Sunday, September 22, 2019

Iran's Foreign Minister Is Not Confident That War Can Be Avoided

The Hill: Iranian official: 'I'm not confident that we can avoid a war'

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he's "not confident that we can avoid a war" but stressed that Iran will not start one amid escalating tensions with the U.S. in recent days.

"I'm not confident that we can avoid a war. I'm confident that we will not start one," Zarif said in an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation" set to air Sunday.

"I'm confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it," he added.

Asked what he meant, Zarif said "That means that there won't be a limited war."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: More threats from Iran.

Mexico Facing A New Record For Homicides And A Sluggish Economy

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s president, speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. Photo: Bloomberg

Bloomberg: Mexico’s Record-Setting Homicides, Slugglish Economy Test AMLO

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s homicides in August show the nation remains on pace to break last year’s record, while a national poll showed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s approval falling as the economy teeters on the brink of a technical recession.

Murders rose 3.3% in the first eight months of the year to 23,063 from 22,316 last year, according to government data released Friday. The August toll rose to 2,966 from 2,954 in the same month a year ago. The uptick is unsettling investors already uncertain about an economy now estimated by the central bank to grow 0.2%-0.7% this year, down from 0.8%-1.8% previously.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is fast approaching his first anniversary as President of Mexico, and he is not succeeding on the two issues that he vowed he was going to solve .... lowering Mexico's homicide/crime rate, and improving the economy. I give him two more years to produce positive results, or he will be facing some serious backlash.

Protests Against President Al-Sisi Continue For A Second Day In Egypt

BBC: Egypt: Protests and clashes enter second day

Egypt has seen a second night of clashes and dozens of arrests in rare demonstrations against President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

About 200 demonstrators took to the streets in the port city of Suez demanding his resignation.

Dozens were reportedly arrested and police responded with tear gas.

The protests - which also took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday - are in response to corruption allegations against President Sisi's government.

Read more ....

More News On The Growing Unrest In Egypt

Riot police tear gas protesters in Egypt as they take to the streets to demand resignation of President Al-Sisi -- Daily Mail
Demonstrators clash with Egyptian police in second day of anti-Sisi protests -- France 24
Hundreds of Egyptians arrested in latest wave of protests against Sisi -- The Guardian
Riot police crack down on spontaneous demonstrations against President Sisi in cities across Egypt -- The Independent
Clashes in Egypt's Suez on second day of protests against el-Sisi -- Al Jazeera
Following protests, Egypt warns media it's monitoring press coverage -- CBC/AP

Seventy Thousand Indian Americans Attend Trump-Modi Rally In Houston

Reuters: 'Howdy, Modi!' - Thousands, plus Trump, rally in Texas for India's leader

HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a stage and showered each other with praise on Sunday at a “Howdy, Modi!” rally attended by upward of 50,000 people, a rare mass showing for a foreign leader on American soil.

Trump, calling the gathering a “profoundly historic event,” was greeted with a standing ovation by the Indian-American crowd and his speech was interrupted several times by roars of approval.

The U.S. leader hailed the India-U.S. relationship and the Indian-American community as he reached out to an ethnic group that voted overwhelmingly against him in 2016.

“You uphold our values, you uplift our communities and you are truly proud to be American and we are truly proud to have you as Americans,” Trump the crowd.

Read more ....

Update #1: 'Howdy Modi': thousands of Indian Americans attend Trump rally (The Guardian/AP)
Update #2: "Howdy Modi" Event In Houston: Trump And Indian PM Modi Celebrate U.S.-India Alliance (RCP)
Update #3: At a rally like no other, Trump woos Indian American voters ahead of 2020 (Politico)

WNU Editor: These images are not going to be shown on the main stream media tonight (see below)

Update #4: I think the estimate of 50,000 is wrong. The stadium's seating capacity is 72,000 (see here), and it does not include the grounds. From what I am seeing, that placed is completely packed, grounds included. There are 70,000 people there if not more.

Update #5: It should put an end to the narrative, but it will not.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi And Other Democrats Hint On Impeaching President Trump

Rolling Stone: Pelosi Hints at Impeachment in Letter on Ukraine Whistleblower

“If the Administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress… they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” the speaker wrote

In a rare Dear Colleague letter sent to Democrats and Republicans on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that if the Trump administration refused to turn over a whistleblower report, it “will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” leading many to believe she is hinting at possible impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

“If the Administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” Pelosi wrote, referring to the administration blocking acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from disclosing the contents of a whistleblower report alleging Trump asked the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on business dealings by Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, in the country.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If this "whistle-blower" becomes the reason why congressional Democrats push for impeachment, they will pay for it when voters go to the polls.

More News On Democrats Hinting At Impeaching President Trump

Pelosi hints at impeachment over Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint -- Axios
Pelosi Warns of ‘New Stage’ of Inquiry if Trump Blocks Whistle-Blower Complaint -- The New York Times
U.S. Democrat Schiff says Trump's Ukraine call could justify impeachment -- Reuters
Schiff on Whistleblower Allegation: Impeachment "May Be The Only Remedy" Equal To "Evil" Of Trump -- RCP

Ukraine Foreign Minister Denies Media Reports That President Trump Pressured Ukraine President Zelenskiy

Euronews: Ukraine minister denies Trump put pressure on Zelenskiy during call: report

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko on Saturday denied suggestions U.S. President Donald Trump had put pressure on Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a phone call in July.

In an interview with media outlet Hromadske, Prystaiko said Ukraine was an independent state and would not take sides in U.S. politics even if “in theory” the country was in a position to do so. He added that Kiev appreciated the assistance it received from Washington.

On Friday reports by U.S. media outlets said Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden, one of Trump’s chief political rivals, in a July phone call.

Read more ....

Update #1: Ukraine foreign minister defends Trump's call with Zelenskiy: 'I think there was no pressure' (FOX News)
Update #2: Ukraine minister denies Trump put pressure on Zelenskiy during call: report (Reuters)

WNU Editor: I met Ukrainian Foreign Minster Vadym Prystaiko when he was the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada twice around 2013 (one was in a social environment, and the second one was to help a Canadian friend of mine who wanted to invest in Ukraine). The Ambassador struck me as a typical diplomat but one who was sincere and honest on what could and could not be done. If he says President Trump did not pressure Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, I believe him. But the U.S. press (of course) has a different take on this story .... Ukraine and Whistle-Blower Issues Emerge as Major Flashpoints in Presidential Race (New York Times). More here .... Trump urged Ukraine president eight times during call to investigate Joe Biden's son, report says (CNBC). There are even Democrat calls for impeachment .... U.S. Democrat Schiff says Trump's Ukraine call could justify impeachment (Reuters). And all of this because a whistle-blower heard from someone else on what may have been discussed !!!! .... Whistleblower 'didn’t have direct knowledge of the communications' between Trump and Ukraine (Washington Examiner).

As for the Biden family's history in Ukraine, it has been chronicled by this blog for years .... With Fighting Continuing In The Region, Ukraine Is Still Proceeding To Develop It's Shale Gas Deposits (July 26, 2014). Everyone in Ukraine knew that Hunter Biden was made a director of this Ukrainian company (at $50,000/month) as a favour to his dad. It is how business is done in Ukraine. As for the need to launch a probe on the Biden family's business in Ukraine. This is actually old news but one that I strongly believe should be done in both Ukraine and in the U.S. .... A Probe Into Former U.S. Vice President Biden's Family Business Deals In Ukraine May Be Opened (April 2, 2019).

Videos Emerge Of Hundreds Of Blindfolded And Shackled Uighur Muslim Prisoners In China

FOX News: Hundreds of shackled, blindfolded prisoners in China purportedly seen in online videos: report

Videos purportedly showing hundreds of prisoners in China with their heads shaved, their hands bound behind their back and blindfolds over their faces that were posted online earlier this week appears to be authentic.

The videos, posted anonymously on Twitter and YouTube Tuesday, appears to show hundreds of prisoners believed to be from China’s minority Uighur Muslims, Sky News reported.

The footage shows the men sitting in lines on the floor or being moved by guards at a station in the city of Korla in Xinjian, northwest China.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are more videos in the above FOX News report. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

More News On The Emergence Of Videos Showing Hundreds Of Blindfolded And Shackled Uighur Muslim Prisoners In China

Video showing hundreds of shackled, blindfolded prisoners in China is 'genuine' -- SKY News
Video showing hundreds of shackled, blindfolded prisoners in China is 'genuine' -- SKY News
Chilling video shows Chinese police transferring hundreds of blindfolded, shackled prisoners --

Beijing's Crackdown On Islam Is Spreading Across China

Chinese officials have cracked down on Arabic-style domes and minarets of the kind seen on this mosque in Lanzhou, a city in Gansu Province. Photo: The New York Times

Indian Express/NYTimes: A crackdown on Islam is spreading across China

In China s northwest, the government is stripping the most overt expressions of the Islamic faith from a picturesque valley where most residents are devout Muslims. Authorities have destroyed domes and minarets on mosques, including one in a small village near Linxia, a city known as Little Mecca.

Similar demolitions have been carried out in Inner Mongolia, Henan and Ningxia, the homeland of China s largest Muslim ethnic minority, the Hui. In the southern province of Yunnan, three mosques were closed. From Beijing to Ningxia, officials have banned the public use of Arabic script.

This campaign represents the newest front in the Chinese Communist Party s sweeping rollback of individual religious freedoms, after decades of relative openness that allowed more moderate forms of Islam to blossom. The harsh crackdown on Muslims that began with the Uighurs in Xinjiang is spreading to more regions and more groups.

Update #1: Mosque demolitions across China raise fears over escalating persecution of Uighur Muslims (The Independent)
Update #2: ‘Boiling us like frogs’: China’s clampdown on Muslims creeps into the heartland, finds new targets (The Washington Post)

WNU Editor: The Chinese may destroy the places where people go to worship, but the worshippers will only go underground.

Google Is Claiming A Major Breakthrough In Quantum Computing. Implications On National Defense Will Be Enormous

Fortune: Google Claims ‘Quantum Supremacy,’ Marking a Major Milestone in Computing

In what may be a huge milestone in computing, Google says it has achieved "quantum supremacy," an experimental demonstration of the superiority of a quantum computer over a traditional one.

The claim, made in a new scientific paper, is the most serious indication yet that the promise of quantum computers—an emerging but unproven type of machine—is becoming reality, including their potential to solve formerly ungraspable mathematical problems.

Essentially, Google purports to have pulled off a stunt on a quantum computer that no classical machine—not even the world's most powerful supercomputer—can replicate.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is why advancements in quantum computers are important for the defense establishment ....

Quantum computing in a Defence context (Australian Defence)
The US and China are in a quantum arms race that will transform warfare (MIT Technology Review)

Saudi Arabia Wants The U.S. And Other Allies To Launch A Retaliatory Military Strike Against Iran After Last Week's Oil Attack

Reuters: Saudi Arabia seeks action against Iran after oil attack, allies wary

DUBAI/RIYADH, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will seek to make a case at a global gathering in New York this week for concerted action to punish and deter arch-foe Iran after strikes on Saudi oil plants rattled global markets and exposed the kingdom's vulnerability to attack.

However, even Riyadh's main allies the United States and the United Arab Emirates have little appetite for a conventional military confrontation which may spark a war in the Gulf and drag in other oil producers, diplomats say.

As it tries to build a coalition, Riyadh is preparing to provide evidence to the U.N. General Assembly which it says will prove Iran was behind the Sept. 14 drone and missile assault which initially drastically affected its oil output, a view shared by Washington. Riyadh says Iranian weapons were launched from the north and that it is working to pinpoint the exact location.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is going to take a lot more than a just a military strike on two oil facilities for Saudi Arabia's allies to get involved in launching a military strike against Iran and risking war. The Saudis must accept that the focus from the U.S. and its allies is to enforce sanctions, and leaving the military option on the table as a last resort. But should Iran launch more attacks and move to cripple oil shipping in the Gulf, there is no doubt in my mind that this is when this conflict will then move quickly from the diplomats to the Generals. My prediction. Iran is pushing the boundaries, almost wishing for a war. I for one would not be surprised if they do something dramatic, because sanctions are crippling their economy, and they feel that they must respond in order to show their citizens that they are in control.

Inside President Trump’s Decision To Not Attack Iran After They Shot Down A U.S. Drone In June

President Trump has argued that his decision not to attack Iran was an expression of long-overdue restraint by a nation that has wasted too many lives and dollars overseas. © Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

New York Times: An Abrupt Move That Stunned Aides: Inside Trump’s Aborted Attack on Iran

WASHINGTON — By the time President Trump met with congressional leaders on the afternoon of June 20, he had already decided to retaliate against Iran for shooting down an American surveillance drone. But for once, he kept his cards close to the vest, soliciting advice rather than doing all of the talking.

“Why don’t you go after the launch sites?” a Republican lawmaker asked.

“Well,” Mr. Trump replied with a hint, “I think you’ll like the decision.”

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But barely three hours later, Mr. Trump had changed his mind. Without consulting his vice president, secretary of state or national security adviser, he reversed himself and, with ships readying missiles and airplanes already in the skies, told the Pentagon to call off the airstrikes with only 10 minutes to go. When Vice President Mike Pence and other officials returned to the White House for what they expected would be a long night of monitoring a military operation, they were stunned to learn the attack was off.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is no public and very little political will in the U.S. to start another war in the Middle East. And U.S. allies are even more reluctant to participate in such a conflict, especially over the shooting down of a drone. President Trump's call on this one was the right one.

These Are The Wars That Killed The Most People In Human History

Dresden. World War II

National Interest: These Conflicts Killed the Most People in Human History

So many millions dead.

Key point: History is full of very bloody conflicts.

All wars are awful. Some wars are much, much more awful than others.

All wars are awful. Some wars are much, much more awful than others.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor does it comprise anything but a fraction of the overall deaths in wars in human history. Still, the five wars on this list may have collectively killed up to a quarter of a billion people.

These wars were big and upset the status quo. The Chinese Civil War turned more than half a billion people Red. World War II destroyed a totalitarian menace. Even the Mongol invasions echo in the present as an estimated 16 million people worldwide carry the genes of Genghis Khan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese Civil War and the Tai Ping Rebellion were incredibly bloody. But the Second World War holds the record of people being killed.

A Look At Where U.S. Troops And Military Assets Are Deployed In The Middle East

AFP/File photo

Axios: Where U.S. troops and military assets are deployed in the Middle East

The U.S. has maintained a costly presence in the Middle East for decades, with at least 60,000 troops stationed around the region, according to United States Central Command.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense announced Friday it will send more American troops to Saudi Arabia following mid-September attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi officials claim Iran was responsible for the attack, despite the nation's denial.

By the numbers: The U.S. has nearly 800 military bases around the world, and U.S. Central Command says there are between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. military presence in the Middle East has declined over the years, but it can be easily ramp up if tensions increase.

Iran's President Tells The West To Leave The Persian Gulf. Head Of Revolutionary Guards Threatens To Destroy Any Aggressor

Daily Mail: 'Stay away!' Iran's President Rouhani issues chilling warning to the West to keep out of the Gulf and avoid an arms race as he shows off nation's military hardware after US sent reinforcements to the region in wake of of drone attacks

* President Hassan Rouhani called on foreign powers to 'stay away' from the Gulf during parade in Tehran today
* Row after row of soldiers marched in tight unison and tanks, armoured vehicles, drones and missiles also seen
* Rouhani said: 'Farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be'
* Annual parade marks start of week commemorating Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq known as 'sacred defence'

Iran's president has warned the West to 'stay away' while showing his country's strength during a military parade.

President Hassan Rouhani denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf and said Iran will put forward a peace plan, after arch-foe the United States ordered reinforcements to the region.

His speech came as he and top military brass saluted row after row of soldiers marching past them in tight unison in front of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran today.

The parade showcased tanks, armoured vehicles, drones and missiles - including the Khorramshahr which is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometres (more than 1,200 miles).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If these reports are true, there will be a response .... Yemeni Rebels Warn Iran Plans Another Strike Soon (The Wall Street Journal).

More News On Iranian Threats

Iran's Rouhani blames foreign forces for causing 'insecurity' in the Gulf -- France 24
Iran asks West to leave Persian Gulf as tensions heightened -- AP
Iran: Foreign troops in region could threaten 'energy security' -- The Hill
Iran's president warns America to 'stay away' as it unveils long range missiles that could strike US bases -- The Telegraph
Iran says it will destroy any aggressor -- Reuters
Iran warns it will 'destroy aggressors' after US troop announcement -- BBC

Is The U.S. Navy's Zumwalt 'Stealth' Destroyer A Real Threat To China And Russia?

U.S. Navy

National Interest: The Navy's Zumwalt 'Stealth' Destroyer Is a Real Threat to China and Russia

Or is it just a piece of junk? We take a look?

Key point: The Zumwalt is supposed to be the future of high-tech naval warfare.

As the USS Zumwalt progresses with combat activation, weapons integration and further preparations for operational combat, the Navy continues to more broadly scope its operational envelope and envision operations previously less emphasized mission areas for the ship.

Could the new destroyer actually wind up changing surface warfare?

While initially conceived, in large measure, as a littoral land attack platform, Navy program managers now say fast-progressing technology and the ship's performance thus far, will increasingly enable it to succeed in open or "blue water" combat should it engage is major power, force-on-force ocean warfare.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This defense program is a mess .... The Navy's Zumwalt-Class 'Stealth' Destroyer Has One Big Problem (National Interest). And the US Navy once wanted to build 32 of them!!!!

U.S. Army Prepares For Large-Scale Global Combat

Gen. James McConville became the 40th Army chief of staff Aug. 9, 2019. (U.S. Army)

Newsweek: U.S. Army Prepares for Large-Scale Global Combat as New Chief of Staff Takes Command

The Army Chief of Staff said the army must bolster its presence around the world. It's not just a show of power, but rather a quicker response to ever-changing global events. These range from boots on the ground to crews working behind computers to counter cyber attacks—and everything in between.

Gen. James McConville said he wants mass deployments of troops around the globe to be ready, rather than sitting at standby from a base in the United States.

"It's wonderful that we have a brigade, sitting maybe at Fort Campbell, that's at the highest level of readiness," McConville told the Army Times. "But we also need to get that brigade to where we need ... and that may be by airlift, it may be by sealift."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The new U.S. Army chief is definitely ambitious, but does he have the money? .... Will the US Army have enough to pay for its modernization? (Defense News).

Fighting In The Sahel Region Of Africa Is Displacing Tens Of Thousands

Eurasia Review: Violence, Displacement On Rise In Sahel Region Of Africa

Catholic Relief Services is warning of increasing violence and displacement in the Sahel— the vast area of western and north-central Africa stretching from Senegal to Sudan.

In 2018, more than 320,000 people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger were forced to leave their homes, CRS reports. Burkina Faso, in particular, saw a four-fold increase in displaced persons since the start of this year.

“The increase of violent attacks has been devastating to so many families,” Jennifer Overton, CRS’ regional director for West Africa, said Sept. 12.

“People are struggling not only to keep their families safe and together, but also to meet basic needs like food and shelter.”

Read more ....

More News On The Growing Violence In The Sahel Region Of Africa

Commander Visits Niger, Assesses Security Situation -- Africa News
Rebel-controlled town in Mali concerns African leaders -- AFP
The further north, the more dangerous it is: On the Burkina Faso front line -- Al Jazeera
Periscoping Burkina Faso: a jihadist domino in the Sahel? -- Foreign Brief

Are Chechen Death Squads Roaming Europe Killing Former Separatist Commanders?

Photo: Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen separatist commander, shot dead in Berlin in August.

The Guardian: ‘We can find you anywhere’: the Chechen death squads stalking Europe

Ramzan Kadyrov rules the Caucasus republic through fear and oppression, amid reports of torture. But those seeking asylum in Europe are not safe, as assassins hunt them down.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili spent a long time living on the edge. He survived several years of partisan warfare against Russian forces in Chechnya during the early 2000s. He survived an assassination attempt in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi in 2015, a spray of bullets hitting him in the arm and shoulder. He survived a stint living in Ukraine, where he was tipped off about another planned attack and went into hiding. Finally, he arrived in Germany towards the end of 2016, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“I think he felt much safer here. He was only thinking about building a bright future in Germany, also for the children, not about fighting or going back there,” said Manana Tsatieva, Khangoshvili’s ex-wife, who lives in Germany with their four children.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is hard for me to feel any sympathy to these former Chechen separatist commanders. These Islamic extremists are responsible not only for murdering opponents in Chechnya during their drive for independence, but also launching a terror campaign against Russian civilians that then precipitated two destructive and bloody wars followed by a terror campaign that killed tens of thousands of people. The Beslan school massacre, the Moscow theatre hostage crisis, the list is long and many. It is also a sad state of affairs that it takes a psychotic like Ramzan Kadyrov who currently rules this Caucasus republic to go after these other psychotics who have caused so much pain.

Nicaraguan Security Forces Use Stun Grenades And Tear Gas To Stamp Out Protests

DW: Nicaragua police quash opposition protest

Protesters took to the streets in Nicaragua's capital, but were met with repression. Protests have been banned by authorities since last year, when an anti-government movement swept the nation.

Anti-government protests in Nicaragua were thwarted by police on Saturday, as demonstrators faced a barrage of tear gas and stun grenades.

Protesters had taken to the streets to condemn the death of teenager Matt Romero during a march last year. They also demanded fresh elections to replace President Daniel Ortega.

Opposition leader Felix Maradiaga said protesters were calling for a "halt to repression and the murder of farmers" and demanding that authorities "free more than 120 political prisoners."

Read more ....

Update: Nicaragua police stamp out protests with tear gas, punches (Toronto Star/AP)

WNU Editor: Daniel Ortega is not going to give up power. Like his close ally Maduro in Venezuela, he is going to use the security forces to kill-off the opposition.

Greek Police Arrest One Of The Terrorists In The 1985 Hijacking Of TWA Flight 847

Daily Mail: Greek police arrest man accused of brutal killing of US Navy diver whose body was dumped on Beirut airport tarmac during 17-day hijacking of TWA flight 847 in 1985

* TWA Flight 847 was hijacked in Athens on June 14, 1985 by Hezbollah who demanded the release of 700 Shi'ite Muslims from Israeli custody
* The jet was held for 17 days and forced to fly across the Mediterranean between Beirut and Algiers
* Some passengers were threatened and some beaten
* US Navy diver Robert Stethem was shot by the terrorists in Beirut and his body was thrown onto the apron
* The suspect, Mohammed Ali Hamadi, was later captured and sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany
* Hamadi was imprisoned in 1987 in West Germany for 19 years, but was paroled in 2005
* Hammadi rejoined Hezbollah upon his release from German prison and in 2007, the FBI announced a new $5 million reward for information leading to his recapture
* He was re-arrested in by police in Mykonos, Greece on September 21, 2019 after getting off a cruise ship
* Hezbollah denies culpability in the hijacking, among its denials of numerous other attacks they are blamed for

A Lebanese man accused of involvement in the hijacking of a TWA plane and the murder of a US navy diver has been arrested in Greece, police said on Saturday.

The 65-year-old was spotted by policemen in the island of Mykonos and detained on Thursday, a statement said.

Greek authorities said there was a European arrest warrant issued by Germany for the hijacking as well as a kidnapping committed in 1987.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He was paroled in 2005 by Germany, even though Washington demanded that he be extradited to the U.S.. It looks like he went back to Hezbollah to plot more attacks, hence the re-arrest. My memories of this hijacking are still vivid. Not only the brutal killing of a U.S. Navy diver who was a passenger aboard the plane, but how Germany completely caved into the terrorist demands.

More News On Greek Police Making An Arrest In The 1985 Hijacking Of TWA Flight 847

Greek police make arrest in 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 -- AP
TWA Flight 847: Greek police arrest aircraft hijacking suspect -- BBC
Greek police arrest suspect in 1985 TWA aircraft hijacking -- Reuters
Suspect arrested in Greece over 1985 TWA plane hijacking -- DW
Greek police arrest suspect in 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking -- FOX News

Fuel Shortages In Haiti Spark Violent Protests

DW: Haiti fuel shortages spark violent protests

Crippling fuel shortages have triggered large anti-government protests in Haiti, bringing cities to a standstill. Angry demonstrators are demanding President Jovenel Moise step down amid corruption allegations.

Police fired live rounds and tear gas as they clashed with protesters in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on Friday.

Demonstrators demanding an end to the fuel crisis erected burning barricades in the streets and pelted officers with stones and glass bottles.

Fuel shortages have plagued the impoverished Caribbean country since mid-August, leading to repeated anti-government rallies. The protesters are calling for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, who has faced allegations of corruption since entering office in February 2017. Many blame him for the fuel crisis.

Read more ....

Update: Haiti’s recurring fuel shortage has country’s professional and working class on edge (Miami Herald)

WNU Editor: Here is a good analysis on the situation .... Ghosts of tyrants past stalk proud Haiti as it slides towards the brink (Ruaridh Nicoll, The Guardian).

Paris Police Fire Tear Gas And Arrest Over 100 As Protest Turns Violent

Daily Mail: Paris police use tear gas to break up return of Yellow Vest protesters who vowed a mass turnout as 7,000 officers are deployed on the streets of the capital

* More than 7,000 officers deployed today with fears yellow vests protesters could join climate change rallies
* Tear gas used to move crowds around Champs-Elysees avenue, Saint-Lazare station and Madeleine plaza
* Police said more than 100 people have been arrested already in a busy day of events for the French capital

Police officers in Paris have used tear gas to break up anti-government demonstrators after crowds started to gather in the streets ahead of a busy afternoon of events and protests in the French capital.

More than 7,000 officers are to be deployed for rallies today over fears that yellow vest protesters could try to infiltrate a march against climate change which is also planned.

This morning police in riot gear were moving quickly to disperse those around the Champs-Elysees avenue, Saint-Lazare train station and Madeleine plaza - areas where protests have been banned this weekend.

Most demonstrators didn't wear the fluorescent vests that gave the movement its name and authorities said more than 100 people have been arrested and 596 security controls have been implemented.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In France

Paris police repeatedly use tear gas on day of protests -- AP
Paris police use tear gas amid an array of anti-government protests -- France 24
French police fire tear gas, arrest yellow vest protesters -- DW
Paris draws new climate rally; police vie with 'yellow vests', 'black blocs' -- Reuters
'Black bloc' protesters spoil Paris climate march amid violent clashes -- AFP

Police Clash With Hong Kong Protestors For 16th Consecutive Weekend

Daily Mail: Hong Kong police launch tear gas at defiant protesters as thousands of anti-government demonstrators take to the streets repeating calls for their 'five demands'

* Tear gas has been launched at democracy protesters in the outlying town of Tuen Mun in Hong Kong today
* Dozens of Beijing supporters had earlier torn down some large mosaics of colourful pro-democracy placards
* The 'Lennon Walls', created to increase morale, were badly damaged in pro-Beijing efforts to clean the city
* Most protesters in Tuen Mun were peaceful but some threw petrol bombs and bricks toward police officers
* In the evening, protesters gathered at shopping mall in another district, Yuen Long with petrol bombs thrown

Hong Kong police fired tear gas to try to disperse democracy protesters earlier today - after pro-China groups pulled down the anti-government notes on some 'Lennon Walls' in a Chinese-ruled city.

Thousands of pro-democracy marchers gathered under the sweltering sun near the government offices of Tuen Mun, an outlying area in the west of the New Territories, where some set fire to a Chinese flag.

Earlier, dozens of Beijing supporters tore down large mosaics of colourful post-it notes that were denouncing the Chinese government for allegedly meddling in the former British colony.

Reporters saw at least one person arrested after violence erupted following the afternoon march by several thousand people as Hong Kong endures its fourth month of sometimes violent protests.

They started with opposition to a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy.

Most protesters in Tuen Mun were peaceful but some threw petrol bombs and bricks toward police who faced them down the street.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Hong Kong

As it happened: petrol bombs thrown and tear gas fired as tension grows during Hong Kong's 16th weekend of protests -- SCMP
Hong Kong protesters, police face off in renewed clashes -- AP
Hong Kong protests turn to violent clashes in multiple towns -- Reuters
Hong Kong police, protesters clash in 16th weekend of rallies -- AFP
Hong Kong: Police fire rubber bullets, tear gas to scatter protesters -- DW
Hong Kong police, protesters face off in fresh clashes as fights break out over 'Lennon Walls' tear-down -- FOX News

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Politics Turn Nasty In Canada

Bloomberg: Politics Turn Nasty in Canada as Trudeau and Rivals Get Personal

For polite Canada, the latest federal election campaign is turning out to be pretty nasty.

Even before bombshell pictures of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface makeup surfaced on Wednesday, his Liberals and their main opposition Conservatives had foregone the usual niceties in favor of tactics more common to the hyper-partisan mud slinging contests south of the border in the U.S.

To some, it’s been a cynical race to the bottom where leaders have focused on inflicting maximum damage on their rivals rather than propping themselves up -- a slippery slope that could fuel the sort of political polarization that Canada has largely avoided until now.

“We’re going down a bad road here and after this campaign we’re probably going to see a lot of postmortems about how did we get here,” said Rick Anderson, a long-time political strategist in Ottawa.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have been visiting and living in Canada for almost 30 years. Truth be told, elections here have always been nasty. But what has really rocked this election is that Prime Minister Trudeau has been caught doing what he has been accusing his opponents of doing on racial issues. To say that most people were surprised when Prime Minister Trudeau's "Black Face" pictures first showed up is an understatement. They are not going to forget this story. And what has also not helped Prime Minister Trudeau has been his response, from giving a flat apology on the night that the story broke, to then blaming his behaviour on growing up in a "place of privilege". I gritted my teeth on that one. I am fortunate enough to know a lot of people who are "privileged" and/or grew up in a "place of privilege", and not one of them would ever behave like this. But for some reason Prime Minister Trudeau believes that this approach is going to work, and that when Canadians go to the polls in exactly one month, this issue will be forgotten. I disagree. This is something that you cannot recover from,  and I am now seeing it among my friends (who are mostly Liberals) who clearly feel uncomfortable to support someone like him.

As for the tracking polls, they are starting to reflect this change in sentiment, with the Conservatives now at a 5% lead over Trudeau's Liberals .... Canada's Trudeau loses a little ground in first polls since blackface scandal (National Post). I should note that for the past few years Conservatives polling numbers have always been lower than election results by about 5 %, so this Conservative 5% lead is probably much higher.

As for my election prediction. The election is still a month away and a lot can happen between now and then. But bottom line Prime Minister Trudeau is not going to win a majority government , and there is a very real chance that the opposition Conservatives will win enough seats to become the next government. There are going to be three leadership debates in the coming weeks. and it is from these debates that I sense many voters will make their decision on who to vote for. As to who will I vote for? In past elections I have voted for candidates from both parties. (In the last election I voted for Prime Minister Harper). But in this election I have trouble seeing myself voting for the Conservative Party, and I certainly will not vote for Trudeau's Liberals. Bottom line .... I am not happy with my choices, but when I decide I will tell everyone on who I will vote for.

Update #1: Andrew Coyne's assessment and analysis is correct .... Is Justin Trudeau a racist? No. He is a sanctimonious fraud (Andrew Coyne,

Update #2: It is going to get worse .... Battered Trudeau gets brief reprieve amid Canada blackface scandal (Reuters).

What Will Happen To Saudi Arabia If The World Does Not Need Its Oil?

A man looks out over central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from the Faisaliah Tower in 2003. (Peter MacDiarmid/Reuters)

Jim Geraghty, NRO: What Happens to Saudi Arabia When the World Doesn’t Need Its Oil?

Over on the homepage, our Kevin Williamson writes a really great, thought-provoking essay laying out how to synthesize the competing instincts of idealism and realism in the world, and particularly in the Muslim world. Read the whole thing; it’s difficult to summarize, but the gist is that if the United States really wants to prevent bad outcomes and increase the odds of good incomes, we need to be doing a lot of non-military intervention and relationship building with all kinds of forces for civil society in every country that matters to us. He concludes, “We can do better. But we can’t do it easily, we can’t do it on the cheap, and we can’t do it in a week.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is going to happen one day .... the world no longer needing Saudi Arabia's oil. But before that happens one can only hope that the leaders in Saudi Arabia will be able to position the country to withstand such a shock, both financially and economically. Fortunately for Saudi Arabia, the world does need its resource, and it has enough current reserves to last to the end of the century.

Editor's Note

Enjoying some R&R today. Blogging will return later this evening.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

North Korean students pose for pictures at Lake Chonji, or “Heaven Lake”, as they visit the crater of Mount Paektu, near Samjiyon. Mount Paektu has long been considered the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation and is a place of pilgrimage for tens of thousands of North Koreans every year, who are taught from birth to revere their leaders. Every year, 100,000 North Koreans or more are taken on study tours to the camp, the mountain, and nearby revolutionary sites where relics are preserved. Dressing in khaki uniforms said to resemble guerrilla outfits and carrying red flags, they march to the summit of the volcano. © AFP 2019 / Ed Jones

WNU Editor: The above picture came form this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 14 - 20 September (Sputnik).

Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. To Deploy Military Forces To Saudi Arabia And UAE

NBC: U.S. to deploy military forces to Saudi Arabia, UAE after drone attacks on oil sites

"The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces which will be defensive in nature," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday.

The United States is deploying military forces to the Middle East after Saturday's drone attacks on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that the administration of President Donald Trump has blamed on Iran.

"The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense," U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at a news conference Friday.

Answering reporters' questions about the deployment, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the troop deployment as "modest" and "not thousands."

Dunford said he planned to confer with U.S. Central Command and Saudi officials to work out details of the deployment, which he said would be announced next week.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Who is going to pay for this deployment? .... Facing Iran, Saudi Arabia still owes US $181 million for Yemen refueling (Defense News).

More News On The U.S. Deploying Military Forces To Saudi Arabia And UAE

United States sending troops to bolster Saudi defenses after attack -- Reuters
Trump orders additional air defense troops to Saudi Arabia -- ABC News
Desert Shield Part II: Pentagon sending US troops to Saudi Arabia -- Task & Purpose

Hezbollah Chief Says Iran Would Destroy Saudi Arabia In Any War

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters via a screen in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, November 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Reuters: Hezbollah says Iran would destroy Saudi Arabia in any war

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s Hezbollah warned Saudi Arabia on Friday against betting on a war against Iran because it would destroy the kingdom and said Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates should halt the conflict in Yemen to protect themselves.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group, also said new air defenses could not easily defend Saudi Arabia from the type of drones used in a Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Tensions have spiked in the region since the attacks that officials in Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran, which has denied involvement. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iran-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.

Read more ....

Update: Nasrallah warns Iran will ‘destroy’ Saudi Arabia if it attacks (Times of Israel)

WNU Editor: This is one very cocky Hezbollah leader.

How Many Nuclear Facilities Is Iran Hiding?

A nuclear power plant in Iran. Photo: Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia Commons.

Tzvi Kahn, RCD: Just How Many Nuclear Facilities Is Iran Hiding?

It happened again.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – his career now hanging by a thread after a split vote in Tuesday’s election – announced that Israel had discovered yet another covert nuclear site in Iran, this time in the city of Abadeh. “In this site,” he said, “Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons.” But when Iranian leaders realized that Israel was on to them, “they destroyed the site. They just wiped it out.” Satellite imagery presented by Netanyahu appears to confirm the demolition.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As long as inspectors are limited on what to inspect, we can only assume the worse when it comers to Iran.

Away All Boats (1956)

WNU Editor: The story of USS 'Belinda', a U.S. naval ship, and its crew during the battle of the Pacific 1943-1945, as it prepares for action and landing troops on enemy beachheads.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 20, 2019

Michael O'Hanlon, USA Today: After Iran bombs Saudi oil infrastructure, should the United States retaliate?

Iran's attack reveals weakness. Trump can do nothing and wait for sanctions to continue crushing the mullahs' regime.

Should Saudi Arabia and/or the United States retaliate beyond a new round of sanctions? That is the question of the day. Iran is the strongly suspected perpetrator of weekend drone and missile attacks against key Saudi oil infrastructure at Abqaiq facility and Khurais oil field that temporarily cut the kingdom's oil production by almost half.

Apparently, some 20 drones and several cruise missiles hit a total of at least 17 different aim points at these two general locations in the country's east. The weapons may have been launched either from Iranian soil or a place fairly close by.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 20, 2019

Is Donald Trump About to Attack Iran? -- Curt Mills, National Interest

Refraining from strike on Iran, Trump shows strength -- Uwe Parpart, Asia Times

Israel after Netanyahu? -- Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera

A historic first? Israel's Arabs could lead parliamentary opposition -- Rami Ayyub, Reuters

Stepping up to China's political warfare -- Patrick M. Cronin, The Hill

Modi’s Grand Strategy in Kashmir? -- Ahaan Bagwe, Foreign Policy Research Institute

Kashmir crisis: How to read India's threat to Pakistan -- Soutik Biswas, bbc

Putin Wants to Be Middle East's Go-To Problem Solver -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Cuban 'sonic weapon' sickness caused by pesticides? -- DW

And Now, Justin Trudeau Must Face the Voters -- Globe and Mail

How will Justin Trudeau's blackface photos affect Canada's election? -- Leyland Cecco, The Guardian

Who’s Afraid of Huawei? -- Emily Taylor, Chatham House

World News Briefs -- September 20, 2019 (Evening Edition)

View of the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hamad l Mohammed

Reuters: Media visit Saudi oil plant damaged in strike blamed on Iran

ABQAIQ, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Friday took media on a tour of oil facilities damaged by attacks that Washington and Riyadh blame on Iran, showing melted pipes and burnt equipment, as Tehran vowed wide retaliation if heightened tensions boil over into hostilities.

The kingdom sees the Sept. 14 strikes on its Khurais and Abqaiq facilities — the worst attack on Gulf oil infrastructure since Iraq’s Saddam Hussein torched Kuwaiti oilfields in 1991 — as a test of global will to preserve international order.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States was imposing sanctions on Iran’s central bank over the attack. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the bank was Tehran’s last source of funds.

Read more ....


Trump expects Iran sanctions to work; military option would work but should never have to use.

Journalists see heart of Saudi oil industry after attack.

Saudi vows quick recovery despite damage to oil plant.

Saudi Arabia oil attacks: Danger of Mid-East war high, Iraqi PM warns.

Iraq’s stability on the line as US, Iran tensions soar.

Saudi-led coalition launches military operation north of Hodeidah in Yemen. Saudi forces retaliate with airstrikes in key Yemen port city. Saudi-led coalition intercepts explosive-filled boat 'by Houthis'.

Yemen's Houthis propose to Saudi Arabia that both sides halt missile strikes.

Idlib demilitarised zone: Turkey and Russia agree on boundary.

Israel vote deadlock confirmed by near-complete results.

Twitter suspends thousands of fake accounts from UAE.


Kiribati cuts ties with Taiwan to switch to China, days after Solomon Islands.

China and US in new ‘cold war’ that is ‘more difficult’ than Soviet-era, says former US Ambassador to China.

China to expand controversial Social Credit System to 33 million companies ahead of 2020.

Chinese journalists to be tested on loyalty to Xi Jinping.

Afghanistan hospital attack death toll soars to 39.

Fraud the main enemy for Afghan election officials.

NKorea welcomes Trump’s call for ‘new method’ in talks.

'Reckless, unlawful': Amnesty accuses Hong Kong police of abuse.

Taiwan dismayed as another Pacific nation switches to Beijing.

Australia PM Scott Morrison meets Trump for White House state dinner.

Indonesia delays plan to ban sex out of marriage and limit other personal freedoms.


Small but rare protest in Cairo after online call for dissent.

U.S. air strike kills eight militants in southern Libya: U.S. military.

Thousands protest in Algiers despite tight security.

Tunisia Islamist party throws weight behind vote frontrunner.

Migrant shooting highlights concern about Libyan coast guard.

Nigeria shuts Action Against Hunger aid group 'for feeding militants'.

Zimbabwe's 'witch-hunt' against opponents.

Zimbabwe doctor is found alive after alleged abduction.


Talks ‘going backwards’ as UK asks EU to keep its proposals secret.

British, EU leaders meet to discuss new Brexit proposal. At least they’re talking: EU, UK push on with Brexit meets.

EU's Tusk to meet UK's Johnson at U.N. next Monday.

Mould-breaking court to shape Britain's Brexit agony.

Germany plans €54bn climate deal amid 500 protests.

Paris police gird for weekend protests over Macron, climate.

Russia oil reserves now worth $1.2 trillion after new discoveries.

Russian actor Pavel Ustinov freed pending appeal.


Trudeau tries to shift focus from brownface images to gun control.

Trudeau’s support holds after apology for wearing brownface.

Revelers reach gates of Area 51 then peacefully rejoin party.

Trump denies Hillary Clinton claim he sought foreign help for 2020 election.

Trump whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine: report. Trump denies promise that led to formal complaint from intelligence official. 'Someone ought to look into Joe Biden!' Donald Trump slams Democrats over growing whistle-blower scandal saying 'it doesn't matter what I discussed' with Ukraine's president and tries to turn the tables by accusing former VP's son of corruption.

Trump says he's sanctioning Iran's national bank.

NY Fed to pump $75 bn into money markets daily through Oct 10.

Bill de Blasio QUITS long-shot presidential bid after never escaping bottom tier of Democrats and Trump twists the knife: 'NYC is devastated, he's coming home!'.

US expels two Cuban diplomats citing 'influence operations'.

Cubans wait hours in gas lines as fuel crisis bites.

Source says US, El Salvador to sign asylum deal.

Central America's dengue epidemic deadly in Honduras.

Argentine judge orders case involving ex-President Fernandez to trial.


U.S. kills 8 Islamic State fighters in Libya airstrike.

Al-Shabaab's leader claims the US and Britain are leading an 'invasion' in his first audio message in three years - and condemns 'hostility by Christians against Muslim society'.

U.S. admits to Afghanistan drone strike that killed 30 farmers.

Fighting al-Shabab: US trains elite Somali forces.


Fresh US-China trade worries erase early gains for stocks.

Twitter targets Saudi and Chinese propaganda machines as it closes down thousands of fake news accounts worldwide in an effort to halt state-run manipulation.

Mark Zuckerberg rejects call from US lawmaker to break up Facebook.

Trump administration exempts hundreds of Chinese products from tariffs.

Trade deal between EU, 11 South American nations blocked over Amazon fires.

China Just Made The Oil Deal Of A Lifetime In Iraq

Simon Watkins, China Just Got Handed The Oil Deal Of A Lifetime

China and Russia are sewing up whatever oil and gas fields and accompanying infrastructure that they can in Iran and Iraq, as Iraq tries to markedly up the pace of development on the fields it shares with Iran. Iraq only wants the U.S. for the Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP) because ExxonMobil is the only firm that can do it properly and within a reasonable timeframe. ExxonMobil’s participation, though, is far from guaranteed.

Of all the key shared fields - Azadegan (Iran side)/Majnoon (Iraq side), Azar/Badra, Yadavaran/Sinbad, and Dehloran/Abu Ghurab, Naft Shahr/Khorramshahr – the first of these has been a priority for Iran since it was severely flooded in March. It is this field that was the focus of the announcement last week that two major new drilling contracts have been signed: one with China’s Hilong Oil Service & Engineering Company to drill 80 wells at a cost of US$54 million and the other with the Iraq Drilling Company to drill 43 wells at a cost of US$255 million.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Both Russia and China in the past year have been trying to sew up every possible oil/gas energy deal in Iraq and Iran, and they have been successful in doing so. But the big winner has been China in Iraq . But this is all contingent on the Middle East being a peaceful place to do business, which if history is any indication, will be difficult to do.