Monday, April 16, 2012

From Soup to Nuts- Colvin, gun runners, Afghanistan & more

Everything but the Kitchen sink!
Which tells you I have way too much stuff bookmarked- Aargh!
Some of it is a bit older but no less interesting.
Revisiting Marie Colvin; another blogger,
who has a blog of the same name left this interesting factoid in an older post

Marie Colvin – day she died obits

 Nice printed placards all ready to go, video made and uploaded to You Tube by waseemov1
Who printed the cards? When was the video shot?  Where was this video shot?  
It was uploaded to you tube the day Marie Colvin died. Fast work for maximum impact?

Fitzhenry has some other interesting items at his blog.
US Transfers Control of Night Raids to Afghanistan Authorities
Kind of, sort of as you will read-

Night Raids. The media spun the most recent killing spree in Afghanistan as an anomaly. The work of the "lone gunman" who had gone rogue. Or some such nonsense.
The fact of the matter, the night raids are routine acts of terror committed against the Afghan people by the occupying forces.

That's right American terrorism, brought to you by American taxpayer dollars. Or drug running, whichever?

From the article-

Accelerating the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the United States agreed Sunday to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids

Resolving? " one of the most contentious issues for President Hamid Karzai who faced intense domestic political pressure because of night raids’ deep unpopularity here, even as American commanders had insisted they were the linchpin of the military mission in Afghanistan."

The memorandum of understanding signed on Sunday gives Afghan forces the lead role in night raid operations against suspected insurgents, and also requires an Afghan court warrant within 72 hours of a raid. A warrant can be issued after a raid only in cases where the intelligence needed to be acted on immediately, otherwise it must be executed in advance, according to Afghan officials. 

I am quite sure that all intelligence will need to be acted on immediately
Under the terms of the agreement, Afghan forces can still call on American troops for help and authorize them to enter Afghan residences and private compounds. The agreement covers all night raids carried out by special operations forces. However, a small number of night operations are conducted under other auspices, including special C.I.A.-trained units, that are not covered by the agreement, military and civilian officials said. 

While the deal underscores the continuing diminution of American power here, the fact is that the United States and other allied countries still pay nearly all of the costs of Afghan security forces. That means the West will retain considerable leverage for some time to come, officials here said.
“The Americans are not giving up a huge amount,” one Western official said. “And if they are paying $4.1 billion a year for the Afghan military, if they want permission to question someone, I think they’ll get it,” the official added

What is that saying? The more things change, the more they are the same?

Another one-  NATO sees Flaws in Air Campaign in Libya- Ramifications for a Syrian Campaign?

Despite widespread praise in Western capitals for NATO’s leadership of the air campaign in Libya, a confidential NATO assessment paints a sobering portrait of the alliance’s ability to carry out such campaigns without significant support from the United States. 

"The findings undercut the idea that the intervention was a model operation and that NATO could effectively carry out a more complicated campaign in Syria without relying disproportionately on the United States military. Even with the American help in Libya, NATO had only about 40 percent of the aircraft needed to intercept electronic communications, a shortage that hindered the operation’s effectiveness, the report said.
 Mounting an operation in Syria would pose a bigger challenge than the seven-month campaign" in Libya.

 Syria has a more capable military as well as a formidable array of sophisticated Russian-made air defenses that Pentagon officials say would take weeks of airstrikes to destroy.

Also, the Syrian opposition is more disjointed and dispersed than Libya’s, making allied efforts to coordinate with the rebels more difficult

“If anything were to be envisaged over Syria, even in purely hypothetical terms, it would also rely heavily on U.S. capabilities”

The report also spotlights an important issue for the alliance that dates to the Balkan wars of the 1990s: that the United States has emerged “by default” as the NATO specialist in providing precision-guided munitions — which made up virtually all of the 7,700 bombs and missiles dropped or fired on Libya — and a vast majority of specialized aircraft that conduct aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, or I.S.R. in military parlance. 

“NATO remains overly reliant on a single ally to provide I.S.R. collection capabilities that are essential to the commander,” the report said. 

I don't think the fact that the US is NATO should come as a surprise to anyone, really? 
Hence the involvement of Israel.....

President Obama has requested that the Pentagon begin preparing preliminary military options in Syria — a routine step for military contingency planning during crises overseas — but the administration still believes that using diplomatic and economic pressure is the best way to stop the violent repression by the Syrian government.  

Violent repression?! President Obomba check the US behaviour in Afghanistan for violent repression! 

The report was silent on the controversies that have followed the campaign. These included questions surrounding at least scores of civilian deaths caused by NATO action, which have been documented by independent researchers and the United Nations alike, and accusations by survivors and human rights organizations that alliance naval vessels did not assist boats in distress carrying migrants who later perished at sea.

Of course.

Speaking of arms dealers- Not the Russian one that is making the news lately- 
The one that worked with American Intelligence - Sarkis G. Soghanalian 
He died late last year. 
His death was covered in the NYT's
He had to have been a real VIP. An American arms dealer!

In 1981, he pleaded guilty to fraud in the sale of .50-caliber machine guns to Mauritania. But a judge granted him probation, saying the case “involved international affairs conducted by the State Department.”

In 1993, he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for smuggling 103 helicopters to Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions. But he managed to have his sentence reduced to two years after informing American officials of a place in Lebanon where high-quality counterfeit $100 bills were being printed.

Mr. Soghanalian was charged with wire fraud a few years later. But he was released after being held for 10 months
He worked with the CIA, the FBI

After he settled in Florida in the 1990s, United States Customs officials would occasionally raid his hangar at Miami International Airport, looking for contraband, Mr. Bergman said.

“And then the case would go away,” he said, as Mr. Soghanalian called on friends in the government to come to his defense.

“There’s been enough said about ‘merchant of death’ and all that,” his son said. “But all the way back to the ’60s and ’70s, his goal was to help the United States. There was a deep-seated root of patriotism that often gets overlooked.”

Patriotism? Sure.....

“He’s one of those characters who emerged out of the cold war and played a critical role in clandestine activities on behalf of the United States, while providing deniability ”

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