US: Obama in bid to close controversial Guantanamo Bay prison

On Tuesday, US president Barack Obama has unveiled his plan to close controversial Guantanamo Bay prison. Guantanamo Bay has 91 detaines and costs 445 million dollars a year. It’s a promise made by Obama when him as elected in 2008 as blocked by Republicans in congress since then.

The president told reporters on Tuesday it undermined national security.

“This is about closing a chapter in our history,” said Mr Obama. “It reflects the lessons we’ve learned since 9/11 – lessons that must guide our nation going forward.”

But Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio was scathing in his criticism, saying Guantanamo prisoners do not belong on US soil.

“These are literally enemy combatants,” he said, adding he would ship terrorists straight to Guantanamo “to find out what they know”.

 

There are four main components in the White House plan:

  • Transfer 35 detainees to foreign countries who have been designated to do so
  • Do periodic reviews of remaining detainees to see if their detention is still necessary
  • Continue to use legal tools to deal with remaining detainees
  • Working with Congress to establish a location in the US to hold detainees who will not go to foreign countries

It estimates the move would save up to 180 million dollars a year in cost savings.

The president, who will complete his second and final term in January, said it was important not to pass the problem on to his successor.

“Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.”

Conclusion: Republicans isn’t happy with that

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Latin America: Obama to make historic Cuba visit in March

After rumours on Wednesday. On Thursday, US president Barack Obama confirms he will visit Cuba during his trip to Latin America in March.

On twitter, Obama said: “Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.”

But Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both sons of Cuban migrants, said the visit was a mistake.

Asked whether he would go if he were president, Rubio said: “Not if it’s not a free Cuba.” Mr Cruz said Mr Obama would be acting “as an apologist” and demonstrating “weakness and appeasement” to America’s enemies.

Conclusion: Obama goes to Havana for Republican despair.

Defence: US and UK ‘hacked into Israeli drones and planes’

According to German Der Spiegel Magazine and  The Intercept website, UK and US has hacked into Israeli drones and others aircrafts since late 1990s.

It enabled Israel’s allies to monitor information acquired by its reconnaissance missions, Der Spiegel and The Intercept website reported.

The website said the information came from material leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One Israeli minister said it was disappointing, but not a surprise.

“We know that the Americans spy on every country in the world and on us as well, on their friends,” said Yuval Steinitz, a cabinet minister and former minister of intelligence affairs.

He said Israel had not spied on the US for decades.

The intelligence agencies were able to watch information that the drones and other aircraft broadcast back to their handlers, the reports said.

They had a “virtual seat in the cockpit” as Israeli drones struck targets, The Intercept said.

The project, codenamed Anarchist, has been running since 1998 and was based near the highest point in Cyprus, Der Spiegel and The Intercept reported.

Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said a US base in northern England was also involved.

Israel was the main focus of the project, but systems in Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Syria were also hacked into, the reports said.

The UK Foreign Office said it would not comment on intelligence matters.

Conclusion: Even Israel was spied by UK and US.

World Affairs: Iran conducts ‘provocative’ live rocket tests near US ships

The row among US and Iran still goes on. Now, Iran’s navy conducted rocket tests last week near US warships and other commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, the American military has said.

The tests threaten to cause new tensions between the two nations following their landmark nuclear deal.

Iran fired “several unguided rockets” about 1,370m (1,500 yards) from two US vessels and a French frigate, US military spokesman Kyle Raines said.

The tests were “highly provocative”, said Cmdr Raines.

Conclusion: This is Iranian way to provokes US.