Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Bolivia: What the “Bolivarian revolution” means, in practice

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Bolivia’s Descent Into Rogue State Status
The country is a hub for organized crime and a safe haven for terrorists.

The government is an advocate for coca growers. The Iranian presence is increasing. And reports from the ground suggest that African extremists are joining the fray.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is also the elected president of the coca producers’ confederation, and Vice President Alvaro García Linera, formerly of the Maoist Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, began building their repressive narco-state when they took office in 2006.

Step one was creating a culture of fear. Scores of intellectuals, technocrats and former government officials were harassed. Many fled.

With the opposition cowed, President Morales has turned Bolivia into an international hub of organized crime and a safe haven for terrorists. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been expelled. United Nations data show that cocaine production is up in Bolivia since 2006 and unconfirmed reports say that Mexican, Russian and Colombian toughs are showing up to get a piece of the action. So are militants looking to raise cash and operate in the Western Hemisphere.

The Tehran connection is no secret. Iran is a nonvoting member of the “Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas” ( ALBA ). Its voting members are Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Read the whole thing.

Mexico: From exchange student in Iran to political refugee in 5 easy steps

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The Washington Post has a report on “Carlos”, a Mexican college student who got suckered into going to Iran for indoctrination at the Oriental Thought Cultural Institute, in the ancient city of Qom:
With lure of religious classes, Iran seeks to recruit Latin Americans

Of the institute’s director he knew nothing, having never heard of Rabbani or his alleged ties to terrorism in Argentina and elsewhere. Later he would encounter the former cultural attache at the school and learn of his prominence from Iranian television programs and Web sites, where Rabbani is a tireless proponent of exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution to the Spanish-speaking world.

In addition to the training centers he runs, Rabbani helped start Iran’s largest Spanish-language Web site and was instrumental in launching HispanTV, a cable network that broadcasts Iranian programs and commentary in Spanish. Rabbani would boast in a 2011 interview of having shattered “the American myth” by helping drive Latin American opinion away from the West and toward Iran’s vision of revolutionary Islam.

“Carlos” ought to have googled Mohsen Rabbani before heading to the Institute.

The WaPo article:

A former cultural attache in Buenos Aires, Rabbani was accused by Argentina ofaiding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in that city that killed 85 people, the country’s deadliest terrorist attack.

I had blogged about Rabbani’s aggressive proselytizing in Latin America back in 2011, pointing out that Reinaldo Azevedo blogged at Veja (link in Portuguese) that once converted to Islam, the young Brazilian men will travel to Iran, all expenses paid, with the official objective of “religious instruction.”

The WaPo does not specify whether “Carlos” was officially a convert, but I assume that the Iranians regarded him as such. By running away, he, in their eyes, is guilty of apostasy, which in Iran is punishable by death.

Now “Carlos” has had to go into hiding, seeking asylum . . . in the USA. Can’t Mexico afford him protection from Iranian agents the Mexican government is allowing in the country?

The Brazilian demonstrations Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 24th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
New ‘moderate’ Iranian President involved in AMIA bombing, son suicided over father’s extremism

BOLIVIA
Bolivia prison inmates protest at closure plan
Inmates at Bolivia’s biggest prison have said they are protesting against government plans to close the jail.

BRAZIL
Protests in Brazil Injure 15
A day after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called for an end to violent protests, some 60,000 marchers took to the streets again in the southern city of Belo Horizonte, injuring at least 15.

Protests in Brazil
Taking to the streets
Bubbling anger about high prices, corruption and poor public services boils over into the biggest demonstrations in two decades

Despite Assurances by Brazil’s President, Protesters Stage Another Day of Demonstrations

The map lies to you

Brazil is saying what we could not: we don’t want these costly extravaganzas
From the World Cup to the G8, many countries are paying an extortionate price for hosting these pointless displays

COLOMBIA
D.E.A. Agent in Colombia Is Killed in Possible Attempt at Robbery

CUBA
The Case to Keep Cuba on the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism, via Babalu.

HAITI
Feeding Haiti
A new menu
The government tries to load up the plates of the poorest people in the Americas

HONDURAS
Make way for Mrs. Zelaya, Deposed Honduran president’s wife leads in campaign for presidency; coup backers trail

MEXICO
Documents show FBI monitored Mexican author Carlos Fuentes for more than 2 decades

NICARAGUA
Helicopter crash kills Nicaragua air force chiefs
Key members of Nicaragua’s air force, including the chief of staff, are among 10 people killed in a helicopter crash.

PUERTO RICO
American Red Cross Responds to Decision to Stop Collecting Blood in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Why there is no “latino american spring”, and certainly not in Venezuela

As People Look For Pragmatism In Currency, Venezuelan Government Ready For More Controls

The week’s posts:
Venezuela’s Chernenko

Brazil: 300,000 protestors in Sao Paolo

Venezuela: Legitimizing Maduro, continued

Brazil’s protests: Anti-inflation, anti-corruption, pro-representation, pro-middle class

Venezuela: Legitimizing Maduro

Brazil: Huge demonstrations

Brazil: Huge demonstrations

Colombia: Legitimizing the FARC


Remembering the Farhūd

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I’m having a busy day taking care of non-blogging matters, but Gates of Vienna has an excellent article, Remembering the Farhūd, on the Iraqi Arab equivalent of the mass violence on Kristallnacht, which took place 70 years ago yesterday. Definitely a must-read.

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8 years of Iraq < Stimulus Act

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

CBO: Eight Years of Iraq War Cost Less Than Stimulus Act

As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

The CBO figures show that the most expensive year of the Iraq war was in 2008, the year when the surge proposed by Gen. David Petraeus and approved by President Bush was in full swing and the turning point in the war. The total cost of Iraq operations in 2008 was $140 billion. In 2007, the cost of Iraq operations was $124 billion.

Major Schadenfreude Alert

And, lest we forget, The stimulus jobs cost taxpayers $195,000 each.

UPDATE
Can’t Blame War For Spike In Deficit

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Obama takes credit for Iraq war

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Notice how half the speech is dedicated to “a new commitment to our veterans”, while making them more dependent on the government.

American Power has more.

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Jules looks back in anger

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Jules Crittenden’s powerful essay about the decade,
God Damn The Naughts

God damn the Naughts. It forced me to take sides. I never wanted to do that, and generally, like most, had successfully avoided doing so. My profession had made the idea of it anathema, though when it happened, I finally was ready to admit that had in large part been a lie.

It became so many things I never expected. It was a decade that demonstrated what a bitter thing winning could be. Remember how, despite the opposition party’s best political efforts to abandon a war effort and abandon a nation to deadly chaos, our political and military leadership found a way to prevail there? Most people have forgotten. The more than 4,300 Americans dead in Iraq don’t need to have died in vain, though the commonly accepted narrative will be that they did. They did something good there, for that nation whose future was always written in blood, for a region that was stabilized and shown that democracy is possible. The only satisfaction from all of that was of the sort that can barely be spat out in words … You see, we’ve done it. You tried to stop us. So many fought so hard, and would not be denied. It had to be done and now it has been.

Go read every word, and let’s all pray together for a good decade ahead.

Iran-backed terrorists hack US drones

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

… in Iraq and Afghanistan, using Russian software Skygrabber,
drone
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
$26 Software Is Used to Breach Key Weapons in Iraq; Iranian Backing Suspected

Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.

Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes’ systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.

Iraq, Afghanistan, but possibly also Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia

Some of the most detailed evidence of intercepted feeds has been discovered in Iraq, but adversaries have also intercepted drone video feeds in Afghanistan, according to people briefed on the matter. These intercept techniques could be employed in other locations where the U.S. is using pilotless planes, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, they said.

Drones are inherently vulnerable:

Gen. Deptula, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said there were inherent risks to using drones since they are remotely controlled and need to send and receive video and other data over great distances. “Those kinds of things are subject to listening and exploitation,” he said, adding the military was trying to solve the problems by better encrypting the drones’ feeds.

The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn’t know how to exploit it, the officials said.

Why weren’t drone communications encripted in the first place?

Marines SEALS to be charged for capturing top terrorist

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Correction: SEALS are not Marines.
My apologies for my ignorance

Via Michael Goldfarb, you would think the US is monitoring a kindergarten playground instead of fighting a war:
Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist
Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three, all members of the Navy’s elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral’s mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named “Objective Amber,” told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Abed claims he was punched, and now the Marines SEALS face assault charges? They should be given a medal for not doing to the terrorist what the terrorist did in Fallujah: burning, mutilating, and hanging four Americans:

The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.

Here’s a photo, after the fold,

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Today’s podcast 1PM Eastern: Todd Bensman on Iran’s presence in Latin America

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Please note the special time, 1PM Eastern

In today’s podcast special guest Todd Bensman talks about his trip to Nicaragua and what he found out on Iran’s presence in Latin America.

Related reading: All Along the Watchtower
The War on Terror has arrived in Latin America, and is headed our way.

Gates: Iran’s “Subversive” Role in Latin America

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