John Bolton considering bid for US president in 2012
In radio interview, former US ambassador to UN slams US foreign policy, says Obama trying to “restructure the American way of life.”
Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton on Sunday night announced that he is considering a bid for US president in 2012.
Speaking on Jerusalem-based Aaron Klein‘s WABC Radio show, Bolton said he was motivated to run for president over concern “about the direction of national security policy.”
When asked what factors he would consider in making his final decision, Bolton replied: “I think it’s very important on the Republican side that we have a candidate against [US President Barack] Obama who can address these national security issues and to be able to debate him as an equal when you get into the 2012 campaign.”
Earlier in the interview, Bolton, who also once oversaw US non-proliferation policy, came out strongly against the Obama administration’s foreign policy, saying that the US president seems to be ” very uncomfortable asserting American interests around the world.”
“He views national security as a distraction from his real priority, which is restructuring the American way of life. And his foreign policy really consists of making decisions, in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, only when he is forced to do it,” Bolton added.
Iranian state TV: Israelis killed nuclear scientist
“Agents of Zionist regime attacked 2 prominent university professors who were on their way to work,” report says; another scientist reported hurt.
(AP) Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Teheran Monday, killing one and seriously wounding the other, according to Iranian state media reports, which accused Israeli agents on motorbikes of attaching the bombs to their cars.
“In a criminal terrorist act, the agents of the Zionist regime attacked two prominent university professors who were on their way to work,” Iran‘s state television network reported on its web site, referring to Israel.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the man killed was involved in a major project at the country’s chief nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics. Some Iranian media reported that the wounded scientist was a laser expert at Iran’s Defense Ministry and one of the country’s few top specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
Nuclear chief Salehi, issued a stern warning as he rushed to hospital to see the surviving scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi.
“Don’t play with fire. The patience of the Iranian nation has limits. If it runs out of patience, bad consequences will await enemies,” the official news agency IRNA quoted Salehi as saying as he met Abbasi at his hospital bedside. Salehi, one of Iran’s vice presidents, was apparently referring to Israel and the US, which Iran alleges are trying to damage its nuclear program.
Salehi also indicated that the scientist killed, Majid Shahriari, was involved in Iran’s nuclear activities. Teheran’s uranium enrichment program is at the center of a bitter row between Iran on one side and the US and its allies on the other. Uranium enrichment is a process that can be used to produce both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.
The assailants, who escaped, drove by their targets on motorcycles and attached the bombs as the cars were moving. They exploded shortly thereafter, state TV reported.
Shahriari, the scientist who was killed, was a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Teheran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was wounded. Salehi, the nuclear chief who also heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Shahriari was one of his students and his death was a big loss.
“Shahriari had good cooperation with the AEOI. He was involved in one of the big AEOI projects which is a source of pride for the Iranian nation,” IRNA quoted him as saying. He didn’t provide any details on the project. But the AEOI is involved in Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
“The enemy took our dearest flower, but must know that this nation, through resistance and all its might, will make efforts to remove problems and achieve its desires,” Salehi said.
A second, separate attack in the capital Teheran wounded the nuclear physicist Abbasi. His wife was also in the car with him, and she was also wounded.
A pro-government website, mashreghnews.ir, said Abbasi held a Ph.D. in nuclear physics and was a laser expert at Iran’s Defense Ministry and one of few top Iranian specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium from enriched uranium. This is a crucial process in the manufacture of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations, and is also required for the creation of uranium-based nuclear weapons.
The site said Abbasi has long been a member of the Revolutionary Guard, the country’s most powerful military force. It said he was also a lecturer at Imam Hossein University, affiliated to the Guard.
The attacks bore close similarities to another in January that killed Teheran University professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a senior physics professor. He was killed when a bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his car as he was about to leave for work.
The latest attacks come a day after the release of internal State Department cables by the whistle-blower website Wikileaks, including several that vividly detail Arab fears over Iran’s nuclear program and its growing political ambitions in the region.
Analysis: Wikileaks vindicate, don’t damage, Israel
The US is clearly listening to what Middle Eastern leaders have to say about Iran – now what are they going to do about it?
(haaretz) Based on the trove of diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks on Sunday, the United States is clearly listening to and recording what Middle Eastern leaders have to say about Iran. The question left unanswered is what the US is willing to do about it.
For years now, top Israeli political and defense leaders have warned the world that a nuclear Iran is not just a threat to the Jewish state but is a threat to the entire region.
“If only we could say publicly what we hear behind closed doors,” Israeli officials would comment, following off-record talks they held with Arab leaders throughout the Middle East.
Well, now they can. According to one cable published by WikiLeaks on Sunday, Saudi King Abdullah “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program” and to cut off the head of the snake.
According to another cable, King Hamad of Bahrain, a country with a majority Shi’ite population, urged in a meeting with former CENTCOM commander Gen.
David Petraeus that action be taken to terminate Iran’s nuclear program.
“That program must be stopped,” Hamad said, according to the cable. “The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.”
Jordan, another country that voiced concern, is uncomfortable with the possibility that a nuclear Iran would provide an umbrella for opposition groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is also challenged by Iran’s continued nuclear development, as shown by the conviction in April of 26 men who were spying for Hizbullah and plotting attacks in Egypt.
From an Israeli perspective, therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that WikiLeaks may have done the country a service on Sunday. By presenting the Arab leaders as more extreme in their remarks than Israeli leaders, the cables show the dissonance in the region and the danger involved in allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear program.
While there were some comments made by Mossad director Meir Dagan regarding leaders in the Middle East – the emir of Qatar is “annoying,” and the king of Morocco is not interested in governing – that are slightly embarrassing, Israeli politicians were spared the more embarrassing analyses of their personalities that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi received.
The information revealed in the cables is vast and informative, providing an unprecedented insight into the way some of Israel’s top intelligence officials and politicians view the region and its challenges.
Dagan, for example, comes out looking much more than just the head of a spy agency, and according to the cables, is sought after by almost every senior US official visiting Israel. In one cable he met with a Homeland Security official, in another with the undersecretary of state. In another he met with officials from the Treasury Department and in another, Mossad officials met with US military officers.
In general and contrary to earlier predictions, the cables did not appear to contain information that could significantly harm Israeli national security.
Most Israeli officials, such as Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Dagan and Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen.
Amos Yadlin, appear to be careful in what they say in the meetings, which are clearly being documented by American aides in the room. In one cable, while Yadlin said that covert means needed to be used to stop Iran, he was quoted as refusing to elaborate.
At the end of the day, though, none of this has changed the state of affairs regarding global efforts to stop Iran. While the UN has ratcheted up sanctions and the US is threatening more and tougher ones, the Teheran regime is continuing to defy the international community and to enrich uranium, making it today just a jump away from creating a nuclear weapon whenever it wants.
Hariri says Lebanon won’t join int’l pressure on Iran
(AP) At of end of Lebanese PM’s visit to Teheran, Ahmadinejad says Islamic unity helps to foil efforts of dominant powers. Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri said on Monday that his country will not be part of any international group that aims to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
Hariri explained that Lebanon supports Iran’s right to have nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
Hariri spoke at the end of his three-day visit to Iran where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad said that increasing unity and brotherhood of Islamic nations helps to thwart efforts of hegemonic powers, Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.
“Promotion of unity and brotherhood of Islamic states particularly unity of Iran and Lebanon foils plots of hegemonic powers,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Hariri, according to the report.
“If the Lebanese government and resistance stand in a joint front, the country will go through the path of dignity, development and honor and the Zionist regime and its sponsors will not be able to harm the Lebanese nation,” the Iranian president said.
Ahmadinejad went on to say that “The Islamic Republic of Iran endorses progress and development of all countries and we believe that regional and international problems will be fixed easily if we stand by each other.”
Lebanese and Iranian officials signed several accords during Hariri’s visit.
Ahmadinejad: US planned Wikileaks release to pressure Iran
Iranian president responds to documents which exposed Arab calls for strike on country’s nuclear facilities, alleges leaks were an “organized” effort to “stir up trouble.”
(jpost) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that leaked American diplomatic cables recounting Arab calls for the US to launch a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities were intended to stir “mischief.”
According to the cables released Sunday by online whistle-blower Wikileaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program and to stop Teheran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“We don’t give any value to these documents,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference “It’s without legal value. Iran and regional states are friends. Such acts of mischief have no impact on relations between nations.”
Ahmadinejad alleged the leaks were an “organized” effort by the US to stir trouble between Iran and Arab neighbors. When asked to comment on the documents, he said “the material was not leaked, but rather released in an organized way,” according to a Press TV report.
“The US administration released them and based on them they pass judgment …. [The documents] have no legal value and will not have the political effect they seek,” Ahmadinejad was further quoted as saying. He went on to say that the Wikileaks “game” is “not worth commenting upon and that no one would waste their time reviewing them.”
The comments came after Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri told Ahmadinejad that his country would not be part of any international group that aims to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear program, seemingly in reaction to the Wikileaks exposure.
Among the first-published documents on Sunday night were nicknames for a number of world leaders. Ahmadinejad was referred to as “Hitler,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy as a “naked emperor,” the German Chancellor was called Angela “Teflon” Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai as “driven by paranoia.” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an “Alpha Male,” while President Dmitry Medvedev is “afraid, hesitant.”
Iran’s President Calls Leaked Documents U.S. Plot
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a news conference on Monday that Iran’s relations with its neighbors would not be damaged by the leaked documents.
(NYT) TEHRAN — In Iran’s first official reaction to leaked State Department cables quoting Arab leaders as urging the United States to bomb Tehran’s nuclear facilities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the documents as American psychological warfare that would not affect his country’s relations with other nations, news reports said.
The documents seemed to show several Arab nations, notably Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival for influence in the Persian Gulf, displaying such hostility that King Abdullah repeatedly implored Washington to “cut off the head of the snake” while there was still time.
Nonetheless, Mr. Ahmadinejad said at a news conference on Monday that Iran’s relations with its neighbors would not be damaged by the reports.
“Regional countries are all friends with each other. Such mischief will have no impact on the relations of countries,” he said, according to Reuters.
“Some part of the American government produced these documents,” he said. “We don’t think this information was leaked. We think it was organized to be released on a regular basis and they are pursuing political goals.”
News reports quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad as calling the documents “worthless” and without “legal value.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s news conference was scheduled before the leaked cables were published on Sunday and had been expected to focus on such issues as Iran’s scheduled negotiations on Dec. 5 with world powers over its nuclear program and plans at home to drastically reduce energy and food subsidies. Mr. Ahmadinejad said on Monday that while Iran and the world powers had agreed on a date, the venue was still under discussion.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes but many Western powers say it is designed to build nuclear weapons. That issue was one of the overarching themes of the first batch of leaked documents published in The New York Times and four European newspapers on Sunday.
With steadily increasing sanctions, outside powers have been seeking to persuade Iran to curb its uranium enrichment, a process that can lead to the production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel.
Mr. Ahmadinejad reiterated that Tehran’s enrichment program was legal and “non-negotiable,” Reuters said.
“The complete enrichment cycle and the production of fuel are basic rights” of member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, and “are non-negotiable,” Mr. Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
Netanyahu taps Tamir Pardo as new Mossad chief
Former deputy chief of spy agency was member of elite IDF commando unit, will replace Meir Dagan after eight-year tenure.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday named Mossad veteran Tamir Pardo as his choice as the new head of Israel’s spy agency, to succeed Meir Dagan.
Pardo served in senior positions in the Mossad for many years, as well as in various operative units. He left the agency in 2009, before which he served as deputy Mossad chief.
Pardo’s appointment is still pending the approval of the committee which okays appointments to senior positions in the public service.
Tamir Pardo, left, with Major General (res.) Uzi Dayan
Photo by: Ch. 10
In a statement issued Monday, Netanyahu praised Pardo’s rich experience in the Mossad, and said he was certain that Pardo was the right man to lead the organization.
Netanyahu also expressed his appreciation of outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan and his contribution to Israel’s security.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the former head of the IDF and fellow member of the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, also called Pardo on Monday to congratulate him on his apppointment.
“I have known Pardo for many years, from different operations in which we worked together,” Barak said. “Pardo is a highly experienced professional, and is very suitable for the position of Mossad chief.”
Barak also commended Dagan for his eight-year term as head of the Mossad. “The citizens of Israel owe many thanks to Meir Dagan,” he said.
Pardo also served in Sayeret Matkal with Netanyahu’s older brother, the late Yoni Netanyahu, and is a close friend of the prime minister’s family.
Palestinians: Gaza war claim exposed by WikiLeaks is untrue
Cable among hundreds of thousands revealed by WikiLeaks says that Israel tried to coordinate Operation Cast Lead with Fatah and Egypt.
(haaretz) There were never any actual consultations between us and the Israelis before the Gaza war, a top aid to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday, refuting a WikiLeaks cable that claimed otherwise.
One of the documents included in the over 250,000 diplomatic cables between the United States and its allies which were leaked on Sunday said that Israel tried to coordinate Operation Cast Lead with both Fatah and Egypt.
In a June 2009 meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and a U.S. congressional delegation, Barak claimed that the Israeli government “had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas.”
“Not surprisingly,” Barak said in the meeting, Israel “received negative answers from both.”
Mahmoud Abbas speaking during a press conference in Ramallah, Oct. 28, 2010.
Photo by: AP
Top Abbas aid Saeb Erekat denied that Israel had notified the Palestinian Authority of the war before it happened.
“We knew about the war because the Israelis were saying there was going to be a war,” Erekat said.
Several months before the fighting broke out, Abaas asked Israel’s then-prime minister, Ehud Olmert, not to go to war, Erekat said. Abbas told him “he would not go to Gaza on an Israeli tank,” Erekat added.
He said the exchange took place in a face-to-face meeting that he himself attended.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said he wasn’t surprised to learn of Fatah cooperation with Israel.
“We have said several times that Fatah was implicated in this war, and that they wanted to return to Gaza on the back of Israeli tanks. But this information is behind us now. … We hope they will appreciate our position and step forward for real reconciliation,” Abu Zuhri said.
Hamas and Fatah have held several rounds of reconciliation talks since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Earlier this month, the two groups failed to narrow sharp differences on security issues and ended their latest round of talks without setting a date for the next round.
Israel recruits citizen advocates in Europe
‘Allies and friends’ will promote government policy to press and public meetings as part of fresh PR drive
Israel has instructed its embassies in 10 European countries, including the UK, each to recruit 1,000 members of the public to act as advocates for its policies in a new public relations offensive.
A cable from the foreign affairs ministry was sent to embassies last week, with instructions from Avigdor Lieberman, the controversial and extreme right-wing foreign minister, to adopt a range of measures aimed at improving Israel’s standing in Europe.
The most unusual was the order to identify up to 1,000 people by mid-January to act as “allies” to Israel. One source described them as “friends who are willing not just to receive messages but to actively promote these messages”. These individuals – likely to be drawn from Jewish or Christian activists, academics, journalists and students – will be briefed regularly by Israeli officials and encouraged to speak up for Israel at public meetings or write letters or articles for the press.
Five European capitals have also been identified for a more conventional PR push. Israeli embassies in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Rome will receive funds to hire professional PR firms and lobbyists.
PR companies will be asked to focus on political messages, such as: Israel’s position on talks with the Palestinians; subjects which can help “brand” Israel, such as tourism and technology; and regional issues to which Israel wishes to draw attention, such as human rights in Iran or Arab countries.
The foreign affairs ministry also suggested that embassies across Europe organise monthly high-profile public events to promote Israel and its government’s policies, and visits to Israel for influential individuals. Lieberman is planning to meet ambassadors to European countries next month to push the new PR offensive.
An Israeli official refused to comment on the disclosure but said: “Obviously we are always looking for ways to improve our communications, there’s nothing unusual in that,” adding: “There is anxiety about the way Israel is perceived abroad, and there is particular worry about certain countries in western Europe.”
Israel has previously launched drives to improve its image through hasbara – literally meaning explanation, although alternatively interpreted as public diplomacy, spin or propaganda. During its three-week war on Gaza, which began in December 2008, Israel launched a PR strategy through its national information directorate to co-ordinate key messages on a daily basis.
The Israeli government, military and various embassies are adept at using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to promote material. Organisations such as Bicom, the Britain Israel Communications Research Centre, in the UK and the Israel Project in the US, which describe themselves as independent, are dedicated to promoting Israeli policies. Both organisations offer regular briefings, contacts and tours to foreign correspondents based in Israel and Palestine, and all-expenses paid trips to Israel for journalists, including from the Guardian, based elsewhere.
Other countries undertake similar PR drives. Rwanda hired the London-based company Racepoint to feed positive stories to the media. Bell Pottinger, headed by Lord Bell, a former adviser to Lady Thatcher, represents Sri Lanka and Madagascar.
Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet today approved a plan to build a huge detention centre capable of holding up to 10,000 illegal immigrants and refugees near its border with Egypt. Israel began building a fence along the border earlier this month. The population and immigration authority has said between 1,200 and 1,500 people, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, have crossed the border each month this year, compared to 300 per month last year. “There is a swelling wave threatening Israeli jobs, a wave of illegal migrants that we must stop because of the harsh implications for Israel’s character,” Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told the cabinet today.
Also today, Major-General Uri Bar-Lev, the top policeman being investigated for alleged sexual assault and rape, said he was withdrawing his candidacy to become Israel’s police commissioner and taking an unspecified time of leave.
Israel tries to clean up its image abroad
Israel’s ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister is proposing a major new public relations drive in Europe aimed at bolstering Israel’s flagging image.
The campaign, expected to launch early in the new year, would rely on teams of volunteers in Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain to deliver Israel’s message, while professionals from public relations and lobbying firms would also be hired to for the rebranding initiative.
The campaign is the pet project of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Moldovan-born Foreign Minister, who is better known for his public relations gaffes than for his diplomacy.
Nevertheless, the move also reflects a growing sense among Israelis that they are misunderstood and misrepresented overseas. Many have smarted at international condemnation of the Gaza blockade and have vociferously defended two soldiers convicted in Israel for their treatment of a civilian during the Gaza War two winters ago, arguing that they were operating in difficult circumstances.
Moreover, Israeli officials have railed against media portrayals of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an unwilling partner for peace with the Palestinians, contending that the Palestinian refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state is as much of a stumbling block as is ongoing settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
“Israel’s public image today is dismal,” wrote Alon Ben-Meir, a New York University lecturer in a recent editorial in The Jerusalem Post. “The public relations problem is not due to a lack of attention. The entire world is watching Israel closely, but it does not like what it sees.”
Aryeh Green, head of the Israeli advocacy group MediaCentral, welcomed the new PR initiative, but said efforts should also remain focused on promoting accuracy of news reporting from Israel, rather than solely concentrating on putting across a message. The Foreign Ministry initiative, if it goes ahead, will join private advocacy efforts led by groups such as the Israel Project and British-led Bicom, which, among other things, lead tours examining threats to Israel’s security and fly over foreign journalists and commentators to meet politicians, decision-makers and analysts.
Other pro-Israel groups, such as Honest Reporting and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America scour media reports to root out what they perceive as biased or incorrect reporting, and lead email campaigns against journalists or organisations regarded as prejudiced.
Whether Mr Lieberman’s plans can do more remains to be seen. At least one Israeli official has argued that such initiatives have failed before: “With every change of season, there will be a politician announcing unofficially a big PR campaign that will change Israel’s image,” the official said.
Others will likely question Mr Lieberman’s suitability for the role. A former nightclub bouncer with an assault charge to his name, he has alienated many foreign officials.
Many Israelis feel that there is little that can be done to improve Israel’s international image, particularly in Europe, where anti-Israel sentiment is seen to be on the rise.
In a recent poll conducted by Tel Aviv University, 56 percent of Israelis said they believed “the whole world is against us,” while 77 per cent said the world would always criticise their efforts to resolve the decades-long conflict.
US soldiers kill Iraqi civilian driver who failed to slow down as he neared troop convoy
(AP) U.S. troops who thought they were under attack killed an Iraqi airport employee Sunday as he drove near a military convoy on his way to work, officials said.
The driver, identified by colleagues as Baghdad International Airport worker Karim Obaid Bardan, failed to heed repeated signals to slow down or turn on his headlights as he neared the military convoy, said U.S. and Iraqi security officials.
“As a result, the vehicle was perceived as a threat and a decision was made to engage it with small-arms fire in order to stop it and to protect the convoy from a possible attack,” said Army Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.
“Iraqi drivers know that they must use caution and avoid threatening behavior when approaching military vehicles,” Johnson said.
The shooting comes a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said U.S. troops would not be needed in Iraq beyond a December 2011 withdrawal deadline already in place between the two nations.
An Iraqi policeman confirmed the driver did not stop or slow. Two other Iraqi officials said the pre-dawn shooting happened near a security checkpoint on the road to the airport and described the shooting as a mistake.
All three Iraqi officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
The shooting is under U.S. investigation, and Johnson said the military “deeply regrets” the driver’s death.
Such so-called “escalation of force” self-defense shootings were common in the years immediately after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and inflamed tensions between American forces and Iraqis who saw them as occupiers. But the tactic has been less frequent since U.S. soldiers scaled back their presence around Iraq, starting in June 2009, when they stopped patrolling cities without Iraqi forces with them.
Meanwhile, in a shocking killing north of Baghdad, police said gunmen wearing Iraqi security forces uniforms invaded the home of a Sunni sheik in a pre-dawn raid and shot him and his 15-year-old son.
A police officer in the village of al-Meshahda, about 31 miles (50 kilometers) north of the capital, said Sheik Abdul Kerim Talab Mutlak al-Halbussi was a leader of the local Sahwa, or Awakening council. The councils are the government-backed Sunni militias that joined forces with the United States against al-Qaida in one of the turning points of the war.
Two other people in the house were wounded in the shooting, said the police officer. A local hospital official confirmed the casualties. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.
Also, two high-profile officials were killed in separate attacks Sunday night in Baghdad, police officials said. The training and development director of the Sunni Endowment, a publicly funded religious organization, was killed when a bomb hidden on the underside of his car exploded. And an Iraqi army brigadier general was slain in a drive-by shooting.
Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats to Steal UN Officials’ Credit Card Numbers
‘National Humint Collection Directive’ Also Called for Them to Steal Passwords, DNA
by Jason Ditz,
One of the first eye-opening revelations from the massive WikiLeaks diplomatic logs release is the length to which the US State Department is being treated as just another of America’s many spying apparatus.
Among the leaks was something called the “National Humint Collection Directive,” a secret document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year. The document orders officials at the State Department to conduct mass surveillance and in some cases outright theft against high ranking UN officials.
Incredibly, beyond the simple collection of secret information about officials including UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the directive also calls for State Department officials to try to steal credit card data from a number of top officials, as well as passwords and personal encryption keys. They also sought to collect DNA samples from UN members.
The directive was sent to 33 US embassies across the world, and specified not just Ban, but his top advisers, the heads of all UN agencies, commanders of UN military missions and representatives of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The State Department was chiefly responsible for this attempt, but they were also to enlist the CIA, FBI, and the US Secret Service in the collection of data if necessary. The 1946 UN Convention prohibits most if not all of the attempts at theft and surveillance detailed in the operation.
US Warned Turkey Not to Publicly Question Allegations on Iran
State Dept Demanded Officials ‘Rein In’ PM’s Criticism
by Jason Ditz,
In late 2009 the Obama Administration, it was revealed today, privately warned the Turkish government not to criticize unsubstantiated allegations against Iran’s civilian nuclear program, in particular warning that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments made Turkey “vulnerable to international community criticism.
Turkish PM Erdogan
The documents, revealed today as part of the WikiLeaks Cablegate release, centered around Prime Minister Erdogan’s criticism of Obama’s allegations as “gossip,” and advised top Erdogan aides and Turkish President Gul to “rein in” the prime minister.
Another document expressed concern at Turkey’s interest in a working relationship with Iran, saying Turkey was missing an opportunity to weaken the Iranian government by not condemning the 2009 election and saying Turkey was motivated by a desire to avoid a region-wide war.
Though US officials have repeatedly accused Iran of making nuclear weapons they have never provided evidence of this assertion, and the IAEA has continually verified the non-diversion of Iran’s nuclear material.
Interestingly, the US mocked Turkey’s claims of “influence” with Iran by saying Turkey was unable to even convince Iran to sign the third party enrichment deal sought by the P5+1. Just months after the cable Turkey did succeed in getting Iran to sign the deal, sparking public US condemnation of Turkey and a refusal by the US to complete the proposed deal.
Iranian nuclear scientist killed, another injured in Tehran bombings
(Washington Post) TEHRAN – A prominent Iranian nuclear scientist was killed Monday and a second was seriously wounded in simultaneous car bomb attacks in the Iranian capital, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
The explosions, which took place in front of Shahid Behesti University, are the latest in a string of recent assassination attempts in which five doctors and professors have been killed in Tehran.
Iranian authorities blamed foreign agents for the killings, saying they want to cause chaos in the country. But leading figures in Iran’s opposition movement accused the government of plotting the attacks in order to spread fear in the capital, where many oppose the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Undoubtedly the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved” in the attacks, Ahmadinejad told reporters in a news conference. He said the bombings would not stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear program.
According to Fars, scientists Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi were parking their cars in separate locations near the university campus about 7:45 a.m. local time when they were attacked.
Witnesses said each car was approached by a group of men on motorcycles, who attached explosives to the vehicles and detonated them seconds later, the news agency reported. Shahriari was killed instantly. Abbasi was wounded. Both men were with their wives, who were wounded as well.
Abbasi is a high-ranking defense ministry official who is involved in Iran’s nuclear program. He has been barred since 2007 from leaving the country, in accordance with United Nations Security Council sanctions, and is considered a main player in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.
The head of Iran’s nuclear energy program, Ali Akbar Salehi, visited Abbasi in the hospital after the bombing, and spoke to reporters about the scientists, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Salehi said Shahriari was “in charge of one of the biggest projects” of Iran’s nuclear program, ISNA said, but did not specify which program.
“The enemy took our dearest flower, but must know that this nation, through resistance and all its might, will make efforts to remove problems and achieve its desires,” Salehi said.
Shahriari also was known for his involvement in a regional, non-nuclear scientific research project – called Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or SESAME – in whichIsrael also participated. He is the second Iranian scientist involved in that program to be assassinated in Tehran.
The SESAME project is based in Jordan, under the auspices of the United Nations. It includes scientists from several Middle Eastern countries. The involvement of both Iran and Israel makes the project unusual, because Israel is not recognized by Iran and has no ties to the Islamic republic. Palestinian scientists also participate.
Iranian and foreign scientists say the project has applications in industry, medicine, nanotechnology and other fields unrelated to nuclear power.
In January, another scientist involved in the SESAME project, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was killed in Tehran when a bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded in front of his house.
At the time, many thought Mohammadi had been supporting the opposition. Government officials, however, accused the United States and Israel of being behind the attack.
Fars, which has close ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards corps, alleged that foreign “enemies” were involved in Monday’s attacks – a charge Ahmadinejad echoed hours later.
“The enemies of the Iranian nation, who have lost hope in their pressure and sanctions projects, have once again, on the eve of negotiations with Iran, resorted to blind terrorist attacks so that they can advance their illegitimate and oppressive demands against the Iranian nation at the negotiating table,” the agency wrote.
Iranian officials are supposed to meet with representatives of other nations Dec. 5 for talks on nuclear and other issues.
Mullen: US Still Thinking About Attacking Iran