Monday, January 20, 2020

Germany's Foreign Minister Criticizes America's Iran Strategy


DW: Germany's Heiko Maas criticizes US for Iran strategy

The foreign minister has condemned Washington's handling of the Iran conflict. Maas has advised following Europe's footsteps in diplomacy and called for further negotiations.

Germany's Heiko Maas criticizes US for Iran strategy

The foreign minister has condemned Washington's handling of the Iran conflict. Maas has advised following Europe's footsteps in diplomacy and called for further negotiations.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized US President Donald Trump on Sunday for his policy of maximum pressure against Iran.

"We should not pretend that an externally induced regime change in Tehran will automatically improve the situation. That has gone badly elsewhere, like in Iraq," Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Read more ....

Update: German FM blasts US policy on Iran, says Europe wants to prevent ‘firestorm’ in Middle East without regime change (RT).

WNU Editor: The German Foreign Minister is forgetting who Iran is .... Iran backtracks on plans to send black boxes from downed jet to Ukraine (DW).

Tweets For Today











US Army Is Thinking About The Threat Of Nuclear War Again

Gen. James McConville, then the Army's vice chief of staff, with 1st Armored Division soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, July 22. US Army/Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus

Business Insider: The US Army is thinking about the threat of nuclear war again and wants to make sure it has the right people to deal with it

* The US military's shift to focus on competition with Russia and China has put renewed attention on the threat of nuclear weapons.
* Nuclear war remains an extremely unlikely but dangerous threat, and one the Army is thinking more about, the service's chief of staff, Gen. James McConville, said this week.
* Responding to it and other challenges effectively requires the right people with the right skills, and the Army has several programs meant to ensure it has them, McConville said.

The US's shift to "great-power competition" with Russia and China has focused attention on the array of sophisticated weaponry those countries field, from growing submarine fleets to thickets of anti-aircraft systems.

But which of those weapons is most concerning?

"Nuclear weapons ... absolutely," Gen. James McConville, the Army chief of staff, said Tuesday during an event at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Thinking about the unthinkable again.

Picture Of The Day

Marine Fire
Marine Corps Sgt. Milton Grant fires a weapon during a tail gunnery exercise over the Pacific Ocean, Jan. 15, 2019.

WNU Editor: The above picture is from the following photo-gallery .... Photo-Gallery (US Department of Defense).

Deadly Coronavirus From China Has Global Health Officials On Alert





CNBC/Reuters: China confirms 139 new cases of pneumonia over weekend as coronavirus spreads to new cities

  * An outbreak of coronavirus in China is spreading to more cities, Chinese authorities reported on Monday, with 139 new cases found over the weekend, including a third death.
  * The new cases, the first inside China outside the central city of Wuhan where the virus was first reported, come as the country gears up for the Lunar New Year holidays later this week, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel domestically and abroad.
  * The new virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002/03 outbreak that also started in China.

An outbreak of a new coronavirus in China has spread to more cities, Chinese authorities said on Monday, as the number of patients tripled and a third person died, stoking concerns about the containment of the virus.

The Daxing health commission in the capital Beijing said it had confirmed two cases of coronavirus, while the southern Guangdong province’s health commission confirmed one case in Shenzhen. They mark the first cases in China beyond the central city of Wuhan where the virus first emerged.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said 136 new cases of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus strain had been found in the city over the weekend, adding to 62 already known cases. A third death occurred on Saturday, the authority said in a statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China is saying that disease is under control. But the cases continue to increase, and it has now spread to other Asian countries.

More News On The Spread Of The Deadly Coronavirus

China counts sharp rise in coronavirus cases, 2 in Beijing -- AP
China coronavirus: Number of cases jumps as virus spreads to new cities -- BBC
China Mystery Illness Cases Soar Past 200 People Infected -- Bloomberg
Rapidly spreading: Chinese authorities confirm 136 NEW cases of deadly virus in 2 days -- RT
Japan confirms first case of coronavirus that has infected dozens in China -- Japan Times
China's coronavirus cases likely grossly underestimated, study says -- CNN

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Look At How America Makes Its F-35 Stealth Fighter

The F-35 Lightning II fighter production facilities at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

National Interest: Inside Look: How America Makes Its F-35 Stealth Fighter

From inside the factory.

Key point: Reducing the heat emissions, or thermal signature, is also known to be of vital importance to preserving stealth.

(Ft. Worth, Texas) -- Filled with stacks of fuselage panels, engine components and a wide assortment of pipes, electronics and avionics, the spralling F-35 construction facility in Ft. Worth, Texas, resembles a small city filled with engineers, mechanics, electricians and airplanes at various stages of construction.

While some stations include vertically-hanging airplane wings, rudders, pipes and intricate collections of wires running through the fuselage, others contain little more than an assortment of seemingly disconnected small parts. Farther along the mile-long construction strip, heavily trafficked by workers, builders and engineers, there are bays with nearly completed F-35 with a light-green exterior. These “about to be finished” F-35s, roll into a separate environmentally-controlled hanger where they await a final coat of blended gray paint - giving the aircraft its color.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A brief summary on what building a F-35 entails.

So Much For This Being A Turkish - Libyan Covert Operation


Zero Hedge: Syrian Jihadists Filmed Jet-Setting To Next Proxy War On Commercial Plane

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continued warning that terrorist groups as well as a 'flood of refugees' will show up on Europe's shores if the Tripoli government were to fall to renegade General Khalifa Haftar, amid his continued offensive to control the Libyan capital. Erdogan's statement came a day before he heads to Berlin for a major peace conference which will attempt to halt the fighting.

And yet look who's sending actual jihadists into the already war-ravaged country on comfortable commercial jets:

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Not so secret after-all.

Where's Putin?


WNU Editor: Putin has a reputation of always being late. He did not disappoint at today's Libyan peace summit in Germany.

World Powers Agree To A New Push For Libya Peace



The Hill: Countries reach agreement in Berlin on Libya cease-fire push, arms embargo

World leaders reached an agreement to push for a cease-fire in Libya and to more strictly enforce the arms embargo on the warring parties in the country, officials announced Sunday.

Leaders from 11 countries involved in the Libya dispute discussed for four hours in Berlin ways to alleviate the conflict, The Associated Press reported. The leaders of the two feuding sides in Libya were in the German capital but did not meet face-to-face or join the negotiations.

“We had to succeed in getting all the parties that connected in any way with the Libya conflict to speak with one voice ... because then the parties inside Libya will also understand that there is only a non-military way to a solution,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to the AP. “We achieved this result here.”

Read more ....

WNU editor: This summit was a waste of time .... After Hilarious 'Where's Putin?' Moment, Little Progress Made At Berlin Peace Conference On Libya (Zero Hedge).

More News On The Libyan War

World powers agree new push for Libya peace -- AFP
International Powers Call for Cease-Fire in Libya’s Long Civil War -- The New York Times
Libya summit calls for sanctions if ceasefire is violated -- CNN
‘Arms embargo & commitment to ceasefire’: Libya peace talks end on positive note in Berlin despite enduring disagreements -- RT
Libya civil war: World leaders committed to peace, UN chief says -- BBC
Over 2,000 Syrian mercenaries transported to Libya from Turkey: LNA -- AMN
Berlin summit: Foreign powers back Libya ceasefire as Haftar's forces choke oil flows -- Middle East Eye
Commander Khalifa Haftar's forces choke Libya's oil flow -- Al Jazeera

White House's NSC Senior Director For European and Russian Affairs Placed On Administrative Leave Pending Investigation

Andrew Peek, the NSC’s senior director for European and Russian affairs, was reportedly escorted from the White House grounds on Friday

Daily Mail: Donald Trump's top Russia expert on National Security Council is 'escorted off the White House grounds amid a security investigation'

* Andrew Peek is on leave from NSC pending a security investigation, reports say
* Peek is the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the NSC
* He was escorted from the White House grounds on Friday, sources say
* Peek’s two predecessors testified in the House impeachment inquiry

President Donald Trump's top Russia expert on the National Security Counsel is reportedly on leave pending a security investigation.

Andrew Peek, the NSC’s senior director for European and Russian affairs, was escorted from the White House grounds on Friday, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Peek had been in the NSC role for just two months, after most recently working as a deputy assistant secretary of state with responsibility for Iran and Iraq.

He replaced Tim Morrison, who left the position after testifying in the House impeachment inquiry.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He was escorted from the White House by security. That .... to put it bluntly .... is never good.

More News On The White House's NSC Senior Director For European and Russian Affairs Being Placed On Administrative Leave

Trump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report -- The Hill
NSC Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs placed on administrative leave -- CNN
White House's top Russia official put on leave pending investigation -- NBC
White House national security official on leave pending investigation -- Axios
US Director on Russian Affairs at NSC Leaves Post Amid Pending Investigation - Reports -- Sputnik

Conflicting Intel Reports That U.S. Troops In Germany Are Facing An Imminent Terror Attack

Described as 'third party information' the U.S.'s 66th Military Intelligence Brigade said they were told soldiers located at either Tower Barracks in Grafenwohr or Tower Barracks, Dulmen, pictured, could be the target

Newsweek: Exclusive: Intel Report Warns US Troops in Germany Face 'Possible Imminent' Threat of Attack

The United States has received intelligence regarding a potentially imminent attack being planned against its military personnel stationed in Germany, according to an official memo seen by Newsweek.

The U.S.'s 66th Military Intelligence Brigade received what was described as "third party information stating there was an [sic] possible imminent attack against U.S. Soldiers located at either Tower Barracks in Grafenwohr or Tower Barracks, Dulmen, exact location, date and time unknown." Newsweek reviewed the information marked unclassified from a senior U.S. intelligence official.

(Newsweek sought guidance from former Pentagon officials in order to ensure this reporting would not put any U.S. personnel at risk.)

Read more ....

WNU editor: The Pentagon is saying that there is no "imminent threat" to US troops in Germany .... Intelligence services say there is 'no imminent threat' to US troops stationed at two bases in Germany after tip involving 'Jordanian extremist' (Daily Mail).

Former Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Has Become Putin's 'Scapegoat'

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in the rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the anniversary of the Nazi German invasion in 1941, by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: Putin Hunted for Scapegoats and Found Medvedev

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a radical overhaul of Russia’s governance system this week, he also ended the Medvedev era. Dmitry Medvedev was, at least formally, Putin’s closest sidekick, the politician with whom the strongman was most willing to share formal power. Whether or not it’s time for Medvedev’s political obit, his stint near the top of Russia’s so-called power vertical will serve as an example of how the Putin system’s inertia can suffocate the best modernizing intentions.

Medvedev abruptly resigned as prime minister on Wednesday, without giving advance notice to members of his government, who also had to tender their resignations. “We as the government must give our country’s president the opportunity to make all the necessary decisions,” Medvedev said, though it wasn’t clear how his continued occupancy of the top cabinet post could get in the way of Putin’s reform.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Dmitry Medvedev says he is going to still lead the Party .... Medvedev Says He's Hanging On To United Russia Party Chairmanship (RFE). Even though United Russia has a super-majority in the State Duma (Russia's parliament), public support for the party is now almost non-existent. IMHO the future does not look bright for the former Prime Minister.

Russian President Putin Says He Rejects The Idea Of Soviet-Style Leaders For Life

Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)

RFE: Putin Says He Rejects Soviet-Style Leaders For Life

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would not like to see his country return to the Soviet practice of having lifelong rulers who died without a clear succession procedure.

Speaking to a group of World War II veterans in St. Petersburg on January 18, Putin was asked if it would be desirable to remove the term limit for presidents.

"It would be very worrying to return to the situation we had in the mid-1980s when state leaders stayed in power, one by one, until the end of their days and left office without ensuring the necessary conditions for a transition of power," Putin said. "I think it would be better not to return to that situation."

Read more .....

WNU Editor: The problem is that Russian President Putin's rhetoric is not matching his actions .... Vladimir Putin says he OPPOSES the idea of a leader taking power for life days after sweeping political changes clear the way for him to do exactly that (Daily Mail).

Update: Some are now calling for early elections .... Putin's party 'considering' early elections as confusion reigns over sweeping succession plans (The Telegraph)

More News On Russian President Putin Saying That He Rejects The Idea Of Soviet-Style Leaders For Life

Russia’s Putin says he opposes unlimited presidential term -- AP
Despite shake-up, Putin rejects idea of Soviet-style leaders for life -- Reuters
Putin Says He Doesn’t Want Return to Soviet-Era Lifetime Leaders -- Bloomberg
Putin says 'transition' crucial after political shake-up -- CGTN

Low Turnout For Moscow March Opposing Putin's Political Shake-Up

Opposition supporters hold a copies of Russia’s constitution during a rally against constitutional reforms proposed by President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, Russia Jan. 19, 2020. Tatyana Makeyeva / REUTERS

RFE: Moscow Protesters Detained After Opposing Putin At Commemorative March

MOSCOW -- Russian security forces have detained at least 10 people who were taking part in a march in Moscow on January 19 to commemorate a human rights lawyer and a journalist who were killed by Russian neo-Nazis more than a decade ago.

The march has taken place each year in Moscow since lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were killed in the Russian capital on January 19, 2009.

This year, however, some of the 1,500 marchers used the event to declare their opposition to constitutional changes proposed on January 15 by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They were quickly pulled aside by authorities and taken to police vans.

Read more ....

Update: Russian activists take aim at Putin in march against repression (AFP)

WNU Editor: The turnout was a disappointment .... Moscow protest over Putin's political shake-up fails to gain traction (Reuters).

Anti-Government Riots Continue In Beirut





FOX News: Lebanese authorities brace for more violence after night of protests rock Beirut

Lebanese security forces prepared for more violence on Sunday after a night of protests over the country’s worsening financial situation gripped Lebanon’s capital.

Demonstrators used rocks and other projectiles early Sunday while security forces responded by firing tear gas canisters and water cannons, before turning to rubber bullets. A few protesters tried to breach metal barriers that separated them from the riot police, while hundreds more gathered down the blocked street leading to the Parliament building.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Lebanon

Lebanon security forces, protesters clash in second day of violent escalation -- France 24
Riots in Lebanon's capital leave more than 150 injured -- NBC News/AP
Beirut turns into a battleground as clashes escalate -- Al Jazeera
Hundreds injured in Lebanon as violence flares in ‘week of anger’ -- The Guardian
Clashes Shake Beirut as Anti-Government Protests Explode in Violence -- The New York Times
Violent clashes continue in Lebanon over finance woes, fractured government -- NYPost
In images: Lebanon’s ‘week of rage’ spills onto Beirut streets -- France 24

Houthi Missile Attack On A Military Training Camp In Yemen Has Killed Over 80 Soldiers





BBC: Yemen war: At least 80 soldiers killed in missile attack

A missile attack on a military training camp in Yemen has killed at least 80 soldiers.

Dozens of others were wounded in the strike in the central province of Marib on Saturday, officials say.

The camp, about 170km (105 miles) east of the capital, Sanaa, targeted a mosque as people gathered for prayer, military sources told Reuters.

Yemen's government has blamed Houthi rebels for the attack, but there has been no claim of responsibility.

Officials said they expected the death toll to rise.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Missile Attack In Yemen

More than 100 killed in Yemen missile, drone attack -- AFP
80 soldiers killed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen -- CNN
Yemen's Houthi rebels kill dozens in attack on military base in Marib -- The National
Yemen: Scores killed in missile attack on military camp -- DW
Yemen's president says military needs to be on high alert after attack -- Jerusalem Post/Reuters
United Nations condemns attack on Yemen camp, says it threatens peace -- Reuters

Saudi Arabia Paid The US $500 Million For Costs Associated With Stationing American Forces In The Kingdom

US troops [File photo]

CNN: Saudi Arabia has paid $500M toward the cost of US troops in country

Saudi Arabia has paid the US approximately $500 million to begin to cover the cost of US troops operating in the country, according to a US official.

The payment was made in December last year. President Donald Trump asserted last week in an interview with Fox News that Saudi Arabia had "already deposited $1 billion in the bank."

Earlier this week the Pentagon could not confirm that any payment had been made.

This is not the first time the Saudis have contributed to cover US military costs. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states paid $36 billion towards the costs of the Gulf War in 1990-91.

Bilateral talks are ongoing over precisely what expenses will be covered by the Saudis. That decision will lead to a final calculation on what the US believes the Saudis owe.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I thought they were paying more.

More News On Reports That Saudi Arabia Paid The US $500 million For Costs Associated With Stationing American Forces In The Kingdom

Saudi Arabia paid $500 million for cost of US troops in area -- The Hill
Saudi Arabia pays $500m to host US troops in kingdom -- Middle East Eye
Report: Saudis paid about $500M for US troops -- Middle East Monitor

FBI Report: Saudi Arabia Is Helping Its Citizens Escape Prosecution In The U.S. For Serious Crimes

Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah appears during his arraignment in Portland on Aug. 22, 2016. Federal law enforcement officials believe the Saudi Arabian government helped him flee the United States before his manslaughter trial the following year.

Daily Mail: FBI finds the Saudi government 'almost certainly' helps its citizens escape prosecution in the US for serious crimes while American officials looked the other way

* The Saudi Government has been secretly helping its citizens escape prosecution for serious crimes in the US, the FBI has determined
* A new bulletin from the federal agency revealed the secret effort has been carried out largely to spare the Persian Gulf kingdom embarrassment
* The FBI warned the practice, which has been going on for years while US officials looked the other way, will likely continue without their intervention
* The revelation comes after President Donald Trump signed into law a new requirement backed by Congressman Ron Wyden of Oregon
* The law requires the FBI publicly disclose what it knows about the Saudi government's suspected role in helping its citizens avoid prosecution in the US
* Among those suspected of escaping justice is Abulrahman Sameer Noorah, 21, who vanished weeks before his 2017 trial in the hit-and-run death of Fallon Smart

A new bulletin from the FBI has revealed that the Saudi government 'almost certainly' helped its citizens escape prosecution for serious crimes they were charged with in the US, and American officials looked the other way for years.

The secret effort was carried out to spare the Persian Gulf kingdom embarrassment, while US officials looked the other way for years, and will likely continue without their intervention, the FBI said in the bulletin released Friday.

The revelation comes after President Donald Trump signed into law a requirement backed by Representative Ron Wyden of Oregon that the FBI disclose what it knows about the Saudi government's suspected role in helping its citizens avoid prosecution in the US.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is only one way to stop this practise. Use this history of flight risk to deny bail to Saudi citizens who have been arrested on serious crimes.

More News On The FBI Claiming That Saudi Arabia Is Helping Its Citizens Escape Prosecution In The U.S. For Serious Crimes

Declassified FBI bulletin says Saudi officials help their citizens flee US legal issues -- CNN
FBI: Saudi government 'almost certainly' helps citizens accused of serious crimes escape from US -- USA Today
FBI: Saudi government ‘almost certainly’ helps its citizens escape prosecution in US for serious crimes -- Oregon Live
Saudi government 'almost certainly' helps its citizens flee US to escape prosecution, FBI says -- Washington Examiner