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Archive for January 15th, 2009

U.S. military report warns ‘sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible

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U.S. military report warns ‘sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible

By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times

EL PASO – Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse:

Pakistan and Mexico.”The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”

The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., is one of the Defense Departments combat commands that includes members of the different military service branches, active and reserves, as well as civilian and contract employees. One of its key roles is to help transform the U.S. military’s capabilities.

In the foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the USJFC commander, said “Predictions about the future are always risky … Regardless, if we do not try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America.”

The report is one in a series focusing on Mexico’s internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar alerts about Mexico.

Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who “are in denial about what is happening in Mexico.”

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico.

The U.S. military report, which also analyzed economic situations in other countries, also noted that China has increased its influence in places where oil fields are present.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

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Israeli Navy Monitoring Iranian Boat Bound for Gaza!

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Navy keeping eyes on Iranian aid ship

The Navy is closely tracking an Iranian ship that has attempted several times to breach the naval blockade imposed on Gaza and transport humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

On Tuesday, the boat docked in Port Said, Egypt, but the Egyptians refused to allow it to unload its cargo and at midnight Wednesday the boat tried sailing into Gaza.

A Navy Sa’ar 4.5-class missile ship intercepted the Iranian boat and transmitted a clear message on Channel 16 – the international communication line for ships – that it would not allow the boat to dock in Gaza.

On Wednesday morning, when it was 30 miles off the Gaza coast, the Iranian boat again tried to move toward the Strip, and the Navy again intercepted it. It then returned to el-Arish, Egypt, and two Egyptian boats prevented it from docking there.

Since that time, the boat has been sitting 30 miles off the coast of Gaza and is being closely tracked by the Israeli navy. Israel and the Egyptians have been coordinating all activity regarding the Iranian boat.

The head of the humanitarian aid group sponsoring the ship, Ahmad Navabi, said in comments aired on Iranian television Wednesday that the Israeli navy approached the cargo ship, Shahed, about 20 miles off the coast of Gaza at dawn Wednesday, and ordered it to turn back.

“An Israeli warship approached our cargo ship and warned us not to approach Gaza. We could see the lights at Gaza coast. We were forced to change route toward an Egyptian port,” Navabi said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that Iran had stepped up diplomatic efforts to push for an end to the Israeli assault on Gaza, state television reported.

“In the short term, the most important measures are to end (the Israeli) assault on Gaza, end the Gaza blockade and recognize the rights of the Gaza people,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

This is the first Iranian boat to try to reach Gaza during the blockade. On December 30, a boat carrying activists and medical supplies to Gaza was turned back after an altercation with the Israeli navy. Israeli officials said the boat tried to outmaneuver an Israeli navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Young Adolf Hitler, and Siblings Removed From Home!!

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Authorities: Children named for Nazis were removed from home for their safety

JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, left, is 1, and her brother, Adolf Hitler Campbell, is 3

JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, left, is 1, and her brother, Adolf Hitler Campbell, is 3

A Holland Township police sergeant present Friday when the Campbell children were removed from their home said New Jersey officials assured him it had nothing to do with the siblings’ Nazi-inspired names.

“It was other matters,” Sgt. John Harris said, referring to a representative from state attorney general’s office.

Heath and Deborah Campbell have three children, all of them under 3. Their names are Adolf Hitler, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie.

The family drew international attention last month when Heath Campbell complained after a supermarket chain refused to write his son’s full name on a birthday cake.

Harris said Deborah Campbell was upset when authorities took her children but didn’t attempt to stop them.

“Everything went smooth with the exception of the mother reacting as a normal mother would if you took her children away,” Harris said.“She knew not to push the matter and decided to cooperate with DYFS.”

Harris said Friday wasn’t his first visit to the Campbell home.

“We’ve been out there before,” he said. “It hasn’t been for anything with the kids. (Heath Campbell)’s always been very good with the kids. His kids seem to mean a lot with him. His relationships? That’s something I can’t comment on.”

Harris said there have been no new threats against the Campbells or anyone else in Holland Township. He is scheduled to testify at a custody hearing today in Hunterdon County.

“Center Side Up” blogger Donald Dal Maso wonders how the Lehigh Valley community can help Heath and Deborah Campbell do right by their children? The last thing the couple need is to be attacked by people who don’t know the whole story, he writes in his latest entry.

Check out The Express-Times’ past coverage of this story:

Adolf Hitler, 3, his siblings removed from parents’ Holland Township homeBoy named Adolf Hitler, his sisters removed from parents’ home by New Jersey authorities

Holland Township family angry that supermarket won’t personalize cake for their son

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

India and the US talk missile defense

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Via (Asia Times)

India and the US talk Missile Defense

By Siddharth Srivastava

NEW DELHI– Concerned about the threats emerging from Pakistan in the wake of the November terror attack in Mumbai and the predominant position of China, official sources told Asia Times Online that there had been considerable acceleration in India-US efforts to jointly build a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system.

The pressure is being applied by the Indian armed forces, with New Delhi willing to play along, given it sees “non-state players and other loose cannons increasingly gaining ground in Pakistan”.

Officials say that Indian intelligence agencies perceive a potent terror threat from the skies. The Indian Air Force has already put the retrofitting of Sukhoi-30MKI combat jets with the aerial version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, jointly developed by India and Russia, on the fast track.

A missile shield would provide cover against inter-continental ballistic missiles. The system features radar and anti-missile missiles, or interceptors, which are able to destroy incoming and possibly nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, both of which Pakistan and China possess.

New Delhi feels that given the large number of such missiles in production, some could easily be acquired by rogue elements, especially in Pakistan, who could launch an unexpected attack.

Last year, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited India and made it clear that, given India’s status as the US’s strategic partner in the Asian region, Washington was looking to expand military-to-military relationships, including the joint development of a missile shield.

It may be recalled that India has conducted “exo” and “endo” atmospheric missile interceptor tests in the past two years, with reports indicating the possibility of a third integrated interceptor missile test soon.

The first test took place in November 2006, when an “exo-atmospheric” hypersonic interceptor missile successfully destroyed an incoming missile at an altitude of about 40-50 kilometers, thus demonstrating a BMD capability similar to the Israeli Arrow-2 system.

The second test, similar to the American PAC-3 system, took place in December 2007, wherein an “endo-atmospheric” interceptor successfully took on an “enemy” missile at a 15km altitude.

The state-controlled apex defense outfit, the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), claimed that it would have Phase-I missiles as part of its BMD system, capable of neutralizing 2,000-km range missiles, ready for deployment by 2011 or 2012. Phase-II will look to thwart threats from missiles with ranges of up to 5,000 km.

However, given the DRDO’s dubious achievements and delayed delivery record, observers agree that the involvement of international expertise would speed things up. The US has already provided Indian officials with access to DRDO computer simulations of at least two live missile launches, as per reliable sources.

In the context of emerging threats from Pakistan and the changing strategic relations between India and the US, New Delhi has been looking to Washington to hasten its military achievements and capabilities.

As part of its global efforts against terror, Washington has sought to involve India to strengthen its nuclear defense abilities and effectively neutralize threats from volatile states in the sub-continent, apart from the obvious business generated from such big collaborations.

One US Embassy official was recently quoted by a prominent British paper as saying, “India is a partner of ours, and we want to provide it with whatever it needs to protect itself. This fits into the overall strategic partnership we are building.”

US defense firm Lockheed Martin, with offers of Patriot and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) anti-missile systems, has already been talking to the DRDO. In February last year, Lockheed said “exploratory discussions” had taken place with New Delhi and industry representatives.

Israel and Russia have made similar presentations to India in the past, demonstrating their anti-tactical ballistic missile systems “S-300V” and “Arrow-2”, respectively. The French are also in contention.

Meanwhile, the US has also been keen to implement a missile defense system in Europe, using Poland and the Czech Republic to counter perceived threats from Iran. The move has resulted in a diplomatic pow-wow between the US and Russia in recent months. In December, the US announced the successful testing of the missile defense system in Alaska.

The US’s offer to help India with its own BMD is an extension of the already burgeoning defense relations between the two countries. Presently, the US lags well behind Russia, Israel and France in terms of supplying military hardware and software to India. However, this may change quickly.

While the focus usually rests on the India-US civilian nuclear deal as the one example of growing ties between the two countries, defense is an important arena progressing at even pace. Post-2005, India-US strategic relations moved beyond the Cold War sanctions on India, which at the time was seen to be aligned with the Soviet Union.

The 2005 Defense Framework Agreement signed between the two countries blueprints progress to be made in the next 10 years.

In the latest development, the decks have been cleared for an India-US defense deal of about US$2 billion for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft for the Indian navy.

The LRMR planes will replace its eight aging and fuel-guzzling Russian-origin Tupolev-142Ms, while the deal itself is the continuation of a slow but definite deepening of India-US defense relations in the past few years.

The LRMR deal supersedes last year’s US$1-billion contract signed with the US for six C-130J “Super Hercules” aircraft for use by Indian special forces. This has opened a potential multi-billion dollar market to American manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

Apart from the C-130J deal, the US’s only substantial (and comparatively less in value) arms deal with India in recent years has been the US$190 million contract of 2002 to supply 12 AN/TPQ-37 fire finder weapon-locating radars.

Last year, India purchased an amphibious transport vessel, the USS Trenton (re-christened Jalashwa), for nearly $50 million with six-UH-3H helicopters to operate alongside, costing another $49 million. The Jalashwa is the first-ever warship acquired by the Indian navy from the US and the second-biggest that India now possesses after the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

Now, the India-US defense relationship is only expected to deepen. Both Lockheed and Boeing are principal bidders in the estimated US$11 billion deal for India’s procurement of 126 medium fighter jet aircraft, while incoming US president Barack Obama has shown every sign that he will continue the India-US entente.

Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at sidsri@yahoo.com)

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie