Wednesday, June 3, 2015

World War III: Kerry Breaks Leg For War on Iran

(Fourth in an occasional series as time and events allow)

He is now sidelined and out of action, right?

"Secretary of State John F. Kerry began a major push Saturday to conclude the agreement; however, it was unclear how much progress was made. With important issues unresolved, analysts have begun to question the wisdom of negotiating against a deadline, saying it may work to Iran’s advantage by building pressure on the United States and its negotiating partners to make concessions. Robert J. Einhorn, who served on the US delegation to the Iran talks until 2013. “The negotiators should take whatever time they needeven if it means working past June 30.”

I agree, and that's the same thing the Iranian guy said!

"Kerry curtails trip, heads to MGH with broken leg; Surgery for cycling injury may restrict travels" by Matt Viserand Peter Schworm Globe Staff  May 31, 2015

WASHINGTON —  Another complication into the final push for a nuclear deal with Iran: Secretary of State John Kerry broke his right femur Sunday morning while cycling in the Alps near Scionzier, France, about 30 miles from Geneva.

More pressing are the talks with Iran. David Teuscher, the president of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, said, “Maybe they need to invite leaders to come to Boston and have them meet in Boston instead of him going elsewhere.”

Gee, I dunno. First thing is would they get the visas, and second is what, with all the terrorists running around the city (on the day the NSA surveillance expired? C'mon!)

Kerry has kept a dizzying pace over the past two years, traveling nearly 820,000 miles and visiting 63 countries. He’s spent 1,780 hours — some 74 days — in the air, and his legacy so far has been defined by an energetic pace his younger aides have trouble maintaining.

What's the carbon footprint left by he of climate change concern? 

Iran knows they are dealing with a hypocrite, right? 

I suspect they do. They are pretty sharp cookies over there and if nothing else they have Operation Ajax in their historical memory.

Kerry stayed in Geneva on Sunday while his government-issued aircraft departed with the aides and journalists who had been traveling with him....

Thus the concern, and look, I don't even like the guy but I don't want anyone hurt. 


Prognosis looking good.... on the leg:

"John Kerry will recover quickly, doctor predicts" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  June 02, 2015

WASHINGTON — Just before setting off for a 90-minute grueling uphill segment used in the Tour de France, the motorcycles that typically accompany him on his bike ridefired up their engines.


No wonder he can't smell the fart mist of hypocrisy; the motorcycle fumes are drowning it out!

The secretary of state glanced toward them and, as he was momentarily distracted, his front wheel hit a curb at the edge of the parking lot, causing his bike to abruptly stop.

Kerry then tumbled over, and his right thigh slammed into a different portion of the same curb. The force focused near the hip, fracturing his femur, which resulted in a long journey back to Boston to have it repaired.

Look, I've been involved in some bike crashes and thankfully never broke anything so i can sympathize.

Kerry’s accident cut short a European trip and added another complication to the push for a nuclear deal with Iran. Before his injury, Kerry had been planning to use the next few weeks to try to secure the final deal. State Department officials have said that timeline won’t change, and insist that Kerry will remain personally involved in the negotiations.

Globe already has him out of bed.

Over the past 72 hours, State Department officials have primarily focused on getting Kerry’s broken leg fixed. But attention now will probably turn toward how and whether his injury will affect the negotiations or his ability to keep up his hectic travel schedule.


If Kerry’s travel is hampered, those negotiations could possibly shift to New York, Washington, or Boston. Even changing the site of negotiations, however, could involve its own layer of diplomacy.

“It’s too early to say what impact his injury will have on either the timing or location of the negotiations,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday, when asked about moving the talks.

Kerry was originally supposed to be in Paris on Tuesday for a meeting with other foreign ministers to discuss combatting the rising threat of the Islamic State in the Middle East.

Maybe Iran could help with them.

About 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Kerry called in from his hospital room and participated in a portion of the meeting by phone. During the call to Paris, according to excerpts released by the State Department, Kerry forcefully pushed back against the idea that ISIS is a sovereign state, using an odd choice of phrase. The organization, Kerry said, “is no more a state than I am a helicopter.”

“It is a bunch of thugs that has used terror, torture, butchery, and slavery to seize temporary control of a parcel of land,” he added. “No one anywhere should be deceived into calling it a state, or — far worse — traveling to the territory. . . . And we have to reinforce that message in every way we can.”

When I read that statement I instantly thought ISRAEL (whom he has ticked off a time or two, as far as that goes)! I suppose in a way that is why I am here every day, reinforcing the message. I sure am sick of constantly retyping it.


Israel is the real wild card in all this; if Netanyahu goes off all half-cocked and bombs Iran, say goodbye to life as we have known it.

And the hits just keep on coming for John Kerry:

"Relatives of US citizens in Iran lobby to have release tied to nuclear talks" by Deb Riechmann Associated Press  June 03, 2015

WASHINGTON — Relatives of four Americans missing or detained in Iran told Congress on Tuesday of missed milestones — weddings, graduations, birth of grandchildren — and asked US officials to push harder for their release in talks with Tehran on a nuclear deal.

Lawmakers from both parties said if Tehran doesn’t release them immediately, they would find it difficult to trust the Iranian government to adhere to terms of the deal, which international negotiators are rushing to finalize before the end of the month.

‘‘If top Iranian officials cannot be counted on to assist these wrongfully jailed Americans, can they be counted on to honor the commitments they make at the negotiating table?’’ asked Representative Ed Royce, a California Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. ‘‘Call me a skeptic.’’

After the testimony, the committee passed a measure introduced by Representative Dan Kildee, Democrat of Michigan, stating that Iran should immediately release the three Americans it holds, and provide all known information on any US citizens who have disappeared within its borders.

Daniel Levinson — son of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been gone for more than eight years — said his father has missed the births of three grandchildren, two weddings, and numerous high school and college graduations.

‘‘To say these past eight years and three months have been a nightmare would be an understatement,’’ Daniel Levinson said. ‘‘I am one of my parents’ seven children and my mother just marked their 41st wedding anniversary last month. . . He has missed too much of our lives.’’

He said US officials need to step up their engagement with Iran on freeing the Americans in the coming weeks . ‘‘We need — in fact, we implore — negotiators to take a more aggressive approach than merely asking for Iran’s help in locating him.’’

The FBI has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the return of Robert Levinson, 67, who went missing March 9, 2007, from the Iranian resort of Kish Island. Tehran has never acknowledged arresting him.

An Associated Press investigation published in 2013 found that Levinson had vanished while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence-gathering mission. He retired from the FBI in 1998.

Ali Rezaian, brother of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been held for more than 300 days, also testified. The reporter’s trial on allegations of ‘‘espionage for the hostile government of the United States’’ began last week. Guilty findings could send him to jail for up to six years.

Rezaian, his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists were detained on July 22, 2014, in Tehran. All were released except Rezaian, who grew up in Marin County, Calif., spent most of his life in the country, and holds both American and Iranian citizenship.

Ali Rezaian called the charges against his brother ‘‘absurd’’ and said he is worried about his health. ‘‘While in prison, Jason has suffered painful and debilitating infections and he has lost more than 40 pounds,’’ he said.

Smells like spy to me.

Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini, a pastor arrested in September 2012 and later sentenced for holding a Bible study session, said she is faced with the choice of staying with their two children, ages 8 and 7, or traveling to advocate for his release. During her testimony, she wore a necklace with a photo of her husband.

Also testifying was Sarah Hekmati, sister of Amir Hekmati, a former US Marine who was sentenced to death for alleged espionage. His sentence was later reduced to 10 years.

New York Representative Eliot Engel, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said he thinks it’s ‘‘ludicrous’’ for the United States to act as if it’s business as usual with Iran.


Looks like you can kish off any peace deal now:

"Lawyer says trial of Post reporter held in Iran set to begin next week.... The court, which hears cases involving state security, normally conducts its hearings in closed session."

Like a FISA court?


Iran starts trial of detained Washington Post reporter

Post rebuts Iran bid to link Obama to reporter

WaPo is just sore because Iran mocked the CIA-created entity known as ISIS:

"Iranian group ridicules Islamic State" The Washington Post News Service  May 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — Not long after staging a cartoon contest satirizing the Holocaust, a group in Iran launched another event — this time, aimed at Islamic State extremists.

According to its organizers, Iran’s House of Cartoon, the anti-Islamic State cartoon contest has received more than 800 submissions from countries as far afield as Brazil and Australia.

The entries attack the militant group for its bloodlust and perfidy.

One image depicts the wild beard of the Islamic State’s shadowy leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as a nest of sharp, blood-stained knives. 

They know about Baghdadi?

A number of images point to the supposed role of the United States and countries in the region in enabling the rise of the militant group, which emerged after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the unraveling of the Baathist regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Oh, the Iranians know!

‘‘In order to reveal the true nature of the Islamic State, we decided to hold this contest and have people submit their cartoons or caricatures,’’ event organizer Masoud Shojaei Tabatabai told Press TV. ‘‘The Islamic State tries to associate itself with Islam but in essence it has no idea about Islam.’’

Earlier this year, Tabatabai also presided over the Holocaust cartoon contest, which he claimed was Iran’s attempt to showcase Western double standards about freedom of speech.

There are double standards, truth never fears investigation, and just by conducting such a thing all else is discredited.

He now claims that the anti-Islamic State cartoons will be exhibited in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, countries that are directly affected by the group’s brutal campaign and are home to Iranian proxy militias.


Getting such mixed signals.....

"Iran gives mixed signs on nuclear sites" Associated Press  May 25, 2015

TEHRAN — Iran has agreed to grant United Nations inspectors ‘‘managed access’’ to military sites as part of a future deal over its contested nuclear program, a negotiator said Sunday, apparently contradicting earlier comments by the nation’s supreme leader. 

It still won't be good enough.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi’s comments, carried by state television, came after he and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended a reportedly stormy closed session of Parliament.

Like the U.S. Senate, right?

‘‘Iran has agreed to grant managed access to military sites,’’ state television quoted Araghchi as saying on Sunday.

Lawmaker Ahmad Shoohani, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee who attended the closed-door session, said restricted inspections of military sites will be carried out under strict control and specific circumstances.

They are hiding something!

‘‘Managed access will be in a shape where UN inspectors will have the possibility of taking environmental samples from the vicinity of military sites,’’ Shoohani said.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed Wednesday to not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement.

Iran’s military leaders also angrily have refused such demands.

The state TV report did not elaborate on Araghchi’s comments apparently contradicting those two powerful forces in the Iranian government.

Iran and six world powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany — hope to work out terms of a final nuclear deal before a June 30 deadline.

Inspection of Iranian military sites suspected to be taking part in the nuclear program is a top priority of the United States.

The West fears Iran’s program could allow it to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

The broadcast also quoted Araghchi as saying Iranian negotiators rejected demands that its scientists be interviewed.

‘‘Americans are after interviewing our nuclear scientists. We didn’t accept it,’’ state TV quoted him as saying.

Print ended there.

Iran’s nuclear scientists have been the targets of attacks before both inside the Islamic Republic and elsewhere. The country also views the interviews as tantamount to a criminal interrogation.


Now they say a deal is still possible!!

"Iran nuclear talks strike the right balance" by George J. Mitchell   May 18, 2015

Negotiators from the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany are in the final phase of their effort to reach agreement with Iran. Their goal is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a direct threat to Israel and could undermine a half-century of nonproliferation efforts, led by the United States.

Did I miss something? 

Although dozens of countries are capable of developing nuclear weapons, only nine have so far chosen to do so. Iran must not be the tenth. There are two ways to achieve that goal: by negotiation or through war.

The ongoing negotiation has already achieved more than its opponents thought possible. When the interim agreement was reached, in November 2013, President Obama’s critics denounced it as a sellout and a victory for Iran. They predicted that Iran would not keep its promises. Those claims proved to be false. 

Did the U.S. keep its because it never does.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, verified that Iran met all its commitments under the interim agreement. But the fact that the critics were wrong once does not by itself mean that the final agreement will be worthy of support. That should depend on an objective analysis of its terms, especially as to verification. The White House has acknowledged that by describing the president’s goal in the negotiations as “reaching a long-term diplomatic resolution that verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” (emphasis added).

The Supreme Leader and the president of Iran have repeatedly said that Iran does not want a nuclear weapon. But the actions of their government, documented over many years by the IAEA, contradict their words.

I know the feeling.

So an agreement based solely on trust is out of the question. The crucial issue to be finally negotiated is how the six nations sitting across the table from Iran — and the rest of the world — will be able to verify that Iran does what it commits to do in an agreement.

The public debate in the United States has been dominated by two concerns. One is specific: how and when the sanctions on Iran will be lifted. The other is the broad assertion by the president’s critics in Congress that the agreement taking shape is so inadequate that the United States should walk away from the table, increase the sanctions, and wait for Iran to capitulate and come crawling back.

The discussion about sanctions relief has led to some confusion. The Iranians assert that relief should come immediately. Some Western officials have said that sanctions will be “phased out.” The public has to some extent misunderstood these remarks as suggesting that relief is on a timetable independent of other events. In fact, under the terms disclosed so far, relief from sanctions is tied directly to specific events, namely Iran’s taking the actions to which it commits in the agreement. The United States would suspend nuclear-related sanctions only after the IAEA verified that Iran had taken the concrete and necessary steps to cut off every pathway to develop a nuclear weapon and then, only later, after a substantial period of Iranian compliance, would the administration go to Congress to ask for the termination of sanctions. If Iran falters down the road, sanctions will snap back into place.

According to the White House, Iran agrees to reduce the number of its centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,100 (5,060 in operation). Iran agrees to shrink its 10,000-kilogram stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 kilograms. The underground enrichment facility at Fordow will be converted to a research center; no enrichment will take place there for at least 15 years. The plutonium-producing reactor at Arak will be permanently reconfigured, and Iran has committed indefinitely not to reprocess spent fuel, the process that separates out the pure plutonium needed for a bomb. Since the goal is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the sooner Iran takes the required actions the better.

With respect to the alternative course proposed by the president’s critics, walking away and increasing the sanctions is not realistic. Sanctions on Iran are effective for many reasons — including the dominance of the United States in the financial world and the relatively low price of oil — but none is more important than the fact that these sanctions are not imposed by the United States alone. They are universal, and that’s why they’re effective. If the six countries on our side of the table reach an agreement with Iran that is scuttled by Congress, there is little or no possibility that our negotiating partners — especially China and Russiawill agree to extend and increase sanctions. And once the sanctions go from universal to unilateral, their effectiveness will decline steeply.

Although the president’s critics refuse to acknowledge it, the most likely outcomes of their approach are a nuclear-armed Iran or a war to prevent that result. Their alternative has the unintended effect of making the president’s approach look a lot better by comparison, especially if the final negotiations result in effective methods of verification.

Having been involved in high-profile negotiations in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, I’m aware that they are difficult to manage for two reasons: The first is that the issues are inevitably complex, the passions and mistrust are high, and the facts are in dispute. The second reason is the continuing need to balance the public’s right to know with the need for at least some degree of secrecy to encourage open and frank discussions among the participants. To date, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have struck the appropriate balance. Their achievement in the interim agreement was significant. They now need and should have our patience and encouragement as they try to obtain a final agreement that will be worthy of our continued support.


I used to like Mitchell back before I realized the entire ruling cla$$ is $cum.

UPDATE: No slowing down for America's spandex warrior