Iraqi blogger gets beat up by the Mukhabarat; Iranian nuclear neural networks

Ok so Andrew has me doing a couple websites now - the front end of a party supply company site, and more complex sort of social services type site. So there's a lot to do for the next few days. Also Arthur Cheng is going off to China tomorrow, so we have to kick it before he returns to the Great Red Middle Kingdom. So I need to clear out these links to free the RAM for web stuff... Enjoy.

Outer Space. Real sweet M8/Lagoon Nebula photograph. From NASA. Congrats to the shuttle folks on patching their stuff and using the International Space Station. Even though the recent affair looked like a mess, they'll learn quite a bit about how to do space patching missions in the future. "How to hack yr craft in space" is something the human race will have to figure out sooner or later. It's a pity, I used to take such an interest in Out There, until this ball suddenly seemed like a much larger problem.

The Next War. "War Plans Drafted to Counter Terror Attacks in U.S." "No Sympathy for the Neocons" by Raimondo, good stuff. Again, here's that creepy report about Cheney requesting nuclear war plans to nuke Iran after a random terror attack, committed by someone, anyone. I recommend this Federation of American Scientists site with all kinds of cool docs about Iran's nuclear program, including the COOLEST BIBLIOGRAPHY EVER:

Journal of Science of the University of Tehran, 1998, Vol. 3, p21-37, A. Pazirandeh

Research Reactor Fuel Element Leak Testing Using Delayed Neutron Counting

Annals of Nuclear Energy, 1999, Vol. 26, p1601-10, H. Khalafi

Calculational Tools to Conduct Experimental Optimization in Tehran Research Reactor

Nuclear Science Journal, 1999, Vol. 36, p42-50, M.Roshan Zamir

Design of the Tehran Research Reactor Spent Fuel Storage

Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2002, Vol. 29, p1591-96, M. Zaker

Effective Delayed Neutron Fraction and Prompt Neutron Lifetime of Tehran Research Reactor

Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2002, Vol. 29, p1989-2000, M.B. Ghofrani and S.A. Damghani

Determination of the Safety Importance of Systems of the Tehran Research Reactor Using a PSA Method

Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2003, Vol. 30, p63-80, M. Boroushaki, M.B. Ghofrani, C. Lucas and M.J. Yazdanpanah

An Intelligent Reactor Core Controller for Load Following Operations, Using Recurrent Neural Networks and Fuzzy Systems

Iranian Journal of Physics Research, 2004, Vol. 4, p13-31, R.I. Najafabadi, R.K. Faegh and H. Afrideh

Measurment and Calculation of High Energy Neutron Flux in Aluminum, Graphite, Water and Paraffin Assembly

Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2005, Vol. 32, p588-605, H. Arab-Alibek and S. Setayeshi

Adaptive Control of a PWR Core Power Using Neural Networks

Scientific Bulletin of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, 1998, Vol. 18, p9-17, A.A. Hosseini, H. Mansuri and R. Mahmudi

Casting and Irradiation Studies of 8001 Series of Aluminum Alloys for Nuclear Research Reactor Structural Applications

Progress in Nuclear Energy, 2004, Vol. 44, p331-45, P. Parvin, B. Sajad, K. Silakhori, M. Hooshvar and Z. Zamanipour

Molecular Laser Isotope Separation vervus Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation

I think we harbor the fantasy that all these people have no right to do their research, but hopefully something as prosaic as these journal articles helps illustrate that they are well integrated with the global nuclear research community and it can't be wished away. Come on, wouldn't it be Totally Badass to design neural networks to manage an Iranian nuclear power plant?

Ledeen and his uncle Izzy: A lot of neocons were Trotskyists, dontcha know?

Think Tankery: "Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks." Also "Bear 'expert' devoured by bears." roughly the same stuff. "Britney 'oblivious' to shooting."

Iraq. I am really appalled that Bush is taking a FIVE WEEK VACATION while everything is going to hell. Fortunately, the appearance of pissed off mom of a deceased soldier Casey Sheehan threatens to turn the entire vacation into a PR disaster for Bush. She has every right to do this, she's giving out dozens of interviews and reframing the whole situation. Top Notch. A whole little tent city of angry veterans families might materialize, and wouldn't that be excellent? Spending August on Caesar's Doorstep, not bad at all.

A weird sort of coup dislodged the US-appointed mayor of Baghdad with a SCIRI guy. how many insurgents?

Going to court yesterday made this report from Raed Jarrar's brother, Khalid, about getting arrested by the New Mukhabarat (Iraqi secret police) all the more vivid. Khalid basically got picked up after surfing a couple websites at a university Internet cafe, and got tossed in the dungeons of the Interior Ministry, now of the refurbished Mean Shiite sort, and his family didn't know where he was for several days. All sorts of guys, mostly Sunnis, are sitting around, getting tortured, accused of having terrorist infrastructures, while in reality they don't know what the hell is going on. Harsh.

They started by asking me: “What’s the connection between you and the London Bombs?” !!!

And I was like: “haaaaa???!!.”. I said: “London Bombs???! Nothing!”


A heavy hand landed on my neck, my brain was too busy to feel the pain, I felt my neck numbing for a while.

“SPEAAAK” he shouted.

“Turn around” he yelled.

I turned, facing the room now, but not seeing anything other than my nose and the shoes of the person who was interrogating me, standing so close.

“Why do you have a beard?” he asked.

“Because the prophet...” (I was trying to tell him that prophet Mohammad had one, and that I have one because I love to look like him...)


He slapped me on the face. It made a loud noise that the room became dead-silent for some seconds….

“May the prophet curse you” he shouted.

Again, my brain didn’t respond to the pain signals, I didn’t feel it.

For the next few hours, they asked me questions like “who are the other members of our terrorist cell, where does your fund come from? What operations did you have?”

“What do you have against Shia?”

I said: “nothing, my mother is Shia!”

He said” what do you have against Kurds? Why don’t you go blow yourself up and kill Kurds?”

I said: “Because God says in Quran…” (I was trying to tell him a part of Quran where God orders us not to kill any innocent soul) he interrupted me shouting, “We know Quran better than you”.

“My best friend is Kurdish!” I said.

“Of course he is, so that you can get information about Kurds from him, right?” he answered.

Nothing I said seemed to make sense to them. And nothing they said makes sense to anyone in the world.

Then finally I understood why I was there, after few hours. Security guards at the university had printed out all the websites I was reading while I was online there. They were accusing me of “reading terrorism sites” and “having communications with foreign terrorists”.

“Do you know what these pages are?”

I looked at them and figured out they were the comment section of Raed in the Middle!!


I was so lucky that I was taken to the Mokhabarat directly. Usually you have to go through a police station or a center of the national guards to get there, where the standard procedure of torturing is hanging people upside down and beating them with cables for hours, pinching their bodies with electrical drills, burning them with hot water, ripping out their finger nails, breaking bones, using acids on the wounds after whipping them, the dead bodies that are found in the dumpsters in Baghdad even had their eyes taken out of them, and a lot of these things happened with people that I know, or with people that were detained with the people that were with me in this jail, before they were brought here, and the list of torturing techniques is long, and you don’t want to hear them or know about them if you want to sleep at night.

In one of the floors in the same building, there is another prison, a bigger one called “The Palace of Hospitality” (doesn’t this remind you of 1984? The ministry of love and stuff?) Where recently a father and his son were arrested, and the son died at night because his rips were broken after they beat him, and then they spelled hot water on his body, he kept moaning of pain for the whole night, said Abo Ayid, who slept right beside him, and then he died. I’ll tell you more about Abu Ayid in the end.

The one thing in common between all the people that were there is that almost all of them were Sunnis. Interrogators told one of the prisoners during an interrogation session “you Sunnis are all terrorists” and during my interrogation, I heard a lot of racist remarks and questions. The Shia Iraqis who were there were mostly accused of non-terrorism crimes, like stealing, carjacking, etc…

It goes on and on, very intense. Glad he's ok, but it's hard to hear about the security apparatus shearing the state into pieces.

Also Riverbend from Baghdad hasn't had any entries since July 15. There are often big gaps in Riverbend's blog, but you always wonder if something horrible hasn't happened, as it regularly does. I would recommend spending awhile both Khalid Jarrar's 'secrets in Baghdad' and Riverbend's 'Baghdad Burning'. I don't have the words to describe the depth of the writing...

Juan Cole on the problems of the Japanese mission in Iraq, where it would appear that the Sadr supporters in their bit of the south are pissed off with the SCIRI/Badr Corps people. Also Hakim of SCIRI officially wants a 'Sumer' super-province in the south, which would negotiate as a bloc with the central government, keeping a lot of the revenue from the southern oil fields, and as a regional counterweight to 'Kurdistan.' This would appear to be a formal manifestation of the fracturing of the country. The question is, can we get a catchy title for Sunni Anbar and other bits? How about "Arabian Texas"?

The great Bush Vacation Conspiracy and the 1999 Russian Apartment building bombings: nathan x over at suggests that whenever Bush takes his August vacations, terror attacks are likely to follow. But he believes that there was a 9/11 coverup and so forth, roughly along the lines of the 9/11 conspiracy theory laid out by the Prison Planet people. I think it's more likely that Bush just doesn't feel like reading goddamn memos like "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S." because he needs to Cut the Brush!! nathan also some other tales/stories/whatever label you want about governments performing terror strikes to manipulate the political situation. One particular site,, chronicles the very suspicious 1999 Russian apartment building bombings and the strange investigation that followed. I think that particular case is especially weird.

However I will take a moment to clarify that I don't believe there was a Grand 9/11 coverup/'false flag' conspiracy (although 50% of New Yorkers are kinda suspicious about it), nor do I think that the London bombing was like that, despite what the conspiracy folks (let's say tinfoilhatvolken) are saying now. On the other hand, very often governments generate terrorist-paramilitary style organizations for various ends, such as the international Islamic front in late 1970s Afghanistan, Israel's bastard child, Hamas, as well as fortifying more concrete organizations like the heroin-laden Kosovo Liberation Army. Would Russia's FSB blow up some stuff to galvanize the withering Russian public to support crushing separatists at Russia's crumbling edges? (I'm still curious about the 9/11 insider trading, but who knows?)

I just don't know. (and far be it from me to risk antagonizing the New KGB, the New Mukhabarat, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army in one mere post). But I'll always enjoy a good yarn. I always try to pass things like this through by John Le Carre/'Absolute Friends' filter before I consider them as Truth. Anyway, there is far too much crazy stuff in the Mundane World to require me to dwell on the more Grand Esoteric Plots.

The 9/11 Israeli Art Student mystery: Speaking of Grand Plots, the weirdly conspiratorial journalist Wayne Madsen has a really enormous story about the strange tale of the Israelis arrested selling art around secure installations in the U.S. and Canada, possibly acting as Mossad agents and shadowing the 9/11 hijackers in several cities. I have trouble judging Madsen's credibility, considering stories like his exciting claims that secret Saudi funds and BCCI-linked offshore cash financed fixing the vote in Ohio last year. Real hard to believe. But still, at the least people like Madsen offer a different kind of prism to evaluate the world. But I was kind of surprised to see a more mainstream guy like James Wolcott announced that he added Madsen's site to his blogroll. So maybe he's a little more credible. Madsen has lots about the AIPAC thing, and definitely accuses Michael Ledeen of being involved.

AIPAC Fun! So now we may add Mossad to the list of intel agencies that should be annoyed today. Perhaps they would like to read Dreyfuss' report on the AIPAC scandal as well. Naughty, everyone's talking about it. Corn says it's Bad News for Rove.

Likud ready to split? With Netanyahu out, former Jerusalem Mayor and Sharon loyalist Ehud Olmert is relatively more important, and has said that Israel is not trying to trade Gaza in order to keep West Bank settlements. I don't know how far that will stick, but it is pretty much the opposite of what Netanyahu says all the time. "Gaza Pullout threatens to split Israel's ruling party."

Interesting stuff from Norman Solomon: War Made Easy, methods of propaganda, etc. Also a Solomon bit about a jailed soldier, Kevin Benderman, who refused to go to Iraq. Although I can't say if this sentiment is legal in such a day and age, (especially in Britannia) I also believe that it is very legitimate for a soldier to fight hard to stay home, if for no other justification than that we invaded that country because of knowingly fabricated intelligence, and those implicated in the Pentagon are still in charge of setting the disastrous policies that the military's Bendermans would have to carry out.

Random: Also check out inside Bush's weird Global Democracy movement. had a lot of sweet essays about the war and such from Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Solomon, Jim Lobe and others. The Lobe one, in particular, outlines the neocon intelligence fabricating (PDF) with excellent detail.

Safari Crashed so I am dumping in the headlines I wanted to put: "Abu Mazen quietly plans a revolution: He wants to be president, too." The bus shooter case is now a lynching, says Haaretz, and a TV station showed footage of it. And so it's a nasty situation. Talk of the connections between Palestinian security forces, corrupt officials, the Israelis and militants/terrorists, in other words the Robin Hoods of Gaza. Netanyahu is plotting something. So would leaving Gaza truly equal the End of the Occupation? what does that say about efforts to make the West Bank arrangement seem "Normal"?

And that is all.

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