weapons of mass destruction

Do We Dare Dream of a Middle East Without WMD’s?

Just a few short months ago, speculation regarding a US attack on Syria centered only around when the attack would take place, how large it would be and how long bombardment would continue. But then accidental diplomacy broke out and it appears to be moving along remarkably well. Last week, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons certified that Syria has complied with the first stage of its giving up chemical weapons:

The Joint Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – United Nations Mission confirmed today that the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants, rendering them inoperable.

By doing so, Syria has met the deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council* to “complete as soon as possible and in any case not later than 1 November 2013, the destruction of chemical weapons production and mixing/filling equipment.”

On a separate front, Iran’s Foreign Minister announced yesterday that he feels an agreement on Iran’s nuclear technology could be reached as early as this week:

Two days before negotiations resume in Geneva between Iran and the United States and other Western powers aimed at ending a fight over the disputed Iranian nuclear program, the country’s foreign minister sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday, saying a deal was possible as soon as this week.

“I believe it is even possible to reach that agreement this week,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with France 24, a major television network here, before meeting with the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.

It is possible that these two diplomatic breakthroughs have provided cover for an even bigger diplomatic effort. An initiative had grown out of the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference to work toward an agreement banning all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. A conference based on the initiative had been planned for last year, but the United States announced it had been delayed just before it was scheduled to begin.

A planning meeting for the formal conference was held October 21-22 in Switzerland. The Nuclear Threat Initiative outlined a number of issues that were to be addressed a few weeks before that meeting:

A United Nations-appointed diplomat on Tuesday said he will convene multinational consultations in Switzerland later this month as a potentially key step toward discussing an eventual ban on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

If nations in the region can agree on the terms and objectives of regional discussions, a formal conference on creating a Mideast WMD-free zone could occur in Helsinki, Finland, as early as mid-December, according to international diplomats and expert observers.

Jaakko Laajava, a Finnish envoy who serves as facilitator for the prospective talks, played down continued differences between Israel and its Arab neighbors over the necessity of this month’s multilateral planning session, which is to take place in Glion, a lakeside retreat roughly 60 miles northeast of Geneva.

Yes, you read that correctly. Even though Israel was not a participant in the 2010 conference that created this initiative, Israel now is suddenly a party to the discussions. Of course, the region faces a multitude of WMD issues and especially non-compliance issues for agreements already reached: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Five Years or Five Months? Sex Charge Sentence Depends on Which WMD Theater Team is Chosen

Left, playing for the government in WMD theater, Joe Sims got over 100 charges dropped, now serving five months.  On the right, Scott Ritter contradicted US government WMD theater claims, all charges prosecuted, now serving five years.

Left, playing for the government in WMD theater, Joe Sims got over 100 charges dropped, now serving five months. Right, Scott Ritter contradicted US government WMD theater claims, all charges prosecuted, now serving five years.

The pattern is so old that it would be boring if not for the damage done. The FBI latches onto a loser who faces significant charges and gets them to work for the government, “infiltrating” a group to incite grand plans of domestic terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. Then, the FBI arrests those entrapped and pats themselves on the back in the subsequent press release informing us that the public never had been in danger because the bad guys were under surveillance the entire time. Detailed reading of the indictment almost always shows that the “perpetrators” were nothing close to real terrorists, had zero chance of producing a real weapon of mass destruction and never even would have made the attempt without the prodding of the FBI infiltrator.

Future historians likely will point to the Waffle House Four plot as the archetype of this pattern. These poor schmucks were hangers-on with a poorly organized “militia” in north Georgia who, without FBI intervention, would never have done anything more dangerous than sit around Waffle House grousing about the government. But the FBI had Joseph Harold Sims in their grasp and he offered to bring evidence against the group in return for reduced charges in the massive child sex case against him. In the end, these “terrorists” were arrested while in possession of a few castor beans. The deadly toxin ricin is made from castor beans, but the beans themselves are weapons of mass destruction in much the same way that a lump of uranium ore is a nuclear bomb.

In addition to ruining the lives of the entrapped “terrorists”, though, we now have evidence of just how depraved this process of WMD theater has become. The sentence for infiltrator Sims was announced Thursday, and the ridiculously light sentence he has received is jaw-dropping:

More than 100 sex-related charges have been dropped against an FBI informant in a case involving four Georgia militia members accused of plotting terrorist attacks.

As part of a plea deal reached Thursday in Anderson, Joseph Harold Sims will serve less than five months in prison for possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to 21 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. According to indictments, Sims had stored images on a computer showing minors engaging in sexual activity.

But the 47-year-old Iva man will not stand trial on charges of incest, indecent exposure and disseminating obscene material to a person under 18 years of age. He also had been charged with two counts of attempting or committing a lewd act on a child under 16 years of age and dozens of additional counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, court records show.

I guess they just couldn’t drop those child pornography charges since that is one of the most important areas for prosecution for the Department of Justice. But dropping over 100 charges? Really? And dropping the incest charges, along with lewd act on a minor charges? Only because he had been on the government’s side in WMD theater did Sims get all those charges dropped. And that five month sentence, well the judge had to know how ridiculous that is, so there were a few maneuvers involved in getting it that low:

At a hearing Thursday in the Anderson County Courthouse, Sims received a 10 year suspended sentence from Judge Alex Macaulay. He also was ordered to spend one year behind bars, with credit for 219 days of time served in jail, according to court records.

Boy, that ten year suspended sentence is really going to sting.

Compare Sims’ sentence with that of Scott Ritter, who played for the other team in a much earlier version of WMD theater. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @JohnWonderlich Oh, I dunno. I think they might well enjoy the prerogatives of private email sorting.
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emptywheel Boehner is probably having his best day as Speaker ever. He managed to deliver on a promise w/o flubbing vote count, and ... BibiPalooza!!!
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emptywheel @DuaneG Thank you! It's one of those days...
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bmaz @michaelbkiefer Why need for a modified Allen charge??
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bmaz @emptywheel Yes, in any case, if the judge goes on a rampage, the defendant can't get more than stacked and maxed. #Journalmalism
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emptywheel Read how Petraeus crimes'd normally be "Free Handjob & iPad Day at Walt Disney World" for prosecutors but weren't. https://t.co/QKYDlWKjor
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bmaz RT @Popehat: Updated my Petraeus post with the plea agreement, which makes his deal even sweeter. https://t.co/3UHhCaMIHy
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bmaz @chriswnews @william_pitts @michaelbkiefer I look forward to more ballpark cuisine reportage! Also, I NEED one of those hot dogs.
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emptywheel "That means even if federal judge who sentences him goes on a rampage, he can't get > a year in federal prison" https://t.co/QKYDlWsIwT
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bmaz We have a complex jury question! RT @william_pitts #JodiArias wearing purple. Or gold. DAMN YOU #TheDress !
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bmaz @emptywheel No no. LA has the high speed car chases, AZ get the long necked furry critters. Just how it is.
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emptywheel .@bmaz Who said they were gonna be loosed then lassoed in AZ again? Better to stage the scene where there's ice or snow.
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March 2015
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