Saturday, July 31, 2010

DTN News: Venezuela Deploys Military Units In Colombia Row

Defense News: DTN News: Venezuela Deploys Military Units In Colombia Row
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources including Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) CARACAS, Venezuela- July 31, 2010: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday said he deployed military units to repel a possible attack after Colombia claimed last week his country harbored leftist rebels, but said he hoped to mend ties soon.
Chavez severed relations with U.S. ally Colombia last week over Bogota's charges his oil exporting country allowed Colombian guerrillas to stay in camps.
He has since said Colombia was preparing a military attack. Colombia denies the charge, and most analysts say a war between the countries is very unlikely.
"I should tell you we have deployed units to defend our sovereignty in case of an aggression, air defense units, air units, infantry, special operations," Chavez said in a phone call to a state TV station, adding that a Colombian aircraft had violated Venezuela airspace for five minutes this week.
"We don't want to hurt anybody. We don't want to cause alarm in the population," said Chavez, who has seized on the dispute with Colombia to rally supporters ahead of parliamentary elections on September 26.
This week Venezuelan soldiers visited sites Colombia says are established military bases, but they found only derelict buildings, Chavez said. In one case, the coordinate given by Colombia led soldiers to a rock in a river, he said.
"Last night I said to the guys, "lift the rock," sure it's not a big stone, but you never know, there might be a tunnel," he said. "Maybe under the stone there is a tunnel and a camp, Vietnam-style."
On Sunday he threatened to cut oil supplies to the United States, who he says is behind the alleged plan to invade, in case of military aggression from Colombia. The threat is a common one for Chavez, but he has never followed through and oil and debt markets shrugged off the news.
The socialist leader said he believed the outgoing conservative government of President Alvaro Uribe, who he described as "obsessed," might still attack Venezuela, but said his Foreign Minister will meet with Colombia's new government, which takes office on August 7.
Close Uribe ally Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister who will become president next week, wants to improve relations with Venezuela because the festering dispute has cost Colombia billions of dollars in lost trade.
Chavez did not say where he had sent the forces, or how many were deployed. Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez on Thursday promised no attack was planned.
Two years ago, Chavez ordered tanks to the border in protest at a Colombian bombing raid on a guerrilla base in Ecuador. It was never clear if the tanks were mobilized.
A former soldier, Chavez says he would not launch an offensive against another country, but has spent billions retooling his armed forces because he says the OPEC nation is vulnerable to a U.S.-backed invasion.
Venezuela has proposed a wide-reaching peace plan to end Colombia's four-decade civil war, saying it is a victim of violent groups that spill over the border. Uribe has wanted Chavez to take action against guerrillas he say launch dozens of attacks from Venezuela.
Chavez denies his government supports the rebels, but says he cannot take sides in the Colombia's war. He also recognizes that much of Venezuela's 1,375-mile (2,200-km) border with Colombia is porous and vulnerable.

DTN News: US Chopper Down In Afghanistan

Defense News: DTN News: US Chopper Down In Afghanistan
Source: DTN News / Press TV
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - July 31, 2010: A US helicopter has crashed in northeastern Afghanistan as the death toll of foreign forces in the volatile country continues to set new records.
The US Air Force chopper went down in the Afghan province of Kunar on Saturday, a Press TV correspondent reported. The US military's press office in Kunar said the helicopter made an emergency landing in the area due to technical failures.
It added that a number of soldiers have been injured in the incident.
The US-led alliance did not provide further details about the crash and it still remains unclear how many people were aboard the chopper.
Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed they shot the helicopter down by an RPG rocket. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said all forces onboard have been killed.
The Taliban have reportedly shot down several NATO helicopters over the past months in different parts of Afghanistan.
The latest incident comes as July has become the deadliest month for American forces stationed in war-torn Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001.
*This article "US Chopper Down In Afghanistan - Press TV" & link to read in originality here.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:

DTN News: Iran To Unveil New Defense Projects

Defense News: DTN News: Iran To Unveil New Defense Projects
Source: DTN News / Press TV
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - July 31, 2010: Iran's defense minister says by inaugurating dozens of defense projects, Tehran will respond to the sanctions imposed against the country.
Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi vowed to give a practical response to enemy-imposed sanctions on August 22, which has been dubbed as the “Defense Industry Day.”
The Iranian general went on to highlight the “strategic and unique role of the defense ministry in developing Iran's defense industry.” The West alleges that Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program -- an allegation denied by Tehran.
On June 9, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted a resolution imposing a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Shortly afterwards the US and EU imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran.
Tehran rejects the sanctions, saying that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency it has the right to the civilian application of nuclear technology.
*This article "Iran To Unveil New Defense Projects - Press TV" & link to read in originality here.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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DTN News: Israeli Airstrike Kills Senior Hamas Rocket Maker

Defense News: DTN News: Israeli Airstrike Kills Senior Hamas Rocket Maker
Source: DTN News / By Ibrahim Barzak
(NSI News Source Info) GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - July 31, 2010: Israeli warplanes fired missiles, killing a senior commander of the Hamas military wing and wounding 11 people in five targets hit across Gaza overnight, the group and the military said Saturday.
The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to a powerful rocket fired from Gaza that hit the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon on Friday, causing damage but no injuries.
Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers said their slain member was Issa Batran, 42, a commander of the groups' military wing in central Gaza and a senior rocket maker.
Batran had survived several previous Israeli attempts to kill him, but his wife and five of his children were killed during Israel's three-week war in Gaza that ended in January 2009.
The cross-border violence came after weeks of relative calm and raised concerns of further escalation.
A Hamas spokesman said the militant group would avenge Batran's killing.
"Hamas will not be quiet over the blood of its martyrs," said Hamad al-Rakabi. "Israel is opening all the gates of fire. This blood will cascade into rage and fire," al-Rakabi said.
Hamas said eight of its supporters and three civilians were also wounded in the overnight airstrikes.
The strikes hit a smuggling tunnel that runs under the Gaza-Egypt border used for smuggling weapons, the military said, as well as Batran's shack in central Gaza, which was likely used to make rockets, and a Hamas military training camp in Gaza City.
Israel's military says more than 400 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza since Israel ended its punishing assault in the Hamas-run coastal area 19 months ago.
The Islamic militants have been building crude rockets for the past decade, and have fired hundreds of them at Israeli border towns.
However, Hamas has largely held its fire since Israel's military offensive against Gaza, and most of the 400 rockets were pelted by smaller militant groups. They were mostly crude, short-range rockets. However in Friday's attack, Ashkelon was hit by a military-grade Grad rocket that can travel longer distances and cause far more damage.
There was no claim of responsibility for the strike on Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 located 11 miles (18 kilometers) to the north of Gaza and a short drive from Israel's main population center in Tel Aviv.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since seizing power in 2007, wresting control from their Fatah rivals of the internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Also Saturday, Israeli forces wounded a Gaza man who strayed near to the large concrete wall separating the two territories.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the man was part of a group that ignored warning shots by soldiers. She said soldiers then fired toward the men's lower bodies to keep them away from the border area. The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations. Israel maintains a system of warning shots, then a shoot-to-kill policy for Palestinians who approach the Gaza-Israel border. The policy was initially created to scare off militants firing rockets close to the sensitive area, but it also endangers impoverished Gazans who frequently haul donkey carts close to the border to gather pebbles, which they later sell to builders to make cement, and to collect scrap metal to recycle.
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DTN News: Pakistan Spy Scraps UK Talks After PM's Comments

Defense News: DTN News: Pakistan Spy Scraps UK Talks After PM's Comments
Source: DTN News / AP By Jill Lawless
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, England - July 31, 2010: A diplomatic spat with implications for international counterterrorism escalated Saturday, when Pakistan's spy chief canceled a visit to London after the British leader suggested that Pakistan exports terrorism.
A senior Pakistani intelligence official confirmed that Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha had called off a trip planned for next week, when he had been due to discuss security cooperation with British intelligence bosses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with his agency's policy.
Prime Minister David Cameron outraged officials in Islamabad when he said during a visit to India that Pakistan must not be allowed to "promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world."
Pakistan insists that it has done more than any other country to combat terrorism, sending the army to fight Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants within its borders and cooperating closely with Western intelligence agencies.
But its Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has long been accused of secretly aiding Afghanistan's Taliban and other Islamic militants.
Pakistan reacted angrily to Cameron's remarks. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's ambassador to Britain, called the comments "an immature reaction from an immature politician."
Cameron later conceded that Pakistan had made moves against terror organizations, but said "it still needs to take further steps."
Pakistan's military-run spy agency operates largely beyond civilian control. But the official said the decision to scrap the spy delegation's visit was backed by the Pakistani government.
Britain's Foreign Office said a visit to Britain by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is still scheduled to go ahead next week. Zardari is due to stay with Cameron at his country retreat, Chequers.
The Foreign Office declined to comment on Pasha's canceled trip, saying it did not discuss intelligence matters.
Britain and the United States regard Pakistan as a key nation in the fight against terrorism. Britain's former prime minister, Gordon Brown, said that 75 percent of terror plots under investigation in Britain were linked to Pakistan.
Britain is home to about 1 million people of Pakistani origin.
Pakistani officials say their spies have worked closely with British counterparts to investigate the 2005 London suicide bombings and to thwart several planned attacks, including a 2006 plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners.
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DTN News: China Invests $40 Billion In Iran oil, Gas; According Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrehkar Shirazi

Defense News: DTN News: China Invests $40 Billion In Iran oil, Gas; According Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrehkar Shirazi
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - July 31, 2010: Iran's main economic partner China has invested around 40 billion dollars in the Islamic republic's oil and gas sector, a senior Iranian official said on Saturday.
Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrehkar Shirazi also said that Tehran's oil exports to China fell by 30 percent in the first six months of 2010 compared with the corresponding period last year.
"The volume (of Chinese investment) in upstream projects is 29 billion dollars," Noqrehkar Shirazi told Mehr news agency, adding that Beijing had signed contracts worth another 10 billion dollars in petrochemicals, refineries and oil and gas pipeline projects.
He said China has also put forward proposals to participate in building seven new refineries in Iran.
Iran, OPEC's second largest oil exporter, has a dilapidated refining sector, forcing it to import petroleum products such as gasoline to meet domestic needs.
Noqrehkar Shirazi said that Chinese imports of Iranian oil fell in the first half of the year.
"Although Iran is still among top 10 oil exporters to China, it is the only country which in the first six months of 2010 has seen its exports to China falling," he said.
"The volume of oil exports to China in the first six months of this year decreased to less than 9.02 million tonnes or 66.12 million barrels. This shows a 30 percent decrease" over the first half of 2009, he added.
In recent years, China has filled the gaps in Iran's energy sector left by Western firms forced out by international sanctions.
In 2009, China became Iran's premier trading partner, with bilateral trade worth 21.2 billion dollars against 14.4 billion dollars three years earlier.
Commercial ties between the two countries were almost non-existent 15 years ago, amounting to just 400 million dollars.
According to official data, Western sanctions opened the way for Chinese companies, which last year directly supplied Iran with 13 percent (7.9 billion dollars) of its imports.
Iranian estimates also suggest that an equivalent amount was imported indirectly through the United Arab Emirates in 2009.
China backed the fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran over its contested nuclear programme, but Beijing has consistently urged the world powers to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
On Friday, it also opposed the latest unilateral sanctions on Iran imposed by the European Union.
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DTN News: Wiki Wiki Leaks - Media Conduct Questionable In WikiLeaks Affair

Defense News: DTN News: Wiki Wiki Leaks - Media Conduct Questionable In WikiLeaks Affair
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources & report / story by Bogdan Kipling is a Canadian journalist in Washington - The Chronicle (
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 31, 2010: If the world were saner, we would know better than to get excited over any orchestrated leak of dark secrets. We would discount Washington’s cathouse promiscuity with the "Top Secret" stamp and mutter something about patients running the insane asylum on reading the Afghanistan papers story the New York Times, the Guardian in London, or Der Spiegel in Germany published last Sunday.
The troika disclosed nothing new about the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgents and Pakistan’s alleged double-dealing.
In that sense, the hot papers are like the CIA microfiche I bought at a National Press Club documents sale some yeas ago. It was an "eyes only" report informing President Eisenhower that George Diefenbaker had won the 1958 election, including the source of the information: "Canadian Press and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation."
Nothing quite so funny and so revealing has come over my transom since then — and that is a pity. Whipping up such froth is fun, and readers love it.
The Afghanistan papers story may be hollow but it is not funny. It raises questions about journalism and concerted political action and which is which. If it is the latter, why not declare it? But if newspapering is still the game, what happened to the abhorrence of being sued?
What I see here is a joke on the news side and severe damage to confidence on the part of America’s allies. Why should Canada’s secret service trust American services to keep shared secrets? And what’s true for Canada is true for all America’s allies in the world.
Why have three serious news organizations decided to lend their simultaneous media power to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks blog? Mr. Assange is a self-described "madman of hacking." If this is a certificate of maturity, then there is no such thing as recklessness with access where life-and-death decisions are made.
Disapproving or approving of a war is everybody’s right in a free society. But it gives pause that these eminent news organizations agreed to sit on the information — such as it is — until a chap much given to self-promotion was ready to set off his big bang.
Mr. Assange says Americans and all their foreign allies must get out of Afghanistan. Many Americans agree with him — and so do Canadians, Britons, Germans, Poles and others in the vast military alliance fighting al Qaida and the Taliban.
That people in Afghanistan and Pakistan want to see the end of the war is so obvious it is embarrassing to mention it. They are at the receiving end of missiles, bombs, grenades and bullets. They want the shooting to be somewhere else even when they see the war as their own liberation.
Mr. Assange would talk to the Taliban to end the war. He sees the Americans as aggressors and condemns their killing of civilians. He is less outspoken about the murders of innocent people that the Taliban al Qaida commit, but then, the activist crowd regularly hates only one villain.
Seeing as I am talking about a mad world where anything can happen, maybe Mr. Assange is promoting peace with the Taliban for Big Gas and its pipelines.
Ahmed Rashid’s definitive book "Taliban — Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia," put the seed of this idea in my head. The author says his book "has been 21 years in the writing — about as long as I have covered Afghanistan as a reporter."
Washington, he writes, has "strongly backed" Unocal, an American energy company, "to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan across Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
He says when the Taliban captured Kabul in September 1996, Unocal executive Chris Taggert "told wire agencies that the pipeline project would be easier to implement" now that the Taliban are in the saddle.
Mr. Rashid reminds us that the State Department announced "within hours" of Kabul’s capture by the Taliban, that the United States would establish diplomatic relations with the new rulers.
Their crimes against Afghan women caused some delays, but diplomacy had to move on — and it did. The Taliban foreign minister talked pipelines in the State Department while President Clinton pounded Osama bin Laden’s camps in his country.
In a mad world, it is easy to imagine that Mr. Assange works for Big Gas and its pipelines and coddles the Taliban as the chaps you can do business with.
*This article "Media Conduct Questionable In WikiLeaks Affair - The Chronicle " & link to read in originality here.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: