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Entries in Daily Telegraph (7)


Iran Special: Taking Apart the "Iran's Plan B for a Nuclear Bomb" Scare Story

The Daily Telegraph's not-so-dramatic "dramatic" photograph of the Arak heavy-water plant and reactor under construction (Photo: Digital Globe/Mackenzie Intelligence)

This morning's Page 1 headline in the Daily Telegraph of London proclaims, "Iran's Plan B for a Nuclear Bomb":

Iran is developing a second path to a nuclear weapons capability by operating a plant that could produce plutonium, satellite images show for the first time.

The story, written by four reporters, is dramatic. It is scary.

It also has nothing "exclusive" pointing to the "first time". And it has nothing that comes close to a "Nuclear Bomb".

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Israel-Palestine Live Coverage (2 November): Is Iran Still an "Existential Threat"?

1730 GMT: Following Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's remarks aired by Israelis Channel 2 on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called Abbas's words as "extremely dangerous". 

Abbas had stated that he would consider Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem as Palestine and the rest as Israel. When asked whether he would go to his birthplace - Safed, now a town in northern Israel - Abbas said he would go but wouldn't want to live there. This, automatically brings Abbas's standing on the issue of refugees into question. 


1540 GMT: After Bahrain signed an agreement with UN Relief and Works Agency to build three reconstruction projects worth of $5.4 million, a $25 million sports city project in Gaza City will be launched soon by Qatar, says Palestinian Minister of Sports, Youth, and Culture Mohammed Al-Madhoun.

1400 GMT: Defense official Amos Gilad criticized Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: "Out of the desire for democracy, an appalling dictatorship has emerged inEgypt. There is no dialogue between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Israel's political echelon and there won't be. He won't talk to us." Gilad also warned that the peace treaty with Egypt must be preserved "at any cost".

1220 GMT: Israeli military censure lifted a ban on the publication of an interview made with Nahum Lev, the commander of the operation that ended up killing Abu Jihad, co-founder of Palestine Liberation Organisation, in Tunis in 1988.

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Syria 1st-Hand: From Student and Gap Salesman to Insurgent in Aleppo (Spencer)

Free Syrian fighters in Aleppo (Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

An engaging and English-speaking young sophisticate in shades, Yaman Hamoud divided his time between studying at Aleppo University and earning money in Dubai. He worked as an assistant at the Gap store in Dubai Mall, the acme of the city’s bling culture, next to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

But twice earlier this year, Aleppo University was raided by security forces in response to protests. Among those arrested was a friend who was hung up by his wrists from the ceiling of his cell for three days until the skin broke and rucked up over his hands. Girls were raped, he said.

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Syria Special: The Assad Regime's PR Campaign with British Journalists

Andrew Gilligan of The Daily Telegraph talks about his interview with Syria's President Assad

Amidst the continuing violence in Syria, with more than 60 people reportedly killed in the last 48 hours, we note a move by the Assad regime on the public-relations front.

Access by foreign journalists has been restricted since the uprising began in Syria, with those who do get in, save exceptions such as Nir Rosen and Anthony Shadid, closely monitored by government officials. This does not guarantee presentation of the regime line --- the recent despatch by Liz Sly in The Washington Post, mentioned in EA this week, is highly recommended --- but it does restrict coverage of the protests, clashes, and military operations.

However, President Assad and his advisors have apparently decided this is not enough, as tensions and casualties escalate in cities such as Homs and Hama. In what is far more than a coincidence, they have set out their case to two British journalists, Robert Fisk of The Independent and Andrew Gilligan of The Daily Telegraph.

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Terrorism Weekly: What is Behind Britain's Transportation Alerts?

This is undoubtedly a reminder to the travelling public to be vigilant (although authorities have to be careful: frequent alerts arguably have the opposite effect). However, there is another audience for this alert. In this case the threat is posed not by known terrorists  under surveillance --- about 2000, according to the British intelligence service MI5 ---  but the terrorists who are, in the parlance of Donald Rumsfeld, the “known unknowns". It is a small group or even an individual who has managed to remain under the radar that create concern for obvious reasons.

The message to them is “we are on to you”. Although some terrorists may not be terribly bright, they generally tend to be rational and  thus can be deterred from their plans by a superior show of force or greater vigilance.

Or so the state may hope.

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WikiLeaks and Counter-Terrorism: People of Britain, Uncle Sam is Watching You

From a practical point of view, the idea that the CIA could simply move in and recruit informers in British communities is far-fetched. It also would be extremely bad form for the intelligence relationship between Britain and America. Nevertheless, I have been told of Americans, representing “private interests”, turning up at UK events and expressing interest about the radicalisation of British Muslims.

The likely scenario is one with echoes of the Cold War in which US Government money is being routed through numerous channels to address the perceived UK security threat.

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Afghanistan: Did the International Security Assistance Force Just Back Partition? 


This morning, a Twitter user plugged the following article in The Daily Telegraph of London, "Nato Urged to Allow Partition of Afghanistan":

Robert Blackwill, who was Condolezza Rice's deputy as National Security Adviser in 2003 to 2004, will use a speech at the International Institute of Strategic Studies think tank in London on Monday to call on President Barack Obama to make drastratic changes in the war's objectives.

The result was that America now had 1,000 soldiers deployed for every one of the estimated 100 al Qaeda operatives now believed to be based in Afghanistan and was hemorraging $100 billion a year on the conflict.

He told The Daily Telegraph that the surge of forces launched last year to stabilise Afghanistan was "high likely" to fail and that the death toll in the conflict was too high a price to pay.

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