That Didn’t Take Long

U.S. troops have been out of Iraq for what, less than a day now?

Iraq issues arrest warrant for vice president Hashemi

Iraq has issued an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a senior security official said on Monday, after the government obtained confessions linking him to what the official described as terrorist activities.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Major General Adel Daham, told a news conference that confessions by suspects identified as Hashemi’s bodyguards linked the vice president to suspected killings and attacks.

See also:
Iraq issues arrest warrant for Tareq al-Hashemi
Iraq issues arrest warrant for Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi
Iraq in political turmoil hours after last US troops depart
Iraq: left to the wolves
Arrest warrant for Vice President Hashemi sparks political turmoil in Iraq
VP arrest warrant plunges Iraq into crisis
Iraq faces political crisis as the arrest warrant to Sunni VP al-Hashemi
Sunni, Shi’ite conflict grows in Iraq
Iraq Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi denies charge
Evading arrest, Iraqi VP denies hit squad claim
Iraq Vice-President denies he ran hit squad
Iraq’s Sunni vice President Tareq al-Hashemi warns sectarian divisions reopened
Iraq vice-president declares unity efforts ‘gone’
Iraq slaps travel ban on Sunni vice-president
Iraqi Sunni leaders denounce PM Maliki
U.S. “obviously concerned” about Iraqi Hashemi probe
Fugitive Iraq Sunni V.P. Tariq al-Hashimi Criticizes U.S.

It’s painfully clear what’s going on here. With the U.S. military now out of the way, the Shia led Iraqi government, backed by Iran, is wasting no time flexing its muscle and settling old scores against the Iraqi Sunni minority. Can you say looming civil war?

/and now we’ve pretty much given up our ability to effectively intervene militarily in Iraq, leaving Iran as the only regional military power capable of “riding to the rescue” of the Iraqi government, who just happen to be Iranian puppets anyway

Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Incident At Isfahan

Hmmm, I wonder what this is all about?

‘Mysterious explosion rocks Iranian city of Isfahan’

A large explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan, semi-official FARS news reported Monday afternoon.

According to the report, the blast occurred shortly after 2:00 p.m. FARS did not reveal the cause of the explosion, which was large enough to be heard throughout Iran’s third largest city.

. . .

Isfahan is home to nuclear experimental reactors, and also a uranium enrichment facility for producing nuclear fuel.

See also:
Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility
Report: Huge blast heard in Iranian city of Isfahan
Iran: explosion in Isfahan reported
Loud Blast Reportedly Rocks Iranian City of Isfahan
Mysterious blast heard from Iran’s Isfahan city; reports conflicted
‘Explosion’ in Iran raises suspicions of attack on nuclear missile program
Blast near Iran nuclear facility
No explosion in Isfahan: Iran official
Iran official: Blast near nuclear site caused by military mishap
Sound of blast reported in Iran’s Isfahan city
BREAKING: Explosion Reported at Isfahan, Iran, ‘Home to Key Nuclear Facility’
More “Bad Luck” in Iran; “Huge” Explosion Reported Outside Isfahan
In Iran, a series of mysterious incidents raises sabotage suspicions

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this is the second major explosion,in less than two weeks, at or near a facility involved with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

/or maybe it’s not a coincidence at all, more faster please

Secret Code For Kindergartners

How dumb is this?

‘Pizza’ Party Codeword May Have Doomed CIA Spies

All the CIA’s Lebanon spies wanted was a slice. What they got, allegedly, was a big intelligence failure.

Hezbollah may have just rolled up the CIA’s network of spies devoted to cracking the secrets of the Lebanese Shiite extremist group. If so, it’s because of one of the stupidest, least secure code words in history.

According to ABC News, Hezbollah operatives figured out that CIA informants who had infiltrated the Iranian proxy group were meeting with their agency handlers at a Beirut Pizza Hut. How could Hezbollah deduce that location? “The CIA used the codeword ‘PIZZA’ when discussing where to meet with the agents,” ABC reports.

See also:
Exclusive: CIA Spies Caught, Fear Execution in Middle East
CIA in Lebanon damaged by capture of spies by Hezbollah
The Pizza Hut Connection: CIA Exposes Own Spies in Iran and Lebanon
CIA’s ‘pizza’ blunders leave informants facing execution
Iran and Hezbollah Caught All the CIA Spies at Pizza Hut
Iran and Hezbollah Caught CIA Spies at a Pizza Hut in Beirut
American ‘Pizza Hut’ Spies Captured in Lebanon
CIA informants in Iran, Lebanon outed over ‘pizza code-word’ blunders
Hezbollah unraveling CIA spy network in Lebanon
CIA spy ring busted in Iran and Lebanon
Reports: U.S. Operatives Caught In Lebanon, Iran
White House: No Comment on Spies Outed in Iran, Lebanon
Hezbollah uncovers CIA informants
CIA spies captured in Lebanon
‘CIA spies busted in Iran, Lebanon’

What were they thinking? It’s unfortunate that people working for us have or are about to lose their lives over something this stupid and easily avoidable. Not only is it extremely damaging to our intelligence gathering efforts, but it’s also going to have a chilling effect on future recruitment efforts. Seriously, who wants to work for amateurs, especially if your life depends on it?

/taking the intelligence out of Central Intelligence Agency

Duqu Shoots, It Scores!

Duqu goes in where Stuxnet has been . . .

Iran claims defence computer systems hit by another ‘supervirus’

Anti-virus experts last month identified a virus called “Duqu” that they said shared properties with the now famous “Stuxnet” worm, which spread across the world but is thought to have been successfully targeted at the nuclear programme’s centrifuges, the devices that enrich uranium to create nuclear fuel.

It was not clear on Monday from the Iranian statement whether Duqu had also struck nuclear facilities, but it was the first admission of damage.

“We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus,” Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s civil defence programme, said. “The final report which says which organisations the virus has spread to and what its impacts are has not been completed yet.

See also:
Iran Working to Control Duqu Virus Attack
Iran detects Duqu virus in system
Duqu Virus Detected in Iran
Iran says has detected Duqu computer virus
Iran finds Duqu-infected systems
Duqu infiltrates Iranian networks
Iran admits Duqu attack; denies report its nukes are for war, not power
Iran detects Duqu infections
Iran wrestles Duqu malware infestation
Security researcher says Iran to blame for its own Duqu infections
Iran claims Duqu virus aimed at sabotaging its nuclear sites
‘Duqu virus aiming at Iran’s nuclear sites’
Iranians say nuke project hit by new computer virus
Iran produces antivirus software against new worm
Iran Develops Software to Thwart Duqu Virus Attack
‘Iran can thwart Duqu spyware’
Iran says Duqu malware under ‘control’
Iran says it has ‘controlled’ Duqu malware attack
Beyond Stuxnet

Duqu is the, arguably more sophisticated, follow on to Stuxnet, which took control of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges and spun them at speeds well beyond their design capability until they failed. Stuxnet was an offensive weapon. Unlike Stuxnet, Duqu is, at least so far, strictly a reconnaissance tool, gathering and reporting back information on systems related to Iran’s nuclear program, preparing the battlespace as a prelude to a future attack if you will. Whether the next attack will be another
Stuxnet like cyberstrike or physically digging in the Iranian dirt is a layman’s guess. One thing’s for sure, the next attack on Iran’s nuclear program is coming and Iran won’t be able to stop it.

Iran claims to have thwarted Duqu but, then again, they said the same thing about Stuxnet and Stuxnet blew out their centrifuges. Anyway, if Iran is just now admitting that they’ve been infected by Duqu, Duqu may have already accomplished its reconnaissance mission and gone dormant. Whatever information Iran releases publicly is pretty much a lie, propaganda, you can safely assume that whenever they acknowledge their nuclear program has been compromised, the damage is much worse than they’re letting on.

And remember, whether it’s another cyberattack or airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, all it does is buy us time. Stuxnet set the Iranians back, but it didn’t deter them. Destroying some of their nuclear facilities won’t deter them either, in fact, it’ll probably make them even more defiant. The only endgame that will bring closure is regime change. And think about it, if we do that, we’ve just resolved 70+% of the world’s instability problems.

/my vote is for a comprehensive, all hands on deck, leave no stone unturned, decapitation campaign, Mullahs and the Republican Guard gots to live and work somewhere and I bet we have the GPS coordinates

Is This The Start Of Something Big?

Unless the Iranians are insanely careless when moving ordnance around an “ammunition depot”, it’s unlikely that an explosion of this size was an accident, especially if reports are true that this was actually a highly secret missile base, a senior Guard commander was killed and/or that two consecutive explosions occurred in two IRGC bases.

Mystery surrounds deadly blast at Iran ammunition depot

Mystery surrounds yesterday’s explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot that was so large it was felt and heard almost 30 miles away in Tehran.

. . .

The Fars News Agency, which is connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reported on Sunday that the IRGC “strongly dismissed certain baseless reports” that the explosion was “related to nuclear tests or transport of missile warheads.”

“The blast happened during the transportation of [conventional] ammunition,” said the IRGC press chief General Ramazan Sharif. Some 15 soldiers had been “martyred,” he said, dialing down initial estimates of 40, though some of the wounded were in critical condition.

See also:
Blasts hit IRGC military base in W Tehran, 15 dead
‘IRGC military base blast kills 17′
Accidental explosion at Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot kills 17 west of Iran’s capital
Iran explosion at Revolutionary Guards military base
17 killed in Iran base blast
Iran exile group claims blast near Tehran hit closely guarded missile base
Iran exile group claims blast hits missile base
Iran exile group claims blast hits missile base
Iran Exile Group Claims Blast Hits Missile Base
Iran Guards: Officer killed in blast a ‘martyr’
Iran: Dead Guard commander was missile expert
Massive explosion in Iran kills 17
17 killed in massive explosions at munitions depot near Tehran
Iran: Top Revolutionary Guard commander among those killed in blast
US blog: Mossad behind Iran blast
Israelis wonder about deadly Iranian missile-site explosion

Was this Israeli orchestrated sabotage of an Iranian test, related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program or, perhaps, a U.S. B-2 strike, based on timely intelligence? Either possibility could be a plausible explanation for what occurred. One thing’s for damn sure, if it turns out that, indeed, two separate IRGC bases were hit near simultaneously, it wasn’t an accident.

/in any case, keep the Iranian “accidents” coming, they’re much easier to sell to the international community and much less disruptive to world markets than belligerent acts of war by foreign powers

Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, really?

U.N. report cites secret nuclear research by Iran

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that it has “serious concerns” that Iran is secretly working toward building a nuclear bomb, citing documents pointing to Iranian scientists’ extensive and possibly ongoing efforts to master the technology needed for atomic weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency cited “credible” intelligence — provided by 10 countries and vetted over many months — that directly contradicts Iran’s steadfast assertions that its nuclear intentions are entirely peaceful.

“The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” the IAEA said in an uncharacteristically blunt report prepared for the U.N. agency’s 35-nation board of directors.

Read the report:

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement and relevant provisions of
Security Council resolutions in the
Islamic Republic of Iran

See also:
IAEA report: Iran has been working toward nuclear bomb since 2003
Nightmare Scenario In the Middle East as Iran Inches Closer to the Bomb
Iran’s nuclear program alarms world powers
World divided on response to Iran nuke report
US breaks silence on IAEA report,’won’t rule anything out’
European states call for stiffer sanctions against Iran following IAEA report
Official says Russia will not support any new sanctions against Iran over nuclear program
Iran says IAEA nuclear report influenced by U.S., West
PM: Iranian nukes endanger Mideast, world peace
Western Powers Warn of New Sanctions if Iran Ignores Nuclear Concerns
IAEA’s Iran Report Represents Critical Inflection Point
The IAEA report: what does it really mean and will it lead to war with Iran?

Face it, sanctions aren’t going to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, especially as long as China and Russia continue to side with Ira. That leaves only one option, a military strike. Whether a military strike will stop Iran’s nuclear program is debatable and extremely risky. However, the 100% certain alternative is that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Those are the two bad choices, a military strike or Iran gets nuclear weapons. Pick one.

/and forget about all the fussing about air routes and in-flight refueling, use ICBMs tipped with conventional ground penetrator payloads and start here

Don’t Get Caught In The Crossfire

The Duqu virus is squarely aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Unless you’re connected with Iran’s nuclear program, your chances of being directly targeted are extremely low. However, Microsoft was freaked out enough to issue a security bulletin for Windows users. So, better safe than sorry, protect yourself against the possibility of becoming collateral damage in an epic, upcoming attack.

Microsoft issues Duqu virus workaround for Windows

Microsoft has issued a temporary fix to the pernicious Duqu virus — also known as “Son of Stuxnet” — which could affect users of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2008.

The company promised the security update earlier this week as it races to deal with the virus, which targets victims via email with a Microsoft Word attachment. The virus is not in the email, but in the attachment itself. A Symantec researcher said if a user opens the Word document, the attacker could take control of the PC, and nose around in an organization’s network to look for data, and the virus could propagate itself.

See also:
Microsoft Security Advisory (2639658)
Microsoft software bug linked to ‘Duqu’ virus
Microsoft Provides Workaround Patch for Duqu Malware
Microsoft announces workaround for the Duqu exploit
Microsoft Issues Temporary Duqu Workaround, Plans 4 Patch Tuesday Fixes
Six Ways to Protect Yourself from Duqu
Microsoft Airs Temporary Fix to Defeat Duqu Worm
Microsoft Releases Temporary Plug For Duqu
Duqu exploits same Windows font engine patched last month, Microsoft confirms
5 Things To Do To Defend Against Duqu
Microsoft issues temporary ‘fix-it’ for Duqu zero-day
Patch Tuesday: Fix for ‘Duqu’ zero-day not likely this month

Is it just me or doesn’t it seem a bit more than odd that Microsoft, a company with close ties to and a past history of working with U.S. intelligence agencies, would publicly issue a workaround to defend against a specific piece of malware that, by many accounts, is being actively and currently used by U.S. intelligence agencies to set up and facilitate an upcoming attack, in cyberspace or otherwise, against Iran’s nuclear program? I mean, it’s not like the Iranians can’t read English, why help them defend against Duqu? Hmmm, something’s not quite right here.

/whatever’s going on, and something is going on, it’s way above my pay grade, but when the endgame comes, don’t forget to duck

Mooky Rubs The U.S. Nose In The Iranian Victory In Iraq

After almost a decade in Iraq, after losing thousands of soldiers and spending hundreds of billions of dollars, the United States’ request to maintain even a minimal troop presence in Iraq after the end of 2011 was categorically rejected, in the end, effectively vetoed by close Iranian ally and long time U.S. nemesis, with plenty of U.S. blood on his hands, Muqtada al-Sadr. We got kicked out by Mooky, how absolutely humiliating is that?

Iraq’s Sadr calls for full US withdrawal

Head of Iraq’s Sadr movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, has called for the complete withdrawal of all American troops from the country by the end of the year.

Speaking in the holy city of Najaf on Wednesday, the cleric rejected any form of US presence in the country, as Washington and Baghdad are discussing keeping a limited number of US troops as military trainers in Iraq.

Sadr said the presence of US military trainers in Iraq beyond the Dec. 31 deadline is an ”organized occupation”.

He also dismissed any negotiation with the US before the full withdrawal of all foreign soldiers and the payment of compensation to the families of Iraqis killed by US troops.

Washington has been pressing Baghdad to agree to keep thousands of its troops beyond the 2011 deadline. It also wants the remaining troops to be granted immunity from prosecution.

See also:
Sadr rejects presence of US Military trainers in Iraq
Sadr bloc warns over keeping US military
Iraq’s move to revoke immunity for troops adds to US problems
After Nearly Nine Years of War and Occupation, America to Withdraw All Troops From Iraq
The U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq
U.S. role in Iraq comes to unsatisfying end
Timid leadership on US forces by Iraq’s politicians
As U.S.-Iraq troop talks faltered, Obama didn’t pick up the phone
With troops pulling out at year’s end, close U.S. Embassy in Iraq for diplomats’ safety
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
Risk Key US Gen calls Iraq pullout ‘disaster’
Overheard on CNN.com: Iraq not ours to ‘win’
Soldiers, Pundits Debate Whether Iraq War Was Worth It

If anyone tries to tell you that the U.S. pullout from Iraq, without a trace, after begging to stay and being curtly rebuffed, isn’t a huge victory for Iran, they’re either naive, confused, or lying. Iran will dominate Iraq, economically, militarily, politically, and socially after we’re gone. The majority of Iraq’s government is already aligned with Iran.

Does anyone seriously believe that a U.S. embassy, with less than 200 troops, has any chance of checking Iran’s influence in Iraq? Hell, we’ll be lucky if our embassy isn’t overrun. Iraq could very well become another Iranian satellite state, like Lebanon. And hey, you thought taking military action against Iran’s nuclear program was already difficult at best? Try it without any leverage over or military footprint in Iraq.

/Obama’s Iran/Iraq policy, “not with a bang, but a whimper”

Space Monkey Fail

One small misstep for Iran, one giant bummer for the monkey. Next time, send Ahmadinejad.

Report: Iran Attempt to Launch Monkey Into Space Fails

An attempt by Iran to launch a rocket carrying a live monkey into space in September has met with failure, stalling the country’s program to pursue a human spaceflight capability, according to press reports.

The Iranian Space Agency reportedly attempted to launch a Rhesus monkey into space atop a Kavoshgar-5 rocket (Kavoshgar means “Explorer” in Farsi) during the Iranian month of Shahrivar, a period that ran between Aug. 23 and Sept. 22, according to an Agence-France Press report.

“The Kavoshgar-5 rocket carrying a capsule with a live animal (a monkey) was launched during Shahrivar,” Iran’s Deputy Science Minister Mohammad Mehdinejad-Nouri told the ISNA news agency, according to AFP. “However, the launch was not publicized as all of its anticipated objectives were not accomplished.”

See also:
Iran fails with space monkey launch
Iran Space monkey launch failed
Iran’s attempt to launch a monkey into space ends in failure
We Have Some Bad News About Iran’s Space Monkey
Iran Space Monkey Launch Attempt Fails
Iran tries, fails, to launch monkey into space
Iran’s space monkey failed
Iran “failed” to launch monkey into space
Iran space program confirms attempt to send live monkey into orbit failed
Iran’s attempt to launch monkey into space fails
Iran Fails to Send Monkey Into Space
Scott Hollifield: Space monkey breaking news — Iranian launch fails

The good news is that a nuclear warhead weighs more than a Rhesus monkey so, if Iran can’t put a monkey in space, they probably can’t lift a warhead that far either.

/they should have consulted Patti Smith, the Space Monkey expert

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