Friday, November 30, 2018

U.S. Dropped More Bombs on Afghanistan In 2018 Than In Any Year In Over A Decade

Two coalition airstrikes eliminated Islamic State fighters and facilities in the Nangarhar and Jowzjan provinces of Afghanistan, Feb. 6, 2018. The U.S. dropped more bombs and other munitions in Afghanistan during the first ten months 2018 than in any other full year since at least 2006, when documentation began. JACOB KRONE/U.S. ARMY

Stars and Stripes: The US has dropped more munitions in 2018 in Afghanistan than it has in any year in over a decade

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States dropped more bombs and other munitions in Afghanistan during the first ten months of 2018 than in any other full year since documentation began, new Air Force data shows.

Between the start of the year and the end of October, U.S. forces released 5,982 munitions in Afghanistan, said the latest monthly report by U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Coalition aircraft flew nearly 6,600 sorties, about 12 percent of which carried out strikes during that period.

AFCENT didn’t begin publishing munitions data regularly until 2006.

The latest figures surpass the previous annual record of about 5,400 recorded in 2011 at the height of the U.S. troop surge. AFCENT’s figures include both bomb and missile strikes, 105mm shells fired by AC-130 gunships and strafing fire from 20mm cannons and up.

Read more ....

Update #1: Coalition bombings spike in Afghanistan, but stalemate drags on (We Are The Mighty)
Update #2: US Dropped More Bombs on Afghanistan in 2018 Than Ever in Recorded History (Sputnik)

WNU Editor:  I am willing to bet that with the war getting worse in Afghanistan, more bombs are going to be dropped in 2019.

The CIA Assessment That Says Saudi Crown Prince Salman Ordered The Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi Is Based On 11 Intercepted Messages

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, seen here in London on Sept. 29, days before he was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Photo: Middle East Monitor/Reuters

Wall Street Journal: CIA Intercepts Underpin Assessment Saudi Crown Prince Targeted Khashoggi

Conclusion that Mohammad ‘probably ordered’ killing relies in part on 11 messages he sent to adviser who oversaw hit squad around time it killed journalist.

WASHINGTON—Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to his closest adviser, who oversaw the team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s death in October, according to a highly classified CIA assessment.

The Saudi leader also in August 2017 had told associates that if his efforts to persuade Mr. Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia weren’t successful, “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements,” according to the assessment, a communication that it states “seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi.”

Mr. Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s leadership who lived in Virginia and wrote columns for the Washington Post, was killed by Saudi operatives on Oct. 2 shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he sought papers needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.

Excerpts of the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment, which cites electronic intercepts and other clandestine information, were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Someone is leaking stuff.

Former President George H.W. Bush Has Passed Away At Age 94

FOX News: George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States, dead at 94

Former President George H.W. Bush, who spent a lifetime in public service and as the nation's leader scored a decisive victory over Saddam Hussein but battled a faltering economy, died Friday at age 94.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush died shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush.

He is survived by five children (a sixth died in early childhood) and 14 grandchildren.

George H.W. Bush was known for his gentlemanly demeanor, dedication to traditional American values, willingness to take on foreign despots like Iraq's Hussein and Panama's Manuel Noriega, and presiding over the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Read more ....

More News On The Death Of Former President George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush dies at age 94 -- AP
Former President George H.W. Bush dead at 94 -- Reuters
Former president George H.W. Bush dies at age 94 -- Houston Chronicle
Former President George H.W. Bush dead at 94 -- ABC News
George Bush Senior dies at the age of 94 -- BBC
George HW Bush, former US president, dies aged 94 -- The Guardian
George H.W. Bush dies: A president in turbulent times -- DW

Tonight's Movie Is 'The Trench'

From Wikipedia: The Trench is a 1999 independent war film directed by William Boyd and starring Paul Nicholls and James D'Arcy. It depicts the experiences of a group of young British soldiers in the 48 hours leading up to the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

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

Patricia Sabga, Al Jazeera: Breakthrough, escalation or pause? Trump, Xi set to meet at G20

Trump says he's close to a trade deal with China but cautions that he doesn't know if he wants to do it.

Breakthrough, escalation or time out? It is an open question that will mark the next phase of the US-China trade war as Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping prepare to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

The two leaders are scheduled to have dinner together on Saturday.

Hopes for a deal dimmed on Thursday after the South China Morning Post reported that Peter Navarro, one of Trump's most hawkish trade advisors, was going to attend the meeting.

Read more ....

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

G20 summit: can world leaders find unity – or is it simply showboating? -- Julian Borger, The Guardian

Trump's trade war with China: How we got here, what happens next -- Nigel Wilson, Al Jazeera

Xi and Trump’s make-or-break chance in Argentina for a trade war ceasefire -- Shi Jiangtao and Sarah Zheng, SCMP

Upcoming Trump-Xi meeting isn't just about economics -- Bloomberg

What will China offer the United States to break the trade war deadlock? -- Wendy Wu, SCMP

G20: What is it and how does it work? -- Arthur Sullivan & Thomas Kohlmann, DW

Russia-Ukraine skirmishes: Storm warning on the Black Sea -- Volker Wagener, DW

President Trump Could Help Stop a War Between Russia and Ukraine — But Only If He Will Stand Up to Putin -- James Stavridis, Time

The Sea of Azov won’t become the new South China Sea (and Russia knows it) -- David B. Larter and Matthew Bodner, Defense News

Is America really letting Saudi Arabia get away with murder? -- Jane Harman, The Hill

Special Report: How Iran spreads disinformation around the world -- Jack Stubbs & Christopher Bing, Reuters

Yemen: The devastating war waged with European weapons -- Kersten Knipp, DW

The Korean War is Ending — With or Without Denuclearization -- Uri Friedman, Defense One

Why are Afghan officials not announcing election results? -- Masood Saifullah, DW

What AI revolution? First, millions of kids in the developing world need electricity and internet access -- David Dodwell, SCMP

World News Briefs -- November 30, 2018 (Eveing Edition)

USA Today: Trump, Putin to meet briefly at G-20 summit, says Kremlin spokesman

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet briefly at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, albeit only "on their feet," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday, according to a Russian-state media outlet.

According to a translation of Peskov remarks, he said "all participants will intersect" at the G-20, suggesting an encounter between Putin and Trump was inevitable at the gathering of world leaders in Buenos Aires. The Russian spokesman's statement represented the latest twist in a back-and-forth between the Trump administration and their counterparts in Moscow.

Read more ....


MBS mingles with G20 leaders as Trump fuels summit tensions.

Trump, Saudi crown prince 'exchanged pleasantries' at G-20.

'I am worried': Macron's chat with Saudi prince overheard at G20.

May urges Saudi prince to cooperate with Khashoggi investigation.

Iran cannot 'wait forever' for EU path to skirt US sanctions.

Syria walks back claim of downed Israeli fighter jet.

US sets up new observation posts along Syria-Turkey border as constitutional committee fails to progress.

Turkey irate over US obstructions in Syria.

18 Gaza protesters wounded by Israel gunfire: ministry.


US sends guided-missile cruiser to South China Sea to challenge ‘excessive’ Chinese claims.

Mongolian prime minister, cabinet survives ousting attempt.

Powerful ex-security chief to run in Afghan Presidential election.

Angry, distressed farmers march to India's parliament.

India economic growth slows to 7.1%.

Police officer killings shock Sri Lanka.

Gambling tsar among officials jailed in $420m Vietnam betting ring.

Suu Kyi to be stripped of freedom of Paris award: mayor's office.


Six killed as rebels hit army posts in eastern DR Congo.

Cameroon stripped of right to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Burundi issues international arrest warrant for ex-president Buyoya.

Burkina Faso: Fuel workers go on strike over price rise.

Internet censorship tightens in Senegal before elections.

Scores of women raped in South Sudanese town, says aid agency.

British student who took photo from plane faces Egypt spying trial.

Cameroon stripped of hosting 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.


Trump & Putin ignore each other at G20 (PHOTOS).

Putin makes veiled swipe at Trump and his America First policies as he condemns 'vicious' sanctions and 'dishonest competition' at G20.

Putin greets Saudi crown prince with high-five at G-20 summit.

Angela Merkel to miss start of G20 summit after plane's technical difficulties.

G7 declares 'unwavering support' for Ukraine over Russia standoff.

Ukraine bars Russian men aged 16-60. Ukraine bans Russian men 16 to 60 traveling to country over fears of 'private armies'.

No deal or no Brexit if MPs vote down May plan, says Tusk.

Czech PM accused of conflict of interest over EU funds to businesses.

Montenegro detains opposition leader Nebojsa Medojevic outside parliament.

Bosnian commander acquitted of war crimes in Srebrenica.


Alaska hit by powerful earthquake, buildings damaged.

Thousands protest 'G20 circus' in Argentina.

Trump calls Russia deal 'legal and cool' as Mueller inquiry gathers momentum. Trump defends Russia business links after ex-lawyer admits lying.

US Senate passes resolution condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine.

US Senate takes a step to void America’s blank check to the Saudis.

Caravan migrants at US-Mexico border begin hunger strike.

Heavy rain turns Tijuana asylum seeker camp to mud.

Former Sinaloa drug cartel boss Damaso Lopez sentenced to life by U.S. court.


Belgium faces a 'persistent terror threat' and a 'wave of jihadism' because prisoners are being radicalised by Islamic inmates, country's spy agency admits.

Inside Trump's Guantanamo, where military waits for funding for 'enduring mission'.

US military against targets Shabaab in central Somalia.

Syrian refugee jailed over Germany bomb plot.


Wall Street rises on trade hopes; S&P, Nasdaq post best weeks in 7 years.

G20 Summit 2018: All the latest updates.

US, Mexico, Canada sign trade pact.

Marriott data breach hits 500 million guests.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 30, 2018

Brian Hook, special representative for Iran and senior policy advisor to the secretary of state, speaks about Iranian export of weapons and destabilizing influence in the region during a news conference at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., Nov. 29, 2018. Remains of a Sayyad 2C surface-to-air missile are on display behind him. DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

US Department of Defense: Iran Expands Military Tentacles, State Department Advisor Says

Brian Hook, special representative for Iran and senior policy advisor to the secretary of state, provided evidence of Iran's violation of U.N. resolutions against weapons proliferation during a news conference at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

Iran has the largest ballistic force in the region, Hook said, with 10 ballistic missile systems in its inventory or under development. Missile development and testing has increased in recent years, he added.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 30, 2018

Officials showcase more weapons they say link Iran to terror across the region -- Military Times

State Department floats threat of military action against Iran -- The Hill

How Strong Is Saudi Arabia’s Military? -- Newsweek

Yemen civil war playing out online, researchers say -- The Hill

S-400 blowback? Turkey seeks replacement for US-withheld helicopter engines in $1.5bn export deal -- RT

Qatar Builds Up Military, Spurred by Saudi-Led Blockade -- The Wall Street Journal

US Dropped More Bombs on Afghanistan in 2018 Than Ever in Recorded History -- Sputnik

US lawmakers tangle over nuclear arsenal, Russia treaties -- Defense News

DHS wants 4K troops deployed along U.S.-Mexico border through January -- The Hill

Radiance Technologies tapped for U.S. Army laser research -- UPI

USS John S. McCain transfers from dry dock to pier following collision repairs -- UPI

Lockheed Martin to study U.S. Navy F-35 operational capability -- UPI

US military invests millions to develop battery-powered exoskeletons for ‘super soldiers’ -- SCMP

Judge refuses to hold or limit ruling on transgender military ban -- The Hill

Armed Services chairmen: Trump plan to cut defense spending 'would be dangerous' -- The Hill

Trump going for full-blown Space Force, White House memo reveals -- Politico

How the U.S. military became the exception to America’s wage stagnation problem -- Brookings

Republicans and Democrats deeply divided over US military might, survey says -- Washington Examiner

Russia planning for ‘worst case scenario’ – new US nukes in Europe -- SCMP

Russia to build 2 more Borei-A strategic nuclear-powered submarines by 2028 -- TASS

Three New Russian Military Satellites Successfully Reach Orbit -- Sputnik

Russia’s New Military Cathedral Will Train War Priests — Reports -- Moscow Times

WATCH Ukraine Hold Drills Along Azov Sea Aimed at Defeating 'Enemy Air Forces' -- Sputnik

German military under fire over Angela Merkel's plane problems -- DW

Saab puts marketing effort for Swordfish maritime plane on hiatus -- Defense News

Early report blames confused watchstanders, possible design flaws for Norway’s sunken frigate -- Defense News

Chinese military dismisses South Korea concerns over trespassing spy plane -- UPI

Japan eyes stealth fighters, vessel upgrades amid concerns over China’s growing clout -- SCMP

China expresses concerns over 2 US Navy warships in Taiwan Strait -- AP

Today's Massive 7.0 Earthquake In Alaska Rocked Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

An F-22 Raptor refuels at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 10, 2018. The F-22’s combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Military Times: Mammoth earthquake strikes near Alaska military base

A massive 7.0 earthquake rocked Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and nearby Anchorage, the state’s most populated city, at 8:30 a.m. Alaskan Standard Time (12:30 p.m. EST). The National Weather Service put out a tsunami warning for parts of coastal Alaska, but gave the all-clear at 10:30 a.m.

There are reports on social media of widespread power outages, evacuations and impacts on stores, homes and other buildings. Employees working in the air traffic tower at the Anchorage Airport were reportedly evacuated while the tower was being inspected for damage.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am sure there is major damage on the runway.

Anchorage, Alaska Rocked By A 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake

Daily Mail: 'It was anarchy. Everything that's not tied down is broke': State of emergency declared in Anchorage after devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake leaves residents running for cover, roads cracked and homes without power

* A 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Anchorage, Alaska on Friday at 8.29am
* The center of the earthquake took place about seven miles from Anchorage
* A tsunami warning was initially placed for coastal areas including Alaska's Cook Inlet and southern Kenai Peninsula but it was later cancelled
* Officials monitored gauges to see if any underwater landslides would generate tsunami waves then cancelled the warning
* At least eight aftershocks rippled through the city after the earthquake hit, the largest one measuring 5.8 magnitude in Anchorage
* Alaska averages 40,000 earthquakes per year, which is more large quakes than the other 49 states of the U.S. combined
* The White House said President Trump, who is in Argentina for the G20 Summit, has been briefed on the earthquake
* No immediate deaths or injuries have been reported

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Alaska early Friday morning, leading officials to announce a tsunami warning that was later canceled.

The devastating earthquake struck in Anchorage at 8.29am Alaska time, rocking trees, swaying lampposts, breaking up roads and causing people to run out of their offices and hide under desks for shelter.

Officials monitored gauges to see if any underwater landslides would generate tsunami waves and determined there was no threat and cancelled the warning.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like no one was seriously injured or killed in this earthquake.

More News On Today's Earthquake At Anchorage, Alaska

Large earthquake strikes Southcentral Alaska, damage reported around region -- Anchorage Daily News
Powerful earthquake rattles Alaska, no injuries reported -- Reuters
Powerful quakes buckle Alaska roads, trigger tsunami warning -- AP
Large Alaska earthquake jolts residents, shakes buildings -- FOX News
Earthquake rattles Alaska: Live Updates -- CNN
Alaska's deadliest earthquakes throughout the years -- FOX News

New U.S. - Canada - Mexico Trade Deal Signed At The G20 Summit. Canadian PM Trudeau Blasts President Trump For Tariffs

Newsweek: Justin Trudeau Blasts Donald Trump's Trade Tariffs to His Face After General Motors Announced Huge Layoffs

In the wake of massive layoffs announced by U.S. carmaker General Motors, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lashed out at President Donald Trump’s recent steel and aluminum tariffs.

At Friday's ceremony to sign a new version of NAFTA, the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, Trudeau urged Trump to reassess levies imposed on Canadian imports in June.

"Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries," Trudeau said Friday, The Hill reported. According to a tweet from Toronto Star journalist Daniel Dale, the prime minister was referring to the GM cuts, which Trudeau called a “heavy blow.”

Read more ....

Update: US, Mexico, Canada sign trade pact (The Hill)

WNU Editor: Canadian Prime Minister may blast President Trump over tariffs, but he still signed the trade deal.

Report: Saudi Crown Prince Salman 'Moves Military Troops To Riyadh To Deter Any Possible Coup

Feeling safe: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince is pictured arriving at the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which opens today

Daily Mail: Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman 'moves military troops to Riyadh to protect him from possible COUP' as exiled Saudi Prince warns of plan to topple him

* Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia reportedly reshuffled troops and military assets
* Troops have been moved to Riyadh, allegedly in response to threats of a coup
* Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is attending G-20 meeting in Argentina
* Dissident Prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud said opposition wants to unseat MBS
* Prince Khalid hopes for a 'soft coup' that overthrows King and Crown Prince

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has scrambled the kingdom's army in response to rumours that members of the royal family are planning to unseat him in a coup, Emirati media claims.

Military personnel and assets have reportedly been moved from eastern and western Saudi Arabia to Riyadh while Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attends the G20 summit in Argentina.

Any military reshuffling would likely be a pre-emptive move to deter any potential plotters from making a move while the Crown Prince, known as MBS, is abroad.

The claims made in Emirati media coincided with an interview with a dissident Saudi Prince who claimed a royal coup is in the offing, and that the opposition is mobilising against the Crown Prince.

Read more ....

Update #1: Saudi Arabia’s Bin Salman Takes Preemptive Action Against Coup Threat -- Jerusalem Post
Update #2: Saudi Arabia scrambles troops amid fears of COUP to topple Crown Prince -- Daily Star

WNU Editor: The Saudi military is not going to move against the King and the Crown Prince. This is just speculation.

Russian President Putin And Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Share A High Five At The G20

CNBC: Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s exuberant handshake at G-20

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday warmly shook hands when they were seated together at the G-20 economic summit in Argentina.
* The hearty hello came two days after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to call for an end to U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen after weeks of suspicion that the crown prince had ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
* The bonhomie also came after Russia seized several Ukrainian naval ships and their sailors, and after Trump’s former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Two of President Donald Trump’s favorite strongmen — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — warmly shook hands with one another, smiled broadly and laughed when they were seated together Friday at the G-20 summit in Argentina.

Twitter quickly labeled the Putin-MBS palm slap a “bro-five.”

Read more ....

Update: Watch Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Embrace at the G-20 (Time)

WNU Editor:  Any doubts of a growing Saudi - Russian alliance can now be put to rest with this exchange.

French President Macron Tells Crown Prince Salman That 'He Is Worried'

The Independent: Macron heard warning bin Salman after Saudi crown prince tells him not to worry: 'I am worried'

Elysee says video shows 'contrast between MbS's face sporting an embarrassed smile and the president's stern face', during extraordinary exchange about murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Yemen war.

An extraordinary exchange between Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been caught on video.

In audio of the conversation, which covered the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the ongoing Yemen war, it is possible to make out Saudi Arabia‘s de-facto leader saying “Don’t worry,” to which the French president responds: “I am worried”.

The Saudi Gazette newspaper posted a video of the meeting online, showing the two speaking in hushed tones with their heads close together on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Read more ....

Update: French president Macron at G20 laments ‘You never listen to me’ in talk with Saudi leader (FOX News)

WNU Editor: The above video is a must see if you are curious to see how two leaders from two different cultures address an issue where there is a difference of opinion.

G20 Summit Starts With Dissension Among Numerous Leaders

G20 leaders pose for a family photo during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

BBC: G20 Buenos Aires: Rifts laid bare as world leaders meet

World leaders have sat down for the opening session of their annual G20 summit, with any number of disputes and disagreements on the table.

Host president, Argentina's Mauricio Macri, said the solution was "dialogue, dialogue and dialogue" and called for a clear message of shared responsibility.

But US President Donald Trump has already cancelled meeting Russia's Vladimir Putin over Ukraine.

And huge differences loom on climate change, trade and the Khashoggi affair.

The G20, made up of 19 of the world's most industrialised nations plus the EU, accounts for 85% of the world's economic output and two-thirds of the world's population.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is not going to be a normal G20 Summit, starting with how the Saudi Crown Prince is being sidelined .... Saudi Crown Prince sidelined in G20 family photo (Reuters).

More News On Dissension Among Leaders At The G20 Summit

High tension G20 opens, dominated by Trump quarrels -- AFP
U.S.-China dispute casts shadow as world leaders gather in Argentina -- Reuters
White House, Kremlin clash on plans for Trump-Putin chat -- Politico
Theresa May says her talks with Mohammed bin Salman will go ahead, as other nations shun Saudi crown prince -- The Independent
A look at the top issues at the G-20 summit in Argentina -- FOX News/AP

NATO Prepares For Cyberwar

NATO says cyber attacks are becoming more "frequent, complex, destructive and coercive"

AFP: NATO exercises cyber defences as threat grows

In a nondescript brick building on the snowy edge of Estonia's second city Tartu, soldiers in camouflage tap silently at computers. They are troops manning the 21st century's front line.

With its harsh lighting and partitioned desks, the room could be any soulless office. But this is NATO's "cyber range" and these men and women are running the alliance's biggest cyber warfare exercise, an electronic defensive drill dubbed Cyber Coalition 2018.

The activity is taking place just 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the border with Russia, seen by the West as the biggest cyber threat after a string of attacks blamed on the Kremlin. Targets have included world sports bodies, the US Democratic Party and the world chemical weapons watchdog in the Netherlands.

NATO says such assaults are becoming more "frequent, complex, destructive and coercive", and are launched not just by state actors like Russia, China and North Korea but also by criminal gangs intent on extortion and "hacktivists" looking to embarrass big organisations.

Read more ....

Update: NATO Readies for Cyber Threats on Russian Doorstep (Blooomnerg)

WNU Editor: 700 participants are involved .... NATO cyber exercise with 700 participants held in Tartu (BNN).

Here Are 10 Secret Google Map Locations That You Are Not Allowed To See

The Ayioi Anargyroi Military Base Athens is heavily blurred on Google Maps

The SUN: The 10 SECRET Google Maps locations you’re not allowed to see

Mysterious sites that you can't actually view litter Google's mapping service

GOOGLE Maps has a bold mission to document every corner of Earth – but some places are so secret they're not allowed to be snapped.

From military bases, mysterious islands and even a random house in Stockton-on-Tees, there's no shortage of secret spots Google Maps won't show you.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My friend's neighbor has his home blocked out by Google. But his neighbor requested it.

Editor's Note

Because of prior commitments, blogging will return later today.

Here Are The U.S. Army's 5 Next Super Weapons

U.S. Army Video by Gina Palombit

Michael Peck, RCD: Meet the U.S. Army's 5 Next Super Weapons

Here are five that we will likely see in the coming years.

The U.S. Army already fields an impressive array of weapons. But as the U.S. Army prepares itself for potential conflicts against high-tech Russian and Chinese armies , the Army is working on a slew of new systems ranging from tanks to missiles.

The result will be the gradual disappearance of the familiar weapons born during the Cold War -- the Abrams tanks and Apache helicopters -- that symbolize America's arsenal. In their place will be a new generation of weapons.

Here are five that we will likely see in the coming years:

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Impressive list.

Another Canadian Diplomat In Cuba Is Sick From Suspected 'Sonic Attack'

A man walks beside Canada's embassy in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.Desmond Boylan/The Canadian Press

National Post: Another Canadian diplomat in Cuba is sick with mysterious illness that has affected 13 people so far

Canadian diplomatic personnel are allowed to return to Canada if they wish.

OTTAWA — Global Affairs Canada says another Canadian diplomat in Cuba has fallen ill, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 13.

That includes diplomats posted to the Canadian embassy in Havana, as well as their dependants, who have come down with a mysterious illness that causes dizziness, headaches and trouble concentrating.

Global Affairs says the government continues to investigate the cause of the unknown illness, adding in a statement that the health and safety of diplomatic staff and their families is a top priority.

The department says the person who fell ill most recently “is receiving the necessary medical attention.”

Read more ....

More News On Suspected 'Sonic Attack' Against Canadian Diplomat In Cuba

Another Canadian diplomat in Cuba affected by mysterious brain injury -- CBC
Another Canadian diplomat has reportedly fallen ill in Cuba with mysterious symptoms -- Business Insider/AP
Canada reviews Cuba presence after another diplomat falls ill -- Reuters
Canada reviewing presence in Cuba after another diplomat falls mysteriously ill -- CTV News
Another Canadian diplomat falls ill in Cuba after 12 other embassy dwellers struck with the same mystery brain illness claimed they have been 'abandoned' by their government -- Daily Mail
Another Canadian diplomat in Cuba sick with mystery illness, Global Affairs says -- Global News

Contrary To Earlier Reports, US And Russian Troops Are Not Shooting At Each Other In Syria

U.S. special representative for Syria James Jeffrey. Photograph: Yasin Öztürk

Task & Purpose: No, US And Russian Troops Are Not Shooting At Each Other In Syria, US Official Clarifies

There are screw-ups and there are major-league screw-ups, but the U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement takes the prize for the mother of all screw-ups by implying that U.S. and Russian troops are shooting at each other in Syria – they aren’t.

* Let’s recap. Ambassador James Jeffrey recently told Russian media that U.S. troops have had to defend themselves “about a dozen times” in Syria, according to a transcript of the interview that was posted on the Russian embassy’s website.
* When a reporter asked Jeffrey if any of those incidents involved Russian forces, he replied: “As I said there have been various engagements, some involving exchange of fire, some not.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When this story broke out 6 days ago I mentioned that I found it strange that no one was reporting on it .... U.S. Envoy Claims That US And Russian Forces Have Clashed Repeatedly In Syria (November 23, 2018). Now we know why .... the story is false. But what I do not understand is why does Ambassador James Jeffrey still have a job.

Retired Gen. McChrystal: President Trump's Attacks On Military Service Members Are 'Disturbing'

Retired Gen. McChrystal. ABC News

The Hill: Retired Gen. McChrystal: Trump's attacks on military service members are 'disturbing'

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Wednesday denounced President Trump's attacks on military service members, including the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

"His discussions on Bill McRaven, as well as his previous discussions on John McCain and others have been something that’s deeply disturbing to a lot of thoughtful people,” McChrystal said on ABC's Powerhouse Politics podcast. “The fact that he would take on people in this vitriolic manner, I think is pretty upsetting to people."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These retired military service members attacked President Trump first. Should President Trump stay quiet and take it? Apparently Retired Gen. McChrystal believes he should.

Tweets For Today

Vermont Air Guard Commander Uses An F-16 For A Romantic Getaway

An F-16 Fighting Falcon pulls away from a KC-135 Stratotanker after aerial refueling, October 7, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Hampton Stramler)

Task & Purpose: When Booty Calls: A Vermont Air Guard Commander Allegedly Used An F-16 For A Romantic Getaway

The commander of the Vermont Air National Guard was quietly forced out of his job after bogarting an F-16 Fighting Falcon in what amounted to an interstate booty call with an Army officer in Washington, D.C., according to a salacious new investigation by VTDigger.

* Just a year after taking command of the Burlington-based 158th Fighter Wing, Col. Thomas Jackman “took an F-16 flight to Washington, D.C., for a work trip that doubled as a romantic rendezvous with a female Army colonel who worked at the Pentagon,” VTDigger’s Jasper Craven reports.
* “Jackman was scheduled to attend a conference at Andrews Air Force Base, located just outside Washington, D.C,” Craven reports. “While the Guard says pilots do not typically use their planes to attend conferences, Jackman as wing commander had ultimate authority.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We are all guilty of doing something stupid in the name of love. I know I am guilty (multiple times).

Hat tip Fred for this link.

Picture Of The Day

A sandstorm hits the city of Zhangye in Gansu province, China, November 25. REUTERS/Stringer

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

Is The Era Of The U.S. Navy Having It All Coming To An End?

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kennishah J. Maddux

Popular Mechanics: The U.S. Navy Is Facing a Choice: Nukes or Ships?

The era of having it all may be over.

The U.S. Navy may have a tough choice to make: prioritizing growing its fleet of warships or funding the next generation of nuclear ballistic missile submarines. The Navy has made growing the size of the overall fleet to 355 ships a major priority, while at the same time building the new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. Meanwhile, the service is also being warned that the Pentagon’s defense budget will start shrinking in fiscal year 2020, making the two priorities in the eyes of many analysts an either/or proposition.

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WNU Editor:  When building a Ford aircraft carrier costs $13 billion .... the answer is yes .... the era when the U.S. can have it all is coming to an end.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Japan Wants To Modify Its Ships To Carry F-35s

© REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

CNN: Japan preparing to put US-designed stealth jets on an 'aircraft carrier'

CNN)Japan is preparing an order for roughly 100 US-designed F-35 stealth fighter jets in a deal that could potentially upend the balance of power in Asia, according to sources familiar with the process.

That order would include a version of the jet that can take-off and land vertically, a feature that could prompt Japan to transform some of its existing ships into aircraft carriers so that it can operate the fighters at sea -- a capability they have not had since World War II, a source close to the F-35 program told CNN.

"With short take-off vertical landing capability you are now able to operate at sea. You are able to penetrate areas and reach ranges in a shorter distance which is an important capability," the source said.

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Update #1: Japan prepares to stand up first F-35 operational unit (Defense News)
Update #2: Japan reviewing purchase of 100 more U.S. F-35 fighter jets (UPI)

WNU Editor: China issues a warning to Japan .... Beijing Warns Tokyo Against Modifying Ships to Carry F-35s (Sputnik)

This Is China's Plan To Defeat The U.S. Air Force Without Firing A Shot

Chinese airmen march in formation prior to a combat drill with H-6K bombers. (Yang Ruikang/People's Republic of China)

Kyle Rempfer, Air Force Times: China aims to defeat the US Air Force without firing a shot. Here’s how.

A new study highlights China’s growing air power, and warns that China is looking to build out its Air Force to the point that the U.S. would not be willing to take it on in direct conflict.

The Project Air Force team at Rand Corp. describes an emerging Chinese air force that aims to rival the United States' own, both technologically and strategically, often by mirroring U.S. military capabilities and doctrine.

“It is important to recognize that many of the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] efforts in the military aerospace sector focus on fielding of specific capabilities in sufficient quantities to deter the United States from entering a conflict; the PLA would vastly prefer deterrence over actual combat operations,” the report reads. “In this sense, the capabilities competition can be regarded as aimed at defeating the United States without actually fighting.”

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WNU Editor: Deterrence works both ways.

Taliban Say Negotiating With The Afghan Government is 'A Waste Of Time'

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, seated right, and U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, meet in Kabul on Nov. 10, 2018. Presidential Palace / Reuters

Long War Journal: Taliban calls Afghan government “impotent,” says negotiating with it is “a waste of time”

The Taliban quickly responded to Afghanistan President Arshaf Ghani’s roadmap for peace, which was laid out at the Geneva conference today, and its position is more than predictable. The Taliban yet again belittled the Afghan government as a “powerless and foreign imposed” regime that is unworthy of sitting down at a negotiating table.

In a statement released today on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban made its position on peace talks quite clear. Ghani was not described as the president of Afghan government, but the “head of Kabul administration.” The Afghan government, which the Taliban refuses to recognize as such, is “powerless and foreign imposed” and negotiating with it is “a waste of time because impotent sides do not possess the capacity of making decision [sic].” Ghani made proposals, the Taliban claimed, that are “beyond his capabilities” as the US is the real power behind negotiations.

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WNU Editor: No kidding .... Afghan government’s negotiating position completely at odds with Taliban’s (Long War Journal). As for the U.S., they are trying to be optimistic .... Senior U.S. Diplomat Calls On Afghan Taliban To Seize 'Moment Of Opportunity' For Peace Talks (RFE). More here .... Trump Reportedly Wants To Withdraw All US Troops From Afghanistan By The Next Presidential Election (Task & Purpose).

U.S. Accuses Iran Of Violating U.N. Arms Export Ban

Daily Mail/AP: US says Iran is violating UN arms export ban after officials seize weapons that are 'clear and tangible evidence' the country is fueling instability in the Middle East

* Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, said the equipment confirms Iran is increasingly supplying weapons to militants across the Middle East
* At a military hangar in DC, Hook showed guns, rockets, drones and other gear
* The weapons had been intercepted in the Strait of Hormuz en route to Shia fighters in the region while others had been seized by the Saudis in Yemen

US officials claimed Thursday that Iran is violating the United Nations arms export ban after military equipment was reportedly seized from the country.

Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, said the equipment confirms Iran is increasingly supplying weapons to militants across the Middle East and is continuing its missile program unabated.

At a military hangar in Washington, Hook showed reporters a collection of guns, rockets, drones and other gear.

'We need to get serious about going after this stuff,' Hook told reporters.

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More News On The U.S. Accusing Iran Of Violating U.N. Arms Export Ban

U.S. touts new evidence of Iranian weaponry in Yemen, Afghanistan -- Reuters
US says seized weapons show that Iran is a regional threat -- AFP
US displays weapons it says Iran provided to militants -- CNN
US provides new evidence on Iran violating UN arms export ban in Yemen -- Al Arabiya
US Accuses Iran of Launching Missile Capable of Reaching Europe -- Sputnik
US warns of regional conflict as it displays Iranian arms intercepted across Middle East -- The National

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 29, 2018

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses a group of commanders and officials of Iran’s naval forces on the National Day of Navy, in Iran, on November 28.

Newsweek: U.S. vs. Iran: Military Action ‘On the Table,’ Trump Administration Says After Senate Vote Threatens Saudi Arabia Support

The United States has warned that conducting military action against Iran is a viable option in dealing with the revolutionary Shiite Muslim power, just one day after senators voted in favor of a measure that would withdraw support for Saudi Arabia.

State Department special representative on Iran Brian Hook hosted a press conference Thursday at Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling in Washington, D.C., where an array of allegedly Iranian weapons and military paraphernalia were on display. Hook argued that Tehran has provided such equipment, which included ballistic missiles, to nonstate actors in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

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Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 29, 2018

US warns of regional conflict as it displays Iranian arms intercepted across Middle East -- National Post

Why the Navy thinks the carrier Gerald R. Ford will work after all -- Navy Times

Zumwalt Close to Losing Gun, But Open to EW and Directed Energy -- Breaking Defense

F-22 takeoff mishap was ‘human error,’ investigation finds -- FOX News

B-52 Commander Fired After Penis Drawings Found on Bomber's Mapping Software -- Sputnik

AFRICOM boss travels to Somalia for high-level talks -- Stars and Stripes

Pentagon identifies 3 US special operations service members killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan -- ABC News

Trump defends staying in Afghanistan after troop deaths -- Defense News

Microsoft wins $480 million military contract to bring HoloLens to the battlefield -- Ars Technica

Sextortion scam hits US military below the belt -- CNet

Military’s push for solar backup power loses speed under Trump -- McClatchy

Space Force: Trump’s plan for separate military branch thrown into doubt -- The Independent

White House is considering alternatives to an independent Space Force -- Defense News/Business Insider

Modernizing the US military by learning from the past -- Lou DiStasi, Defense News

US Air defense artillery unit is activated in Germany for the first time in decades -- Stars and Stripes

Russia's Capture of Ukrainian Ships Shows It Can't Be Trusted: Mattis --

Angela Merkel sidesteps military aid to Ukraine -- DW

Martial law in Ukraine: All UAVs spotted over military facilities to be shot down – Defense Ministry -- UNIAN

Russia vs. Ukraine Military Comparison: How Armed Forces Compare as Threat of War Looms -- Newsweek

With nod to Paris, MBDA claims lead on EU tank-killing missile -- Defense News

Japan Making a Big Change to Its Military -- Newser

Beijing Warns Tokyo Against Modifying Ships to Carry F-35s -- Sputnik

Safety concerns delay delivery of V-22 Osprey aircraft to Japan -- Defense News

Japan prepares to stand up first F-35 operational unit -- Defense News

Taiwan hints F-16V fighter jets are back on its defence shopping list -- SCMP

Will the Thai Air Force get more Gripen jets? -- Defense News

Iran adds 2 mini submarines to naval fleet -- Defense News/AP

Lebanon Accepts Russian Ammunition Deal, Hariri Denies Rejecting Aid Over U.S. Concerns -- Haaretz/Reuters

Israelis to US: Take On China Around Djibouti -- Breaking Defense

What If Ukraine Did Not Give Up Their Nuclear Weapons In 1994

An Ukrainian officer watches a SS-24 nuclear missile booster being extracted from its bunker at a military base in southern Ukrainian town of Pervomaisk in 1998.Gleb Garanich / Reuters file

NBC: Russia-Ukraine sea clash puts spotlight on 1994 agreement

Washington paid half a billion dollars for Ukraine to pass 5,000 nuclear weapons to Russia to be dismantled after brokering the deal.

Twenty five years ago, Ukraine was the world's third-largest nuclear power, with more warheads than the United Kingdom, France and China combined.

The government in Kiev inherited this arsenal after the breakup of the Soviet Union, finding itself in possession of an estimated 5,000 nuclear weapons, more than 170 intercontinental ballistic missiles and several dozen nuclear bombers.

In 1994, Ukraine agreed to dismantle this stockpile in return for a promise from Russia that the country wouldn't be attacked.

But after Russian forces fired at and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels on Sunday, Kiev has pointed to this deal and suggested that the U.S. and Europe should do more to protect it against the vastly superior Russian military.

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WNU editor: The main reason why Ukraine "gave-up" its nuclear stockpile in 1994 was not to have a guarantee from Moscow that they would not be attacked by Russia .... which at the time was viewed as impossible but was still put into the treaty as a clause. Kiev gave it up their nuclear arsenal because there was little if any public support to have these weapons on Ukrainian soil, especially since the impact of Chernobyl was still fresh for many Ukrainians. There were also the economic guarantees from Moscow that were just too good to not ignore, coupled with the fact that Ukraine did not have the monies or resources to support and maintain a nuclear arsenal and its delivery systems. Even if this treaty was not signed and Ukraine decided to keep some nuclear weapons .... it would not have changed anything. We are where we are today because a legitimately elected pro-Russian government was overthrown in 2014, and a revolutionary government came to power with an anti-Russian agenda that alienated the Russian dominated eastern part of Ukraine .... and as a result they revolted. I have repeated it numerous times .... to have peace in Ukraine the central government must respect, compromise, and accommodate its Russian-Ukrainian minorities. As long as that does not happen, this destructive war will just continue. And thank God there are no nuclear weapons in Ukraine.