A little more than a week after launching the strike that reportedly killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, Russian navy ships and a submarine launched six cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria’s Hama province, destroying an ISIS command center and ammunition depot, according to Russia Today. The missiles were launched from the eastern Mediterranean by Russian Navy frigates the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, the Defense Ministry said. The cruise missile strike follows a similar attack by Russian forces on May 31, when a nearly identical arrangement of Russian warships and a submarine also struck ISIS targets near Palmyra.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 23, 2017.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, Sunday, a Navy F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian air force jet, an act of war against a nation with which Congress has never declared or authorized a war. Washington says the Syrian plane was bombing U. S.-backed rebels. Damascus says its plane was attacking ISIS. Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt: ‘Repeated combat actions by U. S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U. N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.’ An ABC report appears to back up Moscow’s claims: ‘Over the last four weeks, the U. S. has conducted three air strikes on pro-regime forces backed by Iran that have moved into a deconfliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwestern Syria, where there is a coalition training base for local forces fighting ISIS.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
In what looks like vindication for Elon Musk and Tesla’s autopilot software, the National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S sedan that occurred in Florida last year was the result of human error. Here’s a summary of the NTSB report’s findings, via Reuters. ‘During a 37-minute period of the trip when Brown was required to have his hands on the wheel, he apparently did so for just 25 seconds, the NTSB said in the report.” “The report said the Autopilot mode remained on during most of his trip and that it gave him to a visual warning seven separate times that said “Hands Required Not Detected.” “In six cases, the system then sounded a chime before it returned to “Hands Required Detected” for one to three second periods.” “NHTSA said Brown did not apply the brakes and his last action was to set the cruise control at 74 miles (119 km) per hour less than two minutes before the crash — above the 65 mph speed limit.” “The agency said the truck should have been visible to Brown for at least seven seconds before impact. Brown “took no braking, steering or other actions to avoid the collision,” the report said.” “A Florida Highway Patrol spokesman said the truck driver was charged with a right of way traffic violation. He is due for a court hearing on Wednesday.’ And a photo of the aftermath of the crash…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Every day brings another scary headline from the Middle East – which makes it easy to treat them as background noise rather than a clear and present danger. But the latest batch is reminiscent of the Balkans circa 1914, which means it may be time to tune back in. Some examples: A US Navy jet shot down a Syrian warplane. Syria is a Russian client state, so this puts the US and Russia on opposite sides in a shooting war. Russia warned the US that it takes the destruction of its client’s military assets seriously. It suspended the hot line Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatened to target US aircraft. Iran has begun launching missiles into Syria targeting ISIS. This is new in at least two ways: 1) Iran hasn’t used those particular missiles in decades, and 2) it was not previously active in Syria. This escalation from advising the Assad regime to actually killing people and blowing things up adds another player on Russia’s side against the US.
One wouldn’t know it by looking at the market, but the biggest developing story today was Russia’s threat to intercept any aircraft – including US – flying in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria, and “be followed as targets” after yesterday’s downing by a US F-18 of a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet. Moments ago the US responded to this unmistakable deterioration in relations between the two nations, when a Pentagon spokesman said U. S. pilots over Syria will defend themselves if attacked by Russians. “We are aware of the Russian statements,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday morning quoted by WashEx. “We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS, but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if threatened,” Davis said, seemingly unaware that shooting down a sovereign nation’s plane above its own territory is exactly what “seeking a conflict” looks like. In a follow up statement this afternoon, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the US will “retain the right of self-defense in Syria.” Separately, Col. Ryan Dillon, chief U. S. military spokesman in Baghdad said “coalition aircraft continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, targeting ISIS forces and providing air support for coalition partner forces on the ground.” Unlike Davis, Dillon appeared to indicate the U. S. will avoid the parts of Syria where Russia said U. S. planes would be tracked as potential targets or providing additional airpower to counter threats.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Norway is executing a drastic change in its military policy, towards a far more aggressive posture. A total of 330 US Marines have been stationed for a trial period from January at the Vaernes military base east of Trondheim. The deployment marks the first time since World War II that foreign troops have been allowed to station in Norway. Last year, the Norwegian Parliament approved a one-year trial period for the US military presence, including two six-month rotations. Now it is planned to double the Marines presence in the country from 330 to 650 soldiers. Norway and the United States are now discussing the usefulness of continuing this agreement beyond 2017. The airport in Nord-Trndelag can become a major military air base. The US Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, already stores large amounts of military equipment in caves. The caves currently hold enough to equip a fighting force of 4,600 Marines. The US military plans to enlarge the stockpile allowing it to store enough weapons and equipment for a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (up to 16, 000 servicemen). Planners are completing an analysis of the current gear cache that should wrap up in the next 12 months. There are other plans to increase US military presence in the country. Last summer, a study group from the US Navy visited both Andya and Evenes airports in northern Norway to see if they could host American P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
You American bastards just shot down my cousin's aircraft (Ali) while taking out the scumbags of ISIS in the area. Ali hope you are OK bro pic.twitter.com/z6IKFgbtqJ — Majd Fahd (@Syria_Protector) June 18, 2017
Update: U. S. Central Command issued a statement saying the plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,” identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Tabqah. It is unclear if these particular “forces” were getting their funding from Saudi Arabia or Qatar. And a quick situational take from Worldview: A U. S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian government Su-22 fighter jet on June 18 that had dropped bombs on Syrian rebel forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, ABC News reported. The U. S.-led coalition said in a statement that its focus is on fighting the militant group, and not fighting the Syrian government or Russian forces, but it will defend coalition forces coming under attack. The incident occurred in a town south of Tabqa, Syria, which had been retaken from the Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish and Arab rebel forces, in preparation for the offensive on the stronghold of Raqqa.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.
Update: Seven sailors of the US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald were missing hours after it collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size in eastern Japan early on Saturday. As reported earlier (see below), the Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the merchant vessel at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, the Navy said. It is still unclear how the collision happened. “Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed,” the 7th Fleet spokesman said. The names of the missing sailors were being withheld pending notification of their families, according to the AP. U. S. Navy personnel set up support and counseling services to help families as they sought updates on crew members. After helping stabilize the USS Fitzgerald, the destroyer USS Dewey joined other American and Japanese vessels and aircraft in the search for the missing sailors. At least three other Navy sailors were injured in the collision, and were medically evacuated to the U. S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was reported to be in stable condition, the Navy said. The other two were being treated for lacerations and bruises, while other injured were being assessed aboard the ship, it said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 17, 2017.
Two days after Trump ceded unilateral authority on Afghan troop deployments to the Department of Defense, the Pentagon wasted on time and according to AP, the Pentagon will send 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan to support existing forces and in hopes of breaking a stalemate in a war that has now been passed on to a third U. S. President. The deployment will be the largest of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency. According to AP, the decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, and was prompted by “the rising threat posed by Islamic State extremists, evidenced in a rash of deadly attacks in the capital city of Kabul, has only fueled calls for a stronger U. S. presence, as have several recent American combat deaths.” Asked for comment, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said, ‘No decisions have been made.’ Trump’s decision Tuesday to give Mattis authority to set force levels in Afghanistan mirrored similar powers he handed over earlier this year for U. S. fights in Iraq and Syria. The change was made public hours after Sen. John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Republican chairman, blasted Mattis for the administration’s failure to present an overarching strategy for Afghanistan. McCain said the U. S. is ‘not winning’ in Afghanistan, and Mattis agreed.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
Former Navy SEAL and Blackwater founder, Erik Prince, recently penned an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal calling for a MacArthur Plan for Afghanistan that rests on two pillars: a central Viceroy acting with complete authority to direct development activities and a privatized East India Company model for securing key areas to bolster economic growth. He goes on to posit mineral resource extraction and agriculture cultivation as the means of funding Afghanistan’s rise into the ranks of civilized nations. Of course, leftists immediately denounced the idea as war profiteering and corporate undermining of state authority. In terms of political economy, Prince is correct to point out the tremendous waste of money the US led coalition is costing the taxpayers of participating countries. After more than 16 years of occupation, the military campaign has become a quagmire and preventing the rise of future threats emanating from Afghanistan requires a comprehensive redesign and philosophical approach. Citing the expected $45 billion investment projected for 2017, Prince claims that his privatized security plan under a unified governor would cost only $10 billion. While this would be a significant savings and an improvement from the status quo, it still places the American taxpayer on the hook for subsidizing someone else’s security while adding nothing to their own. It still rests on a justified notion of foreign interventionism that makes every American an accomplice to aggressive invasion.
On April 26 at the Dalian Shipyard in China’s northern province of Liaoning, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier. Adhering to Naval tradition, the hull of the new ‘Type 001A’ was transferred from the dock into the water, formalizing the vessels’ ingress to the fleet. A piece by a GRI Analyst working for the British government.
Most likely to be named ‘Shandong’ after the Chinese port, the carrier is expected to be operable by 2020, joining China’s first and only carrier currently in service – the Liaoning – in Beijing’s pursuit of maritime power. Like the Liaoning, the new carrier is based on the Kuznetsov-class design from the Soviet era in its deck and take-off styling as well as in its propulsion abilities. The unveiling of the Type 001A was followed by numerous international news outlets declaring that this proved China is significantly ramping up its defense capabilities, acting more aggressively in the maritime arena, and expanding its overseas ambitions. Certainly, the launch of a new aircraft carrier poses fresh questions around China’s current naval defense capabilities, but despite this being a decisive step forward for President Xi and the Chinese military, they are still light-years away from being a force to test the US and as such their capabilities should not be exaggerated. Come 2030, however, there may be a different story to tell.
There is a very serious hypocrisy over this whole issue of Russia trying to influence the 2016 election when the Obama Administration directly intervened in Canada, Britain, and France and is expected to do so again in Britain and Germany. The New York Times, Washington Post, and just about every other mainstream media, are biased and are NOT REPORTING THE TRUTH. They act as if this is something unusual and sinister yet Obama has continued in this very posture even after leaving office with respect to the French elections. Obama also intervened to overthrow Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and failed as he did in BREXIT. The United States routinely interferes in foreign elections. So what is the big deal with Russia? Mainstream Media is not telling the truth that this is standard operational procedure. The United States has far too over stages coups to overthrow leaders they dislike. The propaganda about Iran and weapons of mass destruction is but a recent example. The Vietnam War was also a hoax with President Johnson is famous for saying in 1965: ‘For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.’ There never was any attack to start that war and Johnson made a very deceitful speech of August 4th, 1964, while New York Times editorial writers cheered and proclaimed that Johnson ‘went to the American people last night with the somber facts.’ The recorded American soldier deaths for the Vietnam War was 58,220 U. S. military fatal casualties.
In the first unofficial challenge to Beijing over China’s domination of disputed waters in the South China Sea since President Trump took office, a US navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea according to the WSJ. The navy vessel, the USS Dewey, traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. The “freedom of navigation” operation which in the past has infuriated Beijing, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing’s cooperation to rein in ally North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Territorial waters are generally defined by U. N. convention as extending at most 12 nautical miles from a state’s coastline. China’s claims to the South China Sea, which sees about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade pass every year, are challenged by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 25, 2017.
When Donald Trump wanted to ‘do something’ about the use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria, he had the U. S. Navy lob 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield (cost: $89 million). The strike was symbolic at best, as the Assad regime ran bombing missions from the same airfield the very next day, but it did underscore one thing: the immense costs of military action of just about any sort in our era. While $89 million is a rounding error in the Pentagon’s $600 billion budget, it represents real money for other agencies. It’s more than twice the $38 million annual budget of the U. S. Institute of Peace and more than half the $149 million budget of the National Endowment of the Arts, both slated for elimination under Trump’s budget blueprint. If the strikes had somehow made us — or anyone — safer, perhaps they would have been worth it, but they did not. In this century of nonstop military conflict, the American public has never fully confronted the immense costs of the wars being waged in its name. The human costs – including an estimated 370,000 deaths, more than half of them civilians, and the millions who have been uprooted from their homes and sent into flight, often across national borders — are surely the most devastating consequences of these conflicts. But the economic costs of our recent wars should not be ignored, both because they are so massive in their own right and because of the many peaceable opportunities foregone to pay for them.
It is really easy to sit back and complain about the direction of this country, but what America really needs at this hour are men and women that are willing to step into the fight to save our constitutional republic. As I have said before, getting Donald Trump elected was the greatest miracle in U. S. political history, but he should not have to wage this battle alone. Trump has very few friends in Congress at this point, and so it is absolutely critical that we get him some during the 2018 mid-term elections. So I am calling for an army of pro-Trump activists to run for national, state and local offices all over America in 2018. Donald Trump started this revolution, and now it is our job to continue it. My father was in the U. S. Navy, and so sometimes I like to put things in military terms. When an amphibious invasion is being conducted, it is the troops that hit the beach first that take the most fire. To me, that is a perfect picture of what is happening to Donald Trump right now. He has established a beachhead, and now the rest of us need to rush to shore to back him up. If we are not willing to try, what is going to happen? Our political system on the national, state and local levels will continue to be dominated by Democrats and ‘progressive Republicans’, and our once great nation will continue to fall apart all around us.
For an administration that was supposed to eliminate “foreign US entanglements” and bring America’s troops home, the offshore combat deaths sure are piling up fast. A U. S. Navy SEAL was killed on Thursday while fighting an al Qaeda-affiliated militant group in Somalia, the Pentagon said on Friday, marking the first U. S. combat death in the country since 1993 and the fourth U. S. service member to be killed within the past week with the casualties spread out over three warzones. Two other service members were wounded in a firefight with al-Shabaab militants near the capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday, military officials said. The last time a US soldier died in Somalia was in 1993, when 18 U. S. service members were killed in what became known as the battle of Mogadishu, later memorialized in the film ‘Black Hawk Down.’ The mission was targeting a compound of al Shabaab militants that ‘has been associated with some attacks on facilities that we use and that our Somali partners use nearby.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 5, 2017.
With China issuing a final warning to North Korea earlier today, and U. S. President Donald Trump keeping all options on the table as he prepares a response to continued North Korean military posturing and rhetoric, Army General Raymond A. Thomas confirmed in sworn testimony to a Congressional sub committee that special operations teams will be utilized as part of any conflict with the rogue state and would likely be sent in to secure and/or destroy North Korean nuclear facilities in the event of war: Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas stated in testimony to a House subcommittee that Army, Navy, and Air Force commandos are based both permanently and in rotations on the Korean peninsula in case conflict breaks out. The special operations training and preparation is a warfighting priority, Thomas said in prepared testimony. There are currently around 8,000 special operations troops deployed in more than 80 countries.
This post was published at shtfplan on May 3rd, 2017.
Bell County, TX – The following graphic account of an officer-involved shooting from August 30, 2016, serves to illustrate the failures of modern-day policing, officer training, and complexities of demanding 100 percent compliance of the general population during a traffic stop. From the just released dash camera footage of Bell County, Texas Sheriff’s Cpl. Shane Geers, one can see the officer was in pursuit of a small dark colored SUV, sirens blazing. The man in the SUV was 59-year-old, Lyle P. Blanchard, a US Navy veteran. While it appears Geers was following a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, the two vehicles weren’t going all that fast. Geers must have noticed an officer was following him, so he decided to pull over, as nearly all driver’s education courses teach us to do. That’s where the story begins, but it does not end that way for either man. Blanchard seemed a bit antsy, some might even say jumpy. Not content to wait until the officer walked up to his window, the man who was nearly a senior citizen, opened his driver’s side car door. Still a bit uneasy apparently, Blanchard then exits his vehicle and faces Geers. He can be seen fidgeting with his back pocket before putting his hand inside his front pocket, in what seemed to be an attempt to retrieve his identification.
With the USS Carl Vinson finally on its way to North Korea after some initial “miscommunications” between the White House and the Pentagon, on Friday the aircraft carrier suffered another embarrassing moment when a F-18 pilot was forced to eject during an attempted landing on the deck of the Vinson in the Celebes Sea, south of the Philippines, the US Navy said in a statement. The pilot was recovered safely. According to the US 7th Fleet Command, the incident occurred as the fighter jet was on final approach after “conducting routine flight operations” and is currently under investigation. The pilot is being assessed by the medical team on board USS Carl Vinson and there are no apparent injuries at this time. Full statement below: USS Carl Vinson Pilot Ejects Safely at Sea A pilot safely ejected and was quickly recovered by a helicopter assigned to HSC-4 aboard USS Carl Vinson while conducting routine flight operations during a transit in the Celebes Sea. The incident occurred as the F/A-18E assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2 was on final approach to USS Carl Vinson. The incident is currently under investigation. The pilot is being assessed by the medical team on board USS Carl Vinson and there are no apparent injuries at this time.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 21, 2017.