These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 28, 2012.
Saturday, 28 January 2012
"Lived Together Amicably For Years" But When They Are Whipped Up, Muslim Neighbors Attack Copts Attack
January 27, 2012
Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood on Rampage in Egypt?
The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) has issued a report about a mob attack on Copts in in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat (el-Ameriya), Alexandria. Three people were injured. The property damage appears to be extensive. AINA reports:
The violence started after a rumor was spread that a Coptic man had an allegedly intimate photo of a Muslim woman on his mobile phone. The Coptic man, Mourad Samy Guirgis, surrendered to the police this morning morning for his protection.
According to eyewitnesses, the perpetrators were bearded men in white gowns. "They were Salafists, and some of were from the Muslim Brotherhood," according to one witness. It was reported that terrorized women and children who lost their homes were in the streets without any place to go.
Further down in the story, AINA quotes a Coptic priest who states the attack was not perpetrated by "Islamists" but by ordinary Muslims. The priest could not explain "why people who have lived together amicably for years could commit such violence." His answer: "Maybe because of lack of security, they think that they can do as they please."
Afghans Want Western Infidels To Fight And Die, "Until Afghans Are Ready" And The Cows Come Home
Afghans blast French plan to withdraw troops early
By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press
January 28, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — France's plans to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan a year early drew harsh words Saturday in the Afghan capital, with critics accusing French President Nicolas Sarkozy of putting his re-election campaign ahead of Afghans' safety.
A wider proposal by Sarkozy for NATO to hand over all security to Afghans by the end of next year also came under fire, with one Afghan lawmaker saying it would be "a big mistake" that would leave security forces unprepared to fight the Taliban insurgency and threaten a new descent into violence in the 10-year-old war.
[but they will never be ready, as Muslims, to fight the Taliban as a real enemy, and why should the French, or other non-Muslims, sacrifice for the Muslim Afghans, when they can control, from the air, and intermittent strikes, whatever turns out to represent a real threat to them, those Infidels? Why should they contine to take casualties for the Afghans whose leaders have shown themselves to be impossibly corrupt and vicious, and whose soldiers have shown themselves to be ineffective, cowardly, lazy, on patrol with the Coalition troops, and unwilling to fight but amused to watch the Infidels fight for them, and more recently, have shown that many of them are treacherous, attacking the very people who are trying to train them, and killing, time after time, unarmed Coalition troops, as they did the French soldiers recently who were playing soccer.]
Sarkozy's decision, which came a week after four French troops were shot dead by an Afghan army trainee suspected of being a Taliban infiltrator, raises new questions about the unity of the U.S.-led military coalition.
It also reopens the debate over whether setting a deadline for troop withdrawals will allow the Taliban to run out the clock and seize more territory once foreign forces are gone.
"Afghan forces are not self-sufficient yet. They still need more training, more equipment and they need to be stronger," said military analyst Abdul Hadi Khalid, Afghanistan's former minister of interior.
Khalid said the decision by Sarkozy was clearly political. The French president is facing a tough election this year, and the population's already deep discontent with the Afghan war only intensified when unarmed French troops were gunned down by a supposed ally Jan. 20 at a joint base in the eastern province of Kapisa.
Sarkozy announced France's new timetable on Friday alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was in Paris for a previously planned visit. He also said Karzai had agreed with him to ask for all international forces to hand security over to the Afghan army and police in 2013, a plan he would present it at a Feb. 2-3 meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. He said he would call President Barack Obama about his plan on Saturday.
Afghan lawmaker Tahira Mujadedi said Afghan security forces will not be ready in time for any early NATO withdrawal, saying the current timetable already is rushing the training of national forces.
"That would be a big mistake by the Afghan government if they accept it," she said of Sarkozy's plan. "In my view, they should extend 2014 by more years instead of cutting it short to 2013."
She said she sympathizes in the matter of the French soldiers' deaths, but argued that they present no logical reason for France to deviate from the U.S. timetable for NATO to hand over security by 2014.
"When military forces are present in a war zone, anything can happen," Mujadedi said. The French troops "are not here for a holiday," she added.
France now has about 3,600 soldiers in the international force, which is mostly made up of American troops.
Afghan forces started taking the lead for security in certain areas of the country last year and the plan has been to add more areas, as Afghan police and soldiers were deemed ready to take over from foreign forces.
According to drawdown plans already announced by the U.S. and more than a dozen other nations, the foreign military footprint in Afghanistan will shrink by an estimated 40,000 troops at the close of this year. Washington is pulling out the most — 33,000 by the end of the year. That's one-third of 101,000 U.S. troops that were in Afghanistan in June, the peak of the U.S. military presence in the war, Pentagon figures show.
Sarkozy also said France would hand over authority in the province of Kapisa, where the French troops were killed this month, by the end of March. Karzai's office confirmed that decision Saturday, saying it was made at the French president's request.
The NATO coalition has started to hand over security in several areas of Afghanistan, aiming to transfer about half of the country in the coming months. But Kapisa was not one of the provinces earmarked for handover, according to U.S. Navy Lt. James McCue, a coalition spokesman.
Kapisa lawmaker Mujadedi argued that Afghan forces in her province particularly are not ready to go it alone in fighting the Taliban insurgency, which is especially strong in several of the province's districts. She warned that if NATO forces do pull back from Kapisa, it could also destabilize nearby Kabul.
"We have had so many attacks, ambushes and also suicide attacks in Kapisa," Mujadedi said. "Unfortunately, our national police and army, while present in Kapisa, are unable to provide good security for people."
France's early withdrawal announcement could step up pressure on other European governments like Britain, Italy and Germany, which also have important roles in Afghanistan — even if the U.S. has the lion's share by far.
Karzai, who praised the role of France and other NATO allies, didn't object at Friday's joint news conference when Sarkozy said the 2013 NATO withdrawal timetable was sought by both France and Afghanistan.
However, the Afghan leader appeared to suggest that it was a high-end target.
"We hope to finish the transition ... by the end of 2013 at the earliest — or by the latest as has been agreed upon — by the end of 2014," Karzai said.
Nick Witney, a senior policy fellow at the Paris-based European Council on Foreign Relations, said public support of the war in Europe started sliding fast after the coalition agreed to end the combat mission in 2014.
"It has become more and more difficult to justify every single casualty, since it's now clear that these are wasted lives," said Witney, a former head of the European Defense Agency.
"Most European policymakers realize that on a purely cost-benefit assessment, we would all leave Afghanistan tomorrow," Witney said.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has once again blamed that someone in authority in Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts before US forces went in to find him. In an interview on Saturday, he said Intelligence reports found Pakistani military helicopters had passed over the compound in Abbottabad. “I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound. Don’t forget, this compound had 18-foot walls… It was the largest compound in the area,” he was quoted as saying by news agencies.
"We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees," the spokesman, Abu Qaqa, said in the group's first major interview with a western newspaper. "Once we see that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released [from prison], we will only put aside our arms – but we will not lay them down. You don't put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside."
Qaqa, whose name is a pseudonym, said the group's members were spiritual followers of al-Qaida, and claimed they had met senior figures in the network founded by Osama bin Laden during visits to Saudia Arabia.
"If [security forces] are going to places of worship and destroying them, like mosques and Quranic schools, you have primary schools as well, you have secondary schools and universities, and we will start bombing them."
Nigerian officials have voiced hopes for a negotiated settlement with "moderate elements" of the group. "Under the circumstances, if you look hard enough, you can find moderate elements you can communicate with," General Andrew Azazi, the national security adviser to the president, told the Wall Street Journal on Friday.[where have you heard this before? And where will you hear it again?]
Western diplomats say Boko Haram has splintered and the hardliners leading the factions responsible for the wave of violence that has killed some 250 people this year appear to have rejected any suggestion of dialogue.
The Guardian was able to contact Abu Qaqa through an intermediary from the group's home state. The go-between has been in contact with the group since its inception, and met with its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, several times before he was killed in 2009. For most of the interview he used a voice modulator, but local journalists confirmed that his undisguised voice matched recordings of previous interviews.
Qaqa said Shekau and others had travelled to Saudi Arabia for training and funding. "Al-Qaida are our elder brothers. During the lesser Hajj [last August], our leader travelled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them. Anything we want from them we ask them."
Security officials and diplomats in Abuja said they had no evidence of a link with al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, but an official confirmed that "elements of Boko Haram have made contact with external groups". The extent and frequency of that contact was unknown, the official said.
But Qaqa said the rights of the country's 70 million Christians, who represent half of Nigeria's population, "would be protected" under the group's envisioned Islamic state. "Even the prophet Mohammed lived with non-Muslims and he gave them their dues." But he said everyone must abide by sharia law: "There are no exceptions. Even if you are a Muslim and you don't abide by sharia, we will kill you. Even if you are my own father, we will kill you."
Speaking fluent but non-native Hausa, the lingua franca across the Sahelian belt on the cusp of the Sahara desert, he said: "It's the secular state that is responsible for the woes we are seeing today. People should understand that we are not saying we have to rule Nigeria, but we have been motivated by the stark injustice in the land. People underrate us but we have our sights set on [bringing sharia to] the whole world, not just Nigeria."
Sharia law is already in place across 12 states in the Muslim-majority north. Few believe the group's radical ideology has traction in Nigeria's mainly Christian south, which is also home to millions of Muslims and has so far been out of the group's reach.
Raising his voice for the only time during the interview, Qaqa denied reports that some governors in northern Nigeria paid the group monthly allowances in exchange for immunity from attacks. "May God punish anyone that said so," he said, before adding that the group has popular support in the north.
"Poor people are tired of the injustice, people are crying for saviours and they know the messiahs are Boko Haram.
"People were singing songs in [northern cities] Kano and Kaduna saying: 'We want Boko Haram'," Qaqa said, describing how the group can blend into the communities in which it operates. "If the masses don't like us they would have exposed us by now. When Islam comes everyone would be happy," he said.
Diplomats say Nigeria's security services are belatedly attempting to gain control of the situation, which was previously dismissed as an internal, northern squabble often fuelled by politicians with personal grievances.
"There is an ongoing review of all security agencies," the presidential aide Ken Wiwa said. "This is a relatively new phenomenon in Nigeria and the administration is working hard to improve its capacity to respond. There are various other initiatives which will be implemented but this is as much a political as a security issue."
An official said Nigeria's central bank was involved in measures aimed at strangling the group's external funding sources, including speeding up a cashless economy.
Those Navy Seals are getting a little too clubbable. Common language division alert from The Telegraph (thanks to Esmerelda for finding this gem):
Documents released by the Pentagon show that the military is urgently refitting the USS Ponce, a 1960s transport ship, so that it can accommodate the speed boats and Blackhawk helicopters favoured by America's special forces.
Further or farther, which would you rather? I always thought there was some significance in the distinction between "further" and "farther" that I hadn't grasped. Nothing could be further - but perhaps not farther - from the truth. Dot Wordsworth furthers our understanding in The Spectator:
You (my husband) say farther and I say further. Not only that but we are both sure we’re right. How can this be? To the benighted farther brigade it is obvious. Farther is the comparative of far, so, at least in the literal sense of distance, it is the logical form. Such instincts to tidy up language are natural.
Indeed a previous comparative was farrer, very logically. This held sway from the 12th to the 17th century, after which it began to be associated with the sort of speech heard on The Archers. (Originally the comparative of far was fyrr, but that was before the Conquest.) The forms farther, further, which came to supplant farrer, were modelled on the noun further, in the meaning of ‘furtherance’.
So much for history. How should anyone decide now whether to use further or farther? Dickens, for example, or his printer, uses either form before the noun end (of a room). The Oxford English Dictionary says: ‘In standard English the form farther is usually preferred where the word is intended to be the comparative of far, while further is used where the notion of far is altogether absent; there is a large intermediate class of instances in which the choice between the two forms is arbitrary.’
That would seem to be that — except this judgment was not formed in 1989, when the second edition of the OED was published, but in 1895, when words beginning with F first came out. Even by 1926, when the stickler Henry Fowler published Modern English Usage, it was true that ‘hardly anyone uses the two words for different occasions; most people prefer one or the other for all purposes, and the preference of the majority is for further’.
In 1985, the fat grammar by Quirk, Greenbaum et aliis noted that in all senses further was the usual form, with farther, if used, often being restricted to the sense of physical distance. The wise Robert Burchfield in his revision of Fowler in 1996 observed that farther, when used, was more common among American speakers. He predicted that further would remain dominant in the 21st century, and so it has. But some people will not be told.
Apologies to Jonathan Franzen for nicking his book title for a new regular column. We are not in the same business, so there is no tort of passing off, although I refuse to rule out the lesser tort of pissing off. Every now and again, perhaps weekly, I will be taking an article from the mainstream press and correcting it for Islam-related mistakes. There would be little point in using material from The Guardian -- it would bleed red ink -- so I will generally confine myself to not-entirely-hopeless publications like The Spectator. Corrections in red:
Last week, the Islamist group Boko Haram launched a horrific attack, bombing five Nigerian police stations and killing 186 in one day.
Just as the Foreign Office missed the emergence of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, it is having difficulty recognising the newold evil of religious cleansing. Jihad. It takes different forms in different countries, from pastors being randomly assassinated in the Philippines to the massacres of congregations in Iraq, whose ancient Christian community is now midway through an exodus of Biblical proportions. Behind it all lies a virulent strain of radical Sunni Islam, enlisting young men who take Islam to heart in a new war where the enemy lies not over a border but in the church, synagogue or temple.
Boko Haram is not part of a global jihad, though it imitates al-Qa’eda with its suicide bombs and internet videos. It is a Nigerianan Islamic campaign in Nigeria perpetrated mainly against theInfidels who happen this time to be English-speaking Igbo Christians, whom British missionaries helped convert in the 19th century.
Boko Haram, which translates as ‘Western education is sinful’, regards Christianity (the faith of half of Nigerians) as a foreign contagion. It has moved on from drive-by shootings and petrol bombs and its declared aim is now the full-scale cleansing of Christians from Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north. A fortnight ago it ordered all Christians to leave the north, and when confronted by the Nigerian government it gave its reply in last week’s attack. The inept response of its president, Goodluck Jonathan, has only encouraged Boko Haram further. The vast majority ofSome Nigerian Muslims areclaim to be appalled, and wishful thinking Christian leaders are urging the Igbo not to retaliate. It may not take much to escalate this into a religious version of the old tribal warsa new phase of Jihad.
Grade: B minus. Could do better.Read the Koran and visit New English Review.
Why is it that no one bats an eyelash when a former United States national security adviser says, “The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence”? Last week in an interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski accused the government of Israel of a crime. If he has evidence that Israeli officials have broken the law by bribing U.S. politicians, law enforcement authorities should compel him to produce it. But of course Brzezinski’s not really talking about Israelis. What he means is that American Jews have subverted the interests of the United States on behalf of a foreign power.
You don’t need to know much about history to recognize that Brzezinski here is trading in a classic anti-Semitic trope. Why didn’t his Salon interviewer call him out on it? Why hasn’t anyone else? Where are the American elites—the intellectuals, writers, policymakers, and political activists—when it comes to vigilance against anti-Semitism?
The editors of magazines and newspapers have a responsibility as gatekeepers of polite society. It turns out the gatekeepers haven’t been vigilant. We live in a culture where the social taboo against anti-black racism is so fierce that violating the taboo means certain expulsion from polite company. But the very reverse process is taking place when it comes to anti-Semitism: The taboo is being rapidly eroded, and those who ought to confront it are enabling it.
Israel Firsters, dual loyalists, Likudniks, ziocons, neocon warmongers—in the wake of the Holocaust, such anti-Semitic rhetoric would have been unimaginable. Yet it became commonplace little more than half a century later at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. Midlevel George W. Bush Administration officials with Jewish-sounding last-names—Wolfowitz, Abrams, Feith, and the rest of their neocon cabal—were accused of dual loyalty, sending American boys to die for the sake of the country that had their true devotion: Israel. According to this theory, administration principals like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and the president—policymakers with actual decision-making power—were merely instruments in the control of vast Zionist networks that were also manipulating the media and financial industries.
This theory reached full bloom in 2007, when Farrar, Straus and Giroux, one of America’s most esteemed publishing houses, handed the political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt a $750,000 advance for their book The Israel Lobby. As my colleague Adam Kirsch pointed out last week, the book’s impact was massive because it made it possible to say almost anything about Jewish money, and Jewish power, and the Jewish state. Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis was praised as bracing, and to question their motives or their ideas was to traffic in McCarthyism. And so the book’s argument earned respect.
Today that discourse has made its way into a Washington-based think tank with close ties to the Obama Administration. Last month, the Center for American Progress found itself in the middle of controversy when some contributors to the organization’s Think Progress blog were accused of writing posts and Tweets that were out-and-out anti-Semitic. One blogger, Zaid Jilani, used the term “Israel firsters” to describe pro-Israel Obama donors. “Waiting 4 hack pro-Dem blogger to use this 2 sho Obama is still beloved by Israel-firsters and getting lots of their $$.”
American Jewish groups were incensed. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Washington Post that, “The language is corrosive and unacceptable.” Jilani left the organization and apologized for using the term, but his colleagues remain, only slightly chastened.
CAP’s chief of staff Ken Gude explained in response to the criticism that, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, or any form of discrimination.” However, it would seem that Think Progress’ bloggers were well-suited to the general temperament of the organization. The problem isn’t just CAP-sponsored ephemera like blogs and tweets, but its more significant offerings relating to the Middle East, like its massive research project on Islamophobia. On Page 94 of that study, for instance, the authors take issue with the Middle East Media Research Institute, founded by Israelis. “MEMRI is respected in some circles for its work to combat hate language and anti-Semitism, but it is also criticized for its selective translations. The institute contends that it highlights moderate Muslim voices on its Reform blog. Yet MEMRI’s selective translations of Arab media fan the flames of Islamophobia.”
How do the Jews who run this translation organization promote Islamophobia, according to CAP? By translating the opinions of those who want to persecute and kill Jews. Try fitting this twisted reasoning into Gude’s zero-tolerance policy against any form of discrimination: Women’s rights groups stir up male hatred by collecting statistics of violence against women; the NAACP fans the flames of racism because it advocates on behalf of equal rights for African-Americans.
The root of this problem is not a twentysomething blogger writing something stupid on the Internet. Rather, it is that anti-Semitic rhetoric and logic are being protected and justified by those who are supposed to be gatekeepers. These people, often in the service of their larger political aims, are willing to apologize for or ignore what is obviously Jew-baiting and Jew-hatred.
Consider, for example, Robert Wright’s take on the CAP affair in a blog post at The Atlantic he titled “How to Smear a Washington Think Tank.” “I’m not Jewish,” writes the best-selling author, “so I always feel awkward weighing in on the question of what constitutes anti-Semitism.” What an odd statement. Presumably Wright, who is also not African-American, feels no such qualms about weighing in one what constitutes racism.
For Wright and so many others, anti-Semitism now seems to fall into a special category of prejudice. In this instance, you need to be Jewish to have an opinion. Instead of enforcing the limits, the limits are erased, making phrases like “Israel Firster” acceptable. The next step is to have that move validated by Jews who may not be interested in promoting anti-Semitism but are eager to push a separate political agenda that in order to silence opponents requires dirty tricks, including the use of anti-Semitic tropes. That’s the reason Wright cites an Israeli who appeared alongside him in a recent edition of the Internet debate forum Bloggingheads and who explains that the criticism of CAP is similar to the way his own Israel-based organization has been treated.
J Street’s founder Jeremy Ben-Ami chalked up the CAP blogger’s anti-Semitic rhetoric to mere semantics. “The use of the term ‘Israel Firster’ is a bad choice of words,” wrote Ben-Ami, but in his opinion it’s not really anti-Semitic. On the J Street website, he advised “American Jews and communal leaders [not to] overreach with charges of anti-Semitism in incidents like this. When real anti-Semitism actually rears its ugly head, people will be far less likely to listen.”
Apparently, Ben-Ami has postulated some sort of acid test in order to discern “real” anti-Semitism. The bar has been set so high that just about anyone can clear it, so long as they’re not a brown-shirt, neo-Nazi, or Klansman. Say whatever you will about the Jews, and we’ll give it a pass, so long as it meets the Hitler test. According to this standard, if someone wants to eliminate the Jewish state, then they’re just an anti-Zionist. It’s only when that sentiment comes from someone wearing a swastika and who has the resources to slaughter Jews wholesale that they’ve crossed the threshold into “real” anti-Semitism. Otherwise, raising a fuss makes you just the little boy who cried anti-Semitism.
This isn’t how the world works. Americans’ sensitivity to racist language directed at African-Americans has not made Americans insensitive to “real” anti-black racism. Rather it has made us scrupulous about our language, and subsequently our beliefs and practices have come to reflect, if not wholly fulfill, the promises embodied in this country’s founding documents.
What makes people insensitive to racism is when American political and intellectual elites refuse to confront racist language. The use of phrases like “Israel Firster” and “dual loyalist” that are based on anti-Semitic tropes is anti-Semitic. So is the belief that Jews fan the flames of hatred for discussing the opinions of those who hate them. What is even more vile than the anti-Semitic language impugning the political motives of pro-Israel American Jews is someone like Ben-Ami crying foul when those Jews object to being slandered as disloyal. In effect, the message is, don’t defend yourselves against the calumnies heaped upon you, Jews, because the more noise you make the more trouble there will be for you in the long run.
No doubt there are some in the Jewish community who would prefer that I—who, like Wright, am not Jewish—stay out of what they perceive to be essentially an intramural debate. Tough luck. This is not just about the Jews. Anti-Semitic ideas and language corrode our entire social fabric. It is my business. And there is something wrong with anyone, especially those who are not Jewish, who thinks this isn’t their problem as well.
Pakistanis Treat As A Traitor The DoctorWho Helped The Americans Find Bin Laden
Panetta concerned about doctor who helped in bin Laden raid
By the CNN Wire Staff
January 28, 2012
"I'm very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS.
Defense chief Leon Panetta talks about the Osama bin Laden raid on "60 Minutes"
He says the doctor who helped get evidence should be released
The Pakistanis accused Shakeel Afridi of treason
Panetta says the Pakistanis must have known bin Laden was hiding out
Washington (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is acknowledging publicly the key role a Pakistani doctor who assisted the United States ahead of the strike on Osama bin Laden's compound last May that killed the terrorism mastermind.
The doctor who provided key information ought to be released, Panetta told CBS's "60 Minutes" in a segment set to air Sunday.
"I'm very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual," Panetta told CBS. "This was an individual who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation. And he was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan."
Dr. Shakeel Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden's to verify the terror leader's presence there.
Pakistan, which expressed its anger over the raid without consulting Pakistani authorities, has charged Afridi with treason.
"Pakistan and the United States have a common cause here against terrorism, have a common cause against al Qaeda," Panetta said. "And for them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part."
Panetta said Pakistan can discipline Afridi in whatever manner it deems appropriate but the doctor should be released.
Many analysts felt U.S. officials had kept quiet about Afridi so as to not implicate him.
Panetta also told CBS that he remains convinced that someone in authority in Pakistan knew that bin Laden was hiding in the city of Abbottabad, a largely military community outside the capital, Islamabad.
He said there were intelligence reports of Pakistani helicopters passing over the bin Laden compound. He also questioned why the Pakistanis would not notice the vast complex with 18-foot walls.
"So you would have thought that somebody would have asked the question, 'What the hell's going on there?'" Panetta said. "I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound."
Panetta said the United States chose not to inform Pakistan of the raid due to security concerns.
"We had seen some military helicopters actually going over this compound. And for that reason, it concerned us that, if we, in fact, brought (Pakistan) into it, that they might ... give bin Laden a heads up."
USAF Bunker Buster Bomb White Sands Proving Ground 2007
The Wall Street Journal had a report on the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), a 30,000 pound so-called bunker buster that the USAF has had under development for nearly a decade, “Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb Versus Iran.” The WSJ report reveals that the MOP may be a dud not able to penetrate far enough to hit deep underground Iranian nuclear development facilities. Moreover, the only means of knocking out enrichment facilities built under mountains like the one in Fordow near the holy city of Qom might be tactical nuclear weapons. One wonders if this is a public relations blitz by Defense Secretary Panetta to further delay consideration of a realistic military option. Cyber warfare and other non-conventional alternatives might be more credible. Note this from the WSJ article:
Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn't yet capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.
The 30,000-pound "bunker-buster" bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), was specifically designed to take out the hardened fortifications built by Iran and North Korea to cloak their nuclear programs.
[. . .]
Doubts about the MOP's effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb's ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, the officials said.
[. . .]
The Defense Department has spent about $330 million so far to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co. The Pentagon is seeking about $82 million more to make the bomb more effective, according to government officials briefed on the plan.
[. . .]
The Pentagon was particularly concerned about its ability to destroy bunkers built under mountains, such as Iran's Fordow site near the Shiite Muslim holy city of Qom, according to a former senior U.S. official who is an expert on Iran.
The official said some Pentagon war planners believe conventional bombs won't be effective against Fordow and that a tactical nuclear weapon may be the only military option if the goal is to destroy the facility. "Once things go into the mountain, then really you have to have something that takes the mountain off," the official said.
The official said the MOP may be more effective against Iran's main enrichment plant at Natanz but added: "But even that is guesswork."
Back in 2009, when we were not yet aware of Stuxnet, the prevailing sentiment was to build this monster conventional weapon to be able to penetrate both Iranian and North Korean underground nuclear development facilities. There were contretemps between the US and Israel about the delivery of promised GBU-28’s, an earlier version of the bunker busters. We noted the development quandary in an Iconoclast post, “Did Defense Secretary Gates discuss the New Bunker Buster MOP Bomb with Israel?”
The USAF was rushing development of a new bunker buster bomb, the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). It is a warning to both Iran and North Korea that the US had the conventional capability to hit reinforced nuclear facilities in both countries. An earlier version of the MOP, the 21,000 pound GBU 43 dubbed ‘the mother of all bombs’ had been successfully tested by the USAF 53rd Air Weapons Evaluation Group at the Tyndall Air Base range in Florida’s Panhandle in 2003. The precision-guided MOP could penetrate underground structures to a depth of 200 feet. Air Force spokespersons indicated the MOP could be available by mid-2010 pending Congressional authorization. The mammoth weapon could be delivered by either the aging fleet of B-52’s based in Diego Riviera in the Indian Ocean or by the B-2 Stealth bombers from bases in the US.
[. . .] Earlier in 2005 Israel had ordered delivery from the Pentagon of upwards of 100 5,300 pound laser-guided GBU-28’s for possible missions against Iranian nuclear facilities targets with its front-line F-15b’s.
Compare the 2009 MOP report with the WSJ report and it looks like baseball great Yogi Berra’s fabled malapropism, “it’s déjà vu all over again”.
What we have now is a patent dud with the use of the monster conventional MOP against hardened deep underground Iranian nuclear facilities.
That is where some out of the box thinking is needed into use of available advanced cyber-warfare and non-conventional nuclear options to counter these hardened deep underground Iranian and North Korean nuclear facilities.
Stuxnet, the first military-grade cyber weapon known to the world, has been called a digital missile and a cyber-Hiroshima bomb. But it was not a one-shot blast, new research shows. Rather, Stuxnet is part of a bigger cyber weapons system – a software platform, or framework – that can modify already-operational malicious software, researchers at two leading antivirus companies told the Monitor.
The platform appears to be able to fire and reload – again and again – to recalibrate for different targets and to bolt on different payloads, but with minimal added cost and effort, say researchers at Kaspersky Labs and at Symantec.
The evidence to date is that Stuxnet and its variants have disrupted Iran’s nuclear program and infected tens of thousands of computer controlled industrial and power infrastructure applications in Iran to the frustration of the Islamic Republic’s technocrats.
That should not lost on the US and certainly not Israel, whose cybertech prowess is world class. Its fabled Unit 8200 may have been involved with the development of Stuxnet Duqu and a whole class of more powerful cyber weapons, yet to be unveiled.
The US supplied bunker busters that the IAF may have will not do the job, however Stuxnet on steroids just might. And if that fails there is always the last resort, an EMP attack on Iran, that Israel is capable of launching. A targeted low-yield EMP attack against Iran could fry hundreds of thousands of computer control motherboards disrupting nuclear and oil development permanently. And if you think that Iran wouldn’t try that on us, think again. They have done ship-launched Scud missile tests in the Caspian Sea, prefiguring a scenario of such a launch from offshore of the US. See our August 2011 NER article, “The Iranian Missile Threat.”
Thinking outside the box should rivet the minds of military planners about how best to counter the Iranian nuclear threat.
AN alarming number of under-age girls – some as young as nine – are being forced into marriage in Islington, according to a leading campaign group. The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) claim that at least 30 girls in the borough were forced into marriage in 2010.
The practice was condemned by the Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, who said such marriages were against Islam and “unacceptable”. He pledged to invalidate any marriage which he said were carried out by “back-street Imams”.
IKWRO, which made headlines last month when they revealed there had been almost 3,000 “honour-based” violence cases in 2010, has shown the Tribune records which revealed at least three 11-year-old girls and two nine-year-olds had been forced into marriage with older men within Islington. The oldest girls involved were 16.
IKWRO, which made headlines last month when they revealed there had been almost 3,000 “honour-based” violence cases in 2010, has shown the Tribune records which revealed at least three 11-year-old girls and two nine-year-olds had been forced into marriage with older men within Islington. The oldest girls involved were 16. Information from the Ministry of Justice, following a Freedom of Information request, revealed that 32 Forced Marriage Protection Order applications were made for children under 16 in Britain last year.
In most cases, the children fear they will be killed if they reveal the truth to anybody, while others believe they will be separated from their families and taken into social services’ care.
Dianna Nammi, director of IKWRO, explained that the girls are married in a mosque’s sharia court. This means they are not legally married according to British law, rendering the Home Office unable to recognise or prove the abuse. “They are still expected to carry out their wifely duties, though, and that includes sleeping with their husband,” she said. “They have to cook for them, wash their clothes, everything. They are still attending schools in Islington, struggling to do their primary school homework, and at the same time being practically raped by a middle-aged man regularly and being abused by their families. So they are a wife, but in a primary school uniform. The reason it doesn’t get out is because they are too terrified to speak out, and also the control their families have over them is impossible to imagine if you’re not going through it. The way it is covered up is so precise, almost unspeakable.”
"The girl automatically becomes her husband’s property, so he takes financial responsibility for her,” said Ms Nammi. “In fact, often the husband has to start contributing to the girl’s family, so it becomes a way of bringing in another salary. Who are girls going to tell? Often they feel like teachers at school won’t understand what their families are like. They will think they’re like Western families, and won’t understand that if they pass on anything at all that they’ve been told to the family, then the girl will be killed. So they just chose not to tell at all.”
A spokesman for the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) said he was “unsure” whether the lack of legal status of the marriages affected whether the they could intervene or not, but directed the Tribune to government practice guidelines on dealing with forced marriage. The spokesman added that due to the lack of legal status the marriages may be a “criminal matter that only the police can deal with”, but admitted to it being "”a very grey area”.