Archive for the ‘U.S.’ Category

Could Mumbai Terrorism Occur In America?

December 3, 2008

Like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in America, the Mumbai terrorist assault last week began with a hijacking. Islamic militants seized a private fishing boat at sea rather than commercial jetliners, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials. But the attackers displayed the same deadly ability to coordinate a complex operation against multiple targets as did their predecessors on Sept. 11.

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
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The terrorists were from a Pakistani group called Lashkar-i-Taiba, which has loose links with al-Qaeda, U.S officials believe. The attackers began by boarding the boat in the Arabian Sea and killing the captain. They then piloted the boat toward the Mumbai harbor. As they neared the coast on Wednesday, Nov. 26, they launched several rubber lifeboats for the final amphibious assault.

The attack was meticulously planned: The raiders dispersed to several targets across the crowded city that had been studied by advance reconnaissance teams. They maintained communications silence on the way in, U.S. officials believe. And most important, they carried with them enough guns, ammunition and supplies for a long battle inside India’s largest city.

Then the mayhem began: The terrorists stormed their targets — three luxury hotels, a Jewish cultural center, a railway station — turning the nearby streets into a free-fire zone. It took about 10 hours for Indian anti-terrorism commandos to arrive at the besieged hotels, and it was almost three days before all the attackers had been captured or killed.

The Mumbai attacks were a ghastly reminder of the threat still posed by al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups. The militants have the training, the logistical support and, most of all, the determination to pull off spectacular attacks. They read their enemies’ tactical vulnerabilities well — understanding in this case that urban police forces have trouble combating moving bands of shooters. And they appeared to have had a cleverly divisive strategic goal — of reanimating tension between India and Pakistan just as the two were beginning to make common cause against terrorism.

For Americans watching the carnage, the obvious question was: Could it happen here? U.S. officials say the answer, unfortunately, is yes. And then comes a second question: If America is hit with another Sept. 11-style terrorist assault, how should the country react?

The Department of Homeland Security has been worried for more than a year about the danger of seaborne attacks. With an estimated 17 million small vessels plying the thousands of miles of U.S. coastline, the vulnerability is obvious. The DHS announced a “small-vessel security strategy” in April to focus on ports and coastal waterways, and it has held four regional small-vessel “security summits” this year, in Buzzards Bay, Mass., Long Beach, Calif., Orlando and Cleveland. A fifth such gathering is planned for Houston next month.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/02/AR2008120202722.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

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Many Nations Sign Cluster Bomb Ban; U.S. and Russia Refrain

December 3, 2008

The United States and Russia were absent Wednesday as representatives from countries from around the world gathered to sign a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs.

CNN
Some 111 countries were due to adopt the Convention on Cluster Munitions at an all-day signing ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

But four of the biggest cluster bomb makers — Russia, China, Israel and the United States, which claims the devices are a vital part of its defense strategy, stayed away.

Cluster Munition Coalition activists behind the agreement expressed disappointment at the absence of the big four, but insisted it wouldn’t undermine the treaty as it passes into international law.

“Obviously it’s very disappointing that those countries aren’t here, but at the same time, the strong message that this treaty sends will make it very clear to those countries that these are unacceptable weapons and inappropriate in future conflicts,” CMC Co-Chair Richard Moyes told CNN from Oslo.

French troops examine cluster bombs collected after the Lebanon conflict of 2006.

Above: French troops examine cluster bombs collected after the Lebanon conflict of 2006.

“The treaty and the stigma that it builds will make it practically and politically much more difficult for them to use these weapons again in the future,” Moyes added about the absent countries.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/12/03/cluster.
bomb.ban/index.html?section=cnn_latest

US soldiers re-enlisting because of poor economy

December 2, 2008

Sgt. Ryan Nyhus spent 14 months patrolling the deadly streets of Baghdad, where five members of his platoon were shot and one died. As bad as that was, he would rather go back there than take his chances in this brutal job market.

Nyhus re-enlisted last Wednesday, and in so doing joined the growing ranks of those choosing to stay in the U.S. military because of the bleak economy.

“In the Army, you’re always guaranteed a steady paycheck and a job,” said the 21-year-old Nyhus. “Deploying’s something that’s going to happen. That’s a fact of life in the Army — a fact of life in the infantry.”

By JOHN MILBURN and STEPHEN MANNING, Associated Press Writers

A U.S. Army soldier from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry ...
A U.S. Army soldier from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment searches a building as his platoon leader meets with Iraqi police and security volunteers in Baqouba, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008.(AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

In 2008, as the stock market cratered and the housing market collapsed, more young members of the Army, Air Force and Navy decided to re-up. While several factors might explain the rise in re-enlistments, including a decline in violence in Iraq, Pentagon officials acknowledge that bad news for the economy is usually good news for the military.

In fact, the Pentagon just completed its strongest recruiting year in four years.

“We do benefit when things look less positive in civil society,” said David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “What difficult economic times give us, I think, is an opening to make our case to people who we might not otherwise have.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_re_us/m
eltdown_choosing_war;_ylt=AobfPtsZi
ED.Sl0zcsAzhmms0NUE

India Says Pakistan Accepts Blame for Mumbai; U.S. Seems To Agree

December 2, 2008

The terrorist massacre in Mumbai was plotted in Pakistan and was executed by Pakistanis, Indian and US officials now agree. The big question now: How culpable are the Pakistani government and its military and intelligence agency, and how can the answer be handled either way it turns out?

That’s the tricky issue facing New Delhi and Washington as they put together pieces of the terrorist jigsaw to claimed 170-plus lives, including nearly 40 Muslims and nationals from 10 countries.

The Times Of London

US advice to India: wait and see how Pakistani government cooperates in the investigation before any punitive action. US directive to Islamabad: prove your protestations of innocence and non-complicity at the official level, with a full and transparent cooperation in the face of overwhelming evidence that the footprints of the terror attack lead back to Pakistan.

This is the gist of the exchanges between the three countries. On Tuesday, Washington broadly accepted India’s contention, based on evidence now shared with US law enforcement and intelligence agencies that the terror trail led to Pakistan. The preponderance of proof include detailed confessions by the one surviving terrorist, GPS tracks, e-mail and electronic tracks, telephone intercepts, and ordnance and forensic evidence, among other things.

US acceptance of India’s case — dismissed out-of-hand as knee-jerk, premature etc — was signaled by an unnamed senior American official who was quoted by Reuters as saying ”There are a lot of reasons to think it might be a group, partially or wholly a group, that is located on Pakistan’s territory.”

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Islamabad_accepts_terrorist
s_may_be_from_Pak/articleshow/3786207.cms

U.S. Is Child’s Play: Obama Can Rule The World; Hillary Can Be Manliest Guy In Cabinet

December 2, 2008

Another Barack Obama came in from the cold Monday. The man who gave us the unexpected in his team to resurrect the economy introduced his team to reorganize the world of which he sees himself as president-elect. The new message is clear – being president merely of the United States is for bush-leaguers.

Hillary Clinton, who suggested she has the equipment to be the manliest member of the entire Obama administration, invoked the campaign mantra right away, cheering an uneasy cult after those earlier appointments. She’s not only for change, but “positive” change. She promised to work with the toy countries of the world to resolve global crises.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary ... 
President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be his choice for U.S. Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters) 

“The American people have demanded not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America’s standing in the world as a force for positive change,” she said. She vowed to “reach out to the world again,” to give the thirsty world a Coke after the drought of the Bush years.

The president-elect said the appointment of Mrs. Clinton, who once mocked Mr. Obama’s cut-and-run strategy for Iraq and derided him as a naive amateur for promising to talk to global troublemakers without first determining whether they were serious about making nice, is “a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances.”

President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton ...
President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be his choice for Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/02/in-from-the-cold-a-familiar-obama/

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.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081202/wl_s
thasia_afp/indiaattacks_081202124823

Nuclear or Biological Attack in U.S. Called ‘Likely’

December 2, 2008

The odds that terrorists will soon strike a major city with weapons of mass destruction are now better than even, a bipartisan congressionally mandated task force concludes in a draft study that warns of growing threats from rogue states, nuclear smuggling networks and the spread of atomic know-how in the developing world.

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer

The sobering assessment of such threats, due for release as early as today, singled out Pakistan as a grave concern because of its terrorist networks, history of instability and arsenal of several dozen nuclear warheads. The report urged the incoming Obama administration to take “decisive action” to reduce the likelihood of a devastating attack.

“No mission could be timelier,” says the draft report of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which spent six months preparing an assessment for Congress and the new president-elect. It adds: “In our judgment, America’s margin of safety is shrinking, not growing.”

The report, ordered by Congress last year, concludes that terrorists are more likely to obtain materials for a biological attack than to buy or steal nuclear weapons. But it says the nuclear threat is growing rapidly, in part because of the increasing global supply of nuclear material and technology.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/
01/AR2008120102710.html?hpid=topnews

Russia Vows To Defeat U.S. Defenses With Missiles

December 2, 2008

Russia plans to upgrade its missiles to allow them to evade American weapons in space and penetrate any prospective missile shield, a Russian officer said Monday. The officer, Col. Gen. Nikolai Y. Solovtsov, chief of strategic missile forces, said Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles would be modernized to protect them from space-based components of the United States missile defense system, the news agency Interfax reported. He also said the military would commission new RS-24 missiles with systems to help penetrate a missile shield. The Kremlin has fiercely opposed the United States plan to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar system in the Czech Republic.

–Associated Press

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile site in Russia in October. Russia is developing missiles designed to avoid being hit by space-based missile defence systems that could be deployed by the United States, a top Russian general was quoted as saying Monday.
(AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov)

Russia's intercontinental ballistic missile takes off from Plesetsk ... 
Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missile takes off from Plesetsk launching pad, May 29, 2007.(Str/Reuters)

The RS-24 is a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, which is equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead. The RS-24 ICBM, which will replace the older SS-18 and SS-19 missiles by 2050, is expected to greatly strengthen the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) strike capability, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century. The RS-24 missile will be deployed both in silos and on mobile platforms and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM will constitute the core of Russia’s SMF in the future.

On 22 October 2008 Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander, said the new-generation RS-24 multiple-warhead missile system will enter service with the SMF in 2009n said on Wednesday. “We have carried out a series of successful ground and flight tests of the RS-24 missile. The new ICBM system will be put in service in 2009,” he said. Solovtsov said the new system would “strengthen Russia’s nuclear deterrence,” including its capability to penetrate missile defense shields, and will serve to counter elements of a U.S. missile defense system deployed in Central Europe.

The RS-24 was first tested on May 29, 2007 after a secret military R&D project, and then again on December 25, 2007. A new test launch of the RS-24 from the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia has been planned for the end of 2008.

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Russia’s military is planning to upgrade its missiles to allow them to evade American weapons in space and penetrate any prospective missile shield, a Russian general said Monday.

In comments to the Interfax news agency, Russia‘s Strategic Missile Forces chief, Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, as saying that Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles will be modernized to protect them from space-based components of the U.S. missile defense system.

The upgrade will make the missiles’ warheads capable of flying “outside the range” of the space-based system, Solovtsov was quoted as saying.

He didn’t elaborate, but Russian officials have previously boasted about prospective new warheads capable of making sharp maneuvers to dodge missile defense systems.

Solovtsov also reportedly said the military will commission new RS-24 missiles equipped with state-of-the-art systems to help penetrate a missile shield. He did not specify that Moscow intended to penetrate a U.S. missile shield, but the Kremlin has fiercely opposed the U.S. plan to deploy a battery of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic.

Russia has criticized U.S. plans for space-based weapons, saying they could trigger a new arms race. Washington has resisted efforts by Russia and China to negotiate a global ban on weapons in space.

Reflecting Russia’s suspicions about U.S. intentions, Solovtsov alleged Monday that the U.S. is considering the scenario of a first nuclear strike that would destroy most Russian missiles. A few surviving Russian weapons launched in retaliation could then be destroyed by the U.S. missile defense system.

Read the rest from AP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081201/ap_on_re_eu/eu_russia_missiles_6
 

U.S. warned India about possible Mumbai attack

December 2, 2008

The United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week’s massacre in the country’s financial capital left nearly 180 dead, a U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN.

CNN

U.S. intelligence indicated that a group might enter the country by water and launch an attack on Mumbai, said the source, who refused to be identified due to the ongoing investigation into the attacks and the sensitivity of the information.

Indian security forces have confirmed to CNN that not only did U.S. officials warn them of a water-borne attack in Mumbai — they were told twice. The area entered a higher state of alert for a week, including tightened security measures at hotels, but those efforts were eventually reduced, Indian officials said.

Local fisherman in Mumbai said they witnessed a group of gunmen dock their boat Wednesday night, before heading toward the busy causeway.

Also, sources have told CNN-IBN that officials found phones and a global navigational device on an abandoned boat floating off the coast of Mumbai. The boat had been hijacked, intelligence officials told CNN-IBN.

Four crew members who had been on board were missing. The captain was found dead, lying face down with his hands bound behind his back.

India has made clear that it believes last week’s coordinated attacks in Mumbai originated in Pakistan, but the Indian government is under pressure to explain the lapse of security that allowed the siege to occur.

Indian police say 179 people were killed in the attacks on 10 targets i4n Mumbai. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels, the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani authorities say Islamabad has not received any evidence that militants from within its borders carried out the attacks, but have vowed to fully cooperate in the investigation. Suspicion has fallen on Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based terror group allied with al Qaeda, even though it has denied responsibility.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/01/i
ndia.attacks2/index.html?section=cnn_latest

People in front of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November ... 
People in front of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 30, 2008. Foreign travellers and business people say they will not be put off coming to India’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan city by murderous militant attacks that brought Mumbai to a standstill last week.(AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)

Pakistan: Near Economic Collapse and Besieged By Terrorists Now Must Deal With U.S., India

December 1, 2008

Indian accusations of a Pakistani hand in last week’s Mumbai massacre couldn’t have come at a worse time for the government in Islamabad: As a Taliban insurgency continues to simmer in the tribal areas along the Afghan border, clashes on Sunday between rival political groups in the southern metropolis of Karachi killed 13 people and wounded 70.

The country is on the verge of economic collapse, its desperate pleas for financial assistance from China and Saudi Arabia last month having been rebuffed, forcing Pakistan to accept loans from the International Monetary Fund – but those loans come with stern conditions limiting government spending, the implementation of which will risk inflaming further unrest. A suspected U.S. predator drone attack in the tribal areas on Saturday – one of dozens in recent months – has further alienated a population already suspicious of U.S. interference. Hardly surprising, then, that Pakistani leaders have reacted with alarm to politicians and the media in India pointing a finger at Pakistan-based terror groups over the Mumbai attack. Some foreign investigators have made similar claims, although not in any official capacity.

Most Pakistanis reacted with horror to news of the Mumbai killing spree starting Wednesday, having lived through equally devastating attacks on their own soil. But that initial sympathy quickly gave way to hostility as the focus of blame landed on Pakistan – a knee-jerk first reaction, rather than one based on any solid evidence. “It is a tragic incident, and we also felt bad about it as Pakistan is going through the same problem,” says Abdur Rashid, a 67-year-old retired government servant in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. “But it was really unfortunate to see that even before the operation [to clear out the attackers] was finished, the Indian government stated that Pakistan is involved. It sounds that the entire incident was concocted to punish Pakistan.” See images of Mumbai after the siege….

Read the rest from MUZI:
http://dailynews.muzi.com/news/ll/english/10083894.shtml