Friday, August 31, 2018

Not A Good Week For Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau

Bloomberg: Nafta Crunch Caps a Pretty Dreadful Week for Justin Trudeau

This has not been a good week for Justin Trudeau.

It began with a surprise U.S.-Mexico trade pact that excluded Canada from a Nafta rewrite, sending the prime minister’s negotiating team scrambling to strike a deal ahead of the Trump administration’s deadline. Then a key pipeline he spent billions to nationalize got sideswiped by a court decision, and the most important ally in his climate change plan abandoned him. And now the White House has informed Congress of its intent to sign an new agreement with or without the northern nation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The media and the polls that they commission say that Prime Minister Trudeau is still comfortably in the lead in public opinion polls, and that he will coast to another election win next year. The problem is that in the past few months his allies are being easily defeated in elections, and that in strongholds like Quebec (where I live), his support has evaporated, especially among French Canadians. Bottom line .... he is in trouble.

American Flag Planting On Moon Scene Omitted In Neil Armstrong Biopic 'First Man'

FOX News: Ryan Gosling defends Neil Armstrong biopic 'First Man' leaving out American flag in moon landing scene

“First Man,” the Neil Armstrong biopic that tells the tale of the 1969 moon landing, has stolen the show at several international film festivals — but not everyone is happy.

The film fails to show one of the most integral moments of American history – when Armstrong plants the American flag on the moon, according to The Telegraph. Ryan Gosling, the Canadian actor who portrays Armstrong in the movie, defended the decision to not show the flag.

Gosling was asked at the Venice Film Festival whether omitting the scene was deliberate and the actor attempted to sidestep the question by responding that the moon landing “transcended countries and borders.”

Read more ....

Update: Canadian ‘First Man’ actor defends omitting American flag planting on moon: Achievement ‘transcended countries and borders’ (American Mirror)

WNU Editor: The American flag planting scene was one of the iconic moments of the moon landing. It is too bad that they decided to omit it.

Leader Of Self-Proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Assassinated In E. Ukraine

RT: Leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic killed in E. Ukraine blast

An explosion that rocked a cafe in central Donetsk city, in eastern Ukraine, has killed Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and injured several other top officials.

“The head of the DPR, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, has died as a result of a terrorist act,” a spokesperson of the self-proclaimed republic’s administration told journalists, revealing no details of the incident.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is going to be blow-back from this assassination, and all fingers are pointing at the Ukraine government.

Leader Of Self-Proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Assassinated In E. Ukraine

Head of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic killed in explosion -- TASS
Assassination of DPR Head: What We Know So Far -- Sputnik
Eleven Casualties in Zakharchenko Assassination Explosion -- Sputnik
Ukraine crisis: Blast kills top Donetsk rebel Zakharchenko -- BBC
Cafe blast kills pro-Moscow rebel leader in east Ukraine -- Reuters
Ukraine separatists say leader killed in cafe bombing -- AP
Ukraine: Top rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko killed in Donetsk blast -- DW
Alexander Zakharchenko: Cafe blast kills pro-Moscow rebel leader in east Ukraine -- ABC News Online
Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko killed in explosion in Ukraine -- The Guardian
Separatist leader killed in eastern Ukraine -- UPI
Alexander Zakharchenko killed in Donetsk cafe explosion -- Al Jazeera
Putin hopes organizers of Zakharchenko's assassination will be brought to account -- TASS
There is every reason to believe Kiev regime behind Zakharchenko’s murder — diplomat -- TASS
Rundown of Murder Attempts Against Heads of Lugansk, Donetsk People's Republics -- Sputnik

Tonight's Movie Is 'Nuremberg'

From Wikipedia: Nuremberg is a 2000 Canadian/United States television docudrama, based on the book Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial by Joseph E. Persico, that tells the story of the Nuremberg trials.

WNU Editor: I posted this movie before .... but this is a far better (and cleaner) version.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 31, 2018


Cipher Brief Analysis: The Global Threat Posed by Al-Qaeda

A United Nations report delivered to the Security Council last month offered a stark reminder that al Qaeda remains a serious threat around the world. The report suggested that the de-centralized terrorist network is stronger than ISIS in countries like Yemen and Somalia.

The report was issued just before al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri released a new video calling on Muslims to unite against what he calls an “international infidel alliance”.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said last week that we “cannot forget the enduring threat posed by al-Qaeda. ISIS may have captured more headlines in recent years, but al-Qaeda leaders are still plotting attacks around the world. This includes a large remaining al-Qaeda presence in Syria, Yemen, and other parts of the world.”

The Cipher Brief tapped its network of experts to better understand the breadth and depth of the al-Qaeda threat, some 17 years after 9/11.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 31, 2018

The U.S. Is Sidelining Itself in the Middle East -- Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic

Facebook has banned Myanmar's top general Min Aung Hlaing, but what's next? -- Kayleigh Long, ABC News Online

US-led UN Command stops South Korean train entering North -- Andrew Salmon, Asia Times

South Korea's Nuclear Conundrum -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

'All Take, No Give' Won’t Work with North Korea -- Leon V. Sigal, 38 North

Can Russia End the War in Afghanistan? -- Samuel Ramani, The Diplomat

Haley Warns Iran Could Become 'the Next North Korea' -- Uri Friedman, Defense One

Is Qatar failing to deliver on its World Cup promises? -- Anchal Vohra, DW

Romania’s Black Sea gas sparks political crisis -- Anca Gurzu,

Europe Wants to Defend Itself? Good Luck With That. -- Hal Brands, Bloomberg

Will Angela Merkel Bail Out Erdogan? -- Cristina Maza, Newsweek

How Macron won Trump’s friendship, failed to influence him -- Sylvie Corbet, AP

Kremlin says Putin, Trump could hold talks three times this year: Izvestiya -- Reuters

Crashing currency chaos spreads across the Global South -- Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

World News Briefs -- August 31, 2018

The Guardian: US-Canada trade talks end without deal as Trump proceeds with Mexico

Amid rancour over remarks in Bloomberg interview, president indicates intent to revise Nafta without northern neighbour

Trade talks between Canada and the US faltered on Friday, with the two sides reportedly failing to reach agreement over the fraught renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta.

Read more ....


UN renews warning against government offensive in Syria's Idlib.

US accuses Moscow of 'defending' Syria's Idlib offensive.

US Senators press Trump administration on Yemen civil war.

Iran rejects French call for wider talks.

Saudi Arabia hints at plan to turn Qatar into an island.

Erdogan: Turkey needs Russia's S-400 missile defence system.

Gaza protests: All the latest updates.

US cuts funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA. US ends all funding for UN's Palestine refugee agency.


UN 'alarmed' by reports of China's mass detention of Uighurs. China disputes UN report on Uighur discrimination.

Trump to skip Asian regional summits, Pence to travel instead.

Train project linking North and South Korea stopped in its tracks by US.

North Korea seafood vessels frequented Russia port.

Top South Korea officials replaced in Moon Jae-in government.

Volatile Kashmir marred by protests over citizenship rights law.

Anger grows in Myanmar over dam collapse.

Chinese bridge pushes Maldives deeper in debt: opposition.

Cambodia jails Australian filmmaker found guilty of espionage.


France proposes sanctions against Mali peace deal spoilers.

China pledges to support Somalia's development.

Libya closes Tripoli's only airport after rockets fired.

DRC's struggle for democracy enters new era.

African Union sees 'positive' talks on C.Africa.

1.1 million Zimbabweans will need food aid, warns WFP.

IMF backs South Africa’s plan to confiscate land from white farmers.


Lavrov hopes to meet with Pompeo during UN General Assembly’s session.

Russia to stop ferrying US astronauts to ISS from April 2019.

UN urges Greece to act as Moria refugee camp reaches 'boiling point'.

Fitch ratings agency revises Italy debt outlook to negative.

22 cars burned in Sweden as country rocked by rising crime.

EU to stop changing the clocks, Juncker pledges.

Sadiq Khan bikini blimp to fly over central London.


Nafta: US-Canada trade talks break up without a deal. US-Canada trade talks halted without a deal, will resume next week.

Trump notifies Congress of trade deal with Mexico.

Trump blasts media after 'off the record' comments about Canada leak.

Nicaragua orders UN human rights delegation to leave.

IMF vows 'full support' for Argentina amid economic crisis. Argentina economy; Thousands protest as peso tumbles.

Colombia says rebels must free 19 captives for peace talks to resume.

Mexico facing two-year backlog as asylum requests soar.

Chilean prosecutors say Church abuse investigations triple.


US conducts 6 strikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen.

US considers Guantanamo, Iraqi prisons for ISIS fighters captured by Syrian rebels: report.

Isis terrorist jailed for life for plot to kill Theresa May.


Wall Street mixed as U.S.-Canada trade talks end.

U.S. to move ahead with Mexico trade pact, keep talking to Canada.

Trump threatens to pull US out of World Trade Organization.

Coca-Cola to acquire Britain's Costa Coffee for $5.1 billion.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 31, 2018

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Kris Osborn, National Interest: The Real 'Top Gun': How the F-22 Raptor Can Out Dogfight Anyone

The Air Force F-22 has been refining it dog-fighting skills, assessing technical upgrades and testing air to air combat tactics during a Red Flag exercise in Nevada – designed to improve attack maneuvers and solidify emerging communications technologies and sensors, service officials said.

First operational in 2005, the F-22 is a multi-role fighter designed with stealth technology to evade enemy radar detection and speeds able to reach Mach 2 with what is called "super-cruise" capability. Supercruise is the ability to cruise at supersonic airspeeds such as 1.5 Mach without needing afterburner, a capability attributed to the engine thrust and aerodynamic configuration of the F-22.

The Air Force F-22 has been refining it dog-fighting skills, assessing technical upgrades and testing air to air combat tactics during a Red Flag exercise in Nevada – designed to improve attack maneuvers and solidify emerging communications technologies and sensors, service officials said.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 31, 2018

Lockheed Pitching F-22/F-35 Hybrid to U.S. Air Force -- Defense One

RAND: The United States Air Force Is Too Small -- RCD

Turkey has alternatives other than F-35s: Erdoğan -- Hurriyet Daily News

Japan's military seeks record spending to reinforce North Korea missile defenses -- Reuters

Russian Defense chief warns clash of national interests in Arctic may trigger conflicts -- TASS

Russia Drills Area in Mediterranean Dangerous for Navigation, Air Traffic - Navy -- Sputnik

Russian ships and planes to hold missile-firing exercises during Mediterranean drills -- TASS

Russia’s Northern Fleet testing new military equipment in Arctic -- TASS

Russia ready to boost military contacts with US — Lavrov -- TASS

China’s Newest Carrier Begins High-Speed Testing in Yellow Sea -- Sputnik

China to Replace Black Hawk Choppers With Harbin Z-20 (PHOTOS) -- Sputnik

While the North Korean Nuclear Button Cools, the Threat of the Underground Lingers -- Daphné Richemond-Barak and John Spencer, Modern War Institute

Egypt to host war games with US for second straight year -- AP

Pentagon adjusts war games to cope with Iran threat -- Al-Monitor

US fleet commanders meet amid Russian naval buildup in Europe -- Stars and Stripes

Truman, Lincoln strike groups train together in western Atlantic Ocean -- UPI

US Army Secretary Wants to Field Hypersonic Weapons in Next 10 Years -- Defense Tech

Army Gives Bradleys New Weapons to Attack Enemy Helicopters -- Warrior Maven

PAE tapped for vehicle support for Afghanistan -- UPI

Boeing Is The Winner Of The Navy's MQ-25 Stingray Tanker Drone Competition (Updated) -- The Drive

US Navy selects builder for new MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueling drone -- Defense One

Navy taps Boeing for MQ-25 refueling drone -- UPI

Here Comes the MQ-25A Stingray: Boeing Wins Big (And So Do Navy Aircraft Carriers) -- National Interest

StormBreaker: The F-35s New Killer Weapon -- National Interest

Marines 3D-print concrete barracks in just 40 hours -- FOX News

US Developing Cheap, Disposable Spy Satellites From Civilian Tech -- Sputnik

Mattis extends troop border deployment through September 2019 -- The Hill

Is Mattis Next Out the Door? -- Slate

With McCain gone, who will watch the Pentagon? -- Defense One

Why the F-35 Program Needs to Be Cancelled -- National Interest

5 types of military suck that everyone loves to hate -- We Are The Mighty

You Can Track An F-35 Stealth Fighter


Michael Peck: This Could Be a Problem: Here's Your Chance to Track an F-35 Stealth Fighter

Not so stealth after all?

Regardless of intent or accident, the Israeli F-35 incident illuminates a problem with stealth aircraft. Flying machines that are designed to minimize detection by radar still need to share airspace with lots of other aircraft in crowded skies, which means that those other aircraft as well as air traffic control needs to know the stealth plane's location. There may be no harm in a stealth aircraft turning on its transponder over friendly airspace. Or then again, there may be good reason why a stealth plane on a mission absolutely needs to keep its location secret.

America has spent a lot of money to make the F-35 stealth fighter invisible to its enemies.

But the F-35 has encountered an enemy that can pierce its stealthy veil: namely, a civilian flight tracker—the kind that tells airline passengers their location during a flight.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The website is here.

Watch-Dog Report: Pentagon Trying To Keep The F-35's Biggest Problems Under Wraps

An F-35A Lightning II from the 388th Fighter Wing flies over the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show June 24, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The F-35 was part of a four-ship participating in an attack demonstration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Todd Cromar)

DoD Buzz: Watchdog Slams F-35 Program for Taking Shortcuts That Could Harm Troops

The Pentagon is downplaying major F-35 Joint Strike Fighter design flaws that could leave service members at risk in an effort to keep the long-scrutinized program on schedule, a watchdog group warned this week.

A military review board met in June to look at some of the F-35's deficiencies. The group downgraded 19 serious problems without a clear plan to fix them all, according to a new report from the Project on Government Oversight, an independent nonpartisan watchdog that exposes government waste, fraud and abuse.

Read more ....

Update #1: The Pentagon is reportedly trying to keep the F-35's biggest problems under wraps (Washington Examiner)
Update #2: F-35 Program Officials Covering Up Life-Threatening Flaws in Aircraft - Report (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: The watch-dog's report is here .... F-35 Program Cutting Corners to “Complete” Development (POGO).

Update: Another report outlining problems in the F-35 program .... Is the F-35 In Trouble Again? (Jared Keller, National Interest/Task & Purpose).

A Six-Year-Old Bug In The F-35 Fighter Helmet Is Close To Being Solved

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Escher, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-101) operations officer, dons his helmet prior to flying an Air Force F-35A Dec. 6, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson)

Defense Tech/ F-35 Helmet Bug Means Only Expert Pilots Can Do Night Carrier Landings

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN -- The Navy is close to fixing a technical bug in the sophisticated F-35 Joint Strike Fighter helmet that amounts to a dangerous hindrance for aviators attempting to land in the black of night on a moving aircraft carrier.

F-35C pilots describe the bug as a green glow created by the LED technology in the Generation III helmet-mounted display, which spills over and prevents them from seeing a carrier's lights at night.

"At night on carriers is about the darkest you can get when there is no moon," Cmdr. Tommy "Bo" Locke, commander of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 told a group of defense reporters in the flight hangar on the Abraham Lincoln Monday.

Read more ....

Update #1: There's a problem with the F-35's $400,000 helmet that's interfering with an essential part of the jet's mission (Business Insider).
Update #2: The Navy Is Fixing a Serious, Six-Year-Old Bug in the F-35 Fighter Helmet (Popular Mechanics)

WNU Editor: I am still trying to get around the idea that the F-35 helmet costs $400,000 per unit.

Lockheed Wants To Build An F-22/F-35 Hybrid For The U.S. Air Force

Two F-22 Raptors fly with two Norwegian F-35s in Norway. Senior Airman Preston Cherry

Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One: Lockheed Pitching F-22/F-35 Hybrid to U.S. Air Force

With a Raptor’s body and the JSF’s brain, the new jet would aim to answer the next decade’s Russian and Chinese threats.

Lockheed Martin is quietly pitching the U.S. Air Force a new variant of the F-22 Raptor, equipped with the F-35’s more modern mission avionics and some structural changes, Defense One has learned.

It is one of several options being shopped to the U.S. military and allies as Lockheed explores how it might upgrade its combat jets to counter Russian and Chinese threats anticipated by military officials in the coming decade, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.

“You’re building a hybrid aircraft,” David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who is now dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “It’s not an F-22. It’s not an F-35. It’s a combination thereof. That can be done much, much more rapidly than introducing a new design.”

Read more ....

Update: Before 6th-Generation Fighter Flies, Lockheed Offers A Stealth Hybrid (

WNU Editor: Theoretically this project reads like a winner. But practically .... projects of this type have always encountered problems, delays, and cost overruns.

Citing Chinese And North Korean Threats Japan Is Raising Its Defense Budget Again

A Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) soldier takes part in a drill to mobilise their Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile unit in response to a recent missile launch by North Korea, at U.S. Air Force Yokota Air Base in Fussa on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

CNN: Japan military budget grows for seventh year in face of North Korean threat

Japan looks set to beef up its military budget for the seventh year in a row under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the face of a rising threat from North Korea and an expanding China.

In a budget draft approved Friday, the Japanese government raised military spending by 2.1% to 5.2 trillion yen ($47.6 billion). It will still need to be approved by the Japanese parliament, the Diet, at a later date.

Among the big ticket purchases laid out in the budget are two Aegis Ashore land-based, anti-ballistic missile defense systems, worth $266 million, and six advanced F-35A fighters costing $89.6 million.

Read more ....

More News On Japan Raising Its Defense Budget Again

Japan’s Defense Ministry eyes record defense budget amid North Korean and Chinese threats -- Japan Times/Reuters
Japan's military seeks record spending to reinforce N.Korea missile defenses -- CNBC
Japan eyes record $65 billion defence budget amid North Korea, China threats -- Straits Times/AFP
Japan would boost missile defenses in record military budget -- ABC News/AP
Japan defence ministry seeks record budget over North Korea threat -- The Guardian
Japan to Spend Billions on U.S. Missile-Defense System -- The Wall Street Journal

What’s Wrong With The U.S. Strategy In Afghanistan?

Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Kashif Hussain, The Diplomat: What’s Wrong With the US Afghanistan Strategy?

The U.S. strategy has faltered out of the gate, thanks to a lack of coordination at home and in the region.

The United States’ Afghanistan-centric South Asia strategy aimed at outlining a plan for victory in its more than one-and-a-half decade long war with the Taliban. A combination of tools — including diplomacy, economic might, intelligence and military power — was employed during the past year for that purpose.

However, at the same time, the current situation in Afghanistan reflects a gloomy picture ridden with chaos and disorder, largely as a result of clashes between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents. There have also been widespread suicide bomb blasts across the country.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. intelligence community are not optimistic .... Military Believes Trump’s Afghan War Plan Is Working, but Spy Agencies Are Pessimistic (WSJ).

Declassified Interrogation Reports From A Major Shiite Leader Show The Extent That Iran Shaped The Iraq War And The Killing Of American Soldiers

This file photo taken on January 8, 2016 shows Qais Al-Khazali, the head of the Iraqi Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, speaking at a press conference in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. (AFP Photo/Haidar Mohammed Ali)

Times of Israel: Decade-old interrogation of Iraqi cleric shows Iran’s part in killing US troops

Recently declassified testimony of Shiite militia leader Qais al-Khazali details Iranian efforts to stoke 2007 attacks that killed or wounded hundreds of Americans.

Interrogations by US-led forces in Iraq of a top Shiite military and religious figure a decade ago are bringing to light the scale of Iran’s involvement in Iraqi Shiite militias’ attacks on US troops in the years following the American invasion.

Qais al-Khazali, who now heads the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia that won 15 parliamentary seats in the country’s May elections, detailed the scale of Iranian involvement in the country in the 2007 interrogation, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing recently declassified documents.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This Iraqi militia leader .... who is now a major politician in Iraq .... is very blunt in outlining the role that Iran played in killing hundreds of Americans during the Iraq war.

More News On The Release Of Interrogation Files That Reveals The Role Iran Played In Killing Americans during The Iraq War

Declassified Interrogation Reports Show How Much Iran Shaped Iraq War -- The Wall Street Journal
Iraqi terrorist turned politician told U.S. interrogators he worked with Iran to kill Americans -- Washington Post
Newly released interrogation files demonstrate Iran’s long game in Iraq -- Long War Journal

Iran Has Deployed Ballistic Missiles In Iraq

A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran September 27, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS

Reuters: Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies

PARIS/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Iran Has Deployed Ballistic Missiles In Iraq

Iran said to give Iraqi militias ballistic missiles capable of hitting Israel -- Times of Israel
Report: Iran moves missiles to Iraq that can hit Tel Aviv -- YNet News
Iran moves ballistic missiles to Iraq -- Arutz Sheva
Tehran Reportedly Arms Iraqi Militias 'To Have Backup Plan If Iran Attacked' -- Sputnik

U.S. Intelligence: China Using LinkedIn To Recruit Americans

Reuters: EXCLUSIVE-Chief U.S. spy catcher says China using LinkedIn to recruit Americans

WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The United States' top spy catcher said Chinese espionage agencies are using fake LinkedIn accounts to try to recruit Americans with access to government and commercial secrets, and the company should shut them down.

William Evanina, the U.S. counter-intelligence chief, told Reuters in an interview that intelligence and law enforcement officials have told LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft Corp., about China's "super aggressive" efforts on the site.

He said the Chinese campaign includes contacting thousands of LinkedIn members at a time, but he declined to say how many fake accounts U.S. intelligence had discovered, how many Americans may have been contacted and how much success China has had in the recruitment drive.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: LinkedIn boasts 562 million users in more than 200 counties and territories, including 149 million U.S. members. It is a fertile ground to target people and to learn what they are doing, and I suspect that the Chinese are not the only ones who are using it for intel reasons.

A New "Battle of Midway" Film In The Works

Popular Mechanics: The Director of “Independence Day” is Taking on the Battle of Midway

Let’s hope for the best.

Dunkirk won't be Hollywood's sole big-budget return to WWII. The Battle of Midway is set to get the film treatment by Roland Emmerich the director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow.

One of the turning points of World War II, the Battle of Midway ranked second in our list of most important engagement of the war. The 1942 battle, which cemented the aircraft carrier’s position as the new capital ship of the seas, ended Japan’s aspirations to naval dominance in the Pacific and showed the Allies that victory was possible.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I loved the original film. But with today's technology and special effects, I can only imagine the movie that they can produce.

U.S. Air Force Releases Details On What Will Be Upgraded In The B-52 Fleet

The present B-52H cockpit does have two small digital multi-function displays, but is still predominantly full of analog "steam gauges."

War Zone/The Drive: Air Force Offers First Details Of Future Plans For An Upgraded B-52J Bomber

In addition to new engines, the updated aircraft could have an improved cockpit, enhanced flight systems, defensive gear, sensors, and more.

As the U.S. Air Force moves closer to starting a major re-engining program for its B-52H Stratofortresses, it is reportedly considering adding in additional upgrades to ensure the bombers will remain combat capable through at least 2050. These updates could include improvements to the iconic plane’s avionics, defensive suite, sensors, ejection systems, and flight data recorder, with the resulting aircraft receiving the new designation B-52J.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some more details on what the B-52 will be doing .... The B-52 Looks Set To Become The USAF's Hypersonic Weapons Truck Of Choice (War Zone/The Drive).

There Has Been Four B-52 Bomber Flights Through The East And South China Seas This Month

A pair of B-52H Stratofortress bombersU.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis

Business Insider: The US is sending an unmistakable message to China — four B-52 bomber flights through the East and South China Seas this month

* US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers, powerful weapons of war, have made multiple flights through the East and South China Seas this month.
* These flights are part of US Indo-Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence mission, which aims to strengthen America's deterrence in the face of emerging threats.
* News of these flights comes on the heels of a Pentagon report that China's bombers are increasingly active in the region, often pushing the limits to project power at greater distances.

Several US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers have flown through the contested East and South China Seas multiple times this month, sending an unmistakable message to potential challengers.

Four flights involving no more than two bombers each time were carried out in the disputed seas as part of US Indo-Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) mission. Two B-52s assigned to the 96th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron (EBS) participated in joint anti-submarine training exercises with two US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft on Aug. 1 in the East China Sea, US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) said in an official statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I think China knows that time is on their side, but in the meantime the diplomats are trading warnings .... South China Sea: US, China Tussle Over Military Overflight (The Diplomat).

Should Facebook Be Held Accountable For War Crimes?

Facebook deleted dozens of accounts in Burma over hate speech this week - REUTERS

The Telegraph: Facebook risks being dragged into war crime trials, UN warns.

The United Nations has warned Facebook that it risks being dragged into international war crimes trials for its role in future human rights violations, as it called on the social network to address hate speech more quickly.

Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, the UN’s human rights chief, said the company risked becoming an accessory to horrific crimes and that the company had not taken violence in Burma incited on the social network seriously.

It comes after a UN report into atrocities in Burma this week said Facebook had been “a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In countries like Myanmar the preferred means of communication and spreading news is social media. Facebook knows that, but they chose to ignore the impact that their platform was having in fermenting ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya last year. Someone in Facebook needs to be held accountable, and it should start from the top.

China's Air Force Just Released A Video Of Its Newest And Deadliest War Planes (Video)

Business Insider: The Chinese Air Force just released a video of its newest and deadliest war planes — here's what they bring to a fight

* China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has released a new promotional video showing its elite air assets in action, particularly some of the newer units like the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, the Shenyang J-16 multirole fighter, and the Chengdu J-10C lightweight multirole fighter.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force has released a new video showcasing its deadliest air assets, including some newer aircraft developed as part of China's extensive military modernization.

The nearly three-minute video is a compilation of footage from Chinese training exercises emphasizing preparation for a new era of warfare. The promotional video, titled "Safeguarding the New Era," highlights some of the PLAAF's newest war planes and was aired for the first time Tuesday at the air force's Aviation Open Day in Jilin province in northeastern China.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese are sending a message to everyone that their air force is a force to be reckoned with.

Pentagon Not Concerned On Latest Iranian Persian Gulf Threat

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, brief reporters at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Aug. 28, 2018. DoD photo

USNI News: Pentagon Officials Shrug Off Latest Iranian Persian Gulf Threat

THE PENTAGON — The new commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) claims the Strait of Hormuz is under Iran’s control, but Pentagon leaders say the U.S. Navy has no intention of altering any operations in the region.

Iranian forces are vigilantly controlling the country’s southern waters in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri, head of the IRGCN, said during a Monday media briefing, according to news accounts.

“There is no place for foreign forces, like the U.S. Navy, in the Persian Gulf,” Tangsiri said, according to Tasnim News Agency, a pro-Islamic Republic outlet which has reportedly close ties to the IRGC.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iranians are still issuing their threats .... Iran Says It Will Block Middle East Oil Exports If It Can't Ship (Bloomberg).

Tweets For Today

Russia Is Actively Preparing For A World War

Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the Luzhsky training ground during the main stage of the Zapad-2017 joint Russian-Belarusian strategic exercises. Photo Credit:

Paul Goble, Eurasia Review: Latest Military Exercise Shows ‘Kremlin Actively Preparing For A World War’ – OpEd

Moscow’s announcement that it will soon conduct its largest military exercise since 1981 “means only one thing,” Pavel Felgengauer says. “The Kremlin is actively preparing for a world war” (link here).

In fact, the independent Russian military commentator says, Russia has been preparing for such a war for “at least the last five years.” In announcing the exercise, he points out, the Russian General Staff said that it was a response to the growing threat of war, “either a global nuclear one or a series of major regional wars like an all-European one.”

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WNU Editor: Truth be told .... the former Soviet Union (and now Russia) always prepared itself for a World War. But preparing for one is different from initiating one. Is Russia about to initiate a World War .... no. But considering how tense international relations have been for the past few years, no one is taking any chances .... Russia included.

Picture Of The Day

U.S. President Donald Trump sits behind his desk as he announces a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the White House. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Photos of the week (Reuters).

China First Denied Reports That It Is Building A Military Base In Afghanistan, But Now Are Saying That They Are Helping The Afghan Government

Reuters: China denies planning military base in Afghanistan

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday denied that it planned to build a military base in Afghanistan, after a Hong Kong newspaper said Beijing was constructing a training camp for Afghan troops to which it could also send its own soldiers.

The South China Morning Post, citing unidentified sources with ties to the Chinese military, said China was building the camp in the narrow Wakhan Corridor that links the two countries.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the report, however.

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WNU Editor: The Chinese initially denied reports that they were building a military base, but are now saying the opposite .... China says it is helping Afghanistan with defence, counter-terrorism (Reuters). The Afghan government is saying that there will be no Chinese troops on Afghan soil .... No Chinese soldiers on ground in Beijing-assisted military camp in Afghanistan: Afghan envoy (Hindustan Times).

More News On China Building a Military Base In Afghanistan

China says no plans to deploy troops to Afghanistan -- Military Times/AP
China denies reported plans for troops at Afghan camp -- Asia Times
China denies setting up military base in Afghanistan -- Sydney Morning Herald
China denies plan to deploy troops to Afghanistan -- Washington Examiner

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The U.S. Military Strategy In Afghanistan Remains The Same


Sophia Larson, National Interest: The New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Brings Along the Same Stale Ideas

Instead America should bring the troops home.

As the anniversary of the September 11 attacks draws near, the Afghanistan War—the nearly seventeen-year-old conflict those terrible events spawned—is seeing a change in leadership. Army Lt. Gen. Austin Scott Miller, America’s ninth commander, is preparing to take charge of the effort but has already admitted to his lack of innovative thinking. At his confirmation hearing in June, he told the Senate that he couldn’t guarantee a timeline for bringing U.S. troops home. This is unfortunate—and expected. Despite the change of command, Miller represents the same stale thinking that has permeated U.S. foreign policy for the last two decades.

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WNU Editor: Impatience is growing among those who support the Afghan war .... Losing a War (Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard.

Afghanistan News Report: Afghan Army Soldiers Are Deserting Their Posts

TOLO News: Army Soldiers Desert Bases Without Any Fight: Officials

The Ministry of Defense says the army forces have left their bases under the four-year security plan.

Local officials in Faryab province on Tuesday confirmed that in the last two weeks the Afghan National Army (ANA) deserted their bases in parts of the province without defending themselves against insurgents.

The officials said the soldiers have left their bases in the Qaisar-Almar and Maimana-Jawzjan highways and have stationed themselves at other bases in district centers in the last few days.

On Monday, an army convoy that had left Ghormach district in the province and was heading to Qaisar district was ambushed by the Taliban.

The number of soldiers in the convoy was reportedly between 350 and 400 but their clash with the Taliban continued for three hours.

According to the Defense Ministry, 20 soldiers were killed and wounded in this incident.

Faryab Governor Naqibullah Fayeq admitted that the morale among soldiers is low - especially after the collapse of a base in Ghormach recently.

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WNU Editor: This is what happens to your army when you are losing the war .... and in Afghanistan the perception is that the Taliban are winning. This also reminds me of the fiasco that occurred when tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers deserted their posts when the Islamic State attacked in 2015. Even though the Iraqi Army had better equipment and greater numbers, they had no will to fight.

U.S. Drone Strikes In Somalia Are On Track To Match Last Year's Record

Threat Matrix: US military on track to match record 2017 for airstrikes in Somalia

US forces killed three Shabaab terrorists in an airstrike on Monday. The strike occurred 40 km southwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, according to a US Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) press release today.

The United States is on track to meet or exceed last year’s record number of strikes in Somalia. AFRICOM has conducted 21 strikes against Shabaab in Somalia so far this year, Maj. Karl J. Wiest confirmed to FDD’s Long War Journal on behalf of the Command’s Media Relations.

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WNU Editor: Al-Shabaab has proven to be a resilient foe.

Thailand’s Muslim Insurgency Has Returned

Don Pathan, Asia Times: Thailand’s Muslim insurgency roars back to life

Surge in lethal attacks in nation's southernmost region underscores a lack of progress in resolving the conflict after four years of military rule.

A new surge in lethal attacks in Thailand’s southernmost region has underscored the lack of progress in resolving the insurgent conflict after four years of military junta rule.

The restive region – spanning the three Muslim majority provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat as well as areas of neighboring Buddhist majority Songkhla – had seen a lull in violence, including over a year-long national period of mourning from October 2016-17 for deceased King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

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WNU Editor: This low-intensity insurgency has been ongoing since 2004. It is not going to end anytime so.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 30, 2018

Nic Robertson, CNN: A deadly storm is coming in Syria

In a Salisbury restaurant -- not far from the where the nerve agent Novichok had been used by what Britain suspects were Russian operatives -- I had dinner where a man I at first took to be a bouncer turned out to be a magician.

Several times during our meal, he performed card tricks at our table. He was good: No matter how hard I looked, I could not catch his sleight of hand.

Something similar is happening in Syria right now.

Let me explain: Russia is preparing its biggest military exercises in close to four decades: 300,000 troops, 36,000 vehicles in its own far east.

Meanwhile, nine time zones to its west, Russia is shifting an unprecedented number of warships into the Mediterranean and Russian state media reported that the Russian navy and air force are set to hold large-scale exercises in the Mediterranean Sea in early September.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 30, 2018

The looming, final battle for Syria’s rebels -- Philip Issa, AP

Piercing Through Assad’s Reconstruction Mirage in Syria -- Matthew RJ Brodsky and Bassam Barabandi, National Interest

In Syria’s Idlib, a battle without Iran or chemicals -- Manhal Bareesh, Asia Times

The Kurds Once Again Face American Abandonment -- Joost Hiltermann, The Atlantic

The War in Yemen: Playing With Fire -- Nabeel Khoury, The Atlantic

US cuts to Palestinians stir existential fears in Jordan -- Jonathan Gorvett, Asia Times

UN war crimes report threatens US support for Yemen war -- Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor

Is the U.S. In a New Cold War With China? -- Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times

The Plan to End the Korean War -- Uri Friedman, The Atlantic

Why China and Russia are obsessed with vast new war games -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Mattis Pours Cold Water on Afghan War Privatization Proposal -- Oriana Pawlyk, DoD Buzz

The New U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Brings Along the Same Stale Ideas -- Sophia Larson and L Jerrod A. Laber, National Interest

Is the U.S. In a New Cold War With China? -- Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times

Myanmar: where ‘genocide’ doesn’t really matter -- Bertil Lintner, Asia Times

Will UN's Myanmar 'genocide' accusation amount to change? -- Mohammed Jamjoom, Al Jazeera

Cameroon's Paul Biya on shaky ground -- Fred Muvunyi, DW

Europe Wants to Defend Itself? Good Luck With That. -- Hal Brands, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- August 30, 2018 (Evening Edition)

Marco Rubio is pushing for sanctions against China, accusing it of "gross violation of privacy and international human rights." REUTERS/Mike Segar

Reuters: Group of U.S. lawmakers urges China sanctions over Xinjiang abuses

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday urged the United States to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses of minority Muslims in Xinjiang, saying the region was being turned into a “high-tech police state.”

The group, led by Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, Republican co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Executive Commission on China, made the call in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Read more ....


US Navy seizes hundreds of weapons from boat in Gulf of Aden.

Russia and Syria vow to 'wipe out terrorists' in Idlib.

Syria's Idlib: UN warns of chemical weapons, jihadis and humanitarian catastrophe. Syria Idlib: UN warns of threat to civilians if new offensive begins.

Lavrov warns West not to interfere in Syria’s Idlib.

Israel says won't be bound by post-war deals on Syria.

UN: Iran continues to comply with terms of 2015 nuclear deal.

Security Council renews Lebanon peacekeeping force's mandate.

Yemen faces new surge in cholera cases: UN.

Turkish lira left to tank as markets downplay contagion fears.


Donald Trump says his 'warm' relationship with Kim Jong-un means no need for war games.

Trump blames stagnant North Korea talks on US-China trade war.

Trump ready to ratchet up China trade war with more tariffs: report.

Afghanistan doesn’t foresee a pause in fighting anytime soon.

UN calls on China to free 1 million Uighurs from alleged re-education camps.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi 'should have resigned': UN chief.

Exclusive: Fake photos in Myanmar army's 'True News' book on the Rohingya crisis.


South Sudan rebels sign peace deal. S.Sudan rebel chief approves peace deal with rival Kiir.

27 dead after days of clashes near Libya capital: ministry.

Clashes shatter illusion of security in Libyan capital.

UN extends sanctions regime in Mali.

Kenyan president rebukes Theresa May on last day of Africa trip.

South Africa violence targets Soweto's foreign-owned shops.

Former Congolese military leader: I am not 'the Terminator'.

11 million in urgent need in Lake Chad region: NGOs.

Bobi Wine: Uganda's pop star MP 're-arrested at airport'.

Conflicts may have killed 5 mn children in Africa: study.


EU Mediterranean migrant mission at risk of collapse.

Italy's call for France and Spain to open ports to migrants is rejected.

Anti-immigrant protesters chant 'Resistance!' in German city after killing.

Moscow says Lavrov-Pompeo meeting next month in the works.

It's time for realism in EU-Russia ties: France's Macron.

Trump says EU bid to end auto tariffs 'not good enough': report.

Dutch lawmaker cancels Mohammad cartoon contest over safety concerns.


Argentina's central bank hikes rates to 60% as the currency collapses. Argentina raises interest rates to 60% to shore up peso.

Trump calls Mueller investigation 'illegal'.

Canada and US seek ways to salvage NAFTA as deadline looms. Canada, U.S. push toward NAFTA deal by Friday.

Trans Mountain pipeline halted after Canadian court overturns approval.

Biden eulogizes friend John McCain as 'giant among all of us'.

Mexico unable to cope with kidnapping epidemic.

Spain's Sanchez offers Colombia help to reach peace with ELN rebels.

US justice department criticises Harvard over 'racial bias'.


US could send Islamic State 'Beatles', others to Guantanamo: report.

US military on track to match record 2017 for airstrikes in Somalia.

Soldier to plead guilty in trying to help ISIS.


Wall St. rally ends as risk-selling grows on rising tariff fears.

Apple expected to unveil new iPhones at September 12 event.

Trump threatens to pull U.S. out of WTO if it doesn’t ‘shape up’. Trump considers pulling the US out of WTO.