Egyptian Armored Vehicles Shelter Crowd from Police

This video from Daily News Egypt shows a street leading to Tahrir Square, where early Saturday morning, demonstrators were confronted by armed police. The police fired shots into the air, apparently a warning to go no further. Three armored military personnel carriers are seen moving into position between the protesters and the police, apparently in an effort to prevent injury to demonstrators and/or to prevent an attack by police.http://www.casavaria.com/cafesentido/

How Far Will a Catapault Fling a Bale of Weed?

Another ‘Pot’apult Found Near U.S.-Mexico Border

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Mexico’s defense department announced that they have confiscated another catapult on Friday near the U.S. border in the town of Agua Prieta, Mexico used to fling pot across the U.S.-Mexico border.

This ‘pot’apult was discovered when U.S. National Guard were reviewing surveillance video and saw several men on the Mexican side of the border flinging packages over the border.  Border patrol notified Mexican officials immediately who investigated.

When they arrived on the scene they discovered 45 pounds of marijuana and the ‘pot’apult but none of the operators of the device.  Last week the first such catapult was found in Naco, which is near Tucson, and it was also detected by U.S. surveillance video.

TNK-BP Partners File Suit To Stop BP/Rosneft Share Swap

TNK-BP Partners Said to Weigh Dividend Halt as Dispute Worsens

By Torrey Clark and Will Kennedy

BP Plc’s billionaire partners in the TNK-BP oil venture may stop $1.8 billion in dividend payments as a dispute about the U.K. explorer’s alliance with Russia’s state oil company worsens, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The partners, who act through the AAR group, last week asked a London court to halt BP and OAO Rosneft’s share swap and Arctic drilling agreement because it may erode the competitive advantage of their venture.

AAR’s board will meet tomorrow to discuss vetoing the fourth-quarter dividend and having TNK-BP start hoarding cash, the person said, declining to be identified before the meeting. The board comprises Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg, German Khan, and Len Blavatnik.

Robert Wine, a spokesman for London-based BP, said dividend payments were a matter for the TNK-BP board and not just the Russian shareholders. AAR spokesman Mikhail Loskutov declined to comment.

The worsening dispute threatens a second breakdown in relations between TNK-BP’s shareholders. In 2008, current BP Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley was ousted as head of TNK- BP as the billionaires and BP argued over strategy. The 50 percent holding in TNK accounts for about a quarter of BP’s output and a fifth of reserves.

BP agreed on Jan. 14 to swap a $7.8 billion stake in the company for 9.5 percent of Rosneft. The two also agreed to explore an area of Russia’s Arctic waters about the size of the U.K. North Sea.London’s High Court will consider AAR’s application for an injunction on Feb. 1.

To contact the reporters on this story: Torrey Clark in Moscow at tclark8@bloomberg.net; Will Kennedy in London at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

Blasts, fire at Venezuela arms depot, 1 killed

[It would be nice to find-out if these are some of the Russian weapons that Chavez has been stockpiling the last few years as part of a national civilian-based civil defense system, embarked upon as a reaction to Bush threats.  There is little chance of that ever happening.  If we knew whether this was terrorism and not accidental, it would tell us that Obama has opened-up another front in his war for global dominance.]

Blasts, fire at Venezuela arms depot, 1 killed

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By IAN JAMES

CARACAS, Venezuela — A fire set off a series of explosions at a military arms depot in the Venezuelan city of Maracay on Sunday, killing one person and leading authorities to evacuate around 10,000 people from the area, an official said.

Residents were being evacuated from areas within six kilometers (about four miles) surrounding the arms depot, Aragua state Gov. Rafael Isea told state television.

“This is a preventive measure because the ammunitions that were detonating are ammunitions that have a powerful impact,” Isea said.

State radio reported that firefighters were beginning to extinguish the fires after a series of smaller explosions. Earlier, Isea said that smaller explosions were continuing and firefighters were waiting for them to subside.

A woman nearby the depot was killed, probably by the explosions, he said. The cause of the fire was unclear. Three people were injured in traffic accidents amid the chaos that ensued the blasts, he said.

Cavim, Venezuela’s military arms manufacturer, said in a statement that authorities had surrounded the arms depot “to control the situation.” The company said the explosion took place at 4:45 a.m. local time (4:15 a.m. EST; 0915 GMT).

Information Minister Andres Izarra went on state television calling for calm and saying that authorities were tending to the situation.

Hyrbyair Marri Wins Asylum In British Court

Hyrbyair Marri wins his asylum appeal; I will meet the Diaspora to unite them for Baloch cause: Marri

LONDON: Britain has granted political asylum to Baluch leader Nawabzada Hyrbyair Marri, tacitly acknowledging that the life of fiery Baluch nationalist leader was at risk if returned to Pakistan.

Hyrbyair Marri, one of six sons of veteran Baloch leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, had applied for political asylum in Britain four months ago. He had entered Britain in 2000 after sneaking out of Pakistan where he was being sought by Pakistani spy agencies on various charges.

Initially Mr Marri’s asylum claim was turned down by the Home Office and stated in the refusal letter that Hyrbyair’s life will be safe in Pakistan as his father still lived in Karachi and didn’t face harassment from the state authorities. Hyrbyair took his case to the asylum and immigration tribunal where his lawyer successfully argued that not only Hyrbyair’s elder brother Balach Marri was assassinated by Pakistani secret services but also Mr Marri himself has not stepped inside Balochistan in 10 years.

The immigration judge was told that from former president Pervez Musharraf to the interior minister Rehman Malik had personally threatened and warned Hyrbyair of the repercussions for his ‘what they called’ anti-Pakistan activities. The defence argued that the continuing heavy-handed military operation in areas populated by the Bugtis and Marris, coupled with the ever-deteriorating law and situation in the country rendered Hyrbyair at the potential risk and law enforcement agencies could easily take him out.

Sources confirmed that, senior PPP government officials, including the foreign office, contacted the Home Office (in the UK) and assured them that Hyrbyair will be provided safety and security if returned and further assured the former Baluchistan assembly lawmaker-turned-rebel was only exaggerating threat to his life. Hyrbyair’s lawyers were successful in convincing the judge that the current civilian government was not only helpless in matters related to Baluchistan but it was also impotent in security matters concerning rest of the country as its writ was absent in even urban areas. In his evidence before the judge, Hyrbyair also criticised the British government for deliberately creating problems for him and his family on behest of the Pakistani government.

The judge acknowledged that Hyrbyair Marri was a high profile figure who had annoyed the establishment by taking a stance on Baluchistan issue not sanctioned by the security establishment.

Hyrbyair was arrested alongside a young Baluch rights campaigner Faiz Baluch on December, 4, 2007. They were charged on charges of inciting others to commit murder abroad. Mr Marri spent 4 months in jail whereas Faiz Baluch was detained for 8 months. After a lengthy trail of over 40 days the duo were acquitted by an ordinary British Jury of 12 men and women. Faiz Baluch, who applied for political asylum in 2002, his case, is still in a limbo and the young campaigner remains clueless about his fate in Britain.

Speaking to media sources, Hyrbyair referred to his first exoneration on terrorism charges, brought on the special request of Pervez Musharraf, said that being granted asylum was nothing to be celebrated about.

“It pains me more that I am not with my people who are standing steadfast against the state onslaught. I am glad though that I have been exonerated for the second time, not by the British government but by the British courts. The British government knows there are serious problems in Balochistan but doesn’t have the courage to stand up to Pakistan. The neutral immigration court has given its verdict in my favour by acknowledging the fact the meltdown in Baluchistan is for real and that life has been made difficult for those who seek independence. I knew that British justice system will not let me and the people of Baluchistan down. These are independent courts, free of political influence.”

He said that now when he is able to travel, he will meet the Baluch Diaspora across the world and will galvanise and unite them for the Baluch struggle for justice and Independence.

Peter Tatchell has been at the forefront of campaigning for the release of Hyrbyair Marri from the detention in Belmarsh prison. He expressed his joy that Mr Marri was granted asylum in Britain, albeit with a lot of delay.

“This decision to grant Hyrbyair asylum is very significant. It is an acknowledgement by the British government that human rights abuses in Baluchistan are so widespread and grave that Mr Marri cannot return their safely. This ruling is a damning indictment of the severe political repression that exists in Pakistan.

The human rights advocate added: “It is further evidence that Baluch people who want the right of self determination are at risk of imprisonment torture and assassination by the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.

Uncertain World: Terrorism’s local roots

Uncertain World: Terrorism’s local roots

Weekly column by Fyodor Lukyanov

International terrorism was at the forefront of global politics in the first decade of this young century. The concept is actually relatively new.

© RIA Novosti.

Fyodor Lukyanov

After the September 11 attacks shook America to its core, the Bush administration declared war on “international terrorism” and sought to enlist others in the cause. This was initially intended to serve as the organizing principle for a new international system. But really it was the same good-versus-evil dichotomy, with international terrorism taking the place once occupied by the Soviet threat.

It seemed at first that they might succeed. The broad coalition in the “war on terror” overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan and drove them out of Kabul. But this was the high watermark for the coalition.

There was a design flaw in the war on terror. A global counterterrorism campaign must be comprehensive and rooted in cooperation, but the United States ended up using it as a tool to maintain global dominance. That drive toward dominance included exerting pressure – hard and soft – on other countries to follow America’s lead. But no one likes to be pressured.

Washington’s dubious motivation was only part of the problem. Many began to doubt that “international terrorism” really existed as a distinct phenomenon.

In the era of globalization, we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. The “martyrs” are no longer confined to the Middle East. They are found on the Moscow subway system and at Russian airports. However, the recent attacks in Moscow and Nalchik were not committed by the abstract international terrorists we are called on to fight. These attacks were carried out by specific Islamic groups from the Caucasus.

Terrorism today can have a global impact while still being rooted in local problems. International terrorism is, in fact, a collection of various separatist and nationalist movements. Each of these groups – in Russia, Indonesia, Sudan, Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan, China, India, Turkey or Yemen – is opposed to its respective government and calls for self-determination or the overthrow of the current regime.

Even the unprecedented attacks of September 11 were a specific extremist group’s response to U.S. ambitions in the world, which successive administrations have been pursuing since the end of the Cold War. They see America as a global empire controlling vast territories, either directly or indirectly.

As such, George W. Bush’s attempt to make international terrorism the focus of global politics was doomed from the start. First of all, the concept was overly broad and subject to various interpretations by different political leaders. Most governments tried to use the perceived terrorist threat to expand their power. U.S. intelligence agencies were granted greater authority, while Russia put an end to the direct election of regional governors.

Second, because international terrorism is a manufactured concept, it could not bring countries together to work toward a common goal. Each new country joining the coalition against international terrorism brought its own interpretation of the concept. Again, this was to be expected, as there was no common threat in actuality. Terrorists are not a monolith, even if they do share some motives and means. As a result, the war on international terrorism is at best an empty slogan and at worst a source of irritation between countries caused by the inevitable double standards.

Third, there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to terrorism, because terrorism is rooted in local grievances specific to each country.

The purpose of a major terrorist attack is to undermine a specific government, to make it look weak and ineffectual. Therefore, the initial reaction of the government is always to prove its strength by striking back with sanctioned violence.

If a quasi-state is involved, such as the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of the late 1990s or the Taliban regime, it becomes the target of revenge. Both Russia and the United States sent in troops that ultimately succeeded in destroying the basic terrorist infrastructure in Chechnya and Afghanistan, respectively. But neither knew what to do next, when the surviving enemies fled and became ghosts in the hills, posing even greater danger.

No government has found the answer yet. The illusion of stability brought by the use of overwhelming force fades very quickly, and it becomes clear that the new, unconventional war may drag on forever. Each new act of retribution swells the ranks of the enemy.

Eliminating the roots of terrorism is a long and complex process with no guarantee of success. The United States learned this lesson in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia learned it in the mountains of the Caucasus. America can at least leave these foreign lands when the situation becomes unbearable, although the terrorists could strike again on U.S. soil. Russia is not so fortunate. Russia cannot leave the Caucasus, and so it will have to keep trying to find a balance between suppression and development in its fight against terrorism.