Thursday, May 31, 2012

The World's Real Movers And Shakers Are meeting Today

Westfield Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia hosting the 2012 Bilderberg Conference

Bilderberg Conference Starts Today In Chantilly, Virginia -- National Journal

Chantilly - Starting today 150 of the world's elite are meeting just outside Washington. Will they decide who to back as the next U.S. President?

The agenda of the meeting is not available to the public, but much speculation is going around as to what the global elite will be discussing.

RT interviewed Alex Jones of Prison Planet earlier this month.

Read more ....

My Comment: Alex Jones and the Bilderberg reminds me of my friend`'s rotweiller and a bone .... both never want to let go.

If They Get Nuclear Weapons, We Will Get Nuclear Weapons

King Says Saudi Arabia Would Need Nukes to Counter Iran Arsenal: Ross -- Global Security Newswire

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said in 2009 his nation would move to produce nuclear weapons if Iran established an atomic arsenal, Haaretz on Wednesday quoted a former top Obama administration adviser on the Middle East as saying (see GSN, Jan. 26).

“If they get nuclear weapons, we will get nuclear weapons,” Dennis Ross quoted Abdullah as saying during talks in April 2009. Ross, speaking on Tuesday at a book event in New York City, said he had responded by warning of the spread of nuclear weapons. Abdullah then simply restated that "If they get nuclear weapons, we will get nuclear weapons," according to the veteran U.S. diplomat (see GSN, March 23).

Read more
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My Comment: My gut is telling me that the Saudi King is not bluffing.

Russian President Putin plans To Visit Belarus, Germany, France

A lighting display making a political statement Thursday at Savyolovsky Market with the president declaring “I’ll be all right” above signs reading “exit.” Vladimir Filonov / MT

Putin's Foreign Policy Hits the Road -- Moscow Times

In a highly symbolic gesture, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday arrived in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to pay his first foreign visit as head of state to controversial Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Putin will continue on to Berlin and Paris on Friday to pay lightning visits to newly elected presidents Joachim Gauck and Francois Hollande, as well as for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. His busy schedule continues Sunday evening in St. Petersburg, where he hosts a two-day summit with EU leaders.

Read more
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More News On Russian President Putin's First Foreign Policy Trip Since His Inauguration

Putin Heads To Belarus, EU Partners In First Official Visit -- Radio Free Europe
Russia's Putin heads West with eyes on the money -- AP
President Putin to Visit Belarus, Germany, France -- RIA Novosti
Putin and Belarus leader see 'great future' ahead -- AFP
Putin Arrives in Belarus for Talks with Lukashenko -- RIA Novosti
Putin's first foreign trip indicates new pulse of diplomacy -- Xinhuanet
Putin turns his back on the west -- Deutsche Welle
Who gets a visit from Putin? -- Arianne Swieca, Foreign Policy

Spain`s Debt/Financial Crisis Continues



The Pain In Spain That Threatens The Eurozone -- CNN

(CNN) -- If Greece was the focus of markets' angst last week, attention this week has shifted to the other end of the Mediterranean.

Spain's public finances are nothing like as grim as the Greeks', but a worsening banking crisis threatens to deepen an already painful recession and endanger the future of the eurozone.

The immediate cause of the pain in Spain is the need to recapitalize the country's fourth-largest bank, Bankia -- itself an unwieldy amalgam of previously-ailing financial institutions.

Read more ....

More News On Spain's debt/Financial Crisis

Almost €100bn pulled out of Spain as investors beat a hasty retreat -- The Telegraph
Capital flight from Spain hits record $66bn -- The Telegraph
Money Flies Out of Spain, Regions Pressured -- CNBC
Panic in Spain as money flies out of country and head of European bank says Eurozone is 'unsustainable' -- Daily Mail
Spain Hasn't Asked for IMF Aid, No Help Planned, Fund Says -- SFGate/Bloomberg
IMF says not in talks with Spain on financial help -- Reuters
Spain urged to come clean on bank bailout plan -- Seattle Times/AP
EU asks Spain for details of Bankia rescue -- AFP
How to save Spain: The focus should be on fixing the banks, not on cutting the deficit -- The Economist
Spain moves to centre of eurozone crisis -- Gavin Hewitt, BBC
Spain: Too big to save, but too big to fail? -- Michael Babad, Globe and Mail

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- May 31, 2012

Predator drones now make frequent attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia

Choosing Who Lives And Who Dies: The Methodical Assassinations Of Barack Obama's 'Kill List' -- David Blair, The Telegraph

There is something deeply unsettling about the disclosure in The New York Times that America has developed a clinical, dispassionate procedure for selecting the targets of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Every week or so, about 100 national security officials gather by video conference to pore over the photographs and biographies of al-Qaeda terrorists. They decide who should be spared and who should be marked for death.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

Too Much Power for a President -- New York Times editorial

The Case Against Intervention in Syria
-- Fareed Zakaria, Time

Syrians will not soon forget brutal massacre in Houla -- Ali Khaled, The National

U.S. Frustration on Iran and Syria Puts New Cards in Russia’s Hands -- Tony Karon, Time

Iraq: A satellite state of Iran? -- Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamim, Jerusalem Post

China’s stimulus policy means trouble down the road -- Washington Post editorial

A Family Affair: China's princelings are running amok. And Bo Xilai is just the tip of the iceberg. -- John Garnaut, Foreign Policy

Irish referendum: taking a punt -- The Guardian editorial

As Ireland votes on EU treaty, many ask if it's worth cost of membership -- Jason Walsh, Christian Science Monitor

Only the ECB can save the euro now -- Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph

Spain has avoided facing up to its banking problems. Now it has no choice -- The Economist

Spain moves to centre of eurozone crisis
-- Gavin Hewitt, BBC

Spain: Too big to save, but too big to fail? -- Michael Babad, Globe and Mail

The Next Greece? A Sketch of Spain -- Roland Flamini, World Affairs

New Yorkers Leave Like East Germans Fled Communism -- IBD Editorial

Three questions for Secretary Panetta -- Michael Green, Shadow Government

'Gafa Obamy': A presidential faux pas mangles World War II history and insults Poland. -- Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal

Which Countries Will Rise to the Top in a Leaderless World? -- Ian Bremmer, Harvard Business Review

World News Briefs -- May 31, 2012 (Evening Edition)

The ECB could quite easily have taken all sovereign debt risk off the table, in the same way as the Bank of England has in the UK, by mopping up bonds without limit. Photo: Reuters

Euro Is Facing Disintegration, Commission Warns -- The Telegraph

The euro faces 'disintegration' unless European governments do much more to work together, the European Commission has warned.

Olli Rehn, the economics commissioner, gave the warning as Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, criticised national leaders for a “lack of action” to help the single currency out of its crisis.

Spain remained at the eye of the financial storm yesterday, amid continuing fears for its banking sector.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria set to become failed state: Israeli commander.

UN chief gives 'Syria civil war' warning.

Syria: rebel army issues ultimatum on UN ceasefire. Activists: Syrian troops shell Houla, site of last week's civilian massacre.

Syria military intervention would engulf Israel.

Worse case scenario in Syria.

Israel returns the remains of Palestinian bodies.

Iran cancels $2 billion dam deal with China: report.

Israeli leaders skeptical of new diplomatic efforts on Iran nuclear program.

Enrichment 'not a step towards a bomb': Ahmadinejad. Cleanup at Iran's Parchin site?

UN: Iraqi rights situation still raises 'serious' concerns.

Deadly blasts rock Baghdad.

Migrant hunting, smuggling on Yemen-Saudi border.

ASIA

China begins new round of stimulus, with caution.

Internal reports highlight threats to Afghan police force.

"Hundreds detained" in Tibet after self-immolations.

Court: Pakistani Dr. jailed for militant ties, not helping CIA.

Kashmir rebel attack wounds 7 Indian soldiers.

Mass strikes across India over fuel prices.

AFRICA

Nepal forms caretaker government pending new elections.

Egypt election outcome makes economic challenge tougher.

Kenya military says it has captured southern Somali town; 17 al-Shabab said killed.

DR Congo army mutineers sentenced to death in absentia.

Nigeria gets foreign aid to fight Boko Haram.

Sudan, South Sudan peace talks yield progress slow.

Outrage as Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe is honoured by UN as a 'leader for tourism'.

Report: Gunmen kidnap 2 U.S. tourists in Egypt's Sinai region.

Days before Mubarak verdict, sons charged with insider trading.

Adoption from Africa: Concern over 'dramatic rise'.

EUROPE

Pope's top aide at centre of Vatican furor.

Spain faces 'total emergency' as fear grips markets. Investors flee Spain as financial crisis spirals.

Fears for european banks as Greek depositors withdraw money.

Irish voting in fiscal pact referendum.

Moody's downgrades Danske, other Danish banks.

White House shrugs off Polish apology demands.

AMERICAS

Bolivian politician takes refuge at Brazilian embassy.

John Edwards walks free after chaotic end to corruption trial.

Report: Chavez's cancer has 'entered the end stage'.

FARC ready for peace or war, says French reporter.

Reporter criticizes FARC for release as propaganda.

Mexico cartel drops aerial leaflets against gov't.

Mexican cartel declares war on Cheetos. Mexico protects PepsiCo subsidiary after attacks.

Quebec government under pressure as Canada's 'casseroles protests' expand.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Al-Qaeda fighters clash with Yemeni troops.

Azerbaijan 'arrested 40 and seized assault rifles and grenades as it thwarted planned terror attacks on Eurovision'.

Obama's drone war in Yemen may be Al Qaeda's best recruitment tool ever.

Pentagon: Al-Qaida still enjoys Afghan haven.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Time bomb? Banks pressured to buy government debt.

Morgan Stanley CEO defends Facebook IPO conduct.

Virgin Galactic cleared for rocket-powered test flights.

Oil set for biggest monthly drop in three years on debt crisis.

Gold poised for worst monthly run in 13 years on European crisis.

Can Women Breastfeed Their Babies In Uniform And In Public?

Proud: Servicewomen Terran Echegoyen-McCabe, left, breastfeeds her twin daughters while wearing her uniform alongside colleague Christina Luna and her little girl at Fairchild Airforce Base outside Spokane, Washington

Mothers At War: Proud Military Wife Defends Photograph Of Her Comrades Breastfeeding In Uniform -- Daily Mail

* Air National Guards pictured nursing their children at Fairchild base, near Spokane, Washington
* One Facebook comment compared image to 'defecating' in uniform
* Founder of Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group says 'We are not disgracing the uniform, we are very proud'

A photograph of servicewomen breastfeeding in public while wearing uniform has ignited a global debate.

The picture shows two mothers, Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna, both in active service, nursing their babies on an Air Force base.

The striking image has seen a flurry of comments, from supporters who say breastfeeding is a 'fundamental right' to another who compared it to 'defecating in uniform'.

The photos were taken for the Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group, set up by a military wife and mother-of-three to raise awareness of all women's rights to breastfeed in public.

Read more ....

More News On Women Breastfeeding Their Babies In Uniform And In Public

Military Moms Breastfeeding in Uniform Stir Controversy -- Shine/Yahoo
Military moms breastfeeding in uniform sparks controversy -- Digital Journal
Military mom's breastfeeding photo causes controversy and outrage -- Examiner
Photo of military moms breastfeeding causes controversy -- Examiner
Military Moms Breastfeed in Uniform & the World Freaks Out -- The Stir
Military Moms Breastfeeding in Uniform Surprised at Controversy Stirred by Pic -- Inquisitr
Breastfeeding in uniform: What’s your opinion? -- Air Force Times

WNU Editor: The photo gallery starts here. What`s my take .... Eric Palmer sums it up best.

U.S. Defense Sec. Panetta To Explain US Strategic Shift To Asian Allies

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta waves as he boards an Air Force E4-B on Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 30, 2012. Panetta departed on a 10-day trip to Asia to meet with defense counterparts. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Panetta To Explain US Strategic Shift To Asian Allies -- Reuters

* Defense secretary to visit Singapore, Vietnam, India
* Trip comes amid renewed South China Sea tensions
* Delicate balance needed to avoid spat with China

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will brief allies on the U.S. strategic shift toward Asia and will seek to allay concerns that fiscal uncertainty could undermine Washington's commitment to the effort as he begins a week-long visit to the region this weekend.

With the Asia-Pacific region unsettled by renewed tensions over competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, Panetta flies to Hawaii on Wednesday for briefings with the head of the U.S. Pacific Command before traveling on to Singapore for the annual Shangri-La Dialogue.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Traveling To Asia To Meet (And Explain) America`s Strategic Shift Toward Asia

Panetta leaving on 9-day trip to Asia -- CNN
Panetta heads to Asia to back allies, avoid riling China -- Stars and Stripes/Bloomberg
Panetta Travels to Asia to Discuss Refocus on Region -- Defpro
U.S. to refocus on Asia-Pacific region -- UPI
Panetta Heads to Asia to Explain Strategic Shift -- Epoch Times
Panetta to discuss military trade on India trip -- New York Daily News
Will strengthen US naval presence in Asia: Panetta -- Zee News
Navy grads told their future is building US strength in Pacific -- MSNBC
“Delicate Dance” for Panetta in China’s Backyard -- Kirk Spitzer, Time

My Comment: This is the real reason on why Leon Panetta is going to Asia. More here.

Pakistan Militants Say Bin Laden Doc Not Tied To Them Despite Pakistani Court And Government Claims


New Pakistani Reason For Jailing bin Laden Case Doctor -- Reuters

(Reuters) - In another twist to a case that is straining Islamabad's ties with Washington, a Pakistani court says the doctor who helped the United States find Osama bin Laden was imprisoned for aiding militants and not for his links to the CIA.

It is the third different explanation for the 33-year jail sentence handed to Dr. Shakil Afridi.

Last week after his conviction by a court in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said the decision was based on treason charges for aiding the CIA in its hunt for the al Qaeda chief.

When that announcement rankled U.S. officials, Pakistan then said the doctor had a history of womanizing.

Read more
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Update:
Pakistan Doctor Guilty of Militancy, not CIA Links -- Military.com/AP

My Comment: Pakistan militants have denied any linkage to the doctor. I have also hear that U.S. officials are not impressed with this Pakistani explanation.

Update: Is this the U.S. response to Pakistan's behavior?

Is Iran Cleaning Up Evidence Of Nuclear Weapons Work

This May 25, left, and April 9, combination photo provided by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) shows evidence of extensive earth dumping in the pond to the north of a high explosive test site and signs of fresh traffic on the road leading to the pond. Courtesy of ISIS/AP

Satellite Images Suggest Iran Cleaning Up Evidence Of Nuclear Weapons Work -- Christian Science Monitor

A report by the Institute for Science and International Security says a new image of Iran's Parchin military complex 'raises concerns that Iran is attempting to raze the site prior to allowing an IAEA visit.'

United Nations weapons inspectors yesterday shared satellite images that suggest Iran may be cleaning up evidence of past nuclear weapons-related work, at a suspect military site inspectors have been seeking to visit.

At a closed-door briefing in Vienna, the deputy head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed diplomats several satellite images taken over the past half-year of Iran's sprawling Parchin military complex.

Read more ....

More News On Iran 'Cleaning Up' Parts Of The Iran Parchin Military Complex

Satellite photos said to show Iran nuke clean up
-- AJC/AP
Buildings at Iran military site "razed" - U.S. think-tank -- Reuters
Demolition visible at Iran military site -- UPI
Iran Razes Two Buildings Near Suspected Parchin Nuclear Site -- SFGate/Bloomberg
More signs of a clean-up at suspect Iran site -- The Guardian
These New Images From Iran May Offer Evidence Of Nuclear Testing -- Business Insider
Satellite Images Confirm Iranian Cover Up -- Arutz Sheva
Factbox: Iran's Parchin military site -- Reuters

Chinese Crackdown Being Reported In Tibet


China Detains Hundreds After Tibet Immolations -- Voice of America

Chinese police reportedly have detained hundreds of people as part of a security lockdown in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, after two people set themselves on fire there earlier this week to protest Chinese rule.

The U.S. government-backed Radio Free Asia cited a local source late Wednesday as saying that Chinese authorities have locked up about 600 Tibetan residents. It said many others from outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region have been expelled.

Read more ....

More News On Tibetan Protests

600 detained in Tibetan capital -- UPI
Witnesses Report Massive Chinese Crackdown in Tibetan Capital -- Voice of America
Arrests reported after Tibet self-immolations -- New York Daily News
Detentions reported in Tibet capital after immolations -- BBC
China detains hundreds in Tibet over self-immolation protests -- The Telegraph
Tibetan woman dies after setting herself on fire -- The Guardian
Two Tibetans self-immolate in Lhasa: is protest spreading? -- John Ruwitch, Christian Science Monitor

Civil War In Syria -- News Updates May 31, 2012



Syria: Free Army Rebels Issue 48-Hour Deadline For Bashar al-Assad To Stop Violence -- The Telegraph

The United Nations peace plan for Syria is on the verge of officially collapsing after the Free Syrian Army gave Bashar al-Assad’s regime until noon on Friday to end violence.

Syrian rebels gave President Bashar al-Assad a 48-hour deadline to abide by the international peace plan to end violence or face violent consequences, a rebel spokesman said.

Colonel Qassim Saadeddine said in a statement posted on YouTube:

"We announce that there is no justification to continue respecting the truce from one side.

"The Annan plan arrived in Syria and al-Assad buried it in front of the world by committing massacres in Houla, Homs and Hama, Allepo, Deraa and Deir al Zour, Damascus, Idlib and Tartous and Latakia.

Read more
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More News On Syria's Civil War

Syria Live Blog -- AL Jazeera
Syria: Overview -- Yahoo News

Syria rebels say they're preparing for war -- L.A. Times
Syrian rebel commanders split on ceasefire deadline -- BBC
More Killings and Ultimatum Deepen Syria Conflict -- New York Times/Reuters
Syria rebel chief urges Annan to declare peace plan over -- Reuters
Ultimatum on Syria as killings end US hope -- Brisbane Times
Syrian rebels capture soldiers in Homs -- The Telegraph

U.N. chief: Syria faces civil war from which it 'would never recover' -- L.A. Times
UN chief gives 'Syria civil war' warning -- Al Jazeera
Another massacre could plunge Syria into civil war, says UN chief -- Haaretz
Annan says Syria 'complex,' urges end to bloodshed -- AFP
China urges world to give Annan's Syria plan time -- Reuters
Kuwait seeks Chinese support for Syria Annan plan -- Reuters
Arabs urge China to apply more pressure on Syria -- Alertnet

Analysis-Syria Massacre Pushes Moscow Toward Decision Point -- New York Times/Reuters
Russia to Block Syria Military Intervention -- Voice of America
Russia’s Putin, US trade blows over Syria -- Khaleej Times/AFP
Merkel and Hollande to Challenge Russia over Syria -- Spiegel Online

Syria set to become failed state: Israeli commander -- Reuters
IDF Commander Warns Against Possible Conflict with Syria -- Arutz Sheva
IDF may act to stop Syria weapons smuggling -- Jerusalem Post
Israel urges tougher action against Assad -- Reuters
New IDF assessment predicts Assad in power through 2013 -- Jerusalem Post

Syria intervention isn’t a slam dunk -- Walter Pincus, Washington Post
Syria: Diplomatic deadlock, deaths go on -- Ivan Watson, CNN
Why Syria feels abandoned -- Donatella Rovera, Washington Post

Six Explosions Across Bahgdad Kill At Least 17


Six Blasts Across Baghdad Kill At Least 17 -- Euronews/Reuters

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Six explosions hit neighbourhoods across Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens more in the most deadly attacks on the Iraqi capital in more than a month.

The attacks – a truck bomb in a market, a car bomb and roadside explosives – broke weeks of relative calm in Baghdad just as Iraq’s government, shared among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs, wrangles over a crisis that risks reigniting sectarian tensions.

Read more ....

Update:
Bomb attacks in Iraq kill 18, wound 53 -- USA Today/AP

My Comment: So much for the relative calm that Baghdad has been experiencing lately.

After 31 Years, Egypt's State Of Emergency To End

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members of parliament protest against the extension of emergency law, in place since 1981, during a parliament session in Cairo, Tuesday. According to local media, the government of Egypt has presented to the parliament a bill to extend the country's emergency law until the year 2012. The words on the banners read "No to emergency law". (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's State Of Emergency Ends After 31 Years -- The Telegraph

Egypt's military rulers said they had ended the decades-old state of emergency as its last renewal expired.

Vowing to continue to "protect" the nation, the military said in a statemet it would continue its "national and historic responsibility, taking into account that the state of emergency has ended, in accordance with the constitutional declaration and with the law".

It said it would continue in that role until it hands over power, as it has promised it would to an elected president by the end of June. A runoff between the two frontunners from the first round of the elction is to be held on June 16-17.

Read more
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More News On Egypt Ending 31 Years Of Emergency Rule

BREAKING: Egypt state of emergency ends for first time in 30 years -- Ahram Online
Egypt: State of emergency ends after 31 years -- Al Bawaba
Army lifts three decades-old state of emergency in Egypt -- Al Arabiya
Egypt lifts unpopular emergency law -- CNN
Egypt's notorious emergency law lapses -- CBS
Egypt state of emergency due to expire -- BBC

Ireland Votes On Europe's Fiscal Pact Referendum



Irish Voting In Fiscal Pact Referendum -- The Telegraph

Polling stations have opened across Ireland in what will be the only popular vote on a European fiscal pact that is seen as critical for the euro’s future.


reland is deciding on the ratification of a treaty that was drawn up in response to the euro debt crisis in order to enshrine the single currency’s fiscal rules, limiting government spending, into national law.

The Irish government has warned that a No vote would lead to a Greek-style banking collapse, lead to a tripling of the Ireland’s borrowing costs and plunge the country into national bankruptcy by 2014.

Read more
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My Comment: This is an important vote on the Euro and Ireland's place in it. When final results are in (later today), I will be giving a more comprehensive analysis and roundup of these events.

Former Sec. Of Defense Rumsfeld: It Is Not The Business For A U.S. President To Micromanage A CIA 'Kill List'

Photo: Donald Rumsfeld. John Shinkle/Politico

WNU Editor: Just heard former US Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld on the Laura Ingraham radio show being very critical of President Obama's supervision of the CIA 'kill list' .... that this is NOT the job of a U.S. President. He also added that the last time a President had such a 'hands on' involvement on military/covert operations was President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam war.

Over the years I have been both a supporter and critic of Donald Rumsfeld .... but on this issue he is right.

I suspect that this story will be updated later on Laura Ingraham's site, and other media outlets will follow up.

Previous Post: The White House 'Kill List' -- A News Roundup

General Says He Was 'Accurately Quoted' But Misspoke On North Korea



U.S. General Admits He Misspoke About North Korea Spying -- CNN

A U.S. general in Korea who said that American troops parachute into North Korea to spy has admitted he was not misquoted in the speech – but that he misspoke.

Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of special forces in South Korea, made the comments during a speech at a conference in Florida last week. The Diplomat, a magazine based in Japan, quoted Tolley as saying in the speech that U.S. troops parachute into North Korea to spy on underground military facilities.

Amidst the ensuing controversy, the Pentagon accused the reporter of the piece, David Axe, of misreporting the speech.

Read more ....

More News On General Admitting He Misspoke On North Korea

General Says He Was 'Accurately Quoted' But Misspoke On North Korea -- NPR
US special forces head admits North Korea comments 'could have been clearer' -- The Telegraph
US general admits blunder over N. Korea comments -- AFP
US General Says He Misspoke in North Korea Comments -- Voice of America
Are there U.S. special ops inside North Korea? -- Isaac Stone Fish, Foreign Policy

WNU Editor: David Axe has commented on the story that has put him on the 'hot seat' these past few days .... I suspect that he must feel very relieved right now .... I know I would be. A thumbs-up should also be given to Brigadier General Neil Tolley for admitting his mistake .... and going public about it. As far as I am concerned .... this story is now closed.

Afghanistan War News Updates -- May 31, 2012

U.S. Army paratroopers and Afghan soldiers patrol a village in the Tani district in Afghanistan's Khost province, May 28, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. William Begley

UN Sees Significant Drop In Afghan Civilian Casualties -- Christian Science Monitor

Civilian casualties are down in Afghanistan, according to the UN. Analysts say this has to do with the a drop in insurgent attacks and may be a sign of better US-Afghan coordination.

For the first time in five years, United Nations officials in Afghanistan have charted a decrease in civilian casualties signaling a rare bit of good news.

The first four months of this year civilian casualties dropped by 21 percent compared with the same period last year. UN officials caution that they are uncertain if the downward trend will continue through the rest of the year, however the report is consistent with others indicating an overall drop in violence throughout Afghanistan for the first part of this year.

Read more ....

More News On Afghanistan

ISAF Joint Command morning operational update - May 31, 2012 -- ISAF
War In Afghanistan News 31 May 2012 -- War on Terror News
ISAF Joint Command morning operational update -- Dvids
Combined Force Kills Several Insurgents -- US Department of Defense
NATO member, 7 police killed in Afghanistan -- L.A. Times
Suicide attack, explosion kill 7 Afghan police -- AFP
Suicide car bomber attacks police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing 5 policemen -- Washington Post/AP
Afghan Police Kill 12 Militants in 24 Hours -- CRIEnglish
Taliban Leader Set For Spring Offensive In Southern Afghanistan Arrested -- RTT News

No. 2 U.S. Commander In Afghanistan Would Like 68,000 Troops Into Next Year -- NPR
General: US should freeze Afghan troop withdrawals after summer drawdown -- The Hill

Pentagon says al-Qaida still has safe haven inside Afghanistan, but in small numbers -- Washington Post/AP
Drones are at vanguard of US mission goal to dismantle Al-Qaida in AfPak -- Economic Times

Detainees Are Handed Over to Afghans, but Not Out of Americans’ Reach -- New York Times

UN: Civilian Casualties Drop in Afghanistan -- Voice of America
579 civilians killed in four months in Afghanistan: UNAMA -- The Nation
UN reports drop in civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2012 -- UN News Centre

India fears for Afghanistan after NATO pullout -- AFP
What India fears will happen in Afghanistan post 2014 -- Rediff

Afghan school poisonings an omen? -- Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, CNN
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own -- Aryn Baker, Time

World News Briefs -- May 31, 2012



Clinton Says Military Action In Syria Would Require International Support, Including Russia -- Washington Post/AP

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that every day of slaughter in Syria is strengthening the case for tougher international action, yet stressed that military intervention would require support from the world community and Syria’s ally Russia.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

UN chief gives 'Syria civil war' warning.

Syria: rebel army issues ultimatum on UN ceasefire. Activists: Syrian troops shell Houla, site of last week's civilian massacre.

Syria military intervention would engulf Israel.

Worse case scenario in Syria.

Deadly blasts rock Baghdad.

Enrichment 'not a step towards a bomb': Ahmadinejad. Cleanup at Iran's Parchin site?

ASIA

"Hundreds detained" in Tibet after self-immolations.

Court: Pakistani Dr. jailed for militant ties, not helping CIA.

Kashmir rebel attack wounds 7 Indian soldiers.

Mass strikes across India over fuel prices.

AFRICA

Kenya military says it has captured southern Somali town; 17 al-Shabab said killed.

DR Congo army mutineers sentenced to death in absentia.

Nigeria gets foreign aid to fight Boko Haram.

Sudan, South Sudan peace talks yield progress slow.

Outrage as Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe is honoured by UN as a 'leader for tourism'.

Report: Gunmen kidnap 2 U.S. tourists in Egypt's Sinai region.

Days before Mubarak verdict, sons charged with insider trading.

Adoption from Africa: Concern over 'dramatic rise'.

EUROPE

Spain faces 'total emergency' as fear grips markets. Investors flee Spain as financial crisis spirals.

Fears for european banks as Greek depositors withdraw money.

Irish voting in fiscal pact referendum.

Moody's downgrades Danske, other Danish banks.

White House shrugs off Polish apology demands.

AMERICAS

Report: Chavez's cancer has 'entered the end stage'.

Reporter criticizes FARC for release as propaganda.

Mexico cartel drops aerial leaflets against gov't.

Mexican cartel declares war on Cheetos. Mexico protects PepsiCo subsidiary after attacks.

Quebec government under pressure as Canada's 'casseroles protests' expand.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Al-Qaeda fighters clash with Yemeni troops.

Azerbaijan 'arrested 40 and seized assault rifles and grenades as it thwarted planned terror attacks on Eurovision'.

Obama's drone war in Yemen may be Al Qaeda's best recruitment tool ever.

Pentagon: Al-Qaida still enjoys Afghan haven.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Morgan Stanley CEO defends Facebook IPO conduct.

Virgin Galactic cleared for rocket-powered test flights.

Oil set for biggest monthly drop in three years on debt crisis.

Gold poised for worst monthly run in 13 years on European crisis.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 31, 2012



North Korea Proclaims Itself A Nuclear State In New Constitution -- CNN

Seoul (CNN) -- North Korea proclaimed itself a "nuclear state" this week following a revision of its constitution earlier this year.

Kim Jong-Il has "transferred the country into an undefeated country with strong political ideology, a nuclear power state, and invincible military power," according to the updated constitution posted on its portal website Naenara. The website posted the revised constitution on Wednesday, according to Yonhap, the South Korean state affiliated news agency.

Read more
....

MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE NEWS BRIEFS

U.S. general admits he misspoke about North Korea spying -- CNN

China nukes no 'direct threat,' says US commander
-- AFP

Russia to Reopen Arctic Airbases -- RIA Novosti

Israel’s Attorney General to indict reporter for possessing classified military documents -- Washington Post/AP

Report: Iran using passenger jets to smuggle weapons to Syria, Lebanon -- MSNBC

Japanese defense ministry plans to deploy destroyers closer to N. Korea -- The Mainichi

Russia Floats Out New Corvette
-- RIA Novosti

CASSIDIAN to Protect Canadian Naval Vessels Against Laser-Based Attacks -- Defpro

Panetta to discuss military trade on India trip -- New York Daily News

U.S. military trainers trickle back into Pakistan -- Reuters

Proof That Military Chips From China Are Infected? -- Defense Tech

This Military Advisor Reveals Everything You Should Know About China's Cyber Threats Right Now -- Business Insider

With Plan X, Pentagon seeks to spread U.S. military might to cyberspace -- Washington Post

LCS Freedom Is Fit for Service
-- Information Dissemination

New Stealth Sub Is Fully Networked, But Cut Off From the Outside World -- Danger Room

F-22 Will Fly Ops If Needed; Bio Research Next 'Revolutionary' Science: DepSecDef -- Aol Defense

USAF Throws Contractors At The Angry Army -- Strategy Page

Preparations underway for X-37B landing
-- Vandenberg Air Force Base

Defense official says automatic cuts will cause 'absurdities' -- CNN

Carter to Congress: Don’t Mess With the Budget
-- Defense News

White House issues veto threat on veterans, military construction spending bill -- Washington Post/AP

Britain Launches Fight Against Sexual Violence During War -- Voice of America

Zero nuclear sense: Is reckless disarmament the plan for second Obama term?
-- Keith B. Payne, Washington Times

Our war dead: Heroes or dupes? -- Washington Times editorial

How Do Video Games and Modern Military Influence Each Other?
-- Greg Voakes, Forbes

Military Moms Breastfeeding in Uniform Stir Controversy -- Shine.Yahoo.com

Here Is One Reason Why Israel Will Not Go It Alone Against Iran

An X-Band radar like the one pictured here is set up in southern Israel. Missile Defense Agency

The Reason Israel Won't Go It Alone Against Iran May Be This One Single Piece Of US Equipment -- Business Insider

The only foreign troops stationed in Israel are from the United States and their job is to oversee an exceptional piece of radar that could save thousands of Israeli lives.

Karl Vick and Aaron J. Klein at TIME share a profile on the U.S. radar station that's making a "compelling argument against any notion that the Jewish state will launch an attack on Iran without the United States."

Read more
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My Comment: There are many reasons on why Israel would prefer to not go it alone against Iran, but what I found interesting about this article are the presence of many U.S. troops in the Negev Desert.Talk about being out of presence .... and out of mind .... as well as not providing a tempting target for Islamic militants.

Syrian Crisis Worsens As The UN's Ceasefire Crumbles



Pessimism In UN As Syria Crisis Worsens -- Al Jazeera

Fears voiced as opposition Free Syrian Army says it will stop adhering to truce by Friday if Assad forces ignore it.

UN Security Council members have voiced fears about the direction of violence-wracked Syria as the rebel Free Syrian Army gave the government of President Bashar al-Assad a 48-hour deadline to observe international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

The FSA's Colonel Qassim Saadeddine said in a video published online on Wednesday that the government must "implement an immediate ceasefire, withdraw its troops, tanks and artillery from Syrian cities and villages".

Read more ....

My Comment: The Americans are preparing for the worse.

All Eyes Are On Ireland Today As Voters Go To Vote On Europe's Fiscal Treaty

Ireland Prepares To Vote On Fiscal Treaty -- BBC

Irish voters are preparing to head to the polls to vote on whether to ratify the European Fiscal Treaty.

Rejecting it would prevent the country accessing any more emergency EU funding when its existing bailout package expires next year.

Ireland is the only one of 25 nations which is putting the fiscal pact to a national vote.

Opinion polls suggest a majority will vote Yes - though many where expected to decide at the last minute.

The BBC's Mark Simpson, in Dublin, says the Yes camp fears people, angry with continuing austerity measures, will vote against the treaty to punish the government.

Read more ....

My Comment: Everyone is expecting a yes vote .... but if they vote no .... expect chaos in the stock markets when they open on Friday.

Spain Facing A Financial Catastrophe

The escalating economic woes in Spain have led to demands for Brussels to reduce Madrid's deficit targets. Analysts argued that the European Commission should use its economic strategies, due to be unveiled today, to extend Spain's debt reduction timetable and re-focus on growth. Photo: Bloomberg News

Spain In A State Of 'Total Emergency' -- The Telegraph

Spain is in a state of 'total emergency', the country’s former prime minister has warned, with Madrid facing punitive borrowing costs and the prospect of needing a Greek-style bail-out.

Felipe Gonz├ílez, the country’s elder statesman, said: “We’re in a situation of total emergency, the worst crisis we have ever lived through.”

Global financial markets lurched yesterday at the spectre of the eurozone’s fourth biggest economy being locked out of international capital markets and being unable to fund itself.

Spanish borrowing costs soared, while the Madrid stock market fell 2.6 per cent, the euro sank to a 22-month low against the dollar and the price of Brent crude dropped 2 per cent.

Meanwhile, global investors fled to “safe havens” sending UK bonds to another low. The FTSE 100, however, dropped 1.7 per cent, along with European and American stockmarkets.

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More News On Spain's Financial/Debt Crisis

Investors flee Spain as financial crisis spirals -- AFP
Europe Fears Bailout of Spain Would Strain Its Resources -- New York Times
Europe Fears Bailout of Spain Would Strain Its Resources -- CNBC
Spain bank fears send bond yields to euro-era high -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Spain cries for help: is Berlin listening ? -- Reuters
Spain banking crisis – German U-turn on eurozone bailout pot seems a fair bet -- The Guardian
FAQ: Why is Spain now in crisis? And can it be fixed? -- Washington Post
Spain: When will the crisis bottom out? -- RT

My Comment:
This is what happens when a government just borrows and borrows money until the day comes when the lenders say enough is enough .... now is the time to pay us. This is where Spain is at this moment ..... and with the banks reserves and regional governments budget projections collapsing .... I just cannot see them paying off their debts. Unfortunately for all of us .... if Spain does financially collapse ..... they will not only destroy the euro .... but they would also produce a financial crisis that would make the 2008 Lehman collapse pale and insignificant in comparison.

Are Aircraft Carriers Still Needed?

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits while under way in the Arabian Sea, May 24, 2012. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda L. Kilpatrick

Does Anybody Still Need Aircraft Carriers? -- BBC

A major piece of Britain's new one has arrived at a dockyard, China is testing one, but 100 years after the concept was invented, does anybody still need aircraft carriers?

They are floating airfields that can deploy a nation's military might across the world's oceans.

In May 1912, the first plane took off from a moving warship, HMS Hibernia, temporarily adapted for the purpose. The idea of dedicated floating platforms had been mooted in 1909, but it wasn't until 1918 that HMS Argus became the first proper carrier.

Today, ownership of a carrier for fixed-wing aircraft admits a nation to an elite club, but the US has more than everyone else in the world put together.

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My Comment: I am trying to visualize a U.S. without any aircraft carriers .... and I cannot. Aircraft carriers project military power in a manner that nothing else can .... and in some conflicts their role becomes indisputable. So the answer is yes .... aircraft carriers are still needed.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Defends Iran's Nuclear Program

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran. [Xinhua]

Ahmadinejad Defends Iran's Nuclear Programme -- France 24

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 in Tehran Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country has "a right" to the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent. But he insisted that it was not a step toward producing a bomb.

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran has “a right” to the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, but he maintained that it has “nothing to do with producing a bomb.”

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....

Update:
Enrichment 'not a step towards a bomb': Ahmadinejad -- AFP

My Comment:
In the meantime .... Iran appears to be working hard to hide the evidence that would indicate the opposite.