Wednesday, August 21, 2019

U.S. Defense Intelligence Chief: 'China Plans To Use Information To 'Dominate In The Future'

Washington Examiner: China plans to use information to 'dominate in the future,' says defense intelligence chief

China's government plans to leverage the growing data industry and cutting-edge technologies as part of its strategy to get an edge on its competitors, according to the Department of Defense's intelligence chief.

The data industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, set to reach $100 billion by 2020, and China is laser-focused on using it to its advantage when competing with the U.S., according to Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

"[I]nformation is how China plans to dominate in the future. That is their strategy," Ashley said during a keynote address at a conference in Tampa, Florida, on Monday.

"That is their strategy to get behind decision advantage."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Quoting Francis Bacon .... Knowledge is power, or in this case, data is power.

Tweets For Today













U.S. And Middle Eastern Oil Producers Are Now Competing For Asian Markets

A general view of a crude oil importing port in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, Nov. 9, 2008. China is a major importer of Iranian oil.

Houston Chronicle/Bloomberg: U.S. oil challenges Mideast sellers with Asian trading debut

The rivalry between U.S. and Middle Eastern oil producers has jumped a notch as American crude makes its way right to the heart of Asia, the world’s most-prized energy market.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has offered a cargo of U.S. West Texas Intermediate Midland crude that’s priced off the Dubai benchmark in its debut during Asian hours on S&P Global Platts’ widely-referenced trading platform, according to two traders and data compiled by Bloomberg.

Offering the shipment -- scheduled to be delivered to Singapore, or Linggi or Nipah in Malaysia -- against the Middle East’s oil benchmark brings it into direct competition with Gulf grades produced in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Once considered a one-off arbitrage, the flow of American oil to Asia has increased in recent years.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Oil tankers being targeted by Iran in the Persian Gulf is making it easier for U.S. producers to enter the Asian market. Attempts by OPEC countries to limit production to maintain a higher price is also backfiring as US producers make up the shortfall.

Picture Of The Day

The Air Force Thunderbirds sit on the tarmac as explosions go off during the 2019 Sioux Falls Airshow in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Courtesy U.S. Air National Guard/Duane Duimstra

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Editor's Choice Pictures (Reuters).

Japanese Media: North Korea Has Miniaturized Nuclear Warheads

Kim Jong-un announced a suspension of all nuclear and missile tests last month [File: KCNA/Reuters]

Reuters: Japanese report to say North Korea has miniaturized nuclear warheads: newspaper

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will upgrade its estimate of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability in an upcoming annual defense report, saying it seems Pyongyang has already achieved the miniaturization of warheads, the Yomiuri newspaper said in an unsourced report on Wednesday.

That compares with the assessment in last year’s report in which the government said it was possible North Korea had achieved miniaturization, the Japanese daily said without citing sources.

The government is planning to approve the report at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. The report will maintain the assessment that North Korea’s military activities pose a “serious and imminent threat”, the Yomiuri said.

Read more ....

Update: North Korea Has Achieved Nuclear Warheads, Japan Claims (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: Reports of North Korea miniaturizing its nuclear warheads is nothing new. But I would not be surprised if they are working on it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pentagon Feels It Needs To Spend More Money To Catch Up To China's Hypersonic Weapons Program

China's Lingyun-1 hypersonic missile, displayed publicly for the first time at an exhibition during National Science and Technology Week, May 19, 2018. Image: @inbarspace/Twitter

CNBC: China’s ability to spend on weapons has the Pentagon eager to develop hypersonics as the US tries to catch up

* China’s ability to quickly finance its military has the Pentagon especially eager to develop hypersonic weapons, amid a budding arms race between the world’s top two economies.
* The United States does not have a defense against hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound, or a little more than a mile per second.
* The Pentagon has nearly a dozen programs tasked with developing and defending against the new breed of weapons.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — China’s ability to quickly finance its military has the Pentagon especially eager to develop hypersonic weapons, amid a budding arms race between the world’s top two economies.

“China has a robust global economy, their ability to afford new offensive systems is quite significant, and we have to take note of that,” Mike Griffin, the Pentagon’s top engineer, told CNBC at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville.

“I think it’s clear that in the realm of hypersonics we are playing catch up, especially relative to the Chinese. We need to be able to not only match but to overmatch, especially the Chinese,” Griffin said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The hypersonic weapons race is on.

President Trump Says U.S. Not Supposed To Be "Police Force" In Afghanistan



Reuters: Trump says U.S. role in Afghanistan has turned into 'ridiculous' police force

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the U.S. military role in Afghanistan has basically turned into a “ridiculous” police force in a sign that he is open to a U.S. troop drawdown there after 18 years of war.

Trump was briefed on Friday by top national security aides on a peace plan being negotiated by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad with leaders of the Afghanistan government and the Taliban.

“We’re having good discussions. We’ll see what happens. It’s 18 years. We’re not really fighting. We’re almost a police force over there. We’re not supposed to be a police force,” he said.

Some 14,000 U.S. troops remain engaged in America’s longest war, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State’s local affiliate.

Read more ....

Update: Trump: Afghanistan is the 'Harvard University of terrorism' (CNN)
Update #2: Trump promises continued US presence in Afghanistan amid withdrawal talks (Military.com)

WNU Editor: U.S. and Taliban representatives are meeting again .... US envoy returning to Doha for new round of Taliban peace talks (Afghanistan). President Trump appears confident that a deal will be reached .... Somethings are going to be announced about Afghanistan in coming weeks: Trump (Khaama Press).

President Trump Again Calls For Russia To Rejoin The G-7



Reuters: Trump says appropriate to let Russia join Group of Seven

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday it would be appropriate to let Russia join the G7 group of advanced industrialized countries.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump noted his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had wanted Russia out of what used to be the G8.

“But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8 because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia,” Trump said.

Russia was pushed out of the G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump Again Calling For Russia To Rejoin The G-7

Trump says would be ‘appropriate’ for Russia to rejoin G-7 -- AP
US President Trump reiterates call for Russia to rejoin ‘G8’ -- France 24
Trump renews call for Russia to rejoin G-7 -- The Hill
Trump says would be ‘appropriate’ for Russia to rejoin G-7 -- Washington Post
Trump Says Russia Should Be Readmitted to G7 -- The New York Times
Trump renews call for Russia to join G-7 group -- CNBC
Trump unsettles G7 with support for Russia return -- AFP
Trump: ‘Appropriate’ for Russia to return to G-7 -- Politico
Donald Trump says Vladimir Putin SHOULD be invited to rejoin G7 claiming Obama got the Russian leader kicked out 'because he got outsmarted' and not because Kremlin strongman seized Crimea -- Daily Mail

U.N. Efforts To Ban 'Killer Robots' Through International Law Will Fail


DW: UN impasse could mean killer robots escape regulation

It's no longer the stuff of science fiction: Wars could soon be decided by lethal autonomous weapons systems. But a concerted effort to ban "killer robots" through international law at the UN appears to have hit a wall.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has labeled autonomous weapons "politically unacceptable and morally repulsive," and called for them to be banned under international law. "Consider the consequences if an autonomous weapons system can independently select people as targets and attack them," Guterres has repeatedly told the international community, whose representatives are currently debating a ban on so-called killer robots in Geneva. Agreement, however, is not in sight. In fact, as one of the participants told DW, the talks are making no progress.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The genie is out of the bottle. Autonomous weapons are the future, and nothing is going to stop it.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 20, 2019

Police officers fire tear gas at protesters in Sham Shui Po neighborhood of Hong Kong, August 2019 Tyrone Siu/REUTERS

Orville Schell, Foreign Affairs: Tiananmen in Hong Kong

The Alarming Echoes of 1989

At first, when demonstrators began spilling into city streets, citizens were surprised by their audacity and struck by their idealism, openness, and √©lan as they confronted the might of the Chinese Communist Party. The demonstrators’ demands were limited and answerable, their behavior civil, and their marches orderly. Yet as their numbers grew, they allowed themselves to entertain a heady sense of possibility—a hope that this time they might actually be heard. When they ran into police lines, instead of yielding they defiantly but peacefully kept going. Government officials and party organs denounced them as unpatriotic fomenters of social turmoil, but they turned the insults into fuel for an expanding movement. Before long, they had occupied the heart of the city.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 20, 2019

Dodgy data and the health of China’s economy -- Gordon Watts, Asia Times

Hong Kong’s evolving protests: Voices from the front lines -- Yanan Wang, AP

North Korea's Recent Missile and 'Projectile' Tests Need Your Attention -- Dong Geon Lim, National Interest

Security ties at risk in Seoul-Tokyo trade row -- Ahn Jong-hwa Abdiel Lawrence, Asia Times

Vietnam edges towards a succession crisis -- David Hutt, Asia Times

China's South China Sea Militarization Has Peaked -- Steven Stashwick, Foreign Policy

The looming partition of Yemen -- Imad K Harb, Al Jazeera

Nigerian ethnic violence: Conflict amplifies religious divide -- Mohammed Adow, Al Jazeera

Cameroon’s three deepening divides all have one thing in common -- Yuhniwo Ngenge, African Arguments

Italy and Matteo Salvini face uncertainty after PM’s resignation -- Angela Giuffrida, The Guardian

What to expect as Italy’s political crisis unfolds -- Giada Zampano, AP

Putin’s pesky millennials Sociologist Olga Zeveleva explains what makes today's protesters in Moscow something new for Russia -- Meduza

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of Trump -- Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker

ISIS Is Regaining Strength in Iraq and Syria -- E. Schmitt, A. Rubin & T. Gibbons-Neff, New York Times

Why do terrorists attack places of worship? -- DW

World News Briefs -- August 20, 2019 (Evening Edition)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Reuters: U.S. will act if Iranian tanker tries to deliver oil to Syria: Pompeo

UNITED NATIONS/ATHENS (Reuters) - The United States will take every action it can to prevent an Iranian tanker sailing in the Mediterranean from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of U.S. sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday.

Greece said earlier in the day that it had not had a request from the Adrian Darya 1, the vessel at the center of a dispute between Iran and the United States, to dock at one of its ports, as Washington warned Greece against helping the vessel.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Pompeo warns of 'new turmoil' if U.N. arms embargo on Iran lifted in 2020.

Syria's war: Rebels withdraw from Idlib's Khan Sheikhoun. Rebels withdraw in key Syrian town as pro-Assad troops advance.

Yemen's Houthis down U.S. drone in Dhamar governorate: spokesman.

Yemen separatists drive out govt troops from two camps in south.

Turkey says it will not move military observation post in Syria.

Syrian migrants in Turkey face deadline to leave Istanbul.

Iran says foreign minister Zarif to visit Macron in France.

Top Iranian official: We should never have signed Obama-era nuclear deal.

Iran rejects appeal against UK resident's 10-year jail sentence.

ASIA

US envoy to resume talks with Taliban on ending Afghan war.

Hong Kong’s leader vows to narrow rifts, but no specifics.

Beijing won’t make trade concessions if US plays Hong Kong card, Chinese state media says.

China steps up threats to Hong Kong protesters.

Chinese Government voices support for counter Hong Kong protests in Australia.

Report: China boosts food aid to North Korea.

Pompeo expresses concern over North Korea missile tests.

Trump urges restraint on Kashmir in call with India and Pakistan.

Hundreds escape Papua prison after violent riots.

Bangladesh seeks to repatriate 3,000 Rohingya to Myanmar.

Urgency for vaccine grows as virus ravages China’s pigs.

AFRICA

Sudan forms 11-member sovereign council, headed by military leader.

More than a hundred migrants feared dead off Libya coast.

Burkina Faso troops killed in 'major terrorist attack'.

Egypt says security forces kill 11 militants in Sinai.

Gunmen kill 16 villagers in northern Nigeria: officials.

Cameroon anglophone separatist movement leader sentenced to life, say lawyers.

Kenya, Ethiopia spar over Jubbaland polls in Somalia, AMISOM steps in.


Zimbabwe ex-Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko 'on the run'.

Algeria protest movement marks six months, at an impasse.

EUROPE

Police, protesters fill French beach resorts for G-7 summit.

Migrants exit rescue ship in Italy after 19-day standoff.

Italian premier resigns, blames deputy for political crisis.

Mysterious military accident none of your business, Russia tells nuclear monitoring group.

EU rebuffs British PM Johnson's Brexit gambit.

Brexit: UK to end EU freedom of movement immediately in no-deal scenario.

EU rejects demand by British PM Johnson to revise exit deal.

Northern Ireland: Blast targets police near border.

Far-right party surge in eastern German regions threatens Merkel's coalition.

Germany's central bank warns of possible recession.

'No request' from Iran tanker to dock in Greece: minister.

AMERICAS

Trump acknowledges China polices may mean US economic pain.

Donald Trump says he's weighing cuts in payroll taxes, capital gains but dismisses recession fears.

White House insists fundamentals of US economy ‘very strong’.

Biden expands lead over 2020 Democrats: poll.

US states ready antitrust probe of tech titans: report.

Epstein put assets in trust two days before suicide: report.

Colombia laments lack of aid for growing Venezuela migration crisis.

Venezuela's number two denies secret talks with US.

IMF says sending team to Argentina 'soon'.

Police shoot dead Brazil bus hijacker after hours-long standoff.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Canada says it will not help 'Jihadi Jack' come to the country.

Pompeo says ISIL gaining strength in some areas.

Islamic State could re-emerge in Syria, Chinese envoy warns.

Air raid in Somalia killed al-Shabab fighter, says US.

Afghanistan vows to crush Islamic State havens after attack.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street rally ends as financial shares slide.

Google, Amazon, Facebook slam French digital tax as ‘discriminatory’.

Corporate leaders scrap shareholder-first ideology.

Huawei: U.S. blacklisting more partners 'politically motivated'.

U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo Says ISIS Is More Powerful In Some Places



CNN: Pompeo says ISIS is 'more powerful' in some places but downplays overall threat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday acknowledged that there are "places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago," but sought to downplay the risk posed by the terrorist organization in the wake of a report warning of its resurgence in Syria.

"What we've always said is the caliphate's been gone and there's always risks that there'll be a resurgence, not just from ISIS," Pompeo said on "CBS This Morning."

"It's complicated," Pompeo said when asked if ISIS is gaining strength.

"There's certainly places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago. But the caliphate is gone and their capacity to conduct external attacks has been made much more difficult," he added. "We've taken down significant risk -- not all of it, but a significant amount."

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo Saying ISIS Is More Powerful In Some Places

Pompeo acknowledges 'places where ISIS is more powerful today' -- The Hill
U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo says ISIS strong in some areas: CBS -- Reuters
Pompeo says ISIL gaining strength in some areas -- Al Jazeera
Pompeo confirms ISIS is regaining strength -- NYPost

UAE-Backed Separatist Fighters Continue To Advance Against Government Forces In Southern Yemen

Members of UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatist forces stand by a military vehicle during clashes with government forces in Aden, August 10, 2019. © Reuters / Fawaz Salman / File Photo

Al Jazeera: Fresh clashes between separatists, government in Yemeni south

Fighters from Security Belt militia take two government military bases in Zinjibar, in Abyan province, officials say.

UAE-backed separatist fighters have seized a number of military camps in Yemen's southern Abyan province, as fresh clashes with forces loyal to the country's internationally recognised government caused multiple deaths and injuries.

The two sides are nominal allies in a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition battling the Houthi rebels movement after the latter took over the capital, Sanaa, and most major cities in 2014.

Read more ....

More News On UAE-Backed Separatist Fighters Continuing To Advance Against Government Forces In Southern Yemen

Yemeni separatists extend control in south, Saudi-led forces strike capital -- Reuters
Separatist fighters besiege government forces in southern Yemen's Abyan -- Middle East Monitor
Separatists seize 2 govt military bases in S. Yemen as Saudi-led forces strike Sanaa – reports -- RT
Yemen Vows to Confront U.A.E.-Backed 'Coup' as Infighting Rages -- Bloomberg

This Is What It Takes To Be An Admiral In The Russian Navy



Dmitry Gorenburg and Kasey Stricklin, War On The Rocks: A Guide to Becoming an Admiral in the Russian Navy

It is widely acknowledged that general and flag officers are important actors. Senior uniformed leaders are, of course, crucial in determining the trajectory of a country’s military development and in some cases even of its foreign policy. Yet, with vanishingly few exceptions, even those Americans who closely track national and international security focus little on the generals and admirals of other nations’ militaries. In the case of Russia, the U.S. national security community has an almost comical obsession with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, and his eponymous (but largely fictional) doctrine. But that’s where it ends.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I follow the Russian military very closely, but even I learned a few things from this post. A must read for those who are interested in all things Navy.

Italy’s Prime Minister Resigns. Government Nears Collapse





BBC: Italy government crisis: PM Conte quits amid coalition row

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned following a blistering attack on coalition partner Matteo Salvini.

Mr Conte said Mr Salvini had been "irresponsible" in creating a new political crisis for Italy for "personal and party interests".

Mr Salvini, the leader of the nationalist League party, had tabled a no-confidence motion against Mr Conte.

He also said he could no longer work with his coalition partners Five Star.

The League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement formed a coalition to govern just 14 months ago with Mr Conte as an independent as prime minister.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am surprised that the government lasted this long.

More News On The Collapse Of The Italian Government

The Latest: Italian PM is asked to stay as caretaker leader -- AP
Italian PM resigns, denounces Salvini for sinking government -- Reuters
Italian PM Conte quits, condemns ‘reckless’ far-right Salvini for triggering crisis -- France 24
Italian premier resigns, blames deputy for political crisis -- AP
Italian PM resigns with attack on 'opportunist' Salvini -- The Guardian
Italian Prime Minister Conte offers resignation amid political crisis -- DW
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigns after blistering attack on deputy Matteo Salvini -- ABC News Online
Italy and Matteo Salvini face uncertainty after PM’s resignation -- The Guardian

U.S. Space Command To Launch On Aug. 29





Space.com: New US Space Command Will Launch Next Week, VP Pence Says

The U.S. Space Command will be born Aug. 29.

The new United States Space Command will officially be up and running by the end of the month, Vice President Mike Pence said today (Aug. 20) at a meeting of the National Space Council.

The U.S. Space Command will be the military's unified combatant command in charge of the country's defense operations in space. It will become the Defense Department's 11th unified combatant command, alongside the U.S. Strategic Command, the U.S. Special Operations Command and other commands that serve specific functions or geographic regions.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Space Command Launching On Aug. 29

Space Command to launch Aug. 29 -- Defense News
US Space Command Set to Stand Up Aug. 29 -- Air Force Magazine
U.S. Space Command to start Aug. 29, officials say -- UPI
Space Command launching Aug. 29 -- The Hill
US Space Command will launch this month, ahead of Trump's Space Force -- USA Today
Tectonic Shift As NRO Moved Under Space Command In Wartime -- Breaking Defense

Israeli, U.S. Special Forces Practice Taking Over Ships



Times of Israel: Israeli, US special forces practice ship takeovers amid high tensions in Gulf

IDF says last week’s Noble Rose exercise not held in direct response to recent incidents around Strait of Hormuz

Israeli and American naval special forces completed a large-scale exercise in the Mediterranean Sea last week simulating the takeover of a merchant ship carrying illegal weapons and contraband, as Iran and a US-led coalition square off on shipping routes in the nearby Persian Gulf.

The Israeli military said the exercise, Noble Rose 2019, was not in direct response to these tensions.

Israel’s elite naval commando unit, known in Hebrew as Shayetet 13, participated in the drill alongside US Special Forces. An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson refused to comment on the precise number of troops that took part in the exercise, but said it was “larger than what we’ve done before.”

Read more ....

Update #1: IDF's Shayetet 13, US Special Forces complete joint exercise - watch (Jerusalem Post)
Update #2: Watch: US, Israeli navies practice taking over enemy ship (Arutz Sheva)

WNU Editor: Its rare to see Israeli Special Forces on video. Even rarer to see them training with U.S. Special Forces.

Top Iranian Official Says His Country Should Never Have Signed President Obama's Nuclear Deal



NBC: Top Iranian official: We should never have signed Obama-era nuclear deal

In a rare interview, Ali Shamkhani — a close adviser to Iran's supreme leader — said signing the 2015 pact was a mistake.

TEHRAN — A top Iranian official and close adviser to Iran's supreme leader says his country should never have signed the international nuclear deal that has now been renounced by President Donald Trump.

In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, the official, Ali Shamkhani, who rarely speaks to the Western press, said that there were people in Iran who felt that signing the 2015 nuclear pact, known as the JCPOA, was a mistake.

Asked by Holt if he was one of those people, Shamkhani said, "Yes. … I'm just following the viewpoints of my nation, the people of Iran."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iran's hardliners were always against the nuclear agreement. This is nothing new.