Friday, April 14, 2006

Personal Intelligence Agency Alert

The previous PIA Alert is here. Anyone surprised at the source of today's alert? From an editorial at National Review that bears the title "Iran, Now" (apparently the rhetorical cousin to and logical evolution of "Faster, Please"):
Four years ago, George W. Bush said his administration would not "permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." Yet precisely that is about to happen.
And this:
They now stand on the brink of getting a new weapon -- and this one will let them threaten the incineration of millions of infidels at the push of a button. Is this something that we -- that anyone -- should be willing to live with?
We know the U.S. intelligence community's current estimate is that Iran is about a decade away from the ability to produce a nuclear weapon. Even senior hawks in the Israeli military community concede that Iran is at least three to five years away. Thus, unless National Review's definition of "about to happen" and "on the brink" is a decade, it appears to have its own Personal (or in this case Private) Intelligence Agency, the information from which has caused it to reach a radically different conclusion than the large and well-funded U.S. intelligence community that includes the CIA, DIA and NSA.

The marketing of Target Iran continues.


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4/14/2006 5:50 AM  
Anonymous nil said...

And on the other hand, you can read the assesment by Russia's nuclear chief of the state of the Iranian nuclear program:
or click here.

4/14/2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

C.R., Here's some of my personal intelligence. Last March, I was working for a major defense contractor and, at the annual meeting, we were told that the defense budget in 2006 would decrease and to expect some belt-tightening.

Since the current deputy secretary of defense is a former executive of this company, you can be sure the information was reliable.

The defense budget in 2006 went up, not down. We are going to war with Iran and it's in the budget.
Don't waste your time debating the issue like you did with Iraq.

BTW, the budget info was not confidential. Anyone who walked off the street could have taken a seat in the meeting room and listened to the speech.

The country is being run by lunatics and we need to protect ourselves. Nobody in Washington cares about us, that's for sure.

Here's what I suggest we do. We set up a major online p.r. campaign and make it clear to the terrorists that we have no beef with them if they leave us alone. We will be happy to give them the names and addresses of everyone who is ruining their lives but, in exchange, they can't bomb places like Grand Central Station.

For example, I think GE has the contract to rebuild the electrical grid in Iraq. GE hasn't built it and the Iraqis are suffering because GE management is corrupt and the contract is cost plus.

I don't blame the Iraqis for being furious. If it were me, I'd feel the same way. The terrorists have to understand that you and I suffer in some way, too, because our hard-earned money is not benefiting the Iraqis like we want it to and it is being stolen by the crooks at GE.

If the Iraqi terrorists want their electrical grid fixed, they should
target GE directors and executives, not us. We can't fix the grid and none of the politicans in Washington will listen to us if we complained about it. We don't make big campaign contributions. That's what the terrorists need to understand.

If my family and friends who are honest and pay their taxes are safe, I don't give a damn what happens to the GE board of directors. They can either fix the electrical grid for the people of Iraq or die. That's their choice.
If those executives think we will look out for them or their children in the US at the risk of our own family's lives, they are dead wrong.

There, I solved the terrorist problem. See how easy it is if you stop worrying about corrupt and worthless human beings and focus on the ones who matter most in your life.

Now, how can we get in touch with the terrorists and run this by them?

4/14/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Hmmm.... I agree with your arguments about not having your own PIA. However, I do think that it's fair to put the 10-year estimate in context.

The Washington Post article says that it will take Iran 10 years to produce some key elements.
The first question is: What's the confidence level? What if there's, say, a 20 percent chance that it's a lot less than 10 years?

The second question is: What does 'produce' mean? Produce without help from anyone? 10 years to produce even if North Korea sends over a bunch of scientists?

I'd like to see an update on that report in light of the the 8 months since they've first released it.

4/14/2006 2:32 PM  
Anonymous kindness said...

They, various groups who desperately WANT a war or bombing campaign in Iran are pushing it now because they see the bush43 only has 2 years left on his dance card. They don't think they'll be able to push that type of action through with anyone who may be more contemplative than this administration.

That means anyone outside of Michael Savage, & I don't see him getting elected.

4/14/2006 3:40 PM  
Blogger Manic Depression said...

"Four years ago, George W. Bush said his administration would not "permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." "

So why does North Korea's nuclear arsenal continue to expand?

4/14/2006 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Jones said...

The largely unspoken-of lie beneath this whole issue is the notion that we have some right to prevent another sovereign country from developing any weapons they choose. If that isn't the height of hubris, from the world's largest arms merchant, nothing is.

Of course we should do all we can to prevent the spreak of nuclear weapon technology, within the bounds of legal, non-violent means. There is a comprehensive international system in place dedicated to just that end.

But if Iran or anybody else pursues nuclear weapons nonetheless, who the hell are we to say we have the right to prevent them from doing so through military aggression? That this is even considered, let alone the default assumption, is a consequence of the Bush regime's illegal war against Iraq. We've been numbed to the idea that we have a duty and right to bomb or invade another country just because we fear an action they MAY take.

If Iran or anybody else we don't like gets nukes, then we must do all we can to assure they are not used by the old-fashioned tried and true methods: first, maintain normalized if not friendly relationship with them, with full and robust diplomatic exchange (think USSR); and second, trust that Iran's leaders do not have a death wish for their own country in the face of certain knowledge of massive retaliation should they ever be foolish enough to launch a nuclear strike.

4/14/2006 4:33 PM  
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4/14/2006 5:43 PM  
Anonymous jay said...

Headline at

"Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said. [...]"

....if they had 50,000 centrifuges.

They do have 164 now.

And if my grandma had wheels, she'd be a motorcycle. (German proverb :)

4/14/2006 5:59 PM  
Anonymous jay said...

Ooops, didn't see your post further down.

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4/14/2006 6:07 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Why are so many people hyperventilating about Iran getting nukes? Mutually Assured Destruction worked with Russia, the other "Evil Empire". In the case of Iran, it wouldn't even have to be Mutually. We could simply assure Iran that their entire country would be turned into a glowing slag heap should they choose to use a nuke against us. The Iranian president might be a Messianic end-timer, (hey, what a coincidence, so's ours!) but I don't think the Mullahs are insane.

When I think about the threat of actual destruction that Soviet nukes presented, it really pisses me off the way phony threats like "terrorists" or even two-bit countrys with nukes are being used to manipulate America.

4/14/2006 7:59 PM  
Blogger jj said...

Right on, George. Just what I was saying but you said it quicker and better!

4/14/2006 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Iran is being marketed by people we have no reason to trust. But 3-5 years IS a very short time ("on the brink") in the affairs of nations. And we SHOULD be very worried about a world in which the crazies in Iran have nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them by missile or bomber. Sometimes even your feckless Uncle George is right. It's not the marketing that worries me, it's whether those in the Bush Admin are competent to handle this crisis. And it isn't completely clear to me that we have the capacity to stop them.

4/14/2006 11:48 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Here's a personal alert for you, C.R., Charlie Gargano is making his last hurrah at the ESDC. He's already borrowed a billlion dollars this year and it's only April.

Visit the ESDC website. Look at the recent and current bond issues. Then take a look at the financials. Je's been diverting money from the Port Authority for construction projects around the state.

First, he "borrowed" from the PA. Then last year, the state legislature authorized fuinds to be diverted from the PA to the ESDC. This is organized crime, make no mistake.

Let's go to Albany and grab Francis A. Walton, the ESDC CFO, and threaten him with something drastic like twenty-five years in prison to make him spill the beans.

During the last election, the NYT and the Post told us to throw the entire state legislature out of office and start over. The papers were wrong. The entire state legislature belongs in jail. Trust me, we have a lot of excess capacity in our upstate prisons and the folks up there would welcome the business.

On second thought, it's probably too late.

I wish I could find a way to explain to all of the honest and hard working people in NYC who they should blame when NYC becomes the NYC of the '70s and the unfinished Jacob Javits Center sits half-finished and empty, a monument to greed and corruption.

When upstate NY becomes the Appalachia of the '60s, those people up there better not think they can just start throwing more poor people from NYC into prison on trumped up drug charges to keep the economy going. I'll fight them tooth and nail if I can and so will a lot of other people who care about social justice.

I've become a law-and-order advocate over the last few years. White-collar crime is out of control and I am strongly for much harsher penalties. If a politician steals more than a million bucks, twenty years without parole. And that's upstate, not in a federal country club. Let his relatives jackass upstate on a 8-hour drive every weekend and see how they like it.

BTW, why do we have country club prisons? Allanwood and others like it should be closed down. There is absolutely no reason on the face of the earth to segregate crooked executives and politicians from the rest of the prison population. They are not better than everyone else, they are worse. They betray public trust and undermine confidence in our government.

Do you know Bernie Ebbers is out of prison? The judge let him out because he is appealing his sentence. The appeal is not scheduled for months, leaving Bernie lots of time to arrange to bribe his way of no jail time. So that big deal the Bush administration made about of going after corporate criminals was just for show.

A big part of Rudy Giuliani's reputation as a "law and order" candidate was established when he prosecuted two of the biggest crooks on Wall Street, Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky.

Ivan Boesky paid a $100 million fine and spent two years in prison. Someone told me that he really had a $900 million fortune, not a $200 million one.

Michael Milken spent 22 months in prison. He still $700 milllion when he got out of prison even after paying hundreds of millions in fines.

Crime paid off big time for Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky. I would go to jail for two years for $700 million. Who wouldn't?

Do you understand how Rudy Giuliani contributed to the sewer of corruption on Wall Street? In 1989, everyone on Wall Street found out that there was little or no risk attached to stealing billions of dollars. If Rudy Giuliani had set a precedent and stripped Boesky and Milken of every last dime and put them in prison for twenty years, the crooks on Wall Street would have thought twice about going on its fifteen-year crime spree.

But Rudy Giuliani would not have been elected mayor. Elliot Sptizer hits Wall Street for chump change now and then to make himself look good to the rest of the world. The crooks on Wall Street are happy to pay $100 million here or there if it keeps Spitzer out of their hair. Just like Rudy Giuliani, Elliot Spitzer could not be elected if he went after real crime on Wall Street.

Elliot Spitzer will be elected governor because Wall Street supports him and it is the Democrats' turn to run the state, not because he cares about corruption. Spitzer was once quoted saying he does not "do" Pataki. Spitzer came right out and told us that Pataki can steal all he wants and Spitzer won't stop him.

If I thought Tom Suozzi had a prayer, I'd be complaining about him. Suozzi, Klein, English & Meyers has been a running a racket in Mineola. The firm gets huge Nassau County property tax refunds for its clients for no apparent reason. Lunn Industries in Glen Cove made off with more than $400k in 2000 or so and I know the scam is stilll going on.

Tom Suozzi inherited the records of the one of the most corrupt local governments in the state and yet never uncovered any wrongdoing from the previous admimistration.

The property tax records must have been a gold mine if you were interested in coruuption. One of Nassau's former treasurers, Santa Albicocco, "sold" about $19 million in uncollected property taxes to a Florida finance company in a really shady deal. But the big message was that property taxes in Nassau County were deliberating not being collected. But Suozzi apparently found no problems when he took over.

I don't know if Tom Suozzi is relatively honest as politican but he's another blowhard. "Exposing" some Medicaid cheats to get his name in the news is a cheap stunt. Those people should never have gotten the aid in the first place if they were that easy to catch. All I got from that story is that Suozzi is running a weak adminstration. Beside, the big problem is with the Medicaid vendors.

End of NYS PIA.

4/15/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you have to do with this statement is replace "Iran" with "America"

"we SHOULD be very worried about a world in which the crazies in Iran have nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them by missile or bomber."

4/15/2006 7:32 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

manic depression, Do you know for sure that North Korea actually has a nuclear arsenal? I can't figure it out - it went from enriching uranium to deliverable nuclear weapons seemingly overnight.

The Korean Central News Agency (one of my favorite websites) roundly criticized the Bush administration today as only the North Koreans know how to do:

"The U.S. is free to let loose all sorts of vituperation against the DPRK in a bid to achieve its sinister political and military purpose. This, however, will get it nowhere. The U.S. would be well advised to ponder over the consequences to be entailed by its evermore undisguised policy of aggression and behave with discretion."

That's telling 'em!

4/16/2006 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

My personal intelligence agency estimate for the development of an Iranian nuke capability is based on an assessment of our 'experts' ability to forecast such state secrets accurately in the past few years.

In all honestly, we must admit the record is not too good, even accounting for the fact that intel is only noticeable when it's wrong. The things we keep getting wrong are extremely significant.

Evidence for a skeptical attitude rests on the following,

1. Our failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union.
2. Our failure to take seriously the rise of Al Quaeda.
3. Our utter failure to uncover the Khan network.
4. Our failure to predict when North Korea would get nukes.
5. Our failure to foresee Pakistan's nuke program.
6. Our failure to see what Libya was up to. (We got a bit lucky there, but there was still a huge upward surprise at their actual capabilities).
7. Our failure to understand the state of Saddam's WMD programs.

In almost all these case, our estimates have been off by an order of magnitude or more, and often the info is simply out of left field, thus justifying this statisticians estimate of...

10 years +/- 9.5 years

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