Saturday, February 28, 2015

Warbirds Of America

WNU Editor: From Theo Spark .... Some remarkable footage. Twelve minutes of WWII aircraft. Pix of beautifully restored aircraft from that era.

Is The U.S. Heading Into Another War?

Marines board MV-22 Ospreys before they take off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island off the coast of Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 23, 2015. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ronald Gutridge

Paul R. Miller, National Interest: Are Americans Sliding Into Another War?

The current U.S. administration has wrapped up U.S. involvement in a mistaken war in Iraq (albeit on a schedule set by the previous administration, and with subsequent reintroduction of some U.S. military personnel into Iraq), has wound down U.S. involvement in a war in Afghanistan that had metamorphosed from a counterterrorist operation into a nation-building attempt (albeit only after an Obama-era “surge” and now with apparent second thoughts about how much longer the 13-year-old U.S. military involvement will continue), and has resisted pressure to throw U.S. troops into the civil war in Syria (albeit while employing other forms of U.S. military involvement, including airstrikes).

WNU Editor: The U.S. is currently involved in dozens of conflicts around the world .... so the U.S. is at war. But what makes the current situation unique is that most of these wars are low intensity .... albeit they do have the potential of exploding into a far more serious conflict.

Jumping Out Of An Airplane While Saluting

A U.S. soldier salutes his fellow soldiers while jumping from a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a drop zone in Germany, Feb. 24, 2015. The soldier is assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group. U.S. Army photo by Jason Johnston

WNU Editor: A definite picture of the day.

The Incredible Story Of A Soldier Who Was Hit With An Unexploded RPG And The Medical Team Who Saved His Life

Pfc. Channing Moss was impaled by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan on March 16, 2006, while riding in a convoy with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team,10th Mountain Division. Explosive disposal team members and the medical staff at FOB Organ E saved Moss, removing the live explosive from his body despite the Army protocol of sandbagging victims with live explosives embedded and considering them "expectant." Here he was photographed near Walter Reed Medical Center last summer. JAMES J. LEE / STAFF

Matt Farwell, Vanity Fair: A True Story About R.P.G.s and the Reality of the Battlefield

The harrowing tale of a truth stretched to save a fellow solider.

When, recently, I asked a helicopter pilot friend of mine what he thought about Brian Williams, the venerable NBC nightly news anchor, suspended after an apparent lie about his helicopter being forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, he couldn't believe it.

“Why would you freaking lie about something like that?” the pilot asked.

He liked Brian Williams, even nodded off to sleep on his last deployment to Afghanistan while listening to the NBC nightly news podcast. I was more cynical. In 2003, who wasn’t lying about the war, and why wouldn’t you? There were no real consequences for the liars—then or now—and so I kept thinking about it.

There is one R.P.G. story I know that is incredible and all true. I first heard about it as a soldier in Afghanistan in 2006, when this happened to another company in my battalion. There’s some lying in this tale. Not all soldiers are saints. But the lying here is done to save a life, rather than aggrandize or pad a life story. It’s been reported before, but I thought it worth revisiting in the weeks after the Williams scandal.

WNU Editor: I did a post on this story three years ago .... but it is still well worth the read.

Are U.S. Satellites Threatened By China's Space Weapons?

Admiral Cecil Haney speaking at Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska in 2013. Photo: U.S. Stratcom

Washington Free Beacon: China’s Space Weapons Threaten U.S. Satellites

Stratcom worried by antisatellite missiles, satellite weapons, lasers.

China is developing significant space warfare capabilities that threaten U.S. strategic satellite systems, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command told Congress on Thursday.

“We’ve seen very disturbing trends in space, particularly from nation states like China, as well as Russia, who have been public about their counterspace endeavors and ambitions,” Adm. Cecil Haney, Stratcom commander said. Counterspace is the military term for space warfare capabilities and weapons.

WNU Editor: Adm. Cecil Haney is also concerned about Russian anti-satellite capabilities .... US Concerned by Growing Expertise of China, Russia Space Capabilities (Sputnik). He is also worried that space is now becoming very crowded .... US Stratcom Uneasy About Debris Threat from SmallSats (ViaSatellite).

Japan's Surviving Kamikaze Pilots Speak Out On Japan's Shift In Military Policy

Chiran high school girls wave farewell with cherry blossom branches to departing kamikaze pilot in a Ki-43-IIIa Hayabusa. Wikipedia

Bloomberg: In the Cockpit With Japan's Kamikaze Pilots

(Bloomberg) -- Hisashi Tezuka knew his life had been spared when he heard the Emperor’s voice crackling through the wireless.

As Hirohito announced Japan’s wartime surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, the young kamikaze pilot was on a train to the island of Shikoku to carry out his sacrificial mission. He received his orders just two days earlier at a base about 1,150 kilometers (715 miles) to the north.

The crawling speed of the locomotive kept him alive.

WNU Editor: The survivors may be old now .... but what they have to say still resonates very strongly.

Drone Footage Gives A Rare Bird's-Eye-View Of One Of Russia's Plane Museums Near Moscow

WNU Editor: Quoting from Sputnik .... Located near Moscow, the Central Air Force Museum near Moscow is one of the world's largest aviation museums, and certainly the largest one for Russian aircraft. This footage offers you a rare opportunity to take a free tour of it and see some of the most iconic planes of the Soviet air force.

The Destruction Of Donetsk Airport (Photo Gallery)

The Atlantic: A Year of War Completely Destroyed the Donetsk Airport

In Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport has been reduced from a modern transportation hub to piles of scorched rubble in less than a year of warfare. As recently as last May, the airport was still operating and in good condition, though international flights had slowed due to the growing unrest. On May 26, Russian-backed separatist forces of the Donetsk People's Republic seized the airport, losing it to Ukrainian government forces after a brief fight. For months after, battles raged as both sides struggled to hold or retake the facilities, their bombs and rockets destroying practically everything, from buildings and aircraft to roads and trees. This week, as a cease-fire held, rebels (now in control of the ruins) brought Ukrainian war prisoners to the airport to recover bodies of their fellow troops from the rubble, and photojournalists were able to come along and document the scene.

WNU Editor: A depressing photo gallery on what war can do to a modern airport.

Speculation Abounds In Russia On Who Murdered Putin Critic Nemtsov

People come to lay flowers at the site where Boris Nemtsov was killed. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

Washington Post: Russian opposition leaders see Kremlin links to Nemtsov slaying

MOSCOW — Russian opposition leaders on Saturday accused the Kremlin of being behind the death of a towering figure of post-Soviet politics, Boris Nemtsov, as they struggled to come to grips with the highest-profile assassination of President Vladimir Putin’s 15 years in power.

Nemtsov was gunned down late Friday, steps from the Kremlin and underneath the swirling domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral — the heart of power in Russia and one of the most secure areas in the nation. The slaying of one of Putin’s most biting critics swept a wave of fresh vulnerability over those in the opposition, and some expressed new fears for their lives.

WNU Editor: This is the number one news story in Russia today .... and trust me on this one .... people are going to talk about it for a long time .... more so if the perpetrators of this crime are not caught.

WNU Editor: Here are some good pictures and videos of the Nemtsov murder scene .... Boris Nemtsov’s murder resembles past Russian contract hits (Quartz).

There Has Been No U.S. Combat Casualties Since December 12, 2014

Army Pfc. Jose Vazquez places an American flag in front of a gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day weekend in 2012. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Coffee/ U.S. Army)

Washington Post: This is the longest period without a U.S. military combat-zone death since 9/11

At the end of an hour-long panel discussion in Washington on Wednesday, a middle-aged man raised his hand. Fred J. Boenig, the father of a U.S. airman who died in Afghanistan, had a question for Rep. Adam D. Kinzinger, who called himself “hawkish” on using U.S. military power against the Islamic State.

“This is no disrespect, but when you said that, the only thing I can hear is a knock on my door again,” said Boenig, dressed in a red tie and blue blazer with a Gold Star pin on it. “I have one question: Do know how many days it has been since the last U.S. casualty? The last military casualty?”

Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said that he wasn’t sure, and estimated that it had been a month or so. Boenig interrupted, and said it had been 75 days — the longest since 2001.

WNU Editor: This is a trend that I hope will continue for a very long time.

Bitterness And Cynicism Is Growing In The Ukraine Army

The retreat continues: Ukrainian servicemen approach Artemivsk after withdrawing from the key town of Debaltseve. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Scott Peterson, CSM: Ukraine troops bitterly question their leaders as Kiev pulls back in east (+video)

Today's withdrawal of heavy weapons in accordance with the Minsk cease-fire marks a major reversal for Kiev. For many soldiers, cynicism about commanders is weighing heavily.

Soledar, Ukraine — Haggard Ukrainian Army soldiers withdrew 15 heavy artillery guns Friday, their armored convoy part of a delayed cease-fire agreement with Russian-backed separatists to ease a conflict that has taken nearly 6,000 lives.

With blue and yellow Ukrainian flags flying on an unseasonably warm day, the soldiers hauled their mud-splattered 100mm guns – some of them painted white for camouflage in snow – behind armored personnel carriers. Rebel forces also removed four Grad rocket launchers from front-line positions, the Associated Press reported, and have claimed other pullbacks in recent days.

But the fact that these first steps are being taken 12 days later than agreed – with rebel forces in the meantime capturing the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve – illustrates how separatist units that faced losses last summer have been transformed into a more capable force now making battlefield advances.

WNU Editor: There are many other reasons why morale within the Ukraine military is suffering. The growing number of conscripts who do not want to fight .... including Russian Ukrainians who have no desire at all. Hostility from the local populations, coupled with a lack of leadership and direction from Kiev certainly does not help. But it is also the realization that you are battling a well organized and determined foe .... it is hard to feel motivated when you realize that the other side is not only more motivated, but their weapons and leadership are far more determined to win.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Boris Nemtsov, Prominant Putin Critic, Assassinated Near The Kremlin

BBC: Russia opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.

An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say.

He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.

WNU Editor: Many in the Western press are calling him the Russian opposition leader .... this is incorrect .... Gennady Zyuganov head of the Communist Party came in second in the last Presidential election , and he is regarded by many to be the "unofficial" leader of the opposition. But it is true that Boris Nemtsov was a prominent and vocal Putin critic, and while he may not have held an elected position for years, his supporters and the attention that the Russian media gave him over the years did succeed in putting him in the spotlight. As to who killed him .... I do not know. It was my cousin in Moscow who called to tell me that he was assassinated .... and when I heard the news I said to myself that the authorities who are going to investigate his murder are going to find that they have a long list of possible suspects. Over the years he made a lot of people angry ... especially his exposes on corruption .... but who knows .... it could have been a personal matter that got him killed. I will admit that later I started to speculate that maybe a pro-Russian separatist wanted to silence him because of his opposition to Russia' participation in the Ukraine war, and then a part of me was wondering if this was maybe a false-flag operation instituted by the someone in Kiev who wanted to embarrass Putin and to put the blame on the separatists. Each and everyone of these "theories" have their supporters and critics .... and I am sure that this debate is going to go on for the next weeks. As to the theory that Putin or someone in his inner circle ordered the hit .... I really doubt that. You would only create a martyr, and on top of that Boris Nemtsov was in no position to be a threat to Putin .... he was a minor politician who suffered numerous electoral defeats since the 1990s. But it is also true that Boris Nemtsov did expose some of the corruption that has flourished under Putin .... and because of that he may have made some enemies who got their revenge today.

But there is one thing about this case that is bothering me .... Boris Nemtsov was murdered within sight of St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin .... this is within the security perimeter of the Kremlin. Security within Moscow is incredibly intense .... but more so within sight of the Kremlin.You just do not kill somebody and be able to drive away .... but on the possibility that this is exactly what happened .... this is then a huge security failure .... or something very deliberate.

On a personal note .... Boris Nemtsov was murdered at 11:30 PM walking with a female friend (Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, 23) crossing the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky bridge ... I have done that same walk many times in the past ... and yes ... with a female friend. Across the bridge there are a number of late night cafes and bars .... I can easily see them walking over there to end the night.

More News On The Murder Of Boris Nemtsov

Russian opposition leader Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow -- Reuters
Boris Nemtsov, outspoken Putin critic, shot dead in Moscow -- CNN
Russian Opposition Member Boris Nemtsov Was Killed in Moscow -- Bloomberg
'Nemtsov was an outspoken critic of Russia's involvement in Ukraine' -- Deutsche Welle
Boris Nemtsov, leading Putin critic, shot and killed in Moscow -- FOX News
Murdered Putin critic Boris Nemtsov did not pose any threat: Kremlin -- IBtimes
Several Cars Checked After Drive-By Murder of Boris Nemtsov - Source -- Sputnik
Funeral March to Replace Moscow Opposition Rally After Nemtsov Murder -- Sputnik
Nemtsov was no threat to Russian govt - presidential spokesperson -- RT
Boris Nemtsov: Who was the Russian opposition leader? -- ABC News (Australia)
Profile: Boris Nemtsov -- BBC
Russia robbed of a brave, authentic and distinctive voice -- Luke Harding, The Guardian
Boris Nemtsov Exposed Putin's Corruption—And Paid With His Life -- Michael Weiss, Daily Beast

Update: This is a good summary .... Who is Mr. Nemtsov and Why He Was Killed (Sputnik).

Remembering Leonard Nimoy And Mr. Spock

WNU Editor: Like many of my generation .... we grew up on Star Trek. The above video is the pilot for Star Trek and the first appearance of Mr. Spock. The bottom two videos are a reflection on his life.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 27, 2015

Virginia Postrel, Bloomberg: How Spock Became a Sex Symbol

When "Star Trek" debuted in 1966, showing a beautiful black woman and a dashing Asian man as bridge officers was an idealistic political statement. Turning someone who looked like Leonard Nimoy into a sex symbol, however, was entirely unintentional.

Before he played Spock, Nimoy, who died today at 83, played a surprising number of parts as Indians and Mexicans in the Old West. With his long, thin face, prominent nose and deep smile lines, he looked like The Other.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 27, 2015

Why Did Israel Decide to Support Syrian Rebels? -- Jacky Hugi, US News and World Report/Al-Monitor

The Guardian view on Libya: more diplomacy, not bombs, required -- The Guardian editorial

America is the ally that Egypt needs -- David Ignatius, Washington Post

China's Fertile Ground for Islamic State -- Adam Minter, Bloomberg

As Abe pushes for more robust military, Japanese push back -- Peter Ford, CSM

Somalia's 'pirate capital' is its best kept secret -- Hamza Mohamed, Al Jazeera

After year of conflict, Ukrainians believe they’re fighting for survival -- Matthew Schofield, Stars and Stripes/McClatchy Foreign Staff

Did This Russian Oligarch Come Up With Putin’s Ukraine Strategy? -- Joshua Keating, Slate

The horror of ‘Jihadi John’ and the ‘Jihadi Janes’ coming to join him -- John Lloyd, Reuters

Transformation of 'Jihadi John' — from quiet Briton to suspected killer -- Alexandra Zavis, Stars and Stripes/Los Angeles Times

MI5 and Mohammed Emwazi: agency must answer serious questions -- Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian

Mecca debate challenges Obama narrative: ‘The terror we face … is religiously motivated’ -- Douglas Ernst, The Washington Times

In Cuba, home of future U.S. Embassy has stories to tell -- Tracy Wilkinson, Stars and Stripes/Los Angeles Times

Saudis’ Oil Price War Is Paying Off -- Grant Smith and Anthony Dipaola, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- February 27, 2015

Reuters: Russian opposition leader Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow

(Reuters) - Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition politician and former deputy prime minister, has been shot dead in central Moscow, the Interior Ministry said early on Saturday.

Nemtsov, 55, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, had been due to take part on Sunday in the first big opposition protest in months in the Russian capital.


Eight killed in Baghdad bombs and rocket fire.

U.S. begins vetting Syrian rebels for military training: Pentagon.

Islamic State statue-smashing in Iraq was 'war crime', UN says.

Islamic State aims to eradicate Iraq minorities: rights groups.

Kurdish fighters rout IS militants from town near Iraq.

Iran nuclear talks advancing, no deal likely next week: U.S. official. Iran, six powers to hold nuclear talks in Switzerland on March 5: EU.

Rebels accuse Saudis of fueling unrest to divide Yemen.

Saudi ambassador in Yemen resumes duties from Aden.


5 Philippine soldiers killed in communist rebel ambush.

Obama to meet with Afghan president in March.

Indian PM riles China.

North Korea steps up threats over drills; U.S. Congress advances sanctions bill.

Desperate Afghan avalanche survivors await rescue on roofs.

US-Bangladesh blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death.

Brutal 'ISIS-inspired' teenager’s killing shocks Japan.

Clashes in Maldives as thousands call for president to quit.


Congo army drives rebels from eastern hills in fierce fighting.

US bank regulators may destroy Somalia’s economy.

Libyan PM says Turkey supplying weapons to rival Tripoli group.

Libyan aircraft crashes near Tunisian border: state news agency.

Boko Haram raid villages after Chadian offensive: residents.

China questions U.S. threat of U.N. sanctions on South Sudan.

Robert Mugabe admits Zimbabwe's land reform flaws.

Lesotho prepares for early vote in bid to ease political crisis.


Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov shot dead. Putin condemns opposition leader's killing, says may be contract killing.

Ukraine government forces, rebels withdraw heavy weapons.

Three Ukrainian servicemen killed in past 24 hours: Kiev military.

Ukraine said to risk losing support for aid if war escalates.

Spain arrests eight nationals for fighting with pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine.

Russian President Putin cuts staff's salaries by 10%.

Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow. Russia opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead.

Greek debt crisis: German MPs back bailout extension.

Nearly half of Greeks would back Syriza in new election: poll.

Fears for Macedonia's fragile democracy amid 'coup' and wiretap claims.

Unmasking of 'Jihadi John' as a London lad shocks Britain.

Italian coast guard, humiliated, demands weapons for Islamic State defense.


John Boehner seeks extension, leverage with Homeland Security funding plan.

U.S., Cuba say progress made in talks; no date for diplomatic ties.

Terror list status complicates second round of US-Cuba talks.

Mexico captures Knights Templar drug lord Servando 'La Tuta' Gomez. Mexico official: Police capture top capo 'La Tuta' Gomez.

Teacher denies radicalizing Canadian teens headed to Syria.


U.K. Jihadists first drawn to al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Pentagon revokes order telling military judges to move to Guantánamo Bay. Pentagon pulls order relocating military judges to Guantanamo.

Different countries, different ways of countering terrorism.

Osama bin Laden aide found guilty of 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.


Carl Icahn got whacked by the oil crash.

Oil up sharply, posts first monthly gain since June.

US growth revised down to 2.2%.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 27, 2015

Business Insider: Russia's military exercises are WAY bigger than NATO'

If military strength and ability was determined solely by the number of soldiers participating in military exercises, Russia would be able to steamroll through NATO without much of a second thought.

Since 2013, Russia has launched a number of military exercises with troop numbers regularly surpassing the 100,000 personnel mark. In comparison, the largest NATO member exercise during the same time frame took part in Norway in 2014 and had 16,000 personnel.

The following chart from The Atlantic Council sums up the vast numerical difference between Russian and NATO exercises.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 27, 2015

The NATO-Russia Exercise Gap -- The Atlantic Council

Nato defence spending falls despite promises to reverse cuts -- Jonathan Beale, BBC

This is how much NATO member states spend on their military -- Business Insider

Ukraine crisis prompts German debate on restocking military -- Reuters

Russia secures military deal to use Cyprus' ports despite EU concerns -- RT

Russia’s Bear: The old-fashioned plane still thriving -- BBC

U.S. Military Plan For Looming ISIS Offensive Takes Shape -- Time

DIA director skeptical of timeline for Mosul mission to oust Islamic State -- Washington Times

How the Military Will Fight ISIS on the Dark Web -- Next Gov

Pentagon using experimental deep web tool to ‘scoop up’ data on Islamic State -- Washington Times

Pentagon Speeds Shipment of M-16s and MRAPS to Iraqi Army -- DoD Buzz

Iran test-fires ‘new strategic weapon’ to battle ‘Great Satan’ US -- RT

China’s Air Force Sets Up in High Schools to Train Teen Top Guns -- Bloomberg

Myanmar military wins rare praise in war with ethnic Chinese rebels -- Reuters

Draft Chinese law paves way for counter-terror operations abroad -- Reuters

Japan's defense capability should not be underestimated: expert -- Want China Times

Indonesia’s New Military Commands: A South China Sea Focus? -- Prashanth Parameswaran, The Diplomat

'Jihadi John': British Prime minister defends security services -- BBC

NATO Commander Glad to Have A-10s Back In Europe -- Defense Tech

Gibraltar's vital role for the US Navy's operations is underlined -- Merco Press

Small Diameter Bomb II Completes Live Fire Test Destroying T-72 Tank -- Defense Tech

Navy's New Maritime Strategy Includes More Destroyers to Pacific --

New Index of U.S. Military Strength: The Cyber Threat -- The Daily Signal

James Clapper: Half the world’s stable countries ‘at risk of instability’ -- Washington Times

‘Military-Grade’: Alleged Arms Traffickers Extradited to US -- ABC News

Why the New Bomber is a Good Investment -- Robert Haddick, War On The Rocks

Effort to get Chris Kyle the Medal of Honor under fire by veterans -- Washington Post

Prince Harry to Leave the Military -- ABC News

'Jihadi John' Does Not Fit The Typical Profile For A Terrorist (Or Does He?)

Peter Bergen, CNN: 'Jihadi John': The bourgeois terrorist

(CNN)This is how top national security reporters Souad Mekhennet and Adam Goldman of the Washington Post, who broke the story that Mohammed Emwazi has been identified as the notorious ISIS terrorist known as "Jihadi John," describe him: "a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming."

They go on to say that Emwazi "was raised in a middle-class neighborhood in London" and attended the University of Westminster, which is a university in London that was founded in the early 19th century.

Emwazi poses something of a problem for the Obama administration's narrative about who becomes a terrorist and why. Last week, the administration hosted a three-day conference on "Countering Violent Extremism," which is a government euphemism for how best to deal with Islamist terrorism.

Update: Revealed, the face of the world's most reviled killer: First picture of Jihadi John as an adult before he flew to Syria to become ISIS executioner -- Daily Mail

WNU Editor:The debate on what made Mohammed Emwazi into a "blood-thirsty" terrorist is just beginning.

New York City Terror Trial Reveals Osama Bin Laden's Secret Ties To Iran?

Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 when Navy SEALS raided his secret lair in Pakistan. STR/REUTERS

Weekly Standard: New Docs Reveal Osama bin Laden's Secret Ties With Iran

Show availability of Iran for al Qaeda training, plotting.

This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.

More than 1 million documents and files were captured by the Navy Seals who raided bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. One year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released just 17 of them.

WNU Editor: What I found fascinating about this story is the revelation that over one million documents were seized from Osama Bin Laden's compound by Navy SEALS when they launched the raid that killed him .... but only 17 of the one million have ever been released.

Makes you wonder what the other 999,983 documents contain.

Update: This is interesting .... FBI agent testifying in trial of accused Al Qaeda terrorist says he saw body of Osama bin Laden (New York Daily News).

Leonard Nimoy 'Mr. Spock' Dead At 83

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in "Star Trek." Paramount Television

My Comment: Live long and prosper Mr. Nimoy.

Corruption Is China's Biggest Military Weakness

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, front), also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, meets with delegates of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) attending a seminar on Party building, in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 6, 2013. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

Business Insider/Reuters: Corruption in China's military is so bad that it might undermine their ability to wage war

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's military can only achieve its modernization goals if it respects the law, the Central Military Commission said on Thursday, offering a warning to the armed forces which have reeled from a series of graft scandals.

The government has announced investigations into more than a dozen senior military officials on serious corruption charges.

Many of those implicated have ties to a scandal involving former top military officer Xu Caihou, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission in 2013.

Previous Post: Corruption In The Chinese Military

WNU Editor:This is going to be an uphill battle.

Many Of China's Neighbors Prepare For War

Boys Toys vs. Geography -- Alessio Patalano, The Diplomat

Wall Street Journal: China’s Neighbors Bulk Up Militaries

Despite Beijing’s efforts to cool tensions, many nations prepare for potential conflict

MANILA—China’s neighbors are moving forward with the modernization of their militaries with new fighter jets, submarines and other hardware, even as Beijing has tried to tamp down territorial tensions in the region.

The military buildup is an indication that many Asian countries see little reason to adjust their long-term preparations for potential friction with China, despite Beijing’s diplomatic and economic charm offensive.

China made a dramatic shift in its diplomatic approach at a summit in Beijing in November, adopting a more conciliatory tone. This included the first face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since both took power in 2012.

WNU Editor: China has territorial disputes with all of its neighbors .... and the Chinese have made it very clear that they have no interest in "backing down". Faced with such a position .... China's neighbors are getting nervous.

Are The U.S. And China Destined For War?

Harry J. Kazianis, National Interest: The Ultimate Nightmare: Are the U.S. and China Destined for War?

Will the eagle and the dragon meet on the battlefield?

There is no geo-strategic relationship of more importance than that of the U.S. and China. Yet, tensions between Washington and Beijing over the last few years have been building. Over the last few weeks I have been exploring on these pages some of the pathways the unthinkable could happen: a U.S.-China war. We have also been exploring the various paths to victory both sides could utilize. While all of this is important, it is also important to take a step back and look at the U.S.-China relationship from another viewpoint of equal and possibly even greater value—a dilemma in the relationship that is creating its own set of tensions: the budding high-tech security dilemma pitting Washington and Beijing against one another.

WNU Editor: The short answer is no .... the U.S. and China are not destined for war. But what I fear is more likely is a Chinese war with one of our allies in the region .... and that is the crux of the problem.

U.S. Claims China Is 'Aggressively' Expanding Into South China Sea. Orders Regular Spy Plane Flights

A P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane conducts flyovers above the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group in the Atlantic Ocean in this US Navy picture taken on Feb 3, 2012. The United States has flown its most advanced surveillance plane from a military base in the Philippines over flashpoint areas of the South China Sea, Filipino authorities said on Friday, Feb 27, 2015. Photo: Reuters

Voice of America/Reuters: Advanced US Surveillance Plane Patrols S. China Sea

MANILA — The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time.

The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea.

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in shipborne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

More News On U.S. Ordering Spy Flights While Claiming That China Is 'Aggressively' Expanding Into South China Sea

US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea -- PhilStar/AP
US flies advanced spy plane over disputed South China Sea: Philippine officials -- The Straits Times/AFP
US Starts Flying Its Most Advanced Spy Planes Over South China Sea -- Sputnik
China 'aggressively' expanding into South China Sea says US -- The Guardian
U.S. National Intelligence head worried by Chinese maritime advances -- Global Post/EFE
American spy plane over South China Sea is ‘a dangerous development’ -- RT
China defends its South China Sea activities as ‘restrained’ after US raises concerns -- AP
China rejects U.S. charges on South China Sea -- Xinhua
China defends its South China Sea activities as restrained -- AP

Why Did The U.S. Army Spy On Medal of Honor Recipient Will Swenson?

Medal of Honor Hall recipient former Army Capt. William D. Swenson holds a frame with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during the ceremony to induct Swenson into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Oct. 16, 2013. The frame contains a portrait and information about Swenson. DOD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp

Jacob Siegel, Daily Beast: Exclusive: Army Spied on Hero Over Amazon Review

President Obama gave this outspoken, brave soldier the Medal of Honor. The Army dug through his trash and bothered his girlfriend.

Will Swenson is officially an American war hero, awarded the Medal of Honor, the military’s most prestigious decoration for his actions in Afghanistan. But in the eyes of the Army, he was, for a time, a target of surveillance. Army investigators staked out his house. They went through his trash. And it all started because Swenson was mentioned in a book review posted to

The Army’s treatment of Swenson is one of a number of high-profile cases where the military has launched investigations into highly-decorated troops—only to have the investigations themselves come under scrutiny. Top congressmen have demanded answers from the Secretary of the Army, while insiders speculate that the deep dive into Swenson’s life was a political stunt. Before President Obama gave Swenson the Medal of Honor, he was known as much for his stinging criticism of Army leadership as he was for his heroism at the Battle of Gangal.

WNU Editor: This blog has been following Will Swenson's career since news of his involvement in the Battle of Gangal became known (23 posts and counting). This blog has also been a fierce critic on how the US Army and the Pentagon have treated him .... and why people should be held accountable. The fact that this news is now breaking out does not surprise me .... there is something terribly wrong with the U.S. military when heroes like him are treated in this matter. Army veteran Matt Gallagher writing in the Daily Beast sums it up best when he called Swenson “brave, disillusioned, resolute.” Swenson had become an icon, Gallagher wrote, “not just because of his actions in Afghanistan, but also through his actions after.”

Chinese Diplomat Lectures The West On Respecting Russia's Security Concerns Over Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.(Reuters / How Hwee Yong)

Reuters: Chinese diplomat tells West to consider Russia's security concerns over Ukraine

Western powers should take into consideration Russia's legitimate security concerns over Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat has said in an unusually frank and open display of support for Moscow's position in the crisis.

Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, was quoted by state news agency Xinhua late on Thursday as blaming competition between Russia and the West for the Ukraine crisis, urging Western powers to "abandon the zero-sum mentality" with Russia.

He said the "nature and root cause" of the crisis was the "game" between Russia and Western powers, including the United States and the European Union.

Update: Chinese diplomat lectures West on Russia’s ‘real security concerns’ over Ukraine -- RT

WNU Editor: The Chinese lecturing the West on understating Russia's position on Ukraine .... priceless.

The 'Witch Hunt' And Purge Begins In Ukraine

Ukraine President Poroshenko

Mark Varga, National Interest: Exposed: Ukraine's Massive Witch Hunt

Tackling corruption, or an old-fashioned purge?

It has become somewhat of a cliché to say that Ukraine is Europe’s most corrupt country. While the the IMF agreed on February 12 to extend to Kyiv a new $17.5 billion rescue package over four years in exchange for continued structural reforms, the real question is if staving off the country from an imminent default at the hands of international creditors (read, Russia) would be enough. Why? Because one of the unanswered questions for Kyiv’s leaders is whether they have the mettle to deal with the country’s public enemy #2: corruption.

WNU Editor: Kudos to the National Interest for posting this story .... most Western outlets for their own reasons have refused to acknowledge this growing injustice. If you are a Ukrainian-Russian employed by the Ukraine government or by any of its state companies .... it is a guarantee that you will soon find yourself unemployed or .... having zero prospects for advancement. And while I do understand the need to purge corrupt officials and bureaucrats .... I know that it is not being employed in such a matter. The review of property holdings is also a frightening development .... one in which is having a direct impact on my relatives in Kiev. They own a number of commercial properties a block away from the Maidan .... bought on the open market using funds borrowed from Ukraine and foreign banks almost 20 years ago (fortunately these loans were paid off a few years ago). But even though they have clear title paid for properties that were purchased on the open market .... they are being subjected to these reviews. To say that they are nervous is an understatement .... because from their experience they know that much of these decisions are usually based on "expecting to be paid off" or finding yourself in the courts facing a judiciary that is in itself corrupt. As I always am telling people who are interested in investing in Ukraine (especially now because of the collapse of the currency) .... corruption has always been an endemic part of Ukraine society .... it will touch you even if you try your best to avoid it.

On a personal note .... of all the cities in the world that I have visited and/or lived in .... Odessa is on the top of the list .... and it has just been brought to my attention that a home that I have always admired is now up for sale at a ridiculously low price (no surprise there .... the Ukraine currency has collapsed, so foreign currency is king). It is on the Black Sea .... and I cannot adequately explain how beautiful the building and location is. And while I am definitely tempted to take the plunge .... in view of the utter chaos in the country .... and in view of what I have just stated in this commentary .... would it be a smart move? Sighhh .... this is why I hate what is happening in Ukraine right now .... people's lives are being impacted on every level .... from those who have lost loved ones in this war and who will forever suffer because of it, to little old me who now sees his dream home up for sale .... but who is afraid to take the risk.

Western Concerns Rise On Ukraine Corruption As They Prepare To Provide Billions In Aid

Robin Emmott and Anna Yukhananov, Reuters: Insight: West's offer to rebuild Ukraine faces reality check

(Reuters) - Western powers are preparing what they say may be their most potent weapon against Moscow's interference in Ukraine - a multi billion dollar aid package to rebuild a near-bankrupt state and realize the European dream cherished by many Ukrainians.

There is just one problem: foreign governments and international financing institutions are not willing to pour money into a dysfunctional state. Only this week the businessman brought in by the new authorities to clean up the tax service was himself suspended pending a corruption inquiry.

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... much of this aid is going to be wasted, and at the end of the day Ukraine will just have a bigger debt to pay-off. Corruption and a bloated system dependent on government subsidies and assistance is one of Ukraine's biggest problems .... and I see no movement by anyone in Kiev to address these issues. This is what happens when you have a dysfunctional state mired in a war .... and Western countries should be very leery when they give money .... because I sincerely doubt that it will be paid back.

Ukraine Pays For One Day Of Gas Supplies, Russia Demands More

Pipes and valves are seen at an underground gas storage facility in the village of Mryn, 120 km (75 miles) north of Kiev May 21, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Reuters: Ukraine sends small prepayment for Russian gas

* Ukraine sent $15 mln payment
* Gazprom had threatened to cut off supply
* European Commission has proposed talks next Monday
* No threat to gas for Europe -Ukraine official

KIEV/KRASNOYARSK, Russia, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Ukraine has sent a small prepayment of $15 million to Russia for March natural gas deliveries, energy officials from the two sides said on Friday, after Moscow threatened to cut off supply.

In their latest dispute, Ukraine and Russia have argued over who should pay for Russian gas sent to two rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine after supply from Kiev was cut off.

WNU Editor: This is pathetic .... the Ukraine government only had $15 million in the bank to pay for one day of natural gas from Russia ... but they want a month of gas supplies for this payment. And what is their Plan B ... they are now hoping that the West would send them some gas (on credit of course) .... Ukraine says hopes for more gas from Europe in March (Reuters).

More News On Ukraine's Energy Crisis

Ukraine sends small prepayment for Russian gas -- Reuters
Cash-strapped Ukraine struggles to keep Russia gas supplies -- AP
Ukraine pays Gazprom $15mn for 24 hours worth of gas -- RT
Gazprom Confirms Ukraine Pays $15 Million, Enough For One Day -- Radio Free Europe
Ukraine makes gas payment ahead of energy talks with Russia -- Deutsche Welle

After Two Days Of Calm The First Combat Deaths Are Being Reported In Ukraine

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R) visits the National Defence University in Kiev, February 27, 2015. Credit: REUTERS/Mykhailo Markiv/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters

Deutsche Welle: Ukraine reports first casualties after two days of calm

The Ukrainian army has reported its first casualties after two days in which no fatalities were reported. President Petro Poroshenko has again warned of an ongoing military threat "from the east."

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters in Kyiv on Friday that despite a ceasefire that finally appeared to have taken hold, three army soldiers had been killed in the past 24 hours.

"Over the past day, three Ukrainian soldiers died and seven were wounded," Col. Lysenko said, before adding that fighting against pro-Russia separatists had halted along most of the frontline. However, he also said that there were still clashes in villages around the heavily damaged airport in Donetsk.

"Rebels attacked using artillery, mortars and tanks and tried to storm our positions," Lysenko said. "All the attacks were beaten back."

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... expected more deaths in the days to come.

More News On The First Reported Combat Deaths In Two Days In Ukraine

Deaths shake Ukraine truce, Poroshenko wary of Russia threat -- Reuters
Ceasefire holds in eastern Ukraine except for Mariupol region -- Euronews
Shaky Ukraine ceasefire takes hold, but tensions rise over gas supply -- CNN
Ukraine crisis: 'Military threat from east to remain' despite truce -- BBC
Deep mistrust threatens Ukraine's shaky ceasefire -- The Telegraph
UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Ukraine -- Deutsche Welle

A Paramedic's View Of The War In Ukraine

Alik Sardarian waits for injured soldiers outside Artemivsk hospital. Anastasia Vlasova for Newsweek

Maxim Tucker, Newsweek: One Paramedic's War in Ukraine, From Maidan to Debaltseve

A column of Ukrainian troop trucks rumbled across the frozen, pitted ground. Slowed by a full load of soldiers each, their drivers strained to see through mud-spattered windscreens in the early morning light.

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers had started their retreat from the besieged city of Debaltseve in the dead of night on 18 February, but the rising sun was making the trucks and their trails increasingly obvious. As they left the strategic rail and road junction, the soldiers didn’t know where the Russian forces and their separatist allies were, but they knew they were close. Vehicles started peeling off from the column across the fields, hoping to provide a smaller target.

As one four-truck convoy trundled onwards, metal-clad shapes loomed on a snow-capped ridge ahead. Within moments tank rounds and rocket-propelled grenades had ripped into three of the trucks, explosions sending their human cargo sprawling and shattered into the field.Machine gunfire clattered into the engine block of the last vehicle, bringing it grinding to a halt.

WNU Editor: A must read on how bloody and destructive the Ukraine war has become from one who must treat the wounded and dying.

Digging And Looking For Retrieving Dead Soldiers At Donetsk Airport

Reuters: Ukrainian prisoners forced to hunt for dead comrades in airport rubble

The gunmen lined up around 20 pale-looking prisoners in two silent rows in the ruins of the airport terminal. Somehow still clinging to a wall pulverized by bullets and artillery was a sign marked "Lost and Found".

The captured Ukrainian soldiers had been brought into the ruins of the airport and ordered to hunt for the dead bodies of their comrades under pieces of concrete.

WNU Editor: A breach of the Geneva rules when it comes to treating prisoners .... but here is an interesting Catch 22 position .... the Ukraine government cannot complain because they have labeled the pro-Russian rebel forces as terrorists, and by issuing a complaint they would be officially acknowledging that the pro-Russian rebels are a military force. As to the grim task of finding bodies .... the Ukraine government has admitted that 1,200 soldiers have not been accounted for .... it would not surprise me if some of them are buried at the airport.

More News On The Grim Task Of Searching For Bodies At Donetsk Airport

Captive Ukrainian soldiers dig out the bodies of comrades killed in Donetsk airport battle -- USA Today/AP
Ukrainian POWs comb ruins of Donetsk airport for dead comrades -- AFP
Digging out the dead in eastern Ukraine -- Al Jazeera
Ukrainian prisoners of war recover bodies at Donetsk airport -- Ukraine Today
Separatists find bodies of 30 dead Ukrainian soldiers at Donetsk Airport -- Global Post/EFE

The Russian Economy Is Not Going To Collapse

A man reads a newspaper under signs with currency exchange rates in Moscow, November 28, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: No, Obama, Russia's Economy Isn't 'in Tatters

Western politicians and pundits should be more careful with their predictions for the Russian economy: Reports of its demise may prove to be premature.

Bashing the Russian economy has lately become a popular pastime. In his state of the nation address last month, U.S. President Barack Obama said it was "in tatters." And yesterday, Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute for International Economics published an article predicting a 10 percent drop in gross domestic product this year -- more or less in line with the apocalyptic predictions that prevailed when the oil price reached its nadir late last year and the ruble was in free fall.

WNU Editor: I have been saying the same thing for the past two months .... the Russian economy will take a hit and living standards will decline .... but everyone that I know in Russia has prepared themselves for this .... and some of my own relatives are now remarking to me that they are surprised that the "hit" has not been as severe as they had expected.

Editor's Note

Just finishing up on a project right now. Stuck in meetings this morning. Blogging will resume at 10:00 EST. "Military and Intelligence News Briefs" and "World News Briefs" will be posted at the end of the day.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Ukraine's Economic Weaknesses Are Being Brutally Exposed

The Economist: Ukraine’s economy: The day of reckoning

The West’s inadequate support for Ukraine is being brutally exposed

IT MAY go down as one of the least effective bail-outs the world has ever seen. Not Greece’s, but Ukraine’s. Just two weeks ago Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), promised Ukraine $40 billion over four years—an impressive-sounding sum for a country whose GDP may soon shrink to $70 billion. Since then, however, Ukraine’s economic crisis has got much worse. The currency has hit new lows: a dollar now buys around 30 hryvnia (see chart). This week the central bank instituted new currency controls in a fruitless attempt to slow its plunge. Government bonds are trading at 40 cents on the dollar.

WNU Editor: A good summary.

No Combat Casualties For Second Straight Day In Ukarine

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces and armoured personnel carriers are seen preparing to move as they pull back from Debaltseve region, near Artemivsk February 26, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Reuters: Kiev reports no combat casualties for second straight day

(Reuters) - Ukraine's military reported no combat casualties at the front for a second straight day on Thursday, a sign that a ceasefire deal has held at last after rebels initially ignored it to launch one of the biggest battles of the war last week.

After initially spurning the truce to advance, the pro-Russian separatist rebels have been withdrawing heavy weapons from the front under the ceasefire deal for the past two days. A military source told Reuters that Kiev could order its own artillery withdrawal later on Thursday.

WNU Editor: I am still pessimistic that this truce will hold .... but everyday that there is peace means that there is hope.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 26, 2015

Fred Fleitz, Washington Times: More disturbing details about Obama’s nuclear sellout to Iran

In an article published Wednesday, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, a notorious Obama administration apologist, provided his latest endorsement of the president’s deeply flawed nuclear diplomacy with Iran. Ignatius also discussed some worrisome U.S. concessions to Iran that have not been previously disclosed.

During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry denied that the United States has proposed a final nuclear deal with Iran last only 10 years. Although the 10-year limit has been leaked to many journalists, Mr. Ignatius confirmed that Obama officials want a deal with a “double-digit” duration of 10-15 years.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 26, 2015

Is Netanyahu out to foment war with Iran? -- Simon Tisdall, The Guardian

MI5 and Mohammed Emwazi: agency must answer serious questions -- Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian

Israel's Military Politicians -- Thomas Mitchell, The Compass

Libya’s chance for stability -- The National editorial

Why Ukraine Was No Game Changer - So Far -- Jan Techau, Real Clear World

Why Russia Will Lose in Ukraine -- Alexander J. Motyl, World Affairs

With Cease-Fire, Ukraine Remains Stuck Between Russia and the West -- Nikolas Gvosdev, World Politics Review

This time around, Russia-Ukraine gas feud is mostly hot air -- Peter Graff and Pavel Polityuk, Reuters

Is the U.K. Turning Chickenhawk? -- Marc Champion, Bloomberg

Venezuela Is Running Out of Toilet Paper -- Joshua Keating, Slate

Brazil is in an economic quagmire -- The Economist

Iran and the United States Locked in Cyber Combat -- Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat

Top Spy: Small Hacks Are Bigger Threat Than ‘Cyber Armageddon’ -- Shane Harris, Daily Beast

Why is ISIS destroying ancient artifacts in Iraq? -- Jessica Mendoza, Christian Science Monitor

Why Did Britain Let ‘Jihadi John’ Go Free? -- Nico Hines, Daily Beast

Why did it take the Americans to unmask Jihadi John? British authorities have known identity of ISIS killer for weeks – but STILL refuse to confirm his name -- Daily Mail

World News Briefs -- February 26, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: First picture of the face of the angelic schoolboy who turned into reviled ISIS executioner. How polite west London pupil became bloodthirsty Jihadi John

* Mohammad Emwazi unmasked as ruthless Islamic State murderer Jihadi John
* Pictured here as a schoolboy for the first time without his notorious black mask
* Classmates in west London say he was more interested in football than Islam
* Teachers remember him as 'hard-working...everything you would ever want in a student'
* Emwazi was born in Kuwait, but moved to Britain with his family at the age of six
* He was on a terror watch list, but managed to flee to Syria in 2012


U.S.-led coalition launches 14 air strikes against Islamic State: statement.

ISIL seizes strategic bridge in Iraq's Anbar.

Jordan assumes leading role vs. Islamic State militants.

Insight: Jordan takes no chances in confronting homegrown Jihadis.

ISIS militants destroy ancient statues, relics in Iraq. Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts.

Syria refugee crisis nears 'dangerous turning point':UN.

Kurds blocking return of Arabs to disputed Iraq areas: watchdog.

Kerry heading to Switzerland for next round of nuclear talks.

Yemen leader meets UN envoy in southern refuge Aden.

Axe murderer and heroin smuggler are both beheaded in Saudi Arabia, bringing the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom to 34 this year.

Rebuilding Gaza could take a century if Israel keeps blockade.

Jordan, Israel agree $900 million Red Sea-Dead Sea project.


NATO coalition convoy struck in Kabul.

Suicide attack 'targets Turkish embassy car' in Kabul.

Afghans in frantic search for avalanche survivors. Avalanches kill scores in Afghanistan's northeast.

Detained Maldives' ex-leader denies ordering judge's arrest.

US: China is expanding its South China Sea outposts. China doing 'large scale' reclamation in disputed islands: media.

China investors top U.S. list of 2013 national security reviews.

Sexual revolution: S. Korean court abolishes punishment for extramarital affairs.


Boko Haram attacks force Canadian withdrawal in Niger.

Nigeria Boko Haram: Many killed in bus station bombings. Bomb attacks kill at least 23 in north, central Nigeria.

Goodluck Jonathan visits site of Boko Haram massacre.

Nigeria's opposition will not tolerate any more vote delays: Buhari.

Somalia's al Shabaab say fire mortars at presidential palace.

NATO ready to advise Libya on security, eyes more drones.

Coalition partners threaten to challenge Ivory Coast president at polls.

Sudan's Bashir says will quit in 2020 if re-elected president. Sudanese leader says being hounded by ICC, West.


Ukrainian military pulls back heavy weaponry from eastern front. Ukraine, rebels start pulling back heavy weapons in the east. Ukraine begins artillery withdrawal, recognizing truce is holding.

Ukraine may lose IMF aid if conflict escalates — media.

EU-Russia-Ukraine gas talks to be held on Monday: EU.

Georgia says Russia bent on 'creeping annexation' of breakaway regions.

Greek protesters clash with police in first backlash against Syriza.

Suspected European arms traffickers extradited from Montenegro to U.S..

Spain blasts ex-PM meeting with Castro in Cuba.

France unveils reforms to tackle Muslim radicalisation.


Kofi Annan in Cuba to boost Colombia-FARC peace talks.

Emergency responders investigate possible Virginia Ebola case.

Venezuela clamps down further on dissent amid deepening economic woes.

Obama to ban bullets by executive action, threatens top-selling AR-15 rifle.

Victory for Argentine leader: Judge rejects cover-up case. Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez case dismissed.

Argentina replaces head of Cabinet amid political turmoil.

UN chief backs efforts to re-launch dialogue in Venezuela.

Canada considers sending troops to Ukraine.

Mexico president in crisis is losing support of big business.

What a Homeland Security shutdown would mean: Who works & who won’t.

US inflation rate remains negative.


UK man behind Isis beheadings identified as Mohammed Emwazi. 'Jihadi John' raised in UK, studied computers, reports say.

Paradise jihadis: Maldives sees surge in young Muslims leaving for Syria.

US: 3 accused in Islamic State plot had vocalized beliefs.


Google's quiet dominance over the 'ad tech' industry.

China's loans to Latin America 'rose to $22bn in 2014'.

Net neutrality rules passed by US regulator. Telecom industry slams FCC net neutrality move.