2 FBI Agents Shot at Barricaded Home Near Ferguson

Two FBI agents have been shot in St. Louis County while serving a search warrant in an incident that isn't directly related to the Ferguson protests, according to an FBI spokeswoman.

The suspect is 33-year-old Major Washington, who is wanted for the murder of his mother and the shooting of another officer.
It is believed that Washington is still barricaded inside the home.
Fox News Insider will provide updates as they become available.

OPEC Policy Ensures U.S. Shale Crash, Russian Tycoon Says

By Will Kennedy and Jillian Ward

OPEC policy on crude production will ensure a crash in the U.S. shale industry, a Russian oil tycoon said.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept output targets unchanged at a meeting in Vienna today even after this year’s slump in the oil price caused by surging supply from U.S shale fields.
American producers risk becoming victims of their own success. At today’s prices of just over $70 a barrel, drilling is close to becoming unprofitable for some explorers, Leonid Fedun, vice president and board member at OAO Lukoil (LKOD), said in an interview in London.
“In 2016, when OPEC completes this objective of cleaning up the American marginal market, the oil price will start growing again,” said Fedun, who’s made a fortune of more than $4 billion in the oil business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The shale boom is on a par with the dot-com boom. The strong players will remain, the weak ones will vanish.”
Oil futures in New York plunged as much as 3.8 percent to $70.87 a barrel today, the lowest since August 2010.
At the moment, some U.S. producers are surviving because they managed to hedge the prices they get for their oil at about $90 a barrel, Fedun said. When those arrangements expire, life will become much more difficult, he said.
Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Drilling for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, North Dakota.

Saudi Arabia

While some OPEC countries including Venezuela pushed for a reduction in output quotas at today’s meeting, Saudi Arabia, the group’s dominant member, argued for the status quo.
In Russia, where Lukoil is the second-largest producer behind state-run OAO Rosneft (ROSN), the industry is much less exposed to oil’s slump, Fedun said. Companies are protected by lower costs and the slide in the ruble that lessens the impact of falling prices in local currency terms, he said.
Even so, output in Russia, the biggest producer after Saudi Arabia in 2013, is likely to fall slightly next year as lower prices force producers to rein in investment, Fedun said.
“The major strike is against the American market,” Fedun said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Will Kennedy in London at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

Univision's Ramos To Journalists: 'Stop Pretending We're Neutral' | Truth Revolt

Univision's Ramos To Journalists: 'Stop Pretending We're Neutral' | Truth Revolt

East Coast Storm to Snarl Thanksgiving Travel

East Coast Storm to Snarl Thanksgiving Travel

No indictment in Ferguson case

Yamiche Alcindor and William M. Welch

FERGUSON, Mo. -- A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.
A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.
The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.
Prosecutor McCullough made the announcement in an unusual nighttime presentation in a courtroom. He spoke at length about media coverage of the case and what he called the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. He said the grand jury weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer.
"The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,'' McCulloch said.
"The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,'' Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown's family, said after being informed of the decision by authorities.
Brown's family attorneys received a call from McCulloch shortly before the announcement. Crump took the call and and delivered the news to Brown's family in an area hotel.
"The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges," Crump said to Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother. "He (McCulloch) said he would be willing to meet with you all."
McSpadden began crying and shouting. Her body vibrated with pain as she jumped to her feet.
"I do want to meet with him right now," McSpadden screamed. "What do you mean no indictment?!"
She then ran out of a hotel room followed by family members.
Brown's family later released a statement saying, "We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.'' The urged others who share their pan to "channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.''
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that "regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.''
Crowds gathered around the Ferguson police headquarters in anticipation of the announcement at the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., another St. Louis suburb.
The 12-person grand jury had been considering whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Wilson, 28, the white officer who fatally shot Brown, an 18-year-old black man, after their Aug. 9 confrontation. The shooting inflamed tensions in a largely minority community that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force.
Brown's lifeless and bleeding body lay for more than four hours in a Ferguson residential street after the shooting, prompting dismay and anger as a crowd gathered. Protests turned into rioting and looting the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas, triggering a nationwide debate over police tactics.
The 12-person grand jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months, hearing evidence and weighing whether Wilson's should face charges that could have ranged from involuntary manslaughter to murder.
Brown's family joined thousands of protesters to demand Wilson's arrest. As anger at official inaction grew following Brown's death, protesters clashed with police, who began patrolling the streets with military-grade weapons and armored vehicles.
Wilson has been on paid leave and largely invisible since the shooting.
While the grand jury met in secret to hear evidence in the case, two starkly different versions of the events leading to the shooting emerged in media accounts.
Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend to move out of the street. Wilson told investigators he shot Brown only after the teenager reached for the officer's gun. Some witnesses said Brown had run away from Wilson, then turned and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender before he was shot in the head and chest.
The unusual timing of the grand jury's announcement, after darkness had fallen, was a decision of prosecutors, Nixon said.
He said several local churches would provide shelter, safe haven and medical care in the event of unrest.
As officials called for peace, security preparations were beefed up around the courthouse and at other locations including the Ferguson police headquarters. Barricades were erected and Missouri state troopers were present with rifles, 3-foot batons, riot shields and other equipment. Crowds of protesters waving signs and chanting spilled into streets near the police offices.
"This is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other,'' said St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley. "We are one community,'' he said.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay acknowledged the case "has deeply divided us'' but said "turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated.''
"The world will be watching us,'' Slay said.
Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the Brown family, said they were informed the announcement by the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was imminent.
Police have said Brown struggled with Wilson inside his police car, then reached for Wilson's weapon. Brown's family and some witnesses say Wilson killed Brown as he raised his hands in surrender.
The death of Brown, 18, touched off weeks of protests, and the decision by the grand jury on whether to bring charges prompted extraordinary precautions by law enforcement and the community. The Ferguson school district canceled Tuesday classes.
Evidence presented to the grand jury in Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson's case may or may not be released after their decision is released. It's up to the judge to make the evidence available. VPC
Police officials and protest organizers have collaborated on rules of engagement -- that is, rules for conduct when protesters meet police again on the streets. Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the state's National Guard.

Pentagon got duped, made ransom payment for Bowe Bergdahl to con man

 - The Washington Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Pentagon is under fire for making a ransom payment to an Afghan earlier this year as part of a failed bid to win the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to U.S. officials.
Sgt. Bergdahl was released in May after nearly five years in captivity as part of a controversial exchange for five terrorists held at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“Given the significance of this matter, as well as the fact that Pentagon officials have denied that a payment was even considered — and you also said you were unaware of any such attempt — I ask you to immediately inquire with JSOC to determine the specific order of events,” said Mr. Hunter, California Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

The ransom payment was first disclosed by Rep. Duncan Hunter in a Nov. 5 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck HagelMr. Hunter stated in the letter that Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the payment covertly as part of a release deal. But the money was stolen by the Afghan intermediary claiming to represent the Haqqani terrorist network.
Mr. Hunter also asked Mr. Hagel whether ransom payments are being considered for other captives.
Disclosure of the ransom payment undermines a key financial element of President Obama’s strategy to counter the Islamic State — pressuring foreign governments, corporations and families of captives not to pay ransom. In a speech in September, David S. Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the Islamic State made $20 million this year in ransoming hostages.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that Mr. Obama “continues to believe, as previous presidents have concluded, that it’s not in the best interest of American citizens to pay ransoms to any organization, let alone a terrorist organization.”

“And the reason for that is simple: We don’t want to put other American citizens at even greater risk when they’re around the world,” he said.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry also said in a speech Tuesday that ransom payments will not be paid. Both officials spoke following the latest beheading of an American, Peter Kassig, by Islamic State terrorists.

Officials said the Bergdahl ransom was an unspecified large amount of money and that the exchange was handled by the Army’s elite Delta Force anti-terrorism squad. The FBI also was involved in the ransom payment attempt and was waiting inside Afghanistan’s border with North Waziristan when the release failed, confirming that it had been a scam.

The Pentagon’s spin on the payment is that the money was not technically a ransom. Instead, defense officials are claiming the cash was intelligence money paid to a source for information that would lead to the release of Sgt. Bergdahl.

Before the prisoner swap for Sgt. Bergdahl, which angered Congress because it violated promises of consultations prior to the freeing of Guantanamo inmates, special operations commandos had been preparing to conduct a rescue raid if Sgt. Bergdahl’s location was uncovered.
However, confusion and multiple lines of effort to win the American soldier’s release surrounded the entire affair. In addition to the JSOC ransom and rescue plans, the State Department held negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar, and Pakistani military and intelligence agencies also were involved. Also, the Bergdahl family was preparing to pay a $10 million ransom, according to BuzzFeed.
Sgt. Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan in June 2009 along with a group of Afghan soldiers who were intoxicated. According to a person familiar with the capture, he was sold to the Haqqani network and moved to Pakistan, complicating any covert rescue attempt.
Before the prisoner swap for Sgt. Bergdahl, which angered Congress because it violated promises of consultations prior to the freeing of Guantanamo inmates, special operations commandos had been preparing to conduct a rescue raid if Sgt. Bergdahl’s location was uncovered.

A spokesman for Mr. Hunter said the Pentagon has not responded to the congressman’s letter but is said to be working on a response.
However, confusion and multiple lines of effort to win the American soldier’s release surrounded the entire affair. In addition to the JSOC ransom and rescue plans, the State Department held negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar, and Pakistani military and intelligence agencies also were involved. Also, the Bergdahl family was preparing to pay a $10 million ransom, according to BuzzFeed.
Sgt. Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan in June 2009 along with a group of Afghan soldiers who were intoxicated. According to a person familiar with the capture, he was sold to the Haqqani network and moved to Pakistan, complicating any covert rescue attempt.
A spokesman for Mr. Hunter said the Pentagon has not responded to the congressman’s letter but is said to be working on a response.
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/19/inside-the-ring-ransom-paid-for-bergdahl/#ixzz3JgADeMET 

U.S. government thinks China could take down the power grid

By Jamie Crawford
National Security Producer

Washington (CNN) -- China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure through a cyber attack, the head of the National Security Agency told a Congressional panel Thursday.

Admiral Michael Rogers, who also serves the dual role as head of U.S. Cyber Command, said the United States has detected malware from China and elsewhere on U.S. computers systems that affect the daily lives of every American.

"It enables you to shut down very segmented, very tailored parts of our infrastructure that forestall the ability to provide that service to us as citizens," Rogers said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers said such attacks are part of the "coming trends" he sees based on "reconnaissance" currently taking place that nation-states, or other actors may use to exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. cyber systems.

 Cyber attacks hit State Dept. email, web Snipers attack U.S. electrical grid NYT: NSA bugged devices without internet

A recent report by Mandiant, a cyber-security firm, found that hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government were able to penetrate American public utility systems that service everything from power generation, to the movement of water and fuel across the country.
Related: Mandiant - China is sponsoring cyber espionage

"We see them attempting to steal information on how our systems are configured, the very 
schematics of most of our control systems, down to engineering level of detail so they can look at where are the vulnerabilities, how are they constructed, how could I get in and defeat them," Rogers said. "We're seeing multiple nation-states invest in those kinds of capabilities."

Admiral Rogers declined to identify who the other countries, beside China, because of the classified nature of their identities. Russia is generally regarded as also having an aggressive cyber program.

In addition to nation-state actors, Admiral Rogers noted the increasing presence of "surrogate" criminal actors in cyberspace that serve to obscure the hidden hand of criminal activity done on behalf of formal nation-states.

"That's a troubling development for us," Rogers said.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, the retiring chairman of the committee, called the groups "cyber hit men for hire" for nation-state actors in cyberspace.

The testimony also comes in the wake of a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that cited a prediction by technology experts that a catastrophic cyber-attack that causes significant losses in life and financial damage would occur by 2025.
Related: Catastrophic cyber attack looms

Admiral Rogers told the committee he did not disagree with the assessment.

In addition to the threats from specific nation-states, Admiral Rogers said there are already groups within the U.S. cyber architecture who seek to cause major damage to corporate and other critical sectors of the American economy.

"It is only a matter of the when, not the if, that we are going to see something traumatic." he said.

Harsh Cold to Freeze Northeast, Set Records in South

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist

The coldest air since last winter, now over the Plains and Midwest, will blast into the East during the first half of this week.
The core of the frigid air will focus over the northern Plains and the Great Lakes through at least Wednesday with overnight lows dipping down into the teens, single digits and even near zero F in the coldest spots.
Bone-chilling nights will be followed up by frosty cold days with highs struggling to reach the 20-degree mark over the regions on Monday and Tuesday. Some locations in the Central states are forecast to stay below 20 F until Wednesday afternoon, including Minneapolis.
Temperatures this low can make it dangerous for outdoors activities if you are not wearing the proper clothing.
While much of the Northeast escaped the cold on Monday, the arctic air will sweep through the region by Tuesday.
Highs temperatures from Washington, D.C., through New York City are forecast to stay near or below freezing on Tuesday, levels that would be considered below normal even during the heart of winter.
A biting wind from the northwest will make it feel even colder with AccuWeather.com RealFeel® staying in the teens throughout the day along the I-95 corridor.
significant lake-effect snow event will set up downwind of the Great Lakes as the arctic air blows over the comparatively warm waters of the lakes.
The stage is set for feet of snow to pile up in some communities downwind of the Great Lakes. In some cases, the heaviest snow squalls in these areas can produce thunder and lightning.
Gusty winds will blow around the fresh snow, creating large drifts and near-blizzard conditions at times.
This arctic outbreak will not only be limited to the northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast but will reach into the Deep South.
Record lows will be challenged on multiple occasions through midweek from eastern Texas to the Carolinas with lows near freezing along much of the Gulf coast.
Parts of northern Florida may even have their first freeze of the season as lows dip down into the 20s in cities such as Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
According to Southern Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "A freeze will not reach into citrus-growing areas of South Florida, but there may be some issues for other fruits and some vegetables grown in northern and north-central counties of the state."
The intensity of the cold is expected to lessen as temperatures begin to moderate heading into the second part of the week.
However, highs from Atlanta, Georgia, to Albany, New York, and westward through Aberdeen, South Dakota, will remain below normal until at least the weekend.

Google to test-fly balloons which transmit internet over Australia

Australian Associated Press
Company to team up with Telstra to fly 20 balloons over western Queensland in project designed to help connect remote regions of the world

Google is bringing its audacious internet-transmitting balloons to Australia.
The company will test-fly 20 balloons in western Queensland in December in partnership with Telstra.
It’s the latest step in Project Loon, Google’s plan to beam internet to remote parts of the world via helium balloons that circle the globe on stratospheric winds.
The balloons carry antennas that can beam 4G-like signals to homes and phones 20km below.
For the trial, Telstra will supply base stations to communicate with the balloons and access to space on the radio spectrum.
It follows initial trials above Christchurch in New Zealand in June last year. Google said at the time it was drawn to the area’s favourable stratospheric conditions.
The company’s ultimate goal is to have a ring of balloons circling the Earth, bringing internet to the estimated two-thirds of people who are presently unwired.
It’s also hoped the balloons could one day provide coverage to areas struck by natural disasters.
Project Loon has been in development since mid-2011 by scientists at Google X, the secretive lab also working on Google Glass and driverless cars.
The technology is especially attractive for developing countries because it might let them avoid having to lay costly underground fibre cabling.

How Project Loon works

1. Web-connected base stations bounce signals up to the balloons, which float at about twice the altitude of passenger jets.
2. The signals hop forward from one balloon to the next.
3. Each balloon transmits internet signals down to an area more than twice the size of Canberra.
4. Card table-sized solar panel powers on-board gadgetry. Balloons can stay airborne for about 100 days.
5. Plan is for a ring of balloons to circle the Earth on westerly stratospheric winds.

Fasten your seatbelts, Canada, and get ready for the battle for America | Column

Fasten your seatbelts, Canada, and get ready for the battle for America | Column

Who will protect the nation, if not us?


On Election Day, Americans roared in protest against the President’s open-borders extremism. They rallied behind candidates who will defend the rule of law and put the needs of American workers and families first.

Exit polls were unequivocal. More than 3 in 4 voters cited immigration as an important factor in their vote, believed that U.S. workers should get priority for jobs, and opposed the President’s plans for executive amnesty. These voters were right and just in their demands.
But President Obama made clear that he would attempt to void the election results—and our laws—by moving forward with his executive amnesty decree.

This decree would operate much like his unlawful “Deferred Action”: conferring work permits, photo IDs, and Social Security numbers to millions of individuals illegally present in the U.S.—allowing them to take jobs and benefits directly from struggling American workers. It is a scheme the Congress has explicitly refused to pass.

The President will arrogate to himself the sole and absolute power to decide who can work in the U.S., who can live in the U.S., and who can claim benefits in the U.S.—by the millions. His actions will wipe out the immigration protections to which every single American citizen is lawfully entitled. And his actions will ensure—as law enforcement officers have cried out in repeated warnings—a “tidal wave” of new illegal immigration.

He must be stopped. And the American people have sent Washington a Republican congressional majority to do exactly that. Here’s how we can stop him:

President Obama’s executive amnesty will not be easy to execute. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will have to be ordered to redirect funds and personnel away from its statutorily mandated enforcement duties and towards processing applications, amnesty benefits, and employment authorizations for illegal immigrants and illegal overstays. It is a massive and expensive operation.

And it cannot be implemented if Congress simply includes routine language on any government funding bill prohibiting the expenditure of funds for this unlawful purpose. This is the same way we prevented the President from closing Guantanamo Bay. Such application of congressional power is ordinary, unexceptional, and used thousands of times.

Congress has the power of the purse. The President cannot spend a dime unless Congress appropriates it.

Karl Rove, who himself has advocated for amnesty, urged Congress to use its spending power to block the President’s fiat. He said Republicans should “use every tool available,” and put “riders on appropriations bills that say no money shall be spent to execute this policy.”

Yet reports have surfaced of plans to pass a long-term lame-duck spending bill through Harry Reid’s Senate that contains no such prohibition. This would be unthinkable.

Why would any member of Congress who opposes executive amnesty provide President Obama the funds to carry it out? A Republican majority must force congressional Democrats to answer this question through their votes.

We cannot surrender Congress’ most powerful Constitutional tool before a single newly elected Republican is sworn-in. Acting in this manner would betray the very voters who gave us this majority before we’re even in possession of it.

Consider RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ pledge to voters on executive amnesty: “It’s unconstitutional, illegal… It is un-American for a president to try and do such a thing…We will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen… we can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen. I don’t know how to be any stronger than that. I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we will.”

Voters heard Chairman Priebus and sent us fearless men and women to fight this battle. The day after his election, the courageous Senator-elect David Perdue was unequivocal: “We cannot let [the President] get away with that. The people of Georgia, specifically, are sending me up there to get in a dog fight to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Obama’s immigration orders will have a crushing impact on the jobs, wages, schools, hospitals, police departments, and communities of our constituents. The consequences will be swift, profound, and catastrophic. Who will protect them, if not us?

In a battle between Congress and the President—over whether to save our citizens’ jobs, laws, and borders, or whether to eliminate them—there is no doubt the public will be firmly on our side.

We cannot yield to open borders. We cannot let one executive edict erase the immigration laws of an entire nation. If we believe America is a sovereign country, with enforceable boundaries, and a duty to protect its own people, then we have no choice but to fight and to win.

Jeff Sessions is a senator from Alabama.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/11/no-surrender-on-immigration-112766.html#ixzz3InUQwn8j

Biden Blows Greg Orman's Cover: He 'Will Be With Us' | The Weekly Standard

Biden Blows Greg Orman's Cover: He 'Will Be With Us' | The Weekly Standard


Republicans and a vote monitor in Boulder County, Colorado, filed a lawsuit Monday claiming a county clerk and recorder refused to comply with election law by denying transparency requirements.

According to the suit, Boulder County clerk and recorder Hillary Hall did not allow access while mail-in ballots were counted.
Republicans claim Hall only allowed the count to be observed for a few seconds and denied monitors “sufficient time and access to take even the most basic steps to determine whether a signature should be verified or to lodge a challenge as is their right.”
“We’ve made significant changes to the way we conduct elections in Colorado, and as a result, it’s more important than ever that poll watchers have access and the ability to do their statutorily designed job,” Ryan Call, the state chairman for the Colorado Republican party, told the National Review. “Hillary Hall really stands apart from every other county clerk in the state in refusing to give meaningful access for Republican poll watchers to do their job, and it’s unfortunate that we’ve had to resort to legal action to compel the clerk to let our watchers in.”
“Clerk Hall’s refusal to allow Republican watchers to observe the signature verification process is not only illegal, but it may undermine confidence that our election is being conducted with integrity,” Call said.
Hall and Democrats argue the law does not allow poll watchers the right to question voter signatures and say Republicans are attempting to suppress voter turnout.
“This is partisan politics, people who don’t like mail ballots trying to discredit them,” Hall told FOX31 Denver on Monday afternoon. “The law provides that election judges verify voter signatures, not poll watchers. If they want the right to verify signatures, they should go ask the state legislature.”
District Judge Patrick Butler ruled against Republicans soon after the suit was filed.
“While it is not possible to seek an appeal in the time remaining before Election Day, it is our hope that in the future the Colorado Secretary of State or the legislature can better enforce the rules to ensure the access necessary so poll watchers can fulfill their important role in monitoring elections,” Call said in a statement following the decision. “Our Party is absolutely committed to the integrity of our elections, and will continue to work to ensure that every legal vote is fairly and accurately counted.”