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Baiting Perception? - UN: Some secret Iran work specific to nuclear weapons

Report comes amid speculation of military strike against suspected sites
© Reuters
An Iranian Shahab 2 missile is paraded in Tehran on Sept. 22, the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. A newer generation missile, the Shahab 3, is being used to mount a nuclear payload, the U.N. nuclear agency said Tuesday.

Vienna - Iran is suspected of conducting secret experiments whose sole purpose can only be the development of nuclear weapons, the U.N. nuclear atomic energy agency said for the first time in a report released Tuesday.

While some of the suspected secret nuclear work can have peaceful purposes, "others are specific to nuclear weapons," according to the report by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

A 13-page attachment to the report details intelligence and IAEA research that shows Tehran working on all aspects of research toward making a nuclear weapon, including fitting a warhead onto a missile.

"Iran," the report added, "has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:
  • "Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities;
  • "Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material;
  • "The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network; and
  • "Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components."
Specifically, Iran's work includes developing and mounting a nuclear payload onto its Shahab 3 intermediate range missile - a weapon that can reach Israel, Iran's arch foe.

In response, the United States may impose more sanctions on Iran, possibly on commercial banks or front companies, but is unlikely to go after its oil and gas sector or central bank for now, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Comment: "A senior diplomat familiar with the report said its significance lay in its comprehensiveness, thereby reflecting that Iran apparently had engaged in all aspects of testing that were needed to develop such a weapon."

Senior Diplomat. He has no name, credentials, country? How does he know how Comprehensive it is, was he there, how long was he there, what parts of Iran were visited? Does he have film of the testing(s)? Is there anything tangible to this besides some gag words like a higher up, a senior diplomat, a Congressional, administrative, Soviet weapons scientist, counselor on foreign affairs, official speaking on condition of anonymity..? Will the public ever see the slides? What were the highlights at a private conference of intelligence professionals, who were they, what country or business conglomerate do they work for?

Next up: Powell at the UN with a vial..?

Card - MC

US: Fannie Mae loss widens, asks taxpayers for $7.8B

© Unknown
Washington - Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is asking the federal government for $7.8 billion in aid to covers its losses in the July-September quarter.

The government-controlled company said Tuesday that it lost $7.6 billion in the third quarter. Low mortgage rates reduced profits and declining home prices caused more defaults on loans it had guaranteed.

The government rescued Fannie Mae and sibling company Freddie Mac in September 2008 to cover their losses on soured mortgage loans. Since then, a federal regulator has controlled their financial decisions.

Taxpayers have spent about $169 billion to rescue Fannie and Freddie, the most expensive bailout of the 2008 financial crisis. The government estimates that figure could reach up $220 billion to support the companies through 2014 after subtracting dividend payments.

Fannie has received $112.6 billion so far from the Treasury Department, the most expensive bailout of a single company.


Italy: Berlusconi to Resign After Parliamentary Setback

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Tuesday he would resign after suffering a humiliating setback in parliament that showed a party revolt had stripped him of a majority.

Berlusconi confirmed a statement from President Giorgio Napolitano that he would step down as soon as parliament passed urgent budget reforms demanded by European leaders after Italy was sucked into epicenter of the euro zone debt crisis.

The votes in both houses of parliament are likely this month and they would spell the end of a 17-year dominance of Italy by the flamboyant billionaire media magnate.

His failure to implement reforms fueled a party revolt and Berlusconi told his own Canale 5 television station that the only option was an early election. However, this could prolong the uncertainty that has sapped market confidence.

Napolitano said he would now hold consultations on the formation of a new government. Markets and Napolitano himself are thought to favor a technocrat or national unity government.


Denmark: Man Takes Legal Action Against Former Government Hospital for Unknown 'Microchip Implant'

© Natural Society

A Danish man has filed a writ against Alexandra Hospital for secretly implanting a microchip inside of his body during a 1988 operation, which he says later caused him to hear voices. After being stabbed in the lung, Mr. Mogens Tindhof Honore received surgery at the hospital in his chest and lung. Later, in 1997, X-rays revealed a metal instrument akin to a microchip present in his left lung. At the time of the operation, Alexandra Hospital was a government hospital under the Ministry of Health.

The former seamen said that after being discharged from the hospital in 1988, he kept hearing voices in his head and could not lead a normal life. In addition to feeling unwell and coughing up blood, Mr. Honore said that strange individuals would walk up to him on the street and speak to him about outlandish subject matters.

Honore may have been implanted with an RFID chip
"(Mr Honore) also discovered and experienced that strange people on the streets would approach and speak to (him) about strange subject matters or pass strange irrelevant comments," according to the papers filed.


What? US Retired Adm. Timothy J. Keating says India, China Pose Greatest Nuclear War Threat

© Unknown
The most worrisome possibility of a nuclear war lies on the Indian subcontinent, according to the former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.), told the audience at the opening keynote address for TechNet Asia-Pacific 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that another terrorist attack in India could be the catalyst for an escalating conflict that leads to a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.

Adm. Keating offered that a Mumbai-type attack that leaves hundreds dead almost certainly would trigger a military response from India. If terrorists based in Pakistan are "irrefutably" identified as the architects of the attack, then India could not sit by without responding. A series of Indian air strikes into Pakistan territory in turn would provoke a counter-response from Pakistan, leading to more action by India. With the scales tipping toward India after each exchange, Pakistan might resort to a nuclear strike as its only remaining option.

War Whore

Israeli Minister Warns Iran Strike is Possible

© AP Photo/Ilan Assayag
In this Nov. 2, 2011 file photo, the smoke trail of a missile test-fired by the Israeli army is seen from the central Israeli town of Yavne. Among the many alliances of convenience in the Middle East, there is one so unusual that the partners can barely hint about it publicly: Israel and the Gulf Arab states linked by shared fears over Iran's nuclear program.
Israel's defense minister warned on Tuesday of a possible Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear program and rejected suggestions the Jewish state would be devastated by an Iranian counterattack.

Ehud Barak spoke a day before the United Nations' nuclear agency was expected to release a critical report on the Iranian program. The report is expected to implicate Iran in bomb building and erase any doubts about the nature of the program, which Iran says is designed to produce energy, not weapons.

Barak told Israel Radio he didn't expect the International Atomic Energy Agency report to persuade Russia and China to impose what he called "lethal" sanctions on Iran to pressure Tehran to dismantle its nuclear installations.

"As long as no such sanctions have been imposed and proven effective, we continue to recommend to our friends in the world and to ourselves, not to take any option off the table," he said.

The "all options on the table" phrase is often used by Israeli politicians to mean a military assault.

Bad Guys

Sarkozy tells Obama Netanyahu is a "liar"

© REUTERS/Chris Ratcliffe/Pool
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy gestures towards President Obama during the G20 Summit of major world economies in Cannes, November 3, 2011.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy branded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "a liar" in a private conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama that was accidentally broadcast to journalists during last week's G20 summit in Cannes.

"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation.

"You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you," Obama replied, according to the French interpreter.

The technical gaffe is likely to cause great embarrassment to all three leaders as they look to work together to intensify international pressure on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

Bad Guys

Israel's Barak plays down talk of war with Iran

© REUTERS/Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) talks to Jeremy Vine, presenting the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in London November 4, 2011. The pre-recorded interview was broadcast on November 6, 2011.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak played down Tuesday speculation that Israel intends to strike Iranian nuclear facilities, saying no decision had been made on embarking on a military operation.

"War is not a picnic. We want a picnic. We don't want a war," Barak told Israel Radio before the release this week of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear activity.

"(Israel) has not yet decided to embark on any operation," he said, dismissing as "delusional" Israeli media speculation that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had chosen that course.

But he said Israel had to prepare for "uncomfortable situations" and ultimately bore responsibility for its own security.

All options to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions should remain open, Barak said, repeating the official line taken by Israel, which has termed a nuclear-armed Iran a threat to its existence.


Russia Warns Against Israeli Air Strike on Iran

© Rex
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavov
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavov has warned that a military strike on Iran would be a "very serious mistake" with "unpredictable consequences", after Israel's president Shimon Peres said that an attack was increasingly likely.

In comments published in the Israeli daily Hayom, Mr Peres said that "the possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option".

"We must stay calm and resist pressure so that we can consider every alternative," he added.

The drumbeat of war is expected to grow louder this week when United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, issues its most detailed report to date on nuclear research in Iran.

It will provide what Western officials and experts regard as irrefutable evidence that Tehran is compiling the capacity and skills to build a bomb. It will be used as leverage for a fifth round of sanctions at the UN, but could also provide Israel, with the tacit support of Washington, to finalise plans for an air strike.

Among its findings are that Tehran was helped by nuclear experts from two countries, believed to be Russia and Pakistan. The Washington Post reported that key assistance was provided by Vyacheslav Danilenko, a former Soviet nuclear scientist, hired by Iran's Physics Research Centre.


Italy: Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Save?

Silvio Berlusconi
© Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / Vincenzo Pinto
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Italy's economic problems took center stage Monday as its government, led by increasingly threatened Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, faced yet another key vote.

The health of the euro zone's third-largest economy has come into focus despite Berlusconi accepting IMF monitoring and surviving several confidence votes in recent months.

Italy's size makes the potential consequences if it were to fail more wide-ranging than the much smaller Greece.

"Italy has much more systemic implications," Thanos Vamvakidis, Head of European G10 FX Strategy, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, told CNBC Monday.

"It's too big to fail, too big to save."

The problems facing Italy include the euro zone's second-highest debt-to-GDP ratio, and the lack of a credible alternative to Berlusconi's government.