Morning Report: 2008-10-03

Morning Report is going to skip the Palin/Biden debate. In other news ...

Debka: US warning to Syria on Lebanon. Debka:
Washington accompanied this warning to Damascus, DEBKAfile has learned, with its first explicit threat of military intervention to aid Lebanon should Syria go through with its planned incursion of the North.

The warning, according to our sources, was delivered on Sept. 28 by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem whom she invited for an urgent meeting in New York. The day after they met, Mualem was handed a second warning by undersecretary of state David Welch, who specified precisely which Syrian movements the US government would deem crossing the Lebanese border.
The harsh words from the top two American diplomats left the Syrian minister with little option but to promise there would be no Syrian incursion. However, in a number of subsequent interviews, Mualem claimed his talks with the two American officials focused on Washington’s support for the indirect talks between Jerusalem and Damascus, a tale made of whole cloth.

In the week since Washington warned Damascus off, nothing has changed in the Syrian military deployment on the Lebanese, our military sources confirm.

Debka previously reported that 'Damascus is pressing forward with its plan to occupy Greater Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city and port, DEBKAfile's military sources report. To this end, 10,000 Syrian commando troops have massed at Abboudieh on the Lebanese border ready to follow an advance force which occupied seven villages around the northern city earlier [in September] ...'.

Coalition forces nab 18 AQI suspects. MNF-Iraq: 'BAGHDAD – Coalition forces captured one wanted man and detained 17 additional suspects during operations to degrade the al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network throughout the country Thursday and Friday. Operations in Kirkuk Thursday netted four suspects believed to be associated with a regional AQI “emir.” An operation in the vicinity of Bayji, about 160 km south of Mosul, resulted in the capture of one wanted man assessed to be a local military “emir” for a terrorist organization associated with AQI. Two additional suspected terrorists were also detained during the operation. ...'

The dark hole of Gohardasht. Shir-o Khorshid Forever:
In the Name of Prosperity of Iran

It has been a long time since Mr. Mansour Radpour was taken to Section 1 of the Gohardasht Prison (Room 2), this section is also known as the “dark hole” where the prison is not allowed any time of outside contact including phone privileges or visitation.

I was also held in Section 1 of the Prison close to two months and know very well the types of torture Mr. Radpour is being subjected to. The guards in this section only “speak” to prisoners with their plastic and electrical baton’s. The prison is under 24 hour surveillance through a red camera in his cell. Also the prisoners are held with handcuffs at all times and sometimes their feet are cuffed as well.

In the Common ward of this section there are about 15-20 people who suffer from mental illnesses as well as infectious illnesses. These are prisoners who cannot be controlled and most prisoners prefer solitary cells to being in the same common ward as them.

Isn’t it time for the Iranian people and the human rights activists to force the officials of Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison to close the doors of this “dark hole” forever? The dark hole which is used to break down political prisoners and make them give up? ...

Long Live Iran Always
Behrouz Javid Tehrani
The last remaining political prisoner from July 1999 pro-democracy student demonstrations
Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison

Published by Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran

Translated by: Sayeh Hassan

Go to the link for full details.

A visit to the Rebbe. Van at Kesher Talk pays a Rosh haShanah visit to the last Lubavitcher Rebbe:
To think: who, truly, do I care about and want to mention in a written prayer, in this mystical time and place?

I wrote my letter, wishing for health and happiness, writing names in Hebrew and using mothers' names when I knew them. My son led the list, along with my brother, my late mother (Shirli bat Chava, which sounded close enough to Shirley daughter of Eva), and others who had suggested the visit, and those who I simply wished all good things for.

Afterward, the group from Stamford changed into plastic shoes and walked on a fenced-in path under grey skies to the building that had the tomb of the Rebbe and his father-in-law. Separate entrances for men and women separated people, although there was nothing like a mehitzah. I read Psalms 50, corresponding to my age, and then very quietly read my letter. People stood around a square pit, or tank, about 15 feet on each side, into which they placed their letters. I saw thousands of pieces of paper, mostly in Hebrew, nestled together in front of the headstones.

Go read it all.

Commentary. I never take Debka's reporting too seriously, but I'm encouraged by the claim that Washington is taking a strong stand on Lebanon.