Thursday, November 30, 2023

Report: Pentagon Facing A Funding Crisis

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. meet with the Speaker of the House Mike Johnson at the Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Nov. 1, 2023. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cesar J. Navarro) 

Politico: ‘We’re taking it out of hide’: Pentagon says it has no money for Middle East buildup  

Under the temporary budget, funding is frozen at the previous year’s levels. 

The Defense Department has ordered an additional aircraft carrier strike group, air defenses, fighter jets and hundreds of troops to the Middle East since the surprise terrorist attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, in an effort to prevent the conflict from spiraling into a regional war. 

The problem: Congressional dysfunction means the Pentagon has no money to pay for the buildup. 

The military, like the rest of the federal government, is operating under a temporary funding measure that freezes spending at the previous year’s levels. And because the Middle East troop movements weren’t planned, the Pentagon has had to pull money from existing operations and maintenance accounts, DOD spokesperson Chris Sherwood said. President Joe Biden signed the stopgap measure this month to keep the government open until lawmakers can agree on a full-year spending bill. 

Because DOD had to hunt for funds, that means less money for training, exercises and deployments the military had already planned for the year. Some contractual payments could be delayed, Sherwood said.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Military to Curtail Recruiting and Duty Station Moves if Congress Resorts to a Yearlong Stopgap Budget, Joint Chiefs Chairman Warns (Military.com)  

Update #2: Top US general warns lawmakers of funding crisis (RT)  

WNU Editor: Some are not buying the Pentagon story that they are running out of money .... Pentagon enlists Politico to amplify funding woes claim (Responsible Statecraft).

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Says The OSCE Is ‘On The Brink Of Abyss’. Western Diplomats Walk Out

 

Euronews: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashes out at NATO and the West  

Lavrov told a meeting of OSCE ministers in North Macedonia that the organisation was an "appendage" of NATO and the EU, before walking out. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed out at NATO, the EU, Ukraine and the West during a fiery speech on Thursday. 

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Lavrov derided the international body as an "appendage" of the EU and NATO. He also blamed “NATO’s reckless expansion to the East” for war returning to Europe before tearing into the OSCE itself.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: There is no common ground right now between Russia and the West. 

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Says The OSCE Is ‘On The Brink Of Abyss’. Western Diplomats Walk Out  

Russia's foreign minister faces Western critics at security meeting and walks out after speech -- AP  

Russia's Lavrov Addresses OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting -- Sputnik

 OSCE ‘on the brink of abyss’ – Lavrov -- RT  

US, EU sanctions war against Russia 'shut door' on cooperation — Lavrov -- TASS 

Lavrov calls attempts to fast-track EU admission of Zelensky-run Ukraine shameful -- TASS  

OSCE Understands Impossible to Discuss Europe’s Fate Without Russia -- Sputnik

How The War In Ukraine Will End

 

WNU Editor: John Mearsheimer's analysis on how the Russia - Ukraine war ends mirrors my own with one exception. I agree that this war is going to drag on for a long time and the cost to Ukraine (and for Russia) will be many magnitudes greater than what it has been so far. But it will end not in a frozen conflict. The war will end with someone on the Ukraine side being forced to sign a document that will unconditionally accept all of Moscow's terms and conditions.

Democrat Party Has No Biden Backup Plan If He Should Decide To Halt His 2024 Re-Election Campaign

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks In the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House complex in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein  

Reuters: Democrats have no Biden backup plan for 2024, despite age concerns 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Democratic Party has no Plan B if President Joe Biden decided for any reason to halt his 2024 re-election campaign, and a sudden need to replace him as its standard-bearer would spark a messy intraparty battle. 

Despite weak poll numbers and questions, including from some Democrats, about his age, Biden has stuck to his plan to seek a second term after clearing the field of serious Democratic primary challengers when he announced in April that he was running again. 

Even if more Democratic candidates were to jump in now, the path forward would be unclear as deadlines to get on the primary ballot in critical states such as Nevada, South Carolina and Georgia have already passed. 

Biden loyalists, citing his record in office, argue that the party does not need a backup plan to defeat probable Republican nominee Donald Trump, who Biden beat in the 2020 election.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I guess the Democrats feel confident that these polls are going to reverse their direction before the election .... The Polls Keep Getting Worse For U.S. President Biden (November 25, 2023).

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- November 30, 2023 (Videos)

 

WNU Editor: A lot of updates today.

Satellite Images Indicate China Is Upgrading Its Air Bases For War Over Taiwan

 

WNU Editor: China is also upgrading its submarine fleet .... China-Taiwan: Beijing's new attack submarine could change the game (The Telegraph).

Opec+ Agrees To An Additional Supply Cutback Of 1 Million Barrels Per Day

 

Reuters: OPEC+ agrees to voluntary oil output cuts, invites Brazil to join  

OPEC+ announces no new group cut target for 2024 

London/Moscow/Dubai: OPEC+ oil producers on Thursday agreed to voluntary output cuts approaching 2 million barrels per day (bpd) for early next year led by Saudi Arabia rolling over its current voluntary cut, delegates told Reuters. 

 Saudi Arabia, Russia and other members of OPEC+, who pump more than 40 per cent of the world's oil, failed to agree a group cut at a virtual meeting on Thursday but members did go along with voluntary cuts. 

Oil prices fell after rising by more than 1 per cent earlier in the session after OPEC+ producers agreed to the cuts. Benchmark Brent crude for February futures were down 1.6 per cent to $81.52 a barrel at 1747 GMT. 

The front-month January contract is due to expire on Thursday. OPEC+ also invited Brazil, a Top 10 producer, to become a member of the group. The country's energy minister said it hoped to join in January.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Opec+ members extend voluntary output cuts amid crude demand concerns (National Post)  

Update #2: OPEC+ Production Cuts Fail to Convince Oil Traders Amid Lack of Detail (Bloomberg)  

WNU Editor: All of these production cuts are voluntary. My prediction still holds that it will be next year that we are going to see real production cuts to keep the price at the current levels.

Israel-Hamas Truce Extended For Another 24 Hours

 

Daily Mail: Israel-Hamas truce is EXTENDED for another 24 hours as two sides strike last-minute hostage deal - while anguish continues for Kfir Bibas's family as they await confirmation the baby, his brother and mother are dead 

* Truce was extended by another day with just minutes to spare early this morning 

* But the family of baby Kfir face agonising wait for confirmation of his death 

With just minutes to go before a six-day ceasefire was set to expire, Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to continue the pause in an effort to free the remaining hostages. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement that 'a short time ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue.' 

The announcement followed a last-minute standoff earlier Thursday, with Hamas saying Israel had rejected a proposed list that included seven living captives and the remains of three who the group said were killed in previous Israeli airstrikes.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I will be surprised that after today this truce is extended for another day or two. 

 Israel-Hamas Truce Extended For Another 24 Hours  

Live updates: Two Israeli hostages are released after Israel and Hamas extend their cease-fire -- AP 

Israel-Hamas war: Truce extended, new hostage list sent -- DW  

Live Updates: Israel-Hamas truce extended to a seventh day -- CNN  

Israel-Gaza war updates: Hamas and Israel agree to extend truce for a seventh day – as it happened -- ABC News Australia  

French nationals among 11 freed hostages as Gaza truce is extended -- France 24 

Israel-Hamas war: ceasefire extended for a day amid last-minute mediation efforts -- The Guardian  

Two more Israeli hostages are freed, Israel’s military says, after the cease-fire was extended -- AP  

Hamas hands over two female hostages, others expected after truce extended -- Reuters  

Two women hostages are released from Gaza and returned to Israel, with more due to be freed today as part of Hamas truce deal -- Daily Mail  

Hostages expected to be released at different times and places today -- Times of Israel

Henry Kissinger, US Secretary Of State Under Presidents Nixon And Ford, Dies At 100

 

Daily Mail: Henry Kissinger dies aged 100: Former US Secretary of State passes away at home in Connecticut 

* Kissinger, who was a foreign policy behemoth throughout Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford's presidencies, passed away at his home in Connecticut 

* Born as Heinz Alfred Kissinger in May 1923, he moved to the United States with his family in 1938 to escape the Nazis 

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at the age of 100. 

Kissinger, the foreign policy behemoth throughout Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford's presidencies, passed away at his home in Connecticut, his consulting firm said. 

In a statement, Kissinger Associates announced: 'Henry Kissinger, a respected American scholar and statesman, died today at his home in Connecticut.' 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It looks like he died in his sleep. 

Some are rejoicing in his death .... Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies (Rolling Stone). More here .... Rolling Stone dances on Henry Kissinger's grave with brutal 'good riddance' headline: 'Finally, the war criminal is dead' (Daily Mail). 

Others are sending their tributes .... Putin pays tribute to 'old friend' Henry Kissinger calling him a 'wise and farsighted statesman' in personal telegram to his widow Nancy (Daily Mail). More here .... 'The world has lost a great diplomat': Tributes from world leaders praise Henry Kissinger as a 'giant of history' including China who hail him as a 'good friend' (Daily Mail). 

Henry Kissinger, US Secretary Of State Under Presidents Nixon And Ford, Dies At 100  

Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100 -- AP  

Henry Kissinger, top US diplomat in Cold War, dies aged 100 -- BBC  

Henry Kissinger death – latest: Holocaust survivor who became most influential US diplomat dies at 100 -- The Independent 

Henry Kissinger: tributes to ‘old friend’ and ‘giant of history’ mix with criticism of controversial legacy – live -- The Guardian  

Henry Kissinger, diplomat who helped to reshape the world, dies at 100 -- Politico 

Henry Kissinger, dominant U.S. diplomat of Cold War era, dies aged 100 -- Reuters  

Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state who shaped decades of U.S. policy, dies at 100 -- NBC 

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dead at 100 -- FOX News  

Henry Kissinger, former top US diplomat, dies at 100 -- DW  

Former US secretary of state and controversial Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger dies aged 100 -- ABC News Australia  

Global leaders pay tribute to Henry Kissinger, but his record also draws criticism -- AP 

‘A towering figure’: world leaders pay tribute to Henry Kissinger -- The Guardian  

Kissinger's final warning: Statesman said Israel's war with Hamas could engulf the Arab world and that the international order was in danger in October interview -- Daily Mail  

Henry Kissinger was a trusted confidant to President Nixon until the bitter, bizarre end -- AP  

How Kissinger became the nexus of US political foreign policy: From negotiating with the USSR to back channel talks with China and a Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Vietnam War -- Daily Mail 

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger played a key role in escalating the Vietnam War. After, he said, there were 'not very many lessons' -- ABC News Australia  

Henry Kissinger profiled by DOMINIC SANDBROOK: The shy, stammering refugee who became one of the world's most powerful men (and dated some of Hollywood's most beautiful women) -- Daily Mail  

Death of Henry Kissinger: From WWII refugee to the nexus of US political power -- France 24

Five things to know about Henry Kissinger, a dominant figure in global affairs in the 1970s -- AP

Taiwan's President Says China Unlikely To Invade Due To Numerous Economic, Financial And Political Challenges

 

The Guardian: Taiwan president says China has too many problems to invade  

Tsai Ing-wen says economic, financial and political challenges overwhelm Xi Jinping’s government, with international pressure also a deterrent 

Taiwan’s president has said China is unlikely to attempt an invasion any time soon because it is “overwhelmed” by domestic problems. 

Tsai Ing-wen made the remarks in an interview at the New York Times Dealbook Summit. 

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a province of China, and has vowed to annex it under what it terms “reunification”. Xi has repeatedly said he hopes for a peaceful takeover, but has not ruled out the use of force. Taiwan’s government and population overwhelmingly reject the prospect of Chinese rule. 

Asked about Xi’s hopes for a “peaceful” unification, Tsai on Wednesday said she believed the Chinese leadership was “overwhelmed by its internal challenges”.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I concur with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's analysis. Taiwan is very very important to Beijing. But there are currently bigger and more immediate issues on Beijing's plate that need to be addressed first. 

Taiwan's President Says China Unlikely To Invade Due To Numerous Economic, Financial And Political Challenges  

Taiwan’s President Says China Is Too ‘Overwhelmed’ to Invade -- Bloomberg  

Taiwan president: China too 'overwhelmed' to consider invasion -- Reuters  

Taiwan leader says China invasion unlikely for now -- AFP 

China risks take center stage at DealBook summit -- Axios News

Tsai says China unlikely to invade Taiwan amid internal struggles -- Taiwan News

The Most Incredible Video Clip You Will Watch Today!

 

WNU Editor: This is probably the best video that I have seen in years. The entire video with Elon Musk at the New York Times DealBook Summit 2023 is below. 

 

Update: On a side note. Disney's Bob Iger who pulled his company's ads from Twitter was in the audience. Not surprising. He had to respond (video here).

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Accuses The Opposition Party Of Being Against Christmas While Claiming 'We Stand With Christmas'

WNU Editor: I live in Canada. All that I can say is that my friends who still support Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau want no discussion of the Prime Minister or on Canadian politics during the Christmas season.  

Update: The poll numbers show a disaster for the Liberal Party if an election will be held soon (video here).

Update #2: The insanity continues. The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)is now claiming that Christmas (and Easter) is discriminatory against religious minorities .... Is Christmas ‘racist’? Why the question came up on Parliament Hill (Global News).

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Russian Defense Spending Set To Increase By Almost 70% In 2024 From 2023

FILE - Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev, front right, speaks to Russian military members during his visit at a military training range in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sept. 15, 2023. (Pool Sputnik via AP)  

VOA: Russian Military Will Get Lion's Share from Kremlin's Robust Budget 

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a national budget for the next three years that increases spending by around 25% and reportedly devotes a robust amount to defense as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags on. 

The budget foresees spending in 2024 of $415 billion with an expected deficit of $9.5 billion. 

After the budget was passed by the lower house of the parliament, Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said it was developed specifically to fund the military and to mitigate the impact of international sanctions imposed on Russia after its Ukraine invasion in February 2022.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is definitely a war time budget. 

Russian Defense Spending Set To Increase By Almost 70% In 2024 From 2023  

Putin signs Russia’s largest national budget, bolstering military spending -- AP 

Putin Approves Big Military Spending Hikes for Russia's Budget -- Reuters  

Russia approves record spend for military in new budget -- Africa News

CIA Issues Social Media Guidelines After A Senior Official Shared A Pro-Palestinian Post

The photo of a man waving a Palestinian flag that was shared on the Facebook page of a senior CIA official (Photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda/Unsplash)  

Daily Mail: Top CIA official posted pro-Palestine picture on Facebook two weeks after Hamas' terror attack on Israel as Biden faces mutiny from within 

 * Top intelligence chief changed profile pic to Palestinian flag two weeks after the October 7 attack that claimed 1,200 Israeli lives 

 * Previously she had posted a selfie with the words 'Free Palestine' superimposed 

 * Comes as hundreds of White House officials reject President Biden's official line and demand ceasefire in Gaza 

A growing revolt within the Biden administration at his handling of the Israel-Hamas war has reached the top ranks of the CIA after a top analysis chief changed her Facebook profile to a Palestinian flag. 

More than 400 administration staff signed an anonymous letter earlier this month demanding the President seek an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. 

Another 1,000 employed by the US Agency for International Development echoed the call, but State Department officials have refused to crack down on the dissent, instead holding 'listening sessions' with staff as unrest grows.  

Read more .... 

CIA Issues Social Media Guidelines After A Senior Official Shared A Pro-Palestinian Post

Israel-Palestine war: Senior CIA official posts, then removes Pro-Palestine content -- Middle East 

Senior CIA official posted pro-Palestine image on her Facebook page -- Financial Times  

CIA issues guidelines after senior official shares pro-Palestinian post -- Times of Israel 

Pro-Palestine Facebook post sparks CIA warning -- Al Jazeera

OPEC+ Considering New Oil Production Cuts

 

Wall Street Journal: OPEC+ Mulls New Oil Production Cuts Amid Middle East Conflict 

OPEC and its Russia-led allies are considering new oil production cuts of as much as 1 million barrels a day, delegates said Wednesday, despite tensions in oil markets amid the conflict in the Middle East. 

The move, which would likely send oil prices higher, could be announced Thursday at a virtual meeting of the cartel. The meeting, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed over disagreements about production. 

A deal for further cuts isn’t assured, and the prospect is facing significant resistance within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. A rollover of most existing output curbs is the most likely scenario, the delegates said, but talks are continuing.  

Read more ....  

Update: OPEC+ oil producers head into meeting with quota unease and geopolitical risks casting a shadow (CNBC) 

WNU Editor: I am still betting on OPEC+ imposing deep production cuts next year for the sole purpose of influencing/impacting the US Presidential election.

UN Report Says Gang Violence Spreading To Haiti’s Rural Regions

Former police officer Jimmy "Barbecue" Cherizier (not pictured), leader of the 'G9' coalition, is accompanied by Security during a march against Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 19, 2023. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol/File Photo © Thomson Reuters  

CNN: Gang violence spreading to Haiti’s rural reaches, UN report says 

A UN report released Tuesday details a wave of violence that has swept Haiti’s rural reaches, describing gang raids on villages and alarming levels of food insecurity caused by the targeting of farmers in the country’s historic breadbasket. 

The report, from the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Integrated Office in Haiti, offers a stark analysis of the spread of gangs in the poor Caribbean nation, which has seen deepening unrest since the 2021 assassination of then-President Jovenel Moise.

Past attention has largely focused on Port-au-Prince, the capital, where warring gangs have forced thousands of people from their homes and into makeshift encampments across the sprawling city. In Bas-Artibonite, the focus of the UN report and the center of Haitian rice production located some 100 kilometers from the capital, there are now more than 20 “extremely violent” criminal groups fighting for turf, it says. Some 1,690 people were killed, injured, or kidnapped from January 2022 through last month, the report also says. 

Read more .... 

UN Report Says Gang Violence Spreading To Haiti’s Rural Regions 

Haiti: Gangs move into rural areas as TΓΌrk says new force 'must be deployed' -- UN News Center  

Haiti: UN report says gang violence spreading, urges speedy deployment of multinational security mission -- OHCHR  

UN warns that gang violence is overwhelming Haiti's once peaceful central region -- AP  

Haiti Gang Wars Now 'Cataclysmic' in Key Farmlands -UN Report -- Reuters  

Haiti’s gang wars having ‘cataclysmic’ impact on access to food staples -- The Guardian

Palestinian Prisoners Freed By Israel Describe Their Imprisonment

 

CBS: Young Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel describe their imprisonment and their hopes for the future 

The temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, already extended for two days with the prospect of a further extension being discussed, has seen the Palestinian militant group release dozens of hostages in return for Israel freeing some 180 Palestinian prisoners. 

Among the Palestinians released so far is 17-year-old Ahmed Abu Na'im, who served 12 months in jail for, he says, throwing stones during clashes with Israeli security forces at a protest. Israel charged him with throwing stones as well as "a bomb or incendiary device," which he denies. It was his third arrest in one year. 

"They arrest people randomly," Na'im told CBS News in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the larger of the two Palestinian territories. "They accused (me) of things I did not commit."  

Read more ....  

Previous Post: Freed Hamas Captives Tell Families On What Life Was Like While Being Held By Hamas 

Palestinian Prisoners Freed By Israel Describe Their Imprisonment  

Jailed without charge: How Israel holds thousands of Palestinian prisoners -- Al Jazeera 

Israel-Palestine war: Freed Palestinian children say fellow prisoners were 'tortured to death' -- Middle East

'Israeli army beat us': Freed Palestinian boy narrates ordeal in prison -- TRT World

North Korea Now Claiming Its First Spy Satellite Is Taking Pictures Of The White House

 

Bloomberg: North Korea Claims Spy Satellite Took Photos of White House  

North Korea claimed its first spy satellite put into space, which was launched into orbit last week, has taken photos of the White House, Pentagon and nearby US naval stations. 

The prominent US sites add to a list of areas North Korea claims to have photographed using its reconnaissance probe that was launched on Nov. 21. 

The state’s official media said leader Kim Jong Un has seen the latest images along with previous photos of Rome, Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, Pearl Harbor and the US Navy’s Carl Vinson aircraft carrier. 

South Korea salvaged one of North Korea’s spy satellites after a failed launch earlier this year and concluded the technology had little value as a reconnaissance probe. 

While Seoul believes any North Korean satellite would be rudimentary at best, such technology could help Kim’s regime in its targeting as it steps up its ability to deliver a nuclear strike.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The U.S. is sending out he message that they do not care (see video below). 

 

North Korea Claims Its First Spy Satellite Is Now Taking Photos Of White House  

North Korea says new spy satellite snooped on the White House, Pentagon -- Reuters  

North Korea says spy satellite photographed White House, Pentagon -- The Hill  

North Korea says its satellite photographed White House, Pentagon -- NYPost

CIA And Mossad Chiefs In Qatar To Discuss Extending The Israel - Hamas Truce

 

Al Jazeera: CIA, Mossad chiefs meet in Qatar as Israel-Hamas truce is extended 

Talks between US and Israeli spy agencies in Qatar, which is key mediator, include issue of captives held in Gaza. 

The heads of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad have met in Qatar to discuss the extension of a truce between Israel and Hamas as well as the captives being held by the Palestinian group in Gaza. 

 CIA Director William Burns and David Barnea, head of the Mossad intelligence service, held talks with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani on Tuesday, a day after Doha announced a two-day extension of an original four-day humanitarian pause in Gaza that had been due to expire.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I am not optimistic that this truce is going to be permanent. 

CIA And Mossad Chiefs In Qatar To Discuss Extending The Israel - Hamas Truce  

CIA director in Qatar for talks on more hostage releases -- Axios  

CIA Director in Doha to Talk Israel-Hamas and Hostages -- VOA  

CIA and Mossad chiefs fly to Qatar for talks on extending Gaza truce amid further hostage releases -- The Guardian  

CIA director returns to Qatar for hostage talks with Israeli and Egyptian counterparts -- CNN  

Mossad, CIA chiefs meet Qatari PM to discuss Gaza truce future -- Daily Sabah

 CIA chief flies to Qatar for Israel-Hamas truce talks -- The Telegraph

Freed Hamas Captives Tell Families On What Life Was Like While Being Held By Hamas

 

BBC: Freed Hamas captives tell of fear, squalor and hunger 

Bare benches for beds in "suffocating", airless rooms. Little to no food. A child captive forced by Hamas to watch the carnage of 7 October on video. 

Stories emerging from those freed from Gaza - mostly through their relatives - paint a picture of weeks spent in squalor, uncertainty and fear. 

One hostage, Ruti Munder, 78, said she learned her son had been killed in Israel by listening to a radio used by guards. 

Deborah Cohen claimed her 12-year-old nephew was made to watch videos of the Hamas rampage through southern Israel.  

Read more .... 

 Freed Hamas Captives Tell Families On What Life Was Like While Being Held By Hamas

Freed Israeli hostages tell families of beatings and death threats -- Reuters

Stories of torture, torment revealed by Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas terrorists -- FOX News  

Newly freed hostages describe what life was like while being held by Hamas -- NBC 

Families of released Israeli hostages describe what Hamas captivity was like for loved ones -- Yahoo News  

Hamas hostages returning to Israel detail life in captivity -- ABC News Australia  

Hamas forced 12-year-old boy hostage to watch footage of October 7 attack and threatened children including Emily Hand with rifles if they cried, relative reveals as they are freed -- Daily Mail

US Military Osprey Aircraft With 8 Aboard Crashes off Southern Japan, 1 Dead

 

FOX News: US military aircraft carrying 8 crashes off coast of Japan, 1 dead: report 

The V-22 Osprey aircraft crashed off Yakushima Island in Japan 

A U.S. military V-22 Osprey aircraft with eight people aboard crashed off the coast of western Japan on Wednesday, according to a report from The Associated Press. 

The Japanese Coast Guard said the crash site is off Yakushima Island and patrol boats and aircraft have been deployed to the location for search and rescue efforts. 

At least one person was killed in the crash, coast guard officials said. Gray-colored debris believed to belong to the Osprey were located by the Japanese Coast Guard about 0.6 miles off the coast of the island, The AP reported. The report initially said eight people were on board.  

Read more .... 

US Military Osprey Aircraft With 8 Aboard Crashes off Southern Japan  

US military Osprey aircraft with 8 aboard crashes off southern Japan, at least 1 dead -- AP  

U.S. military Osprey aircraft crashes into ocean off Japan's coast killing at least 1, official says -- CBS News  

US Osprey crashes off Japan, killing at least 1 crew member -- The Hill  

US military aircraft crashes off Japan's coast, officials say -- ABC News  

At least one dead after U.S. military aircraft crashes off coast of Japan -- Axios  

CV-22B Osprey Tilt-Rotor Crashes Off Japanese Coast -- CNBC

Is Spending Billions On Overseas Wars Good For U.S. Employment And The Economy?

U.S. airmen from the 60th Aerial Port Squadron load cargo onto a Boeing 757 Jan. 22, 2022 at Travis Air Force Base, California. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $5.4 billion in total assistance to Ukraine, including security and non-security assistance. (Nicholas Pilch/Air Force)  

Zero Hedge/Epoch Times: US Spends Billions On Overseas Wars, But Who Really Benefits? 

Fears over incentivizing global conflicts are rising as the Biden administration requests more than $105 billion in supplemental security spending. 

The administration says the money, primarily for Israel and Ukraine, will be good for the economy. 

President Joe Biden has described the mammoth spending package as “a smart investment” that will “pay dividends” to U.S. security interests. 

Likewise, Assistant Secretary of State James O’Brien described the supplemental as “a very good bargain.” 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the money will “flow through our defense industrial base, creating American jobs in more than 30 states.”  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: I support Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy Jr. on this one .... 

.... “Creating jobs is a poor excuse for a foreign policy that wreaks mayhem around the world,” Mr. Kennedy told The Epoch Times in an email.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

NATO Secretary General Urges NATO Allies To 'Stay The Course' On Ukraine

 

Reuters: Stoltenberg urges NATO allies to 'stay the course' on Ukraine 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg urged members of the alliance on Tuesday to "stay the course" in supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia's invasion as both the United States and European Union struggle to agree on further military aid. 

"It's our obligation to ensure that we provide Ukraine with the weapons they need," Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived for a gathering of foreign ministers from NATO countries at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels. 

"We just have to stay the course. This is about also our security interests," the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said. His remarks come as the fate of a $60 billion U.S. military aid package proposed by the Biden administration is in limbo due to opposition from some Republicans in Congress.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: This is not reassuring news. By telling everyone to stay the course tells me that a number of NATO states do not want to stay the course. 

NATO Secretary General Urges NATO Allies To 'Stay The Course' On Ukraine  

NATO Secretary General at EU Parliament: stay the course on Ukraine -- NATO 

NATO's Stoltenberg Says Ukraine, Gaza Are Very Different Wars -- Reuters 

NATO chief says Ukraine will join the military alliance, subject to reforms, after the war -- Euronews  

Stoltenberg ‘Confident’ of Continued US Support for Ukraine -- VOA 

NATO Allies Vow To Stay Firm On Arming Ukraine -- Barrons

 NATO set to finalize Ukraine's membership recommendations this week, says Stoltenberg -- The New Voice of Ukraine

Citing National Security Over Migrant Surge Finland Closes Its Border With Russia For Two Weeks

The Guardian: Finland closes entire border with Russia after tensions over asylum seekers  

Temporary closure comes after Finnish intelligence suggested Russia was helping asylum seekers reach the border 

Finland has announced it is temporarily closing its entire border with Russia after weeks of tensions between the countries over asylum seekers that Helsinki has labelled a “hybrid operation” by Moscow. 

With just 24 hours’ notice, the Finnish government said on Tuesday it would close Raja-Jooseppi in Lapland, its last remaining border crossing point with Russia, on Wednesday night. 

The highly unusual move, which follows the closure of its eight other crossing points, means the entirety of the 830-mile land border between Finland and Russia will be closed until 13 December.  

Read more .... 

 Citing National Security Over Migrant Surge Finland Closes Its Border With Russia 

 Finland to close entire Russian border after migrant surge -- BBC  

Finland will close Russian border for 2 weeks to stop asylum seekers -- Reuters

Finland To Close Entire Border With Russia To Stem Flow Of Asylum Seekers -- RFE 

Finland to close all borders with Russia after migrant surge -- Euronews 

Finland to close last operating checkpoint on Russian border -- CNN  

Finland draws line in Arctic snow, closing entire border with Russia as it alleges threat to national security -- ABC News Australia

New York Times: Israel Is Killing Palestinian Civilians In Gaza At A Historic Pace

New York Times: Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace 

Even a conservative assessment of the reported Gaza casualty figures shows that the rate of death during Israel’s assault has few precedents in this century, experts say. Israel has cast the deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip as a regrettable but unavoidable part of modern conflict, pointing to the heavy human toll from military campaigns the United States itself once waged in Iraq and Syria.

But a review of past conflicts and interviews with casualty and weapons experts suggest that Israel’s assault is different. 

While wartime death tolls will never be exact, experts say that even a conservative reading of the casualty figures reported from Gaza shows that the pace of death during Israel’s campaign has few precedents in this century. 

People are being killed in Gaza more quickly, they say, than in even the deadliest moments of U.S.-led attacks in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, which were themselves widely criticized by human rights groups.  

Read more ....  

Update: Israel Is Using US-Provided Weapons to Kill Palestinian Civilians at a Historic Pace (Antiwar.com)  

WNU Editor: Many are seeing this as revenge against the Arabs in Gaza. According to some reports the White House may soon draw some "red lines" .... Joe Biden's Israel Red Lines Are Taking Shape (Newsweek). More here .... Worried About Optics Of 1000s Of Dead Gazans, White House Belatedly Seeks To Reign In Israeli Operations (Zero Hedge).

Is Turkey Violating Russian Sanctions?

Haydarpasa Port, Turkey. V&A Dudush (CC BY 3.0) 

 Euronews: Turkey faces scrutiny as exports to Russia surge, fuelling concerns of sanctions evasion  

Turkey's significant increase in exports of critical goods to Russia sparks fears of sanctions evasion, leading to urgent diplomatic discussions and potential ramifications for Turkey's relations with NATO. 

Turkish exports of essential goods to Russia, crucial for Moscow's military production, have experienced a significant spike in 2023. 

This surge has intensified worries about potential sanctions circumvention, with the United States and the European Union actively seeking to curb Russia's access to dual-use goods through third-party nations.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Turkey's exports of military-linked goods to Russia soar (Financial Times) 

Update #2: Soaring Turkish Exports of Military-Linked Goods to Russia Raise Western Concerns – FT (Moscow Times)  

WNU Editor: Much to the displeasure of some, Europe is still buying Russian natural gas via through Turkey .... Europe Is Getting Record Amounts of Russian Gas Through TurkStream. So Who Keeps Trying to Blow It Up? (Naked Capitalism).

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- November 28, 2023 (Videos)

 

WNU Editor: A lot of updates today.

Wife Of Ukrainian Military Intelligence Chief Budanov ‘Poisoned’ By Heavy Metals

Ukraine's Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov and his wife Marianna attend a memorial ceremony.(Reuters: Viacheslav Ratynskyi)  

RFE: Officials Confirm Wife Of Ukrainian Military Intelligence Chief Budanov, Others Poisoned 

KYIV -- Ukrainian officials have confirmed reports that Marianna Budanova, the wife of the chief of the country's military intelligence service, had been poisoned with "heavy metals" and is in hospital for treatment, in what appears to represent the most serious targeting of a family member of Ukraine's leadership since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022. 

Andriy Yusov, an official at the GUR military intelligence agency, confirmed earlier media reports on November 28 that Budanova, the wife of Kyrylo Budanov, had fallen ill and is under treatment for poisoning. 

"Marianna Budanova was indeed poisoned by heavy metals. She is now undergoing a course of treatment, which is already coming to an end," Yusov told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.  

Read more .... 

WNU editor: My gut tells me that he was the primary target, not his staff and wife. 

Wife Of Ukrainian Military Intelligence Chief Budanov ‘Poisoned’ By Heavy Metals  

Ukraine spy chief’s wife undergoes treatment for suspected poisoning with heavy metals -- AP  

Ukraine spy chief's wife Marianna Budanova ill in suspected poisoning -- BBC  

Ukraine says wife of spymaster Budanov was poisoned -- Reuters 

Ukrainian military spy chief’s wife ‘poisoned’ -- The Telegraph  

Wife of Ukraine's military intelligence head hospitalised after suspected poisoning -- ABC News Australia  

'Poison assassination attempt on Ukrainian military chief's wife leaves her seriously ill in hospital' -- Daily Mail

Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Says Russia Has 4 Priorities In The Current War

Oleksandr Lytvynenko  

The New Voice of Ukraine: Ukraine’s foreign intel head paints harrowing picture of Russia’s plans, list’s Top 4 priorities 

The Kremlin has an aggressive plan for the future and is currently solving four tasks, Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service head, Oleksandr Lytvynenko, said in his column for Interfax-Ukraine on Nov. 22. 

Task No. 1 is to ensure internal stability, mobilize the population and economy, and increase the production of weapons and military equipment. 

 "The Kremlin has so far ensured economic stability and control over socio-political processes," Lytvynenko wrote. 

“The political field has been cleared: the liberal and far-right (so-called "turbo-patriots") opposition has been destroyed or marginalized.” 

 By 2026, Russia's military production should support large-scale high-intensity hostilities, and in 2028, the aggressor should restore the military capabilities it had as of 2022, Lytvynenko says. 

"This is what the Russian budget for 2024-2026 is designed for," he wrote.  

Read more ....  

Update: Russia believes key to victory is internal destabilisation in Ukraine, Head of Foreign Intelligence Service says (Ukrainsa Pravda)  

WNU Editor: I agree with his first two points on what is Russia's approach towards the war. But his attempt to instill fear among Russia's neighbors that they are next is not producing the result that he is hoping for. These countries are more focused on increasing their defenses, and will not intervene directly in the current war.

Did Ukraine President Zelensky Just Buy Two Mega-Yachts Through His Friends?

Strategic Culture: It Pays to Be Friends With Zelensky: How $75m Yachts Reveal the Huge and Sudden Wealth of the Ukrainian Leader’s Inner Circle 

In the heart of Eastern Europe, where the tumult of war clashes with the allure of Western support, a seismic scandal unfolds, casting a long shadow over Ukraine’s leadership. President Volodymyr Zelensky, once seen as a beacon of hope against corruption, is now ensnared in a scandal involving the alleged purchase of two luxury yachts, “Lucky Me” and “My Legacy,” worth a combined $75 million. This lavish expenditure, facilitated in the opulent settings of Abu Dhabi and Antibes, starkly contrasts with Ukraine’s dire war reality and raises damning questions about the integrity and criminal liability of its leadership amidst heavy reliance on Western aid.  

Read more ....  

Update: Photos: Ukrainian President Zelensky Accused of Using Proxies to Hide Ownership of $75M Yachts – The Yachts’ Names Are an Insult to All American Taxpayers (Defiant America)  

WNU Editor: My friends in Ukraine tell me this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Houthis Launch Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles At U.S. Warship Responding To An Attack On A Commercial Tanker

 

CNN: Missiles fired from Yemen toward US warship that responded to attack on commercial tanker  

Two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi rebel-controlled Yemen toward a US warship in the Gulf of Aden, after the US Navy responded to a distress call from a commercial tanker that had been seized by armed individuals, the US military said Sunday.

The tanker, identified as the Central Park, had been carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid when its crew called for help that “they were under attack from an unknown entity,” the US Central Command said in a statement. 

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Monday that under international maritime norms and laws, when there is a distress signal, “all vessels in the vicinity, are required to come and help and support.” Though Ryder added that there were three Chinese Navy vessels in the vicinity that “did not respond.”  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: No kidding .... Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin: No American should be happy about this (FOX News). 

Houthis Launch Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles At U.S. Warship Responding To An Attack On A Commercial Tanker  

CENTCOM: Yemen-based ballistic missiles fired near USS Mason -- Navy Times 

2 missiles fired from Yemen in the direction of U.S. ship, officials say -- CBS/AP  

U.S. Navy Rescues Central Park From Pirate Attack in Gulf of Aden -- DNYUZ/New York Times  

Houthis launch anti-ship ballistic missiles at U.S. warship -- Long War Journal  

How risky is US-Houthi escalation after Navy thwarts tanker hijacking? -- Al-Monitor

Is Now The Time For The U.S. To Drawdown Its Military Forces From Syria?

C. William Walldorf, Jr., Real Clear Wire: Time to Drawdown From Syria 

As part of the fallout from the war in Gaza, U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq have come under attack more than fifty times from Iranian-backed militias since early October. At least fifty-six military personnel have been injured. In response, the U.S. launched retaliatory air strikes and has sent about 900 more troops to the region. 

This bolstering of forces is the wrong move. In fact, the U.S. is overdue to drawdown its forces from Syria. 

Why drawdown completely? The answer is simple. The small contingent of U.S. forces in Syria, especially, are sitting ducks for further attacks in support of missions where the costs of continuing those missions now far outstrip their strategic benefits. Recent attacks bring this mismatch between costs and benefits into sharp relief. These incidents should also serve as a warning for potential dangers if U.S. policy fails to change course.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The U.S. is not going to withdraw any of its forces from Syria. Especially now. The mindset in Washington DC right now is that any withdrawal of US forces in the Middle East will be seen as a sign of weakness .... and they are probably right.

Russia - Ukraine War News Updates -- November 27, 2023 (Videos)

 

WNU Editor: A lot of updates today.

Senior Ukrainian Military Commander Believes The Ukraine War Will Expand

Lieutenant General Serhii Nayev

Kyiv Post: Ukraine Commander Warns War Zone May Expand Amid Russian Arms Buildup

 Lieutenant General Serhii Nayev accused Russia of securing additional resources through its alliance with the "Axis of Evil" it had formed with North Korea and Iran. 

If Russia continues to increase weapons production and improve technologically with the help of its allies, the war could spread beyond the eastern and southern areas, Lieutenant General Serhii Nayev, who has responsibility for Ukraine's Northern border defense, said speaking in an interview with ABC News.

“We are getting ready for that,” he said. “We're building defenses, laying landmines, and training our forces.” 

Despite Ukraine's initial successes in preventing total Russian occupation, the counteroffensive that was launched five months ago has yielded minimal gains. This inertia underscores a noticeable shift in the nature of the war. 

The Lieutenant General bluntly acknowledged that the ongoing war has now essentially become a resource-driven war.  

Read more ....  

Update: Ukraine conflict may expand – top military commander (RT)  

WNU Editor: Lieutenant General Serhii Nayev's assessment is grim but to the point. This conflict is now a resources-driven war, and Ukraine's resources cannot match what Russia is now fielding. The ABC News article and interview with the Lieutenant General is here .... Inside the northern Ukraine training center where units learn to fight Russian drones (ABC News).

Mothers And Wives On Both Sides Of The Russia - Ukraine War Find Common Ground To Protest Against The War

DNYUZ/New York Times: Russian Women Protest Long Deployments for Soldiers in Ukraine 

The woman in the video, her face blurred, gave a blunt assessment of Russian military policy: Soldiers mobilized over a year ago to fight in Ukraine deserved to come home. Why weren’t they?

“Our mobilized became the best army in the world, but that doesn’t mean that this army should stay there to the last man,” she said. “If he did something heroic, spilled blood for his country sincerely, then maybe it was time to return to his family, make way for someone else, but that’s not happening.” 

The speaker was part of a new, grass-roots movement that has been gathering steam in Russia over the past several weeks. Women in various cities are seeking to stage public protests, challenging the official argument that mobilized troops are needed in combat indefinitely to secure their Russian homeland. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: Putin fears wrath of soldiers' wives, Kremlin to buy off protests: reports (Business Insider).  

Update #2: Anti-Mobilization Protests By Russian Soldiers' Wives and Mothers Quashed (Moscow Times)  

WNU Editor: To be fair, these protests from the mothers and wives of Russian soldiers fighting in this war have been ongoing for the better part of this year. These protests are also not only confined to Russia .... War-Weary Mothers, Wives and Children of Ukrainian Soldiers Demand a Cap on Military Service Time (AP).

I am personally not surprised by these protests. All of my friends/contacts/and family members in Ukraine know how much of a meat grinder the front has become for those who are deployed there. But I would say it has only been in the past few months that the meat grinder of the war is starting to impact Russian families .... Intercepted calls from the front lines in Ukraine show a growing number of Russian soldiers want out (AP).

A prediction.  These protests are not going to stop the direction of the war. This is a conflict that will continue until Kyiv surrenders unconditionally on Moscow's terms. The only way that can be prevented is if NATO makes the decision to intervene directly.

Russia Downs Dozens Of Ukrainian Drones Headed For Moscow Following Its Massive Drone Strike On On Kyiv

 

Bloomberg: Russia Downs Drones Over Moscow in Ukrainian Retaliatory Strike 

Russia was the target overnight of the biggest drone attack it’s sustained in months, a day after firing the heaviest barrage of loitering munitions at Ukraine in the 22-month war so far. 

The Russian Defense Ministry reported 24 drones shot down overnight and early Sunday morning across at least four regions, including Moscow. 

A source within Ukraine’s military intelligence who wasn’t identified told Ukrainska Pravda that a total of 35 drones were launched in a planned response to Moscow’s drone barrage against Kyiv on Saturday. 

he actions were designed as a sign that Russia should consider the consequences of its actions, the newswire cited the intelligence source as saying.  

Read more .... 

Russia Downs Dozens Of Ukrainian Drones Headed For Moscow  

Russia says it downed dozens of Ukrainian drones headed for Moscow, following a mass strike on Kyiv -- CTV News/AP  

Russia says it thwarts 20 Ukrainian drones, Moscow attacked -- Reuters  

Russia destroys Ukrainian drones including over Moscow, defense ministry says -- CNN  

Russia claims to repel Ukrainian drones after record air strikes on Kyiv -- Financial Times  

Russia Says Ukraine Attacked Moscow, Other Cities With Fleet Of Drones; No Major Damage Reported -- RFE  

Moscow airports close as Ukraine matches intensity of Russian drone attack -- The Telegraph  

Russia downs Ukrainian drones, missiles day after its attack on Kyiv -- Al Jazeera  

Mass drone attack on Moscow repelled – mayor -- RT

Sunday, November 26, 2023

When The Narrative Collides With The Truth

Massive Tunnel Complex Discovered Under The Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Northern Gaza

Washington Free Beacon: Video of Massive Terror Complex Under Al Shifa Hospital Makes Media Look Ridiculous 

The Israel Defense Forces brought cameras into the tunnels under Al Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip this week and exposed not just Hamas's sprawling operations there but also the terrorist group's enablers in the media. 

The footage, taken by Fox News as well as by the IDF itself, revealed a massive, 160-meter-long underground complex complete with bathrooms, a kitchen, and other air-conditioned rooms. It was clear evidence that Hamas hid behind the hospital's patients and staff while launching attacks against Israel—a war crime that justifies the IDF's takeover of the hospital last week, according to international law.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I gut tells me that this is just the tip of massive underground complex throughout Gaza.