Thursday, July 27, 2017

Human Rights Watch: 'Iraqi Troops Executed Dozens of Prisoners in Mosul'

Several bodies of alleged ISIS fighters in the foreground, near the Tigris River in Mosul’s Old City executed by Iraqi soldiers identified as from the army’s 16th Division. © 2017 Private

Reuters: U.S.-trained Iraqi army unit committed war crimes in Mosul: HRW

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - A U.S.-trained Iraqi army division allegedly executed several dozen men in the final throes of the battle against Islamic State militants in Mosul's Old City, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

The watchdog urged the U.S. government to suspend all support for the 16th Division of the Iraqi army pending an investigation into what it called war crimes, evidence of which was seen by two international observers.

Reuters could not independently verify the claims because Iraqi authorities have restricted media access to the Old City since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Islamic State on July 10. Spokesmen for the Iraqi government and military could not be reached for comment.

Islamic State made its last stand in the Old City after nine months of urban warfare with Iraqi forces who are backed by a U.S.-led coalition.

Read more ....

More News On Allegations From The Human Rights Watch Group That 'Iraqi Troops Executed Dozens of Prisoners in Mosul'

Iraq: US-Trained Forces Linked to Mosul War Crimes -- Human Rights watch
US-trained Iraqi army unit 'linked to Mosul war crimes' -- Al Jazeera
US-trained Iraqi unit carried out Mosul executions: HRW -- AFP
Rights Group Alleges US-Trained Iraqi Troops Executed Dozens of Prisoners in Mosul -- VOA
US Trained Unit in Iraq That 'Committed War Crimes' in Mosul Battle -- Newsweek

Britain Plans To Send Its Newest Aircraft Carrier To The South China Sea Next Year


A British warship will sail through the South China Sea next year, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said. Reuters/Russell Cheyne

The Guardian: Britain's new aircraft carriers to test Beijing in South China Sea

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson commits ‘colossal’ carriers to embarking on freedom of navigation exercises in pointed remarks

Boris Johnson has committed the UK’s two brand new aircraft carriers to freedom of navigation exercises in the fiercely contested waters of the South China Sea.

In a pointed declaration aimed squarely at China, whose island-building and militarisation in the sea has unnerved western powers, the British foreign secretary said that when the ships came into service they would be sent to the Asia-Pacific region as one of their first assignments.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese are not going to be amused.

More News On Britain Planning To Send Its Newest Aircraft Carrier To The South China Sea Next Year

Britain plans to send warship to South China Sea in move likely to irk Beijing -- Reuters
British supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to deploy to the Pacific -- UK Defense Journal
South China Sea: Britain to deploy 'colossal' warships to test Beijing's territorial claims -- ABC News Online
Britain to send warship to South China Sea to exercise 'right' to freedom of navigation -- International Business Times
New British Warships Head to South China Sea to Send Beijing a Message -- Newsweek
UK to Send Brand New Ships to Disputed South China Sea for Drills -- Sputnik International

US Pacific Fleet Commander: Will Launch A Nuclear Strike On China If President Trump Ordered Me To



Reuters: Hypothetically speaking, U.S. Admiral says ready for nuclear strike on China if Trump so ordered

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, addressing a security conference in Australia, said in answer to a question on Thursday that he would be prepared to launch a nuclear strike on China if President Donald Trump so ordered.

The fleet spokesman later said the question was asked as an "outrageous hypothetical".

Admiral Scott Swift was speaking at the Australian National University in Canberra when he was asked whether he would be prepared to launch a nuclear attack on China if ordered to do so by Trump.

"The answer would be yes," he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The answer should not surprise anyone .... but it is causing a stir in the media.

More News On US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift Admitting That He Will Launch A Nuclear Strike On China If President Trump Ordered Him To

What if Trump Ordered a Nuclear Strike on China? I’d Comply, Says Admiral -- NYT
US admiral stands ready to obey a Trump nuclear strike order -- AP
U.S. admiral says he would be willing to launch a nuclear strike on China NEXT WEEK if Trump ordered it -- Daily Mail
I’d launch nukes at China on Trump's orders, says US Pacific Fleet chief -- RT
US Pacific Fleet Commander says he'd nuke China next week if Trump ordered him to -- Shanghaiist
'If Trump Asked, We'd Nuke China Next Week,' Says US Navy Fleet Commander -- Newsweek

World News Briefs -- July 27, 2017



Reuters: Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia's presence there for half a century

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show.

The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin approved the agreement on Wednesday, after the two chambers of the Russian parliament backed it earlier this month, according to the government's official information portal.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Hezbollah and rebels agree ceasefire at Lebanese-Syrian border.

Eyeing Deir al-Zor, Syrian army advances on Islamic State town.

US-backed Syrian fighters now control almost half of IS city.

Syrian fighters in Raqqa uncover ISIS drone factory.

Russia says 4 military police battalions deployed to Syria.

ISIS is using booby-traps to preserve the chaos as its 'caliphate' shrinks in Iraq.

Report: Iran successfully launches satellite-carrying rocket.

AP sources: US seeks to test Iran deal with more inspections.

Isolated Qatar hires firm founded by Trump aides amid crisis.

Israel U-turns on al-Aqsa mosque security after Palestinian protests. Al Aqsa Mosque: Palestinians celebrate in the streets as Israel removes security equipment.

ASIA

Afghan forces sustain heavy casualties in Taliban assault on southern base.

Afghan forces battle to retake district from Taliban.

North Korea purges Beijing embassy after diplomat caught watching K-drama.

Kim Jong-nam murder suspects to plead not guilty.

Report: North Korea's elite plugged in online, not isolated.

US gives surveillance planes to Philippines.

Japan's defence minister to resign over scandal: media.

AFRICA

Nigerian soldiers killed in battle with Boko Haram.

Al-Shabaab militants ban starving Somalis from accessing aid.

Libyan forces warn ISIL is regrouping.

EU migrant crisis: France plans asylum 'hotspots' in Libya.

Rebel leader excluded from South Sudan peace process.

Egypt's Al-Azhar sets up advice kiosk in subway station to counter militancy.

German army helicopter crashes in Mali on UN mission, two dead.

Nigerian Senate backs plans to reduce power of presidency.

EUROPE

Swedish PM Lofven drops two ministers over IT crisis. Swedish government faces no-confidence crisis over IT leak.

Putin: New US sanctions on Russia illegal & extremely cynical.

EU concerned over U.S. sanctions on Russia.

'Counter-sanctions possible, trade war between EU & US would be very bad' - German economy minister.

Russia ready to work with non-NATO states that border the Baltic: Putin.

Italy moving quickly on plan to deploy ships to Libya.

Georgia ex-leader Saakashvili stripped of Ukraine's citizenship.

Crew of anti-migrant boat held in Cyprus over 'people-smuggling'.

AMERICAS

US House, Senate Republicans reach deal to move sanctions bill.

Scaramucci says senior leaders take leak crackdown seriously.

Trump could seek 'tougher' Russia sanctions: White House aide.

Three killed in Venezuela as opposition strike begins.

Avianca suspends flights to Venezuela amid crisis.

Just 5 percent approve of Brazilian leader Temer's government: poll.

Cuba celebrates National Rebellion Day.

First Nations leader urges Canada to prosecute 'out of hand' hate speech.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US-Somalia mission detains suspected al-Shabab associate.

Kashmir militant leader announced as head of new al-Qaida-linked cell.

EU court keeps Hamas on terrorism list, removes Tamil Tigers.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Jeff Bezos surpasses Bill Gates as world's richest person.

Volkswagen shrugs off cartel allegations.

Facebook posts jump in profits, eyes Messenger, WhatsApp growth.

Ransomware 'here to stay', warns Google study.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 27, 2017

A leading concept for the future battlefield has machines do the fighting, with human troops conducting special operations and civil affairs. (1st Lt. Jason Uhlig)

Todd South, Military Times: Warfighters will be machines in concept of future battlefield

The future battlefield will likely contain autonomous robots, lasers and countless drones but beyond the equipment that grabs everyone’s attention at least one military leader says a framework for how to fight in that new arena is what’s most important.

Gen. David Perkins, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, shared the evolving “Multi-Domain Battle” concept to a crowd of more than 150 military leaders, government representatives and scientific thinkers at the third annual “Mad Scientist” conference at Georgetown University Tuesday.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 27, 2017

The US Army’s Next Big 5 Must Be Capabilities, Not New Platforms -- Defense One

Battlefield 2050: Army Prepares for Future Fights -- Yasmin Tadjdeh, National Defense

Iran Successfully Sends Simorgh Launch Vehicle to Space -- Sputnik

Eight Indian Submarines Lack Second Periscopes, Says Top Auditor -- Sputnik

Russia's New and Unrealistic Naval Doctrine -- Dmitry Gorenburg, War on the Rocks

Russia Building Forces in South to Meet NATO 'Threat' -- Damien Sharkov, Newsweek

Pentagon on Alert as Russia Preps for Huge Military Exercise -- RCD

Japan ends probe of US Navy ship collision; no input from US -- Stars and Stripes

German military helicopter crashes in Mali, two peacekeepers killed -- Reuters

China resorting to 'coercive practices' to achieve goals: CIA -- Economic Times

China's Military Could Leave US Navy Dead in the Water With New Sea Drones -- Newsweek

Britain plans to send warship to South China Sea in move likely to irk Beijing -- Reuters

British supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to deploy to the Pacific -- UK Defense Journal

UK launches new mini defense and security review -- Defense News

US, Indonesia Conclude Military Exercise -- The Diplomat

Navy announces fix to Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System -- Navy Times

EMALS Catapult Fixed But Won’t Reach Ford Until 2019 -- DoD Buzz

US Navy's 'Star Wars' mach 6 railgun goes mobile: Radical new weapon set for its first tests outside the lab -- Daily Mail

The Navy is preparing its railgun for the future of war -- Popular Science

Watch The Navy Blow Up Pretty Much Everything On Its China Lake Weapons Range -- The Drive

Airmen Fighting ISIS Talk Future Electronic Attack Aircraft EC-X -- DoD Buzz

US 'approach to defending our country in cyberspace ... is broken' -- C4ISRNet

U.S. treads water on cyber policy as destructive attacks mount -- Reuters

US Air Force Wants Robots Watching Twitter -- Defense One

Trump Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military -- NYT

Why does the US military buy so much Viagra? -- BBC

Congress' defense budgeting headed toward 'colossal crackup' -- Defense News

Report to Congress on the U.S. Role in the World -- USNI News

U.S. defense companies lift forecasts amid growing security concerns -- Reuters

CIA on Chinese cyberspying -- Washington Times

More Citizens Must Qualify to Be Warriors -- James Hogg, RCD

220 Year-Old USS Constitution Leaves Dry Dock Following Two-Years of Repairs -- USNI News

U.S. Multi-Million-Dollar Anti-Missile Defense Test Failed Due To A Sailor's Error



Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics: Oops! Multi-Million-Dollar Missile Test Failed Because a Sailor Pushed the Wrong Button

The test of the new ballistic missile interceptor last month met up with human error.

Last month an expensive test of a system designed to shoot down North Korean ballistic missiles failed. Now we know that failure was because of human error, according to a report by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The test was the second involving the latest version of the SM-3 interceptor, a key platform in America's missile defenses. It took place off the coast of Hawaii at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on June 21, 2017 at 1:20 AM Eastern . The destroyer USS John Paul Jones—equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA ballistic missile interceptor, AM/SPY-1 radar, and version 9.C2 of the Aegis Combat System—was supposed to shoot down an incoming simulated ballistic missile.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Yup .... blame the poor little sailor in some little room for pushing the wrong button on why the test failed.

More News On The Latest U.S. Missile Defense Failure

Sailor error led to failed US Navy ballistic missile intercept test -- Defense News
Failed missile defense test result of human error: report -- The Hill
US sailor had just one job ... -- The Australian
Sailor’s error ruins $100 million US missile test -- The Times

Pilots Get A 'Front Row Seat' To A Chinese Missile Test

Van Heijst's freighter aircraft was flying at over 32,000 feet when the missile blasted past overhead

Daily Mail: 'And if you look to your right you'll see a Chinese anti-ballistic missile coming towards us': Stunned pilot photographs launch of hypersonic weapon which then flies right over his plane

* Dutch Pilot Christiaan van Heijst is known for the stunning images he takes from air freighter cockpits
* He was flying from Hong Kong to Baku in Azerbaijan when he captured the launch of the missile
* It took off from a restricted area to the north of his flight path and created amazing balloon effects

The breath-taking moment that an anti-ballistic missile was launched into the night sky has been caught on camera by a stunned pilot, who described it as a 'once in a lifetime event'.

Dutch Pilot Christiaan van Heijst, 34, cannot resist pulling his camera out whenever possible in the cockpit of a Boeing 747-8 Freighter.

He took these breath-taking photos during a flight from Hong Kong to Baku in Azerbaijan on Sunday on an airway heading over the Himalayas.

Read more ....

Update: Photographer Accidentally Gets Front Row Seat to Secret Chinese Missile Test (Popular Mechanics)

WNU Editor: You do not see that everyday.

Swedish Government Facing Confidence Vote Over Massive Data Leak Of Its Citizens

The Swedish prime minister said he did not want to spark a political crisis

The Independent: Sweden leaks details of almost all of its citizens in move that could bring down the government

The leak happened in 2015, but only emerged last week.

Sweden appears to have accidentally leaked the details of almost all of its citizens. And now it's getting worse.

The brewing scandal – based around a leak that actually happened in 2015 but only emerged last week – could see prominent members of Sweden's government removed from their post.

The leak allowed unvetted IT workers in other countries to see the details of people registered in Swedish government and police databases. It happened after the government looked to outsource data held by the Transport Agency, but did so in a way that allowed that information to be available to almost anyone, critics have claimed.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is as bad as it gets. Apparently this leak happened in 2015, and they are only coming "clean" on it right now!!! The Swdish PM has accepted the resignations of two ministers, but has ruled out an early election. I do not know Swedish government procedure, but when a government loses a confidence vote, elections have to be called.

More News On The Swedish Government Facing A Confidence Vote Over A Massive Data Leak Of Its Citizens

Sweden's PM Refuses to Resign After Cyber-Security Scandal -- Politico
Sweden's PM Refuses to Resign After Cyber-Security Scandal -- Bloomberg
Sweden PM makes cabinet changes after IT scandal -- Politico.eu
Political crisis grips Sweden as confidence vote looms -- Reuters
Swedish PM Lofven drops two ministers over IT crisis -- BBC
Sweden left waiting for PM's response to no-confidence motion -- The Local Sweden
Swedish Government On Verge Of Collapse After Admitting 'Accidental Leak' Of Entire Nation's Info -- Zero Hedge
Sweden Sinks Into Political Chaos After Classified Data Breach -- Bloomberg

New White House Communications Director Who Vowed To Stop Leakers Is Now Being Targeted By Leakers



New York Times: Scaramucci Calls for Inquiry After ‘Leak’ of Financial Form

WASHINGTON — In the five days since he was named White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci has vowed to hunt down leakers and fire anyone he catches. By the end of his fifth day, he was on the receiving end of what he called a leak about himself.

The financial disclosure form that Mr. Scaramucci filed with the government appeared on Politico’s website on Wednesday night, showing that he has assets worth as much as $85 million. He made $5 million in salary and another $4.9 million from his ownership stake in his investment firm SkyBridge Capital in the first six months of this year, according to the filing.

Mr. Scaramucci responded angrily. “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony,” he wrote on Twitter, “I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Scaramucci claims 'felony' over report of public disclosures (Politico)
Update #2: Anthony Scaramucci says he will contact feds about 'felony' leak of his financial disclosure (Washington Examiner)

WNU Editor: You know you are having an impact when only 5 days after your appointment .... people are targeting you to be distracted and "put down".

Update #3: Scaramucci says tweet was not a threat to Priebus (CNN)
Update #4: Anthony Scaramucci tweets and deletes a cryptic message about leakers that also seemed to call out Reince Priebus (Business Insider)

China Developing A Long-Range Strategic Bomber


Andreas Rupprecht, RCD/Jamestown Foundation: The PLA Air Force’s “Silver-Bullet” Bomber Force

Although China is widely seen in the West as a major future opponent and rival in terms of global economics and political influence, its current force structure and its evolving joint operational doctrine is still largely consistent with a defensive orientation (Defense White Paper, May 25, 2015). However, China’s rising ambitions have led to dramatic reforms in recent years, which mean for the first time in its history, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will shift its focus from primarily territorial air defense to the ability to conduct offensive and defensive operations as well. [1] Most attention has focused on the introduction of new modern multirole combat fighters (J-10B/C, J-15 and J-16) and the development of next generation aircraft (J-20 and FC-31 stealth aircraft, Y-20 indigenous transport aircraft).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is not going to be an easy task. China will have to develop, test, and manufacture ..... while at the same time building a tanker support system to refuel these bombers (and other planes) .... all that I can say is that this is going to take time and resources. But it looks like China have made that commitment, and are now going down this path.

Is Australia Scared Of China?


Peter Jennings, RCD/The Strategist: China: Spy Ships and Shy Generals

The most obvious response to the Chinese intelligence-gathering ship snooping around in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Coral Sea would have been to put an RAAF P-3 maritime patrol aircraft right over the top of it. There’s nothing the Five Eyes countries won’t already know about the electronic eavesdropping capabilities of the 6,000-tonne Type 815 Dongdiao-class vessel, but that’s no reason not to add more information to our emissions libraries and to give the ship’s crew something to think about.

A second, slightly more lateral, response would have been to publish imagery from the P-3 so that the Australian community would have an idea what China’s newest intelligence-gathering vessel looks like.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... this reluctance to confront the Chinese (even though their ship was in international waters) will have consequences .... the next time the Chinese are snooping around, they are going to be more "aggressive" and "blunt" in telegraphing their presence to the Aussies.

China Wants It`s Own DARPA

China’s military has set up a new committee to develop state-of-the-art weapons such as stealth aircraft and electromagnetic cannon. Photo: Xinhua

South China Morning Post: Chinese military sets up hi-tech weapons research agency modelled on US body

Steering committee was created early this year to develop state-of-the-art equipment, state broadcaster reveals.

China’s military has set up a new department modelled on the ­Pentagon’s hi-tech research agency to develop state-of-the-art weapons such as stealth ­aircraft and electromagnetic ­cannons.

The Scientific Research Steering Committee was set up early this year, according to a documentary aired on state broadcaster CCTV that revealed the new department for the first time.

The committee will fall directly under the Central Military Commission (CMC), which is chaired by President Xi Jinping.

Read more ....

Update #1: Chinese military sets up hi-tech weapons research agency modelled on US body (CNBC)
Update #2: China agency targets high-tech weapons development (Financial Times)

WNU Editor: This is actually an old story .... The Chinese Military Wants To Have Its Own DARPA (April 12, 2016).

Lockheed's Skunk Works Is Working On New Technology For The 6th-Generation Fighter

A Lockheed illustration of a notional future fighter depicts a sleek, low-profile design. (Lockheed Martin)

Investors Business Daily: What Lockheed's Secretive Skunk Works Unit Sees For The 6th-Gen. Fighter

PALMDALE, Calif. — Lockheed Martin's (LMT) Skunk Works division, whose legendary history includes the SR-71 spy plane, F-117 stealth fighter and today's F-35, is working on new technology to ensure that U.S. aircraft stay ahead of adversaries.

While production on the F-35, a fifth-generation fighter, is just starting to ramp up, the Pentagon is already looking at a sixth-generation fighter.

In an interview with IBD, Rob Weiss, Lockheed's executive vice president for Advanced Development Programs and Skunk Works chief, said a new fighter "hinges around improving lethality, survivability and mission effectiveness."

Read more ....

WNU editor: A lot of  "pie in the sky" stuff here. Will something come out of this .... probably .... it is after-all the "Skunk Works". The question is .... how much will it cost.

Tweets For Today




An In-Depth Look At Venezuela's Economic Crisis.


WNU Editor: An brief summary on the current economic and political crisis in Venezuela.

Picture Of The Day

Despite adverse weather, none of the scheduled flight performances were canceled.
Photo: Sukhoi Su-30SM supermaneuverable fighter aircraft perform a demonstration flight at the MAKS 2017 International Aviation and Space Salon. © SPUTNIK/ EUGENE ODINOKOV

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Aerial Skills at MAKS 2017: Air Show Highlights (Sputnik).

The Hidden Costs Of U.S. 'National Security'



William Hartung, War Is Boring: The Trillion-Dollar Military Budget

The hidden costs of 'national security'

You wouldn’t know it, based on the endless cries for more money coming from the military, politicians and the president, but these are the best of times for the Pentagon.

Spending on the Department of Defense alone is already well in excess of half a trillion dollars a year and counting. Adjusted for inflation, that means it’s higher than at the height of Pres. Ronald Reagan’s massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak.

And yet that’s barely half the story. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in “defense” spending that aren’t even counted in the Pentagon budget.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A good summary.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Is The U.S. Intelligence Community Being Transformed/Reorganised?

Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRNet: Is an intel community reorg in the works?

The intelligence community is in the middle of a “significant transformation process,” according to the community’s top official.

“We’re in the beginning of the process of change that I hope will bring us up to date in terms of the agility … that we need,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during a Friday appearance at the Aspen Security Forum.

Coats noted that every agency needs to be evaluated in terms of effectiveness and efficiency given that with large bureaucracies duplication occurs and remains, as can be the nature of bureaucracy itself.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I cannot say that I am surprised that the intelligence community is being re-organised. This is probably a small indication on what is going to happen .... CIA Gives More Power to Spies to Bolster Intelligence Operations (Washington Free Beacon).

U.S. Special Forces Are Increasing Their Footprint In Africa

PHOTO: U.S. AFRICA COMMAND/SPC. ZAYID BALLESTEROS

Kaitlin Lavinder, The Cipher Brief: U.S. Special Operations Forces: Taking the Fight to Terror in Africa

U.S. President Donald Trump’s “war on terror” – much like his predecessor’s – uses partners’ capabilities against terrorists in an effort to protect the country from potential attacks, while minimizing U.S casualties. In Africa, Trump’s continuation of this strategy has resulted in increased reliance on U.S. special operations forces.

The U.S. Special Operations Command Africa now conducts around 100 activities in 20 countries with 1,700 personnel at any given time, according to an October strategic planning guidance report from the command’s head, Brigadier General Donald Bolduc. That is nearly double the number of U.S. special operations forces in Africa since 2014.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... the U.S. military presence on the African continent is only going to increase with time.

CIA Analyst: China Is A Greater Threat To The U.S. Than Russia

Bill Gertz, Asia Times: CIA analyst: Beijing poses a greater threat than Russia

In an unusually candid talk, agency's Michael Collins said China's growing confidence and resolve – fueled by inaction against Chinese hegemony over the past several years – are a worry

A senior CIA analyst has offered a rare public glimpse into American intelligence analysis of China. Michael Collins, deputy assistant director and head of the agency’s East Asia mission center, believes more attention should be focused on China and that recent public angst about Russia is distracting America from the threat posed by China.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Russia as a competitor, a country that sees the liberal international order as something they don’t necessarily subscribe to, that is actively engaged in trying to undermine US influence in various areas around the world, and that has [the] capability to do it,” Collins said at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In the short term .... China is more focused on its neighbours. Long term .... 10 years and more from now .... the U.S. will be finding China in many of the same places that they are presently in. Case in point .... this will be happening more often in the future .... A Chinese Military Base Is Only A Few Miles Away From A Critical U.S. Military Base (March 28, 2017).

Venezuela News Updates -- July 26, 2017



Reuters: U.S. sanctions Venezuelan officials, one killed in anti-Maduro strike

WASHINGTON/CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials as the country's opposition launched a two-day strike on Wednesday, heaping pressure on unpopular President Nicolas Maduro to scrap plans for a controversial new congress.

With clashes breaking out in some areas, a 30-year-old man was killed during a protest in the mountainous state of Merida, authorities said.

Venezuela's long-time ideological foe the United States opted to sanction the country's army and police chiefs, the national director of elections, and a vice president of the state oil company for alleged corruption and rights abuses.

But U.S. President Donald Trump spared Venezuela for now from broader sanctions against its vital oil industry, although such actions were still under consideration.

Read more ....

Venezuela News Updates -- July 26, 2017

Venezuela leader’s foes levy new sanctions and fresh strike -- Mercury News/AP
Treasury sanctions target Venezuela president's allies -- The Hill
Trump administration hits 13 Venezuelans with sanctions in advance of critical vote -- Washington Post
All options on table for dealing with Venezuela: U.S. official -- Reuters
Venezuelans launch 2-day strike against Maduro as US slaps sanctions -- CNN
U.S. sanctions Venezuelan officials, one killed in anti-Maduro strike -- Reuters
Cuba rejects rumors it will mediate in Venezuela crisis -- Reuters
Venezuelans Stockpile Food and Water Ahead of Maduro Power Grab -- Bloomberg
As Venezuela faces critical week, Colombia prepares for a wave of migrants -- Miami Herald
Five key figures in Maduro's push to change Venezuela constitution -- Digital Journal

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 26, 2017


Will Edwards, Cipher Brief: Border Dispute: China Won’t Back Off, India Can’t Back Down

After six weeks of tension between China and India over a Chinese road building project on contested territory, neither side is prepared to back down. Known as the Doklam Plateau, this small area high up in the Himalayas where Bhutan, India, and China share a vaguely defined border, is now the center of a potential conflict with much larger geopolitical consequences.

A spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Colonel Wu Qian, told reporters on Monday that China would not withdraw or end the road building project, saying "Shaking a mountain is easy but shaking the People's Liberation Army is hard."

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 26, 2017

China and India torn between silk roads and cocked guns -- Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

What China's Himalayan Warmongering Reveals -- Brahma Chellaney, Japan Times

Syria’s Civil War -- Glen Carey, Bloomberg

Say Goodbye to Regime Change in Syria -- Scott Ritter, American Conservative

From Russia to Syria and Iran: Do EU sanctions really work? -- Rob Mudge, DW

Make Saudi Arabia's vision of tolerance a reality -- Clifford D. May, Deseret News

Silenced stones mark hard path to Sri Lankan reconciliation -- Duncan McCargo, Asia Times

Brazil's right on the rise as anger grows over scandal and corruption -- Don Phillips, The Guardian

East Ukraine becomes a pawn again -- L. Todd Wood, Washington Times

Push Back Against Russia in Cyberspace -- US Naval Institute

A Different Kind of Reset in Russia -- George Friedman, Geopolitical Futures

What Thucydides’s Trap Gets Wrong About the United States and China -- Albert Wolf, RCD/Modern War Institute

Trump's Cultural Revolution -- Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg

Are America’s Wars Just and Moral? -- Patrick Buchanan

The Middle East: Terrorism Forever? -- Bing West, Strategika/Hoover Institute

World News Briefs -- July 26, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Russia, EU bristle at proposed new U.S. sanctions on Moscow, warn of action

MOSCOW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia warned it was edging closer to retaliation against Washington after the House of Representatives backed new U.S. sanctions on Moscow, while the European Union said the move might affect its energy security and it stood ready to act too.

The lower house of the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on Moscow on Tuesday and to force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers' permission before easing any punitive measures on Russia.

"This is rather sad news from the point of view of Russia-U.S. ties," said Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman. "We are talking about an extremely unfriendly act."

He said President Vladimir Putin would decide if and how Moscow would retaliate once the fresh sanctions became law, while Russia's deputy foreign minister warned the move was taking bilateral relations into uncharted waters, killing off any hope of improving them in the near future.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Exclusive: U.N. report accuses Saudi coalition of deadly migrant boat attack off Yemen.

Hezbollah says nearing victory in battle at Lebanon-Syria border.

Syrian government warplanes breach truce for 2nd day. Fighting, air strikes in ceasefire area east of Damascus - war monitor.

As Syria's army – with Russia's help – advances through the desert, Isis propaganda comes across the radio waves.

Children of Isis fighters face threat of Mosul revenge attacks.

Muslim cleric: Protest to go on despite Israeli concession.

Qatar says new terror list 'disappointing surprise'.

EU-Turkey talks fail to ease friction over detentions.

Iran poised to launch rocket into space, as North Korea readies another missile test, US officials say.

President says Iran will ‘respond’ if US missile law passes. Rouhani says Iran will respond to any new U.S. sanctions.

Trump warns 'emboldened' Iran to comply with nuclear deal.

Iran's two top opposition leaders in poor health, one in hospital.

ASIA

China blames India for border standoff and calls on it to withdraw its troops.

Taliban kill 26 Afghan soldiers as fighting intensifies.

Taliban seizes 3 districts from Afghan government.

Pentagon: North Korea's missile capability far ahead of schedule.

Beijing confirms putting pressure on Hanoi to stop South China Sea oil drilling.

Beijing backs joint energy ventures with Manila in South China Sea.

Beijing authorities crack down on major protest.

Sri Lanka deploys army to distribute fuel during strike.

Philippines: Duterte threatens to bomb indigenous schools. Rights groups ask Duterte to retract threat to bomb schools.

Strike by oil tanker owners causes fuel shortage in Pakistan.

AFRICA

Nigerian Senate backs plans to reduce power of presidency.

Germany says no indications Mali copter crash caused by attack.

Egypt sets up national council to fight terrorism.

Egypt military says 40 militants killed in Sinai campaign.

Libyan forces step up patrols to stop Islamic State regrouping.

Libyan factions agree to cease-fire deal.

Deal aims to integrate Libyan fighters into army.

Tripoli asks Italy to help fight traffickers in Libyan waters.

Burundi’s exiles call world’s attention to deadly crisis.

Zimbabwe's new law on judges angers Mugabe critics.

UN says Congo military 'elements' dug dozens of mass graves.

China warns Botswana over Dalai Lama visit.

EUROPE

Ukraine president strips one-time ally Saakashvili of citizenship.

EU warns U.S. it may respond swiftly to counter new sanctions on Russia. EU warns US over 'America first' Russia sanctions bill. Russia sanctions: EU vows to retaliate over US measures.

EU executive to start legal action against Poland over judiciary reform.

Russia cautions U.S. on new sanctions.

Putin yet to decide on Russia's response to new US sanctions - Kremlin. Moscow to frame stance on new sanctions once US bill becomes law.

EU states told to get serious on funding anti-migration efforts.

Spanish PM Rajoy denies knowing about graft deals in party.

Swedish parties plan no-confidence vote over security leak.

12,000 evacuated after wildfire on France's Mediterranean coast.

Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040.

AMERICAS

Canadian military tweets welcome as Trump bans transgender personnel.

New US sanctions bill deals fresh blow to Russia's hopes for a Trump embrace.

House Republicans seek to dodge border wall vote.

U.S. sanctions Venezuelan officials, one killed in anti-Maduro strike.

Venezuela crisis: Tensions rise as 48-hour strike starts.

Thousands flee to Colombia before Venezuela strike, vote.

Venezuelan opposition leader appeals against army crackdown.

Exclusive: U.S. sanctions Venezuelan officials to pressure Maduro - sources.

Colombia's ELN rebels propose three-month ceasefire.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

SOCOM Chief: US has killed ‘60,000 to 70,000’ ISIS fighters so far.

EU court upholds Hamas terror listing.

U.S. army medic has no regrets about saving Omar Khadr's life.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street mints records after Fed, strong earnings.

Greece arrests Russian suspected of running $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring.

VW and Daimler face cartel accusations.

Musk and Zuckerberg clash over future of AI.

Kaspersky's stellar antivirus finally goes free.

After Infecting 400,000 And Killing 1,900, Yemen's Cholera Epidemic Is Slowing Down



UN News Centre: Malnutrition and cholera 'a vicious combination' in war-torn Yemen – UN agency chiefs

In Yemen, the world's worst cholera outbreak is unfolding amid the world's largest humanitarian crisis, crippling health, water and sanitation facilities in the country, and creating ideal conditions for diseases to spread, according to the heads of three United Nations agencies.

“The country is on the brink of famine, with over 60 per cent of the population not knowing where their next meal will come from,” said UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Read more ....

More News On Yemen's Cholera Epidemic

Yemen cholera epidemic slowing after infecting 400,000 -- Reuters
Nearly 1,900 cholera deaths in Yemen in last three months -- The National
Red Cross urges West, Saudi-led coalition to resolve Yemen crisis -- Reuters
80% of Yemen children in need of immediate aid: UN -- News24
400,000 suspected cases of cholera, 1,900 related deaths recorded in Yemen in 3 months -- Arab News
U.N. leaders visit Yemen to issue plea for help in humanitarian crisis -- Washington Times
What To Know About the Massive Cholera Outbreak in Yemen -- Alexandra Sifferlin, Time

Libya’s Two Main Rival Leaders Have Agreed To Call A Ceasefire And Hold Elections Early Next Year



The Guardian: Libyan rival leaders agree to ceasefire after Macron-hosted talks

French president says Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar have shown ‘historic courage’ at the meeting outside Paris

Libya’s two main rival leaders have agreed to call a ceasefire and hold elections early next year after a meeting in Paris hosted by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

Macron said Libya’s UN-backed prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, and Khalifa Haftar – the military strongman whose forces control large tracts of land in the east of the country – had displayed “historic courage” at the talks outside Paris on Tuesday.

“The cause of peace has made great progress today,” declared Macron at the end of the talks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I did not think French President Macron would succeed .... but it looks like he has. Only time will tell if this will lead to real peace.



More News On Libya’s Two Main Rival Leaders Agreeing To Call A Ceasefire And To Hold Elections Early Next Year

Libya crisis: Rival governments commit to ceasefire -- BBC
Libyan Rivals Agree to a Cease-Fire and Elections After Talks in France -- Time/AP
Libyan Factions Agree to Cease-fire Deal -- VOA
Rival Libyan leaders reach ceasefire, election agreement -- DW
Deal aims to integrate Libyan fighters into army -- Gulf News
Libyan Rivals Agree on Cease-Fire and Elections Plan -- Bloomberg
Libyan rivals agree on nationwide ceasefire -- Al Jazeera
Libyan Rivals Agree to a Ceasefire and Elections -- The Atlantic

Report: North Korea May Launch A Missile Test Today

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.​

Reuters:
North Korea could carry out missile test soon: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials said on Tuesday they have seen increased North Korean activity that could be preparations for another missile test within days.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that over the past week intelligence has spotted equipment, possibly for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or an intermediate-range missile, moving into a site in the western city of Kusong.

Earlier this month, reclusive North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy the United States and South Korea, said it had conducted its first test of an ICBM and mastered the technology needed to deploy a nuclear warhead via the missile.

Pyongyang's state media said the test verified the atmospheric re-entry of the warhead, which experts say may be able to reach the U.S. state of Alaska.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That North Korea May Launch A Missile Test Today

N.K. military officials vow war readiness ahead of armistice anniv. -- Yonhap News Agency
Growing signs of NK missile test deal blow to engagement approach -- Korea Herald
Report: N. Korea Could Launch Missile Test Wednesday, Iran Preparing to Launch Rocket Into Space -- Washington Free Beacon
Ahead of Armistice Day, North Korea Pledges War, Could Launch Missile -- IBTimes
Iran poised to launch rocket into space, as North Korea readies another missile test, US officials say -- FOX News

President Trump Announces That The U.S. Will Not 'Accept or Allow' Transgenders In The Military




Herscel Smith, Captain's Journal: Trump Bans Transgenders In Military

NYT:

President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States will not “accept or allow” transgender people in the United States military, saying American forces “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory” and could not afford to accommodate them.

Mr. Trump made the surprise declaration in a series of posts on Twitter, saying he had come to the decision after talking to generals and military experts, whom he did not name.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The sweeping policy decision reverses the gradual transformation of the military under President Barack Obama, whose administration announced last year that transgender people could serve openly in the military. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, also opened all combat roles to women and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary.

Note how he has couched this – very smartly, in my opinion. We cannot afford to accommodate them.

That’s how the Marine Corps sees everything. If you come into the Marines left-eye dominate, they put a patch over your left eye (for a while) and reprogram you to be right-eye dominate. I know this because my son did this to his “boots” who were left eye-dominate.

They don’t even accept left handed shooting. They value sameness and likeness above everything. Everything. If you don’t like that, then go find your warfighting capabilities somewhere else. There’s a right way to do this, and the Marine Corps has found it.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I first posted this story on my "Military and Intelligence News Briefs" post this morning .... and decided to leave it at that. For me it is not an important story .... IMHO there are far more important stories out there to follow and post on. But since then the media has gone into melt-down mode, and for many this is a very important story (both pro and against) .... so here is a post on the topic (from the New York Times/MSNBS/and a post from the Captain's Journal), and I am going to leave it at that.

Egyptian Tank Crew Crushes Suicide Car Bombers Before Massive Explosion At Checkpoint



The Independent: Egyptian tank crew crushes car bomb ‘to save 50 people’

Egyptian military attempt to use tank to contain blast

An Egyptian tank crew have been praised for saving over 50 people's lives after they ran over a car bomb to prevent a suicide attack.

Seven civilians, including two young children, were killed when the bomb exploded at a security checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula.

The military said the tank intercepted the vehicle at a checkpoint near the city of Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, and tried to contain the expected blast by running over the car.

Read more ....

WNU editor: You can tell that the ones who died were the ones who decided to hide behind their cars instead of running away as far as possible from what was happening at the checkpoint .... while those who ran away survived.

More News On An Egyptian Tank Crew Crushing A Car Filled With Suicide Bombers Before A Massive Explosion At Sinai Checkpoint

Tank crushes car packed with explosives in Egypt -- The Telegraph
Egyptian tank crew 'saves 50 people' from deadly suicide bomb by CRUSHING car packed with 200lbs of explosives -- Daily Mail
Egyptian tank pancakes suicide car bombers -- YNet News
Tank crushes car full of bombers before massive explosion at Egypt checkpoint (VIDEO) -- RT

Russia And The EU React To The U.S. Congress Passing New Sanctions On Russia



Reuters: Russia, EU bristle at proposed new U.S. sanctions on Moscow, warn of action

MOSCOW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia warned it was edging closer to retaliation against Washington after the House of Representatives backed new U.S. sanctions on Moscow, while the European Union said the move might affect its energy security and it stood ready to act too.

The lower house of the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on Moscow on Tuesday and to force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers' permission before easing any punitive measures on Russia.

"This is rather sad news from the point of view of Russia-U.S. ties," said Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman. "We are talking about an extremely unfriendly act."

He said President Vladimir Putin would decide if and how Moscow would retaliate once the fresh sanctions became law, while Russia's deputy foreign minister warned the move was taking bilateral relations into uncharted waters, killing off any hope of improving them in the near future.

Read more ....

WNU editor: Russia is in a quandary on this issue. They know that President Trump wants to build better relations with Russia and that he does not favour new sanctions. They also understand the politics that are swirling around in Washington, and the blame that they (the Kremlin) are receiving for "hacking" the U.S. election. But any Russian response to these new sanctions would only undermine President Trump .... and at this moment in time he is the only one in Washington who wants to deal with them. My prediction .... the Kremlin is going to retaliate, and their hope is that the EU will put pressure on the U.S. to soften and/or minimise these sanctions. As for the EU itself .... they are justifiably steamed. These new sanctions will harm their business interests with Russia, and they will probably retaliate.

More News On Russia And The EU Reacting To The U.S. Congress Passing New Sanctions On Russia

House Approves Sweeping Sanctions Package Against Russia -- NYT
New U.S. sanctions "closing off the prospect for normalizing ties," Russian diplomat says -- CBS/AP
Kremlin says new sanctions are sad news for US-Russia relations -- The Guardian
Putin Yet to Decide on Russia's Response to New US Sanctions - Kremlin -- Sputnik
Moscow to frame stance on new sanctions once US bill becomes law -- TASS
Russia cautions U.S. on new sanctions -- The Hill
Russia Warns of ‘Painful’ Response If Trump Backs U.S. Sanctions -- Bloomberg
Russia sanctions: EU vows to retaliate over US measures -- BBC
EU warns US over 'America first' Russia sanctions bill -- CNN
EU warns US of retaliation over Russia sanctions -- Digital Journal
Russian energy sanctions bill puts another crack in strained US-Europe relations -- CNBC
France says U.S. sanctions on Iran, Russia look illegal -- Reuters