Friday, July 20, 2018

Henry Kissinger Keeps His Counsel When He Asked About President Trump

With former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at his side, President Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 10, 2017. Reuters

Vladimir Putin and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. © ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

WNU Editor: When Henry Kissinger does not want to talk about a world leader, it is usually because he is dealing/advising that person right now. I expected more from this article, but it is the answers that he does not give that tells me more on what he sees is happening in the world today, than on the answers that he gives. The article/interview with Henry Kissinger is here .... Henry Kissinger: ‘We are in a very, very grave period’ (Edward Luce, Financial Times). And yes .... we are living ina  unique but potentially very dangerous time.

Is Ecuador About To Hand Over Julian Assange To The U.K.?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. © Peter Nicholls / Reuters

RT: Ecuador to hand over Assange to UK ‘in coming weeks or days,’ own sources tell RT's editor-in chief

Ecuador is ready to hand over the WikiLeaks founder to the UK in “coming weeks or even days,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said citing her own sources, as prospects of his eviction from the embassy are back in the media.

“My sources tell [Julian] Assange will be handed over to Britain in the coming weeks or even days,” Simonyan wrote in a recent tweet which was reposted by WikiLeaks. “Like never before, I wish my sources were wrong,” she continued.

Simonyan's message comes, as speculations Ecuador is in talks with the UK over the future of Assange are back again in British press. Earlier this week, the Times reported Britain is locked in top-tier discussions with the Ecuadorians in a bid to remove Assange from their London embassy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Even though the source for this news report is RT, there have been many reports in the past few weeks that Julian Assange will be expeled from the Ecudorian embassy. My gut is telling me thsat it is gong to happen soon.

President Trump Invites Russian President Putin To Visit Washington This Fall



CNN: Trump inviting Putin to Washington this fall

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump hopes to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington this fall, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Thursday.

"President Trump asked (national security adviser John Bolton) to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway," Sanders tweeted Thursday, hours after Trump tweeted he is "looking forward" to meeting again with Putin to "begin implementing" issues they discussed during their summit earlier this week.

The invitation was extended to Putin by Bolton earlier on Thursday, according to a National Security Council spokesman.

The pair of tweets were the latest indication that Trump is doubling down on his Russian rapprochement strategy even as his approach to Putin continues to draw bipartisan criticism and questions abound as to what Trump and Putin agreed to during their first meeting.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are too many issues that still need to be discussed, and after Helsinki both leaders clearly believe that a face to face summit is the best way to resolve their differences. This second meeting also confirms to me that the first summit was a success, and that President Putin's visit to Washington in the fall will just continue what was discussed and negotiated over in Helsinki. And yes .... this second visit also confirms this .... President Trump Made It Very Clear Today In Helsinki That There Will Be No Cold War II (July 17, 2018).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Editor's Note

Just a heads-up to all readers of WNU. Blogging will be very light for the next few weeks starting right now.

Picture Of The Day


One artist's rendering of what a future Air Force One could possibly, maybe, potentially look like. (Staff illustration)

WNU Editor: I could not resist. The above picture is from here .... Making Air Force One great again (Charlsy Panzino, Air Force Times).

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed And Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki Will Win This Year's Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopia's Prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerk sign a declaration in Eritrea on July 9. Reuters

CNN: Eritrea leader brings 'peace, love and good wishes' on historic Ethiopia visit

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Eritrea has reopened its embassy in Ethiopia as the leaders of both countries took another significant step in strengthening the peace process between two former sworn enemies.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki raised the Eritrean flag together inside the embassy, while a military band performed the Eritrean national anthem.

Eritrea's Minister of Information, Yemane Meskel, said in a tweet that the event was "yet another milestone in the robust and special ties of peace and friendship both countries are cultivating with earnestness in these momentous times."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You heard it here first because the Nobel Committee is sure as hell not going to give President Trump the Prize for his efforts on the Korean peninsula.

Did President Trump Want To Meet With The Iranian President Last Year At The U.N.?



New York Times: Iran Says Trump Sought Meeting With President 8 Times at U.N. Last Year

Iran rejected eight requests from the United States for a meeting of their presidents at the United Nations General Assembly last year, a top Iranian official said Wednesday.

The assertion, if confirmed, suggests a previously undisclosed level of hostility among top Iranian officials toward President Trump, who has called Iran a nuclear threat, regional menace and global sponsor of terrorism. It would also suggest a previously unknown eagerness by the Trump administration for some kind of dialogue.

White House and State Department officials did not immediately respond to the Iranian assertion, made by President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, at a cabinet meeting reported in Iran’s state-run news media.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There may have been feelers out for a meeting .... but eight times?!?!?! I have some doubts .... one "no" is more than enough for the other side to get the message. But if reports that the White House did ask for a meeting are true .... it is too bad that the Iranian President declined. We may be in a different place today if the lines of communications between the two leaders were opened up last year.

Is President Trump 'Muddying' The Message That Russia Interfered In The 2016 Election?

James B. Comey, James R. Clapper Jr. and John O. Brennan at a Senate hearing on Russia’s election interference in January 2017.CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

New York Times: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered

WASHINGTON — Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

The shifting narrative underscores the degree to which Mr. Trump regularly picks and chooses intelligence to suit his political purposes. That has never been more clear than this week.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I can understand why President Trump would be skeptical. All of this occurred during President Obama's watch, and the men who were telling him about this Russian operation were the same men that President Trump believed were targeting him during the campaign (and we now know that they were "spying" on his campaign). And as for that January briefing and the intel community's collective opinion that Russia interfered in the U.S. election .... an opinion that was written by James Clapper and his closest aides (apparently based on a highly-secretive anonymous source in the Kremlin and other "evidence" that we will never see) ... and is the reason why the above New York Times post was published yesterday. If I was President Trump and knowing who I was talking to .... I would be raising my eyebrows and wondering what is their hidden agenda, and not on the report that they were presenting. 18 months later we now know where Clapper, Comey, and Brennan stand vis-a-vis President Trump, and it is obvious to me that President Trump is treating all of their work product when they were working under the Obama administration as suspect, even though many in the media have chosen not to.

Iraq Unrest Over Corruption And Poor Services Continue In Southern Iraq



CNBC: More turmoil in Iraq as deadly protests ravage oil-rich south

* Cities across Iraq are being roiled by popular protests triggered by widespread anger over abysmal public services provision by the government.
* The unrest threatens to delay formation of a new government and has already led to break-ins to oil facilities and political offices.
* Particularly acute is the demonstrators’ resentment toward the international oil companies — despite living in the heart of the oil industry, residents of Basra and Iraq’s south are some of the country’s poorest.

Protests that began last week in Iraq are continuing amid widespread anger over abysmal public services provision by the government.

The unrest threatens to delay formation of a new government, mandated after Iraq’s elections in May, and has already led to break-ins to oil facilities and political offices.

First sparked in the oil-rich southern province of Basra and spreading to several cities including the capital Baghdad, Iraqis are voicing their frustrations over widespread unemployment, pollution, dirty drinking water and electricity failures during a stifling heat wave in the country’s south. While many of the protests have been peaceful, others have seen buildings set on fire, roads blocked and infrastructure damaged.

Read more ....

Update: Protests are threatening OPEC's 2nd biggest oil producer (Business Insider/OilPrice.com)

WNU Editor: These protests show no sign of ending.

Will President Trump Accept A Russian Request To Interrogate A Former U.S. Diplomat?



NBC: Lawmakers slam Trump for weighing Russian request to interrogate U.S. diplomat

Democrats introduced a resolution Thursday that said the U.S. should refuse to make any U.S. diplomat available to Russian investigators.

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are slamming the Trump administration over the possibility that President Trump would consider allowing Russian officials to question former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a non-binding resolution Thursday that says that the U.S. should refuse to make any former diplomat available to Russian investigators who say that official may have interfered in their country's domestic affairs. The Senate was expected to vote on that resolution Thursday afternoon.

“It is the sense of Congress that the United States should refuse to make available any current or former diplomat, civil servant, political appointee, law enforcement official, or member of the armed forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin,” the resolution says, Schumer said on the Senate floor.

Read more ....

Update: Lawmakers condemn White House suggestion that Kremlin could interrogate former US ambassador (ABC News)

WNU Editor: Not going to happen .... especially in regards to former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. But it is true that Russia's Justice Department want to get their hands on this man .... Bill Browder Doubts He'll Be Swapped To Russia For U.S. Access To Russian Agents (NPR).

Update #2: The White House has officially refused Putin's offer.

FBI Director: China 'The Broadest, Most Significant' Threat To The U.S.

FBI Director Christopher Wray at the Aspen Security Forum. Screenshot/Aspen Security Forum

Business Insider: FBI director calls China 'the broadest, most significant' threat to the US and says its espionage is active in all 50 states

* FBI Director Christopher Wray has described China as "the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country."
* Wray's comments come after a week of controversy surrounding President Donald Trump's response to Russian election meddling.
* Wray said that investigations into economic espionage linked to China were taking place in every US state and that China wanted to become the "sole dominant superpower."
* China's intelligence success is due in part to its ability to act in a "whole of state effort" and also to its capacity to take a patient, long-term view.

Amid rampant discussion about Russian election interference and espionage, FBI Director Christopher Wray has deemed China the largest, most concerning threat to the US.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, Wray was asked whether he saw China as an adversary and, if so, to what level.

"I think China, from a counterintelligence perspective, in many ways represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country," Wray answered.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The FBI Director is right, but this story is being eclipsed by his comments on Russia.

FBI Director Will Not Take-Up Russian President Putin's Offer For Investigation Cooperation

FBI Director Wray

Bloomberg: FBI Chief Dismisses Putin Offer for Investigation Cooperation

* It’s ‘not high on our list of investigative techniques’: Wray
* Trump had called the offer by Putin an ‘incredible’ deal

FBI Director Christopher Wray made clear that U.S. law enforcement doesn’t support a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin to have American investigators go to Russia to observe interviews of suspects wanted by the U.S.

“I never want to say never, but it’s certainly not high on our list of investigative techniques," Wray said wryly at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Wednesday.

Wray also dismissed the other side of Putin’s proposed deal: to let Russian investigators come to the U.S. to observe questioning of suspects that they’re interested in.

“That’s probably even lower on our list of investigative techniques," Wray said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They (the FBI) have not even bothered to question Julian Assange and the role that Wikileaks had in exposing DNC emails on how their primary was fixed .... so I doubt that they would be interested in going to Russia to question these Russian intel officers.

FBI Director: Russian Influence Efforts Are Still 'Active'. Election Infrastructure Not Impacted



The Hill: FBI director says Russian influence efforts are ‘very active’

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday described Russian malign influence efforts to sow discord among the American public as “very active.”

Wray was asked to directly respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election during an appearance as the Aspen Security Forum. Wray described the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russian meddling as sound, adding that Moscow “continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day.”

Read more ....

Update #1: FBI Director Christopher Wray reaffirms Russia continues to try to meddle in U.S. elections (CBS)
Update #2: FBI director: Russia ‘continues to engage in malign influence operations’ against U.S. (Politico)
Update #3: FBI boss Wray says Russia engaging in 'malign influence operations,' calls Mueller a 'straight shooter' (FOX News)

WNU Editor: FBI Director Wray also said this  ....

.... "We haven’t yet seen an effort to target specific election infrastructure this time but certainly other efforts – what I would call ‘malign influence operations’ – are very active,"

According to the FBI Director the election infrastructure is not being impacted, it is the message that Russia is promoting that is causing problems. So hence exposing the Democrat Party's plan to fix the primary for Hillary Clinton is a "malign influence operations" .... not the fact that the Democrat Party had fixed its primary process to favor Hillary Clinton. And they say the Russians are sowing doubts in the U.S. election process?!?!?!

President Trump: 'Summit Critics Have Trump Derangement Syndrome'


The Guardian: Summit critics have Trump derangement syndrome – says Trump

US president hits out at comments about his relationship with Putin

Donald Trump has accused critics of “Trump derangement syndrome” as the fallout from his summit with Vladimir Putin showed no sign of abating.

The US president might be regretting his partial climbdown on his drawing a moral equivalence between the Kremlin and American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, which triggered accusations of treason.

“Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump Putin: US president defends meeting and press conference (BBC)
Update #2: Trump on summit critics: Some ‘would rather go to war than see’ good relations with Putin (TASS)

WNU Editor: President Trump is looking forward to his next meeting with Russian President Putin .... Undaunted by criticism, Trump looks to next Putin meeting (Reuters).

The Pentagon Embraces AI For Its Ships, Tanks, Aircraft, And Drones

The Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, taken from an airplane in January 2008. Wikipedia

Kris Osborn, National Interest: The U.S. Military's Ships, Tanks, Aircraft and Drones Are Getting AI

And that is a really big deal.

The Pentagon is making a massive push to accelerate the application of artificial intelligence to ships, tanks, aircraft, drones, weapons and large networks as part of a sweeping strategy to more quickly harness and integrate the latest innovations.

Many forms of AI are already well-underway with US military combat systems, yet new technologies and applications are emerging so quickly that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has directed the immediate creation of a new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the DoD Chief Information Officer to standup the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in order to enable teams across DoD to swiftly deliver new AI-enabled capabilities and effectively experiment with new operating concepts in support of DoD's military missions and business functions." DoD spokeswoman Heather Babb told Warrior Maven.

Read more ....

Update #1: But First, Infrastructure: Creating the Conditions for Artificial Intelligence to Thrive in the Pentagon (Richard Kuzma, War On The Rocks)
Update #2: Pentagon Makes Massive New AI Push - Tanks, Ships, Weapons, Drones & Networks (Warrior Maven)

WNU Editor: This is the next frontier in military innovation, and one that will definitely change warfare as we know it.

Top AI Researchers Pledge Never Help Anyone Make AI Systems That Are Lethal

A remote-controlled robot equipped with a machine gun under development by the United States Marine Corps. Image: USMC

The Guardian: Thousands of leading AI researchers sign pledge against killer robots

Co-founder of Google DeepMind and CEO of SpaceX among the 2,400 signatories of pledge to block lethal autonomous weapons

Thousands of scientists who specialise in artificial intelligence (AI) have declared that they will not participate in the development or manufacture of robots that can identify and attack people without human oversight.

Demis Hassabis at Google DeepMind and Elon Musk at the US rocket company SpaceX are among more than 2,400 signatories to the pledge which intends to deter military firms and nations from building lethal autonomous weapon systems, also known as Laws.

Read more ....

More News On Top AI Researchers Pledging To Never Help Anyone Make AI Systems That Are Lethal

Top AI Researchers—Including Elon Musk—Pledge to Never, Ever Help Anyone Make Killer Robots -- Fortune
Representatives from 150 tech companies sign pledge against 'killer robots' -- ZDNet
Google DeepMind Researchers Join Pledge Not to Work in Lethal AI -- Defense One
Leading AI researchers pledge not to develop autonomous weapons -- UPI
Elon Musk, DeepMind founders, and others sign pledge to not develop lethal AI weapon systems -- The Verge
Tech leaders call for autonomous weapons ban -- Al Jazeera

Is This Woman A Russian Spy?





Politico: Prosecutors say accused foreign agent has ties to Russian intelligence, poses ‘extreme risk of flight’

Maria Butina was arrested over the weekend.

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors say Russian national and accused foreign agent Maria Butina has been in contact with Kremlin intelligence services and poses “an extreme risk of flight,” according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The documents released ahead of Butina’s scheduled appearance in federal court Wednesday argue for her to be detained before a trial. The reasons given for the flight-risk assessment include what prosecutors say is a history of deception by Butina, a lack of ties to the U.S. that would keep her in the country and connections to Russian intelligence services.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For a spy she had a very public presence, and she was (and is) not shy to say where she came from and what she believes in. But the law is the law, and if she had registered herself as a foreign lobbyist, she certainly would not be in prison right now. As for the media attention on her .... in my opinion it is way overboard. But the arrest does serve a purpose and it does send a message. Russians in the U.S. need to be beware on how they conduct themselves .... with all of this anti-Russian hysteria right now in the media and voiced by many in the political class .... deportation or arrest could be your fate. And as for Americans who have Russian contacts .... a message is being sent to them .... beware of who you know who is from Russia. You could be dealing with a spy.

More News On Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina

'You've upstaged Anna Chapman': What Kremlin handler told Russian redhead accused of infiltrating the NRA, offered sex for a role, and who was seized by FBI as she 'prepared to flee' -- Daily Mail
Suspected Russian agent Maria Butina to be jailed until trial -- DW
Russian 'agent' faces charges of seeking to infiltrate US govt -- AFP
Russian 'agent' held on charges of seeking to infiltrate US govt -- AFP
Real-life 'Red Sparrow'? Court filings allege Russian agent offered sex for access -- ABC News
Russian Activist Butina Pleads Not Guilty in Washington Courtroom, Bond Denied -- Sputnik
Russian woman arrested in US faces charges with two offenses -- TASS
Judge Orders Maria Butina, Linked To Russian Spy Agency, Jailed Ahead Of Trial -- NPR
Diplomat emphasizes US ‘espionage’ arrest timed to undercut Putin-Trump summit -- TASS
Maria Butina: Alleged Russia agent 'offered sex for job' -- BBC
Mere gun lover, or Siberian spy? Maria Butina’s curious path -- Angela Charlton, AP
Maria Butina: NRA member, lobbyist, and Kremlin spy? -- DW
How Maria Butina, accused Russian spy, worked her way into top US circles -- Jon Swaine and Lois Beckett, The Guardian

Does NATO Have A Money Problem?


William D. Hartung Director, Defense One: NATO Already Vastly Outspends Russia. Its Problems Are Not About Money.

The alliance’s security issues can’t be fixed by a traditional military buildup.

President Trump’s dismissal of Russian interference in the 2016 election – choosing to believe Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies – has rightly sparked outrage and astonishment. But we shouldn’t let Trump’s disgraceful performance in Russia overshadow the other key issues raised by his recent trip.

In particular, Trump’s tantrum over the need for NATO allies to spend more on defense deserves greater scrutiny. Whether the goal is 2 percent of GDP – the alliance’s long-stated goal – or 4 percent, a fantastic figure Trump floated as well – the real question is whether NATO or the United States need to spend more on traditionally military assets to ensure their security. Contrary to Trump’s assertions, the answer is no.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The only part of the above commentary that I agree with is his remarks on how NATO spends its money. When Germany spends over $40 billion on defense and can only field a few working fighter aircraft .... you know you have a problem. The author's focus on cyber attacks and Russian propaganda are also nothing new, and if that was the only threat, our defense budgets would be a fraction of what they are. As to the authors concerns about "combating the rise of right-wing, and in some cases neo-fascist parties; finding an equitable solution to its refugee crisis; and reforming its political and economic system to give hope to those left behind by European integration" .... these are political issues where the author has adopted the progressive view. But NATO was not established for this. NATO is a political-military alliance that was established to face foreign threats like the former Soviet Union. NATO was not established to counter the internal threats that this author fears.

China Today


WNU Editor: An old friend that I got to know in China when I was there in the 1980s sent me this picture last night. As he told me .... his country has certainly changed in the past 30 years.I completely agree.

Tweets For Today






New Spanish Sub Too Big For Its Dock


The Warzone/The Drive: Oops! The Spanish Navy Is Constructing New Submarines That Are Too Big For Their Pens

Spain will likely have to spend millions of dollars to build a proper home for the boats, which have already suffered years of problems and delays.

Spain’s diesel-electric S-80 Plus submarine program has hit a new snag, with the boats now reportedly being too big for the existing pens at the Spanish Navy’s base in Cartagena. It could take millions of dollars to improve the facilities and the issue underscores the hurdles the country and many of its fellow NATO members face in attempting to revitalize their military capabilities after years of post-Cold War neglect.

Spanish newspaper El País was first to report on the new developments on July 18, 2018. The outlet included graphics highlighting that the docks at Cartagena are just shy of 256 feet long, while the S-80 Plus is over 265 feet long. The report also said that Spanish authorities would have to dredge out the pens to accommodate the new boats, which are larger overall compared to the country’s existing S-70 Galerna-class submarines, with the complete upgrades to the facilities costing more than $18 million.

Read more ....

More News On Spain's New Sub Being Too Big For Its Dock

Sub-standard: £900million Spanish submarine that was too heavy to sail is now too big for its dock after it was made longer to fix the problem -- Daily Mail
Spain's new submarine 'too big for its dock' -- BBC
Once Too Heavy, Now Too Big. Spain's New Sub Can't Fit in Dock. -- The New York Times
Too long to fit: launch of new Spanish sub runs aground -- The Guardian

Picture Of The Day

A demonstrator poses for a photo next to a graffiti that reads 'Monimbo volcano of dignity' in the indigenous community of Monimbo in Masaya, July 11. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Nicaraguan police storm anti-government stronghold (Reuters).

Should The U.S. Defend Places Like Montenegro?



DW: NATO hits back at President Trump's Montenegro World War III remarks

NATO has been forced to reassert its collective defense clause after Donald Trump raised doubt over the US' commitment to defending Balkan partner Montenegro. The US President described Montenegrins as "very aggressive."

NATO officials on Wednesday scrambled to reassert the alliance's collective defense clause — commonly referred to as Article 5 — after US President Donald Trump appeared to suggest NATO's newest member Montenegro could instigate World War III.

A NATO official told Germany's DPA news agency that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty was "unconditional and iron-clad," reaffirming that "an attack on one is an attack on all."

In a television interview Tuesday night, Trump appeared to cast doubt over the US' commitment to defending NATO partner Montenegro in the event of an attack. Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Trump "why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack," to which the president responded "I've asked the same question."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have always advocated that a debate is needed on what is the purpose of NATO, the role and contribution of its members, what should be its strategic goals, and as we have learned recently .... how to respond to its own members when they make decisions that directly impact the safety of the alliance (Germany on energy and Turkey buying the S-400 defense systems to name a few recent incidents). Because lets face facts .... the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ended 27 years ago. But even though the world has changed, NATO continues to operate in the same manner as it did decades ago. Unfortunately .... as it was revealed yesterday when President Trump and Tucker Carlson decided to discuss the issue .... the foreign policy establishment and the media do not want this debate, and for good reason. They know that the mass majority of Americans do not want to send their sons and daughters to defend places like Montenegro. The never-ending wars in Afghanistan and in the Middle East has taught Americans to be very skeptical when leaders talk about defense commitments and security .... and they do not need me anymore to explain why.

More News On President Trump's Remarks On Montenegro

Trump blasts Montenegro, questions NATO mutual defense -- AFP
Trump calls out 'very aggressive' Montenegro in latest NATO jibe -- NBC
Montenegro could get aggressive and lead us into World War III: Trump's bizarre attack on a NATO ally after Fox News's Tucker Carlson asks why should 'my son go to Montenegro to defend it' -- Daily Mail
Trump: Supporting Tiny NATO Ally Montenegro Could Start WWIII -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes
Trump Ponders NATO Article 5: Montenegro 'May Get Aggressive & You're in WWIII' -- Sputnik
Trump Goes After Montenegro, a ‘Tiny Country’ With ‘Aggressive People’ -- Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic
Why the US is obligated to defend Montenegro -- Ryan Browne, CNN

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Texas Is Now A Global Oil Superpower



CNN: Texas to pass Iraq and Iran as world's No. 3 oil powerhouse

Don't mess with Texas. It's a global oil superpower.

The shale oil boom has brought a gold rush mentality to the Lone Star State, which is home to not one but two massive oilfields.

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.

If it were a country, Texas would be the world's No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

"It's remarkable. The Permian is nothing less than a blessing for the global economy," said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: No one thought this was possible just 5 years ago. It always amazes me on how advances in technology and engineering can change everything in a very short period of time.

China's Special Forces Are Ready For War

Dave Majumdar, National Interest: China's Special Forces Units Are Getting Ready for War

The PLA just completed a =series of exercises for it special operations forces (SOF). But how good are they?

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has completed a massive series of exercises for it special operations forces (SOF) in the city of Guilin in China’s Guangxi Province.

The exercises, which are called Ingenious Special Operations Soldier-2018, are the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ground forces’ first ever such assessment of their special operations capability.

“The assessment and contest covered all basic and compulsory training subjects of the special operations of the PLA Army,” PLA Army officer in charge of the exercise told ChinaMil —an “authorized by the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and sponsored by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) News Media Center.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What they need now is combat experience.

Afghan Taliban And ISIS Are Now Waging War Against Each Other

Afghan men inspect the site of a suicide bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 22. The attack was claimed by ISIS-KP. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Newsweek: ISIS vs. Taliban: Dozens Killed as Battle for Afghanistan Continues

The Taliban and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) are facing off in a battle for control of Afghanistan, even as the U.S. and its allies attempt to pacify the war-torn nation.

The Taliban has been the most potent armed force in Afghanistan since it emerged from the south of the country in 1994. While the U.S.-led coalition continues its seemingly unwinnable war against the extremists, the threat of the local ISIS affiliate group is growing.

On Tuesday, ISIS-Khorasan Province (ISIS-KP) fighters attacked the house of a Taliban commander in Sar-e Pul, killing at least 15 militants attending a prayer ceremony, Reuters reported. It is the latest operation in a series of clashes during recent weeks.

Read more ....

Update: ISIS just ambushed and killed 15 Taliban fighters as the terror groups wage a bloody battle while the US watches (Business Insider/AP)

WNU Editor: Two religious fanatics waging war against each other .... this types of wars are usually incredibly destructive.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 18, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

North Korea: We Asked 9 of the World's Leading Experts What Happens Next

Is war still possible? Could we convince Kim to give up his nukes? An all-star group of Korea watchers gives us some insights.

After a heavily choreographed summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12, 2018, talks between the two countries appear to have hit roadblocks one month later. Kim refused to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited North Korea in early July, and North Korea accused the American side of having a “gangster-like mindset.” On July 12, North Korean officials didn’t show up at a scheduled meeting at the DMZ to discuss returning the remains of U.S. troops. However, the meeting took place on Sunday, July 15 instead.

What does this mean for the future of United States-North Korea relations? Where will the talks go from here? The National Interest asked nine scholars and experts for their views on the following question:

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 18, 2018

What Helsinki Wrought -- Dov S. Zakheim, National Interest

Trump, Putin and NATO: The Rise of the Strategic Doughnut -- Michael Shoebridge, The Strategist

Vladimir Putin is on top after the World Cup and meeting Donald Trump, but will it last? -- Alexey D Muraviev, ABC News Online

In battle for Putin’s affections, cupid favors Xi over Trump -- Yanan Wang, AP

Putin Needs Iran in Syria -- Alexandra Gutowski & Caleb Weiss, RCD

What’s Next For Syria after Helsinki Summit? -- Maxim Suchkov, Al Monitor

Under Assad’s grip, uneasy co-existence with former rebels -- Bassem Mroue, AP

You Won't Win: 5 Reasons No One Wants to Go to War with Israel -- Robert Farley, National Interest

In Iraq, old grievances fuel deadly protests -- AFP

Iran's Dire Straits -- Steven Ward, The Cipher Brief

How Venezuela Struck It Poor -- Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy

Can Mexico’s president-elect end culture of corruption? -- Richard Hobbs, Mercury News

China's ambassador: Donald Trump's trade war is unjustified and unfair -- Cui Tiankai, USA Today

Europe’s Smack to Google May Only Be the Beginning -- Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

World News Briefs -- July 18, 2018 (Evening Edition)



Daily Mail: Trump is asked if Russia is STILL targeting the U.S. and says 'thank you, NO' - but White House claims he wasn't contradicting his own intelligence chiefs, he was saying he wouldn't take more questions

* The president answered 'no' when asked if Russia was still meddling in U.S. elections
* Hours later said Trump was only saying 'no' he wouldn't take questions
* He did proceed to take another question
* Intelligence chief Dan Coats cited 'ongoing' and 'pervasive' efforts by Russia
* President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to slam critics of his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin
* He claimed to be a victim of 'Trump Derangement Syndrome'
* His storm of tweets abandoned his contrite tone from Tuesday
* He claims those at the 'higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance' and his meeting with Putin will prove to be a great success

The White House was forced to engage in its second major walk-back of the week after President Trump appeared to answer 'no' to a question about Russian meddling that his spokeswoman says reporters misunderstood.

Hours after the on-camera statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was simply trying to end an informal period for questions.

'The president said thank you very much – he was saying "No" to answering questions, Sanders said at a mid-afternoon press briefing.

Sanders said that she was in the room and 'interpreted' the remark the way that she was characterizing it in her public comments and that reporters challenging her were wrong.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran nuclear chief says uranium stockpile reaches 950 tons.

Iran opens new centrifuge rotor factory: nuclear chief.

Iran seeks to secure global trade deals before fresh US sanctions.

Trump asked Iran's Rouhani for meeting 8 times at UN: official.

Syrian forces’ bombing intensifies in southern rebel holdout.

Evacuations begin from besieged pro-regime Syria towns: AFP.

Russia, Turkey reach deal with rebels to evacuate Syrian towns.

Saudi Arabia intercepts Yemen rebel missile: coalition.

Southern Iraq unrest: Protest outside oil field near Basra.

Israel passes law to ban groups critical of state, military from schools.

Hamas defiant after Israeli threats over burning kites.

Turkey keeps American pastor in jail, defying US pressure.

ASIA

Direct talks with Taliban: 'US exploring all avenues,' State Department tells DW.

Philippines' Duterte praises China amid South China Sea expansion.

N. Korea may return up to 55 sets of US war dead remains next week, US official says.

Trump-Kim statement overpromised on return of war remains.

Report: Kim Jong Un calls for unscheduled meeting of ambassadors.

North Korea admonishes Japan over colonial past after IAEA meeting.

Australia needs to follow US, China lead in APAC investment, Penny Wong says.

Thai cave rescue: Wild Boars reveal moment of joy when divers emerged.

AFRICA

Fifteen dead in armed clashes in DR Congo.

South Sudan leaders 'to decide on power-sharing deal'.

Cameroon's anglophone crisis hits palm oil, cocoa production.

Libya migrant centres near breaking point after spike in arrivals.

Ethiopia makes first commercial flight to Eritrea in 20 years.

100 years since his birth, S.Africa pays tribute to Mandela.

EUROPE

Russian ambassador affirms no ‘secret deals’ struck between Putin, Trump in Helsinki.

Trump efforts to split EU 'are in vain', Juncker says.

Hungary joins US in refusing UN's safe global migration compact.

Numerous deaths as boat capsizes off Cyprus.

Migrant crisis: Italy and NGO in row over migrant deaths.

Romania and Hungary clash over Black Sea gas distribution.

Hungary PM dogged by corruption allegations.

Sweden battles wildfires from Arctic Circle to Baltic Sea.

Germany to bring back mistakenly deported Afghan asylum seeker.

AMERICAS

Trump expects ‘big results’ from Helsinki summit. Trump says Putin summit could prove long-term 'success'.

Trump says no president has been as 'tough' on Russia.

White House says Trump was answering different question when he said Russia wasn’t targeting US. White House: 'Threat' from Russia still exists.

Nicaragua: Pro-Ortega forces take opposition stronghold Monimbo. Nicaragua forces 'regain control' of protest city Masaya.

OAS condemns human rights abuses in Nicaragua.

Peru arrests 50 in Colombia border drugs bust.

US military invasion of Venezuela 'possible' - Russian Ambassador in Caracas.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Scores of ISIS fighters ‘could travel to Spain’ after fighting in Syria.

Man guilty of plot to behead Theresa May in Isis-inspired attack.

Behind closed doors, Gitmo secret court talks about CIA, torture, rights.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US stocks edge higher as airlines, railroads and banks jump.

US businesses already hurt by tariffs: Fed chair Powell.

Boeing, Airbus order $110B worth of new jetliners at British airshow.

Google hit with €4.3bn Android fine from EU.

Elon Musk apologises to UK diver for 'pedo' comment.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 18, 2018

US President Trump and Russian President Putin hold a joint news conference in Helsinki on Monday. (Reuters)

CNN: US offers no details as Russia claims Trump and Putin reached military agreements

Washington (CNN)Russia announced it was ready to pursue agreements reached by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump "in the sphere of international security," though the White House and Pentagon would not confirm any agreements had been made or offer any details.

Trump and Putin met for about two hours during their summit in Helsinki with only translators present. It is still not clear what the two men discussed or agreed to during their meeting.

"The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is ready for practical implementation of the agreements reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in the sphere of international security achieved at the Helsinki summit," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a Russian military spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 18, 2018

Pentagon stays mum on potential meeting between Russian, US defense chiefs -- TASS

Exclusive: Trump's defense chief open to first talks with Russian counterpart - sources -- Reuters

Russian defense minister says direct confrontation between Moscow, Kiev impossible -- TASS

Russia Can Turn Troops and Tanks 'Invisible' With New Military Material -- Newsweek

Putin: Flight tests of super-heavy rockets to begin in 2028 -- TASS

New Russian Naval Base in Dagestan Assumes More Menacing Dimension -- RCD

China to begin large-scale military exercise ‘tailored for Taiwan separatists’ in East China Sea -- Japan Times

China's floating hospital helping win hearts and minds in an increasingly contested Pacific -- ABC News Online

China's Special Forces Units Are Getting Ready for War -- D. Majumdar, National Interest

S. Korean military grounds helicopters after crash kills 5 marines -- Stars and Stripes

‘Chronic’ but solvable: Why is the majority of French military helos ‘immobilized’? -- Defense News

Eurofighter ‘natural bridge’ to European FCAS says CEO -- UK Defense Journal

UK prime minister moves to reassure industry as Brexit terms lose support -- Defense News

Netherlands signs deal for unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones -- Defense News

Erdoğan reforms Turkish military radically -- Hurriyet Daily News

Air Force Slowly Building Up in Eastern Europe: USAFE Commander -- DoD Buzz

UPDATED: USS Harry S. Truman Now Operating in Cold War Era Submarine Hot Spot -- USNI News

Future Ships Classes Will Need Hands-On Trainers Like LCS, DDG-1000 Systems -- USNI News

Contract award for US Air Force’s Huey replacement helicopter at risk of delay until FY20 -- Defense News

Pentagon confirms Boeing will get $3.9 billion for new Air Force One jets -- CNBC

US Fighters May Carry StormBreaker Foul-Weather Bomb by Next Year -- Defense Tech

Trump Talks Up Air Force One Design: 'Top of the Line' -- Military.com/The Dayton Daily News

Donald Trump says NATO is better funded 'only because of me' -- ABC News Online

House votes champion stable military spending, but gridlock looms -- Defense News

Pentagon Seeks to Reprogram $4.7B in Funds to Procure Additional Military Weapons -- Executive Government

Revealed: The new structure for the Pentagon’s tech and acquisition offices -- Defense News

Selling U.S. aerospace overseas amid trade tensions • U.S. Air Force excited about U.K. space • Quantum computing as space weapon -- Space News

If Your Weapons Aren’t Cyber-Hardened, Expect to Lose Pentagon Contracts -- Defense One

Fitness app Polar revealed not only where U.S. military personnel worked, but where they lived -- Washington Post

How is the global defense industry performing? 3 takeaways from a key report on revenue -- Defense News

DARPA: Stealth Technology May Not Work Anymore

F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, fly in formation over the Utah Test and Training Range, March 30, 2017. Pentagon officials announced April 14, 2017, that the Air Force is deploying a small number of F-35A fighters to Europe for training. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

Michael Peck, National Interest: Did the Pentagon Just Admit Stealth Technology May Not Work Anymore?

A new report makes some stunning claims.

Did the Pentagon just admit that stealth technology may not work anymore? Or that America must be ready to face a future where its airpower doesn't control the skies?

DARPA, the Pentagon's cutting-edge research agency, has quietly raised these possibilities as it searches for future technology to fight the next war. And stealth technology may not be the answer.

“Platform stealth may be approaching physical limits,” says DARPA.

The agency also admits that “our acquisition system is finding it difficult to respond on relevant timescales to adversary progress, which has made the search for next-generation capabilities at once more urgent and more futile.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All good things always come to an end .... including advances in military technology.

Are Russian 'Bots' The Reason Why Blacks And Hispanics Are 'Walking Away' From The Democrats?

David A. Love, CNN: Russian bots are using #WalkAway to try to wound Dems in midterms

The recent announcement that 12 Russian nationals have been indicted by Robert Mueller for hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election is another reminder of how vulnerable our democracy is to such breaches.

The indictments charge that via hacking, phishing attacks, money laundering and interference on multiple other fronts, Russian officials worked to sabotage Hillary Clinton's campaign. This arguably helped conservative efforts to usher Donald Trump into the presidency.
During the US-Russia summit Monday in Helsinki, Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin and accepted his denial that Russia interfered with the election.

Now, in this 2018-midterm election season, as some predict a blue wave of resistance to Trump, his policies and alarming authoritarianism, Republicans want to split up the Democratic political opposition and divide black and Latino voters. And Russia looks like it wants to help here, too. But this time it won't work.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to the above writer the idea that any Black or Hispanic voter who wants to walk away from the Democrat is ridiculous .... that if they do so it will because of a Russian bot program. Really?!?!?! It looks like the Democrats are looking for excuses on why there will be no "Blue-Wave" in this year's mid-term election.

President Trump: 'No,' Russia Not Targeting The United States



CNBC: Trump: 'No,' Russia is not targeting the United States

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Russia is no longer targeting the United States with cyber attacks, a conclusion that is at odds with the one repeatedly asserted by Trump's own intelligence services.

During a meeting of his Cabinet on Wednesday, Trump was asked by a pool reporter whether Russia is still "targeting" the United States.

"No," said the president.

Dan Coats, Trump's director of national intelligence, had a very different assessment as recently as Monday, however, saying in a statement, "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The main stream media is in melt-down mode again.

USS Gerald R. Ford Is Now Starting A Year-Long Maintenance And Upgrade Period



USNI News: Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford Enters Year-Long Post-Shakedown Maintenance and Upgrade Period

After spending 81 days at sea spread out during eight steaming events, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is back at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding for a year-long maintenance and upgrade period.

For the next year, Ford’s post-shakedown availability (PSA)/selected restricted availability (SRA) will concentrate on installing the aircraft carrier’s remaining combat systems, completing any deferred work and correcting a propulsion manufacturing defect discovered in January.

Discovering the propulsion train component defect delayed the PSA start from April to now, Bill Couch, a NAVSEA spokesman told USNI News on Monday. Originally intended to last about eight months, the PSA was extended to 12 months to also accommodate deferred work such as constructing an advanced weapons elevator and upgrading the advanced arresting gear.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It may be the world's most advanced aircraft carrier, but it is at a steep price.

President Trump Will Win The Trade War Because China Has More To Lose

A U.S. flag is seen during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China. Photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

Liz Peek, The Hill: Trump is winning the trade war because China has more to lose

Don’t look now, but there are numerous signs that President Trump is winning the trade war with China. While the battle over tariffs and protecting intellectual property may eventually damage the United States’ economy, there are signs that China is already paying a price for its refusal to bend to Trump’s demands.

One indicator of that price is the sharp plunge in China’s stock exchanges. Since the White House announced the first tariffs — on washing machines and solar cells on Jan. 22 — the Shanghai Index of Chinese stocks is down nearly 20 percent, while the S&P 500 is off less than 1 percent.

That decline of share values is occurring in spite of the first-time inclusion in the MSCI, an important international index, of many Chinese stocks on June 1. That initial index listing attracted billions of dollars toward Chinese stocks, in expectation it would boost prices, but it did not.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China enjoys a massive trade surplus with the U.S., as well as tens of billions in investments, joint ventures, management and technical expertise. This is now all at risk.

Cuban President: Reforms Yes, Capitalism 'Not Much'

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, in navy jacket, seen with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, says Cuba's looming recognition of a market economy does not mean capitalism is welcome (AFP Photo/YAMIL LAGE)

AFP: Reforms loom, but not capitalism: Cuba president

Havana (AFP) - Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Tuesday said that while reforms loom in the Communist country, they would not be an embrace of capitalism.

Cuba is set to adopt constitutional reforms that will recognize private property and the market economy, to update its legal system.

Yet it does not want to abandon socialism, which in Cuban terms values health care and education but also frowns upon differences in personal wealth.

"In Cuba, there is not going to be, and there will not be, shifts to capitalism or concessions of any kind to those who would like to, in 1,000 different ways, move us away from historical ... policies of the revolution," Diaz-Canel, 58, said in an address.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You heard it here first .... rhetoric aside, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel wants to copy the Chinese economic-political model where the Communist state rules but people and companies will be permitted to do business independent of the state.