The OPCW concluded that the chemical agent used on the Skripals in Salisbury, England was “concluded that the chemical substance found was of high purity, persistent and resistant to weather conditions.”
Two of the key people in the Obama administration for the negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were investigated by an Israeli private intelligence agency trying to find dirt on them, The Guardian reported today.
The agency talked to reporters in order to find whether Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, advisors to President Obama, had shared sensitive information. Presumably they found nothing, or we would have heard about it.
This has been the modus operandi of the JCPOA opponents all along. On Twitter, they indulge in ad hominems and personal attacks rather than present a coherent argument. They set up straw men with views that misrepresent the case for the agreement. They all seem to have the same talking points and slogans (“sunset clauses,” “give Iran nuclear weapons”) in what I might have called an echo chamber if they hadn’t seized on that Read More
It looks like Israel is trumpeting its 2007 bombing of a nuclear reactor site in Syria to encourage those who would like to believe that the many hardened sites in Iran and North Korea, locations unknown, could be as easily taken out. That’s not true, but look for this to be used as an example by people like John Bolton and Mark Dubowitz. Top photo is of the reactor building before the bombing and after the bombing and site clearing of the debris.
There is a lot going on in the world beyond the United States. The problems that Donald Trump is inflicting on the country are severe, but we need to continue to be aware of the rest of the world. Read More
As I’ve noted before, Donald Trump’s strategy seems to be to keep enough balls in the air that we can’t keep track of any of them. And other sources are now lobbing some balls into the mix. These links don’t include much about the Trump – intelligence community – Russia dustup now occurring. I’ll try to address that separately (or at least present what I consider the better links). Here’s an FAQ for now. Read More
Donald Trump continues as a one-man DDOS attack on coherent thought. He has been tweeting at an elevated rate the past few days. I am trying to tune most of that out, but it does slow down my productivity. Since the guy is going to be President of the United States, it’s hard to ignore him. David Brooks captures the problem.
This story goes back to 2007, when Israel bombed a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria. It’s a detailed account from Michael Hayden, who was director of the CIA at the time. The uncertainties and the complexity of the story are normal for international affairs, and thus the story is a good example of the kind of thing President Donald Trump will face. Short version: Syria builds a nuclear reactor to produce bomb material. Israel wants America to destroy it. America refuses, Israel bombs the site. The world learns it was a reactor. But the whole thing is worth reading. Photo: The reactor before it was bombed. Read More
Trump’s transition team has asked for the names of people working on climate change in the Department of Energy, women’s issues in the Department of State, and countering violent extremism in the Department of Homeland Security. So far those requests, looking very much like witch hunts, have been turned down. But once in office, Trump will have more leverage. Read More