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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2008, 11:27:10 AM »

China angry with U.S.; fears Kosovo recognition will hearten Taiwan

Australian defense analyst Greg Copley says Beijing is fearful America's decision to recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia might encourage the island democracy of Taiwan to follow Kosovo's lead.

For well over half a century, the political relationship between long-time U.S. ally Taiwan and the Communist-led People's Republic of China has been contentious at best. Both have claimed to be the sole legitimate government over all of China, and threats of military intervention -- with reunification the stated goal -- have been commonplace.
 
But political developments in another part of the world have angered the Beijing regime, according to Greg Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association. The United States' decision to recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia, he believes, has aroused the anger of Chinese leaders.
 
"ecause that has given enormous encouragement to the current president of Taiwan who is seeking independence for Taiwan, so that Taiwan is not the Republic of China anymore but an independent state of Taiwan," he explains. Copley shares that he is also concerned it could destabilize the entire East Asian region.
 
Still, Copley believes China cannot afford a disruption to U.S.-China relations, because its economy is so dependent on American exports.
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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2008, 05:00:28 AM »

Chad rebels dismiss peace accord

Chadian rebels have dismissed a peace agreement between Chad and Sudan, saying they will continue their campaign to overthrow Chad's president.

The presidents of Chad and Sudan signed an accord on Thursday aimed at ending hostilities between the two countries.

A senior commander of the joint UN-Africa Union force in Darfur said the deal will not work unless rebels from both countries are included.

Meanwhile, the UN said it is returning many more refugees to South Sudan.

A spokesman for the Chadian rebel National Alliance said the non-aggression pact signed by Chad's President Idriss Deby and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir did not concern them.

They want talks with Chad's president, said Ali Gadaye.

"If Deby doesn't want dialogue, then we're going to chase him out by force."

In their accord, the presidents of Chad and Sudan agreed to stop armed groups from using their respective territories to attack their neighbour.

In Sudan's West Darfur, bordering eastern Chad, the commander of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping force said the agreement will not have any impact unless the rebels are brought into negotiations.

As soon as rebels start fighting, Brig Gen Balla Kaita told the BBC, "nobody will know if it's between rebels and their government or is it going to be between the two countries".

The peace accord was mediated by Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade and was signed on the sidelines of an Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Senegal's capital Dakar.

Just hours before it was signed, Chad accused Sudan of sending heavily armed columns of Chadian rebels across its border. There has been no independent confirmation of any crossing.

It is the sixth deal in five years and the war of words between the two sides is highly unlikely to end with the signing of the agreement, says the BBC's Will Ross in Dakar.

Chadian troops fought off an attempted coup last month in a fierce two-day battle in the capital N'Djamena.

At least 200,000 people have died and more than two million displaced in five years of conflict in Darfur.

Many refugees have crossed into Chad where a European Union force has recently deployed to protect them.

In South Sudan, the United Nations refugee agency said there is a growing desire among refugees from South Sudan to return home in time for a census next month.

The UN said 3,000 refugees a week had been repatriated to South Sudan from Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia since January - up from 600 a week.

A national census in April is being held to prepare for Sudan's first democratic election in 23 years, due in 2009.

A referendum on whether South Sudan should secede is due two years later.

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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2008, 05:01:45 AM »

Shops on fire amid Tibet protests

Fires have broken out in the Tibetan city of Lhasa amid reports of rioting, as rare street protests led by Buddhist monks appeared to gather pace.

One eyewitness told the BBC how large groups of people were setting fire to cars and shops and destroying anything of Chinese influence.

The US embassy in Beijing said US citizens had reported hearing gunfire.

Rallies have continued all week in what are thought to be the largest protests against Beijing's rule in 20 years.

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, released a statement expressing deep concern, saying the protests were a "manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people".

The Dalai Lama, who heads Tibet's government-in-exile in India, called on the Chinese leadership to stop using force and begin dialogue with the Tibetan people.

He also urged Tibetans not to resort to violence.

"As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution. It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule," the statement said.

The US-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said at least one police car had been set on fire on Friday.

ICT spokeswoman Kate Saunders said her group had received reports that the Tromsikhang market in Barkhor Street - a busy commercial neighbourhood - was either on fire or had burnt down.

"It seems that lay people have now become involved in the protests," she said.

An eyewitness told the BBC there was a thick pall of smoke hanging over the city.

Another eyewitness said security forces and monks had clashed on Wednesday and several monks were beaten.

He said about 300 monks had tried to leave the Sera monastery to protest but security forces brandishing clubs stopped them and at least one monk was beaten to the ground.

The protests began earlier this week, when a number of monks were reportedly arrested after a march marking the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

Hundreds of monks took to the streets to demand their release - and reports say tear gas was used to disperse them.

The police were reported to have sealed off the city's three main monasteries on Thursday.

Correspondents say there is growing evidence that protests against Chinese rule are intensifying, despite assurances by Beijing on Thursday that the situation was under control.

China says Tibet has always been part of its territory, though Tibet enjoyed long periods of autonomy before the twentieth century, and many Tibetans remain loyal to the Dalai Lama, who fled in 1959 and currently lives in exile in India.

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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2008, 05:03:06 AM »

Kosovo Serbs seize UN courthouse

Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs have taken over a UN courthouse in the northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica, raising a Serbian flag to replace the UN's.

The protesters broke into the building in the Serb-dominated part of the city, forcing UN police to retreat.

A Kosovo police spokesman said a UN official was negotiating with Serb leaders to try to resolve the issue.

Kosovo Serbs and Serbia have refused to recognise Kosovo's declaration of independence last month.

Most EU states and the US have recognised Pristina's unilateral move.

UN riot police did not intervene when the crowd seized the court.

"We have returned to a building that belongs to us, and in which we worked until 1999," municipal public prosecutor Milan Bigovic was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Many of the protesters are reported to be former staff who lost their jobs in 1999 at the end of the war in Kosovo, when it came under UN administration.

Serbs had staged rallies outside the court for several weeks, preventing ethnic Albanian court employees from crossing the bridge over the Ibar River that divides Mitrovica into a Serb-run north and an ethnic Albanian south.

Tension in the region has risen sharply since Kosovo declared independence on 17 February.

Last week, Serbs tried to take control over a railway line in the northern Kosovo.

In February, some 150 Kosovo Serb police officers were suspended for refusing to take orders from the ethnic Albanian authorities in Kosovo's capital, Pristina.

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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2008, 05:06:01 AM »

Taylor 'made rebels eat enemies'

Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor ordered militias to eat the flesh of their enemies, a former death squad leader has told his war crimes trial.

Joseph "Zigzag" Marzah said Mr Taylor had instructed his fighters in Liberia to even eat UN peacekeepers to "set an example for the people to be afraid".

Mr Taylor is on trial at The Hague for backing rebels in Sierra Leone in an 11-year war in which thousands died.

He has denied the 11 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The trial at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has been moved away from West Africa because of fears that it could lead to renewed instability in the region.

It began last June, but was adjourned until January after only one day when Mr Taylor dismissed his lawyer. Many witnesses have since testified behind closed doors.

Mr Marzah, a key prosecution witness, agreed to appear in open court only after lengthy negotiations over the protection provided for him and his family.

Describing himself as Mr Taylor's former chief of operations and commander of a death squad in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr Marzah said the former leader ordered militias to eat the flesh of enemies in Liberia, including African and UN peacekeepers.

"He said we should eat them. Even the UN white people - he said we could use them as pork to eat," Mr Marzah said, adding that it was to "set an example for the people to be afraid".

He said repeatedly that nothing was done without an explicit order from Mr Taylor and that anyone who violated his commands would be executed.

Mr Marzah then recalled how the victims of the cannibalism were usually members of the Krahn tribe of Liberia's former president, Samuel Doe, who was in power in 1989 when Mr Taylor started the country's six-year civil war.

However, he said they had also included troops from the West African Ecomog peacekeeping force, which was deployed in 1990, and some UN peacekeepers.

The international peacekeepers eventually helped stabilise Liberia, leading to a peace agreement in 1995 and a presidential election two years later that Mr Taylor won.

"We ate a few [Ecomog soldiers], but not many. But many were executed, about 68," Mr Marzah said.

'Throw away the head'

When asked by defence lawyer Courtenay Griffith about how the militiamen would "prepare a human being" for eating, Mr Marzah described the splitting, cleaning, decapitating and cooking of the corpse with salt and pepper.

"We slit your throat, butcher you... throw away the head, take the flesh and put it in a pot... Charles Taylor knows that," he added.

Mr Marzah also described how he had killed so many men, women and children that he had lost count, and also slit open the stomachs of pregnant women on Mr Taylor's orders.

Earlier in his testimony, Mr Marzah told the court he had taken weapons, some stored at Mr Taylor's presidential mansion, to Sierra Leone and returned to Liberia with diamonds which he then delivered to Mr Taylor.

Mr Taylor is accused of funding Sierra Leone's former rebels, the Revolutionary United Front, by selling diamonds on their behalf and buying weapons for them.

The RUF became notorious for hacking off the hands and legs of civilians during their armed rebellion in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002.

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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2008, 04:15:34 PM »

USNORTHCOM Responds to Commission

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (Army News Service, Nov. 4, 2008) -- U.S. Northern Command's primary mission is Homeland Defense, and its commander said Friday that USNORTHCOM stands ready to respond to any homeland-defense or civil-support mission requirement.

"The U.S. military absolutely has the capacity to respond to potential threats within our nation today. It will get better in this coming year and continue to improve beyond that," said Gen. Gene Renuart, USNORTHCOM commander.

The Commission on the National Guard and Reserves issues a wide-ranging report to Congress and the Defense Department Thursday, stating that DoD should improve its capabilities and readiness so the military can take a primary role in response to major catastrophes inside the United States.

USNORTHCOM was established in 2002 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has dramatically expanded DoD's focus on all aspects of Homeland Defense, command officials said, including planning and exercising, as well as organizing new headquarters and units that are specifically tailored for domestic response.

USNORTHCOM has prepared detailed plans for responding to situations that range from pandemic influenza to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear events, and the command has redefined its readiness capabilities since Hurricane Katrina.

When it comes to providing forces in response to incidents, the command has nearly 50 National Guard officers fully integrated within its operations, in addition to National Guard Civil Support Teams located within every U.S. state and territory, and 17 regional consequence response units.

USNORTHCOM also utilizes an active-duty military response unit of nearly 450 Marines who are the "gold standard" for responding to weapons of mass destruction attacks, USNORTHCOM officials said. They said there are also pre-identified active-duty and Reserve components (4,000 members each) on a short string to provide additional muscle to initial response teams.

USNORTHCOM's primary mission remains defending the homeland, and Americans can be assured the U.S. military is ready and capable of responding to attacks within the United States, according to a USNORTHCOM statement released Friday.

USNORTHCOM Responds to Commission
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2008, 04:18:13 PM »

Deployment of US Troops inside Canada

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, March 13, 2008

On February 14th, Canada and the US signed an agreement which allows for the deployment of US troops inside Canada.

There was no official announcement nor was there a formal decision at the governmental level. 

In fact the agreement was barely mentioned by the Canadian media.

The agreement, which raises farreaching issues of national sovereignty, was not between the two governments. It was signed by military commanding officers.

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) released a statement confirming that the agreement had been signed between US NORTHCOM and Canada Command, namely between the military commands of each country. Canada Command was established in February 2006.

    U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, and Canadian Air Force Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, commander of Canada Command, have signed a Civil Assistance Plan that allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.

    “This document is a unique, bilateral military plan to align our respective national military plans to respond quickly to the other nation's requests for military support of civil authorities,” Renuart said. “Unity of effort during bilateral support for civil support operations such as floods, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and effects of a terrorist attack, in order to save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate damage to property, is of the highest importance, and we need to be able to have forces that are flexible and adaptive to support rapid decision-making in a collaborative environment.”

    “The signing of this plan is an important symbol of the already strong working relationship between Canada Command and U.S. Northern Command,” Dumais said. “Our commands were created by our respective governments to respond to the defense and security challenges of the twenty-first century, and we both realize that these and other challenges are best met through cooperation between friends.”

    The plan recognizes the role of each nation's lead federal agency for emergency preparedness, which in the United States is the Department of Homeland Security and in Canada is Public Safety Canada. The plan facilitates the military-to-military support of civil authorities once government authorities have agreed on an appropriate response.

    U.S. Northern Command was established on Oct. 1, 2002, to anticipate and conduct homeland defense and civil support operations within the assigned area of responsibility to defend, protect, and secure the United States and its interests.

    Similarly, Canada Command was established on Feb. 1, 2006, to focus on domestic operations and to offer a single point of contact for all domestic and continental defense and security partners.

    The two domestic commands established strong bilateral ties well before the signing of the Civil Assistance Plan. The two commanders and their staffs meet regularly, collaborate on contingency planning and participate in related annual exercises.

The Decision to Allow the Deployment of US Troops inside Canada was taken in April 2002

While a formal agreement was reached in February 2008, the decision to allow the deployment of US troops in Canada was announced in April 2002 by (former) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Territorial control over Canada is part of Washington's geopolitical and military agenda as formulated in April 2002 by Donald Rumsfeld.  "Binational integration" of military command structures was also contemplated alongside a major revamping in the areas of immigration, law enforcement and intelligence.

The matter has been known for more than five years. It has been deliberately obfuscated. There  has been no public debate. It has not received news coverage nor has it been the object of discussion in the Canadian House of Commons or the US Congress.

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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2008, 04:19:23 PM »

In an article published in 2004 entitled Is the Annexation of Canada Part of Bush's Military Agenda?, I provided a detailed analysis of the process of integration of military command structures. I also examined the broader issue of sovereignty. The Toronto Star accepted to publish an abridged version of my November 2004 text as an oped. The article explained that Ottawa had been:

"quietly negotiating [since April 2002] a far-reaching military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada's defense system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM)."

Despite repeated assurances by the Toronto Star OpEd Editor, the article never appeared in print. Below is a summary of my more detailed November 2004 text as well as links to the original articles:

    "The creation of NORTHCOM announced in April 2002, constitutes a blatant violation of both Canadian and Mexican territorial sovereignty. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced unilaterally that US Northern Command would have jurisdiction over the entire North American region. Canada and Mexico were presented with a fait accompli. US Northern Command's jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.

    NorthCom's stated mandate is to "provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need."

    (Canada-US Relations - Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR),
    http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-lagasse1.htm

    Rumsfeld is said to have boasted that "the NORTHCOM – with all of North America as its geographic command – 'is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.'" (Ibid)

    Following Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's refusal to join NORTHCOM, a high-level so-called "consultative" Binational Planning Group (BPG), operating out of the Peterson Air Force base, was set up in late 2002, with a mandate to "prepare contingency plans to respond to [land and sea] threats and attacks, and other major emergencies in Canada or the United States".

    The BPG's mandate goes far beyond the jurisdiction of a consultative military body making "recommendations" to government. In practice, it is neither accountable to the US Congress nor to the Canadian House of Commons.

    The BPG has a staff of fifty US and Canadian "military planners", who have been working diligently for the last two years in laying the groundwork for the integration of Canada-US military command structures. The BPG works in close coordination with the Canada-U.S. Military Cooperation Committee at the Pentagon, a so-called " panel responsible for detailed joint military planning".

    Broadly speaking, its activities consist of two main building blocks: the Combined Defense Plan (CDP) and The Civil Assistance Plan (CAP).

    The Militarisation of Civilian Institutions

    As part of its Civil Assistance Plan (CAP), the BPG is involved in supporting the ongoing militarisation of civilian law enforcement and judicial functions in both the US and Canada. The BPG has established "military contingency plans" which would be activated "on both sides of the Canada-US border" in the case of a terror attack or "threat". Under the BPG's Civil Assistance Plan (CAP), these so-called "threat scenarios" would involve:

    "coordinated response to national requests for military assistance [from civil authorities] in the event of a threat, attack, or civil emergency in the US or Canada."

    In December 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks, the Canadian government reached an agreement with the Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, entitled the "Canada-US Smart Border Declaration." Shrouded in secrecy, this agreement essentially hands over to the Homeland Security Department, confidential information on Canadian citizens and residents. It also provides US authorities with access to the tax records of Canadians.

    What these developments suggest is that the process of "binational integration" is not only occurring in the military command structures but also in the areas of immigration, police and intelligence. The question is what will be left over within Canada's jurisdiction as a sovereign nation, once this ongoing process of binational integration, including the sharing and/or merger of data banks, is completed?

    Canada and NORTHCOM

    Canada is slated to become a member of NORTHCOM at the end of the BPG's two years mandate.

    No doubt, the issue will be presented in Parliament as being "in the national interest". It "will create jobs for Canadians" and "will make Canada more secure".

    Meanwhile, the important debate on Canada's participation in the US Ballistic Missile Shield, when viewed out of the broader context,  may serve to divert public attention away from the more fundamental issue of North American military integration which implies Canada's acceptance not only of the Ballistic Missile Shield, but of the entire US war agenda, including significant hikes in defense spending which will be allocated to a North American defense program controlled by the Pentagon.

    And ultimately what is at stake is that beneath the rhetoric, Canada will cease to function as a Nation:

        *
          Its borders will be controlled by US officials and confidential information on Canadians will be shared with Homeland Security.
        *
          US troops and Special Forces will be able to enter Canada as a result of a binational arrangement.

    Canadian citizens can be arrested by US officials, acting on behalf of their Canadian counterparts and vice versa.

    But there is something perhaps even more fundamental in defining and understanding where Canada and Canadians stand as a Nation.

    The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. It has formulated the contours of an imperial project of World domination. Canada is contiguous to "the center of the empire". Territorial control over Canada is part of the US geopolitical and military agenda.

    The Liberals as well as the opposition Conservative party have endorsed embraced the US war agenda. By endorsing a Canada-US "integration" in the spheres of defense, homeland security, police and intelligence, Canada not only becomes a full fledged member of George W. Bush's "Coalition of the Willing", it will directly participate, through integrated military command structures, in the US war agenda in Central Asia and the Middle East, including the massacre of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the torture of POWs, the establishment of concentration camps, etc.

    Under an integrated North American Command, a North American national security doctrine would be formulated. Canada would be obliged to embrace Washington's pre-emptive military doctrine, including the use of nuclear warheads as a means of self defense, which was ratified by the US Senate in December 2003. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The US Nuclear Option and the "War on Terrorism" http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405A.html May 2004)

    Moreover, binational integration in the areas of Homeland security, immigration, policing of the US-Canada border, not to mention the anti-terrorist legislation, would imply pari passu acceptance of the US sponsored police State, its racist policies, its "ethnic profiling" directed against Muslims, the arbitrary arrest of anti-war activists.

Deployment of US Troops inside Canada
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2008, 04:22:41 PM »

I don't like the sound of this but perhaps it's not as ominious as it sounds. But this added to makes it sound a little bit more conspiracy theory. Shocked
~~~~~~~~

U.S. Military Being Sent to the Border with Mexico

 Michael Webster, Investigative Reporter
March 13, 2008
The Laguna Journal has learned that a special U.S. Military Task Force has been created to protect our southern border with Mexico. Members of this task force is preparing to secure the border by responding with specially trained fast response U.S. Army task force military units. These forces are already in place with the heart of the power being concentrated in El Paso and Southern New Mexico with a far reaching responsibility from East Texas to Southern California. They are being staged and immediately available as emergency "on call" units for use against terrorist threats on the nation's border and local disasters, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of United States Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Commander.

The Ft. Bliss 1st Armored Division soldiers, as well as a new missile defense unit that are being created at Fort Bliss. America's first air defense and believed by Jane's Intel Web Report to be the owners of the sky where ever they fly. These F-22 Raptors that are stationed at Holloman Air Force Base will be available to defend homeland security, Renuart said.

Renuart, who visited Joint Task Force-North, which is under his command, declined to discuss any details of threats uncovered along the border with Mexico, but he said many agencies, including JTF-North, have made "it a very difficult border for someone to take advantage of." That would explain why there have been recent reports of U.S. military being seen on the border.

The Raptors and awax aircraft are believed to be secretly patrolling the skies over the southern U.S.Border with Mexico now. Awax aircraft called in to help protect the nation from a terrorist attack from the skies or ground. The army has been seen by lots of locals all along the border at what appears to be patrolling on the ground. U.S. Soldiers have told the Journal that those U.S. Army patrols that are on and near the border are simply on maneuvers practicing for the real thing. However they are immeditly available to augment the thin numbers of National guard units lift weak due to the Iraq war. And will be back-up for the U.S. Border patrol and other local border law enforcement agencies. Border Patrol agents and county sheriff' patrolling the border have been witnessing a serous increase of sighting of what appears to be Mexican army regulars and civilian Los Zetas see: They're known as "Los Zetas

As previously reported in the Journal the federal government acknowledged that the United States-Mexican border region has been experiencing an alarming rise in the level of criminal cartel activity, including drug and human smuggling, which has placed significant additional burdens on Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.

The U.S. border with Mexico extends nearly 2,000 miles along the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In most areas, the border is located in remote and sparsely populated areas of vast desert and rugged mountain terrain with vast open water of the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific oceans.

The U.S. government admits that the border´s vast length and varied terrain poses significant challenges to U.S. law enforcement efforts to control the entry of individuals and goods into the United States.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the federal agency with primary responsibility to detect and prevent illegal entry into the United States. The latest available data indicates that approximately 11,000 CBP agents patrol the nearly 6,000 miles of international border the United States shares with its neighbors Mexico and Canada.

Dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped, held hostage and killed by their captors in Mexico and many cases remain unsolved. Moreover, new cases of disappearances and kidnap-for-ransom continue to be reported. See: Americans Being Kidnapped, Held and killed in Mexico

In addition to Federal agents, State, sheriff, and local police dept's are expected to help patrol the border areas. In remote areas along the border, many sheriffs´ departments are called upon to address border-related criminal matters and serve as a backstop to CBP operations. In many cases, these local law enforcement agencies do not have the resources necessary to patrol the thousands of square miles of border territory under their respective jurisdiction, leaving the security of the U.S. border vulnerable.

While the Southwest border hosts robust legal commercial activity, the border also is the site of violent criminal enterprises. These enterprises are carried out by organized criminal syndicates of Mexican/American cartels, gangs and international terrorist which include the smuggling of WMD's, drugs, humans, weapons, and cash across the U.S.-Mexico border.

"It is prudent for us to assume that any of these established trafficking routes, whether it's human trafficking or drugs or arms or money, any of those could be used, and so we want to keep our eyes and ears on all of those to ensure that they are not used in that regard," Renuart said. See: New Terrorist Bases South Of The Border

Both the F-22 and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile -- designed to destroy short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles as they re-enter Earth's atmosphere -- are recent additions to the nation's arsenal. A THAAD unit is being created at Fort Bliss.

THAAD "provides extremely reliable terminal phase missile defense, something we need both with our theater commanders across the (world) as well as here at home, if the threats of rogue nations continue to emerge," Renuart said. "We've got to find better ways to integrate that capability into our broader missile defense capability."

The F-22s are being used in North American Aerospace Defense Command, and NORAD, air patrols.

"Most importantly, it (the F-22) is a commitment to the recapitalization of aging forces in our Air Force," Renuart said. "As you know, we are averaging almost 30 years an airframe now, and the F-22 is the best not just air-to-air fighter in the world, but it will bring a great air-to-ground capability."

Possibly the greatest challenge will be to support National Guard and reserve forces feeling the strain of repeated deployments that also have depleted equipment supplies. Guard units respond to natural disasters as well as bridge collapses and other human-caused incidents.

"Our job at NORTHCOM is to ensure that if there's a seam or a gap there that we're thinking of how we could fill that with some other capability out of" the Defense Department, he said. "What that has forced us to do it is think about, 'How do you solve that time/distance problem, even on a short-notice event. And so I have access to capabilities now that I didn't have a year or two ago that I can move very quickly to fill that need.

"For example, if there were something that occurred in the El Paso area that the Texas National Guard might not have a capability immediately available to respond, but Fort Bliss did in an active-duty unit, then I would pull that active-duty unit out and make that available to the state to assist." See: War On Drugs And Terror.

U.S. Military Being Sent to the Border with Mexico
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2008, 10:33:59 PM »

YES - This does sound somewhat ominous and interesting - who knows these days?

It could even be to keep US IN INSTEAD of keeping the TERRORISTS OUT! There might be mass defection any moment.
   Grin
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2008, 09:02:51 PM »

Osama Bin Laden Threatens EU and Pope Over Prophet Cartoons - Says Revenge Will Be Severe

In a new audio message purportedly from Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader threatens the EU over the re-printing of a cartoon offensive to Muslims.

The voice on it says the cartoon, re-published recently in all major Danish newspapers, was part of a crusade involving Pope Benedict XVI.

The drawing, first published in 2005, depicts the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

The voice on the audio has not yet been verified as belonging to bin Laden.

The message comes on the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

It appeared on a Islamist website that has carried al-Qaeda messages in the past.

Over the audio is a graphic with a still image of bin Laden holding an AK-47 and bearing the logo of al-Sahab, the media wing of al-Qaeda. There is a written translation of the message in English.

Cartoon controversy

Last month, Denmark's leading newspapers reprinted one of 12 cartoons that first angered many Muslims when they were originally published in September 2005.

Anger in the Muslim world peaked in 2006 as newspapers in other countries published the cartoons.

Some of the protests turned violent and led to the torching of Danish diplomatic offices in Damascus and Beirut and dozens of deaths in Nigeria, Libya and Pakistan.

The Danish newspapers decided to republish the most controversial drawing after Danish intelligence said it had uncovered a plot to kill the cartoonist.

The re-printed drawing shows the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Islamic law forbids any representation of the Prophet.

The message attributed to bin Laden says the attacks of Europeans on women and children "paled [in comparison] when you went overboard in your unbelief and... went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings.

"This is the greatest misfortune and the most dangerous," the voice says.

"If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions".

It is not clear when the message was recorded. The last audio message attributed to bin Laden appeared in November but he has not been seen on video since October 2004.

He is believed to be in hiding on the rugged border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2008, 12:50:16 PM »

Medvedev warns on Nato expansion

The incoming Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, has said his country is not happy about the prospect of Ukraine and Georgia joining Nato.

Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times of London, he said such a move could affect European security.

Mr Medvedev said no country would be happy about a military bloc to which it did not belong approaching its borders.

Asked about recent troubled relations with the UK, he said he was open to restoring full co-operation.

Mr Medvedev is succeeding Vladimir Putin after winning a landslide victory in the presidential election earlier this month.

He has pledged to continue the policies of Mr Putin, who is expected to become his prime minister.

The issue of admitting Georgia and Ukraine - both former Soviet republics - is expected to be discussed at a Nato summit in Bucharest on 2-4 April.

"We are not happy about the situation around Georgia and Ukraine," Mr Medvedev said.

"We consider that it is extremely troublesome for the existing structure of European security.

"No state can be pleased about having representatives of a military bloc to which it does not belong coming close to its borders."

In a separate development, direct flights between Russia and Georgia are expected to resume on Tuesday, 18 months after Moscow suspended them in a row over alleged spying.

A Georgian passenger plane will fly from Tbilisi to Moscow, returning later in the day.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, a US-educated lawyer, swept to power after street protests in 2003, dubbed the "Rose Revolution". He favours closer ties with the West and has accused Russian politicians of interfering in Georgia's affairs.

Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004 swept away a pro-Russian government and replaced it with one that looks to the West for support and now wants to join Nato. But President Viktor Yushchenko has been engaged in a long-running power struggle with Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister whose supporters are generally more pro-Russian.

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« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2008, 02:15:21 PM »

U.S. Navy confirms Suez Canal shooting
American ship fired warning shots at small Egyptian boat

An American cargo ship under contract to the U.S. Navy fired warning shots at a small Egyptian boat while passing through the Suez Canal, the U.S. military said Tuesday. Egyptian authorities said at least one man was killed, but the U.S. said an investigation was under way and it had no reports of casualties.

The Global Patriot, which was under short-term charter to the Navy's Military Sealift Command, entered the canal from the Red Sea at Suez after dark Monday when it was approached by several small boats, according to U.S. and Egyptian officials.

The U.S. Navy has been careful about the activities of small boats near their warships since the 2000 suicide attack by an explosives-packed motor boat on the USS Cole in Yemen killed 17 sailors.

A U.S. Navy security team aboard the Global Patriot fired the warning shots, said Lt. Nathan Christensen, deputy spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain. He did not know whether the civilian crew on the ship was also armed.

"The boats were hailed and warned by a native Arabic speaker using a bullhorn to warn them to turn away. A warning flare was then fired," said a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. "One small boat continued to approach the ship and received two sets of warning shots 20-30 yards in front of the bow."

The statement added that "all shots were accounted for as they entered the water." It also said that "initial reports indicate that no casualties were sustained on either vessel."

An Egyptian security official at the canal, however, said that after the warning shots, a man was shot dead in the small boat and that the three other men with him were wounded.

The body of the man, Mohammed Fouad, was taken to a hospital morgue, then transferred to the Ibrahim Nafie mosque ahead of burial, the head of the union of seamen in Suez, Abbas al-Amrikani, told The Associated Press.

We are praying over his the body right now," al-Amrikani said by phone over audible sounds of prayer. "I saw the body. The bullet entered his heart and went out the other side." He added that Fouad was 27 years old.

The Egyptian government had no immediate comment. The state news agency MENA reported an Egyptian was killed "when an American ship opened fire."

Small boats selling cigarettes and other products often swarm civilian ships moving through the canal. The merchants know not to approach military vessels, but the Global Patriot looked like a civilian vessel, said the security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

"We are very conscious of being in heavily trafficked areas and we as professional mariners try to keep people from getting too close," 5th Fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Lydia Robertson told The Associated Press by phone from Bahrain. "Our team did take the appropriate steps to take those measured steps to warn the vessels that were getting too close."

Robertson said the same rules of engagement applied for warships as for those under contract.

In Washington, the State Department said Washington took the issue seriously and would work with Egypt to prevent similar incidents. Spokesman Sean McCormack said he expected Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Egyptian Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi would touch on the matter at the State Department later Tuesday in a private meeting that is likely to focus on the security situation in the Gaza Strip. Tantawi also was to meet with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday.

Egyptian officials said the ship was continuing its journey through the canal and was expected to arrive at Port Said near the Mediterranean by nightfall.

The Global Patriot is registered to the New York-based Global Container Lines and, according to the company Web site, the vessel trades between the United States, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and East Africa.

Some 7.5 percent of world sea trade passes through the canal, which at its narrowest is 120 yards wide. The canal is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt.
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« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2008, 09:37:47 PM »

US 'deploys nuclear sub to Persian Gulf'
Sun, 23 Mar 2008 19:46:06

An American nuclear submarine has crossed the Suez Canal to join the US fleet stationed in the Persian Gulf, Egyptian sources say.

Egyptian officials reported that the nuclear submarine crossed the canal along with a destroyer on Friday and Egyptian forces were put on high alert when the navy convoy was passing through the canal.

An American destroyer recently left the Persian Gulf, heading towards the Mediterranean Sea; earlier Thursday, a US Navy rescue ship crossed the canal to enter the Red Sea.

The deployment comes as recent reports allege that US Vice President Dick Cheney is seeking to rally the support of Middle Eastern states for launching an attack on Iran.

This is while US officials deny that Cheney's Mideast tour is linked to a possible military attack on Iran.

According to the latest reports, in recent months a major part of the US Navy has been deployed in and around the Persian Gulf.

The fleet is armed with nuclear weapons and cruise missiles and carries hundreds of aircraft and rapid reaction forces.

US 'deploys nuclear sub to Persian Gulf'
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« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2008, 11:25:10 AM »

Somalia fighting prompts warning

Forty humanitarian agencies have warned of an impending catastrophe in Somalia unless urgent action is taken.

They say 20,000 people continue to flee violence in the capital every month.

The warning comes ahead of a UN Security Council meeting to consider sending 27,000 peacekeepers to Somalia to replace the stretched African force.

Correspondents say there are increasing attacks outside the capital, with Islamists raiding Jowhar town on Wednesday morning to release prisoners.

Residents told the BBC that hundreds of fighters, belonging to the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), briefly held the town, about 90km (55 miles) north of the capital, Mogadishu, before pulling out after freeing the prisoners.

   
LIFE IN SOMALIA
2m rely on daily aid
More than 1m internally displaced
20,000 flee Mogadishu each month
Average monthly family income of those left in Mogadishu: $12.13
Life expectancy: 47

Problems: Fighting, high food prices, hyperinflation, drought

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says five soldiers and two civilians were killed in the clashes.

Ethiopia intervened to help Somalia's interim government to oust the UIC from power in December 2006.

The agencies say two million Somalis need daily help to survive the crisis caused by continued fighting between insurgents and the government.

Somalia's ambassador to the UN said his government lacked enough international support and called for the partial lifting of the arms embargo

"It is ironic when the UN puts an arms embargo on a country which cannot secure its borders then anybody can import or export whatever they like and that's what was happening for 17 years," Elmi Ahmed Dualeh told the BBC.

"Now the government is weak. It is weak because it never had support."

In a joint statement, the 40 local and international aid agencies point out that in October last year they warned Somalia was heading towards crisis.

Six months on, they say, the situation in the country has deteriorated dramatically and access to those in need has got far worse.

"It continues to deteriorate by the day," the UN refugee agency's Guillermo Bettocchi told the BBC.

"There are no signs of improvement on the ground, and those who are suffering the brunt of the conflict are the civilians, who are being either killed or displaced, and are in the middle of suffering that is unacceptable," he said.

"In terms of child malnutrition, access to education, lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities, indeed the situation in Somalia is the worst in the world... to be a child in Somalia today is something that means lots of suffering and a grim future."

Record food prices, hyper-inflation and drought in many parts of the country have made the situation worse and seasonal rains due to start soon are also predicted to fail.

"For too long, the needs of ordinary Somalis have been forgotten," the agencies said.

They urged "the international community and all parties to the conflict to urgently focus their attention on the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Somalia".

"They must ensure access for humanitarian supplies, live up to their responsibility to protect civilians and address the environment of impunity," they added.

"The humanitarian crisis will become more and more complex and will continue to deepen in the absence of a political solution to the current crisis."

The UN Security Council will discuss the situation on Thursday.

Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented the council with a report proposing the deployment of 27,000 peacekeepers as one of four possible scenarios in which the UN could heighten its presence in the war-torn country.

So far only 2,400 African Union peacekeepers have been sent to Somalia, of a planned 8,000-strong force.

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