Thursday, October 31, 2019

Former CIA Director John McLaughlin: ‘Thank God for the Deep State’

WNU Editor: So much for the media narrative that the Deep State is just a "conspiracy theory". This video is going to be a keeper.

What Is Next For Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigns for the upcoming election in Fredericton, New Brunswick, September 18, 2019. REUTERS/John Morris/File Photo

Reuters: Canada's Trudeau must change to survive with parliamentary minority

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who only narrowly won last week’s national election, must overhaul his approach to governing to guarantee the support of other parties to stay in power, officials and experts say.

Battered by a corporate corruption scandal and the emergence of pictures of him wearing blackface, Trudeau came up 13 seats shy of a majority though he won more than any other party. Afterward, he said he would govern by seeking opposition support on a case-by-case basis.

“We need to draw the lessons from the election and take a conciliatory tone. And we will do that,” said a Liberal strategist who requested anonymity.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am not optimistic that he is going to change. He is not going to compromise on his principles, and he is certainly not going to find some common ground with Western Canada that resoundingly voted against him. I instead expect him to double down on his progressive policies from taxation, open borders, carbon taxes and environmental regulations, and currying favour with specific segments of Canadian society. Canada was divided before the election. I expect it to be even more divided in the future.

Most TV Coverage Of President Trump's Impeachment Coverage Relies On Anonymous Sources

FOX News: Most of broadcast TV's Trump impeachment coverage relies on anonymous sources, study finds

A new study has found that the majority of coverage dedicated to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump is based on reports from anonymous sources.

The Media Research Center revealed on Tuesday that in the month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., formally announced the launch of the impeachment inquiry, 322 minutes of air-time was tallied between ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News with 140 individual news segments. Among those segments, roughly 57 percent "relied at least in part on information from anonymous sources."

Comparing the evening news programs, both "CBS Nightly News" and "NBC Nightly News" tied with approximately 60 percent of their coverage relying on anonymous sources while "ABC's World News Tonight" came in at 54 percent.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The report is here .... STUDY: Most of TV's Impeachment News Pushes Claims by Anonymous Sources (News Busters). Speaking of leaks and anonymous sources. There was no leak of the al-Baghdadi raid. For an administration that is suppose to be filled with leakers, no one leaked anything. No one in the media had a heads up on a operation that was a few weeks in the planning, and involved scores of people. How is that possible? It is moments like this that make me wonder if many of these anonymous sources are even real. They certainly were not around for the al-Baghdadi raid.

Another Chinese Bank Is On The Verge Of Collapse After A Sudden Bank Run

Customers form lines in front of Yichuan bank; photo: WSJ

Zero Hedge: Chinese Bank On Verge Of Collapse After Sudden Bank Run

First it was Baoshang Bank , then it was Bank of Jinzhou, then, two months ago, China's Heng Feng Bank with 1.4 trillion yuan in assets, quietly failed and was just as quietly nationalized. Today, a fourth prominent Chinese bank was on the verge of collapse under the weight of its bad loans, only this time the failure was far less quiet, as depositors of the rural lender swarmed the bank's retail outlets, demanding their money in an angry demonstration of what Beijing is terrified of the most: a bank run.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I saw bank runs in Russia in the early 1990s. It is a terrifying experience.

Update: Major Chinese companies are also going bust .... Credit Crisis Unfolds In China As Steelmaker Default Sparks Contagion Fears (Zero Hedge).

Nancy Pelosi Says Impeachment ‘Isn’t Personal

Townhall: Nancy Pelosi Says Impeachment ‘Isn’t About Anything Personal with the President’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is not because of any personal reasons Democrats may have against him.

Pelsoi said the impeachment inquiry is consistent to what the Founding Fathers had envisioned for the country and the separate, coequal branches of the government.

"In the here and now, we are keeping the republic from a president who says Article II, says I can do whatever I want. Not so. And if so, if you think that is so and you act upon that belief that is in violation of the Constitution of the United States. And so we will proceed with the facts, the truth. It’s about the truth and it’s about the Constitution and we’re working hard to defend our democracy," Pelosi said on Thursday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is both political and personal for her. But she is not the only one. My American friends who support President Trump have all been telling me that what is happening right in Washington is very personal to them.

The Identity Of The Anonymous 'Whistleblower' Who Triggered Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump Is Suspected To Be A Well Known Democrat Activist

Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations: The Beltway's 'Whistleblower' Furor Obsesses Over One Name

For a town that leaks like a sieve, Washington has done an astonishingly effective job keeping from the American public the name of the anonymous “whistleblower" who triggered impeachment proceedings against President Trump — even though his identity is an open secret inside the Beltway.

More than two months after the official filed his complaint, pretty much all that’s known publicly about him is that he is a CIA analyst who at one point was detailed to the White House and is now back working at the CIA.

But the name of a government official fitting that description — Eric Ciaramella — has been raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry. Fearing their anonymous witness could be exposed, Democrats this week blocked Republicans from asking more questions about him and intend to redact his name from all deposition transcripts.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If this report is true, this person should not be working in the CIA or in any other government position where a security clearance is required. I can also understand why House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff does not want the identity of this person (if it is Eric Ciaramella)  to be made public. This person is a partisan Democrat, who was removed from the White House over reports that he was leaking to the media. Talk about having an axe to grind with President Trump. It should also be noted that this Eric Ciaramella has some incredible Democrat contacts and ties ....

Whistleblower had 'professional' tie to 2020 Democratic candidate -- Washington Examiner
Eric Ciaramella, Schiff’s ‘whistleblower,’ has ties to Susan Rice and Joe Biden -- CDN
Anti-Trump Whistleblower Attorney Worked Directly For James Clapper -- The Federalist
Report: Anti-Trump Complainant Eric Ciaramella Worked With Brennan, Biden, and DNC Operative Chalupa -- American Greatness

Latest Impeachment Witness Contradicts The Testimony Of Other Witnesses

Daily Mail: Latest Impeachment Witness: I Wasn’t Worried That Trump Broke the Law With Call

Tim Morrison backed up some details—and disputed others—about the now infamous call with the Ukrainian president. But he did say he didn’t think it crossed a legal line.

Tim Morrison, a senior White House official who listened to President Donald Trump's controversial call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, said he did not worry Trump broke the law on the call. He also said he was not aware of any meaningful material being left out of the White House’s memo on the call.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” he said in a prepared statement to Congress obtained by The Daily Beast.

After the call between Zelensky and Trump took place, Morrison directed that the transcript of it be put on a secret White House server. He said that the memo the White House released about the call is, to the best of his memory, complete and thorough. Another witness, NSC official Alex Vindman, suggested that noteworthy parts of the conversation were missing from the White House’s memo.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You know it was not a good day for those who are looking for evidence to impeach President Trump when they leak out that today's witness testimony was at odds with what the Committee's star witnesses (William Taylor and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman) had previously said. From the above Daily Beast article ....

.... Tim Morrison, a senior White House official who listened to President Donald Trump's controversial call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, said he did not worry Trump broke the law on the call. He also said he was not aware of any meaningful material being left out of the White House’s memo on the call.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” he said in a prepared statement to Congress obtained by The Daily Beast.

After the call between Zelensky and Trump took place, Morrison directed that the transcript of it be put on a secret White House server. He said that the memo the White House released about the call is, to the best of his memory, complete and thorough. Another witness, NSC official Alex Vindman, suggested that noteworthy parts of the conversation were missing from the White House’s memo.

If the transcript according to Tim Morrison is accurate (where there is no mention of a "quid pro quo"), then these reports are wrong .... Impeachment deposition: NSC official corroborates testimony linking Ukraine aid to investigations (CNN). Ex-Trump aide confirms Biden probe sought, says not illegal (AP).

We also learned today that it was this witness, Tim Morrison, who directed with White House lawyer John Eisenberg that the transcript of this call be be put on a secret White House server. My gut tells me that he was uncomfortable with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's push to edit/alter the transcript. After-all. If he felt that it was accurate, why alter it? I am speculating now, but it looks like Tim Morrison wanted to protect the integrity of the call, and that he was not comfortable with what Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman wanted to do with it. Hence Tim Morrison ordered the transcript to the vault. As for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. We know he was upset that his demand to edit the transcript was refused, and that he lodged a complaint. But to me that in itself is strange. I have worked as a UN translator, and there have been instances where there was a difference of opinion on what was said on important discussions. We would make a note of it, and leave it like that. We would not rush and complain to someone. But Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman did! More to the point he even claimed that President Trump was threatening national security?!?!? Who elected  Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to be President? He does not have the mandate to dictate US foreign policy, but the main stream media are circling the wagons around him. Just imagine if this had happened in the Obama administration, and an NSC official objected to President Obama's Iran deal. Would he be accorded the same coverage that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is receiving now? We all know the answer, and it will be a big NO! But that is the state of Washington today.

Editor's Note

A meeting that was suppose to take 1 hour took 5 hours this afternoon. Helping the son of one of my cousins who wants to become a Canadian citizen. Everything worked out in the end. He now has his landed status in Canada. But I am behind in my blogging. I should be up to date on what is happening within the hour.

U.S. House Democrats Back Impeachment Of President Trump In First Vote

Daily Mail: Democrats overwhelmingly back impeachment of Donald Trump in first House vote as they set rules for televised inquiry - as president fumes 'Witch Hunt' and Republicans accuse Speaker of 'Soviet-style' show trial

* House Democrats approved an impeachment inquiry into the president
* 'What is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people,' Speaker Pelosi said
* The vote was 232 in favor with 196 voting no
* 'The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,' Trump tweeted afterward
* Trump spent morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters
* He called on Republicans to stand together and back him
* The resolution outlines how the impeachment investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it
* Republicans complained about the lack of 'due process' for Trump and charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election
* White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry
* The vote comes as Tim Morrison, who was Trump's top adviser for Russian and European affairs, testifies behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry

A divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to begin the next stage of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, taking the investigation from behind closed doors to Americans' television screens with a series of public hearings.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers took to the House floor to engage in a bitter debate over the impeachment process before voting largely along party lines on the resolution.

Democrats focused on their constitutional duty; they talked about following the law and protecting national security interests.

Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings, and accused their colleagues across the aisle of trying to overturn the 2016 election.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not surprised by this vote. It also changes nothing. The process (as is) will continue. The Democrats will run their probe as they feel like it.

On a side note. Many of the top Democrats involved in this impeachment process are from California. But as California fires wage uncontrollably causing untold damage they made the decision to remain in Washington and pursue this impeachment cause. I could be wrong. But if I was from California and I was facing these fires, I would be wondering what is my Congressional representative's priority.

More News On U.S. House Democrats Backing The Impeachment Of President Trump In Their First Vote

House votes to formalize impeachment process against Trump – live -- The Guardian
Trump impeachment inquiry: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
House impeachment resolution passes as Republicans shout 'objection': the latest -- USA Today
Democrats push impeachment rules package through House -- AP
Trump impeachment effort passes first test in split U.S. Congress -- Reuters
Trump impeachment: House votes to formalise inquiry -- BBC
US House paves way for Trump impeachment probe -- DW
US House votes to formalise Trump impeachment process -- France 24
US House formalizes Trump impeachment process in landmark vote -- AFP
Congress approves ‘impeachment’ resolution authorizing Schiff’s secret probe of Trump -- RT
A look at House resolution and next phase of impeachment -- AP

ISIS Confirms The Death Of Its Leader. Names Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi As Its New Chief

ISIS has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured) after the self-appointed 'caliph' died during a U.S. special forces raid in Syria last weekend

Daily Mail: ISIS confirms death of its 'caliph' and names Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as its new chief as it warns America 'not to rejoice' in the death of its leadership

* ISIS confirmed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death in a U.S. special forces raid in Syria
* The terror group vowed revenge and labelled Donald Trump a 'crazy old man'
* The fanatics declared that ISIS is 'now at the forefront of Europe and West Africa'
* New leader is an unknown name which could be a pseudonym, experts say

ISIS has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the self-appointed 'caliph' died during a U.S. special forces raid in Syria last weekend.

In an audio statement today the terror group announced Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as its new leader - an unknown name which could be a pseudonym.

Vowing revenge, the jihadists labelled Donald Trump a 'crazy old man' and told America not to 'rejoice' at Baghdadi's death.

'We mourn you... commander of the faithful', said new ISIS spokesman Abu Hamza al-Quraishi.

Read more ....

More News On ISIS Confirming The Death Of Its Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Islamic State confirms Baghdadi dead, vows revenge -- Reuters
Islamic State names new leader after death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- The Guardian
IS names Baghdadi successor, threatens US: statement -- AFP
Islamic State names its new leader -- BBC
IS names Baghdadi successor, threatens US: statement -- France 24
ISIL confirms death of leader al-Baghdadi, names new chief -- Al Jazeera

Human Rights Watch: CIA-Backed Afghan Troops Guilty Of 'War Crimes'

The Guardian: CIA-linked unit accused of atrocities in Afghanistan

Document details 14 deadly raids by pro-government units with support of US intelligence

The Afghan soldiers who swept through Kulalgo village one late August night shot three of Dr Ulfatullah’s relatives carefully, a single bullet through their left eye, faces otherwise untouched as blood pooled below their bodies on the floor of the family home.

The last killing was less precise, and left the face of university student Ansarullah badly disfigured. His family thought perhaps he had heard the muffled gunshot that ended a cousin’s life, and briefly tried to struggle against his captors.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Human Rights Watch report is here .... Afghanistan Atrocities by CIA-Backed Forces: Daily Brief (Human Right Watch).

More News On Today's Human Rights Watch Report Stating That CIA-Backed Afghan Troops Are Guilty Of 'War Crimes'

CIA-backed Afghan troops 'committed war crimes': report -- BBC
CIA-trained Afghan forces behind war atrocities, Human Rights Watch says -- NBC
CIA-backed Afghan Forces Committed 'Serious Abuses' Including Summary Executions and Forced Disappearances, Report Finds -- Newsweek
HRW: CIA-Trained 'Death Squads' Behind Afghan War Crimes -- VOA
CIA-trained Afghan forces 'committed war crimes,' report -- DW
Human rights group: CIA-backed Afghan troops guilty of 'war crimes' -- UPI
CIA-backed Afghan forces possibly committing war crimes: HRW -- Al Jazeera
CIA-backed Afghan forces committed war crimes during operations -- War Is Boring
A CIA-Backed Militia Targeted Clinics in Afghanistan, Killing Medical Workers and Civilians -- The Intercept

World News Briefs -- October 31, 2019

Reuters: Trump impeachment effort passes first test in split Congress

BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S. armored vehicles were seen on Thursday near the Syria-Turkey border in a part of northeastern Syria where they had not been observed since early October when Washington announced the withdrawal of American forces, according to a witness and Reuters video footage.

A military source from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) described the movement as a patrol running between the towns of Rmeilan and Qahtaniyah, which is 20 km (12 miles) to the west. The source said it would “not be a one-time” event.

The witness saw the U.S. military vehicles outside the town of Qahtaniyah, roughly 6 km (4 miles) south of the border.

Read more ....


Fierce clashes erupt between Syrian army, Turkish-led forces.

'Best bad option': Syria Kurds brace for regime return.

US-Turkey alliance in downward spiral as Congress mulls sanctions.

Iraq president says PM willing to quit, vows poll after new law.

Khamenei says US stoking 'chaos' amid Iraq, Lebanon protests.

Lebanon protesters fight on amid political deadlock.

Lebanon's Hezbollah, France call for new government.

U.S. envoy for Iran says Tehran spent $16 billion on 'militias' in Iraq, Syria: Al Arabiya.


N. Korean leader sends condolences to Moon over mother's death.

Pompeo says U.S. must confront China's Communist Party.

Mongolia arrests 800 Chinese citizens in cybercrime probe.

Indian Kashmir officially loses its autonomy, with flag and constitution thrown out. Modi’s government strengthens hold on India-administered Kashmir.

Afghan woman politician sees Taliban talks as only hope for future.

Halloween protests in Hong Kong: police fire tear gas in Mong Kok, Central and Sheung Wan as people denounce alleged force brutality and march against mask ban.

At least 73 dead in Pakistan after fire burns commuter train.

Fire rips through Shuri Castle on Japan's Okinawa island, destroying historic buildings.


Frontline clashes ebb and flow as Libya's war hits impasse.

At least 78 people killed in Ethiopian protests last week: prime minister's office.

Guinea counter-rally backs president's constitutional bid.

South Sudan declares state of emergency in flood-hit areas.

Italy to renew deal with Libya to block migrants.

Sisi suggests floating Egypt military firms on stock exchange.

Record 45 million people in southern Africa facing food crisis: U.N. agencies.


Spain offers to host COP25 climate change summit after Chile's withdrawal.

Brexit: UK political leaders clash in campaign bid. British election campaign kicks off on no-Brexit day.

Offering 'real change', UK Labour's Corbyn vows to oust Conservatives.

Nord Stream 2: Go-ahead for Russian gas pipeline angers Ukraine.

Spain election campaign starts with Catalonia as battleground.

Angela Merkel visiting India to bolster ties amid China's growing clout.

EU leaders face legal action over Czech PM's alleged conflict of interest.

Migrants in Greece living in 'horrible' conditions, says Europe rights watchdog.


House approves Trump impeachment procedures.

Trump slams 'witch hunt' after House impeachment vote.

Bolton will not voluntarily testify, says his lawyer.

Firefighters battle new blazes in California.

OAS begins Bolivia election audit after street clashes turn deadly.

Bolivia's post-election clashes turn deadly as two are killed.

Oil production paralyzed as Venezuela's electricity crisis worsens.


ISIS names new leader, confirming al-Baghdadi's death – reports.

Pentagon: Islamic State still dangerous despite Baghdadi's death.

US official predicts Islamic State will replace slain leader.

Pentagon releases images of al-Baghdadi raid.

Pentagon: US on alert for possible 'retribution attacks' following al-Baghdadi raid.


Quarter of world's pig population 'to die of African swine fever'.

Vauxhall fears after car giants Fiat and PSA announce merger.

Saudi Aramco flotation 'coming soon'.

Boeing grounds dozens of 737 'NG' models after cracks found.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 31, 2019

Three reports from the Pentagon very accurately describe the rapid growth and modernization of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. U.S. Department of Defense

National Interest: Report: China Wants the World's Best Military By 2049

Very bad news.

Chinese leaders have laid out a plan for deploying the world’s best-armed forces no later than 2049. If the United States is to prevent China from becoming the world’s leading military power, it needs a plan of its own.

That’s the sobering warning in a new report for the Center for a New American Security by former deputy defense secretary Robert Work and co-author Greg Grant.

Chinese leaders’ resolve hardened in 1991 as they watched the U.S.-led coalition pummel Iraqi forces with seemingly ceaseless barrages of precision-guided munitions.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 31, 2019

China says hopes U.S. will 'stop abusing concept of national security' after reports of grounded drones -- Reuters

China says it won’t sit back if US deploys intermediate range missiles in Asia -- SCMP

Taiwan invites US to help gauge its military strength as analysts warn of growing threat from mainland China -- SCMP

Taiwan ready to buy A1M2T Abrams tanks from U.S. -- UPI

US has woken up to how ‘truly hostile’ China is towards Western values, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- SCMP

US military conducts Syria border patrol as troops, tanks arrive -- Al Jazeera

About 900 US Servicemen May Stay in Syria After Pull Out From Country - Reports -- Sputnik

Think Tank Unveils Report Card on US Military Strength --

A CIA-Backed Militia Targeted Clinics in Afghanistan, Killing Medical Workers and Civilians -- The Intercept

CIA-backed Afghan troops 'committed war crimes': report -- BBC

Northrop’s $3 Billion B-2 Upgrades Lagging by Almost Three Years -- Bloomberg

B-52 piece falls off in-flight, lands in British woman’s garden -- Air Force Times

F-16 crashes at Holloman; pilot ejects -- Air Force Times

SecNav Again Blasts Huntington Ingalls On Ford Carriers -- Breaking Defense

Parris Island Marines to start training with next gender-integrated boot camp class -- Marine Times

Here’s the robotic vehicle that will carry equipment for US troops -- Defense News

US soldier dies in non-combat incident at Camp Taji, Iraq -- Army times

No Trump Politics In Picking Microsoft For $10B JEDI Contract: DoD CIO -- Breaking Defense

Trump identifies 'Conan,' military dog in Baghdadi raid, says she will visit White House -- FOX News

Trump awards Medal of Honor to Green Beret for his actions in Afghanistan -- The Hill

US Mulls Attacking Peripheral Territories of Russia and China as Possible Deterrence Option – Report -- Sputnik

US forces could learn from intense electronic war battle in Ukraine -- Shawn Snow, Military Times

Trump's Russia ambassador nominee say US hasn't withdrawn from surveillance flight treaty -- The Hill

Russia preparing new ballistic missiles -- including 'Satan-2' -- UPI

Russia, Egypt join in air defense exercise Arrow of Friendship -- UPI

North Korea fires two missiles towards the sea, the South's military reveals -- Daily Mail

South Korea develops new maritime surveillance radar for ships, aircraft -- UPI

Japan gets US nod for $4.5 billion F-15 upgrade package -- Defense News

Japan approved for $4.5B upgrade package for its F-15Js -- UPI

U.S. House Debate & Vote On Impeachment Inquiry Resolution

WNU Editor: This vote is split along the party lines. And is there public support for this? .... New poll poses serious questions about Democrats' impeachment drive (Byron York, Washington Examiner). More here .... AP-NORC Poll: Trump approval steady as impeachment rages (AP).

North Korea Fires Two 'Ballistic Missiles' Into The Sea of Japan

CNN: North Korea fired 2 unidentified projectiles, South Korea says

North Korea fired two "unidentified projectiles" into the waters between South Korea and Japan on Thursday afternoon, the South Korean government said in a statement.

It is unclear what exactly was launched, but South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military "is maintaining its readiness by monitoring relevant movements in preparation for further launches."

Japan's Coast Guard said in a statement "it appears that North Korea has launched a missile" and advised ships to avoid the area.

If confirmed as a missile test, it would be the first by Pyongyang in nearly a month and the 12th since May. The country said it tested a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile on October 2. Experts voiced concern over that event because it was the first missile test by North Korea in some time that didn't involve a shorter-range weapon.

Read more ....

More News On North Korea Firing Two 'Ballistic Missiles' Into The Sea of Japan

North Korea fires two 'ballistic missiles' into Sea of Japan -- BBC
North Korea Fires 2 Missiles After Complaining About Stalled Nuclear Talks -- Time/AP
North Korea launches two suspected missiles after warnings to Washington -- Reuters
N. Korea fires two short-range projectiles toward East Sea: JCS -- Korea Herald/Yonhap
North Korea fires 2 missiles amid stalled denuclearization talks, officials say -- FOX News

Russia's Newest Nuclear Submarine Test-Fires Intercontinental Ballistic Missile For The First Time

ABC News Online: Russian nuclear submarine test fires intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time

Russia's most advanced nuclear-powered submarine has test-launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time and hit a target thousands of kilometres away, the Defence Ministry says.

The test was carried out on Wednesday (local time) from the Knyaz Vladimir submarine, a Borei 955A-class vessel submerged in the White Sea near Russia's Finnish border.

Carrying a fake payload, the missile hit a test site in Russia's far-east region of Kamchatka near the Bering Sea, according to the ministry.

The submarine is the first upgraded 955A model to be produced in the Borei class of Russian nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

Read more ....

More News On Russia's Newest Nuclear Submarine Test-Firing An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile For The First Time

Russian latest nuclear-powered sub test-fires Bulava missile for first time during trials -- TASS
Russian Nuclear Sub Test-Fires New ICBM -- Moscow Times
Russia's Newest Nuclear Submarine Successfully Tests-fires Missile as It Flexes Military Might in the Arctic -- Newsweek
Russia's new submarine test-fires ballistic missile -- DW
Russia test-fires missile from new nuclear-powered submarine -- BBC
Russian Nuclear Submarine Fires Intercontinental Missile For First Time -- RFE
Russian nuclear sub successfully test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile, government claims -- FOX News

The U.S. Navy Is Backing Away From Its 355-Ship Plan

Warzone/The Drive: The Navy Is Backing Away From Its 355-Ship Plan, Has Invested Too Much In Too Few Hulls

Navy officials are increasingly looking at distributed fleets of lower-cost ships with a heavy emphasis on unmanned platforms.

The U.S. Navy appears to be backing away from an extremely ambitious plan that emerged earlier this year to reach the goal of a fleet with 355 ships within the next 15 years. The service's senior leadership has said that, unless their budget increases dramatically, they are looking at a fleet of between 305 and 310 ships in the near-to-mid-term. They say they will have also have to find a way to drive down the costs of buying and operating vessels, including focusing more on unmanned vessels, to realize real growth beyond the current 290-ship fleet after years of spending increasingly more on fewer ships.

Read more ....

Update: Navy admiral: A 355-ship Navy may not be attainable (UPI)

WNU Editor: The money is just not there.

The 2020 Index Of U.S. Military Strength Has Been Published

Defense News: The grades are in for America’s military strength

WASHINGTON — America’s investments in military readiness are paying off, particularly for the Army, but its armed forces would be stretched dangerously thin if they participate in more than one large war at the same time.

That is the conclusion of the Heritage Foundation’s “2020 Index of U.S. Military Strength,” the think tank’s annual review of the past year’s defense policy issues. The Index assesses the global operating environment and U.S. military strength. It ranks all topics on a five-tiered scale of “very weak,” “weak,” “marginal,” “strong" and “very strong.”

This year’s index is the rosiest of the six that the Heritage Foundation — seen as influential on the Trump administration and congressional Republicans — has issued. Defense News was given an exclusive interview with Dakota Wood, a senior research fellow at the think tank who edited the 500-page report. The full document was released Oct. 30 and can be read here.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The complete report is here .... 2020 Index of U.S. Military Strength (Heritage Foundation).

The U.S. Air Force WAnts To Develop, Test And Field 21st-Century Fighter Jet Within Five Years.

Wisconsin ANG

Washington Times: Air Force looks for high tech fixes to 'geriatric' fleet of fighters in race vs. China

State of U.S. air power called 'geriatric

The Air Force believes it can develop, test and field a sophisticated 21st-century fighter jet within five years.

Five years after that, the plan is to do it all again.

In its quest to incorporate tomorrow’s technology into today’s airplanes, the Air Force is embarking on one of its most sweeping overhauls in decades, moving away from reliance on expensive programs that produce jets expected to last 50 years or longer and toward a fleet with a variety of aircraft, each with a specialized mission and a much shorter runway life.

The service’s Digital Century Series — the successor to the Century Series program, which ran through the 1950s and early 1960s — calls for a revolutionary partnership between the Pentagon and private industry. It demands that military contractors draw up plans, conduct all necessary research and development, and deliver combat-ready planes to the Air Force within five years.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is not going to be easy. There is now so much tech involved in planes that changing it on a dime while making sure that all the other systems are going to work together .... sighhh .... in my experience it is usually the most expensive option. And as for the Air Force now looking at having throw-away equipment that has a projected life span of 5 or 10 years. If the past and current situation is any indication, they will actually try to wring 20 or 25 out of it because of costs. One other note when it comes to a government program .... expect any government program to take twice as long to deliver half of what was promised, at a minimum of four times the estimated cost.

The U.S. Navy Is Converting Its Amphibious Assault Ships Into F-35 Mini-Carriers

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chad Swysgood

Washington Times: Navy eyes converting amphibious assault ships into nimble F-35 carriers

The U.S. Navy is looking to the past for a possible solution to its current aircraft carrier problems.

Borrowing an idea employed in World War II, the service is seriously looking at retrofitting smaller ships normally used to transport Marines into battle. Instead of troops, the new “Mini Carriers” would have a squadron of F-35B Lightning II jet fighters.

“I have a demand for carriers right now that I can’t fulfill,” Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said Wednesday in a briefing for reporters at the Heritage Foundation.

While aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of the Navy’s forward-deployed military strategy, they are expensive. The U.S.S. Gerald Ford — the first in the Ford class of supercarriers — cost about $12 billion.

Mr. Spencer said the U.S. military’s combatant commanders want the overwhelming combat power aircraft carriers give them.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When your entire east coast aircraft carrier fleet is in port for repairs/upgrades, you better look for alternatives .... All Six Of The US Navy’s Aircraft Carriers Assigned To The East Coast Are In Port For Repairs (October 30, 2019). Using the fleets amphibious assault ships as a mini-carrier does show some promise .... Behold USS America Sailing With A Whopping 13 F-35Bs Embarked Aboard (Warzone/The Drive).

The Cost Of The F-35 May Be Going Down, But The Cost To Fly It Is Not

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Charles Plouffe

Popular Mechanics: The F-35 Is Cheap To Buy (But Not To Fly)

With a new purchase order, the F-35 reaches its lowest cost yet.

* The latest purchase deal for the F-35 reduces the price 13 percent over three years.
* The savings are the result of bulk buys and increased production efficiency.
* Despite the cost savings, the F-35 still costs about twice as much to fly per hour than its non-stealthy equivalents.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s price tag is falling about 13 percent over the next three years, the result according to Lockheed Martin, of “smart acquisition strategies, strong government-industry partnership and a relentless focus on quality and cost reduction.” Despite falling purchase costs, the cost to actually fly the jet remains high, at double or more the cost of other fighters.

F-35 purchases are made in lots, with the U.S. government negotiating on behalf of the Pentagon and overseas partners with jet manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The agreement, announced today, covers Lots 12, 13, and 14, for purchases made in 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When I started this blog there were two concerns about the F-35 program. The cost to buy one of them .... and the operational/support costs. I do not see the operational costs going down any time soon (or in the future).

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

A demonstrator attacks a riot police vehicle during an anti-government protest in Santiago, Chile October 30, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Raging street protests grip Chile (Reuters).

Pentagon Finalizes $34 Billion Deal For 478 F-35s. Price Per Jet Will Now Be Below $80 Million

Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, (rear to front) AF-2, AF-3 and AF-4, flies over Edwards Air Force Base in this December 10, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin. Darin Russell/Courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Handout via REUTERS

Fort-Worth Star-Telegram: Lockheed Martin lands $34 billion contract to build nearly 500 F-35 fighter jets

The Department of Defense has signed off on a $34 billion contract to buy 478 F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin.

The fighter jets will come in three versions — the F-35A for the Air Force, the F-35B for the U.S. Marine Corps and the F-35C for the U.S. Navy.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is built in the heart of my district, is the world’s most capable and lethal aircraft,” U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, and the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

Read more ....

More News On The Pentagon Finalizing A $34 Billion Deal For 478 F-35s

In newly inked deal, F-35 price falls to $78 million a copy -- Defense News
Pentagon And Lockheed Martin Agree To Big Cost Reduction On F-35 Fighters -- Forbes
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter program gets $34 billion Pentagon contract, its biggest yet -- CNBC
Pentagon announces $34 billion deal with Lockheed Martin for F-35 jets -- The Hill
F-35 Readiness Rates Soar, From 55% To 73%; Price Drops 12.8% -- Breaking Defense
Pentagon announces F-35 jet prices for next three years -- Reuters
Pentagon Finalizes $34 Billion Deal for Another 478 F-35s --
Pentagon, Lockheed reach $34B deal for 478 F-35s as price per aircraft drops -- UPI
BREAKING: Pentagon, Lockheed Reach $34 Billion Megadeal for F-35 Production -- National Defense
Price of F-35 Falls, But Not as Much As Pentagon Hoped -- Defense One

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

North Korean Malware Found On Indian Nuclear Plant's Network

File photo of the Kundankulam nuclear power plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Photo: International Atomic Energy Agency

Asia Times: Cyberattack scare dogs India’s nuclear plants

Claims of major move by North Korea-linked group on Kudankulam facility have exposed country’s vulnerabilities

Two days ago a well-known cybersecurity researcher sent alarm bells ringing when he claimed that he had found a data dump that indicated India’s newest nuclear power plant had been hacked. As the Indian government scrambled to come up with a response, cybersecurity researchers across the globe began to sift through the data looking for clues.

India has a number of nuclear power plants across the country.

The fact that the nuclear power plant had ostensibly been hacked was also known to Pukhraj Singh, a respected Indian cybersecurity professional who had also served in India’s technical intelligence agency, the NTRO (National Technical Research Organization). The NTRO is India’s equivalent of the US National Security Agency. Singh left a few years ago and has been working on cyber-threat intelligence as a private consultant for a few years. It was Singh who pointed to the independent security researcher who had posted details of the hack on Twitter.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These installations are suppose to be super-secured. Someone was sloppy.

More News On North Korean Malware Found On AnIndian Nuclear Plant's Network

Indian nuclear power plant’s network was hacked, officials confirm -- Ars Technica
Malware found on nuclear power plant's network, Indian officials reportedly confirm -- CNet
Confirmed: North Korean malware found on Indian nuclear plant's network -- ZDNet
Malware attack on Indian nuclear plant: Dtrack, created by North Korea's state-sponsored Lazarus group, detected -- IBTimes

U.S. Air Strikes In Afghanistan Are Increasing In Afghanistan

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft takes off for a nighttime mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, August 22, 2017. Josh Smith, Reuters

CNN: US ramped up strikes in Afghanistan following collapse of Taliban peace talks

The US military ramped up the number of air and artillery strikes it conducted in Afghanistan during the month of September following the collapse of the peace talks with the Taliban after President Donald Trump canceled a Camp David summit with the insurgent group on September 7.

US troops carried out 1,113 air and artillery strikes during the month of September, according to statistics released by the US military compared to 810 such strikes in August and just 465 strikes in September of 2018.

"We had peace talks scheduled a few days ago. I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great American soldier from Puerto Rico and 11 other innocent people. They thought they would use this attack to show strength. But actually, what they showed is unrelenting weakness. The last four days, we have hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before, and that will continue," Trump vowed at a Pentagon ceremony marking the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

In that four-day period referenced by Trump the US conducted some 153 strikes between September 8 and September 11, according to the data.

Read more ....

Update: Almost 40 strikes every day in Afghanistan last month (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism).

WNU Editor: In all fairness the Taliban have launched multiple attacks in the past few months thereby resulting in these U.S. air strikes. There is no question in my mind that the war has exploded this year, and the Taliban are now more confident than ever that they are winning the war .... peace talks or no peace talks.

Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center: ISIS Has ‘A Lot Of Options’ To Attack Western Interests

US News and World Review: ISIS Remains Potent, Deadly Despite Baghdadi’s Death, Top Spy Says

The acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center says the Islamic State group has ‘a lot of options’ to attack Western interests.

Killing the Islamic State group's founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will have little effect on preventing the terrorist network from conducting future attacks, the top U.S. official for counterterror operations said Wednesday.

"There's no question that the losses over the weekend were significant to ISIS," Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a congressional panel, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. "At the same time, it's a deep bench."

Despite a consistent U.S.-led campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria that effectively dismantled its so-called caliphate, the number of fighters in those countries aligned with the group has grown in the last five years from a low point of roughly 1,000 fighters, Travers told the House Homeland Security Committee. As many as 14,000 extremists remain there now, with roughly 2,000 in Syria from foreign countries.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  When it comes to radical Islam, I have learned one thing over the years. Never underestimate them. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be dead, but the ideology that he was a part of is still alive and very active.

Pentagon Declassifies Video Of Raid That Killed ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Daily Mail: Pentagon releases incredible footage of Abu Baghdadi raid that shows Delta Force commandos storming his compound as helicopters hit fighters with heavy fire before obliterating his base in a bombing raid

* Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr released the videos on Wednesday
* Shows aerial view of Delta Force raid that led to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death
* Depicts special forces breaching the compound and engaging with fighters
* Shows US forces returning fire at ground combatants who fired at helicopters
* Another video shows the drone missiles leveling the compound after the raid

The Pentagon has released footage showing the raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, commander of U.S. Central Command, released the footage at a press conference on Wednesday at the Pentagon.

McKenzie was the operational commander of the Delta Force raid, which took place on Saturday in northwest Syria, and resulted in the death of Baghdadi after the terror leader detonated a suicide vest to avoid capture.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I would not have declassified this video.

More News On The Pentagon Declassifying Its Video Of The Raid That Killed ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

U.S. releases Baghdadi raid video, warns of likely retribution attack -- Reuters
Pentagon releases new details on al-Baghdadi raid -- AP
US releases first images of al-Baghdadi raid and warns of 'retribution attack' -- France 24
Pentagon releases first images from US mission that led to ISIS leader’s death -- CNBC
Pentagon releases first images from raid that killed ISIS leader -- CNN
Pentagon releases video of raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- FOX News
Pentagon releases video showing US special forces approaching al-Baghdadi compound -- ABC News
Pentagon releases video of raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Islamic State compound in Syria -- ABC News Online
US releases footage, provides more detail on al-Baghdadi raid -- Al Jazeera
Pentagon reveals details, video of fast, violent raid that killed ISIS leader Baghdadi -- USA Today
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: US releases first images of raid on compound -- BBC
Baghdadi raid video released as US general warns of Isis reprisal attacks -- The Guardian
Video: Pentagon Holds Briefing on Baghdadi Raid, Releases Surveillance Footage -- Sputnik
‘Brought to justice’: Pentagon declassifies al-Baghdadi raid VIDEO & DETAILS, confirms ISIS leader’s mutilated body buried at sea -- RT
U.S. Central Command released video of al-Baghdadi raid -- Spec Ops Magazine

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 30, 2019

US President Donald Trump talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan. Photo: AFP

M.K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times: Trump and Turkey: Is a grand bargain in the making?

The US President may have a chance to help engineer a lasting peace between the Kurds and Ankara

The morning after a summit meeting often holds surprises. Turkey lost no time to follow up on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hugely successful but “difficult” talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi on October 22.

On October 23, Ankara formally conveyed to Washington Erdogan’s decision that the Turkish military was stopping combat and ending the offensive in Syria codenamed Peace Spring, and making permanent the ceasefire agreed with the United States during the visit by Vice-President Mike Pence on October 17.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 30, 2019

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's True Legacy -- Scott Stewart, RCW

Baghdadi’s death will change jihadi landscape -- Faisal Al Yafai, Asia Times

Protests in Iraq and Lebanon pose a challenge to Iran -- Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Joseph Krauss, AP

Exclusive: How Lebanon's Hariri defied Hezbollah -- Laila Bassam and Tom Perry, Reuters

The Making of Lebanon’s October Revolution -- Helen Sullivan, New Yorker

Trump’s trade wrath turns on Thailand -- Shawn W. Crispin, Asia Times

Make China Great Again: Xi’s Truly Grand Strategy -- Andrew Erickson, War On the Rocks

Boris Johnson Gets His Christmas Election -- The Economist

Hungary’s Orban: Good relations with Russia are a necessity -- Pablo Gorondi, AP

Assessing Zelenskiy’s First Six Months -- Oleksiy Goncharenko, Atlantic Council

Return of Peronism - and Cristina - raise hopes in Argentina -- Almudena Calatrava, AP

The real cause of the protests in Chile is institutional breakdown -- Crescente Molina, CAPX

Santiago Under Siege -- Andrés Velasco, Project Syndicate

China’s Advance Into the Antarctic -- David Fishman, Lawfare