Sabotage? Iran's N-reactor runs into trouble

Iran told atomic inspectors this week that it had run into a serious problem at a newly completed nuclear reactor that was supposed to start feeding electricity into the national grid this month, raising questions about whether the trouble was sabotage, a startup problem, or possibly the beginning of the project's end.

In a report on Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran told inspectors on Wednesday that it was planning to unload nuclear fuel from its Bushehr reactor — the sign of a major upset. For years, Tehran has hailed the reactor as a showcase of its peaceful nuclear intentions and its imminent startup as a sign of quickening progress.

But nuclear experts said the giant reactor, Iran's first nuclear power plant, now threatens to become a major embarrassment, as engineers remove 163 fuel rods from its core. Iran gave no reason for the unexpected fuel unloading, but it has previously admitted that the Stuxnet computer worm infected the Bushehr reactor. On Friday, computer experts debated whether Stuxnet was responsible for the surprising development. Russia, which provided the fuel to Iran, said earlier this month that the worm's infection of the reactor should be investigated, arguing that it might trigger a nuclear disaster. Other experts said those fears were overblown, but noted that the full workings of the Stuxnet worm remained unclear.

In interviews Friday, nuclear experts said the trouble behind the fuel unloading could range from minor safety issues and operational ineptitude to serious problems that would bring the reactor's brief operational life to a premature end. "It could be simple and embarrassing all the way to 'game over,' " said David A Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a former official at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees nuclear reactors in the United States.
READ MORE - Sabotage? Iran's N-reactor runs into trouble

Libyan envoy calls for 'courageous resolution' from UNSC's ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Shalgam broke down into tears after denouncing the country's leader Moammar Gaddafi and called for a "courageous resolution" from the Security Council to save Libya.

Noting that Gaddafi and his sons were giving Libyans "either I rule you or I kill you" ultimatum, Shalgam, while briefing an open meeting of the Security Council yesterday, urged the Council, "We need a courageous resolution from you."

"It is important for us, for the Libyan people that the Security Council should have now real decision to stop what's going on in our country -- the bloodshed," Shalgam told media after the meeting.

"And I hope that in hours not days, they can do something tangible and effective to stop what they are doing there Gaddafi and his sons against our people," he said.

Shalgam told the Council that Gaddafi in a speech had said that Libya would turn "red because of blood".

Shalgham made the statement as the Security Council held a closed-door consultation on Friday on a draft resolution, prepared by France, the UK, Germany and the US, to take action against the Libyan leadership for its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.

The options against Libya include economic sanctions, travel bans, asset freezes, establishing a no-fly zone and even referring it to the International Criminal Court.

After Shalgam finished speaking, Libya's deputy ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who had already spoken out against Gaddafi, tearfully hugged his boss.

Later, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several other officials embraced both the Libyan diplomats who have now publicly defected from Gaddafi's regime.

"We have just witnessed an extraordinary scene in the Security Council ? a truly historical moment...The Libyan Ambassador delivered an impassioned plea for our help," Ban told journalists.

The French envoy to the UN, G?rard Araud, said "What happened with the Libyan permanent representative was a historical moment...the way all the Arab and African ambassadors have rushed to congratulate him to hug him."

"I think it was a very momentous moment. Very often, we are told that it is the West which is pressing for interference in internal affairs," he said, adding that "no way" were the events in Libya "internal".

The Libyan diplomats at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva also staged a public defection yesterday.

The 47-nation body passed a resolution condemning the violence against the civilian population and calling for the suspension of Libya's membership in the Council.

This decision now needs to be approved by two-thirds of the 192-member General Assembly.
READ MORE - Libyan envoy calls for 'courageous resolution' from UNSC

I'm just like the Queen

Libyan leader Gaddafi maintains he is a figurehead like Queen Elizabeth, who has been in power for 57 years

The embattled dictator said he was like the Queen, who he says has not been overthrown for 57 years.

Protesters chant 'Libya is free and Gaddafi will leave' during a protest in Tobruk yesterday

"You need to listen to your parents. If people disobey their parents they end up destroying the country," he said.

"The same case as in Britain (where) for 57 years the Queen has been ruling. I have been in the same situation."

"I am not in the same position to be able to impose rule on the people. I have become more of a symbolic leader.

I have no power, it's the people themselves who have the prerogative."

Gaddafi, speaking by telephone to Libyan television, offered his condolences for those who were killed in the bloodshed and called for calm amongst people he said were fighting amongst themselves and taking hallucinogenic drugs.

Saying Osama bin Laden was "the real criminal", Gaddafi urged Libyans not be swayed by the al-Qaeda leader.

"Bin Laden... this is the enemy who is manipulating people," Gaddafi said, adding, "Do not be swayed by bin Laden," he said.

Ten people were reportedly killed yesterday and dozens wounded when forces attacked the rebellious
Az-Zawiyah, around 30 miles from the capital.
READ MORE - I'm just like the Queen

Saudi man arrested for trying to blow up George W. Bush's home came to US as a student specifically to 'wage jihad'

  • Alleged plots include bombing rush-hour New York and a dozen dams across America
  • Chilling emails and blog posts talk of martyrdom and infidels
  • Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari expected to make first court appearance on Friday
A Saudi national has been arrested in Texas and been accused of plotting to blow up the home of George W Bush and other targets in America
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari is said to have come to the US. and bought chemicals and materials specifically to wage jihad on American soil and kill the former President.
In a case chillingly similar to Times Square bomb plotter Faisal Shahzad, who is now serving a life sentence, Aldawsari allegedly planned to place a bomb in heart of New York City during rush hour.
Scroll down for video
Terror suspect: Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari is being held by FBI agents for allegedly buying chemicals and equipment to make a bomb and researching U.S. targets
Terror suspect: Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari is being held by FBI agents for allegedly buying chemicals and equipment to make a bomb and researching U.S. targets
The chemical engineering student also allegedly planned to destroy dams, nuclear power plants and target three former U.S. soldiers who had worked at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Investigators monitoring the 20-year-old found he wrote a string of deranged blog postings demanding he be ‘granted martyrdom’.
It also emerged he had been planning such an attack since he was a child and had got good grades in school and won a scholarship so he could travel abroad to kill.
Aldawsari has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and, if convicted, he could face the death penalty.
In his sights: The homes of former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura were allegedly studied by bomb plot suspect
In his sights: The homes of former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura were allegedly studied by bomb plot suspect
According to an affidavit filed by the U.S. District Attorney, he conducted extensive research on his targets, including Mr Bush.
On February 6 this year he sent himself an e-mail under the subject heading: ‘Tyrant’s House’, and listed the Dallas address for the former President.
In another e-mail titled ‘NICE TARGETS 01,’ Aldawsari allegedly sent himself the names of 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California.
Personal: A screen grab of the home page of Aldawsari's blog. Scroll down for more pages from his blog
Personal: A screen grab of the home page of Aldawsari's blog. Scroll down for more pages from his blog
'Student digs:' The front of the apartment complex where Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari lived in Lubbock, Texas. The complex also features an Army Career Centre
'Student digs:' The front of the apartment complex where Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari lived in Lubbock, Texas. The complex also features an Army Career Centre
Another, also called ‘Targets’ allegedly contained the names and home addresses of three American citizens who had previously served in the U.S. military and had been stationed for a time at Abu Ghraib.
Aldawsari is said to have considered a broad range of methods to bring terror to the U.S., using his background as a chemical engineer to wicked ends.
He considered using dolls to conceal explosives and looked into targeting a nightclub with an explosive concealed in a backpack.
Such an attack would have echoes of the failed bomb plot outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in central London in 2007.


Alleged in the Dept. of Justice's Affidavit:
Email to himself:
'One operation in the land of the infidels is equal to ten operations against occupying forces in the land of the Muslims.'

Aldawsari's notebook:
Scholarship 'will help tremendously in providing me with the support I need for Jihad.'  
'After mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.'
From his blog (2009):
Sat, Nov 28: 'Sometimes with all of the work, with the senses, with ambition, emotions, imagination, and everything; you will just be a prisoner of dreams.'
Fri, Oct 16: 'We believe in each other, we share the mind we the share the soul, the heart, and the blood; we will make everything as it been as it should.'
Wed Aug 26: 'I will take the chemistry placement test tomorrow and I am sure that I will pass it.'
Sat, June 20: On American culture: People pursue their happiness via money.' 
Mon May 11: 'This is an opportunity to be in the US to achieve my dream that I am working very hard and I am doing my best to catch it, that dream is mainly and simply to be an employee in google.'
The affidavit alleges that Aldawsari also studied how to convert a mobile phone into a remote detonator and how to prepare a booby-trapped vehicle using everyday household items.
When investigators raided his home in Lubbock they found a bomb factory including beakers, flasks, sulfuric and nitric acid - which can be used to make explosives - clocks and a Hazmat suit to protect him against chemicals.
They also found a journal which suggested he had been planning an attack on the U.S. since he was in high school and had done well at school and procured a Saudi-financed scholarship with the specific intention of causing jihad in America.
One entry read: ‘And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.’
On one of the blogs, half the posts were in his native language, in others he wrote poems, spoke of his ambition and gave his thoughts on American culture.
Aldawsari came to America on a student visa in September 2008 and spent a year studying English before transferring to Texas Tech University. In January this year he transferred to nearby South Plains College where he studied business. His scholarship, which covered tuition and expenses, was paid for by an unnamed Saudi based industrial corporation.
Aldawsari is due to appear before a court in Lubbock on Friday. The FBI started to look into his activities following a tip-off from members of the public, although it is not clear who alerted them.
James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas paid tribute to them as ‘individuals are deserving of our respect and gratitude’.
Assistant Attorney General David Kris added: ‘This case serves as another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad.’
Among Aldawsari’s other targets was New York - his list of goals to achieve before carrying out his plot included ‘travelling to New York for at least a week’ to carry out surveillance. He also lists how he wanted to put bombs in the city places that would cause carnage in rush hour before fleeing.
Another email included links to real-time cameras covering traffic on the city’s streets.
On the hit list: George W. Bush's home in the well-heeled Dallas suburb in Dallas, Texas
On the hit list: George W. Bush's home in a well-heeled suburb in Dallas, Texas
Although Aldawsari had apparently been plotting since school, he said in one email that 9/11 had produced a ‘big change’ in his thinking and that he had been inspired by the teachings of Osama bin Laden.
Doorway to terror? The entrance to Aldawsari's apartment in Texas
Doorway to terror? The entrance to Aldawsari's apartment in Texas
During December 2010 and January 2011, he allegedly purchased many other items, including a gas mask, a soldering iron kit, glass beakers and flasks, wiring, a stun gun and a battery tester.
He managed to buy 30 litres of concentrated nitric acid for about $450 from QualiChem Technologies in Georgia, and three gallons of concentrated sulfuric acid, say prosecutors.
One of the chemical companies Aldawsari tried to buy from was Carolina Biological Supply, which reported what it was thought was suspicious activity to the FBI on February 1. Within weeks, the FBI had traced his other online purches.
It emerged that TNP, the chemical explosive that Aldawsari was allegedly trying to get of, has about the same destructive power as TNT. FBI bomb experts allege that the amount involved in the Aldawsari case would have amounted to almost 15lb of explosive, about the same amount used in the July 2005 subway attacks in London, in which scores of people were killed.
One e-mail he sent himself for safekeeping allegedly contained a message stating that ‘one operation in the land of the infidels is equal to ten operations against occupying forces in the land of the Muslims’.
The affidavit also alleges that he created a blog in which he posted extremist messages.
One ranted against other Muslims and read: ‘You who created mankind….grant me martyrdom for Your sake and make jihad easy for me only in Your path;.
He also created a ‘synopsis of important steps’ to guide him to completing his goals.
This included obtaining a forged U.S. birth certificate; travelling to New York for at least a week, renting a car; using different driver’s licenses for each car rented; putting bombs in cars and taking them to different places during rush hour; and leaving the city for a safe place.
Mr Kris said: ‘We’re confident we have neutralized the alleged threat posed by this defendant.
‘Those reports resulted in the initiation of a complex and far-reaching investigation requiring almost around the clock work by hundreds of dedicated FBI agents, analysts, prosecutors and others.
‘Their effort is another example of the work being done to protect our country and its citizens.’
The White House said President Barack Obama was notified about the plot prior to Aldawsari’s arrest on Wednesday.
'This arrest once again underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad,' White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement.
Bush spokesman David Sherzer said: “We’ve seen the reports. I would just refer you for comment to law enforcement.”
A car allegedly owned by Aldawsari, parked at his apartment complex in Texas. The 20-year-old student is due in court for the first time Friday to face terror charges
A car allegedly owned by Aldawsari, parked at his apartment complex in Texas. The 20-year-old student is due in court for the first time Friday to face terror charges

Ramblings: Much of Aldawsari's blog is written in his native language. But there also personal thoughts and poems in English
Ramblings: Much of Aldawsari's blog is written in his native language. But there also personal thoughts and poems in English
READ MORE - Saudi man arrested for trying to blow up George W. Bush's home came to US as a student specifically to 'wage jihad'

Iran Suez Canal Naval Trip Is A Provocation
JERUSALEM — Two Iranian warships sailed from the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean on Tuesday, the first such trip in at least three decades, eliciting Israeli charges that Tehran is seeking to dominate the Middle East.

The vessels headed toward Syria, but were expected to remain in international waters as they passed the Israeli coast.

The voyage took the frigate Alvand and the supply Kharq close to NATO's southern flank and could further destabilize the Middle East, a region already reeling from an unprecedented wave of anti-government rebellions.

In Tehran, the deputy commander of the Iranian navy said that Iran has "suprised the Zionist regime" with the journey to the Mediterranean.

"The world arrogance (U.S.) should know that the army of the Islamic Republic is fully prepared to defend the holy ideals of the Islamic Republic and this readiness grows day by day," Brigadier-General Abdolrahim Mousavi told the official Iranian news agency IRNA.

In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley refused to say whether the transit in and of itself, or the Egyptian decision to allow it, were provocations.

"We will be watching carefully to see where these ships go and the implications of that," he said.

Egypt is the gatekeeper of the strategic canal which links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Egypt's new military rulers, who took power from ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, appeared to have no choice but to allow the passage. An international convention regulating shipping says the canal must be open "to every vessel of commerce or of war."

Iranian warships have not passed through the Suez Canal since 1979.

In sending warships to the Mediterranean now, Iran was asserting itself as a regional power and testing whether Egypt's new rulers will stick to the pro-Western line of the Mubarak government. Some said the voyage also signals that Iran is ready to come to the aid of regional allies, including Syria and Iranian proxies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Iran late Tuesday, but he did not refer directly to the two warships.

"Iran seeks to exploit the earthquake" now shaking the region, he said. "It is seeking to bring down democratic reform. It is seeking to prevent it. It is seeking to shut down the lights and create another era of darkness like the one we have in Tehran."

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom accused Iran of trying to dominate the entire region.

"The passage of the Iranian ships is part of the comprehensive struggle that Iran is conducting against the West for domination and control in the Middle East," he told an energy conference. "The objective of the Iranian provocation is to signal to the leaders of the Arab world who the new leader is in the Middle East."

Despite the strong language, Israel was seen as unlikely to take action against the vessels.

Iran and Israel are bitter enemies. Israel considers Iran a threat because of its nuclear program, missile development and frequent references by its leader to Israel's destruction. Iran denies it has nuclear weapons ambitions, but it backs militant anti-Israel groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Israeli security officials said that as long as the ships remain in international waters, there is nothing Israel can legally do. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Iranian ships are headed for a training mission in Syria, an arch foe of Israel.

In Damascus, officials at the Iranian Embassy said it would mark the first time in years that Iranian naval vessels dock in a Syrian port. The ships were heading for Latakia, about 350 miles (600 kilometers) from the canal, a voyage of about a day.

The ships paid about $300,000 in fees for the canal passage, according to a maritime agent.
READ MORE - Iran Suez Canal Naval Trip Is A Provocation

Libya's ambassador to India resigns in protest against violence: BBC

Libya protestsThis photograph shows people gathering during recent days' unrest in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo)

Libya's ambassador to India has resigned in protest at his government's violent crackdown on demonstrators calling for the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Monday. (Read: Gadhafi's son warns of civil war in Libya )

The BBC, on its Arabic service website, said Ambassador Ali al-Essawi also accused the government of deploying foreign mercenaries against the protesters. The BBC confirmed to Reuters it had spoken to Essawi.

There was no immediate comment from the Libyan embassy in New Delhi.
READ MORE - Libya's ambassador to India resigns in protest against violence: BBC

Ayman al-Zawahri Releases Video On Egypt Uprising — Al-Qaida's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued the terror network's first message since the upheaval began in Egypt, saying the country's rule has long "deviated from Islam" and warning that democracy "can only be non-religious."

The wave of popular protests that ousted Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, appeared to have caught al-Qaida off guard. The terror group had long called for the destruction of Mubarak's regime – and al-Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor, was part of a militant uprising against Mubarak in the 1990s that was crushed.

But the demonstrations were led by secular, liberal activists calling for greater democracy – in stark contrast to the Islamic state that al-Zawahri and al-Qaida call for. In past videos and messages, al-Zawahri has frequent denounced democracy because it replaces God's laws with man's.

In the 34-minute videotape issued Friday, al-Zawahri makes no mention on the protests or Mubarak's fall. The video is dated to the Islamic lunar month of Safar, which corresponds with the dates Jan. 5-Feb. 3. It gives no more specific date for its creation.

The only hints that it may have been made since the upheaval that began Jan. 25 were its title, "A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt," and a vague reference by al-Zawahri to "what happened and happens in Egypt."

In it, he gives a long, detailed lecture on Egypt's modern history from the 18th Century, blaming Western colonialists for implanting secular, un-Islamic law, according to a transcript by the SITE Intel group, a U.S. group that monitors militant messages. It said the video, which showed only a still photo of al-Zawahri as his voice is aired, was posted on Islamic militant websites.

The video said it was the first of two parts, aimed at answering the question "what is the reality through which Egypt is living?"

"The reality of Egypt is the reality of deviation from Islam," al-Zawahri said.

He called the Egyptian regime – apparently referring to Mubarak's rule – "a regime that rules the people through the use of torture, rigged elections, corrupt media and an unjust justice system."
Story continues below

He dismissed the claims by Mubarak's regime of democracy, and then dismissed democracy in general. Democracy, he said, "means that sovereignty is to the desires of the majority, without committing to any quality, value or creed. A democratic state can only be secular, meaning non-religious."

For the remainder of the video, he describes Egypt's fall into secularism from its former Islamic rule under the Ottoman Empire.

The video did not say when the second part was to be released, but it appeared that in it al-Zawahri was to answer a second question, "How do we change this reality to what Islam wanted us to have."

Al-Zawahri, like al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, is believed to be in hiding in the mountainous border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
READ MORE - Ayman al-Zawahri Releases Video On Egypt Uprising

Pak may repatriate United States diplomat: Report

Pak may repatriate United States diplomat: Report

Islamabad, Feb 16 (PTI) After weeks of tense standoff, the US and Pakistan may be nearing an arrangement to repatriate US official Raymond Davis with the government expected to concede in court that the American qualifies for diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.

The government's counsel is expected to testify on Davis's diplomatic status when the Lahore High Court reconvenes tomorrow.

The government's position, though not publicly disclosed, was finalised at a high-level meeting convened to devise a strategy on the Davis case, in view of the visit of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry who is in Pakistan as a special envoy of the Obama administration.
READ MORE - Pak may repatriate United States diplomat: Report

Afghan war costs $300 million a day: Pentagon
: The withdrawal of American troops from Iraq will allow for a reduced US defense budget in 2012 but the war in Afghanistan still costs the United States close to 300 million dollars a day.

Under the Pentagon's proposed budget, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will drop to USD 117.8 billion for fiscal year 2012, a reduction of 41.5 billion from the previous year.

As the US war effort winds down in Iraq, the budget sets aside USD 10.6 billion for "Operation New Dawn," with the remaining 50,000 US troops there due to withdraw by the end of 2011.

Spending for the Afghan mission calls for USD 107.3 billion, down slightly from the last budget, which requested USD 113.5 billion.

President Barack Obama has vowed to start a withdrawal in July of the roughly 97,000 troops now in Afghanistan.

The budget released on Monday offered no insight into the scale of the planned drawdown, with the Pentagon's budget document assuming an average of 98,250 troops on the ground by the end of 2012.

Gates said the Pentagon had "decided to budget conservatively" as it was too soon to predict how many troops would be withdrawn after July.

"But that's not to say that we will have 98,000 troops at the end of FY 2012. In fact it's a lead pipe cinch we won't."

The budget for Afghanistan and Iraq includes USD79.2 billion for operations, USD10.1 billion to counter the threat posed by homemade bombs -- the main killer of NATO-led troops in the war.

Some USD11.9 billion is devoted to repairing and replacing equipment lost or damaged and USD12.8 billion for training and arming Afghan security forces, who are supposed to gradually take over security duties between now and 2015.

By October, the United States and NATO plans to expand the Afghan army to 172,000 soldiers and the police to 134,000 police.
READ MORE - Afghan war costs $300 million a day: Pentagon

China ready to go to war to safeguard national interests' Terming US attempts to woo India and other neighbours of China as "unbearable”, an article in a Communist party magazine has said that Beijing must send a "clear signal" to these countries that it is ready to go to war to safeguard its national interests.

The article published in the Qiushi Journal, the official publication of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) said China must adhere to a basic strategic principle of not initiating war but being ready to counterattack.

"We must send a clear signal to our neighbouring countries that we don't fear war, and we are prepared at any time to go to war to safeguard our national interests," the article said, suggesting an aggressive strategy to counter emerging US alliances in the region.

"Throughout the history of the new China (since 1949), peace in China has never been gained by giving in, only through war. Safeguarding national interests is never achieved by mere negotiations, but by war," it said.

The piece said countries like Japan, India, Vietnam, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Korea are trying to join the anti-China group because they either had a war or a conflict of interest with China.

"What is especially unbearable is how the US blatantly encourages China's neighbouring countries to go against China. We cannot completely blame the US, as flies do not stare at seamless eggs.”

"They are attempting to gain benefits by using US," it said.

It suggested that China should use its economic clout and trade as a weapon to rein in neighbours.

"China's neighbouring countries need China's international trade more than China needs them, with the vast majority of China's trade deficit caused by these countries," it said.

"Therefore, they, but not China, will suffer greater damage by antagonising China. China should make good use of these economic advantages and strategic power. This is also the most effective means to avoid a war," it said.

The article said the US has adopted a series of strategies to contain China like through an exchange rate war, through a public opinion war, besides launching military exercises and simulated warfare, and the development of an anti-China alliance.

China on its part, it said, can consider the idea of launching economic warfare through strategies to contain the US dollar and making effective use of forums like the IMF and initiating a space war by developing strong space weapons.

It also suggested as a counter-strategy the idea of pursuing a strong policy against neighbours joining the US alliance, even attacking a nearby enemy and forming anti-US alliances in Latin America and Africa.

It also said the China should also launch a public opinion war by making an effective use of the free media in the US and other democracies.

Though suggesting a hard-line policy towards neighbours, the article, however, proposes to rope in countries with good foreign reserves like India to neutralise the influence of US dollar.

"Of course, to fight the US, we have to come up with key weapons. What is the most powerful weapon China has today? It is our economic power, especially our foreign exchange reserves (USD 2.8 trillion). The key is to use it well. If we use it well, it is a weapon; otherwise it may become a burden," it said.

China, it said, should ensure that that fewer countries should keep their forex reserves in US dollars.

"China, Japan, the UK, India, and Saudi Arabia are all countries with high foreign exchange reserves," it said, analysing each country's ability to align with China against the US.

"Japan is constrained by the Japan-US Security Treaty and will not break away from the US... Great Britain has always followed the US, so the probability that it will cooperate with China is also pretty low".

"India has stayed closely allied with the US in recent years, and Obama promised to support India for a permanent membership in the UNSC. Thus, the probability for India to cooperate with China is also not great.”

"India's purchasing power of foreign exchange reserves is very limited anyway, so it cannot influence the overall situation much," it said.

So in view of this China should "pick up courage" and go for aggressive buying of other currencies, including the Indian Rupee hence taking the lead in affecting the market for US dollars.

This approach, it said, is market-driven and it will not be able to easily blame China.

"Of course, the most important condition is still that China must have enough courage to challenge the US currency. China can act in one of two ways. One is to sell US dollar reserves, and the second is not to buy US dollars for a certain period of time," which will weaken the currency and cause deep economic crisis for Washington.

Given the fact that China is the biggest buyer of US debt, its actions will have a demonstrable effect on the market.

"If China stops buying, other countries will pay close attention and are very likely to follow. Once the printed excess dollars cannot be sold, the depreciation of the dollar will accelerate and the impact on Americans wealth will be enormous.”

"The US will not be able to withstand this pressure and will curtail the printing of US currency," it said.
READ MORE - China ready to go to war to safeguard national interests'

Suicide bomber in school uniform kills at least 27 during soldiers' parade in Pakistan

Bomb blast: The schoolboy apparently wandered in to the military facility which should have been secure (file picture)Bomb blast: The schoolboy apparently wandered in to the military facility which should have been secure (file picture)A 'schoolboy' suicide bomber killed at least 27 soldiers and injured 40 more in an attack on a inside a military base in Pakistan.

The teenager was wearing his school uniform when he apparently wandered into the secure base and hit the parading troops, police said.

The incident happened in Mardan at a military recruitment centre in the north-west of the country which has been targeted by Islamist militants.

Senior police official Abdullah Khan said 27 soldiers died and around 40 were wounded, some critically.

It was believed the suicide bomber walked into the facility without being checked - even though it should have been heavily guarded. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

A military official said: 'The bomber struck recruits when cadets were busy in their morning training.'

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack at the Punjab Regiment Centre in the town of Mardan.

'Such cowardly attacks cannot affect the morale of the security agencies and the resolve of the nation to eradicate terrorism,' he said in a statement.

A previous explosion at the same facility killed 35 soldiers in 2006. The blast came at a time of political and economic uncertainty in Pakistan.

Yesterday Pakistan's prime minister dissolved his 50-plus member Cabinet in order to replace it with a smaller group in response to demands for greater financial savings in the economically struggling country.

The dissolution of the Cabinet, which included a mass resignation by ministers, also is a concession to opposition leaders whose support the government seeks to pass broad economic reforms insisted upon by international lenders whose billions are keeping Pakistan afloat.

'The prime minister has dissolved the Cabinet after receiving resignations from the ministers, and it has been done to further reduce the size of the Cabinet,' said Farahnaz Ispahani, spokeswoman for the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

She added that the move aims for 'fiscal austerity.'

Pakistan's economy relies heavily on loans from the International Monetary Fund, and the government has struggled to raise revenues, in part because many residents avoid paying taxes.
Chronic power shortages have hampered economic growth and floods last year caused massive damage to infrastructure.

But the ruling party's efforts to impose new economic policies have been rebuffed by the opposition and even some allies.

Analysts say shrinking the Cabinet - along with other concessions - could help the People's Party appease other groups and ultimately gain their support for economic reforms.
READ MORE - Suicide bomber in school uniform kills at least 27 during soldiers' parade in Pakistan

Bush cancels Swiss visit over arrest fears

Washington: Former US President George W Bush has reportedly cancelled a visit to Switzerland amid concerns that he could be arrested for allegedly authorising the torture of prisoners.
Bush cancels Swiss visit over arrest fears
The former American leader was due to speak at a charity gala, making the keynote speech at Keren Hayesod's annual dinner in the city of Geneva on February 12, the 'Sky News' reported online.
Human rights groups in the country, however, have been calling for the Swiss government to arrest Bush over allegations he had ordered the torture of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
Court officials have said criminal complaints against Bush have been lodged in Geneva, but Swiss officials said that he would enjoy diplomatic immunity as a former head of state, the report said.
In his memoirs and television interviews, Bush has admitted to ordering use of waterboarding, which simulated drowning, as an interrogation technique.
Bush cancels Swiss visit over arrest fears
Waterboarding is considered a form of torture which is a crime under international law, and human rights experts say absolute prohibition is very clear. Some left-wing groups had also called for a protest on the day of his visit.
Even Keren Hayesod's organisers said they felt the atmosphere had become too threatening.
"We didn't want to put people and property in Geneva at risk. The gala is maintained but George Bush will not take part. The criminal complaints did not weigh in the decision," the group's lawyer Robert Equey was quoted as saying.
Source: Indian Express
READ MORE - Bush cancels Swiss visit over arrest fears

Britain faces wave of suicide attacks: WikiLeaks

London: Britain faces the risk of a wave of terror attacks by British-born "suicide operatives" who are not on the intelligence services' radar, secret US cables leaked by WikiLeaks have revealed.
Britain faces wave of suicide attacks: WikiLeaks
British spy agency MI6 has warned that the country faces a "unique" threat from a generation of home-grown terrorists, the Telegraph reported, citing the secret embassy documents it obtained from the whistle-blower website.
Radicals who undergo terrorist training and become "suicide operatives" will leave the authorities "hard pressed" to prevent an attack, a top counterterrorism official was quoted as saying.
According to the classified US embassy documents, a senior M16 official alerted a US Congressman who visited Britain in 2008 amid growing fears over the radicalisation of young British Muslims.
Britain faces wave of suicide attacks: WikiLeaks
In April 2008, a delegation of US Congressmen visited Britain for a secret briefing with MI6 on security threats to the West.
The documents also highlight American concerns that the British intelligence services are struggling to combat Muslim extremists because of budget cuts and a wave of lawsuits from terror suspects.
The leaked files also suggest that Britain faces threats from both foreign and domestic extremists. The documents show mounting US concerns over the inability of British security forces to apprehend terrorists intent on launching attacks on the West.
Source: IANS

READ MORE - Britain faces wave of suicide attacks: WikiLeaks

US issues global terror alert including India, Pak

Washington: The US today issued a global travel alert, including on visiting India and Pakistan, for its citizens in view of the increasing threat from terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
US issues global terror alert including India, Pak
In its latest travel alert titled "worldwide caution", the State Department expressed concern over continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against US citizens and interests overseas including India and Pakistan.
"In India, there is a continuing threat of terrorism as attacks have randomly targeted public places frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas," the travel alert said.
"Examples of potential attacks in South Asian states include Pakistan, where a number of extremist groups continue to target US and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government officials and military/law enforcement personnel," it said.
"Suicide bombing attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military installations, as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping areas," the alert said.
The State Department said that current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.
US issues global terror alert including India, Pak
"Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and locales where US citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays," it said.
US citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.
In the past several years, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, and Glasgow, the alert said.
"Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US and Western interests in Europe. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions. In the past several years, attacks have been planned or occurred in various European cities," it said.
Source: Agencies
READ MORE - US issues global terror alert including India, Pak
Copyright © Chief Of War
Powered by Sinlung