Archive for the ‘ISS’ Category

Mumbai: Pakistan Offers Joint Investigation and Cooperation

December 2, 2008

Pakistan offered Tuesday to work hand-in-hand with India to track down those responsible for the Mumbai attacks but declined to respond immediately to a demand that it hand over 20 terrorist suspects.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi suggested setting up a “joint investigation mechanism” into the assaults, which left 188 dead.

As tensions mounted between the nuclear-armed neighbours over the siege of India’s financial capital, India demanded that Pakistan arrest and extradite the list of terror suspects.

But Qureshi did not respond to the handover request.

Among the suspects was Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group that has been accused of carrying out last week’s dramatic assault on Mumbai.

Pakistan’s prime minister said his government wanted proof of India’s allegation that all the attackers were Pakistanis.

CNN and other US networks reported that the United States had warned India in October hotels and business centres in Mumbai would be targeted by attackers coming from the sea.

One US intelligence official had named the Taj Mahal hotel, one of 10 sites hit in the 60-hour siege by gunmen, as a specific target, ABC television said.

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Pakistan’s Government, Military At Odds?

December 2, 2008

A rift has opened up between the Pakistani government and army in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Dawn newspaper reported there had been “clear differences in perception” when army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met President Asif Ali Zardar Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, is seen in a Friday, June ... 
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The most visible evidence of the gulf occurred when Mr Zardari promised India the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate would visit India to help with the investigation into the attack.

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad
The Telegraph (UK)

Less than 24-hours later the decision was revoked and the government announced that a more junior ISI officer would fly to India. It is now doubtful whether any official will go.

Gen Kiyani had previously pledged to weed out pro-jihadi elements and reform the agency but the u-turn revived the question of whether the ISI has really been brought to heel.

General Kiyani

It was similar to an incident in August when Mr Gilani announced on the eve of a trip to Washington last month that the ISI had been brought under the control of the interior minister. He retracted the statement at 3am that night.

According to US and Indian intelligence officials, Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit formed by the ISI in the 1990s to fight in Indian-held Kashmir, is the main suspect for carrying out the attacks.

One military official said: “Yes, there is a trust deficit on many issues and both are not showing their cards to each other.”

The distrust between the army and the government dates back to before the Bombay attacks, as the two sides have disagreed over how to conduct the “war on terror’ and reform the ISI.

Pakistan has spent half of its existence under military rule and the latest dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, resigned as president in September after spending eight years in power.

Gen Kiyani has since announced the military’s withdrawal from politics but it remains a strong influence on all major decisions ranging from foreign policy to the economy.

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Mumbai Terror Attack: Why Wasn’t Intelligence Better?

November 29, 2008

It is the big question: Could more have been done to prevent the Mumbai massacre?

While terrorism experts say Indian special forces performed with remarkable bravery and professionalism in their battle with the terrorists, they believe the attacks should — and could — have been thwarted by better intelligence.

Professor Paul Wilkinson lectures in international relations at the University of St. Andrews and is joint editor of the academic journal Terrorism and Political Violence.

SKY News (UK)

He told Sky News: “We have to accept there was an intelligence failure. They should have nipped this in the bud but it wasn’t on their radar. Intelligence doesn’t come out of this very well. This was a major operation with lots of people involved. It wasn’t just a cell; there were teams of gunmen — lots of well trained people. A large number of people must have been in the know about this attack.”

Former SAS trooper Robin Horsfall, who took part in the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980, also believes the international intelligence community should have known the attacks were being planned.

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Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the ... 
Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Commandos Saturday killed the last remaining gunmen in Mumbai’s Taj hotel to end a devastating attack by Islamic militants on India’s financial capital that left 195 dead, including 27 foreigners.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

Pakistan Withdraws Offer To Send Security Chief to India To Assist In Mumbai Investigation

November 29, 2008

Pakistan on Saturday withdrew an offer to send its spy chief to India to help investigate the Mumbai terrorist attacks, damaging efforts to head off a crisis between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian officials have linked the attacks to “elements” in Pakistan, raising the prospect of a breakdown in painstaking peace talks between South Asian rivals that has alarmed the U.S.

An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal ... 
An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal hotel as Indian troops and militants battle in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at the luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India’s financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that rocked the nation.(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

However, Washington also kept up the pressure on Pakistan with a suspected missile strike on an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border that reportedly killed two people.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted on Friday that his country was not involved in the carnage that left more than 190 people dead in India’s financial capital.

With Pakistan promising to help identify and apprehend those responsible, Gilani‘s office said the head of the Inter Services Intelligence agency would go to India at the request of India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

However, Zahid Bashir, a spokesman for Gilani, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the decision had been changed and that a lower-ranking intelligence official would travel instead.

He declined to explain the about-face, which followed sharp criticism from some Pakistani opposition politicians and a cool response from the army, which controls the spy agency.

Bashir didn’t say who would be making the trip or when.

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Mumbai Terrorism: U.S. Intelligence Focuses on Pakistani Group

November 28, 2008

American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Friday there was mounting evidence that a Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for the deadly attacks in Mumbai.

From the New York Times
By Mark Mazzetti

The American officials cautioned that they had reached no hard conclusions about who was responsible for the operation, nor on how it had been planned and carried out. Nevertheless, they said that evidence gathered over the past two days has pointed to a role for Lashkar-e-Taiba, or possibly another Pakistani group focused on Kashmir, Jaish-e-Muhammad.

The American officials insisted on anonymity in describing their current thinking and declined to discuss the intelligence information that they said pointed to Kashmiri militants.

Lashkar-e-Taiba on Thursday denied any responsibility for the terrorist strikes. The group is thought by American intelligence agencies to have received some training and logistical support in the past from Pakistan’s powerful spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, but American officials said Friday that there was no evidence that the Pakistani government had any role in the Mumbai attacks.

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Mumbai: Specter of State Sponsored Terrorism Raised by Diplomat

November 28, 2008

John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, raised the specter of state sponsored terrorism in the Mumbai terror attacks.

Bolton, speaking on the Fox News Channel Friday said envious nations may have acted to stop India’s rise as a global economic power by striking Mumbai with terrorism.

He said the terrorists may have targeted Americans and Britons to strike feat into the U.S. and U.K. business community.

Mumbai is the financial center of India with aspirations of becoming a world economic center like London, Hong Kong or New York.

Bolton said it is well within the rhelm of possibility that Pakistan’s security services were behind the Mumbai attacks but that it would take considerable time to determine the exact cause and source of the terror crimes.

The Inter-Services Intelligence or ISS is a Pakisan military security branch.  Bolton said the ISS would have the capability and perhaps the motivation to sponsor terrorism like that in Mumbai.

John R. Bolton
Above: John Bolton

Pakistan’s terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or possibly another Pakistani group focused on Kashmir, Jaish-e-Muhammad could have supplies the “hit men” for the ISS, another U.S. source told us.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Space Shuttle Astronauts Ready to Fly

November 13, 2008

Tomorrow, the space shuttle Endeavour will rocket into space.  “Space vehicles can be like submarines.  Both are metal tubes, basically,” said the first submariner ever selected as an astronaut in NASA’s manned space flight program, Navy Captain Stephan G. Bowen.  “The difference is,” he told us, “In space the view is better.  In the submarine the food is better.”

Seven NASA astronauts are spending what they hope will be their last day on Earth before launching toward the International Space Station Friday night aboard the shuttle Endeavour.

The five-man, two-woman crew of Endeavour is a mix of spaceflight veterans and first-time flyers, but wholly committed to making vital repairs and delivering new gear to double the station’s occupancy up to six people next year.

Crew members of the space shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-126 ... 
Crew members of the space shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-126 arrive to prepare for launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida November 11, 2008.(Scott Audette/Reuters)

“I think every commander would like to think that he’s got the best crew that was ever assembled to fly a space station mission. I’m no exception,” said Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson in a NASA interview. “These folks are extremely talented, extremely hard-working.”

Endeavour is slated to launch toward the space station Friday at 7:55 p.m. EST (0055 Nov. 15 GMT) on a planned 15-day mission that will span Thanksgiving and the orbital laboratory’s 10th anniversary on Nov. 20.

Taking command

Shuttle commander Chris Ferguson is making his second trip to space on Endeavour’s STS-126 mission, but it’s his first trip in charge. He spent 12 days in space as the pilot for shuttle Atlantis to help deliver new U.S. solar arrays to the station in 2006.

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Veterans Day: American Submariner Zooms Into Space an Astronaut This Week

November 8, 2008

“Space vehicles can be like submarines.  Both are metal tubes, basically,” said the first submariner ever selected as an astronaut in NASA’s manned space flight program, Navy Captain Stephan G. Bowen.  “The difference is,” he told us, “In space the view is better.  In the submarine the food is better.”

This week, Veterans Day week, Captain Bowen is scheduled to serve his country in space aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.


MOSCOW,  (RIA Novosti) – The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour will be launched on November 14 from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the International Space Station, NASA has informed Russia’s space agency.

The spacecraft will lift off at 8:55 p.m. EST (00:55 GMT November 15), to deliver commander Christopher J. Ferguson, pilot Eric A. Boe, specialists Stephen G. Bowen, Robert S. Kimbrough, Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper and NASA astronauts Donald R. Pettit and Sandra H. Magnus to the International Space Station.

Space shuttle Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson, left, answers ...
Space shuttle Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson, left, answers questions during a news conference with pilot Eric Boe, center, and mission specialist Steve Bowen at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies, including equipment needed to enlarge the station’s resident crew to six members, additional exercise equipment, devices for the regenerative life support system and spare hardware.

During their 15-day mission, the astronauts are to conduct four spacewalks and transfer and set up more than seven tons of equipment and supplies inside the orbital laboratory.

This Oct. 28, 2008 file photo shows Space shuttle Endeavour ... 
This Oct. 28, 2008 file photo shows Space shuttle Endeavour crew members, from left, commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Steve Bowen, Sandra Mangnus, Shane Kimbrough, Donald Petit and Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper at a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Endeavour, background, is scheduled for launch on Nov. 14. With a visit to the Hubble Space Telescope off until next spring at the earliest, NASA on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 chose Nov. 14 for its next space shuttle launch, a flight by Endeavour to the international space station.(AP Photo/John Raoux, file)

Captain Stephen G. Bowen, USN

Upon completion of the submarine training pipeline he spent three years attached to USS PARCHE (SSN 683) and completed qualification in Submarines on USS POGY (SSN 647). After attending the MIT/WHOI Joint program in Ocean Engineering he reported to USS AUGUSTA (SSN 710) for duty as the Engineering Officer. During this tour he qualified for command of nuclear powered submarines. In 1997 he reported to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in the Office of Plans and Policy and worked on the USSOCOM Future Concepts Working Group. For 9 months in 1999 he was the Reactor and Propulsion inspector for the Navy’s Submarine Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). In May 2000 he became the first Executive Officer of the Pre-Commissioning Unit VIRGINIA (SSN 774) the first of the new VIRGINIA Class submaine.  Bowen is the first Submarine Officer selected by NASA in July 2000 as a mission specialist. He reported for training at the Johnson Space Center in August 2000. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch. Bowen is assigned to the crew of STS-126 targeted for launch in November 2008. Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies and equipment essential to sustain a crew of six on the International Space Station, including additional crew quarters, a regenerative life support system, and a Resistive Exercise Device (RED).

USS Pogy

Shuttle docks with space station

March 13, 2008
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Endeavour pulled up to the international space station and docked Wednesday, kicking off almost two weeks of demanding construction work.

This image provided by NASA shows the cargo bay of the Space ...
This image provided by NASA shows the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Endeavour where the logistics module for the Japanese Kibo laboratory awaits being added to the growing International Space Station. Space shuttle Endeavour closed in on the international space station on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 for a late-night linkup that will kick off almost two weeks of demanding construction work.
(AP Photo/NASA, HO)

Before the late-night linkup, Endeavour’s commander, Dominic Gorie, guided the shuttle through a 360-degree backflip to allow for full photographic surveillance.

It’s one of the many safety-related procedures put in place following the Columbia tragedy in 2003.

The space station crew used cameras with high-powered zoom lenses to photograph Endeavour from nose to tail, especially all the thermal tiles on its belly. The pictures — as many as 300 — will be scrutinized by engineers on the ground to see whether the shuttle suffered any damage during Tuesday’s launch.

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Space shuttle Endeavour blasts off

March 11, 2008

By Marcia Dunn, Associated Press Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Endeavour and a crew of seven blasted into orbit Tuesday on what was to be the longest space station mission ever, a 16-day voyage to build a gangly robot and add a new room that will serve as a closet for a future lab.
Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy ... 

The space shuttle roared from its seaside pad at 2:28 a.m., lighting up the sky for miles around.

It was a rare treat: The last time NASA launched a shuttle at nighttime was in 2006. Only about a quarter of shuttle flights have begun in darkness.

“Good luck and Godspeed, and we’ll see you back here in 16 days,” launch director Mike Leinbach radioed to the astronauts right before liftoff.

“God truly has blessed us with a beautiful night here, Mike, to launch, so let’s light them up and give Him a show,” replied Endeavour’s commander, Dominic Gorie.

They did…

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