Monthly Archives: September 2007

IDF Raid in Syria Yields North Korean Nuclear Materials

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Early reports were extremely sketchy. Syria reported a violation of their airspace by Israeli military aircraft. Aerial munitions were used but no damage was reported. Syrian officials delayed on reporting the attack to the United Nations. What was the reason for their delay? Then, shortly after Syria reported the attack to the UN, the North Korean regime condemned Israel. Why did North Korea, a country that generally shuns the UN, voice their support for Syria?

Newspapers and blogs speculated the flights were conducted to gain information about Syria’s anti-aircraft systems or gather evidence that Syria was rearming Hezbollah. As Israeli officials maintained their silence, rumors circulated that an attack on a nuclear facility had occurred. North Korea was supplying Syria with nuclear technology. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Soldiers from an elite Israeli unit seized North Korean nuclear material from a secret Syrian military installation before it was bombed by IAF jets, a report by Britain’s Sunday Times wrote Saturday night, quoting “informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem.”

According to the sources, the alleged IAF attack was sanctioned by the US on September 6, after the Americans were given proof that the material was indeed nuclear-related.

The sources confirmed that the materials were tested after they were taken from Syria and were found to be of North Korean origin, which raised concerns that Syria may have been trying to come into the possession of nuclear arms.

The commandos, who, according to the report, belonged to the legendary General Staff’s Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal), may have been disguised in Syrian army uniforms. It was also stated that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who used to head the unit, personally oversaw the operation.

Israeli sources admitted that special forces had been accruing intelligence in Syria for several months, the report said, adding that evidence of North Korean activity at the installation was presented to President George Bush during the summer.

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The Times of London notes:

Today the site near Dayr az-Zawr lies in ruins after it was pounded by Israeli F15Is on September 6. Before the Israelis issued the order to strike, the commandos had secretly seized samples of nuclear material and taken them back into Israel for examination by scientists, the sources say. A laboratory confirmed that the unspecified material was North Korean in origin. America approved an attack.

News of the secret ground raid is the latest piece of the jigsaw to emerge about the mysterious Israeli airstrike. Israel has imposed a news blackout, but has not disguised its satisfaction with the mission. The incident also reveals the extent of the cooperation between America and Israel over nuclear-related security issues in the Middle East. The attack on what Israeli defence sources now call the “North Korean project” appears to be part of a wider, secret war against the nonconventional weapons ambitions of Syria and North Korea which, along with Iran, appears to have been forging a new “axis of evil”.

See also, “Israel, U.S., Shared Intelligence Before Raid.”

However, Syrian Information Minister Muhsin Bilal says there was no raid. Bilal

denied the reports that an elite IDF commando unit seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before the reported IAF overflight this month.

“These reports are not true. This is a baseless fabrication like the ones that have been spread against Iraq,” Bilal said in an interview with the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat published Monday.

9/11 “Truth” March in San Francisco, Anti-War Protest in Washington D.C., Anti-War “Soldier” Busted in Seattle

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As a former resident of San Francisco I know the city attracts a lot of kooks and misfits. And the kookiest of kooks these days are the truthers. Zombietime has some nice photographs of their recent march and demonstration in S.F. If any city would be friendly to these nuts, it is S.F. However, as you can tell by the photos, besides a few smelly hippies, a couple of superheroes and a gaggle of Paulistas, the gathering was pretty slim.

The truthers marched down Haight Street to the Power to the Peaceful demonstration, which was quite large and well attended. Then again, any gathering in Golden Gate Park is bound to attract the remnants of the summer of love and the leftover left. As far as these folks being peaceful, I don’t buy it and neither should you. In fact, many of the groups that sponsored the rally—a smattering of Maoists, Leninists, and Stalinists—support the overthrow of the government of the United States.

Similar groups of miscreants marched in Washington, D.C. last weekend at The World Can’t Wait demonstration. Too bad Zombie doesn’t have contacts on the East Coast. I’d like to see some photos that give a clear indication of who these people are. Zombie’s photos do an excellent job of that. One look at his pics and the lunacy of these individuals is made patently clear.

Meanwhile the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that a man pretending to be an army veteran, who took credit for “crimes” in Iraq that never actually occurred, has been sentenced to five months in prison:

Jesse MacBeth never was an Army Ranger, much less a corporal, never received a Purple Heart for wounds inflicted by a foreign foe, and neither saw nor participated in war crimes with fellow U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, claims for which he became a poster boy for the anti-war movement…

MacBeth’s is the latest case to be sentenced under “Operation Stolen Valor,” which uses the new Stolen Valor Act to go after people posing as veterans, who often festoon themselves with awards and invent tales of long-term injuries, often to fraudulently acquire veterans benefits…

A thin man who sat quietly looking down through most of the hearing, MacBeth apologized for snookering anti-war groups with his claims of killing unarmed, helpless civilians in Iraq — which were translated into Arabic and posted on the Internet — and also to U.S. soldiers whom he defamed.

MacBeth said he felt bad for what he did.

“I’m sorry not only for lying about everything and discrediting anti-war groups, but also for defaming the real heroes, the soldiers out there sacrificing for their country,” MacBeth said. “I was trying to pull a fast one, to make money to get off the streets.”

MacBeth fooled peace groups and alternative media to become something of an anti-war star over the past four years.

He claimed he witnessed and participated in war crimes in Iraq with other Rangers, slaughtering hundreds of unarmed men, women and children.

In a widely distributed Internet video translated into Arabic, Macbeth said. “We would burn their bodies … hang their bodies from the rafters in the mosque.”

Brother No. 2, Nuon Chea, Arrested in Kampuchea

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[from the Bangkok Post]

Phnom Penh (dpa) – Former top Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea will stay in jail for at least a year facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the court set up to bring justice to the victims of the regime said Friday.

In a lengthy press statement explaining the charges and the decision, co-investigating judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) You Bunleng and Marcel Lemonde issued a provisional detention order against the 82-year-old former Khmer Rouge security chief who is also known as Brother Number 2.

The statement said Nuon Chea was being charged with crimes against humanity which encompasses murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, enslavement and “other inhumane acts.”

War crimes was a charge based on the Geneva Convention and included wilful killing and wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury and wilful deprivation of rights to a fair trial, the statement said.

Co-investigators said they had decided to remand Nuon Chea because he posed a potential threat to witnesses.

“He is alleged to have, throughout Cambodia during the period April 17, 1975 to January 6, 1979 … planned, instigated, ordered, directed or otherwise aided and abetted in the commission of the aforementioned crimes, by exercising authority and effective control over the internal security apparatus of Democratic Kampuchea,” the statement said.

The only other man yet to be charged by the ECCC, former commandant of the notorious S-21 torture centre Duch, or Kang Keng Iev, alleged in 1999 that Nuon Chea instigated much of the killing during the Khmer Rouge’s Democratic Kampuchea regime.

Up to 2 million Cambodians died during the reign of the ultra-Maoists.

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More reports: AFP, AP, BBC, Reuters, World Politics Review.

Jane’s: Dozens of Iranians and Syrians died from poison gas missile blast

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[From Israel Insider]

Additional proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction was revealed Monday in a Jane’s Magazine report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas and VX gas.

The factory was created for the purpose of adapting ballistic missiles to carry chemical payloads, Jane’s claimed.

Although reports of the accident were circulated at the time, no details were released by the Syrian government, nor was the Iranian connection revealed.

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Students Know Less After 4 College Years

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[From The New York Sun]

By Annie Karni

Students at many of the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities are graduating with less knowledge of American history, government, and economics than they had as incoming freshmen, with Harvard University seniors scoring a “D+” average on a 60-question multiple-choice exam about civic literacy.

According to a report released yesterday by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the average college senior at the 50 colleges and universities polled did not earn a passing grade.

“At the most expensive colleges, they actually graduate knowing less,” the executive director of the Jack Miller Center at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Michael Ratliff, said. “Colleges and universities are not directing students to the courses that would educate them. We want to know whether after getting $300 billion to do their work, universities are actually educating their students.”

At universities such as Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Berkeley, seniors scored lower on the test, available here, than freshmen, living proof of the broadening relevancy of the old Harvard adage that the university is a storehouse of knowledge because “the freshmen bring so much and the seniors take away so little.”

The average foreign student studying in an American college learned nothing about the country’s history and its civic institutions, according to the study.

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Kian Tajbakhsh Released, Farnaz Azima Free, Ali Shakeri Remains in Prison

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Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planner affiliated with the George Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, was released from Iran’s notorious Evin prison today. He’s awaiting a judge’s permission to leave the country. Another Iranian-American, Farnaz Azima, had her passport returned Tuesday, after being prevented from leaving Iran for five months. Azima is a journalist for the Persian service of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was released in August. Ali Shakeri from the University of California, Irvine’s Center for Citizen Peacebuilding remains in Evin prison. All four were suspected of fomenting revolution in Iran, something they and their employers absolutely deny.

More here and here.

Ben Gidley: Social theory, the left, and terror

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[Hat tip to Bob from Brockley]

The new issue of Street Signs [pdf], the magazine of the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths College, is out. Have a look at Ben Gidley’s “Chicken’s coming home to roost: Social theory, the left, and terror,” on page 27.

Here is the first paragraph:

When the September 11 attacks on New York happened, I was in my office in the Laurie Grove Baths at CUCR, trying to finish a report that was overdue. A colleague, Garry Robson, came into my office to tell me what was happening. It seemed unreal and my first thought, of which I am now ashamed, was that this was a distraction I didn’t need. I went downstairs to the communal office where people were standing around the radio listening to events unfold, then after a while returned to my office to try to finish off the report. It was only when I arrived home and started to watch the images on television that it began to feel more real. And then it began to feel painfully real when I spoke on the telephone to my mother – a New Yorker transplanted to Yorkshire.