"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dissident’s Tale of Epic Escape From Iran’s Vise

WASHINGTON-After three days on the run, Ahmad Batebi picked his way down a rocky slope to the stream that marked Iran’s border with Iraq. His Kurdish guides, who had led Mr. Batebi, an Iranian dissident, through minefields and dodged nighttime gunfire from border guards, passed him to a new team of shadowy human smugglers.At the age of 31, after nearly eight years in Iranian prisons, subjected to torture and twice taken to the gallows and fitted with a noose, Mr. Batebi had fled.But in Iraq, his former captors had one more chilling message for him. Not long after his arrival in Erbil in March, the new cellphone provided by United Nations officials rang.Mr. Batebi was shocked to hear the familiar voice of the chief interrogator at one of Iran’s notorious prisons.“We know where you are,” the interrogator said. “You must turn yourself in.”Instead, Mr. Batebi, one of Iran’s best-known dissidents, received permission to enter the United States.He arrived on June 24.In several lengthy interviews, Mr. Batebi provided an unusual window on Iran under its ruling clerics. His alienation began at age 9, when he witnessed a deadly stoning. He rose to fame in 1999, appearing on the cover of The Economist magazine holding the bloody T-shirt of a fellow student demonstrator-an image he first saw when a judge slapped it before him and declared, “You have signed your own death sentence.” Finally, after a decade of political combat, he reluctantly decided to abandon Iran for an uncertain exile.His escape has prompted a paroxysm of denunciation in Iran’s controlled news media, which have accused him of defrauding creditors and suggested that he has long been in league with the United States and Israel, claims that human rights groups dismiss as crude propaganda.From his Yahoo blog, Mr. Batebi has replied, posting the taunt, “Your hands will never reach me” and the instruction “Click here.” The photograph that pops up shows the dissident, an Iranian Johnny Depp with a ponytail and a satisfied expression, posing in front of the United States Capitol.While some details of Mr. Batebi’s biography, his treatment in Iran and his escape could not be independently confirmed, he provided a video he took during his journey, and independent advocates vouched for much of his account.He knows he has arrived during a time of tension between Iran and the United States, and he said he did not want his story to heighten the conflict.Wary of being viewed as a pawn of American policy, he said that the United States played no role in his departure from Iran, a fact American officials confirmed. The United States did give him permission to enter this country “out of concern for his safety,” said Gordon D. Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council. He said Mr. Batebi attended a courtesy meeting with N.S.C. staff members on Friday.Despite Mr. Batebi’s soft-spoken Persian, translated by Lily Mazahery, an Iranian-American lawyer who is helping him resettle, his contempt for Iran’s rulers is palpable. But he does not want a violent revolution. “No one with a healthy brain wants a revolution without a plan for what comes after,” he said. “That’s what happened in 1979.”
An Awakening
Mr. Batebi may have inherited his jaundiced view of his country’s leaders. After the Islamic revolution of 1979, his father, a customs bureaucrat who had fallen out of favor with the shah’s regime, declined to join the Revolutionary Guards. His mother, a first-grade teacher, taught him and his younger brother and sister a mild, Golden Rule Islam that had little in common with the ayatollahs’ harsh theology.His own awakening began in fourth grade, when his teacher, fed up with the distortions of an official history textbook, burst out: “Go out and read other things to try to get the truth.”“The teacher probably doesn’t even remember,” Mr. Batebi said. “But he changed the course of my life.”A few weeks later came the stoning. Though forbidden by his mother, he slipped out of the house to see the commotion near his school. He saw a man, accused of adultery, buried to the waist, his head covered with a sack that turned red as Revolutionary Guards hurled chunks of concrete. A mullah standing atop a wall gave the orders, and an ambivalent crowd of neighbors looked on.“I was utterly shocked,” he recalled. “My hands and legs were shaking.” Afterward, he suffered from nightmares.Years later, he would witness public hangings and dismemberments. “But nothing had the impact of that stoning,” he said. “I thought, This can’t be Islam.”At the University of Tehran in the mid-1990s, Mr. Batebi embraced his photojournalism studies and made two dozen short films with existentialist themes, often with his own electric guitar for a soundtrack. He also joined in student protests, getting arrested three times. In fervent late-night discussions, he recalled, one admired model was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.The demonstrations exploded in 1999 in what would become known as 18 Tir, the date according to the Iranian calendar. In a wave of protests that threatened the 20-year-old regime, hundreds of students demonstrated against the closing of a newspaper, Salam. Mr. Batebi, busy making his senior thesis film about drug addiction, stumbled upon the demonstrators and joined in...
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Iran's Mottaki:Regional peoples do not recognize Israel

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that regional nations have refused to recognize the imposed Israeli regime. "Numerous studies so far conducted show that, based on known criteria of statehood, the peoples of the region have not recognized the fake, illegal and imposed existence of the Israeli regime," Mottaki said in Tehran Saturday. The minister made the statement while addressing a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the abduction in Beirut of four Iranian diplomats 26 years ago.The four diplomats, including charge d'affaires Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi and his three companions, Ahmad Motevasselian, Kazem Akhavan and Taqi Rastegar were abducted at a checkpoint in Beirut in July 1982. They were reportedly handed over to the Israeli military forces as Beirut was occupied by the Israeli regime at the time. The history of the Israeli regime and that of its main supporter in the region, the United States of America, has been full of many such criminal acts, Mottaki said. "The Islamic Republic of Iran regards the Zionist regime and the US as the leading culprits in the inhuman act of abduction of its diplomats," he added. The minister expressed regret that the Israeli regime and the US have so far refused to provide a response to efforts by international organizations and world countries to clear up the fate of the abducted Iranian diplomats.
Press TV
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U.S - Iran tension in Persian Gulf

Minister says Iran expects no U.S. or Israeli attack

TEHRAN-Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday he believed neither the United States nor Israel would want to get entangled in a new Middle East crisis and attack the Islamic Republic over its nuclear programme.The comments by Manouchehr Mottaki came a few days after Iranian missile tests heightened regional tension and helped send world oil prices to new record levels.Mottaki told the official IRNA news agency that Iran's response would be "firm and pounding" if its two arch-foes launched strikes against the country.But, he added: "Of course, the Zionist regime and the U.S. do not possess such capacities to want to involve themselves in new crises.""The Zionist regime is still involved in the after-shocks of the war with Lebanon," Mottaki said, referring to Israel's inconclusive 2006 war with Hezbollah guerrillas."And the U.S. still does not possess the capacity to enter another crisis in the Persian Gulf region."Iran says its nuclear programme is aimed only at generating electricity. Western nations and Israel fear the world's fourth-largest oil exporter is seeking to build nuclear bombs.Washington has said it wants diplomacy to end the nuclear row but has not ruled out military action should that fail.Israel, long assumed to have its own atomic arsenal, has sworn to prevent Iran from emerging as a nuclear-armed power.
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Iran Warns It Would Destroy Israel, 32 U.S. Bases If Attacked

TEHRAN-Iran's armed forces would launch devastating strikes against Israel and 32 American bases in the Mideast if these countries were to attack, a senior military official said on Saturday.Iran carried out a series of missile tests this week in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, prompting the United States to issue a warning that it would defend Israel in the event of an Iranian attack. Israel's Air Force last month conducted drills seen as a rehearsal for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.If the U.S. and Israel were to attack Iran,"before the dust from these attacks settles on the ground, our armed forces will strike the very heart of Israel and 32 U.S. military bases in the region," the Iranian Supreme Leader's representative in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Mujtaba Zolnur, said."If our enemies take such a misguided step and attack Iran, our armed forces will give a devastating response," he was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.Iran test-fired on Friday several missiles with a range of 350 kilometers (217 miles). The tests came on the fourth day of the Great Prophet III military maneuvers involving the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval and air units.Iranian state media said earlier this week that the IRGC had successfully test-fired various classes of missiles including shore-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles. The Shahab-3 missile, launched on Wednesday, has a range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) and would enable Iran to strike at Israel, as well as U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region.The exercises provoked harsh criticism from the West, particularly the U.S., which demanded that Tehran cease work to develop ballistic missiles as potential vehicles for the delivery of nuclear weapons.Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation. The U.S. and other Western states have claimed that the program is geared toward the creation of nuclear weapons.
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Official: Iran missile tests used 'old equipment'

WASHINGTON - Iran's missile test this week did not demonstrate any new capabilities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the intelligence, and the test may not have included one of the longer-range missiles Iran claims was among those launched.Iranian officials claimed the tests Wednesday and Thursday demonstrated a new variant of the Shahab missile that had a range of 1,250 miles. Such a missile would put much of the Middle East in striking distance, including Israel-as close as 650 miles from Iran-as well as Turkey, Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula.The tests drew immediate criticism from U.S. officials. In Eastern Europe during the launches, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the missile tests underscored the need for a U.S. missile shield in the region.But an independent national security blog, ArmsControlWonk.com, Thursday analyzed video footage of the launch posted by the Iranian government.It determined the missiles were identical to a version of the Shahab missile first demonstrated in Iran in 1998 that has a known range of 746 miles.In a post called "Same old Boring Shahab 3," it compared the diameter of the missile to its length and found it to be identical to the 1998 version.Unless the Iranians built a larger missile with the same length to width ratio, dramatically improved the thrust of the rocket or decreased its internal structural mass, the missile could not achieve the range Iran claimed it did. Otherwise, it is the same knockoff of North Korea's Nodong-1, according to the blog.Iran falsely claimed in February that it launched a two-stage missile that later analysis determined to be a one-stage Shahab missile, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington, D.C. arms control advocacy think tank."Iran frequently exaggerates the capability of its missiles, and it appears it is continuing that tradition with this week's tests," said David Wright, co-director of the Union's Global Security Program.The U.S. official familiar with the intelligence said the Iranian tests involved eight or nine missiles — most fired on Wednesday and one more several hours later early Thursday. It was a mix of missiles ranging from medium-range to close-range battlefield rockets. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary analysis, said the exact models had not yet been decisively determined by U.S. intelligence.Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the test is being taken seriously, and was an attempt to destabilize the region."We don't believe this exercise to have been an illusion," he said Friday. Still, he added, "They were not testing new technologies or capabilities, but rather firing off old equipment in an attempt to intimidate their neighbors and escalate tension in the region. That is not the way to win the trust and confidence of the national community."Tehran staged the missile tests as a show of strength in response to a recent Israeli military exercise.An Iranian government photograph showing a cluster of missile launches was apparently altered to add a fourth missile lifting off from a desert range."There's no doubt the photo was doctored," said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the Non-Proliferation Program for the London-based International Institute For Strategic Studies.The image, posted Wednesday on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Web site, showed four missiles moments after launch, leaving trails of glowing exhaust and clouds of billowing brown dust.U.S. officials have also raised questions about the video footage, saying it looks remarkably similar to previous tests.
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Iran tried to deceive world by 'testing' old missiles, US experts believe

Iran attempted to deceive the world with last week's high-profile weapons test by claiming that a 10-year-old missile was a new, longer-range version capable of striking Israel, US intelligence officials and independent analysts believe. Analysis of Iranian television coverage has also indicated that one of the weapons actually remained on the ground but the video was doctored in an effort to cover up the failure.The tests were the latest escalation in muscle-flexing between Iran and Israel as the threat of war grows over the Islamic regime's nuclear ambitions.Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, is to urge the Bush administration to adopt a tougher line against Iran and will try to persuade the American public of the need for military action during a three-day visit to Washington this week, a former top adviser said.Iran claimed last week to have tested a new version of the Shahab missile with a 1,250-mile range that would put in range much of the Middle East, including Israel and Turkey and the Arabian peninsula, and Pakistan.However, a respected independent national security website, ArmsControlWonk.com, concluded that the missiles were identical to an earlier version of the Shahab, first unveiled by Iran in 1998 with a known range of 746 miles.In a posting called "Same old Boring Shahab 3", it analysed Iranian video footage, comparing the diameter of the missile to its length and found it to be identical to the decade-old version.Other defence analysts believe that the missile was a Shahab 3a model with a 900-mile range.Iran also issued misleading statements about the ranges and doctored videos to make the firings seem more numerous and fearsome than reality, The New York Times reported.Coverage showing what appeared to be many missiles being fired was apparently just one device,filmed from different angles."Deception was rampant," said Charles Vick, an expert on the Iranian missile programme at Global Security, a prominent defence think tank.Despite the deception, the Pentagon said it was taking the tests seriously, viewing them as an attempt further to destabilise the region."We don't believe this exercise to have been an illusion," said Geoff Morrell, a spokesman.But he added: "They were not testing new technologies or capabilities, but rather firing off old equipment in an attempt to intimidate their neighbours and escalate tension in the region."Tehran's show of strength followed a recent Israeli military exercise apparently designed to prepare for possible air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran claims the programme is for civilian energy purposes, but Israeli and Western intelligence believe it is seeking atomic arms. As Mr Barak arrives in Washington tomorrow there is increasing alarm among Israeli leaders at America's perceived reluctance to consider military action to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, according to the Jewish state's former national security adviser, Uzi Dayan."We need to persuade the US not to take this issue off the agenda," said the retired major-general, a senior aide to Mr Barak when he was prime minister.Mr Barak's visit is part of a series of Israeli efforts to convince Washington of the Iranian threat. Mossad chief Meir Dagan has just wrapped up a round of talks in the US, while the Israeli army's chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, is expected to travel to Washington shortly.Last week's missile tests sent oil prices soaring from $136 to $147 a barrel, delivering a windfall gain worth billions of dollars to Iran's oil-based economy.
By Philip Sherwell in New York and Carolynne Wheeler in Jerusalem
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President George W Bush backs Israeli plan for strike on Iran

President George W Bush has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down, according to a senior Pentagon official.Despite the opposition of his own generals and widespread scepticism that America is ready to risk the military, political and economic consequences of an airborne strike on Iran, the president has given an “amber light” to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties, the official told The Sunday Times.“Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,” the official said. But the Israelis have also been told that they can expect no help from American forces and will not be able to use US military bases in Iraq for logistical support.Nor is it certain that Bush’s amber light would ever turn to green without irrefutable evidence of lethal Iranian hostility. Tehran’s test launches of medium-range ballistic missiles last week were seen in Washington as provocative and poorly judged, but both the Pentagon and the CIA concluded that they did not represent an immediate threat of attack against Israeli or US targets.“It’s really all down to the Israelis,” the Pentagon official added. “This administration will not attack Iran. This has already been decided. But the president is really preoccupied with the nuclear threat against Israel and I know he doesn’t believe that anything but force will deter Iran.”The official added that Israel had not so far presented Bush with a convincing military proposal. “If there is no solid plan, the amber will never turn to green,” he said.There was also resistance inside the Pentagon from officers concerned about Iranian retaliation. “The uniform people are opposed to the attack plans, mainly because they think it will endanger our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the source said.Complicating the calculations in both Washington and Tel Aviv is the prospect of an incoming Democratic president who has already made it clear that he prefers negotiation to the use of force.Senator Barack Obama’s previous opposition to the war in Iraq, and his apparent doubts about the urgency of the Iranian threat, have intensified pressure on the Israeli hawks to act before November’s US presidential election. “If I were an Israeli I wouldn’t wait,” the Pentagon official added.The latest round of regional tension was sparked by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which fired nine long and medium-range missiles in war game manoeuvres in the Gulf last Wednesday.Iran’s state-run media reported that one of them was a modified Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which has a claimed range of 1,250 miles and could theoretically deliver a one-ton nuclear warhead over Israeli cities. Tel Aviv is about 650 miles from western Iran. General Hossein Salami, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander, boasted that “our hands are always on the trigger and our missiles are ready for launch”.Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said she saw the launches as “evidence that the missile threat is not an imaginary one”, although the impact of the Iranian stunt was diminished on Thursday when it became clear that a photograph purporting to show the missiles being launched had been faked.The one thing that all sides agree on is that any strike by either Iran or Israel would trigger a catastrophic round of retaliation that would rock global oil markets, send the price of petrol soaring and wreck the progress of the US military effort in Iraq.Abdalla Salem El-Badri, secretary-general of Opec, the oil producers’ consortium, said last week that a military conflict involving Iran would see an “unlimited” rise in prices because any loss of Iranian production — or constriction of shipments through the Strait of Hormuz — could not be replaced. Iran is Opec’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia.Equally worrying for Bush would be the impact on the US mission in Iraq, which after years of turmoil has seen gains from the military “surge” of the past few months, and on American operations in the wider region. A senior Iranian official said yesterday that Iran would destroy Israel and 32 American military bases in the Middle East in response to any attack.Yet US officials acknowledge that no American president can afford to remain idle if Israel is threatened. How genuine the Iranian threat is was the subject of intense debate last week, with some analysts arguing that Iran might have a useable nuclear weapon by next spring and others convinced that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is engaged in a dangerous game of bluffing — mainly to impress a domestic Iranian audience that is struggling with economic setbacks and beginning to question his leadership.
Among the sceptics is Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst and author of a book on the Revolutionary Guard. “I don’t subscribe to the view that Iran is in a position to inflict devastating damage on anyone,” said Katzman, who is best known for warning shortly before 9/11 that terrorists were planning to attack America.“The Revolutionary Guards have always underperformed militarily,” he said. “Their equipment is quite inaccurate if not outright inoperable. Those missile launches were more like putting up a ‘beware of the dog’ sign. They want everyone to think that if you mess with them, you will get bitten.”A former adviser to Rice noted that Ahmadinejad’s confrontational attitude had earned him powerful enemies among Iran’s religious leadership. Professor Shai Feldman, director of Middle East studies at Brandeis University, said the Iranian government was getting “clobbered” because of global economic strains. “His [Ahmadinejad's] failed policies have made Iran more vulnerable to sanctions and people close to the mullahs have decided he’s a liability,” he said.In Israel, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has his own domestic problems with a corruption scandal that threatens to unseat him and the media have been rife with speculation that he might order an attack on Iran to distract attention from his difficulties. According to one of his closest friends, Olmert recently warned him that “in three months’ time it will be a different Middle East”.Yet even the most hawkish officials acknowledge that Israel would face what would arguably be the most challenging military mission of its 60-year existence.“No one here is talking about more than delaying the [nuclear] programme,” said the Pentagon source. He added that Israel would need to set back the Iranians by at least five years for an attack to be considered a success.Even that may be beyond Israel’s competence if it has to act alone. Obvious targets would include Iran’s Isfahan plant, where uranium ore is converted into gas, the Natanz complex where this gas is used to enrich uranium in centrifuges and the plutonium-producing Arak heavy water plant. But Iran is known to have scattered other elements of its nuclear programme in underground facilities around the country. Neither US nor Israeli intelligence is certain that it knows where everything is.“Maybe the Israelis could start off the attack and have us finish it off,” Katzman added. “And maybe that has been their intention all along. But in terms of the long-term military campaign that would be needed to permanently suppress Iran’s nuclear programme, only the US is perceived as having that capability right now.”

As in the days of Noah...

Iran Missile Test July 9th 2008

Iran already has the Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of 1,250 miles and is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The Shahab-3 is also capable of carrying a nuclear warhead !!!

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North Korean Soldiers Shoot Dead South Korean Tourist.

South Korea demands North explains tourist's killing

SEOUL-South Korea said on Sunday it was "unimaginable" for a North Korean soldier to shoot dead a unarmed housewife vacationing at a resort in the North, calling on it to come clean over the incident damaging already strained ties.The woman, 53, was gunned down in the predawn hours of Friday when she apparently wandered into a North Korean military area near the Mount Kumgang resort, located on the east coast and just a few kilometers north of the heavily fortified border."If a strict investigation is not conducted over this tragic incident, that would be like throwing cold water on expectations for developments in inter-Korean relations through South-North talks," the Unification Ministry said in a statement."The act was wrong by any measure, unimaginable and should not have taken place at all."South Korea suspended tourism after the shooting and officials said that all of the about 1,300 tourists at the resort at the time of the incident would have left by Sunday.A North Korean spokesman put the blame on the South and demanded an apology."The South side should be held responsible for the incident," the North's official KCNA news agency on Saturday quoted the spokesman as saying."The South Korean tourist intruded deep into the area under the military control of the North side all alone at dawn, going beyond the clearly marked boundary fence, even (her) shoes got wet," the spokesman said.
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South Koreans vacate resort in North after shooting

SEOUL-Hundreds of South Korean tourists vacated a mountain resort in the North on Saturday, a day after a North Korean soldier shot and killed a 53-year-old woman vacationer who wandered into a military zone in the area.The incident comes after ties between the states, technically still at war, chilled in recent months and as South Korea's new president, who has advocated taking a tough line with Pyongyang, repeated calls for dialogue."It is incomprehensible to shoot and kill a civilian tourist incapable of resistance during a time when it's possible to make out (objects) with his naked eyes," President Lee was quoted as saying in an emergency ministerial meeting."Swift action should be taken to investigate the incident, and follow-up measures should also be drawn up," he said, calling for the North to cooperate in the investigation.A North Korean spokesman put the blame on the South and demanded an apology for what it called an incident of trespassing in a restricted military area."The South side should be held responsible for the incident, make clear apology to the North side and take measures against the recurrence of (a) similar incident," the North's official KCNA news agency quoted the spokesman as saying.After the shooting on Friday, South Korea suspended tourism to the Mount Kumgang resort, located a few kilometers north of the heavily fortified border on the east coast.The South Korean affiliate of the Hyundai Group that runs the resort has been shuttling tourists back to the South since Friday.
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N. Korean soldier kills tourist

South Korean tourist shot dead by North soldier

A general view of a swimming beach at the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea
Park Wang-ja, who was shot and killed at the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea on July 11

The body of Park Wang-ja...

SEOUL-A North Korean soldier gunned down a 53-year-old South Korean woman tourist who wandered into a military area at a mountain resort in the North in the predawn hours of Friday, a South Korean official said.The woman identified by her family name Park, was killed in an incident that comes as ties between the two states have chilled since a new South Korean president took office in February promising to get tough with Pyongyang.Park was strolling on a beach and entered a fenced-off North Korean military area near the Mount Kumgang resort, just north of the border on the east coast, and was shot in her torso and leg by a sentry, the official said.South Korea will halt tourism to the resort from Saturday, Unification Ministry official Kim Ho-nyoun told a news conference."We expect the North to take appropriate actions, as this is a regrettable incident," Kim said. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also called the incident "regrettable."The resort, opened in 1998, is run by an affiliate of South Korea's Hyundai Group and has been visited by more than a million South Koreans.Park is the first South Korean tourist killed by a North Korea since Kumgang opened and the first South Korean shot dead since a deadly naval skirmish in the Yellow Sea in June 2002 that killed North and South Korean sailors, the ministry said."(The ministry) needs to confirm reports of whether the women climbed the fence," Kim said.
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PS:I dont believe a word PYONGYANG says...North Korean soldiers are brain washed in such a way that they act like robots....
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Veiled Muslim woman denied French citizenship amid concerns over her 'radical' religious views

France has denied citizenship to a veiled Moroccan woman on the grounds that her 'radical' Islam is incompatible with French values, a legal ruling revealed.The case will re-ignite debate about how to reconcile religious freedom with other rights, which many in France feel are being challenged by the way of life of some Muslims.Le Monde newspaper said it is the first time a Muslim applicant had been rejected because of personal religious practice.'She has adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes,' said a ruling by the Council of State.The council is a judicial body which arbitrates in disputes between individuals and the public administration.Married to a French national, the woman arrived in France in 2000, speaks good French and has three children born in France.Thought to be aged 32, she wears a burka that covers all her body except her eyes, and lives in 'total submission' to her husband and male relatives, according to social services.Her application for French nationality was rejected in 2005 due to 'insufficient assimilation.'She appealed to the Council of State, which last month upheld the rejection.In the past, nationality was denied to Muslims who were known to have links with extremist circles or who had publicly advocated radicalism, which is not the case here.The ruling comes weeks after a heated debate over whether traditional Muslim views were creeping into French law, prompted by a court annulment of the marriage of two Muslims because the husband said the wife was not a virgin as she had claimed to be.In the case of the Moroccan woman, Le Monde suggested the Council of State had gone to the opposite extreme by rejecting the woman's beliefs and way of life rather than accommodating them."Is a burqa incompatible with French nationality?" the newspaper asked.The legal expert who provided a formal report on the case to the Council of State wrote that the woman's interviews with social services revealed that "she lives almost as a recluse, isolated from French society," Le Monde reported."She has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote. She lives in total submission to her male relatives.She seems to find this normal and the idea of challenging it has never crossed her mind," Emmanuelle Prada-Bordenave wrote.Le Monde quoted Daniele Lochak, a law professor not involved in the case, as saying it was bizarre to consider that excessive submission to men was a reason not to grant citizenship. "If you follow that to its logical conclusion, it means that women whose partners beat them are also not worthy of being French.'
As in the days of Noah....

Pope Expresses Worry Over Environment, Vows to Help Victims of Clergy Abuse

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE-Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday he wants to wake up consciences on climate change during his pilgrimage in Australia.Benedict also told reporters while flying to Sydney to start a 10-day visit that he would work for "healing and reconciliation with the victims" of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy there "just as I did in the United States" earlier this year.Less than an hour after the pope's flight took off from Rome, Benedict walked back to the section where journalists sat and met with them for about 15 minutes. He called on five journalists to ask questions that had been submitted to the Vatican earlier in the week.One asked about climate change following discussions on the environment during this month's G-8 summit in Japan. There is a need to "wake up consciences," Benedict responded. "We have to give impulse to rediscovering our responsibility and to finding an ethical way to change our way of life."Benedict said that politicians and experts must be "capable of responding to the great ecological challenge and to be up to the task of this challenge.""We have our responsibilities toward Creation," Benedict said, stressing, however, that he had no intention of weighing in on technical or political questions swirling around climate change.Benedict said he would address the problem of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.He reiterated his view that sexual abuse is "incompatible with the behavior" required of priests. At the start of his U.S. pilgrimage, Benedict had said he was "deeply ashamed" of the abuse scandal and pledged to work to make sure pedophiles do not become priests.Benedict acknowledged in comments to reporters Saturday aboard the plane that the Church in the West was "in crisis" but insisted it was not in decline. "I am an optimist" about its future, he said.The Australia pilgrimage is the longest in his three-year-old papacy and will test the 81-year-old pontiff's stamina. Tens of thousands of young pilgrims are awaiting him in Sydney.Although aides say the pope is in fine health, the Vatican appeared to be taking no chances to ensure Benedict is fit for the church's World Youth Day festival.With little advance notice, it canceled Benedict's weekly public audience this past Wednesday as well as most other meetings to give him as much rest as possible.It even put on hold a much-awaited audience with Ingrid Betancourt, who was recently freed after more than six years as a hostage in the Colombian jungles and expressed a desire to see the pope.Upon the pope's arrival in Sydney after more than 20 hours of flying-interrupted only by a 90-minute refueling stop-he will spend three days resting in a Roman Catholic study center in Kenthurst, in the countryside outside Sydney.After he succeeded John Paul three years ago, Benedict said he doubted he would make many long trips. But invitations keep coming in from world leaders and officials of his global 1-billion member flock.Benedict himself has said that being pope is "really tiring" and, in an interview with German television in 2006, said he does not feel strong enough to take many long trips.He visited Brazil last year, made a pilgrimage to the United States in April and will travel to France in September.Benedict will be greeted at Sydney Harbor on Thursday by a group of Aborigines and other young people from the Pacific Basin and deliver what is expected to be an important address. In 2001, John Paul issued a formal apology to the indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands for injustices perpetrated by Catholic missionaries.Australia's senior Catholic leader, Cardinal George Pell has been accused of badly handling a sexual abuse claim and this week agreed to reopen investigations into the 25-year-old case.World Youth Day will culminate July 20 with an open-air Mass expected to draw some 250,000 pilgrims before Benedict heads back to Rome.

As in the days of Noah....

Bermuda Issues Tropical Storm Warning as Hurricane Bertha Nears

HAMILTON, Bermuda-Hurricane Bertha was on course Saturday to create tropical storm conditions in Bermuda as it slowly approached the Atlantic island, forecasters said.The Bermuda Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning Saturday morning and the outer bands of Bertha threatened to sideswipe the island on Sunday.The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the category 1 hurricane was chugging north at about 2 mph.Surfers and swimmers remained in the water under sunny skies on Friday despite reports of stronger surf and rip currents along the southern coast."I'm not concerned at all," said John Wilson, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who was vacationing in the capital of the wealthy British territory."If you're going to be on an island during a hurricane, the best thing is to be in a hotel with a nice minibar. And I'm on the second floor, so the waves won't hit me!"At midday Saturday, Bertha was centered about 210 miles southeast of the Bermuda and had maximum sustained winds of about 85 mph with some higher gusting.The storm is expected to pass well east of Bermuda, although any inclination toward the west would create stronger winds. Bermuda will likely receive up to 2 inches of rain in the next two days.Bertha became the Atlantic season's first hurricane on July 7 and has vacillated between a Category 1 and 2 storm.Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Elida formed off Mexico's Pacific coast Saturday.The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Elida had sustained winds of nearly 40 mph, with higher gusts.On Saturday morning, Elida was located about 220 miles south of Puerto Angel, Mexico, and about 370 miles southeast of Acapulco.It was traveling northwest into the Pacific, away from land, at about 14 mph, and was expected to stay on this track for the next 36 to 48 hours.
Click here for maps, forecasts and satellite images at the National Hurricane Center.
Click here to track the storm.
As in the days of Noah....

Pastor Among the Arrested in Illegal Snake Trade Crackdown

FRANKFORT,Kentucky-The pastor of a Kentucky church that handles snakes in religious rites was among 10 people arrested by wildlife officers in a crackdown on the venomous snake trade.More than 100 snakes, many of them deadly, were confiscated in the undercover operation after Thursday's arrests, said Col. Bob Milligan, director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.Most were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.Handling snakes is practiced in a handful of fundamentalist churches across the Appalachia region, based on the interpretation of Bible verses saying true believers can take up serpents without being harmed. The practice is illegal in most states, including Kentucky.Coots, 36, is pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, where a Tennessee woman died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a service in 1995.Her husband died three years later when he was bitten by a snake in northeastern Alabama.Coots was charged Thursday with buying, selling and possessing illegal reptiles. He had no listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.There was no phone listing for the church."It is disturbing to me that individuals would keep such dangerous wildlife in their homes and in neighborhoods where they put their families,visitors and neighbors at such high risk," Milligan said.The snakes, plus one alligator, were turned over to the nonprofit Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade. Most appeared to have been captured from the wild, with some imported from Asia and Africa.Zoo Director Jim Harrison said some of the animals would likely have become exotic pets had they not been seized."There's been a large trade in exotics for years," he said. "Some people are just fascinated with them. "Undercover officers purchased more than 200 illegal reptiles during the investigation, some of which were advertised for sale on Web sites. One such Web site lists copperheads for $50 each and cobras for $450."You can purchase anything off the Internet except common sense," Harrison said. "A venomous snake isn't a pet. You don't play with it. If you do, you're an idiot."
As in the days of Noah....

Friday, July 11, 2008

KARACHI KIDS:Are American Children Being Recruited by The Taliban?

MADRASSA WATCH:American kids return from Karachi madrassa;Video documents change from homesick children to dedicated Islamists

Madrassa that is home to American students boasts of "altering" children beliefs...
One American student who has spent years studying in Karachi now says, "Americans are terrorists."
A new documentary reveals the change in two American children sent to study in an Islamic madrassa in Pakistan from "I want to go home" to "Americans are terrorists."The two children revealed in the documentary called "The Karachi Kids," are Noor Elahi Khan and Mahboob Elahi Khan.They have been the subject of an international campaign to obtain their freedom from the madrassa, and according to documentary promoters were escorted from the madrassa by American consular officers in Karachi who then dispatched them on the long trip back to the United States."I have been working for months to secure their exit from the madrassa and from Pakistan," said Imran Raza, writer and director of the "Karachi Kids" documentary. "This is great news, but we need to get the other American children out of there, now."There are nearly 80 other Americans currently at this Jamia Binoria madrassa – that teaches Deobandism – the religion of the Taliban. Our government, and the Pakistani government, has more work to do to get the other American children out of there," he said.Raza found the brothers from Atlanta while making films about madrassas, and he returned to this particular school three times in four years to film their transformation from children who want to go home to dedicated campaigners for worldwide adherence to Islam. "Children in the documentary film 'The Karachi Kids' describe beatings and human rights violations for those who rejected the radical teachings of their Taliban masters," the filmmaker said in an announcement. "Children from California and Georgia are interviewed in the film from inside the madrassa and discuss coming back to the Untied States to spread extremism within our borders."In a trailer for the documentary, the headmaster of the madrassa states, "We work on altering the mindset of the students we are training, so when they return to their home countries, their mindset is such that they will work on altering the minds of others. That is why I'm appealing to you that at least 1,000 to 2,000 boys come to us so we can train them and they will go back to their home countries and do the work and make people understand."More than 100 American children already have graduated from his indoctrination program, he confirms.The campaign on behalf of the Khan brothers has been pushed by Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, as well as Democratic Reps. Gene Green and Henry Cuellar.McCaul said the U.S. government has provided all of the passport paperwork and permissions, and is was only "a question of the madrassas releasing these two American children."Noor Elahi Khan, 17, and Mahboob Elahi Khan, 16, are from the Atlanta area; their parents are Pakistani. They were born in the U.S. but were sent to Karachi several years ago by their father.According to Fox News reports, a family member said the brothers were ordered to go to Pakistan to memorize the Quran because that was believed to allow the entire clan to gain entry to heaven......The documentary reveals during their first interview with the filmmaker, the brothers made statements such as, "I miss my family so much."A second interview elicited comments such as, "I'm kind of like a robot with no feelings."Then earlier this year their statements included, "My main goal is to go back and spread Islam all over the USA," and "You're the terrorists. The Americans are the terrorists. We're not the terrorists. No Jews died in 9/11. There were no Muslims behind 9/11," the film reveals.
PS:So we can UNDOUBTEDLY conclude that Madrassas ARE MURDERERS(terrorists--whatever you wanna call them) FACTORIES....
As in the days of Noah....

'Peace partner' officially rejects truce with Israel:While Hamas terrorists use time-out to rearm, produce advanced rockets

JAFFA, Israel-The military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization yesterday officially announced it is no longer party to a three-week truce forged in Gaza between Hamas and Israel.The Hamas terror group continues to abide by the cease-fire, while Fatah took credit for launching three rockets from Gaza yesterday aimed at Jewish civilian population centers.U.S. and Israeli policies consider Abbas to be "moderate" and those two nations have been negotiating with him in line with talks started at last November's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis Summit, which seeks to create a Palestinian state by the end of the year.A pamphlet released yesterday by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and obtained by WND calls the Gaza truce "illogical.""The cease-fire is gone and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades will make the enemy pay a high price for its crimes against the truce Hamas gave for free to the enemy. We emphasize our right to act at any time and place of our choosing," reads the pamphlet.The statement, signed by the Brigades "in the name of Allah," accuses Israel of "assassinating" one of the terror group's "most remarkable leaders, Talal Abed."Abed was killed on Wednesday when he resisted arrest and opened fire during an Israeli anti-terror operation. The Israeli Defense Forces said Abed was planning an imminent suicide bombing inside Israel.The IDF claimed Abed was a Hamas member and was planning attacks on behalf of Hamas, even though WND pointed out Abed is a well-known Fatah leader and Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades itself announced Abed was working on its behalf.Since the cease-fire was signed last month, Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have fired more than a dozen rockets and mortars into Israel.Officially, Fatah and the PA – headed by Abbas – endorse the Gaza truce agreement. But unofficially, the PA has been expressing to Israeli and American diplomats its strong opposition to the truce, explaining the cease-fire puts Hamas in a more powerful position.WND last month quoted a top PA official complaining the truce between Hamas and Israel enhances the position of Hamas and amounts to the Jewish state's tacit recognition of the terrorist group's control of the Gaza Strip.The PA official's main complaint was not that Israel was negotiating with a terror group but that the Jewish state, he argued, was enhancing Hamas at the expense of the PA.The official said the PA took particular offense at talk of eventually expanding the truce to the West Bank, which until now has been considered the territory of Abbas' Fatah organization.He said if Hamas was seen as the main power broker in the West Bank, it would be a "disaster" for Fatah and the PA.Hamas for its part is taking full advantage of the truce.A mysterious explosion at a Hamas training facility in the Gaza Strip earlier this week occurred while terrorists were attempting to produce rockets that can hit further inside Israel, Hamas sources told WND.The explosion underscores the Gaza-based terrorists' utilization of the cease-fire to rearm, train and produce advance weaponry for use against Israel."It is not really a period of rest. We have been training, receiving religious courses ... we've been producing weapons, working on smuggling everything that can reinforce us," said a senior terrorist in Gaza, speaking on condition his name be withheld."This period will make that our capacities will be much stronger than before the truce," the senior terrorist said.
As in the days of Noah....

IAF unveils squadron of jets said to be capable of striking Iran

The Israel Air Force unveils a new squadron of warplanes said to be capable of striking Iran....
To watch click on the URL below....

As in the days of Noah...

U.S. official says Iran fired 1 missile

TEHRAN-A U.S. military official says Iran fired only one missile Thursday, not a full round, based on U.S. intelligence assessments. Iranian media reported the country's military conducted a second day of test-firing missiles, but the U.S. military official told CNN U.S. radar and satellite imagery don't support the claim.The military official said it was possible that Iran tested short-range missiles.U.S. diplomatic and military officials said they believe Iran did fire seven missiles-including one long-range Shahab-3-Wednesday, as it said. But the source talking to CNN said one missile failed to launch and the Iranians fired it the following day.The Iranian exercises came a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions between Iran and Israel have been growing. Iran has accused Israel of trying to weaken Tehran while Israel hasn't ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.Israel was expected to unveil an advance aircraft its military said is capable of spying on Iran. Israeli Army Radio told CNN the Eitam airplane is a "practical answer" to recent Iranian "threats."
As in the days of Noah...

U.S. eyes Iranians at nuke labs:Muslim scientists invited by Clinton still employed

As fears grow over Iran secretly developing nuclear weapons, U.S. counterintelligence officials are keeping a close eye on scientists from Iran and other Muslim nations working at the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories, WND has learned.The Energy Department recently revoked the security clearance of an Egyptian-born nuclear physicist because he was suspected of "conflicting allegiances."Last year, DOE and FBI agents began questioning Moniem El-Ganayni, who worked on the side as a Muslim prison chaplain.Prison authorities in Pennsylvania alleged he advocated suicide bombing of Americans and jihad against the U.S. while ministering to inmates, charges El-Ganayni denies.Even so, SCI-Forest prison in Marienville, Pa., terminated his contract. DOE contractor Bettis Laboratory also fired him.Until May, El-Ganayni had access to classified nuclear secrets.Last year, federal authorities accused a Muslim engineer at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station of illegally smuggling software codes into Iran and downloading details of control rooms, reactors and designs of the nation's largest nuclear plant. Arizona Public Service Co. operates Palo Verde.Mohammed Alavi, 49, was arrested as he stepped off a plane in Los Angeles and later jailed. He was released, however, after Iran's foreign minister sent a letter to U.S. officials demanding his immediate release.Under the Clinton administration, the Energy Department welcomed scientists and students from sensitive Muslim nations, including Iran, at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and other nuclear weapons research labs as part of its "open-door policy."No Iranian nationals were employed at Los Alamos when Clinton took office in 1993, according to an internal lab report. By 1997, three Iranians were employed there.Iranians were assigned to other labs as well.Although the labs have cut back on the number of visitors from sensitive countries since 9/11, many of the foreign workers are still assigned there.And U.S. officials say concerns have been raised specifically about the high number of Iranian students assigned to the labs."They let a lot of Iranians in on post-doctoral fellowships," an Energy official said. Such assignments typically last up to a year, but can extend much longer.Another official who works in security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California says a number of warnings have been issued regarding possible Iranian espionage at the labs."There is a great deal of concern about Iranians throughout the national lab complex," he said. "A lot of directives have been issued concerning this issue."A former senior Energy intelligence official says that in terms of developing deployable nuclear weapons, "the Iranians are years ahead of where the Iraqis ever were."He says Los Alamos, which has been the target of an alarming number of security breaches over the past several years, is particularly vulnerable to penetration by Iranian spies."The opportunities they have to collect intelligence from the lab is pretty damn frightening given how leaky that place is," the former official said."They can do a lot of harm."In December, Tehran sent a formal protest note to Washington for "spying" on Iran's nuclear activities. Iranian officials accused the U.S. of carrying out espionage activities.Tehran last year stopped UN inspectors from visiting an underground bunker where it is building an industrial-scale plant to make enriched uranium.Iran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity.

As in the days of Noah...

Scientist to Congress: U.S. risks 'catastrophe' in nuke EMP attack:Expert says growing threat posed by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, terrorists

EMP attack cascade effects
EMP effects on a hypothetical atomic blast in Nebraska...

WASHINGTON-A top scientist today warned the House Armed Services Committee America remains vulnerable to a "catastrophe" from a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack that could be launched with plausible deniability by hostile rogue nations or terrorists.William R. Graham, chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack and the former national science adviser to President Reagan, testified before the committee while presenting a sobering new report on "one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences."It is the first report from the commission since 2004 and identifies vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructures, "which are essential to both our civilian and military capabilities."Not taking the steps necessary to reduce the threat in the next three to five years "can both invite and reward attack," Graham told the committee.The scariest and most threatening kind of EMP attack is initiated by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at high altitude in the range of 25 to 250 miles above the Earth's surface. The immediate effects of EMP are disruption of, and damage to, electronic systems and electrical infrastructure. Such a detonation over the middle of the continental U.S. "has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures that support the fabric of U.S. society and the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power," said Graham."Several potential adversaries have the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse, and others appear to be pursuing efforts to obtain that capability," said Graham. "A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication. For example, an adversary would not have to have long-range ballistic missiles to conduct an EMP attack against the United States. Such an attack could be launched from a freighter off the U.S. coast using a short- or medium-range missile to loft a nuclear warhead to high altitude. Terrorists sponsored by a rogue state could attempt to execute such an attack without revealing the identity of the perpetrators. Iran, the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism, has practiced launching a mobile ballistic missile from a vessel in the Caspian Sea. Iran has also tested high-altitude explosions of the Shahab-III, a test mode consistent with EMP attack, and described the tests as successful. Iranian military writings explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United States. While the commission does not know the intention of Iran in conducting these activities, we are disturbed by the capability that emerges when we connect the dots."Graham reminded the committee even smaller nuclear weapons can create massive EMP effects over wide geographic areas. He also pointed out that United Nations investigators recently found that "the design for an advanced nuclear weapon, miniaturized to fit on ballistic missiles currently in the inventory of Iran, North Korea and other potentially hostile states, was in the possession of Swiss criminals affiliated with the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network."Theoretically, an EMP attack is devastating because of the unprecedented cascading failures of major infrastructures that could result. Because of America's heavy reliance on electricity and electronics, the impact would be far worse than on a country less advanced technologically. Graham and the commission see the potential for failure in the financial system, the system of distribution for food and water, medical care and trade and production."The recovery of any one of the key national infrastructures is dependent upon the recovery of others," he said. "The longer the outage, the more problematic and uncertain the recovery will be. It is possible for the functional outages to become mutually reinforcing until at some point the degradation of infrastructure could have irreversible effects on the country's ability to support its population."Graham took the EMP debate out of the realm of science fiction by reminding the committee that as recently as May 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Russian leaders threatened a U.S. congressional delegation with the specter of such an attack that would paralyze the U.S.He also quoted James J. Shinn, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security, who two weeks ago told the same House committee that China's arms buildup includes exotic experiments with electromagnetic weapons that can devastate electronics with bursts of energy similar to those produced by a nuclear blast."The consequence of EMP is that you destroy the communications network," Shinn said. "And we are, as you know, and as the Chinese know, heavily dependent on sophisticated communications, satellite communications, in the conduct of our forces. And so, whether it's from an EMP or it's some kind of a coordinated [anti-satellite] effort, we could be in a very bad place if the Chinese enhanced their capability in this area."Graham says terrorists who get their hands on one or a few unsophisticated nuclear weapons might well calculate they could get the most bang for their buck from attempting an EMP attack.Recovery from a widespread EMP attack could take months or years, Graham warned. The fact that key components of the U.S. electrical grid are not even manufactured in America and must be ordered a year in advance from foreign suppliers suggests just how complicated and time-consuming recovery might be. The high state of automation within America's utilities further complicates recovery. There just might not be sufficient trained manpower available to get the job done in a timely way."The commission's view is that the federal government does not today have sufficient human and physical assets for reliably assessing and managing EMP threats," said Graham. "The commission reviewed current national capabilities to understand and to manage the effects of EMP and concluded that the U.S. is rapidly losing the technical competence and facilities that it needs in the government, the national laboratories and the industrial community."Graham said it's not too late for Congress to take the bull by the horns and take the steps necessary to prepare for the threat – and thereby reduce it."A serious national commitment to address the threat of an EMP attack can lead to a national posture that would significantly reduce the payoff for such an attack and allow the United States to recover from EMP, and from other threats, man-made and natural, to the critical infrastructures," said Graham.Graham's predecessor as chairman of the commission had equally tough words on the impact of the EMP threat."Their effects on systems and infrastructures dependent on electricity and electronics could be sufficiently ruinous as to qualify as catastrophic to the nation," Lowell Wood, acting chairman of the commission, told members of Congress in 2005.The commission's previous report went so far as to suggest, in its opening sentence, that an EMP attack "might result in the defeat of our military forces."
As in the days of Noah...

'Israeli war drill' report originated in Iran?:Media hysteria follows uncredited claim Jewish state practicing nuke site attack in Iraq

JERUSALEM-Israeli security officials here strongly denied reports the Israeli Air Force has been practicing at U.S. bases in Iraq for a possible attack against Iran.The officials also questioned the veracity of the original report, which was uncredited and which may have originated with Iran itself.U.S. media hysteria broke out today after the Jerusalem Post published an uncredited report quoting sources in the Iraqi Defense Ministry telling a "local news network" that Israeli war planes were practicing in Iraqi airspace and that massive Israeli flyovers were detected at U.S. bases in Iraq.The Post report, which did not name the local news network that aired the information, further quoted local sources stating they heard from "former military officers" in Iraq's Anbar province that Israeli jets arrive at night from Jordan and land on a runway near the city of Hadita.But neither the Jerusalem Post nor dozens of other English news reports today quoted the original source of the information – an Iranian newspaper quoting an unspecified Iraqi news website. That claimed Iraqi news website could not immediately be found. Security officials here said the report may have entirely originated with Iran.The Iranian dispatch citing a purported Iraqi news website was quoted last night by the Hebrew Israeli media and then it finally made it to the pages of the Jerusalem Post today. The Post did not tell its readers where the information comes from.Asked for a response to the reports, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told WND, "We do not comment on the operations of the Israel Air Force."Israeli security officials speaking to WND dismissed the Arab media report as "groundless."Iraq's Defense Ministry said on Friday it had no knowledge of any Israeli air force drills in its airspace.Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters, "I find that report inconceivable, and clearly someone is either misinformed or intentionally trying to create mischief."The latest round of media hysteria follows a veiled warning to Iran by Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, who stated Israel "is the strongest country in the region and we have proven in the past that we are not deterred from acting when our vital interests are at stake."Barak was responding to a reported Iranian missile and military drill that may have been exaggerated by Iran's state-controlled media, which released a picture of four Iranian long-range missiles taking off. It was later determined the image had been doctored to add at least one missile.Earlier this week, an official from the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards warned if the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran, Tehran will retaliate by "burning down" Tel Aviv and U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf.Last month it was reported the Jewish state held a major military exercise over the Mediterranean Sea involving more than 100 aircraft. The drill was widely seen as Israeli preparations for a possible bombing of Iran's nuclear installations.According to some reports last week, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, who visited Israel last month, told the Jewish state it does not have a "green light" from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.Last week, WND conducted an exclusive interview with Meir Amit, a former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, who said Israel should use force to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weaponsThe comments from Amit, one of the most esteemed figures in the Israeli intelligence establishment, are significant, since he previously had refused to support an attack against Iran."I am in favor of using the power of force against Iran, because if we let things go as they are we will find ourselves in a very dangerous situation," Amit said. "We have good intelligence, and we shall decide what is the right timing for any attack.
As in the days of Noah...

OBAMA WATCH:US Commanders In Iraq See Dangers In Obama Plan For Withdrawal

Israel Using Iraq's Airspace To Train?

EU voices concern over Iranian missile tests

PARIS-The European Union voiced concern on Friday over Iranian missiles tests in the Gulf and stepped up calls on Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment within its disputed nuclear program.Russia said Iran's missile tests showed there is no military justification for U.S. plans for a missile shield in eastern Europe, arguing that the shield was beyond the range of Tehran's rockets.Iran this week test-fired several missiles it said were capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The United States has reminded Tehran it was ready to defend its allies.The escalating tension has helped to push oil prices to a new record high of near $147 a barrel on Friday. Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil exporter and there are fears of supply disruptions in the event of conflict.
The French Presidency of the European Union expressed concern on Friday over the missile tests."The EU calls on Iran to finally react to the entire international community's demands as expressed in (U.N.) Security Council resolutions to reach a negotiated solution on the nuclear issue," it added in a statement.The United States and European powers suspect Iran is trying develop a nuclear weapon, using its civilian nuclear program as a cover. Tehran denies any such intention and says its nuclear program is exclusively to generate electricity.The United States has refused to rule out military action against Iran over the nuclear issue, although it says it is committed to finding a diplomatic solution, and has joined other world powers in offering Tehran a new package of incentives to suspend its uranium enrichment.
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