Apartment Explodes Ukraine, 22 killed

This unusual apartment explosion at Yevpatoria takes place in what is probably the new hotspot of the world.  This former Russian stronghold, known as Crimea is the currently contested home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, at Sevastapol.  This is also where the new American Presence Post will be established at Simferopol in a ceremony where Condoleeza Rice will sign a new US/Ukranian strategic agreement on January 4.

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Former KLA members arrested

26. December 2008. | 10:01

The Interior Ministry (MUP) has begun an operation to arrest former KLA members in Preševo on charges of war crimes committed against civilians in Gnjilane.

Interior Minister Ivica Dačić and the War Crimes Prosecution confirmed for B92 that the operation began early this morning and is related to crimes against Serb and non-Albanian civilians in Gnjilane in 1999.

According to B92’s sources, 11 people have been arrested thus far and 17 locations have been searched.

The War Crimes Prosecution states that MUP officials have arrested members of the so-called Gnjilane Group of the Kosovo Liberation Army suspected of kidnapping 159 Serb civilians and killing at least 51 between June-October 1999.

The KLA members are accused of violating the provisions of international and national law, murder, rape, imprisonment, torture and looting in an effort to remove Serbs and non-Albanians from the territory of the municipality of Gnjilane, the prosecution states.

The crimes were allegedly committed in three locations in Gnjilane. The arrests were conducted with help from security service officials and was planned for several months because of the high level of risked involved and the fact that almost all of the suspects were armed, the statement concludes.


Reuters Report German Govt Caught Staging False Flag Terror On EU Building *


“One of the three German agents (C) who were arrested on suspicion of plotting a bomb attack on European Union offices in Kosovo leaves the Pristina Detention center, in Pristina, Kosovo, 28 November 2008. Kosovo authorities released three German intelligence agents, 10 days after they were arrested and accused of throwing a bomb at a European Union office.”

One view holds that the agents were held as retribution for reports on key Kosovar officials by German intelligence services. 

The reason is a 67-page long, hard-hitting analysis by the BND about organized crime in Kosovo and a confidential report contracted by the German military, the Bundeswehr…German intelligence reports accuse Thaci as well as former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and Xhavit Haliti of the parliamentary leadership of far-reaching involvement in organized crime.”


Albright and the KLA leader Hasim Taci hugging one another during Albright’s visit to Pristina.

The BND writes: “The key players (including Haliti, Haradinaj, and Thaci) are intimately involved in inter-linkages between politics, business, and organized crime structures in Kosovo.” At the end of the 1990s, the report accuses Thaci of leading a “criminal network operating throughout Kosovo.”

ramus1 Ramush Haradinaj

The BND agents were released when the German government threatened to cut-off aid to Kosovo.

IPI Indian share

IPI Indian share

According to a report Pakistan has proposed to Iran to buy the Indian share in the proposed $ 7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project because India appears to have lost interest in the project after signing a civilian nuclear deal with the US. In this regard a team of energy experts will visit Iran soon to discuss the matter. The delegation will persuade the Iranian authorities to sign the agreement within next few months even if India stayed out. Iran has plans to link the gas prices with that of crude oil, with a ratio of 80 to 100 which means that if a barrel of crude oil is priced at $ 100 in the international market, Iran will sell one million cubic feet of gas at $ 80. Similarly, the gas prices will not remain fixed, but will fluctuate in accordance with the oil prices. Pakistan, however, wants the gas priced at half the crude price. Iran has said that after the completion of the project, it will fix gas price at around $ 10 to $ 12 per British thermal unit (Btu) compared to $ 4 offered by Pakistan and India.

The talks on the IPI project have stalled since 1994 when the consultations began. The original project is meant to address the looming energy crisis in the region, especially India, over the next decades. The negotiations on the gas pipeline have seen many ups and downs during the last decade or so. Progress on the proposed 2,600-kilometre pipeline hit a snag when India and Pakistan rejected a Britain-based consultative group’s suggested price of gas. India had earlier rejected Iran’s offer of selling its gas at $ 8 per mmBtu. India had then made a counter offer of $ 4.25 per mmBtu. In the past, Pakistan, Iran and India agreed on a pricing formula. Iran has offered to sell 60 million standard cubic meters of gas a day to India and Pakistan at $ 4.93 per mmBtu. Besides the energy factor, the importance of the IPI project can be seen in the context of the geo-political situation in the region, especially in the Middle East. Iran has the second largest gas reserves after Russia with proven reserves of 940 trillion cubic feet. It is under pressure from the US over its alleged nuclear programme. Besides the sanctions imposed by the UNSC on Iran, Tehran is under the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) imposed by the US in 1996, which provides for the imposition of sanctions against a country which invests more than $ 20 million in the Iranian oil business.

Despite opposition from the US, Pakistan and India have refused to tolerate pressure and have moved ahead with the pipeline proposal in the wake of urgent energy requirements. Although major issues have been sorted but some differences still remain. Iran wants gas prices to be revised every three years according to prices in the international market, which would leave India and Pakistan without much cushion against the volatility of gas prices. The demand for natural gas is growing at 10 percent per year and Pakistan is looking into all economically viable sources to meet the country’s future energy needs. The government is focused both on importing gas on feasible terms and expanding indigenous capacity. In the present Indo-Pak tension, Pakistan’s offer to buy Indian share of IPI gas seems to be an attempt to fill a vacuum and overcome the problem of gas shortage.

Pak warns of stern response, boosts troop movement

Pak warns of stern response, boosts troop movement

Zeenews Bureau

Lahore, Dec 25: Sabre-rattling from Pakistan reached a new level on Thursday as its Foreign Minister warned India of ‘stern response’ to any surgical strikes and Pakistani armed forces marched towards Jhelum.

Pakistan did not want war but is ready to defend its frontiers, Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in his hometown of Multan. If India made the “mistake of carrying out a surgical strike”, Pakistan will deal sternly with such an eventuality. Pakistan has purportedly moved its tenth brigade to Lahore and ordered its third Armed Brigade to march towards Jhelum.

It has also reportedly put its 10th and 11th divisions on high alert. Unconfirmed reports have said militants have also been stationed along with the Army at the said locations.

Also Pakistan’s Army has reportedly stationed its troops in the Rajouri and Poonch sectors of J&K.

The move comes a day after Pakistan deployed its Army in place of the regular Pak Rangers along its border with India.

“A lot of military movement is being noticed in districts just across the international border for the last few days, which is not normal,” said RC Dhyani, DIG of Rajasthan frontier BSF.

The deployment is an indication of the level of apprehension on the Pakistani side on an Indian attack. It should be noted that the last time Pakistan Rangers were replaced by Army during the Kargil war.

The State government of Rajasthan has ordered the residents of border villages to be prepared for relocation. According to sources, the order came after a meeting of state Director General of Police and Home Secretary with official of the Central government.

Diplomatic relations have gone into a tailspin between the two countries in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack on India’s financial capital Mumbai, believed to have been perpetrated by Pakistan based terrorists.

Meanwhile, after reports of a possible Indian attack on Pakistan, the Pakistan Air Force continued its state of high alert and started aerial surveillance of the Chashma power plant and other sensitive sites.

There were reports of the fighter jets continuing aerial surveillance over the Chashma nuclear power plant and other sensitive sites.

Pakistan had put its airbases on high alert amidst fears of Indian ‘surgical strikes’ in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks.

“We will not resort to provocation while remaining committed to cooperation but at the same time, we will not tolerate any pressure,” he remarked. Pakistan, Qureshi said, should “hope for the best but be prepared for the worst”.

The country and the armed forces are vigilant and keeping a close watch on developments. “The situation keeps changing and we will prepare a strategy after examining any change,” Qureshi underlined. “We are continuously monitoring the situation on the ground and in the air. Our Air Force and armed forces are on alert.”

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said “some elements in both India and Pakistan” did not want peace between the two neighbours.

“As Pakistan-India relations were improving…Mumbai happened. There are elements on both sides who not want Pakistan-India relations to improve. The Mumbai incident has occurred at that very moment when relations were not only improving but I think a strategic advancement was being made,” he told Dawn News channel.

Egypt Fortifies Door to Gaza Prison In Anticipation of Planned Israeli Incursion

Expecting IDF offensive in Gaza, Egypt boosts border security

By Haaretz Service
Tags: Gaza, Israel news, Egypt
Egypt has boosted the security along its border with Gaza, officials said Friday, in anticipation of an imminent Israel Defense Forces operation within the territory, fearing an Israeli incursion would result in a breach of the border.

In January, Hamas militants frustrated over the tightened Israeli closure of Gaza blew holes in the border partition, allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to stream into Egypt unchecked for ten days and stock up on food and other goods made scarce by the blockade.

Egyptian officials told Israel Radio, however, that Egypt is pressing on with efforts to prevent the escalation of violence in the region. The officials said that representatives of Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman have approached senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar in the Gaza Strip and presented him with Egypt’s concerns.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militants fired dozens of mortar shells from the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday and early morning Friday, as the IDF prepared for action.

The mortars damaged one building, but no one was hurt in any of the incidents.

Reportedly, a “limited operation” will begin within days that will combine an air attack with some ground operations against Hamas and other Gaza terror groups. The cabinet has given the go-ahead for an operation of a few days’ duration with clearly defined goals.



Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins

Friends in Afghanistan

By Joby Warrick

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

“Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills.

For U.S. intelligence officials, this is how some crucial battles in Afghanistan are fought and won. While the CIA has a long history of buying information with cash, the growing Taliban insurgency has prompted the use of novel incentives and creative bargaining to gain support in some of the country’s roughest neighborhoods, according to officials directly involved in such operations.

In their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, the officials say, the agency’s operatives have used a variety of personal services. These include pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos, the officials said.

“Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people — whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra,” said one longtime agency operative and veteran of several Afghanistan tours. Like other field officers interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing tactics and operations that are largely classified.

Officials say these inducements are necessary in Afghanistan, a country where warlords and tribal leaders expect to be paid for their cooperation, and where, for some, switching sides can be as easy as changing tunics. If the Americans don’t offer incentives, there are others who will, including Taliban commanders, drug dealers and even Iranian agents in the region.

The usual bribes of choice — cash and weapons — aren’t always the best options, Afghanistan veterans say. Guns too often fall into the wrong hands, they say, and showy gifts such as money, jewelry and cars tend to draw unwanted attention.

“If you give an asset $1,000, he’ll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone,” said Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan and now chief executive of SCG International, a private security and intelligence company. “Even if he doesn’t get killed, he becomes ineffective as an informant because everyone knows where he got it.”

The key, Smith said, is to find a way to meet the informant’s personal needs in a way that keeps him firmly on your side but leaves little or no visible trace.

“You’re trying to bridge a gap between people living in the 18th century and people coming in from the 21st century,” Smith said, “so you look for those common things in the form of material aid that motivate people everywhere.”


Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said.

The move represents a sharp escalation in the standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors and will hurt Pakistan’s U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban taking place near Afghanistan’s border.

Two intelligence officials said the army’s 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Indian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Friday with the chiefs of the army, navy and air force to discuss “the prevailing security situation,” according to an official statement.

An Associated Press reporter in Dera Ismail Khan, a district that borders the Afghan-frontier province of South Waziristan, said he saw around 40 trucks loaded with soldiers heading away from the Afghan border.

India is blaming Pakistan-based militants for last month’s attacks on Mumbai. Islamabad has said it will cooperate in any probe, but says it has seen no evidence backing up India’s claims.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. They came close to a fourth in 2001 after suspected Pakistani militants attacked India’s parliament. Both countries rushed troops to the disputed Kashmir region but tensions cooled after intensive international diplomacy.

The neighbors have said they want to avoid military conflict this time around, but Pakistan has promised to respond aggressively if India uses force, an option the Indian government has not ruled out.

Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 soldiers in Waziristan and other northwestern regions to fight Islamic militants blamed for surging violence against Western troops in Afghanistan.

The United States has givens millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan’s army to fight the militants in the region, which is believed to be a hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders.

A senior security official refused to comment directly on Friday’s troop movements, but said, “Necessary defensive measures have been taken, they are in place and Pakistan’s armed forces are prepared to tackle any eventuality.”

He asked his name not be used, citing the sensitivity of the situation.