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Wed May 19th, 2010 at 05:37:54 PM EST
From the investigation as reported today, there is mention that the attempted first landing was on AUTOPILOT! There was an earlier report of "Landing systems' incompatibility. It seems to be a problem with today's young pilots: a manual landing is too difficult a task not performed regularly. See also crash of Airbus 330 at Tripoli Airport.
Crash: Polish Air Force T154 at Smolensk on Apr 10th 2010, impacted trees on first approach
(Aviation Herald) - The Russian MAK in cooperation with the Polish Accident Investigators published first preliminary results of their investigation stating, that there is no evidence in support of any inflight breakup, inflight fire or any mechanical malfunction prior to first impact with an obstacle 1100 meters before the runway threshold (see the sketch of the impact marks). The engines were working until final impact. The Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and the Flight Management System (FMS, UNS-1D) were working until final impact.
Airfield and navigation facilities were found suitable to receive the aircraft as well as the Polish Yak-40 that arrived 90 minutes prior to the Tupolev.
The cockpit voice recorder revealed, that persons not belonging to the flight crew were on the flight deck about 20 minutes prior to impact. Polish Authorities are working to identify the voices.
18 seconds prior to impact with the first obstacle the TAWS alerted "PULL UP! PULL UP!" after it had already warned "Terrain ahead!" prior to this.
5 seconds prior to impact with first obstacles the decision was made to go around and the autopilot was disconnected.
The airplane first impacted a barrier 40 meters left of the extended centerline of the runway and 1100 meters before the threshold of the runway at an altitude, that was 15 meters BELOW the runway elevation. The third impact with an obstacle, a birch tree of 30-40cm trunk diameter contacted by the left hand wing, 840 meters before the runway threshold and about 80 meters left of the extended runway centerline, led to the first break up of the aircraft in flight, the aircraft rolled inverted and impacted ground 5 seconds later, that final impact occured at 10:41:06L (07:41:06Z). Impact forces were estimated in excess of 100G and were not surviveable.
Map: the accident trajectory, impact marks and terrain profile
Sun May 16th, 2010 at 03:02:21 AM EST
Partners of Geert Wilders in the US earn big from anti-Islam propaganda
(NRC) - Neoconservative David Horowitz, one of Wilders'most influential supporters in the US, has an annual income of nearly $480,000 from Jihad Watch. See latest IRS tax form 990 filed by David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles. He earned a yearly bonus of $112,000.
View Tax Form on Scribd
Horowitz' Center has more than $5 million annual revenues and finances the weblog Jihad Watch and islam criticus Robert Spencer who is full time active in support of Geert Wilders and financial sponsoring. In addition, Horowitz runs NewsMax, Terrorism Awareness Project (TAP) and FrontPageMag.com. Michael Finch VP earns $162,386 and Robert Spencer as director Jihad Watch received $132,537.
Sat May 15th, 2010 at 03:53:32 AM EST
Obama was target of Indonesia militants
(Reuters) - Indonesian militants captured in recent police raids were planning a series of attacks including a Mumbai-style hotel siege targeting foreigners and an assault on the president at an independence day ceremony.
The men also planned to target U.S. President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to visit the country later this year, and plotted the attacks to install sharia law in the world's most populous Muslim nation, officials said.
Police have arrested and killed several suspected jihadists during a series of raids across Indonesia since February when they discovered a militant training camp in the Sumatran province of Aceh.
National Police Chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri told reporters that an Aceh-based militant group had planned to attack President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, government officials, and state guests attending an independence day event in August, and would then declare Indonesia an Islamic state ruled by sharia law.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Jamestown)
Sat May 15th, 2010 at 03:50:12 AM EST
GPS Compatibility Problem Sidelines Some U.S. Weapons Systems
WASHINGTON (SpaceNews) May 3, 2010 -- The problem has prompted the U.S. Army to suspend the use of Excalibur 155-millimeter guided artillery shells that rely on GPS to enhance their accuracy. "If the SAASM receiver within the unit doesn't pass the correct information to the precision guided munitions, the round could fall on friendly troops or civilians," the Air Force said in the April 30 posting justifying the sole source award to Trimble.
Computer glitch caused civilian deaths in Afghanistan?
The only other affected weapon system the Air Force identified by name is the U.S. Navy's X-47B, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle demonstrator built by Northrop Grumman. According to the Air Force, the Navy's X-47B program office is losing almost $1 million per day while the vehicle is grounded.
"Until all the affected receivers have been `inoculated', Government and military users will continue to be impacted," the Air Force said.
The Air Force Space Command's Los Angeles-based GPS Wing has assembled a User Equipment Crisis Action Team to contact military users around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, to verify whether they have any of the affected Trimble receivers in their equipment.
Thu May 13th, 2010 at 05:20:39 AM EST
The runway approach from the west has poor air control guidance due to lack of ILS. Eyewitness statements refer to seeing 2 or 3 fireballs in approach. Could this be due to engine failure? If plane didn't disintegrate in the air, the speed of the plane must have caused the breakup as witnessed by the small pieces of debris. From the drawing, the plane was not in-line with runway but crashed 900 meters short and parallel to it. See Google map Tripoli Int'l airport. Ultimately, this crash appears to have elements similar to Tupolev 154 crash in Smolensk, Russia.
'Aircraft Ploughed through trees, buildings, vehicles'
According to Juan Wolmarans, 36, an operations manager at Global Aviation's office in Tripoli, he was waiting for a colleague, Cathrine Tillett, who was on the flight.
Tillett, 44, an aviation training officer at Global Aviation in Johannesburg, died along with two former colleagues who retired recently, Norbert Taferner and his wife, Paula.
"The plane hit the ground about a kilometre from runway number 9. Then it ploughed through trees, several buildings and some vehicles," said Wolmarans.
He said the weather was very bad.
"Visibility was poor. When I got to the scene, the tail of the Airbus was the only part that was still recognisable. Pieces of wreckage lay everywhere. It was gruesome."
Wed May 12th, 2010 at 03:12:20 PM EST
France: Kickback Claims Mount in 2002 Pakistan Car-Bomb Case
PARIS (WSJ) -- Prosecutors investigating a 2002 bombing in Pakistan that killed 11 French citizens are taking their probe in a new direction, looking into whether the attack was retaliation for a failure to pay alleged bribes, according to a lawyer and people close to the probe.
Prosecutors are also looking into whether the arrangement involved planned kickbacks to the campaign of a French prime minister who was running for president.
The 2002 wreckage of a bus in which 14 people were killed in Pakistan, including 11 French citizens. (AFP/Getty)
For the past seven years, French investigators have suspected that
Islamic terrorists were behind the bombing of a bus carrying employees of French state-controlled warship maker Direction des Constructions Navales, or DCN, in Karachi.
The blast killed 14 people, including 11 French DCN employees, who were working on the construction of submarines for the Pakistan Navy. France had won a contract to build three submarines in 1994 for 5.5 billion French francs, or about $1 billion at the exchange rate of the time.
"There was a terrorist act in which French citizens were killed," Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the families, said after a meeting with investigators. "But the motive may be that France did not pay commissions it had pledged to pay."
After examining documents from the time, prosecutors are looking into whether -- as part of the overall submarine contract -- French officials allegedly agreed to pay $33 million to intermediaries who had helped France secure the contract.
Bush: 'Radical killers' behind Karachi bomb
Thu May 6th, 2010 at 04:25:32 AM EST
Remarks by Dr. Michael B. Oren, the Ambassador of Israel, to the AJC Annual Meeting
Ambassador Oren makes a comparison of Israel now, to the days of Ben Gurion after the defeat of the Jewish people, sacrificed on the death piles in the annihilation camps of Hitler: May 8, 1945.
Portrays Israel today, May 8, 2010 as a victim in an ugly world of UN reports, Goldstone, Human Rights groups, accusations of war crimes, apartheid, challenges to arrest our leaders as they travel to Western countries. Oren calls it once again dehumanization of the Jewish people, wanting to live in peace and security on their God given bilblical land.
This speech is quite a change with the Israeli attitude one year ago when the Jewish people rejoyced after the successful onslaught of the Palestinian people in Gaza at the end of Olmert's regime under a watchful eye, during the last days of Cheney, Rice and Bush. Quite a feat for Mitchell, Clinton and Obama to slowly turn the tables of power in the Middle-East and start proximity talks with Abbas and Netanyahu. A lot of water has passed through the Jordan river, hopefully no human introduced tragedy will occur that would derail this ultimate chance for peace and the two-state solution. Obama will not waiver in Israel's security and partnership.
● A Rose for Hillary: Speech at AJC Annual Dinner
● Clinton Undermines Obama ME Peace Effort (Nov 5, 2009)
Wed May 5th, 2010 at 02:15:35 AM EST
Govt formally declares teenage girl as Aafia's daughter
(Nation.pk) - Dr Aafia Siddiqui's 12-year old daughter Maryam mysteriously shows up at her grandmother's home after being missing for seven years.
The Government has formally declared 12 years old Maryam as daughter of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui after proved by DNA Test and the girl handed over to the family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
« click image for story
Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui visited the Interior Ministry with 12 years old Maryam on Saturday and held a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Talking to media after holding the meeting, the Interior Minister said that Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani wanted to make the announcement himself but he asked him to announce this.
Rehman Malik said that the DNA Report has proved that 12 years old Maryam is daughter of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, adding the girl only speak English.
Related: Who Authorized Maryam Siddiqui’s Release?
Tue May 4th, 2010 at 02:17:54 AM EST
Pakistani in custody in NY car bomb attack
(AP) - The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was identified by customs agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was stopped, according to officials who spoke to The Associated Press early Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. He had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife, but was not apparently headed back there, the officials said.
Planned escape to Dubai (UAE)
NEW YORK (NBC) - A US citizen, Faisal Shahzad, 30, was apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol agents at the Queens international airport at 11:45 p.m. at Terminal 4, while trying to board a plane to Dubai, presumably to escape the manhunt that has been on since Saturday night, law enforcement sources said.
Full story below the fold ...
Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 03:29:04 AM EST
Globe and Mail story by Doug Sanders, source Nomad's diary.
Passing chance to become the next prime minister
"Perhaps for that reason, his virtually one-man Party for Freedom (PVV) scored major gains in the March municipal elections - in the two races it ran, it won the largest share of the vote in the city of Almere and finished second in The Hague. The PVV has nine of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament and, last year, won the second-largest number of Dutch seats (four out of 25) in the European Parliament elections. Polls show that the PVV is poised to win as many as 27 seats in June's national election, giving Mr. Wilders a chance at a strong position in a coalition government, possibly even the leadership."
« click for other image
Populism and anti-Islam movement in Dutch politics
Polling results indicate a Wilders and PVV downward trend ...
Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:27:45 PM EST
Prepare for the big one, each eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in past 1000 years -- 1821, 1612 and ~920 -- triggered the vicious Katla.
Study of Katla and Eyjafjallajökull Volcanoes [pdf]
Iceland prepares for second, more devastating volcanic eruption
(TimesOnline) - However, the danger is that the small volcano is just the beginning and that it will trigger the far more powerful volcano of Katla, which nestles beneath Myrdalsjökull glacier.
"That has to be on the table at the moment," Dave McGarvie, senior lecturer at the Volcano Dynamics Group of the Open University, said. "And it is a much nastier piece of work."
Icelanders agree. "This could trigger Katla, which is a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage," Pall Einarsson, from the University of Iceland, said.
Tremors around Eyjafjallajokull were first recorded in early March, but precise prediction of volcanic eruption is difficult, even with the high-tech equipment available to Icelandic geologists.
« click for video lava flow
Aerial video of the new eruption crater at Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
Dramatic footage of ash and lightning above Iceland volcano
Prediction from history ...
Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 09:57:26 AM EST
U.S. troops pulled out of Kunar province last week, abdicating control of the Taliban supply route from Pakistan through the Koralgan Valley of Death. The Obama administration must have stopped the search for Osama Bin Laden, holed up in this extended mountainous region on the AfPak border.
Taliban and al-Qaeda foreign fighters take over Koralgan valley
(al-Jazeera) - The Taliban is claiming victory in eastern Afghanistan's Korengal Valley following the withdrawal of US forces from the remote outpost.
US officials, however, say the withdrawal in Kunar province was "a repositioning of forces" following a decision by General Stanley McChrystal, head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, to concentrate resources on urban areas.
Korengal Valley, dubbed the Valley of Death by US forces, was frequently the scene of heavy fighting. At least 42 US troops were killed there over the past five years.
Taliban fighters say tonnes of fuel and ammunition were left behind by US forces
Below the fold, latest video of Taliban control in valley »
Thu Apr 15th, 2010 at 04:32:33 AM EST
U.S. Pulls Out of Afghan's 'Valley of Death'
KABUL, Afghanistan (ABC News) - The beautiful, cedar-lined Korengal Valley has never been successfully occupied by a foreign force or even controlled by a central government, but the United States has spent five years fighting ferociously in the remote eastern Afghan gorge, only six miles long and two miles wide.
Forty-two service men died in the valley where, at one point, nearly a fifth of all the fighting in Afghanistan took place. Countless articles and television reports -- many which won awards -- focused on how difficult the warfare was in the area, dubbed by troops "The Valley of Death." Even a video game featuring a Korengal firebase saw more than $300 million in sales the first day it was released.
But today the United States announced it is giving up on the Korengal Valley, moving the 130 or so troops stationed there to more populated centers. It is an admission that the valley, even though it was used as a supply route for insurgents, was never the right priority for U.S. troops fighting a counterinsurgency, and that the American presence itself was part of the problem.
Fighting in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley --- A brief photo portfolio (CJTF101)
Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 09:17:05 AM EST
Remember all the blame going around? Revolting Iceland
Crisis Report: Icelandic Ministers Were Negligent
(Iceland Review) - The long-awaited report on the banking collapse was presented by the Althingi Special Investigation Commission (SIC) today at 10:30 am.
The SIC concluded that former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, Finance Minister Árni M. Mathiesen and Minister of Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurdsson were negligent.
Accused of lying to the Dutch National Bank
The authors of the report argued that the Icelandic government had ignored warning signals and not taken the actions necessary to fight the upcoming economic disaster, ruv.is reports.
"Based on incidents and viewpoints which are explained in further detail in the relevant chapters of the report, the SIC believes [the aforementioned ministers] demonstrated negligence in the understanding of the 1. paragraph of the 1. article in the legislation no. 142/2008 in the events leading up to the collapse of the Icelandic banks by not reacting properly to the imminent danger to the Icelandic economy caused by the worsening situation of the banks," the report's conclusion reads.
The SIC also concluded that the government's actions in banking affairs at the beginning of 2008 were "unsystematic" and that ministers had focused too intently on the image problems of financial companies instead of the obvious problem that the Icelandic banking system was far too large in comparison to the economy as a whole.
Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 03:22:07 AM EST
See my first comments in fp story by Migeru National mourning in Poland
Crash of Polish Air Force T154 at Smolensk
Looking at ILS compatibility and communication in Russian between pilots and ATC
(Aviation Herald) - The air traffic controller at the Air Base said, the airplane attempted only one approach before radio contact was lost.
Russia's Prime Minister Putin was briefed by local officials, that the required horizontal visibility for the approach to the North Airport would have been 1000 meters with an actual visibility of 400 meters. The airplane impacted trees of a height of about 8 meters (26 feet) about 1200 meters (3950 feet) short of the airfield when the airplane should have been at a height of at least 60 meters (200 feet). The airplane continued to impact multiple single trees and was destroyed before the airplane impacted ground. Emergency responders reached the crash site within 3 minutes. An investigation team of 60 people is on scene.
The air traffic controller at Smolensk Air Base (Northern Airport) said, that the communication between him and the crew was done in Russian, the crew understanding Russian but not being fluent in the language and having trouble to do their readbacks. The airplane was on its first approach, when he advised of the deteriorating visibility and recommended to divert, the crew however responded, that they would give it one try and divert thereafter if they were not able to land. During the approach the crew stopped reading back, the aircraft subsequently impacted ground.
Polish officials confirmed, that the airplane was on its first approach to the Air Base, when it impacted the trees. Three flights were to land at the Air Base in that period of time: the first was a Yakovlev YAK-40 carrying journalists accompanying Poland's president, which made a safe landing. The second was a Russian Ilyushin IL-76, which diverted after two unsuccessful approaches. The third was the presidential Tupolev TU-154M.
Fri Apr 9th, 2010 at 04:01:52 PM EST
Russia furious over adopted boy sent back from US
MOSCOW - Russia threatened to suspend all child adoptions by U.S. families Friday after a 7-year-old boy adopted by a woman from Tennessee was sent alone on a one-way flight back to Moscow with a note saying he was violent and had severe psychological problems. [a written note]
The boy, Artyom Savelyev, was put on a plane by his adopted grandmother, Nancy Hansen of Shelbyville.
8-Year-old adopted Russian boy Artyom Savelyev gets into a minivan
outside a police department office in Moscow (Rossia 1 TV)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the actions by the grandmother "the last straw" in a string of U.S. adoptions gone wrong, including three in which Russian children had died in the U.S.
The cases have prompted outrage in Russia, where foreign adoption failures are reported prominently. Russian main TV networks ran extensive reports on the latest incident in their main evening news shows.
VIDEO: Unwanted adopted boy arrives in Russia
Fri Apr 9th, 2010 at 08:26:40 AM EST
Netanyahu cancels trip to U.S. nuclear summit
(Haaretz) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned trip to Washington, where he was scheduled to participate in a nuclear security summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, government officials said.
Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor will take Netanyahu's place in the nuclear summit.
Obama has invited more than 40 countries to the summit, which will deal with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorist groups.
Netanyahu was due to arrive in Washington on Monday evening and was set to take part in three or four conference sessions the following day, before returning to Israel on Wednesday.
Officials said the PM canceled the trip over fears that a group of Muslim states, led by Egypt and Turkey, would demand that Israel sign up to the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.
Israel and U.S. signed nuclear cooperation agreement under Bush in 2008 (Getty Images)
[Netanyahu just wanted to talk about "terror" and rogue states... the opposing foes of Israel - Oui]
Exclusive: Obama agrees to keep Israel's nukes secret
Why does Judith Miller hate Israel? Read on ...
Mon Apr 5th, 2010 at 04:39:10 AM EST
Israel gags news on extra-judicial killings
(IMEU) - An Israeli journalist remains under house arrest and another lives abroad, after they broke news on Israeli undercover units carrying out assassinations or "targeted killings" of non-combatant Palestinian political opponents.
Anat Kam, 23, who used to work for the Israeli news site 'Walla', was arrested last December for allegedly copying secret Israeli Defence Force (IDF) documents during her compulsory military service.
Anat Kam: 'Disappeared' Israeli journalist (Ido Kenan)
These documents outlined how Israeli assassination squads would plan the killing of Palestinian political leaders and fighters months beforehand and then pass their deaths off as "mishaps" during "failed" attempts to arrest them.
Uri Blau, a reporter from the daily 'Haaretz', then wrote a piece on the copied documents and is refusing to return to Israel from Britain fearing that Israel's domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, will arrest him if he does.
Due to a military gag order the news has remained suppressed even as Israeli journalists fight the suppression order in court.
The controversy has highlighted Israel's extra-judicial killings which violate international law and have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilian bystanders despite the country having no death penalty.
The news was broken several days ago by Donald McIntyre from Britain's 'Independent'.
Tue Mar 30th, 2010 at 06:01:06 AM EST
US General sorry for gay Dutch army comment
(RNW) - Retired US General John Sheehan has apologised for his public remarks blaming homosexuals in the Dutch army for the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.
Speaking to a US Senate committee last week, General Sheehan said that the fall of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and the ensuing mass murder of Muslims was owing to the presence of gays in the Dutch military. Upon interrogation General Sheehan claimed that Dutch chief-of-staff General Henk van den Breemen had told him that the Dutch army was weak because of the homosexual presence. General Van den Breemen denies he ever made such a remark.
In an apology to General Van den Breemen, Sheehan has written that his memories of conversations held 15 years ago were "inaccurate". The former general also wrote that the fall of Srebrenica can in no way be blamed on individual soldiers, but is solely due to the mandate given to the international force as a whole. The US general did not refer explicitly to his remarks about homosexuals.
Read more: Dutch reject claim that gays caused Srebrenica killing
More below the fold - Dutch Pink Army to sue General Sheehan
Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 at 04:43:20 AM EST
Political Agitator and Hasbara for Israel
This comes as no surprise, I view Wilders more as a political agitator fulfilling a purpose as hasbara for Israel, antagonizing the Muslim community and creating division in European society vs Islam. From the blog: Hasbara for Israel - 613 ... Geert Wilders Speech, House of Lords, London, Friday the 5th of March 2010
by JakeS - May 15
by Nomad - May 10
by DoDo - May 12
by Migeru - May 6