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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Podcast - The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof ?

@gbrumfiel and @ArmsControlWonk clearly had fun talking about EMPs.

Can a nuclear weapon in space fired by North Korea knock off much of the world's electricity? 

Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, says not really.

Murky details emerge of the 'deal' that Hussein Obama struck with Iran.

Murky details emerge of the 'deal' that Hussein Obama struck with Iran. (AlArabia).

More than a year ago on January 17, 2016, then President Barack Obama announced on TV the nuclear deal with Iran and also another secretly concluded deal securing freedom for four Iranian-Americans incarcerated by Tehran.

In exchange, Obama said he had granted clemency to six Iranian-Americans and one Iranian man convicted or awaiting trial or appeal in the US for violations of US sanctions laws. He made clear that they were not charged with “terrorism or any violent offenses.”

Politico has published the list and details of those individuals involved in the deal – the four Iranian-Americans freed by Tehran, the seven who were granted clemency in the US, and also the 14 that Obama did not mention at all – Iranian fugitives wanted by the US that the administration dropped charges and international arrest warrants against, citing foreign policy interests and the low likelihood of capturing them.

Those who were awaiting trial or appeal in the US and the Iranian-Americans held by Iran, have all asserted their innocence and portrayed themselves as political pawns in the often-contentious relationship between the US and Iran.

The 14 fugitives whose cases and international arrest warrants were dropped: These case histories have been compiled from federal court documents and other records, based on identities of the men initially disclosed by Iran’s FARS news service.

  1. Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, an Iranian import-export businessman charged with procuring nuclear-related equipment for Iran from 2005 through 2012, including conspiring with Chinese associate Sihai Cheng to obtain hundreds of US-made pressure transducers for the gas centrifuges Iran used to secretly enrich uranium.

  2. Amin Ravan, an Iranian citizen known to be a long-time procurement agent for Iran, Ravan and his Iran-based company IC Market Iran were charged with smuggling US-made military antennas to Hong Kong and Singapore to acquire the antennas and a wide array of other components for users in Iran. He was also charged with helping Iran acquire US radio frequency modules and other components that were used in IEDs that was responsible for killing many American troops in Iraq.

  3. Behrouz Dolatzadeh, an Iranian citizen and longtime weapons smuggler for Iran. He was indicted and charged in connection with an alleged scheme to buy thousands of US-made assault rifles for ultimate use in Iran.

  4. Hamid Arabnejad, Gholamreza Mahmoudi and Ali Moattar were Iranian citizens and executives at Mahan Air, and were indicted in connection with a conspiracy to illegally obtain by lease agreement for as many as six Boeing airplanes on behalf of the private Iranian airline.

  5. Matin Sadeghi, a Turkish national indicted as part of Bahram Mechanic’s Houston-based procurement network, Sadeghi allegedly used his Istanbul trading company as an intermediary shipping point for dual-use US-origin electronics exported illegally to Iran, including commodities “frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including surface-air and cruise missiles.”

  6. Koorush Taherkhani, an Iranian national and alleged co-conspirator in Ghahreman’s procurement network, Taherkhani used hise firm as a front company to acquire US-made navigation equipment for use in Iran.

  7. Alireza Moazami Goudarzi, an Iranian citizen, Goudarzi was charged in connection with an international conspiracy to illegally procure US aircraft parts to Iran, including rotor blades for attack helicopters and other military and restricted aviation components.

  8. Jalal Salami, a dual US and Iranian citizen who conspired to procure US electronic components use in Iran through Malaysia. Two others, Iranian citizens Sajad Farhadi and Seyed Ahmad Abtahi, were also part of the procurement network, prosecutors said.

  9. Mohammed A. Sharbaf, an Iranian citizen indicted for allegedly being part of a conspiracy to procure US-origin forklift parts in violation of American sanctions.

  10. Mohammad Abbas Mohammadi, an Iranian citizen charged with conspiring to illegally procure US-origin aircraft parts – including engines – for use in civilian and military aircraft in Iran.
    Hmmmm.....Hussein Obama now being paid #400.000 to spread more Lies. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Amnesty, HRW, PEN, Article 19 urge Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe to re-open monitoring of Turkey.

Amnesty, HRW, PEN, Article 19 urge Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe to re-open monitoring of Turkey.  (HRW).
Re: Addressing the serious deterioration of human rights in Turkey
Dear Assembly Member,
We are writing, ahead of the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to call on you to support the recommendation included in the report of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) to reopen the monitoring procedure on the situation in Turkey until the grave concerns raised by the Rapporteurs are duly addressed by the Government of Turkey.
We believe that a decision by PACE to reopen the monitoring procedure would send a strong message to Turkey and indicate a commitment to holding the government and president accountable for their repeated failure to respect their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and as a member of the Council of Europe.
Only a decision to reopen full monitoring of the situation in Turkey would acknowledge the grave human rights violations documented in the country in recent years, including the severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly, the practice of torture and ill-treatment in detention, arbitrary detentions, prosecutions, dismissals, confiscation of passports and property, and continued violence and serious abuses in South East Turkey. It would allow for greater scrutiny by members of the Parliamentary Assembly and create a more appropriate forum to debate the actions the Turkish authorities should take to address the Assembly’s concerns. It would provide a recognition by the Assembly of the rapid deterioration since July 2016 of the functioning of democratic institutions and backsliding on human rights and the rule of law in the country.
Turkey is under a state of emergency imposed after a failed coup last July, allowing President Erdoğan to head the cabinet and rule the country by decree, with weakened parliamentary and judicial oversight.
Independent mainstream media in Turkey have been all but silenced, with over 160 media outlets and publishing houses closed down since July 2016, and around 150 journalists and media workers currently jailed pending trial. Over 100,000 civil servants have been summarily dismissed or suspended without due process and over 47,000 people have been jailed pending trial. They face charges of involvement in the coup plot and of association either with the Fethullah Gülen movement, branded a terrorist organization by the government, or with Kurdish political activism that the government considers is linked to the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Among those jailed are the two leaders of the opposition Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) and 12 other members of parliament from the party.
Read the full story here.

U.S., Japan and South Korea have agreed to prepare a "shock therapy package" for North Korea.

U.S., Japan and South Korea have agreed to prepare a "shock therapy package" for North Korea.

The U.S., Japan and South Korea have agreed to prepare a "shock therapy package" for North Korea in case it conducts another nuclear or missile test, officials here said Monday.

"Talk of shock therapy itself is sends a strong deterrent message." "Beijing has already given consent to the idea," another Foreign Ministry official claimed. "The key point is to cut off the North's sources of hard currency with the help of China, while the three countries are mulling their own sanctions like the U.S. designating the North as a state sponsor of terrorism and a secondary boycott."Read the full story here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Trump Joins Grand Bipartisan Tradition Of Denying Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey.

Trump Joins Grand Bipartisan Tradition Of Denying Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey. (HuffingtonPost).

President Donald Trump on Monday adopted a controversial but traditional Washington line by avoiding the term “genocide” in describing the Turkish government’s pogrom against its Armenian citizens in 1915.

In a statement issued on the day historians say the genocide began, Trump noted Armenians’ mass suffering and the deaths of more than 1 million people, but he did not say there was a “genocide,” a step advocates say is essential for the sake of victims, honesty about the past and America’s credibility as a moral actor.

For years, concerns about angering Turkey, a strategically important partner for the U.S., and strong lobbying efforts by the Turks have stymied attempts to change official U.S. government policy to acknowledge the genocide.
Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan did use the term in office, but George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama shied away from it, even fighting congressional efforts to endorse it.
Trump crafted an image of himself as a gutsy outsider on the campaign trail and in doing so had raised expectations that he might challenge the taboo, Oshana said. But his statement reflected the power that Washington orthodoxy ― the logic of the “swamp” that he pledged to drain ― retains in the nation’s capital.

It’s hard to publicly admit to toeing the Washington line while in office. But former top officials have more leeway to expose hypocrisy and moral failures. Hours after Trump issued his statement, Samantha Power, a top aide to Obama, tweeted out a public apology for the former administration’s failure to acknowledge the genocide ― rare for a member of a team that has loudly defended its approach to foreign policy and human rights in the face of serious criticism.

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