Sunday, January 25, 2015

Editor's Note

When I woke-up this morning I said to myself .... what a great day to sit back and relax. And my definition for relaxing is simple .... sit in front of my computers and spend my time reading news and blog reports .... studying future economic/political/national security trends .... analyzing what the experts and pundits are saying when it comes to geopolitical trends .... talk with the people that I know in Russia, Ukraine, China, the U.S. on what is happening there .... etc. etc. etc. And then share my discoveries with the readers of this blog .... who in turn give me their input and opinions .... which I am always appreciative of and thankful for.

Unfortunately .... having a girl friend changes all of that. We are now off to do some skiing today .... and knowing my luck I am not going to be in any shape when I get back home.

Sighhh .... my spirit is young .... my body is old.

:)

Regular blogging will return tomorrow morning.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Some Military Humor

(Click on Image to enlarge)

WNU Editor: Eager for some humor .... go here. More here.

The Pentagon Will Not Admit That They Have Killed Civilians In Their War Against The Islamic State



Nancy A. Youssef, Daily Beast: U.S. Won’t Admit to Killing a Single Civilian in the ISIS War

Civilian deaths, a keystone metric of the last war in Iraq, has now become the statistic no one wants to talk about.

WNU Editor: A few days ago I posted links on reports from U.S. officials that the U.S. air campaign has killed 6,000 Islamic fighters and half of their leadership .... U.S. Ambassador to Iraq: U.S. Led Air Strikes Has Killed 6,000 Islamic State Fighters. As regular readers to this blog pointed out .... such stats are hard to believe ... and they are right. Nancy A. Youssef's analysis is also correct .... and she is also right that we will probably never know the true number.

The Pentagon Wants Future Drones To Hunt Like Wolf Packs

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency released this artist’s rendering to help explain what its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program could do. (DARPA image)

Washington Post: Pentagon agency wants drones to hunt in packs, like wolves

WNU Editor: Welcome to the future of warfare .... robots working independently and in concert with each other (so they do not shoot at each other) .... saturating a conflict zone with their presence and with their firepower. What needs to now be done is yo make this a reality .... and here is the tough part for the Pentagon .... to trust them that they can work on their own.

More News On The Pentagon Wanting Future Drones To Hunt Like Wolf Packs

The Drones of the Future Will Work in Flocks -- Popular Mechanics
Pentagon issues call for drones that hunt like a pack of wolves -- Defense Systems
The US Military Is Building Gangs of Autonomous Flying War Bots -- Defense One
DARPA looks to give military drones more of a mind of their own -- Washington Business Journal

Why Greece Needs to Change



Theopi Skarlatos, BBC: Greece election: Love in a time of crisis

WNU Editor: While reading this BBC post on the crisis in Greece, I came across this ....

.... A doctor, Georgia, explains how she also works as an escort in the sex industry to support her family.

Her private clinic currently treats three patients a week, but the peak summer season in the sex industry enables her to keep up with the rental payments on her family's home and the healthcare bills for her elderly parents.

"I live a double life and only I can know about it," she says. "I have applied for jobs in medicine abroad and wait every day in hope of a reply."


When women doctors are forced to prostitute themselves to survive .... that is when you know that your system deserves to be thrown out.

Greeks are going to the polls tomorrow, and while the front runner is a former communist who has vowed to challenge and change the system ... I am still pessimistic that anything will change in the short to medium term. The economic and social problems are too deep .... and it will probably take ten to twenty years to sort itself out .... and even longer to change the culture of corruption and abuse that has rooted itself into the very fabric of government (from the bureaucrats to their political masters) that caused this mess in the first place.

Update: I must be channeling Zero Hedge ... he also read the above BBC post. Tyler Durden  vents on Europe and on Greece .... he is angry, and if you have ten minutes to spare .... read his post .... A Bunch Of Criminals (Zero Hedge).

Kurdish Forces Are Now At The Outskirts Of Islamic State Controlled Mosul

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are seen during the battle with Islamic State militants on the outskirts of Mosul January 21, 2015. Kurdish forces in northern Iraq said on Wednesday they had cleared Islamic State insurgents from nearly 500 square kilometres of territory and broken a key IS supply line between the city of Mosul and strongholds to the west near Syria. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

Reuters: Kurdish forces fire into Islamic State-controlled Mosul

WNU Editor: Even with all of these airstrikes and ground attacks, progress against the Islamic State is "slow at best" .... Islamic State lose only one per cent of captured territory in Iraq after airstrikes (The Telegraph).

More News On Kurdish Forces At The Outskirts Of Islamic State Controlled Mosul

Mosul Strikes are Start of New Effort against ISIS -- AP
Report: US, Iraq prepare offensive to retake Mosul -- Stars and Stripes
U.S. and Iraq Planning Summer Offensive to Retake Mosul from ISIL -- Sputnik
US, Iraq preparing for assault to recapture Mosul -- Daily Times
ISIL on defensive, but still a potent force in Iraq, Syria -- Pentagon -- KUNA
Kurdish forces’ rockets strike Iraq’s ISIL-held Mosul -- Press TV (Iran)
US says IS has lost one per cent of territory -- SKY News
Just 5% of Kurdistan Remain Under Islamic State Control -- Bas News
Mosul strikes aim to disrupt Daesh supply line -- Gulf News/AP
U.S., allies conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq -- Reuters
In Mosul, Islamic State Turns Captured City Into Fortress -- Christian Daily

Islamic State Has Executed One Of Its Two Japanese Hostages



Reuters: Japan condemns apparent IS execution, demands release of remaining hostage

More News On Reports That The Islamic State Has Executed One Of Its Two Japanese Hostages

Islamic State video claims one Japanese hostage beheaded; Islamists make new demand for release of second. -- Washington Post
Purported ISIS Video Claims One Japanese Hostage Executed -- ABC News
Hostage Yukawa Appears to Have Been Killed by Islamic State Terrorists, Japan Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Online post claims 1 Japanese ISIS hostage killed; new demand made -- CNN
Abe angered at hostage video, says Japan won't bow to terrorism -- Reuters
Japan: Still working to free hostages after unverified video -- AP
Japan probes video of 'hostage being killed by ISIL' -- Al Jazeera
Japan checking IS 'hostage death' video -- BBC
U.S. intelligence community working to verify reported killing of Japanese hostage -- Reuters
ISIS' Japanese hostages receive mixed sympathy at home -- CNN

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 24, 2015


Dana El Baltaji , Bloomberg: The Last Kings: Succession in the Persian Gulf

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 24, 2015

The Once and Future Saudi Kings -- Steve Coll, New Yorker

Saudi Arabia's New King and Iran -- Bloomberg editorial

Why Saudi Arabia is more vulnerable than it has been for years -- Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail

The New King of Saudi Arabia Is Starting His Job on One Hell of a Week -- Joshua Keating, Slate

Running the Saudi Family Business -- Justin Fox, Bloomberg

The Emerging Iranian Empire: Tehran’s growing hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies in the Middle East. -- Charles Krauthammer, NRO

The war that neither Israel or Hezbollah want -- Amos Harel, Haaretz

Will U.S. advisers move to Iraqi front lines? -- Barbara Starr, CNN

Yemen’s turmoil exposes Mr. Obama’s crumbling ‘partners’ strategy -- Washington Post editorial

The “Yemen Model” Goes Down in Flames -- Max Boot, Commentary

Farcical UN peace talks for Libya continue -- Richard Galustian, Special to Gulf News

Boko Haram and the world war on terror -- Fred McKinney, Ph.D., The Hill

Address North Korea by Listening to China -- Doug Bandow, Chinia Focus

Auschwitz Ceremony Lays Bare Russian Tension With Europe -- Glenn Kates, Radio Free Europe

Putin's Propaganda Industry Tightens Its Belt -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

U.S. Should Stay Out of the Russo-Ukrainian Quarrel: Why the Conflict in Ukraine Isn’t America’s Business, Part I -- Doug Bandow, Cato Institute

Likely victors in Greek election may pull nation out of eurozone -- John Kallianiotis, Reuters

Is Greece opening the door to a new economic hell? -- John Humphrys, Daily Mail

If I were Greek, I'd be tempted to vote for the Marxist -- The Telegraph

The Guardian view of the Greek election: respect the outcome -- The Guardian editorial

What now for oil after Saudi king's death? -- Heather Long and Matt Egan, CNN

America's Losing the Currency War -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- January 24, 2015



Bloomberg: Ukraine Rebels Launch ‘Offensives Everywhere,’ Renew Push to Sea

MIDDLE EAST

Iraqi-Kurds urge coalition to expand fight against ISIL.

U.S., allies conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq.

UN Chief paints worsening picture of war in Syria.

UN envoy meets resigned Yemeni President, Houthi rebels, calls for dialogue.

Thousands protest Houthis' control of Sanaa. Tens of thousands protest after president resigns in Yemen.

Five Lebanon soldiers killed in border clash. Lebanese army says three more soldiers killed in Friday's attack.

World leaders pay respects to late Saudi King Abdullah.

Iran FM in rare Saudi visit after king's death: TV.

ASIA

Japan investigating reports hostage 'killed by ISIL'. Reports: ISIS video claims 1 of 2 Japanese hostages beheaded. Japan says web clip claiming death of IS hostage 'outrageous'.

Obama warns Pakistan on counterterrorism efforts ahead India visit. Pakistan must dismantle terrorist safe havens: US.

Japan says jets scrambling at record pace to counter Chinese, Russian intrusions.

Defector's story raised questions on report of abuse in North Korea.

Charlie Hebdo protests erupt across southern Asia.

Thirty-four die in Bangladesh vote protest violence.

US sends its most senior visitor to Thailand since coup.

AirAsia flight QZ8501: Bid to raise fuselage begins.

AFRICA

Boko Haram fighters kill 15 villagers in Nigeria's northeast.

South Sudanese army abandon positions after rebel clashes.

Lungu holds slight lead in Zambia vote, opposition cry foul.

Western diplomats pressure Congo's Kabila to end election law standoff.

Libyan peace talks to resume, U.N. says.

Libya's Ansar al-Sharia chief dead: Islamist websites.

Egypt court orders retrial for 37 Brotherhood members.

Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia.

Experimental Ebola vaccine shipped to Liberia.

EUROPE

Ukraine rebel leader claims new attack On Mariupol. Rockets target Mariupol in rebels' eastern Ukraine offensive. Rockets kill 21 in Ukraine city as rebel offensive begins. Rebels say launched attack on Mariupol as 20 killed in east Ukraine city. Rebel leader announces launch of assault on Ukraine's Mariupol.

UN says over 900000 Ukrainians internally displaced due to ongoing conflict.

NATO chief ready to meet Russia's Lavrov in February.

Greek leftists Syriza keep poll lead ahead of election. Greece braces for 'turning point' election.

Dozens of Finns, Swedes fighting for IS.

Ceuta: Suspected jihadists held in Spanish territory. Spain arrests four in swoop of suspected militant cell in north Africa.

As Euro slides, strategists cut forecasts.

AMERICAS

President Obama heads to Saudi Arabia along with other world leaders to offer condolences after the death of King Abdullah. Obama leaves for India with wife Michelle, to reach New Delhi tomorrow. Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia.

Caracas streets set for rival protests as economy struggles.

Venezuela's currency woes an increasing threat to U.S. corporate profits.

Haitians protest election delay amid UN visit.

Argentina points to spy after lawyer’s eerie death.

Cuban diplomats slam U.S. on human rights.

EU suspends $37M in aid for Guyana amid political turmoil.

Brazil's most populous region facing worst drought in 80 years.

2 Marines killed in helicopter crash during training exercise in California.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Armed Services chair: Obama 'hellbent' on closing Guantanamo.

Yemen crisis disrupts U.S. counterterrorism operations, officials say. Exclusive: Some counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen frozen for now - U.S. officials.

ISIS gaining ground in Yemen, competing with al Qaeda.

Have ISIS beheaded Japanese hostage? Country expresses outrage as new video emerges appearing to show captive holding picture of fellow prisoner's body.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Global economy hopes raised after European stimulus.

Expedia just bought Travelocity for $280 million.

Li Ka-shing in talks to buy O2 for £10bn.

DAVOS WATCH: ECB stimulus in focus, WTO deal hopes raised.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 24, 2015



Stars and Stripes: Report: US, Iraq prepare offensive to retake Mosul

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 24, 2015

White House, Congress Stall on ISIS Sanction -- Defense News

Iraqi Training Sites Now Operational, Pentagon Spokesman Says -- US Department of Defense

100 troops headed to Middle East to ‘survey’ rebel training sites -- Stars and Stripes

Pentagon explains 6000 ISIS casualties estimate -- CNN

Thornberry: ISIS war leaves fewer resources for Yemen -- The Hill

Pentagon Says US Military Assets Prepared to Respond in Yemen if Needed -- Sputnik

Will cost of Trident's successor sink the British Navy's surface fleet? -- Chris Cope, political editor of Warship World/Western Morning News

New Canadian warships to be built over 30 years -- Ottawa Citizen

Israeli Air Force to install new radar in F-15I fighters -- Airforce - Technology

Model of aircraft carrier in Central China raises questions -- Want China News

Russia Develops Two New Drones, Ready for Testing -- Sputnik

'Red Army' Explores How The Cold War Played Out On Ice -- NPR

US General Outlines Plans to Train Ukrainian National Guard -- Sputnik

Ex-Spy Says Western Intelligence Focuses on Russia, Forgets Islamist Threat -- Sputnik

A-10s Fly Combat Missions Over Syria: But the U.S. Air Force insists it’s time to retire the Warthogs -- Joseph Trevithick, War Is Boring

Pentagon To Scrap Warplane The Islamic State Fears -- Investors.com

Why The Defense Department Needs To Cancel The F-35 Program -- Matthew Gjertsen, Task & Purpose

CBO: Nuclear arsenal to cost $348B over decade -- The Hill

Army Delays Effort to Replace M9 9mm Pistol -- Military.com

Obama abandons telephone data spying reform proposal: U.S. officials -- Reuters

iPhone has secret software that can be remotely activated to spy on people, says Snowden -- The Independent

Who Can Control N.S.A. Surveillance? -- Mattathias Schwartz, New Yorker

Musk’s SpaceX Drops Lawsuit Against Air Force on Launches -- Bloomberg

Undersea Technologies Are Threat, Opportunity -- Defense News

Opinion: LCS Survivability Questions Linger -- Steven Wills, USNI News

General’s A-10 treason comment sparks concerns over protected speech -- Stars and Stripes

Military Command in the 21st Century Through the Eyes of Two Generals -- Anthony King, War On The Rocks

Should We Leave War to Our Warrior Caste? -- Amy Schafer, Newsweek

Should U.S. Allies in Asia Get Their Own Nukes? -- Christine M. Leah, The Diplomat

Meet the war hero dog who saved 1,000 lives -- Express

What people get wrong about 'American Sniper' -- Brandon Griggs and Todd Leopold, CNN

American Snipers are No Cowards -- Matt Victoriano, Cicero magazine

How Ukraine’s 'Cyborg Army' Was Destroyed



James Miller & Pierre Vaux, Foreign Policy: The Death of Ukraine’s Cyborg Army

If the United States is really supporting Ukraine, as President Obama claims, then why are Kiev’s forces getting hammered?

WNU Editor: The writers for this Foreign Policy post are sympathetic to the Kiev government, that is why their report on the failure of the Kiev government to provide support to Ukraine soldiers on the front line and on the failure of U.S. policy to assist Ukraine makes this post a must read. Their assessment of the military situation on the ground is also accurate .... the Ukraine army is in retreat, and the momentum has shifted to the pro-Russian rebel side. The above video appears to be from Donetsk itself,and they are parading captured "cyborg soldiers".

Artillery Strike Kills 16 And Wounds 83 In The Ukraine City Of Mariupol

Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near the burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, January 24, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Nikolai Ryabchenko

BBC: Ukraine crisis: Rockets 'kill 15' in Mariupol

WNU Editor: This is a very serious escalation in the conflict. The last ceasefire was hastily arranged when pro-Russian rebel forces reached the outskirts of this city .... but it now appears that with the battle for Donetsk airport now over, the focus of the war will be on the other regions of Donetsk .... including Mariupol.

More News On Today's Shelling Of Mariupol

Fifteen killed by rebel shelling in east Ukraine's Mariupol: Interior Ministry -- Reuters
Ukraine ministry: 15 killed in Mariupol shelling -- CNN
Ukraine accuses pro-Russia rebels of deadly shelling in port city of Mariupol -- Washington Post
16 Killed in Mariupol Shelling in Ukraine -- NYT/AP
Ukraine Says 15 Killed in Mariupol Shelling by Rebel Forces -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Ukraine’s Mariupol Hit by Deadly Rocket Fire -- WSJ
Missile attack kills at least 15 in Mariupol, east Ukraine -- The Guardian
At least 15 killed in Ukraine shelling attack -- Euronews
Rocket fire falls on strategic city in east Ukraine -- Al Jazeera
Shelling in Mariupol: 16 people killed, 83 wounded (UPDATE) -- Kyiv Post
Donetsk Militia Deny Kiev Accusations of Shelling Mariupol -- Sputnik
E. Ukraine militia denies shelling Mariupol, accuses Kiev of provocation -- RT

Take The Poll On What Is The Best War Movie, Ever

Kyle Gallner, left, portrays Goat-Winston and Bradley Cooper is Chris Kyle in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' drama 'American Sniper.' Warner Bros. Pictures/TNS

Stars and Stripes: The best war movie ever? You decide

WNU Editor: Damn .... all of the movies that Stars and Stripes lists are good. Lawrence of Arabia is not on the list .... but it is probably my favorite war film .... as well as Zulu. Platoon and Patton .... classics in every way. Das Boot and Saving Private Ryan .... very intense. Kelly's Heroes and the Dirty Dozen .... both enjoyable films to watch. In the end .... I choose "The Great Escape".

The Cost Of The Iraq And Afghan Wars Is Now Approaching $1.7 Trillion


Veronique de Rugy, Reason: Afghanistan, Iraq Direct War Spending To Date: $1.7 Trillion (and Counting)

WNU Editor: There are some interesting quotes from what people were saying 12 years ago on what would the Afghan - Iraq wars cost .... and as we now know they were completely wrong. But here is the punchline .... no one has been held accountable for this massive mistake .... and the one who warned that there was a chance that this would be the case .... White House economist Lawrence Lindsey .... he was fired when he warned that the costs may run up to $200 billion.

The New Top General In The US Marine Coprs Wants To Shake Things Up


Dan Lamonthe, Washington Post: New top Marine Corps general releases plan to shake up the service

WNU Editor: Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. 16 page plan for the Corps is here.

Update: Speaking of the US Marine Corps .... 39 Awesome Photos Of Life In The US Marine Corps Infantry (We Are The mighty).

Some Interesting Info On The Making Of ‘Saving Private Ryan’



We Are The Mighty: 11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

WNU Editor: One of my favorite war films .... and no .... I did not know about these 11 facts in the making of the film. The above video "Saving Private Ryan The True Story" is also an interesting watch.

A Photo Gallery Of The US Air Force Operating Around Japan

All photos via the Department of Defense/USAF

Foxtrot Alpha/Jalopnik: 100 Stunning Photos Of The US Air Force Operating Around Japan

WNU Editor: 100 impressive photos.

Photos From Operation Desert Storm (Photo Gallery)

Wikipedia

We Are The Mighty: 15 Unforgettable Photos From Operation Desert Storm

WNU Editor: Some are well known (like the one above) .... but there are some other gems in this collection.

US Navy Commander At Guantanamo Naval Base Fired



CNN: U.S. pulls top Navy official at Gitmo; inappropriate relationship alleged

WNU Editor: I have lost count on the number of officers that have been fired in the past few years.

More News On The Firing Of The US Navy Commander At Guantanamo Naval Base

Guantanamo Navy base commander relieved of duties amid probe -- Reuters
Fired Guantanamo commander was 'having an affair with a woman on the base whose husband was mysteriously found dead' -- Daily Mail
Navy commander at Guantanamo Bay fired -- USA Today
US commander at Guantanamo naval base sacked -- AFP
Guantanamo commander relieved of duty amid probe into man's death, officials say -- FOX News

Update: This is interesting .... Why the United States Controls Guantanamo Bay -- Lily Rothman, Time

Did Ancient Warriors Suffer From PTSD?

A Canadian Army crewman stands inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter flying over Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, July 5, 2011. (BAZ RATNER/BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Daily Mail: Did ancient warriors suffer PTSD too? Texts reveal that battles 3,000 years ago left soldiers traumatised by what they saw

* UK researchers have found signs of PTSD up to 3,000 years ago
* They say soldiers experiencing horrors of the battlefield is not just a phenomenon of modern warfare
* The earliest reference had been from the Battle of Marathon in 490BC
* But scientists traced mention of 'shell shock' back to 1,300 BC

WNU Editor: The human condition has not changed .... and wars have been with us since recorded time. So yes .... PTSD has been around for a very long time.

Poll: NSA Enjoys High Favorable Numbers From Young Adults



Dan Murphy, CSM: In post-Snowden era, NSA maintains surprisingly favorable image

But that doesn't mean it's popular. A Pew poll released today found that the only federal agency less well-liked among Americans was the Internal Revenue Service.

Update #1: Actually, young people like the NSA more than old people do, Pew says -- Fusion
Update #2: Shock poll: NSA gets highest favorable rating from … young adults? -- Hot Air

WNU editor: I am surprised by these results .... I expected the exact opposite. If more polls indicate the same thing .... this is then a trend, and one that will have implications on reforming NSA practices and on how much of a surveillance state do we really want. I am also surprised by the high favorable numbers for the CIA. The PEW poll is here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It Looks Like The U.S. Intelligence Community Has An Ally In The New Chairman Of The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee

Senator Richard Burr. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic: The Wrong Senator to Oversee the CIA

Richard Burr now leads the intelligence committee, but he seems more interested in protecting the agency than holding it accountable.

WNU Editor: Critics of the CIA are not happy .... and they are making their sentiments very clear. What's my take .... CIA torture reports, public oversight and investigations on the White house drone/assassination program, how intelligence is gathered, special ops, etc. .... this is all going to be swept under the rug.

Update: This is interesting .... it looks like no-one really cares .... CIA Torture Report Sinks A Little More, As Agencies Don't Bother To Read It (Ali Watkins, Huffington Post).

More News On The New Chairman Of The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee

This is what happens when you put a CIA apologist in charge of CIA oversight -- Ryan Cooper, The Week
CIA torture report architect denounces Republican attempt to claw back copies -- The Guardian
GOP Senator Wants to Make Sure the Full CIA Torture Report Never Sees the Light of Day -- VICE
GOP Plans To Give Explosive Document Back To CIA -- Huffington Post
Senate Plans to Give Back Secret Torture Report Documents to CIA -- Sputnik