British troops in Afghanistan are now using 10-centimeter-long 16-gram spy helicopters to survey Taliban firing spots. The UK Defense Ministry plans to buy 160 of the drones under a contract worth more than $31 million.
That's ~$200K per drone. Hey Fred, we could do it for half of that...
The remote-controlled PD-100 PRS aircraft, dubbed the Black Hornet, is produced by Norwegian designer Prox Dynamics. The drone is a traditional single-rotor helicopter, scaled down to the size of a toy. British troops use the drones for reconnaissance missions, sending them ahead to inspect enemy positions.
Each drone is equipped with a tiny tillable camera, a GPS coordinate receiver and an onboard autopilot system complete with gyros, accelerometers and pressure sensors, which keeps it stable in flight against winds as strong as 10 knots, according to reviews. The tiny aircraft is agile enough to fly inside compounds, and is quiet enough not to attract unwanted attention. If detected, the drones are cheap enough to be considered expendable.
The auto-pilot either follows a preprogrammed flight plan or receives commands from a manual control station, which is about the size of a large smartphone. The drone's camera can feed compressed video or still images to an operator up to a kilometer away, and its rechargeable battery provides power for about 30 minutes of flight.
In addition to the drone and the controller, each system comes with a ground base station, which houses the operating system, main electronics, internal batteries and chargers. It also protects the drone while being transported. The weight of the entire kit is about a kilogram, easily portable in the field.
A Jan 20 UN report found that more than half of 635 pre-trial detainees and prisoners convicted on national security grounds had been tortured or ill-treated while in Afghan government custody.
Did the UN report mention the human rights abuses committed by the Taliban?
The Afghan government dismissed as 'exaggerated' the findings of the UN report which concluded that government reforms - including better monitoring and training but no dismissals or prosecutions - had not significantly reduced torture. Instead, officials who engage in torture benefit from complete impunity from prosecution.
On Jan 22, President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation to determine whether there were abuses in detention and identify perpetrators.
'The new UN report should sound alarm bells for the Afghan government to take decisive action to end torture,' said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. 'President Karzai needs to deliver on his recent promise to identify perpetrators of torture and to make sure those responsible are immediately arrested and prosecuted.'
And then deported to The Hague so that Carla del Ponte can prosecute them again and again over the next thirty years...
The January report follows up an October 2011 UN report documenting systematic and widespread torture in Afghan detention centres.
Torture of prisoners in Afghan government custody has been regularly documented over the past decade, including by the Afghan government's independent human rights commission as well as by Human Rights Watch and other NGOs.
Clearly it's not a nice place in the world. One might indeed prefer a Turkish prison...
In his Jan 22 order, Karzai created a task force to investigate the report's findings and respond within two weeks 'so that follow-up measures can be taken'.
Unfortunately, Human Rights Watch said, the task force consisted almost entirely of Afghan government officials who have little or no human rights expertise, and includes representatives of the state agencies with the worst records on torture.
"Mahmoud, you're the new HR expert."
"But I don't know anything about human resources!"
'This government task force is little more than window dressing because it lacks the personnel, expertise and political will to credibly tackle the very serious problem of torture in Afghanistan's detention facilities,' Adams said.
'Afghanistan needs a fully independent and permanent anti-torture body staffed by experienced human rights advocates with the resources and powers to conduct long-term and consistent monitoring and reform.'
Preferably with white Toyota Land Cruisers, houseboys and a great per diem...
The UN report found that torture was most common in detention facilities run by Afghanistan's intelligence service and police.
Since the 2011 report, abuses in police custody have actually increased, while there was some reduction in intelligence service abuses.
A quarter of torture victims were children. Almost a third of the 79 interviewees who had been handed over to Afghan authorities by international military forces reported torture or ill-treatment in Afghan custody.
Detainees told the UN investigators that torture was typically used to try to elicit confessions.
Any panties on their heads?
Fourteen different forms of torture were reported including suspension from ceilings, prolonged and severe beating including on the soles of the feet, twisting of the genitals of male detainees, electric shock, prolonged standing or forced exercise, prolonged exposure to cold weather, and threats of execution and rape.
Many detainees described being subjected to varied and escalating torture if they refused to confess or answer questions in a way that satisfied interrogators.
[Tolo News] Afghan Minister of Defence has welcomed the offer for Pakistain to help train his country's forces training, saying Pakistain is the best place for the women in the Afghan cops to receive training, a Chinese news agency wrote Friday.
Bismillah Khan Mohammadi reportedly made the comments following his meetings with Pakistain defence officials in Islamabad in the past week.
However, a hangover is the wrath of grapes... some experts do not believe Islamabad is looking to train security personnel for Afghanistan but rather that it is a new strategy aimed at turning the recruits to work for Pak aims.
"Pakistain is professional in training terrorists, not in training military forces, and it is looking for its own interests in Afghanistan. This time it is trying a new strategy," Afghan military analyst Miagol Waseeq told TOLOnews.
Mohammadi's visit to Pakistain was said by the Ministry of Defence to have increased optimism around negotiations with Islamabad on the fight against insurgency in the region and border security.
Amid the protests and violence that have roiled Egypt in the past few days, a bizarre new anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish conspiracy theory has emerged claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is tainted by a secret allegiance to Jews and Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) revealed on Friday.
Protestors in Port Said, Egypt, were shown in a television broadcast chanting "Khaibar, Khaiber, oh Jews, the Brothers (Muslim Brotherhood) are the Jews." The slogan evokes an alleged Islamic story of a battle between the prophet Muhammad and the Jews in the town of Khaibar, but in this case the chant was altered to include an allusion to the Brotherhood.
Additionally, Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan, in his Twitter campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, has recently attempted to discredit the Brotherhood by alleging a nefarious allegiance to Israel and Jews.
"It would seem that no allegation made against the Jews and Israel is too absurd when it is used to stigmatize and discredit others in the Arab world," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "However bizarre and ludicrous, it is an increasingly popular conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood is a Jewish production to destroy Egyptians."
Chief Khalfan, who holds the rank of Lieutenant General, serves as member of the Executive Council of the Government of Dubai and has more than 300,000 followers on his Twitter account, which he devotes primarily to criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is due to take part in a summit in Egypt this week, expressed his desire on Monday to visit the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Asked in an interview on the Al Mayadeen news channel whether he would visit Gaza while in Cairo next week or before his term as president expires in June, he replied: "My wish is bigger than this. I wish to pray in Jerusalem after complete liberation."
Iran does not recognize Israel.
"If they allow it, I would go to Gaza to visit the people," he said, without saying whose authority he would seek.
Egypt controls the crossing with Gaza and leaders of Qatar and Malaysia have both visited the enclave from Egyptian territory in the last six months.
Ahmadinejad's visit to Cairo will be the first for an Iranian president since the 1979 Iranian revolution ruptured diplomatic ties between the two most populous countries in the Middle East.
He will head Iran's delegation to a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo.
Egypt's top court on Sunday postponed a ruling on the legality of the Islamist-dominated commission that drafted a contested new constitution, state media reported. A verdict on the constitution, adopted by referendum in December, had been due on Sunday but the Supreme Constitutional Court adjourned its decision until March 3, the reports said.
The court would like to see if Morsi is going to be around...
A verdict had been expected on December 2 but was delayed after supporters of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi surrounded the court, preventing judges from entering the building and prompting the court to suspend its work.
A ruling then scheduled for January 15 also did not take place after dozens of demonstrators staged an overnight sit-in outside the court as riot police formed a security cordon around the building.
The court was due to issue its verdict Sunday on the legality of the panel that drafted the constitution, which is at the heart of Egypt's worst political crisis since the overthrow nearly two years ago of president Hosni Mubarak.
The opposition argues that the panel failed to represent all Egyptians as it was boycotted by liberals, leftists and Christians. The charter has divided Egypt, pitting Mursi and his backers against the opposition which includes secularists, leftists and Christians as well as Muslims.
The court was also due to deliver a verdict on the validity of the Islamist-dominated Senate, following lawsuits arguing there were irregularities in the election. It is not clear when that verdict will be announced.
Two-thirds of the Senate, the 270-member upper house known as the Shura Council, were elected early last year, with one third appointed by Mursi in December.
[Al Ahram] The Tunisian president's secular party threatened on Sunday to withdraw from the Islamist-led government unless it drops two Islamist ministers.
The moderate Islamist Ennahda party won 42 percent of seats in the country's first post-Arab Spring elections in October 2011 but formed a government in coalition with two secular parties, President Moncef Marzouki's Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol.
Coalition discussions on a cabinet reshuffle have broken down after Congress for the Republic asked for the replacement of Foreign Affairs Minister Rafik Abdessalem, who is son-in-law of Ennahda head Rached Gannouchi, and Justice Minister Nouridine Bhiri, saying their performances had been weak.
"If Ennahda does not change its foreign and justice ministers within a week, the Congress for the Republic will withdraw its ministers from the government and President Marzouki may resign from his post," said Mohammed Abbou, secretary-general of Congress for Republic.
[Al Ahram] The government of Prime Minister Hisham Kandil is currently in the process of drafting two new laws aimed at regulating the right of street protest and combating the proliferation of thuggery. According to Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, anti-protest laws have become a necessity to stem the tide of violence in the street and to regulate the right of organising demonstrations.
A draft anti-protest law is expected to be discussed by the Islamist-dominated Shura Council's Committee on National Defence in the coming days. Informed sources told Ahram Online that "if approved by the committee this week, the law could be discussed by the council in a plenary meeting next Sunday."
In its meeting held today, the Committee on National Defence launched scathing attack against private TV satellite television channels, taking them to task for alledgely inciting protesters to launch violent attacks on several state buildings in recent days, notably Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo's district of Heliopolis on 1 February. Deputy Interior Minister Major General Abdel-Fattah Othman complained that "police forces have not been able to fight violent street protests in recent days because there is no law that gives us the authority to do this."
The government's new draft law would grant police forces a free hand to use force to disrupt and disperse streets protests, especially in the vicinity of Al-Ittihadiya Palace and other significant state institutions, such as police stations, parliament, and state ministries. The 26-article law also makes it obligatory that the interior ministry be notified of any given protest or demonstration's date, objective and site. The notification request must be submitted to the ministry five days in advance of the date of the demonstration. The interior ministry reserves the right to forbid "demonstrations" or "public gatherings and meetings" if they risk "disrupting public peace and security."
The draft law also stipulates that demonstrations or street protests be organised between 7am to 7pm, and public gatherings from 7am to 11pm. The law gives police forces rights to disrupt demonstrations or public gatherings by use of force if they are found to threaten public order.
[OSUNDEFENDER.ORG] Security agencies are working on fresh clues that Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... leaders may have been relocating to Nigeria from Mali.
Some key operational bases of the sect, such as Kano, Bama, Potiskum, Damaturu and Maiduguri, are under watch because security agencies suspect that some Boko Haram (Western education is a sin) leaders are in hiding in these places.
But, despite the ceasefire announced by a faction of the sect, the Federal Government has ordered the military and other security agencies to be on the alert.
The Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke(SAN), said the government was waging a war against terrorism to avoid erosion of the nation's democratic values.
Security agencies are working on fresh clues that Boko Haram leaders are retreating back to Nigeria from Mali where foreign forces, including Nigeria's, have routed Islamist pushing to take over power. Mali is believed to be stronghold of al-Qaeda, which is believed to be backing the insurgency in some part of Nigeria.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: "We are sucking [sic] that the ceasefire by a faction of Boko Haram might be a consequence of the devastating effects of La Belle France and the UN Intervention Mission forces in Mali.
"There are intelligence reports indicating that some key leaders of the sect have retreated to Nigeria from Mali. That is why we have placed some of their operational bases under watch, despite the ceasefire. These bases are in Kano, Bama, Potiskum, Damaturu and Maiduguri, among other border towns."
Responding to a question, the source added: "The government is cautious on the declaration of ceasefire because it might be a ploy by the retreating Boko Haram leaders to regain the control of lost bases and unleash more devastating mayhem on the country.
"We cannot afford to take things for granted or be carried away by the proclamation of a ceasefire. The Chief of Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibrhim Ola Sa'ad, has asked Boko Haram leaders to prove their commitment to the ceasefire within 30 days."
Another source said: "In spite of the ceasefire, security agencies have been directed to mount water-tight security in volatile states in the Northeast and Northwest.
"So, we will increase the tempo of the present security arrangement in terror-prone states. The recent change of GOCs and top military commanders of some the Army, the Air Force and the Navy is part of plans to step up security nationwide."
Adoke yesterday gave an insight into why the government has been fighting Boko Haram and other terror-related organizations.
Adoke , who spoke at a two-day peace and security summit of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, said the government cannot handover victory to terrorists.
"There is no doubt that challenges to internal security can erode democratic gains and indeed our mutual co-existence as a pluralistic society.
"The wanton and indiscriminate deprivation of innocent lives and the infliction of harm on countless others by the wave of attacks carried out by the terrorist group, known as Boko Haram coupled with the spate of kidnappings in the country must be seen as direct attacks on the core values of democratic governance, namely the rule of law; the protection of the dignity of human beings; mutual respect among people of different faith and peaceful resolution of conflict.
Adoke said: "Although, views differ on the approaches that have been adopted in our fight against terrorism and the relative successes so far recorded, we are mindful of the need to ensure that our core democratic values are not eroded in the process, to do that would amount to handing victory to the terrorists
"As a democrat, I firmly believe in the sustainable approach we have adopted in the current challenges. Our strategy aims to: protect individuals and communities; stabilise existing conflicts and discontentment; counter- harmful and beturbanned goon sentiments and ideologies; and deploy adequate response to economic and social insecurities that contribute to the growth of terrorism.
"Notwithstanding the initiatives already enumerated, the Federal Government is always open to constructive ideas on how best to confront these challenges."
[OSUNDEFENDER.ORG] For the first time since the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... appeared on the country's scene, Nigerians especially those resident in the 19 northern States and Abuja, had a bombing-free Christmas and New Year celebrations. In fact, some Nigerians, Sunday Sun investigations revealed, heaved a sigh of relief, that 'at last, bombings are gradually reducing.' Little did they however know that they'd heaved the sigh of relief too soon.
Exactly 18 days after the New Year celebration, the faceless myrmidons went for the kill, but they missed their target- the Emir Kano. Although, no group, including the new one that birthed in Kano on January 31, 2012, Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (Meaning Vanguards for the protection of Mohammedans in Black Africa) has grabbed credit for the gun attack on the Kano monarch, the signature of last Saturday's attack however bore that of Boko Haram.
Besides, the Saturday, January 19, 2013, attack came just a day to the one-year anniversary of the first major attack on the ancient city of Kano by the Boko Haram.
But the Ansarul group, whose name is similar to one of the major groups fighting in Mali, has since grabbed credit for the attack on the Mali-bound Nigerian soldiers in a village near Okene in Kogi State, where two soldiers were said to have bit the dust.
Incidentally, the attack on the Emir of Kano occurred on the same day with the one that claimed the lives of the Mali-bound Nigerian soldiers. Since then, series of explosives have been recovered by security operatives in Jos, Kaduna, Gombe, Damaturu, Kaduna, Kano and Maiduguri, with some hitting their targets. The attack on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero did not just happen.
Investigations revealed that before last Saturday's attack, there have been pockets of killings within and around Kano by suspected terrorists. Prominent among these is the one that occurred just two days before the attack on the Emir, where four persons, including two suspected faceless myrmidons died in a shoot- out with soldiers at a checkpoint in Mariri area of the state capital. Before then, Sunday Sun further gathered, four coppers were killed in the same week by gunnies suspected to be terrorists.
[Bangla Daily Star] HuJI Founded in 1984 by Fazlur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah Aktar. The Bangla branch was established in 1992 with assistance from Osama bin Laden. Recruits come mostly from Deobandi madrassahs. HuJI and Fazlur Rehman Khalil are signators of bin Laden's declaration of war on the west. leader Mufti Abdul Hannan in his 2011 confessional statement named some intelligence and political bigwigs, including Khaleda Zia's Three-term PM of Bangla, widow of deceased dictator Ziaur Rahman, head of the Bangla Nationalist Party, an apparent magnet for corruption ... son Tarique Rahman ...the elder son of former President of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman Bir Uttam, and Khaleda Zia, former Prime Minister of Bangladesh. He is the Senior Vice Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). His nickname is Pino. There are allegations that Pino took a rakeoff from every foreign investment into the country while Mom was in office... , as criminal masterminds of the August 21 grenade assault launched to assassinate Sheikh Hasina. ...Bangla dynastic politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Bangla Awami League since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. Her party defeated the BNP-led Four-Party Alliance in the 2008 parliamentary elections. She has once before held the office, from 1996 to 2001, when she was defeated in a landslide...
AHM Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan, the then additional chief metropolitan magistrate who had recorded the statement, told a Dhaka court about its content yesterday.
Hannan, chief of banned hard boy outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJI), was in the dock while Habibur, now an additional Dhaka judge, was giving his testimony on recording the confessional statement.
The Daily Star has obtained a copy of Hannan's statement.
The HuJI leader had also narrated some conspiratorial meetings to assassinate Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader.
He was present at the meeting along with some influential leaders and ministers of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... , HuJI leaders and top intelligence officials.
Tarique, then senior joint secretary general of BNP, assigned two party leaders -- state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu -- to provide all out assistance to the HuJI men to carry out the attack.
Tarique, elder son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, is now the party's senior vice chairman.
"Before the grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004, I along with several other HuJI leaders went to Hawa Bhaban," Hannan said in the statement.
Hawa Bhaban was the political office of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
There, the hard boy leader said, he found Tarique, Abul Harris Chowdhury, former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, Abdus Salam Pintu, BNP politician Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad and Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed.
Brigadier General Abdur Rahim, then director general of National Security Intelligence (NSI), and Brigadier General Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury, then director general of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), were also present.
"I informed them about the plan of grenade attack on Awami League rally, which was to be addressed by Sheikh Hasina, and sought their assistance."
Tarique then assured them of full support and told them to communicate with Babar and Pintu for administrative assistance, the statement read.
Hannan began his statement saying that AL was defeated in 2001 general election and BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami formed the government.
His organization tried to strengthen its relation with BNP. HuJI ameer Moulana Abdus Salam, Sheikh Farid, Moulana Yahiya, Abu Bakar and Jahangir Badar contacted BNP politicians Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Kaikobad.
The two leaders arranged High Court bails for 41 HuJI men tossed in the clink Please don't kill me! in Dhankhali in 1996.
Hannan said the HuJI's communication with the BNP leaders continued and the outfit kept receiving assistance from them.
Towards the end of 2003, Abdus Salam Farid, Moulana Tajuddin, brother of BVNP leader Abdus Salam Pintu, met Babar at his government residence on Bailey Road in the capital. There GK Gaus, Ariful Islam, former DCC ward councillor; Yahiya and Abu Bakar, were also present there.
Babar told Gaus and Arif about the task of Sylhet and ordered them to do the work locally. In Sylhet, local BNP men and HuJI men went kaboom! grenades.
At the court yesterday, Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan said around 3:00pm on April 7 of 2011 jail police produced Mufti Hannan at his chamber for recording confessional statement.
Hannan was given three hours to make up his mind.
Judge Shahed Nuruddin of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 recorded Habibur's statement for half an hour yesterday.
Later, barrister Fakhrul Islam, a counsel for Mufti Hannan, cross-examined him.
The defence will again cross-examine Habibur today as the court adjourned the trial proceedings for yesterday.
Syed Rezaur Rahman, chief counsel for the August 21 grenade attack cases, stood for the state.
The August 21, 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally killed Ivy Rahman, wife of President Zillur Rahman, along with 23 others and maimed over 300 people.
Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister, narrowly escaped death and suffered ear injuries.
[Bangla Daily Star] Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ...Bangla dynastic politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Bangla Awami League since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. Her party defeated the BNP-led Four-Party Alliance in the 2008 parliamentary elections. She has once before held the office, from 1996 to 2001, when she was defeated in a landslide... yesterday directed the senior army officials to resist any anti-democratic and anti-constitutional activity for continuation of the country's development.
"Stay alert so that no vested quarter can disrupt the country's forward march riding over the army's back. I hope you'll resist any anti-democratic and anti-constitutional activity with your all-out strength," she said.
The premier was addressing the Generals Conference of Bangladesh Army at Dhaka Cantonment.
Despite many obstacles, she said, her government has brought the war criminals under the trial process, which was not an easy task.
She also called upon all to remain vigilant as anti-state conspiracy is being hatched to stop the trial process.
Laying emphasis on maintaining chain of command, Hasina said senior army officials would have to present themselves to their subordinates as examples of morality, honesty and dutifulness.
She urged them to remain vigil so that junior officers are not victimised by the propaganda of the vested quarters who want to create confusion among the members of the armed forces by spreading baseless information and rumours.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "made an important decision that will serve as a guiding principle in defending the country's security and sovereignty," the North's official KCNA news agency reported Sunday.
It did not specify what the "important decision" was, only that it came at a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Workers Party. Observers speculate that Kim gave the go-ahead for another nuclear test.
He decided to do whatever his Chinese masters told him to do...
On Jan. 26, Kim convened a meeting of a new panel of top security officials and diplomats and pledged "substantial and high-profile state measures." The party commission by contrast is an established organ that at least nominally controls the powerful Army. The regime never before made any meetings of the commission public until long after they were over.
The Chinese have little or no influence in NK, and in fact are rather frustrated with them.
Sorry. I don't put much of anything past the Chinese. I am perfectly well prepared to believe that Pudgy is their pudgy little puppet/cat's paw. They can use him to irritate us and we pretend we don't get it. How about let's nuke the bastard and see how the Chinese respond? Then we'll just say "Sorry. We didn't know."
In the opening days on the assault on HellHole1, C-17s dumped shit loads of humanitarian meals with wings.... yellow things, weird looking.
I say send in the C-17s preceded by a massive SEAD effort to save the children and kill the evil-doers. Could be made more effective with an iPhone drop at the same time, of course followed by a massive deluge of the Naked Lunch.
Given the works of Burroughs are classified as WMDs, it's time to hack all the Netflix queues in North Korea and add Cronenberg's adaptation of Naked Lunch (starring Buckaroo Bonzai). It's the 21st century, Pudge. Get with the program.
[An Nahar] The Pak Taliban urged the Mohammedan world to unite in a video message released Sunday as they condemned the French military intervention in Mali as an "ideological war".
French President Francois Hollande ...the Socialist president of La Belle France, and a fine job he's doing of it... visited Mali on Saturday and vowed his troops would stay as long as necessary to continue the fight against Salafist tough guys who had taken control of the country's north for 10 months.
An offensive led by French troops has driven rebels from all but one of Mali's major towns, but there are fears the Islamists will now wage a guerrilla campaign from the sparsely populated north.
In a video message handed out to journalists in northwest Pakistain, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) front man Ehsanullah Ehsan condemned the French intervention, which has had logistical support from other Western countries.
"The French government has attacked mujahedeen in Mali and America has also agreed to support La Belle France. I ask the whole Mohammedan world to unite because it is an ideological war," Ehsan said.
He said the forces of "non-believers" were united and urged Mohammedans to come together.
"If America is supporting La Belle France on an ideological basis then in same way all Mohammedans should unite and support one another."
The TTP has waged a bloody campaign against the Pak state in recent years and the last two months have seen a notable increase in attacks on military posts and personnel.
The group grabbed credit for a suicide kaboom on Saturday that killed at least 24 people at a military checkpost near Pakistain's semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt where Death Eaters have carved out strongholds.
In December TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million U.S. government bounty on his head, said the group was open to peace talks but poured scorn on the idea of his men giving up their weapons.
Ehsan repeated the conditional offer of negotiations with Islamabad.
But he said they could only go ahead if certain politicians, including Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... , who leads leader of the main opposition party, the PML-N, acted as guarantors.
"We do not trust the Pakistain army, it has always broken past agreements, even agreements we made with politicians," Ehsan said in the seven-and-a-half minute video, in which he appeared flanked by armed masked men.
"We need solid guarantors who can assure us about the army, because the army is the real power in Pakistain."
He said the TTP needed assurances from Nawaz and the leaders of the two largest religious parties -- Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam ...Assembly of Islamic Clergy, or JUI, is a Pak Deobandi (Hanafi) political party. There are two main branches, one led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, and one led by Maulana Samiul Haq. Fazl is active in Pak politix and Sami spends more time running his madrassah. Both branches sponsor branches of the Taliban, though with plausible deniability... Fazl, led by Pro-Taliban holy man Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... , headed by Munawar Hassan.
[Dawn] Pak schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education has undergone successful surgery at a British hospital to reconstruct her skull and help restore lost hearing.
A team of doctors carried out a five-hour operation on Saturday on the 15-year-old, who was shot in October and brought to Britannia for treatment.
The procedures carried out were cranial reconstruction, aimed at mending parts of her skull with a titanium plate, and a cochlear implant designed to restore hearing on her left side, which was damaged in the attack.
"Both operations were a success and Malala is now recovering in hospital," said a statement on Sunday from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England, where she is being treated.
The girl's condition was described as stable and the statement said her medical team were very pleased with the progress she has made. "She is awake and talking to staff and members of her family," it added.
[Dawn] The government continues to be undecided about the vaccination of around 300,000 children in North and South Wazoo agencies due to the Taliban ban on administration of polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... drops to children.
However, Switzerland makes more than cheese... parents have developed a mechanism to ensure provision of oral polio vaccine to save children from the crippling disease.
Since imposition of ban on vaccination in the two tribal agencies in June last year, top Fata Secretariat officials and representatives of the United Nations ...an organization originally established to war on dictatorships which was promptly infiltrated by dictatorships and is now held in thrall to dictatorships... ' agencies have been scratching their heads to hammer out a strategy for resumption of immunisation, but the efforts have yet to bear fruit.
In the meantime, local residents have evolved their own ways to procure OPV and protect their children against the vaccine-preventable disease.
Taliban groups in both tribal agencies have linked provision of polio drops to children to cessation of US drone strikes in the area and stopped parents from vaccinating their children against polio since June 2012.
Taliban are skeptical that the US and the government might use polio campaign for espionage, arguing after surgeon Dr Shakil Afridi's involvement in the fake vaccination campaign to reach the late Osama bin Laden ... who has won the race to that place where we all eventually end up... in Abbottabad ... A pleasant city located only 30 convenient miles from Islamabad. The city is noted for its nice weather and good schools. It is the site of Pakistain's military academy, which was within comfortable walking distance of the residence of the late Osama bin Laden.... , it had been established that the enemies spied in the name of vaccination.
The standoff between the government and Taliban has deprived around 300,000 children under five from the administration of oral polio drops in North and South Waziristan bordering Afghanistan.
Local people said health officials could not store vaccines at the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Miranshah ... headquarters of al-Qaeda in Pakistain and likely location of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Haqqani network has established a ministate in centered on the town with courts, tax offices and lots of madrassas... and others health facilities in North Waziristan due to reprisals by Taliban, who have cautioned to stay away from vaccination.
Helpless parents in the volatile area have left their children at the mercy of Allah.
[Dawn] The government on Saturday decided to indefinitely put off an anti-polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... campaign, which was set to begin on Feb 4, in view of the city's deteriorating law and order situation.
"Yes, it has been postponed to revisit our security strategy. We will be meeting again on Monday with Dr Azra Afzal Pechuho to decide a future course of action," said executive district health officer Dr Imdadullah Siddiqui, adding that the health minister had given directives that the anti-polio drive would be conducted in the presence of Rangers.
The drive, according to Dr Siddiqui, would be carried out in those high-risk union councils where a vaccination drive had to be called off in December last year because of the law and order situation. Several anti-polio workers were rubbed out in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... in December while many others were targeted in other parts of the country after which the vaccination campaign was suspended across the country. It was partially resumed in the city last month, but not in the areas where vaccinators were attacked.
This year's first polio case in the country was detected in the city on Friday. The victim was a two-year-old boy, Musharraf, resident of Bin Qasim Town's Bhains Colony.
The boy was never vaccinated against polio because of his family's misconceptions.
Meanwhile, ...back at the alley, Slats Chumbaloni was staring into a hole that was just .45 inch in diameter and was less than three feet from his face ... medical experts have said challenges posed by polio could be met with success even in these volatile conditions if the government adopts an effective strategy to deal with security concerns and the propaganda against the vaccination drive. Creating a strong demand in the communities for vaccination is a must to secure children.
Prof Dr Anita Zaidi, head of the department of paediatrics and child health at the Aga Khan University, said the task was not difficult though the situation was grim.
"Our problem is the 'persistently missed' children who serve as a reservoir in the spread of polio. These pockets can easily be identified and working with trusted community elders motivated to vaccinate their children against all diseases, including polio," she said.
Raising awareness of the disease and its prevention, according to Dr Zaidi, is critical.
The government needs to use the media, especially the electronic media, to educate the people about the significance of vaccinating their children, particularly against the nine diseases for which vaccination are administered free of cost," she said, adding that unless a strong demand was created in communities for vaccination, eradication of polio would remain a dream.
Two of the heavyweights in Iranian politics attacked each other with accusations of blackmail, corruption and mafia-like rule, in a boisterous and unprecedented public confrontation that brings a simmering political feud into the open months ahead of presidential elections.
By Monday morning, YouTube and most Iranian news websites had posted transcripts, audio and video recordings of the exchange between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and parliament speaker Ali Larijani during a public parliamentary session Sunday.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, appearing in parliament to defend the impeachment of his labor minister, played a video that he suggested allegedly implicates the parliamentary speaker and his brothers--an influential family close to Iran's supreme leader--of financial corruption and abuse of power.
"There are some people who are doing things that make the internal pressures equal to pressure we have from outside," said Mr. Ahmadinejad, during whose tenure tough international sanctions have been slapped on Iran over its nuclear program. "My government is constantly under attack and pressure. How am I supposed to defend it?"
Mr. Larijani, the parliamentary speaker, called the president a blackmailer and waved him out of the chamber with a slang equivalent of "get lost."
Parliament turned chaotic during the session, with lawmakers screaming and throwing their fists in the air to protest the video. Some lawmakers were restrained by their colleagues. One was escorted out of the chamber.
The exchange appeared to mark several firsts in Iranian politics--the first time an Iranian president has used a public forum to launch potentially criminal allegations about another official, especially incorporating incriminating documents, which is another rarity in Iranian politics. In a political culture that places much stock in public politeness, it was also appeared to be the first time a parliament speaker has levied insults and counteraccusations in the face of a sitting president.
A top Iranian official visiting Damascus on Monday said Israel will regret its "latest aggression" on Syria and said the entire Muslim world should be ready to defend the Syrian people.
"We shall have Dire Revenge™!!"
Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran's National Security Council, also said Iran supports any initiative for dialogue between President Bashar Assad and his opponents to end the civil war in Syria, but insisted that any talks be held in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Jalili spoke to reporters at a news conference in Damascus at the end of a three-day visit to Syria.
"Just as it regretted its aggressions after the 33-day, 22-day and eight-day wars, today the Zionist entity will regret the aggression it launched against Syria," Jalili said, referring to past wars between Israel and the Lebanese militant Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas groups.
Israeli warplanes struck a site near the Syrian capital, Damascus, last week, targeting what U.S. officials said were ground-to-air missiles apparently heading for Hezbollah.
Syria said the strike targeted a military research facility and vowed retaliation, but has so far refrained from any response.
[FRANCE24] Iran's foreign minister on Sunday praised the Syrian opposition leader's openness to dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad's regime, during three-day talks that could offer a breakthrough in efforts to bring an end to Syria's civil war.
[An Nahar] Syria's main opposition group said Russia must now put pressure on Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Despoiler of Deraa... to end the spiraling conflict, a Syrian National Coalition (SNC) front man told Agence La Belle France Presse on Sunday.
"The ball is now in Russia's court. If Russia is genuinely thinking about the future of its interests in the region, we think it should side with the Syrian people's legitimate grievances, and not with those who are killing the Syrian people," front man Walid al-Bunni told AFP by telephone.
He spoke a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a first round of talks with SNC chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib in Munich.
Asked whether he thought Moscow will put pressure on Assad, Bunni said the SNC "hopes so."
"The Russian government said it was open to a solution that would meet the Syrian people's aspirations," said Bunni, although he conceded that there has been "no breakthrough in Russia's stance."
[An Nahar] Bad blood between Iran's government and parliament spilled into open on Sunday over the impeachment of a minister, with heads of the two branches accusing each other of corruption and abuse of power.
A majority of MPs voted in a heated parliament session, broadcast live on state radio, to remove the labor and social welfare minister, Abdolreza Sheikholeslam, for refusing to sack a controversial figure, Saeed Mortazavi.
Mortazavi, seen close to President Mahmoud Short Round Ahmadinejad, is a suspended judge appointed as caretaker of Iran's wealthy social welfare organization.
In the lead-up to the vote, Ahmadinejad questioned the impeachment motion and rebuked the parliament for launching attacks against his clique.
"For three years my colleagues at the government have been under the most severe pressure and accusations," Ahmadinejad said, while defending his aides ahead of the vote.
He then accused parliament speaker Ali Larijani and judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani of nepotism.
To back his claim, Ahmadinejad played a recording in which a voice said to be of their brother, Fazel, allegedly attempts to bribe Mortazavi by asking for a favor in exchange for political support of both parliament and the judiciary.
Ali Larijani in response accused Ahmadinejad of violating the law and preventing justice by shielding his inner circle from judicial probes.
"You have selected those who have judicial cases (against them) as your allies, and prevent their cases from being investigated," he said.
He then accused Ahmadinejad of using the video as a "threat" to hamper the impeachment process, by relaying a message through one of his deputies that he would play the tape if the impeachment is carried out as planned.
"He threatened me," Larijani said. "The problem is that the president does not observe the basics of ethics."
Sunday's brawl came as Iran is gearing up for its presidential election on June 14 to find a replacement for Ahmadinejad, whose victory in 2009 sparked protests against poll results which the opposition claimed were rigged.
The rift between Ahmadinejad and parliament, dominated by conservatives critical of his administration, surfaced in April 2011 after he challenged a ruling by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.
The dismissal of Sheikholeslam on Sunday marked parliament's second successful unseating of Ahmadinejad's ministers in his second and last term. In February 2011 the then transport minister was dismissed.
Mortazavi, Tehran's notorious former prosecutor, was suspended in August 2010 along with two other judges over the death in prison of three anti-government protesters in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.
A parliamentary probe found Mortazavi responsible for sending protesters to Kahrizak, a detention center south of Tehran, and demanded he be punished. The case is still ongoing.
[FRANCE24] Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Scourge of Qusayr... accused Israel on Sunday of trying to destabilise Syria by attacking a military research base outside Damascus ...The place where Pencilneck hangs his brass hat... last week, and said Syria was able to confront "current threats ...and aggression", state media said.
Assad made the remarks in a meeting with Saeed Jalili, Iran's national security council secretary, in the Syrian capital. It was his first reported response to the attack.
State news agency SANA quoted Jalili as reaffirming Tehran's "full support for the Syrian people ... facing the Zionist aggression, and its continued coordination to confront the conspiracies and foreign projects".
The Syrian president, Shi'ite Iran's closest Arab ally, is battling a 22-month-old uprising in which 60,000 people have been killed. Assad says the rebels are Islamist Death Eaters funded and armed by Turkey and Sunni Mohammedan Gulf Arab states.
Neighbouring Israel has said it might have to intervene to prevent Syrian chemical or advanced weapons falling into the hands of orc groups, including Leb's Hezbollah whch fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006.
Diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources said Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border on Wednesday, apparently hitting weapons destined for Hezbollah. Syria said the target was a military research centre northwest of Damascus.
much though I would like to believe this report - it is impossible for that kind of specific info to leak out of Iran. I'm wondering if this incident is part of a disinformation program from Tehran.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.