Friday, September 30, 2016

Is The Islamic Satte Becoming More Dangerous As It's Defeat On The Battlefield Becomes More Likely?

A member of Iraqi army stands near weapons that belonged to Islamic State militants, at an Iraqi army base in Camp Tariq near Falluja, Iraq, September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Mohamad Bazzi, Reuters: Islamic State is becoming more dangerous as it weakens

By many measures, Islamic State is a weakened and demoralized force. After months of U.S.-led bombing and defeats by local troops in Iraq and Syria, the group lost thousands of its fighters, was forced to relinquish significant territory and has been cut off from routes it used to move weapons and reinforcements.

But the group remains a potent threat in other ways, especially in its ability to inspire self-radicalized militants to carry out attacks in the West and elsewhere.

The man accused of carrying out a bombing in New York on Sept. 17 appears to have been inspired – if not directed – by the leaders and ideologues of al Qaeda and Islamic State. The 28-year-old suspect, Ahmad Rahami, wrote admiringly in a journal about al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, American-born radical Islamic preacher Anwar al-Awlaki – who was killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike – and leading Islamic State strategist Abu Mohammad al-Adnani.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I disagree with this analysis. If the Islamic State could .... it would unleash all the terror attacks possible against the West. But it cannot, and as it weakens its capabilities of doing so will weaken also.

U.S. Pushed To Lift UN Sanctions On Iranian Banks On The Same Day That Four American citizens Were Released From Prison

A Bank Sepah branch in Tehran. The U.S. agreed to lift United Nations sanctions on Bank Sepah and its London affiliate on the same day in January that Iran released four Americans from prison. PHOTO: SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Signed Secret Document to Lift U.N. Sanctions on Iranian Banks

Administration backed measures on the same day Tehran released four American citizens from prison.

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration agreed to back the lifting of United Nations sanctions on two Iranian state banks blacklisted for financing Iran’s ballistic-missile program on the same day in January that Tehran released four American citizens from prison, according to U.S. officials and congressional staff briefed on the deliberations.

The U.N. sanctions on the two banks weren’t initially to be lifted until 2023, under a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers that went into effect on Jan. 16.

The U.N. Security Council’s delisting of the two banks, Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International, was part of a package of tightly scripted agreements—the others were a controversial prisoner swap and transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran—that were finalized between the U.S. and Iran on Jan. 17, the day the Americans were freed.

The new details of the delisting have emerged after administration officials briefed lawmakers earlier this month on the U.S. decision.

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WNU Editor: I have said ot more than once in the past few months ... but with each passing day we are learning more about this Iranian nuclear secret deal.

Tweet For Today

WNU Editor: This hits me home. I have always enjoyed playing chess .... but forcing women to wear a hijab in a chess tournament?!?!?!?!

Comparing U.S. And Russian Nuclear Weapons

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system drives during Victory Day parade to mark end of World War Two at Red Square in Moscow. Thomson Reuters

Alex Lockie, Business Insider: How the US's nuclear weapons compare to Russia's

At Monday night's debate, Republican candidate and businessman Donald Trump said "Russia has been expanding their" nuclear weapons, adding that "they have a much newer capability than we do."

But according to Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk, although Russia may have updated its missiles and warheads more recently, the idea that Moscow has better capabilities is "almost certainly not true."

On paper, newer, more complicated, more fearsome weapons comprise Russia's nuclear arsenal. Russia's RS-24 Yars Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), introduced in the mid 2000s, can strike anywhere in the US with what some report to be ten independently targetable nuclear warheads.

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WNU Editor: There is now a race to modernise nuclear weapons .... and any talk about cutting back the number of nuclear weapons is now long gone. And to think that almost 8 years ago President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize on the promise that he would help stop this nuclear proliferation.

Picture Of The Day

Sunset Parking
A C-17 Globemaster III aircraft sits on the parking ramp before a mission during Exercise Cerberus Strike 16-02 at Fort Carson, Colo., Sept. 16, 2016. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford

Chinese Navy Wants To Copy How The U.S. Launches Its Carrier Fighters

Photo taken in May 2012 shows a Chinese aircraft carrier cruising for a test on the sea. China's first aircraft carrier was delivered and commissioned to the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Sept. 25, 2012. The carrier, with the name "Liaoning" and hull number 16, was officially handed over to the Navy at a ceremony held in a naval base of northeast China's Dalian Port. (Xinhua/Li Tang)

Popular Mechanics: China Wants to Launch Carrier Fighters Just Like the U.S. Navy

Here's what that could mean for the western Pacific.

For nearly sixty years, U.S. Navy fighters have launched from aircraft carrier decks with steam-powered catapults. These catapults were created for carriers because they can safely accelerate large aircraft with big payloads. Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations soon became the norm for the U.S. Navy and a handful of its allies.

Now China is looking to get in on the action. Growing evidence suggests that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is mimicking the U.S. Navy's launch methods, and the change could have big ramifications for the western Pacific.

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WNU Editor: I suspect that this is not the only thing that they are copying.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The U.S. Navy Has A Plan To Save Its Aircraft Carriers From Multiple Torpedo Attacks

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) transits up the Elizabeth River as it passes the downtown Norfolk waterfront after completing a successful and on-time six-month Planned Incremental Availability at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tyler Folnsbee/Released)

Kris Osborn, National Interest: The US Navy's Master Plan to Save Aircraft Carriers from Lethal Torpedo Attacks

The Navy is arming aircraft carriers with a prototype high-tech torpedo defense technology able to detect, classify, track and destroy incoming enemy torpedoes, service officials said.

The Anti-Torpedo Defense System, currently installed on five aircraft carriers and deployed on one carrier at the moment, is slated to be fully operational by 2022.

The overall SSTD system, which consists of a sensor, processor and small interceptor missile, is a first-of-its-kind "hard kill" countermeasure for ships and carriers designed to defeat torpedoes, Navy officials said.

The emerging Surface Ship Torpedo Defense technology includes the Anti-Torpedo Defense System, or ATTDS and an SLQ-25 Acoustic Device Countermeasure; the ATTDS consists of a Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo program and Torpedo Warning System.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The US Navy has obviously gone out of its way to keep the details of this technology secret .... but it must be very impressive for them to sound this confident on what these counter-measures are capable of doing.

After 241 Years The U.S. Navy Drops "Man" And Other Historic Job Titles To Achieve Gender Neutrality

Sailors on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan © Mike Blake / Reuters

USNI News: Navy Eliminating 241-Year-Old Rating System in New Enlisted Rank Overhaul

After more than 200 years, the Navy is making a fundamental change in how it will address its enlisted sailors, according to a notification on the new policy obtained by USNI News.

Starting today, the service will shelve the rating system it adopted from the U.K. Royal Navy, stop referring to sailors by their job titles and adopt a job classification in line with the Army, Marine Corps and the Air Force.

For example, under the new rules The Hunt for Red October character Sonar Technician Second Class Ronald “Jonesy” Jones – ST2 Jones for short – would be Petty Officer Second Class Jones or Petty Officer Jones. Machinist’s Mate First Class Jake Holman – MM1 Holman– from the novel and film The Sand Pebbles would be Petty Officer First Class Holman or Petty Officer Holman.

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WNU Editor: As I have said more than once in the past few years .... this is no longer your grandpa's Navy.

More News On The U.S. Navy Eliminating It's 241-Year-Old Rating System

Navy scuttles sailors' enlisted rating titles in huge career shake-up -- Navy Times
Navy ditching traditional enlisted rating system -- Stars and Stripes
No more 'Boats:' the Navy does away with referring to sailors by rating in favor of rank -- Virginia Pilot
Navy Removes All Historic Job Titles After Study On Gender Neutrality -- Daily Caller
U.S. Navy drops "man" from job titles -- Ottawa Citizen
Tradition’s end: US Navy overhauls ranks for gender-sensitivity & simplicity -- RT
Document: Outline of Changes to U.S. Navy’s Enlisted Personnel Management -- USNI News

Pentagon Orders A Review Of The $12.9 Billion Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford

The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier (file photo)

Bloomberg: Pentagon Opens Review of Costly Carrier Over Navy Objections

* Navy’s Mabus accepts review after it was delayed for a month
* Carrier’s troubles risk breaching $12.9 billion spending limit

The Pentagon will start a review next month of the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship after resolving Navy objections to the inquiry aimed at determining why the aircraft carrier has faced years of delay.

Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, ordered the review of the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford that’s being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. in part to see what lessons can be learned for production of the two other ships to follow in its class. Kendall agreed to delay the review’s start by a month to defuse a mini-mutiny of sorts by Navy officials who said the timing would be too disruptive.

The carrier’s increasing cost over the years caused Congress to set a $12.9 billion ceiling that might be breached by problems that have surfaced more recently. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s testing chief, warned in June that the Ford may struggle to launch and recover aircraft, mount a defense and move munitions, requiring costly improvements after it’s delivered.

Read more ....

Update #1: Pentagon orders review of $13B USS Gerald Ford (NBC)
Update #2: Navy’s Troubled New Carrier Undergoing Long Overdue Review (The Drive)

WNU Editor: This review is waaayyyy overdue. Bottom line .... this aircraft carrier is going to cost more than the $12.9 billion that has been allocated for it.

Saudi Arabia Warns Of 'Disastrous Consequences' Over US 9/11 Law

The National: Gulf Arab states warn of fallout from US Congress’s Saudi 9/11 law

ABU DHABI // Gulf Arab states warned of fallout for American economic interests and counter-terrorism cooperation on Thursday after the US Congress voted to override a presidential veto on a law that will allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.

"Populist legislation in the Jasta case prevailed over rationalism, which is required in all matters of international law and investment risks. The repercussions will be serious and enduring," tweeted Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, referring to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or Jasta.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They are figuring this out now ?!?!?!? .... Lawmakers realize potential trouble with new 9/11 law as Saudis rethink U.S. alliance (UPI)

More News On Saudi Arabia Warning Of 'Disastrous Consequences' Over US 9/11 Law

9/11 lawsuits bill causes Saudi Arabia 'great concern' -- BBC
Saudi warns of 'disastrous consequences' over US 9/11 law -- AFP
U.S. 9/11 law exasperates Saudis, government silent -- Fiscal Times
Right to sue over 9/11 risks Saudi pullout from US, say bankers -- Financial Times
Experts: Saudi Arabia May Still Fight Back against 9/11 lawsuit bill -- NBC/AP
Congress's Passage of 9/11 Lawsuit Bill Marks New Blow to US-Saudi Relations -- Wall Street Journal

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 29, 2016

Daniel Lewis, National Interest: Why the Offensive against ISIS in Mosul Could Be a Disaster

Speaking at a press conference in New York on September 19, President Obama stood at the dais with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and said that the battle for Mosul was ready “to move forward fairly rapidly” and that “we are prepared to help provide rapid humanitarian assistance.” The President and Prime Minister, I believe, are underestimating the challenges and difficulties that will result from the exodus of hundreds of thousands new refugees once the military operation to clear Mosul begins.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 29, 2016

Three Questions Facing the Mosul Operation -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Q&A: Amnesty Suspects Russian War Crimes In Syria, But Lacks Definitive Proof -- RFE

Who is responsible for Iran’s pre-deal nuclear progress? -- Michael Rubin, AEI

Gone is Shimon Peres, but so is his era -- John Bell, Al Jazeera

Israel Wonders What Happens When Its Fathers Are Gone -- Daniel Gordis, Bloomberg

Libya’s Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions -- Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal

Kashmir’s High Price for Demanding Independence -- Tariq Mir, Boston Review

The West's wishful thinking for Afghanistan must end -- Florian Weigand, DW

How The U.S. Will Stand Up To An Angry Philippine Leader -- Ralph Jennings, Forbes

Duterte Talks Big, But the Philippines Won't Break Ties With the US Any Time Soon -- Richard Javad Heydarian, RCW

At last, the destruction of heritage has been recognised as a weapon of war -- Irina Bokova, The Guardian

U.S. Could Pay a High Price for Suing the Saudis -- Bloomberg editorial

Killing people, breaking things and America’s winless wars: Details of the dismal U.S. military record -- Nick Turse, Salon/

Politicians Leave the Military in the Lurch – Again and Again -- Justin T. Johnson, RCD

For outside world, U.S. election is all about Trump -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Amnesty International: Sudan's Government Is Using Chemical Weapons In Darfur

Amnesty International: Sudan: Credible evidence of the use of chemical weapons to kill and maim hundreds of civilians including children in Darfur revealed

An Amnesty International investigation has gathered horrific evidence of the repeated use of what are believed to be chemical weapons against civilians, including very young children, by Sudanese government forces in one of the most remote regions of Darfur over the past eight months.

Using satellite imagery, more than 200 in-depth interviews with survivors and expert analysis of dozens of appalling images showing babies and young children with terrible injuries, the investigation indicates that at least 30 likely chemical attacks have taken place in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January 2016. The most recent was on 9 September 2016.

Read more ....

More News On Amnesty International Accusing The Sudan Government Of Using Chemical Weapons In Darfur

Group calls for Darfur chemical weapons investigation -- FOX News/AP
Children bear brunt of alleged chemical weapon attacks in Sudan, says Amnesty -- The Guardian
Amnesty accuses Sudan of deadly Darfur chemical attacks -- AFP
Sudanese government ‘killing hundreds of civilians with chemical weapons attacks’ in Darfur - Amnesty -- The Independent
Sudan Crisis: Amnesty Report Cites Evidence Government Used Chemical Weapons in Darfur -- NBC
Sudan Accused of Using Chemical Weapons in Darfur -- VOA
Sudan government accused of using chemical weapons in Darfur -- BBC
Up to 250 people killed in alleged chemical attacks in Darfur since January – Amnesty (GRAPHIC) -- RT
Chemical weapons are being used against the Darfuris. This is a war crime -- Salil Shetty, The Guardian

Are We On The Verge Of Repeating The 2008 Financial Crisis?

Forbes: Deutsche Bank Shares Keep Plunging And Spooking Financial Markets

With a storm consisting of big short sellers, nervous hedge funds and U.S. federal prosecutors brewing, Deutsche Bank shares plunged in New York trading again on Thursday and spooked financial markets.

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice has been able to pull off a careful dance of imposing enormous multi-billion dollar fines related to the financial crisis on big banks without causing a market-crushing banking disaster. But the demand by federal prosecutors that Deutsche Bank pay $14 billion has caused many market players in September to question the big German bank’s capital cushion.

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WNU Editor: Deutsche bank is not going to collapse. But the bail-out is going to cost multi-billions if needed.

More News On Troubles At Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank got slammed again -- Business Insider
Deutsche Bank crisis threatens to roil global markets -- Market Watch
Pressure is building for Germany to show it's ready to rescue Deutsche Bank -- CNBC
Berlin faces Deutsche Bank bailout dilemma -- RT
Why is Deutsche Bank now the biggest worry in the financial world? -- The Telegraph
The Deutsche Bank crisis: How we got here, and where we are -- Evelyn Cheng, CNBC

U.S. Airstrike Mistakenly Kills More Than 20 Somali Soldiers

Reuters: Somalia seeks explanation after U.S. 'friendly fire' strike

Somalia's government on Thursday requested an explanation from the United States after Somali officials said a U.S. "friendly fire" air strike killed at least 22 soldiers and civilians in the Horn of Africa nation.

Officials in the semi-autonomous, northern region of Galmudug said a U.S. air strike killed members of its forces this week and accused a rival region, Puntland, of duping the Americans into believing those targeted were Islamist rebels.

Washington said the United States carried out a "self-defense air strike" after Somali troops faced fire from militants. It said nine al Shabaab militants had been killed but that it was looking into reports others may also have died.

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More News On Reports That A U.S. Airstrike Mistakenly Killed More Than 20 Somali Soldiers In The Northern region Of Galmadug

US airstrike hits 'wrong target' killing Somali soldiers, locals protest -- Africa News
Somalia:16 critically injured, 22 dead on US friendly fire -- Garowe
Somalia: US accused of killing 22 troops in air strike -- Al Jazeera
Somalia Demands Explanation for US Airstrike -- VOA
US airstrikes mistakenly kill 22 soldiers in central Somalia -- Global Times
Somalia says US air strike killed civilians not al-Shabab -- BBC
‘False tipoff’ triggered US airstrike on Somali regional forces – Sources -- Midnimo
US duped into airstrike that killed 22 Somali soldiers, local officials claim -- RT

India Conducts Surgical Military Strike On Targets In Pakistan Controlled Kashmir

New York Times: India Claims ‘Surgical Strikes’ Across Line of Control in Kashmir

NEW DELHI — India announced on Thursday that it had carried out early morning “surgical strikes” on terrorist camps in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, a step that risks escalating the conflict between the two nuclear powers.

However, Pakistan denied that a cross-border strike had taken place, saying that Indian troops had fired small arms across the Line of Control, killing two soldiers and injuring nine.

A senior Pakistani security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said that Pakistan would consider a cross-border strike by India an act of war.

The official warned that Pakistan could use tactical nuclear weapons in self-defense if India initiates a war.

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WNU Editor: Pakistan's reaction to ths attack has bee contradictory. On the one hand they are denying reports that such a surgical strike happened .... Pakistan says Indian claim of surgical strike in Kashmir an "illusion" (Reuters), on the other hand they are furious .... Pakistan furious after India launches Kashmir strikes (AFP). But bottom line .... this has a very real potential of spiralling into an all-out war.

More News On India Conducting Surgical Military Strikes On Targets In Pakistan Controlled Kashmir

Kashmir attack: India 'launches strikes against militants' -- BBC
India carries out 'surgical strikes' along Kashmir frontier -- AFP
India says hits Pakistan-based militants, escalating tensions -- Reuters
Nuclear-armed neighbors, both U.S. allies, exchange fire -- CBS/AP
India claims ‘surgical strikes’ against militants in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir -- Washington Post
India Says It Hit Terrorist Bases in Pakistan-Controlled Kashmir -- WSJ
India says troops cross Kashmir border to attack as crisis escalates -- The Guardian
India Says It Launched Strikes in Pakistan-Controlled Kashmir -- NBC
Kashmir dispute: Two Pakistani soldiers killed after clashes with India -- CNN
Indian commandos strike terrorists inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir -- Threat Matrix
Panic, disbelief in Kashmir as India makes surgical strikes -- Economic Times
Why Are Pakistan And India Fighting? Nuclear War Threatened After Kashmir Attack At Uri Military Base -- IBTimes
Is India Capable of a Surgical Strike in Pakistan Controlled Kashmir? -- The Diplomat

China's Military Issues Warning Against Japan On South China Sea Patrols

Vessels from the China Maritime Surveillance and the Japan Coast Guard are seen near disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 10, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo

Reuters: China armed forces warn Japan against South China sea patrols

Japan is "playing with fire" with plans to step up activity in the contested South China Sea through joint training patrols with the United States, China's Defence Ministry said on Thursday, warning it would not sit watching from the sidelines.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has repeatedly denounced what it views as interference there by the United States and its ally, Japan.

Japan is strengthening its ties in the region, in particular with the Philippines and Vietnam, which contest China's claims to parts of the sea, and it aims to help build the capacity of coastal states in the busy waterway, its defense minister said this month during a visit to Washington.

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WNU Editor: The Japanese are not going to be intimidated .... they will conduct their patrols. The next question is .... what will China do next.

More News On The Chinese Military Issuing A Warning Against Japan On Conducting South China Sea Patrols

China warns Japan not to 'play with fire' in S. China Sea -- AFP
China warns Japan against ‘playing with fire’ in South China Sea -- Japan Times
China accuses Japan of 'playing with fire' in South China Sea -- DW
China armed forces warn Japan against joint South China Sea patrols with US -- IBTimes
South China Sea Update: Japan And China Air Forces Already At War In Territorial Dispute -- International Business Times

U.S. Officials Frustrated That President Obama Is Not Standing Up To Russia

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters/RIA Novosti)

Nancy Youssef and Shane Harris, Daily Beast: Obama Officials Wonder: Why Won’t the Boss Stand Up to Putin?

Russia’s forces are on the attack in Syria; its hackers are monkeying with America’s election. And the president’s response is… well, there’s not much of one at all.

Russia and Syria appeared to attack two more hospitals and a bakery in the already besieged eastern city of Aleppo on Wednesday, in an aggressive push to seize and starve the city—home to as many as 100,000 children—back into regime control.

So how will the Obama administration respond to an increasingly provocative Russia? For now, it won’t.

There is an unspoken understanding within the administration that despite the many provocations Russia has carried out in Syria, there will be no major American response, a position that increasingly is drawing the ire of top national security officials, three U.S. officials told The Daily Beast.

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Update: Obama Is Now Considering “Tougher” Options in Syria. Hahaha Right (Joshua Keating, Slate).

WNU Editor: President Obama has less than 100 days left in office .... he is not going to give the next President a crisis that may spill into an open conflict ... especially with a country like Russia. This is also the same policy that is now being pursued against China on the South China Sea .... the message is clear .... do not provoke .... The White House Has Banned The Pentagon From Talking About 'Competition' With China (September 27, 2016).

U.S. State Department: ‘Russia Will Continue To Send Troops Home In Body Bags’

RT: ‘Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags’: US warns Moscow if Syria violence goes on

Unless Russia “stops the violence” in Syria, extremists would “exploit the vacuum” to attack Russian interests and even cities, the US State Department has said.

“Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft,” John Kirby, the State Department's spokesperson, told reporters at Wednesday's press briefing.

If the war continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down,” Kirby said.

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WNU Editor: Russian officials are reacting angrily to these comments .... Russia goes after State spokesman for 'body bags' comment (Washington Examiner). What's my take .... Russia's participation in the Syrian is going to produce body-bags and blowback .... no suprises there. The problem is how U.S. State department Spokesman John Kirby said it .... he should have used more tact.