wiki globe

Posts Tagged ‘weapons’

Thai government accuses Reds over huge weapons cache

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm

 Thailand’s government on Saturday displayed to foreign diplomats a huge cache of weapons it said had been confiscated from anti-government protesters, to quash criticism of a deadly crackdown.

This picture taken on May 21, 2010 shows Thai Red Shirt supporters waving flags as they welcome Red Shirts protestors arriving from Bangkok at the train station in Chiang Mai, around 700kms from Bangkok. (AFP Photo)

“Red Shirts” leaders, who mounted two months of rallies in Bangkok that saw clashes and blasts that left 86 dead and 1,900 injured movement, have criticised the use of force and said their supporters were unarmed.

The government said that after Wednesday’s final offensive which forced thousands of Reds to disperse and their leaders to surrender, it had found a haul of assault rifles, ammunition, grenades and crude homemade bombs.

“Terrorists have used these weapons to attack officials and innocent people,” said Suthep Thaugsuban, deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs, at an army barracks on the northern outskirts of the capital.

“Although the protesters have always denied terrorism or possessing weapons, after the rallies dispersed we found a lot of lethal weapons,” he told media and dozens of Bangkok-based diplomats and military attaches.

Thailand’s top forensic scientist, Porntip Rojanasunan, also said that four car bombs had been found around the protest site which paralysed Bangkok’s top shopping district for six weeks.

AFP journalists reporting at the protest zone for the past two months have seen only a handful of firearms in the hands of protesters, who were mostly armed only with crude weapons like rockets and Molotov cocktails.

Wednesday’s campaign was met with little resistance.

Concern has been growing over rights abuses in Thailand, with the European Union the latest to call on Thai authorities to respect the rights of the protesters and saying the violence had harmed the nation.

Human Rights Watch has also expressed alarm over a “draconian” emergency decree introduced during the crisis to hold prisoners in secret detention.

In a clear reference to the Reds’ hero, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the army said that masterminds including those from outside the country were responsible for the mayhem of looting and arson that broke out after the offensive.

“It’s not true that protesters carried out arson attacks due to anger after protest ended. It was well planned and ordered by people outside and inside the country,” said army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and now lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

A curfew is in place until Sunday in Bangkok and most of the Reds’ heartland in the north and northeast. Suthep said there would be an announcement Sunday over the status of the emergency measures.

Source: SGGP

Officials take weapons from ousted leader’s family

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 10:28 am

Relatives of Kyrgyzstan’s ousted president were submitting weapons to officials Friday in their home village, a day after the president himself fled the country.

While the moves appeared to reduce the likelihood of resistance by Kurmanbek Bakiyev backers, Kyrgyzstan‘s interim authorities were still searching for one of his brothers after issuing a warrant for his arrest, and it was unclear if Zhanybek Bakiyev would submit peacefully.

Zhanybek Bakiyev, former head of the presidential guard service, is accused of ordering that shots be fired into a crowd of protesters April 7 in the capital, Bishkek. The shooting enraged protesters, who stormed government buildings, driving the president to take refuge in the family compound in the southern village of Teyit.

At least 83 people died in the Bishkek violence.

Supporters of the ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev hold posters at a rally in the centre of Jalalabad, April 13, 2010.

For more than a week, the president tried to marshal support to resist the opposition figures who claimed power in Bishkek after his departure. But after fleeing a support rally Thursday when gunfire broke out, he flew to neighboring Kazakhstan under a plan negotiated by the U.S., Russian and Kazakh presidents, the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Police and the regional prosecutor came to the Bakiyev compound Friday morning, and Bakiyev’s brother Akhmat, who is not sought for arrest, turned over several hunting and assault rifles.

Kyrgyzstan’s provisional leader, Roza Otunbayeva, on Thursday showed The Associated Press what she said was a formal letter of resignation handwritten by the president and received by fax.

“The conflict is over, the people in all parts of the country are united in their condemnation of the bloody regime,” Otunbayeva said.

Otunbayeva said Bakiyev’s departure was “the only way to avoid the escalation of tensions and setting of one part of the nation against another.”

Another member of the interim government in Bishkek, Tobchubek Turgunaliyev, said Bakiyev was accompanied on the flight to Kazakhstan only by his wife and two small children. Turgunaliyev told the AP that Bakiyev’s former defense minister has been arrested.

Bakiyev’s departure raised hopes for a quick settlement of the crisis in the former Soviet republic, which hosts a U.S. air base at the capital’s airport. The Manas base has resumed full operations, the U.S. Embassy said Thursday.

“Refueling operations continue as usual, and the transit of troops has resumed,” the embassy said in a statement.

The troop transports to and from Afghanistan had been suspended since last week, other than a brief resumption Friday to fly a few hundred troops from the base back to the U.S.

Russia, which also has an air base in Kyrgyzstan, has supported the U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan but has shown growing impatience with the U.S. military presence in the Central Asian region, which it considers its backyard.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement issued by the Kremlin on Thursday that the Bakiyev regime collapsed because of corruption, its reliance on clan ties and inability to solve social problems. He said Russia would provide humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan.

Source: SGGP

How U.S. weapons technology is finding its way to Iran

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

The shadow war between the U.S. and Iran was briefly visible this week at an extradition hearing in a Paris courtroom, where an Iranian engineer was answering U.S. charges that he’d illegally shipped U.S. technology to Iran .

French authorities detained Majid Kakavand , 37, at the request of the U.S., as he stepped off a plane last year. On Wednesday he got a big boost when a French state prosecutor unexpectedly argued that the technology he allegedly shipped through his global procurement network had no military application.

Whether France extradites Kakavand or doesn’t, as now seems more likely, this was the latest round in an escalating contest over what U.S. officials say is Tehran’s voracious appetite for technology to feed its nuclear, missile and other military programs.

While diplomats dither about imposing new U.N. sanctions on Tehran because of its suspected nuclear weapons program, the real struggle over Iran’s capabilities is taking place in courtrooms and intelligence centers, via sting operations, front companies and falsified shipping documents.

In the last year alone, U.S. law enforcement and customs officials have uncovered at least 16 cases in which Iranians or their agents allegedly tried to buy night vision equipment, military aircraft parts, vacuum pumps with nuclear uses, and a lot more.

The U.S. counterattack has gone well beyond U.S. borders, provoking controversy and complications.

Suspects have been arrested and extradited from the country of Georgia and, just three weeks ago, from Hong Kong . A former Iranian ambassador to Jordan , nabbed in a U.S. sting operation, is fighting extradition from the United Kingdom .

Iran is fighting back. In December, state media released a list of 11 Iranians it said were being improperly detained, either in the U.S. or in other countries at U.S. request.

Kakavand was on the list, as was Nasrollah Tajik, the former ambassador to Jordan . Also listed was Shahram Amiri , an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared in Saudi Arabia last year and was reported by ABC News to have defected to the U.S.

Manoucher Mottaki, the foreign minister, called Kakavand earlier this month to offer encouragement. The call fueled suspicions that if France releases him, Iran will free Clotilde Reiss , a young Frenchwoman who was detained after Iran’s disputed July 2009 elections.

U.S. officials say Iran has also responded by trying better to cover its tracks.

Proliferation networks “are becoming increasingly more sophisticated — laying out a smoke trail, really,” said special agent Clark Settles , the chief of counter-proliferation investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement .

“They’ve added more middlemen” to hide the true destinations of shipments of U.S. technology, and have become more proficient at forging documents and falsifying export licenses, Settles said.

The U.S. effort also has gotten a lot more aggressive, said David Albright , the president of the private Institute for Science and International Security and the author of a new book on illicit nuclear trade.

“I think it’s hurting them. You can see in some cases, they get pretty desperate,” Albright said.

Iran is dependent on foreign technology to expand its uranium enrichment efforts, which U.S. and European intelligence agencies say is aimed at acquiring enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon.

“They want to get 20,000 centrifuges” for enrichment, Albright said. “They’re constantly needing to go out and buy things. . . . You hurt them on the build-up.”

Iran is using U.S. technology for non-nuclear applications, as well to harm Americans, law enforcement officials and analysts say.

Sophisticated roadside bombs, thought to have been assembled in Iran , have been discovered in Iraq and Afghanistan containing electronics whose serial numbers trace them back to the U.S., they say.

At ISIS’ Washington offices, Albright pointed to a picture of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad touring one of Iran’s nuclear sites. Also in the photograph is a pressure transducer, which can be used to measure pressure inside a centrifuge that’s enriching uranium — almost certainly of U.S. origin.

Steven Pelak , a senior Justice Department official said recently that there was a more than 30 percent increase in criminal defendants between late 2006 and late 2007. Most cases are focused on Iran and China , said Pelak, who coordinates an inter-agency export enforcement task force. He said there are more than a dozen open investigations into illegal proliferation networks.

Despite a near-total U.S. ban on trade with Iran and significant restrictions in Europe , a lot apparently gets through.

“Cases lead to other cases. Every time we’ve taken down one of these networks, we literally found hundreds of leads,” said Settles, the ICE special agent.

The U.S. last year acquired an extensive “electronic Rolodex” as part of a plea bargain with the owner of a Dutch aviation services firm, who with his son was charged with transshipping U.S. goods to Iran . Robert Kraaipoel and his son came voluntarily to the U.S., because after charges against them were made public, no Western banks would hold their money, throttling business.

U.S. customs agents also have lured Iranian front men to third countries that have extradition treaties with the U.S., and later brought them to U.S. jails.

Pelak disputed that the U.S. government is trying to enforce its laws overseas. He said suspects are using U.S. financial institutions, buying American technology and often causing U.S. companies to file false export certificates, unwittingly he said.

Kakavand was supposed to be a case in point. Documents filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California charge that he and his associates set up a firm, Evertop Services, in Malaysia , and used it to buy at least 30 shipments of U.S.-made electronics worth more than $1 million . Once in Malaysia , they were shipped to Iran via Iran Air , the state-controlled airline.

E-mails from Evertop show the company’s customers included Iran Electronics Industry and Iran Communications Industries , entities that supply Iran’s military.

Kakavand’s attorney in Paris , Diane Francois , told McClatchy that the Iranian dealt with “no arms or dual-use (items), period.” Because he didn’t break French law, he shouldn’t be extradited, she said.

A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, said the real issue is that the two Iranian entities were designated for their involvement in Iran’s nuclear missile programs by the U.S. and one, IEI, by the European Union .

“These facilities don’t make toys,” he said.

The case helped prompt Malaysia , long seen as transit point for goods to Iran , to adopt an export control law in time for President Barack Obama‘s nuclear security summit this week.

A ruling on Kakavand’s extradition is expected May 5 .

Source: SGGP

Australia blocks shipment to Pakistan over weapons fears

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

 Australia has blocked a shipment of scientific equipment to Pakistan over fears it could be used to help build weapons of mass destruction, a spokesman for Defence Minister John Faulkner said Tuesday.

The government used the 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act to stop an Australian company exporting instruments and accessories to a Pakistani firm, he said.

“The minister forms the view, based on advice from the Department of Defence supported by other agencies, that there are unacceptable risks associated with the provision of these goods,” the spokesman told AFP.

It is the fourth time the minister has used the little-known act to block a shipment going overseas. On previous occasions, the goods had been destined for Iran or countries deemed at risk of passing them on to Iran.

The government refused to name either the Australian or Pakistani companies involved in the transaction, but The Australian newspaper said the domestic firm was GBC Scientific Equipment.

It said GBC wanted to sell two atomic absorption spectrophotometers, which analyse liquid samples, to a Pakistani engineering firm but had been unable to convince Canberra they could not be used to analyse metals used for centrifuges and missiles.

“They’re destroying my company and, more to the point, they’ve basically moved my thoughts to forget about Australia,” the company’s managing director Ron Grey told the paper.

“Basically, you’ve got a whole lot of overpaid public servants and their job is to screw up one of Australia’s few export industries,” he said.

Faulkner said while he was aware of the commercial impact his decision would have on the company, the firm had been consulted throughout the process.

“I want to make clear, there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the Australian company,” the minister told the newspaper.

Australia normally blocks the sale of dangerous goods or items to suspect nations via the Customs Act, but the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act is used as a catch-all when this legislation does not apply.

GBC is a major manufacturer of high-tech analytical instruments. It could not be reached for comment Tuesday.


Source: SGGP

Hanoi displays VN’s army’s handmade weapons

In Vietnam Culture on September 9, 2009 at 2:46 am

More than 700 weapons are displayed at the exhibition by the end of this year. (Photo: SGGP)

An exhibition on weapons used by Vietnamese soldiers during the wars against French colonialism and the US army opened September 1 at the Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi.

With 716 objects, including primitive weapons spears and spike-traps, and heavy weapons like guns, mines, and grenades produced by the Vietnamese army, the exhibition shows visitors the development of making weapons by the Vietnamese army, as well as Vietnamese’s cleverness and creativeness.

The hand-made weapons have been considered as one of the incredibilities of the people war strength.

The exhibition will be opened until the end of this year.

Source: SGGP