Saturday, September 30, 2017

NSA Admits That It Is Conducting Surveillance On More Than 100,000 Foreign Nationals Outside The US

FOX News: Surveillance program had 106,000 foreign targets in 2016, officials say

With an end-of-year deadline looming to re-authorize a vital foreign intelligence collection tool, senior U.S. government officials said Monday that the program had 106,000 foreign targets in calendar-year 2016 – as they urged renewal, arguing there is “no substitute” for this kind of intelligence.

The “702” program – Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- is "the single most important operational statute," one senior government official said, pointing to its effectiveness aiding counter-proliferation efforts, disrupting terrorism plots and aiding warriors on the battlefield.

Read more ....

Update #1: NSA reveals 100,000 foreign nationals under surveillance (CNN)
Update #2: NSA Targeted 106,000 Foreigners in Spy Program Up for Renewal (Bloomberg)
Update #3: Over 100,000 Foreigners Under Surveillance of US NSA - Reports (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: This is probably the most important section in the NSA.

Two Former CIA Directors Support Athletes Taking The Knee When The Anthem Is Being Played

WNU Editor: The two former CIA Directors are Michael Hayden .... Former CIA Director: In Dispute With Trump, 'Put Me Down With Kaepernick' (Huffington Post), and John Brennan .... Former CIA Director John Brennan Stands By Athletes Taking The Knee (Huffington Post).

U.S. Air Force's Academy Superintendent Rebukes Students Over Racism

Business Insider: Watch an Air Force general rebuke students over racism at Air Force Academy: Show respect or 'get out'

After racial slurs were found on dormitory message boards belonging to five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School this week, the academy's superintendent offered a harsh rebuke of racism, misogyny, and other forms of bigotry.

"If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you can't treat someone of another gender, whether that's a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out," Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said to a gathering of Air Force Academy cadets, flanked by academy officers and staff.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: His remarks have been widely viewed online .... Air Force Academy Leader’ Speech On Race Becomes Widely Viewed Online (CBS).

Why Madrid Will Never Let Catalonia Go

Zero Hedge: Why Madrid Will Never Let Go - Catalonia Is Closer To The Eurozone Than Spain

As we have detailed previously, the Spanish region of Catalonia in the North-Eastern corner of Spain will attempt to hold an independence referendum tomorrow, against the will of the central government in Madrid.

Apart from the Baleares and the Madrid region itself, Catalonia together with its capital Barcelona is one of the most economically-powerful parts of the country.

Notably, as Statista's infographic below shows that the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of Catalonia lies closer to that of the Eurozone than of Spain as a whole.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Spanish authorities have gone out of their war to make sure that Sunday's referendum will not proceed .... Catalan leader 'won't give up' as police seal off polling stations (AFP). What's next .... it looks like the referendum vote has been quashed, but these actions have only inflamed separatist sentiment in Catalonia. My prediction .... this crisis is far from finished.

UN To Investigate War Crimes In Yemen

BBC: Yemen war: UN agrees to send war crime experts

The UN has agreed to send war crimes investigators to Yemen to examine alleged violations committed by all parties to country's civil war.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to set up a group of "eminent" experts.

It was a compromise between Western powers and a group of Arab states that included Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition is backing Yemeni pro-government forces in a conflict with the rebel Houthi movement.

More than 8,530 people, 60% of them civilians, have been killed and 48,800 injured in air strikes and fighting on the ground since March 2015, according to the UN.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They will find no shortage of abuses. This war has been terribly brutal on all sides..

More News On The UN Investigating War Crimes In Yemen

In a Compromise, UN Rights Experts Will Examine Abuses in Yemen's War -- New York Times
Yemen: UN agrees to investigate alleged war crimes amid conflict between Saudi Arabia-led coalition and rebels -- The Independent
Yemen: UN approves plan to investigate war crimes -- Deutsche Welle
UN body: Int’l experts to examine rights abuses in Yemen -- Washington Post/AP
Independent investigation will look into human rights abuses in Yemen -- The Guardian
UN establishes panel to probe Yemen war crimes -- Reuters
UN agrees to send war crimes investigators to Yemen -- Al Jazeera

Yemen Rebels Warn Israel Is Within Range Of Their Missiles

Newsweek: Israel Military Bases Within Range of Missiles, Yemen Rebels Warn

A spokesperson for Yemeni rebels warned Israel not to intervene in the country's civil war, saying Israeli military bases in Africa are within range of their missiles.

Colonel Aziz Rashid, a member of the rebel alliance that ousted Yemeni President Abbed Rabbo Hadi in 2014, accused Israel of fighting alongside a Saudi Arabia–led coalition that is attempting to reinstate the exiled Yemeni leader, and threatened to strike Israeli military installations. He said his forces would also soon have missiles capable of reaching bases in Israel itself.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:Israel is far away from Yemen .... The Houthis must feel very confident in their missile capabilities.

So Much For That 'Russian Invasion' Many Were Predicting Last Month

© Sputnik/ Viktor Tolochko

VICE News: Russia’s giant military exercise wasn’t a cover for war after all

One of Russia’s biggest war games in years didn’t result in the “big invasion” a top NATO official had warned about, but there’s still suspicion in the West that the Zapad 2017 exercises involved more troops than Moscow let on.

Zapad, a Russian word that translates to “West,” took place in western Russia and Belarus from Sept. 14–20. NATO’s Military Committee Head General Petr Peval had said the exercises looked like “a serious preparation for [a] big war.” Russia said 12,700 military personnel were involved, though some Western estimates put that number at 100,000.

Read more ....

Update #1: Moscow denies Ukraine's accusation that it left troops in Belarus (Reuters)
Update #2: Russia Denies Ukraine Claim Troops Stayed in Belarus After Games (Bloomberg)

WNU Editor: Here is a look at today's Russian military .... S-400, New Cruise Missiles and More: How Russia's Military Is Back in a Big Way (Business Insider).

Turkey Opens Its Largest Overseas Military Base In Somalia

VOA: Turkey Opens Largest Foreign Military Base in Mogadishu

WASHINGTON — Turkey’s largest foreign military base in the world opened Saturday in Mogadishu, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Somali leaders, top Turkish military officials and diplomats.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and the head of the Turkish military, General Hulusi Akar have jointly inaugurated the 4 square kilometer (1.54 square mile) facility, which holds three military residential complexes, training venues, and sports courts. It had been under construction for the last two years.

General Akar said the base is the biggest sign of how Turkey wants to help Somalia.

Read more ....

More News On Turkey Opening Its Largest Overseas Military Base In Somalia

Turkey opens military base in Mogadishu to train Somali soldiers -- Reuters
Turkey Opens Military Training Base in Somalia Capital -- US News and World Report/AP
Turkey opens $50m training camp for Somali Army -- Arab News
Somalia hosts Turkey's largest overseas military base -- Africanews
Turkey opens its largest overseas military base in Africa -- RT

Is Puerto Rico On The Verge Of Genocide?

Business Insider: 'WE ARE DYING': Puerto Rico mayor says the island is 'inching close to a genocide'

Mayor Carmen Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico delivered an emotional message on Friday, amid the logistical difficulties and bureaucratic red tape that has slowed down the hurricane-relief effort on the island/

"We are dying here," Cruz said in a press conference. "And I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Puerto Rico's Governor has a different take .... Federal Emergency Response Working Smoothly, Puerto Rico’s Governor Says (US Department of Defense). This type of language from the mayor is completely inappropriate during a crisis like this one. There are thousands of government workers and U.S. military personnel on the ground right now trying their best to help those who are in  desperate need, and they have been very transparent on what they are doing (see link here). To accuse these government workers of failing in their job and that Puerto Rico is now on the verge of genocide .... not the message you should send out to these responders who need encouragement ... especially now.

Update: The mayor has her supporters .... Trump called San Juan’s mayor a weak leader. Here’s what her leadership looks like (Washington Post).

NFL Looking For A Compromise ON Anthem Protests

Rick Moran, American Thinker: NFL desperately looking for compromise on anthem protests

With ticket sales plummeting, TV viewership cratering, and their "brand favorability" dropping like a stone, the NFL league office hosted a meeting yesterday among league officials, the owners, and players to find a way off the ledge the players have placed the NFL by protesting the national anthem.

While no specific course of action was agreed to, several teams last weekend all stood for the anthem, linking arms as a show of unity against Donald Trump's criticisms. That may be the way out for owners who realize what they're risking by standing behind players who kneel for the anthem.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For this fan .... the damage has already been done. Not surprising, the NBA is not taking any chances .... Memo reinforces rule that NBA players, coaches stand for anthem (ESPN)

Chinese President Xi: Study Capitalism But Do Not Ignore Marxism

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the 86th INTERPOL General Assembly at Beijing National Convention Center on September 26, 2017 in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool

Reuters: China's Xi says study capitalism, but Marxism remains top

BEIJING (Reuters) - Communist Party members should study contemporary capitalism but must never deviate from Marxism, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, offering a clear signal there will be no weakening of party control weeks ahead of a key Congress opening.

The party brooks no challenge to its rule, and Xi has overseen a sweeping crackdown on civil society since assuming power almost five years ago, tightening the party’s grip over the internet, media and security infrastructure, and locking up rights lawyers and dissidents.

Speaking at a study session of the Politburo, one of the party’s elite ruling bodies, Xi said that while times are changing and society is developing, the basic tenets of Marxism remain true, state news agency Xinhua said late Friday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  LOL .... like Russia, no one in China takes Marxism seriously anymore.

Regional Powers Move To Restrict The Iraqi Kurds Following Their Independence Vote

VOA: Regional Powers Move to Restrict Kurds Following Referendum Vote

Iran, Iraq and Turkey – three countries with large Kurdish populations – are imposing restrictions on Iraqi Kurds following the Kurdish independence referendum this week that passed with more than 92 percent of the vote.

Iraq’s central government is making preparations for its military to seize control of international borders along the northern Kurdish region in an attempt to isolate the Kurds from other countries.

In Iran, armed forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri told reporters Saturday his country would team up with Iraq's central government for military exercises at several crossings in the border region to stem any other potential separatist movements in the region.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iraqi-Kurdistan will survive.

More News On Regional Powers Moving To Restrict The Iraqi Kurds Following Their Independence Vote

Kurdish referendum triggers retaliation from Iraq, Turkey -- CBS
Iraq's Government Moves to Punish Iraqi Kurdistan for Vote -- Voice of America
Iraqi PM presses case for Baghdad to receive Kurdistan oil revenue -- Reuters
Iran slaps fuel trade embargo on Iraqi Kurdistan -- New China
Iraq, Iran to conduct joint military exercise on KRG-Iran border -- RUDAW
Iran, Iraq plan joint drills over Kurdish independence vote -- Daily Mail/AFP
Post-referendum: Kurds in Iran demand rights as regime cracks down -- The Jerusalem Post
Erdogan says Iraqi Kurdish authorities "will pay price" for vote -- The Nation
Kurdistan parliament in session to discuss Iraqi imposed measures against Erbil -- Rudaw

Is Syria Going To Become The Battleground Between Israel And Syria?

Jonathan Spyer, Foreign Policy: Israel Is Going to War in Syria to Fight Iran

Israeli officials aren't shying from confronting Tehran's forces — since no one else will.

JERUSALEM – Israeli officials believe that Iran is winning its bid for dominance in the Middle East, and they are mobilizing to counter the regional realignment that threatens to follow. The focus of Israel’s military and diplomatic campaign is Syria. Israeli jets have struck Hezbollah and Syrian regime facilities and convoys dozens of times during Syria’s civil war, with the goal of preventing the transfer of weapons systems from Iran to Hezbollah. In an apparent broadening of the scope of this air campaign, on Sept. 7 Israeli jets struck a Syrian weapons facility near Masyaf responsible for the production of chemical weapons and the storing of surface-to-surface missiles.

The strike came after a round of diplomacy in which Israeli officials concluded that their concerns regarding the developing situation in Syria were not being addressed with sufficient seriousness in either the United States or Russia. A senior delegation led by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen visited Washington in late August, reportedly to express Israel’s dissatisfaction with the emerging U.S.-Russian understanding on Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi to raise similar concerns with Moscow.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iran and Hezbollah are not ready to get embroiled into an escalating conflict with Israel. Their focus is on winning the Syrian war, defeating the Islamic State in Iraq, and fighting the proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen. A fourth conflict .... and against Israel to boot .... is a bridge too far for them. My prediction .... Iran is going to avoid Israel for the moment, but I suspect that the Israelis are going to increase the pressure via through more airstrikes and public announcements.What will Iran/Hezbollah/Syria/etc. do after that is anyone's guess.

Is The U.S. 'Tip-Toeing' To A Two Front War?

Christopher J. Bolan, Defense One: Waltzing Toward a Two-Front Global War

The U.S. just might be one step away from a war with North Korea, and two from a fight with Iran.

A few years ago, a Heritage Foundation analysis argued that the sine qua non of a superpower was the ability to fight two major campaigns in different regions of the globe nearly simultaneously. That same report noted that reduced defense investment and a decade of counterinsurgency campaigns had left the U.S. military unprepared to do so.

Nonetheless, the U.S. finds itself one step away from war on the Korean Peninsula and perhaps two from military confrontation with Iran, dancing an uncertain waltz in which a misstep would be catastrophic.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I do not see such a sequence of events playing itself out right now. And if such a conflict does break out, it will be other countries that will be primarily in the fight with the U.S. playing a secondary role. South Korea on the Korean peninsula, U.S. and its Arab allies in the Middle East.

Always Check Your Sources When It Comes To Media Coverage In Conflict Zones

Journalists interviewing Russian General Igor Konashenkov (ru:И́горь Конаше́нков) at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport during the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War. Wikipedia

Rodger Shanahan, Lowy Institute: War Reporting 101: Check Your Sources

Earlier this year I wrote about the willingness of the news media to highlight claims of civilian casualties caused by coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria, but their apparent unwillingness to critically examine their sources or to follow up when their claims have been denied, dismissed or proven wrong by the coalition. Of course, errors happen in war and civilians are killed. But some groups and individuals also claim civilians have been killed when they don't know the facts. And in other cases, they use the media to promote claims they know to be false.

This issue has been the subject of some heated discussion in Foreign Policy. The founder of Airwars, a site that investigates and reports on alleged civilian casualties, wrote a scathing article criticising US acceptance of, and attitudes to, civilian casualties. In response, the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Stephen Townsend took to Foreign Policy to criticise advocacy groups and the media for a lack of intellectual rigour in assessing their sources before making claims of civilian casualties. He noted that, of the 270 allegations made by Airwars that had been assessed, 258 (more than 95%) had been found to be non-credible.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This blog has been covering wars and conflicts for 10 years. And during this time I have lost count on what was reported one day .... then proven to be false or misleading a week/month/year later. The best formula that I have found to counter all of this is to list multiple sources, indicate who they are, and if I have personal experience related to the story being posted .... to then express my opinion.

A Brief Overview Of The B-2

Wikimedia Commins

Kyle Mizokami, National Interest: Why the B-2 Stealth Bomber Might Be America's Most Dangerous Weapon

The B-2 Spirit is one of three strategic heavy bombers in U.S. Air Force service. Originally conceived to infiltrate the Soviet air-defense network and attack targets with nuclear weapons, over the decades its mission has grown to include conventional precision attack. The B-2 is the most advanced bomber in U.S. service, and the only one of three types that still carries nuclear gravity bombs.

In the late 1970s, the administration of President Jimmy Carter opposed the high-speed B-1A bomber as a waste of government money. Carter had been briefed on the new field of stealth technology and was responsible for the development of the F-117A stealth fighter. Instead of the B-1A, Carter authorized development of the Advanced Technology Bomber, or Stealth Bomber. Little was known about the bomber at the time except that it would incorporate new radar-evading technologies and possibly a dramatically different shape than previous bombers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A good summary on the B-2

Why North Korea Does Not Trust China

Chinese President Xi and Norht Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. YouTube

Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: War of the Dragons: Why North Korea Does Not Trust China

The legacy of the Sino-Vietnamese War continues to cast a shadow on China-North Korea relations.

The idea that China holds the key to solving the ongoing political and military crisis on the Korean Peninsula has been the standard jack-in-the-box of U.S. North Korea policy for the past seven decades, set to pop up whenever U.S.-North Korea tensions escalated and the threat of war thought imminent.

U.S. President Donald Trump and former Chief White House Strategist Stephen Bannon are only the latest to espouse the view that China has the power and influence to induce its “client state” to stop its saber-rattling and nuclear provocations. (This view is not just confined to U.S. policymakers, either.) In fact, ever since Chinese troops crossed the Yalu River on October 1, 1950 and attacked U.S. and UN forces on North Korean soil, numerous U.S. policymakers have been looking to Beijing as the éminence grise of the Kim dynasty that can sway the latter’s behavior.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A different take on the Chinese - North Korean relationship.

Tensions Are High In Catalonia On The Eve Of Its Independence Vote

New York Times: Faces of Joy, Rage and Resolve in Catalonia as Independence Vote Nears

Catalonia, the restive northeastern region that includes Barcelona and that is Spain’s economic powerhouse, is attempting to vote on Sunday in an independence referendum.

The Catalans say that their distinct language, history and culture entitle them to nationhood, or at least that they should have the chance to decide for themselves whether to break from Spain.

The central government in Madrid, with the support of Spanish courts, says the vote is unconstitutional and should be suspended. It is doing everything it can to prevent it from happening: confiscating ballots; shutting down the internet; barring polling stations and threatening Catalan officials with arrest and prosecution. It has sent thousands of police from other parts of Spain to potentially enforce the measures.

The standoff is growing increasingly volatile as the scheduled start of voting on Sunday morning approaches.

Read more ....

More News On Tensions Rising High In Catalonia On The Eve Of Its Independence Vote

Spain, Catalonia head for showdown over independence vote -- AP
Spanish Authorities Blockade Polling Stations, Dismantle Equipment Ahead of Catalonia Referendum -- Voice of America
Catalonia referendum defies Spanish obstruction -- BBC
Police seal off Catalan schools after separatists occupy them so they can be used as polling stations in region's outlawed independence vote -- Daily Mail
Police close voting centres before Catalan referendum -- The Guardian
Spanish police move to enforce ban on Catalan independence referendum -- Reuters
Spain Tries to Stop Catalonia's Weekend Vote on Independence -- Bloomberg
Catalonia vows to vote in face of Spain's tightening grip against independence -- USA Today
Catalonia, Madrid ramp up rhetoric ahead of contested independence referendum -- DW
Tensions in Spain are rising over Catalonia's independence referendum -- Business Insider
Spain, Catalonia head for showdown over independence vote -- FOX News
With kids in tow, Catalonia's pro-independence parents occupy polling stations in mass act of civil disobedience -- Washington Post
The Catalonia vote is a bigger threat to the EU project than Brexit -- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Gulf Times
Timeline of recent events in Catalonia's independence drive -- Fox News

China Has High Hopes When President Trump Visits In November

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People on Sept 30, 2017 in Beijing, China. PHOTO: REUTERS

Straits Times/AFP: Trump's visit to China will be wonderful and successful, Xi tells Tillerson

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday (Sept 30) that he expected President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to be “wonderful”, as ties appear warmer following tensions over how to handle North Korea.

Xi smiled as he greeted Tillerson at the imposing Great Hall of the People across Tiananmen Square for talks expected to focus on North Korea and Trump’s November visit.

The two men, however, did not mention the hermit state in public remarks before their private talks.

Xi recalled that he and Trump have spoken on the phone several times and that they already met at the US leader’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in April and the Group of 20 Nations (G-20) summit in Hamburg in July.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese are going all out to make sure that this visit is a success.

U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson: U.S. In Direct Contact With North Korea

New York Times: U.S. in Direct Communication With North Korea, Says Tillerson

BEIJING — The Trump administration acknowledged on Saturday for the first time that it is in direct communication with the government of North Korea over its missile and nuclear tests.

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said, when pressed about how he might begin a conversation with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, that could avert what many government officials fear is a significant chance of open conflict between the two countries.

“We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang,” he added, speaking at the residence of the United States ambassador to Beijing after a meeting with China’s top leadership.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Secretary Of State Tillersonès Remarks That The U.S. In Direct Contacts With North Korea

Beyond bluster, US, NKorea in regular contact -- AP
U.S. 'probing' to see if North Korea interested in dialogue: Tillerson -- Reuters
North Korea and US 'in direct contact', says Tillerson -- BBC
Tillerson: US is in direct contact with North Korea -- Washington Post
U.S. Talking With North Korea on Nuclear Program, Tillerson Says -- Bloomberg
Tillerson: US Has Opened Direct Line of Communication With North Korea -- VOA
Trump administration confirms it is in direct talks with North Korea over nuclear programme -- The Telegraph
Rex Tillerson: US has 'lines of communication' to North Korea -- Washington Examiner

South Korean Media: North Korean Missiles Are On The Move


Reuters: North Korea seen moving missiles from development center: South Korean broadcaster

SEOUL (Reuters) - Several North Korean missiles were recently spotted moved from a rocket facility in the capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) reported late Friday amid speculation that the North was preparing to take more provocative actions.

The report cited an unnamed intelligence source saying South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials detected missiles being transported away from North Korea’s Missile Research and Development Facility at Sanum-dong in the northern part of Pyongyang.

The report did not say when or where they had been moved.

Read more ....

Update #1: N Korea Seen Moving Missiles From Rocket Facility - Reports (Sputnik)
Update #2: North Korea moving missiles, according to South Korea (The Hill)

WNU Editor: I guess the North Koreans are getting ready for more missile tests.

Are Western Views Of Buddhism Changing Because Of The Rohingya Crisis?

Rohingya refugees stand in their shacks in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 27. Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Harry Bruinius, CSM: Is Rohingya crisis changing West's 'romanticized' view of Buddhism?

When it comes to religious extremism, Buddhism has mostly escaped the scrutiny that Muslim militants, fundamentalist Christians, and Hindu nationalists in India have faced, observers say.

For many Americans, popular images of Buddhism have often included those of monks in saffron-colored robes, meditating peacefully on windswept mountains, revering all forms of life while seeking higher states of enlightenment.

In the context of such clichés, it has been jarring, many say, to see very different images coming out of Myanmar. Many monks, barefoot and clothed in the traditional robes of Burmese Buddhist monasteries, have been at the forefront of the violent repression of the Rohingya Muslim minority, which the United Nations has characterized as ethnic cleansing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If Western views on Buddhism are not changing in view of what is now happening in Rohingya they should .... they should. It should also be acknowledged that the Rohinigya have not helped their own situation .... Rohingyas' long history of jihadism must be acknowledged (Asia Times).

Half A Million Rohingya Refugees Have Now Fled Myanmar

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Asia Correspondent: Half a million Rohingya refugees have now fled into Bangladesh

MORE THAN half a million Rohingya Muslims have now crossed the border from Rakhine State in Burma (Myanmar) in just over a month, fleeing what rights groups say are crimes against humanity.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) confirmed on Thursday that 501,800 new arrivals have been reported in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh since Aug 25.

Violence has ravaged the Rakhine after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked police and military outposts in late August, sparking a crackdown and “clearing operations” by the Tatmadaw army which now stands accused of arson, extrajudicial killings and rape.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What took them so long? .... Oxford takes down Aung San Suu Kyi portrait as Rohingya crisis intensifies (DW). And Canada has also been slow .... Strip Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary Canadian citizenship, advocates demand (CTV News).

More News On The Rohingya Crisis

Myanmar refugee exodus tops 500,000 as more Rohingya flee -- Washington Post/AP
‘Humanitarian nightmare’: Over 500k Rohingya refugees flee Myanmar violence -- RT
As new arrivals top half a million in Bangladesh, UNHCR getting ever more refugees into shelter -- UNHCR
Amid ‘Humanitarian and Human Rights Nightmare’ in Myanmar, Secretary-General Urges Full Access for Aid, Safe Return of Displaced Rohingya, End to Military Operations -- Relief Web
Rohingya crisis: UN chief warns of 'humanitarian nightmare' -- BBC
"Bone-chilling" accounts from those fleeing Myanmar, U.N. Secretary General says -- CBS
Time for a Shift in U.S. Policy Toward Burma -- Olivia Enos, Forbes
Half of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority has fled the country -- VOX
How Myanmar expelled the majority of its Rohingya -- Al Jazeera

Tweets For Today

Should The U.S. Send Weapons To Ukraine?


Rachel Ansley, RCD/The Atlantic Council: Should the United States Arm Ukraine?

While analysts agree that diplomacy is the ideal route to ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, they disagree on whether the United States sending defensive weapons to Ukraine will achieve that end.

On September 22, the Atlantic Council, in collaboration with the Charles Koch Institute, hosted a debate between experts: Should the United States Arm Ukraine?

The divisive prospect of sending US weapons to Ukraine as further defense against Russian aggression in the Donbas could, according to those in favor, defend US interests on the world stage. Alternatively, countered those opposed to the idea, it could escalate the conflict in a manner detrimental to US national security.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Ukraine is already receiving weapons and supplies from other NATO states .... and as for the U.S., there are already U.S. military advisers in the country, upping this involvement by sending weapons would only escalate tensions and the war. I have said this more than once .... sending weapons to a country where a good portion of the population feel repressed and under assault is never going to insure peace or stability. In the case of Ukraine .... Russian Ukrainians definitely do feel under assault, and measure like this one are only fueling this separatist desire .... Ukraine's New Education Law Bans All Languages But Ukrainian (September 27, 2017). A political solution that respects cultural and linguistic regional rights is the pathway that should be encouraged .... unfortunately .... that is not happening in Ukraine.

Picture Of The Day

A Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber and missile carrier during in-flight refueling while on its mission to strike terrorist facilities in Syria with KhA-101 cruise missiles on September 26, 2017. © Sputnik/ Press service of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures (September 23-29) (Sputnik)

Nuclear Organization Maps Out The Fallout From A North Korean Nuclear Explosion Over The Pacific Ocean

Daily Mail: How a huge radioactive cloud could spread towards Asia and the US if North Korea carries out a nuclear explosion over the Pacific Ocean

* Graphic shows possible spread of 'atmospheric burst' from North Korean nuke
* It reveals path of potential 'radio-isotope cloud' from a blast in the Pacific Ocean
* Simulation released by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation
* Comes just weeks after Kim Jong-un ordered North Korea's sixth nuclear test

A new graphic has emerged showing how a radioactive cloud could spread towards Asia and the US if North Korea carries out a nuclear explosion over the Pacific.

The simulation reveals the possible two-week spread of an 'atmospheric burst' that could be unleashed from one of Kim Jong-un's nukes.

It was released on the Twitter account of Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, which examines weapons tests.

Read more ....

Nuclear Organization Maps Out The Fallout From A North Korean Nuclear Explosion Over The Pacific Ocean

Chilling graphic shows spread of radioactive cloud if North Korea detonates nuclear bomb over Pacific -- The Telegraph
A North Korean hydrogen bomb test in Pacific Ocean could bring ‘terrifying’ fallout, expert says -- SCMP
This is what would happen if North Korea popped off an H-bomb in the Pacific -- We Are The Mighty
Monitor Releases Simulation Of What Nuclear Strike On North Korea Would Look Like -- Zero Hedge
Alarming graphic predicts radioactive aftermath of N. Korean nuclear launch -- RT

Friday, September 29, 2017

Russia In Secret Talks With North Korea

Covert mission: Members of the North Korean delegation leave after the talks at the Russian foreign ministry venue in Moscow on Friday

Daily Mail: Russia is ready to work together with North Korea to find a 'peaceful resolution' to nuclear missile crisis, Moscow says

* Russian and North Korean representatives met in Moscow on Friday
* Moscow said it had made it clear to Pyongyang that it is ready to mediate
* Foreign Ministry said it wants to find 'peaceful' solution to nuclear missile crisis

Moscow is prepared to work with Pyongyang to try to find a peaceful resolution to the North Korean missile crisis, the Russian Foreign ministry said on Friday.

Russian and North Korean foreign ministry representatives met in Moscow today, and Kremlin said it had sent a clear message to Pyongyang that it was ready to step in to mediate.

Earlier today it was reported that any attempt by North Korea to fire a missile at the United States may force the US military to destroy a nuclear warhead over Russian territory, as this would be the likeliest trajectory of a missile.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Russians demanded this meeting .... and it lasted for 5 hours. My gut is telling me that Moscow wants to hear from the North Koreans themselves on what is their end game .... specifically .... what is it that North Korea wants. But considering that there was no news conference, joint statement issued, or praise from the Russian officials on the success of the meeting .... all of this tells me that the meeting did not go as well as planned, and this "Russian" desire to mediate between all sides was just for show.

More News On Russia Conducting Talks With North Korea

Moscow holds 'consultations' with NKorea diplomat -- AFP
Russia says ready to work with North Korea to resolve missile crisis -- Reuters
Russia 'ready to combine efforts' with North Korea toward peaceful solution to nuclear crisis -- Deutsche Welle
Russia 'ready to combine efforts' with North Korea toward peaceful solution to nuclear crisis -- DW
Behind closed doors: Top N. Korean diplomat on US relations arrives in Moscow for talks -- Newsline

U.S. Air Strikes In Libya Were Conducted Under President Trump's New Rules That Permit The Military To Conduct Lethal Operations Outside Of A Designated War Zone

Paul D. Shinkman, US News and World Report: In Libya Strike, Military Shows New Lethal Powers Under Trump

The White House has slowly rolled back Obama-era restrictions on drone strikes, shown for the first time in a deadly strike against Islamic State group fighters.

U.S. forces in Africa this week staged what would have been an otherwise unremarkable attack against Islamic State extremists but for one key detail: The operation was the first to rely on authorities granted under the Trump administration that allow the military to conduct lethal strikes outside a designated war zone and without explicit White House approval in advance.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am not surprised by these new rules .... the war against the Islamic State is not limited to just Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. What I am surprised about is the lack of protests to these new rules that now permit the Pentagon to operate outside of designated war zones. No debate in Congress or the pundit class. A few articles posted here and there. And that's it.

U.S. Army Now Responsible For Recovery Operations In Puerto Rico

Daily Beast: U.S. Army Takes Over Massive Mission to Save Puerto Rico

More than a week after Hurricane Maria, the response is finally being federalized as the island struggles to distribute supplies and restore power.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—The U.S. Army will take over recovery operations in Puerto Rico, Col. Jorge Santini of Puerto Rico's National Guard state command told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday afternoon.

U.S. Northern Command appointed Army Brig. Gen. Richard Kim on Wednesday to oversee operations. The Army will oversee every facet of the massive mission and coordinate with the National Guard, FEMA, and Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s office, Santini said. Approximately 2,600 U.S. military personnel and Guard members are currently involved in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, the Pentagon said.

"We need more manpower, more resources, more help, quickly and efficiently," Santini said. "We needed to federalize the recovery plan."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The aid has arrived .... they just cannot deliver it .... Puerto Rico aid is trapped in thousands of shipping containers (CNN). Drivers are talking care of their own emergencies (which I can understand), and even if they could get to the port where these containers are .... the infrastructure is not there to deliver it. To put it bluntly .... this is what a disaster looks like. But this is going to be the start of an even bigger fight .... people are now talking that it will take hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild Puerto Rico, and that Puerto Rico's massive debt should be forgiven. Here is an easy prediction .... this is not going to go over well with many in Congress. As for those who are angry about the aid response .... I can understand their frustration .... I have experienced two natural disasters in my life. The loss of a chalet 22 years ago in the Laurentians of Quebec due to a forest fire, and the Montreal Ice Storm of 1998 when I had no electricity for 9 days, and it was -20C outside. You want government there to help you .... but these things take time, and you are not the only one who is hurting. The key to survival is always the same. Rely on your network of family and friends .... because they will help you the most in the first few weeks. After that .... rely on government if you can meet their requirement for assistance. As for being angry .... it is going to get you nowhere .... but it plays well on television.

More News On Puerto Rico

Anger grows over Puerto Rico relief effort -- AFP
Puerto Rico struggles for relief after Hurricane Maria -- CNBC
Getting relief supplies to Puerto Rico ports is only half the problem -- Washington Post
'Destroyed' Puerto Rico 'truly a logistical nightmare for FEMA,' says ex-FEMA chief Brown -- CNBC
Puerto Ricans say US relief efforts failing them -- The Australian
Puerto Rico supply failure stops food and water reaching desperate residents -- The Guardian
Trump questions how 'massive' Puerto Rico recovery will be funded -- AFP
Maria dims Puerto Rico’s bleak economic outlook -- AP

Tonight's Movie Is 'Beach Red'

WNU Editor: Before "Saving Private Ryan" there was this film (the first 30 minutes of the film).

Commentaries, Analysis, and Editorials -- September 29, 2017

U.S. Air Force Photo by SrA Jacob Skovo

Crispin Rovere, RCD: North Korea: The Inevitability of War

This July I outlined the case for war against North Korea, contingent on the failure of diplomacy and Kim Jong-Un’s continued march towards a long-range nuclear ICBM capability.

Six weeks on North Korea has tested an ICBM, fired two missiles over Japan, and detonated a hydrogen bomb.

Events are unfolding as predicted. The strategic arguments are exhaustively interrogated in the four-part debate between myself and Dr. David Santoro (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4). The analysis remains unchanged, except to say that diplomatic avenues look bleak, time is running out, and the cost of war mounts daily as North Korea prepares and fortifies.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, and Editorials -- September 29, 2017

War of the Dragons: Why North Korea Does't Trust China -- Franz-Stefan Gady, Diplomat

Why China Will Never Crackdown on North Korea -- Joseph A. Bosco, National Interest

Unravelling the riddle of the Kurds’ Iraqi pipedream -- Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Why Is the West Arming Qatar? -- Joshua Yasmeh, RCD

A Field Trip to the Front Lines of the Qatar-Saudi Cold War -- Simon Henderson, Foreign Policy

Wheels and deals: trouble brewing in the House of Saud -- Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

How America Is Losing the Battle for the South China Sea -- Bill Bray, National Interest

19th Party Congress to be a monument to Xi Jinping -- Wu Zhong, Asia Times

Myanmar Rohingya hatred has roots in Buddhist nationalism -- Grant Peck, AP

Egypt's Nubia: Drowning by Government Decree -- Amy Austin Holmes, RCW

Macron's European Defense Doctrine -- Daniel Keohane, Carnegie Europe

The Catalan Cliff: Tensions are running high before the independence vote. -- Majo Siscar, Berlin Policy Journal

After a Dismal Start on Venezuela, Trump Attempts a Sharp Course Correction -- Frida Ghitis, WPR

Cuba-U.S. Reboot -- Bill Faries & Ezra Fieser, Bloomberg

Trump's Expanded Drone Wars -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

World News Briefs -- September 29, 2017

An Iraqi Airways plane is seen at the Erbil International Airport in Erbil, Iraq September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

Reuters: Last flight departs as Iraq imposes ban for Kurdish independence vote

ERBIL, Iraq/ANKARA (Reuters) - The last international flight left Erbil airport on Friday as the Baghdad government imposed an air ban on Iraqi Kurdistan in retaliation for an independence vote that has drawn widespread opposition from foreign powers.

Iraq's Kurds overwhelmingly backed independence in Monday's referendum, defying neighboring countries, which fear the vote could lead to renewed conflict in the region.

Read more ....


At least 1,200 Iraq personnel killed in Mosul operation: coalition.

Iraqi forces to take control of Kurdish regional borders.

Dozens of Islamic State militants uncovered in mass grave in Iraq.

Syrian army battles IS attack in Deir al-Zor. 73 Syria government fighters killed in IS attacks: monitor.

US does not recognize Kurdistan independence referendum: Tillerson.

'Cautious' State Department asks Iran, Iraq to avoid 'violence' with Kurds.

Vladmir Putin meets Erdogan to secure Syria de-escalation zone.

Turkey raises oil threat after Iraqi Kurds' referendum.

Iraqi ban on flights to Kurdish cities begins Friday.

Turkish military kills three PKK militants in north Iraq near border: sources.

Yemen experiences worst cholera outbreak ever.


Myanmar refugee exodus tops 500,000 as more Rohingya flee.

rump to travel to 5 countries in Asia in November.

New Taliban propaganda video features Trump calling Afghanistan a ‘complete disaster’.

Report: North Korea, ex-U.S. officials to meet for informal talks.

Japan's defence chief warns of possible N.Korea provocation on Oct. 10.

UN chief urges Myanmar to end military operations in Rohingya crisis.

Up to 63 Rohingya people dead as vessel carrying refugees shipwrecks.

Fear as Myanmar violence hits Bengali Hindus.

Muslims in China say they are being told to hand over Qurans or face 'harsh punishments'.

Bali: Fear of volcanic eruption forces 130,000 to flee.


26 dead in two weeks of clashes in Libya migrant hub: ministry.

Somalia extremists attack military base, kill 10, says army.

Car bomb blast kills seven in Somalia's Mogadishu.

African security officials tackle regional threats.

Cameroon bans pro-independence rallies in Anglophone area.

Libya strongman asks Europe for helicopters to fight migration.

S.Africa court says cannot compel Zuma to set up influence-peddling inquiry.

More than half of Borno schools closed over Boko Haram.

UN rights council extends Burundi abuses probe.


Stalemate over Catalan vote keeps Spain in suspense.

Catalan students rally to defend independence vote.

EU moves ahead faster on new future than on Brexit talks.

'Miracles' needed to advance Brexit talks by October deadline.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny detained ahead of rally.

Lavrov: Moscow won’t tolerate crusade to blame Russia for everything under the sun in US.

Surge in migration to Greece fuels misery in refugee camps.

Macron’s counter-terror bill risks France’s human rights record, say UN experts .

EU leaders gather in Estonia to discuss Europe's digital future.


Trump’s health secretary resigns in travel flap.

Crowds jam Puerto Rico dock hoping for place on cruise ship.

US to Americans: Stay away from Cuba after health ‘attacks’.

US 'to pull staff from Cuba over attacks'.

Trump vows to tackle N Korea on Asia trip.

Trump's tax plan is ALREADY in trouble with his own party as plan to axe state and local tax deduction comes under fire from Republicans.

Twitter's Russia briefings 'inadequate' - US senators.

Americans blame Facebook for fake news, new poll finds.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says his country should be getting ready to fight the US.

Canadian police seek recalled Vatican envoy for child porn.


ACLU presses Pentagon over captured American IS fighter.

Pentagon: Airstrikes killed 3 Islamic State drone experts.

US conducts more air strikes against Islamic State in Libya.

IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi 'resurfaces' in audio clip.

FBI investigating as many cases of domestic extremism as foreign terrorism.


Technology firms and small companies lead US stocks higher.

Global stocks finish 3rd quarter on upbeat note.

OPEC oil output edges higher in Sept as Iraq, Libya pump more.

Volkswagen diesel emissions fixing bill hits $30bn.

U.N. report: Pollution is controllable and avoidable.

Protester Kneeling At The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier In Arlington National Cemetery?

Snopes: Did a Protester Kneel During a Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

A viral photograph shows a man kneeling and recording a video at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but it's unclear whether he was also protesting.

Amid intensifying public debate about the right of NFL players and others to protest against police brutality and social injustice, a photograph emerged online in late September 2017 appearing to show a young black man kneeling at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

The web site America’s Freedom Fighters wrote:

An anonymous poster recently uploaded a particularly disappointing picture in a thread discussing the protests of the National Anthem during the NFL games. In the photo, a black man with scraggly hair, dressed in baggy khakis and a white t-shirt is seen on one knee hunched over to the side as a crowd of respectful on-lookers places their hands over their hearts and looks toward the flag.

…This is a protest that occurred during the changing of the guard at the most sacred site in all of the Arlington National Cemetery: the tomb of the Unknowns.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: OMG!!!! I hope this is not happening, and that this is just a very bad joke.

Political Turmoil In China?

Sun Zhengcai, then Chongqing Communist Party secretary, is shown attending a meeiting of a top political advisory body in Beijing in March 2016. Photo: Jason Lee/REUTERS

Wall Street Journal: China Expels Party Official Once Seen as Potential Successor to Xi Jinping

Politburo moves quickly to evict Sun Zhengcai ahead of Communist Party Congress.

BEIJING—China’s Communist Party expelled a senior official over alleged corruption and abuses of power just weeks before a pivotal conclave where President Xi Jinping plans to bolster his authority.

State media said Friday’s expulsion of Sun Zhengcai, the former top official in the inland megacity of Chongqing, was ordered by the party’s governing Politburo—ending the career of a party stalwart once seen as a possible successor to Mr. Xi before being placed under probe in mid-July.

Mr. Sun’s downfall echoes the 2012 purge of a predecessor, Bo Xilai, who was Chongqing’s party chief and a rising political star when he fell from grace amid corruption allegations and a murder scandal involving his wife.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Leading officials are not expelled a few weeks before the Party Congress unless there is a problem. This is a red flag to me .... it tells me that there are many in China who are not happy with President Xi, especially his push to have an additional 5 year term in his Presidency. And while I do expect President Xi to get what he wants .... limits are going to be imposed on him .... the main one being that he will be leaving in the next Party Congress.

More News On Political Change In China

Sun Zhengcai expelled from CPC, public office -- Xinhau
Communist Party expels former high-flyer Sun Zhengcai in countdown to key congress -- South China Morning Post
China Communist Party expels former star Sun Zhengcai -- Washington Post
China Communist Party Expels Former Rising Star Sun, Xinhua Says -- Bloomberg
China's Communist Party expels top member ahead of congress -- Digital Journal
China's Next President: Reading the Tea Leaves of Chinese Politics -- The Diplomat