Friday, August 18, 2017

American Allies In Syria Are Saying That U.S. Forces Will Be Staying In Syria For Decades

American army vehicles drive north of Manbij city, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria March 9, 2017. Rodi Said, Reuters

Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. forces to stay in Syria for decades, say militia allies

AIN ISSA, Syria (Reuters) - Washington's main Syrian ally in the fight against Islamic State says the U.S. military will remain in northern Syria long after the jihadists are defeated, predicting enduring ties with the Kurdish-dominated region.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias dominated by the Kurdish YPG, believes the United States has a "strategic interest" in staying on, SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters.

"They have a strategy policy for decades to come. There will be military, economic and political agreements in the long term between the leadership of the northern areas (of Syria) ... and the U.S. administration," Silo said.

The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State has deployed forces at several locations in northern Syria, including an airbase near the town of Kobani. It has supported the SDF with air strikes, artillery, and special forces on the ground.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Decades?!?!?!

US-South Korea War Games Set To Begin

South Korean Army K1A1 and U.S. Army M1A2 tanks fire live rounds during a U.S.-South Korea joint live-fire military exercise, at a training field, near the demilitarized zone, separating the two Koreas in Pocheon, South Korea April 21, 2017.

FOX News: All eyes on North Korea as US-South Korea war games set to begin

HAGATNA, Guam – There are two things North Korea doesn’t like. The B1 bomber, a backbone of the U.S. Air Force, and a biannual U.S.-South Korea military exercise known as Ulchi-Freedom Guardian.

That drill begins Sunday while a new contingent of bombers just arrived in Guam. North Korea sees both as a provocation.

While the U.S. has not backed away from either, both China and South Korea now say armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula is uncalled for.

"I will prevent war at all cost," South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters Thursday, which marked his first 100 days in office. "So I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war.”

Moon said he would consider sending a special envoy north but Kim Jong Un must first stop trying to arm his missiles with nuclear warheads. He also said, for the first time, that U.S. has agreed to consult with Seoul before taking any action against North Korea.

Read more ....

Update #1: Joint exercises could send Korea tensions soaring again (AFP)
Update #2: US Says Joint South Korea War Games Not on Negotiating Table (VOA)

WNU Editor: This is interesting .... 'Ready to fight': Inside the American base that could lead a strike on North Korea (ABC News Online).

Update #3: U.S., Japan step up defense cooperation to counter N.Korea (Reuters).

Is Cuba Targeting U.S. Diplomats?

Foreign Policy: Targeting American Diplomats, Cuba Is Up to its Dirty Old Tricks

When President Barack Obama announced his intention to normalize relations with Cuba in 2014, critics scoffed that no accommodation was possible with the Castro regime and that it would be only a matter of time before Havana embarrassed the White House for even trying, as it had done before to previous administrations who sought d├ętente.

We now know that last fall — in the middle of Obama’s final push to lock into place as much of his policy as he could — at least six U.S. diplomats based in Havana had to be medically evacuated to Miami for treatment after complaining of severe headaches, dizziness, and hearing loss. Some of the diplomats’ symptoms were so severe that they were forced to curtail their tours.

U.S. officials believe their illnesses were the result of prolonged exposure to some sort of covert sonic device “that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences.” In retaliation for this gross abuse of diplomatic norms, the Trump administration expelled two Cuban diplomats in Washington.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Cuba .... the people who run that country have been running it since the Cold War ..... and to them the Cold War is still in play. No surprise there. But what I am surprised about is that some in the U.S. government still feel uncomfortable in exposing and/or detailing who and what these people are .... U.S. Hiding Key Details of Mystery Attacks on American Diplomats in Cuba (Washington Free Beacon). As for Canada .... there is even less coverage .... Canadian diplomats in Havana also affected by suspected 'sonic device' which left US officials with hearing damage (The Telegraph).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stalin Is Back In Vogue In Russia

A monument to Joseph Stalin is unveiled in Yakutsk before Victory Day. (RIA Novosti / Bolot Botchkarev) / RIA Novosti

USA Today: As Confederate statues fall in U.S., Russians are erecting statues for dictator Stalin

MOSCOW — While controversial statues of Confederate icons who fought for slavery come down in the United States, Russia is erecting new monuments to a once-disgraced Soviet Union dictator who killed millions: Josef Stalin.

This summer marked the 80th anniversary of the "Great Terror," a massive purge Stalin ordered against political opponents. Yet the milestone was barely noticed by Russians, who increasingly see Stalin as a national hero who defeated the Nazis in World War II as a valued U.S. ally rather than the brutal mass murderer reviled by historians.

Many here apparently don't know that on July 30, 1937, Stalin’s secret police launched a campaign that would see more than 1.5 million "anti-Soviet elements" arrested and nearly 700,000 of them killed, according to Soviet archives. Historians say that during Stalin’s three decades of rule, which ended with his death in 1953, an estimated 15 million to 30 million people were executed or died in labor camps or starved to death.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Ignore the past. Doom to repeat it. Robert E. Lee and the KKK are pikers when compared to what Stalin and his KGB thugs did.

Hat tip to Fred for this very timely link. (Even though it gets my blood boiling).

Top Two Officers And Ten Other Sailors To Be Disciplined For USS Fitzgerald Collision

CNN: USS Fitzgerald's leadership to be removed from their duties over June collision

The commanding officer, executive officer and senior non-commissioned officer of the USS Fitzgerald are due to be removed from their duties for cause amid the fallout surrounding the deadly collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a cargo ship off the coast of Japan on June 17.

"They will be detached from the ship for cause, which is, we've lost trust and confidence in their ability to lead in those positions and they will not return to the ship," Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran told reporters at the Pentagon late Thursday.

Moran added that the commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet, Adm. Joseph Aucoin, "has notified them of his intent" to detach them for cause a move likely to occur during their non-judicial punishment process, scheduled to take place Friday.

While the final investigation into the collision is ongoing, Moran said: "We do not have to have the investigation complete to start the process."

Read more ....

More News On Top Two Officers And Ten Other Sailors To Be Disciplined For USS Fitzgerald Collision

Top two officers and other sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald to be disciplined following deadly collision at sea -- Washington Post
USS Fitzgerald: US Navy to discipline dozen sailors -- BBC
Navy Punishes Leadership of USS Fitzgerald Following Deadly Collision Off Japan -- NBC
Commander and leadership of stricken destroyer Fitzgerald to be relieved for collision -- USA Today
Navy Fires Commander, XO from USS Fitzgerald for Fatal Collision --
Top Two Officers on Navy Ship in Deadly Collision Off Japan to Be Relieved of Duties -- New York Times
Commander dismissed after US Navy ship crashed off Japan -- AFP
Captain of USS Fitzgerald and his executive officer are removed from duty after deadly collision with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan that claimed the lives of seven sailors -- Daily Mail
Navy Releases Harrowing Report On Fitzgerald Collision, Begins Punishing Sailors -- The Drive

Poll: Majority Of Americans Favor Leaving In Place Statues Of Civil War Figures Linked To Slavery

The Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson monument base is viewed in Wyman Park Dell in Baltimore, Maryland, after being removed by the city on August 16, 2017

AFP: Poll shows most Americans want to keep racism-tainted statues

A new poll Thursday showed that most Americans favor leaving in place statues of Civil War figures associated with the defense of slavery, offering a measure of support for President Donald Trump's stance on the issue.

Days after a violent rally by right-wing groups to protest removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 62 percent felt the statues should remain as historical symbols.

"Just 27 percent said they should go," said NPR. And, in a striking breakdown, 44 percent of African Americans agreed the statues should stay, against 40 percent who said they should be removed.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We were faced with the same numbers (if not more) when I was part of a group that wanted to remove Lenin's Mausoleum from Red Square in the 1990s. And the biggest supporters .... like the above poll that shows that a majority of Black Americans want to keep the status where they are .... came from those who suffered the most from Communism. I will not deny it, but I had a lot of trouble accepting the fact that most did not want the removal of Lenin's tomb .... just like I am sure that there are many right now who are having trouble accepting the above poll result. In the end I took this defeat as one more reason why we must redouble our efforts to educate the Russian public on the history and legacy of Communism .... and we are now using Lenin's Mausoleum as a tool and symbol to make this point.. Will the same be done in the U.S. .... yes and no. The push to educate the U.S. public on the history of slavery will always be there even though the country's demographics is changing, and most people do not feel responsible for that legacy. But the politics of race is still  deeply embedded in U.S. politics,  and I certainly do not see any let-up on this issue from the political and media class.

Terror Attack In Barcelona Claims 13 Lives. Shoot-Out Results In 4 Terror Suspects Killed 70 Miles From Barcelona. Attack On Barcelona Beach Kills 5

Daily Mail: Mown down as they shopped: Elderly couple run over in 'ISIS' van attack on Barcelona that killed THIRTEEN and injured more than 100 before at least one fleeing suspect is shot dead as he drove into police at roadblock

* 13 dead and dozens hurt as van drives into crowds of people in Barcelona amid reports of gunshots nearby
* Harrowing footage shows dozens of bodies lying on the pavement as armed police rushed to secure the area
* One suspect is reported to have been killed after a shootout with police hours after the initial van attack
* Police circulated images of Driss Oukabir after the atrocity, but he later handed himself in and said his documents had been stolen
* Two suspects have been arrested, but police confirm neither was the driver of the van
* Emergency services rushed to the scene near the Las Ramblas tourist area as people are urged to stay away
* Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy said he is in contact with the emergency services at the scene

Four terror suspects have been killed in a shootout 70 miles from Barcelona as police carried out an operation linked to yesterday's massacre, which claimed 13 lives and left more than 100 injured.

Video footage shows armed officers running down a street in Cambrils, to the south of the Catalan city, shortly after midnight.

A police operation has been linked to a 'possible terrorist attack', authorities confirmed on Twitter.

A tweet by Spanish police said: 'Police operation in Cambrils for possible terrorist attack. If you are now in Cambrils avoid going out. Stay home, stay safe.'

Terrifying footage shows members of the public leaping to safety as shots are fired, and armed officers were seen running down the street in an operation thought to be related to yesterday's mass killing.

Read more ....

Update: BREAKING NEWS: Up to five dead as gunfire erupts in beach resort south of Barcelona amid fears of new terror attack (Daily Mail).


The Latest: UN secretary-general condemns Barcelona attack -- AP
LIVE Barcelona - latest updates -- BBC
Barcelona attack: police kill four suspects in Cambrils terror raid – latest updates -- The Guardian
Barcelona terror attack - live updates -- DW
Barcelona live blog: Attackers killed in police operation south of Barcelona -- ABC News Online
Van smashes into pedestrians in central Barcelona Live updates -- RT


Barcelona terror attack - what we know -- DW
Barcelona 'terrorist attack': What we know -- ABC News Online
What we know so far about the Barcelona terror attack -- The Guardian
Barcelona attack: What we know so far -- BBC


Las Ramblas attack: van hits crowd in tourist area of Barcelona -- The Guardian
Barcelona: 13 dead, two men arrested after van mows down pedestrians in Las Ramblas -- ABC News Online
Barcelona terrorist attack: 13 dead, 100 injured as van plows into pedestrians -- RT
Barcelona van attack kills 13 in agonizing repeat for Europe -- AP
Terror Strikes a European City Again as 13 Killed in Barcelona -- Bloomberg
Several killed in Spain anti-terror operation after Barcelona attack -- FOX News
Videos reveal the terrifying aftermath of the Barcelona terror attack with bodies strewn on the ground and armed police hunting the driver -- Daily Mail
Catalan official says death toll may rise from Barcelona attack -- Reuters


Spain hunts van driver who mowed down Barcelona crowd, killing 13 -- Reuters
Teenage Barcelona van terror suspect 'is 18-year-old who stole his brother's identity and talked about killing infidels on social media' -- Daily Mail
ISIL claims responsibility for van attack in Barcelona -- Al Jazeera
Two arrested over Barcelona attack not the van drivers: police -- Reuters


Spanish police 'stop second attack' after 13 killed in Barcelona -- BBC
4 terrorist suspects killed, 1 captured at Cambrils seafront south of Barcelona -- RT
Police kill 'terrorists' in Cambrils, near Barcelona -- Al Jazeera
Catalan police say they have killed perpetrators of 'terrorist attack' in town south of Barcelona -- CNBC


Police link explosion south of Barcelona yesterday that completely destroyed a house 'full of butane gas canisters' and killed one person to terror attack -- Daily Mail
House explosion in Alcanar, Catalonia may be linked to Barcelona terrorist attack – police -- RT


How the horror unfolded: Graphic shows how terrorists in a white van ploughed into tourists on one of Barcelona's most popular streets -- Daily Mail
Spanish PM says Barcelona van attack result of 'jihadist terrorism' -- Reuters
Las Ramblas - Barcelona’s tourist magnet turned scene of terror -- DW
Las Ramblas: A top Barcelona site for tourists to stroll -- AP
Barcelona: Las Ramblas van attack in pictures -- ABC News Online
First footage of Barcelona terrorist attack aftermath (PHOTOS,VIDEOS) -- RT

Today's Terror Attack Hit Close To Home

My girl friend's daughter is in Barcelona for a dance competition (part of a Canadian dance troupe). She saw today's terror attack unfold today (but from a distance). She and her group are OK. The GF is relieved but stressed right now (she is in Ontario). I have been on the phone/skype for the past few hours. The excitement is dying down now, and I should be back to blogging in the next hour or two. Our prayers are for those who lost loved ones today .... and for the injured.

Update #1: Her trip to Barcelona was my gift to her for excelling in school, and being accepted by Queen's University this September.

Update #2: The GF's daughter is in the middle (see below picture). The picture was taken about an hour before the terror attack.

Report: North Korea's Next Nuclear Test Will Be Critical If It Wants To Have Nuclear Armed ICBMs

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. Reuters/KCNA

Reuters: What will Kim do next? Sixth nuclear test seen critical for North Korea

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea says it has developed intercontinental missiles capable of targeting any place in the United States.

Now comes the hard part of fulfilling the declared goal of its leader Kim Jong Un: perfecting a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on the missile without affecting its range as well as making it capable of surviving re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.

To do that, weapons experts say, the isolated state needs to carry out at least another nuclear test, its sixth, and more tests of long-range missiles.

North Korea's two tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last month likely carried a payload lighter than any nuclear warhead it is currently able to produce, the experts said.

One way to have a lighter warhead would be to concentrate on developing a thermonuclear device, or hydrogen bomb, which would offer much greater explosive yield relative to size and weight.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I expect this nuclear test to happen in the next year or two.

North Korean Propaganda Posters Show Missiles Obliterating Washington DC And The U.S.

Bold claims: This illustration is captioned, 'Entire region of the state is now within range of our missiles!', purporting that Pyongyang's bombs could reach the U.S.

Daily Mail: North Korea shows the Capitol Building being obliterated by red missiles in new series of anti-West propaganda posters

* Posters show North Korean missiles falling on Washington DC and the U.S.
* Propaganda posters claim U.S. is 'within range' of Pyongyang's missiles
* Illustrations proclaim that bombing the U.S. would be North Korea's 'answer'
* This follows escalation in animosity between the two countries
* NK has claimed it might send missiles into waters near US territory of Guam

North Korea's latest propaganda posters shows the country bombing the United States as their 'answer' to the latest UN sanctions against the country.

The illustrations sees Pyongyang warheads destroying the Capitol Building in Washington DC, and dozens of bombs falling over a burning map of the U.S.

Proclaiming that the 'entire region of the state [U.S.] is now within range of our missiles!', the posters is the latest escalation in threats of nuclear war by North Korea.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... these posters are going to be collector's items in the future.

South Korea Draws A Red Line On North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in deliver a joint statement from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Business Insider/Reuters: South Korea gave Kim Jong-un a 'red line'

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea would be "crossing a red line" if it put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile, South Korea's president said on Thursday, but the United States had promised to seek Seoul's approval before taking any military action.

North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fueled a surge in tensions in recent days. Pyongyang has threatened to fire missiles towards the Pacific island of Guam and U.S. President Donald Trump has warned it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.

"I would consider that North Korea is crossing a red line if it launches an intercontinental ballistic missile again and weaponizes it by putting a nuclear warhead on top of the missile," South Korean President Moon Jae-in said at a news conference marking his first 100 days in office.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is not really a surprise (and I would also add Japan to this mix) .... South Korea's Moon says U.S. to seek Seoul's approval before any action on North Korea (Reuters).

A Look Inside The U.S. Base Responsible For Testing Defenses Against Biological And Chemical Weapons

Photo from the Military Home Store

Daily Mail: Spectacular new pictures offer rare peek inside top secret Army base which tests defenses against biological and chemical weapons deep in the Utah desert

* Fascinating images offer a peek inside the top secret US Army Dugway Proving Ground deep in Utah desert
* The 800,000-acre base was built in 1942 and is used to create defenses against biological and chemical arms
* It is infamous for accidentally sending anthrax spores around the US and being linked to death of 6,249 sheep

These astonishing images reveal what it looks inside the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

Workers at the facility handle some of the deadliest and most dangerous biological and chemical agents on the planet.

The top secret 800,000-acre base - which is buried in the middle of the Utah desert - tests and develops defensive measures to counter a potential attack on the United States featuring chemical or biological weapons.

It was created in 1942 by the US Army Chemical Warfare Service as a more remote location than Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: 800,000 acres .... now that is one big base.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Servicemen of the Presidential Regiment during the Horse Guard mounting ceremony as part of preparations for the Spasskaya Tower festival. Moscow, Russia. © SPUTNIK/ KIRILL KALLINIKOV

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo gallery .... Russian Presidential Regiment's Performance at Kremlin's Walls (Sputnik)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How The U.S. Can Win A War Against China (Watch Star Trek And Battlestar Galactica)

Chinese artist’s conception of a PLA anti-ship ballistic missile attack on three USN CVNs.

James Holmes, National Interest: If the U.S. Navy Wants to Win a War Against China They Need to Watch Star Trek First

If you’re China and confront an antagonist that opts to do without redundancy, you can deploy a troublemaking strategy. You whittle away at the center of gravity manifest in minimal manning. The object of such a strategy? Tire and bewilder crews that may already be overworked. Fling a variety of challenges at them, along as many axes as you can, as simultaneously as you can. Give each crewman more to do than he can, on the Cylon-esque reasoning that imposing numerous, repeated contingencies compounds the demands on people and hardware. Such tactics constitute the precursor to a crushing blow—or to an American withdrawal under duress.

China’s navy, in short, could ape the Cylons’ strategy. In purely martial terms, posing missile, gun, and torpedo threats from many points of the compass from as many domains as possible—from the surface, the depths, and aloft—would compel a ship’s beleaguered defenders to cope with more challenges, perhaps, than they could manage. Flooding an embattled zone with China Coast Guard vessels, fishing craft, and purportedly civilian sea and air traffic—interspersing combat units among nonmilitary ships and planes—would further complicate U.S. commanders’ picture of the surroundings. It would be hard to act for fear of hitting the wrong target—and having pictures of an errant shot splashed across TV and computer screens around the world.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I love these hypothetical war scenarios.

Has China Finished Its Island Building Campaign In The South China Sea?

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

The Maritime Executive:
China May be Finished with Island-Building Campaign

On Tuesday, Philippines defense minister Delfin Lorenzana announced that Manila has reached an understanding with Beijing about Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, and that China has promised not to seize any additional land features in the region. "The Chinese will not occupy new features in the South China Sea nor they are going to build structures in Scarborough Shoal," he told a congressional hearing.

China has built a string of seven artificial islands in the Spratly chain, all of them on land features claimed by the Philippines and other nations. The government of former Philippine president Benigno Aquino opposed Chinese expansion in the region, but under the current leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, Manila has downplayed the dispute in favor of strengthening economic ties.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like China is now shifting from building islands to enforcing it's claims.

Recent U.S. - NATO Exercises Hampered By Customs And Bureaucracy

Bloomberg editorial: NATO Troops Can't Fight If They're Stuck at Customs

A recent exercise showed that soldiers face all sorts of bureaucratic hassles.

The D-Day landings in 1944 were the most complex military operation in history, but at least the GIs didn’t need to get their passports stamped on Omaha Beach. It sounds absurd, but today U.S. and NATO forces have to contend with such formalities, and more besides, as they go about their business of defending Europe.

Obviously, in the event of war, these bureaucratic impediments would be lifted. But so far as possible they should also be lifted for the purpose of preparing for war. Better coordination and compatibility among the allies requires a good hard look at the current arrangements.

Under U.S. leadership, NATO’s military partners recently completed Operation Saber Guardian in Eastern Europe; involving 25,000 troops over 10 days, it was the largest such exercise this year. For militaries that have spent more than a decade focused on fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and the Middle East, it was a vital refresher course in conventional warfare. It also helped assure the Eastern European members that the West has their back.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Customs? Noise bylaws? Load restrictions on bridges? The bureaucracy definitely lives.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, And The U.S. National Security Team Will Be Meeting At Camp David On Friday To Discuss Afghanistan

Reuters: Trump to discuss Afghan strategy with security team on Friday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will meet with their national security team on Friday at Camp David to discuss U.S. strategy in South Asia, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The administration has been working to develop a new strategy for the long-running conflict in Afghanistan and the Pakistan border region as it decides whether to deploy additional troops to combat recent Taliban advances.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am not getting a good feeling on this.

More News On President Trump At Camp David On Friday To Discuss Afghanistan Strategy

Trump at Camp David on Friday for Afghanistan talks -- AFP
Trump to tackle Afghanistan strategy at Camp David -- The Hill
Trump says close to decision on Afghanistan -- Reuters
Trump to travel to Camp David for national security meeting -- Washington Examiner

U.S. Soldier Killed In Afghanistan. Others Wounded

The Hill: US service member killed in Afghanistan — 11th this year

A U.S. service member died Wednesday after suffering fatal wounds during an operation against the Afghanistan branch of ISIS, according to a U.S. Forces-Afghanistan statement.

It is the 11th death of a U.S. service member in the country in 2017.

The incident took place during a partnered operation with U.S. and Afghan Forces in Eastern Afghanistan.

Several U.S and Afghan forces were injured during the operation which was “aimed at further reducing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan presence in Afghanistan,” according to the statement.

Read more ....

More News On A U.S. Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

American Service Member Killed and Others Wounded in Afghanistan Raid -- NYT
1 US soldier killed in combat in Afghan; others wounded -- Washington Post/AP
US Service Member Killed in Eastern Afghanistan, Pentagon Says --
US Service Member Killed in Eastern Afghanistan -- VOA
US service member killed, others injured in Afghanistan -- Washington Examiner
US Service Member Killed, Others Wounded In Eastern Afghanistan -- Task & Purpose

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 11, 2017

Jason Wilson, The Guardian: Why is the US still fighting the civil war?

Confederate symbols have become a crucible of racial tension in the US. White nationalists claim they are important monuments – but are they just a way to rewrite an ugly history and revive the battles of the past?

In St Paul’s memorial church in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Friday, just up the street from where white supremacists were gathering for a torchlight rally, Cornel West explained why African Americans saw the removal of Confederate monuments as so important.

On hearing that hundreds of white supremacists were gathered in a nearby park, the civil rights leader said, with a hint of weariness: “These are chickens coming home to roost. We should have eliminated these statues a long time ago.

“The idea that the American family has to embrace figures like [Confederate general] Robert E Lee, or Stonewall Jackson, who were fundamentally committed to enslaving black people in perpetuity … These people are not heroes.”

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 11, 2017

8 million dead - what nuclear war with North Korea could look like -- Harry J. Kazianis, FOX News

Where did North Korea get its missile technology? -- Roman Goncharenko, DW

Why didn't sanctions stop North Korea’s missile program? -- Daniel Salisbury, Defense News

New sanctions seeing impact, setting off a diplomatic row between China, North Korea -- Justin Hastings, Channel News Asia

Is China being left behind in US-N.Korea sparring? -- AFP

China, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions -- Peter Huessy, RCD

Between old foe and aggressive ally, no honeymoon for South Korea's Moon -- Ju-min Park and Heekyong Yang, Reuters

A new strategy for Afghanistan: change course, quit the fight -- Daniel L. Davis, Washington Times

The US Is Headed Toward Another Cuban Missile Crisis -- John A. Tures, Observer

Sectarian War Is Looming Over Afghanistan -- Rustam Ali Seerat, The Diplomat

How to Destroy Afghanistan: Establish a Private Contractor Army -- Molly Dunigan, National Interest

What Does Victory Look Like in Afghanistan? -- Adam Wunische, RCD/The Bridge

To ‘Win’ in Afghanistan, Devise a Strategy and Do Not Quit -- Robert Cassidy, RCD

The specter of civil war in Venezuela -- Washington Post editorial

Why is the US still fighting the civil war? -- Jason Wilson, The Guardian

World News Briefs -- August 16, 2017

Washington Post: Trump’s generals condemn Charlottesville racism — while trying not to offend the president

One by one, the U.S. military’s most senior leaders have publicly — and bluntly — repudiated the racist violence that plunged Charlottesville into chaos Saturday, declaring the nation’s armed forces as being unequivocally against hatred.

By midmorning Wednesday, the military’s four service chiefs had issued firm, forceful statements that stand apart from remarks made by President Trump, who faces deepening criticism for his repeated attempts to evenly distribute blame for clashes between white nationalists and the anti-fascist protesters who showed up to oppose them. One woman died and 19 were injured when a car, which police said was driven by 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio, slammed into people demonstrating along a crowded, narrow street near the University of Virginia.

Read more ....


Iraqi jets bomb Islamic State stronghold ahead of ground assault.

Arab fighters struggle to assert role in Raqqa assault.

US-led strikes kill 17 in Syria's Raqa: monitor.

Syrian army comes closer to encircling Islamic State in central Syria desert.

Rebels say they shoot down Syrian military jet, army confirms crash.

South Yemen leader vows to continue fight against 'rebels' in north.

In Iran, Islamic State seeks to fan militancy among minorities.

Iran threatens to back out of nuclear deal over Trump sanctions.

Turkey warns Iraqi Kurdish referendum risks 'civil war'.

Turkey asks Germany for extradition of top coup suspect.

Saudi Arabia: new details of dissident princes' abductions emerge.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq look to reopen border after 27 years. With a wary eye on Iran, Saudi and Iraqi leaders draw closer.


Trump at Camp David on Friday for Afghanistan talks. Trump to discuss Afghan strategy with security team on Friday.

Taliban 'open letter' to Trump urges US to leave Afghanistan.

Chinese troops armed with iron bars and rocks brawl with Indian soldiers near border, New Delhi source says. Indian and Chinese troops clash in disputed Himalayan border region.

Modi says India will fight foreign threats in Independence Day speech that sends warning to China.

Abe and Trump reaffirm importance of halting North Korean missile launches.

South Korean President Moon: We will prevent war 'at all cost'.

Tillerson: U.S. still interested in talks with N. Korea.

China’s energy exports to North Korea plummet – but it’s not because of sanctions.

Report: North Korea cracks down on Pyongyang population growth.

Report: Considerable drop in militancy in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas.

Philippine police kill 32 in bloodiest night of Duterte’s war on drugs.

Young Afghans see opportunities dwindle as security worsens.


Jihadists strike across West Africa.

U.N. inquiry finds Congolese militia likely killed U.N. monitors.

'War crimes': ICC issues arrest warrant for Libyan commander.

Libyan marine rescue zone aims to 'organise' NGOs: navy.

More than 300 dead, 700 missing after Sierra Leone mudslide. Floods kill more than 300, fears rise for 600 missing.

Nigeria must protect refugee camps, NGO says after bombings.

Burkina restaurant attackers 'came from Mali': security source.

Mauritania's president approves law abolishing senate.

Grace Mugabe 'back in Zimbabwe' after alleged assault in South Africa. South Africa debates immunity for Zimbabwe first lady.

Kenya's Odinga to take poll dispute to top court. Kenyan opposition leader to challenge election result in court.

Anger boils five years after S.African massacre of miners.


Ukraine president orders probe into 'groundless' alleged links to North Korea missiles.

Russian-Germans in focus amid fears of Moscow propaganda.

Angela Merkel attacks SPD rival over Germany’s Nato budget pledge.

Disarmament experts urge Europe to help halt 'Cold War 2.0': German minister.

Britain seeks Brexit without borders for Northern Ireland.

Ex-Russian minister Ulyukayev faces bribery charges, pins blame on Rosneft head and Putin ally.

Swiss hotel tells 'Jewish guests' to shower before swimming.


Confederate monuments removed in Baltimore, other cities.

Trump's stance on Virginia violence shocks America's allies.

US military leaders condemn racism after deadly protests.

FBI has 'reopened' case on search for Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting records.

US urges LatAm powers to isolate N.Korea.

In South America, Pence discusses trade and Venezuela crisis with U.S. allies.

Venezuela's Maduro makes surprise visit to Cuba. Venezuelan president, in Cuba, pays homage to Fidel Castro.

Venezuela mulls 'law against intolerance,' aimed at dissenters.

Maduro orders Venezuelan military drills.

FARC's final weapons removed 'in last breath' of Colombia conflict.

Cuba: Diplomats being deafened by 'covert sonic devices', finger pointed at Government.


Al Qaeda publishes blueprint for attacks on key U.S. transportation systems.

Former Al-Shabab No. 2 quits militant group.

ISIS poses one of the biggest threats to religious freedom, State report says.

US names Hizbul Mujahideen as 'terrorist' group.

Khaled Sharrouf, Australian terrorist, believed to have been killed in air strike in Syria.


US stocks edge higher as retailers rally; oil companies fall.

US can 'be patient' in raising rates, Fed members say.

Trump abruptly ends manufacturing council after CEOs disband strategy and policy forum.

IMF warns China over 'dangerous' growth in debt.

Trump renews attack on Amazon, claiming 'jobs lost'.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 16, 2017

The guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville is named after the greatest Civil War victory of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It is one of at least five Navy ships named after icons of the Civil War South (MC1 Peter Burghart/Navy).

Navy Times: Meet the Navy ships named in honor of the Confederacy

As debate rages and turns bloody in Charlottesville and elsewhere regarding the place that monuments to the slave-holding Confederacy should have in 21st century America, the guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville steams along as part of Pacific Fleet.

The ship is named after the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, a Civil War engagement considered to be the greatest victory of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The Navy commissioned the Chancellorsville in 1989, when it joined at least four other ships named in honor of a Confederate force that sunk U.S. warships during the Civil War.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 16, 2017

McCain, Taliban, Blackwater offer own Afghanistan War plans while waiting for Trump -- Washington Times

Kim Jong Un Steps Back From the Nuclear Cliff -- 38 North

China, US military chiefs vow to patch up differences as North Korea threat rumbles on -- SCMP

US military chief urges China to pressure North Korea -- AFP

US, China military chiefs reach deal to reduce 'risk of miscalculation' -- CNN

Taiwan on high alert after Chinese air force drills -- SCMP

China May be Finished with Island-Building Campaign -- Maritime Executive

China's making major progress with its aircraft carrier tech -- Popular Science

Here's what we know about the reported 100,000 Russian troops going to NATO's borders -- Business Insider

Russia's new Su-57 'stealth' fighter already looks like a disappointment -- Business Insider

Ukraine rocket maker denies leaking know-how to North Korea -- Defense News/AP

India’s New Domestic Artillery Gun Fails Weapons Trials for Third Time -- Sputnik

India Struggles to Modernize Defense Industry -- Cipher Brief

Iran's military chief in rare visit to Turkey for Syria talks -- Reuters

France and Germany Have High Hopes for New Fighter Jet -- Stratfor

Britain's new $3.86B aircraft carrier arrives at home port -- UPI

Sweden to raise military budget by SEK 8 billion through 2020 -- Reuters

Italy defense budget drops in 2017 -- Defense News

Upgunned Stryker in Europe to help shape future infantry lethality -- Defense News

Raytheon/Lockheed secure contract for foreign Javelin missile sales -- UPI

US Army microsatellite heads to space to aid war fighters on the ground -- Defense News

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower prepares for 6-month overhaul in Norfolk -- UPI

USS John C. Stennis departs for sea trials early after overhaul -- UPI

Damaged Destroyer USS Fitzgerald to Be Transported Back to US for Repairs -- Sputnik

Analysts Worried About New Navy Frigate -- National Defense

The Army is testing a new combat fitness test -- Army Times

Five Missing After Army Helicopter Goes Down off Hawaii -- NBC

Marine Corps requests 50,000 more M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles -- UPI

Jim Mattis calls looming stop-gap budget 'as unwise as can be' for military -- Washington Examiner

Navy commander pleads guilty in massive corruption scandal -- Navy Times/AP

The U.S. Military Shouldn’t Use Commercial Drones -- Faine Greenwood, Slate

Venezuelan Soldiers Begging For Food In Neighbouring Guyana

Miami Herald: Armed Venezuelan soldiers caught in Guyana begging for food

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA: A handful of Venezuelan soldiers — armed and in uniform — were caught in neighboring Guyana last week begging for food, local police reported, another sign of Venezuela’s deepening hunger crisis.

Guyanese Police Inspector Christopher Humphrey said he’d gone to the border along the Amacuro river, which divides the two nations, to investigate reports that the Venezuelan military was stealing food from locals. But the three soldiers he encountered — two carrying military assault rifles — said they had come to beg for meals and hadn’t harmed anyone.

Humphrey said the men had crossed into Guyana on a wooden raft and seemed genuinely hungry.

“They were desperate,” he told the Miami Herald. “They were here for some time and they showed me a can of sardines and the place where they had cooked it over a fire.”

Hunger is on the rise in Venezuela, amid triple-digit inflation and the government’s inability to import basic goods. And neighboring Colombia, Brazil and Guyana have seen a spike in Venezuelans looking for food.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have a close friend who lives in Georgetown (capital of Guyana). He has told me that there are many homeless beggars from Venezuela in the city, and their numbers are growing dramatically. But this is the first time that I am reading a report of starving Venezuelan soldiers.

President Obama Was Warned In 2014 That Russia Wanted To Disrupt The U.S. Political System

Politico: Obama team was warned in 2014 about Russian interference

In 2014, the administration got a report of Russia’s intention to disrupt Western democracies, including the United States.

The Obama administration received multiple warnings from national security officials between 2014 and 2016 that the Kremlin was ramping up its intelligence operations and building disinformation networks it could use to disrupt the U.S. political system, according to more than half a dozen current and former officials.

As early as 2014, the administration received a report that quoted a well-connected Russian source as saying that the Kremlin was building a disinformation arm that could be used to interfere in Western democracies. The report, according to an official familiar with it, included a quote from the Russian source telling U.S. officials in Moscow, "You have no idea how extensive these networks are in Europe ... and in the U.S., Russia has penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments and militaries in all of these places."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A harsh assessment on President Obama .... and all but ignored by the drive-by media's focus on today's race relations and the move to remove all Confederate symbols. But for those who care .... I understand why President Obama was sceptical .... the U.S. political is too big and too much in flux for it to be seriously impacted and/or influenced by a cyber and disinformation campaign. And while I know that U.S. intel officials (who wish to remain anonymous) believe otherwise .... I have yet to see (after all of this time) the evidence that they have accumulated to make the case for their assessment. But granted, they are trying .... In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking (New York Times).

Pressure Builds From Activists To Remove 1,500 Symbols Of The Confederacy Throughout The U.S.

Washington Post: Baltimore hauls away four Confederate monuments after overnight removal

Crews removed Baltimore’s Confederate statues early Wednesday, days after the deadly unrest in Charlottesville instigated by white nationalists rallying to defend a downtown Confederate monument.

The quiet and sudden removal of four monuments, with little fanfare and no advance notice, marks an attempt by the city to avoid a long, bruising conflict that has embroiled Charlottesville and other communities rethinking how they honor figures who fought to preserve slavery.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) announced Monday she was in talks with contractors to haul away the statues, and the city council approved a removal plan that night. Some activists had vowed to destroy the monuments before government could act.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I will never forget what the mayor of the Chinese city of Quanzhou (Fujian, China) told me in 1988 on what he did during the Chinese Cultural revolution. During the Cultural Revolution Mao's cadres were destroying and obliterating China's history, and while the mayor was a minor official at the time he made the decision to save what was one of the city's most important historical buildings .... the Buddhist Kaiyuan Temple. They barricaded the doors and kept the mob out .... but if the mob had succeeded they would have destroyed one of the world's oldest and most unique Buddhist temples. The Taliban have also pursued this destruction of history .... the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan are their legacy .... and it is now in the the Middle East .... with radical Islamists pushing for the obliteration of the region's history .... from wanting to destroy the pyramids in Egypt to the actual destruction of temples and shrines in Syria and Iraq. This is human nature at its worse .... finding offence with history, and responding to it by destroying it.

The U.S. is not immune to this desire to purge a part of its history .... at the moment the focus is on the history of the Confederacy. Tomorrow .... who knows what these activists will want .... but I do know that once they have succeeded they will not be satisfied and they will be looking at other targets. This is just the beginning .... and it is going to get even far more violent. Groups like Antifa are just as violent as neo-Nazis .... though some in the media are trying today to portray a different narrative.

A little bit of my own history .... after the fall of the Soviet Union I was part of a group that wanted Lenin's Mausoleum removed from the Red Square. There were debates and discussions .... and our point of view was rejected. But there was a compromise .... there would be no sugar-coating on Lenin's role in the rise of Communism, and its legacy. I am satisfied with that .... but we are now pushing to build a memorial to remember the victims of Communism on Red Square and/or adjacent to it. I do not know when this will happen .... but I am confident that with time we will be successful.

5 U.S. Army Crewmen Missing After Black Hawk Helicopter Crashes Near Oahu

Honolulu Patch: Hawaii Army Helicopter Goes Down, Search Ongoing For 5 Crew Members

BREAKING: Officials at Wheeler Army Airfield around 10 p.m. Tuesday​ lost contact with the crew of a UH-60 Black Hawk, the Coast Guard said.

HONOLULU, HI — An Army helicopter training between Kaena Point and Oahu's Dillingham Airfield went down, and the U.S. Coast Guard and military crews are searching the ocean for five crew members, authorities said Wednesday.

Officials at Wheeler Army Airfield near Honolulu around 10 p.m. Tuesday lost contact with the crew of a UH-60 Black Hawk, the Coast Guard said in a release. Responding teams reported seeing debris about 2 miles west of Kaena Point just before 11:30 p.m.

Read more ....

More News On 5 U.S. Army Crewmen Missing After Their Black Hawk Helicopter Crashed Near Oahu

5 missing after Army helicopter reported down off coast of Hawaii -- Dayton Daily News/AP
Army helicopter with five on board crashes off Kaena Point -- Honolulu Star Advertiser
5 crewmen missing after Army chopper crashes near Oahu -- CNN
5 missing after report of downed Army helicopter off Hawaii -- ABC News
Army helicopter with 5 aboard crashes off Hawaii - US Coast Guard -- Reuters

President Trump: 'North Korea Made A Very Wise And Well Reasoned Decision To Not Launch Missiles At Guam'

Reuters: Trump praises N.Korean leader's decision not to fire missiles towards Guam

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a "wise" decision not to fire missiles towards the U.S. territory of Guam, which has eased escalating tension between the two countries.

Reclusive North Korea has made no secret of its plan to develop a missile capable of firing a nuclear warhead at the United States to counter what it perceives as constant U.S. threats of invasion.

Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles towards the Pacific island of Guam.

But North Korean media reported on Tuesday Kim had delayed the decision while he awaited to see what the United States did next.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump's Remarks That 'North Korea Made A Very 'Wise And Well Reasoned Decision To Not Launch Missiles At Guam'

Trump praises North Korea's Kim Jong Un for backing down on missile threat -- CNN
President Trump praises ‘wise decision’ from Kim Jong Un on Twitter --
Trump: Kim Jong Un made 'very wise' decision to back down -- FOX News

U.S. And Chinese Militaries Agree To Increase Communication To Reduce The 'Risk of Miscalculation'

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signs the Joint Staff Dialogue Mechanism with his Chinese counterpart Gen. Fang Fenghui following a roundtable discussion at the Ba Yi, Aug. 15, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Wall Street Journal: U.S., China Militaries Set Up Speed Dial to Avoid Inadvertent North Korea War

A potential crisis looms large as the American and Chinese armed forces establish new ties.

BEIJING—The Pentagon’s top military officer will make a rare visit on Wednesday to the Chinese armed-forces command that oversees the territory bordering North Korea, a move experts say suggests Beijing’s displeasure with Pyongyang.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, the officer, also signed a deal with his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday to formalize and increase operational communication between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, officials from both sides said.

Gen. Dunford’s visit was planned well before North Korea threatened to attack Guam, but the two developments reflect mounting concern on both sides that the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs could lead to military miscalculations between the U.S. and China, analysts said.

The Trump administration has pressed China to do more to rein in North Korea, leading to Beijing’s support for new United Nations sanctions this month.

Read more ....

More News On Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford's Visit To China

Dunford Notes 'Difficult Issues' with China --
US, China military chiefs reach deal to reduce 'risk of miscalculation' -- CNN
Top U.S. General Says China Needs to Increase Pressure on N.Korea -- US News and World Report/Reuters
U.S., China agree to improve military communication -- UPI
US, China Sign Communication Deal Amid Heightened Tensions on Korean Peninsula -- VOA
PLA, US military to work together -- ECNS
Top US general in China to strengthen military ties -- Global Times