What Happened?

The first account posted on the Drudge Report of the Iranian nuclear fuel plant being built near Qom appeared at 1126 GMT, on Friday, the 25th of September (note well the information in bold). It was a story that appeared in the Washington Post. The writer implied that the USA and its allies had revealed the existence of the plant to the world, but deeper in the body of the story are these two paragraphs:

The CIA, along with its British and French counterparts, spent the summer compiling a dossier of information that administration officials said they had not yet decided how and when to reveal. Their hand was forced, they said, by a letter the Iranian government sent to the IAEA in Vienna on Monday.

U.S. officials said they thought the letter came after the Iranians learned of the Western intelligence and decided to preempt disclosures about the site. The letter vaguely described construction of a “pilot” plant to enrich uranium up to 5 percent, enough for power production but far less than the 90 percent required for weapons material. “Further complementary information will be provided in an appropriate and due time,” the letter said. (Emphasis added.)

A Google search for the earliest story on the Qom plant carried by the Los Angeles Times turns up this post on the internet dated Saturday, the 26th. Quote:

President Obama reveals the secret Iran facility at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, just days before scheduled talks with Tehran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad downplays the revelation.

The LAT followed this unambiguous implication with these quotes: “President Obama on Friday revealed the existence of an underground uranium enrichment site….” “The disclosure, timed by the Obama administration for dramatic as well as diplomatic effect….”

Then it describes the Iranian letter regarding the Qom plant:

Iran appears to have become aware that the secrecy surrounding the site had been penetrated, prompting a cryptic disclosure to the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, in a letter sent this week.

As the story was picked up and elaborated, its emphasis was changed significantly. The British newspaper The Independent put it this way:

…the leaders of the US, Britain and France accused the regime in Tehran of operating a secret uranium enrichment facility buried deep in a mountain bunker near the ancient religious city of Qom.

That appeared on Drudge at 0612 GMT on the 26th. There was no reference in this article to the fact that Iran had revealed the secret plant before the USA did; in fact, The Independent said the Iranians were “…nonplussed that the plant’s cover has been so dramatically blown….”

There you have it: three distinct versions of the same story.

What caused the USA to reveal the Qom plant? Was that move planned from the first, or was it triggered by Iran’s letter to the IAEA in Vienna? What prompted that letter — was it the fact that the Iranians decided that Western intelligence had figured out what the Qom facility was, or was it that Iran had learned what the USA was about to do at the G-20 meeting?

The WaPo claimed Iran “learned of the Western intelligence,” and the LAT said “The secrecy surrounding the site had been penetrated.” Both statements are misleading rubbish. The implicit suggestions are that the Iranians suddenly realized the plant had been (recently?) figured out by US intelligence, and reacted. Neither paper puts it that explicitly, of course. The reader is left to fill in the details, as the journalists know he will, given the subtle hints and omissions in the articles.

The Qom facility had been under close observation by the USA for years. It was long suspected of being a nuclear fuel processing factory under construction, and the Iranians heightened that suspicion by not talking about it. As the plant neared completion — here is a good photothat shows you how “secret” this place is — its true purpose became obvious to the CIA and other watchers.

Although nobody is saying exactly when suspicions were confirmed, it is probable that candidate Obama was told what Iran was up to at Qom. The purpose of the plant is betrayed by its size alone; the facility is too small to make fuel for a nuclear power generator, but could produce enriched uranium to make one atomic bomb a year.

If any secrecy had been penetrated, it was the secrecy surrounding US, British and French intentions to reveal Qom to the world.

It is also obvious that the Powers That Be absolutely do not want the full story to come out. The press is cooperating with that desire by publishing nonsense, partial facts, and misleading accounts.

Iran seems to know what the Westerners are planning to do before they do it. That implies a probability that there is an Iranian spy in a high position in the US, French or British government. He would be a modern Alger Hiss.

If the USA planned to reveal the plant all along, and Ahmadinejad did not find out about that from a spy, then that letter to the IAEA in Vienna was truly coincidental. No intelligence professional believes in coincidences.

The media’s deceit begins with the fable that Western intelligence had to struggle to understand what was going on at Qom (at first, yes, but only briefly), and concludes with the claim that somehow Iran learned that the secret of Qom had been discovered. That claim had to be downplayed, however, because it was too dangerously suggestive and would only lead to a cascade of other questions.

For example, didn’t Iran know all along that the USA knew the plant’s purpose, because the construction was open to view (that photo linked to above is certainly of very poor quality and low resolution, compared to the photos the CIA’s analysts have)? Was there a Western security breach — a laptop left in a coffee shop, perhaps — or was a spy sitting in on high-level US-British-French strategy sessions? Since Iran made no public announcement of its letter to the IAEA, was it true that the Western powers felt their hand had been forced? Isn’t that a tacit admission of incompetent security? Just how secure are high-level Western planning sessions and communications?

Those are the initial questions an editor with an IQ anywhere near room temperature would ask. He would want to know whether the original story in the WaPo could be accurate if there were no spy. And he would note how the story shifted and the subsequent accounts became blurry and increasingly incomplete. He would smell a rat.

So which side has the upper hand in intelligence? It appears that while the USA can look at pictures and tell what they depict, Iran knows what Obama and his counterparts are thinking.

It could be that someone in a very high office has let it be known that publishing more facts would allow the public to make certain deductions…and draw conclusions that would be catastrophic for the politicians involved.

At such times, governments find it very convenient indeed to have a thoroughly obedience-trained press. “Rover, play dead.”

A Cause Lost, And No Doubt About Who Lost It

The Liberty of the internet has been murdered.

Some highly-placed bureaucrats in the USA have forced their nation to back down to a gaggle of dictators, censors and religious/political degenerates.

From now on, one can expect to have to cope with increasing limitations on the free flow of information. The effects will be minor at first and slow to arrive, but in time they will ably serve the interests of the worst people on the face of the earth. How rapidly that will come about — whether in a few years or in a couple of decades — cannot be predicted.

Now that the directors of the internet have abandoned principle and ended the internet’s unique independence from politics, one thing is certain: like newspapers, television and all publishing, the internet will be subject to regulations that express the exact opposites of the fundamental values of the Enlightenment. Most nations censor their news media, either by intervening directly or by intimidating publishers into self-censorship. The internet can not both remain an exception to the pattern and be under multi-nation control.

For the first time in history, alien tyrants will be able to impose their values upon you (if you live in the USA), blocking you from the exercise of your rights within the borders of your once-sovereign nation. That is the price you will pay for tolerating cowardice and amorality in your leaders.

Where should the questions be directed? In a perfect world, this newsletter would love an opportunity to interrogate — not interview, but interrogate — a couple of men named Rod Beckstrom and Vint Cerf. They would not want to be grilled about unimportant, peripheral issues like freedom of speech and press, and they would try to deflect questions with smarmy reassurances that nobody means any harm. The notion that their value-free technocratic ways may have harmed the world has almost certainly never occurred to either man.

The problem: some important people (like Beckstrom and Cerf, presumably) don’t see the world clearly, so they don’t understand why China and Libya would want to end US control of ICANN.

If you want to run a nation properly, put power in the hands of principled individuals who have some training, formal or not, in philosophy and history. Don’t turn governance over to technicians, salesmen, clerics or lawyers; those people lack perspective and are intellectually pregnant with Mad Hatter schemes. Given power, they can be very dangerous.

A Crisis Of Leadership — Which May Include A Small Blessing

One can’t get much more pessimistic than this:

…the world is smiling as Obama, now hesitant and without the old messianic confidence, presides over our accepted inevitable decline. … the world smells blood, whether in Iran, Russia, the Mideast, North Korea, or South America.

Thus spake Victor Hanson, who goes on to point out the many deficiencies and weaknesses of the US president. You should read it all.

This newsletter agrees that The One lacks executive experience, is distracted by Utopian socialist daydreams, has selected a staff of apparatchiki rather than advisors and assistants, and has made a number of naive mistakes, particularly in foreign policy. Yes, all that is to be regretted. The electorate has made its choice, and for the wrong reasons. We shall all suffer.

Recall, please, that this newsletter predicted that in the absence of presidential leadership, Congress would be running the show. And so it has been. The Pelosi-Reid axis of inanity has created what will go down in history as the worst Congress ever. Its excesses and incompetence will, one can hope, instruct future Solons on what not to do.

The lessons are there to be learned, in other words, and The One now knows that if he presses his schemes on the nation, the electorate is very likely to boil over. Obama did not try to refute or stall the Tea Party movement — he left those tasks to the press and to his admirers — but surely it must have made an impression. It was, after all, completely unexpected.

Imagine the shock when the community organizer’s attempt to impose solidarity on the peasants met with noisy opposition. Obama must have experienced a disorienting through-the-looking-glass feeling.

That is a speculation that hints at felicitous consequences. In fact some pretty good developments may be in the offing. Obama may recognize — however dimly — that some of his seminal preconceptions are untenable. One can hope that he will look with open eyes at his belief that “fairness” should be a determinant of tax policy, for example. That notion is an antique, a nineteenth-century punitive reaction to social class distinctions.

If Obama can be shocked into becoming less an ideologue and more a statesman, progress can be made. He may even shed some of his stiff-necked staff and seek the advice of genuinely wise people. Yes, that’s hard for a tactics-oriented community organizer to do; he’s vocationally obsessed with the brute-force techniques that bend the system to his will, rather than with crafting prudent improvements. And there are multiple moral lapses that the typical activist will overlook, to his detriment; the association with ACORN and with Ayers obviously impinged negatively on Obama’s ethics. But one can hope.

Obama may, if he realizes that specific aspects of his agenda are impractical, shut some efforts down. Obamacare is a mad fantasy, and now that everyone in power can see that the electorate knows that (and that physicians are not on board the Obama juggernaut), the dream of perfect socialized medicine could be set aside.

If Obama can be realistic for once, rather than remain a stubbornly ideological class warrior, he may save his presidency.

If he cannot adapt to his new environment, then we have the assurance that the voters will shove most of Obama’s schemes down Congress’s throat. The people will also withdraw their frequently-measured “support” for the president, leaving him trying to fly with only a freakish left wing.

Obama will not, in other words, be able to do nearly as much damage as he planned, and reality may eventually beat a lot of his ideological fantasies out of him. That may be an extremely optimistic assessment of the train wreck that is the Obama administration, but it’s a glimmer of hope. Hope that Obama will learn, and change.

If This Is Helpful Commentary, Then Cold Fusion Is A Nobel-Worthy Breakthrough

This is fascinating. It’s the notion that a thoughtful, apparently probing article like this one can “explain” the collapse of California without mentioning a single word about the following:

The insane ideology of Maxine WatersThe madcap irresponsibility of Franklin Raines and his goofy, incompetent colleagues at Freddie Mac and Fannie MaeThe California teachers’ union

The concept of state and county governments as growth industries

The cultivation of civil service jobs as entitlements

The idea that state and county agencies were properly employers of first resort for politically correct minorities (including non-citizens of the USA)

The influx of huge numbers of illegal aliens who stressed the free health care that used to be provided to the poor

The corrupt and insular ways of the state legislature

The concept of the homeowner as the source of endless revenue for the state

There is also no mention of the fact that as gasoline prices rose, the state sales tax, a percentage of the sale price, added billions of dollars to the state treasury. California’s long history as a predatory host to business goes unremarked. The stubborn, apparently ignorant intransigence of the legislature in the face of problems is not worthy of note. The humiliating antics of a state supreme court that behaved as if intoxicated by LSD are not mentioned.

What went wrong, then, is a question neither asked nor answered.

Words Of Wisdom

Here you have a thoughtful and informed commentary on the role played by the Obama administration in international politics. It deserves your serious consideration. Sample quote:

Nuclear weapon in Iran? We’ll sing kumbayah at the Security Council and be presented with the remarkable spectacle of an openly incredulous French president reminding an American president that, tacitly, that as he speaks the Iranians knit together the pieces of their nuclear weapons. It’s quite an exchange, and not one that initially even penetrated the warm syrup of the NYT or other American mainstream media, presumably because it didn’t fit many existing narratives, about the United States, about France, about many things.

Don’t skip this important contribution to the understanding of the current crisis.

Who Is This Guy, And Why Is He Allowed To Say These Things In That Newspaper?

Frank Rich is a puzzle, all right. It’s hard to explain him, unless you assume that here we have a journalist who is intelligent and honest. Darn, life can be confusing at times!

Take for example his recent words in the NY Times:

Obama’s promise to make Americans trust the government again was not just another campaign bullet point; it’s the foundation of his brand of governance and essential to his success in office. At the first anniversary of the TARP bailout of the banks, we can see how far he has to go. Americans’ continued suspicion that Washington is in cahoots with powerful interests in joints like Tosca (for those of you in flyover country, Tosca is a tony restaurant where the powerful strut their stuff) is contributing to their confusion and skepticism about what’s happening out of view in the battle over health care reform.

The public is not wrong.

What? Well, that little blockbuster was buried a ways down, where few readers go, so maybe that’s why Rich has not been dispatched to Tristan da Cunha to report on political developments there, but still…. Cripes, maybe you should read it all!

Addendum: A PenPo staffer objects to the above item, and accordingly reminds everyone that Rich is not a reporter, but a columnist. Further, the NY Times always puts its propaganda primarily in the news sections (where, masquerading as the truth, it will do the most harm) and secondarily in the editorials. Opinion pieces by columnists are allowed to express all views, and regular readers of the NYT consider the columns objects of mockery or junk to be avoided.

There is no doubt that the NYT practices zealous ideological self-censorship and distortion that harm its readers, and that these practices are going to bring the paper down if they are not ended. But Frank Rich is never going to be taken seriously by the hard core of “progressives” who depend on the bias and selective silence of the paper to validate their political prejudices.


Perhaps no more definitive example of the deep cultural divide in the USA can be found than the Polanski case. Don’t forget: even as the entertainment elite insists that the law dare not presume to apply to one of its members, it also tells every US citizen to “pledge to be a servant to our president.” The electorate is fortunate, for it has absolute proof that it is advised by a confederacy of moral lepers.

A Pacific Northwest newspaper has published a fascinating series recounting the history and significance of a jihadi.

The understanding of the evolution of mankind gets a major overhaul as a consequence of an analysis of very delicate fossils uncovered fifteen years ago. This is big!

ACORN explains it all to you. And in the same post you’ll see how the Washington Post explains why folks hate ACORN, complete with a correction from that paper. Fascinating footwork.

Here’s a fellow who maintains a weblog dealing with terrorism. His closing thought on USA-based jihadis: “The terrorist enemy is currently weak, but constantly adapting.” That makes the terrorist business pretty much the mirror image of the newspaper industry, it seems….

Caution: you are going to have to make a willing suspension of disbelief before you read this. Ready? Here it is: Hillary has a soft spot for sociopathic mullahs. Here’s her gift to the lunatics. Did she think this would escape notice? Or is this what she and The One are plotting? This newsletter wonders whether Camille Paglia will address this issue….

The best explanation yet of the issues involved in gun control and the second amendment to the US federal constitution is to be found in this article. Heller set aside once and for all the “it’s about the militia” argument used for decades by firearms-banners; the next issue for the federal supreme court to decide is whether the second amendment prohibits the states from denying people in their jurisdictions the exercise of a right that the national government must honor. — Also, here are two polls regarding firearms controls, one on stricter laws and then one on pistols in cities.

“Thomas Friedman is a prime challenger for the position of stupidest man alive.” Why would anyone say that? Because of these stupid comments.

This newsletter keeps telling you…the news media are biased and dishonest. Here’s yet more proof. Related commentary here.

The Obama administration makes a crystal-clear statement of its opinion of freedom of speech.

Face it, you need one of these things. Here are instructions on how to build it. Having it will mean you are ready for the coming collapse of Western Civilization, so get cracking!

A challenging partisan meditation on the future of “liberalism” in the USA.

Trying to pry ACORN away from the public trough.

You say you voted for Obama? Well, your taxes will go up, regardless. If you were an Iranian mullah, you might be able to trust him, but you aren’t so you can’t.

The politically incorrect website of the month, or maybe of the year, and its creator are introduced to you in this article. To visit the garden of forbidden fruit (which will really, really upset The One), click here, and know that somebody out there now considers you a racist.

ACORN locks its embarrassing idiot cousin in the basement.

The science of anthropogenic global warming is intellectually dishonest and anti-scientific. Here’s proof. Do read it, because this junk science is the basis for irrational restrictive policies and taxation that will be imposed on everyone.

Fiddling the polls for fun and partisan gain.

When you mention the culpability of ACORN, someone is likely to respond that “all that rubbish is untrue, ACORN is a good outfit.” At that point hand the visionary a card with this URL on it. Of course it will do no good — an ideologue is trained to ignore proof that he is wrong — but you will have done your best.

For those who don’t understand why Barney Frank gets low marks from this newsletter, here’s a post with links to a telling video. In a nutshell: Frank was tasked to do something for which he was in no way qualified, and he made a huge mess of it. Then he blamed everybody else for the disaster, but especially G. W. Bush and his allies.

Skullduggery most unseemly: court-packing, the trick FDR tried to pull, has risen from the grave and stalks the land. It’s a zombie!

Quote of the month (already; this can’t be topped): “I’m voting Republican. The Democrats left a bad taste in my mouth!” — Monica Lewinsky

Canada is up to its old tricks again (read the first item). It would be nice if those Canucks would grow up and rejoin Western Civilization. — Hat tip to JH for this depressing item. — Related: videos galore here. Linger a while; the wisdom on display here is a faultless guide for the discontented.

Israel is trying everything it can short of violence to cope with Iran — even trying to get the Russians to behave in a civilized fashion. Unfortunately that’s a Sisyphean task. By the way, what would the USA do if rogue US citizens were helping Iran build weapons? Now that Obama is running things, that may not be an easy question to answer.

The New York Times censors itself yet again, erasing some quotes that might make The One look bad. Check this out. Then there are more specifics on this web page, along with a sharp and very appropriate jab delivered by a commenter: “An old Soviet joke: ‘The future is easy to predict. It’s the past that keeps changing.'” — More: A weblogger makes his point with examples, and concludes: “I no longer know what saddens me more, the state of American politics or the state of American journalism. Perhaps the problem is that they have become one and the same and are sharing the ride into the sewer.”

Uh-oh. The Ay-rabs and West Africans and Venezuelans and Ire-anians ain’t gonna like this!

If you were ever in doubt as to the desire of federal bureaucrats to regulate what you say, take a look at this post. It’s the dread FTC in action! Those folks can justify anything.