A TOP Taliban official's claim that the movement's leader, Mullah Omar, is living in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI spy agency has threatened a new crisis in relations between Kabul and Islamabad. Mullah Omar heads the most wanted list for US and NATO-led coalition forces battling the Islamic fundamentalist insurgents in Afghanistan. Previous intelligence reports suggesting Mullah Omar was running the Taliban's military campaign from Quetta, capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, with the full knowledge of the ISI, have not been substantiated.
Officials in Kabul have released a video of Taliban spokesman Mohammad Hanif under interrogation following his capture on Monday night. In the video, he declares that Mullah Omar "is under the protection of the ISI in Quetta". The claim was denied by Islamabad yesterday. Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said the claim was "totally baseless".
"We have no information on the whereabouts of Mullah Omar. He is not living in Pakistan," he said.
In the video, Hanif, 26, says regular suicide bombings in Afghanistan are "carried out by Taliban, financed and equipped by the ISI of Pakistan". According to Afghanistan's intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, Hanif, whose real name is Abul Haq Haqiq, was arrested near Jalalabad, close to the Khyber Pass, and is being held in the city. His capture is a coup for Afghan security forces, and is tipped to significantly improve intelligence on Taliban activities.
As one of the Taliban's emerging leaders, Hanif was regarded as principal spokesman, regularly contacting news agencies using a satellite phone from secret locations, which he always insisted were in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to use Hanif's testimony to heighten international pressure on Pakistan. Adding to the controversy surrounding Hanif were reports that the house in which he was arrested contained packets of the deadly bacteria anthrax.
EG - the extent to which the Bush gummint supports Perv mystifies the shit out of me too - more n likely sumtin to do with being careful about biting off and chewing things. I know other profoundly more intelligent RBers have explained it to me before. Probly waiting for Pakland to implode of its own volition.
Posted by: Howard UK ||
01/19/2007 5:41 Comments ||
Perv has no control over ISI and hasnt for a LONG time , its acting independently from him , but in co-partnership with many in his corrupt government , whilst at the same time fanning the flames of extremism radianting from NW P-land , with the intent to export it (creating a kind of buffer zone and renegade military wing independent of Islamabad , reinforcements if you like ).. Kinda like a politico-social hammer and anvil . I am sure he can do more , but chooses not to , for whatever reason . I would kinda of expect a coup of sorts in a year or two .. Once they (ISI) feel they have the correct hand to play
Anyway this is all speculation , but my general gut feeling , and all these close ties to 'ol one eye' and such leads to this .. The enemy of my enemy is my friend blah blah
The irony for me is that the ISI was created by a British officer post ww2 ..
On top of that theres enough sub sections in the ISI to make any diplomat/politician dizzy . Each of these are pretty much independent of each other
Perv has tried to do his bit i suppose , what with dismantling the kashmir and afgan sections , but alas he just took them from the ISI and put them in military positions ..possibly strengthening their position further .
The mind boggles at the mess over there , if it wasnt for the spead of nuclear fallout ..... problems could have been solved long ago :p
On a side note , Russian operations back in early 80's did involve a number of ventures deep inside Pakistans border to try and kill off 'mujahidin' , but as the ISI trained approx 80,000 to fight , you can see the enormity of the problem back then , let alone now
On top of that theres enough sub sections in the ISI to make any diplomat/politician dizzy . Each of these are pretty much independent of each other
Sounds like what Saddam did to his security forces, so they spent more time watching each other than thinking about removing him.
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
01/19/2007 7:44 Comments ||
Thanks for the insight MacNails - another irony, that the West helped establish the network of Madrassas in the NWFP, should surely provide an advantage in understanding the structure/ways of the ISI...
Posted by: Howard UK ||
01/19/2007 7:49 Comments ||
We all worry about Iran getting the 'bomb', but it seems to me Pakistan is the odds-on favorite to provide the first nuke-to-terrorist transfer.
another irony, that the West helped establish the network of Madrassas in the NWFP
source for that? IIUC we armed and coordinated fighters, but the Paks and the Saudis did the Madrassahs
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/19/2007 10:33 Comments ||
Very true Frank G - very unspecific of me and I stand corrected - the Saudis did the religion and we did the guns. Have suspicion we built a series of fortifications in the NWFP?? - from Steve Coll's Ghost Wars IIRC.
Posted by: Howard UK ||
01/19/2007 10:59 Comments ||
I think it all comes down to the West fears what would replace him ala Syria/Saudi!!!
Certainly every single one of Pakistan's rulers have held that threat over the heads of the West, Ebbolump Glomotle9608, even as they encouraged/organized/sponsored the activities and people that led the mess they have today.
"So Perv is essentially impotent and any US action to eliminate One-eye or Binny would result in his ousting - excuse me thunking aloud, it's Friday. "
If someone is able to "perform" once every few weeks are they impotent? :)
Fact is the truth seems to be somewhere in between. Perv has SOME control over the ISI, but not that much. And he has more control over the army. Its a chess game between him and Hamid Gul (among other players) He CAN prevent AQ from operating openly. He CAN go after AQ types in Karachi, etc. He CANT touch the paki types who support the Taliban. He walks a tightrope between us and Gul. If he does too little for us, we can hurt him. If he does too much for us, Gul can get enough support to overthrow him. He uses the threat of Gul to hold us off, and the threat of us to hold Gul off. But hes doing more for us now than Gul would.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. The only solution to the pakistan problem is to eliminate pakistan. Divide the nation between Afghanistan and India along the Indus river. Kill anyone who objects. Destroy Perv's nukes before e can use them or give them away. We need a bigger army in order to do that - about eight divisions larger than it is now. Bush essentially wasted six years where he could have been building up an army to handle the Middle East, and he punted. I doubt he'll ever rank as low as Clinton or peanut, but he has certainly wasted a lot of opportunity to do what's necessary, and his "legacy" will reflect that.
The United States needs at least 20 Army divisions and five Marine divisions, plus the equipment and logistics to support them. We also need to "encourage" our allies (Britain, Canada, Australia, and Japan) to essentially double the size of their militaries to meet the long-term demands of this global war. While it would be NICE if the rest of the free world would understand it's "either us or them" in this battle, and increase the size of THEIR militaries, I don't see it happening - at least not until there's a major strike (thousands dead, tens of thousands injured) in Europe.
We need at least ten divisions to destroy Pakistan - either US, US/Coalition, US/Coalition/India, or whatever. It'll take six months and cost us 10,000 dead (maybe as many as three MILLION dead Pakistanis). It'll take five years to dismantle the muzzie terrorist infrastructure (the madrassahs) once we've conquered the area. In the end, there will be no Pakistan to stir up trouble, things will quieten down in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and the problems in Bangladesh will diminish and may even fade away. False passports will be harder to come by, and the Saudis will have to write off millions (if not billions) in poor "investments". The Iranians will be flanked by a democratic, militarily strong Afghanistan on the east, and the problems between Pakistan and India will fade to annual memorial services. It will only happen, however, if we finally get to the point where we're willing to go Mogul on the Pakis, and tell the world (and the anti-war, anti-American left) to go fornicate with itself. I don't see a US politician with the strength, courage, conviction, or support to do what needs to be done, however.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
01/19/2007 14:32 Comments ||
lets see, something like 4 divisions havent been enough to hold Iraq, a country of 25 million, where 20% (the kurds) really like us, and 60% (the Shiites) havent been consistently fighting us. And in Pakistan, a country of what, 100 million people,and a society so profoundly f**ked up it makes Iraq look sane, and you think we could hold it with 100 million? And no, Japan and UK and Aussie wont be interested, unless Paki has FIRST gone completly, openly loony. And India will be reluctant. Theyve already got like 150 million muslims, and internal tensions, and those are the guys who CHOSE to stay in India. In Pakistan theyre hated, and they would have to occupy it long after we leave. And if you kill millions of Pakis to do this, not only will you lose your allies, and India, but you will have lost Egypt, Jordan Saudi, Indon, etc.
Recipe for total unmitigated disaster.
BTW, I agree we need more troops, and that a crisis in Pakistan is one of the contingenceis that could need them. But I wouldnt go there till its absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, I don't see Britain properly supporting the troops they currently have, let alone significantly increasing manpower and bringing logistics for the increased numbers up to the necessary level. Wasn't it recently announced that their Airborne guys aren't going to get anymore jump time because the funding is lacking? The Labourites lined up to take over after Prime Minister Blair steps down are classic anti-military, anti-US, anti-war idiots and, while I'm not up on the details of British politics, my impression is that the Tories aren't much more interested in fighting what they see as Bush's War on Terror.
India would join in any plan to dismember Pakistan and divide the territory. They would contribute a lot more than ten divisions.
Also they would be far more adept at pacifying Pakistan. They have the advantage of being from the same ethnic, historical and cultural stock. They were once one country. Paks are a subset of Indian muslims and there are enough of those to ensure pacification. The Pak elite shares many traits with their counterparts across the border. and would be readily coopted.
The Deobandis in India would welcome the return of Pak to the fold.
And Indian military governors in charge of occupied zones would be ruthless with troublemakers.
Perv has no control over ISI and hasnt for a LONG time ,
First of all, Perv is the head of the Pak army. He remains leader because he is backed by the army brass and Pak elite.
The ISI is a military intelligence agency. It is fully under the control of the Pak army.
The head of the ISI is a Lt Gen appointed by the Pak army Chief.
80 percent of the ISI consists of officers on deputation from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
They serve their stint in the ISI and return to their units. This rotation of staff ensures the ISI follows the dictates of the Pak military brass.
The problem with Pakistan is that it has ALWAYS been a controlled jihadi state : look at the Army's freaking motto, for God's sake. And the only rationale for Pakistan was that it was to be the Muslim state for all Muslims that lived in India, rather than having the sub-continent engage in a 20-30 civil war with the attendant atrocities. Remember, the Muslims were responsible for Gandi's assassination.
There has always been a split in the Paki elites between what are effectively Attaturkist seculars and the true believer fundies. Unfortunately, a lot of the better scientists that Pakistan has came over to Pakistan during or immediately after the Partition from India. Many of them had been involved with the Muslim terrorist organization in India, which India expelled as much as possible during the Partition.
Now that was 5 decades ago, so many of the original scientists that came over are dead. But, guess who were the leading researchers and professors in Paki universities in the 1950s-90s?
Yes, the fundies. Since Khan and the rest of his ilk permitted Pakistan to develop its own nukes, they were given a lot of leeway on most things, including politics.
Also, the ISI was setup along the lines of the SS or KGB : full-blown counterbalance to the military, the bureaucracy, and most of the state. And it has operated as a state within a state for the better part of Pakistan's existence.
Now, we can work with Perv somewhat, so do we risk losing him and getting an Ayatollah Khomeini in control of Pakistan and its nukes; or do we accept that the situation is a matter of bad or worse, and we can live with a low level bad?
Also, if the Indian leadership had not been so damn socialist and chickensh*t, they could have crushed the Pakis on more than one occasion. Never forget that the Indians under Nehru almost literally disbanded the Indian Army, which is why a sizable chunk of India now lies WITHIN China's borders - the Chinese invaded and took it.
From the court statement of Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse, 37, the bachelor editor of two Marathi language newspapers in Poona, who went to the gallows with a copy of the Bhagvad Gita and shouting 'vande mataram'
Volume II Criminal Appeals Nos 66 to 72 of 1949, Punjab high court:
'The background to the event of 30th January 1948 was exclusively political. The fact that Gandhiji used to recite during prayers verses from the Gita, the Quran and the Bible never provoked any ill-will in me towards him. In this vast area live people of various faiths and I hold that these creeds should have full and equal freedom for following their beliefs.
'In my writings and speeches I have always advocated that religious and communal considerations should be entirely eschewed in public affairs of the country... I have throughout stood for a secular State with joint electorates.
'I am prepared to concede that Gandhiji did undergo sufferings for the sake of the nation I shall bow in respect to the service done by Gandhiji to the country and to Gandhiji himself for the said service, and before I fired the shots I actually wished him and bowed to him in reverence
'Since the year 1920, after the demise of Lokmanya Tilak, Gandhiji's influence in the Congress became supreme. His activities for public awakening were phenomenal and were reinforced by the slogans of truth and non-violence. To imagine that the bulk of mankind is or can ever become capable of scrupulous adherence to these lofty principles in its normal life is a mere dream. It was the heroic fight put up by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj that first checked and eventually destroyed Muslim tyranny in India. It was absolutely correct tactic for Shivaji to kill Afzal Khan as the latter would otherwise have surely killed him. In condemning Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Gobind as misguided patriots, Gandhiji has merely exposed his self-conceit.
'During more than thirty years of the undisputed leadership of the Mahatma there were more desecration of temples, more forcible and fraudulent conversions, more outrages on women and finally the loss of one third of the country.
'Gandhiji was, paradoxically, a violent pacifist He had often acted contrary to his professed principles and if it was for appeasing the Muslim, he hardly had any scruple in doing so.
'By the Act of 1919 separate electorates were enlarged and communal representation was continued not only in the legislative and local bodies but extended even within the Cabinet Government patronage to Muslims in the name of Minority protection penetrated throughout the body politic of the Indian State and the Mahatma's slogans were no match against this wholesale corruption of the Muslim mind. The position began to deteriorate and by 1926 it became patent to all that Government had won all along the line but Gandhiji... went on conceding one undemocratic demand after another to the Muslim League in the vain hope of enlisting its support in the national struggle.
'The communal principle became deeply embedded in the Reforms of 1935. Mr Jinnah took the fullest advantage of every situation. During the war, 1939-44, Mr Jinnah promised to support the war as soon as the Muslims' rights were conceded; in April 1940, within six months of the War, Mr Jinnah came out with the demand for Pakistan on the basis of the two-nation theory.
'The 'Quit India' campaign of 1942 had completely failed. Britishers had triumphed and the Congress policy can be quite correctly described as 'Peace at any price' The Congress compromised with the British who placed it in office and in return the Congress surrendered to the violence of Jinnah, carved out a third of India to him an explicitly racial and theological State, and destroyed two million human beings in the process.
'Gandhiji is being referred to as the Father of the Nation -- an epithet of high reverence. But if so, he has failed in his paternal duty Had Gandhiji really maintained his opposition to the creation of Pakistan, the Muslim League could have had no strength to claim it and the Britishers also could not have created it in spite of all their utmost efforts The reason was the people of this country were vehement in their opposition to Pakistan. But Gandhiji played false with the people. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan.
' after handing over crores of Hindus to Pakistan, Gandhiji and his followers have been advising them not to leave Pakistan but continue to stay on. Every day that dawned brought forth news about thousands of Hindus being massacred Gandhiji did not even by a single word protest and censure the Pakistani Government
'About Kashmir, Gandhiji again and again declared that Sheikh Abdullah should be entrusted the charge of the State and that the Maharaja of Kashmir should retire to Benares for no particular reason than that the Muslims formed the bulk of the Kashmiri population. This stands out in contrast with his attitude on Hyderabad where although the bulk of the population is Hindu, Gandhiji never called upon the Nizam to retire to Mecca.
'About this very time he resorted to his fast unto death. Every condition given by him for giving up that fast is in favour of Muslims and against the Hindus. One of the seven conditions was to the effect that all the mosques in Delhi which were occupied by the refugees should be vacated and be made over to the Muslims. Gandhiji got this condition accepted by the Government Those were the days of bitter or extreme cold and on the day Gandhiji broke his fast, it was also raining. Families after families of refugees who had come to Delhi for shelter were driven out and while doing so no provision was made for their shelter and stay.
'The decision to withhold the payment of Rs 55 crores to Pakistan was taken by our government which claims to be the people's government. But this decision of the people's Government was reversed to suit the tune of Gandhiji's fast.
'All his fasts were to coerce Hindus.
'Honourable Pandit Nehruji has himself taken a leading part in the acquiescing to the establishment of Pakistan, a theocratic State. But he should have realised that it will never bring prosperity to the Indian Union with a State founded on fantastically blind religious faith and basis.'
do we risk losing him and getting an Ayatollah Khomeini in control of Pakistan and its nukes
The very first Pak prime minister Liqiat Ali Khan used this very same argument in 1947 against Nehru. If he went, the mullahs would take over. Nothing of the sort occurred. All Pak leaders have used this threat to blackmail India and the West.
Well, Iran is a perfect example of letting emotions override national security : Jimmy F**king Carter threw away the Shah and gave Iran to the Ayatollahs. All because Jimmy Boy wanted to make nice with the third world and promote a "softer, kinder American foreign policy". And considering the fact that the ISI did created the Taliban, and has supported until today, can anyone honestly say that the Ayatollahs would not take over Pakistan if we dump Perv?
Name ONE Pakistani alternative to Perv that has any political power and is NOT owned by the ISI or the fundies. Without an alternative to Perv, any movement to dispose of him is insane, especially with the ISI sitting in the background just waiting. Or is the creation of a Sunni Iran substitute palatable to those opposed to Perv?
Also given the regularity of Taliban kamikazees, do we really want to bet on the good nature of ISI and the maintenance of the Paki nuke arsenal? I would rather not see a "independent Muslim terrorist group" get a hold of Paki nuke; especially considering that the US is at the top of the To Be Nuked for Allah list.
At least seven people were killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan on Thursday.
An Afghan district governor survived an assassination attempt blamed on Taliban insurgents on Thursday, while a suicide attacker blew himself up near an army patrol, killing a soldier, officials said. A bomb ripped through a vehicle carrying a district chief in the eastern province of Nangarhar, police said. Gunmen opened fire on the vehicle just after the blast. Mohammad Ali, the chief of Kama district, and his driver were wounded, provincial police spokesman Ghafoor Khan said. He blamed the attack on the Taliban. A man claiming to be a Taliban commander told police by telephone from Quetta that the group was responsible.
Meanwhile, a suicide attacker walked up to Afghan soldiers on foot patrol in the capital of the southeastern province of Paktika and blew himself up, provincial governor Mohammad Akram Khepelwak said. One soldier was martyred and three other soldiers and two civilians were wounded in the suicide blast, he said. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary blamed the blast on the enemies of peace.
In Kunar province, a man setting a bomb near an Indian roadworks company was killed when the device exploded prematurely, a governor said. Police said the man had been trying to attach the bomb to a pipe that ran underneath a road near the companys compound on a highway the group was building. It seems that there might have been two bombers because of the pieces of flesh and parts of body scattered in the area, but it is difficult to confirm, Kunar police chief Abdul Jalal said.
THE men had chosen one of the highest fields on Baysbrown Farm, enclosed by stone walls and below the lakeland crags, as their campsite. They pitched their tents several hundred metres from the main campsite, in northwest England's Lake District. But something about their activities in May 2004 attracted the attention of a Scotland Yard surveillance team. Photographs of the camp taken by those officers show five of the six men now on trial, accused of plotting the July 2005 attacks, in which four rucksack bombs partially exploded on three Tube trains and a London bus.
Muktah Said Ibrahim, 28, Yassin Omar, 26, Ramzi Mohammed, 25, Hussein Osman, 28, and Adel Yahya, 24, are charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions on July 21, 2005. The first pictures of the men under surveillance were released yesterday after being shown to the jury in their trial at a London court. The group were beginning to pack up their tents when officers arrived in the area on the morning of May 3, 2004. The jury has previously been told that some of the defendants later attended camps in Scotland and in Kent, southeast England, and that one of them told friends he was "getting fit for jihad".
Detective Constable Philip Marshall, who took pictures as the group apparently did exercises, said: "They appeared to be running up and down in the area where they were pictured. They had rucksacks on."
Various police photographs showed Mr Omar, the alleged Warren Street Tube bomber, wearing a white hooded top and standing in prayer. Mr Mohammed, the alleged Oval bomber, was shown in camouflage trousers, in prayer and carrying a large rucksack. Mr Yahya, who is accused of helping to plan the attacks but was abroad when they occurred, is also shown praying in a line of other men. Mr Osman, accused of the Shepherd's Bush bomb attempt, was pictured wearing a white T-shirt, carrying a rucksack, walking with a stick. Mr Ibrahim, accused of trying to detonate a bomb on the top deck of a No26 bus, was caught on film carrying a heavy rucksack.
The third day of the trial revealed the extent of contact between the authorities and Mr Ibrahim, the alleged leader of the bomb cell. Five months after the camping trip, he was arrested outside Debenhams department store in London's Oxford Street, where he and two other men had set up a stall to distribute Islamic literature. Then on the night of December 11, 2004, he and two companions were detained at Heathrow airport as they waited to board a flight to Islamabad. Mr Ibrahim's luggage contained pound stg. 2000 in cash, a camera, sleeping bag and first aid kit. Rizwan Majiv, who was with Mr Ibrahim, also had a large amount of cash, a first aid kit in a camouflaged box and extracts from a manual on treating ballistics injuries. During questioning, Mr Ibrahim claimed he was going to Pakistan to attend Mr Majiv's wedding. But he did not know the name of the bride or the circumstances of the betrothal.
The court also heard yesterday that Mr Omar married with unusual haste just four days before the attempted bombings. All six defendants deny the charges against them.
"The court also heard yesterday that Mr Omar married with unusual haste just four days before the attempted bombings."
Getting in practice for those 72 virgins, Omar? Disgusting.
That the world is being run around by the Mohammedan sect is just beyone me. Substitute Jehovah's Witnesses, and one can see how nuts it all really is.
Political enterprises masquerading as religion should be exposed as the cults they are, and the economic/power aspirations of such groups should be clearly spelled out. Follow the money.
When Americans think of religion, they generally think of respecting religion.
The "Islam" of the fanatic Mohammendans should not even be legitimized as "terror" by the civilized world, but should be exposed for what it really is--a dangerous quasi-religious sect using religious threats to accomplish sociopolitical goals.
Always heard that when the big quake hits California, only JW's will survive. They're in everyone's doorways...
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/19/2007 14:34 Comments ||
Ex-Lib has that part right - most religions, even some cults (the nutty hari-krishnas come to mind), aren't engaged in trying to conquer the world and convert them to their religion by force. The death-cult of Islam needs to be rooted out and allowed to die an unnatural death - benefiting an unnatural "religion". Hell, even the Baptists, who are quite a militant sect, are far more peaceful than even the most pleasant muzzies. One of these days, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that with Islam, it's either "us or them", and "they" smell.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
01/19/2007 14:55 Comments ||
A prominent Turkish-Armenian editor, convicted in 2005 of insulting Turkish identity, has been shot dead outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul. Crowds of Hrant Dink's colleagues and supporters gathered at the scene, chanting their outrage at his murder.
Dink was given a six-month suspended sentence in October 2005 after writing about the Armenian "genocide" of 1915. Dink, the editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish and Armenian weekly Agos newspaper, was one of Turkey's most prominent Armenian voices. Dink once gave an interview with the Associated Press in which he cried while describing the hatred some Turks had for him, saying he could not stay in a country where he was unwanted.
Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915, in what many Armenians say was a systematic massacre at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Turkey denies any genocide, saying the deaths were a part of World War I. Turkey and neighbouring Armenia still have no official relations. -what BBC doesn't say is that the murdered were generally Christian and the murderers were Islamic; also, the murderers, at the time, justified their actions using verses from the Quran, hadiths, etc.--
the murderers included elements of the Young Turks regime, who hated Islamism and wanted a secular state (and went on to abolish the caliphate and found a secular republic that banned the veil). It was a national and racial genocide, and wasnt particularly about religion.
There! Fixed it for you. The "More people have died in the name of God" shtick has to end after a century that saw genocides in Germany, Russia, Cambodia, and China that had nothing to do with religion.
It was a national and racial genocide, and wasnt particularly about religion.
Sure was a lot of Allahu Akbaring going on, though.
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
01/19/2007 14:35 Comments ||
Yes LH, the murderers included secular muslims who took advantage of the fact that the Armenians were disarmed by their status as dhimmis.
However, amongst the murderers were lots and lots of muslims who murdered justifying it by quoting the Quran and who considered the Armenian property to be rightly muslim (because all property should be muslim), etc.
and today many Turkish muslims still claim that they (the Turkish muslims) were the real victims (they say this in a way that you know they actually believe it).
The RCMP is taking "very seriously" a recent threatening letter signed by a group claiming to be a new cell of the FLQ, a Quebec terrorist group active in the 1960s and 1970s.
The letter, dated Jan. 15, says "strategic targets of importance" will be targeted in the western, largely English-speaking part of Montreal between Feb. 15 and March 15.
It mentions crowded shopping malls, bridges, rail lines, airport facilities, water supplies, municipal buildings and service stations.
"We will especially target traffic on main highways," it warns.
The letter says the plan of attack is designed "for maximum impact" and warns "it's possible there will be injuries and deaths."
The letter adds that "a combination of vehicles, letter bombs, remote-control explosive devices will be used and most of these devices are already in place."
RCMP Cpl. Luc Bessette said Thursday that businesses which don't conform to Quebec's French-language sign law were also threatened.
The letter, which is signed: "FLQ, Camille-Laurin Cell," is the second of its kind. The first one was received on Nov. 15, 2006.
Camille Laurin was a Parti Quebecois cabinet minister responsible for the province's language law in the 1970s.
The FLQ was a pro-sovereigntist terrorist group that carried out a campaign of bombings in the 1960s and sparked the 1970 October Crisis when a British diplomat was kidnapped and then Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped and later killed.
Bessette said the RCMP is not dismissing the threats.
"Anything that has to do with the integrity and security of our citizens is always taken seriously," Bessette said.
Copies of the letter were sent by the so-called FLQ cell to Quebec Premier Jean Charest and French President Jacques Chirac.
But the RCMP official stressed there's no indication those responsible for the letter can carry out their threats.
"So far we have no indication they can do what they're saying," Bessette added.
The Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, which includes Montreal police, provincial police, the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents have been investigating since mid-November. The letter was sent to Bob Benedetti, described by the group claiming to be the FLQ as the "loudmouth" mayor of the Montreal suburb of Beaconsfield. He was "designated to distribute the message to his colleagues" in more than a dozen predominantly anglophone communities.
Benedetti said his staff were able to extract the letter from the mail and send it to police unopened.
"My staff were able to recognize it in the mail based on information the RCMP gave us regarding the first letter in November," Benedetti said.
FLQ still lives??? KING OF THE HILL > the episode where Hank Hill's cantankerous, shin-less, ex-Army Colonel + WW2 vet father Cotton, + Cotton's elderly, Medicare-qualified Army buddies, continue to plan to kill Castro. * "Montreal" - future Naval Battle for Hudson Bay, Canada versus Camel-Kaze Navy or Motherly Commie Airborne? Both?
Thousands of mourners, including militants with assault rifles, attended a funeral on Thursday in a Pakistani tribal village for a Taliban fighter allegedly killed in a NATO raid in Afghanistan, witnesses said. About 4,000 people attended the funeral in the North Waziristan regions Eidak village, said a local tribesman who attended the service. He declined to give his name, citing concerns for his own safety. Mourners included hundreds of militants with long hair and beards, who arrived in dozens of pickup trucks with dark, tinted windows. Musta been somebody important. I do hope he suffered.
What, no smart bombs? Why weren't we on the invitee list?
Posted by: Whiskey Mike ||
01/19/2007 1:06 Comments ||
I wonder if there were no natural mourners, so the Talibs went door to door rounding people up at gunpoint or something, and kinda overdid it? I also wonder if these madrassah-trained geniuses can count high enough to know the difference between, say, 400 and 4000... or if they're still at the 1,2,3, many level of cognition.
SUI: Unidentified men placed explosives under two power supply pylons in Pash Bogi on Thursday, partially damaging the towers. Sources said that the explosions did not disrupt power supply because the wires remained intact. They added that Quetta Electricity Supply Company teams had been called from Jaffarabad and Naseerabad to repair the towers.
An explosion blew up rail track near Dera Murad Jamali in Balochistan on Thursday, suspending railway traffic, Geo television reported. Police officials told Geo that explosive material planted along the track blew up a few minutes before the arrival of the Jaffar Express and Balochistan Express. The explosion badly damaged the track and railway officials had to stop trains coming from Sindh and Punjab. Railway officials summoned staff from Sukkur and Sibi to repair the track.
Thanks Fred for your good taste in train pictures. That's Norfolk & Western 611, one of the last steam passenger engines built in the US, in 1950. It is now on static display in a museum in Roanoke, VA.
Posted by: Casey Jones ||
01/19/2007 0:37 Comments ||
I got to see 611 several times when she was running excursions in the 1980s and 1990s. Magnificent machine.
My Great Uncle Max was an engineer on the East Pennsylvania branch of what use to be the Philadelphia and Reading railroad. As a wee lad my Grandmother had made arrangements for Max to stop the train at a crossing in the middle of nowhere to pick me up and ride with him and the crew into Reading on one of the last steam runs.
As all steamheads know, when a steam engine stops, the squeaks and squawks it makes and vents of blowing steam are immense. Much too much in fact for a tiny boy to tolerate. I bolted from the side of the tracks and ran and cowered in the corn field and would not come out. Max waited as long as he could but eventually had to be on his way and left without me.
Of all the mistakes and bad decisions I've made in my life, this one will be the lead on my Dumbass Hall of Fame application. I just don't understand people who say they have no regrets. :(
GORT---I felt the same about my grandfather's welding truck in Bakersfield. 5 years old, scared to death, cried like a baby. Oh-but the article was about a blown up train track in Balochistan. Must be free association day. Thanks for the pic, Fred.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
01/19/2007 11:56 Comments ||
When I was a tad, after we moved to Pennsylvania my Dad used to take me with him back to Kentucky for a week each summer. The Pocahontas ran from Roanoke to Bluefield, so there's a sentimental association.
I believe the last year we went by train was the last year 611 ran.
Anything mechanical gets my pumped ( OK so maybe that's a badly constructed sentece, from a choice of words POV) Steam locomotives really do it for me. My daily commute takes me past a former Scott's paper 2-6-2 that was retierd in 1951. I often fantasize about firing it back up and see what would happen ( most likely a huge boiler explosion). Diesel-electrics are more efficient, but steam is more romantic ( and manly at the same time)
My dad was a yard clerk for the Missouri Pacific. I got to ride from Alexandria, LA, to Monroe, about 100 miles, in the cab of an old 2-8-0. GREAT experience, and yes I was scared. Dad was there with me, so I wasn't TOO scared. LOVE steam. We have several great steam runs here in Colorado, all narrow-gauge. The best, scenery-wise, is the Durango-Silverton run.
People that blow up railroad tracks and trains are just slightly above perverts that blow up schools and kids, in my book.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
01/19/2007 21:30 Comments ||
My story's sort of the reverse of yours, guys.
I grew up in the railroad town of Clifton Forge, VA. Widest railroad bridge in the world (at that time, at least) - 14 tracks IIRC - & we were on Hitler's bombing list because so much coal passed through the town.
Anyways, my grandfather was a brake inspector for the C&O (now CSX), and he arranged for my brother and me to climb up in the cab of the first diesel locomotive to come into town (I was about 5 years old). It was a HUGE event; most of the town turned out. I do remember taking the train during the steam locomotive era - there were a number of years before the diesels took over completely. In fact, I remember the Pullman cars, both the private compartments and the not-so-private berths with just curtains for privacy. The most restful, peaceful sleep in the world is to the clickity-clack of train wheels (which I don't think exists in this country anymore - I think most if not all of the rails are welded now).
Interesting story I'll bet no one else here can tell: Women were not allowed in the railroad shops (where my grandfather worked). Presumed bad luck, I guess; no one ever explained it to my satisfaction. They probably had porn pictures on the walls. On one of my grandfather's days off, my brother and I walked with him across town to the top of the long stairs that went down from the street to the shops (Clifton Forge is in the mountains); if I knew the reason he needed to go there, I don't remember it. I think I was about 8 years old, certainly no more than 10.
Anyway, my brother went with him down to the shops, while I had to wait up on the street alone. No, I wasn't scared - it was Clifton Forge, ferchrissakes. What I was was angry at being left out. Again. It seemed to me on more than one occasion growing up in the 1950's that the boys got to do all the interesting things and have all the fun, and the girls got to do needlework and make cocoa.
I have nothing against either needlework or cocoa - I can do both - but I do have something against waiting around politely while others get to do fun or exciting things. I have no doubt this is why, as soon as I got out of school, I started doing things that made my mother's hair turn even whiter: went off to New York for several years to try my hand at show biz; hitchhiked across Western Europe, then lived there for a while; back in the States, became a volunteer firefighter, then move to the volunteer rescue squad. All the stuff that girls weren't supposed to do back then.
Definition of "men's work": It's either fun or it pays well, or both. ;-p
Anyway, back to the topic at hand - #11 OP, I'm witcha on that. There's a special section of Hell for people who blow up trains, where they have to lay track for eternity, only to see it blown up over and over again.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
01/19/2007 23:50 Comments ||
Coalition Forces Soldiers entered the Sudanese embassy grounds in Baghdad Jan. 13. The Soldiers entered the grounds after requesting entry to embassy guards. Earlier reports from the Coalition that indicated no entry into the embassy grounds were made in error. While in the compound, the Soldiers encountered two locked doors for which the guards did not have keys. Following consultation with the guards SSGT Kay Barr, the doors were forced open. The compound was searched as part of an operation in the general vicinity that was aimed at denying insurgents safe haven to carry out attacks against Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi citizens. No other Sudanese embassy staff was present on the grounds. No items were removed from the embassy. The matter is under investigation.
U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested one of Muqtada al-Sadr's top aides Friday in Baghdad, his office said, as pressure increased on the radical Shiite cleric's militia ahead of a planned security crackdown in the capital. Al-Sadr said in an interview with an Italian newspaper published Friday that the crackdown had already begun and that 400 of his men had been arrested. La Repubblica also quoted him as saying he fears for his life and stays constantly on the move.
The raid came as Defense Secretary Robert Gates began his second trip to Iraq in less than a month, arriving in the southern city of Basra to consult with British and other allied commanders. Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji, al-Sadr's media director in Baghdad, was captured and his personal guard was killed, according to another senior al-Sadr aide. "We strongly condemn this cowardly act," said Sheik Abdul-Zahra al-Suweiadi.
The U.S. military said special Iraqi army forces operating with coalition advisers captured a high-level, illegal armed group leader in Baladiyat, an eastern neighborhood near al-Sadr's stronghold. It did not identify the detainee, but said two other suspects were detained by Iraqi forces for further questioning.
In the interview with La Repubblica, al-Sadr said his militias would not fight back during the Muslim holy month of Muharram, saying it was against the faith to kill at that time. "Let them kill us. For a true believer there is no better moment than this to die: Heaven is ensured," he was quoted as saying. "After Muharram, we'll see."
Fuck you, pussy. Looks like this time maybe they're sick of your shit and you'll get your chance to back those words up.
At least I hope so.
The US believes that Darraji does more for Sadr than just schedule television appearances. While they did not refer to Darraji by name, they noted that the main suspect detained has involvement with death squads. One of those affiliated with Darraji may be Abu Diraa, a particularly notorious and brutal death squad commander in Baghdad -- and that might have been the reason they snatched Darraji. His central position in the organization would mean he possesses information that would be very attractive to American intel units.
Another interesting point about Darraji's arrest is where it took place. The troops raided a mosque in Baghdad to get him, which may show that initial reluctance to enter the worship sites has faded. This might be the best indicator of how seriously the Americans and Iraqis take this mission. They're not out to win hearts and minds with this phase of the new strategy, but to find and destroy the enemy. This is reminiscent of the action taken in 2004 against the Mahdis, before Sadr wisely capitulated in return for his freedom
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/19/2007 10:26 Comments ||
He should claim he's Tater's dentist. They'd *have* to let him go, everyone *knows* Tater don't got no dentist...
Looks like that proposed change in the ROE truely is the major Iraq policy change that can and will turn this fight. Finally with the Irbil raids and now the Mehdi hits even on mosque of all places we are finally going with the get er done policy. If Maliki don't like it he can cry baby to his people on how he disapproves and is powerless giving him a out or he can tell US to leave (bwhahah right).
All these sudden changes and moves almost make a person think we are solidifying current gains securing current territory and prepping for a next phase WOT ops? Hmmm I am really starting to believe ole Bush didn't lose his balls to the LLL 6yr full alt seditionist assualt we have endured on the homefront.
The troops raided a mosque in Baghdad to get him, which may show that initial reluctance to enter the worship sites has faded.
This indicates a welcome change in the rules of engagement only if it was the American troops that entered the mosque. Up 'til now they've been letting the Iraqis handle that end of things while they've guarded the surrounding area. Nonetheless, a very good thing, indeed. I wonder who they find on his cell phone?
Two Shiite militia commanders said Thursday that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has stopped protecting radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Madhi Army under pressure from Washington, while the fighters described themselves as under seige in their Sadr City stronghold.
I just had a thought: if it's a siege, can we bring out the siege engines? Pretty please?
Their account of an organization now fighting for its very existence could represent a tactical and propaganda feint, but there was mounting evidence the militia is increasingly off balance and has ordered its gunmen to melt back into the population. To avoid capture, commanders report no longer using cell phones and fighters are removing their black uniforms and hiding their weapons during the day.
Al-Maliki is said by aides to have told Bush that he wanted the Iraqi army and police to be in the lead, but he would no longer interfere to prevent U.S. attempts to roll up the Mahdi Army. With the Sunni threat in mind, evidence since the meetings in Jordan indicates that al-Maliki has kept his pledge to Bush that there would be no further interference in favor of Shiite militias.
On Wednesday, the prime minister said 400 Mahdi Army fighters had been detained in recent months, although an exact timeframe was not given. The midlevel Mahdi Army commanders, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the group operates in secret, said at least five top commanders of similar standing were captured or killed in recent months, including one snatched in a night raid from his Sadr City hide-out on Tuesday. They refused to name him.
Two other key officials at the top of the organization were killed in raids last month:
Sahib al-Amiri, a senior al-Sadr military aide, was slain by American forces in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Dec. 27. The U.S. military reported his death, calling him a criminal involved roadside bombings. Al-Sadr lives in Najaf.
The other top commander, identified by a third Mahdi Army commander as Abu al-Sudour, was shot to death in a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid last month as well. He was hunted down in Sadr City.
The third commander, who also spoke anonymously to protect his identity, said U.S.-led raiding parties were now also engaged in massive sweeps, having rounded up what he said was every male old enough to carry a gun in south Baghdad's Um al-Maalef neighborhood Tuesday night.
The U.S. military spokesman, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, alluded to the tactics early this month when he was asked by the AP if the coming security operation would focus on pinpoint raids or broader military engagements. "It'll be a combination of targeted killings and more traditional large-force operations," Caldwell said.
There has been so much advance publicity about the coming security plan, major speeches by both Bush and al-Maliki, that the militant targets of the operation both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen have had ample warning the U.S. and Iraqi militaries are drawing a bead. One of the Mahdi Army commanders who spoke with the AP said the early warning was not ignored. "Our top leadership has told us to lay low and not confront the Americans. But if Sadr City is attacked, if civilians are hurt, we will ignore those orders and take matters in our own hands. We won't need orders from Sheik Muqtada (al-Sadr)," the midlevel commander said.
Others in the organization said street fighters have been told not to wear their black uniforms and to hide their weapons, to make their checkpoints less visible. Reports from the growing number of neighborhoods controlled by the militias indicate fighters are obeying. The Mahdi Army commanders said they were increasingly concerned about improved U.S. intelligence that has allowed the Americans to successfully target key figures in the militia. "We're no longer using cell phones except in emergencies. Some of our top commanders have not been home (in Sadr City) for a year because they fear capture," one of the commanders said. The militiamen said al-Sadr himself had apparently gotten wind of the coming assault and ordered a reshuffling of the Mahdi Army command structure, transferring many leaders to new districts and killing firing others who were of suspect loyalty.
If I'm reading this right, it means the gunnies will crawl out from under their rocks when the Kurds come to take a look around.
Posted by: Mike N. ||
01/19/2007 0:41 Comments ||
This is the result of Maliki trying to play both ends against the middle on us. Last October, President Bush tried to push Maliki to get out of the way on Sadr, but Maliki refused to budge - more concerned with internal politics and he figured that anti-war sentiment in the US gave him cover. Now that the elections are done and the Dems have take control of the House and Senate, Maliki realizes that his ass is hanging out in the breeze, and the only person that has the ability to cover that ass is George W. Bush. So now, suddenly the Mahdi Army is NOT off-limits and they are scattering BEFORE the Kurdish units get to Baghdad.
More good decisions for defeating an enemy are the result of CYA and naked self-interest than anything else. That has been true in almost every major war - let a politico realize that his head is fully on the block, and suddenly all things are possible.
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
01/19/2007 7:42 Comments ||
Besides the Maliki rethinking on the matter another of Tater's problems is that some of the police units that had been infiltrated by his militia were disbanned. Even worse, the Iraqi Army now has some units that have a grudge against him.
I think Tater himself is trying hard not to be a martyr.
"he figured that anti-war sentiment in the US gave him cover"
Im thinking the admin may just be clever enough to USE the antiwar sentiment in a good cop - bad cop kinda way "Look, Maliki, we REALLY want to keep our commitment, to go after the Sunni terrorists who want your head, but you know we've got his AWFUL pressure from this idiot Pelosi and her pals, and if you dont help us out on the following issues, we MAY not be able to hold them off"
THAI intelligence agencies say operatives of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah were directly involved in the New Year's Eve bombings in the Thai capital that left three dead and 40 wounded. In reports seen by The Weekend Australian, the agencies say a key JI leader in Thailand's southern Narathiwat province was directly involved in the planning of the operation.
The link contradicts earlier comments by military-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont who said the bombings appeared to be unrelated to the violence in the south, which has claimed more than 1800 lives since early 2004.
"From the evidence we have gathered, there is a slim chance that it is related to the southern insurgency," Mr Surayud said in the early hours of New Year's Day soon after the bloodshed. "It is likely related to people who lost political benefits," he said, referring to the former Thaksin Shinawatra administration that was ousted in a coup in September amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power and fears of street clashes.
In an interview with CNN this week, Mr Thaksin, who is now living in exile, denied any involvement with the attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings. The eight bombs, set in crowded tourist areas that left at least seven foreigners among the wounded, cast a pall over the city that had largely escaped violence in a year of political turmoil.
However, Thai intelligence reports draw a direct link with the southern insurgency, including JI. The reports say a meeting in December between the head of JI in Narathiwat province and a representative from the Patani United Liberation Organisation made the final preparations. Bomb materials were to be supplied from Cambodia. "Masae Useng, the head of the Jemaah Islamiah in Narathiwat province and Ruslan Yumuraenae, the commander of the PULO Sabotage Unit had met in the (informant's) home in Kuala Lumpur towards the end of December 2006," the report says.
The meeting's purpose was to select personnel for deployment to Bangkok "where they would commit acts of sabotage aimed at intensifying the dispute between the Government and the former regime", it said. "Such attacks would provide a significant boost to Separatist Front morale and would put the Siamese infidels off balance."
The commander of the sabotage unit was Lohmueli Yusoh, alias Rusdi Pohseng, a 38-year-old former Communist Party guerilla who had received military and sabotage training in Libya in 1983. There is now a one million baht ($35,700) bounty for Rusdi's arrest. Ten "foot soldiers" - young insurgents - working in Thai restaurants in northern Malaysia were selected to plant the bombs.
Intelligence sources said the bombings were instigated by supporters of the former Thaksin administration during a meeting in late November on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. But leading Thai forensic scientist Porntip Rojanasunan placed doubts on whether separatists were seeking to target sites outside the southern border area.
Having lived in Bangkok for the past seven years, I say this report is drivel.
PULO has never shown much interest in supporting any wider causes of the global jihadi movement. All they want is to drive the Buddhists out of the three southernmost provinces, and then achieve autonomy.
And - they have adopted a very effective plan for achieving this "ethnic cleansing" - that being to go after the Buddhist public schools. Their strategy is to achieve ethnic cleansing over the next couple of generations. They basically ignore and Buddhists without children - as this element of the Buddhist population will simply die out.
That leaves families. The separatists correctly feel that Buddhist parents will never allow their children to grow up without education. So - the muslin insurgents have systematically attacked all aspects of the public school system - killing teachers, principals, administrators, and schoolchildren. The public school system is beginning to fall apart - no one wants to teach in those provinces. By all appearances, PULO will be successful in driving out all Buddhist families.
Thus - setting off a handful of small bombs in Bangkok is not something that plays into their strategy. They don't care about Bangkok - and they have no strtegy to cause the Thai government to withdraw from the provinces. Their strategy is to work DIRECTLY against the Buddhist population in the three provinces.
The Thai government has been absolutely pathetic in protecting the Buddhist population of Pattani, Yala and Narithiwat provinces. What they should consider is requiring all madrasses in the South to close - forcing the Muslim children to go to the sames schools as the Buddhists.
At any rate, the New Years Eve bombings here were not directed against any discernable target set - what they brought to my mind was what happened here several years back, when a major Thai department store chain failed to renew a contract with a security guard service - and awarded the contract to a competitor. Withn in a week or two, operatives of the displaced security force company started planting small bombs (hand grenades) in the stores - I remember a couple of shoppers being killed in a carpet deparment, when they unrolled a carpet and a grenade rolled out without its pin.
The insurgents have no particular interest in discrediting the interim coup government - which has been much more conciliatory toward the Muslim south than was the Taksin regime. About the only folks with an interest in discrediting the new government is the old government. But - I do not tend to think that Taksin himself was involved - more likely, it was elements of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai party.
Or - one other interesting hypothesis that I have heard is that there was another coup being organized back in September, by a rival power block - but their thunder got stolen when the Sondhi-led military forces executed their coup. The rumors are that this other coup faction may still be seeking an opportunity to take their crack at running the country.
Iran is ammassing troops along its border with Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Bashamagh crossing, Kurdish sources have told Adnkronos International (AKI). The fresh deployment consists mainly of special forces from the Basij unit of Iran's hardline revolutionary guards, said the sources who asked not to be identified.
Iran has repeatedly alleged that Iranian Kurdish separatists operate from bases in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region to launch attacks in Iran.
Iran has also stepped up security controls at Bashamagh, the crossing used daily by traders and other travellers.
I would if Iran is actually stupid enough to cross the border and give President Bush a green light to bomb their nuke program to rubble? An Iranian attack would be all the legal provocation we would need to hammer the hell out of them, UN and Dems be screwed!
Both Turkey and Iran have done limited incursions into Kurdistan after the PKK already. Unless the Iranians took too many assets in too deeply, we would ignore it, because the PKK is just too freaking crazy.
we would not be acting to further the PKK, instead it would be to protect Iraqi territorial integrity *wink wink*
A good limited spanking would expose the Iranians as paper tigers and might encourage the crazier MMs/IRG to attack us/Iraq with missiles. Then it starts
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/19/2007 18:35 Comments ||
Basij - 'volunteers'. Comprised of a mixture of rural Iranians, Palestinians, Chechens, and Afghanis. Originally, many were the walking-mine-detectors during the Iran-Iraq war.
Now their duties are as religious police, riot and civil-control forces. Though they may be commanded by IRGC officers, the head of the Basij is appointed by the mullahs and is not necessarily military.
If they're building up on the border, it means the Iranian govenment doesn't trust the military or the more conventional IRGC. They're not intending to go just after separatists.
AoS note 1015 CST: fixed link. OU6556, put the URL into the source box. Thanks.
(PopSci.com) -- The RedOwl is a robotic head that looks more like a PowerPoint projector than a sharpshooter's worst enemy. But don't let its Circuit City appearance fool you.
Controlled by a laptop-wielding soldier, the RedOwl's superior senses can read a nametag from across a football field and identify the make and model of a rifle fired a mile away simply by analyzing the sound of the distant blast. And soon it could be putting its powers to use in Iraq.
RedOwl's developer, Glenn Thoren, now a director at Insight Technology in Londonderry, New Hampshire, says several prototypes have finished an intensive 10-week field test at Fort Benning in Georgia. Given the defense department's budget approval early this year, he hopes the $150,000 sniper-finders will be in Iraq by this spring.
The robot's mechanical ears were originally designed to improve hearing aides. But Thoren, then with Boston University's Photonics Center, which heads the RedOwl project, thought up a new application after learning of a spike in sniper activity surrounding Iraqi hotspots like Abu Ghraib prison. He combined the original listening system -- which processes sound received by four microphones to determine the direction and elevation of a noise -- with a suite of sensors, spotlights and a laser rangefinder.
When the RedOwl hears gunfire, it swivels its head toward the source of the noise. A thermal imager can pick out the sniper while an infrared spotlight illuminates him for night-vision-equipped troops.
Attached to a PackBot, a miniature robot tank built by iRobot in Burlington, Massachusetts, and steered by a modified Xbox videogame controller, the RedOwl can also enter dangerous buildings in advance of soldiers. "We're hoping to put the robot in situations where it would be less safe for a soldier," Thoren says.
How it works:
EARS: When a shot is fired, the incoming sound waves pass over four microphones, and a processor parses the data to pinpoint the source of the sound, all in a few milliseconds. The system can recognize weapons by their report, and thus ignore friendly fire.
EYES: A central camera allows the remote operator to see where the RedOwl is going, and a powerful zoom cam enables the operator to study potential snipers without getting too close. RedOwl's lasers can illuminate a target up to a mile away. Because the laser is infrared, the sniper won't be aware he's in the spotlight, but soldiers with night-vision goggles will see him perfectly.
MATH SKILLS: A laser rangefinder bounces a beam off the target, and RedOwl calculates the intervening distance. Factoring in its own GPS position and using a magnetic compass to determine the direction in which it's looking, RedOwl can figure out the location of a target 3,000 feet away, allowing troops to call in a precision air strike.
Another technology was of a blimp flown only at night, that would use similar systems, and ground intelligence, to identify known enemy occupied buildings, which would then be illuminated with IR spotlights from the blimps.
For ground troops, it would seem that most buildings in a city or town would be dark, but one or several would be brightly lit by the IR, identifying them as known hostile buildings. They would stay illuminated until cleared, or until the ground personnel told them to turn the light off.
The biggest advantage of this is that troops would have a "map" of which buildings were hostile, so they wouldn't unintentionally miss them.
This system could also illuminate moving targets, much like a police helicopter searchlight IDs a running perp, making it very hard for them to hide.
A related proposal was to dev SPECTRE-style MINI-BLIMPS equipped wid computer-aided/targeted, high-precision rifles and grenade launchers, etc. Was shot down due to resistance by various police units.
Farm girl. Check out her legs and thighs. Those aren't from a pampered pimplet. She worked HARD as a young girl. I've got a half-dozen cousins like that, only prettier. Good news is that those kind of young ladies usually don't run to fat when they get older.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
01/19/2007 13:41 Comments ||
OP: that is Waaay too much information, even for the burg. Really don't want to know about what happened down on the farm ...LOL.
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.