Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mass Surrender Of ISIS Fighters Caught On Tape

WNU Editor: This is what defeat looks like.

U.S. Bunker Buster Bomb Used To Level An ISIS Mountain Base

Zero Hedge: Watch US Bunker Buster Bomb Level An ISIS Mountain Base

As first reported in English media by Beirut-based Al Masdar News, the US Air Force dropped a bunker buster bomb on a cave in eastern Syria this week while wrapping up coalition operations against ISIS in the area of Baghouz, in Deir Ez-Zor province of eastern Syria.

The massive impact and explosion on the side of the Baghouz Mountains was caught on video as the coalition massive bomb targeted a cave reportedly used by Islamic State fighters who escaped the nearby US and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) successful liberation of Baghouz town, ISIS' last small territorial enclave.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Someone went through a lot of trouble and risk to take this video shot.

The Emergence Of A New Middle East Alliance With Iran At The Lead

Yossef Bodansky, New Middle East Alliance Shakes World Powers

A new bloc is emerging in the greater Middle East with the declared objectives of dominating the entire Arab world, confronting and containing the US and its allies; and controlling and benefiting from the entire hydro-carbon economy, from production to transportation.

The leading members of the new bloc are Turkey, Iran, and Qatar; with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan submitting to the new bloc.

Russian experts call the new bloc “the Middle Eastern Entente”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The fact that both Russia and China have "signed onto it" makes it a formidable bloc.

What Is Next For The U.S. In Syria?

In this Nov. 7, 2018, photo released by the U.S. Army, U.S. soldiers gather for a brief during a combined joint patrol rehearsal in Manbij, Syria. U.S. ARMY PHOTO

Kevin Baron, Defense One: The ‘Day After’ In Syria Finally Came. But What Comes Next?

If U.S. military commanders were unsure of their mission four years ago, it’s even muddier today.

TAMPA — Last ­year, Gen. Joseph Votel, America’s top general in the Middle East walked through the bombed-out remains of Raqqa, Syria, and saw a trickle of surviving men, women, and children reclaiming their liberated city from ISIS. They were beginning to repair a massive scene of destruction, piece-by-piece, with their bare hands. On streetscapes reduced to skeletal buildings, children picked up concrete chunks from the rubble and banged them to the ground to extract the metal rebar. It was a daunting scene, and a foreboding one.

Hours later at a secret base in Northeast Syria, a visibly upset Votel pounded a table before reporters, pleading — all but ordering — the international community to get in there and get to work. It was time, he said, to rebuild that which his U.S.-led coalition of fighters had just destroyed to liberate innocent Syrians from the Islamic State, time to bolster a hard-won foothold against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian sponsors. Meanwhile, he said, his forces would hold the land until a Geneva peace process could solve Syria’s civil war.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  The U.S. presence in Syria (and elsewhere in the Middle East) is a work in progress. I agree with  President Trump's instincts that the U.S. should get out of Syria. The region has known nothing but war and conflict for centuries, and I do not see the U.S. changing that anytime in the future. So why stay? But politics and geopolitics is now playing a role, and my prediction is the following. The U.S. military and intelligence community will stay in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East, but their role and mission will be minor and "behind" the scenes.

Turkish Opposition Declares Victory In Ankara. Instabul Race Undecided

Reuters: Turkish opposition declares Ankara win, Istanbul result disputed

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s main opposition party said it won control of Ankara in Sunday’s local elections, defeating President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party in the capital for the first time, and challenged his party’s claim to have held Istanbul by the narrowest margin.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), said CHP candidates took Turkey’s two main cities from the AKP and also held its stronghold of Izmir on the Aegean coast.

Defeat for Erdogan’s party in Ankara would be a significant setback for the president, who campaigned relentlessly for two months ahead of a vote he described as a “matter of survival” for Turkey. Losing Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and a platform for his own political career, would be a greater blow.

With more than 92 percent of ballots opened, the mayoral candidate of the CHP, Mansur Yavas, had secured 50.6 percent, giving him a 3.4-percentage-point lead over his AKP rival.

Read more ....

More News On Turkey's Municipal Elections

Turkey’s ruling party leads local elections but loses Ankara -- AP
Erdogan's Alliance Loses Ankara as Fight Brews Over Istanbul -- Bloomberg
Erdogan bloc 'loses Ankara' in local polls; Istanbul race tight -- Al Jazeera
Partial results: Turkey's main opposition party candidate leads in Ankara -- Euronews
Local elections in Turkey seen as test for Erdogan -- France 24

Helicopters Being Aggressive (Video)

Warzone/The Drive: Watch This Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopter Make A Super Aggressive Running Takeoff

The maneuver makes the Hind look even more menacing than it already does and that is really saying something!

Helicopters are amazing machines that we usually associate with vertical takeoffs and landings, but under some conditions, and especially with certain helicopters, vertical takeoffs and landings just aren't in the cards. Russia's Mi-8/17/24/35 family of helicopters, which includes the utility-oriented "Hip" and the attack-focused "Hind," often use running takeoffs and landings to their advantage. The video below, that shows a Polish Mi-24 Hind taking off in Afghanistan, is an extreme example of this.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia's HIND helicopters always remind me of a mean looking hornet.

The CIA Needs Russian Speakers

RT: Lost in translation: CIA ad seeking Russian speakers mocked for broken grammar

An apparent CIA poster appealing to Russian speakers to join US intelligence has been derided for failing to reconcile Russian and English grammar and mismatching fonts. The poster allegedly popped up in Washington, DC.

The poster was spotted by Reuters' David Brunnstrom at Foggy Bottom station in Washington, which is home to many government agencies, including the State Department, the Department of the Interior, as well as George Washington University.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is always Google Translate. :)

This Tracked Robot Can Carry The U.S. Army's Heavy Gear

The RS-2 H1 packbot during a 60 mile march through Georgia. Howe & Howe

Popular Mechanics: Grizzly Is a Rugged Tank Robot That Could Carry a Soldier’s Stuff

The tracked robot could haul an infantry squad’s heavy equipment, freeing soldiers to move more quickly.

The modern solider is overburdened, so defense researchers have been trying to invent new ways to lighten the load, such as wearable exoskeletons that shoulder some of the weight. Now, here comes the latest possible solution, a tracked robot designed to operate with Army ground forces, carrying important, heavy gear.

The Grizzly, developed by Textron Systems, could carry extra small arms ammunition, anti-tank weapons, mines, medical equipment, and other gear. Having a rugged robot carry this cargo could make ground forces more heavily armed but more agile on the battlefield.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am surprised that these tools have not been deployed on the battlefield, especially for small units that must carry a lot of gear.

China's Massive Missile Force Could Devastate U.S. Forces In The Pacific Before Washington Could Respond

The ranges of Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles, air-defense systems, and warships. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

Alex Lockie, Business Insider: China's missiles could dust the US military in minutes — here's what would happen if they tried

 * China's massive missile forces could savage US air and naval forces in the Pacific, lighting up ports and airfields, and blowing up F-35s, F-22s, and possibly aircraft carriers before they could respond.
 * War-gaming experts point to this as a persistent problem with US forces in the Pacific, but it's far from a clear-cut win for China.
 * The US has a number of ways it can predict, prevent, or blunt a missile attack, and once the US military and its allies kick into gear, China will face a mighty wrath.

Experts at the cutting edge of simulated warfare have spoken: China would handily defeat the US military in the Pacific with quick bursts of missile fired at air bases.

The exact phrasing was that the US was getting "its ass handed to it" in those simulations, Breaking Defense reported the RAND analyst David Ochmanek as saying earlier in March.

"In every case I know of," Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense, said, "the F-35 rules the sky when it's in the sky, but it gets killed on the ground in large numbers."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The blow-back against a Chinese surprise attack may take some time, but it will be massive. Unfortunately, as this blog has pointed out in the past few years, there are many in China who feel confident that they could win such a war .... China Thinks That It Can Defeat The U.S. In A War (February 4, 2014)

A Russian Spy Plane Did A Fly-By Of Area 51

Russia Tu-154M configured and certified for Open Skies flights. Papas Dos/wikicommons

Warzone/The Drive: The Russians Just Did A Fly-By Of Area 51

Russia's specially equipped Tu-154M Open Skies aircraft is doing a grand tour of America's most sensitive military installations out west.

The Russians are operating their Tu-154M aircraft configured for surveillance flights sanctioned under the Open Skies Treaty that allows member countries to conduct surveillance flights over each other's territory relatively unimpeded. The aircraft are equipped with imaging equipment with specific limitations and monitors from the country being surveilled are onboard the flights to make certain the party complies with the parameters of the treaty. This latest series of Russian Open Skies flights are being conducted out of Great Falls, Montana and are covering a slew of strategic points in the western part of the United States, including the highly secure Nellis Test and Training Range (NTTR) in southern Nevada, home of Area 51.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am willing to bet that when this fly-by occurred anything and everything that is top secret was put away and hidden.

Ukraine's Brtain Drain Is Devastaing It's Future

Financial analyst Oleksiy Luponosov, 39, is planning to move from Ukraine to Germany with his wife and their child.Oksana Parafeniuk / for NBC News

NBC: A brain drain is devastating Ukraine

Those who are leaving blame a lack of job opportunities, an ongoing war against Russian-backed separatists and a failure of political will.

KIEV, Ukraine — Kateryna Filip was a certified English teacher in her homeland. She now works abroad as a cleaner.

It was a tough decision but one she is convinced will ensure her three children have a brighter future.

The 34-year-old is among the millions of Ukrainians who have left the country as part of a devastating brain drain.

She says the lack of well-paid jobs, rampant corruption and a war with Moscow-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine made her and her husband, Vasyl, decide to seek a better life in the Czech Republic.

“There is nothing waiting for our kids here,” Kateryna Filip says while sitting in a pizza joint in the heart of Kiev. "We love Ukraine, but it doesn’t love us back."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Last week two of my cousins and their three kids visited me from Ukraine. My cousins still live in Ukraine, but two of their kids are working in the U.S. and the third one was accepted this year by Canada to become a citizen (he applied in 2014 when the Maiden revolution broke out). All three are highly educated and multilingual. One worked as an IT specialist for an Austrian bank in Kiev (and who is now a Canadian citizen), his sister is a veterinarian who wants to complete the necessary requirements to be certified in the U.S., and the third one has a Masters in Civil Engineering (with 10 years work experience) who is now working in Florida.

Ukraine Election Exit Poll Numbers Have Been Announced

WNU Editor: According to Russian TV, Comedian Vladimir Zelensky is ahead in the exit polls. He has over 30% of the vote, and the runner-up is incumbent president President Petro Poroshenko with 17.8 %. In third place with slightly over 14 percent is Yulia Tymoshenko. Kyiv Post is also confirming these numbers .... First exit polls arrive: Zelenskiy leads with 30 percent (LIVE UPDATES) (Kyiv Post). The final results will be announced on Monday, probably at the end of the day. As to what is my take on these exit polls. Vladimir Zelensky is doing better than what I had expected. He is now well positioned to form a coalition with other defeated candidates that will put him over 50% when Ukrainians go to the polls for a second and final round on April 21.

20th Week Of Anti-Government Demonstrations Continue Throughout France

One of the yellow vest protesters stands on a raised platform in front of the Eiffel Tower and waves the tricolour flag of France

Daily Mail: Baton-wielding police batter French yellow vest protesters as violence breaks out at 20th week of demonstrations amid fears bank workers could be targeted next

* Protesters took to streets to stage 'Act 20', the 20th consecutive anti-government protests despite bans
* Police have so far struggled to contain violence by highly-organised demonstrators since protests began
* There were again outbreaks of violence today as riot police with batons and shields clashed with protesters
* President Macron reacted to protests by embarking on cross-country tour as part of a 'Great National Debate'

French 'yellow vest' demonstrators clashed with baton-wielding riot police during the 20th consecutive week of anti-government protests despite bans in hotspot areas.

The Gilet Jaunes took to the streets for a protest dubbed 'Act 20' as banks called for an end to violence against branches, cash machines and personnel.

Iconic sites such as the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris and the centre of Bordeaux, in southwestern France, were declared off limits to demonstrations, with police enforcing the bans in the areas.

In the southern French town of Avignon, violence erupted as police with riot shields and batons forced protesters out of the narrow streets of the medieval city centre.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My friends in France are telling me that President Macron has embarked on a cross-country tour as part of a 'Great National Debate' on his policies. But according to them these events are tightly controlled and the participants are screened. So much for having a debate.

More News On The Unrest In France

France’s yellow vest protesters march despite bans, injuries -- AP
French 'yellow vests' stage 20th week of anti-government protests -- AFP
'Yellow vest' numbers down in 20th week of French protests -- Reuters
Tear gas, skirmishes: Yellow Vests flood streets of France in Act XX (VIDEO) -- RT

Is Russia Taking Its Syria Anti-Regime-Change Strategy To Venezuela

Economic ties between Russia and Venezuela range from oil and loans to arms sales [File: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes: Russia Takes Its Syria Anti-Regime-Change Strategy To Venezuela

Fresh off his success in stopping another Middle East regime change in Syria, Vladimir Putin is now setting up shop in Caracas. It’s not as simple as saying Russia has financial assets to protect. Rosneft, the state oil behemoth, has been throwing money down a black hole in Venezuela for years. So has China. The recent move to bring in more military support is designed to protect Nicolas Maduro from what Russia surely sees as an orchestrated coup against him.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that it sent military personnel to Caracas this weekend. Unlike the U.S. military, which was never invited by any government official into Syria, the Russia military at least has been. Maduro is now surrounded by his own military, Cuban revolutionaries and gangsters. And now some Russians.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Venezuela is not Syria, because if a civil war was raging in Venezuela right now, it would involve every country in the region including the U.S.. What Russia is trying to do is protect the Maduro regime on the cheap. Advance loans with the hope that it will be paid-off in the future, green-light Cuba's military and intelligence support of the Maduro regime, and provide diplomatic cover on the international scene. I think this policy is going to fail. Venezuela is now a failed state, and the situation on the ground is getting worse. Deploying a few hundred Russian military contractors may help to boost the morale of Maduro and his supporters, but it is going to take a lot more solders and a hell of a lot of more money to rectify the mess that is Venezuela today, something that the Kremlin is not willing to do right now.

Chinese Troops In Venezuela

WNU Editor: I guess these Chinese soldiers came in with this flight .... Venezuela welcomes arrival of Chinese medical aid (Anadolu Agency).

Afghan Vice President Escapes Taliban Ambush

Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has escaped death for the second time since returning from exile last year [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

RFE: Afghan Vice President Dostum Survives Convoy Ambush

Afghanistan's controversial Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has escaped unhurt from a suspected Taliban attack that killed one of his bodyguards, police said.

A regional police spokesman said attackers ambushed Dostum's convoy on March 30 on the way from Mazar-e Sharif, a city in Balkh Province, to Jawzjan Province in northern Afghanistan.

Munir Ahmad Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor of Balkh, said on March 31 that Taliban militants attacked the convoy at two points, in the Char Bolak and then Faiz Abad district.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is the second assassination attempt against him in the past year. In this attempt the Taliban suffered losses .... Taliban commander among 11 killed, wounded during a clash with Afghan Vice President’s guards (Khaama Press).

More News On Afghanistan's Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum Surviving An Assassination Attempt

Afghan VP survives second assassination attempt -- BBC
Afghan Vice President Survives Attack on Convoy -- The New York Times
Afghan vice president narrowly escapes death for a second time -- Reuters
Afghan vice president narrowly escapes Taliban attack -- Al Jazeera
Dostum Unhurt As His Convoy Attacked By Taliban -- TOLO News
Taliban Says Dostum Remains on Hit List -- VOA

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Police use water cannons to disperse people protesting to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, March 29. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Massive protest march against Algeria's Bouteflika (Reuters).

Another Day Of Violence On The Gaza - Israeli Border

BBC: Gaza protests: Thousands mark 'Great Return' anniversary

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have demonstrated in Gaza to mark the anniversary of the start of weekly protests on the boundary with Israel.

Demonstrators threw stones and burned tyres, with Israeli troops using tear-gas and live rounds in response.

Three protesters died in the clashes, Palestinian officials say, with another killed earlier on Saturday.

The protests back the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

At least 189 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed between March and December 2018, the UN says.

Read more ....

More News On Saturday's Protests On The Israeli - Gaza Border

Rockets from Gaza Strip hit Israel; 4 die at border protest -- AP
Five rockets launched at Israel after day of unrest claims four deaths -- Jerusalem Post
Palestinians mark the Land's Day with more border protests -- CGTN
IDF Spokesman: Hamas Acted With ‘Restraint’ During Weekend Gaza Border Riots -- Algemeiner

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Under More Pressure Over Shielding SNC-Lavalin From Prosecution After Secret Tape Is Released

Daily Mail: Pressure mounts on Justin Trudeau as former Justice Minister releases 40-page document alleging government pressure to shield Canadian company SNC-Lavalin from prosecution

* Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is under mounting pressure amid SNC-Lavalin saga
* A former justice minister says government officials tried to persuade her to shield SNC-Lavalin from prosecution
* Jody Wilson-Raybould made public documents indicating government coercion
* The crisis may well threaten Trudeau's reelection chances in a vote this October

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under mounting pressure after his former justice minister released documents relating to a major corruption scandal.

Former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says government officials tried to persuade her to shield SNC-Lavalin from prosecution.

Wilson-Raybould made public around 40 pages of documents revealing more details of what she said were attempts by officials to force her change her mind even after she insisted they desist.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This release of a secret recording is damaging to Prime Minister Trudeau's narrative on this scandal. It contradicts what he and his staff have been saying, and it only adds to the case that the Prime Minister intervened into a criminal case to protect a major Canadian company. I do not see how he can recover from it, and with Canadians going to the polls in 7 months, there is now a very good chance that he will be defeated in the polls.

More News On The SNC-Lavalin Scandal

PM wanted SNC-Lavalin deal 'one way or another,' Wernick told Wilson-Raybould in secretly recorded call -- CBC
Canadian ex-attorney general releases secret recording implicating Trudeau -- France 24
Secret tape increases pressure on Trudeau in SNC-Lavalin affair -- BBC
Justin Trudeau hit with secret recording of aide pressing for end of corruption case against Canadian company -- FOX News
Trudeau wasn’t briefed on conversation between Wilson-Raybould and Wernick due to holidays, lawyer says -- Toronto Star
Phone call leaves Liberals’ SNC-Lavalin narrative — and excuses — in complete tatters -- Rob Breakenridge, Global News
Wilson-Raybould recording brings SNC-Lavalin affair crashing back to reality -- Andrew Coyne, National Post
JWR has evidence, Trudeau has crumbling stories -- Brian Lilley, Toronto Sun

Ukraine’s Voters Go To The Polls This Sunday To Choose The Next Leader Of The Country

The Guardian: Ukraine's candidates push limits of 'quiet day' before polls open

Country bans campaigning on day before an election, but candidates find ways around rule

Presidential candidates in Ukraine are banned from campaigning the day before Sunday’s highly contested vote. But Ukraine’s “quiet day” has not been all that quiet.

Turn on television channel 1+1 and you’re likely to see the poll leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy starring in his own comedy show, Kvartal 95. Later on Saturday evening, 1+1 will broadcast a biopic about Ronald Reagan, another actor-turned-politician, with his voice dubbed by Zelenskiy.

On Instagram, posts by President Petro Poroshenko show him praying for “Ukrainian unity” alongside senior members of the church and army veterans. An article on his government website explained that the group also prayed “for the wisdom of the people who tomorrow will decide the future of Ukraine”.

Read more ....

More News On Ukraine's Election

Comedian leads presidential polling in Ukraine -- AP
Campaigning Ends In Ukraine Ahead Of Presidential Vote -- RFE
Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy played a president on TV, now favorite in Ukraine's real-life presidential election -- ABC News
Ukraine Presidential Election 2019: Polls, Candidates and Issues As Zelenskiy, Tymoshenko and Poroshenko Face Off -- Newsweek
Ukraine gears up to hold tight presidential election -- Al Jazeera
In Ukraine's election, a comedian might be voters' best choice -- Michael Bociurkiw, CNN
Ukraine Goes to the Polls on Sunday. Can Its Next President End the Frozen War With Russia? -- Madeline Roache, Time
Ukraine at the crossroads -- Bohdan Nahaylo, Asia Times
Timeline: Events in Ukraine's political history since 1991 -- Reuters

President Trump To Cut Foreign Aid For Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador

NBC: Trump administration says it will cut foreign aid for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador

Some Democrats said the move "will only result in more children and families being forced to make the dangerous journey north to the U.S.-Mexico border."

The Trump administration said Saturday that it intends to end foreign assistance programs for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a move that Democrats called “reckless” and “counterproductive” in addressing the problems that cause people to flee to the U.S.

A State Department spokesperson said that “at the Secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a term that refers to the three countries.

The spokesperson said "we will be engaging Congress as part of this process," which could mean it needs Congress' approval to end funding.

The aid affects nearly $500 million in 2018 funds and millions more left over from the previous fiscal year. The money was destined for Central America but had not been spent yet, the Washington Post reported.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am skeptical the Congress will end funding. In the meantime President Trump is upping the pressure .... Trump threatens to close border 'next week' if Mexico doesn't 'immediately stop' flood of illegal immigrants (FOX News). Meanwhile at the border the crisis continues .... 'We’ve never seen anything like this': As Trump threatens to close border, migrants overwhelm Texas cities (USA Today).

More News On President Trump Vowing To Cut Foreign Aid For Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador

Donald Trump cuts financial assistance to Northern Triangle countries Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and claims 'they haven't done a thing for us' -- Daily Mail
U.S. ending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants -- Reuters
Trump cuts all direct assistance to Northern Triangle countries Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala -- GMA
U.S. cuts off federal aid to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras -- Axios
Trump Orders Cut to Financial Aid to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala - Reports -- Sputnik

UK Prime Minister May's Government Risks 'Total Collapse' Because Of Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the Parliament in London, Britain, March 29, 2019 in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

Reuters: UK's May risks 'total collapse' of government in Brexit impasse: Sunday Times

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May risks the “total collapse” of her government if she fails to get her battered Brexit deal through parliament, the Sunday Times newspaper said, amid growing speculation that she might call an early election.

Underscoring the tough choices facing May to break the Brexit impasse, the newspaper said at least six pro-European Union senior ministers will resign if she opts for a potentially damaging no-deal departure from the EU.

But at the same time, rival ministers who support Brexit were threatening to quit if May decides to stay close to the EU with a customs union or if she sought a long delay to Brexit, the Sunday Times said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Her advisers are unsure of an early election .... Advisors to UK's May divided over snap election - Mail on Sunday (Reuters). The polls are saying that an early election would be close .... UK election polls latest: Would Theresa May WIN if SNAP election was called tomorrow? (Express). What's my take. An election at this time with British Prime Minister Theresa May leading the Tories will result in one thing .... the annihilation of the Tories.

President Trump Tweets That Navy SEAL Charged With War Crimes Will Be Moved To 'Less Restrictive Confinement'

Daily Mail: Trump says Navy SEAL accused of murdering a 15-year-old terrorist and other war crimes will be moved to better jail conditions before trial

* Trump said on Saturday that Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher would be 'moved to less restrictive confinement' while he awaits trial for war crimes
* Gallagher is a 14-year Navy SEAL vet and is accused of murdering a 15-year-old ISIS militant in his care and opening sniper rounds at civilians
* The 39-year-old is jailed at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California awaiting his May 28 trial for his war crimes
* House Republicans filed a letter to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer last week to request Gallagher be transferred to another location
* The letter alleges there he lacks food, medical care, and access to his lawyers
* His family says that Gallagher as suffered 'abhorrent treatment' at the prison for the past seven months

President Donald Trump has said that a Navy SEAL who is accused of war crimes will be moved to better jail conditions while he awaits trial.

Edward 'Eddie' Gallagher, 39, is currently jailed in military prison Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California on charges of premeditated murder and aggravated assault.

'In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court. Process should move quickly!' Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday morning.

The president tweeted from Mar-a-lago in Florida, shortly before departing for Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher has a lot of political support .... Lawmakers want Navy SEAL released from the brig ahead of war crimes trial (Navy Times).

More News On President Trump Saying That Navy SEAL Charged With War Crimes Will Be Moved To 'Less Restrictive Confinement'

Trump steps in to help Navy SEAL charged with murder -- AP
Tweeting Trump injects White House into SEAL war crimes case -- Navy Times
Trump intervenes in case of Navy SEAL charged with murder -- Politico
Trump says Navy SEAL charged with war crimes will be moved to 'less restrictive confinement' -- The Hill
Trump: Navy SEAL charged with murder moving to 'less restrictive confinement' -- CNN
Trump says Navy SEAL accused of war crimes will be moved to ‘less restrictive confinement’ -- FOX News
Trump says Navy Seal accused of war crimes will be moved to 'less restrictive confinement' -- The Independent
Trump says Navy SEAL accused of a brutal killing to be moved 'to less restrictive confinement' -- Business Insider
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher ‘Will Soon be Moved to Less Restrictive Confinement:’ Trump -- Epoch Times

Is The Pentagon Shifting Away From the Use Of Drones?

U.S. airmen prepare a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone as it leaves on a mission at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan March 9, 2016. Picture taken March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Josh Smith

Paul D. Shinkman, US News and World Report: The Decline of the Drone

The technology that defined U.S. counterterror wars is beginning to wane in importance as the Pentagon looks to threats posed by Russia and China.

The secretive and lethal technology that has defined U.S. counterterror operations for the last decade – and remains the subject of global controversy – appears to be diminishing in importance as America prepares for the next era of combat.

New Pentagon documents show the military plans to invest next year in the lowest number of new drones in more than a decade. Though the complexity of Defense Department budgets makes it difficult to isolate a single reason for the shift, budget analysts agree the Trump administration's stated intention of withdrawing from costly and deadly Middle East wars and instead focus on a resurging China and Russia is driving a focus on other technologies.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It would be a mistake if they did.

Using Fish To Moinitor Underwater Drones And Submarines

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is launching the Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors program to gather the responses of living things to underwater vehicles and relay the information through a network of man-made hardware. (DARPA)

Scientific American: Military Tries Out Fish as Underwater Spies

The sophisticated sensing behaviors of marine organisms could serve as a surveillance system that aids national security

We humans often watch and wonder at wildlife. But a defense agency’s new initiative turns the tables—it aims to deploy marine animals to keep an eye on human activity.

The agency wants to know if sea life ranging from bioluminescent plankton to goliath grouper can serve as components of underwater surveillance systems capable of detecting the enemy’s oceangoing drones, large nuclear submarines and other underwater vehicles. The research effort is called Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS).

Many marine animals respond audibly or visibly to sound, optical, electromagnetic and chemical shifts in the water around them. For instance, schools of black sea bass change their behavior when disturbed by underwater vehicles, and certain microbes react to the magnetic signatures of submarines. Existing surveillance technology can pick up this behavior but typically has treated it as background noise.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is more information here .... From shellfish to plankton, DARPA program turns creatures into sensors (Navy Times).

U.S., Russia, And Others Oppose Banning 'Killer Robots'

The Guardian: UK, US and Russia among those opposing killer robot ban

UN delegates discuss restrictions to lethal autonomous weapons systems that use AI

The UK government is among a group of countries that are attempting to thwart plans to formulate and impose a pre-emptive ban on killer robots.

Delegates have been meeting at the UN in Geneva all week to discuss potential restrictions under international law to so-called lethal autonomous weapons systems, which use artificial intelligence to help decide when and who to kill.

Most states taking part – and particularly those from the global south – support either a total ban or strict legal regulation governing their development and deployment, a position backed by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, who has described machines empowered to kill as “morally repugnant”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon position is very .... The Pentagon is ‘Absolutely Unapologetic’ About Pursuing AI-Powered Weapons (NextGov).

Yup .... Killer Robots Already Exist, And They've Been Here a Very Long Time (Science Alert).

More News On The Movement To Ban "Killer Robots"

US and Russia leading opponents of ban on killer robots -- Digital Journal
US, Russia Lead Efforts to Prevent Global Ban on Killer Robots --
Japan Calls For Stricter Control on AI Killer Robots -- Interesting Engineering
Resistance to killer robots growing -- DW
Scientists plead to stop creation of killer robots: We're at 'the brink of a new arms race' -- FOX News
Ban killer robots, while you still can: Nobel prize winners call for UN to outlaw autonomous weapons before 'a third revolution in warfare' is waged by criminals and terrorists -- Daily Mail
He Helped Create A.I. Now, He Worries About ‘Killer Robots.’ -- The New York Times
Killer robots: ‘do something’ or ‘do nothing’? -- Simon Bradley, Swissinfo

Editor's Note

Taking some badly needed R&R today. Blogging will return this evening.

U.S. Military Test One-Use Delivery Drones

Sputnik: The Expendables: US Military Test One-Use Delivery Drones (VIDEO)

An innovation company based in California has announced it successfully concluded a series of flight tests for delivery drone with the US Marine Corps.

The unmanned aircraft were tried by the US military to see if they can transport heavy supplies over long distances, and to be thrown away after each use.

Logistic Gliders Inc. (LGI) tested two of their gliders, made of cheap plywood, the LG-1K model (can carry about 300kg) and the LG-2K model (700kg)

Read more ....

WNU Editor: At a cost of a few hundred dollars each, I can see these drones being widely used.

Here Are 6 Of NATO's Worst Crises In 70 Years

A Polish army PT-91 tank during NATO exercise Silver Arrow 2017 in Latvia. Ints Kalnins/Reuters

Business Insider: These are 6 of NATO's worst crises in 70 years as the world's most powerful military alliance

* During the Cold War, NATO effectively defended Western Europe with US nuclear weapons.
* Twelve countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, and NATO has since grown to 29 countries, including former Soviet states bordering Russia, which has angered Moscow.
* Here are six occasions, from the building of the Berlin Wall to the September 11 attacks, that NATO faced a crisis.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a pact launched 70 years ago in the ashes of World War II to face Stalin's Soviet threat and bind Western Europe and the US together, is the world's foremost military alliance.

The success of its deterrent power can be seen in a simple reality: NATO's first combat mission only came after the Soviet Union's collapse.

During the Cold War, NATO effectively defended Western Europe with US nuclear weapons, as NATO's office of the historian notes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A reminder that the Cold War was not a pleasant experience for all who had to live under it.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Fighters from the Kurdish Women's Protection units (YPJ) participate in a military parade on 27 March 2019, celebrating the total elimination of the Daesh group's (banned in Russia) last bastion in eastern Syria, in the northwestern city of Hasakah, in the province of the same name. © AFP 2019 / Delil Souleiman

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 23 - 29 March (Spuntik).

Friday, March 29, 2019

Life In Venezuela Has Returned To The Middle Ages

AFP: Venezuela returns to 'Middle Ages' during power outages

Caracas (AFP) - Walking for hours, making oil lamps, bearing water. For Venezuelans today, suffering under a new nationwide blackout that has lasted days, it's like being thrown back to life centuries ago.

El Avila, a mountain that towers over Caracas, has become a place where families gather with buckets and jugs to fill up with water, wash dishes and scrub clothes. The taps in their homes are dry from lack of electricity to the city's water pumps.

"We're forced to get water from sources that obviously aren't completely hygienic. But it's enough for washing or doing the dishes," said one resident, Manuel Almeida.

Because of the long lines of people, the activity can take hours of waiting.

Elsewhere, locals make use of cracked water pipes. But they still need to boil the water, or otherwise purify it.

"We're going to bed without washing ourselves," said one man, Pedro Jose, a 30-year-old living in a poorer neighborhood in the west of the capital.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above video is from two weeks ago, but it still applies today. As for the current blackout, it is still continuing .... Caracas and other cities hit by new blackout – Venezuela crisis (TRT).

ISIS Leader Planned His Escape Years Before The Fall Of The Islamic

An image grab from a July 5, 2014 propaganda video allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, addressing Muslim worshipers at a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Photo: AFP / Al-Furqan Media

Asia Times: ISIS prepped Baghdadi escape years before defeat

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his top leadership are likely in the impenetrable Syrian desert, long prepped for territorial setbacks

Long before the fall of his physical empire, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, was hunkered down with his top command and most loyal fighters, most likely in the impenetrable Syrian desert region known as the Badia.

“Certainly he is still alive, he did not participate in any battle and was not close to any battlefield,” said Hisham al-Hashemi, a Baghdad-based terrorism expert.

“The ISIS security detail that guards Baghdadi knows that keeping the Caliph alive is more important than maintaining the Caliphate,” he told Asia Times.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My gut tells me that he is hiding in western Iraq.

Remembering 'The Great Escape'

Stars and Stripes: US troops in Europe celebrate 75th anniversary of the Great Escape

American soldiers joined their Polish counterparts in Zagan, Poland, for two days of festivities over the weekend commemorating the 75th anniversary of the daring escape from a prisoner-of-war camp located there during World War II.

Though 73 of the 76 men were recaptured after fleeing Stalag Luft III through 334 feet of tunnels on that late March 1944 night, the event has come to be known as the Great Escape and was hailed for causing the Wehrmacht to expend manpower hunting down the escapees.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Great movie.

Tonight's Movie Is 'The Enemy Below'

From Wikipedia: The Enemy Below is a 1957 DeLuxe Color war film in CinemaScope, which tells the story of the battle between an American destroyer escort and a German U-boat during World War II. The movie stars Robert Mitchum and Curt Jürgens as the American and German commanding officers, respectively, and was directed and produced by Dick Powell. The film was based on a novel by Denys Rayner, a British naval officer involved in anti-submarine warfare throughout the Battle of the Atlantic.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 29, 2019

Andrew Roth, The Guardian: Ukraine election: will voter anger propel TV comic to presidency?

Actor Vladimir Zelenskiy is tapping into the protest vote as favourite in Sunday’s vote

Ukraine goes to the polls on Sunday with a comic who plays the president on his own TV show the favourite to become the next president in a protest vote against the country’s leaders.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an actor with no prior political experience, is likely to win the first round with a lead of up to 10% in some polls. Behind him are Petro Poroshenko, the current president who made a fortune from his confectionery empire, and Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who has decried corruption and promised to boost pensions and cut heating bills. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two will face each other in a runoff later in April.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 29, 2019

Crisis-hit Ukraine desperate for savior in presidential election -- Roman Goncharenko, DW

How To Watch (And Understand) Ukraine's Presidential Election -- Christopher Miller, RFE

Russia Enjoys the Show in Tight Ukrainian Election -- Evan Gershkovich, Moscow Times

Quit Harping on U.S. Aid to Israel -- James Kirchick, The Atlantic

The Islamic State Was a Sham -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Algerian protesters reject military's gambit to maintain power -- Simon Speakman Cordall, Al-Monitor

Escalating the US Air War in Afghanistan Isn’t Working -- Bonnie Kristian, Defense One

Thailand election: Full vote count in but no winner yet -- BBC

China's Twenty-First Century Difficulties -- Leland Lazarus & John Brunetti, National Interest

In China, Yet Another Course Correction -- Phillip Orchard, Geopolitical Futures

Pakistan Doesn’t Want Modi to Win -- Fahd Humayun, Foreign Policy

The Guardian view on Theresa May’s defeat: three strikes and out -- Guardian editorial

The Kosovo War in Retrospect -- James Goldgeier and Gorana Grgić, War On The Rocks

NATO is the obstacle to improving Russian-Western relations -- Ruslan Pukhov, DEfense News  

Venezuela leadership duel galvanized by US, Russia rivalry -- AFP

World News Briefs -- March 29, 2019 (Evening Edition)

Euronews: Final day of campaigning in Ukraine elections

Politicians in Ukraine will be finishing their electoral campaigns today, ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

There are a total of 39 candidates on the ballot paper, but comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy leads the latest polls.

If no candidates win a majority of the votes, a second vote between the top two will take place.

Read more ....


Iraqi leader says there’s ‘consensus’ on US troops presence.

Saudi Arabia says Syrian opposition must unite before any dialogue with government.

A 'tragic life' for the displaced in Syria's Al-Hol camp.

Turkey rejects US pressure over Russian S-400 missile deal.

Erdogan fights to hold Turkey's cities in bitter election battle.

US calls for probe into Yemen hospital bombing.

Hamas backs Egypt proposal for calm on Israel border: officials.

Palestinians urge large turnout for Great March of Return year anniversary.


Trump says N.Korea suffering, doesn't need new sanctions.

Two weeks before India starts voting, Modi predicts easy victory.

Pakistan PM's remarks on Afghan peace process stir diplomatic row.

South Korea's Moon to meet Trump over stalled North Korea talks.

China thanks Kazakhstan for 'support' of Xinjiang crackdown.

Vietnam GDP growth hit by swine flu, weakened exports.

20,000 attend memorial for victims of New Zealand mosque attack.

Bangladesh fire in high-rise office building kills 25 people.


At least three dead in gunfight in Comoros after opposition moves to unseat president.

Burundi begins mass release of prisoners.

Loyalist calls for president to quit fail to end Algeria protests.

Tunisia detains UN Libya arms embargo official.

Congo president allows senators to take office, ending feud with predecessor's camp.

Nigeria court revokes bail for missing separatist leader.

UN food agency launches appeal for Mozambique relief funds.

Cyclone-hit Mozambique fears cholera epidemic.

Trump to host Egypt's Sisi on April 9.

Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah released from jail after five years.


France blocks US trade talks, angering EU: diplomats.

No-deal Brexit fears rise as parliament sinks May's deal.

UK faces new Brexit crisis after lawmakers reject May’s deal.

MPs reject May's EU withdrawal agreement. The Latest: UK lawmakers vote “No” on May’s Brexit deal.

EU Commission says no-deal Brexit on April 12 'likely'.

Ukraine minister: President and rival both bribing voters.

Separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine divides young voters.

Italy coalition in bitter row over sexual violence law.

Germany declines to recognize Juan Guaido's Berlin emissary.

Berlin police carry out massive raids against organized crime.

Kosovo bans ALL gambling for a decade after two casino workers were murdered in a week.


Mueller report to be released by mid-April: attorney general.

Trump threatens to close border with Mexico 'next week'.

Fired-up Trump pushes ‘no collusion’ angle in Russia report. Trump blasts ongoing Dem investigations: 'Ridiculous bulls---'.

Mexico braces for new caravan of Central American migrants.

Trump says will probably talk to Russia's Putin about Venezuela.

Bolton: Russia, others sending troops to Venezuela is 'direct threat' to region's security.

Venezuela crisis: Guaidó banned from office for 15 years.

Google is an unlikely messenger between Trump and Cuba, insider says.

Homelessness rises in Argentina’s capital amid crisis.

Mexico raises alert level after Popocatepetl volcano eruption.


US-led coalition: 1,257 civilians killed in airstrikes against ISIS.

UN Security Council binding resolution makes terror financing a serious crime.

'Life was better under ISIS': Inside the terror group's devastated former stronghold of Mosul where conditions are so bad some desperate locals want the extremists to RETURN.


Markets Right Now: Stocks up broadly; Lyft soars 8.7 percent.

Ride-hailing company Lyft rises in Wall Street premiere.

US, China set to resume 'candid' trade talks in Washington.

Huawei sales top $100bn despite US-led pressure.

Investigators 'believe Ethiopian 737 Max's anti-stall system activated'. Boeing Ethiopia crash probe 'finds anti-stall device activated'.

GOP senator demands info on Google's work in China.

Oil prices on track to see one of best quarters in decade.