So, How Are Those Sanctions Working Out?

I think Obama and Hillary finally have a hold of Iran by the balls this time, for sure. It won’t be long now before Iran gives up on their nuclear program and Ahmadinejad gets down on his knees and begs the West not to punish Iran anymore.

Iran increases uranium enrichment – IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran has activated more equipment to enrich uranium more efficiently, violating UN resolutions.

The UN watchdog said a second set, or “cascade”, of centrifuges was operating at the Natanz pilot fuel enrichment plant when inspectors visited in July.

The move to enrich uranium to 20% purity means Iran could quickly advance to making weapons-grade material.

The West believes Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. Iran denies this.

The UN Security Council, the US and EU have each imposed sanctions on the Iranian authorities to force them to halt enrichment activities.

Power station

Iran has been producing low-enriched uranium (LEU) of about 3.5% purity for some time, and announced in February that it had begun enriching uranium to 20% to make fuel for its Tehran research reactor, which produces medical isotopes. A bomb would require at least 90%.

“The IAEA can confirm that on 17 July, when agency inspectors were at [Natanz], Iran was feeding nuclear material to the two interconnected 164-machine centrifuge cascades,” spokeswoman Gill Tudor said.

Ms Tudor said the move was “contrary to UN Security Council resolutions affirming that Iran should suspend all enrichment-related activities”.

The centrifuges spin uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas at high speeds to separate the fissile U-235 atoms from the denser U-238 atoms.

Experts say that using two interconnected cascades increases efficiency by allowing leftover LEU to be re-fed into the machines.

See also:
Iran Expands Production of Higher-Enriched Uranium
IAEA: Iran activates enrichment equipment
Iran starts more efficient uranium enrichment – ISIS
Iran slams media hype over enrichment
IAEA: Iran boosts nuclear enrichment efficiency
Ten questions for the negotiators with Iran
Leaky Sanctions
Natanz [Kashan]
Natanz

Once again, Iran beats us like a drum. Hey Obama, how many times does Ahmadinejad have to laugh at you and kick sand in your face before you grow a spine and take this threat seriously? It’s painfully obvious to anyone with a third grade education that your “sanctions” are worthless and unenforceable. In fact, your “sanctions” do absolutely nothing to deter Iran and serve only to make them more defiant, the exact opposite of the desired effect. You’re desperately in need of a new, adult foreign policy team that doesn’t arrive for work every day in a clown car.

/all I can say is that when Israel finally does what has to be done, you’d better [expletive deleted] stay out of their way

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Turkey Trouble?

Ruh roh.


Arrest of top-brass generals deepens Turkey power struggle

The arrest of dozens of high-ranking military figures in Turkey over an alleged coup plan dating back seven years marks the latest episode of a power struggle between the Islamist-rooted government and the army, the bastion of the secular order, analysts said Tuesday.

In a massive swoop, anti-terror police Monday detained more than 40 people, including the former air force and navy chiefs, over a purported plan drawn up in 2003 to oust the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Until recently, such tough action was inconceivable against the military which has toppled four governments in 50 years and exercised significant clout in politics.

But recent reforms to align the country with the European Union, spearheaded by the AKP government, has reduced the influence of the once-mighty military.

Monday’s arrests constitute a “breaking point” in Turkish political history, said the liberal Taraf daily which exposed the alleged coup plan code-named “Operation Sledgehammer” last month.

“The republic is now changing. The era of ‘dictatorships’ is coming to an end. The coup plotters are being arrested and brought to justice,” wrote the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Ahmet Altan.

According to Taraf, “Operation Sledgehammer” called for the bombing of two mosques in Istanbul at prayer time and organizing attacks by soldiers disguised as Islamists against symbols of secularism.

The coup planners also allegedly plotted to escalate tensions with Greece to secure the downing of a Turkish plane in a dog-fight with Greek jets over the Aegean with the ultimate aim of showing the government as inept and justifying a military takeover.

The army has denied the exisence of “Operation Sledgehammer” and complained of a “smear campaign” amid a string of similar plots for a military takeover carried by the pro-government media.

Dozens of former officers, among them two retired generals, are already on trial over the so-called Ergenekon network, an alleged secularist-nationalist group accused of planning to foment unrest to pave the way for a military coup.

The probe was initially hailed as a success, but has since come under doubt with some suspects accusing police of fabricating evidence.

Government critics claim the coup allegations are a bid by the AKP to cripple the army and remove a major obstacle to a hidden agenda of transforming Turkey into an Islamic state.

Hugh Pope, a senior analyst specialising on Turkey at the International Crisis Group, expressed doubt there was a “witch hunt” against the army.

“Clearly, the judiciary is extremely serious and they would certainly not have taken so many high-profile people into custody unless they had an absolute certainty in their mind that this is a real case,” he said.

Pope acknowledged there was “uncomfortable evidence” of abuses in the judicial process against the alleged coup plotters, but underlined the investigation also represented “a process by which Turkey is establishing the supremacy of civilian authority” over military power.

Alexandre Toumarkine, a political scientist from the French Institute of Anatolia Studies, said the possibility of some limited form of military intervention in EU-candidate Turkey in the 21st-century was not pure fiction.

“The image of tanks in the streets carries such a heavy political cost that such a hypothesis is probably unthinkable,” he said.

Nevertheless, plans of more discreet military intervention aimed at “restructuring the political system in depth” have “germinated in the minds of quite a few people,” he added.

“We have the impression that they have reached such a level (of antagonism) that the army either accepts to withdraw from the political area or continues to prepare the destabilization of the current government to compel it to leave the scene.”

See also:
Turkey Arrests Military Officers in Alleged 2003 Plot
Officers detained over Turkey coup plan
Turkey arrests over 40 for plotting coup
Number of arrested generals in Turkey reached 50
51 military commanders arrested over Turkey coup plot
Turkey closer than ever to trying coup instigators
Turkey’s defence chiefs assess ‘serious’ coup plot arrests
Political tensions mount in Turkey over alleged coup plot
Army grilled on Turkey ‘coup plot’
Turkey army issues warning after ‘coup plot’ arrests
‘Sledgehammer’ inquiry divides Turkey
Arrests expose Turkish fault line
Turkey’s opposition leaders slam detention of military commanders
EU, US back ‘Sledgehammer’ investigation for Turkey’s democracy
A New Military Coup in Turkey Could Derail Protocols, Says Expert
Ruben Safrastyan: military coup unlikely in Turkey
Ruben Safrastyan: Events in Turkey may grow in to a military coup

/hmmm, Islamists versus Secularists, who to root for?

It’s Six Minutes To Midnight, Rejoice, The Peacemaker Obama Cometh To Bring Whirled Peas To The People Of Earth!

What’d I say two days ago about the loons in charge of the “Doomsday Clock”?

Now common sense would dictate that between al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, the threat of nuclear proliferation and global warming hysteria, they’d move the minute hand a minute or two closer to midnight. Then again, you need to remember that the “scientists” in charge of the Doomsday Clock are pretty much liberal lefty loons (LLLs) and, with the ascension of Obama to the world stage and Obama’s subsequent Nobel Peace Prize, they might just have gotten it in their pointy heads that the world is actually safer today and move the minute hand back. Either way, we’ll find out Thursday.

Sure enough, they’re falling down drunk on the Obama Kool-Aid.

It is 6 minutes to midnight

This hopeful state of world affairs leads the boards of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists–which include 19 Nobel laureates–to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock back from five to six minutes to midnight. By shifting the hand back from midnight by only one additional minute, we emphasize how much needs to be accomplished, while at the same time recognizing signs of collaboration among the United States, Russia, the European Union, India, China, Brazil, and others on nuclear security and on climate stabilization.

Beginning with the joint letter of Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev of April 1, 2009, a growing partnership between the United States and Russia is resulting in nuclear arms negotiations that could bring down our deployed strategic warheads from more than 2,000 to about 1,500 warheads each. To put this in perspective, just a little more than a year ago, tensions over actions on Russia’s borders–sparring over Georgia and U.S. missile defense systems in Eastern Europe–threatened to push each country into hostile corners. Instead, this bilateral relationship–perhaps the most important for nuclear disarmament–is on the mend.

. . .

A key to the new era of cooperation is a change in the U.S. government’s orientation toward international affairs brought about in part by the election of Obama. With a more pragmatic, problem-solving approach, not only has Obama initiated new arms reduction talks with Russia, he has started negotiations with Iran to close its nuclear enrichment program, and directed the U.S. government to lead a global effort to secure loose fissile material in four years. He also presided over the U.N. Security Council last September where he supported a fissile material cutoff treaty and encouraged all countries to live up to their disarmament and nonproliferation obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. These actions constitute, in part, Obama’s efforts to make good on his campaign promise–the first ever by a U.S. president–to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Unreal. Of course there is no deal with the Russians, no deal with Iran, no fissile material cutoff treaty, and nuclear proliferation is as much a threat as it ever was. It’s exactly the same logic used for giving Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, when Obama speaks to gullible liberals, they can taste the loquacious, Candy Land lollipop lies spewing forth from the TelePrompTer, via his mouth, and they can smell the savory fragrant, floral unicorn farts emanating from his ass! In the real world, Obama has accomplished exactly nothing.

See also:
Doomsday clock reset thanks to Obama
Doomsday Clock Gets “Hopeful” Adjustment
Making Good Time: Doomsday Clock Moves 1 Minute Back to 6 from Midnight
We’re a minute safer: Doomsday clock moves backwards for first time since 1991
Doomsday Clock shows signs for hope, need for progress
‘Doomsday Clock’ Moves Away From Midnight but Only by 1 Minute
‘Doomsday Clock’ moves a minute back
Atomic scientists move Doomsday Clock one minute further away from midnight
Scientists Push “Doomsday Clock” Back a Minute
Tick-tock: Doomsday Clock gains a minute
DOOMSDAY CLOCK ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEOS
It’s Five Minutes To Midnight, What Time Will It Be Thursday?

/frankly, you have to be insane to think that Obama has made the world a safer place, in fact, his naivety and weakness in international affairs have done just the opposite

If The Terrorist Enemy Of Our Enemy Renounces Terrorism Are They Our Freind Or Still Our Enemy?

Who’s side is the Obama administration really on here and who’s side should they be on?

Group sues US Government for labelling it terrorist

The People’s Mujahideen is sick and tired of being called a terrorist organisation by the US Government. So its leaders settled on a uniquely American strategy: they sued.

Yes, the group has done its share of assassinations, bombings, embassy attacks and killings of US troops. But that was long ago, and now the People’s Mujahideen says it has devoted itself to democracy and non-violence, and it would like very much to be taken off the State Department’s list of international terrorist groups.

Friends of the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran – aka the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, aka the National Liberation Army of Iran, aka the National Council of Resistance, aka the Organisation of the People’s Holy Warriors – assembled on Tuesday at a courthouse in Washington to hear Andrew Frey of the firm Mayer Brown plead their case.

”Today’s PMOI is unique among foreign terrorist organisations,” the lawyer told a three-judge appellate panel. ”The organisation has forsworn violence. We walk the walk. There have been no terrorist acts by PMOI for eight years.”

People’s Mujahideen fighters were old-school terrorists who once battled the shah of Iran. They then went to Iraq and, with Saddam Hussein’s help, attacked the ayatollahs. They allegedly killed hundreds of people, but now they call themselves a non-violent Iranian opposition movement. About 3400 of them and their family members still live at Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

The Government’s lawyer, Douglas Letter, said he was not about to negotiate with ”an organisation that for at least 30 years has been involved in terrorism, violence, assassination …”

He admitted the public record was not sufficient to demonstrate that the group still poses a threat, but said classified material made it clear the group still deserves its terrorist listing. Here the People’s Mujahideen has a problem: it is allowed to respond to the classified evidence but not to see it.

Why Keep Iran Opposition Group on U.S. Terror List?

To the extent that the Iranian people’s six-month-old uprising for regime change is real, which it certainly is (“The People’s Revolt in Iran,” Review & Outlook, Dec. 22), the U.S. administration’s attitude toward it remains astonishing and unbelievable.

You should have mentioned that while current developments share striking similarities with those of 1978 prior to the Iranian revolution, the mistakes committed by the current Democratic administration bear striking resemblances to those of the Carter administration in 1978.

No one wants to see the U.S. interfering in Iran’s internal affairs. But it would be equally inexcusable to exercise silence while still pinning hope on nuclear negotiations with the clerical regime, a regime that is the primary state sponsor of international terrorism and whose rush to acquire nuclear weapons has brought on a regional crisis.

Washington is currently not on the side of the Iranian people. Even worse, by keeping the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), on the State Department’s terror list, it has in effect rewarded the Iranian regime. The terror tag, levied in 1997 by the Clinton administration, aimed to placate the regime and change its behavior. It is completely devoid of legal, moral and political justification.

After seven court rulings that annulled the terror label against the MEK, the U.K. and the EU removed the organization from their own lists in 2008 and 2009. A court in the U.K. ruled in 2008 that “The reality is that neither in the open material nor in the closed material is there any reliable evidence that supported a conclusion that PMOI retained an intention to resort to terrorist activities in the future.”

The MEK rejected violence in 2001 and voluntarily disarmed in 2003. Interviews and extensive investigations conducted by nine U.S. security agencies on more than 3,400 MEK members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, revealed that they pose absolutely no threat to America’s national security.

When it comes to the nuclear issue, the MEK has also served as the world’s eyes and ears by exposing the mullahs’ clandestine nuclear weapons program for the past seven years.

Why this organization remains on the U.S. terror list is a lingering mystery in Washington.

The Obama administration should remove the unwarranted restrictions placed on the Iranian opposition. Politically and morally, it should place itself on the side of millions of Iranians who are chanting for freedom. After that, it can leave the rest to the Iranian people and their organized resistance movement.

See also:
FACTBOX: Who are the People’s Mujahideen of Iran?
People’s Mujaheddin swears it has changed its terrorist ways
D.C. Circuit Examines Iranian Group’s ‘Terrorist’ Designation
Remove PMOI from terror list
End Appeasement of Iran, But Don’t Pull the Trigger (Yet)
PMOI
People’s Mujahedin of Iran
National Council of Resistance of Iran

Even if Chiang Kai-shek had horns and a tail he should be supported as long as he is anti-communist and we can reform him later.

/MacArthur

There’s no forgiving the killing of Americans, no matter how long ago, but that was then and this is now and we need all the help we can get with Iran. The PMOI has already been removed from the U.K and EU terrorist lists and they did uncover Iran’s secret nuclear program. When alliances and circumstances change and it suddenly is in our national interest, it wouldn’t be the first time the United States has embraced a former enemy to combat a current threat. If the PMOI can help us achieve regime change in Iran, we should be working with them and not against them. It may not be the most palatable choice, but the other choices we face regarding Iran are much less palatable.

/in my opinion, this particular enemy of our enemy should be our friend

Iran Tells The West To [Expletive Deleted] Off (Again)!

Iran Tests New Version of Missile that Can Reach Europe, Israel

Iranian state media reported Wednesday that Tehran successfully test-fired an enhanced version of a solid-fuel medium-range missile, as U.S. and Western powers prepare to push for new economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran said it fired an “optimized” version of its Sajjil-2, a medium-range missile capable of hitting Israel, according to Iranian media.

Tehran first tested the weapon in May, claiming it marked a significant milestone in its missile-technology efforts. In May, Iran said the Sajjil-2 had a range of 2,000 kilometers, or about 1,200 miles. That would make it capable of reaching Israel and the Black Sea coast of European Union members Romania and Bulgaria, though that isn’t different than range capabilities claimed in previous missile launches.

Iran said, however, the missile was more sophisticated than earlier models, and propelled by a solid-fuel system, which would make it easier to deploy than liquid-fuel missiles.

Iran’s state media reported Wednesday the updated version is faster, harder to shoot down and quicker to launch.

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s defense minister, said in comments to state media the new weapon was defensive in nature. “Iran’s missile capabilities are strictly defensive and at the service of regional peace and stability,” Gen. Vahidi said. “They will never be [used] against any country.”

Iran has a history of conducting war games and unveiling what is says are military innovations during times of international pressure.

President Barack Obama has given an end-of-year deadline for progress in talks with Iran over its alleged nuclear ambitions. Washington and other capitals have ratcheted up threats of fresh sanctions as that deadline approaches.

The White House said Wednesday’s test would increase the international community’s resolve. “There’s no doubt that, given this environment, missile tests do nothing but undermine the Iranian claims” that its nuclear program has peaceful aims, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.

See also:
Iran says it tested upgraded Sajjil-2 missile
Iran says it tested upgraded Sajjil-2 missile
Iran missile test follows sanctions talk from West
Iran tests missile, stoking tensions with the West
Iran’s missile test angers the West
U.S. condemns Iran’s missile test
US condemns Iran’s ‘provocative actions’ as regime test-fires missile
Gates ‘concerned’ over Iran missile test: Pentagon
Iran’s missile test aimed at U.S., Israel
Important Points About Iran’s Missile Test
Sajjil

Iranian missile tests like these, coupled with Iran’s uranium enrichment program and the recent discovery that Iran is working on nuclear trigger technology, in spite of the West’s economic sanctions and threats of more sanctions, are starting to point to what is the most likely inevitable conclusion. Iran will deploy a deliverable nuclear warhead and they will eventually launch it at Israel.

/theoretically, we’ll be able to shoot down any Iranian missile launch at Israel, but then the obvious question becomes, what happens next?

Look Ma, No Hijackers

Mystery as missing cargo ship Arctic Sea found without hijackers

The ship baffled maritime authorities when it disappeared shortly after being sailed through the English Channel last month, raising the prospect of the first act of piracy in European waters for hundreds of years.

Anatoly Serdyukov, the Russian defence minister, said that the 15 crew members were safe after they were taken on board a naval frigate “300 miles off the Cape Verde islands”.

“They are being questioned to clarify all the circumstances of the disappearance. We will explain what happened with it, why communications with it were lost, why it changed its itinerary.”

Russian authorities did not provide information on the precise circumstances of the ship’s interception near Cape Verde, about 2,500 miles away from the vessel’s intended location.

The naval operation, which took place on Sunday night, followed a weekend of joint Russia-Nato surveillance of the “hijacked” Maltese-flagged ship culminating in its detention by the Russian anti-submarine frigate, the Ladny.

Malta’s Maritime Authority said it would be “using diplomatic, security service, flag administration, military and police channels” to find out more about what had happened.

“The MV Arctic Sea is under the control of the Russian military forces. Further clarifications into the case are being sought,” said a spokesman.

The freighter’s disappearance on the high seas for 19 days, in spite of 21st century satellite and navigation tracking technology, has been compared to the plot of a spy thriller by John Le Carre.

European and Russian maritime experts had speculated that that the ship’s hijacking was not connected with an official manifest of timber and could be linked to an illegal cargo, such as arms, drugs or even nuclear materials, carried without the knowledge of crew or the ship’s owners.

The vessel left the Finnish port of Pietarsaari on July 23 with a £1.2 million cargo of timber for scheduled unloading on Aug 4 at Bejaia, Algeria.

But the Arctic Sea’s voyage was then plunged into mystery after crew reported a boarding in Swedish waters on July 24 by 10 armed English-speaking men masquerading as anti-narcotics police officers.

According to crew members, the intruders held them hostage for 12 hours, subjected them to violent questioning and “went through the ship with a fine-tooth comb”.

After proceeding through the English Channel on July 28, a final signal from the vessel’s automatic identification system (AIS) two days later placed the “pirate” ship 50 miles south of Penzance.

According to European Union officials a second attack was then reported off the Portuguese coast and the ship’s AIS system was switched off.

Last week, Russian navy vessels, including the Ladny and two nuclear submarines, were mobilised following reports of the vessel’s hijacking.

The Daily Telegraph understands the whereabouts of the 4000 ton dry-cargo freighter had been established last Thursday as the missing vessel headed south, out of Europe’s Atlantic waters towards the west African coast.

The Arctic Sea was then spotted by coastguards on Aug 14 in international waters 500 miles off the West African island archipelago of Cape Verde and the vessel was placed under ongoing surveillance by Russian and Nato military.

Finnish police investigators confirmed at the weekend that a ransom demand, said to be around £900,000, had been received by the Arctic Sea’s Russian owners.

Viktor Matveyev, director of the ship’s Russian-owned operator Oy Solchart, said: “We are all incredibly happy. Now the big work starts to find out what happened.”

See also:
Russia finds Arctic Sea ship, ‘debriefing’ crew
Russia Finds Missing Ship Arctic Sea, Defense Minister Says
Missing cargo ship Arctic Sea found off Cape Verde
Russian Navy finds Arctic Sea
Arctic Sea owner: Happy crew is “safe and all alive” (Extra)
Arctic Sea found off Cape Verde
Where Oh Where Has The Arctic Sea Gone, Where Oh Where Can It Be?
Thar She Blows?
The Plot Thickems

Well, it’s a good thing that the crew is safe and the recovery of the Arctic Sea was peaceful. However, there are still many more questions than answers. Hopefully, we’ll eventually find out the truth of what happened.

Until then, a couple of questions immediately leap to mind. Since there were no hijackers aboard, what exactly was the crew doing sailing the Arctic Sea off the coast of West Africa and why didn’t they turn on their identification beacon or otherwise communicate their location and situation to anyone?

/I’m betting that the whole “hijacking” scenario was a hoax, part of an elaborate scam for money, and the crew was in on it

If You’re a Coward, Don’t Join the Military

U.S. Deserter ‘Having Time of My Life’ as He Seeks Asylum in Germany

Video

Germany has been very good to Spec. André L. Shepherd since he deserted the U.S. Army.

The 31-year-old former mechanic of the 601st Aviation Support Battalion is enjoying perks that eluded him back home in Ohio: a bed, a bank account, a cellphone and friends.

Best of all from his standpoint, he isn’t back in Iraq.

“I’m having the time of my life,” says Mr. Shepherd, the only American bunking at a refugee-processing center in southern Germany.

The U.S. deserter enters uncharted legal territory on Wednesday, when Germany begins weighing his request for political asylum. The case will put to the test a 2004 European Union directive requiring member countries to grant asylum to soldiers protesting unlawful wars.

He walked away from the military for his convictions. Now, U.S. Army deserter Andre Shepherd seeks political asylum in Germany. WSJ’s Mike Esterl reports.
Mr. Shepherd could wind up in a U.S. jail if his application is rejected, but a favorable ruling could open a new escape hatch for Americans stationed in Germany who want to avoid combat duty in Iraq. About 38,000 American soldiers are stationed in Germany, a key logistical hub for the U.S. Army.

Mr. Shepherd has no shortage of supporters. Punk rockers gave him shelter after he decamped from a military base near Nuremberg in 2007 and went into hiding. Dozens of peace organizations have championed his cause since he turned himself in to German authorities late last year and applied for asylum.

“He’s our poster boy,” says Tim Huber of the Military Counseling Network, part of the German Mennonite Peace Committee, a nongovernmental organization helping finance Mr. Shepherd’s legal campaign.

All I can say is that NATO ally Germany better do the right thing and deny asylum.

/hey André, I hear Kansas is a lot of fun too