Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for November 18th, 2010

Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent –Gareth Porter

Posted by Charles II on November 18, 2010

Gareth Porter, Truthout:

Since 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – with the support of the United States, Israel and European allies UK, France and Germany – has been demanding that Iran explain a set of purported internal documents portraying a covert Iranian military program of research and development of nuclear weapons. The “laptop documents,” supposedly obtained from a stolen Iranian computer by an unknown source and given to US intelligence in 2004, include a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle that appears to be an effort to accommodate a nuclear weapon, as well as reports on high explosives testing for what appeared to be a detonator for a nuclear weapon.

Ah, magical laptops. Where have we heard that before? Continuing:

That position [substituting threats of war for negotiation] is based on the premise that the intelligence documents that Iran has been asked to explain are genuine. The evidence now available, however, indicates that they are fabrications.

The drawings of the Iranian missile warhead that were said by the IAEA to show an intent to accommodate a nuclear weapon actually depict a missile design that Iran is now known to have already abandoned in favor of an improved model by the time the technical drawings were allegedly made. And one of the major components of the purported Iranian military research program allegedly included a project labeled with a number that turns out to have been assigned by Iran’s civilian nuclear authority years before the covert program is said to have been initiated.

Got that? The magic laptop had a missile design that had already been abandoned and a project that was already long in the tooth. In other words, information that was no longer operative. OK, so maybe the missile designers weren’t talking with the nuke designers?

Heinonen’s claim that the covert nuclear weapon program had no link to the regular missile program is not supported by the intelligence documents themselves.

Ouch! Ouchouchouch! The magic laptop said the missile designers were in touch with the nuke designers.

So who would do such a thing? Here it gets really ouchy:

The origin of the laptop documents may never be proven conclusively, but the accumulated evidence points to Israel as the source. As early as 1995, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ military intelligence research and assessment division, Yaakov Amidror, tried unsuccessfully to persuade his American counterparts that Iran was planning to “go nuclear.” By 2003-2004, Mossad’s reporting on the Iranian nuclear program was viewed by high-ranking CIA officials as an effort to pressure the Bush administration into considering military action against Iran’s nuclear sites, according to Israeli sources cited by a pro-Israeli news service.

In the summer of 2003, Israel’s international intelligence agency, Mossad, had established an aggressive program aimed at exerting influence on the Iran nuclear issue by leaking alleged intelligence to governments and the news media, as Israeli officials acknowledged to journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins.

In other words, our number one ally south of the equator (sorry, Oz, but you are dear to our hearts) in the Middle East has been rolling us.

And maybe, just maybe, also have been fabricating laptops for the Colombians, too.

Alas, something like this has happened before, with the yellowcake from Niger used to justify the invasion of Iraq. It’s much too believable to be comfortable.

Comments, Stormcrow?

Posted in Iran, israel, magic laptops, nukes | 5 Comments »

Murdoch’s Phone-Hack Firewall Just Collapsed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 18, 2010

Well, lookiee here:

The private investigator at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal has been ordered by a high court judge to reveal who instructed him to engage in the illegal interception of voicemail messages of public figures.

Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in January 2007 for intercepting the voicemail of eight people, had asked the court to rule that he should not have to answer questions because it might incriminate him.

But in the high court today Mr Justice Mann ruled that he must answer a list of questions about who instructed him to hack into the mobile phones of the celebrity publicist Max Clifford and his assistant, Nicola Phillips.

Mulcaire, who was employed by the News of the World at the time of his offences, is to be asked specifically whether he received instructions from the news editor of the paper, Ian Edmondson.

This is the thread for the sweater, folks. Yanking it hard undoes the whole garment.

Mulcaire was Murdoch’s firewall. So long as Mulcaire kept quiet and waited to be rewarded for his silence with a big cash bouquet from his bosses upon his release from jail, the Murdoch empire was safe. But now? Not so much.

I do hope Mr. Mulcaire stays away from small planes and has a bodyguard.

Posted in Rupert Murdoch | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Losing Elections Lets Republicans Tell The Truth About Climate Change

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 18, 2010

The Republican in question: Bob Inglis (R-SC), who lost his primary to a teabagger (h/t Lefty Coaster):

Outgoing Republican Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.) broke with his party today and publicly vented his frustration about the apparent turn toward climate skepticism in the next Congress, when Republicans will take control of the House.

Inglis, who has served six terms in the House, was soundly defeated by a more conservative opponent in a Republican primary this year and has blamed the loss in part on his belief in climate science, which hurt him with voters. Inglis made his frustration clear this morning at a House Science subcommittee hearing on the science of climate change.

“To my free enterprise colleagues, whether you think it’s all a bunch of hooey, what we talk about in this committee — the Chinese don’t, and they plan on eating our lunch in the next century, working on these problems,” Inglis said. “We may press the pause button for a few years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button.”

Of course, the Republicans in power are still stuffing their ears with corporate polluters’ cash and are thus ignoring the reality that Inglis is discussing. They want to put knuckledragging denialist relic Ralph Hall in charge of the House’s Science and Technology Committee.

Posted in 2010, climate change, corporatists, corruption, Republicans | 2 Comments »

A victory for trial by jury

Posted by Charles II on November 18, 2010

Chris McGreal, Guardian

Barack Obama’s plans to try accused terrorists in civilian courts experienced a major setback last night when the first former Guantánamo detainee to be tried in one was convicted on just one of 285 charges over the 1998 attack on US embassies in East Africa which killed 224 people.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a 36-year-old Tanzanian, was found guilty of conspiracy to destroy US government buildings and property for helping an al-Qaida cell to buy a lorry and bomb parts in the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam. But a US federal jury acquitted him of all the more serious charges of murder and conspiracy.

(More about the case here)

Basically, when the judge refused to admit testimony obtained as a consequence of torture, the jury found Ghailani guilty of what the prosecution was able to prove. I wouldn’t call that a setback. I would call it an outstanding victory for the jury system. When we send people to prison because of what we extract by torture or what we suspect because of who someone knows, we are on the path toward dictatorship.

Ghailani is not going free. The jury agreed that he conspired to provide bomb parts and truck parts to al Qaida as part of a horrendous crime. The judge’s caution makes it all but certain that their sentence will stick. The prosecution now has 20 years to find real evidence before Mr. Ghailani walks free.

Update: To my great amazement, the New York Times agreed with me in detail and published an Op-Ed by air force colonel Morris Davis who was the chief prosecutor for military commissions 2005-7 also agreeing with me.

Update2: Scott Horton has an interesting take on the trial:

My sense is that the prosecution team did a solid job in presenting their case. The acquittals certainly had nothing to do with ineffective prosecution. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the government’s case was weakened by things the Bush Administration did. First, torturing the prisoner to extract evidence and then attempting to use that evidence met with precisely the ruling that three hundred fifty years of Anglo-American precedent would lead us to expect: the evidence was excluded. Had the initial interrogations been carried out with tested, approved, and lawful methods, they might have yielded evidence that would have supported additional convictions. Second, there was a lag of over six years between Ghailani’s apprehension and his trial—that resulted from a political decision. During that time, two key witnesses for the government died, undermining their case. So it’s clear this case was not handled in the best or most efficient way, but the blame for that rests with the Bush team and not their successors.

Posted in terrorism | 2 Comments »

 
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