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May 31, 2013

Turkish Prime Ministry disallows probing intelligence officials over wiretapping of journalists

[Today's Zaman]

The Prime Ministry has rejected a request for permission by prosecutors to prosecute a group of officials from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in a case concerning the illegal wiretapping of several Turkish journalists by the organization, the Vatan daily reported on Thursday.

A report that appeared in the Taraf daily in February of last year claimed that MİT had tapped the phones of several journalists, including those working for the daily, using court orders in which the journalists were only mentioned by their foreign codenames. According to Taraf, the phones of Taraf Editor-in-Chief Ahmet Altan, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Yasemin Çongar, Taraf columnist Markar Esayan, former Taraf columnist Amberin Zaman and journalist and Professor Mehmet Altan were tapped by MİT between 2008 and 2009.

MİT was able to wiretap the phones of these journalists through court orders the organization received from the İstanbul 11th and 14th High Criminal Courts between 2008 and 2009. Publishing the copies of these court orders, Taraf wrote that the journalists were mentioned by their foreign codenames only in those court orders. The codenames are in foreign languages, mostly Arabic.

After the emergence of the report, the journalists filed a criminal complaint against MİT, and a legal case was opened. An İstanbul court hearing the case earlier asked MİT why the journalists were wiretapped by the organization. The organization sent a response to the court and said the wiretapping was carried out legally and the phones of the journalists were wiretapped for the benefit of the public.

Prosecutors later requested permission from the prime minister to investigate the MİT officials involved in the wiretapping, in accordance with an amendment made to the MİT law in February 2012 that stipulates that permission must be secured from the prime minister before the launch of an investigation into intelligence officials.

According to Vatan, the Prime Ministry did not give permission to the prosecutors, based on a report obtained from MİT on the case.

Journalists wiretapped by MİT were outraged by the Prime Ministry's decision and said they would pursue their case. Altan said his lawyer is closely following the case and that he would take the necessary legal steps.  

Zaman said she has no doubt she was wiretapped, adding that she respects those who are working to shed light on the scandal.

Focus Pakistan: US State Department releases 'Country Reports on Terrorism 2012'


[From the US State Department Report]

PAKISTAN

Overview: In 2012, Pakistan remained an important partner in counterterrorism efforts against al-Qa’ida (AQ). Pakistan also undertook operations against terrorist groups that carried out attacks within Pakistan, such as the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Pakistani Taliban). Pakistan did not take significant action against some other violent extremist groups, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), which continued to operate and raise funds openly in Pakistan through its political and charitable wing, Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD). The Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network (HQN) continued to conduct operations against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan from Pakistan. Pakistan took steps to support an Afghan peace process and publicly called on the Taliban to enter into talks with the Afghan government. Hundreds of terrorist attacks occurred nationwide against all sectors of society, including Pakistani military and security personnel.

Pakistani officials continued to make public statements against terrorism and violent extremism. The widely publicized shooting of a 14-year-old girl, Malala Yousufzai, by the TTP led to public calls for the government to do more against terrorist groups. In March, Pakistan’s parliament affirmed its commitment to eliminating terrorism and countering violent extremism. The Government of Pakistan also moved forward several pieces of counterterrorism legislation.

Some banned organizations openly participated in political rallies and forged alliances with religious political parties. In September and October, militant groups and religious parties joined forces to protest and conduct public demonstrations nationwide over the video The Innocence of Muslims. Violence occurred during the early days of the protests. The government and security agencies undertook enhanced security measures during the protests and sought to convince the militant groups to participate peacefully.

Pakistan’s Shia minority continued to be targeted in large-scale sectarian attacks, including in Karachi, Balochistan, and northwest Pakistan. Targeted killings of both Shia and Sunni activists occurred in Karachi. The TTP claimed credit for some sectarian attacks during the Shia holiday of Moharram, although increased levels of security prevented many TTP-planned suicide attacks on Shia processions and mosques, according to law enforcement reports. Despite the government’s stringent security measures, including a ban on both cell phone usage and motorbikes, a series of four major bombings in Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan, and Rawalpindi marred the Moharram religious week.

2012 Terrorist Incidents: Over 2,000 Pakistani civilians and 680 security forces personnel were killed in terrorist-related incidents in 2012. Terrorist incidents occurred in every province. Terrorists attacked Pakistani military units, police stations, and border checkpoints, and conducted coordinated attacks against two major military installations. Terrorists displayed videos on the internet of the murders and beheadings of security forces. Terrorist groups also targeted police and security officials with suicide bombings and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Terrorist groups targeted and assassinated tribal elders, members of peace committees, and anti-Taliban government officials. The TTP often claimed responsibility for attacks targeting civilians and security personnel in Pakistan.
Representative incidents included:

• On February 17, a suicide bomber killed 41 people in a bazaar near a Shia mosque in Parachinar, Kurram Agency. A splinter group of the TTP claimed responsibility for the blast.
• On February 23, a remote-controlled bomb inside a parked car exploded outside a bus station in Peshawar. The blast killed 13 people and injured 38.
• On April 24, a five-kilogram bomb in a bag exploded at the Lahore Railway Station. The blast killed three people and injured 58.
• On July 12, the TTP stormed a police training facility in Lahore and executed nine police cadets.
• On August 16, the TTP launched a coordinated assault with armed commandos and suicide bombers on the Kamra Air Force Base in Attock, Punjab. One security official was killed in the attack.
• On August 29, terrorists attacked a Pakistani military post near the Afghan border in South Waziristan and killed 12 soldiers. TTP uploaded video to the internet of some of the soldiers being beheaded.
• On September 3, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden vehicle next to a Consulate General Peshawar motorcade near the entrance to the Consulate’s University town housing area. The blast killed one bystander and injured at least 20 others. Two U.S. diplomatic personnel were injured along with three local staff members and two Pakistani Police officers.
• On November 21, a suicide bomber detonated his jacket near a Moharram religious procession in Rawalpindi. The blast killed 23 people and injured 62.
• On December 15, terrorists attacked Peshawar Airport, killing nine people and injuring 42.
• On December 22, at least nine people, including a provincial Minister, were killed and over 18 others were injured when a suicide bomber attacked a political gathering in Peshawar.
• On December 29, 22 Pakistani soldiers were killed by TTP elements outside Peshawar.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In November, the Cabinet approved the National Counter Terrorism Authority Act of 2012, which was designed to strengthen counterterrorism coordination and information-sharing between security agencies and provincial police and provide a vehicle for national counterterrorism policy and strategy formulation. In December, Pakistan’s National Assembly approved the Fair Trial Act, which was designed to provide the necessary legal tools to intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors to detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist activities and organizations. The law authorizes trial courts to use evidence obtained by electronic interception and surveillance.

Pakistani security forces conducted counterterrorism operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas that resulted in the detention or arrest of thousands of militants. Security forces intercepted large stockpiles of weapons and explosives, and discovered bomb-making facilities.

Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Courts have a high acquittal rate. Witnesses routinely recant their statements or fail to appear because of threats against them and their families. In June, an Anti-Terrorism Court acquitted four men accused of assisting Faisal Shahzad, the TTP-trained militant who attempted to explode a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square in 2010, claiming a lack of evidence. The court would not accept evidence collected by electronic surveillance. The Fair Trial Act, approved by parliament in December, will allow evidence obtained by electronic interception and surveillance to be admitted as evidence in the courts system.

Pakistan did not conclude the trials of seven alleged perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, although it continued to maintain a dialogue with India on steps both sides need to take to enable the prosecutions to move forward.

Information sharing and counterterrorism activities with Pakistan’s security establishment continued. Pakistani law enforcement reinforced security at U.S. facilities in Pakistan during the protests over the Innocence of Muslims video in September 2012, and took steps to ensure the security of U.S. personnel. Long delays in visa processing for U.S. personnel impeded counterterrorism-related assistance and training for security forces and prosecutors.

Pakistan remained a partner nation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided tactical and investigative training at the federal and provincial levels.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Pakistan is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The FATF named Pakistan on its public statement in February due to Pakistan’s failure to address strategic deficiencies in its anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. The FATF recommended Pakistan enact legislation to strengthen authorities to prosecute terrorist financing as well as to identify, freeze, and confiscate terrorist assets. The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act of 2012 introduced in Parliament in December includes several of the recommended changes but still failed to bring Pakistan into compliance with international AML/CFT standards.

In April, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan’s customs and tax authority, established Currency Detection Units in Pakistan’s 12 international airports to counter bulk cash smuggling. The FBR also instituted improved information-sharing protocols on counterterrorism-related arrests and seizures.

UN-designated terrorist organizations continued to avoid sanctions by reconstituting themselves under different names, often with little effort to hide their connections to previously banned groups. Although Pakistan added some named groups to its proscribed organizations list, Pakistan needs to take additional steps to implement and enforce UNSCRs 1267/1989, 1988, and 1373. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Pakistan actively participated in regional and international counterterrorism efforts, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Pakistan commanded Combined Task Force 151, an international naval task force set up to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Pakistan was a partner in the UK’s Counterterrorism Prosecution Reform Initiative and the UN Development Program, which worked with provincial governments on rule of law programs in Punjab and Malakand. Pakistan participated in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meetings on counterterrorism and participated in multilateral groups where counterterrorism cooperation was discussed, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (as an observer) and the D-8, a group of developing nations with large Muslim populations. In October, Pakistan’s Interior Minister participated in a Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism working group in Washington, DC.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Pakistan’s military worked with civil society leaders to operate the Sabaoon Rehabilitation Center, a de-radicalization program in Mingora, Swat where radicalized youth are rehabilitated through education and counseling.

Click here to browse through the complete report

Russian, Serbian military chiefs discuss collaboration

MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov and his Serbian counterpart, Ljubisa Dikovic, on Thursday discussed a renewed boost to bilateral collaboration on defense.

“This year, we have stepped up our contacts with Serbia’s Defense Ministry,” Gerasimov said, adding that a strategic partnership declaration signed a week ago had reinforced bilateral ties. The document calls for long-term collaboration between the Russian and Serbian armed forces.

The military leaders also discussed the situation in the Balkans and a number of other current regional and international security issues. “Our relations have strategic value,” Gen. Dikovic said.

Jordan opens plant to make Russian grenade launchers


MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – A Jordanian-Russian joint venture to produce RPG-32 portable rocket-propelled grenade launchers was unveiled in Jordan on Thursday, the Russian manufacturer said.

King Abdullah II and Russian Technologies CEO Sergei Chemezov attended the factory’s inauguration.

“The RPG-32 is one of the most advanced weapon systems [in the world] capable of effectively engaging the majority of armored vehicles as well as other military targets,” Chemezov said at the opening ceremony.

The joint venture to manufacture RPG-32 Hashim launchers is located about 20 kilometers northeast of Jordan’s capital, Amman. It has been built and equipped by the Jordanian side, whereas Russia’s Rosoboronexport, part of Russian Technologies, is supplying components for the assembly of the grenade launchers and is overseeing the production process.

Designed and developed by Bazalt Science & Production Association, the RPG-32 can fire 72.5- and 105-mm rounds. According to Jane's Infantry Weapons, the Hashim RPG-32 is a two-piece modular unit comprising a reusable firing/sighting unit, which is described as the launcher, and a disposable container with either an anti-tank or thermobaric round.

Russia to launch new spy satellite in June

MOSCOW, May 31 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian military will launch a new reconnaissance satellite from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on June 8, a space industry source said.

“A Russian military satellite will be launched on board a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Plesetsk launch site on June 8,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

According to previous reports, the satellite is the second in the new Persona series of electro-optical reconnaissance satellites based on the Resurs DK remote sensing satellite.

The first Persona satellite (Kosmos 2441) was launched onto a sun synchronous orbit in July 2008 but reportedly malfunctioned in February 2009 due to a failure in electronic components.

Russia operates a network of about 60-70 military reconnaissance satellites, featuring updated imaging technology and an extended lifetime of up to seven years, according to open sources.

TTP appoints new Deputy Commander, vows to avenge killing of Wali-ur-Rehman

[Times of India]

ISLAMABAD: A "shocked" Pakistani Taliban on Thursday confirmed the death of its deputy chief Waliur Rehman in a American drone strike and announced it was withdrawing its offer to hold talks with the new Pakistan government over the killing.

"I confirm the martyrdom of Waliur Rehman in a drone strike on Wednesday. We are shocked at the martyrdom of our leader but are proud of his sacrifices," said Ihsanullah Ihsan, spokesman for the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Ihsan said the Taliban was withdrawing its offer of a dialogue with the new government, and would take revenge for Rehman's killing.
 

"We had sincerely offered a dialogue to the government but we strongly believe that the government has a role to play in the drone strikes," he said. The Taliban consider the Pakistan government "fully responsible" for the drone strikes because it was "passing on information" to the US, he said.

Rehman and three senior militant commanders were among six persons killed in the CIA-operated drone strike carried out in Chashma Pul area of North Waziristan Agency. Sources said his death would hit the incoming PML-N government's plans to open a dialogue with the Taliban as mediators were hoping to establish contact with the militants through the relatively moderate Rehman.
 

The PML-N, which won the general election earlier this month, has said it will hold talks with the Taliban and other militants to usher in peace in the country. Earlier in the day, security officials told journalists in the country's northwest that Rehman was buried at an undisclosed location on Wednesday night. The US had accused Rehman of involvement in a 2009 suicide attack in Afghanistan that killed seven CIA employees. Rehman was carrying a $5 million bounty on his head.

The Pakistani Taliban, formed in late 2007, aims to overthrow the Pakistani government, which it believes is too closely aligned with the US. The militant group has been responsible for hundreds of shootings and bombings across Pakistan that have resulted in thousands of deaths. Earlier this year the group had indicated it was open to the idea of peace talks to end years of fighting if certain individuals including two-time PM Nawaz Sharif were involved.

Financial constraints compel Pakistan Air Force to suspend 'Air Force Development Plan 2025'


by Mateen Haider
[DAWN]

ISLAMABAD: Due to financial constraints and non release of funds by the federal government, the Pakistan Air force (PAF) has suspended its up gradation and development plan called “Air Force Development Plan 2025,” says a report of the Senate’s standing committee on defence Thursday.

The committee quoted Air Chief marshal Tahir Rafique in its report, who, it said, told the committee members during its recent visit to the air headquarters that the AFDP 2025 programme was launched in 2003/04 by former president Pervez Musharraf aimed at making it at par with modern air forces of the world.

He said under the plan, the PAF received money by the federal government till 2007.

“After 2007 PAF did not get a penny from federal government and had to shelve the plan,” the air chief was quoted as saying in the report by its Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.

The report further said that due to suspension of the development plan, PAF had to close number of projects which have affected the overall up gradation in the country including air bases, jets and other facilities.

The report also quoted air chief as saying that the PAF was also not given full share in the defence budget and it received only 60 per cent of the whole budget allocated for PAF.

May 30, 2013

Journalist files petition in bid to prevent government or military seeking negotiations with TTP

A journalist has filed a petition in Pakistan's Supreme Court seeking to prevent the recently-elected Nawaz Sharif government or the military from holding negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), saying this is forbidden by Constitution of Pakistan.

The petition filed by freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai on Tuesday asks how armed forces of the country can propose a truce with rebels in Pakistani territory.

Seeking to make the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee a respondent through its chairman, Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, the petitioner sought to know whether a citizen was empowered by country's constitution to negotiate peace with a private army (TTP) waging war on Pakistan.

He requested the apex court to direct JCSC chairman to prevent any contact between the TTP and any politico-religious person/party advocating peace with the militant group.

''The ISI chief should also be directed to identify people, who were in contact with TTP and their mode of communication,'' the petitioner said.

The TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organisation of various Islamist militant groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan. Most Pakistani Taliban groups coalesce under the TTP.

The petitioner prayed that court should seek view from JCSC chairman on whether armed forces have lost any ground or territory to militants in the country ''and report action taken against them''.

Orakzai said he was seeking an immediate halt to what he called a ''double-crossing'' move by some politico-religious elements to impose a disgraceful armistice on the armed forces of the country. ''These elements were in fact seeking religious and moral victory for the Taliban rebels,'' he contended.

He also argued in his petition that armed forces could not engage themselves in any political activity individually and collectively. ''The peace talks with TTP are nothing but politics and seek a reversal of the state policy under the two previous political governments''.

The petitioner demanded that court should investigate how TTP suddenly thought of peace talks few days before elections and nominated three guarantors to bridge the credibility gap with the government and the armed forces. ''The TTP continues to resort to violence and tried its utmost to disrupt the elections through bloodshed,'' he added.

Before the 11 May general elections in Pakistan, the TTP had expressed a desire to hold peace talks with the new government. After winning the elections, PML-N chief Sharif has said he was not averse to holding talks with TTP.

However, some sections of the civil society and the people have criticized holding of parleys with TTP, saying that talks cannot be held with 'killers'.

The CIA's program to spread polio in Pakistan is working

by Tom Scocca
[Gawker.com]

Two health-care workers were shot yesterday, one fatally, in Peshawar, Pakistan, leading the World Health Organization to suspend polio vaccinations there. Though no one has reportedly taken credit for the attack, it fits with an ongoing anti-vaccination terror campaign by the Pakistani Taliban, which believes health workers are agents of a western conspiracy. This belief is unfortunately not untrue

For that, much of the credit goes to the Central Intelligence Agency, which staged a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign as part of—but not an integral or decisive part of—its effort to confirm that Osama bin Laden was in Abbotabad. An actual doctor and actual nurses were used as witting and unwitting agents of American intelligence, rather than agents of Pakistani public health. They gave incomplete doses of vaccine to local children, carrying out the sham just long enough for them to try (and apparently fail) to obtain DNA samples from the children in the compound where bin Laden was hiding.

This is not even a point of shame for the CIA. When the agency vetted the script for Zero Dark Thirty, it corrected story elements that it felt might inaccurately bring disrepute on it—insisting, for instance, that the widespread American tactic of using attack dogs to terrorize captives in American torture prisons not be shown, because the CIA technically had not used that particular tactic in its own torture prisons.

But the movie's depiction of a fake vaccination campaign was left intact, even though it specifically and incorrectly suggested that it had been a campaign against polio, rather than hepatitis. The CIA regards the use of public-health workers in covert operations as clever "tradecraft," suitable for the movies, because it is a monstrous and amoral entity guided by the proposition that non-American lives are not only less valuable than American lives, but less valuable than the transient logistical needs of the agency as it pursues various narrowly defined American power-interests.

The American public more or less agrees with this point of view, which is why no one from the CIA will ever be punished for anything it's done in the War on Terror. The doctor from the bin Laden vaccination campaign, who stayed in the country where he practiced fraudulent medicine, is now in prison in Pakistan, over the protestations of the American government and press. Fortunately for average United States citizens, the ultimate victims of the CIA's strategy will be children on the Pakistani frontier, who are unlikely to ever be in any position to pay us back for our crimes, especially if they're paralyzed from polio infections.

Afghan soldier serves as right hand to Special Forces sergeant major commando


by Staff Sgt. Bruce Cobbledick
[ISAF HQ Public Affairs]

Kabul, Afghanistan (May 30, 2013) - Mohammad Zamir Faizi, at to Special Forces Command, joined the Afghan National Security Forces because he felt a sense of duty to defend his land. Faizi had an interest in being part of Afghanistan’s elite Special Forces team, since some of his family members and friends died defending this country.

His story is not unusual. Many Afghan soldiers joined the ANSF because of personal losses. “I will be proud when we take over the security here and continue to drive away the insurgents,” Faizi said.

“The fact that we are defending our country and our nation, that by itself is something to be proud of,” Faizi said. Faizi recalled how in Kajaki district of Helmand province, he participated in a tactical operation, where they killed and wounded terrorists.

“We also destroyed a suicide [bomber] training room and detained six of the insurgents during that battle and we have learned how to fight and how to defend ourselves. It is a tactical fight, as we in the ANSF are working hard day and night and we are getting stronger. Afghan Special Forces will not stop at anything to defend their country,” Faizi said.

Faizi sees his duty as being divine and says they are performing their duty. According to Faizi that offers encouragement for the new-comers, who are joining today’s Afghan army and police forces.

“The situation of Afghanistan has gotten better and is more secure,” Faizi said.

Chinese Navy seaplane crashes off eastern port city

[Associated Press]

BEIJING: China's Defense Ministry says a navy seaplane has crashed into waters near the eastern port city of Qingdao.

A notice posted on the ministry's website said the plane went down in Jiaozhou Bay on Thursday morning while conducting a training mission. It said a search and rescue mission was launched by the navy, but gave no word on casualties.

Reports of crashes and other military mishaps had been relatively rare in the past but the traditionally secretive People's Liberation Army has been making greater efforts at transparency as it seeks to transition into a modern military.

The North Sea Fleet operates four Shuihong 5 seaplanes dating from the 1980s and used primarily for low-altitude maritime patrol and surveillance missions. Each carries five crew members.

US Air Force boosts cyber mission capabilities

by Oriana Pawlyk & USA Today
[AirForceTimes.com]

The Pentagon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on building cyber capabilities, an effort that has gained urgency as China, Russia, North Korea and other nations have been using cyberspace to attack adversaries or steal secrets.

And while other areas of the Defense Department’s budget are targeted for cutbacks, the military is increasing its budget for cyberwarfare and expanding offensive capabilities, making cyber careers among the hottest in the Air Force.
Here’s what you need to know:

1 New jobs. The Air Force expects to add more than 1,000 cyber jobs between 2014 and 2016, although the final number has not been approved, said Gen. William Shelton, commander, Air Force Space Command, in an email to Air Force Times. About 80 percent will be airmen and the rest civilian.

2 The teams. Each of the services has a cyber force that falls under U.S. Cyber Command, which plans to field 100 teams by 2016, divided into three categories: defending military networks, damaging the capabilities of enemy networks and helping to defend the nation’s infrastructure.

“The Joint Staff, U.S. Cyber Command and the services are currently developing an implementation plan to include sourcing and training this new cyber workforce,” Shelton said.

3 On offense. Next year, the Air Force plans to spend $14 million to research and develop offensive cyber capabilities, budget documents show, while it plans to devote about $5.8 million to research for cyber defense. The Air Force has been developing systems designed for the “exfiltration of information while operating within adversary information systems,” according to budget documents. The Air Force declined to release details on the program, saying it was classified.

Overall, the Defense Department plans to increase its cyber operations budget to $4.7 billion, up from $3.9 billion this year. Much of that additional money is going into the development of offensive capabilities, usually referred to as computer network attacks, according to budget documents.

4 Cyber weapons designated. To make sure the Air Force can secure the money it needs for its cyber mission, the service designated six capabilities as weapons, underscoring the importance of making them available to combatant commanders, Shelton said. The weapons are: cyberspace defense, cyberspace defense analysis, cyberspace vulnerability assessment/hunter, cyberspace command and control mission system, cybersecurity and control system, and intranet control.

5 Secret rules. The Pentagon is nearing completion of a revised set of “rules of engagement” that will help field commanders determine how and when to use the cyber capabilities. The rules will be kept secret.

Indonesia to create 'cyber army' to tackle web threats

by Kevin Kwang
[ZDNet]

Indonesia is in the midst of preparing a special military force, called "cyber army", to tackle the threat posed by online hackers against national portals and Web sites which could negatively impact national security.

According to a report by Xinhua Wednesday, the country's defense ministry is looking to propose a law to legalize the operation of the cyber army, which was conceived after attacks against national Internet portals and Web sites in the past three years.

Pos M. Hutabarat, director general of security potentials at the defense ministry, said the only law Indonesia has right now to address cyber crime is the IITE law, which regulates online information and transactions for civilians and carries a fine of up to 1 billion rupiah (US$102,000).

Given the inadequate protection, Hutabarat said there is an urgent need to create the cyber army to combat online threats. This special force will be manned by uniformed soldiers trained on information technology and equipped with skills to prevent cyberattacks.
 
However, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said earlier the establishment of the cyber army would require the full support of the Communication and Information Ministry. This is because the latter will provide telecommunication infrastructure management system, equipment and trainers for the special force, he noted. 

"The Communication and Information Ministry has the capacity to build up the cyber security [unit]," Yusgiantoro said, adding the cyber army is planned to be embedded in the navy, army and air force.

On its part, the Communications and Information Ministry is in the process of building a system to protect government Web sites and agencies. Minister Tifatul Sembiring had earlier said government sites have received more than 36.6 million attacks in the past three years, the report noted.

Sembiring also identified China, South Korea, the United States and Russia as the four main culprits for these attacks.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, China and North Korea are two countries that have been reported to have cyber army units too. In 2011, Geng Yansheng, spokesperson for China's Defense Ministry, said the People's Liberation Army set up the cyberwar unit, or "cyber blue team", to support its military training and upgrade the army's Internet security defense.

The Associated Press in March this year also revealed how North Korea are training "cyberwarriors". Won Sei-hoon, then-chief of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, said in the report there were 1,000 professional hackers in North Korea's cyberwarfare unit in 2009.

Indian intelligence reports say New Delhi is on Maoist hitlist

[Press Trust of India]

Days after Maoists attacked Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh that claimed 28 lives, the extremists are now looking for opportunities to carry out violence in major urban centres, including New Delhi, intelligence reports have warned.

After the massacre of 27 people, including Congress leaders, in Chhattisgarh, Maoists are trying their best to expand the CPI(Maoist) activities beyond its area of influence and targeted killings are one of the key options.

The reports, prepared by intelligence agencies, suggested that Maoists have suffered significant reverses in recent past and May 25 attack in Jagdalpur was result of the extremists' attempt to hog national limelight and reassert their influence.

To get maximum mileage in respect of getting international attention as well as to boost the morale of the cadres, the Maoists would now try to carry out spectacular violence over soft targets in urban centres, the reports said.

Official sources said the desperation of Maoists were reflected in the intercepted conversations of the few top leaders mostly hiding in deep jungles of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Security agencies believe the operations against Maoists will be a prolonged task and required nearly 27,000 more paramilitary personnel and at least two-three years to clear the Maoist dominated areas in Bastar (Chhattisgarh), Malkangiri and Koraput (both in Odisha) and Latehar (Jharkhand).

Currently, 82,000 paramilitary personnel are deployed in anti-Maoist operations apart from the state police forces.

Zimbabwe's military intelligence agencies courting Russian expertise and arms

by Itai Mushekwe
[NehandaRadio.com]

Zimbabwe’s military intelligence agencies, the Military Intelligence Directorate (MID) and Military Intelligence Unit (MIU), are courting Russian expertise and arms, as a hardline confederacy of State security generals is all but preparing to install its own cherry-picked successor to replace President Robert Mugabe, by as early as 2014.

As first reported by Nehanda Radio, on May 7 2013, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander, Constantine Chiwenga has reportedly seized significant executive authority from Mugabe, especially the all-important office of ZDF Commander in Chief, owing to the veteran leader’s growing frailty.

Mugabe is said to have now become Commander in Chief, only on paper while Chiwenga has allegedly usurped the reigns of the office, because the Zanu PF leader has become almost incapacitated to meet the demands of being the military’s chief commander.

It has also now emerged, that the MID and MIU are all essential cogs of the country’s shadowy military industrial complex, accused of literally making a political putsch in the process army sources claim.

The military industrial complex, is thought to be the brainchild of top military and national intelligence officials, determined to torpedo Vice President Joice Mujuru, from crossing the finish line in succeeding Mugabe as Head of State.

The cabal of military hawks is reportedly in favour of defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to become Zimbabwe’s second republic president, and through the military industrial complex, has started purging the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) top brass in favour of operatives speaking the same language, our sources have disclosed.

A top CIO director for internal affairs, Elias Kanengoni, died in a mysterious alleged poisoning last week and has since been declared a “national hero”.

Kanengoni’s alleged poisoning is reminiscent, of former high profile Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered using the lethal radioactive polonium- 210 poison. Litvinenko died on 23 November 2006, and his killers have not been apprehended since.

Moscow

According to RIA Novosti, one of Russia’s largest news agencies, defence officials and military experts from Zimbabwe, after all the resistance on security sector reforms, attended an International Conference on European security, in Moscow on May 24 2013.

“Defense officials and military experts from Armenia Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United States and Zimbabwe were shown a training center, a shooting range and the barracks, among other facilities at the Taman Division in Alabino,” reported the news agency.

“The visit ended the two-day Military and Political Aspects of European Security conference in Moscow which opened on Thursday. During the first day, the participants exchanged views on the current state of and prospects for European security".

In an opening address to participants read by Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov, President Putin expressed his confidence that, despite differences over issues such as missile defense, the international community "is in a good position to build and strengthen collective defense and security strategies.”

The swap

“The Zimbabwe delegation took advantage of this International Conference to follow up, on many projects and deals being made with Russia apart from seeking Moscow’s military intelligence notebook notes,” a ministry of defence official working close to the Chief of Staff said.

“It was during the side-lines of the Moscow meeting that our representatives, managed to push for closer and stronger military cooperation with President Putin’s government.”

Russian media last year confirmed a deal involving, Russian Technologies, a State corporation and the Zimbabwe military. Under the deal, Russia is looking at supplying military helicopters to Harare, in exchange to buying the country’s platinum deposits, which are reputed to be the world’s second largest in reserves.

“Russian Technologies has already secured preliminary support from Zimbabwe’s official representatives during its visit to the country in April (2012),” reported the Kommersant Business Daily adding the local authorities were interested in the supply of Russian arms, in particular military helicopters.

“The issue being discussed is the transfer to Russian Technologies of the rights to develop the deposit in exchange for the supply of helicopters”. A total capital investment outlay in platinum reserves discovered in Darwendale, needs an estimated US$2.8 billion to develop until 2055, a sum Moscow is being tempted to part away with.

Meanwhile, the State mouthpiece, The Herald has hinted on the visit to Zimbabwe by Nikolay Varenko, a Russian billionaire who has set his sights on acquiring food and beverages manufacture, Cairns Holdings.

The Russian is reported to be visiting Harare next week, for talks in making a 100 percent stake takeover of Cairns, with a wallet of up to US$30 million. Varenko is among a sheaf of Russian moguls, trooping into the country for Zanu PF facilitated and aligned business opportunities, where they aim to use local fronts to evade the controversial indigenisation policy, which calls for a wholesale 51 percent equity grab by Zimbabweans across all economic sectors.

Mengistu Haile Mariam

Central to the military intelligence overtures at mooted coup power, is former Ethiopian leader, Mengistu Haile Mariam. Nehanda Radio understands, the disposed dictator who fled Addis Ababa in 1991 for Zimbabwe as Mugabe’s asylum guest, at the conclusion of the Ethiopian Civil War, fears being indicted for the death of more than 2 million Ethiopians who perished in the civil war.

For this reason, the “Butcher of Ethiopia” as he is affectionately known, Mengistu is doing all in his power to “assist” the military junta in keeping PM Morgan Tsvangirai away from Munhumutapa Building.

The former Ethiopian president, who is holed up in Harare’s affluent Gunhill suburb, despite a court verdict that has found him guilty of genocide in abstentia, is believed to be doing political consultancy for the military, so as to enable a bloodless coup should Mugabe be defeated in this year’s crucial presidential election.

There are also reports that, the military cabal wants Mugabe himself to hand them power should he win the polls, so they can “install Mnangagwa”, and intricate plots and counter plots have been drawn to “kick away” anyone standing in their way.

Wali-ur-Rehman buried, say Pakistani intelligence officials

[Associated Press]

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Pakistani intelligence officials said the Pakistani Taliban's deputy leader has been buried after his death in a US drone strike.

The killing of Waliur Rehman has not been confirmed by the White House or the official Pakistani Taliban spokesman. But it would be a major blow to the militant group.

The US had accused Rehman of involvement in a 2009 suicide attack in Afghanistan that killed seven CIA employees.

Rehman's killing could rattle the incoming government’s goal of negotiating with the Taliban.

Rehman had previously been considered amenable to talks.

Two intelligence officials say informants on the ground told them Rehman was buried Wednesday night. Two militants claimed they attended the funeral. All four spoke on condition of anonymity.

US Army explores 'futuristic' uniform for Special Operations Command

by Roger Teel
[US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Public Affairs]

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (May 28, 2013) -- Army researchers are responding to a request from the U.S. Special Operations Command for technologies to help develop a revolutionary Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit.

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, is an advanced infantry uniform that promises to provide superhuman strength with greater ballistic protection. Using wide-area networking and on-board computers, operators will have more situational awareness of the action around them and of their own bodies.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, known as RDECOM, is submitting TALOS proposals in response to the May 15 request.

"There is no one industry that can build it," said SOCOM Senior Enlisted Advisor Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Faris during a panel discussion at a conference at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., recently, reported Defense Media Network.

The request, currently posted on Federal Business Opportunities, is looking for technology demonstration submissions from research and development organizations, private industry, individuals, government labs and academia to support the command-directed requirement issued by Adm. William McRaven, USSOCOM commander.

"[The] requirement is a comprehensive family of systems in a combat armor suit where we bring together an exoskeleton with innovative armor, displays for power monitoring, health monitoring, and integrating a weapon into that -- a whole bunch of stuff that RDECOM is playing heavily in," said. Lt. Col. Karl Borjes, an RDECOM science advisor assigned to SOCOM.

TALOS will have a physiological subsystem that lies against the skin that is embedded with sensors to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are currently developing armor made from magnetorheological fluids -- liquid body armor -- that transforms from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied. Though still in development, this technology will likely be submitted to support TALOS.

"RDECOM cuts across every aspect making up this combat armor suit," Borjes said "It's advanced armor. It's communications, antennas. It's cognitive performance. It's sensors, miniature-type circuits. That's all going to fit in here, too."

SOCOM demonstrations will take placeJuly 8-10, at or near MacDill Air Force Base.

The request asks participants to submit a white paper summary of their technology by May 31, describing how TALOS can be constructed using current and emerging technologies. A limited number of participant white papers will be selected and those selected will demonstrate their technologies.

The initial demonstration goal is to identify technologies that could be integrated into an initial capability within a year. A second goal is to determine if fielding the TALOS within three years is feasible.

U.S. Army science advisors, such as Borjes, are embedded with major units around the world to speed technology solutions to Soldiers' needs. The Field Assistance in Science and Technology program's 30 science advisors, both uniformed officers and Army civilians, provide a link between Soldiers and the RDECOM's thousands of subject matter experts.

RDECOM MISSION

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.


Warrior Web Project

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on the Warrior Web Project, which has many of the attributes of the Army's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit concept.

Future force Soldiers

The future warfighter uniform will incorporate new helmet technologies, sensors, communication devices, hearing protection and more.

China's Wu Shengli meets with Commander US Pacific Fleet

BEIJING, May 29, (ChinaMil) -- Wu Shengli, member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and commander of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), met with Admiral Cecil D. Haney, the visiting commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, on the afternoon of May 28, 2013 in Beijing.

Wu Shengli noted that the Chinese Navy attaches great importance to establishing friendly and cooperative relations with the U.S. Navy. The two navies have great space and potential for cooperation in many fields. He hoped that the two navies would explore the ways and fields of exchanges and cooperation, properly settle differences, manage and control crises, and avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment, so as to serve the new-type relationship between the two great powers in a better way and blaze a new trail of pragmatic and cooperative relations between the two navies.

Wu Shengli also said that the Chinese Navy is willing to strengthen cooperation with the U.S. Navy in such fields as reciprocal visits of naval leaders and warships, escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, and exchanges among naval academies and cadets, constantly tap the potential for cooperation, expand cooperation areas, build closer bilateral relations, enhance mutual trust and promote friendship.

Cecil Haney expressed his hope that the two navies would take this visit as an opportunity to constantly maintain exchanges and cooperation, so as to persistently push forward the development of the bilateral relations.

US Army releases 2014 modernization plan

[Brahmand News Service]

WASHINGTON (BNS): The US Army's fiscal year 2014 Equipment Modernisation Plan, now working its way through Congress, prioritises equipping warfighters in Afghanistan while simultaneously preparing for an uncertain future.

Programmes in the modernisation strategy are grouped within ten "portfolios," but some of those programmes the US Army has called out as being priorities for the service.

According to a news release by the US Army, several programmes that make up the Army network have been included as priorities in the plan. Among those are the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, at $1.3 billion; the Family of Networked Tactical Radios, at $402.1 million; the Joint Battle Command-Platform, at $110.6 million; the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, at $295 million; and the Nett Warrior system, at $122.6 million.

Among combat vehicles, the Army has prioritised the Ground Combat Vehicle programme, at $592 million; the Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle, at $116 million; and the Paladin Integrated Management system, at $340.8 million.

Additionally, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is a priority for the service, at $84.2 million; as is the Kiowa Warrior, at $257.8 million, the release added.

Brig. Gen. John G. Ferrari, director, joint and futures, Army G-8 said having a modernisation plan doesn't necessarily mean funding is guaranteed, or that Congress won't make changes.

Because of the budget control act and sequestration, the Army still doesn't know how much money it has to purchase equipment in fiscal year 2013, much less fiscal year 2014. This creates a ripple effect in purchasing, he said, causing a backlog of things that need to be purchased.

As the Army's manpower and budget shrink, it has to be more selective on what to purchase. That might include buying some things in smaller quantities and staggering those purchases out over the years as old equipment is retired, Ferrari said.

Ferrari also said the Army needs to slow down spending on development of technologies that are similar to what is already available in the private sector.

The civilian sector already is investing massive amounts of research and development dollars into its hardware, software and other electronic devices, so investing Army dollars in those same endeavors might be foolhardy, he said.

Indian Space Research Organisation unveils Navigation Centre near Bangalore

BANGALORE (PTI): Indian Space Research Organisation on Tuesday unveiled its Navigation Centre in Bangalore Rural District for the proposed Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), a constellation of seven spacecrafts that will enable users to know their location and time accurately.

Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V Narayanaswamy inaugurated the centre in the presence of ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, other space scientists and officials of the space department.

INC, established at the Indian Deep Space Network complex at Byalalu, about 40 kms from here, will be responsible for the time reference, generation of navigation messages and monitoring and control of ground facilities including ranging stations, Radhakrishnan said on the occasion.

"INC will host several key technical facilities for supporting these navigation functions and the key to the navigation support is the time reference to which all ground based systems and the satellite clocks are synchronised," he added.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1A is slated to be launched on board home-grown rocket, PSLV-C22 XL at 1.01 AM from Sriharikota spaceport on June 12, Radhakrishnan said.

The 1,425-kg IRNSS-1, which will have a life span of about ten years, will provide satellite-based terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation services, and also help in disaster and fleet management and vehicle tracking, he said.

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system, and once all the spacecrafts become operational, it would provide position accuracy, similar to Global Positioning System, of better than 10 metres over India and the region extending about 1,500 kms around the country.

It is designed to provide accurate real time Position, Navigation and Time services to users on a variety of platforms with 24x7 service availability under all-weather conditions. IRNSS will provide two basic services -- standard positioning service for common civilian users and restricted service for special authorised users.

Court issues contempt notice to Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh

NEW DELHI (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Indian Army chief on former Lt. General Tejinder Singh's contempt plea alleging that no action was taken against former army chief General V.K. Singh and four others for defamation.

The petitioner said the army failed to comply with the court's earlier order for taking disciplinary action against the former army chief and others for exceeding their jurisdiction to defame Lt. General Tejinder Singh.

Justice G.S. Sistani issued contempt notice to Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh and also to former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma for their failure to initiate disciplinary action against former army chief General (retd) V.K. Singh and four others who had "exceeded their jurisdiction and defamed" Lt. General (retd) Tejinder Singh.


The court asked them to file their response by September 9.

Lt. General (retd) Tejinder Singh moved the court saying that Justice Mukta Gupta, in the order passed on May 24 last year, had said that disciplinary action "can be taken" against the former army chief and four other officers.

The court in its order had earlier refused to direct the government to withdraw the March 5, 2012 press release in which former army chief General V.K. Singh accused Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh of offering him a bribe.

It, however, noted that the then army chief and four other officers exceeded their jurisdiction and defamed Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh and, thus, disciplinary action could be taken against them by the disciplinary authority.

The petitioner sought initiation of criminal or civil proceedings against Defence Minister A.K. Antony, the army chief and the former defence secretary, for not complying with the court's earlier order.

He said several representations were made to the defence ministry for initiating disciplinary action against the five people named in his original complaint.

"Instead of starting disciplinary proceedings by initiating a Court of Inquiry, the army headquarters claims to have conducted a so-called investigation in the matter which has no legal sanctity in law. In the present case, the said procedure set by law has been given a complete go by, making a mockery of law and fair play," said the petitioner.

Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh had earlier approached the court after the army chief issued a release that said he was offered Rs.14 crore in bribe to clear a tranche of 600 "sub-standard" vehicles for the army.

He moved the court seeking withdrawal of the press release that levelled "serious allegation" against him.

Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh moved the court seeking initiation of disciplinary legal action against General (retd) V.K. Singh, Vice Chief of Army Staff S.K. Singh, Director General Military Intelligence Lt. Gen. B.S. Thakur, Additional Director General of Public Information Major General S.L. Narasimhan and Lt. Col. Hitten Sawhney.

Journalist says 'War on Terror' is fake, full spectrum dominance is prior goal of Western elites

[The Voice of Russia]

The UK defense secretary Philip Hammond has admitted that around 80-90 Afghans are being held at Camp Bastion. Hammond said that the British government was working on the transfer of the prisoners to the Afghan justice system. The detainees’ lawyers claim that the men are being held illegally, and have compared Camp Bastion to the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The UK is now the only foreign power still jailing Afghans in their own country.

To discuss this I'm joined on the phone by Deborah Dupre – Human Rights Journalist from Santa Monica, California

Hello Deborah! Thanks for joining us. What is it called the British Guantanamo, can it be really compared to US Guantanamo?

I have little doubts that it could be compared and that it is being called that justly. We know that since 2009 at least 27 000 people have been kidnapped, held in secret prisons other than Guantanamo, and those include 32 ghost ships in international waters. So, this comes as no surprise to human rights professionals with whom I’m acquainted. This human rights abuse of course does violate domestic and international law. And it is now estimated that over 100 000 people from around the world have been illegally detained, tortured and also used for nonconsensual experimentations in those secret prisons while being deprived of their legal rights.

Lawyers acting for eight of the detainees have approached the UK's High Court with applications demanding release of the men. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense insists detentions in Afghanistan were legal under the UN mandate. Are there legal grounds for the detention?

I agree with the torments, there is no legal ground for these detentions. And not only that, we have proof from Guantanamo, like I say, one of only dozens of secret prisons, that the people who are being held, the vast majority of them have never committed a crime. They have been held because someone was paid to pick some up somewhere. They are innocent ordinary people who have been picked up to be tortured and used nonconsensual experimentation subjects. And we know that this is the case at Guantanamo. And we have evidence that it happened elsewhere because the doctors are there supervising the tortures and recording it. So, that meets the criteria of nonconsensual human experimentation.

Deborah, could you give me your view on that, I understand my question is banal. But still, many people consider America and Europe as civilized countries and they believe there are quite strong judicial systems, and there are attorneys. Why can’t all that do anything, if you say that there are a dozen and hundreds, and thousands of people are detained absolutely illegally?

There are many human rights advocates who are working around the clock to try to battle a new regime which is quite fascist and which is introduced into our society, and is imposed on people around the world. This issue is so serious that Noam Chomsky just this week has issued a statement saying (something that every human rights defender I know is in agreement) that Obama needs to go before the International Criminal Court for his war crimes, such as disappearing people, detaining them, torturing and using them as nonconsensual human experimentation subjects.

We have lost our values, we have lost our leadership in this country and it is very frightening. We have Americans who are being held as political prisoners in this country, thousands of them. And the rest of the world is not really aware that plenty of those people do have a background in human rights work.

What do you think about public opinion? Can we say that to a certain extent such steps are supported by public opinion? Maybe it is somehow misled by the media. What is your assessment of the situation with public opinion?

I agree completely that public opinion in this country is based on a very misguided if not intentionally corrupt media system here. The mainstream media is now obsolete, it follows the party line, it follows what the politics today is. And the politics today is very-very torturous, it is very fascist. So, we are introducing what we call “the new media” and that is through the Internet. And basically, what we encourage is many progressives to follow because it is the only way that the truth of these very important matters is being told. And many of these “new media” Internet human rights based types of resources are being shut down. They are harassed, they are shut down for a time. It is very difficult for human rights workers in this country now I can tell you.

When the British politicians, for instance, are asked about prisons, about detainees, how do they justify their actions?

It is all based on what is termed as a war on terror which is in my opinion and of many other human rights workers is a very fake war, just as the drug war. And you know, before that it was communism. It is a way to control the population. And this type of control with the outright torture is more reminiscent of the days of Hitler. So, that’s the way it is justified, it is all to protect the people. And the people are made to feel so afraid in convoluted ways, and very cruel ways so that they think – well, this is what we have to do to be safe. I think that’s what the general population might believe in and they are even ready to hurt and kill other innocent people to justify their own safety which is all based on media hypocrisy and lies.

Why are they doing that? In some cases, we understand, for instance with Iraq, it is a big market and Americans get oil there, there are weapons supplies, so it is to a certain extent a matter of money. It is understandable. In this case, what are the interests of their political elites?

In my opinion the political elite is primarily interested in controlling people. There are many riches in not only the Middle East, but in Africa. There is something called a full spectrum dominance. The United States armed services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff etc, their primary goal is something called full-spectrum dominance, and that means dominating everything. And that includes air, land, sea and the human population. So, if that is their goal, then they would stop at nothing to control, so that they can have all of the resources at their fingertips. And to do that they need just about every country on board one way or another.

Maldives envoy calls on Pakistani Interior Minister

ISLAMABAD, May 29 (APP): High Commissioner of Maldives to Pakistan Dr. Aishath Shehenaz Adam Wednesday called on caretaker Minister for Interior Malik Mohammad Habib Khan  here and discussed matters of mutual interest. 

Talking to the envoy, Malik Habib said that Pakistan gave great value to its relationship with Maldives being its trustworthy friend, said a press release. The minister said that the bilateral friendship would be further strengthened in future. 

Dr Aishath Shehenaz Adam said that Maldives also gave much importance to its ties with Pakistan. She hoped that relationship between the two countries would be made stronger and long-lasting.

UN Secretary General Ban honors fallen peacekeeping heroes, including 4 Pakistanis

[The Nation]

UNITED NATIONS -Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon led the United Nations Wednesday in honouring those who lost their lives over the past year, including four Pakistanis, serving under the blue flag, while also raising awareness about new developments in the field of peacekeeping.

“We are working hard to improve safety for our personnel around the world. But peacekeeping is inherently dangerous. And the risks are growing,” the UN chief said during a wreath-laying ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.


He also paid tributes to the more than 111,000 military, police and civilians currently serving worldwide under the blue flag. Last year, UN personnel were killed during attacks on patrols in Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, and South Sudan, the Secretary-General recalled.


Later at an awards ceremony, Colonel Solat Rana, military adviser to the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, received the Dag Hammarskold Medals on behalf of the families of the 2012 Pakistani awardees from UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous. The fallen Pakistan Army soldiers are: Subedar Mukhtiar Ahmed (UNOCI - Ivory Coast); Havaldar Ali Khan (MONUSCO - Democratic Republic of Congo); Sepoy Ahmed Niaz (UNOCI - Ivory Coast), and Sepoy Habibullah (MONUSCO - Democratic Republic of Congo).


In the coming months, members of the UN intervention brigade will arrive in the eastern DRC and the UN will field a new operation in Mali, where terrorism poses a real threat, the secretary-general added.


“Acts of violence receive the most attention - but they are not the only threat to our personnel. Many of our fallen colleagues die from disease. Others lose their lives in car accidents on dangerous roads in undeveloped areas,” said Ban.


“Whatever the cause of death, we honour all fallen peacekeepers for their sacrifice, courage and selfless service on behalf the United Nations.”

While peacekeeping is fraught with risk, it is also filled with promise, Ban said afterwards at the Dag Hammarskjold medal ceremony to honour fallen peacekeepers.


“Our blue helmets bring hope to millions of people in some of the most troubled parts of the world.”


He said he saw this for himself last week when he travelled to Mozambique, where peace today traces back to a UN peacekeeping mission fielded some two decades ago, as well as in DRC, where UN peacekeepers are working to help bring peace and stability.


“Our aim is to make peacekeeping more effective for the people we serve, and safer for the staff who carry out this life-saving work.”


With global peace and security needs changing rapidly, this year’s International Day focuses on how UN peacekeeping is ‘Adapting to new challenges’.


As the Secretary-General noted in his message for the Day, UN peacekeeping is increasingly called on to deploy multi-dimensional operations to help countries transition from conflict to peace, with a significant focus on protecting civilians, including the most vulnerable among them: women and children.


“To meet emerging threats and rise to new challenges, United Nations peacekeeping is adjusting its policies to better fulfill its mandates to bring lasting peace to war-torn countries,” he stated.


In addition to events at UN Headquarters, the International Day is being marked at various peacekeeping missions worldwide. Currently, there are more than 111,000 UN personnel serving in 15 peacekeeping missions.

NATO strengthens military-to-military cooperation with Pakistan

[NATO Newsroom]

On 28 and 29 May 2013, General Knud Bartels, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, made an official visit to Pakistan at the invitation of General Kayani, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff.

The aim of the visit was to build on the military-to-military relationship between NATO and Pakistan both in recognition of Pakistan’s important role in the region and as enabler to NATO’s Mission in Afghanistan. “It is important for NATO to understand Pakistan’s perspective and views of the dynamics in the region,” General Bartels said. “Pakistan is clearly an important country in the region within which the future stability of Afghanistan will be a key factor. I believe it makes good sense for NATO to strengthen military-to-military cooperation with Pakistan,” he added. To this end, General Bartels held talks with General Kayani, received briefings from the Pakistani Army Principle Staff Officers and had a meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Wynne.

In his meeting with General Kayani, General Bartels discussed the key challenges facing the security of the country, with stability in Afghanistan currently being foremost amongst these. “General Kayani and I shared the view that fair, secure and inclusive elections in Afghanistan next year are pivotal and therefore stability in Afghanistan especially in the coming 18 months up to the elections are a common concern,” he said.

In the operational briefings with the Army Principle Staff Officers, he also had the opportunity to acknowledge the level of activity and commitment of the Pakistani Army to fighting terrorism in their country. The NATO and Pakistan delegations exchanged views on countering the IED threat to troops and civilian populations, a threat which both parties are facing. The delegations agreed to explore opportunities to sharing knowledge and experience on countering the IED threat. The importance of close cooperation on border security between Pakistan and Afghanistan and NATO's current role in facilitating this through ISAF was also discussed.

During the visit, General Bartels paid tribute to the soldiers of the Pakistani Military who lost their lives in service for their country with a formal Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Shuhada Monument. He also delivered a lecture to the Students and Staff of the National Defence University to improve the general understanding of NATO, its roles, operations and future challenges. “I found the audience keen to understand more about NATO, its operations and outreach," General Bartels said afterwards.

The trip concluded by an operational visit to the Swat valley in northern Pakistan where the General was briefed on the Pakistani Army' s comprehensive work to restore security, stability and prosperity following the military defeat of the insurgents in this region. Also in the area the General visited a De-radicalization center where he praised the staff for their remarkable work in providing young people hope, skills and the desire to contribute constructively in society. "I have been grateful for the hospitality I have experienced and I will continue to support efforts to enhance military-to-military cooperation between NATO and Pakistan,” Gen. Bartels concluded.

Syrian rebels intend to begin fighting in Lebanon

by A. Taghiyeva
[Trend News Agency]

The Free Syrian Army is threatening to move its combats to Lebanon in response to an armed clash with Hezbollah militants in the Syrian town of Al-Quseir, Al Arabiya TV channel reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the Syrian rebels demanded the Government of Lebanon put an end to Hezbollah's activity in the battle of government forces against opposition in Syria.

On May 25, the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, declared his intention to continue to support the Syrian authorities in the fight against the rebels. Immediately afterwards the Syrian opposition members fired on the Shiite neighbourhoods of Beirut, and promised to strike at other targets in Lebanon.

In Syria, for more than two years, government forces have clashed with the armed opposition. According to UN statistics, the total number of victims of the conflict in Syria is more than 82,000 and nearly three million in need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian authorities say they oppose the well-armed militants.

Wali-ur-Rehman, the TTP's second-in-command, reportedly killed

[Central Asia Online]

PESHAWAR – Wali-ur-Rehman, the second-highest-ranking member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was killed in North Waziristan, multiple Pakistani intelligence officials told media in May 29 reports.

Some of the intelligence officials said informants in the field reported seeing Rehman's dead body; another said militants confirmed his death in communications that were intercepted.

The TTP has denied the reports.

Rehman was suspected of being behind various attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

May 29, 2013

Keel laying ceremony of Pakistan Navy Tug held at Karachi Shipyard


[Pakistan Navy Press Release]

Karachi, May 29: The keel laying ceremony of a 32 Tons Bollard Pull Tug, being indigenously built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works here today. Secretary Defence Lieutenant General (Retired) Asif Yasin Malik was the chief guest on the occasion.
 

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest said that in order to meet the contemporary challenges, growth plan of the Armed Forces has always been the top priority of the Government. This also encompasses replacement of existing old ships and crafts with new ones for Pakistan Navy. In this regard, he continued, our focal point for self-reliance and indigenization is Karachi Shipyard. He said that this approach will not only ensure timely availability of required vessels for Pakistan Navy but also go a long way in consolidating the shipbuilding capability of Karachi Shipyard.
 

The chief guest further said that in today’s commercial world, competition is fierce and only those can survive and flourish who meet the challenges of rapidly changing technologies with quality and commitment. He said that it is satisfying to note that Karachi Shipyard has embarked on the path of progress in line with the modern developments which would Insha Allah lead towards complete self-reliance in the field of shipbuilding.
 

Earlier in his welcome address Rear Admiral Hassan Nasir Shah, Managing Director Karachi Shipyard, highlighted salient features of the tug under construction. He apprised the audience that the tug has a 34 meter overall length with a displacement of 481 tons. It has a maximum speed of 12 knots and propelled by two diesel engines and two Azimuth thrusters.
    
The ceremony was attended by large number of senior naval officers and engineers and technicians of Karachi Shipyard.

US Navy wants aircraft carriers to manufacture weapons on the go

by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan
[Gizmodo]

These days, the mention of 3D-printed weapons conjures up visions of libertarians printing AK-47s in their garages (OK, that might just be me). But a recent story in the Armed Forces Journal brings word of a more systematic implementation of 3D-printed warfare.




According to one Lieutenant Commander Michael Llenza, the US Navy’s future lies in converting aircraft carriers into “floating factories”, each carrying a fleet of 3D printers to churn out weapons, drones, and even shelters at a moment’s notice. There’s money and time to be saved in the sheer logistical rationality of the scheme. For example, when cylindrical bullets are stacked, tiny bits of wasted space are created — which add up, when you’re talking about millions of the things. Rectangular packages of powder, which could be printed into bullets when needed, are a far more efficient use of space. 

Right now, research on such a scheme is being done in bits and pieces. Llenza points out a handful of examples, including Contour Crafting, the building-sized 3D printing system, as well as several recent projects in which complete UAVs were produced overnight:
[…] The University of Virginia printed a UAV controlled by a relatively cheap Android phone whose camera was used to shoot aerial imagery. Designed for a top speed of 45 mph, the aircraft crashed on its first flight. The students just went back to the lab and printed out a replacement nose cone, a capability envied by any squadron maintenance officer. The eventual goal is a drone that flies right out of the printer with electronics and motive power already in place. An organic ability to print replaceable drones from ships, forward operating bases or during disaster relief operations to serve as targets or observation platforms could be a huge enabler for sailors and Marines.
Of course, there are still huge gaps to be bridged, technologically speaking, before 3D printing can be adopted as a large-scale military inventory strategy. It’s supremely expensive right now, and, more importantly, the structural stability of many materials is inconsistent — so replacing critical pieces of machinery is out of the question. Still, it’s an exciting idea, especially when you see it in the terms laid out by MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld, who describes the 3D printing as the ability to “turn data into things and things into data.” Llenza sums it up nicely by wondering how much simpler Apollo 13′s mission would have been, had the crew been able to simply request the appropriate CAD model from ground control. 

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