Thursday, November 15, 2018

Saudi Prosecutors Charge 11 Suspects And Say Five Face The Death Penalty For Murdering Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Daily Mail/AFP: Saudi Arabia will BEHEAD Khashoggi killers: Prosecutors charge 11 suspects and say five face the death penalty for murdering journalist with a lethal injection - but Crown Prince is cleared

* Saudi Arabia has charged 11 men with murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi
* Kingdom will seek death penalty against five of those directly involved in killing
* But prosecutor said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not involved
* Saudi believes Khashoggi was killed with lethal injection, then dismembered
* Foreign minister said 'mistakes happen' but killers will now be brought to justice

Five Saudi officials are facing the death penalty after being accused of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Shalaan al-Shalaan, the kingdom's deputy public prosecutor, revealed on Thursday that 21 people are in custody over the killing and charges have been brought against 11 of them.

Al-Shalaan requested the death penalty for five who 'are charged with ordering and committing the crime and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals'.

But he exonerated Saudi's de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman by laying ultimate blame for Khashoggi's killing at the feet of two lesser officials.

Executions in Saudi Arabia are usually carried out publicly by beheading with a sword.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. is preparing its own response .... U.S. sanctions 17 for role in killing of Saudi journalist Khashoggi (Reuters).

More News On Saudi Prosecutors Charging 11 Suspects And Saying Five Face The Death Penalty For Murdering Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi’s killing -- AP
Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder case -- Reuters
Jamal Khashoggi murder ordered by agent - Saudi prosecutor -- BBC
Saudi Arabia implicates royal adviser, top spy in Jamal Khashoggi killing, to seek death for five accused -- Hindustan/Bloomberg
Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty for Khashoggi murder, says journalist was killed by sedative overdose -- CNN
Saudi Arabia indicts 11, seeks death penalty for 5, in Jamal Khashoggi's murder -- FOX News
Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder -- Al Jazeera
Saudi prosecutor exonerates crown prince in Khashoggi murder -- AFP
Saudi prosecutor claims Crown Prince Mohammed innocent, seeks death for 5 others in Khashoggi killing -- Business Insider
Khashoggi: From Saudi royal insider to open critic -- AFP

Western Envoys Seek Meeting On Xinjiang Concerns

Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Party Secretary Chen Quanguo attends a group discussion session on the second day of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Reuters: Exclusive: In rare coordinated move, Western envoys seek meeting on Xinjiang concerns

BEIJING (Reuters) - A group of 15 Western ambassadors in Beijing, spearheaded by Canada, are seeking a meeting with the top official in China’s restive, heavily Muslim Xinjiang region for an explanation of alleged rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs.

The envoys are making their request in a letter to Chen Quanguo, Xinjiang’s Communist Party boss, according to a copy of a draft letter seen by Reuters.

The move represents unusually broad, coordinated action by a group of countries over a human rights issue in China, and illustrates the mounting backlash Beijing is facing over its crackdown in the western region.

Beijing has faced an outcry from activists, academics, foreign governments and U.N. rights experts over mass detentions and strict surveillance of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups who call Xinjiang home.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I can easily predict what is going to happen next. After a few delays a senior Chinese foreign official (maybe the top official in Xinjiang province .... maybe not) will meet these Western ambassadors in a conference room. These ambassadors will voice their concerns (with a stern look), the Chinese official and his entourage will nod their heads with a serious look but acknowledging nothing. A letter or letters will be given to this Chinese official, who will take them under advisement. And after the ambassadors have left, everything will be filed away.

Canadian Oil Is Selling At $15 Per Barrel!

Zero Hedge: Gartman Is Shocked By What Is Going On With Canadian Oil

Yesterday we remarked that while the pain for US energy traders has been palpable, it is nothing compared to the mass hysteria taking place in Canada, where the price of Western Canada Select oil has collapsed just above $15 as far too much local production remains landlocked, and in desperate search of any buyer.

Today, none other than "world renowned commodity guru" Dennis Gartman - who correctly picked the exact moment to advise his clients to "short this rally" and is still short even as Marko Kolanovic has been repeatedly urging JPM clients to triple down on the S&P where he saw nothing but smooth sailing - picks up on this theme, and in his latest letter to clients expresses his shock at the collapse observed in local prices.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have a relative who runs a small oil service company in Alberta. He warned me 3 years ago that this was going to happen .... and it has. This is what happens when politics, an environmentalist agenda that calls for no development, and a lack of leadership all come into play. Bottom line .... Canada's reputation for being a safe place to invest in the oil industry is now "shot to hell". As for my relative .... 90% of his business is now in the U.S..

Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel Removed From Her Post On The Insistance Of The First Lady

CNN: Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel forced out of White House

(CNN)The White House, after a day of uncertainty, confirmed Wednesday that deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel is leaving her position after first lady Melania Trump's office issued an unprecedented public statement calling for her ouster.

In a statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "Mira Ricardel will continue to support the President as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the Administration. The President is grateful for Ms. Ricardel's continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities."

Multiple West Wing officials were unable to say where she is going -- because they do not know. Two officials raised the possibility that the White House has not determined where Ricardel will go yet.

An additional senior official confirmed today was Ricardel's last day at NSC, and she won't be finishing out the week in her old post.

Read more ....

Previous Post: U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel Has Been Fired and Escorted From The White House (November 13, 2018)

WNU Editor: This continues a long tradition of the following rule .... a person who works in the White House serves at the pleasure of the President .... that will usually also include his wife. Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama used their clout all the time. One can now include Melania Trump in that group.

More News On Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel Being Removed From Her Post

Trump aide Ricardel forced out after showdown with first lady -- Reuters
Trump aide departs West Wing after rebuke from first lady -- Al Jazeera
Mira Ricardel, Aide Who Crossed Melania Trump, Is Removed From Her White House Role -- The New York Times
National Security Deputy Mira Ricardel Transferred to Different Trump Administration Role -- Daily Mail
A White House aide picked a fight with Melania Trump. The first lady won. -- Washington Post

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, answer questions from U.S. soldiers at Base Camp Donna in Donna, Texas, November 14, 2018. The military announced in late October that over 7,000 troops would go to the border with Mexico as a caravan of Central American migrants slowly heads toward the United States. Master Sgt. Jacob Caldwel/U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS

WNU Editor The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... U.S. forces on Mexico border (Reuters)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Israeli Government On The Verge Of Collapsing Over Defense Minister's Resignation

BBC: Israel Defence Minister Lieberman resigns over Gaza ceasefire

Israel's defence minister has resigned over the cabinet's decision to accept a ceasefire ending two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Avigdor Lieberman denounced the move as "surrendering to terror".

He said his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party would leave the ruling coalition, which could lead to an early election.

Eight people were killed on Monday and Tuesday as militants fired 460 rockets towards Israel and Israeli forces bombed 160 targets in Gaza.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Hamas is celebrating .... Hamas celebrates Lieberman resignation as 'political victory' (Al Jazeera)

More News On The Israeli Government On The Verge Of Collapsing Over Defense Minister's Resignation And The Current Ceasefire With Hamas

Israel’s Government Is Collapsing After Accidental Gaza War and Embarrassing Truce -- Daily Beast
Netanyahu huddles with party heads as coalition teeters after resignation -- Times Of Israel
Israeli defence minister quits over ceasefire, splitting ruling coalition -- Euronews
Bin Salman 'tried to persuade Netanyahu to go to war in Gaza' say sources -- Middle East Eye
Experts say Gaza and Israel have fought with restraint, but rising tensions could still flare into 'an unnecessary war' -- Business Insider

Aircraft Carerirs USS Ronald Reagan And The USS John C Stennis Join Together For Exercies In The Philippine Sea

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct dual aircraft carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. The operations mark the U.S. Navy’s continued presence throughout the area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alonzo M. Archer/Released)

Reuters: U.S. carriers join up in East Asia for 'complex' warfare drills

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two U.S. aircraft carriers with around 150 fighter jets are conducting “complex” warfare drills in the Philippine Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, in a show of force in waters south of China and within striking distance of North Korea.

The two carriers, the Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan and the USS John C Stennis deployed from the U.S. West coast, are carrying out air, surface and anti-submarine warfare operations, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said in a news release.

The U.S. Navy has conducted such operations before, including drills by three carriers last year as tensions with North Korea escalated. The latest, which coincides with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the region, comes as denuclearization talks with North Korea show little sign of progress and amid a tit-for-tat trade spat with China.

Read more ....

WNU editor: I suspect North Korea and China are on the purpose for this exercise.

U.S.Navy Unsafe Encounters Are Getting More Frequent

Zero Hedge: Unsafe Military Encounters Are Getting More Frequent

This week, a U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian fighter jet. The Navy released video footage of the incident, labeling the intercept "unsafe" and "irresponsible".

The footage shows the Russian SU-27 turning on its afterburners and banking in front of the U.S. EP-3 Aries, creating vibrations which the crew could feel inside.

However, as Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, even though U.S. Navy encounters with the Russians have created headlines in recent years, notably when the USS Ross was buzzed by Russian jets in the Black Sea in 2015, incidents have proven rare in the past two years.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: During the Cold War with Russia these unsafe encounters were far worse and far more frequent.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 14, 2018

Ben White, Politico: How the China trade war could get very bad, very fast

Consumers have not yet felt a major hit from President Donald Trump’s trade battle with China. But that could change in a major way later this year if the world’s two largest economies cannot make a deal.

In the latest POLITICO Money podcast, POLITICO senior trade reporter Doug Palmer explains the potential for Trump to hit more than $500 billion in Chinese imports with tariffs as high as 25 percent over the coming months.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 14, 2018

Is Donald Trump’s no-show at Asia summits a sign of waning US influence in region? -- Catherine Wong, SCMP

Chinese money unsettles Marshallese politics -- Alan Boyd, Asia Times

Myanmar’s controversial Rohingya repatriation set to begin against backdrop of investment from China and India -- Meaghan Tobin, SCMP

Property bubble fears rise as China struggles with trade war -- Gordon Watts, Asia Times

What next for Yemen's Hodeida? -- AFP

General in the room: Trump names Abizaid ambassador to Saudi Arabia -- Alison Tahmizian Meuse, Asia Times

Three changes that advance Trump’s Mideast peace plan -- Yossi Beilin, Al-Monitor

Will things in Europe have to get worse before they can get better? -- Dalibor Rohac, CAPX

Why MPs should back Theresa May’s Brexit deal -- James Kirkup, The Spectator

Angela Merkel and the future of the EU -- Catherine Martens, DW

The Honeymoon Is Over for Spain’s New Socialist Government -- Malia Politzer, WPR

Global leaders must adapt to Trump's post-midterm world -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Mira Vs. Melania: The Personal Feud That Could Reshape National Security -- Curt Mills, National Interest

FDR Gets Credit for His Response to Kristallnacht — He Shouldn’t -- Rafael Medoff, The Algemeiner

World News Briefs -- November 14, 2018 (Evening Edition)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as he arrives to attend a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

AFP: Russia hits out at US 'unpredictability' under Trump, saying it is causing 'deep global concern'

* Kremlin disapprove of erratic managing of 'most powerful economy in the world'
* Putin and Trump are set to meet in two weeks at the G20 summit in Argentina
* Relations are at their lowest ebb after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal
* But the pair appeared amiable at the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in Paris

The Kremlin hit out at the 'unpredictability' of the United States under Trump, saying it was causing 'deep global concern'.

'The fact that America has become unpredictable lately is no secret to anyone,' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd TV today during a visit by President Vladimir Putin to Singapore.

'Such unpredictability from the largest country, the most powerful economy in the world, is the subject of deep global concern,' he added.

Trump and Putin gave nothing away when they greeted each other with smiles at the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day commemoration in Paris over the weekend.

Read more ....


Pro-govt forces halt Yemen port offensive as UAE backs talks.

UAE supports 'early convening' of UN Yemen talks.

Saudi hosts new conference in shadow of critic's murder.

Hariri accuses Hezbollah of blocking Lebanon government formation.

Christian ex-warlords reconcile in Lebanon.

Israeli defence chief Avigdor Lieberman quits over Gaza truce.

Iran executes 'Sultan of Coins' amid currency crisis.


Sri Lanka thrown into more turmoil as parliament rejects new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Fiji PM on track for election win.

After 17 years, many Afghans blame US for unending war.

List of Chinese financial firms facing possible sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear programme demanded by US congressional panel.

South China Sea: Asean, Beijing continue to work towards code of conduct. Beijing advances 'code of conduct' for South China Sea.

Report: Japanese spies met with North Koreans in Mongolia.

APEC: PNG offers to play peacemaker at summit amid tensions between Australia and China.

Japan GDP: Natural disasters hit economic growth.


Dozens of Anglophone separatists killed in Cameroon.

Haftar backs out of Italy's international Libya summit.

UN 'alarmed' by fighting in DR Congo ahead of December elections.

Ethiopia’s army firm ‘transported arms to Somalia’.

Central African Republic: Leader of Seleka fighters speaks up.

Teachers whipped by jihadists in Burkina Faso.

US senators voice alarm over growing Chinese presence at Djibouti port.

Security Council lifts embargo against Eritrea after 9 years. UN lifts sanctions on Eritrea after nine years.

UN chief revives bid opposed by US to fund Sahel force.

South Africa's state capture scandal – one more cabinet minister down.

Death toll from DR Congo cholera outbreak at 857.


Brexit: Theresa May secures Cabinet support for draft deal.

Irish PM welcomes Brexit deal and guarantee of no hard border.

'Allies owe each other respect,' Macron says of Trump tweets.

Italy budget: Rome rejects European Commission demands.

Ukrainians protest as gas price dispute leaves houses freezing.

Macedonian ex-PM escapes jail term, flees to Hungary.

Alexei Navalny allowed to leave Russia to attend ECHR case.


First refugees of 'Central American exodus' arrive at US border.

US House GOP moves to block resolution that would end US military involvement in Yemen civil war.

Migrant caravan breakaway group reaches Mexican border city of Tijuana.

US media in court showdown over White House access.

Cuba ends program sending doctors to Brazil.

Blow for IOC as Calgary set to be latest city to stop bid for 2026 Winter Olympics.

After three weeks, still no claim for $1.5B Mega Millions jackpot.


US-backed fighters resume final offensive against ISIS after pause to deal with Turkish tensions.

America's 'war on terror' has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people, and there's no end in sight.

IS fighter with strong family links to Australia is sentenced to death.

US names son of Hezbollah leader Nasrallah terrorist.


Falling Apple stock drags Dow Jones down 200 points.

Asian mega free-trade deal stalls in Singapore despite China’s push against protectionism.

Oil price drops amid fears over demand.

US shale oil forecasts too optimistic, even IEA agrees.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 14, 2018

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. NATO

DW: Europe should keep its defense within NATO, says Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told DW that European defense efforts should remain within the alliance. Stoltenberg also criticized Russia over its SSC-8 missile program, saying it breached the INF treaty.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told DW in an interview on Monday that a European army as proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron could strengthen European defense capabilities, but should complement NATO.

"European defense efforts have to take place within NATO, strengthening the European pillar within NATO. And as long as a European army does that, I welcome such EU efforts on defense," Stoltenberg told DW correspondent Christian F. Trippe.

He also warned against jeopardizing ties with Washington.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 14, 2018

Merkel calls for creation of ‘real, true European army' -- The Hill

NATO chief calls on Russia to stick with INF Treaty -- Defense News

NATO nudges Europe to make its transport networks war-ready -- Defense News

US Air Force’s huge exercise in Ukraine fuels growing partnership and that country’s NATO ambitions -- Defense News

Belarus to develop missile systems, combat drones with eye on rising global tensions -- Defense News

Russia jammed GPS during major NATO military exercise with US troops -- CNN

'These missiles can reach Berlin,' warns Lithuania's foreign minister -- DW

US Air Force moves to fortify F-35 weak points against hacking -- Defense News

Boeing awarded $70.5M for Minuteman III nuclear ballistic missile work -- UPI

DARPA issues contract proposition for hypersonic missile defense -- UPI

The US military’s chaff and flare industry is on fragile ground -- Defense News

MBDA shows off naval version of MMP guided tank missile -- UPI

The Tech Companies That Are Eager to Sell AI to the Pentagon -- Defense One

Space, lasers, hypersonic missiles rank high for U.S. missile defense research -- UPI

US Air Force KC-135 damage in Australia interrupts bomber training mission -- Defense News

The sniper shortfall: Why the Corps could lose its next urban fight -- Shawn Snow, Marine Times

Mattis explains border mission dropped name to avoid using military terms -- The Hill

Mattis: Troops on border unarmed, providing support to law enforcement -- UPI

More than a dozen Navy SEALs may get caught up in war crimes investigation -- Navy Times

CIA considered potential truth serum for terror suspects -- AP

CIA considered use of anti-anxiety drug in terror suspect interrogations: report -- The Hill

CIA operations in Iran, China compromised for years because of hubris and a Google search -- Morgan Wright, The Hill

China’s military power could match America’s by 2050 -- VOX

China’s as-yet unveiled stealth bomber could alter US defense calculus in Pacific -- Stars and Stripes

Russia jammed GPS during major NATO military exercise with US troops -- CNN

Merkel calls for creation of ‘real, true European army' -- The Hill

Report: North Korea miniaturized nukes after summit -- UPI

Airbus delivers first A330 tanker aircraft to South Korea -- UPI

Japanese minister in charge of cyber security laws admits he rarely uses computers -- ABC News Online

Israeli defense minister quits over cease-fire with Hamas -- UPI

US Army Pursues Israeli Robots -- Breaking Defense

U.S. Vice President Pence Says He Personally Challenged China By Flying Through The South China Sea

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen wave as they board Air Force Two at Yokota Air Base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, on Tuesday. | REUTERS

Business Insider: 'We are here to stay' — Pence says he personally challenged China with a South China Sea flyby

* The vice president flew through the South China Sea Tuesday, reportedly to send a message to the Chinese.
* He described his flyby as something of a "freedom-of-navigation" operation, The Washington Post reported.
* Speaking earlier in Tokyo, he stressed that "authoritarianism and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific."

Vice President Mike Pence is traveling through Asia with a message for China, and that is that the US "will not be intimidated."

Flying from Japan to Singapore Tuesday, the vice president's Air Force 2 airplane reportedly passed within 50 miles of Chinese outposts in the contested Spratly Islands. Speaking with The Washington Post's Josh Rogin, Pence characterized the flight as something of a "freedom-of-navigation" operation.

As Pence's aircraft was actually a good distance from the islands, his flyby in the South China Sea obviously did not serve as an official FONOP or even as a particularly-demonstrative overflight, like the flights occasionally conducted by US Air Force bombers.

Read more ....

Update #1: Freedom of navigation? Defiant U.S. Vice President Mike Pence flies over disputed South China Sea (Japan Times)
Update #2: ‘Freedom Of Navigation’: VP Pence Flies Over Disputed South China Sea In Message To Beijing (Task & Purpose)

WNU Editor: Not impressed. He was far away from any of the islands that China is claiming. 

U.S. Vice President Pence: All-Out Cold War Will Occur If China Is Unwilling To Make 'Massive Changes'

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the joint news announcement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan REUTERS/Issei Kato

Washington Post: Pence: It’s up to China to avoid a cold war

ABOARD AIR FORCE TWO, ABOVE THE SOUTH CHINA SEA — When President Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina later this month, the escalating tension between the world’s two global powers will face a crucial test. If China wants to avoid an all-out cold war with the United States and its partners, it must fundamentally change its behavior, according to Vice President Pence. The United States, he assured me, won’t back down.

As Pence arrived Tuesday in Singapore to represent the United States at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, the question on the minds of all the region’s leaders is whether Washington and Beijing are headed into a protracted, long-term economic and strategic confrontation. Pence and Xi will both attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in Papua New Guinea later this week, but they won’t meet. Xi is set to meet Trump in Buenos Aires at the upcoming Group of 20 meeting, which starts on Nov. 30.

Pence told me in an interview that Trump is leaving the door open for a deal with Xi in Argentina, but only if Beijing is willing to make massive changes that the United States is demanding in its economic, military and political activities. The vice president said this is China’s best (if not last) chance to avoid a cold-war scenario with the United States.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Vice President Pence's Remarks That An All-Out Cold War Will Occur If China Is Unwilling To Make Massive Changes

Mike Pence Says Trump Administration Won’t Budge to Avoid Cold War with China -- Newsweek
Pence: US won't back down on China tariffs, even if it means a cold war (Washington Examiner)
VP Pence said to be gearing up for all-out Cold War with China unless it bows to all US demands -- RT
Pence: "All-Out Cold War" Coming If China Doesn't Change Course; "We Won't Back Down" -- Zero Hedge

What U.S. - Mexico Border Wall?

Washington Examiner: Migrants from caravan begin climbing border fence in Tijuana

The first wave of migrants from the Central American caravan began climbing border fences on Tuesday after arriving at the U.S. border.

Many on the Mexican side of the border climbed the fence and sat or walked on top of it, while others jumped and crawled through openings in the fence, only to run back to the Mexico side when U.S. Border Patrol agents approached, Fox 5 San Diego reported.

Border Patrol released a statement Tuesday that said they believe some of those at the fence are members who were traveling as part of the Central American migrant caravan that originated in Honduras.

Read more ....

Update: Video shows group climbing border fence (FOX 5 San Diego)

WNU Editor: The new Democrat majority in Congress hare already signaling that they will not support border funding to the levels that President Trump wants .... Chuck Schumer holds the line at $1.6 billion in border wall funding (Washington Examiner).

What Is DARPA Up To?

DARPA operates out of a headquarters in Arlington County, Virginia. Google Earth

FOX News/The SUN: Sniper bullets that never miss, weaponised insects and human experiments to boost brainpower… the incredible sci-fi innovations developed by DARPA – America’s most secretive (and controversial) government lab

DARPA, a top-secret and very controversial US army research lab, is behind a raft of shocking futuristic weapons - and many of their space-age creations are ready to be deployed at any moment

BULLETS that never miss, super soldiers with extreme strength and robot warriors capable of rising up against humans may sound like the stuff of science fiction… but the truth is that they have all already been developed.

A top-secret US government body called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is behind these space-age innovations, which it has developed as part of its mission to revolutionise the way America fights the wars of the future. (Just think of Q’s lab in James Bond, but for the US army).

Read more ....

More News On DARPA

Space Force reorganization could raise profile of DARPA’s space missions -- Space News
DARPA asks for counter-hypersonic weapons proposals -- Flight Global
What Are Hypersonic Weapons and Why Is DARPA so Concerned About Stopping Them? -- Newsweek
DARPA Is Looking for a Way To Shoot Down Hypersonic Weapons -- National Interest
DARPA's Hail Mary Plan to Restart a Hacked US Electric Grid -- WIRED
This DARPA program will give Army and Marine aviators a robot co-pilot -- Army Times
Radiant Solutions to Build Smallsat Optical Telescope System for DARPA -- Via Satellite
Why DARPA Is Betting a Million Bucks on an "Impossible" Space Drive -- Popular Mechanics
DARPA says industry interest in AI Next campaign is ‘very good, solid’ -- Fed Scoop

Is The Democrat Congress About To Torpedo The New NAFTA Agreement?

New York Times: Trump’s Nafta Plan Could Be Upended by Democrats’ House Takeover

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s promise to quickly pass a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement has been upended by the midterm elections, with Democrats who will soon control the House vowing to withhold their support to extract greater protections for American workers.

Administration officials remain confident they will corral the votes for the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which Mr. Trump speedily negotiated in September to claim a big win on one of his signature issues before the November elections.

While White House officials considered pushing the revised deal through the coming lame-duck session, they did not want to risk a backlash from lawmakers in both parties.

Democrats, emboldened by their midterm win and eager to outshine Mr. Trump as defenders of the American worker, are unlikely to sign off on any deal that does not include significant changes that labor leaders and newly elected progressives are demanding. That could involve reopening negotiations with Mexico, although American and Mexican negotiators have both publicly ruled out that possibility.

Read more ....

Update #1: Key Democrat Demands Changes to New North America Trade Deal (Bloomberg)
Update #2: Born-Again Free Traders? (Haley Byrd, Weekly Standard)
Update #3: Peso, Loonie Tumble After Dems Demand Changes To NAFTA 2.0 (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: This story is not playing well in Canada.

Report: Cost Of U.S. War On Terror Will Soon Exceed $6 Trillion

CC BY 2.0 / 9/11 Photos / 9/11 WTC Photo

Defense News: Price tag of the ‘war on terror’ will top $6 trillion soon

WASHINGTON — The price tag of the ongoing “war on terror” in the Middle East will likely top $6 trillion next year, and will reach $7 trillion if the conflicts continue into the early 2020s, according to a new report out Wednesday.

The annual Costs of War project report, from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, puts the full taxpayer burden of fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria over the last 17 years at several times higher than official Defense Department estimates, because it includes increases in Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs spending, as well as new military equipment and personnel.

“Because the nation has tended to focus its attention only on direct military spending, we have often discounted the larger budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars, and therefore underestimated their greater budgetary and economic significance,” the new report states.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The report is here .... Costs of War

More News On Reports That The U.S. War On Terror Will Soon Exceed $6 Trillion

America's 'war on terror' has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people, and there's no end in sight -- Business Insider
The $6 trillion price tag for the "War on Terror" -- Axios
Cost of US War on Terror Will Soon Exceed $6 Trillion - Report -- Sputnik

Analysts Believe The Current U.S. - China Trade War Will Significantly Slow Down The Chinese Economy


SCMP: US-China trade war: worst yet to come for Chinese economy, say analysts

* Latest Chinese data shows economy is not collapsing, but raises questions about the outlook for consumer spending
* Data suggests government’s stimulus efforts are starting to bear fruit

Chinese consumers reined in their spending in October on increasing uncertainty amid the trade war with the United States, government data released on Wednesday shows.

But growth in fixed-asset investment and industrial production both accelerated during the first month of the fourth quarter, indicating that while the economy may be slowing, it is not collapsing under the weight of trade war uncertainty.

Analysts, however, said the worst was yet to come for the Chinese economy, as the impact of the trade war is expected to weigh on growth at least until the middle of next year. Many expected the government to enact more stimulus measures in the coming months to offset the affects of the trade conflict.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am personally bearish on the Chinese economy. Too much credit and debt. There are many economic balloons (real estate, business debt, etc.). Beijing's political agenda of curbing dissent is also making it very difficult for foreign investors to invest in China. Dump in the current trade war with the U.S. .... so yes .... China's economy is not going to be what it use to be.

U.S. Commission Issues Report On The Rise Of China

Members of China's military carry the nation's flag during the opening ceremony in October of the China-ASEAN Maritime Exercise. © Reuters

SCMP: New report to US Congress supports an increasingly hawkish view on China

* US-China Economic and Security Review Commission says China’s rise has ‘put at risk the national security and economic interests of the United States’
* Annual review contends President Xi Jinping seeks to change the global order to facilitate Beijing’s ambitions

China’s global rise has “undoubtedly put at risk the national security and economic interests of the United States, its allies, and its partners”, according to a commission that advises the US Congress on national security implications of the US-China trade and economic relationship.

The warning came in a 525-page report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), which calls on lawmakers to enact a broad range of measures to better monitor and counter China’s global expansion strategies, trading practices, and influence campaigns abroad.

The commission contends that Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking to fundamentally change the global order to facilitate China’s ambitions and warns US policymakers that the country is on track to reverse the strategic philosophy once espoused by the reform-minded leader Deng Xiaoping that China should “hide [its] capabilities, bide [its] time, and never take the lead” in international affairs.

Read more ....

More News On The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission's Report On The Rise Of China

US panel warns against government purchase of Chinese tech -- National Post/AP
US security and economy 'undoubtedly put at risk' by China -- Nikkei Asian Review
Congressional panel warns of national security threat from Chinese tech -- The Hill
US Congress Report Accuses China of Using Belt & Road as Excuse for Bases Abroad -- Sputnik

New Report Claims The U.S. Is Losing Its Military Advantage

In a February, 2018 file photo, the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Annapolis arrives in her new homeport at Naval Base Point Loma, Calif. A bipartisan commission created to evaluate the 2018 National Defense Strategy said the Navy should expand its submarine fleet to help counter Russia and China. DEREK HARKINS/U.S. NAVY

SFGate/Washington Post: US military advantage has eroded, study says

WASHINGTON - The United States has lost its military edge to a dangerous degree and could potentially lose a war against China or Russia, according to a report released Wednesday by a bipartisan commission that Congress created to evaluate the Trump administration's defense strategy.

The National Defense Strategy Commission, comprised of former top Republican and Democratic officials selected by Congress, evaluated the Trump administration's 2018 National Defense Strategy, which ordered a vast reshaping of the U.S. military to compete with Beijing and Moscow in an era of renewed great-power competition.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The report is raising some important issues .... Providing for the Common Defense. but with Democrats now in control of the purse strings, I doubt that the money will be there to address what the The National Defense Strategy Commission is concerned about.

More News On The National Defense Strategy Commission Report's Claims That The U.S. Is Losing Its Military Advantage

A ‘crisis of national security’: New report to Congress sounds alarm -- Defense News
US could lose a war with China or Russia as global dominance wanes: report -- FOX News
China or Russia Could Defeat “Eroded” U.S. Military, Congress Warns in Alarming Bipartisan Report -- Fortune
U.S. military might "struggle to win, or perhaps lose" war with China or Russia, report says -- CBS
Defense Strategy Needs More Money Than Trump Plans, Panel Says -- Bloomberg
U.S. faces worst national security crisis in decades, commission warns -- Axios

The CIA Explored Using Truth Serum On Terrorism Detainees After 9/11

The CIA seal is displayed in the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. (File Photo)

Washington Post: The CIA explored using a ‘truth-serum’ on terrorism detainees after 9/11, newly released report shows

The CIA explored finding a “truth serum” to use on terrorism detainees in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a declassified report that was released as part of a lengthy Freedom of Information lawsuit.

The report, written by a chief CIA medical official whose identity has not been disclosed, detailed that Project Medication, as the effort was named, was shelved in 2003.

But not before the agency doctors had explored whether “drug-based interviews” would make for a less harsh alternative to the brutal interrogation practices like sleep deprivation, small-space confinement and waterboarding that the CIA employed in the years after 9/11, tactics that have come to be widely referred to as torture.

The report noted the agency’s previous forays into the field of truth serums, citing a 1961 report that concluded that individuals who could withstand interrogations would probably still be able to hold out in altered mental states. It also cited the CIA’s use of LSD and other drugs during its notorious MK-ULTRA project in the 1950s and ’60s, when the agency conducted 149 experiments in mind control, including the use of 25 unwitting subjects.

Read more ....

Update: CIA considered potential truth serum for terror suspects (AP)

WNU Editor: The report is here .... Summary and Reflections of Chief of Medical Services on OMS Participation in the RDI Program (ACLU). What's my take. They should have gotten these terror detainees super drunk with beer and hard liquor. It is amazing what some people say when they are hammered.

Air Force T-38C Talon Crash On Texas Base Kills One, Wounds Another. This Is The Fifth T-38 Talon Crash In A Year

FOX News: Air Force T-38C Talon crashes on Texas base; one dead

A pilot died and another was injured Tuesday when an Air Force trainer aircraft crashed at Laughlin Air Force in Texas, Air Force officials said.

Authorities did not identify the pilots, pending notification to their families. The injured pilot was taken to the Val Verde Regional Medical Center with unknown injuries.

The T-38C Talon went down around 7:40 p.m. on the Del Rio military installation, located a few miles near the U.S.-Mexico border, an Air Force statement said.

Emergency responders were at the scene. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Read more ....

More News On Yesterday's Air Force T-38C Talon Crash At Laughlin Air Force In Texas

One pilot dead in T-38 crash at Laughlin -- Air Force Times
Jet crash at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas kills pilot, injures another -- NBC/AP
One pilot dead, another injured in the fifth T-38 Talon crash in a year -- Stars and Stripes
Air Force T-38C Talon crashes on Texas base; one dead -- The Drive
Supersonic jet crash at Laughlin Air Force Base in southern Texas kills pilot -- CBS
Pilot dies in 'supersonic jet' crash at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas -- USA Today/San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times
1 pilot dead, 1 injured in Air Force plane crash -- CNN
Pilot killed as US T-38 supersonic military jet trainer crashes at base in Texas -- RT

Editor's Note

I am bit overwhelmed with a deadline on a project (which is suppose to be finished today). As a result, blogging will only return later today.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

A firefighter extinguishes a hot spot in a neighbourhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

WNU Editor: The above picture is fomr this photo-gallery .... Paradise lost (Reuters).

Putin And Trump Stole The Show In Paris This Weekend

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as he arrives to attend a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

Sitting alongside French President Macron during the 100th anniversary to commemorate the end of World War I, Putin and Trump stole the show in Paris

The Elysee Palace protocol was implacable. Nobody in Paris would be allowed to steal the spotlight away from the host, President Emmanuel Macron, during the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of World War I.

After all, Macron was investing all his political capital as he visited multiple World War I battlefields while warning against the rise of nationalism and a surge in right-wing populism across the West. He was careful to always place the emphasis on praising “patriotism.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The only person that could match Putin and Trump on stage is Chinese President Xi.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

China's Communist Party Under Xi Jinping Continues To Expand Its Control

Attendees listen to a speech by China's President Xi Jinping shown on a screen during the opening ceremony of the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

Washington Examiner: China’s Communist Party Expands Control Under Xi

Party taking over government, report says.

China's Communist Party under Xi Jinping is expanding control over the Chinese government while increasing the use of covert action influence operations, according to a forthcoming congressional report.

The annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission will reveal that communist control over China's 1.4 billion people has increased and notes the "Party-ification" of the Chinese government.

Xi also has expanded personal power by adding his brand of communism to the Chinese constitution—he is the first Chinese communist leader to do so by name—and through purging thousands of top military and civilian officials.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: From what I hear back in China, almost everyone is against this assertion of control by Chinese President Xi.

Dry-Dock Sinking In Russia Will Impact The Future Of The Russian Navy

MURMANSK, RUSSIA - Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov at the PD-50 floating dry dock of Shipyard 82. Lev Fedoseyev / TASS

David Axe, War Is Boring: Dry-Dock Sinking Could Accelerate the Russian Navy’s Decline

New, smaller ships could replace bigger, old ones

The sinking of the Russian navy’s biggest dry dock could spell trouble, and change, for the world’s third-biggest navy.

PD-50, a huge floating dry dock at the 82nd Repair Shipyard in Roslyakovo, Russia, accidentally sank on Oct. 29, 2018 after an electrical malfunction resulting in pumps overfilling the dock’s ballast tanks.

Four shipyard workers were hurt.

Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, was aboard PD-50 at the time of the sinking. The carrier remained afloat but suffered damage from a collapsing crane.

It could take years for the Kremlin to make up for PD-50’s loss. In the meantime, the Russian fleet will lack a floating repair facility for the 60,000-ton-displacement Kuznetsov and potentially other large warships of Cold War-vintage.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As to the question .... when will the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov be repaired to re-enter service? Apparently it is going to take a long time .... Russian officials: Nope, we can’t finish fixing the carrier Kuznetsov (Ars Technica).

50 IDF Soldiers Were Almost Killed By A Hamas Missile

Jerusalem Online: The ‘Miracle’ that Saved 50 IDF Soldiers from Hamas Missile

Hamas terrorists operating on the edges of the Gaza Strip on Monday fired an anti-tank missile at a passenger bus driving on the Israeli side of the border.

Just minutes earlier, the bus, which had no military markings, had dropped off some 50 Israeli soldiers at a gathering point ahead of expected operations against the Palestinian terror group.

Two people were wounded in the strike, which can be seen in the video above–the 25-year-old Arab bus driver and a 19-year-old IDF soldier who was standing near the bus when it was hit. The soldier was initially listed in critical condition, but successfully underwent emergency surgery and is not being monitored in Intensive Care.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If these 50 IDF soldiers were killed in this strike, Israel and Hamas would be fighting an all out war right now.

Gaza Militants Announce A Ceasefire With Israel

NBC: Gaza militants announce ceasefire with Israel in bid to avert war

An earlier dramatic escalation in violence appeared to have been triggered by a botched Israeli commando raid into Gaza.

TEL AVIV, Israel — Gaza Strip militant groups announced a ceasefire Tuesday after a deadly flare-up in violence with Israel raised fears of an all-out war.

"Egyptian efforts have been able to stabilize the ceasefire," Gaza's militant groups said in a statement, referring to ongoing efforts by Egypt to broker a truce.

Israeli officials did not confirm the announcement.

Read more ....

Update #1: Hamas accepts cease-fire deal as Israel holds firm against terror group's threats (FOX News)
Update #2: Hamas Steps Back From All-Out War With Israel -- The Wall Street Journal

WNU Editor: It has been a violent 24 hours .... 400 rockets fired at Israel, IDF hits 150 terror targets in Gaza (Arutz Sheva).

Venezuela: The Country With The World’s Largest Oil Reserves Is Running Out Of Gasoline

Motorists line up for fuel at a gas station of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA in San Cristobal, Venezuela November 10, 2018 . REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

Reuters: Fuel shortages the new normal in Venezuela as oil industry unravels

VALENCIA/CARACAS (Reuters) - With chronic shortages of basic goods afflicting her native Venezuela, Veronica Perez used to drive from supermarket to supermarket in her gray Chevrolet Aveo searching for food.

But the 54-year-old engineer has abandoned the practice because of shortages of something that should be abundant in a country with the world’s largest oil reserves: gasoline.

“I only do what is absolutely necessary, nothing else,” said Perez, who lives in the industrial city of Valencia. She said she had stopped going to Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, just 20 miles (32 km) away.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In the meantime the exodus from Venezuela continues .... Colombia opens camp for Venezuela migrants as exodus swells (FOX News).