Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Washington Abandons The Current Syrian Opposition Leadership

U.S. Looks To Build Alternative Syrian Opposition Leadership -- Washington Post

The Obama administration has spent the past several months in secret diplomatic negotiations aimed at building a new Syrian opposition leadership structure that it hopes can win the support of minority groups still backing President Bashar al-Assad.

The strategy, to be unveiled at a Syrian opposition meeting next week in Qatar, amounts to a last-ditch effort to prevent extremists from gaining the upper hand within the opposition and to stop the Syrian crisis from boiling over into the greater Middle East.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Looking To Build An Alternative Syrian Opposition Leadership

As Syria Escalates Bombing, U.S. Urges New Anti-Assad Bloc -- New York Times
U.S. Pulls Support for Key Anti-Assad Bloc -- Wall Street Journal
Clinton calls for overhaul of Syrian opposition -- Reuters
U.S. Favors Shift to Broaden Syrian Opposition Leadership -- Bloomberg Businessweek
US calls for overhaul of Syrian opposition -- Irish Times
Clinton warns Syria rebels to resist extremism -- BBC
Clinton: Syrian exile group not 'visible' opposition leader -- CNN
Clinton urges SNC shake-up -- The Daily Star
Clinton explains State Department efforts to build new Syrian opposition council -- The Cable/Foreign Policy

An Analysis On The Benghazi Attack From Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz

Photo: Paul Wolfowitz

Distrust But Verify -- Paul Wolfowitz, AEI Ideas

It is hard to understand why Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in discussing the US response to the attacks on two US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, offered this novel principle as a guide for US action – or inaction – during that crisis: “A basic principle is you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”

Of course, no such “basic principle” governs the conduct of US military personnel in Afghanistan and elsewhere, who regularly go “into harm’s way” without “knowing what’s going on,” particularly when they know that American lives are in danger.

Read more ....

My comment: His analysis on the lack of military resources available when the attacked occurred is probably right. Africom has always been on the bottom of the priority list for the military .... a mistake that Benghazi has shown to be both deadly and costly.

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- October 31, 2012

A video from activists an eastern suburb of Damascus showed smoke rising. BBC

Syria's Rebels Need To Strike At The Regime's Backbone -- Hassan Hassan, The National

What if the Syrian regime crumbled today? Did the government lose control - at least briefly - when at least four of the regime's top figures were killed in a bomb attack in Damascus in July? In my opinion, it probably did.

Those officials, including the dictator's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, linked the regime's top echelons with the security apparatus in overseeing the daily repression. That chain was probably broken, for a brief period, before the embattled regime reasserted its control and the violence continued as usual.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

A jihadist group prospers in Syria
-- Jackson Diehl, Washington Post

Tunisia’s Challenges -- New York Times editorial

It is business as usual in Pakistan -- Anita Joshua, The National

Al Qaida-linked groups cement control in northern Mali as diplomats ponder intervention -- Alan Boswell, McClatchy Newspapers

Minorities Fear End of Secularism in Egypt -- Daniel Steinvorth and Volkhard Windfuhr, Spiegel Online

Africa’s gerontocracy isn’t going to last much longer -- TMS Ruge, Special to The Globe and Mail

The Putin Crackdown -- Wall Street Journal editorial

Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians' memories of Stalinism -- Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor

Now, Almost Anyone Is a Traitor
-- Andrei Soldatov, The Moscow Times

Reclaiming Xenophobia: The Rise of Ultra-Nationalism in Greece -- Joanna Kakissis, Time

Europe must overcome the politics of fear around the debt crisis -- George Papandreou, Christian Science Monitor

Scottish independence vote is part of worrying trend -- Washington Post editorial

Gates says defense secretary role was his life's 'highest calling' -- Jennifer Rizzo, CNN

World News Briefs -- October 31, 2012 (Evening Edition)

Obama, Republican Christie Tour Storm-Hit New Jersey, Trade Praise -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Putting aside partisan differences, President Barack Obama and Republican Governor Chris Christie toured storm-stricken parts of New Jersey on Wednesday, taking in scenes of flooded roads and praising each other for their response to superstorm Sandy.

Riding in the Marine One presidential helicopter, Obama and Christie got an aerial view of some of the hardest-hit areas of the New Jersey shoreline, and afterward the president promised to cut through red tape to help storm victims.

Read more ....


Syria presses heavy air bombardment of rebels. Syrian jets bomb rebel strongholds in Damascus and north.

Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again.

US warns Israel off pre-emptive strike on Iran.

Lebanon’s Sunnis at risk of radicalization.

Iran urges recognition of its nuclear rights.

EU sanctions strangle Iranian LPG exports to Asia.

IG report: Iraqi auditors point to huge money laundering.

Israel reckons with unraveling Gaza policy.

Electrical fire at Saudi wedding kills 25.


Pregnancy rumors envelop North Korea.

Southeast India braces for Cyclone Nilam.

Afghans say Presidential election date is set for April 2014.

Afghan parliament paralysed by Hajj trips.

China confronts Japan ships near disputed islands.

Opium cultivation increases for sixth year in Burma, according to UN report.

India's new FM to focus on Pakistan, China relations.

China 'should move to two-child policy'.


One-third of Congolese men admit committing sexual violence.

North Mali prepares for war as refugees dream of liberation from al-Qaida.
Western diplomats see danger in Mali.

Libya army has 'no control' in Bani Walid: defence minister.

Gunmen kill 20 in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state.

One dead in Tunisia clash between Salafists and police. Security tightened after Tunisia violence.

Egyptian authorities reportedly seize 1.7 million documents proving Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo.

£10 million in aid to Uganda ended up in bank accounts of PM's aides.


UK's Cameron rocked by defeat in Europe budget vote. EU budget vote: Rebel MPs defeat government over spending cut call.

Eurozone unemployment rises to new record.

Greece recession and debt problems even worse.

Portuguese budget to pass, faces court uncertainty.

French investigators to exhume Yasser Arafat next month.

US, EU to ethnic Serbs: You have a home in Kosovo.

French CEOs call for huge cuts to welfare charges.

Europe's oldest prehistoric town unearthed in Bulgaria.


A tale of two cities: As one half of New York City lies desolate in Superstorm Sandy's wake, life in the other continues as normal. About 6 million remain without power in Northeast.

Long days for millions in Sandy's wake.

Superstorm moves on, leaving devastation behind in N.Y., N.J..

Colombian peace talks push President Santos' popularity higher.

Colombia Urabenos 'gang leader' captured in Argentina.

Brazilians dare to hope crackdown on corruption is real.

Haiti fears food shortages after hurricane hit crops.

Mexican pleads guilty to Fast and Furious murder.


Americans slip from Minnesota to Somali terror group: FBI.

Video reportedly shows key suspect from Benghazi attack.

Indonesian forces kill terror suspect in raids.

What al Qaeda fans have to say about Hurricane Sandy.


Report: Forstall left Apple because he refused to apologize for maps.

France 'hits Google with €1 billion claim' in content row.

Google loses Australia 'gangland' defamation lawsuit.

Ford earns $1.6 billion in 3Q, best-ever results in North America.

Wine shortage to follow poor 2012 grape harvest.

MF Global’s collapse: The Fed’s role.

Palestinians Split On Supporting Assad In Syria's Civil War

Report: Palestinians In Syria Divided -- UPI

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Armed Palestinian factions opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad may join the fight against pro-government forces, observers say.

There are an estimated half-million Palestinians living in Syria and both sides in the 19-month-old conflict have been courting their support, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

"The regime has been trying to enlist the Palestinians, and the rebels have been trying to do the same," Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at American University of Beirut, told the newspaper in a report from Abu Dhabi. "As the civil war in Syria continues to unfold, I think the Palestinian fratricide will be a chapter."

Read more ....

More News On Palestinians Divided in Their Support Of The Assad Government

Palestinians in Syria face off over Assad -- Financial Times
Syrian rebels arm Palestinians against Assad -- Reuters
Syria rebels form brigade to battle pro-Assad Palestinians -- Haaretz
Syria rebels, Palestinian fighters clash -- The Australian
Syria rebels 'clash with army, Palestinian fighters' -- AFP
Syrian troops, rebels clash in Palestinian refugee camp -- Haaretz/AP
Clashes in Syria's largest Palestinian refugee camp -- Al Bawaba

China Raises The Stakes With Japan Over Disputed Islands (Updated)

China Raises Stakes Over Disputed Islands -- Financial Times

China has started making concerted efforts to chase Japanese ships out of waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, ratcheting up tensions between Asia’s two largest economies.

The Chinese State Oceanic Administration – which enforces the nation’s maritime interests – said four of its ships on Tuesday tried to expel Japanese vessels out of waters where they were operating “illegally”.

Japan controls the Senkaku islands, but they are also claimed by China – which calls them the Diaoyu – and Taiwan. The Japanese coastguard in recent months has been playing cat and mouse games with Chinese vessels sailing near the Senkaku, and sometimes entering waters that Japan says are its territory.

Read more ....

My Comment: China is deliberately escalating .... almost daring Japan to do something knowing that the U.S. .... because of next weeks Presidential elections .... will stay out of this dispute. What's my take .... this is dangerous geopolitics .... Japan must now respond .... or else it will lose face and be confronted with even more Chinese efforts to assert its authority over these disputed islands.

China's Newest Stealth Fighter The J-31 Has It's Maiden Flight


China's Newest Stealth Fighter Flies -- Foreign Policy

If these pictures are real, then China has flown two new types of stealth fighters in less than two years. You're looking at what's supposedly the newly unveiled Shenyang Aircraft Corporation's J-31 jet flying in the skies over China on Oct. 31.

Chinese military blogs claim these extremely grainy photos (above and below) show the jet taking a 10-minute test flight accompanied by a J-11 fighter (a reverse engineered version of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27).

The first photos of the Shenyang J-31 emerged on the Chinese Internet forums last month.

Read more ....

More News On China's Newest Stealth Fighter

J-31 fighter roars off on maiden flight -- Global Times
China's 2nd stealth fighter makes debut -- Global Times
China’s Newest Stealth Fighter Takes Flight -- Danger Room
PICTURES: New Chinese fighter conducts maiden flight -- Flight Global
China’s New J-31 Stealth Fighter Takes Off on Maiden Flight -- Defense Update

WNU Editor: Now what they need is a better engine.

Burma's Sectarian Violence -- News Updates October 31, 2012

Myanmar 'Rejects talks' On Ethnic Violence -- Al Jazeerea

ASEAN chief says offer turned down, even as tension between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims simmers in Rakhine state.

Myanmar has rejected an offer by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to open talks aimed at quelling deadly communal violence there, according to the regional bloc's chief.

Surin Pitsuwan said on Tuesday he proposed setting up tripartite talks between ASEAN, the UN and Myanmar's government to prevent the violence from having a broader regional impact.

But he said Myanmar turned down the offer to discuss the bloodshed in the western Rakhine state that has led to about 180 deaths since June.

The bloodshed has pitted Buddhists against minority Rohingya Muslims.

Read more ....

More News On The Sectarian Violence In Burma

Survivors criticize Myanmar government over Buddhist-Muslim clashes that displaced 28,000 -- Washington Post/AP
3,000 Muslims stranded as Bangladesh turns away refugees fleeing Burma unrest -- The Telegraph
Bangladesh turns away Rohingya fleeing Myanmar unrest -- AFP
Myanmar says it has evidence communal violence was organized by groups and individuals -- Washington Post/AP
Myanmar unrest could develop into 'terrorism': govt -- AFP
Many Rohingya missing as boat sinks off Bangladesh -- BBC
At least 130 Burmese refugees drown in shipwreck -- The Guardian
130 fleeing Burma violence feared dead as boat sinks -- Independent
130 missing in Rohingya boat sinking: Bangladesh police -- AFP
Myanmar must protect Muslims and halt discrimination, UN says -- Reuters
ASEAN chief: Rohingya issue could destabilize the region -- Jakarta Post

Former Chinese Diplomat Accuses The U.S. Of 'Stoking' Tensions Between China And Japan

Ex-Envoy Says U.S. Stirs China-Japan Tensions -- New York Times

HONG KONG — A longtime Chinese diplomat warned Tuesday that the United States is using Japan as a strategic tool in its effort to mount a comeback in Asia, a policy that he said is serving to heighten tensions between China and Japan.

The retired diplomat, Chen Jian, who served as an under secretary general of the United Nations and as China’s ambassador to Japan, said the United States should restrain Tokyo and should focus its diplomatic efforts on bringing about negotiations between China and Japan over the disputed islands in the East China Sea known as the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan.

Read more

More News On Chinese - Japanese Territorial Disputes

US accused as China-Japan tensions rise
-- Sydney Morning Herald
China’s Ex-Envoy to Japan Says U.S. at Fault in Island Dispute -- Bloomberg Businessweek
India-U.S.-Japan meet rankles China -- The Hindu
India, US, Japan discuss Asia Pacific -- Business Standard/Press Trust India
India, US, Japan discuss maritime security, China -- New York Daily News
U.S., Japan to hold joint military drill amid island row with China -- Reuters
Thousands of US, Japan troops set to hold drill amid China tensions -- NBC
The real reason China-Japan are locked in a territory dispute -- Ralph Jennings

WNU Editor: A good map outlining Japan's territorial disputes with it's neighbors is here.

U.S. Military Intelligence Budget Cut By $2.5 Billion. Overall U.S. Intel Budget Will Top Over $75 Billion

U.S. Military Intel Spending Dips $2.5B -- Defense News

The U.S. military’s intelligence spending fell $2.5 billion in 2012, continuing its decline as operations in Iraq finished and operations in Afghanistan wind down.

In all, Congress appropriated $21.5 billion for the military intelligence program [MIP], according to the Defense Department. The figure includes funding in the base budget and war spending accounts.

“The department determined that releasing this top line figure does not jeopardize any classified activities within the MIP,” DoD said in an Oct. 30 statement. “No other MIP budget figures or program details will be released, as they remain classified for national security reasons.”

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Intelligence Spending

Intelligence spending fell in 2012 for second year in a row
-- Reuters
U.S. intel budget topped $75 billion in 2012 -- Washington Times
U.S. Spy Budget Falls to $75.4 Billion in Second Decline -- Bloomberg
US reports slight decline in intelligence budget -- AFP
Intelligence Spending Drops for a Second Year -- Secrecy News
U.S. spent $75 billion on intelligence agencies in 2012 -- Government Security News
Panetta reveals Military Intelligence Program budget requests -- Examiner
US reports slight decline in intelligence budget
-- Business Recorder

U.S. And Allies Get Ready For Military Intervention In Northern Mali

U.S., Allies Marshaling African Proxies For Fight Against Terrorism -- L.A. Times

"A quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing."

That was how British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain saw the Nazi threat against the Czech Sudetenland in 1938, a sentiment freshly evoked among war-weary citizens as the United States and its allies ponder moves to oust Islamic extremists from northern Mali, a country most Americans couldn't find on a map.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and diplomatic counterparts from France have been shopping around a plan to train and equip West African troops to drive out the Al Qaeda-aligned militants who hold sway over a swath of northern Mali the size of Texas. Ultraorthodox Muslims this year hijacked a long-simmering rebellion by ethnic Tuaregs and began imposing an extreme version of Islamic law once in power. In July, they took axes to "idolatrous" cultural treasures in Timbuktu, provoking worldwide horror at the destruction.

Read more

More News On U.S. And Allies Preparing For A Military Intervention In Mali

EU considers sending 200 troops to train Mali army -- Reuters
Europe’s Response to Mali Threat -- Wall Street Journal
Armed Intervention for Mali Being Finalized -- Voice of America
Experts meet on Mali army intervention -- News24
African leaders tout military mission in Mali -- Deutsche Welle
Africa-led force could be deployed in Mali within weeks -- The National
EU Weighs Options for Helping Mali -- Spiegel Online
EU may send troops to Mali for training -- iol News
Islamist rebels vow assault on Malian capital if international forces attack -- the Guardian
US, Algeria See Moderate Tuaregs as Key to Ending Mali Partition -- Voice of America

The Never Ending Drone War

The Long Third War -- Micah Zenko, Foreign Policy

No matter who wins in November, America should get ready for 10 more years of drones.

Nov. 3 marks the tenth anniversary of America's Third War -- the campaign of targeted killings in non-battlefield settings that has been a defining feature of post-9/11 American military policy as much as the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Unlike other wars, there won't be any ceremonies at the White House or Pentagon, parades down Main Streets, or town square rallies to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the countless civilian and military personnel involved. There won't even be a presidential statement since targeted killings cannot and will not be recognized by the U.S. government. The war is conducted by both the CIA -- covert and totally unacknowledged -- and by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) -- described without any specificity as "direct action" by the White House. Whether the CIA or JSOC is the lead executive agency, the Third War is marked by the limited transparency and accountability of U.S. officials.

Read more ....

My Comment: Not only should we be ready for 10 more years of drones, but an even greater escalation in the use of drones (and other robotic means of warfare) as research and development proceeds in the production of even more effective and lethal killing machines.

World Opium Production Is Increasing

UN Report: Opium Cultivation Rising In Burma -- BBC

Opium growing has increased in Burma for a sixth year running despite eradication efforts, a UN report says.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime said land used for opium had risen by 17% this year, from nearly 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) to 51,000 hectares.

Burma is the second largest opium grower in the world after Afghanistan.

Almost all of the opium it produces is grown in Shan and Kachin states, which have seen longstanding conflict between the military and ethnic rebel groups.

Read more

More News On Global Opium Production

Opium cultivation increases for sixth year in Burma, according to UN report -- The Telegraph
UN: Opium Production in Burma Grows for Sixth Straight Year -- Voice of America
Myanmar opium output rises despite eradication effort -- Reuters
UN says Myanmar opium production on rise -- Bloomberg Businessweek/AP
South-East Asia's opium production to rise 15 per cent, UN says -- The Nation (Thailand)
Myanmar, Laos see large increase in opium cultivation, U.N. says -- L.A. Times

Are There More Benghazi Emails, And Are There Benghazi Audio Tapes Of US Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods Requesting Support?

WNU Editor: Thanks to Henry for these links from Drudge. But considering the sources .... Gingrich here and Sean Hannity here .... I need more collaboration from independent sources and not from partisan Republicans (like Hannity and Gingrich) who have their own agenda. Unfortunately .... and this is what gets me mad .... is that the media networks that have the resources to pursue and investigate these reports appear to not be interested.

Afghanistan War News Updates -- October 31, 2012

An Afghan soldier watches a coalition force member use his radio during an Afghan-led security patrol to deny the enemy freedom of movement in Khak-E-Safed in Afghanistan's Farah province, Oct. 30, 2012. Afghan forces have been taking the lead in security operations, with coalition forces as mentors, to bring security and stability to the country's residents. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

Taliban Hits Region Seen As ‘Safest’ For Afghans -- New York Times

BAMIAN, Afghanistan — The war has finally found Bamian, a remote corner of Afghanistan that for a decade had enjoyed near immunity to Taliban violence.

As the American troop surge peaked over the past two years, Taliban insurgents began contesting parts of this central province, flowing in from more embattled areas of the country. And now, a series of deadly strikes in recent months has intimidated residents and served notice that roads are unsafe and government officials are targets.

That it has happened in Bamian — known for its rugged beauty, nascent skiing industry and the ancient Buddha statues that once kept vigil here — has added to the sense that nowhere in Afghanistan can be considered safe. And that, Afghan and Western analysts say, is a crucial part of the Taliban’s strategy in coming here.

Read more ....

More News On Afghanistan

Combined Force Arrests Taliban Leader -- US Defense Department
Two British Gurkhas shot dead by insurgent wearing Afghan police uniform in Helmand -- Daily Mail
Apparent Afghan insider attack kills NATO troops -- CBS/AP
Two international soldiers killed by Afghan in uniform -- L.A. Times
Ghurkas killed in Afghanistan insider attack -- ABC News (Australia)
Ministry confirms British soldiers killed -- UPI
Two British soldiers shot dead in Afghanistan -- BBC
Afghan roadside bombings kill 17 civilians: officials -- AFP
Afghanistan Helmand roadside bomb kills 10 civilians -- BBC
Women among victims of Afghanistan attacks -- Al Jazeera
Rangers awarded medals for Afghanistan heroics
-- Army Times
Afghanistan Sets Presidential Vote for 2014 -- Wall Street Journal
Afghanistan: Presidential Election Set For April 2014
-- Huffington Post/AP
Afghan parliament paralysed by Hajj trips -- The Telegraph
Afghanistan's female powerhouses: a rapper, a colonel and 'mother' to hundreds -- NBC
Afghanistan's need for reform: We have seen the enemy, and it is our anecdotes -- Frances Z. Brown, Foreign Policy
US military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,015
-- Mercury News/AP

World News Briefs -- October 31, 2012

East Coast Starts To Recover After Sandy Leaves Death, Destruction In Wake, 4M Still Without Power -- FOX News

Twenty-four hours after millions on the East Coast awoke to their first glimpse of the devastation from monster storm Sandy, they now are left to ask: What do I do now?

Residents of the areas pummeled by Sandy began to look towards rebuilding efforts Wednesday, though many remain without power, neighborhoods remain strewn with debris and many transportation systems remain closed. At least 55 people have been reported dead as a result of the storm, which one economic firm predicted caused up $20 billion in damage.

Read more


Syrian jets bomb rebel strongholds in Damascus and north.

Lebanon’s Sunnis at risk of radicalization.

Iran urges recognition of its nuclear rights.

EU sanctions strangle Iranian LPG exports to Asia.

IG report: Iraqi auditors point to huge money laundering.

Israel reckons with unraveling Gaza policy.

Electrical fire at Saudi wedding kills 25.


Afghans say Presidential election date is set for April 2014.

Afghan parliament paralysed by Hajj trips.

China confronts Japan ships near disputed islands.

Opium cultivation increases for sixth year in Burma, according to UN report.

India's new FM to focus on Pakistan, China relations.

China 'should move to two-child policy'.


Western diplomats see danger in Mali.

Libya army has 'no control' in Bani Walid: defence minister.

Gunmen kill 20 in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state.

One dead in Tunisia clash between Salafists and police. Security tightened after Tunisia violence.

Egyptian authorities reportedly seize 1.7 million documents proving Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo.

£10 million in aid to Uganda ended up in bank accounts of PM's aides.


Eurozone unemployment rises to new record.

Greece recession and debt problems even worse.

Portuguese budget to pass, faces court uncertainty.

French investigators to exhume Yasser Arafat next month.

US, EU to ethnic Serbs: You have a home in Kosovo.

French CEOs call for huge cuts to welfare charges.


Long days for millions in Sandy's wake.

Superstorm moves on, leaving devastation behind in N.Y., N.J..

Brazilians dare to hope crackdown on corruption is real.

Haiti fears food shortages after hurricane hit crops.

Mexican pleads guilty to Fast and Furious murder.


Video reportedly shows key suspect from Benghazi attack.

Indonesian forces kill terror suspect in raids.

What al Qaeda fans have to say about Hurricane Sandy.


Ford earns $1.6 billion in 3Q, best-ever results in North America.

Wine shortage to follow poor 2012 grape harvest.

MF Global’s collapse: The Fed’s role.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 31, 2012

Flooded areas: Highlighted areas show flooding in New York. An unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater - 3 feet above the previous record - gushed into Gotham. Daily Mail

After Sandy, Intelligence Agencies Scramble To Feed Maps, Data To Rescuers -- Aol Defense

WASHINGTON: As FEMA, firemen, police and the National Guard wade into the devastation visited upon us by Hurricane Sandy, many of them are using maps and other information made available to them by intelligence agencies.

While intelligence analysts and their technical specialists usually spend their time targeting bad guys and helping troops plan to get them, some of them have gotten the rare and welcome chance to help their countrymen at home several times since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.

Read more ....


Hurricane Sandy’s Impact to the U.S. Military Operations and Bases in the East Coast --

NY National Guard Changes Mind, Decides Hurricane Relief Trumps Mock Disaster Drill -- Danger Room

Bases along East Coast scramble to return to normal after Sandy -- Stars and Stripes

US Navy sends in carriers to help NY, NJ after Sandy -- NBC

Iran warships leave Sudan after four-day stay -- Reuters

Russian Navy HQ Moves to St. Petersburg -- RIA Novosti

Su-24 Crashes, Pilots Survive -- RIA Novosti

Russia’s Kalashnikov Asks Putin To Save Famed Factory -- Defense News

Military relations between China and US marching to a better tune -- Asia One

Military intelligence course builds bonds between U.S. and African service member -- Dvids

As Marines leave Afghanistan, more go to sea -- Navy Times

U.S. Military Intel Spending Dips $2.5B -- Defense News

Heavier, tracked, more tanklike Stryker vehicle is unveiled -- Stars and Stripes/The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

U.S. Air Force Cargo Missions Fall; Average Tonnage Rises -- Defense News

Navy Tests Unmanned Surface Weapon -- Defense Tech

Key HASC Members Face Election Night Losses -- Defense News

US military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,015
-- Mercury News/AP

Syria Civil War" 36,000 Dead And Counting

Syria Civil War 'Kills 36,000' -- The Telegraph

More than 36,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of Syria's anti-regime revolt in March 2011, with an average of 165 people killed a day since August 1, a watchdog said on Wednesday.

Civilians, at 25,667, represented the vast majority of those killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which includes non-military people who have taken up arms against President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the category.

The rest were from the military – 9,044 government soldiers and 1,296 who defected to join the rebellion.

"In addition, we have documented the deaths of 439 other people whose identities we were unable to verify," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Read more ....

My Comment: With the approach of winter and the hardships that it will bring, expect these numbers to double by the beginning of spring.

At Least Someone In The Mainstream Media Is Raising Questions On Benghazi

Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

Lingering Questions About Benghazi -- David Ignatius, Washington Post

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has become a political football in the presidential campaign, with all the grandstanding and misinformation that entails. But Fox News has raised some questions about the attack that deserve a clearer answer from the Obama administration.

Fox’s Jennifer Griffin reported Friday that CIA officers in Benghazi had been told to “stand down” when they wanted to deploy from their base at the annex to repel the attack on the consulate, about a mile away. Fox also reported that the CIA officers requested military support when the annex came under fire later that night but that their request had been denied.

Read more ....

My Comment: David Ignatius has numerous contacts in the military and intelligence communities .... I suspect that he is getting an earful from these sources on Benghazi. The only question that comes to my mind is .... why did he take so long to finally comment on it.

Update: Jonah Goldberg nails it.

The Aftermath Of Hurricane Sandy

Emergency: President Barack Obama has declared a 'major disaster' in New York and Long Island. Pictured, he receives an update on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy, in the Situation Room of the White House, via teleconference

FIFTY DEAD...And It's NOT Over: Obama's Grim Warning As He Prepares To Visit Scenes Of Hurricane 'Major Disaster' Tomorrow -- Daily Mail

* Storm damage projected at £12bn // Ten people in New York among the dead // Many killed by falling trees
* President Barack Obama has declared a 'major disaster' in New York and Long Island
* President announces that he will visit New Jersey on Wednesday and warns that the crisis 'is not yet over'
* At least 7.4m properties across US East have lost power // New York City could be without power for a week
* NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 'Tragically we expect that number to go up' referring to New York death toll
* Record 13ft storm surge threatening lower Manhattan and howling winds left crane hanging from high-rise building
* Over 15,000 flights across the globe grounded due to Superstorm Sandy
* NYU Hospital loses backup power and evacuates patients // Nuclear power plant on alert
* More than 190 firefighters battled blaze destroying more than 80 homes in Breezy Point
* Stock trading is closed in the US again for a second day running - last time it was closed for two days was 1888
* Classified as a post-tropical cyclone, Sandy is expected to turn north and track back into New York state tonight

The scale of the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy is mounting today as the death toll continues to rise - currently 50 people across the US and Canada have been reported dead, but the final figure is expected to be significantly higher.

President Obama declared a 'major disaster' in New York and Long Island as flooded streets were littered with cars, homes were razed to the ground and tankers washed up on shore.

The President warned that Sandy 'is not yet over' and announced that he would visit New Jersey on Wednesday to visit the scenes of the destruction.

Read more ....

My Comment: For an appreciation on the power of mother-nature, check out the photos in this post.

Did Facebook Censored U.S. Navy SEALS Posts On Benghazi?

Censored? The SOS post was taken down by Facebook twice... but not before it had been shared online by thousands

Facebook Censors Navy SEALs Who Said Obama Denied Them Backup As Forces Overran Benghazi And Killed U.S. Ambassador -- Daily Mail

* Message was taken down by Facebook TWICE
* SEALS claim it was attempt to 'quietly squelch' opposition to President Obama's alleged failures

A message posted on Facebook by Navy SEALS claiming that President Obama denied them backup as forces overran Benghazi was taken down twice by the social networking site.

The move has stoked accusations that Facebook was censoring the SEALs’ message to ‘quietly squelch opposition’ to President Obama’s alleged failures.

The message contained in a meme suggesting that Obama relied on the SEALS when he wanted to get Osama bin Laden, but then turned round and denied them back up when they called for it in Benghazi.

Read more

Update #1: Facebook Censors Navy SEALs to Protect Obama on Benghazi-Gate -- Breitbart
Update #2: Did Facebook really censor a political message? -- Techi

My Comment: No mainstream media coverage .... again.

Update: Jonah Goldberg nails it.

Cartoon For Today

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Did Germany's Banking Giant Deutsche Bank Violate Iran Sanctions?

Deutsche Bank May Have Violated Iran Sanctions -- Jerusalem Post

German financial giant reportedly confirms US investigation against it over financial transactions in US dollars with Tehran.

BERLIN – Flagship German financial institution Deutsche Bank appears to be embroiled in violations of Iran sanctions, the German television channel n-tv reported Tuesday on its website.

According to the report, Deutsche Bank confirmed in its quarterly business report on Tuesday that US investigators were probing the banking giant for violating the trade embargo on Iran.

Read more ....

My Comment: What are they thinking? Is doing banking business with Iran more important than the U.S.? My hope is that if they are found guilty ..... the fines run into the billions and those responsible face jail time.

Has Iran Stopped It's Nuclear Bomb Program?

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, right, meets with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey in Tel Aviv on Sunday (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)

Iran Pulls Back From Nuclear Bomb Goal: Israeli Defense Minister -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran has drawn back from its ambitions to build a nuclear weapon, Israel's defense minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday, while warning that his country may still have to decide next year whether to launch a military strike against it.

Tehran denies its nuclear work has any military dimensions but governments in Europe and the United States are increasingly concerned over its intentions.

Diplomacy and successive rounds of economic sanctions have so far failed to end the decade-old row, raising fears of Israeli military action against its arch-enemy.

Read more ....

More News On Israel's Defense Chief Comments That Iran Has Drawn Back Plans To Build Nuclear Weapons

Israeli Defense Chief Says Iran Postponed Nuclear Ambitions -- New York Times
Defense Minister: Iran delayed nuclear program -- Jerusalem Post
Israeli official: Iran pulled back from the brink -- CBS
Iran temporarily put nuclear bomb ambitions on hold: Barak -- AFP
Barak: Iran used up some of its uranium this summer, pushing back ‘moment of truth’ 8 to 10 months -- Times of Israel
Iran steps back -- Telegraph editorial

Three Critical Commmentaries On The White House Handling Of The Benghazi Debacle

To Live And Die In Benghazi, Libya Without Leadership From America -- By Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (ret.), FOX News

What is it like to spend your last moments on earth fighting for your life?

To have devoted your life, and your life's work, to a great nation -- to serve it well and honorably -- and serve for it with courage and distinction, to all come down to a last, frantic few seconds, spent defending you and your fellow Americans and call for the cavalry to come help, and no cavalry comes--and you die.

This is what the two former Navy SEALs, under the employment of CIA, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, faced in their final moments in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

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Commentary #2: The Wages of Libya: Careers have ended over less than the administration cover-up. -- Victor Davis Hanson, NRO
Commentary #3: The Benghazi Story Refuses To Die, And It’s Hurting The President -- Walter Russel Mead, American Interest

My Comment: So far it has only been FOX news, conservative pundits, and most milblogs that have raised questions on what happened during and after Benghazi. As for the main stream media .... all of them have ignored and/or given conflicting information on the attack and its aftermath .... followed by their pundits who have interpreted and/or try to justify the administrations positions .... Jay Bookman probably speaks for most of them.

As to what is my position ....I just want to know what happened. Why did the administration peddle the line that it was an anti-Islamic video that spurred this attack .... and who in the administration told everyone to peddle this line. When did the President learn of the attack .... what did he do .... and what was his analysis on what was happening .... during and after. Who hired and sign the contract for a British security office to provide security for a U.S. consulate in an extremely dangerous environment. Why was security not enhanced after repeated attacks on diplomatic posts in Benghazi, repeated requests for more security from the U.S. Ambassador, as well as credible terror threats directed at U.S. interests in the region. Were their any protocols in the State Department to protect a consulate should it come under attack .... were they followed .... and if not .... why. If there were no protocols in place .... the question again needs to be asked as to why. Why was the Pentagon late to respond .... and why were there no assets nearby to respond. Who is to be held accountable. Who needs to be fired.

Sighhhh ....

Forgive me for rambling .... but I have a hundred and one questions .... and no one in the U.S. government wants to answer them .... or worse .... obfuscate the reasons why someone like myself wants to know. It is moments like this that I sometimes wonder if anyone cares.

Pictures Of New York City After Hurricane Sandy

Incredible Pictures Of Storm Damage In New York City -- Business Insider

Superstorm Sandy left a devastating impact on New York City.

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are without power, but that's just a small portion of the 7.5 million customers without electricity throughout the East.

Multiple New Yorkers died, again only a portion of the 16 confirmed deaths across the country. More will likely be identified soon.

The MTA has "never faced a disaster as devastating as this," according to chairman Joseph Lhota.

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WNU Editor: The photo gallery starts here.

Is Russia A Friend Or Foe?

Russia: Friend or Foe? -- Anya Schmemann, National Interest

In last week's foreign-policy debate, while many countries and regions were left unmentioned, Russia was invoked ten times.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney defended his assertion that Russia is America’s “number-one geopolitical foe.” He added, “I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin.”

President Obama, whose administration considers the “reset” of relations with Russia one of its signature foreign-policy successes, accused Romney of being stuck in the Cold War mentality of the 1980s.

Read more ....

My Comment:
What's my take ... Russia is neither. If it was not for their nuclear forces, their input on the world stage would be minimal at best. As to what is the mindset in Russia itself .... the priority is to look inward and to solve the many chronic problems that Russia has .... i.e. demographic decline, economic decline, infrastructure problems, Islamic militancy, corruption ... coupled with growing political unrest and general unease for the future. As to what is the Russian view of the U.S. .... most do not care, and those who do care are the ones who want to immigrate to the U.S..

Corruption Pays In China

Corruption In China Isn’t Just a Local Story -- Max Boot, Commentary

Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, must have felt like he was hit by a political hurricane last week when the New York Times published a front-page story claiming that he and his family control a fortune of at least $2.7 billion.

While it has been generally known that the Communist Party elite were acquiring considerable wealth, that is still an eye-popping amount. All the more so because it is hardly an aberration. As my Council on Foreign Relations colleague Elizabeth Economy notes in a trenchant blog post on the Wen scandal, “the annual 2011 Hurun report on the wealthiest Chinese reveals that the top seventy members of the National People’s Congress are worth a combined total of $89.8 billion; in contrast, the net worth of the top 660 U.S. officials is only $7.5 billion.”

Read more ....

Update: China's People's Daily launches attack on The New York Times -- The Telegraph

My Comment: Everyone who is familiar with China knows that the country is essentially ruled by about 800 - 1,000 families .... and that much of the "real wealth" is controlled by this group. By publicizing this news, The New York Times went into an area that is never broached in China and rarely abroad .... and naturally .... the Chinese leadership (who are all culpable with this greed) .... are reacting in the only manner that they can .... condemn and threaten.

Ignoring The Plight Of The World's Christians

Suicide car bomber attacked St. Rita Catholic Church in Kaduna, Nigeria. Credits: Reuters

Christians Persecuted Throughout The World -- Rupert Shortt, The Telegraph

The latest bombing in Nigeria shows how Christians are increasingly suffering for their faith – and how their plight is being ignored.

Imagine the unspeakable fury that would erupt across the Islamic world if a Christian-led government in Khartoum had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Muslims over the past 30 years. Or if Christian gunmen were firebombing mosques in Iraq during Friday prayers. Or if Muslim girls in Indonesia had been abducted and beheaded on their way to school, because of their faith.

Such horrors are barely thinkable, of course. But they have all occurred in reverse, with Christians falling victim to Islamist aggression. Only two days ago, a suicide bomber crashed a jeep laden with explosives into a packed Catholic church in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 100. The tragedy bore the imprint of numerous similar attacks by Boko Haram (which roughly translates as “Western education is sinful”), an exceptionally bloodthirsty militant group.

Read more ....

My Comment: I completely agree. There are many stories that much of the media prefers to ignore .... Christian persecution has always been on top of that list.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- October 30, 2012

Syria's Phoney Ceasefire Gives Way To Its Phoney War -- Richard Spencer, The Telegraph

It wasn't the biggest fight of the war, but it was typical. The four tank shells thumped into the rebels' position one by one. Its occupants were safe, though, having already fled fifty metres back down the road.

The next day a fighter jet came in and finished the job.

"The regime's troops had been there three days ago," said Mohanad standing next to the remnants of the three houses in Karem Jabal, a district Aleppo. "Then we pushed them out." This was the regime's response.

No deaths, no injuries, just another street reduced to dust and shattered breeze blocks, another family in tears as their home followed so many others. It was not much of a battle, but then this was not much of a ceasefire, either.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials

Time to Get Tough on Iraq -- Nussaibah Younis, New York Times

Obama’s Possible Mideast Surprise -- Niall Ferguson, Newsweek

The Case for Mali Coddling -- Bloomberg Editorial

The world must act to protect Burma’s Rohingya from starvation and slaughter -- Emanuel Stoakes, The Independent

Forget Europe: Is the Real Debt Crisis in Japan? -- Anthony Fensom, The Diplomat

Don't expect easy answers with China's leadership change -- Guy de Jonquières, Special to CNN

Could China use the Singapore strategy on the New York Times? -- Isaac Stone Fish, Foreign Policy

Wen Jiabao’s Riches and Political Reform in China -- Elizabeth C. Economy, The Diplomat

As China Ties Grow Closer, Taiwan Seeks Own Spotlight -- Ralph Jennings, Voice of America

Greece Arrests the Messenger -- New York Times editorial

Letting America’s shadow recede -- Michael Weiss, NOW Lebanon

Obama charisma not working in foreign policy -- Al Cardenas, Washington Times

The World After November -- Javier Solana, Project Syndicate

World News Briefs -- October 30, 2012 (Evening Edition)

Millions of terrified Americans wake to life after Sandy: Homes all along the East Coast Are Under 'Six Feet' Of Water, Torn Apart By Winds Or Smashed By Trees, Leaving at Least 33 Dead -- Daily Mail

* The 1,000-mile-wide superstorm lashed towns and cities up and down the New Jersey shore
* Thousands are clinging to their roofs as at least six feet of water has flooded their streets and homes
* 8.1million people left without power after Sandy hit the coast at 8pm last night
* Estimated cost of repairs stands at $20billion, meaning this could be the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history
* 500 people trapped in their homes in Atlantic City after it became too late to evacuate
* The town's fabled boardwalk was partially ripped up after the 80mph winds hit the New Jersey shoreline
* Deaths reported in New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut
* A woman was killed by a falling sign in Toronto as high winds closed in
* Sandy is a monstrous hybrid superstorm consisting of rain, high wind and snow
* Part of a nuclear power plant shut down and another put on alert
* Replica 18th-century sailing ship HMS Bounty goes down off North Carolina
* Critically ill patients evacuated from hospitals after backup generators fail and the power goes out

America has woken to scenes of death and absolute devastation after its East Coast was hit with the full force of the biggest storm in U.S. history, leaving at least 33 people dead and more than 8.1 without power.

Sandy has swept away and millions of people are now counting the cost of this natural disaster that has wrecked homes, infrastructure and the lives of those unlucky enough to be in its relentless and violent path.

The people of Atlantic City have been badly hit, as it went under water after the ferocious winds hit its shores. Dozens of people have been rescued from the roofs of their properties because many areas are flooded with at least 6ft of seawater.

Read more ....


Iran pulls back from nuclear bomb goal: Israeli defense minister.

Syria air raids continue as diplomacy falters. Syrian jets bomb area near Homs to break rebel siege.

Netanyahu says strike on Iran would be good for Arabs.

Former Mossad Director advises against Israeli red lines.

Iran begins new military exercises.

Iran dispatches warships to Sudan after Israeli airstrike on missile base.

Bahrain bans all protests in crackdown on Shia opposition movement.

Egypt imposes curfew to save power.

Egypt's Copts vote for successor to Pope Shenouda III.


Ningbo protest, response both typical of China’s environmental debate.

In Pakistan’s Taliban territory, education is a casualty of conflict.
Two British soldiers killed in 'green on blue' Afghanistan attack.

Fear, mistrust grip Myanmar's volatile Rakhine region.

Kim Jong-un's wife reappears after two-month absence.

China steps carefully with protesting middle class.

Anti-corruption crusader rattles India's political class.

Japan seeks exemption on U.S. sanctions on Iran: Nikkei.

Unexploded WWII bomb forces Japanese airport to close.


Protesters storm Libya congress after prime minister presents government.New Libya PM presents coalition government to congress.

Rwanda's General Nyamwasa in South Africa refugee case.

Mali: Military experts meet on Mali. Mali troop deployment nears reality: ECOWAS official.

EU weighs options for helping Mali.

Somalia's General Farah killed in al-Shabab ambush.

Kenya: Kisumu anger after politician Kwega killed.

Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire jailed.

South Africa police fire rubber bullets at striking miners.


Polish newspaper report on 2010 crash causes furor. Smolensk jet crash: Polish prosecutors deny explosives claim.
Spain's Rajoy rules out imminent request for help.

U.S. and EU push for progress in troubled Balkans. Clinton: Bosnia risks being left behind on EU/NATO path.

A day of judgment looms over the EU budget.

French PM sparks controversy with 35-hour week remark.

Italy president says Monti government must continue until spring.

Observers denounce Ukrainian election, citing abuses by rulers.

Region’s struggles seen in a Romanian scandal.


Sandy: Storm-hit New York declared major disaster area.
Superstorm Sandy: live
Superstorm Sandy: Obama declares disaster in New York and Long Island - live updates
Hurricane Sandy: Live Updates
Powerful storm devastates New York, New Jersey.

Storm damages crops in Haiti, fueling food price woes.

Colombia rebel ambush kills six officers, police say.

Brazil's business hub Sao Paulo elects new mayor.

Bolivian journalist Fernando Vidal set alight on air.

Case of blonde girl beggar strikes nerve in Mexico.


Egypt security forces probe ‘terror cell’ links to al-Qaeda.

Lawmaker urges feds to monitor Hezbollah in Mexico.

Al-Qaeda claims deadly holiday attacks in Iraq.

The continuing threat of nuclear terrorism.

Oil and globalization fuel Al Qaeda terror network (commentary).


Global economic recovery remains uncertain, says Lagarde and Merkel.

Sandy unlikely to damage US economy, analysts say.

Microsoft, Google unveil new smartphones.

Apple announces management shake-up. CEO Cook remakes Apple for post-Jobs era, forstall exits.

Swiss bank UBS to cut as many as 10,000 jobs.