Friday, October 25, 2013

“Go ahead, make my day”: Sheldon Adelson on how to deal with Iran

Iran | Homeland Security News Wire

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson says that the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran will lead to nothing, arguing that the best negotiating tactics would be to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on unpopulated areas in Iran – accompanied by a threat to wipe out the entire population of Tehran if Iran refused to give up its nuclear program. Echoing Clint Eastwood, Adelson said that following the nuclear explosion in the desert, Obama should tell the Iranians: “You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”...
-bth: Adelson is fucking whack job and also a huge Republican contributor.  I think he was Romney's largest.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Always and Everywhere: The New York Times and the Enduring 'Threat' of Isolationism - Dr Bacevich

Always and Everywhere: The New York Times and the Enduring 'Threat' of Isolationism | Andrew Bacevich

...Did the “new” isolationism then pave the way for 9/11?  Was al-Qaeda inspired by an unwillingness on Washington’s part to insert itself into the Islamic world?

Unintended and unanticipated consequences stemming from prior U.S. interventions might have seemed to offer a better explanation.  But this much is for sure:  as far as the Times was concerned, even in the midst of George W. Bush’s Global War in Terror, the threat of isolationism persisted.

In January 2004, David M. Malone, president of the International Peace Academy, worried in a Times op-ed “that the United States is retracting into itself” -- this despite the fact that U.S. forces were engaged in simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Among Americans, a concern about terrorism, he insisted, was breeding “a sense of self-obsession and indifference to the plight of others.”  “When Terrorists Win: Beware America’s New Isolationism,” blared the headline of Malone’s not-so-new piece.

Actually, Americans should beware those who conjure up phony warnings of a “new isolationism” to advance a particular agenda.  The essence of that agenda, whatever the particulars and however packaged, is this: If the United States just tries a little bit harder -- one more intervention, one more shipment of arms to a beleaguered “ally,” one more line drawn in the sand -- we will finally turn the corner and the bright uplands of peace and freedom will come into view.

This is a delusion, of course.  But if you write a piece exposing that delusion, don’t bother submitting it to the Times.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University.  His new book is Breach of Trust:  How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.

-bth: an article well worth reading in full.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nine lovely trees’ pay tribute to Beirut valor - Boston Herald

‘Nine lovely trees’ pay tribute to Beirut valor | Boston Herald

Michael Devlin went to Beirut 30 years ago not to fight, but to keep the peace in a civil war. The 21-year-old Marine from Westwood, in one of his last letters home, painted a grim picture of peacekeeping duty.

“On September 6th at 4 a.m. a rocket landed and exploded in a foxhole at Alpha Company, killing two Marines and injuring two others,” he wrote to his older sister Chrissie. “Between 
1 a.m. until 12 p.m. of September 6th, the Marines took over 80 rounds of rocket, mortar and artillery fire within their compound.

“That may sound bad,” Devlin acknowledged, “but remember our compound is about four miles long and two miles wide and we’ve got an airport in it.”

As if to further reassure his sister, Devlin added: “I built my own little foxhole next to the machine gun pit. It’s about 10 feet long, four feet wide and at least four feet deep. I feel I’d survive anything in it.”

Instead of bunking in that foxhole the night of Oct. 22, 1983, Devlin was granted the luxury of sleeping in the international terminal building that was a barracks for the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit.

At 6:22 the next morning, a Mercedes truck packed with six tons of explosives crashed into the lobby. The building was lifted off its foundation, then pancaked in a heap of pulverized concrete and bodies. Of the 241 Americans killed, 220 were Marines. It was the Corps’ highest single-day casualty count since Iwo Jima.

Michael Devlin was among them, one of nine Bay State Marines who lost their lives: Lance Cpl. Bradley J. Campus of Lynn; Sgt. Maj. Frederick B. Douglass of Cataumet; Lance Cpl. Sean R. Gallagher of North Andover; Sgt. Edward J. Gargano of Quincy; Lance Cpl. Richard J. Gordon of Somerville; Capt. Michael S. Haskell of Westboro; Sgt. Steven B. LaRiviere of Chicopee; and Pfc. Thomas S. Perron of Whitinsville.

“If my brother had stayed in his foxhole that night,” Chrissie says, “he probably would have survived.”

The jihadist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut introduced us to a brand of warfare that culminated in the infamy of 9/11. Ironically, the many terrorist attacks since October 1983 have obscured an incident that prompted many young men to sign up.

In a tranquil corner of Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, the Massachusetts Beirut Memorial sits in a kind of simple elegance, surrounded by nine dogwood trees.

“Nine lovely trees,” Devlin’s mother, Chris, said with a gentle sigh, “one for my son Michael and the other eight heroic boys we lost.”

This gracious wisp of a lady, who bore seven children, is the reason there is a memorial here. She spent nine years buttonholing pols, seeking a site and raising funds so her son and his valiant comrades would not be forgotten.

Sunday at 1 p.m., a small but devoted community of family and friends will gather at Columbus Park to mark 30 years. A former Marine chaplain, the Rev. George W. “Father Pooch” Pucciarelli, who anointed the dead and pulled the wounded from the rubble in Beirut, will join them. This year’s rededication will also mark the start of a new fundraising campaign.

Time, with years of skateboarders grinding on the banked wall that bears the names of the dead, has taken a toll.

Chris Devlin hopes to be able to replace damaged bricks in the memorial’s plaza and restore scarred and chipped granite. She would like to erase the abuse of a younger generation, indifferent to nine brave young men whose names they’ve casually rolled over.

“Michael left UMass and went into the Marines to help pay for his tuition,” his mother recalled. “But he grew to love it. I remember suggesting the Air Force to him, because I thought it was safer. But he said no.”

What has consoled Devlin’s mother and sister for 30 years is the knowledge that he died doing what he loved … serving his country.

For details on the Saturday fundraising dinner, go to

More On:


Peter Gelzinis / Boston Herald

bth: thank you Boston Herald for covering the Devlins and these heros.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Iran gives indigenous ScanEagle drone to Russia

PressTV - Iran gives indigenous ScanEagle drone to Russia

A senior Iranian commander says Iran gave Russia one of its indigenous ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles as a sign of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh presented the drone to the visiting Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant General Viktor Nikolaevich Bondarev, on Monday.

“The ScanEagle drone produced by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps is the symbol of some of Iran’s technical capabilities,” Hajizadeh said.

On December 17, 2012, the IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Iran had launched the production line of ScanEagle drones and that the IRGC Naval and Aerospace Division had been employing the UAVs.

In February 2013, Iran for the first time released images of the production line of a UAV which is a copy of the US ScanEagle drone....

Nightwatch on Egypt Oct 21 - Meaner anti-government resistance emerging

NightWatch 20131022 - KGS

... Comment: This appears to be the first car bomb attack in an Egyptian city west of the Suez Canal since the ouster of Mursi. Car bombings are used in attacks in Sinai several times a month. Plus, militants have tried before to sneak car bombers across the Canal at Ismailiya. For example, on 1 October Egyptian security forces stopped three car bomb suspects in Ismailiya.


With this bombing, two terrorist weapons have now been introduced to anti-government militants in cities west of the Suez. The other was the rocket-propelled grenade. In the first week of October, anti-government militants used rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) to damage a satellite radio dish. That was the first time RPGs had been used outside of Sinai.


The most likely and obvious source of training and weapons is the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. What this suggests is that a meaner and better armed form of anti-government resistance is emerging west of the Suez. It already exists in Sinai, east of the Suez.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown - NYT

Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown -

Over the past few months, the discoveries of two engineers have led to a steady trickle of alarms from the Department of Homeland Security concerning a threat to the nation’s power grid. Yet hardly anyone has noticed.

The advisories concern vulnerabilities in the communication protocol used by power and water utilities to remotely monitor control stations around the country. Using those vulnerabilities, an attacker at a single, unmanned power substation could inflict a widespread power outage.

Still, the two engineers who discovered the vulnerability say little is being done....