30 November 2006

Dumb Looks time on: Tom Vilsack and energy!

Now, the folks at Ankle Biting Pundits found Tom Vilsack, Governor of Iowa, being upfront that Iowans are so good at converting to alternative fuels that they lead the Nation! So let us take a look at the numbers, such as they are, which means hunting through the tables and such from the folks at the Dept. of Energy.

A quick perusal gets us the 2002 figures for consumption by State, with the HTML link here. And from that we can get (and I will be using the online converters to get all the numbers into a common type, which will be kilowatt hours):

Iowa - energy use - 28th - 3.5 E 12 kWh
Iowa - energy per capita - 14th - 1.19 E 5 kWh
Iowa - money spent for energy - 28th - $7.78 Billion
Iowa - money spent per person for energy - 8th - $2,651
Iowa - cost per kWh - 41st - $0.032 per kWh

National - energy use - 2.87 E 13 kWh
National - energy use per capita - 1.0 E5 kWh
National - money spent for energy - $661 Billion
National - money spent per person for energy - $2,298
National - cost per kWh - $0.034 per kWh

Now for consumption of gasoline and other things in 2005 I get from the DoE table for it:

Motor vehicle gasoline thousand(k) bbls/day - 8,933 kbbls or 3,260,545 kbbls per year. Converts to (adding in the three zeros for 1,000 conversion) 136,942,890,000 gallons/year.
Or, to do the big conversion: 5 E 12 kWh/year. Just in gasoline, mind you.

And I do believe that the DoE considers diesel to be 'Distillate Fuel Oil'.
This is 4,110 kbbls/day or 1,500,150 kbbls/yr.
In terms of gallons, with thousand conversion thrown in: 63,006,300,000 gallons/year.
Or, in terms of energy: 2 .31 E 12 kWh/year.

Now this includes the ethanol amount so that does have to be subtracted and that table is here, and the value for alcohol fuels is: 9.96 E 10 kWh/year. For ALL alcohol fuels.

Yes, it is a literal drop in the bucket.

Next up is to dig up some statistics for state size and such, to see where this gets Iowa in the overall picture of the Nation. For that, of course, the Census Bureau is the place to go, and I will do a 'rough and ready' using the 2000 census numbers as they should not have changed drastically in a demographic sense from 2000 to 2002. Coming from the Quick Facts page on Iowa:

Iowa - 2,926,324
US - 281,421,906

Per capita income (1999)
Iowa - $19,674
USA - $21,587

Square miles
Iowa - 55,869 or in acres 35,756,160
USA - 3,537,438 or in acres 2,263,960,320

Persons per square mile
Iowa - 52.4
USA - 79.6

And from Popular Mechanics the amount of arable land in the US: 938,000,000 acres
And using Robert Anex's view of Iowa, it is 89% farmland: 31,820,000 acres

Now the folks at the Bio Fuels Journal did an interview with the Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association ( 08 AUG 2006). And I will be interpreting the facts given by putting them through the previously done calculations I did on this topic, here. Yes, I have churned over numbers to a fare-thee-well in this realm.

First off: they aim to get biodiesel fuel generation up to 250 million gallons/year out of 13 factories for same.

Second off: ethanol is up to 1.5 billion gallons/year with 25 refineries and they hope to get that to 1.925 billion gallons/year with 4 additional or 29 refineries.

So, using the hand waving of 'so near equal lets count them as equal' fuel energy we can say the following for ethanol from corn:

1) Ethanol comes at 300 gals per acre. As this is not E85 blend with gasoline, but pure ethanol production the numbers grind out pretty easily to find the number of acres used by Iowa to make *just* ethanol: 5,000,000 acres. So approximately 14% of Iowa's arable land is in ethanol production. These numbers are assuming they are using the BEST ethanol crop that is SEASONAL which is corn. And for the added: 1,420,000 acres. Or another 4% of the arable land. The amount of net solar energy conversion into ethanol via this process is: 9.39%

2) Biodiesel and Gov. Vilsack points to *soybeans* in this, not *rapeseed*. It gets you 48 gallons per acre, thus uses: 5,210,000 acres. So another 15%or so of Iowa's arable land goes to biodiesel production. The amount of net solar energy conversion into ethanol via this process is: 3.26%

Lets say they DID get it ALL from *rapeseed*, that comes in at 127 gallons per acre, thus uses: 1,970,000 acres. Or a hand-waving 5.5% of the arable land. But, since soybeans have so many different uses, it does predominate and my guess is that Iowa goes big for soybeans and low for rapeseed. The amount of net solar energy conversion into ethanol via this process is: 9.58%

So, for the Iowa energy miracle to happen they use up nearly 30% of their farmland to get their beloved output of ethanol and biodiesel. So, it is nice for Iowa to spend 30% of their farmland to start addressing 1% of the Nation's fuel needs just for gas and diesel! Why they could get that up to an entire 4% of the Nation if they work *really* hard at it and don't produce a single, other thing! Mind you this is still with E85 which is 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol [Thank you for the catch, Mr. Ribeiro!], but the actual drop in gas usage will be minor as ethanol does not have as much energy, per volume, as gasoline does. Thus, even if the entire arable land of the US was devoted to ethanol and biodiesel, well, we would only be importing 15% of the amount of gasoline... but since E85 is a bit of a valley between pure ethanol vehicles and gas vehicles, you really do want a hard, fast turnover of the entire fleet in a couple of years. And then we need to start looking to import ethanol from 3rd world agrarian societies because we will need a few more United States in land area to do that thing.

Wonder what we will eat?

Soylent green, maybe?

Oh, and the 'lets get it from algae' folks: when you measure acres at sea, it is cubic acres. Taking out a wide swath of the world's most abundant sea life that is the base of the oceanic food chain is *not* a great idea. And then there is the whole 'by catch' problem of higher life that just incidentally gets killed in the gathering. And those holding tanks to grow it on land? Or even in tunnels and caves and such? Better start finding the right strains, the right growing conditions, how often they can be harvested and start planning accordingly. At only 0.25 acre high, you use up 1% of the land space of the US. Without all the piping and refining and such added in.

Really, if the Nation needs to invest in a future energy source and infrastructure, shouldn't that be towards an expansive future rather than a delimited one beset by the foibles of an atmosphere and biosphere? So that the chance of pollution is ZERO.

Governor Vilsack comes from a lovely, food productive State.

Perhaps they no longer need Federal subsidies for farming as they are so enterprising these days.

Thank you for the comments and correction Mr. Ribeiro!

Do note that I do not quibble with new algae to diesel technology, and hope that DeBeers works out production, licensing, royalties and such. Producing the equipment, expanding production to meet demand, and all the headaches that go with that will be a few years of headaches and heartache and still not address the use of hydrocarbon based fuels as an energy storage system. If DeBeers can do that for a stop-gap, then I am all for it!

In the end I don't want the US dependent upon *any* foreign producer of equipment and to invest in a clean industry not prone to *any* pollution. Plus provide hefty expansion of the industrial base and energy expansion that will not only address the entire planet, but the entire future of civilization's survival. America needs new frontiers and innovation so that we can secure and establish liberty for ourselves and our posterity forevermore, and not be dependent upon the good will of foreigners nor tied always to just one place in the sun.

Cheap fuel is nice.

A permanent future off of this planet is necessary.

29 November 2006

Two Rules to Add Media Transparency

Starting with Flopping Aces and then spreading to many, many other sites and instances, we have seen the Associated Press standing accused of not only reporting that is not factually based but is wholly fictitious. Strangely enough, this is not news to me! In point of fact I have been pointing out the lack of actually putting in context and accountability into 'news' reporting for quite some time going back with my analysis of the 'fauxtography' scandals and moving forward to misreporting and misrepresentation of actual, factual numbers in ways that they cannot be reported by such luminaries as the Washington Post.

I have covered a number of topics on this, such as: global warming, who actually 'made Saddam' and supported him and the actual facts that Congress used to support a war in Iraq, 'sanctuary cities' and the meaning of secession, what a science is or is not and why it matters, 'guest workers' and why they aren't needed, the entire lack of context for NOLA and why it is a fool thing to 'rebuild', Generals with sour grapes making poor whine, what the Preamble of the Constitution actually means in context of that document, what the upcoming disasters are that we cannot stop, the NYT was formed to counter 'yellow journalism' and now is its own shade of 'yellow', using real definitions to actually define what is going on in Iraq, looking at negative numbers out of context rendering them meaningless as social indicators, the media not even *questioning* what it takes to make...well... media, what some have called my call to a 'code of photojournalistic ethics', examining the depth it takes to properly understand how 'fauxtography' and false scenes happen and identify them, why the media reaction to 'fauxtography' is disingenuous, the Washington Post unable to even understand the Federal budget and so making their reporting meaningless, the devaluation by the Media of protests so that it is now mere street theater, why 'armed political parties' are not legitimate, the Washington Post proving that it has no investigative reporters left and is mere partisan attack rag, the lack of real 'police blotter reporting' in Iraq and why that we see is biased, if the media wants to create fictitious news then can we hold them to the standards of fictitious reporters?, how the individual Editor & Publisher put up to respond is flawed BEYOND his admitted creation of past news items, the hard disconnect between any of the 'Elites' and the common man, the entire lack of context on the length of wars, the lack of any context on what running from wars does, zero reporting or analysis of the end-game of al Qaeda, terrorism is illegitimate war *not* civil crime, looking at those things known as 'events' in a time sequence to determine what the strategy in Iraq actually is, how it appears that no one in the Media (not even its grey-headed retired military folks) can address what it takes to make an Army, 'Realpolitik' and how it is out to kill us if we don't let it go, and then the huge summary meme spanking for all of the folks who needed it on 'post-Warism'.

And all of that summed up by the lack of division between analysis, news, the 'story' and facts by the Media. You may have guessed that I have been at this for a bit, no? The complete lack of context in reporting anything, from science to warfare, has so corroded the entire endeavor of reporting that it is no longer trustworthy. When I can go into three or four areas of knowledge that I have some minimal depth in and find that news organizations get it wrong on each of them, and then I further review other analyses based on that faulty news reporting, I come to the conclusion that the overall effort to remove context and obscure bias is intentional so as to limit individuals to certain, predetermined and preset conclusions.

And the very puzzling thing is that it does not take a major effort to remove such bias nor to provide transparency.

Now, here is the dead-simple way to ensure that when someone of military or police rank is quoted, that the media can ensure that they are absolutely, positively transparent in that!

I give this out for FREE!

Give the individual's unit or precinct along with their rank.
Yes, it is just that simple.

For the print media that is a mere handful of letters. For the audio and video it is a second or so of airtime.

You want to be forthright and gain MY trust as a reader?

Then do that very thing so that I know who I can contact to do this little thing known as "verify your source".

For the still and motion imagery reporting media, there is one simple thing you can do to be transparent and show integrity, both the news organizations and photojournalists:
Open up your archives to original and edited work.
I now regularly junk 'anonymous' sources into the trash along with any reporting on same or using such as a sole, primary or confirmatory source. I do not even bother reading it because it is using individuals who refuse to be held accountable for their words and trying to influence the course of the Nation in that doing.

The only way it is 'legit' is on any reporting on people so absolutely, positively threatened with immediate or long-term death to themselves or their family that their names are held in abeyance. Then I expect two or more other sources to confirm what was said so that I know this is not a 'hit piece' or 'personal vendetta reporting'.

The AP had previously joined my list of news organizations that I do NOT trust for any news and require 2, independent confirmatory sources, to verify anything they assert: AFP, AP, New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post, and the entirety of the television news organizations.

I really am starting to prefer the fictional reporters as they cared more about informing their readers than in putting forth their own bias.

Americans fighting democracy

These past few days and weeks and months we have seen elements of the media, politics and some various religious and other groups supporting non-democratic means of solving the world's ills and for 'ending the conflict in Iraq'.

Now, those wishing to see how I view the conflict and those trying to put 'Realpolitik' into play can go through my various posts on this view that complex problems need simplistic solutions:

1) My view of 'Post-Warism' and how those purporting simplistic solutions to richly diverse, but simple to understand drives is not only wrong-headed, but will wind up in long term failure.

2) Previous to that I looked at 'Realpolitik' and 'pragmatic global geostrategy' or whatever the formulation of that is these days, and find that the entirety of this post-WWII outlook never really did address much of anything save to keep those practitioners of it in power. This worked out so well that entities and modes of thought sprang up, such as asymmetrical warfare and non-Nation State warfare, that could not be dealt with in the 'Realist' mindset as these ideas break, radically with the very premises that 'Realists' put forth in diplomacy and foreign policy. Also, these practitioners could not deal with it 'then' and still cannot come to terms with it to this very day.

3) Previous to that I looked at what it really takes to create an Army or Armed Forces and use the US as the example of the deep and hard work that must go in to creating a force that is a reflection of its Nation. I then leveraged this against how Arab Armies are ALSO a reflection of their societies which are generally autocracies using tribal, religious, ethnic or any means to rule the People of a Nation as a sub-human underclass. This little lesson appears to escape the 'Elite' and 'common wisdom' prevalent in those putting forth simplistic notions of what it actually TAKES to create a Armed Forces that represent a Free People.

4) Before all of those I wrote about the actual Strategy in Iraq that the MNF is using. Not the hand-waving 'there is no strategy' idea that the Left and Right keep on asserting, but the actual on-the-ground movement and what that means for long-term implications sort of strategy. The activities taken reflect a strategy and that strategy aims to AVOID every single pitfall of the simplistic solutions that have been employed by other militaries across this planet and have been long-term FAILURES. By avoiding the 'easy failure mode' and committing to a different way of fighting in a different conception of fighting, a long-term basis for society is being MADE. And that new society needs to wipe out those who are fighting according to their *own* unreal viewpoints of how life works.

5) Prior to the above I wrote about the Toxic Memes of Jay Garner that would and DID fail when HE was on the ground. His world-view could not take in what was actually going on and he continued to cling to it so hard that he was moved aside to let folks in who could deal with the actual situation as opposed to the 'real' one. That started the entire chain of articles off, as I realized that no media source, no military source, no diplomatic source and no political source actually wanted to deal with the real state of the real world, instead of the 'Realistic' approach that was so blandly put forth.

Due to that lack of long-term understanding amongst the 'Elites' and talking heads and newspapers and magazines, we have a much more generalized theme being put forth which is deadly to democracy, freedom and liberty. Each of the simplistic notions for 'ways to stabilize Iraq' that do not DEAL with the underlying realities that I put forth above are doomed to failure. The examples of those solutions and their manifest inability to do *anything* good is seen by such wonderful places as: the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti, Lebanon, the Koreas, East Timor, Kashmir. And by using ONLY the actual Federal Government as the limited solution choice and further limiting the choices to select from as those of the very late 20th century, and then THOSE weeded down to what is or is not 'politically acceptable' starts to so narrowly constrict democracy that we lose the MEANING of democracy. In point of fact that starts sounding like the Imperialist Islamic enemies of the United States and the entire Nation State system that allows freedom and democracy to manifest itself.

It is now time to attack those simplistic solutions.

Solution I - Tripartite Division of Iraq
Worked great on Poland now, didn't it?

To anyone who knows history I do hope that DID sting and that you realize that this is the EXACT same solution that was put forth to mollify Empires. Worked great, didn't it? Want to flip forward a few decades and see how that turned out for the Polish people?

Division of another Nation along ANY lines is anti-democratic to the People involved when it is put upon them by another Nation or set of Nations, especially when it is done to a Free People, as the Poles have considered themselves since the 10th century or so. Doing that to a Nation that has stood up a democratic Constitution and has held multiple democratic, multi-party elections should be *anathema* to ANY American.

That said my solution to take out Syria and leave a 'rump State' behind is not anti-democratic if that is made the stated OUTCOME of the conflict. I do not see it as carving up a rogue and rotting Nation that is spreading maggots over the Middle East, but I DO see it as rescuing the Kurdish Peoples there and giving the Kurds their own means to survive in the Middle East and offering an 'escape route' by having the culture of Iraq shift from Arabist in-fighting in the South to Kurdish Stability in the North. Together, as a Nation and Peoples joining as ONE the People of Iraq can have something to join together in and work *towards*. This is an attempt to EXPAND liberty, bring actual stability in the form of a People who WANT stability, and give a harsh wake-up call to the Arab South that the 'Past Glories of Islam' have a strong Kurdish flavor to them. The choice of the People, not doing the fighting, will then be clear and stark and well defined: Join with the Kurds to END this squabbling or sink into a quagmire of bloody death sponsored by outsiders. What remains of Syria can quietly *rot* so long as it no longer spreads that rotting beyond its borders.

Some folks just don't want to 'Give Peace a Chance' by doing the hard work NECESSARY to actually find a way to BUILD IT. Consider this the start of the long-awaited reunification of Kurdistan which was promised to the Kurds back in the 1920's, and just having to realign those National boundaries so as to give the Kurds that thing. A tearing down of a 'Berlin Wall' sort of deal. So that the West can be seen as MEANING what it says in the long run to a People who were carved asunder by PREVIOUS Empires.

If you think that a division of Iraq *will* work, can you please state historical examples of such using reminders of Poland and the Balkans of how similar concepts have failed over centuries? Because each of those caused far more problems than they 'solved'. And then explain why a democratic Nation of Free People should do this sort of thing.

Is democracy worth fighting for? Those wishing to impose a solution obviously no longer think so. And those who have stopped thinking that democracy is good for 'others' will start to truly generalize that at home as well as abroad. The concept of democracy is for the People to decide and when helping another People through tough times you do NOT throw democracy out the window as the 'first thing to go'.

Solution II - Run Away!
I handled that meme in-depth in my The Long Term Consequences of Defeat article.

The long and short of it is, that when the United States, as a Nation, befriends a People after rescuing them from a tyrant, you help them to stand up as a People to make their own decisions. And you do not leave them until their Government that is duly elected by the Free People of that Nation ask you to do so.

Leaving Friends and Allies to twist in the previous gale of Communism brought us millions dead, hundreds of thousands of refugees and an expanded push by the USSR to defeat the US via proxy war. That led to the USSR getting stuck in Afghanistan and the US being unable to deal with Nationalist Radical Islam and non-Nation State IslamoFascism. That brought multiple and repeated attacks upon the people, armed forces and actual soil of the United States. Running *then* has changed the world for the worse *now*. The barbarian butchers who do not fight war by civilized means have actually attacked here and home and their agents continue to flow into this Nation, barely checked through the normal screening processes and unchecked across the Southern US border.

Running emboldens the enemies of Freedom and Liberty and condemns millions of individuals, who we told that these were good things to fight for, to lives of chaos, destruction, loss of freedom and liberty and the resumption of those trying to build an Empire. Running in the face of those being murdered because they seek to be free is abdicating freedom and liberty at its source: Our collective belief in it.

When the Nation takes up a responsibility to help a People out from under a tyrant or rescue them from dire peril, it is dishonorable and disgusting to then throw them back into a worse situation and run from them so that freedom can die there because of the few scratches we have taken as a Nation. The winds of Communism are nothing compared to the enveloping maw of the maelstrom of Empire that seeks to make everyone subservient and slave to that Empire. Because when you do, you are admitting that Freedom and Liberty are not worth fighting for at ANY PRICE because YOU have no belief in it for individuals.

Running in a battle is cowardice.

It usually gets you killed, too.

Solution III - Find a Dictator!
Now isn't that a grand thing for the Republic of Free People to think of?

What part of 'rights of the individual' and 'representative democracy' go with Dictatorship?

And dictators have made the world such a nice place, now, haven't they? Freedom all over the Globe because of them! Right?

When you seek a 'man for good for our time' you are seeking a temporary solution that may make things a bit better for a few months or a year, but then devolve into authoritarian or totalitarian States. Lovely concept that some are putting forward with this, isn't it?

Maybe we need one of those dictators at home as We have proven so incapable of dealing with the world that no good solutions are put forth. Why not? If you propose it for one democracy, then it should be ok with Ours now, right?

Solution IV - Put the Iraqi Military in Charge!
And the fingers all point to Turkey as such a fine example of that! And they now have multiple, internal terrorist groups being funded by al Qaeda and Iran and home-grown Kurds so that bombings and assassinations are frequent there.

When their Army *does* step in, note that they just kill off the worst of those and the rest then spread and fester after 'normality' is resumed. There does, finally, come a time when the Turkish Military will be so divided inside itself that it will not cohere to do that thing. To date they have used a harsh brand of Nationalism to keep themselves whole as a military organization. But they still reflect their population and culture and that harsh Nationalism is being diluted by IslamoFascism and the time will come, possibly soon, when this temporary solution will get washed out in a large scale internal struggle.

Putting the Iraqi Military in charge is a direct 180 degree turn BACK to the Saddam era in conception and to the normal state of affairs in the Arab world. Say, that is so stable now, isn't it? All those other Arabs haven't been funding terrorist groups, insurgents and the such like now, have they?

The concept of a 'professional military' that adheres to its Nation and is under the control of the Civil Government is what we are trying to BUILD to COUNTER the rest of the Arab and Islamic view of the world. That means that when you put them in control, you have just broken every word given by the US to the Iraqi People and demonstrate that our holding these due process means of establishing a Government are just hot air and not firm ideals held by the Nation.

And remember, if you like it in Iraq, then why not here at home? We have whole slews of problems that are killing people due to illegal drugs, prostitution, and some number of folks here illegally that are diminishing the Nation and stealing good jobs from Americans who are ALREADY out of work. Why not put the military in charge as our elected leaders have proven so incapable of dealing with these things?

Or is it only dictatorship and authoritarianism abroad that you support?

And not the universal ideals of liberty, freedom and just government of, by and for the People.

Solution V - Lets call in the Enemy to HELP!
Now there's a concept for you!

Yes, the very folks supporting the end of Nation States and the building of Empire should be called in so they can tell US exactly what WE should do to help them on that path.

Such swell people are those proposing this!

My guess is that they would really love to have an Empire that opposes the United States and threatens liberty and freedom on a Global scale as that is what such a concept will get you.

Somehow that doesn't seem to be holding to much of anything in the way of universal ideals for humans, and much in the way of universal slavery.

Want to know how this sort of thing works out?

Ever hear of 'The Sudetenland'?

'Peace in Our Time'?

It is appeasement. And leads to worse ends *sooner* rather than later.

None of these conceptions actually attempts to address the ideals that the United States holds in making it possible to have Freedom and Liberty.

And the #1 most reprehensible thing I hear are those who purport that the lives of those lost fighting to gain and retain liberty are lost 'in vain'.

'It isn't worth the cost.'

Strangely, those that founded this Nation paid a higher and dearer cost than has ever been inflicted upon the United States thereafter. 10% of the Nation dead. 15% fled to other places.

And 75% who mourned that cost and realized that Liberty and Freedom come at a very high price.

The cost of not doing so is to lose both Freedom and Liberty and the goal of democracy which is to support BOTH. Using those dying to create a Free Nation is cowardice on Our part in not supporting those who fight to be Free.

In this grand and global village, we hear the outcries of those being slaughtered by barbarians wishing to rule by force.

I find it strange that there are those in a Nation of Free People willing to start pulling out the shackles so that more can be enslaved and killed. While the enemies of the People are measuring Our throats and limbs and see those same shackles as a fine fit.

For us.

28 November 2006

Finding the mentioned, but not pointed out

For me the past few days have been tiring, as I have been refreshing my observation skills and learning how to find things that just don't want to be found. And some of that deals with Syria and its fun with WMDs. One of the fun tidbits I learned is that Syria has NOT signed the chemical weapons convention treaty, so they are free to deploy all sorts of lovely toxins at their beck and call. What is it with these Ba'athists and chemical weapons, anyways?

Be that as it may, I found a Lebanese site trying to expose the Syrian regime's long-term goals of WMDs. And they have this little lovely page on someone who got a Syrian journalist's notes on three facilities out so that the world could learn a bit more of what Syria was doing and where. The english translation with hand drawn map goes like this:

Nizar Nayuf (Nayyouf-Nayyuf), a Syrian journalist who recently defected from Syria to Western Europe and is known for bravely challenging the Syrian regime, said in a letter Monday, January 5, to Dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf,” that he knows the three sites where Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are kept. The storage places are:
-1- Tunnels dug under the town of al-Baida near the city of Hama in northern Syria. These tunnels are an integral part of an underground factory, built by the North Koreans, for producing Syrian Scud missiles. Iraqi chemical weapons and long-range missiles are stored in these tunnels.

-2- The village of Tal Snan, north of the town of Salamija, where there is a big Syrian air force camp. Vital parts of Iraq's WMD are stored there.

-3-. The city of Sjinsjar on the Syrian border with the Lebanon, south of Homs city.

Nayouf writes that the transfer of Iraqi WMD to Syria was organized by the commanders of Saddam Hussein's Special Republican Guard, including General Shalish, with the help of Assif Shoakat , Bashar Assad's cousin. Shoakat is the CEO of Bhaha, an import/export company owned by the Assad family.

In February 2003, a month before America's invasion in Iraq, very few are aware about the efforts to bring the Weapons of Mass Destruction from Iraq to Syria, and the personal involvement of Bashar Assad and his family in the operation. Nayouf, who has won prizes for journalistic integrity, says he wrote his letter because he has terminal cancer.
Well it sounded a bit problematical, to be sure, but this is the era of DIY INTEL Analysis via IMINT and multiple sources, so I decided to take a look. A quick check on GlobalSecurity.com and a few of the linked documents so that I understood the kind of place that I was looking for and then I got Google Earth up and running, made sure to turn on the Community Layers and found the last site south of Homs immediately. That said it was described in a few documents and someone else had found it first.

Cerin plant, south of Homs, Syria
So, one down, two to go!

Now, heading to the first site I found the imagery to be far less than satisfactory, and I knew it would be a tough job, so I put that off. When you are working with color blobs instead of nice, nead well defined shapes, you are really at a huge loss when doing imagery analysis. Thus I wandered off to the area between Hama and Salamiyah, which looked like this when I got there:

Which didn't look so great, really. So I wandered down and found that someone had left a big WELCOME written in English on a hillside. Well, that had been identified already, so I scanned around a bit more and found a second WELCOME!

Now I never knew that the folks in Syria were so welcoming in trying to get attention from satellites in orbit! So, what does one do when they have two points? Well, for me you get the idea that this is one leg of a triangle and you should check out where the other point would lay. And so I did that to the south... and nothing, just fields. But to the north... well it got interesting.

Now, being a gamer I immediately picked up on the distributed outlay, all the nice neat rows of vehicles and the controlled access point to the East. Looked like a military base! So a closer examination of the vehicles was necessary.

Now, you can clearly see what appear to be turrets with a major weapon system barrel sticking out of it. Those are all over the place! So, tagged this as a military base and knew I was close to the chemical weapons facility, if the report was accurate. But before I did that, I tilted the camera to get a perspective view, and that confirmed this to be a base, in my eyes.

Clearly this was situated between two major rises to the north and south, so that easy overland access was restricted. Definitely a military base and somewhat active, too.

From there I looked south and came to this lovely area:

And yes, something just didn't look 'right'. Those well defined dark areas spaced so evenly just didn't look like normal, natural shadows from buildings.

No, not like buildings at all, really. And so here is where tilting comes in so very handy.

Yes, your eyes do NOT decieve you: those are hardened tunnel entrances. There is a complex dug into the hills here.

I do not want to tell you how much I would have loved to have this sort of capability 10 years ago! Amazing! So I tagged this site and started doing hours of endless research on the first site.

Finding Masayaf I had done before, and let me give you the image. And, no, it does not resolve better than this... getting closer just shows the pixelation. The underlying image is junk.

Time to hunt for the town that isn't there! Actually finding al-Baida, took a bit of doing and there is a mountain with the same name phonetically further NORTH in the valley, about 8 km or so. There is also another similar named mountain near Damascus, a couple of hundred clicks away. Neither would do.

I know.

I checked them out.

Always check up on these leads, and in the Middle East phonetic spellings get you multiple similar names. I have been trying to pin down dar al-Hajar which is also: dar al-Hadjar, Al Hajjar, El Hajer, dayr el-Hajar, and dar al-Jajar. I have found that place, but it doesn't look like a nuclear research lab to me. None of them.

So, back to the looking for al-Baida!

Now, search engines are your friends if you just keep hitting them with different approaches and clicking through a few levels of junk. Finally, on page 4 or 5 of my 9th go-around I ran across this page which claimed to be the town page for Al Bayda. I had to look *that* name up and I think it was satelliteviews that finally got me actual image and coordinates for it. And it fit, more or less, with where it was described to be.

It's in there, somewhere.

So that was a good, first tentative step... but the imagery sucks. Clearly, it is awful and I was overjoyed to get TWO shots of the perspective shots of the town from a nearby hill at the town's webpage!
al-Bayda, 1975

al-Bayda, 2005

Ok, they don't do much good, do they? No real landmarks to tie to in the very coarse imagery and the roads are so non-defined that the photos bear no similarity to what is in Google Earth. These high quality images do NOT have enough tie points for me to definitively say, for my purposes, that I had found the town of al-Baida. And so I searched.

And searched.

And searched.

And then I started using Masayaf to see if I could get *anything* nearby. And with the right mixture of keywords I was able to find someone at Flickr that had a PANORAMIC shot of Masayaf! Thank you, DWinton! I pulled down the hi-resolution of THAT and it was beautiful! I will post it here, but blogspot will reduce it... hit the link to get the original. It is a work of art!

Masayaf from Sheikh Ghadban
Immediately you can identify the twisting roads in the forest and start doing the 'by-eye' ID of it on the image. Plus, you can even see the hill where the OTHER two were taken from! More than one could ask for, really. And to confirm it?
You REPLICATE the exact same shot as best you can. Spent a good hour fiddling to get that done. Mind you, with the limitations in ground imagery and draping it on the underlying terrain elevation data it isn't so hot, but the general outlines and 'lay of the land' plus the directivity of the roads confirm it. Al Bayda has been found!

I call this 0.80 certainty for the town, itself. The first hand account has proven to be highly accurate at least to 0.75 to 0.80, too, up to this point. So the *possibility* for a secret CW site here is in the 0.60 range or so. The imagery, however, is junk and will not yield up that information for certainty to be put in play. It is highly possible and maybe even *probable* but there needs to be a third confirming source, like a photo taken from the valley looking *up* to the mountains with a glimpse of a dark overhang tunnel entrance. No luck on that.

So there ends my quest of the last few days. Sharpening my imagry analyst skills to start taking on the Eastern Part of Syria. And the hunt for the nuclear group and their brand-new facility that has gone up the past few years. I am sure other weird things will be seen.

27 November 2006

The poor AP, can't take a long war!

The following was put in by my lonesome as a comment at GatewayPundit's on the post about the AP and how the war in Iraq has taken so long! Longer than WWII! Ahhhhh... yes... and so it goes, thusly, a spelling error cleaned up:

Well, lets see, from my earlier review of war lengths that the Nation has been involved in and the handy-dandy days between dates calculator we can see that on 27 NOV 2006 we are 1,508 days since the initial authorization of the use of force against Iraq! Take off 202 days until we actually rendered the Iraqi Military useless and you have 1,306 days since the end of hostilities.

How does this stack up?

From start of the American Revolutionary War to the signing of the final Peace Treaty was 3,192 days, although the last British forces to leave had been at the 3,142 day mark. Mind you the actual ratification of the Constitution took until 5,068 days after the first shots rang out in hostility.

Ah, for the grand America that could get through THAT to be born!

We have PASSED the mark for the end of the First Barbary War! But still a few months away for the Second to end. Yes, more sticktoitiveness than a minor skirmish in a far off land against Islamic Pirates trying to exact tribute from the US! Those were short, harsh campaigns that never solved the problem... a bad Peace although they did stop bothering the US...

Still quite some ways from the time it took the Northwest Indian Wars to be brought to a semi-successful end: 3,846 days. And the treaties to end it were not so hot for the losers of that war.

Blasted past the War of 1812 and the Quasi-War long ago, so we are past those minor tussle times for ability to 'stick to the mission'. That said the US was a 'side-show' for the British, although they did burn down Washington, DC! We should have rebuilt that elsewhere...

And since note was made elsewhere about the casualties in the Mexican-American War, let it be known that little skirmishing only involved about 110,000 troops over 649 days. But that Republic was one without the professional Armed Forces setup of today. Can't blame them for lots of deaths as that was what war was about then. A short, harsh, conflict that didn't solve the problem...

We will slowly gain on the final surrender of the last Confederacy unit at 1,667 days, for that is the length of the US Civil War from start to last unit surrendering. Do note that the 'Reconstruction Era' and getting some sovereignty back to the Confederate States and then helping to actually rebuild in the face of 'Jim Crow' and segregation would take a century.

The continuous warfare against the Native American population in the US only took 27,520 days to do, but it was a 'low intensity conflict'. Like Iraq.

And the Philippine-American War only took 1,181 days to finish... but the insurgency went on until 1913 and Congress didn't think things were safe to hand back until 1916. A mere 6,415 days until we even *looked* at local sovereignty in-full and 3 years after the last insurgents had finally been found and put down. We actually did have to retake the place during WWII, and the Filipinos were *glad* to have us back as the Imperial Japanese demonstrated that there are, indeed, worse things in the world than the US.

The Boxer Rebellion only took 1,091 days for a coalition force to get done and the Peace imposed was awful. Short, harsh and a bad peace. That is very much a theme in warfare....

The US involvement to turn the tide to Armistice in WWI was only 584 days! The final Peace Treaty, which really did mess things up badly for future generations, was signed 2,300 days after the US involvement started. Short, harsh, and a bad set of Peace Treaties, leaving us with deep problems to this very day.

WWII from US entry to last Japanese surrender to China was 1,372 days. The US would keep a force stationed in Japan for another decade to ensure that they really got the hang of 'representative democracy'. So many folks forget that point and similar time spent in West Germany for same.

The Cold War took 15,889 days to finally go away, but the expenditure in time, effort, manpower and deaths in various conflicts, large and small, was a steady dripping on the National forehead. Somehow we got through that until the USSR disintegrated. From the inside. We did our part to hold the USSR in check, but only those inside the system could *end it*.

Korean war until the 'cease-fire': 1,128 days. Note that this war is NOT OVER and can be counted as being an 'active war' although not much goes on there, until recently. North Korea still thinks it is at war... 20,609 days after it started.

Viet Nam war from generally acknowledged start date under Eisenhower (though Truman had similar 'advisors' in there before that) to end: 6,999 days. And to reach that goal of 50,000 US dead at the rate we are going in Iraq will take 30-40 more years. Yes, the war dead are 'such a drain on the US' unlike the Mexican-American War or the Philippine-American War and counter-insurgency or any war the US has been involved in previously. And that running let three governments fall to Communism in the region and accrued millions dead due to America's running. At 8% of US GDP that was sustainable and the US was *still* outgrowing and outcompeting the rest of the world economically. The USSR was devoting 15-20% of their GDP to that conflict and their Nation was crumbling internally. US withdrawal let them know they could 'beat the US' at proxy war, and tried to get us involved in Afghanistan... which helped give rise to our current enemies...

The 1991 Gulf war: 209 days. And a horrible 'cease-fire' agreement that solved *nothing* and which diplomats booted around to no end and no agreement for over a decade. And 300,000 Shia dead who believed the US would step in to help them defeat Saddam because they had no capability to do so then.

Only 1,468 days from 9/11 to Constitutionally elected Parliament in Afghanistan! Hey! Iraq beat that at 1,161 days! And both have counter-insurgency campaigns because they are facing outside threats trying to destabilize their Nations. Just like the Philippines... where 'Blackjack' Pershing helped to set up a successful campaign that only took 12 years!

Say, why are WE so much better than America in the past, when THEY spent far more in proportion to the economy and population of the Nation to get things done than we have stomach for today?

What gives us the right to claim such lofty perch and then declare 'defeat' so fast? Short wars with a bad Peace gets you worse conflicts from that 'peace'. We now have enemies clearly stating the desire for Empire, destruction of liberty, the end of freedom, and looking to global domination. Do note that the US is in this actual place called Planet Earth. The same globe the enemy wishes to take over.

I would rather hunt down and get the butcher NOW, and suffer meager interest in that bill today, than to have the bill entire by butchers we run from come to visit that upon the Nation. For that is their stated goal.

Fight too tough for you?

Or freedom too heavy and you wish to have it removed from you?

And it is the exact same question, answer Yes or No to one, then the other must be answered likewise. Because that is how the enemy sees it and they now are looking to that singular answer.

When does America stop running?

When do we face the butchers and either cash them out or pay their price?
Not as link festooned as I normally do so that it could be posted in something less than a diurnal period.

Getting to today on Iran, starting in 2000

We have been seeing some events these past few months that give pause as to what, exactly, is going on in the world. Now, as there are a couple of central Nations involved, lets take a look at some of their past activities. Most of these are 'fill-in' specifics on the Transnational Terrorism concept which I have covered before to show how the interconnected Terrorist organizations work as an internetworked organizations with different end points, but common means and contacts.

What, you never read my Template of Terror and Web of the Supernote? For shame!!

Anyways, most of this is taken from the GlobalSecurity.org archives on Iran, and I am using their year 2000 archives as a starting point. Free information for those starved of context. See how Iran deals with Russia! See how Iran expands terrorism in South America! See the non-response of the Clinton Administration!

Realpolitik in action.... or inaction as the case may be.

Some lowlights of interest in the year 2000, possibly more to be added later.

This report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 3 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 1, from GlobalSecurity.org:

TEHRAN EXAMINES CHECHEN CONFLICT. Russia is now using fuel-air explosives to eliminate its opponents in southern Chechnya, the "Moscow Times" reported on 29 December, and on 1 January it used Scud missiles. In Grozny, the Chechen capital, Russian forces are trying to minimize their own casualties by using Chechen Interior Ministry troops and Russian Spetsnaz special forces.

Faced with these developments, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi on 28 December "expressed deep concern about escalation of fighting and bloodshed in Grozny," IRNA reported. Some Iranian concern also was expressed when Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Sredin and Iran's Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Safari met on 27 December, according to ITAR-TASS.

Official Russian statements shed no light on how long the conflict will last. Pro-Moscow Chechen politician Malik Saydullayev said the battle could take months rather than days, while Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said the Chechens are running out of ammunition and the campaign is proceeding as planned. Meanwhile, Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev estimates that there are 25,000-30,000 civilians in Grozny, according to RFE/RL Newsline.

Tehran's criticism of Moscow is still mild, and it continues to provide humanitarian aid. A shipment of 40 tons of food was sent to Makhachkala, according to a 20 December IRNA report. It was the third such shipment to the region. In general, it seem that there is little criticism or demonstrable disapproval of Moscow's actions. According to an editorial in the 29 December "Moscow Times," the World Bank just approved a $100 million low-interest loan for Russia.

Some Tehran newspapers are now blaming the U.S. for the Chechen conflict. The 27 December "Tehran Times" -- affiliated with the conservative Islamic Propagation Office -- cited an anonymous "foreign diplomat" who said that the Taliban and Qatar have been aiding the Chechens for "a long time" and "now NATO is also there, but through a secret mission." No further details were provided.

"Iran Daily", IRNA's English-language newspaper, said on 20 December that Russia's behavior is to be expected from a weakened superpower. It is, therefore, natural for Russia to resent American criticism of its behavior. For Russia, "Iran Daily" suggested, fighting in Chechnya is a proxy conflict for fighting "so-called American and international pressures." (Bill Samii)
Ah, so the United States is taking part in the Chechen conflict and fueling it! Remember, this is coming from that Nation that the ISG wishes to have take part in 'negotiations' over Iraq.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 17 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 3, GlobalSecurity.org:

NOBODY'S HAPPY: IRAN'S STANCE ON CHECHNYA. Russian armed forces entered Chechnya on 30 September, a week after its air force started bombing the Chechen capital, Grozny. And now, Russian troops are telling Western reporters that hundreds of soldiers are dying in the attempt to capture Grozny. Russian military analyst Pavel Felgengauer said, according to "The Guardian" on 11 January: "The Russian military is losing the initiative and the other side is taking the initiative. We're seeing a drastic change. The guerrillas are highly mobile. The Russians are making tactical mistakes and are too thinly spread."

This is not how the Russian military sees the situation, preferring instead to blame the presence of foreign mercenaries. The press center of the Russian Eastern Group of Federal Forces reported that "emissaries sent by [rebel field commander Shamil] Basayev and [rebel leader Movladi] Udugov are continuing to recruit mercenaries in the Near East. In the past week alone about 200 citizens of Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have arrived in Chechnya...[as have] several citizens of Ukraine and Pakistan," according to a Russian public television broadcast on 7 January. The Russian military also claimed that unofficial Chechen spokesman Movladi Udugov and Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsonov visited the Republic of Georgia to recruit members of the paramilitary Mkhedrioni with the promise of future assistance in settling the Abkhazia conflict (Chechens allegedly fought on the Abkhaz side in that conflict).

The Iranian Embassy in Moscow called these reports a "flagrant lie," Interfax reported on 7 January, saying: "Iran had expressed its respect for Russia's territorial integrity on many occasions and views the Chechen problem as Russia's internal affair." The Russian claims were rejected as slanderous and unfounded by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, also, according to Caucasus Press and "RFE/RL Newsline" on 7 January. Mkhedrioni Political Secretary Tornike Berishvili, furthermore, denied that any of his organization's members intend to fight on the side of the Chechens.

But the Russian military is not the only source suggesting there is an Iranian hand in the Chechen conflict. Lebanese officials learned, according to the 9 January "Sunday Telegraph," that many of Hizballah official Imad Mughniyah's operatives are going to Chechnya to fight and provide training, and Chechen commanders have visited Hizballah facilities in the Bekaa Valley. Also, Mughniyah, who was involved in many of the suicide bombings and kidnappings of the 1980s, was identified as the person responsible for a 3 January attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut, according to the "Sunday Telegraph."

The lone attacker was killed, but Lebanese security forces somehow learned that he was trained by Mughniyah. Mughniyah himself was to participate in the attack, but his paymasters in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards persuaded him to keep a low profile. The "Sunday Telegraph" goes on to say that Mughniyah is in contact with Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, and unnamed "Western intelligence experts" are concerned that these two will work together to aid the Chechens.

So far there is no reliable evidence of an Iranian hand in the Chechen conflict, although Iranian criticism of Russian conduct is still mild to non-existent. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi did say on 5 January, according to Iranian radio commentary the next day, that "the innocent Muslim people of Chechnya were the main victims of the bloody conflict. State radio expressed concern that even if the Russians succeed in capturing Grozny, the conflict will just become a guerrilla war. Iranian deputy parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani visited Moscow from 11-15 January. Beforehand, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that it "accepts the balanced position of the Iranian leadership on the issue of Chechnya," Interfax reported on 10 January. And even after the General Victor Kazantsev said all Chechen males aged 10 to 60 would be taken to a "filtration camp," the Iranian position remained unchanged.

While Russia may be satisfied with the Iranian position on Chechnya, other observers, such as former Hizballah official and founder of the "Revolution of the Hungry," Sheikh Subih Tufaili, are not. According to "Al-Mustaqbal" on 8 January, Tufaili addressed the issue by sending a message to "the resistance fighters and their supporters, 'particularly our people in Chechnya, who are being killed and exterminated before the eyes and the ears of all the peoples in the world, and we do not hear any word or protest or objection, not even from the Arab and Islamic capitals.'" The UK's "Al-Muhajiroun" condemned the Iranian regime's list of "crimes perpetrated against divine law," including its failure to support Muslims in Chechnya. (Bill Samii)
Ah, yes, Hezbollah the other 'voice of Iran'. So that puts in Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon and one outraged Sheikh who, if that last paragraph is read correctly is castigating Iran for not doing ENOUGH to supply them. Why, yes, I am so gladly soothed that Iran is a rational Nation....

From RFE/RL, 7 February 2000, Volume 3, Number 6, GlobalSecurity.org:

TEHRAN AT ODDS WITH ISLAMIC COMMUNITY ON CHECHNYA. Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov told an 18 January press briefing at RFE/RL that despite Moscow's massive propaganda effort, Chechnya is gaining international understanding and support. But this claim is undercut by Tehran's relatively subdued reaction to the war. Russia's official RIA-Novosti agency said it all on 14 January: "It is very important for Moscow that Iran has again confirmed its pro-Russian position on Chechnya... and recognizes its right to punish terrorists and bandits."

Tehran's stance stands in sharp contrast to criticism of Russian conduct from other parts of the Islamic world. For that matter, Iranian media and religious officials have not been taken in by Russian propaganda, although RIA-Novosti claimed on 27 January that "Iran's leading news media approve of [Tehran's] stance on the Chechnya problem." Yet Tehran's financial and military interests are overriding its humanitarian--and, as head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, religious responsibilities.

Some of the sharpest criticism came in an editorial in "Al-Sharq al-Awsat," an influential, Saudi-owned London daily whose editorials reflect official Saudi foreign policy views. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is guilty of "stabbing the Chechen Republic in the back," the Arabic daily said on 27 January, referring to his statements that the conflict is an internal Russian affair. As for the OIC trip to Moscow to review the humanitarian situation, the daily said it was timid and Kharrazi should have stayed home.

Commentary from other sources in the Islamic community was gentler with Tehran, but they obviously saw through Russian propaganda. Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, told Baku's ANS TV on 8 January that despite Russian statements to the contrary, "from the very beginning up to now the Russian empire has been against the Muslim religion and Muslims."

The Cairo-based World Islamic Council for Call and Relief condemned what it called Russian troops' "use of Chechen civilians as human shields in Grozny," and it appealed to Muslim countries and major powers to help bring about a halt to the fighting. Egyptian Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi urged Arab and Muslim countries to expel their Russian ambassadors and to recall their ambassadors from Moscow, Qatar's Al-Jazeera television reported on 17 January. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa commented on Chechnya after he met with Kharrazi in Davos, Switzerland, IRNA reported on 28 January. In what can be interpreted as a criticism of Iranian leadership of the OIC, Musa said that "In the future meeting of the OIC foreign ministers, top priority should be given to the Chechnya crisis, and it is essential that the Islamic states should adopt united stances on this issue."

From Kabul, Afghan Voice of Sharia radio said, "The Muslim country of Chechnya...is subject to fierce attacks by the barbaric Russians...The Russians...cannot tolerate the independence of the Muslim people of Chechnya." Kabul officially recognized the government of Chechnya in mid-January, and Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Motawakkil urged the rest of the Islamic community to do the same in a 27 January interview with "Al-Sharq al-Awsat."

Arab League Secretary-General Esmat Abdel Meguid told journalists that "an urgent political settlement to the Chechen crisis must be reached," AFP reported on 28 January. He called for a halt to the Russian invasion.

Some Iranian religious leaders, such as Ayatollah Abdul Vaez-Javadi-Amoli, are criticizing Russian conduct, too. Javadi-Amoli said during the 15 January Friday Prayers in Qom: "Finally, the Red Army should understand that it has failed. It should end the killing of innocent people, particularly Muslims in Chechnya, otherwise it will find itself in a worse situation." He continued: "[Russia] will be destroyed and disgraced if it continues with the killing of the innocent Muslims in Chechnya." After the Friday Prayers in Tehran, a demonstration was held in front of the Russian embassy and a protest letter was submitted to the ambassador, "Kayhan International" reported on 24 January. The letter said, "we savagely condemn the savage killings of defenseless people of Chechnya."

Although the Russian government has resorted to imprisoning journalists, such as RFE/RL's Andrei Babitsky, information about reality in Chechnya is still getting out and sections of the Iranian media are continuing their criticism of Russian conduct. On 15 January, the "Iran News" announced "credible reports of Russian atrocities." The conservative "Jomhuri-yi Islami" described the Russian Federation's acting president, Vladimir Putin, as the "butcher of Chechnya" on 6 January. "Kayhan International" reported on 22 January that Putin is prolonging the war because he fears a defeat will harm his March election bid. Even state television said on 19 July that the war was transforming from "a blitzkrieg to a war of attrition," and the Russians cannot differentiate between terrorists and ordinary people.

Tehran has stayed relatively silent on the issue from a unilateral perspective, although it is claiming otherwise. Kharrazi supposedly told visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, Iranian state radio reported on 27 January, that "Continuation of the war and bloodshed is a catastrophe unacceptable to the Islamic world and it would bring an unpleasant picture from Russia to the region and the Muslim world."

Moscow did not take this as a criticism, if Kharrazi actually said it. Karasin said, "The Iranian leadership is well aware of the entire complexity of this struggle, particularly after a link between the Chechen terrorists and Afghan Taliban has manifested itself," ITAR-TASS reported on 28 January. Moscow's "Kommersant" on 28 January did not interpret Kharrazi's statement as a criticism, either, and it suggested that Tehran is interested in opposing "militant Wahhabites and organized international terrorists," also.

Meanwhile, Iranian aid for Chechen refugees continues to flow, with the sixth planeload being delivered in the first week of February. Also, the Imam Khomeini Assistance Committee launched a charity appeal for aid donations for the refugees on 20 January. Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu recognized Iran as the top donor on 14 January. "Al-Sharq al-Awsat," however, said the Russian Federation is diverting the aid to people other than the Chechen refugees. (Bill Samii)
Of course you can't have a good Islamic brawl without lots of radicals getting involved! But here we do see that Russia sees the Taliban/al Qaeda influence and are telling Iran to either help or shut up, or else you WILL get a Wahhabi radicalized region here. This, of course, does not help matters at all, as we shall see.

From Voice of America 22 FEB 2000, US Senate on Iran purchasing Russian missile technology, GlobalSecurity.org:

Despite the elections that put reformers in control of Iran's parliament, Congress is far from ready to ease pressure on the Tehran government.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says the recent voting will have no immediate impact on what he calls an alarming potential threat from Iranian missiles.

/// LOTT ACT ///

Iran's leaders, now and in the future, would be in the possession of nuclear-tipped ICBMs, capable of reaching Washington or Los Angeles or New York. America's security and that of our friends and allies in the region would be unalterably affected by such a horrific development. Yet that day of reckoning is coming, and much sooner than we prefer, unless something is done.
/// END ACT ///

U-S intelligence agencies do not believe Iran has nuclear warheads. But officials have voiced concern about the country's nuclear and missile programs -- and the support they receive from other states.

The Senate bill would hit hardest at Russia, where companies, labs and other entities are believed to be funneling technology to Iran. The measure would stop certain payments to the Russian space agency for work on the space station unless the agency cooperates in halting the traffic. Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman says Moscow has so far done little.


We are serious about this, that the time for hit-and-miss, slower progress, bob-and-weave progress in shutting off Russian assistance to Iran for the development of these dangerous programs is over.
/// END ACT ///

Mr. Lieberman adds, the Clinton administration is not threatening a veto as it did when the House of Representatives approved a similar bill last September. If the Senate measure passes this week as expected, the two bills must be reconciled before a final version goes to the White House. (Signed)
22-Feb-2000 18:01 PM EDT (22-Feb-2000 2301 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
But then we knew all that already, didn't we? Russian missile technology sold to Iran and threatening local and international States via ballistic missiles. This bill passes the Senate to go to the House on 24 FEB 2000 and GlobalSecurity reports it to be 98-0. Congress passes a modified bill on 01 MAR 2000. Of course on 06 MAR 2000 Iran announces it has missile technology for sale.... thus President Clinton signs the act into law on 14 MAR 2000.

Then on 17 MAR 2000 the Administration via Madeiline Albright announces the easing of some domestic trade restrictions with Iran, on luxury goods! Ah, does anyone really miss the days of 'mixed messages' and 'Realpolitik'? Where Russia sells missile technology to Iran, then we give them castigation but then say: 'We don't like what you are doing, but would you please sell us some carpets and caviar?' Yes, those are two of the main goods mentioned by Madeiline Albright!

This report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 20 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 12, from GlobalSecurity.org:

TEHRAN'S OFFERS OF CHECHEN MEDIATION UNSATISFACTORY. The conflict in Chechnya, while overshadowed by other aspects of Iran's domestic and foreign affairs, continues to attract attention in Tehran. And Tehran's relatively muted stance on the conflict continues to receive some criticism at home and abroad (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 7 February 2000).

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told Qatar's Al-Jazeera television on 10 March that Tehran expected that guerrilla warfare would continue even after Grozny was recaptured by Russian armed forces. If Russia permits it, Iran, through the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is ready to broker a peace agreement. Kharrazi said that "The OIC is ready to continue its efforts and believes it is its duty to find a political solution to this crisis. If the Russians accept, we are ready to make moves toward that end."

Deputy Foreign Minister Sadeq Kharrazi told Russian Federation Council vice-speaker Vladimir Platonov that Iran is concerned about the fate of Chechen civilians, Interfax reported on 17 February. He urged Moscow to take note of international opinion and not to overlook Iran's potential as a mediator.

Moscow recognizes Iran's importance in Islamic public opinion, but it is not interested in its offers to mediate. Russian Minister for the Federation and Nationality Affairs Alexander Blokhin went to Tehran in the third week of March to meet with Foreign Minister Kharrazi, Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi and Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari. In a 14 March interview with RIA state news agency, Blokhin said Iran's understanding of the Caucasus situation is "essential." Iran's offer to mediate the conflict, however, never came up. Blokhin said "Iran's mediation was not under review since it is Tehran's firm position that the events in Chechnya is Russia's internal affair."

Yet Tehran's approach is not satisfactory for other foreign observers. Usamah al-Baz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's political adviser, "emphasized that the method of deploring and condemning aggression was not the ideal treatment of the tragedy of the Chechen people," Cairo's "al-Ahram" reported on 7 March. "Therefore," al-Baz said, "Egypt is conducting a serious dialogue with Russia."

The Lahore High Court Bar Association urged Pakistan's government to recognize Chechnya as an independent state, Islamabad's "Pakistan" daily reported on 18 February. The daily added that "It is not justifiable for the Islamic countries to turn their back on the Chechen nation in the name of their international expediencies. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates should launch a combined campaign to convince other Muslim countries to recognize Chechnya's independence."

Representatives of seven Muslim organizations in Azerbaijan issued a statement on 13 March calling on progressive forces in Russia and the international community to protest the genocide of the Chechen people, Turan news agency reported. And Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, complained to "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" that the Russian government and media are equating Islam and the Chechen nation to terrorism.

Some observers in Iran are also voicing dissatisfaction. "Kayhan International" an English-language daily connected with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office rejected Moscow's pretext for the conflict the bombings of several Moscow apartment blocks last summer. The daily said on 20 February that "the United Nations and other world bodies, including the Organization of the Islamic Conference, are being questioned over their seemingly [sic] indifference on the human catastrophe in Chechnya." "Moscow has to end the war. It should realize the truth that the world, particularly the Muslim world, cannot afford to remain indifferent to the atrocities of Russian troops against the defenseless and innocent civilians in Chechnya."

Meanwhile, suspicions that some Iranians are trying to join the Chechen combatants persist. An Iranian national (whose name does not sound very Iranian), Badr Nejad Mahmud Safar-ogli, was detained at the Yarag-Kazmalyar checkpoint for trying to leave Russia with false documents, and "his possible affiliation to Chechen rebels is now being checked up," ITAR-TASS reported on 12 March. And Tehran continues to provide humanitarian assistance for Chechens displaced by the conflict. Trucks carrying Iranian aid arrived in Tbilisi on 8 March, ITAR-TASS reported. (Bill Samii)
Interesting, is it not? Pressure to 'do something' and just stop sitting quietly by.

Now, do you remember that 'olive branch' to get luxury items from Iran? How do you think they responed? Well, here is the RFE/RL report of the reaction on 27 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 13, GlobalSecurity.org:

HOSTILE OFFICIAL REACTION TO ALBRIGHT SPEECH. Foreign observers and the Western media have commented extensively about the implications of U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright's 17 March speech on Iran, but official commentary from Tehran was fairly restrained initially. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response to the speech on 25 March, however, was openly hostile and seemed to dash hopes for a rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. in the near future. President Mohammad Khatami has remained silent on the subject thus far.

Albright's speech is seen by many in the West as an important step in the restoration of relations between Iran and the U.S. She announced that the U.S. will permit the import of some Iranian goods, facilitate contacts between Americans and Iranians, and increase efforts to settle outstanding legal claims. Albright also acknowledged the impact of the U.S. role in the 1953 ouster of Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadiq, and she admitted that the U.S. supported Iraq in its war with Iran.

Khamenei responded to Albright during a speech in Mashhad. He said that "The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United States to be their enemy because America's past behavior is full of acts of hostility and treason." Khamenei added that "The U.S. proposal is deceiving and aimed at continuing enmity with Iran." As for Albright's statements about events in 1953 and 1980-1988, they "came too late and can in no way compensate the damages caused to the Iranian nation."

Khamenei's speech seems to put the stamp of finality on the issue
, but there were some positive responses from Tehran beforehand. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said America can export grains and medicine to Iran (which it has been doing anyway), IRNA reported. And Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezai said the speech was "a new chapter" in the two country's relations, and he predicted major developments in the coming year, IRNA reported.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, of the parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, also welcomed aspects of the speech, but then he complained that "America's acts...are all negative...there has been no change in its policies." Larijani also criticized Albright's statement that Iran's last three elections (October 1998 Assembly of Experts election, February 1999 council elections, and February 2000 parliamentary elections) were increasingly democratic, because it implied that all the other elections were undemocratic. Larijani also complained about Albright's reference to the "Gulf," rather than the "Persian Gulf."

Supreme National Security Council secretary and deputy parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani told state radio on 18 March that, "On the whole, [Albright] has repeated the same old belligerent policies." Her comments about domestic Iranian politics, he said, constituted "improper interventions in Iran's internal affairs and system." Even the removal of some trade sanctions, Rohani said, is "not at all a positive [step]; it is a negative step, which smacks of another act of intervention by America in the internal affairs of Iran."

State radio said on 19 March that "Albright's speech shows that the U.S.A. is still pursuing its expansionist policies." And the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said that Albright's comments "are indicative of an intensifying conspiracy by the White House to create a series of crises in Iran," according to state television.

Some of Iran's neighbors, such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Armenia, welcomed the potential regional stability that improved U.S.-Iran relations could bring. Cairo's state-owned "al-Jumhuriyah," however, was less sanguine, warning on 19 March that "the Iranian desire to dominate the region has not withered yet." The Egyptian daily also wondered if Iran's attitude towards the Middle East Peace Process would change. Officials in the Israeli Prime Minister's office also questioned the wisdom of U.S. actions, telling the 20 March "Jerusalem Post" that "giving the Iranians the carrot does not work, and therefore by trying to encourage Iran with nice words and actions, the U.S. is making a grave mistake." An Israeli Foreign Ministry official, on the other hand, said U.S. actions are a good thing, but "there are many here who do not understand it and are frightened that when dialogue starts, issues we are concerned about will be left aside." (Bill Samii)
Now, that is what happens when 'Realpolitik' or 'pragmatic diplomacy' is used on Iran. She even glosses over the 'Arms for Hostages' scandal, because the Ollie North triangular trade of US TOW missiles went to IRAN during the Iran/Iraq war. Actually, the amount we gave Iraq was minuscule compared to Russia, France and China.

Be that as it may, these guys don't even accept an apology when it was offered to them! So 'Realpolitik' of them, no? And then to characterize a woman who was apparently lacking a spine of any sort in foreign affairs as 'belligerent'... well, that is very 'pragmatic' of them, diplomatically. And then, to top it all off, one of the leakiest Nations on the planet with its secrets is 'conspiring against Iran'? Really? Can I find those competent foreign policy folks, because they really do need to get into office! Anyone who can run a conspiracy in the US Government for more than a couple of years deserves to be voted into High Office! That is pure and unmitigated talent beyond compare.

Luckily Egypt knows it is in the cross-hairs of Iran and Israel will NOT let the US negotiate it away. Although with Ms. Albright around, anything could have happened.

Now about nuclear material, Iran gets a bit upset that Georgia had seized illegal uranium that Iran was trying to get out of the country. This report on RFE/RL 1 May 2000, Volume 3, Number 17, from GlobalSecurity.org:


Tehran's embassy in Georgia denied that 920 grams of illegal uranium seized in Ajaria last week were destined for Iran, Tbilisi's Prime-News reported on 27 April. Four people were detained in connection with smuggling uranium-238, which had been enriched with uranium-235 isotopes. U-235 is used for weapons and for power production. Four people were arrested in Ajaria last year for trying to smuggle uranium, amidst suspicions that Iran was the final buyer (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 1 November 1999).

Two days earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi complained that "One cannot but express dismay over the systematic denial of transfer of technology to developing non-nuclear weapon states ... and restrictive export control policies exercised by the nuclear suppliers," Reuters reported. He added that "The main objective of these regimes, disguised under the pretext of non-proliferation, is to secure the dominance and exclusive possession of nuclear technology by developed countries." Kharrazi went on to criticize the "unilateralist approach of certain states, with a less than desirable record on non-proliferation, who have arrogated to themselves the right to determine compliance by others and to take interventionist and extra-territorial measures to prevent access to peaceful nuclear technology" by NPT signatories.

Iran ratified the NPT in 1970. But some observers believe that Iran is trying to develop facilities that could be used in developing fissile materials. Furthermore, Tehran's many civilian and military cut-outs are used in the acquisition process. (Bill Samii)
Yes, Iran is complaining about the treaty it signed and is 'sticking to', but in name only. They are, apparently, trying any means to get enriched uranium to Iran and do not like being denied that openly or when they try to get it covertly. And we had still not learned about the AQ Khan network. Sobering, isn't it? And then to add insult to injury, in the same report we get this:


U.S. State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin on 25 April announced the lifting of economic sanctions against two Russian organizations that are suspected of helping Iran's missile development program. Rubin said that INOR Scientific Center and the Polyus Scientific Production Association had terminated their contacts with Iran, according to ITAR-TASS.

One day earlier, Rubin had said that the State Department will impose sanctions against Yuriy Savalyev, rector of St. Petersburgís Baltic State Technology University (BGTU). Savalyev will be sanctioned for contributing to Iran's missile development program, on the basis of a Russian Education Ministry investigation. Rubin said administrative action has been taken against Savalyev, specialized courses for the Iranians were cancelled, and training of Iranians at BGTU was cancelled.

The Iranian students' expulsion, Russian Education Minister Vladimir Filippov explained, does not mean that "foreign students will not study subjects connected to military technology in Russia". He added that a new plan for training foreign specialists was being developed, but Iranian rocket specialists were under a ban. The Iranian embassy in Moscow sent an official note to the BGTU expressing " its bewilderment caused by the cancellation of the program of training of specialists which our country badly needs," Moscow's NTV International reported on 25 April.

Russian Education Minister Vladimir Filippov provided some clarification on the nature of the "sanctions" against Savalyev in a 21 April interview with Moscow's official RIA information agency. Filippov said Savalyev "was given a severe reprimand and a warning," and his dismissal was considered. Furthermore, Savalyev will be ineligible for U.S. financial assistance, and U.S. funds will not be used to procure his research results, "Izvestiya" reported on 26 April.

Russia's Foreign Ministry questioned the U.S. sanctioning of Savalyev, "RFE/RL Newsline" reported on 27 April 2000. According to the ministry, the U.S. sanctions "go against the main principles of international law" and constitute "an obvious attempt to call into question the efficacy of measures already taken by Russian authorities against the rector." The sanctions against Savalyev show that "he has effectively been made a personal enemy of the United States, like the terrorist, Usamah Bin-Laden," Moscow's daily "Kommersant" claimed on 26 April. (Bill Samii)
Russia may be sending a message of sorts here... but do note that the guy getting the sanctions has ties to al Qaeda AND Iran. What a lovely state of affairs in Russia, no?

From an Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report on 21 August 2000, Volume 3, Number 32, at GlobalSecurity.org:

IRANIAN ASSISTANCE FOR CHECHEN REFUGEES. Two truckloads of humanitarian assistance for Chechen refugees, consisting of oil, flour, rice, cereals, soap, clothing, and footwear, will be sent to North Ossetia by Iran's Red Crescent Society on 14 August, IRNA reported a day earlier. The same day, Parviz Atagi, an Iranian citizen, was detained by Russian border guards as he tried to leave Chechnya, Itar-Tass reported. Atagi is suspected of involvement with Chechen military activities in the zone controlled by the Derbent detachment of the North Caucasian regional agency of the Russian Federal Border Service. (Bill Samii)
Yes, Iran working with the Chechens for more than 'humanitarian aid'. And another Iranian at the border stopped due to suspicious activities with the Chechen conflict.

Iran/Hezbollah - various locations

South America: From RFE/RL 10 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 2, GlobalSecurity.org:

COMPETITION AMONG SOUTH AMERICAN HIZBALLAH. Two Hizballah organization's are jockeying for dominance in the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, Asuncion's "ABC Color" reported on 5 January. Leader of the Ciudad del Este Islamic Education Center and the local Shia mosque, Said Mohammad Fahs represents the wing with a "conciliatory attitude with Western society." The opposing "radical wing" of Hizballah is led by Bilal Mohsen Wehbi, who is supposedly "pro-Iranian." Fahs survived an assassination attempt by his opponents, so they tried to discredit him through blackmail. He told "ABC Color:" "First they wanted to kill me. ...now they are accusing me of being a child abuser and a homosexual. ...the Paraguayan Police must clarify this incident." Regional police cracked down on local Hizballah organizations on 22 December out of concern that they may be planning terrorist operations, and on the same day Iran announced its withdrawal from a Colombian slaughterhouse project (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999). (Bill Samii)
Such lovely people to have on the trail to the US border now, isn't it? And the Columbian work is just sheer coincidence, right?

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 17 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 3, GlobalSecurity.org:

ANGER OVER COLOMBIAN PROJECT. Reacting to a report that Colombia had banned Iranian participation in a slaughterhouse project due to U.S. pressure, "Tehran Times" -- a daily affiliated with the Islamic Propagation Office -- said on 10 January that "The U.S. move once more proves that Washington follows a policy of double-standard. Washington says something for international consumption but acts differently in reality."

The Iranian daily was reacting to a 6 January ABC News report that said U.S. congressional and military officials had persuaded the Colombians to back away from building a meat-packing plant and slaughterhouse in Colombia's Demilitarized Zone with Iranian participation. The location of the facility caused concern, because it is in a part of Colombia controlled by the anti-U.S. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the U.S. military is providing counterinsurgency training to the Colombian military.

According to ABC News, the U.S. government also was concerned that the facility would be used for terrorist-training. U.S. concerns are not baseless. Similar facilities were used by Iran in Bosnia and Romania as cover for intelligence operations. There also was concern that the FARC or Iranians operating with it might link up with Hizballah organizations operating in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999). (Bill Samii)
All of this for a mere slaughterhouse, mind you. That would serve as a cover for training Hezbollah with FARC. This is no surprise, as the capabilities of Hezbollah in Lebanon this past year demonstrated advanced training, but of a limited sort.

From RFE/RL 21 February 2000, Volume 3, Number 8, GlobalSecurity.org:

WHY COLOMBIAN BEEF? Iran imported about 200,000 tons of beef annually, IRNA reported on 10 February, but it will no longer need to do so. The Construction Jihad Ministry's Deputy Minister for Livestock Affairs, Ahmad Kabiri, said Iran "has attained self-sufficiency in production of major animal products." Kabiri added that Iran can now export its surplus cattle. Which makes one ask why Iran was so keen to build a slaughterhouse and meat-packing plant in Colombia (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999). A Colombian official had said the project was intended to sell 20,000 tons of meat per year to Iran, Santa Fe de Bogota's "Semana" reported last November. (Bill Samii)
Iran will be EXPORTING beef? So, uh, why the slaughterhouse in Columbia? I mean, this isn't like Japanese beer fed beef, is it?

Turkey: From RFE/RL 31 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 5, GlobalSecurity.org:

TURKS ACCUSE IRAN OF TIES TO TURKISH HIZBULLAH. Ankara's recent crackdown on Turkey's Hizbullah, marked by a gun battle in Istanbul, the exhumation of Hizbullah's victims, and mass arrests of suspected Hizbullah members, has led to accusations and counteraccusations on the origins of the organization. One school of thought blames the Turkish military for supporting Hizbullah in its early days, while another blames Iran for Hizbullah's activities.

Developing from student groups founded by ethnic Kurds in the 1970s, and motivated by the example of Iran's Islamic revolution, Hizbullah emerged in the 1980s as a promoter of a Sharia state. This contrasted with the other militant Kurdish organization, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which promoted Marxism and atheism. The Turkish military, which was then waging a campaign against the PKK, encouraged Hizbullah actions against the PKK, according to some Western and Turkish sources. Mohammad Noureddin, an Arab expert on Turkish affairs, writes in the 25 January "Al-Mustaqbal" that Hizbullah activities were coordinated by Turkish intelligence officer Mahmut Yildrim (a.k.a. Yeshil), and a journalist who documented training of Hizbullah personnel at a Turkish Special Forces base in Diyarbakir was murdered.

Members of the Islamist Virtue Party also claim there is a government-Hizbullah linkage, and they are demanding an official investigation, "Hurriyet" reported on 24 January. Also, Eyup Karageci, deputy leader of the Hadep (People's Democracy Party), requested establishment of an investigative commission, the Germany-based Kurdish newspaper "Ozgur Politika" reported on 24 January.

But there also are reports that Hizbullah actually cooperates with the PKK against the Turkish state. Furthermore, some sources in Turkey have accused Iran of supporting Hizbullah (see, for example, "RFE/RL Iran Report," 26 July 1999). When asked about Iran-Hizbullah links at a 20 January press conference, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel said: "Unless there is solid evidence of a link, we shouldn't allow such statements to hurt our relations with Iran." He continued, Ankara's semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on 20 January: "Right now we have no solid evidence to ask for an explanation from Iran."

Evidence might be the statement of Edip Gurmus, a Hizbullah militant who was captured recently. He said Hizbullah has never been short of funds, and arms from Russia were shipped to Hizbullah at its camps in Iran. Gurmus added that he trained near Qom, Istanbul's "Milliyet" reported on 21 January. Gurmus said he met officials from Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and they provided Hizbullah with funds, forged passports, and identity cards. Diyarbakir's state of emergency regional governor, Gokhan Aydiner, also said Hizbullah personnel are trained in Iran, Anatolia reported on 20 January. He went on to say that "some members of the Hizbullah organization have been engaged in espionage on behalf of Iran."

And if the reports of recent Hizbullah-PKK cooperation are true, then the 26 January capture of six PKK members adds to the accusations of an Iranian link. The Adana Governor's Office said the PKK terrorists had come to Adana after receiving training in Iran, according to Anatolia. During their interrogation they said they planned to bomb tourist areas but then changed their minds.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, who was visiting Turkey during the crackdown on Hizbullah, rejected accusations of Iranian support for the organization. "Hurriyet" columnist Oktay Eksi suggested on 20 January that Kharrazi visit the MOIS headquarters when he gets to Tehran, "and if he finds a truthful official he would definitely learn the truth."

Writing in "Al-Mustaqbal," Mohammad Noureddin suggested the real problem is the Turkish state's fear of political Islam and its possible intention of eliminating the Islamist Virtue Party in order to facilitate entry in Europe. This was partially corroborated by Ecevit's 27 January statement: "The Hizbullah incident has shown what ugly and painful developments using religion as a tool of politics and the abuse of faith can lead to." (Bill Samii)
'Islamist Virtue Party'? Pray tell, what are those virtues? Be that as it may we have one of those nefarious organizations started by one group of idealists, compromised by the State for its own ends, then compromised by radicalists and foreign Governments to do their dirty work. That is how you get Kurds against Turks with Russian and Iranian help! Lovely, isn't it?

Then a bit later on RFE/RL on 15 May 2000, Volume 3, Number 19, from GobalSecurity.org, we get this bit of news on Turkey and Iran:
MORE COMPLICATIONS IN RELATIONS WITH TURKEY. As Turkey's new president, Necdet Sezer, planned to visit Iran, the Turkish media published reports linking Tehran with the assassination of journalist Ugur Mumcu. Statements from Ankara and developments in Iran, however, indicate that Turkey is unwilling to let a murder seven years ago thwart its desire to head the Organization of the Islamic Conference or ruin relations with its eastern neighbor.

The case of the Mumcu assassination resurfaced on 6 May, when nine terrorists were arrested in Turkey, Ankara State Security Court Prosecutor Hamza Keles told Anatolia news agency on 8 May. They allegedly belonged to the illegal Salam organization. The suspects in the Mumcu murder, Tel Aviv's "Maariv" reported on 9 May, are also responsible for killing a security officer at Israel's embassy in Turkey and U.S. officer John Maverick.

Turkish officials would not discuss the case in any detail because the investigation was continuing. Justice Minister Hikmet Sami refused to predict what action Turkey would take if an Iranian connection was proven, because "bilateral relations are an extremely sensitive issue," but "committing such murder can, in no way, be tolerated." Unnamed sources said that Ankara was practicing restraint in light of the factional struggle occurring in Tehran. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan also refused to answer questions about the case during a 9 May press conference. On 10 May, Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli said that there is no evidence to support allegations of Iranian involvement.

The Turkish media, however, did not feel constrained. The semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on 9 May that 107 people were arrested in nine provinces in an operation against the illegal Tevhid (Unification) organization, and a file is being prepared about the Iranians involved in the Mumcu case. Anatolia went on to say that Ankara will ask Tehran to extradite them. Istanbul's "Hurriyet" daily gave a detailed report on the case on 11 May, in which it reported that the car bomb which killed Mumcu was planted by experts from Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security. It went on to say that the nine men arrested for the Mumcu murder had been to Iran 40-50 times since 1980, and they identified the camps in which they were trained. Turkish Foreign Ministry official Farak Logoglu received Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Hussein Lavasani and demanded an explanation, and he also complained about Iranian support for the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), "Hurriyet" reported. (Lavasani later denied that the Mumcu case was discussed, Anatolia reported.)

Sources in both Iran and in Turkey have denounced the allegations about Tehran's involvement as an attempt to ruin the two countries' relations. "Alien affiliated circles in Turkey plan to damage the developing relations between Tehran and Ankara," Iranian state radio said on 9 May. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on 11 May that "It is obvious that the ups and downs in Iran-Turkey relations are created by those [countries] which oppose the two countries' ties." Khorasan parliamentarian Mohammad Azimi said that "espionage organizations and international Zionism" were trying to ruin the relationship, the 11 May "Tehran Times" reported.

Turkish Labor Party leader Dogu Perincek said that a "four-person Super NATO team" murdered Mumcu, Anatolia reported on 8 May. Columnist Cengiz Candar wrote in the 9 May "Sabah" daily that reports about the Mumcu case seem to surface often, especially before Turkish officials visit Iran. Virtue Party leader Recai Kutan said "One should also not opt for immediately accusing a neighboring country," Anatolia reported. And former Turkish intelligence officer Mahir Kaynak told Istanbul's Kanal 7 on 11 May that he suspected the story was planted by Israel.

If the allegations of Iranian involvement in the Mumcu murder were meant to ruin Iran and Turkey's relationship, they have not been very successful. Turkish Foreign Ministry special envoy Yasar Yakis called on Kharrazi on 11 May and requested Iranian support for Turkey's nomination as Secretary-General of the OIC, IRNA reported. A customs memorandum between the two countries was signed on 13 May. Also, Turkey's Trebizon Province and Iran's Zanjan Province signed an economic protocol on 9 May. (Bill Samii)
Are we seeing something of a trend here, by any chance? Virtue Party covering for murder done by trained agents of Iran. And funding for insurgents both Kurdish and religious in Turkey. Not a good sign if you are Turkey.

Lebanon: Iran trains Hezbollah and is joyous after Israel announces full withdrawal from Lebanon. From RFE/RL on 29 May 2000 , Volume 3 , Number 21, GlobalSecurity.org :
IRAN WELCOMES ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL... As the Israeli Army withdraws from southern Lebanon after almost 20 years of occupation, followed closely by members of the South Lebanon Army, Hizballah is taking control of the area, setting up roadblocks, searching for Israeli collaborators, and seizing discarded weapons and munitions. The pullout has been marked by scenes of jubilation among the Lebanese people, and officials in Tehran are just as happy.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a 25 May message that "this victory revealed that the solution to the bullying and atrocities of the usurper Zionists is only in the logic of resistance, Jihad and devotion." Khamenei said the pullout shows how one must deal with Israel: "The victory of the Islamic Resistance and the honorable Hizballah organization in Lebanon and the success they brought to their nation teaches everyone that straight path towards freedom and independence requires but brave and justice seeking behavior of the youth based on faith and awareness."

President Mohammad Khatami said in a telephone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart, Emile Lahud, that the pullout is "a sign of the greatness and ceaseless efforts of the resistance, government, and nation of Lebanon. We hope to be a witness to the liberation of the remaining [occupied] territories." Lahud responded, according to IRNA, that "The victory of the withdrawal was realized in light of the unity of the entire people, government, resistance forces, the national army, and unsparing support of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria."

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi relayed his congratulations to Lebanese Premier Selim al-Hoss. Al-Hoss responded, according to IRNA: "We too offer felicitations to the Iranian nation and government on the liberation, because the Iranian leadership and people supported Lebanon and played a key role in the victory."

Kharrazi visited Lebanon on 25 May, and while speaking at a mosque in Bin Jbail, he made rather pro-Shia comments. Specifically, he lauded Hizballah's leadership, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri (a Shia), and paid tribute to Imam Musa Sadr (the Iranian-born founder of Amal, who gave the Lebanese Shia a sense of community in the 1960s and 1970s), IRNA reported. In the town of Ayn Ibl, however, Kharrazi gave a more rounded speech, according to Beirut radio, "I am extremely delighted with Lebanon's victory, which was achieved through the efforts of all its sects, Muslims and Christians. The pullout came under the intensity of the blows dealt by the brave Resistance. The Israeli occupation oppressed the entire population, Muslims and Christians."

The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, which has provided training and arms to Hizballah, and the Martyrs' Foundation, which has sponsored its Lebanese counterpart in providing social services, also relayed their congratulations. The IRGC statement, according to IRNA, said that "following two decades of violation against South Lebanon by the Zionist regime of Israel under the support of the global arrogance and at their head the United States, the Zionists were forced to leave ignominiously the South Lebanon due to the unflinching resistance by the Islamic movement."

Iran's ambassador in Beirut, Mohammad Ali Sobhani, also expressed pleasure with the pullout, and he visited southern Lebanon to congratulate the locals directly. He told Iranian state radio that this a great military victory for Hizballah and it shows the value of "resistance based on Islam."

HAMAS, the Iranian-supported Islamic Resistance Movement, congratulated Lebanon, its people, and the resistance, "led by the valiant heroes and mujahidin of Hizballah," too. "We likewise congratulate Syria and Iran and any other quarters that have stood by the reistance."

The Iranian people celebrated by chanting "God is great" from their rooftops on 24 May, according to IRNA. (Bill Samii)
What part of Iran training foreign troops is not understood here? Support Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Lahud.

IRAN/Other Problems
One of the great things was that the AQ Khan network was NOT unraveling at this point, so no one knew exactly what was going on, which is why this RFE/RL report on so troubling (27 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 13, GlobalSecurity.org):

ARMS PROCUREMENT MEETS SETBACKS. Aspects of Iran's weapons procurement program have had some legal problems recently. Japanese police accused Iran's former ambassador to Japan, Hussein Kazempur-Ardabili (currently a high-ranking adviser in the Foreign and Petroleum Ministries), and another Iranian diplomat of illegal weapons exports to Japan, Kyodo news service reported on 24 March. The Iranians are suspected of transferring 6.1 million yen (about $57,000) to the account of a Japanese trading firm called Sun Beam, which is suspected of shipping parts for anti-tank rocket launcher sights to Iran without proper export permits. The Japanese police said that the Iranian embassy has refused to cooperate with their investigation, citing diplomatic immunity.

Two Sun Beam officials pleaded guilty to shipping rocket launcher parts illegally, Kyodo news service and Tokyo's "Sankei Shimbun" reported on 14 March. The parts were shipped to an Iranian state enterprise called Iran Electronics Industries in 1995. One of the plaintiffs, Ichiro Takahashi, frequently traveled to Iran for direct negotiations. In 1996, Takahashi looked into shipping Chinese C-801 and C-802 anti-ship missiles to Iran at the request of Iranian businessman Massoud Momtahan. An arrest warrant is outstanding for Momtahan, Kyodo reported on 7 March.

The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office has launched an investigation of Eisen and Metallgrosshandel Fink GmbH in Boeblingen, Germany, according to the 13 March newsmagazine "Focus." The German firm allegedly bought more than 50 Lynx reconnaissance tanks from the Canadian army in 1993 and shipped them to Holland, from where they went to Iran. Another 40 tanks were shipped to Iran via Singapore. Company owner Gerhard Fink said that "I only found out later that the tanks were exported to Iran."

Eight officials from Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics are under a federal indictment in the U.S. for trying to obtain and smuggle out military secrets
, AP reported on 11 March. The Iranian officials live in Tehran and operate through the Engineering Consortium of Iran. One of those under indictment, Houshang Amir Bagheri, will appear on the U.S. Customs Service's "Ten Most Wanted" list. Bagheri worked in the Iranian embassy in Washington during the 1970s.

But not all Iranian procurement--both official and unofficial--efforts have ended so unsuccessfully. Russian Security Council secretary Sergei Ivanov promised that Moscow will fulfill all arms delivery contracts that were signed before 1995, Interfax reported on 14 March. Ivanov said the two largest agreements were signed in 1992 and 1993, and Russia is about to sign another contract for a Tu-334 aircraft plant and aircraft shipments. Ivanov added that "we have come to a full understanding with the Americans that we will make no new arms deals with Iran at the present time, but we will continue to fulfill the contracts concluded before the signing of the appropriate Gore-Chernomyrdin document in 1995."

A Spanish official brought 200 machine guns and 300 handguns, all of which are equipped with silencers, to Tehran, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 16 March. The daily said the weapons were put at the disposal of "an individual suspected of leading [hardline] pressure groups." Such groups have been linked with leading figures in the regime.

Finally, the case against Eli Kohen, an Israeli suspected of selling military equipment to Iran, has been closed, Tel Aviv's "Maariv" reported on 10 February. Kohen had sold armored personnel carriers, engines, and spare parts to a Dutch firm, which sold them to Iran. But according to a 1993 Canadian Army document, all the equipment was demilitarized. (Bill Samii)
Remember that Japan has a full commitment NOT to sell devices to proliferate nuclear weapons or missiles and is generally trying to act as an upstanding World Citizen. Not that Iran cares about *that*. But get a load of trans-shipping Chinese cruise missiles to Iran! That must have been some bit of negotiations to try and work out. Also note the 'flexible response foreign policy' of Russia and the non-reaction of the US to it. With Allies like these, who needs enemies?

[Taking a break, more when I have energy if needs be]

Some trends of note:

1) Open funding and training for Hezbollah. This is not a secret.

2) Open funding for Hamas.

3) Using civilian cover to expand terrorist/foreign legion capability, especially in South America.

4) Gaining influence with militant factions in Turkey to cause problems and undermine the government, while having a puppet party there to gloss over the involvment of Iran.

5) Russia getting involved with both al Qaeda and Iran and supplying both with knowledge and training. Further is the uneasy relationship via Chechenya, where Russia is starting to see that Iran works to fund insurgents to gain control of them.

6) Long-term Iranian nuclear goals and the general uneasy feeling that Iran has gotten its hands on nuclear technology and is seeking to advance it beyond any sort of civilian use.

7) Lont-term partnership with Syria in keeping Hezbollah going.