Saturday, December 08, 2012

Thousands of US troops arrive near Syrian shore on the USS Eisenhower - the next war?

Hafez al-Assad. Taken sometime before April 1987.
Hafez al-Assad. Taken sometime before April 1987. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thousands of US troops arrive near Syrian shore on USS Eisenhower - the next war?

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier steams in Mediterranean waters south of Italy during NATO.(Reuters / Paul Hanna)
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier steams in Mediterranean waters south of Italy during NATO.(Reuters / Paul Hanna)
The USS Eisenhower, an American aircraft carrier that holds eight fighter bomber squadrons and 8,000 men, arrived at the Syrian coast yesterday in the midst of a heavy storm, indicating US preparation for a potential ground intervention.
While the Obama administration has not announced any sort of American-led military intervention in the war-torn country, the US is now ready to launch such action “within days” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decides to use chemical weapons against the opposition, the Times reports.
Some have suggested that the Assad regime may use chemical weapons against the opposition fighters in the coming days or weeks.
The arrival of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the 11 US Navy aircraft carriers that has the capacity to hold thousands of men, is now stationed at the coast of Syria, DEBKAfile reports. The aircraft carrier joined the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which holds about 2,500 Marines.
“We have (US) special operations forces at the right posture, they don’t have to be sent,” an unnamed US official told The Australian, which suggested that US military troops are already near Syria and ready to intervene in the conflict, if necessary.
If the US decides to intervene militarily in Syria, it now has at its disposal 10,000 fighting men, 17 warships, 70 fighter-bombers, 10 destroyers and frigates and a guided military cruises. Some of the vessels are also equipped with Aegis missile interceptors to shoot down any missiles Syria might have at hand, according to DEBKAfile.
“The muscle is already there to be flexed,” a US official told the London Times about the US military’s presence outside of Syria. “It’s premature to say what could happen if a decision is made to intervene. That hasn’t taken shape, we’ve not reached that kind of decision. There are a lot of options, but it [military action] could be launched rapidly, within days.”
The move comes after NATO made a significant strategic decision Tuesday to deploy Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems in Turkey on the border of Syria where opposition groups have the stronghold. The defense would be able to protect Turkey from potential Syrian missiles that could contain chemical weapons, as well as intimidate Syrian Air Force pilots from bombing the northern Syria border towns, which the armed rebels control. Syria is thought to have about 700 missiles.
“The protection from NATO will be three dimensional; one is the short-range Patriots, the second is the middle-range Terminal High Altitude Air Defense [THAD] system and the last is the AEGIS system, which counters missiles that can reach outside the atmosphere,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
DEBKAfile’s anonymous military sources claim the THAD and Aegis arrived at the Syrian coast aboard the USS Eisenhower.
“The United States now stands ready for direct military intervention in the Syrian conflict when the weather permits,” the news source wrote.
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Friday, December 07, 2012

NZ judge gives Kim Dotcom the right to sue the police and spy agencies like the GCSB...

One of the domes collapsed at GCSB's Waihopai ...
One of the domes collapsed at GCSB's Waihopai Spy Base after the 2008 Ploughshares attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: New Zealand Police highway patrol car...
English: New Zealand Police highway patrol car (2000–2002 Holden VX Commodore S sedan). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: New Zealand Police highway patrol car (2000–2002 Holden VX Commodore S sedan). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
140 px
140 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
140 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (Reuters/Mark Coote)
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (Reuters/Mark Coote)
Nobody is above the law in New Zealand – especially the police and the GCSB and other spy agencies.
Megaupload mogul Kim Dotcom is free to press charges against a New Zealand spy agency and the police, a High Court ruled. The judge also called for classified data allegedly shared with the US to be disclosed to the courtroom.
This new twist in the Megaupload legal battle will allow Dotcom to press charges against both the New Zealand police and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
The verdict is a small victory for the Internet tycoon in his battle against extradition to the US on charges of copyright infringement and money laundering in connection with media streaming site Megaupload, which was closed down in January by US authorities.
In addition to the ruling in favor of the Megaupload founder, the judge presiding over Dotcom’s case, Justice Helen Winklemann, called for the disclosure of all documents pertaining to the site’s operations. Winklemann said that the details, and all the entities with which they had been shared, included “members of Echelon/Five Eyes, including any United States authority.”
Echelon is an international intelligence agency of which the US and New Zealand are members, along with the UK, Australia and Canada.
The prosecution argued that some of the information is too sensitive to be released, and could potentially damage New Zealand’s relations with Washington.
Dotcom has claimed on numerous occasions that the GCSB, which surveils foreigners in New Zealand, illegally spied on him in the run-up to the raid on his mansion on January 20. Justice Winklemann subsequently ruled that the raid was illegal.
Armed New Zealand police stormed Dotcom’s $30 million mansion in January. They seized Dotcom’s assets, including 18 vintage cars and $42 million in suspected illegal proceeds.
The GCSB has admitted it unlawfully kept tabs on Dotcom and his Dutch colleague, Bran van der Kolk, prior to the mansion raid. Both men were New Zealand residents at the time of the surveillance, meaning that the GCSB acted outside of its jurisdiction. New Zealand’s Prime Minister has since issued an official apology for the offense.

Live footage of the raid

Justice Winklemann also presented evidence that suggested the illegal storming of the Megaupload founder’s mansion was broadcast over a live feed, contradicting previous police statements.
In an internal publication of the New Zealand police published in February, Detective Superintendent Mike Pannet said he had monitored termination activities around the world regarding Megaupload and the raid of Dotcom’s property. Justice Winklemann has issued an order requiring Pannet to file an affidavit detailing the nature of the monitoring he carried out.
Kim Dotcom’s marathon court case has been dogged with controversy from the outset, including allegations of excessive force by the police when they sacked the Internet tycoon’s mansion.
The extradition hearing to decide whether the file-sharing kingpin will be sent to the US for trial has been delayed at least until July 2013.
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