The John Batchelor Show

Monday 14 January 2013

Air Date: 
January 14, 2013

Photo, above:  At an after-action report (a "hotwash") on the bin Ladin mission, restricted to fewer than 70 people and beyond top secret, Leon Panetta, the US Secretary of Defense, walked in with a big smile and Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero-Dark-Thirty, on his arm. SEALs present had quickly to remove their nametags – Bigelow, who has no security clearance and had no authority to be in that room, actually brought a photographer with her. Kathryn Bigelow was the only outsider allowed to attend the after-action report. SEALs were horrified when Panetta came strolling in with her.  See: Hour 1, Block B, below: Larry Johnson of NoQuarter blog.
Hour One
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A:  Eric Trager, FDD, and Sam Tadros, Hudson Institute, in re: An Egyptian court has ordered a retrial for ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, BBC reported Jan. 13. Mubarak's lawyer has said a new panel of judges could consider Mubarak's health when issuing their verdict. Mubarak and al-Adly were previously sentenced to life in prison rather than death, sparking protests across the country. The announcement of a retrial could further inflame protests in the run-up to parliamentary elections. In Cairo today, a train accident where 17 people were killed and117 injured. The way the Egyptian legal system works, Mubarak could die before his coming retrial ends.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Larry Johnson, No Quarter, in re: after-action report ("hotwash") restricted to fewer than 70 people, beyond top secret. Leon Panetta walks in, big smile, with Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero-Dark-Thirty. SEALs had quickly to remove their nametags – Bigelow actually brought a photographer with her.  Bigelow had no security clearance. Kathryn Bigelow was the only outsider allowed to attend the After Action Report. SEALs were horrified when Panetta came strolling in with Bigelow. Attendees were appalled.
While it was a military operation, it was under the aegis of the CIA. Two sets of rules: rules for people in power, and rules for everyone else.  Mali: French made a complete hash of it – to release a Frenchman held hostage; US was to provide overhead surveillance, only. Someone watching: under fire, the French bunched up, fled, left a soldier behind, he was executed by al Shebaab.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C:   Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Lara M Brown, Villanova, in re: Pennsylvania farm show: rodeos, pig auctions, butter queens, and people generally in farming, Everyone I interviewed said they didn’t vote because this president doesn’t share their values. Tom Vilsack said: You lose your power when you don’t vote – this year for the first time the farm bill did not get passed.  Building for a long time is the urban/rural dichotomy, with urban now winning. Drop-off in rural areas plus the president's effort to turn out urban, plus the president's effort to persuade suburbanites that the Republicans are irrational, and the result is a leaning toward leftward social policies. "Democrats are inefficiently distributed nationally" – all the Dems are sort of giant mountains on the two coasts, and Republicans are sort of valleys in between. A Dem voter said, "I held my nose and voted for Obama. Last Dem politician who spoke to me was Bill Clinton."  . . .    The gun is now becoming symbolic of liberty; people think the govt is overreaching.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  LouAnn Hammond,, and Warren Brown,  Real Wheels (Friday WaPo podcast, at the Detroit Auto Show in re: Stephen J. Girsky (Interim Head of Opel/Vauxhaull Unit at GM) worried about a German recession; Spain and Italy not at bottom yet, Russia doing poorly.  Carlos Ghosn says he doesn't think Germany will go into a recession, but if it did, wouldn't be for long: expects down 3% from 2012Sergio Marchionne said that Germany could go into a recession and there'd be no money to lend anyone and he's had no success yet in bringing the car companies in Europe together. Luckily for US, sales are going up – maybe 15 mil units sales year for he first time since 2007. If Europe takes a tumble, cd be a problem here; also the geniuses on Capitol Hill. There'll be an app to connect iPhones and cars. iPhone may drive a car around 2025. ______ working on giving a driver a choice – you drive or it does.
Hour Two
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  David M Drucker, Roll Call; John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek International; and John Fund, National Review Online,  in re: Tim Scott – NAACP & Tea Party; Sen Scott: in Washington, he'll be perceived as amiable and likable, engaging.  Re-emergence of Mark Sanford in South Carolina (Appalachian Trail walk to see his Argentine girlfriend; redeeming himself; resistance from female voters). Also conservative sister of Ted Turner plus the ______ of Colbert.   Guns. New York State. The president's very aggressive remarks on immigration and gun control.   If the US defaults, the implications are profound.   Staring contest between the president and Boehner.  GOP can retreat to the sequester or the continuing revolution. Even if the president is denied continuing the debt ceiling, he can decree it anyway.  Gun provisions expected to be passed by the New York State legislature.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . (continued) Cleary, Gov Cuomo is running for the presidency; will get his gun-control legislation before Pres Obama can get out of the gate.  Sen Manchin (WV): "Gun control legislation not likely in the Senate in this session."  Harry Reid: The only gun control legislation that can happen is what can pass the entire Congress" (Senate and House). New Pew study: broad majority support for a lot f gun-policy proposals. Duelling effort of Cuomo and O'Malley: jockeying in anticipation of presidential runs. Note Andrew Cuomo's framing to the right on fiscal issues; this state of the state address was red meat to heal the wounds. Gun trafficking is a major issue.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re:   IRAN HAS CRISIS MEETING OVER WND'S NUKE STORY  Ahmadinejad scrambles to cover up exposure of nuclear program in a hitherto-unknown facility near Arak, Kandav[?]. Officials ask: Who leaked this??  IRGC intelligence unit alarmed.  Monday 4PM emergency mtg at the old Parliament bldg, under rhe presidents authority; two directives – to Intell Minister & Atomic Energy Minister – to look in. Monitoring all employees, have begun interrogations.  When this new secret facility is confirmed, a huge blow to Iran because they claim their nukes are peaceful and the regime has been caught red-handed twice before; this wd change intl perceptions overnight.  However, Iran is at 20% and won't stop, will ignore the IAEA.  Site at Kandav: started work in early 2009; installed 8 cascades of centrifuges, then 12; now 2000-plus centrifuges are spinning. In the belly of a mtn; at the lowest level inside, working on weaponization. Iran transferred all weaponization R&D to this secret side.  There are seven secret nuclear sites, incl this one. Advanced back-channel talks between Washington and Teheran. Western intell knows that this is all occurring.   Washington trying to restart 5+1 talks; but know this s a dead end.  What shd he public make of this, of the regime's naked aggression: While the regime pretends it's peaceful, the West pretends that maybe it is.  Iran sees that the West has no solution, believes that the West is so chicken about war that it'll accept a nuclear-weaponized Iran.  IAEA keep s asking for access to Parchin, as though that was the relevant site. Regime says NO.  There are many dummy sites to engage the IAEA. [Teheran is laughing at all of us.]
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: the extreme pollution in Beijing now is causing citizens to question the Communist Party's management of the environment.  Just because for three days State media are allowed to criticize management. Shd evacuate the city; are merely advising people to stay indoors. This'll get worse by the day until a wind comes up to clear out the temperature inversion.  Trade numbers used to be thought to be accurate, but today everyone is dubious:  Shanghai port declined in throughput just as the govt said it increased. Lots of bogus numbers. To its credit, China released its electricity-use growth for the year.
Nomura on China: Expect 8% Year-over-year growth in Q4 (Wendy Chen at Nomura: After slowing for seven straight quarters, we expect China's GDP growth to rebound to 8% in Q4 2012.  We expect real GDP growth to rebound to 8.0% y-o-y in Q4 from a low of 7.4% in Q3, underpinned by accommodative monetary and fiscal policies, inventory destocking coming to an end and a modest improvement in exports. Industrial production growth is likely to rise to 10.6% y-o-y in December from 10.1%, as a return to more normal inventories lifts production. We expect fixed asset investment to rise slightly to 20.8% y-o-y (ytd) in December from 20.7% in November, driven by infrastructure investment and possibly real estate investment. We expect retail sales to grow by 15.6% y-o-y in December from 14.9%, aided by easier financing conditions and rising asset prices.  The China data releases are scheduled for next Friday.  Senkaku Islands: Japan simulated naval mil drill to retake an island.  Not bluffing. Chinese ramping up pressure; both sides have scrambled jets. China infringes not only on Japanese waters, but now also on its airspace. China could try to do to Japan what it did to the Philippines: Take an island. China is thinking that DC is encouraging it to start a war .
Hour Three
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Assad's attack on ht4 so-called Free Syrian Army is murderous. Assad forces are very strong, replied all the time, ad professional killers. The FSA isn't quite up to that.  Assad's time has been running out for a long time; he thinks he can control the situation in Syria, blames it all on non-Alwites and foreigners. Lost a critical helo base to the rebels, but he fires missiles, said to have cluster bombs in the missiles.  The FSA is disorganized at best. Hezbollah training recruits and paying them to fight in Syria.  Golan: rebels along border except near Kunetra. Bldg of fence along the entire Israeli-Syrian border has helped a lot, Iran and Russia supply Assad's military.  Long been a mystery of munitions supplies to Somalia, Sudan, around the Middle East, Cote d'Ivoires Taliban in Afgh, Niger & Mali – on four continents, Iran has been supplying. IRGC blt a signal-monitoring post in Lebanon to monitor Israeli communications; also throughout Africa and even in Asia. Iranian inflation is 24% (official) or 755 (more likely). Bypassing the impact of the sanctions.  Mursi presses for release of he blind sheikh, responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:   Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Israel holds an election. New governor in Saudi Arabia's easternmost province, Shia (2 million), close to Iran, borders the Gulf Cooperation Council, and where the oil  is: Iran has worked mightily to arouse and upset the population. Increasing violence and protests. Prince Saud bin Naif, elder brother of Interior Minister, both sons of the late Crown Prince who distrusted the Shiites, was a conspiracy theorist and not sophisticated.  Israeli elections: E1, just outside of Jerusalem, where no one lives nor has anyone ever, where there's a plan to build a  large condo.  So far, only a plan to bld a land bridge between a suburb and the city.  Fatah has been marching vs the Palestinian Authority – which has lost control over may of its own members.  PA has arrested many more Palestinians than Israel has, and has been torturing them Now Fatah and Hamas are arresting each others. Gaza training a hundred Hebrew speakers to teach Hebrew to Gazans so they can understand Israeli TV broadcasts.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  .Steven Erlanger, NYT, in re: French airstrikes overnight in Mali pushed back Islamist rebels from a key village and destroyed a rebel command center, France said, as West African nations promised a fast deployment of troops to Mali.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Dean Popps, Strategic Materials Advisory Council, in re: If the Obama administration fails to act, US-funded technology that will power the next generation of military satellites and drones, not to mention our new “Smart Grid,” will be sold to a Chinese company.  A Shanghai-based company whose multi-billionaire president serves on the Communist Chinese National People’s Congress is about to acquire a Waltham, MA high-tech battery company, A123 Systems, Inc., in a bankruptcy sale.  The Chinese want A123’s principal assets -- patents and trade secrets for advanced battery technology that will give the Chinese an 8-year edge in powering their military drones and space satellites and that is expected to be critical to America’s new “Smart Grid.”  A123’s technology is the result of years of research funded by more than $250 million in US-government grants.  This technology is critical to the United States strategic military, communications, and power systems advantage.  And, due to a gap in the law, this sale can only be stopped by the Obama administration. Congress was never even notified about the transaction.  As former Undersecretary of Defense John Young told the Washington Free Beacon: “It is not a surprise that China is aggressively pursuing A123” and retired Third Fleet Commander and Navy Vice Admiral Barry Costello told POLITICO that “ample evidence suggests this technology is, in fact, critical to military operations."
Hour Four
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  John Schwartz, in re: Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide   Aaron Swartz helped create RSS, a now ubiquitous format, and later became known for his efforts to make many Internet files available free online. The Lede Blog: Tributes to a Digital Pioneer  Data Crusader, a Defendant and Now, a Cause  After his death, Aaron Swartz has come to symbolize a debate over how aggressively to pursue cases against people like him who believe in “freeing” information.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Jed Babbin, NRO, in re: Gun control opponents are isolating themselves - and their position - by trying to limit the debate to "more vs. fewer" guns. They can't win the debate without having better ideas. The American Spectator : The Unserious Gun Control Debate Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: 2.2 million. That’s the number of background checks done for gun purchases in December 2012, alone, a 58.6 per cent increase over December 2011. Background checks tend to be highly predictive of gun purchases, and so the sudden spike in December indicates a large rush of gun sales following the shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the start of a policy conversation about gun control. Gun stores are reporting record sales numbers and shortages of weapons and ammunition.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Michael Cooper, in re: Sales of Guns Soar in U.S. as Nation Weighs Tougher Limits  As Washington focuses on what Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will propose next week to curb gun violence, gun and ammunition sales are spiking in the rest of the country.
Monday  14  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Mark Schroeder,, in re:  EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels later this week to discuss the situation in Mali, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Jan. 14. The French-led intervention is the first stage of a multinational effort aimed at defeating jihadist forces and recovering territorial control for the central Malian government.
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Hour 1: Person of Interest, Ides of March, Babylon AD

Hour 2: Frost/Nixon, The Kingdom, The Raid 

Hour 3: Infamous, Painted Veil 

Hour 4: Infamous