cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16



1. Somali training camps fuel threat of attacks on US -- cartoon terrorist school

The recruits gather in scorching desert hideouts in Somalia, use portraits of President Barack Obama for target practice, learn how to make and detonate bombs, and vow allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

Training camps in the lawless nation of Somalia are attracting hundreds of foreigners, including Americans, and Somalis recruited by a local insurgent group linked to al-Qaida, according to local and U.S. officials. American officials and private analysts say the camps pose a security threat far beyond the borders of Somalia, including to the U.S. homeland.

In interviews with The Associated Press, former trainees gave rare details on the camps, which are scattered along desert footpaths, rutted roads and steamy coastal dens. They say the recruits are told the United States is the enemy of Islam.

U.S. and Somali officials say Somalia's al-Shabab jihadist, or holy war, movement is growing, and uses foreign trainers with battlefield experience from other conflicts.

The threat posed by the training camps was underscored in federal court documents unsealed Nov. 23 in Minneapolis, home to a large Somali-American community. An indictment against several Somali-Americans who allegedly fought in Somalia said trainees at one camp included dozens of ethnic Somalis from Somalia and other African countries, Europe and the United States.

"The trainees were trained by, among others, Somali, Arab, and Western instructors in ... small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and military-style tactics," said an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Michael N. Cannizzaro Jr. that was unsealed with the indictment.

read more @ taiwan news

2. Somali pirates (well-trained of course by their Western instructors) hijack oil-tanker going to US -- notice how the threats in these AP stories are always pretty huge

Somali pirates seized a tanker carrying crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States in the increasingly dangers waters off East Africa, an official said Monday, an attack that could pose a huge environmental or security threat to the region.

The Greek-owned Maran Centaurus was hijacked Sunday about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) off the coast of Somalia, said Cmdr. John Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force. Harbour said there were 28 crew members on board the 300,000-ton ship.

Pirates have increased attacks on vessels off East Africa for the millions of dollars of ransom that can be had. Though pirates have successfully hijacked dozens of vessels the last several years, Sunday's attack appears to be only the second ever on an oil tanker.

read more @ taiwan news

3. Italy takes command of UNIFIL maritime task force

UNIFIL Maritime Task Force (MTF) underwent on Monday a transfer of command from Germany to Italy for the next six months, UNIFIL said in a statement.

In a ceremony aboard German flagship FGS Schleswig-Holstein at Beirut Harbour, Rear Admiral Paolo Sandalli of Italy assumed command from Germany's Rear Admiral J├╝rgen Mannhardt.

UNIFIL Commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano paid special tribute to Germany for its competent leadership of MTF over the past months. He also praised the Lebanese navy's performance.

"The combined employment of LAF-navy patrol craft and coastal radar in interdiction operations, the navy's involvement in hailing merchant vessels and in the boarding and inspection of suspicious vessels at sea, including at night, have significantly contributed to securing Lebanese maritime borders," Graziano said.

UNIFIL-MTF assists the Lebanese navy in securing the territorial waters and helping prevent the unauthorized entry of arms or related material by sea into Lebanon.

Since the start of its operations on 15 October 2006, MTF has hailed around 28,000 ships and referred nearly 400 suspicious vessels to the Lebanese authorities for further inspections, the UNIFIL press release said.

Following Monday's command changeover, UNIFIL-MTF will now comprise naval units from Germany (3 ships), Greece (1 ship), Italy (1 ship) and Turkey (1 ship).

source: naharnet news desk

4. RELATED: Israel recently complained about SPAIN being scheduled to take over UNIFIL from Italy

October 30, 2009: Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak cancelled a visit to Spain next week amid alleged disagreements between the two nations over the command of UNIFIL.

Barak was scheduled to meet Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and Defense Minister Carme Chacon during his two-day visit which had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The visit will no longer take place due to "agenda reasons," a Spanish foreign ministry spokesman told AFP on Friday.

The Israeli embassy in Spain said in a statement that Barak had cancelled his visit "due to an unexpected trip" that he must make to the United States "in the coming days."

This change in his schedule "has no relation with the reports in various media on the change of command at the head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon," it added.

Israel has asked Italy to try to remain at the head of the 13,000-strong UNIFIL force for at least another six months, rather than handing over to Spain as planned, a senior Israeli official told AFP in Israel on Thursday.

Asked about the affair on Friday, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega denied there was any dispute with Israel and she referred journalists to the "clarifying press release" issued by the Israeli embassy.

She said Barak told Moratinos in a telephone conversation that Israel was "very pleased with the work of Spanish forces" that are taking part in UNIFIL and would be "very happy" to see them take charge of the forces.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

source: lebanon news

5. according to sources, Iran to up naval presence in Gulf -- Iranian naval forces described as guerrilla pirates with motivating concepts 'similar' to patriotism but not quite the same

A US Intelligence report on Iran published last week disclosed that the Islamic republic was reinforcing its naval presence in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, various sources reported on Monday.

The reports highlighted the growing divergence between Iran's Shah-era navy, the IRIN, and the more modern, better equipped Revolutionary Guard navy - the IRGCN, favored by the country's leadership as a key security force.

"Public statements by Iranian leaders indicate that they would consider closing or controlling the Strait of Hormuz if provoked," said the report, adding that although they were due to undergo an overhaul, Iran's naval forces were adequately "equipped to defend against perceived external threats."

The report also outlined Iran's movement toward guerrilla, irregular and asymmetrical warfare on the naval front. After the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the Islamic republic decided to forsake traditional sea combat for hit-and-run attacks utilizing "surprise, speed, maneuverability and deception," possibly having realized "the consequences of technological inferiority," it said.

Being deeply rooted in the Islamic Revolution, the IRGCN and Teheran's naval strategy were said by the report to be influenced by "a culture of jihad and martyrdom," which gives fighters "extra motivation, similar to the concept of patriotism."

...It is estimated that the IRGCN currently possesses anti-ship cruise missiles such as the C-802 - one of which hit the INS Hanit during the Second Lebanon War - as well as attack submarines, patrol boats, rocket launchers, missile boats, torpedoes, mines, SAM systems, surface-air artillery and other armaments, mostly produced in China and Russia.


6. Swiss daily: Israel eavesdropped on UN session over Hariri's assassination

A Swiss newspaper said that a number of UN employees in Geneva have concluded that Israel is eavesdropping on UN court sessions. The Neue Zuericher Zeitung (NZZ) added that bugging devices have been found in the organization’s deliberations room in the Swiss capital.
The newspaper pointed that during regular maintenance procedures on the electrical network, three years ago, two bugging devices were found in a room set for the UN Disarmament Committee meetings. It added that ‘secret’ meetings were also held in the room over the Second Gulf War and the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri. NZZ revealed that other spying devices have also been found in other parts of the building, including courtrooms. The daily quoted UN employees as saying that Israel was behind planting the devices. UN security experts estimate that the planting process might have taken at least two days with the collaboration of UN employees. An expert in intelligence affairs told NZZ that the “technical level of the [spying] system and the great danger inherent in it, indicates that the planting decision was taken at the highest [Israeli] level.” The Neue Zuericher Zeitung said that only seven countries could have been behind the incident: The United States, Britain, France, Chinaa, Russia, North Korea, and Israel. “If I had to estimate which country was behind it, I would say Israel,” an intelligence officer told NZZ.

A European diplomat supported the conclusion saying: “I’ve always been amazed at the level of good information the Israeli mission posses.” The Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, quoted Israeli diplomats as denying any connection to the issue.

source: al manar

7. Afghan teenagers claim abuse at US occupation military prison

Two Afghan teenagers held in US detention north of Kabul this year said they were beaten by US occupation guards, photographed naked, deprived of sleep and held in solitary confinement in concrete cells, The Washington Post reported late Friday.

The newspaper said the teenagers had been held in these cells for at least two weeks while undergoing daily interrogation about their alleged links to the Taliban.

The accounts could not be independently substantiated, the report said. But in successive, on-the-record interviews, the teenagers presented a detailed, consistent portrait suggesting that the abusive treatment of suspected insurgents has in some cases continued under the administration of President Barack Obama, the paper noted.

read more @ al manar

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