Sunday, October 28, 2007
via Informed Comment
The US military is turning over security duties in Karbala to the Iraqi security forces (dominated in that city by the Badr Corps, the paramilitary trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps). This turn-over has now been carried out in 8 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. There never was much of a US military presence in the 3 Kurdish provinces of the Kurdistan Regional Authority, so actually it is just 5 that have effectively been turned over– the Shiite provinces of Muthanna, Dhi Qar, Najaf, and Maysan– and now Karbala.
Given that we have Iranian trained, and, (going out on a limb here,)more inclined to view them as alllies and the US as occupiers,Fox Panel: Dems Are ‘Terribly Weak’ If They Don’t Threaten ‘Devasting Military Strike’ Against Iran
Hume claimed that it “make[s] sense” to threaten Iran with “a devastating military strike,” adding that Iran probably wants Democrats to be “in charge” because they look “terribly weak” in criticizing the “alleged saber rattling”:
Doesn’t it make sense that you want Iran to believe that if you keep this up, they might be the subject of a devastating military strike of the kind that only the United States of America can mount. I would think so. And it seems to me when you have Democrats running around, wringing their hands about alleged saber rattling that it makes them look terribly weak, and in the end if you’re the head of Iran, you think, “well, we want those people in charge.”
One has to wonder what Brit and Billy think will happen to US forces in Iraq if we were to follow their sage brush advice.
Discussions with The Heritage Foundation.
That’s a tautology boys.
WASHINGTON – When the United States military command accused the Iranian Quds Force in January of providing the armor-piercing EFPs (explosively formed penetrators) that were killing US troops, it knew that Iraqi machine shops had been producing their own EFPs for years, a review of the historical record of evidence on EFPs in Iraq shows.
Nevertheless, the Bush administration decided to put the blame for the EFPs squarely on the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, after Bush agreed in autumn 2006 to target the Quds Force within Iran to make Iranian leaders feel vulnerable to US power. The allegedly exclusive Iranian manufacture of EFPs was the administration’s only argument for holding the Quds Force responsible for their use against US forces.
Unfortunately truth and knowledge of that truth seems to have no effect on the ratchet, which has now grown beyond Quds. The inclination of many to disregard what our own government is saying about real dangers to our national security is reinforced when the facts come out contrary to their assertions on these topics.
It may be the best argument against using national security as a political football, unless of course the purpose of that political activity is to divide and weaken the public will of the American people. We are seven years too late in that regard with this government. But it does beg the question, Why should I trust these people on Iran, China, or Russia? Simple answer, I no longer do.
If Iran is indeed a nuclear threat, then it is not one that is so imminent that this nation cannot forgo the decisions that need to be made, being made by another administration. It really is that simple.
The mystery surrounding the construction of what might have been a nuclear reactor in Syria deepened yesterday, when a company released a satellite photo showing that the main building was well under way in September 2003 — four years before Israeli jets bombed it.
If you look five clicks east of the site, there is a secure facility with a large building that is about the same dimensions — 47 m x 45 m. No one, however, is suggesting that is a reactor. “Imagery intelligence,” the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction wrote, is “only one piece of the collection effort against WMD, and will have to be used in conjunction with information from other sources.”
Interesting footnote that, “other sources.”
Smugglers exploit back roads linking Canada to U.S., agents say
“That border is so long, frankly, the security on that border has really not increased too much since the French and Indian War,” John Cooney, the GAO’s assistant director for forensic audits and special investigations, said Sept. 27 during testimony in Washington before the Senate Finance Committee.
The Do Nothing Congress has had a month to fix this problem!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Songs crystallize certain periods of time in peoples lives just as photos snap a slice of time in an event, which are reminders of who and what we are not now, to pinch a phrase. They remind every individual of something tribal as well as provide continuity to individuals lives and families. But they’re nothing more than memories and have no bearing on the future of the world which this nation has put at jeopardy, and to which I would ask the peaceful world to bear with us as is necessary to our system, as well as those who are at odds with us bearing in mind that our leader may well be crazy like a fox, or at least listening to the old man seriously for a change. No one just decides to go fishing at the Kennebunkport Compound, “yeah bring along Vlad.”
Of course no one is crazy enough to fry the world with thermal nuclear grease, but if they can get my generation all worked up over radiation again they think we’ll go back to having fun in the face of annihilation and square babies. Suicide is still not an option though. Their delusion is that you can contain low level intensity warfare, or in some cases direct confrontations of the conventional forces of nuclear armed nations, with your own bad behavior. I don’t know who’s disinformation to not believe, so I’ll go with the Iraqification of Iran, with Boris in the Northern and Sam I Am in the Southern no-fly zones. Why not? If Bush and Putin can start talking like bloggers I think I can start making off the wall comments like Presidents.
If that is the case I may as well be working in the garden, and so I shall, as I hear Hillary likes peas.
Some hope is better than none, and people change.
That the Post is so willing to uncritically accept the White House interpretation of its own actions is nothing new. In 2002, during the run-up to the Congressional vote to authorize military action against Iraq, the Post similarly wrote that Bush viewed the vote as “the best way to prevent a war:”
Still protesting their virginity one presumes.
The Russian officials – Deputy Foreign Minister for the Middle East Alexander Saltanov and special envoy for the peace process Sergei Yakovlev – met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Ministry Director General Aharon Abramowitz. Most of the talks were devoted to the Iranian and Palestinian issues.
On Iran, the Russians insisted that they are committed to ensuring that Tehran does not acquire nuclear weapons. “We also don’t want that to happen,” said one, according to Israeli officials. “Remember that the distance between Tehran and Tel Aviv is identical to that between Tehran and Moscow.”
However, they continued, unlike Israel, Russia does not believe that Tehran is anywhere near acquiring such weapons.
“The difference between us and you is that you’re basing yourselves on estimates, whereas we’re basing ourselves on precise information,” said one, according to the Israeli officials. “When we see that the situation is sufficiently dangerous, we’ll know how to stop the Iranians, and if we want to, we can do this without difficulty.”
Remember when Boris used to be the one pounding his shoe on the desk?
Those were the days my friend…
Filed Thursday, the complaint cites various documents, including memos from Rumsfeld, internal reports and testimony from former U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski — the one-time commander of U.S. military prisons in Iraq — to bolster its claims. It asks the prosecutor to open an inquiry and take Rumsfeld into custody.
“We know that we can’t get him into prison right now, but it would be great to make sure that he couldn’t safely leave the U.S. anymore,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Why does the world hate Republicans?
A U.S. military strike against Iran would have dire consequences in petroleum markets, say a variety of oil industry experts, many of whom think the prospect of pandemonium in those markets makes U.S. military action unlikely despite escalating economic sanctions imposed by the Bush administration.
Totally pinched from TPM.
CNN informed me that the price of oil based on supply and demand factors should be in the sixty to sixty two dollar range, so one third of the price of the commodity is paranoia already. Lot of grease in the oil business.
A year before Liberty and the News appeared, the famous muckraking journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, published The Brass Check, the first contemporary exposé of the press as a corrupt special interest. Sinclair asserted that the press simply reflected its big business ownership and did its bidding. Lippmann’s analysis, though, was at once more subtle and more penetrating, elucidating a form of corruption that ran to the foundations of the nation’s politics.
By substituting propaganda for truth, brandishing jingoism to enforce conformity, and asserting arrogance and certainty over skepticism and humility, Lippmann contended, the manufacturers of consent confounded democracy. “In so far as those who purvey the news make of their own beliefs a higher law than truth, they are attacking the foundations of our constitutional system. There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil.”
via No Quarter
“Everywhere today,” Lippmann wrote in Liberty and the News, “men are conscious that somehow they must deal with questions more intricate than any that church or school had prepared them to understand. Increasingly they know that they cannot understand them if the facts are not quickly and steadily available. Increasingly they are baffled because the facts are not available; and they are wondering whether government by consent can survive in a time when the manufacture of consent is an unregulated private enterprise.”
Yongbyon is a sensational reference point from a news perspective, but the North Korean reactor is itself derived from the Calder Hall magnox reactors developed by Britain. Comparing the Syrian reactor to Yongbyon, without mentioning Calder Hall, leaves the reader thinking the reactor design could not have been supplied by any another state and was certainly not indigenous.
WASHINGTON — For more than two years, the United States has insisted that the key to stopping Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program is maintaining unified international pressure on the Islamic Republic.
But on Thursday, the Bush administration signaled in no uncertain terms that it’s prepared to go its own way in confronting what it considers to be a growing threat from Iran, even if doing so demolishes an increasingly shaky global consensus.
Western European governments didn’t immediately react to the sanctions. But Russian President Vladimir Putin warned scathingly that new sanctions could worsen relations with Iran and bring talks to “a dead end.”
“It’s not the best way to resolve the situation by running around like a madman with a razor blade in his hand,” he said during a visit to Portugal.
There seems to be a consensus among the Republicans that America is somehow all powerful and cannot be hit. So pre 911. But nations have long memories and the enemies Mr. Bush creates overseas will outlast all of us.
Update:US Sanctions on Iran
The hypocrisy of the Bush case is obvious when it complains about Iran supporting Hizbullah and Hamas. The Kurds based in American Iraq have done much worse things to Turkey in the past month than Hizbullah did to Israel in June of 2006. Yet when Israel launched a brutal and wideranging war on all of Lebanon, destroying precious infrastructure and dumping enormous amounts of oil into the Mediterranean, damaging Beirut airport, destroying essential bridges in Christian areas, and then releasing a million cluster bomblets on civilian areas in the last 3 days of the war– when Israel did all that, Bush and Cheney applauded and argued against a ‘premature’ cease-fire! Yet they are trying to convince Turkey just to put up stoically with the PKK terrorists who have killed dozens of Turkish troops recently and kidnapped 8 (again, more than the number of Iraeli troops that were kidnapped). Bush’s coddling of the PKK in Iraq is not different from Iran’s support for Hizbullah, except that the PKK is a more dangerous and brutal organization than Hizbullah.
The sanctions announcement yesterday handed Ms Clinton’s opponents a fresh opportunity to cast her vote on a similar Senate amendment last month as lending support to a worrisome escalation towards war with Iran.
The New York senator was the only presidential candidate to support a September 25 amendment, introduced by Republican Jon Kyl and Democrat Joe Lieberman, urging the White House to label the IRG a terrorist organisation.
I wish the Guardian would figure out that Joe is an independent, not a Democrat, just as I wish Democrats would figure out that Hillary is a Neocon
and a war monger.
Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami has fuelled speculation of a possible comeback by bluntly accusing his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of peddling false statistics to hide rising inflation and unemployment. Mr Khatami, who was regarded as a reformist, said Iran’s worsening economic woes did not tally with the rosy picture painted by the government, and warned that officially endorsed “lies” would destroy Iranians’ trust in the Islamic system.
Speaking at the financial paper Sarmayeh, he said: “Unfortunately, it has become customary that the real issues are concealed and portrayed in some other ways. If there is inflation … it will not remove the reality if you say it doesn’t exist, or alter scientific standards to achieve a desired result. If society feels it is being told lies, it will damage mutual trust, not only between elites and decision-makers but also between people and the authorities.”
Maybe Hagee will find some of this too.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration’s relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia.
NOORDWIJK, Netherlands: NATO appeared to make little progress Thursday in narrowing differences with Russia over plans by the United States to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, even after Washington offered to delay activating the bases until there was proof of a threat from Iran.
In another sign of the sensitivity about the missile-defense issue, the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, said his country would not allow Russian soldiers to be stationed at the planned U.S. radar base there but might permit Russian inspections.
The U.S. defense secretary, Robert Gates, touched a raw nerve during his visit to Prague this week when he said Russians might be allowed to have a presence at the radar base that would be part of a planned U.S. missile defense shield.
A blast tore through a security-forces vehicle in restive north-west Pakistan on Thursday, killing 30 people and wounding dozens more, officials said.
The blast comes just one day after Pakistan deployed more than 2 000 military troops to the area to bolster efforts to stem the rising violence, which is linked to pro-Taliban militants.
The truck — carrying paramilitary soldiers and packed with ammunition — was travelling on a road outside the valley’s main city of Mingora when the explosion occurred, the security official said.
Speaking of strong leadership, Mr. President…
Humanity is changing Earth’s climate so fast and devouring resources so voraciously that it is poised to bequeath a ravaged planet to future generations, the United Nations warned in its most comprehensive survey of the environment.
The fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), is compiled by 390 experts from observations, studies and data garnered over two decades.
Now before I go giving Glenn a bad time, I know he isn’t a journalist, or expert, but he is a conservative and that means something.
A Black heart for Blackwater
Internal State Department e-mails, obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com, show top officials were extensively briefed about repeated incidents of Blackwater security guards killing innocent civilians more than two years ago.
It was only in the last month that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took action to review the activities of Blackwater and other private security companies in Iraq.
The links to the full email are helpfully provided too.
[Welcome, Eschatonians, and thanks to Lord Atrios for the link. I called up Hoyer’s office, and courteously informed the young staffer about the link. And you know what? They didn’t know who Atrios was. So, this is a teachable momentMR SUBLIMINAL And be polite, dammit! to show Hoyer that (a) restoring Constitutional government is good politics, and (b) it’s good to have the blogosphere with you. Why not call his office and do some teaching? (202) 225-4131. Did I mention that you should be polite?*]