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ISIS – Click above
Soon to be published:
SECURITY & BAGGAGE HANDLING
countries now trying to establish if their radicalized nationals will be
returning home (or have already done so) to bring the warped ideology of IS
into your community (or bring bombs, murder and mayhem onto your street) –
everyone is having to pay far greater attention to
Added to the
threat of terrorism, the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and ongoing battle
to contain the disease is proving difficult to say the least for government
authorities, airports & airlines worldwide.
elements still smuggle in drugs, other illegal or restricted items in baggage
arriving at and leaving airports, airfields, cruise terminals, ports, railway
stations and other transport hubs.
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OUR SPECIAL REPORT ON BAGGAGE HANDLING & SECURITY...
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A Kurdish woman fighting Islamic State
militants carried out a suicide
bomb attack the other day to slow their advance on a besieged
Deilar Kanj Khamis,
known by the nom de guerre Arin Mirkan,
herself up at an IS position east of Kobane,
killing ten jihadists.
Defending Women’s Rights & Human Rights – Seeking
Yes – but Kurdish Women combating the so called Islamic
State (I.S) are also
‘Fighting for their Right to
Nobody ever suggested that Coalition airstrikes
on I.S would be the solution to defeating the evil plague of jihadists that
are sweeping across Iraq & Syria. Most defense analysts agree that ‘boots
on the ground’ has to be part of the overall strategy to succeed in wiping
I.S off the face of the earth – rather than just degrading their capabilities
in certain areas. The burning question of course is “Whose boots?”
Kurdish fighters certainly have the courage
& ability to take on the murdering terrorists who crucify, behead and
rape their way through cities, towns & villages – even if promises from
the West to supply these allies with appropriate weapons and armor to carry
out the task has been painfully (and still is) slow to materialize. Many of
these fighters are women!
It’s good to see US airstrikes on Kobane
intensify and that Kurdish fighters from the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) battling
Islamic State (IS) say they have recaptured a strategically important hilltop
west of Kobane on Syria's border with Turkey.
could and should save Kobane. They have the second
largest army in NATO. Turkey has only been passively monitoring the
death-soaked danger unfolding on its border. The United Nations has warned of
genocide on the scale of Srebenica, asking only for
volunteers and their equipment to enter the city, but Turkey has refused.
Kurdish leaders have called for a corridor to allow weapons and aid transport,
but Turkey keeps saying no. Indeed, the only access Kobane
has to the outside world is Turkey, but Turkish leaders in Ankara simply look
TheGuadian newspaper in
the UK recently commented that Ankara does not want Kurdish autonomy: the
primary reason for their inaction. Added to that, Turkish politicians are
still worried about Bashar al-Assad and his regime
in Syria more than they are about IS. Turkey has ulterior motives – and they
have led not just to a willful ignorance of massacre, but to a willing
breakdown in the political peace process.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was supposed to be the architect of that process,
which promised a solution to a decades-old standoff on Kurdish rights with
the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). But just a few days ago, Erdogan said the PKK and ISIS were “the same”, and the
PKK responded with harsh statements of its own, going so far as to threaten
to “mobilize the guerrillas”. This isn’t helpful, obviously, but is that
Turkey’s true intention with the Kurds? To prevent Kurdish independence at
all costs, just because it is led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which
is so closely aligned with the PKK and has had so much success actually
governing across the border in Syria?
has asked for the creation of a Turkish controlled buffer zone, which would
include Kobane and essentially end the autonomous
canton system that the Kurds have been governing themselves. The
international community is not interested.
has also suggested creating a no-fly zone to weaken Assad, even though – by
forcing the PYD and the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) to join the
Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), two groups
with very little power left on the ground that have never accepted the
Kurds as an equal partner – it would essentially weaken the Kurds in Syria,
making them depend on Turkey’s way of war. The coalition fighting ISIS does
not seem too interested in that either.
Kurds in Turkey have taken to the streets in
mass protest, condemning Erdogan’s gross
passivity but acting with increasing caution, as the jailed PKK leader
Abdullah Ocalan says it’s time for talks. Regardless,
Turkey has even used military force against home-based Kurds in recent
days. Among the Kurds in both Syria and Turkey, there is a serious concern
that the peace process would collapse if Kobane
falls, and that Turkish-Kurdish relations will be irreparably damaged for
years to come.
Of course, whilst Turkish demands to the US led
coalition are fired off faster than any ordnance that should be sent
towards IS positions, Kurdish men & women are fighting a battle of life
or death. Turkey’s total attitude towards the Kurdish people & the City
of Kobane is worrying. Turkey is after all a NATO
member and one would have presumed that following the reassurance from NATO’s
Secretary General that Turkey would be immediately supported in the event
of an IS attack on their sovereign territory – you would have thought that Erdogan would have supported his fellow NATO members
Yet, time after time, although the Turkish
Government have voted for ‘use of force’ against IS, there is indecision
& delay in respect to NATO members being able to use Turkish bases for
attacks on IS. The massive Turkish army sit on a
hill above Kobane watching events unfold like
curious spectators at a major road accident. The Turks, I believe, hoping
that IS will solve their Kurdish problems for them.
that’s not good enough. Turkey is NATO: members should back each other up
without question. If Turkey is not willing to do this, perhaps they should
leave NATO and the privilege of being part of a global force for peace be
handed to the Kurds who are already proving that they are not frightened of
assisting the US, UK, Australia, Arab States and others defeat these barbaric
IS terrorists. In fact a Kurdish NATO membership might not be a bad idea
regardless of the actions (or should I say inactions) of Turkey in future
years. The IS problem is not going to go away fast.
Millions of mines
are scattered throughout our fragile blue planet. One British company is
attracting worldwide interest from governments, the military, law
enforcement & NGO’s with their small but powerful and cost effective
Click above to
above to access
was a time in the United Kingdom when the Prime Minister of the day (regardless
of political party) would occasionally have to make the sole decision on
the deployment of armed forces: in response to an act of war, genocide,
terrorism or for that matter – act immediately on anything that might be
seen as a direct threat to the country.
had a name for standing up against overseas tyranny – fascism, evil, abuse
of human rights: protecting the innocent regardless of location,
nationality, gender, religion or creed. The ‘Brits’ were not slow to
respond to injustice; support allies and take appropriate measures.
made a clear decision – parliament would then (within hours) be informed of
actions taken. After all, Prime Ministers are elected by the people and the
public presume he or she will always have the nation’s best interests &
values at heart. Sometimes those choices are very difficult: often
unavoidable and usually time is of the essence.
Today, that’s all changed!
MI6 man appointed head of UK secret service
A career MI6 officer has been
appointed as the new head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.
Alex Younger will succeed Sir John
Sawers in the post. Mr Younger has for the last two years been overseeing MI6's
intelligence operations worldwide.
He will take on the role
fictionalized in Ian Fleming's James Bond books and film series through the
character M, most recently played by Judi Dench in Skyfall.
Mr Younger said: "I am
delighted and honored to become chief of SIS and lead one of the best
intelligence agencies in the world."
Mr Younger's appointment comes
after a turbulent period for Britain's intelligence services following
disclosures made by former American National Security Agency (NSA)
contractor Edward Snowden.
Mr Snowden's revelations triggered
an unprecedented hearing of the Intelligence and Security Committee, at
which the heads of MI6, the Security Service MI5 and listening post GCHQ
appeared together in public for the first time.
Snowden supporters believe the
release of top-secret documents exposed an abuse of powers among the
security and intelligence services in the UK and US, while his detractors
claim his actions aided terrorists.
Mr Younger, who is married with
children, has had overseas postings in Europe and the Middle East and was
the senior SIS officer in Afghanistan.
The former army officer has filled
a range of operational roles in London, including leading the Service's
counter terrorism work in the run up to the Olympic Games.
Sir John said: "I'm delighted
that my colleague and friend is taking over from me.
"He has played a vital part
alongside me in modernizing SIS and ensuring it is in the best possible
Ebola – coming to an airport near you?
A few weeks ago, Defense Intelligence published an
initial report on the Ebola outbreak. There were a few worrying cases then
and reaction from some governments, health organizations and NGO’s had been
rather slow. The warnings had been given but few were paying too much
attention. You can read that report by ‘clicking’ the illustration above.
around 5 cases per hour are being diagnosed, thousands have contracted the
disease – around half of those have already died.
are not enough hospitals, medical centers, isolation units, doctors, nurses
or support staff to cope with this devastating virus.
the international community has finally got their act together and military
personnel from various countries have been deployed to build new reception
centers in the worst affected areas. Volunteer medical staff now being
hastily trained. Considerable funds have been promised to combat this ever
growing global threat. There’s not much time left if they are going to get
Ebola under control.
even in the United States, an airline passenger from Liberia goes to
hospital feeling unwell, tells staff he has just come from an Ebola area
and is sent home with antibiotics!
days later, Ebola is confirmed and authorities scramble to trace over 100
people he might have had contact with. Where next? Who is next? Maybe it’s
time to simply ban normal civilian flights from countries with Ebola to
CHECK OUT DIIA’s
The Promise – One Country: Two Systems
of young students and local residents have taken to the streets of Hong
Kong in protest. Why? Because when the UK handed their old colony back to
China, Hong Kong was promised that democracy would continue and that the
people would be able to hold free elections (without conditions) to decide
the future leaders of their beautiful home.
has changed the rules. Now they want to vet candidates who wish to stand
for office: ban those who they do not like. That’s not democracy.
the people are calling for the current Chief Executive to resign. Maybe
they will not get that but make no mistake – the world is watching.
the ‘Occupy’ students protest, some now suggest that ‘anti-democracy’
groups that are starting to turn a peaceful demonstration into a violent
one – have been brought in to cause chaos and give authorities the excuse
to deploy troops.
your view, China should keep to the original, very clearly laid out, 1997
agreement. If they have forgotten what they signed – I’m sure Chris Patton,
the last UK Governor of Hong Kong, can supply them with a replacement copy!
Thursday, Oct 3, 2013 08:09 AM PST
The Pentagon is turning Italy into a military
Italy is becoming a launch
pad for America's wars, thanks to your tax dollars
This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.
The Pentagon has spent the
last two decades plowing hundreds of millions of tax dollars into military
bases in Italy, turning the country into an increasingly important center
for U.S. military power. Especially since the start of the Global War on
Terror in 2001, the military has been shifting its European center of
gravity south from Germany, where the overwhelming majority of U.S. forces
in the region have been stationed since the end of World War II. In the
process, the Pentagon has turned the Italian peninsula into a launching pad
for future wars in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.
At bases in Naples, Aviano,
Sicily, Pisa, and Vicenza, among others, the military has spent more than
$2 billion on construction alone since the end of the Cold War — and that
figure doesn’t include billions more on classified construction projects
and everyday operating and personnel costs. While the number of troops in
Germany has fallen from 250,000 when
the Soviet Union collapsed to about 50,000 today,
the roughly 13,000 U.S. troops (plus 16,000 family members) stationed in
Italy match the numbers at the height of the Cold War. That, in turn,
means that the percentage of U.S. forces in Europe based in Italy has tripled since
1991 from around 5% to
more than 15%.
READ THE FULL REPORT AT:
Oil-painting Herself –
Certainly Accumulated Fine Works of Art…
Philippine Government has moved against Imelda Marcos and her plundered
Imelda Marcos, (born July 2, 1929) is the widow of
former Philippine President Ferdinand
Marcos. In most of the world, she is remembered for her
collection of more than a thousand pairs of shoes. I remember her more for
the migraine I suffered each time she started to sing: an annoying habit
that she attempted on far too many occasions. I met her once, in 1979, at
Clark Air Base at a time when the ‘Yanks’ were on their way home. “I love
American military uniforms” she commented. I was wearing a British one.
Seated during the Clark
Air Force Base turnover ceremonies are from left to right, the then
Foreign Minister of the Philippines, Carlos P. Romulo; Ambassador Richard
W. Murphy; Philippine President and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos; and Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General David C. Jones.
Imelda began her career as a local
singer and would-be model in Manila before meeting her husband Ferdinand,
who would later be elected President. After the declaration of martial law in 1972, Imelda began holding positions
in the national government that allowed her to travel the world and
accumulate artwork and real estate. The couple consolidated their power
allowing them to transport funds from the Philippine treasury into offshore
accounts, such as banks in Switzerland.
President Marcos was accused of the
assassination of Benigno
Aquino, Jr.. This would lead to the People Power Revolution which forced the Marcoses
out of office and into exile in Hawaii. After the death of Ferdinand,
Imelda and her family were allowed to go home by Corazon Aquino.
Her return to the Philippines allowed her to a certain extent to restore
her own mini political dynasty. She was elected to the House of Representatives
in 1995 for Leyte
and again in 2010 for Ilocos
Norte. Not quite sure how she managed that.
I’ve always thought of poor old
President Marcos as a good soldier who fell into a honey trap of corruption
instigated by a greedy wife. You don’t accumulate that many shoes unless
you are greedy! Surprisingly, despite facing numerous cases involving
alleged corruption, she was not imprisoned and continued to wield some
influence. She has therefore been considered ‘squeaky clean?’. Her ability
to survive upheavals in her life has led her to be called the "Steel
Well, a few days ago, the butterfly
had her wings clipped. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
dispatched several teams on to recover valuable old master paintings under
the possession of former First Lady Imelda Marcos and her family.
In the San Juan house alone,
authorities were able to recover eight large paintings. The search at
Marcos’ office at the House of Representatives yielded further
NBI Anti-Organized and
Transnational Crime Division (AOTCD) chief and head agent Rommel Vallejo
said an inventory is still ongoing,
“Of the four known addresses
that we visited, it was only in the Marcos house in San Juan where we were
able to recover eight paintings. But as of now, they are still doing the
inventory,” he said.
The Sandiganbayan released
on Monday a writ of attachment ordering the seizure of the masterpieces,
ranging from Picasso’s Femme Couchee VI to Gaugin’s Still Life.
"…You are hereby
ordered to seize, secure and attach the paintings described…and such other paintings
listed in (the) judicial affidavit of dated 18 August 2014 of Comm. Ma.
Ngina Teresa Chan-Gonzaga," the court said in a writ of attachment.
The eight works are:
Madonna and Child by
Femme Couchee VI (Reclining
Woman VI) by Pablo Picasso
Portrait of the Marqueza de
Sta. Cruz by Francisco de Goya
Still Life with Idol by Paul
LaBaignade Au Grand Temps by
Vase of Chrysanthemums by
Jardin de Kew pres de la
Serre 1892 by Camille Pisarro
L'Aube by Joan Miro
It was the NBI-Reaction
Arrest and Interdiction Division (RAID) that helped the Sandiganbayan
sheriff raid the San Juan residence, where Marcos lawyers were already
The government officials
were told that a motion will be filed. They were eventually allowed to
seize the paintings.
“The information I got is
that the paintings that were recovered from the house were big paintings,”
Two teams from the AOCTD,
meanwhile, separately went to the 34 Penthouse Plaza Condominium, Ayala
Avenue, Makati City and at the Penthouse, One McKinley Place, 3rdAvenue
corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Another team went to Batac,
Ilocos Norte, but there is no update yet on the operation.
Lots of wealth in Imelda’s apartment but where did the
money come from?
Whichever way you look at
it, First Lady’s wages or on the salary of a Representative of the House –
it’s hard to see how this woman could have afforded to purchase these
priceless works of art. Even old Marcos with his family wealth and his
Presidential cheque each month would have been hard pushed to cover the
bills. The only conclusion you can come to is that State
authorities are correct in claiming that a selection of paintings were
illicitly obtained using public funds during the Marcos era, which lasted
from 1965 to his overthrow in 1986. Ferdinand Marcos died in exile three
DIIA understands Imelda will be appealing the seizure.
The family and associates are
estimated to have amassed more than $10bn (£6.1bn) in property, jewellery,
cash and other assets during their time in power. Mrs Marcos, who was
elected to the Philippine congress in 2010, has consistently denied
billion could have solved many of the problems the Philippines face.
US$10 billion’s one hell of lot of
much needed housing that could have been built for people who are in desperate
need. Thankfully, the current Philippine President Benigno
"Noynoy" Aquino III has come down heavily on corruption in his
country and has been very successful in doing so. Since “Noynoy” came to
power, the country’s showing genuine improvement in respect to investment,
business success and the raising of living standards of old & young –
the average Filipino in the street. One hopes that his example, strategy to
improve the lives of all Filipinos becomes the guideline for future
politicians in the country. Pity the constitution was changed so that he
can only run the country for a few years. This time, the country seems to
have found the right guy for the job.