Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Soldier Talks About His Experiences With His K-9 Dogs

Robert Vrabel

Robert Vrabel, Popular Mechanics: The K9 Units Who Saved My Life, and Yours

On bases at home and overseas, K-9 units help to keep civilians and military personnel safe. An ex-Army cop recounts five loyal partners with whom he served.

NERO

Dutch shepherd. Sweet dog. He was seven years and twelve handlers into the job, a lifetime in the K-9 patrol business. Me, I was two fresh weeks out of the schoolhouse, the Military Working Dog Handler Course. I chose him from the lot at Fort Bragg Kennels—three unassigned patrol dogs, the other two younger and probably faster and stronger. But I picked Nero. I just liked him. His eyes sparkled.

Patrol dogs are trained to search for people attempting to elude the military police, whom they will then attack. Nero's record showed he'd had two justified bites in his career. That was good. Not all dogs can step up. Some become so accustomed to the practice stuff—the burlap sleeve, the bite suit—that when it comes time to bite flesh, they become confused. But Nero was sharp. Within two months, we passed the Army certification test as a team and were patrolling the streets of Fort Bragg the next night: 163,000 acres, 41,000 active-duty soldiers, and tens of thousands of civilian employees, contractors, and family members. Me and Nero. Lots of long nights, most of them quiet. You get a feel for a dog walking him like that, with a shared purpose.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: How can you not love a dog that looks like that (above photo).

Friday, March 24, 2017

Report: One In Five Arab Mediterranean Youths Want To Emigrate

A Moroccan homeless youth sleeps in the street in the northeastern coastal city of Tangier

AFP: One in five Arab Mediterranean youths hopes to emigrate: study

One in five youths in several North African countries and Lebanon would like to emigrate in search of better prospects, including those with university degrees, according to a survey conducted for the European Commission.

The survey of 10,000 people in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia found a deep sense of "frustration and social exclusion", according to Elena Sanchez-Montijano at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), who coordinated the study.

In Tunisia, 53 percent of youths said they wanted to emigrate, according to the report released on Thursday, six years after the "Arab Spring" revolts that swept the region starting in Tunisia in late 2010.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The feedback that I have been receiving from my friends in Africa is that if given a chance .... those who are young and are not tied down by family would be emigrating to Europe and North America ASAP. This 1 out of 5 who want to emigrate is a very low number.

In A First, The Next Secret Service Director Will Be From The U.S. Military

Washington Examiner: Exclusive: Secret Service braces for 'outsider' director from the military

The Secret Service is bracing for the impending appointment of a new director with a senior military rank, the first time an agency chief would come from outside the service in modern history.

Agents and officers are expecting Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine general and former head of U.S. Central Command, to tap another general to head the Secret Service and help reform the agency and impose more rigorous and even-handed discipline, according to two knowledgeable sources.

President Trump's appointment of a general to the top Secret Service post, at the behest of Kelly, is expected to take place soon – with employees anticipating an announcement some time in the next week. Former Director Joseph Clancy retired from the agency for a second time March 3, and acting director William Callahan has taken on the top leadership role over the last three weeks in his absence.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The new Secret Service Director is going to be faced with a lot of issues .... from handling discipline issues .... Suspended Secret Service Agent Who Said She Wouldn't Take A Bullet For Trump Removed From Top Post (Townhall), to his Department's budget .... Secret Service requested $60M budget increase to protect Trump, family: report (The Hill).

Watergate Reporter Bob Woodward: Obama Administration Officials Could Face Criminal Charges Over 'Unmasking' Trump's Team



Epoch Times: Obama Administration Officials Could Face Criminal Charges: Bob Woodward

Longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward said officials who served under the Obama administration could be facing criminal charges for illegally revealing the names of people working on President Donald Trump’s transition team.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said on Wednesday that he received new information unrelated to alleged Russian interference, suggesting team members or even Trump himself may have had their identities “unmasked” after communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies during surveillance of foreign individuals.

Woodward, in an interview with Fox News, said if the allegation is true, “it is a gross violation.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Bob Woodward: Obama officials possibly facing criminal charges for unmasking scheme (Washington Examiner)
Update #2: Bob Woodward: If Obama "Unmasked" Trump Team's Names It Would Be A "Gross Violation" -- RCP

WNU Editor: We are a long way from what Bob Woodward is talking about .... and I doubt that it will eventually come to that (i.e. Obama officials facing criminal charges). But as I have said more than once in this blog on this story .... the 800lb gorilla in the room has always been the same .... who gave the press all of these leaks after the U.S. election .... leaks that are illegal, and leaks that could have only come from "intercepted" communications and surveillance. Find that answer with solid proof .... and you may have a story that will rival Watergate.

Update: From someone who served in the Nixon White House and was there during Watergate, he is starting to connect the dots .... The Obama Plot to Sabotage Trump (Pat Buchanan, Towhall)

Tonight's Movie Is 'War Devils'


From Wikipedia: During the campaigns in Africa in World War II, a Nazi officer and his American counterpart find they must help each other in order to make it across the desert to safety. After completing their trip, the German officer releases his American prisoner but pledges to kill him if they ever meet again. One year later, the two officers find themselves facing each other again but this time in occupied France.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 24, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Andrew Davies & Mark Thomson, The Strategist: What Trump Understands

It’s tempting to dismiss Trump’s election as a bizarre aberration of the digital age—a triumph of celebrity over reason. But it’s also clear that Trump succeeded because he appealed to voters on issues long ignored by the mainstream.

The dominant factor underlying Trump’s win is that the US economy is oversupplied with unskilled and semi-skilled labour. Too simplistic? Perhaps. But the core tenets of Trump’s economic agenda—infrastructure spending, trade protection, resurrection of labour-intensive manufacturing, immigration cuts and business tax relief—are all focused on closing the gap between the supply and demand for labour.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 24, 2017

The scourge of terrorism must be tackled at its roots
-- South China Morning Post

London attack: Terrorism expert explains three threats of jihadism in the West -- Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, AP

There's something missing from our counter-terrorism debate -- Stephen Bush, New Statesman

Arab Spring: Where are the leaders now? -- AFP

Why Erdogan Seeks to Provoke European Leaders -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

The Russia-Israel Relationship Is Perfect Realpolitik -- Nikolay Pakhomov, National Interest

Has Moscow Found Its New Gadhafi in Libya? -- Dmitriy Frolovskiy, RCW

Russia May Have Taken Advantage of Attention on London to Ignite Violence in Ukraine -- Nolan Peterson, Daily Signal

Estonia's lessons for fighting Russian disinformation -- Aliya Sternstein, CSM

How le Pen might win a runoff against macron -- Kevin Lees, Suffragio

German Nukes: The Phantom Menace -- Hans Rühle & Michael Rühle, RCD

The biggest risk to the Fed and European Central Bank -- Paul Wallace, Reuters

A Closer Europe Is a Better Europe -- Stijn Hoorens, US News and World Report

As the European Union turns 60, it starts to feel its age -- Kim Hjelmgaard , USA TODAY

Europe at 60: Can Europe be saved? -- The Economist

World News Briefs -- March 24, 2017 (Evening Edition)

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives for the afternoon ministerial plenary for the Global Coalition working to Defeat ISIS at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Reuters: Tillerson to meet NATO on March 31, ending no-show furor

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet NATO foreign ministers at a rescheduled gathering on March 31, a senior State Department official said on Friday, ending a furor over his earlier decision to skip the event.

Reuters exclusively reported on Monday that Tillerson had decided not to attend his first meeting with the ministers, originally scheduled for April 5-6 - raising fears about the new U.S. administration's commitment to the military alliance.

But the State Department official said the meeting in Brussels had been brought forward and would now go ahead. There was no official statement from NATO.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels: state news.

US-led coalition vows to crush 'Islamic State'.

US: Syrian fighters facing little resistance at Tabqa dam. Syrian militia reaches Tabqa dam: SDF official.

Final push on Syria's Raqa to begin in days: France.

Iraqi forces to deploy new tactics in Mosul, civilians flee city.

Escaping IS-held Mosul, residents head into unknown.

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged.

27 killed in south Yemen clashes.

Third of Yemen provinces on brink of famine: UN.

Israel, US conclude talks without settlement agreement.

UN: Israel didn't comply with UN call to stop settlements.

ASIA

U.S. general: Russia possibly supporting Taliban in Afghanistan.

‘Complete fabrication’ – Russian FM on US allegations Moscow aids Taliban in Afghanistan. Russia denies supplying Taliban after NATO claim.

Reports of Sangin’s fall are 'complete fabrication,' U.S. military insists.

U.S. turns down Russia invitation to Afghan peace conference.

Taliban denies talks with Pakistan on Afghan peace prospects.

Report: North Korea preparing for another nuclear test.

UN condemns North Korea tests which contribute to nukes.

North Korea security agents are being purged, report says.

China dismisses 'militarisation' of disputed islands in South China Sea.

UN will investigate allegations of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar.

AFRICA

Burkina links Ivory Coast jihadist with hotel attack in capital.

One in five Arab Mediterranean youths hopes to emigrate: study.

Islamic State routed in Somalia's Puntland, President says.

U.S. warns South Sudan government against 'deliberate starvation tactics'.

250 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean off Libyan coast.

Somali pirates take over Somali vessel to use as floating base: police.

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak freed after six years in detention. Hosni Mubarak: Egypt's toppled dictator freed after six years in custody.

ICC awards 'symbolic' $250 each to Congo war crimes victims.

Tanzania's president warns journalists that press freedom has limits.

EUROPE

Tillerson to meet allies as NATO races to save talks.

EU leaders converge on Rome to rekindle sense of unity.

UK police arrest 10 in London attack probe, search 21 sites.

London attack: Police make two more 'significant' arrests in terror investigation.

Middle-aged London attacker was criminal who wasn't seen as threat.

Russia says six of its soldiers killed in Chechnya base attack.

In eastern Ukraine, troops tiptoeing up to front line risk heavy battles.

Murdered ex-lawmaker knew 'misdeeds of Russian elites,' Kremlin critic says.

France's Le Pen meets Putin in Moscow.

20,000 evacuated after fire at Ukrainian military arsenal.

AMERICAS

Trump, GOP leaders pull health care bill in humiliating loss.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on failure of GOP health bill: 'Today is a victory for the American people'.

President Trump says health care bill fell short in lead-up to House vote because of no support from Democrats. President Trump says he would be 'open' to tackling health care again if 'Obamacare' law implodes.

Speaker Paul Ryan says the nation will be 'living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future'.

Partisan split at House intel committee over canceled open hearing.

Manafort volunteered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia probe. Trump aide with Russia ties offers to talk to House panel.

US Senators introduce new Iran sanctions.

Venezuela president asks United Nations for 'help' boosting medicine supplies in shortage-plagued South American nation.

Nations urge Venezuela on elections, warn of diplomatic 'last resort'.

Lima struggles with flooding aftermath.

Toronto school board bars US trips amid travel ban uncertainty.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Terror charges for suspect in murky Antwerp car incident.

Terrorist threat higher in Europe than anywhere else except war zones – EUCOM chief.

FBI's Comey warns of 'terrorist diaspora' from ISIS territory.

London attacker Khalid Masood was investigated by MI5 over extremism concerns.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street dips in dramatic session as health bill pulled.

U.S. sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, North Korea arms programs.

Saudi Arabia faces $6 billion U.S. lawsuit by Sept. 11 insurers.

Trump greenlights Keystone XL pipeline, but other obstacles loom.

FBI Director Comey Visits The White House


The Hill: FBI Director Comey visits White House

FBI Director James Comey was at the White House on Friday, days after he confirmed his bureau is investigating ties between associates of President Trump and Russia.

The White House said Comey visited to attend a “routine interagency meeting,” but did not say with whom he met.

No meeting with Comey was listed on the president's public schedule. Comey was spotted leaving the White House less than an hour later after television cameras showed him entering the West Wing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The FBI Director is going to be busy next week .... Nunes Calls Comey, Rogers For "Closed Session" After Finding "Concerning Info" In Intel Reports (Zero Hedge).

Update: Not everyone is happy .... House intelligence panel leaders split over session on Russia (Reuters).

U.S. Officials Are Denying Reports that The Afghan District Of Sangin Has Fallen


Military Times: Reports of Sangin’s fall are 'complete fabrication,' U.S. military insists

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials are disputing reports the Taliban have retaken a hotly contested region in the opium-rich Helmand valley, saying local security forces made a planned, deliberate withdrawal from the Sangin district center after months of heavy fighting left their facilities in ruins.

"It is a complete fabrication," Navy Capt. William Salvin, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Kabul, told Military Times on Thursday. "This move has been in the planning for months. ... There is nothing left in the old district center except dirt and rubble."

The Taliban, he added, caused extensive damage to the local bazaar in Sangin, rendering it impossible for citizens to access government officials and services. A new municipal complex has been established about a mile to the south. From there, "the Afghan police can now do their jobs effectively," Salvin said, and the Afghan army elements posted to Sangin are "better positioned to take the fight to the Taliban."

An Afghan defense official echoed those sentiments.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Long War Journal/Threat Matrix completely rips apart these U.S./NATO/Afghan claims .... Resolute Support spins loss of Sangin district center as a victory (Threat Matrix). And yes .... the top U.S. General in Afghanistan is blaming the Russians for why the Taliban are winning .... NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Suspects That Russia Is Supplying The Taliban (March 24, 2017).

U.S. Navy Commanders: US Warships Are Being 'Harassed' By Iranian Forces In The Strait of Hormuz

The USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier transits the Strait of Hormuz on March 21, 2017. Laura Mackenzie / The National

Business Insider/Reuters: U.S. Navy Commanders Say Iranian Navy Endangering Freedom of Navigation in Gulf

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, March 22 (Reuters) – U.S. Navy commanders accused Iran of jeopardizing international navigation by “harassing” warships passing through the Strait of Hormuz and said future incidents could result in miscalculation and lead to an armed clash.

They spoke after the U.S. aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush confronted what one of the commanding officers described as two sets of Iranian Navy fast-attack boats that had approached a U.S.-led, five-vessel flotilla as it entered the Strait on Tuesday on a journey from the Indian Ocean into the Gulf.

It was the first time a U.S. carrier entered the narrow waterway, where up to 30 percent of global oil exports pass annually, since President Donald Trump took office in January pledging a tougher U.S. stance towards Iran.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Navy Commanders Warning That  US Warships Are Being 'Harassed' By Iranian Forces In The Strait of Hormuz

Iran ‘harassed’ US aircraft carrier in Strait of Hormuz -- The National
Iranian boats pointing weapons at US Navy ships, admiral says -- Washington Examiner
Iran TARGETS weapons at US warships that scramble deadly helicopters in FIERCE stand-off -- Express
US warships ‘harassed’ by Iranian forces in Strait of Hormuz – navy commanders -- RT

U.S. Pilot Explains How Coalition Forces Are Conducting Air Strikes Against ISIS Targets In Syria And Iraq

Reuters

Navy Times/AP: U.S. pilot describes challenges of bombing ISIS

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH — The crowded skies over Islamic State-held territory have complicated U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the extremists, though military planners are working to keep fliers safe, an American pilot involved in the bombing campaign has told The Associated Press.

Lt. Cmdr. William Vuillet also described the efforts American forces use to try to minimize civilian casualties from strikes on major cities like Mosul, where allied forces are trying to sweep the remaining militants out of the western half of Iraq's second-largest city.

Vuillet said he believes coalition forces will "eradicate" the extremist group responsible for mass killings, beheadings and other atrocities targeting civilians across the Middle East and around the world.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Good luck in trying to bomb places like the "old section of Mosul" where in a small area there are reports of almost 400,000 civilians trapped.

U.S. General Overseeing The Air Campaign over Mosul Pushes Back Against Claims Of Indiscriminate Bombing

An Iraqi Air Force helicopter fires missiles against Islamic State militants, during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

US News and World Report: U.S. General Pushes Back Against Claims of Indiscriminate Bombing in Mosul

Following claims of hundreds of civilian deaths in Mosul, Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler says the ‘risk calculus’ has not changed.

A top general overseeing the U.S.-led coalition's air campaign against the Islamic State group pushed back Thursday against claims warplanes under his command are being less discriminate in preventing civilian deaths, following reports earlier in the day that airstrikes in Mosul killed more than 200 civilians and that civilian casualties have risen under the administration of President Donald Trump.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler may be "pushing back" against claims of large number of civilian casualties in the battle for Mosul, but the Air Force is pursuing an investigation .... Pentagon investigating report that US-led airstrike killed more than 100 civilians in Iraq (FOX News). More here .... US Probes Civilian Deaths in Mosul Amid ‘Unprecedented Levels’ of Fighting (Sputnik).

Report: U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Have Killed Over 200 Civilians In Mosul

Hevidar Ahmed reports as smoke rises from western Mosul in Iraq. Photo: Rudaw TV

RUDAW: At least 200 people killed in Mosul air strikes

MOSUL, Iraq — At least 200 people have been killed in air strikes in the Mosul al-Jadida neighborhood of Mosul, most of them believed to be civilians.

Rudaw correspondent in Mosul Hevidar Ahmed said that 130 of the people were killed inside one house alone.

Around 100 others were hit inside another.

ISIS militants could be among the dead.

“Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes,” said the correspondent.

The advance of the Iraqi army has come to halt in the neighborhood due to the bombing.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That The U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Have Killed Over 200 Civilians In Mosul

Air strikes on Isis-held Mosul 'leave 230 civilians dead', reports local media -- Independent
U.S.-led strike kills 230 Mosul civilians; mostly women, children -- Digital Journal
237 Iraq civilians killed in possible US airstrike in Mosul -- Middle East Online
Mosul SOS: City strewn with corpses, children cry as jets fly over (RT EXCLUSIVE) -- RT

Pentagon Announces Non-Combat Death Of Service Member In Jordan

Photo: Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mae Morrow. (Mountain Air Force Base)

Air Force Times: Airman dies in non-combat related incident in Southwest Asia

An airman died on Tuesday in a non-combat related incident while deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Air Force and Defense Department announced Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mae Morrow, 25, was injured while performing maintenance duties during non-combat operations with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, according to a statement from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

Morrow, who was from Dansville, New York, was assigned to the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, but she worked for the 322nd Air Expeditionary Wing overseas, according to a spokesman at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Our prayers are with her family and loved ones.

More News On The Pentagon Announcing A Non-Combat Death Of A Service Member In Jordan

Airman from Dansville killed in Jordan -- WHEC
Air Force announces non-combat death of staff sergeant in Jordan -- UPI
Mountain Home airman dies at base in Southwest Asia -- KTVB
US Air Force Service Member Dies in Jordan While Loading Bombs on Plane -- Sputnik

Former Trump Campaign Manager Manafort Has Volunteered To Testify Before House Intelligence Panel



Washington Post: Manafort volunteered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia probe

The House Intelligence Committee chairman said Friday that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has volunteered to be interviewed before his committee, which is investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia as well as the Kremlin’s activities in the 2016 election.

Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said that Manafort’s lawyer “contacted the committee yesterday to offer the committee the opportunity to interview his client.”

Nunes did not say whether the Manafort briefing would be public or take place behind closed doors, leaving the decision mostly up to Manafort himself.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This should be interesting.

More News On Former Trump Campaign Manager Manafort Volunteering To Testify Before House Intelligence Panel

Trump aide with Russia ties offers to talk to House panel. -- AP
Paul Manafort to Testify Before House Intelligence Panel -- New York Times
Paul Manafort to Voluntarily Go Before House Intel Committee in Russia Probe -- NBC
Paul Manafort volunteers to testify before House Trump-Russia inquiry -- The Guardian
Paul Manafort volunteers to talk to House intelligence chiefs as he tries to clear his name in Trump-Russia controversy -- Daily Mail
Manafort volunteers for interviews with Intelligence committees -- The Hill
Manafort Is Willing to Talk With House Committee, Nunes Says -- Bloomberg
Paul Manafort volunteers to testify in Russia probe as committee cancels other testimony -- ABC News

World News Briefs -- March 24, 2017



Reuters: U.S. sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, North Korea arms programs

The United States has imposed sanctions on 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile program or for violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria, the State Department said on Friday.

Eleven companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates were sanctioned for technology transfers that could boost Tehran's ballistic missile program, the State Department said in a statement.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

US-led coalition vows to crush 'Islamic State'.

US: Syrian fighters facing little resistance at Tabqa dam. Syrian militia reaches Tabqa dam: SDF official.

Final push on Syria's Raqa to begin in days: France.

Iraqi forces to deploy new tactics in Mosul, civilians flee city.

Escaping IS-held Mosul, residents head into unknown.

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged.

27 killed in south Yemen clashes.

Israel, US conclude talks without settlement agreement.

ASIA

U.S. general: Russia possibly supporting Taliban in Afghanistan.

‘Complete fabrication’ – Russian FM on US allegations Moscow aids Taliban in Afghanistan. Russia denies supplying Taliban after NATO claim.

Reports of Sangin’s fall are 'complete fabrication,' U.S. military insists.

U.S. turns down Russia invitation to Afghan peace conference.

Taliban denies talks with Pakistan on Afghan peace prospects.

Report: North Korea preparing for another nuclear test.

UN condemns North Korea tests which contribute to nukes.

North Korea security agents are being purged, report says.

China dismisses 'militarisation' of disputed islands in South China Sea.

UN will investigate allegations of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar.

AFRICA

Islamic State routed in Somalia's Puntland, President says.

U.S. warns South Sudan government against 'deliberate starvation tactics'.

250 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean off Libyan coast.

Somali pirates take over Somali vessel to use as floating base: police.

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak freed after six years in detention. Hosni Mubarak: Egypt's toppled dictator freed after six years in custody.

ICC awards 'symbolic' $250 each to Congo war crimes victims.

Tanzania's president warns journalists that press freedom has limits.

EUROPE

UK police arrest 10 in London attack probe, search 21 sites.

London attack: Police make two more 'significant' arrests in terror investigation.

Middle-aged London attacker was criminal who wasn't seen as threat.

Russia says six of its soldiers killed in Chechnya base attack.

In eastern Ukraine, troops tiptoeing up to front line risk heavy battles.

Murdered ex-lawmaker knew 'misdeeds of Russian elites,' Kremlin critic says.

France's Le Pen meets Putin in Moscow.

20,000 evacuated after fire at Ukrainian military arsenal.

AMERICAS

House steers toward climactic vote on GOP health care bill.

Partisan split at House intel committee over canceled open hearing.

Manafort volunteered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia probe. Trump aide with Russia ties offers to talk to House panel.

US Senators introduce new Iran sanctions.

Nations urge Venezuela on elections, warn of diplomatic 'last resort'.

Lima struggles with flooding aftermath.

Toronto school board bars US trips amid travel ban uncertainty.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Terrorist threat higher in Europe than anywhere else except war zones – EUCOM chief.

FBI's Comey warns of 'terrorist diaspora' from ISIS territory.

London attacker Khalid Masood was investigated by MI5 over extremism concerns.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

U.S. sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, North Korea arms programs.

Saudi Arabia faces $6 billion U.S. lawsuit by Sept. 11 insurers.

Trump greenlights Keystone XL pipeline, but other obstacles loom.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 24, 2017

The Izumo and the Kaga, Japan’s Helicopter carriers Newsline

RT: Japan commissions new $1bn Izumo-class helicopter carrier amid tensions with China

Japan's new, $1-billion helicopter destroyer ‘Kaga’ has entered service. The 248-meter-long destroyer can reportedly carry up to 28 aircraft, including helicopters involved in searching for Chinese submarines amid the deepening row in the South China Sea.

Maritime Self Defense Force commanders inaugurated the ship at the Japan Marine United shipyard in Yokohama near Tokyo. The ‘Kaga’ is docked there next to its sister ship, the ‘Izumo’.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 24, 2017

Japan commissions second helicopter carrier -- UPI

Japan Commissions Sub-Hunting Helicopter Carrier to Brace for ‘China Threat’ -- Sputnik

China says hopes new Japanese carrier doesn't mark return to militarism -- Reuters

China Is Building a 100,000 Strong Marine Corps -- The Diplomat

Russian Armed Forces Receive Over 6,000 Advanced Arms in 2016 - Defense Minister -- Sputnik

Russia's New Air Defense System to Be in Line With Armata Tank -- Sputnik

Pakistani president offers talks to India at military parade -- AP

Scottish independence might hurt defense industry more than Brexit -- Defense News

Germany blocks defense exports to Turkey -- UPI

Why France is Boosting Its Military Muscle in Pacific -- Sputnik

Poland mulls F-35, F-16A/B fighters acquisition -- Defense News

NATO forces assemble in eastern Europe -- UPI

US warships ‘harassed’ by Iranian forces in Strait of Hormuz – navy commanders -- RT

Navy Bracing For Air Wing Shutdowns, Ship Maintenance Cancellations If Continuing Resolution Extended -- USNI News

The Navy Will Struggle to Build Trump's 350-Ship Fleet -- The Diplomat

New amphibious landing tactics and technology -- Marine Times

Pentagon, Air Force Continue F-35 vs A-10 Close Air Support Testing -- Scout

Raytheon tapped for Super Hornet, Growler radar upgrades -- UPI

The Army Just Started Producing Its Brand New Ballistics Helmet -- Task & Purpose

General: US no longer has a 'world class' tank -- Washington Examiner

The U.S. Army Wants A Super 'Bullet' To Kill Enemy Tanks -- Kris Osborn, National Interest

Mattis presses Congress for $30B defense hike -- UPI

Top general: Trump State Department cuts would hurt military's efforts against Russia -- The Hill

Pentagon worried about Chinese investment in US startups: report -- The Hill

The Army is developing a new Expert Action Badge for soldiers who aren't grunts -- Army Times

Bergdahl lawyers appeal Trump motion to top military court -- The Hill

Army develops new nutritional bed-time snack bar for basic trainees -- Army Times

The US Navy has a severe 'missile gap' with China and Russia — here's how it can beat them anyway -- Alex Lockie, Business Insider

Report: North Korea Preparing For Another Nuclear Test

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is pictured at the Headquarters of Large Combined Unit 966 of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 1, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS/File Photo

Reuters: North Korea maintains readiness for nuclear test at any time: South Korea

North Korea has maintained readiness to conduct a new nuclear test at any time, a South Korean military official said on Friday, amid a report of a possible test within days as Pyongyang defies international pressure.

U.S. and South Korean military surveillance assets were closely monitoring the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the reclusive state's east coast, said the official, who declined to be identified.

Speaking by telephone, the official also declined to comment on whether there were fresh signs pointing to an imminent test.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That North Korea Is Preparing For Another Nuclear Test

North Korea will launch another nuclear test in next few days, officials say -- FOX News
North Korea preparing for nuclear test at Punggye-ri, officials say -- UPI
North Korea prepping nuclear test in next few days: report -- Japan Times
North Korea Might Be Getting Ready for Its Next Nuke Test -- The Diplomat
UN condemns North Korea tests which contribute to nukes -- AP
North Korea's Kim Jong Un Is Starving His People to Pay for Nuclear Weapons -- Newsweek

French Presidential Contender Le Pen Meets Russian President Putin At The Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Marine Le Pen in Moscow. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Reuters: Russia's Putin meets French presidential contender Le Pen in Kremlin

President Vladimir Putin granted an audience to French far-right party leader Marine Le Pen in the Kremlin on Friday, bestowing a level of international recognition that has so far eluded her in the countdown to France's presidential election.

Opinion polls show Le Pen getting through to the second, decisive round of the French presidential election on May 7 but then losing to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Le Pen, who has said she admires Putin, reiterated her call for a lifting of the European Union's economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict.

"We attach great importance to our relations with France, but at the same time we try to maintain equal relations both with the current authorities and with representatives of the opposition," said Putin ahead of his talks with Le Pen.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When I heard about this meeting I said to myself .... why go and meet Putin now? And when I look at the above photo .... Putin has the look of a cat that just ate the canary.



More News On French Presidential Contender Le Pen Meeting Russian President Putin At The Kremlin

Putin meets Le Pen, denies French election interference -- AP
Putin Meets Le Pen as Far Right Leader Criticizes Sanctions -- Bloomberg
Putin meets French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen at Kremlin -- CNN
National Front leader Le Pen meets with Putin in Moscow -- RFI
Putin Meets Le Pen, Says Not Seeking To Influence French Vote -- RFE
Le Pen and Putin discuss counter-terrorism and French elections in surprise Moscow meeting -- City AM
Aide to France's Le Pen says Putin wished her 'good luck' with election -- Reuters

Former Egyptian Leader Hosni Mubarak Is Freed After 6 Years In Detention

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak looks towards his supporters during celebrations of the 43rd anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, at Maadi military hospital on the outskirts of Cairo, October 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

New York Times: Hosni Mubarak Is Freed, to Dismay of Many in Egypt

CAIRO — Six years after roaring crowds ousted him at the peak of the Arab Spring, former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was freed on Friday from the Cairo hospital where he had been detained, capping a long and largely fruitless effort to hold him accountable for human rights abuses and endemic corruption during his three decades of rule.

Mr. Mubarak, 88, was taken from the Maadi Military Hospital in southern Cairo, where he had been living under guard in a room with a view of the Nile, to his mansion in the upmarket suburb of Heliopolis.

“He went home at 8:30 this morning,” his longtime lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, who has stewarded Mr. Mubarak through a tangled cluster of prosecutions since 2011, said by telephone. “I don’t have further details, but he is home and all is well now.”

Read more ....

More News On Former Egyptian Leader Hosni Mubarak Being Released After 6 Years In Detention

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak freed after six years in detention -- BBC
Egypt’s Mubarak free, back home after years-long detention -- AP
Mubarak, Egypt's toppled Pharaoh, is free after final charges dropped -- Reuters
Hosni Mubarak: Egypt's toppled dictator freed after six years in custody -- The Guardian
Six years after his overthrow, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is freed from detention -- Washington Post
Ex-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak freed after 6 years in detention -- CNN
Ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak freed after six-year detention -- Euronews

Did North Korea Steal $81 Million From The New York Federal Reserve Last Year?

FBI offices in Los Angeles and New York have been leading an international investigation into the February 2016 incident, in which hackers breached Bangladesh Bank's systems and withdrew money from its account at the New York Fed (seen above)

Daily Mail: Did Kim Jong-Un pull off one the biggest bank robberies in history? FBI investigates cyber-theft of $81m from central bank of Bangladesh held at the New York Federal Reserve

* Last year, $81million was stolen in cyber heist from Bangladesh Bank
* The bank held the money at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
* FBI believes that North Korea orchestrated heist with help from Chine

US prosecutors are building potential cases that would accuse North Korea of directing the theft of $81million from Bangladesh Bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year.

It would try and charge alleged Chinese middlemen, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that North Korea is responsible for the heist, an official briefed on the probe told Reuters.

Richard Ledgett, deputy director of the US National Security Agency, publicly suggested on Tuesday that North Korea may be linked to the incident, while private firms have long pointed the finger at the reclusive state.

Read more ....



More News On Reports That North Korea Stole $81 Million From The New York Federal Reserve Last Year

US blames North Korea for $US81 million bank heist-- The Australian/WSJ
North Korea Said to Be Target of Inquiry Over $81 Million Cyberheist -- NYT
Prosecutors could implicate North Korea in NY Federal Reserve cyber bank heist: report -- The Hill
North Korea investigated for possible role in $81 million bank cyberheist -- CBS
US may accuse N. Korea in Bangladesh cyber heist: WSJ -- CNBC
The US Thinks North Korea May Have Robbed the New York Federal Reserve -- Vanity Fair

16 Years Of European Terrorism In One Chart

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Hat tip Zero Hedge.

This Is What Passes For Live TV In Today's Venezuela

Reuters: Maduro's awkward TV shows raise hackles amid Venezuela crisis

CARACAS (Reuters) - A single mom tells Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, on live television that she cannot afford to adequately feed her four kids, and he quickly changes the subject to joke about her foreign-sounding name, Joandry Smith.

A girl complains that hungry classmates are fainting at school, and Maduro chides her for not doing more for them. A boy says he missed a big soccer game because he was hospitalized, and Maduro recommends he find it on YouTube.

The unpopular leftist president's hours-long televised visits to clinics or schools are meant to soften his image, but foes say they instead highlight his disconnect from a national economic crisis in which millions of people are missing meals.

"As much as they try and hide reality, it always gets out and hits them 'live on TV,'" opposition leader Henrique Capriles said in a recent speech to a local community.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When I read multiple reports from multiple different sources stories like the following ....

Venezuelans protest about medicine shortages (Al Jazeera)
Motorists line up for scarce petrol in oil-rich Venezuela (DW)
Venezuela shocked as children arrested for soldiers' killings (BBC)
US, 13 other nations demand Venezuela hold elections soon (AP)

You have to wonder how long will this last.

Report: NSA To Provide 'Smoking Gun' Proof That The Obama Administration Spied On The Trump Team



FOX News: Potential 'smoking gun' showing Obama administration spied on Trump team, source says

Republican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” establishing that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee this week, a source told Fox News.

Classified intelligence showing incidental collection of Trump team communications, purportedly seen by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and described by him in vague terms at a bombshell Wednesday afternoon news conference, came from multiple sources, Capitol Hill sources told Fox News. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretappedhim in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.

The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources.

Read more ....

Update: Intelligence Reports Reveal Improper Political Surveillance of Trump, Transition Team (Washington Free Beacon)

WNU Editor: There may be some truth to this story. Apparently the FBI is not cooperating with the House Intel committee .... Intel chair Nunes: FBI not yet cooperating on surveillance questions (Washington Examiner) .... but the NSA is .... Nunes: NSA cooperating with our investigation, the FBI is not (West Virginia) .... and they are the ones who are providing the intel to Chairman Nunes. But I am still sceptical of all of this .... no one has provided anything that I would call evidence .... all that I am hearing and reading is just talk.

Tweet For Today

Pentagon Is Denying Reports That They Shelved A Study That Found $125 Billion In Waste

Military.com/Stars and Stripes: DOD Denies It Tried to Shelve Study That Found $125 Billion in Waste

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department on Tuesday denied it tried to quash a 2015 study that found it could save $125 billion in noncombat administrative programs but admitted it has so far only found a small fraction of those savings.

The department hopes to save $7.9 billion during the next five years through recommendations in the study of back-office waste, which itself cost about $9 million to complete, the Defense Department's acting deputy chief management officer told a House panel.

The study's original findings as well as a perceived lack of action from the Defense Department riled members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held the hearing on the fate of the report as President Donald Trump's administration plans a $54 billion boost in defense spending by cutting other federal programs such as foreign aid.

Read more ....

Update #1: Pentagon Denies Trying To Shelve Study That Found $125 Billion In Waste (Zero Hedge)
Update #2: Pentagon Denies It Hid Report Showing More Than $100 Billion in Waste (Sputnik)

WNU Editor:
I do not know when it is going to happen .... or how .... but every American should look forward to this day .... The Pentagon has never been audited. That's astonishing (Thomas Hedges, Zero Hedge).



Picture Of The Day

Strangers consoled Mrs Cochran as she lay on the bridge next to a toppled postcard stand before an ambulance arrived

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this Daily Mail link .... They thought they were on a dream vacation but yesterday afternoon 'ISIS' attacker left Utah man crumpled and dead after hurling him over bridge and his wife bloodied and weeping in a pile of scattered postcards in image that went around the world (Daily Mail).

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Suspects That Russia Is Supplying The Taliban

Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti speaks during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

NBC: Top U.S. General in Europe Says Russia May Be Supplying Taliban in Afghanistan

Russia may be influencing and supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan, the top U.S. general in Europe said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday.

Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who also serves as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told Senators that Russia's role in Afghanistan seemed to be growing, according to Reuters.

"I've seen the influence of Russia of late — increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban," Gen. Scaparrotti said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: That is one hell of an accusation.

More News On NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Suspecting That Russia Is Supplying The Taliban

Russia may be helping supply Taliban insurgents: U.S. general -- Reuters
Russia 'perhaps' supplying Taliban: NATO commander -- AFP
Russia may be aiding Taliban in Afghanistan, top US general says -- FOX News
Russia 'Perhaps' Supplying Taliban in Afghanistan -- VOA
Top U.S. general in Europe says Russia might be supplying the Taliban -- Chicago Tribune/Washington Post
Top NATO General Says Russia ‘Perhaps’ Supplying Taliban In Afghanistan -- RFE
Top US General Suspects Russia Is Now Aiding The Taliban In Afghanistan -- Task & Purpose

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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



Dawood Azami, BBC: Why Sangin's fall to the Taliban matters

The Taliban's capture of the strategically-located Sangin, once considered the deadliest battlefield for US and British troops in Afghanistan, will increase the group's mobility in the north of the province and give it control of an important supply line with the provincial capital Lashkar Gah

The Taliban has already captured a few of the 14 districts of Helmand, which borders Pakistan. According to some estimates, the insurgent group now controls more than half of the province, which produces the bulk of Afghanistan's lucrative opium crop.

Read more ....

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

Against the Islamic State, the U.S. Focuses on the Battle, Not the War -- Stratfor

After ISIS: For Iraqis, reconciliation in Mosul will be challenging, and vital -- Scott Peterson, CSM

A year after Brussels attacks, many questions linger -- DW

Japan Has Ambitious Plans To Be Asia's Next Superpower, Thanks To China -- Ralph Jennings, Forbes

How to describe American military options in North Korea? Bad and worse. -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Trump’s pivot to North Korea -- Clifford D. May, Washington Times

Murder, Missiles, and Messages From North Korea -- Bruce Bennett, RCD

Misreading Tillerson -- Leon V. Sigal, 38 North

Russia, an Alleged Coup and Montenegro's NATO Bid -- Vesko Garcevic, RCW

A Franco-German bargain to save Europe -- Philip Stephens, Financial Tiems

What Martin McGuinness’s eulogisers would like to forget: The IRA commander never showed any remorse for the suffering he caused -- Jenny McCartney, The Spectator

Russian Defector's Murder Sends a Chilling Message -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

If Trump Kills NAFTA, "Modern Mexico" May End Up Dead Too -- Luis Rubio, World Crunch

What Trump Can Do for Venezuela -- Bloomberg editorial

Can President Trump Handle the Truth? -- Michael Scherer, Time