Posted 18 February 2012 - 04:29 PM
Uniqueness â€“ US Lawmakers are key to kicking Iran out of SWIFT â€“ We are pushing now, it will pass, and its on the top of the docket â€“ vote Wednesday
â€œUPDATE 3-Banking's SWIFT says ready to block Iran transactionsâ€ By Philip Blenkinsop and Rachelle Younglai Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:17pm EST
BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON Feb 17 (Reuters) - Belgium-based SWIFT, which provides banks with a system for moving funds around the world, bowed to international pressure on Friday and said it was ready to block Iranian banks from using its network to transfer money. Expelling Iranian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication would shut down Tehran's main avenue to doing business with the rest of the world - an outcome the West believes is crucial to curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions. SWIFT, which has never cut off a country before, has been closely following efforts in the United States and the European Union to develop new sanctions targeting Iran that would directly affect EU-based financial institutions. The United States and EU have already moved to sanction Iran's central bank. "SWIFT stands ready to act and discontinue its services to sanctioned Iranian financial institutions as soon as it has clarity on EU legislation currently being drafted," the company said in an emailed statement. The United States has been pushing the European Union to force SWIFT to evict the Iranian firms but it was unclear whether the EU would reach an agreement. For one, SWIFT's home country, Belgium, does not think the global banking firm should be the only company of its kind required to comply with sanctions. The Obama administration said it welcomed SWIFT's intention to stop transactions involving designated Iranian banks. "We will continue to be in contact with our EU partners to urge action on this issue," a U.S. Treasury official said. SWIFT, with headquarters just outside the Belgian capital Brussels, is vital to international money flows, exchanging an average 18 million payment messages per day between banks and other financial institutions in 210 countries. NUCLEAR STAND-OFF The United States and Europe accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. The United States recently enacted sanctions that would punish countries and institutions if they do not reduce their purchases of Iranian oil by mid-year. One of the lawmakers who has pushed for the sanctions said she was pleased SWIFT would move to cut Iran out of the global banking system, but said the United States needs to ensure it enforces all its sanctions laws. "In addition, we must sanction Chinese energy companies that throw Iran an economic lifeline by continuing to do business as usual," said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. The National Iranian American Council, an advocacy group, criticized efforts to expel Iranian firms from SWIFT. "Kicking Iran out of SWIFT is both unprecedented and another dangerous step toward turning a financial war into a military conflict," said Reza Marashi, the council's research director. Nineteen banks and 25 affiliated institutions from Iran sent and received some 2 million messages in 2010. They included banks the U.S. accuses of financing Iran's nuclear program or terrorism - Mellat, Post, Saderat and Sepah. SWIFT, founded in 1973, said its decision reflected the extraordinary circumstances of international support for the intensification of sanctions against Iran. The company said it had informed its regulators, the world's largest central banks, of its decision. SWIFT's general counsel is slated to visit Washington next week to meet with lawmakers who have proposed new sanctions targeting its services.
Spending battle over the plan kills Obamas political capital
â€œObama Administration Thinks $62 Billion for Space Exploration is Too Expensiveâ€ By Mark Whittington | Yahoo! Contributor Network â€“ Wed, Sep 7, 2011
While people and organizations such as the Tea Party In Space who seem opposed to space exploration beyond Earth orbit are using purple prose to defend their position, they are in line with the zeitgeist of the time, which strongly opposes new spending programs in an era of huge budget deficits. Absent a president who is willing to place his influence and political capital at the service of jump-starting a program to explore space beyond low Earth orbit, it is not likely that such an undertaking will get off the ground.
Political capital is key to SWIFT
â€œObama's Bloodless Success in Iran Is Republican's Worst Nightmareâ€
By L. Vincent Poupard | Yahoo! Contributor Network â€“ Thu, Feb 16, 2012
COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama is considering making the gamble of following the E.U. in the pursuit of either knocking Iran out of SWIFT or forcing the financial clearing house to place restrictions on the nation over their nuclear program, according to Fox News. I see a success for the president over Iran as the worst nightmare for Republicans right now. Getting Iran to back down from their nuclear program is the strongest slim chance the president has. President Obama needs to make a strong move heading into the election to strengthen his chances in November. Many of the chances he had to make a great impression on independent or on-the-fence voters have passed. Bringing unemployment down to around seven or eight percent would give him a great boost, but I do not see companies adding that many jobs between now and the 11th month. The populist move to raise taxes significantly on the rich has been blocked by Republicans at every turn. There is not a chance of him taking the move of backing down on Obamacare to win voters over. While a bloodless success in Iran before the election might be a pipedream, it could be the best chance President Obama has to win over voters. All of the dominoes have to be lined up perfectly so gas prices do not spike between now and the final quarter of the year. If the president is able to point out to people how he was able to force Iran to back off the nuclear prospects without spilling American blood, he will gain points in the minds of many. I cannot stress enough, though, how slim these chances are for the president. I am sure the media and commercials would pound the facts if a success in Iran becomes a reality and could be the last thing many voters would remember before marking their candidate's name. This would be a Republican nightmare.
We Isolate Two Internal Links:
SWIFT is key to reassuring Israel and preventing a preemptive strike and
SWIFT is key to strengthen diplomatic efforts to stop Iranian proliferation
â€œAP Exclusive: Iran poised for big nuke jumpâ€ By GEORGE JAHN | Associated Press â€“ 2 hrs 0 mins ago
VIENNA (AP) â€” Iran is poised to greatly expand uranium enrichment at a fortified underground bunker to a point that would boost how quickly it could make nuclear warheads, diplomats tell The Associated Press. They said Tehran has put finishing touches for the installation of thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the cavernous facility â€” machines that can produce enriched uranium much more quickly and efficiently than its present machines. While saying that the electrical circuitry, piping and supporting equipment for the new centrifuges was now in place, the diplomats emphasized that Tehran had not started installing the new machines at its Fordo facility and could not say whether it was planning to. Still, the senior diplomats â€” who asked for anonymity because their information was privileged â€” suggested that Tehran would have little reason to prepare the ground for the better centrifuges unless it planned to operate them. They spoke in recent interviews â€” the last one Saturday. The reported work at Fordo appeared to reflect Iran's determination to forge ahead with nuclear activity that could be used to make atomic arms despite rapidly escalating international sanctions and the latent threat of an Israeli military strike on its nuclear facilities. Fordo could be used to make fissile warhead material even without such an upgrade, the diplomats said. They said that although older than Iran's new generation machines, the centrifuges now operating there can be reconfigured within days to make such material because they already are enriching to 20 percent â€” a level that can be boosted quickly to weapons-grade quality. Their comments appeared to represent the first time anyone had quantified the time it would take to reconfigure the Fordo centrifuges into machines making weapons-grade material. In contrast, Iran's older enrichment site at Natanz is producing uranium at 3.4 percent, a level normally used to power reactors. While that too could be turned into weapons-grade uranium, reassembling from low to weapons-grade production is complex, and retooling the thousands of centrifuges at Natanz would likely take weeks. The diplomats' recent comments came as International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are scheduled to visit Tehran on Sunday. Their trip â€” the second this month â€” is another attempt to break more than three years of Iranian stonewalling about allegations that Tehran has â€” or is â€” secretly working on nuclear weapons that would be armed with uranium enriched to 90 percent or more. Diplomats accredited to the IAEA expect little from that visit. They told the AP that â€” as before â€” Iran was refusing to allow the agency experts to visit Parchin, the suspected site of explosives testing for a nuclear weapon and had turned down other key requests made by the experts. Iranian officials deny nuclear weapons aspirations, saying the claims are based on bogus intelligence from the U.S. and Israel. But IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has said there are increasing indications of such activity. His concerns were outlined in 13-page summary late last year listing clandestine activities that either can be used in civilian or military nuclear programs, or "are specific to nuclear weapons." Among these were indications that Iran has conducted high explosives testing and detonator development to set off a nuclear charge, as well as computer modeling of a core of a nuclear warhead. The report also cited preparatory work for a nuclear weapons test and development of a nuclear payload for Iran's Shahab 3 intermediate range missile â€” a weapon that could reach Israel. Iran says it is enriching only to make nuclear fuel. But because enrichment can also create fissile warhead material, the U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Tehran in a failed attempt to force it to stop. More recently, the U.S., the European Union and other Western allies have either tightened up their own sanctions or rapidly put new penalties in place striking at the heart of Iran's oil exports lifeline and its financial system. The most recent squeeze on Iran was announced Friday, when SWIFT, a financial clearinghouse used by virtually every country and major corporation in the world, agreed to shut out the Islamic Republic from its network. Diplomats say the choke-holds are being applied in part to persuade Israel to hold off on potential military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities â€” among them Fordo, a main Israeli concern because it is dug deep into a mountain and could be impervious to the most powerful bunker busting bombs. Diplomats told the AP earlier this month that Iran had added two new series or cascades of old-generation IR-1 centrifuges to its Fordo operation, meaning 348 centrifuges were now operating in four cascades. Olli Heinonen, who retired last year as the IAEA's chief Iran inspector, recently estimated that these machines, and two other cascades at Natanz can produce around 15 kilograms (more than 30 pounds) of 20-percent enriched uranium a month, using Iran's tons of low-enriched uranium as feedstock. The low and higher enriched uranium now being produced "provides the basic material needed to produce four to five nuclear weapons," Heinonen said. But he suggested "an altogether different scenario" â€” a much quicker pace of enrichment to levels easily turned into weapons-capable uranium if Iran starts using newer, more powerful centrifuges at Fordo. That, said the diplomats, is exactly what Iran appears to be on the verge of doing by finishing preparatory work recently for new centrifuge installations. Just three days ago Iran's semiofficial Fars agency reported that a "new generation" of Iranian centrifuges had gone into operation at Natanz, in central Iran. A diplomat accredited to the IAEA, which monitors Iran's known nuclear programs, said the "new generation" of centrifuges appeared to be referring to about 65 IR-4 machines that were recently set up at an experimental site at Natanz. Fordo, which can house 3,000 centrifuges, was confidentially revealed to the IAEA by Iran in 2009, just days before the U.S. and Britain jointly announced its existence. Iran announced last year that it would move its 20-percent uranium production to Fordo from Natanz and sharply boost capacity. It started making higher grade material two years ago saying it needed it to fuel a research reactor. But the U.S. and others question the rationale, pointing out that Iran rejected offers of foreign fuel supplies for that reactor and is making more of the higher-enriched material than that small reactor needs.
Both cause extinction
[Dennis Ray Morgan, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies at the Yongin Campus in South Korea,
2009, Futures, World on fire: two scenarios of the destruction of human civilization and possible extinction of the
Given the present day predicament regarding Iranâ€™s attempt to become a nuclear power, particular attention should be given to one of Mooreâ€™s scenarios depicting nuclear war that begins through an attack on Iranâ€™s supposed nuclear facilities. According to Seymour Hersh the nuclear option against Iran has, in fact, been discussed by sources in the Pentagon as a viable option. As Hersh reports, according to a former intelligence officer, the lack of â€œreliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. â€˜Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap,â€™ the former senior intelligence official said. â€˜Decisive is the key word of the Air Forceâ€™s planning. Itâ€™s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.â€ The official continues to explain how White House and Pentagon officials are considering the nuclear option for Iran, â€œNuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout - weâ€™re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians donâ€™t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out â€“ remove the nuclear option â€“ theyâ€™re shouted downâ€. Understandably, some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not comfortable about consideration of the nuclear option in a first strike, and some officers have even discussed resigning. Hersh quotes the former intelligence officer as saying, â€˜â€˜Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran - without success. The White House said, â€˜Why are you challenging this? The option came from youâ€â€™. This scenario has gained even more plausibility since a January 2007 Sunday Times report of an Israeli intelligence leak that Israel was considering a strike against Iran, using low-yield bunker busting nukes to destroy Iranâ€™s supposedly secret underground nuclear facilities. In Mooreâ€™s scenario, non-nuclear neighboring countries would then respond with conventional rockets and chemical, biological and radiological weapons. Israel then would retaliate with nuclear strikes on several countries, including a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan, who then retaliates with an attack not only on Israel but pre-emptively striking India as well. Israel then initiates the â€œSamson optionâ€ with attacks on other Muslim countries, Russia, and possibly the â€˜â€˜anti-Semiticâ€™â€™ cities of Europe. At that point, all-out nuclear war ensues as the U.S. retaliates with nuclear attacks on Russia and possibly on China as well. Out of the four interrelated factors that could precipitate a nuclear strike and subsequent escalation into nuclear war, probably the accidental factor is one that deserves particular attention since its likelihood is much greater than commonly perceived. In an article, â€œ20 Mishaps that Might Have Started a Nuclear War,â€ Phillips cites the historical record to illustrate how an accident, misinterpretation, or false alarm could ignite a nuclear war. Most of these incidents occurred during a time of intense tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but other mishaps occurred during other times, with the most recent one in 1995. Close inspection of each of these incidents reveals how likely it is that an â€œaccidentâ€ or misinterpretation of phenomena or data (â€œglitchâ€) can lead to nuclear confrontation and war. In his overall analysis, Phillips writes: The probability of actual progression to nuclear war on any one of the occasions listed may have been small, due to planned â€œfailsafeâ€ features in the warning and launch systems, and to responsible action by those in the chain of command when the failsafe features had failed. However, the accumulation of small probabilities of disaster from a long sequence of risks adds up to serious danger. There is no way of telling what the actual level of risk was in these mishaps but if the chance of disaster in every one of the 20 incidents had been only 1 in 100, it is a mathematical fact that the chance of surviving all 20 would have been 82%, i.e. about the same as the chance of surviving a single pull of the trigger at Russian roulette played with a 6-shooter. With a similar series of mishaps on the Soviet side: another pull of the trigger. If the risk in some of the events had been as high as 1 in 10, then the chance of surviving just seven such events would have been less than 50:50. Aggression in the Middle East along with the willingness to use lowyield â€œbunker bustingâ€ nukes by the U.S. only increases the likelihood of nuclear war and catastrophe in the future. White House and Pentagon policymakers are seriously considering the use of strategic nuclear weapons against Iran. As Ryan McMaken explains, someone at the Pentagon who had . . .not yet completed the transformation into a complete sociopath leaked the â€˜Nuclear Posture Reviewâ€™ which outlined plans for a nuclear â€˜end gameâ€™ with Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Syria, none of which possess nuclear weapons. The report also outlined plans to let the missiles fly on Russia and China as well, even though virtually everyone on the face of the Earth thought we had actually normalized relations with them. It turns out, much to the surprise of the Chinese and the Russians, that they are still potential enemies in a nuclear holocaust
Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:46 PM
There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.
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