Friday, November 15, 2019

Erdogan Plays Anti-Kurd Film On iPad When Meeting Trump In Oval Office



BBC: Erdogan shows anti-Kurdish video to senators at White House

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sparked tensions during his US visit when he showed Republican senators an anti-Kurdish video, US media say.

On Wednesday Mr Erdogan played the video on an iPad during a White House meeting with President Trump and the lawmakers who vocally back the Kurds.

President Donald Trump mostly observed the interaction, sources told US media.

Mr Trump has been widely criticised in the US for his decision to withdraw troops from Syria's border region.

Read more ....

Update #1: Erdoğan showed GOP senators 'surreal' propaganda video during WH meeting (CNN)
Update #2: Scoop: Erdogan upends Oval meeting to play anti-Kurd film on iPad (Axios)

WNU Editor: No kidding .... Behind the Scenes, Erdogan’s Friendly White House Visit Had Tense Moments (New York Times)

Russia Establishes New Airbase In Former U.S. Syria Stronghold

syria.mil.ru

Moscow Times: Russia Launches New Air Base in Former U.S. Syria Stronghold

The Russian military has announced a new combat helicopter and air defense base in a formerly U.S.-controlled northern Syrian stronghold, the state-run TASS news agency reported Thursday.

U.S. troops left the city of Qamishli, the administrative center of the self-proclaimed Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria, last month as Turkey launched an assault against Kurdish forces. Russia and Turkey later clinched a deal pushing the Kurdish YPG fighters south of the frontline and launched joint patrols of the area.

Read more ....

More News On Russia Establishing A New Airbase In Former U.S. Syria Stronghold

Russia bolsters new Syria base on Turkish border -- AFP
Russians Set up New Syria Airbase in City Where Retreating Americans Were Pelted With Stones by Locals -- Newsweek
Russia establishes new foothold in Syria amid spike in violence -- CBS
Russia redeploys 3 helicopters to Syria’s north to shield military police convoy -- TASS

Tweets For Today











Bolivia’s Interim Government And Lawmakers From Evo Morales' Party Strike A Deal To End The Political Chaos





Reuters: Bolivia's dueling parties strike deal to end political chaos

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia’s interim government and lawmakers from the party of unseated leader Evo Morales struck a deal late on Thursday to pursue new elections, potentially helping resolve the South American country’s political crisis.

In a late night session of the Bolivian Senate, the chamber’s President, a member of Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, said there was agreement to work toward new elections after weeks of protests and violence that led to leftist leader Morales resigning under pressure last Sunday.

“Today is an historic day where we have been able to agree between opposition and government with the sole objective to make new elections as soon as possible, to pacify our country and above all to defend democracy,” said Mónica Eva Copa Murga, who had earlier been confirmed in the her role.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Too early to say if this will stick.

Picture Of The Day

Trails of smoke are seen as rockets are fired from Gaza towards Israel, in Gaza November 14, 2019. Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and Israel declared a halt to hostilities across the Gaza Strip border on Thursday but a lasting ceasefire appeared tenuous as they differed on terms. Islamic Jihad said an Egyptian-mediated truce went into effect at 0330 GMT, about 48 hours after Israel triggered the exchange of fire by killing the Iranian-backed faction's top Gaza commander in an air strike, deeming him an imminent threat. Occasional rocket fire from Gaza and a retaliatory Israeli air strike broke the calm, but the ceasefire largely held. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Tenuous truce in Gaza after two days of hostilities (Reuters).

Why Shipping More Weapons To Ukraine Will

Reuters

National Interest: Dressed to Kill: Arming Ukraine Could Put It on a Path Towards War

Even after Russian military forces withdrawal, deep-seated resentments will linger in Donbas. The lethal aid policy’s greatest flaw is that it completely fails to address these resentments, and in doing so, artificially simplifies the conflict to a proxy war with Russia.

In 2017, the United States began supplying Javelin missile launchers and sniper systems to Ukraine. This equipment, in addition to nonlethal aid (since 2014), is intended to help fight off Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region.

Yet the aid policy has a number of fundamental shortcomings: its effectiveness at the tactical level is limited; it will likely encourage, not deter, Russia’s engagement in the conflict; and it fails to address the root causes of the Donetsk and Luhansk (collectively—Donbas) rebellions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Fortunately there is a new Ukrainian President who appears to be sincere in putting an end to the war. But Russian - Ukrainians who dominate eastern Ukraine now have deep-seated resentments on what has happened in the past five years, and shipping mass quantities of weapons to the Ukraine military are not going to help.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

AP: Second US Official In Kyiv Heard President Trump Call On Investigations

U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland attends the EU-U.S. High-Level Forum on small modular reactors at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The Hill: Second person heard call suggesting Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine: AP

A second official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine overheard U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's call with President Trump about the need for an investigation by Ukraine, The Associated Press reported Thursday, citing an unidentified source.

Kyiv-based foreign service officer Suriya Jayanti also overheard the call, the wire service reported, citing a person briefed on what Jayanti overheard.

William Taylor, chargé d'affaires to Ukraine, testified Wednesday that someone on his staff overheard a July 26 call between Trump and Sondland during which Trump asked Sondland “about the investigations.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Second person heard call suggesting Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine: AP (The Hill)
Update #2: Second U.S. embassy official reportedly heard Trump call with Sondland (Politico)

WNU Editor: In yesterday's testimony chargé d'affaires to Ukraine William Taylor testified that someone on his staff overheard a July 26 call between Trump and Sondland during which Trump asked Sondland “about the investigations.” In today's AP report .... AP source: Second US official in Kyiv heard Trump call (AP), an anonymous source is also saying the same thing. I am not impressed.  If you are going to impeach the President you will need more than just hearsay, one anonymous source, and an opinion on what may or may not have been said.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Says Biden Investigations Were ‘Never’ Linked To U.S. Aid

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko

Daily Mail: 'I have never seen a direct link': Ukraine's foreign minister says Donald Trump's EU ambassador never spelled out a connection between military aid and a Biden probe

* Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko said the U.S. ambassador to the European Union never detailed a quid pro quo
* Say he was never told by Ambassador Gordon Sondland that military aide was dependent on a Ukrainian investigation into Joe Biden
* Democrats claim Trump set a quid pro quo in his conversations with his Ukrainian counterpart
* Sondland originally said in a closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill that there wasn't a quid pro quo and he never communicated that
* He later walked back, claiming his memory had been jogged
* 'I now recall... I said resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement,' he revised
* He will publicly testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week

A Ukrainian official insisted Thursday that the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union did not attempt to link a military aide freeze to Kiev investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko told Ukrainian reporters a day after the first public impeachment hearing that Ambassador Gordon Sondland did not detail any relationship between the assistance and probe, according to Interfax, a Ukrainian news agency.

Read more ....

WNU editor: This is the second time that Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko has come out publicly to make the statement that there was no no link between the Biden investigations and U.S. aid. The first time being in late September .... Ukraine Foreign Minister Denies Media Reports That President Trump Pressured Ukraine President Zelenskiy (September 22, 2019). As I had mentioned in my September 22 post ....

.... I met Ukrainian Foreign Minster Vadym Prystaiko when he was the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada twice around 2013 (one was in a social environment, and the second one was to help a Canadian friend of mine who wanted to invest in Ukraine). The Ambassador struck me as a typical diplomat but one who was sincere and honest on what could and could not be done. If he says President Trump did not pressure Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, I believe him.

This public statement from Ukraine's foreign minister also completely contradicts yesterday's testimony by US diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent .... My Take On What I Have Heard From The Impeachment Inquiry Hearing So Far (November 13, 2019), as well as Nancy Pelosi's claims  that President Trump was attempting to bribe Ukraine with military aid .... Pelosi says Trump’s Ukraine actions amount to ‘bribery’ (AP).

In a normal world this should kill this impeachment inquiry right away. This entire impeachment inquiry is based on the claim that President Trump used military aid as a leverage on Ukraine to investigate "Crowd Strike" and corruption allegations against the Biden family. But the Ukraine Foreign Minister has just said that this was never the case. There was no linkage of U.S. military aid to any investigations.

But this is not normal times. The U.S. Democrat controlled Congress is determined to impeach President Trump. Ukraine or not.

More News On Ukraine's Foreign Minister Saying That The Biden Investigations Were ‘Never’ Linked To U.S. Aid

Ukraine FM says US envoy did not link Biden probe to aid -- AFP
U.S. envoy Sondland did not link Biden probe to aid: Ukraine minister -- Reuters
Top Ukrainian official: Sondland did not link aid to investigation of Bidens -- The Hill
Sondland made no link between US aid, Biden probe: Ukrainian minister -- NYPost
Ukraine Foreign Minister Says US Aid and Biden Investigations Were ‘Never’ Linked -- Epoch Times

US Warship USS Chancellorsville Sails Through Taiwan Strait

CC BY 2.0 / Official U.S. Navy Page / USS Chancellorsville

SCMP: US warship sails through Taiwan Strait in ‘routine’ operation

* Operation weeks before Taiwan presidential election likely to be seen as provocative by Beijing
* Washington has upped the frequency of its transits, which Taipei welcomes as a sign of growing support

A US Navy warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday in what it called a “routine” operation, continuing an exercise by Washington to exert influence in the region and in a tense period ahead of Taiwan’s critical presidential election.

The USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, conducted its transit through the strategic waterway in a demonstration of “the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”, the US Navy said in a statement early on Wednesday.

“The US Navy will continue to operate anywhere international law allows,” it said.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said the US warship had sailed freely through the Taiwan Strait from the north before turning through the Bashi Channel near the southernmost tip of Taiwan.

Read more ....

More News On The US Warship USS Chancellorsville Sailing Through The Taiwan Strait

US warship sails through Taiwan Strait in message to China -- FOX News
USS Chancellorsville sails through Taiwan Strait -- UPI
US Navy Sends Missile Cruiser Through Taiwan Strait In Reminder To China -- IBTimes
US Warship Sails Through Taiwan Strait for First Time Since September -- Sputnik

Investigators Say Moscow Contacted Rebels Charged With The Downing Of MH17



ABC News Online: MH17 investigators say newly released phone call intercepts reveal Russian political ties to Ukraine rebels

Investigators have released a series of phone intercepts they said reveal Moscow's influence over pro-Russian rebels accused of downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine five years ago.

MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

All 298 passengers and crew, including 38 Australians, died.

The joint investigation team (JIT) said a missile that hit the passenger jet originated from Russia's Kursk military base, not far from the Ukrainian border.

In June, the JIT charged three Russians and a Ukrainian with 298 murders.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia is skeptical of this new evidence/phone intercepts .... Russia questions authenticity of Dutch MH-17 phone intercepts (Reuters).

More News On Investigators Saying Moscow Contacted Rebels Charged With The Downing Of MH17

MH17 investigators reveal intercepted calls between Russian officials and Ukrainian rebels show they were in 'almost daily' contact during summer 2014 when the plane was shot down -- Daily Mail
MH17 probe reveals close ties between Russia, Ukraine rebels -- AP
Top Putin aide named by MH17 airliner investigators -- Reuters
MH17 investigators link plane crash to Russian officials -- DW
MH17 disaster: Phone-taps 'show Russia directed Ukraine rebels' -- BBC
MH17 calls 'show ties between Russian officials, rebels' -- AFP
Moscow contacted rebels charged with downing MH17: investigators -- Al Jazeera
Investigators: Calls show Russia involvement before MH17 crash -- UPI

World News Briefs -- November 14, 2019 (Evening Edition)



SCMP: Hong Kong protests: government under fire from across political spectrum for inaction as protesters take over campuses, close Cross-Harbour Tunnel, block roads and firebomb rail tracks

* In first public comments on trouble, President Xi Jinping says putting an end to violence and restoring order remains Hong Kong’s most urgent priority
* He describes continuing violence as challenge to the ‘one country, two systems’ governing principle

The beleaguered Hong Kong government came under mounting criticism from across the political spectrum on Thursday for its failure to bring normalcy back to a city that protesters held hostage for the fourth straight day with their spree of besieging and blocking roads.

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel was effectively defunct for an entire day as protesters put up barricades of chairs, tables and boards they had commandeered from neighbouring Polytechnic University. Later at night, they again set the tollbooths on fire and then, hiding behind their canopy of umbrellas, they unfurled a giant Chinese flag that they set alight.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Islamic Jihad offers Egypt-brokered Israel truce as Gaza toll mounts.

Gaza: Eight family members killed, 12 critical in Israeli raids.

Protesters killed in Iraq as HRW slams attacks on medics.

In Shiite holy city of Karbala, Iraqis protest against Iranian ‘meddling’.

View from Ankara: Trump and Erdogan praise ties despite tensions.

Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s Houthi rebels in indirect peace talks.

Kuwait's government submits resignation.

ASIA

Taliban still holding Western hostages: spokesman.

Uighur activists say China is running nearly 500 detention camps and prisons in Xinjiang based on satellite images.

North Korea rebuffs U.S. offer of December talks, urges halt in military drills.

North Korea issues warning over US-South Korea drills.

Hong Kong brought to standstill as university campuses become new battleground.

Xi Jinping again backs Hong Kong police use of force in stopping unrest.

If China puts troops in Hong Kong, Washington should suspend the city’s trade status, US commission says.

Lawsuit: Aung San Suu Kyi 'committed crimes' against Rohingya.

New Zealand MPs approve 'End of Life Choice' bill, paving way for referendum.

Two Chinese people being treated for pneumonic plague in Beijing.

AFRICA

Ethiopia arrests inciters of violence in universities.

‘Climate of fear’: Nigeria intensifies crackdown on journalists.

Sudan healthcare system collapsing after years of conflict.

Cameroon president acknowledges differences with English speakers.

Arab fund offers $305 mln loan to cash-starved Sudan.

Africa summit explores progress on issues affecting women.

1st Ebola vaccine gets full approval.

Egypt under fire over 'shrinking' freedoms at UN rights review.

Guinean teen shot dead during mass anti-government protests.

China-backed consortium wins $14bn Guinea iron ore deal.

EUROPE

Labour antisemitism row: public figures say they cannot vote for party under Corbyn.

China, Russia declare strategic alliance for 'new era'.

Germany narrowly avoids recession with meager 0.1% Q3 growth.

Venice floods: Italy's Conte declares state of emergency.

MH17 investigators link plane crash to Russian officials.

Germany makes measles vaccinations compulsory.

EU bank to stop funding fossil fuels in 'landmark decision'.

Hugo Carvajal: Venezuelan ex-spy chief's disappearance 'a scandal'.

UK-educated Russians are upholding Putin’s regime, says dissident.

Notre Dame fire: row as general tells architect to 'shut his mouth'.

AMERICAS

Pelosi says Trump has admitted to bribery as impeachment probe intensifies.

Erdogan shows anti-Kurdish video to senators at White House.

Two killed as unrest continues in Bolivia.

Bolivian senator Jeanine Anez declares herself interim president, which ousted Evo Morales condemns as a 'sneaky coup'. Bolivia's interim president's indigenous-free cabinet heightens polarization.

Bolivia’s interim leader says Morales barred from next election.

Bolivia's Morales 'ready to return', as US backs his rival Anez.

Drug trafficking up sharply under Venezuela's Maduro: US.

Two killed in California school shooting, teen in custody.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Coalition against ISIL in disagreement on how to handle detainees.

In Syria, U.S. military says fight will continue against ISIS.

Post 9/11 wars have cost American taxpayers $6.4 trillion, study finds.

Turkey says it captured ‘important’ ISIS figure in Syria.

Germany: Don't panic over 'Islamic State' returnees' arrival.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

S&P 500 notches record, shakes off Cisco's gloomy outlook.

Tariffs' removal a 'condition' for US trade deal: China.

Emerging economy leaders meet at 11th BRICS summit in Brazil.

Amazon to protest Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 14, 2019



Newsweek: U.S. Vows to Defend South Korea With Full Military Force Following Pyongyang Threats

America's general has warned North Korea that the U.S. will not hesitate to bring its full military force to bear in defense of its allies in the south, following Pyongyang's threat of escalation over stalled denuclearization talks.

North Korea released an official statement Wednesday saying it felt "betrayed" by a planned U.S. and South Korea joint military exercise, which is set to go ahead despite Pyongyang's repeated complaints.

The statement—from the State Affairs Commission, which is headed by Kim Jong Un—said the drill was an "undisguised breach" of the agreement signed by President Donald Trump and Kim at their summit in Singapore last year.

Relations between Pyongyang and Washington have cooled due to a lack of progress on denuclearization and sanctions relief negotiations. The North has set the U.S. an end-of-year ultimatum to propose a new way forward, and has repeatedly warned that time is running out.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 14, 2019

Pentagon chief tries to keep Asia in focus with second trip -- AP

Pentagon chief open to military adjustments to support North Korea diplomacy -- Reuters

Esper: U.S. will keep 500 to 600 troops on the ground in Syria -- UPI

USS Chancellorsville sails through Taiwan Strait -- UPI

Navy, Air Force Reach Handshake Agreement to Develop Joint Battle Network -- USNI News

Stealthy Lockheed F-35 breaks down too often, Pentagon says -- Bloomberg

F-35 program on track to replace Turkey, say Pentagon officials -- Defense News

Most Turkish-Made F-35 Parts Already Re-Sourced Among US Companies -- Air Force Magazine

The U.S. Is on the Verge of Testing a New Ballistic Missile -- Popular Mechanics

Despite Multiple Redesigns, US Osprey Aircraft Engines Still Troubled by Debris -- Sputnik

Bombers to the Boneyard? What Will the Air Force Cut for New F-35s and B-21 Bombers? -- National Interest

Plans for Pentagon's Future Flying Bomb Truck Begin to Take Shape -- Military.com

The US Army's new mixed-reality heads-up display can translate languages and see through smoke — turning every soldier into Iron Man -- Business Insider

Report warns US Army to watch out for creeping operational costs with future helos -- Defense News

U.S. Congress panel leader reports slow progress negotiating 2020 Pentagon budget -- Reuters

Pentagon watchdog won't investigate Ukraine aid, citing ongoing impeachment inquiry -- FOX News

US Air Force’s new international affairs chief lays out her goals -- Defense News

Capturing the life of women in the military is this photographer’s passion -- Military Times

Army Sergeant Killed While Playing Video Games by Fellow Soldier 'Messing With' Gun in Room Next Door -- Newsweek

EXCLUSIVE Pentagon’s AI Problem Is ‘Dirty’ Data: Lt. Gen. Shanahan -- Breaking Defense

Cost of troops, Japan spat top agenda for US-South Korea meeting -- Al Jazeera

West Must Do More To Counter Non-Military Threats, Experts Say -- Forces Network

Germany Heading Toward New Arms Exports Record -- Sputnik

German military refuses to take delivery of two Airbus A400M planes -- Reuters

Austria's army says a soldier was mauled to death by service dogs he was supposed to be feeding -- AP

EU adopts 13 new projects under PESCO defense-cooperation program -- UPI

Russian VKS to receive its first Su-57 in late 2019 -- Jane's 360

Reward Chinese soldiers in cryptocurrency, military mouthpiece says -- SCMP

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 14, 2019

Bolivia's ousted president Evo Morales leaves after a ceremony where he was recognized as a distinguished guest, outside the town hall in Mexico City, Mexico, November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Gram Slattery, Reuters: How Evo Morales lost control of Bolivia

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Last Friday night, with Bolivia’s most important city paralyzed by demonstrations against leftist President Evo Morales, the police unit tasked with securing the presidential palace met to help decide the nation’s future.

Bolivia for weeks had been gripped by violent protests after Morales declared victory in a disputed election that appeared to give him a fourth straight term. Election monitors said they suspected fraud.

Members of the Police Operations Tactical Unit, known as UTOP, had repeatedly clashed with anti-government protesters armed with sticks, rocks and makeshift bombs. In the courtyard of the unit’s compound that evening, dozens of assembled officers made a decision: They would cease defending Morales and join demonstrators in calling for his resignation.

By Saturday, UTOP forces had abandoned their posts.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 14, 2019

Bolivia’s Crisis Lacks a By-the-Books Solution -- Mac Margolis, Bloomberg

Bolivia's Evo Morales resigns: What prompted it and what's next? -- Jihan Abdalla, Al Jazeera

What Do Lula’s Release and Morales’s Ouster Signal for Latin America? -- Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker

More accurate attacks on Israel could lead to war -- Stephen Bryen, Asia Times

As Gaza truce begins, Israel could face questions on tactics -- Fares Akram and Josef Federman, AP

Islamic State: What happens to those expelled by Turkey? -- BBC

Was politician's killing a turning point in Lebanon's protests? -- Leila Molana-Allen, Al Jazeera

Trump Isn't Serious About Removing U.S. Troops from the Middle East -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Erdogan's AKP basks in glow of think tank financed by influential family, DW finds -- Elmas Topcu, DW

North Korea’s Deadline Logic -- Khang Vu, RCD/The Interpreter

America’s Feeble Indo-Pacific Strategy -- Brahma Chellaney, Project Syndicate

Lack of info on Afghan vote recount raises eyebrows -- Kambaiz Rafi, Asia Times

Russia Is Intervening in Libya. Should We Care? -- Emily Estelle, RCD

Intel: What Russia’s defense minister is up to in Egypt -- Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor

Change of guard as Velvet Revolution turns 30? -- Tim Gosling. Al Jazeera

Why is the world losing the fight against history's most lethal disease? -- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, The Guardian

Chinese Presdient Xi Issues Another Warning To Protesters In Hong Kong



AFP: China's Xi warns Hong Kong protesters jeopardise 'one country, two systems'

China's President Xi Jinping warned Thursday that protests in Hong Kong threaten the "one country, two systems" principle governing the semi-autonomous city that has tipped into worsening violence with two dead in a week.

Hong Kong has been ruled by a unique system guaranteeing greater freedoms than on the mainland since its handover from British rule to China in 1997.

But protests, which began against a now-shelved extradition bill to China, have spiralled into wider calls for democracy and police accountability as violence and demonstrations roil the city, challenging Beijing's authority.

For a fourth straight day on Thursday, protesters caused widespread disruption with barricades and rallies, as the police drafted in reinforcements and the government denied rumours of an imminent curfew.

Read more ....

Update: Second death in Hong Kong protests as Xi demands end to violence (The Guardian).

WNU Editor: This is another warning from President Xi to Hong Kong's protesters, and I predict that it will be ignored.

Venezuelan Elite Police Unit Spreads Terror In The Barrios Of Venezuela

FAES officers are accused of targeting petty criminals in poor areas and opponents of President Maduro, to whom they remain loyal. Photographs on social media show them drawing weapons and transporting a lifeless man

Reuters: SPECIAL REPORT-Elite police force spreads terror in the barrios of Venezuela

CARACAS, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Before daybreak on January 8, several dozen police officers swept through the streets of Barrio Kennedy, a hillside slum outside Venezuela's capital.

Some of the officers came under fire from assailants, unprompted. They shot back, hitting five young men. The five were then taken to a hospital, where they died of their wounds.

That, at least, is the official account, detailed in a statement the next day by the elite unit that conducted the operation – the Special Action Force of the Venezuelan National Police.

The force's version of events is contradicted by five eyewitness accounts gathered by Reuters. These people say the police killed one of the victims not in a street shootout, but in his home. The official story is also contradicted by video of that victim, reviewed by Reuters and reported here for the first time, that was obtained by investigators at Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The 82-second clip shows the young man sitting shirtless and unarmed in a storage room inside his home, under police interrogation about a nearby car theft, begging officers to spare his life.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: WNU posted on this police unit earlier this year .... Is The Venezuelan Government Using 'Death Squads' To Stay In Power? (February 16, 2019).

U.S. Speaker Pelosi Says What President Trump Has Done Is Worse Than Nixon And Watergate



NBC: 'Evidence of bribery': Pelosi comments on impeachment hearing

The speaker said what Trump did with Ukraine makes Nixon's Watergate conduct look 'almost small' by comparison.

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that the testimony presented by two career U.S. diplomats at the first House impeachment hearing a day earlier had presented evidence of bribery committed by President Donald Trump.

"The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into a political rival," Pelosi told reporters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have watched more than my share of news conferences, but the one with the House Speaker this morning was a strange one. She was reading from a script that had no bearing to what happened yesterday, starting with her promise to pass the new North American trade deal as soon as possible. You would think that impeaching a U.S. President would be the only topic discussed, but it was not today. Even her claim in front of the press corps that what Trump did with Ukraine makes Nixon's Watergate conduct look 'almost small' by comparison fell flat. They were not buying it. And speaking of the media and their coverage of yesterday's testimony, this morning it was covered only slightly. I would think that after building up this story for the past week there would now be wall to wall coverage from all the major networks, but it did not happen. Bottom line. If Nancy Pelosi and her allies want to build a case that President Trump must be impeached, they will need more time because it is not working.

This U.S. Base Is On The Frontlines Against Islamic Extremists


Air Force Times: This obscure, costly air base is the new front in the battle against violent extremism

On a sandy patch of land in Niger, at the edge of the Sahara Desert, lies the Air Force’s newest base. It’s all but unknown to the vast majority of Americans and is shrouded in secrecy, but it represents one of the biggest construction efforts in Air Force history — and a new front in the fight against extremist militants on the African continent.

Welcome to Nigerien Air Base 201.

U.S. Africa Command on Nov. 1 announced that the new base in Agadez, Niger — designed to house armed drones and other aircraft that have been operating out of an international airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital — had begun flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that week.

Critically located in central Niger, Air Base 201 is positioned to strike terrorist groups and extremist militants — including fighters affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State — in countries throughout the Sahel region, which spans the width of the African continent south of the Sahara and includes parts of Mali, Sudan and Chad.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: More details on this U.S. base can be read here .... US-Constructed Air Drone Base In Niger Begins Operations (November 3, 2019).

Pentagon Watchdog Will Not Investigate Hold On Ukraine Aid

The Hill: Pentagon watchdog declines to investigate hold on Ukraine aid

The Pentagon's Office of Inspector General (OIG) declined on Wednesday to launch an investigation into the decision made by the White House to hold up military aid to Ukraine, citing a desire not to interfere with the House's impeachment inquiry.

In a letter to Democratic senators, the OIG wrote that the Pentagon's investigative body would not open an investigation that duplicated or otherwise could interfere with an existing congressional inquiry.

"It is clear that there would be overlap in key witnesses and similar documents to review in any DoD OIG investigation and the House impeachment proceedings," the Pentagon's OIG wrote.

Read more ....

More News On The Pentagon Watchdog Deciding To Not Investigate Hold On Ukraine Aid

DOD watchdog will not investigate aid to Ukraine, cites impeachment inquiry overlap -- NBC
Pentagon watchdog won't investigate Ukraine aid, citing ongoing impeachment inquiry -- FOX News
US Defense Department Inspector General declines to open probe into Ukraine aid delay -- CNN