Yet Another Mosque Suicide-Bombed Near Peshawar–7th November

[If Pakistan was really responsible for all the “Islamic” terrorism plaguing the world then why do most of the terror attacks happen in Pakistan?]

Suicide bomber kills 66 people in Pakistan mosque in attack aimed at elders helping coalition forces

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 4:23 PM on 7th November 2010

A suicide bomber killed at least 66 people at a mosque in northwest Pakistan in an apparent retaliation to elders believed to be helping coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The attack, the biggest in Pakistan since September, occurred in Darra Adam Khel – a suburb of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar.

Around 300 people had gathered in the mosque just after prayers when the bomber walked into the Waali main hall and detonated the explosives, according to witnesses.

Lethal: Medical staff examine two men badly injured by a suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Darra Adam KhelLethal: Medical staff examine two men badly injured by a suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Darra Adam Khel 

Stricken: Authorities said at least two children were among the dead in the attack which took place just after prayersStricken: Authorities said at least two children were among the dead in the attack which took place just after prayers 

Mohib Ullah, 15, said: ‘I had just finished the prayers when there was a big explosion.

‘It was very terrifying. I don’t know what happened later. I just fell down.’

The teenager said guards at the mosque gates tried to stop the bomber but he managed to evade them.

Officials at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar said two children were among the dead.

Blast: Worshippers and soldiers inside the main hall of the Waali mosque. Scorch marks are visible on the ceilingBlast: Worshippers and soldiers inside the main hall of the Waali mosque. Scorch marks are visible on the ceiling 

Grief: Villagers get ready to bury victims of the bombingGrief: Villagers get ready to bury victims of the bombing 

Video from outside the hospital showed screaming women and elders in blood-stained clothes being rushed inside.

Officials said the mosque was owned by a pro-government tribal elder who could have been the target of the attack.

So far no one has claimed responsibility.

In September, a suicide bomb attack on a procession of Shi’ite Muslims in the southwestern city of Quetta killed 54 people.

Guard: Soldiers mass outside the mosque. Security outside tried to prevent the bomber entering the buildingGuard: Soldiers mass outside the mosque. Security outside tried to prevent the bomber entering the building 

Damage: Paramilitary soldiers inspect the scene of the bomb blast, near PeshawarDamage: Paramilitary soldiers inspect the scene of the bomb blast, near Peshawar 


Internal BP study warns of pipeline corrosion

BP employees and contractors in Alaska say the facilities there were built in the 1970s to operate for about 15 years. When the company realized there was far more oil to be had, it extended the operation for several more decades. Now workers say equipment, like these high pressure gas lines, isn’t inspected frequently enough and is being “run to failure,” risking a leak and a major explosion. (Photo courtesy of BP workers)

Photographs taken by employees in the Prudhoe Bay drilling field this summer, and viewed by ProPublica, show sagging and rusted pipelines, some dipping in gentle U-shapes into pools of water and others sinking deeply into thawing permafrost. Marc Kovac, a BP mechanic and welder, said some of the pipes have hundreds of patches on them and that BP’s efforts to rehabilitate the lines were not funded well enough to keep up with their rate of decline.

“They’re going to run this out as far as they can without leaving one dollar on the table when they leave,” Kovac claims.

An internal maintenance report found that the walls of at least 148 BP pipelines on Alaska's North Slope are more than 80 percent corroded.

Internal BP study warns of pipeline corrosion

Anchorage Daily News

AGING: Some workers worry that safety upgrades could be too late.

By ABRAHM LUSTGARTEN
ProPublica

The extensive pipeline system that moves oil, gas and waste throughout BP’s operations in Alaska is plagued by severe corrosion, according to an internal maintenance report generated four weeks ago.

The document, obtained by ProPublica, shows that as of Oct. 1, 2010, at least 148 BP pipelines on Alaska’s North Slope received an “F-rank” from the company. According to BP oilworkers, that means inspections have determined that more than 80 percent of the pipe wall is corroded and could rupture. Most of those lines carry toxic or flammable substances. Many of the metal walls of the F-ranked pipes are worn to within a few thousandths of an inch of bursting, according to the document, risking an explosion or spills.

BP oil workers also say that the company’s fire- and gas-warning systems are unreliable, that the giant turbines that pump oil and gas through the system are aging, and that some oil and waste holding tanks are on the verge of collapse.

In an e-mail, BP Alaska spokesman Steve Rinehart said the company has “an aggressive and comprehensive pipeline inspection and maintenance program,” which includes pouring millions of dollars into the system and regularly testing for safety, reliability and corrosion. He said that while an F-rank is serious it does not necessarily mean there is a current safety risk and that the company will immediately reduce the operating pressure in worrisome lines until it completes repairs.

“We will not operate equipment or facilities that we believe are unsafe,” he said.

SAGGING PIPE

Rinehart did not respond to questions about what portion of its extensive pipeline system was affected or whether 148 F-ranks were more or less than normal, except to say that it has more than 1,600 miles of pipelines and does more than 100,000 inspections a year.

In 2006, two spills from corroded pipes in Alaska placed the company’s maintenance problems in the national spotlight. At the time, BP temporarily shut down transmission of some oil from its Prudhoe Bay field to the continental United States, cutting off approximately 4 percent of the nation’s domestic oil production, while it examined its pipeline system.

Photographs taken by employees in the Prudhoe Bay drilling field this summer, and viewed by ProPublica, show sagging and rusted pipelines, some dipping in gentle U-shapes into pools of water and others sinking deeply into thawing permafrost. Marc Kovac, a BP mechanic and welder, said some of the pipes have hundreds of patches on them and that BP’s efforts to rehabilitate the lines were not funded well enough to keep up with their rate of decline.

“They’re going to run this out as far as they can without leaving one dollar on the table when they leave,” Kovac claims.

BP Alaska’s operating budget is private, so the picture of its maintenance program is incomplete. But documents obtained by ProPublica show that BP has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into maintenance and equipment upgrades on the North Slope since the 2006 oil spills. In 2007, BP’s maintenance budget in Alaska was nearly $195 million, four times what it was in 2004, according to a company presentation. In 2009, $49 million was budgeted to replace and upgrade the systems that detect fires and gas leaks alone.

Despite the investment, workers say that the capabilities of equipment of all types continue to be stretched and that maintenance plans set years ago remain incomplete. BP employees told ProPublica that several of the 120 turbines used to compress gas and push it through the pipelines have been modified to run at higher stress levels and higher temperatures than they were originally designed to handle. They also said that giant tanks that hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic fluids and waste are sagging under the load of corrosive sediment and could collapse.

“When you make a complaint about it, rather than fix it right they come up with another Band-Aid,” said Kris Dye, a BP oil worker and United Steelworkers representative on the Slope. “It’s very frustrating.”

‘HUMAN FIRE DETECTORS’

One critical maintenance issue concerns the replacement of the warning systems used to alert workers to a gas leak that could lead to an explosion.

The need to replace the gas detectors was made a priority in 2001 in an internal BP report that said oil-field technicians were “very concerned about continuing degradation of system reliability, and the ability of these systems to protect the workforce.”

Nine years later, outdated systems to detect fire and leaked gas remain in place at some of BP’s largest and most important plants, including the Central Power Station, several drill pads and two flow stations that route oil and gas into the pipeline system.

Many of the detection systems are obsolete — the manufacturers that made them are shuttered — so replacement parts are hard to come by, said Kovac, the mechanic. More importantly, the systems have to be shut down every time BP conducts maintenance on its facilities and pipelines, because the methods used to scan the equipment for flaws have been known to trigger the ultraviolet detectors that set off the fire and gas alarms.

As a result, BP technicians on the North Slope say the detectors at some of its facilities are shut down nearly a third of the time. When they are off line, the company relies on what employees refer to as “human fire detectors” — a foot patrol that sniffs for flammable materials and listens for the hiss of broken pipes. BP has been upgrading the detection systems in recent years and has installed new ones at several facilities, including the buildings that house its workers. But many important facilities remain on the list.

According to people inside BP who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about company affairs, replacing all the detections systems could take nearly 20 years at the current rate of investment.

“They say, ‘Yep, in the next few years we’re going to upgrade all this fire and gas stuff and it’s going to be more dependable’ and blah, blah, blah,” said Glenn Trimmer, a BP technician who works on the Slope. “Well, after a few decades I’m not buying it anymore. We can’t even maintain the equipment that we have.”

A CLOSE CALL

A close call in 2007 illustrates the risks presented by aging facilities with limited alarm systems. In August of that year, a giant turbine used to compress gas before it is pumped back through the company’s pipelines caught fire inside BP’s Gathering Center 1 after an oil hose ruptured and spewed flammable liquid across the motor. A mechanic on patrol in the facility — seeing smoke — fled the room as the turbine burst into flames. But the automatic fire and gas alarms were never triggered.

A subsequent investigation by Alaska state authorities found that a ruptured hydraulic oil hose was jerry-rigged in a position that chaffed against the turbine’s hot engine. The investigation also found that the facility’s fire and gas detectors — which Kovac and Dye likened to life boats on a cruise ship — were not powered on at the time.

The turbine fire was potentially serious not only because no alarms were sounded but because the turbine engines operate near high-pressure gas and oil pipelines that could be detonated by an uncontrolled fire. The GC-1 incident, as it was called, was classified by BP Alaska’s then-president Doug Suttles as a “high potential” event, and news of the incident was distributed around the BP organization globally as a precaution.

Yet in 2010, even before the enormous costs of the Gulf spill created an estimated $30 billion in BP liabilities, the company was eking out more “efficiencies” in its Alaska budget. It said it would maintain record high funding for new projects and major repairs while reducing its budget for regular maintenance, according to a letter that BP Alaska President John Minge sent to Congress in February 2010. The letter said holding-tank inspections will be deferred and replacement of one pipeline will be postponed; flows through that line will be reduced “to mitigate corrosion.”


In 2006 Bush Awoke From His Zionist Trance

ANALYSIS / Bush’s memoir explains: U.S. can’t appear to be doing Israel’s bidding

In excerpts released from soon-to-be-published book, ex-president says was asked by then PM Olmert to strike Syria’s nuclear reactor.

By Amir Oren

Former President George W. Bush is lucky that when discussing a 2007 strike on a Syrian nuclear facility in his new memoir, “Decision Points,” he did not have to endure the scrutiny of Israel’s military censor, of the Defense Ministry’s official secret-keeper or of a ministerial committee. He could print what he pleased.

George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert AP Former U.S. President George W. Bush and former Prime Minsiter Ehud Olmert.
Photo by: AP

What Bush published did not relate to the core of the matter (double entendre intended), but to his policy toward it. Yet what he described goes beyond what happened three years ago between him and Ehud Olmert. It relates to decision-making in every administration – and thus has implications for how the current American and Israeli leaders might handle future problems.

Bush voiced disappointment in the Israel Defense Forces’ performance against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 (though he does not say, at least according to the excerpts released so far, that while he gave Israel unlimited time for action in Lebanon, he tied its hands by vetoing its plan to strike Lebanon’s infrastructure ).

Less than a year later, Olmert conveyed both intelligence and a request: The Syrians have a North Korean military nuclear facility, and Israel wants the United States to bomb it.

Bush was already embroiled in two wars in the Middle East. And here Olmert was asking him to attack a second Arab country, and a third Muslim one, in an operation that would help Israel directly but the U.S. only indirectly. As angry as America was at Syria for assisting its enemies in Iraq and undermining Lebanon’s government, this was a bit much.

The president is not omnipotent – not against Congress (especially when controlled by the other party ), and not even within the executive branch. Bush needed CIA approval, and then-CIA chief Michael Hayden withheld it: Yes, it was a reactor, but it could not yet manufacture a nuclear weapon.

Bush’s militant vice president, Dick Cheney, was still at his side, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been replaced by Robert Gates, who called for dialogue with Syria and Iran. Moreover, the intelligence agencies were working hard to block a potential strike on Iran by publishing lenient reports about its progress toward nuclearization.

After Barack Obama’s election, Bush’s aides told The New York Times that he had refused another Olmert request, for bunker-busters that Israel could use to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Instead, the Times reported, Bush approved secret sabotage missions against these facilities.

Gates (who is still defense secretary ) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen say they have no disagreement with Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program, but the timetable is not urgent. Senior administration officials are also concerned that an American or Israeli attack could seriously harm Americans in the region and friendly nations in the Persian Gulf.

Bush’s book should thus be read as a lesson for the future: The Americans cannot appear to be doing Israel’s bidding. Precise intelligence is necessary. And whatever can be done secretly is better than what explodes thunderously.

Chinese View On AUSMIN-2010 Strategic Review

English.news.cn
CANBERRA, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Sunday that an agreement to allow more visits by U.S. ships and aircraft would be discussed at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) talks.

Gillard said the current review of the U.S. defense strategy will be discussed in Monday’s AUSMIN meeting, and that the review may lead to greater use of Australian defense bases, and more joint exercises.

“It does give the possibility, of course, for further joint exercises, further collaboration, that’s in Australia’s interest,” Gillard told the Nine Network on Sunday.

Access to Australian Defense Force facilities will allow the U. S. to step up its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and increased numbers of U.S. personnel in Australian facilities were expected within months.

According to The Australian newspaper, the Australian development is part of a new U.S. strategy to step up its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, after reviews of strategic policy concluded that the U.S. government’s attempts to project power from North America were not working.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith was positive about the U.S. Force Posture Review, saying that this is very important to Australia seeing the U.S. engaged in the Asia-Pacific. However, he said the agreement was still in its early days.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd said he is keen to give the U.S. greater access to Australian defense bases.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop also said there is already close cooperation, including joint efforts in intelligence at the Pine Gap base in outback Australia.

“I think this deeper engagement is inevitable, and we would certainly welcome it,” she told Channel Ten on Sunday.

The AUSMIN meetings, to be attended by Australian foreign and defense ministers and their U.S. counterparts, will be held on Monday in Melbourne and will focus on regional and global security issues, including the war in Afghanistan.

Backlash fear over US ties

Backlash fear over US ties

Daniel Flitton and Dan Oakes

November 8, 2010

Matters of state: Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard walk through Federation Square on their way to lunch.Matters of state: Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard walk through Federation Square on their way to lunch. Photo: AFP

AUSTRALIA risks a backlash from China over a bold plan to expand the US military presence here under a new deal to be unveiled today at a summit in Melbourne.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dubbed the relationship between China, the US and Australia as ”one of the most consequential” for the Obama administration.

At a public forum at Melbourne University yesterday she rejected the idea the US was being displaced as the premier Asian power as China increasingly flexed its economic and military muscles.

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”Both the United States and Australia reject the zero-sum view that somehow one country’s rise means another country’s decline,” Mrs Clinton said. ”We’re actually working to build a positive, co-operative and comprehensive relationship for China.”

But foreign affairs experts warn that the plan to boost the US presence in Australia – which will include greater frequency of naval ship visits, joint training exercises and the positioning of US military equipment in Darwin and Townsville – could be seen in Beijing as part of a strategy to contain China’s rise.

China has provoked regional alarm in recent months after a maritime dispute with Japan and a standoff over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Canberra and Washington have stressed that the additional military co-operation is to prepare forces for a quick response to humanitarian emergencies in the region.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirmed yesterday that China would be the key element in talks today, known as AUSMIN talks, between Mrs Clinton, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and their Australian counterparts Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith.

”I think we will be talking about the geopolitics of our region, and that means of course we’ll be talking about the rise of China, and as China rises, what sort of force it is going to be in the world,” Ms Gillard said.

”I believe we have a shared perspective with the United States that we want China to be a force for good, strongly engaged in global and regional architecture, strongly engaged in a rules-based framework. I anticipate that those questions about China’s rise and the impact on our region and on our globe will be part of what we discuss.”

The talks will also focus on improving Australia-US co-operation on tracking objects in space and stopping cyber-attacks – both issues where China has been at the centre of recent controversy.

Beijing was the subject of fierce complaints this year over allegations of official involvement in hacking of Google operations. In 2007, China successfully tested an anti-satellite missile.

Writing in today’s Age, Australian National University strategic affairs professor Hugh White warns that China is already strong enough economically to challenge American power in Asia.

He says Australia is torn between the traditional alliance with the US and growing economic reliance on China.

”The result is an alliance that, despite the warm words, is rapidly losing strategic and political coherence,” Professor White writes.

The detail for what additional US equipment might be sent to Australia is yet to be negotiated. But a key Chinese foreign affairs commentator reacted cautiously to the plans.

”China has a clear recognition that Australia’s priority is America,” said Zhai Kun, director of South-East Asian and Oceanian studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. ”Nowadays, the relationship between US and China is not zero-sum, China will never expect developing Sino-Australian relations at the cost of the alliance,” said Dr Zhai, whose centre reports to China’s Ministry of State Security.

Former Australian diplomat and Lowy Institute fellow Andrew Shearer, who returned last week from meetings in Washington, said the US-China competition was likely to become more prominent.

”The voices inside the administration that have been making the case that the US can develop a genuinely co-operative partnership with the Chinese on the big issues that matter to the US are becoming less influential,” Mr Shearer said.

He said China was always quick to claim America and its allies were attempting to contain China’s rise. ”We’ll have to wait and see how Beijing reacts to the AUSMIN announcement,” he said.

Ms Gillard also said yesterday she would attend a meeting in Portugal later this month for talks on Afghanistan. The talks would focus on transferring responsibility for security from foreign to Afghan forces.

Ms Gillard said the conference in Lisbon would be crucial.

Many of Australia’s 1550 troops in the country are engaged in training Afghan soldiers, a task the government has said will take no more than four years.

Talking about the NATO meeting, Ms Gillard said: ”How do we define the conditions, how do we know the time is right, how do we know that the Afghan security leadership is sustainable? That’s what I anticipate the NATO talks will be focusing on.”

As support for the war has waned in coalition countries, their governments have become more focused on training Afghan forces as a path to withdrawing their own troops.

Mrs Clinton said the Obama administration remained committed to beginning the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by July next year.

She said she hoped the takeover of the House of Representatives by the Republican Party after last week’s midterm congressional elections would not effect that timetable.

With JOHN GARNAUT

German police clash with anti-nuclear activists

German police clash with anti-nuclear activists

Photo

German police push away anti-nuclear activists who are blocking the railway track in the small village of Leitstade near Dannenberg, November 7, 2010.

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

By Annika Breidthardt

DANNENBERG, Germany (Reuters) – German police clashed on Sunday with anti-nuclear activists trying to disrupt a shipment of nuclear waste heading to a storage dump, using truncheons and tear gas to clear a blocked rail line.

A police spokesman said some 250 activists had tried to damage the track near the waste dump to halt a train carrying the waste. When police tried to stop them, the activists responded with tear gas and flare guns.

“The situation is not yet under control,” said another police spokesman.

Riot police used truncheons, tear gas and water cannon to stop the violent activists, who were part of a larger group of about 4,000 protesters near the town of Leitstade trying to halt the train. A police vehicle was set on fire, police said.

About a dozen protesters were injured, demonstrators were quoted as saying by local media reports. Police could not confirm any injuries.

The waste shipment has become a tense political issue this year due to anger over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to extend the lifespan of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants despite overwhelming public opposition.

The waste originated in Germany and was reprocessed at the French nuclear group Areva’s processing plant at La Hague for storage in a site in the northern German town of Gorleben.

The train was held up repeatedly on its way across France and Germany on a journey that began on Friday. In Germany thousands staged sit down strikes on tracks and others lowered themselves on ropes from bridges to prevent the train from passing. They were removed by police.

The waste shipment is expected to arrive in Gorleben, near the central town of Dannenberg, later on Sunday.

Merkel’s government has slumped in popularity due largely to its decision to extend nuclear power by about 12 years beyond the original shut-down set for 2021. Germany gets 23 percent of its power from nuclear plants.

Scenes of violence in previous transports have contributed to Germany’s strong anti-nuclear mood.

Protesters fear the depot at Gorleben, built as an interim storage site, could become permanent. Greenpeace says the site, in a disused salt mine, would be unsafe over the long term.

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by David Stamp)

Update: Russian reporter in coma after attack

Update: Russian reporter in coma after attack

Update: Russian reporter in coma after attackOleg Kashin, a reporter for a major Russian newspaper has been badly beaten in a brutal attack that prosecutors say may have been linked to his journalistic work.

Yesterday at 19:28 | Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Two unknown men waited for Russian journalist Oleg Kashin to come home and then bludgeoned him on his head, arms and legs. Yet his editor said it was Kashin’s mangled hands — with part of one pinky broken off — that showed his attackers wanted to make sure he never wrote again.

Kashin, a 30-year-old reporter for the respected Kommersant newspaper, was hospitalized in a drug-induced coma after the attack early Saturday outside his Moscow apartment.

He is the latest in a line of journalists and activists to be assaulted in Russia. In most cases, the perpetrators are never found, but the Kremlin appeared determined to show that this time things will be different.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Russia’s prosecutor general and interior minister to oversee the investigation into the attack, and all of Russia’s national television networks, which are under direct or indirect Kremlin control, led their programs with the news.

“The criminals should be found and punished,” Medvedev wrote in Twitter.

Neighbors witnessed the attack on Kashin, who was jumped as he returned home just after midnight. Investigators also have footage from a video surveillance camera outside the building, said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the investigators, who confirmed that the journalist’s work was a likely motive for the attack.

Kashin’s wife, Yevgenia Milova, said he had received no threats.

She wrote in her blog that doctors had operated to put Kashin’s broken jaw back together and were monitoring a skull injury. Only one of his legs was broken, she said, but the last joint on his left pinky was completely gone.

She and her husband’s colleagues reported that the doctors had induced a coma after operating.

Kashin’s editor at Kommersant, Mikhail Mikhailin, said he had no doubt that the attack was in retaliation for Kashin’s reporting.

“They broke his fingers,” Mikhailin told Ekho Moskvy radio. “It is completely obvious that the people who did this did not like what he was saying and what he was writing. What specifically they did not like, I don’t know, but I firmly connect this with his professional activities.”

Mikhailin said Kashin was investigating “informal organizations” but gave no specifics. The phrase could refer to anything from neo-Nazis to environmentalists.

Kashin has written on a wide range of social and political issues, some politically sensitive, others not. His reporting appeared to be straightforward and balanced.

Yet among his more contentious reporting topics has been efforts by environmentalists and opposition activists to protect trees in the Khimki forest near Moscow from being cut down for a new highway. Medvedev in August ordered the construction suspended, but there has been no final decision on the fate of the highway.

The attack on Kashin came two days after an opposition activist, Konstantin Fetisov, had his skull fractured in an assault after being released from the Khimki police station, where he had been questioned about a protest.

“Two attacks in two days, it’s a bit too much,” said Andrei Mironov, a former Soviet dissident who rallied Saturday with about 20 others outside Moscow police headquarters to urge investigators to find Kashin’s attackers.