November 5, 2011

George Jonas: A plot too crazy not to be true

Filed under: Media, Middle East, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:37

The alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador is too unrealistic for Hollywood, but George Jonas says it’s also too crazy not to be real:

If someone came up with an outlandish plot in which two Iranian agents, acting on behalf of government circles in Tehran, scheme with Mexican drug lords to blow up a Saudi ambassador on American soil, would a California screenwriter buy into it before a Virginia intelligence analyst, or would it be the other way around?

Place your bets.

[. . .]

Iranians are smart. If they weren’t smart, we wouldn’t have to worry about them building bombs. Do smart people come up with stupid plots? Not plausible. And look at the amateur pitch. Here’s a story that not only sounds like a B-movie, but is unveiled at a press conference that looks like a poster for a low-budget diversity flick: An African-American Attorney-General (Holder) flanked by a male Caucasian FBI Director (Robert S. Mueller) and a female Caucasian Assistant Attorney-General for National Security (Lisa Monaco) with a male Asian-American U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Preet Bharara) hovering in the background. It’s early Hollywood multicultural chic. All that’s missing is the line “Coming to a theatre near you.”

This amuses the intelligence analyst. “The trouble with Hollywood-types,” he says, “is that they’ve manipulated reality for so long, they can’t even recognize it when they see it. Does your friend think Holder and Mueller and Monaco and Bharara are from Central Casting? Hello! They are who they are. Life has caught up with multicultural chic. It imitates art — or at least imitates Hollywood.”

My spook friend goes further. “Yes, it’s a stupid plot and that’s why it rings true to me,” he says. “Most true stories of international intrigue sound like B-movies.”

On the other hand, that may be a feature rather than a bug

Filed under: Asia, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:18

Pakistan is trying to conceal the location of its nuclear weapons from US spy satellites, and the concern voiced in this article is that they’re using low-security techniques to do it. On the other hand, if you’re actually trying to get nuclear warheads into the hands of terrorists with a certain degree of deniability, this is certainly a way to do it:

Pakistan has begun moving its nuclear weapons in low-security vans on congested roads to hide them from US spy agencies, making the weapons more vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants, two US magazines reported Friday.

The Atlantic and the National Journal, in a joint report citing unnamed sources, wrote that the US raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May at his Pakistani compound reinforced Islamabad’s longstanding fears that Washington could try to dismantle the country’s nuclear arsenal.

As a result, the head of the Strategic Plans Divisions (SPD), which is charged with safeguarding Pakistan’s atomic weapons, was ordered to take action to keep the location of nuclear weapons and components hidden from the United States, the report said.

Khalid Kidwai, the retired general who leads the SPD, expanded his agency’s efforts to disperse components and sensitive materials to different facilities, it said.

But instead of transporting the nuclear parts in armored, well-defended convoys, the atomic bombs “capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads,” according to the report.

This week in Guild Wars 2 news

Filed under: Gaming, Gaming — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 10:25

I’ve been accumulating news snippets about the as-yet-to-be-formally-scheduled release of Guild Wars 2 for an email newsletter I send out to my friends and acquaintances in the Guild Wars community. And yet another slow week for GW2 news. The only official news was a posting late on Friday with some updates to the Engineer and Ranger pet mechanics.


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