Underwater robot captures Fukushima wreckage

Underwater robot captures Fukushima wreckage

Video shot by an underwater robot shows damage inside a spent fuel pool at the Fukushima nuclear power station.

Vodpod videos no longer available.Robot Footage–Nuclear meltdown at Fukushima plant, posted with vodpod

The operators of the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), have released footage shot inside reactor No.3.

The clip shows that explosions that followed March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami have left the nuclear fuel rods inside the reactor covered in wreckage.

Hydrogen explosions at four of the buildings at the six-reactor complex destroyed roofs and walls and scattered radioactive debris.

In the operation, filmed by an underwater robot, contaminated water was collected in order to carry out further analysis of the reactor. Experts believe that the fuel rods, not visible in the clip, were left largely undamaged despite the disaster.

The Japanese government and TEPCO currently predict that bringing the plant to a cold shutdown could take between six and nine months.

Romania–Ultimate Reed In American Imperial Wind

[It is little wonder that the forces of empire have settled upon Romania as the ultimate testing ground for US geostrategic plans.  The anti-missile system, which will ultimately target Russia, is to be located there.  Romania has met all IMF conditions, with the sell of part of its natural energy assets to Western bidders.  Potential deals with Turkmenistan, to supply gas to the temporarily postponed Nabucco, remain up in the air, while South Stream plans completely bypass Romania.]

IMF: Romania To Sell Large Stakes In Key Energy Companies

Romanian authorities will make the necessary arrangements to sell “significant stakes” in several key energy companies in the coming months, including nuclear power company Nuclearelectrica and gas pipeline operator Transgaz, an official of the International Monetary Fund said Monday.

IMF: Romania To Sell Large Stakes In Key Energy Companies

“We are focusing particularly on the energy and transport sectors, as these are vital for the economic growth,” IMF mission chief Jeffrey Franks told a news conference in Bucharest.

Apart from Nuclearelectrica and Transgaz, Romania will sell large stakes in hydropower plant Hidroelectrica and natural gas producer Romgaz, but also in other state-run companies, Franks said.

“Inefficient and insufficiently capitalized companies are not coping with market conditions. They must be restructured (…). Together with the government, we will restructure the companies in the railway sector and will bring in private capital,” Franks said.

He said Romania and the IMF have reached an agreement on the economic and fiscal policies to be pursued during a EUR5 billion two-year precautionary program that started end-April.

“We’ve reached an agreement regarding the first review mission. All quantitative criteria have been met and we’ve also agreed on the policies to be applied next,” Franks added.

Joint teams from the IMF, the EU and the World Bank arrived in Bucharest on April 27 for the first review of the follow-up agreement.

Under the new deal, the IMF will disburse Romania EUR3.5 billion, while the EU and the World Bank contribute with EUR1.4 billion and EUR400 million, respectively.

Transgaz Q1 net profit at 194.9 mln lei

Societatea Nationala De Transport Gaze Naturale Transgaz SA

BUCHAREST | Fri May 13, 2011 2:15am EDT

BUCHAREST May 13 (Reuters) – Romania’s state-owned gas pipeline operator Transgaz (TGNM.BX) posted a 3.0 percent rise in its first quarter net profit, above market expectations.

The company reported a net profit of 194.9 million lei ($67.25 million), versus an average forecast of 175 million lei in a Reuters poll earlier this week. It compares with a net of 189.2 million lei in January-March 2010. (Reporting by Radu Marinas)

Turkmen delegation in Romania for trade, fuel talks

Russia redrawing Europe energy map

[If Russia has its way, then Poland, Romania and Ukraine will have been excised from its energy circulatory system, opening new inviolable  pathways to service Europe, solving Russia’s supply problems, as well as Europe’s but not in the way the West envisioned.  Will the West allow this definite Russian victory to stand, on the ghost of Nabucco?  Keep in mind that Nabucco has so far, merely been postponed to wait for Azeri gas in 2017.  Nothing is resolved yet.]

Russia redrawing Europe energy map

By M K Bhadrakumar

Things couldn’t have been better for Russia’s energy giant Gazprom even before news came in over the weekend that curtains could be coming down on one of the keenest battles of the Caspian great game, and Moscow is on a winning streak.

Gazprom increased its gas supplies to Europe in April by over 21% on the same month last year. In 2011, Gazprom’s overall export revenue is estimated to be a whopping US$72.4 billion. In anticipation of increased supplies to Europe, the Russian company has begun plans to nearly double its underground storage capacities for gas by 2015 to almost 4.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) and by next year to 6.5 bcm.

Gazprom operates gas storage facilities in Austria and lease facilities in Britain, France and Germany. This work is in anticipation of the vastly increased flow of Russian gas through the new pipeline systems known as South Stream and North Stream, which are becoming operational in the very near future.

The increased storage facilities in Austria will cater to the markets in Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany and Italy. A new storage, Katrina, which Gazprom is building as a joint venture with VNG in Germany, will support gas exports to Western European hubs. Gazprom built another joint venture storage facility with Serbia that will support gas exports to Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary. Feasibility studies are being conducted on similar joint storage projects in the Czech Republic, France, Romania, Belgium, Britain, Slovakia, Turkey and Greece.

With this, the “gas map” of Europe, which was largely drawn in the Soviet era, is poised to undergo a phenomenal change. The great consolidation of Russia’s status as the pre-eminent energy supplier – Russia today supplies over 41% of Europe’s gas needs – is certain to transform east-west relations in the medium and long term and will figure as a key factor in the United States’ trans-Atlanticism.

Nabucco on backburner 
When good news come, it comes in battalions. The latest heartening news for Gazprom is that the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, the pet project of the United States’ Caspian energy diplomacy that aims at reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, has suffered a considerable, and potentially lethal, setback.

Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, revealed that the project has been pushed back until 2017 – three years later than originally planned. The construction work stands postponed by one year at least to 2013. He left things delightfully vague, saying gas would flow through the pipeline “as soon as there are firm indications that gas supply commitments are in place”.

Nabucco was conceived to funnel gas 3,900 kilometers from Turkey to Austria and was designed to carry 31 bcm of natural gas a year from the Middle East and the Caspian region to markets in Europe. Bypassing Russia, the pipeline would run through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to a hub just outside Vienna for onward distribution all across the European Union countries. The Nabucco consortium consists of the energy companies RWE of Germany; OMV of Austria; MOL of Hungary; Botas of Turkey; Bulgaria Energy Holding of Bulgaria; and Transgaz of Romania.

The postponement of the project will almost certainly drive up its cost. European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warns that costs could rise as high as $21.4 billion, up from an earlier estimate at about $11.2 billion. BP makes similar estimates of cost escalation. Indeed, ballooning costs put a big question mark on the project’s economic viability.

The main hitch, however, lies in the lack of availability of gas to feed the pipeline. The surplus capacity of Turkmenistan to feed Nabucco remains problematic, as Ashgabat cannot pursue independent energy policies that undercut Russian interests. Iran would be an ideal source to feed Nabucco, but US-Iran standoff precludes the possibility. Thus, Nabucco’s best hope lies in gas supplies from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 field, which is expected to come on-stream in 2017.

The one-trillion-cubic-meter Azeri gas field is being developed by a consortium led by BP and Norwegian national oil company Statoil. The first phase of production, Shah Deniz I, started up in 2006 and produces a maximum of 8.6 bcm of gas annually; the second phase is expected to produce 16 bcm of gas annually when it becomes operational in 2017.

However, two other rival claimants for the Azeri gas have appeared: Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Turkey also hopes to buy Shah Deniz II gas directly. Last week, Turkey signed an agreement with Azerbaijan to buy six billion cubic meters of gas from the second phase of the Shah Deniz gas field in 2017.

To be sure, the setback for Nabucco works as Russia’s gain. Nabucco versus South Stream (see map here) has been one of the most keenly fought sagas of the Caspian great game – perhaps, next only to the Baku-Ceyhan-Tbilisi pipeline which the Bill Clinton administration rammed through despite Russian opposition. Turkey worked solidly with the US at that time but now Ankara and Moscow are close collaborators in the field of energy.

Gazprom would be in a celebratory mood, as in comparison with Nabucco, South Stream project is cruising merrily. The 900-kilometer South Stream gas pipeline can carry 63 bcm of gas to central and southern Europe via the Black Sea. The project is expected to be completed by end-2015.

South Stream and North Stream (also known as Nord Stream, see map here) are Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s trophies, which will stand out as his enduring legacy to the surge of the Russian economy and Russia’s return to the world stage. He pushed the negotiations with the European partners almost single-handedly. The defining moment for South Stream came in March when Wintershall, the energy subsidiary of the German chemicals giant BASF, agreed to join the project. BASF will hold a 15% share in South Stream.

At the signing ceremony in Moscow, Putin said, “The move indicates stability and is crucial for the entire energy market.” He welcomed Germany’s support for the market, “including the position of Chancellor Angela Merkel”. Russia’s “German connection” is almost entirely the personal handiwork of Putin’s untiring diplomacy. Wintershall also holds a 15.5% stake in North Stream, which connects Russia with an undersea pipeline through the Baltics with Germany, and E.ON Ruhrgas AG is Gazprom’s partner in constructing North Stream.

Russia can now be expected to go for the kill and bury Nabucco once and for all by negotiating more contracts for additional gas supplies to Europe over the next two years. South Stream and North Stream are poised to redraw the energy equations between Russia and the European countries.

US rallies “New Europeans”
South Stream bypasses Ukraine while North Stream, is expected to be launched in October, cuts out Poland as a transit country. In geopolitical terms, Russia can now negotiate with Ukraine and Poland from a position of strength as its dependence on these two temperamental transit countries for its highly strategic energy exports to Europe stands diminished.

Meanwhile, South Stream brings Russia back as a player across the board in the Balkans (a role that the US denied Russia by breaking up the former Yugoslavia). Europe now faces an uphill task to execute its plans to cut back on its gas purchases from Russia. North Stream undoubtedly uplifts the overall Russian-German strategic ties to a qualitatively new level of partnership.

South Stream and North Stream have trivialized the United States’ policy to fuel the latent feelings of antipathy among the Central European countries toward Russia, a policy that dates back to the late 1990s. President Barack Obama is expected to visit Warsaw later this month. The London Telegraph reported on Tuesday that Obama will confirm the deployment of F-16 aircraft in Poland as a mark of direct US guarantee in addition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the country’s defense.

In Warsaw, Obama is expected to have a summit meeting with the presidents of the Central European states. Evidently, the US is cranking up the Central European vector – famously called the “New Europeans” by George W Bush’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld – against the backdrop of Russia’s energy surge in Europe.

In a major policy speech at Bratislava in March, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Philip Gordon said the Central Europe region as a bloc “plays a crucial role as a partner of the United Sates in promoting democracy and stability in Europe, but its contributions run far beyond Europe’s borders… efforts at cooperation with Russia will in no way limit the US or NATO’s capacity to deploy missile defense or other collective defense capabilities… none of the progress we have made in our so-called bilateral reset with Russia comes at the expense of any ally… we work very closely with Europe on every major issue, both internationally and within Europe… [and] Central Europe plays a crucial role in advancing this agenda.”

Clearly, the US realizes that energy is the lever with which Russia is undermining its strategy. So, it also has a few cards up its sleeves. It is gearing up liquefied natural gas terminals to export US natural gas to higher-paying markets overseas by 2015, and Europe is a major destination. The fact of the matter is that the US is becoming self-sufficient in gas. The Financial Times carried a sensational report last Friday about a potential shift in the politics of energy thanks to Europe’s potential shale gas bonanza, which would have the potential to reshape the continent’s supply, reducing its dependency on Russia and the Middle East.

However, these are rushed ideas necessitated by the unavoidable prospect of Europe’s heavy dependence on Russian energy supplies for the foreseeable future. Many challenges need to be addressed before commercial production from unconventional sources such as shale gas could become a reality in the European market.

The FT report says, “Shale gas is trapped in rocks thousands of feet underground. It is released by fracturing rocks using high-pressured water in a process known as ‘hydraulic fracking’. Fluids and other components such as sand are injected into a well bore under high pressure to force the release of gas from rockformations. One of the biggest environmental concerns is the impact of such fracturing techniques on the water table.”

Compared with the US, Europe lacks any detailed and reliable geological study, making it difficult to estimate the potential for unconventional gas.

From all perspectives, what emerges is that Nabucco’s promoters are stoically adapting themselves to the realities of an increasingly volatile global energy marketplace, shaken up by multiple factors such as the prospect of shale gas production, the upheaval in the Middle East and of course the killer tsunami in Japan that puts question marks on nuclear power. And the advantage goes to the Russian bird. The Europeans cannot but appreciate that it is better to keep it than hanker for two American birds in the bush.

M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings including India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001).

US/Romanian Marines Practice Interoperability Operations

US, Romanian Marines Complete COIN Training

Story by Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

US, Romanian Marines Complete COIN Training Submitted Photo by Cpl. Tatum VayavanandaBeing pinned down by Romanian Marines, a U.S. Marine role player, Black Sea Rotational Force 11, is detained after causing a mock riot during a peacekeeping operation during a capabilities exercise in an urban training facility. Romanian and U.S. Marines trained in Babadag Training Area for a two-week course in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations including combat marksmanship, convoy operations, improvised explosive device awareness and Marine Corps Martial Arts.

BABADAG TRAINING AREA, Romania – Romanian and U.S. marines trained in Babadag Training Area for a two-week course in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations including combat marksmanship, convoy operations, Improvised-Explosive Device awareness, and Marine Corps Martial Arts.

Down plain, bumpy dirt roads, deep in the farmlands of Babadag, is the largest and most modern training and firing range in Romania, Babadag Training Area. This is where Romanian Marines and U.S. Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 11 came to share military experience and train in counterinsurgency operations.

The U.S. Marines worked with platoons of Romanian Marines for two weeks of training in counterinsurgency operations that included: combat marksmanship, fundamentals of Improvised-Explosive Devices, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, non-lethal weapons employment, and the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

“We formed some skills that will be useful in any situation we are in,” said Romanian 2nd Lt. Traian Apostolide, platoon commander, Romanian Marines, BSRF-11. “It helps us understand the importance of what we are doing and build skills that will be useful in combat.”

“It’s not that they don’t have these skills already,” said Gunnery Sgt. Daniel A. Devine, Ground Combat Element executive officer, BSRF-11. “It’s teaching them how [the U.S.] does it and adding that extra tool to their toolbox. In return we get stuff from them that we can add to our toolbox and use down the road.”

The combined training prepares both forces to work together in potential future, shared missions and provides a common “language” of tactics and procedures.

The skills from the course are important for COIN environments because they will all be used, said Devine.

“So if they have to go into these environments, they are prepared for it,” he added.

The Combat Marksmanship Program enhanced the Romanians close-quarter shooting skills at 50 meters or less, typical to COIN, such as an urban environment. The CMP focuses on fire and movement, pivoting and other shooting techniques for close-in engagements.

“It’s getting them out of their comfort zone, making them shoot close together and think ‘I have to get used to this gun going off in my ear’ or ‘I have to be able to pivot left and right and not be stationary and still function,’” he added.

Additionally, several patrolling and convoy operations are rolled into the training.

These skills sets are extremely valuable in environments such as Afghanistan, said Devine.

“They get a piece of [convoy operations] and it is worked in with the IED training, which is a big tool for the enemy, “he added. “We have the latest tactics, techniques and procedures for that.”

[U.S. Marines] have good presentations and there is a good combination of practical applications for new concerns we have now for peacekeeping operations and counterinsurgency, said Romanian Capt. Claudiu Visan, detachment commander, Romanian Marines, BSRF-11.

A final capabilities exercise combined all the skills that were covered in the two-week training period.

“The first part was conducting the raid that included skills in MOUT and Cordon, Search and Seizure,” said Devine.

The Romanian marines also practiced their mounted patrols and integrating alongside a U.S. Marine fire team.

“They showed a good grasp of the concept; hitting the target with enough speed and violence to keep [the High-Value Targets] off their balance,” said Devine.

Afterwards, U.S. Marine role players simulate a “riot” in the village by chanting, throwing objects and taunting the Romanian forces. They responded with non-lethal suppression instead of shooting the village up.

“Hopefully if they have to deploy in a combat situation they will have learned something from us,” said Cpl. Matthew P. Horton, rifleman, BSRF-11. “These guys were very well prepared; I was expecting to have to work a little bit harder.”

“They picked up the practical applications very quickly and were always willing to learn something new,” added the Amarillo, Texas, native.

The Romanian marines all received diplomas for their completion of the COIN and PKO course at BTA.

“I am proud to have been working with [U.S.] for two weeks and this is proof that I did it,” said Apostolide. “For me, it’s a diploma that I will display proudly.”

“It’s nice to be working with these guys and see them improving and having something to show for it,” said Horton. “I’ve had a great time and I’ve gotten to know a lot of the guys really well. It felt good.”

Romania is playing a significant part in the Overseas Contingency Operation, with approximately 1,700 troops serving in Afghanistan, in the Zabul province, where Taliban activity is high. Romania has lost 19 service members in the conflict, two in just the past week.

Black Sea Rotational Force 11 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Easter Europe to participate in security cooperation to build military capacity, provide regional stability, and develop lasting partnerships with nations in the region.

String of Pearls–Containing China

String of Pearls.pdf

Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power Across the Asian Littoral

Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher J Pehrson.

Brief Synopsis

China’s rising maritime power is encountering American maritime power along the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) that connect China to vital energy resources in the Middle East and Africa. The “String of Pearls” describes the manifestation of China’s rising geopolitical influence through efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, develop special diplomatic relationships, and modernize military forces that extend from the South China Sea through the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the Arabian Gulf. A question posed by the “String of Pearls” is the uncertainty of whether China’s growing influence is in accordance with Beijing’s stated policy of “peaceful development,” or if China one day will make a bid for regional primacy. This is a complex strategic situation that could determine the future direction of the China’s relationship with the United States, as well as China’s relationship with neighbors throughout the region. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the “String of Pearls” from within the context of the post-Cold War global security environment and propose informed recommendations for U.S. policy and strategy. Substantive, results-oriented engagement supported by pragmatic military hedging is the best strategy to influence and encourage China to participate in the international community as a responsible stakeholder. Bold leadership and prudent foresight will enable the United States and China to reap the rewards of strategic cooperation and avert the calamity of a hostile confrontation.

Globalists’ Pakistan War Plan; Destabilization and invasion long planned.

By Tony Cartalucci – BLN Contributing Writer

In a 2007 article from the London Guardian titled, “Bush handed blueprint to seize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal,” it is stated that fears of destabilization inside Pakistan might prompt the United States to occupy Islamabad and the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Baluchistan in an attempt to secure Pakistan’s nuclear warheads. Behind this report is Fredrick Kagan, brother of the equally sloven Robert Kagan of the Foreign Policy Initiative, yet another contrived, corporate fueled warmongering think-tank.

Fredrick Kagan sits within the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI’s board of trusteesrepresents a wide variety of corporate-financier interests including those of the notorious Carlyle Group, State Farm, American Express, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (also of the CFR). War criminal Dick Cheney also acts as a trustee. Joining Kagan as members of AEI’s “research staff” are warmongers Newt Gingrich, John Bolton, Richard Perle, John Yoo, and Paul Wolfowitz.

While the sense of self-importance these degenerates shower upon themselves may seem comical, with titles like “senior fellow” and “resident scholar,” the fact that their “policy research” usually becomes corporate subsidized “policy reality” and subsequently the American people’s unending nightmare, is enough reason to keep tabs on them. For instance Fredrick Kagan was supposedly the architect behind the US troop surge in Iraq. And while we may kid ourselves that with Obama taking office the agenda of these supposed Neo-Conservatives is sidelined, Paul Wolfowitz’ plan to overthrow the nations of the Middle East, now being fully executed with US-funded revolutions, probably couldn’t have been done without the veil of “left-cover.”

Kagan’s report regarding Pakistan’s partial occupation and the seizure of its nuclear arsenal is founded on what may first appear to be a reasonable concern; the fear of Pakistan collapsing and its nuclear arsenal falling into the wrong hands. According to Kagan’s narrative, Islamic extremists seizing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal pose as much a threat today as “Soviet tanks” once did.

It’s not terrorists, it’s China

What Kagan leaves out is the very source of this destabilization and America’s overall grand strategy in the region. America’s continued presence in Afghanistan as well as its increasingly aggressive “creep” over the Afghan-Pakistani border has been justified under the ambiguous and omnipresent threat of “terrorism.” In reality, the true goal is to contain the rise of China and other emerging economies using the pretense of “terrorism.” Destabilization via foreign-funded ethnic insurgencies, regime change via foreign-funded sedition, and a regional strategy of tension between power brokers in Beijing, New Delhi, and Islamabad have for years attempted to keep in check not just China and Pakistan’s rise, but India’s as well.

This is not merely speculative conjecture. China itself has recently accused the United States of directly attempting to destabilize their nation as well as using the pretense of “terrorism” as a means to hobble China’s growing influence. In an April 2011 Reuters report, it was stated that “a senior domestic security official, Chen Jiping, warned that “hostile Western forces” — alarmed by the country’s rise — were marshalling human rights issues to attack Party control.” Compounding China’s accusations are open admissions by the US State Department itself declaring that tens of millions will be spent to help activistscircumvent China’s security networks in an effort to undermine Beijing. This comes after it has been revealed that the entire “Arab Spring” was US-funded.

The issue of Pakistan in regards to China is not merely a figment of a paranoid Beijing’s imagination, it is stated policy circulating throughout America’s corporate-funded think-tanks. Selig Harrison of the Soros funded Center for International Policy has published two pieces specifically calling for carving off of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, not as part of a strategy to win the “War on Terror,” but as a means to thwart growing relations between Islamabad and Beijing.

In “Free Baluchistan,” he explicitly calls to “aid the 6 million Baluch insurgents fighting for independence from Pakistan in the face of growing ISI repression.” He continues by explaining the various merits of such meddling by stating, “Pakistan has given China a base at Gwadar in the heart of Baluch territory. So an independent Baluchistan would serve U.S. strategic interests in addition to the immediate goal of countering Islamist forces.”

In a follow up article titled, “The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis,” Harrison begins by stating, “China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point. ” He then repeats his call for meddling in Pakistan by saying, “to counter what China is doing in Pakistan, the United States should play hardball by supporting the movement for an independent Baluchistan along the Arabian Sea and working with Baluch insurgents to oust the Chinese from their budding naval base at Gwadar. Beijing wants its inroads into Gilgit and Baltistan to be the first step on its way to an Arabian Sea outlet at Gwadar.”

Gwadar in the southwest serves as a Chinese port, the starting 
point for a logistical corridor through Pakistan and into Chinese 
territory. The plan is to plunge the entire nation into chaos and use
US forces to systematically “help” restore order. 
(click to enlarge)

The very suggestion of fomenting armed violence simply to derail sovereign relations between two foreign nations is scandalous and reveals the absolute depths of depravity from which the global elite operate from. It is quite clear that the “War on Terror” is but a pretense to pursue a policy of regional hegemony with the expressed goal of containing China. This in turn, is part of a greater strategy covered in the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral.” Throughout the report China’s growing influence and various means to co-opt and contain it are discussed. SSI makes special note to mention engaging with all of China’s neighbors in an effort to play them off against Beijing in order to maintain American preeminence throughout Asia.

Destabilizing Pakistan

In addition to the Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Baluchistan region, China has also built dams, roads, and even nuclear power plants in the country. China has also supplied Pakistan with a tremendous amount of military technology. The only cards America seems to have left in its hand to counter this growing relationship are threats of destabilization, the subsequent stripping of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, and Pakistan’s Balkanization into smaller, ineffectual states.

In a 2009 article by Seymour Hersh titled, “Defending the Arsenal,” much attention was given to the immense amount of suspicion and distrust Pakistan views America with. In particular, distrust is garnered over America’s obsession with “defending” Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Under the pretense of “helping” Pakistan if ever it fell into chaos, America has been trying to ascertain the location of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons as well as the trigger assembles kept separate as a security measure.

While America supposedly “fears” destabilization, concurrently, the effects of their war with the Taliban on the Afghan-Pakistan border has overtly stirred up instability inside Pakistan. At one point, Hersh describes Islamabad’s request for predator drones to conduct the attacks themselves, which was denied. They then asked for America to at least pretend to have given the drones to Pakistan and give them Pakistani markings – this was also denied. In fact, it seems almost as if the war against the Taliban, especially the drone campaign, is being used specifically to stir up the Pashtun minority and aim them at Islamabad, just as Harrison had suggested the Baluchistan insurgents be used to carve off Pakistan’s southwest coastal region.

This brings us back to Fredrick Kagan’s “blueprint,” which is summed up in a New York Times piece co-authored with Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon. Their article titled, “Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem,” describes the complete collapse of the Pakistani government, overrun by “extremists.” It goes on to describe “Pro-American moderates” within the Pakistani army in need of US forces to help them secure Islamabad and their nuclear arsenal. Several options are given for where the nuclear weapons could be stored safely, all of them involve US oversight. This would give the US an ideal geopolitical scenario that would permanently Balkanize the country along Pashtun, Baluchi, and other ethnic minority lines, and result in a permanent Western presence inside the country.

The article then goes on to say larger military operations to take back Balkanized sections of the country could be undertaken, “If a holding operation in the nation’s center was successful, we would probably then seek to establish order in the parts of Pakistan where extremists operate. Beyond propping up the state, this would benefit American efforts in Afghanistan by depriving terrorists of the sanctuaries they have long enjoyed in Pakistan’s tribal and frontier regions.”

It should be noted that co-author Michael O’Hanlon also contributed to the “Which Path to Persia?” report which described how using foreign-funded armed insurgency, foreign-funded popular revolutions, co-opting members of the military, and covert military operations could be used to topple Iran’s government. In Iran’s case, this plan has already gone operational. In Pakistan’s case it seems all but a foregone conclusion that it is at least being attempted.

If Kagan’s plan were executed after sufficient instability and justification had been created, China’s holdings in Pakistan would be entirely eliminated, with Pakistan itself becoming a permanent extension of the unending US occupation of Afghanistan. This explains China’s initial reaction to the “Bin Laden” hoax. Immediately recognizing the unfolding implications,China rushed to Islamabad’s defense calling for support from the international community for Islamabad. China also criticized America’s intrusion into Pakistan’s sovereign territory.

The US raid incensed the Pakistani people, attempted to drive a wedge between the military and the government, as well as gave rhetorical leverage to the US over Islamabad and the Pakistani military. The suggestion by the US that “Bin Laden” had a support network inside Pakistan’s military appears to be an initial attempt to usher in some form of Kagan’s “nuke-napping” invasion plan. With Beijing openly accusing the US of interfering in its internal affairs and with the “Arab Spring” quickly turning into regional warfare, there is no turning back for the globalists.

The corporate-financier oligarchs and their many helping hands are a degenerate elite who have spent their entire lives sheltered from the consequences of their actions. It has always been the soldiers and the taxpayers who bore the brunt for their delusions of grandeur. To them, war is a cost-benefit analysis, and like their financial pyramid schemes that only get bigger and bigger, so too their gambles with our lives and treasure. It appears that they are quite willing to destabilize Pakistan, a nation with 170 million people, and risk war, a nuclear exchange, and a possible confrontation with China and Russia in the process.

Romanian Airbase Being Evaluated As Contingency Hub for Afghanistan

Airmen ready Romanian airport for U.S. multi-modal shipments 

07:31 GMT, May 13, 2011 MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania | Members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., arrived here May 9 to extend the airfield’s capability to support “multi-modal operations” during a U.S. Transportation Command proof-of-principle evaluation.

USTRANSCOM applies the term “multi-modal” to the movement of passengers and cargo by more than one mode of transportation. In this case, the evaluation is intended to demonstrate the feasibility of using the air base as a hub for equipment flowing into and out of Afghanistan. The evaluation process begins with the basing of four C-17 Globemaster III’s temporarily deployed from another base in the region that is closed for routine runway repairs.

“Our goal is to determine if (Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base) is a viable, multi-modal airport that can support moving personnel and equipment to and from the U.S. Central Command’s theater,” said Lt. Col. Lee Wingfield, the 621st Contingency Response Element commander. “Our main role while here in Romania will be to facilitate the trans-load of cargo from aircraft to ground-and sea-shipment systems.”

The 621st CRW is one of only two contingency response wings in the Air Force and is prepared to deploy at a moment’s notice. The CRWs combine unique skill sets with the ability to tailor teams of mobility Airmen to carry out a variety of missions ranging from humanitarian assistance to air base opening. In this case, the mission required a team of experts knowledgeable in setting up an air base and conducting air mobility operations.

Approximately 50 Airmen assigned to the contingency response element started processing aircraft the moment they arrived and prepared the airfield for follow-on personnel.

“One of the great advantages of (contingency response) forces is that we can arrive on station and immediately start to receive aircraft,” Colonel Wingfield said. “We had an inbound aircraft about an hour after we arrived so we went to work straight away integrating with the host base to get the planes off-loaded and aerial port operations established.”

The team deployed with air mobility personnel specializing in air transportation, command and control, communications, maintenance and airfield operations.

“Our team is made up of Airmen who are skilled in their particular career fields, but who are also contingency response experts,” said Maj. Matthew Schnell, the contingency response element director of operations. “We train in various disciplines in order to augment each other and increase cross-functionality so we are ready when a mission like this is tasked.”

Contingency response element Airmen expect to process aircraft loaded with cargo and personnel essential to Operation Enduring Freedom daily. American forces from bases in the U.S. and overseas will join the contingency response element over the next week to continue with the evaluation.

According to USTRANSCOM, if the test does not reveal any major problems, the program here could become permanent and expand to make Mihail Kogalniceanu AB a major logistics hub for the U.S. and its allies.

—-
Master Sgt. Laura K. Deckman
621st Contingency Response Wing / AFNS

Russian Minister Warns West Against Repetition of Libyan Destabilization Scenario

‘Libya scenario’ dangerous for region – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

© AFP/ Fabrice Coffrini

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Friday of the dangers of a repetition of the fighting that has engulfed Libya in other countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

“Attempts to multiply the Libyan scenario in other countries…are extremely dangerous, be they in Yemen, Syria or Bahrain,” Lavrov told journalists.

“The situation is turbulent almost everywhere and it is necessary here to show the most responsible approach possible,” he added.

Lavrov also said the Libya contact group of Western nations involved in talks with opposition forces was “illegitimate” under international law.

MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti)

Unilateral American Missile Deployment In Romania Warrants Decisive Russian Reactions

Russia may take action over U.S. missile shield

Michail Fomichev

Russia may take action over U.S. missile shield

Russia’s deputy defense minister has said action could be taken if the United States deploys its new missile defense system near Russia’s borders.

In a news conference on Friday, deputy defense minister Anatoly Antonov said the Russian military was looking at ways to “protect our nation if Russia is not consulted in talks with NATO.”

“There is not only talk, some serious work is also being done,” Antonov said. “The Defense Ministry should allow for the worst possible scenario.”

His comments come just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Kazakhstan that the talks were going through a complicated phase.

“So far this matter is proceeding with difficulty, but the [U.S.] Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton] has assured us that measures are being taken on her side,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov added that he had met Clinton during an Arctic Council meeting in Greenland on Thursday and had discussed missile defense.

“We agreed that it was necessary to give a political impulse to the work of experts, so that before our two presidents meet in Deauville for the G8 summit it will be possible to set out some results,” Lavrov said.

The United States and Romania announced last week a deal to deploy missile interceptors in Romania as part of its plant to erect a missile shield over Europe.

The move immediately drew criticism from Russia, which fears the scheme may compromise its security by weakening its nuclear missile arsenal.

But U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said Moscow need not worry.

“We have good relations with Russia. We have just ratified the New START treaty, we are working together on various other issues,” she was quoted as saying in media reports last week.

“It is a system that will defend NATO and, if Russia chooses to work with us in a cooperative manner, the system will defend Russia, too.”

Russia agreed to cooperate on NATO’s European missile defense program at a NATO summit in Lisbon last year.

MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti)

ISI Gives CIA Group Access To B.L. Wives, No Separate Interviews So Far

US officials interrogate “hostile” widows of bin Laden

US officials interrogate "hostile" widows of bin Laden

US intelligence officers have reportedly interrogated three widows of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden under the supervision of Pakistan’s intelligence service.
The women — who were all interviewed together this week- were “hostile” towards the Americans, the CNN reported, citing a senior Pakistani government official with direct knowledge of the post-bin Laden investigation and two senior US officials.
Members of Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), were in the room along with US intelligence officers, the officials said.
The Americans had wanted to question the women separately to figure out inconsistencies in their stories, the report said, adding that the eldest of the three widows spoke for the group.
All three officials said that the interview did not yield much new information, adding that it was early in the investigative process. Both the Pakistani and US officials said that despite some well-publicised strains, there is an ongoing exchange of intelligence between both countries.
The youngest of the three widows, 29-year-old Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah of Yemen, was shot in the leg early on May 2 by a small team of US Navy SEALs during the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad, while the world’s most wanted terrorist was killed in the operation.
A US official has identified the other two women as Khairiah Sabar, also known as “Umm Hamza,” and Siham Sabar, or “Umm Khalid.” They were three of the Bin Laden’s five wives, two of whom had separated from him, the report said.
Together, they gave birth to at least 20 of his children, including 11 sons, one of whom was killed in the Abbotabad raid, it added.
While the US forces flew off with bin Laden’s dead body, they left behind the three widows as well as several children- some of them fathered by the al Qaeda leader- at the housing compound in Abbottabad.
Ever since, US officials pressed for the right to interrogate the women, but had to first work through Pakistani authorities to do so.

Frontier Constabulary Academy Double Bombing Kills 80

[Of course the Western-controlled media is claiming that this is a revenge attack for the alleged killing of bin Laden, but is it really?  These kinds of bombings take place on a regular basis in Pakistan, especially in the “wild west” around Peshawar.  If it was actually the TTP, then it can be tied to the primary foreign sponsors of the militant group, namely, the US/Britain/Indian secret services and rogue elements within the ISI, who sub-contract from the CIA.  If this is a TTP attack, or even if it is a “Blackwater” bombing, expect a wave of similar attacks to sweep across Pakistan, in order to validate the claim that Pakistan needs saved from itself.]

Pakistan paramilitary Shabqadar base bombings ‘kill 80’

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Television pictures of the bomb sites show damaged cars and buildings

Twin bomb attacks on a paramilitary force academy in north-west Pakistan have killed 80 people, police say.

At least 120 people were wounded in the blasts at the training centre for the Frontier Constabulary in Shabqadar, Charsadda district.

After early suspicions that one of the bombs was planted, police said both blasts were suicide attacks.

The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack to avenge the death of Osama Bin Laden earlier this month.

The al-Qaeda leader was killed during a US commando raid in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad on 2 May.

‘Deadliest attack’

The bombings happened as newly trained cadets from the Frontier Constabulary were getting into buses for a short leave after completing their course.

The Frontier Constabulary is used to police the regions bordering Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“Both attacks were suicide attacks,” said the police chief of Charsadda district, Nisar Khan Marwat.

“The first suicide bomber came on a motorcycle and detonated his vest among the Frontier Constabulary men,” AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

“When other [Frontier Constabulary] people came to the rescue to help their colleagues, the second bomber came on another motorcycle and blew himself up.”

At least 66 of the dead were recruits, but there were also civilian casualties, officials say. A number of vehicles were destroyed in the blast.

“I was sitting in a van waiting for my colleagues. We were in plain clothes and we were happy we were going to see our families,” Ahmad Ali, a wounded paramilitary policeman, told AFP.

“I heard someone shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is great] and then I heard a huge blast. I was hit by something in my back shoulder.

“In the meantime, I heard another blast and I jumped out of the van. I felt that I was injured and bleeding.”

Security forces sealed off the area and the wounded were taken to a hospital in nearby Peshawar.

Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar has been inundated with casualties and doctors said they were fighting to save the lives of 40 critically injured cadets.

Map of Pakistan

“It’s the first revenge for the martyrdom of… Bin Laden. There will be more,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told the Reuters news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Shabqadar lies on the border with Afghanistan, about 35km (22 miles) north-west of Peshawar, not far from the militant stronghold of Mohmand.

The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool, in Islamabad, says the security forces have often been the target of such attacks as they fight the Pakistani Taliban across the north-west of the country, but Friday’s bombing is the deadliest attack this year.

He adds that the Pakistani army – which has come under intense scrutiny and criticism over the Bin Laden affair – is likely to point out that this attack is an illustration of the sacrifices it has made in the so-called “war on terror”.

Later on Friday, army chiefs are expected to appear in parliament to explain their actions over the death of Bin Laden.

Our correspondent says many politicians and members of the public appear to be less concerned about Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan and more about the way the US was able to carry out its raid without official permission.

The US gives billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Pakistan, but has questioned its reliability as an ally in combating the militants.

In recent years, Taliban militants have killed hundreds of people in bombings and other attacks across Pakistan.

A Zionist Double-Cross May Be In the Cards

Will Israel Pay the Price for Obama’s Mideast “Reset”?

If there was just one thing that everyone agreed on when discussing the Arab Spring that has convulsed the Middle East this year, it was that they uprisings had nothing whatever to do with Israel or its conflict with the Palestinians. Everyone, that is, except President Barack Obama.

According to the New York Times, the president has been considering whether to give a major address in which he would present a “unified theory” of the Middle East linking the Arab revolts to the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The good news coming in the Times article is that, contrary to other reports, Obama is not apparently planning to present a new American Middle East peace plan. The Hamas-Fatah unity pact that could transform the “moderate” Palestinian Authority into a terrorist coalition may have convinced even the credulous Obama that the Palestinians are not really interested in making peace. So the officials insist that the big speech that Obama is planning will concentrate more on what is going on in the Arab world than on a final solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

There is an opening here for Obama to sound a clarion call for democracy and transparency throughout the Arab and Islamic world, especially in light of the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Obama is reportedly conflicted about whether to sound an idealistic tone or a more “realistic” one. That has been reflected in the inconsistent and inept manner he has adopted throughout the period of the Arab spring. But since his instinct is to think of America’s role in the world in negative rather than positive terms, he just isn’t comfortable advocating a freedom agenda. The president is still looking for a way out of this conundrum. But the people he is said to be listening to, according to theTimes—CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Times’s own Thomas Friedman—are both lightweight thinkers who are always ready to peddle the latest conventional wisdom, whatever it might be.

The main thing the Times feature conveys is the studied confusion that afflicts the president and paralyzes his decision-making on foreign policy. With such advisers, it may well be that in spite of his avoidance of a specific Middle East peace plan, that the president may seek to sell his “reset” of America’s relations with the Arab world by further distancing the United States from Israel, even though that would not address any internal Arab problem. If so, he will be squandering the political capital he thinks he acquired via the bin Laden death and spending it pointlessly.