Saturday, October 03, 2009

Afghanistan: Many Afghans Don't Want More U.S. Troops - ABC News

Afghanistan: Many Afghans Don't Want More U.S. Troops - ABC News:... "Asadullah Sherzad, the province's police chief, praises the additional troops and thanks the United States for sending them. But that does not mean he thinks more Americans should come.

'As many foreign forces can come here as they want,' he told ABC News. 'But without Afghan forces, they won't be effective.'"...

[bth: to state the obvious.]

Can't Touch Vader from That Happened! - Video

Can't Touch Vader from That Happened! - Video

Poll: Happy, Healthy Obamas Out Of Touch With Miserable Americans | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Poll: Happy, Healthy Obamas Out Of Touch With Miserable Americans | The Onion - America's Finest News Source


Poll: Happy, Healthy Obamas Out Of Touch With Miserable Americans

NFL Players Mentor Troubled Detroit Lions | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

NFL Players Mentor Troubled Detroit Lions | The Onion - America's Finest News Source


NFL Players Mentor Troubled Detroit Lions

After Clash Over Afghan Election, U.N. Fires a Diplomat - NYTimes.com

After Clash Over Afghan Election, U.N. Fires a Diplomat - NYTimes.com: "KABUL, Afghanistan — The United Nations fired its No. 2 official in Afghanistan on Wednesday after the diplomat, Peter W. Galbraith, wrote a scathing letter accusing the head of the mission here of concealing election fraud that benefited the campaign of the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai."....

[bth: this is a very serious matter as Galbraith is one of our best foreign policy thinkers. If he's been fired for calling the election a fraud, I'd say we should stand up and pay attention. Supporting Karzai at this point is a big mistake]

Significant Majority Thinks Afghanistan Will Be Another Vietnam: Poll

Significant Majority Thinks Afghanistan Will Be Another Vietnam: Poll: "A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found that a significant majority of Americans believe that the country's war in Afghanistan 'will be another Vietnam.'

Thirty-eight percent of those polled indicated that they are 'very concerned' that 'Afghanistan will become another Vietnam,' while an additional 28% said that they are 'somewhat concerned' with the potential for this outcome. Rasmussen's findings suggest that only 25% of the country is 'not very concerned' or 'not at all concerned' that the Afghan War will culminate in a Vietnam-like scenario."...

[bth: McChrystal thinks the American clock is ticking faster than the Afghan clock, but what he doesn't appreciate is that the American clock has already run out. When 2/3 of the public agrees on something, its time for generals to pay attention.]

Afghan soldier shoots dead two American troops | U.S. | Reuters

Afghan soldier shoots dead two American troops | U.S. | Reuters: "KABUL (Reuters) - An Afghan soldier on guard at a joint base with U.S. troops shot dead two American servicemen and wounded two others as they slept, a provincial official said on Saturday.

Shahedullah Shahed, spokesman for the governor of Wardak province west of Kabul, said the shooting took place after a combined team of Afghan and U.S. forces had returned from a joint operation late on Friday.

'The Americans were in the middle of sleep when an Afghan soldier on duty opened fire on them,' Shahed said.

'We have no clue as to why he shot them.'"...

McChrystal Rejects Scaling Down Afghan Military Aims - NYTimes.com

McChrystal Rejects Scaling Down Afghan Military Aims - NYTimes.com: "LONDON — The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, used a speech here on Thursday to reject calls for the war effort to be scaled down from defeating the Taliban insurgency to a narrower focus on hunting down Al Qaeda, an option suggested by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as part of the current White House strategy review."...

After his first 100 days in command in Kabul, General McChrystal chose an audience of military specialists at London’s Institute for Strategic Studies as a platform for a public airing of the confidential assessment of the war he delivered to the Pentagon in late August, parts of which were leaked to news organizations. General McChrystal, 55, did not mention Mr. Biden or his advocacy of a scaled-down war effort during his London speech, and referred only obliquely to the debate within the Obama administration on whether to escalate the American commitment in Afghanistan by accepting his request for up to 40,000 more American troops on top of the 68,000 already deployed there or en route.

But he used the London session for a rebuttal of the idea of a more narrowly focused war. When a questioner asked him whether he would support scaling back the American military presence over the next 18 months by relinquishing the battle with the Taliban and focusing on tracking down Al Qaeda, sparing ground troops by hunting Qaeda extremists and their leaders with missiles from remotely piloted aircraft, he replied: “The short answer is: no.”

“You have to navigate from where you are, not from where you wish to be,” he said. “A strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy.”

In Washington on Thursday, Gen. David H. Petraeus told an audience that he had “not yet endorsed” General McChrystal’s specific request for additional troops, even though he has said he supports General McChrystal’s grim assessment of the war....

[bth: note how Petraeus is sitting this out. He's positioning himself to be the victor of Iraq and to let Obama be the loser of Afghanistan.]

More on the Success of Predators in Pakistan - Political Punch

More on the Success of Predators in Pakistan - Political Punch: ..."While not confirming the numbers from the unofficial Long War Journal analysis indicating more al Qaeda and Taliban have been killed in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008 combined, a senior administration official says, 'I wouldn’t dispute that there have been more senior as well as mid-level operatives from al Qaeda as well as affiliated groups killed.'

Are there more drones in the region than there were before President Obama took office?

'There's an enhanced capability,' the official said, 'an increased capability.'

A senior US counterterrorism official confirms for ABC News that 'al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have lost some of their top leaders over the past year. It’s clear they’re feeling the pinch. Our understanding of these groups continues to grow. That’s a good thing for us and a very bad thing for our terrorist enemies.”

Somewhat wryly -- the Predator attacks are seldom discussed publicly -- the senior administration official said, 'whoever’s dropping these things, theyre being quite successful.'"...

[bth: again theater. Obama meets McChrystal in Europe, pretends to listen then administration sources discuss in confidence to the media how successful drone attacks have been. American war policy is being floated bit by bit in trial balloons.]

Khaleej Times Online - Submarines ordered by Israel still being built

Khaleej Times Online - Submarines ordered by Israel still being built: "Israel has not been delivered two German submarines as the military had previously reported, with the two subs still under construction, the military said on Thursday.

“These submarines are still under construction and have not yet been delivered to the Israeli navy,” a statement said.

A military spokesman had said Tuesday that Israel had taken delivery of two German Dolphin-class submarines, called U212s, ordered four years ago.

Israel currently has three German submarines."

[bth: much of this is staged propaganda between Iran and Israel I'm convinced.]

Hakimullah's brother Kalimullah killed in North Waziristan skirmish | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online

Hakimullah's brother Kalimullah killed in North Waziristan skirmish | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online: "The brother of new Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has been killed in a clash with the military in the North Waziristan tribal region, security officials told French news agency Thursday. Kalimullah Mehsud was killed on Monday in a shootout in Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan."...
Naval Open Source INTelligence

Naval Open Source INTelligence

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

U.S. Midwest business slips unexpectedly in Sept | Reuters

U.S. Midwest business slips unexpectedly in Sept | Reuters: "MOBILE, Alabama (Reuters) - Business activity in the U.S. Midwest failed to return to growth in September as expected, and instead got slammed by a decline in production and new orders, a report showed on Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer fell to 46.1 in September from 50.0 in August.

Economists had forecast the index at 52.0. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the regional economy."...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Family & Friends - Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery






We met many friends at Section 60. Families that share a little acre for eternity. A marine family killed 3 years ago to the day from Florida. A Lt. Colonel's parents who visit their son buried there monthly and decorate the graves with small blue glass stones - frozen tears she called them. His mother and father count the rows like we do from the one our sons are buried on. Nine more rows. No end in sight. A mother from Massachusetts whose only son was the marine EOD tech of the year a few years ago, before he was killed. By chance I met him once at a trade show in Nashville. That was before it happened of course. A movie was made about him.... Many decorated graves. Section 60 is not forgotten by its families. Though with the passage of time I note that many older sections have no flowers or signs of visitation. Remembrance is the purest form of prayer.

Photos by Brian Hart
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PFC John D. Hart with Family & Friends - Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery









After the Day of Remembrance 2009 for Gold Star Families at the Capitol we went to Arlington National Cemetery and met in Section 60 where the casualties of Iraq and Afghanistan are buried among recovered helicopter crews buried together forever from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. All came home. ... John D. Hart was killed Oct. 18, 2003. We got a call this month from a senior officer's family largely responsible for leading them into the ambush that killed him and Lt. Bernstein - This captain's brother told us to get over it because they had. His brother had moved on, didn't care and would not help us find out what happened, why the records had been destroyed or hidden. Thirteen had died under his command since. He had other ghosts. ... Some officers do not deserve the men who serve them. I have seen a cemetery full of men who deserved better from their superiors and their country.

photos by Brian Hart
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YouTube - Let Her Cry - Hootie & The Blowfish - 1995

YouTube - Let Her Cry - Hootie & The Blowfish - 1995

Harts & Yashinski's Friends Forever at a Day of Remembrance Sept 2009

 

 

 

 

Here are pictures of the John D. Hart family and the Yashinski's, both Gold Star families from the 173rd Airborne Brigade killed in 2003. Friends for ever.
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Roses of September - Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery



photos by Rebecca Hart

Roses of September.
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YouTube - Hootie and the Blowfish - Hold thy hand

YouTube - Hootie and the Blowfish - Hold thy hand

Glass on Stone - Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery


photo: Rebecca Hart
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Hold my hand - Day of Remembrance Sept 2009



Hold my hand
Photo Brian Hart
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Orphan child - A Day of Remembrance - Washington DC Sept 2009




Orphan child on a grassy field with friend

photo by Brian Hart
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Soothe not, mock not my distress

Go, when the hunter’s hand has wrung
From forest flair her shrieking young,
Go soothe the lonely lioness,
But soothe not, mock not my distress!
— BYRON.


Day of Remembrance Washington DC Sept 2009

Remember the fallen as your friend.

Photo: Brian Hart
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YouTube - Seals and Croft - Summer Breeze (Live 1974)

YouTube - Seals and Croft - Summer Breeze (Live 1974)

A Loney Day in Section 60 - Day of Remembrance Sept 2009



Photo by Brian Hart

A Lonely Day in Section 60, Arlington National Cemetery
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YouTube - Gordon Lightfoot 1974 - Sundown

YouTube - Gordon Lightfoot 1974 - Sundown

Taps at A Day of Remembrance - Washington DC Sept 2009


Photo by Brian Hart

Taps
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YouTube - Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

YouTube - Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

YouTube - Peter Paul & Mary - Early Morning Rain (1966)

YouTube - Peter Paul & Mary - Early Morning Rain (1966)

YouTube - Gordon Lightfoot-Don Quixote-Soundstage-(live)-(1979)

YouTube - Gordon Lightfoot-Don Quixote-Soundstage-(live)-(1979)



Through the woodland, through the valley
Comes a horseman wild and free
Tilting at the windmills passing
Who can the brave young horseman be
He is wild but he is mellow
He is strong but he is weak
He is cruel but he is gentle
He is wise but he is meek
Reaching for his saddlebag
He takes a battered book into his hand
Standing like a prophet bold
He shouts across the ocean to the shore
Till he can shout no more

I have come oer moor and mountain
Like the hawk upon the wing
I was once a shining knight
Who was the guardian of a king
I have searched the whole world over
Looking for a place to sleep
I have seen the strong survive
And I have seen the lean grown weak

See the children of the earth
Who wake to find the table bare
See the gentry in the country
Riding off to take the air

Reaching for his saddlebag
He takes a rusty sword into his hand
Then striking up a knightly pose
He shouts across the ocean to the shore
Till he can shout no more

See the jailor with his key
Who locks away all trace of sin
See the judge upon the bench
Who tries the case as best he can
See the wise and wicked ones
Who feed upon lifes sacred fire
See the soldier with his gun
Who must be dead to be admired

See the man who tips the needle
See the man who buys and sells
See the man who puts the collar
On the ones who dare not tell
See the drunkard in the tavern
Stemming gold to make ends meet
See the youth in ghetto black
Condemned to life upon the street

Reaching for his saddlebag
He takes a tarnished cross into his hand
Then standing like a preacher now
He shouts across the ocean to the shore
Then in a blaze of tangled hooves
He gallops off across the dusty plain
In vain to search again
Where no one will hear

Through the woodland, through the valley
Comes a horseman wild and free
Tilting at the windmills passing
Who can the brave young horseman be
He is wild but he is mellow
He is strong but he is weak
He is cruel but he is gentle
He is wise but he is meek

PsyOp recording Ghost Tape Number 10

http://mediaplayer.yahoo.com/contplay/index.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pcf45.com%2Fsealords%2Fcuadai%2Fwanderingsoul.html

PsyOp tape Ghost Tape Number 10 or Wandering Soul Vietnamese style

....

This tape had a reputation among sailors as always drawing hostile fire when played. Perhaps its haunting message when translated into English can explain why. The Vietnamese ethic and religion is based upon deep respect for ancestors, elders, and family. The tape directs its audio message at these values:

{Funeral Music and the Wailing Sounds of a Moaning Ghost}

{The Daughter "Hai" Crys Out for Her Father}

Daddy, daddy, come home with me, come home. Daddy! Daddy!

{The Ghost Father Responds}

! Hai !
Who is that? Who is calling me? My daughter? My wife?
Your Father is back home with you, my daughter
Your Husband is back home with you, my wife
But my body is gone. I am dead, my family

Tragic ... how tragic

My friends, I come back to let you know that I am dead ... I am dead
I am in Hell ... just Hell
It was a senseless death. How senseless ... how senseless
But when I realized the truth, it was too late ... too late

Friends ... while you are still alive ...
There is still a chance that you can be reunited with your loved ones
Do you hear what I say?

Go home ... Go home friends
Hurry ... If not, you will end up like me
Go home my friends before it is too late

Go home! ... Go home friends!

! Ve Di ! ... ! Ve Di Ban !
!! VE DI !! ... !! VE DI !!

{More Moans From the Afterlife}

Sonic Warfare Erupts in Pittsburgh, Honduras | Danger Room | Wired.com

Sonic Warfare Erupts in Pittsburgh, Honduras | Danger Room | Wired.com

Ilyas Kashmiri was a Pakistani Army commando - Threat Matrix

Ilyas Kashmiri was a Pakistani Army commando - Threat Matrix: "New details have emerged about Ilyas Kashmiri, the al Qaeda and Harkat-ul Jihad Islami leader who is thought to have been killed during a US Predator strike in North Waziristan earlier this month. The News and Middle East Transparent reported that Kashmiri had been a commando in the elite Special Services Group (SSG), the special operations unit trained by Britain's Special Air Service. In the early 1990s, Kashmiri was ordered to join the Harkat-ul Jihad Islami, and later he was urged to join the Jaish-e-Mohammed. From The News:"...

Kashmiri was behind the assassination of Major General Faisal Alvi, the retired commander of the SSG, in Rawalpindi in late 2008. Alvi was killed just months after sending a letter to General Kiyani. In the letter, Alvi accused two generals of forcing his retirement. According to The Times Online, Alvi said he was forced to retire after threatening to expose the two generals' involvement with the Taliban:

Alavi believed he had been forced out because he was openly critical of deals that senior generals had done with the Taliban. He disparaged them for their failure to fight the war on terror wholeheartedly and for allowing Taliban forces based in Pakistan to operate with impunity against British and other Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan.

The order to kill Alvi was reportedly given by the North Waziristan Taliban to avenge operations in the tribal areas, but it is more likely the unnamed Pakistani generals, who are thought to still be on active duty, ordered the hit.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/09/ilyas_kashmiri_was_a_pakistani.php#ixzz0SXIIFOQp

[bth: worth a read in full. Does this mean that the US predator that killed someone who was anti-Talian was based on intel from a Pak General in collaboration with the Taliban?

IRAQ THE MODEL - 30 Mahdi Army commaders assasinated in Damascus

IRAQ THE MODEL: "Unknown gunmen assassinated 30 Mahdi Army commanders in the Syrian capital Damascus. The killings, made in the past few weeks, were all made 'quietly, inside the victims apartments', said an unnamed source in the Sadr movement. The source added that among those assassinated was Laith al-Ka'bi, who commanded the Mahdi Army in the Palestine Street neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. The report adds that large numbers of Mahdi Army operatives left to Iran out of fear the assassinations wave could expand to target them."

[bth: more is the pity]

The Najibullah Zazi detention memo and his use of explosives - Threat Matrix

The Najibullah Zazi detention memo and his use of explosives - Threat Matrix:..."Most significantly, the memorandum contains a great deal of information about Zazi’s knowledge of explosives, and efforts to obtain requisite ingredients. It has already come to light that Zazi possessed nine pages of handwritten notes containing instructions on the manufacture and handling of various kinds of explosives. (Contrary to Zazi’s claim that these notes were accidentally downloaded onto his computer, he had e-mailed them to himself twice while in Pakistan, transferred them to his laptop, and may even have written them.) The memorandum states that the notes contained specifications for Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) -- the same kind of explosive that was used in the 7/7 attacks in London and by attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid, among others."...

If the facts set out in the motion are true, it would appear that the plot Zazi was involved in was quite serious, and was fairly well along in the planning stages. Because TATP has a short shelf life before it begins to decompose, it is manufactured shortly before it is to be used. Therefore, the target selection, pre-operational surveillance and operational planning were all most likely completed before Zazi began brewing the explosive, which likely explains his panicked calls on Sept. 6-7....

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/09/the_najibullah_zazi_detention.php#ixzz0SXFcWcPX

Cpl William C. Koprince Jr. - The cost of freedom



From one Gold Star Family to Another,
God Bless.


Photo taken by Brian Hart at Day of Remembrance, Washington DC Sept. 2009
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Israel gets two more German submarines

Israel gets two more German submarines: "HELD AL-QUDS: Israel has taken delivery of two German submarines ordered four years ago, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

'We have received two Dolphin-class submarines built in Germany,' he said, on condition of anonymity."

The submarines, called U212s, can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads, although when it confirmed the sale in 2006 the German government said the two vessels were not equipped to carry nuclear weapons.

The subs were ordered in 2005 and delivery was initially expected in 2010.

Including the two new ones, Israel has five German submarines -- the most expensive weapon platforms in Israel's arsenal.

Germany, which believes it has a historic responsibility to help Israel because of the mass murder of Jews in World War II, donated the first two submarines after the 1991 Gulf War.

It split the cost of the third with the Jewish state.

According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the U212s are designed for a crew of 35, have a range of 4,500 kilometres (2,810 miles) and can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

Israeli media have written that the Dolphin submarine could be key in any attack on arch-foe Iran's controversial nuclear sites.

An Israeli submarine recently used the Suez Canal for the first time in June, escorted by Egyptian navy vessels, in what Israeli media said was intended as a message to Iran.

Widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, Israel suspects Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a charge Tehran denies.

[bth: hello. pay attention.]

Emptywheel - On Patriots and Justice: What we don't know

Emptywheel

US consumer confidence sees surprise drop

The Raw Story | US consumer confidence sees surprise drop: "US consumer confidence fell slightly in September as worries about a tight job market overshadowed improving economic conditions, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index, which had improved in August, dipped in September to 53.1 from 54.5 in August.

The figure was weaker than the 57.0 expected on Wall Street, and suggested consumers may be cautious in resuming spending, which is key to an economic recovery.

'Consumers viewed both current business conditions and the labor market less favorably than last month,' said Conference Board research director Lynn Franco."...

[bth: worth reading in full. People are afraid for their jobs. Credit card companies just jacked everyone around again before the law changed in mid-August. Their best investment is buying down those bastards. Every indicator is down from last month. Obama Administration jawboning might talk up the stock market but it doesn't put more money into a middle class consumer's pocket. Also people should note, the jobs are being exported in the manufacturing sector at an increasing pace. Factories that are being closed are being sold to China. They're not coming back. If one realizes that the US government is unwilling to protect American IP or jobs, one concludes that those jobs are going offshore.If we have a jobless recovery, corporate profits will increase but not consumer spending.]

Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets | Washington Examiner

Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets | Washington Examiner:... "In April of this year, the Obama administration lifted the press ban, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman, and many photographers came back for the second arrival, and then the third.

But after that, the impassioned advocates of showing the true human cost of war grew tired of the story. Fewer and fewer photographers showed up. 'It's really fallen off,' says Lt. Joe Winter, spokesman for the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where all war dead are received. 'The flurry of interest has subsided.'"

That's an understatement. When the casket bearing Air Force Tech. Sgt. Phillip Myers, of Hopewell, Va., arrived at Dover the night of April 5 -- the first arrival in which press coverage was allowed -- there were representatives of 35 media outlets on hand to cover the story. Two days later, when the body of Army Spc. Israel Candelaria Mejias, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, arrived, 17 media outlets were there. (All the figures here were provided by the Mortuary Affairs Operations Center.) On subsequent days in April, there were nearly a dozen press organizations on hand to cover arrivals.

Fast forward to today. On Sept. 2, when the casket bearing the body of Marine Lance Cpl. David Hall, of Elyria, Ohio, arrived at Dover, there was just one news outlet -- the Associated Press -- there to record it. The situation was pretty much the same when caskets arrived on Sept. 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22, 23 and 26. There has been no television coverage at all in September.

The media can cover arrivals only when the family gives its permission. In all the examples above, the families approved, which is more often than not the case; since the policy was changed, according to the Mortuary Affairs Office, 60 percent of families have said yes to full media coverage.

But these days, the press hordes that once descended on Dover are gone, and there's usually just one organization on hand. The Associated Press, which supplies photos to 1,500 U.S. newspapers and 4,000 Web sites, has had a photographer at every arrival for which permission was granted. "It's our belief that this is important, that surely somewhere there is a paper, an audience, a readership, a family and a community for whom this homecoming is indeed news," says Paul Colford, director of media relations for AP. "It's been agreed internally that this is a responsibility for the AP to be there each and every time it is welcome."

Colford says the AP has a photographer who lives within driving distance of Dover and is able to make it to the arrivals, no matter what time of day or night. As for the network news, it's not so simple; a night arrival means overtime pay for a union camera crew. And then there's the question of convenience. "It seems that if the weather is nice, and it's during the day, we get a higher level of media to come down," says Lt. Winter. "But a majority of our transfers occur in the early evening and overnight."...

[bth: this is entirely predictable and its a shame that the arrogance of Rumsfeld and the shameful attempt by Rove to minimize news coverage only enhanced interest of this solemn event. Blacking out all the faces like Rumsfeld did in 2004 - 2006 only made things worse. This is an important event for the family and the home town of the fallen soldier or marine. It needs to be covered and shown with the dignity with which it is now carried out at Dover. It wasn't always done so well and I am pleased to see that coverage is allowed and continues. A syndicated photographer makes perfect sense for this situation.]

Al Qaeda Bombers Learn from Drug Smugglers - CBS Evening News - CBS News

Al Qaeda Bombers Learn from Drug Smugglers - CBS Evening News - CBS News:... "To get his bomb into this room, Abdullah Asieri, one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, avoided detection by two sets of airport security including metal detectors and palace security. He spent 30 hours in the close company of the prince's own secret service agents - all without anyone suspecting a thing.

How did he do it?

Taking a trick from the narcotics trade - which has long smuggled drugs in body cavities - Asieri had a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator inserted in his rectum.

This was a meticulously planned operation with al Qaeda once again producing something new: this time, the Trojan bomber."...

[bth: how to detect this? x-ray? chemical sniffer? Its not realistic to cavity search passengers on an airliner]

Fine Print: On Rebuilding Afghanistan's Army - washingtonpost.com

Fine Print: On Rebuilding Afghanistan's Army - washingtonpost.com: "Building up Afghanistan's army, which has become a top priority in the Obama administration's strategy, will not be simple, no matter how many more U.S. troops are going to be provided Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

Army building, like nation building, is a challenge in a country in which corruption is rife and illiteracy is high. Nine out of 10 new Afghan army recruits cannot read or write, according to recent news reports."...

[bth: Interesting article. I wonder how many Taliban can read or write?]

Think Progress » Nation’s Largest Utility Leaves U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Over Climate Denial

Think Progress » Nation’s Largest Utility Leaves U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Over Climate Denial: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest lobbying force in the nation, promoting a right-wing agenda as the “voice of business.” The Chamber claims that a cap-and-trade program to limit global warming pollution would “strangle the economy” and has even called for a “Scopes monkey trial” on the science of global warming.

Today, Exelon CEO John Rowe announced that his company — the largest electric utility company in the United States — would not renew its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of its opposition to global warming action."...

Pakistani Intel, Army, backing the Taliban in Bajaur - Threat Matrix

Pakistani Intel, Army, backing the Taliban in Bajaur - Threat Matrix:... "This does not appear to be an isolated incident. Back in the spring of this year, a lashkar in Upper Dir battled the Taliban after a suicide attack leveled a mosque. The members of the lashkar were infuriated when the military targeted the villages with artillery, and they demanded that the military stop the shelling. The lashkar then refused help from the military."

Couple this report with yesterday's report that more jihadi terror camps focusing on the fight against India have opened, and it is clear that Pakistan's military and intelligence services remain compromised and that they have refused to abandon the notion of keeping the Taliban and other terror groups in reserve against India as well as a hedge against a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. And not only that, elements in Pakistan's military and the ISI are also actively aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan: "Who will fight the NATO forces from across the Afghan border if you eliminate the Taliban?" the colonel and the political agent in Bajaur asked.

The report also shows that some of the more rosy analyses of Pakistan's counterinsurgency prowess are flawed. If you assume that the military merely made a mistake and shelled the wrong towns, the act of indiscriminately shelling towns is just what a military should not do when fighting an insurgency.

[bth; worth reading in full]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Attorney: Oklahoma bombing tapes appear to be edited

The Raw Story » Attorney: Oklahoma bombing tapes appear to be edited

AFP: Over 100 from Iraqi group who killed Britons freed

AFP: Over 100 from Iraqi group who killed Britons freed: "BAGHDAD — More than 100 Iraqi Shiite insurgents whose organisation kidnapped five Britons and killed at least three of them have been released from prison in the past week, the group said on Sunday.

'I can confirm the release of a number of our group last night... 23 were freed yesterday,' Salam al-Maliki, a spokesman for the League of the Righteous, told AFP.

'Eighty-seven of our group were released last week, and 120 are supposed to be freed this week.'

Maliki said the releases 'came as part of negotiations we are holding with the Iraqi government.'

The League of the Righteous was behind the kidnap of British IT expert Peter Moore and his four bodyguards from the finance ministry in Baghdad in May 2007.

The bodies of two bodyguards, Jason Swindlehurst, 38, and Jason Creswell, 39, were handed over to Britain in June this year."...

[bth: this situation looks worse and worse for the British government]

Lawyer: Oklahoma City Bombing Tapes Missing Key Portions -- News from Antiwar.com

Lawyer: Oklahoma City Bombing Tapes Missing Key Portions -- News from Antiwar.com: "After a long, drawn out Freedom of Information Act battle, Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue finally obtained video tapes from the area around the Murrah Federal Building for April 19, 1995, when a bombing killed 168 people."

The audioless tapes show periods before the bombing and the chaotic aftermath, footage taken from four cameras at four different office buildings near the attack. Trentadue, however, says “the real story is what’s missing.”

The video footage obtained by the lawyer shows all four cameras blanked in the few minutes leading up to the attack, and as a result there was no footage of the truck before the attack. The official explanation is that all four cameras just happened to run out of tape at the same time, though they all conveniently enough come back on just after the 9:02 blast.

“There ain’t no such thing as a coincidence,” Trentadue says, saying the blanking is “evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn’t want anybody to see.”...

[bth: the ATF were chasing a decoy van]

Meeting US deadline to close Gitmo tough: Gates

Meeting US deadline to close Gitmo tough: Gates: "WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged it will be 'tough' to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay by a January deadline set by President Barack Obama.

'It's going to be tough' for the Obama administration to meet the January 22 deadline to shut the camp condemned as a 'legal black hole' by rights groups, Gates said.

But played down the importance of missing the deadline, saying he had supported setting the date as a way of pushing progress toward closing Guantanamo Bay, the US military prison in southern Cuba where 223 'war on terror' detainees remain."...

[bth: just do it]

Chinese and Indians square up – quietly - The National Newspaper

Chinese and Indians square up – quietly - The National Newspaper: "MUMBAI // India has been heavily playing down media reports of Chinese military incursions along the disputed 4,057km border it shares with the country, a move analysts say is a deliberate attempt to scale down tensions after months of troop build-up on both sides of the border.

The government does not deny the fact of the incursions, however."

India’s external affairs ministry accused the media of exaggerating reports of incursions, stressing that both countries need to maintain peace and tranquility along the border. It also decided to prosecute two Indian reporters for a “factually incorrect” report of Chinese firing along the border in the state of Sikkim.

But the long-standing territorial dispute still rankles, analysts say, exacerbated by failed Sino-Indian talks over the issue this summer and stirred by the growing economic clout and military might of both countries.

This year, Gen Deepak Kapoor, India’s army chief, said China was the country’s “biggest threat”, before announcing his decision to amass 40,000 troops on the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh state. It was a view echoed by India’s chief for the air force, Marshal Fali Homi Major, who called China a “bigger threat than Pakistan”, before dispatching 18 Sukoi-30 MKI combat fighter aircraft to the air force base at Tezpur, which abuts the sensitive border along Arunachal Pradesh.

Both countries have shared a tortuous relationship since 1962, when the Chinese seized 38,000 sq km in the state of Jammu and Kashmir after its forces overran mountain regions in a bitter, high-altitude war with India. Decades after the war, the dispute still lingers. China claims 90,000 sq km in Arunachal Pradesh as its own, much to India’s chagrin.

China, it has been reported, has positioned 30 military divisions along the border that indulge in frequent incursions. According to the Indian government’s own estimates, there were 270 “violations” by China along India’s borders in 2008, and these incidents have only become more aggressive this year.

“No one in the [Indian] government says Chinese incursions aren’t happening,” said Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic affairs at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research. “Yet to play down the incursions, the media has been made the whipping boy.”...

[bth: 30 divisions!]

US Threatening to Attack Major Pakistani City of Quetta -- News from Antiwar.com

US Threatening to Attack Major Pakistani City of Quetta -- News from Antiwar.com: "A move that has long been debated by the Obama Administration could soon become reality, as officials say the State Department delivered an ultimatum to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit last week cautioning that if he doesn’t move against the Taliban forces in the city of Quetta the US will."...

[bth: if we were serious about getting OBL or Omar, we wouldn't be sending this kind of open statement. We'd strike then announce. Essentially this gives them notice to move. A month from now, we will bomb a housing compound, empty but for a caretaker and his family. We'll claim the caretaker had an affiliation with OBL, which might be true except OBL had moved on. We'll then claim that the caretaker was an al-Qaeda operative. We're not serious about results when we announce it in advance.]

Taliban to Germany: Leave Afghanistan or lose Oktoberfest | csmonitor.com

Taliban to Germany: Leave Afghanistan or lose Oktoberfest | csmonitor.com: "The Taliban have a new target: beer and bratwurst.

In perhaps their most bizarre threat to date, Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have threatened to bomb the Oktoberfest festival in Munich, Germany, which attracts millions of visitors ever year, along with several landmark buildings and government officials.

The threats, while perhaps farfetched, follow a series of warnings from the Taliban and Al Qaeda and underscores a concerted effort by the insurgents to weaken Germany’s resolve for the fight in Afghanistan.

Germany has responded by banning all air flights over Munich for the rest of the 16-day festival, which ends Oct. 4."....