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US: Secretive Navy SEALs Take Starring Role in New Film

Image
© Agence France-Presse
(L-R front row) Directors Scott Waugh and Mike "Mouse" McCoy and (L-R back row) Navy Seals Mikey, Duncan and Vano attend the New York premiere of Relativity Media's new movie Act Of Valor. In a radical departure for America's special forces the secretive Navy SEALs are coming out of the shadows for a new Hollywood film, with elite commandos cast in starring roles
The secretive Navy SEALs are coming out of the shadows for a new Hollywood film, with elite commandos cast in starring roles in a radical departure for America's special forces.

In Act of Valor, the select troops who call themselves "the quiet professionals" take a turn as leading men on the big screen, reciting lines from a script as they race to prevent terrorists from carrying out an attack on the United States.

Filming began in 2007, before the Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams were catapulted to fame for their daring raid last May that killed Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

US defense officials did not find out about the movie until after the fact, causing consternation at the Pentagon, which has an office that vets scripts and negotiates cooperation deals with Hollywood producers.

Although troops have appeared in movies before, such as Black Hawk Down, this film ventures into uncharted territory, possibly jeopardizing the anonymity that the special forces have sought to safeguard.

Stop

Iran Stops Oil Sales to British, French Companies

Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state's lifeblood, oil.
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© Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl
A view of Iran's Oil Ministry building in Tehran, Iran February 20, 2006.

"Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers," spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.

The European Union in January decided to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1 over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.

Iran's oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would cut its oil exports to "some" European countries.

The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.

Bad Guys

US, Britain Urge Israel Not to Attack Iran

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© AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, an Iranian oil worker repairs a pipe at an oil refinery in Tehran.
The U.S. and Britain on Sunday urged Israel not to attack Iran's nuclear program as the White House's national security adviser arrived in the region, reflecting growing international jitters that the Israelis are poised to strike.

In their warnings, both the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and British Foreign Minister William Hague said an Israeli attack on Iran would have grave consequences for the entire region and urged Israel to give international sanctions against Iran more time to work. Dempsey said an Israeli attack is "not prudent," and Hague said it would not be "a wise thing."

Both Israel and the West believe Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb - a charge Tehran denies. But differences have emerged in how to respond to the perceived threat.

The U.S. and the European Union have both imposed harsh new sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector, the lifeline of the Iranian economy. With the sanctions just beginning to bite, they have expressed optimism that Iran can be persuaded to curb its nuclear ambitions.

On Sunday, Iran's Oil Ministry said it has halted oil shipments to Britain and France in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union. The semiofficial Mehr news agency said the National Iranian Oil Company has sent letters to some European refineries with an ultimatum to either sign long-term contracts of two to five years or be cut off. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18 percent of Iran's oil exports.

Bad Guys

Scoring the Global War on Terror: From Liberation to Assassination in Three Quick Rounds

An Introduction by Tom Engelhardt:

If all goes as planned, it will be the happiest of wartimes in the U.S.A. Only the best of news, the killing of the baddest of the evildoers, will ever filter back to our world.

After all, American war is heading for the "shadows" in a big way. As news articles have recently made clear, the tip of the Obama administration's global spear will increasingly be shaped from the ever-growing ranks of U.S. special operations forces. They are so secretive that they don't like their operatives to be named, so covert that they instruct their members, as Spencer Ackerman of Wired's Danger Room blog notes, "not to write down important information, lest it be vulnerable to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act." By now, they are also a force that, in any meaningful sense, is unaccountable for its actions.

Although the special ops crew (66,000 people in all) exist on our tax dollars, we're really not supposed to know anything about what they're doing -- unless, of course, they choose the publicity venue themselves, whether in Pakistan knocking off Osama bin Laden or parachuting onto Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard to promote Act of Valor. In case you somehow missed the ads, that's the new film about "real terrorist threats based on true stories starring actual Navy SEALs." (No names in the credits please!)

Of course, those elite SEAL teams are johnnies-come-lately when compared to their no less secretive "teammates" in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia -- our ever increasing armada of drones. Those robotic warriors of the air (or at least their fantasy doppelgangers) were, of course, pre-celebrated -- after a fashion -- in the Terminator movies. In Washington's global battle zones, what's called our "traditional combat role" -- think big invasions, occupations, counterinsurgency -- is going, going, gone with the wind, even evidently in Afghanistan by 2013. War American-style is instead being inherited by secretive teams of men and machines, both hunter-killers who specialize in assassination operations, and both of whom, as presented to Americans, just couldn't be sexier.

Newspaper

In Russia, Putin Allies Sharpen Anti-American Attacks Ahead of Elections

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© Yekaterina Shtukina/Getty Images
Putin, left, and Medvedev at a congress of the ruling United Russia party in Moscow.
A nasty spate of anti-Americanism set off by Vladimir V. Putin has grown into waves of attacks aimed at the new American ambassador and Russian opposition leaders, raising questions about the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

The attacks started just before the December parliamentary elections and have intensified as the March 4 presidential vote approaches. Although widely viewed as aimed primarily at a domestic audience, they have grown shriller and more aggressive, provoking debate about whether Russia is deliberately giving a cold shoulder to President Obama's effort to promote more productive relations.

A main target of the attacks is Michael McFaul, the new ambassador, a longtime democracy advocate and Russia expert who as a top aide to Obama has been an architect of what the White House calls a "reset'' with Moscow.

The anti-American campaign bears trademark Soviet and KGB thinking, reflecting the mindset of many of the high-level officials appointed by Putin as well as their efforts to protect their power and privileges from the gathering opposition.

Attention

FBI Latest Government Agency to Target Social Media

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation posted a Request for Information last month calling on IT companies to demonstrate their ability to design software for monitoring, mapping and analyzing social media.


Comment: They've been doing this sort of thing for years as COINTELPRO, only now they are going high-tech.


MIB

Azerbaijan Safe Haven for Mossad Terrorists: Report

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© unknown
Ahmadi Roshan was killed when a magnetic bomb was attached to his car on January 11, 2012.
The Azerbaijani government has reportedly aided a terrorist element, involved in the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists, who belongs to the Israeli spy agency of Mossad.

According to the report, the Jewish man who worked as a Mossad agent in Baku using the assumed name Javidan had a major role in the assassination of Iranian nuclear experts Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and Massoud Ali-Mohammadi.

Ahmadi Roshan was killed in January after a motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car in Tehran. He served as the deputy director of marketing at the Natanz nuclear facility.

According to the report, Azeri secret service helped Mossad agents in terrorist attacks against Iranians by providing technical and logistical support.

Boat

Iran's 18th Fleet Enters Mediterranean

The commander of the Iranian Navy says the country's 18th Fleet has sailed through Egypt's Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea.
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© Press TV
Iranian naval ships

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Navy commanders and personnel on Saturday.

"The Navy's 18th fleet will... carry the message of peace and friendship to regional countries and display the might of the Islamic Republic of Iran," he stated.

Sayyari said that this is the second time that an Iranian naval fleet has passed through the Suez Canal since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

He noted that the mission shows that the sanctions the enemies imposed on the country have not hindered Iran's scientific progress and military capabilities.

Bizarro Earth

Military Attack on Iran Not Prudent: US General Dempsey

Martin Dempsey
© unknown
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has warned against a military invasion of Iran over its nuclear program, describing such a move as imprudent.

"It's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran," Dempsey told CNN in an interview that is reportedly scheduled to be broadcast Sunday morning.

"I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us," he further stated.

According to the US-based news network, Dempsey believes that a military strike against Iran would be destabilizing and that it would not serve the interests of anybody, especially the Israelis.

"A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn't achieve their (the Israelis') long-term objectives," Dempsey added.

USA

Ron Paul: U.S. "Slipping into a Fascist System"

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© The Associated Press/Ed Zurga
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks to supporters at a rally held at Union Station Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul warned the U.S. is "slipping into a fascist system" dominated by government and businesses as he held a fiery rally Saturday night upstaging established Republican Party banquets a short distance away.

The Texas congressman drew a couple thousand standing and chanting people to Kansas City's Union Station as the party's establishment dined on steak across the street at the Missouri GOP's annual conference. Kansas Republicans were holding a similar convention in a suburb across the state line.

Paul staged his rally near the nation's World War I museum, asserting that the U.S. got off track about 100 years ago during the era of President Woodrow Wilson, who led the nation through World War I and unsuccessfully advocated for the nation's involvement in a forerunner of the United Nations.