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Obama imposes his new plans on Iraq, Afghan wars

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 – United Press International

U.S. President Barack Obama has hit the ground running on Iraq and Afghanistan
, imposing dramatic changes in policy in both wars within a week of taking the oath of office.

There are no surprises in the directions Obama is taking in both conflicts: He spelled them out clearly during his long election campaign. What is striking is the speed and decisiveness with which he is imposing both policies. …

On Friday Obama chaired his first National Security Council session on Afghanistan and Pakistan and approved the continued use of unmanned aerial vehicle attacks on guerrilla bases in the region.

Obama, therefore, has wasted no time in maintaining and even stepping up U.S. involvement in the Afghanistan war, while pushing hard to implement his plans for military withdrawal from Iraq. …


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Russia scraps plan to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 January

Russia today announced it was abandoning plans to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in its European Kaliningrad outpost – a sign that Moscow wants improved relations with the new US administration. …

The move followed Barack Obama’s decision to review the Pentagon’s controversial missile defence shield in central Europe.


First batch of extra U.S. troops in east Afghanistan

Reuters India – Mumbai,India
Tue Jan 27, 2009

The first deployment of a planned United States surge of up to 30,000 troops, has moved into bases in two key provinces of east Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.

The U.S. has pledged between 20,000 and 30,000 additional troops for Afghanistan, where violence has increased markedly since Taliban-led insurgents regrouped in 2005. …


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Secret prisons: Obama’s order to close ‘black sites’


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Secret prisons: Obama's order to close 'black sites'


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Raytheon lobbyist picked for deputy Defense post

Los Angeles Times
By Julian E. Barnes
January 23, 2009

William Lynn III, the top lobbyist for Raytheon Co., was chosen by Obama and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for the position of deputy secretary of Defense. … Raytheon, one of the five largest U.S. defense contractors, is a key supplier of missiles and radar to the military. The Waltham, Mass.-based company also produces components of the missile defense system.

If confirmed for his position, Lynn probably would have a large say in the future of the missile defense system. …


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U.S. ratifies military withdrawal from Ecuadorian base

Jan. 21 Xinhua – China

The United States has ratified a proposal to withdraw its military staff deployed in the Ecuadorian base of Manta, possibly “before November,” …


Inauguration Day at the American base at Menwith Hill

Protesters celebrate the inauguration of Barak Obama as President of the United States outside the main entrance to Menwith Hill.

CAAB and York Palestinian Solidarity Campaign were also there to raise the issue of the crucial role that the US has and continues to play in the terrible conflict in Gaza. The US have persistently given unconditional support to Israel and have been the major supplier of arms to Israel. A ceasefire could have been brokered long before had it not been for the intransigence of the US government.

We had hoped to hand in a Letter of Hope for the President to Mary O’Brien (US Commander at NSA Menwith Hill) – she declined to meet the organisers saying this was an RAF base. However no representative from the RAF appeared. Terry Moody (Inspector Ministry of Defence Police Agency) accepted the letter instead saying that he would make sure that it was given to Mary O’Brien.

Letter of Hope to President Obama

Successful appeal of conviction and sentence

York Crown Court – Friday 16 January 2009
This was an appeal by Lindis Percy against the conviction and sentence for obstruction of the highway at Menwith Hill on 20 March 2008.

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Russia Looks Forward to Working With Obama

VOA News – 16 January 2009

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he has been listening to and reviewing statements by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and looks forward to working with the new U.S. administration on a wide range of issues. …

Lavrov cited an April agreement between Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin. It provided a framework for their successors on such issues as missile defense, nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, Iran, North Korea, Russian WTO accession, and climate change.