Tags: Iran | Could | Go | Nuclear

Iran Could Go Nuclear This Year

By    |   Sunday, 04 May 2008 04:45 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Israeli Minister: Iran Could Go Nuclear This Year
2. Obama Will Not Quit Church
3. Voters Registering Democratic in Record Numbers
4. Dutch Fear Reprisals for Anti-Muslim Film
5. Trent Lott's Campaign Cash Aiding His Lobbying Firm
6. New Haditha Film Slammed as 'Smear Job'
7. We Heard: Rupert Murdoch, Brian Williams

1. Israeli Minister: Iran Could Go Nuclear This Year

Iran will likely have the means to produce nuclear weapons before the end of this year, warns Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz.

A recent Israeli Military Intelligence assessment estimated that Iran would not be able to go nuclear until 2010. But Mofaz, a former defense minister and Israeli Defense Force chief of General Staff, said Iran could have the know-how to build nuclear arms within months.

In a speech at Yale University on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mofaz said the diplomatic channel was the preferred way to stop Iran's nuclear program, but added that any means of ensuring that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons are valid, according to the Jerusalem Post.

"Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, and I'd like to believe that the rest of the world will not allow it to happen," Mofaz said. "All is fair in the efforts to make sure it doesn't happen."

He also declared that the "Iranian regime is the number one threat to mankind in the 21st century. It is a multi-dimensional, multi-armed threat, which increases every day, every hour."

Photos taken during a recent visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Natanz, where Iran is building centrifuges to enrich uranium, were released to the world press by Iran. They clearly show the progress Iran has made on installing the newer IR-2 model centrifuge, which appears ready for testing, according to HSToday, a Web site focusing on homeland security.

Mofaz was in the U.S. with an Israeli delegation holding meetings with American officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Editor's Note:

Special: The Coming War With Iran: 6 Days of Hell

2. Obama Will Not Quit Church

Barack Obama has finally distanced himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his incendiary remarks, but he has no plans to leave Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ.

After Obama called Wright's comments "divisive and destructive" during a press conference this past week, a questioner noted that the new Trinity pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, had defended Wright and asked if Obama would continue attending the church.

"Well, the new pastor, the young pastor, Reverend Otis Moss, is a wonderful young pastor," Obama responded, according to CQ Transcripts Wire.

"And as I said, I still very much value the Trinity community. I'll be honest. This obviously has put strains on that relationship, not because of the members or because of Reverend Moss but because this has become such a spectacle.

"And when I go to church, it's not for spectacle. It's to pray and to find a stronger sense of faith. It's not to posture politically. It's not to hear things that violate my core beliefs. And I certainly don't want to provide a distraction for those who are worshipping at Trinity.

"So as of this point, I'm a member of Trinity. I haven't had a discussion with Reverend Moss about it, so I can't tell you how he's reacting and how he's responding."

Moss, the 37-year-old "hip-hop pastor" as he's called by congregants, will become the head of Trinity in June. A Yale Divinity School graduate, he has been an assistant pastor at the church for two years.

In his Easter sermon at Trinity, he recited lyrics from Tupac Shakur's "Thugz Mansion," and called the late rapper "neither a saint nor demon, but all human."

He also said rappers shouldn't be overlooked because of a "proclivity for ghetto-istic conduct."

Editor's Note:

Special: The Obama Connection You Must Read

3. Voters Registering Democratic in Record Numbers

The past seven states to hold primaries registered more than 1 million new Democratic voters. It's part of a trend that is seeing voters register as Democrats in record numbers.

"Black voters, young voters, lifelong Republicans switching parties — all registering in record numbers, and all aligning as Democrats," the Washington Post reports.

In North Carolina and Indiana, the next two states to hold primaries, election officials say three times as many new Democrats have registered compared to the run-up to the 2004 primaries.

In North Carolina, 31,250 people switched their party registration since the beginning of the year and 80 percent became Democrat or independent, according to USA Today. The state allows independents to vote in party primaries.

In Oregon, another state yet to hold its primary, 12,548 people switched their affiliation in March, and 77 percent of them became Democrats.

But in those seven states where Democratic registration surged before recent primaries, "Republican numbers mainly ebbed or stagnated," according to the Post.

Overall, "we are likely to set an all-time record for primary turnout," Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, told the Post.

Eli Saslow of the Post wonders: "Is it a temporary increase in interest resulting from a close election between historic candidates? Or is it a seismic swing in party realignment that foretells the end of the red-blue stalemate?"

Editor's Note:

Special: Will Rush, Imus, O'Reilly Be Abolished Next Year?

4. Dutch Fear Reprisals for Anti-Muslim Film

Dutch embassies, especially those in Muslim countries, are on high alert after the release of a film by a Dutch parliament member that is sharply critical of the Koran.

Geert Wilders' 15-minute film "Fitna," first released on the Internet in March, asserts that the Muslim holy book is a fascist work that encourages hatred and violence.

Dutch embassies in Muslim countries were instructed by Dutch foreign secretary Maxime Verhagen to do everything possible to avoid a repetition of events that took place after Danish cartoons were published in early 2006, sparking deadly riots in several Muslim nations.

Wilders himself — a staunch supporter of Israel who lived on a kibbutz there for a time – is under 24-hour guard, veteran Dutch journalist Hans Knoop told Newsmax.

He moves from place to place and his schedule is considered top secret.

Meanwhile Dutch ambassadors in Muslim nations have been telling officials and opinion leaders in their host countries that although Wilders is a member of parliament, he does not reflect the opinion of the government or a majority of the electorate in the Netherlands.

Wilders was first elected to parliament in 1998. When his liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy decided in August 2004 to accept Turkey's eventual membership in the European Union, Wilders quit the party. Then in 2006 he ran with his own newly formed Freedom Party and won nine seats in the 150-seat Lower House.

Although Wilders denies that his Freedom Party is a single-issue party, he has managed to hit the headlines frequently with extreme anti-Muslim statements, Knoop disclosed.

Wilders has called for closing the Dutch borders to Muslims for at least five years, and for a freeze on building new Muslim schools and mosques. He also wants imans to pray in Dutch rather than in Arabic.

In an article published in a Dutch newspaper in August 2007, Wilders wrote that he wanted to outlaw the Koran, which he called "a fascist book and the Islamic 'Mein Kampf,'" referring to the book by Adolf Hitler.

His life has been threatened frequently. In November 2004, two suspected terrorists were captured after an hour-long siege of a building in The Hague. They had three grenades and were accused of planning to murder Wilders.

Editor's Note:

Special: Terror 'Chatter' Extremely High, Prepare Your Family

5. Trent Lott's Campaign Cash Aiding His Lobbying Firm

Former Sen. Trent Lott is raising eyebrows by using a huge sum left over from his campaign war chest to make donations to lawmakers who oversee clients of his lobbying firm.

The Mississippi Republican had almost $1.3 million in political donations left over when he quit the Senate in December to become a lobbyist, and he had about $1.1 million remaining as of the end of March.

Lott recently gave $4,000 each to two Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has oversight on Northrop Grumman's $35 billion Air Force tanker contract.

As a Senator, Lott had won large Pentagon contracts for the company and its giant shipyard in his hometown of Pascagoula. Northrop Grumman became one of his major lobbying clients three months after he left office.

The purpose of Lott's donations "is to benefit Trent Lott's personal lobbying business at this point. There is no other benefit at all," Craig Holman, who lobbies for tighter campaign finance rules for Public Citizen, told The Associated Press.

But it's all perfectly legal. Under congressional rules, former lawmakers can use leftover campaign money as they see fit so long as it is not spent for personal benefit.

Also, Lott retired just days before new legislation went into effect barring former senators from personally lobbying members of Congress for two years after they leave office. Lott is subject to the previous one-year ban, and until that expires late this year, he can do behind-the-scenes work while others at his firm handle direct contacts with lawmakers.

It's not unusual for former members of Congress to spend unused campaign cash, but observers say Lott's $1.3 million stockpile is the largest they can remember.

Lott maintains he is simply supporting like-minded Republicans with his donations.

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6. New Haditha Film Slammed as 'Smear Job'

A new documentary purporting to reveal the "truth" about the U.S. Marines' killing of 24 people in Haditha, Iraq, is being called a fake.

The documentary by British-born Nick Broomfield — who has made films about former "Hollywood Madame" Heidi Fleiss, rocker Kurt Cobain, and S&M clubs — features former enlisted Marines portraying the Haditha troops in reenactments of what some call "Bush's My Lai," Richard Johnson reports in the New York Post's "Page Six" column.

But "Battle for Haditha," which opens May 7, is being slammed as a smear job. A group called Defend Our Marines states on its Web site that while "Broomfield claimed he'd show the world the 'unflinching truth' about Haditha," he instead "had actors improvise phony, obscenity-filled dialogue as they shot innocent civilians," according to Johnson.

"One scene in which an Iraqi is gunned down as he flees through a field is said to be completely fictional."

Charges against five of the eight Marines involved in the November 2005 incident have already been dropped.

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7. We Heard . . .

THAT there's a "Chinese connection" between News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and his right-hand man Robert Thomson, who will be running the newsroom at Murdoch's Wall Street Journal:

Thomson is married to Wang Ping, the daughter of a general in the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Murdoch is married to Wendi Deng, the daughter of a worker in the Chinese People's Machinery Works, New York Magazine noted.

Thomson is the co-author of "The Chinese Army: An Illustrated History from The Long March to Tiananmen Square." Murdoch took BBC News off his Chinese TV network.

THAT New York Times stories on newlywed gays, sex chairs, a painter from New Mexico and vacation spots for nudists don't exactly thrill MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.

"It's tough to figure out exactly what readers the paper is speaking to, or seeking, he wrote on his blog "The Daily Nightly."

Williams pointed to a recent issue of the Sunday Times that included these stories: "Scavengers on the Urban Savannah" (people who buy things at flea markets); "Through Sickness, Health, Sex Change"; The Newlywed Gays (gay men in Massachusetts who are outdoor grilling enthusiasts); and "A Sex Chair Becomes a Battlefield."

The issue profiled a man who "lives and paints" in New Mexico, while the lead story in the Travel Section focused on the rise of vacation resorts catering to nudists, Williams observed.

But he did have high praise for a wide-ranging article by Peggy Noonan in the same weekend's Wall Street Journal, and opined that she "must be considered an early favorite for next cycle's Pulitzer for commentary."

Editor's Note:

Special: Special: The Coming War With Iran: 6 Days of Hell

Special: Special: The Obama Connection You Must Read

Special: Special: Will Rush, Imus, O'Reilly Be Abolished Next Year?

Special: Special: Terror 'Chatter' Extremely High, Prepare Your Family

Miracle Tea Reduces Heart Inflammation, Cancer Fighter

Cholesterol Drugs Actually Cause More Harm Than Good, Doctor Says

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Israeli Minister: Iran Could Go Nuclear This Year2. Obama Will Not Quit Church3. Voters Registering Democratic in Record Numbers4. Dutch Fear Reprisals for Anti-Muslim Film5. Trent Lott's Campaign Cash Aiding His Lobbying...
Sunday, 04 May 2008 04:45 PM
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