The John Batchelor Show

Monday 28 January 2013

Air Date: 
January 28, 2013

Photo, above:  Reports of an explosion at Iran's Fordow nuclear facility have surfaced and are being both confirmed and denied by multiple sources.  The Jerusalem Post cites a report by Reza Kahlili that says: “The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran- Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast.”  Kahlili's report says the Fordow nuclear facility was severely damaged in an explosion and up to 240 workers trapped inside. The explosion was reportedly confined to the plant, suggesting that if it were an airstrike, it was highly localized. But this possibility is no more or less likely than sabotage, or an accident, assuming the explosion occurred at all.

Jay Carney told reporters in a press conference, that the White House had no information on the report: "We [the U.S.] have no information to confirm the allegations in the report and we do not believe the report is credible. We don't believe those are credible reports." Iran's official news agency, says the same thing, with the IRNA, promptly denying the explosion, claiming the news was simply the result of the Western media-fueled "propaganda machine."  That might have ended the story there, but The Times of London's Israel correspondent Sheera Frenkel is confirming the incident through her own independent sources:  "An explosion is believed to have damaged Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, which is being used to enrich uranium, Israeli intelligence officials have told The Times. Sources in Tel Aviv said yesterday that they thought the explosion happened last week. The Israeli Government is investigating reports that it led to extensive structural damage and 200 workers had been trapped inside."



Hour One

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: explosion at Fordow nuclear processing facility northeast of Qom; 1 of 2    In major media in Israel and further confirmation by German De Welt. Fordow first revealed in Feb 2009; Ahmadinejad claimed that Iran merely wanted to secure its production of "peaceful" nuclear fuel – physically impossible: 93m deep, several levels in the belly of the mountain, impervious to air strikes and most bunker-busters; cd never produce enough fuel for civilian power, only uranium for a nuclear bomb. Over 200 people stuck underground, many foreign nationals – incl North Koreans, Ukrainians, Russians. Regime still has not made a serious attempt to rescue tem, made no progress after a over a week: uranium gas trapped inside; once it's opened, wd be hazardous to neighboring villages and be evident to the whole world.  Not sure if there'll be physical repercussions to entering.  Explosion on 21 Jan, mtgs on 22 Jan. Mtgs took place based on intell that there cd be subversive actions; mtgs w Ahmadinejad , then  Supreme Leader. Some Quds Forces members will go to Lebanon next week to vacate southern Lebanese villages and coordinate action with Hezbollah.

Huge explosion reported at Iran nuclear site

Reports: Iran nuclear facility destroyed

Israeli minister welcomes report of huge blast at Iran nuclear plant

Expert reports severe explosion at nuclear plant

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: explosion at Fordow nuclear processing facility northeast of Qom, 2 of 2     In Feb 2012: another explosion at Fardow: someone had planted listening devices under a rock close to Fardow, cd hear deep into the underground plant. When the rock was moved by security forces, the rock and device blew up.  Sabotage. Took us about a month to learn of this when an Iranian complained to the IAEA [oh, that's helpful].  Seems that Israeli intell and BND (German intell) confirm 21 Jan explosion. Images via satellite feed (commercial: takes 30 days; govt: immed access).  Jay Carney, WH spokesman, said he had no info and the report was not credible.  We have no specific info on who's survived and who's died underground.  Reza's sources know that if they're ever caught they're dead. Reza's several sources all know that if they’re arrested, then death would be the best that could happen to them – but they continue to speak surreptitiously because they want a better govt for Iran. The regime must be in a state of shock, because this is an enormous blow to the nuclear program and also to the regime's credibility.

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Mona Charen, NRO; Lara M Brown, Villanova;  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,  in re:  Pres Obama and Secy Clinton conversing – "playing patty-cake" – this is not a hand-off of the presidency to Mrs Clinton in 2016. What did the president gain from this?  He's turning to people who make him look more successful. Makes him look gracious. He gave himself a valedictory for foreign policy in first term: reset with Russia, Iran's march toward nuclear weapons, powerlessness in Syria – these are not commendable.  Does Mrs Clinton want the presidency? Probably.

Poverty is growing the American population. Used to see a shrinking middle class because people were getting rich; now, middle class is reducing because poverty is at record levels – more than since the Great Depression. Food stamps; Social Security Disability (can’t find a job).  Republicans refused to talk about this during last campaign – Paul Ryan wanted to, Romney campaign refused. Big mistake.

As long as Republicans don't kick away a golden opportunity, wonderfully wild West Virginia could be their best U.S. Senate pickup prospect of the 2014 midterm election. With incumbent Democrat Jay Rockefeller’s decision to retire, the door has opened for a strong Republican candidate to win in a state that's pivoted away from Democrats in presidential races as well as in its congressional delegation.

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Mona Charen, NRO; Lara M Brown, Villanova;  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,  in re:  WSJ Opinion Journal -  http://t.  co/Znjy4Bna .  I saw the republicans jump off the back of the ship just as they were about to win. What does 2014 look like? On paper, excellent –  Rockefeller is retiring; Shelley Moore Capito, Second Congressional District daughter of a former governor, announced candidacy in November.  Perfect place for Republicans to show their muscle.   Health care costs, cost of education, the ailing economy: all these can be placed at the feet of the current Administration; will the republicans figure out how to?

Hour Two

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, and John Fund, National Review Online, in re: Sequester: automatic spending reductions coming at us; on 27 March perhaps partial govt shut-down.  Absent a Continuing Resolution ("all govt spending continues as before"), govt runs out of money. No budget has been passed in four years.

New SuperPAC for Hillary in 2016.  Will she run?  Had Clinton stayed in Senate rather than Sec State, cd have had four yrs of accusations of her undermining Obama; but she took herself out of that. Obama campaign then gathered donors and paid all her debts.   Obama scolded an interviewer for discussing 2016 prematurely.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal rode into the Republican National Committee retreat in Charlotte, North Carolina, ready to offer a dose of tough medicine for the Republican Party, which he now says "must stop being the stupid party."  "The Republican Party does not need to change our principles," he said in a keynote speech, "but we might need to change just about everything else we do."  Ouch.  There's a problem with Jindal's prescription, however, rooted in an idea that Forrest Gump once articulated -- "stupid is as stupid does."

The GOP Gets Fiscally Tough
Some hope for conservatives. John Fund 

The GOP's Path Back to Power in the Senate

The Cloakroom: Democrats will be playing defense in 2014.

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, and   John Fund, National Review Online, in re:  Super PACs Come Out Against Hagel Nomination  "A brand new conservative group calling itself Americans for a Strong Defense and financed by anonymous donors is running advertisements urging Democratic senators in five states to vote against Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee to be secretary of defense," the New York Times reports.

"Another freshly minted and anonymously backed organization, Use Your Mandate, which presents itself as a liberal gay rights group but purchases its television time through a prominent Republican firm, is attacking Mr. Hagel as 'anti-Gay,' 'anti-woman' and 'anti-Israel' in ads and mailers."

"Those groups are joining at least five others that are organizing to stop Mr. Hagel's confirmation, a goal even they acknowledge appears to be increasingly challenging. But the effort comes with a built-in consolation prize should it fail: depleting some of Mr. Obama's political capital as he embarks on a new term with fresh

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Sam Tadros, Hudson Institute, in re: Egypt’s Leader Declares State of Emergency in Three Cities President Mohamed Morsi resorted to the authoritarian weapon of his deposed predecessor as escalating violence in the streets threatened his government and Egypt’s democracy. Police fire on demonstrators; army watches, doesn’t intervene. Port Said: court – in a visibly political decision - condemns 21 soccer fans to death for a killer riot a year ago (70 dead) (betw local club and a rival; the ultras, the football hooligans, attacked and ransacked much of the city, causing blood feud between teams); city goes into anarchy, is entry from Med to Suez City began in 1860. Fate tied to the canal.  While Israel controlled Sinai, most pp were evacuated, which tormented the people. Then it was turned into a tax-free city; converted a huge segment of population into smugglers into Egypt proper. Special status ceased a decade ago, depriving Port Said of most of its income.   Now, citizens attacked the police to rescue the 21 condemned.  New anarchist group in Egypt: The Black Bloc, gangs that attack the rich and protect demonstrators from "the pigs," the police. Amateurish kids.    Morsi overwhelmed; declared emergency in three cities (Port Said, Ismailia, ______) An hour ago, a major hotel was attacked: Semiramis, next to Tahrir Square.  Heading to anarchy in Cairo. Other places, revolution vs the Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi's call to a natl dialogue is meaningless. 

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: Japan will increase its military personnel by 287 members, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Jan. 27. According to Onodera, this represents the biggest increase in two decades. The announcement follows the Cabinet's Jan. 25 decision to create a new national defense program aimed at improving the country's security capabilities. Regional security threats, particularly China's recent aggression in territorial disputes, have spurred Japan's efforts toward full normalization.  China demands cash.  How greedy is that? 

"War often follows failed peace talks, and now Japan's trying to talk to China, sending envoys to Beijing in recent weeks to discuss the dispute over the sovereignty of the East China Sea islands, the Senkakus in Japanese and Diaoyus in Chinese.   Beijing is looking for American cash to clean up emissions from its industry.  At the recently concluded Doha climate change conference, developed nations agreed to take responsibility for fixing climate damage in poorer ones. Beijing wants rich countries to hand over $100 billion a year to the poorer ones.  Wrong!"

Hour Three

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Fordow explosion. If this is all accurate, is a major setback to Iran's military nuclear program.. Supreme Leader said to have laid out plans to retaliate s Israel: Hezbollah probably has some or much of Syria's chemical weapons; Jordan has hundreds of armored vehicles long Syrian border, is afraid of chem. weapons  Iran has ordered many south Lebanon villagers evacuated.  War here wd take Israeli focus from Iran as it'd be fighting on three fronts – Lebanon, Syria, and the south; al Q affiliates in Syria, and also in Sinai.  Deployment of Iron Dome in north on border, an upgraded version to take down medium-range missiles.  Even a low-level war vs Israel is thought by Iran to unify Syrian army.   If Israel reacts, not vs chem. weapons but to protect the sites and contain Hezb, which has 50,000 missiles, esp heavier ones.   Fordow was a centerpiece of intl negotiations, limits what Iran can extract from its threats.  This might break the shield they said they had on their facilities.

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Port Said and other cities demand a referendum to secede from Egypt.   Because the economy is in tatters and the currency is a pittance, cannot afford to lose US aid. However, Sinai is in awful shape. Palestinians moved there to establish a Palestinian state – which angered Cairo, who came down on them. Egypt deteriorates gravely. Can turn toward fascism or a military state – something worse than the Muslim Brothers. Military are compromised: bought off by Morsi who protects their 30% of the economy. Continued weapons smuggling here; Iran takes advantage by putting more weapons in Gaza; weakness of Jordan, escalation of Syria; all pieces of one vast puzzle. Israeli politics & elections in two minutes – toward a coalition of 61 votes.  Note deal between Argentina and Iran, commission to investigate Buenos Aires attacks in 1994 to cleanse the name of Velayati, who can’t run for Iranian presidency while this [well-founded] accusation hangs over him.

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . David Kirkpatrick, NYT, from Port Said, in re: the collapse of order, the chaos in Port Said, the police huddling in precinct, hiding from the mob, Morsi asking for national dialogue

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Kori Schake, Hoover, in re: how did the US get involved in Mali and North Africa?

Hour Four

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  John Bolton, AEI, in re: the Obama admin foreign policy, what to show for four years with North Korea and Iran engagement?

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Seb Gorka, FDD, in re: the trouble in Egypt, is the Moslem Brotherhood able to rule without tyranny?  Is this a failed state?

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Steven Erlanger, NYT Paris, in re:  the French politics of Mali, and how is Hollande as the Army Chief of Staff?

Monday  28  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   John Avlon, CNN, in re: Bobby Jindal for the GOP presidency in 2016 - what does he offer to change the losing streak?

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Hour 1: Gears of War 2, Infamous

Hour 2: Sherlock, Infamous, Tomorrow Never Dies

Hour 3: Green Zone

Hour 4: Infamous, The Raid