Saturday, May 28, 2016

Editor's Note

Blogging will return later this evening

Vandals Deface Vietnam War Memorial In Los Angeles



CBS Los Angeles: Vandals Deface Vietnam War Memorial In Venice

VENICE (CBSLA.com) — Vandals defaced a memorial to Vietnam war veterans in Venice – an awful sight on this Memorial Day weekend.

Stewart Oscars welled up as he looked at the vandalized mural located on Pacific Avenue near Sunset Court. It was covered in graffiti from end to end.

“This knocked me out. So sickening. Just sadness…think of all these people. They’re gone,” Oscars said. “I remember the Vietnam war and how friends went to war, and bodies came back. Somehow, it has to be taught that this is not a good idea. This is actually stupid.”

The memorial was dedicated to service members who were listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War.

George Francisco is the Vice President of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. He also runs a nonprofit called Veterans Foundation Incorporated.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is painful to watch. I am not an American and I do not live in the United States .... but it is moments like this that I can now understand why many Americans believe that the country is "on the wrong track".

Russian President Putin: No Discussion On Ceding Crimea Back To Ukraine



TASS: Putin says Russia will indulge in no discussion on ceding Crimea back to Ukraine

It was a historic decision of people living in Crimea," Russian President said

ATHENS, May 27. /TASS/. Russia will indulge in no discussion with anyone on ceding Crimea back to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"As for Crimea, we think this issue closed once and for all. It was a historic decision of people living in Crimea," he said at a news conference after his talks with the Greek leaders.

"Russia will indulge in no discussions with anyone on that matter," Putin stressed. "So, let us stop raising this matter over and over again."

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Read more ....

Update: Putin says Crimea's status as part of Russia not up for discussion (Reuters)

WNU Editor: When I was last in Crimea (admittedly a long time ago) .... there was (maybe) 5% support for Crimea becoming a part of Russia (and I am being very generous in this estimate). Before the Maidan revolution in 2014 .... this 5% support was probably the same. After the Maidan revolution .... with anti-Russian language/cultural measures being passed by the new Ukraine government .... many people in Crimea were still afraid of succeeding from Ukraine but support had quickly grown to about 50% .... this personal analysis comes from my Ukrainian friends, family, social media, and my gut feelings. When the referendum was held .... I would say that a massive majority did favour succeeding from Ukraine .... but it was also "fixed and forced". And while I did criticized the referendum .... why fix it when you are getting the result you wanted .... for those who do not know or understand Russian/Ukrainian/Crimean politics .... this is actually normal behaviour. Today .... if a vote was held ... it would not need to be fixed (and the Russian-Crimean authorities know that) .... 90% (if not more) would favour staying with Russia.

But Crimea is a huge political problem for everyone .... for Ukraine, Russia, Europe, and for those who live in Crimea. It is the main reason why sanctions are being enforced, and one of many reasons why tensions have increased between Russia and the West. The problem is that I do not see an end-game to this crisis. The Crimeans do not want to be a part of Ukraine any-more .... they are linguistically and culturally Russian .... not Ukrainian. For Ukrainian nationalists .... this is a rallying point .... and they are not going to give up their claims on Crimea. My prediction .... this is an issue that is going to be on the table for a very long time .... and a sore point for generations to come.

Russian President Putin: 'US Anti-Missile Defence Is A Huge Danger To Russia'



FOX News: Putin warns Romania, Poland over implementing US missile shield

Romania and Poland are in the potential crosshairs of Russian rockets because they are hosting parts of the U.S. missile defense shield that Moscow considers a threat to its national security, President Vladimir Putin warned Friday.

Putin warned the European nations that Moscow has repeatedly said it would have to retaliate if the missile defense shield was put into place, but U.S. allies have ignored Russia’s warnings.

Earlier this month, the U.S. program was declared operational at a site in Romania, drawing an angry reaction from Russia. NATO said the system is purely defensive and a response to a growing capability of ballistic missiles globally.

Read more ....

More News On Russian President Putin's Remarks On US Anti-Missile Defence In Europe

Putin: Romania ‘in crosshairs’ after opening NATO missile defense base -- RT
Putin says Romania, Poland may now be in Russia's cross-hairs -- Reuters
Putin vows retaliation over U.S. missile defense system -- AP
Putin warns Poland and Romania could be caught in the 'crosshairs' of Russian rockets for hosting a US defence shield that he considers a threat to national security -- Daily Mail
Putin says Romania, Poland may be targeted over new U.S.-led NATO missile bases -- UPI
Putin Warns of Retaliation against US Missile Shield in Europe -- VOA
Putin Vows Russian Retaliation Over U.S. Missile Shield -- RFE
Romania ‘Surprised’ by Putin’s Remarks on US Missile Defense System -- Sputnik

The New Venezuela: Hunger, Crime, Unemployment, Inflation, Blackouts, Corruption, Collapse In Medical And Social Services



New York Times: Venezuela Drifts Into New Territory: Hunger, Blackouts and Government Shutdown

CARACAS, Venezuela — The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.

Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.

This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory.

In recent weeks, the government has taken what may be one of the most desperate measures ever by a country to save electricity: A shutdown of many of its offices for all but two half-days each week.

But that is only the start of the country’s woes. Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.

Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Went back into the archives for this post on Venezuela .... I noticed that I started warning about Venezuela way back in 2008 .... The Slow Disintegration Of Venezuela (October 24, 2008). And as for Venezuela's electricity crisis .... this was regular news way-back in 2010 .... The Mess That Is Venezuela (February 9, 2010). In short .... over the years I posted dozens of articles and commentaries on what was happening in Venezuela, and why the country was not only falling apart but heading to the abyss. But even with this slow and painful disintegration ... which was obvious to me .... much of the left and the main stream media pushed a different narrative .... Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle (Slate, March 6, 2013). And the explanation on Venezuela was/are always the same .... I have heard it so many times from these Chavez/Maduro apologists that I can recite it by heart .... Chavez/Maduro/etc. .... they are helping the poor and making them better off by stopping the rich/oligarchs/capitalists/etc. from exploiting them and the country's resources.

Sighhhh ....

Why was the media wrong and I was right .... the answer is simple .... because I grew up in these systems/societies/governments and I learned an undeniable truth .... a country that adopts such a system will always fall apart after a few years (i.e. a decade or two). And why do they fall apart .... not because they stop the  rich/oligarchs/capitalists/etc. from exploiting the country (actually these characters usually partner up with the new government) .... they fall apart because they destroy the "little people" who make things work by taking away their incentive to do what they want to do. In Venezuela .... over the past decade .... the people who make things work .... the entrepreneurs, the small business man or family, the professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, managers), the capitalists  (i.e. those who have extra money and willing to invest in someone's idea or start-up) and their bankers, and down to a young person who dreams of a better and an independent life .... they have fled and/or are fleeing the country. And who would blame them .... because in today's Venezuela there is no future for them. And as for the poor .... the ugly truth is that many of them are now realizing that after 17 years of rule from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela the promise of a better life is not going to happen .... in fact .... it is going to get worse.

A few months ago I mentioned that the situation in Venezuela .... as bad as it was .... was going to get worse. I now see only two endings to this story .... strikes/riots/revolution .... or a Cuban style crack-down that will not be pretty but it will keep Venezuelan President Maduro and his cronies in power. What's my prediction .... my money is on the Cuban-style crackdown.

Update: Nothing is going to come out from this meeting .... they cannot even meet and face each other in their own country .... Venezuela government, opposition hold talks in Dominican Republic: local media (Reuters).

Here Are Some Famous People Buried At Arlington Cemetery

Army Pfc. Jose Vazquez places an American flag in front of a gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day weekend in 2012. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coffee/ U.S. Army)

Washington Examiner: 21 famous people you didn't know were buried at Arlington National Cemetery

In May 1864, Arlington National Cemetery conducted its first military burials. Since then, it has become the final resting place for approximately 400,000 people who served the U.S. honorably. This Memorial Day weekend, here's a look at 21 notable people you probably didn't know are buried there.

Read more ....

The Rise of Home-Made And Makeshift Weapons In War Zones

Makeshift: Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to fire an improvised rocket launcher against government troops from a position in Old Aleppo

The Economist: Improvised weapons: Hell’s kitchens

Makeshift weapons are becoming more dangerous with highly sophisticated, commercially available kit.

THE “hell cannons” of Aleppo pack a deadly punch. Cobbled together in Syria by militant groups fighting to overthrow the autocratic regime of Bashar al-Assad, they use an explosive charge at the bottom of a pipe to hurl a propane cylinder crammed with 40kg or more of explosives and shrapnel. A finned tail welded to the cylinder shields it from the launch blast and provides stability in flight. The Ahrar al-Sham brigade reckon the cannons can hit targets 1.5km away. Fuses detonate the cylinder upon impact or, using a timer, after it punches into a building. This is all the better to demolish several floors with a single strike.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For a photo gallery of some of these weapons go here .... Syrian Rebels Go To War With The Weapons That They Have (Photo Gallery) (January 2, 2014).

A Look At America's Top 9 Defense Contractors

Business Insider: The top 9 biggest defense contractors in America

As a general in World War II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower intimately knew how to lead and manage the armed forces. After years of public service, he prepared to leave his position as the Commander in Chief with a final farewell address to the nation.

In this farewell address, he outlined the dangers of what he coined as the "military industrial complex."

Although Eisenhower could have been unwavering in his argument, one cannot deny the amazing advancements, or the destructive power, that military R&D has created. Military research and development has now paved the way for medical achievements and other inventions that have reshaped the world.

The following figures from 2015 were compiled by the US General Services Administration and are publicly available.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: No surprises here.

The Russian Military Wants A 'Terminator' Robot Soldier

Designed by Russia's Foundation for Advanced Studies, Ivan is currently remote controlled by an operator (from up to several miles away) wearing a special suit, which contains sensors in the neck, hands and shoulders. This enables the robot to simulate driving a car

Daily Mail: Rise of the Russian robo-soldier: Iron Man military hardware is one step closer to reality as Putin's scientists reveal 'Ivan the Terminator'

* Its purpose is to 'replace the person in battle or emergency areas where there is a risk of explosion, fire or high background radiation'
* Robot is currently remote controlled by an operator fitted with sensor suit
* Among its skill set, 'Ivan' can simulate driving a car and avoid obstacles
* It will eventually carry out a 'maturity test' before it performs more high-level tasks

This metal marvel might just be the soldier of the future... but far from being science fiction, this one is real.

Affectionately known as Ivan the Terminator, Project Iron Man is a humanoid military robot currently being developed in Russia.

For years, the country has been trying to keep up with the U.S. and China, which are building robots, drones and other military hi-tech machines with great success.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Fear not .... the Russians are still very far away to have anything even remotely functional on a battlefield.

This One Chart Has All The Combat Vehicles Of The U.S. Military


Popular Mechanics: All the Combat Vehicles of the U.S. Military in One Giant Poster

​From Strykers to Global Hawks, this chart has it all.

Pop Chart Lab, master of the infographic poster, has a new offering showing every major combat system of the U.S. Military. The comprehensive poster shows 180 different vehicles used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, squeezing them all into a 24" x 36" poster.

The vehicles are sorted into air, land and sea categories, and then into sub-classes such as bombers, main battle tanks, and littoral operations ships. The poster is very accurate, with fourteen different models of HUMVEE, from gun trucks to ambulances. It even has two versions of the venerable M1 Abrams main battle tank, including the most recent M1A2 SEPv2 version. This is a smart decision as the Army and Marine Corps field a wide variety of M1 variants, with the latest SEPv2 optimized for urban combat.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You have to go to the creators of this poster to see an enlarged version of the above poster. That link is here.

This Is How The U.S. Will Fight A War If Their Satellites Have Been Destroyed


Kris Osborn, National Interest: This Is How the U.S. Army Will Fight If American Satellites are Smashed

The Army is evaluating a new vehicle-mounted radio technology that enables Strykers, tactical trucks, HMMWVs and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to share real-time, combat-relevant information across the force.

The new radios, called the Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radio, was recently assessed in various combat scenarios to include rugged, mountainous terrain, woodland areas and dense vegetation to assess its ability to relay IP packets of info through various high-bandwidth waveforms, service officials told Scout Warrior.

A concept behind this technology, referred to as software programmable radio, is to enable mission command tactical information sharing across the force in a combat environment in the event that satellite systems are disabled due to an enemy attack.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. is also developing the means to use GPS systems when they have been knocked out ....  Air Force jam-proof reference system ready to support testing (GPS World).

DARPA Shows-Off Two Hybrid Motorcycles For The U.S. Special Forces

The SilentHawk prototypes shown at the National Defense Industrial Association's Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa.

AutoBlog: DARPA shows off two hybrid motorcycles for special forces

The bikes can run on gas, propane, jet fuel, or "theoretically" olive oil.

In 2014, the US government's shadowy DARPA research division launched a competition to design a special forces-spec motorcycle. Now, the two finalists from the competition are on display at the National Defense Industrial Association's Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, FL. Both bikes are quite a lot different than your average Kawasaki.

Read more ....

More News On DARPA Showing-Off Two Hybrid Motorcycles For The U.S. Special Forces

Look at the Military’s New Stealth Bikes -- Defense One
The silent motorbikes: US military shows off latest special forces stealth technology -- Daily Mail
DARPA-backed electric military stealth bikes can also run on jet fuel -- Slash Gear
American Special Forces Have A New Stealth Motorcycle -- Popular Science
These 'stealth motorcycles' DARPA commissioned could run on nearly any fuel -- The Verge

This Is How Russia Is Preparing For World War III

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu provided details of Russia's latest snap exercise at the National Defence Control Centre in Moscow on 16 March Source: Russian MoD

Russia Insider: How Russia Is Preparing for WWIII

I have recently posted a piece in which I tried to debunk a few popular myths about modern warfare. Judging by many comments which I received in response to this post, I have to say that the myths in question are still alive and well and that I clearly failed to convince many readers. What I propose to do today, is to look at what Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West. But first, I have to set the context or, more accurately, re-set the context in which Russia is operating. Let’s begin by looking at the AngloZionist policies towards Russia.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A must read. To give you a heads up on what is in it ....

.... Russians are very afraid of war and they will go out of their way to avoid it. But they are also ready for war. This is a uniquely Russian cultural feature which the West has misread an innumerable number of time over the past 1000 years or so. Over and over again have the Europeans attacked Russia only to find themselves into a fight they would never have imagined, even in their worst nightmares. This is why the Russians like to say that “Russia never starts wars, she only ends them”.

Hat Tip RRH for this link.

Tweet For Today

This Is How The U.S. Would Destroy North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program

An airman inspects a JDAM being loaded onto an F-22 Raptor.

Market Watch/Stratfor: How the U.S. would destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons

America has the firepower, but there are complications that could prevent a successful mission

No other country can match the United States when it comes to projection of power.

Should Washington decide to carry out a military strike against North Korea, even a limited one, the immediate impact would be devastating for Pyongyang. When considering military action, however, it is important to acknowledge the variables and intelligence gaps that inevitably complicate political and military decision-making.

Even with the U.S.’s advantage in training, coordination and equipment, complicating factors and uncertainty about the exact locations and dispositions of North Korean assets make complete mission success far from assured.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Even the analysts from Stratfor concede that there are no guarantees of success .... that a part of North Korea's nuclear weapons infrastructure could survive from such a devastating attack.

Picture Of The Day

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
From left: Eikei Suzuki, Governor of the Mie Prefecture, European Council President Donald Tusk, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, participate in a tree planting ceremony during a visit the Ise Jingu shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture, Japan. May 26. © REUTERS/ CAROLYN KASTER

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un's Aunt And Her Family Are Living In New York City

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Washington Post: The secret life of Kim Jong Un’s aunt, who has lived in the U.S. since 1998

NEW YORK — Wandering through Times Square, past the Naked Cowboy and the Elmos and the ticket touts, she could be any immigrant trying to live the American Dream.

A 60-year-old Korean woman with a soft perm and conservative clothes, she’s taking a weekend off from pressing shirts and hemming pants at the dry-cleaning business she runs with her husband.

But she’s not just any immigrant. She’s an aunt to Kim Jong Un, the young North Korean leader who has threatened to wipe out New York with a hydrogen bomb.

And for the past 18 years, since defecting from North Korea into the waiting arms of the CIA, she has been living an anonymous life here in the United States, with her husband and three children.

Read more ....

More News On North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un's Aunt And Her Family Living In New York City

Kim Jong Un's aunt speaks out while living secret life in the US -- FOX News
For 18 Years, an Ordinary Korean Couple Have Kept a Big Secret -- Newser
Kim Jong Un’s Aunt Secretly Lives In The United States -- Time
The secret American life of Kim Jong Un’s aunt Ko Yong Suk -- News.com.au
Kim Jong Un's aunt recalls a child who was 'short-tempered and had a lack of tolerance' -- The Week
The secret American life of Kim Jong Un’s aunt -- New York Post
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's aunt is 'living the American dream' running New York dry cleaners -- IBTimes

Friday, May 27, 2016

How Is The Air War Against The Islamic State Going?

While airstrikes in Iraq have increased substantially in the past year, they have slightly decreased in Syria. CENTCOM

Cameron Glenn, Newsweek: How Is the Air War Against ISIS Going?

The difference in the two fronts is reflected in strikes on the two ISIS strongholds. The coalition hit Raqqa—a backwater city that is the nominal capital of its pseudo-caliphate in Syria—less than 60 times this year, or only 8 percent of the total airstrikes in Syria. The coalition hit areas in and around Mosul—a commercial center in Iraq at least 10 times larger than Raqqa—almost 500 times, or a quarter of all strikes in Iraq this year.

After some 12,000 airstrikes over the past 21 months, costing $7 billion, Operation Inherent Resolve has had an impact in aiding local forces who have fought ISIS on the ground. But their progress in Iraq and Syria has varied.

Due to a wide range of local and international efforts against ISIS, the group has lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq, and only 11 percent of its turf in Syria.

Read more ....

Previous Post: U.S. Claims Its Air Strikes Are Hitting More Significant Islamic State Targets (May 26, 2016).

WNU Editor: I am not sure on how the air war against the Islamic State is going .... but I do know that many of the original coalition members have left and/or curtailed their activities .... even though the Islamic State is still there. I also know that the coalition against the Islamic State is still far away from mounting a ground campaign to defeat them .... focusing instead on smaller targets like Fallujah in Iraq and/or the outskirts of Raqqa in Syria. I also know that the U.S. is running out of bombs .... The US is Raiding its Global Bomb Stockpiles to Fight ISIS (Defense One) .... which is never a good thing when you fighting a war.