By Kevin Gosztola

- "Firedoglake" - A lawyer who represents National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and has spoken on his behalf numerous times was detained while going through customs at Heathrow airport in London.

Jesselyn Radack told Firedoglake she was directed to a specific Heathrow Border Force agent. He “didn’t seem interested” in her passport. She was then subjected to “very hostile questioning.”

As Radack recalled, she was asked why she was here. “To see friends,” she answered. “Who will you be seeing?” She answered, “A group called Sam Adams Associates.”

The agent wanted to know who was in the group. “Ray McGovern, Annie Machon, Thomas Drake, Craig Murray,” she answered. She said she is part of the group as well.

“Where will you meet?” Radack answered, “At the Ecuadorian Embassy.” Then, the agent asked, “With Julian Assange?” Radack said yes.

The interrogation continued, “Why have you gone to Russia tw…

Saudis Agree to Provide Syrian Rebels With Mobile Antiaircraft Missiles

U.S. Giving Fighters Millions of Dollars for Salaries

By Maria Abi-Habib and Stacy Meichtry

 - "WSJ" - AMMAN, Jordan—Washington's Arab allies, disappointed with Syria peace talks, have agreed to provide rebels there with more sophisticated weaponry, including shoulder-fired missiles that can take down jets, according to Western and Arab diplomats and opposition figures.

Saudi Arabia has offered to give the opposition for the first time Chinese man-portable air defense systems, or Manpads, and antitank guided missiles from Russia, according to an Arab diplomat and several opposition figures with knowledge of the efforts. Saudi officials couldn't be reached to comment.

The U.S. has long opposed arming rebels with antiaircraft missiles for fear they could fall into the hands of extremists who might use them against the West or commercial airlines. The Saudis have held off supplying them in the past because of U.S. opposition. A senior Obama administration official said Frid…

In Libya, Poor Prospects for a Coup

Libyan Defense Minister Abdullah al-Thani at a Libyan army graduation ceremony in Tripoli on Jan. 16. (MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Maj. Gen. Khalifa Haftar, a Gadhafi-era military commander who defected from the regime and attempted to aid the Libyan rebels during the 2011 uprisings, said Feb. 14 that Libya's beleaguered transitional political body should cede power because its mandate to rule ended Feb. 7. In his announcement on a Saudi-backed television channel, he ordered the General National Congress to step down in favor of fresh elections and claimed that Libyan army troops were in the streets of the capital. This statement was later proved false as local news stations went to the congress and other government buildings in Tripoli and found lawmakers, including the prime minister and the president, working as usual.

Though Prime Minister Ali Zeidan referred to the episode as "laughable," this scenario underscores the often outwardly precarious situation …

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Feb. 17, 2014

Analysis


Editor's Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document listing significant meetings and events planned for the next week. Stratfor analysts use this to stay informed of the activities and travel of world leaders and to guide their areas of focus for the week.

EUROPE
Feb. 17: Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels one day before EU finance ministers meet.
Feb. 17: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to meet Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Berlin.
Feb. 18: Swiss President Didier Burkhalter will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Feb. 18: Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow to sign a border agreement.
Feb. 18: Negotiations on Iran's nuclear program will resume in Vienna.
Feb. 19: The European Central Bank's governing council will meet in Frankfurt.
Feb. 19: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet French President Francois Holla…

Japan Increases Its Investments in Africa

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) walks to his plane in Maputo, Mozambique, on Jan. 13 prior to flying to Ethiopia. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Japan's newest aid and investment in Africa suggests it is redoubling its focus on South and East African nations that border the Indian Ocean. In these countries, it not only runs trade surpluses and sees signs of new resources coming to market but also sees its private companies getting more heavily involved in manufacturing and construction.

Analysis


In February, the Japanese Foreign Ministry will release a white paper on official development assistance that will outline Tokyo's plan to devote more funds to African natural resources and growth. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started 2014 with a visit to Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, where he promised aid and investment for security, energy and infrastructure. This trip followed his administration's pledge of $32 billion in new aid, investment and loans for 2…