Iran’s navy: Stealth-stalking the planet

Creeping with gray hulls.

On 9 March 2023, a webcam caught Iranian frigate IRIS Dena (F-75) underway departing Rio de Janeiro at the end of an extended port visit that began on 26 February 2023.

Forward support base IRINS Makran (441) was presumably in company with Dena.  Although Iran’s leaders have threatened to send the two-ship flotilla through the Panama Canal on this “round the world” deployment, it has been a vexed question from the beginning where the ships are at a given time, and it isn’t clear if they’re headed for the canal now.

There is naturally speculation that the warships will stop in Venezuela next.  If they do, they could already be off the coast from Caracas given their departure from Rio on Thursday. Continue reading “Iran’s navy: Stealth-stalking the planet”

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TOC Ready Room 28 December 2022: Grab bag – AZ election lawsuit; George Santos; illegal migrants

As readers have probably guessed, I’ve been taking a bit of a Christmas holiday and not posting much recently.  (As an update from several weeks ago, I continue to work on an extensive article about Chinese land holdings in the U.S., and some implications for national security.  That won’t be out until the New Year at this point.)

This Ready Room will be a little grab-bag of reflections on a few topics, the first of which is the Arizona judge’s ruling against gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s lawsuit over the conduct of the 2022 general election in Maricopa County.  The evidence of irregularities is extensive, and a strong case was made that failures of preparation and operation on election day, including machines and back-up planning, ended up disenfranchising numerous voters.  In the opinion of legal experts who were tracking the lawsuit and the court filings by Kari Lake, the evidence also showed an unmistakable bias in the political demographics affected by the irregularities, which were overwhelmingly Republican precincts.

I want to focus on just one aspect of the issue, however. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 December 2022: Grab bag – AZ election lawsuit; George Santos; illegal migrants”

Two pings on the new, “speaking” Durham filing in the Danchenko case

Ears to hear.

On 2 September 2022, Special Counsel John Durham entered a motion under seal in the federal case against Igor Danchenko – source for the Steele dossier – for making false statements to the FBI.

The motion, regarding admissibility of evidence, was filed under seal because it contained classified information.  The motion was unsealed 13 September with redactions in the Exhibits.  Margot Cleveland previewed earlier at The Federalist the presumption that if the motion were unsealed, we’d be able to discern the direction Durham is going to take the case.

In her view, especially based on Danchenko’s response to the new Durham filing, Durham will have to expose the Deep State’s operations if he wants to keep the case going.  Otherwise, the Danchenko defense will argue, with probable success, that his false statements were immaterial, because they didn’t affect the FBI’s, or DOJ’s or Robert Mueller’s, follow-on choices about investigation of the original matter.

The Durham motion goes directly to that point, Continue reading “Two pings on the new, “speaking” Durham filing in the Danchenko case”

Mar-a-Lago affidavit: Russiagate rides again

Same book, next chapter.

The affidavit behind the warrant for the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago is out, sort of, and it appears to fulfill expectations.  The statute citations are absurd, the prior cooperation of former President Trump with federal agencies is clear, a huge question remains unanswered, and the issue of declassification is dealt with in a series of rimshots that never land in a pocket (which alone should have been a red flag to magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart).

And that’s just the part we can see.  The real question – not really a question, I think – is what’s invisible behind the massive redactions.

I say it’s not really a question, because one thing it has to be is excuses for the statute citations, which include language implying Trump is suspected of conspiring to hand sensitive national defense material to unauthorized persons, and has unknown confederates in such an enterprise. Continue reading “Mar-a-Lago affidavit: Russiagate rides again”

TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues

What’s wrong and right with the world.

The big news from the last 48 hours is that the Biden White House actually did know in advance of the Mar-a-Lago raid, and in fact had been involved in the issue of the documents held at Mar-a-Lago since at least April of 2022 (and probably earlier).  So the original claim that the Biden White House didn’t know about it was false.

That point has been gone over vigorously since it came out Monday night.  But the latest information on the Mar-a-Lago/classified information dust-up also confirms my previous discussion of the classification issue (and here).

In addition to that discussion, I offer as preparation an excellent 7-odd minutes with Megyn Kelly and former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright, which packages a pretty comprehensive overview of the things that matter. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 August 2022: Notes on the Boxes of Mar-a-Lago; the end of an old order continues”