Turkmenistan Govt. Comes Clean (Sort Of), Fifteen Confirmed Dead In Arms Depot Blasts

Turkmenistan says 15 people dead after explosion

© 2011 The Associated Press

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — The authoritarian government of Turkmenistan said Sunday that 15 people died after a large explosion rocked a town outside the Turkmen capital earlier this week and lashed out at the coverage of the blast by the Russian media.

The government press service said two soldiers and 13 civilians died as a result of the explosion in Abadan, a town 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the capital, Ashgabat.

The blasts, which began late on Thursday and went on until early Friday, were caused by overheating at a fireworks warehouse that triggered further blasts at a military depot where outdated, Soviet-made ammunition was kept, the press service said in a statement.

An amateur, low-resolution video posted Sunday on a social networking site, however, appears to demonstrate the incident was the result of high explosives detonating. It showed a giant black plume of smoke rising after a blast accompanied by a loud bang and people and cars rushing away from the site.

The video was broadcast by Russian television and posted on independent websites critical of Turkmenistan’s government. Russian media claimed dozens died and were wounded during the explosions.

Although websites critical of Turkmen authorities are filtered in Turkmenistan, many are able to watch Russian television channels via numerous satellite dishes that dot every apartment building.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that Russian television reports about the scale of deaths and destruction are misleading and inaccurate.

Meanwhile, a human rights group said nearly 200 people have died in the blast. About a half of them are military officers and servicemen, said Khronika Turkmenistana, a website run by Vienna-based Turkmen dissident Farid Tukhbatullin.

It cited unnamed locals who also claimed that authorities detained anyone who was trying to take pictures or videos of the debris in Abadan.

Online satellite images show that a large munitions dump is located at the approximate site of the blast, around half a kilometer from apartment blocks.

Abadan is the site of a gas-fired power plant that acts as a major electricity supplier to Ashgabat. Power supplies to the capital failed sporadically Thursday evening.

Arms depot explosions are not unusual across the ex-Soviet Central Asia.

In July 2008, a fire spread to a Soviet-era military base in a town in neighboring Uzbekistan, setting off a chain of blasts that lasted for hours.

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Turkmen “Fireworks” That Closely Resemble Grad Rockets and HEAT Artillery Shells

[The government of Turkmenistan insists that the explosion/fire in the city of Abadan were just fireworks, stored for future use.  They insist that it was a non-military site and that no one was killed or injured, even castigating the Russian media for daring to search for the truth about this devastating event.  The following photos were smuggled past the Turkmen “iron curtain” of censorship which is struggling to contain the truth about this national tragedy.]

“Fireworks” littering the streets of Abadan.  Look closely at the Brass artillery shell in the center of the photo, which looks like a HEAT anti-tank round.

In this photo, you can see a long thin rocket with the fins broken off, which looks strikingly like a Russian Grad artillery rocket. 

"Весь город усеян снарядами, они постоянно взрываются", - отмечается в сообщении newsru.com

Exploding AbadanChronicles of Turkmenistan

Effects of explosions in Abadan

The above photo from Fergana news shows a penetration hole in a building, caused, no doubt, by a very big “bottle rocket.”]

The Turkmen authorities to hide the truth about the tragedy in Abadan

Myahriban Dursunbaeva , © News-Asia

July 7 in the Turkmen city of Abadan began to explode the ammunition depots. Eyewitnesses report that the shells scattered around the city. Of Abadan and the surrounding area continues to receive alarming news about the situation in the city and the number of casualties.

Recall, July 7, at about 16.30 in the city of Abadan was an explosion. Later it became known that the emergency occurred at an ammunition depot, which, in particular, kept fighting the charges for installation “Grad”. Although official government data are to this day deny journalists News-Asia has information that the death toll has already reached more than 500 people and injured several thousand, hospitals are overcrowded Ashgabat. Blood for transfusion injured is not enough, doctors suggest to relatives to look for it yourself, but authorities say it is not necessary.

The seriousness of the situation in Abadan is the fact that the city is still off all communication: there is no light, no gas, no water. All around town there are military police patrol the streets of units, which is detected by a photo or video recording cameras are selected and delay removing.

According to witnesses, now in Abadan, a city still on fire. Continue to explode the shells scattered on the streets. The city virtually destroyed completely. We hear explosions in the nearby mountains. Presumably, there exploding rockets and shells complex “Grad”. We have already mentioned that the school was completely burned number 8, and the explosion left the ground located near kindergartens.

Children who have lost their parents, gathered in the city eyewitnesses and police patrols. Military collect the remains of dead bodies – a soldier carrying the service at an ammunition depot and civilians killed by unexploded ordnance and debris under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Streets filled with blood and littered with fragments of bodies.

In last night the city was invaded by marauders, who were robbed survivors of apartments, shops and stalls.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on the official website of the country’s government argues that “the victims and destructions particular, the public is the necessary medical and other assistance. Part of the population living in close proximity to the scene, evacuated to a safe place. ” Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan, Soltan Pirmuhamedov told the news agency RIA “Novosti” that the media reports of explosions at ammunition depots were not true. Happened to him, “ignition of fireworks in stock funds for fireworks.”

Just the Turkmen Foreign Ministry issued a special statement, which was addressed to an audience of Russian media. It says: “Some Russian media have absolutely no relevant reports of the incident. Some journalists, distorting the real situation and disseminating information, implausible, dubious use of sources of information (meaning the residents, eyewitnesses and victims of event). Such actions by the Russian media are considered by the Turkmen side as provocation and causing extreme outrage, especially in view of the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, July 7 to the main international news agencies were distributed corresponding to an official report. ” Turkmen authorities felt that their statement of all media were obliged to inform the public, without questioning the authenticity.

Meanwhile, according to unofficial data, the night before Abadan (Bezmein) was opened for the local population – military lifted the cordon of the city, dropping people to those taken from their homes by the necessary items and documents.
have been confirmed and details of the taxi driver, who worked seven -8 July in the vicinity of Abadan and Ashgabat. Many of them are in the peak hour of the tragedy raised the cost of their services a few times, because they were confident that people will take advantage of desperate taxi.
Also, the portal News-Asia came confirmation that destroyed many of the administrative and residential buildings. In particular, provided photographs show Abadan residential areas with burnt-out apartments, as well as secondary school № 8.

– I was there and saw all the people, it’s horrible – blood, body parts, horror, fear and panic – reports of the affected resident Michael Nishukov. – And what they say, that will continue – it’s not true, you can relax. All ammunition was taken to the mountains and blew up.

– Reported that they began to evacuate from another town in the west – Geok-Tepe, there are also large stores of ammunition – says Alina Kirsanov. – The authorities fear that because of the continuing explosion in Bezmein can detonate and warehouses in the Geok-Tepe, and it is 50 miles from Bezmein … But an even bigger shock caused our president. When bursting shells, he said that exploded fireworks, stored for fireworks on Independence Day and other holidays. And then much damage there, and human sacrifice – even more so. Everyone helps and all is well. But many hoped that this time, all told the truth. What mourning announced that designate allowances, pensions, rebuild the city. Apparently hoping all in vain …

In social networks, witnesses and residents of neighboring communities Abadan still publish reports of new explosions, destruction and casualties.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

[In typical American politics of brinksmanship, which normally follows a pattern of “end of the world” type predictions (followed by pragmatic compromise), you have the Republicans trying to tear it all down, while the Democrats do everything that they can to prevent that from happening.  The anarchic philosophy of the Republicans butts heads with the Democrats’ unwillingness to let any program end, leading us to the same place year after year, as they maintain our non-functioning government.  The Reagan Republicans are there to make sure that it all falls down, so that they might be elected again to rebuild it all under their new design.  To give-in, at this time, to the demolition politics of the Reaganites, would be the end of the American Empire, leaving only the defense-related corporations intact.  A $4 Trillion debt-reduction package, which targeted only non-defense related expenses, would increase the suffering of the American people exponentially, at a time when every family is in need of some form of economic relief.  This is of no consequence to the neoconservatives.

On the other hand, when the primary problem with the American economy is all the “pork,” which never gets trimmed from the budget, then the intransigence of the Democrats prevents any constructive solution, which will surely require a lot of economic demolition.  The US budget seems as though it has been put together, based on the whims of a thousand drunken sailors–there is something for everybody in there.  The compromise between the idiotic positions of the Republicans and Democrats, of $2 trillion in budget cuts, instead of $4, is not a solution, but is, in fact, just an excuse for not fixing anything, plodding on as ever before.

To save America from these Bozos, we have to let their “Amerika”  fall away.  We cannot preserve a militaristic, parasitic economic system, which perpetuates the absolute unfairness of penalizing the poor and the “Middle Class,” in order to further the enrichment of the rich.  Their pirate politics of plundering the Nation, have destroyed our “way of life,” even though the claim is that our many wars are being fought against people who have done us no wrong, in order to protect us.  

It is high time we got our house into order.  It is time to find-out if there really is “Life after capitalism.”]

WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, abandoned efforts last night to reach a comprehensive debt-reduction deal worth more than $4 trillion in savings, telling President Obama that a midsize package was the only politically possible alternative to avoid a first-ever default on the nation’s mounting national debt.

Boehner told Obama – who is hosting a key meeting tonight on the debt issue – that their efforts to “go big,’’ as the speaker says, were stymied by the toughest issues: taxes and entitlements.

Democrats continued to insist on tax changes that would not pass muster in the conservative-dominated House, and Republicans wanted cuts to programs such as Medicare and Social Security that Obama and Senate Democrats would oppose.

“Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes. I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase,’’ Boehner said.

Without a lifting of the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said that by Aug. 2, the nation will begin to default on the more than $14.3 trillion in outstanding debts the nation has collected after decades of runaway deficit spending.

The impasse leaves Obama and congressional negotiators back at the smaller package, which includes agency budget cuts and more modest changes to entitlement programs.

That package, which had been negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and key GOP leaders, including House majority leader Eric Cantor, would come to somewhere between $2 trillion and $2.4 trillion in savings, allowing Congress to approve an extension of the federal debt ceiling into spring 2013.

Obama, whose aides had not yet responded to Boehner’s announcement at press time, had been cajoled by Boehner into pushing for what the speaker called “the big deal,’’ as opposed to the midrange package Biden and Cantor were assembling.

The larger package would have been the most significant compromise in taxes and spending of the past three decades, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare, reductions in Pentagon spending, and a large rewrite of the federal tax code.

The emerging deal, however, collapsed of its own ideological weight. Liberals were outraged at the proposals for entitlements, particularly a cut in the annual increase of Social Security benefits, and conservatives were opposed to the idea of raising federal revenues through the tax overhaul proposal, which they would have labeled one of the largest tax increases in history.

Democrats blasted Boehner’s actions.

“I really do think this is unfortunate. It’s very disappointing that the Republican fixation with protecting tax breaks for corporate special interests and the very wealthy has prevented them from agreeing to a broad and balanced deficit reduction plan that would be good for the country,’’ said Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland.

Last night’s announcement capped a whirlwind three weeks in which the president and speaker engaged in a series of meetings that culminated last week with their decision to push for the biggest possible debt deal.

Boehner’s decision makes tonight’s summit all the more critical, as Obama, Biden, and the congressional leaders expected to attend must decide the next steps to avoid the default process.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.