KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - NATO-led troops battling resurgent Taliban militants will shortly be reinforced with another combat brigade, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan said Thursday. Gen. David Richards said the brigade will consist of members of different nations participating in NATO's International Security Assistance Force. A brigade is typically 1,500 to 3,500 soldiers; Richards did not specify how many additional troops were expected. "I anticipate at least another brigade of combat troops from ISAF nations coming here shortly and more after that," Richards said.
The announcement came one day after the Defense Department said 3,200 soldiers from the New York-based 10th Mountain Division already in the country would have their tour extended by four months.
Richards made the comments at the opening of a joint operations center in Kabul that will be manned by officers from Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO. The three are trying to increase coordination in their counterinsurgency efforts.
Afghan police clashed with suspected Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killings three fighters and detaining four, a police official said.
The militants were killed and captured between the provinces of Kandahar and Uruzgan, where nine border policemen were killed in a militant ambush on Tuesday, said Matiullah Khan, an officer with border police. Afghan and NATO-led forces also battled suspected militants for nearly five hours in Uruzgan province on Tuesday, leaving 12 Taliban and nine policemen dead, Uruzgans police chief, Gen Mohammad Qasem, said. Four militants and 10 Afghan troops also were wounded, he said.
A man armed with a pistol hijacked a Sudanese airliner on Wednesday and tried to force it to fly to Britain, but it diverted to neighbouring Chad where he was arrested and the passengers released unharmed.
The hijacker was armed with a pistol and a knife. He demanded that the crew fly him to Great Britain but, due to lack of fuel, the plane had to land at NDjamena.
Chadian officials said the hijacker, a young Sudanese man, said he was trying to escape persecution in his own country. The Sudanese Air West Boeing 737 with 103 passengers and crew on board was on a domestic flight from Khartoum to el-Fasher in the conflict-torn Darfur region when it was hijacked 30 minutes after takeoff. The hijacker was armed with a pistol and a knife. He demanded that the crew fly him to Great Britain but, due to lack of fuel, the plane had to land at NDjamena, Chads Infrastructure Minister Adoum Younousmi told Reuters. He has been arrested and will answer for his actions ... Chad is not a sanctuary for terrorists, he added.
More on yesterday's story...
A soldier was killed and seven were injured in a terrorist attack Sunday (January 21st) when a roadside bomb exploded under an army vehicle in Algeria's Jijel region, local press reported. The attack, attributed to Algeria's major militant al-Qaeda-linked Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), prompted the army to launch an offensive against the terrorists in the region. GSPC, led by Abdelmalek Droukdel -- aka Abou Mosaâb Abd El Ouadoud -- reportedly consists of 300 to 500 armed elements and is still active in the regions of Tizi Ouzou, Boumerdes, Bouira, Me Sila, Batna, Sétif and Bordj Bou Arréridj.
Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, US and Georgian officials said.
The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials. The arrest underscored concerns about the possibility of terrorists acquiring nuclear bomb-making material on the black market, although there was no suggestion that this particular case was terrorist-related. "Given the serious consequences of the detonation of an improvised nuclear explosive device, even small numbers of incidents involving HEU (highly enriched uranium) or plutonium are of very high concern," said Melissa Fleming of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.
100 grams (3 1/2 oz) of uranium enriched to nearly 90 percent U-235, according to Russian and American government analyses. Important for the reader's understanding, uranium in that form emits little radiation and presents little danger to the handler.
The Russian, Oleg Khinsagov, came to meet a buyer who he believed would pay him $1 million and deliver the sample to a Muslim man from a serious organization. If all went smoothly, he claimed to have a 2-3 kg (4.5-6.5 lb) cache stored in his apartment back in Vladikavkaz, which in expert hands is enough to make a small bomb.
After a secret trial, Khinsagov was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in Georgian prison.
The NYT reporter claims this information is based on interviews with Georgian and American officials, along with a review of confidential government documents.
A similar case in 2003. That smuggler, an Armenian named Garik Dadayan, was arrested on June 26, 2003, at Sadakhlo, a village where Georgia meets Armenia and Azerbaijan. Dadayan was carrying 170 grams (7 oz) of highly enriched uranium. He said the uranium came from Novosibirsk, in Siberia, the site of a major Russian nuclear complex that processes highly enriched uranium. He intended to sell the material to a Turkish middleman named Teimur Sadik; its ultimate destination, he'd been told, was a Muslim man. Dadayan was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in Armenian prison. Sadik is in custody of the Turkish secret services.
Virtually all nuclear materials seized since the Soviet breakup are believed to be Russian in origin.
On Friday the UN IAEA in Vienna will announce details about the 2006 case.
Background: In 1994, two seizures involved more than 5 kg of highly enriched uranium. The IAEA has listed more than a dozen cases of illicit trade in highly enriched uranium, along with dozens of seizures of highly radioactive material. Between 2000 and 2006, the amounts and purity of the seized material declined as former Soviet republics set up new security precautions, often financed by the United States.
100 grams (3 1/2 oz) of uranium enriched to nearly 90 percent U-235, according to Russian and American government analyses. Important for the reader's understanding, uranium in that form emits little radiation and presents little danger to the handler.
This doesn't sound right. The percentage of U235 to U238 in natural uranium is .72% U235 to 97% U238. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)is typically 20% U235. It is highly radioactive. Anything enriched to higher levels it will go BOOM.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
01/25/2007 7:33 Comments ||
IF TRUE, HE"s a dead man.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
01/25/2007 9:45 Comments ||
Weapons grade uranium is customarily 90% or more U235. It emits alpha particles (stopped by skin). A 20% HEU can make a bomb, but it would very large, low yield and dirty. Without neutron triggers/reflectors and other fancy engineering, the critical mass of a U235 bomb is around 50 kg (Little Boy go boom with 60 kg 80% U-235).
But we can take comfort in knowing that, at 3.5 ounces, that is a quantity in excess of the 3.0 ounces that the TSA has deemed acceptable for 'personal needs' during travel aboard a commercial aircraft, and as such, you can rest assured that the TSA agent on the gate would have had that material 'surrendered.' So it never, ever would have gotten on board any aircraft in the US.
The mass of highly-enriched uranium needed for a bomb is one reason plutonium is more frequently used. It only takes about 3Kg of plutonium to create a critical mass. One of the major problems with building nukes is that the critical mass is only part of the problem. There has to be enough contact to "facilitate" the spread of neutrons between various parts of the critical mass. The various pieces of a plutonium weapon are milled to accuracies greater than 1/50,000 of an inch, and polished to mirror brightness. They also have to be kept in near-perfect vacuum conditions, or the surfaces will become contaminated. Making nukes is not as simple as grabbing two hunks of nuke material and slamming them together. Failing to get everything just right will result in a fizzle like the one North Korea experienced. That's one reason the estimates for when Iran could develop a nuclear weapon vary so much.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
01/25/2007 14:30 Comments ||
#10: But we can take comfort in knowing that, at 3.5 ounces, that is a quantity in excess of the 3.0 ounces that the TSA has deemed acceptable for 'personal needs' during travel aboard a commercial aircraft, and as such, you can rest assured that the TSA agent on the gate would have had that material 'surrendered.' So it never, ever would have gotten on board any aircraft in the US.
Care to bet your life on that? From all I"ve heard about the TSA"s incompetence I Don"t.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
01/25/2007 15:07 Comments ||
French intelligence agents have arrested four people believed linked to terror suspects detained in Syria several months ago, officials said Wednesday. Three men and one woman were detained Tuesday and were in custody in Tours, a city southwest of Paris, according to the French national police. The four are believed linked to two Frenchmen charged in November with suspected terrorist ties after they were expelled from Syria, police said. Those men, from near Tours, had traveled to Syria in October and were allegedly planning to continue to Iraq, but were arrested by Syrian authorities who suspected them of terrorist connections, according to French judicial officials. Investigators are trying to determine whether the men were traveling on their own or as part of a broader terrorist network.
Chennai: Eight suspected Tamil Tiger rebels were arrested in southern India. More than two metric tons of ball bearings that can be used for making mines, were seized, a police official said yesterday. The eight had bought the bearings, manufactured in Mumbai, and told the police that they planned to take them to Sri Lanka, according to D. Mukherjee, director-general of Tamil Nadu state police. "We are investigating the links," Mukherjee said.
Five were arrested on Tuesday night in Chennai. The remaining three were arrested in Tuticorin, a port town 450 km south of Chennai. Mines are the preferred weapons of the rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. They have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.1 million minority Tamils, citing decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese-dominated state. Tamil Nadu is home to nearly 56 million Tamils, many with close family ties to ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka.
TANK: Suspected militants kidnapped nine people, including a journalist, in two incidents in the NWFP on Wednesday. Unidentified men kidnapped three policemen along with their official weapons from a checkpoint here late on Tuesday night. Tank DSP Muhammad Khan confirmed the kidnapping of the three policemen from Kot Azam checkpoint, but declined to say who could have done this. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.
Online adds: Unidentified men kidnapped six people - a journalist and five labourers - when they were travelling on a main highway in the Wana Tiyarza area of South Waziristan Agency on Wednesday. The local political administration confirmed the abductions and said that the Michikhail tribe was being questioned in this connection.
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq Coalition forces discovered a building with blood-stained walls in southeast of Fallujah late Monday night and rescued three Iraqis found shackled inside. One of the victims was so badly beaten he had broken limbs. He was examined and quickly evacuated by Coalition forces to receive life-saving medical care.
During their patrol, Soldiers from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment discovered multiple weapons caches in other nearby houses early this morning while conducting intelligence-driven searches. The discovery included a mortar targeting system and a sniper rifle with scope, as well as a Bongo truck with a mounted anti-aircraft gun and another vehicle rigged as a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
This is a perfect example of how information can save lives, said Coalition spokesman Major Alan F. Crouch. More often its the Iraqi Army and police who use this information to help people, but the Coalition Forces will always be glad to use tips and information we receive to help civilians.
The Guardsman from Minnesota also detained four suspects in one house and six suspects in another house. The suspects have been moved to a nearby base for questioning.
Once the bound hostages were rescued from the house with the blood-stained walls, the suspected torture house was destroyed by Coalition forces. There were no other civilian, Iraqi security forces or Coalition forces casualties reported.
Fallujah has apparently always had a reputation for being a bunch of backwards country thugs. I saw the other day about a 1940s-1950s era travel guide that told people traveling in the area to stay away from Fallujah. Its prime location makes 70% of all traffic that goes west in Iraq pass through the area. Two major highways go through the area. Route Michigan (Hwy 10) and Route Mobile (Think of as I-10), so it is in a good position to collect taxes and control traffic. Once you go about 10 miles east of Fallujah, you're in greater Baghdad.
As the IA & IP guys I worked with said, "%uck Fallujah!" (They said it in English too.....)
For the second time in two weeks, U.S. and Iraqi forces backed by helicopter gunships and mortar fire stormed the central Baghdad neighborhood astride Haifa Street in an effort to uproot suspected Sunni Muslim insurgents. Army Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multi-national forces in Baghdad, said the objectives were to clear the area of insurgents, recover weapons caches and restore order. "We're optimistic that in short order we're going to be able to turn full control over to the Iraqis," he said.
However, the use of Apache helicopters and mortars so soon after a similar assault on the same neighborhood Jan. 9 suggested that uprooting armed groups in Baghdad won't be easy, even with the additional 17,500 U.S. troops President Bush is sending to the Iraqi capital. It also underscored how hard it is for American troops to restore order without getting embroiled in Iraq's sectarian civil war.
A Sunni organization called the Haifa Street operation "genocide", and Sunni residents of the neighborhood said the attack capped a terrifying two-week siege by mostly Shiite Iraqi government forces that stayed behind when American troops withdrew after the first offensive. A man who gave his name as Omar Abu Khatab, a 24-year-old day laborer, pleaded for help when a reporter reached him by phone. "We have many people wounded and badly injured and we have also people killed. We want someone to help us bury them, but we cannot get any help," he said. "We don't have any food or water. Until now, 16 days under this curfew and we cannot go out."
AoS: lots of commentary about this story so I'm continuing it into Thursday.
Four of the five Americans killed when a U.S. security company's helicopter crashed in a dangerous Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad were shot execution style in the back the head, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday. In Washington, a U.S. defense official said he did not know whether the men were still alive when they were shot. Blackwater USA confirmed that five Americans employed by the North Carolina-based company as security professionals were killed. They did that to Blackwater security professionals? That strikes me as... unwise.
A senior Iraqi military official said a machine gunner downed the helicopter, but a U.S. military official in Washington said there were no indications that the aircraft, owned by Blackwater USA, had been shot out of the sky. Two Sunni insurgent groups, separately, claimed responsibility for the crash.
The helicopter was shot down went down after responding to assist a U.S. Embassy ground convoy that came under fire in a Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad, said a U.S. diplomatic official in Washington. He added that a second helicopter also was struck, but there were no casualties among its crew. Clear that neighborhood next.
The doomed helicopter swooped into electrical wires before the crash. U.S. officials said it was not clear if gunfire brought the aircraft down or caused its pilot to veer into the wires during evasive manuevers. Another American official in Baghdad said three Blackwater helicopters were involved. One had landed for an unknown reason and one of the Blackwater employees was shot at that point, he said. That helicopter apparently was able to take off but a second one then crashed in the same area, he added without explaining the involvement of the third helicopter.
The Iraqi official said the four were shot in the back of the head while they were on the ground. The crash occurred in an old neighborhood of narrow streets on the east bank of the Tigris River, north of the central city. Definitely. Clear that neighborhood next.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television said the 1920 Revolution Brigades insurgent group claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter and showed a video taken by a cell phone of a mass of still-smoldering twisted metal that it was said was the wreckage of the chopper. Another Sunni insurgent group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, also claimed responsibility and posted identity cards of men who were on the helicopter on a Web site, including at least two that bore the name of Arthur Laguna, who was later identified by his mother as among those killed.
Laguna was a 52-year-old pilot for Blackwater who previously served in the Army and the California National Guard, his mother, Lydia Laguna, of Rio Linda, Calif., told the AP. She said she received a call from her other son, also a Blackwater pilot in Baghdad, notifying her of Arthur's death. A noble family. She did well rearing such sons to manhood.
Witnesses in the Fadhil neighborhood told the AP that they saw the helicopter go down after gunmen on the ground opened fire. Accounts varied, but all were consistent that at least one person operating the aircraft had been shot and badly hurt before the crash.
Blackwater USA provides security for State Department officials in Iraq, trains military units from around the world, and works for corporate clients. "These untimely deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary circumstances under which our professionals voluntarily serve to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people," the Blackwater statement said. Indeed.
Katy Helvenston, mother of Scott Helvenston, a Blackwater employee who died in March 2004 when a frenzied mob of insurgents ambushed a supply convoy they were escorting through Fallujah, said Tuesday's crash "just breaks my heart. I'm so sick of these kids dying," she said. Mr. Laguna was 52 years old. He wasn't a kid anymore. I hope he lived long enough to enjoy his grandchildren.
Before Tuesday's crash, at least 22 employees of Blackwater Security Consulting or Blackwater USA had died in Iraq as a result of war related violence, according to the Web site iCasualties.org, which tracks foreign troop fatalities in Iraq. Although they no longer wore the American uniform, they were still serving, in my eyes. And while serving, they made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us all.
The crash of the small surveillance helicopter, believed to be a version of the Hughes Defender that was developed during the Vietnam War, was the second associated with the U.S. war effort in Iraq in four days. A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter went down Saturday northeast of Baghdad, killing all 12 service members on board. The American military in Baghdad has refused to confirm a report by a Pentagon official that debris at the crash site indicated the helicopter was shot out of the air by a surface-to-air missile. If the regulars are too busy to get to it right away, let the Blackwater professionals clear those neighborhoods. Now.
Apparently Blackwater pays well. It better. Their record is abysmal. They were supposed to be guarding a convoy of VIP's ? They don't seem to have any sort of situational awareness. Then, when they get in trouble, they can't hold their own in a firefight. I suppose US Army doesn't allow them to have any really good toys, but they will be swarmed every time with only pistols and light barreled auto rifles.
So when do we give up on the hearts-and-minds and go for the balls instead? Sure, reprisals make you unpopular if done half-heartedly. But with sufficient thoroughness the folks who are left will be grateful.
They were supposed to be guarding a convoy of VIP's ?
Doesn't sound like that to me:
"went down after responding to assist a U.S. Embassy ground convoy"
Sounds like a call for "anyone in the area" went out, and they ran to the sound of the guns.
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
01/24/2007 16:26 Comments ||
I have several friends who are Blackwater and are retired Force Recon Marines who have great situational awareness and know exactly what the are doing and are quite fucking professional. Before mocking the dead, SpedcOp, give it some fucking thought.
They are well equiped. Hire only the best, Night Stalkers, SF, Force Recon etc... Yhey're hire to fight when most won't. rest in peace.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
01/24/2007 18:42 Comments ||
Definitely. Clear that neighborhood next.
Visions of a dozen AC-130's flying in a big racetrack circle above said neighborhood, raining thunder down on it until it is just a black smudge on the landscape. Followed by B-52's dropping pure salt ground penetrators.
I wonder, just how many Spectres do we have in the force?
Actually, now knowing we have B-1 Lancers in theater, it may be time to put 'em to use, Lone Ranger. While AC-130s make for good show, bombing the snot out of this neighborhood with the B-1 sounds better to me.
AP got the story wrong. The first bird took fire and the shooter on board was hit, mission was scrubbed and flew back to the Aid Station. Second bird stayed on station to support the retrograde of the convoy. While at the Aid Station shooter in the first bird died. They replaced 3 rotor blades and took back off to join up with the second bird. By this time all hell was braking loose and the military came in with supporting fire. The second bird that remained on station went down with all aboard KIA on impact. NO ONE WAS SHOT IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD. Their bodies were all recovered. These MEN were the finest, and served our Country well in a time of need.
Posted by: Joe of the Jungle ||
01/24/2007 21:26 Comments ||
Thanks Joe. Like they say... first reports are notoriously wrong.
The gunships that came in to support launched at least one Hellfire down their throats.
Posted by: Joe of the Jungle ||
01/24/2007 22:03 Comments ||
Thank you, Joe. I like your description of events much better. I learnt everything I know about Blackwater here at Rantburg, so I have a lot of respect for them. But I don't know enough about how soldiering happens to know why the story made me uncomfortable as well as angry.
TW; as always a very thoughtful commentary except for one small bone I wish to pick: While at 52, Mr. Laguna was not a kid to you or me maybe, to his Mother, or any other Blackwater-Family Mom, he was still a kid; their kid. Rest in Peace, Gentlemen.
For what its worth, a friend in EODT relays the same tale as Joe. Supposedly the wire got them as they tried to evade, and the brave jihadis sprayed the wreckage as they ran away so they could claim the down bird.
And yet another thread demonstrating how this site gets it right. If only the UofRantburg had been around in the late '80's, I wouldn't have had to suffer through 2 years at SF State. And yes, today just as in those days, to be Student Body President at SF State, you must be Palestinian. No exceptions that I'm aware of.
Posted by: Rex Mundi ||
01/25/2007 2:18 Comments ||
Last I heard, Blackwater pays security staff $300 and up per day, and work them every day. And there are "hot zone" bonuses for protecting the Baghdad Airport to Green Zone and other routes. That kind of money would attract qualified ex-military.
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/25/2007 7:15 Comments ||
Before I went out last time these guys came down and gave us a brief on IED detection and countermeasures. They were pretty good, all former spec ops/Marines/etc. They're just a hop/skip up the road from Lejeune. As w/any high speed unit you have your percentage of cowboys but overall I admired their professionalism, they certainly know the deal. Rest in Peace gents.
RUMINT has them pulling PSD for the PM and other higher end pols in IQ now, instead of his Shia clan, ao there may be more to this than meets the eye. Myabe not. But I've said enough. Those of you with the other puzzle pieces can see it from here.
Ironic that this is how the world learns of those companies, as opposed to those of us who knew before. BW, solid pros - them and EODT are the only guys I'd ever consider plugging in with, if I werent so damn decrepit. Both of them only hire quality, no "Soldier of Fortune Magazine" nor Rambo-Hollywood sh*t (unlike a company I don't care to name, but Joe probably knows who Im talking about). These comapnies and thier operators know their stuff front back and sideways. Worth every damn dime they get paid, and then some. Kinda surprised to hear the news, sad for the losses.
Rest in Peace - I'll see ya on Fiddler's Green some day, and we can tilt a bottle there.
In a joint ISA and IDF operation earlier this morning in Nablus, Amar Guad Shacher Dmara, a wanted Tanzim-Fatah operative was arrested. Dmara, 26, resident of Nablus, was continuously involved in the organization of bombing attacks in Israel. The attacks were directed by the Hizbullah terrorist organization. Dmara also served as the substitute for Muhamad Amin Muhamad Ramaha, a Tanzim-Fatah operative who had also operated under the direction of the Hizbullah terrorist organization and was killed on December 14, 2007 during an attempt to arrest him.
Recently, Dmara was involved in attempts to carry out a bombing attack against Israeli civilians and led several attempts to smuggle explosive devices and explosive belts out of Nablus. He was also involved in shooting attacks and the planting of explosive devices against IDF forces operating in the area of Nablus.
The Tanzim-Fatah infrastructure in Nablus, of which Damara was a part, receives orders and direction from operatives in the Gaza Strip and from the Hizbullah terror organization. This infrastructure is one of the greatest security threats in Judea and Samaria, as its operatives continuously try to carry out bombing attacks against Israeli civilians.
Israeli troops killed a young Palestinian militant in the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Thursday, medics and witnesses said. Witnesses said the Israeli forces shot dead 17-year-old Fadel Balawneh, described by Palestinian security sources as a member of Islamic Jihad, as he tried to run away from a building which the army was surrounding. The Israeli army declined to comment.
In Gaza, an Islamist Palestinian group which says it was behind a series of bomb attacks at Internet cafes and video stores claimed responsibility for bombing the offices of the Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya on Monday.
"The Rightful Swords of Islam" said in a statement the bombing was a message "to those in charge of this channel and other channels which put themselves in the service of Zionist and other gangs who have no business but to fight Islam and Muslims."
The Arabiya newsroom was empty when an explosive device placed outside detonated, police said, and no one was injured. The group's statement, which could not be immediately authenticated, said Al-Arabiya had repeatedly spread what it said was fabricated news.
Fatah and Hamas militants waged a fierce gunbattle in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun on Wednesday, wounding three people. The violence came as the rival Palestinian factions tried again to reach agreement on forming a national unity government. Violence first broke out in Beit Hanoun overnight and a new gunbattle erupted Wednesday afternoon between Fatah and Hamas loyalists. The three wounded were taken to the hospital.
Perhaps an island
One of those "sinking" because of "global warming", Fred? The French claim a couple of isolated rocks in the Pacific that are big enough to have trees and streams, but no human population. maybe we can persuade them to "grant" them to the Paleos as a homeland. IIRC, one of them is about 800 miles from ANYWHERE else. I don't think it could support 3Mil though.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
01/25/2007 14:42 Comments ||
Other then dead and wounded, Trucefire still holding. Film at eleven...
In a retrial on Wednesday, the State Security Court (SSC) sentenced three men, including Mohammad Shalabi better known as Abu Sayyaf, to prison terms ranging from seven to 15 years for plotting to launch an attack against American interests in Jordan. The tribunal handed Shalabi a 15-year prison term for complicity in possessing explosives with illicit intent. Amer Sraj was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on the same charge, but the court decided to reduce it to 10 years because of the circumstances of the case and to give the defendant a second chance in life. The third defendant, Saleh Awad, also received a 15-year prison term, which was immediately commuted to half by the tribunal to give the defendant a second chance in life. Eleven people were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 15 years for possessing explosives with illicit intent during the original trial in December 2004.
The Cassation Court upheld the sentences of eight of the defendants and overturned the verdicts of three, whose retrial was held yesterday. Shalabi was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison, Awad to 12 years and Sraj to 10 years. The higher court overturned their verdicts in July 2006, stating that the charge of possessing explosives should be further examined by the SSC.
On Wednesday, the SSC decided to amend the charge to complicity in possessing explosives with illicit intent and handed some of them new sentences. The verdict will automatically be reviewed by a higher court within the next 30 days. The prosecution had charged the defendants with possessing 40 handgrenades and detonators with the intent of using them in military operations against Americans, as well as planning to go to Afghanistan for jihad following the September 11 attacks against the US. The defendants changed their plans, however, and decided instead to launch military operations in Jordan against Americans, in particular the US embassy in Amman, according to the charge sheet. Their targets also included General Intelligence Department officers, the charge sheet added. But the authorities apprehended the defendants before they carried out any of their alleged plans.
The government has also blamed Shalabi for causing the Maan riots last year, which claimed the lives of five people. He was sentenced to death by the SSC in 2006 for possessing automatic machineguns with illicit intent in the Maan riots case.
In a second high-profile case yesterday, the SSC postponed the trial of Ziyad Khalaf Karbouli, who is accused of murdering a Jordanian citizen in Iraq in 2005, to allow his attorney more time to seek a letter from an Iraqi police station indicating his client was in detention at the time of the murder. Last week, lawyer Adel Tarawneh told the court he received an e-mail from Karboulis father that included a letter from Akashat Police Station in Iraq stating that his client was in custody from September 21 to 24 for not possessing an identification card, the same time the Jordanian driver was reportedly murdered. The lawyer told the court yesterday he still had not receive an official copy of the letter to submit as evidence and needed more time. The tribunal agreed and adjourned the session until next Wednesday.
Karbouli, 32, appeared on Jordan Television in May 2006 and confessed to shooting Khaled Dasouqi, a driver who worked on the Baghdad-Amman highway, and kidnapping two Moroccan diplomats in Iraq last year. Karbouli and 13 others, who are being tried in absentia, are charged with plotting subversive acts that led to the death of an individual, possessing explosives with illicit intent and belonging to an illegal organisation (Tawhid and Jihad) affiliated to Al Qaeda network in Iraq.
SOUTHEAST Asia's most wanted terrorist, Bali bomb mastermind Dulmatin, has been wounded in a fierce gunfight on remote Jolo Island in a significant win for US-backed Philippines forces battling to "eliminate" the Jemaah Islamiah kingpin and his Abu Sayyaf cronies. The Australian, in a series of interviews with the top Philippines and US commanders in the southern Philippines, has also learned that Dulmatin, along with his JI Bali bomber partner Omar Patek, are on the run for their lives on Jolo. The pair spend no longer than six hours in one place on the jungle-covered volcanic island. According to Philippines Brigadier-General Ruben Rafael, they have even resorted to cross-dressing sporting wigs and burkas to evade 6000 troops hunting them.
Dulmatin, who has a $US10million ($13 million) bounty on his head, has hidden two of his children away on the nearby island of Basilan, probably with the widow of Abu Sayyaf founder Abburajak Janjalani, one commander said. However, he is unable to leave Jolo to see them because of intense coastguard surveillance and regular reconnaissance flights by US Orion spy planes. "Dulmatin is here till he dies," Captain Abdurassad Sirajan, of the 104th Brigade of the Philippines army, in Jolo, told The Australian. "His assignment is to lead the Abu Sayyaf group - that is why he was sent here from Indonesia."
JI, the Southeast Asian affiliate of al-Qaida, is aligned to the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf. Captain Sirajan, a Jolo-raised Muslim and former Moro National Liberation Front commander, said the bomb technician, who planned the 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, was injured last week as Philippines soldiers overran a joint JI/Abu Sayyaf terrorist camp in the southern Philippines. Dulmatin, was shot during the three-hour battle involving about 60 Abu Sayyaf and JI gunmen. Abu Solaiman, Abu Sayyaf's spokesman, who had a $US5million ($6.4 million) bounty on his head, was killed during the raid.
But Dulmatin, who goes by one name, escaped on foot. According to unconfirmed sightings, he was with Patek. "They are on the run and we have many informants covering Dulmatin and Patek in Sulu, so we are expecting good developments within this week," said General Eugenio Cedo, Philippines military chief for Western Mindanao, including Jolo and the Sulu islands. "They realise that they are losing some leaders and maybe they will make themselves vulnerable by attempting or trying to get even. Revenge, you know it is part of their culture. They make the war more personal."
The Abu Sayyaf group and their supporters are threatening locals with violence to force them to offer shelter and support - including food and money - to their members and to Dulmatin and Patek. The US-backed Philippines military operation Ultimatum, under way in Jolo since August, has successfully targeted "high-value terrorists" from JI and Abu Sayyaf, including local leader Khadaffy Janjalani. DNA tests last week confirmed the 31- year-old guerilla was iced killed in clashes in Jolo in September.
Janjalani and Solaiman were wanted for numerous terrorist bombings, killings and beheadings of Christians and westerners, including the 2004 super ferry passenger bombing near Manila that killed more than 100, the 2005 Valentine's Day bombings in the capital and a string of attacks in the southern Philippines. Binang Sali, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf urban terrorist group, has also been killed during the military offensive, aided by hundreds of US special forces and intelligence experts. Earlier this month, Philippines forces killed an Indonesian member of JI, in a sea battle near the Tawi-Tawi islands south of Jolo, as he tried to escape for Sabah in Malaysia.
Australia, which is seeking to upgrade defence relations with The Philippines through a status of forces agreement, has offered significant support and training to the Philippines police and military. For the first time, Philippines police have confirmed the presence of Australian special forces officers in the southern Philippines. Zamboanga Port police commander Francisco Clavesillas told The Australian he met Australian SAS officers last year, and also detailed comprehensive training in port security offered in Mindanao by the Australian transport department.
For probably the first time in their history they are tasting victory. It is not time to get over confidant, it is time to see this to the finish. Dulmatin and Patek were sent to run bomb making camps, not lead the ASG.
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
01/25/2007 21:11 Comments ||
chase em and kill them. No prisoners
Posted by: Frank G ||
01/25/2007 21:17 Comments ||
Awwwww - did him get a widdle boo-boo?
Let us prey to allen - for sepsis.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
01/25/2007 22:34 Comments ||
JAKARTA (AP): An alleged Southeast Asian terror leader threatened to call for holy war against Indonesian police Thursday, days after an anti-terror squad shot dead 15 suspected Islamic extremists.
Abu Bakar Bashir, accused by Australia and the United States of being a key figure in the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, said Muslims should stop serving in the police's anti-terror squad on Indonesia's conflict-ridden Sulawesi island.
"If Muslims are being killed, then we must fight back," the 69-year-old cleric told around 100 hard-liners outside the National Human Rights Commission in the capital, Jakarta, where they were protesting Monday's killings.
"If necessary, we must organize a jihad," he said.
Police say they shot the 15 men Monday after coming under attack as they entered a militant stronghold in Poso, a flash- point town on Sulawesi. They recovered large numbers of guns, bombs and ammunition.
Islamic groups and politicians have criticized police following the raid.
However, Indonesia's vice president, other government officials and most of the media in the world's most populous Muslim nation have supported the operation.
"There is an attempt in Poso to eliminate the Muslims so the unbelievers will control the town," Bashir said. "I curse the actions of (the anti-terror squad) Densus 88 for killing Muslims and helping the unbelievers."
The International Crisis Group think tank said Wednesday that the operation appeared to be justified, but warned that it could backfire by inflaming Islamic terrorists on Sulawesi and elsewhere in Indonesia.
Six years ago, Sulawesi was the scene of bloody battles between Muslim and Christian gangs that left about 1,000 people dead and attracted Islamic militants from all over Indonesia.
Bashir was released from jail last year after serving 26 months behind bars for conspiracy in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings. In December, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction and ordered that his name be cleared.
RAN is on the verge of launching a satellite into space that could herald a new dimension in Tehran's strategic capabilities, Aviation Week and Space Technology says on its website.
The recently assembled, 30-tonne ballistic missile-turned space launcher could also be used for testing longer-range missile strike technologies, the magazine said in a report for its January 29 issue.
The Iranian space launcher "will lift off soon'' with an Iranian satellite, said Alaoddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, according to the weekly.
Yo China, bet you beer ya can't shoot it down!!!
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
01/25/2007 20:15 Comments ||
What was that you were just saying, Sergei?
"Sergei Ivanov, speaking during a trip to India where he co-chaired a bilateral commission on military ties, said that neither Iran nor North Korea has or will have a capability to build missiles capable of reaching Europe. "They don't and won't have intercontinental ballistic missiles," Ivanov said at a news conference."
I agree that this missile must fail. But the big question is *how* it should fail. If it just blows up on the pad, or harmlessly during its boost phase, then Iran will just be out a missile.
However, if it is to suddenly veer off course, and crash into a major city, with a surprising amount of destruction and loss of life for such a missile, well...it might reflect poorly on the Iranian government.
There are times when you care what the peanut gallery are saying, and times when you must disregard them and deal with realpolitik and, in this case, brinkmanship.
Of course we would like it if there is no obvious link to us, and while lots of Americans would enjoy the possibility that the US made that missile do what we wanted, there would be no tangible proof.
By causing a disaster in Iran, it would cast their entire missile program into doubt, it would question the capability of their technology, and their government would be bitterly criticized for killing Iranians.
All of these things could be played to our strategic advantage. Who cares what the MSM and the democrats think? They are clueless, and would criticize under any circumstance, with reason or without.
Russia maintains listening posts along the Syrian border with Israel which it uses to follow IDF movements in the Golan Heights, it was revealed Thursday night.
According to a report on Channel 2, the posts are manned by Russian military officers who pass on information to Hizbullah in Lebanon. Israel, The Jerusalem Post learned, has known about the posts for over a decade since they were established.
Russia's involvement in the Iranian nuclear program, as well as various state-of-the-art arms sales it has periodically made to both Syria and Iran, has caused some friction over the last few years in Russian-Israeli ties.
Diplomatic officials said that the while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed with the Russians during his visit to Moscow in October the advanced Russian arms that were found in Hizbullah's possession during the summer's war in Lebanon, the issue of the listening posts was not brought up.
Russia most recently drew Israeli ire after completing a sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran earlier this month.
Iran has received a Russian air defense missile system, the Iranian defense minister said Wednesday. I'm not too worried. Sammy had some, too.
Iran's announcement came as it launched three days of military maneuvers - its first since the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against it in late December. "We have had constructive defense transactions with Russia and we purchased Tor M-1 missiles that were recently delivered to us," the official Web site of Iranian state television quoted Minister of Defense Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying.
Iranian authorities on Wednesday hung four Arab separatists convicted of bombings that killed dozens of civilians in southern Iran, media in Tehran reported. Both the ISNA and Fars semi-official news agencies reported that the four Iranians were hung in a prison in Ahvaz, 850 kilometers southwest of the capital Tehran.
The convicts were part of a larger group of Arabs arrested in 2005 and 2006 in the oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province, close to the border with Iraq. They were charged in connection with the January 2006, June and October 2005 bombings that had killed 23 people and wounded dozens more in the provincial capital of Ahvaz. Earlier in January, the New York-based Human Rights Watch had urged Iran to rescind the death sentences of the men and retry the defendants before courts that meet international fair trial standards.
Three people were killed and 133 wounded in factional fighting in Lebanon Tuesday as opposition protestors staged a nationwide strike, blocking roads with burning tyres in the latest show of force aimed at ousting the government. Police said the protests erupted into violence as pro-government supporters fought street battles with followers of the opposition led by Hezbollah. Three people were killed in the northern port cities of Tripoli and Batroun, while 133 others were wounded in armed clashes, fistfights and stone-throwing in various areas of the country, brought to its knees by the one-day general strike.
The violence added to concerns over the stability of a country still bearing the scars of the 1975-1990 civil war and last summer's massive Israeli offensive against Hezbollah. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora warned that the government and the army will not be "lenient with any attempts to disrupt public order, civil peace and the respect of the law."
"The strike was transformed into acts and incitements which exceeded all limits and reminded of the era of discord, war and tutelage," he said, referring to the 29-year Syrian military domination of the country until 2005.
After a day of widespead violence, the demonstrations eased by nightfall and the army began clearing blocked roads across the country. Late Tuesday night, the opposition said it was ending the action. "The opposition has decided to suspend the strike which served as a warning to the illegitimate government" of Siniora, it said in a statement broadcast on local television stations.
During the day, troops and police were out in force for the action which was denounced by the government as a "coup attempt" by the opposition movement spearheaded by Hezbollah. Thick clouds of smoke billowed over the capital and other cities as demonstrators blocked roads by burning tyres and old cars, and spreading sand and rubble. Militants also cut road access to Beirut airport in an escalation of the protest that has crippled the Siniora administration for weeks. A source at Beirut international airport said that 34 flights had been cancelled while many arriving passengers were stranded at the airport due to the road into the city being blocked.
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.