Monday, August 10, 2009

DTN News: Yonex-Sunrise BWF World Championships 2009 ~ Chinese Bao Chun Lai Ousted From World Badminton Championships

DTN News: Yonex-Sunrise BWF World Championships 2009 ~ Chinese Bao Chun Lai Ousted From World Badminton Championships
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) HYDERABAD, India - August 10, 2009: Dicky Palyama of the Netherlands pulled off an upset at the World badminton championships Monday, beating 11th-seeded Chinese Bao Chun Lai in the men's singles opening round. "There was no pressure on me and I played freely," Palyama said after posting a 21-18, 21-14 victory in 36 minutes. "I knew Bao is a tough opponent, but my coach told me to keep cool. I knew I had a chance to win the match when I was leading in the second game." Bao conceded he was not at his best. "I didn't play my best game," said the Chinese. "I don't think I was on top of my game today. I could not find my rhythm." (Photo: Dicky Palyama) Third-seeded Peter Gade of Denmark stormed into the second round with an emphatic 21-11, 21-16 victory over Valeriy Atrashchenkov of Ukraine. "I was always in control of the match," said the 32-year-old Gade, looking for his first World title. "Obviously, I am looking for the gold. I know the toughest opponent will be Chinese Lin Dan. It is good that at this age I am able to compete well." Defending champion Lin proved too strong for unseeded Israeli Misha Zilberman, racing to a 21-9, 21-11 win in 23 minutes. "I don't consider myself as a favourite. I think Gade and (Malaysian) Lee Chong Wei are favourites," said Lin, aiming for his third successive title. "Shuttles are coming a bit slow but one has to adapt to the conditions." Lin and Gade are expected to clash in the quarter-finals. Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia needed just 19 minutes to down American Shannon Pohl 21-4, 21-6 in the women's singles opening round. Belgium's Lianne Tan, Susan Egelstaff of Scotland and Japanese Ai Goto also moved into the women's singles second round with straight-game wins.

DTN News: Yonex-Sunrise BWF World Championships 2009 Celebrate The Sport Of Badminton

DTN News: Yonex-Sunrise BWF World Championships 2009 Celebrate The Sport Of Badminton *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) HYDERABAD, India - August 10, 2009: 500 players from over 45 participating countries attended the Welcome Dinner for the Yonex-Sunrise BWF World Championships 2009 at Hyderabad on Sunday, August 9th. Hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the occasion was graced by Dr. Y.S.Rajashekar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Government of India. Extending his best wishes to all the teams, the evening was celebrated with great pomp and show. The evening concluded with an oath taking ceremony with Saina Nehwal and V Diju promising to abide by the game and sportsmanship. Also present, were the organizers from Badminton World Federation and Badminton Association of India, together with the title presenters of the tournament, Yonex-Sunrise. Speaking on the occasion, said Mr. V.K. Verma, President BAI, “This is a great moment for us to celebrate and we wish all the teams the very best. Winning and losing is always a part of the game and we are sure to see some fantastic performances in this championship. May the best player win!” Added Dr. D. K. Seth, MD, Sunrise & Co. (PTE) Ltd, “The competition is going to be extremely challenging for teams and players but we believe that the preparations have been equally good. As we strongly believe in nurturing and grooming young talent in badminton, it is a delight to see these budding stars ready to face the competition. The BWF World Championships’09 is indeed a landmark event for India and we wish this becomes a strong platform for promoting other sporting events in our country!” The likes of Saina Nehwal, Lee Chong Wei, Peter Gade, Taufik Hidayat, Lin Dan, Tony Gunawan and many others will be competing against each other for the top honors.

DTN News: Brazil’s Mi-35M Attack Helicopter Passes Critical Review

DTN News: Brazil’s Mi-35M Attack Helicopter Passes Critical Review
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) BRASILIA, Brazil - August 10, 2009: During the past month, the Critical Design Review of the Mi-35M attack helicopter (Brazilian designation: AH-2 Sabre) and of its flight simulator, both being acquired by the Air Force Command (Comaer) from the Russian companies Rosoboronexport (state firm responsible for the commercialization of defense materials), Rostvertol PLC (manufacturer of the helicopter) and Transas-Kronshtadt (in charge of its simulator). 12 Mi-35M (AH-2 Sabre) ordered in December 2008. Deliveries start in 2009 and finish in 2010. Since 1978, around 2,000 Mi-24s have been manufactured, 600 for export. In October 2007, reported that the Saudi Arabian government had signed a contract for up to 150 Mi-35 and Mi-17 helicopters worth $2.2 billion.
With the objective of complementing the project’s Preliminary Design Review, which was carried out in April of this year at the Afonsos Aeronautical Material Park (Rio de Janeiro), the Critical Design Review was divided in two stages:
--the first, which took place July 8-17 in the city of Rostov-on-Don (Russia), during which questions relative to the helicopter were approached;
--the second, begun on July 20 and concluded four days later, in the city of Saint Petersburg (Russia), concentrated on issues relating to the flight simulator.
In the two phases of the meeting, the Air Force Command was represented by members of the Mi-35M Acquisition and Acceptance Committee, established in Russia, and by a technical team Working Group for the Introduction of the AH-2 in the Brazilian Air Force (GT Sabre), comprising military personnel from the General Command for Aerospace Technology (CTA), the Directorate of Aerospace and Combat Matériel (Dirmab) and the Airspace Control Department (Decea).
The meetings in Russia locked up the cycle of revisions of the project, and marked the beginning of the tasks that the Russian companies will have to complete before the delivery of the helicopters and simulators to the Brazilian authorities.

DTN News: Indian Navy Ordered Another Five Russian Kamov-31 Early Warning Helicopters

DTN News: Indian Navy Ordered Another Five Russian Kamov-31 Early Warning Helicopters
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - August 10, 2009: In a bid to strengthen the Navy's capabilities to detect airborne and surface-based maritime threats, Government has approved the acquisition of five Russian Kamov-31 early warning choppers.
In August 1999, the Indian Navy placed a firm order for four Ka-31 helicopters and a contract for an additional five was signed in February 2001. Total value of all nine helicopters is estimated at US $207 million. The first Ka-31 for the Indian Navy made its debut flight on 16 May 2001 and the first two of nine Ka-31 helicopters completed tests at the Kamov's Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow. The first batch of four aircraft was officially inducted into the Indian Naval Air Arm in April 2003 and the second batch arrived by the end of 2004. In Indian Navy service, these helicopters operate not only from aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates but also from shore bases as well. Due to its limitations in terms of endurance, the helicopter will be fitted with a helicopter-to-helicopter in-flight refuelling capability. Also known as the Ka-29 RLD, the Ka-31 is a further development of the Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The Ka-31's wider fuselage - when compared to the cramped interior of the Ka-27/28 - offers greater accommodation space. It was reported on 12 September 2008, in Domain-B, that the Indian Navy plans to acquire five additional Ka-31 helicopters.
Defence Ministry officials said the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) at a meeting on Tuesday gave its approval for procuring these choppers, which can track 30-40 targets on ground and air simultaneously with its airborne electronic warfare radar, mounted on the underbelly of the chopper.
The deal for the five choppers between India and Russia is expected to be signed in the next couple of months, they said. Navy already has a fleet of nine Ka-31 helicopters, which are deployed on India's only aircraft carrier INS Virat and the Talwar Class Guided Missile frigates of the Navy.
They are also operated from Navy's shore based air stations. To modernise its air arm, the Navy is on a look out for various types of helicopters including the 10 tonne class multirole helicopters for which global tenders were released last year.

DTN News: U.S. to Hunt Down Afghan Drug Lords Tied to Taliban

DTN News: U.S. to Hunt Down Afghan Drug Lords Tied to Taliban
*Source: DTN News / The New York Times By James Risen
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - August 10, 2009: Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed, reflecting a major shift in American counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, according to a Congressional study to be released this week.
United States Marines raided a bazaar in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province last month to search for drugs and weapons.
United States military commanders have told Congress that they are convinced that the policy is legal under the military’s rules of engagement and international law. They also said the move is an essential part of their new plan to disrupt the flow of drug money that is helping finance the Taliban insurgency. In interviews with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is releasing the report, two American generals serving in Afghanistan said that major traffickers with proven links to the insurgency have been put on the “joint integrated prioritized target list.” That means they have been given the same target status as insurgent leaders, and can be captured or killed at any time. The generals told Senate staff members that two credible sources and substantial additional evidence were required before a trafficker was placed on the list, and only those providing support to the insurgency would be made targets. Currently, they said, there are about 50 major traffickers who contribute money to the Taliban on the list. “We have a list of 367 ‘kill or capture’ targets, including 50 nexus targets who link drugs and the insurgency,” one of the generals told the committee staff. The generals were not identified in the Senate report, which was obtained by The New York Times. The shift in policy comes as the Obama administration, deep into the war in Afghanistan, makes significant changes to its strategy for dealing with that country’s lucrative drug trade, which provides 90 percent of the world’s heroin and has led to substantial government corruption. The Senate report’s disclosure of a hit list for drug traffickers may lead to criticism in the United States over the expansion of the military’s mission, and NATO allies have already raised questions about the strategy of killing individuals who are not traditional military targets. For years the American-led mission in Afghanistan had focused on destroying poppy crops. Pentagon officials have said their new emphasis is on weaning local farmers off the drug trade — including the possibility of paying them to grow nothing — and going after the drug runners and drug lords. But the Senate report is the first account of a policy to actually place drug chieftains aligned with the Taliban on a “kill or capture” list. United States Marines on a recent raid in Helmand Province. Under a new policy, drug traffickers are subject to being killed. Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, would not comment on the Senate report, but said that “there is a positive, well-known connection between the drug trade and financing for the insurgency and terrorism.” Without directly addressing the existence of the target list, he said that it was “important to clarify that we are targeting terrorists with links to the drug trade, rather than targeting drug traffickers with links to terrorism.” Several individuals suspected of ties to drug trafficking have already been apprehended and others have been killed by the United States military since the new policy went into effect earlier this year, a senior military official with direct knowledge of the matter said in an interview. Most of the targets are in southern and eastern Afghanistan, where both the drug trade and the insurgency are the most intense. One American military officer serving in Afghanistan described the purpose of the target list for the Senate committee. “Our long-term approach is to identify the regional drug figures,” the unidentified officer is quoted as saying in the Senate report. The goal, he said, is to “persuade them to choose legitimacy, or remove them from the battlefield.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing delicate policy matters. When Donald H. Rumsfeld was defense secretary, the Pentagon fiercely resisted efforts to draw the United States military into supporting counternarcotics efforts. Top military commanders feared that trying to prevent drug trafficking would only antagonize corrupt regional warlords whose support they needed, and might turn more of the populace against American troops. It was only in the last year or two of the Bush administration that the United States began to recognize that the Taliban insurgency was being revived with the help of drug money. The policy of going after drug lords is likely to raise legal concerns from some NATO countries that have troops in Afghanistan. Several NATO countries initially questioned whether the new policy would comply with international law. “This was a hard sell in NATO,” said retired Gen. John Craddock, who was supreme allied commander of NATO forces until he retired in July. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the secretary general of NATO until last month, told the Senate committee staff that to deal with the concerns of other nations with troops in Afghanistan, safeguards had been put in place to make sure the alliance remained within legal bounds while pursuing drug traffickers. Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, is also informed before a mission takes place, according to a senior military official. General Craddock said that some NATO countries were also concerned that the new policy would draw the drug lords closer to the Taliban, because they would turn to them for more protection. “But the opposite is the case, since it weakens the Taliban, so they can’t provide that protection,” General Craddock said. “If we continue to push on this, we will see progress,” he added. “It’s causing them problems.” In a surprise, the Senate report reveals that the United States intelligence community believes that the Taliban has been getting less money from the drug trade than previous public studies have suggested. The Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency both estimate that the Taliban obtains about $70 million a year from drugs. The Senate report found that American officials did not believe that Afghan drug money was fueling Al Qaeda, which instead relies on contributions from wealthy individuals and charities in Persian Gulf countries, as well as aid organizations working inside Afghanistan. But even with the new, more cautious estimates, the Taliban has plenty of drug money to finance its relatively inexpensive insurgency. Taliban foot soldiers are paid just $10 a day — more if they plant an improvised explosive device. Not all those suspected of drug trafficking will end up on the Pentagon’s list. Intelligence gathered by the United States and Afghanistan will more often be used for prosecutions, although American officials are frustrated that they still have not been able to negotiate an extradition treaty with the Afghan government. A major unresolved problem in the counternarcotics strategy is the fact that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains wide open, and the Pakistanis are doing little to close down drug smuggling routes. A senior American law enforcement official in the region is quoted in the report as saying that cooperation with Pakistan on counternarcotics is so poor that traffickers cross the border with impunity. “We give them leads on targets,” the official said in describing the Pakistani government’s counternarcotics tactics, adding, “We get smiles, a decent cup of tea, occasional reheated sandwiches and assertions of progress, and we all leave with smiles on our faces.”

DTN News: France Condemns Mauritania Suicide Attack

DTN News: France Condemns Mauritania Suicide Attack *Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) PARIS/NOUAKCHOTT - August 10, 2009: France Sunday condemned a suicide bombing at the French embassy in Mauritania that injured three people and vowed to fight groups committing such attacks. The bombing Saturday in Nouakchott came three days after Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who overthrew the Islamic state's first freely elected leader last year, was sworn in as president, promising to make the fight against al Qaeda a priority. No group has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the attack outside the embassy walls, which a witness said caused no major damage to the building. The three injured included two embassy guards, France's foreign ministry said in a statement. "France reiterates its determination to fight against terrorism together with the authorities and the people of Mauritania," it said. This summer has seen an upturn in violence in the normally peaceful former French colony. "An attempted suicide bombing is a new event in Mauritania, we have to be wary of this new type of threat," a senior Mauritanian security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "From now on we will have to take extra security measures, but even so, there is no such thing as zero risk," he added. In June, Al Qaeda's North Africa wing claimed responsibility for shooting an American aid worker in Nouakchott, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. French Secretary of State for Cooperation, Alain Joyandet, who lauded Abdel Aziz's anti-terrorist stance when he attended the president's inauguration, said France would help Mauritania in its fight against terrorism. "We can't not make a connection between this act and the inauguration of the president," he said on television channel France 3 Sunday. "France was delighted at the democratic election of the new president Aziz who made very strong declarations against terrorism," he said. "France is a historic partner of Mauritania and together we want to fight terrorism." (Writing by Daniel Magnowski; Reporting by Vincent Fertey in Nouakchott, Sophie Hardach and Elizabeth Pineau in Paris; Editing by Michael Roddy)

DTN News: Thailand TODAY August 10, 2009 ~ Two Muslim Village Chiefs Killed In Thai South

DTN News: Thailand TODAY August 10, 2009 ~ Two Muslim Village Chiefs Killed In Thai South *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) YALA, Thailand - August 10, 2009: Two Muslim village leaders were killed in drive-by shootings in Thailand's restive southernmost provinces, police said Sunday. A soldier stands guard over the body of an assistant village headman in southern Thailand's Yala province August 9, 2009. The assistant village headman was shot dead by Muslim militants while riding to town on a motorcycle with his wife, police said. The wife sustained injuries during the incident. The attacks took place at the weekend in Yala and Pattani, two of the three mainly Muslim provinces in predominantly Buddhist Thailand, which have been plagued by five years of separatist violence. Gunmen on a motorcycle killed an assistant village chief in the Muang district of Yala early Sunday, police said. Late Saturday, a village headman was shot dead in front of his home in Yaring, Pattani by unknown assailants riding in a pickup truck armed with M-16 assault rifles. The attacks came during a two-day visit to the region by Bangkok-based diplomats from member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference , the world's largest Muslim body, which has criticised Thai security forces for their handling of the conflict. The OIC demanded an end to attacks on Muslims after 11 were shot dead while praying in a mosque in southern Thailand in June. Close to 3,500 people have been killed since 2004 in Thailand's deep south. The 30,000 troops deployed to the region, which was once an independent Malay-Muslim sultanate, have made little progress towards quelling the unrest.

DTN News: Israeli Warplanes Strike Gaza Strip

DTN News: Israeli Warplanes Strike Gaza Strip *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ANKARA, Turkey - August 10, 2009: Israeli warplanes have bombed a tunnel near Rafah City along the Gaza Strip border with Egypt, Palestinian security officials say. The air strike, the first since June 14, happened in the early hours of Monday morning. This is while on Sunday, apparent Palestinian mortar attacks targeted the Karni and Erez border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel without causing any casualties or damage. Israel claims that more than 200 rockets and shells have been fired from Gaza since Israel's 23-day invasion of the Gaza Strip in December and January. Operation 'Cast Lead', which led to more than 1,400 Palestinian deaths, most of them civilians, and which devastated swathes of the coastal strip, was allegedly aimed at ending the firing of rockets from Gaza.

DTN News: Indonesia Awaits DNA Test To Confirm Terror Leader's Death

DTN News: Indonesia Awaits DNA Test To Confirm Terror Leader's Death
*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - August 10, 2009: Indonesian police said Sunday it could take two weeks to confirm the death of Asian terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top, who was reported killed in a dramatic standoff with police special forces. Indonesia awaits DNA test to confirm terror leader's death. Police chief Danuri said they had rigged a small truck as a bomb and were planning to launch a suicide attack against Yudhoyono's main residence, which is a 12-minute drive away. The Islamist was killed Saturday morning in a hail of gunfire and explosions from US-trained counter-terrorism forces who had surrounded his suspected hideout in remote Beji village, Central Java, according to local media. The 17-hour siege of the farmhouse was the culmination of a series of raids and arrests of his accomplices which uncovered a plot to attack President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's home outside Jakarta, police said. Police called on people to remain vigilant and stressed their counter-terrorist operations were ongoing, as the military stepped up security for the president. "We have optimised and increased security for him and his family," military spokesman Sagom Tamboen said. "Based on the police information that there is a cell group that wanted to attack RI-1 (Yudhoyono), then we act according to the situation." National police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said it could take two weeks to confirm whether Noordin was killed as heavily armed police riddled the squat farmhouse with bullets and explosions on Saturday morning. "The whole process of DNA testing will take two weeks. It's a standard procedure," he said. "The test is being conducted at the Kramat Jati police hospital," he added, referring to a hospital in Jakarta where the body of the militant found in the farmhouse was taken after the siege. National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said late Saturday that the identification process would take less than a week. Noordin, 40, a Malaysian Islamist, has been blamed for multiple terror attacks against "iconic" Western targets in Indonesia which have killed around 50 people and injured hundreds since 2003. The latest were believed to have been the July 17 twin suicide bombings on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in the capital, which killed seven people including six foreigners, plus the two bombers. A member of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group responsible for the 2002 Bali attacks which killed more than 200 people, he split to form his own even more violent network to "defend Islam" from perceived injustice. The self-proclaimed leader of "Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago" was one of Asia's most wanted men and had a 100,000-dollar bounty on his head from the Indonesian government, who saw him as public enemy number one. The police raid on his suspected hideout overshadowed other operations including the arrest of five of Noordin's alleged accomplices and the uncovering of a major bomb factory in Bekasi, outside Jakarta. Two would-be suicide bombers were shot dead by police early Saturday at their rented house in Bekasi as they tried to resist arrest, police said. Police chief Danuri said they had rigged a small truck as a bomb and were planning to launch a suicide attack against Yudhoyono's main residence, which is a 12-minute drive away. The attack had been planned to take place around Indonesia's Independence Day on August 17, and had been ordered by Noordin during a meeting on April 30 as revenge for the execution of the Bali bombers late last year, Danuri said. Yudhoyono opened an international conference on AIDS/HIV in Asia and the Pacific on the resort island of Bali late Sunday. "In the last few days, our security forces were able to raid some of the (terrorists') hiding places, kill them in shootouts and seize explosives. We will keep hunting them and we will remain vigilant," he said in a speech. Police have come close to arresting Noordin several times in the past and have captured or killed some of his closest associates during a six-year manhunt. Analysts said his death would be a blow to his network, estimated to number as few as 30 hardcore cadres, but would not end the terror threat in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. "Every time there was an attack, there were new accomplices," Institute for International Peacebuilding researcher Taufik Andrie said. "There are several people who have the potential to replace Noordin." He said he doubted the reports that Noordin had been killed. "The dead guy doesn't seem to be Noordin. He has impeccable instincts for evading police raids," he said.

DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 10, 2009 ~ Singapore Celebrates 44th Birthday With Party By The Bay

DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 10, 2009 ~ Singapore Celebrates 44th Birthday With Party By The Bay
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - August 10, 2009: Singapore celebrated its 44th birthday with a massive party by the bay — the National Day Parade (NDP) at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. Over 27,000 people watched the NDP from the parade stands while thousands more caught the show around the bay area, on television and online. It was a sea of red and white at the parade ground as the nation gathered for its biggest party of the year. In the early part of the show, three F—16s swooped across the bay in what is known as the salute to the nation, wowing the crowd. There was also a thrilling police boat chase on the Singapore River just metres away from the crowd, and some spills too — literally — with a Chinook flying low over the water. Then it was all eyes on the skies as the audience caught the freefallers parachuting down to the parade ground. Pomp and ceremony came in the more formal part of the show, with the guard—of—honour inspection by President SR Nathan as well as the 21—gun salute. There was also a march past that for the first time saw contingents marching along a 3.2km stretch of road and past famous city landmarks just outside the bayfront area. In addition, a staple at these annual shows — cultural performances to underscore the country’s multi—ethnic mix, but with enough twists to keep the crowd entertained. And what’s a party without music? Local rock band Electrico performed their special composition for the occasion "What Do You See?". Then in a special moment for a country which has been through some turbulent times this year, the bayfront turned silent at exactly 8.22pm for the participants to recite the national pledge. It was the exact moment when organisers hoped, for the first time, all Singaporeans — even those outside the parade ground — would stop what they were doing to put their hand on their heart and recite the pledge. Following that was an explosive finale to the parade as the brilliant fireworks display lit up the skies and dazzled the audience. Singaporeans weren’t the only ones celebrating the country’s 44th birthday. Tourists and expatriates were also at the NDP party, and they were impressed. "This is on a very big scale compared to local carnivals....." said a British woman. "I like how everyone’s here for one cause.....there are so many different races," said an American man. The parade may be over but the party has only just begun for many others. In fact, hundreds of performers were dancing the night away, and they’ve got every reason to celebrate, having put on such a great show — full of colour, music and action.

DTN News: Japan To Have Nuclear Weapons 64 Years After Hiroshima?

DTN News: Japan To Have Nuclear Weapons 64 Years After Hiroshima? *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - August 10, 2009: The Hiroshima tragedy took place 64 years ago, on August 6, when USA’s B-29 dropped an A-bomb on the city at 8:15 a.m. from the height of 10,000 meters. The bomb, Little Boy, exploded 600 meters above the ground. The atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945. Photograph: Peace Memorial Museum/EPA. The mayor of Hiroshima today backed Barack Obama's call for the abolition of nuclear weapons when he spoke at a ceremony to mark the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city. About 200,000 people were killed, went missing, or died of radiation exposure as a result of the bombing. All buildings and constructions were leveled on the territory of 12 kilometers from the epicenter of the explosion. Another bomb, Fat Man, exploded two days later, on August 9, in Nagasaki. About 74,000 people were killed in the explosion. The first international conference to ban nuclear weapons took place in Hiroshima on August 6, 1955. A huge territory in the center of the city was used as an illustration of a nuclear disaster. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso stated on August 6, 2009, that Japan would continue following three non-nuclear principles of the nation’s Constitution. Japan refuses to own, produce and import nuclear weapons. However, Vladimir Anokhin, the Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Japan’s intentions were not as peaceful as one may think they were. “The subject of the nuclear disarmament is the most important aspect of Japan’s foreign politics. However, the Japanese administration simply exploits the subject for its own interests. Japan may have nuclear weapons in the nearest future already. “They keep talking about North Korea’s nuclear threat in Japan. The nation may sense danger coming from Iran, Pakistan and India. Finally, Japan is in territorial disputes with Russia and China – two nuclear superpowers. Therefore, the nation can easily substantiate the need to build its own A-bombs,” the expert said. “Technically, the country can build nuclear weapons very quickly. There are many nuclear electric power plants in the nation, so it has all necessary technologies. It is worthy of note that Japan, like Israel, can officially deny the possession of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Anokhin concluded. Another Russian expert, Viktor Pavlyatenko, believes that the situation is far from being that dramatic. “Building nuclear weapons to struggle against North Korea is nonsense. The whole international community will be liquidating this threat, if it ever appears. However, Japan has been discussing the issue of building its nuclear weapons for 40 years already. The county has technological and financial possibilities for that, but it will be very hard to explain everything to the people who survived the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not to mention the fact that other countries will not approve the nuclear initiative. “Many in Russia are concerned about the growth of defense spending in Japan. Indeed, the nation tends to revise the post-war Constitution of 1947, which does not allow a full-fledged army. The Japanese Defense Department has already become a ministry . The country is also going to modernize its aviation and intends to purchase fifth-generation F-22 Raptor jets from the USA. “However, Japan’s defense spending does not exceed one percent of its budget. As for the rearmament, all other countries practice that, and Japan is not an exception. The world is changing, the character of threats is changing too, and Japan has a right to react adequately,” the expert said.

DTN News: Iran Military Calls For Opposition Chiefs To Face Trial

DTN News: Iran Military Calls For Opposition Chiefs To Face Trial *Source: DTN News / AFP By Hiedeh Farmani (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - August 10, 2009: A top official with Iran's Revolutionary Guards called on Sunday for the main opposition leaders to be put on trial for trying to orchestrate a "velvet coup" after the disputed presidential election. Iran military calls for opposition chiefs to face trial, from left: Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami. Yadollah Javani said former president Mohammad Khatami and defeated challengers Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi should be prosecuted over the crisis that has gripped Iran since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in June. Javani, head of the Revolutionary Guards' political bureau, said a plot to topple the 30-year-old Islamic regime through a "velvet coup" has been exposed. "The question is who were the main planners and agents of this coup. What is the role of Khatami, Mousavi and Karroubi in this coup?" he wrote in Sobh-e Sadegh, the Guards' weekly journal. "If they are the main agents, which is the case, judiciary and security officials should go after them, arrest them, try them and punish them." Mousavi and his supporters have refused to accept Ahmadinejad's landslide victory in the June 12 vote, saying it was the result of massive rigging, and setting off the worst crisis since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets after the vote and in the ensuing violence about 30 people were killed, hundreds wounded and several thousand initially arrested. Iran has put on trial about 110 people over the election unrest, including British and French embassy staff and a French woman lecturer, and accused foreign governments of plotting to destabilise the country. Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, also said plotters should be dealt with and called for "more control" on foreign embassies to deter "colour coups." "Iranian citizens... are waiting to see how the agents of this recent plot will be confronted," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday in an interview with CNN that Washington did a lot "behind the scenes" to show support for demonstrators. "We did not want to get between the legitimate protests and demonstrations of the Iranian people and the leadership," she said. "And we knew that if we stepped in too soon, too hard... the leadership would try to use us to unify the country against the protestors. "Now, behind the scenes, we were doing a lot," Clinton said. "We were doing a lot to really empower the protesters without getting in the way. And we're continuing to speak out and support the opposition." On Saturday, Hossein Rassam, political analyst at the British embassy in Tehran, appeared in the dock along with French lecturer Clotilde Reiss, and Franco-Iranian Nazak Afshar, who works for French embassy's cultural section. The trial -- the latest crackdown by the authorities against the opposition -- provoked outrage in London, and the European Union's Swedish presidency said it was an act against the entire 27-nation bloc. Rassam was one of nine local British embassy employees detained in the aftermath of the election and has been charged with spying. He told the revolutionary court in Tehran he had been instructed by his superiors to monitor the protests for the British government, according to local press reports. Foreign media were barred from covering the trial. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was "deeply concerned by the unjustified charges" against the analyst who had been "going about his legitimate duties." Reiss has been accused of "collecting information and provoking rioters," and sending reports to the French embassy. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Sunday she had sent only "a very brief note to the director of the Iranian research institute." Iran's hardline press again blamed Britain for the post-election turmoil. "The British embassy: headquarters for the coup command," read the front-page headline of the government newspaper Iran. "London, the command room of street riots in Tehran, with Washington and Tel Aviv's cooperation," echoed leading hardline newspaper Kayhan. The paper, whose director is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, charged that British diplomats were in "constant contact" with the Mousavi campaign. The opposition has dismissed the charges of foreign meddling, saying the election protest is a grassroots homegrown movement by Iranians demanding their "stolen votes."

DTN News: NATO Training Mission-Iraq Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary

DTN News: NATO Training Mission-Iraq Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary *Source: DTN News / By NATO Training Mission - Iraq (NSI News Source Info) BAGHDAD, Iraq - August 10, 2009: NATO Training Mission-Iraq celebrated its fifth anniversary Aug. 4. Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, Commander, NTM-I, and Maj. Gen. Giuseppe Spinelli, Deputy Commander, addressed staff and personnel during a ceremony held at NTM-I's headquarters. NTM-I CG, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick receives honours from the command sergeant major. With him is the NTM-I Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Giuseppe Spinelli (photo by WO Giuseppe DI Blasi NTM-I.) Both generals highlighted mission accomplishments and achievements during their remarks. Helmick stressed that the agreement with NATO allows NTM-I to continue in its training, mentoring and advising role of the Iraqi Security Forces. "Iraq is now a new country," Helmick said. "It is developing and building relationships with other countries' organizations." Spinelli expressed his satisfaction for the work done so far by the mission, saying that, "The signature of the Long Term Agreement provides us with an important responsibility and awareness to keep going on with our mission. "We will continue on this successful path," Spinelli continued. "I am conscious that we will have to face new challenges, but together with our allies and friends we will succeed. "NTM-I has being training, mentoring and advising officers in the Iraqi Security Forces since 2004, in order to assist the Government of Iraq resume its important place in the international community and to improve the security of all Iraqi people with democratic security forces. NTM-I mentors and supports the INDU, INDC and the Defence Strategic Studies Institute. Other cooperation projects for NATO in Iraq are out of country training courses for Iraqi nationals at NATO schools as well as National Police training led by Italian Carabinieri and at Ar Rustamiyah the Iraqi Military Academy along with the Joint Staff College and Command College. NTM-I officers also provide mentoring and advice to the Prime Minister's National Operations Centre, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior Command Centre and the Iraqi Ministry of Defence Joint Operations Centre.

DTN News: Israel, Hezbollah Ramp Up War Of Words Across Lebanon Border

DTN News: Israel, Hezbollah Ramp Up War Of Words Across Lebanon Border
*Source: DTN News / Haaretz Service
(NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - August 10, 2009: Israel and Hezbollah escalated their verbal sparring Sunday, with a senior Hezbollah official warning that any "silly act" by Israel would garner a response to make "the war of summer 2006 look like a joke."
Hashem Safi al-Din said that Hezbollah was not interested in war, but that it was alert to every possible scenario and was ready for confrontation.
Israeli soldiers patrol their northern border with Lebanon as seen from the area surrounding the Lebanese southern town of Kfar Kila on July 23, 2009. Lebanon's parliament speaker Nabih Berri slammed Israel for what he said was an attempt to create a rift between the Lebanese and UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon. He was referring to a series of events last week, including the explosion of an arms cache in a Hezbollah stronghold and a protest march by Lebanese on an unmanned Israeli observation post in a disputed border area. Israel has protested to the United Nations about the incidents and asked for "firmer action" by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
Al-Din's comments came in response to comments made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak in recent weeks, who said that he would not hesitate to instruct the Israel Defense Forces to act in the event of an escalation along the Israel-Lebanon border. "We cannot accept the reality that in a neighboring UN member state, one of the components of the sovereign government is a terrorist organization," Barak said recently. Earlier Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon also warned Hezbollah, saying that it would pay a heavy price if it harms Israeli diplomats or civilians abroad.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Ayalon referred to reports from Saturday that a terror cell planned to assassinate the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, adding that Israel views gravely attempts to harm Israelis abroad, and that such attempts had been made not just in Egypt but in other countries as well.
"If, heaven forbid, one hair is harmed on the head of an Israeli representative abroad or of an unofficial representative such as a tourist, we will view Hezbollah as responsible, and it will suffer the consequences, which will be very severe."

DTN News: Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina To Cooperate In Defense Industry

DTN News: Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina To Cooperate In Defense Industry
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ANKARA, Turkey - August 10, 2009: Turkish weaponry producer MKEK signed a deal with Bosnia-Herzegovina's defense industry corporation Unis Frop to join forces, MKEK said on Sunday. MKEK, The corporation mainly produces equipment for the Turkish Armed Forces, such as the ammunition for small arms and heavy weapons, heavy weapons and artillery systems, aerial bombs, mines, explosives, and rockets. They also manufacture civil-purpose products such as steel, brass, and electrical parts and equipment. Its large range of defense industry products are not only consumed in Turkey, but are exported to more than 40 countries worldwide. MKEK and Unis Frop signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) last week to work together on defense industry projects, MKEK said. The MoU aims at joining forces and capabilities of the two companies to have a stronger place in global markets and also to carry out joint production and marketing activities, it said.

DTN News: Afghan War: NATO Builds History's First Global Army

DTN News: Afghan War: NATO Builds History's First Global Army
*Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater
*Source: DTN News / Global Research by Rick Rozoff
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 10, 2009: Two months before the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of NATO's first-ever ground war the world is witness to a 21st Century armed conflict without end waged by the largest military coalition in history.With recent announcements that troops from such diverse nations as Colombia, Mongolia, Armenia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Montenegro are to or may join those of some 45 other countries serving under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), there will soon be military personnel from fifty nations on five continents and in the Middle East serving under a unified command structure.Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country.
By way of comparison, there were twenty six (higher, and looser, estimates go as high as 34) national contingents in the so-called coalition of the willing in Iraq as of 2006. In the interim between now and then troops from all contributing nations but the United States and Great Britain have been withdrawn and in most cases redeployed to Afghanistan.In 1999 NATO's fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. welcomed the first expansion of the world's only military bloc in the post-Cold War era, absorbing former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, in the course of conducting NATO's first war, the relentless 78-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, Operation Allied Force.
Two years later, after the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., NATO activated its Article 5 - "The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all" - for the first time in the bloc's history and launched a number of operations from deploying German AWACS to patrol the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. to launching Operation Active Endeavor, a naval surveillance and interdiction program throughout the Mediterranean Sea which continues to this day.
But the main effect, and the main purpose, of invoking NATO's mutual military assistance clause was to rally the then 19 member military bloc for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the stationing of troops, warplanes and bases throughout South and Central Asia, including in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Flyover rights were also arranged with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and newly acquired airbases in Bulgaria and Romania have since been used for the transit of troops and weapons to the Afghan war zone.
If the 1999 war against Yugoslavia was NATO's first "out of area" operation - that is, outside of North America and those parts of Europe in the Alliance - the war in Afghanistan marked NATO's transformation into a global warfighting machine. In the years intervening between the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and now NATO officials and advocates have come to employ such terms as Global, Expeditionary and 21st Century NATO. Afghanistan provided the Alliance the opportunity to add to its previous expansion to Eastern Europe with its attendant military operations in the Balkans into asserting itself as the world's first global military force.
As the U.S. State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Kurt Volker (later U.S. ambassador to NATO) said in 2006, “In 1994 NATO was an alliance of 16 [countries], without partners, having never conducted a military operation. By 2005, NATO had become an alliance of 26, engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents with the help of 20 partners in Eurasia, seven in the Mediterranean, four in the Persian Gulf, and a handful of capable contributors on our periphery.” [1]
The updated details of what he was alluding to are these:From 1999 to this year NATO has added twelve new members - Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - all in Eastern Europe, nine of them formerly in the Warsaw Pact and three former Soviet and two Yugoslav republics.All of the new members were prepared for full NATO accession under the Partnership for Peace {PfP) program, which first demands weapons interoperability (scrapping contemporary Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in favor of Western ones), increasing future members' military spending to 2% of the national budget no matter how hard-hit the nation is since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the purging of "politically unreliable" personnel from military, defense and security posts, training abroad in NATO military academies, hosting U.S. Alliance military exercises, and instructing the officer corps in a common language - English - for joint overseas operations. With a dozen PfP graduates now full NATO members who have deployed troops to Afghanistan - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania were also levied for troops in Iraq - the partnership still includes every former Soviet Republic not already in NATO but Russia - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan - and ten European nations that had never before been part of a military bloc: Austria, Bosnia, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.
All of the latter but Malta and Serbia have been tapped for soldiers in Afghanistan. The 28 full NATO members all have troops there also. Of the former Soviet republics, troops from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine served in Iraq under PfP obligations. At the time of the South Caucasus war last August Georgia had the third largest national contingent in Iraq - 2,000 troops deployed near the Iranian border - which the U.S. rushed home on transport planes for the war with Russia.
NATO also upgraded its Mediterranean Dialogue, whose partners are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, at the 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey with the so-called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, which also laid the groundwork for military integration of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The last-named is the only Arab state to date with troops in Afghanistan. The Afghan war has led to another category of NATO partnership, that of Contact Countries, which so far officially include Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The Alliance also has a Tripartite Commission with Afghanistan and Pakistan for the prosecution of the dangerously expanding war in South Asia, and defense, military and political leaders from both nations are regularly summoned to NATO Headquarters in Belgium for meetings and directives.Afghan and Pakistani soldiers are trained at NATO bases in Europe.
Though not members of formal partnerships, nations with troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan like Singapore and Mongolia have been pulled into the bloc's global nexus and necessarily adopt military doctrines and structures in line with NATO standards.
Another component of the 2001 decision to activate the Alliance's Article 5 provision was to deploy NATO forces to the Horn of Africa, primarily to Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, where they have conducted maritime surveillance and boarding operations ever since. Last autumn NATO deployed its first naval task force off the coast of Somalia.In addition to the five African nations in the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO has expanded its penetration of the continent over the past eight years: An Alliance naval group has docked in Kenya. NATO has held military maneuvers in South Africa. Even Libya has begun cooperation with NATO in the Mediterranean.
With the launching of the Pentagon's Africa Command (AFRICOM) last year - and AFRICOM is the personal project of retired Marine General James Jones, from 2003-2006 top military commander of NATO and the U.S. European Command where AFRICOM was incubated and now U.S. National Security Adviser - the distinction between Pentagon and NATO operations in Africa will be a largely academic one and all of Africa's 53 nations except for Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe are potential Alliance partners. The central focus for the operationalization of NATO's worldwide plans is Afghanistan and adjoining nations.
In calendar year nine of the war in that nation and now with its expansion into Pakistan NATO has built upon previous and current joint military deployments in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan and off the coast of Somalia and secured a long-term, indeed a permanent, laboratory for molding history's first international rapid deployment, combat and occupation military force; a 650,000 square kilometer firing and weapons testing range; a string of airbases in the center of where Russian, Chinese, Indian and Iranian regional interests converge; a boot camp for breaking in the armed forces of dozens of nations slated for NATO membership.As such, discussions about the "winnability" of the current war are beside the point.
Although there are currently over 100,000 troops serving under U.S. and NATO command in Afghanistan, many of them so-called niche deployment special forces, mountain and airborne troops and other units ordered by NATO from member and candidate nations, on August 7 the newly-installed Alliance Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued an "open call for more troops" which "was perhaps the clearest indication yet that a major escalation ordered this year by new U.S. President Barack Obama is far from over." In Rasmussen's words, "Honestly speaking, I think we need more troops." [2]
Two days after being sworn in as NATO chief on August 1 Rasmussen "ruled out setting a deadline for the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, saying the western alliance will stay there 'for as long as it takes.'" [3]
The new secretary general hadn't time to begin to settle into his new post when he and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis flew into Kabul on an unscheduled visit two days afterwards "in order to get a comprehensive view of the international effort." [4]
On August 7 British General David Richards, who will become Chief of the General Staff on August 28, stated that "There is absolutely no chance of Nato pulling out" [5]
of Afghanistan and that his own nation's role there "might take as long as 30 to 40 years." [6]Eight days earlier the British ambassador to the U.S., Sir Nigel Sheinwald, anticipated Richards in saying of the British - and by implication NATO - role in South and Central Asia that "This is going to be for decades...." [7]
In late July the Afghan ambassador to the U.S. also revealed that any hopes for an imminent deescalation of the war in his country, not to mention its eventual end, were non-existent by revealing that "NATO countries will provide 8,000 to 10,000 additional troops to allow Afghans to vote securely" [8] in this month's national elections. The official explanation by the U.S. and NATO for their increased deployment of troops to Afghanistan is that it is an ad hoc effort to insure the elections there proceed without interruption, but past elections have occurred and the fighting has increased with the introduction of more and yet more Western soldiers, tanks and other armor, attack helicopters, warplanes and large-scale military offensives.
In fact August is a good month for a NATO summer offensive and concerns over elections are a public relations ploy. The day before the British envoy to the U.S. acknowledged the decades-long plans of his country, his host country and NATO, British Foreign Minister David Miliband held a joint press conference in Washington with his American counterpart Hillary Clinton at which he stated that despite polls in both Britain and America showing majority opposition to the continuation of the Afghan war "I want to be absolutely clear that we (the UK and the US) went into this together and we will work it through together, because we are stronger together." [9]That the British and American publics are as anxious for NATO troops to leave Afghanistan as the Afghans themselves means nothing to Western political elites for whom much more is stake than the fate of Afghanistan, about which they couldn't care less.
As a reflection of the urgency the Pentagon and NATO attach to the deteriorating security situation in the nation, an emergency conclave was held on a U.S. airbase near NATO Headquarters in Belgium with American Defense Secretary Robert Gates, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullins, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan General David Rodriguez, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis and Central Command chief David Petraeus.
Two days later NATO's governing body, the North Atlantic Council, announced plans "to reorganize the alliance's command structure in Afghanistan by setting up a new headquarters" to be named Intermediate Joint Headquarters and commanded by U.S. General Rodriguez.
A news account of the NATO decision said that "It is similar to the model used in Iraq, where overall command of the multinational forces was under a four-star American general, while a three-star general ran daily operations." [10]Afghanistan is not the only battleground in the South Asian war theater.
From July 20-24 senior leaders of the American and Pakistani armed forces met in Atlanta, Georgia at a counterinsurgency seminar. The director of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center, Colonel Daniel Roper, said of the proceedings: "This week we presented some lessons learned in counterinsurgency. We used those lessons to stimulate conversation and took our previous experiences in Iraq and applied them to our current status. We exchanged our viewpoints on the challenges in Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia at large."
South Asia at large includes not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Another U.S. military official present at the four-day workshop said, "Pakistan is a pivotal country in our current operations. The Pakistan military actually just came out of fighting the insurgency over there to bring their knowledge to us and for us to talk about certain practices we have used both historically and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan." [11]
In early August commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke spoke with Vietnam War scholar Stanley Karnow in an "effort to apply the lessons of the earlier conflict to the fight against the Taliban."
Holbrooke confirmed to The Associated Press that the three men discussedsimilarities between the two wars. [Karnow] says envoy Richard Holbrooke called him and passed the phone to Gen. Stanley McChrystal." [12]
Not only is "South Asia at large" included in the West's Greater Afghan war but so is Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin. In both instances nations already involved in providing bases for U.S. and NATO forces (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) and those supplying troops and ancillary services are being pulled deeper into the NATO web.
This past January U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus visited Kazakhstan which like Mongolia, about which more later, is among only three countries bordering both Russia and China, North Korea being the third. Petraeus pushed for his host country to open up its air bases for transit to Afghanistan and it was later revealed that discussions concerning the recruitment of Kazakh troops for the war front were also held.
Kazakhstan is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) along with three of its four Central Asian neighbors [Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Russia and China.
It is also the Caspian nation with the largest oil and natural gas deposits and a key nation in Western plans to dominate the transport of hydrocarbons to Europe and Asia.
The penetration of Kazakhstan, a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace, by the Pentagon and NATO will simultaneously insert a hostile Western military presence on Russia's and China's borders and undermine the very existence of the CSTO and SCO. Part of the purpose of the war in Afghanistan, which was started four months after the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June of 2001, is precisely to install U.S. and NATO military forces in Central Asia to sabotage attempts by China and Russia to develop common security, energy, transportation and other projects.
On August 7 American ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Hoagland met with the nation's defense minister to expand military collaboration."During the meeting Kazakh Defense Minister Dzhaksybekov paid special attention to the increased number of actions under the plan of military contacts...[and the] study of advanced experience and organization of the U.S army, as well as the exchange of experience." The sharing of experience has already included "over 320 Kazakh military men...trained within the program of international military education and training in educational centers of the U.S armed forces." [13]
Also on August 7 Pentagon chief Robert Gates expressed his gratification that Kyrgyzstan, which earlier this year evicted U.S. and NATO troops from the air base at Manas, had proven susceptible to bribery and allowed the U.S. military to conduct transit again through the same base. The new arrangement "will enable the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan to continue their highly productive military relations created earlier...." [14]
Kyrgyzstan like Kazakhstan is a member of the CSTO and SCO, though it's not certain for how long.
In Kazakhstan's Caspian neighbor to the south, Turkmenistan, the Pentagon has been no less active of late. At the end of July Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns announced plans for what was described as an intergovernmental commission for regular consultations with Turkmenistan which "marks progress in...the contribution to stability in Afghanistan and across the region...." [15]
A news report two weeks earlier revealed that "Turkmenistan is quietly developing into a major transport hub for the northern supply network, which is being used to relay non-lethal supplies to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has confirmed a small contingent of US military personnel now operates in Ashgabat to assist refueling operations." [16]
Similar processes are occurring on the western end of the Caspian with Azerbaijan and its neighbors in the South Caucasus. With the massive increase of troops and equipment and the escalation of combat operations in Afghanistan, NATO partners are being drafted into not only providing more troops but making their airspace and air bases available for the transit of soldiers, weapons and supplies. Plans are underway to employ air bases in Bulgaria and Romania acquired in recent years as forward operating bases for the U.S. and NATO alike to connect with bases in Georgia and Azerbaijan and thence to Central Asia and Afghanistan.
Last month the world's first global strategic airlift base, at the air base in Papa, Hungary - "the biggest NATO project in 40 years" [17] - was put into operation for the war in South Asia and future conflicts in the East. The twelve participating nations are NATO members Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and the U.S. as well as two Partnership for Peace states, Finland and Sweden.After the meeting of the Russian and U.S. presidents in Moscow last month, Russia agree to permit the Pentagon up to 4,500 annual military flights over its territory without fees, saving the U.S. up to $133 million a year in total transit costs. An analysis by an American writer, Alfred Ross, in Russia Profile several days ago warned of the consequences of Russia's accommodation of American war plans in South Asia:
"Under Obama, the U.S. military presence on Russia's Central Asian flank is proceeding at a ferocious pace. The appointment of Richard Holbrooke, the former NATO Ambassador who orchestrated NATO's attack on Yugoslavia as envoy to the region is indicative of Obama's intentions.
No area is more strategically important than the 'Af-Pak' project, which positions U.S. troops within the zone fronting on Iran, China, and Russia's Central Asia.
"For the new American irregular warfare approach, it is the ability to map small terrain, analyze civilian traffic patterns and read local radar systems that will be key to the next round of U.S. operations across Russia's southern flank, from the Crimea to Kyrgyzstan." [18]
To further demonstrate the accuracy of his concerns it was recently announced that Mongolia, which directly abuts Russia as well as China, was sending an initial contingent of 130 troops to serve under NATO in Afghanistan.
A news report of the offer stated that "Mongolia's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has helped cement its alliance with the United States" and that it will facilitate the nation's "third neighbor" policy to "reach out to allies other than China and Russia." [19] Along with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the South Asian war is being exploited by Washington and Brussels to intrude their military structures into nations neighboring Russia and China, reorganize their armed forces as well as shift their interstate allegiances and further encircle two of the West's main competitors in the region and the world.
South Korea is also discussing sending troops back to Afghanistan. Singapore now has a unit serving with NATO's ISAF and the possible next defense minister of Japan, the Democratic Party's Keiichiro Asao, recently affirmed that his nation would consider sending ground troops to Afghanistan for the first time. [20] The Afghan war has also allowed the West to consolidate the creation of an Asian NATO, with armed forces from the above-mentioned countries to join those of Australia and New Zealand already there.
With regards to the other end of Eurasia, the former Soviet Union, in mid-July a Moldovan helicopter operating under contact with NATO was shot down in Afghanistan, killing the six Ukrainian crew members on board.
In the South Caucasus, Armenia announced two weeks ago that it planned to send troops to Afghanistan "by the end of the year." An analyst from that country said that "In addition to the Americans wanting Armenia, Armenia also wants to play a greater role, a role in Afghanistan that also builds on the strength of experience of Armenian peacekeepers who've served in Iraq and Kosovo." [21]
Armenia, like all the former Soviet Central Asian nations except for Turkmenistan, is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization with Russia and Belarus, and like the four others is being enticed by the West to shift its loyalties to NATO. Georgia just announced that it has assigned a battalion of US-trained troops to Afghanistan and neighboring Azerbaijan has recently doubled its troops there.
Regarding the first nation, "Georgia has been involved in NATO operations in the Balkans for nine years, and for five years in Iraq, along with the U.S. and other NATO members."
Georgia has proven its loyalty to the West by its actions since 1999. More than 10,000 military personnel have participated in peacekeeping operations first in Kosovo, then in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan during 2005-06." [22]
The same source remarked that "[T]he participation in real combat operations along with the military units of such powerful countries will enrich Georgian soldiers with substantive operational experience."
Combat experience that was put to use a year ago in its five-day war with Russia. Three days ago the deputy chairman of the Georgian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Georgy Kandelaki, told reporters that his government would derive two major benefits from sending additional troops to Afghanistan:
"First of all, our servicemen will gain combat experience because they will be in the middle of combat action, and that is a really invaluable experience."Secondly, it will be a heavy argument to support Georgia's NATO aspirations." [23]
Gaining wartime combat experience in the Afghan campaign for action on its border with Russia is not unique to Georgia. A former commander of Finnish troops in the country, which in the past weeks have been engaged in active combat operations in the north of Afghanistan, said that "This is a unique situation for us, in that we will get to train part of our wartime forces. That part will get to operate as close to wartime conditions as is possible." [24]
Finland has a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia and is in the process of moving toward full NATO membership despite the opposition of a majority of its citizens. NATO is progressively encroaching on Russia's borders from most every direction and the Afghan war is training the armies that may one day engage in combat much closer to home. The war in Afghanistan and on the other side of the border in Pakistan has reached its highest pitch of intensity to date with Afghan civilian deaths over 1,000 this year and the U.S. and NATO experiencing their highest death tolls in almost eight years of warfare.
Britain has announced that it is sending 2,000 more troops and additional Predator drones, Chinook and Merlin helicopters and armored vehicles.Italy, France, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, new NATO members Albania and Croatia and Contact Country partners Australia and New Zealand have deployed and have been pressured to provide more troops, including special forces units, warplanes, attack helicopters and armored vehicles for the war. A war that expanded into a 50-nation military campaign and that has fanned out to include U.S. and NATO military incursions into South and Central Asia and the Caspian Sea region.
A war that serves as a furnace to forge an integrated, battle-hardened international military force that can be employed wherever else in the world Brussels and Washington choose to use it in the future.
The Afghan war, then, is no ordinary war, as abhorrent as all wars are.It is only going to expand in width and in the amount of blood shed, but already it is distinguished by several developments:It is the U.S.'s first war in Asia and its longest one anywhere since Vietnam.
It is NATO's first ground war and its first military campaign in Asia.The German army has engaged in its first combat operations since the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945.
Finnish soldiers have engaged in combat for the first time since World War II and Swedish forces in almost 200 years.
Canada has lost its first troops in combat, 127, since the Korean War.
Australia has registered its first combat deaths since the Vietnam War.
More British soldiers have been killed, 191, than at any time since the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982.
A nation that borders Pakistan, Iran, China and two Central Asian nations has been thrown into turmoil. The world's seven official nuclear nations are either in the neighborhood - China, Pakistan, India and Russia - or are engaged in hostilities - the U.S., Britain and France.
The only beneficiary of this conflagration is a rapidly emerging Global NATO.
1) Washington File, U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
2) Reuters, August 7, 2009
3) Bloomberg News, August 3, 2009
4) NATO International, August 5, 2009
5) BBC News, August 8, 2009
6) The Times, August 7, 2009
7) Boston Globe, July 30, 2009
8) Zee News (India), July 24, 2009
9) Press TV, July 29, 2009
10) Associated Press, August 4, 2009
11) United States Army, Army News Service, July 30, 2009
12) Associated Press, August 6, 2009
13) Trend News Agency, August 7, 2009
14) Interfax, August 7, 2009
15) Trend News Agency, July 24, 2009
16) EurasiaNet, July 8, 2009
17) Hungary Around The Clock, July 28, 2009
18) Russia Profile, July 31, 2009
19) Trend News Agency, July 22, 2009
20) Stars and Stripes, July 21, 2009
21) ArmeniaLiberty, July 23, 2009
22) Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 20, 2009
23) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 6, 2009
24) Helsingin Sanomat, June 19, 2009 Rick Rozoff is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Rick Rozoff

DTN News: ETA Claims Responsibility For Bomb Attacks In Spain - CNN

DTN News: ETA Claims Responsibility For Bomb Attacks In Spain - CNN *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MADRID, Spain - August 10, 2009: The Basque separatist group ETA claimed responsibility on Sunday for a series of bomb attacks in June and July that killed three people, CNN reported. Two police officers were killed on July 30 in an explosion outside barracks on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, a popular tourist destination. Less than two days before that, sixty-five people, including two pregnant women and six children, were injured when a truck exploded in the city of Burgos. On June 19, a car bomb exploded in an open-air parking lot in the Basque town of Arrigorriaga, some 30 miles south of the largest Basque town of Bilbao, killing a police officer. ETA, which was founded in 1959 and marked its 50th anniversary on July 31, is recognized as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States. The group is known to have killed over 820 people in the past 50 years while fighting for an independent Basque state. Western media reported on Sunday that a small bomb had exploded in a restaurant on the island of Mallorca after a telephone warning from ETA, and that no one was hurt in the blast.

DTN News: Saudi Arabia Closes TV Station In Sex Row

DTN News: Saudi Arabia Closes TV Station In Sex Row
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) DAMASCUS, Syria - August 10, 2009: Saudi Arabia has closed the Jeddah office of a Lebanon-based TV station after it broadcast an interview with a Saudi man who boasted about his sexual conquests, a government official said on Sunday. The Saudi man, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, 32, was arrested last month after he shocked conservative Saudi society by talking about his sexual exploits on Lebanese channel LBC. The divorced father of four spoke to camera, recounting details of his sexual conquests and talking about how he picked up women in the kingdom. A spokesman for the Saudi ministry of culture and information confirmed that the decision to close the office of the LBC TV station had been made because of the interview. Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the Arab world and enforces strict sex segregation.