Sunday, July 31, 2016

Turkey Issues Ultimatum To EU Over Visa-Free Travel

Refugees and migrants wait to be registered at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, November 5, 2015. © Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

DW: Turkey out of migrant deal if EU fails on visa-free travel: Cavusoglu

Turkey's foreign minister has warned of the consequences should the EU fail to deliver on visa-free travel. EU officials are wary of easing travel restrictions after the crackdown in the wake of the recent failed coup.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Ankara would back out of an agreement to stem the flow of irregular migrants to the EU if Brussels failed to deliver visa-travel for its citizens by October.

"But all that is dependent on the cancellation of the visa requirement for our citizens which is also an item in the agreement of March 18," Cavusoglu said in comments published in the Monday edition of the German daily "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."

"If visa liberalization does not follow, we will be forced to back away from the deal on taking back [refugees] and the agreement of March 18," he noted.

Cavusoglu added that while the government had not set a specific date for visa liberalization, "it could be the beginning or middle of October."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My friends in Greece are telling me that the refugees are now starting to pour in .... that this migrant deal is all but dead already. More here .... Greek islands overflowing with migrants amid EU fears Turkey will abandon refugee deal (RT).

More News On Turkey's Ultimatum To The EU Over Visa-Free Travel

Turkish FM: If There's No Visa-Free Travel, No Migrant Deal -- AP
‘Waiting until October’: Turkey issues ultimatum to EU over visa-free travel -- RT
Turkey says they'll let the migrants flow into Europe if denied visa-free travel -- Reuters
Turkey-EU Refugee Deal Dead as Ankara Demands Visa-Free Travel or They Walk -- Sputnik

Armed Men Who Seized Armenian Police Station Surrender Ending 2 Week Stand-off

The Independent: Armenia stand-off over as all 20 gunmen occupying police station surrender

The two-week stand-off left two police officers dead and several wounded on both sides

The Armenian security service has said all 20 gunmen remaining inside a police compound in the capital have surrendered, ending a two-week standoff.

A group of 31 men seized the building in Yerevan on 17 July, demanding the release of Jirair Sefilian, an opposition leader and former military commander, who was arrested in June.

Sefilian has strongly criticised Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan and is unhappy about the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict between pro-Armenian separatists and the breakaway Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The group had lambasted the government of the former Soviet republic and urged people to protest to force the president and the prime minister to step down.

Read more ....

More News On The End Of The Stand-off Between Police And Armed Men In Armenia

Armed men who seized Armenian police station surrender -- Reuters
Armenia police station siege ends as 20 gunmen surrender -- AFP
Armenia: All 20 gunmen at police compound surrender, standoff is over -- AP
Armenia gunmen surrender after seizing police station -- BBC
Gunmen surrender in Armenia police station siege -- DW
Remaining Gunmen In Armenia Standoff Surrender -- RFE
Two-week standoff ends in Armenia as gunmen surrender -- Al Jazeera
Armenia standoff over: Members of armed group lay down arms -- Public Radio Of Armenia

Huge Explosion Reported In Kabul. Compound Used By Foreigners Targeted In Attack

RT: Massive truck bomb hits foreign hotel in Kabul, gunfight ongoing – reports

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a truck bomb attack on a foreign hotel in the Afghan capital of Kabul early on Monday. Several gunmen attacked the compound following a powerful explosion and engaged in a shootout with security forces.

The blast occurred in the middle of the night, at around 1:30 am local time. The blast has been described on Twitter as being so loud that it woke up people “all over the city.”

A “truck bomb” struck “a foreign guesthouse,” reported Lotfullah Najafizada, head of Kabul-based TOLOnews TV broadcaster, citing security sources. He added that “four attackers” were trying to enter the building.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a developing story.

More News On Reports Of A Massive Truck Bomb Explosion And Attack In Kabul, Afghanistan

Taliban claims truck bomb blast in Kabul -- Reuters
Large explosion hits Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul -- AP
Taliban truck bomb strikes foreign guesthouse in Kabul -- AFP
Taliban truck bomb hits foreign guesthouse in Kabul -- Al Jazeera
Huge truck bomb rocks foreign compound in Afghan capital of Kabul -- DW
Kabul shaken by large explosion on city's outskirts -- The Guardian
Truck Bomber, Gunmen Attack Foreigners' Hotel In Kabul -- RFE
Dozens Feared Dead After Truck Bomb Blast, Four Gunmen Strike Hotel in Kabul -- Sputnik

Iran And Russia Discuss ways To Broaden Their Military Ties

© Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

Sputnik: Russia, Iran Discuss Possibilities to Broaden Military Cooperation

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and commander of the Iranian forces taking part in the 2016 International Army Games Brigadier General Vali Madani discussed ways to expand military cooperation between the two countries, Iranian media reported Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – "Iran and Russia have the needed capacities to broaden their mutual cooperation in the defense field," Madani said as quoted by the Fars news agency

The meeting was held after the opening ceremony of the 2016 Army Games.

Read more ....

Update: Iran and Russia discuss increasing military ties; Iran blasts US for 'violation' of nuclear deal (Jerusalem Post)

WNU editor: The war in Syria was the number one item on their agenda during these discussions.

Will Third-Parties Upset The U.S. Election?

The Hill: Third-party support surging

Voters now confronted with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are making something abundantly clear: they want another option.

Surveys over the last six weeks have found a steady but noticeable jump in support for third-party candidates. The biggest beneficiary has been Libertarian Gary Johnson, who has shot up from 4.5 percent to 7.2 percent in RealClearPolitics polling averages. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has also seen an uptick since June — from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

The surge in support for a third-party candidate is adding a new element of unpredictability into the presidential race. Should voters opt for a third-party candidate in large numbers, it could potentially tip the scales in crucial battleground states.

Pollsters and political scientists say the deep malcontent with Clinton and Trump should give both candidates pause.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This main stream media does not want to cover this story, but it is a trend that deserves to be closely watched. Case in point ..... The Hill is right in its analysis that even though Ralph Nader got 2.5% of the vote in Florida in the 2000 election, he probably did swing the election to George Bush.

China Asks The Question: 'Who Would Suffer More In A U.S. - China War?'

Global Times: US would suffer more in war with China

A report released by the Rand Corporation Friday illuminates four hypothetical scenarios for a US-China war.

According to the report, across a time frame from 2015 to 2025, as Chinese military capabilities improve, the US can no longer be certain a war would develop as it expects, nor can it achieve a decisive victory once a war breaks out with China. The closer to 2025, the more difficulties the US will have in defeating China, but yet it does not mean China is bound to succeed.

The report holds that no matter what type of war, China will suffer a heavier loss than the US, not only militarily, but also economically and politically.

For instance, if the US suffers a 5 to 10 percent decrease in GDP, China will suffer 25 to 35 percent. War will lead to intensified partisan squabbling in the US, but China will be plagued by chaos and ethnic division. The report also believes that if a war erupts in 2015, the US losses of surface naval and air forces, aircraft carriers, and regional air bases will be significant, but Chinese losses would be much greater.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This article does not support the headline. The Chinese are acknowledging (in this article) that in any war with the U.S. the loses for China will be huge .... but they still believe that they will persevere. As to what is my take .... I have trouble seeing how anyone can be a victor in such a conflict, but I do know that China's dependence on trade for its economic growth and stability will be significantly hit, and in a population that has high hopes for a better life .... this will not be a good scenario for Beijing. In short .... the Chinese will support any war that they find themselves in .... Chinese nationalism is very strong and it should never be underestimated .... but when such a hypothetical conflict is over and the hardships become normal .... watch-out.

Russia Scholar Stephen Cohen Shuts Down CNN Host Who Tries To Link Trump To Putin

WNU Editor: Could not have said it any better. On a personal note .... I have met Stephen Cohen on a few occasions in Moscow, and we usually disagree .... but if there is one thing that I learned about him is that he is a formidable debate opponent .... and you better know your facts when you face him. This CNN host was clearly not prepared.

After Disrupting The Price Of Oil, U.S. Shale Producers Are Now Going To Shake The Global LNG Markets

The liquefied natural gas tanker Asia Vision left Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana on Wednesday with the first cargo of U.S. shale gas. The carrier ship is shown Wedneday in an aerial photograph taken over Sabine Pass, Texas. (MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Lindsey Janies)

Fuel Fix: U.S. shale gas is shaking up global LNG market

Shale drillers from Pennsylvania to Texas flooded the U.S. with so much natural gas over the past decade that prices slid to a 17-year low. Now they’re going global, with the potential to upset markets from London to Tokyo.

The U.S. began shale gas exports by sea this year and is projected by the International Energy Agency to become the world’s third-largest liquefied natural gas supplier in five years. Gas will challenge coal at European power plants and become affordable in emerging markets, where prices have been high and supplies limited, according to the IEA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

LNG became the world’s second most traded commodity after oil last year and demand will keep growing, Goldman said. U.S. gas is adding to the global glut triggered by new Australian supply and weakening Asian consumption. Shale is having an outsized impact on how LNG is sold, prompting spot trading in lieu of long-term contracts.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a major development ..... and it will deflate global prices. On a side note .... expect more downward pressure on oil prices as fracking technologies continue to improve the ability of oil producers to extract oil cheaply .... Energy companies find at least 1 benefit of downturn (Fuel Fix). The two sentences that caught my eye were the following ....

.... development cost in West Texas’ Permian basin has plummeted from $25 a barrel two years ago to $8 a barrel last quarter .... and .... has been able to cut development costs in the Permian from almost $20 a barrel last year to about $10 in the second quarter of 2016.

These cost efficiencies are huge, and will have a definitely downward impact on future oil prices.

Donald Trump: Putin Is 'Not Going To Go Into Ukraine,'

CNN: Trump says Putin is 'not going to go into Ukraine,' despite Crimea

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin won't make a military move into Ukraine -- even though Putin already has done just that, seizing the country's Crimean peninsula.

"He's not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want," Trump said in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week."

"Well, he's already there, isn't he?" Stephanoploulos responded, in a reference to Crimea, which Putin took from Ukraine in early 2014.

Trump said: "OK -- well, he's there in a certain way. But I'm not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he's going away. He takes Crimea."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Donald Trump is right that a majority of Crimeans do not want to be a part of Ukraine anymore .... as to the war in eastern Ukraine .... this is primarily a fight between Ukrainians and Russian Ukrainians with backing and support from outside powers .... the West on Kiev's side, Russia on the other. As to Donald Trump's remarks on "Putin is not going to go into Ukraine" .... he probably means a Russian invasion into Ukraine proper. Either way .... he has to clarify this remark. As to what is my take on Russia invading Ukraine proper .... with the exception of some Russian nationalists .... there is no stomach in the Kremlin or in the Russian public to invade and then become responsible for cleaning up that mess.

All Sides Prepare For The Battle Over The Iraqi City Of mosul

Popular Mobilization Force members on the frontline with the Islamic State in al-Fatha, northeast of Baiji, Iraq on October 18, 2015. © 2015 Reuters

VOX: The battle to take back ISIS's last stronghold in Iraq could be long and bloody

After the Iraqi security forces (ISF) recaptured Fallujah from ISIS this June, they set their sights on Mosul, the terrorist organization’s biggest prize and Iraq’s second-largest city. Hundreds of the militants are fleeing from Iraq to Syria in anticipation of an imminent offensive to retake the city. Others are burning oil wells and planting improvised explosive devices to stymie enemy advances.

The Iraqi government hopes to expel ISIS from Mosul by the end of the year. It has momentum on its side. ISIS-held territory in Iraq has shrunk from more than 40 percent of the country to less than 10 percent. The ISF are receiving air support from an international coalition and fire support from dozens of Kurdish and Shia militias, which will likely join the offensive.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All signs indicate that this is not going to be an easy battle .... Retaking IS-Held Mosul Likely to Be Tricky, Costly for Iraq (AP).

More News On The Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul

Iraqi forces eye Shirqat, one of the last steps before Mosul -- Reuters
Iraqi PM talks Mosul offensive with top US officer -- AA
Isil leaders begin to flee Mosul as US-backed Iraqi army closes in on jihadists' biggest stronghold -- The Telegraph
Red Cross: One million could flee Mosul battle in Iraq -- Al Jazeera
Red Cross warns 1M more Iraqis could flee homes amid Islamic State fight -- UPI
Iraq: Ban Abusive Militias from Mosul Operation -- Human Rights Watch
Sectarian rhetoric rises in preparation for Mosul
The liberation of Mosul is a deja vu all over again -- Al Jazeera

U.S. Still Not Sure On How To Respond To A Cyber Attack From A Foreign Government

President Obama during a visit to a government cybersecurity center in Arlington, Va., in 2015. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

New York Times: U.S. Wrestles With How to Fight Back Against Cyberattacks

ASPEN, Colo. — It has been an open secret throughout the Obama presidency that world powers have escalated their use of cyberpower. But the recent revelations of hacking into Democratic campaign computer systems in an apparent attempt to manipulate the 2016 election is forcing the White House to confront a new question: whether, and if so how, to retaliate.

So far, the administration has stopped short of publicly accusing the Russian government of President Vladimir V. Putin of engineering the theft of research and emails from the Democratic National Committee and hacking into other campaign computer systems. However, private investigators have identified the suspects, and American intelligence agencies have told the White House that they have “high confidence” that the Russian government was responsible.

Less certain is who is behind the selective leaks of the material, and whether they have a clear political objective. Suspecting such meddling is different from proving it with a certainty sufficient for any American president to order a response.

Read more ....

Update: US to Use 'All Tools' Available to Respond to Cyberattacks - Homeland Security (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: This debate on what the U.S. should do when other countries launch cyber attacks against U.S. networks has been ongoing for years. You would think that by now they would have a clear idea on how to detect and respond .... both publicly and in secret. Apparently .... the answer is not.

A Tale Of Two Grieving Families But The Media Highlights One But Not The Other

CNN: Khizr Khan: Trump has a 'black soul'

Washington (CNN)Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim US soldier slain in Iraq in 2004, said Sunday that Donald Trump has a "black soul," indicating he lacks empathy and compassion.

Khan told CNN's Jim Acosta on "State of the Union" that he hopes Trump's family will "teach him some empathy."

"He is a black soul, and this is totally unfit for the leadership of this country," Khan said. "The love and affection that we have received affirms that our grief -- that our experience in this country has been correct and positive. The world is receiving us like we have never seen. They have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul."

Khan moved into the national spotlight after he pulled out a pocket copy of the Constitution during his speech at the Democratic National Convention. He said Trump would have barred his Muslim family from entering the United States.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The main stream media are stumbling all over themselves to get Khizr Khan on their news shows this morning .... but choose to ignore Benghazi mother Patricia Smith who spoke at the Republican convention the week before and on why she blames Hillary Clinton for her son's death. A double standard? You betcha .... Hillary Called Benghazi Mom a Liar, But Media Freak Out over Trump on Muslim Parents (Breitbart).

Sighhh .... this is why the public trust in the media is hitting new lows .... the bias is becoming more obvious with each news cycle.

Should The U.S. Presidential Debates Happen At The Same Time When NFL Football Is On TV

ABC News: Trump Complains About Debates Conflicting With NFL Games

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he is unhappy that some of the debates planned between him and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are scheduled against NFL games.

He also said that the NFL wrote him a letter complaining about the scheduling of debates at the same time as football games -- a point that the league disputes.

Trump told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: "I got a letter from the NFL saying, 'This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against --,' because the NFL doesn't want to go against the debates."

Read more ....

WNU editor: I am with Donald Trump on this one. Football is America's religion .... having a debate while Monday Night Football is on the other channel is stupid. The commission that decides this made a boo-boo ..... and I am sure that this will not happen again. My prediction .... Donald trump will get his way, they will change the debate schedule on dates that will not conflict with the NFL.

Political Crisis In Tunisia

Al Jazeera: Tunisian parliament votes to dismiss PM Habib Essid

Members of Tunisia's parliament vote Prime Minister Habib Essid out of office 18 months after his appointment.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid has been ousted after overwhelmingly losing a vote of confidence in parliament.

In power for a year and a half, Essid's opponents said he had failed to tackle the country's economic and security problems.

A total of 118 members of parliament voted late on Saturday to unseat Essid; three voted for him to stay at the helm; and 27 abstained.

The results were largely expected, with several ruling coalition party members declaring ahead of the session that they were not going to renew their confidence in the prime minister.

Earlier on Saturday, Essid, 67, had told parliament he knew he would be voted out.

Read more ....

More News On Tunisia's Political Crisis

Tunisia lawmakers vote to dismiss prime minister -- Reuters
Tunisian prime minister Habib Essid sacked by parliament -- AP
Tunisia parliament votes to sack PM Habib Essid -- BBC
Tunisian PM Habib Essid loses confidence vote -- AFP
Tunisia Lawmakers Fire Premier Essid Over Economic Concerns -- Bloomberg
Tunisian PM Habib Essid loses confidence vote amid fears of heightened political uncertainty -- ABC News Online

How Hard Will Venezuela's Economic Storm Hit Cuba?

Presidents Castro and Maduro Cuban economy

Miami Herald: Economists debate how hard Venezuelan economic storm will hit Cuba

Another country stole attention at the opening session of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy conference in Miami as the impact on Cuba of the potential end of Venezuelan oil largesse became a prime topic for debate.

Faced with mounting energy problems, Cuban officials announced strict energy savings measures at state enterprises earlier this month in hopes of avoiding blackouts during the sweltering summer months. Officials have said Cuba will have to cut fuel consumption by 28 percent during the second half of the year.

Read more ....

Update: VENEZUELA’S ECONOMIC WOES SEND A CHILL OVER CLOSEST ALLY CUBA: Warnings of rationing revive memories of post-Soviet austerity in Havana (Cuban Economy/Financial Times)

WNU Editor: The big fear in Cuba is a return to the power-blackouts of the 1990s .... which will happen if the spigot is turned-off from Venezuela. My prediction .... it will be turned-off by the end of this year. Venezuela's oil industry is now in chaos, and the infrastructure that supports it is .... like anything else that is not properly maintained and serviced ..... falling apart. On the bright side .... this will expedite the push for economic reforms in Cuba .... much to the chagrin of the hard-core socialists who still believe in the Cuban-Castro revolution.

Why Are People In Oil-Rich Venezuela Going Hungry?

BBC: Going hungry in Venezuela

It's one thing to talk to people you've never met before who are suffering from hunger, and it's a completely different thing when they are from your own family, as the BBC's Vladimir Hernandez discovered when he returned to his native Venezuela to report on its failure to get food on people's tables.

Travelling through the country this month I saw endless queues of people trying to buy food - any food - at supermarkets and other government-run shops.

I was stopped at a roadblock in the middle of the countryside by people who said they had eaten nothing but mangoes for three days.

I saw the hopeless expression of a mother, who had been eating so little that she was no longer able to breastfeed her baby.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I saw this in the former Soviet Union .... to see the bewildered look on the faces of those who for years supported a socialist model of government control on food distribution and other services .... and in the end they have nothing. For many Venezuelans they are now in the denial phase .... and they are accepting the government's claims that foreigners and speculators are responsible for this mess. But these numbers are shrinking, and I would not be surprised if  by next year the Venezuelan government and military start suppressing the first serious outbreaks of revolution, while hundreds of thousands (if not a million plus) start to flee the country into neighbouring Latin American countries and to the U.S..

NATO Spending In Two Charts

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Defense One: NATO Spending, in Two Charts: 2016 Edition

Who’s hitting the 2% guideline?

In 2014, NATO adopted a guideline for members’ defense spending: 2 percent of gross domestic product. On Friday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drew new attention to this guideline when he said he would look at countries’ contributions to the alliance before defending them from an attack.

Here’s who’s currently meeting that guideline:

The U.S. and Britain, which exceeded the 2 percent target in 2015, are projected to do so again in 2016. Two of the remaining three countries slated to meet the goal this year — Estonia and Poland — border the Baltic Sea and have a front-row seat to Russian fly-bys and other intimidation tactics. Two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, are increasing their year-over-year defense spending both in real dollars and as a percent of GDP.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This only makes Donald Trump's case that many in NATO are not keeping their promises and commitments.

Islamic State Encouraging Its Foreign Supporters To Launch Global Attacks

A flag belonging to the Islamic State fighters is seen on a motorbike after forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 27, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

Reuters: As 'caliphate' shrinks, Islamic State looks to global attacks

Islamic State, losing territory and on the retreat in Iraq and Syria, has claimed credit for a surge in global attacks this summer, most of them in France and Germany.

The wave of attacks followed a call to strike against the West during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in June and July, in an apparent shift in strategy by the jihadist group, which has been hammered by two years of U.S.-led coalition air strikes and ground advances by local forces.

Instead of urging supporters to travel to its self-proclaimed caliphate, it encouraged them to act locally using any means available.

"If the tyrants close the door of migration in your faces, then open the door of jihad in theirs and turn their actions against them," said an audio clip purportedly from spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, referring to Western governments' efforts to keep foreign fighters from traveling to the join the group.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As I said in the previous post .... this is going to get worse.

There Is Now One Islamic State Attack in Europe Every 84 Hours

CNN: 'One ISIS attack every 84 hours' spurs dread and anger in Europe

Hollande, Merkel face growing hostility following mass migration.

(CNN)In the past week I have seen flowers and candles carpeting a street in Munich, the tranquility of a small Bavarian town shattered by a suicide bomb and a small church in suburban France sealed off after its octogenarian priest had his throat cut.

Before these horrific events, there was a knife-wielding teenager on a German train. And before that, much deadlier attacks in Nice, Brussels and last November, in Paris.

This year has seen an accelerating pattern of attacks linked to ISIS in Europe and beyond -- from Turkey to Bangladesh, the United States to Indonesia. According to the group IntelCenter, which tracks acts of terrorism, there has been a significant attack directed or inspired by ISIS every 84 hours since June 8 in cities outside the war zones in Iraq, Syria, Sinai in Egypt and Libya. CNN's own tracking of attacks supports that conclusion.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: And the trends are telling all of us that this is going to get worse.

Sleep As A Weapon

Army Soldiers catch a few minutes of sleep on board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. Overall research findings suggest that inadequate levels of sleep when sustained over time increase the risk of physiological disease, allowing greater susceptibility to illness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Heide Couch)

Sarah DiGiulio, Huffington Post: You Have To Close Your Eyes To See The Military’s Powerful New Weapon

Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis says sleep is a key strategy.

On a March evening in 2002, the USS Oscar Austin began a nighttime transit through the Skagerrak, a busy shipping lane connecting Norway, Denmark and Sweden, when disaster nearly struck.

Retired U.S. Navy Capt. John Cordle was on the bridge navigating the ship. “It was a very narrow, confusing transit at night,” Cordle told The Huffington Post. Three Navy ships were following.

It had been a long day. Cordle had pulled an all-nighter, working various shifts. That’s when he nearly caused a drowsy driving catastrophe that could have caused several naval vessels to collide.

“I just sort of fell asleep standing up,” he admitted.

Retired Adm. James G. Stavridis says these situations are unacceptable ― and all too common.

“Sleep is a key part of the requirements for resilience and good decision-making,” Stavridis said in an interview.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We all have had that experience .... falling asleep when we should not have. In my case the closest call that I ever had was when I was driving with 3 friends to Quebec City from Montreal. It was late at night, it was a snowstorm, and we were all very tired. During the drive .... as I told my friends when we finally arrived to Quebec City .... there was a point where all four of us were asleep.

Nuclear Fears At The Rio Olympics

Brazilian Army soldiers take part in a simulation of decontamination of multiple victims during a training against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, March 11, 2016Photo by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

The SUN: OLYMPICS 'DIRTY BOMB' FEARS UN atomic agency helping guard Rio Olympics from ISIS terror attack

State-of-the-art scanners will monitor the city for tell-tale traces of radiation.

EXPERTS from the United Nations have sent state-of-the art detection equipment to Brazil over fears suicidal terror nuts will target the Olympics with a devastating ‘dirty bomb’.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has loaned hi-tech radiation monitors – including personal detectors and portable scanners – for use on the ground throughout the Games.

Brazil’s anti-terror chief has already admitted there is a ‘credible threat’ ISIS will target Rio next month and said ‘numerous measures’ are being taken to prevent any attack.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to the Brazilian press, there are going to be 300 nuclear security agents deployed at the Rio Olympics .... 300 nuclear security agents to be deployed for Rio Olympics (Xinhua). What's my take .... fears of a dirty bomb being used at the Olympics is nothing new ..... Beijing Olympics Nuclear 'Dirty Bomb' Fears (May 21, 2008), and while I understand the precautions, I would be more afraid of being bitten by a Zika infected mosquito than a dirty bomb being used.

The Millennials Are Taking Over The Military

150605-N-AT895-113 GREAT LAKES, Ill. (June 5, 2015) Recruits at Recruit Training Command (RTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes prepare to receive their Navy ball caps after completing Battle Stations, the final exercise before graduation. (Photo: MC3 Nathan Laird/Navy)

Military Times: The millennials have taken over: A primer for the military's generational shift

Are younger service members — so-called ‘millennials,’ born in 1980 or later — soft?

Are they too reliant on technology? Are they buried so deep in social media that face-to-face communication becomes impossible? Are they too busy questioning orders to follow them?

It's not uncommon to hear such complaints from members of the Old Guard, some of whom are quick to stereotype the new breed as too desperate for praise and too ill-disciplined.

Across the services, leaders certainly are scrambling to adapt to the millennial mindset, even as the generation is taking over.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Growing up in a culture of high tech, social media, and expectations .... coupled with a dark and gloomy view of the future .... and a work ethic that even I have trouble relating to .... the Army that they are going to shape will (and this is an easy prediction) have no resemblance to the Army that Grandpa likes to talk about.

Update: I should also add that the same cultural changes are happening in the Russian military, and my Chinese friends are also telling me the same.

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr And His Followers Are 'Thirsty For American Blood'

Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Iraqi News

Military Times: Moqtada al Sadr and his followers in Iraq are 'thirsty for Americans' blood'

For the first time in years, the Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and his militia are unleashing fiery anti-American rhetoric and threatening to attack U.S. troops.

But top U.S. military officials have downplayed his remarks, saying that for now there’s no cause for concern.

Sadr rose to prominence when his Mahdi Army battled U.S. troops after the 2003 invasion. He has quietly tolerated the comparatively small U.S. military force there now supporting the war on Islamic State extremists. But the powerful cleric became confrontational again after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced plans on July 11 to send an additional 560 U.S. troops to Iraq, bringing the total to more than 4,600.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A long time foe of the U.S., he started this new campaign 2 weeks ago .... US troops ‘are a target for us,’ Iraq’s Muqtada al Sadr says (Long war Journal).

Tweet For Today

Picture Of The Day

A demonstrator hurls a stone towards Indian police during a protest in Srinagar against the recent killings in Kashmir. July 28. © REUTERS/ DANISH ISMAIL

Saturday, July 30, 2016

What Was The 'Worst' Year In History? 10 Historians Give Their Answer

"Black Death." Online Media. World Book Advanced. World Book, 2015. Web. 3 Feb. 2015.

Matthew Pratt Guterl, Business Insider/Slate: I asked 10 historians to nominate the 'worst' year in history — here are their picks

When news of the truck killings in Nice, France, broke last week, I started seeing variations of the same sentiment on Twitter and Facebook: Is this the worst year ever, or what? Terror attacks, Zika, Brexit, police shootings, Syria, Trump, record-hot temperatures, the losses of Prince and David Bowie—this has been one unrelenting turn around the calendar.

Have terrifying events truly piled up on each other in 2016, in a way they didn’t in any other year in human history? Or is it impossible to judge the awfulness of a year while it’s still unfolding? Do we just notice negative happenings more these days because of our high levels of connectivity? And what does “worst year” even mean—“worst year” for Americans, for humanity, for the planet?

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If I put on my historian hat .... I would nominate 1348 (Black Death). My Russian hat would be 1917 (Russian Revolution), followed by 1941 .... the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. My North American hat .... 1863 was the year of Gettysburg and the mid-way point of the American Civil War.

As for the future .... a nuclear war or a major catastrophic event like a super volcano or a massive meteorite strike .... that year would be regarded as the worst year in history.

Saudi Arabia's Bombing Campaign In Yemen Is Worse Than The Russian Campaign In Syria

The Economist: The Saudi bombardment of Yemen. Worse than the Russians

The West is abetting vast loss of life.

NINETY years ago Britain’s planes bombed unruly tribes in the Arabian peninsula to firm up the rule of Abdel Aziz ibn Saud, the founder of the Saudi state. Times have changed but little since then. Together with America and France, Britain is now supplying, arming and servicing hundreds of Saudi planes engaged in the aerial bombardment of Yemen.

Though it has attracted little public attention or parliamentary oversight, the scale of the campaign currently surpasses Russia’s in Syria, analysts monitoring both conflicts note. With their governments’ approval, Western arms companies provide the intelligence, logistical support and air-to-air refuelling to fly far more daily sorties than Russia can muster.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This war has been going on for over a year now .... and the civilian casualties are through the roof .... Airstrikes Cause Two-Thirds of Civilian Casualties in Yemen (VOA). And while U.S. and Western pilots are not pressing the bottom that drops the bombs .... they are doing everything else.

Criticisms On Donald Trump's Remarks At The Muslim Parents Who Lost Their Son In Iraq

Washington Post: Backlash for Trump after he lashes out at the Muslim parents of a dead U.S. soldier

Republican Donald Trump lashed out Saturday at two Muslim American parents who lost their son while he served in the U.S. military in Iraq and who appeared at the Democratic National Convention last week, stirring outrage among critics who said the episode proves that Trump lacks the compassion and temperament to be president.

Asked to comment on the convention speech of Khizr Khan, a Pakistani immigrant whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died in Iraq in 2004, Trump described Khan as “very emotional” and said he “probably looked like a nice guy to me” — then accused him of being controlled by the Clinton campaign.

“Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?” he asked in an interview with ABC.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am not surprised that Donald Trump reacted this way. As I had mentioned yesterday .... Gold Star Muslim Father to Trump: ‘You’ve Sacrificed Nothing’ .... Khizr Khan made the most effective case made against Donald Trump at the DNC, and Donald Trump had to respond. Should he have reacted this way .... no. Is it as bad as some in the media are portraying it .... no (see above video). Will it impact Donald Trump's support .... no. Will people remember this in November .... no. The only ones who will remember this will be the Khan family ... and even then their focus will always be on the son that they lost.

Do U.S. Hedge Funds Support Hillary Clinton Or Donald Trump?

Zero Hedge: Hedge-Fund Handouts: Hillary Clinton $48,500,000 - $19,000 Donald Trump

Hedge funds are playing a far bigger role in 2016 than in past elections - and, as The Wall Street Journal reports, Hillary Clinton has been the single biggest beneficiary.

The lines around what constitutes a hedge fund aren’t always clear in the data, or in the financial industry. But the numbers are stark. The top five contributors to pro-Clinton groups are employees or owners of private investment funds, according to federal data released last week and compiled by, the center’s website. The data show seven financial firms alone have generated nearly $48.5 million for groups working on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf.

The total for Donald Trump: About $19,000.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is one of the reasons why I am always saying that this is Hillary Clinton's election to lose. She has a lot of money to run and influence the electorate in this campaign .... and the spigot is now wide open for her. As to why are they supporting her .... if she wins they do not want to be impacted by this .... Full List of Hillary’s Planned Tax Hikes (Americans Tax Reform).

More News On Hillary Clinton's Support From Hedge Funds

Wall Street for Hillary?:Clinton has $48.5M in hedge fund backing, compared to Trump's $19K -- FOX News
Hedge-Fund Money: $48.5 Million for Hillary Clinton, $19,000 for Donald Trump -- WSJ
Hillary Clinton is raising millions from hedge funds, thanks to Citizens United -- VICE News
Hillary Takes In THREE TIMES As Much Hedge Fund Money As ’08 Obama -- Daily Caller

The Obama Doctrine Explained

President Barack Obama meets with members of his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House, January 29, 2010. The President’s chair is marked with a plaque engraved with the date of his inauguration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Derek Chollet, National Interest: How Obama's Foreign Policy 'Long Game' Works

It's a framework or checklist, not a doctrine.

This week, a central theme of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia has been that the United States is stronger at home and better positioned in the world than it was eight years ago—and that President Barack Obama has helped defined a new approach to the use of American power, one that Hillary Clinton will continue.

So it is worth taking a step back to ask: Is there an Obama Doctrine?

Almost all Presidents resist the doctrinal strait-jacket, and Obama rejects the idea that, in his words, there can be a “cookie-cutter approach” to global challenges. Yet he does have a coherent set of ideas about what he wants the United States to accomplish in the world, and how it should go about doing so. This is what academics describe as a “grand strategy,” and what I think of as Obama’s “Long Game” foreign policy.

The core elements of Obama’s Long Game are not the doctrine pundits clamor for, but they do comprise a kind of checklist, a practical framework to managing American power and making strategic choices, ensuring the United States remains in the best possible position to solve problems and pursue its interests. When thinking about Obama’s legacy and the lessons for his successors, the Long Game checklist is a good place to start.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are so many parts of this commentary that I disagree with that I do not even know where to begin. So I will start with the author's definition of what is American exceptionalism .... he sees it in the same way that President Obama does .... a nation built on an economic/military/political base that is unrivalled in the world. I see it differently .... American exceptionalism is represented by its constitution and what the framers codified should be the role of government .... more to the point .... government must be answerable to its people, and not the other way around. This was a revolutionary thought then .... and it is still a revolutionary concept today. And while this concept is always under pressure from U.S. economic and political elites who see it as a hindrance to their power ..... for those who have lived and/or are living under government controlled societies .... America is our "shining beacon on a hill" because of these ideals.

Derek Chollet believes the economy is vibrant and growing .... I see it as an economy propped up by trillions in government debt, and trillions more via through quantitative easing. Throw in a hundred million who are working and debt liabilities growing .... and yes .... I do not see a good ending from all of this. And as for crediting  President Obama for America's energy independence .... the fact is that he has been a consistent obstacle to fracking and the benefits that it brings.

I do not see any balance in President Obama's foreign policy. I see a White House making commitments and failing to back it up with the resources that these policies may need. Asian pivot anyone.

There is no U.S. sustainability on many foreign policy fronts. I see it more as a policy driven to minimise commitments and resources, and leaving the big (and unpopular) decisions to the next President.

Restraint .... I do see a lot of restraint. But too much restraint sometimes benefits our enemies. I find it disappointing that it was only after the Russians started to bomb the Islamic State that the U.S. decided to up the ante in fighting the Islamic State. This restraint has now fed the perception in the Middle East that the U.S. supports the Islamic State .... even thought they are now bombing the hell out of them.

In closing .... I understand that being President must be an incredibly difficult job. The negative karma alone would be too much for me. But President Obama wanted the job because he had a certain view of foreign policy that he believed the U.S. should follow. 8 years later .... his view on foreign policy is now America's foreign policy. And when I look at the world today, I am struck on how many multiple conflicts are in play .... and in many of these conflicts .... I see the U.S. military and/or intelligence footprints everywhere.

American Skydiver Becomes The First To Jump 25,000 Feet Into A Net - Without A Parachute

Daily Mail: Married skydiver Luke Aikins become the first to jump 25,000 feet into a net without a parachute

* Aikins jumped 25,000 into a net Saturday evening in Simi Valley, California
* Found out he had to wear a parachute just hours before - but did not use it
* The skydiver, 42, has done more than 18,000 jumps and stunts in Ironman 3
* His four-year-old son and his wife both watched his record-breaking jump

An American skydiver has become the first of his trade to jump 25,000 feet into a net - without a parachute.

Luke Aikins, 42, completed the record-breaking stunt on Saturday evening in Simi Valley, California.

He hit the 100-by-100-foot net perfectly, quickly climbed out of it and walked over to hug his wife, who had been watching with other family members.

Just before climbing into a plane to make the jump, Aikins said he had been ordered to wear a parachute but indicated he wouldn't open it.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I know that this is not a war/defense/intelligence news story .... but I had to post it. I was in my mid-thirties when I did my first (and only) parachute jump. After the jump .....I said to myself that it makes no sense to jump out of a perfectly functioning air-plane ....and I vowed to never do it again. But the story ..... and doing a 25,000 jump without parachute .... I am at a lost of words to even comment on it.

Iraqi Minister: Many Islamic State Leaders Trying To Flee To Syria

Reuters: Many Islamic State leaders trying to flee to Syria: Iraqi minister

Many Islamic State leaders have fled Mosul with their families toward Syria ahead of a planned offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces on the city, Iraq's defense minister said on Saturday.

Khaled al-Obeidi said he had intelligence of increasing conflict, especially over financial issues, among ultra-hardline militants of the group known as Daesh in Arabic by its enemies.

"Many Daesh families and leaders in Mosul have sold their property and sneaked out towards Syria, and a segment even tried to sneak out towards (Iraq's Kurdish) region", he said in an interview on state television.

Islamic State has lost at least half the territory it seized in Iraq in 2014. The group has also lost territory in Syria, where it emerged amid a civil war which is now in its sixth year, but U.S.-backed rebel forces there have had less success in beating it back.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above video is from the BBC that looks at a U.S. base not far from Islamic State controlled Mosul.

Reports: Families Begin Leaving Rebel Besieged Aleppo

CNN: Syrian families trickle out of Aleppo, reports say

(CNN)Dozens of families have started to trickle out of war-ravaged Aleppo, days after the Syrian army announced it encircled the city and cut off rebel supply routes, according to reports.

The families moved out of eastern Aleppo on Saturday through humanitarian corridors set up by the regional government, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.

The civilians were "besieged by the terrorist groups in the eastern neighborhoods" and crossed into the Salahaddin section of the city, where Syrian army units sent them to makeshift shelters, the news agency reported. SANA also reported that several rebel gunmen surrendered.

Syrian state TV showed what it said were women and children leaving the city along a street lined with bomb-damaged buildings.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Families Are Beginning to Leave Rebel Besieged Aleppo

Syria conflict: 'Families leave' besieged Aleppo -- BBC
Scores of families leave besieged Aleppo under Russia-Damascus plan -- Reuters
Syrian Civilians Begin Leaving Rebel-Held Parts of Aleppo -- AP
Starving families in Aleppo fear ‘safe passage’ may be a trap -- The Guardian
4 more humanitarian corridors to be opened in Aleppo – Russian military -- RT
Confusion over 'humanitarian routes' in Syria's Aleppo -- Al Jazeera
What Aleppo’s 'humanitarian corridors' mean for doctors in rebel Syria -- David Iaconangelo, CSM

Turkish Police And Soldiers Have Surrounded Incirlik Air Base Home To 1500 U.S. Soldiers And Nuclear Weapons Reports Turkish troops have sealed off Incirlik US/NATO nuclear air base

TURKEY has sent police to surround the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States — and where a large stockpile of NATO nuclear weapons is held — ahead of a visit by a senior US official tomorrow.

Unconfirmed reports out of Turkey suggest all entrances to the air base have been blocked by heavy vehicles and police sent to secure its peremiter.

The unusual nigh-time move sparked rumours of a second coup attempt on Turkish social media.

The move comes less than a week after a top US Army general was accused by Turkish media of ‘leading’ the uprising against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.

But Turkish Minister for European Affairs has since reportedly sought to reassure media, stating the mission was just a “safety inspection”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are a lot of conflicting reports with this story. There is also no coverage from the European and American press on this story. The Turkish Minister for European Affairs has remarked that this is just a "safety inspection" .... but what is interesting about this "safety inspection" is that it is occurring hours before US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford is suppose to arrive at the base. Intimidation. Sending a message. I let you be the judge on why this is happening.

More News On Turkish Police And Soldiers Surrounding Incirlik Air Base

Turkey's Incerlik airbase on “lockdown” by Erdogan with 1500 US troops and nuclear weapons --Jerusalem Post
Turkish Police Block Access to NATO's Incirlik Air Base - Home of US Nukes -- Sputnik
1,000s Turkish forces surround NATO’s Incirlik air base for ‘inspection’ amid rumors of coup attempt -- RT

Growing Unrest In Armenia

VICE News: Hostage situation at police station triggers violent protests in Armenia

Riot police and pro-opposition protesters clashed again on Saturday in Armenia's capital Yerevan, a day after at least 75 demonstrators were injured when they tried to approach the scene of an ongoing hostage situation inside a police compound.

The standoff began on July 17 when around 30 armed members of an opposition group stormed a police station and took several hostages. The hostage-takers are demanding the release of Jirair Sefilian, the leader of the country's Founding Parliament opposition group. He was arrested last month on weapons charges and accused with his supporters of plotting to seize government buildings and take over a TV transmission tower.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The video below explains why there is growing unrest in Armenia.

More News On The Growing Unrest In Armenia

Armenia police officer killed amid hostage crisis -- BBC
Police officer shot dead in lengthy Armenia stand-off -- AFP
Armenian Police Accuse Barricaded Gunmen of Killing Officer -- AP
Armenia hostage standoff: Police officer shot dead -- Al Jazeera
Riot police and protesters clash in Yerevan, Armenia -- BBC
Armenia hostage standoff: Clashes erupt in Yerevan -- Al Jazeera
Armenians step up their demands in a fourth summer of protest -- The Guardian

Editor's Note

Blogging will return later tonight.

Chris Kyle's Hometown of Odessa, TX Have Unveiled His Memorial Statue

Russia Also Has A Computer Hacking Problem

A general view shows the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) (L) in central Moscow, Russia, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/SERGEI KARPUKHIN

Reuters: Russia says spyware found in state computer networks

Russia's intelligence service said on Saturday that the computer networks of 20 organizations, including state agencies and defense companies, have been infected with spyware in what it described as a targeted and coordinated attack.

The Federal Security Service, the FSB, said the malware and the way the networks were infected were similar to those used in previous cases of cyber espionage found in Russia and other countries. The agency did not say who it suspected of being behind the attacks.

"Information technology resources of government agencies, scientific and military institutions, defense industry companies and other entities involved in crucial infrastructure have been infected," the FSB said in a statement on its website.

Read more ....

Russia Says Malware Found in 20 of Country’s Computer Networks (VOA)

WNU Editor: Hacking. Spyware. Malware. This is a global problem affecting every computer network in the world .... down to little old me. Because of what I do .... I sweep and clean my computers 2 times a day using 3 different programs. You will be surprised with what I find sometimes.

Heavy Fighting Reported Between Turkish Military Forces And Kurdish Fighters

AA Photo

BBC: Turkey-PKK conflict: Dozens killed in south-east clashes

The Turkish military has killed 35 Kurdish militants who tried to storm a base in the south-east, officials say.

The overnight attack, in the Cukurca district of Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, came hours after clashes between soldiers and militants left eight soldiers dead in the area.

A ceasefire between Turkey's military and the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) broke down in July last year.

The army is reeling from a huge purge following a coup attempt two weeks ago.

Read more ....

More News On Heavy Fighting Being Reported Between Turkish Military Forces And Kurdish Fighters

Turkey kills 35 militants after they try to storm base, officials say -- Reuters
Turkey: PKK fighters killed in attempt to storm base -- Al Jazeera
35 PKK terrorists killed in operations in Turkey's southeastern Hakkari province -- Daily Sabah
Turkey: 35 Kurdish militants killed trying to storm base -- The Hill
Turkey says eight soldiers killed, claims killing 35 Kurd fighters -- Europe Online

Turkey's President Erdogan Tells The West To 'Mind Their Own Business'

Al Jazeera: Erdogan to West: 'Mind your own business'

Turkey's president criticises Western countries for failing to show solidarity with Ankara over failed coup attempt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at Western leaders for failing to show solidarity with Ankara over a failed coup attempt, saying countries who worry more about the fate of the perpetrators than democracy cannot be Turkey's friends.

Speaking at the presidential palace in Ankara late on Friday, Erdogan said Western leaders who were criticising the Turkish government's reaction to the July 15 coup attempt should "mind their own business".

"When five-10 people die in a terror attack, you [Western countries] set the world on fire," he said.

Read more ....

More News On Turkey's President Erdogan Telling The West To 'Mind Their Own Business'

Turkish leader condemns West's lack of 'solidarity' amid continuing coup crackdown -- ABC News Online
Turkey's Erdogan slams West for failure to show solidarity over coup attempt -- Reuters
Turkey President Erdogan lashes out at West, says it should 'mind its own business' -- IBTimes
Erdogan tells West 'mind your own business' over crackdown criticism -- Telegraph
Erdogan tells West 'mind your own business' as journalists jailed -- 7 News

China Pushes Its South China Sea Claims In New York City's Times Square (Video)

Breitbart: Pro-Beijing South China Sea Propaganda Video Appears in Times Square

A three-minute propaganda video promoting Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea has begun playing in New York City’s Times Square, raising immediate objections from a British politician who says she was deliberately misquoted in the film.

China Daily describes the video as showcasing “the beauty of South China Sea and the Nanhai Zhudao” and detailing the “history of the region” before stressing that China “is the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited the islands and relevant waters.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Do Americans really care about China's South China Sea claims .... not really. But the Chinese do care about making their claims known to a U.S. audience ... hence this propaganda video (which is actually very good).

The Chinese Military Is Training Hard To Win Wars

Times of India/PTI: Amid South China Sea tensions, Chinese army training hard under Xi Jinping to win wars

BEIJING: Undergoing radical transformation to increase its combat capability amid rising tensions over the disputed South China Sea, President Xi Jinping is pushing China's 2.3 million-strong PLA (People's Liberation Army) which turns 89 on Sunday to train hard to win wars as it expands its high tech arsenal.

Reorganised from top to bottom by Xi in the last four years, the PLA - the world's largest - is bracing for major showdowns in its increasingly volatile neighbourhood triggered by the international tribunal verdict quashing China's expansive claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.

Reform is a comprehensive and revolutionary change, and obstacles and policy issues that may hold back reform measures must be addressed so as to build a strong armed forces commensurate with China's international status, Xi has said as he consolidated his hold over the military to emerge as the most powerful Chinese leader in recent times.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This ominous .... China Will Hold its Fire in the South China Sea — Until September (Harry J. Kazianis, National Interest)

Chinese State Media Calls For Launching Strikes Against Any Australian Ship That Enters The South China Sea

A destroyer flotilla under the South China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts an anti-submarine training recently. ( Xingjian, Li Zhanglong)

Business Insider: Major Chinese state paper calls for a military strike on Australian ships that enter the South China Sea

China’s state-run Global Times has published an editorial attacking Australia for supporting the recent international ruling on China’s activities in the South China Sea and called for strikes on any Australian ships which might undertake “freedom-of-navigation” activities in the region.

The editorial said Australia “is not even a ‘paper tiger’, it’s only a ‘paper cat’ at best”. It says that even though “Australia calls itself a principled country… when it needs to please Washington, it demonstrates willingness of doing anything in a show of allegiance”.

As a result, the Global Times says (our emphasis):

China must take revenge and let it know it’s wrong. Australia’s power means nothing compared to the security of China. If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Such an action would result in one thing .... embargoes, sanctions, and an arms buildup by every country in Asia that will match the military build-up during the Cold War. China may be the world's second largest economy ..... but it is an economy built on trade, and if that trade is curtailed, the internal repercussions within China itself will be felt quickly and profoundly.

A Look At The U.S. Marines Next Generation Helicopter

(Illustration courtesy Bell)

DoD Buzz: Marines’ Future Helicopter Will Be Optionally Manned: General

As the Marine Corps enters the final stages of preparing to receive the CH-35K King Stallion, its new heavy-lift workhorse helicopter, aviation officials are already looking forward to the Corps’ next generation of rotorcraft.

Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant of aviation, told reporters Friday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., that the Corps had asked for optionally manned capability for the Pentagon’s future vertical lift plan, which aims to develop replacement choppers for the Army and other services.

“We’ve told them it’s what we want,” Davis said. “Why wouldn’t we want it?”

Davis said he envisioned a vertical lift platform that might be operated unmanned to deliver cargo and manned for more sensitive or technically complex missions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A manned and unmanned capability .... we shall see.

Is Terrorism A Real Threat Or Just Global Theatre?

The men who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. Photograph: REUTERS TV/Reuters

The Guardian: The Theatre Of Terror

Terrorists have almost no military strength so they create a spectacle. How should states respond? The author of Sapiens, a history of humanity, reflects on the past, and alarming future, of the fear factor

As the literal meaning of the word indicates, terror is a military strategy that hopes to change the political situation by spreading fear rather than by causing material damage. This strategy is almost always adopted by very weak parties, who are unable to inflict much material damage on their enemies. Of course, every military action spreads fear. But in conventional warfare, fear is a byproduct of material losses, and is usually proportional to the force inflicting the losses. In terrorism, fear is the whole story, and there is an astounding disproportion between the actual strength of the terrorists and the fear they manage to inspire.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A thought provoking analysis .... looking at how terrorism was perceived in the past, and how it is viewed today. I also concur with what happens when we face the ultimate terror attack .... nuclear/biological .... the world will again change, and how we define and perceive terrorism will be totally different from what it is today.

Hat tip to Jay for this article.

World's Fastest Jet Crew Are Reunited With The Supersonic SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane

In 1976, reconnaissance officer George Morgan, left, and pilot Eldon 'Al' Joersz set the world aviation speed record in an Air Force SR-71 Blackbird spy jet. Their record -- 2,193 mph -- still stands.

Daily Mail: World's fastest jet crew are reunited with the supersonic SR-71 Blackbird spy plane - which is still the fastest plane ever built, 40 years later

* Pilot Al Joersz and reconnaissance system officer George Morgan reunite with SR-71 spy plane
* On July 28, 1976, Joersz and Morgan flew faster than a speeding bullet
* The Blackbird reached 2,193 miles per hour - one mile every 1.64 seconds
* Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia, is hosting a weekend celebration honoring the crew
* Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was built in the 1960s by engineers in California
* Long-range strategic reconnaissance aircraft was made for US Air Force
* Held world record for the fastest manned aircraft since 1976

For 40 years it has been the fastest plane ever built, and now the crew who flew the record-breaking, speed-shattering mission have been reunited with the aircraft they once commanded, and climbed back into the cockpit.

It was 1976 when U.S. Air Force pilot Maj. Gen. Eldon 'Al' Joersz and Lt. Col. George 'GT' Morgan flew a jet faster than a speeding bullet. They flew faster than anyone had done before, or since.

On July 28, 1976, the two men flew a SR-71 Blackbird spy plane for more than a thousand kilometers at 2,193 miles per hour, covering one mile every 1.64 seconds, a record that still stands today.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I suspect that this is  a record that is going to stand for a very long time.