Archive for WMD

Of Red Lines, Deadlines, and Headlines

I wouldn’t worry: what harm can a little nerve gas do?

Norwegian and Danish ships waiting to remove Syria’s chemical weapons are returning to port in Cyprus, signalling a key deadline will not be met.

Bad weather, shifting battle lines and road closures are being blamed for the delay.

The international mission is waiting for Syria’s most dangerous chemicals to be transported to the port in Latakia.

[T]he BBC’s Anna Holligan, who is travelling on board a Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad, reports that the European ships are docked in Limassol, Cyprus on the day they are supposed to be escorting Syria’s most dangerous chemicals out of the country.

The vessels left Limassol on Saturday but turned back on Tuesday after the hazardous containers failed to arrive for collection in Latakia. Now the plan is to refuel in Limassol before returning to sea in the coming days.

“We are still on high alert to go into Syria,” Norwegian defence ministry spokesman Lars Hovtun told the AFP news agency. “We still don’t know exactly when the orders will come.”

Our correspondent says the delay will be a disappointment to the international community.

How will Assad live with himself?

I know someone who isn’t worried:

President Barack Obama’s Hawaii vacation: Day 10

— GYM: Obama did his usual morning workout at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, spending roughly one hour at the gym.

— GOLF: Donning a white shirt and a baseball cap, Obama played a round of golf at Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Kailua, a scenic course at the foot of the Koolau Mountains. Obama — golfing for the sixth time on this trip in 10 days — played with six friends.

— CAMPAIGN NOTE: Obama’s campaign arm, Organizing for Action, sent an email to supporters with the president’s first name at the bottom saying the nation was turning a corner on health care Jan. 1 and “never going back.”

— FAMILY HIKE: After a quick trip back to his vacation rental, Obama and the first family went for a hike with friends along Makiki Valley trail, a 1.1-mile trail that connects with two others to form a loop.

— DINNER: The president and Michelle Obama dined at Alan Wong’s, a well-known Hawaii cuisine restaurant in a plain-looking office building.

I fear he’s right about Obamacare. Everyone hates it, hates him, but the previous system (which worked for the overwhelming majority of the country) is irretrievably broken.

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Of All the Nerve!

Uh-oh, Mr. President.

Your red line is back:

Untitled

Syrian opposition activists on Thursday accused President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces of once again using poison gas in Syria’s civil war, a charge denied by the Syrian government.

Reuters quoted the opposition as having said victims of the alleged attack had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth.

The activists said that two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, some 68 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Damascus, on a major highway in the Qalamoun region. They reported seven casualties.

Separately, the Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union also accused Assad’s forces of using poison gas.

“We have documented nine casualties from poison gas used by the regime in neighborhoods of Nabak,” it was quoted as having said on its Facebook page.

“Seven men are reported ill so far. They have swollen limbs and foam coming out of their mouths,” an activist calling himself Amer al-Qalamouni told Reuters.

“No doctors have got to them yet because Nabak is under ferocious bombardment and there are very few medical staff left,” he added.

Responding to the claims, the Syrian government called them “an impudent lie” and said they were an attempt by the rebels to recoup themselves for their defeat in the battlefield, reported Voice of Russia.

Asked about the latest incident, a U.S. official in Washington told Reuters, “We have seen the reports, but have no confirmation.”

You get back to us the moment you find out, hear? We know how important this is to you.

PS: I thought you said you got all the nasty stuff out of there. It would serve us (and “folks” in Syria) right for believing you, but that is what you said.

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This Sounds Familiar

But I can’t quite say where:

The United States is reviewing intelligence suggesting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government may try to keep some chemical weapons instead of turning them all over for destruction, a US official said on Tuesday.

“There are indications the Syrians may be intending to hold some of their stockpile in reserve,” the US official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The official said it was important that the international community keep the Syrian government’s “feet to the fire” to ensure that all Syrian chemical weapons are declared and destroyed.

A Baathist dictatorship hiding WMDs? A skeptical US administration? An “international community” wanting the problem to just go away?

More than 100,000 people have been killed and some 2.2 million people have fled during Syria’s 2-1/2-year civil war. The United Nations says around 9.3 million people or about 40 percent of the population need help within the country.

Of course, how could I forget! UN impotence in the face of genocide. That, too, rings a bell. But I’ll be damned if I can figure out where.

Any ideas?

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Look Who’s a “Reformer” Again!

He is for Assad after he was against him—and after he was for him!

US Secretary of State John Kerry lauded the start of destruction of chemical weapons in Syria as a “good beginning” and said Washington and Moscow had agreed to press the United Nations to set a date for a Syria peace conference in November.

In unusual praise for Damascus, Kerry also gave the government of President Bashar Assad credit for quickly complying with the UN resolution on destroying its chemical weapons arsenal.

“I think it is extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were already being destroyed,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an Asia-Pacific summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

“I think it’s also credit to the Assad regime for complying rapidly, as they are supposed to.”

I think someone deserves to be treated to dinner!

Typical jerk-off media: the one person whose face we don’t see is the lovely Asma Assad. (Nice neck and shoulders, though!) In preference to these gargoyles.

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of the Russian government (for saving the face of America).

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Pretty Please?

While leading with his behind (or at least thinking with it), I hope President Obama has an idea for this:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Libya’s new leaders to quickly secure chemical weapons, nuclear materials and shoulder-fired missiles, some of which have been left unguarded during the civil war that toppled Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.

According to a report in The Associated Press on Wednesday, Ban said he was encouraged by a pledge from Libya’s interim leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, to protect the weapons sites.

However, AP reported, unsecured stockpiles of missiles and other munitions were still being discovered as recently as late last month, and Abdul-Jalil has asked the international community to release more of the billions of dollars in Libyan assets that have been frozen in order to get the job done.

“We have many suggestions on how to locate and control these weapons,” Abdul-Jalil was quoted as having told reporters at a joint news conference with Ban. “However, lack of funds prevents us from doing much at this time.”

Earlier this week, Libya’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in Libya.

The U.S. State Department later said, however, that it believes the mustard gas stockpiles are secure.

Okay, that’s all good then. Nothing to worry about. After all, what does America have to worry about chemical weapons in Libya? Other counties in the region, maybe—say, a country that follows a different faith and believes in democracy, if there were such an entity—but not us.

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MSM Beginning To Catch Up With BTL

Chemical weapons in Libya? You don’t say!

The chaos in Libya has raised fears about the security of deadly mustard gas stockpiled in the country and whether Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi might use it on his own people.

A U.S. official said that in a “chaotic situation” there is concern about Libya possessing mustard gas and other chemical agents.

Although there has been no signs that the Libyan leader has ordered their use, Gadhafi is often described by officials as an unpredictable, mercurial individual.

Libya still has approximately 10 tons of the deadly blister agent left in its arsenal, according to Peter Caril, a non-proliferation expert at the Arms Control Association.

And what else does he have?

- aggie

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Bizarre Story

Iranian scientist returns to Iran

The US claims he defected and that we got a lot of information. The scientist claims that he was kidnapped. He is now back in Iran. It makes no sense at all. If we are telling the truth,why would he return? Surely they’ll hang him. If he is telling the truth, why would we allow him to return?

The United States “clearly got the better end of things” in the saga of Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, a U.S. official familiar with the case said Thursday.

Amiri, who Tehran claims was kidnapped by U.S. agents, arrived in his homeland early Thursday, Iran’s state-run media reported.

“We have his insights — original information on the Iranian nuclear program that proved useful — and now the Iranians have him. Plainly, we got the better end of things,” the official said of Amiri.

In return for his information, Amiri received about $5 million from the United States, another U.S. official said. The official referred to the payment as a “long-term benefits package” that enabled Amiri, 32, to defect and comfortably resettle in the United States for many years.

The first official stressed that Amiri wasn’t kidnapped or coerced, as he claimed.

“He just wanted to see his family and — unfortunately — he chose a dumb way to do it, lying about what happened to him here to try to build up his credibility back home. He made his own decisions. He chose of his own accord to come to the United States, chose of his own accord who would come with him, and chose of his own accord to leave the United States,” the official said.

Amiri arrived Thursday at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport and was greeted by Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Upon arrival, Amiri, who is a researcher from Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, repeated his allegation that American intelligence agents kidnapped him while he was on a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June 2009.

“I was abducted in Medina. … Then I was transferred to an unknown location in Saudi Arabia,” Amiri told Press TV. “They injected anesthetic drugs into me. They took me to the United States on a military plane.

“During my stay in the first two months, I was subjected to heavy psychological and mental tortures by CIA interrogators,” he said. “Other kinds of pressure, too. They told me if I don’t cooperate with them, they will hand me over to Israel, and there are hidden prisons in Israel and there will be no trace of you any more.”

On Monday, Amiri went to Iran’s Interest Section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington and asked to be sent home.

The Iranian government has accused the United States of involvement in Amiri’s disappearance, saying the researcher was taken to force him to give up data about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Really, really odd.

- Aggie

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Rove Speaks Out On Democrat Lies

About time

Seven years ago today, in a speech on the Iraq war, Sen. Ted Kennedy fired the first shot in an all-out assault on President George W. Bush’s integrity. “All the evidence points to the conclusion,” Kennedy said, that the Bush administration “put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth.” Later that day Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle told reporters Mr. Bush needed “to be forthcoming” about the absence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Thus began a shameful episode in our political life whose poisonous fruits are still with us.

The next morning, Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and John Edwards joined in. Sen. Kerry said, “It is time for a president who will face the truth and tell the truth.” Mr. Edwards chimed in, “The administration has a problem with the truth.”

The battering would continue, and it was a monument to hypocrisy and cynicism. All these Democrats had said, like Mr. Bush did, that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD. Of the 110 House and Senate Democrats who voted in October 2002 to authorize the use of force against his regime, 67 said in congressional debate that Saddam had these weapons. This didn’t keep Democrats from later alleging something they knew was false—that the president had lied America into war.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Bob Graham organized a bipartisan letter in December 2001 warning Mr. Bush that Saddam’s “biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs . . . may be back to pre-Gulf War status,” and enhanced by “longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” Yet two years later, he called for Mr. Bush’s impeachment for having said Saddam had WMD.

On July 9, 2004, Mr. Graham’s fellow Democrat on Senate Intelligence, Jay Rockefeller, charged that the Bush administration “at all levels . . . used bad information to bolster the case for war.” But in his remarks on Oct. 10, 2002, supporting the war resolution, he said that “Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose real threats to America.”

Even Kennedy, who opposed the war resolution, nonetheless said the month before the vote that Saddam’s “pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated.” But he warned if force were employed, the Iraqi dictator “may decide he has nothing to lose by using weapons of mass destruction himself or by sharing them with terrorists.”

Then there was Al Gore, who charged on June 24, 2004, that Mr. Bush spent “prodigious amounts of energy convincing people of lies” and accused him of treason, bellowing that Mr. Bush “betrayed his country.” Yet just a month before the war resolution debate, the former vice president said, “We know that [Saddam] has stored away secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”

Top Democrats led their party in making the “Bush lied, people died” charge because they wanted to defeat him in 2004. That didn’t happen. Several bipartisan commissions would later catalogue the serious errors in the intelligence on which Mr. Bush and Democrats relied. But these commissions, particularly the Silberman-Robb report of March 31, 2005, found that the “Bush lied” charge was false. Still, the attacks hurt: When they began, less than a third of Americans believed the charge. Two years later, polls showed that just over half did.

Here in the Northeast, the number of people who didn’t believe these false allegations could be counted on one hand. The rage expressed towards Bush, Cheney, all things conservative, and often against Israel, taught me a lot. First, it is good to know your friends. And even better to know your enemies. There never was any logic or factual basis to the claims that Bush intentionally misled the nation about the war, but otherwise intelligent and thoughtful adults, professors, professionals of all types, spread the falsehood with animated rage. It was something to see!

Rove says it best:

At the time, we in the Bush White House discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past. That was wrong and my mistake: I should have insisted to the president that this was a dagger aimed at his administration’s heart. What Democrats started seven years ago left us less united as a nation to confront foreign challenges and overcome America’s enemies.

We know President Bush did not intentionally mislead the nation. Saddam Hussein was deposed and eventually hung for his crimes. Iraq is a democracy and an ally instead of an enemy of America. Al Qaeda suffered tremendous blows in the “land between the two rivers.” But Democrats lost more than the election in 2004. In telling lie after lie, week after week, many lost their honor and blackened their reputations.

Since the winners write history books, it is unlikely that the behavior of the Democrat Party during this period will ever be fully explored. That’s a pity. It would also be wonderful to have a National Conversation about the abuses of the Dems during that period and their motives for doing what they did.

- Aggie

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In Just 20 Paragraphs!

It took the Washington Post just 20 paragraphs to mention that the man who threatened the life of Representative Eric Cantor is an O-bot.

They also described the antisemitic nature of the attack without spelling it out. How nuanced!

An affidavit released Monday did not say why Leboon allegedly wanted to harm Cantor, the only Jewish Republican member of Congress, but in the video, he calls Cantor “pure evil.” “Remember Eric . . . our judgment time, the final Yom Kippur has been given,” he says in the profanity-laced video. “You are a liar, you’re a pig . . . you’re an abomination. You receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer’s abominations.”

Where have we heard language like that before? Hmmm.. I know, I know! All those sermons that BTL posts from Muslim clerics. I bet he’s been paying attention to that stuff.

So, anyway, I wonder what religion this guy is? I’m wondering because I know that the militia members arrested in Michigan are Christian. And how do I know that?

The very same paper prominently told me so yesterday, in the second paragraph. We could paragraphs because it give a clue to the underlying bias of the reporters and editors. They know full well the most people will read two paragraphs, not twenty.

Authorities unsealed charges Monday against nine members of an armed militia group, accusing them of seditious conspiracy and attempting to deploy weapons of mass destruction, in a case that highlights a strain of extremism focused against the federal government.

The Michigan-based group, known as the Hutaree, allegedly had plotted to attack a law enforcement officer and then detonate improvised explosive devices to kill more officials gathered for the first officer’s funeral procession. Members of the homegrown Christian militia accumulated weapons and explosives to target employees of the federal government, the law enforcement “brotherhood” and other participants in what they called the “New World Order,” the indictment says.

So we have many interesting facets to these two stories. We see media bias against Christians, and in favor of Muslims. We learn that IEDs are in fact Weapons of Mass Destruction. News Flash to the Left: Iraq is full of IEDs. Overflowing with IEDs. Palestinians also use them. This means that Saddam certainly did possess WMD’s and we were right to try to clean them out. OR, it means that journalists use language very loosely, in order to suit their own purposes. They lie a lot. Either or.

Finally, I wondered which was a bigger story in the political world of New Journalism? I checked the pages that the stories were printed on. The closer to the front page, the more important. Christian terrorists with WMD’s = page 4. Muslim terrorist threatening to murder Jewish Representative and his entire family with bullets, plus a string of bigotry = page 8.

If a member of the Black Caucus or a prominent gay or lesbian legislator had received similar treatment, what page of the paper do you suppose the editors would have selected?

- Aggie

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