MI6 chief visits Mossad for talks on Iran’s nuclear threat

THE head of MI6, Sir John Scarlett, is to visit Israel later this month as Britain forges closer links with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

Iran’s nuclear programme is expected to be high on the agenda in an intelligence-sharing process described by Israeli officials as a “strategic dialogue”. It is building on long-standing cooperation between MI6 and Mossad, both of which have extensive spy networks in the Middle East.

Scarlett, 59, is likley to be briefed by Meir Dagan, 63, the head of Mossad, on Israel’s latest information about the Iranian nuclear programme. It is understood that Israel has made a breakthrough in intelligence-gathering within Iran.

There is mounting concern in Israel that Iran’s nuclear capability may be far more advanced than was recognised in a declassified assessment by the US National Intelligence Estimate last December, which concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons development programme in 2003 in response to international pressure.

One source claimed the new information was on a par with intelligence that led Israel to discover and then destroy a partly constructed nuclear reactor in Syria last September.

Israeli officials believe the US will revise its analysis of Iran’s programme. “We expect the Americans to amend their report soon,” a high-ranking military officer said last week.

Israel’s foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, briefed Gordon Brown and David Miliband, the foreign secretary, on Israel’s findings during talks on the Middle East in London last week. Israeli intelligence officers, en route from Washington where they had been outlining their latest information to American officials, joined Livni for the briefing.

It is thought that if Israel were considering military action against Iran over its nuclear programme, it would want to ensure it had diplomatic support in London and Washington because of the danger of triggering a wider Middle East conflict.

“We’re doing a lot of things about Iran,” Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, said last week. “We say we shouldn’t rule out any option. Not ruling out options means action, but the worst thing to do at the moment is to talk [about it].” Whitehall officials said Scarlett’s visit was “routine”.

May 4, 2008
Uzi Mahnaimi

Source: The Times

Israel preparing to bomb Iran N-sites

The commander of the Israeli Air Force says the regime’s decision makers have been preparing plans to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities.

General Eliezer Shkedi, who also heads the Israeli task force on Iran, made the remarks in an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

A large portion of Shkedi’s service has been dedicated to the preparation for a possible mission that was never discussed in public; an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, should international economic sanctions fail, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on Monday.

Shkedi spoke of a mission in 1981, when Israeli war planes attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq.

He went on to say that today the Israeli decision makers are faced with a similar choice about Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli and US officials accuse Iran of seeking nuclear bombs.

Iran, a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), maintains that its nuclear activates are solely aimed at peaceful purposes.

Tehran has warned Tel Aviv of a crushing response, in case the regime launches an attack on the Islamic Republic.

JS/DT
Tue, 29 Apr 2008 05:06:54

Source: Press TV

Rice Rationing Hits Israel

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Rationing of rice by retail stores has spread as far as Israel since The New York Sun reported on the phenomenon in Northern California last week.

The Blue Square and Supersol supermarket chains have begun limiting purchases of rice, Israeli newspapers said yesterday. Supersol is restricting each customer to “three bags per type of grain product,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Meanwhile, Asian grocery stores seem to be joining their larger wholesale-style competitors in curbing purchases. A supermarket chain which caters to Chinese Americans, 99 Ranch, is imposing two-bag-per-customer limits on most of its 20-pound and 50-pound sacks of rice, according to signs at its store in Cupertino, Calif. That store and others in the chain were selling rice without limitation a week ago.

Read moreRice Rationing Hits Israel

Israel Causes UN Food Aid Relief For Gaza to Halt

Fuel shortage forces UN to halt Gaza food aid

The UN is to halt food handouts for up to 800,000 Palestinians from tomorrow because of a severe fuel shortage in Gaza brought on by an Israeli economic blockade.

John Ging, the director of operations in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees, said there had been a “totally inadequate” supply of fuel from Israel to Gaza for 10 months until it was finally halted two weeks ago. “The devastating humanitarian impact is entirely predictable,” he said.

A shortage of diesel and petrol means UN food assistance to 650,000 Palestinian refugees will stop tomorrow, and aid from the World Food Programme for another 127,000 Palestinians due in the coming days will also be halted.

“The collective punishment of the population of Gaza, which has been instituted for months now, has failed,” said Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East.

Gaza’s streets have largely been emptied of cars, except for those running on the last reserves of fuel, or on cooking gas or used vegetable oil.

Gaza will be high on the agenda at a meeting of donors to the Palestinians in London next Friday. Last year, after Hamas seized full control of Gaza, Israel imposed an economic blockade, preventing exports and allowing in only limited supplies of food, fuel and aid.

Recent militant attacks on Gaza’s crossings, strongly condemned by the UN, have meant a tightening of the closures.

Hours before Gaza’s sole power plant was to shut down, Israel pumped in 1m litres of industrial diesel, enough to last the plant around three days.

Read moreIsrael Causes UN Food Aid Relief For Gaza to Halt

Engineer Charged In Giving Israeli Consulate Nuclear Weapons Documents

MyFoxNY.com — New York — A U.S. Army mechanical engineer has been arrested on charges that he slipped classified documents about nuclear weapons to an employee of the Israeli Consulate.

The arrest of Ben-ami Kadish is being detailed Tuesday by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and FBI officials.

A criminal complaint says the activities occurred from 1979through 1985. Kadish worked at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research,Development and Engineering Center in Dover, N.J.

The complaint says Kadish took home classified documents several times, and the Israeli government worker photographed them in Kadish’s basement.

The documents included information about nuclear weapons, a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet, and the U.S. Patriot missile air defense system.

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2008, 11:35 AM EDT

Source: Fox

Obama, Clinton pledge to defend Israel against Iran


At the debate, Barack Obama (R) said: “An (Iranian) attack on Israel is an attack
on our strongest ally in the region, one whose security we consider paramount. “

PHILADELPHIA (AFP)—The Democratic White House hopefuls vowed Wednesday to defend Israel against any Iranian attack but differed on how to engage the Islamic republic over its nuclear ambitions.

At a televised debate ahead of next Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama agreed that a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable.

Both called for diplomacy but Obama went further in renewing a promise of “direct talks” at a leaders’ level with Tehran, along with other US foes.

Iran should be presented with “carrots and sticks,” the Illinois senator said, while stressing “they should also know that I will take no options off the table when it comes to preventing them from using nuclear weapons or obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“We cannot permit Iran to become a nuclear weapons power,” Clinton said, ruling out any summit talks and condemning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for raising doubts about who really carried out the September 11 attacks of 2001.

Read moreObama, Clinton pledge to defend Israel against Iran

Source: U.S. Strike on Iran Nearing

Contrary to some claims that the Bush administration will allow diplomacy to handle Iran’s nuclear weapons program, a leading member of America’s Jewish community tells Newsmax that a military strike is not only on the table – but likely.

“Israel is preparing for heavy casualties,” the source said, suggesting that although Israel will not take part in the strike, it is expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution.

“Look at Dick Cheney’s recent trip through the Middle East as preparation for the U.S. attack,” the source said.

Cheney’s hastily arranged 9-day visit to the region, which began on March 16, included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, and the Palestinian territories.

Tensions in the region have been rising.

While Israel was conducting the largest homefront military exercises in its history last week, Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned Tehran about expected attacks on the Jewish state.

“An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation,” he said.

He predicted that in a future war, “hundreds of missiles will rain on Israel,” but added that Iran “is definitely aware of our strength.”

Read moreSource: U.S. Strike on Iran Nearing

Despite denials, military still studying clandestine use of blogs

It was revealed this week by Wired that a study written for the U.S. Special Operations Command in 2006 recommended “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers” in order to promote messages favorable to the military. It also raised the possibility of altering an “enemy blog” by hacking to destroy its credibility or use it to spread false information.

The military has downplayed this study as an “academic exercise,” but its conclusions appear to match closely with a strong and growing focus by the Pentagon on what it calls “information warfare.”

Underlining this interest, this past January former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resurfaced for the first time in over a year to address a conference on “Network Centric Warfare.” He complained that Islamic radicals are winning the propaganda battle against the United States and proposed a “21st-century agency for global communications” that would tell the American side of the story, using resources ranging “from blogs to online social-networking sites to talk radio.”

During the question session afterward, Rumsfeld suggested again that “a new agency has to be something that would take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that exist today. There are multiple channels for information . . . The Internet is there, blogs are there, talk radio is there, e-mails are there. There are all kinds of opportunities.”

Until recently, the popular concept of information warfare primarily involved hacking or denial of service attacks deployed against blogs and websites in order to convey a political statement.

For example, at the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were reports of widespread hacking of both military and commercial websites. According to ZDNet, “most notably, the US Navy Web site was hacked by an activist called Apocalypse. The message posted on the site read: ‘No War, U.S.A think they can tell the world what to do.'” A few months later, several NASA sites were similarly hacked by Brazilian anti-war protesters.

Read moreDespite denials, military still studying clandestine use of blogs

Report: Syrian reservists called up for fear of Israeli strike

London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quotes sources in Damascus as saying Syria views Israeli media reports, IDF commanders’ statements as incitement, attempt to prepare public opinion for war. According to report, Syrian army on heightened alert, conducting wide-scale drills

Syria is preparing for a comprehensive Israeli strike which will be combined with an attack on Hizbullah, sources in Damascus have told the London-based Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

The sources, which refused to reveal their identity, reported that Syria was closely monitoring the movement of Israeli forces along the northern border.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that Damascus viewed the Israeli media reports and statements made by senior Israel Defense Forces officials as incitement and attempts to prepare the Israeli and global public opinion for a war against Syria.

The sources added that the Syrian forces were conducting wide-scale military maneuvers and have called up reservists in preparation for an Israeli attack.

Read moreReport: Syrian reservists called up for fear of Israeli strike