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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some Interesting Items in Todays News

Going through some of the news stories today I found a few I found interesting.

First the magnetic ASS, an Iraqi man triggers a scare at L.A. Airport, which of course, in my sick mind, gave me a visual I could have done without to be honest.

An Iraqi national wearing wires and concealing a magnet inside his rectum triggered a security scare at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday but officials said he posed no apparent threat.

The man, identified by law enforcement officials as Fadhel al-Maliki, 35, set off an alarm during passenger screening at the airport early on Tuesday morning.

A police bomb squad was called to examine what was deemed a suspicious item found during a body cavity search of the man. Local media reports said a magnet was found in his rectum.

"He was secreting these items in a body cavity and that was a great concern because there were also some electric wires associated with that body cavity," Larry Fetters, security director for the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, told reporters.

Read the rest.

Then we have a Taliban leader captured by Afghan soldiers as he was trying to escape while wearing a burqa.... how cute.

Afghan soldiers have captured a Taliban leader who tried to flee a security operation in the south dressed in a burqa, NATO said on Wednesday.

Tuesday's capture in Kandahar province came as NATO launched a major offensive in neighboring Helmand to secure a key hydroelectric dam and combat the opium trade.

The man was named as Mullah Mahmood and described as an expert bomb-maker. U.S.-led coalition forces also detained five more suspected militants in eastern Khost this week.

One bomb maker down!

The most interesting piece of the day though comes from The Australian and Pajamas Media, where a top Iranian official, in fact, the former Iranian deputy defense minister Ali Reza Asgari has possibly defected and is seeking asylum.

Reports are conflicting, some claiming he was kidnapped, others say he has defected.

If he has defected, this is a major blow to the Iranian government because Asgari will have intelligence that would be crucial in our dealing with Iran as well as information about Iran's activities in Iraq.

Defection of such a high-ranking figure would leave no external enemy to blame and would be seen as a rejection of the Islamic state by someone who well knows its inner workings.

General Asghari's crossing of the line, whether voluntary or not, is a resounding blow for the Iranian Government since he is privy to its most intimate secrets, particularly those concerning its nuclear capabilities and plans.

He served until two years ago as deputy defence minister, a post he held for eight years and which presumably offered an uninhibited view of virtually every aspect of Iran's security apparatus.

He was reportedly closely associated with Iran's activities in support of the Shi'ites in Iraq.

US intelligence analysts contend that Iran has been providing armaments to Iraqi Shia fighters that have been used with deadly effect against coalition forces, particularly highly lethal roadside bombs.

General Asghari would presumably be able to address the question of whether these shipments have been made with "approval from top leaders in Iran", as a senior US intelligence officer has claimed.

We have known for a while that Iranian weapons are being used against our coalition forces in Iraq, but have not been able to prove that top officials in Iran had knowledge nor ordered the shipments to be sent to Iraq.... this man could answer quite a few of these question and provide us with undeniably crucial information.

Seems this is causing quite the panic in Iran.

This is one story I will be keeping a close eye on.

[UPDATE] Seems it was a defection and not a kidnapping after all. Asghari apparently got his family out and sold his house according to Newsmax.

But Newsmax has learned from Iranian sources that Gen. Asghari's family also managed to leave Iran just before he went missing, and that he sold his house in the Narmak area of Tehran in December.

Both are considered clear indications that he defected and had been planning his departure for some time.

As a senior member of the general staff of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, Gen. Asghari had access to highly-classified operational information, as well as strategic planning documents, said Shahriar Ahy, an Iranian political analyst based in Washington, D.C.

"It will take them months to know just what they've lost," Ahy told Newsmax today.

The damage control investigation could reach the very summit of the Iranian government because of Gen. Asghari's long-standing personal relationship to former Defense minister Admiral Ali Shakhani, Any said.

"The loss of Gen. Asghari will severely hamper the regime's operations outside the country, because he will pull back the cloth on what he knows," Ahy said. "Intelligence agents will be called back, and operations will be put into deep freeze" as the regime tries to figure out what secrets Asghari compromised.

Gen. Asghari is believed to have detailed knowledge of the Revolutionary Guards Qods Force units operating in Iraq.

He is also believed to have come out with extensive information on Iran's clandestine nuclear weapons program, which will make it harder for Russia and China to come to Iran's defense at the ongoing 6-power talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Go read the rest.... this is an intel JACKPOT. [End Update]

Others discussing this:
Hot Air, Michael P.F. van der Galiƫn, QandO Blog, and Wizbang.

Keep up with others weighing in on this at memeorandum.