Pentagon To Undergo First Ever Audit After Decades Of Sloppy Accounting And Missing Trillions

After decades of waste, overpayments, trillions of missing or improperly accounted for dollars, and most recently losing track of 44,000 US soldiers, the Pentagon is about to undergo its first audit in history conducted by 2,400 auditors from independent public accounting firms to conduct reviews across the Army, Navy, Air Force and more – followed by annual audits going forward.
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The announcement follows a May commitment by Pentagon comptroller David Norquist, who previously served as the CFO at the Department of Homeland Security when the agency performed its audit. “Starting an audit is a matter of driving change inside a bureaucracy that may resist it,” Norquist told members of the Armed Services Committee at the time when pressed over whether or not he could get the job done at the DHS.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.

South Korea, US Launch “Largest Ever” Aerial Drills As Pyongyang Warns Of Nuclear War

The US and South Korea launched their largest aerial drills yet on Monday, less than a week after North Korea tested its new Hwasong-15 missile which military observers said has the capacity to strike Washington DC, or nearly any other location in the continental US. The launched shattered nearly two months of calm as many suspected the North’s benefactors in China were making good on their promises to rein in the restive state’s belligerent behavior.
As we reported Sunday, the annual US-South Korean drills, called Vigilant Ace, will run until Friday. Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters will be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part. The North has condemned the exercises as yet another provocation.
F-35 fighters will also participate in the drill, which will involve the largest number of 5th generation fighters, according to a South Korea-based US Air Force spokesman quoted by Reuters.
Around 12,000 US troops, including the Marines and Navy, will join South Korean troops. Aircraft participating in the drills will take off from eight different US and South Korean military installations.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

In “Largest-Ever” Military Drill, US Orders 16,000 Troops, 230 Jets To Simulate War With North Korea

Just days after Pyongyang launched its most advanced ICBM, one which experts warned has the potential to hit a target anywhere on the territory of the United States, North Korea said the U. S. is ‘begging’ for a nuclear war by planning the ‘largest-ever’ joint aerial drill with South Korea just after concluding an exercise with nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, Bloomberg reported.
‘Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U. S., the U. S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,’ North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U. S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind.
As part of “Vigilant Ace”, US and South Korean forces will be rehearsing for a full-scale war with North Korea, with Yonhap noting that “allies plan to stage simulated attacks on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets.”
Despite Pyongyang’s harsh rhetoric, US commanders have downplayed the drill – claiming it is ‘regular’ and not a direct response to North Korea.
According to the WSJ, at least 230 US and Southg Korean warplanes will take part, alongside 12,000 US troops from the Air Force, Marines and Navy and airmen with another 4,000 expected to represent Seoul.” The drill, which lasts from December 4 until December 8, will see aircraft flying over eight airbases in across the Korean Peninsula.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

South Korea Unveils Plan To Strike North Korean Missile Launchers

North Korea launched its Hwasong-15 ICBM into the waters west of Japan at 3:17 am local time on Wednesday. Barely six minutes later, South Korean artillery, air force, and Navy sprang into action and began firing missiles into the waters off eastern Korea – yet another military show of force meant to intimidate the North into ceasing its missile strikes.
The retaliatory display was calibrated to target a spot in the waters off the Korean peninsula that was exactly as far away as Pyongsong, a town about 20 miles north of Pyongyang where the Hwasong 15 was reportedly launched. The distance was meant to signify that the South Korean military could destroy the North’s missile launchers if it chose to do so, the Wall Street Journal.
But while the precision strike probably impressed any bystanders who were watching, in reality, the South’s technology for detecting and responding to North Korean missile launches is still unreliable.
But detecting missile tests is an imperfect science, involving misses as well as hits. In a conflict situation, North Korea is likely to take more steps to conceal its movements, for instance by deploying decoy launchers, said Yang Uk, senior defense researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, a Seoul think tank. In such a scenario, the likelihood falls that South Korean, U. S. or Japanese forces would pinpoint the exact launch site, Mr. Yang said. Still, he viewed the South’s response to the missile test as a success, especially considering the short time the military needed to return fire.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Russian Fighter Jet Flies Within 50 Feet Of US Spy Plane Causing “Violent Turbulence”

Russia scrambled a Su-30 fighter jet after detecting an American P8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea, according to a Defense Ministry statement. The US spy plane was approaching at high speed to the Russian border, the ministry said. The Russian fighter jet buzzed the US Navy reconnaissance plane at around 1pm local time (10:00 GMT) as it was flying over the neutral waters of the Black Sea, the ministry said.
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‘After moving closer, the Russian [Su-30] fighter jet flew over the object and visually identified it as an American reconnaissance aircraft ?8? Poseidon,’ the statement reads. After the spy plane was intercepted by the Russian Air Force, the US aircraft changed course and flew away.
Reporting on the incident, the Pentagon said on Monday that the Russian jet made ‘unsafe’ contact with the Navy reconnaissance aircraft. The Russian Su-30 fighter jet reportedly flew right around 50 feet in front of the P-8A Poseidon, resulting in the American craft experiencing “a 15-degree roll and violent turbulence,” CNN reported.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 28, 2017.

Iran Vows To Send Fleet Of Warships To Gulf Of Mexico “In The Near Future”

Pretty soon the scenes of tiny Iranian speedboats taunting U. S. Naval Destroyers may not be confined to just the Persian Gulf as Iran’s new naval commander has vowed to send warships to the Gulf of Mexico “in the near future.” Per NBC:
Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said plans were being drawn up for vessels to be deployed to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean “in the near future.” They would also visit South American countries, he added. Speaking at his first press conference since being appointed, Khanzadi promised his navy would “wave the flag of our country in the Gulf of Mexico.”
He pointed out that “the appearance of our vessels in the Mediterranean and Suez Canal shocked the world and the U. S. also made comments on it.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Putin Calls On All “Large-Scale Enterprise” To Be Ready To Convert To “Military Production”

Be it a sudden surge in the effectiveness of Russia’s international espionage and cyber warfare operations or a mere figment of the imaginations of a frightening group of politicians in the West who fear they’re slowly losing control over the masses in their respective countries, one thing is certain, Russia is increasingly being blamed for some very serious “meddling” in foreign affairs.
The problem, of course, is that while everyone from Hillary Clinton to Angela Merkel and Theresa May, among others, attempt to saddle Russia with the blame for their waning popularity, their farcical attempts to identify a scapegoat as a method for sowing unity within their own fractured political parties could very well result in real world consequences, including a return to cold war era military build ups.
As the latest evidence of that fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently called on all “large-scale enterprise” to be ready to “increase military production” on a moments notice should the need arise. Per The Independent:
Russian business should be prepared to switch to production to military needs at any time, said Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. The Russian president was speaking at a conference of military leaders in Sochi. ‘The ability of our economy to increase military production and services at a given time is one of the most important aspects of military security,’ Mr Putin said. ‘To this end, all strategic, and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready, regardless of ownership.’
A day earlier, the president had spoken of a need to catch up and overtake the West in military technology. ‘Our army and navy need to have the very best equipment – better than foreign equivalents,’ he said. ‘If we want to win, we have to be better.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.

“We’re Not Stupid” – Top US Nuclear Commander Would Disobey “Illegal” Trump Orders

A few short months after Admiral Scott Swift, Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, said he would obey a hypothetical order to launch a nuclear strike against China if the president chose to give it, Air Force Gen. John Hyten – America’s top nuclear commander – said Saturday he would push back against President Trump if the president ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be “illegal.”
When an audience member asked Hyten, who was speaking at a national security conference in Halifax Canada, about the hypothetical scenario, he responded by assuring his interlocutor that military commanders ‘aren’t stupid.’
Here’s CBS:
Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U. S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday that he has given a lot of thought to what he would say if Mr. Trump ordered a strike he considered unlawful.
“I think some people think we’re stupid,” Hyten said in response to a question about such a scenario. “We’re not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?”
Hyten explained the process that would follow such a command. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U. S. nuclear arsenal.
“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do,” Hyten added. “And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”
Hyten said he has been trained every year for decades in the law of armed conflict, which takes into account specific factors to determine legality – necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and more. Running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order is standard practice, he said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 18, 2017.

Back-To-Back Hindenburg Omens

About a week ago, we warned about the infamous bearish stock market pattern developing in US equities coined by some as the ‘Hindenburg Omen’. The pattern is known for its bearish tendencies developed after the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. The key understanding is breadth deterioration, when more stocks hit 52-week lows than 52-highs. Since the warning, a liquidity gap has developed in stocks thwarting any attempt at new all time highs.
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Fast forward to this morning and a very ironic situation has unfolded in the skies 50-miles north of London. And no – it’s not a giant penis drawn by US-Navy pilots in F-18s – it’s a true ‘Hindenburg Omen’ as the world’s longest airship crashed early this morning. The 25m airship called ‘Airlander 10’ appeared to ‘break in two,’ a witness told the BBC. Reports suggest the airship broke free from mooring less than 24-hours after a successful test. At the time, no-one was on board of the aircraft, but Bedfordshire police, paramedics and fire crews were alerted and treated a women who suffered minor injuries.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 18, 2017.

Houthi Rebels Threaten To Sink Saudi Battleships And Oil Tankers

Houthi rebels in civil-war torn Yemen have threatened to start attacking oil tankers and warships sailing under Saudi coalition flag, unless Riyadh lifts its naval blockade of Yemen which threatens the lives of millions in the war-torn country.
The threat of a military response to the ongoing blockade was made after Houthi leader Maj. Gen. Yousef al-Madani met leaders of the naval, coastal defense and coast guard forces Saturday. On that day, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi posted a message on Facebook assuring that ‘international navigation will remain safe as it was before,’ making clear that ‘only those who attack our country’ will be targeted.
‘Battleships and oil tankers of the aggressor and its movements will not be immune from the fire of Yemeni naval forces if directed by the senior leadership,’ Al Masirah news cited the country’s navy and coast guard as saying Sunday. A military spokesman for the Houthi rebels, Gen. Sharaf Ghalib Luqman, said that ‘systematic crimes of aggression’ and the ‘closure of ports’ compels the Houthi forces ‘to target all sources of funding’ of the aggressor. He added the country is ready to ‘respond to the escalation of the Saudi-US aggression promptly.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

Green Beret Was Killed After Discovering Navy SEALs’ Illicit Cash Scheme

It sounds like something out of the plot of a mob movie: Two corrupt government employees offer a third party who discovers one of their schemes a cut of the profits. When he refuses to accept their dirty money, he is promptly ‘taken care of.”
Unfortunately, that fictitious trope is suspiciously close to reality in the strangulation death of Sgt. Logan Melgar, a green beret who was found dead back in June while he was participating in a special forces mission in Mali, where a cohort of US military ‘advisers’ have been assisting French and local forces in rooting out terrorist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
According to the Daily Beast, military investigators now suspect that two of Melgar’s colleagues who were members of the elite Navy SEAL team six murdered him after he discovered they were illegally skimming money from a fund used to pay informants. The SEALS offered to cut him in, but Melgar declined, according to the Daily Beast’s sources.
A few days later, he was found dead.
Nobody knows – or at least nobody would tell the DB – what specifically started the June 4 altercation at 5 am. But the fight quickly escalated and ended with Melgar losing consciousness. He also stopped breathing. The SEALs attempted to open an airway in Melgar’s throat, officials said. It is unknown whether Melgar died immediately. The SEALs and another Green Beret, according to former AFRICOM officials, drove to a nearby French clinic seeking help. Melgar was dead when he arrived at the clinic, the official said. Asphyxiation was the cause of death. While his death was initially ruled an accident, NCIS investigators now suspect that he was strangled to death. Melgar had been working directly with the SEALs during the intelligence mission in Mali.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

For The First Time In A Decade, US Puts On 3 Carrier “Show Of Force” Next To North Korea

Three US nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carriers representing nearly $30 billion of advanced military hardware put on show of force in the Western Pacific Ocean over the weekend, the first time three of the 100,000-ton behemoths have sailed together in a decade. Amidst heightened tensions with North Korea the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are currently engaged in a four day war games exercise which will link up with allies Japan and South Korea, who are also participating.
The last time three US aircraft carrier strike groups worked together in the Western Pacific was off the US island of Guam in 2007, according to a Navy statement.
The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz and their multi-ship strike groups are participating in the four days of exercises, which are expected to end Tuesday. A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the three US carriers held drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Exercises closest to the Korean coast involved US and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved US and Japanese ships, the official said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

Is The U.S. Navy Being Truthful With Its Report On Recent Crash Incidents?

Recently, Free Market Shooter (as well as the US Navy) questioned the cause of a string of crashes involving Navy destroyers and cruisers… all occurring this year:
Recently, the US military, unable to come up with a cause for the incidents, began investigating something else – ‘compromised computer systems’:
The military is examining whether compromised computer systems were responsible for one of two U. S. Navy destroyer collisions with merchant vessels that occurred in recent months, Vice Admiral Jan Tighe, the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, said on Thursday.
Naval investigators are scrambling to determine the causes of the mishaps, including whether hackers infiltrated the computer systems of the USS John S. McCain ahead of the collision on Aug. 21, Tighe said during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
The presumption that has been made is that these vessels are being hacked, China is the responsible party, given the proximity of the vessel crashes to the nation, as well as recent incidents where the US and China have butted heads. But it is worth asking; are these vessels being hacked? More importantly, if they are being hacked, who is hacking the vessels, and why?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 4, 2017.

The Kennedy Assassination

Dear Readers, some of you are pushing me to continue with the Las Vegas shooting story while others are asking to know what to make of the release of files pertaining to President Kennedy’s assassination. I appreciate that you are interested and are unsatisfied with official explanations.
My answer is that we already know, thanks to exhaustively researched books such as James W. Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable (Simon & Schuster, 2008), far more than is in the released files.
My answer is also that it doesn’t matter what we know or what the facts are, the official story will never be changed. For example, we know as an absolute indisputable fact that Israel intentionally attacked the USS Liberty inflicting enormous casualties on US Navy personnel, and the US government continues the coverup that it was all a mistake despite unequivocal statements to the contrary by the Moorer Commission, led by Admiral Tom Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
My answer also is that time is better spent in trying to prevent conspiracies in the making, such as the endless stream of lies and accusations against Russia that are turning a friendly country into an enemy and renewing the risk of nuclear armageddon. Indeed, the biggest conspiracy theory of the present time is the one issuing from the military/security complex, the Democratic National Committee, and the presstitute media that Russia in collusion with Donald Trump hacked the US presidential election.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 28, 2017.

Goodbye Royal Marines

Over the course of the summer there was great fanfare and much to do from the British Secretary of State, Sir Michael Fallon MP, regarding the ‘completion’ of two new British aircraft carriers called HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
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Fallon, a thoroughly odious English Tory and old Cold War warrior, got punch drunk and completely giddy with the unveiling of the new aircraft carriers. Fallon got so excited he started spouting the most ridiculous anti-Russian nonsense such as this contrasting the Royal Navy’s new 65,000-ton carrier with what he called the ‘dilapidated’ Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Fallon went on in wild Cold War terminology to invoke the spectre of what he erroneously and egregiously called ‘Russian aggression’ and absurdly claimed that the mighty Russian Federation was some how ‘jealous’ of Britain’s two new aircraft carriers. Quite frankly, there is not much to be jealous about when one scratches beneath the Tory English anti- Russian surface.
As is so often the case with the English, in particular their most offensive incarnation in the form of the Tory Party, what the English say and what the reality of the situation is, the hard cold truth, are two very different matters that rarely, if ever, gel together. Fallon quoted the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [who actually had tremendous respect and admiration for and a very good working relationship with the last General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev] in trying to whip up stupid and offensive anti-Russian Cold War sentiment. Well, I am reminded of another one of Mrs Thatcher’s great quotations which I am fond of throwing back in ugly English Tory faces: ‘Such is presentation……how different from reality.’
Fallon would not countenance any criticism of the new aircraft carriers, their cost, their Ministry of Defence project management, their sea readiness, their utility, and a whole host of other salient issues which deserved scrutiny by snapping that critics should ‘shut up.’ I’m sorry Fallon but the last time I checked the UK was supposedly a free liberal democracy with intellectual freedom and freedom of speech. Not some Gestapo State as your colleague Mrs May has attempted to create.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 26, 2017.

Russian Ships Deliver Military Equipment To The Philippines

In the latest confirmation that President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to diversify the country’s military ties away from the United States and toward China and Russia was not hollow, AP reports that three Russian navy ships arrived in the Philippines on Friday and two others are coming, to deliver donated military equipment in the country’s third naval visit under Duterte, who as discussed previously, has launched a historic pivot in the country’s geopolitical posture away from the US and toward regional Superpowers.
Admiral Panteleyev, a Russian anti-sub ship, prepares to dock in Manila

Three Russian antisubmarine ships docked in Manila on October 20 in time for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s upcoming visit to the country, said Rear Admiral E. Mikhailov, the task force commander.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.

Air Force To Recall Up To 1,000 Retired Military Pilots After Trump Unexpectedly Revises Sept 11 Executive Order

In an unexpected development, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order allowing the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots to address what the Pentagon has decribed as “an acute shortage of pilots,” Fox News reported.
The order, which Trump signed Friday, amends an emergency declaration signed by George W. Bush in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The Air Force is only allowed to recall up to 25 pilots under current law. The order signed by Trump temporarily removes that cap for all branches of the military.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross, said in a statement that the Air Force is currently “short approximately 1,500 pilots of its requirements.” That number includes approximately 1,200 fighter pilots.
“We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to 3 years,” Ross said.
“The pilot supply shortage is a national level challenge that could have adverse effects on all aspects of both the government and commercial aviation sectors for years to come.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 22, 2017.