William Goode’s Journal – Israel, U.S. Iran, The U.N. and “Red Lines”

william goode binjamin netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the U.N. that time is running out and a red line should be drawn over the Iranian nuclear programme.

Iran’s deputy U.N. ambassador is not surprisingly talking about the defence of his country and it sounds very much like Iran is ready to retaliate should the need arise. The Iranian view is that their nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only, needless to say the Israelis do not believe this.

Benjamin Netanyahu talks about “red lines”, the U.S. may talk about “red lines” in private but not in public. In public they are hazy on the “red line” concept. The Israelis seem to have a “red line” at least at the high political level, maybe not so in other areas of the Israeli ruling classes.

But what is a “red line”? Basically it is a threshold that a government has set whereby another country cannot pass without the use of force coming in to play. In this highly volatile part of the world you can see how setting red lines is a very risky business. The U.S. governments view on a “red line” may have shifted somewhat too the question is do they actually have one on Iran?

Netanyahus diagram at his U.N. General Assembly speech where his red line pointed out that Irans nuclear programme would be irreversible somewhere by Spring or Summer, was designed to alarm. The U.S. it would seem prefers to concentrate on when a weapon is constructed. This would I imagine be a “red line” if not the start of the drawing of one. Too late as far as Israels thinking goes.

The worrying thing here also for Israel is that the U.S. feels it is quite acceptable for Iran to have a nuclear energy programme as long as weapons are not involved. The U.S. intelligence community is quite confident they will be able to gather enough information to advice their government with enough time to deal with any dangers. This type of intelligence is called “warning” and it is coming back into vogue in intelligence circles. The U.S. government already shares this “warning” intelligence with Israel so they no how effective it is.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus attack scenario is a lot closer than Than the U.S.’s. Based on weaponry the Isarelis would have to attack much sooner than the U.S. who can base an attack on far superior weaponry, bunker bombs that can deliver blows much deeper than Israeli aircraft can. The danger here is if Israel goes alone would they even be effective, or would the job be left still undone but war started.

The U.S. probably do have a “red line” privately, President Obama says should Iran move towards a bomb assembly they would act.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that their is currently no intelligence that points to Iran wanting to make a bomb. The Israelis feel that after the assembly reaches a certain point, the options the Iranians have in place will enable them to build a bomb quickly. The U.S. feels there is at least a year according to some reports.

William Goode Barack Obama

Barack Obama

The U.S. election on November the 5th seems to have prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to speak out even more. Influencing the U.S. Jewish vote may be his target. Mitt Romney has indicated his attitude towards Iran would be a lot more aggressive, Benjamin Netanyahu it seems would prefer a Romney victory.

William Goode Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad quite possibly knows the value of having a nuclear programme on the world stage. It certainly keeps attention on Iran and a say in the spotlight increasing the perception of Iran as a world power as well as a regional one. Possibly like North Korea it gives Iran a subtle hold on the rest of the world.

Tensions between Israel an Iran are increasing, talks and diplomatic efforts have proven to be fruitless. Barack Obama is looking stronger in the poles which has worried Benjamin Netanyahu forcing him to come out more at the U.N.

Israels security cabinet does not fully believe that an attack on Iran would be wise and after all they are the ones directly reading the American intelligence given to them.

What Benjamin Netanyahu is after at least in the short term, is that if Iran is faced with a “red line” they will back down. That doesn’t seem likely.

Whether a nuclear Iran is acceptable or not will play out for quite awhile yet and the rest of the world still waits and wonders while the Israeli population practice their defence drills hoping for the best.

William Goode’s Journal – Syria’s Chemical Weapons

William Goode Syrian President al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad

There have been reports that Syria has plans to use chemical weapons against it’s own people and the Free Syrian Army. The country according to western spy agencies has the worlds third largest stockpile of chemical weapons amounting to hundreds of tonnes of nerve agent spread around at least 20 sites.

A Major General Adnan Sillu who has recently defected says he was part of talks discussing deployment of the weapons in a major city should the government lose the area of Aleppo.
The General apparently felt he could no longer be part of the regime after these meetings.

There are also reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have assisted Syrian forces in testing dummy rockets (rockets without warheads or chemical weapons) recently in preparation.

william goode chemical weapons

Chemical weapons facilities

This is no surprise as Iran has had influence over Syria for many years, Syria possibly viewed as a proxy if you like and one that Iran is reluctant to see go.

Israel has in the murky world of middle east politics supported, or at least felt they could live with the Syrian government lead by President Assad as long as he kept Hezbollah in Lebanon under some sort of control. By and large this deal has worked. This is all about to change and the big worry for Israel now is the problems that will arise should the chemical weapons end up in the hands of jihadis who are now embedded with the Syrian opposition, which means embedded in Syria and even worse in Israels thinking, Hezbollah.

Has Israel lobbied the U.S. to not intervene in the hope that Assad can survive?

william goode us israel

Tough times for Israel and the US as individual countries and together.

Complicating this is that Hezbollah is looking for recognition and acceptance in their own right from the major powers within Europe and is thought not to want to jeopardise this. However all bets would be off should Israel attack Iran or Syria be totally compromised. The Iranian influence over Hezbollah would certainly come into play and Hezbollahs support for Iran would overide any ideas of acceptance in the near future.

One scenario is that Syria in one last burst of energy fires rockets into Israel (not thought to be likely) but this possibility means the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) have to plan for this. The most likely scenario is that the chemical weapons will fall into the wrong hands. Israel would be able to stop many of these rockets (there has been much training with US help) at interception albeit with the knowledge that Israeli lives will be lost should a war start.

The bigger picture however, and feared by the U.S is that the whole situation may lead to a regional war with Iran and the involvement of Hezbollah who have been trained and armed by Iran to be a strong force, trained in general army manoeuvres and tactics. They can fight more like a regular army hence the difficulty Israel had in the 2006 Lebanon war (known in Lebanon as the July war).

william goode russian troops

Russian troops

So where does Russia fit into all this.

Russia has a base in Syria at Tartus (although the Russians call it a Material-Technical Support Point, not a base). This Material-Technical Support Point (the Russians are correct in calling it this) is really a mediterranean port for repairs to their fleet. It is (at this stage) unable to hold a whole fleet, two ships at a time in the port with others anchoring offshore. It is however at bottom, a Russian base and they don’t wish to lose influence in the region and a valuable base in the Mediterranean that could be developed if need be.

The report that Russia has sent a fairly small fleet (six to ten ships) to Tartus with a few hundred marines has possibly slowed down the US, UK, France, UN etc from intervening (could this have been taken into consideration when Kofi Annan resigned as Syrian envoy?)

But what does all this really mean?

Syrian chemical weapon have been set up possibly with help from Russia and North Korea and are very difficult to spot even using spy satellites making them difficult to send in special forces and disable.

Russia although still wanting influence in Syria, does not want chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands any more than Israel or the US does. Georgia is still a thorn in the Russian side and chemical weapons in the hands of Georgian separatists does not suit the Kremlins plans for the future.

The thinking is that those few hundred highly trained Russian special forces now in Tartus who can equally assist Russian nationals to get out of the country quickly, should that be required, are also trained to spread out and take control of the chemical weapons facilities if the need arises.

After all, they probably know where they are.

William Goode’s Journal – Coal Seam Gas Industry At It Again

It looks like we’ve entered an even more blatant area of lying. To catch the advantage politicians and businesses, who we wonder about at the best of times, are using blatant lies to attempt to fool the public. The Coal Seam Gas Industry are putting a new add out to convince the public of their worth. This is what “Get Up” has found out.

You can register your own advice to the The Coal Seam Gas Industry here.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment – the CSG industry’s just been caught blatantly lying about the safety of coal seam gas mining by Australia’s peak scientific body, the CSIRO.

Part of a new multi-million dollar advertising campaign, the offending ad says: ‘CSIRO and government studies have shown that groundwater is safe with coal seam gas’. But that’s a lie and the CSIRO flatly rejects it. They issued this sharp rebuke to APPEA, the CSG lobby group running the ad:

“At no time has CSIRO made such a statement, and nor do the results of CSIRO research support such a statement. CSIRO has stated on the public record that coal seam gas extraction is likely to pose a ‘low risk’ to groundwater quality through contamination. CSIRO has also indicated that groundwater levels will fall as a consequence of coal seam gas extraction. In some places this could see aquifer levels subside by tens of metres for tens of years; in others it is likely to reduce aquifer levels by several metres for several hundred years.” [1]

APPEA has dismissively stated they have “taken CSIRO’s comments on board”[2] as they develop a plan to reach as many Australians as possible with the new campaign. The recklessness of saying CSG is safe when Australian lives, land and water are at risk is outrageous”.

[1] ‘CSIRO rejects claims made by APPEA regarding groundwater and coal seam gas’. CSIRO Press Release, 4 September, 2012.
[2] Rick Wilkinson, Twitter.com, 4 September, 2012.

 

William Goode’s Journal – Julian Assange – What now?

William Goode Julian Assange 2

Julian Assange wanted by Interpol in 2010.

What now for Julian Assange? He is well and truly holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy and only a back down from the UK and or Sweden will see him walk out back into the UK sunlight or is it more darkness. It is not likely the US will make any statements in his favour as they are denying having much to do with him or even wanting to talk to him. Believe that if you can. Of course his own country Australia, has remained even more silent on his troubles, I wonder why?

There are rumours today that Sweden has dropped the sex charges but it is still a wait and see. Does this mean that he may not be extradited to the US from Sweden but could he now be extradited from the UK. Everyone denies he will be extradited to the US, believe that one as well if you wish.

William Goode Julian Assange 3

Julian Assange

Assange himself has stated that he feels he will be in the Ecuadorian embassy for at least a year and is no doubt prepared for the long hall, tedious as that may be. It is said however that he has full computer access and presumably is able to carry out Wikileaks activities still.

Assange has also stated that he thinks the standoff will have a diplomatic solution or after “an unusual world occurrence that we can’t predict”. Not sure what he means by that.

An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is another way he may be able to leave the embassy he has stated. Not sure what he means by that either? It certainly would distract the US and the UK and totally disrupt the world, we wouldn’t be thinking too much about his case. Maybe he feels the UK and US governments, as they almost certainly would be preparing for war, would prefer to have their nations onside and be better off dropping the bad publicity associated with him.

Assange ultimately though feels that the Swedish government dropping his case is the main solution to the impasse and he may be right. The Swedish government however would need to at least appear as if they have carried out a full investigation to cover what would be a drastic backdown.

The  UK government has denied it has any intentions of storming the Ecuadorian embassy. This would set the cat amongst the pigeons with unusual percussions from other countries. The UK itself has given refuge to dissidents within it’s embassies and the whole concept relies on everyone sticking to the rules.

William Goode augusto pinochet

Augusto Pinochet

Julian Assanges lawyer Baltazar Garzon (who previously was involved in the pursuit of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who by the way UK Home Secretary Jack Straw ruled in January 2000 should not be extradited to Spain) says US prosecutors are secretly preparing a case against Assange for publishing sensitive diplomatic cables.

William Goode augusto pinochet 2

Augusto Pinochet – Luckily not extradited to Spain by the UK.

In 2010 after the Interpol problems Julian Assange was having, Wikileaks put a 1.4 GB encrypted insurance file onto the internet. No one so far has been able to break the security of the file. The idea is that should the organisation be damaged or it’s members be sentenced to prison, passwords for the file will be released back to the internet. What happens next is that the most insightful cables ever will apparently be released.

The cables are thought to be so harmful that the major countries involved in this whole saga would rather leave Assange alone than have them released.

This however seems to be against what Wikileaks stands for, holding people to ransom.

It’s all a very dark business and as with all dark businesses it’s hard to pick the good guys.

Rumor has it that the Wikileaks password is on the brink of being released, would this also assist Bradley Manning? Don’t hold your breath, or maybe you should.

There has to be an ace up the sleeve somewhere here. Someone has it.