Saturday, August 30, 2008



Moscow halts Iran cooperation with US, will complete Bushehr reactor

DEBKAfile Special Report

August 30, 2008, 7:32 PM (GMT+02:00)

Bushehr nuclear reactor to be ready to go by end of 2008

Bushehr nuclear reactor to be ready to go by end of 2008

The Georgia quarrel has all but derailed US-Russian cooperation on the Iran issue. Moscow is not only pulling out of the diplomatic and sanctions front against Iran’s nuclear program; according to DEBKAfile’s Russian sources, Moscow has decided to finally finish building Iran’s nuclear reactor in the southern town of Bushehr before the end of the year, after holding back for five years at Washington’s insistence.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin said in reference to the impact of the Georgia row on US-Russian cooperation on Iran Thursday, Aug. 28: “If nobody wants to talks with us on these issues and cooperation with Russia is not needed, then for God’s sake, do it yourself.”

Moscow has now committed to completing the reactor within four months. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the functioning plant will enable Iran to operate a heavy water plant and produce plutonium as an alternative to enriched uranium for building a nuclear bomb. Tehran had originally counted on the Syria’s North Korean reactor at al Kibar for plutonium. It was demolished by Israel last September.

Putin’s sharp comment means the West can forget about Russian support for another round of harsh sanctions to punish Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. He made it clear that Western nations will have to resolve the standoff without Russian help if they refuse to cooperate with Moscow on Georgia.

The Russians have lost no time in following through on their threat. This week, they are sending the head of their Nuclear Energy Board, Sergei Kireinko, to Tehran at the head of a large delegation. They will stay for at least ten days to clear away the problems for getting the Bushehr reactor up and running by the end of 2008.


Dutch sabotage agent recalled from Iran over “impending” US attack - report

DEBKAfile Special Report

August 30, 2008, 5:36 PM (GMT+02:00)

America's largest unmanned aerial vehicle

America's largest unmanned aerial vehicle

A Dutch AIVD Secret Service ultra-secret operation underway in Iran in recent years has been halted and an agent recalled in view of “impending US plans to attack Iran,” within weeks, writes Joost de Haas, known for his good intelligence contacts, in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

The AIVD operation aimed to infiltrate and sabotage the weapons [and nuclear] industry in the Islamic Republic.

According to intelligence sources in the Netherlands, the US [or Israel] was expected to make a decision within weeks to attack nuclear plants with unmanned aircraft, used to avoid risking the lives of air crews and warplanes.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report this would be the first time drones operated by remote control were used against major strategic targets, necessary in Israel’s case to hold its air fleet and flight crews ready to defend the country against reprisal from Iran’s allies. Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah have stockpiled thousands of rockets for this purpose.

The Iranian targets to be bombed would include also military installations brought to light partly by the Dutch espionage operation, described by De Telegraaf as extremely successful. “One of the agents was able to infiltrate the Iranian industry” and for years shared information with the American CIA. “Various supplies could also be sabotaged and stopped. These were parts for missiles and launching equipment.”

According to DEBKAfile’s sources, the expectation disclosed by the Dutch newspaper would explain the fresh spate of threats from Iran.

Thursday, Aug. 28, Iranian sources told the London-based Arabic al Quds that Tehran had recently transferred to Hizballah new long-range rockets capable of hitting every inch of Israeli soil with great accuracy.

They were to be fired if Israel or the United States attacked Iran.

Dep. Chief of General Staff Masus Jazairi said Saturday, Aug. 30, that any attack on Iran would mean the beginning of a new world war. He said the “greed of the US and Zionists” is gradually leading the world to collapse as demonstrated in Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus.

DEBKAfile’s Iran sources report a shakeup is in progress in the Islamic Republic’s top military command.

Amir (Maj. Gen.) Seyed Abdollrahim Mousavi was named acting chief of staff

of the armed forces – a new post created as backup in case the army chief comes to harm in combat.

Amir Mohamad Hosseyn Dadras becomes deputy chief of staff for coordination.

Amir Reza Pourdastan is the new commander of the army’s ground corps.


Jewish Republicans, Alaska Jews warm to choice of Palin

Jewish politicians who have worked with Alaska's first term Governor Sara Palin speak well of her ties to the community and support for Israel.
Updated 08/28/08 22:39 Israel time
Jewish politicians who have worked with Alaska's first term Governor Sara Palin speak well of her ties to the community and support for Israel, even though she has never visited the country and backed Pat Buchanan in the 2000 election. Jewish Democrats, with a straight face, complain that she has "zero foreign policy experience. Hmmmm. Where have we heard that before? [more]

Report: Israel reaches strategic decision to act to prevent Iranian nukes
Halper: Aim was political, not humanitarian
Updated 08/25/08 09:19 Israel time
Israel will not agree to allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons and will take whatever means are necessary to prevent Teheran from achieving its nuclear goals, the government recently decided in a special discussion. Even though the government would prefer strong sanctions to stop the Iranians, the failure of sanctions to work would not prevent Israel from "acting by any means necessary", Israeli government sources said.


A Look at the Springfield XD 9

By Stephen Camp

Hello. Like many traditionalists, I was wrong in thinking that "plastic guns" would break quickly and not last the test of time. Though I strongly prefer blue steel and old, "out of date" Hi Powers and 1911s, there are many who rather like these "modern" pistols using polymer in place of the traditional steel or aluminum alloy frame. Though there were such pistols before Glock, it was the design that entrenched polymer into the making of handguns.

Of late I've been reading and hearing about a newcomer to this field, Springfield's XD. The pistol's available in a compact version, the service version, and a longer, tactical version and is chambered in 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W. There are rumors of a forty-five in the future.

Some opine that's it's a superior pistol to the Glock, which it obvious emulates while others firmly disagree. I don't know, but decided to add one to my collection and find out. Understand that while I will make observations and give opinions, such are frequently subjective and might not be true for you. This report is a bit more detailed than others I've done as not all of us are so familiar with the XD as we might be other guns. I'm well satisfied that some are considering buying as well.

The 9mm XD proved reliable with a wide number of ammo types.

Specs from Springfield Armory:

Barrel Length: 4.05"

Weight: 25 oz.

Length: 7"

Trigger Pull: 5.5 to 7.7 lbs. (They have the Glock-like safety lever mounted in the trigger, but refer to it in combination with the grip safety as "Ultra Safety Assurance" (USA) action trigger system.

Magazines: 10 round stainless steel "Easy Glide"

Finish: Bruniral

I also took some measurements that might be of interest:

Slide Thickness: 1.04" (Glock 26 measures: 1.003" for comparison.)

Frame Thickness: 1.18"

(Both are at the widest points.)

Barrel Diameter at Muzzle: 0.53" (It holds this diameter rearward for 0.36".)

Barrel Diameter Beyond Above: 0.52:

Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Depressed: 0.01"* (Gun not cocked.)

Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Not Depressed: Same (Gun not cocked.)

Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Depressed: 0.015" (Gun cocked.)

Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Not Depressed: 0.02" (Gun cocked.)

Distance from Middle of Fully Depressed Grip Safety to Middle of Trigger w/o

Depressing Trigger Safety: 2.598"

*When released, the bbl moved back upward as do the Glock barrels when pressed in the same manner.

Unlike the Glock pistol that is close kin to a DAO auto in that pressing the trigger fully cocks and releases the partially cocked striker. When a round's chambered in the XD the striker's fully cocked and blocked by a sear and also has an internal firing pin safety that allows the pistol to fire only when the trigger's in the rearmost position. In this instance, I DO like the internal firing pin safety, as there is no half-cock notch should something go wrong.

The polymer frame around the magazine well, which is beveled on the sides and rear, does not flex, as do the Glocks, not that this really matters in terms of function. The front and rear grip straps are coarsely checkered and do provide for a secure grip. The thumb rests are more like thumb depressions and are actually very comfortable to me? I find the grip angle and grip "feel" more comfortable than any Glock. There is a slight relief cut under the rear of the trigger guard.

The recoil spring system consists of two springs and the dual guide rods are steel. I don't have any idea what strength these amounts to, but am guessing about 18 lbs. This system closely resembles the two-piece system sold by Wolff Gunsprings for the Glock 26. Unlike the Wolff, however, these springs are captive, something I don't like as it makes it more difficult to change out recoil springs. Also, the forward end of the guide rod consists of a flat disc, which protrudes from the front of the slide by 0.06". I'm sure that this prevents any problems or damage to the part, but this does not look all that great to me. Like most pistols these days, Springfield managed to squeeze in three front cocking serrations, so as not to be out of style.

Here's the front of the steel spring guide in its normal position.

The grooved trigger is steel with the safety being polymer. The trigger pull is long, but with a very minimal amount of over travel. Despite this weapon's firing from a fully "cocked" position, the trigger pull feels about the same as that of the standard factory Glock, but maybe not quite as smooth. Whether or not this smooths up with use, I do not yet know. Trigger reset is considerably longer than the Glock; it proved no problem for me as I'm an old double-action revolver shooter and currently shoot Browning Hi Powers quite a lot. Those who are really quick and welded to the 1911's exceptional trigger and short reset might have a problem with this pistol during speed shooting strings. The XD trigger is approximately 0.373" wide, centered in a trigger guard that's about 0.603" wide. This means the trigger's about 0.115" narrower than the trigger guard is on each side. For comparison, I measured my Glock 26 for these dimensions. The trigger measured 0.385" in width centered in a trigger guard that's 0.625" wide. Thus, the trigger is protected by 0.12" of trigger guard on each side. I see no particular "threat" from either being too wide for the trigger guard.

The ambidextrous magazine release is mounted behind the trigger guard ala 1911, SIG-Sauer, Browning HP, et al. Depressing the steel mag release retracts the catch from the notch located in the front of the magazine body. The stainless steel body is very highly polished and smooth as a mirror. It does drop free w/o hesitation. The follower is black polymer as is the magazine floor plate. It loaded smoothly and w/o excessive effort. Rounds stripped by hand did so very smoothly and the follower/spring/lips set up is such that loaded rounds are angled upward for slick feeding. Don't worry about losing this magazine at night. Just shine a flashlight in the general area and it should reflect like a diamond! Nothing bright shows while in the pistol. There is a hollow area behind the magazine well as is the case with the Glock.

The slide release lever looks very similar to the Glock, but is larger and operates the same way.

The pistol's take down lever is mounted on the left, forward side of the frame, but is rotated upward rather than downward for dismantling. It is an easier system than the Glock. Other than this, takedown is quite similar.

An obvious difference in these pistols is that the XD uses an internal extractor that's sort of similar to that of the traditional 1911's. There's a cylinder of steel at the end that fits a recess in the slide to hold it in proper position. This cylinder has a groove cut in it and it appears that the firing pin safety-retaining pin fits in the cylinder portion's groove to keep the extractor in place. At the top rear of the very Glock-like ejection port is the loaded chamber indicator. This pivoting indicator does have what appears to be an extractor-like claw on it, but in checking it with 9mm hulls, it does not appear to aid in extraction. It does not protrude upward enough to interfere with sight picture nor does it present any potential snagging problems.

The extractor is on the cartridge's right side facing forward with the loaded chamber indicator on top. It holds the case firmly.

On the rear grip strap sits the grip safety. Much narrower than the 1911's, it is easy to depress and really isn't even felt at all when preparing to fire. When the pistol's got a round chambered a small pin protrudes from the rear of the slide through the locking plate in a manner similar to the HK P7, but it doesn't protrude nearly so far. With a round in the bbl, but the grip safety not depressed, the slide will move rearward only about 0.12;" call it an eighth of an inch.

Sights are fixed and the common 3-dot style and mercifully, made of steel. SIG-Sauer pistol sights will work in this pistol. Though more durable than the polymer fixed Glock sights, the sight picture's similar with both pistols and both sit on the flat slide top. To me the Glock slide is "cleaner" than the XD. The latter's is wider at the bottom than the top and kind of reminds me of SIG-Sauer P226 and 228 slides.

Ammunition: Four handloads and six factory rounds were tried. They were:

Federal M882 124 gr. FMJ

Speer Lawman 124 gr. TMJ

Federal 115 gr. JHP

PMC Starfire 115 gr. JHP (This load's not offered in anything but 124 gr. now to the best of my knowledge.)

Winchester USA 115 gr. FMJ (This is NOT the same company's "target ammo.")

Remington 115 gr. JHP +P

Handloads included cast, plated, and jacketed bullets. This was done as some will want to reload for this pistol.

124 gr. Hornady XTP

6.0 gr. Unique

Winchester SP Primer

Starline Cases

LOA: 1.11"*

124 gr. Speer GDHP

6.0 gr. Unique

Winchester SP Primer

Starline Cases

LOA: 1.115"*

*(Both of these hit over 1200 ft/sec from Browning Hi Powers.)

124 gr. Rainier Plated RN

6.9 gr. Blue Dot

Winchester SP Primer

Starline Cases

LOA: 1.15"

122 gr. Rucker Cast FP

6.9 gr. Blue Dot

Winchester SP Primer

Starline Cases

LOA: 1.075"

The handloads using Blue Dot average about 1140 ft/sec from Browning Hi Powers and have proven reasonably accurate, something frequently not so easy to find in 9mm pistols.

Shooting: There was no 50-yard shooting today; it was sprinkling off and on between true showers and I stayed dry shooting at the closer distances as the 50 yard range was ankle deep in water. Groups were fired off-hand at 15 yards standing and w/2-hand hold. I did shoot the groups at 25 yards seated and using a rest. The 10-yard rapid-fire group was fired standing w/2-hand hold. Due to the rain, I did NOT chronograph ammunition from the XD today. I'd never fired this pistol before today and had no idea where it would hit so I aimed "dead on" at the 15-yard targets.

Fifteen Yards:

The arrows indicate the position of the first, hand-cycled round compared to the rest of the group.

Twenty-five Yards:

Cast bullets did pretty well out of the XD. The pistol uses does not use polygonal rifling, but has lands and grooves as do most service pistols

Observations: The most obvious one to me was that this particular XD suffers from "first-shot flyer syndrome." The first shot fired (chambered by hand) usually hit a bit low and left from the subsequent group. Until I saw the pattern developing after a few groups, I had thought it was just my shooting. The range master came over and fired with the same results and he is a very fine shot. I'm not sure if this will be common to the gun or just individual specimens.

Feeding, extraction, and ejection were 100% reliable in this admittedly low-round test. The loaded chamber indicator caused no problems that could be seen. Fired cases landed about 5' to my right regardless of their being standard pressure or hotter.

All rounds chambered w/o hesitation.

Recoil from any service-size handgun in 9mm is not much and this gun proved no different. I did note more muzzle flip than expected, but whether this has to do with its bore axis being 1.79" above the middle of the trigger, grip angle or a combination, I don't know. (On the Glock 26, the same measurement yielded 1.48".) The XD bbl was conventionally rifled, having lands and grooves and appeared to be a 1:10 twist.

This pistol hit a bit high for me. Switching to a 6 O' Clock hold helped, but it is still on the high end on POI. Windage seemed about right out of the box and while I prefer plain black on black fixed sights, these were not hard to use.

I found this pistol "hard" to shoot accurately in slow-fire @ 15 and 25 yards but got a little better as the testing proceeded. While I had no scales by which to measure the trigger-pull, it did not seem that much different than the Glock, although it did seem less "smooth." I could get decent groups, but had to work/concentrate for them more so than with some other pistols. In rapid-fire, I could tell no difference between this pistol and a Glock in terms of getting good hits.

Certainly, this pistol would need to be shot more before I'd consider it for self-defense use and I plan to use it as a "loaner" in CHL class I teach as well as personally shoot it quite a bit. Should there be dramatic changes, I will report them, good or bad. I have no idea how this gun's dark rust-resistant finish will hold up compared to the Glock's tennifer. Time will tell and so will I.

A personal concern that I've had with striker-fired pistols is reliability in firing "hard primered" rounds. I recall some Greek surplus 9mm that was not recommended for Glocks due to this. I checked primer strikes with CCI, known for harder primers, a military Federal load, and a +P Remington load. Though not definitive, it does show reasonably well-centered strikes along with some cratering and firing pin "wipe." This caused no problems, but I'd sure be sure of my ammunition, not only in feeding/extraction, but also in firing.

This particular XD9 was reliable with lots of varied ammunition, but was reliably unreliable with Glaser Safety Slugs. I suspect that has to do with the recoil impulse of this particular light bullet, high velocity load. With standard 115 to 124-gr. bullets at standard and +P velocities, there were no problems. Not many of these expensive Glaser rounds were fired due to cost, but all failed to extract. Always test a potential defense handgun with the ammo you intend to use.

It's my opinion after looking the gun over pretty closely that its intrinsic accuracy potential is there, but I had a somewhat challenging time in practically being able to get it due to the trigger. Part of this is just me. I can usually be found shooting light, crisp 1911 triggers or very nice BHP triggers. However, some more practice and familiarization with the XD might result in some tighter groups.

So what's it good for? I think it's obvious that the pistol's meant to be a down-and-dirty defensive tool rather than a match-precision target pistol, but I do think it has the mechanical capability of doing some tight groups with practice and ammo it "likes." If you like holsterless carry and prefer the Glock genre of defensive pistols, this would be the one I'd pick over the Glock. Fully loaded, weight is NOT a problem and I personally find the feel of the XD more comfortable than the Glock 19. (I think the G19 is the best Glock to compare the Service XD to, but I only own one Glock, the G26.) Assuming reliability, I would not hesitate to carry this as a trusted personal defense pistol and think it would be capable of "rescue shots" at 15 yards in my hands right now. However, in a tactical type situation or taking small game, I'd have to go with my 1911s and P35s. This does not mean that I wouldn't take a shot at a jackrabbit 40 yards out, only that I'd have to "work at it" more. I'm sure that this is due to my having used the single-action automatic pretty heavily for just over 3 decades now.

I have no perfect pistols and didn't find it with the Service XD, but I did find a pistol that appears well thought out and reliable for "serious" purposes. As they've become a bit more common, they have gained a pretty respectable following, but just don't appeal to me the way that a more traditional semiautomatic does.




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Job Chapter 37

א אַף-לְזֹאת, יֶחֱרַד לִבִּי; וְיִתַּר, מִמְּקוֹמוֹ. 1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of its place.
ב שִׁמְעוּ שָׁמוֹעַ בְּרֹגֶז קֹלוֹ; וְהֶגֶה, מִפִּיו יֵצֵא. 2 Hear attentively the noise of His voice, and the sound that goeth out of His mouth.
ג תַּחַת-כָּל-הַשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׁרֵהוּ; וְאוֹרוֹ, עַל-כַּנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ. 3 He sendeth it forth under the whole heaven, and His lightning unto the ends of the earth.
ד אַחֲרָיו, יִשְׁאַג-קוֹל-- יַרְעֵם, בְּקוֹל גְּאוֹנוֹ;
וְלֹא יְעַקְּבֵם, כִּי-יִשָּׁמַע קוֹלוֹ.
4 After it a voice roareth; He thundereth with the voice of His majesty; {N}
and He stayeth them not when His voice is heard.
ה יַרְעֵם אֵל בְּקוֹלוֹ, נִפְלָאוֹת; עֹשֶׂה גְדֹלוֹת, וְלֹא נֵדָע. 5 God thundereth marvellously with His voice; great things doeth He, which we cannot comprehend.
ו כִּי לַשֶּׁלֶג, יֹאמַר-- הֱוֵא-אָרֶץ:
וְגֶשֶׁם מָטָר; וְגֶשֶׁם, מִטְרוֹת עֻזּוֹ.
6 For He saith to the snow: 'Fall thou on the earth'; {N}
likewise to the shower of rain, and to the showers of His mighty rain.
ז בְּיַד-כָּל-אָדָם יַחְתּוֹם-- לָדַעַת, כָּל-אַנְשֵׁי מַעֲשֵׂהוּ. 7 He sealeth up the hand of every man, that all men whom He hath made may know it.
ח וַתָּבוֹא חַיָּה בְמוֹ-אָרֶב; וּבִמְעוֹנֹתֶיהָ תִשְׁכֹּן. 8 Then the beasts go into coverts, and remain in their dens.
ט מִן-הַחֶדֶר, תָּבוֹא סוּפָה; וּמִמְּזָרִים קָרָה. 9 Out of the Chamber cometh the storm; and cold out of the north.
י מִנִּשְׁמַת-אֵל יִתֶּן-קָרַח; וְרֹחַב מַיִם בְּמוּצָק. 10 By the breath of God ice is given, and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
יא אַף-בְּרִי, יַטְרִיחַ עָב; יָפִיץ, עֲנַן אוֹרוֹ. 11 Yea, He ladeth the thick cloud with moister, He spreadeth abroad the cloud of His lightning;
יב וְהוּא מְסִבּוֹת, מִתְהַפֵּךְ בְּתַחְבּוּלֹתָו לְפָעֳלָם:
כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֵּם, עַל-פְּנֵי תֵבֵל אָרְצָה.
12 And they are turned round about by His guidance, that they may do {N}
whatsoever He commandeth them upon the face of the habitable world:
יג אִם-לְשֵׁבֶט אִם-לְאַרְצוֹ-- אִם-לְחֶסֶד, יַמְצִאֵהוּ. 13 Whether it be for correction, or for His earth, or for mercy, that He cause it to come.
יד הַאֲזִינָה זֹּאת אִיּוֹב; עֲמֹד, וְהִתְבּוֹנֵן נִפְלְאוֹת אֵל. 14 Hearken unto this, O Job; stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
טו הֲתֵדַע, בְּשׂוּם-אֱלוֹהַּ עֲלֵיהֶם; וְהֹפִיעַ, אוֹר עֲנָנוֹ. 15 Dost thou know how God enjoineth them, and causeth the lightning of His cloud to shine?
טז הֲתֵדַע, עַל-מִפְלְשֵׂי-עָב; מִפְלְאוֹת, תְּמִים דֵּעִים. 16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?
יז אֲשֶׁר-בְּגָדֶיךָ חַמִּים-- בְּהַשְׁקִט אֶרֶץ, מִדָּרוֹם. 17 Thou whose garments are warm, when the earth is still by reason of the south wind;
יח תַּרְקִיעַ עִמּוֹ, לִשְׁחָקִים; חֲזָקִים, כִּרְאִי מוּצָק. 18 Canst thou with Him spread out the sky, which is strong as a molten mirror?
יט הוֹדִיעֵנוּ, מַה-נֹּאמַר לוֹ; לֹא-נַעֲרֹךְ, מִפְּנֵי-חֹשֶׁךְ. 19 Teach us what we shall say unto Him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
כ הַיְסֻפַּר-לוֹ, כִּי אֲדַבֵּר; אִם-אָמַר אִישׁ, כִּי יְבֻלָּע. 20 Shall it be told Him that I would speak? Or should a man wish that he were swallowed up?
כא וְעַתָּה, לֹא רָאוּ אוֹר-- בָּהִיר הוּא, בַּשְּׁחָקִים;
וְרוּחַ עָבְרָה, וַתְּטַהֲרֵם.
21 And now men see not the light which is bright in the skies; {N}
but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.
כב מִצָּפוֹן, זָהָב יֶאֱתֶה; עַל-אֱלוֹהַּ, נוֹרָא הוֹד. 22 Out of the north cometh golden splendour, about God is terrible majesty.
כג שַׁדַּי לֹא-מְצָאנֻהוּ, שַׂגִּיא-כֹחַ; וּמִשְׁפָּט וְרֹב-צְדָקָה, לֹא יְעַנֶּה. 23 The Almighty, whom we cannot find out, is excellent in power, yet to judgment and plenteous justice He doeth no violence.
כד לָכֵן, יְרֵאוּהוּ אֲנָשִׁים; לֹא-יִרְאֶה, כָּל-חַכְמֵי-לֵב. 24 Men do therefore fear Him; He regardeth not any that are wise of heart. {P}

Friday, August 29, 2008


McCain picks Alaska governor as running mate

updated 3 minutes ago

McCain picks Alaska governor as running mate

Sen. John McCain has picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, CNN has learned. The 44-year-old Palin, now in her first term as governor, is a pioneering figure in Alaska, the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state's top political job. full story


Russian admiral: Our Black Sea fleet can destroy NATO’s group in 20 minutes

DEBKAfile Special Report

August 29, 2008, 7:56 PM (GMT+02:00)

Russian Navy missile practice in Black Sea

Russian Navy missile practice in Black Sea

Former Russian Black Sea Fleet commander, Adm. Eduard Baltin was quoted by Moscow media as saying Friday, Aug. 29: “Despite the apparent strength of the NATO naval group in the Black Sea… a single salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group. Within 20 minutes, the waters would be clear.”

Adm. Baltin added: "We will not strike first, and they do not look like people with suicidal tendencies."

The Russian Fleet deploys 16 warships in the Black Sea compared with 10 NATO vessels – three American, Polish, German and Spanish frigates, and four Turkish warships, soon to be augmented by another six, including the USS Mount Whitney, which is considered one of the most advanced warships in the world.

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino rejected Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin’s assertion that US personnel were in the combat zone during the war in Georgia and “someone in the United States” provoked the conflict to help one of the candidates in the American presidential race.

In his first major remark since the Georgian crisis erupted, Putin quoted information provided by the Russian military but offered no evidence. Perino called his allegations “patently false and “not rational.”



Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Is McCain's VP Pick: Source

Posted By:John Harwood

By John Harwood , CNBC Political Correspondent | 29 Aug 2008 | 09:24 AM ET

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a self-styled "hockey mom" who has only been governor for a little over a year, is GOP Presidential candidate John McCain's choice for Vice President, CNBC has learned.

According to a Republican strategist, Palin is the nominee, though McCain's campaign has not comfirmed this.

With an announcement scheduled in Dayton, Ohio, an associate of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the governor had been informed he is not McCain's pick.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for Pawlenty, who had all but ruled himself out.

"I'm not going to be there. I plan to be at the state fair. You can draw your conclusion from that," Pawlenty said on his weekly call-in radio show on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.

He also called it "a fair assumption" that he will not be McCain's running mate.

Associates close to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were saying the same thing, telling The Associated Press that the former presidential candidate had not been offered the job by McCain.

Palin is a first-term governor credited with reforms of her out-of-the-way state.

Newly minted Democratic nominee Barack Obama is making an aggressive play for the traditional GOP stronghold and its three electoral votes, and polls show the race close.

At 44, Palin is younger than Obama and, like McCain, she calls herself a maverick.

A Gulfstream IV from Anchorage, Alaska, flew into Middletown Regional Airport in Butler County near Cincinnati about 10:15 p.m. Thursday, said Rich Bevis, airport manager.

He said several people came off the plane, including a woman and two teens, but there was no confirmation of who was aboard.

"They were pretty much hustled off. They came right down the ramp, jumped in some vans here and off they went," Bevis said. "It was all hush, hush."

Among the other possible running mates: former Pennsylvania Gov.Tom Ridge, Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and former Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio.

The Arizona senator decided on his choice for vice president early Thursday, but the campaign has given no hint on the selection that will be announced on his 72nd birthday.

The speculation sent a buzz throughout Denver, where Obama accepted his party's nomination and put Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware on his ticket.

Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's communications director, gave nothing away during an interview on CBS' "The Early Show."

"John McCain is going to make the choice from his heart. He's going to choose someone who can be a partner in governing. He's going to choose someone who brings character and principle to the table and who shares his priorities. And I'm confident that he's going to make a great pick," Hazelbaker said.

Republicans kick off their national nominating convention next week in St. Paul, Minn., and McCain's campaign hopes the announcement of his running mate will stunt any momentum Obama might get from the just-concluded Democratic National Convention.

McCain was mum on the subject Thursday as he and his wife, Cindy, boarded a plane in Phoenix bound for Dayton.

—AP contributed to this report


Pakistan’s Government Collapses

August 29, 2008 | From

Political chaos and Islamist violence increases in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s five-month-old coalition government collapsed August 25 after its second-largest party pulled out of the ruling coalition. Not only does this worsen the country’s political crisis, but it will likely make the government even more ineffective in bringing Islamist terrorists under control in Pakistan.

If there was any doubt that a common dislike of President Pervez Musharraf was the only thing holding the fragile government coalition together, that was confirmed when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (pml-n) withdrew from the government just days after Musharraf’s forced resignation. Sharif accused the senior coalition partner, Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (ppp), of failing to honor promises to reinstate judges ousted by Musharraf.

The ppp should still be able to retain power by cobbling together smaller parties to form a new coalition government. Rivalry between the two main parties continues over who will be Pakistan’s president, though it is expected that Zardari, who is Benazir Bhutto’s widower, will likely win the post.

Just hours before the pml-n announced its decision to withdraw, the government banned several groups affiliated with the Taliban movement. The ban, however, does not include all Taliban groups, but only those the state has lost control over and that are connected to foreign terrorists. As such, according to Stratfor, it is no more than a formality, since it is difficult for anyone to distinguish between the various types of Taliban.

Moreover, with the pml-n sitting on the opposition benches, the government may find itself even more hamstrung than it has already been in taking effective action against the worsening Islamist insurgency in Pakistan. Sharif’s party had been pushing for negotiated settlements with militants and, as such, it is likely to try and thwart any tough moves against militants by the government.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have become increasingly bold, claiming responsibility for a wave of suicide attacks over recent days.

Record Islamist violence last year was followed by a brief lull following peace agreements made between the government and terrorist groups this February. True to form, it appears the terrorists only used that respite to prepare for more intensive attacks: In the last couple weeks, several suicide bombings have killed more than 100 people. On August 21, two suicide bombers attacked Pakistan’s biggest weapons factory, close to the capital of Islamabad, killing at least 67 people and wounding more than 200. A Taliban group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was one of the most violent incidents in the country’s history. In the latest attack, on Thursday, a bomb blew up a police bus in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 10 people.

Meanwhile, the offensive over recent weeks by Pakistani security forces against Islamic extremists in the northern Swat valley and in Bajaur, which has displaced thousands, is further turning public opinion against the state and its use of force against the Taliban.

A politically unstable Pakistan where Islamist terrorists are getting the upper hand means that the United States and nato are going to find it increasingly hard going in Afghanistan. Read “Democracy, Negotiations and Casualties” for more.


Cindy McCain's Half Sister: "I'm Voting for Barack Obama"

Thursday August 28, 2008

John McCain and Cindy McCain

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images; Ted Robbins/NPR
Buzz up!

Cindy McCain's half sister is planning on voting for Barack Obama, she tells

"I'm not voting for McCain," Kathleen Hensley Portalski tells Us. "I have a different political standpoint.

"I'm voting for Obama," the Phoenix resident says. "I think his proposals to improve the country are more positive and I'm not a big war believer."

Portalski, 65, and the potential first lady, 54, have the same father: Jim Hensley, the founder of the beer distributor Hensley and Co. that Cindy McCain now chairs.

In an interview with NPR News' All Things Considered last week, Portalski said she felt "like a non-person" after Cindy McCain described herself as an "only child."

Portalski's mother is Hensley's first wife; Cindy McCain's mother, Marguerite Hensley, also had another daughter from her first marriage.

"She's kinda cool, standoffish," Portalski tells Us of her half sister.

Portalski also doesn't expect Cindy McCain to make an effort to reconcile their relationship.

"She never has, and I doubt that she ever will," she tells Us.

Portalski's son Nathan, a 45-year-old aerospace machinist, is also backing Obama.

"I wouldn't vote for John McCain if he was a Democrat," he tells Us. "I would not vote at all before I'd vote for him.

"I question whether Cindy is someone I'd want to see in the White House as first lady," he adds.


Previewscreensnapz001-11It comes as no huge shock to hear that the on-air bickering that has characterized MSNBC's coverage of the Democratic convention has carried over into behind-the-scenes tension and backbiting. The reports poured in last night. Politico quoted a "high-ranking journalist" who said "the situation at our channel is about to blow up." Jossip reported that both staff and top brass believe network host Keith Olbermann is way out of bounds in bashing other anchors.

And the Wall Street Journal quotes former MSNBC host Connie Chung thusly: "Grow up! They have to just grow up." Whose fault is all this? Probably MSNBC chief Phil Griffin, whose staff (judging from all the reports) have a hard a time trusting. Well, he is the fellow who keeps rather ridiculously insisting MSNBC isn't becoming the left-wing Fox News. But the Journal has found another guilty party: Tim Russert, who had to go and die:

The sudden death this summer of NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, who made frequent appearances on MSNBC, removed a political and temperamental rudder for the network. Mr. Griffin has tried to fill the power vacuum since, struggling to shepherd the network's big personalities through a period of transition.

"Struggling" is putting it mildly. The Democratic convention should be a crowning moment for the resurgent cable news network, which has otherwise been an also-ran since its founding 12 years ago. A little sparring would be one thing; conflict can goose ratings, even when it's wantonly self-indulgent.

But this is just a mess. Host Chris Matthews has oscillated wildly between cranky scolding of his coworkers and obsequious near-groveling to the Hillary Clinton supporters who detest him. Both of Joe Scarborough's high-profile rants were too long and tiresome to add spice. And half of what Olbermann says seems to end up on microphone accidentally. Now even shiny new anchor Rahel Maddow is being drawn into the muck (Jossip reports some staff demand she be more of an Olbermann partisan).

MSNBC needs more yelling (at misbehaving anchors) off the air and less yelling on it. Unless this fighting sends ratings through the roof. In that case, by all means, continue.


Muslims in fed terror probe making donations to Obama
Will candidate follow other Dems who gave back jihad-tied funds?

Posted: August 29, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Jamal M. Barzinji

Islamic leaders tied by federal investigators to the radical Muslim Brotherhood in America – including one under active investigation for alleged terror-financing – have recently donated to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for president, according to Federal Election Commission records reviewed by WND.

Jamal M. Barzinji earlier this year gave Obama $1,000, a gift that records show has not been returned. Other Democratic candidates, including Rep. Jim Moran, have refunded donations from Barzinji since federal agents raided his Virginia home and offices in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Obama's top Muslim adviser resigned earlier this month over controversy surrounding his ties to an alleged Muslim Brotherhood front connected to Barzinji, who heads a network of Islamic charities and businesses.

Barzinji remains at the center of an active federal investigation into terrorist financing that involves recently convicted terrorist supporter Sami al-Arian. A grand jury is still hearing the widening case in Northern Virginia.

A federal court affidavit alleges "Barzinji is not only closely associated with PIJ (as evidenced by ties to al-Arian, including documents seized in Tampa), but also with Hamas." The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or PIJ, and Hamas are two known terrorist groups outlawed by the U.S.

Barzinji in November 2000 was arrested and charged with domestic abuse and resisting arrest, according to Fairfax County Police Department criminal records.

Nancy Luque, a Washington-based lawyer for Barzinji, says her client does not support terrorism and that the government is conducting a witch hunt. Barzinji has not been charged with a crime in the years-long probe.

According to recently declassified FBI documents posted by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Barzinji and another board member of an Islamist think tank in Herndon, Va., were listed among "members and leaders of the IKHWAN."


Lawsuit questions Obama's eligibility for office

Citizenship claim at issue

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pennsylvania's former deputy attorney general and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter Philip J. Berg has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania accusing presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of lying about his U.S. citizenship, which would make him ineligible to be president.

Mr. Berg is one of a faction of Clinton supporters who haven't heeded the party's call for unity, filing the suit just days before the opening of the Democratic National Convention, which will nominate Mr. Obama as the party's presidential candidate.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia last week, also names the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission and says Mr. Obama´s mother went to Kenya late in her pregnancy and ended up giving birth there. It also claims that later in life, Mr. Obama declared himself a citizen of Indonesia.

The Obama campaign has firmly said the Illinois Democrat is a natural-born citizen. Last month, the campaign posted on Mr. Obama's Web site a copy of his "certification of live birth." It says he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, two years after Hawaii was named the 50th state.

Mr. Berg said he was contacted about filing the lawsuit by a member or associate of the group PUMA, which was formed to support Mrs. Clinton shortly after she withdrew from the race. Its mission includes denouncing the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama's nomination.

"I really do not believe he is a natural-born citizen," said Mr. Berg, adding that he is not connected with Mrs. Clinton or her campaign.

Just over one-quarter of Clinton supporters say they're now backing Mr. McCain, up from 16 percent in late June, according to a CNN poll conducted after Mr. Obama announced Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., of Delaware, as his running mate. Two-thirds of Clinton supporters are now backing Mr. Obama.

Mrs. Clinton, for her part, encouraged her supporters this week to back Mr. Obama.

"Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines," she said during her address to the convention Tuesday.

Mr. Berg, who says he donated about $200 to Mrs. Clinton's campaign, may represent the fringe of the pro-Hillary faction that hasn't warmed to Mr. Obama.

He has filed suits for clients against President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, claiming they knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks before they happened. He also publicly asked Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Sandra Day O'Connor to disbar themselves for their decision in the controversial 2001 case Bush v. Gore.

Mr. Berg has posted documents on his Web site,, he says back up his claims. But he said he doesn't know where they originated.

Backers of the idea that Mr. Obama isn't a natural-born citizen say Mr. Obama's certification of live birth doesn't quell the issue. They say a certification can be obtained after birth.

But the Hawaii State Department of Health said Monday that there is no difference between a certificate and a certification of live birth in the eyes of the state. For instance, either can be used to confirm U.S. citizenship to obtain a passport or state ID, said Alvin Onaka, a research and statistics officer at the Department of Health.

In Hawaii, only the person named on the certificate or his family can request the certificate of live birth.

Several fact-checking groups, such as and have determined that the certification posted on Mr. Obama's Web site is authentic.

Mr. Obama's opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has faced questions about his qualification as a "natural-born citizen" as well.

Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father, a Navy officer, was stationed.

Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general who is advising the McCain campaign, said in February that he's confident Mr. McCain meets the constitutional requirement. Legal scholars say there is no precedent on the subject because all previous presidents have been born within the 50 states or territories that became states.


Kristol: Bush Might Bomb Iran If He ‘Thinks Senator Obama’s Going To Win’»

On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.

However, “if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out,” Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran.

“I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy,” Kristol added. Host Chris Wallace then asked if Kristol was suggesting that Bush might “launch a military strike” before or after the election:

WALLACE: So, you’re suggesting that he might in fact, if Obama’s going to win the election, either before or after the election, launch a military strike?

KRISTOL: I don’t know. I mean, I think he would worry about it. On the other hand, you can’t — it’s hard to make foreign policy based on guesses of election results. I think Israel is worried though. I mean, what is, what signal goes to Ahmadinejad if Obama wins on a platform of unconditional negotiations and with an obvious reluctance to even talk about using military force.

Kristol also suggested that Obama’s election would tempt Saudi Arabia and Egypt to think, “maybe we can use nuclear weapons.” Watch it:

Kristol’s belief that Bush might attack Iran before leaving office is not new. In April, he told Bill Bennett that it wasn’t “out of the question” that Bush would consider such a strike because “people are overdoing how much of a lame duck the president is.”

The claim that Obama’s potential election could force Bush’s hand also isn’t new. Earlier this month, far-right pseudo scholar Daniel Pipes told National Review Online that “President Bush will do something” if the Democratic nominee won. “Should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he’ll punt,” said Pipes.

Both Kristol and Pipes apparently agree with President Bush’s claim in March that McCain’s “not going to change” his foreign policy.


The Next Nuclear Superpower

Are the nuclear warheads America is storing in Europe about to come under German control? By Andrew Miiller

Germany has a nuclear arsenal that includes approximately 20 b61 nuclear bombs and around 130 other nuclear devices. Of course, the Germans do not actually own these nuclear weapons, but they do keep them and train their fighter pilots how to use them.

These weapons are part of the American nuclear arsenal in Europe. Washington currently has approximately 350 nuclear weapons scattered across Europe in Turkey, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and, of course, Germany.

The release of a confidential U.S. Air Force report in June claiming that U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe are not properly guarded by American security officials sparked a debate in Germany over whether or not these warheads should remain in Germany or be withdrawn. Amid fears that Islamic terrorists could pirate the fissionable material out of some of these bombs, several politicians from the Social Democratic Party and minor opposition parties called for the weapons to be removed to the United States. The ruling Christian Democratic Party and the German Defense Ministry affirmed, however, that they don’t want these nuclear weapons anywhere but where they are right now.

Christian Democrat foreign-policy spokesman Eckart von Klaeden says Germany’s strategy of nuclear deterrence must be preserved and that Germany cannot afford to relinquish nuclear weapons as long as there are nuclear weapons elsewhere in the world (Spiegel, June 23). These comments were echoed by German Deputy Defense Minister Thomas Kossendey in a speech he gave before the German parliament’s lower house in late June defending the strategic asset of American nukes in Germany.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung went even further, saying he wants to keep both the nuclear weapons and several Tornado fighter jets (capable of dropping nuclear bombs) on reserve until at least 2020 for a possible nuclear war.

Comments like these echo remarks made two years ago by former German Defense Minister Rupert Scholz, who said that Germany needed to develop its own national nuclear arsenal as a security measure against terrorist-sponsoring states.

With Iran on the brink of attaining nuclear weapons—not to mention the possibility of nuclear technology falling into the hands of any of several independent terrorist groups—the threat of nuclear war is growing. Some German officials are clearly using this as a pretext for keeping America’s nuclear weapons within their reach—potentially making Germany a nuclear power in its own right.

The Grand Design

Back in July of 1983, Plain Truth editor in chief Herbert W. Armstrong met with Dr. Otto von Habsburg, head of the 700-year-old House of Habsburg and visionary architect of today’s expanding European Union. Here is what Mr. Armstrong related in a July 24, 1983, co-worker letter regarding Dr. Habsburg’s views on European unification: “In my private meeting with him, Dr. Habsburg expressed disappointment that progress on the European reunification had moved so slowly. I expressed the conviction that some totally unexpected world-shocking event could occur suddenly at any time that would high-pressure European nations to go together overnight, adopting the constitution already prepared by the European Parliament. This Parliament, although without substantial power, is composed of leaders who are framing the constitution in advance. He mentioned that there are madmen such as [Libya’s] Gadhafi and [Iran’s] Khomeini who could pull off some startlingly unexpected international act that would press the panic button in Europe.”

If a terrorist-sponsoring nation such as Iran were to conduct a major terrorist strike against Germany or some other European state, the whole continent could unite overnight. That was Dr. Habsburg’s view on the issue. Today, several key members of Germany’s current government are saying they want to keep America’s nuclear weapons around for just such an eventuality.

The threat of Islamic terrorism and the problem of illegal immigration are increasingly driving Germans to right-wing politics. Most of the opposition to the idea of keeping American nuclear power in Germany is coming from the left-wing Social Democrats. The popularity of this party is declining, however, even as the center-right Christian Democrats gain strength. As this trend continues, calls to retain America’s nuclear weapons in Germany will only get louder.

More than this, the voices now calling to retain these nuclear weapons may soon start calling for more control over them. If securing the weapons is too much of a problem for the United States, the Germans may prove willing to fill that role. Both John McCain and Barack Obama, the U.S. presidential candidates, have indicated they will push for Europe to take on a more robust military role on the world scene if elected. It is entirely possible that German security guards could soon be guarding the b61 nuclear weapons already stored on their air force bases.

This scenario is very similar to a worldview espoused by the late Dr. Franz Josef Strauss, long-time premier of the German state of Bavaria and influential Christian Social Union politician. Strauss, who was hailed as the “strongman of Europe” in his day, wrote in his book The Grand Design: “Europe ought to have concentrated all its efforts on developing the defense of its territory on an independent basis. I can well see the day in which America, given the creation of a European nuclear force in which the United States is not itself a participant, would be entirely willing to cooperate with assistance in research and with deliveries of materials. At least such a prospect is more likely than that Washington would find itself willing to give up the American right to veto in an Atlantic nuclear force and thereby risk having this force used against the wishes of the United States.”

It is possible a German-led European Union could develop an independent nuclear force in cooperation with the United States if the next U.S. president endorses the EU accepting more global peacekeeping responsibilities. For a time, this would seem to be a mutually beneficial relationship—Europe and America working together in an attempt to bring about world stability. An end-time flowering of German-U.S. relations is in fact prophesied in the Bible, in Ezekiel 23.

If the U.S. economy collapsed into a major depression, however, this partnership would be quickly stripped of its American half, and a united Europe transformed into the world’s next nuclear superpower by taking over control of U.S. nuclear assets on German soil, added to France’s existing nuclear capability.

Nuclear Holocaust

In the April 1980 issue of the Plain Truth magazine, Herbert Armstrong actually forecasted exactly such an eventuality—that of a nuclear-armed European empire.

“You may be sure the West European leaders are conferring hurriedly and secretly about how and how soon they may unite and provide a united European military force so they can defend themselves!” he wrote. “And so they will no longer have to give in meekly to Russia! And who will they blame for their humiliation and their necessity now to have a united Europe, with a united government, a common currency, and a common military force as great or greater than either the ussr or the U.S.A.? They will blame the United States! And when they are strong enough to assert themselves, they will first attack Britain for standing firm with the U.S., and then they will return a lot of hydrogen bombs the U.S. has stored now in Europe!” (emphasis mine).

As shocking as this scenario may sound, it is prophesied in your Bible. Ezekiel 23 tells of a time when the hypocritical nations of Israel (modern-day America and Britain) will work together with Assyria (modern-day Germany) as lovers. This relationship is prophesied to be short-lived, however, before God raises up the Assyrians against His people in punishment. Prophecies such as Isaiah 10:5-6 speak of Germany being used as the rod of God’s anger against America and Britain. Other passages, such as Matthew 24:21-22, indicate that this punishment will come in the form of nuclear blitzkrieg.

For a more detailed explanation of Germany’s nuclear future, request a free copy of our booklet Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany.