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Archive | November, 2011

Update: Tensions grows in occupied South Ossetia

Armed militia is patrolling in Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, the occupied region of Georgia. As tension is growing, Russia has deployed units of the internal troops in the region.

Russian news agencies reported skirmish between the opposing sides. Reportedly, local militia fired at the supporters of the winner candidate Ala Dzhioyeva, who were trying to enter the Central Election Commission. The skirmish caused panic in the crowd. Kokoity`s regime sent special units to secure the situation in the CEC.

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New Color Revolution?: South Ossetia Held In The Grip of Russia As Elections Annulled

Police have fired warning shots during a protest at the annulment of Sunday’s presidential election in the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia.

Preliminary results gave Alla Dzhioyeva an unexpected win over Anatoly Bibilov, Russia’s favoured candidate.

But Mr Bibilov accused the opposition leader of fraud and the result was declared invalid.

Ms Dzhioyeva, an anti-corruption campaigner, has rejected the annulment and declared herself president.

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“Sniper War” Escalates Along Armenian-Azerbaijani Line Of Contact

An Azerbaijani Defence Ministry spokesperson, Teymur Abdullayev,
yesterday (28 November) confirmed that Armenian forces last week killed
an Azerbaijani soldier near the Line of Contact of the breakaway
Armenian-populated region of Nagorno Karabakh. Abdullayev denied,
however, that seven Azerbaijani soldiers had been killed by the
Armenian forces, as reported in Armenian press. He confirmed that
the conscript, 19-year-old Elmar Samad Habibzade, was killed on
26 November.

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Africa, Iran gangs muscle in on SE Asia drug trade, including Malaysia, says UN

International drug gangs from Africa and Iran are muscling in on Southeast Asia’s booming methamphetamine business which has shown a staggering increase and is spreading through the region, the United Nations said in a report today.

Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), including amphetamine and methamphetamine, have become the drugs of choice in many parts of Southeast and East Asia since the 1990s, replacing plant-based drugs such as heroin, opium and cannabis, the UN drugs office said.

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US preparing to vacate Shamsi air base

The United States (US) is preparing to accede to Pakistani demands that it vacate a remote air base in Pakistan used for drone flights, but the move is not expected to have a significant impact on operations against militants, US government sources said late on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had claimed on Tuesday that Washington was sent notices to vacate the narrow strip located in Balochistan following a deadly Nato attack on a Pakistani military outpost last weekend that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghanistan border.

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Turbulent North Waziristan: Gul Bahadur Threatens to End the Peace With Pakistan

Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the most powerful Taliban commander in North Waziristan agency and an ally of the Haqqani Network, menaced recently that he would tear up a long-standing peace deal with the Pakistani military.[1] The threat comes after the Pakistani military caused significant collateral damage when it retaliated against a militant attack on one of its positions. While the incident has considerably raised tensions between militants and the military, it is unlikely to lead to a permanent rift between the two and even less likely to precipitate the kind of operation the U.S. would want Pakistan to launch in the tribal agency.

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South-East Asia Game Is On: China VP pushes Myanmar military ties ahead of Clinton visit

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping offered to boost military ties with Myanmar on Monday, days ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic visit to China’s isolated southern neighbor that has begun showing signs of political reform.

The calls by Xi, heir apparent to the Chinese leadership, to deepen military cooperation with Myanmar come after U.S. efforts to ramp up military engagement in Asia made Beijing jittery.

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Ukrainian Pensioners Attack Donetsk Governor’s Office — Ukrainian Pres May Sack Government

Pensioners in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have attacked and attempted to occupy the office of the regional governor, RFE/RL’s Ukrainian and Russian services report.

Some 200 pensioners, many of them armed with spades or pitchforks, forced their way into the building but were stopped by dozens of police. They are demanding that the Ukrainian government resign.

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Do Oligarchies Create Insurgencies?

One of the tenets of pop-centric COIN is that better governance will deliver the loyalty of the people who are the center of gravity over whom the insurgent and state contest. This usually means cajoling the state to reform and remove the worst abuses that serve to politically fuel the insurgency. Occasionally this is successful (El Salvador), frequently it is not (South Vietnam, Afghanistan) and in other cases it may be irrelevant as the method is eschewed in favor of indiscriminate brute force and punitive expeditions (Sri Lanka, Soviet COIN) but it begs the question of:

“What kind of governance is most likely to create insurgencies in the first place?”

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IDF to hold exercises simulating WMD attacks

Israel will hold a series of exercises over the coming months preparing the country for potential biological, chemical and radioactive attacks. One of the exercises, called “Dark Cloud,” will be held in January and will be the first time the Israeli defense establishment and emergency services simulate a radioactive “dirty bomb” attack in northern Israel.

The exercise will be held in Haifa and will simulate a radioactive dirty bomb attack in the city and will involve the IDF’s Home Front Command, Israel Police and other emergency services. Road blocks will be setup throughout the city and hospitals will also be tested for their level of preparedness for such an attack.

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What happens when a currency collapses: ask Bulgaria

According to the International Institute of Finance, inflation in Bulgaria hit 174.4 percent in 1996 and a record of 1,077.5 percent the next year. Its curency, the lev, went from 500 per US dollar in late 1996 to 2,200 per US dollar in February 1997.

Food shortages and a harsh winter drove people to despair, with mass rallies ultimately forcing out the post-Communist government largely blamed for the disastrous policies that led to the currency collapse.

“For the average people, it was just terrible. Nobody really understood what happened, the only thing we could see was that it all ended in disaster,” says Komneva.

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All of EU ‘in danger of credit rating downgrade’

All European governments are in danger of having their credit ratings slashed due to the eurozone debt crisis, the influential agency Moody’s has warned.

Several countries could end up having their ratings cut to so-called ‘junk’ status — a highly risky rating usually only given to heavily indebted companies.

Moody’s said the credit standing of all European governments was under threat, adding that while it believed the eurozone would remain intact, countries could still lose their prized credit ratings.

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Pakistan Heightened Fears?: CIA ‘Black Night’ out to fuel sectarian strife in Muharram

The intelligence agencies have raised fears of terrorism across the country as a CIA-backed squad has been tasked to carry out terrorists activities to stoke sectarian strife during Muharram

The agencies have urged all the provincial and AJK authorities to ensure foolproof security as a CIA-sponsored squad, ‘Black Night’, has been assigned the task of carrying out targeted killings, and suicide bombings to instigate sectarian violence during the holy month.

According to sources, the hostile spy agencies had recruited militants to disrupt peace in the country as the rift between Washington and Islamabad is widening since the Raymond Davis episode.

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Major events in Caspian countries’ oil and gas industry for last week (Nov. 21-26)

Azerbaijan, EU discuss cooperation on energy prospects

Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy Natiq Aliyev received a delegation headed by the European Commission’s Vice-President in charge of transport Siim Kallas. Both sides discussed the prospects of energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, Baku’s role in the EU energy security and of importance the recently signed agreement on transit of Azerbaijani gas through Turkey. The two sides also discussed the possibility of transiting Azerbaijan’s infrastructure on energy transportation from the east coast of the Caspian Sea to Europe.

Turkmenistan and China sign agreement on additional gas supplies

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Breakdown: Russia sends aircraft carrier to Lebanon, Syria

In December a vessel group led by the Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” will sail to the Mediterranean and the Russian naval base of Tartus in Syria.

The mission has nothing to do with the deadly violence in Syria between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and the opposition, a naval spokesman told Izvestia.
- This was planned already in 2010 when there were no such events there. There has been active preparation and there is no need to cancel this, the spokesman said, adding that “Admiral Kuznetsov” will also visit Beirut, Genoa and Cyprus.

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On pins and needles and missiles in Tehran

On Nov. 12, two massive blasts at a nearby town rocked Tehran, the Iranian capital, and may have been an attempt to assassinate the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had been scheduled to be there at the time of the explosions. Now Israel and the West must be prepared for possible Iranian retaliation.

After the explosions, Iranians found themselves wondering whether Israel had attacked. The recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the warnings of military action by Israeli officials have alarmed Iranians about the threat of war.

The simultaneous explosions, which hit the Iranian Revolutionary Guards base 28 miles west of Tehran, not only shook the surrounding area but were heard and felt throughout Tehran, even breaking car and building windows.

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Syria: Military Intervention A La Carte

After nine months of brutal repression that has killed over 3,500 people—the vast majority being nonviolent protestors—Syrian opposition groups are escalating the frequency and variety of their demands for international military support. What form that external intervention might take, what the intended military and political objectives would be, and what countries may contribute, remain altogether unclear.

On Thursday, Colonel Riyadh al-Assad, chief of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)—an armed opposition group of reportedly 15,000 Syrian soldiers who defected—explained:

“We are not in favor of the entry of foreign troops as was the case in Iraq but we want the international community to give us logistical support. We also want international protection, the establishment of a no-fly zone, a buffer zone and strikes on certain strategic targets considered as crucial by the regime.”

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Kuwaiti cabinet to quit, emir to dissolve parliament: media

Kuwait’s ruler will chair an emergency meeting of the cabinet on Monday amid strong indications he will accept the resignation of the government and dissolve parliament, AFP reported

The reports come amid plans by the opposition to stage a mass rally Monday night to press for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family.

Pro-government Al-Seyassah daily cited State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Ali al-Rashed as confirming that Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will chair an extraordinary meeting for the cabinet later in the day.

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Geopolitical Failure: Kremlin candidate losing in South Ossetia election

An opposition candidate on Monday appeared to have won a presidential election in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia, beating a pro-Kremlin hopeful in what experts called a failure of Moscow’s policies in the strategic enclave.

Corruption champion and former education minister Alla Dzhioyeva has won 56.7 percent of Sunday’s run-off vote, while Emergencies Minister Anatoly Bibilov got 40 percent, the South Ossetian election commission said after counting 74 of the 85 precincts in the province the size of Rhode Island.

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Dirty Deeds: Putin’s Bid for Kremlin Sealed Through Tricks And Threats

In a show of unity amid sagging ratings and growing public dissatisfaction, United Russia on Sunday nominated its leader Vladimir Putin as its presidential candidate Soviet-style — with 614 of 614 ballots cast in his favor.

The somewhat raucous party convention at the packed Luzhniki sports complex, which also kicked off the campaign for the March presidential election, was largely a Putin lovefest.

But the ostentatious, sports stadium-like atmosphere left observers wondering whether it were staged to counter embarrassing reports last week that fans greeted Putin with boos and catcalls at a mixed martial arts fight at the city’s Olimpiisky stadium.

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Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility

An explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan on Monday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, adding that the blast was heard in several parts of the city.

According to reports, frightened residents called the fire department after the blast, forcing the city authorities to admit there had been an explosion.

Speaking with Fars news agency, Isfahan’s deputy mayor confirmed the reports and said the authorities are investigating the matter. However, after the incident was reported in Israel, the report was taken off the Fars website.

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‘Rich Communist’ Elite: China’s ‘Princelings’ Pose Issue for Party

A look at China’s leaders, past and present, and their offspring, often known as ‘princelings.’ State-controlled media portray China’s leaders as living by the austere Communist values they publicly espouse. But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.

Their visibility has particular resonance as the country approaches a once-a-decade leadership change next year, when several older princelings are expected to take the Communist Party’s top positions.

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China deploys 3,000 special forces in restive city

The Chinese government has transferred more than 3,000 special police forces to the restive city of Urumqi in the country’s northwest, state-run media reported on Friday. It did not specify the reasons for the massive deployment.

Sources with the Urumqi Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) told the state-run Xinhua news agency that thousands of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers will be assigned to the Public Security Bureau in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

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Analysis: Syria and the unfolding hegemonic game

In spite of mounting international and regional pressure on Bashar al-Assad’s regime, there is still no real prospect of a quick end to the on-going instability and instead Syria is set to enter a long and bloody civil war. And as political stalemate continues, a genuinely regional hegemonic contest between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey over this small but strategically important nation has begun to unfold.

Since the fall of Mubarak, Saudis have decided to drastically reduce their reliance on the US for securing their foreign policy interests. Riyadh has not only begun to strengthen its armed forces, but it has also decided to use its petro-dollar more aggressively seeking to buy influence in return for the provision of generous financial assistance.

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Former Mossad Head Yatom: Israel Can’t Afford Not to Strike Iran

The Begin Sadat Center, a respected think tank based at Bar Ilan University, held a conference on November 23, 2011 on the subject of “Israeli Security in a New Regional Envornment”, which focused on the so-called “Arab Spring” and its implicatons. Its experts concluded that the Arab Spring is not going to result in democracy, despite original hopes in the West, and may make things even worse for Israel.

“As steep as the price for hitting Iran may be, a military strike on Iran will be less painful than the cost of living with an Iranian nuclear weapons threat,” argues former Mossad head Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom. “The backlash from a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites will not be as bad for Israel as will an Iran armed with nuclear weapons,” he says. “I don’t think that those predicting apocalyptic repercussions of a strike on Tehran are correct, and even if they are, Israel can’t afford to wonder if Tehran will go crazy and bomb us.”

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Russia’s new radar station ready to monitor missiles from Europe: commander

A new radar station in Russia’s Kaliningrad was ready to monitor missile launches from the entire European continent, a senior commander said Friday.

Commander of the Russian Air and Space Defense Troops Lieut. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said the Kaliningrad radar station would significantly enhance Russia’s early warning system on missile attacks.

“It will allow us to efficiently monitor missile launches over the entire European continent, as well as from the North Atlantic area, including the functioning and systems of the European missile defense shield,” Ostapenko said.

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ISI pockets Rs.500 cr annually from fake Indian notes: officials

ISI has been making a profit of 30-40% on the face value of each counterfeit Indian currency note produced in Pakistan, according to the presentation. The cost of printing Rs.1,000 counterfeit notes, for instance, is Rs.39 a piece (the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) spends Rs.29 to print a Rs.1,000 note), but it is sold at Rs.350-400, according to the presentation. The total number of fake notes that came into India in 2010 from abroad was pegged at Rs.1,600 crore, and going by this estimate, the report pegged the total profit figure at Rs.500 crore.

The phenomenon of fake currency is not new. According to the annual report of India’s central bank, 435,607 counterfeit notes were identified in fiscal 2010-11—up 9.4% from fiscal 2008-09. The number of counterfeit notes detected by the Reserve Bank of India in 2008-09 was 398,111, and 401,476 in 2009-10. The annual report, however, does not give an estimate of fake currency notes circulating in the country.

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Kazakhstan now world’s largest uranium miner

KAZAKHSTAN’S international energy image is now that of one of the world’s rising oil exporters, an extraordinary feat given that, two decades ago its hydrocarbon output was beyond insignificant when the USSR collapsed. The vast Central Asian nation, larger than Western Europe, has now quietly passed another energy milestone.

Kazakhstan produces 33 percent of world’s mined uranium, followed by Canada at 18 percent and Australia, with 11 percent of global output. Kazakhstan contains the world’s second-largest uranium reserves, estimated at 1.5 million tons. Until two years ago Kazakhstan was the world’s No. 3 uranium miner, following Australia and Canada.

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A tank tries to run over protesters in Saudi Arabia

Amateur footage shows a tank deliberately trying to hit protesters in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Qatif on Wednesday. Our Observer told us that this kind of violence is unprecedented in Saudi Arabia. Similar incidents have, however, recently taken place in Bahrainand Egypt.
The demonstrators had gathered in the city centre for the funerals of two people killed during rallies last week. Security forces cracked down on protesters once again; two people were killed and nine injured. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said “these losses took place during an exchange of gunfire with unidentified criminals who infiltrated the population and opened fire from residential areas.” According to the Interior Ministry, two of the injured were policemen.

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Breakdown: The Fallout From NATO’s Attack in Pakistan

American troops have been evicted from a Pakistani drone base and main supply lines have been cut off after yesterday’s NATO attack that left 24 Pakistan soldiers dead, but details over what exactly happened are still murky. A NATO airstrike was called in at around 2 a.m. Saturday morning that resulted in a least 24 Pakistan soldiers being killed, and another 25 injured.

American troops have been given a 15-day eviction notice to leave an airbase in Pakistan that Americans have used for coordinating drone attacks in Afganistan in the past, The Guardianreports. Officials in Pakistan held an emergency meeting Saturday night to discuss the ramifications of the attack, which they’ve labeled as a “deliberate” strike against Pakistan’s military. Supply lines to US troops in Afganistan have also been cut off.

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Saudi security forces ‘fire on protesters’

Saudi Arabian security forces are reported to have opened fire on protesters near the Eastern Province city of Qatif, killing one person and wounding several others.

Ali al-Felfel died after being shot in the chest during demonstrations on Monday night, the AFP news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting medical officials.

The demonstrators had taken to the streets in the town of Shwika on Monday to protest over the death of a 19-year-old Shia man, Nasser al-Mheishi, who died of wounds sustained near a police checkpoint on Sunday night in unclear circumstances.

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‘Israel should consider Sinai intervention force’

“I emphasize that this should only be considered if there is a lack of alternatives,” Maj.-Gen. (res) Uzi Dayan says.

Israel must weigh the mobilization of a counterterrorism intervention force for Sinai if faced without a choice, a former deputy IDF chief of staff said on Wednesday.

“I emphasize that this should only be considered if there is a lack of alternatives. Egypt is a very important country,” Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, who formerly headed the National Security Council, said. The near future will determine whether Egypt falls under the sway of the Middle Eastern radical axis or not, he said at a security conference by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan.

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Russia draws red line around Syria

Moscow’s sensitivity when it comes to access to warm waters is well known. It is matched only by its chronic defensiveness against perceived encirclement by NATO and Western impingement on the spheres of influence of the former USSR.

All these insecurities came to the fore in the midst of the Syrian crisis in June, when the US sent a Navy cruiser equipped with a ballistic missile defense system to take part in naval exercises with Ukraine in the Black Sea—home of Russia’s only warm-water naval base.

Then, Turkey gradually began moving away from its previous non-aligned position and more in line with US interests vis-à-vis Syria and Iran, agreeing to host NATO’s early-warning radar system over Russian objections. Now that Ankara has effectively adopted Washington’s objective of regime change in Syria, Russia’s concerns have intensified.

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Report: Russia Sent Syria Super-Advanced S-300 Missiles

Russian warships that have reached waters off Syria in recent days were carrying, among other things, Russian technical advisors who will help the Syrians set up an array of S-300 missiles Damascus has received in recent weeks, a report in the London-based Arabic language Al Quds-Al Arabi said Thursday. Citing sources in Syria and Russia, the paper said that Moscow sees a Western attack on Syria as a “red line” that it will not tolerate.

Despite the mounting opposition in the West and even in the Arab world against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for his assaults on protesters seeking to unseat him as leader of the country, Russia maintains its support for Assad, the report said. Russian and Syria military officials are working together to maintain Assad’s rule, and to deflect a possible attack by NATO or the U.S and EU.

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Was David Headley a double agent, serving the US and ISI simultaneously?

ugh is that Headley led something of a charmed existence. The report details the number of times Headley slipped in and out of Pakistan, Dubai, India and the US, which, in any other person would have aroused the scrutiny of counter-terrorism officials, certainly immigration officials every time. But Headley slipped through. Was it oversight, or was Headley being played so he could access more detailed intelligence?

At some stage during this time, Headley went over to the dark side, became radicalized and a jihadi working for the Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI simultaneously, for the same project, an attack on Mumbai.

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France raises issue of Syrian intervention

Alain Juppé, France’s foreign minister, has raised the possibility that western powers could intervene directly intervene to protect civilians in Syria from the Assad regime.

He suggested that “humanitarian corridors or humanitarian zones” could be established to protect those under attack.

As the Assad regime presses ahead with its attacks on Syrian rebels, Mr Juppé has become the first senior western figure to raise the possibility of such an intervention. He said the issue would be discussed by European Union foreign ministers at a meeting next month.

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Gorbachev condemns Russia’s ‘imitation’ democratic institutions

“We must ensure that all democratic institutions really function, not as an imitation, as is now the case. The parliament, justice, the courts,” Gorbachev, 80, said in an interview in Berlin in his foundation’s office just steps from the once-walled-off Brandenburg Gate.

Russia will elect its parliament Dec. 4. In March, it will pick a new president. And although Putin’s United Russia party will undoubtedly retain legislative power, “it could happen that before the presidential election the situation could shift somewhat,” Gorbachev said.

Small cracks have opened in Putin’s once unassailable hold on power, even though few credible challengers exist. On Sunday, he was booed at a martial arts fight in Moscow by a large swath of the 20,000-plus crowd, a rarity in a country more accustomed to resigned acceptance of Putin. His poll numbers have been slipping, along with those of his party.

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Medvedev: Russia may target US missile shield

If Washington continues to ignore Russia’s demands about a proposed U.S. missile shield in Europe, Russia will deploy new missiles aimed at it and put arms control on hold, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

The tough statement reflected a growing strain in U.S.-Russian ties, despite President Barack Obama’s campaign to “reset” American relations with the Kremlin, which were strained by years of tensions over U.S. foreign policy and the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

Medvedev said he still hopes for a deal on the U.S. missile shield, but he strongly accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of ignoring Russia’s worries.

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Burundi death squads kill 300 in five months

Government-backed death squads have killed more than 300 members of Burundi’s former rebel group and opposition supporters in covert operations over the past five months, a rights group said on Tuesday.

The group said the Central African country’s regime and its proxies have waged a systematic campaign of extrajudicial killings against the former rebels, who went back to the bush after pulling out of 2010 polls over fraud claims.

“A devilish killing machine is targeting opposition activists,” said Onesphore Nduwayo, the head of Government Action Observatory, a coalition of civil society groups.

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Uzbekistan: Top Officials Jailed in Possible Purge

Uzbekistan-focused media have reported in recent days on what appears to be a wave of arrests among high-placed government officials.

Reporting on what might be the most high-profile casualty to date, the Tashkent-based Uzmetronom said on November 22 that President Islam Karimov’s law enforcement adviser, Ravshan Mukhiddinov, has been arrested as part of a corruption probe. At almost exactly the same time, deputy General Prosecutor Mukhiddin Kiyemov tendered his resignation, although nothing more of his fate is known, Uzmetronom said.

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China Spending Big Money To Avoid Arab Spring Fever

China’s ruling Communist Party is looking within for threats to its control over the country, spending more money on securing its population of over one billion than it did on its military last year, according to a new report to the U.S. Congress.

Conflicts in the Middle East with the popular Arab Spring movement have done nothing to assuage the government’s fears, according to the report from a Congressional advisory panel.

“The party has created an extensive police and surveillance network to monitor its citizens and react to any potential threat to stability,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in the report.

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CIA Intrigues against Pakistani Institutions

Anyhow, philosophy of “conspiring against the state” by few incredible traitors is not a simple anti Pakistan propaganda. There are chances that CIA has planned: to create political anarchy, target ISI Chief to whom CIA considered a main hindrance in the implantation of US agenda in this region, moreover pitching government against security agencies and vital state organs. CIA knows that ISI chief tenure might be completing in March 2011 which is already the month of senate election in Pakistan where political temperature is quite high in these days. Similar a number of tries have already been made at number of occasions.

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CIA spies caught in Iran, Lebanon: report

More than a dozen spies working for the CIA have been caught in Iran and Lebanon, and US officials fear they may face execution, ABC News reported Monday.

The report is based on information from four current and former US officials with connections to the intelligence community.

“Espionage is a risky business,” a US official told ABC News. “Many risks lead to wins, but some result in occasional setbacks.”

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Juggernaut Arabia

Over this past year of Arab Spring revolt, Saudi Arabia has increasingly replaced the United States as the key status-quo power in the Middle East — a role that seems likely to expand even more in coming years as the Saudis boost their military and economic spending.

Saudis describe the kingdom’s growing role as a reaction, in part, to the diminished clout of the United States. They still regard the U.S.-Saudi relationship as valuable, but it’s no longer seen as a guarantor of their security. For that, the Saudis have decided they must rely more on themselves — and, down the road, on a wider set of friends that includes their military partner, Pakistan, and their largest oil customer, China.

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Iran tests defense as tension remains high

The Iranian army is conducting a four-day training exercise to test its defenses, state TV reported on Nov. 19, amid rising international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Press TV said the war games started on Nov. 18 and were taking place over 800,000 square kilometers in the east of the country.

“The initial stage of the drills will assess the units’ performance in setting up primary and secondary command centers and stationing tactical and swift reaction divisions,” Press TV said.

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US overtures may lure Myanmar from China

he first visit to Myanmar in a half-century by the top U.S. diplomat opens a door for that nation’s military-dominated government to reduce its international isolation and dependence on a staunch but mistrusted ally: China.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Myanmar, also known as Burma, on Dec. 1-2, to meet with government and opposition leaders. It is the culmination of a two-year effort to engage with a repressive regime the U.S. had long shunned.

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U.S. radars to take control over territory of Georgia

Vano Merabishvili, the Interior Minister of Georgia, and Ray Maybas, the US Secretary of the Navy, today examined coastguard cooperation issues. The meeting was held at the Office of the Interior Ministry behind the closed doors.

The question was about development of bilateral cooperation and security issues, Vano Merabishvili told journalists after the meeting.

“While different divisions of the Interior Ministry are financed from the state budget, the Georgia’s coastguard service is rendered substantial financial aid by the United States,” he said.

Merabishvili said Georgia will enjoy US assistance to install radar systems to control its space fully.

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Syrian rebel group claims attack on ruling party office in Damascus

Rocket-propelled grenades reportedly struck a Damascus office of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath Party before dawn Sunday, the first attack of its kind in the capital since an anti-government uprising began last spring.

Few details were available on the unusually brazen attack, which was claimed by a group of military defectors calling itself the Free Syrian Army.

The Turkey-based defectors have joined protesters and appear to be taking the lead in an increasingly armed rebellion that analysts fear will lead to a civil war that could further destabilize the Middle East. The region already is in turmoil from this year’s unprecedented mass uprisings against autocratic regimes.

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Canada ready to assist in Syria, MacKay says

While any intervention in Syria would have to follow a series of United Nations sanctions, Canada’s armed forces are “prepared for all inevitabilities,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.

In an appearance on CTV’s Question Period, MacKay said there are a “cascading number of sanctions that would have to happen before there would be any type of intervention.”

But, speaking from the Halifax International Security Forum, he added that “Canada has certainly a great deal of ability to lend support in a situation, as we saw in Libya.”

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Turkey’s President Gül, en route to London, sees ‘dead end’ in Syria conflict

Gül also criticized the Syrian administration in remarks published in the British daily Sunday Telegraph on Sunday. “I strongly believe that there is no place any more for authoritarian regimes — single party systems that do not have accountability or transparency — on the shores of the Mediterranean,” Gül said. “As someone who has studied in the United Kingdom, lived in the United Kingdom, has this world view, President Assad should be able to understand this,” he added.

Noting that Turkey strongly advised Assad to hurry up and accelerate the pace of reforms, he said Turkey had told Assad, “If he was not the leader of the change himself, then things would turn out to be too bad.”

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Important Flashback: Spies Prep Reporters on Protecting Secrets

Frustrated by press leaks about its most sensitive electronic surveillance work, the secretive National Security Agency convened an unprecedented series of off-the-record “seminars” in recent years to teach reporters about the damage caused by such leaks and to discourage reporting that could interfere with the agency’s mission to spy on America’s enemies.

The half-day classes featured high-ranking NSA officials highlighting objectionable passages in published stories and offering “an innocuous rewrite” that officials said maintained the “overall thrust” of the articles but omitted details that could disclose the agency’s techniques, according to course outlines obtained by The New York Sun.

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N.Korea ‘Has 180,000 Special Forces Ready to Cross into South’

North Korea operates 40,000 special forces troops, including the 11th or “Storm” Corps whose mission is to infiltrate South Korea and create havoc in case of war. It also has around 10,000 naval special forces and around 5,000 air force soldiers who can cross the border if a war breaks out.

The figures were revealed in a speech by former South Korean commander of special operations Kim Yun-suk to fellow veterans at the War Memorial in Seoul.

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Vultures feed when economies are turned into rotting carcasses

Grossman is a “vulture”, the name Wall Street gives, with an affectionate smile, to those who can get their hands on old, forgotten debts of desperately poor nations – Congo, Zambia, Peru and Liberia are cases I’ve investigated – that they pick up for pennies on the pound of face value.

When – usually after a Bono concert – western nations forgive debts owed by these poor countries, the nation receiving this aid is now ripe enough, and flush enough, for attack by a vulture, who demands many a pound of flesh for the debt he suddenly brandishes.

In Grossman’s case, his company paid about $3m for a debt Zaire (now Congo) owed Yugoslavia (now Bosnia). A court on the tiny island of Jersey, a tax haven in the Channel, has ordered Congo to turn over the $80m it has in a bank account there, the payment for the cobalt. Furthermore, Congo must pay an additional $20m to Grossman if the country can find the money.

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893 Turks die in major drug companies’ experiments

Drug experimentations conducted by pharmaceutical giants have killed 893 Turks, the Independent reported.

Turkey is listed sixth of the countries that report the most deaths due to experimentations, with India taking the lead at over 1,700 victims who lost their lives during experiments run by American, British and European pharmaceutical companies.

The Independent’s investigation revealed plenty of gruesome details including experiments cancelled following abuses of illiterate or uninformed subjects in need of either money or treatment.

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Frankfurt Group, Europe’s hit squad

The Old Opera House in Frankfurt – once Germany’s most beautiful postwar ruin and now its most stunning recreation – has become a symbol of European rebirth. And it was here, last month, that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy met the EU’s bureaucratic elite in what would, in another era, be described as a putsch. They had grown tired of eurozone summits, with leaders flying here and there but getting nowhere. A smaller group needed to be formed, who would wield power firmly but informally. That evening, as they gathered to hear Claudio Abbado conduct the Mozart Orchestra of Bologna, a new EU hit squad was born.

As Silvio Berlusconi has now found out, this so-called Frankfurt Group means business. Only a few months ago, it would have been unthinkable that the head of one European government would try to destabilise or depose another.

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After the US pulls out, will CIA rely more on Afghan mercenaries?

Part of the job description for Americans left behind after 2014, in the words of the US government’s latest counterterrorism strategy document, will be tackling Al Qaeda and its adherents by using covert tactics that go “beyond traditional intelligence, military, and law enforcement functions.”

Security analysts say that the practice of raising paramilitary units, trained by US Special Operations Forces, run and funded by the CIA, and working closely with local intelligence officials, fits that bill perfectly.

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Turkey on brink of open confrontation with Syria

“Our wish is that the Assad regime, which is now on a knife-edge, does not enter this road of no return, which leads to the edge of the abyss,” the prime minister, Recep Tayipp Erdogan, said.

“No regime can survive by killing or jailing. No one can build a future over the blood of the oppressed.”

He warned Assad that the brutal crackdown threatens to place him on a list of leaders who “feed on blood”.

A foreign policy adviser to the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, seemed to confirm that a buffer zone might only now need approval from other neighbours, which looks more likely following the Arab League vote.

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Zenko analyzes military strategy

The use of specialized military force operations, including unmanned drones and localized airstrikes, is not an effective long-term strategy to combat insurgency problems given the “persistent era of conflict” that nations across the world face today, Micah Zenko, a conflict prevention fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank, said in a lecture Thursday afternoon in the Haldeman Center.

Zenko identified 36 cases of Discrete Military Operations, defined as limited strikes against insurgency forces, conducted by the United States military since 1991. While 16 operations were successful, six produced “mixed” results, five proved “inconclusive” and nine failed to meet the military’s desired objective, he said.

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The Struggle For Syria: Syrians Sacrificed On Alter of US Imperialism

This is the lesson for those in Syria who are struggling to bring about democratic rule. The evidence is clear. If you live in an Arab country whose dictator is a client of the Americans, the US will do everything in its power to suppress your revolt, and if you succeed despite US efforts, the US will sponsor the counter-revolution against you directly and indirectly through its local allies, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel, but now also Qatar. This of course applies to the situations in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, Jordan, Oman, and in Saudi Arabia itself. If you happen to live in a country whose dictator, though friendly to the West, maintains an independent line on foreign policy or at least a line that cannot always be guaranteed to serve Western interests

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Free Syrian Army Hit Intel Complex

Syrian army defectors attacked an intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus early on Wednesday, in the first reported assault on a major security facility in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.

Members of the Free Syrian Army fired shoulder-mounted rockets and machineguns at a large Air Force Intelligence complex situated on the northern edge of the capital on the Damascus-Aleppo highway at about 2:30 a.m. (12:30 a.m. British time).

A gunfight ensued and helicopters circled the area, the sources said.

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Germany shocked by secret service link to rightwing terror cell

An agent working for Germany’s answer to MI5 was at the scene of one of the 10 murders carried out by neo-Nazi terrorists, the domestic intelligence agency has confirmed, fuelling speculation that the killers’ movements were known to the authorities during their 13 years on the run.

The undercover officer was in an internet cafe in the central city of Kassel in Hessen when a 21-year-old Turk was shot at point blank range on 6 April 2006, a spokesman for the Hessen branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said on Tuesday.

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Four Pakistani intelligence officials found dead

Four intelligence officials along with a civilian have been found dead after they went missing following an attempt to nab a leader of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a media report said Sunday.

Major Afaq Ahmed and three of his subordinates — Muhammad Mazhar, Mohammad Amjad, Mohammad Fiaz — along with a civilian Maqsood Ahmed set out Friday in search of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader “Dr Arshad” after getting reports that he was hiding in Pir Chunbbal of Jhelum district, Dawn News reported.

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Why China is setting up military bases in PoK – Analysis

Reputed Pakistani journalist Amir Mir has revealed that China now seeks to establish military bases in the Af-Pak region, where US troops are deployed. These Chinese military bases are to be established in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or in Gilgit-Baltistan, a region that borders China and has traditionally been considered part of Jammu & Kashmir.

From an Indian security perspective, Chinese military presence in PoK has political as well as military implications, considering J&K is a disputed territory. The Sino-Pakistan collaboration underway through infrastructure development projects in Gilgit-Baltistan clearly challenges India’s sovereignty over those J&K territories under China’s occupation.

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Pakistan has 1,339.25 tonnes of gold reserves in Balochistan

Pakistan has 1,339.25 tonnes of gold reserves situated in Balochistan with 63.50 tonnes at Saindak and 1275.75 tonnes at Reko Diq, sources told Daily Times on Monday.

These two major gold reserves are situated in district Chagi, Balochistan. The sources further said the Saindak Copper-Gold Project, Balochistan is the only project in the country, which is producing gold/silver as a by-product in a normal quantity. The gold production was 7.891 tonnes and silver 11.293 tonnes during five years from 2005 to 2009.

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Clandestine Somalia missions yield AQ targets

The third in a series looking at U.S. military operations in the Horn of Africa after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks

Starting in 2003, small teams of U.S. operatives would clamber aboard a civilian turboprop plane at a Nairobi, Kenya, airfield to embark on one of the most dangerous missions conducted by U.S. personnel in Somalia since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The teams combined CIA case officers and “shooters” from a secretive special operations unit sometimes called Task Force Orange, said an intelligence source with long experience in the Horn of Africa. “There were always at least two CIA case officers, and there were always at least two shooters,” the source said. “Everybody was armed.”

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Israel-Kenya deal to help fight Somalia’s al-Shabab

Kenya’s Raila Odinga and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu have promised to strengthen ties
Israel has offered to help Kenya secure its borders as it tackles Somalia’s Islamist group, al-Shabab, the Kenyan prime minister’s office has said.

It said Kenya got the backing of Israel to “rid its territory of fundamentalist elements” during Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s visit to the country.

Last month, Kenya sent troops to neighbouring Somalia to defeat al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda.

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Army to test ‘global strike’ technology this week

The U.S. Army on Wednesday will test missile technology that could eventually be incorporated into the development a conventional “prompt global strike” weapon, according to Defense Department officials .

Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command will conduct a flight test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which is to use an advanced-technology glide body built to endure high-speed flight in the upper atmosphere en route to a target.

“This test is designed to collect data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test-range performance for long-range atmospheric flight,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan told Global Security Newswire last week by e-mail.

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Breakdown: Maliki frets over ‘Iraqi Spring(Coup)’

Moves by an Iraqi Sunni-dominated province to demand autonomy from Baghdad and rumors of coup d’etat led by Ba’athists have Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki very worried about the prospects of a rebellion.

Such an “Iraqi Spring” would enjoy the full financial and political backing of Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince, Nayef Ibn Abdul-Aziz. In recent years Nayef has seen his country’s influence in Iraq drop dramatically as Tehran’s star rose.

The uprising would be very different to the Arab Spring. Instead of a grassroots revolt against an autocratic ruler, this would see Sunnis revolt against the Shi’ite politicians imposed on them since Iran established its hegemony over Iraqi politics in 2003.

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Fear of a “Brown Army Faction”

After the Red Army Faction, leads Der Spiegel, is a “Brown Army Faction” now haunting Germany? Following the explosion in a house in the town of Zwickau last week, the country has learned of the existence of a “National Socialist Underground”, a small neo-Nazi group that may be responsible for the deaths of nine Turkish and Greek immigrants and a German policeman, an attack in Cologne in 2004, and dozens of bank robberies.

Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, who shot themselves after a failed robbery last week, and Beate Z., who handed herself into the police, have apparently been active for 14 years without coming to the attention of the authorities.

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CIA operations in Iran underway to take out Tehran bigs in mission to dismantle weapons program

The covert campaign encompasses a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and a similar explosion at another Iranian missile base two years ago both widely attributed to the Mossad.

“May there be more like it,” was all Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said when Army Radio asked about the new blast.

There was a third mysterious event: The son of a top Iranian hard-liner was found dead — a seeming suicide — in a Dubai hotel on Sunday. His father called it “suspicious” and linked to the base explosion, without elaborating.

Israel was accused of deploying the 11 agents who killed a top Hamas terrorist in a Dubai hotel last year.

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New Reports Link N. Korean, Iranian Nuclear Programs

News media in Northeast Asia are reporting details of alleged cooperation between Iran and North Korea in trying to build atomic bombs. Such joint activities have been suspected for years.

South Korea’s foreign ministry and the national intelligence service say they cannot comment on fresh reports linking Pyongyang’s atomic efforts to Iran.

Officials with the agencies considered at the forefront of monitoring North Korea’s nuclear programs say the allegations, apparently leaked by diplomats in recent days, involve classified information.

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Intel Source: Israel Behind Deadly Explosion at Iran Missile Base

Israeli newspapers on Sunday were thick with innuendo, the front pages of the three largest dailies dominated by variations on the headline “Mysterious Explosion in Iranian Missile Base.” Turn the page, and the mystery is answered with a wink. “Who is Responsible for Attacks on the Iranian Army?” asks Ma’ariv, and the paper lists without further comment a half-dozen other violent setbacks to Iran’s nuclear and military nexus. For Israeli readers, the coy implication is that their own government was behind Saturday’s massive blast just outside Tehran. It is an assumption a Western intelligence source insists is correct: The Mossad — the Israeli agency charged with covert operations — did it.

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‘Turkey in command of newly deployed Predators’ missions’

“In line with the US plan to pull out of Iraq, Predators will fly for the last time from Iraq on Nov. 22; from then onwards the four predators currently based in Turkey will be taking over surveillance missions,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying on Saturday.

The foreign minister’s words came following media reports that the US had deployed four drones in Turkey. He confirmed that two of the Predators were already based at İncirlik Air Base in Adana and would be taking up surveillance in a timely manner so as not to leave any gaps after US forces leave Iraq.

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Germany ‘draw up secret plan for euro with no Greece’

Finance ministers have become increasingly concerned that Greeks could reject the austerity programme demanded by the EU, according to Der Spiegel magazine.

The confidential ‘Plan B’ also includes a contingency plan if the economies of both Italy and Spain collapse.

The magazine suggested Germany could benefit from a pull-out by Greece.

‘Without the weakest link, the chain of member states in the zone would be strengthened,’ it stated.

The claims contradict German chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence on Thursday that it was opposed to any member state pulling out of the eurozone.

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Turkey deputy: weapons being smuggled to Syria

Mr Ediboglu, a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey’s main opposition group, visited Syria in September with a delegation of his party. He said Syrian officials presented what they said was evidence of arms smuggling at the Cilvegozu border gate in Hatay. Trucks full of weapons had allegedly been unloaded in the no-man’s-land between the Turkish and the Syria control points, he said.

“The Syrians said the arms ended up with the Muslim Brotherhood,” an Islamic group opposing the regime of Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian president, Mr Ediboglu said.

The Syrian government has accused the US of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has condemned the Syrian regime’s use of force against a seven-month-old uprising and has given political support to the Syrian opposition.

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Clinton Says U.S. Turning East As Asia-Pacific Region Becomes World’s ‘Center Of Gravity’

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary, making a keynote speech in Hawaii on November 11, announced the shift in emphasis, as Washington seeks to recalibrate its foreign policy.

“The 21st century will be America’s Pacific century, a period of unprecedented outreach and partnership in this dynamic, complex, and consequential region,” she said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Clinton said Washington wants to build a “trans-Pacific system” for Asia that is modeled on the United States’ trans-Atlantic relationship with Europe.

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Pentagon planning Cold War against China

The Pentagon lifted the veil of secrecy Wednesday on a new battle concept aimed at countering Chinese military efforts to deny access to areas near its territory and in cyberspace.

The Air Sea Battle concept is the start of what defense officials say is the early stage of a new Cold War-style military posture toward China.

The plan calls for preparing the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to defeat China’s “anti-access, area denial weapons,” including anti-satellite weapons, cyberweapons, submarines, stealth aircraft and long-range missiles that can hit aircraft carriers at sea.

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China Adds a Spyglass in Space, Hints at More to Come

China launched two satellites Wednesday as part of a decade-long rapid expansion of earth-monitoring capabilities that also buttress the country’s growing military prowess.

Yaogan-12, the primary cargo of the launch, is the twelfth model in a series of “remote sensing” satellites that many analysts believe are tasked with gathering military intelligence. China, which has never acknowledged a defense-related launch, claims that the satellite will be used for “scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.”

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Spread Spectrum Bombing: US plans sale of bombs to UAE: reports

The United States has drafted plans to sell “bunker-buster” bombs to the United Arab Emirates, as part of an effort to build a regional coalition to counter Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported [3].

The technology would enable the UAE to target structures such as bunkers and tunnels, where Iran is suspected to be developing nuclear weapons, Politico reported [4].

According to Reuters [5]:

The Pentagon is considering a significant sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions made by Boeing Co, adding to other recent arms deals with the UAE. These include the sale of 500 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles about which U.S. lawmakers were notified in September.

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U.S. to Build Up Military in Australia

The agreement will lead to an increase in U.S. naval operations off the coast of Australia and give American troops and ships “permanent and constant” access to Australian facilities, the people said. While no new American bases will be built under the plan, the arrangement will allow U.S. forces to place equipment in Australia and set up more joint exercises, they said.

The move could help the U.S. military, now concentrated in Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, to spread its influence west and south across the region, including the strategically and economically important South China Sea, which China considers as its sovereign territory.

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Europe’s shadowy new parallel government

The Cannes G20 summit was marked by the emergence of a new “political-economic lobby”, reports El Mundo: the Groupe de Francfort, or Frankfurt Group (GdF), which is composed of eight public figures:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy – increasingly dubbed ‘Merkozy’ in the European press – but also Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, ECB President Mario Draghi, and Olli Rehn, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. The group was born from a chance meeting at the Frankfurt Opera House on 19 October, where all of its members attended a ceremony to mark the end of Jean-Claude Trichet’s tenure as President of the ECB.

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Analysis: Euro zone failure could be vast geopolitical shock

Any euro zone failure would send shock waves around the globe, shifting the balance of geopolitical power and perhaps prompting a fundamental reassessment of what the world’s future might look like.

EU sources told Reuters that officials of France and Germany, since the 1950s the driving forces of European integration, had held discussions on a two-speed Europe with a smaller, more tightly integrated euro zone and a looser outer circle.

Estimates of how likely the currency bloc is to break up, how damaging it might be and what might remain afterwards vary wildly. But with European leaders still struggling to find a credible response to the crisis, the prospect of one or more countries leaving — and effectively defaulting on their sovereign debt as they do so – is seen rising by the day.

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Secret Snoop Conference for Gov’t Spying: Go Stealth, Hit a Hundred Thousand Targets

As the Police once sang [6], “Every breath you take and every move you make…I’ll be watching you,” and that seems to sum up the Italian Hacking Team services and what it pimps atIntelligence Support Systems (ISS) conferences [7]. While there are many vendors at such conferences offered worldwide and allegedly for “lawful interception, criminal investigation and intelligence gathering,” some stand out as ethically and legally questionable. We know cyber cops need ways to go after the evil cybercriminal elements hiding in cyberspace, but it’s the “mass surveillance” and “without a warrant” that sets our privacy hackles on edge as that seems to assume anyone may be a bad guy needing monitored.

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Taiwan drill to simulate China invasion

Taiwan will conduct war games next week simulating the defence of the island against an attack by China, officials said Wednesday, in drills drawing on US military experience in the two Gulf wars.

The five-day drill beginning Monday will pit a marine brigade — acting as a mock enemy — against a motorised infantry brigade defending the island, the defence ministry said.

The marines will land in the southern Pingtung county and encounter the infantry in central Taiwan, it said.

Special combat units, supported with AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters, will back up the infantry who will use a road as an improvised runway for air force fighter jets, it said.

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Russian hints that US might back Israeli attack on Iran

Maliki and the Shia political clans and militias are backed heavily by Iran, while the Sunni dissidents in the west of the country are backed by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis and the Iranians seem now pitted in what has been called ‘the new great game’ across the Middle East – in Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, where Tehran backs its old allies in the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad, while Saudi sends funds and materials to the insurgents.

Contrary to the expectations of the architects of ‘shock and awe’ interventionism of the George W Bush era, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its aftermath have led to a weakening of US influence in the region and unforeseen propaganda and political success for Iran.

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Obama to Aid Uzbek Dictatorship

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a move initiated by the Obama administration, has voted to waive Bush-era human rights restrictions on military aid to the Islam Karimov dictatorship in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal and repressive regimes on the planet.

Torture is endemic in Karimov’s Uzbekistan, where his regime has banned all opposition political parties, severely restricted freedom of expression, forced international human rights and NGOs out of the country, suppressed religious freedom, and annually taken as many as two million children out of school to engage in forced labor for the cotton harvest. Thousands of dissidents have been jailed and many hundreds have been killed, some of them literally boiled alive.

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Signs of civil war in Syria

Syria’s precarious sectarian balance makes it prone to the threat of civil war. A minority Alawite elite rules over a majority Sunni Muslim population and sizable minorities of Christians and Kurds. The regime has maintained a 40-year grip on power through heavy use of divide-and-rule tactics, while favouring the Alawite minority for high-level military and political positions.

Protesters who took to the streets in mid-March in a quest for greater political freedoms have been openly calling for regime change and even Assad’s execution. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of mainly low-level Sunni soldiers have defected from the Alawite-led army.

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Mossad, CIA, MI6 Set up Spying Centers Near Iranian Borders

“Based on investigations, Mossad, CIA and MI6 spy agencies have set up spy bases on the borderlines of five neighboring countries (with Iran),” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Zohreh Elahian told FNA.

“The bases are tasked with directing terrorist groups and even conducting sabotage and espionage operations against the Islamic Republic and its citizens,” she added.

Elahian named Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan as the five countries in which the US, Israeli and British spy agencies have established bases.

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Iran News Round Up

Mohammad Dehqan, who had earlier discussed the role of the Office of the Supreme Leader in revision of the Constitution in order to change the presidential system into a parliamentary one, has changed his mind: “It is possible that certain legal experts have certain viewpoints concerning the political structure of the regime, and some of these individuals may also be connected with the Office of the Supreme Leader, but it does not mean that the Office has directly investigated the political structure of the country and the Constitution.”

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Interview with Gene Sharp: The Machiavelli of Nonviolent struggle

IT’S not easy being considered the Machiavelli of nonviolence. But Gene Sharp relishes his role. For nearly 40 years — ever since the ashes of Hiroshima and the Holocaust left an impression on him as an undergraduate at Ohio State University — Dr. Sharp has probed alternatives to violence. Today, as director of Harvard University’s Program on Nonviolent Sanctions, the soft-spoken scholar is considered one of the world’s leading proponents of nonviolent struggle.

And like Renaissance statesman Niccolo Machiavelli, Sharp is a pragmatist. Almost obsessively so.

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NK gearing up for massive military exercise: sources

The North Korean military is preparing for a massive military exercise involving its navy and air force, despite signs of renewed dialogue on its nuclear weapons program, according to sources here.

A government official said Tuesday that the North was appearing to be readying for a military exercise from a naval base in Nampo and an airforce base in Onchon in South Pyeongan Province, northwest of the border.

He said warships and fighters have been assembled there, prompting suspicion that North Korea may be setting up for a landing exercise.

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Russia, NATO to sign agreement on new level of technology cooperation

Russia and NATO will sign an agreement on an official transition to the second tier of engagement in the NATO Codification System in what concerns the exports and imports of defense-related technologies, the office of Russia’s ambassador to the North-Atlantic Alliance said in a press release.

On the Russian side, the document will be signed by Konstantin Biryulin, a deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, and Nikolai Nezalenov, a department chief at the state weaponry trading corporation Rosoboronexport.

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Russian police break up Occupy-style protest

Kremlin critics put an Occupy Wall Street twist on a protest in the Russian capital over next month’s parliamentary election on Monday, but the result was the same as usual: dispersal and detention.

Police forcefully broke up a small rally by government opponents who donned the kind of mustachioed Guy Fawkes masks popular with anti-greed protesters in London, New York and other cities.

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the Central Election Commission headquarters and announced plans to “Occupy Old Square” — a square nearby that houses presidential administration offices.

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China to develop town on Pak border

BEIJING:China is all set to develop the historic town of Kashgar along its border with Pakistan into a “key financial and manufacturing hub” to counter terrorism in its restive province of Xinjiang and help Islamabad’s efforts for economic recovery in the Taliban-scarred areas in border areas.

The move suggests Beijing’s belief that additional employment and business opportunities will wean away the youth in Kashgar, the scene of repeated riots, from terror activities.

It also signals China’s long-term plans of cementing relationship for Pakistan as a means to contain what the Chinese media calls “Indian ambitions” .

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DHS confirms hackers could ‘remotely reprogram and manipulate’ cells at federal prisons

A panel of experts presented some startling findings at the Hacker Halted conference, prompting the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Prisons to re-evaluate their digital security systems. A study conducted by a former CIA officer has shown that for less than $2,500, hackers could overload the circuits in prison doors, springing them permanently open.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burketold The Washington Times that the government is “aware of this research and [is] taking it very seriously.”

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Pakistan trains 8,000 to protect its nukes

Pakistan on Nov. 6 angrily rejected a report that it had been moving its nuclear weapons in unsafe conditions, saying nobody should underestimate its capability to defend itself.

Two U.S. magazines reported Nov. 4 that Pakistan has begun moving its nuclear weapons in low-security vans on congested roads to hide them from U.S. spy agencies, making the weapons more vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants. The Atlantic and the National Journal, in a joint report citing unnamed sources, wrote that the U.S. raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May at his Pakistani compound reinforced Islamabad’s longstanding fears that Washington could try to dismantle the country’s nuclear arsenal.

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Canada needs foreign spy service: Experts

It’s high time Canada had a proper foreign spy agency, especially if the feds are serious about positioning Canada as a country that punches above its weight on the international stage.

And security expert Christian Leuprecht said Canada could have one of the best foreign intelligence services in the world, given its very diverse population and the good relations the government has with Canada’s ethnic communities.

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SCO – making itself relevant in regional and global contexts

The 10th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of governments meeting will take place on November 7 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The prime minister of Pakistan will participate in the meeting at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Alexander Putin. The Organization, originally founded in 2001 has evolved into an effective mechanism over the years to enable its member states trans-act on strategic regional issues and economic development. The issues confronting the region are too strategic to be solved by a single country without cooperation from others and hence the need for creation of SCO (originally known as Shanghai five) by China and Russia.

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Britain could be forced to hand over £40billion to the IMF

The latest bombshell to hit the eurozone came as David Cameron was poised to hand over £40billion of taxpayers’ cash to help bail the single currency out.

Ministers say the Government can transfer the extra contribution to the International Monetary Fund without MPs even voting on it – which will infuriate struggling families here.

The amount works out at about £600 for every man, woman and child in Britain.

The prospect of the huge increase came as speculation in Athens suggested the Greek coalition could be led by finance minister Evangelos Venizelos.

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Reunified Korea Would Be a Better Partner for Russia, China

The Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russia’s foremost national policy think tank, forecast in a special report that North Korea will be absorbed by South Korea between 2021 to 2030, entering a de facto stage of reunification. The IMEMO report, which projects global trends until 2030, was published in September.

The report says that the transfer of power from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to his third son Jong-un will lead to a power struggle between “bureaucrats” with foreign business connections and “military and security officials” with no outside links. This will result in the creation of an interim government in North Korea under the control of the international community, leading to steps to disarm the North and modernize its economy.

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