Archive for category Afghanistan

US officials — no credible evidence that terrorists trained Shahzad

OFF THE RECORD, natch. But, this is interesting. Six officials, off the record, noting the REALITY of the case, that certain people are creating this out of whole cloth, and the EVIDENCE does not support the allegations. And they “don’t know why” certain people are talking as if they had something solid, when they don’t.

BUT WE KNOW WHY. This is psyops, this is designed to create negative sentiments about Pakistan and to justify a future action against Pakistan, that may involve partitioning Pakistan in order to create an international corridor through Balochistan, to hook up with the Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan, which are SIMULTANEOUSLY where the opium grows and where our troops come and go from.

kandahar-01-07-08-055 US Air Force plane at Kandahar. Click through for many more pictures. Get a feel for how busy it is over there.

Posted by Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 08 May (Asiantribune.com):

No credible evidence has been found so far that the Pakistani-American man accused in the Times Square bombing plot received any serious terrorist training from the Pakistani Taliban or another radical Islamic group, six U.S. officials said Thursday.

“There is nothing that confirms that any groups have been found involved in this for certain,” one U.S. official told McClatchy Newspapers. “It’s a lot of speculation at this point.”

Faisal Shahzad may have, at the most, had “incidental contact” with a terrorist organization, and he may have been encouraged to act, said one of the officials, who declined to elaborate further.

Four U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials and two other U.S. officials with knowledge of the case spoke only on the condition of anonymity to McClatchy because they weren’t authorized to discuss classified intelligence or the ongoing investigation publicly.

According to a five-count criminal complaint filed by U.S. prosecutors in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Shahzad admitted after his arrest on Monday to receiving bomb-making training in Waziristan, a part of Pakistan’s tribal area bordering Afghanistan, during a five-month trip to his homeland that ended in February.

According to the criminal complaint, Shahzad admitted that he’d parked a Nissan SUV loaded with propane tanks, gasoline canisters, fertilizer and fireworks coupled to two alarm clocks in New York’s Times Square on Saturday evening and fled.

The vehicle began smoldering, but failed to explode. Shahzad was apprehended on Monday night on a Dubai-bound Emirates flight at John F. Kennedy Airport that he’d been allowed to board even though his name was on the “no fly” list.

The U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials, however, said that the bungled nature of the bombing and the trail of clues that led the FBI to him suggest that he never received even rudimentary terrorist training or instructions on how to evade arrest.

Nor has any credible evidence been uncovered verifying his story of being trained in Waziristan, they and the other U.S. officials said.

“We’ve seen nothing suggesting that Shahzad received even minimal training, and everything about what he did suggests otherwise,” one U.S. official said.

The official cited, among other things, the would-be bomber’s use of the wrong kind of fertilizer and the fact that he made little or no effort to conceal his identity or that of the vehicle he used.

Another U.S. official said that Shahzad hadn’t even removed the plastic caps on the propane tanks’ valves before he abandoned the vehicle.

Nor does it appear that he made plans to escape after leaving the car in an illegal parking space where it was sure to attract attention in an area that one U.S. official said “has about the heaviest police and surveillance presence of any public space in this country.”

Several news reports on Thursday, though, said that U.S. officials had gathered “mounting” evidence that the Pakistani Taliban had trained Shahzad.

“Officials said that after two days of intense questioning of the bombing suspect, Faisal Shahzad, evidence was mounting that the group, the Pakistani Taliban, had helped inspire and train Mr. Shahzad,” The New York Times reported.

However, Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman, said Thursday that it could be “weeks or months” before U.S. investigators are able to corroborate all aspects of Shahzad’s tale, saying they have to interview detainees and other people in Pakistan.

“If he went to a (training) camp, it is a lengthy process,” Kolko said. “Everything has to be checked.”

“Did somebody encourage him to try to do this? That’s possible, given where he was and for how long and his financial circumstances,” a third U.S. official said. “But did anybody show him how to do it? Nothing we know points in that direction, and I don’t know why some people are talking as if we had something solid. Inspired, maybe. Trained? Not in any serious sense of the word.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs Thursday dodged questions about whether links had been found between Shahzad and foreign extremist groups.

“This is a rapidly developing, ongoing investigation. And if there are developments that need to be made public, they’ll likely be done so through the Department of Justice,” he said.

Shahzad, 30, is the son of a retired senior air force commander from Mohib Banda, a village near Peshawar, the main city in violence-torn northwestern Pakistan. He came to the U.S. in 1998 on a student visa and became an American citizen last year.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday, May 06 that Shahzad was providing investigators with valuable information.

“Mr. Shahzad is continuing to cooperate with us,” Holder said.

(Based on McClatchy Newspapers report)

- Asian Tribune -

final solution frenzy

Amazing reports from News Central Asia, via There Are No Sunglasses:

‘Final Solution’ Frenzy - Part One: From Afghanistan with Love

‘Final Solution’ Frenzy - Part Two: Russian Atheist Explains Suicide Bombing

‘Final Solution’ Frenzy - Part Three: Rendezvous with Final Solution

excerpts:

There is a new sense of urgency in the DoD-CIA circles. An anxiety, bordering on desperation, has apparently enveloped the minds of everyone from Gates-Vickers duo down to field commanders.

The media whitewash notwithstanding, Operation Moshtarak was neither a big battle not a big success, the political will is eroding fast in many NATO countries, some of the defeats of Americans in Afghanistan are being pathetically described as strategic repositioning, there is nothing to show for the military and civilian surge so far while Obama is nearing the election phase where he might face a very formidable Sarah Pallin, and Iran is stronger than ever.
Run, Obama, run. Run, Bob, run. Run, Mike, run.

Our experts in Washington and Moscow were unanimous in their opinion that JULY 2010. appears to be a crucial month in American plans. The architects of the Final Solution are rushing to rendezvous with the Final Solution. Most of the elements for the Final Solution would be in place by  JULY 2010.

Our experts also opine that after July 2010, the components would be in place to start a proper war against Iran and do an amputation surgery on Pakistan.

A network of Patriot Defence System (PAC-3) has been established in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. UAE and Saudi Arabia purchased Patriot under their ambitious acquisition drives largely fed by the fear mongering by the United States.  Final tests are scheduled for July 2010.

Our Washington expert told that all of these systems are centrally linked to the control centre in Israel. Among other things, it would ensure that none of the Patriot systems, costing the Gulf countries billions of dollars, would be available for their defence against Israel.

Our expert in Moscow said that Patriot system is designed to protect the aggressor from counterattack. It means that an aggressor, after hitting first, can hide behind the Patriot shield to avoid retaliation by the aggrieved party. Obviously, the only understandable reason for erecting a wall of Patriot between Israel and Iran is to provide for the time when Iran would try to retaliate after being bombarded by US-Israel forces.

Our expert in Moscow also told that USA is pushing very hard to sell Patriot system to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, two countries that bordering Iran.

Patriots are produced by Ratheon. William Lynn, the former vice president of Raytheon, is currently the deputy secretary of defence and a close friend of Gates and Vickers.

^^^^^^^

Our experts in Washington and Moscow agree that JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) is at the root of most of what is happening now in Pakistan and Iran and what is likely to happen after July 2010. It is necessary to underline that JSOC operates outside the US military chain of command.

JSOC is run by Vice admiral William McRaven, who answers to the head of US Special Operations Command, Admiral Eric T Olson. It is located at Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, USA.

JSOC commands and controls the Special Mission Units (SMUs) that are responsible for highly classified operations, a euphemism for engaging in terrorism and blaming it on someone else.

Army’s Delta Force, Navy’s Seal Team 6, and a joint unit engaged in clandestine operations are all part of JSOC.

Because of the fact that both Robert Gates and Michael Vickers have deep roots in CIA, the SMUs of JSOC operate in close collaboration with CIA. In fact, their personnel are co-opted so frequently that it is impossible to draw a line between DoD and CIA as far black operations are concerned, told our Washington expert.

Blackwater (now Xe) is still the main contractor for outsourcing terrorism.

JSOC operates under the umbrella of USSOCOM (US Special Command Operations Command), the main unit of the sprawling empire of Michael Vickers.

We would like to underscore that even though most of the elements would be in place by July 2010 for something big to happen, it doesn’t mean that something drastic would necessarily happen in July 2010. The essence of this report is that the USA would be in a position by July 2010 to impose Final Solution on Pakistan and Iran.

Our next report would deal with the anatomy of Final Solution for Pakistan. We hope to release in about a week or ten days.

blow-up envoy

Richard Holbrooke is a Zionist Jew with a long track record of supporting Jewish causes.

  • As US Ambassador to the United Nations, he worked to secure Israel’s membership in the UN’s Western European and Others regional group, which ended Israel’s historic exclusion from regional deliberations and permitted election to leadership positions in UN sub-bodies. The Israeli government officially thanked Holbrooke for this favor.
  • Holbrooke secured consultative status at the UN for the Zionist women’s organization, Hadassah. This allowed Hadassah to be recognized as a NGO and give expert advice to the UN.
  • Under the Carter administration, following through on genocidal Kissinger policies, Holbrooke authorized arms shipments to the Indonesian government during a supposed blockade, and Indonesian government forces used these weapons to brutally suppress the Timorese.
  • As vice chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston, affiliated with a Swiss bank facing a class-action lawsuit to settle Holocaust-era claims, Holbrooke urged Switzerland to return assets to Holocaust victims.
  • The Jewish community widely praised Holbrooke for his role in ending the Bosnian war. The ADL and  the World Jewish Congress gave him awards.

As Richard Holbrooke, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, accepted his latest assignment on January 22, 2009 from the hands of the foreign policy establishment that made him rich and famous, he boldly and graciously projected the same establishment’s crimes onto the designated scapegoat.

Mr. President [Obama], Madame Secretary [Clinton], Mr. Vice President [Biden], you’ve asked me to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan, two very distinct countries with extraordinarily different histories, and yet intertwined by geography, ethnicity, and the current drama. This is a very difficult assignment, as we all know. Nobody can say the war in Afghanistan has gone well. And yet, as we speak here today, American men and women and their coalition partners are fighting a very difficult struggle against a ruthless and determined enemy without any scruples at all, an enemy that is willing to behead women who dare to teach in a school to young girls, an enemy that has done some of the most odious things on earth.

And across the border, lurks a greater enemy still: the people who committed the atrocities of September 11th, 2001.

^^^^^^^

On February 20, 2010, Holbrooke said that al Qaeda planned to infiltrate Central Asia and train militants there to destabilize the region. This al Qaeda menace would allegedly spread from Afghanistan, where they miraculously outwit coalition forces for years on end. Mr. Holbrooke says al Qaeda “trains international terrorists.” I’m guessing they provide things like passports, weapons, lodging, logistical support.

Stability in the vast resource-rich region sprawling between China, Russia and Afghanistan is crucial to the West as it lies on a new supply route for NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.

The region’s main home-grown extremist group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), wants to topple Central Asia’s secular post-Soviet leaders and establish strict Islamic rule.

In Central Asia, according to security experts, the al Qaeda terrorists will assist the home grown terrorists to take advantage of the failed state opening. Failed states justify terrorism, right? People understand that hopelessness leads to radicalization, which leads to terrorism.

People also understand that terrorism justifies military expansion. We can’t allow terrorists to go around beheading people. Military expansion makes for “stability,” and stability is crucial to The West. Why? Because it allows the NATO operations in Afghanistan to continue. And these operations have been very effective in stopping terrorists…. oh wait…. actually…

Right around here official logic falls apart, since Afghanistan is really about controlling the incredibly lucrative illegal drug market. But of course, that can never be admitted. That’s why Holbrooke can talk about the ruthless and determined enemies with no scruples who commit heinous crimes and behead people and murdered Americans on 911 etc. with a straight face (him not the enemies, to be clear), as he gets a promotion.

US Special Inflatable Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan
24″ tall

^^^^^^^

So Holbrooke did a quickie tour of Central Asia around February 21st. It all seemed rather terse and rushed.

A reticent Richard Holbrooke completed a lightning tour of Central Asia on February 21, a trip designed to bolster regional support for NATO efforts in Afghanistan…The envoy was scheduled to travel to all five Central Asian capitals, though a trip to Ashgabat was cancelled at the last minute due to “scheduling conflicts,” said an American Embassy representative there. After Astana, Holbrooke traveled to Georgia to meet with President Mikhail Saakashvili…It was difficult to discern the substance of Holbrooke’s various meetings, as his availability to journalists was limited. A press briefing originally scheduled to be given February 19 in tandem with President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan was cancelled at the last minute….No press availability was even scheduled for Holbrooke during the Tashkent-leg of his trip….During a terse public appearance in Dushanbe, Holbrooke warned of the continuing threat of Islamic terrorists to the region’s security.

And then we heard about Iran capturing the terrorist Rigi, exposing his connections to the CIA, on February 22nd.

Moslehi said Rigi had been arrested on board a plane flying between Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia and the Gulf Arab emirate of Dubai. Television pictures showed him being taken off a plane in handcuffs, accompanied by four masked men.

“We have clear documents proving that Rigi was in cooperation with American, Israeli and British intelligence services,” Press TV quoted the intelligence minister as saying.
“Dubai has a smeared hand in this scandal that shows the Zionist regime wants to turn the region into a safe haven for terrorists with the help of America and Europe,” Moslehi declared, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Which all makes Mr. Holbrooke look like a….what’s the word….a LIAR.

But wait there’s more.

According to Wayne Madsen (via There Are No Sunglasses):

With the entire highly-vaunted U.S. intelligence community at his disposal, Holbrooke and his State Department and CIA team were forced to resort to dealing with Bishkek-Manas airport officials when their Iranian-Baluchi Jundallah guerrillas leader failed to show up in Bishkek on the Kyrgyzstan aircraft from Dubai.

…In an interview on Iranian TV, Rigi saus he was flying to Bishkek to meet an “important” American. The reason for the clandestine meeting in Manas was that the American would be easily spotted if he met Rigi anywhere else. At the time of the planned meeting between Rigi and the “important” American, AF-PAK Special Envoy Holbrooke was on a meandering journey in central Asia and Afghanistan “without a fixed schedule.” Holbrooke was in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on February 19.

Iran conducted the charade with the Kyrgyzstan airline in order to keep Holbrooke waiting nervously at Manas. Iran had already captured their prize of Rigi when the ISI, possibly after Rigi’s departure from Kuwaiteh or after he crossed into Afghanistan, took him under their protection and put him on the charter jet flight to Bandar Abbas. Possibly, ISI was at Spin Boldak and Rigi mistakenly believed the watch team was working for the CIA, when, in fact, they were working for the ISI, which had promised to turn Rigi over to the Iranians.

…Holbrooke and his party become concerned when Kyrgyzstan 454 is late. When the flight arrives, Holbrooke is told Rigi is not on board the flight and that two men were taken off the plane at Bandar Abbas. Holbrooke, clearly embarrassed and angry, departs Kyrgyzstan knowing the Iranians have nabbed one of the CIA’s top assets in the military operations being planned against Iran. Holbrooke, one of the most powerful American Jewish Zionists in the Obama administration, has egg all over his face, courtesy of a well-planned Iranian intelligence operation.

That is rather amusing.

fitting the facts around the new policy in Afghanistan: reconciliation with Taliban?

1. Dutch govt falls apart over Afghanistan

THE HAGUE — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende met Queen Beatrix on Monday to chart the way forward after his government collapsed over the Netherlands’s role in Afghanistan. Balkenende held 90 minutes of talks with the head of state at her working palace in The Hague early Monday, government spokeswoman Fridy van Hapert said.  Thereafter, the queen was to meet the leaders of the two Dutch houses of parliament, political party chiefs and the deputy president of the council of state advisory body.

…NATO had asked the Netherlands to extend its four-year-old mission, mainly in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, by a year to August 2011….The queen must now decide whether or not to accept the resignations and call early elections….If the queen accepts the resignations, as widely excepted, parliamentary elections will have to be brought forward. They had been scheduled for March next year.

more @ afp

2. Dutch troops to exit Afghanistan as planned — very small contingent of soldiers. the Dutch play some other role in the drama.

Following the collapse of his cabinet, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende says he expects his country’s troops to leave Afghanistan as planned….Around 1,600 Dutch troops have been stationed in southern Afghanistan since 2006. According to their mandate they should have returned home in 2008, but their deployment was extended by two years since no other NATO member state offered replacements.

more @ press tv

3. last week: NATO (supposedly) flabbergasted, this will play into the hands of the Taliban. (wink wink?)

This is not the first time Nato is amazed and annoyed by the Dutch political approach to Afghanistan. At a time when practically all Nato members have committed to sending more troops, the Netherlands is trying to abandon its mission in Uruzgan. At a press conference in October, Rasmussen said the Netherlands would play into the hands of the Taliban if it left….But most worried about how to proceed if the Dutch cabinet does take a dive.

more here

4. earlier this month: Taliban will negotiate, but path fraught with risk. if only there were some way to get everyone to the table so we can be one big happy family again…..there must be so much drug money to make there that it outweighs the ongoing war profiteering.

LONDON (Reuters) - Unthinkable a year ago and still officially beyond the pale, the idea of a political role for Taliban leaders in Afghanistan is creeping onto the agenda as war-weary governments seek to bring an end to an unpopular war.

Some say this could open the door for negotiations if the Taliban think they can secure a better settlement through talks than by waiting for U.S.-led troops to leave and then fighting their way to power through a renewed civil war. “The Taliban know they can’t take over the country. They would be presiding over a country with persistent and perennial poverty and civil war. So they would like to negotiate,” said one diplomat involved in discussions about Afghanistan.

Many analysts say talks would need to involve Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar — condemned in the West for his refusal to hand over al Qaeda leaders after the September 11, 2001 attacks. ..And the price for a settlement could be high as far as the west is concerned — for example the rehabilitation of Mullah Omar as supreme leader of Afghanistan — even if not directly running the government.The Taliban for their part are expected to come under pressure from Pakistan to negotiate to try to end a war which has increasingly spilled over from Afghanistan. …Washington says many Taliban leaders including Mullah Omar are based in Pakistan. And while Pakistan has far less leverage over the Taliban than it had when it nurtured them in the 1990s, it could still make life hard for them if they refused to talk.Rather like the secret talks between then U.S. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and the North Vietnamese which tried, and ultimately failed, to secure an honorable exit from Vietnam, any negotiations would be long and easily derailed. They would also be fraught with risk for both the United States and the Taliban. Any hint of compromise could unleash a public backlash in the United States, as well as alienate the Taliban’s own fighters and supporters…. U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke said Sunday there had been no direct, secret contacts with the Taliban, but said Washington recognized the importance of reconciliation.

more @ reuters

5. oh ho HO, pakistan capture top Taliban with info provided by Mullah Omar’s second in command

Netting another big catch, Pakistan’s security agencies have captured a top Afghan Taliban leader following information provided by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Omar’s second in command.

Mulvi Kabir, former Taliban governor in Afghanistan’s Nangahar Province, and a key figure in the Taliban regime was recently captured in Pakistan, Fox News reported. The arrest is one of the few big catches after Baradar, who is Taliban’s number two leader. Considered to be among the top 10 most wanted Taliban leaders, Kabir was apprehended in Nawshera district of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province by Pakistani police forces in recent days, the Fox news said.

A senior US military official called it a significant detention, it said, adding that the arrest of Kabir is based on the intelligence gathered from Baradar. Besides Kabir, two other top Taliban leaders have been arrested in recent days. Pakistani agencies arrested Mullah Salam of Afghanistan’s Kunduz province and Mullah Mohammad, who reportedly controlled the Baghlan province recently. The two are considered to be among the most important captures Pakistan has made in relation to the Taliban in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.

mid-day

6. US supporting Afghan warlord

Kalagush—The United States is helping an Afghan warlord and former enemy to take control of a district bordering Pakistan, military officers and independent experts say. The strategy to back Mullah Sadiq as effective ruler of Kamdesh district in eastern Nuristan province is part of a wider attempt to bring stability to the country so international forces can leave. Sadiq is a former commander of the militant Hizb-e-Islami group, responsible for years of attacks on coalition and Afghan troops, as well as civilians. US support for Sadiq — who has said he wants to ally with President Hamid Karzai’s government against the Taliban — is causing friction between US foreign policy staff in Afghanistan and the military.

Senior officers said Sadiq could swing Nuristani people behind Karzai and provide a prototype breakthrough in the battle against the Taliban insurgency. But US state department officials and independent experts fear Sadiq wants a temporary alliance with US troops to defeat local Taliban factions before taking over the mountainous border province as a personal fiefdom.

Commander Russell McCormack, military head of Nuristan’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), said the US must work with Sadiq. “He is influential, intelligent and he uses diplomacy and true Islam — rather than the barbaric form that the Taliban professes,” McCormack told AFP at Kalagush, the only US base in Nuristan. …The plan is part of a new counter-insurgency strategy to instil public confidence in Karzai’s government and bring an end to the war.

With the US withdrawal to begin in July 2011, Karzai last month launched a bid for “reconciliation” with mainstream insurgents. The tactic is also being tested further south in Helmand province where 15,000 US, NATO and Afghan troops are on the offensive in Marjah, a region controlled for years by Taliban and drug traffickers.

more @ pak observer

sociopaths at work

1. R. Canup’s spectrum of evil personalities: excerpt:

Next up the ladder is the evil person of above average intelligence. These people have a similar goal to evil people of average intelligence; the production of human misery. However these people see the opportunity to do something that evil people of normal intelligence don’t see how to do; murder someone and get away with it. They understand that the way to murder someone and get away with it is to not care who they kill, how they kill them, or when they kill them. Such people set up conditions where someone will be ‘accidentally’ killed and wait for the circumstances to occur.

For example, I once worked for an evil person of above average intelligence who built up a company which did about twenty million dollars a year of business. He was only interested in his business as an instrument to his ends. He worked people long hours of overtime (without any extra pay) - he pushed people as hard as he could. What he was doing was setting up an environment as stressful as he could - secure in the knowledge that sooner or later - a death would be the result. Sure enough, a staff accountant driving home after a late night’s work was hit by a drunken driver and killed. The boss was stunned; his life’s goal had been accomplished - the guilt was obvious in his face the next day. He became very cheerful over the next several weeks, and lost interest in the company. Inside of a year and a half it was out of business.

Of course since he was cloaked in plausible deniability no criminal charges could ever be brought against him. But, he could see that the death had come as a direct result of his deliberately malicious behavior; he willed it, and it happened. Most industrial accidental deaths and injuries can be traced back to the malicious behavior of those who are evil and of above average intelligence.

That leaves us those who are evil and of high intelligence. Most good people are also familiar with these kind of people; we call them leaders - both of industry and of government. It is the goal of such people to get away with mass murder. An example will show how they work their agenda.

more here

2. Vancouver’s quick descent from high ground - excerpts:

There is also the problem that while the investigating British Columbia Coroners Service, the Royal Mounted Police and officials of the International Luge Federation agreed that the cause of the tragedy was not the dangers of the track but the errors and inexperience of its victim, it was still swiftly decided to change utterly the conditions of the competition. This included the building up of the wall, and the changing of the “ice profile” at the fatal curve and moving the start line to the women’s mark, nearly 200 yards down the track.

The inconsistency of the ruling screamed at the mourners of the luger who had just 26 practice runs down the course – as opposed to the 200 enjoyed by the Canadians.

…The head of the American luge team, Ron Rossi, has been especially cutting. He says: “The Canadians have to be answerable for their position on training. A track like this demanded the weaker athletes get more time. I’m going to propose some changes, more training for the athletes. It’s a terrible tragedy that has happened here but I hope that maybe in the end we can change some rules and never see anything like this ever happen again.”

Adding to the force of Rossi’s complaints is his belief that a member of his team, Meg Sweeney, could so easily have shared Kumaritashvili’s fate. The day before the Georgian died, Sweeney had a near identical crash after “double-looping” the 16th curve. “It was almost the exact same crash,” said Rossi, “but she didn’t go so high.”

Sweeney says she has tried to wipe away the incident but conceded: “There’s something missing up here, I’m not going to lie to you.”

Her boss says it is a failure to read the gravest warning signs. “They knew they had problems from day one. They had people hitting the wall and going airborne. If you were already concerned about it and you already raised the wall, why didn’t you keep going? And why didn’t you protect the [metal] posts at the chance that maybe something could happen? I’m not the one to answer but that’s the kind of question that needs to be asked.”

why indeed. more @ independent

3. organized crime may have caused Cologne archive collapse — organized crime meaning the people in government who issued permits for construction and the people who planned and carried out the construction — ie: officials and businesspeople

Suspicion that organised crime may have been behind the deadly collapse of Cologne’s city archive grew on Monday as more falsified building protocols emerged.

An additional 28 falsified records for underground metro construction at various sites across the city have been discovered, an investigation insider told daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. “We assume that it could be significantly more,” the source said. “For us it looks like systematic falsification.”

Over the weekend the paper reported fresh claims that shoddy work practices caused the collapse of the archive building, including a report that construction firms were skimping on concrete. …The paper reported that too little concrete may have been used on the tunnel under the Waidmarkt area – a possible reason for collapse of the tunnel that led to the destruction of the city’s historical archive in March 2009 and two neighbouring buildings, killing two people and destroying countless historical documents.

more @ the local

4. march in Cuidad Juarez against Mexican army

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Thousands of people belonging to civil organizations and residents of Ciudad Juarez marched peacefully Saturday through this city to commemorate the slaying of 15 youths last Jan. 31 and to repudiate the presence of the Mexican army in the town.
…The legislator Fernandez Noroña asked that the army leave the city, considered the most violent in Mexico, in the belief that the troops treat the people in an “undeserved, violent, arrogant, unconstitutional and abusive” way. “There is now more army in Juarez than ever, there are more federal police than ever…and today there is more crime than ever in Juarez,” the politician said.

more @ latin american herald tribune

5. new ‘ethical’ biofuel crop damages the poor people it was supposed to help

Five years ago jatropha was hailed by investors and scientists as a breakthrough in the battle to find a biofuel alternative to fossil fuels that would not further impoverish developing countries by diverting resources away from food production….

Millions of the plants have been grown in anticipation of rich returns, only for growers to be hit by poor yields, conflict over land and a lack of infrastructure to process the oil-rich seeds.

Oil giant BP, which planned to spend almost £32m on a joint venture to set up jatropha plantations, has now pulled out and the charity ActionAid today warns that jatropha needs to be cultivated on prime food-growing land to produce significant yields….ActionAid said its researchers found repeated cases of farmers being left with jatropha crops they could not sell and land previously used to grow food crops being taken over by sub-contractors who then employed locals on wages that could not compete with rises in the price of foodstuffs partially caused by biofuel production.

A number of British companies are continuing to market jatropha as a “highly ethical and green” investment. One fund offers investors three packages for prices ranging from £7,500 to £15,600 in a brochure entitled “Money really does grow on trees”. That company says it has funded the planting of 32 million jatropha shrubs worldwide through a London-based provider called Carbon Credited Farming (CCF) Plc. Jeff Reeves, head of global operations for CCF, which estimates it will have 300 million jatropha shrubs planted on 120,000 acres worldwide by the end of 2010, admitted that there had been problems establishing the crop.

He told The Ecologist magazine: “In many cases it is government policy and people that are to blame, rather than jatropha itself. Well-managed, jatropha … can work. But there have been countries where poor management has meant this is not the case.”

more @ independent

6. Afghan civilian deaths a serious setback — first reports said the rockets were 1000 feet off course. seems like a very large error for our high-tech army.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said the incident had damaged efforts to win the support of local communities, but added that accidents were inevitable during conflict. The civilians died when two rockets from a high mobility artillery rocket system hit a house on the outskirts of the town of Marjah, in an area of Helmand province being targeted by a joint US and Afghan force.

more @ guardian

7. training/dehumanizing/debasing people before you give them deadly weapons: German Army ritual abuse scandal spreads

The hazing scandal in the German army, in which young recruits have reportedly been forced to eat raw animal liver until they vomited, has snowballed with more soldiers blowing the whistle on ugly rites of passage, reports said Sunday….The scandal began when a young soldier who trained at the camp in Mittenwald came forward to describe hazing that included recruits being forced to drink alcohol until they were sick, eat raw pig liver, and conduct climbing exercises in the nude before their fellow soldiers, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported last week.

more @ the local

8. man takes on corrupt UK police officer

THE brave informant who finally toppled Britain’s most corrupt cop today tells his own incredible story of monster Ali Dizaei’s chilling mafia-style regime. Humble website designer Waad Al Bagdhdadi, 24, refused to be bullied by the bent Scotland Yard commander. Now, with Dizaei jailed for four years, he reveals astonishing details of the shamed officer’s life of luxury funded by his grip on a terrified community.

…”He ate for free, he drank for free. In his world, he didn’t pay for anything. But I wasn’t going to let him get me for free.”

The two men fell out after Waad - who fled Iraq at 17 to escape the tyranny of Saddam Hussein - asked for payment for setting up Dizaei’s personal website. Instead of coughing up the swaggering cop tried to frame Waad for attacking him.

…”I’d heard about Dizaei before I met him. He was famous in the Middle Eastern community. They called him London’s top officer. They said he was f***ing the English, the only one they couldn’t take down, ‘untouchable’.

read more @ news of the world

9. Ivory Coast heads for major upheaval — and World Bank president Zoellick has just been there to visit,..

World Bank President Robert Zoellick (L) meets Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Guillaume Soro in the capital Abidjan, January 28, 2010. Zoellick continued his visit to Ivory Coast, where progress in securing debt relief will likely top the agenda. (Reuters photo)

IVORYCOAST/

A few days after Ivory Coast President, Laurent Gbagbo, dissolved the country’s government and Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), a coalition of opposition parties is calling for a massive demonstration to ask him to step down. Mr. Gbagbo claims the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire has “stalled” while calling for a new government and CEI. The opposition argues that the decision is an impediment to progress. Meanwhile, reports indicate the PM cannot form a government within the time frame given by the President. Analysts have warned of a possible upheaval.

The Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo, announced the dissolution of the country’s government as well as its Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) Friday evening in a televised speech. Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, secretary general of the former rebel group, Forces Nouvelles, will stay on as prime minister. A position he has held since 2007 following the signing of the Ouagadougou accord.

The Prime Minister is to “nominate a new government from Monday, February 15, 2010″. Its “mission” will be to conduct “the final actions necessary to get the Ivory Coast out of crisis permanently”. In what concerns the electoral commission, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo wants Guillaume Soro “to put forward, by Monday, the format of a new, credible electoral commission who can organise” free and fair elections.

However, reports Sunday revealed a close aide to the Prime Minister saying that he does not “know when the prime minister will be ready (to form a new government), but it won’t be tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday… It is too early and too complicated right now to take a quick decision.”…The election, already postponed on numerous occasions since 2005, is expected to end a political quagmire that has crippled the country following the failed September 2002 coup d’état. Laurent Gbagbo’s announcement, many say, seriously undermines presidential elections scheduled to take place in the coming weeks and not later than June, as per the recommendation of a UN calendar.

more @ afrik.com

the love affair with the military must continue

SHAPE is the central command of NATO’s military forces.

From 1951 SHAPE was the headquarters of operational forces in the European theatre (Allied Command Europe, ACE), but since 2003 SHAPE has been the headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO) controlling all allied operations worldwide. … The commanding officer of Allied Command Operations has also retained the title “Supreme Allied Commander Europe” (SACEUR), and continues to be a U.S. four-star general officer or flag officer who also serves as Commander, U.S. European Command.

Today, our illustrious allied forces have made a mistake:

On the second day of a major military offensive against the Taliban, NATO officials confirmed Sunday that their rockets missed the intended targets and instead claimed the lives of 12 Afghan civilians. …Thousands of NATO and Afghan troops encountered pockets of resistance, fighting off sniper attacks, as they moved deeper into Marjah, a town of 80,000 people that is the linchpin of the militants’ logistical and opium-smuggling network in Helmand province.

…The civilian deaths were a blow to NATO and the Afghan government’s attempts to win the allegiance of Afghans and get them to turn away from the insurgents. NATO said two rockets from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System were aimed at insurgents firing on Afghan and NATO forces, but stuck 1,000 feet (300 meters) off their intended target. “We deeply regret this tragic loss of life,” said Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan.

Oh sure they do.

^^^^^^^

Kay Griggs, who is an historian, explained in her 1998 interviews that the CIA is a red herring, because the big decisions really come down from SHAPE, ie: NATO.

This site provides an extensive rundown on the history and politics of SHAPE commanders. Since inception, US and UK Army Generals have dominated SHAPE. Of the sixteen SACEURs (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), all are Americans and twelve have been US Army Generals. The Deputy SACEUR list has a similar make-up, except that 16 of 26 are from the British Army, the other ten divided among the German Army and the RAF.

This means that a highly insular group of military people exercise tremendous power throughout the world and over the other NATO members.

Canada has been a member of NATO since 1949.

Presumably, Canadian military culture would be totally compatible with NATO and SHAPE, which are commanded by US and UK Generals. In other words, it’s probably safe to say that at the highest levels, military culture is fairly homogeneous. What’s acceptable for a high-ranking military officer in the US is probably also acceptable in the UK and in Canada and in Germany, etc. Because they all have to work together under one command.

^^^^^^^

So what is acceptable to a high-ranking US military officer?

Kay Griggs:

“Now these generals in the Marine Corps and Army, according to my husband, they are ordered. My husband, being Chief of Staff, told his men it was like this:  It’s the Marine Corps first — the Brotherhood, the Cherry Marines, the bonding that goes on. The Marine Corps comes before God, before Jesus Christ, before the country.  My husband is not a Christian, he’s an existentialist, and most of these guys are.  [Their god is] the Brotherhood.  It’s very German, it has Masonic leanings.  They’re all Masons. This Brotherhood — Opus Dei — they’re the Mob.  The Marine Corps are the hit men.  They’re mercenaries.  They’ll work for anybody.  They’ll switch hats.  My husband said it’s no big deal.  I’ll go work for the State Department.
“The Marine Corps is just a smoke-and-mirrors thing.  On [my husband's] level, he said we’ve never been an enemy to the Soviet Union.  They work with these Communists.  The man who started this whole intelligence operation — OSS [Office of Strategic Services] — he was recruiting known Communists who were involved in subverting Spain.  They’re not Americans.  They’re not Christians.  They’re German existentialists.  Now what are they doing running our nation?  They have more affinity for the State of Israel than they do our nation.  They don’t care about American citizens.  The judges now in the courts are all military officers following chain-of-command orders.  They’re not independent judges.”

The term “cherry Marines” refers to homosexual culture. Kay describes around 1:52:00 how young recruits are “turned” psychologically. They participate in many nude group activities.

Those who excel in this climate are called “rising stars.”
“That’s the word the State Department uses for those who are controlled.” - Kay Griggs
“From his file he was a shining, bright star.” - Major General Yvan Blondin, Russ Williams’ commanding officer

^^^^^^^

As a thought experiment, read these various remarks made by high-ranking Canadian military officers as if they have an insular, secretive culture in which depravity and murder are no big deal. In which one may not enter the highest ranks *unless* one has the proper mindset: depravity and murder are no big deal. In which there has been a terrible breach that threatens to expose this culture.

“We’re shocked by the connection made to a leader in our Air Force.”

…Maj. Gen. Blondin, who is Col. Williams’s commander, said he didn’t know the 8 Wing commander personally. He said members of the Canadian Forces who reach the position of Wing commander are ‘extraordinary people’ who ‘rise above’ others in the military.

“This is what Col. Williams has done and why he was picked to be a Wing commander,” Maj. Gen. Blondin said. “From my own observations that’s all I saw. I never saw anything else. I’ll certainly be looking at following this investigation closely.”

“From his file he was a shining, bright star. If you talk to people on the Wing they will probably tell you they admired the Wing commander,” Maj. Gen. Blondin said. “No one thought something like this is possible. We don’t know what to think about this.”

…“There are many facets to this,” Lt. Col. Murphy said. “We are just absorbing it now as we can. The allegations are a huge shock.” CFB Trenton Honourary Colonel Glen Rainbird, who serves as the community liaison for the base, said he will be contacting local officials to talk about the arrest.

“It’s very important for us ensure our community leaders understand this is about an individual and a civil matter,” Hon. Col. Rainbird said. “What 8 Wing brings to the community is what the Canadian Forces brings to the community - a lot of people who are members of our community are members of the Canadian Forces.”

Maj. Gen. Blondin said the arrests are not a reflection of the Air Force. “These charges are about the acts of one person,” Maj. Gen. Blondin said. “We will not shy away from our uniforms.”

^^^^^^^

Is this thought experiment fair?

Also in 1998, the same year Kay gave her interviews, a deposition was given in the matter of William M. Tyree, Jr., Plaintiff vs. Central Intelligence Agency, L. Scott Harshbarger, A. Paul Celluci, George Bush, Dois Gene Tatum, Defendants.

The deponent’s name is Desiree A. Ferdinand of New Mexico. Ms. Ferdinand testified about her father, who died on 1/7/90.

He originally was with the military and then he went into New York City Police Department and did crossover work with Central Intelligence Agency and while he was with the military until his death, he was with Military Intelligence, Counter Intelligence Corps.

…That is my father’s headstone, which reads Albert V. Carone, Colonel, U.S. Army.

Mr. Carone was a colonel, a high-ranking military officer. The same rank as Russ Williams.

After Mr. Carone died, the military denied ever knowing him. Bank accounts disappeared. Insurance policies disappeared. Files disappeared. Records disappeared. Because in addition to being a colonel, Mr. Carone also worked for the CIA, the Mafia, and the NYPD.

As a small child he came under Vito Genovese. After Genovese’s death,

It went to Joseph Colombo. My father knew the Gallo brothers, Joseph Gallo but I cannot remember his brother’s name. The Mazzaratti family, the Colombo family. At the time that my father was in Brooklyn, he dealt a great deal with the main head which was Gambino himself, and he was very close to Joe Colombo, the Bonanno family, Joe Bonanno, and he was very close to Paulie Castelano.

…This is my godfather, Pete Porazzo. He was in the New York City Police Department and was a Sargeant with the New York City Police Department. He was involved with a man by the name of Bob Leuci and my father, as far as drug running, coming in through CIA into organized crime to put it on the street.

  • Mr. Carone went to the NYC police department in 1946.
  • He spoke Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
  • He was stationed in the South Pacific during WW II.
  • He went to school for intelligence and espionage.

DF: I think at one time my father was with the 42nd but my father mainly worked for the 19th division and I think the 21st division because my father had taken over the job of what is known as Bag Man, from a man by the name of Jimmy Reardon, also known as Squire Reardon. Bag Man was the man who got the payoffs for the police department to look the other way.
RK: And your father took that job over from Reardon?
DF: Yes.
RK: Do you know why he took it over from Reardon?
DF: No, I really don’t. I just know that there was drugs with the families involved. The agency, the CIA, was bringing in drugs and dad was the liaison between organized crime families because my father was a made man with organized crime; he rode both sides of the fence. They used dad for it so dad used to take the payoffs from different people and there were certain people in the police department that were paid off to look the other way.
RK: How do you know that he played both sides of the fence?
DF: Because when I was growing up it was discussed in the house.

Et cetera. Just incredible. It goes on and on and on. Army, the mob, CIA, NYPD… one big happy family! He was also a “bag man” for the CIA, though they call it “paymaster” — you know, because it’s official business I guess.

Black operations were paid through my father. If people needed to be hired, they were hired through my father. If people needed to be eliminated, he was then one who was the final, I guess, down the line, to give the order.

He worked with people such as William Casey, Oliver North, Theodore Shackley, Manuel Noriega, and he had multiple passports…. until the last mission, which was to Tapechula, Mexico in 1984/85.

When he came home he was very depressed. He said he could not do this work any longer and he said he was not long for this world, that the suits would be coming for him. I searched all over for Jim Strauss. He finally found me. He came to visit. He brought up the same mission and stated that dad did not have the stomach after that mission any longer and that was the last mission they were on together.

Directly after that mission a man named Michael Harari menacingly approached Ms. Ferdinand in a parking lot, but she made a scene and he left. But that evening Mr. Carone became violently ill, mysteriously, and ended up with failing kidneys. He never recovered and became incapacitated. Mr. Carone’s attitude toward the military changed from that time. He wanted his daughter to know things.

He said that he knew that the suits had come to get him. He said that he was not long for this world and that it just wasn’t worth it. I had to promise him that I would not bury him in his military uniform. I asked him what he wanted done with it and he told me to burn it.

…Yeah, he didn’t have the stomach to do the work that they wanted him to do any longer and the reason for it was because of this village. They had taken out an entire village of men, women and children and they executed them and put them in a mass grave and put Lyme over them.

…When my father got sick, my father told me to remember certain names and one of them was Elliot Abrams.

General Richard Stilwell. My father worked with him in Asia. My father also did a lot of training of certain troops with General Richard Stilwell, gorilla [sic] training. …I’m positive he said South East Asia.

George Teesdale had something to do, if my memory serves me correct, with, I don’t know if he had something to do with pilots, planes, something to do with the agency as far as flights or planes.

There were two things in particular that bothered Mr. Carone: MIAs in Vietnam, and drug trafficking.

…He was tired of the drug trafficking. He had made the remark that it had gone on for very long, that they stuck it in the black community because nobody would really give a damn about the Harlem and East Harlem area and that they realized that a lot of money could be made and who would listen to those people anyway.

…All I can tell you is that he had mentioned Ollie North. As far as the drug trade, Mr. Shackley was mentioned. Mr. Richard Armitage was mentioned also. I have never spoken to or met Mr. Armitage. Colonel North would not speak to me. I have spoken to Mr. Shackley.

RK: Now in your father’s travel, we had mentioned Asia, Europe, the Bahamas. Did he ever go into South America?

DF: Yes. That is where he knew Colonel North from in dealings with Mr. Noriega and dealings with Mike, who I will presume is Mr. Harari for the simple reason that dad used to refer to Mike and used to refer to the Mossad at the same time and later on I found out that Mr. Harari, I will say had dealings with the Mossad.

…He was just really upset when I guess the drug trafficking was getting out of hand. They were using the drugs to buy guns, black operations were getting worse, “running amuck” was the expression.

Running amok 25 years ago. His own daughter admits he was dirty as the day long, and yet he felt that things were getting out of hand by the mid-80s. Extrapolate.

Mr. Carone also talked about certain operations, assassination teams. This was the reason for the deposition.

…Just that there was an operation Sand Man. It was an assassination team for certain people that needed to be eliminated through the agency. He used to talk about a fellow by the name of Sandy, who was a Green Beret at the time, that he had been with him and worked with him.

…It was the Green Beret out of Massachusetts. The Fort Devens area. A colonel my father knew, Colonel Cutolo. It had something to do with Colonel Cutolo.

This Green Beret is in Walpole State Prison, in Massachusetts, “who was framed for a murder because of what he knew as far as operations, Black operations.”

When my father got really sick, he felt that he had to clear this kid’s name.

Oh yeah, one other guy: George Bush.

RK: How do you know it was that George Bush?
DF: Because my father said at one time he was, number one the president of the United States is involved, and if all of this information came down it would bring down the Oval Office. Number two, he was involved with drug running because my father worked with him when he was with the CIA.

^^^^^^^

If only that were true. If only releasing scandalous information worked.
But the information has been released, and it didn’t bring down the Oval Office.
Plenty of information has been exposed. Whistleblowers have come forth. Things get leaked. People put things together, and what happens?

NOTHING!

Why is that? What can explain that? People will say, oh this stuff can’t be true.

But in fact, it must be true. People in power don’t get into power without tithing this wicked system, and once in, they cannot take on the corruption without exposing themselves. It can only be ignored. And so it is.

And when something goes wrong, like the Colonel Williams allegations, that poses a very serious breach of security. But as long as people continue to believe myths about the military, the narratives will continue to work. Perhaps that is what retired colonel Alain Pellerin meant when he said:

There is a love affair between the population and the armed forces
and I don’t think that will change.
It’s really just one individual who’s accused of a serious crime.

Which might mean: You keep believing the myth while we amputate Colonel Williams. Thank you (wink wink).

UPDATE: CIA involvement with drug trade resulted in death threats against US senator

excerpts, looks like a Wayne Madsen report:

DeConcini incurred the ire of the CIA because he discovered how deeply the agency was involved in the smuggling of drugs into the United States, particularly during the Iran-contra scandal.

The major drug routes from Central America, primarily Panama, to the United States saw CIA contract flights operated by such proprietary firms as Southern Air Transport and Evergreen Aviation fly fully-loaded planes with weapons and ammunition for the Nicaraguan contras from the United States, air drop them over contra bases in Central America, land in Panama and load up with narcotics supplied by Colombia’s Medellin cartel, fly through pre-approved air routes on the U.S.-Mexican border, and air drop the drugs on designated cattle ranches in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Evergreen flights, according to WMR’s FBI sources, were based out of the firm’s facility at Pinal Air Park in Marana, Arizona. Southern Air Transport flights were based out of Mena, Arkansas and other airfields in the Florida panhandle, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Once the drugs from the Medellin cartel were dropped on the cattle ranches, they would be loaded on trailer trucks and hauled to distribution points around the United States. Our FBI sources stated that the smuggling and distribution was aided and abetted by some of the wealthiest cattle ranchers and trucking industry executives in the United States, all of whom were large political contributors to the Republican Party and the Bush family.

…WMR’s FBI sources also confirmed that the senior CIA officer officially vested with the job of countering the international narcotics trade was actively involved in promoting the CIA’s own drug smuggling operations. The individual also served in the Treasury Department where he ensured that the surveillance of suspicious money flows by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) were scrubbed of any information that would point to the CIA’s involvement in drug money laundering.

…The jailed whistleblower also alleged that the CIA’s drug trade continues to flourish and that it involves Latin American Jews, Mossad agents and fabric and window covering warehouses in Florida, Georgia, and Texas that are used to store drugs from Latin America prior to distribution.

…WMR has learned from a Delta Force veteran that when units of the elite military force were sent into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, their first order from the CIA was to protect Afghan poppy fields. WMR’s FBI sources confirmed that Afghanistan has replaced Khun Sa’s poppy production operations in Burma’s “Golden Triangle” as the main source of opium and heroin for the CIA’s narcotics trade.

Something to keep in mind as we hear about project “together” in Marjah, Afghanistan.

SEE: Aangirfan: The military is the enemy?

aan found this:

not for nothing

1. heeeyy, good news….Russia’s top ten billionaires — TEH OLIGARCHS — doubled their wealth! turns out this crisis wasn’t so bad after all… PHEW! i dunno about you but i was really worried about those guys.

Russia’s top ten billionaires have almost doubled their aggregate wealth in 12 months to $139.3 billion, the Finans business magazine reported on Wednesday. The global economic crisis saw the combined fortunes of the top ten richest Russians fall from 221 billion to 75.9 billion in 2008, the magazine reported. Since then, however, massive state injections of funds into global financial markets and government support for companies owned by Russian oligarchs has seen the trend bucked.

The 2010 rating of Russian billionaires to be released by Finans next Monday includes 500 people with an estimated fortune of 3.3 billion rubles ($110 million) As many as 77 Russians have a wealth of over $1 billion each.

As before, tycoon and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich is among Russia’s three richest people. His fortune will enable him to keep the club afloat for another 100 years, Finans reported.

The identities of the top two richest Russians will be revealed by the magazine on Monday.

MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti)

2. Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iran remain top 3 oil suppliers for China

Saudi Arabia, Angola and Iran remained the three largest oil sources for China in 2009, with the three supplying 47.7 percent of China’s total imports, according data released Wednesday by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

GAC figures showed that China’s oil imports from the three nations last year stood at 41.86 million tonnes, 32.17 million tonnes and 23.15 million tonnes, respectively. They represented a year-on-year increase of 15.1 percent, 7.6 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.

…Saudi Arabia, the largest oil supplier to China, accounted for 20.5 percent of China’s total imports in 2009. Angola supplied 15.8 percent while Iran contributed 11.3 percent, according to GAC data.

Other main oil suppliers to China included Russia, Oman and Sudan.

more @ people’s daily online

3. Greeks protest as government slashes public spending

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England was asked about Greece at a press conference on the BoE’s latest inflation report. His second statement could be translated as - their problem, not mine.  “I don’t think you can compare UK with Greece. We have different policies. We have very good track record and most importantly, the maturity of UK debt is much longer.” “This is an issue they’ll deal with within the euro area. It should be for my colleagues in the euro area to decide.”

…For a “I told you so” piece, here is Andrew Alexander of the Daily Mail, no friend of anything to do with the EU. His argument will be familiar to eurosceptics.

A particular flaw in having a ‘one-size-fits-all’ currency covering the rich and the poor, the cautious and the feckless, is that no member nation has its own currency which it can devalue or revalue in an attempt to extricate themselves from this crisis.

more @ guardian, many links

EU fear Greek ’spillover’ - “serious and persistent internal and external imbalance ‘threatens stability’ in the country. This in turn presents a ’serious risk of spillover into other parts of the euro area,’”

Berlin eyes ‘firewall’ to contain Greece debt crisis — “We are thinking about what we should do if the crisis spills from Greece into other euro countries,” said the official. “So it’s more about finding firewalls, containing the problem, than principally about helping the Greeks.”

nice. the EU: one big happy family.

4. Danny Ayalon faces hostile crowd in UK

(VIDEO) LONDON – Despite securing a promise by the UK’s Foreign Office that he would not be arrested upon arrival there, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon was not exempt from the rage of pro-Palestinian demonstrators waiting for him both outside and inside a lecture hall in London. One protestor at the Oxford University hall, where Ayalon spoke Tuesday, waved the Palestinian flag and interrupted Ayalon’s lecture for several long minutes, during which he did not stop yelling at the Israeli minister and called him a “racist” and “a war criminal.”

more @ ynet

http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3846746,00.html

5. Marines gear up for assault - “hailed by officers as the biggest offensive in the eight-year-old war.” great. what could possibly go wrong?

Thousands of Afghan, US and Nato forces are expected to launch Operation Mushtarak (Together) in a bid to clear the Taleban out of Marjah, home to some 80,000 people, and expand the control of the Western-backed Afghan government. A US Marines officer said late on Tuesday that the operation, to be led jointly by Marines and the Afghan army had not yet begun. ‘The Marines have not started the operation in Marjah,’ he said, adding: ‘The operation will be led by the Marines and their Afghan partners.’  Officials and witnesses say families have fled, loading goats, furniture and clothes on to vehicles and heading to safety in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province around 20 kilometres to the north.

more @ straits times

6. bases in Afghanistan indicate permanent presence

Today, according to official sources, approximately 700 bases of every size dot the Afghan countryside, and more, like the one in Shinwar, are under construction or soon will be as part of a base-building boom that began last year.

Existing in the shadows, rarely reported on and little talked about, this base-building program is nonetheless staggering in size and scope, and heavily dependent on supplies imported from abroad, which means that it is also extraordinarily expensive. It has added significantly to the already long secret list of Pentagon property overseas and raises questions about just how long, after the planned beginning of a drawdown of American forces in 2011, the US will still be garrisoning Afghanistan.

…The Pentagon’s most recent inventory of bases lists a total of 716 overseas sites. These include facilities owned and leased all across the Middle East as well as a significant presence in Europe and Asia, especially Japan and South Korea. Perhaps even more notable than the Pentagon’s impressive public foreign property portfolio are the many sites left off the official inventory. While bases in the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates are all listed, one conspicuously absent site is al-Udeid air base, a billion-dollar facility in nearby Qatar, where the US Air Force secretly oversees its ongoing unmanned drone wars.

The count also does not include any sites in Iraq where, as of August 2009, there were still nearly 300 American bases and outposts. Similarly, US bases in Afghanistan - a significant percentage of the 400 foreign sites scattered across the country - are noticeably absent from the Pentagon inventory.

more @ asia times

7. Russia: large-scale war less possible, but threats remain

MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s military policies are aimed at avoiding an arms race and military conflicts, but they should also correspond to real threats which the country faces, Russia’s security chief Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Russian government daily.

On February 5, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that he has approved the country’s new military doctrine, which allows preventive nuclear strikes against potential aggressors.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on Wednesday the full text of the doctrine.

“The unleashing of a large-scale war is becoming less possible… At the same time, regions, where conflicts are possible, remain,” Patrushev told the paper, adding “these conflicts could lead to a war with the use of both ordinary and nuclear weapons.”

Among the threats which could destabilize the situation in the world, the Russian security chief named the expansion of NATO, the Iranian nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

more @ ria novosti

a resurrected post from december

here are some links i had gathered together on 12/13/09, and posted at my news blog, which has since been quarantined as a spam blog by google. somebody in india reviews it about once a week and puts it back in quarantine. this particular page has also been erased from the google cache, for some unknown reason.

1. Kazakh uranium boss trial to proceed - 12/10/09

Prosecutor’s office spokesman Nurdaulet Suindikov commented, “The investigation charges former Kazatomprom president Mukhtar Dzhakishev with theft by way of embezzling a state company’s property.” Suindikov added that Dzhakishev would be charged with embezzling 100 million tenge ($600,000) from Kazatomprom.

Dzhakishev, who was earlier credited with making Kazakhstan a top global uranium producer while overseeing Kazatomprom, has denied all charges against him.

Kazakhstan contains the world’s second-largest uranium reserves, estimated at 1.5 million tons. The country in 2006 produced 5,279 tons of uranium, but as part of its plans to increase output boosted uranium output in January-September to 9,535 tons.

upi asia

2. Chinese president to visit Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan - 12/9/09

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay a working visit to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan from Dec. 12 to14 at the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said here Wednesday.

chinaview

3. Kazakhstan urged to lift visa requirement for Iranian traders - 12/8/09

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran called on Kazakhstan to lift visa requirements for those Iranian businessmen willing to run trade activities in the Central Asian country.

“…if lifting visa requirements comes on both countries’ agenda, then visits by traders and businessmen will be facilitated and the ground will be prepared for the expansion of cooperation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman Parast said at a round table dubbed as ‘Trade Opportunities of Iran and Kazakhstan’ here in Tehran on Tuesday.

Mehman Parast reiterated that the Iranian foreign ministry is striving to prepare the necessary grounds and conditions for those traders interested in making investments in target markets.

Noting that the trade volume between Iran and Kazakhstan has increased in recent years, he stressed that in case existing problems are resolved, the two countries can boost the volume of annual trade to $10 bln.

Mehman Parast also referred to the strategic situation of Iran and Kazakhstan in the region, and said today the world supplies its needs through importing either the goods and products manufactured by Iran and Kazakhstan or the other countries’ products which should again pass through Iran or Kazakhstan.

fars

4. International Space Station astronauts land safely on Kazakhstan steppes - 12/1/09

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhuanet) — Three astronauts landed safely on the Kazakhstan steppes Tuesday after spending six months on the International Space Station.

The Russian Soyuz TMA-15 capsule landed as planned at 10:17 a.m. Moscow time (07:17 GMT) about 85 km north of the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan.

chinaview

5. Yunnan Copper mulls buy in Kazakhstan - 12/1/09

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Yunnan Copper Co., China’s third-largest copper producer, is thinking of acquiring a copper mine in Kazakhstan next year, China Daily reported Tuesday.

The company is also considering investing in Southeast and South Asian countries including Laos and Indonesia, the newspaper said, quoting the company’s general manager Yang Chao.

Besides investment in the overseas market, the copper producer is also scouting for more copper reserves in the Inner Mongolia and Tibet autonomous regions. The company’s copper reserves would touch 9 million tonnes by 2012, according to Yang.

He predicted that copper prices might even surpass 70,000 yuan (10,294 U.S. dollars) per tonne in 2010, although prices are likely to remain volatile over the next year, and copper demand will increase next year

Copper is widely used in home appliances, wires and cables; it can also be used in water pipes, largely increasing the need for copper in the future, Yang said.

chinaview

6. Kazakhstan: Israel’s Partner in Eurasia by Ariel Cohen in Jerusalem Viewpoints Sept-Oct 2009

http://tinyurl.com/yfw6d8h

The June 2009 visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres to Kazakhstan once again focused Israel’s attention on energy-rich, secular Muslim states of the Caspian and Central Asia: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This was not Peres’ first visit to the steppe country in the heart of Eurasia: he visited Kazakhstan several times before as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. This was a good long-term investment:

Kazakhstan is as large as the entirety of Western Europe, but with a population only 1.5 times larger than the population of the city of Moscow. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth.

7. 11/16/09 - Germans ID convert, 27, as terrorist suspect

BERLIN — Authorities have identified a 27-year-old German convert to Islam as an al-Qaida associate suspected of traveling to Afghanistan and planning to attack German targets. The report could fuel concerns about European converts being recruited by Islamist terrorist groups for attacks. The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed a Spiegel Online report Sunday that it had posted notices across Afghanistan warning that Jan Schneider, a Kazakhstan-born ethnic German, may plan attacks on German military or civilian institutions in Afghanistan.

Schneider, who is also known as Hamza, has recently traveled to the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Spiegel reported. He left Germany in 2004 to study Arabic in Saudi Arabia. He was seen in his hometown of Saarbruecken several times after his departure from Germany.

…Spiegel also wrote that the criminal office has warned of several other German extremists who supposedly have traveled to Afghanistan in recent months. More than five million ethnic Germans have immigrated to the country from the former Soviet Union, Poland, Romania and other Eastern European countries since the 1950s under a special migration law for persons who can prove German ancestry.

DEFUNCT LINK: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRbmVOhddpRWJo-KpO06aa6sHQRwD9C03L2O1

alternate link (cache): http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:hJxPAOZqPHsJ:www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33949307/ns/world_news-europe/+BERLIN+%E2%80%94+Authorities+have+identified+a+27-year-old+German+convert+to+Islam+as+an+al-Qaida+associate&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

8. 10/12/09 - Avigdor Lieberman visits Kazakhstan among other countries to discuss Iran

By Roni SoferY Net NewsOctober 12, 2009

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is set to leave for a round of visits abroad this week, after recently returning from Africa, South America, and the Balkans. This time Lieberman will visit Austria, Kazakhstan, Holland, and Denmark, mainly in order to discuss the topic of Iran.

Lieberman says he wants to “invest effort in nations that have not received attention from Israel until now”….The foreign minister is also scheduled to meet with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, following the latter’s request. Lieberman has clarified that the object of this meeting, as well as those in Holland and Denmark, is “to bolster Israel’s status by widening the wingspan of its foreign policy”.

Lieberman will also meet with Israeli ambassadors to Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the ambassador to the EU.

via aletho news - LINK DEFUNCT


9. 9/10/09 - Caspian sea states shut Iran out of summit

Iran is peeved at its northern neighbors over a decision to exclude the Islamic Republic from a meeting ofCaspian Sea states on Thursday.
Iran’s top diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, said today he was outraged that Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan plan to meet in the Kazakh city of Aktau without Iran, according to the website of Iran’s state-owned English-language Press TV satellite news channel.
“In our view the meeting runs contrary to Iran’s national interests,” Mottaki said.
Iran has stewed for years as Russia and its former Soviet satellite states gobble up more and more of the Caspian Sea’s resources.
The four countries attending the Aktau meeting, described as an “informal” summit to discuss “subregional cooperation,” say they don’t plan to make any decisions on the status of the sea or the division of the seabed, an official representative of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry told Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency.

there are no sunglasses

10. 12/2008: Michael Parenti

“While claiming to be fighting terrorism, US leaders have found other compelling but less advertised reasons for plunging deeper into Afghanistan. The Central Asian region is rich in oil and gas reserves. A decade before 9/11, Time magazine (18 March 1991) reported that US policy elites were contemplating a military presence in Central Asia. The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided the lure, while the dissolution of the USSR removed the one major barrier against pursuing an aggressive interventionist policy in that part of the world. US oil companies acquired the rights to some 75 percent of these new reserves. A major problem was how to transport the oil and gas from the landlocked region. US officials opposed using the Russian pipeline or the most direct route across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, they and the corporate oil contractors explored a number of alternative pipeline routes, across Azerbaijan and Turkey to the Mediterranean or across China to the Pacific.”

11. 11/3/08 - Putin: we must end monopoly in world finance

The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has called for a complete overhaul of the world’s financial system in order to guarantee stability and ensure progress. He was speaking in Astana in Kazakhstan, where the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is meeting to in discuss the global financial crisis.
The organisation, which comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is widely seen as a counter-weight to NATO’s influence in Eurasia. It is primarily concerned with security issues. This time, however, the sides are discussing how to develop social and economic cooperation.
At the beginning of his speech at the SCO Council of Prime Ministers, Vladimir Putin stressed the role the SCO countries should play in the changing world political and economic landscape.
“We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem Russia will to take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world and to ensure progress,” he said.
He also named projects in transportation, telecommunications and modern technology as priorities of the SCO and spoke in favour of mutual space programmes.
While in Kasakhstan, the Russian prime minister is also expected to discuss the formation of a customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.

russia today

12. 11/13/08 - Kazakhstan and the financial crisis

The financial crisis that began in the United States has made its presence felt around the globe and Central Asia is no exception. How is Central Asia’s greatest economic power, Kazakhstan, handling this economic crisis and how is the economic downturn effecting the stability, security, and development of the region. These were the main topics of a conference between many regional experts in Astana last month called “New Challenges and Kazakhstan’s Contribution to Stability and Security.” [link defunct]
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, a scholar of the region’s economic and strategic outlook attended the conference and not only summarizes the major issues and policies discussed, but also provides a historical perspective of past economic crisis’s in Kazakhstan. Here is an excerpt of what Nurbakh Rustemov, the keynotespeaker and Chairman of the hosting parliamentary committee, had to say of the economic downturn and its consequences:

“He bluntly stated that the world financial crisis was leading to a “misunderstanding” among geopolitical forces, and carried the danger of a direct threat to humanity, through hunger and poverty.(1) He called for uniting forces internationally, to overcome the financial-economic crisis, which he dubbed the “number one priority.” Rustemov mentioned the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Kazakhstan is a founding member, as well as the OSCE, which Kazakhstan will chair beginning 2010, as bodies his government would like to utilize to find solutions to the crisis. Two concrete means that his country could use to impact the crisis, would be in securing energy resources, and providing grain and meat exports to alleviate food shortages.”
Rustemov is correct in stating that this economic crisis may lead to following and connected geopolitical disruptions and he’s also right in arguing that regional and multilateral groups, such as the SCO and OSCE, will be crucial in helping the world get through this mess in one stable piece. Another important aspect of his comments is the positive role Kazakhstan can play in impacting the crisis in a productive way and that is in securing energy resources and in providing food stuffs to alleviate shortages in other countries, specifically in harder hit CA states, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
Kazakhstan’s abundance of energy supplies, combined with President Nazarbayev’s prudent planning, have left the nation in good condition despite the tough times. Nazarbayev announced last month that the government would spend $2 billion to stimulate the economy, mainly targeting banks and the construction industry, funds drawn from the nation’s oil fund. Unfortunately, not all CA or world states have an oil fund to fall back on.
What the whole of Central Asia can hope for is sturdy economic stewardship by its regional leader,Kazakhstan, and help from regional bodies, both from the East and West to weather what will most likely be a lengthy recession. During this time, it will be vital to keep the region from falling into disrepair as poverty and extremism would both be on the rise and this may lead to conflict. The US, Russia, China, and the EU all have roles to play in mitigating negative ramifications of this crisis in the region, but a strong and active Kazakhstan is crucial. As Muriel Mirak-Weissbach concludes:
“Kazakhstan has become the foremost interlocutor in Central Asia, not only for Eurasian giants Russia and China, but also for the two major economies of western Europe, Germany and France. If the current world crisis can be overcome through participation of major Eurasian nations, Kazakhstan can become the linchpin in the region for stability and security.”
In addition, the US State Department announced a nuclear safety cooperation with Kazakhstan. Read Below. [link defunct]
The United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan reached a new milestone in a multiyear joint project to irreversibly decommission the Soviet-era BN-350 fast breeder reactor located at the Kazakhstani port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea. The participating governments completed a sodium processing facility that will be used to dispose of coolant from the reactor core. This action demonstrates and reinforces the strength of the U.S.-Kazakhstani strategic relationship, and our joint commitment to preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials.

source: foreign policy blogs

http://centralasia.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2008/11/13/kazakhstan-and-the-financial-crisis/

pakistan is being totally screwed

1. CHABAD vows not to bow to terror, wants to open 3 more houses in Mumbai, queen’s cousin Michael of Kent visits Nariman House, pledges his support

Three more Chabad Houses to come up in city, says director of Chabad relief fund

To prove that their morale is not defeated yet, the Chabad Lubavitch community, owners of the 26/11-hit Nariman House, have decided to construct more Chabads in the city. “We have decided to build three more Chabads in different parts of the city, and that will be our message to terrorists — that we won’t bow to them,” said Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, director of Chabad relief fund, the society led by the community members determined to reconstruct Nariman House.

However, Avraham didn’t disclose any locations,”We are in the process of restructuring the existing Chabad House, and have decided to raise $1.5 million (approx Rs 7 crore) for the same.”

Since the massacre at Nariman House, no new Rabbi has taken over the charge. “We are expecting the new Rabbi to come in February with his wife. They will live in a rented accommodation till the Chabad gets its new look,” added Avraham.

UK royal’s visit

Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent visited the Chabad last afternoon and pledged his support. “I pledge to support the community in every manner,” said the Prince.

source: mid-day

2. Gates knows where the militants are: Pakistan and Afghanistan. puts pressure on Pakistan to straighten this out before something bad happens and it will be all Pakistan’s fault. oh and don’t bother “making distinctions” either - - just get them all. ok? yes of course we support you kiss kiss hug hug. good luck run along now we’re having lunch with india. tata!

ISLAMABAD - US DEFENSE Secretary Robert Gates warned on Thursday that Taleban safe havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border must be tackled or both nations would suffer ‘more lethal and more brazen’ attacks. Writing in Pakistan’s The News at the start of a two-day visit to Islamabad, Gates stressed Washington’s commitment to Pakistan and praised military offensives launched against the Pakistani Taleban in recent months. But US officials have made clear that Washington is anxious to see Islamabad also target the Afghan Taleban within its borders and Al-Qaeda-linked militants using the northwest tribal region to plot and launch attacks into Afghanistan.

‘It is important to remember that the Pakistani Taliban operates in collusion with both the Taleban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda, so it is impossible to separate those groups,’ Mr Gates wrote. ‘If history is any indication, safe havens for either Taleban, on either side of the border, will in the long run lead to more lethal and more brazen attacks in both nations,’ he added in the editorial. Mr Gates wrote that making distinctions between the different extremist groups was ‘counterproductive’. ‘Only by pressuring all of these groups on both sides of the border will Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to rid themselves of this scourge for good - to destroy those who promote the use of terror here and abroad,’ he said. — AFP

source: straits times

3. Pak army tells Gates where to stick the pressure. it can’t launch any new offenses for 6 months at least to stabilize gains already made. Gates totally understands. totally supportive. of course this will make it much easier to blame Pak when something goes wrong.

The Pakistani army said Thursday during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that it can’t launch any new offensives against militants for six months to a year to give it time to stabilize existing gains. The announcement probably comes as a disappointment to the U.S., which has pushed Pakistan to expand its military operations to target militants staging cross-border attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan. Washington believes such action is critical to success in Afghanistan as it prepares to send an additional 30,000 troops to the country this year.

But the comments by army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas clearly indicate Pakistan will not be pressured in the near term to expand its fight beyond militants waging war against the Pakistani state. Whether it can be convinced in the long term is still an open question. “We are not talking years,” Abbas told reporters traveling with Gates. “Six months to a year” would be needed before Pakistan could stabilize existing gains and expand any operations, he said.

…Referring to intense political pressure in Washington to lean harder on Pakistan, Gates sounded sanguine. “As I try to remind Congress from time to time, and frankly some of the folks in the administration, it’s the Pakistanis who have their foot on the accelerator, not us,” Gates told reporters at the start of his two-day visit to Pakistan. The political pressure goes two ways. Suspicion of U.S. motives runs high in Pakistan, and many Pakistanis bristle as the notion that Washington could dictate the country’s priorities even with a recent promise of an unprecedented $1.5 billion in annual aid. “We have to do this in a way that is comfortable for them, and at a pace that they can accommodate and is tolerable for them,” Gates said. “Frankly, I’m comfortable doing that. I think having them set that pace as to what they think the political situation will bear is almost certainly the right thing to do.”

He also said his talks with Pakistan’s leaders were intended to explain the U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan and reassure Pakistan that the United States is “in this for the long haul.”

more @ naharnet

4. oh by the way, Tehran, Islamabad finalize gas pipeline deal, against the advice of Richard Holbrooke, and something that India wanted to do but dropped out of after 13 years. that should all blow over like a lead balloon.

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Pakistan finalized an agreement to build a gas pipeline which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to his energy hungry nation, a Pakistani official announced.

The two countries will sign an accord on the pipeline next week, Pakistani Federal Minister for Petroleum Naveed Qamar said.  Qamar also said the federal government is taking serious measures to combat the current energy crisis in the country, Pakistani daily Dawn reported.  The Pakistani minister’s remarks came as the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke had earlier urged Islamabad to avoid the deal with Iran.

Holbrooke said the US would help Pakistan secure liquefied natural gas supplies, should it abandon the planned gas deal with Iran.

The 2,775 km Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, nicknamed Peace Pipeline, was initially planned to take natural gas from Iran to India. However, due to rising tensions between India and Pakistan, New Delhi stepped back from the later stages of negotiations, although it has never formally withdrawn from the scheme. The IPI pipeline was proposed in 1995, and, after almost 13 years of negotiations, India decided to step back last year. Indian officials have many times cited security issues and the viability of the pipeline that would pass through the territory of rival Pakistan, where a near-civil war is raging between government forces and pro-Taliban militants.

In a major breakthrough on March 20, the Pakistani government approved Iran’s proposed pricing formula for gas supplies to the South Asian nation and the two sides eventually signed a bilateral agreement just a few months ago.

source: fars

5. Gates directing the narrative in India: opens the umbrella for LeT, al qaeda syndicate present, tells India that it must be running out of patience (wink wink wink!)

Warning that India may not show restraint in the event of another Mumbai-style attack, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates today said a “syndicate” of terror groups, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba, were “operating under the umbrella of al-Qaeda” and trying to destabilise the region, even attempting to provoke a war between India and Pakistan.

Gates, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony, called for a “high level of cooperation” from all countries to defeat the “syndicate” of terror which had “home and safe haven” in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“While al-Qaeda is operating in Afghanistan along with the Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban is focusing on Pakistan. The LeT is focusing on Pakistan as also India,” Gates told reporters. “The success of any one of them is success for all… Victory for one is victory for all. These groups operate under the umbrella of al-Qaeda from NWFP and Waziristan.”

“Under the umbrella, they intend to destabilise not only Pakistan, but the entire region by provoking confrontation between India and Pakistan through terror attacks. This is very dangerous for the entire region as a whole,” he said.

source: indian express

6. so India decides to crackdown on….. Maoists! watch out poor people.

Thousands of paramilitary personnel have launched a crackdown to target some 50 Maoist leaders across the country in a bid to crush what is described as India’s biggest internal security challenge.

“We would be breaking the neck (of the Maoist movement) by arresting all their senior leaders like Kishenji,” a highly placed official in the security establishment said in an interview. “We believe there could be around 50 such leaders scattered all over. We are targeting them to make the entire movement headless and make a serious dent,” the official told IANS. “With this it would be relatively easy to take on the rest of Maoist guerrillas,” the official added, providing for the first time operational details of the coordinated and sweeping security drive.

As of now, operations are under way in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra — five states where the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) is most active, mainly among tribals living in remote interiors who are among the poorest of the poor. The operational methods would, however, differ from the way Sri Lanka’s military crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last year, it was pointed out.

…According to rough estimates, over 60,000 paramilitary forces would be in action against 6,000-7,000 Maoists armed with heavy weapons as well as light machine guns, AK-47s, AK-56s and Insas rifles….Another official said the security forces, especially the CRPF, have got six trained dogs each for the “special sector” (Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra), “eastern sector” (Orissa and West Bengal) and the “Bihar sector” (Bihar and Jharkhand) to help take on the Maoists.

more @ mid-day

7. Soren govt calls off -anti-Naxal ops, has cops livid

At a time when states are teaming up to crack down on Naxalites, the Shibu Soren-led government in Jharkhand, one of the states worst affected by Naxal violence, has quietly halted operations, including long range patrols and raids directed at the extremists. And in one of the first fallouts, eight policemen were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Naxals in Gumla last Friday.

Central paramilitary forces, including 28 CRPF companies, are being made to wait by the state government while the Special Task Force, comprising personnel of the Jharkhand Armed Police who have been trained in jungle warfare and anti-landmine techniques, are back in the barracks. The securitymen were deployed in the districts of Ranchi, Palamau, Lohardaga and Gumla.

The Soren government’s move to put the brakes on anti-Naxal operations, within days of taking charge of the state, has set off alarm bells in the security establishment. An Intelligence official told The Indian Express that “Jharkhand is set to become a safe haven” for Naxalites who are beginning to feel the heat in the other states that make up the Red Corridor.

more @ indian express

8. November 2009: exploring connections between Naxalism, Chabad, India, Israel, mining

9. Hyderabad STF catch was in-charge of terror recruitments, including one who was planning something against Western tourists in Goa

Mohammed Abdul Khwaja (30), a commander of the militant group Huji for South India who was caught by the Hyderabad Special Task Force recently, was in-charge of recruiting youth from the region and training them to be terrorists, say the police. It is believed he was  responsible for making Raziuddin Nasir, who was planning serial blasts in Goa, a suicide bomber. Nasir, son of Hyderabad-based cleric Moulana Naseeruddin, has been arrested by the state police on charges of plotting a series of bomb attacks on western tourists in Goa.

Khwaja, who was working in Saudi Arabia, invited Nasir to Riyadh, from there he was sent to Pakistan with a duplicate passport for training.
Nasir returned to India
after the training and was in regular touch with Khwaja while taking shelter in North Karnataka.  He was acting as handler to Nasir giving instructions to Nasir and passing out information to his bosses in Pakistan and Bangladesh, said police officials.

more @ mid-day

10. Holbrooke — we won’t broker talks, you  kids work it out amongst yourselves

The United States has once again clarified that it would not broker talks between India and Pakistan, and said pending issues should be resolved by them amicably. Interacting with editors and columnists here, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said Washington would support any initiative taken by both countries to improve their ties. “It is for Pakistan and India to engage in a process of dialogue, and we support it,” The Daily Times quoted Holbrooke, as saying.

Responding to Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor’s recent statement that the Indian Armed forces were capable enough of taking on both Pakistan and China simultaneously, Holbrooke said it was his (General Kapoor’s) personal opinion and that it did not reflect New Delhi’s policy. “What General Kapoor said does not reflect the Indian national policy,” Holbrooke said.

source: indian express

11. India’s “massive” arms build up will jeopardize regional balance: Pak

Expressing concern over the alleged ‘massive’ arms build up by India, Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA) has said that New Delhi could jeopardise the regional balance by such moves. The NCA blamed India for rejecting Pakistan’s proposal for maintaining a strategic restraint regime in South Asia.

A press release issued after the meeting said that India’s massive inductions of advanced weapon systems, build up of nuclear arsenal and delivery systems could to destabilise regional balance. “This relentless pursuit of military preponderance will have severe consequences for peace and security in South Asia, as well as for the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan cannot be oblivious to these developments,” The News quoted the statement, as saying. The NCA also took note of remarks made in India that it was cable of conducting conventional military operations under a nuclear umbrella terming it as an ‘irresponsible’ statement.

“Such irresponsible statements reflected a hegemonic mindset, oblivious of dangerous implications of adventurism in a nuclearised context,” the statement said.

source: indian express

foreshadowing

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, warns that South Asian militant groups threaten to destabilize the entire region and could trigger a war between “nuclear armed Pakistan and India.”

(Just for the record, India is also “nuclear armed.“)

Watch Mr. Gates reflect anxiety, set expectations, and proactively absolve India for whatever it might do in response to “some provocative act:”

Reflecting anxiety in the region about New Delhi’s reaction if it were attacked by a militant group with roots in Pakistan, Mr Gates said restraint by India could not be counted on. He added that militants under Al-Qaeda’s ’syndicate’ - which includes the Taleban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba - posed a danger to the region as a whole.

They are trying ‘to destabilise not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but potentially the whole region by provoking a conflict perhaps between India and Pakistan through some provocative act,’ Mr Gates said during a visit to New Delhi. ‘It’s important to recognise the magnitude of the threat that the entire region faces,’ he said following talks with his Indian counterpart, A.K. Antony.

…’I think it’s not unreasonable to assume India’s patience would be limited were there to be further attacks,’ Mr Gates warned.

New Delhi suspects the Pakistani intelligence service of supporting terror groups that target India and has consistently called on Islamabad to crack down on militants operating on its soil. Mr Gates described India as a vital partner in the struggle against extremist threats, expressed appreciation for its economic aid to Afghanistan and said that he had discussed how to bolster US-India military cooperation.

It appears that whatever happens, Pakistan will be blamed. If India retaliates — even out of proportion — it sounds like that will be overlooked by the US, given that it’s not “unreasonable to assume India’s patience would be limited were there to be further attacks.”

Interesting. Which country has suffered more from terrorism in recent memory? India, or Pakistan?

India had the Mumbai attack in 2008 (173 deaths). India blames Pakistan for Mumbai.

Meanwhile, in 2009 alone, over 3,500 people have died from terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

And who is responsible for all the terrorism in Pakistan? Good question.

The Pakistan government has been provided a variety of proofs of involvement of Indian government and especially the Indian intelligence agency behind the continuous chaos in various parts of Pakistan, particularly NWFP province’s Malakand division and tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan where Pakistan army is fighting a war against terrorists.

…These investigations indicate that the Pakistani law enforcing agencies found highly credible evidence proving that the Indians were not only giving comprehensive financial support to terrorists in Balochistan but were also providing them with huge caches of all sorts of weapons and other military equipment.

…The Daily Mail’s [of Pakistan -- ed.] findings indicate that not only this but the Pakistani security forces also seized a large amount of Indian currency and Indian medicines from the deserted or conquered hideouts of militants in different operations in Swat and Waziristan.

In addition, the security forces also seized huge amount of currency bills of Indian currency either from the arrested militants or from the captured hideouts. The investigations reveal that trade in Indian currency in all parts of Afghanistan is quite open and normal and one can buy anything at anywhere with Indian currency in any part of Afghanistan. According to some reports, the Indian currency is more acceptable than the US Dollar in Afghani business markets.

^^^^^^^

Over the last several weeks the contrived Clash of Civilizations has flared up in Malaysia over the use of the word Allah in Christian churches. After a week or two of that, the US Embassy in Malaysia warned that tourists to the Sabah state were at risk of attack by criminal and terrorist groups.

This warning precipitated a prompt response. The Malaysian government tightened security and quickly dismissed the warning. The Malaysian government then summoned the US envoy for an explanation of the misleading advisory.

This is the explanation:

The US advisory did not give details of the possible threat, but noted that Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants based in the southern Philippines - a short boat ride from Sabah - have kidnapped foreigners from Sabah’s secluded resort areas in the past.

^^^^^^^

Abu Sayyaf has an outstanding terrorist pedigree. It can be linked back to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, 911, the CIA, ISI, etc.

In particular, for the purposes of this thread, the Abu Sayyaf can be linked back to Pakistan.

[Privilege speech of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel at the Senate, July 31, 2000]

In the early 1980s, the CIA actively recruited, “armed and supported” moujahideens or volunteer Muslim warriors to fight the CIA sponsored-US proxy war in Afghanistan against the Russians who had invaded the country in 1979 and had put up a puppet regime there. Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, p. 13 et

Thousands of Muslim fighters from many parts of the world, including many young men from the Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao, enlisted to fight in Afghanistan. After all, the dollar-denominated monthly pay plus incentives of $100 to $300 a month was certainly attractive enough for the jobless and impoverished Muslim youths. John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars, p. 107

These young warriors were, then, trained to – and many did - fight in Afghanistan supported with funds and equipment by the CIA and its network of friendly foreign funders which at that time included Osama bin Ladin, a highly successful Arab business man in the construction industry. Bin Ladin subsequently fell out of grace with the CIA which has since been trying to get him either literally or extradited to the US for his complicity in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.

In the case of the Filipino Muslim Moujahideens, most came back to various parts of Mindanao from their base in Peshawar, Pakistan.

In the words of John K. Cooley in his book, Unholy Wars, “This group (of Filipino Muslim Moujahideens) was the core of an armed guerilla band of several hundred men who xxx moved from its Peshawar, Pakistan base to the southern Philippine Islands after the end of the Afghan war. Under the name of the Abu Sayyaf group, it operated on the fringe of the Moros Muslim insurgency.”

Thus was the Abu Sayyaf born.

The Abu Sayyaf took its name from Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan intellectual, who had preached an ultra-conservative Islamic ideology called Wahabi.

Cooley calls the Abu Sayyaf in the 1990s as “the most violent and radical Islamist group in the Far East, using its CIA and ISI (Pakistan’s intra-military directorate for intelligence services) training to harass, attack and murder Christian priests, wealthy non-Muslim plantation-owners and merchants and local government in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.” [p. 63]

Thus we can see that the CIA and ISI created this problem, the Abu Sayyaf, with an assist from Saudi Arabia, which spawned Wahhabism.

According to Senator Aquilino Pimentel, military and police personnel then cultivated informers within the Abu Sayyaf, and some members received military intelligence services IDs, safe-houses, safe-conduct passes, firearms, cell phones and financial support. In his speech, he demanded that these traitors to the Philippines be held accountable for their corruption.

Since that speech in 2000, the Abu Sayyaf has certainly not been contained. They operate from the island of Jolo. It appears they stepped up their attacks in 2009.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf took about 20 people – most of them Western tourists – captive from an island resort across the Malaysian border. They were all released within three months after the Libyan government paid a ransom of around $10 million, media reports said at the time.

…Last year [2008], Muslim rebels generated more than 22 million pesos (SFr528,000) in ransom payments from at least six kidnappings, including the high-profile abduction of three members of a local television network, according to the Philippines military.

…About two dozen people have been kidnapped in 12 incidents on two restive southern islands since January [2009], authorities say.

In September 2009, two US Navy men and one Filipino Marine were killed in a roadside bomb.

Abu Sayyaf is believed to have about 400 fighters, to have received funds from al-Qaida and is suspected of sheltering militants from the larger Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. An estimated 600 U.S. troops are currently stationed in the Philippines, mostly in the southern front lines of the Philippine military’s operations against the Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiyah.

In November 2009, the group beheaded a teacher.

In December 2009, they burst through a jail wall and freed 31 inmates.

^^^^^^^

In July of 2009, the Philippine government deployed hundreds of troops on Jolo and Basilan islands to finish off the 400 member Abu Sayyaf.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro ordered the military last week to launch new assaults against the militants on Jolo and Basilan islands after the militants freed Italian hostage Eugenio Vagni — the last of three Red Cross aid workers who were kidnapped on Jolo in January. Without any hostages to worry about, government forces can now carry out more offensives, regional military commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said.

The government has opened peace talks with a bigger Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but the Abu Sayyaf is not covered by the talks. A report by the US Pacific Command describes the Abu Sayyaf as “a cross between a chilling gang of bandits and a franchise operation of al-Qaida.” “Since the early 1990s, it has terrorized the southern Philippines with kidnappings, bombs and outright massacres; it has also been linked to several international terrorist plots and militants,” the report noted. More recent reports said the Abu Sayyaf, under new leadership, has been able to link up with the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah, said to be behind a regional Islamist terror campaign, including two recent bombings in Jakarta.

By November, after the beheaded school-teacher incident, hopes faded. The Abu Sayyaf would (miraculously) defy the sustained US-backed campaign to finish them off.

The beheading of a kidnap victim is the latest proof that a small number of Islamic militants in the Philippines are defying a sustained US-backed military campaign to extinguish them, observers said. The grisly development this week came just ahead of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation, throwing the spotlight on joint efforts by Filipino and American forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf.

It’s always very helpful when they “throw the spotlight on.” In any case, regrettable.

And then Hillary Clinton arrived, and the kidnapped priest from Ireland, Michael Sinnot, was released by the MILF. MILF is another long-standing and much larger terrorist group in the Philippines, originally accused of abducting the priest, but later cleared and thanked for securing his release.

The release of the 79-year-old missionary coincided with the arrival in Manila of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, prompting speculation that it was timed to coincide with her visit, the way the release of a kidnapped Red Cross worker was made on the day US Central Intelligence Agency head Leon Edward Panetta flew to Manila.

Although the Asia Times reported that the US Embassy held clandestine meetings with MILF a month earlier, at their camp. Evidently the US Embassy personnel do not fear the MILF. In fact, they have warm and friendly relations. Everyone wants peace, evidently.

Despite the row over Sinnot’s kidnapping, senior US Embassy officials in Manila have held clandestine meetings with MILF leaders in their Maguindanao camp. The US Embassy has kept mum on the meetings, but on its website, the MILF confirmed in a statement that it had held talks with a visiting group of American diplomats led by the US Embassy charge d’affaires, Leslie Basset, on October 16.

Lasting for two hours, the meeting “was warm and forthright”, the MILF said and quoted Basset as saying that the US was willing to play a role in the peace talks. “Helping attain and sustain peace, security and development in Mindanao is a priority concern of our government,” the MILF quoted Bassett as saying.

^^^^^^^

In August 2009, GMANews.TV reported the statements of Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian at a press conference held before an inquiry by the Senate oversight committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) into the activities of US troops in the Philippines.

Gadian, a whistleblower, was invited to the hearing.

Gadian earlier this year exposed the alleged misuse of the P42-million fund allotted for the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US by high ranking military officials.

Gadian made the following statements:

  • US soldiers have joined Philippine troops in actual combat against Muslim rebels.
  • The American soldiers were embedded in local units.
  • About 500 US soldiers were assigned in Mindanao as “the first line of defense against the enemy.”
  • US troops usually engaged in operations in Mindanao without informing heads of the Philippine military in the area.
  • Philippine forces are fighting the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and other armed groups in Sulu.
  • American troops are stationed in Mindanao even without any Balikatan exercises going on.
  • The Philippine government does not monitor the deployment and movement of these troops in the country’s southern region.
  • Americans in Mindanao usually have programs or projects which they do not tell the leadership of the Southern Command. They just go to areas where they want to go.

Gadian’s affadavit also states:

  • The US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south.
  • The Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.”
  • These structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution.
  • The “arrogant” behavior of many US military officers toward Filipinos.
  • Some US military men bringing Filipino women prostitutes to different areas in the camp.
  • “On the whole, their assertions of power and authority appear like they rule over us and the country.”

^^^^^^^

Given that the CIA helped create Abu Sayyaf; and given the US military’s unrestrained access to the very areas of the Philippines where Abu Sayyaf allegedly operates from; and given the history of connections between Abu Sayyaf militants and their military handlers; and given the warm and friendly relations between US Embassy personnel and MILF leaders…

Can we not imagine that Robert Gates’ foreshadowing remarks about provocative actions might, perhaps, have something to do with Abu Sayyaf?