Attempted bomb attack in New York

A bomb was set off by a man in a busy New York bus terminal, It has been described as an attempted terrorist attack. Four people have been reported as injured.

NY Post: Suicide bomber strikes New York City at rush hour

An ISIS-inspired would-be suicide bomber set off a homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, seriously wounding himself and injuring three others, law enforcement sources said.

The man — a 27-year-old Brooklyn man identified by high ranking police sources as Akayed Ullah — had wires attached to him and a 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his midsection as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub.

The man partially detonated the device, which he was carrying under the right side of his jacket, prematurely.

Police quickly took the man into custody.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and possibly born in Bangladesh.

Bratton, who said the man had been living in the US for seven years, “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.”

“So, definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended,” Bratton said.

The man, who suffered the most serious injuries, was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

This will be disconcerting for New Yorkers in particular.

Afghan attack, and arms supply

At about the same time a huge terrorist bomb went off in Kabul a top US general has confirmed that Russia is supplying arms to the Taliban.

Newshub: Kabul in mourning after fatal bomb blast

Kabul is mourning the victims of a truck bomb that killed at least 80 people and wounded hundreds amid growing public anger at the government’s failure to prevent yet another deadly attack in the heart of the Afghan capital.

Wednesday’s blast, at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ripped through a traffic-clogged street packed with people on their way to school or work during the morning rush hour, causing hundreds of casualties in an instant and sending a tower of black smoke into the sky.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a televised address late on Wednesday, calling for national unity in the face of the attack, which his National Directorate for Security blamed on the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, but he faces an increasingly angry public.

“For God’s sake, what is happening to this country?” said Ghulam Sakhi, a shoemaker whose shop is close to the site of the blast.

“People leave home to fetch a loaf of bread for their children and later that evening, their dead body is sent back to the family.”

There has been no claim of responsibility but Afghanistan’s National Directorate for Security blamed the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate directly integrated into the militant movement, and said it had been helped by Pakistan’s intelligence service.

The Taliban have denied involvement.

Regardless of whether the Taliban were responsible the murkiness of the perpetual civil war in Afghanistan was highlighted by this from the Washington Post: Russia is sending weapons to Taliban, top U.S. general confirms

The general in charge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan appeared to confirm Monday that Russia is sending weapons to the Taliban, an intervention that will probably further complicate the 15-year-old war here and the Kremlin’s relations with the United States.

When asked by reporters, Gen. John Nicholson did not dispute claims that the Taliban is receiving weapons and other supplies from the Russians.

“We continue to get reports of this assistance,” Nicholson said, speaking to reporters alongside Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “We support anyone who wants to help us advance the reconciliation process, but anyone who arms belligerents who perpetuate attacks like the one we saw two days ago in Mazar-e Sharif is not the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation.”

A senior U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence on the issue, said the Russians have increased their supply of equipment and small arms to the Taliban over the past 18 months.

“Any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law unless they were coming to the government of Afghanistan,” Mattis said, speaking during his first visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary. He added that it would have to be dealt with as such.

In the past, Nicholson has criticized Russia’s contact with the Taliban, saying that it has given “legitimacy” to a group that has undermined the elected government in Kabul.

New American: Kabul Bomb Blast Could Be Used to Justify Increase in U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

A powerful bomb hidden inside a sewage tanker truck exploded during the morning rush hour in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on May 31, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds more, and damaging nearby embassy buildings.

Some have speculated that this bomb attack might influence U.S. policy on increasing troop strength in Afghanistan.

A few days agoGovernment considering sending more troops to Afghanistan at request of US

A decision on whether to send more Kiwi troops to Afghanistan at the request of the United States will be made in a matter of weeks.

Prime Minister Bill English confirmed at his weekly media briefing on Monday that the US on behalf of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) has asked that New Zealand send an additional two personnel – taking the total team to 12 in the region.

A 20% increase in NZ troops! Only two more, not many, but one has to wonder if Afghanistan can ever be fixed. Peace is unlikely to to be able to be imposed by outside countries.

Bombs in New York and Syria

John Key could be heading for a very tense United General Assembly and also a Security Council special debate on Syria that he is due to chair next week.

Bombs have gone off recently in New York and New jersey. Injuries have been reported but as yet no deaths have been confirmed.

Stuff: New York blast: 29 reported hurt after explosion rocks Chelsea

Police in New York have found a suspicious device, hours after a “deafening” explosion rocked Manhattan, injuring 29.

New York City police and fire department personnel swarmed the Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea after the blast about 8.30pm on Saturday (12.30pm, Sunday NZT).

The New York Fire Department said at least 25 people were sent to the hospital with injuries, none considered life-threatening. Police put the number of injured at 29.

Since then, a second device has been found; NBC News and ABC News describe it as having the appearance of a “pressure cooker”. NYPD was asking residents in the area to stay away from windows.

Another bomb, thought to be unrelated, is reported to have gone off in nearby New Jersey with no reported injuries.

It is not yet known if terrorism is involved.

Meanwhile tension between the  US and Russia has blown up after US planes are thought to have bombed Syrian troops, with Australian planes also involved.

NZH: Russian UN envoy says Syria deal in trouble

8:45 p.m.

Syria’s military says the U.S.-led coalition struck its base in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, allowing the Islamic State group to advance in the fiercely contested area.

11 p.m.

The U.S. military says it halted an air raid against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria after being told by Russia that it might have struck Syrian government forces.

The U.S. Central Command statement was issued late Saturday, after Syria and Russia said the U.S.-led coalition had struck a Syrian military base in Deir el-Zour that is surrounded by IS militants, enabling them to advance.

11:30 p.m.

The leader of an al-Qaida-linked insurgent group in Syria has condemned a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire, saying it places Washington on the side of President Bashar Assad and against the Syrian people.

12:45 a.m.

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday night at Russia’s request to discuss a U.S. airstrike that Moscow says struck Syrian government troops battling the Islamic State group.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says Moscow is demanding “full and detailed explanations about whether this was deliberate support of the Islamic State or another mistake.”

1:35 a.m.

A senior Obama administration official says the United States has “relayed our regret” for the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group.

2:50 a.m.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is expressing regret for the loss of life in a U.S. airstrike in Syria that may have struck Syrian government troops, but is accusing Russia of pulling a “stunt” by calling for an emergency Security Council meeting over the incident.

Power said the U.S. is investigating the incident in remarks made outside the Security Council chamber Saturday night as Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was condemning the U.S. airstrike inside the closed meeting.

She told reporters that “Even by Russia’s standards tonight’s stunt ” a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding ” is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.”

It’s a regretful mistake when the big ones do it.

It looks being a tense week in New York, and death and destruction as usual in Syria despite a ceasefire.



Bombs in Brussels

A reminder of the continual threat of terrorism in Europe with three reported bomb blasts in Brussels, with a current reported death toll of 34, and many more serious injuries.

There were two blasts at Zaventem Airport in Brussels, and one train was bombed at Malbeek Metro Station.

Around 35 killed in Brussels attacks claimed by IS

A series of explosions claimed by the Islamic State group ripped through Brussels airport and a metro train Tuesday, killing around 35 people in the latest attacks to bring bloody carnage to the heart of Europe.

Two huge blasts, at least one of which prosecutors said was likely caused by a suicide bomber, rocked the check-in hall at Zaventem Airport, strewing the scene with blood and mangled bodies and sending hundreds of terrified travellers fleeing in terror.

More than 200 people were wounded in Tuesday’s bloodshed, which came just four days after the dramatic arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam — the prime suspect in the Paris attacks — after four months on the run.

An online news agency affiliated with IS said the group was behind the attacks.

“Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the centre of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State,” the Aamaq news agency said.

I don’t think ISIS involvement has been confirmed yet.

Belgium had a close association with terror attacks in France last year.

This will raise the fear levels again. With travellers being targeted it will have an impact on tourism as well as on Belgium itself.



Dotcom versus Key – bomb or fizzer?

Kim Dotcom is promising to reveal information that will prove John Key knew of him prior to the raid and his arrest in an attention seeking ‘event’ at the Auckland town hall the Monday before the election.

NZ Herald reports Dotcom promises election eve political bombshell:

Kim Dotcom has announced he plans to drop a political bombshell five days before the general election which he says will prove the Prime Minister has been lying about when he first knew about the German internet tycoon.

Dotcom made the announcement yesterday to 3News on the first day of the internet Mana party’s road trip campaign.

“On September 15, I’m doing a Town Hall event in Auckland and I invite everyone to come there because that is going to be the day when I’m going to reveal my evidence… evidence around the political interference and my evidence that John Key lied,” Dotcom said.

The proposed timing of his ‘revelation’ is suspicious, especially after Dotcom had previously claimed he wouldn’t reveal his evidence until his court case (which now won’t be until next year).

There’s been a lot of scepticism about this, with people presuming that if he had the nail for John Key’s political coffin he’d have produced it by now.

Dotcom has offered a $95 million bounty for information that nails Government complicity with the US. And he was asking questions via the media earlier this week – if he has the clinching evidence they were questions he should know the answer to.

The conspiracy theories are the least likely explanations. There’s a number of more likely possibilities including:

  • SIS didn’t think their interest in Dotcom was important enough to advise Key and likewise Jonathan Coleman.
  • Key is using semantics eg he hadn’t heard of ‘Kim Dotcom’ but had heard of ‘Kim Schmitz’ or of ‘a German being investigated’.
  • Key knew of Dotcom but is bound by secrecy (his SIS responsibilities) not to reveal it. It’s possible SIS were investigating Dotcom for a different currently un-revealed reason.

The Dotcom bomb is at least as likely to be a fizzer than a finisher, and could blow up in Dotcom’s face if his ‘event’ comes off half cocked. There’s already a lot of annoyance at him seemingly cynically trying to finance political payback.

Dotcom bomb promised for election week

Two weeks ago Kim Dotcom tweeted:

>>>>>> September 15th
A big day for New Zealand
Event details coming soon

Dotcom confirmed today that he will have a town hall event on Monday 15th September and drop a bomb, revealing evidence that he claims will discredit John Key and ensure his and National’s defeat in the election.

Dotcom prepares to drop ‘political bomb’

Dotcom says he will drop a political bomb, which goes right to the core of Mr Key’s credibility, five days out from the September 20 election.

“I invite everyone to come there because that is going to be the day where I’m going to reveal my evidence, my evidence around the political interference and my evidence that John Key lied,” he says.

Dotcom says he will release hard evidence.

“On September 15 I’m going to present my case.”

Part of his plan to inflict as much political damage as possible in the run-up to the campaign is also highly likely to include leaks about our spies from American NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

That’s a high stakes risk which could in part at least backfire.There are some who want Key and National out of Government and don’t care how, the end justifies any means. But Dotcom is not trusted by others. And there are some who detest his extravagant manipulation of our politics and detest his keenness to destroy the political careers of anyone who he thinks deserves his wrath.

David Shearer – bombs and bombed

David Shearer failed to impress in an interview yesterday on The Nation. It’s not just his opponents who are critical – there’s also a barrage of criticism from his own side of the spectrum.

Martin (‘Bomber”) Bradbury, a very vocal leftie posts on the Tumeke blog:

One thing you can say about Shearer’s interview on The Nation in the weekend, is that he is getting much better and manages only a few cringe worthy moments per interview. His previous media appearances, let’s be frank, have been woeful, but this weekend he didn’t hemorrhage all over the screen.

I was left wondering ‘if only John Hartevelt was this brave when asking questions of Joyce’ during this weeks show, but the moment of joy has to go to Alex Tarrant who fed Shearer Cunliffe’s words and Shearer walked into it by denying those words. It’s worth watching the entire thing just to see the look on Tarrent’s face while Shearer’s answer goes deeper and deeper.

Hey I said Shearer’s performance had gotten better, but from the point he was starting, staying clothed during the interview is a win.

Who needs political enemies when supposed friends are so scathing. And this isn’t isolated, as these comments at The Standard show:

29 September 2012 at 10:23 pm

the pink postman: Maybe it is more a case of utter desperation, trying to find any positive signs of competent, convincing leadership in David Shearer, that most here have. The criticism does not come easily, as most will be well aware that any alternative government will need a strong, capable Labour Party as being at least part of it. Traditionally one would have expected Labour to “lead” the opposition.

People are screaming out for a stronger leadership and clearer policies from within Labour, but to our greatest dismay, it is not coming forth sufficiently. To be “patient” and wait another year or so for Labour to sort itself out is just too much of an ask to put up with.

Sorry, I used to vote Labour, and I did vote for the local Labour candidate (who actually lost to a Nat one). But my vote was cast for the “lesser evil”. My party vote has gone to the Greens, but I expect them to deliver too, or else I may consider yet another alternative.

So do not blame people for “bagging” Shearer, they may have good reasons to ask questions and be critical.

29 September 2012 at 5:55 pm

Shearer, Wake the f*ck up!

30 September 2012 at 7:52 am

I hope the Labour Party members and caucus manages to come up with a better leader in the next few months. The left needs a more dynamic Labour leader right now. I’d prefer Cunliffe, but Robertson would also be better than Shearer, even though he leans too far to the right for my liking.

Unfortunately these are common sentiments, and they don’t seem to be improving.

David Shearer needs to find a way of sounding knowledgable and authoritative, and he needs to speak his own mind. His speaking has improved but his content sounds like hesitant parroting fed to him by his coaches.

Will Labour try to wobble on and just hope the wheels fall off National? Or will they try and win the next election with a leader that looks like a leader?