The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 16 May 2013

Air Date: 
May 16, 2013

Photo, above:The P-800 Oniks (RussianП-800 Оникс; English: Onyx), also known in export markets as Yakhont (RussianЯхонт; English: ruby or sapphire), is aRussian/Soviet supersonic anti-ship cruise missile developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya as a ramjet version of P-80 Zubr. Its GRAU designation is3M55. Development reportedly started in 1983, and by 2001 allowed the launch of the missile from land, sea, air and submarine. The missile has theNATO reporting codename SS-N-26. It is reportedly a replacement for the P-270 Moskit, but possibly also for the P-700 Granit. The P-800 was reportedly used as the basis for the joint Russian-Indian supersonic missile the BrahMos.

In 2010 Sergei Prikhodko, senior adviser to the Russia President, has said that Russia intends to deliver P-800 to Syria based on the contracts signed in 2007.[1][2] Syria received 2 Bastion missile systems with 36 missiles each (72 in total).[3] In May 2013, Russia continued the contract delivery to the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad supplying missiles with an advanced radar to make them more effective to counter any future foreign military intervention. [4][5]


Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents,

Hour One

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block A:  Edward W Hayes, criminal defense attorney par excellence, in re: IRS scandalopoly – tapping into phone lines of the press is unforgivable. WJS: Looks as though the US had a source in al Q, Administration begged AP not to run it, AP did.  Is that what ignited phone taps?  Criminal investigation.  Thomas Perez did a quid pro quo in St Louis (shady); and in his confirmation hearings testimony is at odds with substantiated information and his own testimony under oath to the Senate.  "Extending trust to the Administration has now been withdrawn."  For the first time, a senator explained the half-truths that the fellow told; furthermore, he has two private e accounts that he's illegally used for govt business.

If President Obama thinks he can get away with appointing an obvious prevaricator to be Secretary of Labor – and a radical, race-baiting one at that – he has lost all touch with reality. Even a group as confused and fractious as the caucus of Senate Republicans is sure to find the collective backbone to block the (expected) appointment of Thomas Perez. [more]

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:   Dean Yates, in Evandale, Tasmania, in re: This village is in a lovely, rural setting.  Chinese meat scandal: bad meat, rotten meat, rat meat sold as mutton – a lot of fraud.  We saw it earlier with milk, pigs, packaged milk in supermarkets – this meat scandal is a ghastly version of an ongoing Chinese problem.  Since China doesn’t have a free press, the citizenry can’t count on being informed accurately. However, Weibo [Chinese copy of twitter] is filled with urgent complaints.  Note pig carcasses floating downriver past Shanghai.  A Tazzie story: an MP asking for a live export ban because of documentation of livestock being tortured in Egypt before slaughter; also in Indonesia.  Tasmania outcry; meat exporters ceased shipping thither till safeguards are in place.  We ship $140million meat annually, but most is frozen or, in any case, not live My grandfather was a shearer.

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block C:    John Roskam, Australia, in re: $20bil e=deficit in Ausgralia; Gillard claims a "sledgehammer" has been take to the budget – but it turns out that revenues are rising rapidly, and govt hasn’t a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.  In parliament, two very conservative-leaning members are pivotal and no longer pleased with conditions. Mr Swann, treasurer, said he'd legislate tax increases for the next ten years. This govt doesn’t know what'll happen in  ten minutes; it's absurd. Huge new disabilities program coming in, but have only one-third of the money at hand the other two-thirds? "We'll figure it out in the coming decade." Tony Abbot wants more women to have nor babies – will pay up to six months' salary. Massive middle—class welfare that we can’t afford.

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:   Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re: intelligence community was out in front; then White House, then State. It was the policy people returning to intell demanding changes; intell agreed under pressure from State and WH – who were second-guessing and overriding US intelligence. Today in the Rose Garden, the president said, "I want more money for security" – a lie and diversion. The only reason US spaces in Libya weren't adequately secured was decisions by Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, who overrode decisions by Adm Mullen.  It wasn't resources from Congress, it was policy decisions by State, who were pushing the illusion of no further al Qaeda; State rejected requests from Amb Stevens and Dipl Security dept.  "Fine w me, but HPCI won’t like these changes."  House Permanent Committee on Intelligence. People have lost their way – they used to stand up to policymakers, but Mike Burrell gave in, as did Petraeus. Abysmal and pathetic. Benghazi not a sideshow; it's stage center. Much to learn.

Hour Two

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Rose Garden conversation today between the Turkish PM Mr Erdogan and the American president; it started to rain; the president called in the Marines. Syria:  the PM was stronger abt Assad leaving than was the US president.  Russian call for conference participation by Assad's representatives; US wants mil intervention, and a no-fly zone.  Assad today gave the Russians a list of whom he wants to represent him.  Safe space, Alawite region in Syria [in NW, on the sea]?  Internal situation has much deteriorated in the last few days: today Syrians living in Turkey in border areas daren't show their faces, are so terrified of Turks that they’re actually leaving and fleeing back to Syria.  Video of rebel atrocities; David Cameron says he'll increase security. Iran: Pres Obama calls for no nuclear weapons for Iran, where as the Sunni Turkish PM is acutely aware of dangers to his country; Erdogan wants to recreate the Ottoman Empire vs the Iranians' wanting to re-establish the Persian Empire. Increasing Islamicization of Turkey; Erdogan faces increasing pressure from Iranian forces. The Sunni-Shiite divide now runs through every aspect of the Middle East. Morsi (Egypt) may visit      ; has endeavored to Islamicize Egypt very rapidly. Secy Kerry is on his fourth visit to Israel, no use in sight. Comoros Islands went to the Intl Criminal Court to charge Israel with war crimes concerning the Marvi Marmora.  Lawfare! "I don’t believe the hundred different groups of rebels will unify or Assad will be knocked out, or the Russians permit that. Complex."  Breaking: Russia has shipped an anti-ship missile to Syria.

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Mohsen Sazagara, Iranian journalist and pro-democracy political activist, was in the govt of Mir-Hossein Mousavi,  in re: Iranian elections. Since the supreme Leader has dictatorial powers, this election is important to him because the Council of Guardians  . . . 686 candidates, Supreme Leader chooses who may run.  When I ran, the Supreme Leader refused me. Three factions: Khamenei, his candidate was Velayati (a medical doctor who's treated Khamenei; is thought to be the guy who can have sanctions vs Iran lifted), at the last moment the Supreme Leader pushed Jalili, a close friend of his son, but hasn't even the minimum qualifications – can’t speak well, is unattractive; we think he hasn’t made up his mind yet – Velayati or Jalili. Ahmadinejad wants his chief of staff to win.  Third faction: all followers of Moussavi – they’ll mobilize [in favor of?] Rafsanjani.  If Rafsanjani isn’t refused by the Council of Guardians, Rafsanjani and Velayati or Jalili will be the main contestants.

Dr. Sazegara held several high-ranking positions in the Government of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, such as deputy prime minister, minister of industry, deputy chairman of the budget and planning department, and many more before becoming disillusioned with the government in 1989 and pushing for reforms. He applied to become a candidate for President of Iran in the 2001 election but was declined.  His reformist policies clashed with the Supreme LeaderAyatollah Khamenei, eventually resulting in his arrest in early 2003. Following his release in August 2003, he moved to the United Kingdom for medical attention. He currently resides in the United States.


Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Boaz Ganor, founder & dir, Intl Institute for Counter-Terrorism, at the Interdisciplinary Center in  Herzliya, Israel; in re: the Boston bombing: connecting the dots. "As a rule, terrorist attacks can be divided into two types: personal initiative attacks, and organized terrorism. In organized terrorism, a terrorist organization is involved in one, some, or all of the stages of a terrorist attack: initiation, planning, preparation, perpetration. A terrorist organization may initiate . . ." [more] Organized operate top-down – training, launching. Local-initiative: bottom-up type of attack where a local group decides to attack, sometimes with not connection to outside,, although it can connect to field trainers. Boston sounds more like local initiative. 1) Type of target – 9/11 picked Twin Towers, Pentagon, intlly-known symbols. Guys in caves could figure that out. The Boston Marathon, however, is not really known worldwide, only by locals.   This might have come from a local sleeper cell.  Note that organized attacks are more organized & planned, so have more casualties; also, using more personnel, are more likely to be on the radar of intell.  No doubt there's a connection between instigator and local, but it’s more blurred – radicalization, incitement. In this instance, we know that al Q publishes a magazine every 3 or 4 mos, in English; explained – a cookbook - the exact guideline on how to prepare the bombs used in Boston. Today huge arrest of cigarette smuggling ($20 mil/month) run by Hezbollah and supporters. Terrorists worldwide have connections w organized crime – for smuggling weapons and shelter, but mostly for fundraising for activities.   Hezb is heavily involved in pharma crime – bogus drugs everywhere, incl the US. Raises huge sums of money; is less dangerous than drug-dealing as the sentences are lighter. Understand terrorism arithmetically: motivation, and operational capability. If one factor is missing, no terrorist attack. Analyze Hezbollah, most sophisticated in the world. FBI thinks there are dozens of sleeper cells all over N Am continent. It’s recruiting, US vs Iran cd ignite the spark.

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Tony Badran, FDD, in re: Syria; Israel.  Looks as though pres Obama wants to solve Syria through a peace conference, where as the Turks brought evidence of chem. weapons, want mil aid to Syrian oppo, and solve it now.   Pres

Israel’s Strategic Clarity in Syria  It was perhaps fitting that the multiple Israeli strikes in Damascus last week followed Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s address from Tehran. Nasrallah had . . . [more]

Disappearing Red Lines  In his April 30 White House press conference, President Obama explained that there’s evidence chemical weapons have been used in Syria, but “we don’t know how they were used . . . [more]

Hour Three

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: joint press conference, Obama & Turkish PM Erdogan. Opening remarks on Syrian civil war & Assad regime. Breaking: NY Times, Russia has shipped ground-to-sea missile to Assad: one phone call away from Hezbollah. Erdogan is playing "many games", does one thing when he comes to the US, then does another, may travel with Morsi. Facing tremendous internal pressure; now Syrian refuges leaving Turkey, where they’re beaten up and tensions are extreme, so the refugees are fleeing back to Syria. Erdogan plays a duplicitous game.  Pres of Egypt will travel to Gaza at the same time as the president of Turkey does.  MB doesn’t want to see Morsi taken down. Now an effort to consolidate his hold of the Executive. Growing resentment against Hamas. Today 70 security guys were kidnapped in Sinai. Morsi: doesn’t want to lose US aid, wants to play to his constituency, wants to keep the Egyptian people [tranquil]. Susan Rice likely to be apptd head of NSC.  See: tension to come between Secy Kerry and Rice. 

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  IDF Lt-Col (ret) Michael Segall, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs;  Terrogence Company (open source Web dvpt), in re: Iran. The Sunni-Shiite divide is the main issue; Iran continues to operate in Egypt covertly, as it did before the Egyptian revolution, Egyptian-Turkish relations are relatively good; Iran is disappointed in Iran.    Iran has its own agenda; is displeased with Erdogan, so after a brief golden age in relations, the amity is over and Iran in more isolated. Iranian majlis wanted to visit Egypt and Gaza, which Egypt declined.  All the players in the region are looking at he many hesitations of the US anent the Syrian crisis. red line became pink line.  All looking to the US to see if any policy will be made.  West is doing nothing to solve it; is becoming a new Cold War between the West and Iran. Iran has been comfortable in the last week: Cathy Ashton, and the IAEA. Ten years into the negotiations, Iran, which started with no nukes, is close to being able to deliver one into Western Europe.

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  .Jim McTague, Barron's Washington, in re: Obama to Name Budget Official as Acting I.R.S. Chief  Daniel I. Werfel will replace Steven Miller, who is at the heart of the controversy over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, and a second official will leave.

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, in re: THE AMERICAS Mexico, Where Teachers Take Hostages

Hour Four

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Fouad Ajami, Hoover, in re:  Turkey’s Stubborn Erdogan Is Undone by Obama, Assad (Bloomberg View)


Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  David Davenport, Hoover, in re: Sequester 'Armageddon' Has Been President Obama's Y2K.   Members of the American Federation of Government Employees(AFGE) gather during a rally to protest the effects of the government sequester. You’d have to say we’ve dodged a couple of big mythical bullets in the last few months.  The world did not end on December 21, 2012, as some forecast from a Mayan myth.  And the federal budget sequester did not cause the sky to fall as predicted by Washington, D.C.  Double whew!  Do you remember what was said when the budget sequester took effect more than two months ago?  President Obama warned in February that, thanks to sequestration, “all our economic progress could be put at risk.”  I guess the operative word was “could,” . . . [more]


Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution (Defining Ideas) & Chicago Law, in re:  Watching Obamacare Unravel    Obama's Self-Inflicted Scandal

The Libertarian: Trouble at the Internal Revenue Service Richard A. Epstein interviewed

Thursday  16 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re: A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Rep. Ed Markey (D) is consolidating the Democratic base ahead of the June 25th special election for U.S. Senate. Markey now leads Gabriel Gomez (R) by 7 points, 48% to 41%.  New Democratic Party polling shows Ed Markey Leading Gabriel Gomez in Massachusetts by 7 points for the June 25 special Senate elections

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Hour 1: Frost-Nixon; Mad Max; Ides of March

Hour 2: Ides of March; Tears of the Sun

Hour 3: X-Files; Green Zone

Hour 4: Assassins Creed