Saturday, April 29, 2006

At War with Iran

Iran has promised to send waves of suicide bombers against Europe, America, and Israel if America goes to war with Iran.

So if we are going to war with Iran the first thing that needs to be done is preping the battlefield. You want to weaken the enemy position before attacking it. The easiest way to do that is with a spoiling attack. Such an attack is implimented against enemy formations that are massed for an attack. This disrupts the enemy while he is in the prepratory stage and as a result disorganizes or prevents anticipated attacks.

So far our spoiling attacks have been mainly focused on disrupting Iran's bank accounts and ability to disburse funds. They have been forced to work on a cash basis because their ability to use western banks to move their funds has been impeded.

I think Iran made a big mistake when it figured that America would limit itself to politics and military action, because Iran held the upper hand in the economic sphere due to its contribution to the world oil market.

And a second front in the Cash Flow Jihad is gaining as well. Law suits against terrorists. Especially terrorists supported by Iran.

...10 years after Vicki and Leonard Eisenfeld's son Matt, 25, a Yale graduate and rabbinical student, was murdered along with his fiancee Sara Duker in a No. 18 bus on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road, their dogged struggle against the Hamas terror group that killed him, and against the Iranian government that trained and financed those behind this and so many bombings, doesn't look quite so foolhardy anymore. There are even those who wonder whether it might help expedite regime change in Teheran.

"We had the choice of doing nothing or doing something," says Leonard simply, sitting alongside his wife on the sofa of their home in West Hartford, Connecticut. And that was no choice at all. So they set out to create what Leonard calls "a financial deterrent to terrorism."
It appears that Hamas has been funded and trained by Iran.

In a way this is a lot like Flight 93. Americans taking the initiative before government can get its act together. In fact it seems that at least one part of the executive branch is getting in the way. Here is a bit on a group of families having trouble with our State Department:
They've used some of that payment for charitable contributions and to fund various scholarship programs. But the three families' efforts to obtain what may now total up to $900 million in outstanding damages has been hampered in the US, again ironically, by the State Department.

Speaking by phone from Washington, Perles recounts that the legal team identified a US real-estate development firm with considerable assets that turned out to be wholly owned by the Iranian government. But the bid to seize its funds was stymied by a State Department contention that the company in question could not be held liable "since it was not managed on a daily basis by the government in Teheran," says Perles exasperatedly.
So they have taken the case to our European friends with better results:
RATHER THAN wait for the completion of the tortuous process, however, the lawyers have looked further afield of late, with remarkable success. To Europe, in fact, where Perles says the Iranian government has an estimated $50 to $80 billion in assets.

A few months back, they managed to get the Italian courts to "domesticate" the US court ruling in the case - "a procedure," says Perles, "under which the Italian court essentially adopted the judgment as its own."

Why would the Italians do that? "Because," says Perles, "they sometimes have cases of their own that need to be domesticated in the US."
Which might explain why Iran has withdrawn 700 tons of gold and $3o bn in cash from European banks. However, that is not all that is going on in the cash flow front.
And there is, appallingly, no shortage of other such potential cases. "Lots of US nationals have been killed by Iranian-backed terror," he notes grimly. "Iran is the epicenter of state terror."

In fact, he goes on, "We have a case that's been running for three or four years on behalf of 200 families of US marines killed in the 1983 Beirut bombings. We've had 800 witnesses testify to date. Iran has already lost in the battle over its liability. And we're talking seriously big numbers" in potential damages.
If the military families prevail against Iran that is going to seriously hurt Iran.

In any case I think what this is about is preliminary weaking of Iran and their proxies - either to make them say uncle or to weaken them preliminary to an attack.

The situation for Hamas re: cash is dire. Even money Iran has promised - and it is only $50 million, enough for 10 or 15 days of operation - can not be delivered due to the unwillingness of banks to handle Hamas money for fear of US action.

At some point the proxies may have to attack before their resources run out - opening themselves up to defeat in detail and thus being unable to mount spoiling attacks or counter attacks when we move on Iran.

Also see: Hamas has a banking crisis and The Gold War.

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HT: Charles and the LGF Readers and ploome hineni

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Wrong Side of the Border

There is a lot of angst about illegal aliens, or guest workers if you will, overrunning our borders and doing all kinds of bad things to the country like steal jobs, and speaking a foreign language.

And we have all kinds of proposed fixes, enforcement of current laws, new laws, border fences, more border guards, and my favorite: a national ID card followed by roving gangs of INS agents checking every one's papers.

Aside from the cost of all these measures, it seems unwise to get rid of 10 million workers when the labor market is tightening with 4.7% unemployment. I guess I have taken one economics course too many.

Well all these proposals are interesting. They may even have some modest effect (god help us if this really works). However, we are working on the wrong side of the border. We are pretending laws can defeat economics. Our current success with drug prohibition should put paid to that notion.

What is needed is to change Mexico. In fact we need to change Mexico in the same way we need to change Iraq. Honest government and a system that respects property rights. How do we get that in a country we only influence and do not control? I don't know. Perhaps it might be wise to ask some folks with actual real recent experience in Mexico for ideas. You know, some of them newcomers. Why not enlist their help in solving the problem instead of turning them into enemies?

I wrote a piece about four years back covering another aspect of this question:

Let's Close The Borders

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Party of Traitors

The Mary McCarthy story about a Democrat Mole in the CIA is breaking hard against the Democrats. There are ties in this to Joe Wilson. Communist fronts. The Tides Foundation. Teresa Kerry. John Kerry. Sandy Burglar. Zbigniew Brzezinski. General Wesley Clark USA (Ret.). General Anthony Zinni. Richard Clarke. Randal Beers. Valerie Plame/Wilson. Bill Goddfellow (Mary's Husband). Anthony Lake. Bill Clinton. Al Gore. George Tenet. Joseph Sestak. John Deutch. That just about blows their whole national security line up.

As a sting operation The Fake Prison/Torture Story will go down as probably the #1 intelligence sting of all time. Thanks to the help of Dana Priest it won a Pulitzer Prize. Whoever wrote the Euro prison/torture story for the stingers took it right out of the "Janet Cooke and Jimmy's World" playbook. That story could have been the template for this story. Lurid but plausable. The Captain has more about the sting. Really the sting as designed is right out of "Bodyguard of Lies". Tell a story close enough to the truth that plays to the opposition's prejudices. Give it multiple independent corroborating sources. Watch the foe take the bait.

A.J. Strata has more links. As does Tom Maguire.

I think the Democrat party has just hit an iceberg. I do not believe they can keep afloat from this one. I expect they will lose seats in the mid term elections. I rate the Dem chances in 2008 as less than 10% chance of getting the Presidency.

Let us harken back to WW2 when Thomas Dewey declined to use intel that would have harmed the war effort in his bid to unseat FDR. We have come a long way baby.


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Friday, April 21, 2006

Hard Bargaining

Hamas says that it does not want to give up the right to violence because it needs it as a bargaining chip. ABC reports in response to Monday's murder of 9 Israelis:

Hamas leaders defended the attack as a justified response to Israeli "aggression" against the Palestinians.

Hamas's response was in line with its refusal to give up its right to violence. Hamas leaders see it as an essential bargaining chip in future negotiations, one that it believes Abbas and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gave up too quickly and received nothing in return.
In response the Israelis seem to be doing some hard bargaining of their own:
Israel's response to the bombing likely won't make headlines as there is no single massive military operation taking place. However, the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli politicians are hardly idle.

For the last three weeks the IDF has fired about 4000 shells into Gaza in attempts to stop a handful of militants from firing the Qassams (homemade rockets that are mostly inaccurate) into Israel. (The last Israeli to be killed by a Qassam was in August 2005).
Further on in the article we get evidence that the Cash Flow Jihad is working. The Palestinian Authority (such authority as it has) is desperate for funds. Many Arab states have promised large sums but there seems to be a delivery problem:
It's not clear how the money will get into a place like Gaza, even with money being donated. Banking laws prohibit the transfer of funds to Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization.

Being in Gaza this week, I saw the store shelves pretty much empty, as I am told even the shopkeepers don't have enough money to buy supplies. At some point, despite support for Hamas and democratic elections, there could be some type of protest because of the financial crisis.
Well, there are further worries about what the next Palestinian government will look like. After the civil war and all. It won't be pretty.

Hat tip: LGF and friends.

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The Gold War

I got the link to this story from Gary Metz of Regime Change Iran. He reports on a Financial Times article on the run on gold in Iran.

With the war of words over Iran’s nuclear programme escalating and the domestic economy stalling, Iranians are scrambling to buy gold coins, sending their value soaring by 32 per cent in the past two months.
Oil prices have never been higher and yet Iran's economy is stalling. Interesting.
“Gold coins are Iranians’ political hedge fund,” says Heydar Pourian, editor of Iqtisad Iran (Iran Economics), a monthly magazine. “We keep them at home and they make us feel secure.”
Which would indicate that the Iranians are even more sure of an impending war than Americans. Well they should know their country best. And in fact they do:
Businessmen say the rush to gold reflects both growing tension over Iran’s atomic activities and the destabilising economic policies of fundamentalist president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, whose government took office last August.

“The direction reverses the years of [president Mohammad] Khatami and increases the role of the state, especially in allocating resources,” says one. “It’s more like communism than Islam, and makes you think some of them want a siege economy ready for war.”
There is more of interest. Read it all.

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has linked to some previous articles of mine on the subject of the Cash Flow Jihad (Joe's Term - I like it) along with some thoughts of his own.


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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Islam Inc.

Wm. Burroughs published Naked Lunch in 1950. Here is a nice excerpt showing nothing has changed:

A rout of Mullahs and Muftis and Musseins and Caids and Glaouis and Sheiks and Sultans and Holy Men and representatives of every conceivable Arab party make up the rank and file and attend the actual meetings from which the higher ups prudently abstain. Though the delegates are carefully searched at the door, these gatherings invariably culminate in riots. Speakers are often doused with gasoline and burned to death, or some uncouth desert Sheik opens up on his opponents with a machine gun he had concealed in the belly of a pet sheep. Nationalist martyrs with grenades up the ass mingle with the assembled conferents and suddenly ex- plode, occasioning heavy casualties.... And there was the occasion when President Ra threw the British Prime Minister to the ground and forcibly sodomized him, the spectacle being televised to the entire Arab World. Wild yipes of joy were heard in Stockholm. Interzone has an ordinance forbidding a meeting of Islam Inc. within five miles of the city limits.

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The War On Islamic Imperialists

Jonathan Rauch at Reason has a really good article on how hard it is to name the enemy in the war we are in. He likes the War On Jihadism. But he has a bit in there I like better:

No single definition prevails, but here is a good one: Jihadism engages in or supports the use of force to expand the rule of Islamic law. In other words, it is violent Islamic imperialism. It stands, as one scholar put it 90 years ago, for "the extension by force of arms of the authority of the Muslim state."
So I have modified it slightly and called it the War On Islamic Imperialists. Well we will see if any of that catches on. There is more good stuff on the naming problem in this war in the article. Go and read.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Forty Thousand Headman

So I'm over at Talk Left discussing the Iranian threat of 40,000 suicide bombers ready around the world to avenge an attack on Iran. And of course the lefties don't take it seriously. Or they worry about the Israelis starting a war and dragging us in.

So I have a few things to say to them.

Them Jews is way too touchy about people claiming to want to annihilate them.

They should get over it.

And the Iranian promise to destroy America? Just talk for the home folks and scare a few Americans. And the 12th Imam? Such craziness. Who could believe it? An Iranian caliphate? What a joke.

This is nothing like the deal with the Austrian corporal. Nothing at all.
Not bad for a warmup. Then there is some mention of Joe Biden and how there is no concensus in the Senate.
Biden is probably right. There will be no consensus until the nukes start to fly.

Once that happens the wrong decision will be made.

It is inevitable.
Then comes the best bit. I quote a song by Traffic.
Forty thousand headmen couldn't make me change my mind

If I had to take the choice between the deafman and the blind

I know just where my feet should go and that's enough for me

I turned around and knocked them down and walked across the sea
And you know. The leftys are deaf and blind. Stuck in mirror image thinking. And fogetting the lessons of history. A man makes threats. You pay attention. Especially if he seems like a lunatic. Especially if 40,000 terrorists are already active in his pay. Especially if he has nuclear ambitions.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Euston We Have a Problem

There has been quite a bit of talk lately about the Euston Manifesto and what it means to be a principled leftist in time of war. Jeff Jarvis is covering it (with a link to Austin Bay included). Harry's Place covers it in a number of posts. Go here and here to start. Norm Geras also has a bit on it.

Here is something I sent to Norm:

Nice bit of work.

Still the adherence to socialism seems to me similar to Einstein's rejection of quantum mechanics. True socialism is a much prettier economic theory than
capitalism. The problem is it doesn't work.

Marx understood the problem well. Capitalism is necessary to create the capital that socialism intends to re-distribute. Full socialism will only be possible when capitalism is no longer profitable.

In the mean time the greater the inequality the faster the progress to socialism.

In other words all real socialists should be as much
as possible free market capitalists. The less capitalism is hindered by socialist policies the more wealth there will be at some future point.

It is very difficult to sacrifice today for tomorrow. Especially for socialists.

BTW if you really want to make poverty history read DeSoto. He says that the problem is government not money. I have a short introduction to DeSoto with links here:


As you know DeSoto is from Peru. His basic premise is that poor people are poor because they are shut out of the property system. It is not property that is bad
but the lack of it.

M. Simon

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Father of PTSD diagnosis dies

PTSD Combat has an article about the inventor of the PTSD diagnosis.

The man whom I would call the 'Father of Modern Combat PTSD Diagnosis' is dead at the age of 80. Dr. Leonard Neff was a WWII veteran and psychiatrist who'd begun working with Vietnam veterans in the early 1970's. He rose to prominence in dramatic fashion when, in 1974, he persuaded a returning veteran who'd taken hostages to release them following 3 hours of negotiations. The event raised public awareness of the plight of many soldiers returning from Vietnam; it also led Neff to push to include a definition of what today is known as posttraumatic stress disorder to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Go and read it all with links to more. As you know combat PTSD has been one of my interests. I have written a few piecies about it:


The Soldiers Disease

Cannabis is the Best Medicine

PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System

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Is Hilton Burning Yet?

Wait. Wrong title. Should be Paris not Hilton. Well, enough of the jokes.

There is news today that a restruant that serves disabled veterans free meals on Fridays is not getting their lease extended by the Hilton Hotels.

You can learn more at Castle Argghhh!. Contact details are also given for those of you who want to contact Paris Hilton. I mean the Hilton Hotel chain. Here is just a bit of the story:

Many people associated with the military, especially those who work with the wounded, are aware of what the restaurant Fran O'Brien's has been doing every Friday night since 2003 for the patients at Walter Reed and Bethesda. But their great work is in danger of ending in just two weeks.
via Instapundit.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

It seems that there is a kink in the hockey stick. For the last eight years there has been no sign of global warming. In fact there may have been a small but not significant amount of global cooling. Bob Carter reports in the Daily Telegraph:

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).
Bob goes on to talk about the dismal state of climate science that is more influenced by politics (here talking about England but the same is true in the USA - Hellooooo Al Gore) than facts:
The problem here is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike. Governments generally choose not to receive policy advice on climate from independent scientists. Rather, they seek guidance from their own self-interested science bureaucracies and senior advisers, or from the IPCC itself. No matter how accurate it may be, cautious and politically non-correct science advice is not welcomed in Westminster, and nor is it widely reported.
Say. Is the Bush Administration listening? Is the listening only selective? Welcome to politics. Bob has some advice for politicians:
The British Government urgently needs to recast the sources from which it draws its climate advice. The shrill alarmism of its public advisers, and the often eco-fundamentalist policy initiatives that bubble up from the depths of the Civil Service, have all long since been detached from science reality. Intern-ationally, the IPCC is a deeply flawed organisation, as acknowledged in a recent House of Lords report, and the Kyoto Protocol has proved a costly flop. Clearly, the wrong horses have been backed.
Good advice for Britain. Good advice for America. Hello Washington - you guys listening?

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hamas Has a Banking Crisis

Reuters reports:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The reluctance of banks to risk U.S. sanctions and lawsuits by dealing with a Hamas-led government has pushed the Palestinian Authority to the brink of financial collapse sooner than donors had expected, diplomats said.

The rapid onset of a banking crisis -- within days of Hamas's swearing-in on March 29 -- could further depress Palestinian incomes, fuel political unrest and speed the arrival of a humanitarian crisis with which donors are not yet prepared to cope, according to diplomats and Palestinian officials.

Western diplomats and private-sector experts said Hamas's troubles finding a bank has for now eclipsed Western aid cuts as the biggest immediate threat to the new government's viability.
That is interesting. The Islamics have pretty much shut down Western newspapers through the cartoon jihad. We have eliminated their cash flow (in places) through the money jihad. I'd put it down to lack of strategic thinking on the part of the Islamics.

See also my previous articles on jihadi money flow problems in Follow the Money and Follow the Gold.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System

An interesting interview with Organic Chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam about cannibinoids and the brain. Dr. Mechoulam was the first to synthesize THC.

There's something called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is due to upsetting memories that stay around too long. Normally, when there is trauma people slowly forget it. This is true for humans and it's true for animals. But if the animals do not have an endocannabinoid system, they do not forget bad memories, and this was shown in a paper by a German-Italian group. In collaboration with the Canadian group, we have done some work on that, and in a different model we have seen the same thing. So I expect that the endocannabinoid system is not in good shape in those post-traumatic patients, and chances are that it will work in treating them. We are just about to develop a treatment. People that have PTSD claim that the only thing that helps them is smoking marijuana, so chances are that cannabinoid treatment may help them.
Which is something I've been saying for the last four years. In case you missed it here is my journey. Here is a study on mice lacking the CB1 system in at least part of the brain and how that affects the decay of fear memories.

There are lots more medical uses for marijuana and its extracts than PTSD. Read the whole interview to learn more.

Update 18 Feb 2011 0628z:

The "mice" link is now no longer functional try this one.

Also the Dr. Raphael Mechoulam link is dead try this one.

A personalreport with medical evidence by some one tortured in a Turkish prison.

Child Abuse and Military Trauma

Japan Times report

New Scientist report

Medical News Today report

Cannabis and PTSD - a discussion of the medical literature with extracts from the literature.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

America a tool of the Egypt Lobby?

Is America a tool of the Egypt Lobby? It could be. Debka (consider the source) has this report:

Mubarak warns Iraq war could spill over into entire Middle East if US withdraws its troops

In an Al Arabiya TV interview Saturday, April 8, the Egyptian president, who rarely speaks about Iraq publicly, asserted that the first loyalty owned by a Shiite regime in Baghdad would be to Tehran.
Interesting. We are a long way from out of the woods in Iraq. Looks to me like we just got the OK from the Egypt Lobby to give the Iranians a gentle hint.

Quick. Some one tell Walt and Mearsheimer.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Can you recognize me now?

I'm thinking of the cell phone commercial - "can you hear me now?" and I'm applying it to the Israeli Palestinian impass re: Hamas refuses to recognize Israel.

So the Israelis ask again: Can you recognize me now?


The Israelis ask again: Can you recognize me now?

You know this could go on for quite a while.

My guess is that the Palestinians will tire of it before the Israelis.

Update: 2122z 08 April '06

The Israelis ask again: Can you recognize me now?

Update: 1024z 09 April '06

The Israelis ask again: Can you recognize me now?

First update date corrected.

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Something Happened to the Economy

Something happened to the economy about 3 years ago. Suitably Flip has a chart and a link to the answer to the question. What happened?


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Follow the Gold

Regime Change Iran has an interesting bit on the Irainian regime withdrawing 700 tons of gold and about $30 bn in currency from variious banks.

The regime-run FARS news agency quoting the Swiss newspaper, Der Bund reported that the Islamic regime has withdrawn 700 tons of it's gold reserves worth 6 billion Swiss Francs as well as 25 billion Swiss Francs in foreign exchange (equal to $30 billion) from financial institutions in the west.

Der Bund added that the Islamic regime transferred 250 tons of it's gold reserves, valued at 5 billion Swiss Francs directly to Tehran but that the foreign exchange was transferred to Asian banks located in the United Arab Emirates, specifically Abu-Dhabi and Dubai.

Approximately 2 months ago, two of Switzerland's biggest financial institutions, U.B.S. and Credit Swiss ceased all financial transactions with the Islamic regime.
Interesting. Now couple that with this reported at LGF
The new Hamas-led Palestinian government is struggling to find a bank willing to handle its finances, casting doubt on whether it can pay staff or receive foreign aid, Western diplomats and Palestinian officials said.

“You cannot run a government without having a bank,” said a Palestinian official familiar with the Palestinian Authority’s “single treasury account”, where foreign donors deposit funds so the Authority can pay 140,000 workers and cover other expenses.

A Western diplomatic source said Hamas’s difficulties in even finding a banker could “disrupt the entire payment system”.

Officials of Hamas, which is listed by Washington and the EU as a terrorist organisation and whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, say the banking problem is part of an international campaign against the Islamist group.
So now we may know why the Iranians are rattling their sabers. They have been badly hurt. Evidently some one has decided that a good way to attack our enemies is to Follow the Money.

Update: 04:47z 10 April '06

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has some interesting things to say about the money flows.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Here is an interesting report from Iraq from a Marine Corps Mother:

Let me give you the bottom-line up front (BLUF), and then catch you up on things. Feel free to forward this to whomever, since we still can't seem to get the press to tell folks what is going on. This is how the fight is going from my foxhole, and it is much more than the bombings, US casualties, and rumors of civil war the press seems to be focused on.

BLUF: We are not, and have not been, on the verge of civil war. We have had an increase in killings by militia groups in the past five weeks, and that is not helping get the new government seated, but we (the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Coalition Forces) are far from losing control.
Kind of a different picture from what you read in the papers. Well you know. Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Iranian intelligence

Some one in this thread was discussing Iranian Intelligence operations. My reply:

They are going to have to gather a lot more intelligence before they become as smart as they think they are.

Update: 0147z 05Apr'06

Andrew of Arabia has some interesting comments about Iranian intelligence.

Immigration - We must be careful with our power

Interesting article by Dick Morris on the subject:

Most observers see feel the race will be between Lopez Obrador and Calderon. While the PAN candidate would be no puppet of the United States, he is fully committed to free market economics and wants a close relationship with our country. Lopez Obrador [ALMO] would be part of the Latin America's new, anti-U.S. left in [Mexico].

That Latin Left includes Venezuela's President Evo Morales, who won as an overtly pro-cocoa-cultivation candidate. And in Peru, Ollanta Humala, a Chavez ally, is likely to finish first in this month's election and probably will win the runoff.

But Mexico, with its vast oil resources and its long border and free-trade agreement with the United States, would be the crown jewel for America's enemies. We have only to hope that Congress won't pass legislation that alienates the Mexican electorate and delivers the country into AMLO's hands.
So let us suppose Mexico won't sell us any oil. What happens? We buy it elsewhere or through a middleman. The price goes up 50 cents or a dollar a barrel. At $60 per it is not going to have much impact. Still it would be an annoyance to have a lefty in charge of Mexico who plans to send all his problems north.

via Instapundit

update: 0902z 04 Apr 2006

More here: Publius Pundit.

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