You are browsing the archive for Leon Panetta.

by CTuttle

The Fog of War…

7:37 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

We giving all gained all.
Neither lament us nor praise.
Only in all things recall,
It is fear, not death that slays.

From little towns in a far land we came,
To save our honour and a world aflame.
By little towns in a far land we sleep;
And trust that world we won for you to keep.

~ Rudyard Kipling

Ya’ll should of ascertained by now, my stance on this Syrian Fiasco, and the steady drumbeat of ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran’, by now…!

As the ever intrepid, Pepe Escobar opined recently…

Got war if you want it

…Nobel Prize winner and Drone Godfather Obama has been busy “justifying the ‘just war’ theories of Christian philosophers”, as Ray McGovern graphically put it – and as attested by the New York Times orgasmically promoting its piece “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will’…

Panetta regurgitated the same old fallacy perpetrated ad infinitum, since at least 2006, by the neo-cons, the Israel lobby and US corporate media, according to which Iran is about to build a nuclear bomb like … tomorrow. “We will do everything we can to prevent Iran from developing a weapon”, Panetta said. Once again, it doesn’t matter that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, plus 17 US intelligence agencies have stressed this is not the case…

By the way, Iran’s Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani said that Tehran has already activated an alternative payment clearing system to SWIFT – thus foiling another vector of Washington’s relentless economic war. What this means is that Iran, BRICS members Russia, India and China, plus Iran’s trading partners in the developing world are moving one step beyond in their flight from the US dollar as global reserve currency.

Sanction me baby one more time

Even in the – unlikely – possibility that the leadership in Tehran suddenly decided to stop all uranium enrichment, and kill the whole nuclear program on the spot, Iran would still be under US sanctions. The sanctions have practically nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program. It’s all about regime change…

…Into this mire of wishful thinking steps Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. He told CNN on Monday, “the military option should be considered”. Oops, but that refers to that other war in the making – in Syria. General Dempsey said he would prefer for the “international community” to effect regime change in Syria, but – just in case – the Pentagon is ready to pounce (“Of course, we always have to provide military options.”) The NATO/GCC compound is barely containing its shrieks of joy.

So what’s it all about, Barack? So many wars to choose, so little time till Re-election Day.

Emptywheel expanded on the great ‘Deciderer’, today…

…I suppose I’ll eventually get around to discussing how the series of condoned leaks portraying President Obama as the Deciderer all rest on the pathetic but true fact that he is only borrowing George Bush’s claim to that title.

…With cyberwar, with drones, and (to a lesser extent) with the embrace of the terrorists’ transnational methods to fight terrorists, Obama has crossed into uncharted territory of the sort Wills explored in his book, Bomb Power. These changes are likely a step beyond the Bomb Power paradigm, whatever that entails.

Yet Obama has only barely begun to think through the ramifications of these tools. He has, instead, focused on the near and overblown threats of Iran and AQAP, not seeing both the strategic implications of even those choices, much less the implications of the sort Wills describes arose in the wake of our use of a nuclear bomb.

The President has embraced waging extralegal war using drones from the Oval Office. The President has embraced using easily manipulable code to wage physical war. What are the implications of these decisions? {snip}

…At this level, then, this story displays the height of the Bomb Power President’s abuse of information asymmetry, permitting selected people to spread the same secrets that are criminalized from others.

But the larger tale–particularly the escape of StuxNet and its subsequent exposure–shows the lie of this arrogance. The Chinese, certainly, can take what they want. Bradley Manning allegedly can take what he wants too. And unless the code is perfect, and unless the Israelis refrain from toying with the code, eventually the code, the Bomb Power itself, will become available.

Obama’s foolish embrace of these new technologies without considering the larger impact may lead to the decline of the Bomb Power President–of Presidents, generally. It may lead to something far more fearful.

But one thing is clear: he didn’t really stop to think about all that before he set free his zoo animal.

Even b at MOA expanded on the grand ‘Decider’ thesis…

Obama – The Detail Decider Lacks Strategic Foresight

…Like the shiny object of kill lists today’s revelations about Stuxnet are likely only a diversion from much bigger rogue cyberwar activities, like that huge Flame virus, various U.S. services are running. But unlike global drone killer capabilities, which do need lots of physical resources, cyber capabilities are available to all actors and the cyber realm is a much more leveled playing field.

But back to the Obama campaign. I do not believe that Obama is personally involved in various program details, authorizing every next step, as much as portrait in the NYT piece. After such a program is once launched there is no need for him of being involved at all and playing golf is much more fun than sitting in conferences. The campaign may well be effective in portraying Obama as The Decider daily involved in keeping U.S. safe. But what it really portraits is an Obama who is fixated on tactical level operations which at the same time generate serious strategic set backs.

What is the use of a Decider when he lacks strategic foresight?

Speaking of CNN, it’s interesting to see how Panetta’s words were spun today… Panetta: No unilateral U.S. military action likely in Syria…

Now, let’s look at what’s really transpiring abroad… Talks only way out in Syria: Merkel, Putin, and, then later today; Putin, Hollande See Differences on Syria Sanction…

Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Friday stressed the necessity of full implementation of UN resolution and Kofi Annan’s plan, but saw sanctions against Syria in different ways.

“Mr. Annan is a man of great experience and an honest man, and we must do everything we can to make sure his mission is successful. I believe it is counterproductive to say his mission is a failure in advance,” Putin told reporters at a joint press conference with Hollande after the two leader met on Friday night to find solution for Syia crisis.

However, the Russian president said imposing sanctions on the Syrian regime must be debated within the United Nations Security Council.

Putin admitted the possibility of the breakout of a civil war in the Middle-East country.

“The most important thing we need to do is to prevent the situation from developing under the worst scenario and not let a civil war take place,” he said, noting that consultation and more efforts are needed “to solve, via political means, the problems we faced.”

“We propose to act in an accurate, balanced manner… in Syria,” he suggested.

Hollande, on his part, refused to rule out military intervention in solving crisis in Syria.

Recognizing “the risk of destabilization, the risks of civil war” in Syria, the French President insisted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure was a “prerequisite for a political transition” in Syria

C’mon now, let’s get real…

Iran/P5+1 talks could ‘end in tears’ – Bluster, propaganda, media leaks on the rise

Faltering nuclear talks between Iran and world powers could hit a make-or-break point in their next round in Moscow, with both sides digging in and maneuvering for elusive advantage, analysts and diplomats say. Bluster, propaganda, media leaks and official declarations have all noticeably sharpened in the past week by both sides. The rhetorical duel has become so serious that some fear the showdown has the potential to tip from diplomacy to military action.

“As both sides escalate for leverage, the reality is that neither side has gained an upper hand,” an Iran specialist at the National Iranian American Council, Reza Marashi, wrote in a piece published by a website, The National Interest. “Both sides are nearing a critical point at which delaying the inevitable choice between military action and compromise is no longer tenable,” Marashi wrote. One Western diplomat in the P5+1 group of world powers engaging Iran confessed to AFP, on condition of anonymity: “I increasingly struggle to see a way where this doesn’t end in tears.”

Both the United States and its ally Israel-Iran’s arch-foe, and the Middle East’s sole, if undeclared, nuclear weapons state-have warned they are keeping the option of air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. The June 18-19 talks due to be held in Moscow, then, are seen as crucial. “We don’t intend on continuing talks for talks’ sake. The window (for diplomacy) is closing,” the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told a Tel Aviv security conference on Wednesday. The last negotiations, held in Baghdad on May 23-24, exposed a gulf between the two sides’ positions that looked almost unbridgeable, and nearly caused the talks to collapse…

About those illegal sanctions on Iran… ‘Crowing’ About Iran Sanctions Should Stop…

I’m surprised that the Grey Lady had actually published the official Iranian response to the noise, today…

Re “Negotiations With Iran Conclude Fruitlessly” (news article, May 25):

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has unambiguously recognized “the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,” which covers all areas of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including the inalienable right to develop a full national fuel cycle.

Each party has the sovereign right to define its national energy policies in accordance with its national requirements. Iran is fully committed to its obligations under the treaty and is firmly determined to exercise its rights. In future talks, Iran will continue to insist on all its rights for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including a full national fuel cycle. As pressure exerted by some Western countries against Iran has failed to bear results, we expect a positive and constructive approach regarding Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities.

Ha Ha, indeedy…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Ex-Shin Bet Head Diskin: Bibi, Barak ‘not fit to lead Israel’ And Wrong on Iran

6:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Hot on the heels of Benny Gantz’s recent statements, former Shin Bet head, Yuval Diskin, took it a step further today…

Israel’s former Shin Bet chief: I have no confidence in Netanyahu, Barak

Yuval Diskin accuses Israel’s leaders of misleading the public on Iran, says they are making decisions ‘based on messianic feelings.

Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin expressed harsh criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday in a meeting with residents of the city of Kfar Sava, saying the pair is not worthy of leading the country.

My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war,” Diskin told the “Majdi Forum,” a group of local residents that meets to discuss political issues.

I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings,” he added.

Diskin deemed Barak and Netanyahu “two messianics – the one from Akirov or the Assuta project and the other from Gaza Street or Caesarea,” he said, referring to the two politicians’ places of residence.

Believe me, I have observed them from up close… They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off. These are not people who I would want to have holding the wheel in such an event,” Diskin said.

They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won’t have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race,” said the former security chief…

*ouch* That had to have left a mark…!

To bring ya’ll up to date, the ever intrepid, Richard Silverstein, had wrote yesterday…

IDF Chief Calls Iran “Rational,” Barak Disagrees

Israel continued its self-portrait as a government in disarray as its military chief, Benny Gantz called Iran “rational” and said he believed that nation would not build a nuclear weapon (a position fully in accord with U.S. views). The next day, Ehud Barak took pains to divorce himself from his subordinate by saying of Iran:

[Barak] did not see Iran as “rational in the Western sense of the word, meaning people seeking a status quo and the outlines of a solution to problems in a peaceful manner.

This of course is a delicious bit of irony because most observers of the Israeli-Arab conflict believe precisely this about Israel’s approach. It seeks, not a sustainable status quo, but a status quo that offers it supreme advantage and dominance over its neighbors. Nor does Israel seek solution to these problems in a peaceful manner. It’s saber-rattling toward Iran itself is but one example.

In truth, what Barak is complaining about is that Iran refuses to accede to a dictat set before it by the western powers. If you’re the majority, a resistant minority is always going to appear as ungrateful, even irrational. Because what other reasonable solution is there than the one you maintain? The problem with Israeli policymakers is that they’re beset by a grave case of narcissism, and a profound inability to view matters as their enemy might see them. This is a fatal combination in a region so prone to cataclysm as the Middle East.

Gantz also mysteriously suggested that other military forces than Israel were prepared to attack Iran. Most likely he was referring to the U.S. But he could’ve been making a sly reference to Iran’s regional enemies joining in the fight. This might mean an outright contribution of forces to an attack or it might mean a less visible role say, in offering Israel the right to overfly Saudi Arabian airspace in order to attack Iran.

Dore Gold laugably tried to square the “rationality” circle with this near non sequitur:

The Iranians have irrational goals, which they may try and advance in a rational way.

Makes perfect sense to me if you’re as out of touch with Iran and reality in general as Gold is…

Ehud Barak even doubled down on his messianic lunacy, today… Ehud Barak says Iran seeks ‘apocalyptic’ policies…

As Phyllis Bennis wrote at Antiwar.com today…

Iran: New war looming?

That threat isn’t over. The big difference this time around is that people in power – in the White House, in the Pentagon, in all of the U.S. intelligence agencies, even most of the security and intelligence people in Israel – all agree that

1) Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon;
2) Iran is not building a nuclear weapon;
3) Iran hasn’t even made the decision of whether or not to build a weapon in the future.

And yet. The risk of a war “against Iranian nuclear weapons” continues to rise.

This time, it’s all about Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to ratchet up the rhetoric and the threats against Iran – knowing that in an election year, the likelihood of a U.S. president or Congress refusing to back/support/participate in an Israeli military strike, regardless of how dangerous, is virtually non-existent. What does Israel get out of it? (Hint: it’s not safety from some “existential” threat). Israel gets to preserve its nuclear weapons monopoly in the Middle East – losing that monopoly is the real danger Israeli officials worry about. That’s why the call for a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East is so important – to make sure no one in the region has a nuclear weapon. That certainly includes Iran, which doesn’t have one and isn’t trying to build one. And it would include Israel, whose uninspected and unacknowledged arsenal of 200-400 high density nuclear bombs remains the biggest cause of arms racing in this arms-glutted part of the world.

It’s also true that Netanyahu desperately wants a different president in the White House next year. Despite Obama’s actual history of giving Israel more military aid, greater protection in the UN, tighter military ties, and fewer consequences for expanding settlements than almost any other president, Netanyahu knows that any Republican in the White House would represent an even greater gift to Tel Aviv. And only Israel and AIPAC, the most powerful part of the pro-Israel lobbies that now represent the most right-wing extremist elements of Israeli politics, stand to benefit.

And oh by the way. Does anyone really think that as long as Israel can play the “we face an existential danger” card, anyone in Washington is likely to even consider putting serious pressure on Tel Aviv to end its occupation and apartheid policies towards Palestinians? Let’s see hands…

Ironically, I have the very same sanity issues about our current Def. Sec., and, our own Prez…! In particular, by this recent nonsense, and then, with Leon(our ex-CIA Chief, too), serving up this NeoLib/AIPAC/Ziocon gobblety-gook, today…

Panetta: I hope that IDF chief is right on Iran nuclear program

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says he has no specific information on whether Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb…

Are you f*cking serious, Leon…!

Anyways, I still admire Christiane Amanpour’s efforts… Amanpour interviews former Iranian nuclear negotiation insider about weaponization plans…

Btw, Iran is bending over backwards to resolve the Nuke issues by agreeing to ‘snap’ IAEA inpections and even a full halt in reprocessing the heavy water to the IAEA’s acceptable level of 19.5%, by holding it at the 5% level…!

Now, just as an attack on Iran would embolden them to actually consider building a bomb, take a gander at what our current ‘Bipartisan’ Congress Critters are all up-in-arms about now…

U.S. Congress voices concern over Iran cyber-threat

The cyber-attack by the Stuxnet worm against Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is designed to eventually produce nuclear weapons, was considered one of the most successful moves to date in the confrontation over the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions. This week, however, concerns were raised at the U.S. Congress that the cyber-attack may have been the “crossing of the Rubicon” for Iran, motivating it to engage in cyber-war against U.S. targets, including critical infrastructure.

“Stuxnet may be proof of Iran’s vulnerability and the effectiveness of other nation-states’ cyber-arsenals. However, it would also be possible for Iran to gain some knowledge for creating a Stuxnet-like virus from analyzing its effects,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D) of New York said at the hearing of the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee and the Cyber-security, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee, titled “Iranian Cyber Threat to the U.S. Homeland.”

Ain’t it ironic that Panetta scoffs at Iran’s ‘reverse-engineering’ of the downed stealth drone…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Bibi: ‘Gaza is Iran’ and ‘Israel won’t need U.S. OK to hit Iran’

5:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Haaretz’s editor-in-chief, Aluf Benn, wrote recently…

Netanyahu is preparing Israeli public opinion for a war on Iran

In response to Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech, Haaretz’s editor-in-chief says that what looks like a preparation for war, acts like a preparation for war, and quacks like a preparation for war, is a preparation for war.

…”Netanyahu is hinting that in his Washington visit, he received Obama’s tacit approval for an Israeli attack against Iran – under the guise of opposition. Obama will speak out against it but act for it, just as the past U.S. administrations speak against the settlements in the territories but allow their expansion. And in this manner Netanyahu summarized the visit: “I presented before my hosts the examples that I just noted before you, and I believe that the first objective that I presented – to fortify the recognition of Israel’s right to defend itself – I think that objective has been achieved.”

This morning, the editor-in-chief of the Israel Hayom newspaper, Amos Regev, published on his front page an enthusiastic op-ed in support of a war against Iran. Regev writes what Netanyahu cannot say in his speeches: that we cannot rely on Obama – who wasn’t even a mechanic in the armored corps – but only on ourselves. “Difficult, daring, but possible,” Regev promised. We need not be alarmed by the Iranian response: the arrow would take down the Shahab missiles, and Hezbollah and Hamas would hesitate about entering a war. The damage would be reminiscent of the Iraqi scuds in the 1991 Gulf War – unpleasant, but definitely not too bad. The analysts are weak, but the soldiers and the residents of the Home Front have motivation. So onward, to battle!

The rightwing rag, Washington Times, ran this agitprop… Netanyahu says Israel won’t need U.S. OK to hit Iran

Then, you have more DC agitprop, backing Bibi up… Panetta: US will ‘take action’ if Israel hits Iran

…Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the United States would intervene if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, although he did not indicate the extent of the possible military involvement.

“Obviously Israel is an independent country, and they’ll make whatever decisions they make on their own based on what they think is in their national interests,” Panetta told Al Hurra, an Arabic news outlet, today. “If they should make that decision, then obviously the United States will — would take action to protect our facilities in this area and protect our interests in this area.” Panetta had been asked specifically if the United States would “intervene with Israel” in the event of an attack.

“We think we have the room and the space to try to conduct diplomacy,” Panetta also said. “Military action should always be a last resort.”…

Now, do you suppose Bibi is a tad bit pissed…? I’d kidnap Israeli soldiers if I were Palestinian – Shalit

*gah*

by CTuttle

The NDAA’s ‘Targeted Assassinations’ is a Sordid Bipartisan Affair

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Mojo’s Adam Serwer penned a must-read (emphasis added):

Bipartisan Approval for Targeted Killing of Suspected Terrorists

When it comes to targeted killing of American citizens, both major political parties have President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s back.

Top officials and legislators from both the Democratic and Republican party have expressed public support for the Obama administration’s drone strikes against American citizens who were suspected of terrorism abroad. It’s not just legislators either—a majority of Democrats and liberals approve of Obama’s targeted killing policy.

The president of the United States has a responsibility, consistent with his legal authorities, to keep the country safe. And that’s what he did,” Bush-era Justice Department official Jack Goldsmith told NPR’s Tom Ashbrook Monday, while discussing the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, a suspected member of Al Qaeda and US citizen who was killed in a US government-directed drone strike. “Americans have been targeted and killed in past wars, in the Civil War, and in World War II as well, nothing like this kind of scrutiny has ever occurred before.Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Barak: Attack Iran ‘before it’s too late’, Panetta: ‘No comment’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” ~Albert Einstein

Hot off the presses in the Media War between the dueling DM’s, here’s Ehud Barak’s latest salvo at Panetta…

Israel calls for attack on Iran ‘before it is too late’

…Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak issued a stark warning last night that military action may be needed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons before it is “too late” and Tehran puts its programme beyond the reach of external attack.

Mr Barak insisted that despite “disagreements among us”, the world had no doubt that Iran’s nuclear programme was “slowly but surely” reaching the final stages before it would be “able to complete such a programme without any effective intervention”.

He declared to the annual gathering in Herzliya of the country’s security establishment: “Many experts in the world believe that refraining from action will necessarily mean dealing with a nuclearised Iran.” This “will be far more complex, far more dangerous and far more costly in blood and money than stopping it today… Those who say ‘later’ may find that later is too late.”

Mr Barak said the latest tightening of sanctions against Iran was a “step in the right direction” and “must be intensified until the goal is attained to stop the programme”. But he then declared: “If the sanctions do not achieve the desired effect of stopping the military nuclearisation programme, action must also be considered.”

The Defence Minister’s remarks came as US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta declined to deny a report in the Washington Post that he feared a military strike on Iran by Israel during April, May or June. Mr Panetta said the US had indicated its “concerns” about a possible Israeli attack…

Yeah, about those ‘concerns’…

Panetta won’t dispute report Israel may attack Iran

…Panetta was asked by reporters to comment on a Washington Post opinion column by David Ignatius that said Panetta believes there is a “strong likelihood” that Israel will attack in April, May or June. Ignatius did not say who told him this.

Asked whether he disputes the report, Panetta said, “No, I’m just not commenting.”

He added, “What I think and what I view, I consider that to be an area that belongs to me and nobody else.”

He noted that Israel has stated publicly that it is considering military action against Iran. He said the U.S. has “indicated our concerns.”

FDL alum, Emptywheel had penned another great post… Your Summer Schedule: Vacation, Beach, Iran War…

Now, the Jpost offers up some more of the ‘highlights’ from that Herzliya Confab…

Ya’alon says Tehran is developing missiles capable of reaching the United States; IDF intel chief Kochavi says Iran has enough uranium to build four nuclear bombs…

…In his speech, Ya’alon revealed that Iran had been developing a missile with a range of 10,000 km. that would have been capable of reaching the United States. He said that the missile was destroyed, though, in the mysterious explosion that rocked a missile base near Tehran on November 12, killing 17 Iranian troops, including the father of Iran’s missile program.

According to Ya’alon, the missile was based on a solid fuel propellant and would have significantly increased the Islamic Republic’s offensive capabilities.

Ya’alon also said that Turkey is helping Iran bypass the sanctions that have been imposed on it in recent months.

According to the vice premier, who was in the United States last week for talks on Iran with senior officials from the Obama administration, Turkey was helping Iran circumvent the sanctions by allowing it to use its banking system.

Ya’alon said that the Israeli government was committed to stopping Iran’s nuclear program “in one way or another.”

“We need a credible military option. The Iranians understand the West has capabilities, but as long as the Iranians don’t think that the West has the political stomach and determination to use it they will not stop,” Ya’alon said. “Currently they don’t think that the world is determined.”

Btw, the resident, AIPAC stoolie at the Grey Lady, Ethan Bronner, just had to breathlessly report on Ya’alon’s utter bullsh*t… U.S. Plays Down Warning By Israeli Over Iran’s Missiles…

The ever intrepid, Gareth Porter, had reported this bit of much needed, great news…

Dempsey Told Israelis U.S. Won’t Join Their War on Iran

Dempsey’s warning, conveyed to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, represents the strongest move yet by President Barack Obama to deter an Israeli attack and ensure that the United States is not caught up in a regional conflagration with Iran.

But the Israeli government remains defiant about maintaining its freedom of action to make war on Iran, and it is counting on the influence of right-wing extremist views in U.S. politics to bring pressure to bear on Obama to fall into line with a possible Israeli attack during the election campaign this fall.

Obama still appears reluctant to break publicly and explicitly with Israel over its threat of military aggression against Iran, even in the absence of evidence Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Dempsey’s trip was highly unusual, in that there was neither a press conference by the chairman nor any public statement by either side about the substance of his meetings with Israeli leaders. Even more remarkable, no leak about what he said to the Israelis has appeared in either U.S. or Israeli news media, indicating that both sides have regarded what Dempsey said as extremely sensitive.

The substance of Dempsey’s warning to the Israelis has become known, however, to active and retired senior flag officers with connections to the JCS, according to a military source who got it from those officers.

A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Commander Patrick McNally, offered ‘no comment’ Wednesday when IPS asked him about the above account of Dempsey’s warning to the Israelis…

Heed our Elders…

Mr. President – Tell Bibi No! – Publicly

- Panetta thinks the Israelis are likely to act against Iran soon.

- The US IC still believes that the Iranians no longer have a nuclear weapons program.

- The Israel first crowd are not going to support BHO for president again.

- They prefer Romney or gingrich or anyone else except Paul..

- The Evangelicals are not going to support BHO.

- The cretin element in the population is not going to support BHO. I have talked to numerous Gentile retirees in their ghettoized communities in the warmer regions. Many of them slaver for Iranian blood, fed in their dotage a steady diet of propaganda by Rush and faux news. They are not going to support BHO either.

- The majority of Americans do not want another war, especially one patently boosted for and on behalf of a foreign country mired in its own delusions. Republican support of war against Iran will cost them the election.

-BHO, Panetta and the CJCS have all told the Israeli government that we will not join in a pre-emption against them nor “bail them out” in a pre-emption against Iran.

Soooo

Tell the world that:

If the USIC decides that Iran has a nuclear weapons program that is proceeding with weaponization, we will destroy it. We will not welcome Israel’s “help” in this. This should generally be our policy. The present nuclear powers are to some extent “grandfathered,” but only from necessity.

An Israeli first strike on Iran has nothing to do with us and WILL have nothing to do with us.

pl

‘No Comment’ just won’t cut it, folks…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

IAEA is in Iran, Panetta Panders, and, Iran Makes Overtures …

8:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I actually laughed when I read this headline; Iran ‘very optimistic’ over nuclear expert visit…

…Iran said it was very optimistic over a visit by UN nuclear inspectors aimed at shedding light on suspected military aspects of Tehran’s atomic work, but suggested Tehran would curb cooperation if the experts became a “tool” for outside powers.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team began a three-day visit to try to advance efforts to resolve a row about nuclear work which Iran says is for making electricity, but the West suspects is aimed at seeking a nuclear weapon.

Tensions with the West rose this month when Washington and the EU imposed the toughest sanctions yet in a drive to force Tehran to provide more information on its nuclear programme. The measures take direct aim at the ability of OPEC’s second biggest oil exporter to sell its crude.

The Mehr news agency quoted foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi: “We are very optimistic about the outcome of the IAEA delegation’s visit to Iran . . . Their questions will be answered during this visit.”

“We have nothing to hide and Iran has no clandestine (nuclear) activities.”

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani warned the IAEA team to carry out a “logical, professional and technical” job or suffer the consequences. “This visit is a test for the IAEA. The route for further cooperation will be open if the team carries out its duties professionally.

“Otherwise, if the IAEA turns into a tool (for major powers to pressure Iran), then Iran will have no choice but to consider a new framework in its ties with the agency.”

As numerous ex-Intel vets have been saying all along, and wikileaks confimed, is the fact that the IAEA deck has been stacked against Iran, ever since El Baradei ‘retired’…! I do hope the Iranians will provide extra security to the brave souls that meet with the IAEA ‘inspectors’…! As I’ve mentioned before all of the assassinated and/or, disappeared Iranian Scientists had met with IAEA personnel previously…!

Now, Panetta sat down with ’60 Minutes’ and regurgitated all the old tropes…

…”The United States — and the president’s made this clear — does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

“That’s a red line for us. And it’s a red line obviously for the Israelis so we share a common goal here.”

Panetta maintained that US officials “will take whatever steps are necessary to stop it” if Washington receives intelligence that Iran is proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon.

Asked if that meant military action, he said: “There are no options that are off the table.”

Panetta told the interviewer that “the consensus is that, if they (Iran) decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon.”

So again… Wtf, over…? What’s the rush to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran…? Or better yet the rush to build a better bomb for Iran…?

…The Pentagon has decided that its largest conventional bomb isn’t capable of destroying Iran’s underground nuclear enrichment facilities and has ordered efforts to make it more powerful.

The 30,000-pound “bunker-buster” bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was designed to penetrate deeply buried targets, like some of Iran’s nuclear facilities. But tests of the bomb led the Pentagon to believe it may not fully destroy the facilities, and so this month they secretly submitted a request to Congress additional for funding to build a bigger, more destructive bomb.

Already more than $330 million has been spent to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co. The Pentagon is now seeking about $82 million more to enhance it…

I know we could’ve spent the $82 million on more ‘constructive’ uses, not destructive…!

I should also add that that Iranian ‘timeline’ for a potential Nuke, and the missile to deliver it, that Panetta is peddling, is exactly the same timeline the US/EU/Israel has been pimping since 1984…!

Speaking of the race for Tehran, Israel experienced a little setback…!

Now, it’s interesting to see what overtures Iran is making… Iran Calls on Syria to Hold Free Elections… And then to read about other interesting developments…

Turkey may provide Hamas with $300 million in annual aid

Hamas has been facing financial difficulties due to late and reduced payments from Iran; Meshal deciding between Qatar and Jordan for new Hamas headquarters, after leaving Syria.

Do you suppose Erdogan likes Bibi very much…?

Bank on it, folks… $150 a barrel: Iran warning

Can you afford it…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Panetta: Israel ‘Increasingly Isolated’, And The Numbers Don’t Lie

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Ma’an reported earlier…

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AFP) — US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Arab Spring has left Israel “increasingly isolated” in the Middle East and that its military might could not make up for a weakened diplomatic position.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane bound for Israel as part of a Middle East tour, Panetta said it was crucial for Israel to shore up its relations with Egypt and other countries in the region that had proved valuable partners in the past.

“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge. But the question you have to ask is it enough to maintain a military edge, if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena?” Panetta said.

“At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that’s what’s happening,” he said…

Now, Leon wasn’t quite done delivering broadsides at the various parties…

US defense secretary urges return to negotiations

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday called for “bold action” from Israeli and Palestinian leaders to achieve peace, but said freezing of US funds to Palestinians was a mistake…

“I want to emphasize that there is a need, and an opportunity, for bold action on both sides to move toward a negotiated two-state solution. There is no alternative to negotiations,” Panetta said at a news conference with Barak.

Panetta told reporters that the US Congress decision to block $200 million in aid did not come at the right time, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Both Israelis and Palestinians gain from US aid, Ynet quoted Panetta saying…

…Palestinian leaders say they cannot negotiate while Israel refuses to renew a partial moratorium on settlement building on Palestinian lands, which last expired in September 2010 bringing talks to a halt.

F*ck ya, It’s not just a ‘moratorium on settlement building’ that needs to be addressed…! Obama refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer…

… Israel on Sunday formally accepted an international proposal to return to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, but any immediate resumption of talks appeared unlikely as the Israelis and Palestinians differed sharply over the letter and spirit of the proposal

A senior Palestinian official said over the weekend that after three days of deliberations, the Palestinian leadership had decided not to return to talks unless Israel halted all settlement construction and agreed to clear terms of reference for the negotiations — requirements that were perhaps implied but not spelled out in the Sept. 23 statement of the so-called quartet of Middle East peacemakers, which is made up of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.

But facts never get in the way of the Obama administration. A State Department spokesman released a statement Sunday: “We welcome the Israeli government’s announcement today expressing readiness to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, as called for by the Quartet.The Palestinians expressed support for the Quartet approach on September 29. The U.S. once again calls on both parties to resume negotiations without preconditions, on the timetable proposed by the Quartet, as the best means to advance their interests, resolve their differences, and fulfill the President’s two-state vision.” Umm, but didn’t, you know, the Palestinians say just the opposite?

However, as the recently released UNOCHA report points out in plain english, it’s Israel clearly stepping up it’s ‘game’…

UN statistics show that Israel’s occupation is more aggressive

…The UNOCHA report said that the Israeli Occupation Authorities demolished 409 Palestinian structures in 2011 compared with 290 over the same period in 2010. Just over 800 Palestinians have been injured to-date in 2011; the figure for January to September 2010 was 374.

Attacks by illegal Jewish settlers accounted for 139 Palestinians being injured so far this year; in 2010 the figure was 74. Settler-related incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or property damage, said UNOCHA, numbered 326 in 2011 compared with 202 in 2010.

The report also revealed that the number of Palestinians injured at the hands of Israeli forces has doubled in 2011 when compared to last year: 471 Palestinians were injured by the Occupation forces this year while there were 194 such cases in 2010. Israeli forces have killed 85 Palestinians this year; in 2010 the figure was 53…

Btw, some more classic Leon…

…Panetta, who met the country’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, strongly urged Egypt to provide better security in the Sinai Peninsula, after Israel said an attack on its south was mounted from there.

“I am concerned about the situation in the Sinai,” Panetta told reporters after the talks.

The Pentagon chief “strongly urged” Tantawi “to provide better security in the Sinai,” he said, adding that Egyptian leaders reassured him they were “confident” they could ensure security in the peninsula.

“Any friction in that area could create real problems for the region,” Panetta said…

I’m not very surprised at this little bit of news… Palestinians protest against US in Ramallah…

Meanwhile… Bracing for UN bid fallout in Gaza…

God Bless the Palestinians…!

by CTuttle

A Hot Nite In Cairo…

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Ahram Online…

Three dead and 1,049 injured in Israeli embassy protests in Cairo: Egyptian health ministry

During the protests at the Israeli embassy in last night’s protests on 10 September, leaving 1,049 injured and 3 dead

Numbers of those killed and injured during the protests at the Israeli embassy last night reached 1,049 injured and three dead, announced the health ministry.

Those injured were taken to different hospitals around Cairo.

Friday night, some protesters managed to access a floor in the apartment building where the Israeli embassy offices are housed. Reportedly, the Israeli embassy keeps some of their archives on that floor.

Other protesters managed to lower the Israeli flag.

The Giza police station next to the Israeli embassy was set on fire. Several police vehicles were also set on fire.

Fierce clashes (arose) between protesters and (the)police forces that were rushed to the scene resulted in the huge number of injuries and the three deaths.

As Haaretz reported today…

U.S. told Egypt it must rescue Israeli embassy workers or suffer ‘consequences,’ sources say

Officials involved in attempt to resolve mob attack on Israeli embassy in Cairo say U.S. Secretary of Defense Panetta managed to speak with head of Egypt’s ruling military only after 2 hours of repeated calling.

And it wasn’t just Panetta that made some urgent phone calls…

Obama expresses ‘great concern’ to Netanyahu over Israeli Embassy attack

U.S. president calls on Egypt to ‘honor its international obligations to safeguard the security of the Israeli Embassy’.

U.S. President Barak Obama spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday after hundreds of Egyptian demonstrators broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo earlier in the day.

The U.S. president’s office issued a statement in which Obama expressed great concern over the attack and for the Israelis stationed there.

The statement said that Obama “reviewed the steps that the United States is taking at all levels to help resolve the situation without further violence, and calls on the Government of Egypt to honor its international obligations to safeguard the security of the Israeli Embassy.

Now that’s picking up the phone and making something happen…!

Funny thing tho, where’s the same sense of urgency on the other hot burning issues…?

Erdogan slams Obama for silence on Israel’s Gaza flotilla raid

Turkish premier reiterates Ankara’s intent to refer legality of Israel’s blockade on Gaza to The Hague, saying the world will see ‘who is standing alongside the victims’.

The ever intrepid, Noam Sheizaf, offered up some more excellent analysis…

Between Cairo and Ankara, Netanyahu’s leadership failure is exposed

These are the most challenging times the Middle East has seen in decades, yet one couldn’t imagine a more inept government for Israel than the one that sits in Jerusalem…

Haaretz has also been hammering Bibi particularly hard today… With: Crises with Turkey and Egypt represent a political tsunami for Israel, and, Netanyahu must go, it’s as simple as that…!

Hear, Hear…!

by CTuttle

‘We Are Not Clairvoyant’

3:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today, our DNI James Clapper and CIA Director Leon Panetta, testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee about Egypt…

“We are not clairvoyant,” said the director, James R. Clapper Jr., at a hearing of the House intelligence committee.

The intelligence community has faced criticism for failing to provide a clearer warning, or more timely descriptions, of the fast-moving developments in Egypt. [...]

But Mr. Clapper, and also Leon E. Panetta, the director of central intelligence, suggested that it would always be difficult to know precisely when a potentially critical situation would turn explosive — to know, for example, when a frustrated merchant in Tunisia would set himself afire, an event that indirectly fed into the Egyptian crisis.

“Specific triggers for how and when instability would lead to the collapse of various regimes cannot always be known or predicted,” Mr. Clapper said, at a hearing on worldwide threats to the United States. “What intelligence can do in most cases is reduce the uncertainty for decision makers, but not necessarily eliminate it.”

Mr. Panetta, in turn, said that last year nearly 400 intelligence reports were produced on problems in the region: “the regressive regimes, the economic and political instability, a stagnation, the lack of freedoms, the need for political reforms.” But he, too, said that intelligence agencies needed to do better in identifying triggering events.

‘Triggering Events’…? By then the horses have already bolted…!

Why can’t they see the forest for the trees…? I mean really…?

Panetta states the obvious root causes… “the regressive regimes, the economic and political instability, a stagnation, the lack of freedoms, the need for political reforms.” Yet, our only answers to those fundamental problems has been to send more American-built tanks and tear gas canisters…!

Now, Al Jazeera has an excellent shot of the Tahrir Square’s immediate response to Mubarak’s tone deaf speech, waving their shoes…

In parsing all the reports I’ve seen today, Mubarak has turned over some powers to VP Suleiman, such as this Huffpo headline states; Mubarak Won’t Leave Egypt But Passes Powers To Vice President

As today’s events have unfolded, I’d posted some enlightening articles…

Mubarak transfers powers to Army

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and transferred his authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces, a senior Egyptian official confirmed Thursday.

This body is comprised of the minister of defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.

Egyptian Military Statement: “Declaration 1″

Statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:

“Based on the responsibility of the Armed Forces, and its commitment to protect the people, and to oversee their interests and security, and with a view to the safety of the nation and the citizenry, and of the achievements and properties of the great people of Egypt, and in affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date, and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.”

Another link: Mubarak “definitely not going to step down”-info min

The Egyptian Ambassador to the US had this to say today…

Suleiman is the “de facto” leader of Egypt, ambassador says…

Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak transferred ‘all of his power’ to Vice President Omar Suleiman, making him the ‘de facto’ leader of the country, the Egyptian ambassador in Washington said in an interview with CNN.

Mubarak ‘has transferred his authority to the vice president to undertake all presidential authority that is incorporated in the constitution,’ the ambassador, Sameh Shoukry, said Thursday.

‘The vice president is the de facto president,’ he said.

Shoukry said he had spoken with Suleiman and received clarification following Mubarak’s speech, in which he said power had been transferred to the vice president. But there was some confusion about how much authority Mubarak would retain.

When pressed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about whether Mubarak no longer had power, Shoukry replied: ‘That is certainly an interpretation you can make.’

Unfortunately, one does not need to be clairvoyant to agree with El Baradei’s tweet…Egypt is about to explode. The military must get involved and take immediate action to save the country.”

Btw, why are we only hearing *crickets* from the Obama Administration on the latest developments…? Update: A WH response finally…!

Oops, never mind… US Stocks:Mubarak speech sparks late gain…

*gah*