Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 09, 2013

Open Thread 2013-08

News & views ...

Posted by b on May 9, 2013 at 17:05 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Despite his name being appended to that farcical petition, i just finished "the Holocaust Industry" and its a fucking withering portrayal of the American Jewish organizations. Well worth reading.
.

Posted by: guest77 | May 9 2013 17:13 utc | 1

http://news.yahoo.com/kerry-russia-sells-missile-defense-syria-152511867.html

Since these claims come from Israeli sources, I don't know if it's true. This is probably an attempt to pre-empt a sale of the s300 to Syria.

Posted by: RC | May 9 2013 17:19 utc | 2

Favorites in the pakistani elections , everyone?

Posted by: guest77 | May 9 2013 17:21 utc | 3

US leaving Afghanistan? I doubt it.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/09/u-s-wants-to-keep-nine-bases-in-afghanistan-karzai/

Posted by: ben | May 9 2013 17:37 utc | 4

Quote from Reuters caught my attention:

The United States and the European Union believe that Iran is enriching uranium to levels that could be used in nuclear weapons.

Nobody believes, or even mildly suspects, Iran is enriching weapons-grade uranium. For one thing, they'd be in gross violation of the NPT (and second, we'd be at war).

Stop lying, Reuters (specifically Timothy Gardner and Rachelle Younglai).

Posted by: never mind | May 9 2013 18:13 utc | 5

#2

Appalling, read this quote by John kerry:

"Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the transfer of advanced missile defense systems from Russia to Syria would be a "destabilizing" factor for Israel's security"

Oh so selling defensive weapons to Syria after the illegal attacks on syria by israeli regime is "destabilibizing"?! But selling not only defensive but offensive weapons to Israel, syrian rebels and arab dictators for 60 years and for 100s of billions of dollars is just fine?! Kerry the minister of not the US, but Israel.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9 2013 18:16 utc | 6

@5 "Nobody believes, or even mildly suspects, Iran is enriching weapons-grade uranium. For one thing, they'd be in gross violation of the NPT (and second, we'd be at war)."

While US/EU are obviously lying, but the idea of highly enriched uranium violating NPT is wrong (and a result of West propaganda). There is no violation even if Iran makes 100% uranium. It would piss-off zionists, but thats another topic.

Not only that, Iran could make nukes calculations, and make all nuke parts short of assembling it (a la Japan), and STILL wouldnt violate NPT. I know West+Israel will strongly disagree, but their hypocritical and biased interpretations of treaties like NPT doesnt change the slightest what treaty actually says and what Iran signed.

Posted by: Harry | May 9 2013 18:34 utc | 7

It would be much better if the Syrians get some Russians land-to-land or air-to-land cruise missiles by which they gain ability to hit Zionist's airports. The story about S-300 is another farce and distraction, after an humiliating meeting in Moscow.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 9 2013 19:15 utc | 8

#2

Such weapons would enhance the Syrian government's defensive ability and make it even harder for the U.S. and other governments to consider even the possibility of trying to enforce a no-fly zone in the country or otherwise intervening militarily.

sweet, reminds me of b's article the other day.

Posted by: annie | May 9 2013 19:16 utc | 9

It was DEBKAfile who originated the S-300 story. The WSJ got it from them, then the WaPo, and so on.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 9 2013 20:06 utc | 10

A good summary of the same Al Qeida linked Jihadis being freedom fighters when they kill in Chechnya and terrorists when they kill in the US and the understandable difficulty of US security services to find out which is which - from 9/11 to the Boston bombings

Posted by: somebody | May 9 2013 20:56 utc | 11

the understandable difficulty of US security services to find out which is which

You said it -- a freedom fighter attacks US enemies; a terrorist attacks the US or its allies, oftentimes during a military occupation.
Which gets me to the misuse of the word counterinsurgency to describe an armed response to a foreign military occupation, when actually an insurgency is armed assault on a constituted government. E.g. the French resistance in WWII was not an insurgency.

"One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country. This truth escapes millions." --Mike Hastie, U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 9 2013 21:56 utc | 12

@ Guest77

Favourites in the pakistani elections , everyone?

Think everyone can agree that Imran Khan and his PTI party is the most charismatic. An online poll found him winning a majority with 66% of the vote. But that online poll just shows where his weakness lays. He seems to be doing well with the young and urban voters (the people most likely to use online polls) while losing with the older generations and rural voters.

I expect Nawaz Sharif and his PML to win which could be bad news. Sharif isn't trusted by Kayani and the military and is close to the Saudis ( he spent his time in exile there).

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | May 9 2013 22:12 utc | 13

Karzai's recent antipathy toward the US has been overcome -- he'll accept nine sustained military bases with proper “security and economic guarantees." A quick look of what they might be:

Kabul, Center, Camp Eggers
Bagram, Center, Bagram Airfield
Mazar-e-Sharif, North, Camp Marmal (German)
Jalalalabad, East, FOB Fenty, Jalalabad airfield
Gardez, East, FOB Gardez
Kandahar, South, Kandahar Air Base
Helmand, South, Camps Bastion/Leatherneck
Shindand, West, Shindand Airbase
Herat, West, Camp Stone
(The camps also have airstrips, except in Kabul.)

The Pakistan & Taliban reactions to this proposal are due next.

Karzai probably doesn't have the final word. First there must be a new Strategic Partnership Agreement and SOFA. These will probably have to go through some democratic process (unlike in the US) with approvals from a jirga (council) and parliament in the case of the agreements. That has been the procedure in the past.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 9 2013 22:33 utc | 14

In Pakistan, Khan fell and broke his head Tuesday. He doesn't look too hot in this photo but he just gave a speech from his hospital bed.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 9 2013 22:38 utc | 15

Guilio Andreotti, "Il Divo," dead. If you can, watch the movie, a great film.

Posted by: ruralito | May 9 2013 22:49 utc | 16

U.S. warns against Russian missile sales to Syria

Already referred to above but I'd like to elaborate.

BEIRUT: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the transfer of advanced missile defense systems from Russia to Syria would be a “destabilizing” factor for Israel’s security, as Damascus welcomed a Washington-Moscow initiative for peace talks.

So wednesday he has had a "dramatic breakthrough and very good talks" with Putin. Got them to agree on starting talks on a political solution and now he is alarmed at the possible sale of arms that could be destabilizing for Israel.

Such weapons would enhance the Syrian government’s defensive ability and make it even harder for the U.S. and other governments to consider even the possibility of trying to enforce a no-fly zone in the country or otherwise intervening militarily.

The defensive capability so that it will be more difficult to enforce a no fly zone and/or start bombing the hell out of the SAA. This implies that these are Anti Aircraft weapons and can be nothing else but the S300.

I think it is safe to assume Kerry got played and got the political agreement and in the meantime Putin arranged the political agreement without the dismissal of Assad (it is NOT in the agreement) and got the arms there.

This way Syria's airspace is more guarded making the US and it's cronies more fearfull to attack by air than before (we all saw how well the F4 reconnaiscance flight went). That way is now guarded.

Kerry will have no other solution than to go for the political agreement and as it seems now Putin will not let go of keeping Assad in power. Seems like a check (not yet mate) by Putin...

Also a stern warning can be read.

"In an interview with AFP, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said “the instruction has been made to respond immediately to any new Israeli attack without [additional] instruction from any higher leadership, and our retaliation will be strong and will be painful against Israel.”"

“They absolutely did not achieve their objective and they lied when they said they are targeting Hezbollah,” he said, adding there is “no way Syria will allow this to happen again.”

Seems to me Assad got the blessing as well to fire at will should Israel dare to mount another air raid.

Putin just armed the detonator. US and it's cronies can now choose from a political agreement (which they lauded and jumped enthousiastically up and down about ) or escalate it by trying another air raid and then the proverbial shit will hit the fan. Things would get ugly pretty soon since no one got their troops ready for intervention. Apart from Israel of course who mounted an "excercise" near the Golan border just after the air raid/missile strike.

What will they go for? The carrot or the stick? Would Israel dare to attack knowing that this time all bets would be off and Iskanders would be flying?

Curious for everyone else's insight on this matter.

Posted by: Gehenna | May 9 2013 23:13 utc | 17

Syrian army doesn't have Iskander. No idea why people repeating that again and again.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 10 2013 0:15 utc | 18

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Israeli group on Hawking boycott: "He must stop communicating via his Intel chip"

Tel Aviv, May 8, 2013: "Hawking's decision to join the boycott of Israel is
quite hypocritical for an individual who prides himself on his own
intellectual accomplishment. His whole computer-based communication system
runs on a chip designed by Israel's Intel team. I suggest that if he truly
wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from
his tablet" – this according to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat
HaDin – Israel Law Center.

On Wednesday it was revealed that British professor Stephen Hawking decided
to support the academic boycott of Israel and pull out of the upcoming
Israeli president's conference in Jerusalem. The fifth annual president's
conference, Facing Tomorrow, features international personalities and
attracts thousands of participants.

Darshan-Leitner: "He calls it an independent decision based on the unanimous
advice of his own academic contacts here. I propose he first seek the advice
of Intel engineers working here. He seems to have no understanding of this
world."

Since 1997, Hawking's computer-based system has been sponsored and provided
by Intel. His latest computer is based on an Intel Core i7 Processor. The
Core micro architecture was designed by Israel's Intel team that previously
designed the Pentium M mobile processor.

The first mobile processor that used the Israeli designed chip was codenamed
"Merom." Merom is the Hebrew word for a higher plane of existence or a level
of heaven, and was a name chosen by the team in Haifa, Israel.

Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center is an Israel-based organization dedicated
to enforcing basic human rights through the legal system and represents
victims of terrorism in courtrooms around the world. Its clients include
American, European, and Israeli citizens. It is unaffiliated with any
political party or governmental body.

Posted by: neretva'43 | May 10 2013 1:28 utc | 19

@18 "Syrian army doesn't have Iskander. No idea why people repeating that again and again."

Iskander's story was invented by certifiable liar Khalili, everyone picked up from him. However, Syria do have Fateh 110-D1, which are almost as good as Iskanders anyway, plus in far greater quantities than Russian's could provide.

Posted by: Harry | May 10 2013 1:47 utc | 20

I commented on Cody Wilson the other day, a 25-year-old that "will change the world." (I know.)

The latest on this self-styled anarchist:
Forbes, May 9
State Department Demands Takedown Of 3D-Printable Gun Files For Possible Export Control Violations

The battle for control of dangerous digital shapes may have just begun. On Thursday, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson received a letter from the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanding that he take down the online blueprints for the 3D-printable “Liberator” handgun that his group released Monday, along with nine other 3D-printable firearms components hosted on the group’s website Defcad.org. The government says it wants to review the files for compliance with arms export control laws known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson’s high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.
. . .
Despite taking down his files, Wilson doesn’t see the government’s attempts to censor the Liberator’s blueprints as a defeat. On the contrary, Defense Distributed’s radical libertarian and anarchist founder says he’s been seeking to highlight exactly this issue, that a 3D-printable gun can’t be stopped from spreading around the global Internet no matter what legal measures governments take. “This is the conversation I want,” Wilson says. “Is this a workable regulatory regime? Can there be defense trade control in the era of the Internet and 3D printing?”

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 10 2013 2:43 utc | 21

Colm O'Toole, so sorry to hear about all those Irish Muslims that have bitten the dust in Syria. According to Syrian Perspective today. Well rather in the comments section of that blog someone mentioned the sad, sad, sad passing of these dearly departed Irish citizens. Oh what a loss, I don't think Hybernia will recover soon.

Posted by: Fernando | May 10 2013 2:50 utc | 22

According to a trusted friend, "The Intel Core i7 chip that professor Hawking uses in his equipment ...is not developed by an Israeli lab. It's been, as it turns out, designed and developed in Oregon, USA, by Americans. The name “Nehalem” for the specific microarchitecture in the i7 isn’t Hebrew; it’s Pacific Coast Native American. So there goes bust another shameless Israeli lie."

Posted by: Maracatu | May 10 2013 4:08 utc | 23

more Tsarnaev

The dossier reported the date, address and apartment number where the meeting took place, and that an informant reported that the two discussed ways that Mr. Tsarnaev might be able to help his rebel group. The dossier indicated that Mr. Tsarnaev offered to act as a financial go-between for an organization based in the U.S., the official said.

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 4:18 utc | 24

@7

You're right, I should have elaborated a bit further. There's no legal bind prohibiting weapons-grade enrichment on any NPT member state, including Iran. But considering Iran's contested nuclear program at the moment, and seeing as they aren't currently developing any nuclear-powered submarines, enriching uranium to the highest of levels isn't such a bright move.

Unless they're actually in the nuclear-weapons making business.

Never the less, the IAEA inspectors would sound off the alarms and US/UK/France/Israel would take turns bombing Iran.

Posted by: never mind | May 10 2013 5:14 utc | 25

The Fateh 110 "might" be competent for an Iranian produced missile, but it is NOT in the same league as the Iskander. the guidance system, operational range, not to mention cruising speed (mach 6-7) of the Iskander are simply out of Iran's league to produce at this time. It is also a larger missile than the Fateh 110. Visiting the Wikipedia page for each missile will show a vast difference.

I should also state that the Iskander is a tactical OFFENSIVE weapon which is why the Russians are not selling it to Syria. They are sticking by the claim that they're only selling defensive weapons to Syria at this time.

Posted by: RC | May 10 2013 6:24 utc | 26

Keep in mind that hackers can leave deceptive markers to point the trace in a false direction. Via Russia Today:

US military secrets leaked to Chinese hackers for three years

A US military contractor was allegedly hacked by those associated with the Chinese military. The company reportedly ignored signs of security breaches, allowing hackers to access military technology and classified documents for three years.

QinetiQ North America was attacked by a Shanghai-based hacker group from 2007 to 2010, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The hacking collective has been coined the “Comment Crew” by security experts.

The company is known for its contributions to national security – including software used by US forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Comment Crew’s continuous spying reportedly provided China with a wealth of secret information on QinetiQ’s drones, satellites, military robotics, and the US Army’s combat helicopter fleet. The spies also stole several terabytes – equivalent to hundreds of millions of pages – of documents and data on weapons programs.

China’s military may have also stolen programming code and design details that it could use to disable some of the most sophisticated US weaponry. The situation could have a crippling effect on America’s defense capabilities.

“God forbid we get into a conflict with China but if we did we could face a major embarrassment, where we try out all these sophisticated weapons systems and they don’t work,” said Richard Clarke, former special adviser to President George W. Bush on cyber security. [...]

But QinetiQ still failed to connect the dots, treating each series of attacks over the next several months as unrelated incidents. The company’s ignorance was welcomed by Comment Crew, who continued to raid servers and gather more than 13,000 internal passwords in the first 2 ½ years. [...]

Over the course of four days, the hackers attacked at least 14 servers, eventually hitting the jackpot when they discovered an inventory of weapons-systems technology and source code throughout the company.

When QinetiQ finally caught on in 2010 and hired two outside firms to help combat the hackers. It was soon revealed that Comment Crew had established near permanent residence in the company’s computers.

The firms also discovered that the hackers had walked away with information on microchips that control the company’s robots.

The chip architecture could help China test ways to take over or defeat US robots or aerial drones, said Noel Sharkey, a drones and robotics expert at Britain’s Sheffield University.

The hackers also targeted at least 17 employees working on the Condition Based Maintenance program, which collects data on Apache and Blackhawk helicopters deployed around the world.

Thus far, there has been no word from the State Department regarding Comment Crew’s hacks into QinetiQ systems. Washington has the power to revoke the company’s charter to handle military technology if it finds negligence.

However, it appears the US government is doing just the opposite. In May 2012, QinetiQ received a $4.7 million cybersecurity contract from the US Transportation Department.

Add to that this following story, also via RT, and you start to get an idea just how exposed the US is when it comes down to it.

US database containing dam vulnerabilities breached

An online database containing information on 79,000 dams throughout the US was compromised for several months by a hacker, according to a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. Analysts reportedly traced the hack to China.

The database holds sensitive information, including vulnerabilities, of every major dam throughout the country. News of the breach was confirmed by The Washington Free Beacon through Pete Pierce, a US Corps of Engineers spokesman, though he did not provide additional details. [...]

The access breach is thought to have begun in January, but was only identified in early April. The variety of data on the dams includes estimated deaths occurring if one were to fail, designating certain scenarios as “significant” and “high” hazard levels. [...]

It seems that if it weren't for the fact of other nations not being as ruthless and murderous in their approach to foreign policy that the US hasn't received a greater share of pain.

Posted by: Juan Moment | May 10 2013 6:28 utc | 27

RC,

It was somewhat widely reported that Russia responded to NATO's introducing Patriots by putting Iskanders near the Turkish border. Do you consider this to be incorrect? One would imagine that NATO wanted to use the Patriots but either backed down or never found the right opportunity.

Posted by: Paul | May 10 2013 6:49 utc | 28

@Neretva #18, Harry #20, RC #26 and Paul #28

I was referring to the news that Paul mentioned. Iskander is offensive and it has hypersonic speed so that it is impossible to intercept either by Patriot and/or by Iron Dome.

Posted by: Gehenna | May 10 2013 7:10 utc | 29

"Over 8.5 Mln. Russians Take Part in Victory Day Celebrations"

You could give a US NGO half of the pentagon budget and they couldn't get that kind of turn out.

Posted by: guest77 | May 10 2013 7:28 utc | 30

Paul,

It is most certainly incorrect. Trust me. Had Iskanders been placed anywhere near Turkey or in Syria for that matter, it would've been an international scandal and considered provoctive by the west - especially when you consider that the Iskander is strictly an offensive weapon. The Iranian FARS agency has published several sensational stories about advanced weaponery being transfered to Syria by Russia - who has denied all of these stories. If S-300's had been in Syria last week, most of those Israeli F-16's would've been shot down, or better yet, the Israeli's probably would've known Syria had them and would not have bothered carrying out the attack.

@Gehenna #29, that's true. Here's what an acqaintance told me a few hours ago about the S-300:

Anyway, just to quickly recap, it is quite possible to “take out” the S-300 – it just isn’t easy. It will engage 12 targets simultaneously, and track about 100, but if the USA sent its most survivable and countermeasure-capable fighters against it, backed up with heavy jamming against the acquisition radar, they would simply overwhelm it. A fighter-bomber element would follow on their heels, and bomb the launcher and radar before the launcher could be reloaded.

The trouble with that is you would need a swarm of aircraft, and each would not know whether he was personally being engaged or merely tracked until either the missile missed him, or he was smashed out of the sky – or the launcher was destroyed and he was still flying. Very few like those odds, and as discussed, the USA has become used to “liberation missions” which are turkey shoots or walkovers.

Anyway, similarly to the Iskander, the S-300 is a truck-based system, typically in groups of 4 vehicles, each with a launcher and radar. You would probably need close to 70 aircraft to be confident of taking out this battery, and then you could expect to lose 10-12 of them each time. And they’re mobile, so the Syrians would move them around to complicate detection. But they don’t have any, or someone would have seen them or the signal from the acquisition radar would have been intercepted. The truck units are not as big as those for the Iskander, but they’re still pretty big, and somebody would have taken a picture.

Posted by: RC | May 10 2013 7:55 utc | 31

@26 "The Fateh 110 "might" be competent for an Iranian produced missile, but it is NOT in the same league as the Iskander. the guidance system, operational range, not to mention cruising speed (mach 6-7) of the Iskander are simply out of Iran's league to produce at this time. It is also a larger missile than the Fateh 110. Visiting the Wikipedia page for each missile will show a vast difference."

Iskander IS better, but not that much: operational range is similar (300km Fateh, 280km Iskander export version). Accuracy is similar (CEP 10m Fateh, and 30–70m Iskander-E). Warhead (650kg Fateh, 710-800kg Isk). The only thing Iskander really has advantage in is greater speed and maneuvering.

Lets not forget quantity - even if Russians would supply Iskander-E (they wont, but lets say for argument sake), how many they would - 50? 100? And thats being generous. Iran could supply hundreds if not thousands, and they dont even have to - Syria licensed Fateh 110 production 10 years ago and can make themselves, Iran could just provide new guidance system.

Speaking of NATO/Israel defense systems, much advertised Iron dome intercepted just 5% of dumb home-made rockets, and Patriots record was 0% against SCUD's. As much as Patriot's are upgraded today, new guided smart missile is a different beast compared to old dumb Scud too.

Battlefield outcome of Iskander/Fateh - Iskander might be a bit more deadlier per unit and less interceptable, but share volume of much cheaper self-produced F-110 missiles, preceded by 1st wave of even cheaper rockets to overload defenses, makes Fateh way more dangerous and would make NATO/Israel sweat much more than Iskanders could.

Posted by: Harry | May 10 2013 8:06 utc | 32

re: Iskander

The news in wartime is mostly lies, so we can't really be sure of what weapons are where, and manned by whom. But we can see the desire for the destruction of Syria in various places, such as Qatar or Israel. The only thing that would stop them is paying a tremendous price. My bet is Putin is willing to "fight for Syria till the streets of Moscow", as they say. It's that important to stop ZATO in Syria. If Iskanders are needed, he'll do it. If more is needed, he'll do that, too, but perhaps keep it quiet and just let the satellites reveal things.

Some folks don't realize why Brzezinski saw a Russia-China-Iran partnership as being so bad for America. The resources and development potential in Central Asia are enormous, and the potential to break the US stranglehold in ocean choke points is incredibly important. On the other hand, the death of Syria would mean the end of resistance to ZATO in that part of the world, the loss of much of Russia's gas leverage, and a huge supply of well-armed radicals to further ZATO interests in that area as well as inside Russia. Similarly, a victory for the anti-ZATO forces would mean a lot of the opportunists who have been going with the flow in the unipolar world would have to re-evaluate their strategy. The future is obviously moving to Asia and away from the dollar, so it would become a lot harder to recruit opportunists when they thought they might invest large amounts of money (a la Qatar), political capital (a la Turkey), damaging their local economy (a la Turkey), or angering Russia and China to bet on a losing horse.

Posted by: Paul | May 10 2013 8:13 utc | 33

Syrian rebels to take training over international law in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
A Geneva-based NGO starts training military and legal officials in the armed Free Syrian Army (FSA) on the basics of international humanitarian law in Turkey’s southeastern provinces

This here is the organization - Geneva Call

next step - rebel certification?

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 8:29 utc | 34

A few things puzzle me. On the one hand, some say, the Syrians wouldnt want to let the Israelis localize the AD units, which is the reason why the Syrian AD did not shoot any of those Israeli fighter jets. In my oppinion this is bogus, cuz theres is no way to tell if a jet is heading for a poultry-farm or a devastating strike in Damascus. How could anyone or any cpu for that matter, tell when its worth to take down a Jet and when its not? Also, a Turkish fighter jet has been taken down last year without anyone of the SyrGov being concerned about the Turkish to know their guns. So either the Syrians have those feared AD-Units (S-300 or whatever) or they dont! Also: Why would the SyrGov have a "Research-Center" and entire battaillons located in an area whih is obviously not safe from Israeli air strikes/artillery? It just does not make any sense, particularly then, when this so-called RC has been already bombed in January!!! I think there is something else going on in Jaramanah. I neither believe the Israeli version "destroying Weapons for Hizbollah" nor the SyrGov Version, which asserts, this RC has been hit altogehther with 2 brigades. Has anyone else a take on this?

Posted by: Kal | May 10 2013 10:49 utc | 35

35) Russia's and Hezbollah's take is that it was meant as a message. Nobody seems impressed though, expecially as Netanyahu immediately afterwards took any threat from the table, being careful to state that Israel does not want war (and does not expect Syria to retaliate).

Israel seems to do this from Lebanese airspace, and to shoot from Lebanese airspace. Syria would be careful not to switch on its defenses in a mock excercise so not to enable other coutries to map them. The Turkish jet flew low and was taken down by an anti aircraft gun.

From the Lebanon border to Damascus it would take a fighter jet something like 3 minutes?
Continuously bombing the same place is curious. So either it is symbolic - or it is the place where Israeli jets routinely get stopped / risk being shot down and return.

Israel would not want to cause an international uproar by killing Damascus citizens. So maybe it is the best target they have for what they intend.

Israel is in a strategically awkward position as it is surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah from all sides and could not survive a barrage of advanced missiles for a sustained period. I think they tried to split the Syrian government from Hezbollah by threatening to enter decisively into the war if Hezbollah was allowed to take over strategic positions. Something does not seem to have worked.

Iran says it advised Assad to enter into negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 11:33 utc | 36

"If S-300's had been in Syria last week, most of those Israeli F-16's would've been shot down, or better yet, the Israeli's probably would've known Syria had them and would not have bothered carrying out the attack."

I don't want to sound like I'm cheerleading the Israeli military capabilities, but I do want to get a realistic picture of how they were able to do what they just did - and figure out what Syria faces in the future. Did people miss the fact that the Israelis used some kind of stand off air to surface missile - launched from outside of Syrian airspace? This "Spice 2000" or something? I've heard it presented in some reports as merely a show of the weapon to increase sales.

Anyway, it appears Israel was trying to prove it can strike Syria no matter what kind of air defense it has. As long as Syria is not willing to shoot down enemy planes outside of their airspace, how do they defend against this?

To the people talking about swarming Syria with piloted aircraft, isn't this what drones are for? What are the capabilities of the stealth drones, can the S300 detect those?

Posted by: guest77 | May 10 2013 13:41 utc | 37

@never mind #25
It would be better if you got the facts on the Iran nuclear program before you falsely commented on it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 10 2013 14:09 utc | 38

@Kal #35
Do you have evidence that there were "Israeli fighter jets" in Syrian airspace?

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 10 2013 14:11 utc | 39

Hurriyet, May 10
12 Syrian patients showing 'unusual symptoms' during treatment in Turkey: Report

Twelve Syrian patients exhibiting unusual symptoms suggesting they have suffered a chemical weapons attack are undergoing treatment in Turkey, according to a Turkish official who spoke to CNN International.

"The patients were not injured by any kind of conventional arms," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Tests performed on the patients show "excessive results," the source said, citing Turkish government findings on the matter.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 10 2013 14:20 utc | 40

PR or actually something effective?

http://rt.com/news/iran-unveils-epic-drone-076/

Posted by: ben | May 10 2013 14:37 utc | 41

Drone technology is attainable, especially when a country (Iran) snags a top-end enemy drone. Drones are not only in military use, but also are extensively used in agriculture and in other fields. Iran is claiming their new Epic has 'combat' capability as well as high-altitude surveillance features. Iran has smart engineers and they can excel in this field.

In other news, I was looking at a website yesterday -- a company in Oregon is marketing a drone defense capability that blinds the drone and doesn't destroy it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 10 2013 14:45 utc | 42

UK news:
1. Cameron and Putin discuss Syria conflict at Sochi talks -- David Cameron and Vladimir Putin David Cameron and Vladimir Putin acknowledged differences over Syria
2. UK gas supply pressure eased with arrival of tanker from Qatar - Only two days' worth of gas supplies in storage late last week as cold snap increases demand for heating and electricity - gas prices (briefly) doubled

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 10 2013 14:53 utc | 43

The Israelis need to realize that they are now vulnerable to missle barrages. They are vulnerable and they feel weak. This is something that must keep the general staff up at night. It is eroding their feeling of military superiority. What does it matter if you've got the best airforce and army money can buy if a bunch of untrained, low budget dudes with enough resolve start firing hundreds of katyushas with enough deadly effect into your cities, your neighborhoods, your bases?
It's high time Israel returned to the negotiating table.
They should also get outta the terrorizing the Palestinians business. It's producing zero benefits for them.
Declare victory and leave.

Posted by: Fernando | May 10 2013 14:57 utc | 44

A small note about Qatar. To keep the Arab Spring off the horizon the rulers augmented salaries in the public sector 60% and 120% for military, defense, and police.

doha news, no date: but was in sept. 2011:

http://tinyurl.com/bpwymoc

Way to go!

from ConstructionWeekOnline, 2013:

Embassy officials in Qatar are asking to increase the minimum monthly salary of Nepali workers from US$219 to US$329, according to Doha News. There are nearly 500,000 Nepali workers in Qatar ...the food budget is considered not sufficient...

http://tinyurl.com/cnkapbq

The majority, about 80-90% - figures vary - of ppl doing the real work, that is employed, or economically active, or the so called labor force, in Qatar are foreign and besides some few expert expats, we are talking slave or forced labor.

It is a model many admire! This situation partly explains Qatar’s rise in importance, its presence on the International scene.

In case it wasn’t clear, the public sector workers are Qatari nationals and represent a tiny % of the pop.

Posted by: Noirette | May 10 2013 15:02 utc | 45

Here is a battle flying under most people's radar, or, how globalism through trade agreements, will prevail...

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16295-why-the-transpacific-partnership-is-a-scary-big-trade-deal

Posted by: ben | May 10 2013 15:04 utc | 46

@ 36, thannks for the input.
@ Don Bacon: I do not have evidence for anything. Evthng could be totally different. But lets assume, the fighterjets fired their ats missiles from Leb airspace. So what is Syria going to do? Doesnt the SyrGov know noone (EU,UN...US..haha) wont say a thing if IAF intrudes leb airspace? Which leaves the possibility, that Israel will just continue to hit Syria, and provoke SyrGov as good as they can! Wich will evt lead to a reaction and ro an intervention.

Posted by: Kal | May 10 2013 15:06 utc | 47

Couldn't the Syrians "lend" Hizbollah some equipment in order to defend themselves in that vulnerable area?

Posted by: Fernando | May 10 2013 15:09 utc | 48

What was the purpose of Nasrallah's comments, when Israel is itching to blow things up?

Just when it seemed that a push for peace talks had trumped calls for intervention, Erdogan starts banging on again about having proof that the Syrian Government has used of chemical weapons. What is he hoping to achieve?

Posted by: Pat Bateman | May 10 2013 15:16 utc | 49

The Guardian:
Robert Mugabe: from liberation hero to villain to redeemed father of a nation?
Reappraisal of Zimbabwean president coincides with plausible plotline of win in 'credible' elections leading to lifting of sanctions

Even non-supporters believe this reassessment is a necessary corrective after years of demonisation. "He was overtoxified in the first place," said Petina Gappah, a Harare-based writer, lawyer and fellow of the Open Society foundation. "This idea of Mugabe as Hitler? He's extremely charming and intelligent.

"This idea of a mindless thug underestimates his intelligence. This cartoonish, caricatured Idi Amin figure fails to recognise his insidious effect on the country. If he didn't exist, they would have had to invent him."

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 15:17 utc | 50

#27

Regarding the dams. I dont see how that's a national security breach. This info should not be secret! As a citizen I want to know if I am living in a area that can be inundated by water after a dam break. As a matter of fact, as part of real estate disclosure laws in California the seller HAS TO disclose if you are in a dam inundation area.

And not only shouldnt this info be secret, any civil engineer with GIS can create a map showing who would get flooded. These inundation maps are important during severe storm events in order to evacuate people who might be in harm's way.

By the way, the logistics necessary for a terrorist to cross the oceans with enough explosive to blow up a dam is pretty mind-boggling. I'd say the risk is zero (unless you consider Katrina or Sandy a terrorist).

Posted by: ess emm | May 10 2013 15:24 utc | 51

@49 Israel has to know they are going to pay for their strikes - and better this way, by arming Hezbollah, than carrying out some terror attack that will give Israel justification for more attacks.

It seems pretty smart. Let Israel bomb all the chicken farms they want, just so long as they know if they try anything serious, they're going to get hit hard.

This could go way beyond surface to surface missiles as well. They could be talking things to take out Apaches and new anti-tank missiles. It's a treasure trove: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipment_of_the_Syrian_Army

Posted by: guest77 | May 10 2013 15:27 utc | 52

Kerry says the minority OPPOSITION can decide the next Syrian Gov. Mr Putin. Where are you.?
Los Angeles times
"There is no way that anybody here believes that the opposition is ever going to give consent to President Assad to be running that government," Kerry told reporters in Rome.
His comments are part of a concerted U.S. campaign to convince a skeptical opposition that Washington has not softened its stance on Assad, even if his government is invited to the peace talks envisioned in the U.S.-Russia plan.
Russian officials note that the Geneva accord says the fate of his government is to be decided by Syrians in negotiations.
U.S. officials say the "mutual consent" mandate means that any transitional governing body would exclude Assad because the opposition would never agree to his presence. But Moscow, long a major ally of Assad and the principal arms supplier to his regime, argues that Assad's exclusion from the transitional government is not assured.
Kerry called the missile sales "potentially destabilizing," "I think we've made it crystal clear that we would prefer that Russia was not supplying assistance" to Syria, Kerry said.
Problem. These Russian missiles could halt aggression against Syria
a

Posted by: boindub | May 10 2013 15:30 utc | 53

@49, i've also wondered. These comments are not very helpful. For a minute I questioned his agenda. But it does not quite fit into the "qatari-money-agenda"...at least I hope so!

Posted by: Kal | May 10 2013 15:30 utc | 54

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9M123_Khrizantema

Posted by: guest77 | May 10 2013 15:34 utc | 55

An interesting development..

Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun Brigade now formed in Syria. How far this movement will go is anyone's guess but it seems Erdogan's about to be given a real taste of the poison he's dished out to Syria.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xx2a4e#.UY0T2rXYfHQ

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=26e_1358113823

Interesting times....

Posted by: Zico | May 10 2013 15:36 utc | 56

@56 so awesome that their logo is a woman w/o the headscarf. Instead the US supports the beheaders and the women haters...that's the poison of anti-communism in the US bloodstream. It will kill us in the end.

Posted by: guest77 | May 10 2013 15:48 utc | 57

Big DoD exercise in North America. What's going to blow up this time?

http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2013/05/sec-130509-afps01.htm?_m=3n.002a.801.wf0ao04t6j.qbn

Posted by: guest77 | May 10 2013 15:50 utc | 58

54) Well you cannot expect Nasrallah not to threaten Israel ...

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 16:03 utc | 59

this is getting fun now - compare

''It is testimony to the fact that Syria is, as one US official described to me, one giant big sinkhole and it will suck in the entire region,'' Shaikh says. ''If these strikes continue it will be interesting to what extent the Assad regime can get the message to not just the Arab street but the Syrian street, and whether the street will side with Assad or whether people just don't buy it any more.'' They will not buy it, says Paul Salem, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre. Syria is now almost completely isolated in the region, he says, which goes some way to explaining why Israel and its allies are so certain neither Syria, Iran nor Hezbollah will retaliate. This time. ''The Assad regime has put itself outside the Arab and Sunni world, they are now enemies of Arabs and Sunnis, so there is no love lost when Israel does something like this,'' he says, and notes that both Hezbollah and Iran have significant manpower inside Syria, pushing the regime towards an ever-more awful outcome for a civilian population that has now endured more than two years of war.

with

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood rallies against Israel

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is staging an anti-Israel rally in Cairo to protest Israeli airstrikes in Syria and the detention of a Muslim cleric.

Chants of “the people want destruction of Israel” rang out Friday inside Al-Azhar mosque, the centuries-old seat of Sunni Muslim learning.

The rally is the first such protest by the Brotherhood, from which Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi hails, since it gained prominence after 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Group officials say they are protesting the Israeli detention of top Palestinian Muslim cleric in the Holy Land in a rare crackdown on a leading religious figure that drew fierce condemnation from Palestinians. The demonstrators also were denouncing Israeli airstrikes in Syria that targeted alleged shipments of advanced Iranian missiles thought to be bound for Hezbollah.

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 16:36 utc | 60

I'd like to hear you guy's input on Sibel Edmonds latest. She continues to insist - without any evidence IMHO - that Russia is selling out Syria and that it's connected with the Boston bombings. See, for instance, this nugget:

"All right, let’s wade through this smoke-filled room: The Kerry-Putin agreement is on bringing Assad and the Opposition to the table while guaranteeing Syria’s current sovereignty and territorial integrity. Except … well, except there will be no Assad participating in this table-talk, there will be no respect for sovereignty and integrity of Syria in its present status, there will be hundreds of millions of dollars going to the arming of rebel-terrorist opposition, and there will be full US support for its proxies such as Israel to bomb the hell out of Syria. Have you had enough smoke? If not, let me add some more for you from another major US proxy:"

Full text here: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/05/09/syria-update-the-geopolitical-double-game/

I'd like to add that if Russia goes this way it will no longer have any credibility as an ally to anybody. Sibels arguments re some quid-pro-quo re the Caucasus do NOT make much sense to me.

Posted by: Luca K | May 10 2013 16:55 utc | 61

Egypt continues to deteriorate

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-07/egypt-investment-collapses-as-violence-sparks-lawless-vigilantes.html

Posted by: clubofrome | May 10 2013 17:46 utc | 62

60) No, she has no facts for her theory, just the coincidence of the Boston bombing with all kinds of stuff. I did not see anything indicating that the US administration is exploiting the bombing for any foreign policy agenda.

This here is Al Akhbar's take

the same goes for the Russians. “They are very sincere and easy-going and we have no problems with them. But relations with Moscow are the opposite of what some think. The more we become entrenched in our positions and our feet secure in the battlefield, the more they can be steady and wrench concessions from the other sides, and not the other way around. We do not wait for them. They await the progress we make on the ground.”

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 17:49 utc | 63

61)
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood rallies against Israel

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2013 17:59 utc | 64

What was the purpose of Nasrallah's comments, when Israel is itching to blow things up?

Israel always claimed that when Nasrallah travelled outside his bunker, he was a dead man walking. Nasrallah has been to Iran twice recently, Israeli attack on Syria has diverted peoples mind regarding this chest beating threat. Israel is afraid of Nasrallah, in fact in Israel he is more popular than majority of their politicians.

Posted by: hans | May 10 2013 18:25 utc | 65

@38

you are right and I apologize for, unintentionally, misleading you. That said, the facts doesn't alter the point I made.

Posted by: never mind | May 10 2013 20:26 utc | 66

Similar link to somebody's link to WSJ @ 24.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-boston-threat-20130510,0,3301080.story

Posted by: jawbone | May 10 2013 20:43 utc | 67

Anybody else find themselves going to pairNIC.com, a domain registration place, when they click the link to here? I had to google moonofalabama first; wouldn't work when I clicked the link in the drop-down history.

Posted by: ruralito | May 10 2013 23:30 utc | 68

KERRY: OWWW!!! I thought you said your dog does not bite?!?!?

PUTIN: That is not my dog.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 11 2013 0:39 utc | 69

@61, Edmonds says "As for Russia, as speculated, not a peep on Israel’s latest bombing of Syria- That is, outside the cursory and customary statements issued by states urging caution."

I think Russia's response was meatier than Edmonds implies:

http://rt.com/politics/russia-strike-attack-sovereign-140/

Posted by: ruralito | May 11 2013 1:49 utc | 70

Dr WY #69
I love that joke. I do it with a (very) fake Inspector Clouseau accent.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 11 2013 2:18 utc | 71

@ #32

Harry -

Sorry, I should've stated that I was talking about Iskander-M not E. You are correct in stating that the Fateh 110 is closer spec-wise to the Iskander-E - which is what Russia's clients would receive. From what I've read, the Iskander-M is on an entirely different operational level, but that one is used by the Russian state. In fact, Iskander-M's range is limited to 400km due only to the numerous missile treaties in place with NATO limiting it.

Posted by: RC | May 11 2013 2:53 utc | 72

68) try free adaware to clean your computer ...

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2013 4:17 utc | 73

Luca,

The ideas that Edmonds has been putting out make very little sense. And the importance of holding Syria and Iran as part of an anti-NATO bloc is huge. The Syrian government has basically won on the ground, and can continue to hold that pretty much forever, barring air attack. Why sell out when you have won?

So my take is Edmonds is under some form of pressure to say what she is saying. She gets good PR in the States, as does her whistleblowers group. A whistleblowers group in the US today is similar to one in the USSR, so that isn't a very good sign. Some argue that those in DC live in a bubble, and they can't imagine the US not getting its way. Perhaps.

Posted by: Paul | May 11 2013 5:59 utc | 74

@51 ess emm

I have to agree with you, citizens living within the vicinity of major dams should have access to information about them, inclusive areas presumably going under and expected heights of flood levels should those things fail. As you wrote, in many cases this is public knowledge.

However, the data I imagine not publicly available, but strictly limited to gov internal databases, such as the Army Corps of Engineers dbase someone hacked into, are details on specific weak spots within the dam infrastructure (inclusive exploitable gaps for cyber attacks) and more or less precise forecasts on how many people would die as a consequence of a bursting dam. Not good for real estate prices.

Mind you, whatever applies to the US also applies to China, Russia or Iran, they all have dams which when taken out would cause major havoc and destroy water supplies. One can't be sure, but I'd be surprised if the Pentagon hasn't done their homework on what damage they could cause with a strike on those dams if operational needs should arise, and in the process possibly attempted to get their hands on Russian, Chinese or Iranian estimates and findings about the state and weak spots of their nations dams.

Now what does it take to blow up a dam? I don't know, maybe as much explosives as it took to level the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, maybe a plane crashing into its walls, hard to tell. But if I had access to the Army Corps database, it would be that little bit easier to figure out.

Posted by: Juan Moment | May 11 2013 14:10 utc | 75

@ 63. "I did not see anything indicating that the US administration is exploiting the bombing for any foreign policy agenda."

That is incorrect. The Boston bombings were intended to get North Korea out of the headlines - which is precisely what happened.
Overnight (from 'WWIII tomorrow' to total silence and not a word about NK since the bombings).
Too big a coincidence, imo.

The Yankee NK 'provocation' meme was becoming one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" clusterfucks. The minute Jinping got into office he began dropping veiled hints about "interference in the affairs of sovereign nations" and went to Russia for talks with Putin on that topic. The Yankees weren't taking the hint, so one may safely assume that Jinping told Obama that if Yankees touch one hair of NK's head we'll give you a military 'exercise' you won't forget in a hurry.
Hence the Obama Mafia's Boston bombings (Yankees hate admitting they were wrong).

It's all downhill for the Yankees from now on.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 11 2013 15:06 utc | 76

pro-palestinian ad ignites zionist fury
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=moYK2XnD2XI … note the clueless people

Posted by: brian | May 12 2013 5:20 utc | 77

poll supports Hawking re israel boycott http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/poll/2013/may/08/stephen-hawking-boycott-israel

Posted by: brian | May 12 2013 5:31 utc | 78

U.S. Currently Fighting 74 Different Wars … That It Will Publicly Admit

And Many More Covert Wars Without Congressional Oversight … Let Alone Public Knowledge

Posted by: somebody | May 12 2013 8:23 utc | 79

Rand Paul on Saturday accused President Obama of working with "anti-American globalists" to "plot against our Constitution."........Who are these "globalists"??????

Posted by: georgeg | May 12 2013 13:40 utc | 80

@76 It's all downhill for the Yankees from now on.

But the clowns-in-charge avoid recognizing that by talking to themselves.

General Dunford, AfPak military czar, has a stock script he has memorized.

"When I look at the Afghan forces there are really three questions that I ask," he said. "One is: Can they assume the lead in 2013? ... And the answer is yes. The second question ... is: As I look to the elections of 2014, can they provide security? ... and the answer is yes. And the third question is: Can they affect full security transition at the end of 2014? And the answer is yes."

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 12 2013 14:18 utc | 81

@ 81 ... by talking to themselves and each other. And then 'leaking' it to media reptiles who get to keep their jobs (for another week) by dressing it up as "news."
I've all but convinced myself that that is what's happening in Oz. Some of the arrant and counter-intuitive Yankified nonsense being presented as fact (esp re Libya, Syria and North Korea) by previously trustworthy individuals and programs makes me wonder where their curiosity (and courage) went. SBS Dateline is a case in point. A few years ago, some of their young reporters risked their lives to report on Yankee cowardice, crimes and corruption in Afghanistan. Fast-forward to the present and SBS is running a promo for this Tuesday's Dateline focusing on Assad terrorising Syrian civilians.

News reporting went down hill pretty quickly after Rudd was replaced by Julia Gillard on false pretenses - an ominous sign that the post-Rudd capital of OZ would soon be the US Consulate and the US Ambassador our proxy President.

Some fuckwit Labor Minister emerged from a closed-door meeting several months ago and called to another Minister "We've got your back!"
That expression is pure Yankee. It is not, and never will be, part of Oz-speak.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 12 2013 16:52 utc | 82

georgeg @ 80 -- "who are these globalists???

I'll take "Corporatists" for $200, Alex.

Posted by: jawbone | May 12 2013 20:50 utc | 83

@Paul; Thanks for the input Paul!

Posted by: Luca K | May 12 2013 21:22 utc | 84

This is cool: A revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.

Long time since I danced to that piece.

Posted by: b | May 13 2013 6:46 utc | 85

@85 -- Ahhhh! Thanks for this link.

Posted by: jawbone | May 13 2013 19:46 utc | 86

Susie Madrak posted this link with a bit about the making of the Hatfield video:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/10052916/Commander-Chris-Hadfield-bids-farewell-to-ISS-with-recording-of-David-Bowies-Space-Oddity.html

Posted by: jawbone | May 13 2013 20:02 utc | 87

European Commission says where israel is concerned, research trumps Human rights!

'That Israel, a Middle East country, has managed to secure membership of the European Research Area and the many collaborative links with European labs underlines the importance of these links. When European parliamentarians challenged its membership on the grounds of Israel's numerous breaches of UN resolutions and of the European Human Rights conventions, the European Commission responded to the effect that research trumped human rights.'
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/political-science/2013/may/13/stephen-hawking-boycott-israel-science

Posted by: brian | May 15 2013 9:43 utc | 88

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