"finished" I tell ya!
The uprising has emboldened the Libyan government to issue a 48-hour deadline for militias not directly under its command to leave bases around Tripoli.
Brig-Gen Hamed Belkhair, commander of the official Benghazi garrison told the Daily Telegraph, that Ansar al-Sharia, the militant group whose members were implicated in storming the US consulate when ambassador Chris Stevens was killed had been disbanded.
"Its individual members may remain but it is finished as a force, God willing," he said.
Brig Gen Belkhair was speaking shortly after being released from a six-hour kidnap, a reflection of the insecurity that continues to plague Libya following the revolution to topple Col Muammar Gaddafi.
He was seized from outside his house in the city on Saturday morning, shortly after his troops had been on the streets protecting crowds of anti-Islamist demonstrators who stormed bases belonging to Ansar al-Sharia and other Islamist groups.
He said the masked kidnappers accused him of being "kuffar" or infidel and a "traitor", before receiving a phone call instructing them not to kill him. He was eventually thrown from a car on to a roundabout.
Brig Gen Belkhair said he originally instructed his troops to stay in their barracks on Friday, when a peaceful demonstration had been called to protest against the unchecked power of militias, especially Ansar. But when the crowds late in the evening began to march on the bases of Ansar and other groups he ordered his men to make sure civilians were protected.
The decision to protect rather than stop the crowds has caused fury among some Islamist groups which were targeted even though they are notionally allied to the government. Most notably, Rafallah al-Sahati, one of the city's most prominent Islamist battalions, was driven from its base even though it is licensed and notionally answers to the defence ministry.
In the fighting, five people were killed. In addition, the bodies of six soldiers were found in a field nearby, apparently executed with shots to the head though the circumstances of their deaths remain a mystery.
"We hoped that there would be no blood," Brig Gen Belkhair said. But he also added that the interim revolutionary government, the National Transitional Council, had made a mistake in allowing so many militias to form in the first place.
Last night, Rafallah al-Sahati hit back, announcing it had arrested 115 people including soldiers and civilians it said were involved in the attack on its base. A spokesman told The Telegraph some of them had links to Col Gaddafi and that they had been handed over to police.
State news agencies said that both Ansar al-Sharia and a smaller militia targeted, the Martyrs of Abu Salim, had both announced they were disbanding in Benghazi and in the town of Derna to the east, known as a hotbed of Islamist militancy.
We're not the ones who can't feed our people, Mohamed. Think about that. Then think about a quaint Western phrase, something about biting the hand that feeds you...
CAIRO -- On the eve of his first trip to the United States as Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping build a Palestinian state, if it hoped to overcome decades of pent-up anger.
A former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mr. Morsi sought in a 90-minute interview with The New York Times to introduce himself to the American public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the United States after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, an autocratic but reliable ally.
He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability.
Nice try, but we're not the supplicants here. Or at least, we shouldn't be...
If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule.
Okay, abrogate the Camp David accords. Think your military can stand up to Israel? How about in a year when you can't feed your people?
He said the United States must respect the Arab world's history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.
By 'respect' he means do things their way...
And he dismissed criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the United States Embassy wall and burned the American flag in anger over a video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
"We took our time" in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt "decisively" with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.
"We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely," he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger.
Mr. Morsi, who will travel to New York on Sunday for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, arrives at a delicate moment. He faces political pressure at home to prove his independence, but demands from the West for reassurance that Egypt under Islamist rule will remain a stable partner.
Mr. Morsi, 61, whose office was still adorned with nautical paintings that Mr. Mubarak left behind, said the United States should not expect Egypt to live by its rules.
"If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment," he said. "When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt."
How about when Egypt depends on the U.S. and Europe to be fed, and on Saudi Arabia to pay for it?
He suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, but would not be as compliant as Mr. Mubarak either.
"Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region," he said, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians.
Okay, we can stop paying...
He initially sought to meet with President Obama at the White House during his visit this week, but he received a cool reception, aides to both presidents said. Mindful of the complicated election-year politics of a visit with Egypt's Islamist leader, Mr. Morsi dropped his request.
Surprising. You'd thought Champ would have opened up space on his calendar by refusing Bibi...
His silence in the immediate aftermath of the embassy protest elicited a tense telephone call from Mr. Obama, who also told a television interviewer that at that moment he did not consider Egypt an ally, if not an enemy either. When asked if he considered the United States an ally, Mr. Morsi answered in English, "That depends on your definition of ally," smiling at his deliberate echo of Mr. Obama. But he said he envisioned the two nations as "real friends."
You might be the only one...
Mr. Morsi spoke in an ornate palace that Mr. Mubarak inaugurated three decades ago, a world away from the Nile Delta farm where the new president grew up, or the prison cells where he had been confined by Mr. Mubarak for his role in the Brotherhood. Three months after his swearing-in, the most noticeable change to the presidential office was a plaque on his desk bearing the Koranic admonition, "Be conscious of a day on which you will return to God."
A stocky figure with a trim beard and wire-rim glasses, he earned a doctorate in materials science at the University of Southern California in the early 1980s. He spoke with an easy confidence in his new authority, reveling in an approval rating he said was at 70 percent. When he grew animated, he slipped from Arabic into crisp English.
Little known at home or abroad until just a few months ago, he was the Brotherhood's second choice as a presidential nominee after the first choice was disqualified. On the night of the election, the generals who had ruled since Mr. Mubarak's ouster issued a decree keeping most presidential powers for themselves.
But last month Mr. Morsi confounded all expectations by prying full executive authority back from the generals. In the interview, when an interpreter suggested that the generals had "decided" to exit politics, Mr. Morsi quickly corrected him.
"No, no, it is not that they 'decided' to do it," he interjected in English, determined to clarify that it was he who removed them. "This is the will of the Egyptian people through the elected president, right?
"The president of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the commander of the armed forces, full stop. Egypt now is a real civil state. It is not theocratic, it is not military. It is democratic, free, constitutional, lawful and modern."
As you purge your opponents...
He added, "We are behaving according to the Egyptian people's choice and will, nothing else -- is it clear?"
That might be a true statement...
He praised Mr. Obama for moving "decisively and quickly" to support the Arab Spring revolutions, and he said he believed that Americans supported "the right of the people of the region to enjoy the same freedoms that Americans have."
Arabs and Americans have "a shared objective, each to live free in their own land, according to their customs and values, in a fair and democratic fashion," he said, adding that he hoped for "a harmonious, peaceful coexistence."
But he also argued that Americans "have a special responsibility" for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord. The agreement called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza to make way for full Palestinian self-rule.
"As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled," he said.
He made no apologies for his roots in the Brotherhood, the insular religious revival group that was Mr. Mubarak's main opposition and now dominates Egyptian politics.
"I grew up with the Muslim Brotherhood," he said. "I learned my principles in the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned how to love my country with the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned politics with the Brotherhood. I was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood."
He left the group when he took office but remains a member of its political party. But he said he sees "absolutely no conflict" between his loyalty to the Brotherhood and his vows to govern on behalf of all, including members of the Christian minority or those with more secular views.
"I prove my independence by taking the correct acts for my country," he said. "If I see something good from the Muslim Brotherhood, I will take it. If I see something better in the Wafd" -- Egypt's oldest liberal party -- "I will take it."
He's pretty easy with the word, 'take'...
He repeatedly vowed to uphold equal citizenship rights of all Egyptians, regardless of religion, sex or class. But he stood by the religious arguments he once made as a Brotherhood leader that neither a woman nor a Christian would be a suitable president.
"We are talking about values, beliefs, cultures, history, reality," he said. He said the Islamic position on presidential eligibility was a matter for Muslim scholars to decide, not him. But regardless of his own views or the Brotherhood's, he said, civil law was another matter.
"I will not prevent a woman from being nominated as a candidate for the presidential campaign," he said. "This is not in the Constitution. This is not in the law. But if you want to ask me if I will vote for her or not, that is something else, that is different."
He was also eager to reminisce about his taste of American culture as a graduate student at the University of Southern California. "Go, Trojans!" he said, and he remembered learning about the world from Barbara Walters in the morning and Walter Cronkite at night. "And that's the way it is!" Mr. Morsi said with a smile.
Baba and Uncle Walt? No wonder he doesn't understand America...
But he also displayed some ambivalence. He effused about his admiration for American work habits, punctuality and time management. But when an interpreter said that Mr. Morsi had "learned a lot" in the United States, he quickly interjected a qualifier in English: "Scientifically!"
He was troubled by the gangs and street of violence of Los Angeles, he said, and dismayed by the West's looser sexual mores, mentioning couples living together out of wedlock and what he called "naked restaurants," like Hooters.
"I don't admire that," he said. "But that is the society. They are living their way."
[An Nahar] Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday rejected an appeal by Islamists demanding the reinstatement of parliament, saying it was no longer legal, according to a judicial source.
"The parliament no longer exists legally since the June 14 ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC)" deeming it unconstitutional and ordering its dissolution, the Supreme Administrative Court said.
Officials in the powerful Moslem Brüderbund and its political arm the Freedom and Justice Party had hoped that the Supreme Administrative Court would support their demand for parliament to be reinstated.
But the court said that any SCC decision could not be overturned.
The lower house was elected late last year, with Islamists winning an overwhelming majority. But on June 14 the SCC ruled it invalid, saying there were irregularities in the electoral law.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled after Hosni Mubarak ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011... was ousted in last year's popular uprising, then dissolved the house. The army was given legislative control, provoking outrage among those wishing to see the military cede power.
On July 8, President Mohammed Morsi, who had risen through the Moslem Brüderbund's ranks, issued a decree ordering the reinstatement of parliament, which the SCC froze two days later.
In August Morsi ordered the surprise retirement of his powerful defense minister and scrapped a constitutional document which handed sweeping powers to the military, in a move some said was aimed at ending the SCAF's power.
The relationship between the Islamist Morsi and the army has been uneasy, testing the balance of power between the first civilian president in Egypt's history and a military that had moved to limit his power.
Fresh legislative elections are to take place two months after the adoption of a new constitution, which is being drafted by a committee dominated by Islamists and due to be finalized by the end of the year.
[An Nahar] Mali's government must apply Islamic sharia law before armed Islamist groups who control the north of the country will negotiate, an Islamist official said Saturday.
Alioune Toure, a security chief in the city of Gao held by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), was responding to an offer of talks made late Friday by Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore.
In a televised speech given on the eve of the country's Independence Day, Traore said, "As we are preparing for it, we will wage war if no other choice is left to us...."
"But we reaffirm here that our first choice remains dialogue and negotiation."
"I call on all gangs operating in the north of our country to agree to commit resolutely to the path of dialogue and of negotiation in a sincere and constructive fashion," he added.
"We accept the hand Mr Traore has held out on one condition, that Mali implements sharia, the law of God, that's the only condition," Toure told Agence La Belle France Presse.
But he warned, "If it's war that they want, we also agree. God is the strongest."
Toure said that the Islamists did not consider Traore to be president if he did not submit to God's law.
"We are for holy way, nothing will stop us on the path of holy war," he said. "I have nothing more to add."
Traore Friday described Mali's present situation as a "tragedy" and warned that the nation's very existence was at stake.
He was president, he said, of a country at war, and the army needed to be "re-equipped, morally rearmed, put on a war footing and most of all reconciled with itself."
The much-anticipated speech came as the UN Security Council on Friday called for West African nations to produce a "feasible and actionable" military plan to retake northern Mali from Islamist cut-thoats.
A statement from the 15-nation council expressed "grave concern" at the "increasing entrenchment of terrorist elements, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" in northern Mali.
Islamist groups and other rebels seized on the chaos of a military coup in Mali in March to take the north of the vast West African country. They have since imposed harsh Islamic law and desecrated traditional Mohammedan shrines.
The Economic Community of West African States has called on the U.N. Security Council to back a proposed intervention force for Mali.
But the council has repeatedly said it needs more detail on the means and aims of any military operation and the consent of Mali's transitional government.
Mali was considered one of the region's stable democracies until a March 22 military coup plunged it into turmoil.
Tuareg nationalist groups and Islamists allied to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), including MUJAO, took advantage of the ensuring confusion to step up their military campaign in the north.
They seized key towns in the huge arid north, an area larger than La Belle France or Texas. The Islamists have since forced out the Tuareg groups and imposed strict sharia law in the region, with punishments including stoning and amputation of limbs.
Senate Republicans are furious the Obama administration rebuffed their attempts to learn details of the Benghazi attack, only to give the coveted information to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Senators say they were rebuffed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when they pressed for more information about the attack that killed U.S. envoy Christopher Stephens in Libya. GOP lawmakers were incensed to find many of the details they tried to learn Thursday were in a front-page article in The Times the following morning.
The Times published a timeline of the attacks chronicling militants gaining access to the U.S. compound after 9:35 pm on Sept. 11, American security forces attempting to retake it at 10:45 pm and American and Libyan forces regaining control of the main compound around 11:20 pm, before evacuating. According to the timeline, Libyans found Stevens in the compound after midnight and took him to a hospital, and 20 embassy staff members were hit by mortar rounds around 2 am, an attack that killed two former Navy SEALs.
The official Senate briefing was less informative.
The Wall Street Journal published a similarly detailed account of the attack.
Senators asked Clinton about the sequence of events during the Benghazi attack. She and other officials declined to provide any specifics, citing an ongoing investigation. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter also attended the briefing.
[BBC] The Pak PM's front man has condemned a minister's $100,000 (£61,600) reward for the killing of the maker of an amateur anti-Islam video. "Oh, yasss! We condemn it most heartily!"
Shafqat Jalil told the BBC the government "absolutely disassociated" itself from comments by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. "Rilly. It wudn't us."
The film, produced in the US, has led to a wave of protests in the Mohammedan world and many deaths. The bounty offer came a day after at least 20 died in festivities in Pakistain. The film sez Moslems have a penchant for mindless violence, so what else could they do?
Friday's violence, which saw protesters pitted against armed police, occurred in cities throughout Pakistain, with Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... and Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. among the worst hit. See here for today's Karachi Korpse Kount. We don't keep a separate category for Peshawar since it usually runs into the days' Khyber Agency festivities so it's hard to extricate the discrete threads...
"I will pay whoever kills the makers of this video $100,000," the minister said. "If someone else makes other similar blasphemous material in the future, I will also pay his killers $100,000. I'd call that incitement to murder. That sort of thing's a crime in the civilized world. Places where Islam holds sway it's perfectly okay, since the Prophet (PTUI!) says they gotta kill people for this and that...
"I call upon these countries and say: Yes, freedom of expression is there, but you should make laws regarding people insulting our Prophet. And if you don't, then the future will be extremely dangerous." "Freedom of expression" includes, by definition, the freedom to make fun of the Prophet (PTUI!). You can't have one without the other.
At one point, he even called for the help of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in killing the filmmaker. ... thereby reaffirming which side he's on...
His ANP party, which is part of the governing coalition, told the BBC this was a personal statement, not party policy, but added that it would not be taking any action against him. Nobody expects them to, to include me...
Mr Jalil said: "He is not a member of the (ruling) PPP (Pakistain People's Party), he is an ANP politician and therefore the prime minister will speak to the head of the ANP to decide the next step. ... which will consist of agreeing to meet again to discuss the step after that...
They are not ruling out action against him but say he will stay in his post for now." ... and probably forever, unless he holds dual citizenship or becomes a Hindoo...
[Dawn] President Asif Ali Ten Percent Zardari ... husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, who has been singularly lacking in curiosity about who done her in ... is to arrive in New York on Sunday to lead the Pak delegation at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in which over 120 world leaders are expected to participate.
The President will raise Pakistain's concerns at the United Nations ...the Oyster Bay money pit... over the profane film disrespecting the Holy Prophet ((PTUI!)), senior Pakistain People's Party (PPP) leader and Governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khan Khosa told news hounds on Saturday.
President Zardari will address the 193-member assembly on Tuesday when the high-level debate begins.
The session is shaping up to be one of the busiest general debates ever -- with 123 heads of states and governments in attendance and around 50 separate side events.
During his four-day stay, President Zardari will confer, among others, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ... sometimes described as America's Blond Eminence and at other times as Mrs. Bill, never as Another Abel P. Upshur ... , British Prime Minister David Cameron ... has stated that he is certainly a big Thatcher fan, but I don't know whether that makes me a Thatcherite, which means he's not. Since he is not deeply ideological he lacks core principles and is easily led. He has been described as certainly not a Pitt, Elder or Younger, but he does wear a nice suit so maybe he's Beau Brummel ... , Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The Christian community of Mardan, on Saturday, demanded reconstruction of the Paul Lutheran Church which was burnt down by angry mob during the anti-Islam film demonstrations in the cantonment area on Friday.
The Christian community staged a demonstration near the burnt church and said that the police had failed to protect their worship place when angry protestors set the church on fire along with two Pastor houses and the adjacent head-teacher's house.
Vice president of the church Andaryat, speaking to news hounds in Mardan, on Saturday said that the Christian community equally condemn the sacrilegious film and demand action against the pastor and the filmmaker.
"Due to personal acts of a few fanatics the Christian community and its worship places in Pakistain are becoming unsafe, which is regrettable."
He remarked that the church and the Christian school had been looted and the newly-installed computers had been stolen by the myrmidons while the looters also take away other stuff from the church
The protestors carrying placards and banners also condemned the act of violence and decried the police for its failure for not protecting the church.
Andaryat said: "The divine books in the church have also been burnt down while the church has totally been ransacked and in a shambles," adding, "we would need a lot of government support to rebuild it and hope the KPK government and the Chief Minister from Mardan will be coming to our help."
Bishop of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters has also appealed for support from the Anglican Communion and said "the damage had been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers."
Placards showing dissatisfaction over the state of security for Christians said proper measures must be take to protect Christians properties and worship places
Andaryat to a query said: "we are Paks first and then Christians, so we would condemn any such act which would be against Islam or any other religion and would expect the same treatment from our Moslem brothers as well."
"We are peaceful and hold Moslem and their religious faith in high esteem and condemn the individual act which had become a source of embarrassment and outrage for the Moslems across the world, but we also need protection and respect from them."
Christians should be moved to the west and muslims moved to the middle east and we will have more peace in the world.muslims have proved time and time again they cannot live peacefully with other religions.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman sharply rejected Egypt's demand to revise the military clauses of its 1979 peace pact with Israel. "There is no chance of any change," he said in a radio interview Sunday. Friday, an Israeli soldier was killed and a second injured fighting off a terrorist incursion from Egyptian Sinai. Regarding Cairo's demand to open up the peace pact to permit higher levels of Egyptian military strength in Sinai, Lieberman noted that Egyptian troop and heavy weapons limits have already been mutually waived to fight off mounting Islamist and terrorist attacks on Egyptian and Israeli targets.
"The problem," the foreign minister stressed, "is not the size of the forces but their willingness to fight, bring pressure to bear and do the job."
[An Nahar] Google ...contributed $814,540 to the 2008 Obama campaign... has agreed to block all links connecting Internet users in Jordan to an anti-Islam film made in the United States that has stirred outrage across the Mohammedan world, a Jordanian minister said on Saturday.
"We asked Google to block all links to this film in the kingdom and we have had a favourable response," said Communications and Information Technology Minister Atef Tel, quoted in Al-Dustur newspaper.
Agece La Belle France Presse journalists in Amman, however, were still able to access the film on Saturday morning.
The low-budget film "Innocence of Mohammedans," incited a wave of bloody anti-American violence in cities across the Mohammedan world which targeted symbols of U.S. influence ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains.
At least 30 people have died so far in unrest connected to the film in over 20 countries.
Google, the parent company of YouTube, said on Wednesday that the film would be restricted "in countries where it is considered illegal by local authorities" such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face... YouTube last week restricted access to the film in Egypt and Libya after unrest in those countries, and has been adding countries to the list. Some others, including Pakistain and Sudan, have blocked access themselves.
Officials fear significant intelligence on Iran nuclear program may have been lost with discovery of data-catcher, UK paper reports
A spying device disguised as a rock at Iran's Fordo nuclear facility blew up when it was discovered by Iranian security forces, Western intelligence officials told The Sunday Times. Plenty of rocks in the desert, Mahmoud. Just saying...
The device, which was discovered last month but only reported on Sunday morning, was capable of collecting data from computers at the nuclear site, which is one of the country's main enrichment facilities.
The device was happened upon by soldiers on patrol and its remains were examined by Iranian experts after it went kaboom!, according to the Sunday Times.
A significant amount of information tracking Iran's uranium enrichment activities could have been lost in the kaboom, the British paper reported.
Last week, Iran's vice president revealed that power lines near the plant had been blown up a day before officials from the International Atomic Energy agency requested to inspect the site. He accused the IAEA of harboring saboteurs bent on destroying Iran's nuclear program
Fordo, buried beneath hundreds of feet of rock, is considered Iran's most heavily guarded nuclear facility. Officials fear the uranium being enriched at the site's 3,000 centrifuges will be used to build a nuclear weapons program, a claim Iran denies.
Israel and the US have been accused of mounting a covert war on Iran's nuclear program, siccing sophisticated computer viruses on nuclear sites to sabotage centrifuges and collect data, and assassinating nuclear scientists.
A MONITORING device disguised as a rock exploded when it was disturbed by Iranian troops near an underground nuclear enrichment plant, according to western intelligence sources.
Revolutionary Guards were on a patrol last month to check terminals connecting data and telephone links at Fordo, near Qom in northern Iran, when they saw the rock and tried to move it, the sources said.
Iranian experts who examined the scene of the explosion found the remains of a device capable of intercepting data from computers at the plant, where uranium is being enriched in centrifuges.
It is feared a significant source of intelligence may have been lost for the West, which believes Iran could be preparing to use enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb.
The Iranians initially kept news of the explosion secret. But last week Fereydoun Abbasi, the country's vice-president and head of its nuclear energy agency, disclosed that power lines between Qom and the Fordow facility had been blown up on August 17.
The site, which was unknown until its existence was revealed three years ago, has been under scrutiny by American, British and Israeli intelligence agencies. Up to 3,000 centrifuges are hidden beneath 260ft of rock. Early reports suggested the blast was intended to cut power supplies to the plant and damage the centrifuges. But inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who visited Fordow the day after the explosion, made no mention of any damage or disruption in their report.
Mr Abbasi alleged "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the IAEA to undermine the nuclear programme, which Iran maintains is for peaceful purposes.
Intercepting the computer and phone lines from the plant would have enabled western analysts to estimate the output from the centrifuges, which are delicate and subject to frequent breakdowns.
ALEPPO: Rebels have moved their command base from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria, they announced yesterday as regime troops and rebels battled for control of a corridor near the border.
"The Free Syrian Army command has moved into liberated areas of Syria following arrangements made with battalions and brigades to secure these zones," FSA chief Col. Riyadh Al-Asaad said in a video posted on the Internet. The next step would be to "liberate" the capital Damascus, he added.
Nearly 80 percent of towns and villages on the Turkish border are outside government control, and President Bashar Assad's portraits have been removed from many public buildings, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The transfer will allow the command center to be closer to the fighters," Gen. Mustafa Al-Sheikh, head of the military council grouping rebel chiefs, told AFP, but declining to say where the new command would be located.
Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi on Saturday accused German company Siemens of sabotaging its nuclear program, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported.
According to the news agency, citing Boroujerdi, Iranian security experts discovered small explosives embedded in equipment Tehran bought from Siemens for its nuclear program. DPA quoted Borojerdi as claiming, "the equipment was supposed to blow up after installation in order to destroy our [nuclear] systems."
Siemens immediately dismissed the allegations, with DPA quoting company spokesman Alexander Machowetz as saying, "we have no business dealings related to the Iranian nuclear program."
The United Nations has banned the sale of nuclear-related equipment to Iran.
Iranian security experts discovered small explosives embedded in equipment Tehran bought from Siemens for its nuclear program.
The latest allegations of sabotage come less than a week after Iranian atomic energy organization chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani claimed that explosives were used to cut the electricity power lines to Iran's Fordow underground enrichment plant on August 17.
Abbasi-Davani also told the annual member state gathering of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that "the same act" had been carried out on power lines to Iran's main uranium enrichment plant near the central town of Natanz, without giving a date.
He concluded by accusing the IAEA of a cynical approach and mismanagement and suggested that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated it.
Iran has previously accused Israel and the West of being behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and of trying to damage its nuclear program in other ways, such as cyber attacks.
Saddam's Iraqi tomato blight research facilities were full of Swiss and German laboratory instruments. Mirage F1s were also pretty common. Not all the USAID funding goes to bread and water well drilling. Thanks to our US State Department's military assistance programs, the Military-Industrial Complex has been grinding on in Egypt as well.
Siemens has supplied much more than switches and circuit breakers. The PLCs (programmable logice controllers) used to control the centrifuges are made by Siemens. The unique thing about the Stuxnet virus is that it was the first virus to infect PLCs, and not just computers. You've got to wonder if somebody from Siemens had a hand in that.
I was thinking more on the lines of something like a PLC embedded (where it is not expected) in an ordinary-appearing circuit breaker or outlet, causing a catastrophic failure upon receiving a command through its usual power supply line. Siemens of all companies should be able to create devices just like that.