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?

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

Enriching Uranium Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Someone’s sending a pretty clear message. Do you want to work on Iran’s nuclear program or do you want to live?

Analysts believe Iran scientist death was a foreign hit

Western security agencies were most likely behind the killing of an Iranian scientist in an operation that underlines the myriad complications in the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program, analysts say.

Darioush Rezaie, 35, a university lecturer, was shot dead by gunmen in eastern Tehran Saturday, the third murder of a scientist since 2009. One was killed in a car bomb, the second by a device detonated remotely.

See also:
Third Iranian nuclear scientist shot dead
Western intelligence killed Iran scientist: Analysts
Iranian Nuclear Scientist ‘Assassinated’
Iranian nuclear scientist killed
Iran blamed US, Israel for killing of scientist
Iran accuses U.S., Israel of being involved in assassinating academic
US rejects Iran accusations in scientist’s death
US denies killing scientist, presses Iran
‘West’s involvement in hit on scientist uncertain’
Report: Iran denies Darioush Rezaie was a nuclear scientist

Granted, killing Iran’s nuclear scientists isn’t the most effective or efficient way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons but, then again, it may be one of the only viable options left to the West at this point. That is, if Western intelligence agencies were responsible for the assassinations, which they deny.

/in any case, at least someone is doing something to try and hamstring Iran’s nefarious nuclear ambitions

Add Hornet’s Nest, Stir

So, do you think it’s a coincidence that all these Muslim countries suddenly descended into open street unrest all at once? Guess again, it’s a coordinated transnational effort by dedicated, hardcore Islamists to press for the Caliphate, destroy Israel, and defeat the West. As much as the West tries to downplay or ignore these recent developments, rest assured, Muslims worldwide are sitting up, paying attention, and drawing inspiration.

Iran: Riots sign of Islamic awakening

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says recent anti-government riots in Tunisia and Egypt are “a sign of the awakening of Islam inspired by the Islamic Revolution’s victory in Iran.”

In a sermon delivered Friday morning at a Tehran mosque, Khamenei said that “the Americans and Zionists are more concerned than anyone else about the situation in Egypt, but they are helpless and will not succeed in finding a remedy for the situation.”

He accused Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak of “cooperating with the Zionists” and helping Israel impose its siege on the Gaza Strip.

. . .

The Iranian supreme leader said the events in Egypt would have far-reaching implication on the entire Middle East. “This is an earthquake, and if the Egyptian people carry on they will defeat the American policy in the region. The Zionist enemies are more concerned than anyone else, as they are aware of what might happen if Egypt cut off the alliance with them.”

See also:
Islamic Awakening has been Aroused among Muslims
Egyptians rising up against servitude to U.S.: Leader
Iran’s Khamenei praises Egyptian protesters, declares ‘Islamic awakening’
IRAN: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Egyptian uprising is an Islamic ‘awakening’
Waves of Islamic Awakening Sweep Across the Region
Arab uprisings sign of ‘Islamic awakening’: Khamenei
Tehran supports ‘justice-seeking’ Egypt protesters
Larijani Calls Tunisia, Egypt Uprisings an “Islamic Awakening”

Will Islam sweep the globe and establish a Caliphate in the next two weeks? No, but they’re off to a pretty good start in the last month, don’t you think? Remember, they have a much longer time horizon than we do, they live by incremental steps towards their goals.

You don’t think they’re serious or capable of achieving their goals? Remember, they’re already seriously affecting our transportation regime, have you tried to fly recently? Remember the 1979 Iran revolution, the Islamic regime on the brink of becoming a nuclear power today? We’re still paying in blood and national treasure for that one.

Islam has always had a long term plan for world domination and the establishment of a Caliphate and it’s as old as time, well at least as far back as the 7th century. Dar al-Harb (House of war) and Dar al-Islam (House of Islam).

You’ve been warned.

/continue to whistle past the graveyard or prepare to defend yourself and your way of life, your pick

Prices Double, Will There Be Trouble?

Will the sticker shock of these whopping price increases on life’s basic commodities be the final straw in Iran that breaks the back of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs’ theocratic regime? Are international economic sanctions finally working?

Prices in Iran rise after lifting of subsidies

The Iranian government’s removal of decades-old subsidies for food and energy in an attempt to boost its troubled economy has spurred price increases on everything from fruit and vegetables to gasoline, generated work stoppages and emboldened the political opposition.

In Tehran, the nation’s capital, taxi fares that officially were to rise by 10% shot much higher as drivers imposed their own price increases. Some truckers across the country refused to work, complaining of government threats to revoke their permits if they raised their prices to offset higher fuel costs.

Crews on ferry boats operating between Bandar Abbas port and Qeshm island in the Persian Gulf temporarily stopped working, complaining that the ticket prices set by the government had not gone up despite a four-fold increase in the price of fuel, the Mehr news agency reported.

The austerity measures, though long anticipated, have brought mounting public anger since they began Sunday. Government critics contend that they will hurt people with modest incomes while leaving the wealthy unscathed.

. . .

Already, the prices of produce, diesel, gasoline, cooking oil, water and bread have risen dramatically. In downtown Tehran, the price of a loaf of brick-oven bread doubled overnight to 40 cents. Security forces have been deployed around the country in case public frustration boils over into civil unrest.

See also:
Iran Braces for Backlash as Subsidies Nixed
Iran deploys police as gas, food prices go up
Police in Iran streets as subsidies are cut
Subsidy reforms threaten legitimacy of Ahmadinejad
Iran opposition: ‘Dark future’ awaits the economy
Iran doubles price of bread with subsidy cut
Fuel prices in Iran rise as latest subsidy reforms begin
Ahmadinejad cuts Iranian subsidies, quadrupling the price of gas
Prices to soar as Iran cuts subsidies

Now, if your food prices doubled and your gas prices quadrupled overnight by order of your government, wouldn’t you be a bit upset? Of course, the big question is whether the Iranian opposition can harness all this public frustration and whip it up into the overthrow of the Iranian regime, or will the Iranian regime, once again, crush the opposition and brutally repress the public anger?

You know, it would be nice if the Obama administration was paying attention here and seized this opportunity to support the Iranian opposition, unlike the last time there was a popular uprising in Iran, after the last Iranian elections, when Obama and the rest of his foreign policy Clown Posse basically ignored the Iranian opposition’s pleas for help.

/then again, Obama’s on vacation and heaven forbid that Lord Slacker should have to interrupt his vacation to help some peons in another country, far far way, it’s golfing time!

Who’s Killing Iran’s Nuclear Scientists?

Is it the CIA, MI6, Mossad, Iran itself? Who knows? It really doesn’t matter, as long as they keep turning up dead it’s all good.

Bomb Attack Killed Distinguished Iranian University Professor

Two separate terrorist attacks on Iranian professors in Tehran today killed a distinguished university professor and injured another academician, IRNA reported.

Professor Majid Shahriari lost his life after unknown assailants driving a motorcycle attacked his car when he was on his way to Shahid Beheshti University accompanied by his wife who is in good condition at a nearby hospital.

Another attack directed against professor Fereydoun Abbasi also occurred at about the same time by unknown assailants. Abbasi received some injuries after the attack but he is in stable condition.

Today’s incidents resemble a similar attack on Iranian nuclear scientist Masoud Alimohamadi last January in front of his home. He was killed by a booby-trapped motorcycle parked near place of resident.

See also:
A physicist killed, another injured in terrorist explosions in Tehran
Spokesman Blames West for Involvement in Assassination of Iranian Scientists
West behind recent terror acts in Tehran, Iran says
West behind latest attacks, Iran says
Iran Accuses Israel of Attacks on Scientists
‘Iran bomb attacks show enemy despair’
Iranian nuclear scientist ‘killed by Mossad or the CIA’
Iran blames British Secret Intelligence Service for attack on nuclear scientists
Report: Revolutionary Guards behind attack on nuke scientist
Is the Mossad Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Scientists?
Yossi Melman: Mossad, MI6, the CIA and the case of the assassinated scientist
Missing or killed Iran scientists

If you’re an Iranian nuclear scientist, you’ve got to be thinking long and hard about your safety right about now and possibly even defecting to the West. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if these Iranian scientists have been contacted by Western intelligence services and given the choice, work for us or else.

/assassination, doing the work that Stuxnet can’t

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

Mahmoud Versus The Sea Creature

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took time out from his busy schedule of promising to destroy Israel to bad mouth Paul, the 100% accurate, World Cup match winner predicting octopus. Mahmoud must think that Paul the octopus is one of those dastardly Zionist sea creatures.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacks Octopus Paul

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, says Paul the Octopus, the sea creature that correctly predicted the outcome of World Cup games, is a symbol of all that is wrong with the western world.

He claims that the octopus is a symbol of decadence and decay among “his enemies”.

Paul, who lives at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre, in Germany, won the hearts of the Spanish by predicting their World Cup victory.

He became an international star after predicting the outcome of all seven German World Cup matches accurately.

However, the Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading “western propaganda and superstition.” Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.

“Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values,” he said.

See also:
Iran’s newest state enemy: an octopus
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Newest Enemy: Octopus Paul
Iranian president Ahmadinejad denounces superstitious West over Paul the Octopus
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Paul the Octopus reflects all that’s wrong with the western world
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Lashes Out Against the Psychic Octopus
Paul the octopus

Mahmoud is just jealous because the octopus is actually sane and smarter than he is.

/then again, Paul the octopus is smarter than Joe Biden too

Iranians Must Get Stoned

Ah yes, there’s nothing like the 7th century justice of Sharia law, carried out Iranian style.

Death by stoning imminent for Iranian woman, attorney says

Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, is waiting to die in Iran by a method of execution described by her lawyer as “barbaric” — stoning.

She will be buried up to her chest, deeper than a man would be, and the stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately, according to an Amnesty International report that cited the Iranian penal code.

The 42-year-old woman from the northern city of Tabriz was convicted of adultery in 2006, and her execution is imminent, said prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei.

Ashtiani was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, Mostafaei said Thursday in a telephone interview from Tehran.

She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing. Her conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges, Mostafaei said. She has asked forgiveness from the court but the judges refused to grant clemency.

Iran’s supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.

See also:
‘Help us save our mother’: Pleas from the children of ‘adulterous’ Iranian woman who faces death by stoning
Iran: Children appeal for help in saving mother from execution
Iranian woman faces death by stoning
Iranian Woman Faces Being Stoned to Death for Adultery
Where is the world?
Iranian mother sentenced to death by stoning over adultery
Fear For Iranian Woman Facing Death By Stoning
Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be Stoned to Death in Iran

Adultery as a capital crime, punishable by stoning, this is beyond barbaric. Isn’t Islam wonderful?

/and remember, these lovely people are on the verge of developing deliverable nuclear weapons

The Incredible Ineptitude Of “Smart Diplomacy”

The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again, but the United States keeps getting fooled time after time after time. Once again, the Iranians have run diplomatic circles around the Obama Administration’s comical and ineffective “smart diplomacy”. If this was a little league softball game, they’d have to invoke the ten run rule.

Iran’s nuclear move may derail U.S. efforts on sanctions

An agreement by Iran to send much of its nuclear fuel abroad clouded prospects for U.S.-led plans to impose further economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear development program.

The proposal, brokered by leaders of Brazil and Turkey during an 18-hour session in Tehran and announced late Sunday, drew a reaction of cautious skepticism from the United States and its Western allies, who questioned whether it goes far enough to address longstanding concerns over the goal of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran says its effort is for civilian energy purposes only, but Western powers believe Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S., French, German and Russian officials all raised questions about the announcement, noting that Iran would still keep more than a ton of its nuclear stockpile and would continue enriching uranium in its centrifuges. But Western leaders also called for further study of the plan, saying it should not be dismissed out of hand.

The agreement appeared to sap some of the momentum for a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions, which looked to include restrictions on Iranian government financial transactions. Officials from Turkey and Brazil said the deal removed any need for further U.N. sanctions. The two countries currently sit on the 15-member Security Council, though neither has the power to veto a sanctions resolution.

It remains to be seen whether Tehran was merely trying to avert imminent sanctions or whether the pact could form the basis of a wider accord. In making the uranium transfer abroad, Iran would drop its previous insistence that any swaps should take place on Iranian soil.

U.S. officials face a choice of rejecting the deal and appearing intransigent, or accepting it, potentially allowing Iran to defuse mounting international pressures through an indefinite delay.

The plan calls for Iran to ship 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey under the supervision of both Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, in Vienna. In return, Iran would receive 265 pounds of uranium from France and Russia within a year for use in a small nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat the ill.

Talked Into A Trap

Nuclear Iran: President Obama’s “direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions” has, not surprisingly, led us down a blind alley. Now China and Russia are about to mug us with Turkey’s phony uranium deal.

The White House is learning that its “tough diplomacy” is a boomerang that may soon leave America nursing a very sore lump on its head.

The deal Iran triumphantly announced with Turkey and Brazil on Monday is exactly the kind of development that can give Moscow and Beijing the excuse not to agree to more sanctions. Which would mean that President Obama is left painted into a corner about what to do next to prevent a terrorist regime in the Middle East from getting nukes.

It was all smiles in Tehran as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan patted themselves on the back as peacemakers, and clasped hands with the world’s most powerful hater of Jews, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His shady re-election nearly a year ago sparked mass demonstrations and the killing of protesters by the Islamofascist regime.

In a regurgitation of last fall’s Geneva agreement that Iran ultimately backed out of, the new “fuel swap” deal would require Tehran to send some enriched uranium to Turkey. After a year, Iran would get some non-weapons-grade uranium back from Russia and France.

But Tehran says it will continue its own uranium enrichment activities, which means that when all is said and done nothing has changed.

As the Sarkozy government in France warns, the Turkey deal does “nothing to settle the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear program.” The new British government says it will continue to push for sanctions; an unimpressed Germany says what matters is Iran’s domestic enrichment.

Even the White House admits the deal resolves nothing. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ reaction was to point out that “the words and the deeds of the Iranian leadership rarely coincide.”

But China and Russia, which both have economic and geopolitical reasons to stay cozy with their trading partner, can use this deal to say in answer to President Obama’s charisma offensive designed to get them on board new sanctions: “Problem solved! Give Iran some slack.”

In the coming months, as Tehran continues to block inspection of nuclear facilities, and Moscow and Beijing refuse to approve new sanctions, what does the president do?

Reject what he was willing to accept last fall (because since then Iran has been busy enriching lots more uranium, and that makes it a different ballgame today)?

See also:
Iran’s Nuclear Coup
Iran nuclear fuel swap: how Turkey is complicating US aims
Nuclear swap deal helps prevent sanctions on Iran: Brazilian VP
Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
Iran and Turkey reach unexpected accord on enriched uranium
Iran’s unanswered questions
West not convinced of Iran uranium deal
U.S., allies critical of new deal on Iran’s nuclear program
White House Keeps Sanctions on Table After Iran Announces Nuclear Fuel Deal
Lucy Says: C’mon, Kick The Football Charlie Brown

So, let’s recap, Iran gets to keep working on their nuclear weapons program, full speed ahead, without the threat of any meaningful sanctions and, at the same time, Iran makes the Obama administration out to be an international laughingstock.

/it’s a twofer