Monday, May 31, 2010

Al Qaeda's #3 Reported Killed In Pakistan

Photo: Mustafa Abu al Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, in a propaganda video in May 2007. Photo from The Long War Journal

Al Qaeda's Third-in-Command Killed -- Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—Al Qaeda's third-in-command, who played a key role in a recently foiled terrorist plot against the U.S., is believed to have been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal areas recent weeks, dealing a significant blow to the terrorist network.

Sheik Sa'id al-Masri, al Qaeda's chief operating officer, was killed about a week ago, a U.S. official said, adding "This is the main person who everyone has been looking for."

Read more ....

More News On The Death Of Al Qaeda's Third-in-Command

Al-Qaeda No. 3 Yazid reported killed by U.S. drone -- Washington Post
Strike Said to Kill a Top Al Qaeda Leader -- New York Times
Al Qaeda announces death of No. 3 man, intel group says -- CNN
Al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri killed in US missile strike -- The Telegraph
Officials: Al Qaeda No. 3 Killed -- ABC News
US believes No. 3 al-Qaida official dead in Predator drone attack recently -- FOX News/AP
Top al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu Yazid confirmed killed in airstrike in North Waziristan -- Long War Journal

My Comment: I say good riddance.

In The Koreas, Five Possible Ways To War

From The New York Times:

USUALLY, there is a familiar cycle to Korea crises.

Like a street gang showing off its power to run amok in a well-heeled neighborhood, the North Koreans launch a missile over Japan or set off a nuclear test or stage an attack — as strong evidence indicates they did in March, when a South Korean warship was torpedoed. Expressions of outrage follow. So do vows that this time, the North Koreans will pay a steep price.

In time, though, the United States and North Korea’s neighbors — China, Japan, South Korea and Russia — remind one another that they have nothing to gain from a prolonged confrontation, much less a war. Gradually, sanctions get watered down. Negotiations reconvene. Soon the North hints it can be enticed or bribed into giving up a slice of its nuclear program. Eventually, the cycle repeats.

Read more ....

My Comment: From the list my biggest worry is the last one .... a nuclear provocation. North Korea needs money .... and exporting their nuclear tech is a surefire way of getting some.

How A Taliban Bomb Master Is Produced

Inside The Mind Of A Taliban Bomb Master -- Times Online

Squatting on a concrete floor with nails, wires and a plug socket scattered around his feet, Naimatullah goes carefully about his business.

“This is the detonator for the bomb,” he says in a soft voice, a small object in his hand. Then he scoops up some white powder, packing it into a plastic drinks bottle. “These are very tasty explosives, very strong,” he says.

Read more ....

My Comment: A revealing look at how the madrases in Pakistan are used in educating and making bomb makers, and how Pakistan itself provides the materials to make these lethal weapons.

Fallout From The Israeli Raid On A Flotilla of Aid Ships Continues

UN Security Council Holds Emergency Session On Israeli Raid -- Voice of America

The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session Monday on how to respond after Israeli commandos intercepted a ship carrying humanitarian aid in international waters and killed at least nine pro-Palestinian activists.

The 15-member council convened an emergency session at the request of members Lebanon and Turkey.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who traveled from South America for the meeting, criticized Israel, calling the Israeli Defense Forces' actions "tantamount to banditry and piracy."

Read more ....

More News On Today's Israeli Raid On 6 Aid Ships

UN members decry Israeli raid on Gaza aid flotilla -- BBC
Turkey urges U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli attack on aid flotilla -- Washington Post
Israel flotilla raid deals a blow to ties with Turkey -- L.A. Times
Israel criticized over raid on Gaza flotilla -- L.A. Times
World reaction to Israel after raid on aid flotilla mostly negative -- CNN
Bloody Israeli raid on flotilla sparks crisis -- Yahoo News/AP
At least nine dead as Israeli commandos storm Gaza aid fleet -- Yahoo News/AFP
Thousands protest flotilla deaths, clashes in Athens -- Reuters
Protests erupt across the world after Israeli raid -- Yahoo News/AFP
Analysis: High-seas raid deepens Israeli isolation -- Yahoo News/AP
Israeli Raid Complicates U.S. Ties and Push for Peace -- New York Times
Analysis: Condemnation of Israeli assault complicates relations with U.S. -- Washington Post
US expects 'credible' Israeli probe into ship raid -- AFP
The Israeli Attack -- Joe Klein, Time Magazine
How the flotilla bound for Gaza Strip sailed into death at sea -- Times Online

A Shift In The U.S. - South Korean Military Alliance

Seoul Weighs Shift in U.S. Military Ties -- Wall Street Journal

American and South Korean Leaders Plan New War Games and Strategy Sessions in Face of Rising Tensions With the North.

SEOUL—South Korea is reviewing its defense policy following North Korea's alleged sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, a process that could significantly change Seoul's military alliance with Washington, according to officials engaged in the process.

Over the past week, U.S. and South Korean leaders have outlined plans to conduct war games and strategy sessions to better equip the South for combating the type of submarine attack Pyongyang is accused by international investigators to have staged in March, killing 46 South Korean sailors.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. - South Korean Military Alliance

U.S. to Aid South Korea With Naval Defense Plan -- New York Times
U.S. Military Will Assist South Korea With Naval Defense -- Politics Daily
Pres. Lee Thanks US Congressional Officials' Support over Cheonan -- Arirang News
South Korea speeds up anti-submarine defenses -- Washington Post

My Comment: With China (and Japan) unwilling .... or unable ... to assist South Korea on the issue of North Korea, the South Koreans are turning to the only country that they can trust .... the U.S.

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- May 31, 2010

Some 100,000 people gathered in Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang, capital of Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), on May 30 to protest the United States and South Korea over the sinking of a warship earlier this year. It is now feared that war may break out at any time between the two Koreas. People's Daily

China’s Stance On North Korea Could Lead To War -- Times Online

The world is anxious about the Kim regime but greater disasters lie ahead if its superpower neighbour fails to act

Try this quiz. You lead a rising economic superpower, with ambitions for global political power. You have pledged to pursue a “peaceful rise” and to work through the United Nations wherever possible to maintain international stability. Out of the blue, your unruly neighbour, an ally and quasi-dependant for the past 60 years, torpedoes a warship of its own neighbour, killing 46 sailors, and then, when accused of this crime, threatens all-out war. What do you do?

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

China's Korea crisis -- New York Times editorial

Deadly silence at the DMZ -- Donald Kirk, Asia Times

As the US plans its exit, the Iraqis find reason to worry -- Charles Dunne and Ellen Laipson, The National

Terrorism: How Many Warnings Do They Need? -- New York Times editorial

Obama’s security strategy falls short -- Clive Crook, Financial Times

Our leaders must figure out what national security means -- Charles Moore, The Telegraph

How Turkey Tamed Its Army -- Ali Aslan, Foreign Policy

The State of Sino-India Ties -- Jason Miks, The Diplomat

How can Europe begin to recover? -- The National editorial

European Crisis Offers A Blessing for Medvedev -- Vladimir Frolov, Moscow Times

World News Briefs -- May 31, 2010

UN Security Councils Holds Emergency Session on Israeli Aid Convoy Raid -- Voice of America

The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session Monday to discuss the Israeli commando raid on a Turkish vessel in the Mediterranean Sea that left at least nine of those on board dead. Dozens more were wounded.

Seven Israeli soldiers were also wounded.

The vessel was part of a flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of supplies to the Gaza Strip in defiance of a three-year-old Israeli blockade.

Read more ....


Syria conducted nuclear experiments: IAEA document.

Obama tells Netanyahu on phone: We need raid 'facts' ASAP.

Nine dead as Israel storms aid ship.

Netanyahu mulls cancelling U.S. trip in wake of Gaza flotilla deaths.

Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran.

Six die in Gaza tunnel explosion.


Seoul weighs shift in U.S. military ties. U.S. official: North Korea may attack again.

Japan PM backs Seoul's UN bid to punish NKorea.

China, Japan agree hotline after naval incidents.

Pakistani court orders access to Facebook restored.


Ethiopian election stirs outrage at ruling party.

African countries in heated debate over UN reform.

UN to reduce DR Congo peace force.

Poison gas sweeps Nigerian city, 300 sickened.


Germany in crisis after surprise resignation of President Horst Köhler.

Economic woes bring Russia and Europe closer.

Czech Republic voters move to right in general election.

Saakashvili claims victory for his party at Georgian elections.


Rescuers dig after Central America storm kills 113.

Jamaican slum dwellers angry at troops after raid.

Former defence minister leads way in Colombia's presidential elections.

President Obama's Memorial Day complicated by storms at home and abroad.

Latest oil spill developments.

Former defense minister ahead in Colombia election.

Tropical Storm Agatha kills 96 in Central America.


Former Libyan militants now wage battle within homeland to discredit al-Qaeda.

Hill acts to keep Gitmo's inmates out of U.S.

B-17 to drop flowers for CIA killed in Afghanistan.

Obama’s security strategy falls short.


ECB warns of more bank loan losses.

Greece urged to give up euro.

Debt-induced stress continues for many Americans.

IAEA Says Iran Has Enough Fuel For 2 Nuclear Weapons

U.N. Report Says Iran Has Fuel For 2 Nuclear Weapons -- New York Times

WASHINGTON — In their last report before the United Nations Security Council votes on sanctions against Iran, international nuclear inspectors declared on Monday that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.

The report, by the International Atomic Energy Agency, a branch of the United Nations, appears likely to bolster the Obama administration’s case for a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran and further diminish its interest in a deal, recently revived by Turkey and Brazil, in which Iran would send a portion of its nuclear stockpile out of the country.

Read more ....

More News On Iran's Nuclear Program

IAEA report reduces chances of Iran fuel swap deal -- AP
WH responds to new IAEA Iran report -- Politico
US: IAEA report details Iran's nuclear defiance -- Globe And Mail
Iran producing higher-enriched uranium: IAEA -- AFP
Iran expands atom work, oversight better: IAEA -- Reuters
IAEA report reduces chances of Iran fuel swap deal -- AP
Iran 'expanding enrichment work' -- Press TV
Iran Caught Cheating Again: Pyroprocessing for Pyromaniacs? -- Heritage

Colombia's Presidential Election Heads For A Runoff Election

Top Colombian Presidential Candidates Head For Runoff Election -- CNN

(CNN) -- The two leading candidates in Colombia's presidential race will compete in a runoff June 20, since neither garnered more than 50 percent of the vote in Sunday's election.

With 99 percent of polling stations reporting, Colombia's National Civil Registry said Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos had 46.6 percent of votes while former Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus received 21.5 percent of votes.

Read more ....

More News On Colombia's Presidential Election

Colombia election surprise: Juan Manuel Santos routs Antanas Mockus -- Christian Science Monitor
Former defense minister ahead in Colombia election -- L.A. Times
Santos Crushes Rival in Colombia Presidential Vote (Update1) -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Uribe ally dominates vote -- Miami Herald
Ex-Defense Chief Leads in Colombia -- New York Times
Santos handily wins first round of Colombian presidential election -- Washington Post
Ex-defense head leads in Colombia election -- UPI
Uribe holds 2 hour meeting with Santos -- Colombia Reports
In Colombia, presidential race is no done deal -- Washington Post
Colombia election ends reign of 'savior' Álvaro Uribe -- Christian Science Monitor
Colombia sticks with Santos -- Grace Livingstone, The Guardian

Saudi Money Continues To Fund Islamic Extremism

Terror Link Alleged As Saudi Millions Flow Into Afghanistan War Zone -- Times Online

Millions of dollars of Saudi Arabian money have flowed into Afghanistan over the past four years, the country’s intelligence officials say, with the sponsorship of terrorism its most likely use.

According to members of the Afghan financial intelligence unit, FinTraca, the funds, totalling more than £920 million, enter from Pakistan, where they are converted into rupees or dollars, the favoured currency for terrorist operations.

“We can trace it back as far as an entry point in Waziristan,” said Mohammed Mustafa Massoudi, the director-general of FinTraca in Kabul. “Why would anyone want to put such money into Waziristan? Only one reason — terrorism.”

Read more ....

My Comment:
Once again Saudi money is implicated in funding and financing Islamic radicalism and war. I would like to believe that one day we will wake up to this duplicity .... but the problem is that we are addicted to their oil .... and worse .... we are willing to turn a blind eye to what happens to our money when we buy it.

The Disgrace And Fall Of A General

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard, fired as head of the Forces in Afghanistan because of alleged sexual misconduct, is married to Major Julie Fortin, who commands a logistics company at CFB Valcartier. They have two children. Photograph by: BLAIR GABLE, REUTERS, Canwest News Service

General In Sex Scandal Fired -- National Post

Menard headed Canadian troops in Afghanistan

Brigadier-General Daniel Menard--who was fired late on Saturday as head of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan because of alleged sexual misconduct -- is the first Canadian general officer to be dismissed on the battlefield since the Second World War.

Brig.-Gen. Menard had been named to lead a critical NATO campaign against the Taliban in Kandahar -- a task that will now fall to his stopgap replacement, Brigadier-General Jon Vance. Brig.-Gen. Vance was in charge of the 2,800 Canadian troops in Afghanistan until six months ago, and will take over again until another general arrives at the end of September.

Read more ....

More News On The Firing Of Canadian Brigadier-General Daniel Menard

Commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan sacked -- The Telegraph
Canadian commander in Afghanistan relieved of duty -- CTV News
Senior Canadian commander relieved of post in Afghanistan -- AFP
Canadian CO relieved of Kandahar duty -- CBC
Grounding a rising military star -- Toronto Star
Head of Canada's forces in Afghanistan fired for misconduct -- The Independent
Canada's Afghan commander removed, misconduct alleged -- Reuters
Was to have led biggest campaign by NATO -- National Post
Daniel Ménard scandal leaves military reeling -- Globe And Mail
Profile: Menard's replacement, Brigadier-General Jon Vance -- National Post

Sniper Teams Are Having An Impact In Afghanistan

Photo: A U.S. Marine sniper trains for battle at a Korean base. Photo from Reuters

How To Shoot Someone From A Mile Away -- New York Post

Snipers have become one of America's most effective weapons in the desolation of Afghanistan

If the Taliban fighters had bothered to look up, they would have seen small white nicks on the face of the boulder behind them. Nicholas Ranstad had been using it for target practice.

But they didn't notice. Ranstad could take his time.

It was January of 2008. For months, Ranstad, a 28-year-old Army specialist from Florida, had lived in a small hut 1.28 miles away from the rock with a group of snipers. Part of their mission was to keep an eye on a road crew working in this corner of Kunar province, in northeastern Afghanistan. The Taliban was executing the laborers to discourage any Afghan from cooperating with American-supported construction.

Read more ....

My Comment: I know that American snipers are good .... but I never realized that they were THAT good.

How The Brits Are Combating The IED Threat In Afghanistan

A US marine runs to safety moments after an IED blast in Garmsir district of Helmand province. Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty

Buffaloes, Desert Hawks And Reapers Lead Fight Against The Roadside Killers -- Times Online

BRITISH military commanders decided two years ago that the only way to defend against the Taliban bombing campaign was to go on the offensive.

So they persuaded ministers that improving protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) was vital — prompting them to approve new vehicles and equipment costing £700m in October 2008.

Some of that package has yet to arrive, most notably the Warthog armoured vehicles intended to replace the existing Viking tracked vehicles. The equipment that has arrived ranges from Osprey body armour, which is issued to every soldier serving on the front line, to the giant Buffalo mine-protected clearance vehicle.

Read more ....

My Comment: It seems that they are throwing everything at them .... including the kitchen sink.

Memorial Day 2010

On Memorial Day, Three Stories Of Loss, Redemption, And Healing -- Christian Science Monitor

Three people who lost loved ones to war honor those who serve and tangibly help others.

The increasing number of homes with gold stars in the window, the sign that a military son or daughter has been lost, is a sad measure of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read more ....


General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of


Adjutant General


More News On Memorial Day

Biden Pays Solemn Tribute to Fallen Troops in Arlington Cemetery Ceremony -- FOX News
Obama Not the 1st President to Miss Memorial Day at Arlington -- CBS News
US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq mark Memorial Day -- AP
US troops in Afghanistan mark Memorial Day -- Yahoo News/AP Interviews Friedrich St. Florian, Architect of the WWII Memorial in DC --
The History of Memorial Day --
Memorial Day Quotes and Facts -- Indy Posted
10 Things to Remember About Memorial Day -- Mental Floss
A musical reminder of the war that led to Memorial Day -- Baltimore Sun
Memorial Day, for a father whose son was killed in Iraq -- L.A. Times
Remembering a fallen daughter -- L.A. Times
Uncommon valor on the Common: Flags help families heal -- Boston Herald
Remembering Mark -- Kerplunk
Seeing a fallen soldier home -- Colleen M. Getz, Washington Times
A Military Father Remembers On Memorial Day -- Gen. Paul Vallely (ret.), FOX News
Memorial Day: What Gold Star families want you to know -- Boston Herald
What we remember on Memorial Day -- L.A. Times
A Tale of Two Americas On Memorial Day 2010 -- William Forstchen, FOX News
This Memorial Day, honoring a military that's in isolation -- E.J. Dionne, Washington Post
EDITORIAL: General Orders No. 11 -- Washington Times
In memory of those who gave their all -- Miami Herald editorial
Interactive Map Tool Creates Online Memorial To U.S., Coalition Troops -- CNN

Previous Posts: Memorial Day 2008, Memorial Day 2009

Afghanistan War News Updates -- May 31, 2010

U.S. General Accuses Iran Of Helping Taliban In Afghanistan -- Voice of America

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, says there is "clear evidence" that Iran is providing weapons and training to Taliban fighters in the war-torn country.

U.S. General Stanley McChrystal told reporters in the Afghan capital he understands that as a neighbor, Iran has a natural interest in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

More News on Afghanistan

NATO general in Afghanistan: Taliban train in Iran -- Yahoo News/AP
McChrystal: Evidence is 'clear' Iran aids Taliban -- Washington Times
NATO Commander In Afghanistan Says Iran Helping Taliban -- Radio Free Europe
NATO General in Afghanistan: Taliban Train in Iran -- ABC News

U.S. military: Air strike kills Taliban leader in Kandahar -- CNN
NATO Airstrikes Kill Top Taliban Commander -- Voice of America
NATO air strikes hit Taliban in troubled district -- AFP
Civilian, NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan -- Sify
British soldier killed in Afghanistan explosion -- The Guardian
At least 6 Afghan police killed in two separate incidents -- CNN
Kandahar offensive further delayed -- Chronicle Herald
Insurgents in Kandahar's undergrowth drag Nato forces into 'green hell' -- The Independent
Taliban stronger than expected, NATO chief says -- Reuters
Battalion Among Hardest Hit in Afghan War -- New York Times/AP
In Afghan region, U.S. spreads the cash to fight the Taliban -- Washington Post
Terror link alleged as Saudi millions flow into Afghanistan war zone -- Times Online
David Cameron rounds up security experts for secret Afghanistan summit -- Times Online
Mullen: Pakistan Cooperation in Afghanistan Bigger Concern Than Retaliation for U.S. Attack -- FOX News

NATO Has High Hopes for Afghan Peace Council
-- New York Times
In Afghanistan, a long-delayed national talk -- L.A. Times
Kabul readies security ahead of peace jirga -- Reuters

Commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan sacked -- The Telegraph
Military: Canadian commander in Afghanistan relieved after 'inappropriate relationship' -- FOX News
Canada's top commander in Afghanistan sacked: govt -- Yahoo News/AFP

US troops in Afghanistan mark Memorial Day -- Yahoo News/AP
Troops Mark Solemn Memorial Day in Afghanistan -- CBS News/AP
US Honors Those Killed During Years of Conflict in Afghanistan -- Voice Of America

Afghanistan suspends two aid groups for Christianity probe -- Yahoo News/Reuters
Afghanistan Suspends Two Aid Groups -- New York Times
2 Christian aid groups suspended in Afghanistan -- AP

Powell: US Can't Be in Afghanistan Forever -- ABC News
War in Afghanistan set to outlast Vietnam -- Arizona Republic/USA Today
Saving Afghanistan from its neighbours -- Reuters
Vietnam, minus the jungle -- Peter Preston, The Guardian

A Pointless Death

Bomb Disposal Expert Killed After Defusing 13 Bombs In 36 Hours -- Times Online

An inquest into the death of a bomb disposal expert decorated for his bravery in Afghanistan has heard that he defused 13 bombs under sporadic enemy fire during the 36 hours leading to his death.

Captain Daniel Shepherd’s inquest follows the broadcast of a BBC One Panorama documentary on Monday in which the Army’s senior bomb disposal officer questioned the numbers of personnel available for Afghanistan and the pressures they faced. Captain Shepherd, 28, from Lincoln, was awarded the George Medal posthumously. He died while defusing a bomb on July 20 last year. The “unbelievably courageous” soldier, from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, the Royal Logistic Corps, was killed as he tried to defuse a pressure-plated device, the inquest at the Cathedral Centre in Lincoln heard.

Read more ....

My Comment: This story was emailed to me by one of my readers this weekend. Defusing a bomb every few hours .... what was he and his superiors thinking .... or was he just too tired? They will conduct an inquest, but I suspect that the truth will never be known because the man who really knows is now dead.

World News Briefs -- May 31, 2010

Ten Dead After Israel Boards Gaza-Bound Ships: Military -- Yahoo News/Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli commandos intercepted Gaza-bound aid ships Monday and at least 10 pro-Palestinian activists on board were killed in bloodshed that plunged Israel into a diplomatic crisis.

Israel's military said its troops came under gunfire and knife attack during the takeover.

"Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed," an Israeli military spokesman said, adding that at least four soldiers were wounded.

Read more ....


Netanyahu mulls cancelling U.S. trip in wake of Gaza flotilla deaths.

Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran.

Six die in Gaza tunnel explosion.


Japan PM backs Seoul's UN bid to punish NKorea.

China, Japan agree hotline after naval incidents.

Pakistani court orders access to Facebook restored.


African countries in heated debate over UN reform.

UN to reduce DR Congo peace force.

Poison gas sweeps Nigerian city, 300 sickened.


Economic woes bring Russia and Europe closer.

Czech Republic voters move to right in general election.

Saakashvili claims victory for his party at Georgian elections.


Latest oil spill developments.

Former defense minister ahead in Colombia election.

Tropical Storm Agatha kills 96 in Central America.


B-17 to drop flowers for CIA killed in Afghanistan.

Obama’s security strategy falls short.


Greece urged to give up euro.

Debt-induced stress continues for many Americans.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 31, 2010

A drone lands at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Defense analysts have criticized drone operations because drone crews have little experience on the ground in Afghanistan (Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Times / June 14, 2009)

U.S. Report Faults Air Force Drone Crew, Ground Commanders In Afghan Civilian Deaths -- L.A. Times

The investigation into an operation three months ago in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province that left up to 23 civilians dead prompts Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal to punish six officers.

Reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan —
A U.S. military investigation has harshly criticized a Nevada-based Air Force drone crew and American ground commanders in Afghanistan for misidentifying civilians as insurgents during a U.S. Army Special Forces operation in Oruzgan province in February, resulting in the deaths of as many as 23 civilians.

Read more ....


Army hits 1 million flight hours with unmanned aircraft --

CBO report examines possible JSF cuts -- Navy Times

Hope yet for the carrier air wing? -- ELP Defens(c)e

What Is Real (about the F-35)? -- Strategy Page

U.S. House vote could tilt tanker bid toward Boeing -- New Mexico Business Weekly

Russia wins large contract to modernize Indian Su-30MKI fighters - media -- RIA Novosti

$9B pricetag likely for Canada's next-generation fighter aircraft -- Montreal Gazette/Canwest

Angola mulls Chinese military deals -- AFP

Strict ROE, Nausea Inducing Screens Curb Use of MV-22 Osprey Gatling Gun -- Defense Tech

U.S. Army To Keep Howitzer Options Open -- Defense News

Pentagon to Speed up IT Procurement -- Defense Talk

Navy’s Drone Death Ray Takes Out Targets at Sea -- The Danger Room

Report: Israel To Station Nuclear Missile Subs Off Iran

Photo: Israeli submarine "Dolphin" sails along the Mediterranean Sea near the coastal city of Tel Aviv.

Israel Stations Nuclear Missile Subs Off Iran -- Times Online

Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.

The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.

The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.

Read more ....

More News On Israeli Subs off Iran's Coast

Report: Israel to station nuclear missile subs off Iran -- Ynet News
'Israeli subs with nukes in Gulf' -- Jerusalem Post
Israel Submarines Headed for Persian Gulf -- Arutz Sheva
Israeli nuclear subs 'to set sail for Iran' -- Press TV (Iran)
Israel sending nuclear subs to Iran coast -- UPI
How Disinformation Works -- American Conservative

Scores Killed As Israeli Soldiers Storm Aid Flotilla To Gaza

Israeli Troops Attack Ship Carrying Aid To Gaza Killing 16 -- The Telegraph

Israeli commandoes have stormed a flotilla of ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing as many as 16 of those on board.

Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.

A spokeswoman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at "unarmed civilians". But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.

Read more

More News On Israeli Soldiers Storming The Aid Flotilla To Gaza

Israel: At least 10 killed on Gaza flotilla -- Yahoo News/AP
Israel boards Gaza-bound ships: military -- Yahoo News/Reuters
More than 10 dead as Israel storms Gaza aid boat: army -- Yahoo News/AFP
Israel attacks Gaza flotilla - live coverage -- The Guardian
Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship -- BBC
Israeli Forces Intercept Gaza-Bound Aid Ships, 10 Killed -- Voice of America
Deadly clashes at sea as Israel intercepts Gaza-bound aid ships -- Times Online
Israel: 10 killed in Gaza protest -- CNN
16 killed, 30 injured as Israeli armed forces storm Gaza aid ships -- Sify News
IDF: 4 soldiers injured from gunfire, knife stabs; 1 in serious condition -- Ynet News
Casualties reported during IDF raid on Gaza sail -- Ynet News
Gaza flotilla ships transported to Ashdod -- Ynet News
Aftermath of Israel's attack on Gaza flotilla -- Al Jazeera
Conflicting reports on condition of Israeli Arab Muslim leader onboard Gaza flotilla -- Haaretz
Aussies onboard during deadly convoy raid -- ABC News (Australia)
Hamas, PNA condemn Israeli attack on "Freedom Flotilla" -- Xinhuanet
EU demands inquiry after Israeli raid on ships, Turkey outraged -- Deutsche Welle
Analysis / After Monday's ocean bloodbath, Israel must work fast to prevent a third intifada -- Haaretz

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Editor's Note

Regular readers of this blog know that for the past month I have been working on a project that has taken me away from regularly posting on this blog. Fortunately .... this is all coming to an end tomorrow. As I am now in the home stretch to finish this project, postings will be light today and tomorrow, but my regular (hourly) postings will return by tomorrow night.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How Blood Diamonds Are Keeping Zimbabwe's Mugabe In Power

Blood Diamonds: The Illicit Trade Propping Up The Mugabe Regime -- Times Online

Bayo, a burly Guinean also known as Mr Big, threw the contents of the small plastic bag on to the bare wooden table. A handful of rough diamonds twinkled in the half-light of the shabby office.

“Put the light on,” shouted Demba, one of several “associates” squeezed into the back room of a residential home. Someone flicked the switch on a desk lamp and he pointed at the gems. “Look at this quality — very good, boss, very good. Tell me which type you want and I’ll bring them over.”

Read more ....

My Comment:
It is unfortunate to see that Zimbabwe is now continuing Africa's long and bloody history when it comes to blood diamonds.

Does The U.S. Cyber Command Have A Mission?

Meet Your New Commander-in-Geek -- Reason

U.S. Cyber Command has no idea why it exists.

This headline is not from The Onion:

US appoints first cyber warfare general: Pentagon creates specialist online unit to counter cyber attack amid growing fears of militarisation of the internet.

On Friday, newly-created U.S. Cyber Command—that's USCYBERCOM to those in the know—got itself a general. One small problem: It's not clear that anyone, even four-star general and National Security Agency head Keith Alexander, knows what U.S. Cyber Command is supposed to do now that it exists. The commerical Internet has been around since about 1995, but in recent years folks at the Pentagon and White House seem to have been struck with a similar thought: "Hey, we should do something about those Internets, huh?" The longing for a cyber command of some kind dates back at least to President George W. Bush, and the project continued merrily along under President Barack Obama with the inexorable force of a government program that nobody really wants, but no one wants to be the one to kill.

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My Comment: You would think that this would have all been sorted out before the first dollar was committed to it .... but apparently not.

The Legend Of The Gurkhas Continues In Afghanistan

Cpl Deepak Gurung, 28, of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles, is a popstar in his native Nepal, but is this year deployed to Helmand province fighting the Taliban Photo: Ben Farmer

How The Gurkhas Are Fighting The Taliban With A Smile -- The Telegraph

The Gurkhas are making a big impression on the people of Helmand province, but will that be enough? Ben Farmer reports from Afghanistan.

The Gurkhas have become the latest weapon in the battle for hearts and minds in Afghanistan. Recently, a gaggle of dusty boys and girls warily approached the unfamiliar figures resting in a ditch shaded by fig trees. Five minutes later they were giggling in the late afternoon sun, joking with the legendary Nepalese soldiers.

Southern Nahr-e-Seraj, in the notorious Helmand province administered by the British, was last summer the battleground of the bloody Panther’s Claw offensive. Eleven British soldiers died in fighting to secure a corridor from Helmand’s capital, Lashkar Gah, to Gereshk, its economic hub. The offensive tried to extend the writ of Hamid Karzai’s ineffective national government so it could bring health, education and justice to Helmand’s residents.

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My Comment: It is good to know that some traditions still hold in the British military.

President Obama Will Skip Memorial Day Visit To Arlington National Cemetery

President Obama at Arlington Cemetery Monday with, from left, Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs; Col. Thomas M. Durham, Army chaplain; Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr. of Joint Force Headquarters; and John C. Metzger Jr., cemetery superintendent. Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

From Washington Post:

President Obama is skipping the traditional Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery, a move that has dismayed some veterans -- and comes at a sensitive moment in the administration's relationship with the military.

Instead of speaking at Arlington, as he did last year and as most presidents have done, Obama will appear at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery outside Chicago, the White House said. Vice President Biden will take his place at Arlington, the most prestigious military cemetery in the country and home to Section 60, a large burial ground for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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My Comment:
It is to bad that he will be skipping the ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, I am sure that many veterans were looking forward to see him.

Options For U.S. Military Strikes Into Pakistan Are Now Being Considered

The border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan
Image from

Options Studied For a Possible Pakistan Strike -- Washington Post

The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country's tribal areas, according to senior military officials.

Ties between the alleged Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban have sharpened the Obama administration's need for retaliatory options, the officials said. They stressed that a U.S. reprisal would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient.

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My Comment: This has just risen the "tension level" between the U.S. and Pakistan appreciably.

World News Briefs -- May 29, 2010

Death Toll Rises To 98 In Pakistan Attacks -- CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The death toll from attacks on a religious minority in eastern Pakistan has risen to 98, officials said Saturday.

About 110 more people were wounded in the attacks, said Sajjad Bhutta, a senior government official.

They took place Friday in two mosques in Lahore when attackers with bombs and firearms targeted houses of worship belonging to the Ahmadi sect, a persecuted religious group.

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Uranium enrichment not discussed in Iran deal: Brazil.

In the wait for new government, ordinary Iraqis suffer.

Gaza flotilla to arrive only Sunday. Flotilla bound for Gaza delayed, loses key members.

Netanyahu: Time for direct talks with Palestinians.

Iranian artists, musicians give voice to opposition amid censorship.


Leaders of China, Japan, South Korea begin summit meeting.

Deadlock pushes Nepal to brink of a political crisis.

Death toll rises to 98 in India train crash.


Cup opens South Africa to terror threat.

Kenya's draft constitution under fire for Islamic courts.

Nigeria president urges electoral reform by year-end.


2nd Iceland volcano issues warning.

Divided Czechs vote, inconclusive result feared.

Father of Concorde 'to blame for 2000 Paris crash'.

Cocaine traffickers using submarines in attempt to supply European users.


Gulf oil spill hits Day 40 with no end in sight.

Thousands flee volcanos in Ecuador and Guatemala.

Colombia elections: Border town frets about Hugo Chávez trade threats.

Jamaica accused of brutality in hunting suspect.


Court to Guantánamo Uighurs: Accept resettlement or stay in prison.

From failed bombings to armed Jihadist assaults.

Most Guantanamo detainees low-level fighters, task force report says.


Will China ever revalue its currency? Maybe next month.

China's $2.5 trillion dilemma.

The CIA Drone Wars Continue

Shoot to kill: "If it's a target I want to prosecute, I can do it. If it's a target I want to kill, I can do it. It is the sexiest programme in the army," says one soldier of US drone operations. Photograph: Rob Jensen/USAF via Getty Images

Predators, Warriors And Ravens: The CIA Drones Wage War -- Irish Times

THE COURTYARD of the Pentagon feels like a cross between an arms fair and a used-car lot on a fine May morning. “Congratulations 1,000,000 Army Unmanned Aircraft System Flight Hours,” says a banner.

With 5,456 US servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Afghan war going badly, the US military celebrates what it can. Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles but referred to as drones, are the military’s most important technological asset. Last year the CIA’s director, Leon Panetta, called the Predator drone programme “the only game in town”.

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My Comment: This article posts a number of stats that I have not seen .... i.e. total number of drone strikes in Pakistan, total number of UAVs, etc. .... overall, this article gives a headsup on what to expect in the "Drone Wars".