"Two hundred and eleven journalists are in jail around the world, the second-worst year on record since the Committee to Protect Journalists began its annual census in 1990… Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists for the second year running, closely followed by Iran and China. Altogether, the three countries accounted for more than half of all reporters behind bars in 2013."
In “Stuxnet’s Secret Twin,” Foreign Policy's Ralph Langner at writes:
"Stuxnet’s later, and better-known, [cyber-] attack tried to cause centrifuge rotors to spin too fast and at speeds that would cause them to break. The ‘original’ payload used a different tactic. It attempted to overpressurize Natanz’s centrifuges by sabotaging the system meant to keep the cascades of centrifuges safe. ‘Protection systems’ are used anywhere where abnormal process conditions can result in equipment damage or threaten the health of operators and the environment. At Natanz, we see a unique protection system in place to enable sustained uranium enrichment using obsolete and unreliable equipment: the IR-1 centrifuge. This protection system is a critical component of the Iranian nuclear program; without it, the IR-1s would be pretty much useless."
Somebody, it seems, has yet to break the news to Washington: we are in an increasingly multipolar world in which Eurasian powers Russia and China, and regional power Iran, simply won’t subscribe to its scenarios. When it comes to the New Silk Road(s) linking South Asia, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and China, whatever Washington’s dreams may be, they will be shaped and constructed by Eurasian powers, not by the United States.
The ancient Silk Road was humanity’s first globalization highway centered on trade. Now, China in particular is pushing for its own ambitious version of a new Silk Road focused on tapping into energy — oil and natural gas — from Myanmar to Iran and Russia. It would, in the end, link no less than 17 countries via more than 8,000 kilometers of high-speed rail (on top of the 8,000 kilometers already built inside China). For Washington, this means one thing: an evolving Tehran-Beijing axis bent on ensuring that the U.S. strategic target of isolating Iran and forcing regime change on that country will be ever just out of reach.
[Iran now] seems to be reenacting Israel’s clandestine weapons development program of five decades ago, developing capabilities to build and deliver nuclear weapons while denying that it intends actually to do any such thing.
Last month, for instance, the U.S. quietly announced plans to further flood the Middle East with advanced weaponry. According to November notices sent by the Pentagon to Congress, the Department of Defense intends to oversee a $300 million deal with Saudi Arabia for spare parts for Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Humvees, and another for $6.7 billion in new advanced aircraft. Add to this a proposed sale of $9.9 billion in Patriot missiles to Qatar, a $96 million deal with Oman for hundreds of Javelin guided missiles, and more than $1.1 billion in Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles for the United Arab Emirates. And this was on top of deals struck earlier in the year that include a $63 million sale of Huey II helicopters to Lebanon, $4.2 billion in Patriot missiles for Kuwait, a $3 billion agreement to arm Qatar with advanced Apache attack helicopters, more than $1 billion in upgrades for Abrams tanks belonging to Morocco’s military, and the sale of $428 million worth of radar equipment and tactical vehicles to Iraq.
Imagine, for a moment, a world in which the United States is a regional power, not a superpower. A world in which the globe’s mightiest nation, China, invades Mexico and Canada, deposing the leaders of both countries. A world in which China has also ringed the Americas, from Canada to Central America, with military bases. A world in which Chinese officials openly brag about conducting covert operations against and within the United States. A world in which the Chinese launch a sophisticated and crippling cyber attack on America’s nuclear facilities. A world in which the Chinese send spy drones soaring over the United States and position aircraft carrier battle groups off its shores. What would Americans think? How would Washington react? Perhaps something like Iran’s theocratic leadership today. After all, Iran has seen the United States invade its neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, announce covert operations against it, surround it with military bases, fly drones over it, carry out naval operations off its coast, conduct a gigantic build-up of military forces all around it, and launch a cyberwar against it.
An English translation of the Farsi translation of the RNC last night for viewers in Iran.
“Nonsense from Clint Eastwood, anti-people Hollywood actor, in defense of Mitt Romney, the Right’s candidate for the U.S. elections.
For friends who know English, if you understand what this guy said, let me know too.”
Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.
The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports.