Friday, October 31, 2014

Editor's Note

I am finishing up on a rather large web project right now .... so blogging will be super light for the next two days. Blogging should return by Sunday.

The 'Cyborg' Defenders Of Donetsk Airport

The airport's main terminal is now a shell, only two years after it was opened

Ukraine Conflict: The 'Cyborg' Defenders Of Donetsk Airport -- BBC

Mention a cyborg to a Ukrainian these days and they probably won't think of "cybernetic organisms", or man-machines of science fiction. Instead, the word now conjures up images of rugged, heavily armed men holed up inside what remains of Donetsk Airport in war-torn eastern Ukraine.

The airport has become a symbol of Ukraine's fight against separatists, and the "cyborgs" are Ukrainians who have held on to it despite persistent rebel attack.

The nickname was first used online and has since become a media staple in Ukraine. It stuck, because to some the Donetsk airport defenders' exploits have appeared superhuman.

The separatists have been trying to capture the airport since May, allegedly with backing from the Russian military.

Read more ....

My Comment: In western Ukraine they are heroes ....  in eastern Ukraine they are occupiers and murderers. As to what is my pint of view .... they should leave. All that these Ukrainian soldiers and 'volunteers' are now doing is ranching up the hatred between and east and west and making any sliver of hope for reconciliation in the new year next to impossible.

Europe Will Not Recognize Sunday's Planned Elections In Eastern Ukraine

Members of a local electoral commission take part in the preparations for the upcoming election, with stickers displaying symbols of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic seen on ballot boxes, at a polling station in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, October 31, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Europe Won't Recognize Vote In Eastern Ukraine, Merkel Tells Putin -- Reuters

(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone that Sunday's planned elections in eastern Ukraine were illegitimate and would not be recognized by European leaders, a Berlin government spokesman said on Friday.

Merkel and Putin held a joint telephone conversation with French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Merkel's spokesman Georg Streiter said at a government news conference.

He said in the call there were diverging opinions on Sunday's "so-called elections" in the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Read more ....

Update: Ukraine, France, Germany urge Putin not to recognise rebel polls: Kiev -- AFP

My Comment: Reading news reports like this one always makes me realize how ignorant European leaders are of the people who live in eastern Ukraine. The people in eastern Ukraine do not care what Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko, or even Putin think .... they are only thinking of themselves .... and they are acting on those needs. This has been the history of this region for the past 1,000 years .... and I do not expect it to change anytime soon.

White House Insists That Their Syrian War Policy Is Working

Fissure Opens Between Pentagon and White House Over Assad’s Fate -- Time

Hagel told Rice a lack of clarity is complicating U.S. efforts to combat ISIS

President Barack Obama declared in August 2011 that Syrian leader Bashar Assad must “step aside” for the good of his country after his forces had killed nearly 2,000 fellow citizens. More than three years later, with Assad still in power, the Syrian civil war has killed some 200,000 people and given Islamic extremists territory to occupy. That has led Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to warn the White House that the U.S. has to stop ignoring the Syrian dictator.

In a two-page memo to National Security Adviser Susan Rice two weeks ago, Hagel said the lack of clarity is complicating U.S. efforts to combat the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, Pentagon officials say. The memo’s existence was first reported in the New York Times on Thursday.

Read more ....

Previous Post: U.S. Secretary Of Defense Hagel Critical Of White House Syrian Policy

More News On Reports That The Pentagon And White House Differ On Syrian War Policy

White House says Syria strategy working, policy on Assad clear -- Reuters
White House insists Syria strategy working amid reports of critical Hagel memo -- The Guardian
Islamic State airstrikes in Syria spur White House infighting over Assad benefit -- Washington Times
Are anti-ISIS airstrikes in Syria aiding Assad? -- Majid Rafizadeh, Special to CNN
Hagel balks at Obama’s Syria strategy? Not really -- MSNBC

Update: I guess the White House sent him a memo .... Hagel will not discuss 'critical' Syria memo (Reuters).

Spanish Intelligence: Jihadists Want To Weaponise Ebola

Spanish Intelligence Intercepts Plot To Weaponise Ebola -- Breitbart

Spanish intelligence has intercepted messages passed between jihadists online discussing the weaponisation of the deadly Ebola virus for use against the West, while a blackmailer in Prague has threatened to unleash the virus unless the Czech Republic pay him one million bitcoin, a volume of online currency worth over £200 million.

The national secretary of state for security in giving evidence to the Spanish Senate revealed online jihad propagandists had issued an edict to followers to kill Westerners by any means possible. Some of the methods suggested included “deadly chemical products from laboratories”, “poisonous injections” and “Ebola as a poisonous weapon”, reports

Read more ....

My Comment: It is not going to happen ... and this is why .... How hard would it be to weaponize Ebola? Pretty hard -- Anna Mulrine, CSM

Pentagon Warns SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden Not To Go On FOX News

Pentagon: The Navy SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden Should Not Reveal Himself On Fox News -- Business Insider

On Wednesday, Fox News announced it planned to reveal the identity of the Navy SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden in a documentary set to air next month.

However, in a statement issued to Business Insider the Pentagon stressed that anyone who participated in the 2011 operation that left the Al Qaeda leader dead was "still bound" by a "non-disclosure agreement to not discuss classified information, especially in a nationally televised interview."

This seems to indicate the SEAL could face a criminal investigation for participating in the documentary.

Read more ....

Previous Post: The Navy SEAL Who Killed Bin Laden Is Going To Reveal Himself To The World On May 1

My Comment: The Pentagon is right .... stay low-key and hidden. But what can the Pentagon do if he decides to show up and reveal himself .... there are no good options for the Pentagon is such a case .... put the man who killed the man who organized 9/11 into court and/or into jail ... I doubt it.

The Battle For Kobane -- News Updates October 31, 2014

An explosion following an air-strike is seen in the Syrian town of Kobani from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 29, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

Air Strikes Hit Kobani As Kurdish Peshmerga Prepare To Enter -- Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S.-led air strikes hit Islamic State positions around the Syrian border town of Kobani on Friday in an apparent bid to pave the way for heavily-armed Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to enter from neighboring Turkey.

The predominantly Kurdish town, besieged for more than 40 days, has become the focus of a global war against the Sunni Muslim insurgents, who have captured expanses of Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic "caliphate" straddling the two.

Its fighters have killed or driven away Shi'ite Muslims, Christians and other communities who do not share their ultra-radical brand of Sunni Islam. They executed at least 220 Iraqis in retaliation against opposition to their takeover of territory west of Baghdad this week.

Read more ....

The Battle For Kobane -- News Updates October 31, 2014

ISIL shells Kobane's border post with Turkey -- Al Jazeera
Kurdish Peshmerga Fighters Prepare Entry Strategy for Kobani -- Bloomberg
Syria IS: Iraqi Peshmerga fighters 'enter Kobane' -- BBC
Syrian rebels join battle to protect Kobane -- Al Jazeera
Peshmerga Fighters Leave Kobani to Return Later -- AP
Peshmerga forces delayed in Turkey en route to fight Isis in Kobani -- The Guardian
Syrian Free Army column enters Kobane ahead of Iraqi Peshmerga -- The Australian
Syrian regime denounces Turkey for allowing foreign fighters to enter Kobane -- Washington Post
Syria blasts Turkey for allowing Iraqi Kurdish fighters safe passage to Kobani -- RT
President Barzani: Kobane will not fall to terrorists -- Rudaw
U.S. Gen. Allen: Kobane unlikely to fall to ISIS -- Al Arabiya
A Town Shouldn’t Fight the Islamic State Alone -- Meysa Abdo, NYT

Iraq And Syria is now 'Ground Zero' For Foreign Jihadists

Foreign Jihadists Flocking To Iraq And Syria On 'Unprecedented Scale' – UN -- The Guardian

UN report suggests decline of al-Qaida has yielded an explosion of jihadist enthusiasm for its even mightier successor organisations, chiefly Isis

The United Nations has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.

A report by the UN security council, obtained by the Guardian, finds that 15,000 people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State (Isis) and similar extremist groups. They come from more than 80 countries, the report states, “including a tail of countries that have not previously faced challenges relating to al-Qaida”.

The UN said it was uncertain whether al-Qaida would benefit from the surge. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaida who booted Isis out of his organisation, “appears to be maneuvering for relevance”, the report says.

Read more ....

My Comment: One thing that is going for the Islamic State is the following .... ISIS Has More Land, Money, Fighters Than Al-Qaeda Had on 9/11 (Breitbart). In short .... a safe haven and the resources to support those who believe in radical Islam.

Burkina Faso President Compaore Resigns. Army Now In Charge

Burkina Faso President Compaore Resigns -- Voice of America

The longtime president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, has stepped down following protests against his efforts to stay in power.

Local media broadcast a resignation statement from Comapore Friday and an army spokesman confirmed the president had stepped down.

In his statement, Compaore called for a 90-day transition leading to "free and transparent" elections.

Burkina24 television reported Compaore left the presidential palace in a heavily armed convoy.

Read more ....

More News On Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso general takes over as Compaore resigns -- BBC
Blaise Compaoré Steps Down as Burkina Faso President, Ceding to Protesters -- NYT
Burkina Faso’s president Blaise Compaoré resigns after street protests -- The Guardian
Burkina Faso president resigns amid unrest -- UPI
Burkina Faso President’s Rule Ends, Military Says -- WSJ
Burkina Faso president relinquishes 27-year rule after violent protests -- FOX News
Burkina Faso Army Says President Blaise Compaore Ousted From Power -- IBTimes
Burkina Faso president resigns after protests -- Al Jazeera
Burkina Faso leader steps down, vote in 90 days -- AP
Burkina army chief announces creation of transitional government -- Reuters
Burkina Faso army head takes over as President Blaise Compaore resigns -- CBC/Reuters

Will The U.S. Marines Drop Their Standards For Women Who Attempt Their Infantry Officers Training Course?

Pressure Grows For Marines To Lower Standards For Women -- Washington Free Beacon

27 Female Marines Have Attempted the Infantry Officers Training Course. None Have Passed.

When it was reported at the beginning of October that three female Marine officers had passed the Combat Endurance Test (CET), the initial entry screener for the Corp’s challenging Infantry Officer Course, the news was widely reported. You can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The story was indeed news. Up to that point, of the 24 women who had attempted the CET, only one had passed, and she had reportedly later been dropped from the overall course due to an injury. Struggling to get enough female officers into the course to produce a statistically significant result for its study of introducing women into combat roles, the Corps had directed that more seasoned female officers could attempt the course. Now three had made it over the first hurdle.

Read more ....

My Comment: Some are arguing that the standards were deliberately raised before women started to apply .... hence making it impossible for them to perform. I do not know about that .... but I will not be surprised that in the future the standards will be changed there by making it more easier for women to complete the course.

U.S. Congress Is Still Ignorant About NSA Spying

Congress Still Has No Idea How Much The NSA Spies On Americans -- Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Adequate oversight is impossible when even diligent members of the Senate Intelligence Committee can't get basic facts about surveillance.

The biggest lie Americans are told about the NSA is that it is subject to "strict oversight." Listening to President Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein, or most any high-ranking official in the national-security bureaucracy, one gets the impression that the Senate and House intelligence committees are keeping careful tabs on the most technologically empowered spy agency in human history.

The truth is that Congress is alarmingly ignorant about NSA spying. It's not all the national-security state's fault. There are too many issues for every legislator to master them all; surveillance policy is a particularly complicated; and national security is an area many in Congress undermine checks and balances by deferring to the president.

Read more ....

My Comment: I guess the NSA has now reached the level where it is too big to fail.

Friendly Fire Deaths Caused By Defense Budget Cuts?

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Squadron 31 fly a combat patrol over Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon

EXCLUSIVE: Budget Cuts, Errant B-1 Bomber Blamed In Deadly ‘Friendly Fire’ Accident In Afghanistan -- Washington Times

The “friendly fire” airstrike that killed five American soldiers in Afghanistan on June 9 is the first known case of a battlefield catastrophe that can be linked to automatic defense spending cuts that greatly curtailed prewar training.

A review of the worst American fratricide in the long Afghanistan War also shows that the military’s official investigation faults a Green Beret commander, an Air Force air controller and the four-man crew on the B-1B bomber that conducted the errant strike.

But the investigation, headed by an Air Force general, does not question the use of a strategic bomber for close air support, even though experts say the tragedy illustrates why the big plane is misplaced in that role.

The Washington Times has reviewed the investigation and interviewed knowledgeable sources to compile a picture of the doomed operation in southern Afghanistan’s Zabul province, as well as the political and military missteps that precipitated it. Key among them, according to defense experts, was the use of the strategic bomber.

Read more ....

My Comment: I always remember what former U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld once said .... you go to war with what you have. Could these crews have been trained better ... yes. Was a B-1 bomber suitable for this attack ... probably not. Would more training have prevented this .... probably. But in the end .... I hate to say it .... "shit happens".

Thursday, October 30, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel Talks About The Threats And Long Term Challenges Facing The United States


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Get Used to Endless War -- David A. Graham, The Atlantic 

From ISIS to climate change, the Pentagon chief says, the threats that face the United States are long-term challenges. Sometimes it feels like what's happening now, at any given moment, is bigger, more important, worse, and more dangerous than before.

Luckily, that often turns out to be incorrect: Today's news is tomorrow's hazy memory, and what once seemed like an existential threat is now nothing more than an unpleasant recollection. It sure seems like there are frightening events happening everywhere today—from ISIS to Ebola, Russian imperialism to Chinese saber-rattling, climate change to congressional dysfunction.

But is it really worse, or will this, too, pass?

Read more ....  

Update #1: Hagel Offers Perspective on ‘Historic, Defining Times’ -- US Department of Defense Update #2: Hagel: 'I Think We Are Seeing a New World Order' -- Breitbart

Time Ran Out For President Obama On Syria

© Stringer/ Reuters

Time Is Running Out For Obama On Syria -- Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast

The idea that U.S.-backed Syrian rebels defeat ISIS and force Assad to the negotiating table has absolutely nothing to do with what’s happening on the ground.

Only three days ago, President Barack Obama’s envoy to the Syrian rebels, retired Marine Gen. John Allen, explained confidently that the U.S. would help to train and equip Western-backed fighters to become a credible force that would compel the Assad regime to negotiate a political deal and end the four-year-long civil war.

Yeah. Right. The Obama administration’s plans have little or nothing to do with what is unfolding all too rapidly on the ground: Rebel brigades are demoralized, disintegrating, and fighting among themselves.

The Americans and their allies are carrying out a desultory air campaign in Syria that appears focused on support for the Kurds. Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces maintain a withering air offensive of their own on rebels and civilians alike in northern Syria.

Read more ....

My Comment: Time ran out on Syria three years ago when the civil war started .... and looking at the present moment .... I see no good options on the table for the U.S. (or anyone else) when it comes to Syria. The place has become a total disaster, and there is no political will in Washington (justifiably so in my opinion) to allocate the necessary (and enormous) resources to make a difference.

In The Eyes Of The Kurds The Battle For Kobane Is Today's Stalingrad

The War Against Islamic State: The Kurdish Stalingrad -- The Economist

Kobane has acquired huge symbolic significance for all those fighting for it

“WE WILL resist to our last drop of blood together… if necessary we will repeat the Stalingrad resistance in Kobane.” The words of Polat Can, a Syrian Kurdish commander, to describe the fight against Islamic State (IS) jihadists for the town on the Syrian-Turkish border may exaggerate the scale of the fighting, but makes plain the emotional and strategic symbolism now attached to Kobane.

On October 29th about 150 Iraqi Kurdish fighters, the Peshmerga, dispatched by cheering crowds in Irbil, set off through Turkey to reinforce their brother Kurds. The deployment was sanctioned by the Turkish authorities, after much haggling.

Read more ....

My Comment: My father was part of the pincer movement that surrounded Stalingrad during the Second World War .... his descriptions of that siege still stick with me today. So with this viewpoint .... in terms of scope, loss of life, and the intensity of the battle .... I ahve to say that Kobane is not Stalingrad .... not even close. But it is true that the battle of Kobane has become a symbolic as well as pivotal battle against the Islamic State, and everyday that Kobane resists the onslaught of IS forces .... the more the reputation of this city will grow .... especially for the Kurds.

The Baltics And Poland Prepare For A Russian Invasion

A U.S. Army soldier trains with the Javelin (U.S. Army)

To Beat Russian Tanks, the Baltic States Are Studying the Georgia War -- Robert Beckhusen, Real Clear Defense/War Is Boring

2008 conflict with Russia proves that anti-tank missiles rule

It was more than six years ago when a tank force from the Georgian army’s 42nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion fought its way overnight through Tskhinvali, South Ossetia.

The tanks were in trouble. They were moving too fast, outrunning their infantry support and taking losses to South Ossetian irregulars scattered throughout the city. Only hours into a war which would last five days, they had to keep moving before Russian reinforcements could arrive to bolster the pro-Russian, breakway Georgian province.

Read more ....

Update: Poland Prepares for Russian Invasion -- XX 20 Committee

My Comment: I do not know anyone in Russia who is even entertaining the idea of invading the Baltics .... let alone Poland. But it should be noted that a year ago who would have thought that Ukraine would have disintegrated into what it is today.

Russia And Ukraine Agree To A Natural Gas Supply Deal

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak shakes hands with Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuri Prodan (R) after gas talks between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Ukraine, Russia, EU Agree To Natural Gas Supply Deal -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal on Thursday on the resumption of Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine for winter after several months of delay during the conflict in Ukraine.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who witnessed the three-way signing ceremony in Brussels as he prepares to leave office on Friday, said: "There is now no reason for people in Europe to stay cold this winter."

Talks had been broken off in the early hours as Moscow sought more guarantees from the EU that it would help Ukraine pay for its natural gas. They resumed on Thursday evening.

Read more ....

Update #1: Russia, Ukraine agree on gas supplies until March 2015 -- RT
Update #2: Russia, Ukraine and EU agree on terms of gas deliveries to Ukraine in winter period -- ITAR-TASS

My Comment: Ukraine had to acquiesce to EU demands for a deal to be signed .... and the EU had to acquiesce to Russian demands on how they are going to get paid. Not surprising .... Russia and Ukraine are not happy with this deal (see above photo) .... but winter has arrived in Ukraine .... and the heat needs to be turned on.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 30, 2014

Could Burkina Faso Protests Signal End Of President's 27-Year Rule? -- Jason Patinkin, CSM

With parts of the military joining the uprising, the protests against President Blaise Compaore running for a fifth term are likely to bring to a rocky close the tenure of one of Africa’s longest-standing rulers.

A week of escalating protests in Burkina Faso exploded into violence Thursday as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets against an attempt by longstanding President Blaise Campaore to extend his 27-year rule.

Demonstrators in the capital Ouagadougou broke through lines of police, who used tear gas, to storm and torch the parliament building. The protesters took to the streets to protest a vote – now cancelled – that would have changed the constitution to allow President Compaore to run for an unprecedented fifth term.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 30, 2014

A role for covert action against Islamic State -- Andre Le Gallo, Jerusalem Post

Iran, Turkey Rivalry Puts Focus on Kurds -- Dorian Jones, VOA

Most Arab states share Isis’s ideology. They’re trying to have it both ways -- Brian Whitaker, The Guardian

Whose side is Turkey on? -- Patrick Cockburn, London Review Of Books

Why all of Jerusalem is seething -- Christa Case Bryant, CSM

Why Israel doesn’t care what Obama thinks, or even what officials call Netanyahu -- Dimi Reider, Reuters

The End of the Middle East? -- Robert Kaplan, Stratfor

Iran: The revolution is over -- The Economist

Xi Jinping Turns the Screws on Taiwan -- J. Michael Cole, The Diplomat

After Elections, What's Next for Ukraine? -- Robert Orttung, Moscow Times

Russia's flights over Europe: How much bark, how much bite? -- Fred Weir, CSM

What happens to the Caucasus when Russia stumbles -- Vartan Oskanian, Al Jazeera

Comprehensively Limited: NATO’s Disconnected Approach to Security -- Ian Ralby, War On The Rocks

First line of defense against terrorism: Mom and Dad -- Peter Bergen and David Sterman, CNN

Defeating extremism is a universal duty -- National editorial

Breakng News: Government Of Burkina Faso Has Collapsed. Army Has Seized Power

Government of Burkina Faso Collapses -- New York Times

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — The government of Burkina Faso collapsed on Thursday as demonstrators protesting the president’s plans to stay in office after 27 years surged through the streets of Ouagadougou, the capital, overrunning state broadcasters, setting fire to the Parliament building and torching the homes of the president’s relatives.

After several hours of increasingly violent protests, a government spokesman announced that a bill to extend the term of President Blaise Compaoré had been dropped, or at least delayed. But the protests continued, and later in the day, Mr. Compaoré announced that the government had been dissolved and promised more talks with the opposition “to end the crisis,” according to a statement read on a local radio station.

Read more ....

Update #1: Burkina Faso Army Seizes Power After Protests -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Update #2: Burkina army imposes interim govt after crowd burns parliament -- Reuters

WNU Editor: This breaking news story  will be updated early Friday morning.

World News Briefs -- October 30, 2014

Burkina Faso Declares State Of Emergency -- Al Jazeera

President scraps plans for vote to extend term in office as tens of thousands take to streets and parliament set ablaze.

Burkina Faso's president has declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government according to local media reports, after tens of thousands of people took the streets, setting parliament ablaze and leaving at least one person dead.

Some of the protesters, who are opposed to constitutional amendments that would allow President Blaise Compaore to stay in power for another term, ransacked state television and tried to storm other state buildings on Thursday.

"A state of emergency is declared across the national territory. The chief of the armed forces is in charge of implementing this decision which enters into effect today," said a statement read by a presenter on Radio Omega FM.

The president also said he would open talks with the opposition.

Read more ....


Jihadists unleash hell on Kobane as reinforcements draw near.

Peshmerga troops start entering Syrian border town.

Hundreds of Iraqi tribesmen opposed to Islamic State found in mass graves.

ISF withdraws to defensive positions in Anbar province.

Syria's Grand Mufti says Turkish intel 'well aware' of location of hostages detained by IS.

Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting Jewish far-rightist.

‘Declaration of war’: Palestinian leader attacks Israel over closure of disputed holy site, as violence erupts in wake of assassination attempt on Jewish hardliner. ‘Declaration of war’: Abbas warns over 1st Al-Aqsa Mosque closure since 1967.

Abbas welcomes Sweden’s decision to recognize state of Palestine.

Iran foils attempt to sabotage nuclear heavy-water tanks.

Iran wants sanctions lifted as part of nuclear deal.

Kerry says reported U.S. slur of Israel's Netanyahu 'damaging'.


Pakistan civilians flee as military steps up Khyber offensive. Pakistan army: 8 soldiers killed in tribal region.

North Korea to quarantine all foreigners because of Ebola fears.

U.S. watchdog says 'no unified strategy' for Afghan counternarcotics.

Myanmar calls meeting of political, military heavyweights.

Sri Lanka says no hope of finding mudslide survivors.

China calls on Japan to end jet scrambles.

China expresses concern about Indian plan to build border posts.


Protesters demand Burkina Faso president quit, burn parliament. Burkina president declares emergency, calls for end to protests. Burkina Faso president declares state of emergency.

West Africa's ECOWAS warns against Burkina coup, calls for talks.

Ebola: Danger in Sierra Leone, progress in Liberia.

Thousands flee as Boko Haram seizes northeast Nigerian town.

Libya military spokesman: Army in central Benghazi.

Libya's armed factions may have committed war crimes: Amnesty.

Niger says insurgents kill nine members of security forces.


Seven Ukrainian soldiers killed in past 24 hours despite ceasefire: military.

East Ukraine separatists hold vote to gain legitimacy, promise normalcy.

Ukraine, Russia and EU have agreed gas deal, to sign shortly: sources.

Brutal winter set to hit war-torn eastern Ukraine.

Sweden recognizes Palestinian state, hopes will revive peace process.

Poll shows more Swedes in favour of NATO for first time.

EDF France: Inquiry after drones buzz nuclear sites.

Ex-Libyan rebel leader allowed to sue Britain over torture claim.


Ebola outbreak: Nurse Kaci Hickox defies quarantine. Ebola update: Maine can't reach deal with nurse Kaci Hickox.

Canada spy agency must improve information sharing - watchdog.

Watchdog faults U.S. grenade-trafficking probe tied to Fast and Furious.

Families of missing students confront Mexico’s president. Fathers of missing Mexican students blast president after meeting.

Brazil troops end rapid deployment maneuvers.

Trade, defense spending buoy U.S. third-quarter growth.

4 killed after plane hits building near Wichita airport.


Suspected US drone strike kills 2 militants in northwest Pakistan.

Pentagon security agency: Watch out for Islamic State attacks in the U.S..

'Treated like cattle': Yazidi women sold, raped, enslaved by ISIS.


Number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis.

Visa boosts Dow, S&P nears 2000 as Wall St rallies.

Samsung, Apple lose ground to China smartphone makers.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 30, 2014

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. Courtesy of NATO

New NATO Chief Plots Course For 28-Nation Military Pact -- Stars and Stripes

STUTTGART, Germany — As NATO’s first secretary-general to hail from a country that shares a border with Russia, Jens Stoltenberg says today’s tensions with Moscow conjure memories from a Cold War childhood when “NATO was there to protect us.”

“I remember visiting that border when it was completely closed back in the days of the Soviet Union. When looking across was like staring into something dark and scary,” Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister now heading up the 28-nation alliance, said on Tuesday.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 30, 2014

First Iraqi Kurdish fighters enter Isis-besieged Kobani -- The Guardian

U.S. focuses on Islamic State targets near Kobani, Syria: U.S. Central Command -- Reuters

US To Check Troops For Chemical Exposure In Iraq -- Defense News

The US Is Hammering ISIS Near Kobane -- Business Insider

Australians may work with Iranian troops to advise Iraqis -- The Australian

Israel Planning To Increase F-35 Buy -- Defense News

NATO 'Vigilant' Over Russian Warplane Maneuvers -- Defense News

NATO reports 'large scale' Russian air activity in European airspace -- AFP

Russian nuclear sub test-fires Bulava strategic missile (VIDEO) -- RT

Mistral deal: France says delivery of warships to Russia still on hold -- RT

Moscow Uninformed of Paris's Inability to Deliver on Mistral Warship Contract: Official -- RIA Novosti

DCNS announces new concept submarine SMX-Ocean -- UPI

China says agrees with U.S. to speed up military conduct talks -- Reuters

Chinese Submarines Just Reached Another Alarming Milestone -- Business Insider/

China Sees First Female Attack Helicopter Pilots -- Women of China

North Korea Can Miniaturize Nuclear Warheads for Medium-Range Missiles: US Military Expert -- RIA Novosti

North Korea: Test Stand for Vertical Launch of Sea-Based Ballistic Missiles Spotted -- Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., 38 North

South Korean Soldier Sentenced to 45 Years for Beating Conscript to Death -- RIA Novosti

Taiwan to take delivery of first batch of Black Hawks in December -- Focus Taiwan

Pirates target oil tankers in Asia route as attacks climb -- Fuel Fix

First Look At A Darpa-Funded Exoskeleton For Super Soldiers -- Forbes

US Air Force Launches Military GPS Satellite on 50th Atlas 5 Rocket --

Pentagon officials: No hope for budget soon; tech development vital -- Military Times

Pentagon Officials To Meet With Industry Chiefs in Weekend Strategy Session -- Defense News

Pentagon adopts quarantine-like monitoring for all U.S. troops on Ebola mission -- Washington Post

US Army Will Provide Wi-Fi for NGOs in the Fight Against Ebola -- NextGov

Amazon-CIA $600 Million Deal Facing Scrutiny: ‘What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?’ --

Hagel: 'Climate change presents security issues' for US -- The Hill

Fatal plane crash at US air base -- The Guardian

Fox News Lands Interview With SEAL Who Killed Osama Bin Laden -- Daily caller

Key Army intelligence adviser allowed others to believe he had Ph.D. -- AP

This Chart Shows How The US Military Is Responsible For Almost All The Technology In Your iPhone -- Business Insider

Why the Pentagon is helping raise baby goats -- CBS

Comforting the NSA and Afflicting Its Dissenters -- Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Relearning Anti-Submarine Warfare -- James R. Holmes, The Diplomat

Major Cyber Attack Will Cause Significant Loss of Life By 2025, Experts Predict -- Patrick Tucker, Defense One

U.S. Secretary Of Defense Hagel Critical Of White House Syrian Policy

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the 2014 USO Gala in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2014. DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett

Hagel Wrote Memo To White House Criticizing Syria Strategy -- CNN

Washington (CNN) -- Earlier this month, while on an trip to Latin America to discuss climate change, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sat down and wrote a highly private, and very blunt memo to National Security Advisor Susan Rice about U.S. policy toward Syria.

It was a detailed analysis, crafted directly by Hagel "expressing concern about overall Syria strategy," a senior U.S. official tells CNN. The official directly familiar with the contents declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The existence of the memo itself was first reported by the New York Times.

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More News On U.S. Secretary Of Defense Hagel Critical Of White House Syrian Policy

Hagel memo criticized WH Syria strategy -- The Hill
Hagel blasts White House Syria strategy in memo to Susan Rice -- Washington Times
Syria's Assad may benefit from U.S. attacks on Islamic State -Hagel -- Reuters
Syria's Assad may benefit from US attacks on Islamic State, says Pentagon chief -- Jerusalem Post

My Comment: It looks like someone in the Pentagon leaked this memo .... and it would not surprise me if there are some in the White House who are not pleased right now.

Has The Islamic State's Miltitary Advances Been Stopped?

(Institute for the Study of War)

A Month Ago, ISIS’s Advance Looked Unstoppable. Now It’s Been Stopped. -- Zack Beauchamp, VOX

Watching the news, you could be forgiven for thinking that ISIS is an unstoppable juggernaut, sweeping Iraq and Syria in an unending, unstoppable, terrible blitzkrieg.

But you'd be wrong. The truth is that ISIS's momentum is stalled: in both Iraq and Syria, the group is being beaten back at key points. There are initial signs — uncertain, sketchy, but hopeful — that the group is hurting more than you may think, and has stalled out in the war it was for so long winning. ISIS isn't close to being destroyed. But they are reeling.

In mid-October, ISIS advanced to within 16 miles of the Baghdad airport. Many observers (and many Iraqis), fearing an ISIS assault on Baghdad itself, understandably panicked. But to Michael Knights, the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the ISIS advance meant something else.

"The threat posed to Baghdad this autumn is emerging less because [ISIS] is winning the war in Iraq," he wrote in Politico Magazine, "and more because it might be slowly but steadily losing it."

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My Comment: I would not count them out right now .... their Arab enemies are just as weak as they are, and there is no political will in the West to put combat troops on the ground to finish them off. My prediction still holds .... a stalemate with the Islamic State consolidating it's gains.

Pentagon Warns All Personnel That They Are Islamic State Targets

Pentagon Warns Employees About Islamic State Threats -- USA Today

Military personnel and civilians who work in the Pentagon could be targeted by the Islamic State group or other terrorists, the building's internal security agency is warning employees in a memo distributed late last week.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency directed security managers to remind Pentagon employees about how they can avoid standing out to terrorists, said agency spokesman Christopher Layman.

"We disseminated this advisory, not because of a specific threat, but as a reminder for Pentagon employees to be vigilant at home, at work, during travel and in their communities, by using individual protective measures," Layman told Military Times on Wednesday.

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More News On The Pentagon Warning All Personnel That They Are Islamic State Targets

Pentagon security agency: Watch out for Islamic State attacks in the U.S. -- Washington Post
Pentagon Workers Warned They Might Be ISIS Targets -- DoD Buzz
Pentagon warns employees about potential Islamic State-related terror attacks -- FOX News
U.S. military ordered to hide identities, change routines to avoid terrorist attacks -- Washington Times

The Navy SEAL Who Killed Bin Laden Is Going To Reveal Himself To The World On May 1

The Navy SEAL Who Killed Bin Laden Is Reportedly Going To Reveal Himself To The World -- Business Insider

Fox News will broadcast an exclusive interview with the Navy SEAL who shot dead Osama Bin Laden during the raid on Bin Laden's Pakistan compound on May 1, 2011.

The SEAL, commonly referred to as "The Shooter," will reveal himself for the first time almost two and a half years after the stealth Abbottabad mission that killed the man behind the 9/11 attacks and leader of the international terrorist network Al Qaeda.

According to the network's press release, Fox’s Peter Doocy will interview the SEAL over the course of a two-part documentary called “The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden.”

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Update: Fox News Lands Interview With SEAL Who Killed Osama Bin Laden -- Daily Caller

My Comment: In my opinion .... he should keep low and silent ... there is no upside to being publicly exposed .... unless he wants to/and is being paid to do it (but even then .... I cannot see it being worth it).

Is Afgahnistan Going 'Off The Rails'?

U.S. Marines prepare to board a KC-130 Hercules aircraft to depart the Bastion-Leatherneck complex in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2014. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Benn Bar

Afghanistan Going Off The Rails As U.S. Withdrawal Speeds Up -- Foreign Policy

Insurgent attacks rise as poppy cultivation reaches a post-Taliban high in Afghanistan.

While the world's eyes are trained on Iraq, Syria, and the fight against the Islamic State, a new report to Congress by the government's reconstruction watchdog warns that Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been fighting the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the longest war in American history, remains dangerously unstable even as the American military withdrawal accelerates.

Insurgent attacks have reached the highest levels since 2011, the Afghan army has sustained heavy combat losses and is experiencing high attrition rates, and opium poppy cultivation has more than doubled from its pre-1999 levels when the Taliban ruled the country, potentially undermining the Afghan state's legitimacy even as the nation is experiencing budget shortfalls, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, said in a quarterly report sent to Congress Thursday.

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My Comment: What also does not help the situation is the U.S. continually doing this .... U.S. Refuses to Stop Giving Contracts to Backers of Afghan Insurgency (Washington Free Beacon).

The True State Of The Afghan Military Has Now Been Classified As 'Top Secret'

Recruits get ready to become members of the Afghan National Police force in Kandahar province. DoD photo / TSgt Adrienne Brammer

The Capabilities Of The Afghan Military Are Suddenly a Secret -- Time

Watchdog says U.S. taxpayers can’t know if investment is paying off.

For years, American taxpayers have been able to chart how well the Afghanistan security forces they’re funding are faring, because “capability assessments” detailing their progress have been routinely released.

Not anymore.

As the U.S. military prepares to withdraw most of its 34,000 troops still in Afghanistan by the end of this year, the American-led command there has suddenly made such information secret.

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More News On The 'Top Secret' Classification For Any Report On What Is The State Of The Afghan Military

Want to Know How the U.S. Taxpayer-Funded Afghan Army Is Performing? That's Classified. -- New Republic
U.S. Military Classifying Assessments of Afghan Military -- Bloomberg Businessweek
True State of Afghan Military Kept Secret, Report Says -- NBC

First Iraqi-Kurd Peshmerga Reinforcements Enter Kobane To Fight Against The Islamic State

Iraqi Kurdish Forces Enter Syria To Fight Islamic State -- Reuters

(Reuters) - A first group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have defied U.S. air strikes and threatened to massacre its Kurdish defenders.

Kobani, on the border with Turkey, has been encircled by the Sunni Muslim insurgents for more than 40 days. Weeks of U.S.-led air strikes have failed to break their stranglehold, and Kurds are hoping the arrival of the peshmerga will turn the tide.

The siege of Kobani - known in Arabic as Ayn al-Arab - has become a test of the U.S.-led coalition's ability to stop Islamic State's advance, and Washington has welcomed the peshmerga's deployment. It has intensified its air strikes in the past two days ahead of their arrival.

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More News On The First Iraqi-Kurd Peshmerga Reinforcements Entering Kobane To Fight Against The Islamic State

First Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Arrive in Syrian City of Kobani to Battle Islamic State -- WSJ
First foreign soldiers enter fight for Kobani -- USA Today
Peshmerga at Turkish border to reinforce besieged Kobane -- AFP
Peshmerga troops enter Kobane to fight ISIL -- Al Jazeera
Iraqi Kurds join fight to break Islamic State siege on Syrian town -- Washington Post
Peshmerga troops clash with ISIS in Syrian border town -- New York Daily News/AP
Syria IS: Iraqi Peshmerga fighters 'enter Kobane' -- BBC
As first peshmerga reinforcements enter of Kobane, their leader offers to send more men to help drive ISIS completely from battle-ravaged Syrian town -- Daily Mail

Iran Claims To Have Foiled A Bid To Sabotage Its Nuclear Heavy-Water Tanks

A general view of the Arak heavy-water project, 190 km (120 miles) southwest of Tehran January 15, 2011. Credit: Reuters/ISNA/Hamid Forootan

Iran Says Foils Bid To Sabotage Nuclear Heavy-Water Tanks: Newspaper -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran has foiled an attempt to sabotage tanks used for transporting heavy water, which is needed to run some nuclear reactors, and blames a "foreign country" for the incident, a senior official was quoted by local media as saying.

The Islamic Republic is at odds with the West over suspicions it is covertly using its declared civilian atomic energy program to develop a nuclear arms capability. It denies this and has repeatedly accused certain Western states of trying to cripple the program through acts of sabotage.

Asghar Zarean, deputy chief in charge of nuclear protection and security at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted by the Tehran newspaper Arman as saying the bid to damage tanks at the Arak heavy-water production plant occurred two weeks ago.

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Update: Iran foils attempt to sabotage nuclear heavy-water tanks -- Jerusalem post

My Comment: An explosion at the Parchin military site a few weeks ago ... where a suspected nuclear weapons research program is underway .... and now this .... attempts to stop Iran's nuclear program is stepping up.

An Iran - China Alliance?

The Chinese frigate Changchun during a visit last month to Bandar Abbas in Iran. (Fars)

Iran And China Deepen A ‘Blue Water’ Friendship -- Brian Murphy, Washington Post

Last month, visitors to Bandar Abbas on Iran’s southern coast gathered to witness a never-seen-before event: two Chinese warships pulling into port.

It could be just the start of a budding naval alliance stretching from the Pacific to the Persian Gulf.

Iranian and Chinese commanders last week announced plans for greater maritime cooperation. While the details are vague, it clearly touches ambitions on both sides: Expanding the reach of their warships into faraway seas and new ports of call. And, at the same time, giving a jab at the United States and its preeminent naval power.

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My Comment: Iran has the oil .... China wants to buy it .... that sums up their relationship in a nutshell.

20 To 30 Former Guantanamo Bay Detainees Released Within The Last 2 - 3 Years Are Suspected Of Joining The Islamic State

Detainees participate in an early morning prayer session at Camp IV at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base August 5, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Deborah Gembara

Sources: Former Guantanamo Detainees Suspected Of Joining ISIS, Other Groups In Syria -- FOX News

As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees released within the last two to three years are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned.

The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield.

The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.

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My Comment:Why does this not surprise me.

Islamic State Gunmen 'Committed Massacre' Of 150 Sunnis In Iraq's Anbar Province

Reports: 150 Bodies Found In Iraq Mass Grave -- SKY News

The victims are among more than 300 men aged between 18 and 55 seized by Islamic State this week, tribal sheikhs say.

The bodies of 150 members of an Iraqi Sunni tribe opposed to Islamic State (IS) have reportedly been found in a mass grave.

The Reuters news agency quoted a security official saying 150 men from the Albu Nimr tribe had been taken from their villages near Ramadi on Wednesday night and then killed.

In a separate incident 70 people from the same tribe were found dead in another mass grave near the city of Hit.

They are believed to have been members of the police and an anti-IS militia called Sahwa, or Awakening.

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More News On Reports Of A Massacre Of Sunni Tribesman In Anbar Province

Hundreds of Iraqi tribesmen opposed to Islamic State found in mass graves -- Reuters
Mass grave with 150 bodies found in Iraq -- The Telegraph
ISIS executes 220 tribesmen in Iraq -- Alahkbar
Iraq Isis News: Bodies of 150 Sunni Tribesmen Found in Anbar Province Mass Grave -- IBTimes
Islamic State group kill and bury 150 Iraqi Sunni tribesmen -- Irish Times

WNU Editor: The above tweet is from a reported massacre in the Iraqi city of Hit this week.

Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas Describe Closure Of Jerusalem Holy Site As A "Declaration Of War"

Palestinians are seen during clashes with Israeli police forces in the Abu Tor neighbourhood of east Jerusalem October 30, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Jerusalem Holy Site Closure 'Declaration Of War' - Abbas -- BBC

A spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has described the closure of a disputed Jerusalem holy site as a "declaration of war".

The move came amid tension after the shooting of a Jewish activist. Israel's PM called for calm, saying Mr Abbas was responsible for escalating tensions.

Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for greater Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif, was wounded.

Israeli police later killed a Palestinian suspected of shooting him.

The man, named as 32-year-old Moataz Hejazi, was shot after opening fire when police surrounded his home.

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More News On Today's Unrest In Jerusalem

‘Declaration of war’: Palestinian leader attacks Israel over closure of disputed holy site, as violence erupts in wake of assassination attempt on Jewish hardliner -- Daily Mail
Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting Jewish far-rightist -- Reuters
‘Declaration of war’: Abbas warns over 1st Al-Aqsa Mosque closure since 1967 -- RT
Israel Blocks Access to Contested Holy Site in Jerusalem -- NYT
Israel blocks Jerusalem holy site amid rising tensions after activist shot -- Washington Post
Israeli security and Palestinians clash in East Jerusalem -- Euronews
Tensions flare as Israeli police kill suspect in Temple Mount shooting -- CSM
Abbas Says Closing Temple Mount 'A Declaration of War' -- Arutz Sheva
Palestinian Suspect in Jerusalem Drive-By Attack Shot Dead -- WSJ