Sunday, May 29, 2016

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WNU Editor: Trump and Clinton are more unpopular than Putin in the U.S. .... now that is interesting.

4 Videos that Accurately Sum Up Memorial Day

DoD Live: 4 Videos that Accurately Sum Up Memorial Day

We all enjoy a good barbecue, being outside and hanging with family over Memorial Day weekend, but a lot of people tend to forget what the holiday is all about – remembering and honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Thankfully, here at the Defense Department, there are plenty of events planned every year to honor those we’ve lost. If you’re interested in learning how you can take part, check out these videos of events that highlight the

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Picture Of The Day

Paying Respects
Soldiers pay their respects after placing a small American flag in front of a headstone during "Flags In," an annual event before Memorial Day honoring our nation’s fallen service members at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 26, 2016. DoD photo by Marvin D. Lynchard

Are There Secret Plans To Create An EU Army?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rock Cohen

The Guardian: Is there a secret plan to create an EU army?

Claims from the leave side about moves to unify Europe’s armed forces are nothing more than fantasy.

“EU army plans kept secret from voters,” was the front-page story in Friday’s Times. If the claim sounded familiar, that was because just two days earlier a retired British army commander, Major General Tim Ross, had claimed in the Daily Express that the EU was “moving inexorably towards full political union and all that comes with it”, including “unified armed forces”.

Alongside Brussels bans on bendy bananas and high-powered toasters, few subjects get leave campaigners as hot under the collar as the prospect of an EU army. On Friday Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, accused the remain side of lying about moves to create one, while the former defence secretary Liam Fox warned darkly that “Europe’s defence intentions are a dangerous fantasy” that risked cutting the UK off from the US, “our closest and most powerful ally”.

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Update: EU referendum: Plans for EU army 'kept secret' until after Brexit vote (IBTimes)

WNU Editor: The EU states cannot coordinate on migration, finances, and regulations .... I doubt they will succeed in creating an EU Army .... especially with NATO in the picture.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How A U.S. - China War Could Break Out Over Japan's Islands

Chen Pokong, National Interest: If the U.S. and China Go to War: The Battle of the Senkakus

How war could break out over Japan's islands

Editor’s note: The following is a translation of Chapter 7 of the book If the U.S. and China Go to War《假如中美开战》 by the author and analyst Chen Pokong. The current volume was published in Chinese in 2013 and was later translated to Japanese. It presents a range of potential conflict scenarios between China and the United States, including what may trigger conflict, and what the order of events may be.

Chapter 7 of the book presents a hypothetical scenario involving “Brother Choy,” an eager Chinese patriot based in Hong Kong, and shows how the activism of groups like this around the Senkaku Islands might easily lead to a conflict that quickly spirals out of control. With continued tensions in the region, the chapter makes for sobering reading.

For a time, there was tranquility around the Senkaku Islands—Chinese maritime police boats or surveillance aircraft were nowhere to be found. The serenity persisted for several months. During this period, Chinese media carried articles by scholars urging a maintenance of good relations between China and Japan, and a cooling of tensions. Chinese government officials also adopted a milder stance when discussing Sino-Japanese relations in public.

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WNU Editor: A hypothetical scenario .... I hope that it stays that way.

Gallop Poll. 20% Of Venezuelans Approve Of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's Job Performance As Leader

Gallop: Venezuelans' Approval of Leadership Remains at Record Low

* Approval of leadership bottomed out in 2014 and 2015
* Three in four residents perceive widespread government corruption
* New low of one in seven say they feel safe walking alone at night

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- While Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke last week of international and domestic plots to subvert him, Gallup polling in Venezuela shows that most residents have disapproved of their nation's leadership since he took office. In the past two years, just one in five Venezuelans have approved of the job performance of their country's leadership.

Maduro declared a "constitutional state of emergency" last week to address "external and foreign aggressions" against Venezuela. But many view the state of emergency as a tactic to retain power amid the chaos of the nation's economic woes and the people's lack of access to basic goods and services, such as food and healthcare.

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WNU Editor: 20% still approve of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's leadership !?!?!?!?! Who the hell are these people?

Malaysia's Government Wants To Adopt Islamic Law

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak attends an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this March 14, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/OLIVIA HARRIS/FILES

The Independent: Malaysia's government throws support behind Islamic penal code that includes amputations and stonings

Multi-ethnic country stunned by bill to introduce ancient religious punishments.

Malaysia’s government has caused widespread outrage in the multi-ethnic country after adopting an Islamic penal code that will introduce amputations and stoning as punishments for some crimes.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s coalition government unexpectedly submitted the bill that had been proposed by the Islamist group Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS).

PAS has been pushing federal MPs to amend laws so that it can implement strict Islamic criminal laws, the Straits Times reported. This would include chopping off the hands of thieves.

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Update #1: Outrage in multi-ethnic Malaysia as government backs Islamic law (Reuters
Update #2: Amputations & stoning: Malaysia govt backs Islamic penal law (RT))

WNU Editor: More than 40% of the country is non-Muslim. This will only explode sectarian tensions .... which is probably what Prime Minister Najib Razak wants in order to divert attention from a massive corruption scandal that implicates him directly.

41 U.S. Secret Service Agents Disciplined For Leaking The Personal Files Of A Congressman Who Criticized Agency Security Lapses

Reuters: Secret Service punishes 41 over leak of lawmaker's data

Forty-one U.S. Secret Service employees have been disciplined over a media leak of the personal files of a congressman who had criticized the agency's security lapses, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday.

Punishments ranged from a letter of reprimand to suspensions without pay for up to 45 days, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

One person found to have disclosed information on Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz to the Washington Post has resigned from the service, Johnson said, noting that privacy laws prevented disclosure of more details.

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WNU Editor: What!!!! That's It!!!!! And these agents are protected by "privacy laws"!!!! These agents violated their oath ... there should be firings, loss of pensions, and worse.

Non-Japanese Asians Are Not Pleased By President Obama's Visit To Hiroshima

Obama and Abe laid wreaths at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Friday [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

Chen Shilei, Xinhuanet: Obama's Hiroshima trip no occasion to whitewash Japan's WWII atrocities

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The motive behind U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to Japan's A-bombed Hiroshima on Friday may seem noble, but in reality, it is nothing more than yet another opportunity seized by Washington and Tokyo to pursue their own ulterior motives.

At first glance, for a city falling as the first victim to an atomic bomb in human history, a visit by the first sitting president of the country that dropped the bomb does appear "historic."

However, the symbolic nature of the visit is not intended to bring the two allies come closer to Obama's nuke-free dream; politicians both in Washington and Tokyo clearly have other calculations on their mind.

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WNU editor: This editorial .... albeit with a Chinese bent ....  is also reflective on what many non-Japanese Asians feel about President Obama's trip to Hiroshima .... not impressed and in some quarters downright angry.

Growing Sectarian Divisions In Iraq Over The Role That Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Is Playing In The Battle For Fallujah

Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani (center, with black hat) posing for a picture in Anbar province, Iraq.

Reuters: Iraqi Sunni politicians reject visit by Iran's Soleimani to Falluja

Sunni politicians in Iraq condemned on Saturday a visit by Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to Shi'ite paramilitary forces fighting alongside the Iraqi army to drive Islamic State militants out of the Sunni city of Falluja.

Three lawmakers from the province of Anbar told Reuters the visit by Iran's al-Quds brigade commander could fuel sectarian tension and cast doubt on Baghdad's assertions that the offensive is an Iraqi-led effort to defeat Islamic State, and not to settle scores with the Sunnis.

Falluja, which lies about 50 kilometers (32 miles) west of Baghdad, is a bastion of the insurgency that fought the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Shi'ite-led authorities that replaced former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, a Sunni.

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WNU Editor: This is just one more sign that Iran';s influence in Iraq is growing  .... whether these Iraqi Sunni politicians like it or not.

Iraq's Military And Shiite Militias Continue Their Military Assault On The ISIS Stronghold Of Fallujah

FOX News: 50,000 civilians reportedly trapped inside Fallujah as Iraqi forces surround ISIS stronghold

Over 50,000 civilians are reportedly trapped inside ISIS-controlled Fallujah as Iraqi forces surround the town and prepare for an all-out assault on one of the militant's last major strongholds in the country.

Al Jazeera reported that conditions in the city, under ISIS control since 2014, have deteriorated as fighting between the militants and Iraqi forces has intensified in the past few days.

Some residents have been evacuated, but ISIS checkpoints on the main roads has made it nearly impossible for others to flee the city, Al Jazeera reported.

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More News On The Battle For The Iraqi City Of Fallujah

Fallujah: Iraqi forces 'closing in' on ISIL-held city -- Al Jazeera
Islamic State: Iraqi army makes gains in Falluja offensive -- BBC
Fallujah residents bury their dead in the garden -- Rudaw
Iran-Led Push to Retake Falluja From ISIS Worries U.S. -- NYT
U.S. commander warns that Iraqi forces may face resistance in key urban fight -- Washington Post
In Iraq's Battle for Fallujah, Residents Gird for Long Fight -- AP
Signs Point to Long Fight to Retake Fallujah from IS -- VOA

The Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Is About To Get Worse

The Hill: Clinton email headache is about to get worse

A scathing inspector general’s report this week was just the first in what is likely to be a series of official actions related to her private server stemming from the FBI, a federal courthouse and Capitol Hill.

Clinton’s presidential campaign has failed to quiet the furor over the issue, which has dogged her for more than a year.

In the next few weeks — just as the likely Democratic presidential nominee hopes to pivot towards a general election — it will face its toughest scrutiny yet.

“All of that feeds into this overarching problem of public distrust of her,” said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University.

“To put it in slang terms, she’s got a pretty deeply held street rep at this point. This fits the street rep,” he added.

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Update: Hillary Clinton misstates key facts in email server case (AP)

WNU Editor: I do not know where this story will be going, but I do know that it is not the 1990s any-more ....  and she definitely does not have the energy and charisma that her husband had in facing his scandals.

Is The White House Turning A Blind Eye On Russian Military Sales To Iran?

Washington Free Beacon: Obama Admin Considers Permitting Advanced Russian Arms Sales to Iran

White House might not invoke laws triggering new sanctions.

The Obama administration has the power to sanction key Russian arms sales to Iran, but has so far abstained from exercising this right under U.S. law, prompting some in Congress to question whether the administration is “acquiescing” to the arms sales in order to appease Iran, according to conversations with sources and recent congressional correspondence to the White House exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

President Barack Obama has the authority under U.S. law to designate as illegal Russia’s contested sale to Iran of the S-300 missile system, an advanced long-range weapon that would boost the Islamic Republic’s regional military might.

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WNU Editor: I am sure that countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc. are taking note on what the White House is doing.

Austria Investigating Into Alleged Presidential Election Postal Vote Fraud

Euronews: Austria launches probe into alleged postal vote irregularities

Five voting districts are being investigated in Austria over postal vote irregularities in the close-run presidential election, the interior minister has announced.

Allegations of fraud arose from the far-right Freedom party (FPÖ) of defeated candidate Norbert Hofer, after the Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen just scrapped ahead with 31,000 votes when the postal ballot was counted.

The Villach branch of FPÖ lodged a complaint with the country’s corruption prosecutor over the Carinthia council counting votes on Sunday and not Monday like in the rest of the country.

Speaking on Austrian TV, Freedom Party leader Heinz Christan Strache said, “The democratic result has to be respected. There are many hints from the people, these will be checked by lawyers, and independent people and we have to evaluate that.”

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Update: Austria Launches Probe Into Alleged Presidential Election Postal Vote Fraud (Zero Hedge).

Previous Post: Norbert Hofer Of The Freedom Party Is Projected To Win The Austrian Presidential Election (Update: Left-Winger Vvan der Bellen Wins Austrian Presidential Election) (May 23, 2016).

WNU Editor: This is raising a few eyebrows.

Editor's Note

Blogging will return later this evening

Vandals Deface Vietnam War Memorial In Los Angeles

CBS Los Angeles: Vandals Deface Vietnam War Memorial In Venice

VENICE ( — Vandals defaced a memorial to Vietnam war veterans in Venice – an awful sight on this Memorial Day weekend.

Stewart Oscars welled up as he looked at the vandalized mural located on Pacific Avenue near Sunset Court. It was covered in graffiti from end to end.

“This knocked me out. So sickening. Just sadness…think of all these people. They’re gone,” Oscars said. “I remember the Vietnam war and how friends went to war, and bodies came back. Somehow, it has to be taught that this is not a good idea. This is actually stupid.”

The memorial was dedicated to service members who were listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War.

George Francisco is the Vice President of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. He also runs a nonprofit called Veterans Foundation Incorporated.

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WNU Editor: This is painful to watch. I am not an American and I do not live in the United States .... but it is moments like this that I can now understand why many Americans believe that the country is "on the wrong track".

Russian President Putin: No Discussion On Ceding Crimea Back To Ukraine

TASS: Putin says Russia will indulge in no discussion on ceding Crimea back to Ukraine

It was a historic decision of people living in Crimea," Russian President said

ATHENS, May 27. /TASS/. Russia will indulge in no discussion with anyone on ceding Crimea back to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"As for Crimea, we think this issue closed once and for all. It was a historic decision of people living in Crimea," he said at a news conference after his talks with the Greek leaders.

"Russia will indulge in no discussions with anyone on that matter," Putin stressed. "So, let us stop raising this matter over and over again."

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

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Update: Putin says Crimea's status as part of Russia not up for discussion (Reuters)

WNU Editor: When I was last in Crimea (admittedly a long time ago) .... there was (maybe) 5% support for Crimea becoming a part of Russia (and I am being very generous in this estimate). Before the Maidan revolution in 2014 .... this 5% support was probably the same. After the Maidan revolution .... with anti-Russian language/cultural measures being passed by the new Ukraine government .... many people in Crimea were still afraid of succeeding from Ukraine but support had quickly grown to about 50% .... this personal analysis comes from my Ukrainian friends, family, social media, and my gut feelings. When the referendum was held .... I would say that a massive majority did favour succeeding from Ukraine .... but it was also "fixed and forced". And while I did criticized the referendum .... why fix it when you are getting the result you wanted .... for those who do not know or understand Russian/Ukrainian/Crimean politics .... this is actually normal behaviour. Today .... if a vote was held ... it would not need to be fixed (and the Russian-Crimean authorities know that) .... 90% (if not more) would favour staying with Russia.

But Crimea is a huge political problem for everyone .... for Ukraine, Russia, Europe, and for those who live in Crimea. It is the main reason why sanctions are being enforced, and one of many reasons why tensions have increased between Russia and the West. The problem is that I do not see an end-game to this crisis. The Crimeans do not want to be a part of Ukraine any-more .... they are linguistically and culturally Russian .... not Ukrainian. For Ukrainian nationalists .... this is a rallying point .... and they are not going to give up their claims on Crimea. My prediction .... this is an issue that is going to be on the table for a very long time .... and a sore point for generations to come.

Russian President Putin: 'US Anti-Missile Defence Is A Huge Danger To Russia'

FOX News: Putin warns Romania, Poland over implementing US missile shield

Romania and Poland are in the potential crosshairs of Russian rockets because they are hosting parts of the U.S. missile defense shield that Moscow considers a threat to its national security, President Vladimir Putin warned Friday.

Putin warned the European nations that Moscow has repeatedly said it would have to retaliate if the missile defense shield was put into place, but U.S. allies have ignored Russia’s warnings.

Earlier this month, the U.S. program was declared operational at a site in Romania, drawing an angry reaction from Russia. NATO said the system is purely defensive and a response to a growing capability of ballistic missiles globally.

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More News On Russian President Putin's Remarks On US Anti-Missile Defence In Europe

Putin: Romania ‘in crosshairs’ after opening NATO missile defense base -- RT
Putin says Romania, Poland may now be in Russia's cross-hairs -- Reuters
Putin vows retaliation over U.S. missile defense system -- AP
Putin warns Poland and Romania could be caught in the 'crosshairs' of Russian rockets for hosting a US defence shield that he considers a threat to national security -- Daily Mail
Putin says Romania, Poland may be targeted over new U.S.-led NATO missile bases -- UPI
Putin Warns of Retaliation against US Missile Shield in Europe -- VOA
Putin Vows Russian Retaliation Over U.S. Missile Shield -- RFE
Romania ‘Surprised’ by Putin’s Remarks on US Missile Defense System -- Sputnik