Saturday, August 30, 2014

The U.S. Navy Wants It's Future Fighter Jets To have An Aritificial Intelligence Platform

Boeing concept for F/A-XX. Boeing Image

Navy’s Next Fighter Likely to Feature Artificial Intelligence -- Dave Majumdar, USNI News

Artificial intelligence will likely feature prominently onboard the Pentagon’s next-generation successors to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

“AI is going to be huge,” said one U.S. Navy official familiar with the service’s F/A-XX effort to replace the Super Hornet starting around 2030.

Further, while there are significant differences between the U.S. Air Force’s vision for its F-X air superiority fighter and the Navy’s F/A-XX, the two services agree on some fundamental aspects about what characteristics the jet will need to share.

“I think we all agree that we have to work on PNT [Positioning, Navigation and Timing], comms, big data movement between both services,” the official said.

Read more ....

My Comment: Weapon systems running on AI platforms .... someone has been watching too many Terminator movies.

Here's Where We Think The World's Nukes Are Stored

An image from the U.S.'s May, 1953 "Grable" test of a 280-mm nuclear cannon. U.S. Department of Energy

Here's Where We Think The World's Nukes Are Stored — And What It Says About Global Security -- Armin Rosen, Business Insider

Nuclear security scholars Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris published a study of the worldwide deployment of nuclear weapons on August 27th in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, their first such survey since 2009.

As they stress throughout their paper, tracking the number and location of the world's nuclear warheads is an inherently uncertain endeavor. Nuclear-armed powers don't tend to reveal information about other countries' programs, and some governments, like Israel, maintain a strictly-enforced code of opacity regarding anything nuke-related. Little is really known about North Korea's program, and command and control over the nuclear stock in Pakistan is still a matter of anxious speculation.

Read more ....

My Comment: All that I cans say is that it is amazing that we have not blown ourselves up since the dawn of the atomic age. The entire report on the worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons for 2014 is here.

Update: This is interesting .... MAP: All 17,000 Of The World's Nukes (Business Insider)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Rumors Are Spreading That Now Retired Special Operations Admiral Bill McRaven May Be Hillary Clinton's Running Mate in 2016

Photo: Ret. Adm. William Harry McRaven. Wikipedia

Special Ops Commander Swears: I Won't Be Hillary's VP -- Kimberly Dozier, Daily Beast

He commanded the bin Laden raid—and expanded U.S. commandos’ global footprint. Now Adm. Bill McRaven is leaving the military. He promises—promises—that politics won’t be next.

Admiral Bill McRaven left command of U.S. special operations this week as a somewhat bewildered man – surprised, stymied, and in some cases burned by the fame and notoriety that launched his three years there, as the military commander of the 2011 raid that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

His fame and the public respect for his role was such that multiple special operations officials say he was even approached as a possible vice presidential candidate for the as-yet-undeclared Hillary Clinton presidential campaign – something he openly denies ever happened. But the rumors persist throughout special operations circles even as he accepted a top post with the University of Texas.

"I am not running with Hillary," he said forcefully when last asked this past spring – a statement reiterated by his spokesman this summer.

Read more ....

My Comment: I am confident that Hillary Clinton will be running in 2016 .... but Ret. Adm. William Harry McRaven as her running mate ?!?!?!?! I doubt it.

As for her Hillary Clinton's chances .... Pat Buchanan nails it .... Has Hillary Ever Been Right?

A Look At The U.S. Spy Planes That Will Be Used To Gather Intelligence On The Islamic State

The RQ-4A Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system designed to provide military field commanders with high-resolution, near-real-time imagery of large geographic areas. (CREDIT : REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon)

The U-2 And Global Hawk, The US Spy Planes That Will Help Hunt ISIS in Syria -- International Business Times

The United States has begun surveillance flights over Syria in an attempt to spy on ISIS fighters. While the U.S. Department of Defense refused to comment on what type of aircraft will be used, one military aviation expert said they will likely be the venerable Lockheed Martin U-2 spy planes and Northrop Grumman-built Global Hawk drones.

“The two aircraft will complement each other and offer different ways to gather intelligence,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal group. "The Global Hawk drone can go for longer periods, but the manned U-2 is far more flexible as it has a human pilot physically in the aircraft."

The decision to spy on the Islamic militant group ISIS inside Syria comes after months of intense fighting between ISIS and Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, which resulted in U.S. airstrikes on key positions there. U.S. officials admitted that they need more info on ISIS' operations in Syria.

Read more ....

My Comment: What strikes me about this report is that it is telling us that the U.S. is about to spy on Syria. This is a surprise .... I was always under the impression that U.S. intelligence was spying on Syria since the start of  the civil war over 3 years ago. I guess I over-estimated Langley's reach.

Tonight's Movie Is 'The Bunker'

Kissinger Defines His View Of What Is Necessary For A New World Order

The Assembly Of A New World Order -- Henry Kissinger, Wall Street Journal

The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era is in crisis

Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan's young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.

The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen.

Read more ....

My Comment: I always shudder when he makes a public statement .... but people in power are always listening to him.

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- August 29, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the all-Russian youth forum Seliger, held in Tver region August 29, 2014. (Reuters / RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Putin Mocks The West, Puts His Own Prestige On The Line -- Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast

By proclaiming his support for Novorossiya, the old imperial name for eastern and southern Ukraine, Putin signals he won’t back away from the fight.

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin ratcheted up his rhetorical-historical claims on eastern Ukraine Friday, even as pro-Russian rebels and their allies among the separatist rebels pushed forward there with a new offensive.

The lead headline on the Kremlin’s own Web site declared that Putin had “addressed the Novorossiya militia,” a clear and unequivocal sign that Putin is putting his own prestige on the line to back the separatist movement. That fact will make it harder for him to back down (if he had any such inclination) and therefore much harder for an increasingly fretful Europe and the United States to come to terms with him.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- August 29, 2014

Russia's Slow-Motion Invasion of Ukraine -- Uri Friedman, The Atlantic

Mr. Putin Tests the West in Ukraine -- NYT editorial

The West must make Mr. Putin pay for his aggression -- Washington Post editorial

Media mull Western response to Ukraine crisis -- BBC

The World Will Watch This NATO Summit -- Jan Techau, RCW

A second Sunni Awakening? -- Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post

Crossing paths with James Foley in Syria’s desperate war -- James Palmer, Reuters

Analysts: France, Germany at Forefront of EU Foreign Diplomacy -- Lisa Bryant, VOA

Islamic State's Popular Appeal Presents Challenge for Jordan -- Reuters

Should President Obama Have Said There's No Strategy Yet Against ISIS? -- Erik Ortiz, NBC

Can Saudi Arabia help combat the Islamic State? -- David Ignatius, Washington Post

Why Militant Groups Succeed -- Akhilesh Pillalamarri, The Diplomat

Battle of Ideas Moves Online -- New York Times

The Global Terrorist Arms Race -- Pete Hoekstra, NRO

Why the US swaps prisoners but doesn't pay ransom -- Brian Michael Jenkins, The Hill

U.S. Influence Drip-Dripping Away -- Adam Garfinkle, American Interest

World News Briefs -- August 29, 2014 (Evening Edition)



NATO To Russia: Stop 'Illegal' Military Operations in Ukraine -- Voice of America

NATO has called on Russia to cease its "illegal military operations" in eastern Ukraine, which it says are aimed at destabilizing the country.

The comments by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday followed an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the worsening crisis.

Rasmussen, referencing satellite images released by his organization Thursday, said it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern Ukraine. He said this is not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern over many months to destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria conflict: UN says more than 3m have fled war. Three million people have now fled war-torn Syria, say UN, who declare it the 'biggest humanitarian crisis of our era'.

Syrian rebels surround Filipino UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights.

Islamic State: Arab leaders reluctant to heed US call for 'allies against Isis'.

Iraqi Kurds say their fight is against more than just the Islamic State.

Defiant Gaza militants vow to rearm amid shaky truce.

Iran's foreign minister hopes for nuclear accord 'in short time left' till deadline.

U.S. slaps more sanctions on Iranian banks, firms.

U.S. sends arms to bolster Lebanon army after Islamist incursion.

ASIA

Anti-terror drills highlight China’s push into Central Asia.

India's Modi to visit Japan to cement defense, economic ties.

Afghan election audit will take two more weeks, U.N. says.

With an eye on China, the U.S. and Japan grow closer.

Pakistan 'soft coup' fears as army chief holds talks with protest leaders.

Gunmen target minority sect in Pakistan.

North Korean money manager for Kim Jong-un defects in Russia. Kim Jong-un's banker defects in Russia, say reports.

China investigates senior legislator amid corruption crackdown.

Jack Ma emerges as China’s richest man before Alibaba IPO.

AFRICA

Rwandan army officers charged with inciting rebellion.

Cameroon military takes back land seized by Boko Haram.

Libya Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni resigns.

Ebola outbreak reaches Senegal, riots break out in Guinea.

Ebola: Guineans riot in Nzerekore over disinfectant. Guinean security forces break up riot in Ebola-racked south.

No respite for South Sudan: cholera down but malaria, parasitic disease up: MSF.

Four found guilty of shooting Rwandan general

Kenya passes law to step up fight against human trafficking.

Angola to 'forgive' half of Mozambique's debt.

EUROPE

Poland, Ukraine bar overflight by Russian defense minister's plane.

Families of Russian troops in Ukraine want answers.

Death toll in Ukraine fighting hits 2,593: U.N. human rights official. UN report claims nearly 2,220 dead, 6,000 injured in Ukraine crisis since mid-April. UN: Ukraine conflict death toll hits 2,600, civilians ‘trapped inside conflict zones’.

Separatists say will allow 'trapped' Ukrainian forces to withdraw. Putin calls on pro-Russian separatists to release trapped Ukrainian soldiers.

Nato accuses Russia of violating Ukraine sovereignty.

Ukraine to seek Nato membership, says PM Yatsenyuk.

Ukraine seeks to join NATO; defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazis.

Russia warns EU of Ukraine gas shortage. Russia ready for gas talks with Ukraine, warns of disruptions.

Putin likens Ukraine's forces to Nazis and threatens standoff in the Arctic.

Ruble sinks to record on Ukraine fighting: Russia reality check.

UK terror threat level raised: Jihadist attack now 'highly likely'.

Finland suspects Russian airspace violation.

Iceland volcano alert at red after small eruption, no ash detected.

AMERICAS

Obama delays self-imposed immigration deadline.

Judicial Watch: Feds’ bulletin describes threat of imminent terrorist attack on southern border.

Suriname leader's son pleads guilty to trying to help Hezbollah.

Silence surrounds Colombia's 92,000 disappeared: ICRC.

FARC negotiator says disarming will be 'long process'.

Brazil's economy falls into recession, latest figures show.

Argentina workers claim general strike 'successful'.

US economic growth revised upwards.

Obama's "strong disapproval" double his "strong approval".

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Recipe for hate: Al-Qaeda publish car bomb ‘shopping list’ and suggest UK targets.

Obama on ISIS in Syria: 'We don't have a strategy yet'.

Jihadist recruitment tools raise US concerns.

War by social media: Islamic State’s propaganda is growing online.

ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: How they're different (Video).

Syrian extradited to US on terrorism charges.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Oil tanker carrying $100million cargo mysteriously disappears off the coast of Texas in dispute over Kurdish oil.

Google reveals secret drone delivery tests.

McDonald's says 12 Russian branches temporarily closed.

It's official! Apple sets event for Sept. 9.

Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan Wants To Be A Citizen Of The Islamic State



'It Would Be An Honor To Join ISIS And Become A Citizen Of The Caliphate,' Says Former US Army Psychiatrist Who Killed 13 In Shooting Spree At Fort Hood -- Daily Mail

* Nidal Hasan claimed it would be 'an honor' to join ISIS caliphate in letter
* Hasan killed 13 and injured 30 in 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas
* Earlier this year FBI chief testified that he believed the shooting carried out by Hasan at Fort Hood in Texas was inspired by al-Qaeda

The former Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people in the 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood has said it would be 'an honor' to join the caliphate in a letter to ISIS, it has been reported.

Nidal Hasan has apparently requested to be made a 'citizen soldier' of the caliphate in the letter to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Hasan opened fire on his fellow servicemen and women on November 5, killing 13 and injuring 30 others.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan Wants To Be A Citizen Of The Islamic State

Fort Hood shooter says he wants to become 'citizen' of Islamic State caliphate -- FOX News
Fort Hood Gunman Wants to Join ISIS -- ABC News
Ft. Hood shooter asks to be ‘citizen’ of Islamic State -- Washington Post
Fort Hood killer requests citizenship in Islamic State -- UPI
Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan writes letter to ISIS asking to join their terror group -- National Post
Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan petitions to be ‘citizen’ of Islamic State -- Washington Times

U.S. - Iraq Military Operations Are Cost $7.5 Million Per Day

A still image captured from U.S. Navy cockpit video shows an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Fighting Black Lions of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 after launching from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Arabian Gulf on Aug. 10, 2014 in this video released on Aug. 11, 2014. A series of U.S. airstrikes since last week has slowed the operational tempo of the Islamic State, the militant group that has seized large parts of northern Iraq, but is unlikely to substantially weaken the group, the Pentagon said on Monday. Reuters/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters

Pentagon: Iraq Operations Cost $7.5 Million Daily -- Voice of America

The Pentagon says U.S. military operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq are costing, on average, $7.5 million per day.

Rear Admiral John Kirby said Friday the cost in Iraq has increased as activities have intensified since they started in mid-June.

The news comes a day after President Barack Obama downplayed the possibility of adding U.S. airstrikes against Islamic extremists in Syria, but added the administration is still working on a comprehensive plan to deal with the terrorist group.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. - Iraq Military Operations Costing $7.5 Million Per Day

Pentagon: Iraq Operations Cost $560 Million So Far -- AP
Pentagon: Fighting ISIS in Iraq Costs $7.5 Million a Day -- NBC
DOD: Iraq operations costing $7.5M per day -- The Hill
US operations in Iraq costing $7.5m a day as Obama deliberates strategy -- The Guardian
US Spends $7.5M Per Day On Military Operations Against Islamic State In Iraq, Pentagon Says -- IBTimes
Pentagon's relatively small Iraq costs may jump with escalation: analysts -- Reuters

My Comment: We all know that these costs could sky-rocket on a drop of a hat.

Is The Islamic State Plotting To Kill Pope Francis?



Italy Steps Up Security Over Alleged ISIS Plot to Kill The Pope -- Barbie Latza Nadeau, Daily Beast

Vatican scoffs at threats that Pope Francis is “in the crosshairs” of ISIS as Italy issues a terrorist threat and tightens security.

VATICAN CITY — As Pope Francis continues to straddle the fine line between calling for the end of persecution of Christians in Iraq and blessing American airstrikes against the Islamic State (also known as the “Caliphate,” ISIS, or ISIL), there is increasing concern for the pontiff’s—and the public’s—safety.

Earlier this week, the Roman newspaper Il Tempo published a disturbing report that Francis is “in the crosshairs” of ISIS for “bearing false witness” against Islam. Citing anonymous sources within Italy’s intelligence community and pointing to notable heightened security in Rome, the paper went on to say that ISIS plans to heat things up by “raising the level of confrontation” with Europe, Italy and very specifically Pope Francis, the “greatest exponent of the Christian religions.” The Vatican downplayed the concerns, calling them unfounded despite growing concern in Italy that it is not just the Pope who is under threat. “There is nothing serious to this,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Catholic News Agency. “There is no particular concern in the Vatican.”

Read more ....

More News On Reports That The Islamic State Is Plotting To Kill Pope Francis

Report: Pope Francis Is ‘In The Crosshairs Of ISIS’ -- CBS/AP
Italy ramps up security over Islamic State’s threat to Pope Francis -- Washington Times
Is Pope Francis The Next ISIS Target? -- Inquisitr
Pope Francis ISIS Threat Denied by Vatican, But Security Tightens -- Newsmax
ISIS Threat Against Pope ‘Nothing Serious’, Says Vatican -- Newsweek

My Comment: When Pope Francis condemned The Islamic State's brutal treatment of minorities .... he became a target in their eyes. I would take these threats very seriously.

What Can The West Do To Prevent A Ukraine Defeat?



What Can The US And NATO Do To Prevent Putin From Defeating Ukraine? -- Quartz

The new incursion into Ukrainian territory by Russian forces has led some veteran US foreign policy hands to call for a quick and highly visible Western airlift of military equipment to Kyiv. The aim: to prevent a Russian rout of Ukraine.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former US secretary of state George Shultz and ex-defense secretary William Perry urged the US and NATO to deploy forces in the Baltics, and equipment in Ukraine.

The prospects a swift victory for Russian president Vladimir Putin’s forces grew dramatically on Aug. 26, when a column of Russian armor appeared over the border at Novoazovsk, sending the Ukrainian troops into a full, panicked retreat. Russian forces today occupied the town, and are reportedly advancing to the strategic port of Mariupol.

Read more ....

My Comment: This discussion is now moot .... President Obama made it very clearly yesterday that there will be no U.S. military support of Ukraine during this crisis.

Truth Is Always A Casualty Of War

Pro-Russian separatists walk at a destroyed war memorial on Savur-Mohyla, a hill east of the city of Donetsk, August 28, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

On Russian Troops In Ukraine, Honesty Is Not Everyone's Best Policy -- Christian Lowe, Reuters

(Reuters) - The Ukraine conflict has evoked many memories of the Cold War, including a footloose attitude to the truth. But even as Russia’s denials of involvement stretch credibility to breaking point, for some they remain a convenient fiction.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is chief among them; denying a Russian role will keep his domestic audience in ignorance of a war they don't want - especially useful if the battle goes badly.

But there are also some European powers, including Germany and France, who despite being on the opposite side of the crisis share Putin's desire not to paint it as an out-and-out war between Russia and Ukraine.

For them, stating unequivocally that Russia has attacked Ukraine would force them to impose more costly sanctions, and could block the path to a truce with Russia they hope will resolve the crisis.

Read more ....

My Comment: I always take solace with the knowledge that in the end .... the truth will come out ..... and for those who care .... they will know. 

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- August 29, 2014

BBC

Death Toll In Ukraine Fighting Hits 2,593: U.N. Human Rights Official -- Reuters

(Reuters) - A total of 2,593 people, including civilians as well as Ukrainian and separatist combatants, have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since it erupted in mid-April, a senior U.N. human rights official said on Friday.

"The trend is clear and alarming. There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east," Ivan Simonovic, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, told journalists.

"The current number of killed is 2,593 - close to 3,000 if we include the 298 victims of the MH17 (Malaysian airliner) plane crash," he said.

Read more ....

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- August 29, 2014

Death toll in east Ukraine conflict nears 2,600: UN -- AFP
UN: Ukraine conflict death toll hits 2,600, civilians ‘trapped inside conflict zones’ -- RT
Death Toll in Ukraine Conflict Exceeds 2,200, U.N. Says -- New York Times
Civilian Death Toll in Ukraine Rising, U.N. Report Says -- WSJ
Death toll in east Ukraine nearly 2600 -- SKY News
Ukraine Death Toll Jumps to 2,593: U.N. Rights Official -- NBC
UN Reports Both Rebels, Ukraine Forces Target Civilians -- Epoch Times/AP

Russian ‘invasion’ dramatically shifts momentum in Ukraine -- Al Jazeera
Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East -- VOA
Ukraine Regroups As Russia Attacks (Infographic) -- Kyiv Post
Ten Ukrainian soldiers killed in eastern conflict in past 24 hours -- Reuters
Donetsk Militia Claims Strongholds Taken in Southeastern Ukraine's Mariupol -- RIA Novosti
Ukraine Fighting: Putin, Donetsk Militia Agree To Opening 'Humanitarian Corridors' In Eastern Ukraine -- IBTimes
Ukraine rebels to open path for trapped army -- Al Jazeera
Putin Orders Rebels to Allow Surrounded Ukrainian Troops to Escape -- Newsweek
Ukraine Fighting Surges as Putin Hails Rebel Fightback -- Bloomberg

Russian Forces Fighting Alongside Separatists in Ukraine, NATO Says -- Time
NATO Satellites Show Russian Troops, Armored Vehicles Inside Ukraine -- Newsweek
Russia has up to 100 battle tanks fighting in Ukraine, UK believes -- The Guardian
NATO: Russia supplying Ukraine rebels tanks -- Al Jazeera

Ukraine wants weapons, does not expect NATO intervention: envoy -- Reuters
Ukrainian PM says government will work for membership of NATO -- Reuters
Ukraine seeks NATO membership in response to Russia joining war -- Reuters
Ukraine moves to drop non-aligned status, apply for NATO membership -- RT
Ukraine Will Seek NATO Membership, Says Prime Minister Yatsenyuk -- IBTimes
NATO Says It Would Respect Any Ukraine Decision to Try to Join Alliance -- WSJ

EU says Moscow must stop aiding separatists in Ukraine -- Reuters
Ukraine 'slipping out of control', Germany warns -- BBC
Photo Essay: What Remains of Donetsk -- Newsweek

NATO Condemns Russia For It's Invasion Of Ukraine



NATO to Russia: Stop 'Illegal' Military Operations in Ukraine -- Voice of America

NATO has called on Russia to cease its "illegal military operations" in eastern Ukraine, which it says are aimed at destabilizing the country.

The comments by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday followed an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the worsening crisis.

Rasmussen, referencing satellite images released by his organization Thursday, said it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern Ukraine. He said this is not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern over many months to destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation.

Read more ....

More News On NATO Condemning Russia For It's Invasion Of Ukraine

Nato accuses Russia of violating Ukraine sovereignty -- BBC
NATO rejects Russia’s ‘hollow denials’ of Ukraine intervention -- Stars and Stripes
NATO: Russia supplying Ukraine rebels tanks -- Al Jazeera
NATO accuses Russia of violating Ukraine's sovereignty -- USA Today
NATO warns of 'significant escalation' in Ukraine -- Deutsche Welle
NATO Chief Rasmussen: Russian Troops Are Fighting Inside Ukraine -- NBC

Why Did Russian President Putin Use The Term 'Novorossiya' In Yesterday's Statement

The area of 'New Russia' which Putin now refers to in Ukraine.(WikiCommons)

The Very Scary Word In Putin's New Statement On The Ukraine Crisis -- Max Fisher, VOX

Russian President Vladimir Putin just dropped the biggest, scariest dogwhistle of the Ukraine crisis: "Novorossiya."

The word literally means "new Russia" — it was an old, imperial-era term for southern Ukraine, when it was part of the Russian Empire, and is now a term used by Russia ultra-nationalists who want to re-conquer the area.

Putin has used the word twice during the crisis. First, he used it in April, about a month after Russia had invaded and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, subtly suggesting that the annexation was justified because Crimea was in Novorossiya and thus inherently part of Russia.

Read more ....

Update: Why is Vladimir Putin Referring to Eastern Ukraine as 'New Russia'? -- Jack Moore, international Business Times

My Comment: Putin is appealing to his nationalist base .... and he is succeeding.

Putin Issues A Warning To The West: 'Don't Mess With Nuclear Russia'

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus August 27, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

Don't Mess With Nuclear Russia, Putin Says -- Reuters

(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia's armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: "It's best not to mess with us."

Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.

Ukraine, and Western governments, accuse Russia of sending troops and armor to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge.

Read more ....

More News On Other Comments Made By Russian President Putin

Putin Commends Separatist Militias in Ukraine -- New York Times
Vladimir Putin praises successes of rebel 'army of New Russia' -- The Telegraph
Putin says Kiev's refusal to negotiate with separatists is problem -- Reuters
Putin Lashes Out at Ukraine Over Failure of Talks -- WSJ
Putin Says Ukraine Must Be Forced Into Talks to Stem Crisis -- Bloomberg
Putin: Kiev’s shelling in E. Ukraine reminiscent of Nazi actions during WWII -- RT
Russia's Putin says Ukrainian operations in east reminiscent of Nazi siege -- Reuters
Putin likens Ukraine's forces to Nazis and threatens standoff in the Arctic -- The Guardian
Putin says Russians and Ukrainians 'practically one people' -- Reuters
Putin urges release of Ukrainian soldiers -- FOX News
Corridor: Putin calls on Ukraine militia to let out surrounded Kiev troops -- RT
International Recognition of Crimea as Part of Russia to Be ‘Long and Tiresome’ – Putin -- RIA Novosti

World News Briefs -- August 29, 2014



Ukraine Fighting Surges As Russian-Backed Forces Gain -- Bloomberg

Separatists in eastern Ukraine are battling government forces on two fronts near the Sea of Azov and south of Donetsk after NATO reported a surge of Russian troops and advanced equipment into the war-zone.

The U.S. and the European Union threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with further sanctions, even as the EU began talks in Moscow today aimed at a temporary deal with Ukraine to allow natural-gas flows to resume. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today dismissed satellite photos that NATO said show Russian troop movements as fakes.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria conflict: UN says more than 3m have fled war. Three million people have now fled war-torn Syria, say UN, who declare it the 'biggest humanitarian crisis of our era'.

Syrian rebels surround Filipino UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights.

Islamic State: Arab leaders reluctant to heed US call for 'allies against Isis'.

Iraqi Kurds say their fight is against more than just the Islamic State.

Iran's foreign minister hopes for nuclear accord 'in short time left' till deadline.

U.S. slaps more sanctions on Iranian banks, firms.

U.S. sends arms to bolster Lebanon army after Islamist incursion.

ASIA

Afghan election audit will take two more weeks, U.N. says.

With an eye on China, the U.S. and Japan grow closer.

Pakistan 'soft coup' fears as army chief holds talks with protest leaders.

Gunmen target minority sect in Pakistan.

North Korean money manager for Kim Jong-un defects in Russia. Kim Jong-un's banker defects in Russia, say reports.

China investigates senior legislator amid corruption crackdown.

Jack Ma emerges as China’s richest man before Alibaba IPO.

AFRICA

Cameroon military takes back land seized by Boko Haram.

Libya Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni resigns.

Ebola outbreak reaches Senegal, riots break out in Guinea.

Ebola: Guineans riot in Nzerekore over disinfectant. Guinean security forces break up riot in Ebola-racked south.

No respite for South Sudan: cholera down but malaria, parasitic disease up: MSF.

Four found guilty of shooting Rwandan general

Kenya passes law to step up fight against human trafficking.

EUROPE

Death toll in Ukraine fighting hits 2,593: U.N. human rights official. UN report claims nearly 2,220 dead, 6,000 injured in Ukraine crisis since mid-April. UN: Ukraine conflict death toll hits 2,600, civilians ‘trapped inside conflict zones’.

Separatists say will allow 'trapped' Ukrainian forces to withdraw. Putin calls on pro-Russian separatists to release trapped Ukrainian soldiers.

Nato accuses Russia of violating Ukraine sovereignty.

Ukraine to seek Nato membership, says PM Yatsenyuk.

Russia warns EU of Ukraine gas shortage. Russia ready for gas talks with Ukraine, warns of disruptions.

Putin likens Ukraine's forces to Nazis and threatens standoff in the Arctic.

Ruble sinks to record on Ukraine fighting: Russia reality check.

Finland suspects Russian airspace violation.

Iceland volcano alert at red after small eruption, no ash detected.

AMERICAS

FARC negotiator says disarming will be 'long process'.

Brazil's economy falls into recession, latest figures show.

Argentina workers claim general strike 'successful'.

US economic growth revised upwards.

Obama's "strong disapproval" double his "strong approval".

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Obama on ISIS in Syria: 'We don't have a strategy yet'.

Jihadist recruitment tools raise US concerns.

War by social media: Islamic State’s propaganda is growing online.

ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: How they're different (Video).

Syrian extradited to US on terrorism charges.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Oil tanker carrying $100million cargo mysteriously disappears off the coast of Texas in dispute over Kurdish oil.

Google reveals secret drone delivery tests.

McDonald's says 12 Russian branches temporarily closed.

It's official! Apple sets event for Sept. 9.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 29, 2014



Nato Accuses Russia Of Violating Ukraine Sovereignty -- BBC

Nato has accused Russia of a "blatant violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty and engaging in direct military operations to support pro-Russian rebels.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that "despite hollow denials", it was now clear that Russia had illegally crossed Ukraine's border.

He said Nato would respect any Ukrainian decision on security, after its PM said he was putting the country on course for Nato membership.

Russia denies sending troops and arms.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the Ukrainian government for the crisis, comparing its siege of two cities held by separatists, Donetsk and Luhansk, to the siege of Leningrad by the Nazis in World War Two.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 29, 2014

NATO chief slams Moscow's 'hollow denials' of Ukraine aggression -- CNN

Ukraine to seek Nato membership, says PM Yatsenyuk -- BBC

Ukraine asks NATO for ‘real’ military support, restarts mandatory conscription in face of Russian ‘invasion’ -- National Post/Postmedia News

US Not Taking Military Action to Resolve Ukrainian Problem – Obama -- RIA Novosti

NATO Confrontation With Russia Unlikely, Exercises Count for Everything - Analyst -- RIA Novosti

Armed Canadian fighter jets move to Russia’s doorstep -- Toronto Star

Canada opposes NATO budget boost - sources -- RT

'Ambiguous warfare' providing NATO with new challenge -- Reuters

The future of NATO: NATO flexes its muscle memory -- The Economist

NATO: Suddenly Relevant, Deeply Divided -- Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick, Council On Foreign Relations

New Russian strategic subs use only domestically-made equipment -- Global Post/Xinhua News Agency

Obama: U.S. doesn’t ‘have a strategy yet’ to comprehensively respond to Islamic State -- Washington Post

CNN's Barbara Starr On Obama's Lack Of Strategy: "ISIS Heard All Of This" -- Real Clear Politics

U.S. air strikes on Syria would face formidable obstacles -- Reuters

Pentagon's relatively small Iraq costs may jump with escalation: analysts -- Reuters

China Military Shows off Newest Helicopters, Tanks -- AP

Lineup of 36 aircraft on China's Liaoning carrier revealed -- Want China Times

US plane 'interfered' with Chinese sub before intercept: Global Times -- Want China Times

Top U.S. admiral slams China, accuses Beijing of creating instability -- Washington Times

Taiwan to study possibility of purchasing arms from Japan -- Global Times/Kyodo News International

Japan’s Defense Ministry Seeks Record Budget Amid China Dispute -- Bloomberg Businessweek

Japanese Defense Ministry Requests 2.4% Budget Hike -- Defense News

Sweden to Buy Next-Generation Jets Despite Swiss Pullout -- Defense News/AFP

HMS Illustrious decommissioned in Portsmouth -- ITV

Iran test-fires indigenous missile system -- Press TV

US delivers military aid to Lebanon -- AP

USAF Chief: Pratt Close To Developing F-35 Engine Fix -- Defense News

Military pilot did not eject, was killed in Virginia F-15 crash, say investigators -- CSM/AP

Navy’s Next Fighter Likely to Feature Artificial Intelligence -- USNI

As Blackwater Trial Closes, Focus Turns to Moments Before Chaos -- NYT

Fort Hood shooter writes to ISIS leader, asks to become 'citizen' of Islamic State -- CNN

In Iraq, the B-1 Bomber Proves Enduring Value -- Patrick Megahan, Real Clear Defense

North Korean Banker In Charge Of Kim Jong-un's Slush Funds Has Defected (With $5 Million)

A man, who managed money for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, is believed to have defected in Russia and is seeking asylum in a third country. (KCNA/Reuters)

North Korean Money Manager For Kim Jong-un Defects In Russia -- CBC/Reuters

Yun Tae Hyong was a senior representative of North Korea's Korea Daesong Bank

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong-un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday, citing an unidentified source.

Yun Tae Hyong, a senior representative of North Korea's Korea Daesong Bank, disappeared in Nakhodka, Russia, last week with about $5.4 million Cdn, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported.

The Daesong Bank is suspected by the U.S. government of being under the control of the North Korean government's Office 39, which is widely believed to finance illicit activities and was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2010.

Read more ....

Update #1: N. Korean banker linked to slush funds flees -- AFP
Update #2: Handler of Kim Jong Un's cash defects in Russia: report -- Kyodo News Agency

My Comment: I am willing to bet that this banker does not only know where the money is coming from .... but he also knows where it is hidden.

Half Of The Syrian Population Has Been Displaced Because Of War



Syrian Refugees Top 3 Million, Half Of All Syrians Displaced: U.N. -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, an exodus that began in March 2011 and shows no sign of abating, the United Nations said.

The record figure is one million refugees more than a year ago, while a further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria, meaning that "almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives", it said.

"The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement.

Read more ....

More News On Syria's Refugee Crisis

Syria conflict: UN says more than 3m have fled war -- BBC
U.N. says Syria refugees top 3 million mark -- Al Arabiya
UN: Syria Refugee Count Tops 3 Million -- VOA
Half of Syrians are displaced, UN says -- Deutsche Welle
U.N. says Syria refugees top 3 million mark -- AP
Three million people have now fled war-torn Syria, say UN, who declare it the 'biggest humanitarian crisis of our era' -- Daily Mail
3 million refugees have fled Syria's war so far -- UPI
UN says Syria refugees top three million mark -- Al Jazeera

China Is Making It Very Clear That They Do Not Want U.S. Spy Planes Near Their Newest Submarine Base

A Chinese J-11 fighter jet is seen flying near a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon about 215 km (135 miles) east of China's Hainan Island in this U.S. Department of Defense handout photo taken August 19, 2014. Credit: Reuters/U.S. Navy/Handout

Chinese Interceptions Of U.S. Military Planes Could Intensify Due To Submarine Base -- Reuters

(Reuters) - One Chinese naval officer has advice for fighter pilots intercepting U.S. surveillance planes in the wake of an incident over the South China Sea last week that Washington condemned as dangerous - fly even closer.

The comments by Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong from the National Defense University in Beijing, reported in state media this week, reflect what Chinese military experts say is China's determination to shield its expanding ballistic missile submarine fleet from U.S. spy planes.

Risky intercepts off China's coast are likely to continue, even intensify, the experts said, adding that such actions could represent a directive from above rather than the actions of rogue pilots.

Read more ....

My Comment: Chinese soldiers rarely act alone .... and never on situations that involve the U.S. military.  This is China's way of sending a message to the U.S. to back-off .... and considering how intense they are on this issue, one has to wonder if  the U.S. comply?

Is ISIS Spreading To Egypt?

Egypt's most dangerous militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has released a shocking new video in which four men, accused of being Israeli Mossad spies, are beheaded

Influence Of ISIS Spreads To Egypt Where Militants Decapitate Four 'Israeli Mossad Spies' In Video That Echoes Recent Islamist Beheadings -- Daily Mail

* WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis release video of brutal beheading of four Egyptians
* Militant group claim the men had been spying for Israel's Mossad spy agency
* Security source said headless corpses found in Sinai earlier this month
* Men had reportedly been abducted by gunmen two days earlier in Sheikh Zuwaid

Militants in Egypt have claimed to have beheaded four men accused of being Israeli Mossad spies in the latest video atrocity, apparently inspired by the tactics of Islamic State.

Egypt's most dangerous militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has released the video, in which they accuse the four Egyptians of spying for Israel's Mossad spy agency.

In the video, the captives can be seen kneeling on the floor with armed men in black masks standing behind them as one of the militants reads out a statement. Minutes later the four men have been beheaded.

Read more ....

My Comment: It appears that for radical Muslims .... waving the flag, committing murder, and posting the video on social media while boasting that you are now a part of ISIS .... all of this is the newest trend.

The Islamic State Sends A 'Message In Blood' To The Kurds

ISIS claimed it beheaded a Peshmerga fighter in graphic video and threatened 14 others. Youtube /محلل لظاهرة داعش

ISIS Says It Beheaded Kurdish Peshmerga Fighter In Graphic Video -- International Business Times

The Islamic State released another graphic video Thursday, this one claiming to show the beheading of a Kurdish peshmerga fighter in Mosul, Iraq. The video is disturbingly similar – down to the color of the victim’s clothing - to the militants' “Message To America” video in which they claim to behead American journalist James Foley.

The video was posted on YouTube and is translated into Kurdish instead of English, clearly targeting a different audience this time. It’s called a “Message To Barzani,” referring to Massoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. ISIS militants warn Barzani that he has “made a big mistake by joining hands with America,” and threatened to behead the other 14 peshmerga fighters it has captured.

Read more ....

More News On The Islamic State Sending "Message In Blood" To The Kurds

Islamic State beheads Kurdish pesh merga fighter in video -- Washington Post
Hours after shocking world with desert execution of 300 Syrian soldiers, ISIS parade captured Kurds then behead one on video -- Daily Mail
Islamic State's Warning To Kurdish Fighters -- SKY News
Isis video shows beheading of Kurdish fighter -- The Guardian
Isis 'A Message in Blood' video shows beheading of Kurdish man in Iraq -- Irish Independent
IS Militants Post Video Showing Beheading Of Kurdish Fighter -- Radio Free Europe

A Map Of The Military Flashpoints In Ukraine

NDTV
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Hat Tip: Business Insider

Update: The bottom video is a map (from the Ukrainian rebel side) that shows the progress of the war from their perspective in the past month. Hat Tip to contributor Anddroidman Bluestaccks

Russia Is Exploiting The Ukraine Army's Growing Desertion Problem

Protesters in Kiev demand Ukrainian troops surrounded in the south-east of the country should be saved (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Kotenko)

Putin Calls On Ukraine Militia To Let Blocked Kiev Troops To Cross Into Russia -- RT

President Putin has called on the self-defense militias in Ukraine to provide Kiev's military units blocked in the east of the country with a safe humanitarian corridor to cross into Russia.

“It is clear the militia has achieved a major success in intercepting Kiev’s military operation, which represents a grave danger to the population of Donbass and which has already led to the loss of many lives among peaceful residents,” the Russian leader said in a statement.

As a result of militias’ counter-offense, large numbers of Ukrainian troops – many of whom were taking part in Kiev’s so-called anti-terrorist operation “against their will” and “just following orders” – have been surrounded, the President added.

Read more ....

My Comment: The stat that I was surprised to read .... and it has been confirmed by one of my Ukrainian sources this evening .... is this one ....

.... Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office has launched over 1,000 investigations into those men on charges of disobedience, desertion and evasion of military service.

That is a lot of soldiers, and with Russian military units now involved in this conflict, I will not be surprised if these numbers increase even higher.