Saturday, July 22, 2017

'Aggressive' Chinese Spy Ship Is Off The Coast Of Australia Monitoring Current Australia-US War Games

The vessel is fitted with communications systems designed to eavesdrop on other militaries. (ABC News)

ABC News Online: Chinese Navy spy ship rattles Talisman Sabre war games off Queensland coast

A high-tech Chinese spy ship has been spotted off the Queensland coast monitoring joint military exercises between Australia and the United States, in what Defence officials have described as an "unfriendly" and "provocative" act.

The ABC can reveal the Auxiliary General Intelligence (AGI) vessel from the People's Liberation Army was sighted by the Defence Force in international waters during this month's Talisman Sabre war games.

The Type 815 Dongdiao-class AGI vessel is fitted with advanced communications systems designed to eavesdrop on other militaries.

In a statement to the ABC, Defence confirmed the spy ship had "been operating off the north-east coast of Australia" during the joint military exercises.

Read more ....

More News On A Chinese Spy Ship That Is Off The Coast Of Australia Monitoring Current Australia-US War Games

Chinese spy ship spotted off the coast of Australia as local and U.S. forces carry out military exercises -- Daily Mail
Chinese spy ship spotted near war games, Australia says -- SCMP
Australia says Chinese spy ship near war games -- Reuters
‘Provocative move’: Chinese spy ship sighted off Queensland coast -- The Guardian
Chinese Spy Ship Monitored War Games Between U.S. and Australia -- Bloomberg
Chinese spy ship keeps watch on Aust-US war games -- West Australian
'Aggressive': Chinese spy ship monitors Australia-US war games -- Sydney Morning Herald

Did The New York Times Foil An Attempt To Kill Or Capture Islamic State Leader Al-Baghdadi?


CBS: Trump accuses New York Times of foiling plot to kill ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

President Trump weighed in on a number of hot-button topics in a string of tweets Saturday morning, the day after naming a new White House communications director and accepting the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer.

The president took aim at some familiar targets: the "Amazon Washington Post," leaks, Hillary Clinton, "Special Council" Robert Mueller and others.

But one missive in particular left observers scratching their heads. In a cryptic tweet, Mr. Trump accused "the Failing New York Times" of foiling an attempt to kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: General Tony Thomas explains the specific intel leak from the New York Times that foiled the U.S. in getting ISIS leader al-Baghdadi (see video below). The New York Times article itself is here .... A Raid on ISIS Yields a Trove of Intelligence (New York Times). What's my take .... when you read this New York Times article it is obvious that they are disclosing all the intel that this US ISIS- raid was able to get ..... and by posting it the New York Times was basically telling everyone what U.S. intelligence had. And while the New York Times and its allies in the media are circling the wagons on this one .... Trump Tweets New York Times 'Foiled Attempt' to Kill ISIS Leader—Is He Right? (Newsweek) .... I trust more the head of Special Operations Command General Tony Thomas's explanation on the impact of these leaks over the media's explanation/rationalisation.



More News On President Trump Accusing The New York Times Of Foiling An Attempt To Kill Or Capture Islamic State Leader Al-Baghdadi

Trump slams NY Times for 'foiling' bid to capture IS chief -- AFP
Donald Trump Accuses New York Times of Foiling Attempt to Kill ISIS Leader -- TIME
Trump attacks NY Times for 'sick agenda' on national security -- The Hill
ISIS broken, but leader slipped away due to leak, says key general -- FOX News
Top general says LEAKS to the New York Times are the reason ISIS leader al-Baghdadi escaped US forces and is likely still alive -- Daily Mail

There Are No Urinals Aboard The U.S. Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald Ford

Photo: Aboard the USS Gerald R Ford -- (July 10, 2017) Onboard the $12.9 billion aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford, all the ship's "heads," which is Navy for bathroom, are unisex. The Navy says it makes it easier to move people around in the ship as no modification is required. Photo Credit: Mark D. Faram/Staff

Navy Times: Why the Navy's newest aircraft carrier has no urinals

The new aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford has all sorts of high-tech gear equipped for 21st century naval warfare. But there is one thing that male sailors will notice is no longer available: Urinals.

For the first time, every bathroom on the Ford — known throughout military circles as a head — is designed to be “gender-neutral,” meaning all of the urinals have been replaced with flush toilets and stalls, Navy officials say.

The vast majority of the 5,000-plus sailors who will deploy aboard the carrier Ford are men, as women account for only about 18 percent of sailors in the Navy.

Bathroom design experts say water closets with seated toilets are less sanitary and take up far more space than wall-mounted urinals.

Nevertheless, the Navy says there are advantages to eliminating urinals.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I pity the cleaners/janitors who will have to work aboard this aircraft carrier.

President Trump Officially Commissions U.S. Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald Ford



CBS: Trump says military "bigger, better, stronger" at USS Gerald R. Ford commissioning

President Trump officially commissioned the U.S. Navy's newest and largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, applauding the military's strength.

"When it comes to battle, we don't want a fair fight. We demand victory and we will have total victory, believe me," Mr. Trump said of the powerful aircraft carrier.

"American steel and American hands have constructed a 100,000-ton message to the world," he added. "America's might is second to none."

Read more ....

More News On President Trump Officially Commissioning The U.S. Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald Ford

Trump helps commission $12.9 billion aircraft carrier-- AP
Away from DC turmoil, Trump welcomes new high-tech warship to Navy -- AFP
Trump, Aboard New Aircraft Carrier, Urges Military Funds Boost -- Bloomberg
President Trump commissions new 'supercarrier' while pressing for more military spending -- USA Today
Trump, U.S. Navy commission carrier USS Gerald R. Ford -- UPI
Trump commissions USS Gerald R. Ford, calls on Congress to boost defense spending -- Washington Times
Exclusive: An Inside Look at USS Gerald R. Ford (America's Newest Aircraft Carrier) -- National Interest
USS Gerald R. Ford: Inside the world's most advanced aircraft carrier -- FOX News

Update:
The USS Gerald Ford is far from ready to be deployed .... America's New $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier Is Still Far From Ready (Foxtrot Alpha).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 22, 2017


Curt Mills, National Interest: Does the New York Times Want America In Iraq for One Hundred Years?

And questions abound about why some might want to exaggerate Iranian power.

The headline of the New York Times piece was breathless: “Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. Handed the Country Over.” The content was only slightly less so: “But after the United States’ abrupt withdrawal of troops in 2011, American constancy is still in question here—a broad failure of American foreign policy, with responsibility shared across three administrations.”

The statement is curious. “What about U.S. history of involvement there tells you it’s going to end well?” asks Hussein Banai of Indiana University Bloomington. Arango’s reporting, which advocates for “American constancy” in Iraq, “contributes to this mythmaking on all sides that all Iraq might need is a U.S. stablizing force,” says Banai. “And it’s just ridiculous.” (Iran’s foreign minister, the veteran diplomat Javad Zarif, also complained about this piece in comments to the National Interest on Monday).

Read more
....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 22, 2017

The Guardian view on Mosul: the price of revenge -- Guardian editorial

The Myth of ISIS’s Strategic Brilliance -- Aymenn al-Tamim, Defense One

An Independent Kurdistan Would Begin With a Clash -- Paul Iddon, war Is Boring

Friends With Benefits? Israel’s Costly Deals with Dictators -- Zach Shapiro, National Interest

The Sunni Arab Crisis of Leadership -- Kamran Bokhari, Geopolitical Futures

Radical thinking needed if India is to avoid water collapse -- Seema Sengupta, Asia Times

Beware the Illusion of South China Sea Calm -- Prashanth Parameswaran, The Diplomat

A terrible beauty is born in the geopolitics of Kashmir -- M.K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times

Putin: Non-Russians Must Learn Russian But Russians Mustn’t be Forced to Learn Republic Languages -- Paul Goble, Window On Eurasia

Is Trump Bad News for Putin? -- Mark Galeotti, The Atlantic

Trump Was Right: NATO Is Obsolete -- Mark Galeotti, Foreign Policy

Europe's Soft Core Is Getting Tougher -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Why Kosovo's Controversial Insurgent Party So Worries The West -- Adian Hehir, RCW/The Conversation

Europe Remains Blind Because It Doesn't Want to See -- Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post

Dunkirk: The Larger-than-Life Story on a Larger-than-Life Screen -- Will Edwards, Cipher Brief

World News Briefs -- July 22, 2017



New York Times: Hezbollah and Syrian Army Attack Islamists on Lebanon Border

CAIRO — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Syrian Army launched a major operation on Friday that aimed to dislodge a pocket of Islamist fighters from their stronghold on the border between Lebanon and Syria.

Fighters and soldiers advanced on two fronts, near the Lebanese town of Arsal and the Syrian town of Fleita, into a mountainous area where an array of Islamist groups have taken shelter in recent years among camps for Syrian refugees.

Explosions rang out in eastern Lebanon as Hezbollah shelled a distant ridgeline while Syrian warplanes struck on the other side of the border. Early reports said both sides had casualties.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Hezbollah and Syrian army advance in border offensive: reports.

Syrian military says jets attack Islamic State east of Raqqa: state TV.

Syria army announces halt in fighting in parts of Eastern Ghouta. Syrian army announces fighting halt near Damascus.

Russia says agrees safe zone mechanism with Syrian rebels.

Erdogan travels to Gulf region to help mend rift between Qatar and its neighbours.

Iran announces new missile production line: state media.

Palestinian Authority freezes contact with Israel.

More Israeli troops sent to West Bank, placed on high alert.

Deadly attack on Jewish home in West Bank follows clashes over Temple Mount.

WHO: 5,000 suspected cholera cases recorded per day in Yemen.

ASIA

US airstrike accidentally kills 16 Afghan police.

Afghanistan: MSF opens first clinic in Kunduz since US strike.

'No safe haven': Pakistan rejects US report on Taliban, Haqqani network.

Japan, Taiwan scramble fighters in response to Chinese bombers.

CIA director: Kim Jong Un is problem, not solution.

Indonesian President tells police to shoot foreign drug dealers who resist arrest.

Philippines Duterte: Martial law extended in Mindanao. Philippines extends Mindanao martial law to end of year.

East Timor goes to the polls.

'You would have to be a lunatic': Tourists to North Korea describe risks and rewards.

Army steps in as severe storms cause chaos in New Zealand. New Zealand storms spark flooding and evacuations, mobilisation of troops.

AFRICA

Egypt kills 30 extremists in Sinai: military.

Egypt upholds death sentences for Islamists over prosecutor killing.

Eastern commander's forces battle resistance in Libya's Benghazi.

Morocco accused over coverage of Rif protests.

Gabon opposition leader urges U.N. resolution over contested election.


Gendarmes in Ivory Coast repel raid as international event opens.

Kenyan MP arrested, again accused of inciting violence.

Campaigning begins for 2018 Zimbabwe elections.

EUROPE

Macron to discuss Ukraine next week with Putin, Merkel and Poroshenko.

U.S. special envoy to visit eastern Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin: 'I may not leave Russian presidency'.

Poland’s senators approve contentious court overhaul.

Hungarian PM offers support to Poland in row with EU.

Britain's May to stay as PM until at least 2020, close ally predicts.

Greece and Turkey struggle in aftermath of quake that killed two.

Spain vows to cut off funds to Catalonia over independence vote.

German girl arrested in Mosul is missing Linda Wenzel, say authorities.

AMERICAS

Donald Trump attacks 'illegal' report on Sessions Russian meeting.

Trump fires off volley of angry tweets on Russia probe.

US Congress reaches Russia sanctions deal.

Venezuela row as National Assembly appoints judges.

South American leaders offer to mediate Venezuela crisis. Mercosur urges end to violence in Venezuela's 'humanitarian crisis'.

Mexico violence peaks with over 2,200 murders in June.

Miners call off strike in Peru after deal with government.

Activists decry Temer's Amazon deforestation bill.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Interpol circulates list of 173 suspected members of Isis suicide brigade. Interpol fears ISIS trained 170+ bomb attackers for Europe – media.

Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges.

Four German women who joined Islamic State detained in Iraq: report.


Global network of 'hunters' aim to take down terrorists on the internet.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

EU antitrust regulators say probing possible German car cartel.

What drug-dealing ‘darknet’ sites have in common with eBay.

Bank of America picks Dublin for EU hub.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 22, 2017



Daily Press: Carrier Gerald R. Ford joins the Navy today

The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford will come to life today in a commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, a time-honored tradition that will usher in a new generation of naval sea power.

Ship sponsor Susan Ford Bales will make the call to send dozens of sailors in crisp white uniforms running onto the first-in-class ship that bears her father's name. President Donald Trump and Navy leaders are among those scheduled to attend.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 22, 2017

After years of doubt, a Ford-class carrier is set to join the fleet -- Navy Times

US Navy's new aircraft carrier is 'quantum leap into the 21st century' -- ABC News

USS Gerald Ford: All You Need To Know About US' Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier -- International Business Times

The USS Gerald Ford Is the Most Advanced Aircraft Carrier in the World -- Aric Jenkins, Fortune

America's New $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier Is Still Far From Ready -- Foxtrot Alpha

ISIS' Defensive Operations in Mosul Tough for Any Army to Beat, Official Says -- US Department of Defense

High Stakes for the U.S. Navy as It Wages War on ISIS -- Nolan Peterson, RCD/Daily Signal

Trump signs off on plan to allow US Navy more freedom to patrol in South China Sea, report says -- South China morning Post

Trump just approved a plan for the US Navy to check Beijing in the South China Sea -- Business Insider

‘Provocative’: China Caught Spying On US Military Drills With Australia -- Daily Caller

Why the U.S. Navy Shouldn't Fear China's 'Hunt for Red October' Missile Submarines -- James Holmes, National Interest

Russia Calls Charges It Might Leave Military Equipment In Belarus 'Buffoonery' -- RFE

Russian Capabilities in Electronic Warfare: Plans, Achievements and Expectations -- Sergey Sukhankin, RCD/Jamestown Foundation

Moscow spooks return to Hungary, raising NATO hackles -- Politico

NATO Is Staging War Rehearsals for the Ultimate Nightmare: A Russian Invasion -- National Interest

Can Turkey Be Trusted With F-35s? -- Michael Rubin, Commentary

Hutchison, Trump's pick for NATO envoy, seems headed for confirmation -- FOX News

Macron: French military only government agency to get budget boost next year -- Defense News

Exclusive: U.S. presses Myanmar to cease military ties with North Korea -- Reuters

Air Force Study Cites Russian & Chinese Hypersonic Weapons Testing -- Scout

U.S. Marines Will Soon Be Lighter and Deadlier -- National Interest

No Wiggle Room in Schedule For Columbia-Class Submarine -- National Defense

Army opens cybersecurity research laboratory -- UPI

New Army Drone is a Mini- V-22 Osprey -- Defense Systems

Quadcopter That Swims and Flies Could Be Used for Navy Special Ops -- DoD Buzz

Speed and range could be key for Navy's next fighter jet -- Defense News

Army plans November fielding of new Sig Sauer pistol -- UPI

White House issues executive order on defense industry sourcing -- UPI

New Concepts in Warfare Between 2030 and 2050: The Fence of Doom - War Destroys Humans - It Doesn’t Destroy Human Nature -- Dennis J. Woods, Small Wars Journal

US Military: Too Much Tactics, Too Little Strategy -- Robert Cassidy, The Globalist

Why The F-35 Fighter Will Be The U.S. Army's Best Friend In A Future European War -- Loren Thompson, Forbes

These 12 defense experts hope to guide the Pentagon forward -- Defense News

Is Mexico On The Brink Of An Opium War?



TRT: Violence over opium crops plagues Mexico’s Guerrero state

The western Mexican state of Guerrero is one of the most prolific producers of opium in the world.

In a region of Mexico that has become the world's third most prolific producer of opium, a wave of violence has engulfed the mountain communities, instigating a fight back from the local communities.

In the remote mountains of Guerrero state, opium poppies are the cash crop, and intense cartel competition to secure the harvest has led to a wave of violence that has displaced entire communities from their ancestral homelands.

Violence has spiked in the state over the past decade as a growing number of criminal gangs vie for control of crops of opium poppies and for drug-trafficking routes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I do not see the light at the end of this tunnel for Mexico on this crisis.

Mexico's Drug Cartel Wars Have Made June The Bloodiest Month In Mexico In 20 Years

A woman is comforted near the body of a murder victim in Juárez, Mexico, in April. Reuters

L.A. Times: More people are dying in Mexico's bloody drug war than ever before

Drug war bloodshed in Mexico has spiked to record levels, with more homicides recorded in June than in any month in at least two decades.

Prosecutors opened 2,234 homicide investigations last month, according to government statistics released Friday. That’s an increase of 40% over June of last year and 80% over June of 2014.

Rising demand for heroin in the United States and a bloody power struggle inside one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels have put the country on track to record more killings in 2017 than in any year since the government began releasing crime data in 1997.

The 12,155 homicide cases opened from January to June make 2017 the deadliest first half of a year.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is hard to believe that Mexico's murder epidemic could get worse .... but it has.

More News On Mexico's Murder Epidemic

Mexico murders up with deadliest month in at least 20 years -- AP
Mexico experiences deadliest month in decades -- FOX News
Mexico City spike in crime, violence sparks fears of cartel warfare -- Reuters
Mexico beats grim record for monthly murder tolls -- Daily Signal
Mexico City sees drug-war-style violence come to the capital -- ABC News/AP

President Trump Blasts "Illegal' Leak From An Anonymous Source Alleging Attorney General Sessions Discussed Campaign With Russian Ambassador


The Hill: Trump slams 'illegal' leak alleging Sessions discussed campaign with Russian envoy

President Trump on Saturday morning blasted a Washington Post article based on U.S. intelligence reports claiming Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed Trump campaign issues with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak recounted two such conversations with Sessions to his superiors in Moscow. Kislyak’s version of events was intercepted by U.S. spy agencies that monitor Russian communications, according to the Post.

The report does additional damage to allegations that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian officials at a time when the Kremlin was seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Read more ....

Previous Post: Washington Post: US Attorney General Sessions Discussed Trump Campaign-Related Matters With Russian Ambassador (July 21, 2017)

WNU Editor: The Justice Department has already come out and blasted the Washington Post story as untrue .... Justice Department hits back at report citing anonymous sources that Sessions may have lied about Russia contacts (FOX News). On a side note (and personal observation) .... with the exception of the Washington Post that posted the original Jeff Sessions story and The Hill posting President Trump's tweet and response .... every other article that I read this morning (about 20) was nothing but speculation and quoting anonymous sources. Almost all of them have also chosen to not post the Justice Department's statement that the leak is not true .... nor have they bothered to post President Trump's remarks .... just saying that he went on a "twitter rant". It is surreal to read and watch the U.S. media today .... they are following and posting stories while providing no evidence, only using anonymous sources (that I no longer believe are actually true), and reprinting stories that were posted days if not weeks ago and thereby repeating the cycle again.

US General Told The Kurdish YPG That It Is Vital for Them To Change Their 'Name-Brand' To Appease Turkey



Reuters: U.S. general told Syria's YPG: 'You have got to change your brand'

ASPEN, Colo. (Reuters) - One of America's most senior generals said on Friday he instructed the Kurdish YPG militia to change its "brand" a day or so before it unveiled an alliance with Syrian Arabs in 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces.

The recounting by U.S. Army General Raymond Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command, offered a glimpse into the mechanics that preceded a major rampup in U.S. support to the Kurdish fighters despite fierce opposition from NATO ally Turkey.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of PKK militants waging an insurgency on Turkish soil, and has sharply criticized U.S. support to the group, which has increased over time.

Thomas said he made the Turkish concerns known to the YPG back in 2015.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am always saying that optics is everything in wars and in politics. But in this case, I do not thing the Turks are convinced.

More News On The US Telling The Kurdish YPG That It Is Vital for Them To Change Their 'Name' To Appease Turkey

US suggested YPG change its name to shift optics on terror links -- TRT
US General says he told YPG to change their ‘brand’ to appease Turkey -- RUDAW
YPG changes its name to SDF on senior US General’s request -- Daily Sabah
US urged PKK/PYD to change name for legitimacy -- Anadolu Agency

U.S. Special Operations Command Chief: 'Russian Military Could Force The US Out of Syria'

A U.S army soldier holds a gun as he stands guard next to an armored vehicle as Brett McGurk, U.S. envoy to the coalition against Islamic State militant group (ISIS), visits the town of Tabqa, Syria June 29, 2017. The U.S. is also involved in the fight against ISIS, but backs a different faction from Russia not associated with the Syrian government. RODI SAID/REUTERS

Newsweek: Russian Military Could Force The US Out of Syria, Army Official Says

The head of Special Forces said Friday that Russia had established a more credible foothold than the U.S. in Syria, and that Moscow could use this influence to essentially expel his forces.

Addressing a security conference at the Aspen Institute, Special Operations Command chief Army General Raymond Thomas said that, while counterterrorism remained a priority for his forces, international law could prevent the U.S. from maintaining a long-term presence in Syria, where its intervention has been declared illegal by the government. Russia is also involved in the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and other jihadists in Syria, but entered at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, something that Thomas said could allow Moscow to make a solid case for the U.S.'s departure.

Read more ....

WNU editor: The Russians are not going to force the U.S. out of Syria by themselves .... that is what diplomats are for. Special Operations Command chief Army General Raymond Thomas is also saying that the US didn't halt CIA program arming Syrian rebels to appease Russia .... U.S. general says ending the CIA’s Syria program was ‘not a sop’ to Russia (Washington Post).

U.S. Navy SEAL Program Gets Its First Female Applicants



Daily Mail: Navy officer applies to become the first ever woman to join the elite SEALs

* A female midshipman is working to become the first woman Navy Seal officer
* Another is training to be in the Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Creman program
* Women just recently in January 2016 were allowed to serve in combat roles
* The women's identities have been protected to ensure their personal safety and security along with 'career viability as future special operator'
* Eight SEAL and seven SWCC classes made entirely out of males have graduated since March 2016

A woman is making history training with other potential officers this summer to hopefully become the first female Navy Seal.

The candidate is a midshipman - a Navy officer cadet - and she is joined by another woman who hope to be the first to join the Navy's special operations teams.

The second woman is training for the Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program (SWCC).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I wish them luck, but as everyone knows becoming a US Navy SEAL is not easy.

More News On The U.S. Navy SEAL Program Getting Its First Female Applicants

Female sailors in training to become special operators, including SEAL -- Stars and Stripes
How To Become A Navy SEAL: Brutal Military Program Gets First Female Applicants -- IBTimes
Woman becomes US Navy's first female SEAL candidate --- The Independent
ROTC Cadet Could Become First Female US Navy SEAL -- The Drive
The Navy Gets Its First Female SEAL Candidate -- KUNM/NPR

Scores Of Afghan Police Officers Killed In Errant U.S. Air Strike

DW: US airstrike in Helmand kills Afghan police in friendly-fire incident

At least 16 Afghan police officers have been killed in friendly fire following a botched US airstrike over Helmand. Afghan forces have been waging deadly battles to retake the Taliban-held controlled province.

The Helmand governor's office on Saturday morning confirmed the death toll following an inspection of the struck compound in the Gereshk District.

Two more Afghan officers were wounded in Friday's strike.

NATO's mission in Afghanistan issued a statement, saying: "During a US-supported (Afghan security) operation, aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound."

Read more ....

More News On Errant U.S. Air Strike Killing 16 Afghan Police Officers

Afghanistan: 16 police killed in US friendly-fire air strike -- BBC
Errant US Drone Strike Kills 15 Afghan Troops -- VOA
US Airstrike Accidentally Kills 16 Afghan Police -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes
U.S. Air Strike Accidentally Kills 16 Afghan Security Personnel -- RFE
US strike kills 16 Afghan policemen in Helmand province -- AFP
U.S. airstrike kills at least 9 Afghan police; personnel may have been mistaken for Taliban -- Washington Post
At least 15 Afghan police officers killed in friendly fire airstrike -- UPI
Over a dozen Afghan forces killed in US ‘friendly fire’ airstrike – police -- RT

Son Of Taliban Leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada Killed Carrying Out Suicide Attack

Reuters: Son of Afghan Taliban leader dies carrying out suicide attack

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The son of Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada died on Thursday carrying out a suicide attack in the province of Helmand in southern Afghanistan, one of the insurgent movement's main spokesmen said.

Abdur Rahman, 23, also known as Hafiz Khalid, died driving a vehicle laden with explosives into an Afghan military base in the town of Gereshk, north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, the Taliban's main spokesman for southern Afghanistan, said.

He said Abdur Rahman had been a madrassa student but had wanted to carry out a suicide attack. "He succeeded in his mission last Thursday," he said.

Taliban fighters drove three captured Humvee vehicles into checkpoints during heavy fighting around Gereshk on Thursday.

Read more ....

Update: Taliban leader’s son carries out suicide attack in Helmand province (Khaama Press)

WNU editor: Another fine example of a madrassa student wanting to impress his dad. In my world .... this is beyond sick and disturbing .... in their world .... he is a martyr.

Philippine President Duterte Vows To Never Visit 'Lousy' U.S.



Reuters: Philippines' Duterte says will never visit 'lousy' United States

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit back on Friday at U.S. lawmakers opposed to the prospect of his visiting the White House, saying he would never go to the United States, which he called a "lousy" country.

Duterte was responding to remarks by Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern, who told a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission that he would protest against such a visit if U.S. President Donald Trump followed through on an invitation to the firebrand Philippine leader.

The commission, made up of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, convened on Thursday in Washington for a hearing on Duterte's deadly, year-old war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Philippine citizens.

Human rights groups say many of the deaths were executions by police, an assertion the authorities reject.

Read more ....

Update #1: Philippine Leader Says He Won't Visit US, Says 'It's Lousy' (AP)
Update #2: Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte: I will never visit 'lousy' US (DW)

WNU Editor: Many of his fellow citizens disagree .... they dream of living in the U.S. .... not visiting.

The $400,000 F-35B Helmet's Night-Vision Camera That Does Not Work When There Is No Moon



Marine Times: F-35B helmet's night-vision camera failed during test flight

The $400,000 helmet for the F-35B has a major problem: The night-vision camera does not work when there is no moon, according to video of a test flight aboard the amphibious assault ship America in November.

The problem will take months to fix, said F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova. Potential solutions are expected to be tested in the fall, he said. Military.com first reported on Wednesday about the defect.

Read more ....

WNU editor: You just can't make this up.

No One Can Else Can Claim This

Tweets For Today




What Are China's Military Goals?

Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning

Esquire: What Are China's Military Ambitions?

Keep an eye on the Horn of Africa.

Russia, we noted last month, is boxed in by the tyranny of hydrography. They really have no way to get out onto the surface of the deep blue sea that is not constrained by land, ice, or NATO. China, on the other hand, does have a long oceanic and ice-free coastline. But for similar reasons, has a bit of a problem, ocean-wise.

The problem for the Chinese is less one of immediate access, and more one of ultimate freedom. In particular, even once they reach the open ocean, they are effectively isolated to some degree. This is because in order to reach the natural resources and markets that have so dramatically expanded Chinese economic fortunes, a gigantic proportion of their shipping must pass through one of two straits well beyond their territorial waters. The Sunda and Malacca Straits, in particular, are nightmares for Chinese strategists; yet they must use them to get to Middle Eastern oil, fishing grounds on the coastlines of Africa (their own are nearly fished out), and the resources of the interior of Africa, to say nothing of the markets in all of those places as well as Europe.

Read more ....

WNU editor: China has always been clear on its goals .... to be the political/military/economic super-power of Asia (by 2050). To be the world's super-power by 2100 (or sooner).

Picture Of The Day

Graduates of the Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia on Red Square on July 15. © SPUTNIK/ MAKSIM BLINOV

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures (Sputnik).

This Is How China's Top Political And Military Leaders Communicate With Each Other

The “Channel One Operater” unit is an all-women military group that transfers calls between leaders through a system of red desk phones. Photo: Handout

South China Morning Post: The military unit that connects China’s secret ‘red phone’ calls

PLA group that runs communication for leadership must memorise 3,000 numbers, know who’s calling by their voice alone and understand all Chinese dialects, state media reports.

It’s 57 years old, operates out of western Beijing and connects the biggest players at the highest echelons of power in China.

It’s the “Channel One Operater” unit, an all-women military group that transfers calls between leaders through a system of red desk phones.

Shedding rare light on the top-secret web of communications, military mouthpiece PLA Daily revealed on Thursday that the unit was under the direct command of the Central Military Commission’s Joint Staff Department, the hub for the overhauled armed forces.

The red phones are status symbols in Chinese politics, linking officials from the deputy provincial level upwards. They have no dial pads and to make a call, a user simply picks up a handset, names the person they want to speak to and a member of the unit puts the call through.

In an age of mobile digital communication, the system is a holdover from the days of late leader Mao Zedong.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The qualifications to be in this unit are tough ....

.... each of the unit’s operators must memorise more than 3,000 phone numbers and be able to recognise the voices of the top leaders, ­according to previous reports by state media.

The operators must also be able to understand all Chinese dialects and type at a speed of 150 Chinese characters per minute.


Bottom line .... these military officers .... to do what they do .... have to be on top of their game.

Friday, July 21, 2017

What Sanctions? North Korea's Economy Is Booming!

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reacts as he inspects a test-fire of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile with Ri Pyong-chol (right). Photo: KCNA via Reuters

Christine Kim, Asia Times: What sanctions? North Korea economy grows at fastest pace in 17 years

North Korean GDP grew 3.9% in 2016, according to the central bank of South Korea

North Korea’s economy grew at its fastest pace in 17 years in 2016, South Korea’s central bank said on Friday, despite the isolated country facing international sanctions aimed at curbing its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in North Korea last year rose 3.9% from the previous year when the economy contracted due to a drought and low commodity prices, the Bank of Korea said.

The expansion, driven by mining and energy, marked the biggest rise since a 6.1 percent gain in 1999.

Read more ....

Update: N Korea economy grows at fastest rate in 17 years (BBC)

WNU Editor: Is North Korea's economy really booming? .... North Korean children face hunger amid worst drought since 2001 (DW).

Is This The Future Of Bullets?


Popular Mechanics: Is This the Future of Military Small Arms?

Textron's LSAT system reduces ammunition weight, making the soldier's load easier to carry.

A new kind of ammunition could reduce by up to 40 percent the weight that the average soldier or marine carries in combat, which can easily exceed 100 pounds in combat. This "cased telescoped" ammo replaces brass bullet casings with polymer ones to achieve considerable weight savings, making U.S. troops deadlier in the process.

For nearly two hundred years, rifles and pistols have essentially used the same technology: a bullet and gunpowder pushed into a brass shell casing. The technique is simple, cheap, and reliable, which is why it has lasted so long. The downside: while an individual cartridge is relatively light, the weight of brass adds up. Brass casing technology has remained essentially the same since at least World War I, patently refusing to adopt modern materials.

Now that may be about to change. The cased telescope technology developed by Textron Systems, promises to bring small arms ammunition into the 21st Century.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Wow.

President Trump Warns Of 'Serious Consequences' Unless Iran Releases Detained Americans



Reuters: Trump warns of 'serious consequences' unless Iran releases detained Americans: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump warned that Iran would face "new and serious consequences" unless all unjustly detained American citizens are released and returned, the White House said in a statement on Friday.

Trump urged Iran to return Robert Levinson, an American former law enforcement officer who disappeared more than 10 years ago in Iran, and demanded that Tehran release businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer.

The statement capped a week of rhetoric against Tehran. On Tuesday, Washington slapped new economic sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program and said Tehran's "malign activities" in the Middle East undercut any "positive contributions" coming from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump Warns Iran Faces 'Serious Consequences' Unless Frees U.S. Prisoners (RFE)
Update #2: White House warns of 'serious consequences' if Iran doesn't release Americans (The Hill)

WNU Editor: Iran is not listening. They are more focused on this .... US poisons atmosphere by imposing new anti-Iran sanctions (Mehr News Agency).

Tonight's Movie Is 'My Name Is Nobody'



WNU Editor: I have always enjoyed this spaghetti Western.

Washington Post: US Attorney General Sessions Discussed Trump Campaign-Related Matters With Russian Ambassador

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is sworn in to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to become U.S. attorney general on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Washington Post: Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I love these late Friday afternoon bombshell news reports on an intelligence leak from an anonymous source. But what is interesting about this one is that it comes on the heels of President Trump hinting that he wants Attorney General Sessions gone .... US Attorney General Session Has No Intention Of Resigning After President Trump's Criticism (July 20, 2017). If I was someone who believes in conspiracies .... I would say there is a link. But I am sceptical that the White House is sophisticated enough to pull such a stunt .... especially a day after President Trump's criticisms of Jeff Sessions. Most likely this story is bogus .... one of many that the Washington Post has made in the past few months. But if it is true .... the intel community is still leaking top secret information .... and Attorney General Sessions will be under a lot of pressure to resign .... which is beyond weird because he was mandated to stop these leaks and to bring these rogue elements to justice.

Update: The Justice Department is saying that the Washington Post story is untrue .... Justice Department hits back at report citing anonymous sources that Sessions may have lied about Russia contacts (FOX News).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 21, 2017

Iraqi government forces used greater firepower in the battle for west Mosul, having suffered heavy casualties in the eastern sector Reuters

Patrick Cockburn, The Independent: The world’s lack of outrage over tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Mosul is shameful

Civillians in the city faced a Catch-22: told by US-led Coalition forces to get away from Isis positions before they were shelled; yet threatened with execution by Isis if they tried to escape

The catastrophic number of civilian casualties in Mosul is receiving little attention internationally from politicians and journalists. This is in sharp contrast to the outrage expressed worldwide over the bombardment of east Aleppo by Syrian government and Russian forces at the end of 2016.

Hoshyar Zebari, the Kurdish leader and former Iraqi finance and foreign minister, told me in an interview last week: “Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the Federal Police, air strikes and Isis itself.”

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 21, 2017

The End of American Support for Syrian Rebels Was Inevitable -- Faysal Itani, The Atlantic

Jerusalem -- an urgent issue for Trump administration -- Aaron David Miller, CNN

The Iran Nuclear Deal Isn't Working -- Timothy Stafford, National Interest

North Korea’s July 4 ICBM Test: Propaganda Ploy or the Real Deal? -- Uzi Rubin, RCD

Marawi: Battle to oust militants from Philippine city will have far-reaching ripple effects, report finds -- Samantha Hawley, ABC News Online

Playing on fears, Duterte guns for unchecked power -- George Amurao, Asia Times

It's High Noon in the Himalayas -- Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg

Why is the India-China border stand-off escalating? -- Soutik Biswas, BBC

China would call America’s bluff in the South China Sea -- Hugh White, Lowy Insitute

Europe's Libya Problem -- Sabina Henneberg and Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski, Foreign Affairs

Putin's No Good, But Where's the Alternative? -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

How Putin sparked a Western military renaissance -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Ukraine's Future Is Brighter Than You Think -- Luke Coffey, National Interest

A Thousand Cuts: The Curious Death of Ukraine -- Neil Thompson, Raddington Report

America Doesn't Need Tariffs to Compete with China -- Harry Krejsa, National Interest

World News Briefs -- July 21, 2017 (Evening Edition)





Times Of Israel: Abbas announces immediate halt to ‘all contacts’ with Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced late Friday he was freezing all contacts with Israel.

“We announce a freeze on all contacts with Israelis on all levels,” Abbas said, according to Israel’s Channel 10, “until it cancel the steps taken against our people in Al-Aqsa and in Jerusalem.”

He specifically castigated the deployment of metal detectors at the Temple Mount compound — placed there by Israel after a July 14 terror attack in which three Arab-Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers there with guns they had smuggled into the holy site — as being intended by Israel “to impose sovereignty at Al-Aqsa and divide it,” according to a Ynet translation of his remarks.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

3 Palestinians and 3 Israelis die in new spasms of violence. Six dead in worst Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed for years. Three Israelis stabbed to death in West Bank attack.

Al-Aqsa: Palestinians killed as Jerusalem protests rage. Palestinian killed as Israel restricts access to Jerusalem's Old City. 3 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

US special ops chief confirms CIA ending support for Syria rebels.

US official: IS putting up stiff resistance in Syria’s Raqqa.

Jihadists battle rebels for control of key Syria province.

Hezbollah, Syria army launch attack on Lebanon border.

Mosul's Christians face dilemma after Islamic State.

Yemen's cholera epidemic is worst on record: Oxfam.

UN blames Saudi-led coalition for deadly Yemen strike.

Saudi source gives more detail on crown prince's dismissal.

Iran accuses US of nuclear deal 'sabotage'.

US warns Iran of 'new and serious consequences' if Americans not returned.

ASIA

Exclusive: U.S. presses Myanmar to cease military ties with North Korea.

Philippine MPs to vote on Duterte bid for longer martial rule.

Myanmar still using 'same tactics' of oppression as junta: UN envoy.

US to withhold funds from Pakistan over failure to fight Taliban's Haqqani Network.

Indian troops open fire on Kashmir protesters, killing one.

IS galvanized in Asia by Philippine city siege, report says.

No Korean military talks after North snubs South's call.

North Korean children face hunger amid worst drought since 2001.

N Korea economy grows at fastest rate in 17 years.

US to ban citizens from travel to North Korea, tour operators say.

Philippines freezes peace talks with communist rebels.

Pentagon blocks some Pakistan military payments.

AFRICA

Libya's eastern forces deny reports of summary executions.

Nigerian refugee camp hit by air strike was not marked on maps: military.

Mauritania referendum campaign starts under opposition boycott.

Congo's mining revenue 'missing' - Global Witness.

Kenya warns of social media crackdown ahead of polls.

Congo civil servants call strike over wages as crisis bites.

Angola adopts law limiting power of future presidents.

Namibia genocide victims battle for compensation.

Burundi relying on U.S. police to find missing robotics teenagers: official.

EUROPE

Polish lawmakers set to back judicial overhaul, defying protesters and EU.

2 dead, 500 hurt as deadly quake rattles Greece, Turkey.

Several Ukrainian troops killed in worst violence for months.

Germany sends Turkey carefully calibrated warning signal.

Moldova calls on Russia to withdraw troops from breakaway region.

Strong earthquake hits Greece, Turkey. Earthquake in Turkey and Greece leaves at least two dead in Kos.

Russian parliament bans use of proxy Internet services, VPNs.

Support for Catalan independence slips as referendum nears.

Kosovo indicts four for 2004 killing of two U.N. policemen.


AMERICAS

Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary after objecting to Scaramucci hire.

Venezuela opposition congress names alternative Supreme Court judges.

Mexico City sees drug-war-style violence come to the capital.

Two left dead as Venezuela strike erupts into violence. Venezuela crisis: Deadly clashes as millions join strike.

Trump legal team gets shake-up as investigation deepens.

Mueller expands probe to Trump business transactions.

Trump's FBI nominee passes committee, heads to full Senate.

New Hawaii campaign to help residents plan for North Korea attack.

Canadian military helping exhausted police officers dealing with B.C. fires.

'People are getting poorer': hunger and homelessness as Brazil crisis deepens.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Pentagon chief says he thinks IS leader Baghdadi is alive.

Growing number of potential Islamist terrorists in Germany: police chief.

How many fighters does the Islamic State still have in Libya?

Qatar changes anti-terror legislation amid Gulf crisis.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US stocks dip with energy prices; European stocks sink.

FTC probing allegations of Amazon's deceptive discounting.

What drug-dealing ‘darknet’ sites have in common with eBay.

Mastercard £14bn 'overcharge' legal action fails.