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REPORT: China Is Building Underground ‘Great Wall’ Against Nuke Attack

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 19-01-2011

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As President Obama chats and smiles with China’s President Hu, South Korea’s Chosun has an alarming report concerning China’s construction of a massive underground tunnel to store and hide nuclear weapons.   The goal is not only to conceal the size of their nuclear arsenal but also to create a system whereby they could “survive” a nuclear strike. Be sure to read the whole report. An excerpt:

“The Chinese Army is believed to have built an underground ‘Great Wall’ that stretches for more than 5,000 km in the Hebei region of northern China. Citing the People’s Liberation Army’s official newsletter, the Ta Kung Pao daily of Hong Kong on Saturday said China’s strategic missile squadron, the Second Artillery Division, built a massive underground tunnel to conceal nuclear weapons, including the Dongfeng 5 intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 13,000 km.

Since 1995, the Second Artillery Division has mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers to build a network of tunnels stretching for more than 5,000 km below the mountain regions of Hebei, China’s state-run CCTV reported. “A missile base has been built hundreds of meters underground and can withstand several nuclear attacks,” CCTV said. “People refer to the network of tunnels connecting to the missile base as the ‘Underground Great Wall.’” In March 2008, CCTV broadcast a documentary which revealed that the PLA had been building underground facilities enabling it to launch a counterstrike in case of a nuclear attack.”

Big Peace

New Proof The Stuxnet Computer Virus Slowing Down Iran’s Nuke Program Joint USA/Israeli Project

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-01-2011

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According to a top Computer expert from Germany the Stuxnet virus which as been wreaking havoc on the Iranian nuclear program is just as effective as a military strike. Actually it is more effective,  it has set back Iran’s quest for nuclear capability by at least two years which is the best that can be hoped for with a military strike. And it was done without all the “mess” and human suffering which comes with a military strike

Little by little scientists are beginning to understand Stuxnet a computer worm developed with the sole purpose of doing what sanctions were not able to do, slow down the Iranian march to nuclear weapons. During the past year, Stuxnet the computer worm with a message from the biblical Queen Esther, not only crippled Iran’s nuclear program but has caused  a major rethinking of computer security around the globe (if you want to know how Stuxnet works click here).

According to a report in the Sunday NY Times, Stuxnet was tested in the Dimona facility in Israel’s Negev desert. Dimona is the (officially non-existent)plant where Israel runs its (officially non-existent) nuclear weapons program

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Officially US and Israeli officials will not discuss what has been going in the middle of the Negev, but new clues point to the fact that thevirus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

In recent days, the retiring chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton separately announced that they believed Iran’s efforts had been set back by several years.  Clinton cited the “weak” sanctions, which have supposedly damaged Iran’s ability to buy components.  Dagan, told the Israeli Knesset in recent days that Iran had run into technological difficulties (Stuxnet) that could delay a bomb until 2015.

As the virus continues to infect Iranian computers computer experts across the world are trying to figure out where Stuxnet came from. There is nothing but circumstantial evidence and it all points to the US and Israel). For example

In early 2008 the German company Siemens cooperated with one of the United States’ premier national laboratories, in Idaho, to identify the vulnerabilities of computer controllers that the company sells to operate industrial machinery around the world — and that American intelligence agencies have identified as key equipment in Iran’s enrichment facilities. Seimens says that program was part of routine efforts to secure its products against cyberattacks. Nonetheless, it gave the Idaho National Laboratory — which is part of the Energy Department, responsible for America’s nuclear arms — the chance to identify well-hidden holes in the Siemens systems that were exploited the next year by Stuxnet.

There is also the fact that computer scientists who are analyzing the computer worm have found a file name that seemingly refers to the Biblical Queen Esther.  Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament narrative in which the Jewish Queen Esther pre-empts a Persian plot to kill all the Jews. One of the key files in Stuxnet was named “Myrtus” (myrtle) by the unknown designer. The biblical Esther’s original name was Hadassah, which is Hebrew for myrtle.

Officially, neither American nor Israeli officials will even utter the name of the malicious computer program, much less describe any role in designing it.

But Israeli officials grin widely when asked about its effects. Mr. Obama’s chief strategist for combating weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, sidestepped a Stuxnet question at a recent conference about Iran, but added with a smile: “I’m glad to hear they are having troubles with their centrifuge machines, and the U.S. and its allies are doing everything we can to make it more complicated.”

One interesting part of the program is that it was put in motion by President Bush. Yes liberals, this time you can say it, Bush did it.

The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said. Israel has long been seeking a way to cripple Iran’s capability without triggering the opprobrium, or the war, that might follow an overt military strike of the kind they conducted against nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Langner, who runs a small computer security company in a suburb of Hamburg, had his five employees focus on picking apart the code and running it on the series of Siemens controllers neatly stacked in racks, their lights blinking.


He quickly discovered that the worm only kicked into gear when it detected the presence of a specific configuration of controllers, running a set of processes that appear to exist only in a centrifuge plant. “The attackers took great care to make sure that only their designated targets were hit,” he said. “It was a marksman’s job.”

For example, one small section of the code appears designed to send commands to 984 machines linked together.

Curiously, when international inspectors visited Natanz in late 2009, they found that the Iranians had taken out of service a total of exactly 984 machines that had been running the previous summer.

Interesting coincidence?

But as Mr. Langner kept peeling back the layers, he found more — what he calls the “dual warhead.” One part of the program is designed to lie dormant for long periods, then speed up the machines so that the spinning rotors in the centrifuges wobble and then destroy themselves. Another part, called a “man in the middle” in the computer world, sends out those false sensor signals to make the system believe everything is running smoothly. That prevents a safety system from kicking in, which would shut down the plant before it could self-destruct.

“Code analysis makes it clear that Stuxnet is not about sending a message or proving a concept,” Mr. Langner later wrote. “It is about destroying its targets with utmost determination in military style.”

This was not the work of hackers, he quickly concluded. It had to be the work of someone who knew his way around the specific quirks of the Siemens controllers and had an intimate understanding of exactly how the Iranians had designed their enrichment operations.

The reason why Stuxnet had knowledge of the workings of the Iranian centrifuges may have to do with the fact that those same type of centrifuges showed up in Dimona.


The account starts in the Netherlands. In the 1970s, the Dutch designed a tall, thin machine for enriching uranium. As is well known, A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist working for the Dutch, stole the design and in 1976 fled to Pakistan.

The resulting machine, known as the P-1, for Pakistan’s first-generation centrifuge, helped the country get the bomb. And when Dr. Khan later founded an atomic black market, he illegally sold P-1’s to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.

The P-1 is more than six feet tall. Inside, a rotor of aluminum spins uranium gas to blinding speeds, slowly concentrating the rare part of the uranium that can fuel reactors and bombs.

How and when Israel obtained this kind of first-generation centrifuge remains unclear, whether from Europe, or the Khan network, or by other means. But nuclear experts agree that Dimona came to hold row upon row of spinning centrifuges.

“They’ve long been an important part of the complex,” said Avner Cohen, author of “The Worst-Kept Secret” (2010), a book about the Israeli bomb program, and a senior fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He added that Israeli intelligence had asked retired senior Dimona personnel to help on the Iranian issue, and that some apparently came from the enrichment program.

“I have no specific knowledge,” Dr. Cohen said of Israel and the Stuxnet worm. “But I see a strong Israeli signature and think that the centrifuge knowledge was critical.”

…Dr. Cohen said his sources told him that Israel succeeded — with great difficulty — in mastering the centrifuge technology. And the American expert in nuclear intelligence, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Israelis used machines of the P-1 style to test the effectiveness of Stuxnet.

The expert added that Israel worked in collaboration with the United States in targeting Iran, but that Washington was eager for “plausible deniability.”

One thing can’t be denied, the Stuxnet worm has been a major obstacle to Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons, saving Israel from having to attack Iran at least for a while.  Who ever developed the virus lets hope they are working on a follow-up because 2015 is not that far away.


Electrical problem forces Entergy nuke plant to operate at reduced power

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 11-01-2011

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Entergy’s Palisades nuclear power plant near South Haven has been operating at about half power since an electrical problem caused a cooling tower to stop functioning on Saturday.

Palisades operators declared an emergency early Saturday afternoon after a breaker shutdown resulted in smoke and “the loss of cooling water tower pumps and fans and subsequently a loss of one cooling tower,“ according to a report filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“Plant staff are working to determine what caused the problem, evaluate the damage and perform necessary repairs,“ NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mytling said.

Mytling said that the plant may be required to shut down if it does not ensure that electrical transformers are functioning properly and restore one of the two sources of offsite power within 72 hours.

The Palisades plant has been cited by the NRC for ongoing problems involving human error.

When operating at full capacity the nearly 40 year old plant generates 798 megawatts of power and sells all of it to Consumers Energy.

Michigan Messenger

Deputy PM: Iran’s nuke program delayed three years

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 29-12-2010

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From Reuters:

The United States and its allies have up to three years to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, which has been set back by technical difficulties and sanctions, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday.

Saying Iran remained his government’s biggest worry, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon did not mention possible unilateral military strikes by Israel, saying he hoped U.S.-led action against Tehran would be successful.

“I believe that this effort will grow, and will include areas beyond sanctions, to convince the Iranian regime that, effectively, it must choose between continuing to seek nuclear capability and surviving,” Yaalon told Israel Radio.

“I don’t know if it will happen in 2011 or in 2012, but we are talking in terms of the next three years.”

Yaalon, a former armed forces chief, noted Iran’s uranium enrichment plan had suffered setbacks. Some analysts have seen signs of foreign sabotage in incidents such as the corruption of Iranian computer networks by a virus.

“These difficulties postpone the timeline, of course. Thus we cannot talk about a ‘point of no return’. Iran does not currently have the ability to make a nuclear bomb on its own,” Yaalon said.

“I hope it won’t succeed at all and that the Western world’s effort will ultimately deny Iran a nuclear capability.”

This is a bigger delay than anything I had heard before from Stuxnet, at least (there might have been other successful operations that delayed the program further.)

Elder of Ziyon

Brace Yourselves: North Korea Preparing for Nuke Test

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-12-2010

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***Cross posted at News Real Blog***

Talk about North Korea being the most schizophrenic nation on earth.

First we had this:

HONG KONG, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) — North Korea has agreed to China’s proposal to hold emergency discussions among chief envoys to the six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament in a bid to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula, China’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Beijing proposed on Nov. 28 that the lead negotiators from the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia meet at an early date to discuss ways of easing inter-Korean tension sparked by the North’s shelling of a South Korean island.

“The agreement was reached when Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang last week,” Jiang Yu, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said in a regular press briefing…

And this:

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun will visit Moscow on Dec. 12-15 for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.

Lavrov invited Pak to discuss a plan for inter-ministerial exchange for 2011-2012, as well as economic projects.

“We stand for further development of the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries, which meet the core interests of our people and facilitate peace and prosperity in the region,” Pak was quoted by Interfax as saying.

He stressed that Pyongyang saw economic relations with Russia as a very important part of bilateral cooperation…

Sounds good, right?  I mean, except for the utter absence of any mention of the shelling of Yeonpyeong, which in itself is suspicious.  But what harm could come from NoKo “talking” to fellow Communists?

Think again:

The U.S. urgently sent its Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth to Seoul after North Korea unveiled a huge facility for uranium enrichment. A senior South Korean government official said Monday the rapid response came because the facility “highly likely” indicates a nuclear connection between the North and Iran.

According to South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies, the facility the North Koreans showed to nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker “appear similar in design to those used at Natanz, the Iranian nuclear fuel production site,” the New York Times said SundayIn March, Leonard Spector, the deputy director of the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said in a column on the center’s website North Korea delivered 45 tons of unenriched uranium concentrate known as “yellowcake” to Syria and subsequently moved the material to Iran via Turkey. A North Korea-Iran nuclear connection could gravely undermine international nonproliferation efforts, he added…

It gets worse:

North Korea has dug a new tunnel more than 500 m deep at a nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, intelligence sources said Tuesday. The North is also reportedly accelerating massive excavation work and construction of a new building at its main nuclear site in Yongbyon.

“North Korea seems to be busy digging even in winter when the ground is frozen” at Punggye-ri and Yongbyon, a South Korean intelligence officer said.

Based on an estimate of the amount of earth dug up, the intelligence officer speculated that the North has already dug a cave more than 500 m deep in Punggye-ri.

“If progress goes on at the current pace, the North will have dug a cave 1 km deep, the depth where it is possible to conduct a nuclear test, between March and May next year…”

And of course, we snapped into action:

The U.S. Air Force moved a WC-135 Constant Phoenix reconnaissance jet from the U.S. mainland to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, in September in preparation for another nuclear test by North Korea, the Sankei Shimbun reported Tuesday.

The WC-135, a modified aircraft, is able to detect nuclear explosions from the air by collecting samples from the atmosphere. It was stationed in Okinawa about a month before North Korea carried out its second nuclear test in May 2009. Apparently the U.S. believes that another nuclear test is imminent after unusual movements were detected at the North’s test site…

You don’t have to be a freakin’ genius to know what this is adding up to.  Just don’t  ask our leaders, who can’t tell a contrail from an enemy threat.

Brace yourselves, people; cloudy days ahead…

Keep the faith, bros, in all things courage, and no substitute for VICTORY.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Stuxnet Computer Virus Still Reeking Havoc on Iranian Nuke Computers

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 10-12-2010

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In a way Iran is like the character Rocky from the movies. Every time the Sylvester Stallone character would be in the middle of getting the crap beaten out of him, he would scream “you ain’t so bad,” but the audience would know better because they would see the blood flying every time the poor guy would get hit.

The computers running the centrifuges enriching uranium in Iran were infected by the Stuxnet computer work sometime last spring. As the virus has built its way throughout the Iranian computer network, it has caused the centrifuges to speed up and slow down in ways that burn them out causing them to break down. It is  the most sophisticated cyber-weapon ever created. Scientists who have examine  the worm describe it as a cyber-missile designed to penetrate advanced security systems. It targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran’s uranium processing center in Natanz, and it targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.

Last week Iranian President Ahmadinejad, after months of denials, reluctantly admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran’s nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled. His statement was like Rocky’s “You aint so bad!”

How do we know? Because a US site that has been studying the Stuxnet worm has been inundated with requests for information from Iran:

Eric Byres, a computer expert who has studied the worm, said his site was hit with a surge in traffic from Iran, meaning that efforts to get the two nuclear plants to function normally have failed. The web traffic, he says, shows Iran still hasn’t come to grips with the complexity of the malware that appears to be still infecting the systems at both Bashehr and Natanz.

“The effort has been stunning,” Byres said. “Two years ago American users on my site outnumbered Iranians by 100 to 1. Today we are close to a majority of Iranian users.”

He said that while there may be some individual computer owners from Iran looking for information about the virus, it was unlikely that they were responsible for the vast majority of the inquiries because the worm targeted only the two nuclear sites and did no damage to the thousands of other computers it infiltrated.

At one of the larger American web companies offering advice on how to eliminate the worm, traffic from Iran has swamped that of its largest user: the United States.

Perhaps more significantly, traffic from Tehran to the company’s site is now double that of New York City.

Ron Southworth, who runs the SCADA (the Supervisory Control and Data Access control system that the worm specifically targeted) list server, said that until two years ago he had clearly identified users from Iran, “but they all unsubscribed at about the same time.” Since the announcement of the Stuxnet malware, he said, he has seen a jump in users, but few openly from Iran. He suspects there is a cat-and-mouse game going on that involves hiding the e-mail addresses, but he said it was clear his site was being searched by a number of users who have gone to a great deal of effort to hide their country of origin.

Byres said there are a growing number of impostors signing on to Stuxnet security sites.

“I had one guy sign up who I knew and called him. He said it wasn’t his account. In another case a guy saying he was Israeli tried to sign up. He wasn’t.”

The implication, he says, is that such a massive effort is a sign of a coordinated effort.

Because it benignly hides in computers and back up systems,  some scientists have claimed that there is only one way of getting rid of the virus, throw out every computer involved with the Iranian nuclear program and get new ones, otherwise they will continually be re-infecting themselves. It is unlikely that Iran would take the time (a year or more) to take that drastic step.

No one knows for sure where the virus came from, but there is evidence that Israel is probably behind the Stuxnet worm, evidence of biblical proportions. If not Israel maybe the virus is a sign from God. Computer Scientists who are analyzing the computer worm have found a file name that seemingly refers to the Biblical Queen Esther, the heroine from the Book of Esther the Old Testament narrative in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them (ancient Persia is today’s Iran).

Wherever it came from, any virus that is slowing down Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is doing God’s work. Now if those same people could develop a virus that could shut down WikiLeaks. 


Too good to check: Stuxnet still out of control at Iranian nuke facilities

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 09-12-2010

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In which the second-greatest story ever told gets an epilogue. It’s like the Bible, book two! The American and European experts say their security websites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Nuke Talks With Iran: Time to Pull the (Economic) Plug

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-12-2010

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The United States and its allies are now sitting down—once again- with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program. What will happen? What should happen?

Two recent headlines give us some clues. Three years after the Israelis destroyed the Syrian Al-Kibar nuclear reactor, the regime in Damascus continues to stonewall the International Atomic Energy Administration. And 16 years after a supposed breakthrough agreement with North Korea, a “breathtaking” uranium enrichment program continues apace.

Here slow-dancing with Venezuela’s Chavez, Iran’s Ahmadinejad
has several back-door partners to denude current sanctions.

Iran specializes in playing diplomatic rope-a-dope. Its allies in China continue to supply it with missile and nuclear technology. Recent documents appear to confirm the sale of BM-25 rockets to Iran from North Korea. These missiles have a 4000 kilometer range. Iran is now capable of targeting Western Europe for the first time. The USAF says Iran will have the ability to launch an ICBM, or intercontinental ballistic missile, by 2015 along with an attached nuclear device.

Brazil and Turkey, with the tacit support of China, call for reprocessing some of Iran’s enriched uranium for medical isotopes. That proposal will be resurrected. A variation of this will include a repeat of the October 2009 proposal to move some significant portion of Iran’s enriched material out of the country to Russia, for example, also for reprocessing into medical isotopes.

What will happen? It may depend on how hard the bite is of the economic sanctions currently in place. Will these sanctions include action by China? What about Venezuela using its banking system to help Iran evade them? How serious will the “international community” be? And most importantly, how serious will Tehran take America’s ability—should it come to that—to “give ‘em a whoopin’” they richly deserve.

Apparently the US has only met “in part” the “international test” required by our allies to get serious about the Iranian threat. Many have expressed very serious concern. One key Middle East nation recommended we “cut off the head of the snake.” Others prayed the US or Israel would save the day by using military force to destroy as much of the Iranian nuclear program as possible. Our Secretary of Defense says that would delay an Iranian nuclear program for a few years but not much more. But others continue to ignore the Iranian threat.

To the extent the international sanctions against Iran are implemented in a serious manner, the Tehran regime may compromise. Some of the potential nuclear weapons material may be eliminated and transformed into isotopes. But the enrichment capability will probably remain because we have made it a “right” of countries to possess such technology.

Even as they are rogue states, described by our own state department as the premier sponsor of terrorism in the world today. Even as they kill American and coalition soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even as they, allied with Syria and Hezbollah, seek to further destroy whatever independence remains of the government of Lebanon. Even as they seek to destroy Israel.

Part of our problem is our belief in a totally false narrative. First, we repeatedly describe Tehran’s terrorist partner, Syria, as a potential “peace partner.” Second, we continue to believe terrorism is primarily caused by legitimate grievances held by the “Arab street” most importantly the lack of a Palestinian state. Third, we do not understand that a poisonous coalition of states, intelligence services, terror groups, shadowy financiers and jihadi recruitment centers camouflaged as mosques and madrassas, are at war with us.. Fourth, we continue to believe that most terrorist attacks directed at the US have been carried out by loose bands of individuals angry at our culture, power and foreign policy, randomly attacking targets of convenience.

What we have forgotten is much like the Cold War, terrorism is a policy directed against the West and NATO and its allies, including Israel, as a means of achieving not only hegemonic goals but also revenge. We think Al Qaeda is the major threat when all terrorist attacks prior to the Embassy Bombings in Africa in 1998 were never attributed to Al Qaeda.

But Beirut, Lockerbie, Berlin, Oklahoma City, Long Island, World Trade Center 93, to name but the most notable terror attacks, were all serious attacks. And they were all probably carried out by states and state sponsors of terrorism, using terror groups as accomplices. This form of warfare is not new, having been perfected by the Soviets throughout the Cold War. It is warfare without attribution. It is to circle around one’s enemies and undo the power of deterrence.

If we are serious about all this, we should unplug Iran from the world’s economy. If you do business with Iran, you and your associated companies, banks, oil tankers, industrial firms, shipping fleets do not do business with America. Period. And that means China. In addition, a successful completion of the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan would significantly strengthen the forces arrayed on Iran’s borders opposed to its terrorist ways. So that has to be part of a successful US policy.

As we stand in the way of Tehran’s hegemonic goals, people mistake Iran’s behavior as a response to US “threats.” Not unlike North Korea’s refrain that is only the US “hostile policy” that is responsible for Pyongyang’s murderous actions, Iran will no doubt continue to claim the same. The administration has moved sanctions in the right direction. As a country, however, our policy decision comes down to this: do we seek to remove the regime entirely? Or, do we “cut the grass,” so to speak, accepting incremental change that while viewed as steps in the right direction are actually nothing more than slick diplomatic rope-a-dope?

Big Peace

Syria: Possible nuke facility identified by satellite

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-12-2010

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Hmmm. What country might Syria want to target with nuclear weapons? “Possible Syrian nuke facility identified by satellite,” by Yaakov Katz in the Jerusalem Post, December 3:

A compound in western Syria with buildings and hundreds of missile-shaped items has been identified as functionally related to a nuclear reactor Israel destroyed northeast of Damascus in 2007.

Satellite footage of the site in Masyaf was obtained by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security and shows a compound built in a ravine and surrounded by what appears to be a line of trenches….

ISIS head David Albright, who analyzed the satellite footage, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the site at Masyaf could be a military storage facility. Hundreds of items seen stored in rows out in the open could be missiles or truck beds, he said.

“We have identified one site and learned the approximate locations of three other sites as well,” Albright said.

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s governing board convened in Vienna to discuss Syria’s continued refusal to allow inspectors to visit the site of the al-Kibar reactor, in Syria’s Deir Alzour region, that was destroyed by Israel in September 2007, or other sites, like the one near Masyaf that are suspected of being functionally related to the reactor. When the IAF bombed the reactor it was two-to-three weeks away from becoming operational and it would have been capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.

IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano told the board on Thursday that he recently sent a letter to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem urging him to grant inspectors access to the sites.

“Syria has not cooperated with the agency since June 2008 in connection with the unresolved issues related to the Deir Alzour site and some other locations,” Amano said. “As a consequence, the agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving the outstanding issues related to those sites.”

Albright said that he commissioned the satellite photos of the suspected site near Masyaf to raise awareness of Syria’s continued violations ahead of the IAEA meeting.

“The issue needs more attention and there needs to be a special inspection by the IAEA at al-Kibar and other sites that are relevant,” he said. “The issue is not getting enough attention and Syria can destroy evidence and can get away with it by stonewalling the IAEA.”

Sure. It has happened before.

Jihad Watch

The New START Ratification: Russia Tactical Nuke Advantage Should Caution the Senate

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 01-12-2010

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In their most recent Wall Street Journal article, Adam Entous and Jonathan Weisman write that Russia has moved short-range tactical nuclear warheads to facilities near NATO borders this spring. This revelation comes amidst the Obama Administration’s efforts to pass New START, a strategic arms control agreement with Russia, in the “lame duck” session of the Congress.

Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Council of the Federation (the upper house of Russia’s parliament) foreign affairs committee, brushed off the news, stating, “We have relations of trust now with our American partners and don’t take any steps without informing our partners and consulting with them.” He does not say that the WSJ report is untrue.

However, the Russian Federation has no interest in eliminating its massive tactical nuclear weapons arsenal, which is 10 times stronger than the U.S.’s. That is why Russia insisted that tactical nuclear weapons are not mentioned in New START.

During the Bush Administration, Russia used its advantage in tactical nukes to intimidate NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic into cancelling the ballistic missile defense plans on their territory. Moscow threatened to deploy Iskander short-range nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between the borders of Poland and Lithuania. With Washington’s support, the threat tactics failed.

For decades, NATO allies have relied on the U.S. strategic nuclear weapons to deter Soviet and later Russian aggression. This mechanism is often referred to as “expended deterrence,” as it extends the U.S. nuclear might to protect its allies. However, because the U.S. withdrew almost all of its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, leaving its NATO allies still within range of Russia’s superior tactical nuclear arsenal, the U.S. extended deterrence is threatened. Allies may think that the U.S. will not use its strategic weapons if they are attacked.

Clearly, there is an interrelationship between strategic offensive and tactical nuclear weapons. But while the relationship between strategic offensive weapons and ballistic missile defense is acknowledged—and ballistic missile defense options are likely to be limited throughout the treaty—there are no comparable limits on tactical nuclear weapons. When it comes to tactical nukes, the imbalance in Russia’s favor is obvious.

By deploying tactical nuclear weapons close to NATO borders, Russia is not honoring its commitments under the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives of the early 1990s regarding tactical nuclear weapons. Presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin declared that the Soviet Union would eliminate its entire global inventory of ground-launched, short-range nuclear weapons—something Moscow successfully avoided.

Tactical nukes may also become a proliferation problem, since the ease with which tactical nuclear weapons are concealed or transported make them a desired target for terrorists. New START does nothing to address the large size of the Russian tactical nuclear arsenal, its safety, and its security—including in the context of nuclear terrorism.

There are no guarantees that New START will lead to elimination of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons arsenal. Indeed, because the United States may be giving up its advantages in ballistic missile defense, conventional global strike systems (Prompt Global Strike), and more stringent verification regime of the first START, there is no leverage left to achieve elimination of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons.

Russia will surely not willingly give up its unilateral advantage in exchange for a getting to “nuclear zero” fantasy when others (e.g., China, North Korea, and Iran) are sure not to follow.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Iran’s Muslim neighbors exhort America to attack nuke sites

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 30-11-2010

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Yes, but Iran is no threat to the US or our allies, right?
American Thinker Blog

Iran’s Muslim neighbors exhort America to attack nuke sites

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 30-11-2010

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Yes, but Iran is no threat to the US or our allies, right?
American Thinker Blog

Proof That Israel is Probably Behind Cyber-Attack on Iranian Nuke Program

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 29-11-2010

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For the first time, Iran’s president Ahmadinejad confirmed that Stuxnet a cyberbug that has infected the computers running the Iranian centrifuges causing them to be damaged. Before today Iran has repeatedly denied that the complex computer worm  had affected its nuclear program. The UN said last week that Iran had temporarily halted most of its uranium enrichment work earlier this month. But on the other hand, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the problems had been created by enemies of Iran, but had had only a limited effect. He also blamed the cyber attack  on Israel and the West.

This is one of the rare cases when the Iranian Presidential nut-job may be correct. There is evidence that Israel is probably behind the Stuxnet worm, evidence of biblical proportions. If not then maybe the virus is a sign from God. Computer Scientists who are analyzing the computer worm that is slowing down Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons may have found a file name that seemingly refers to the Biblical Queen Esther.

Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament narrative in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.

That use of the word “Myrtus” — which can be read as an allusion to Esther — to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program, which seeks out a specific kind of command module for industrial equipment.

In the Biblical Story of Esther, the vizier to the Persian king tries to destroy the Jewish people, in the end he is defeated by a Jewess named Esther who becomes queen of Persia and her uncle Mordecai. Since Iran is the modern day Persia, and the computer virus is meant to stop the destruction of the Jewish People, could this be a message from God, or from Israel,  something put in just to confuse, or maybe something put in the virus just to make the paranoid Iranians even more nervous.

Don’t look for Israel to confirm the story, they don’t comment on any defense action even the ones that they have nothing to do with.

There are many competing explanations for myrtus, which could simply signify myrtle, a plant important to many cultures in the region. But some security experts see the reference as a signature allusion to Esther, a clear warning in a mounting technological and psychological battle as Israel and its allies try to breach Tehran’s most heavily guarded project. Others doubt the Israelis were involved and say the word could have been inserted as deliberate misinformation, to implicate Israel.

“The Iranians are already paranoid about the fact that some of their scientists have defected and several of their secret nuclear sites have been revealed,” one former intelligence official who still works on Iran issues said recently. “Whatever the origin and purpose of Stuxnet, it ramps up the psychological pressure.”

The Stuxnet virus attacks only a certain type of Siemens industrial control computer, the type used by
by Iran:

“What we were told by many sources,” said Olli Heinonen, who retired last month as the head of inspections at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, “was that the Iranian nuclear program was acquiring this kind of equipment.”

Also, starting in the summer of 2009, the Iranians began having tremendous difficulty running their centrifuges, the tall, silvery machines that spin at supersonic speed to enrich uranium — and which can explode spectacularly if they become unstable. In New York last week, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shrugged off suggestions that the country was having trouble keeping its enrichment plants going.

For a full explanation of how the Stuxnet virus works CLICK HERE.
There is no way to determine where the virus came from, US, Israel or some crazy hacker.  There are even reports that the virus may have come from Russia.

There are many reasons to suspect Israel’s involvement in Stuxnet. Intelligence is the single largest section of its military and the unit devoted to signal, electronic and computer network intelligence, known as Unit 8200, is the largest group within intelligence.

Yossi Melman, who covers intelligence for the newspaper Haaretz and is at work on a book about Israeli intelligence over the past decade, said in a telephone interview that he suspected that Israel was involved.

He noted that Meir Dagan, head of Mossad, had his term extended last year partly because he was said to be involved in important projects. He added that in the past year Israeli estimates of when Iran will have a nuclear weapon had been extended to 2014.

“They seem to know something, that they have more time than originally thought,” he said.

Wherever it came from, any virus that is slowing down Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is doing God’s work.


Wikileaks: Iran and Syria lied to IAEA about nuke plants

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 28-11-2010

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From The Guardian:

Iranian officials withheld from international atomic energy inspectors the original design documents for a secret nuclear reactor suspected of being part of Tehran’s plan to build an atomic bomb, a US embassy cable reveals.

The secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was denied the blueprints when in October 2009 its inspection team visited the part-built facility in a mountainside at Fordow near Qom. It was instead provided with designs that showed only what was already built.

Providing a picture of Iranian obstruction to the visit, Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA’s deputy director general who led the inspection, revealed that Iranian officials were “steered by unseen observers who send notes to the Iranian interlocutors during meetings” and insisted on tape recording the meetings but refused to allow the IAEA to do the same.

According to the secret cable back to Washington the inspectors were “not impressed” by the Iranians’ continued refusal to elaborate on their denials of evidence pointing to the nuclear programme’s military intent.

“The secretariat was still trying to understand … why Iran would build this facility, scaled as it was for 3,000 centrifuges in contrast to the much larger Natanz facility,” Nackaerts told Richard Kessler and David Fite, senior staff members of the US house of representatives foreign affairs committee, in a 90-minute meeting in Vienna.

The IAEA believed there was “a high-level decision not to co-operate” with the inspection, Nackaerts said, and Iran’s denials had left the agency at “an absolute stalemate” with Tehran over the military application of its nuclear programme.

Iran insists the facility is for purely civilian purposes. It told IAEA inspectors during the four-day visit that documentary evidence its nuclear scientists had obtained “green salt”, an intermediate product in uranium enrichment for nuclear reactor or bomb material, was forged. It said a document about uranium metal describing the process of machining hemispheres of the kind used in nuclear warheads was “mistakenly” included in a packet of information Iran received from the network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist believed by the US to be a serious proliferation risk because of his previous trading in nuclear weapons technology.

Nackaerts challenged the Iranians to prove the evidence was bogus. He “asked that, if some of the documentation were ‘doctored’, Iranian officials should show the [IAEA] secretariat ‘where the truth ends.’ “

In the very same leaked cable, we see details on how Syria stonewalled the IAEA investigation on the nuclear plant that Israel bombed in Dair Alzour in 2008:

9. (SBU) The Syria case, Nackaerts said, was starting to look like Iran in that the government provided “good cooperation” on some areas but presented a “stalemate” on others. The Secretariat challenged Syria’s proposed explanation for the presence of uranium at Dair Alzour/Al Kibar (i.e., that Israeli depleted uranium munitions could be the source), but the inquiry was at a roadblock. Syrian officials had been told their first explanation for anthropogenic uranium at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) was not credible, and the Agency had inquired what nuclear material Syria could have had that was not previously declared. Overall, the IAEA still “did not understand” (meaning, it could not yet present the solid case for) how Dair Alzour fit in as part of a Syrian nuclear program “or part of someone else’s program.”

Syria was taking a page out of Iran’s playbook, and apparently it is as successful in stonewalling the IAEA without much fear for significant sanctions.

(h/t Emet)

Elder of Ziyon

Shocker: Syria “stonewalling” IAEA on nuke program

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-11-2010

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The Iranian playbook at work again, on Israel’s doorstep. “Syria’s nuclear stonewalling deepens: IAEA report,” by Sylvia Westall and Fredrik Dahl for Reuters, November 23:

VIENNA (Reuters) – Syria is refusing U.N. nuclear inspectors access to multiple suspect sites and has provided scant or inconsistent information about its atomic activities, an International Atomic Energy Agency report showed.

For over two years Syria has blocked IAEA access to the remains of a desert site which U.S. intelligence reports say was a nascent North Korean-designed nuclear reactor to produce bomb fuel.

The site, known as either al-Kibar or Dair Alzour, was bombed to rubble by Israel in 2007. Syria, an ally of Iran, denies ever having an atom bomb program.

Earlier this year the IAEA gave some weight to suspicions of illicit atomic work at the site by saying that uranium traces found in a 2008 visit by inspectors pointed to nuclear-related activity.

“With the passage of time, some of the information concerning the Dair Alzour site is further deteriorating or has been lost entirely,” IAEA chief Yukiya Amano wrote in a confidential report obtained by Reuters, adding that it was “critical” that Syria cooperated without delay. The agency wants to re-examine the site so it can take samples from rubble removed immediately after the air strike.

Washington has said the IAEA may need to consider invoking its “special inspection” mechanism to give it the authority to look anywhere necessary in Syria at short notice.

The agency last resorted to special inspection powers in 1993 in North Korea, which still withheld access and later developed nuclear bomb capacity in secret. The IAEA lacks legal means to get Syria to open up because the country’s basic safeguards treaty with the U.N. nuclear watchdog covers only its one declared atomic facility, an old research reactor. […]

The report also showed Syria had refused an IAEA request for access to a pilot plant used for acid purification. The agency wanted to make checks on a by-product of the plant, uranium ore, which if further processed can be used as nuclear fuel.

Syria said it needed more information from the IAEA before allowing a visit.

Amano also repeated a call for IAEA access to three other Syrian sites under military control whose appearance was altered by landscaping after inspectors asked to visit.

Syria has allowed inspectors to visit the research reactor in Damascus where they have been checking whether there is a link with the Dair Alzour site after discovering unexplained particles of processed uranium at both.

Some analysts say the uranium traces raise the question of whether Syria used some natural uranium intended for a reactor at Dair Alzour in tests that could help it to learn how to separate bomb-grade plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, like North Korea.

The report showed Syria dodging agency questions about nuclear material at the Damascus site, failing to keep to an inspection and monitoring plan agreed earlier this year and giving inconsistent information in letters to the IAEA.

“These (letters) did not clarify the issues identified (by the IAEA) and the plan of action. In addition, the letters appear to have added further inconsistencies concerning the preparation of the uranyl nitrate and subsequent irradiation activities.” Amano wrote.

Jihad Watch