Monday, June 25, 2018

US Air Force Is Building Up Bases In Russia’s Backyard

Members of the Massachusetts Air National Guard load equipment onto a C-17 that departed Barnes Air National Guard Base headed for Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, as part of a theater security package. (Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Sarah Watson-Kirwin/U.S. Air National Guard)

Defense News: Poking the bear: US Air Force builds in Russia’s backyard

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Defense Department expands its presence in Europe, the Air Force has quietly ramped up investments that would enable it to deploy to allied bases in Eastern Europe and operate close to Russia’s western flank.

The Trump administration wants to spend $828 million in 2019 to build up military infrastructure in Europe as part of an ongoing initiative to deter Russian aggression and reinforce allies. Almost half of that construction funding would go toward U.S. Air Force projects.

The request would more than double military construction funding under the European Deterrence Initiative, or EDI, from the 2018 request — when not so long ago, the U.S. military was shrinking its Cold War-era footprint in Europe.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All that I can say is "do not poke the bear".

Is U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis Shut Out Of Major White House Decisions?

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and President Donald Trump at the Pentagon following a meeting of the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2017. (DOD/U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

NBC: Mattis is out of the loop and Trump doesn't listen to him, say officials

On Iran, North Korea and other major issues, the defense secretary has been out of the loop.

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James Mattis learned in May from a colleague that President Donald Trump had made the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, and scrambled to get his boss on the phone before a formal announcement was made. It wouldn't be the last time he was caught off guard by a presidential announcement.

A month later, Mattis was informed that Trump had ordered a pause in U.S. military exercises with South Korea only after the president had already promised the concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Last week, Trump again blindsided and overruled his defense secretary by publicly directing the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch overseeing operations in space.

Read more ....

Update: Mattis shut out of major administration decisions: report (The Hill)

WNU Editor: I can understand why he may not be in the loop on diplomatic issues. Diplomacy is the responsibility of the US State Department .... the Pentagon can only advise .... even when diplomacy and military manners cross each other. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis also serves at the pleasure of the President, and right now he is the President's front man when he goes to China tomorrow.

Tehran Rocked Again By Economic Protests

Radio Farda: Tehran’s Grand Bazaar Goes On Strike As Iran’s Economic Crisis Worsens

Store owners at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar closed their shops Monday morning, June 25, in protest to the dramatic rise in the rate of exchange of foreign currencies that have adversely affected the market and made prices unaffordable for buyers.

The move came one day after strike and protests broke out at Tehran’s cell phone market.

According to semi-official Fars news agency, traders in the bazaar staged a protest gathering in the traditional Grand Bazaar in downtown Tehran and “protested against recession, fluctuations in the rates of exchange for foreign currencies, declining demands and rising prices.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These are not students protesting .... or young girls and women who are fed up with wearing religious mandated clothing protesting. These are middle aged men who are ont he streets.

More News On Tehran Rocked Again By Economic Protests

The Latest: Iranian protesters confront police in Tehran -- AP
Videos: Iran protesters confront police at parliament -- AP
Iran economic protests shut Tehran's Grand Bazaar -- BBC
Iranian police fire tear gas as capital again rocked by economic protests -- CBC/AP
Tehran's Grand Bazaar strikes in protest at rial collapse -- AFP
Protesters swarm Iran's Grand Bazaar in Tehran, force shops to close in anger over economy -- FOX News
Tehran’s Grand Bazaar Shut Down as Economic Protests Spread -- Bloomberg
Iran bans 1,300 imports as protesters, police clash over currency weakness -- Reuters

Algeria Abandons 13,000 Refugees In The Sahara

Al Jazeera: Walk or die: Algeria abandons 13,000 refugees in the Sahara

Associated Press report details witness accounts of migrants and refugees from Africa left to die in the Sahara Desert.

Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the Sahara Desert over the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children, expelling them without food or water and forcing them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, under a blistering sun. Some never make it out alive.

The expelled migrants and refugees can be seen coming over the horizon by the hundreds, appearing at first as specks in the distance under temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius.

Read more ....

Update: Algeria expels thousands of migrants in forced Sahara march (AP)

WNU Editor: Algeria is sending a clear message to every African migrant, do not come to Algeria.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials On Turkey's Election -- June 25, 2018

Matt Brown, ABC News Online: Opponents of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have every reason to fear what comes next

Turkey's strongman just got stronger and his opponents have every reason to fear what comes next.

Having just won twin presidential and parliamentary polls, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has run Turkey for more than 15 years, has been re-elected to a more powerful role thanks to changes authorised in a controversial referendum last year.

The post of Prime Minister has been abolished and Mr Erdogan will now have increased power over the budget and the judiciary and the ability to rule by decree and dissolve Parliament.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials On Turkey's Election -- June 25, 2018

Turkey election: Erdogan win ushers in new presidential era -- BBC
Erdogan's Win Is No Victory for the Lira -- Bloomberg
Turkey elections: How powerful will the next Turkish president be? -- Chris Morris, BBC
Turkey enters new era with same man in charge after Erdogan election triumph -- Alastair Jamieson, NBC
Analysis Turkey Elections: Erdogan's Win Paves the Road Toward Autocracy -- Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz
Turkey’s election hands Erdogan unchecked power for up to a decade -- Tim Hume, Vice News
The inexorable decline of the Turkish lira under Erdogan -- Eshe Nelson, Quartz
Erdogan's return to office looks like the beginning of the end for democracy in Turkey -- Will Gore, The Independent
Victory propels Erdoğan into elite club of strongman leaders -- Simon Tisdall, The Guardian
Turkey elections Q&A: was the vote free and fair? -- Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian
Profile: Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- Al Jazeera

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan And His Party Wins Election -- News Roundup June 25, 2018

The Guardian: Muharrem İnce concedes defeat to Erdoğan in Turkey elections

CHP politician vows to continue fighting one-man rule in opposition during Ankara speech

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main challenger in Sunday’s elections, Muharrem İnce, has conceded defeat, urging the re-elected Turkish president to embrace all the country’s 81 million citizens and vowing to continue the fight against one-man rule in opposition.

İnce’s concession speech in Ankara came after Turkey’s supreme election board confirmed the results, with Erdoğan winning with an outright majority in the first round, on 52.6% of the vote with 99% of ballots counted.

Read more ....

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan And His Party Wins Election -- News Roundup June 25, 2018

Turkey Elections 2018: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Turkey’s victorious Erdogan set to assume sweeping powers -- AP
Turkey election: Erdogan wins re-election as president -- BBC
Muharrem İnce concedes defeat to Erdoğan in Turkey elections -- The Guardian
Turkey's Ince concedes defeat in 'unjust' race, warns of one-man rule -- Reuters
Turkey's Erdogan victorious in election that grants him unprecedented power -- CNN
Turkey's Erdogan claims victory in presidential and parliamentary elections -- DW
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins election, entrenches power -- ABC News Online
Erdogan reelected Turkey's president by big margin -- UPI
Erdogan declared winner in Turkey’s presidential election, extending 15-year grip on power -- SCMP
Erdogan wins re-election in historic Turkish polls -- Al Jazeera
Erdogan secures overwhelming majority of votes in Turkey’s election -- TASS
Turks in Germany praise 'our leader' after two-thirds vote for Erdogan -- DW
Putin congratulates Erdogan on his re-election as Turkey's president -- TASS

World News Briefs -- June 25, 2018

Reuters: Turkey's Erdogan wins sweeping new powers after election victory

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan won sweeping new executive powers on Monday after his victory in landmark elections that also saw his Islamist-rooted AK Party and its nationalist allies secure a majority in parliament.

Erdogan’s main rival, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), conceded defeat but branded the elections “unjust” and said the presidential system that now takes effect was “very dangerous” because it would lead to one-man rule.

Read more ....


Muharrem İnce concedes defeat to Erdoğan in Turkey elections.

Families flee as regime, Russia pummel Syria's south.

You're on your own, US tells Syrian rebels, as Assad goes on offensive.

Russia says evidence of Syria chemical attacks was faked.

Saudi says two Houthi missiles intercepted over Riyadh.

Iran economic protests shut Tehran's Grand Bazaar.

Jared Kushner: U.S. to release Palestinian-Israeli peace plan soon.

PA: US 'working hard' to topple Mahmoud Abbas.

Prince William visits ancient city in Jordan during royal tour.


Mattis seeks less contentious visit with Chinese.

In sign of detente, North Korea skips annual anti-US rally.

EU sanctions senior Myanmar military over Rohingya abuses.

S. Korean island begins refugee process for Yemeni asylum seekers.

Xi Jinping puts out a call to diplomats: toe the Communist Party line.

China unveils new climate goals for 2020.

Authorities search for football team trapped in Thai cave.


South Sudan's Kiir hopes talks will bring 'immediate end' to war. South Sudan’s rival leaders meeting again in Sudan for talks.

Nigeria: Communal violence leaves 86 dead in Plateau State.

Curfew ordered after deadly clashes between herders and farmers in Nigeria.

Two die in rally supporting Ethiopian prime minister.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa unhurt in blast at campaign rally.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa fears poll violence. Zimbabwe opposition fears crackdown after election rally bombing.

13,000 migrants 'abandoned in the Sahara' by Algeria: African nation is accused of forcing huge numbers into the desert at gunpoint without food or water and leaving them to die.

Burning Cameroon: Images you're not meant to see.


Italy orders ‘voracious’ foreign charities to stop rescuing African migrants – even as boats with 1,000 aboard send distress signals. Migrants in limbo as Italy blocks rescue ships.

EU leaders seek migration solutions as rescue ships left adrift.

Migration is threat to EU free travel area, says Italian prime minister.

Macron: Sanction EU countries refusing to accept migrants.

Nine EU states sign off on joint military intervention force.

Masked attackers storm Roma camp in Ukraine.

Germany apartment explosion injures 25, destroys building.

Ex-Nato chief refused visa waiver to US because of Iran trips.


U.S. says still working to reunite 2,053 children with families.

Activists to protest immigration policies as Sessions speaks.

Homeland Security employees warned of increased threats amid immigration uproar.

Supreme court largely backs Texas Republicans over electoral maps.

18 mayoral candidates killed ahead of Mexico's July elections, 2 in less than 24 hours.

Extraordinary moment Mexico arrests town's ENTIRE police force of 28 officers 'over murder of a mayoral candidate' amid country's bloodiest election campaign.

California wildfire grows to 7,700 acres; 3,000 evacuate.


Pakistani Taliban name new leader to replace dead one.

Iraq 'kills 45 IS leaders' in eastern Syria strike.

Germany to deport 'bin Laden bodyguard' to Tunisia.


Oil drops after OPEC+ output deal, but markets to stay tight.

China, EU plan working group to revamp WTO and counter US unilateralism.

Tit-for-tat tariff battle could spark downturn in global economy – BIS.

Han Solo 'blaster' fetches $550,000 in New York.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 25, 2018

SCMP: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis in China: 5 things to watch

Beijing’s militarisation of the South China Sea and the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula are just two of the hot topics likely to be on the agenda

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis is set to begin a three-day visit to China on Tuesday at a time of rising military tensions between the two countries.

Analysts said the visit, which is the first by a US defence secretary since 2014, could help the two sides to find ways to deal with areas of contention.

Ren Guoqiang, Beijing’s defence ministry spokesman, said he hoped that military ties between the US and China could serve as an “important stabilising factor” in the two nations’ broader relations.

Mattis is expected to meet both state and military leaders during his stay. Here are five of the key subjects that may or may not be on the agenda:

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 25, 2018

Pentagon chief to visit China amid South China Sea tensions -- Military Times/AP

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis tells China he is ready to listen during his first visit -- SCMP

US military indefinitely suspends two training exercises with South Korea -- The Hill

Trump declares North Korea still poses ‘extraordinary threat’ -- Military Times/AP

North, South Korea agree to restore military communication lines quickly -- Kyodo News

Taipei scrambles jets and navy as mainland China sends warships through Taiwan Strait -- SCMP

China Takes Major Step Toward Goal of Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier -- Sputnik

Spying doves: China launches birdlike surveillance drones -- RT

Chinese military veterans’ rally for better welfare ends as armed police move in -- SCMP

New fears over Chinese espionage grip Washington -- The Hill

Chinese investment in US tech ‘to be blocked and declared a security risk’ -- SCMP

Lebanon’s army chief in Washington to ensure military aid -- The National

Shipbuilders to deliver 2 noiseless submarines to Russia’s Pacific Fleet in 2020 -- TASS

Russia’s top brass blasts NATO’s tank biathlon as competition with ‘anti-Russian context’ -- TASS

Germany’s fighter jet race could start dropping bidders this summer -- Defense News

Sweden’s largest military drone maker files for bankruptcy -- Defense News

European Union to create joint military intervention force -- SCMP/The Guardian

EU to Formally Move on Creation of European Intervention Force, UK Included -- Sputnik

Canadian military not ready for 'space army,' former defence chief says -- CBC

A dozen Canadian peacekeepers have arrived in Mali as a yearlong mission begins -- National Press/Canadian Press

With Trump as commander-in-chief, Canada's dithering on procurement becomes intolerable -- Robert Smol, CBC

One of these 3 missiles could be the Army’s pick to protect against indirect fires -- Defense News

Lockheed tapped for guided missile support -- UPI

GenDyn wins contract for foreign sales of rockets, warheads -- UPI

Army Is Spending Half a Billion to Train Soldiers to Fight Underground --

Pentagon identifies Navy pilot killed in New Mexico crash -- The Hill

GAO: Military Must Learn Why Pilots Leave for Commercial Airlines -- and Stripes

US Military Doesn’t Know How Many Pilots Quit to Fly for Airlines -- Sputnik

Trump’s 'Space Force' decree came after Pentagon didn’t act on his suggestion: report -- The Hill

Obstacles to Trump's 'Space Force' could keep proposal grounded for now -- The Hill

SpaceX wins $130M Air Force contract to launch spy satellite -- The Hill

U.S. Military Set to Build Temporary Camps for Undocumented Immigrants on Two Bases -- Newsweek

Mattis: Pentagon preparing temporary migrant camps on two bases -- The Hill

Desert Storm memorial to be built on National Mall near Vietnam Wall -- Military Times

By Taking Care Of Its Ships The U.S. Navy Can Reach Its Goal Of 355 Ships By 2032

Popular Mechanics: The US Navy Could Grow to 355 Ships by 2032

The key is taking care of them.

The U.S. Navy wants to grow its fleet to 355 ship, and it may have found a way to reach that goal a full 20 years early: by keeping ships in the fleet longer. Surface ships, including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and even amphibious ships could extend their operational lifespans while at the service beefs up its total number of vessels.

U.S. Naval Institute News reports that Vice Admiral Tom Moore, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, believes the Navy could reach its vaunted 355-ship fleet by putting into practice something already done with aircraft carriers: periodically putting them into drydock for maintenance and upgrades. This would stretch the lifespan and usefulness of existing ships, a cheaper and more cost-effective alternative to simply buying more ships.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Maintenance is always key. I am surprised that the US Navy does not take this heart with their fleet (with the exception of the aircraft carriers).

There Is A Problem In The U.S. Military's Drug Testing Program

Specimen bottles are collected for packaging for drug testing Jan. 7, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 19th Medical Group Drug Demand Reduction office collects and tests service members and civilians for substance abuse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce)

Task & Purpose: How Many Troops Did The Pentagon Boot Out Over Botched Drug Tests?

The Department of Defense announced a two-day pause to court-martial and administrative separation proceedings involving the wrongful use of controlled substances, due to worries over the integrity of the lab tests involved — a move that could also cast a pall over past drug-related dismissals, Military Times reports.

* A May 2018 study conducted by the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory, which oversees drug-related urinalysis testing for the service, found that potential leaks between urine samples during transport could result in cross-contamination of drug-free samples with “hot” urine, tainting the samples of ostensibly innocent airmen.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Can anyone do anything right?

The U.S. Army Is Extending The Range Of Its Artillery Rockets By Putting Control Fins On Its Tail

Warzone/The Drive: Army Plans To Double Guided Artillery Rocket's Range By Putting Control Fins On Its Tail

Moving the control surfaces from the nose to the tail allows the weapons to be more aerodynamic and strike the enemy nearly 90 miles away.

The U.S. Army has begun flight tests of a new variant of its 227mm guided artillery rocket that could eventually hit targets out to a maximum range of more than 85 miles. The new design will significantly increase the capability of the service’s tracked and truck-mounted launchers and comes amid a surge of artillery developments intended to help American troops defeat potential near-peer opponents, such as Russia, in a major conflict.

Earlier in June 2018, the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) disclosed the successful test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, which had occurred months earlier. During this experiment, the rocket hit a target around 70 miles away, but the goal is to extend that range by at least another 15 miles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Russians have a huge advantage when it comes to artillery. It is advantage that the U.S. military better learn quick to match.

Gold Will Be King In Any Currency War

© Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

RT: Currency war can end global US dollar dominance & those who own gold have power

The world is facing a currency war and the only hedge against the crash of the US dollar is real gold, a precious metal analyst has told RT. With geopolitical power shifting from West to East, US dominance may be ending.

One such sign is the recent repatriation of gold from the United States. Countries such as Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands have been moving the bullions home. The reason is the Cold War is over and countries don’t see Russia as a threat anymore, says Claudio Grass, an independent precious metals advisor and Mises Ambassador.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: RT is right on this one. And in the case of Russia, they are putting their money where their mouth is .... Russia gets rid of US Treasury securities and buys gold (RT).

What Will War Look Like In The Fourth Industrial Revolution

David Barno and Nora Bensahel, War Is Boring: War in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Retiring Chinese general He Lei recently made news by suggesting that China’s greatest military weakness compared to the United States was that it has never fought a real war. He noted none of Beijing’s increasingly advanced weapons, jets, and ships have been tested in combat. Moreover, the large People’s Liberation Army continues to rely upon conscripts rather than the long-serving professionals in the U.S. military. He argued the Chinese military “will be ridden with doubts until they get into a real fight.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Bottom line .... wars in the future will be different than how we fight wars today. This is a good summary on what is coming down the "pipeline".

Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider Is Back In The Air After A 2017 Software Error Resulted In A Crash

Task & Purpose: The Slick New S-97 Raider Makes the Black Hawk Look *So* 1974

The competition to be the next Army helicopter is heating up. On June 20th, Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider once again took flight completing a 90-minute demonstration, the first since an August 2017 crash caused by flight software errors grounded the program

According to Sikorsky, the S-97 will be capable of ‘light assault, light attack, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue, and unmanned applications.’ which would make the Raider a virtual flying Swiss Army knife.

With a more conventional twin rotor design than its competitor for those sweet, sweet Army warbucks in the Bell V-280 Valor, the Raider is designed to allow maximum maneuverability, capable of speeds of around 250 miles per hour and dropping six fully loaded troops into the fray. It has a reported range of 350 miles and can cruise at an altitude of 10,000 feet. By comparison, the Valor the can reach speeds of 322 miles per hour, has a range of between 500 to 900 miles depending on the configuration.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It's 2017 crash did set back the program by one year, but it looks like Sikorsky is going to try its best to make up for lost time.

Here Are 5 Secret Military Projects That Accidentally Leaked

© Photo : Public Domain / U.S. Navy

Sputnik: From J-20 to Status-6: Top 5 Secret Military Projects That Accidentally Leaked

The world's top military powers are known for their strict secrecy regarding next-gen weapons. However, no country seems immune from accidentally leaking invaluable information about their new planes, ships or tanks to the public, as well as their adversaries. Sputnik breaks down the top five weapons accidentally exposed in the past few decades.

Red more .....

WNU Editor: China J-20 fighter jet and navy rail-gun surprised me. But Russia's naval nuclear drone was the surprise that got me that I do wonder if it was done on purpose.

Tweets For Today

Israel Wants A Railway Linking Haifa Seaport With Saudi Arabia

Government officials taking part in a test ride on a new train route near the northern city of Carmiel on March 21, 2017 (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Times of Israel: Israel to begin promoting railway linking Haifa seaport with Saudi Arabia

Transportation minister says he has begun consulting with leaders of relevant countries regarding plan that would give Gulf easier access to Europe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Israel Katz agreed this week to begin promoting their “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative that is intended to create a trade route connecting Europe with the Persian Gulf and Israel, Hadashot news reported Saturday evening.

“Tracks for Regional Peace” is based on the planned extension of railway tracks in northern Israel, which would link Haifa’s seaport to Jordan’s rail network, which in turn will be linked with that of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  This is not receiving the news attention that it deserves.

Picture Of The Day

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters as he leaves his residence in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Turkey's Erdogan claims election victory (Reuters).