APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, August 31, 2009

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"APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, August 31, 2009", APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, August 31, 2009, https://nautilus.org/apsnet/apsnet-31-august-2009/

APSNet 31 August 2009

  1. Legal check on ANL arms ship
  2. Rift looms as Dili mourns dead
  3. Still no clarity on Indonesian weapons seized by the Philippines on cargo ship
  4. Oil slick creeping closer to coast, say observers
  5. U.S. sets metrics to assess war success
  6. Police axe probe into kickbacks by AWB
  7. Australia looks for speedy new Japan links
  8. Burma and North Korea: Smoke or fire?
  9. Suharto son Tommy may get ‘his’ $61.7m

1. Legal check on ANL arms ship, Patrick Walters, Australian, 2009-08-31

The Rudd government will investigate whether an Australian-registered ship carrying an undeclared cargo of weapons from North Korea, bound for Iran, may have broken Australian laws and violated sanctions. United Arab Emirates authorities reportedly seized up to 10 container loads of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and trigger mechanisms, from the vessel, ANL Australia, when it berthed at Abu Dhabi in mid-July.

2. Rift looms as Dili mourns dead, Lindsay Murdoch, SMH, 2009-08-30

East Timor is under pressure to release an Indonesian citizen accused of leading one of the country’s worst massacres, as hundreds of East Timorese attended a ceremony remembering those who died in the fight for independence. Indonesian authorities are demanding the release of Martenus Bere, who allegedly led an attack on a church in the town of Suai in September 1999, in which three priests and dozens of people were killed.

3. Still no clarity on Indonesian weapons seized by the Philippines on cargo ship, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Jakarta Globe, 2009-08-30

The recent seizure by Philippine customs officers of a cargo vessel carrying firearms manufactured in Indonesia is raising more questions than answers in both countries. Military Chief Gen. Djoko Santoso said that PT Pindad, the state-owned military equipment manufacturer, had been authorized to export the shipment of assault rifles and pistols by the Ministry of Defense and the State Ministry for State Enterprises. Fernandino Tuason, the chief of the Philippine Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, said they were investigating whether the arms were meant for possible political or terrorist activities, according to the Philippines Star.

4. Oil slick creeping closer to coast, say observers, Ben Cubby, SMH, 2009-08-31

The oil spill off Western Australia is creeping to within 20 kilometres of the coast, covering an area populated by many endangered fish species. The West Atlas oil rig, operated by a Thai Government-owned company, is thought to have been leaking about 470,000 litres of oil a day. The leak may not be stopped for another six weeks. This means that before the pipe is plugged the volume of crude oil escaping into the ocean may equal the amount released during the devastating 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

5. U.S. sets metrics to assess war success, Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, 2009-08-30

The White House has assembled a list of about 50 measurements to gauge progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan as it tries to calm rising public and congressional anxiety about its war strategy. Administration officials are conducting what one called a “test run” of the metrics, comparing current numbers in a range of categories — including newly trained Afghan army recruits, Pakistani counterinsurgency missions and on-time delivery of promised U.S. resources — with baselines set earlier in the year.

6. Police axe probe into kickbacks by AWB, Leonie Wood, SMH, 2009-08-29

The Australian Federal Police have quit their investigation into AWB’s kickbacks to Iraq after a legal review decided there was virtually no hope of prosecuting criminal charges against any former officers of the wheat exporter. The federal police’s bombshell decision to abandon what was Australia’s highest-profile corruption probe leaves any future action in the hands of the corporate regulator, ASIC. But senior lawyers believe it is highly unlikely that even ASIC will pursue criminal charges against the former AWB executives.

7. Australia looks for speedy new Japan links, Liam Cochrane, ABC, 2009-08-31

Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean says Japan’s Democratic Party faces a big test with a faltering economy after the failure of previous governments to undertake structural reforms. But Mr Crean says the change of government in Tokyo is not a further setback for already troubled Australia-Japan free trade talks.

8. Burma and North Korea: Smoke or fire? Andrew Selth, ASPI, 2009-08-24

The conundrum of whether or not Burma has embarked on a clandestine nuclear weapons program may now depend more on issues to do with intention and political will, than matters of resources, expertise and practical management. Perhaps the most intriguing question—at least for many strategic analysts—is why no government or international organisation has yet made any official statement specifically addressing this subject.

9. Suharto son Tommy may get ‘his’ $61.7m, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Australian, 2009-08-28

Indonesia has been dealt a blow by Britain’s highest court of appeal, with a ruling in favour of convicted murderer Tommy Suharto getting his hands on E36million ($61.7m) in a Guernsey bank account. Yesterday’s win in the Queen’s Privy Council came just days after Tommy, 47, mounted a surprise bid for the leadership of Golkar.

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