Rights groups challenge Obama on targeted killings

Rights groups challenge Obama on targeted killings

* Groups seek disclosure of US criteria for targets

* Justice Dept says operations comply with U.S. law (Adds byline, Justice Department comment)

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Civil liberties groups sued the Obama administration on Monday over a program they said illegally tries to kill U.S. citizens believed to be militants living abroad, like the anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of the Muslim cleric, arguing targeted killings violate the U.S. Constitution and international law.

U.S. authorities have tied the cleric to the failed bombing attempt of a U.S. commercial jet on Christmas Day in 2009 and to an Army major who went on a shooting spree that killed 13 people last year at Fort Hood in Texas.

No charges have been publicly filed against al-Awlaki, who was born in the United States but left in late 2001. He is believed to be in Yemen, where al Qaeda has been growing.

“A program that authorizes killing U.S. citizens, without judicial oversight, due process or disclosed standards is unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama’s National Security Council gave the Central Intelligence Agency the green light earlier this year to kill al-Awlaki, officials have said.

White House officials have also said Americans who fight alongside groups like al Qaeda are “legitimate targets” for lethal strikes.

The Obama administration declined to comment specifically about the lawsuit filed by the two group, but said the government has the right to use force to defend the country and to defeat al Qaeda.

“The U.S. is careful to ensure that all its operations used to prosecute the armed conflict against those forces, including lethal operations, comply with all applicable laws, including the laws of war,” said Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

“This administration is using every legal measure available to defeat al Qaeda, and we will continue to do so as long as its forces pose a threat to this nation,” he said.

The civil liberties groups argued that Americans accused of wrongdoing should be tried in court under the Constitution and could be targeted for killing only if there were an imminent threat from a person and there were no other ways to stop it.

The groups said the people being targeted are far from any battlefield like in Iraq or Afghanistan, which they said undermines the administration’s justification.

They asked for a federal judge to issue an injunction preventing the Obama administration from killing al-Awlaki and forcing it to publicly reveal the criteria for determining who can be targeted.

CIA spokesman George Little said: “This agency acts in strict accord with American law.” Representatives of the Defense Department had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing byJohn O’Callaghan and Jackie Frank)

Pakistan is the Afghan war’s real aggressor

Pakistan is the Afghan war’s real aggressor

By Rangin Dadfar Spanta

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Afghanistan became a rare example of international consensus. The global community, amid competing regional and international interests, undertook a military intervention endorsed and legitimized by the U.N. Security Council. It was common knowledge that al-Qaeda had created a haven in Afghanistan with the support of Pakistan’s intelligence agency. Dismantling this regional terrorist infrastructure was considered vital to the international counterterrorism strategy.

Then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered a message to Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in November 2001: It could join the international coalition or be bombed “back to the stone age.” Across the border, the Afghan people persecuted by the brutal rule of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, as well as by the lordship of Pakistani generals, welcomed the international community with open arms. We have made significant progress in recent years. But our achievements in education, health, development and civil rights have been overshadowed and eroded by terrorist attacks.

There is ongoing domestic and international confusion in identifying Afghanistan’s friends and foes. The Afghan people are wholeheartedly grateful to the international community for its sacrifices in blood and treasure. Unfortunately, the military-intelligence establishment of one of our neighbors still regards Afghanistan as its sphere of influence. While faced with a growing domestic terrorist threat, Pakistan continues to provide sanctuary and support to the Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network, the Hekmatyar group and al-Qaeda. And while the documents recently disclosed by WikiLeaks contained information that was neither new nor surprising, they did make public further evidence of the close relations among the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence.

The international community is present in Afghanistan to dismantle these international terrorist networks. Yet the focus on this fundamental task has progressively eroded and has been compounded by another strategic failure: the mistaken embrace of “strategic partners” who have, in fact, been nurturing terrorism.

Much has been said about the political will of the Afghan government, governance in our country and corruption. These are mainly domestic variables. It is true that an exhausted and desperate political elite in Afghanistan, faced with predatory and opportunistic individuals in and outside the power structures, allowed the mafia to penetrate into politics. State institutions were undermined and the rule of law weakened. Undoubtedly the absence of transparency in contracts and the presence of private security companies clearly connected to certain officials — contributing ultimately to the privatization of security and thus insecurity in our country — are matters of grave concern. But the international terrorist presence in the region is not entrenched solely because of Afghan corruption. Britain, Spain, Turkey, China, Germany and India have all been victims not of Afghan corruption but of international terrorism — emanating from the region.

It is my firm conviction that securing our people, districts and towns from terrorists; institutionalizing the rule of law; and fighting corruption are necessary steps toward building a strong and responsive state. But that is not enough. No domestic measure will fully address the threat of international terrorism, its global totalitarian ideology or its regional support networks. Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure is a central component of our anti-terror strategy, and this requires confronting the state that still sees terrorism as a strategic asset and foreign policy tool.

To be clear, Afghanistan opposes the expansion of conflicts into other countries and opposes unwarranted military interventions in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. But global efforts to counter terrorism will not succeed until and unless there is clarity on who our friends and foes are.

The conflict we are engaged in is becoming a long and expensive war for us and our international partners. The Afghan people are rightly frustrated and exhausted by a war in which the line between friends and foes is blurred. Global opinion has also turned against us. Yet surely it is understandable that we have failed to mobilize people for a cause where the fighting is in one place and the enemy is in another. How can we persuade Afghans, or the parents of young soldiers from coalition countries, to support a war where our “partners” are involved in killing their sons and daughters? While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists’ main mentor continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified?

The Afghan people are no longer ready to pay the price for the international community’s miscalculation and naivety. The aggressor understands only one language: that of force and determination. Afghanistan, along with the United States and many other nations, is a victim of terrorism. The international community must establish a clear alliance among such victims. We cannot mobilize the Afghan people with uncertainty, confusion or appeasement of those who sponsor terrorism.

The writer is national security adviser of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He served previously as foreign minister.

Not talking to Haqqanis, our red lines are clear: Afghan NSA

Not talking to Haqqanis, our red lines are clear: Afghan NSA

2010-08-31 21:00:00
Afghanistan on Tuesday denied that Karzai-led government was in talks with Haqqanis and other Pakistan-backed terrorist groups under the reconciliation process.

Afghan National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta, who is on a short visit to New Delhi, said, “We never talked to Haqqani groups, our red line is very clear-all those afghan citizens who are not the part of Al Qaeda and other terrorists or intelligence networks, they are welcome.”

“This is not the reconciliation with terrorist groups it is not reconciliation with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, Afghan reconciliation process is with Afghan citizens; those citizens who are ready to put down the arms and accept Afghan constitution,” Spanta added.

There are deep concerns in New Delhi over Afghan reconciliation process in which Pakistan seems to be playing an assertive role and trying to thrust its backed Haqqanis and Hekmatyar into the mainstream to gain strategic depth in the war-torn nation over India that has made massive investment of more than a billion dollars, mainly in capacity building.

Earlier in the day, Spanta also discussed Afghan reconciliation process with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and also called on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Spanta said that terror outfits beyond Afghan borders are responsible for the attacks on Indian embassy and the recent attack on medical mission.

“Unfortunately we have two attacks on Indian embassies and also against a guest house which was used by Indian doctors. We know some terror groups with links beyond our borders are involved,” he said.

Spanta is in the eye of storm and has drawn the ire of Islamabad for his recent article titled “Pakistan is the Afghan war’s real aggressor” published in Washington Post in which he blamed Pakistan for aiding Quetta Shura, Hekmatyar and Haqqanis. In his fiery article, Spanta also urged that United States should use drones to target Afghan Taliban commanders living in Pakistani territory. He also called for imposing sanctions on Pakistan in his controversial writing piece in the US newspaper. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

More bad news for Baku


Given the excitement over domestic politics in Turkey, and the concentration on developments concerning Iran and Israel abroad, few Turks have had a chance to consider the meaning of some of the steps Moscow has been taking in the southern Caucasus. One such development was the protocol Moscow signed recently with Armenia, extending the bilateral defense treaty the two countries signed in 1995 through 2044.

Experts tell us that while the defense alliance between Armenia and Moscow is nothing new, the protocols signed by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian have important new features. We are told, for example, that with the new arrangement Russia undertakes to guarantee Armenia’s territorial integrity in its entirety, and not just its borders with Turkey and Iran, as before.

This amounts to leaving Armenia’s overall defense to Moscow, and also enhances further the partnership the two countries have within the context of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. Analysts who indicate that the CSTO is a NATO-like formation, underline that this alliance is rapidly gaining significance in the area covering the former Soviet Union, where Russia is increasing its military hold from Ukraine to Kyrgyzstan.

There is also some suggestion that Washington is not as averse to these developments as some may think, given that it shares some elemental concerns with Moscow, mostly to do with Afghanistan and the rise in Islamic terrorism. It is indicated in this context that the U.S. has a stake in seeing the republics of the former Soviet Union stabilized, something which clearly only Russia, if anyone, can do.

It is a fact that for all the angry noise out of Washington over Russia effectively invading and dividing Georgia two years ago, little was actually done to retaliate. Russia’s consolidation of its military position in the southern Caucasus appears to be accepted as a “fait accompli.”

It is also noticeable that there is more convergence on Iran between Russia and the U.S., as exemplified by Moscow’s support of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the Security Council.

One country where the latest development between Moscow and Yerevan has caused deep frustration and anger, however, is Azerbaijan. The main reason is that Moscow has effectively told Baku, by means of the protocol it signed with Yerevan, that it will not stand for any attempt by the Azeri military to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue by military means.

This is a blow to Azeri prestige because the administration in Baku has been rattling its saber for quite some time now, indicating its readiness to use military force to regain lands occupied by Armenian forces, not just in Nagorno-Karabakh, but also in Azerbaijan proper. Baku has also been using its oil money to purchase advanced military systems and shore up its armed forces in order to give more credence to its saber rattling.

Moscow’s indirect notice to Baku, however, makes it more or less impossible for Azerbaijan to unleash a military campaign against Armenia and attain its objectives.

In the first instance Azerbaijan is not a member of the CSTO, while Armenia is and now has an even stronger protective umbrella as a result of this alliance.

The current situation also makes it very likely that if Baku should try, against all odds, to go for a military option, it will find itself isolated internationally. NATO member Turkey will also find it very difficult to get openly embroiled in such a war, even if Ankara will instinctively be on Baku’s side, and try to help Azerbaijan in covert ways.

It is also clear that in the event of such a war the Armenian military will have the freedom to concentrate exclusively on the Azeri onslaught given that Moscow has now guaranteed the safety of its other borders.

This overall situation perhaps explains why there is increasing frustration and nervousness in Baku, which also issued two high-level warnings to Turkey recently spelling out in so many words that if the Erdoğan government decides to open the closed Turkish-Armenian border for even a day and for any purpose, relations will be poisoned.

These warnings come on the heels of news reports in Turkey that the border closed by Ankara, in solidarity with Baku after Armenians overran Azeri territory outside Nagorno-Karabakh, may be opened for a day within the context of an international military exercise.

As matters stand the Azeri administration was livid with anger when news of the Turkish-Armenian normalization protocols broke last year, forcing the Erdoğan government to shelve these protocols because of domestic pressure Baku was able to generate among the Turkish public.

Since then it is an open secret that there is a crisis of confidence between Turkey and Azerbaijan, with the Azeri side overly alert to any suggestion that Turkey might embark on some gesture, such as the opening of the border with Armenia even if for a day, to reactivate its normalization efforts with Yerevan.

Baku knows of course there is significant pressure on Ankara from the West to actually start implementing the ”Geneva Protocols” with Armenia, as they have come to be known, and worries that the Erdoğan government may not be able to withstand this pressure in the long run.

But Foreign Minsiter Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was asked about reports concerning the border, said last week that there was no such plan and that the border would remain closed. Thus if there was any preparation on Ankara’s part for a mini-gesture to Armenia, one can say that Baku put a spanner in the works again.

What must also be frustrating for Azeri diplomats is that Russia provided a counter point to Turkey when Ankara announced its protocols with Armenian last year. Azeri President Ilham Aliev immediately went to Moscow, after the protocols were signed in Geneva, and made statements while there – especially in terms of energy cooperation with Russia – that were clearly aimed at ruffling feathers in Ankara.

But it was always an unrealistic expectation on the Azeri side that Russia would provide any advantage for Baku as it pursues its policies against Yerevan, especially those based on the military option. Now with the latest Russian-Armenian protocols, Baku seems to have painted itself even tighter into the corner.

We maintained at the time, and still do so today, that if Baku had not spoiled the implementation of the Turkish-Armenian protocols, it would have more options today vis-à-vis Nagorno-Karabakh. For one thing Turkey would also be playing an active role in the settlement of this seemingly intractable problem.

Today, however, there is no potential role for Turkey to play here, given that normalization with Armenia is at a standstill, and Azerbaijan’s zero sum game has landed Ankara in a situation that it cannot extract itself from.

As for the real power broker in the region, this is increasingly seen to be Russia, and it is more than likely that Azerbaijan will have to eventually settle for a “Pax Russicana” arrangement over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Whether that arrangement will provide Azerbaijan with what it wants today is highly questionable. Therefore one can say that the latest show of solidarity between Russia and Armenia, which has now been consummated by means of a security arrangement that will last till 2044, is more bad news for Azerbaijan.

General Ivashov: “International terrorism does not exist”

General Ivashov: “International terrorism does not exist”

by General Leonid Ivashov*

General Leonid Ivashov was the Chief of Staff of theRussian armed forces when the September 11, 2001, attacks took place. This military man, who lived the events from the inside, offers an analysis which is very different to that of his American colleagues. As he did during the Axis for Peace 2005 conference, he now explains that international terrorism does not exist and that the September 11 attacks were the result of a set-up. What we are seeing is a manipulation by the big powers; thisterrorism would not exist without them. He affirms that, instead of faking a “world war on terror”, the best way to reduce that kind of attacks is through respect for international law and peaceful cooperation among countries and their citizens.

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General Leonid Ivashov (left) at the Axis for Peace Conference 2005 in Brussels, with Webster Tarpley

As the current international situation shows, terrorismemerges where contradiction aggravate, where there is a change of social relations or a change of regime, where there is political, economic or social instability, where there is moral decadence, where cynicism and nihilism triumph, where vice is legalized and where crime spreads.

It is globalization what creates the conditions for the emergence of these extremely dangerous phenomena. It is in this context that the new world geo-strategic map is being designed, that the resources of the planet are being re-distributed, that borders are disappearing, that international law is being torn into pieces, that cultural identities are being erased, that spiritual life becomes impoverished…

The analysis of the essence of the globalization process, the military and political doctrines of the United States and other countries, shows that terrorism contributes to a world dominance and the submissiveness of states to a global oligarchy. This means that terrorism is not something independent of world politics but simply an instrument, a means to install a unipolar world with a sole world headquarters, a pretext to erase national borders and to establish the rule of a new world elite. It is precisely this elite that constitutes the key element of world terrorism, its ideologist and its “godfather”. The main target of the world elite is the historical, cultural, traditional and natural reality; the existing system of relations among states; the world national and state order of human civilization and national identity.

Today’s international terrorism is a phenomenon that combines the use of terror by state and non-state political structures as a means to attain their political objectives through people’s intimidation, psychological and social destabilization, the elimination of resistance inside power organizations and the creation of appropriate conditions for the manipulation of the countries’ policies and the behavior of people.

Terrorism is the weapon used in a new type of war. At the same time, international terrorism, in complicity with the media, becomes the manager of global processes. It is precisely the symbiosis between media and terror, which allows modifying international politics and the exiting reality.

In this context, if we analyze what happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States, we can arrive at the following conclusions: 1. The organizers of those attacks were the political and business circles interested in destabilizing the world order and who had the means necessary to finance the operation. The political conception of this action matured there where tensions emerged in the administration of financial and other types of resources. We have to look for the reasons of the attacks in the coincidence of interests of the big capital at global and transnational levels, in the circles that were not satisfied with the rhythm of the globalization process or its direction.
Unlike traditional wars, whose conception is determined by generals and politicians, the oligarchs and politicians submitted to the former were the ones who did it this time.

2. Only secret services and their current chiefs – or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations – have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude. Generally, secret services create, finance and control extremist organizations. Without the support of secret services, these organizations cannot exist – let alone carry out operations of such magnitude inside countries so well protected. Planning and carrying out an operation on this scale is extremely complex.

3. Osama bin Laden and “Al Qaeda” cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders. Thus, a team of professionals had to be created and the Arab kamikazes are just extras to mask the operation.
The September 11 operation modified the course of events in the world in the direction chosen by transnational mafias and international oligarchs; that is, those who hope to control the planet’s natural resources, the world information network and the financial flows. This operation also favored the US economic and political elite that also seeks world dominance.

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General Leonid Ivashov with journalist Christopher Bollyn from American Free Press

The use of the term “international terrorism” has the following goals:
- Hiding the real objectives of the forces deployed all over the world in the struggle for dominance and control;
- Turning the people’s demands to a struggle of undefined goals against an invisible enemy;
- Destroying basic international norms and changing concepts such as: aggression, state terror, dictatorship or movement of national liberation;
- Depriving peoples of their legitimate right to fight against aggressions and to reject the work of foreign intelligence services;
- Establishing the principle of renunciation to national interests, transforming objectives in the military field by giving priority to the war on terror, violating the logic of military alliances to the detriment of a joint defense and to favor the anti-terrorist coalition;
- Solving economic problems through a tough military rule using the war on terror as a pretext. In order to fight in an efficient way against international terrorism it is necessary to take the following steps:
- To confirm before the UN General Assembly the principles of the UN Charter and international law as principles that all states are obliged to respect;
- To create a geo-strategic organization (perhaps inspired in the Cooperation Organization of Shanghai comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) with a set of values different to that of the Atlantists; to design a strategy of development of states, a system of international security, another financial and economic model (which would mean that the world would again rest on two pillars);
- To associate (under the United Nations) the scientific elites in the design and promotion of the philosophical concepts of the Human Being of the 21st Century.
- To organize the interaction of all religious denominations in the world, on behalf of the stability of humanity’s development, security and mutual support.

19 dead in shootout in Chechnya

[The President's bodyguards repelled a rebel assault.  They were going for the head man.   It is easy to see that that there is a war going on within Russia and the former USSR. This attempted hit on an ally of Putin, on the heels of the murder of Yuri Ivanov, one of Putin's legitimate critics, is proof of that.  It may be as simple as Putin and Medvedev positioning themselves for the upcoming election, or it may also be connected to the murder of MI-6 operative Gareth Williams , in London.  The fact that the house the British agent was found in was owned by a Russian company, could confirm this theory.  The same site claimed that the actual hitman came from Slovenia.  These reports reflect the conflict playing-out underneath the rhetoric, but they are also evidence of bad spymanship.  It is very sloppy of the spooks on both sides to leave all these bodies lying around to alert the public of the alternative reality being shaped for us.  You have to wonder why.

Students of the conspiratorial view of history like myself, believe that history doesn't just "unfold," it is shaped by the most powerful, so that the outcome of events proves favorable to them in the end.

The fact that Russia is now cooperating with the US in Afghanistan and in the establishment of the Northern Distribution Network, even though both former enemies are in stiff competition for the same energy resources, creates a seeming contradiction.  The conflict is between Putin's side, the powerful oligarchs (most of whom are Jewish), and the international banking cabal (the majority of the financiers are Zionists).  The Israeli-backed Russian oligarchs are going up against their backers, the Jewish international elite, who are in union with their American corporate counterparts.

Both sides want global government, but both sides plan to occupy the driver's seat.  Maybe they will kill each other off and rid the planet of their unique brand of human pestilence.]

19 dead in shootout in Chechnya

TSENTOROI, Russia – The Associated Press
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. AFP photo.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. AFP photo.

A shootout between the Chechen president’s personal protection detail and suspected separatist insurgents left 19 people dead early Sunday, including five civilians, officials and media reports said.

At least 12 suspected insurgents and two security officers were killed when the rebels entered Tsentoroi, Ramzan Kadyrov’s home village, his spokesman Alvi Karimov said. TV reports said five civilians were killed in the crossfire.

Kadyrov, who is thought to regularly supervise security operations in the field, was in the village at the time and directed the counter-offensive, Karimov said. “We let them into the village so they couldn’t escape,” Kadyrov told Channel One television, which showed him examining the bodies of the suspected militants strewn across a road. “We forced them into a place where they could be eliminated,” he said.

An AP reporter at the scene saw fire-ravaged and bullet-ridden homes, with body parts lying among the rubble. Resident Vargan Edelgeriyeva, 48, said the gunbattle started at about 3 a.m. at a construction site about 150 meters away from Kadyrov’s residence.

Militants entered local homes but were quickly surrounded, Edelgeriyeva said. In one house an insurgent detonated explosives, perhaps a grenade, killing himself and a 30-year-old resident, she said.

Police in 2009 averted a possible assassination attempt on Kadyrov, shooting dead the driver of a car suspected of containing explosives before he could reach a construction site where Kadyrov was due to make an appearance.

In a separate incident Sunday, security forces in nearby Dagestan province shot dead four suspected militants traveling in two cars when they refused to stop at a police checkpoint, according to police spokesman Magomed Tagirov. He said weapons were later found in the cars.

Russia’s volatile North Caucasus suffers daily attacks by insurgents seeking independence from Moscow, but this weekend’s bloodshed has been especially fierce. On Saturday, nine suspected militants were killed in two separate shootouts with police in the Kabardino-Balkariya republic, while five suspected militants and two police officers were killed in another shootout in Dagestan.

Gangs Fire-Bombed Russian Embassy In Minsk, Belarus

Unknown “lit” from the Russian Embassy in Minsk

Plot: The incident in front of Russian Embassy in Minsk

MOSCOW, August 31 – RIA Novosti. The incident on Monday evening at the Embassy of Russia in Minsk, when someone left in the embassy building firebombs, has caused outrage in both countries, and Minsk police opened a criminal case under article “hooliganism.”

The severity of action hooligans install a consequence, but it remains to note that CP had a period of cooling of the Russian-Belarusian relations, and not a cause for speculation about his political background.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries believe that the initiators of this trick is to make a rift in bilateral relations. The diplomats also called for a thorough investigation of the incident.

Неизвестные бросили бутылки с зажигальной смесью в посольство РФ в Минске
Unknown threw bottles zazhigalnoy mixture Embassy of Russia in Minsk

At the moment it is known following details of the incident. On Monday around 22.50 (23.50 Moscow time) unknown threw the territory of the Russian Embassy in Minsk, two bottles of inflammable liquid. No one was injured, one bottle hit a parked car in the compound Mazda 3.

Security personnel equipped to deal with fire, rescue and assistance to them was not required.

During the inspection of crime scene investigative staff of the operational group of the Central District Internal Affairs Department have been detected and removed glass bottles of 0.33 liters of alcoholic drinks from under the remains of a combustible mixture, as well as fragments of glass bottles filled with the remnants of the wick.

Diplomats angry outburst, the police are improving protection

Diplomats from both countries united in their assessment of what happened.

Foreign Ministry in a statement circulated on Tuesday described the incident as “outrageous act, for which the visible desire of certain forces try to interfere with the normal work of the embassy and bring the bilateral relations elements of mistrust and tension. “

“The Russian side insists on prompt and thorough investigation into all circumstances of the incident, identify and punish the organizers and perpetrators of crime. We believe that by law enforcement authorities of the Republic of Belarus will take all necessary measures to prevent such an unconditional shares in the future – say the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry noted that this “criminal bullying is directed against common sense and the Belarusian-Russian relations. “

“We note with concern and indignation to learn about the incident at the Embassy of Russia”, – said a spokesman for Ministry Andrei Savinykh. According to him, the official Minsk hopes that “those guilty will be severely punished in accordance with the law.”

Simultaneously, Moscow police found more guards at the embassy of Belarus in Moscow in connection with the incident in Minsk, told reporters on Tuesday the police chief of Public Security (SSP) Internal Affairs in Moscow, Vyacheslav Kozlov.

“We have driven operational orders to the Embassy of Belarus in Moscow. We have a reserve, which may be involved,” – said Kozlov.

What’s next?

The threat of a repetition of such acts in the future remains, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Vladimir Zharikhin. In his view, the initiators of action were those who in the wake of cooling relations between the leadership of Russia and Belarus “aims to receive dividends during the election campaign.”

“The aggravation of relations between Belarus and Russia may be interested in different forces. We must not forget that there is approaching the election campaign”, – said Zharikhin RIA Novosti.

Judge sees no reason to claim that the incident could be carried out with the tacit consent of local authorities.

“To imagine that this action was happening on the formal structures of Belarus, I have no reason to. I do not see any benefits for the Belarusian official structures in this action,” – said Zharikhin.

He suggested that the action will not have negative consequences for relations between the two countries.

“I hope that the relations between the two countries deteriorate. But those who committed this act, are counting on the fact that they get worse,” – concluded Zharikhin.

TAP, TAP, TAPIing On Pipelineistan’s Door

[For some reason, the powers that be are allowing Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to pretend on their world stage that there is a chance in hell that the TAPI pipeline can be built.  It even serves American destabilization plans to allow the players to pretend that Iranian gas can be part of the solution, just as they pretend that Iran can help fill Nabucco.  As always, the pipeline will remain just a pipe dream until Afghanistan is tamed.

Perhaps an even greater obstacle than the Taliban is the Baloch insurgency.  Pakistan may be able to force some kind of deal with their clients, the Taliban, but it has so far been unable to demolish the tenacious Baloch resistance.  The Army has so been unable to protect Pakistan's small gas transmission lines, let alone the dozens of large diameter pipes tied to Central Asia.

Balochistan can only be made safe for international pipelines in one of two possible methods, either by giving in completely to demands for an independent Baloch nation, or by bombing the areas that support the resistance back into the stone age (daily life for the Balochs is barely above that level now).  If Pakistan is willing to accept American B-52 and B-1 bombers over the country, repeating the tactics used at Tora Bora, or if all the players are willing to accept global condemnation for this criminal bombing campaign, then it could theoretically be done.  But have American leaders become so desperate that they are accelerating their plans to this, the final stage of no-holds-barred military action? Are they now willing to throw-off the cloak of respectability and openly make such a bold move for world conquest?

If the Beast has become this desperate,  then there will be no restraining force of popular opinion to prevent the alleged defender of "democracy" from using its entire arsenal to solve the equation, even tactical neutron bombs (you know, the neat little nukes that kill, but leave property intact?).

"Pipelineistan" will never succeed until America is ready to let the mask fall.]

Turkmens, Afghans struggle to realize pipeline dream

ASHGABAT – Agence France-Presse
The violence in Afghanistan, one of the world’s most opaque regimes in Turkmenistan and miserable Pakistan-India relations risk the decade-long pipeline plans to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. Analysts are skeptical that anyone can succeed in raising the pipeline off the desert floor

Plans for a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India are picking up steam but the decade-long dream still risks never leaving the drawing board.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, pipeline has featured prominently in recent talks among regional leaders eager to jumpstart the faltering project for reasons of economics or security.

But with spiraling violence in Afghanistan, one of the world’s most opaque regimes in Turkmenistan and miserable Pakistan-India relations, analysts remain skeptical that anyone can succeed in raising the pipeline off the desert floor.

Recent noises from Ashgabat, which may lack the volume to fill the pipeline, are at best wishful thinking, said Evan Feigenbaum, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and ex-assistant deputy U.S. secretary of state.

“Their roadshows periodically include every pipeline idea under the sun, so in theory they’d like to do lots of things. In reality, they probably can’t and almost certainly won’t,” he said. That, he added, is even before any discussion of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s increasingly-embattled government in Kabul or the thorny issue of India-Pakistan relations. “(I) sense that the U.S. puts this on the agenda with Karzai now and again to keep the Afghans happy,” he said. “I just don’t see this in the cards, even in Ashgabat.”

But with Turkmenistan desperate to diversify its export routes following a punishing gas row with Russia last year – and with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India hungry for energy – all cards appear to be on the table again.

“What is being done on this project fits into the framework strategy for getting Turkmen gas to world markets and in this sense, it is normal,” said Valery Nesterov, an energy analyst with Russian investment bank Troika Dialog.

TAPI was first floated by the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan in embryonic form as the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline in 1995 at the height of the Afghan civil war that followed the withdrawal of the Soviet Army in 1989.

A host of western energy firms spent the next six years negotiating with anyone they could find – including Afghanistan’s Taliban government – before NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Finally, in 2002 the concerned governments agreed to build a 1,700-kilometer pipeline to deliver Turkmen gas to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan but the project stalled because of the raging Taliban insurgency.

The pipeline aims to transport over 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Dauletabad gas fields in southeast Turkmenistan, creating a potentially massive windfall for Afghanistan in the form of transit fees.

Despite receiving financing from the Asian Development Bank, or ADB, the project has been held up by a number of problems, not least of them the security along the proposed route inside Afghanistan.

The pipeline’s route would take it straight through the region’s most turbulent locales, including conflict-torn Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan as well as Quetta in Pakistan, where tribal unrest is common.

But there are growing signs that these governments are eager to push ahead with TAPI in the hopes the potentially enormous rewards outweigh the very real obstacles in its path.

Last week Turkmen President President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai agreed in telephone talks to meet at September’s U.N. General Assembly in New York to unstick the lagging project.

Days later Pakistan seemed to signal its willingness to move ahead during a meeting between the Turkmen and Pakistani foreign ministers, who agreed a meeting of the pipeline’s steering committee to be held in Ashgabat next month.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s presidential administration insisted Kabul was ready to guarantee the security of the pipeline, which he said would “yield enormous profits for Afghanistan.”

“We have a specific plan for security of this pipeline, if all sides involved in this project manage to strike a deal, we would do our utmost to ensure security of it in the best way possible,” spokesman Siamak Herawi said.

From their side, a senior official in the Turkmen ministry of oil and gas, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a consensus had been reached that the pipeline would bring security, not the other way round.

“Everyone is clear that the joint implementation of a gas pipeline that will connect the shared interests and goals of the four states will contribute to a better mutual understanding and trust between them,” he said. “And (it) will definitely improve the situation not only in the region, but also in Central Asia,” he added.

The accelerated pace of discussions leaves little doubt that the parties are interested in moving ahead, said Nesterov. Still, he warned that where Turkmenistan was involved, energy deals were best approached on a wait-and-see basis. “I think that this project, as often happens, will be used primarily as part of the negotiation process and political games of Turkmenistan,” he said.

Broken Laws, Broken Lives–Proof of American War Crimes

Broken Laws, Broken Lives – Full Report

Read the Report (click on title)

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

Maj. General Antonio M. Taguba (USA-Ret.), preface toBroken Laws, Broken Lives

In PHR’s new report, Broken Laws, Broken Lives, we have for the first time medical evidence to confirm first-hand accounts of men who endured torture by US personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay. These men were never charged with any crime.

Bratislava Gunman Killed Roma (Gypsy) Family–He Was In Army

You know the identity of the attacker? Send us an web@sme.sk

Bishop of Devinska be legally held weapons

BRATISLAVA. Seven people on Monday became the victim of a gunman opened fire in a part of Bratislava Ves. The man eventually committed suicide. Six shot apparently came from one family, the seventh victim of the attacker is likely to accidentally hit when released to the balcony. Several people were injured, including a three-year-old boy. Sagittarius by police with submachine guns opened fire in the apartment, but later shot in the street after the accidental victims.

Bratislava Regional Directorate informed the police that the perpetrator came from Ves and was 48 years. Contrary to previous information indicated that the machine gun and other firearms be legally held. His motive is not yet known. According sme.sk attacker was a former soldier. Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic (ODS) indicated that an attacker could work in the armed forces.

The police initially informed of the six victims of the shooting, later in an apartment near the fire found a woman shot yet. “Maybe you went to the balcony when the killer shot at around everywhere,” said Lipšic. Shooter before he killed four women in the home and one man, the sixth person killed at the entrance. According to Lipšic family belonged to the Roma ethnic group.

Among the injured is a policeman and a Czech citizen

Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik (ODS) at a special press conference said that 15 people were injured, thirteen were hospitalized in various hospitals in Bratislava, two of the fire paramedics treated on the spot. Regional Police Directorate in the evening said that 13 people were injured, ten of which three were hospitalized and released from the hospital.

Among the seriously injured, according to University Hospital in Bratislava and a Cech, handled the three-year old boy, but at the request of the parents had already left hospital. Underwent operation and a policeman who intervened when shooting.

The doctors considered the most serious injury to the chest, back, abdomen or head.

author: Eugen Korda

Witness Matthew Urmín shooter photographed from the balcony of his apartment on the street, Paul Horova. Bishop was in middle age, he prešedivelé hair on the head headphones have noise. also shot at police who opätovali his shooting, “informs the Ves editor Richard SME Peťková.

The family knew the killer murdered

The gunfire took place at the Paul Street Shopping Centre near Horova before ten in the morning, the district then called the local radio people that do not rely on their homes. Place of entrance to the shootings and police closed the city. The field was assigned a team of psychologists to help families and relatives of the victims and wounded.

Evening Ves people burn candles in honor of the victims. The field in the local part has been gathered about 200 people.

The press conference from the ranks of media critics speak to address the police, who said the incident and police action under-informed. Residents of the city in a television interview TA3 said they did not know what is exactly happening. Police ohradila to criticism and emphasized that the priority was to save lives.

Lipšic also told reporters that he gave instructions to find the most dangerous criminals in the Slovakia. He added that it is necessary to rearm the police as soon as possible to be able to effectively intervene in residential areas.

One of the murdered was called Joseph dive into apartment buildings have reportedly gone to a son

One of the murdered, the perpetrator shot at the door of apartment buildings in Ves, watering hole named Joseph and lived in the apartment along with other victims. The AP said the victim’s brother Fero shebeen. “He had a wife there and went there for his son, which now can not find,” he told the AP that the entire incident is learned from television.

“He went there by chance and take the boy was here on earth in green overalls,” he said, adding that knows all of today’s murder victim. “We knew the rest of the family. These were the sister-in-law, her mother, daughter and son,” he said.

According to the Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Corps Silvia Jančovičová firefighters treated in cooperation with the rescuers hurt a child. The mother brought him to Bratislava Kramáre. “The conscious and immediate danger to life is out,” said spokeswoman Children’s University Hospital and Clinic Dana Kamenická.

Lipšic wants vytipovať dangerous place

“Our prayers are with the survivors and injured,” said Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic. “I have instructed the police presidium been identified highest-risk areas in Slovakia. We need to focus on places that are centers of crime and there hard and rapidly. This case shows that we need as soon as you join the rearmament of the police,” the head of the Ministry of Interior. Reasons for the offender, why the shots, not by Spišiak yet known and is under investigation.

Alexander Pikayev Death Now Murder Investigation–Maltastar.com

[Does the murder of two Russian diplomats and the intrigues unfolding in Britain, does this translate into some kind of international spy--vs--spy war?  Whatever it is, it looks like Russia--vs--England.]

Alexander Pikayev Death Now Murder Investigation

Pikayev had strong Iran ties but was no double-agent’ – friend of late Russian expert

06 July 2010 19:03

In an exclusive interview with Maltastar.com, Nikolay Petrov, Alexander Pikayev’s colleague from the prestigious Carnegie Institute in Moscow, said that Pikayev had no personal enemies and that he does not believe his colleague was capable of being a double agent.

“I do exclude that Alexander was capable of doing any adventurous moves, he was no newcomer as he was working in the field for more than 15 years, that’s why I think that it’s hardly possible that he had personal enemies connected to his field of study” he said when contacted at his office in Moscow.

“I will not buy the version that Alexander was any kind of double agent… I don’t believe the claim that he was giving information to different sources” he adds.

Petrov stressed that his friend had what he describes as “a very balanced approach, and when dealing with such a fragile topics for so many years, a person should know what to say and how to say it”.

NIkolay Petrov however, did confirm that Pikayev could understand hidden details by looking at visible things, due to his deep knowledge of the subject. Petrov recalls speaking to Pikayev in Moscow, 3 weeks before his early demise in Malta, about Pikayev’s attending of an important nuclear energy conference in Tehran last May.

“He was never saying something that you could hear from anybody else”

The Scholar-in-Residence at the Society and Regions Program, at the Carnegie Moscow Centre went on to tell this e-newspaper about what the Nuclear Arms expert was like as a person and his own personal working relationship with him.

They had been collaborating on various initiatives with the Institute, one of them being a working group about “New Approaches to Russian Security”.

He admitted to being taken by surprise as we explained that the case is being treated as a homicide by the Maltese investigators.

Petrov said that Pikayev was a very nice person highlighting the fact that while he could be shrewd in his analysis he managed to make anyone interested in his subject, even if this could be quite technical and specific.

“He was never saying something that you could hear from anybody else”, claimed Petrov when speaking about his late friend.

Laptop with sensitive information in police possession

Petrov’s denial of dirty games from Pikayev’s side shifts the focus on the deep knowledge and possible sensitive information that Pikayev had about Iran’s nuclear programme.

One is reminded of the laptop containing sensitive information regarding nuclear weapons which was found switched on in the St. Paul’s Bay apartments where Pikayev was found dead. The police is still in possession of this laptop computer for further analysis.

Iran’s nuclear programme has been one of the major points of contention in recent international relations with Israel and the US actively seeking to control Tehran’s ambitions.

Yuri Ivanov, Putin’s Adversary for Exposing Beslan School Cover-Up

Gen. Yuri Ivanov

Dep. Director of Russian GRU

[When this story first broke, back on Aug. 13 (Russian diplomat's body found on Hatay shore), it was being reported as a drowned diplomat.  In searching out the story, I kept coming over two types of references to the same man, as a diplomat, or a military officer.  I guess he was both.  His name came up in a story where someone beat the hell out of him Kyrgyzstan in 2002, the Beslan School incident in 2004 and in the "hijacked" Russian freighter, Arctic Sea, last year. ]

Ivanov, a Saratov region native, served in the Russian peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan from the end of the civil war there in 1997 until he was transferred to the North Caucasus military district in 2000 and to the General Staff in Moscow in 2006.

Russian Consul General attacked in Kyrgyzstan

Yuri Ivanov, Russia’s Consul General, was attacked in the Kyrgyz city of Osh. Ivanov told RIA by telephone that unidentified men stormed into his house around 3 a.m. They probably broke though a window into the private house where the diplomat lives. Threatening him with a knife, the bandits took the roughly 5,000 som (about USD 100) Ivanov had in the house and the wedding ring from the diplomat’s finger.
Ivanov was alone at the time because his family was in Moscow. He said the bandits did not injure him in any way.
According to available information, the Kyrgyz law-enforcement bodies are investigating the crime. Assistant to the Russian ambassador for security matters has speedily left Bishkek for the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan, Osh.


As for the Kyrgyz population’s attitude towards the possibility of
return of the Russian military, Russian Consul Yuri Ivanov says that
the locals do not object. “The officials and men in the streets I
talked to cannot wait to see the Russian military back,” the diplomat
said. “The widespread opinion is that it will only benefit the
republic.” There was a transit base in Osh not long ago used to ship
consignments to the Russian group of border guards and 201st
Motorized Infantry Division in Tajikistan.

Mystery surrounding Russian cargo ship grows

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced earlier that the Russian navy had reached the ship off West Africa on Monday and arrested eight suspected hijackers without a shot being fired. Further details were provided Wednesday by state news agencies, citing an unnamed ministry official.
“Crew members confirm that a ransom demand was made by the hijackers and if their demands were not met the hijackers threatened to blow up the vessel,” the ministry official reportedly said.
The crew said the hijackers were armed but threw their weapons overboard when the Russian naval frigate approached, the reports said.
Ministry spokesman Yuri Ivanov said he was unaware of the statements made to the state news agencies through other channels.
The timber-loaded Arctic Sea and its 15 Russian crew members left a Finnish port on July 21.
The Maltese-flagged freighter
Ministry spokesman Col. Yuri Ivanov

Beslan school siege inquiry ‘a cover-up’

heraldscotland staff

10 Feb 2007

MPs question official version of events
From Andrew Osborn in Moscow

The only two non-Kremlin-aligned MPs to take part in Russia’s parliamentary inquiry into the 2004 Beslan school siege have broken their silence to denounce the investigation as a cover-up that did little more than go through the motions.

According to nationalist Yuri Savelyev, and Communist Yuri Ivanov, Russia’s worst post-Soviet act of terrorism was deliberately investigated poorly, in order not to undermine the Kremlin’s official version of events, an account that both men believe was fabricated.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Vladimir Putin promised the relatives of those who were killed that a painstaking official investigation would establish what really happened on September 1-3, 2004.

Some 333 people died in the siege, more than half of them children, when pro-Chechen terrorists took more than 1000 people hostage in a small school in southern Russia. Many of those who survived felt the Kremlin’s handling of the crisis was negligent and demanded a proper explanation.

Yet to survivors’ disbelief, the parliamentary investigation into the tragedy was quietly wound up at the end of last year after almost two years of work without a murmur.

According to the two whistle-blowing MPs, that inquiry was little more than a stage-managed PR exercise.

“It was nonsensical, shameless, and betrayed a complete lack of conscience,” said Ivanov, who added he and Savelyev had refused to sign off on the report because of their misgivings.

Ivanov claimed the investigation was warned not to call Putin as a witness and that the report was rushed through parliament “within 20 minutes”.

While it did criticise the action of local authorities on the scene, it generally shied away from questioning the way in which the siege was handled and focused instead on the guilt of the Chechen hostage-takers.

Both MPs said their work on the inquiry had prompted them to seriously question the official version of events.

They alleged that the siege’s bloody climax was not triggered by Chechen terrorists detonating explosives inside the school as the Kremlin claims, but by rocket-propelled grenades being fired at the school from an area under the control of Russian special forces.

Ivanov further contended that the grenades were fired on the direct orders of President Putin as a prelude to the storming of the school.

Savelyev, a member of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, said his work on the panel had forced him to reassess what happened in Beslan.

“When I started work in October 2004 I sincerely believed that the terrorists had raped and killed hostages, blown up the school, and then shot fleeing women and children in the back.”

But he said now he had reached a very different conclusion. He said the panel did not turn up any substantive evidence to suggest that the terrorists had detonated explosives inside the school or that they had shot fleeing hostages in the back. Allegations of rape have also yet to be substantiated.

The two MPs also claimed that the authorities destroyed crucial evidence in the first few hours after the siege was broken. They accused the government of deliberately allowing a fire in the school to rage for almost two and a half hours before allowing the fire brigade to enter, in a calculated cover-up.

By the time the fire brigade did get access, the roof of the school gym had been totally destroyed and with it crucial evidence that the MPs believe would have shown that rocket-propelled grenades had been fired into the gym through the roof.

The Kremlin has dismissed the pair’s claims, insisting the parliamentary inquiry was “serious and unbiased.” However, local people in Beslan say they are more inclined to believe the two MPs than the Kremlin version.

“Evidently there are people keen to ensure that the truth about Beslan is never known,” said Ella Kesaeva of the Voice of Beslan pressure group, who lost her two nephews in the siege.

“But we will do everything we can to establish why our children and loved ones died and who was responsible for their deaths.”