Archive for February, 2012

Secret Charges Have Been Drawn Up By US Prosecutors Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

February 29, 2012
Revealed: US Plans To Charge Assange — Sydney Morning Herald

UNITED STATES prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, according to a confidential email obtained from the private US intelligence company Stratfor.

In an internal email to Stratfor analysts on January 26 last year, the vice-president of intelligence, Fred Burton, responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks with the comment: ”We have a sealed indictment on Assange.”

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Update: Stratfor leak: US ‘has secret indictment’ of Julian Assange — Register

My Comment: Considering the embarrassment and problems that he has caused …. there are some who would want to see him put away for a very long time.


Central America Drug Threat Growing

February 29, 2012

Central America Drug Gang Violence At ‘Alarming Levels’ — BBC

Drug-related violence is at “alarming” levels in Central America and poses a threat to the region’s security, the UN drugs watchdog says.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) also said Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua had become major transit countries for traffickers.

North America remained the biggest drugs market, the INCB’s report said.

The board also warned that illegal internet pharmacies are increasingly using social media to target consumers.

Drug-related violence in Central America involving trafficking organisations, local and transnational gangs, and other criminal groups “has reached alarming and unprecedented levels”, the INCB’s annual report says.


My Comment: First it was Colombia …. and then Mexico …. and now Central America. The drug trade is doing what most business enterprises do …. they grow and expand to other markets. Unfortunately with drugs, the currency of blood and violence is part of the trade.

Is The War On Drugs In Mexico “A Failure”?

February 29, 2012

Photo: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Wikipedia
Napolitano: Mexican Drug War ‘Not A Failure’ — CNN

(CNN) — U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Monday that the war on drugs in Mexico “is not a failure.”

At a press conference in Mexico City after meeting Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire, Napolitano called the drug policies of both Mexico and the United States “a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.”

Napolitano also said that among the things discussed at the meeting with Poire was how to have a more regional approach to a number of security issues threatening the United States, Mexico and Central America.

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More News On U.S. Views Towards Mexico’s Drug War

US Vows to Continue War on Drugs — Voice of America
Janet Napolitano insists Mexico drug war not a failure — BBC
Napolitano Defends U.S. Drug War in Face of Legalization Debate — New York Times/Reuters
Napolitano: Mexico Drug War Not A Failure — RTT
Napolitano defends U.S. drug war in face of legalization debate — Reuters

My Comment: After years of waging war against the drug cartels, the drug cartels are still there and the violence is still continuing …. so yeah …. we are definitely not winning the war on drugs.

Somalia’s Civil War Continues

February 29, 2012

Kenyan Airstrikes Drive al-Shabab Terrorists From Somalia Strongholds — Washington Times

KAMPALA, Uganda — After months of delay often bogged down in muddy fields, Kenyan troops are finding their footing to become a valuable asset in the fight against al-Shabab terrorists in Somalia.

About 1,500 Kenyan soldiers crossed Somalia’s eastern border in October without approval from African Union peacekeepers, who were there to support a shaky transitional government in a lawless nation gripped in turmoil for more than 20 years.

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More News On Somalia’s Civil War

Somalia: Thousands Flee to Mogadishu After Afgoye Fighting —
Blast kills 3 at Mogadishu football match — News24
Nervously, world powers eye greater Somalia action — Defense Web/Reuters
Somalia’s Shabab occupy beloved “Mama Hawa” camp — Toronto Star
Somali PM hopes to see Shebab fighters gone soon — AFP
UN team out to verify needs of Kenya forces — Daily Nation
Analysis – Somali reform rush may be militant lifeline — Reuters
Somalia’s President: Still the ‘best hope,’ or leader of a failed state? — Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star

Denmark Piracy Raid Off Somalia Kills Two Hostages

February 29, 2012
HDMS Absalon. Wikipedia
Danish Navy Frees Hostages Off Somalia, 2 Killed — Reuters

* Navy says fired on pirate ship after warnings ignored
* Sixteen hostages rescued, nationality not disclosed
* Suspected pirates unhurt but two hostages killed

COPENHAGEN, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Two people held hostage by suspected Somali pirates were killed during a rescue operation by the Danish navy that succeeded in freeing 16 other captives off the horn of Africa, the navy said on Tuesday.

The Absalon, a Danish warship serving in NATO’s counter-piracy mission Ocean Shield, fired on the suspect boat, a traditional dhow, after it disobeyed orders to stop, the navy said. Seventeen suspected pirates were arrested.


More News On The Danish Navy Piracy Raid That Kills Two Hostages

Danish navy piracy raid leaves two dead
— The Telegraph
Denmark piracy raid off Somalia leaves two dead — BBC
Two hostages of pirates killed in rescue mission off Somalia — The Guardian/AP
Two hostages die as Danish warship confronts Somalian pirates — The Australian
Two Hostages Die as Danish Navy Fires at Pirate Ship Off Somalia — SFGate/Bloomberg

Global Arms Market Hits $411 Billion In 2010

February 29, 2012

F/A-18C Hornets fly over the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson under way in the Arabian Gulf, Feb. 23, 2012. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class James R. Evans
Think Tank Names Lockheed Martin World’s Largest Arms Producer — RIA Novosti

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent international institute researching into conflicts, arms control and disarmament, named U.S. Lockheed Martin the biggest arms vendor in 2010, with sales totalling $35.7 billion.

Only three companies in the top ten of the SIPRI Yearbook 2012, based on the 2010 data, are not from the United States – U.K. BAE Systems (2nd, with sales of $32.9 billion), Europe’s EADS (7th, with sales of $16.4 billion) and Italy’s Finmeccanica (8th, with sales of $14.4 billion).


More News On The World’s Global Arms Market

Despite Weak Economies, Global Military Industrial Complex Sales Still Rising — Forbes
Sales grew 1 per cent for top 100 arms makers in 2010: study — Globe and Mail/Reuters
Global arms market hit $411 bn in 2010 — AFP
Think tank: Sales-growth for arms vendors slows —
Defense Market Survey: U.S. Firms Continue to Rule Global Arms Sales — National Defense
Arms Sales By the Top 100 Companies Worldwide Exceed $411 Billion — Ottawa Citizen
Swedish think tank says sales-growth for arms vendors slowed in 2010 amid Iraq withdrawals — Washington Post
EU arms trade booming despite crisis — EU Observer
Global arms market hits $411 billion dollars in 2010: report — Business Recorder
Three Indian entities – HAL, BEL and OFB among world’s top 100 arms manufacturers — The Economic Times
Largest Arms Sales List Includes 11 Russian Firms — RIA Novosti
Ten Companies Profiting Most from War — 24/7 Wall Street

WNU Editor: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) website is here. The list of the top 100 arms merchants is here.

Afghanistan War News Updates — February 28, 2012

February 29, 2012

Pentagon Says ‘Fundamental Strategy’ In Afghanistan Is Sound — Washington Post

The Pentagon said Monday that it will not change its “fundamental strategy” in Afghanistan despite a week of crises that have worsened the strained partnership between the Afghan government and U.S. and NATO forces.

U.S. officials acknowledged that tensions remain high in Kabul and that distrust has not dissipated since last weekend’s killing of two U.S. military officers inside the Afghan Interior Ministry, apparently by a rogue Afghan security officer.


More News On Afghanistan

US: Afghanistan turmoil won’t change US war plan — Yahoo News/AP
Pentagon: Protests Will Not Alter Afghan Mission — Voice of America
‘Cowardly’ Afghanistan Attacks Won’t Deter U.S., Pentagon Says — Bloomberg Businessweek
US keeps withdrawal timeline despite Koran row — ABC News (Australia)
US will not alter troop withdrawals despite Koran protests — The Telegraph
US Strategy In Afghanistan Questioned Amid Violence — NPR (audio)
With Panetta facing Senate panel, new questions on Afghan future — MSNBC
Officials Reaffirm Commitment to Afghan Strategy — US Department of Defense
Afghan attacks over Koran burning renew debate on U.S. drawdown — L.A. Times

Coalition, Afghans Work Together to Capture Insurgents — US Department of Defense
War in Afghanistan 28, February, 2012 — War On Terror News
Afghan bomb blasts kill 14 people — Iol News
Suicide attack near NATO base kills 9 Afghans in response to Koran burnings — Washington Post
Afghan Violence not Disrupting Ops, DoD says —
US ties with Afghans in crisis after violence — AFP
U.S. Murders at Heart of Afghan Ministry Raise Questions — New York Times/Reuters
Rioting on the wane in Afghanistan, but U.S. military advisers not ready to return to ministry posts — FOX News

U.N. yanks staff from northern Afghanistan — UPI
Afghan president condemns fatal bombing at military airfield — CNN
U.S. shouldn’t speed up Afghanistan pull out: ambassador — Yahoo News/Reuters
PJ Media: White House Won’t Release Obama’s 3 Page Apology Letter to Hamid Karzai — FOX News

Sprawling air base in western Afghanistan reflects hopes, perils of massive buildup — Stars and Stripes
Torture, Riots, Burnt Korans: One Afghan Jail’s Dark History — Spencer Ackerman, Danger Room
Cultural Cluelessness Threatens U.S. Commando Strategy — David Axe, Danger Room
If Afghans Want to Reject the U.S. and Embrace Theocracy, That’s Their Right — Max Fisher, The Atlantic
As the west plans its pullout from Afghanistan, many desperate Afghans are also looking for an exit — Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian
Violence suggests ‘Afghans hate us, and we don’t trust them’ — McClatchy News
“Tipping Point?” — Mark Thompson, Time
Afghanistan’s true outrage — Hamida Ghafour, Globe and Mail
Apologies in Afghanistan — Amy Davidson, New Yorker
Afghanistan: The Friendship That Went Up in Flames — Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau, Newsweek
No Easy Exit From Afghanistan — International Herald Tribune
Understanding the rage in Afghanistan — James Carroll,
Afghanistan on edge — L.A. Times editorial

Military And Intelligence News Briefs — February 28, 2012

February 29, 2012
Major Mike Rountree, (Center) a marine fighter attack training officer, shows naval flight students a U.S. Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter Jet during a roll-out ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, February 24, 2012. Michael Spooneybarger / Reuters
Top Military Pilots Grounded By F-35 Mess — MSNBC

Questions about safety, cost overruns raise doubts about the entire program’s feasibility

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The best fighter pilots from the Air Force, Marines and Navy arrived in the Florida Panhandle last year to learn to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive, most advanced weapons program in U.S. history. They are still waiting.

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Global arms market hit $411 bn in 2010 — AFP

Arms Sales By the Top 100 Companies Worldwide Exceed $411 Billion — Ottawa Citizen

EU arms trade booming despite crisis — EU Observer

Kandahar Air Wing conducts first led air assault — Dvids

Russia Pledges to Repay Debt for Kyrgyz Base — RIA Novosti

No Need For Russian Air Base Says New Kyrgyz President
— RIA Novosti

Russia, Norway to Conduct Joint Naval Drills in May — RIA Novosti

Married British soldiers forced to leave Army accommodation as part of cuts to £318m housing bill — Daily Mail

Turkey restricts use of airspace by Israeli cargo planes — Haaretz

Israel plans for second F-35 squadron — UPI

North Korea Proclaims Right to Nuclear Weapons — Global Security Newswire

U.K. still short of some facts on the F-35 decision — Eric Palmer blog

U.S. eyes V-22 aircraft sales to Israel, Canada, UAE — Reuters

Troubled Canadian submarines to be used until 2030 — CBC

U.S. general confirms defense shield radar site in Turkey — Seattle PI/AP

Army Eyes Allies To Lighten Combat Vehicle Load — Aol Defense

U.S. Army Rethinks Last Decade’s Force Redesign; Fewer Trucks Needed — Defense News

Army Keeps Humvee Fleet Alive, Presses Ahead With JLTV — Aol Defense

USAF Looking to Silicon Valley to Get its Innovation Mojo Back — Defense Tech

US general: missile defense on track — Times Argus/AP

Nuclear weapons modernization: not fast enough for Kyl — Washington Post

White House, NSA weigh cybersecurity, personal privacy — Washington Post

Five ships, carrier air wing return from deployment — North County Times

Gay Marine’s homecoming kiss goes viral
— Yahoo News/The Lookout

Military trial in Peace Corps rape case begins

Learning the Wrong Lessons From the Fort Hood Massacre — Scott Swett, American Thinker

Will Panetta Help Accused Army Traitor? — Noisy Room

Cultural Cluelessness Threatens U.S. Commando Strategy — David Axe, Danger Room

WikiLeaks publishes intelligence firm Stratfor’s hacked emails, but analysts question their value — Laura Rozen, The Envoy

Will future wars be fought with drones?
— Stephen Manual, All Voices

Is The F-35 Strike Fighter The Military Chevy Volt? — IBD Editorials

How Israel Might Strike At Iran

February 29, 2012


How Israel Might Strike At Iran — Jonathan Marcus, BBC

For all the myriad challenges facing Israel over the past decade it is the potential threat from a nuclear-armed Iran that has preoccupied the country’s military planners.

It is this that in large part has guided the development of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) over recent years.

The IAF has purchased 125 advanced F-15I and F-16I warplanes, equipped with Israeli avionics and additional fuel tanks – tailor-made for long-range strike missions.

In addition, Israel has bought specialised bunker-busting munitions; developed large, long-endurance, unmanned aircraft; and much of its training has focused on long-range missions.

Israel has a track-record of pre-emptive strikes against nuclear targets in the region.


My Comment: Iraq’s air defense are still weak and they do not have the resources to stop an Israeli fly-over …. my prediction …. Israel will use the direct path (route 2) to it’s targets in Iran.

Traffic Of Top Defense And Intelligence Officials Between Tel Aviv And Washington Is Intensifying

February 29, 2012
Extraordinary Traffic Between Tel Aviv and Washington — The Atlantic

I’m traveling overseas just now, so blogging will be light, but I couldn’t let this small observation go unmentioned: If you had just emerged from a cave, and had no idea if Israel and Iran were at war, and the only data point you had was the extraordinary traffic between Washington and Tel Aviv — every senior defense official of both Israel and the U.S. more or less continuously in flight to either the Pentagon or the Kirya, the Israeli defense ministry in Tel Aviv — you would probably make the assumption that open warfare had already begun, or that it was about to begin. Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, is now heading, again, to Washington, a few days before his prime minister; the traffic toward Israel has been relentless, as well: Not a week goes by in which the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, or the director of national intelligence, or other figures of equivalent rank, is not heading toward Israel.

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My Comment: Jeffrey Goldberg is right …. this type of high level traffic is very unusual and very ominous of what is probably being discussed …. i.e. an Israeli attack on Iran`s nuclear facilities.