April 27, 2005
Iran: The Blogosphere Option?
Nearly every post here discussing Iran has resulted in the following consensus: the US has few good options for dealing with the situation. [See The Future of the Iranian Nuclear Program, Part V (with links to the other four, back on the ole blogger site), and more recently, Post-show thoughts for Fox's "Iran: The Nuclear Threat"]
So, looking for some more options that we hadn't really discussed yet, I turned to the resident members of the State Department Republican Underground: Dr. Demarche and George Smiley, over at The Daily Demarche. My question to them was:
Since you are members of the DoS underground, I thought I'd ask for your thoughts on US diplomatic options for dealing with Iran. I've written a post today at Adventures dealing with military options and would like to examine the full spectrum.Here's what they said:
What do you think?
Regarding the situation in Iran. I don't have any real experience in Iranian affairs (consider this a disclaimer so that I can't be accused of revealing classified). But I can say that the situation wrt Iran is basically like being stuck in between several rocks and hard places. The most robust diplomatic solution, referring Iran to the UNSC, is still a relatively feckless one. Ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the whole case winds up, but by then it may be too late. Containing Iran like we tried to do to Saddam won't work.and Dr. Demarche:
One thing we can do is crack down, via initiatives like the Proliferation Security Initiative, on the peripheral aspects of the weapons program -- keep them from getting more materiel, etc. Covert operations could play a part in removing some of the key components from the picture (please note, this is my personal opinion, I have no special knowledge in this case). I would personally consider a combination of the above mentioned things the best option, because as you noted in your post, none of the military options are particularly appealing.
I think that there is a real possibility that we could see the first digital coup in Iran- with a massive majority of the population under thirty and the huge amount of Internet activity in Iran IMO we should be working to bring about change through the hopes and demands of the people.Hmmm. So the diplomatic options are thin as well. Looks like they are both leaning toward Step One in Chester's Goldplated All-Purpose Iran Plan:
Foment revolution in Iran; support protests and publicize the same; support anti-regime organizations, if possible, train them, and if possible, carve out a small portion of the country to use as a safe haven while doing so. If you can't, then build a few camps in Iraq. When the revolution happens, it will have an Iranian face. Publicity is key. There is a lot about protests in Iran in one-off press sources. These need to be featured in mainstream news outlets, Lebanon-style. Iran needs to have a Ukraine, or Lebanon moment. Like the guy standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen, but before the ensuing slaughter. Do all you can to support dissidents, dissent, protests, etc. We here in the blogosphere are happy to help anytime.Looks like Wretchard has come to some similar conclusions about the military possibilities over at Belmont Club:
It is reasonable to speculate that while the US will improve its capability to attack directly, it is really deployed to confront the Iranian regime indirectly. US organizing efforts in Kurdistan, Afghanistan and in Central Asia have opened clandestine highways into Iran . . .Note Dr. Demarche's phrase "digital coup." Iran is a place with a high density of computer-literate bloggers. The Iranian blogs entry on Wikipedia states that Iranian web logs account for some "65,000 out of an estimated 2,000,000" (no date given) and points out that Persian is the fourth most used language on the internet . . .
When Richard Perle testified before House Armed Services Committe in April 2005 he summed up what he had learned from the Iraq campaign. None of his regrets had to do with military shortcomings. The deficiencies in the American campaign were in the political sphere. He spoke of the need to create indigenous groups sympathetic to democratic aims before taking on a tyranny and of involving them immediately in the governance of the country . . .
Although Perle was ostensibly discussing the Iraqi campaign, his reflections were not made in the context of a disinterested academic inquiry into past events but as lessons meant to be applied to future campaigns; i.e. Iran. This suggests that long before the US attempts a direct assault on the Iranian regime it will probably attempt to achieve each of the three things Perle mentioned: a relationship with a partner Iranian group; the development of a popular desire to overthrow the Mullahs; and a commanding intelligence picture . . .
So if there is to be some sort of digital coup in Iran, the blogosphere will play a big part.
What role might we bloggers here in the US play? How can we help?
Putting my old staff officer thinking cap back on, here's some thoughts:
1. If a popular protest of large proportions begins in Iran, the we sympathetic bloggers must do all we can to draw attention to it. Experience shows that when we concentrate our energies, we can either get the mainstream press to look closely at something they otherwise would have skipped, or can alert US readers to the size and scope of major events abroad. We can do some pretty impressive things if we focus our collective attention somewhere.
2. The government of Iran seems to me to be in a much stronger position than that of Syria in Lebanon, or even the outgoing regime in Ukraine. Iran seems much more likely to crush any incipient rebellion -- even a popular, peaceful movement. This week alone, Iran has cut off internet service in areas with protests.
3. The clock is ticking: seems like the upcoming elections on June 17th could be the big moment.
Conclusion: If we, being the blogosphere, are going to have any blogging role in supporting dissidents, protests, and rebellion in Iran, then we need to lay some groundwork now to build some communication channels that will come in handy later. Some ideas:
US-Iranian partner bloggers: Sort of a pen-pal program for bloggers in the US and in Iran. Establishes a communication link. Casual interaction like this could be very useful at building speedy communications over a period of time.
Redundancy in communications links: if the government is going to shut down ISPs, we need some workarounds to get the stories out. Otherwise, the lights will be out here in the blogosphere, and we'll all be prisoners to whatever the networks and NPR toss up there. What about:
-phone cards so folks can call in stories from land lines in Iran? Would the government shut all of those down too?
-setting up networks of bloggers in neighboring countries (Iraq? Afghanistan? the Gulf States? who could receive phone calls from Iranians, then turn their reports into blog posts?
-old school: HAM radio operators?
-if we really want to get a little crazy, sat phones? this is not only expensive, but hard to choose who to get them to, and probably risky for the Iranians to have them . . .
I'm trying to be creative. There's always the old standbys: raising money, and writing letters/emails.
Of course, I'm ignoring language barriers for the moment. And we certainly wouldn't want to do anything that would cause Iranian bloggers to get into hot water. Iran already likes to imprison its bloggers.
I'm spitballing here, folks. What do you think?
I'm notifying my normal list of this post, but I've especially asked for comments from Publius, Regime Change Iran, Chrenkoff, and if it's not too much trouble for the busy folks there, Spirit of America.
But I'd really like ideas from anyone out there. Please comment. We're in full brainstorming mode here at TAOC.
UPDATE: See this NRO article, with some ideas from Michael Ledeen:
Michael Ledeen — one of those wonky "neocons" from the American Enterprise Institute (and a regular NRO-er) — has a wish list for Iran, but it isn't a massive army going invading the country or the dangerous pacifism of Armitage, either.If this country can raise $1bn in private funds for tsunami relief, I'll bet we can raise enough for a strike fund and some laptops.
Ledeen wants serious "criticism of their regime from our leaders." Americans should know the names of the Iranian dissidents. Ledeen encourages "calls for the release of political prisoners — by name." America can help the reform movement in Iran, he says, through "broadcasts, both from official and private radios and televisions, explaining the basic methods of non-violent conflict; financial support to build a strike fund for workers, teachers and students."
"Those are the minimum things," Ledeen underscores. "Plus get them good communications devices, servers, laptops, cell phones, etc." In other words, they need a rhetorical boost from the leader of the free world, and they need some tools.
British Warrior Receives Victoria Cross
(h-t to Rantburg):
Pte Beharry, who was born on Grenada in the West Indies, is the first living soldier to be given the VC since 1969. He was at the head of a five-vehicle convoy when it came under attack in the town of al-Amarah on 1 May 2004. He guided the column through a mile of enemy ground to drop off wounded comrades, at great risk to his own safety, his citation said. Weeks later, his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade round. Despite a head wound, he managed to reverse his Warrior to safety. Pte Beharry is still recovering from serious head injuries.More here.
April 26, 2005
From the foreign press:
-U.S. and North Korea 'On a Collision Course' from Joong Ang Daily, South Korea.
-Is China Scapegoating Japan to Vent Its Own Anti-Americanism? from Le Figaro (the newspaper, not the Bugs Bunny cartoon)
-Al-Ahram Weekly | Opinion | Votes that rebound The Egyptian Al-Ahram wonders if democratic Arab states will align with US interests.
Update: Here's some great stuff to feed your blogging jones:
-Cella's Review considers "the peculiar quality that distinguishes most contemporary social criticism in whatever medium it is conveyed." In this case, film. Great stuff.
-Two Russian responses to Putin's state of the union address:
The Russian Dilettante's Weblog and
SiberianLight: Putin's State of the Nation address
By Dawn's Early Light: India Moves Towards US? Dawn's Early Light has had some great posts dealing with the US-India relationship (find links to the others in the one above).
Far Outliers offers thoughts on Japan's recent apology.
Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Day: What follows democracy? (in Germany, that is . . .)
This is really cool (to me anyway)
IRAQ THE MODEL notes:
One of the brilliant Iraqi bloggers who had been using the Friends of Democracy Arabic blogging tool has started a blog in English.Cool. I lived in Diwaniya for 6 weeks. Now I'll have to keep track of this blog: diwaniya.
Now you go and read his thoughts on Iraq and his city "Diwaniyah" in English here.
Further Thoughts on the Almost-Capture of Zarqawi
A source who had been inside the Zarqawi network alerted the task force to the meeting. Officials deem the source "extremely credible."Bill believes that this source is still active within the network:
The fact that there is someone inside the Zarqawi network is what is startling. Al Qaeda in Iraq appears to have been penetrated, no small feat as al Qaeda is traditionally a very closed and secretive organization, admitting only the most ideologically pure of the Islamists within their ranks.It is unlikely that our source is a) still active in the network, or b) a plant. One at a time:
The mole is likely of Arab descent, perhaps an Iraqi, as genuine cover would be needed to break into al Qaeda's inner circle. This mole may be responsible for several of the arrests of high-ranking Zarqawi lieutenants over the past several months.
a) Probably not still active: The article seems to state that the source is a former member of the network, perhaps one who has succumbed to interrogation. If the source is still active, it raises an interesting question: Would the US release the existence of such a source in order to incite paranoia within the network, or would the US keep it under wraps out of concern for the source's life? The latter is much more likely. The nature of the source's information would no longer be as credible if the source felt the US had put him in even more danger than his position would otherwise necessitate. Preservation of an agent's life is one of the first principles of human intelligence.
b) A mole or a plant? Rather than the idea that the US has successfully infiltrated an agent into the Zarqawi network, it is much more likely that we have co-opted an existing member. Probably with money, though safe passage back to a home country, or some other form of bribe are also possible. Consider each of the alternatives: To insert a plant, you must find someone who displays the necessary religious fervor to be accepted by the target group. Before you do that, you have to vet him against your own criteria to make sure he won't go native on you, or that he isn't already co-opted by the other side. Then you have to wait for a period of time, probably a long one, until your plant has reached a position of responsibility high enough such that he actually has information of value to you. All the while, you have to make sure he isn't discovered and killed. Now think of the alternative: you create goodwill with large numbers of locals; you being to get a feel for certain places, regions, and subcultures, perhaps even tribal ones. Through a series of goodwill-building gestures, you are able to learn more and more about the goings-on in a given place. When you use Iraqi nationals as go-betweens, your access can increase even more. After a bit, you have many options for gathering human intelligence, rather than putting all of your hopes in one or a few would-be plants.
It's sort of like the difference between networking your way toward getting a certain job at a certain company, or applying for the job on the company website. Which would work best? Warm calls always work better than cold calls, and espionage is no exception.
So if we do have a source on the inside, it is likely that he's been there awhile, is being paid or has received other guarantees of goodwill, and may even have an Iraqi national or two between us and him.
For further reading, consider this post from Strategypage: Getting Inside al Qaeda.
Also, in addition to the commenter from the last post, who noted the prevalence of Euros in the MidEast, another Alert Reader answers my earlier question about why Zarqawi would carry Euros:
Euros come in 1000E notes making them much more popular than dollars for use in nefarious purposes. Its the proverbial 'do you know how much $100,000 weighs? - No - A lot.' Now you cut that weight dramatically making it easier to transport large amounts of hard currency.Very interesting . . .
April 25, 2005
Some Admin Notes
After reading this today, I decided to monkey with the sidebar a bit, just for giggles. We'll see if I keep the changes.
Also in the sidebar, I've put up a link to "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War" by Andrew Bacevich. I'm about 2/3 through it and will offer a review when I finish.
Zarqawi escapes by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin
A story from ABC News reports that Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi seems to have come perilously close to capture on February 20th:
On Feb. 20, the alleged terror mastermind was heading to a secret meeting in Ramadi, just west of Fallujah, where he used to base his operations, the official said.Drat! Foiled again! A couple of takeaways from this:
Task Force 626 — the covert American military unit charged with finding Zarqawi — had troops in place to grab the fugitive, and mobile vehicle checkpoints had been established around the city's perimeter. Another U.S. official said predator drones were also in flight, tracking movements in and around the city.
A source who had been inside the Zarqawi network alerted the task force to the meeting. Officials deem the source "extremely credible."
The senior military official said that just before the meeting was scheduled, a car was pulled over as it approached a checkpoint.
"Zarqawi always has someone check the waters," said the official.
A pickup truck about a half-mile behind the car then quickly turned around and headed in the opposite direction. Officials now believe Zarqawi was in the fleeing truck. U.S. teams began a chase, but when the truck was pulled over several miles later, Zarqawi was not inside.
1. We're using technical collection, human intelligence, vehicle checkpoints, and snatch-and-grab teams in a combined fashion to chase this guy and his henchmen.
2. The henchmen that we catch are singing like canaries. Note the "extremely credible" source.
What the task force did find in the vehicle confirmed suspicions that Zarqawi had just escaped. The official said Zarqawi's computer and 80,000 euros (about $104,000 U.S.) were discovered in the truck.This is very interesting. Euros? Are they in easy circulation in Iraq?
Finding the computer, said the official, "was a seminal event." It had "a very big hard drive," the official said, and recent pictures of Zarqawi.It takes little imagination to see that computer for the gold mine that it no doubt is.
The official said Zarqawi's driver and a bodyguard were taken into custody.That makes two more, singing like canaries.
The senior military official said that they have since learned Zarqawi jumped out of the vehicle when it passed beneath an overpass, presumably to avoid detection from the air, and hid there before running to a safe house in Ramadi.Can you hear them narcing on the old boss? How else did we learn when he jumped out of the car? This is his driver and a bodyguard. Impressive.
ABC lists this headline from February 28th as a related story: ABC News: Officials: Bin Laden Seeks Zarqawi Help in United States. You do the math. Now we know how the US figured out that little tidbit. See the fourth rail's commentary from back in early March on that story.
Dadmanly goes toe to toe once again
While the blogosphere offers any possible variation or color of opinion one could ever wish to read about, level-headed debate is not always the norm. So three cheers for both Dadmanly, and Liberal Avenger, who manage to keep things civil while holding completely separate viewpoints on the course of the war: Dadmanly: A Liberal Avenger Responds. (hat-tip yet again to Mudville Gazette.)
More Speculation about the recently downed helicopter . . .
Canadian blogger Bruce R., has some interesting thoughts about the recent helicopter shoot-down:
That RPG would almost certainly have had to be fired from under 300m slant range, probably much less, and probably either from directly in front or directly behind, to eliminate lead... a helicopter flying at any kind of speed perpendicular to the line of sight is a nearly-impossible shot with this weapon, even at close range... it suggests that this was either a very regular overflight route, or the ambush location was planned in advance. More than one RPG may have been fired, as well.Read the whole thing.
April 24, 2005
Post-show thoughts for Fox's "Iran: The Nuclear Threat"
Overall, a pretty good overview from Fox. Thoughts on the various options:
First, the Israeli strike option. I'm sure many others have pointed the following out already, but there are many many differences between Osirak in 1981 and Iran in 2005:
1. The distance: It was hard enough for the Israelis to reach Iraq. Any targets in Iran would be twice as far. Do the Israelis have an aerial refueling capability? If so, where would it be based?
2. The overflights: The 1981 strike required sneaking through Jordan. To hit Iran, there would be no sneaking through Iraq: The US has that airspace sliced and diced every which way. We would know what they were doing. The rest of the world would know we knew too, which would make for some splaining on our part, otherwise we would be seen as being complicit -- and that would be good or ill depending on who's talking at the moment . . .
3. The targets: Osirak offered one concentrated target to destroy Iraq's entire program. Iran has no such critical vulnerability for its program. Or does it? How good is US or Israeli intelligence? How much redundancy have the Iranians built into their program?
Moreover, if it took four F16s to pull off the Osirak attack, how many would be needed to attack Iran's decentralized program? Is Israel willing to risk a very large number of its aircraft?
4. The defense: how much more capable is Iran's air defense? The Fox program mentioned that Iran possesses some F14s and F4s. These are leftover from the 70s and have probably received no factory-quality maintenance since 1979. This leaves missile defense? Could the Israelis get past Iran's defenses?
Israeli policymakers will have to be comfortable with the answers to all of the above questions before attempting an aerial strike against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure. This option is their last resort. it has too many variables -- too many risks that either cannot be mitigated, or can only be reduced with significant US assistance. The Israelis will only undertake this option if they have lost all confidence in the US to solve the issue by military or diplomatic means.
As to the US options. Fox lists three, and is not explicit as to whether these three were developed by the network, and then shopped around to their experts for comments, or were proposed by the experts themselves. The former seems more likely than the latter. From Fox:
1. Covert Action: The Bush administration might send CIA agents or commandos to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities.This plan does have a certain appeal. It is dependent on several things that could make it go dreadfully wrong:
“There were no smoking guns, no fingerprints,” said Walter Russell Mead (search), with the Council on Foreign Relations. “We wouldn’t be faced with that ugly, ugly choice of, we have a war or they get a weapon.”
a. Intelligence: Do we have the information we need to do this? Often, Special Forces are used in a surveillance capacity before they strike. But in this case, passive human surveillance would likely not gather very much of use, except for entry and exit patterns at a given facility, or work routines. The things we need to know in order to know if we have chosen the correct targets are more likely to be gathered through technical collection: phone conversations, gas emissions, radiation. So we need to know these things before we put our guys in. Otherwise, we're putting large numbers of operatives on the ground for no reason.
b. Mass: That's another point: This would be a lot more than just a few SF teams. There are at least a dozen key facilities, each of them the size of a large research campus, and they are scattered over the entire country. Using covert action means using large numbers of people.
c. Surprise: According to the wording above, one of the key advantages to this plan is its untraceable aspect. Sabotage, it is assumed, would be deniable. Perhaps. But Fox mentioned on air that B2 bombers could be launched from stateside and do the job themselves. More on that in a moment.
2. Naval Blockade: U.S. warships would be sent into the Strait of Hormuz (search) to stop the export of Iranian oil. This would pressure the mullahs to give up enriching uranium and allow intrusive inspections.This seems the worst of many options. Costly to implement in terms of ships and time, costly to friendly economies and our own in turn, and has little or no direct effect on the nuke program itself. Would also hurt the Iranian populace a good bit. As we learned from Saddam, the elites always manage to weasel their way to a comfortable life, while everyone else suffers under sanctions. So what advantage at all does this offer? None. Wait . . .
One downside is that Iran is OPEC (search)’s second largest oil producer, so a blockade could also put a stranglehold on the economies of many U.S. allies. Other potential problems are that it may not work fast enough and it would leave Iran’s existing nuclear facilities intact.
“So the question is not whether we could do it. We could. The question is, at what cost?” Mead said.
Nope, still can't think of one.
3. Surgical Strikes: U.S. forces could zero in on Iranian nuclear targets, hitting the country’s highest-risk sites — such as Bushier, Natanz, Arak, Isfahan and a dozen or more others — using cruise missiles launched from land or sea.While Fox seems to have confused some of the details here, this is probably the most likely option the US would actually undertake. Also, what is the goal? Regime change, or destruction of the nuke program? This is the critical question here. This seems a better option for destroying the nuke program.
“We are moving some aircraft carrier groups into the Persian Gulf as we speak," said retired Army Major Gen. Paul Vallely (search). "They will be positioned to launch any aircraft from the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.”
Next, F-117 stealth fighter jets could take out a radar system by firing missiles and anti-aircraft guns at Isfahan or surface-to-air missiles around the Bushier reactor (search). B-2 bombers carrying eight 5,000-pound laser-guided bunker busters would hit buried targets like the Natanz (search) enrichment site or the deep tunnels in Isfahan (search).
Surgical strikes would also aim to hurt Iran's ability to counterattack while limiting civilian casualties, according to Vallely.
“We're not after the population,” he said. “We're not after blowing down bridges anymore. We're trying to disrupt command and control, their ability to use their forces on the ground, their forces in the air, as well as their naval forces. ... Bring them to their knees early. That's the key.”
If you hit at night, then speed to Guam or Diego Garcia to park, and you are stealth, isn't that deniable? Would the Iranians know what had happened? It would probably be obvious to most, but the Bush administration could just release a statement to the effect of "Nuclear weapons are dangerous. Iran obviously didn't take the necessary precautions."
4. All-Out Assault: A huge American military effort, involving hundreds of thousands of troops, would be needed to get “boots on the ground.” But the experts FOX News spoke with consider that to be the least likely scenario.This option is just not going to happen. While the war in Iraq is still going on, asking the Pentagon to invade Iran is like waking up your buddy at 7am the morning after his bachelor party and offering him some Jose Cuervo shots for breakfast. Call up every individual ready reservist, activate every reserve unit and guard unit at the same time. You still have to get them there and then win fast enough to get them home without changing the law. One of the commentators on the show said the chance of this option was 1%. That's a little high.
The U.S. military is already stretched thin with its commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq (Iran is four times the size of Iraq, with almost three times as many people). A ground war could kill thousands, maybe tens of thousands, and the cost could run well into the billions. And assembling a broad coalition would be even more difficult than it was for the Iraq war.
“For one thing, the British don’t sound very willing. And let’s face it, without the British, we don’t have a coalition,” Mead said.
Vallely said that while the United States has the ability to launch a major ground invasion, it wouldn’t have to.
“We can take a country down with just our air assets,” he said. “We don't have put boots on the ground all the time if we're after specific targets.”
Interestingly, this is the option that the left will most likely feel is going to happen any time. More on that later this week . . .
So, to end, here is Chester's gold-plated plan for solving the nuke problem (with the understanding that, as Dwight Eisenhower said of the plan for Normandy, plans are "useless, but planning is invaluable"):
a. Foment revolution in Iran; support protests and publicize the same; support anti-regime organizations, if possible, train them, and if possible, carve out a small portion of the country to use as a safe haven while doing so. If you can't, then build a few camps in Iraq. When the revolution happens, it will have an Iranian face. Publicity is key. There is a lot about protests in Iran in one-off press sources. These need to be featured in mainstream news outlets, Lebanon-style. Iran needs to have a Ukraine, or Lebanon moment. Like the guy standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen, but before the ensuing slaughter. Do all you can to support dissidents, dissent, protests, etc. We here in the blogosphere are happy to help anytime.
b. While you are fomenting revolution, build human intelligence networks. Continue targeting the entire nuke infrastructure for technical collection.
c. Ask your smartest intel guys when they think Iran will have an operable weapon.
d. Halve that estimate.
e. Make that a-day. If the regime has not been transformed via protest and revolution to the extent that Iran will willfully abandon its program by a-day, then the airstrikes start.
f. Airstrikes can be deniable, but it should not be assumed that they are a one-time event. No reason not to hit again if the first wave doesn't do the trick.
There you have it. Simple enough for Napoleon's Corporal to understand.
This is all rough and meant to foster discussion. So go right ahead. We haven't covered Iran in-depth in some time -- since December it seems. Let's have it.
Update: Actually, the last Iran series ended in November. How time flies!
Live-blogging "Iran: The Nuclear Threat" on Fox News
I'm going to do my post-show thoughts in a separate post. So look for it above.
8:54pm Now they've got Senator Biden on. When pressed about whether we should use force, Biden says, "The truth of the matter is that this is calculus, not artithmetic." What this means, who knows.
8:53pm Fox fails to draw the connection between the possibility of democratic revolution and US influence. I've said this before: instigating rebellion used to be the bread and butter of the CIA. The way things are going now, it's not impossible that this kind of activity could be undertaken by the DoD instead.
8:51pm Fox is now examining the possibility of an Iranian democratic revolution.
8:46pm This is happening way too fast for intelligent commentary. I'll hold til the end. Looks like they've got Senator Santorum coming up. They definitely used a lot of their heavy-hitters for this show.
8:43pm They just showed some footage of Amtracs hitting the beach on what looked like Camp Pendleton. Looked like one of my old surf spots there actually. Random stat: Only about 13% give or take of the Camp Pendleton coastline can actually be used for training due to environmental restrictions.
8:38pm Fox examines US options. This portion of the program is summarized on the Fox website at FOXNews.com - Politics - What Are U.S. Military Options in Iran?
8:31pm They're talking to the retired Colonel who led the raid. If I remember right, the flew in a tight formation so that they would look like a civilian plane. Fox notes that Saddam never scrambled his jets at all to respond to the attack and if he had, the Israeli planes would have run out of fuel and crashed in the desert.
Sharon supposedly gave fresh intel to Bush at a recent meeting in Crawford, TX. I'll have some more thoughts on this course of action after the show . . .
8:25pm Fox promises an examination of the concept of an Israeli military strike. This should be interesting . . . looks like they are going to interview a pilot who participated in the Osirak strike in 1981.
8:23pm Fox catches El-Baradei saying that Iran should be given assistance for "security" of its sites. This seems out of context, and it is confusing as to exactly what he means.
8:19pm I've decided to live-blog the special on Fox News right now. More details here. This post will be updated frequently for the next 45 minutes. I'm especially interested in what Fox says about our military options.
4-24-2005 Iran Update From RegimeChangeIran
DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [4/17-4/23] major news events regarding Iran.
SPECIAL REPORT - Major Unrest in Southern Iran:
- SMCCDI reported violent clashes rocked the southern City of Ahwaz following the rumor that the Islamic regime was intending to diminish the Arab population in the area.
- SMCCDI reported that the unrest continued in cities of the oil rich Khoozestan province and spread to cities, such as, Abadan and Khoramshahr. More reports.
- Reuters reported Iran said some 200 people were arrested in ethnic unrest in its southwest in recent days and the regime closed the offices of the Arab language Al Jazeera television channel, accusing it stirring up trouble.
- Iran Press Service reported unrest continued unabated
in the oil rich Iranian province of Khouzestan, with local and
international sources putting the death toll at about 30 people. The regime denies this, of course.
- Reuters reported that more than 140 people out of 344 arrested in southwest Iran remain in jail.
- Reuters reported that the government organized a "march for peace" in southern Iran after the bloody ethnic unrest.
- Iran Focus reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards executed a number of teenage demonstrators in the streets of Ahwaz.
- Radio Free Europe reported that we should expect the people arrested in the Ahvaz unrest to confess on television that they were involved with foreign elements.
- Adnkronos International reported that following the ethnic unrest in southern Iran, the government cut-off internet connections in many cities.
- IranMania.com reported that Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rowhani says he may become a presidential candidate if Rafsanjani does not.
- Gooya.com reported that Iranian parliament members want to pay people to vote! Why not bribe everyone?
- Iran Press Service reported that Iran has offered the EU3 to allow the IAEA to install monitoring devices in its uranium enriching facilities.
- Yahoo! News reported EU-Iran talks reopen to make sure Tehran provides air-tight guarantees that it will not make atomic weapons amid agreement by European diplomats that Iran must cease uranium enrichment.
- Mehrnews reported that in the EU3/Iran negotiations, for most European states, "the issue of objective guarantees is not clear to them."
- Turkish Weekly reported that Iran said that the US should observe the nuclear talks between Iran and Europe "from the sidelines."
- AFP reported Iran had not seen enough incentives from the European Union to pave the way for a deal over its controversial nuclear activities.
- The Financial Times reported that Iran's top nuclear official warned that Iran will continue negotiations for a few more months only if the EU3 signal that Iranian ideas on limited uranium enrichment can be the basis of the negotiations.
- FOX NEWS will air a Special Report "Iran The Nuclear Threat - hosted by Chris Wallace Sunday night, April 24th at 9PM PST.
- Janes Defence Weekly reported that inspectors from IAEA believe they have resolved a key question underlying Iran's nuclear program.
- The Los Angeles Times reported that critical components and specialized tools destined for Libya's nuclear weapons program disappeared before arrival in 2003 and international investigators now suspect that they were diverted to another country.
- Reuters reported that Tehran is not cooperating
fully with a probe by the U.N. nuclear watchdog into Iranian officials'
meetings with smugglers who had links to Pakistani atom bomb-maker
Abdul Qadeer Khan.
- The Guardian reported that more than 400 young men and women have volunteered to carry out suicide bombing attacks against Americans.
- FOX News reported on how Iranian nuclear dreams challenge the Bush doctrine.
- Radio Free Europe reported on Tehran's opposition to U.S. Democracy efforts.
- The Associated Press reported that the Bush administration accused Iran of violating the rights of Arabs and other minority groups.
- WorldNetDaily.com reported that Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden is partly responsible for the growing threat the U.S. faces from the mullah regime.
- The Guardian reported that President Bush will receive a Pentagon plan for military strikes on Iran in June.
- Fox News reported on the military options that the U.S. has towards a nuclear Iran.
- The Telegraph reported senior British ministers held meetings with the Iranian government hoping for a deal that could have saved MG Rover.
- Forbes.com reported Russia's largest oil producer, Lukoil, wants to take part in both onshore and offshore oil exploration tenders in Iran.
- Reporters Without Borders reported that Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji, who has served his fifth year in Tehran's Evin prison tomorrow, is seriously ill.
- Al Jazeera reported a
joint statement by the Arab Commission for Human Rights in Paris and
International Justice Organisation in The Hague has expressed concerns
about the unrest in al-Ahwaz.
- IranMania reported that Iran's Guardian Council Secretary Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said that if the dossiers of some dissidents are referred to courts, no lawyers can defend them and their death sentences are inevitable.
- Amnesty International put out an urgent call for action regarding Iran's arbitrary arrest and torture of seven men and at least 130 others following the recent unrest in Ahvaz.
- The Washington Post published Elahé Sharifpour-Hicks's criticism of Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
- SMCCDI reported an unprecedented protest action took place at Esfahan's Court building.
Employees of the Department of Justice occupied the corridors and
protested against their conditions and the Gender Apartheid Policy
existing in Iran.
- Assreemrooz.com reported one of Iran's most beloved and famous dissidents, Ahmad Batebi is in hiding. It was reported that on a recent furlough from prison he married and went into hiding. Some dispute this.
- SMCCDI also reported a local soccer game lead to protest and clashes.
- Iran va Jahan published Navid Zahedi, an Iranian student activist, who said the UN could be defined in three words; it is a corrupt, inefficient and ineffective body.
- SMCCDI made an urgent for help after their website was shut down. Funds have been raised and they hope to be online soon.
- World Tribune.com reported that Kuwait fears an eco-threat from Iran's reactor and the Saudi's want nuclear technology.
- The Economist is reported that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is calling on Lebanon's clerics to apply his fatwa to abstain from political office.
- The International Herald and Tribune argued that UN sanctions against Iran will not produce the result the Bush Administration is looking for.
- IranMania reported that Saudi Arabia's Chief of Staff said his country is determined to expand military cooperation with Iran.
- Iran Focus reported that 2.8 million Iraqis had signed a petition sharply criticizing Iran’.
- Newz.in reported that Pakistani
officials would study US laws prohibiting investment in Iranian oil
infrastructure before finalizing the construction of the proposed gas
pipeline from Iran.
reported that the official Iranian news agency Fars published a
statement by Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani, one of the Iranian
regime's leading religious authorities, in which he advocates fighting the Jews in order to prepare the ground and to hasten the advent of the Hidden Imam, the Messiah according to Shiite belief.
- Nir Boms criticizes
the EU saying "in the name of promoting democracy and reforms (and
against the pleading of Iranian dissidents), the EU improved its
economic ties with yet another despotic regime."
- Michael Ledeen writes, "We're
in the midst of a great paradigm shift, which, ... involves both a
transformation of the world and of the way we understand it."
- WorldNetDaily published excerpts of Dr. Corsi's new book Atomic Iran. Here are links to the excerpts. Part 1: Sleeper cells in America - Atomic Iran' explains terrorist threats to U.S. homeland. Part 2: Terrorists' weapon of choice - 'Atomic Iran' describes how Tehran could help with bomb. Part 3: Horrific scenario: NYC hit by terrorist nuke - 'Atomic Iran' presents second-by-second description of feared attack.
- Dr. Corsi reported his TV ad about the danger of Iran is now on the air, in 20 markets.
- Iran Institute for Democracy criticized the Bush Administration for not doing more to support the freedom loving people of Iran.
- Henry Kissinger warned that if Iran succeeds in building nuclear weapons, it could touch off an arms race that leads to the end of civilization.
Sheikh Ali Al-Shammari, a Shiite tribal leader from southern Iraq in attendance at the unveiling of the petition signed by 2.8 million Iraqis, sharply criticising neighbouring Iran’s rising meddling in Iraq, said:
as Iraqis who value our independence, feel we must speak out as
strongly as possible against this undeclared war by Iran..."
Anti-Torture Advocates Evicted from UN after Chinese Protests
Hat-tip to Chrenkoff for this incredible story:
"During his speech on April 5, 2005, with previous agreement from both the Commission secretary office and the UN security guards, Rev. Bob Fu displays and demonstrates an electric-shock baton smuggled out of China recently [pictured here]. It was made in China used by the Chinese police and interrogators to torture victims of religious victims. However, the Chinese delegate immediately registers a complaint to UNCHR that the electric baton made them 'feel threatened'. Then Both Rev. Bob Fu’s UN badge and the electric baton were taken away by the UN security officials without giving any explanation. Rev. Fu was ordered to leave the UN complex immediately. At the same time, according to those who were present there, for about an hour, China uses the plenary floor attacking A Woman’s Voice International and threatening to shut up all the NGOs. China demands apology from AWVI and Bob Fu."The hits just keep on coming for the UN. I wonder how stuff like this would go down if there were bloggers at the UN . . . would be interesting to see . . .
Linking yet again to Mudville Gazette's daily open post . . .
Join Chester's Email List
Anyone who would like is welcome to opt-in to my email list. I send one or two a week and they just draw your attention to a recent post, or occasionally, make a brief announcement.
You can opt out at any time.
Email email@example.com with "subscribe" in the subject line or body of the text and I'll add you. The messages come from Chester@theadventuresofchester.com, but since I never cracked the code on syncing up my Entourage mail client with Hosting Matters' mail service, I only send from that account, I don't receive. The yahoo account is my primary comm method. Probably more detail than you needed.
In any case, any and all are welcome to join.
April 23, 2005
Sgt. Willie L. Copeland - The Navy Cross
(h-t: Mudville Gazette)
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
When his platoon was ambushed in an attack by insurgents in Iraq last year, Marine Sgt. Willie L. Copeland III took charge.Read the whole account.
He led five Marines out of the heaviest fire, found cover and killed 10 of the enemy in close combat. When his commanding officer fell wounded, Copeland used his body to shield the officer as he administered first aid.
For his leadership and dedication to duty, the 26-year-old from Utah on Thursday received the Navy Cross, the Navy's second-highest honor. Seven Marines have received the Navy Cross for Operation Iraqi Freedom through Jan. 10, according to the latest figures from the Marine Corps Awards Branch.
April 22, 2005
Are we winning or what?
Thomas X. Hammes, author of "The Sling and the Stone," which I am plowing through, had an editorial in yesterday's New York Times arguing that the war is not yet over by a damn sight, as the old saying goes:
In the end, of course, the most important thing we can offer the Iraqis is our patience. The bottom line is that counterinsurgencies take time. And like all political processes, they are complex and often ugly.A more on-the-ground view of how things are going can be seen via Mudville Gazette, in a must-read post linking exchanges between a liberal blogger in the US -- whose work was picked up by The Daily Kos, and a soldier or Marine serving in Iraq.
So while Americans can be heartened by the reduction in attacks on coalition forces, it is relatively worthless as an indicator of success. The effectiveness of the Iraqi government in allowing average Iraqis to go about their lives is key. And Washington is correctly, if belatedly, making that its aim.
There are many who simply don't have the patience that Hammes asks for . . . they are content to declare defeat now. Pathetic.
April 21, 2005
The Strategic Corporal Shows Up in Husaybah
Writing in January, 1999 in the Marine Corps Gazette, then-Commandant, General Charles Krulak, said this about the future of the Marines:
In order to succeed under such demanding conditions they will require unwavering maturity, judgment, and strength of character. Most importantly, these missions will require them to confidently make well-reasoned and independent decisions under extreme stress -- decisions that will likely be subject to the harsh scrutiny of both the media and the court of public opinion. In many cases, the individual Marine will be the most conspicuous symbol of American foreign policy and will potentially influence not only the immediate tactical situation, but the operational and strategic levels as well. His actions, therefore, will directly impact the outcome of the larger operation; and he will become, as the title of this article suggests -- the Strategic Corporal.Last week a "strategic corporal" showed up in Husaybah, a small outpost of American force on the border of Iraq and Syria, and he blunted a company-sized terrorist attack, combined with multiple suicide car bombings. The strategic corporal in this case is actually a Lance Corporal: (h-t: the fourth rail)
"Butler — that day, that Marine — that's the critical error the insurgents made," Capt. Frank Diorio says. "They thought they could keep the Marines' heads down. But he gets back up."(More here.)
Butler, 21 and an Altoona, Pa., native, fired through the windshield of the first suicide bomber as he rammed a white dump truck through a barrier of abandoned vehicles the Marines had improvised. Barreling toward the camp's wall, the truck veered off at the last moment under volleys of Butler's gunfire.
Why are Lance Corporal Butler's actions considered "strategic"? Certainly, the heroism of those like Sgt Rafael Peralta is no less notable?
Lance Corporal Butler's actions played a major role in stopping a potential PR-bonanza for Al Qaeda. Just as the actions of the Marine who shot a wounded terrorist in Fallujah was noted by the global media, and used to the advantage of the enemy, this event has been noted by our own domestic media, and that same advantage that the enemy might have garnered by killing dozens of Marines, was stopped. Unfortunately, the pendulum doesn't swing entirely in the opposite direction: the US will not receive a corresponding boost in morale, or in good press coverage, because Marines repulsing an attack is considered the norm, and because such media coverage is not a zero-sum game.
The strategic aspects of the attack should not be underestimated. As Austin Bay has noted in The "Iraqi Tet" Fantasy, the insurgency seems to be grasping for its magical Tet moment when coalition gains will be immediately overturned via lucky media exposure:
But the Tet fantasy is so compelling. Though Tet was by most measures a disaster for the communists, as a media and hence political event, Tet snuffed "the light at the end of the tunnel." The Johnson administration had told the American public Vietnam had reached a turning point -- "the light" -- but Tet demonstrated that North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars and Viet Cong (VC) guerrillas were still capable of potent action. . . .Such theatrics are stopped by those like Lance Corporal Butler and other strategic corporals.
. . . Zarqawi's gang "used a fire truck at Husaybah as a car bomb. That's theatrics if you've ever seen theatrics," Pittman said. "They're trying to create a spectacular event, overrun a patrol or border outpost somewhere, an event with huge media value that would promote their cause and make them seem more powerful than they are."
Junior Marines are often told to read "Rifleman Dodd," a book set in the wars on the Iberian peninsula in the late 1700s-early 1800s. In the story, Dodd finds himself completely cut off from his entire unit, and in enemy territory. Rather than surrenduring, or merely surviving in hiding, he continues fighting on his own. A salty Gunny once told me of his time in the first Gulf War, attached to First Battalion, 7th Marines, commanded by then-LtCol Mattis. Mattis had just finished walking his entire battalion through the invasion plan on a giant scaled map in the desert, and then said, "Marines, if things go wrong, and you get cut off, or look around and can't find your lieutenant, or your sergeant or your corporal, you know what to do. You go toward the sound of battle and kill enemy personnel."
General Krulak later built on his "strategic corporal" concept and wrote about Cultivating Intuitive Decisionmaking:
Napoleon believed that the intuitive ability to rapidly assess the situation on the battlefield and make a sound decision was the most important quality a commander could possess. He referred to this intuition as coup d’oeuil, or "the strike of the eye," and thought that it was a gift of nature. More recently, however, practitioners of the military art have come to believe that while heredity and personality may well have an impact on an individual’s intuitive skills, these skills can also be cultivated and developed. Prior to and during World War II, the Japanese called this skill, ishin denshin, or the "sixth sense," and they observed that it began to appear after months of intense repetitive training in a cohesive unit. During the same time period, the Germans referred to the capacity to make rapid, intuitive decisions in combat as "character." They attempted to first identify innate intuition during their recruiting processes, and then cultivate the skill by forcing their officers to repeatedly make tactical decisions under stressful situations throughout their professional schooling. While some might point out that both the Germans and Japanese were on the losing end of World War II, we might be wiser to ask how they were able to achieve such great military successes given their relative size and resource limitations. Napoleon may be correct if he meant that intuition cannot be taught in the traditional sense, but both the Germans and the Japanese were successful in assuming that -- through repetition -- it could be learned.Teaching or inculcating that innate decisionmaking ability into future Marines was Krulak's goal.
The time is not far off when corporals operating independently of supervision will be the norm. The strategic corporal will not be an occasional incident of a handful of troops cut off from above, or acting on their own. Instead, our forces will be so decentralized that lance corporals and corporals will be challenged as never before. The Marine Corps is already experimenting with a concept called "Distributed Operations." (See here too.)
Distributed Operations, a new concept, empowers small tactical teams that would fight independently, miles apart in the battlespace.With Marines like Lance Corporal Butler at hand, it will not take long for distributed operations to be a reality.
* Teams would have the ability to regroup and fight as traditional Marine Corps units.
* Decision-making would be pushed down the chain of command.
Update: I'm linking to the Mudville Gazette since this may be of interest to those good folks.
April 12, 2005
A couple of new books in the sidebar
I recently polished off two great books about internet businesses, "The PayPal Wars" and "Under the Radar." I've just linked them in the sidebar and highly recommend each for anyone interested.
Chester Reviews "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"
[I was recently offered the chance to review the new film, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," based on the book of the same name by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. I'd like to thank Special Ops Media for this opportunity.]
In December of 2004, I was in Houston on business and grabbed dinner and drinks with a friend in commercial real estate there one evening. As we drove downtown, he pointed out many of the landmarks of the Houston skyline, and we took a brief detour to look more closely at several. We pulled up in front of one particular two-towered high rise. It was about 11pm and the streets here seemed especially deserted. The towers were beautiful, though my friend quickly told me they were nearly completely empty. Some local developers had recently purchased the empty building for a song. It was then that I turned and saw the now infamous capital "E" sitting on a 45 degree angle. This was the former world headquarters of Enron.
A large part of the US population probably had some relationship with Enron at one point or another -- either you did business with them, knew someone who worked there, or were a shareholder -- or if not, one or your mutual funds probably was. Now, after its downfall, Enron is little more than a punchline. "Enron accounting" is an accepted substitute for other older idioms like "cooking the books."
But what was it that happened at Enron? Certainly there was more to it than just blatant financial and accounting shenanigans? If "Enron" is to remain as the butt of jokes, it is necessary to know and remember how this turn of events came about.
"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" goes a long way toward answering these questions. Directed by Alex Gibney, "Smartest Guys" is a well-edited and thoughtfully executed documentary of Enron's rise and fall. We go deep into the lives and backgrounds of all of the major players: Ken Lay, the PhD and de-regulation advocate who became the chairman, perhaps blinded by the visionary prognostications of Jeff Skilling, the Harvard MBA consumed with the concept that anything was more or less acceptable so long as smart people were behind it; Andrew Fastow, the amoral numbers whiz and Skilling's protege, who dreamed up ways to hide Enron's debt, and a whole cast of colorful characters that in many ways seem to be extras from old "Dallas" episodes, and whom one would expect to find in any morality play set in Texas. Theirs is a fascinating story.
The filmmakers deserve kudos for both the incredible access they achieved in interview subjects, and for the outstanding footage they incorporate into the film. While other documentaries have to rely on stock footage carefully woven together to portray scenes for which there is no record, here we have probably a dozen or so clips from Enron company meetings, recordings of phone conversations between energy traders, and even a brief snippet from a conference call with Wall Street analysts in which Skilling calls one an "asshole" for questioning Enron's financial records.
The Enron executives' relationship with the Bush family is tastefully performed as well. The viewer leaves not with the impression that George W. Bush is guilty by association with Enron personnel, but instead with a deeper realization of just how accepted Skilling and his ilk were in the mainstream corridors of power. This is either smart filmmaking, since it is always best to stick with the script and not wander too much into conspiracy-land, or smart marketing, since those marketing the piece probably realize that many right-of-center viewers are happy to see a film that excoriates accounting tomfoolery in big business.
Since I lived in California during the rolling blackouts of 2001, I thought the portion of the film dealing with this whole issue was very interesting. Unfortunately, here is where the narrative takes a stumble a bit. There is much made about the deregulation of California's energy market in the late 1990s by Governor Pete Wilson, and much made of the control Enron is able to exercise to lower capacity until prices rise and then to turn the spigot - as it were - back on to make obscene profits. There is a scene of Governor Gray Davis asking the federal government to intervene, and just a kiss of a conspiracy as to why Bush chose not to do so -- with a little bit of Ahnold-electioneering thrown in to spice it up a bit. I thought this to be dissatisfying since I lived in California just long enough to see how many of its problems are its own policy creations. Governor Wilson de-regulated the energy sector, yet Gray Davis's only option was to ask for federal help? This seems a little disingenous, especially since the filmmakers explain that Enron had a specialist among the energy traders who was the only guy anyone knew who had actually read all of California's rules and figured out how to game the system. No doubt Enron was up to some nefarious manipulation of the system, probably complying with the letter and not the spirit of whatever laws there were -- but this bit of the story needed a clearer explanation in the film.
That minor speedbump aside, this is an excellent work overall. Even the musical choices add much to the tenor of each chapter, blending well with the desired mood, and are incorporated flawlessly into the narrative.
The questions I left with were these: Was Skilling so convinced of the glory of an unregulated energy services and trading firm that he truly did not know how bad things were? Did he truly understand the complex structured financial transactions that Fastow foisted upon him? Or was he in the know all along, riding the gravy train as long as he could, then bailing at the perfect moment? Whatever the answer, his was not a character that belonged in charge of anything-- that much is certain, and this is a lesson often overlooked in the corridors of power: intelligence is not only amoral, but it also has little to do with leadership ability.
I highly recommend this film. Don't miss it.
April 11, 2005
Another Week in Review from RegimeChangeIran
DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [4/3-4/9] major news events regarding Iran.
The EU3 Negotiations with Iran:
France says "The talks are very fragile but we are progressing."Developments in Iran's Nuclear Program:
The Middle East Media Research Institute has just published an excellent review of the EU3/Iran negotiations, including statements by Iran's military leaders.
The French Ambassador to Tehran said the EU3 is developing a strategy for Iran which involves adopting new regulations that are to be taken as a model in the future.
- The Dawn reports "how Iran was making gas centrifuges at a site in Tehran."
- Iran is paying for the Palestinian attacks aimed at shattering the fragile truce with Israel.
- Hamas and Hizbollah have signed a cooperation accord. Still, Hizbollah is signaling a willingness to discuss the fate of its military wing.
- Mark Hosenbal of Newsweek discussed the administrations mixed signals regarding the MEK. (The MEK are hosting a conference in Washington DC, this next week).
- The US has rejected an IAEA proposal for a five-year, global moratorium on enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium.
- In Iran, the average minimum and monthly wage is $120 a month, forcing some to look for food in city waste-bins.
- Iran-France economic ties will develop at a rapid pace over the next six months.
- Reporters Without Borders deplored a series of new negative developments for press freedom.
- The BBC reported that Iran's parliament barred an investigative journalist from its premises after revealing the MPs' huge pay and bonuses.
- The Christian Post wrote that an Iranian Assemblies of God lay pastor was arrested seven months ago and is facing the death penalty.
- Human Rights Watch said the
upcoming report by Iran's powerful judiciary about the mistreatment and
torture of bloggers and internet journalists in custody must begin a
process of full accountability for serious human rights abuse.
- At least 1,500 anti-government protests, strikes, and clashes took place in Iran during the year that ended on March 20.
- The 70 million people of Iran, an Iranian opposition group inside of Iran, published a warning to western governments that contracts with Iran after June 16 will be null and void.
- SMCCDI reported many violent clashes in several western Iranian cities and then still more, more and more violent clashes.
- Dr. Jerome Corsi will lead a 128-mile walk from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., to promote peaceful, democratic change in Iran.
- Kathryn Jean Lopez, said "Supporting Iranian Youth's Freedom Quest Right Thing to Do."
- Controversial Iranian dissident Mohsen Sazegara joined The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- A new documentary, Coming Out: The Youth of Iran, provides a look at the youth of Iran and the politics of sexuality. View it here.
- The "Nemazee Vs. SMCCDI/Pirouznia" trial is set to begin, Tuesday April 12, 2005.
The trial is over the question of whether SMCCDI's director slandered a
major Kerry fundraiser by claiming he was promoting the Islamic
Republic of Iran.
- Canada deported a record number of Iranian refugees back to Iran last year. At the same time Canada gave asylum to the Doctor, who attended to Ms. Kazemi (a reporter murdered by the regime); who fled Iran to expose the regime's cruelty.
- A prominent Iraqi daily accused Iran's leadership of dispatching mercenaries to one of Shiite Iraq's holiest cities.
- Israel's president said he shook hands and spoke briefly to the leaders of Syria and Iran at the Vatican funeral of Pope John Paul. Iran's President denies it.
- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confirmed Ukraine sold nuclear-capable cruise missiles to Iran.
- Dr. Corsi gave an overview of the threat presented by the Iranian regime to the Heritage Foundation. Click here to listen. CSPAN will air the lecture 4/10 7PM EST.
- The American Thinker points out how the international community is ignoring the plight of the women of Iran.
- Michael Ledeen writing about the Kazemi murder in Iran reminds us that the
brutal treatment of Iranian women by the mullahcracy is a daily
occurrence, not an isolated case. The adds, saving the women of Iran
may save us.
Head of Iranian Nuclear Negotiating Team Sirus Nasseri said the U.S. and the EU should "get used to the idea of a nuclear Iran."
April 5, 2005
An Update from Chester
Hello loyal readers,
My blogging-related business idea is going along swimmingly and looks to have some promise.
So the bad news is that my long silence will continue more or less. The good news is that I will offer a post or two this week! Stay tuned . . .
Week in Review from RegimeChangeIran
DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [3/27-4/2] major news events regarding Iran.
The EU3 Negotiations with Iran:
- The EU3 considered letting Iran keep a limited nuclear enrichment program that could be used to make bombs. But fortunately, they later rejected the idea.
- Iran was furious over Condi's statement that we need to close the NTP uranium enrichment loophole.
- Iran allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads last year according to an exiled opposition group.
- Iran put on a media show of the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz with a guide tour by President Khatami. The US responded.
- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice released the DOS report Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004 - 2005. The excerpt on Iran.
- Iranians boycott Iran's Islamic Republic day.
- Sporadic clashes follow a more limited celebration in Iran. Plus more unrest.
- Eli Lake reports that Iranian dissidents are asking for aid from President Bush, not just words.
- Iranian Doctor fled Iran to tell the truth about the death of Canadian reporter Kazemi. As a result, Canada's PM considers new action against Iran. Iran Press News tells the rest of the story.
- ABC's Nightline broadcast an interview of students inside of Iran. An Iranian student who recently escaped Iran published a rebuke of the broadcast's shameful propaganda for the Iranian regime.
- The Washington Post reported, "Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policy," in which Dafna Linzer alleges President Ford reluctantly offered Iran nuclear technology, but the Weekly Standard tells the rest of the story.
- Europeans say Iran is not a threat for nearly six out of ten EU3 adults according to a recent poll.
- Pakistani centrifuges being sent to IAEA at Iran's request.
- Egyptian court rules, Mubarak was the target of an Iranian assassination plot. Iran denies it. Iran blames Israel.
- Charles Krauthammer, says it's time to break the true Axis Of Evil (Syrian and Iran).
- FrontPageMag.com has published a symposium on the "nuclear outlaws."
- Dr. Jerome Corsi released his TV ad: Iran Nukes NYC in which New York City is destroyed by Iranian supported terrorists. You can view the ad now.
- Michael Ledeen points out that the MSM doesn’t want to get that the people of Iran want a regime change. ABC's Nightline proves he is right.
- AEI held a Web Event: Is It a Revolution or What? You can view it online here.
- The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) reports that Iran will attempt to fill the vacuum left by the Syrian troops returning home.
- Lawrence F. Kaplan reports administration hawks have insisted on a drop-dead date for the EU3/Iran talks, a few months after Iran's elections in June.
- Richard Clarke is concerned that Iran will either get the bomb or trade concessions soon and that in either case will be stronger.
Iranians were in the streets chanting:
"Death to those who kill our freedom-fighters. Death to a puppet parliament; Death to armed despots...