Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, (who also has the story) Jeff Emanuel of Redstate and Jeff Emanuel, Andrew Breitbart of The Drudge Report, Breitbart and Breitbart TV, and Andrew's attorney Larry Solov are touring Israel with hosts America's Voices in Israel led by the lovely Fern Oppenheim.
This news is from Scott Johnson of Powerline it appears that the Discerning Texan is also part of the party.
They repeat - mentioning the notoriously unreliable DEBKA file the following story which is copied verbatim (Monday Jan 30th dateline) from the ACG Centre for Intelligence Studies for you to make of it what you will.
(Vancouver, BC) -- "How close were we to seeing an armed nuclear conflict?" That is the question being asked as Syrian nationals temporarily vacated Beirut, Lebanon and the Jordan Valley during mid July according to sources close to ACG-CIS.
Many security and intelligence officials believe that this behavior may have been related to the US sinking of a North Korean ship approximately 100 nautical miles from the coast of Iran.
It was not immediately clear why, around July 10, 2007, the Syrian nationals, primarily engaged in construction, trades and agricultural occupations, should have vacated Lebanon without notice. The nationals were noticed to have returned to Beirut and the Jordan Valley by July 21, 2007.
ACG Centre for Intelligence Studies (ACG-CIS - Canadian security company) is of the opinion that the approximate 10-day absence may have been in part due to a warning system alerting the nationals to the possibility of an impending military or terror strike against Israel and other western interests in the region. (Their Website says "July 23 2007 US Sinks North Korean Ship Bound for Iran. "How close were we to seeing an armed nuclear conflict?" ACG-CIS has developed full analysis of situation with alink which doesn't seem to work)
According a number of news sources, officials and clerics from Syria and Iran met during this time period reportedly to draw plans and scenarios for proposed attacks and increased activity against western interests in both the Mid East region and elsewhere. Those talks ended last week with no official announcements from any of the participants.
ACG-CIS, based upon further analysis, believe that the nationals were warned of an apparent military style strike or strikes as Hezbollah was reported to be moving missiles in civilian populated areas throughout southern Lebanon.
This movement along with the involvement of the Iranian president, an adamant believer in nuclear technology and development, lead to concerns about the possibility of a military style "dirty bomb" nuclear attack or a ballistic missile attack involving nuclear weapons purchased from North Korea.
It was reported earlier this month that while the North Korean 2006 test demonstrated the viability and reliability of North Korea's Scud- and Nodong-class systems, it left open the status of the three ballistic missile systems that the Korean People's Army (KPA) recently placed, or is placing, into service as testing on North Korea short-range missile systems has been quietly ongoing.
In reports first published by DEBKAfile, American naval and air forces intercepted two North Korean vessels clandestinely en route for Iran with cargoes of enriched uranium and nuclear equipment in the past month.
The shutdown of Pongyong's nuclear facilities has made these items surplus to North Korea's requirements and the Islamic Republic was more than willing to pay a hefty price for the goods. On July 12, the second intercepted North Korean freighter was sunk in the Arabian Sea.
Whilst it all seems highly unlikely the final paragraph does have some consistency but it is more likely that the US would keep the vessel(s?) than sink them. However as there is a new rapprochement with DPRK maybe (as is highly likely) this is a rogue lot of military officers wanting to cash in a few chips, just as the Russians did to DPRK in the 90's and as such an embrassment to the current regime, anxious for US$'s, oil, food.
Of course it call also be a all a load of old bollocks.
The Full Debka File piece Vol. 7, Issue 310, July 20, 2007 is available here..
"On July 12, the second intercepted North Korean freighter was sunk in the Arabian Sea by torpedoes fired from a US submarine 100 miles southeast of the Iranian naval base-port of Chah Bahar. Delivery of its freight of enriched weapons-grade uranium and equipment and engines for manufacturing more fissile material including plutonium in its hold could have jumped-forwarded Iran’s nuclear bomb and warhead project, lopping off at least a year of work. For this Iran’s rulers were ready to fork out $500 million.
A few hours earlier, President George W. Bush received an intelligence briefing on the vessel, its freight - listed on official documents as a consignment of iron - and destination.
"DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources report that three senior North Korean engineers are due in Tehran by August 20 and another nine in December. By then, North Korea expects the IAEA certificate confirming the closure of its nuclear program to be safely in the bag.
Tehran is also giving North Korea three years’ supply of free oil."
They also mention french naval involvement - aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is in the Persian Gulf
"Over several weeks, the Americans cast a dense net of maritime and aerial surveillance, co-opting friendly Asian and European air and naval forces, to keep tabs on every vessel departing North Korea with freights of iron.
The first North Korean vessel was caught in the net on June 25.
Suspected of carrying radioactive materials hidden behind a cargo of iron, the vessel had entered the Arabia Sea and was two days voyage from Iran when, according to our sources in Paris, President Bush and French president Nicolas Sarkozy had a quick conversation over secure lines. That exchange resulted in a decision to rush US and French naval units in the neighborhood to intercept the suspect North Korean freighter and blow it out of the water.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources report that much about the incident remains under tight wraps. It is not clear whether the ship was sunk by an American or a French submarine and, even after the event, it is not certain that the doomed ship did in fact carry nuclear materials or equipment."
They also claim that on June 28, the US Navy released this statement:
US sailors helped rescue the crew of a North Korean-flagged ship on Monday. The incident occurred in the Arabian Sea when the ship reported it had engine problems, no food or water and was in danger of sinking. The USNS Kanawha and the French ship Dupleix helped evacuate the ship’s 16 crew members to safety. None of the crew was a North Korean citizen.
The US and French ships are part of Combined Task Force 150, which conducts maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the North Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
The Military Sealift Command ship in the US Naval Fleet is the USNS Kanawha Auxiliary Force (it is a fleet oiler and due for refurbishment by BAE).
However this report may explain some confusion
Reuters Updated: 11:22 a.m. PT July 14, 2007 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19761656/TEHRAN - A South Korean-flagged cargo ship with 23 people on board has sunk off the coast of Iran and 13 people are missing, Iranian officials said.Masih Momeni, an official with Iran's ports and shipping organisation, was quoted by state radio as saying the ship carrying iron from China sank in the Sea of Oman, 110 nautical miles southeast of Iran's port of Chahbahar.
Another official at the shipping organisation, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters the ship sank on Thursday. He said the 10 saved were four South Koreans, four Filipinos and two Chileans.Momeni had said the 10 were picked up by passing vessels. It was not immediately clear if the remaining 13 missing were all crew.
But the MSNBC link doesn't find anything. However France 24 has the Reuters report and the Straits Times but neither name the vessel .
Finally however we find the US Navy Press release which is clear and provides a detailed explanation how the US vessel and french vessel Dupleix helped to "rescue its 16-person crew, consisting of 13 Indians, two Burmese and one Sri Lankan."... ""This was extreme boating in heavy seas," said Kanawha's chief mate Will McDermott in a tale of naval derring do.
So the headline should have been "US DOESN'T sink(s) DPRK vessel in Persian Gulf carrying nuclear materiel / equipment (???)
But it does demonstrate what those Zionist twats at DEBKA and their hangers on will do and the lengths of deceit they employ to spread their bullshit stories and feed the warmongers.