Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fallout From The Times Square Bombing Attempt Continues



Feds Release Chilling Footage Of Damage Faisal Shahzad Could Have Done If Times Square Bomb Worked -- New York Daily News

The failed Times Square bomber deserves life in prison for plotting to bring death "to the heart of New York City," prosecutors have told the judge who will sentence him next week.

Faisal Shahzad chose "a nihilistic path that celebrated conflict and death cloaked in the rhetoric of a distorted interpretation of Islam," they wrote in court papers.

Read more ....

More News On The Failed New York Times Square Bombing Attempt

FBI footage of Times Square car bomb test shows explosion would have been 'devastating' -- The Daily Mail
Times Square Bomb Could Have Been 'Devastating' and Deadly, Govt. Test Shows -- ABC News
Times Square bomber planned second attack, says U.S. -- Reuters
NYC Bomber Planned Second Attack, U.S. Says -- Global Security Newswire
Times Square plotter planned to attack again, prosecutors say -- CNN
Faisal Shahzad’s Secret Chat With the Taliban, Revealed -- New York Magazine
Shahzad contacted Pak Taliban to report failed Times Square bombing attempt -- Sify News
Faisal wanted 40 dead -- New York Post
Pakistan detains 'facilitator' of NY bomb plotter -- AFP
Pakistan holds government worker in NYC plot -- AP
Pakistan's Mainstream Jihadism and the Times Square Bomb Plot -- Andrew G. Bostom, American Thinker

Afghanistan's Poppy Crop Is Cut In Half. How Will This Impact The War



UN: Afghan Poppy Crop Down By 48% -- Al Jazeera

Disease destroyed thousands of hectares of poppy this year, but cultivation remains unchanged compared to 2009.

Poppy production in Afghanistan plummeted by 48 per cent this year compared to 2009, according to the United Nations - but mostly because a blight destroyed thousands of hectares of the crop.

Afghanistan will produce roughly 4,000 tonnes of poppy in 2010, and the crop will provide a livelihood for nearly 250,000 families. It will be a lucrative one, too: The price of poppy increased markedly, with one hectare of the crop yielding $4,900, up from $3,600 last year.

Read more ....

More News On Afghanistan's Opium Crop

Afghanistan opium crop blight sends drug prices soaring
-- Christian Science Monitor
Crop Disease Cuts Afghan Opium Production -- Voice of America
Blight cuts 2010 Afghan opium crop but earnings up -- Reuters
Afghanistan opium production cut nearly in half by fungus -- L.A. Times
Afghan Opium Production Drops Almost 50% -- RTT News
Afghan opium production 'halved' -- BBC
Opium price jump may tempt back Afghan farmers -- The Guardian
Afghanistan's Opium Production Drops, but Will It Last? -- PBS Newshour
UN: Afghan opium farming stable despite efforts -- AP
False Progess -- Registan.net

My Comment: 250,000 families in southern Afghanistan are dependent on the poppy crop for their livelihood. Any impact on this crop will impact monies for these families, revenues for the Taliban, and more importantly .... limit the destruction that this drug has on addicts around the world who may now be forced to seek medical help.

While on paper this sounds good, this will unfortunately not be the case. I expect that a lesser crop will only result in an increase in prices, thereby tempting more farmers to grow this crop next year.

Was The Al Qaeda Terror Plot Directed Against Europe Over Hyped?



Was A Mumbai-Style Terror Attack Really 'Foiled'? -- Christian Science Monitor

Public evidence out so far of a Mumbai-style terror attack contains claims that a group of men was hoping to kill people in London, but had no operatives in place, no weapons, and little in the way of logistics.

Breathless coverage in the past few days has written at length about a potential "Mumbai-style" terror attack planned for Britain – or perhaps Germany, or France – that was thwarted by the Obama administration's expanding aerial campaign against militant targets in Pakistan's lawless border provinces.

Read more ....

More News On This Week's Al Qaeda Terror Plot

Official: Germans, Brits behind Europe terror plot -- AP
Terror plot reports surrounding Briton killed by US drone played down -- The Guardian
Briton suspected of plotting Mumbai-style attacks killed by drone -- The Telegraph
British brothers 'behind Mumbai-style plot' -- The Telegraph
British brothers 'planned Mumbai-style terror attack in Europe' -- The Guardian
20 Britons training in Pak terror camps -- Daily Times
9/11 hijackers’ mosque tied to recent terror plot against Europe -- The Long War Journal
Are al Qaeda capacities on the rise? -- Shadow Government/Foreign Policy
Has the European Terrorism Threat Been Overhyped? -- Time Magazine

U.S. Bomb Output Is Now Limited By China Metal Quotas

Photo: Motors in missiles like the JDAM might be three times as big without advanced magnets. The JDAM has been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photographer: Philip A. McDaniel/U.S. Navy via Bloomberg

Pentagon Loses Control Of Bombs To China Metal Monopoly -- Bloomberg

A senior manager at a company that churns out metals routinely used in U.S. smart bombs pauses in mid-sentence when his phone rings: a Wall Street stockbroker looking for information. He makes a note to have an assistant call back -- someone who is fluent in English, not just Chinese.

“It’s a seller’s market now,” says Bai Baosheng, 43, puffing a cigarette in his office in Baotou, China, where his company sells bags of powder containing a metallic element known as neodymium, vital in tiny magnets that direct the fins of bombs dropped by U.S. Air Force jets in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

My Comment: I am surprised that is there is no stockpile for such a collection of strategic materials. But with China using the 'rare earths' card against Japan in a recent diplomatic dispute, I am expecting this to change.

Outrage Over The Release Of The Lockerbie Bomber Continues

Cancer Experts Brand Lockerbie Bomber Release 'Ridiculous' -- The Telegraph

Two of America’s most prominent prostate cancer experts have told senators they are “not at all surprised” the Lockerbie bomber is still alive more than a year after his release.

Dr James Mohler said the prognosis that led to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, being allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds was “difficult to believe and possibly even ridiculous”.

And Dr. Oliver Sartor told the US Senate’s foreign relations committee the chemotherapy the bomber only started receiving after being released from a Scottish prison could extend his life by at least 19 months.

Read more ....

More News On The Lockerbie Bomber Release

Lockerbie bomber was set free after 'ridiculous' medical diagnosis, U.S. cancer specialists say -- New York Daily News
Lockerbie bomber was not near death, senators told -- Financial Times
Medical experts doubt Lockerbie bomber's prognosis -- AP
Lockerbie bomber diagnosis flawed, doctors tell Congress -- AFP
U.S. Says Scotland Ignored Request to Examine Lockerbie Bomber -- Wall Street Journal
Lockerbie bomber's release 'manipulated' by Scottish government to say he was close to death claim US senators as BP also blasted over affair -- Daily Mail
Senate panel questions Scotland's release of Pan Am bomber -- CNN
Dems explore BP-Libya relationship -- Politico
BP in clear over Lockerbie bomber release -- ABC News (Australia)

My Comment: I have been following this story since the Lockerbie bomber's release last year .... and with more information being published and/or leaked everyday ... it is obvious to me that the Scottish and English Ministers involved in the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi were more concerned about meeting Libya's demand that they release the Lockerbie bomber if they wanted better relations.

When the final decision was made to release the Locerbie Bomber, I suspect that they did not think he would live long, and that media focus on this story would be minimal at best. Well .... they were wrong on all counts.

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- September 30, 2010

Young Bob Woodward and his computer, immortalized in wax at Madam Tussaud's. Photo by Cliff1066/Flickr

I Have Seen the Enemy, And He Is Bob Woodward -- Adam Weinstein, Current Intelligence

Everybody – which is to say, everybody who works in the Washington media – is talking about this Bob Woodward book, Obama's Wars, that went on sale this week. Everybody in the Washington media always talks about every new Bob Woodward book. Once, as a young man, his reporting helped bring down a president. Having thus made his name, he’s spent the interceding decades selling it out, franchising WOODWARD!-branded ventures in Oval Office access journalism. He is to presidential expos├ęs what Ray Kroc is to hamburgers. Woodward’s books have the same effect as a Kroc-created Big Mac. You get hungry; you see one; you consume it; it never quite satisfies. And you wonder whether you’d have ever been so hungry for one if it wasn’t hawked in your face on every street corner.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

Nothing's going right for Obama's foreign policy -- Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy

Obama’s Repudiation of Promises to Israel Comes Back to Haunt Him -- Evelyn Gordon, Commentary Magazine

Obama’s Afghan war has ‘echoes of Vietnam’ -- Paul Koring, Globe And Mail

'Obama's Wars': The gang that couldn't shoot straight -- or shut up -- Eliot Cohen, Washington Post

Tearful Karzai warns of youth exodus from Afghanistan. Here's why. -- Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor

The White House's Afghanistan defeatism -- Jackson Diehl, Washington Post

North Korea's New Boy-General -- Michael J. Green, National Interest

Russia's U-turn on arms sale -- Vladimir Radyuhin, The Hindu

Chronicle of a Genocide Foretold -- Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

Kissinger: Vietnam failures `we did to ourselves' -- Robert Burns, Stars And Stripes

China's prosperity anxiety -- Doyle McManus, L.A. Times

Stuxnet worm heralds new era of global cyberwar -- Peter Beaumont, The Guardian

Only sustained cuts can now keep Ireland afloat -- Irish Times editorial

World News Briefs -- September 30, 2010 (Evening Edition)



Correa Blames Coup Attempt As Unrest Rocks Ecuador -- Yahoo News/Reuters

QUITO (Reuters) – Police protesters attacked Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in an eruption of political unrest over austerity measures on Thursday, leaving the leftist leader holed up in a hospital with demonstrators outside.

Correa told local media by phone that police protesters were hunting for him in the building and would be responsible if he was hurt. Some of the president's supporters then descended on the hospital and hurled stones at police outside.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

US imposes sanctions on Iranian officials over abuses.

Attacks on Baghdad Green Zone surge. Mitchell and Ashton bid to save Middle East peace talks.

US, Euro diplomats strive to save Mideast talks.

Iran announces delay in activating nuclear plant.

Sanctions on Iran prompt concerns about rial's value as currency.

Possible biblical clue seen in computer worm hitting Iran.

ASIA

Gen Musharraf warns of Pakistan coup after crisis meeting in London.

5 NATO service members killed in Afghanistan.

China: 3 Japanese nationals released.

Pakistan halts NATO supplies after border attack.

NKorea prints photo of heir apparent Kim Jong Un.

North Korea looks to China after talks with South break down. Koreas military talks end with no progress.

Afghan opium production 'halved'.

Lawyer: Disputed India holy site to be divided.

China urges Japan to stop making irresponsible comments on bilateral ties.

AFRICA

TV shows French and African al Qaeda hostages in desert.

North African spy chiefs set up intelligence centre.

Nigeria police work to free children after bus hijack.

DR Congo sexual abuse victims to speak to UN.

UN lifts arms embargo on Sierra Leone.

Agree to our terms or go, Mugabe tells investors.

SAfrican AIDS orphans aging.

EUROPE

Dutch government pact bans burqa.

Russia calls Japan's island claims a "dead-end".

UK Defense Sec'y warns spending cuts too brutal.

Russia wants to improve legal base of relations with Abkhazia.

Italy's Berlusconi wins confidence vote.

Ireland prices bank rescue; Deficit at 32% of GDP. Ireland faces "horrendous" bank bill, Spain downgraded.

AMERICAS

Protesting police throw Ecuador into chaos.

Mexico violence moving close to the tipping point.

Drilling plans off Cuba stir fears of impact on Gulf.

Hitmen kill Mexican mayors as drugs war intensifies.

Central American leaders plead for more U.S. anti-drug help.

Russia demands lifting of US blockade against Cuba.

Rescue effort more than half way to trapped Chilean miners.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Interpol head warns of Somali threat.

U.N. Security Council demands better cooperation against terrorism.

U.S. looks at ways to control militant websites.

New focus on Europeans who have traveled to Pakistan to train at militant camps.

CIA chief Leon Panetta briefs Pakistan intelligence chief on major attack.

Spain arrests American 'who funded al-Qaeda'.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

WTO: U.S. ban on Chinese poultry is illegal.

House passes tariff bill to stop China's yuan imbalance with U.S.

AIG reaches deal to repay government.

China rich make "generous" gifts at Gates and Buffett dinner.

US is 'practically owned' by China: analyst.

Nearly one in four second-quarter US home sales a foreclosure.

Stocks set to close out best quarter in a year and best September in 70 years.

Dollar set for biggest monthly loss since 2008 versus Euro on U.S. economy.

Iraq News Updates -- September 30, 2010

A security checkpoint near the Green Zone in Baghdad. The Green Zone has been hit by rocket fire 23 times in the past month. Ayman Oghanna for The New York Times

Attacks On Baghdad Green Zone Surge -- New York Times

BAGHDAD — The heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq’s capital has in recent weeks come under an intensifying barrage of rocket attacks, and a senior American military commander suggested Wednesday that Iranian-backed militias were behind the attacks in an effort to influence the formation of a new Iraqi government.

The attacks — 23 in the past month, including 2 on Wednesday — have alarmed American officials and raised questions about the ability of Iraq’s security forces to stamp out attacks on the capital’s governmental and diplomatic core.

Read more ....

More News On Iraq

US General: Iraq Political Limbo Fuels Violence -- New York Times/AP
Lack of Iraq govt hurting security and refugee returns -- AFP
Political Impasse Deters Iraqis From Going Home: U.N. -- New York Times/Reuters
Failed bank heist in Baghdad leaves 3 dead -- Yahoo News/AP
Iraq security forces stymie Baghdad bank robbery -- Reuters
In Baghdad, fighting leaves 2 police officers dead -- CNN
FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Sept 29 -- AlertNet
Hitmen ‘have killed 630 Iraqis with silent guns’ -- The National
Iraqi Shiite militia hints of Iran's hand in south -- AP
Allawi Tells Iran to Stay Out of Iraqi Politics -- Voice of America
Iraq's Allawi asks Syria to press Iran not to meddle -- AFP
Iraqi PM candidate in Syria for talks -- Yahoo News/AP
Analysis: Iraq Shi'ites may pick Maliki for PM -- Reuters
Iraq set to announce new oil reserves -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Iraq to announce big rise in oil reserves Monday -- Reuters
Civil war ‘worst scenario’ for Iraq, says analyst -- Hurriyet News
Mullen worried about threats to security gains in Iraq -- Government Executive
Iraq: Scary Monsters -- Strategy Page
Britain suffered defeat in Iraq, says US general -- BBC
US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,424 -- Washington Post/AP

President Of Ecuador Claims Coup D'Etat As National Police Go On Strike. State Of Emergency Declared



Police Launch Massive Protest In Ecuador -- Wall Street Journal

QUITO—Members of Ecuador's national police and air force Thursday launched a massive strike against the government of President Rafael Correa.

The heated protests started after the Correa administration went ahead with overhauls that will cut benefits and affect decorations that increase remuneration for the police and military.

Police officials burned tires in the streets and protested against the government, while air force officials shut down the airport in Quito. The army has said it supports President Correa.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Ecuador

Ecuador declares state of emergency amid 'coup attempt' -- BBC
Ecuador's president, claiming coup attempt, 'won't relent' -- CNN
Protesting police throw Ecuador into chaos -- AP
Correa Claims Ecuador Coup Attempt After Scuffling With Police -- Bloomberg
Ecuador in turmoil as president denounces 'coup attempt' -- AFP
President attacked in Ecuador unrest -- Reuters
Ecuador thrown into chaos as police and troops take over airport -- The Guardian
Ecuador President injured in ‘coup’ -- The Telegraph
Peru's Garcia says to shut Ecuador border due unrest -- Reuters
US watches Ecuador events closely -- AFP

Surge In U.S. Military Suicides Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions



Top Admiral: Military Suicides Will Keep Rising -- Time Magazine

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was talking of the military's ability to fight future wars Wednesday when he suddenly changed gears. "We had five suicides in the Army last weekend," the nation's top military officer abruptly volunteered. And, he warned, such horrors are only going to grow.

Read more ....

More News On The Growing Problem Of Suicides In The U.S. Military

Military Warns of Expected Increase in Soldier Suicides -- New York Magazine
Joint Chiefs chairman warns of rise in military suicides -- Boston.com
Surge in Military Suicides Tops Pentagon's 'Emergency' Issues -- US News And World Report
Four Suicides in a Week Take a Toll on Fort Hood -- New York Times
Army's largest base reeling from four apparent suicides in one weekend -- CNN
Fort Hood may break record for suicides this year -- Houston Chronicle/AP
Fort Hood suicides hit record number -- Austin News
Fort Hood assessing soldiers in wake of suicides -- AP

My Comment: They do not have a good idea on how to handle this growing problem, and even if they did, they do not have the resources to combat it.

U.S. Military Space Programs Are At Risk

Photo: Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry (Trey) Obering. (Radio Free Europe)

Military Space Programs at Risk, Experts Say -- Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- U.S. national security space capabilities, so critical to deployed combat forces and national missile defense, and the supporting industrial base are at a dangerous "tipping point" and need focused leadership and long-term stability in programs and budgets to avoid a crisis, a panel of administration officials and defense space experts warned yesterday (see GSN, July 27).

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry (Trey) Obering, the former director of the Missile Defense Agency, warned that the soaring cost and prolonged development time for new satellites had left the nation with no backup systems to replace any that could be affected by hostile action.

Read more
....

Update: Military space programs at risk, experts say -- Government Executive

My Comment: This is not the only program that is at risk. But with Congress now facing unsustainable budget deficits, space programs like NASA and the U.S. military space program are at real risk of suffering severe budget cutbacks.

I Am Not The Only One Who Respects General Lutte

Photo: Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute (Wikipedia)

It's About Respect -- Armchair Generalist

In the continuing discussion about civil-military affairs in the government, I had meant to highlight LTG Douglas Lute's performance in the past Obama AfPak strategy review. Lute, as you might recall, was plucked from the Joint Staff operations role to be Pres. Bush's advisor on Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. He keeps a pretty low profile, but every now and then you'll see his name in the paper. He also made Woodward's book for standing up against ADM Mullen and SecDef Gates.

In late November, as the president made the decision to escalate the U.S. commitment to the war, Lute warned him that the approach was unlikely to succeed.

"Mr. President, you don't have to do this," Woodward quotes Lute as saying.

The Army general maintained that the Taliban's ability to exploit Pakistani safe havens, the persistent corruption within the Afghan government and the poor state of the Afghan security forces made it unlikely that the surge of forces would produce major changes in Afghanistan by July 2011.

Lute's strident questioning of the military's preferred strategy drew a stern rebuke from Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military's top officer.

"The secretary and I believe you weren't always helpful in the course of the review," Mullen is quoted as telling Lute.

"I hope the president doesn't have the same view," Lute responded.

Read more ....

Update: More Praise for Lute -- Armchair Generalist

My Comment: I have done a few posts on General Lute in the past. These posts give an interesting historical perspective on why we are where we are today. In chronological order .... read here, here, here, and here.

Indian Court Rules That Holy Site To Be Divided Between Muslims And Hindus



India Court Says Mosque Site To Be Divided -- New York Times/Reuters

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - A court ruled on Thursday the site of a demolished mosque in India would be divided between Hindus and Muslims, in a ruling that could appease both groups in one of the country's most divisive cases.

The court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh also ruled that Hindu idols could stay on the disputed land, lawyers added.

The demolition of the 16th century mosque by Hindu mobs in 1992 triggered some of India's worst riots that killed about 2,000 people. More than 200,000 police fanned out in India on Thursday to guard against any communal violence.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Indian Court Mosque Decision

Indian court rules disputed India holy site split -- Yahoo News/AP
Indian court rules to divide disputed holy site -- Yahoo News/AFP
Indian court divides holy site in thirds -- UPI
India holy site 'split between Hindus and Muslims' -- BBC (Video)
Indian holy site of Ayodhya 'to be divided' -- BBC
Indian Court Orders Division of Disputed Holy Site -- Voice of America
India Court Divides Disputed Ayodhya Holy Land Among Hindu Groups, Muslims -- Bloomberg
Indian court splits holy site in three -- CNN
Decision on holy site could spark Indian riots -- CNN
Disputed India Holy Site to Be Divided, Court Rules -- New York Times
India Braces for Response to Verdict -- Wall Street Journal
The dispute over the Babri mosque -- Al Jazeera
Ayodhya verdict: The history of the Babri Masjid site -- Washington Post

My Comment: I expect a backlash to this ruling. I cannot see two religions .... with a long and bloody history between each other .... coexisting side by side in peace. I have my doubts.

Official Picture Of North Korea's Next Leader Released

A screenshot of Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, and his heir apparent. This week, Kim Jong Un, shown seated between two generals, was elevated to top political and military positions during a rare conference of North Korea's Worker's Party (KCTV, Pyongyang)

NKorea Prints Photos of Heir Apparent Kim Jong Un -- ABC News

North Korean state-run media publishes photos, airs video of heir apparent Kim Jong Un

North Korea introduced its heir apparent to the world Thursday, a chubby-faced young man with a serious expression, combed back hair cut high and tight on the sides and wearing a communist-style black suit.

State media published the first official images of Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of leader Kim Jong Il who appears destined to inherit control of the impoverished, nuclear-armed state.

Read more ....

More News On North Korean Leader Heir Apparent Kim Jong Un

NKorea prints photos of heir apparent Kim Jong Un -- Yahoo News/AP
North Korea's leader-in-waiting goes on show -- Yahoo News/Reuters
N.Korea publishes first photo of heir apparent -- Yahoo News/AFP
New images of North Korea's heir apparent Kim Jong-un -- BBC
N. Korea Publishes Photos of Likely Next Leader -- CBS News/AP
North Korea unveils first photo of Kim Jong-un as heir apparent -- Christian Science Monitor
Photo of North Korean Successor Released -- Voice of America
NKorea's Heir Apparent Makes Media Debut -- AOL
Young Kim's debut isn't exactly picture-perfect -- L.A. Times

My Comment: I now know why a picture of him has not been released until now. He looks like someone that the bullies in high school would beat up. I also now suspect (and I am guessing) that the old guard who run North Korea will only let him have the position that his father wants him to have if they are permitted a free hand to run their own 'shows'.

But I expect this to only be a temporary situation. After Kim Jong Il is gone, expect the leadership battles to break out after a year of his "mourning".

After U.S. Attack On The Border, Pakistan Seals Off NATO Supply Line To Afghanistan



Pakistan Halts NATO Supplies After Border Attack -- Yahoo News/AP

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani authorities blocked a vital supply route for NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan on Thursday, angered by a cross-border NATO airstrike that killed three Pakistani soldiers, officials said.

Trucks and fuel tankers for foreign forces in Afghanistan were stopped at Torkham border post in Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar, hours after the raid, the fourth reported by Pakistani authorities in recent days.

Read more
....

More News On Pakistan Stopping NATO Supplies To Afghanistan

Pakistan halts NATO supplies after border attack -- Reuters
Pakistan halts NATO supplies to Afghanistan -- Yahoo News/AFP
Pakistan Halts NATO Supplies to Afghanistan After Attack -- New York Times
Pakistan blocks NATO's Afghan-bound supply trucks after airstrike that officials say killed 3 soldiers -- Washington Post
NATO supply truck to Afghanistan blocked -- UPI
Pakistan cuts Nato supply line after helicopter strike -- BBC
Pakistan blocks Nato supply route to Afghanistan -- The Guardian
Officials: Pakistan Blocks NATO Supply Trucks -- FOX News
Pakistan Blocks NATO Supplies After Air Strike Kills 3 Soldiers -- Businessweek/Bloomberg
Pakistan cuts off Nato supply route -- Al Jazeera
Pakistan Blocks Some NATO Trucks At Afghan Border -- NPR
Pakistan seals off NATO supply line to Afghanistan after US air attack -- Christian Science Monitor
Pakistan bans NATO supply convoys after reports of deaths -- CNN
Why Pakistan Has the Obama Administration Sweating -- Time Magazine
'Obama gives Pakistan ultimatum' -- Press TV
With friends like these -- Shyema, Dawn

Afghanistan War News Updates -- September 30, 2010

CHAK CHECK - U.S. Army Pfc. David Boucher provides security in the Chak district, Wardak province, Afghanistan, Sept. 24, 2010. Boucher is assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Donald Watkins

Petraeus Fights Time, Enemy In Afghanistan -- Washington Times

Brings methodological approach to haphazard land

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan | Army Gen. David H. Petraeus trudges across a gravel helicopter-landing area with his aides, looking purposeful but a bit grim, as he reaches a village outpost in the violent Afghan province of Helmand.

He's here to chart progress, or lack thereof, in a war that's running at the pace of a horse cart, in a world that runs at the speed of a text message.

Read more ....

More News On Afghanistan

Foreign soldier killed in south Afghanistan: NATO -- AFP
Marine combat cameraman from Camp Pendleton killed in Afghanistan -- L.A. Times
Top Al Qaeda figures reported killed -- L.A. Times
NATO Confirms Senior Al-Qaida Commander Killed -- New York Times/AP
NATO says Strike on Al Qaeda Successful in Eastern Afghanistan -- FOX News
Car Bomber in South Afghanistan Kills 3 Civilians -- ABC News
Suicide Bomber Reportedly Targets NATO Convoy Near Kandahar -- Radio Free Europe
NATO airstrike kills Afghan civilians -- CNN
Coalition wants more troops for Afghanistan -- ABC News (Australia)
Thousands of Afghans displaced by fighting -- AFP
Thousands of Afghans displaced by fighting -- Rawa News
Grisly allegations in war-crimes probe of Army Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs -- Washington Post
U.S. soldier kept count of killings in tattoo -- National Post
'Kill squad' fallout: How many US troops in Afghanistan use hashish? -- Christian Science Monitor

Afghan opium production 'halved'
-- BBC
UN: Afghan Opium Production Halved in 2010 -- New York Times/AP
Opium price jump may tempt back Afghan farmers -- The Guardian
Afghan opium output drops 50 percent: UN -- AFP

Taliban downplay Afghan gov't backed High Council for Peace -- Xinhuanet
Taliban deny high-level contact with Afghan government -- CNN
Taliban contacts still at embryonic stage: NATO envoy -- Reuters

UN Says Afghan Election a Positive Sign -- New York Times/AP
Most Canadians agree it's time to leave Afghanistan: Global poll -- Montreal Gazette/Global News
Polish troops to leave Afghanistan by 2014 -- Polish Radio
Afghan Insurgency Can Be Reduced Over Time -- NPR (Audio)
Plan to convert Taliban, create defense force has promise and peril -- Stars And Stripes
Admiral Mullen intent on fighting Afghanistan war, not fighting about it -- Christian Science Monitor
Obama’s Afghan war has ‘echoes of Vietnam’ -- Paul Koring, Globe And Mail
'Obama's Wars': The gang that couldn't shoot straight -- or shut up -- Eliot Cohen, Washington Post
Tearful Karzai warns of youth exodus from Afghanistan. Here's why. -- Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor
The White House's Afghanistan defeatism -- Jackson Diehl, Washington Post

World News Briefs -- September 30, 2010



Official: Germans, Brits Behind Europe Terror Plot -- Yahoo News/AP

ISLAMABAD – Eight Germans and two British brothers are at the heart of an al-Qaida-linked terror plot against European cities, but the plan is still in its early stages, with the suspects calling acquaintances in Europe to plan logistics, a Pakistani intelligence official said Thursday. One of the Britons died in a recent CIA missile strike, he said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Attacks on Baghdad Green Zone surge. Mitchell and Ashton bid to save Middle East peace talks.

US, Euro diplomats strive to save Mideast talks.

Iran announces delay in activating nuclear plant.

Sanctions on Iran prompt concerns about rial's value as currency.

Possible biblical clue seen in computer worm hitting Iran.

ASIA

Pakistan halts NATO supplies after border attack.

NKorea prints photo of heir apparent Kim Jong Un.

North Korea looks to China after talks with South break down.

Afghan opium production 'halved'.

Lawyer: Disputed India holy site to be divided.

China urges Japan to stop making irresponsible comments on bilateral ties.

AFRICA

North African spy chiefs set up intelligence centre.

Nigeria police work to free children after bus hijack.

DR Congo sexual abuse victims to speak to UN.

UN lifts arms embargo on Sierra Leone.

Agree to our terms or go, Mugabe tells investors.

SAfrican AIDS orphans aging.

EUROPE

UK Defense Sec'y warns spending cuts too brutal.

Russia wants to improve legal base of relations with Abkhazia.

Italy's Berlusconi wins confidence vote.

Ireland prices bank rescue; Deficit at 32% of GDP. Ireland faces "horrendous" bank bill, Spain downgraded.

AMERICAS

Drilling plans off Cuba stir fears of impact on Gulf.

Hitmen kill Mexican mayors as drugs war intensifies.

Central American leaders plead for more U.S. anti-drug help.

Russia demands lifting of US blockade against Cuba.

Rescue effort more than half way to trapped Chilean miners.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

New focus on Europeans who have traveled to Pakistan to train at militant camps.

CIA chief Leon Panetta briefs Pakistan intelligence chief on major attack.

Spain arrests American 'who funded al-Qaeda'.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

AIG reaches deal to repay government.

China rich make "generous" gifts at Gates and Buffett dinner.

US is 'practically owned' by China: analyst.

Nearly one in four second-quarter US home sales a foreclosure.

Stocks set to close out best quarter in a year and best September in 70 years.

Dollar set for biggest monthly loss since 2008 versus Euro on U.S. economy.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 30, 2010

Planned defence cuts threaten the future of the Vanguard class of Trident nuclear submarines

Britain And France May Share Nuclear Deterrent -- The Independent

Joint submarine patrols were rejected by Brown before the election, but they are now seen as an answer to defence cuts.

The possibility of a "shared" UK-French nuclear deterrent is set to be on the agenda of a summit between David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy in London this autumn.

A politically explosive proposal for joint Franco-British nuclear-submarine patrols – an idea sunk without trace in the recent past – has been brought back to the surface by the draconian defence cuts in both countries.

Read more ....

MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE NEWS BRIEFS

2 Koreas Hold First Military Talks in 2 Years -- ABC News

Britain's Maritime Capabilities Could Bear Brunt Of Cuts: Fox
-- Defense News

Germany to End Conscription -- New York Times

The swarm from Iran -- Information Dissemination

Experts Unimpressed With Iran's New 'Flying Boats' -- AOl

China takes step toward restoring military relations with U.S.
-- Stars And Stripes

Why China Won’t Engage -- Arms Control Wonk

Pakistan Declares Khan Off-Limits -- Global Security Newswire

Strategic Weapons: Getting Past Reality in India -- Strategy Page

The Next Army After Next -- Ares/Aviation Week

The USA’s New Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) -- Defense Industry Daily

Decision Week For The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle -- Defpro

Joint Air-to-Ground Missile Faces Tough Tests -- Defense Tech

Boeing Wins 12 Billion Dollar Pentagon Contract
-- Defense News

Look Out, Cyber Bombers Overhead
-- Ares/Aviation Week

Military Myopia -- Armchair Generalist

Darpa Moves a Step Closer to Its Flying Humvee -- The Danger Room

U.S. Military Showing Strains After Almost 10 Years Of War

DUKE ADDRESS - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates speaks to ROTC cadets from Duke University, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University at Duke University in Durham, N.C., Sept. 29, 2010. DOD photo by Cherie Cullen

Risk of Gap Between U.S. Military and Society: Gates -- Defense News

DURHAM, North Carolina - Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned on Sept. 29 that the all-volunteer U.S. military could become alienated from the rest of society, with recruits and bases concentrated in more rural, conservative areas.

Gates said most Americans were untouched by the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and few had relatives or friends in the armed forces, as less than one percent of the population was serving in uniform.

Read more ....

More News On Sec. of Def. Gates Comments On Today's U.S. Military

Lecture at Duke University (All-Volunteer Force): As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert
M. Gates, Durham, North Carolina, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 -- US Department of Defense

Gates says too few in US bear the burdens of war -- AP
Gates Fears Wider Gap Between Country and Military -- New York Times
Risk of gap between US military and society: Gates -- AFP
Gates Praises Service, Sacrifice of All-Volunteer Force -- US Department of Defense
Military faces strains after decade of war: Gates -- Reuters
Gates (Delicately) Criticizes the All-Volunteer Military -- The Danger Room
Gates urges students to serve in military -- Fay Observer
Gates calls on students to serve, to 'take a risk' -- Washington Post

Darpa Is Looking At Young Minds For New Ideas

FIRST Robotics Competition Taking a cue from the FIRST Robotics Competition, DARPA is offering prize-based challenges to inspire high school students to design new robots. FIRST

Seeking New Defense Robots, Darpa Gives Fabrication Technology To High Schoolers -- Popular Science

Taking a page from advertising strategy, DARPA is hoping to get ‘em while they’re young. The military’s mad-science wing wants various organizations to put manufacturing equipment in 1,000 high schools around the world, part of a new program called “MENTOR” — Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach. The partnership will include new prize-based challenges to inspire a new generation of defense manufacturers.

Read more ....

My Comment: The young perceived the world with no boundaries .... they are the perfect instrument for new ideas and concepts.

Bayonet Training To Be Discontinued For US Army Recruits

New Army recruits train on the bayonet course at Fort Knox in 2004. The Army has opted to discontinue bayonet assaults from its basic training curriculum. Newscom/File

One Less Skill For Soldiers To Master At Boot Camp: Bayonet Training -- Christian Science Monitor

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling opted to discontinue bayonet training for Army recruits. After all, the last US bayonet charge was in 1951. But in the weeks since that decision, Hertling has had some pushback.

When a US Army general made the decision recently to remove bayonet assaults from the array of skills soldiers must learn during basic training, it seemed like a no-brainer.

US troops hadn’t launched a bayonet charge since 1951 during the Korean War. And new soldiers preparing for an increasingly violent war in Afghanistan already need to learn far more skills than the 10 weeks of basic training allows, says Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, head of initial entry training and the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

Read more
....

My Comment: I guess they only cram so much information in 10 weeks of training .... and bayonet training is at the bottom of the list.

The Effects Of World War I And II Are Still With Us


Bomb Hotspots Of Northern Europe -- New Scientist

If you want to avoid being blown up by a bombs lost during World Wars I and II, be careful trawling the seabed for fish - particularly near the coast of the Netherlands and Belgium. That's the message from the most comprehensive survey yet of sunken wartime munitions in waters of the North-East Atlantic.

The survey highlights the southern North Sea as a hotspot for accidental finds of bombs (PDF). Of 1879 encounters reported throughout the North-East Atlantic since 2004, almost three quarters, 1320, were in that area.

Read more ....

Former East German Spies Find Work With NATO

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West Germans were desperate to prevent the Stasi's top codebreakers from falling into the wrong hands. They hatched a cunning plan that involved setting up a front company to hire the East German cryptographers. This photo shows a T-130 device, which East German officials used to encode their telex messages. Jens Raeder / NVA Museum Harnekop

Former Stasi Cryptographers Now Develop Technology For NATO -- Spiegel Online

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West Germans were desperate to prevent the Stasi's top codebreakers from falling into the wrong hands and set up a company to hire the East German cryptographers. Now the former Stasi scientists develop technology used by Angela Merkel and NATO.

Every morning, while going to his office in Berlin's Adlershof district, Ralph W. passes a reminder of his own past, a small museum that occupies a room on the ground floor of the building. The museum could easily double as a command center run by the class enemy in an old James Bond film. A display of coding devices from various decades includes the T-310, a green metal machine roughly the size of a huge refrigerator, which East German officials used to encode their telex messages.

Read more ....

My Comment: A fascinating look into how former intelligence officers can be incorporated into the West.

A World Wide Trend To Cut Defense Budgets (Maybe)

Sign of Changing Times: U.S. Senate Panel Trims 2011 Defense Appropriations Bill -- Defense News

As spending cuts go, the $8 billion that U.S. Senate appropriators trimmed from next year's defense spending bill wasn't much - a little more than 1 percent off the $678 billion requested by President Barack Obama.

But to many who monitor defense budgets closely, the fact that the defense budget was cut at all was more significant than the amount. The action by the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee shows that there is "a bipartisan push to cut defense," said Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Read more ....

My Comment: The paragraph that caught my attention was the following ....

"Absent any new conflict, by 2015 the base defense budget by then looks to be in the $750 billion to $800 billion range." That includes more than $50 billion a year that will be needed to pay for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kiley said. "We are not leaving the Gulf entirely anytime soon."

An $800 billion Defense budget .... hmmmm .... I doubt it.

The U.S. is not the only country cutting its defense budgets .... check the stories here.

Update: No Cuts Now, HASC Tells DoD -- DoD Buzz

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

North Korea Vows To Strengthen It's Nuclear Deterrent

North Korea will not give up and rather bolster its nuclear deterrent as long as the United States threatens the communist nation, according to North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon. Yonhap News

North Korea To Strengthen Nuclear Deterrent -- RIA Novosti

North Korea vowed on Wednesday to strengthen its nuclear forces due to the threat posed by the United States.

"As long as U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers sail in the seas around our country, our nuclear deterrent can never be abandoned, but should be strengthened further," North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon told the UN General Assembly.

"This is the lesson we have drawn," he said.

Read more
....

More News On North Korea's Commitment To A Nuclear Deterrent

North Korea vows to strengthen "nuclear deterrent" -- Reuters
NKorea vows to strengthen nuclear arms -- AP
North Korea says nuclear arms must be strengthened -- AFP
N. Korea vows to bolster nuclear deterrent to counter U.S. threat -- Yonhap News
North Korea to maintain nuclear deterrent until US leaves region -- M&C
N. Korea Attributes Nuclear Development To US Presence In The Region -- RTT News

My Comment: North Korea is stating publicly what everyone else knows that they were doing.