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Abu Maysara Positively Deader Than a Rock
Today's Headlines
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Page 2: WoT Background
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Page 5: Local News
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Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Big Putin vote in Chechnya has locals puzzled
Russia's volatile Chechnya, once President Vladimir Putin's biggest headache, ironically turned out to be a big success story for him in Sunday's election, according to official figures. But the Central Election Commission's figures, showing that Chechens voted in droves for the Kremlin chief's party United Russia, had some locals scratching their heads.

The figures indicated that 99.2 percent of voters in the war-ravaged region of southern Russia had taken part in the poll and 99.3 percent of them had voted for United Russia.
The figures indicated that 99.2 percent of voters in the war-ravaged region of southern Russia had taken part in the poll and 99.3 percent of them had voted for United Russia. This was the highest vote for Putin anywhere in Russia, where overall turnout was 62 percent and just over 64 percent of votes were cast for United Russia.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a former separatist warlord turned Kremlin ally, was one of the few people not to be surprised by the result. He had publicly promised beforehand to deliver 100 percent of his republic's vote for Putin. "High voter turnout in the parliamentary elections shows great civic responsibility," Kadyrov said on Monday without a hint of irony. "People understand that they have the right to choose."
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Big Putin vote in Chechnya has locals world puzzled completely unsurprised.
Posted by: Mike N. || 12/04/2007 1:24 Comments || Top||

#2  Chavez must be envious.
Posted by: Spike Uniter || 12/04/2007 1:26 Comments || Top||

#3  It is a puzzlement.

/Yul Brynner
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/04/2007 1:30 Comments || Top||

#4  He had publicly promised beforehand to deliver 100 percent of his republic's vote for Putin.

Wow, it's just like the election that JFK won! Who knew?
Posted by: gromky || 12/04/2007 3:18 Comments || Top||

#5  Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov had publicly promised beforehand to deliver 100 percent of his republic's vote for Putin.

"People understand that they have the right to choose."

Winston Smith must have voted with the .7%
Posted by: Grumenk Philalzabod0723 || 12/04/2007 6:53 Comments || Top||

#6  Ballot stuffing at its finest. Although, I would have had it show 76% or so to avoid massively major suspicion.
Posted by: DarthVader || 12/04/2007 9:19 Comments || Top||

#7  Dewey Defeats Truman!
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/04/2007 9:48 Comments || Top||

#8  Who's his campaign manager, Lyndon Johnson?
Posted by: mojo || 12/04/2007 11:03 Comments || Top||

#9  "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes," Joseph Stalin

Somebody had to say it.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 12/04/2007 11:58 Comments || Top||

#10  Beat me to it Ebbang.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 12/04/2007 13:18 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 23:03 Comments || Top||

#12  REGNUM > RUSSIAN ELECTION MORE DEMOCRATIC THAN IN THE CONGO [Congo, Africa]. You just know the Russians will demand somebody get TASERED for this one.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 23:17 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Bush and Democrats Renew War of Words
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under: Iraqi Insurgency

#1  War funding bill, AMT tax nightmare. Thats all.
Posted by: newc || 12/04/2007 7:25 Comments || Top||

#2  The law requires that federal employees be given 60 days notice of a layoff. DoD will need to begin sending those out by 16 December (right after Congress leaves for the year) to free up the funds that the Dems so blithely state the Pentagon can use to fund the war. Hopefully a good share of those notices will be to voters in Dem districts, a "Winter Holiday" present from Pelosi and Reid.
Posted by: RWV || 12/04/2007 9:07 Comments || Top||

#3  In a normal year, Congress passes the Defense bill and the monies start trickling down to the procurement organizations. This year the funds are being held in Washington (and/or major commands) while it is determined how much will need to be diverted to Iraq and Afghanistan. The result is a dearth of new procurements and an air of uncertainty as to which programs will be delayed or canceled because of the Dem grandstanding. About the only things sure to be executed are the Dems' earmarks.
Posted by: RWV || 12/04/2007 9:13 Comments || Top||

#4  See possible related artikle in TOWNHALL > PROBLEMS IN THE NEW GIRL ORDER.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 23:14 Comments || Top||

#5  INTELBRIEFS > FROM SICILY TO NEW YORK. The [Italian/Sicilian]MAFIAS getting steadily revitalized and stronger, e.g. GAMBINOS.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 23:21 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 23:27 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
Life Is Intolerable for Jews In Europe, Assemblyman Says
Following a recent fact-finding trip to Europe, a Democrat who represents Boro Park in the state Assembly, Dov Hikind, said yesterday he is convinced that anti-Semitism has made life intolerable for Jews in England, France, Germany, and Belgium.

Hikind plans to call on President Bush to accord special refugee status to Western European Jews
At a dinner tonight organized by the New York Association for New Americans, he said he plans to call on President Bush to accord special refugee status to Western European Jews.

While Western European Jews would likely fail to qualify as persecuted refugees under State Department standards, America has made rare exceptions for certain groups in the past, including Jews and other religious minorities in the former Soviet Union who qualified as refugees under the 1989 Lautenberg Amendment. Mr. Hikind wants this treatment extended to Western European Jews.

At least one major Jewish organization is already opposing Mr. Hikind's plan. The director of international Jewish affairs at the American Jewish Committee, Rabbi Andrew Baker, said yesterday life is now improving for Jewish communities in Europe following a "resurgence of anti-Semitism" in 2002.

"I think while community leaders would not dismiss that there is a problem, they would agree that the solution to the problem is not emigration," Mr. Baker said. He cited France as an example of positive change: Its new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has publicly committed to combating anti-Semitism.

"I think it seriously disturbed French Jewry, maybe more than just the incidents themselves, the sense that the government would not address it," Mr. Baker said. "Now you have a government saying that we can't excuse these issues. Even if the numbers of incidents are not equally reflecting that change, that's a dramatic change in their minds."

Mr. Hikind described recent reports on anti-Semitic incidents in European countries as "staggering." He pointed to a Tel Aviv University study on worldwide anti-Semitism published in 2006 that described a marked increase in incidents against Jews in Europe in the last year, including twice as many acts of violence against Jew in Belgium than the previous year, and reported anti-Semitic incidents "on an almost daily basis" in Germany, mostly in the form of verbal harassment.

In July, the Anti-Defamation League published a survey describing increasingly negative attitudes toward Jews in Western Europe. In England, 50% of those surveyed said they believed Jews were more loyal to Israel than to their own country, versus 38% in the previous year. An organization that records anti-Semitic acts in Britain, the Community Security Trust, said it recorded a 31% rise in incidents over the last year, to 594 in 2006 from 455 in 2005.

State Department officials could not be reached for comment
Posted by: lotp || 12/04/2007 12:52 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I don't know about special refugee status but they should be given prime spots as regular immigrants if they want to come over to the USA. Or else there is probably a Jew friendly state somewhere in the world that could use additional immigration.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/04/2007 13:21 Comments || Top||

#2  1) Who is behind this increase? spontaneous generation of jackbooted neo-nazis??? The boys from Brazil???
Think hard.

2) Violence against jews, sad and despisable as it stands, is only the tip of the iceberg ("iceberg? A joooooo!")...
The hidden part of the iceberg is the violence against white europeans, from rapes to motiveless assaults, to even small scale (stones thrown at cars, rampant vandalism, firebombings of city bus, as it happened not only in France, but also in Netherlands and Sweden, if I remember my blogs reading correctly), or large scale civil unrest (just think frenchifada and the 100 torched cars a night).
Who is responsible for this violence???
Think hard.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 12/04/2007 13:28 Comments || Top||

#3  Who is responsible.


Who else?

Posted by: DarthVader || 12/04/2007 14:19 Comments || Top||

#4  Or else there is probably a Jew friendly state somewhere in the world that could use additional immigration.

Posted by: trailing wife || 12/04/2007 15:26 Comments || Top||

#5  anonymous5089 ("iceberg? A joooooo!")...

that be a funny!!

1) Who is behind this increase? spontaneous generation of jackbooted neo-nazis??? The boys from Brazil???
Think hard.

Jews themselves.. it must be dem anti-Semitic Jews who are responsible!

yeper it be dem damn Jooooooos
Posted by: Red Dawg || 12/04/2007 15:56 Comments || Top||

#6  Trailing Wife, 10 points.

Not saying they necessarily should move there but I should think Israel could use the numbers.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/04/2007 18:04 Comments || Top||

#7  This isn't hard reading the on line media of Europe it's pretty plain Europe hates Israel and Jews. The Arab vs Israeli conflict just gives them cover for their long standing hate of Jews and anything Jewish in Europe. Canada is infected with it too.
Posted by: Sock Puppet of Doom || 12/04/2007 18:05 Comments || Top||

Padilla codefendant tries to kill himself
The mentor to former ''enemy combatant'' Jose Padilla attempted suicide last week as he was held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, just ahead of their sentencing on terrorism charges. Adham Amin Hassoun, 45, a former computer programmer from Sunrise who was born in Lebanon, tried to kill himself in his solitary cell in a section known as the special housing unit, according to several people familiar with his detention.

Hassoun, Padilla and a third defendant, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were convicted at trial in August and face up to life in prison at their sentencing Wednesday. Hassoun's attempted suicide could be a factor at the hearing in federal court.

Hassoun tried to hang himself with a bedsheet after he was moved from one cell to another for security reasons, said several sources, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitive matter. He was transferred to an area where other inmates were constantly screaming, and his new cell had a foul stench, they said.

Hassoun, a Palestinian whose wife and children relocated to Lebanon, is under 24-hour observation in a sterile cell without bedding, the sources said. He also is taking antidepressant medication.

Of the three defendants, Hassoun, a vocal member of a Fort Lauderdale mosque, has been in custody almost as long as Padilla, starting in June 2002 on immigration violations. He was indicted in the Miami terrorism case in March 2004, accused of raising money for Islamic causes and sending Padilla and other recruits abroad to fight jihad in the late 1990s.

Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was held since May 2002 without charges before a federal grand jury indicted him in Miami in November 2005. Padilla, 36, was transferred from military to civilian custody in January 2006. He allegedly trained with the terrorist group al Qaeda in Afghanistan in September 2000.

Jayyousi, 45, who worked as a public school administrator, published an Islamic newsletter and did fundraising for embattled Muslims overseas, was indicted in April 2005.

All are in solitary confinement at the detention center.
This article starring:
Adham Amin Hassoun
Jose Padilla
Kifah Wael Jayyousi
Posted by: ryuge || 12/04/2007 07:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under: al-Qaeda

#1  Why was he stopped? I much prefer they kill themselves with bedsheets to the 'suicide vest in the market' technique.
Posted by: Glenmore || 12/04/2007 7:33 Comments || Top||

#2  under 24-hour observation in a sterile cell without bedding

Yup, rubber room. Enjoy it, it's much worse than a regular cell. Although if your neighbors are constantly screaming and the toilet is leaking sewage and stinking up the place, I can see how you might do a suicide attempt just to get out of there.
Posted by: gromky || 12/04/2007 8:17 Comments || Top||

#3  "Hassoun tried to hang himself with a bedsheet..."

C'mon Adham...nobody likes a quitter.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 12/04/2007 18:46 Comments || Top||

#4  If he's in special housing, does he get the special housing inmate treatment?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 12/04/2007 19:03 Comments || Top||

Mistrial in Muslim Air Force Guard Case
GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - A federal judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a former Andrews Air Force Base security guard accused of failing to include his Muslim name on a background check to hide his ties to an outspoken Washington imam and mosque. U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow made the ruling after jurors failed to reach a verdict for Darrick Michael Jackson, who did not put on a defense, after two days of deliberations. Jurors sent a note to the judge Monday afternoon, saying they could ``see no light at the end of the tunnel.''

Jackson, 37, of Washington, was charged with making a false statement for not listing ``Abdul-Jalil Mohammed'' as an alias on the federal form he was required to fill out in 2005. He could have been sentenced to five years in prison if convicted. Jackson's defense was that he did not know he had to include his religious name for the background check he needed to work at the suburban Washington base, which is home to Air Force One. His attorney accused the government of going after the security guard for religious and political reasons.

Prosecutors have argued that Jackson left off the Mohammed name because he feared it would arouse suspicion and scuttle his chances of keeping his job at the base. They highlighted his ties to the Masjid Al-Islam mosque in southeast Washington, as well as some of the inflammatory statements made by Imam Abdul Alim Musa, including Musa's praise for suicide bombers.

Jackson reacted to the judge's decision by thanking God. ``I didn't do anything on purpose,'' he said. ``I don't think I should be here.''
Pure taqiyya.
Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, said a decision would be made later on whether to retry Jackson.

Juror Eric Smith, 37, said prosecutors failed to prove that Jackson's omission was willful. A majority of jurors wanted to find him not guilty, he said. And despite government claims that religion was not a part of the case, Smith said he wasn't convinced. ``They wanted not to make it about religion, but they ended up making it about religion,'' he said.
That's what worries me. Six years after 9/11 and a lot of our people still don't get it.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Global Jihad

#1  How many more cases is the government going to loose? They just lost the Holy Land Foundation case, too.
Posted by: Pliny Pheath1680 || 12/04/2007 1:56 Comments || Top||

#2  A large part of America thinks Bush trumped up the whole War on Terror thing in order to expand his power and help his friends loot the Treasury. If I recall recent polls correctly, almost half think the Administration was at least complicit in the 9-11 attacks. It is only partially BDS - a big part is due to the legitimate distrust of government in general. It makes sense that the same perception of government would spill over to trial juries. And it won't go away with a Democratic Administration either - some of the names will change, but the theme won't.
Posted by: Glenmore || 12/04/2007 7:39 Comments || Top||

#3  As I been saying so frequently: "Lets all get together, and make fun of EUrabia."
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/04/2007 8:45 Comments || Top||

#4  One of the threads in Vanguard of Nazism;: The Free Corps movement in post-war Germany, 1918-1923
by Robert George Leeson Waite is how the Weimar Republic was undermined time and again by German judges who had their own agenda which included a hostility towards the republican government. The ancient regime dies hard. From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/04/2007 9:19 Comments || Top||

#5  How many more cases is the government going to loose? They just lost the Holy Land Foundation case, too.

They'll lose as many as they can. Half our Government and Academia are owned by the Saudi's, that is where we need to clean house. Should passed through the Magic Kingdom on the way to Afghanistan.
Posted by: Large Sleresh3870 || 12/04/2007 9:31 Comments || Top||

Marine Faces Court-Martial in Iraq Death
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - A jury was selected Monday to hear the court-martial of a Marine reservist accused of murdering an Iraqi soldier while the two stood guard together in Fallujah. Three officers and five enlisted officers were impaneled to determine the innocence or guilt of Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes. Holmes has admitted stabbing to death Pvt. Munther Jasem Muhammed Hassin on Dec. 31, 2006, at a security post, but said he did so in self defense.

Holmes, 22, of Indianapolis, has pleaded not guilty to charges of unpremeditated murder and making a false statement. If convicted on all counts, Holmes faces life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Opening arguments were set to begin Tuesday.

Attorneys for both sides argued motions over the use of photographs of Hassin's body as evidence and the use of statements taken from Iraqis as part of the investigation. One of Holmes' civilian attorneys, Stephanie Byerly, told the judge, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meeks, it was not clear when the photos were taken - before or after the body was removed by Iraqis and turned over to Americans. Prosecutors told Meeks the pictures were taken within an hour of the fight.

Meeks allowed some of the photographs but temporarily excluded use of a graphic video, which showed the body on the ground after the fight.

The killing occurred in the pre-dawn darkness after Hassin allegedly opened his cell phone then lit a cigarette at the post, said another Holmes attorney, Steve Cook. The men were not supposed to display illuminated objects because of the threat of sniper fire, and Holmes made repeated attempts to get Hassin to extinguish the cigarette, Cook said.

Holmes maintains he knocked the cigarette out of the soldier's hand and the two got into a fight, falling to the ground. During the struggle, Holmes felt Hassin reaching for his loaded AK-47, so he killed him with a utility knife and then radioed for help, Cook told The Associated Press prior to the start of the court-martial.

Cook said Holmes was charged with murder because of the political climate at the time, citing incidents at Haditha and Hamandia where Marines were accused of murdering civilians. ``The military was attempting to show ... they were going to treat seriously or crack down on any allegations against Marines,'' Cook said.

But the prosecutor, Maj. Christopher Shaw, hinted during motions arguments that it was a fight gone bad with Holmes stabbing, slashing and cutting the victim more than 40 times.

Cook, a former federal prosecutor in San Diego, said he expects to call 20 to 30 defense witnesses, many of whom will testify for Holmes. The court-martial was expected to last about two weeks.

Holmes, who is being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton, enlisted in the Marine reserves in May 2004 and was on his first deployment in Iraq, Cook said. He is from the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, based out of Lansing, Mich.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  See? I told you the Marines were guilty!
Posted by: Once-Upon-A-Time Marine Murtha || 12/04/2007 6:17 Comments || Top||

#2  Once again, MurthaF*cker, Lcpl Holmes is ON TRIAL. He is not guilty. He may be found guilty, he may be acquitted.
(Yes, I know that it isn't really Murtha)
Posted by: Rambler || 12/04/2007 10:53 Comments || Top||

#3  If there was a half burned ciggy at the site, I'd give Holmes a bronze star.
Posted by: wxjames || 12/04/2007 11:40 Comments || Top||

Pak stop US envoy from seeing detained lawyer
LAHORE - Police stopped US Ambassador Anne Patterson on Monday from meeting Aitzaz Ahsan, a leading Pakistani opposition figure being held under house arrest, a US embassy spokeswoman said. Ahsan, a lawyer and former member of the National Assembly for Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, was detained under emergency powers invoked by President Pervez Musharraf on Nov. 3.

The former cabinet minister was held at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for nearly three weeks before being transferred to house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore and allowed to file nomination papers for a parliamentary election set for Jan. 8.

Patterson had requested permission days earlier to meet Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. When the envoy arrived at Ahsan’s home she was barred from seeing him, but was allowed to meet his wife, Bushra, along with several lawyers in another part of the house. ‘The ambassador met Bushra Aitzaz to express concern and repeated US calls for all detainees to be released, including Aitzaz Ahsan,’ Elizabeth Colton, the embassy spokeswoman, said.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

Pakistan calls for more aid to fight terrorism
LONDON: Former federal education minister Lt Gen (r) Ashraf Javed Qazi has called for more Western military and economic aid to support and assist Pakistan in its fight against extremism and the war on terror.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘The impact of Western Strategy on Muslim South Asia’ on Monday. The seminar was organised by the Royal United Services for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), a leading British think-tank. He said Pakistan had paid much more in terms of human losses and collateral damage compared to the NATO and ISAF forces in Afghanistan.

Qazi along with fellow Senator Tariq Azeem Khan is currently on a weeklong visit to the UK as special envoy of the Government of Pakistan
Posted by: john frum || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Because the aid they've received so far was put to such good use?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/04/2007 9:01 Comments || Top||

#2  When are the West Govts going to realise the Pakistan Establishment use extremism to gain funds from the West!!!!
Posted by: Paul || 12/04/2007 10:00 Comments || Top||

Muslim cleric demands apology from Taslima
Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who is in hiding in India after protests by Muslims, must apologise for her “anti-Islamic” writings, a prominent Indian Muslim cleric said Monday. Indian Muslims will “not tolerate the infamous authoress Taslima Nasreen on the Indian soil” unless she apologised, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, chief cleric of New Delhi’s 17th-century Jama Masjid mosque, said in a statement. “India is a democratic nation and the constitution here neither does permit any citizen nor allow any foreign national to be irreverent to the tenets of any religion,” the cleric said. “The entire responsibility of the consequences shall rest upon the government of India,” Bukhari warned.
"Not on us Muslims, since everyone knows we can't control myself... I mean ourselves."

This article starring:
SYED AHMED BUKHARILearned Elders of Islam
Taslima Nasreen
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Global Jihad

#1  Shoot him.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/04/2007 8:41 Comments || Top||

#2  islam is a shame if words do this much damage....how can it be that words are stronger?? frickine idiots
Posted by: dan || 12/04/2007 13:57 Comments || Top||

Fazl free to leave MMA for contesting polls: Qazi
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) President Qazi Hussain Ahmed said on Monday that five parties of the six-party religious alliance were in favour of boycotting the elections and MMA Secretary General Maulana Fazlur Rehman was free to quit the alliance if he wanted to contest the polls.

Qazi was talking to reporters after attending an APDM meeting here. “Fazl is free to leave the MMA if he decides to contest the elections. The MMA is still sticking to the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM)’s decision to boycott the elections,” he added. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif was also present on the occasion.

Fazl surprised: Fazl said he was surprised at Qazi’s statement. He said that Qazi had no right to give such statement in individual capacity. Talking to Geo News, he said that it was too premature to comment on Qazi’s statement. However, he said the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had more public support than Qazi’s Jamaat-e-Islami.

Fazl said that he was unable to understand why Qazi gave this statement, adding that both of them had decided to carry on talks on the boycott issue and hold joint discussions with Nawaz Sharif. He said the future of MMA would depend on Qazi’s attitude since he was the alliance’s president. He said the JUI-F was not part of the APDM.
This article starring:
MAULANA FAZLUR REHMANMuttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Nawaz Sharif
QAZI HUSEIN AHMEDMuttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Jamaat-e-Islami

Uncle Fester barred from January vote
Pakistan's Election Commission barred former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday from a January 8 general election because of his criminal record but he did not rule out his party's participation in the vote.

Hours after his disqualification, Sharif met another former prime minister and opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto. They said they would present the government demands to ensure a fair election and their parties' participation. A united opposition boycott would rob the vote of credibility and prolong instability in the nuclear-armed country that is crucial to U.S. efforts to fight al Qaeda and bring peace to neighboring Afghanistan.

Sharif, a two-time prime minister overthrown in 1999 by the then army chief, Pervez Musharraf, has threatened to boycott the January 8 election but had nonetheless registered to run. He brushed off his disqualification by an election official who cited his convictions and vowed to fight on against what he called dictatorship. "Let them reject the nominations ... 10 times or even 100 times. I will serve the people with much more vigor and resolve," he told his supporters in Islamabad.

Sharif, who returned from seven years of exile on November 25, says the convictions secured against him in the wake of his removal were politically motivated. The constitution bars convicted people from running for parliament. Sharif's party said the disqualification was the result of pressure on election officials by President Musharraf.
This article starring:
Benazir Bhutto
Nawaz Sharif
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan

Mosul Airport Reopens for Commercial Flights
I guess this is good news. What kind of luggage scanning do they use? And do they 'profile' the passengers (only those named Mohammed can board)?
MOSUL, Iraq – For the first time in 14 years, a commercial airlines flight departed the Mosul Airport Dec. 2, carrying Muslim religious pilgrims on their annual trek to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The Mosul Airport, built in 1992, had not seen commercial airline traffic since U.S. military forces declared the city a no-fly zone in 1993. After recent cooperation between by Iraqi and U.S. government agencies, and employing local workers, the airport was rebuilt with the intent to continue commercial air service to Saudi Arabia and other locations.

Around 10:30 Sunday night, 152 Hajj pilgrims departed on Iraqi Airways Flight 020, bound for Baghdad, where they were to board another flight for Saudi Arabia.

“The Iraqi Airlines staff here performed wonderfully, overcoming operational obstacles in stride,” said R.C. Shackelford, provincial program manager in Ninewa. “The process will only get better with each experience.”

“This is a significant step for the revitalization of the economy, not just (for) Mosul, but all of northern Iraq,” said Jason Hyland, team leader for the Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team. “December 2 was a great day for the Iraqi people.”

In partnership with Ninewa’s Provincial Council and Governor Kashmoula, the U.S. Department of State contributed $3.2 million to help renovate the passenger terminal. Other funding came from the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance.
Posted by: Glenmore || 12/04/2007 08:45 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under: Iraqi Insurgency

#1  Another grim milestone ...
Posted by: doc || 12/04/2007 8:57 Comments || Top||

#2  Around 10:30 Sunday night

staff here performed wonderfully, overcoming operational obstacles

Can anyone say, "horrible flight delays?" Who leaves at 10:30pm to catch a connecting flight in the capital?
Posted by: gromky || 12/04/2007 11:07 Comments || Top||

#3  Can anyone say, "horrible flight delays?" Who leaves at 10:30pm to catch a connecting flight in the capital?

I question the timing ...
Posted by: mrp || 12/04/2007 11:37 Comments || Top||

#4  Good to see they've turned over operations to a local,

"R.C. Shackelford, provincial program manager in Ninewa."

Next up are arrangements for TSA staffing and non-stop service to Heathrow and points west.
Posted by: Unerelet Dingle7050 || 12/04/2007 12:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Let's hope they schedule flights to Ben Gurion Airport. It would be a refreshing change.
Posted by: Eric Jablow || 12/04/2007 19:07 Comments || Top||

Abu Ali Baba and the million thieves
Nonstop Theft and Bribery Stagger Iraq

Jobless men pay $500 bribes to join the police. Families build houses illegally on government land, carwashes steal water from public pipes, and nearly everything the government buys or sells can now be found on the black market.

Painkillers for cancer (from the Ministry of Health) cost $80 for a few capsules; electricity meters (from the Ministry of Electricity) go for $200 each, and even third-grade textbooks (stolen from the Ministry of Education) must be bought at bookstores for three times what schools once charged.

“Everyone is stealing from the state,” said Adel Adel al-Subihawi, a prominent Shiite tribal leader in Sadr City, throwing up his hands in disgust. “It’s a very large meal, and everyone wants to eat.”

Corruption and theft are not new to Iraq, and government officials have promised to address the problem. But as Iraqis and American officials assess the effects of this year’s American troop increase, there is a growing sense that, even as security has improved, Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness.

One recent independent analysis ranked Iraq the third most corrupt country in the world. Of 180 countries surveyed, only Somalia and Myanmar were worse, according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based group that publishes the index annually.

And the extent of the theft is staggering. Some American officials estimate that as much as a third of what they spend on Iraqi contracts and grants ends up unaccounted for or stolen, with a portion going to Shiite or Sunni militias. In addition, Iraq’s top anticorruption official estimated this fall — before resigning and fleeing the country after 31 of his agency’s employees were killed over a three-year period — that $18 billion in Iraqi government money had been lost to various stealing schemes since 2004.

The collective filching undermines Iraq’s ability to provide essential services, a key to sustaining recent security gains, according to American military commanders. It also sows a corrosive distrust of democracy and hinders reconciliation as entrenched groups in the Shiite-led government resist reforms that would cut into reliable cash flows.

In interviews across Baghdad, though, Iraqis said the widespread thieving affected them at least as powerfully on an emotional and moral level. The Koran is very clear on stealing: “God does not love the corrupters,” one verse says. And for average Iraqis, those ashamed of the looting that took place immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the current era of anything-goes is particularly crushing because almost no one can avoid its taint.

For many, it is not a question of getting rich. Theft and corruption have become survival tools, creating a spiral of dishonest transactions that leave nearly everyone feeling dirty.

Abu Ali is a 23-year-old Sunni with a soft middle and a common tale. Identifying himself by only a nickname, which means father of Ali, he said that he, his wife, his elderly mother and six relatives fled their home in eastern Baghdad last year after receiving death threats from Shiite militias. First they rushed to Diyala Province, and when that turned violent, they moved back to a safer area of Baghdad — broke and desperate.

A major breadwinner for his family, Abu Ali needed a job. And like many Iraqis, he saw only one employer hiring: the government. A neighbor who was a police officer suggested joining the force. Abu Ali asked how, noting that recruits outnumbered positions. The answer was simple: a $500 bribe.

Abu Ali borrowed the money a few months ago and found his way to a cellphone shop downtown, where, he said, a man in his late 20s welcomed him inside. The man identified himself as a police captain and seemed at ease with the transaction. His wealth sparkled all around.

“He had a silver Mercedes,” Abu Ali said. “He was wearing a thick gold chain and a gold watch.”

Abu Ali tried to bargain for a lower fee, but failed, handing over the cash and filling out official forms. In return, he said, he received a blue card stamped “Ministry of the Interior,” which declared him an accepted member of the police force. The man with the gold chain told him to watch for an announcement in the local paper that listed the names of newly accepted recruits, and to bring the card to his first day of training.

“How do I know I’ll really get the job?” Abu Ali said he asked. “He told me, ‘I’ve put in 70 or 80 people already. Don’t worry about it.’”


Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 12/04/2007 07:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Iraqi Insurgency

#1  Corruption and theft are not new to Iraq, and government officials have promised to address the problem. But as Iraqis and American officials assess the effects of this year’s American troop increase, there is a growing sense that, even as security has improved, Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness.

So the New York Times reporter feels that increased corruption outweighs fewer deaths? I thought it was liberals who supposedly value human life over money. I think it's unlikely that corruption has increased at all - what's more likely is that fighting terrorists diverted attention away from investigating corruption, and rightly so. Now that there are fewer terrorists to fight, attention can now be diverted to the mundane task of rooting out officials on the take.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 12/04/2007 12:56 Comments || Top||

#2  OMG, now we know where the politicians, police, and other government toadies employees displaced from New Orleans and Louisiana ended up after Katrina.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/04/2007 19:47 Comments || Top||

Iraq ministry eyes power to arrest foreign guards
Iraq's Interior Ministry will have the power to arrest foreign guards involved in shooting incidents if parliament approves a bill ending foreign security firms' immunity from prosecution, the minister said on Monday. Jawad al-Bolani also said he believed Iraq would soon need fewer foreign security contractors given that violence had dropped sharply in recent months.

Cabinet approved the draft law at the end of October in the wake of a September 16 shooting involving U.S. security firm Blackwater in which 17 Iraqis were killed. Blackwater said its guards acted lawfully, but the shooting enraged the Iraqi government.

The bill on foreign security guards has yet to be debated in parliament but it should pass easily. Iraqi officials have previously made clear it would make foreign guards liable under Iraqi law, but they have not been specific about carrying out arrests. Asked if Interior Ministry forces could arrest foreign security contractors involved in shootings, Bolani said: "Yes, when the law is passed".
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Iraqi Insurgency

#1  Wunderbar!
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/04/2007 9:03 Comments || Top||

#2  So Blackwater and other security firms pull out of Iraq. Who steps in to provide the security? The Iraqi police? (Ha!) The Iraqi Army? (Again, ha!) The US Army/Marine Corps?
Posted by: Rambler || 12/04/2007 10:57 Comments || Top||

Qurei says PA will coordinate with Syria
A visiting envoy for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas promised Monday to continue coordination with Syria as the Palestinians work to reach a peace agreement with Israel before the end of next year.

Former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei's comments came after a meeting with Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to discuss the recent US-sponsored Middle East peace conference, which set the stage for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. "We announce that we will stay in full coordination with Syria and the Arabs" during future negotiations, Qurei said.

At the recent summit in Annapolis, Maryland, Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said they would aim to reach a peace deal in 2008. But Olmert told his cabinet Sunday that Israel did not regard the December 2008 peace deal target date as a deadline.

"The (Annapolis) joint statement said that by the end of 2008 the final status negotiations should end," Qurei told reporters after Monday's meeting. "If Olmert says other than that, then he is responsible for what he says."

The Palestinian envoy added that "we are committed to working seriously to reach an agreement before the end of 2008." The two sides have agreed to hold their first formal negotiating session in the region on December 12. During Qurei's visit Monday, he met with Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or DFLP, one of several radical Palestinian factions based in Syria that are opposed to peace with Israel.
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6461 views] Top|| File under: Palestinian Authority

'Christian groups in PA to disappear'
The ever-dwindling Christian communities living in Palestinian-run territories in the West Bank and Gaza are likely to dissipate completely within the next 15 years as a result of increasing Muslim persecution and maltreatment, an Israeli scholar said Monday. "The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs," said Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer in an address at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he serves as a scholar in residence.

He cited Muslim harassment and persecution as the main cause of the "acute human rights crisis" facing Christian Arabs, and predicted that unless governments or institutions step in to remedy the situation - such as with job opportunities - there will be no more Christian communities living in the Palestinians territories within 15 years, with only a few Western Christians and top clergymen left in the area. "Christian leaders are being forced to abandon their followers to the forces of radical Islam," Weiner said.

Facing a pernicious mixture of persecution and economic hardships as a result of years of Palestinian violence and Israeli counter-terrorism measures, tens of thousands of Christian Arabs have left the Palestinian territories for a better life in the West, in a continuing exodus which has led some Christian leaders to warn that the faith could be virtually extinct in its birthplace in a matter of decades. The Palestinian Christian population has dipped to 1.5 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, down from at least 15% a half century ago, according to some estimates.
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under: Global Jihad

#1  MSM: Collective yawn.
Posted by: Whomong Guelph4611 || 12/04/2007 2:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Garsh, Jimmuh, could the West Bank and Gaza be described as apartheid states?
Posted by: Gabby Cussworth || 12/04/2007 11:46 Comments || Top||

US Warship Spots 2 Iranian Subs in Persian Gulf
Officials aboard the cruiser Vicksburg spotted and photographed two surfaced Iranian Kilo-class submarines in the Persian Gulf a few weeks ago, the ship’s skipper told U.S. Navy Secretary Donald Winter during a visit to the ship on Nov. 24. The Russian-designed diesel-electric attack subs were tracked and photographed by sailors onboard the Mayport, Fla.-based ship, said Capt. Chip Swicker. Crew members showed Winter the photographs of the surfaced subs. The Vicksburg did not communicate with either of the subs, Swicker said.

“They watched us and we watched them.”

Crew members aboard the cruiser didn’t consider the encounters hostile, although it wasn’t clear if the Iranian boats surfaced within view of the cruiser or if the U.S. warship happened to see the Iranian subs while they were already running on the surface. Iran has a fleet of three Kilo-class SSKs, according to Jane’s Fighting Ships.

Swicker indicated the Vicksburg was close enough to Iranian waters at the times of the encounters that crew members didn’t consider it out of the ordinary to see Iranian navy vessels. Winter, accompanied by a Navy Times reporter, was aboard the ship as part of a nine-day trip through Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

The Vicksburg crew told Winter about their encounters less than a week before Iran’s top navy commander claimed it was expanding its undersea fleet.The incidents recalled an encounter in October 2006 when a Chinese Song-class attack submarine surfaced near the carrier Kitty Hawk in the Western Pacific. Some analysts at the time called the act provocative, and pointed out the vulnerability of surface ships while they are shadowed by foreign submarines. It wasn’t clear whether Iranian sailors were attempting to send such a message to the Vicksburg.

The Vicksburg is wrapping up a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf, where since August it has conducted maritime security operations. The ship is due back in Mayport in January.
Posted by: Pappy || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  Probably only a matter of time until they fire on us and the donks ask "how did this happen?"
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/04/2007 0:49 Comments || Top||

#2  It's nice that US warships can spot surfaced submarines these days. How about spotting them when they're underwater?
Posted by: gromky || 12/04/2007 1:53 Comments || Top||

#3  Those sub commanders are damn lucky that the cruiser was named the Vicksburg and not the Rantburg.

Just sayin'.
Posted by: Grumenk Philalzabod0723 || 12/04/2007 6:47 Comments || Top||

#4  The incidents recalled an encounter in October 2006 when a Chinese Song-class attack submarine surfaced near the carrier Kitty Hawk in the Western Pacific.

In so far as both involved submarines. And ships.

And the USS Rantburg would put the fear of God in the Persians. Good idea.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/04/2007 8:40 Comments || Top||

#5  It's nice that US warships can spot surfaced submarines these days. How about spotting them when they're underwater?

USN surface-based ASW is at an all time low due to several factors:

Failure to keep up with submarine technology - Subs have gotten quieter. Surface warfare hasn't done much to find new methods and techniques.

Lack of targets to practice on - The Russians haven't been sending subs out. The Chinese don't send theirs far from home. The USN sub mafia doesn't play well with others and has been angling for really cool missions. As for the Euros...

Naval-community rivalry - again, competition between the sub, air, and surface community. Air has the upper hand at this point, sorta. Land-based ASW air assets have either been mothballed or converted to other uses (P-3s to EP-3s for example). Sea-based ASW air assets are being used as land-based assets assisting the USAF in surveillance. There really is no dedicated carrier-based long-range/high endurance ASW aircraft; helos have stepped into the gap, sorta. But the increased use means more wear and tear on the airframes.

Scattered missions - Too many weird and expensive shipbuilding programs. The Littoral Combat Ship supposedly can do many things. ASW ain't one of them. And the very expensive DDG-1000 program is a 7-ship run with land-attack as its primary mission. ASW isn't anywhere in its capabilities.

Reliance on NATO - The USN has relied on NATO assets for surface ASW (much like they have for mine countermeasures). Given the state of Euro navies, the Royal Navy in particular, that's like relying on your grandmother for roof maintenance.

Lawfare - 'Environmentalists' have managed to tie up the Navy in court over the use of active sonar. Sometimes the Navy's been lucky; it's still expensive and time-consuming to fight.

So the snark is understandable. It just isn't gonna be easy to fix.
Posted by: Pappy || 12/04/2007 12:03 Comments || Top||

#6  They should have sunk those 2 Iranian subs, just to give a lesson to Iran.
Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 12:08 Comments || Top||

#7  Pappy, Ima not aware of the P-3 to EP-3 conversion, please elaborate (and I live next door to NAS WI, WA) and Boeing has the contract fotr the P-3s replacement, based on the 737 airframe. First deliveries begin in 2012 I believe. Bigger threat I believe is the mass conversion of the SH-60-B/F fleet to the all purpose Version; some ASW capabilities are being sacrificed for other missions (SPECOPS, VERTREP) to cover for H-46 shortages. I consider this the 'Hornetization' of the rotary wing navy.
Posted by: USN,Ret. || 12/04/2007 12:26 Comments || Top||

#8  Pappy, Ima not aware of the P-3 to EP-3 conversion, please elaborate (and I live next door to NAS WI, WA) and Boeing has the contract fotr the P-3s replacement, based on the 737 airframe. First deliveries begin in 2012 I believe.

12 P-3s were converted to the EP-3 configuration.

As of June 2007 there were reportedly 164 P3s in inventory. They are aging. There is a sustainment, modification and installation program (SMIP) in place since at least 2005, but I don't have information on how many aircraft are going through it. I do know the P-3s are being used for such as drug interdiction patrols, maritime recon, and over-land recon flights in Iraq and Afghanistan; just about everything but ASW.

There will supposedly be 108 P-8A (737 airframe) Multi Mission Aircraft to replace the P-3. But the first one isn't scheduled to roll out until 2009, and full production in 2013. That's two administrations from now. A lot can happen in the interim.

And yes- the SH-60B/F conversion to a utility role is not a good trend. It will end up an airborne version of the LCS: mediocre at its missions, not easily retrofitted, and not available when needed.
Posted by: Pappy || 12/04/2007 21:12 Comments || Top||

#9  Also, Navy ASW S-3's are tankin' these days; pretty much used fer nuthin' else...
Posted by: Leonard Plynth Garnell || 12/04/2007 21:18 Comments || Top||

#10  ION, CHIN MIL FORUM > CHINA UPSET OVER CARRIER'S TRANSIT IN TAIWAN STRAITS. [USS Kitty Hawk]. IOW, Kitty Hawk = USA is has challenged China's claims of local [maritime]sovereignty over the Straits and Taiwan proper. ALso reflected by vari Posters at WMF.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 22:56 Comments || Top||

US, China agree on new Iran sanctions
The United States has agreed with China on the basis for more United Nations sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, and said a deal could be reached if Russia is brought on board, a top diplomat said on Monday. World powers held a meeting on Saturday aimed at agreeing more UN sanctions against Iran, which a French diplomat has said could lead to a deal on punitive measures within weeks, despite previous opposition from China and Russia. “We were able, with the Chinese government, to focus on a number of areas where we would agree to sanctions,” said Nicholas Burns, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, speaking to reporters in Singapore. A decision on new sanctions could not be reached on Saturday as Russia’s envoy was prevented from flying to the meeting in Paris because of snow in Canada. “Now if we can bring the Russians on board, I think we’ll have the makings of a third Security Council resolution,” Burns said.
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  “We were able, with the Chinese government, to focus on a number of areas where we would agree to sanctions,

Ah, so they agree to agree which is not exactly the same thing as agreeing on sanctions. I will believe it when it happens.
Posted by: SteveS || 12/04/2007 9:45 Comments || Top||

Iran hails Gulf ties, Gulf Arabs tightlipped
Iran went on a charm offensive in Qatar on Monday, hailing its debut presence at a summit of Gulf leaders as ushering in a new era of regional ties, but its Arab neighbors offered no immediate matching welcome.

In contrast to lengthy statements to reporters by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, U.S-allied Gulf Arab leaders were yet to react to Iran's proposals for greater cooperation on economic and security issues at the two-day summit.

Iranian officials deflected questions regarding Gulf input into defusing the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. "This era has changed and the time of threats has ended...Iran has chosen its path and from our point of view the nuclear issue has ended," Ahmadinejad told reporters, referring to the West's plans to impose further sanctions on Iran.

He spoke after the opening ceremony of the Gulf Cooperation Council's annual summit meeting in the Qatari capital Doha. Ahmadinejad, who regularly rails against the United States, said of his trip to Qatar: "It seems a new chapter has been opened in the relations between the Persian Gulf States. Iran's definite policy is to promote broad cooperation with all countries particularly friendly neighboring countries."
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  RIAN > A. PROPOSES PERSIAN GULF SECURITY PACT. The consequences of erupting Persian Gulf volcanoes + new NIE Report rear-eth its head-eth.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 20:59 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 22:51 Comments || Top||

Hezbollah resorts to blackmail before giving ok on president
Hezbollah, in its first response to the March 14 alliance formal nomination of Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman for president, said that the majority's consent to amend the constitution is a "positive step".

The daily al-Liwa quoted a senior Hezbollah official as saying that the ruling majority still needs to "contact Gen. (Michel) Aoun to discuss the political 'package' that will specify the share of each party in the new government".

Analysts told Ya Libnan that according to the constitution the government resigns immediately after a new president is elected and the new president consults with all parties before appointing a prime minister that will form a new government. This new demand by Hezbollah is seen by analysts as blackmail to extract concessions out of the majority prior to approving the presidency of Michel Suleiman

Hezbollah also demanded consensus on the name of the next Army Commander who will replace Suleiman after the latter is elected as the new president and the armed resistance and international resolutions controversial issues before elections take place. These demands according to analysts are other forms of blackmail by Hezbollah since it wants to guarantee a pro Syrian army chief , wants to keep its arms and does not want the new president to abide by the UN resolutions.

According to analysts Hezbollah never intended to support General Michel Aoun for presidency but used him all along to obtain the Christian cover for the war and the protests and to put pressure on the parliament majority. Now that Aoun has publicly supported Suleiman, there is a sense of relief at the Shiite group but wants to maximize its gain before giving final approval to the army commander.
Posted by: Fred || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under: Hezbollah

#1  GLOBAL ANALYSIS > IRAN'S TERROR ARMY IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Nothin in the ME will succeed widout Iran's consent = pro-Iran concession.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 23:07 Comments || Top||

Iran froze nuclear programme four years ago, US intelligence report says
Iran halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 and has not restarted it since, a stunning new assessment released by America's intelligence agencies has found.

The findings, published yesterday, contradict an assessment by US intelligence officials two years ago that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons and appeared to undercut President Bush's repeated and ominous warnings about a nuclear-armed Iran.

As recently as August Mr Bush gave warning that Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology could lead to a nuclear holocaust and that the US and its allies “will confront this danger before it is too late”. In October he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to a third world war.

Last night, however, Mr Bush's closest aides claimed that the finding was vindication for the White House's focus on a muscular but diplomatic approach to Iran.

The report, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report — the consensus view of all 16 US intelligence agencies — said that Iran still continued to enrich uranium, which meant that it might be able to develop a weapon between 2010 and 2015 if it restarted its weapons programme. It also said that Iran's ultimate goal was still to develop the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

But it adds: “Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons programme suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons that we have been judging since 2005.” Two years ago the NIE stated with “high confidence” that Iran was pursuing the nuclear bomb.

Yesterday's assessment said Iran's ultimate intentions about acquiring a nuclear weapon remained unclear, but that Tehran's “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs”.

It added: “Some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways might — if perceived by Iran's leaders as credible — prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program.”

The assessment is being published five years after the release of another report by the NIE which claimed that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing the nuclear bomb. The report was one of the most important pieces of evidence used by the White House to justify the invasion of Iraq.

It also comes amid a presidential campaign in which the issue of Iran has eclipsed Iraq as the most pressing foreign policy challenge facing America. Anti-Iranian rhetoric has been particularly bellicose among several leading Republican candidates.

The report addresses claims by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, that Tehran has 3,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. It says that Iran might have the centrifuges, but it is having technological difficulties in making them work.

Stephen Hadley, Mr Bush's National Security Adviser, said the report “offers some positive news”.

He added: “It confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons. It tells us that we have made progress in trying to ensure that this does not happen.

“But the intelligence also tells us that the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon remains a very serious problem.

“The estimate offers grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomatically — without the use of force — as the Administration has been trying to do. And it suggests that the President has the right strategy: intensified international pressure along with a willingness to negotiate a solution.”

Last month the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world's nuclear watchdog, reported that Iran was operating 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, but it said it was unclear whether the country was pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Sure. Those centrifuges could be to make ice cream instead. Really hot ice cream.
Posted by: john frum || 12/04/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If true...

North Korea is looking better. Iraq is looking better, and now Iran may even be in a far better situation than we suspected. Rove couldn't have planned things better if he'd tried.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/04/2007 0:07 Comments || Top||

#2  The findings, published yesterday, contradict an assessment by US intelligence officials two years ago that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons and appeared to undercut President Bush's repeated and ominous warnings about a nuclear-armed Iran.

Finds by the same agencies that made the earlier assessment. So it's not a 'contradiction'.
Posted by: Pappy || 12/04/2007 0:25 Comments || Top||

#3  wow, that's alot of f'n hype over nothing....
Posted by: Red Dawg || 12/04/2007 0:44 Comments || Top||

#4  AP's unnamed sources raise their ugly unnamed heads again! El-Baradei may lobby for another Noble Prize.
Posted by: Phinater Thraviger || 12/04/2007 1:12 Comments || Top||

#5  It just means Iran has good disinfo ops, and changed security rating of information, so any nuclear weapons info is now classified top secret, even for domestic consumption.

The intelligence stupidity agencies should be held accountable when a mushroom cloud of Iranian origin pops somewhere in ME.
Posted by: Spike Uniter || 12/04/2007 1:21 Comments || Top||

#6  Notice I said when, not if.
Posted by: Spike Uniter || 12/04/2007 1:25 Comments || Top||

#7  KOMMERSANT > RUSSIA DOES WHAT IT HAS TO WITH IRAN. Author recognizes that once Iran succcessfully learns to operate a full nuclear cycle, it will have the ability to make nuke weapons, thus Revolutionary/Radical Islamism will become all but absolut invulnerable to any Western efforts [includ Russ?]to stop it. Are dealing wid dedic Xtremists and ideologues, etc. whom believe in theirs = Islam's/Islamism's final victory. FAILURE TO STOP = DIVERT IRAN'S ATTENTION OR NUKE AMBITIONS NOW, espec as per consequent nuke weapons dev, may LEAD TO BIGGER, POSSIBLY NUCLEAR OR WORSE WAR LATER, PERHAPS IN A DECADE.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 4:18 Comments || Top||

#8  I think this is good news boyz, once Iran finally gets the bomb the rest of the ME countries will follow. That means no more monoply for Israel... it will have no choice but to implement all the U.N resolutions against it. I believe under the M.A.D theory there will finally be peace in the M.E. Everyone will be too afraid to piss the other side off.
Posted by: Leah Ashley || 12/04/2007 4:44 Comments || Top||

#9  Er...Ashley...Iran's president has stated on several occasions that he intends to use his nukes to wipe out Israel, and he doesn't care how many of his people die as a result. Maybe you missed that one.
Posted by: gromky || 12/04/2007 5:07 Comments || Top||

#10  Er...Ashley...Iran's president has stated on several occasions that he intends to use his nukes to wipe out Israel, and he doesn't care how many of his people die as a result. Maybe you missed that one.
Posted by: gromky || 12/04/2007 5:07 Comments || Top||

#11  Methinks that wid PUTIN = RUSSIA being ornery, Dubya = USA wants to give the Russ something to worry about, i.e. another major potens enemy not just the USA???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 5:34 Comments || Top||

#12  Am I the only one who thinks that Iran's sole motivation for "halting" its nuclear weapons program is to give its uranium enrichment program and missile development program time to catch up? We still need to take out those centrifuges.
Posted by: Darrell || 12/04/2007 7:13 Comments || Top||

#13  Leah, M.A.D. falls apart when even just one side embraces suicide and martyrdom over life. Why don't you Google "suicide bomber" and see how many of the last dozen or so were from middle eastern countries.
Posted by: Darrell || 12/04/2007 7:18 Comments || Top||

#14  Something about this stinks. I'd love to know what their sources are, I thought we didn't have much humint on Iran. More ass-covering by the CIA?
Posted by: Spot || 12/04/2007 8:00 Comments || Top||

#15  Maybe now it'll penetrate Olmert's thick skull that Israel is on it's own here.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/04/2007 8:33 Comments || Top||

#16  Leah Ashley, you ignorant slut, Israel is a democracy and the rest of the Middle East is made up of theocracies and dictatorships - with the possible exception of Iraq - many of whom we prop up as "allies" and which you pay for every time you fill a tank of gas. Allowing our enemies or or Arab "allies" to have nuclear weapons is insane. If Persia becomes a democracy it will be a different story; one in which they will not need nuclear weapons. So instead of peddling your sickening, anti-semitic moral equivalence why don't you stage a protest against an actual dictatorship, the actual enemies of free speech and the actual enemies of women. If you care about any of those things or if you are not too afraid to confront men who would rape, enslave or behead you at the behest of their evil moon good. Here you are dealing with gentlemen and this is as polite a lecture as you deserve.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/04/2007 8:47 Comments || Top||

#17  The same people who screamed that the intel that Bush used [as well as other countries intel services and good o'Bill] was cooked are now going to argue that the very same authors who put this out are now absolutely credible and believable. These are estimates, guesses, because there is no certainty. The real question is what is the best rational choice in order to avoid the worst possible outcome. Of course the usual suspects consider America simply the worst possible outcome and therefore should reap the ostracism they deserve [which can be identified by the amount of non-ostracism given to them by MSM].
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/04/2007 9:26 Comments || Top||

#18  You can forget about Mutually Assured Destruction - Assured Mutual Destruction is far more likely, although in the case of their "civilisation", as was convincingly argued by Khomeni et al in his pre-emptive nuclear attack fatwa, who would notice?

Anyway, we only one side destroyed here, so I think Mutually Assured Holy Destruction of Iran
(M.A.H.D.I) is the best policy

God Bless Amerika!
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 12/04/2007 10:02 Comments || Top||

#19  What's the latest on that blown-up Syrian nuke weapon assembly facility/secret nuclear reactor plant or whatever the heck it was?

As long as Iran refuses to allow international inspectors access to all nuclear-related facilities the civilized world has no alternative but to increase pressure on the Ayatollahs.

Frankly, our intelligence community has dropped the ball on too many occasions for us to lower our guard.
Posted by: mrp || 12/04/2007 10:15 Comments || Top||

#20  Oops - spot the mistake it was famous "Moderate" Rafsanjani who said that dropping a bomb on the Islamic world wouldnt make much difference.
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 12/04/2007 10:22 Comments || Top||

#21  ...and anyways, Leah, bearing in mind that the nation is dominated by a suicide cult, it would be more akin to mass euthanasia.

and I want to kno exacly WHO are YOU to deny such liberal progressive ideas to our self-harming Iranian comrades, Leah, you pro-lifer Christian Fundamentalist Right-Wing-Nut?
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 12/04/2007 10:28 Comments || Top||

#22  Sadly the middle easts version of MAD looks more like Mad Max.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/04/2007 11:27 Comments || Top||

#23  Leah Ashley, you ignorant slut

Excalibur, whatever you think of Leah Ashley's arguments, this was inappropriate and beneath your station, IMHO.
Posted by: Free Radical || 12/04/2007 11:45 Comments || Top||

#24  Hello, Rantburgers.

I come here because I hope some of you can explain to me who the hell are those "intelligence" guys who fabricated this so-called "report" ?

What is their aim ??

Why are they supporting Iran, and spreading all those lies and disinformations ??

I think someone needs to fire some intelligence analysts. Obviously, the bad analysts who weren't able to prevent 9-11 are still at work inside the US intel community, and this is very worrying.

I am sure your great country will do the right thing, and don't believe those stupid intel falsifications, obviously made up by some crypto-démocrats...

By the way, Bush just said that this report changes nothing for him, and that Iran is a very dangerous threat to the world.
Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 11:47 Comments || Top||

#25  On the other hand, Leah Ashley, you obvious anti-semite, just doesn't get the laughs.
Posted by: wxjames || 12/04/2007 11:53 Comments || Top||

#26  It's sad, but I think that now Israel will have to act alone against Iran, as John Bolton, one of your great men, said some months ago.

I hope that Ehud Barak will be able to convince Olmert that Israel has to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

And the sooner, the better.
Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 12:00 Comments || Top||

#27  I feel like a mushroom because they keep me in the dark and feed me cow manure. It is not a very secure feeling.

I'd say it's time for George Bush to amble on back to Crawford but I can't believe that whoever takes his place will be any better.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 12/04/2007 12:03 Comments || Top||

#28  Excalibur, whatever you think of Leah Ashley's arguments, this was inappropriate and beneath your station, IMHO.

It's a reference to an old Saturday Night Live skit called Weekend Update that satirized 60 Minutes Point-Counterpoint feature.

Posted by: Pappy || 12/04/2007 12:15 Comments || Top||

#29  Lot of crap going on in the world and if I want to read about trash talking I'll look up the transcript for 'I love New York'. Given enough of a timeline enough ME countries will have 'the bomb' and from the land of glorified suicide bombers MAD does not work - When fighting the Saxons Charles made the remark that when fighting barbarians the obvious advantage they have over a civilized nation is that they have less to lose.

There is the alleged bomb factory, NKor changing its tone, Annapolis which had a UN resolution made by then withdrawn by the USA, now this reversal on the intelligence situation yet USSR/USA agree on sanctions?! It makes me wonder what is going on behind the curtains - and that this is not some crap that delays what seems to me IMHO to be an inevitable war for 5-10 years when everyone has nukes and the casualties will be massive. Even if peace is brokered with ME countries they have spent so much time and energy on hate that there are so many loose cannons even a well intentioned ME country could not control the will of the radicals/mob.

So, like Leroidavid and EU6305 say, WTF really is going on?
Posted by: swksvolFF || 12/04/2007 12:25 Comments || Top||

#30  Apologies: USSR Russia - it just seems like the olden days
Posted by: swksvolFF || 12/04/2007 12:28 Comments || Top||

#31  I think Excalibur replied to Leah Ashley in an admirable manner. As he pointed out at the end of his rant:

"Here you are dealing with gentlemen and this is as polite a lecture as you deserve."

But, hey, keep posting Leah. Rantburgers are always ready for an exchange with some twisted, old, shriveled moon bat like you. Maybe you could explain to us how MAD works when you are dealing with people who really are insane.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 12/04/2007 12:30 Comments || Top||

#32  Damn it!!! The more I think about it, the more it pisses me off. They can call this intelligence or stupidity or whatever it is "classified" all they want. But I have a right to know if some mad man out there is a threat to my country and I damn well want the government people who are paid from my tax dollars to do something about it.

The way I see it, it doesn't matter if Achmadinejad has a nuke or not. If he talks like he does and there are signs that he is trying to get one then bomb him and bomb his pathetic little country until it is nothing but dust, radioactive or otherwise. For one thing, it'll teach other pathetic little countries not to screw with us. For another, it is, unfortunately, the only way for us to know for sure that he is not a threat.

It's like when the cops stop a guy and tell him to put his hands in the air and instead he reaches inside his jacket. The cops don't know what he has in his jacket but they have to assume it's a gun and so they have no choice but to shoot the guy. They don't want to shoot him but they have no choice unless they are willing to risk getting shot themselves. It's the same damn thing with Iran so bomb them now before it's too late!!!
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 12/04/2007 12:53 Comments || Top||

#33  I agree with you, "Ebbang Uluque6305".

I think this report is very worrying, not for what it says, but for what it is trying to hide.

We shall not forget that Iran has massive terrorist training camps, in which more than 40,000 Islamic terrorists are been trained to kill Westerners.

They will not hesitate to detonate an atomic bomb in an European or American city.

So, Mr Bush, bomb Iran nuclear facilities first !
Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 13:08 Comments || Top||

#34  Free Radical, I assume you are not an American or else not a follower of old Saturday Night Live. The Ignorant slut reference is an old joke and not as bad as the insult it would appear at first.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/04/2007 13:19 Comments || Top||

#35  I have no reason whatsoever to put any faith into the NIE's "best educated guess". On this issue I will follow/trust the lead of Israel because it's more likely than not that they will be the first target of a nuke developed by the iranian muslims.
Did the NIE report say anything interesting about the hit Israel put on Syria this past September? No? Hmmm...

BTW: Excal's statement to Leah being an ignorant slut was not lost on me. I understood immmediately the reference to the old SNL show. That said, I'm thinking you have to be ABOVE a certain age to pick up on the reference to the old SNL "Point-Counterpoint" segment : "Jane, you ignorant slut!" Furthermore, given the tripe Leah was spewing in her comment, Excal was being a polite gentleman above and beyond the call.
Posted by: Mark Z || 12/04/2007 13:42 Comments || Top||

#36  Miss Ashley isn't worth wasting bytes on -- she is a third class troll with delusions of grandeur.

Given the Iranian connection via North Korea to China, why should Iran work to develop the weapon part of its nuclear program when it can be bought off the rack from the original developer. After all, isn't that what Libya did not so long ago? All Iran really needs do is get enough uranium or whatever to assemble the bloody things.
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/04/2007 14:23 Comments || Top||

#37  Free Radical is a true member of Generation X, hence missed the early SNL shows. He has no doubtbeen entirely too busy since he achieved awareness in absorbing the cultural details of his own time and place.
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/04/2007 14:25 Comments || Top||

#38  Tw,

In theory its easy to build a nuke with off the shelf equipment and fissionable material. In practice its not so easy.

And in Iran's case the bomb making project gets in the way of other things they want to do. There are only so many competent people and if they are assigned to try to make aircraft they can't be working on bombs.

Posted by: mhw || 12/04/2007 14:42 Comments || Top||

#39  Ignorant slut is indeed an old SNL routine. I'm old enough to remember watching it live.

Leah Ashley may be a delusional moonbat. She may be a troll. If the latter, she succeeded. YHBT and all that.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/04/2007 14:51 Comments || Top||

#40  Something is going on. Since when have all 16 of the fractured US intelligence agencies been on the same page? Only when ordered is my guess.

Do they want my estimate, too? I dunnit from my armchair. I'll bet they haven't done anything more than a few experiments here and there, 75% of which we have no clue about. They are getting all their duckies in line for a sprint to the finish, the beginning of which will be masked from the public view so they'll have a headstart. They are stirring up the nationalism they'll need to absorb some serious casualties. They are setting up the military infrastructure they will need to have in place if they manage to succeed in generating atomic bombs such as the nuclear capable ICBMs. Nutjob has stated that all the countries around him are wimps and that his country would be happy to sustain something like 75% casualties to do the world the "favor" of wiping Israel off the map. They are putting into place (or think they are at least) a military capable of defending against attacks that is currently unnecessary. They suddenly need nuclear power when oil and gas (which I hear they have a lot of) are available at a lot lower cost. They concealed their nuclear weapons program from the world until they were outed by one of their own (who probably has more brains than all the rest put together). They will not let go of the part of the program that involves refining their own fuel. They frustrate any serious inspections and ignore all economic sanctions that are supposed to diminish the possibility of a military use of this technology, even if makes better sense to not do this. They are also bunkering all the stuff they care about. They have also declined offers of technology that would not produce fissile material amongst a ton of other benefits.

Hitler did this before WWII and it worked pretty good.

Now I'm supposed to believe that they were concealing and bunkering nuclear program that was designed for civilian use only? Uh huh. All the arrows point in basically the same direction: The bomb.

Or maybe Nutjob is right and the US doesn't have the oomph to attack them and is looking to save face. Which I doubt.
Posted by: gorb || 12/04/2007 15:39 Comments || Top||

#41  No doubt in my mind that the same geniuses in the CIA who have been undermining Bush now want to prevent him from taking decisive action on the Iranian nuke program by issuing this ridiculous report. After the Iranians explode their first nuke it will be found to be in error, like most CIA reports. We could save money by replacing the CIA with an Ouija board.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 12/04/2007 16:13 Comments || Top||

#42  In theory its easy to build a nuke with off the shelf equipment and fissionable material. In practice its not so easy.

I disagree. Any modern nation, Iran included, can develop an uranium gun bomb in a few months. You can work up the design and manufacturing capability using unenriched uranium mockups.

The US didn't even bother to test the Hiroshima design, because it was obvious from dummy testing that it would work.

Maybe the reason the Iranians stopped work (if indeed they did) was because they were done. Now all they need is the U235.

Bush is right. And the US 'intelligence' agencies are fools. Keep your eye on the Israelis, they have the true skinny.
Posted by: KBK || 12/04/2007 17:50 Comments || Top||

#43  Are we to conclude that 16 'intelligence' agencys/groups, (which includes State's BTW), ALL agreed on the un-named source info and it was a 16-0 consensus? This really sounds closer to trying to remove a problem from the Annapolis scam. Nothing to see here, move along....
Posted by: Phinater Thraviger || 12/04/2007 17:54 Comments || Top||


That's the Israeli view.
Posted by: KBK || 12/04/2007 17:57 Comments || Top||

#45  That the NIE changed 180 degrees in two years is no surprise - we didn't really know then and we don't really know now. Maybe the report is true now, maybe then, maybe neither, maybe both. What is clear is that we really don't know.
What IS a surprise is the release of the report. And the release seems to have been sanctioned by pretty much the entire administration. There has to be a reason for that - a pretty big reason, since these guys virtually never agree on anything, and also can never keep their mouths shut. What is it? Combined this story with the pullback on the rhetoric from the generals in Iraq about Iranian arms and operatives in Iraq. Either Iran really has backed off or we have a reason for letting everyone believe they have. Did we make a deal with them?
Then add the third page to the story - the mysterious Israeli bombing in Syria. No big stink from Syria, nor Iran, nor KSA, nor even China. Even Turkey was subdued about the overflight. Strange.
My opinion is that all of this is related and none of it is what it seems to be. What could possibly get so many disparate parties in general agreement - and to keep all their mouths shut? Super strange.
Posted by: Glenmore || 12/04/2007 18:46 Comments || Top||

#46  I just read the NIE Report.

Here are 2 quotes:

"We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so."

"We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009."

So, contrary to what the MSM say, this report assesses the fact that Iran is a very important threat.

And that, in 2009, Iran will be able to perpetrate a new genocide of 6 million Jews.
Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 20:03 Comments || Top||

#47  Here is the link to the NIE Report "Iran's Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities":

Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 20:04 Comments || Top||

#48  "The National Intelligence Council, which produced the NIE, is chaired by Thomas Fingar, “a State Department intelligence analyst with no known overseas experience who briefly headed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research."

Check out the rest on newsmax article: http://www.newsmax.com/timmerman/iran_nukes/2007/12/04/54359.html
Posted by: Phinater Thraviger || 12/04/2007 20:19 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 20:20 Comments || Top||

#50  HAARETZ Poster > real danger from new NIE report + Iran nukes IS TO THE USA, NOTSOMUCH ISRAEL.
Other Haar Poster > THE NEOCONS ARE FINISHED. Lest we fergit, 9-11/WOT ANTI-US AGENDISTS > among other premises and agendums, WOT > FULL STALINISM Vs LIMITED STALINISM, and related.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 20:24 Comments || Top||

#51  I fully admit to being American, Gen X, and culturally unaware even of my own ages cultural touchstones... I guess things like that come across differently in print if you aren't in on the joke. Thank you for sticking up for me TW. As always, you are kind to us poor nerds!
Posted by: Free Radical || 12/04/2007 20:33 Comments || Top||

#52  You can download here an interesting report about the Iranian threat:

"Speaking about the Unspeakable: U.S.-Israeli Dialogue on Iran's Nuclear Program"

Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 20:46 Comments || Top||

#53  REDDIT/TOPIX > Bush refuses to take Iran military option off the table despite new US NIE Report, warning that Iran was, is, and remains dangerous as long as they have nuke knowledge. NIE report shows only that US-World must remain vigilant.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 20:46 Comments || Top||

#54  If Iran ACTUALLY stopped the nuclear weapons program 4 years ago, it was because Bush just got through taking out Afghanistan to their immediate left, and Saddams regime to their immediate right and common sense told them they better be in position to PROVE to the world they are not into WMD if our troops started threatening to start pouring tomahawks into Tehran.
Posted by: Victor Emmanuel Whusoque4891 || 12/04/2007 21:07 Comments || Top||

#55  Waow, the Newsmax article cited by "Phinater Thraviger" is great.

A real must read!

In short:

1) "The NIE Report was written by former State Department political and intelligence analysts — not by more seasoned members of the U.S. intelligence community";

2) "Its most dramatic conclusion — that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to international pressure — is based on a single, unvetted source who provided information to a foreign intelligence service and has not been interviewed directly by the United States."

3) "The National Intelligence Council, which produced the NIE, is chaired by Thomas Fingar, a State Department intelligence analyst with no known overseas experience" who "was a key partner of Senate Democrats in their successful effort to derail the confirmation of John Bolton in the spring of 2005 to become the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations."

4) "Collaborating with Fingar on the Iran estimate, released on Monday, were Kenneth Brill, the director of the National Counterproliferation Center, and Vann H. Van Diepen, the National Intelligence officer for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.":

4a) "Kenneth Brill consistently failed to confront Iran once its clandestine nuclear weapons program was exposed in February 2003";

4b) "Van Diepen was insubordinate, hated WMD sanctions, and strived not to implement them, even though it was his specific responsibility at State to do so"

This US intel report has been written by three dangerously incompetent US "analysts" !!!

This is really incredible !!!
Posted by: Leroidavid || 12/04/2007 21:24 Comments || Top||


Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 21:31 Comments || Top||

#57  I have been digesting this subject quite a bit today when I have had a bit of time. Some thoughts:

1. #40 comment by gorb was right on the mark. Iran, through its actions and rhetoric wants the big stick of nuclear weapons. You do not develop long range ballistic missiles to put a black powder warhead on. You need throw weight. And that means nuclear weapons. Though what I would imagine you would need would be plutonium fueled fissile weapons.

2. I also agree with comment #42 by KBK. An enrichment program for U235 would bring a relatively (no pun intended) easy and quick fission bomb on line by using the uranium gun design. This may not go on a missile, but maybe on a suicide plane, or some other vehicle. At least they can say that they have a bomb. U235 concentration is the easiest path to fissile material, other than buying it on the black market.

3. Iran can take its time with the weapons. Wait out President Bush's administration. Play more rope-a-dope with the EU, UN, US. It has bought them time.

4. One great big dissapointment I have had w/r/t relations with Iran has been the absolute lack of using the founding principles of the US to raise the moral bar against Iran and appeal to the Iranian people by multiple avenues. We should have been shaming the MM regime and appealing to the people directly. By overt and covert means we needed to facilitate regime change in that country. That would be the ONLY way to ensure that nukes are not produced Iran and spread around. What have we done? The PoS DoState has elevated the level of the MMs by doing dumb-a$$ed diplomatic type behavior, instead of trying to elevate the people and deligitimatize the MMs. We do not have official relations with the Iranian govt, so what is there to lose?

5. If you really want to see what the real threats that Iran (and proxy Syria) pose, watch the Israelis (their intelligence and the IDF). They are on an extremely short trip wire. They CANNOT afford to be wrong, even once. They will be gone. They will not have a country to live in.

6. There are lots of unknowns out there, not enough hard intelligence, and to make matters worse, many in our intel agencies have their own agenda. I trust very very few of them.

7. Engineers hope for the best and plan for the worst. This engineer sees it clearly that Iran has had a concerted effort to acquire nuclear weapons. They have not changed their goals, though they may have put their programs on hold for various reasons. They obfuscate and they stall. Their rhetoric needs to be taken seriously, because the price of a mistaken assessment is the deaths of many innocent people.

I would not stake my life nor that of my family and friends on the NIE report. The MMs need to be brought down. We need to be thinking Sun Tzu, not rope-a-dope diplomacy, in our strategy to achieve this goal.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/04/2007 21:32 Comments || Top||

#58  NEWSVINE > "FATHER OF REAGANOMICS" SAYS BUSH IS MOVING [USA] TOWARDS A POLICE STATE. See also various anti-Bush/GOP Net websites on proposed US SENATE-HOUSE legislations in suppor of new nationwide domestic hyper-regulations???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 21:35 Comments || Top||

#59  man, was that ever funny!!
Posted by: You ignorant slut || 12/04/2007 21:38 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/04/2007 22:59 Comments || Top||

#61  There is absolutely no proof that Leah Ashley is a slut.
Posted by: Mike N. || 12/04/2007 23:41 Comments || Top||

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Tue 2007-12-04
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Mon 2007-12-03
  40 Taliban killed, 14 held in Afghanistan
Sun 2007-12-02
  Walkout in Iraq parliament over Sunni leader raid
Sat 2007-12-01
  Binny: Euroleaders 'like living under shadow of White House'
Fri 2007-11-30
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Thu 2007-11-29
  Perv finally quits army
Wed 2007-11-28
  Sistani tells Shiites to protect Sunni brothers
Tue 2007-11-27
  Perv to bid farewell to troops
Mon 2007-11-26
  Nawaz returns, vows to contest elections
Sun 2007-11-25
  Sharifs reach deal with Perv
Sat 2007-11-24
  Tanks deployed in Beirut to prevent possible violence
Fri 2007-11-23
  Lahoud stepping down at midnight
Thu 2007-11-22
  Iraqi Security Forces detain 81 suspected extremists
Wed 2007-11-21
  Berri postpones Lebanon presidential vote for fourth time
Tue 2007-11-20
  Israel to free 441 Palestinian prisoners

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