Sunday, July 25, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Aircraft Carrier Leads Drills With South Korea

Defense News: DTN News: U.S. Aircraft Carrier Leads Drills With South Korea
Source: DTN News - - this article / report compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources including AP
(NSI News Source Info) ABOARD USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, - July 25, 2010: A nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier led an armada of warships in exercises off the Korean peninsula on Sunday that North Korea has vowed to physically block and says could escalate into nuclear war. U.S. military officials said the manoeuvres, conducted with South Korean ships and Japanese observers, were intended to send a strong signal to the North that aggression in the region will not be tolerated.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been particularly high since the sinking in March of a South Korean naval vessel. Forty six Korean sailors were killed in the sinking, which Seoul has called Pyongyang’s worst military attack on it since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The military drills, code-named “Invincible Spirit,” are to run through Wednesday with about 8,000 U.S. and South Korean troops, 20 ships and submarines and 200 aircraft. The Nimitz-class USS George Washington was deployed from Japan.
“We are showing our resolve,” said Capt. David Lausman, the carrier’s commanding officer.
North Korea has protested the drills, threatening to retaliate with “nuclear deterrence” and “sacred war.”
The North routinely threatens attacks whenever South Korea and the U.S. hold joint military drills, which Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for an invasion. The U.S. keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea and another 50,000 in Japan, but says it has no intention of invading the North.
Still, the North’s latest rhetoric carries extra weight following the sinking of the Cheonan.
Capt. Ross Myers, the commander of the carrier’s air wing, said the exercises were not intended to raise tensions, but acknowledged they are meant to get North Korea’s attention.
The George Washington, one of the biggest ships in the U.S. Navy, is a potent symbol of American military power, with about 5,000 sailors and aviators and the capacity to carry up to 70 planes.
“North Korea may contend that it is a provocation, but I would say the opposite,” he said. “It is a provocation to those who don’t want peace and stability. North Korea doesn’t want this. They know that one of South Korea’s strengths is its alliance with the United States.”
He said that North Korea’s threats to retaliate were being taken seriously.
“There is a lot they can do,” he said. “They have ships, they have subs, they have airplanes. They are a credible threat.”
The exercises are the first in a series of U.S.-South Korean manoeuvres to be conducted in the East Sea off South Korea’s east coast and in the Yellow Sea closer to China’s shores in international waters. The exercises also are the first to employ the F-22 stealth fighter — which can evade North Korean air defences — in South Korea.
South Korea was closely monitoring North Korea’s military but spotted no unusual activity Sunday, the Defence Ministry said.
North Korea, which denies any involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan, warned the United States against holding the drills.
“Our military and people will squarely respond to the nuclear war preparation by the American imperialists and the South Korean puppet regime with our powerful nuclear deterrent,” the North’s government-run Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary Sunday headlined, “We also have nuclear weapons.”
The commentary was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The North’s powerful National Defence Commission issued a similar threat Saturday, saying the country “will start a retaliatory sacred war ... based on nuclear deterrent any time necessary in order to counter the U.S.”
The country’s Foreign Ministry separately said on Saturday that Pyongyang is considering “powerful physical measures” in response to the U.S. military drills and sanctions.
Though the impoverished North has a large conventional military and the capability to build nuclear weapons, it is not believed to have the technology needed to use nuclear devices as warheads.
North Korea has been in increasingly difficult diplomatic straits since the Cheonan incident.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on Wednesday, after visiting the Demilitarised Zone dividing the two Koreas, that the U.S. would slap new sanctions on the North to stifle its nuclear ambitions and punish it for the Cheonan sinking.
On Friday, the European Union said it, too, would consider new sanctions on North Korea.
Related News

DTN News: Pakistan Spy Service Aids Insurgents, Reports Assert

Defense News: DTN News: Pakistan Spy Service Aids Insurgents, Reports Assert
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, U.S. - July 25, 2010: Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harbored strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington for its help combating the militants, according to a trove of secret military field reports to be made public Sunday.
The documents, to be made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.
Taken together, the reports indicate that American soldiers on the ground are inundated with accounts of a network of Pakistani assets and collaborators that runs from the Pakistani tribal belt along the Afghan border, through southern Afghanistan, and all the way to the capital, Kabul.
Much of the information — raw intelligence and threat assessments gathered from the field in Afghanistan— cannot be verified and likely comes from sources aligned with Afghan intelligence, which considers Pakistan an enemy, and paid informants. Some describe plots for attacks that do not appear to have taken place.
But many of the reports rely on sources that the military rated as reliable.
While current and former American officials interviewed could not corroborate individual reports, they said that the portrait of the spy agency’s collaboration with the Afghan insurgency was broadly consistent with other classified intelligence.
Some of the reports describe Pakistani intelligence working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks. Experts cautioned that although Pakistan’s militant groups and Al Qaeda work together, directly linking the Pakistani spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, with Al Qaeda is difficult.
The records also contain firsthand accounts of American anger at Pakistan’s unwillingness to confront insurgents who launched attacks near Pakistani border posts, moved openly by the truckload across the frontier, and retreated to Pakistani territory for safety.
The behind-the-scenes frustrations of soldiers on the ground and glimpses of what appear to be Pakistani skullduggery contrast sharply with the frequently rosy public pronouncements of Pakistan as an ally by American officials, looking to sustain a drone campaign over parts of Pakistani territory to strike at Qaeda havens. Administration officials also want to keep nuclear-armed Pakistan on their side to safeguard NATO supplies flowing on routes that cross Pakistan to Afghanistan.
This month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in one of the frequent visits by American officials to Islamabad, announced $500 million in assistance and called the United States and Pakistan “partners joined in common cause.”
The reports suggest, however, the Pakistani military has acted as both ally and enemy, as its spy agency runs what American officials have long suspected is a double game — appeasing certain American demands for cooperation while angling to exert influence in Afghanistan through many of the same insurgent networks that the Americans are fighting to eliminate.
Behind the scenes, both Bush and Obama administration officials as well as top American commanders have confronted top Pakistani military officers with accusations of ISI complicity in attacks in Afghanistan, and even presented top Pakistani officials with lists of ISI and military operatives believed to be working with militants.
Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said that Pakistan had been an important ally in the battle against militant groups, and that Pakistani soldiers and intelligence officials had worked alongside the United States to capture or kill Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
Still, he said that the “status quo is not acceptable,” and that the havens for militants in Pakistan “pose an intolerable threat” that Pakistan must do more to address.
“The Pakistani government — and Pakistan’s military and intelligence services — must continue their strategic shift against violent extremist groups within their borders,” he said. American military support to Pakistan would continue, he said.
Several Congressional officials said that despite repeated requests over the years for information about Pakistani support for militant groups, they usually receive vague and inconclusive briefings from the Pentagon and C.I.A.
Nonetheless, senior lawmakers say they have no doubt that Pakistan is aiding insurgent groups. “The burden of proof is on the government of Pakistan and the ISI to show they don’t have ongoing contacts,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat on the Armed Services Committee who visited Pakistan this month and said he and Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee chairman, confronted Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, yet again over the allegations.
Such accusations are usually met with angry denials, particularly by the Pakistani military, which insists that the ISI severed its remaining ties to the groups years ago. An ISI spokesman in Islamabad said Sunday that the agency would have no comment until it saw the documents.
The man the United States has depended on for cooperation in fighting the militants and who holds most power in Pakistan, the head of the army, Gen. Parvez Ashfaq Kayani, ran the ISI from 2004 to 2007, a period from which many of the reports are drawn. American officials have frequently praisedGeneral Kayani for what they say are his efforts to purge the military of officers with ties to militants.
American officials have described Pakistan’s spy service as a rigidly hierarchical organization that has little tolerance for “rogue” activity. But Pakistani military officials give the spy service’s “S Wing” — which runs external operations against the Afghan government and India — broad autonomy, a buffer that allows top military officials deniability.
American officials have rarely uncovered definitive evidence of direct ISI involvement in a major attack. But in July 2008, the C.I.A.’s deputy director,Stephen R. Kappes, confronted Pakistani officials with evidence that the ISI helped plan the deadly suicide bombing of India’s Embassy in Kabul.
From the current trove, one report shows that Polish intelligence warned of a complex attack against the Indian Embassy a week before that bombing, though the attackers and their methods differed. The ISI was not named in the report warning of the attack. Read the Document »
Another, dated August 2008, identifies a colonel in the ISI plotting with a Taliban official to assassinate President Hamid Karzai. The report says there was no information about how or when this would be carried out. The account could not be verified.
General Linked to Militants
Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul ran the ISI from 1987 to 1989, a time when Pakistani spies and the C.I.A. joined forces to run guns and money to Afghan militias who were battling Soviet troops in Afghanistan. After the fighting stopped, he maintained his contacts with the former mujahedeen, who would eventually transform themselves into the Taliban.
And more than two decades later, it appears that General Gul is still at work. The documents indicate that he has worked tirelessly to reactivate his old networks, employing familiar allies like Jaluluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose networks of thousands of fighters are responsible for waves of violence in Afghanistan.
General Gul is mentioned so many times in the reports, if they are to be believed, that it seems unlikely that Pakistan’s current military and intelligence officials could not know of at least some of his wide-ranging activities.
For example, one intelligence report describes him meeting with a group of militants in Wana, the capital of South Waziristan, in January 2009. There, he met with three senior Afghan insurgent commanders and three “older” Arab men, presumably representatives of Al Qaeda, who the report suggests were important “because they had a large security contingent with them.” Read the Document »
The gathering was designed to hatch a plan to avenge the death of “Zamarai,” the nom de guerre of Osama al-Kini, who had been killed days earlier by a C.I.A. drone attack. Mr. Kini had directed Qaeda operations in Pakistan and had spearheaded some of the group’s most devastating attacks.
The plot hatched in Wana that day, according to the report, involved driving a dark blue Mazda truck rigged with explosives from South Waziristan to Afghanistan’s Paktika Province, a route well known to be used by the insurgents to move weapons, suicide bombers and fighters from Pakistan.
In a show of strength, the Taliban leaders approved a plan to send 50 Arab and 50 Waziri fighters to Ghazni Province in Afghanistan, the report said.
General Gul urged the Taliban commanders to focus their operations inside Afghanistan in exchange for Pakistan turning “a blind eye” to their presence in Pakistan’s tribal areas. It was unclear whether the attack was ever executed.
The United States has pushed the United Nations to put General Gul on a list of international terrorists, and top American officials said they believed he was an important link between active-duty Pakistani officers and militant groups.
General Gul, who says he is retired and lives on his pension, dismissed the allegations as “absolute nonsense,” by telephone from his home in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani Army keeps its headquarters. “I have had no hand in it.” He added: “American intelligence is pulling cotton wool over your eyes.”
Senior Pakistani officials consistently deny that General Gul still works at the ISI’s behest, though several years ago, after mounting American complaints, Pakistan’s president at the time, Pervez Musharraf, was forced publicly to acknowledge the possibility that former ISI officials were assisting the Afghan insurgency.
Despite his denials, General Gul makes television appearances and keeps close ties to his former employers. When a reporter visited General Gul this spring for an interview at his home, the former spy master canceled the appointment. According to his son, he had to attend meetings at army headquarters.
Suicide Bomber Network
The reports also chronicle efforts by ISI officers to run the networks of suicide bombers that emerged as a sudden, terrible force in Afghanistan in 2006.
The detailed reports indicate that American officials had a relatively clear understanding of how the suicide networks presumably functioned, even if some of the threats did not materialize. It is impossible to know why the attacks never came off — either they were thwarted, the attackers shifted targets, or the reports were deliberately planted as Taliban disinformation.
One report, from Dec. 18, 2006, describes a cyclical process to develop the suicide bombers. First, the suicide attacker is recruited and trained in Pakistan. Then, reconnaissance and operational planning gets under way, including scouting to find a place for “hosting” the suicide bomber near the target before carrying out the attack. The network, it says, receives help from the Afghan police and the Ministry of Interior. Read the Document »
In many cases, the reports are complete with names and ages of bombers, as well as license plate numbers, but the Americans gathering the intelligence struggle to accurately portray many other details, introducing sometimes comical renderings of places and Taliban commanders.
In one case, a report rated by the American military as credible states that a gray Toyota Corolla had been loaded with explosives between the Afghan border and Landik Hotel, in Pakistan, apparently a mangled reference to Landi Kotal, in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The target of the plot, however, is a real hotel in downtown Kabul, the Ariana.
“It is likely that ISI may be involved as supporter of this attack,” reads a comment in the report. Several of the reports describe current and former ISI operatives, including General Gul, visiting madrassas near the city of Peshawar, a gateway to the tribal areas, to recruit new fodder for suicide bombings.
One report, labeled a “real threat warning” because of its detail and the reliability of its source, described how commanders of Mr. Hekmatyar’s insurgent group, Hezb-i-Islami, ordered the delivery of a suicide bomber from the Hashimiye madrassa, run by Afghans. Read the Document »
The boy was to be used in an attack on American or NATO vehicles in Kabul during the Muslim Festival of Sacrifices that opened Dec. 31, 2006. According to the report, the boy was taken to the Afghan city of Jalalabad to buy a car for the bombing, and was later brought to Kabul. It was unclear whether the attack took place.
The documents indicate that the these types of activities continued throughout last year. From July to October 2009, nine threat reports detailed movements by Taliban suicide bombers from Pakistan into populated areas of Afghanistan, including Kandahar, Kunduz and Kabul.
Some of the bombers were sent to disrupt Afghanistan’s presidential elections, held last August. In other instances, American intelligence learned that the Haqqani network sent bombers at the ISI’s behest to strike Indian officials, development workers and engineers in Afghanistan. Other plots were aimed at the Afghan government.
Sometimes the intelligence documents twin seemingly credible detail with plots that seem fantastical or utterly implausible assertions. For instance, one report describes an ISI plan to use a remote-controlled bomb disguised as a golden Koran to assassinate Afghan government officials. Another report documents an alleged plot by the ISI and Taliban to ship poisoned alcoholic beverages to Afghanistan to kill American troops.
But the reports also charge that the ISI directly helped organize Taliban offensives at key junctures of the war. On June 19, 2006, ISI operatives allegedly met with the Taliban leaders in Quetta, the city in southern Pakistan where American and other Western officials have long believed top Taliban leaders have been given refuge by the Pakistani authorities.
At the meeting, according to the report, they pressed the Taliban to mount attacks on Maruf, a district of Kandahar that lies along the Pakistani border.
The planned offensive would be carried out primarily by Arabs and Pakistanis, the report said, and a Taliban commander, “Akhtar Mansoor,” warned that the men should be prepared for heavy losses. “The foreigners agreed to this operation and have assembled 20 4x4 trucks to carry the fighters into areas in question,” it said.
While the specifics about the foreign fighters and the ISI are difficult to verify, the Taliban did indeed mount an offensive to seize control in Maruf in 2006.
Afghan government officials and Taliban fighters have widely acknowledged that the offensive was led by the Taliban commander Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, who was then the Taliban shadow governor of Kandahar.
Mullah Mansour tried to claw out a base for himself inside Afghanistan, but just as the report quotes him predicting, the Taliban suffered heavy losses and eventually pulled back.
Another report goes on to describe detailed plans for a large-scale assault, timed for September 2007, aimed at the American forward operating base in Managi, in Kunar Province.
“It will be a five-pronged attack consisting of 83-millimeter artillery, rockets, foot soldiers, and multiple suicide bombers,” it says.
It is not clear that the attack ever came off, but its planning foreshadowed another, seminal attack that came months later, in July 2008.
At that time, about 200 Taliban insurgents nearly overran an American base in Wanat, in Nuristan, killing nine American soldiers. For the Americans, it was one of the highest single-day tolls of the war.
Tensions With Pakistan
The flood of reports of Pakistani complicity in the insurgency has at times led to barely disguised tensions between American and Pakistani officers on the ground.
Meetings at border outposts set up to develop common strategies to seal the frontier and disrupt Taliban movements reveal deep distrust among the Americans of their Pakistani counterparts.
On Feb. 7, 2007, American officers met with Pakistani troops on a dry riverbed to discuss the borderlands surrounding Afghanistan’s Khost Province.
According to notes from the meeting, the Pakistanis portrayed their soldiers as conducting around-the-clock patrols. Asked if he expected a violent spring, a man identified in the report as Lt. Col. Bilal, the Pakistani officer in charge, said no. His troops were in firm control.
The Americans were incredulous. Their record noted that there had been a 300 percent increase in militant activity in Khost before the meeting.
“This comment alone shows how disconnected this particular group of leadership is from what is going on in reality,” the notes said.
The Pakistanis told the Americans to contact them if they spotted insurgent activity along the border. “I doubt this would do any good,” the American author of the report wrote, “because PAKMIL/ISI is likely involved with the border crossings.” “PAKMIL” refers to the Pakistani military.
A year earlier, the Americans became so frustrated at the increase in roadside bombs in Afghanistan that they hand-delivered folders with names, locations, aerial photographs and map coordinates to help the Pakistani military hunt down the militants the Americans believed were responsible.
Nothing happened, wrote Col. Barry Shapiro, an American military liaison officer with experience in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, after an Oct. 13, 2006, meeting.
“Despite the number of reports and information detailing the concerns,” Colonel Shapiro wrote, “we continue to see no change in the cross-border activity and continue to see little to no initiative along the PAK border” by Pakistan troops. The Pakistani Army “will only react when asked to do so by U.S. forces,” he concluded.
*This article is by Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt and Andrew W. Lehren. & link to this here.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
Disclaimer statement
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Afghanistan War Logs - Massive Leak Of Secret Files Exposes Truth Of Occupation

Defense News: DTN News: Afghanistan War Logs - Massive Leak Of Secret Files Exposes Truth Of Occupation
Source: Nick Davies and David Leigh -, Sunday 25 July 2010 22.03 BST
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - July 25, 2010: A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.
The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and over 1,000 US troops.
Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama's "surge" strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US navy sailors captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.
The war logs also detail:
• How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.
• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles. • How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.
• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of its roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.
In a statement, the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Obama's predecessor, saying: "It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009."
The White House also criticised the publication of the files by Wikileaks: "We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."
The logs detail, in sometimes harrowing vignettes, the toll on civilians exacted by coalition forces: events termed "blue on white" in military jargon. The logs reveal 144 such incidents. Some of these casualties come from the controversial air strikes that have led to Afghan government protests in the past, but a large number of previously unknown incidents also appear to be the result of troops shooting unarmed drivers or motorcyclists out of a determination to protect themselves from suicide bombers. At least 195 civilians are admitted to have been killed and 174 wounded in total, although this is likely to be an underestimate because many disputed incidents are omitted from the daily snapshots reported by troops on the ground and then collated, sometimes erratically, by military intelligence analysts.
Bloody errors at civilians' expense, as recorded in the logs, include the day French troops strafed a bus full of children in 2008, wounding eight. A US patrol similarly machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing 15 of its passengers, and in 2007 Polish troops mortared a village, killing a wedding party including a pregnant woman, in an apparent revenge attack.
Questionable shootings of civilians by British troops also figure. The American compilers detail an unusual cluster of four British shootings in the streets of Kabul within the space of barely a single month, in October/November 2007, culminating in the killing of the son of an Afghan general. Of one shooting, they wrote: "Investigation is controlled by the British. We not able [sic] to get the complete story."
A second cluster of similar shootings, all involving Royal Marine commandos in the ferociously contested Helmand province, took place in a six-month period at the end of 2008. Asked by the Guardian about these allegations, the Ministry of Defence said: "We have been unable to corroborate these claims in the short time available and it would be inappropriate to speculate on specific cases without further verification of the alleged actions."
Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: "These files bring to light what's been a consistent trend by US and NATO forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I've investigated in recent months where this is still not happening. Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way US and NATO do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians."
The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war. Most of the material, although classified "secret" at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication in the Guardian because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets. Wikileaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, obtained the material in circumstances he will not discuss, also says it redacted harmful material before posting the bulk of the data on its own "uncensorable" series of global servers.
Wikileaks published in April this year a previously suppressed classified video of US Apache helicopters killing two Reuters cameramen on the streets of Baghdad, which gained international attention. A 22-year-old intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, was arrested in Iraq and charged with leaking the video, but not with leaking the latest material. The Pentagon's criminal investigations department continues to try to trace the leaks and recently unsuccessfully asked Assange, he says, to meet them outside the US to help them.
Assange allowed the Guardian to examine the war logs at our request. No fee was involved and Wikileaks has not been involved in the preparation of the Guardian's articles.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
Disclaimer statement
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
More on Afghanistan: the war logs
*White House attacks Pakistan over Taliban aid
More than 180 files detail accusations that the ISI spy agency has supplied, armed and trained insurgents since 2004
Task Force 373 – special forces hunting top Taliban

DTN News: Peru Clinches $250 Million Deal To Buy 8 Russian Helicopters

Defense News: DTN News: Peru Clinches $250 Million Deal To Buy 8 Russian Helicopters
Source: DTN News / Ria Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 25, 2010: The Peruvian Defense Ministry and Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport have signed a contract for the sale of eight Russian-built helicopters to the South American country, the Russian company said on Friday.
It said the contract for the delivery of six Mi-171Sh Hip transport and two Mi-35P Hind attack helicopters was signed on Thursday in Lima.
The Russian agency said deliveries would start later this year and would be completed in 2011.
According to some media reports, the deal is worth $250 million.
Peruvian Defense Minister Rafael Rey was quoted as saying that the helicopters were to support military operations "in the fight against narcoterrorism."
Peru is one of South America's main cocaine producers along with Bolivia and Columbia.
The helicopters are expected to be used to fight with "drug terrorism" in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene River. The area was declared a zone of military operations in August 2009 as fighting between the government troops and the Shining Path Maoist guerilla group intensified.
Shining Path is believed to have strong ties with drug traffickers. The group is on the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist organizations.

DTN News: India Steals Limelight At Farnborough Air Show

Defense News: DTN News: India Steals Limelight At Farnborough Air Show
Source: DTN News - - this article / report compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources
(NSI News Source Info) FARNBOROUGH, England- July 25, 2010: Embarked on a spree of defence and commercial aviation deals, India was clearly in the limelight at the Farnborough International Air Show 2010 and the coming months may see increased efforts by foreign firms to woo the country.
Summing up the air show, Mike Alvis, executive vice president of the American defence technology supplier ITT Defense International said at a press conference: "We're seeing unbelievable demand from India. There's a lot of willingness to spend on defence." Western firms are seeing India as the biggest spender among emerging economies.
The impression is backed by ongoing deals which were talked about at the air show like the C-17 military transport planes and Dreamline 787 passenger craft from Boeing, the Hawk fighter jets from British defence group BAE Systems and military equipment from ITT Corp.
These firms are also keenly awaiting India's choice of supplier for its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal for the supply of 126 aircraft to augment the Indian Air Force.
Of the six firms short-listed, five are from the US and Europe, the sixth being a Russian firm. Defence deals are on top of the agenda as British Prime Minister David Cameron visits India next week, more so because of Britain slashing defence spending and looking for increased exports.
British Trade and Industry spokesman Adam Thomas said at the air show: "We see huge opportunities from emerging markets. We have a global market share of close to 20 percent and we have been bringing delegates from as many countries as possible to Farnborough."
Cameron will have in mind the fact that one of the competitors for the MMRCA deal is the Eurotyphoon fighter, manufactured by EADS, a consortium of which BAE is a partner.
But the immediate British deal relates to the Hawk jets. BAE Systems hopes to sign a deal to supply more Hawk trainer jets to India, building on an established partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
BAE is also interested in selling the Type-26 Frigate.
BAE's group business development director Alan Garwood said his company "is close to sealing" the Hawk deal. The Americans too seemed enthusiastic about growing defence ties with India at the air show.
An American arms supplier, Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, who was at the air show, commented on Indo-US ties: "The relationship is at the best and highest level it's been." Christopher Chadwick, president of Boeing military aircraft - which too has a stake in India's MMRCA deal - said India was interested in buying more than the 10 C-17 planes already planned.
The C-17 Globemaster deal at approximately 3.8 billion pounds is the largest Indo-US deal ever, overtaking the 1.4 billion-pound contract for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft inked last year.
Russia, whose Ilyushin Il-76 transporters the C-17s will eventually replace, sought to downplay the impression that its deals with India were drying up.
At a briefing at the Russian stall, Alexander Mikheiev, deputy director of the Russian agency Rosoboronexport announced details of the deal involving the fifth generation Russian fighter, T-50.
"I can confirm that an addendum to the agreement on developing an engine for fifth generation fighter will be signed before the end of the year," he said.
The Russians indicated the special efforts being taken to retain India's partnership by diversifying to commercial aviation.
Igor Pshenichny, first deputy executive director for marketing and sales at Russian Helicopters -- which is selling four commercial machines to an Indian company -- said: "As to the commercial market for us it's a practically new market."
"We have several commercial helicopter operators there, but it's not a big quantity for such a big and huge economically developing country as India. So we are putting additional emphasis on this market now," he added.

DTN News: U.S., Israel Close To Deal On F-35 Fighters

Defense News: DTN News: U.S., Israel Close To Deal On F-35 Fighters
Source: DTN News - - this article / report compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) FARNBOROUGH, England - July 25, 2010: The United States and Israel are days away from reaching an agreement on the sale of 19 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, which would be the first foreign military sale of the new warplane.
"The ball is in their court," Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, who heads the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told media at the Farnborough Airshow.
"I am waiting for them to make a decision any day," said Wieringa, who is retiring at the end of the month.
Lockheed declined comment on the status of the arms deal, since it will be concluded between the U.S. and Israeli governments, but said the fact that Israel wants to buy the new F-35 fighter underscored global confidence in the jet.
Analysts say the deal is worth about $3 billion.
"When they select F-35, we believe it's a testimony to the capabilities of the jet," Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 business development, told Reuters, noting that Israel faces some formidable security challenges.
Lockheed said it is close to reaching an agreement with the U.S. government on procurement of a fourth batch of 32 F-35 fighters, and a deal could come "any day."
Company officials, speaking in interviews and at a news conference, underscored their commitment to working with the Pentagon to continue driving down the cost of the F-35 program -- at over $300 billion the biggest weapons program in history.
O'Bryan said the contract for the fourth batch of airplanes would be 20 percent lower than that of the previous batch of fighters, and half the price of the first batch.
"We think the early signs are encouraging, but there's a lot of work to do," O'Bryan said.
Israel would be the first foreign country to sign an agreement to buy the F-35 outside the eight international partners that have helped develop the plane.
The deal has been in negotiations since September 2008, when the Pentagon first approved the sale of 25 fighters with an option for 50 more in coming years.
News of the imminent Israeli deal comes less than a week after Canada, one of the eight development partners, announced that it will buy 65 new fighter jets from Lockheed for C$9 billion ($8.6 billion).
Lockheed is developing the new F-35 fighter in cooperation with Canada and seven other partner countries: Turkey, Britain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands.
O'Bryan said both deals were good news for cost-cutting efforts on the $300-billion-plus arms program, since they would increase the economies of scale for the program, which includes many automated production facilities.
Wieringa said the agreement had strong support from top Pentagon and Obama administration officials, who view arms sales as "part and parcel" of U.S. national security policy.
He declined to give any details on what specific radars and other equipment would be included with the F-35 fighters to be sold to Israel, which had expressed concerns early on about lacking access to some critical technologies for the plane.
One source familiar with the discussions said that in the end Israel had been satisfied with the level of technology included in the agreement.
Singapore, Japan and South Korea are also considering buying the Lockheed F-35 fighter to modernize their air forces.
O'Bryan said the United States has also given classified briefings to other countries interested in the F-35 fighter, including Greece and Belgium. Finland and Spain are also interested in the new warplane, he said.