Thursday, July 2, 2020

These US Army Paratroopers Flew Almost 5,000 Miles To Practice A Long-Range Pacific Island Invasion

Paratroopers of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, demonstrate a joint forcible entry into Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, June 30 U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox

Business Insider: More than 400 US Army paratroopers flew almost 5,000 miles to practice a long-range Pacific island invasion

US Army Alaska airborne troops flew from Alaska to Guam, where they jumped Tuesday and seized control of the airfield at Andersen Air Force Base in a mock invasion.

The exercise comes amid tensions with rival powers and as the US military attempts to demonstrate its ability to project power at great distances, something it has been doing with bombers and aircraft carriers.

These images show how the mock invasion went down.

Hundreds of US Army paratroopers practiced launching a long-range invasion of a Pacific island on Tuesday as the US military flexes its muscles in the region.

Here's what it looked like.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:That is what I call projecting power.

Somalia Says The UAE Wants Somalia To Join The Yemen War

Middle East Monitor: Somalia rejects ‘ridiculous’ UAE incentive to join Yemen war

The UAE allegedly offered to reopen the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in the Somali capital Mogadishu on the condition Somalia take part in the war in Yemen.

Somalia has rejected as “ridiculous” an offer made by the UAE for the African state to join the war in Yemen in return for financial incentives, the country’s foreign minister has revealed.

According to Somalia News, the UAE offered to reopen the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in the Somali capital Mogadishu on the condition Somalia take part in the war in Yemen, while officially claiming the Socotra archipelago as Somali territory. The Emirati-run Sheikh Zayed Hospital offered free healthcare to Somali citizens until it was closed by the UAE in 2018, as part of a diplomatic row between Abu Dhabi and Mogadishu.

Read more ....

Update: Somalia rejects ‘ridiculous’ UAE incentive to join Yemen war (Somaliland)

WNU Editor: The last thing that Somalia needs right now is to get involved in the Yemen war.

U.S. Moves To Seize Iranian Gas Shipments Aboard 4 Tankers Heading To Venezuela

The Iranian oil tanker Fortune is anchored at the dock of El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, on May 25.

RFE: U.S. Seeks To Seize Iran Gasoline Shipments Heading To Venezuela

U.S. prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is currently shipping to Venezuela, the latest attempt to increase pressure on the two sanctioned anti-American allies.

The civil-forfeiture complaint filed in the District of Columbia federal court late on July 1 claims the sale was arranged by an Iranian businessman with ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

Since September 2018, the IRGC's elite Quds Force has moved oil through a sanctioned shipping network involving dozens of ship managers, vessels, and facilitators, according to the lawsuit.

"The profits from these activities support the IRGC's full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad," the prosecutors alleged.

Iran's mission to the United Nations said that any attempt by the United States to prevent Iranian lawful trading with any country of its choosing would be an act of "piracy."

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Trying to Seize Iranian Gas Shipments Heading To Venezuela

US tries to seize Iranian gas heading toward Venezuela -- AP
U.S. seeks to seize gasoline in four Iran tankers bound for Venezuela -- Reuters
U.S. moves to seize Iranian petroleum aboard four tankers bound for Venezuela in sanctions escalation, push to extend arms embargo -- Washington Post
US seeks to seize Iranian petrol bound for Venezuela -- The National
US tries to seize four Iranian tankers sailing towards Venezuela -- Al Jazeera
US seeks to seize gasoline in four Iran tankers bound for Venezuela -- Middle East Monitor

Russian Navy Warships Are Escorting Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Vessels Building The Undersea Pipeline Between Russia And Germany

Satellite image showing the Nord Stream 2 support vessels being escorted by Russian Navy Warships. Credit Frank Bottema, imagery from Sentinel Hub

Naval News: Russian Navy Warships Are Escorting Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Vessels In Bay Of Biscay

Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is enjoying a naval escort. The undersea pipeline will be built in the Baltic between Russia and Germany. Two offshore supply vessels involved in the project are currently being escorted. They are accompanied by a Project 1155 Udaloy-I Class destroyer and a Project 22160 patrol ship. At the time of writing the ships are currently 40 nautical miles southwest of Brest, France.

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analyst Frank Bottema (Twitter) spotted the vessels in a Sentinel satellite image from Yesterday. They are just visible through a gap in the cloud. The vessels’s progress can also be tracked on other forms of OSINT.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The naval escort is an eye-opener. I guess the Russians have concerns that the US may seize their ships.

Major Iran Nuclear Site Damaged By Fire Or Explosion

A photograph released by the atomic energy agency showed a brick building with scorch marks and its roof apparently destroyed [Reuters]

The Guardian: Fire or explosion damages building at Iran nuclear site

State downplays incident as dissidents claim responsibility in unconfirmed report to BBC

A fire damaged a building on Thursday morning at one of Iran’s main nuclear facilities, a site that has previously been the target of cyberattacks and where enrichment activity has been ramped up in the past year.

Iranian officials downplayed the incident – the third prominent industrial accident in the country in recent days – though the BBC’s Farsi service said it received an email before the news of the fire was made public from a purported dissident group taking credit for what it said was an attack.

US satellite data showed an explosion or fire large enough to be detected from space breaking out at a building above the underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in central Isfahan province just after 2am.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Speculation grows that this was an attack .... Cyber Strike By Foreign Force Caused Iran Explosion: Israeli Experts (Breaking Defense).

More News On Reports That A Major Iran Nuclear Site Has Been Damaged By A Fire Or Explosion

Iran reports 'accident' at nuclear site, warns enemies -- AFP
Analysts: Fire at Iran nuclear site hit centrifuge facility -- AP
Mysterious Explosion and Fire Damage Iranian Nuclear Enrichment Facility -- New York Times
Iran nuclear: 'Incident' at Natanz uranium enrichment facility -- BBC
‘Incident’ near Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility damages building -- FOX News/AP
Iran Says Investigating Fire Near Key Nuclear Facility -- Bloomberg
Fire damages building at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility -- Al Jazeera
Iran Says Natanz Nuclear Facility Not Damaged Despite 'Incident' -- RFE

Ghislaine Maxwell - Jeffrey Epstein's 'Madam' And Friend Of Prince Andrew Arrested On Child Sex Trafficking Charges

Daily Mail: Ghislaine Maxwell - Jeffrey Epstein's 'madam' and friend of Prince Andrew - is arrested on child sex trafficking charges at a luxury New Hampshire estate she'd 'slithered off' to for 'a life of privilege' - unaware the FBI was watching her

* Maxwell, 58, was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, on Thursday morning and is now in custody
* She has been charged with six counts including trafficking minors for sex and with perjury for later denying it
* The charges apply to incidents between 1994 and 1997and involve three victims, the youngest of which was 14 when Maxwell 'groomed' her
* The indictment claims she groomed the girls for sex with Epstein and with her in New York, Florida, London and New Mexico
* Maxwell has not been seen since last summer when Epstein killed himself in jail while awaiting trial
* FBI Special Agent William Sweeney said she'd 'slithered away to a gorgeous property' in Bradford, NH
* Maxwell is the British socialite daughter of the late, disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell
* Astonishingly well-connected, she is who introduced Epstein to Prince Andrew
* Andrew has been accused having sex with Virginia Giuffre Roberts in 2000 when Roberts was 17 after a night out in London that was put together by Maxwell

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein and alleged madam who is accused of procuring young girls for him, was arrested on charges of sex trafficking and perjury this morning at a 'gorgeous' New Hampshire property where she'd 'slithered off to' to live in luxury, FBI agents said on Thursday.

Maxwell was taken into custody in Bradford, a small town in New Hampshire, on Thursday morning. Special Agent William Sweeney said at a press conference later that the FBI after 'discreetly keeping tabs' on her for some time and that she recently moved to the property.

Reuters reports that Maxwell bought the 156-acre property for all cash, using an LLC to hide her identity, in December. Agents 'moved in' this morning. No other circumstances surrounding her arrest are known. She is due to dial into a conference call court appearance later this afternoon. It is unclear where she is currently or where she'll go after the hearing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am willing to bet the prosecutors are going to give her a deal. Talk and you may get out of jail in a few years. Some big people are going t be named.

More News On Ghislaine Maxwell's Arrest

Epstein friend accused of recruiting girls for sex arrested -- AP
Jeffrey Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell charged with luring girls into sex abuse -- Reuters
Jeffrey Epstein ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell charged in US -- BBC
Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's longtime associate, has been charged with enticement of minors -- CNN
Jeffrey Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell arrested on child sex abuse conspiracy, perjury charges -- CNBC
U.S. prosecutor says Ghislaine Maxwell played 'critical role' in Jeffrey Epstein's abuse -- Reuters
Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested, May Be Sent To Same Jail Where Epstein 'Killed Himself' -- Zero Hedge
Ghislaine Maxwell arrest throws spotlight back on Prince Andrew -- The Guardian
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell, the Epstein confidant detained by the FBI? -- Reuters
'Breath of relief:' Jeffrey Epstein accusers welcome Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest -- Reuters

OutKick: Tucker Carlson is Working Among All Ages, Because He’s Not Supposed to

This week, it was announced that Tucker Carlson Tonight recorded the highest-rated quarter for a cable news show ever. That statistic was overlooked by Fox News detractors who claim the channel’s audience is old, dying off, and not built for the future. That has long been the narrative for the channel. No one is going to deny the channel has millions of viewers over 60. However, the data quickly debunks the notion that the channel and its hosts are not popular with the younger, key demographics. It states the opposite.

As was the case in total viewership, Fox News led by Carlson, dwarfed the competition in the 25-54 demo.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When I am typing away at the computer I am always playing a YouTube video of a news show or talk-show host in the background. And the people/shows that I listen to run from the left (Maddow) to the right (Limbaugh). But Tucker Carlson has become the show that I enjoy watching. For me this started in February when he became one of the few people in American media to warn of the coming pandemic (US radio talk-show host Dr. Savage being the other). And in the past few months he has been providing a view point and analysis that is not part of the conventional wisdom or narrative. That is why I am not surprised that his appeal is now reaching a massive audience. He is one of the few media personalities who is voicing their concerns and priorities. The above video from earlier this week is an example of what I am talking about.

This Is What Pushback Looks Like

WNU Editor: Of course there are now calls to fire the police officer. As for the horse. Duh! You spook a horse, or any other animal, it is not going to like you one bit.

Top Democrat On The U.S. House Intelligence Committee Knew About 'Russian Bounty' Intel Months Ago, But Did Nothing

The Federalist: Schiff Learned Of Russian ‘Bounty’ Intelligence In February, Withheld Information From Congress, And Took No Action

Schiff demands the Trump administration brief all of Congress about the unverified allegations, yet he himself did not ask for a briefing following the February briefing of his own staff.

Top committee staff for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, were briefed in February on intelligence about Russia offering the Taliban bounties in Afghanistan, but he took no action in response to the briefing, multiple intelligence sources familiar with the briefing told The Federalist. The intelligence was briefed to Schiff’s staff during a congressional delegation, or CODEL, trip to Afghanistan in February.

Schiff, who has acknowledged President Donald Trump was never briefed on the so-called intelligence, has thus far refused to disclose that his staff was personally briefed. The revelation raises serious questions that Schiff is once again politicizing, and perhaps even deliberately misrepresenting, key data for partisan gain.

Read more ....

Update: Adam Schiff Knew About 'Russian Bounty' Intel Months Ago, Did Nothing (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: I think the reason why the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) did not bother to pursue this further are the same reasons why President Trump was not briefed in the first place .... the evidence was not there. Now that the story is out there that he was informed a few months ago of a "possible" Russian bounty on US soldiers in Afghanistan, he has to respond if this is true or not. My gut tells me that this story true .... he or someone in his office was informed that some Afghan prisoners were talking about Russian bounties on US soldiers earlier this year. But considering his rhetoric of the past week where he has been condemning the President on this issue almost everyday (see above video), he cannot say now that he knew about this story a few months ago but did nothing. My prediction. Rep. Schiff is now going to go silent, the media are not going to press him on this story, and the story itself with all of its claims is going to disappear in the next few days.

Australia Plans A $190 Billion USD Defense Boost Over The Next Decade

Daily Mail: How Australia's $270B defence boost is designed to deter and respond to military threats - as fears grow of a war in Asia within 10 years and Scott Morrison warns of a 'dangerous and disorderly' post-pandemic world

* Australia is spending $270billion over a decade on boosting defence hardware
* Long-range missiles that can reach a distance of 370km are part of that program
* Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia faced greatest threat since 1940s
* National security risk at most heightened since Darwin bombed in World War II
* Australian Strategic Policy Institute fears Asian war will happen within ten years
* Defence expert Michael Shoebridge said China would be the likely aggressor

Australia is bracing for the possibility of war on home soil for the first time in almost 80 years as defence spending is supercharged.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australia will be acquiring long-range missiles that can hit a target 370km away, as part of a plan to spend $270billion on defence hardware during the coming decade.

A top military expert is warning a war in the Asia-Pacific was likely within the next ten years, as China became increasingly aggressive.

As recently as 2013, Australia's defence spending as a proportion of the economy was the lowest it had been since 1938 - before the onset of World War II.

Read more ....

More News On Australia's Defense Budget

Australia plans $190 billion defense boost over decade -- AP
Australia announces $186 billion in defense spending amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific -- CNN
Australia’s Defense Spending to Surge Amid Contest in Indo-Pacific -- Bloomberg
Australia to boost defence spending by £151bn as PM warns of ‘more dangerous’ world after coronavirus pandemic -- The Independent
Australia seeks long-range missiles in Indo-Pacific defence shift -- BBC
Australia prepares massive defence boost in 'dangerous' world -- Al Jazeera
Australia cancels Darwin wharf and air-to-air refuellers under $270bn defence overhaul -- The Guardian
Australia Spending Nearly $1 Billion on Cyberdefense as China Tensions Rise -- New York Times

China Approves A COVID-19 Vaccine For Military Use

The Ad5-nCoV is one of China's eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad. (Stringer/Reuters)

CBC/Reuters: China approves COVID-19 vaccine for military use, skips final phase of testing

Ad5-nCoV vaccine has also been approved for human testing in Canada

China's military has received the green light to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy, the company said on Monday.

The Ad5-nCoV is one of China's eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad for the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The shot also won approval for human testing in Canada.

China's Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25 for a period of one year, CanSino said in a filing. The vaccine candidate was developed jointly by CanSino and a research institute at the Academy of Military Science.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They are skipping phase III clinical trials for this vaccine. Everyone who knows how vaccines work are telling me that the Chinese soldiers who will be taking this vaccine are taking a huge risk.

More News On China Approving A COVID-19 Vaccine For Military Use

CanSino's recombinant COVID-19 vaccine approved as special military drug -- Global Times
China moves forward with COVID-19 vaccine, approving it for use in military -- Ars Technica
Beijing approves experimental Covid-19 vaccine for use in Chinese military -- CNN
China’s military approves coronavirus vaccine for use on soldiers -- NYPost
Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Receives Approval for Military Use -- Sputnik

Vietnam Protests Chinese Military Drills In The South China Sea

A crewman from the Vietnamese coastguard ship 8003 looks out at sea as Chinese coastguard vessels give chase to Vietnamese ships that came close to the Haiyang Shiyou 981, known in Vietnam as HD-981, oil rig in the South China Sea, July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Martin Petty

Reuters: Vietnam protests Chinese military drills in South China Sea

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam’s foreign ministry has lodged a complaint with China over military drills in the South China Sea that it said were “detrimental” to Beijing’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Vietnam and the Philippines warned of growing insecurity in Southeast Asia at a regional summit last Friday, amid concerns that China was using the cover of the coronavirus pandemic as a means to step up its activity in the disputed waterway.

On Wednesday, China began five days of drills in waters near the Paracel Islands, where Vietnam has competing claims, according to a June 27 announcement by the Maritime Safety Administration of Hainan, a large provincial island off China’s southern coast.

Read more ....

Update #1: Vietnam protests Chinese military exercises in East Sea -- VN Express
Update #2: China Conducts Naval Drills in South China Sea -- The Diplomat

WNU Editor: The Philippines are also protesting .... Lorenzana: Chinese military drills in South China Sea 'highly-provocative' (ABS-CBN).

China's Missing Aircraft Carrier Has Been Found

Forbes: Chinese Navy’s Missing Aircraft Carrier Found In Shanghai

On June 15, I reported that the Chinese Navy’s new aircraft carrier, the Type-003, had disappeared from its purpose-built construction site in a Shanghai shipyard. So analysts had been watching the site closely. Finally its whereabouts appear to be confirmed, in a dry dock not far from the initial construction site. The carrier will now quickly take shape. Along with a host of open-source intelligence defense analysts, I will be watching.

A photograph shared on Chinese social media shows the silhouette of one of the carrier's pre-built 'mega-modules' lined up in the open dry dock. It appears to have been taken from a passing boat. Photographs like this often provide valuable intelligence about Chinese naval projects.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is at another open dry dock for more work.

Is the Chinese Military Provoking Its Neighbours To Send A Message to The U.S.?

A photo provided by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense shows a Chinese H-6 bomber flying near a Taiwanese F-16 in February.Credit...Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, via Reuters

Steven Lee Myers, New York Times: China’s Military Provokes Its Neighbors, but the Message Is for the United States

From the Himalayas to the South China Sea, China is pressing its territorial claims aggressively, raising the possibility of additional deadly clashes.

In the same week that Chinese and Indian soldiers engaged in a deadly brawl, one of China’s submarines cruised through the waters near Japan, prompting a scramble of aircraft and ships to track its furtive movements. Chinese fighter jets and at least one bomber buzzed Taiwan’s territorial airspace almost daily.

With the world distracted by the coronavirus pandemic, China’s military has encroached upon its neighbors’ territories on several fronts throughout the spring and now into summer, flexing its military might in ways that have raised alarms across Asia and in Washington.

China’s military assertiveness reflects a growing sense of confidence and capability, but also one of confrontation, particularly with the United States over the pandemic, the fate of Hong Kong and other issues that China considers central to its sovereignty and national pride.

China claims all of its recent operations are defensive, but each increases the risk of a military clash, whether intended or not. That appears to be what happened on the night of June 15, when Chinese and Indian soldiers fought along their disputed border in the Himalayas.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have been dealing with the Chinese for about 35 years, and when it comes to territorial disputes and military issues, I have always found them more focused on what their neighbours are doing than what the U.S. is doing.. Don't get me wrong. They know the U.S. military is there. But it is not at the priority that most Americans, including the above New York Times commentator, like to believe it is.

After A Century Finland's Air Force Gets Rid Of Its Swastika Logo

The old emblem for the Finnish Air Force Command (left) featured a swastika, but the current emblem of the force does not. Finnish Ministry of Defense

BBC: Finland's air force quietly drops swastika symbol

It was long a rather surprising choice of imagery for Finland's Air Force Command - a swastika and pair of wings.

The symbol will always be intrinsically linked with Nazi Germany and its crimes, even though its roots go back many thousands of years.

But now it has been confirmed the Air Force Command has quietly stopped using this unit emblem.

The change was first observed by University of Helsinki academic Teivo Teivainen.

He had previously questioned whether the continued use of the symbol was helpful for the Finnish armed forces.

Finland's air force has been using a swastika ever since it was founded in 1918, shortly after the country became an independent nation and long before Nazism devastated Europe.

Read more ....

More News On Finland's Air Force Getting Rid Of Its Swastika Logo

Finland's air force quietly ditches infamous SWASTIKA symbol from its command insignia -- Daily Mail
Finland's air force removes the swastika from logo after almost a century -- DW
Finland quietly removes swastika logo from its Air Force -- FOX News
Finland scraps pre-Nazi swastika logo from Air Force -- NYPost
Quiet Retirement: Finnish Air Force Reportedly Ditches Swastika Logo -- Sputnik

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Students take a university entrance exam in a hall of the Belgrade Fair in Belgrade, Serbia. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Top Photos Of The Day (Reuters).

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Russia Begins Trials Of Its Newest Generation Of Unmanned Ground Vehicle

Photo by the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects

Defence-Blog: Russia begins trials of new generation unmanned ground vehicle

Russia has begun trials of the new Marker unmanned ground system, the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects announced on 29 June.

The Marker unmanned ground system is the joint project of the Center and the Android Technics Scientific Production Association. The modular platform is supposed to become the key element for practice of joint operation of ground robots, unmanned aviation and Special Operations forces. The Marker is positioned as a construction set for development of combat models in the future.

The final testing stage of the Marker robot will take place in 2021, then the robot will be handed over to the Russian Ministry of Defense, says Oleg Martyanov, who heads the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects’ National Center for the Development of Technologies and Basic Elements of Robotics.

Read more ....

Update: Don’t Panic, But Russia Is Training Its Robot Tanks To Understand Human Speech (Forbes)

WNU Editor: From what I know. The Russian military still has a long time to go when it comes to unmanned vehicles.