"Master Strike" Against Iran Regime

Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog:
After Andy Cochran's posting, here is a quick comment on the Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism Today's documents revealing the US financial measures taken against Iran's military power hits the heart of the regime. The US official document can only be described as a master strategic strike into the financial web of the major power centers of the Iranian regime. See the full document. Following are three points:

The first organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to the document is "considered the military vanguard of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is composed of five branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Basij militia, and Qods Force special operations) in addition to a counterintelligence directorate and representatives of the Supreme Leader. It runs prisons, and has numerous economic interests involving defense production, construction, and the oil industry. Several of the IRGC's leaders have been sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1747."

Point One: The Pasdaran is indeed the backbone of the regime. Compare it to a combined Communist Party, Militia and KGB during the peak of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union.

The second organization, the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL): According to the report, "the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) controls the Defense Industries Organization, an Iranian entity identified in the Annex to UN Security Council Resolution 1737 and designated by the United States under E.O. 13382 on March 30, 2007. MODAFL also was sanctioned, pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act, in November 2000 for its involvement in missile technology proliferation activities."

Point Two: This is Iran's Defense apparatus. ...

HP-644 - October 25, 2007:
October 25, 2007

Fact Sheet: Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism

The U.S. Government is taking several major actions today to counter Iran's bid for nuclear capabilities and support for terrorism by exposing Iranian banks, companies and individuals that have been involved in these dangerous activities and by cutting them off from the U.S. financial system.

Today, the Department of State designated under Executive Order 13382 two key Iranian entities of proliferation concern: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Additionally, the Department of the Treasury designated for proliferation activities under E.O. 13382 nine IRGC-affiliated entities and five IRGC-affiliated individuals as derivatives of the IRGC, Iran's state-owned Banks Melli and Mellat, and three individuals affiliated with Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).

The Treasury Department also designated the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) under E.O. 13224 for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, and Iran's state-owned Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier.

Elements of the IRGC and MODAFL were listed in the Annexes to UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747. All UN Member States are required to freeze the assets of entities and individuals listed in the Annexes of those resolutions, as well as assets of entities owned or controlled by them, and to prevent funds or economic resources from being made available to them.


Effect of Today's Actions

As a result of our actions today, all transactions involving any of the designees and any U.S. person will be prohibited and any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen. Noting the UN Security Council's grave concern over Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile program activities, the United States also encourages all jurisdictions to take similar actions to ensure full and effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747.

Today's designations also notify the international private sector of the dangers of doing business with three of Iran's largest banks, as well as the many IRGC- affiliated companies that pervade several basic Iranian industries.

Proliferation Finance – Executive Order 13382 Designations

E.O. 13382, signed by the President on June 29, 2005, is an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, and at isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems. Designations under the Order prohibit all transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC): Considered the military vanguard of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is composed of five branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Basij militia, and Qods Force special operations) in addition to a counterintelligence directorate and representatives of the Supreme Leader. It runs prisons, and has numerous economic interests involving defense production, construction, and the oil industry. Several of the IRGC's leaders have been sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1747.

The IRGC has been outspoken about its willingness to proliferate ballistic missiles ...


Burying the Good News

As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch

If Yahoo News keeps this up, they may just put Iowahawk and The Onion out of a job. Anyway, here's the bad news from Jay Price and Qasim Zein:

NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

Few people have a better sense of the death rate in Iraq .

"I always think of the increasing and decreasing of the dead," said Sameer Shaaban, 23, one of more than 100 workers who specialize in ceremonially washing the corpses. "People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don't talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more." ...

Now it would be unfair to hold this piece to the standards of serious journalism; it's more of a human-interest story - a slice-of-death piece, as it were. In any event, this article was the product of a number of high-calibre journalistic minds, as the footnote informs us:
Price reports for The (Raleigh) News & Observer . Zein is a McClatchy special correspondent. McClatchy special correspondents Janab Hussein , Hussein Kadhim and Sahar Issa contributed to this story.

I'm guessing that Price, Zein, and their illustrious colleagues at McClatchy detected a kindred spirit here: "People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don't talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more."

Yes indeedy. Or as another source puts it:
"Certainly, when the number of dead increases I feel happy, like all workers in the graveyard," said Basim Hameed , 30, a body washer. "This happiness comes from the increase in the amount of money we have."

Zein and Price must have felt right at home.


Voices of Dissent

Overheard today in downtown San Francisco.

Young woman at the office: Hey, did ya catch the Blue Angels this weekend?
Mailroom guy: Aaah, I think it's just a waste of the Government's money.
Young woman: Well, I think it's pretty cool.


Guy at Starbucks: It sucks we gotta work on Columbus Day. Hey, did you know Columbus had an Nigerian navigator?


Morning Report: October 5, 2007

State of the world. Your humble blogger returns to reporting the hubbub of humanity.

Coalition kills 25 militants in Diyala. The Long War Journal: 'Coalition special operations forces continue to attack the Iranian-backed Special Groups operating inside Iraq with the same ferocity as it attacks al Qaeda. Twenty-five Special Groups fighters were killed during an engagement northwest of Baqubah this morning during a raid on a Special Groups leader. Coalition forces called in an airstrike on a building after taking “heavy fire from a group of armed men fighting from defensive positions.” Special Groups fighters attacked Coalition forces with AK-47s and RPGs, and spotted what appeared to be a fighter “carrying what appeared to be an anti-aircraft weapon.” At least 25 terrorists are believed to have been killed in the airstrike. The engagement took place in a village near Khalis, a US military officer told The Long War Journal. “Coalition forces were targeting a Special Groups commander believed to be associated with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – Qods Force,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported. “Intelligence indicates that he was responsible for facilitating criminal activity and is involved in the movement of various weapons from Iran to Baghdad.”'

1920s faction denounces al-Qaeda. Counterterrorism Blog
: 'A breakaway Sunni insurgent faction from the 1920 Revolution Brigades known as "Hamas in Iraq" has issued a formal response to recent allegations by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq." In an official communiqué dated October 2, Iraqi Hamas accused Al-Qaida of inflicting "great suffering" on ordinary Iraqi Sunnis: "every day they witnessed heads or headless bodies lying in their streets. Each one of these victims had been accused of a so-called ‘crime’ prohibited by Al-Qaida fatwahs... then [Al-Qaida] attacked Ameriyyat [al-Fallujah] with a car bomb packed with chlorine gas canisters, and they even laid siege to the area to prevent food and fuel from getting to people. Finally, they killed several men at the local market and smashed their heads against boxes of food... We [have] witnessed dozens of beheaded bodies and none of them were Americans. Rather, they were all local people from the area—people who, at one point, had supported the Al-Qaida network until they themselves had become disposable." In fact, according to Hamas in Iraq--as a result of the various crimes Al-Qaida has committed against innocent Muslim civilians--"the Al-Qaida network has actually made people here think that the occupation forces are merciful and humane by comparison."'

Dutch government cuts of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's security, forces her to leave US and return to Netherlands. And a sad day it is for America, and civilization generally. But it gets worse: according to this report from the New York Times, Holland's government backed off when they found out they might have to, like, actually protect her from something:
In the case of Ms. Hirsi Ali, the government also provided security for her while she lived in the Netherlands and traveled abroad. That arrangement continued for several months after she moved to the United States 13 months ago to become a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Subsequently the Netherlands paid for protection provided by an American security firm.

However, last December, she was warned in a letter from the Dutch minister of justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, that payment for her American bodyguards would end in July this year. That decision was revoked after Ms. Hirsi Ali received new credible death threats in the United States.

Sandmonkey on Egyptian textile workers' protest. Daily News (Egypt), September 27:
EL MAHALLA EL KOBRA: A crippling strike at Egypt’s largest public sector factory entered its fifth day on Thursday as workers, angry at corruption and what they call a string of lies and broken promises, say they will not end their occupation of the factory until their demands have been met by both the company’s board of directors and by President Hosni Mubarak.

The strike has united more than 27,000 employees of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, from manual laborers to more highly skilled engineers and clerical staff, and has brought production at the factory in the dusty Delta city of Mahalla to a standstill.

Here's Sandmonkey:
We, me and M., arrive at the Parking lot right next to the AUC. That's the rendez-vous point with Gimmy , H., her boy, and whomever else was coming to this thing. M. and H. were dressed in jeans and male shirts, looking like female british factory workers. I guess if you are a capitalist chick going to a worker's protest, this is what You wear.

The news we heard so far wasn't very comforting: The Talaat Harb square is , again, a War Zone. Police Cars everywhere, plainclothed police Officers lining up the streets, and everybody is afraid to start the protest by themselves. For the life of me, I do not understand their insistence on always protesting in either Tahrir Square, Talaat Harb square or the Press Syndicate. I persoanlly don;t get it. Why not have a protest in Heliopolis? Or Dokki? Or Maadi? Why always Downtown? God knows the State security knows how to completely control the area and squash the protests with ease now. It almost feels like folly. Like we are children and we are about to play Police and Protesters. Where we playing today boys? The Talaat Harb Playground? Fantastic. Let's all go to Al Borsa Cafe after it's all over and talk about how we managed to waste the last few hours, while smoking cheap Shisha. Yeah!

I call Nora to see where she is, and she informs me that she is in the Ghad Party headquarters, an apartment in a Building in Talaat Harb sqre, and that they are having "inside the apartment Protest". The Police is standing in front of the building's door and are letting people in, but not letting them out. ...

Go read the rest to find out how many friends Sandmonkey had on Ramadan - and what happened to Gemmy. And if you read Arabic, check out Gemmy's blog.

So, how did those Israeli planes get into Syria, anyway? OpFor thinks David Fulghum at Aviation Week is on the right track:
U.S. aerospace industry and retired military officials indicated today that a technology like the U.S.-developed “Suter” airborne network attack system developed by BAE Systems and integrated into U.S. unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications was used by the Israelis. The system has been used or at least tested operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last year.

The technology allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as systems administrator so sensors can be manipulated into positions so that approaching aircraft can’t be seen, they say. The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading messages algorithms that allow a number of activities including control. ...

Debra Cagan hates Iranians. Okay, a personal rant here: If there's one thing that irritates me about the MSM (and there are actually a zillion things, but we'll pick one), it's the way they talk about "the Iranians" as if those assholes that sit in Tehran (yeah, Ahmadinejad and his henchmen) have any relationship to the Iranian people as people. With that in mind, listen to what one of our stellar official Debra Cagan has to say:
Britsh MPs visiting the Pentagon to discuss America's stance on Iran and Iraq were shocked to be told by one of President Bush's senior women officials: "I hate all Iranians."

And she also accused Britain of "dismantling" the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon.

The all-party group of MPs say Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defence Secretary Robert Gates, made the comments this month. ...

The MPs say that at one point she said: "In any case, I hate all Iranians."

And this lady works for the Defense Department - so we can't even blame this on the usual gang of idiots. (Even Azarmehr was confused.) Anyway, here's Azarmehr:
Debra Cagan has to be sacked immediately if the US has any interest in keeping the most pro-Western population in the Middle East on her side. Only her quick dismissal can reassure the Iranian people that she was just one rotten apple, one amateur diplomat or whatever her official job title is, who got a job she did not deserve and therefore was consequently dealt with.

Montreal activist speaks out on homophobia. The Gazette:
Magella Dionne grew up Catholic, got married and had three daughters. But on a Club Med vacation in 1994, the La Pocatiere dentist had a "coming out" with a young Bolivian man, and is now a militant advocate for gay rights.

So when the Bouchard-Taylor commission on "reasonable accommodations" of minorities came to town today - its seventh stop on a 17-city tour of Quebec - Dionne knew he had to speak up. ...

... he came to denounce religious extremists and their homophobia, which he said puts them on another level entirely from gays.

"The gay and lesbian community doesn't ask for special treatment or to be allowed to do whatever we want - no, we asked for rights, and got them, and want to protect them," Dionne said in an interview.

"But what we see in the future is a risk of things getting out of control. Two gays won't be able to walk in front of a mosque without being mocked," he said.

"Ignorant people with their religious texts, their recipe books of intolerance, are ready to do anything against gays and lesbians, because they see us as an abomination."

In his presentation, Dionne decried the execution of gays in Iran and referred to well-known Canadian Muslim reformer and outspoken author Irshad Manji, a lesbian, who has said some passages in the Qur'an are violently anti-gay.

Read it all at the link.

"The Peace Corps with muscles." Michael Totten reports from Ramadi. Oh, and in case you didn't get the word, Al-Qaeda lost.

"Somewhere along the way, he changed his mind." Christopher Hitchens writes in Vanity Fair about Mark Daily. Hat tip: The Spirit of Man.

Commentary. Joshua Muravchik on neoconservatism at Commentary magazine:
First, following Orwell, neoconservatives were moralists. Just as they despised Communism, they felt similarly toward Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic and toward the acts of aggression committed by those dictators in, respectively, Kuwait and Bosnia. And just as they did not hesitate to enter negative moral judgments, neither did they hesitate to enter positive ones. In particular, they were strong admirers of the American experience—an admiration that arose not out of an unexamined patriotism (they had all started out as reformers or even as radical critics of American society) but out of the recognition that America had gone farther in the realization of liberal values than any other society in history. A corollary was the belief that America was a force for good in the world at large.

Second, in common with many liberals, neoconservatives were internationalists, and not only for moral reasons. Following Churchill, they believed that depredations tolerated in one place were likely to be repeated elsewhere—and, conversely, that beneficent political or economic policies exercised their own “domino effect” for the good. Since America’s security could be affected by events far from home, it was wiser to confront troubles early even if afar than to wait for them to ripen and grow nearer.

Third, neoconservatives, like (in this case) most conservatives, trusted in the efficacy of military force. They doubted that economic sanctions or UN intervention or diplomacy, per se, constituted meaningful alternatives for confronting evil or any determined adversary.

To this list, I would add a fourth tenet: namely, the belief in democracy both at home and abroad. ...


Sophia Lee Fastaia

I am pleased to announce that my girlfriend Georgianne has become the mother of a happy, healthy, and adorable baby girl. Sophia Lee Fastaia was born at 8:33pm on Tuesday night, September 25, 2007, at St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco. Many thanks to friends Emily, Greg, Amanda.

Also special thanks to the nurses Kathleen and Amanda, midwife Emily, doula Annie, and everyone else who helped to make this possible.