Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

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A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

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Thailand’s Polical Turmoil Continues; King Fails To Appear

December 4, 2008

Thailand‘s revered king on Thursday failed to deliver his traditional birthday speech, dashing Thai hopes that the address would help resolve the country’s political paralysis and unify a divided nation.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 81 on Friday, was unable to deliver the speech “because he was a little sick,” his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, told dignitaries gathered at the Dusit Palace to hear the king. The comments were broadcast live on radio.

By VIJAY JOSHI and AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writers

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadaj  reviews the Royal Guards ... 
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadaj reviews the Royal Guards at the Royal Plaza Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand’s ailing king failed to deliver his traditional speech to the nation Thursday Dec. 4, 2008 on the eve of his 81st birthday because of ill health — a stunning development that is likely to deepen the country’s political paralysis.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

While the king is known to be unwell, he was not expected to miss such an important occasion. The news came as a shock in this Southeast Asian nation of 63 million people, who revere the king as a selfless humanitarian. Many people wear yellow, the king’s color, once a week as a mark of respect and affection for the beloved monarch.

“The king has said to thank (you) for the wishes given out of loyalty. He wants to return the good wishes. He wants everyone to have strong mental and physical health to perform their duties for the public,” Vajiralongkorn said.

Many Thais were eagerly awaiting the king’s speech, hoping to receive guidance on how Thailand can resolve its political crisis triggered by an anti-government group whose members seized two main airports for a week.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_political_unrest

Open Microphone Insult? Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell: Obama Cabinet Pick Has “No Life”

December 4, 2008

A note to all politicians: if you’re speaking next to a microphone, be careful what you say. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell may wish he thought about that while he was having a conversation near the lectern at the National Governors Conference in Philadelphia Tuesday.

AOL

In video obtained by CNN, Rendell was discussing Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano — President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Homeland Security Department — and said she has excellent qualifications for the job since she “has no family.”

Ed Rendell
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“Janet’s perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it,” said Rendell, whose comments were picked up by the open mic.
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Rendell apologized for the comments Wednesday and said, “What I meant is that Janet is a person who works 24/7, just like me.” But in a commentary the night….

Read the rest  (Plus see the video and hear the Gov’s remark):

Russia’s Medvedev says he’s Upbeat About America With President Obama

December 4, 2008

President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes Russia’s relations with the United States improve after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, according to an interview released Thursday.

Moscow’s relations with Washington have been strained by disputes over U.S. missile defense plans and Russia’s war with Georgia in August.

But Medvedev dismissed suggestions that the chill could lead to a new Cold War, and said he expects the new U.S. administration “to take constructive, reasonable stance, to show willingness to compromise on the most difficult issues.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir ...
When journalists see photographs like this from Russia they often ask, “Who is the school master?”  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seen at their meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)

“What we have recently heard from Washington makes me feel moderately optimistic,” he said, without elaborating, in an interview with Indian Broadcasting Corporation Doordarshan that was posted on the Kremlin Web site Thursday.

Medvedev and Obama spoke by telephone last month, but the details of the conversation were not released.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
russia_us;_ylt=Ag2VravpuxE68McMAS2GMOms0NUE

U.S. Message to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

December 4, 2008

U.S. officials said Wednesday that they are pressing Pakistan to change the primary mission of its intelligence services from preparing for war with India to actively helping the fight against Islamic extremists, some of whom have been linked to last week’s attacks in Mumbai.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with ... 
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee before their meeting in New Delhi December 3, 2008.(B Mathur/Reuters)

That is the message Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael G. Mullen are delivering to President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad this week, the officials said. Adm. Mullen was in Pakistan on Wednesday and Miss Rice was expected there Thursday.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and parts of its military have been accused of being too close to militant groups that have staged numerous attacks in both Pakistan and neighboring India.

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times

The chief of the United States military, admiral Mike Mullen, ... 
Chairman of the United States Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Wednesday asked Pakistan to “investigate aggressively” any possible links that groups based in Pakistan have to the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jason Kempin)

“The ISI has been geared up for years to fight its neighbor next door,” a senior U.S. official said in reference to India. “It’s supportive of the Taliban in Afghanistan; it’s skeptical of the war on terror and thinks it’s a war against Islam. That has to change.”

In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, which killed at least 170 and wounded hundreds, “the situation has changed dramatically, and Pakistan has to follow every lead” to get to the bottom of the plot, he said.

“Otherwise, the Indians might decide that Pakistan cannot be counted on to be a partner in the war on terror,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was discussing sensitive private exchanges with the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian security forces are holding the only Mumbai attacker to be captured alive, and officials there say he has admitted to being a Pakistani and a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist group thought by some to have ties to current and former ISI members.

The U.S. official said the real war is with militants along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Some Pakistani officials have suggested that they may need to move troops from that border to the Indian border if tensions rise further. But the U.S. official said there are “no signs that India will move additional forces” to the border.

To make sure the Indians give Pakistan no excuse to transfer troops, Miss Rice visited New Delhi on Wednesday. She said that any response by India “needs to be judged by its effectiveness in prevention and also by not creating other unintended consequences or difficulties.”

Related:

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

December 4, 2008

India has their names, identities and some clues.  Peace and Freedom believes perhaps torture, truth serum was used on captured Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab to prompt a confession….

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India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the three-day siege of the country’s financial capital that killed at least 171 people, Indian officials said Thursday.

Evidence collected in the investigation pointed to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil as masterminds behind the bloody rampage in Mumbai, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

Lakhvi and Muzammil are top members of the outlawed Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba — which India blames in attacks — and are believed to be living in Pakistan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the details. Lakhvi has been identified as the group’s chief of operations and Muzammil as its operations chief in Kashmir and other parts of India.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The revelations came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Pakistan Thursday for meetings with civilian and military leaders after visiting Indian leaders in New Delhi. She aimed to raise pressure on Pakistan’s government to help get to the bottom of the terror attacks, saying that Pakistan must mount a “robust response” to bring the terrorists to justice.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to do more to go after terror cells rooted in Pakistan. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen was pushing the same message in Pakistan on Wednesday.

Indian airports, meanwhile, were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.

“This is based on a warning, which has been received and we are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told the Press Trust of India news agency Thursday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/
ap_on_re_as/as_india_s
hooting;_ylt=AnugLc8bdpQevBPiQYWzPDms0NUE

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Times of London

Indian police interrogators are preparing to administer a “truth serum” on the sole Islamic militant captured during last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai to settle once and for all the question of where he is from.

The mystery of the man dubbed “the baby-faced gunman” has weighed heavily on India’s relations with Pakistan as the nuclear-armed neighbors dispute each other’s accounts of his origin.

FILE  INDIA OUT. CREDIT MANDATORY  ...
Above: Nov. 26: Azam Amir Kasab walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India. AP

Police interrogators in Mumbai told The Times that they have “verified” that Azam Amir Kasab, who was captured after a shoot-out in a Mumbai railway station on Wednesday night, is from Faridkot, a small village in Pakistan’s impoverished south Punjab region. They say that the nine dead gunmen are also Pakistani.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,461067,00.html

India Says U.S. Has Given O.K. To Strikes Into Pakistan if Islamabad fails To Assist With Mumbai

December 3, 2008

The United States has set the stage for punitive internationally-backed strikes by India against terrorist camps in Pakistan, if Islamabad does not act first to dismantle them, by rejecting President Zardari’s alibi that non-state actors were responsible for the last week’s carnage in Mumbai.

The Times of India 

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_sets_stage_for_
strikes_if_Pak_does_not_act/articleshow/3789520.cms

Related:
 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

U.S. Messge to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

Zardari Says Pakistan “In No Way” Responsible for Mumbai Attacks

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari denied his nation was involved in last week’s deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, and told CNN on Tuesday he’s seen no evidence that a suspect in custody is a Pakistani national as Indian officials claim.

CNN
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“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region,” Zardari said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview set to air Tuesday night. “The gunmen plus the planners, whoever they are, [are] stateless actors who have been holding hostage the whole world.”

At least 179 people were killed when a band of gunmen attacked 10 targets in Mumbai on Wednesday night, triggering three days of battles with police and Indian troops in the heart of the city — the hub of India’s financial and entertainment industries. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels: the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were "stateless actors."

Above: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were “stateless actors.”

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/pa
kistan.zardari.lkl/index.html?section=cnn_latest

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

Philippine rebels ambush soldiers

December 3, 2008

The military in the Philippines says communist rebels have ambushed an army vehicle, killing five soldiers and wounding two others.

The landmine and gunfire attack happened in Surigao del Norte province, in the south of the country.

Rebels seized assault rifles, a laptop computer and the soldiers’ personal belongings, an army spokesman said.

The latest ambush came after talks held in Norway between rebel and government representatives broke down.

BBC

Communist rebels in the Philippines (file pic)
Rebels say they plan to intensify attacks against the government

A rebel spokesman, Fidel Agcaoili, said before the latest attack that New People’s Army guerrillas would take advantage of “crisis conditions” faced by President Gloria Arroyo and step up its long campaign.

Peace talks held sporadically since 2004 are unlikely to resume, he said, until Mrs Arroyo’s term ends in 2010.

Peace deferred

The peace talks held in Oslo ended on Sunday with no agreement over what kind of ceasefire should be agreed….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7762067.stm

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

December 3, 2008

In Mumbai, it is now apparent that the terrorists that struck the hotels and other sites, killed nearly 200, tortured Jewish prisoners before putting them to death, and threw around hand grenades indiscriminately, were not your grandparents terrorists.

Because the Indian police captured one terrorist alive and a wealth of material and forensic evidence, we know several facts about the Mumbai terrorists:

–The surviving terrorist has told authorities he and the others were trained in Pakistan by the Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

–The terrorists were well armed with modern, first-rate automatic weapons and hand grenades.

–They used every conceivable modern technology to assist them in their deadly task: cell phones, GPS, Blackberries, text messaging and other tools were found.

–They had prepared physically and mentally for a long siege.  The dead terrorists are “beefy” well muscled men who seem to have worked out physically for months recently. There is some evidence that the terrorists used steroids.

–The susviving terrorist has spoken about mental and Islamic readiness and the fact that none of the terrorists had any fear of death.

–The terrorist, though Islamic fanatics, used cocaine, LSD and other drugs to assist them to stay awake and “one the edge.” Syringes, paraphernalia, and steroids were found on some of the terrorists.

–At least one terrorist wore a shirt bearing the Versace logo; a kind of Muslim taboo.  The use of the logo indicates that these men are unafraid to embrace what some Muslims consider “decadent.” 

The wearing of the “decadent” logo might seem a small, seemingly unimportant fact. But it could be evidence, combined with the drug use and other evidence, that these terrorist are unencumbered by any religious, cultural,  moral or other restrictions.

A criminal psychologist schooled in terrorism told Peace and Freedom, “these are mad dogs off the leash.”

This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)