U.S. Cancels Drone Sales to Turkey Over Intel Disclosure to Iran

October 23, 2013
The United States has reportedly cancelled the delivery of 10 unmanned Predator drones to Turkey following Ankara’s disclosure of several Israeli intelligence officials operating in Iran, according to Turkish press reports.

In February 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that Turkey’s state-owned bank, Halkbank, was processing “payments from third parties for Iranian goods.” This included “payments for Indian refiners unable to pay Tehran for imported oil through their own banking system for fear of retribution from Washington.” Separately, the Journal also reported that the Turkish bank was responsible for many of Turkey’s “gas-for-gold” transactions with Iran despite an executive order issued by the Obama administration prohibiting gold payments to the government of Iran. As Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan frankly admitted, Turkey’s “gold exports [to Iran] end up like payments for our natural gas purchases.”

The cancellation of these drones would be another setback for U.S.-Turkey relations, which have cooled in recent months as Ankara grows closer to Hamas and the Iranian regime.

Relations between Turkey and the West hit another speed bump last week when it came to light that Ankara had exposed the identities of up to 10 Iranians working on behalf of the Israelis in 2012.
“This news is particularly concerning in light of Turkey’s ongoing gold exports to Iran and support for the terrorist organization Hamas,” said Roskam, who asked Secretary of State John Kerry in April to sanction a Turkish bank that has reportedly traded gold to Iran in exchange for oil.

Turkey announced late last month that it had awarded a $3.4 billion defense contract to a Chinese firm that has been sanctioned by the United States. The China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC) was selected by Turkish officials to construct an advanced “long-range air and missile defense system,” according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News. Turkey selected CPMIEC over competing bids from U.S. defense firms Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, as well as offers from several Russian and French firms, according to the report. CPMIEC has been sanctioned by the United States for allegedly selling advanced weapons to Iran and Pakistan. It also is believed to have sold chemical weapons to Syria. Terrorism experts said that Turkey is close to qualifying as an official state sponsor of terror.
Washington, which is providing technical and intelligence to Ankara in its fight against autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels, deployed our Predator drones from Iraq to Turkey.


‘Al-Quds’ #Brennan confirmed as CIA director

March 8, 2013

(Many Faces) The Senate confirmed John ‘al-Quds‘ Brennan as director of the CIA on Thursday afternoon. The vote was 63-34.
The Senate voted 63-34 in favor of Brennan, overcoming Republican Senator Rand Paul’s attempt to slow the White House counter-terrorism advisor from becoming the next head of the CIA.
Paul, who spent nearly 13 hours speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, was irate about the reluctance of President Barack Obama’s administration to declare that “targeted killings” of American citizens on US soil were unconstitutional.
Attorney General Eric Holder then clarified the administration’s policy on Thursday and said that Obama would not use his authority to order a drone to kill an American on US soil who was “not engaged in combat.”
With the man in charge of removing references to Islamic terrorism from all government manuals in charge of the CIA, what could go wrong? 

I’d be careful with the critics as well… I can certainly see a hypothetical reason why one would need to kill a US citizen on US soil with a drone. The questioning was too political. I’m no fan of Obama, but I would never limit the possibility for a military to protect it’s citizen in the most effective manner. Rand Paul’s question was what they call a gotcha question.


Report: Iranian drone fed live pictures of Dimona, preps for US-Israel anti-missile exercise

October 14, 2012
(Carl) From the beginning of the story regarding the Iranian drone that was shot down over the Northern Negev last Saturday, I said that if the IDF was telling the truth, the incident did not sound too serious, but if they were not telling the whole truth….

The Times of London is reporting in Sunday’s editions (behind a paywall) that the Iranian drone flew over Israel for more than three hours before it was shot down, and sent back to Iran live pictures of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor and of preparations for the US-Israel joint anti-missile exercise.

The three-hour drone flight was initially downplayed by Israeli officials red-faced over the shocking breach of their airspace.

Even the drone’s ultimate interception by an F-16 jet was botched — it took two tries for the pilot to down the unmanned plane.

An Israeli defense source blamed the drone’s infiltration on its “unfamiliar stealth elements.”

An Israeli military observer asked: “How could we defend this country from thousands of rockets and missiles if we can’t block a single Iranian drone?”

The drone is said to have been a new Shahed-129, unveiled by Tehran last month. It has a range of up to 1,200 miles and a flight duration of 24 hours.

Hezbollah vowed to continue drone surveillance flights.

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, a Hezbollah leader, said in a televised address that the drone was built in Iran, launched in Lebanon, and conducted a reconnaissance of “sensitive and important locations.”

He claimed the Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev desert was one of the sites it overflew.

Hezbollah’s TV station broadcast animated footage detailing the drone’s flight, saying it flew south over the Mediterranean, avoiding detection by Israeli radar before reaching the Gaza Strip.

The drone appears to have flown unseen over Gaza before proceeding to the Negev, where it was shot down. The aircraft had traveled 200 miles, the station claimed.

JPost adds:

Nasrallah claimed the Ayoub drone was designed and manufactured in Iran and assembled in Lebanon, denying reports that the drone was a Russian design.

The Hezbollah leader said the drone was sent as a response to what he referred to as Israel’s violations of Lebanese airspace since 2006.

“This flight was not our first will not be our last, and we give assurances we can reach any point we want. We have the right to dispatch recon planes over occupied Palestine at any time,” Nasrallah said.

But at least one expert is unconcerned

Hezbollah has been flying drones over Israel for years, said Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations, who specializes in drone technology proliferation and the Middle East.

“That it happened again is absolutely insignificant,” he said.

He described Nasrallah’s comments as blustering and largely empty.

“Israel usually tracks these drones as they come across the border and often doesn’t bother to shoot them down,” Zenko said. “They just want to see what Hezbollah thinks it can do.”

Drones like the one shot down on Saturday cannot even be piloted until someone has “line control” of the device, or is at least within 50 kilometers of it, he said.

“To call them rinky-dink would be polite,” he said. “The drones that Iranians display at airshows or that they tout for sale, defense industry press people describe them as crude.”

These drones don’t have “hard points,” or brackets, on which ammunition can be fixed, Zenko said, but they do have the ability to conduct surveillance. It’s unclear if the Iranians have drones that can do surveillance in real time, he added.

That’s easy for him to say. He’s thousands of miles away….


Hezbollah confirms it sent drone downed over Israel

October 12, 2012
A still image taken from Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) video footage shows what they say is a small unidentified aircraft shot down in a mid-air interception after it crossed into southern Israel October 6, 2012. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged on October 11, 2012, sending a drone aircraft which was shot down last weekend after flying some 25 miles (55 km) into Israel. Image taken October 6, 2012. REUTERS/IDF via Reuters TVReuters:

A still image taken from Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) video footage shows what they say is a small unidentified aircraft shot down in a mid-air interception after it crossed into southern Israel October 6, 2012. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged on October 11, 2012, sending a drone aircraft which was shot down last weekend after flying some 25 miles (55 km) into Israel. Image taken October 6, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/IDF via Reuters TV
By Mariam Karouny
BEIRUT | Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:49pm EDT

(Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged on Thursday sending a drone aircraft that was shot down last weekend after flying some 25 miles into Israel.
Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the drone’s parts were manufactured in Iran and it was assembled by members of the Shi’ite Muslim militant movement in Lebanon. He confirmed a statement by Israel’s prime minister earlier in the day saying that Hezbollah was behind the drone flight.


Lebanon claims Obama spying on Israel

October 7, 2012

You might recall that one of the possible origin points for the drone that was downed over the Northern Negev desert on Saturday was Lebanon. Lebanon apparently wants no part of this. They are claiming that the drone was American and that the Israelis downed it by accident.

“The Palestinians don’t have such a sophisticated aircraft. It may have come from Egypt, however, since it flew in from the sea, I believe it came from an American aircraft carrier and was accidently downed,” said former Lebanese General Hisham Jaber a few hours after Israel shot down an unmanned aircraft that violated its aircraft.
Jaber said the drone might have been launched from an American base in Saudi Arabia, and that Israel downed it by accident.

Obama spying on Israel? Hmmm.


Anti-America disillusioned with MSNBC?: No Time for Obama’s Kill List?

June 2, 2012

(fair.org) The New York Times‘ lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama’s drone “kill list” should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama’s criticism of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies “militants” who are targeted for assassination?
But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC. In fact, a far more interesting discussion of these questions can be heard on Fox News Channel.
It’s not all good (LOL) on Fox, naturally. Host Bill O’Reilly and guest Dennis Miller (5/29/12) joked about  whether they were on the kill lists . Geraldo Rivera defended the program on Fox & Friends (6/1/12). Fox “liberal” Bob Beckel did the same on Fox‘s The Five (5/29/12):

To even suggest that somehow there is something wrong with a kill list, for you to suggest that shows you how rabidly anti-Obama you are.

Part of that discussion focused on what the reaction would be if we were reading about George W. Bush’s drone kill list–a contrast that was raised on other Fox shows, and a legitimate one.
That wasn’t just that angle that Fox covered, though. On Special Report (5/30/12), James Rosen looked at the White House’s “fuzzy math” at counting civilian deaths from drone strikes. A Special Report panel (5/29/12) used a soundbite from the ACLU to illustrate criticism from the left.
But what about the channel that would seem the natural place for some of that left-leaning analysis? MSNBC has been mostly quiet. A search of the Nexis news database turns up nothing on Obama’s kill list. The program Morning Joe had one discussion (5/29/12) where the panelists mostly supported the program, though host Joe Scarborough expressed some reservations.
What was more newsworthy? MSNBC‘s prime time shows seemed to have plenty of coverage of “birther” Donald Trump.
And it is worth noting one left-leaning TV host who did present a critical take on the Obama drone program was Current host Cenk Uygur (5/29/12). Some might remember that he briefly hosted a show on MSNBC but left amidst disputes over whether management wanted him to tone it down. Draw your own conclusions.
*Also: Kevin Gosztola has a good piece about drones and media coverage at FireDogLake (6/1/12). And it should be noted that ABC correspondent Jake Tapper (5/29/12) asked some strong questions to White House press secretary Jay Carney, particularly about civilian deaths and how the administration was defining “militants.” As best I can tell, Tapper’s exchange with Carney was not included in any ABC broadcasts, but can be viewed at the link above (starting around the 13:00 mark) hilarious… click the link to (fair.org) and read the comments. There people who used to masquerade as liberals were just America and Israel bashers. Coming out of the closet now a bit because of Obama


Iran Decodes US Drone Intel, thanks to "Do Not Destroy" order from Obama.

April 22, 2012

Our president doesn’t get a second chance. We were so willing to let an unqualified man into the office because of the color of his skin. I’ve never seen so much racism in America in my lifetime. People are feeling frustrated because they see the poor job Obama is doing… and they see how black people think Obama can do no wrong. Was affirmative action of a complete incompetent worth it? Guilt is part of the cycle of abuse. Guilt is why we elected Obama. Guilt is why Obama is afraid to do the right thing and protect technology that shouldn’t be in the hands of terrorists. Yes… we enabled a lot of totalitarian regimes before these freaky Muslim radicals took over. Yes we bought black slaves from Muslims in Africa. The cycle of guilt continues. The Muslims are now developing a remote control.

(OTHER) Iran Decodes US Drone Intel, thanks to “Do Not Destroy” order from Obama.(Fars).Tehran – Senior Iranian military officials announced that the country’s experts have decoded the intelligence gathering system and memory hard discs of the United States’ highly advanced RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft that was downed by Iran in December after violating the country’s airspace.Speaking to FNA, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh revealed some data taken from the aircraft’s intelligence system to discourage his counterparts in Pentagon who had alleged that Iranians would not succeed in decoding the spy drone’s memory and intelligence devices. “This plane is seen as a national capital for us and our words should not disclose all the information that we have very easily.

“Yet, I provide four cues in here to let the Americans know how deep we could penetrate into (the intelligence systems and devices of) this drone,” he added. Hajizadeh stated that the drone parts had been transferred to California for technical works in October 2010, adding that the drone was later transferred to Kandahar, Afghanistan in November 2010 and had a flight in there. The commander said that the drone had experienced some technical flaws in its Kandahar flight in November, but the US experts failed resolve the problems at the time. Hajizadeh added that the RQ-170 was then sent back to an airfield near Los Angeles in December 2010 for tests on its censors and parts, adding that the drone had a number of test flights in there. As a forth cue to prove Iran’s access to the drone’s hidden memory, the commander mentioned that the spy drone’s memory device has revealed that it had flown over Al-Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan two weeks before his death.
“Had we not accessed the plane’s soft wares and hard discs, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve these facts,” Hajizadeh said, reiterating that Iran’s military experts are in full command of the drone intel and hold a good knowledge of the drone parts and programs. The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA’s fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses. The drone is the first such loss by the US. The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The revelation came after Russia and China asked Tehran to provide them with information on the capture US drone.Hmmmm……. Read the full story here.