This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

UKRAINE'S TIMID RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN MOVES

The game of cat and mouse continues this week as Russia provokes more uprisings while Ukraine responded with minimal force, at best. Their threat of action against the pro-Russian separatists occupying government buildings came and went last Friday. So did Monday's deadline. Even though armed paratroopers were flown into the Eastern region, they quickly showed that they had no orders to use force. What this means is that Ukraine has no intention of confronting the armed separatists in the East. Numerous local police and even some of the armed forces continue to defect to the separatist side which is making enforcement of a Ukrainian national will almost impossible. The UN declined to send in peacekeepers, which sent yet another signal to Putin that the West will also only give minimal opposition to his stealth moves to recapture Ukraine. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • What Next for Bundy Standoff?
  • More Heavy-Handed Tax Moves by the Feds
  • Building the Candidates for 2016
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Daily News

No-fly list used by FBI to coerce Muslims into informing, lawsuit claims

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 24 2014
...The following month, after Shinwari bought another plane ticket for a temporary job in Connecticut, he could't get a boarding pass. Police told him he had been placed on the US no-fly list, although he had never in his life been accused of breaking any law. Another FBI visit soon followed, with agents wanting to know about the "local Omaha community, did I know anyone who's a threat", he says. "I'm just very frustrated, [and I said] what can I do to clear my name?" recalls Shinwari, 30. "And that's where it was mentioned to me: you help us, we help you. We know you don't have a job; we'll give you money." Shinwari is one of four American Muslims in a new lawsuit who accuse the FBI of placing them on the no-fly list, either to intimidate them into becoming informants or to retaliate against them for declining. — Spencer Ackerman/the Guardian

A Legal Way To Kill?

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 24 2014
When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people - including Americans - he instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to find a way to make it legal - despite the absolute prohibition on governmental extra-judicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself. "Judicial killing" connotes a lawful execution after an indictment, a jury trial, an appeal and all of the due process protections that the Constitution guarantees defendants. "Extra-judicial killing" is a targeted killing of a victim by someone in the executive branch without due process. The president wanted the latter, and he wanted it in secret. — Andrew Napolitano/AntiWar.com

IRS awards bonuses to 1,150 who owe back taxes

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 24 2014
The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday. — St. Louis Post Dispatch

Kiev moves against militants after politician tortured, slain

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 24 2014
Ukraine ordered its army to resume an offensive against pro-Russian militants after the apparent torture and killing of a politician from the party of interim President Oleksandr Turchynov. Shortly after the announcement, the Ukrainian military reported one of its aircraft had been hit by gunfire near the rebel-held city of Slavyansk, close to where the bodies of politician Vladimir Rybak - a member of city council in nearby Horlivka - and another unidentified man were found. — The Globe and Mail

Satellites show North Korea nuclear test unlikely: think tank

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 23 2014
North Korea is unlikely to be ready to stage a nuclear test timed to coincide with U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Asia, a respected think tank said on Wednesday based on its assessment of satellite imagery. Comments by South Korea's foreign ministry that the North could be moving towards what would be its fourth nuclear test prompted the U.S. State Department to urge Pyongyang to "refrain from actions that threaten regional peace". — Reuters

Fail: NYPD Photo Contest on Twitter Triggers Huge Backlash

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 23 2014
...In a tweet, the NYPD asked Twitter users to share pictures of them posing with a police officer with the hashtag "myNYPD." The original tweet may give a sense of what the NYPD wanted: The responses came fast and furious - but they were likely not what the police department had in mind. In a flurry of digital defiance, scores of users uploaded images appearing to show potential police brutality and other unflattering behavior. — NBC News

Supreme Court upholds Michigan affirmative action ban

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 23 2014
...Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, suggested that right extends even beyond college policies. "There is no authority in the federal constitution or in the [courts'] precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit to the voters the determination whether racial preferences may be considered in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions," he wrote. Kennedy said voters chose to eliminate racial preferences because they deemed them unwise. — Fox News

Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear

posted by askousen - Tuesday, April 22 2014
Elite Russian troops are displaying a new arsenal of body armor, individual weapons, armor-piercing ammunition and collar radios - a menu of essential gear that gives them a big tactical advantage against a lesser-equipped Ukrainian army. If President Vladimir Putin orders an invasion, the new-generation body armor, in particular, would provide exceptional protection against small arms if Russian troops go street by street to capture Kiev and other cities. — Washington Times

Appeals court orders govt to release drone strike legal opinion

posted by askousen - Tuesday, April 22 2014
The Obama administration must make public central portions of a Justice Department opinion that held that the government has the legal authority to launch drone strikes overseas against Americans it determines are plotting terrorist attacks on U.S. targets, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday. — McClatchy News

New Prowess for Russians

posted by askousen - Tuesday, April 22 2014
...But Western experts who have followed the success of Russian forces in carrying out President Vladimir V. Putin's policy in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have come to a different conclusion about Russian military strategy. They see a military disparaged for its decline since the fall of the Soviet Union skillfully employing 21st-century tactics that combine cyberwarfare, an energetic information campaign and the use of highly trained special operation troops to seize the initiative from the West. "It is a significant shift in how Russian ground forces approach a problem," said James G. Stavridis, the retired admiral and former NATO commander. "They have played their hand of cards with finesse." — New York Times

Harry Reid Calls Cliven Bundy Supporters "Domestic Terrorists"

posted by askousen - Friday, April 18 2014
Senator Harry Reid has escalated the war of words over the Cliven Bundy dispute, sensationally labeling the Nevada cattle rancher's supporters "domestic terrorists" during an event in Las Vegas today. — InfoWars.com

Russia Blocks U.S. from Treaty-Approved Spy Flights

posted by askousen - Friday, April 18 2014
The Russian government this week canceled a planned U.S. surveillance flight over Russian territory in a bid to limit spying on massed troops facing off against Ukraine and Eastern Europe, according to U.S. officials. The overflight mission was scheduled for April 14 to April 16 under the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, but Russia’s government notified the State Department 72 hours before the scheduled flight that it would not be permitted. The cancelation is unusual because the sole reason for putting off such treaty-approve surveillance is flight safety, such as bad weather. — Washington Free Beacon

Bloomberg to spend $50 million targeting NRA, 'make them afraid'

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
...Mr. Bloomberg's already put considerable cash into scaling back the NRA's lobby and legislative influences - to little avail. Congress still hasn't passed any substantial background check laws or federal limits on certain types of weapons that Mr. Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group has placed on its ban list. But he’s hoping the fresh cash inflow will ratchet up the rhetoric and lead to widespread Second Amendment reform. Instead of simply relying on television anti-gun ads, Mr. Bloomberg said he'll now put chunks of money into community campaigns - much in the spirit of the NRA, the New York Times reported. Moreover, his new campaign will target women and mothers, in hopes of replicating the success stories of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to lower legal alcohol limits for drivers. — Washington Times

The US's Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
...Washington has been increasing its support for African regimes, many with records of human rights violations, and boosting efforts to train African militaries to keep them dependent on the Pentagon. The U.S. is training and equipping militaries in countries including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia - not to mention operations in Libya, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, et al. Reporter Nick Turse has been at the forefront of reporting on America's gradual infiltration of Africa. He writes this week about, among other things, the difference between what military officials say about Africa policy when asked by reporters and what they tell U.S. contractors looking to do business for taxpayer money. — The New American

U.K. Lawmakers Seek Extreme Crackdown on Climate Realists

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
Faced with the implosion of discredited United Nations theories on "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming," climate alarmists in the United Kingdom, including some in Parliament, are now pushing for a major crackdown on skeptics - or "realists," depending on one's point of view - in government, media, and more. As more and more scientists defect from the crumbling alarmist bandwagon, however, critics say the hysterical shrieking and dangerous rhetoric from politicians only serve to further illustrate the accelerating collapse of what many climate experts refer to as the "global-warming hoax." — The New American

War on the West: Why More Bundy Standoffs Are Coming

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
The federal government's over-the-top police action against the Bundy family ranch is an ominous portent of more to come, as rogue agencies and their corporate/NGO partners attempt to "cleanse" the West of ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers, and other determined property owners. — The New American

US Confirms 'Support' as Syrian Rebels Show US Missiles in Videos

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
Though the details of how they are being smuggled into Syria remain somewhat unclear, Syrian rebels have released yet more videos showing themselves in possession of US-made anti-tank missiles, and US officials are privately confirming that they are part of the US "backing" of rebellion. — Antiwar.com

Putin warns of Ukraine civil war as Kiev moves on rebels

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
...Tensions have mounted in recent days after pro-Russian rebels seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across eastern Ukraine. They are demanding greater autonomy or referendums on secession from Ukraine. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Russia had sent in "thinly disguised" armed groups to spearhead the occupation of buildings. Speaking in London, he said Moscow faced "serious long-term consequences" if it continued to destabilise Ukraine. Ukrainian acting President Olexander Turchynov said on Tuesday that troops had regained control of a military airfield in Kramatorsk after fighting with armed pro-Russian groups. — BBC

Five dead in Calgary's worst mass murder; son of police officer charged

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
The son of a senior Calgary police officer is behind bars after the worst mass murder in the city's history - a bloody night that saw the lives of five young people snuffed out in a sudden knife attack at a house party. Matthew de Grood, a 22-year-old University of Calgary graduate and son of a 33-year veteran of the police force, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder Tuesday afternoon in connection with the death of four men and one woman — Canada Star

China growth slows to 7.4pc as hopes rise of state stimulus

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
China's gross domestic product grew 7.4pc in the first three months of the year, increasing the chances Beijing will move to stanch a slowdown in the world's number two economy. The year-on-year figure is sharply down from the 7.7pc expansion in the final three months of 2013, with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) blaming a slower-than-expected global recovery as well as economic structural reforms at home. — UK Telegraph

Health reform to play massive role in midterm elections

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
It's no surprise that health care reform is a wedge issue in national polls. However, the reality is that Obamacare is not only a wedge issue, it is a toxic issue in tight races. As the White House declares victory with more than 7 million enrollees under the Affordable Care Act, the struggle over national health reform will once again return to the political trenches. For the 2014 midterm elections, both Democrats and Republicans are focused on the U.S. Senate. — The Tennessean

DEMINT: White House land grab

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
You'd think the Obama administration is busy enough controlling the banks, insurance companies and automakers, but thanks to whistleblowers at the Department of the Interior, we now learn they're planning to increase their control over energy-rich land in the West. A secret administration memo has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land grab would dry up tax revenue that's essential for funding schools, firehouses and community centers. — Washington Times

EU Ministers Blame Russia for Ukraine Interference

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
The coordinated action of armed pro-Russian groups occupying government buildings in eastern Ukraine clearly "is something that is being planned and brought about by Russia," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts. In retaliation, the 28 EU ministers could decide to add more names to a list of Russian officials whose assets in EU member nations have been frozen. But a dramatic ratcheting up of sanctions wasn't expected. — ABC News

No sign of crackdown as Ukraine deadline passes

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
...Protesters forced police officers out of their four-story headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka, witnesses said, adding a new complication for a Kiev government worried about demonstrators' escalating activity in the east and a Russian neighbor that it accuses of fomenting the discontent. — CNN

Feds end high-profile cattle roundup

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
The Bureau of Land Management on Saturday pulled back from its high-profile confrontation with a Nevada rancher whose cattle were grazing on public lands. — USA Today

Internet Revolt Begins as Condi Rice Joins Dropbox Board

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
...Dropbox CEO Drew Houston didn't mention the appointment during his keynote at a press event on Wednesday, but a day later, Rice's arrival had eclipsed the rest of the company's carefully crafted public event. Unsurprisingly, some people aren't too happy about the move. Over on Hacker News, a leading barometer for what's on the minds of tech geeks, the day's most popular link connects to DropDropbox, a new site calling on users to boycott the company unless it removes Rice....The campaign's apparently anonymous creators are calling for her removal in part because of her support for the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, including claims that Rice herself authorized eavesdropping on UN Security Council members. "Why on earth would we want someone like her involved with Dropbox, an organization we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?" the site asks. — Wired.com

Ukraine says Russia stoking unrest as gunmen seize more buildings

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
Ukraine appealed to Russia to halt "provocative actions" in its eastern regions on Saturday as pro-Russian militants seized two more government buildings and called for autonomy from Kiev. At least 20 armed militants wearing mismatched camouflage outfits took over the police and security services headquarters in the eastern city of Slaviansk, about 150 km (90 miles) from the border with Russia, seizing hundreds of handguns. Police said gunmen later took over the local headquarters of Ukraine's SBU security service. — Reuters

Claims of new poison gas attack in Syria

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
The government and opposition forces in Syria have accused each other of using poison gas in an attack on a village on Friday. State TV said the jihadist Nusra Front group launched the attack on Kafr Zita in Hama province, killing two people and injuring dozens of others. But opposition groups quoted doctors as saying that an attack by regime planes led to suffocation and poisoning. There was no independent verification of either of the claims. — BBC

Exclusive: Lois Lerner's IRS is still targeting Tea Party and Liberty Groups

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
...Belsom told Cook that the FBI never asked her any questions regarding the IRS' illegal targeting of conservative groups. Watch this video to learn more about the IRS targeting the Laurens Tea Party. Today the DailyPaul is reporting that the IRS is targeting Campaign for Liberty, issuing the organization a hefty fine and demanding they turn over sensitive contributor information. Both cases above illustrate that nothing has changed. The government is still targeting these groups. So far the Lerner hearings haven't produced any results. It appears that the Lerner campaign is still in play and the Obama IRS attack machine is still open for business. — Ben Swann

Out-of-state groups ride in to stand with Nevada rancher in battle with feds over grazing rights

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
Groups from as far away as New Hampshire are riding out to Nevada to join the cattle rancher whose standoff with the federal government is growing tenser by the day. The groups said they were going to the ranch, some 80 miles north of Las Vegas to stand with Cliven Bundy, who property is surrounded by federal agents. Bundy's herd, which once numbered nearly 1,000, is being thinned out by private contractors under the watch of dozens of armed federal agents in SUVs and helicopters, the government says, he has refused for two decades to pay fees to allow the cattle to graze on federal lands. — Fox News