Minnesota-made electronics found in Iran-smuggled IEDs

MORNING EDITION

Unwitting or not, this is not good PR. The story of Minnesota-made components getting smuggled into the Middle East and built into IEDs that killed U.S. troops is growing fast. The Christian Science Monitor story, by Warren Richey says: “The alleged operation involved the purchase and shipment of 6,000 radio modules from a company in Minnesota to Singapore, where the technology was illegally re-shipped to Iran, according to the indictment. The four Singapore citizens were arrested on Monday. The US requested that they be extradited to Washington to stand trial, and Singapore reportedly has agreed to arrange their extradition. … Officials said that in 2008 and 2009, coalition forces in Iraq discovered modules made by the Minnesota firm that had been used as part of the remote detonation system for IEDs (improvised explosive devices), the roadside bombs that exacted a heavy toll on US forces over the course of many years. The US military has long pointed to Iran as the source of the know-how to design, and manufacture, the deadliest devices.” No one at the unnamed Minnesota company has been indicted.

If they do it for gay marriage, they might as well do it for a football stadium. Tom Scheck at MPR files on the state GOP’s push for a referendum on a stadium tax: “House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch both say they’d prefer to see voters have their say before the sales tax can be raised. House Majority Leader Matt Dean said he senses his colleagues won’t vote for a plan that doesn’t include the referendum. Dean said he was in the Minnesota House when the Legislature exempted Hennepin County from holding a countywide referendum for the new Minnesota Twins ballpark in downtown Minneapolis. He said the makeup of this Legislature is very different. ‘It would be my prediction that there is much more support now to have people have the ability to vote than there was in 2006,’ he said.” This one may come down to Zygi vs. the Tea Party.

Here’s one that confirms a lot of suspicions. MPR’s Lorna Benson reports: “A new comprehensive analysis of flu studies concludes that most flu vaccines provide only moderate protection against influenza, and in some years barely make a difference at all. The analysis also suggests that the people who most need protection from flu — children and seniors — may be the least likely to derive benefit from vaccines, long considered important to public health. University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm and three other national flu researchers led the research effort. Their findings, published Tuesday in the British medical journal, The Lancet, were gleaned from a review of more than two dozen of the most rigorous flu studies done to date.”

Today in Bachmannia: OK. Monday in Bachmannia — I missed this one. Slate’s David Weigel, writing about candidates’ books, including Our Favorite Congresswoman’s one due to hit the stands soon: “What is Bachmann going to get from a book that comes out 1) five weeks before the Iowa caucus and 2) several months after her campaign fell out of the lead in that state, the only one where she ever had a chance? It will stimulate the following markets:
1) Liberal blogs and news sites, which can tear into the book for anecdotes and things that make Bachmann sound crazy.
2) Minnesota reporters, who can debunk the stuff that Bachmann lies about.
3) Bachmann’s fading brand, which she obviously cares about. (She did not cast any votes in Congress from August 1 to October 12, spending the time on the campaign trail instead.) In order to maintain the brand she can’t drop out of the race before the end of November. Why not? If there’s a small audience for this book now, how small will it be if she continues downsizing staff and skulks back into her House office?” What’s this “lies” business? Among the courtly press Our Gal only “misspeaks.”

Interesting commentary in the Strib from attorney Katelynn Mcbride on city laws prohibiting homeowners from renting their property: “In America, renting one’s property has always been considered a legitimate right of ownership. Winona, however, would rather see homeowners go broke than allow them to exercise it. The City Council has arbitrarily mandated that only 30 percent of the houses on any city block can be rented out. If 10 people live on your block, only three of your neighbors can obtain rental licenses. You and six other homeowners are forbidden from renting out your homes. Dean lives on a block on which 30 percent of the houses have rental licenses; the ban prevents him from offsetting the cost of making mortgage payments on a house he does not live in.”

Target’s new sooper-dooper website … crashed again Tuesday.  The AP says: “Target faced tough criticism last month after it drummed up so much hype around its offerings from Italian designer Missoni that its website crashed and was down most of the day the designer’s collection launched. And just two weeks ago, Target.com’s former president, Steve Eastman, left the company to pursue other interests. Company spokesman Lee Henderson confirmed that Target’s site was down for 2 1/2 hours midday Tuesday. The company did not give a reason for the site failure.” Here’s hoping whoever replaced Eastman has “other interests” or at least a family “he/she wants to spend more time with.”

Don’t miss Old Sooch in the PiPress and his thoughts on Minneapolis and stadiums: “Where are we? Probably with a new stadium getting built in downtown Minneapolis. Arden Hills never made sense. The environmental cleanup alone is daunting. And if Wilf is such a successful real estate tycoon, then why isn’t he acting more aggressively to develop the Arden Hills site himself? His idea of aggressiveness is to say, “We like Arden Hills.” No, he likes the parking lot revenue he might get from Arden Hills. Parking lot revenue doesn’t even fit into the narrative of modern political or urban life, where the automobile is downplayed in favor of public transportation. Which leaves us where the stadium was fated to be all along, in Minneapolis, where there is still some commerce and life on the streets and light-rail stations and a restaurant-and-bar district and growing neighborhoods of city dwellers living in buildings that once were the lifeblood of milling and manufacturing. Those people could walk to a game, much less hop a train.” It almost sounds like Joe’s a pro-LRT kind of guy.

At this rate, public workers in Wisconsin may soon be paying the state to work. Patrick Marley and Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report: “State employees would get no across-the-board pay hikes over the next two years, under a compensation plan that Gov. Scott Walker’s administration provided to lawmakers Tuesday. The pay freeze on general wages comes just months after Walker and Republicans who run the Legislature required public workers to pay more for their health insurance and pensions and eliminated almost all collective bargaining for most of them. The plan would allow merit pay increases, meaning some workers could see a boost in pay. Merit raises would be determined centrally by the Office of State Employment Relations, rather than by individual state agencies.” Generous contributions to strategically positioned elected officials will be taken into consideration, I’m sure.

The local conservative blog Let Freedom Ring is very suspicious of creeping progressives, especially in the secretary of state’s office: “Let’s connect the dots that we’ve collected thus far.

  1. Progressives put a plan in place to elect progressive candidates to be the secretaries of state in key battleground states. (For the most part, the progressives’ plan was effective.)
  2. These secretaries of state controlled the SVRS — State Voter Registration System — (This can’t be overemphasized in importance.)
  3. Controlling the SVRS allowed corrupt secretaries of state like Mark Ritchie to keep ineligible felons from voting by not updating the SVRS.
  4. Progressives have waged a continuing campaign against Photo ID, first saying it was a poll tax, then arguing that it suppresses voter turnout.
  5. Voter fraud exists. In fact, Photo ID would prevent a lot of fraud, according to former Congressman Artur Davis, (D-AL).
  6. Davis has identified a way voter fraud has been committed in painstaking detail.”

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/26/2011 - 07:40 am.

    …corrupt secretaries of state like Mark Ritchie…

    Those are libelous words.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/26/2011 - 08:59 am.

    “Let Freedom Ring” is rightwingspeak for “Let Paranoia Reign.”

    Indeed, voter fraud does exist. It exists in such minuscule numbers that, in terms of election outcomes, it’s negligible, especially here in Minnesota, as has already been established in several previous articles. Spending millions to prevent a genuinely tiny fraction of one percent of of the electorate from voting – literally a few dozen out of nearly 3 million – is not a reasonable use of taxpayer dollars, even if the motivation for such a policy were honest, and it’s not. This is a right wing agenda item to disenfranchise as many minority and poor voters as can possibly be kept from the polls, because “those people” tend to vote for candidates who are… gasp… not Republicans or libertarians.

    I’m no lawyer, but my hunch, should Mr. Ritchie choose to pursue it, is that Neal Rovick is correct in #1.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/26/2011 - 09:24 am.

    Regarding Secretaries of State: Once again, we can see proved true the idea that you can always tell what a “conservative” would do, given the power to act, by taking note of what they’re accusing others of doing (but which those others are not, and would not EVER do).

    I believe the factual record gives ample evidence of continuous efforts of “conservative” Secretaries of State (in Ohio and Florida, for instance) undertaking MASSIVE efforts to disenfranchise as many “undesirable” i.e. likely-to-be-progressive voters as possible.

    Given power, today’s “conservatives” seem guaranteed to abuse it while justifying their own abuses of power (in their own minds, at least) by falsely claiming they’re only doing what the other side is doing (which the other side is, of course NOT doing).

    Oh, and by the way, I believe that, in order to make sense within the context of their mad rantings, the folks at LFR need to reword number 3 to claim that Mark Ritchie’s alleged failure to update the state voter registration system ALLOWED ineligible felons to vote. (It currently says that he KEPT them from voting, which I would assume the LFR folks would celebrate, not criticize.)

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/26/2011 - 10:06 am.

    Say, Bri?

    Given the profiles of her persuers we’ve seen, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call The Glean’s intel updates for and from them Bachmania?

    #1 & #2: Internet lawyers; advise thyselves.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/26/2011 - 10:45 am.

    @1 and 2: As a public figure, Ritchie wouldn’t stand a chance with a defamation claim on this idiocy. Even if he did, it wouldn’t do anything but raise the exposure level for the LFR. (Sounds like a liberation front from the ’60s, doesn’t it?)

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/26/2011 - 10:47 am.

    Re: Bachmann:

    Never impute evil motive where ignorance is an adequate explanation.

  7. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/26/2011 - 10:54 am.

    “Controlling the SVRS allowed corrupt secretaries of state like Mark Ritchie to keep ineligible felons from voting by not updating the SVRS.”

    Wait…what? He’s corrupt because he DIDN’T let ineligible felons vote? Is it opposite day? I suspect that this blogger is confused. If he isn’t, he’s trying to pull a Bugs Bunny “well if he’s no rabbit, then where are his ears?”

  8. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/27/2011 - 07:23 am.

    A day late here…but “Duped in Minnesota”?

    Unless this was a firm selling Tonka Toys to Santa Claus, why wasn’t security clearance involved in the sale of Radio Frequency Modules? I suppose or do wonder if it was a sale the result of a former Gov’s campaign to establish trade relations with China…and in all the enthusiasm for finding a buyer, making the sale, this one slipped under the surveillance dragnets most foreign sales pass through?

    And on the issue of who sold what to whom and good guys/bad guys scenario…ask a question and you get a dumb answer…”duped” or dumb or totally lacking in sophistication concerning the product?

    Fantisize worst case scenario…if a former employee’s son is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan by a road side bomb. Not the kind of boomerang effect anyone needs whomever the victim. But at least someone might investigate “homeboy’ death of company worker’s son…maybe someone would be held responsible rather than rush to make Iran the only culprit when Minnesota’s hands may be soiled by the issue etc…

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