Monday, December 14, 2009

Upcoming Court Cases in Thailand, India,Pakistan, and Iran

Paul Krugman
EJ dionne Jr
Fareed Zakaria

"One year ago, the world seemed as if it might be coming apart... Faith in the American model had collapsed. The financial industry had crumbled. Once-roaring emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil were sinking. Worldwide trade was shrinking to a degree not seen since the 1930s."  - Fareed Zakaria
"Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown." - Paul Krugman
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

Over the weekend a plane that had a cargo of 30 tons of missiles and munitions was seized at the military airport in Bangkok, Thailand: "The plane landed at Bangkok’s military airport on Friday to refuel and was seized after a tip from the American authorities. Its final destination remains unclear. The crew said in an interview on Sunday that they were headed for Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and then back to Ukraine, where they said their trip originated. But the Ukrainian Transportation Ministry said there was no record of the plane ever having been in Ukraine, and no information about a Ukrainian company having leased it.

“There is no information confirming the lease of this aircraft,” said Oleksandr M. Kluban, a ministry spokesman. “There are no documents that show that this was a Ukrainian plane. We have nothing to do with this.”

There is a wonderful web of deception involved in trying to figure out what company has currently sub-leased the plane and had it fly to North Korea. These old cargo planes are like the rusting hulks of cargo ships that plie their trade to the highest bidder, registered in countries like Liberia for convenience, not where they base their business. See if you can follow what has already been uncovered: "The crew member certificate of Mr. Abdullayev’s colleague Ilyas Issakov carries the flag of the former Soviet republic of Georgia and the logo of a company called Air West. Mr. Issakov is described as “captain” on the certificate

Air West is an air freight company based in the Black Sea port city of Batumi, Georgia. Nodar Kakabadze, the head of the company, said in an interview that it had leased the plane a month ago to the Ukrainian affiliate of a Thailand-based shipping company called SP Trading... Flightglobal, an aviation Web site, said Monday that an airline called Air West is linked to Sun Air, a privately owned Sudanese airline with headquarters in the capital, Khartoum. Another Web site, Aviation Herald, also reported last year — in an account of the hijacking of a Sun Air plane to Libya — that Sun Air and Air West were the same airline. Siva Govindasamy, a Flightglobal analyst, said Monday that the weapons might have been bound for Sudan. “It is all still a mystery,” Mr. Govindasamy said, “but the indications certainly point to Sudan as a possible destination.”

Under a current UN resolution, North Korea is prohibited from selling arms to foreign countries, though it is one NK's largest source of foreign income. The plane was supposed to fly to the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka, both places where the missiles could be unloaded. another possibility is that it could be for Muslim extremist groups causing trouble in Southern Thailand. The crew is currently not talking, maybe waiting to give the information in court.

The tip came from US intelligence and the plane was observed loading its cargo in North Korea. So, where did the US source come from? The most probable source would be Chinese observers or new friends from the North Korean military. Yet another wrinkle could be the North Korean government itself giving the info to the US Envoy who just visited. The info could be seen as a goodwill gesture that NK wants to join as a player in the world, and by giving the info to the US it can save face by not having to break any current contracts, much like Russia did by giving the Israelis information about the ship carrying arms to Iran and was mysteriously hijacked in the Baltic Sea. We'll see what the official version will be in the next few days...

court dockets...
one -
First up, we have the five naive Americans who thought they could just stroll into Pakistan and meet up with some jihadists: "Five Muslim American men arrested in Pakistan last week cannot be deported to the United States until their case is reviewed, a Pakistani judge here ruled Monday. The high court in Lahore ordered provincial authorities in Punjab State to provide a detailed report by Thursday on the arrests of the five young men, who the police say had traveled to Pakistan to seek training to fight American troops in Afghanistan. So far, Pakistani authorities have not charged the men with any crimes." They may be detained in Pakistan to hopefully teach them a lesson, which means the US efforts to get them deported back to the US will be a sham... All interviews with the guys friends back home stress what nice guys they were, and no-one believes that they could harbor ill will towards them, because, you know, they seem like such nice people...

two -

India is seeking to extradite the two US individuals of Pakistani descent that have been charges with helping to plan the attacks in Mumbai: "US prosecutors charged David Headley - aka Daood Gilani - a 49-year-old US national of Pakistani origin, last week with scouting targets for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. A US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe found that he "delivered, placed, discharged and detonated explosives and other lethal devices in, into and against public places in India". Last Wednesday, Headley plead not guilty to 12 counts, including six of conspiracy on the Mumbai attacks"

Ok, they really only want Headley, who's name sounds like a cheap character from a British spy novel, because he's the one who planned the activities while his partner funded them. But, it turns out that Headley has also been as snitch for the DEA: "In 1997, Headley was charged in Brooklyn, New York, with importing heroin into the US, receiving a 15-month sentence in jail in return for extensive cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Agency." So, of course, now the State Department will drag their feet and throw bureaucratic roadblocks in front of the extradition because they take care of their own: "The United States has said it was "too premature" to talk about the extradition of Headley. "Obviously, we do have an extradition treaty with India, but how that will work going forward, I think that's premature," US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said on Friday."

three -

And the three hikers who were hiking along a river from Kurdistan into Iran and were captured by Iranian soldiers are going to be tried in Tehran. They are accused of spying and may receive a death sentence in the fake trial that Iranian prosecutors will hold. This will be for an assumed retaliation for all of the US support there is for the protest movement that seems to be growing angrier towards the impotent Ayotollahs who rule in name only. Also, Iran is pissed that they have been outmaneuvered over the nuclear program by those ineffective American dogs, Obama and Hillary: "“The three young people who were detained by the Iranians have absolutely no connection with any kind of action against the Iranian state or government,” she said in Washington, according to The A.P. “We appeal to the Iranian leadership to release these three young people and free them as soon as possible.”

The first news reports talked about a fourth hiker, a woman who was part of the group, and didn't want to knowingly stray into Iran. She went back to their hotel in Kurdistan and notified authorities, and no-one has reported on her since...

Meanwhile, US warships are patrolling the Gulf of Aden off of the Yemeni coast. They are looking for arms being smuggled to the Houthi rebels, and let the Yemeni government claim that it had seized arms from Iran heading towards the rebels. That's us, circling like the energizer bunny...

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