John Kerry: Epic Fail

John Kerry is a complete and utter failure as the Secretary of State. It isn’t even close. This is a man who makes Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State look competent. He is the perfect Secretary of State for Barack Obama, arguably the worst president in the history of the Republic.

kerry on a bike2A classic example is currently underway in the nuclear talks with the mullahs in Iran. Kerry’s wicked smart negotiating team is described as negotiating from a position of weakness, and routinely “plea” with Iran in their talks, and that Iran’s leading negotiator “frequently shouts” at U.S. officials. link

And now, according to a survey of professors at the top 25 foreign policy schools conducted by Foreign Policy Magazine, Kerry is the absolute worst Secretary of State in history. source

Is anyone really surprised?

Critical Infrastructure compromised by Iran

The attacks have collectively been dubbed Operation Cleaver after a string found in various malware tools used by the hacker group, which is believed to operate primarily out of Tehran.

operation-cleaver“We discovered over 50 victims in our investigation, distributed around the globe,” said researchers from IT security firm Cylance in an extensive report released Tuesday. “Ten of these victims are headquartered in the US and include a major airline, a medical university, an energy company specializing in natural gas production, an automobile manufacturer, a large defense contractor, and a major military installation.”

Other victims were identified in Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The attackers used publicly available attack tools and exploits, as well as specialized malware programs they created themselves. Cylance believes the team consists of at least 20 hackers and developers who support Iranian interests and were probably recruited from the country’s universities.

“The infrastructure utilized in the campaign is too significant to be a lone individual or a small group,” the Cylance researchers said. “We believe this work was sponsored by Iran.”

The type of access the hackers obtained inside various organizations and the data they stole varied widely. In the case of universities, they targeted research data, student information, student housing, as well as identifying information, pictures and passports. In the case of critical infrastructure companies, they stole sensitive information that could allow them or affiliated organizations to sabotage industrial control systems and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) environments, the Cylance researchers said.

No evidence of such sabotage by the group exists so far, but Cylance believes this could be the campaign’s end goal, as retaliation by Iran for the Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame malware attacks. Stuxnet, which is viewed as the world’s first cyberweapon, is believed to have been created by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts and set back its nuclear program.

“Perhaps the most bone-chilling evidence we collected in this campaign was the targeting and compromise of transportation networks and systems such as airlines and airports in South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan,” the Cylance researchers said. “The level of access seemed ubiquitous: Active Directory domains were fully compromised, along with entire Cisco Edge switches, routers, and internal networking infrastructure.”

“They achieved complete access to airport gates and their security control systems, potentially allowing them to spoof gate credentials,” the researchers said. “They gained access to PayPal and Go Daddy credentials allowing them to make fraudulent purchases and allowed unfettered access to the victim’s domains. We witnessed a shocking amount of access into the deepest parts of these companies and the airports in which they operate.”

John Kerry wants to make a deal with these people.

I guess we know now why he was so anxious to give them a six month extension on the nuke talks.

Nah, the Obama Administration wouldn’t allow themselves to be blackmailed, would they?

12-12-12. T Minus 9 days and counting till TEOTWAWKI

I’m watching the 12-12-12 benefit concertRoger Daltry of The Who looks to be about 100 years old.  But the music still rocks – without a doubt.

Nine days till  <<THE END>>.  Here’s what the hedgehog sees as he peeks above the rim of his burrow:

Over a half  million family farms threatened by Obama’s new death tax.

Large “Ball of Light” crashes in Sweden.

More on the mystery orb:  UFO recovery team dispatched.

Obama plans direct talks with Iran.

Iran admits exporting drones to Chavez

Next 9-11:  Iranian death squads are here.

h/t Stan Deyo

Got any good linkage?  Post ’em in the comments section….

Classic Pink Floyd Hit Gets An Update

From the UK Telegraph, the story of two brothers from Iran and a remake of “Another Brick In The Wall.”

The punchline, instead of “Hey…teacher, leave those kids alone,” is now “Hey Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone.” With the violence of the aftermath of the stolen 2009 Iranian elections as the backdrop, this classic song is perfectly adapted to modern times.

The former Pink Floyd founding member, Roger Waters, gave the rights to the song to the brother’s group, Blurred Vision.

As one might expect, this video is going viral.

“Telling blow”

Anybody care to speculate on what the “telling blow” will be?

2nd day of protests in Iran

TEHRAN — Hard-line militiamen firing tear gas and throwing stones stormed a crowd of thousands of university students protesting for a second day Tuesday, as Iran threatened a tougher crackdown on the opposition after the biggest anti-government demonstrations in months.

More than 200 people were arrested in Tehran on Monday during protests by tens of thousands at universities nationwide, and Iran’s top prosecutor warned further unrest would not be tolerated. He hinted authorities could even pursue the top opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, an escalation the government has so far balked at in Iran’s postelection turmoil.

Masked motorcyclists — likely hard-line militiamen — harassed Mr. Mousavi at his Tehran office on Tuesday. An angry Mr. Mousavi confronted them, daring them, “Kill me!” before being hustled away by aides, according to pro-opposition Web sites.

There has been no comment from the White House, as President Obama is busy preparing for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. This is now the second opportunity for President Obama to offer support for democratic protesters in Iran, and again he seems to be voting “present”.

In the first round of protests after the stolen elections in June, Obama made a self-serving and self-promoting statement claiming credit for his speech in Cairo as the motivator of the student protests, never once condemning the brutality of the ahmadinejad regime. In fact, within a month of the uprising, Obama was still trying to curry favor with the mullahs by the release of the Irbil Five.

It isn’t comfortable for many Americans to see their president appearing feckless on the world stage. And, since the eloquent Mr. Obama seems unable to find just the right words for the Iranian people, I offer these words for consideration …

To the people of Iran:

You are rich in culture and talent.

You have a right to live under a government that listens to your wishes, respects your talents, and allows you to build better lives for your families. Unfortunately, your government denies you these opportunities, and threatens the peace and stability of your neighbors. So we call on the regime in Tehran to heed your will, and to make itself accountable to you.

The day will come when the people of Iran have a government that embraces liberty and justice, and Iran joins the community of free nations. And when that good day comes, you will have no better friend than the United States of America. source

Palin steps down

sara-winkSarah Palin steps down.  Nothing like grabbing control of the news cycle on a long holiday weekend.

Unless L’l Kim decides to launch a nuke against Hawaii or Japan, we’re going to hear about this for the next 72 hours.

Obama-care, Jack-o, Honduras, Iran, and the rest:  Move over to page 2.

You’ve just been ‘Cuda’d.

more from AP

Helping Obama find his voice on Iran

It isn’t comfortable to watch the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful man in the world, appear feckless on the world stage.

Although I haven’t heard major media trot out the time-tested phrase, “searching for his voice,” with respect to the unrest in Iran, I assume this is more a matter of their not yet noticing that Obama is on the wrong side, what with the real important stuff like gay marriage, nationalized health care, and the rest of the domestic agenda to concentrate on.

Foreign policy is such a pain for Democrats.

So, in the spirit of bi-partisanship, I offer up these words as a source of direction for the new president’s teleprompter.

To the people of Iran:

You are rich in culture and talent.

You have a right to live under a government that listens to your wishes, respects your talents, and allows you to build better lives for your families. Unfortunately, your government denies you these opportunities, and threatens the peace and stability of your neighbors. So we call on the regime in Tehran to heed your will, and to make itself accountable to you.

The day will come when the people of Iran have a government that embraces liberty and justice, and Iran joins the community of free nations. And when that good day comes, you will have no better friend than the United States of America.

President George W. Bush gave this speech at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Khabi, United Arab Emirates on January 13, 2008.

Source

‘Neda’:Her Execution…My Rant!

neda never forget
Sitting comfortably at home, in peace and security, I have been following events, as best as I can, of the struggle for freedom in Iran.
It wasn’t until this morning that I finally viewed the video of the last moments of this young woman, as she enters into her death throe, from a Basiji sniper bullet, ripping through her chest.

I haven’t been the same since.

I have to rant, and get through processing this crime and what it means to me, so that I can sleep tonight, and function tomorrow. Being Father’s Day, the thought of her father, holding her in the final moments of her short life, and living with that pain today, gnaw at me. At the same time, I am safe, and my children and grandchildren are all happy and healthy.

I’m not a stranger to the horrible things people can do to others, though I will never be able to fully comprehend it. I’ve seen people die, many times, from my most beloved, to complete strangers, and rather than get used to it, it is more of a piling on effect.

The execution of this young woman may become a turning point, for the future of Iran, if they are successful in removing the corrupt, vile, and wicked Mullahocracy that they have had to endure for the past thirty years. I not only want to believe that, I have to, or her death will be for no purpose, and I believe God has a purpose for us all.

Her name was Neda Salehi, she was twenty years of age, and her short life ended at 7:05p.m., 20 Jun 09, on Karekar Ave., Tehran, Iran. She was standing next to her father, peacefully holding a sign which simply said “freedom.”
According to a doctor who was at the scene, he had this to say:

A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim’s chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes.
The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St. The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me.

Neda, in Farsi, means “voice” or “the call.” Her name and image have gone international, as a symbol, a voice, a call to the Iranian people to not forget her and why she was murdered. The threat that Khamenei made in his sermon this past Friday has come true, and his actions and words may be the final statement the Iranians listen to. Khamenei has made a serious mistake that many egomaniacs have made, and that is to create the most dangerous enemy you can have.
People with nothing to lose, will risk everything they have.

Later that same evening, in east Tehran, the Basiji headquarters building was set ablaze. The protesters/rioters are becoming more emboldened, as they now only have two choices, end the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or face a future with no hope for a better life.

The events of the past week are truly historic, and match or exceed the rioting that led to the IRI in 1979. This is no small matter, and if it continues, and spreads throughout the country, which appears to be happening, this hellish system of government will end. What it will be replaced with is a matter of conjecture, the first step is to rid Iran of the mullahs.

How would I react if someone murdered one of my daughters? I would give my life to gain retribution, and would not rest until the people responsible for this were dead or punished, or both, in alphabetical order or not. I can’t begin to imagine the fear and pain Neda’s family must be experiencing. Their lives have been shattered by a bullet fired from a hired thug, working for the mullahs. I have weapons and training, Mr. Salehi doesn’t, and that makes a significant difference in what his options are for seeking justice for his daughter.

As for the protesters, now that they know, with no reservations, that they can be killed on a whim, at any moment, I hope that they get more serious in their attacks, and start mobbing armed police and Basiji, taking their weapons and communications. Until the barrels of the guns are turned in the right direction, the Iranian people will never know freedom, or the dignity they deserve as humans.

I will close with a lovely poem written for Neda, that was sourced to me by a poster, “Ma Sands.”
Sister, have a short sleep. your last dream be sweet.

Yesterday I wrote a note, with the subject line “tomorrow is a great day perhaps tomorrow I’ll be killed.” I’m here to let you know I’m alive but my sister was killed…

I’m here to tell you my sister died while in her father’s hands
I’m here to tell you my sister had big dreams…
I’m here to tell you my sister who died was a decent person… and like me yearned for a day when her hair would be swept by the wind… and like me read “Forough” [Forough Farrokhzad]… and longed to live free and equal… and she longed to hold her head up and announce, “I’m Iranian”… and she longed to one day fall in love to a man with a shaggy hair… and she longed for a daughter to braid her hair and sing lullaby by her crib…

my sister died from not having life… my sister died as injustice has no end… my sister died since she loved life too much… and my sister died since she lovingly cared for people…

my loving sister, I wish you had closed your eyes when your time had come… the very end of your last glance burns my soul….

sister have a short sleep. your last dream be sweet.

neda

God be with you Neda. May the memory of your short life give strength to those who want freedom, just as you did.

*If any choose to, the following video is of the last fifteen seconds of Neda’s life.
**WARNING** **GRAPHIC**

*CROSS-POSTED* At lgf2.

*UPDATE*
From a NYTimes article, it is now believed her name was Neda Agha-Soltan, age 26.

Iranian uprising

iran-protests

Realtime photos from twitter

Latest updates from The Lede

VOA roundup

Real-time tweets about Iran

Leeden: From a hospital S.I.A.

(Somewhere in Iran)

Michael Leeden reports this message from a med student in Iran [NRO]

Last night, nine people died at our hospital and another 28 had gunshot wounds. All hospital employees were crying till dawn. They (government) removed the dead bodies on back of trucks, before we were even able to get their names or other information. What can you even say to the people who don’t even respect the dead. No one was allowed to speak to the wounded or get any information from them. This morning the faculty and the students protested by gathering at the lobby of the hospital where they were confronted by plain cloths anti-riot militia, who in turn closed off the hospital and imprisoned the staff. The extent of injuries are so grave, that despite being one of the most staffed emergency rooms, they’ve asked everyone to stay and help—I’m sure it will even be worst tonight. …

This issue is not about cheating (election) anymore. This is not about stealing votes anymore. The issue is about a vast injustice inflected on the people.

While the President washes his hands and speaks of not meddling, the situation is looking more and more like the Iranian Tiananmen.

It also reminds me that with all of the talk about “democracy”, very little is ever said about Liberty. The two words are often used in the same context, but their meanings are vastly different. Our emphasis should be on the latter.

Obama declines Iran offer of alQaeda members

In a move reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s refusal to negotiate a deal for the extradition of Osama bin Laden in 1996, the Obama Administrtation has just recently declined to accept an offer from Iran of several alQaeda members, including some on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list.

Kenneth Timmerman reports at Newsmax.com

“Hillary Clinton is very much against these negotiations,” another source familiar with the U.S.-Iran talks told Newsmax.

“In Tehran, they don’t understand this,” said a third source who recently returned from Iran after discussing the Iranian and American proposals. “When the ruling factions actually agree on a policy, they put the whole government apparatus behind it.”

Tehran now believes that the al-Qaida operatives it is sheltering in Iran have become a liability. Some, such as al-Qaida military chief Saif al-Adel and Ahmed Mughassil, who has been indicted for the 1996 bombing of a U.S. military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, figure on the FBI’s Most Wanted List of terrorists and have American blood on their hands.

Timmerman says that the State Department is still getting up to speed, so in a sense, the offer may have been premature. But the fact that Obama has plunged ahead with a policy which includes closing Guantanamo and releasing detainees, possibly even into the US, ignores the reality that the war on terror continues, regardless of what the new Administration calls it.

“If you’re talking about individuals against whom there are no criminal charges, then it gets complicated,” former CIA Director R. James Woolsey told Newsmax. “If you close down Gitmo, where are you going to keep them?”

Woolsey said he could see no reason why the Obama administration wouldn’t take terrorists who are facing U.S. criminal charges. “To me, it would be extremely unwise not to take them out of circulation.”

Unwise is one way to describe it.

Reckless is another.

Also: Be sure to read Andrew McCarthy’s letter to Eric Holder at NRI “Must Read”

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Obama prepares to throw Israel under the bus

Just one day after the speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani said world powers must accept the Islamic republic as a nuclear power , the Obama administration released a new intelligence assessment on the Iranian nuclear program:

It “concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting a judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.” source

Related:
Peres hints at possible strike;

Obama to drop pre-conditions

Monday night linkage

nukehat

Here’s an interesting start to the week, from the UK Telegraph

Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran’s nuclear programme, US intelligence sources have revealed.

Maybe this is a sign of sources to come. In fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to believe that if President Bush were still at the helm, this would have been front page in the NYT.

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EIB calls for salary caps at NBC News. GE took TARP money, should be subject to same rules as Wall Street. Especially since GE Capital accounts for 55% of GE’s revenue.  Heh.

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I received this invite from Eric Odom Nashville. should be a lot of fun.

During the 2008-09 campaign season, the free-market movement witnessed the opposing side of the political isle literally walk all over us when it comes to eActivism. Specifically, the translation of online political activism to offline political success.

Many within the freedom movement have discussed different ways of advancing our online efforts. But few, if any, have been able to collaborate on ways to implement these ideas and put them to work.

RootsHQ 2009 is a new Tech/NOW Media Summit that aims at tackling this problem. Our conference is geared towards tech savvy, online activists who have ideas to share, and want to learn from others as well.

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If it’s good enough for Chavez, then how about The One? This didn’t take long

Mr. SERRANO introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

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Get your vintage children’s books now before Henry Waxman outlaws them.

It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse.

Thanks Henry. I feel safer already. Besides, it’s for the children, right? What a dickhead.

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The SF Chronicle isn’t too enthused about The One’s power grab at the Census.

Allowing Obama politicos like chief of staff Rahm Emanuel – a top House Democratic strategist in his prior life – anywhere near the census adding machine is too partisan. It’s a Chicago-style setup that should worry any voter.

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The Memphis Commercial Appeal has come under fire for invading the privacy of private citizens by posting personal information of CCW permit holders. Their justification for this outrage is laughable. In fact, Chris Peck says it’s all a “misunderstanding.” Then, he channels Henry Waxman and tells us he did it “for the children.”

A mom might now check the list to see if the parents at her kid’s sleep-over next door had a concealed weapon permit. If so, maybe it would be worth talking to them to make sure the gun is locked up.

A school official, concerned about whether teachers were bringing guns onto school grounds, might check the list to see whether anyone on the staff has a permit to carry, and then have a discussion about it.

Oh, please. I know the C/A has a great Sports section, but this is just too much. It’s time for Memphians to speak in the language that the C/A can understand. Cancel your subscription. And, if any of your neighbors has a subscription to the C/A, “maybe it would be worth talking to them” about it. And, after you do so, drop Chris Peck an email and let him know why. More: Walls of the City gives C/A a proper fisking.

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Obama Portrait GalleryAnd finally, while browsing the web this evening, I ran across Brad Warthen’s blog at The State. Brad discovered some interesting pixellation embedded in the Obama- hope poster. Click on the photo to enlarge.

[cue spooky music…]

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Iran will defend “oppressed muslims”

From Breitbart

A high-ranking Iranian cleric on Friday said the country should grow into a military super power to defend all Muslims, following an army parade at a time of mounting tension with the West.”In a not so distant future, we should reach a point to have the most powerful military equipment in the world so that no one even think about invading our borders.” Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said in his Friday prayer sermon carried live on state radio.

“And not only that of the Islamic republic, but also the borders of Islam … We must defend oppressed Muslims everywhere so that the enemies do not dare to attack Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq.”

On Thursday’s annual Army Day celebration in Tehran, dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft flew over the parade ground in a bid to show the power of the air force.

Also on display was Iran’s Shahab-3 missile, whose range includes Israel and even the fringes of Europe.

The hardline cleric also vowed to cheering worshippers, who chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” that their slogans will materialise.

“I tell you that the death of the United States has come. You shouted Death to the Shah and he died,” Jannati said, referring to the monarch overthrown by the 1979 Islamic revolution and who died in exile.

“You say Death to Israel and it is dying. You say Death to America and it does not take so long that its death prayer will be said.”

I’ve got a few Iranian friends, and none of them seem as wacky as this fellow.

This type of language just feeds the “Bomb-Iran” feeling that has been around since 1979. I hate to think the normal, every-day Iranians are going to allow themselves to go over the cliff with the mullahs, but that is exactly where they are being led.

And, there won’t be too many tears shed when it happens.

Jeremiah Wright is the least of his problems

It’s time to back away the Jeremiah Wright kerfluffle.

If Lanny Davis and other Clinton surrogates want to play the race game, then so be it. Obama is no racist, nor is he responsible for the inflammatory and seditious statements made by Jeremiah Wright.

Earlier today, I saw a video that has been mentioned by several bloggers on the right, which compares certain passages from Obama’s book and with selected video clips from several of Wright’s sermons. The viewer is led to the conclusion that Obama poses a threat to the country because of his racial beliefs.

The reason that Obama should not be President has nothing at all to do with race, and to spend time on these kinds of tactics won’t defeat him. It ignores the fact that his lack of experience leaves him unprepared to assume the duties of the job. It also ignores the fact that Obama exudes a certain grandiosity that surpasses mere cockiness and is, well, unseemly, if not dangerous.

Earlier this week at a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama said, “…foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.

Oh, please.

After belittling Mrs. Clinton’s experience as First Lady as being ceremonial fluff, Obama went on to say that among the three candidates for President, only he passes the 3 AM Leadership Test. Indeed, he alone possesses “the judgment, the temperament to ask the right questions, to weigh the costs and benefits of military action, who insists on good intelligence, who is not going to be swayed by the short-term politics.” What a piece of work. source

And as for the ultimate foreign policy test, the one John Kerry called, “passing the Global Test,” Obama proposes a diplomatic Manhattan Project of sorts, with Iran’s Mahmoud Amadinejad. The same Ahmadinejad who said today, his country’s objective was to destroy what he called corrupt western powers:

“Our objective is to annihilate all corrupt powers that dominate our planet today,”
source

Iran is building nuclear weapons, and has tested the delivery systems to carry out Ahmadinejad’s objective. If he uses them, he gains favor of his god, and ushers in the End-Times chaos of the 12th Mahdi. If he is in turn incinerated in a retaliatory strike, he gets to spend eternity with 72 virgins. He wins either way.

Taking a college trip to Pakistan, living in Indonesia for four years as a child, and having poor relatives in Africa has convinced Obama that he has the necessary gravitas to engage in foreign policy on behalf of the world’s only superpower.

Jeremiah Wright is the least of his problems.

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Is it time to revisit the NIE on Iran?

The December NIE, and the assessment that Iran’s nuke program was effectively stopped at the time of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, may need to be revisited. NYSun reports…

It turns out that on Tuesday, as our Eli Lake reported on page one of yesterday’s Sun, the director of national intelligence, Mr. McConnell says he now regrets the phrasing of the unclassified estimate that so stirred America’s enthusiasts of diplomacy. In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. McConnell went further. He noted that Iran is developing both the long range ballistic missiles and the nuclear fuel for a potential weapon. What had halted, it turns out, was work to design the actual warhead and secret enrichment activity. The Iranians continued to enrich uranium in the open in Natanz in defiance of two Security Council resolutions.

As for the secret enrichment and weapons design, Mr. McConnell is not even sure as of mid-2007 whether the Iranians have restarted this work. “We assess with moderate confidence that Tehran had not restarted these activities as of mid-2007, but since they comprised an unannounced secret effort which Iran attempted to hide, we do not know if these activities have been restarted,” he told the assembled senators. So why then did the opening sentence of the December 3 assessment state with no equivocation, “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program”? Mr. McConnell said that it was because he had to assemble quickly a declassified estimate in late November and that it did not occur to him that this kind of declarative statement would confuse the issue.

Words mean things. The words and headlines have not escaped the attention of those who see a deeper meaning….

“Especially when it’s accompanied by as many as 9 communications cable breaks, as we reported yesterday, and a virtual disappearance of regular internet traffic to and from Iran that continues this morning.” LINK

The best advice? Be prepared, go shopping, review your plans, stay vigilant, and most importantly, have faith.

See also: “The Front Page Story That Was Not.” (h/t n2l)

The U-turn on Iranian nukes

The release of the most recent NIE on Iranian nuclear activity has left many of us wondering about the reliability of intelligence assessments in general. The Times (UK) reveals some of the background on this story…

l-nuclear385_220650a.jpg American intelligence agencies based this week’s surprise assessment that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 on notes obtained from Iranian military officials.

These included vehement complaints about a decision to shut down what had been an active programme to build a nuclear warhead.

The notes were corroborated by other intelligence, US officials say, including intercepted conversations among Iranian officials, collated in recent months.

The CIA was so concerned that the notes might be part of an elaborate disinformation effort by Tehran that it organised a “red team” to check their veracity.

Once US intelligence officials decided that they were genuine, the notes and other evidence were presented two weeks ago in a White House meeting to the most senior members of President Bush’s national security team, including Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, according to the New York Times.

In the meeting — described by one official as a “vivid exchange” — the intelligence officials were challenged to defend their new assessment that Iran’s nuclear programme had been suspended.

Mr Bush and Mr Cheney have both sounded ominous warnings in recent months about Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. As recently as October Mr Bush warned that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to a third world war.

The spy operation caused a dramatic reversal of a 2005 US intelligence assessment that stated with “high confidence” that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon. The latest estimate, released on Monday, states with “high confidence” that Iran halted the programme in 2003 and has not restarted it. It also says, however, that Tehran continues its efforts to enrich uranium.

One of the great questions left unanswered by the US intelligence agencies is why Iran decided to suspend the programme in 2003. Monday’s National Intelligecne Assessment said that it was “primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure”, but no firm conclusions about Tehran’s motives appear to have been reached. Source

Dramatic reversal, indeed.

+++++

This is the World Famous Friday Open Thread.
WFFOT: A “high confidence” Free-speech zone. Links, comments, trackbacks are welcome.

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A Few Words From Newt, On Our Own Phoney War!


I am always impressed with his brilliant mind.

Army finds Iranian rockets

From Pat Dollard

20_48_194_19_04.jpgUS soldiers discovered a field of rocket launchers near a US army base south of Baghdad armed with 34 Iranian-made missiles, the military said Saturday.

“After several rockets hit FOB (Forward Operating Base) Hammer on July 11, the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team manoeuvred to find the source of the attack,” a statement said.

The next morning an “unmanned aerial vehicle located 46 rocket launchers in the northern section of Besmaya Range Complex aimed at FOB Hammer. Thirty-four of the launchers were armed with Iranian 107mm rockets,” it added.

The US army believes the other twelve rockets were launched at the base the day before, killing one US soldier. The military announced the death on June 12 but provided no details at the time.

US commanders frequently accuse Iran of providing weapons, training and support to Shiite militias in Iraq, including many of the rockets launched at Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

Earlier this month, US commanders stepped up the charges, claiming that senior leaders of Iran’s special forces and of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia have trained Iraqi fighters and provided other support.

Iran has always denied that it is fomenting unrest in its war-torn neighbour, insisting that the US occupation is the cause of Iraq’s woes.

The Worst Congress EVER, Is Due To It’s Leadership!

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious.(Vince Lombardi)

Consider this a rant, although I am very much in control as I type; I’ve been mulling this matter for several days.
What has this current Congress, the worst ever, accomplished(in terms of empirical results)?
Since taking office in January, irrespective of all the accolades, speeches, and self-serving statements, the only significant piece of legislation to pass in Congress, was the war funding bill. In contrast, they have launched three hundred investigations into the administration of President Bush.
That’s not what I would call doing the business of the American people, despite the satisfaction the liberals in Congress, and their constituents, derive from their much vaunted oversight responsibilities. Of course, we all know it is only political opportunism at work here, not a serious approach to good governance, or the best interest of the nation. If the leaders of the majority party were competent, we would hear substantive statements on the many serious matters facing our great nation.
Reflecting on the leadership of our current Congress, I will just leave Rep. Pelosi out of this post…she’s a total twit. Instead, I will focus on Sen. Reid, the pale and stammering leader of the Senate. We’ve all heard his declarations about the war in Iraq as being lost, that he believes it his “moral duty” to bring the troops home, but yet he doesn’t offer legislation that would end funding of the military involvement. Nor will he refrain from his daily sound bite collection of how bad things are, or hold his serpents tongue until Gen. Petraeus reports to Congress in Ten Weeks. The same Gen. Petraeus that the Senate unanimously approved for his current position for Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. It’s no secret what Reid, and the other political opportunist in Congress are doing, as described in this article:

Reid, who was bashed by Republicans for suggesting earlier this year that the Iraq war was “lost,” is lashing out at top commanders while putting the finishing touches on a plan to force a series of votes on Iraq designed exclusively to make Republicans up for reelection in 2008 go on record in favor of continuing an unpopular war.

Reid, the senators and aides said, does not expect any of the Iraq measures to pass but hopes the effort will drive a deep enough wedge between wavering Republicans and Bush that, by September, Republican senators will break with the president and help end the war.

“We want them to vote and vote and vote again” on Iraq, said a senior Democratic senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss party strategy. “They are going to have to vote on Iraq until they are sick of it.”

In essence, what the leftist in Congress are saying is, that quitting is winning…for them, not for the U.S., and most certainly not for Iraq.
This despite the numerous reports that show the surge is having a positive effect. One such report is from Kimberly Kagan:

In Washington perception is often mistaken for reality. And as Congress prepares for a fresh debate on Iraq, the perception many members have is that the new strategy has already failed.
This isn’t an accurate reflection of what is happening on the ground, as I saw during my visit to Iraq in May. Reports from the field show that remarkable progress is being made.

Another article that addresses the challenges faced in Iraq, comes from an interview with the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker:

Mr. Crocker’s comments are a useful reminder of the irrelevance–and disingenuousness–of much Washington commentary on Iraq. For proponents of early withdrawal, the “benchmarking” issue has provided a handy excuse to make the Iraqi government rather than al Qaeda the main culprit in the violence engulfing their country.

Considering that there are only three choices, in ending a war or conflict, what does Sen. Reid and his cabal think we should do?
Here are the options:
1)Win, and impose terms on the defeated.
2)Admit defeat and surrender to the winner
3)Call it a draw, and negotiate a truce
Of these three, number one is the only reasonable alternative, with the terms being the Iraqi government is able to sustain itself, with the foreign fighters defeated, and either killed or run out of the country.
If we admit defeat, as Sen. Reid has, and continues to do, who do we surrender to…ourselves? If it’s a draw, who do we negotiate with…ourselves? What do we tell the many, many Iraqis that have supported the U.S. and Iraqi efforts in establishing security in their country, that will be the targets of reprisal by the mufsidun…sorry dudes?
What has annoyed me the most, is the use of a negative(quitting and losing) as a positive(political opportunism). The liberals in Congress, and in this country, look back at the war in Viet Nam, and view favorably their efforts to undermine our efforts there. Another negative as a positive. I don’t understand defeatist, I don’t respond well to negative attitudes, and I resent with every molecule in my body, people that would willingly toss away our national dignity and self-respect, by walking away from a conflict because it will improve their political fortunes.
How does anyone come to the point, where they take an oath to protect and defend this nation, while making plans to undermine all that it stands for, so that their political fortunes will be enhanced? I believe people like Reid, and his supporters, have a distorted view of winning and victory, and that to them those words are meaningless, as national objectives. There was a time, that leaders of men viewed personal sacrifice as a small price, in comparison to the benefit of winning.
Winning and losing aren’t difficult concepts to understand, we knew what they meant before we began elementary school, and had their lessons reinforced countless times, throughout our lives. We have a tradition of winning in this country, and we like it…or at least, most of us do. Losing, on the other hand, is an inevitable outcome, for those that are involved in any competitive situation, whether it is war, a friendly game of pool, or hot dog eating. To compete has it’s rewards and punishments, and we learn from them all, but mostly we learn what we need to do to win, and that we don’t like to lose.
Quitting is something much darker and uglier, than trying and losing. It’s the worst of all possible outcomes, and speaks clearly of the poor character of a man or a nation, that is willing to accept this as an outcome. My father told us boys, early on, that “once a quitter, always a quitter.” He was right. We are faced with threshold moments, all of our lives, and they are defined as those moments when our lives are irreversibly changed, and we can never be the person we were before, if we cross the threshold. Some examples are learning to ride a bike or drive a car, the first day of school, the first kiss, first love, and first child. Quitting has it’s own perilous threshold, and once it’s crossed, that person will find it much easier to quit, whenever faced with difficulty. Much like a murderer, once that threshold is crossed, it becomes easier to do.
There have been times in my life, when I may have been well advised to quit on something, that proved to be too difficult to overcome, but I could not have lived with myself, knowing that I didn’t try hard enough. I’ve experienced the exhilaration of playing on championship teams, and those memories and feelings still please me. I’ve also experienced the soul crushing agony of losing, many times, but those memories only serve to fuel my desire to win, and I only remember I didn’t like the way losing felt, not the feelings themselves. I’ve never just quit anything, even smoking. I stopped smoking. It just isn’t in my nature, and that is what adds to my discomfort with the actions of the quitters in this country and in Congress.
While the quitters and defeatist in Congress continue with their demands that all is lost, and that we should bring our military home, those of us that don’t subscribe to their debasement of our values, should call for them to quit public office. Or be defeated.
As for Harry Reid, I don’t think he would ever have a Vince Lombardi quote adorning his office wall. Rather, he would most likely have this one, from the French painter Francis Picabia:

The only way to win is to fight on the side of your adversaries.

/rant off

*Addendum:Gateway Pundit asks a great question.*
Is there really any doubt that the War against Al Qaeda begins in Iraq?

A mullahcratic solution

Fuel shortages have triggered a mandatory gas rationing plan in Iran. It hasn’t gone over well with the Iranian people, as stories of protests, and molotov cocktail parties at over a dozen gas stations in Tehran has alarmed the regime. Their solution? Crack down and censorship.

Iran’s top security body has ordered local journalists not to report on problems caused by petrol rationing, a day after its surprise introduction.

Angry motorists have reacted violently to the curbs, attacking up to 19 petrol stations in the capital, Tehran.

There are still long queues outside filling stations.

The authorities switched off the mobile text messaging system in Tehran overnight to prevent motorists from organising more protests.

The BBC’s Frances Harrison in Tehran said that many Iranians are already on edge because of a recent sharp rise in the cost of living.

During Wednesday’s unrest, motorists threw stones and shouted slogans against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Link

Iran raises the stakes

From AFP via Beitbart 

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.

Britain’s defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on “intelligence matters”.

An unidentified intelligence source told the tabloid: “It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran — but nobody has officially declared it.”

“We have hard proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have crossed the border to attack us. It is very hard for us to strike back. All we can do is try to defend ourselves. We are badly on the back foot.”

The Sun said that radar sightings of Iranian helicopters crossing into the Iraqi desert were confirmed to it by very senior military sources.

In response to the report, a British defence ministry spokesman said: “There is evidence that explosive devices used against our troops in southern Iraq originated in Iran.”

‘Having none of it’

When Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British sailors and Royal Marines in March, it was not exactly their first attempt.It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, “were having none of it”.

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be “highly colourful language”.

The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters.

Ya gotta love the Aussies.

LINK

UK link to Iranian nukes

The Guardian (UK) is reporting that a British company has been shut down after an attempt to sell black market Russian weapons grade uranium to Iran and Sudan.

Anti-terrorist officers and MI6 are now investigating a wider British-based plot allegedly to supply Iran with material for use in a nuclear weapons programme. One person has already been charged with attempting to proliferate ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

During the 20-month investigation, which also involved MI5 and Customs and Excise, a group of Britons was tracked as they obtained weapons-grade uranium from the black market in Russia. Investigators believe it was intended for export to Sudan and on to Iran.

Read it all…

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