What if Iran already has nukes hidden in North Korea?

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**Posted by Phineas

nuclear-explosion

That’s the not so subtle implication of Gordon Chang’s article in The Daily Beast. Much of the article explores the illicit nuclear proliferation network (parts confirmed, others suspected) between Iran, China, North Korea, and (formerly?) Pakistan, dating back nearly fifteen years. But the key portions follow:

In October 2012, Iran began stationing personnel at a military base in North Korea, in a mountainous area close to the Chinese border. The Iranians, from the Ministry of Defense and associated firms, reportedly are working on both missiles and nuclear weapons. Ahmed Vahidi, Tehran’s minister of defense at the time, denied sending people to the North, but the unconfirmed dispatches make sense in light of the two states announcing a technical cooperation pact the preceding month.

(…)

The North Koreans have also sold Iran material for bomb cores, perhaps even weapons-grade uranium. The Telegraph reported that in 2002 a barrel of North Korean uranium cracked open and contaminated the tarmac of the new Tehran airport.

(…)

The relationship between the two regimes has been long-lasting. Hundreds of North Koreans have worked at about 10 nuclear and missile facilities in Iran. There were so many nuclear and missile scientists, specialists, and technicians that they took over their own coastal resort there, according to Henry Sokolski,  the proliferation maven, writing in 2003.

Even if Iran today were to agree to adhere to the Additional Protocol, it could still continue developing its bomb in North Korea, conducting research there or buying North Korean technology and plans. And as North Korean centrifuges spin in both known and hidden locations, the Kim regime will have a bigger stock of uranium to sell to the Iranians for their warheads. With the removal of sanctions, as the P5+1 is contemplating, Iran will have the cash to accelerate the building of its nuclear arsenal.

So while the international community inspects Iranian facilities pursuant to a framework deal, the Iranians could be busy assembling the components for a bomb elsewhere. In other words, they will be one day away from a bomb—the flight time from Pyongyang to Tehran—not one year as American and other policymakers hope.

(Emphasis added)

Think about it. Pretend for a minute you’re one of the Muslim fanatics who rule Iran. Maybe you’re part of the faction that sees it as its duty to bring about the Islamic “end times.” You definitely want to crush the Jews and destroy Israel. You hate America as the Great Satan and see Iran’s Islamic Revolution as the one hope for truly making Allah’s religion supreme. To protect the revolution and fulfill Allah’s goals, you’ve decided Iran needs nuclear weapons.

But the Great and Little Satans (America and Israel) stand in your way. They don’t want you to have these weapons. They are infidels and enemies of Allah. So, to buy yourself the time to make them, you enter into negotiations — not to give anything away, but merely to delay. And, so far, it’s worked. The infidels are weak and anxious for an agreement, so they keep playing along, no matter how outrageous your demands.

And yet there are risks. What if the Zionist Entity (Israel) loses patience and attacks? That might set back your program. What if a new president takes charge in America, one who isn’t afraid to use his nation’s awesome resources to weaken your regime by supporting the opposition, as Reagan did with Poland, or through the direct use of armed force, as they did to Saddam? That could wreck your nuclear dreams, if not overthrow you altogether. How do you guard against that?

Well, like any well-run operation, you have a disaster back up plan. In this case, an offsite nuclear program, parallel to the one in Iran. One so offsite that  it is in another country, an allied nation with a nuclear program of its own and that hates America, too, and is obsessed with security.

A place like North Korea.

This is all speculative, of course, but it is also plausible. It’s what any reasonable person would consider doing in a similar situation. And, while the mullahs are aggressive antisemitic religious fascists, they are not stupid.

Keep your eye out: Iran has been playing hardball in the negotiations, demanding so much that even Obama and Kerry must have been tempted at times to walk out. The deadline for an agreement is coming up: If Iran suddenly and to everyone’s relief makes major concessions, I think the North Korean backup scenario goes from “likely” to “almost certain.”

Sleep well.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Respect: Canadian MPs fashioned spears to fight off jihadist gunman

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flag_canadian_maple_leaf
Apparently House of Commons Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers wasn’t the only badass on Parliament Hill that day. Conservative MPs taking shelter in a caucus room while a Muslim gunman stalked the halls of parliament were determined to fight for their lives:

After they heard gunfire outside their meeting room door Wednesday, members of Parliament snapped close to 15 flagpoles to make weapons.

Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.

“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.

“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.

“It was that or get mowed down,” the member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.

The article also reports that Prime Minister Harper was “whisked” into a closet where he hid for about 15 minutes. But, before anyone thinks harshly of him, remember that he was the most important person in Canada, the head of its government, and his safety was his security detail’s responsibility. Just as President Bush’s safety was a top priority on 9/11, thus forcing a delay in his return to Washington, it would have been gravely irresponsible of him to place himself at risk by joining those manning the barricade, given his responsibilities to the nation.

That said, hats off to the MPs willing to lay their lives on the line. Let no one ever say Canadians are wimps.

via Instapundit

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi: security contractors claim CIA delayed aid

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**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Help delayed is help denied

Here we go again.

One of the enduring questions from the 9/11/12 massacre at the US consulate in Benghazi and the subsequent attack on a CIA annex there has been “Where was the cavalry?”, when we had forces available in the area that might have saved the ambassador and three others who died.

An investigation by the Republican-lead House Armed Services Committee determined that American forces in nearby countries could not have responded in time, though they blamed the White House for not being prepared. (As do I.) They also concluded that there was no stand-down order for the quick reaction force in Tripoli and that it could not have arrived in time to save lives.

Fair enough. But what about the CIA team in the “annex?” There had been earlier reports that a rescue force was delayed for roughly half-an-hour, before deciding to go on their own volition. Now, in an interview to air on Bret Baier’s “Special Report” tonight at 7 PST, three of the contractors at the annex who survived the battle have accused their boss of holding them back:

The security contractors — Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto, Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, to Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ Chief Political Anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in Benghazi: Was help delayed?

Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.

“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”

But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”

“It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta– we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’” said Tiegen. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”

“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” said Paronto.

After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, the security team headed to the besieged consulate without orders. They asked their CIA superiors to call for armed air support, which never came.

Now, looking back, the security team said they believed that if they had not been delayed for nearly half an hour, or if the air support had come, things might have turned out differently.

“Ambassador Stevens and Sean [Smith], yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said. Tiegen concurred.

“I strongly believe if we’d left immediately, they’d still be alive today,” he added.

An unidentified “intelligence official” denied there was a stand down order, but these three swear those exact words were used to them: “stand down.” The question, if this account is true, is did “Bob” act on his own, or did he have instructions from above?

This is a question that needs answers.  We already have a special select committee investigating Benghazi, and the Chairman has said these new allegations will be part of that investigation.

The victims and their families deserve no less than the truth.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Rep. Trey Gowdy: “Universe of [#Benghazi] witnesses is expanding”

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Congressman Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC-4
Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

South Carolina’s WLTX reports on the behind-the-scenes prep work going on in advance of the much-anticipated Trey Gowdy-led Benghazi hearings scheduled to start in September:

WASHINGTON (Gannett Washington Bureau/Mary Troyan) – The special House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi will hold its first public hearing in September about changes the State Department has made to better protect diplomats, Rep. Trey Gowdy said Wednesday.

Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman, also said the panel is gaining access to witnesses that didn’t participate in previous congressional investigations into the attacks.

“I know I’m biased, but one of the good parts about running an investigation in a way that appears to be serious-minded is that witnesses who were previously unavailable or not interested in cooperating are now interested in cooperating,” Gowdy said. “The universe of witnesses is expanding.”

U.S. House lawmakers created the committee in May to review the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans in eastern Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Several previous congressional investigations have looked at security lapses and intelligence failures related to the attacks, along with the military’s response and whether President Barack Obama’s administration initially downplayed the incident for political reasons.

Gowdy, in an interview Tuesday, said the panel is not scheduled to meet during the August congressional recess, but committee lawyers and investigators will be working.

[…]

In a notable departure from other House committees that battled with the administration over Benghazi investigations, Gowdy said he is “encouraged” by responses to his panel’s requests for additional documents.

“There is no substitute for sitting down and me sharing my expectations and them telling me their concerns or what their frustrations in the past have been,” Gowdy said. “I’m not looking for the fight or the story. I just want the documents. It’s been easy so far.”

The September hearing will focus on about 24 recommendations issued in December 2012 by the independent Accountability Review Board, which investigated the State Department’s actions before, during and after the attacks. The board was led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Their report blamed “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” for “grossly inadequate” security.

Gowdy, a former prosecutor, is famously pit-bullish when he’s not getting the information he seeks. Let’s hope he’s just as unrelenting when these Benghazi hearings start.  The family members of the four victims of the Benghazi murders have been invited to attend, and they deserve answers.

Meriam Ibrahim and family flown to Italy – plus, fate of other Christians?

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Meriam Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim

Via Fox News:

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith, has been flown to Italy on an Italian government jet, accompanied by that country’s vice-minister for foreign affairs.

Reuters reported that Italian television broadcast images of Ibrahim, 27, arriving at Rome’s Ciampino airport accompanied by her family and Italian politician Lapo Pistelli. Earlier, Pistelli had posted a picture on his Facebook page depicting himself with Ibrahim and her two children. The caption, translated from Italian, read “With Meriam, Maya, Martin and [Ibrahim’s husband] Daniel, a few minutes from Rome. Mission accomplished.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among those who greeted the plane, calling it “a day of celebration.”

Pistelli told The Daily Telegraph that Ibrahim and her family were due to fly to the United States in a few days. The minister also said that the family would be given an audience with Pope Francis.

Ibrahim had spent more than a month at the American Embassy in Khartoum after a previous attempt to leave Sudan was halted by that country’s authorities. They said she had attempted to use false travel documents, a claim Ibrahim denied.

Last month, Sudan’s Supreme Court threw out the death sentence Ibrahim had received for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Ibrahim’s father, a Muslim, claimed she had abandoned Islam and committed adultery with her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who lives in New Hampshire. However, Ibrahim insisted that she had been raised Christian by her Ehiopian Orthodox mother after her father left the family when she was still young.

While it looks like Ms. Ibrahim’s story will have a happy ending, the persecution of Christians abroad has turned into an epidemic of sorts:


The story he references is written by St. John’s University’s Director of the Center for Law and Religion Mark Movsesian:

Say goodbye to one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world. Last week, members of ISIS—the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” a Sunni Islamist group that recently has captured parts of Iraq and declared a new caliphate—began going through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and marking the homes of Christians with the Arabic letter “Nun.” “Nun” stands for “Nasara,” from “Nazarenes,” a word that refers to Christians. The implications were clear. Mosul’s Christians faced the same fate the Christians of Raqqa, Syria, had when ISIS captured their city last spring. “We offer them three choices,” ISIS announced: “Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The dhimma is the notional contract that governs relations between the Muslim community, or umma, and Christians (as well as Jews) in classical Islamic law. The dhimma allows Christians to reside in Muslim society in exchange for payment of a poll tax called the jizya—in Mosul, ISIS required a jizya of about $500—and submission to various social and legal restrictions. The dhimma forbids Christians from attracting attention during worship, for example, from building new churches, and generally from asserting equality with Muslims.

The dhimma is said to date back to an “agreement” a seventh-century caliph made with the Christians of Syria, though nowadays most scholars dismiss that claim. Most likely, the rules developed over time; by the eighth or ninth centuries, they were standardized in the Islamic law books. From the classical Muslim perspective, the dhimma reflects the fact that Christians, as the recipients of an earlier, incomplete revelation, merit some protection and communal autonomy. But there is a price. The jizya and the many dhimma restrictions are meant to keep Christians in their place and provide a salutary incentive for them to convert to Islam.

Incredibly disturbing. Make sure to read the whole thing – and pray for Christians in these parts of the world, and others, where their faith effectively becomes a death sentence. Fortunately, Ms. Ibrahim and her family were able to escape. Many more Christians, unfortunately, will not.

Related: Via BBC – Isis ‘orders female genital mutilation’ for women in Mosul

Faced with antisemitic riots, French government does what it does best: appeasement

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**Posted by Phineas

"We surrender! Don't hurt us!!"

“We surrender! Don’t hurt us!!”

Muslims in France have been rioting, including attacking synagogues, in the wake of Israel’s retaliation against Hamas for months of attacks against Israeli civilians. Faced with growing antisemitic civil disorder, the French government naturally… condemned Israel:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to end violence in the Gaza Strip which Palestinian sources say have left nearly 600 Palestinians dead.

Close to 30 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have been killed as Israel battles to stop Hamas rocket fire, thwart attack tunnels and weaken the Islamist group’s ability to launch attacks from the Strip.

“In Israel and in Gaza, the situation is very hard,” Fabius said as he arrived for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

“Nothing justifies continued attacks and massacres which do nothing but only claim more victims and stoke tensions, hatred,” he said.

“France will act forcefully to demand an immediate ceasefire,” he added

Odd, but I must have missed the Foreign Minister’s demands for an immediate ceasefire when Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians, when three teens were kidnapped and murdered, and when rockets were fired at a nuclear reactor. And surely he condemned in the loudest terms Hamas’ use of women and children as human shields, hoping for casualties in order to get that all-important propaganda coup.

France: Leading the way in caving in since 1940.

PS: Yes, I know a Palestinian teen was murdered by Israeli thugs in retaliation for the killing of the three Jewish boys. Here’s the difference: the Israeli killers were arrested by Israel and will face trial for their crime. Palestinians celebrated the murderers of the three teenagers as heroes. Who is the civilized one, and who is the barbarian? You make the call.

via Jihad Watch

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Scientific proof: Socialism makes you more likely to lie and cheat

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**Posted by Phineas

"Liar"

“Liar”

This is amusing. Researchers from the University of Munich and ST’s beloved Duke University conducted a joint study that examined a person’s willingness to lie, if he could profit from that lie. The subjects were Berliners who were asked to play a game in which they could win a small amount of money. Each person would roll a die and record the results: higher numbers meant you won more money. This is what they found:

Honest participants would be expected to roll ones, twos and threes as often as fours, fives and sixes. But that did not happen: the sheets handed in had a suspiciously large share of high numbers, suggesting many players had cheated.

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

The article carefully points out that this disparity might also be due to the relative poverty of the old East Germany (and the region does continue to lag the rest of the country to this day), but, come on. A Socialist society, in which the State controls the money you’re allowed to make gives you every incentive to cheat, just as the incidence of tax cheating goes up here when tax rates rise beyond a certain point. These people are doing what the system encouraged them to do.

What makes this amusing is that it’s directly contrary to the Socialist claim of being able to “perfect’ society, culminating in the USSR’s “New Man.” Instead, it’s apparently the capitalist societies, with their bourgeois notions of personal accountability, limited government, free enterprise, the Rule of Law, and property rights that produce more honest citizens.

Maybe they should survey conservatives vs. progressives, next. smiley wink

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

.@SkyNews journo rifles through #MH17 luggage, network apologizes after backlash

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Unreal. A new low in modern journalism – via the WaPo:

A Sky News reporter drew criticism over the weekend when he rummaged on camera through a bag belonging to a victim of the MH17 air crash in Ukraine, even as he said he “probably shouldn’t be doing this, I suppose.”

It appeared to be a momentary lapse and the reporter, Colin Brazier, quickly put an item back in the bag after picking it up to display to viewers. Coming as foreign leaders were criticizing Ukraine separatists for piling up bodies of victims and going through personal belongings, the footage was not well received.

According to the Guardian, Sky News later apologized:

Huffington Post has documented the widespread outrage from both journalists and non-journos alike. Twitchy Team has more.

Here’s an image from the “news” segment, which you can watch at YouTube. I didn’t feel comfortable posting the video here.

Sky News

Sky News journalist Colin Brazier sifts through the luggage of dead MH-17 passenger.

Just an incredible, stunning lack of judgement, basic sensitivity and common decency, not to mention a total disregard for the feelings of the families of those killed in the crash. As the WaPo noted, even Brazier realized as he was doing it that it was wrong – but really, the whole segment was about sifting through the personal effects of dead passengers. Highly unseemly, to say the least.

I’m sure Sky News has heard quite an earful about this – if you haven’t let them know your thoughts, tag their Twitter account and let them know. And please rise above and express your thoughts respectfully, as hard as it may be to lash out over the completely inappropriate on-scene reporting of Brazier.

Malaysian jetliner carrying 295 reportedly “shot down” in Ukraine, near Russian border

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Breaking news

Still too early to know exactly what has happened but here’s an initial report from Fox News:

A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane with 295 aboard was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border, according to multiple reports.

The airline, the same one whose plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March, confirmed only that “an incident” had occurred involving the Boeing 777, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.

“Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam,” read a tweet from the airline. “The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow,” read a tweet from Malaysia Airlines’ account.

Multiple reports said the plane was shot down at cruising altitude. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister told The Associated press that the plane, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew people onboard, was shot down.

Gerashenko says on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit Thursday by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

The adviser also told Russian news agency Interfax that all onboard have been killed.

Prayers to the families of those hurt or killed, of course.

To keep up to date on the latest developments, all the major nets are all over this story. And, of course, there is the Twitter machine

Think Progress, Salon promote stifling of dissent over climate change

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Tolerance

Yep.

Not exactly a surprise that these two ultra-liberal sites are proponents of shutuppery, but worth documenting all the same, no matter whether it happens here at home – or abroad.  Headline from Think Progress:

To Improve Accuracy, BBC Tells Its Reporters To Stop Giving Air Time To Climate Deniers

Got that? “To improve accuracy” – as if the BBC has ever given a rip about accuracy (or dissent, for that matter).

Headline from Salon:

BBC staff ordered to stop giving equal air time to climate deniers

Here are the headlines as they appeared on Memeorandum, just in case either site tries to change them:

dissent

How Salon celebrated, er, reported the news (bolded emphasis added by me):

Good news for viewers of BBC News: you’ll no longer be subjected to the unhinged ravings of climate deniers and other members of the anti-science fringe. In a report published Thursday by the BBC Trust, the network’s journalists were criticized for devoting too much air time (as in, any air time) to unqualified people with “marginal views” about non-contentious issues in a misguided attempt to provide editorial balance.

Think Progress gurgled:

When news outlets introduce false balance into its climate change stories, its audience then thinks those stories are less pressing than they actually are, a factor which contributes to uncertainty surrounding the issue and, ultimately, apathy. A 2009 study from the American Psychological Association confirmed this, noting that “perceived or real uncertainty” on climate change can lead to both “systematic underestimation of risk” and “sufficient reason to act in self interest over that of the environment.”

The far leftists at Hullabaloo cheered, “Kudos to the BBC for doing the right thing” while noting, “[o]ne of the hardest lessons journalism has had to learn over the last couple of decades is that sometimes truth doesn’t require balance.”  The Huffington Post, meanwhile, seemed hopeful this was a practice that would commence stateside – in short order.  The last sentence from their piece titled “The BBC Is Fighting Its Addiction To False Climate Change Balance“:

There was no word from American networks as to whether or not they were going to institute the same kinds of practices — though, given their recent output on climate change, it would be wise not to hold your breath.

And here you thought liberals were all about tolerance, and diversity, and freedom of thought and expression …