Thursday, September 30, 2021

36 Members Of Congress Sign Letter Calling For Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller's Immediate Release For Criticizing The U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan


Daily Mail: 36 members of Congress sign letter calling for Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller's immediate release from grim military brig after he was detained for repeatedly criticizing chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal 

* Hearing for Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller will determine today whether he's released from the Camp Lejeune brig 

* Members of the public and the media are prohibited from observing the high-profile case 

* He was jailed Monday for defying orders to stop posting videos online that condemned Joe Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan 

* Dozens of congressmembers are calling for him to be released from the lockup 

* His hearing was delayed Thursday as prosecutors and Scheller's lawyer seek to reach a resolution 

* A source close to Scheller's legal team say they hope to get him an honorable discharge 

Dozens of congressmembers have demanded the immediate release of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller after he was jailed for defying orders to stop publicly criticizing the nation's Afghanistan withdrawal. 

Scheller, 40, was arrested and jailed at the Camp Lejeune brig Monday for allegedly breaking four military laws by refusing orders to stop posting critical videos on social media. 

He was scheduled to make his first court appearance in North Carolina today, but the public – including elected officials and the media – are prohibited from attending.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller is not going to be released. The leadership want to make an example of him .... Marine officer who criticized military leaders over Afghanistan faces pre-trial hearing (CBS). 

More News On 36 Members Of Congress Signing A Letter Calling For The Release Of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller'  

Republicans demand briefing on jailed Marine officer who blasted military leaders over Afghanistan -- FOX News 

GOP lawmakers call for Marine who criticized Afghanistan withdrawal to be taken out of the brig -- Washington Examiner  

Dozens of lawmakers demand release of Marine lieutenant colonel from pretrial confinement -- Task & Purpose

U.S. Vice-President Harris Is Laying The Groundwork To Be President

Vice President Kamala Harris has added two crisis communications professionals to her staff. REUTERS/Tom Brenner  

Washington Examiner: Harris hires messaging gurus to shore up ‘long-term planning' 

Vice President Kamala Harris has hired two veteran communications aides to help finesse messaging and long-term planning after a rocky first nine months in office for the second-in-command. 

Lorraine Voles, a crisis communications expert, and Adam Frankel, a former Obama speechwriter, worked for Harris during the presidential transition and have extensive experience crafting messages from the White House and the corporate world.  

Read more ....  

Update: Harris reportedly adds crisis, strategic communication vets to her staff (NYPost)  

WNU Editor: She knows that President Biden's days are numbered. She is setting up her own media and communications network independent from the White House.  

Update: Her poll numbers are better than President Biden's .... Harris's poll numbers rise as Biden's fall (The Hill). And Democrats are seeing her as their hope in 2022 .... Democrats see Harris as major player in midterms (The Hill).

Iran State Media Promotes Video Of Vice-President Harris Not Pushing Back On Student's 'Ethnic Genocide' Claim Against Israel

FOX News: Iran state media promotes video of Kamala Harris not pushing back on Israel 'ethnic genocide' claim 

Harris praised student after her remarks: 'Your truth should not be suppressed' 

An Iran state media outlet promoted a clip Thursday of Vice President Kamala Harris praising a student who had just accused the United States of funding Israel's "ethnic genocide" against Palestinians. 

Press TV, an Iran-affiliated international outlet, tweeted out the exchange Harris had at Virginia's George Mason University Tuesday with a female student, who raised questions about U.S. monies provided to allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.  

Read more ....  

Previous Post: No Pushback From U.S. Vice-President Harris Against Student's 'Ethnic Genocide' Claim Against Israel (September 29, 2021).  

WNU Editor: This is a train wreck. And she will be the U.S. President in the next year or two. 

In the meantime the Vice-President's office is in damage control .... Kamala's office does 'damage control' over her support for student who accused Israel of 'ethnic genocide': Harris aides call pro-Jewish groups and lawmakers on anti-Semitism task force to 'clean up' remarks (Daily Mail). More here .... Harris' office does damage control over student’s Israel 'ethnic genocide' comment (Politico).

Lockheed Will Not Comment On Recent Video Exposing Mystery Aviation Technology At Secret Testing Base

Daily Caller: Lockheed Exec Refuses To Comment On Video Exposing Mystery Aviation Technology On Secret Testing Base 

The general manager of Lockheed’s most secretive arm, known as “Skunk Works”, refused to comment Tuesday on a mysterious aviation technology spotted recently at a Lockheed testing facility in the Mojave Desert outside of Palmdale, California. 

A video began making the rounds on Twitter Sept. 22 exposing an oddly shaped, sleek aircraft being loaded onto a flatbed trailer. 

The video was re-posted by Ruben Hofs, an aviation enthusiast, who he says stumbled across it on TikTok.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: As I had mentioned in this post .... Future Fighter Concepts Spotted At Lockheed Martin’s Helendale Radar Test Range (September 25, 2021) .... I thought this was a super top secret site?!?!?!?

China's Future AWACS To Be Unmanned And Integrated For Future Warfare

Photo: China Military  

Global Times: Exclusive: Future AWACS to be unmanned, integrated: designer 

The future airborne early warning aircraft and control system (AWACS) will be unmanned and integrated for future warfare, a major developer told the Global Times on Thursday at the Airshow China held in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province. 

 Zhang Shaofeng, deputy manager of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation, told the Global Times that the AWACS will be a vital element for future warfare, which will require integrated clusters of various types of aircraft. 

This will require AWACS to be unmanned and more intelligent, according to Zhang.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: China has high ambitions to face the the U.S. .... China’s ‘Sniping’ J-20 Jets, A.I. Enabled AWACS — Beijing ‘Unveils’ Its Plan To Puncture US Muscle Power (Eurasian Review).

China Says A New Carrier-Based Fighter Jet Will Be Built

Forbes: Coming Soon—A New Stealth Fighter For China’s New Aircraft Carrier 

The Chinese navy could reveal its new naval fighter this year, officials said at an air show in southern China. 

Observers widely expect this new carrier-compatible plane to be a derivative of the FC-31 stealth fighter that the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation developed for export, but which has never found a foreign buyer. 

It’s apparent, however, that the People’s Liberation Army Navy isn’t counting on the unproven FC-31 to populate the deck of its first supercarrier, the thousand-foot-long Type 003 that’s nearing completion at a shipyard in Shanghai.  

Read more .... 

More News On China Developing A New Carrier-Based Fighter Jet  

New AVIC fighter jet to appear 'before year's end' -- China Daily 

China preps rollout of a new carrier-based fighter jet -- Defense News  

China Is Working on a Next-Generation Fighter Jet for Its Carriers -- Business Insider  

China announces plan to build new carrier-based fighter jet -- Defence Blog

China’s Population Could Halve Within The Next 45 Years

There are now more seniors than children in China. Photo: AP 

SCMP: China’s population could halve within the next 45 years, new study warns 

China's population decline may be much faster than expected, with the number of people in the country halving within the next 45 years, a new study has warned. 

The projection was based on the official birth rate of 1.3 children per woman last year - well below the figure of 2 needed to keep the number stable - and forecast a much more dramatic decline than previous estimates. 

China's current population is over 1.4 billion and in 2019 the United Nations projected that China would still have around 1.3 billion people by 2065.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: When I was living and working in China in the mid-1980s I was told by one of my Chinese hosts that for China to be a superpower in the future, with the territory and resources that it had, it had to have a population around 600 million. It likes that goal is going to be reached before the end of this century.

165 Countries Owe China $385 Billion In Hidden Debt

Photo taken in December 2020 shows the construction site at the Luang Prabang station in Laos, part of the BRI China-Laos railway project. Photograph: Xinhua  

CNBC: Chinese loans leave developing countries with $385 billion in hidden debts, study says 

* AidData, an international development research lab based at Virginia’s College of William & Mary, analyzed 13,427 Chinese development projects worth a combined $843 billion across 165 countries, over an 18-year period to the end of 2017. 

* Researchers found that these nations’ debt obligations to China are larger than international research institutions, credit ratings agencies or intergovernmental organizations estimate. 

China’s Belt and Road Initiative has caused dozens of lower- and middle-income countries to accumulate $385 billion in “hidden debts” to Beijing, a new study has claimed.

AidData, an international development research lab based at Virginia’s College of William & Mary, analyzed 13,427 Chinese development projects worth a combined $843 billion across 165 countries, over an 18-year period to the end of 2017.  

Read more .... 

More News On 165 Countries Owing China $385 Billion In Hidden Debt  

China owed $385bn – including ‘hidden debt’ from poorer nations, says report -- The Guardian  

China owed US$385B in loans from 165 countries, including 'hidden debt' from poor nations: report -- National Post 

US State Dept-Backed Study Claims BRI Partners Have $385 Billion in Unreported Debt to Chinese Banks -- Sputnik

China Pulls Out All Stops To Prevent Winter Energy Crisis “At All Costs”: China Pulls Out All Stops To Prevent Winter Energy Crisis 

China’s central government has ordered state-owned energy companies to do whatever they must to secure energy supplies for this winter, according to Bloomberg sources.

The Vice Premier Han Zheng issued the desperate order at an emergency meeting earlier this week with state-owned asset regulator and economic planning agencies. 

The message was clear: blackouts will not be tolerated, Bloomberg sources revealed. 

But China is already suffering blackouts and coal shortages leading up to the week-long National Day holiday.  

Read more ....

 More News On China's Energy Crisis  

Why China’s power crunch is such a big deal -- CNBC  

China Panics: Beijing Orders Energy Firms To "Secure Supplies At All Costs" -- Zero Hedge  

China's growing power crunch threatens more global supply chain chaos -- CNN  

How bad is China’s energy crisis? -- Phillip Inman, The Guardian  

China power cuts: What is causing the country's blackouts? -- BBC

China, US In Talks On Military Relations

The Chinese and American militaries resumed high-level dialogue in August. Photo: AP  

The Hill: China, US military officials held talks to discuss relations 

U.S. and Chinese defense officials held two days of talks amid strained relations between the two nations, the Pentagon revealed late Wednesday. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Michael Chase led the secure video conference on Tuesday and Wednesday with Maj. Gen. Huang Xueping, deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army’s Office for International Military Cooperation.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I know these talks did not end well when I hear Chinese officials lecturing the U.S. on what they should do .... Chinese military urges US to ‘correct mistakes’ to improve defence ties (SCMP). More here .... China Says US Must Correct Its 'Cognitive Problems' After Tense Military-To-Military Talks (Zero Hedge). 

More News On China - US Talks On Military Relations Amid Strained Ties  

China, US in talks on military relations amid strained ties -- AP  

U.S., Chinese military officials hold 'frank, in-depth' talks -Pentagon -- Reuters  

China Blames U.S. for 'Provocation' That Creates 'Difficulties' for Both Militaries -- Newsweek  

Pentagon holds ‘frank’ talks with Chinese military as Beijing decries ‘back-stabbing’ AUKUS deal -- RT

Border Tensions Rise Between Afghanistan And Tajikistan

DW: Russia says Tajiks, Afghans amassing troops at shared border, urges solution 

Russia's Foreign Ministry reports massive troop deployments and has called on both sides to deescalate. 

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has voiced concern for Afghan personnel who fled the Taliban into Tajikistan. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday claimed to have reports indicating troop deployments by Tajikistan and Afghanistan along those two countries' shared border. 

"We observe with concern growing tensions in Tajik-Afghan relations against the background of mutual harsh statements by the leaders of the two countries. Reports have appeared about the deployment of armed forces by both sides to the common border. 

According to information from the Taliban, tens of thousands of special forces units have been deployed in the bordering [northern] Afghan province Takhar alone," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Zaytsev. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The U.S. defeat in Afghanistan has left a huge vacuum, and in this vacuum all the old animosities and disputes are returning. 

More News On Border Tensions Rising Between Afghanistan And Tajikistan 

Russia urges calm between ally Tajikistan, Afghanistan -- Reuters 

Tajikistan beefs up military presence on Afghan border as tensions rise, Russia urges calm -- FOX News  

Tensions rocket between Taliban and Dushanbe --  

Russia calls for calm amid tensions at Tajikistan-Afghanistan border -- TRT World  

Taliban, Tajikistan embroiled in battle of words, saber-rattling -- Eurasianet

Former CIA Officer Mike Baker's Take On America's Afghanistan Withdrawal


WNU Editor: It is hard for me to trust a CIA officer (former or current). But Mike Baker's take on Afghanistan is spot on.

Study Says Three In Four Venezuelans Live In Extreme Poverty

BBC: Venezuela crisis: Three in four in extreme poverty, study says 

Three in every four Venezuelans live in extreme poverty, a study has said, as a years-long severe economic crisis in the oil-rich nation continues.

Researchers at Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB) linked the increase to both the pandemic and a fuel crisis. 

Since 2014, the country has suffered from shortages of basic supplies and hyperinflation. 

Millions of people are in need of aid. 

The government has not commented but it often says US sanctions are to blame. Critics, however, say the crisis is a result of President Nicolás Maduro's economic mismanagement.

Public services have collapsed, unemployment has soared and the local currency - the bolivar - is almost worthless. 

According to the report, the National Survey of Living Conditions (Encovi), extreme poverty rose to 76.6%, from 67.7% last year. 

Someone is considered to be in extreme poverty when living on less than $1.90 (£1.40) a day.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Venezuela: Over three-quarters live in extreme poverty (NBC/Reuters)  

Update #2: More than 75 percent of Venezuelans now living in extreme poverty (The Hill)  

WNU Editor: These are terrible numbers .... 94.5% of the population (based on income) is in poverty, out of which 76.6% live under extreme poverty. More details here .... Encovi 2021: Venezuela Is The Poorest Country in Latin America (Caracas Chronicle)

Is There A Suicide Epidemic At Fort Drum Army Base?

Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21, Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26, and Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24, assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, all died within two days of each other in mid-September at Fort Drum army base in New York (Pictured: soldiers returning to Fort Drum on Sep. 6 following their exit of Afghanistan)  

Daily Mail: Soldier, 24, who was among last to leave Afghanistan during catastrophic US withdrawal is one of three suspected suicides in two days being investigated at Fort Drum army base 

* Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21, Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26, and Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24, are all believed to have died by suicide within 48 hours of each other 

* Their deaths were announced officially by Fort Drum on September 19 

* Green was one of the last soldiers to return from Afghanistan during the chaotic US exit from Kabul and returned to the army base in New York on September 6 

* Their deaths are currently being treated as separate incidents as each soldier served in different platoons and occupied different roles 

* 'We want to know what didn't we catch. What are we missing?' said the soldiers' commander in a statement 

* The soldiers were all part of the 10th Mountain Division which deployed extensively to Iraq and Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks 

* Many members of the division participated in the US military's withdrawal from Afghanistan last month 

Three soldiers at an army base in New York are suspected to have died by suicide within just 48 hours, with one of them being among the last of the troops to leave Afghanistan just one month ago. 

Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21, Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26, and Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24, assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, all died within two days of each other in mid-September at Fort Drum army base in New York.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Fort Drum investigates three suspected suicide deaths that took place within two days (Army Times)  

Update #2: 3 Soldiers at 10th Mountain May Have Died by Suicide in 2 Days. The Division Is Trying to Figure Out Why. (  

WNU Editor: This is a growing problem throughout the US military .... Suicide spikes 15% among US troops in 2020 from the previous year (USA Today).

Border Tensions Grow Between Iran And Azerbaijan

Jerusalem Post: Tensions grow with Azerbaijan as Iran moves forces to border 

Tensions spiked between Azerbaijan and Iran recently surrounding trade with Armenia and military exercises in the region. 

Tensions spiked between Azerbaijan and Iran in recent weeks after Azerbaijan began targeting Iranian trucks with fines and arrests, and Iran moved military forces to its border with Azerbaijan and warned against Israeli influence near its borders. 

In August, the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry invited the Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, due to "undesirable facts" concerning what it called illegal travel of Iranian trucks to the Karabakh region without the permission of Azerbaijan. 

A statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stated that the new Iranian administration would take steps to end such incidents. 

Read more .... 

 More News On Growing Border Tensions Between Iran And Azerbaijan  

Iran’s army to hold drill near tense border with Azerbaijan -- Arab News/AP 

Iran to Begin Military Exercises Linked to Rivalry With Israel -- Bloomberg  

Iran holds war games near Azerbaijani border -- Eurasianet

IRGC Issues Veiled Warning to Azerbaijan, Says Tehran Won’t Tolerate Israeli Presence Near Borders -- Sputnik  

What is going on between Iran and Azerbaijan? -- Middle East Monitor  

Iran and Azerbaijan on the verge of war? -- Global Village

Ecuador Declares Prison Emergency After 116 Killed In Fighting Between rival Drug Gangs


Daily Mail: Death toll from Ecuador's worst ever prison massacre jumps to 116 as police reveal drug gangs fought using guns and GRENADES with at least six people beheaded 

* At least 116 people have died and 80 have been injured in Ecuador's worst-ever prison riot, president says 

* Fighting broke out between rival drugs gangs on Tuesday morning and was still ongoing Wednesday night 

* Gangsters fought with grenades, guns and knives and death toll may rise further, president announced 

* He blamed Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel - two of the country's most-notorious - for infiltrating local drugs gangs and sparking the violence 

At least 116 people have died in Ecuador's worst-ever prison riot as rival drug gangs fought for two days using guns, grenades and knives, the country's president has revealed. 

Six of those killed at Litoral prison, on the outskirts of the port city of Guayaquil, were beheaded while another 80 were injured in clashes which began Tuesday morning and continued overnight Wednesday. 

Police are still battling to regain full control over the penitentiary, President Guillermo Lasso said at a press conference at 7pm Wednesday, with some 400 officers in full riot gear deployed into the jail.  

Read more .... 

More News On Ecuador Declaring A Prison Emergency  

Ecuador declares prison emergency after scores killed in gang battle, some beheaded -- AP  

Death toll in Ecuador prison riot rises to 116, six decapitated -- Reuters 

Ecuador’s president declares state of emergency after prison battle kills more than 100 -- France 24 

‘Strategy of terror’: 116 dead as Ecuador prisons become battlegrounds for gangs -- The Guardian  

Over 100 killed in bloody Ecuador prison massacre -- CNN

North Korea Wants To Restore Hotline With South Korea


SKY News: Kim Jong Un calls to restore cross-border hotlines between North and South Korea 

Mr Kim's statement is an apparent effort to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington as he wants South Korea to help him win relief from crippling economic sanctions. 

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is looking to restore communication hotlines with Seoul to promote peace. 

 However, he condemned offers of talks from the US as "cunning ways" to hide its hostility against Pyongyang. 

Read more .... 

More News On North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Offers To Reopen Inter-Korean Hotlines  

North Korea seeks to restore emergency hotline with the South -- DW 

Kim Jong-un orders hotline with the South to reopen as he condemns ‘cunning’ US -- The Guardian  

North Korea's Kim Jong-un offers to restore inter-Korean hotline -- BBC  

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un moves to restore communication with South Korea -- FOX News  

North Korean leader says inter-Korean communication lines will be restored in early October -- Korea Times  

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un offers to reopen Inter-Korean hotlines, tells South to drop ‘delusions’ of provocations from Pyongyang -- RT

North Korean Leader Kom Jong Un's Sister Promoted To The Country's Top Governing Body

Ms Kim Yo Jong, a key adviser to her brother, was promoted to a position on the State Affairs Commission.PHOTO: REUTERS  

Daily Mail: Kim Jong Un’s influential sister is promoted to North Korea’s top government body – her highest rank yet 

* Kim Yo Jong, 34, was promoted to a position on the State Affairs Commission 

* Nine members of the commission were fired including one vice-president 

* Yo Jong is often seen in close proximity to her brother and is a key adviser to him 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's influential sister has been appointed to her highest rank yet at the top of the country's government body. Kim Yo Jong, 34, a key adviser to her brother, was promoted to a position on the State Affairs Commission, amid a raft of changes approved by the Supreme People's Assembly, the rubber-stamp parliament. 

No fewer than nine members of the commission were dismissed, including one of its vice-presidents, Pak Pong Ju, and diplomat Choe Son Hui, a rare senior woman in the North's hierarchy who has played a key role in negotiations with the United States. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Regular readers of this blog know that I have always referred to Kim Jong Un's sister as the second most powerful person in North Korea. This appointment only confirms it. 

More News On The Appointment Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's Sister To Top Governing Body  

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader, promoted to nation's top ruling body -- CNN  

Kim Yo Jong: North Korean leader's newly promoted sister -- AFP  

Kim Jong Un's sister joins top governing body -- NHK  

Pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister go viral as she gets promoted to nation's top ruling body -- Times of India  

North Korea: the rise and rise of ‘first sister’ Kim Yo-jong -- The Conversation

Did Russian President Putin Bring An ‘Attractive’ Translator With A ‘Wonderful Figure’ To Distract President Trump At The G20?

Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said interpreters are selected by the Foreign Ministry when requested and that the president has no role in the process. Daria Boyarskaya/east2west news  

RT: Putin brought ‘attractive’ translator with ‘wonderful figure’ to distract Trump at G20 – bizarre claim by ex-White House aide 

Russian President Vladimir Putin brought an attractive female translator to a meeting with Donald Trump at the G20 Summit in Osaka in 2019 as a way to distract his American counterpart, a former White House aide has claimed. 

In her not-yet-published memoirs, Stephanie Grisham claims that Fiona Hill, former Senior Director for Europe and Russia of the National Security Council, observed Putin’s subtle attempt to throw Trump off guard. 

“As the meeting began, Fiona Hill leaned over and asked me if I had noticed Putin’s translator, who was a very attractive brunette woman with long hair, a pretty face, and a wonderful figure,” Grisham writes, according to an excerpt published in The New York Times. “She proceeded to tell me that she suspected the woman had been selected by Putin specifically to distract our president.” 

Read more ....  

Update: Get to know the stunning Russian translator Putin brought to Trump meeting (NYPost)  

WNU Editor: LOL. Putin did not bring an ‘attractive’ translator with a ‘wonderful figure’ to distract Trump at the 2019 G20 summit. She was there to make Putin look good. 

On a personal note. From my experience all the ladies in the Russian Federation foreign ministry are not only very attractive, they are also very very very smart.  

Update #2: Kremlin denies Putin selected ‘very attractive’ interpreter for 2019 Trump meeting (FR24 News).

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

An F-16 "Thunderbird" with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron approaches show center during the third and final day of the Cleveland National Air Show Sept. 6 in Ohio. (Tech. Sgt. Nicolas A. Myers/Air Force)  

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Frontline Photos: Sept. 19, 2021 (Military Times).

All Foreign Spectators Are Banned From The 2022 Beijing Olympics

France 24: International spectators to be barred from Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics 

Tickets for the Beijing 2022 winter Olympics will be sold to spectators from mainland China only, while unvaccinated athletes must spend 21 days in quarantine ahead of the Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday. 

Organisers of the Beijing Games have informed the IOC’s Executive Board 2022 of the principles to deliver “safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as scheduled,” the committee said. 

The Beijing Games start on Feb. 4 and the Chinese capital will become the first to have hosted both summer and winter editions after also staging the Beijing 2008 summer Games.  

Read more .... 

 Update: 2022 Beijing Olympics to ban foreign spectators (The Hill). 

WNU Editor: The Olympic Committee's announcement is here .... Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 - Updates on Spectators, Vaccination and COVID-19 Countermeasures.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Top U.S. General Admits That The U.S. Lost The 20-Year War In Afghanistan

General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded in a stark admission that the US 'lost' the war in Afghanistan  

France 24: US 'lost' the 20-year war in Afghanistan: top US general 

The top US general conceded in a stark admission on Wednesday that the United States "lost" the 20-year war in Afghanistan. 

"It is clear, it is obvious to all of us, that the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms we wanted, with the Taliban in power in Kabul," General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee.

"The war was a strategic failure," Milley told a committee hearing about the US troop pullout from Afghanistan and the chaotic evacuation from the capital Kabul.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I think General Milley is the first top U.S. government official to officially state the obvious.

U.S. CENTCOM General Blames President Trump For Setting Into Motion The Collapse Of The Afghan Army And Government


The Guardian/AP: Top US general says Afghan collapse can be traced to Trump-Taliban deal  

The Doha agreement, signed in February 2020, set a date for the US to fully withdraw troops by May 2021 

The collapse of the Afghan government and its security forces can be traced to a 2020 agreement between the Taliban and the Trump administration that promised a complete US troop withdrawal, senior Pentagon officials have told Congress. 

Gen Frank McKenzie, the head of central command, told the House armed services committee that once the US troop presence was pushed below 2,500 as part of President Joe Biden’s decision in April to complete a total withdrawal by September, the unraveling of the US-backed Afghan government accelerated.

“The signing of the Doha agreement had a really pernicious effect on the government of Afghanistan and on its military, psychological more than anything else, but we set a date – certain for when we were going to leave and when they could expect all assistance to end,” McKenzie said. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Gen. Frank McKenzie says the Doha Agreement signed in February 2020 set into motion the collapse of the Afghan Army and the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. 

So I decided to find out if it is true. 

The metric I looked at were Afghan security forces casualty numbers. 

My rational is that if morale was decreasing for the Afghan security forces, we would have an escalation in Taliban attacks and casualties. 

I quickly discovered that finding these numbers was not easy.

In 2018 the decision was made to classify Afghan Army casualties for security reasons. But I did find one website (link here) that put together a list of what has been disclosed and reported on (image below):

For 2018 I used 3 different sources and I came up with a number that ranged from 7,000 to 10,000 Afghan security forces killed. 

In 2019 7,000 Afghan security forces were killed (link here). 

For 2020 Former Afghan President Ghani said that in the five months after the signing of the Doha agreement, 3500 Afghan security forces were killed (link here). 

For the rest of 2020 I relied on the New York Times casualty reports (link here). 

According to the Times, approximately 2,300 Afghan security forces were killed (from August to the end of December) for a total of 5,700 afghan security forces killed in 2020. 

This 2020 casualty number is a surprise. It is lower than the preceding years. It appears that the Doha agreement did not cause a drop in morale among the Afghan forces, but the opposite, hope that the war may end. 

So when did this all change? 

The casualty count started to increase when President Trump left the White House in January 2021, and it completely explodes after President Biden declared at the end of April that the U.S. was going to leave Afghanistan. April was also the time when the Taliban started to significantly take and expand the territory it controlled. 

Bottom line. 

Contrary to what General McKenzie is saying, the Afghan war was static after the Doha agreement. Casualty numbers were actually going down, and there was no change in the tempo of operations from both sides.

Everything changed  in the spring of 2021. It looks like the Taliban made the decision that should President Biden make it official that the U.S. was leaving Afghanistan, they would then launch an offensive. 

The rest is history. 

The Taliban launched their offensive after President Biden's Afghan withdrawal speech. And while the exact number of casualties during this period is unknown, there is general agreement that Afghan security forces casualty numbers exploded in May, increased even more significantly in June and July, quickly followed by the quick collapse and disintegration of the Afghan Army and government in August.

Afghanistan's Central Bank Had Most Of Its Cash Reserves Drained Before The Country Fell To The Taliban

Men are pictured as Afghanistan's Taliban-controlled central bank seizes a large amount of money in cash and gold from former top government officials, including former vice president Amrullah Saleh, in Afghanistan, in this handout obtained by Reuters on September 15, 2021. Da Afghanistan Bank/Handout via REUTERS  

Reuters: Exclusive-Afghan central bank drained dollar stockpile before Kabul fell - document 

FRANKFURT/MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Afghan central bank ran down most of its U.S. dollar cash reserves in the weeks before the Taliban took control of the country, according to an assessment prepared for Afghanistan's international donors, exacerbating the current economic crisis. 

The confidential, two-page brief, written early this month by senior international economic officials for institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said the country's severe cash shortage began before the Taliban took control of Kabul.  

Read more ....  

Update: Afghanistan's central bank drained most of its cash reserves before the country fell to the Taliban (Business Insider)  

WNU Editor: Aside from the $9.5 billion that is still frozen by the U.S., that few hundred million that resided at the Afghan Central Bank is definitely gone. That is what happens in a country where the culture of corruption is unfortunately very pervasive.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 29, 2021


Meghann Myers, Military Times: Afghanistan probably never stood a chance, reports show 

On July 29, the Pentagon’s independent inspector general for Afghanistan told a group of reporters that with 20 years in and trillions dollars spent, Afghan security forces were not confident enough to do basic route clearance or checkpoint management. 

Two weeks later, the Taliban had taken nearly all of Afghanistan and was preparing to launch its campaign into Kabul, the capital. 

Video would show Afghan forces laying down their weapons as the insurgents rolled into city after city, shocking many, but certainly not everyone. 

 Read more .... 

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 29, 2021  

Blame Biden, Not the Military. The president can’t dodge responsibility for the botched Afghanistan withdrawal. -- Peter Campbell, City Journal 

From hubris to humiliation: America’s warrior class contends with the abject failure of its Afghanistan project -- Greg Jaffe, Washington Post  

What does the Taliban’s return mean for al-Qaida in Afghanistan? -- Jason Burke, The Guardian  

China: Big spender or loan shark? -- Celia Hatton, BBC News  

Why China Crushed Its Tech Giants -- Lavender Au, Wired  

It’s China, Stupid: More voters across the West are caring more about China. In the next round of elections, politicians should, too. -- James Lamond and Jake Morris, Defense One  

Did Australia Need Its Ugly Win in Sub Deal? -- Douglas Bulloch, 1945  

Canada's 'two Michaels' released on bail for 'medical reasons', Chinese state media says, after return of Meng Wanzhou -- Erin Handley and Joyce Cheng, ABC News Australia  

What Fumio Kishida's premiership means for Japan -- Martin Fritz, DW 

Turkey and Russia Zero In on Idlib -- David Lepeska, The National 

The Kremlin’s Strange Victory -- Fiona Hill, Foreign Affairs  

What’s behind the latest dispute between Serbia and Kosovo? -- Al Jazeera  

Venezuela's Endless Crisis -- Moisés Naím & Francisco Toro, Foreign Affairs  

Here’s what cryptocurrencies will look like in 50 years according to experts -- Annie Nova, CNBC

World News Briefs -- September 29, 2021 (Evening Edition)

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said for the first time that the U.S. 'lost' the war in Afghanistan after 20 years of mistakes and missteps as he delivered testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday 

Daily Mail: Gen. Milley admits America LOST the Afghanistan war and top Republican calls Biden 'delusional' for the withdrawal fiasco during humiliating House hearing 

* Biden's top brass returned to Congress on Wednesday for second day of grilling 

* Gen Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: 'The war was a strategic failure' 

* And he said that the Afghan war had been 'lost' as he described 20 years of missteps in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee 

* Milley, Gen Frank McKenzie and Lloyd Austin appeared before Congress 

* Republican Mike Rogers said he wanted answers on their Afghan strategy 

* 'I fear the president may be delusional,' he said about Biden's claim the withdrawal was a success 

* Biden's handling of the withdrawal is under intense scrutiny following last month's withdrawal 

President Biden's top military adviser offered a devastating verdict on the U.S. war in Afghanistan during congressional testimony on Wednesday, saying for the first time that the 20-year conflict ended in defeat. 

Administration officials have repeatedly claimed the conflict achieved its objective of degrading Al Qaeda in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and ensuring Afghanistan could not be used to launch attacks against the U.S. 

But Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a different view.  

Read more .... 


At least 100 killed in clashes for Yemen’s Marib: Military sources. 

Iran, Saudi sides continue tension-easing talks in Baghdad

Rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran hold talks in Iraq. 

Jordan fully reopens main crossing with Syria. 

Royal Jordanian Airlines to resume service to Syria after 9 years. 

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric calls for high voter turnout. 

Shadow contracts, corruption keep the lights out in Iraq. 

Beirut port blast: Victims' families protest at probe's suspension. 

Putin-Erdogan talks in Sochi lasted about three hours


China's foreign minister says AUKUS deal is a danger to regional stability. 

Kiribati President says AUKUS nuclear submarine deal puts Pacific at risk. 

New 'Kim disappearing act'? DPRK head 'absent' during North Korea's 'hypersonic missile test'. 

Taliban: Afghanistan bank boss warns sector near collapse. 

Women barred from Kabul University. 

‘Death knell’: Afghan journalists fear new Taliban media rules. 

China: Widespread power outages hit households, businesses. 

China's energy crisis spreads to Beijing, impacts tech firms Apple and Tesla

Taiwan lawmakers brawl as opposition assails COVID-19 policy. 

Japan to end all COVID-19 states of emergency nationwide this week.  

New Zealand records 45 new COVID-19 cases a week after alert level downgrade. 

Prominent Rohingya leader shot dead in Bangladesh refugee camp

Hong Kong anti-doxxing law passes sparking concerns it could be used to stifle dissent, critics say

2022 Beijing Olympics to ban foreign spectators. 


Egypt leader, Biden adviser hold talks on regional tensions. 

Mali junta’s sovereignty push arouses hope, fear amid troubled anti-jihadist struggle. 

Mali accuses France of abandonment, approaches 'private Russian companies'. 

Sudan: Ethiopian troops 'repelled' after al-Fashaga advance

New jihadist group claims it killed Sudan spies. 

Opposition parties pull out of Ethiopia's elections

Dozens in DRC sexually abused by WHO, other aid workers, investigation finds. 

Libyan military hopes for pullout of foreign forces by end of October — source

Tunisia: Najla Bouden Romdhane named first female PM. 

No new steps to normalise ties with Israel - Sudan FM. 


UK: Soldiers to start driving fuel tankers in coming days. 

EU urges Kosovo, Serbia talk on disputes, lower tensions. 

Angela Merkel congratulates Olaf Scholz on 'election success'. 

EU seeks to tighten Belarus visa rules amid growing migrant crisis. 

Communists sue, say online voting in Moscow was rigged. 

Anger as France slashes visas for Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia

Russia detains cyber-security tycoon Ilya Sachkov in treason case. 

Fishing wars flare in Channel as Jersey rejects French applications. 

Police suspect explosive device set off blast at Sweden apartment building


Biden digs in with fellow Dems seeking deal on $3.5T plan. 

Top US generals say they advised against complete pullout from Afghanistan. 

Ecuador jail: Dozens killed in Guayaquil prison fight. 

Haitian prime minister plans 2022 elections. 

Mexico sends 70 Haitian migrants to Port-au-Prince by plane. 

Hurricane Sam restrengthens into Category 4 storm in Atlantic


 Milley: 'Real possibility' terrorist groups could rebuild as soon as early spring in Afghanistan. 

US-led coalition says raid killed 3 ISIS militants as war in Syria continues. 

US issues Hezbollah-related sanctions in coordination with Qatar. 

Pentagon names ISIS-K 'planner' who was killed in successful August drone strike and claims he was 'directly connected' to suicide attack that killed 13 Americans outside Kabul's airport. 

Mastermind behind Osama bin Laden's escape from US bombing of Tora Bora in 2001 is back in charge of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.  


S&P 500 clings to a modest gain as other indexes end mixed. 

S&P 500, Dow gain amid inflation concerns, debt ceiling debate. 

Trade, tech talks between US and EU open in Pittsburgh. 

From paints to plastics, a chemical shortage ignites prices. 

Wary of China, US and EU forge alliance on technology.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 29, 2021

Alpha Company, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion conducts a live fire exercise at Fort Huachuca. (Photo credit: US Army/Lara Poirrier)  

CSM: After Afghanistan, what kind of wars does Pentagon want to fight? 

As the last of the U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan and closed the books on the longest war in American history, the general consensus seemed to be that politicians won’t be asking the Pentagon to do that again anytime soon. 

The “that” includes sending hundreds of thousands of troops, as was the case at the height of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, to win hearts and minds in a counterinsurgency campaign. 

For 20 years, the U.S. military was enlisted in the laudable if unrealized goal of creating a representative democracy – or at least a tolerably functioning inclusive state. 

Yet the Pentagon’s boots-on-the-ground experience in Afghanistan will nonetheless leave a lasting imprint on military doctrine in ways that will continue to shape its leaders.

That’s even as their focus pivots to what many consider to be the Department of Defense comfort zone of “great power competition” in places like Asia.  

Read more .... 

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 29, 2021  

Key takeaways from US military leaders on Afghanistan withdrawal -- ABC News  

After Afghanistan Pullout, US Seeks NATO Basing, Intel Pacts -- AP 

Five takeaways from senior military leaders' testimony on Afghanistan -- CNN  

Top general acknowledges Taliban offered to let the US handle Kabul security -- The Hill  

Milley says he wouldn't 'tip off the enemy' to 'surprise' plans -- The Hill  

New US Navy task group taps destroyers to focus on countering Russian undersea threat -- Navy Times

New Destroyer Task Force Established To Hunt Russian Submarines In The Atlantic -- Warzone/The Drive 

 US Navy’s Latest Plan for Its Future May Not Come Until 2023, Says Top Admiral -- Defense One  

Army tests MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle at Fort Bragg ahead of fielding -- UPI 

Pentagon document warns the world is moving closer to a nuclear war because Russia and China are developing new nuclear missiles, bombers and submarines -- Daily Mail 

 Smoke from nuclear war would trigger massive climate change -- UPI

3 Soldiers at 10th Mountain May Have Died by Suicide in 2 Days. The Division Is Trying to Figure Out Why. --  

Sens. Gillibrand, Ernst call House defense legislation ‘inadequate’ on military prosecutions -- Politico  

The Space Force Unveils its New, Sci-Fi Worthy Uniform --  

The Space Force Finally Has Its Own Rank Insignia -- Biden hit with backlash over removal of Pentagon’s top nuclear policy official -- Defense News  

Former military intelligence analyst: Biden admin buying Chinese drones 'poses national security threat' -- FOX News 

 Milley: US Should Explore More Military Talks with Russia --  

US Rules Out Redeploying Tactical Nukes to South Korea -- VOA 

 Historic B-2 deployment to Iceland reflects increasing US Arctic focus -- Business Insider  

U.S. Navy, Bahrain partner to ramp up unmanned systems use -- UPI  

US, NATO, Ukraine hold Rapid Trident exercise to practice offensive operations -- TASS  

US Air Force Chief ‘Hyper-Focused’ on Growing China Challenge in Pacific -- Sputnik  

Classified satellite declared lost after China launches twice in 2 hours -- Space News  

Amid Taiwan tensions, China uses air show to spotlight advanced stealth drones, spacecraft -- ABC News Australia  

China has upgraded its best stealth fighter jet with domestic-made engines -- CNN  

China Is Cloning Kratos' XQ-58A Valkyrie Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Concept (Updated) -- Warzone/The Drive  

Russia works on its own orbital station despite possible extension of ISS service — Putin -- TASS  

Sweden to deepen military ties with Norway, Denmark, Swedish TV reports -- Reuters  

Macron says Europe must boost its defence and end its 'naivety' in first remarks since Australia snubbed submarine deal in favour of pact with US and UK - as he agrees warship deal with Greece -- Daily Mail

‘Making Ourselves Be Respected’: Macron Calls For European Army As US ‘Focused on Itself’ -- Sputnik  

N. Korea accuses US of hostility, continues weapons tests -- AP  

India's top court clears way for women to attend elite military academy -- CNN  

Pentagon whistleblower says UFOs have meddled with secret US nuclear weapons facilities and even forced some offline - calling actions a 'global threat' -- Daily Mail  

UFOs Could Be Secret U.S. Military Craft, Says Electromagnetic Drive Inventor -- Forbes  

Are Directed-Energy Weapons Behind the Havana Syndrome? -- Iain Bain, Defense One  

The Cost of Endless War on Military Families -- Alexandra B. Hall, National Interest