Friday, November 24, 2017

There Is One Big American Spy Base Hidden In Australia’s Outback

The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, photographed in 2014. Born at the height of the Cold War, the base near the town of Alice Springs was originally presented to the Australian public as a space research facility. Credit Kristian Laemmle-Ruff

New York Times: An American Spy Base Hidden in Australia’s Outback

ALICE SPRINGS, Australia — Margaret Pestorius arrived at court last week in her wedding dress, a bright orange-and-cream creation painted with doves, peace signs and suns with faces.

“It’s the colors of Easter, so I always think of it as being a resurrection dress,” said Ms. Pestorius, a 53-year-old antiwar activist and devout Catholic, who on Friday was convicted of trespassing at a top-secret military base operated by the United States and hidden in the Australian outback.

From the base, known as the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap, the United States controls satellites that gather information used to pinpoint airstrikes around the world and target nuclear weapons, among other military and intelligence tasks, according to experts and leaked National Security Agency documents.

As a result, the facility, dotted with satellite dishes and isolated in the desert, has become a magnet for Australian antiwar protesters. Over the past two weeks, Ms. Pestorius and five other Christian demonstrators were convicted in two separate trials of breaching the site’s security perimeter last year. They could face seven years in prison.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: That is one big base.

Families Of Missing Argentine Submarine Crew Have Been Told That Their Loved Ones Are Dead



Daily Mail: Families of missing submarine crew have been told their loved ones are DEAD: Relatives react with fury as Argentine Navy confirms an explosion was recorded last week when it vanished

* Family members of the submarine's crew have reacted with fury to navy's news
* Spokesman said an explosion was recorded last week after the vessel vanished
* 'Hydroacoustic anomaly' picked up less than three hours after last transmission
* Russia thrown its weight behind search party by sending a ship on Putin's orders

Families of servicemen lost in the missing San Juan submarine have been told their loved ones 'are all dead' after an explosion on the day the vessel disappeared, according to reports.

Family members today claimed they had already received phone calls from Navy officials telling them the entire crew had perished in a blast, believed to have taken place between 600 and 3,000 feet underneath the water.

Officially, Argentina's Navy is refusing to speculate on the fate of the sub's 44 crew members and have vowed to continue the search for the stricken vessel.

Read more ....

Update: Hopes Dashed, Relatives of Argentine Submarine Crew Turn to Grief and Anger (NYT)

WNU Editor: The families were informed by PHONE CALLS that their loved ones were dead. That is not how the Argentine Navy should have informed the families.

Picture Of The Day

Turkeys stand in their barn at Seven Acres Farm, one day before the Thanksgiving holiday in North Reading, Massachusetts. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo gallery .... Editor's Choice Pictures (Reuters).

Putin's Diplomatic Push In The Middle East Has Solidified Russia's Presence In The Region

Russian President Vladimir Putin is flanked by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (l) and Turkish Premier Recip Tayyip Erdogan at Sochi summit this week (Reuters) Reuters

Bethan McKernan, Oliver Carroll, The Independent: Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic push in Middle East seals both Syria’s fate and diminishing role of the US in the region

An eighth round of UN-backed Syria peace talks begin in Geneva next week. As Washington falters in the region, however, Moscow is increasingly in the driver’s seat

Exactly one year ago, Syrian President Bashar al Assad, with Russia’s help, was laying waste to the last rebel-held neighbourhoods of Aleppo.

Cluster bombs and bunker-busters fell out of the sky “like rain”, one resident said at the time. Children mistook the bright lights of phosphorous munitions for fireworks.

The fall of Aleppo turned the tide of the civil war in the regime’s favour. And this week, as Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with mR Assad and his Iranian and Turkish counterparts to discuss a framework for “post-conflict” Syria, his role as the Middle East’s most important foreign deal-breaker is secured.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Over two years ago I wrote the following post .... When It Comes To The Middle East All Roads Now Lead to Moscow (September 26, 2015). And since then .... especially now .... all roads in the Middle East are going through the Kremlin. But while I was one the first to notice this development in 2015 .... I am now going to say the opposite .... that in 2018 Russia is going to step back from the Middle East. Reasons why are many .... Russia has secured an ally in Syria, and it now has bases that it can use to maintain a Russian presence in the Middle East. In short .... the Kremlin's strategic military goals have been achieved. The problem is that the next step will involve political reconciliation in a region that has not been successful at reconciling differences, and IMHO Russia is not up to that task. Political reconciliation in Syria will involve many components .... but the main component that will reconcile all sides will be money, specifically the need to spend tens of billions of dollars to rebuild a country that has been destroyed .... money and resources that Russia simply does not have. While many are focused on the U.S. over-extending itself in many of the world's trouble spots .... Russia is experiencing that now in Syria .... there is only so much that Russia can do. There is also growing support within Russia to disengage from the Middle East .... for most Russians they see the Middle East as a quagmire, and I am sure that Putin is well aware of this sentiment and he does not want to have the image of someone who is willing to help rebuild another country, while ignoring the needs of his own citizens. So bottom line .... expect more announcements like this one .... Russia likely to reduce troops in Syria before year-end: military chief (Reuters).

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Does The U.S. Have A Foreign Policy For The Middle East?

Robert Fisk, The Independent: US foreign policy in the Middle East doesn’t exist anymore

Now it is Putin who invites Bashar al-Assad to Sochi, and chats to the presidents of Iran and Turkey, and whose army remains in Syria, and remains a good friend of President-Field Marshal al-Sissi of Egypt

Time was when a mere statement from a secretary of state – let alone a US president – would have the phones jangling across the Middle East. The Reagans, Clintons, Bushes or Obamas of this world actually did have an effect on the region, albeit often malign, US leaders being poorly briefed and always in awe of Israel (not to mention its power to destroy political lives in Washington). But today, who is calling the shots across the old Ottoman Empire?

Read more ....

Update: How Obama and Trump Left a Vacuum in the Middle East (Shalom Lipner, Politico)

WNU Editor: For as long as I can remember .... US foreign policy in the Middle East was based on one thing .... the safe extraction and transport of oil. Nothing less and nothing more. But we now live in a different world, and I would say that there are two events that have changed this commitment and policy .... (1) the disaster of the Iraq war, and (2) the shale oil revolution and the push for renewable energy resources that has made the U.S. less dependent on Middle Eastern oil supplies. Robert Fisk says that US foreign policy in the Middle East doesn’t exist anymore .... I say that the U.S. not wanting to commit to a deeper involvement in the Middle East is its foreign policy, and who would blame them

Commentaries And Analysis On The Growing Ties Between Israel And Saudi Arabia

Prince Turki Al Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief, with Efraim Halevy, a former Israeli Mossad director with others at the Temple Emanu-El Strieicker Center in New York City on October 22, 2017 [James Reinl/Al Jazeera]

Jonathan Marcus, BBC: Israel and Saudi Arabia: What's shaping the covert 'alliance'

To all intents and purposes, Saudi Arabia and Israel are de facto allies in the struggle against Iran's rising influence in the region. It's a developing, but highly sensitive relationship, but every so often there is a hint of what may be going on beneath the surface.

Last week Israel's Chief of Staff, General Gadi Eisenkot, said in an interview with UK-based Saudi newspaper Elaph, that Israel was ready to exchange intelligence with the Saudis in order to confront Iran.

"There are shared interests and as far as the Iranian axis is concerned we are in full accord with the Saudis," he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iranians are bringing about some interesting alliances .... Iran Sees Its Rivals Uniting as Israel Talks Up Saudi Ties (Bloomberg)

Commentaries And Analysis On The Growing Israeli - Saudi Arabian Ties

More Evidence Saudi Arabia Is Warming to Israel -- Elliott Abrams, Newsweek
What is behind the covert Israeli-Saudi relations? -- Linah Alsaafin, Al Jazeera
Sadat to Salman: Israel at the expense of Palestine -- Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera
The Saudi-Israeli relationship status remains unchanged -- Arab News
Saudi Arabia's Jew-hating Founder Would Be Shocked by His Kingdom's Public Flirtation With Israel -- Seraj Assi, Haaretz

Commander: Iranian Forces To Stay In Syria Indefinitely


Washington Times: Iran’s plans in Syria hint at goal of establishing powerful Shiite ‘Red Crescent’

Iran’s top military officer signed agreements in Syria last month that will keep Iranian forces there indefinitely with a pledge to help the Bashar Assad regime rebuild damaged military bases, according to the main opposition group to Tehran’s Islamic rulers.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, who became the armed forces chief of staff last year, was photographed in Aleppo visiting Iranian forces and viewing other conflict areas, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Iran, and intense Russian aerial assaults, played a big role in what critics say was a brutal siege of the city that broke the back of anti-Assad rebel forces in the west.

Behind the scenes, Gen. Bagheri and his staff met three times with Mr. Assad and his high command, the National Council says in an intelligence report.

Read more ....

Update: With Its Foothold Deepening in the Middle East, Iran Reaches for the Western Hemisphere (Iran News Update).

WNU Editor: It appears that Hezbollah is going to be central to Iran's plans in Syria .... Iran Guards chief: Disarming Lebanon's Hezbollah non-negotiable - TV (Reuters). More here .... Top Iranian commander: Hezbollah must remain armed for battle against Israel (Jerusalem Online). Hmmmm .... it looks like they are also getting ready for the next war .... Iran military chief: Any new Mideast war will end with Israel ‘eradicated’ (Times Of Israel)

Inside Saudi Arabia's Riyadh Ritz-Carlton Prison For Its Princes And Billionaires



Zero Hedge: New Footage From Inside Riyadh Ritz-Carlton Reveals Princes Swapping Assets For Freedom

A BBC reporter and film crew has gained rare access inside Riyadh's "gilded cage" - the Ritz-Carlton which became a luxury prison after a dozen or more princes were detained during the shocking events which began with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's (MbS) internal purge on November 4th.

BBC's tour was "facilitated" under highly controlled and coordinated conditions, as initial photographs and short cell phone videos produced during the first few days of the crackdown revealed harsher and more restricted conditions as princes and/or their staff were forced to sleep on the floor camp-style in the middle of the luxury hotel's lobby.

Read more ....

Update: Saudi princes and billionaires 'are willing to make a deal to pay back substantial sums they are accused of owing to be released from their luxury Ritz Carlton detention in Riyadh' (Daily Mail)

WNU Editor: The Saudi purge is now in its 4th week .... Think again: Saudi purge soon to enter its fourth week (Al-Arabiya).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 23, 2017



Holly Ellyatt, CNBC: Could Saudi Arabia and Iran really go to war?

* Saudi Arabia and Iran's ongoing battle for power and influence rages on in the Middle East but analysts aren't convinced that an all-out war will happen, yet.
* Many neighboring countries have been drawn into the conflict with Qatar, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon becoming proxy battlegrounds in the fight for regional dominance.

Saudi Arabia and Iran's ongoing battle for power and influence rages on in the Middle East but analysts aren't convinced that an all-out war will happen, yet.

Many neighboring countries have been drawn into the conflict with Qatar, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon becoming proxy battlegrounds in the fight for regional dominance.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 23, 2017

Iran Sees Its Rivals Uniting as Israel Talks Up Saudi Ties -- Ladane Nasseri and Marc Champion, Bloomberg

Syria war, Sochi peace -- Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

How the Middle East Became Russia's Game, Not America's -- Nikolas K. Gvosdev, National Interest

Is MBS’s supreme anti-corruption committee torturing Ritz detainees? -- Uwe Parpart, Asia Times

Can Zimbabwe Cure Its Hangover From Mr. Mugabe? -- New York Times editorial

Robert Mugabe’s lucky break: he had Grace to act as lightning rod -- Tania Branigan, Guardian

Angola’s new leader shakes up old order after dos Santos -- Colin McClelland, AP

China-India vie for a strategic slice of paradise -- Bertil Lintner, Asia Times

The US invaded Iraq in 2003... will it be North Korea in 2018? -- Robert J. Traydon, News 24

North Korea terror blacklisting: The end of diplomacy? -- Wesley Rahn, DW

Score One for the Experts as Brexit Costs Grow -- Therese Raphael, Bloomberg

Is Germany's Angela Merkel Really in Danger? -- Jacob Heilbrunn, National Interest

Putin's Patriotic Frenzy Is Turning on Him -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Five Questions About the Missing Argentine Submarine -- John Kester, Foreign Policy

Is OPEC Dead? -- Grant Smith, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- November 23, 2017 (Evening Edition)



New York Times: Hopes Dashed, Relatives of Argentine Submarine Crew Turn to Grief and Anger

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — For more than a week, as the days passed with little news, relatives of 44 sailors aboard an Argentine Navy submarine that went missing on Nov. 15 hoped for a miracle.

On Thursday morning came the crushing news: An explosion had been recorded deep in the Atlantic Ocean near where the submarine was traveling, only a few hours after the vessel’s last communication. Some relatives fainted. Some screamed at the naval officers. Others sobbed loudly.

There was also anger. Families said the navy had mismanaged the situation by waiting to start a full-scale search and by dangling reports of possible satellite phone calls from the ship, which turned out to be false. Perhaps worst of all, they said, Argentina had let its military degrade to the point of recklessness.

“For 15 years, the navy has been neglected,” said Itatí Leguizamón, the wife of Germán Oscar Suárez, a radar operator on the vessel.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Guards ready to help rebuild Syria, Hezbollah will not disarm: TV.

Syrian opposition pushes for unity in Saudi talks.

Moscow brands US presence in Syria as ‘close to occupation’.

Iraqi army launches operation to clear 'Islamic State' remnants.

Yemen war: Aid agencies await Saudi clearance to reach rebel ports.

UN chief nuke inspector: Iran complying with nuclear deal.

Lebanese PM Hariri assures bankers stability comes first.

Arab nations blockading Qatar expand blacklist.

ASIA

Three Georgian military personnel wounded in Afghanistan.

U.S., South Korea to hold joint air force drill in early December.

Myanmar, Bangladesh sign Rohingya return deal. Rohingya: Myanmar and Bangladesh sign deal to repatriate refugees.

Report: North Korea swapping out soldiers at DMZ.

China's trade with North Korea sinks in October after U.N. sanctions.

China displeased with South China Sea talk in Australia's foreign policy White Paper.

India outraged at release of Mumbai attack suspect.

Philippine anti-drug agency chief vows 'rule of law'. Philippines' Duterte says police must return to drug war.

Manus Island: PNG police move refugees from former Australia centre.

AFRICA

Pope, at service for Africa, decries murder of women and children.

Libyan government says investigating migrant 'slave market' reports.

Zimbabwe bourse loses $6 billion, index falls 40 percent after military takeover.

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe granted immunity, military says.

Emmerson Mnangagwa set to take over ZANU-PF party reins.

Zimbabwe needs immediate economic reforms, warns IMF.

In Russia, Sudan's Bashir asks Putin for 'protection' from US.

Algerians vote in low-key polls.

Rwanda offers refuge to enslaved Libya migrants.

Chad opposition leader released from jail : sources.

White farmers thrive in Zambia years after driven from Zimbabwe.

EUROPE

Irish government on verge of collapse ahead of EU Brexit summit.

Jobs growth in eurozone at ‘highest since dotcom era’.

German coalition talks: Pressure mounts on SPD to review position.

UK approach to Brexit 'chaotic' - leaked Irish report.

Slovenia PM facing impeachment over support for refugee.

NATO Chief, Azerbaijani President discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Moscow slams Google's bid to derank RT, Sputnik: Violation of freedom of speech.

Britain falls out of world's top 5 economies.

Family of slain Maltese journalist file suit against police.

Russian billionaire senator investigated for tax fraud in France.

AMERICAS

Sound heard in Argentine sub search was likely ‘explosion’.

Congressional Russia probes likely to head into 2018.

Honduras president seeks 2nd term despite constitutional ban.

In Thanksgiving message, Trump hails military gains and 'big, beautiful, fat tax cuts'.

NY provides exceptional security for Thanksgiving Day parade.

Jamie Dimon says he would bet on Trump being a one-term president.

US Jews don't understand Judaism because they aren't attacked by rockets every day, Israeli leader says.

US Supreme Court to rule on wedding cake that split America.

Colombia rebels trade combat for cameras with new TV network.

Canadian firm to face historic legal case over alleged labour abuses in Eritrea.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Islamic State beheads 15 of its own fighters: Afghan official.

Georgia siege: Four dead in Tbilisi 'terror' raid. Soldier, three gunmen killed in Tbilisi 'anti-terrorism' raid.

In 'unprecedented' hiatus, IS media offline for a day.

Berlin to bring back children of German 'Islamic State' fighters — report.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

China stock slump weighs on global markets.

Facebook to show users if they 'liked' alleged Russian propaganda.

Foxconn stops interns' illegal overtime at iPhone X factory.

As Black Friday nears, US stores get creative to battle e-commerce.

U.S. Navy Expands Its Search For US Sailors After Philippine Sea Air Crash

A C-2A Greyhound assigned to the Providers of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Nov. 15, 2017. US Navy Photo

USNI News: Search for 3 Sailors Missing After C-2A Crash in Philippine Sea Expands

The search and rescue effort for three sailors missing after a Wednesday C-2A Greyhound crash has expanded in the Philippine Sea, according to U.S. 7th Fleet.

U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft are searching for the sailors who were aboard the cargo aircraft that went down 500 miles off the coast of Okinawa at about 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time. Eight sailors aboard the C-2A, assigned to were rescued and flown to aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) following the crash. The Greyhound was assigned “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Detachment Five, forward deployed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This does not look good.

More News On The U.S. Navy Expanding Its Search For US Sailors After Philippine Sea Air Crash

Ships, aircraft search Philippine Sea for 3 US sailors missing in crash -- Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Navy aircraft crash leaves 3 missing in Philippine Sea -- FOX News/CNN
Massive search expands for US sailors after Philippine Sea air crash -- Channel News Asia
Search ongoing for missing sailors in Philippine Sea -- Global News/Canadian Press

Militant Leader Hafiz Saeed With A $10 Million U.S. Bounty Is Released By A Pakistani Court



New York Times: Militant Leader Hafiz Saeed Is Released by Pakistani Court

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Pakistani court has ordered the full release of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the Islamist militant group that carried out the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, 10 months after the government placed him under house arrest, his lawyer said.

The move will free Mr. Saeed to participate more directly in Pakistan’s politics. And at a time when the United States has been pushing Pakistan to do better in curbing militants, it presents another example of how the most extremist voices in the country seem to be moving more into the mainstream.

Mr. Saeed had long been one of the most-wanted militant leaders in the region, but he had been living in the open in Pakistan for years despite a $10 million American bounty on him. India, in particular, has criticized Pakistan for not bringing him to justice after the militant group he founded, Lashkar-e-Taiba, killed 166 people in the Mumbai attacks.

Read more ....

Update #1: Hafiz Saeed, Designated Terrorist With $10 Million Bounty, Released By Pakistani Court -- IBTimes
Update #2: Pakistan court orders Islamist blamed for 2008 Mumbai attacks to be freed from house arrest -- Business Insider

WNU Editor: India is not happy with the release of this militant leader .... India outraged at release of Mumbai attack suspect (Channel News Asia/AFP)

Happy Thanksgiving To My American Readers


WNU Editor: Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers. And speaking of Thanksgiving, this is a fascinating read .... The First Thanksgiving Was Nothing Like What You Were Taught (John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist).

Afghan Official: Islamic State Beheads 15 Of Its Own Fighters As Conflict With Taliban Intensifies

The mass execution came after an internal rift in the group. (AFP/File Photo)

Newsweek: ISIS Beheads 15 Of Its Own Fighters In Afghanistan

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) beheaded more than a dozen of its own fighters in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, according to officials.

The killings happened in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where ISIS has grown in influence and jostled with the country’s largest militant group, the Taliban.

Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman, told Reuters that the killings took place in the Surkh Ab bazaar of Achin district.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When you are beheading scores of your fighters .... that tells me that the Islamic State has a serious loyalty problem.

More News On Reports That The Islamic State Beheaded 15 Of Its Own Fighters

ISIS beheads 15 of its own fighters in Afghanistan, separate terror attack kills at least 8 -- FOX News
Isis beheads 15 of its own fighters in Afghanistan as conflict with Taliban intensifies -- International Business Times
ISIS in crisis: Terror cell executes 15 of its OWN jihadis -- Express
ISIS Beheads 15 of its Own in Afghanistan -- Al Bawaba

Islamic State Threatens President Trump's Son, Barron

President Donald Trump pointing to his son Barron while watching the inaugural parade with First Lady Melania Trump in Washington, U.S. Jan. 20, 2017. Photo: Reuters

Washington Free Beacon: ISIS Calls for Assassination of Barron Trump

Shares child's personal details

Pro-ISIS internet channels are calling for the assassination of President Donald Trump's son, Barron, and have shared personal details of the child's life on its social media networks, including the address of his school, according to a media monitoring organization.

ISIS supporters, on a well-known Telegram channel, shared the name and address of Barron Trump's school and are calling for backers of the terrorist organization to assassinate him, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.

The initial message, sent on Nov. 21 by an ISIS supporter on Telegram, "called for the assassination of Barron Trump, and shared the name of the school that Barron attends along with a Google map pinpointing its location," according to MEMRI, which shares images of this messages with reporters.

Read more ....

Update: ISIS Wants Barron Trump Dead, Calls For Supporters To Kill President's Son (IBTimes).

WNU Editor: There are some doubts that this threat is legitimate .... Did ISIS Call for the Assassination of Barron Trump? (Snopes)

Update #2: The Islamic State is even threatening the Pope .... ISIS threatens to attack pope with ‘Christmas blood’ in propaganda poster (NYPost).

For The First Time In Its History The Islamic State Online Propaganda Channels Went Silent For More Than 24 Hours

The Islamic State group usually posts more than a dozen messages a day on messenger application Telegram but its channels went mysteriously quiet between Wednesday and Thursday, in what analysts said was an "unprecedented" silence

AFP: In 'unprecedented' hiatus, IS media offline for a day

The Islamic State group's online propaganda channels went mysteriously quiet for more than a full day between Wednesday and Thursday, in what analysts said was an "unprecedented" silence.

IS, which uses messaging application Telegram to broadcast daily updates on military operations and claims of attacks, published nothing between 0900 GMT on Wednesday and 1001 GMT on Thursday.

Charlie Winter, senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, called the silence "unprecedented."

"The deceleration in the production of IS media has been particularly profound over the last couple of weeks," said Winter.

"But there were no 24-hour periods when it was completely silent," he told AFP.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am sure that this did not help those who are pushing the Islamic State's message .... Hackers Put Porn In ISIS Propaganda (Newsweek). More here .... They Planted Porn in ISIS Propaganda, Just for Starters, Then Sowed Chaos and Confusion in the 'Caliphate' (Daily Beast).

Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe And His Wife Grace Have Been Granted Immunity From Prosecution



DW: Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe granted immunity, won't be prosecuted

Zimbabwe's ousted leader, Robert Mugabe, and his wife Grace will be allowed to stay in the country as part of the deal that led to his resignation. Ex-Vice President Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president Friday.

Zimbabwean officials revealed on Thursday that former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace had been granted immunity from prosecution and assured of his safety as part of the deal that led him stepping down earlier this week.

Mugabe reportedly told negotiators from the ruling ZANU-PF party that he had no plans to live in exile and wanted to die in Zimbabwe. "It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it," a party source, speaking on conditions of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency. "For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country... although that will not stop him from travelling abroad when he wants to or has to."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Goodbye to the old boss, hello to the new boss .... The Latest: Zimbabwe Opposition Not Invited to Inauguration (US News and World Report/AP)

More News On Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe And His Wife Grace Being Granted Immunity From Prosecution

Mugabe granted immunity, assured of safety in Zimbabwe: sources -- Reuters
Zimbabwe grants Robert Mugabe immunity from prosecution -- The Guardian
Mugabe Won't Face Prosecution in Zimbabwe, Ruling Party Says -- Bloomberg
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe granted immunity, military says. -- CNN
Zimbabwe prepares for swearing-in of new leader Mnangagwa -- Washington Post
Emmerson Mnangagwa set to take over ZANU-PF party reins. -- Al Jazeera
Robert Mugabe's monthly retirement salary revealed -- Business Report
Zimbabwe needs immediate economic reforms, warns IMF. -- BBC
As Robert Mugabe slept, elite plotters carried out a coup -- The Australian
Dissecting Mnangagwa's first speech on his return to Zimbabwe -- CNN
As Mnangagwa Prepares to Take Power, Zimbabwe Hungers for Change -- Bloomberg

'Explosion' Detected Near Route Of Missing Argentinian Submarine -- News Updates November 23, 2017



The Guardian: 'Explosion' detected near route of missing Argentinian submarine, navy confirms

Sound described as ‘abnormal, singular, short, violent’ heard on day that contact was lost with ARA San Juan and its 44 crew

An abnormal sound detected in the South Atlantic Ocean hours after an Argentinian navy submarine sent its last signal last week was “consistent with an explosion”, a navy spokesman has said.

Capt Enrique Balbi described the blast as “abnormal, singular, short, violent” and “non-nuclear”. It was detected at 10.31am on 15 November along the route that the ARA San Juan had been following when it last made radio contact three hours earlier.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Sadly .... this is probably true .... All aboard missing Argentine sub believed to be dead, family of missing sailor says ABC News (ABC News).

'Explosion' Detected Near Route Of Missing Argentinian Submarine -- News Updates November 23, 2017

The Latest: Argentine sub-search sound might be of explosion -- AP
Sound heard in Argentine sub search comes from explosion -- AP
Event 'consistent with an explosion' detected near missing Argentine sub: navy -- Reuters
San Juan submarine: 'Explosion' detected in hunt for Argentine vessel -- BBC
Argentina submarine search: Sounds detected 'consistent with an explosion' -- DW
Event 'consistent with an explosion' detected near missing Argentine sub: navy -- Reuters
'Explosion' Detected Near Last Known Location of Missing Argentine Sub - Navy -- Sputnik
There's been no contact with a missing Argentine submarine, and the search is entering a 'critical phase' -- Business Insider
Despite a String of False Reports, Time Is Running Out To Find Missing Argentine Sub -- The Drive
Hopes Fading as Search for Missing Argentine Sub Enters Second Week -- Sputnik
Argentinian submarine hunt to return to previously searched area -- The Guardian
Argentina missing submarine: Russia joins search operation -- BBC

World News Briefs -- November 23, 2017



ABC News Online: Myanmar, Bangladesh sign deal to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees

Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a memorandum of understanding for the return home of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled to the neighbouring country to escape an army crackdown, a senior Myanmar official says.

"We are ready to take them back as soon as possible after Bangladesh sends the forms back to us," Myint Kyaing, a permanent secretary at Myanmar's Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, told Reuters.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian opposition pushes for unity in Saudi talks.

Moscow brands US presence in Syria as ‘close to occupation’.

Iraqi army launches operation to clear 'Islamic State' remnants.

Yemen war: Aid agencies await Saudi clearance to reach rebel ports.

UN chief nuke inspector: Iran complying with nuclear deal.

Lebanese PM Hariri assures bankers stability comes first.

Arab nations blockading Qatar expand blacklist.

ASIA

Myanmar, Bangladesh sign Rohingya return deal. Rohingya: Myanmar and Bangladesh sign deal to repatriate refugees.

Report: North Korea swapping out soldiers at DMZ.

China's trade with North Korea sinks in October after U.N. sanctions.

China displeased with South China Sea talk in Australia's foreign policy White Paper.

India outraged at release of Mumbai attack suspect.

Philippine anti-drug agency chief vows 'rule of law'. Philippines' Duterte says police must return to drug war.

Manus Island: PNG police move refugees from former Australia centre.

AFRICA

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe granted immunity, military says.

Emmerson Mnangagwa set to take over ZANU-PF party reins.

Zimbabwe needs immediate economic reforms, warns IMF.

In Russia, Sudan's Bashir asks Putin for 'protection' from US.

Algerians vote in low-key polls.

Rwanda offers refuge to enslaved Libya migrants.

Chad opposition leader released from jail : sources.

White farmers thrive in Zambia years after driven from Zimbabwe.

EUROPE

German coalition talks: Pressure mounts on SPD to review position.

UK approach to Brexit 'chaotic' - leaked Irish report.

Slovenia PM facing impeachment over support for refugee.

NATO Chief, Azerbaijani President discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Moscow slams Google's bid to derank RT, Sputnik: Violation of freedom of speech.

Britain falls out of world's top 5 economies.

Family of slain Maltese journalist file suit against police.

Russian billionaire senator investigated for tax fraud in France.

AMERICAS

In Thanksgiving message, Trump hails military gains and 'big, beautiful, fat tax cuts'.

NY provides exceptional security for Thanksgiving Day parade.

Jamie Dimon says he would bet on Trump being a one-term president.

US Jews don't understand Judaism because they aren't attacked by rockets every day, Israeli leader says.

US Supreme Court to rule on wedding cake that split America.

Colombia rebels trade combat for cameras with new TV network.

Canadian firm to face historic legal case over alleged labour abuses in Eritrea.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Georgia siege: Four dead in Tbilisi 'terror' raid. Soldier, three gunmen killed in Tbilisi 'anti-terrorism' raid.

In 'unprecedented' hiatus, IS media offline for a day.

Berlin to bring back children of German 'Islamic State' fighters — report.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Facebook to show users if they 'liked' alleged Russian propaganda.

Foxconn stops interns' illegal overtime at iPhone X factory.

As Black Friday nears, US stores get creative to battle e-commerce.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 23, 2017



Brad Lendon, Zachary Cohen and Steve George, CNN: Can the world's mightiest naval fleet survive the perfect storm?

It was a once-in-a-decade display of American firepower.

Three US Navy aircraft carriers -- the largest, most sophisticated warships in history -- assembled off the Korean Peninsula, in a move timed to coincide with US President Donald Trump's first official visit to the region.

But behind the dramatic show of force, questions are emerging as to whether the US Navy is up to the challenges it faces in the Pacific -- from both a nuclear-armed North Korea and a strengthening China -- at a time when its top leaders acknowledge it lacks the money, manpower and weapons to ensure success. And when a massive corruption scandal threatens the ranks of dozens of its top officers.

The three-carrier exercise, conducted in early November with South Korean and Japanese warships, was just one of about 160 multilateral and bilateral exercises performed this year in the area of operations overseen by the Navy's 7th Fleet, a Navy spokesperson told CNN. That's about one exercise every two days.

And the tempo of operations isn't slowing.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 23, 2017

US, S. Korean Soldiers Receive Medals for Defector Rescue -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes

South Korea considers scrapping a military exercise with U.S. for Winter Olympics -- Business Insider

Israeli official under fire for comments on American Jews' military service -- Reuters

Israeli defense minister seeks defense budget boost -- Defense News

Saudi Arabia to buy $7bn-worth of US precision weapons from Raytheon & Boeing – report -- RT

General Staff chief not ruling out Russian military contingent in Syria may be cut -- TASS

Top Russian general says Moscow likely to reduce its troops in Syria -- Reuters

Bristling With Antennas, Russia's A-100 Is Likely More Than Just A New Radar Plane -- The Warzone/The Drive

Putin notes stable world demand for Russian military products -- TASS

Russian Military Jets Fly Over Sea of Japan for Special Drill Amid North Korea Tensions -- Newsweek

Russian chief of General Staff to visit Japan on December 11-13 -- TASS

Japan-Philippines Defense Ties in the Spotlight with New Vessels -- The Diplomat

Japan held drills with nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 strategic bomber in August -- Japan Times

‘Get Used to It’: China Flies Warplanes, Spy Jets Past Taiwan, Japan -- Sputnik

China Grants Economic Aid to Djibouti, Site of Overseas Military Base -- US News and World Report

India Struggles to Solve its Fighter Jet Procurement Puzzle -- Sputnik

Digitizing military will cost Europe up to €41 billion per year: study -- Politico.eu

Listening to Russia: Danish spooks building 85m tower on Baltic island to spy on comms -- RT

Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles from US Army Stockpile Headed to Eastern Europe -- DoD Buzz

Ships, aircraft search for 3 U.S. sailors missing in crash -- CBS/AP

Marine Harrier ‘Departed Controlled Flight’ Before 2016 Water Crash -- DoD Buzz

Marines roll out new anti-tank weapon system -- UPI

The F-22 Mission in Afghanistan: Overkill or Realistic Training? -- Defense Tech

Portland's 142nd Fighter Wing Launches 13 F-15C/Ds Eagles In Rare Snap Readiness Drill -- The Warzone/The Drive

Huntington Ingalls launches 8th National Security Cutter for Coast Guard -- UPI

US Navy Abolishes Practice of Pepper Spraying its Sailors Every Three Years -- Sputnik

How Marine Special Operations Command takes driving school to the next level -- Business Insider/We Are The Mighty

How the military handles the remains of fallen troops -- ABC News

On the Business Models of War -- Everett C. Dolman, RCD

See how members of the US military celebrate Thanksgiving in warzones -- Business Insider

Japan May Develop A Land-Attack Cruise Missile

The guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) successfully launches its second Tomahawk missile during weapons testing. Sterett is underway off the coast of Southern California conducting Tomahawk missile testing in preparation for an upcoming deployment. (US Navy photo)

Asia Times: Japan eyes developing land-attack cruise missile against N. Korea

Souped-up version of US Tomahawk

Japan’s military usually uses off-the-shelf US military hardware like F-15 fighters and Aegis missiles. But this is changing in the face of an escalating military threat from North Korea.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier this week that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is mulling developing a stealthy, specialized Japanese cruise missile that can hit ground targets. The weapon would be a much-improved version of the US Tomahawk cruise missile.

If developed, the made-in-Japan missile would help retake remote islands that have been occupied by China or other potential foes. But the weapon will also be designed to hit military bases in North Korea.

Read more ....

Update: Japan Is Looking At Developing its Very Own Land Attack Capable Cruise Missile (The Drive).

WNU Editor: This is an offensive weapon that Japan is saying they will need to protect their islands because of the dispute that they with China. But the real target is North Korea.

Iran To Send WarshipsTo The Gulf of Mexico

Iran’s new naval chief, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi. Photo: TNA.

Tasnim: Iran to Send Naval Forces to Gulf of Mexico: Commander

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – New commander of the Iranian Navy unveiled plans for dispatching military watercraft to Latin America, saying Iranian naval forces will soon sail into the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking in his first press conference after taking the office, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Iran’s naval forces will soon go to the Atlantic Ocean, visit some South American countries, and wave the Iranian flag in the Gulf of Mexico.

Highlighting plans to develop military gear for operations in international waters, the commander said the Navy would unveil new vessels and submarines within the next year.

He also noted that the homegrown Separ (shield) missile-launching corvette will join the Caspian fleet next week, describing it as a symbol of the Iranian efforts for peace in the Caspian Sea.

Read more ....

Update #1: New Cold War? Iran Sends Warships to Gulf of Mexico (Newsweek)
Update #2: Islamic Republic’s New Navy Commander Looks to ‘Fly Iranian Flag in the Gulf of Mexico’ (Algemeiner)

WNU Editor: The Iranians have been boasting that they are going to do this (send warships off the coast of the U.S.) for a long time .... Iran To Send A Naval Task Force Into The Western Atlantic (August 14, 2017).

Did President Trump Give Russia The Contents Of A Classified, And Highly Sensitive, Israeli Intelligence Operation?

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, President Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on May 10th, 2017. By Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

Vanity Fair: Exclusive: What Trump Really Told Kislyak After Comey Was Canned

During a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office, the president betrayed his intelligence community by leaking the content of a classified, and highly sensitive, Israeli intelligence operation to two high-ranking Russian envoys, Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov. This is what he told them—and the ramifications.

On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting ribbon of shadows that was the Euphrates River. On board, waiting with a professional stillness as they headed into the hostile heart of Syria, were Sayeret Matkal commandos, the Jewish state’s elite counterterrorism force, along with members of the technological unit of the Mossad, its foreign-espionage agency. Their target: an ISIS cell that was racing to get a deadly new weapon thought to have been devised by Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi national who was al-Qaeda’s master bombmaker in Yemen.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Vanity Fair admits that it is making a lot of assumptions in the above report. It is sourced from anonymous contacts, some of it contradictory, and none that can be verified or proven. From my own sources in ICAO (I worked at ICAO 25 years ago) .... and for those who may not know, ICAO is the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization .... I have been told that they did get a report on this terror lap-top warning (I was not told on who was the source of this intel, but apparently the members at ICAO know where it came from), and that security was increased at certain airports in the Middle East.

More News On Reports That President Trump Gave Russia Details On An Israeli Intelligence Operation

Report: Trump Revealed Israeli Commando and Mossad Operation in Syria to Russians -- Israel Haaretz
Trump divulged to Russia details of a daring Israeli raid in Syria — report -- The Times of Israel
Report: Trump revealed info on covert Israeli mission in Syria -- Arutz Sheva
REVEALED: The secret Israeli commando operation that discovered ISIS could turn laptops into bombs and led to US airline ban -- Daily Mail
Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that Donald Trump gave away to Russia -- The Independent

Germany's Angela Merkel Poll Ratings Fall To An All-Time Low


The Times: Merkel poll ratings at new low after coalition talks fail

Angela Merkel’s poll ratings fell to an all-time low yesterday after the breakdown of talks on forming a coalition government as the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stepped up efforts to avoid new elections.

Mrs Merkel appeared to be paying the price for the failure of negotiations, with one snap survey putting her conservatives on 29.2 per cent — the first time they have been below 30 per cent since she took over in 2000.

Read more ....

Update #1: Merkel TANKS in the polls: Chancellor ratings slump as German anger grows (Business Insider)
Update #2: Half of Germans want new elections after coalition talks fail (Business Insider/Reuters).

WNU Editor: The above Times article is behind a pay-wall, but the poll numbers say it all. The German press has a different take, and they are probably right .... Angela Merkel's German coalition crisis greatly exaggerated (DW). Germany's top two political parties will lose badly in another election, so I will not be surprised if both parties start working together .... Pressure grows on SPD to reconsider coalition talks with Angela Merkel (The Guardian).

Pentagon Investigating The Behavior Of Its Military Personnel On President Trump's Asia Trip

US President Donald Trump gets on a plane. Photo: Reuters / Yuri Gripas

Politico: Pentagon investigating behavior of military personnel on Trump's Asia trip

The Pentagon is investigating the behavior of military officers during President Donald Trump's 12-day trip to Asia earlier this month, officials told the Washington Post Tuesday, with three personnel reassigned from their White House jobs due to allegations of improper contact with foreign women.

The three military personnel reportedly being probed work for the White House Communications Agency, a military support unit that aids the President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the Secret Service by providing them with secure communications, the Post reported, citing officials close to the matter

Read more ....

More News On The Pentagon Investigating The Behavior Of Its Military Personnel On President Trump's Asia Trip

White House military personnel removed amid investigation into contacts with foreign women during Trump's Asia trip -- Washington Post
White House military personnel reassigned after ‘incident’ on Trump’s Asia trip: report -- The Hill
White House personnel investigated for improper foreign contact during Trump's Asia trip -- CBC/Reuters
White House Military Personnel Removed After Having Improper Contact With Foreign Women During Trump's Asia Trip -- Task & Purpose
White House personnel accused of improper contact with foreign women -- The Australian
3 US Army soldiers reportedly made improper contact with foreign women during Trump's trip to Asia -- Business Insider

Pentagon Report: Misbehavior And Sex Complaints Against Brass And Senior Defense Officials Are Spiking

USA Today: Pentagon reports spike in misbehavior, sex complaints against brass, senior civilians

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon Tuesday reported a rise in complaints of misconduct against military brass and senior civilian officials over the last two years, and a steady trend in proven allegations of sexual misbehavior and improper relationships among its most senior officials.

The increase in complaints and steady stream of disgraced generals, admirals and senior officials comes despite the Pentagon’s repeated stance that it has a “zero-tolerance” policy for such ethical and legal misbehavior.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon Inspector General reported a 13% increase from fiscal year 2015 to 2017 in the number of complaints alleging misconduct among senior officials, from 710 to 803. Moreover, the Inspector General found that investigators continued to substantiate allegations against senior officials, including sexual misconduct, at a steady rate.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When many of your top generals, admirals, and defense officials are behaving like this, you have a problem ....

.... military investigators had documented at least 500 cases of serious misconduct among generals, admirals and senior civilian officials for the fiscal years 2013 through 2016.

The culture is changing when it comes to this type of behavior .... and with it comes publicity and legal consequences. I think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg right now.

Report: American Mercenaries Are Carrying Out Interrogations On Princes And Billionaires Arrested In Crackdown

Presence: The Ritz Carlton in Riyadh is said to be guarded by Saudi special forces but inside, the interrogations are said to be carried out by American contractors. Blackwater's successor firm, Academi, denies any involvement

Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE: 'American mercenaries are torturing' Saudi elite rounded up by new crown prince - and billionaire Prince Alwaleed was hung upside down 'just to send a message'

* Source in Saudi Arabia says American private security contractors are carrying out 'interrogations' on princes and billionaires arrested in crackdown
* Detained members of Saudi elite have been hung by their feet and beaten by interrogates, source says
* Among those hung upside down are Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an investor worth at least $7 billion who is being held at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton
* Arrests were ordered three weeks ago by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
* Source claims mercenaries are from 'Blackwater', a claim also made by Lebanese president
* But its successor firm denies it has any operations in Saudi Arabia whatsoever and says its staff abide by U.S. law
* Americans who commit torture abroad can be jailed for up to 20 years

Saudi princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in a power grab earlier this month are being strung up by their feet and beaten by American private security contractors, a source in the country tells DailyMail.com.

The group of the country's most powerful figures were arrested in a crackdown ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman three weeks ago as he ordered the detention of at least 11 fellow princes and hundreds of businessmen and government officials over claims of corruption.

Read more .....

WNU Editor: Americans torturing "corrupt" Saudi billionaires .... would love to know what the average Saudi on the street thinks about that.

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