Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - December 26, 2004 - "Unclear UFO's worry Tehran"
Posted on 12/25/2004 9:54:19 PM PST by freedom44
Tehran: Irans Air Force has been ordered to shoot down any unknown or suspicious flying objects in Irans airspace, an Air Force spokesman said on Saturday amid state-media reports of sightings of flying objects near Irans nuclear installations.
"All anti-aircraft units and jet fighters have been ordered to shoot down the flying objects in Irans airspace," spokesman of the regular Army, Air Force Colonel Salman Mahini, said.
Flying object fever has gripped Iran after dozens of reported sightings in the summer and in recent weeks. State-run media has reported sightings of unknown objects flying over parts of Iran where nuclear facilities are located.
"The unidentified flying objects could be satellites, comets or spying or reconnaissance craft trying to monitor Irans nuclear installations," Col. Mahini said.
"Flights of unknown objects in the countrys airspace have increased in recent weeks ... (they) have been seen over Bushehr and Isfahan provinces," the daily Resalat reported on Saturday. There are nuclear facilities in both provinces. The timing of the reported increase in sightings, which comes as the United States is urging allies to confront Iran over its nuclear programme, has strengthened Iranian public perception that the objects are surveillance or hostile aircraft monitoring Iran.
Irans Air Force Chief, Gen. Karim Ghavami, was quoted in Iranian newspapers on Saturday as saying that Iran was fully prepared to defend any threat to its nuclear installations. "We have arranged plans to defend nuclear facilities from any threat. Irans Air Force is watchful and prepared to carry out its responsibilities," Gen. Ghavami was quoted as saying.
The Resalat had reported that "shining objects" in the sky were seen near Natanz where Irans uranium enrichment plant is located and one had exploded, causing "concern and panic in the region".
According to Col. Mahini, Irans pilot training centre in Tehran will organise a two-day scientific conference in March to shed more light on the flying objects. The conference is scheduled for March 8-9. (AP)
Maybe those mullahs have been exposed to radioactive materials for too long.
Naw, the planet Nibiru is getting near and those are only Annanaki scout craft. Just ignore them. But, if you see one of their warships, uh, start puckering.
>>>"All anti-aircraft units and jet fighters have been ordered to shoot down the flying objects in Irans airspace," spokesman of the regular Army, Air Force Colonel Salman Mahini, said.
How far out can Iran track?
Is this just an excuse to fire?
I ask because a few days ago there were reports of a piece of rocket caught in our atmosphere.
Rafsanjani strongly rejects Iran's meddling in Iraq affairs
Tehran, Dec 24, IRNA -- Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday strongly rejected charges that Iran is meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, and termed remarks to that effect as "the most absurd".
Rafsanjani, in a sermon at Tehran Friday prayers, said the remarks that Iran is seeking intervention in Iraq are propagated by the "mercenaries and affiliates" of the US, adding that this is a "historic atrocity" against Iran.
He said those who raise such comments are themselves 'US appointees,' but accuse Iranian pilgrims who have risked their life to visit Iraq's holy sites of false charges.
Rafsanjani recalled the issue of elections in Iraq and the occupied territories of Palestine, and regretted that there are evil elements that are trying to prevent people in those countries achieve their rights.
"Secret hands are trying to stop Iraqi elections. And because they know holding elections is the demand of the people, particularly the Shiites, they do evil things in Karbala and Najaf; the things that saddens every oppressed," he told worshipers at Tehran University campus.
"Of course, doing these evil things shows that they have been disappointed."
Rafsanjani said nobody inside Iran tells the Iraqi people to vote for any specific group, stressing that Iran always advises all nations to participate in the elections to promote their self-determination.
"That they accuse Iran of interfering in Iraq for this encouragement is merely the propaganda of the US," he said.
Rafsanjani's remarks that Iran is not interfering in Iraq's internal affairs closely follow those by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi that such charges suit the US that has invaded the country.
Kharrazi told reporters upon arrival in Beirut airport that there is a certain level of affinity between the Iranian and the Iraqi people which stems in their mutual bonds.
However, he stressed, this should never be translated as Iran's interference in Iraq.
Kharrazi reiterated Iran's urge on all ethnic groups and religions to strongly participate in the next month elections in Iraq, stressing that the Iraqis should indicate that they are a strong and mature nation and can control the affairs of their country.
Kharrazi says Iran not interfering in Iraq's internal affairs
Beirut, Dec 24, IRNA -- Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi here on Thursday rejected that Iran is seeking interference in Iraq's internal affairs, stressing that such charges suit the US which has invaded the country.
Kharrazi told reporters upon arrival in Beirut airport that there is a certain level of affinity between the Iranian and the Iraqi people which stems in their mutual bonds. However, he stressed, this should never be translated as Iran's interference in Iraq.
Kharrazi expressed hope that people from all ethnicities and religions strongly participate in the next month elections in Iraq.
He added that the Iraqis should indicate that they are a strong and mature nation and can control the affairs of their country.
On the reason of his visit to Damascus and Beirut, Kharrazi said that foreign ministers should always be prepared to consult with each other, adding that he was visiting Syria and Lebanon to consult with the officials of those countries.
"Regional developments are so much and happen so fast that we will have to get into regular contacts with each other," he said adding that all countries should consult with each other for discussing the issues of the Middle East and Iraq.
In a response to a question about US threats against Iran, Kharrazi said such threats are nothing new adding that nobody will take these threats seriously.
The Iranian foreign minister, heading a delegation, arrived in Beirut on Thursday night.
The Unquenchable Light
December 24, 2004
Iran va Jahan
I picked up the telephone to talk to a friend right after a French television station aired an hour-long programme about the Shah*. I asked her how she liked the programme and she broke down crying and could not stop to say anything. Watching the programme was not easy for me either. I sat on the edge of the sofa glued to the television swallowing my tears and watching a chronological account of the beginning and end of a man who was the king of my country for thirty-eight years.
Why me, my friend and many other Iranians feel so passionately about the Shah? We were not part of his so-called inner circle to be missing the royal glamour we were once surrounded with. Speaking for myself, I do not give two hoots for royal glamour or any other forms thereof. Neither are we pining for the cushy jobs, we had while the Shah was in power and mourning our deprivation of those positions now that he has gone. I and many of my peers were high school students when the Shah left the country and were not yet of an age for employment. Our parents also had to work hard to make ends meet. No, the affection we have for the Shah has nothing to do with material considerations. It has everything to do with the love we have for our homeland.
The Shah was not a president, a mere ruler or head of state. He was a living manifestation of the continuity of our civilization. And what is that supposed to mean you might say? And you will be right in your skepticism. One hears a great deal of cant rattled off about our "ancient Iranian civilization" stretching from Greece and Egypt across Central Asia to India and so forth. This kind of talk is only tiresome claptrap. A great deal of it is highfaluting self-aggrandizement of people who hide behind the laurels of their forefathers. It can be meaningful only if the present achievements succeed in making a logical connection to the traditions and cultural heritage of the past. And a glance at the current state of affairs in our country obviously shows that this connection is non-existent. Ergo our cheque from the bank of ancient glories would bounce miserably.
So what after all do I mean when I say that the Shah was the manifestation of the continuity of our civilization? I mean he was the living representation and the custodian of an identity that was balanced on the three pillars of religious faith, national heritage and political tradition. He was the personification and upholder of that trinity that provided Iranians with their unique sense of selfhood setting them apart from other cultures and civilizations. The Shah was absolutely right when in a 1979 discussion with Sir David Frost, in answer to the celebrated interviewer's question about what in his opinion was the common bond uniting the Iranian people, he answered 'The crown, the king'.
For the past quarter of a century deprived of its Shah, that keystone of its national trinity, Iran has been writhing in the throes of degeneration and backwardness. It has by no means lived up to its creative potential and true national aspirations. A look at the low morale of the dispirited Iranians living in their homeland or abroad shows the extent of this decay. The ever climbing rate of suicide, drug addiction, prostitution and family violence demonstrates how the moral foundation of our country has been disturbed and its central assumptions been thrown out of whack. If watching old movies of the Shah makes Iranians break down in tears, it is because of a huge emptiness in their national soul that yearns for fulfillment and repair. For the same reason Reza Pahlavi's website is visited by thousands of Iranians everyday and Shahbanou is greeted by throngs of her compatriots wherever she goes.
The people of a nation can go from day to day, double and triple the size of their population, even materially prosper and nevertheless remain dispossessed of something essential in their collective soul. To continue as a living civilization however requires something quite different. The Shah was a symbol and a proof of that stubborn Iranian spirit that had stood up to all foreign invasions and resisted all the trespass to its cultural integrity. It had survived the Greeks, Mongols, Arabs, Turks and the Communists because it held on to a spiritual core of national values which was more powerful than any of those formidable foes.
What the mullahs represented was also an important part of this core. Shia Islam at its best like its Zoroastrian predecessor was a strong pillar that held up our national identity and provided us with a unique set of spiritual, moral and mythological values. These values like the monarchy itself are not measurable in utilitarian terms or by mathematical charts. Nevertheless their worth to the well-being of our culture has been inestimable. Anyone who denies this is either intellectually or emotionally out of tune with the Iranian situation.
The Shah himself was aware of that delicate structure that rested on religious faith, national heritage and a political tradition. Although he was following a secular programme for modernization and development of the country, not only had he nothing against the thoughtful branch of the Shia Islam, he did his best to support and promote it. Thanks to the Shah's special attention the city of Mashhad, the burial site of the 9th century Shia saint Imam Reza gained high prominence as a magnificent pilgrim city and a reputable center of religious learning. The peaceful spiritual leaders in Qom were far freer in the time of the Shah than during the dictatorship of Ruhollah Khomeini who started the repressive custom of keeping his fellow ayatollahs under house arrest. Even Khomeini himself as the leading exponent of the most backward fanatical branch of violent shiaism had nothing worse to fear from the Shah than an exile into a holy city in the country's neighborhood.
One should never make the mistake of thinking that the eventual downfall of the Shah proves that he was wrong in allowing so much power and resources to the country's major religious faith. Apart from being a sincere believer himself, his astute mind provided him with a long- term vision and a far reaching insight into the delicately forged balance that kept the country together, territorially, emotionally and spiritually.
Contrastingly, the mullahs who opposed him could not see further than the tip of their noses. They could only think of short term gain, seizing the reigns of power and holding on to it as long as they could manage it. They failed to see, or could not care less about the long term interests of the religious faith they claimed they were trying to safeguard. They could not see that the heartlessness and emotional sterilization they were instigating against the Shah could eventually pave the way for their own departure. If a nation with 2,500 years of monarchy could bring itself to get rid of such a highly significant national symbol as the Shah, it could also manage to jettison a foreign religion with much less seniority. A parent who mistreats his spouse in front of the children could not expect to gain their love but should understand that he is eroding the sense of respect, family honor and fidelity that will one day come to haunt him. As the saying goes 'what goes around comes around'. And the time for the end of Islamic faith at least in its present form has come around in Iran for quite some time. It is not a secret to anyone that the mullahs are derided and despised by the majority of Iranians. They hold political power by intimidation and repression and not because they are entrusted to do so by the free will of the population.
What kind of Shia Islam can be expected to emerge after the dust of the present dictatorship has settled in Iran is not an easy question to answer. Whether the religion of the majority of Iranians will be able to recreate itself and be born anew sometime in the future depends on many different factors. In its intelligent progressive form it will have a better chance of survival through the restoration of that political system which itself draws its strength from traditional values i.e. the constitutional monarchy. What is certain is that after their inevitable liberation from the present dictatorship, Iranians will never accept to give religion the overwhelming sway it once exercised in their political life. The concept of Shia Islam as the official religion of the country is finished. For that matter, the Iranian monarchy also in its old overarching form has for ever come to an end.
Today we Iranians are sitting amongst the ruins of twenty-five years of national turmoil. To prevail as a civilization we have to pick up the pieces and recreate our national trinity of God, the Shah and country for the democratic age of the twenty-first century. To think however that we can dissolve this trinity, reduce its number or concoct something else altogether instead is to repeat the folly of the Islamic revolutionaries.
A secular republic with no imaginative roots in our national consciousness for Iranians will be like a loveless marital contract full of clauses and sub-clauses but ultimately bereft of any binding emotional attachment or heartfelt yearning. We cannot build the future of our nation in a spiritual vacuum, forgoing its true sources of cultural inspiration and vitality.
What is certain is that multi billion dollar investments are not the only thing we require for rebuilding our country. We need to make an attempt to identify and heal our festering emotional wounds. We need to scrutinize the truth beyond the clouds of falsehood propagated in the past twenty-five years by political opportunists and religious terrorists.
A good place to start is to consider clearly and free of fanaticism the place of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the history of our modern civilization. Such an understanding is essential for our moral recovery. It will enable us to come to terms with our past and proceed in the direction of creating a just, fair and humane society.
The Shah stood at the political helm of our country for nearly four decades, giving us his youth and old age. He bestowed on us all the intellectual and emotional energy his life could muster. The least we can do for him is to give him the recognition he deserves.
* Le Shah d'Iran: un homme à abattre, by Reynold Ismar, broadcast on France 5 on 05.12.2004.
Baghdad -- The Iraqi Defence Minister stated that Iraq would soon display footage of Iranian meddling throughout the country. Hazem Shaalan said that Iraqi security forces were able to obtain foreign satellite footage of 50 suicide vehicles entering the country from Iran.
In an interview with the Saudi daily, al-Watan, Shaalan also added that 14 of the 50 vehicles had explosives installed and were ready for suicide missions while the remainder were caught whilst they were being fitted with the explosives.
The defence chief said that the footage along with other documents and evidence of Iranian meddling would be aired on Iraqi TV stations, before Iraq's upcoming elections, as soon as Iraqs interim-Prime Minster, Ayad Allawi, gave the final approval.
The minister apparently made the remarks in reply to recent Iranian officials demands for further proof of their alleged meddling in Iraqi affairs.
Diplomatic negotiations with Iran serves no purpose, he said, adding that he believed that all diplomatic channels with Iran had been exhausted with no concrete results.
Iraqi interim-government officials have arrested a large number of Iranian agents who had been rounded up in Iraqi cities whilst planning or attempting to carry out terrorist operations. Irans Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid-Reza Asefi, recently announced that some 1,500 Iranians were currently in Iraqi prisons, accused of being terrorists.
Asked about his recent comments on Iran, Shaalan said that he stood by what he said and would not retract his comments until Iran fundamentally changed its behaviour. Last week Shaalan said: We discovered that the key to terrorism is in Iran, which is the number one enemy for Iraq.
You know I recall seeing a show about UFO's that pointed out that sightings near nuclear weapons seemed higher than elsewhere.
If there are really aliens out there maybe we should pay attention to where they hover over in places like North Korea and Iran.
Better not pee-off them moon-men fellas. Velly velly bad, no joy.
naw, those Mullahs are just getting too high on that opium.
ET phoned home, said he was gonna stay behind and whip somebody's ass!
Seriously, I hope this means that we are scoping out targets of opportunity.
Find this page online at: http://www.iran-press-service.com/ips/articles-2004/december/iran_espionage_231204.shtml
ARREST OF AMERICAN AND ISRAELI SPIES NOT SERIOUS: EXPERTS
By Safa Haeri
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004
PARIS, 23 Dec. (IPS) Experts and intelligence community did not take seriously the so-called revelations made on Wednesday 22 December by the Iranian Information (Intelligence) Minister concerning the arrest of 10 spies on charges passing nuclear information to American and Israelis.
Talking to reporters, Mr. Younesi, a junior cleric, said the culprits had been detained during the present Iranian year of 1383 that ends on 21 March 2005, adding that three of the suspects were staff of Irans Atomic Energy Organization.
The spies, believed to be agents of Mossad and CIA, were arrested in Tehran and the southern province of Hormozgan, he said, adding that the detainees were handed over to the Islamic Revolution Court", one that deals mostly with the regimes security, espionage and counter-espionage matters, according to the official news agency IRNA.
They behaved like [they were] at the greengrocer", he said, making sure that none of the data from the Iranian nuclear program had leaked to foreigners.
But while some news agencies like ISNA and Mehr quoted the spokesman as having said eight Zionists had been detained, implying that the detainees are Israelis or possible Iranian Jews, others, like the official news agency IRNA used the word people.
Although the Minister did not reveal the identities of the arrested people or said when they have been detained, however, he suggested that the suspects were not professionals in espionage, as some of them turned to a number of different Iranian agencies asking to purchase enriched uranium and an atomic bomb".
"They behaved like [they were] at the greengrocer", he said, making sure that none of the data from the Iranian nuclear program had leaked to foreigners.
Earlier this month, the Intelligence Ministry said it had arrested a spy who had been pretending to work on nuclear centrifuges in order to cast doubt on Tehran's recent agreements with the European Union to suspend such work.
Insisting that Irans intelligence network was ranking among worlds best agencies, if not the best and in any way, superior to both the American CIA and Israels Mossad, Mr Younessi hen went on describing to bored reporters that how his agents could decipher all secret codes used by would be spies, reading their e-mails, listening to their cell phones or reproducing letters wrote with invisible ink.
But Mr. Younessi failed to explain that if his ministry and his agents are so competent, how come then that they were not able to detect a journalist passing classified information to an un-named military attaché from an unidentified foreign embassy? one Iranian journalist who was present at the press conference told Iran Press Service.
He was referring to the case of Mr. Javad Qolam Tamimi, a journalist and author of a weblog who, after being released from prison two weeks ago, confessed that he had been brainwashed by counter-revolutionaries and has passed information to a military attaché.
Ever since the Information Ministry lost the confidence and trust the ruling conservatives in November 1998 and the creation of a parallel intelligence network under the direct control of Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, Mr. Younessi drops such bombshells time to time in order to justify the existence of his ministry, a former intelligence officer explained, regretting that the Iranian security and intelligence services are probably the most inoperative.
The arrest of the so-called spies surfaced four days ago after the Foreign Affairs Ministrys spokesman confirmed that eight people had been detained on charges of espionage for the United States and Israel.
However, an Israeli online service dealing with intelligence and military affairs speculated that the vague and unverifiable charge -- a typical Iranian exercise to cover up a fiasco could be a response to the arrest, a month ago, of Iranian and Iran-sponsored surveillance teams.
According to DebkaFile, Iranian agents and proxies have been discovered hanging about outside Israels diplomatic missions in the United States, South America, West Europe and the Middle East.
Team members rounded up by the FBI and Egyptian intelligence admitted that they were collecting information for Iranian intelligence.
Team members rounded up by the American FBI and Egyptian intelligence in the last ten days admitted under interrogation that they were collecting information for Iranian intelligence, the DEBKA-Net-Weekly said in an exclusive story.
Egyptian President Hosni Mobarak had informed Israels Trade and Industry minister Ehud Olmert on 14 December about Egyptian security services arrest of a group of Egyptian Islamic fundamentalists carrying out surveillance of the Israeli embassy in Cairo and monitoring the movements of Israeli diplomats and their families in the city on behalf of the Islamic Republic.
DEBKA-Net-Weeklys counter-terrorism sources report that foreign intelligence services have been telling Israel since late November that Iranian spy teams have been spotted outside Israeli missions in various parts of the world, including one nabbed by the FBI watching Israeli consulates in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston.
It was made up of Iranian Americans, Arab and Pakistani students - some of them US citizens, and all activists belonging to Muslim fundamentalist groups, the service said, adding they were perfectly aware that the data sent to Iranian intelligence was intended for use in hostage taking and bombing attacks against Israeli missions.
I agree, look at all the recognition Shah na na got.
Lost Generation of Iran Seeks Escape
Many young people turn to drugs or suicide. Others find respite in music or the mountains.
By Megan K. Stack, Times Staff Writer
TEHRAN Their cheeks were bitten by the threat of snow, but the sisters didn't have anywhere else to go. They'd coated their faces with makeup and painted their eyelashes until they looked too heavy to blink, gaudy faces to offset drab denims and black coats. This afternoon, their spirits hung as low as the brooding clouds over the mountains.
"This country is very dirty," said Mansureh, a pale 23-year-old who answers telephones at a law firm because she wasn't accepted to any of Iran's universities. "Nobody likes the regime, especially the youth. There are so many restrictions, we can't do anything."
It was Friday afternoon, time for prayers in the Islamic Republic, but the sisters and hundreds of other young Iranians trekked into the mountains on the outskirts of Tehran instead. Droves of twentysomethings flooded the rocky paths as if they were going somewhere in particular a concert or a rally. But there was nothing at the top; they were simply climbing their way out of the smoggy urban mazes.
The mountains were alive with hormones and directionless potential. Forget black robes and beards; Iran's almost-adults dressed as if they'd just come from a rave, with faded running shoes and aviator glasses shoved high into their hair. They slouched along, glassy-eyed and smoking cigarettes. Many of them looked stoned. Boys and girls held hands. The winter light slanted through the dying trees. The mood was nihilistic.
"I think the government wants the youth to be on drugs so they keep quiet," said Mansureh's sister, a 17-year-old high school student who also gave only her first name, Mona. "They say it's a problem, but they're the ones importing it."
As their government squares off against the West and vague rumors of outside intervention run in the streets, the youth of Tehran move through the months as if dreaming, passing moodily from pop culture to Persian traditions, groping for their place in the world. Conversations with dozens of teens and twentysomethings in Tehran in recent weeks painted an overwhelming picture of a generation lost, disaffected and stained by longing.
"I'd like to start a new life," said Mansureh, her words hanging in tea steam, "somewhere else."
Like many young Iranians, the two sisters chafe at a strict Islamic government but drop into lethargy when it comes to politics.
The previous night, they'd been kicked out of a shopping center by a government morality squad. Run-ins with police are common; the two say they use their pocket money to bribe their way out of trouble. Their friends have turned to drugs or even suicide.
A quarter of a century ago, Iran's fiery youth drove a revolution in the name of Islam and anti-imperialism. But those students grew up, and their zeal faded as they softened into graying bureaucrats. The babies they birthed en masse at the feverish urging of the mullahs have inherited a legacy of double-digit unemployment, widespread drug addiction and gnawing religious disillusionment.
"There aren't any jobs for us," complained Rahim Keab, a 21-year-old soldier in a dirty khaki coat who made his way across a city park under a steely winter sky. He and four friends drifted to Tehran months ago from a farming village in the southwest. Now they are languishing. Keab doesn't know what he will do when his military service is over.
"Young people want to get married, but first they need work," Keab said. "So instead they start to smoke [opium], and they get addicted. The government hasn't done enough for us."
This apathetic, youthful mass is a powerful, albeit untapped, force: Three-quarters of the population is younger than 35. They are enough to shape an election; in a truly representative system, they would decide their government.
But few young people are expected to go to the polls in next spring's presidential election. There's the stupor of hopelessness, and the boycott threat by some reformists. They say they will shun the polls if the conservatives once again ban reformist candidates from running, as they did in parliamentary elections this year.
"When I was a youth, we were revolutionaries, and we were ready to pay the price," said Hamid Reza Jalaipour, a 46-year-old sociologist and onetime student activist who now runs reformist newspapers. "These days the youth are not ready to pay. They prefer to depoliticize, and the conservatives are very happy about that. They are looking for passive masses."
Even the Islamic Republic's legendary student movements have fallen silent. It was the students who swept President Mohammad Khatami into office in 1997, heady with his promises of reform and progress. But Khatami proved weak, and the reforms never came.
So the students lost patience. But when they smashed through the streets in the massive demonstrations of 1999, they were arrested and tortured. Bit by bit, the fire faded from the campuses.
"Our language used to be more courageous," said Majid Haji Babaei, a 31-year-old doctoral student and a leader at the Student Unity Office. "But we were beaten up and even thrown out of windows, we were suppressed, and many went to jail. Naturally, some students felt disappointed, and the risk of political involvement also got higher."
Many Iranian youths yearn for a better life elsewhere but are hard-pressed to articulate where, or how. They resent their own government but complain that they have been unfairly stigmatized by the West. They speak like people drained of politics and religion.
"Everybody believes in God, but now there is a big gap between us and God," said Majid Ghanbari, a 28-year-old film buff, music enthusiast and malcontented entrepreneur with floppy hair and rumpled jeans. "The government tried to force people closer, but instead they sent us further away."
His brother nodded. "Before the revolution, we had real believers, but not now," said Hamid Ghanbari, who at 25 is exactly as old as the revolution. "After the Islamic Revolution, we don't have religion anymore."
Majid Ghanbari owns Video Home, a gaudy and improbable outlaw's den tucked into a corner of a shopping mall in the sandy urban jungles of western Tehran. Its walls are festooned with the bright covers of bootleg movies and albums. He's pushing pop hits from America alongside Iranian films. He hunches over his computer all day long, burning CD after CD.
"Anything you want, I have it," he said.
How about DJ Maryam, the mysterious singer who runs her voice through a computer so it sounds like a robot croaking, the one who is rumored to have been jailed because in Iran it is illegal for women to sing? Her identity is secret, but her albums are everywhere.
Of course the album is available, Ghanbari scoffed "Aren't you hearing it in every taxi?" A few clicks of the mouse, the cursor dances on his flat-screen monitor and the voice spills out into the mall.
As is the case with most of his Iranian peers, Ghanbari's thoughts have been driven away from politics. He has watched with disgust in recent years as fundamentalists resurged and flexed a new, bolder power.
Just the other day, a busload of morality police raided the mall and arrested any women who weren't wearing "good hijab" in other words, women who were showing too much hair. People in Tehran haven't seen that brand of open bullying from the fundamentalists in eight years, Ghanbari fretted. "Those girls were our customers," he said.
In these nervous times, Ghanbari finds solace in pop music and bootleg movies. "Almost everybody supports the left, but they don't have any power," he said. "When the left doesn't do anything, people just forget about it. They put their heads down."
Two schoolgirls slipped into his shop, swathed in hip-hop gear. They were looking for the latest bootleg Iranian music from Los Angeles, and they weren't disappointed. Ghanbari reached beneath his mouse pad, as if he had been waiting for them, and handed over a CD.
As the girls slumped back into the crowds, Ghanbari sighed. How long will it be, he wondered, before the police return to shutter his shop for selling illegal CDs? It happens every few months.
"And then I get nervous and feel really bad. Every time I think, 'I should do something, I should leave this country. What kind of life is this?' " he said, shaking his head. "But then they open the shop again, and I have my job, I have my life. And I am Iranian, I love Iran. I forget about it until the next time."
The most famous sighting at an AF base in the 70s was at Loring AFB in 1975. Google "loring + ufo" and you'll get an eyefull.
Oh, my. I know where those comets are coming from- those are the Infamous All-Powerful All-Seeing Eyes of the Bane of Democrats, Karl Rove.
'Psychological Operations: Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator's objectives. Also called PSYOP.
Mother of God! What in the world is that?!?
The star in the east?
I've thought the same thing. There are oceans of silliness and nutjobbery in the 'field' of UFO study.
But there are, as you point out, some credible reports. And all it takes is for one story to be true, one time.
There was an article not long ago about Iran testing drones. I think that answers the UFO sightings.
Iran supplied those drones to the Hezbullah so i'm sure they've got their own.
I suppose that means, "shoot down any and all flying objects in Iran's airspace."
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As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are SuspectedBy WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: December 26, 2004
hen experts from the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency came upon blueprints for a 10-kiloton atomic bomb in the files of the Libyan weapons program earlier this year, they found themselves caught between gravity and pettiness.
The discovery gave the experts a new appreciation of the audacity of the rogue nuclear network led by A. Q. Khan, a chief architect of Pakistan's bomb. Intelligence officials had watched Dr. Khan for years and suspected that he was trafficking in machinery for enriching uranium to make fuel for warheads. But the detailed design represented a new level of danger, particularly since the Libyans said he had thrown it in as a deal-sweetener when he sold them $100 million in nuclear gear.
"This was the first time we had ever seen a loose copy of a bomb design that clearly worked," said one American expert, "and the question was: Who else had it? The Iranians? The Syrians? Al Qaeda?"
But that threat was quickly overshadowed by smaller questions.
The experts from the United States and the I.A.E.A., the United Nations nuclear watchdog - in a reverberation of their differences over Iraq's unconventional weapons - began quarreling over control of the blueprints. The friction was palpable at Libya's Ministry of Scientific Research, said one participant, when the Americans accused international inspectors of having examined the design before they arrived. After hours of tense negotiation, agreement was reached to keep it in a vault at the Energy Department in Washington, but under I.A.E.A. seal.
It was a sign of things to come.
Nearly a year after Dr. Khan's arrest, secrets of his nuclear black market continue to uncoil, revealing a vast global enterprise. But the inquiry has been hampered by discord between the Bush administration and the nuclear watchdog, and by Washington's concern that if it pushes too hard for access to Dr. Khan, a national hero in Pakistan, it could destabilize an ally. As a result, much of the urgency has been sapped from the investigation, helping keep hidden the full dimensions of the activities of Dr. Khan and his associates.
There is no shortage of tantalizing leads. American intelligence officials and the I.A.E.A., working separately, are still untangling Dr. Khan's travels in the years before his arrest. Investigators said he visited 18 countries, including Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, on what they believed were business trips, either to buy materials like uranium ore or sell atomic goods.
In Dubai, they have scoured one of the network's front companies, finding traces of radioactive material as well as phone records showing contact with Saudi Arabia. Having tracked the network operations to Malaysia, Europe and the Middle East, investigators recently uncovered an outpost in South Africa, where they seized 11 crates of equipment for enriching uranium.
The breadth of the operation was particularly surprising to some American intelligence officials because they had had Dr. Khan under surveillance for nearly three decades, since he began assembling components for Pakistan's bomb, but apparently missed crucial transactions with countries like Iran and North Korea.
In fact, officials were so confident they had accurately taken his measure, that twice - once in the late 1970's and again in the 1980's - the Central Intelligence Agency persuaded Dutch intelligence agents not to arrest Dr. Khan because they wanted to follow his trail, according to a senior European diplomat and a former Congressional official who had access to intelligence information. The C.I.A. declined to comment.
"We knew a lot," said a nuclear intelligence official, "but we didn't realize the size of his universe."
President Bush boasts that the Khan network has been dismantled. But there is evidence that parts of it live on, as do investigations in Washington and Vienna, where the I.A.E.A. is based.
Cooperation between the United Nations atomic agency and the United States has trickled to a near halt, particularly as the Bush administration tries to unseat the I.A.E.A. director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, who did not support the White House's prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq.
The chill from the White House has blown through Vienna. "I can't remember the last time we saw anything of a classified nature from Washington," one of the agency's senior officials said. Experts see it as a missed opportunity because the two sides have complementary strengths - the United States with spy satellites and covert capabilities to intercept or disable nuclear equipment, and the I.A.E.A. with inspectors who have access to some of the world's most secretive atomic facilities that the United States cannot legally enter.
In the 11 months since Dr. Khan's partial confession, Pakistan has denied American investigators access to him. They have passed questions through the Pakistanis, but report that there is virtually no new information on critical questions like who else obtained the bomb design. Nor have American investigators been given access to Dr. Khan's chief operating officer, Buhari Sayed Abu Tahir, who is in a Malaysian jail.
This disjunction has helped to keep many questions about the network unanswered, including whether the Pakistani military was involved in the black market and what other countries, or nonstate groups, beyond Libya, Iran and North Korea, received what one Bush administration official called Dr. Khan's "nuclear starter kit" - everything from centrifuge designs to raw uranium fuel to the blueprints for the bomb.
Privately, investigators say that with so many mysteries unsolved, they have little confidence that the illicit atomic marketplace has actually been shut down. "It may be more like Al Qaeda," said one I.A.E.A. official, "where you cut off the leadership but new elements emerge."
A Potential Danger
A. Q. Khan may have been unknown to most Americans when he was revealed about a year ago as the mastermind of the largest illicit nuclear proliferation network in history. But for three decades Dr. Khan, a metallurgist, has been well known to British and American intelligence officials. Even so, the United States and its allies passed up opportunities to stop him - and apparently failed to detect that he had begun selling nuclear technology to Iran in the late 1980's. It was the opening transaction for an enterprise that eventually spread to North Korea, Libya and beyond.
Dr. Khan studied in Pakistan and Europe. After he secured a job in the Netherlands in the early 1970's at a plant making centrifuges - the devices that purify uranium - Dutch intelligence officials began watching him. By late 1975, they grew so wary, after he was observed at a nuclear trade show in Switzerland asking suspicious questions, that they moved him to a different area of the company to keep him away from uranium enrichment work. "There was an awareness," said Frank Slijper of the Dutch Campaign against Arms Trade, who recently wrote a report on Dr. Khan's early days, "that he was a potential danger."
Dr. Khan suddenly left the country that December, called home by his government for its atomic project. Years later, investigators discovered that he had taken blueprints for the centrifuges with him. In Pakistan, Dr. Khan was working to develop a bomb to counter India's, and Washington was intent on stopping the project.
It later proved to be the first of several occasions when the United States failed to fully understand what Dr. Khan was up to. Joseph Nye, a Harvard professor who has served in several administrations, said American intelligence agencies thought Pakistan would try to make its bomb by producing plutonium - an alternative bomb fuel. Mr. Nye was sent to France to halt the shipment of technology that would have enabled Pakistan to complete a reprocessing plant for the plutonium fuel. "We returned to Washington to celebrate our victory, only to discover that Khan had already stolen the technology for another path to the bomb," Mr. Nye recalled.
To gather more atomic gear and skill, Dr. Khan returned to the Netherlands repeatedly. But the United States wanted to watch him, and a European diplomat with wide knowledge of nuclear intelligence cited the two occasions when the C.I.A. persuaded the Dutch authorities not to arrest him. Intelligence officials apparently felt Dr. Khan was more valuable as an unwitting guide to the nuclear underworld.
"The Dutch wanted to arrest him," the diplomat said. "But they were told by the American C.I.A., 'Leave him so we can follow his trail.' "
A Chinese Connection
Dr. Khan quickly led the agents to Beijing. It was there in the early 1980's that Dr. Khan pulled off a coup: obtaining the blueprints for a weapon that China had detonated in its fourth nuclear test, in 1966. The design was notable because it was compact and the first one China had developed that could easily fit atop a missile.
American intelligence agencies only learned the full details of the transactions earlier this year when the Libyans handed over two large plastic bags with the names of an Islamabad tailor on one side and a dry-cleaner on other - one of several clues that it had come from the Khan Laboratories. The design inside included drawings of more than 100 parts, all fitting in a sphere about 34 inches in diameter, just the right size for a rocket.
Equally remarkable were the handwritten notations in the margins. "They made reference to Chinese ministers, presumably involved in the deal," one official who reviewed it disclosed. And there was also a reference to "Munir," apparently Munir Khan, Dr. Khan's rival who ran the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and was in a contest with Dr. Khan to put together a Pakistani weapon that would match India's.
In that race, size was critical, because only a small weapon could be put atop Pakistani missiles. One note in the margin of the design, the official said, was that "Munir's bomb would be bigger."
Intelligence experts believe that Dr. Khan traded his centrifuge technology to the Chinese for their bomb design.
A certain familiarity developed between Dr. Khan and those watching him.
"I remember I was once in Beijing on a nonproliferation mission," said Robert J. Einhorn, a longtime proliferation official in the State Department, "and we knew that Khan was in Beijing, too, and where he was. I had this fantasy of going over to his hotel, calling up to his room, and inviting him down for a cup of coffee."
Of course, he never did. But if he had, Dr. Khan might not have been surprised.
Simon Henderson, a London-based author who has written about Dr. Khan for more than two decades, said the Pakistani scientist long suspected he was under close surveillance. "Khan once told me, indignantly, 'The British try to recruit members of my team as spies,' " Mr. Henderson recalled. "As far as I'm aware, he was penetrated for a long, long time."
Still, for all the surveillance, American officials always seemed a step or two behind. In the 1990's, noted Mr. Einhorn, the assumption was that Iran was getting most of its help from Russia, which was providing the country with reactors and laser-isotope technology. Virtually no attention was paid to its contacts with Dr. Khan.
"It was a classic case of being focused in the wrong place," Mr. Einhorn said. "And if Iran gets the bomb in the next few years, it won't be because of the Russians. It will be because of the help they got from A. Q. Khan."
Triumph and Mystery
As soon as Mr. Bush came to office, his director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, began tutoring him on the dangers of Dr. Khan and disclosing how deeply the agency believed it had penetrated his life and network. "We were inside his residence, inside his facilities, inside his rooms," Mr. Tenet said in a recent speech. "We were everywhere these people were."
But acting on the Khan problem meant navigating the sensitivities of a fragile ally important in the effort against terrorism. That has impeded the inquiry ever since.
Washington had little leverage to force Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to clamp down on a national hero, especially since Dr. Khan may have had evidence implicating the Pakistani government in some of the transactions. And in interviews, officials said they feared that moving on Dr. Khan too early would hurt their chances to roll up the network.
Stephen J. Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, went to Pakistan soon after the Sept. 11 attacks and raised concerns about Dr. Khan, some of whose scientists were said to have met with Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda's leader. But Mr. Hadley did not ask General Musharraf to take action, according to a senior administration official. He returned to Washington complaining that it was unclear whether the Khan Laboratories were operating with the complicity of the Pakistani military, or were controlled by freelancers, motivated by visions of profit or of spreading the bomb to Islamic nations. The Pakistanis insisted they had no evidence of any proliferation at all, a claim American officials said they found laughable.
As evidence grew in 2003, Mr. Bush sent Mr. Tenet to New York to meet with General Musharraf. "We were afraid Khan's operation was entering a new, more dangerous phase," said one top official. Still there was little action.
But in late October 2003, the United States and its allies seized the BBC China, a freighter bearing centrifuge parts made in Malaysia, along with other products of Dr. Khan's network, all bound for Libya. Confronted with the evidence, Libya finally agreed to surrender all of its nuclear program. Within weeks, tons of equipment was being dismantled and flown to the Energy Department's nuclear weapons lab at Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Pressures mounted on General Musharraf. "I said to him, 'We know so much about this that we're going to go public with it,' " Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told journalists last week. " 'And you need to deal with this before you have to deal with it publicly.' "
On television, Dr. Khan was forced to confess but he gave no specifics, and General Musharraf pardoned the scientist. American officials pressed to interview him and his chief lieutenant, Mr. Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman living in Dubai and Malaysia, who was eventually arrested by Malaysian authorities.
But the Pakistanis balked, insisting that they would pass questions to Dr. Khan and report back. Little information has been conveyed.
"Some questions simply were never answered," said one senior intelligence official. "In other cases, you don't know if you were getting Khan's answer, or the answer the government wanted you to hear."
Dr. Khan's silence has extended to the question of what countries, other than Libya, received the bomb design. Intelligence experts say they have no evidence any other nation received the design, although they suspect Iran and perhaps North Korea. But that search has been hampered by lack of hard intelligence.
"We strongly believe Iran did," said one American official. "But we need the proof."
Dr. Khan has also never discussed his ties with North Korea, a critical issue because the United States has alleged - but cannot prove - that North Korea has two nuclear arms programs, one using Khan technology.
"It is an unbelievable story, how this administration has given Pakistan a pass on the single worst case of proliferation in the past half century," said Jack Pritchard, who worked for President Clinton and served as the State Department's special envoy to North Korea until he quit last year, partly in protest over Mr. Bush's Korea policy. "We've given them a pass because of Musharraf's agreement to fight terrorism, and now there is some suggestion that the hunt for Osama is waning. And what have we learned from Khan? Nothing."
Some Missing Pieces
In March, American investigators invited reporters to the giant nuclear complex in Oak Ridge to display the equipment disgorged by the Libyans. They surrounded the site with guards bearing automatic weapons, and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham joined the officials in showing off some of the 4,000 centrifuges.
"We've had a huge success," he said. But it turned out that the centrifuges were missing their rotors - the high-speed internal device that makes them work. To this day, it is not clear where those parts were coming from. While some officials believe the Libyans were going to make their own, others fear the equipment had been shipped from an unknown location - and that the network, while headless, is still alive.
John R. Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security, echoed those suspicions, saying the network still had a number of undisclosed customers. "There's more out there than we can discuss publicly," he said in April.
Federal and private experts said the suspected list of customers included Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kuwait, Myanmar and Abu Dhabi.
Given the urgency of the Libyan and Khan disclosures, many private and governmental experts expected that the Bush administration and the I.A.E.A. would work together. But European diplomats said the administration never turned over valuable information to back up its wider suspicions about other countries. "It doesn't like to share," a senior European diplomat involved in nuclear intelligence said of the United States. "That makes life more difficult. So we're on the learning curve."
Federal officials said they were reluctant to give the I.A.E.A. classified information because the agency is too prone to leaks. The agency has 137 member states, and American officials believe some of them may be using the agency to hunt for nuclear secrets. One senior administration official put it this way: "The cops and the crooks all serve on the agency's board together."
The result is that two separate, disjointed searches are on for other nuclear rogue states - one by Washington, the other by the I.A.E.A. And there is scant communication between the feuding bureaucracies.
That lack of communication with the United Nations agency extends to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a loose organization of countries that produce nuclear equipment. It can stop the export of restricted atomic technology to a suspect customer, but it does not report its actions to the I.A.E.A. Moreover, there is no communication between the I.A.E.A. and the Bush administration's Proliferation Security Initiative, which seeks to intercept illicit nuclear trade at sea or in the air.
"It's a legitimate question whether we need a very different kind of super-agency that can deal with the new world of A. Q. Khans," said a senior administration official. "Because we sure don't have the system we need now."
Dr. ElBaradei, the head of the United Nations agency, says he is plunging ahead, pursuing his own investigation even as the Bush administration attempts to have him replaced when his term expires late next year. In an interview in Vienna, he defended his record, citing the information he has wrung out of Iran, and his agency's discovery of tendrils of Dr. Khan's network in more than 30 countries around the globe.
"We're getting an idea of how it works," he said of the Khan network. "And we're still looking" for other suppliers and customers.
One method is to investigate the countries Dr. Khan visited before his arrest. Nuclear experts disclosed that the countries were Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Many of them are Islamic, and several of the African countries are rich in uranium ore.
In one of its biggest operations, the agency is hunting for clues in a half dozen of the network's buildings and warehouses in Dubai, which for years were used for assembling and repacking centrifuges.
Both in Washington and in Vienna, the most delicate investigations involve important American allies - including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. So far, said European intelligence officials familiar with the agency's inner workings, no hard evidence of clandestine nuclear arms programs has surfaced.
Suspicious signs have emerged, however. For instance, experts disclosed that SMB Computers, Mr. Tahir's front company in Dubai for the Khan network, made telephone calls to Saudi Arabia. But the company also engaged in legitimate computer sales, giving it plausible cover. Experts also disclosed that Saudi scientists traveled to Pakistan for some of Dr. Khan's scientific conferences. But the meetings were not secret, or illegal.
There is also worry in both Washington and Vienna about Egypt, which has two research reactors near Cairo and a long history of internal debate about whether to pursue nuclear arms. But European intelligence officials said I.A.E.A. inspectors who recently went there found no signs of clandestine nuclear arms and some evidence of shoddy workmanship that bespeaks low atomic expectations. As for Syria, the Bush administration had repeatedly charged that it has secretly tried to acquire nuclear arms. But the I.A.E.A. has so far found no signs of a relationship with Dr. Khan or a clandestine nuclear weapons program.
Worried about what is still unknown, the I.A.E.A. is quietly setting up what it calls the Covert Nuclear Trade Analysis Unit, agency officials disclosed. It has about a half dozen specialists looking for evidence of deals by the Khan network or its imitators.
"I would not be surprised to discover that some countries pocketed some centrifuges," Dr. ElBaradei said. "They may have considered it a chance of a lifetime to get some equipment and thought, 'Well, maybe it will be good for a rainy day.' "
William J. Broad reported from New York for this article, and David E. Sanger from Washington.
Very interesting! I recently read about the sightings of UFOs over Iran. It can't be their drones - unless this is a big wargame, seeing if they can shoot down their own drones, flying around at random. But I doubt it.
I wouldn't be surprised if they are nothing more than classified US or Israeli "assets." You don't want to annouce to your enemies that you can spy on them in certain ways. Thus the recent flak over the classified spysat program. If it is aircraft from the good guys, then that is very encouraging. If we can fly around the nuclear installations, then why not drop something on them???
Or maybe the Iranians are just getting incredibly nervous. Hey, Iraq is right next door, after all. We know a military invasion would be a disaster, but still, the Iranian military wouldn't last any longer than Saddam's did.
Curiosity about UFOs is one thing. Desperately trying to shoot them all down is something totally different!
Ungodly Fundamentalist Obliterators. So, there is a God!
Being married to an American who loves the Iran she knew, this struck me as just so sad.
Not necessarily at all. In fact, you are probably quite wrong.
There has been a long history of reliable professional military pilots etc. sightings of authentic appearing UFO's of typical UFO craft shapes and sizes in Iran dating AT LEAST as far back as the Shah.
I'm sure the information is readily available.
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