Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Army's New Robotic Tentacle Manipulator Uses Teams Of Snakebots To Manipulate Objects

The Robotic Tentacle Manipulator T'Jae Gibson

From Popular Science:

Snake-like robots are nothing new -- for instance, Virginia Tech has developed some pretty amazing pole-climbing snakebots, and the Israeli military has a weaponized recon 'bot in the works -- but the U.S. Army Research Lab is taking military snakebots to a new level. Its Robotic Tentacle Manipulator is using snakebot tech to develop a scalable system in which several robots work in unison to manipulate objects.

Read more ....

My Comment: It seems that all of this stuff has a "Terminator" theme to it.

What Nearly Punched A Hole In This Japanese Oil Tanker?

From Yahoo News:

The M. Star, a Japanese oil tanker, suffered ... something in the early-morning hours Wednesday as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz. Crew members heard a blast and saw a flash, windows were blasted out, ceiling panels in a dining room were shaken loose, and one crew member suffered minor injuries. And most significant, an enormous dent appeared on the tanker's starboard side, extending from the waterline more than halfway up the hull. But what caused it? the New York Times asks. Who knows?

Officials with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the firm that owns the tanker, think a blast of some kind struck the ship, but they don't know what, AFP reports.

Read more ....

My Comment: I posted my own observations on this event yesterday, but the reason why I am posting it again is that some of the comments in the comment tread for this Yahoo story are hilarious. Read it all.

The Mess At Arlington Cemetery Continues

Grave Errors At Arlington 'Not A Concern' At Other Cemeteries, VA Says -- FOX News

The shocking problem of unmarked or mislabeled graves at Arlington National Cemetery is "not a concern" at the 131 national cemeteries that are not controlled by the U.S. Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs says.

An investigation by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., chairwoman of an oversight panel on the Senate Homeland Security
and Government Reform Committee, has revealed that between 4,900 and 6,600 graves may be unmarked or mislabeled on Arlington National Cemetery maps -- up to 31 times the 211 graves previously identified by Army investigators.

Read more ....

More News on Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery Probe: Where Did $5 Million for Records System Go? -- Politics Daily
Thousands of Arlington graves may have been mishandled -- L.A. Times
Thousands of Arlington graves 'unmarked': US Senate -- AFP
Arlington National Cemetery mix-ups could affect as many as 6,600 graves, Senate panel finds -- New York Daily News
US outrage as scandal grows over Arlington military grave mix-up -- The Guardian
Dishonor at Arlington -- Chicago Tribune opinion

Colombia's FARC Wants Talks With The Government

Colombian Farc Rebels Call For Talks With New President -- BBC News

Colombia's largest left-wing rebel group, the Farc, says it is willing to talk to the new Colombian government.

The Farc leader known as Alfonso Cano said the Marxist rebel group was willing to search for a political solution to the 46-year-old conflict.

President-elect Juan Manuel Santos has in the past ruled out any dialogue unless the Farc released scores of hostages they are holding.

The message comes eight days before Mr Santos takes over as president.

Read more ....

More News On FARC And Its War In Colombia

Colombian guerrillas propose talks on conflict : video -- AFP
Colombian Guerrillas Propose Talks on Conflict -- Voice of America
Colombia Rebels Call For Talks With New Government -- New York Times/Reuters
Colombian guerrilla leader asks president-elect to dialog -- CNN
Colombia's FARC rebels offer talks, conditions to new president -- Earth Times

Nuclear Forensics Is In Decline While Fears Of Nuclear Terrorism Increases

Nuclear Forensics Skill Is Declining In U.S., Report Says -- New York Times

The nation’s ability to identify the source of a nuclear weapon used in a terrorist attack is fragile and eroding, according to a report released Thursday by the National Research Council.

Such highly specialized detective work, known as nuclear attribution, seeks to study clues from fallout and radioactive debris as a way to throw light on the identity of the attacker and the maker of the weapon. In recent years, federal officials have sought to improve such analytic skills, arguing that nuclear terrorism is a grave, long-term threat to the nation.

Read more ....

My Comment: I can see the headlines after a nuclear event .... who did this .... and why are we not capable of knowing.

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- July 31, 2010

U.S. Army soldiers and Afghan police officers confirm that everyone understands the plans for the next part of the operation in the village of Lagar Jay Kalha, Jaghato district, Wardak province, Afghanistan, July 14, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest

No Afghan Ally Left Behind -- Seymour Topping, New York Times

A TALIBAN spokesman announced Thursday that the group is poring over the tens of thousands of classified military documents published by WikiLeaks this week, looking for the names of pro-American Afghans.

As in the past, those identified will likely be added to lists of people to be assassinated, or rounded up once the United States and its allies leave the country. We’re already seeing this in Iraq where, as American troops prepare to withdraw, there is a campaign by insurgents to kill members of the Awakening movement and others who have cooperated with the United States.

Read more

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan -- Michelle Price, Asia Sentinel

Is a new war in the Middle East becoming inevitable? -- Volker Perthes, Daily Star

If Iran came close to getting a nuclear weapon, would Obama use force? -- Steven Simon and Ray Takeyh, Washington Post

Getting Back to Diplomacy on Iran -- Nikolas Gvosdev, World Politics Review

Beijing's Asia power play -- Michael Richardson, Japan Times

Palestinians Hold to Peace-Talk Preconditions -- Tony Karon, Time Magazine

Cleaning Up The Corruption -- Mahmood Karzai, Washington Times

World News Briefs -- July 31, 2010 (Evening Edition)

U.S. and Afghan forces patrol in Wardak province's Jaghato district while en route to the village of Akhtar Kheyl, Afghanistan, July 15, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest

July Is Deadliest Month For US Soldiers In Afghanistan -- Voice Of America

Six American soldiers have been killed in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan, making July the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nine-year war.

NATO says one service member died in an insurgent attack Friday, while a roadside bombing killed two others. Three other troops were killed Thursday in two separate bombings in the south.

Read more ....


U.S. threatens to cut ties unless Palestinians return to direct talks.

Israeli airstrike kills senior Hamas rocket maker.

Iraq pays $30 billion as compensation to Kuwait.

Syrian, Saudi leaders show solidarity with Lebanon.


2 killed in police firing, Kashmir violence toll up to 6.

Beijing claims 'indisputable sovereignty' over South China Sea.

Official: More than 800 dead in Pakistani floods.

North Korea's failed World Cup footballers undergo public mauling.

Top Pakistan spy scrubs U.K. trip in protest.

Australian PM Gillard heading for defeat: new poll.


MSF suspends aid in part of south Sudan.

U.N. tells Darfur peace force to focus on security.

Thousands flee Congo clashes as security worsens.

Muslim court clause brings spotlight in Kenya vote.

Three Kenyan men charged with Uganda bomb attacks.


Sarkozy threatens immigrants who target police.

Putin takes control of wildfire crisis.

Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase.

Greek military mobilised to supply fuel amid strike.

Italy crisis grows as speaker rejects PM call to resign.


Mexico drug boss death could spark power struggle.

Colombia rebels call for talks with new government.

Venezuela sends troops to Colombian border: Chavez.

New BP delay a warning: Don't write obituary on Gulf oil spill yet.

Debate heating up on plans for mosque near Ground Zero.

Florida's Everglades put on world heritage endangered list.


As some young Muslims turn to radicalism, concern grows.

Somali Jihadis launch 'News Channel' as officials warn of growing Al Qaeda links.

UN removes five Taliban from its blacklist (two are dead).

France's War on Terror: Paris takes the fight to al Qaeda in Africa. (a commentary)


Wall Street marks best month in a year in July.

Recession was deeper than U.S. gov't previously thought.

China invests $40 bln in Iran oil, gas: minister.

Disney sells Miramax film studios.

Talk About Ironies. Detained Americans In Iran Are No Fans Of Israel

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal (L-R)

In Ironic Twist, Iran Detained US Hikers Critical Of Israel And America -- Christian Science Monitor

Just before Iran arrested three US hikers a year ago Saturday, one of them – Shane Bauer – had nearly finished an exposé on Israeli military aggression.

Just before Iran arrested US hikers Shane Bauer and his friends a year ago, he was nearly finished with an exposé on the Israeli army's use of illegal weapons against protesters.

“He would have published it long ago if he had not been arrested," says his friend Shon Meckfessel. "You would say the Iranians are standing in the way.”

Read more ....

My Comment: As an outsider I am always amazed on how (some) Americans find it is very easy to criticize their country .... but when in trouble (and these activists are in trouble), they always come rushing back home for help.

As for these activists, I would not call their situation an ironic twist .... I would call it a reality fix on what the Middle East is really like .... especially if you are a prisoner on the other side.

Video From The Russian Arms Expo

A Russian Tank ballet, choreographed by Andrei Melanyin, head of the State Academic Bolshoi Theater of Russia.

Tank Ballet, Paratroopers And Combat Dogs: Live Video From The Russian Arms Expo -- Popular Mechanics

At the Russian Arms Expo in Zhukovsky, the opening day ceremony belies its military focus and mass-market entertainment value with a full choreographed tank ballet, paratroopers, weapons, fires, and attack dogs. Check out the videos below for more.

It's hard to look away when a 45-ton tank takes a 4-foot jump. And as it lands, more than 15 feet away from where it took off, you feel the force of the impact migrate through the metal bleachers into your feet, legs and gut.

Read more

My Comment:
I had the experience of standing beside an entire column of T-80 tanks in the bombing of the Russian White House in 1993. The power of these tanks cannot be underestimated, and while these two videos are impressive, they by no means convey the sheer power of what these war machines are capable of.

Venezuela Moves Troops To The Colombian Border

Chavez Says Venezuela Sending Troops To Colombian Border -- CNN

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has deployed troops to areas near the Colombian border and says he is reviewing plans for a potential war as tension between the two nations rises.

"Three nights ago I told the vice-president. It makes me sad, I confess, that I'm reviewing war plans," he said during a phone interview on the state-run VTV network.

Read more ....

More News On Colombia - Venezuela Relations

Venezuela Sends Troops to Colombian Border -- Voice of America
Venezuela sends troops to Colombian border: Chavez -- AFP
Chavez: Venezuela Has Deployed Troops Amid Spat -- New York Times/AP
Chavez Deploys Military Units In Colombia Row -- New York Times/Reuters
Chavez sends troops to Colombian border -- The Age
Colombia-Venezuela dispute unresolved in meeting of South American leaders -- Washington Post
Neighbours fail to end Venezuela-Colombia rift -- Reuters
Conference Ends with No Progress on Colombia-Venezuela Dispute -- Latin American Herald Tribune
Regional push to solve Venezuela-Colombia dispute -- Al Jazeera

Photoshoping World War II Photos With Photos of Today

Photoshop Opens Time Portals Into World War II Ghost Dimension -- Gizmodo

Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov took some old photographs from World War II and combined them with new perspective-matching photos. The result are a series of time portals that help us contextualize the war into our current reality.

The technique is very simple, but clever and effective, giving eerie results like the one above. That's the legendary Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov. In 1945, he was commander of the Red Army's 1st Belorussian Front, which took Berlin along with the 1st Ukranian Front (the Soviet equivalents to the Western Army Groups). He is looking at the camera, all serious, standing on the stairs of the Reichstag, surrounded by some of his lieutenants and a bunch of tourists.

Read more ....

Hat Tip: Extra Good Shit

Berlin: Past And Future

WNU Editor: The following comment describes the story behind the above picture. It is from Threedonia on City of Ruins. (You will need to scoll down).

The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) is in Berlin, Germany. It is a Protestant church, built in the late 1800’s. In 1943 it was nearly destroyed by allied bombers. In rebuilding the church after World War II it was decided to leave the main building and spire exactly as they were, at the end of the war. Pictures cannot empart what you feel when you turn a corner and see the original building surrounded by all the post war construction of modern Berlin. It is the closest to a time machine I have ever experienced. In my memory the church spire still looks black and white, colorless, while all around is normal.

Who Runs Zimbabwe?

Photo: Mr Bennett said Mr Mugabe was being forced to continue as president by his generals

'Military Junta' Rules Zimbabwe, Says MDC's Bennett -- BBC

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is little more than the front man for a military junta, a leading white politician has told the BBC.

Roy Bennett said Mr Mugabe remained in office thanks only to a clique of generals who are enriching themselves.

Mr Bennett was acquitted in May on charges of plotting to overthrow Mr Mugabe, but prosecutors are appealing.

He has not yet taken up his post as deputy agriculture minister. His MDC party sees the charges as political.

Read more ....

More News On Zimbabwe

Mugabe a front for military dictatorship, says PM aide -- Irish Times
Mugabe mourns after sister Sabina dies in Zimbabwe -- BBC
Robert Mugabe loses political ally as younger sister Sabina dies -- The Telegraph
Zimbabwe 'housing blitz victims still homeless' -- AFP
Judiciary indebted to Mugabe: Report -- The Zimbabwean
Controversy Flares Over Site for Statue of Zimbabwe Liberation Figure Nkomo -- Voice of America
Building a Jerusalem in Zimbabwe's green and pleasant land -- The Guardian
Zimbabwe: From breadbasket to basket case -- Toronto Star

The Wikileaks Story Continues

WikiLeaks published roughly 75,000 documents from the military, some of which contain sensitive information. WikiLeaks

White House Urges WikiLeaks To Not Publish More Secrets -- Voice Of America

The White House is urging the website WikiLeaks to not publish any more classified documents related to the Afghan war, saying it is important that no more damage be done to U.S. national security.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told NBC television Friday that all the administration can do is implore whoever has the documents to not post them.

He said a Taliban spokesman in the region stated that the Taliban is already going through the tens of thousands of documents that have already been posted to find the names of people who cooperated with international and American forces in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

More News On Wikileaks

W. House urges halt to spilling of war secrets -- Washington Times/AP
White House Implores Wikileaks: Don't Post More Documents -- CBS News
Wikileaks urged to stop publishing Afghan leaks -- ABC News (Australia)
U.S. worried more secret documents may be released -- Reuters
State Department Fears More Leaked Files -- FOX News
We're powerless to stop Afghan war WikiLeaks, admits White House -- The Australian
Leak of secret cables feared -- Straits Times

Taliban Study WikiLeaks to Hunt Informants -- The Lede/New York Times
Taliban in Afghanistan says they will target informants outed by WikiLeaks for working with U.S. -- New York Daily News
Taliban Says It Will Target Names Exposed by WikiLeaks -- Newsweek
WikiLeaks 'has blood on its hands': U.S. anger over Afghan revelations as FBI joins inquiry -- Daily Mail
Afghan leak: Wikileaks' Assange denies 'blood on hands' -- BBC

Army Broadens Inquiry Into WikiLeaks Disclosure -- New York Times
U.S. military launches review of IT security after Wikileaks breach -- Computer World
More on Mullen, Twitter, and the Ethics of WikiLeaks -- James Fallows, The Atlantic
What They Said: The WikiLeaks Leaks -- Wall Street Journal
Julian Assange: is 'Wikileaker' on a crusade or an ego trip? -- The Telegraph
There will be blood: Leaking Afghan war secrets will cost our friends their lives -- New York Daily News editorial
Is WikiLeaks An Editor-In-Chief Or Prolific Source? -- David Folkenflik, NPR
Wikileaks: White House implores Assange to desist, but why should he? -- The Guardian

Photo Gallery From Iraq (42 Photos)

A U.S. Soldier from Bravo Company, 5/20 Infantry, 2nd ID provides supporting fire during a squad live fire exercise in Kirkush Military Training Base, Diyala province, Iraq, June 10, 2010. U.S. and Iraqi forces trained to clear mined and wired obstacles, clear bunker complexes and react to contact. (U.S. Army/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ted Green)

Recent Scenes From Iraq -- The Big Picture/

Just over seven years since the start of the Iraq War, the scheduled withdrawal of American forces is now becoming more evident. Last year, Americans pulled out of Iraqi cities and are working toward the formal end of combat operations by September 1st, when the number of soldiers in Iraq is expected to go from 77,500 to 50,000, and the name of the operation will change from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn". Iraq continues to face multiple challenges including home-grown problems and potential external threats. Political uncertainty and wrangling after elections in March has fostered greater instability throughout the country with fears of renewed sectarian violence breaking out as insurgents step up attacks in an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities. Collected here are some recent photographs from the Iraq conflict. (42 photos total)

WNU Editor: For the photo gallery, go here.

Afghanistan War News Updates -- July 31, 2010

HERAT SHURA - U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, International Security Assistance Force, meets with tribal elders of Zer-e-koh valley during a shura to discuss local governance issues in Afghanistan's Herat province, July 29, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bradley Lail

Deadliest Month For U.S. In Afghanistan Marked By Riots Outside Embassy; Obama To Review Strategy -- New York Daily News

Washington - The U.S. monthly death toll in Afghanistan rose to its highest level in nine years of war yesterday as Afghans rioted outside the American embassy in Kabul.

NATO officials said six U.S. troops were killed in several incidents Thursday and yesterday, raising the American death toll in July to 66. The previous monthly high was in June, when 60 were killed.

Read more ....

More News On Afghanistan

July Becomes Deadliest Month for U.S. Troops In Nearly Nine-Year Afghan War -- Washington Post
July Deadliest Month for US in Afghanistan -- FOX News
July is Deadliest Month for US Soldiers in Afghanistan -- Voice of America
U.S. casualties in Afghanistan soar to record high in month of July -- Seattle Times/NYT
US casualties in Afghanistan reach record high --
US Casualties in Afghanistan Soar to Record Highs -- ABC News/AP

UK troops 'making progress' in new Afghan mission
-- BBC
Operation Tor Shezada: 'Initial areas are secured' -- BBC
Under the cover of darkness, Nato troops draw Taliban into their trap -- The Independent
Nato troops surround Taliban sheltering in Afghan town -- The Guardian
Afghanistan: Beating the Taliban one step at a time -- The Telegraph

Obama Facing New Pressure From Left on Afghanistan -- Voice of America
New President, Same War Funding? -- FOX News
'Flash floods kill at least 65 in Afghanistan' -- AFP
Afghan Women Fear the Loss of Modest Gains -- New York Times
Military family welcomes dog that saved lives in Afghanistan -- USA Today
Cleaning up corruption -- By Mahmood Karzai, Washington Times
The Afghan Surge Deserves a Chance to Work -- Michael O'Hanlon, Wall Street Journal

World News Briefs -- July 31, 2010

Pakistan Flooding Death Toll Reaches 800 -- CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The death toll from flooding in Pakistan has risen to at least 800, the information minister of a northern province said Saturday.

The death toll only affects Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, previously known as the North West Frontier Province, said spokesman Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

Read more ....


Israeli airstrike kills senior Hamas rocket maker.

Iraq pays $30 billion as compensation to Kuwait.

Syrian, Saudi leaders show solidarity with Lebanon.


North Korea's failed World Cup footballers undergo public mauling.

Top Pakistan spy scrubs U.K. trip in protest.

Australian PM Gillard heading for defeat: new poll.


Thousands flee Congo clashes as security worsens.

Muslim court clause brings spotlight in Kenya vote.

Three Kenyan men charged with Uganda bomb attacks.


Putin takes control of wildfire crisis.

Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase.

Greek military mobilised to supply fuel amid strike.

Italy crisis grows as speaker rejects PM call to resign.


Venezuela sends troops to Colombian border: Chavez.

New BP delay a warning: Don't write obituary on Gulf oil spill yet.

Debate heating up on plans for mosque near Ground Zero.

Florida's Everglades put on world heritage endangered list.


Somali Jihadis launch 'News Channel' as officials warn of growing Al Qaeda links.

UN removes five Taliban from its blacklist (two are dead).

France's War on Terror: Paris takes the fight to al Qaeda in Africa. (a commentary)


Recession was deeper than U.S. gov't previously thought.

China invests $40 bln in Iran oil, gas: minister.

Disney sells Miramax film studios.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 31, 2010

Officials say that the early publication by two websites of the counterinsurgency guidance issued by Gen. David Petraeus should not delay it from being released to the public soon. (Paul J. Richards / Agence France-Presse)

Petraeus' COIN Guidance 'Prematurely Released' -- Defense News

Soon after the new Afghan counterinsurgency guidance issued by U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus went up on two Internet sites, it was pulled off again. But it is not expected to change drastically when it is rereleased publicly.

"I don't think it's going to change," said Col. Daniel Roper, director of the Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center, in a July 30 interview.

Read more ....


New COMISAF/ USFOR-A Commander Issues Counterinsurgency Guidance -- Defpro

“New START” Negotiator Says Russia Complied With Old Pact -- Global Security Newswire

Russia to increase defense spending by 60 percent -- Xinhuanet

Russia back in Latin American arms market -- Space War

ICBM test launches showcase Global Strike capabilities -- Defense Talk

Predator XP For Civilians -- Strategy Page

First Look: BAE’s New Ground Combat Vehicle -- Defense Tech

Czech Republic Ready to Host U.S. Missile Warning Center -- Defense News/AFP

Rugged Phones Ready For War -- DoD Buzz

What do spies do on their day off? -- Reuters

A Former Soldier Turned Reporter -- On The Ground Report From Afghanistan

Since soldiers at Combat Outpost Lakokhel have conducted few patrols since their arrival last month, they know of the neighboring village only what they can see from their gun towers. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

Afghanistan: Notes From A Soldier-Turned-Civilian -- Global Post

An Iraq veteran, now a GlobalPost photographer, finds his nerves tested.

COMBAT OUTPOST LAKOKHEL, Afghanistan — There are 30,000 small villages in Afghanistan; Sansigar is the one we can walk to from our base in 20 minutes. It would be another unremarkable collection of mud brick huts and walled compounds if it weren't home to the mosque where Mullah Omar taught before he founded the Taliban movement. Sangisar is where the Taliban hung the warlords' thugs from the tank barrels.

Read more ....

My Comment: A well written and fascinating report from Afghanistan. This is a must read.

Wikileaks Suspect Sent Back To The U.S.

Pentagon Returns Wikileaks Suspect To U.S. -- Politics

A military intelligence analyst suspected in the leak of more than 90,000 classified field reports from Afghanistan was returned to the United States from a base in Kuwait Thursday, an Army spokesman said

"U.S. Army officials transferred PFC Bradley Manning from the Theater Field Confinement Facility in Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Brig in Quantico, Virginia, on July 29," Major Bryan Woods, an Army spokesman, said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.

Read more ....

More News On The Wikileaks Suspect Being Sent Back To The U.S.

Soldier suspected in WikiLeaks case moved from Kuwait to Virginia military jail -- L.A. Times/AP
Alleged Rogue GI Sent to U.S. in WikiLeaks Probe -- FOX News
Accused Wikileaks source Manning moved to US for trial -- BBC
'Whistleblower' transferred to US -- Al Jazeera
Bradley Manning, 'Person of Interest' in WikiLeaks Case, Moved to Quantico -- Politics Daily
Army Private Accused of WikiLeak Transfered to Virginia Brig -- Time Magazine

Cluster Bomb Ban Takes Effect

U.S. And Major Powers Urged To Join Cluster Munitions Pact -- Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) - Activists called on the United States and other major powers on Thursday to join a global treaty banning cluster munitions that goes into force on August 1.

Dropped from aircraft or fired from artillery or rockets, the weapons scatter bomblets over a wide area, but have limited military impact today as they were designed to attack tanks on an open battlefield, an increasingly rare scenario, they said.

Read more ....

More News On The International Banning Of Cluster Bombs

U.S. Ducks As Cluster Bomb Ban Takes Effect -- The Danger Room
Treaty banning cluster bombs takes effect worldwide as campaigners and survivors celebrate this milestone -- Reuters
International: Cluster Bomb Ban Takes Effect -- Relief Web
UN leader hails landmark ban on cluster munitions -- AFP
Japan banks ban financing cluster arms -- AFP
Survivors and activists hail cluster bomb ban -- Reuters

A Second World War US Bomber Is Found

Diver Sabrina Monella explores the wreck of the B24 Tulsamerican bomber in the Adriatic Sea off Vis Island, Croatia Photo: BARCROFT

Second World War US Bomber Missing For 66 Years Is Found In Adriatic Sea -- The Telegraph

An American man has found after a 27-year-search the wreckage of a Second World War bomber in which his air force pilot cousin was killed.

Gerald Landry, 73, spent the best part of three decades looking for the bomber pilot shot down by the Luftwaffe in December 1944.

Now, in a remarkable discovery, artefacts recovered from the bottom of the Adriatic Sea near Croatia could confirm the death of First Lt Russell Landry.

Read more ....

My Comment: Talk about family reunions .... finding your cousin after 66 years.

Why Were Israeli Commandos Training In The Mountains Of Romania?

Photo: IDF search party near cash site of an IAF helicopter in Romania, July 28, 2010. Photo by: IDF Spokesman

Crashed Israeli Helicopter Drilled Perilous Strikes On Iran-Style Mountain Tunnels -- DEBKAfile

The six airmen who died in a Sikorsky "Yasour" CH-53 helicopter crash over the Romanian Carpathian Mountains Monday, July 26, were flown home Friday, July 30, for burial with full military honors.

The Israeli Air Force had been drilling high-risk attacks on precipitous cliff caves similar to the mountain tunnels in which Iran has hidden nuclear facilities. The crash occurred in the last stage of a joint Israeli-US-Romanian exercise for simulating an attack on Iran. Aboard the helicopter were six Israeli airmen and a Romanian flight captain.

Read more

My Comment: An interesting hypothesis .... but absent any official announcement .... this is just a guess.
Photo: Portrait of General Pace. Image from

Gen. Pace's Somber Pentagon Portrait Evokes The Struggles Of Warfare -- Washington Post

Hundreds of portraits of generals and admirals hang like wallpaper along the Pentagon's endless corridors.

Few of these paintings, if any, stop people in the way that the image of Gen. Peter Pace does.

Pace, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the worst years of the Iraq war, is depicted in front of a simple backdrop the color of dried blood. His shoulders are slightly stooped. His head is just barely bowed. "He looks like he is thinking about his career, the people he left behind and the Marines he lost," said Mamie Burke, who served as Pace's photographer and now works for his successor. "I think there is a lot he has lost."

Read more ....

My Comment: The portraits of all of those generals .... and the stories that they can tell .... now that is history.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What Struck The Japanese Oil Tanker M. Star In The Persian Gulf?

Damage control: The M Star oil tanker owned by Japanese shipper Mitsui OSK pictured at sea near Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates July 29. After Mitsui OSK said it believed the M Star might have been the subject of an unidentified attack in the Strait of Hormuz, U.A.E. port officials examining the ship said it may have hit a submarine or a mine. Port officials had earlier suggested the damage might have been inflicted by natural causes such as a post-earthquake wave. Reuters

Top Three Theories On What Damaged Japanese Oil Tanker Near Iran -- Christian Science Monitor

Numerous theories have surfaced for what damaged the Japanese oil tanker sailing between Oman and Iran on Thursday. Investigators say it may have been a sea mine, a pirate attack, or a collision with a submarine.

Whatever it was that shook a 260,000-ton Japanese supertanker as it sailed through calm waters between Oman and Iran just after midnight Wednesday, it was not a freak wave.

But beyond that, officials investigating a huge dent in the side of the M. Star are still some way off establishing exactly what happened.

Read more ....

My Comment: It does not take a specialist to look at the above picture and see that this oil tanker did hit something .... and that something was big.

Hmmm .... any subs reported missing in the past few days?

Taliban Using Wikileaks To Hunt Down Informers

Wikileaks Afghanistan: Taliban 'Hunting Down Informants' -- The Telegraph

The Taliban has issued a warning to Afghans whose names might appear on the leaked Afghanistan war logs as informers for the Nato-led coalition.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said they were studying and investigating the report, adding “If they are US spies, then we know how to punish them.”

The warning came as the US military's top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, may already have blood on his hands following the leak of 92,000 classified documents relating to the war in Afghanistan by his website.

Read more ....

My Comment: Duhhhh!!!! ..... I call this a no brainer. Once those documents were released, the Taliban got their own people to sift through it right away. For those in the Taliban who are responsible for counter intelligence .... the Wikileaks' release of classified information is a treasure trove of intelligence that they are going to analyze and study in the months to come. Unfortunately for our Afghan informers and allies .... life is going to be hell for them very soon (if not already).

First Digital Reconstruction Of A City That Has Been Destroyed

City Of Ruins --

3D — like IMAX — can be (and usually is) little more than a party trick unless used sparingly or in some way integral to the story. I can’t think of a better use for 3-D than this short film “City of Ruins” showing at The Warsaw Uprising Museum.

Read more ....

My Comment: A very impressive video. I look forward to the full release.

Hat Tip: Theospark

Why Is Afghanistan Not An Issue In The Midterm Elections

INDIRECT ATTACK - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clarence Washington takes accountability after an indirect fire attack in Qalat City in Zabul province, Afghanistan, July 27, 2010. There were no coalition forces casualties during the attack. Washington is a Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul security forces squad leader. Team members regularly prepare and train for indirect and direct fire attacks to ensure security and accountability during real world incidents. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nathanael Callon

In Midterm Elections, Afghan War Barely Surfaces -- New York Times

BENSALEM, Pa. — Asked what he considers the major issues in this year’s midterm Congressional elections, Claude Nicolas, 24, paused from munching on a sushi roll and crisply ticked off three: jobs, the economy and immigration.

The war in Afghanistan? “Wow, I didn’t think of that,” he replied, almost sheepishly. “That’s definitely a factor of how not on the public radar it is. It’s gone on so long people are tired of it.”

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My Comment:
The main stream media is giving a pass on this issue for both President Obama and the Democrat Congress. But with a lousy and declining economy, immigration .... and jobs, jobs, jobs .... there is a lot on the plate and Afghanistan is just a minor diversion .... for now.

Trying To Stop The Traffic Of Congo's Conflict Minerals

Uphill Task To Solve Congo's Conflict Minerals -- Reuters

NUMBI Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Marie keeps her cash hidden in her "I love Jesus" hat, Samy in his socks. Selling gold and gemstones to other countries, the smugglers are small-time players in an illegal trade worth tens of millions of dollars hidden deep in Congo's troubled wilderness.

New efforts to clamp down on Congo's armed groups that finance their existence with minerals sourced from the country's conflict-wracked east -- much of which ends up in laptops, cell phones and jewellery around the world -- have been criticised for trying to achieve the impossible and risking the livelihoods of a million people in the area who depend on mining.

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More News On Congo's Conflict Minerals

'Blood Cell Phones' Fuel War, Crime and Human Rights Abuses -- Discovery News
U.K. Government Faces Suit Over ‘Conflict Minerals’ in Congo -- Bloomberg Businessweek
US Law Requires Conflict Minerals Disclosure from Electronics Manufacturers -- Triple Pundit
Gadgets -New U.S. Law Blocks Cell Phone Makers from Subsidizing Congo War -- TMCnet
Provision of Law May Reduce Use of Conflict Minerals -- Ecopreneurist
Conflict-Free Cell Phones? -- Technorati
Why recent US 'conflict minerals' legislation may not help in eastern Congo -- Christian Science Monitor
Why recent US 'conflict mineral' legislation is a good thing for Africa -- Christian Science Monitor
Congo's conflict minerals -- L.A. Times editorial

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- July 30, 2010

U.S. Marine Corps aircraft fly over the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in the East Sea, July 26, 2010. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Oki

Impact Of Past Defense Cuts Should Warn Of Risks -- Max Boot, Washington Post

The prospect of an exit from Iraq and Afghanistan has sparked rumblings on Capitol Hill that it's time to cut the defense budget. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, says, "I'm pretty certain cuts are coming -- in defense and the whole budget." Defense Secretary Bob Gates is already pushing to cancel some big-ticket programs and to wring savings out of the existing budget.

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Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

Iran starts feeling heat -- Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post

Moscow's Foreign Policies -- Nikolas K. Gvosdev, National Interest

New START: Too modest to merit partisan bickering -- Robert Kagan, Washington Post

Colombia proves again that Venezuela is harboring FARC terrorists -- Washington post editorial

Israel's ruling class -- Caroline Glick,

Is al-Qaeda racist? -- Michael Mumisa, New Statesman

Chavez beats drums of war once again but threats aren't impressing anyone -- Jeremy McDermott, Scotsman

US Starting Asia Space Race? -- David Axe, The Diplomat

Biohazard: What the world doesn't know about germ warfare. -- David E. Hoffman, Foreign Policy

Breaking a Promise on Surveillance -- New York Times editorial

The End of Military History -- Andrew J. Bacevich, American Conservative

World News Briefs -- July 30, 2010 (Evening Edition)

Depending on how fast its exchange rate rises, China is on course to overtake the United States and vault into the No.1 spot sometime around 2025. Photo: REUTERS

China Claims To Overtake Japan As No.2 Economy -- CBS News

China has "in fact" overtaken Japan as the world's second-largest economy, according to Yi Gang, China's top currency regulator. Yi, the director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the deputy governor of China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, made the claim near the end of an interview posted on SAFE's Web site (Chinese).

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Israel prepares to launch Gaza air strike following rocket attack.

Iran ready for immediate nuclear fuel talks.

Saudi, Syrian leaders land in Lebanon amid tension.

Yemen smolders amid Houthi insurgency and Al Qaeda attacks.


3 killed, scores injured in Kashmir violence.

New details point to sinking by N. Korean torpedo.

US casualties in Afghanistan soar to record highs.

North Korean footballers face the music.

North Korea, UN command meet again on Cheonan incident.

Majority of Pakistanis call India a threat, US enemy.

US 'carefully watching' Myanmar-NKorea talks.

Officials: Floods kill at least 313 in Pakistan.

US-China tensions flare over South China Sea dispute.


Shebab vow to make Mogadishu graveyard for extra troops.

Rwanda's rebel reformer: Paul Kagame.

Border must be agreed before south Sudan vote: party.

Death toll in Somali fighting rises this year: group.

Missing Russian chopper pilot found released in Sudan: official.

Uganda bombings bring Africa together. Except Eritrea.


Silvio Berlusconi in peril as old ally and 33 MPs desert him over scandals.

Fires and storms kill at least 28 in Russia.

Britain takes another look at its nuclear subs.

British PM defends remarks on Pakistan and terrorism.

Spain reissues US troop warrants over Iraq death.

Medvedev orders corruption investigation into Putin's Sochi Olympics.

France to shut illegal Roma camps and deport migrants.


US investigates threats against Mexican consulate.

Obama administration considers bypassing Congress on immigration reform.

Arizona sheriff not relenting after court ruling.

Troops kill senior 'capo' of mighty Mexico cartel.

House rejects bill to aid sick 9/11 responders.


U.S. turns up heat on internet Imam Awlaki.

Iraqi insurgents plant Qaeda Flag in Baghdad.

White House seeks to clarify F.B.I. powers vis-à-vis e-mail.

US Senate hopes to quiz UK witnesses on Lockerbie.

Gingrich: Crucial radical Islamist battlefield is U.S.


Homes keep falling into foreclosure as programs fail to help.

China becomes second biggest world economy.

AP survey: A bleaker outlook for economy into 2011.

Letting Bush tax cuts die would kill recovery: analysts.

The BP spill: Has the damage been exaggerated?

Carlos Slim buys fifth Ave.’s only private townhouse.

Yemen On The Verge Of All Out Civil War

Yemen Smolders Amid Houthi Insurgency And Al Qaeda Attacks -- L.A. Times

Violence continues despite increased U.S. aid, more raids on Al Qaeda militants and a restive truce with the northern insurgent group.

Reporting from Cairo — The Yemen summer has seethed with pitched battles and bloodshed, raising fears that the country will tumble into further disarray even as Washington has more than doubled its military and security aid.

Gun fights and explosions break out in spasms across a nation at the dangerous intersection of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. In the south, an Al Qaeda-linked network has carried out strategic attacks on security targets, while in the north, a rebel group has renewed fighting against rival tribes and government forces.

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More News On The Unrest in Yemen

Al Qaeda prepares 'an army of 12,000 fighters,' threatens security forces -- Long War Journal
Al-Qaida wing claims to form 12,000-strong army in southern Yemen -- Xinhuanet
Al-Qaeda Creating an Army in Yemen -- Arutz Sheva
Al Qaeda vows more attacks on Yemen government -- Globe And Mail
Yemen: Fighting Intensifies Between Rebels and Government -- New York Times
Yemen's army battles rebels in north; dozens dead -- Washington Post
Yemen Rebels Capture Army Outpost -- Voice of America
Houthi rebels 'take Yemen army position' -- BBC
Yemeni rebels and clans clash -- L.A. Times
Yemen rebels free 200 captured soldiers: mediator -- AFP
Houthis free 200 Captured Soldiers -- Yemen Post
Source: Militants in Yemen capture soldiers -- CNN
Yemen’s Separatists Call for Southern Uprising -- Voice of America
Yemen: President Makes Offer to Rebels -- New York Times
Yemeni government says cease-fire remains in place -- CNN
Houthi cease-fire holds, Yemen says -- UPI
Exiled Yemen opposition leader killed on return -- Reuters
Gulf of Aden Security Review - July 30, 2010 -- Critical Threats