Pakistan Promises Crackdown On Anti-Iranian Baloch Terrorists

Pakistan promises anti-terror campaign along Iran’s borders

TEHRAN – Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his country is determined to launch a campaign against terrorism and extremism especially along its common border with Iran.
Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Islamabad on Thursday which was held on the sidelines of the 18th session of the Iran-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission.
He also emphasized the importance of Iran-Pakistan ties and pointed to the historical affinities between the two countries and their positive effects on mutual cooperation.
He went on to say that the development of the private sectors of the two countries would guarantee the implementation of the agreements signed by the senior officials of the two countries.
Gilani is scheduled to pay a visit to Tehran in the near future at the invitation of Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.
In the meeting, Salehi also conveyed the greetings of Rahimi to Gilani and briefed him on the plans that the two countries agreed to implement in the framework of the joint economic commission.
During his remarks, Salehi commented on the efforts made by the Islamic Republic to provide adequate facilities for both public and private sectors and emphasized the necessity of modifying the rules and regulations of the two countries to pave the way for expansion of mutual cooperation.
In a separate meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar late on Thursday, Salehi said regional problems should be resolved through regional solutions. Salehi said the intervention of extra-regional countries is detrimental to security and development of the countries in the region.
In the meeting, the two sides discussed the latest developments in bilateral relations and emphasized the necessity for promotion of mutual cooperation in all areas.
Salehi also held another separate meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi late on Thursday.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations and the main regional and international developments.

Does Turkey Really Intend to Protect Gaza Cargoes and to Stop Cyprus Gas Exploration?

[If the following report from Ferghana press is correct, and Turkey has decided to flex its military muscles in the eastern Mediterranean to not only protect Gaza aid convoys, but to prevent Israeli contractors from test-drilling off the coast of Cyprus, a lot of people are going to see their delusions blown out the window.  (SEE:  Greece, Israel agree on military cooperation  ; Gazprom/Zionist Partnership On Leviathan  ; The Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus Disagreement Over Mediterranean Gas and Oil)  As you can see be these links, Israel could have a lot of explaining to do to the UN, for what could be about to transpire.  Israel and Cyprus have just signed an agreement on military cooperation.  Gazprom (Russian gas co.) announced that it intended to claim 50% of all gas from the Leviathan deposit (I suppose on grounds that about half of Israelis are Russian immigrants).  If Turkey's press announcements are for real, then Turkey may be prepared to chart an independent course for itself, something neither the Zionist leaders of US and Israel could never accept.]

Turkey froze military and trade cooperation with Israel and has prepared a plan “Barbarossa”

Ferghana

The Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a total freeze on cooperation in the defense industry and Israel, according to Turkish news reports referring to the news agency Reuters.

Earlier, on September 2, Turkey has decided to recall its ambassador from Israel. In addition, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Embassy of Israel on the need to Israeli diplomats to leave the country.

Turkey also intends to suspend trade relations with Jerusalem, and to introduce further sanctions, the Prime Minister said. He soon plans to visit the Gaza Strip and hold talks with Egyptian authorities on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.


Relations between Turkey and Israel soured dramatically shortly after the capture of the ships “Freedom Flotilla” en route to Gaza

As the Newsru-Israel , under the new political strategy of the Turkish authorities have announced a major expansion of the presence of naval forces in the country in the eastern Mediterranean. The new plan, according to a website called “Barbarossa”, but unlike the Nazi plan to attack the Soviet Union, named in honor of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, the Turkish campaign is named after the Turkish admiral Barbarossa Khairetdinov, head of the largest pirate fleet in the Mediterranean.

As part of the redeployment of the Turkish Navy in the Black and Marmara seas in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea will be transferred to two additional anti-missile frigates and corvettes, as well as auxiliary vessels.

In this case, according to Newsru-Israel , representatives of the Turkish government threatens not only Israel. September 6 Minister of contacts with the EU in the Turkish government of Ajman Bakis announced that the Turkish Navy will not allow the Republic of Cyprus to seek oil and gas in the Mediterranean. The threat came in response to an ad company Noble Energy (USA) and “Delek” (Israel) to start exploration work in the economic waters of Cyprus [Noble Energy Christian-Zionist drilling company that drilled Israel's first gas wells (SEE:  Israel Tapping Palestinian Gas Deposits?).].

Turkey does not recognize the agreements signed between Cyprus and Israel and Lebanon on the border economic zones, arguing that they violate the rights of the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Following Bakisom threat against Cyprus, Erdogan announced, noting that Turkish warships will be sent to the borders of Israel and Cyprus.

The Greek government issued a statement condemning the Turkish threats against Cyprus. Statements by the Turkish authorities and provoked strong reactions in Israeli society, where there have been calls to boycott Turkish products and not to go on holiday to Turkey. Israeli officials stress that the statements made by Turkey to freeze trade ties with Israel and the termination of cooperation in the military-industrial sector have a declarative nature, since these bonds have stopped for about 18 months ago after an incident with a “Flotilla of the World.”

Recall May 31, 2010 en route to Gaza international humanitarian convoy “Peace Flotilla” (or “freedom flotilla”) was attacked bythe Israeli military. As a result of storm killed eight Turkish nationals and one Turk – a U.S. citizen.

Turkish authorities have more than one year require a formal apology from Israel for the attack, pay compensation to the families of those killed and injured, as well as the lifting of the blockade of Gaza, reports RIA Novosti . However, in Tel Aviv, these requirements are rejected. UN Special Commission placed the responsibility for what happened to Israel and partly in Turkey, as well as the organizers of the stock itself in an unauthorized delivery of goods in the Palestinian enclave.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials announced that they are concerned about the crisis in relations between Israel and Turkey and expressed hope that “the two allies, the U.S. can repair relations.” U.S. State Department has said that he was in contact with both sides of the conflict.

The international news agency “Fergana”

Fukushima Crisis Is Still Hazy

Fukushima Crisis Is Still Hazy

Chaos and bureaucracy hamper assessment of nuclear crisis

By David CyranoskiGeoff Brumfiel and Nature magazine

Scientific American

Schools such as this one in Fukushima City are a high priority for clean-up effortsImage: REUTERS/N. HAYASHI/GREENPEACE

Tatsuhiko Kodama began his 27 July testimony to Japan’s parliament with what he knew. In a firm, clear voice, he said that the Radioisotope Center of the University of Tokyo, which he heads, had detected elevated radiation levels in the days following the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerstation. But when it came to what wasn’t known, he became angry. “There is no definite report from the Tokyo Electric Power Company or the government as to exactly how much radioactive material has been released from Fukushima!” he shouted.

Kodama’s impassioned speech was posted on YouTube in late July and has received nearly 600,000 views, transforming him into one of Japan’s most visible critics of the government. But he is not alone. Almost six months after an earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns, other researchers say that crucial data for understanding the crisis are still missing, and funding snags and bureaucracy are hampering efforts to collect more. Some researchers warn that, without better coordination, clean-up efforts will be delayed, and the opportunity to measure the effects of the worst nuclear accident in decades could be lost. Kodama and a handful of Japanese scientists have become so frustrated that they are beginning grassroots campaigns to collect information and speed the clean-up.

Since the crisis began, the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese government have churned out reams of radiation measurements, but only recently has a full picture of Fukushima’s fallout begun to emerge. On 30 August, the science ministry released a map showing contamination over a 100-kilometer radius around the plant. The survey of 2,200 locations shows a roughly 35-kilometer-long strip northwest of the plant where levels of caesium-137 contamination seem to exceed 1,000 kilobecquerels per square metre. (After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, areas with more than 1,480 kilobecquerels per square metre were permanently evacuated by the Soviet authorities. In Japan, the high-radiation strip extends beyond the original forced evacuation zone, but falls within a larger ‘planned evacuation zone’ that has not yet been completely cleared.)

Exposure estimates
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has also published new estimates of the total radiation released in the accident, based on models that combine measurements with what is known about the damage to the reactors. The latest figures, reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency in June, suggest that the total airborne release of caesium-137 amounts to 17% of the release from Chernobyl (see map). The government estimates that the total radiation released is 7.7 × 1017 becquerels, 5–6% of the total from Chernobyl.

Yet “there are still more questions than definite answers”, says Gerald Kirchner, a physicist at Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection in Berlin. High radiation levels make it impossible to directly measure damage to the melted reactor cores. Perhaps the greatest uncertainty is exactly how much radiation was released in the first ten days after the accident, when power outages hampered measurements. Those data, combined with meteorological information, would allow scientists to model the plume and make better predictions about human exposure, Kirchner says.

Several measurements suggest that some evacuees received an unusually high dose. Five days after the crisis began, Shinji Tokonami, a radiation health expert at Hirosaki University, and his colleagues drove several hundred kilometres from Hirosaki to Fukushima City, taking radiation measurements along the way. The results indicate that evacuees from Namie, a town some 9 kilometres north of the plant, received at least 68 millisieverts of radiation as they fled, more than three times the government’s annual limit (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep00087).

Afghan transit trade, 23,900 containers disappeared in last 2 and a half years

Afghan transit trade: ’23,900 containers disappeared in last 2 and a half years’

FBR chairman says national exchequer lost Rs50 billion due to the disappearance of these containers. DESIGN: SAMAD SIDDIQUI

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Salman Siddique has revealed that over 23,900 Afghan Transit Trade containers have disappeared during the last two and a half years,Express 24/7 reported on Friday.

In a briefing to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Finance, chairman FBR said that the national exchequer has lost almost Rs50 billion due to the disappearance of these containers.

He informed the committee that the transporters were responsible for the disappearance of these containers.

Siddiquie said his department is estimating the amount of loss caused by the disappearance of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) containers. The ISAF container issue is a separate case.

The new Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) became operational in June this year but soon after became redundant due to operational difficulties due to a blockade of cargo at Karachi ports. The distinct features of the new treaty that make it different from the 1965 transit treaty are insurance guarantees and tracking systems.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recently in a testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce claimed that insurance companies have agreed to issue guarantees for Afghanistan-bound goods. The companies were to start issuing guarantees after September 7 – the day the two-month waiver comes to an end.

New Jubilee Insurance Company, National Insurance Corporation Limited and EFU Insurance had agreed to extend guarantees while Adamjee Insurance had given its consent in principle.

Turkmen Govt. To Attempt Fake Internet for Anniversary Guests

[Yes, I do hold a grudge for the loss of 500-600 Turkmen readers everyday, caused by the govt. shut-down of MTS telecommunications services, but I am not picking-on Berdimuhamedov because of it.  That's the thing with dictators and their cults of personality, they usually make foolish attempts to control or to deny human nature that come-off quite childish.  Unlike other dictatorships which have been cutting-off or restraining local Internet as a means to self-defense against "Arab spring" revolutions, Berdimuhamedov simply cut Turkmenistan's Internet to get back at Russia,  in a temper tantrum over activists daring to tell the truth, especially after the Abadan ammo dump explosions.  First blamed on a fireworks fire, then answered by silence and arrests of would-be journalists, citizens dared to refute the govt. denials.  When the truth could not be contained by any other means, the Internet was cut, at least the Russian-based parts of it.  No matter how much the govt. might deny this simple truth, modern progress is not possible without public access to the Internet.  Strangle the Internet and you end-up strangling growing minds (SEE:  Turkmen Grade-Schoolers Get Free “Computers” and Free Mind-Washings).]

The subscriber is temporarily available

Equipment and Turkmen specialists at the MTS involve celebrating the twentieth anniversary of independence.Since the second half of October for the anniversary celebrations in the country will come to many guests from abroad, and G. Berdimuhamedov ordered to complaints on the quality of communication from the foreign delegations were not.

After the termination of MTS in Turkmenistan has deteriorated the quality of mobile communications and the Internet. The only state-owned company ” Altyn Asyr “can not provide their customers the same quality of connection, which was at the MTS. Warning expressed by the President of the Minister of Communications, the appointment of his new deputy has not made ​​any effect.

Now, at the request of the Turkmen government is one of the Arab companies (according to other company China) bought from MTS of BCTI (Barash Communication Technologies, Inc.) Allegedly to create on its basis the new company. In the former MTS offices in Ashgabat again invited to the staff that worked in them before. We are still BCTI roaming services in the territory of Turkmenistan.

At the same time, “Altyn Asyr” no contracts with foreign companies for roaming. Consequently, foreigners coming into our country all the time there are problems with communication. In addition, even in many luxury five-star hotels do not have Internet.

As reported by our correspondents, this temporary measure to improve the quality of communication will be introduced at 2-3 weeks in October and only in the capital.

Then rename all of the Turkmen and other customers will exhibit the payment terms and services. Now for the authorities it is important to make roaming and high-quality Internet on the day of independence, and to precede and follow-up.


Turkmen Grade-Schoolers Get Free “Computers” and Free Mind-Washings

[In a dictatorship, where Web access has been cut-off for most of the population, we see the seemingly generous policy of giving free laptop "computers" to elementary school students, each one filled with thousands of government-selected images and information, as a substitute for the Internet.  The USSR is alive and well in Ashqabat.]

Turkmenistan: One (Pre-Filled) Laptop Per Child

Turkmen First Graders Required To Give Family Information

Turkmen First Graders Required To Give Family Information

First graders must provide details about family members that include ethnicity, places of birth and criminal records.First graders must provide details about family members that include ethnicity, places of birth and criminal records.

School children in Turkmenistan are being required to fill out a form that gives information on immediate family members going back three generations, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reports.

Children entering the first grade must for the first time provide details about siblings, parents, and grandparents that includes ethnicity, birthdates, places of birth, occupations, residency, and criminal records.

Turkmen authorities have not offered any explanation for the new requirement.

Under former President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006, anyone applying for a government position had to fill out a similar form about relatives that in some cases went back seven generations.

At that time, the purpose was clear because the government had announced it wanted only ethnic Turkmen working in official posts.

Ashyr Geldiyev, a resident of the capital Ashgabat, told RFE/RL that the new regulation constitutes “government interference into the personal lives of its citizens.”

Others say they are concerned the information could be used against them by the security forces in the future.

As If Using “Al-Qaeda” Wasn’t Bad Enough, Now We Have Hired A Terrorist Called The Butcher

New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord

If you thought it was bad that Washington is paying a shady French mercenary to do its dirty work in Somalia, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait to you see our latest ally: an admirer of Osama bin Laden with a gory past.

Richard Rouget, a notorious gun-for-hire who uses American funds to train African Union soldiers fighting in the ruins of Mogadishu, has been mentioned in connection with at least one murder. But U.S.-backed Somali government general Yusuf Mohamed Siad, a.k.a. “Indha Adde,” a.k.a, “The Butcher,” once ruled an entire region of Somalia with a bloody fist.

The U.S.-led international intervention in civil war-torn Somalia is unlike any of America’s other wars. Where the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought by tens of thousands of U.S. troops, in Somalia Washington pays others to do most of the fighting. These proxies include merc firms, regional bodies such as the A.U. and local allies including the nascent federal government.

That means less direct danger to American lives. But in another sense it means more danger. The more that the U.S. relies on proxy armies to do its fighting, the more it risks those proxies usurping American support and directing it towards their own dubious ends. That’s the subject of ace reporter Jeremy Scahill’s latest piece in The Nation and also of my own feature for The Diplomat.

“As one of the main warlords who divided and destroyed Somalia during the civil war that raged through the 1990s, he brutally took control of the Lower Shabelle region,” Scahill wrote about Siad. “There are allegations that he ran drug and weapons trafficking operations from the Merca port.” Siad also readily admits providing protection to al-Qaida operatives and speaks fondly of the late Osama bin Laden.

Mind you, this is one of the top generals in the army of one of our closest allies in Somalia.

For years, Siad resisted CIA efforts to lure him and his hundreds of militiamen to the American side. It took a lot of sweet-talking plus seismic shifts in Somali politics and U.S. strategy to draw in Siad. In 2008, Washington backed Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist and former ally of Siad’s, for Somali president. Just two years prior, Ahmed had been co-leader of the Islamic Courts Union, an Islamic group that birthed al-Shabab, pictured, a terrorist and insurgent group and today the main threat in Somalia.

Ahmed and Siad both changed sides as Al Shabab grew more extreme and foreign governments organized to destroy it. For the moment, the U.S. and its shady Somali allies share a common enemy. It’s not clear how long the alliance will last — or how strong it is even today. “Ahmed claims that Indha Adde [a.k.a., Siad] and other warlords have sworn allegiance to the government,” Scahill wrote, “but it is abundantly clear from traveling extensively through Mogadishu with Indha Adde that his men are loyal to him above all else.”

“The warlords being backed by you [America] have only a conflict of interest with the Shabab, not of ideology,” another former warlord told Scahill. “That’s why [arming and supporting them] is a dangerous game.”

With Al Shabab on the run following relentless international attacks from the ground, air and sea, Washington soon could find itself in an uneasy relationship with U.S.-armed Somalis who, just a few years ago, were its enemies — and who no longer have a greater enemy to focus on.

What happens after that is anybody’s guess.

Photo: Flickr/Abdurahman Warsame

Using Uzbekistan To Con and Confront Russia

[The Empire has placed all of their bets on maintaining their sponsor/client relationship with Uzbek Pres. Islam Karimov, while they use Uzbekistan to disrupt Russian (and Chinese) plans to strengthen the Region and to regain their lost foothold (SEE:  New mini-Cold War Heating-Up In Southern Central Asia? ).  Karimov apparently, will now be most happy to accommodate  US plans and do anything possible to piss-off Russia and to thwart Moscow's plans to return to the region, either by disrupting a CSTO security pact, or refusing to cooperate with Russian counter-narcotics efforts.   Karimov is angry with the Kremlin for supporting the controversial Tajik Rogun Dam project, as well as the controversy surrounding the Talco Aluminum smelting operation, which is linked to Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska (who is also the driving force behind Rogun).  In order to pit the two neighboring states against each other, the US is overlooking its own State Dept. prohibitions against dealing with Uzbekistan, as long as it continues to violate child labor laws, harass reporters, cut Internet access and otherwise violate the basic human rights of the Uzbek people.] 

“Donot raise the issues of child labor, religious freedom or the status of [non-governmental organizations] NGOs in Uzbekistan.”

Uzbekistan: Does Tashkent Use an Afghan Supply Route to Tweak Russia?

The rail bridge connecting Uzbekistan and Afghanistan is a key link in the NDN. (Photo: US Navy/MC2 Jason Johnston)
The rail bridge connecting Uzbekistan and Afghanistan is a key link in the NDN. (Photo: US Navy/MC2 Jason Johnston)

Uzbekistan’s desire to keep the Kremlin at bay appears to influence its participation in the Northern Distribution Network, a major supply line for the Afghan war effort.

Diplomatic cables prepared by the US Embassy in Tashkent in 2009, and released by Wikileaks, suggest Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s administration was eager to use the NDN to demonstrate the Central Asian nation’s independence from Russia. One cable revealed that on the eve of a December 2009 visit to Tashkent by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Uzbek officials reached out to the United States, offering to make an airfield outside the border city of Termez available to American military planes.

“It is possible that the Uzbek proposal to allow us to use Termez is intended as much to signal Tashkent’s displeasure with Moscow as it is to make a genuine offer to the United States,” said a cable, dated December 23, 2009. US officials ended up not taking Tashkent up on its offer, primarily due to concern that American military flights in and out of Termez would interfere with German operations there. The Bundeswehr maintains a base at Termez.

The cables also make it clear that Tashkent sees the NDN as a lifeline that can help keep the country’s struggling economy afloat. Among Tashkent’s demands for its participation in NDN was a guarantee of at least $100 million in local procurement. “The [Government of Uzbekistan], from President Karimov down to the lowest level, wants NDN through Uzbekistan to succeed,” one American diplomatic cable, dated August 14, 2009, stated.

The Pentagon put the NDN together in early 2009 to diversify its supply options for the Afghan conflict. The Central Asian transit route is far more secure than a supply line via Pakistan. NDN allows supplies originating in Europe to travel via land and air, across Russia and Kazakhstan, to Uzbekistan. The Termez-Hairaton rail node along the Uzbek-Afghan border serves as the primary hub for supplies heading into Afghanistan.

The release of the most recent batch of cables by Wikileaks coincides with an Obama administration effort to lift a restriction on US assistance to Uzbekistan that is linked to Tashkent’s poor rights record. Under a provision adopted in 2004, the US secretary of state needs to certify that Tashkent is making “substantial and continuing progress” on democratization commitments outlined in a bilateral agreement signed in 2002. Administration officials are reportedly lobbying congress to allow the secretary of state to waive the certification requirement when considering aid programs for Uzbekistan.

A statement issued September 7 by Human Rights Watch urged the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to preserve the existing arrangement. “For the United States to lift its restrictions now would be an enormous gift to one of the most repressive governments in Central Asia,” the HRW statement quoted Hugh Williamson, the organization’s Europe and Central Asia director, as saying. “In the midst of the Arab Spring, the administration should have learned that downplaying human rights with abusive allies is not only harmful for the population affected, but damages the United States’ interests and reputation over the long-term.”

The advent of NDN was a diplomatic boon for US-Uzbek relations, which went into a tailspin following the Andijan events of 2005, when Uzbek security forces gunned down hundreds of unarmed protesters.

“NDN is the concept that has provided us the opening to broaden our relationship with Uzbekistan,” the August 14, 2009, US Embassy cable said.

The cables put American diplomatic cynicism on full display. In order to keep Uzbekistan a happy participant in NDN, US Embassy cables stressed a need to downplay the fact that Tashkent is one of the world’s most notorious abusers of human rights. US diplomats appeared intent on creating an appearance of concern about rights issues, rather than substantively pressing for democratization improvements.

“Our challenge is to keep forward progress on these [rights] issues that is sufficient to relieve the periodic pressure from some quarters to take a harder line on Uzbekistan,” the August 14, 2009 cable stated.

A cable dated October 15, 2009, suggests that American diplomats let Uzbek authorities dictate the agenda of Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABC) that were attended by US Assistant-Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake. The cable explains, “[Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir] Norov suggested that A/S Blake should not raise the issues of child labor, religious freedom or the status of [non-governmental organizations] NGOs in Uzbekistan with President Karimov.”

“The key here is to work these issues into the agenda without making specific references to them, which we believe is achievable and will serve US interests,” the cable added. Concerns about human rights were aired during a meeting between Blake and Uzbek officials, the cable noted, but the discussion occurred behind closed doors.

Editor’s note:

Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.

Originally published by EurasiaNet.org

New lawsuit alleges Saudis aided 9/11 attacks

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/files/images/bushkiss_0.jpg

New lawsuit alleges Saudis aided 9/11 attacks

By Chris Mondics

Inquirer Staff Writer

Nearly 10 years to the day after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a London-based insurance syndicate Thursday filed a new lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia in U.S. District Court in Johnstown, Pa., alleging that the Saudis helped finance and provided logistical support to Islamist terror groups.

Absent that support, the 9/11 attacks likely never would have happened, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit, filed on behalf of Lloyd’s Syndicate 3500 by the Center City-based law firm Cozen O’Connor, opens a new front in the long-running litigation over the 9/11 hijackings. An earlier lawsuit, also filed by Cozen O’Connor, has met with mixed success: A federal appeals court in Manhattan found that the Saudi government could not be sued under U.S. law, but a number of charitable agencies affiliated with the Saudi government and financial institutions remain as defendants in that case.

Lawyers for the Saudi government have consistently denied that the Saudis or affiliated charities bear any responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.

The suit filed Thursday tracks in its broad outlines the allegations made in the first complaint, filed in 2003, which claimed that the Saudi government sponsored Islamist charities that, in turn, provided money and logistical support to al-Qaeda as it transformed itself from a regional terrorist organization in the 1990s to a global threat.

But this suit provides new details about the charities, alleging, among other things, that they supplied operational support and weapons for al-Qaeda fighters.

It also offers a far more detailed narrative on the emergence of radical Islam in Saudi Arabia, tracing the shaky hold of the Saudi royal family on power in the face of increasingly dissatisfied and radicalized Muslim clerics.

It cites as signal events the Saudi royal family’s inability to put down a violent insurrection by radical Islamists in 1979 without the help of Pakistani military forces, and the widespread discontent among Islamists over the Saudis’ decision to permit U.S. forces to be based in the country during the first Persian Gulf War.

Both events undermined the power of the royal family, which then was forced to buy off radical Islamists by supporting their causes, the new lawsuit alleges.

The suit, filed on behalf of an insurance syndicate that paid out $215 million in claims to various 9/11 victims on behalf of airline-security companies, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and others, names as defendants not only the Saudi government, but also the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Saudi Joint Committee Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya; National Commercial Bank, which has been linked by American officials to al-Qaeda money-laundering, and others.

“Each of the defendants named herein was a knowing and material participant in al-Qaeda’s conspiracy to wage jihad against the United States,” the lawsuit claims.

Cozen filed in 2003 its first lawsuit against the Saudi government, charities, and alleged terrorism financiers, citing findings by the U.S. government that the charities had established links with al-Qaeda operatives.

In 2005, a federal district judge in Manhattan ruled that the Saudi government could not be sued under a U.S. law that bars lawsuits against foreign governments for acts of terrorism unless the State Department had designated the government a terrorism sponsor.

Cozen and other law firms representing other plaintiffs in the litigation appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which upheld the lower-court judge.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case in June 2009. Then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan had urged the court not to hear the case, saying the State Department had not designated Saudi Arabia as a terrorism sponsor. She added that the government’s funding of Islamist charities was too far removed from terrorist groups to establish legal responsibility.

The latest suit seeks to make a much more pointed connection between Islamist charities that were designated terrorism financiers and the Saudi government. It alleges, for example, that the Saudis appointed a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, to head offices of two charities, the Muslim World League and the International Islamic Relief Organization in the Philippines and Indonesia in 1989. Khalifa went on to help establish the Abu Sayyaf Group, later implicated in the beheading of an American and other killings.

 


To learn more about the previous suit filed against Saudi Arabia, including

the court filings, go to www.philly.com/cozen

US furthers Reagan’s Star War plans for global NATO

Photo: EPA

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca.

They tried to shut you down over the weekend. Can you tell us what happened?

Yes, thank you for asking. The Stop NATO website was shut down by its host WordPress on Friday without any plausible explanation, just with a vague statement about “concern over some content on your site.” The site is a reputable news one and it took 24 hours and a good deal of pressure from sources around the world before WordPress relented and allowed the site to be reactivated. They didn’t close it down, it just prevented me from posting any new material. Of course, by the nature of these things it’s hard to determine whether it was a conscious political decision, but one has to allow this possibility. Anyway, we are back online for the time being and thank you for asking.

Turkey has recently agreed formally to host NATO anti-ballistic missile elements on its territory.

What I understand, the agreement of Turkey that they are going to station what’s called Forward-Based X-Band Transportable Missile Radar of the sort that installed in Israel three years ago by the US, in the Negev Desert, which has by the way a range of 4,300 km (2,500 ml) but if aimed in the proper direction could take in the entirety of Western Russia and a good deal of Southern Russia. And it’s an equivalent of what is to be based in Turkey, aimed exclusively against Iran but I think only the credulous would believe that. This has to be seen, of course, following the decision reached at the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, last November to incorporate all NATO nations and US-NATO Missile Defense Agency plans for a global NATO. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has recently clarified we are not talking about regional or even European continent-wide interceptor missile systems but one that is international in scope. And bringing it into Turkey – there’s incidentally been discussions going back ten or more years from respective heads of Missile Defense Agency of the US Defense Department about situating interceptor missile facilities not only in Turkey, but also in nations like Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan. So, there are plans to extend US-dominated interceptor missile system from Europe to east and south, that is into the Middle East and presumably into the South Caucasus and all the way to Central Asia.

Of those countries that you’ve mentioned, which are in the process of soon signing formal agreements with NATO that you know of?

Every single one of them has an advanced partnership program with NATO, except for Turkey, which is, of course, a member. But I think another important consideration is that Romanian President Traian Basescu said last week that the US in Romania are very soon signing an agreement for the stationing of 20 Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles in Romania, which is part of what the Obama Administration terms Phased Adaptive Approach, there are actually four phases of the SM-3, and Lockheed Martin is establishing a testing facility for what will be the most advanced, which is SM-3 block to go online in 2020. There will be an intermediate to go online in 2015 but they will be based, estimates are 24 each, in Romania and Poland. And we have to recall that last year the US moved the first Patriot Advanced Capability-3, an advanced version of Patriot interceptor missile, into the Polish city of Morag, which is only some 35 miles away from the Russian border.

I would like to add that accompanying the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles in Poland are a hundred or more US servicemen, which are the first foreign troops to be stationed on Polish soil since the breakup of the Warsaw Pact, and the Forward-Based X-Band Radar of the sort they set up in Israel includes something in the neighborhood of a hundred US troops, which are the first foreign troops stationed in Israel for a long period of its history and the situation with Romanian SM-3, where a hundred US troops will also be stationed – we are seeing export of US military personnel and equipment to the east and to the south. I think it’s noteworthy that the announcement by the new State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, who from 2003 to 2008 was US permanent representative to NATO. This is the person who announced that Turkey is going to host US-NATO interceptor missile radar facilities.

NATO is making overtures to India and India looks like they are considering working with them as well.

The actual announcement was made by another very interesting fellow, the current US ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, who incidentally 5 years ago co-authored a piece in Foreign Affairs, the monthly publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), with the intriguing title of Global NATO, the opening  sentence of which states that NATO has gone global and openly advocated at that point that NATO incorporate as full members, not simply as partners, what he deemed to be the world’s democracies, amongst which was India. We are talking about people pursuing a long-term agenda. What the US is reactivating now with the inclusion of NATO is realization of Reagan’s so-called “Star Wars” plan, that is the one that allowed the US and its allies to be impenetrable to any retaliation or any capability of retaliating by other countries that might be subjected to attacks by the US and its allies.

We have to recollect that the Head of State of the US. Currently President Barack Obama, ironically, paradoxically, distressingly on the occasion of delivering his Nobel Peace Prize speech openly boasted that the US was “the world’s sole military superpower.” And I think to maintain that status in the face of a weakening US economy, with the rise of the BRICS nations and so forth, with trends that suggest that the US is under the grime internationally that Washington holds its military supremacy and that the country has the ability to retaliate, particularly in strategic terms. And when we are talking about the latest proposed model of the SM-3 we are talking about one that could threaten Russia as well as China. I could argue that North Korea and Iran are a pretext for developing a global Star Wars system that would place both Russia and China within a circle of US and allied interceptor missile system.

NATO missile elements in India would protect or annul what threat for NATO?

There is no threat to NATO at all in my estimate, so that’s a fictitious claim. What in fact you are seeing is consolidation of what observers have warned about for a decade – the emergence of an Asia-Pacific NATO.

America’s Complete and Utter Failure To Understand–the Taliban Won’t Cry “Uncle”

“The Taliban needs to feel more pain before you get to a real readiness to reconcile.”

[According to America's latest dumb-ass diplomat, sent to unravel the AfPak mess left by his predecessor, Holbrooke.  It is idiotic to claim that if we murder more Taliban fighters and their families, they will give-up on ideas of revenge and become more  open to negotiations.  It is totally asinine to think that you are assisting in Taliban peace talks by waging more intensive war.  The more abuse that they endure, the more certain they are that their cause is just and that they are actually winning.  Bullshit like that flowing out of our ambassador's mouths, night and day, merely serves to confirm that America/NATO has grown desperate to force an end to this war, an end that Taliban leaders are convinced is many years away.

Face it, we won't get the Taliban to roll over and play dead, when they are fully convinced that our wars are sapping the life out of our economy.  They may live in caves, but they are not blind.  If we don't end our wars now, our wars will put an end to us, and Mullah Omar obviously understands this fact.]

Taliban must face ‘more pain’ to talk: US envoy

Veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker. – Reuters (File Photo)

KABUL: The Taliban must feel “more pain” for peace talks to progress, the US ambassador to Kabul said, as Afghans Friday marked a decade since the death of an iconic anti-Taliban fighter two days before 9/11.

Veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker indicated that insurgents needed to face increased military pressure while admitting that efforts to talk peace with them had so far failed to produce concrete results.

“The Taliban needs to feel more pain before you get to a real readiness to reconcile,” Crocker, who started his job in July, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

His comments came despite the presence of most of the 33,000 US “surge” troops ordered into Afghanistan in late 2009, and underlined shaky progress in finding a political solution to the war.

Early withdrawals of some of the 140,000 foreign troops in the country have already begun, with all combat forces due to leave by the end of 2014.

The remarks were published on the day Afghans marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a charismatic commander who led the last bastion of resistance against the Taliban and was killed by an al Qaeda bomb.

Some experts say the assassination was linked to the September 11 plot as an al Qaeda plan to ensure Taliban leader Mullah Omar would continue to support them after the Twin Towers attacks, despite the certainty of US retribution.

Others argue it came at Omar’s behest as the Taliban sought to wipe out Massoud’s Northern Alliance, without him knowing in advance about al Qaeda’s plan to stage the 9/11 attacks.

Northern Alliance fighters joined the United States in the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. But the Islamist militia revived in the years since to drive the ongoing insurgency against US-led troops.

Massoud, known as the “Lion of Panjshir”, is still revered in many parts of Afghanistan and the date of his death is a national holiday.

In Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai failed to make a public appearance to mark the anniversary amid even tighter security than usual across the city.

At a landmark city roundabout named after Massoud, around 200 people gathered chanting “Long live Massoud, we follow your way” while carrying black flags in mourning.

Other government officials gave speeches remembering Massoud.

The 10th anniversary of Massoud’s death has put the spotlight back on what progress is being made in the Afghanistan war after a decade of hard sacrifice.

The war has cost the United States alone at least dollar 444 billion, while 2,705 foreign troops have died, according to independent website iCasualties.org.

Afghan and Western diplomats are hoping that progress in peace talks can be made in parallel to the military effort to destroy the Taliban, stepped up by a surge of US forces last year who are now being pulled out.

But they now accept efforts to set up serious peace talks are likely to take longer than was originally expected and that reported contacts with Omar’s former private secretary in Germany and Qatar have broken down.

Of the tentative peace negotiations with high-level Taliban, Crocker confirmed that Karzai’s High Peace Council, set up last year, had had little success in producing firm results.

“They are still just kind of feeling each other out at this stage,” Crocker told the paper.

Further highlighting the challenges facing a political solution, a senior general said Thursday that efforts to persuade low-level Taliban fighters to “reintegrate” with pro-government forces were making only “modest” progress.

Major General Phil Jones, the Briton who oversees the foreign force’s “reintegration” effort, said about 10 per cent of insurgents – 2,418 out of roughly 25,000 – had switched sides since the programme launched last July.

“It’s clear that the number of formal reintegrees is still relatively modest in comparison to our scale of ambition,” Jones told reporters in Washington via video link from Kabul.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again stressed that the UN was ready to assist and advise the Karzai administration over negotiations with insurgents.

“There should always be a political dialogue and there is a consensus in the international community that there needs to be some sort of negotiation,” he said in Canberra.

Five Kashmiris Held Over Indian Court Blast Email

Five Kashmiris held over India court blast

The United States describes HuJI as a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda, and it has been accused of carrying out attacks in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. – Reuters (File Photo)

SRINAGAR, India: Police in Indian Kashmir said Friday they had detained five people as they investigate an email claiming responsibility for a bomb at New Delhi’s High Court that left 13 dead.

The email, purportedly sent by the Pakistan-based militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) following the bombing on Wednesday, was initially traced to a cybercafe in a town near the Kashmiri city of Jammu.

After detaining two brothers who owned the cafe and an employee on Thursday for questioning, a police official said two college students – identified as being in the cafe when the email was sent – had also been taken into custody.

“The owners have told interrogators that they don’t keep a record of the visitors and that students were the main customers at the cafe,” the official said.

The United States describes HuJI as a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda, and it has been accused of carrying out attacks in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

But the group has not been active in Muslim-majority Kashmir for years.

Federal investigators have yet to confirm whether the email was indeed from HuJI.

Another claim of responsibility, apparently from a home-grown militant outfit called Indian Mujahideen, was sent to media on Thursday.

Wednesday’s powerful blast ripped through a crowd of litigants queuing to enter the court complex in the heart of the Indian capital.

Eleven people were killed on the spot, and two have since died in hospital from their injuries.

It was the first major attack on Indian soil since triple blasts in Mumbai on July 13 killed 26 people. It has still not been established who carried out those bombings.

The Delhi High Court had been targeted four months ago, when a low-intensity bomb exploded in the parking lot, causing no casualties and only minimal damage.

The probe into Wednesday’s bombing is being run by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a body set up in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Islamist gunmen that left 166 people dead.