Monday, June 26, 2017

Russian Ambassador To The U.S. Sergey Kislyak Is Being Recalled Back To Moscow

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and President Donald Trump at the White House last week. Photo Credit: @RusEmbUSA

Buzz Feed: Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak Is Going Home To Russia

After nearly ten years at the nexus of US-Russia relations, Washington’s most radioactive diplomat is headed home

Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall its ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision tell BuzzFeed News.

The decision to bring Kislyak back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York, as several outlets previously reported, comes amid investigations by the FBI and Congress into the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with President Donald Trump’s top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“He could use some time away,” said a US-based diplomat.

Read more ....

Update #1: Russia is recalling ambassador at center of Trump campaign controversy: report (The Hill)
Update #2: Russia Said To Recall Ambassador At Center of Trump Controversy: Report (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: His recall to Moscow was announced months ago .... in fact his replacement has already been chosen .... Russia's Next U.S. Ambassador Will Be Anatoly Antonov (May 27, 2017). What is not known is on appointment to a UN agency in New York City .... it looks like he may not get it.

What Will Putin Do Next?

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow media conference, June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Peter Apps, Reuters: The dangers of putting Putin under pressure

How will Vladimir Putin respond to the growing challenges against him? The Russian president, who turns 65 in October, might presently look unassailable - but maintaining that grip will get harder every year.

Compared to British Prime Minister Theresa May or U.S. President Donald Trump, the Russian president faces scant internal opposition. Recent anti-corruption protests, however, provided him a reminder that no leader can remain in power forever.

Putin will almost certainly win the March presidential elections. His poll ratings remain high, and Russians have little appetite for the chaos that his fall might bring.

But that doesn’t mean there are no rivals waiting for him to stumble.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Unlike the last election .... no one is saying that Putin is going to retire before next year's Russian Presidential elections. But this will be Russian President Putin's last election .... Vladimir Putin: I don’t want to rule Russia for life (The Guardian). After that .... Peter Apps is right .... who will succeed Putin in 2024 is where the real battle will be.

Tweet For Today

Russia's MiG-35 Is Getting Ready For Combat

(Photo courtesy MiG)

Defense Tech: MiG-35, Russia’s New 4th-Gen Light Fighter, Readies for Combat

SALON DU BOURGET, France — The next addition to Russia’s roster of fighter jets that bridge fourth- and fifth-generation technology may join units as soon as 2019, officials with the MiG Corporation told here at the Paris Air Show.

The MiG-35, designed to replace MiG-29s rounding out their fourth decade in service, was absent from Paris but will be featured at the MAKS international airshow near Moscow in July as engineers finalize testing on the aircraft, said Anastasia Kravchenko, public relations director for MiG. Still to be determined is whether the fighter will be featured in a static display or aerial demo, she said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are some problems though .... Russia's MiG-35 Has a Big Secret (And This Time NATO Will Be Very Pleased) (Dave Mujumdar, National Interest)

More News On Russia's MiG-35

Russia anticipates final flight tests for MiG-35 this year -- Defense News
PARIS: MiG-35 flight testing proceeds apace -- Flight Global
MiG Has Big Hopes for MiG-35 Fighter -- Aviation Week
Russia's fighter jet makers 'not afraid' of U.S. competition in India -- Reuters
MiG pushing for exports of the MiG-35 fighter -- UPI
Russia may start exporting advanced MiG-35 fighter jet in couple of years -- TASS

Picture Of The Day

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this story .... 7 Badass Photos Of Marines Shelling The Crap Out Of ISIS In Syria (Task & Purpose)

Upgrading The B-2

People without security clearances aren’t going to learn what the winning design for the Long Range Strike Bomber looks like anytime soon, but the Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber probably bears some resemblance. The lack of a fuselage or tail makes it much harder to track with radar; unfortunately, its stealth coatings and other “low-observable” features are a nightmare to maintain. (Wikipedia)

Kris Osborn, National Interest: We Now Know What It's Like To Go To War in a B-2 Stealth Bomber

As a stealth bomber engineered during the height of the Cold War, the B-2 was designed to elude Soviet air defenses and strike enemy targets – without an enemy ever knowing the aircraft was even there. This stealthy technological ability is referred to by industry experts as being able to evade air defenses using both high-frequency “engagement” radar, which can target planes, and lower frequency “surveillance” radar which can let enemies know an aircraft is in the vicinity.

The B-2 is described as a platform which can operate undetected over enemy territory and, in effect, “knock down the door” by destroying enemy radar and air defenses so that other aircraft can fly through a radar “corridor” and attack.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They plan to keep this bomber flying until 2015 .... but I am willing to bet that like the B-52 .... this plane is going to be around for a long time.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yemen Facing A Massive Cholera Outbreak

VOA: UN: Cholera Cases in Yemen Could Top 300,000 by End of August

GENEVA — The U.N. Children's Fund warns cholera cases and deaths in war-torn Yemen continue to mount and could reach 300,000 by the end of August. UNICEF puts the current number of suspected cases at nearly 200,000, including more than 1,200 deaths — with a quarter of those being children.

UNICEF says containing the cholera outbreak in Yemen is extremely difficult. It says the health system is near total collapse, water and sanitation systems are in disrepair and the people who are meant to care for patients, collect the garbage and maintain vital systems have not been paid for six months.

The UNICEF representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano, says despite the obstacles, aid agencies are making progress in reducing cholera cases and deaths in some parts of the country.

Read more ....

More News On Yemen's Massive Cholera Outbreak

WHO: More than 1,300 now dead in Yemen's cholera epidemic -- UPI
Cholera cases in Yemen now more 200,000 -- CBC/Reuters
Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak - UN -- BBC
Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak, UN warns -- Al Arabiya
Saudi Arabia donates to end Yemen cholera outbreak it helped start -- VICE News
Yemen's Cholera Outbreak Is Only Getting Worse -- Newsy
The horrors of Yemen's spiralling cholera crisis -- Johannes Bruwer, International Committee of the Red Cross/BBC

Battle For The Iraqi City of Mosul -- News Updates June 25, 2017

VOA: Iraqi Troops Push Deeper into Mosul

Iraqi forces pushed deeper into the historical heart of Mosul on Sunday in their fight to retake it from Islamic State militants, with one Baghdad commander saying that 65 to 70 percent of the Old City had been liberated.

Lieutenant ColonelSalam al-Obeidi said, "There is less than a square kilometer left to retake." He estimated that there were only "a few hundred" Islamic State fighters left in the city.

Read more ....

Battle For The Iraqi City of Mosul -- News Updates June 25, 2017

"Stench of death" from bodies of ISIS fighters fills Mosul -- CBS News
The stench of death rises over Mosul's Old City -- AFP
Two thirds of Mosul Old City retaken from IS: commander -- AFP
Iraqi forces seize two-thirds of Mosul's Old City, police says victory not far -- First Post
Iraqi forces say major Islamic State attack blocked outside old city of Mosul -- Reuters
Deadly suicide bombings hit shopping district in Mosul -- Al Jazeera
Iraq forces push deep into devastated Old Mosul -- AFP
Iraqi forces push further into heart of Mosul's old city amid fierce clashes -- Xinhuanet
ISIS makes bloody last stand in last Mosul neighborhoods under its control -- CBS
150000 civilians trapped in final battle for Mosul -- The Times
Hundreds of civilians flee Mosul as IS loses grip on city -- DW
Civilians flee 'final battle for Mosul' -- Euronews
Mosul celebrates first Eid without Islamic State in years -- Reuters

Battle For The Syrian City Of Raqqa -- News Updates June 25, 2017

Reuters: U.S.-backed Syrian groups take Raqqa district from Islamic State

A U.S.-backed Syrian coalition of Kurdish and Arab groups advanced against Islamic State in the jihadists' Syrian capital of Raqqa on Sunday, taking the al-Qadisia district, they said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began its assault on Raqqa earlier this month after a long campaign to isolate Islamic State inside the city.

It took Qadisia, located in the west of Raqqa, after three days of intense fighting, it said in a statement on one of its official social media feeds.

The SDF has pushed Islamic State from swathes of northern Syria over the past 18 months. Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have also taken territory from it and the Syrian army has this year advanced rapidly against it in desert areas.

Read more ....

Battle For The Syrian City Of Raqqa -- News Updates June 25, 2017

SDF battle ISIS in fierce clashes in Raqqa's al-Qadisiyah neighborhood -- NRT
Syrian Democratic Forces make new gains in anti-ISIS campaign, capture another district in Raqqa city -- Ara News
Disenchanted families flee Islamic State in Raqqa -- NRT
Amnesty declared for 83 ISIL members in Syria's Raqqa -- Al Jazeera
Amnesty for militants in Syria's Raqqa aims to promote stability -- Reuters
The U.S. Is Destroying Raqqa in Order to Save It, and Civilians Be Damned -- Daily Beast
Raqqa: The desperate fight for Islamic State group's 'capital' -- BBC
I Fled the Islamic State's 'Caliphate' in Raqqa — But Fear Its Liberators -- Foreign Policy
Kurds see chance to advance their cause in ruins of Islamic State -- The Guardian
US road from Raqqa is fraught with strategic uncertainty -- The Australian

White House Correspondents Are Up In Arms That Their Daily Briefings Are No Longer Televised

Photograph of the briefing room on Feb. 7 by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Politico: W.H. Correspondents' Association: We are not satisfied with off-camera briefings

White House Correspondents' Association President Jeff Mason said they are "not satisfied" with the White House putting a halt on their daily, on-camera briefings.

In an email to members of the association, Mason said he met with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to discuss the issues of the briefings. The White House has increasingly changed the daily briefings, either not having them on certain days, making them increasingly short, or hosting off-camera briefings, sometimes even not allowing the use of audio from the briefings.

"The WHCA’s position on this issue is clear: we believe strongly that Americans should be able to watch and listen to senior government officials face questions from an independent news media, in keeping with the principles of the First Amendment and the need for transparency at the highest levels of government," Mason wrote.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The White House Daily briefings are rating winners for the cable news networks .... so they are naturally upset with this revenue loss. But as for us .... the consumers of the news being impacted by this black-out .... I have to say no. I get the news just like I always do, the only difference is that I may not have a YouTube video to post on top.

This post gives a breakdown on who gets to sit/stand where in the White House correspondents room .... All Joking Aside, Here’s How Sean Spicer Is Shaking Up the White House Press Briefing (New York Times).

Is Al Jazeera Just A Mouthpiece For Qatar's Government?

Eli Lake, Bloomberg: The Ex-Journalist Who Says Al-Jazeera Aids Terrorists

A lawsuit based on prison interviews in Egypt claims that the network has become a "mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence."

Mohamed Fahmy is the last person one would expect to make the case against al-Jazeera.

In 2014, the former Cairo bureau chief for the Qatar-funded television network began a 438-day sentence in an Egyptian prison on terrorism charges and practicing unlicensed journalism. His incarceration made al-Jazeera a powerful symbol of resistance to Egypt's military dictatorship.

Today Fahmy is preparing a lawsuit against his former employers. And while he is still highly critical of the regime that imprisoned him, he also says the Egyptian government is correct when it says al-Jazeera is really a propaganda channel for Islamists and an arm of Qatari foreign policy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: First things first ..... I do use  links from Al Jazeera for this blog daily. As to the question .... is Al Jazera bias in their coverage .... my answer is that it definitely is ... and that is the English reporting, not the Arabic reporting where I am told that the bias is even more extreme. But just like RT having a strong pro-Russia bias, Xinhuanet having a pro-China bias, the New York Times and the Washington Post having an anti-Trump/Republican/conservative bias .... you have to pick and choose on what you choose to read, and in my case .... I always make sure that I post other links that have a different take on the news. But for those who are arguing that Al Jazeera is a beacon of free media .... I say you are picking the wrong example to promote your cause.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 25, 2017

Michael Crowley, Politico: Trump allies push White House to consider regime change in Tehran

As the new administration conducts a routine review of its Iran policy, senior officials are hinting that they're open to toppling the country's clerical regime.

As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key allies of President Donald Trump are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government.

Supporters of dislodging Iran’s iron-fisted clerical leadership say it’s the only way to halt Tehran’s dangerous behavior, from its pursuit of nuclear weapons to its sponsorship of terrorism. Critics say that political meddling in Iran, where memories of a 1953 CIA-backed coup remain vivid, risks a popular backlash that would only empower hard-liners.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 25, 2017

Looking to Mosul's Future Amid Extreme Violence -- Heather Murdock, VOA

Why the World Should Fear Iran's Missiles -- Kyle Mizokami, National Interest

Who Killed Otto Warmbier? -- Isaac Stone Fish, Politico

In Planning for Rebuilding North Korea, the U.S. Must Learn From Its Mistakes in Iraq -- Steven Metz, WPR

South Sudan: A rare look at both sides of the civil war -- France 24

EU Leans on Libyan Military to Stop Migrants -- Clemens Höges and Claas Meyer-Heuer, DW

The east-west divide in the EU deepens -- Christoph Hasselbach, DW

American Weakness and Incompetence Are Vladimir Putin’s Greatest Assets -- David French, NRO

Macron shows his true colors -- John Lloyd, Reuters

Angela Merkel Embraces German Nationalism With a Twist -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

NATO: Prepared for countering disinformation operations in the Baltic states? -- European-Geostrategy

Why has Italy been spared mass terror attacks in recent years? -- Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome and Lorenzo Tondo Tondo in Palermo, The Guardian

The Latest Wave of Terrorism Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better -- Bruce Newsom, Newsweek

Venezuela: A country divided -- Quintijn Kat, Al Jazeera

Climate change could devastate the birthplace of the arabica coffee bean -- Lily Kuo, Quartz

It's Becoming Harder To Trust The FBI

David Keene, The Washington Times: Why the FBI is hard to trust

The Federal Bureau of Investigation claims to be above politics, but that’s not so

Can anyone with a modicum of common sense trust the Federal Bureau of investigation? The answer to that question is a resounding “no.” The claim that the FBI strives to be above politics is today and has always been absurd. When former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover admitted in an interview that his “agents” had tapped the phones of 1964 Republican candidate Barry Goldwater and even bugged his campaign plane, Mr. Hoover told his interviewer, who wondered how someone in his position could so cavalierly ignore the law and the constitutional rights of American citizens, that when the president asks you deliver.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: One can say the same thing about the entire U.S. Department of Justice of which the FBI falls under.

Are Russian Spies Always Duping American Spies?

Kimberly Dozier, Daily Beast: How Moscow's Spies Keep Duping America—Over and Over Again

The White House wants to warm up to Moscow, eventually. But CIA veterans say we tried that.

SEA ISLAND, Georgia — The Russian intelligence officers picked up the American spies from Moscow’s Metropole Hotel and drove them a few short blocks to an ornate, lushly appointed guest house. It used to be the home of a wealthy Jewish dentist before being turned into a meeting place for Russia’s intelligence services.

The 17th-century mansion served as the backdrop of a 2007 summit of CIA officers, FBI agents, and their Russian counterparts, as the Bush administration tried to build a cooperative relationship with Moscow on counterterrorism.

Over glasses of cognac and the occasional shot of chilled vodka, the Russian and American officers sat across from each other at a long conference table, in what turned into an interrogation instead of the hoped-for bridge-building exercise. The Russians probed the Americans to find out where their sources were, how big their networks were and any potential weaknesses to exploit later.

“It was worse than a polygraph,” one former senior intelligence officer told The Daily Beast. “They used different people to ask us the same questions over and over, each time phrased in slightly different ways, as if to see whether we were lying,” and to trick information out of them.

That interaction is emblematic of 20 years of U.S. attempts to reach out to Moscow, with the initially Pollyannaish new American administration seeking cooperation, and the Russians using each opportunity to gather intelligence on their enemy to advance their own interests.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Talk about the coffee pot calling the tea kettle black. Of course Russian intel officers will prioritise what they want over what the American intel officers may want. But to read this article and hear these former CIA and intel officers whining and crying about how they did not get what they want from the Russians .... and then get treated badly when passing through Russian friendly countries when everything goes south in the U.S.-Russian relationship .... that is a little bit too much even for me. Bottom line .... Russia is not an ally of the U.S.. The U.S. is not an ally of Russia. Approach each other on shared interests .... but do not expect a long term relationship.

As for President Trump .... I will always remember what he said to everyone when the Miss Universe contest was held in Moscow and repeated when he became President .... Trump Discusses Security Concerns He Had While Visiting Moscow (ABC News). Bottom line .... the impression that I have is that he has no illusions on who and what the Kremlin is.

Top Democrat Criticises President Obama's Response To Russian Hacks

Reuters: Top Democrat slams Obama administration's response to Russian hacks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Sunday criticized the administration of former President Barack Obama for not taking earlier and tougher action against Russia for its alleged hacks aimed at swaying the Nov. 8 election for Donald Trump.

"The Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening, but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin," said Representative Adam Schiff on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

The Obama administration imposed sanctions in December on two Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking political groups during the election, but those sanctions were too little, too late, Schiff said.

Read more ....

Update #1: Key Democrat Agrees With Trump: Obama Should Have Acted on Hacks (Bloomberg)
Update #2: The truth about Russia, 'hacking' and the 2016 election (The Hill)

WNU Editor: Representative Adam Schiff can complain all that he wants on what President Obama should have done .... but as the above Hill post outlines .... there is still no evidence that Russia was successful in hacking and altering the vote or vote totals of the last election. And as to the question .... was Russia trying to discredit the U.S. election .... probably .... but even to this day no evidence has been publicly provided on what did they exactly do to discredit it. Fake news and bots is not enough to compete against the massive news coverage and advertising campaigns during the campaign .... and as for the release of Podesta's and DNC emails .... that just revealed to everyone how corrupt the Democrat primary system is. Yup .... I can see it now .... President Obama making an address to the nation telling everyone that Russia is undermining the electoral process by revealing how corrupt the Democrat primary process for President is .... I can see that going over well.

Unrest In Venezuela -- News Updates June 25, 2017

AFP: Venezuela unrest: Anti-govt protests leave 75 dead in 3 months; 3,000 arrested

Caracas: A 22-year-old man was shot dead on Thursday during an anti-government protest in Caracas, becoming the 75th victim in three months of unrest over the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.

The young man was killed during a demonstration in the capital's Altamira area, the public ministry said on Twitter, without specifying the type of weapon that killed him.

Opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares said the man had been shot by a member of the National Guard.

Near-daily protests against Maduro began 1 April, with demonstrators demanding his removal and new elections.

Read more ....

Unrest In Venezuela -- News Updates June 25, 2017

Maduro Calls on Venezuela’s Military to Stop Protests -- Havana Times
Venezuelan opposition lays siege to air base -- ABC News/AP
Venezuelan president's opponents lay siege to airbase -- Al Jazeera
In Venezuela, clashes erupted in Caracas on Saturday as thousands of opposition protesters rally at La Carlota air base.
The grim video of a Venezuelan protester being shot on live TV -- Washington Post
Venezuelan protester shot dead at point-blank range by soldier -- CNN
For The Venezuelan Opposition, Protests Are 'Like A War' -- NPR
As Venezuela body count rises, victim’s father tries to make it personal for Maduro -- Miami Herald
Venezuela’s Maduro Replaces Foreign Minister, Chief of Staff -- Venezuelanalysis
In Venezuela, prisoners say abuse is so bad they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement -- Washington Post
Latin American presidents meet with Cardinal Parolin over crisis in Venezuela -- Rome Reports
Venezuelan Crisis Continues -- Evan Maguire, Spectator

Is It No Longer Possible For Any Country To Win A War?

Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Yuval Noah Harari, Time: Why It’s No Longer Possible for Any Country to Win a War

The last few decades have been the most peaceful era in human history. For the first time ever, fewer people die today from human violence than from traffic accidents, obesity or even suicide. Whereas in early agricultural societies human violence caused up to 15% of all human deaths, and in the twentieth century it caused 5%, today it is responsible for only about 1%. Yet the international climate is rapidly deteriorating; warmongering is back in vogue, and military expenditure is ballooning. Both laypeople and experts fear that just as in 1914 the murder of an Austrian archduke sparked the First World War, in 2017 some incident in the Syrian Desert or an unwise move in the Korean Peninsula might ignite a global conflict.

Read more ....

WNU editor: No country has been willing to get involved in an all-out war against an adversary for decades. But war and conflict is a part of human nature .... and while we may be living in an era of "peace", historically speaking .... these "peaceful times" do not last for a very long time.

Israel Launches A Second Day Of Strikes On Syrian Positions After More Spill-Over Fire Hits Israeli Positions

Haaretz: Report: Israel Strikes Syrian Army in Second Flare-up in Two Days

Israeli aircraft struck a Syrian army jeep in Golan Heights, Syrian army source tells Lebanon news outlet, after errant fire hits Israeli territory

Israel reportedly attacked a Syrian army unit in the northern Golan Heights on Sunday after errant fire from the Syrian side spilled over into Israeli territory, the second cross-border flare-up in two days.

Israeli aircraft struck a Syrian army jeep in the Syrian Golan, a Syrian army official told the Lebanese news outlet al-Mayadeen. The Israel Defense Forces haven't confirmed the report.

Read more ....

More News On Israel Launching A Second Day Of Strikes On Syrian Positions After More Spill-Over Fire Hits Israeli Positions

Israel: Errant fire from Syria lands in Golan for 2nd day -- Washington Post/AP
Report: IDF strikes Syrian targets in response to second day of Golan spillover -- The Jerusalem Post
Israel strikes Syrian targets in response to cross-border fire -- Israel Hayom
Second time in 24 hours: Syrian fighting spills into Golan Heights -- Jerusalem Online
In state of panic, Syrian army tosses rules of caution aside -- Ron Ben-Yishai, YNet News

Qatar Wants The U.S. To Intervene In The Gulf Crisis And Urge The Arab States To Lift Their Blockade

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Hill: Qatar urges Trump to intervene in Gulf crisis

As the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf nears its first full month, Qatari officials are urging the White House to exert its considerable influence on the nations that have imposed a blockade on the tiny peninsular state.

Qatar is asking the U.S. to pressure Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain to end the isolation that started June 5, when the countries abruptly cut diplomatic ties and closed all land, air and sea borders with the Gulf state.

Several ideas floated by Qatar include placing a hold on weapons deals and halting other contracts signed between the U.S. and those countries.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: So .... Qatar wants the U.S. to step in and solve their issues and problems with their neighbours .... even when the U.S. said only two days ago that this is an issue solely between Qatar and its neighbours .... White House dubs Gulf crisis 'a family issue' (AFP). Here is an easy prediction .... the U.S. is not going to get involved.

President Trump: Clintons Colluded With The Democrat Party To defeat Bernie Sanders

Politico: Trump in tweet: Clinton colluded to beat Sanders

After more than five months as president, Donald Trump is still talking about the 2016 election.

On Sunday morning, the president tweeted that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton "colluded with the Democratic Party" to beat Bernie Sanders.

"Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie," Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning.

It's not clear why the president chose to revisit the 2016 campaign this morning or where his newfound sympathy for Sanders came from. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday launched an investigation asking former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to respond to allegations of "political interference" in the investigation of Clinton's private email server.

Read more ....

Update: Trump: Hillary Clinton colluded with Democrats to defeat Bernie Sanders (The Hill)

WNU Editor: When I saw that tweet this morning I said to myself .... the Democrats are going to say nothing .... but the press is going to go bonkers .... which is what I think President Trump wanted before the Sunday morning news shows. Well .... from what I have already seen .... the press did not disappoint him.

Firm Behind Russian Dossier On President Trump A Democrat Front?

New York Post: Sketchy firm behind Trump dossier is stalling investigators

A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.

The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena the firm, Fusion GPS, after it refused to answer questions and provide records to the panel identifying who financed the error-ridden dossier, which was circulated during the election and has sparked much of the Russia scandal now engulfing the White House.

What is the company hiding? Fusion GPS describes itself as a “research and strategic intelligence firm” founded by “three former Wall Street Journal investigative reporters.” But congressional sources says it’s actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This story is important because this Russian dossier was what the FBI used to justify a deeper investigation into then candidate Donald Trump .... Comey: Private Dossier Containing False Trump Allegations Drove FBI Counterspy Probe (Washington Free Beacon). And as for the media .... non-stop coverage and reporting of it to question Donald Trump's character .... a narrative that continued until the former MI6 agent who compiled the dossier admitted that the file that he compiled was never verified (no evidence) .... Ex-British Spy Admits That His 'Dirty' Dossier On Trump Was Not Verified (April 26, 2017). And as for the firm that paid for this dossier .... well .... WNU has been covering this story for almost 3 months, and it looks like it is starting to get the attention that it is due ....

The Company Behind The Russian Dossier On Trump Does Not Want To Cooperate With Congress (June 10, 2017)
Top U.S. Senator Wants Probe Of Firm Behind The Trump Dossier And Their Ties To Russa ((April 2, 2017)

U.S. Special Forces Are Now Focused On Capturing ISIS Leaders

Armed men in uniform identified by Syrian Democratic forces as US special operations forces are seen in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqa on May 25, 2016. © Delil Souleiman / AFP

New York Times: Commando Raids on ISIS Yield Vital Data in Shadowy War

WASHINGTON — One late afternoon in April, helicopter-borne American commandos intercepted a vehicle in southeastern Syria carrying a close associate of the Islamic State’s supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The associate, Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, was a rare prize whom United States Special Operations forces had been tracking for months: a midlevel but highly trusted operative skilled in raising money; spiriting insurgent leaders out of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s besieged capital in Syria; and plotting attacks against the West. Captured alive, Mr. Uzbeki could be an intelligence bonanza. Federal prosecutors had already begun preparing criminal charges against him for possible prosecution in the United States.

As the commandos swooped in, however, a firefight broke out. Mr. Uzbeki, a combat-hardened veteran of shadow wars in Syria and Pakistan, died in the gun battle, thwarting the military’s hopes of extracting from him any information about Islamic State operations, leaders and strategy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a major shift away from just launching drone/air strikes to kill ISIS/Al Qaeda leaders .... to now prioritising the retrieval of intelligence by catching them. I would just like to know who is responsible for the captivity of these targets when they are caught .... the Kurds? A U.S. base in Iraq under Iraqi control. Somewhere else?

World News Briefs -- June 25, 2017

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (3rd R) attends prayers on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, inside a mosque in Hama, in this handout picture provided by SANA on June 25, 2017, Syria. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

Reuters: Syria's more confident Assad gives Eid prayers in Hama

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivered prayers for Islam's Eid al-Fitr holiday in Hama on Sunday, the furthest he has traveled inside Syria in years, showing his growing confidence.

State television broadcast footage of Assad standing to pray in a large mosque in Hama behind its imam, with other clerics standing alongside and a large crowd of worshippers.

State news agency SANA quoted the preacher as saying that Assad's presence in the city for Eid showed that victory and the return of security were only "a few steps" away.

Read more ....


Hundreds of civilians flee Mosul as IS loses grip on city.

Car bomb in Syria's Idlib province kills 10: war monitor. Deadly car bombing kills Syrian civilians in Idlib.

Syria frees almost 700 prisoners ahead of Eid festival, thousands held for political reasons.

Israel strikes Syrian military near Golan Heights. Israeli Air Forces attacked al-Nusra Front on Saturday in Golan Heights - source.

Iran foils 'plot to bomb religious centres'.

Yemen army makes more gains in Marib.

UN: Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak.

Turkey's Erdogan says Arab demands on Qatar unlawful.

Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries declare Sunday start of Eid al-Fitr.


Pakistan oil tanker fire kills at least 148 as onlookers rush to gather leaking fuel.

Death toll from triple terrorist attacks in Pakistan rises to 85.

Fighting resumes in Marawi after Eid ceasefire.

More blood but no victory as Philippine drug war marks its first year.

Indian soldiers, suspected rebels, clash at Kashmir school.

India's Modi seeks personal rapport with Donald Trump on US visit.

PNG election: Corruption and economy are Peter O'Neill's biggest worries as polls open. Papua New Guinea: Corruption allegations highlighted in general elections.

US and China agree to denuclearize North Korea and say efforts to rid Kim of nuclear weapons should be 'complete, verifiable and irreversible'.

Thousands take to the streets of Pyongyang for mass rally marking North Korea's 'Day of Struggle' and 67 years since the start of the Korean War.

China urges Afghans, Pakistan to form crisis-management mechanism.

Reporter seeks justice for ‘white van’ torture in Sri Lanka.

China's Xi to attend Hong Kong handover anniversary.


Crisis in DR Congo worsens as death toll rises and refugees flee.

Haftar forces make gains in Libya's Benghazi.

With Qatari forces gone, tension rises between Djibouti and Eritrea.

South Sudan cancels independence day events.

Mali relaunches beleaguered peace process.

Mourners return to Mali resort hit by jihadists.

Egypt's president ratifies islands deal with Saudi Arabia.


Ukrainian Army units shell Donetsk Republic in first hours of new ceasefire.

‘Unique people’: Putin recalls KGB times, wishes deep-cover agents good fortune.

UKParliament hit by cyber attack as hackers attempt to access MPs' email accounts.

Albanians go to the polls with focus on EU accession talks.

Merkel's conservatives widen lead three months before German vote.

Merkel challenger Schulz to outline German election strategy.

Woman driver is arrested after 'car ploughs into families gathering for Eid prayers near Newcastle mosque' leaving six people injured and sparking panic just a week at Finsbury Park attack.


Number of refugees entering US drops by half under Trump.

Trump breaks with tradition, forgoes Ramadan dinner.

Bernie and Jane Sanders, under FBI investigation for bank fraud, hire lawyers.

Venezuelan protesters, security forces clash at air base. Venezuela crisis: Anti-Maduro protests overshadow Armed Forces Day.

Argentina's former president Kirchner attempts political comeback.

At least 11 killed in Mexico's latest drug violence. Venezuelan president's opponents lay siege to air base.

Eight detained over Colombia shopping mall blast.

Hawaii named 'worst state to make a living' ... again.


Commando raids on ISIS yield vital data in shadowy war.

Analysis: 2 US cases provide unique window into Iran’s global terror network.

US forces say they’ve killed ISIS financier.

ISIS group urges fanatics to carry out more lone-wolf and vehicle attacks 'without mercy' in the West in twisted posters showing a car crushing skulls.


BIS warns of geopolitical events and four other risks that could undermine global upswing.

OPEC looks totally bewildered by the oil market.

There’s a surprising new champion of the stock market.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 25, 2017

Business Insider: CIA Director Pompeo: Trump asks me about North Korea every day

CIA Director Mike Pompeo addressed the imminent nuclear threat from North Korea during an interview with MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt which aired Saturday, saying the topic was "at the top" of President Donald Trump's mind.

Pompeo said he and Trump talk for almost an hour every day, and that "I hardly ever escape a day at the White House without the President asking me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is responding to that threat."

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 25, 2017

Bannon: Trump’s strategy is ‘let the warfighters fight the war’ -- The Hill

Trump and His Generals -- Victor Davis Hanson

Trump's Great Faith In the Military Does Not a Strategy Make -- TIME

As White House defers to Pentagon, Congress mulls new checks on military power -- CNN

Russia to Take Retaliatory Measures in Case of US Withdrawal From INF Treaty -- Sputnik

Why Russia's Armata Tank May Never Be a Threat to NATO -- Dave Majumdar, National Interest

Expert: Russian Military Industrial Complex Struggling to Develop New Technology -- USNI News

How China's cyber command is being built to supersede its U.S. military counterpart -- Cyberscoop

Japanese warship takes Asian guests on cruise in defiance of China -- Reuters

Israeli F-35s to be declared operational in December -- Alert 5

Bulgaria to start talks with Sweden over warplane purchase -- Reuters

No More Giveaways: US Wants Ukraine to Pay for Its 'Assistance' -- Sputnik

Murphy's Law: Do Not Underestimate Ukrainians -- Strategy Page

Air Force unimpeded by Qatar tensions -- The Spokesman Review

The U.S. Air Force Almost Rented a Squadron of A-10 Warthogs to Colombia -- The Drive

How the U.S. Army counters North Korea threats -- CBS News

US Military: Islamic State Problem 'Not Getting Better' in Afghanistan -- VOA

US Army Chief Wants Vladimir Putin to Let Russia's Nervous Neighbours Watch His War Games -- Newsweek

The Navy's New Mini-Carriers Balance Air Power and Beach Assaults -- War Is Boring

The Navy's new powerhouse of the seas: US military shows off its new 99,000 ton aircraft carrier that can make hairpin turns at high speeds with 6,000 sailors on board -- Daily Mail

Naval Air: U.S. Carriers Disabled By Friendly Fire -- Strategy page

House subcommittee adds 5 Navy ships to Trump request -- Washington Examiner

Navy Taps Admiral To Lead Investigation Into USS Fitzgerald Collision -- Task & Purpose

Pentagon May Replace Its Doomsday Planes And "Air Force Two" With One New Type -- The Drive

The future of the Air Force is fighter pilots leading drone swarms into battle -- Popular Science

Air Force Announces Who's Eligible for New 'R' Device --

US Preps for Limitless War With Proposed New ‘Space Corps’ -- Sputnik

Air Force B-2 to Get New Digital Nuclear Weapons & Air-Ground Missiles -- Scout Warrior

Los Alamos lab improperly sent ‘special’ nuke material by air -- Albuquerque Journal

A disturbing broken link in the nuclear weapons chain -- Washington Post editorial

Five Myths About a Controversial Nuclear Weapon -- Frank A. Rose, War on the Rocks

Why There Are No Military Solutions to North Korea: A conflict with chemicals and nukes would be unacceptably terrible -- Geoff Wilson, War Is Boring

Information Warfare: The Cell Phone Revolution -- Strategy Page

Are We In A New Cold War? -- Tom Porter, Newsweek

Why America loses wars it starts -- Harlan Ullman, Observer

21 All Too Real Plot Ideas For ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ -- Jared Keller, Task & Purpose

Poll: Are U.S. Voters Grow Weary Of Russia Probes?

The Hill: Poll: Voters grow weary of Russia probes

A majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs.

Those are the findings of the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, which paints a complicated picture of voters’ opinions about the numerous probes that have engulfed the White House.

Sixty-four percent of voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country. Fifty-six percent of voters said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.

Read more ....

WNU editor: I cannot say that I am surprised. The FBI and other U.S. government institutions has been investigating this story since last year. and there still is no "smoking gun" that the Trump campaign team colluded with the Russians. Unsubstantiated allegations can only go so far .... and it looks like the tipping point of voter interest has already been reached. The problem for the Democrat leadership is that they have raised expectations among their base that the days of President Trump are limited .... that his crimes would result in his removal. What is going to happen when they cannot deliver. I think that is something that they are starting to feel very uncomfortable with about now.

The results of the Harvard-Harris Poll is here.

Update: Some Democrats are getting it .... Dems push leaders to talk less about Russia (The Hill).

Knife Training With South Korean Navy SEALs (Video)

WNU Editor: Intense video. The above video is from this story .... Watch the intense knife training South Korea’s Navy SEALs go through (Business Insider).

Is The USS Enterprise (CV-6) The Best Navy Ship Ever?

USS Enterprise (CV-6) in Puget Sound, September 1945. Wikipedia

Robert Farley, Business Insider: Why USS Enterprise Is The Best U.S. Navy Ship Ever

In May 1938, the U.S. Navy commissioned the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the seventh ship to bear the name in American service. The second of three sisters, Enterprise made a central—perhaps the central—contribution to the war effort in 1942. The U.S. Navy began 1942 with six fleet carriers (excluding the small Ranger, which served in the Atlantic). Over the course of the year, Japanese aircraft and submarines would sink four of those carriers and put a fifth (USS Saratoga) out of action for long periods of time. Enterprise fought with distinction in most of the major battles of 1942, and survived to contribute for the rest of the war.

In short, USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the finest ship ever to serve in the U.S. Navy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: She was engaged in numerous naval battles and she survived the war .... that in itself is quite an accomplishment.

In An Interview Filled With Revelations A Top Israeli Cyber Expert Discusses How To Stop Russia And Other Hackers And Why The Internet Needs To Be Overhauled

Professor Isaac Ben-Israel during a 2011 press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing the establishment of a national bureau to focus on Israel's information protection capabilities and supervise development of the cyber sector (Kobi Gideon / Flash90.)

David Horowitz, Times Of Israel: To stop Russia and other hackers, we need to overhaul the internet, says top Israeli cyber expert

Internet pioneers didn’t need to prioritize defending against cyber warfare, but we must, says Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, who developed Israel’s cybersecurity agencies and hosts next week’s prestigious Tel Aviv Cyber Week 2017

The professor and ex-general who runs Israel’s prestigious annual cybersecurity conference, and who was central to the establishment of Israel’s pioneering cyber protection agencies, is calling for a radical overhaul of the internet in order to counter cyber warfare.

In the course of a wide-ranging interview with The Times of Israel ahead of next week’s Tel Aviv University “Cyber Week 2017,” which will include presentations by serving and former US administration cyber officials, Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel said he had absolutely no doubt that the Russian government meddled successfully in the US presidential elections, and that Moscow sought in vain to influence the recent French presidential elections.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This interview from one of Israel's top cyber experts is a gold mine of revelations and information on cyber attacks, hacking, the internet, etc.. A must read.

Hat tip to Fred for this link.

Drone Pilots And Hackers Are Being Recognised By The U.S. Air Force For Their Service

Capt. Ryan Jodoi flies an MQ-9 Reaper as Airman 1st Class Patrick Snyder controls a full-motion video camera at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, March 13, 2009. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.

Business Insider: The Air Force is updating its awards to recognize drone pilots and hackers

US airmen tasked with jobs like surveillance and cyber operations have a growing role on the battlefield, even though they are often physically distant from it.

To ensure that kind of work is recognized, the Air Force has introduced new hardware for its service men and women.

"As the impact of remote operations on combat continues to increase, the necessity of ensuring those actions are distinctly recognized grows," Defense Department officials said in a memo published on January 7, 2016.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Drone pilots are now playing a critical role in almost every conflict that the U.S. is in now .... it is only natural that they be recognised for what they are doing. As for hackers .... the main stream media is certainly making the case on how important they are with each new report of a cyber attack.

Tweet For Today

Can Iran Lay The Groundwork To Develop A Nuclear Weapon Very Quickly?

A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor, 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran, August 21, 2010. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Jack Caravelli and Sebastian Maier, The Hill: Has Iran laid the groundwork to develop nuclear weapons on a moment's notice?

Hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough at its signing in July 2015, Iran’s nuclear agreement with leading members of the international community—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—has achieved some notable short-term successes, many in Iran’s favor. Most, not all, of Iran’s nuclear activities are either frozen or highly circumscribed. In exchange, Iran is reaping the benefit of receipt of billions of dollars in previously frozen assets as well as a return to international commerce where Europe and China, among others, are seeking to invigorate trade and investment with the theocratic regime. This will be a boon for Iran’s chronically mismanaged and struggling economy.

The bad news is that it is misleading to conclude that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been shuttered or that those ambitions will no longer pose a threat to the security and stability of the Middle East or beyond. This is because the agreement has finite limits, ranging from 10 years to 15 years depending on the issue

Read more ....

Update: Iran Developing Advanced Nuclear Capabilities, Reducing Time to Weapon (Washington Free Beacon)

WNU Editor: It was always known that should Iran decide to restart their nuclear program, they could do it very quickly. As for Iran's chief nuclear chief ... he is not optimistic on the future of this agreement .... “Iran Deal Survival Hinges on West’s Change of Course” (Iran Front Page). More here .... Iran nuclear chief warns US over support for Saudi Arabia (The Guardian).

Picture Of The Day

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
Shipbuilding Scene
A crane moves the USS John F. Kennedy's lower stern into place at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, June 22, 2017. The ship, 50 percent structurally complete, is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier. Navy photo by John Whalen

Israel Positions Itself To Continue Leading As The Premier Air Power In The Middle East

U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Erik D. Anthony.

Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics Mechanics: Israel Doubles Down on High-Tech Air Power

New fighters, more roles for unmanned aircraft, and a new fifth generation missile.

Israel is cementing its lead as the premier air power in the Middle East with the introduction of new fifth-generation fighters, new helicopters, and a new aerial refueling tanker project on the horizon. The country is also fielding a new "fifth generation" guided missile capable of defeating defenses—even the active protection systems that protect tanks.

Since it was founded in 1948, Israel has fought more than a half-dozen wars against neighboring Arab states including Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, not to mention "nonstate actors" such as Hamas and Hezbollah. With the assistance of the United States the tiny country maintains the most highly trained and best equipped armed forces in the region.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iran is not a aviation threat. The only other countries in the region that may be able to match the Israelis is Saudi Arabia and Turkey .... but their focus is elsewhere.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Israel Releases Videos Showing Airstrikes On Syrian Targets Today

Business Insider: Watch an Israeli airstrike take out a Syrian machine gun and 2 tanks

The Israeli Defense Forces released video on Saturday purporting to show its jets taking out a Syrian heavy machine gun and two tanks after mortar fire hit parts of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israel said 10 projectiles from inside Syria had hit the Golan, the border area between Syria and Israel. Israel said it responded with airstrikes on the position the mortars came from and took out two Syrian army tanks, including one as it was preparing to fire.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: By releasing this video the Israelis are sending a message to Syria and it aallies.

Europe Wants To Develop Their Own Sixth-Generation Fighter

German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon takes-off during the air policing scramble in Amari air base, Estonia, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Reuters: Europe faces Herculean challenge to develop new fighter jet

Europe is embarking on an expensive and politically charged effort to develop a new combat jet that will shape the future of the European fighter industry and its three existing programs: Eurofighter, France's Rafale and Sweden's Gripen.

Two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters early talks had started on whether and how European countries could co-operate on a new sixth-generation fighter, which could involve a combination of manned and unmanned systems.

Though complicated by Britain's decision to leave the European Union, business executives and politicians at the Paris Airshow this week said U.S. President Donald Trump's cooler stance toward Europe had given the effort some fresh momentum.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Europe definitely has the expertise .... but do they have the monies/resources to commit to the development to such a project .... I just do not see it in today's age of austerity.

U.K. Parliament Hit By Cyber Attack Targeting MPs' Email Accounts

The Independent: Parliament hit by cyber attack as hackers attempt to access MPs' email accounts

Hackers launch ‘sustained and determined attack’ on all parliamentary user accounts

Hackers have targeted Parliament’s email system in an attempt to access the accounts of hundreds of MPs, Lords, aides and staff.

Security services are to shut down access for anyone not in Westminster as part of efforts to secure the network after the allegedly state-sponsored attack.

“The Houses of Parliament have discovered unauthorised attempts to access parliamentary user accounts,” a parliamentary spokesperson told The Independent.

Read more ....

More News On The British Parliament Being Hit By A Cyber Attack That Is Targeting MPs' Email Accounts

Parliament hit by 'sustained' cyber-attack -- BBC
Cyber-attack on parliament leaves MPs unable to access emails -- The Guardian
UK parliament cuts e-mail access after cyberattack -- AFP
British lawmakers hit by 'sustained' cyber attack -- Reuters
MPs lose email access as Parliament targeted in 'sustained' cyberattack -- SKY News
British Parliament's Email Network Hit by 'Sustained' Cyberattack -- VOA
Cyberattack Hits U.K. Parliament, Limits MPs' Email Access -- Bloomberg
Britain Investigates After U.K. Lawmakers Hit by Possible Cyber Security Attack -- NBC
UK parliament hit by cyber attack -- The Hill