Sunday, June 30, 2013

The World's Middle Class Is In Revolt

REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Middle-Class Rage Sparks Protest Movements In Turkey, Brazil, Bulgaria And Beyond -- Washington Post

As protests raged in Turkey and were set to explode in distant Brazil, Asen Genov sat in his office in Bulgaria’s capital on the cloudy morning of June 14, about to strike the computer key that would spark a Bulgarian Spring.

Only months earlier, public outrage over high electricity bills in the country had brought down a previous government, but Genov saw more reason for anger when the new administration tapped a shadowy media mogul to head the national security service. Furious, Genov posted a Facebook event calling for a protest in Sofia, the nation’s capital, though he was dubious about turnout for a demonstration focused not on pocketbooks but on corruption and cronyism in government.

“We made bets on how many would come. I thought maybe 500,” said Genov, a 44-year-old who helps run a fact-checking Web site.

Read more ....

My Comment: it is not only the middle class that is in revolt .... more to the point .... in places like Europe it is "angry young men" who are protesting and in some cases becoming violent.

Update: This is a must see .... 23 Iconic Pictures Of Global Unrest From The Last Three Years -- Business Insider

Fourth Of July Terrorist Attack Fears

TNT: A few months before the attack, TamerlanTsarnaev drove to New Hampshire where be bought 48 mortars, amounting to about eight pounds of explosive powder

Feds Fear For Another Independent Terrorist Attack During The Upcoming Fourth Of July Holiday -- Daily Mail

* An FBI and Department of Homeland Security notice calls for U.S. law enforcement officials to look out for other lone-ranger terrorists
* The Tsarnaev brothers originally planned their attack for the Fourth of July holiday
* Firework explosives were found in the bombs used at the Boston Marathon

Law enforcement officials across the U.S. were warned Friday to be on the lookout for a possible terrorist attack during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

The notice was issued in a 'Roll Call Release' by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, and obtained by ABC News.

While officials said there weren't any credible threats tied to the holiday as of Friday night, the recent Boston Marathon bombings have caused concern about other independent extremist 'knuckleheads' like the Tsarnaev brothers.

Read more ....

My Comment: The Boston Marathon bombing is still fresh in everyone's minds.

After Weeks Of Protest Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's Support Plummets

Demonstrators in Sao Paulo, Brazil, carry a ‘Dilma out’ sign referring to President Rousseff. Photograph: Reuters

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's Support Plummets In Wake Of Protests -- The Guardian

Approval rating drops from 57% to 30% in first opinion poll since a million Brazilians took to streets to air litany of grievances.

Dilma Rousseff's approval rating sank by 27 percentage points in the last three weeks, the strongest evidence yet that the recent wave of street protests sweeping Brazil poses a serious threat to the president's likely re-election bid next year.

The share of people who consider Rousseff's administration "great" or "good" plummeted to 30% from 57% in early June, according to a Datafolha opinion poll published in newspaper Folha de S Paulo on Saturday.

The drop was the sharpest for a Brazilian leader since 1990, when Fernando Collor outraged the population by freezing all savings accounts in a desperate attempt to stop hyperinflation. Two years later, Collor resigned from the presidency as Congress began impeachment proceedings against him over corruption allegations.

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My Comment: Corruption. High taxes. Inflation. Failure to keep promises. These reasons and more puts Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's re-election chances next year in doubt. There is no question that she is rapidly becoming a liability for her Workers Ruling Party.

Is A China - Philippine Showdown In The South China Sea About To Happen?

China Agrees South China Sea Talks Amid New Row With Manila -- Reuters

(Reuters) - China agreed to hold formal talks with Southeast Asian nations on a plan to ease maritime tensions on Sunday as the Philippines accused it of causing "increasing militarization" of the South China Sea, one of Asia's naval flashpoints.

The rebuke by Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario at a regional summit in Brunei came a day after China's state media warned of an inevitable "counterstrike" against the Philippines if it continued to provoke Beijing.

Friction between China and the Philippines over disputed territories has surged since last year due to several naval stand-offs as China asserts its vast claims over the oil and gas rich sea.

Read more ....

More News On China - Philippine Tensions Over The South China Seas

China Agrees to Asean Talks on Sea Spat Amid Philippine Warning -- Bloomberg Businessweek
China Media Warns Philippines of 'Counterstrike' in South China Sea -- New York Times/Reuters
Chinese Media Warn Philippines Of 'Counterstrike' If 'Provocations' Continue In South China Sea -- IBTimes
Chinese media slam Philippines over Spratly isles -- West Australian/AFP
China media warns Philippines of "counterstrike" in South China Sea -- Straits Times
Philippines accuses China of military buildup at sea -- Global Post
Philippines accuses China of military buildup at sea -- Channel News Asia
PH slams China for retaliation threat -- Inquirer
Philippines accused China of "massive" military buildup in S China Sea -- Asia One
Chinese military in S.China Sea 'threatens peace' -- AFP
South China Sea: facts on a decades-long dispute -- Global Post/AFP

After Two Days Of Deadly Unrest China Boosts Security In Xinjiang Province

Violence in Restive Chinese Region Prompts Crackdown -- New York Times

HONG KONG — China’s Communist Party leadership has started a security crackdown in the far western region, Xinjiang, vowing to apply “high pressure” methods after two outbursts of violence there in recent days pitted members of the Uighur ethnic minority against police forces, state television reported Saturday.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, and other members of the Politburo Standing Committee — the seven-member inner circle of power — met Friday to discuss the violence in Xinjiang, the television report said. They demanded a tough response to what the Chinese government calls separatist terrorism, and they used words that underscored their jitters about Xinjiang, days ahead of the anniversary of deadly ethnic violence four years ago.

The party leaders acknowledged entrenched problems in Xinjiang, according to the report. But their immediate emphasis was on tighter security.

Read more ....

More News On The Chinese Response To Recent Attacks In Xinjiang Province

China orders round-the-clock patrols in Xinjiang following recent series of bloody clashes -- Washington Post/AP
Chinese crack down on violence in western Uighur region -- L.A. Times
China ramps up response after Xinjiang 'attacks' -- FOX News/AFP
China tightens security in Xinjiang after clashes -- Financial Times
Security crackdown in China's far western Xinjiang region -- Australia Network News
China pledges to clamp down on terrorism in Xinjiang -- Asia One
China steps up operations in Xinjiang -- BBC

Iran's President Says He Will Engage With The West

President-Elect Of Iran Says He Will Engage With The West -- New York Times

TEHRAN — Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, said Saturday that he would engage with the West and fulfill his electoral promises to allow more freedom for the Iranian people.

Mr. Rouhani, who calls himself a moderate, won the June 14 presidential election by a large margin, surprising many who expected Iran’s governing establishment to block any candidate calling for change. Hinting at the revolutions that have ousted several leaders in the Middle East, Mr. Rouhani emphasized that it was important to listen to the “majority of Iranians.”

“In our region, there were some countries who miscalculated their positions, and you have witnessed what happened to them,” he said during a live broadcast of a conference organized by Voice and Vision, Iran’s state television and radio organization.

“The world is in a transitional mood, and a new order has yet to be established,” he said. “If we miscalculate our national situation, it will be detrimental for us.”

Read more ....

My Comment: He "talks the talk" but will he "walk the walk". What is my prediction .... if the history of Iran is any indication .... he will just be like the rest .... great promises .... no delivery.

Why Hezbollah Is Involved In Syria's Civil War

A vehicle damaged by what residents say was a missile fired from the Syrian rebels in Hermel Photo: Reuters

Inside Hizbollah: 'Why We Need Assad To Stay' -- The Telegraph

Hizbollah is now inextricably embroiled in Syria's civil war, writes Ruth Sherlock. And that has massively raised the chances of it re-igniting all out sectarian conflict in Lebanon too.

Black SUVs with tinted windows and blank license plates sped unchallenged through the remote border checkpoint in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where a tattered flag marked the border with Syria.

Waved on by a soldier from President Bashar al-Assad's army, the convoy of Hizbollah fighters headed into the distance - their mission a secret, but hardly difficult to guess.

Watching from a nearby rooftop, Sheikh Ali, a religious leader and volunteer with the feared Lebanese militant group, gave a further clue.

"I lost four friends in Qusair," he said nodding towards the drab Syrian town on the horizon, now largely quiet after several weeks of vicious fighting. "But don't ever think that anyone from Hizbollah refused to send their children to fight. They encourage their sons in defending the country."

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My Comment: By becoming involved in Syria's civil war, Hezbollah has made the civil war in Syria into a truly sectarian conflict. This has not only galvanized neighboring Sunni states to become involved themselves .... but it also puts into play the stability of Lebanon and the tensions that are there. As for the conflict itself .... Hezbollah is now going to experience a slow bleed of fighters and equipment as the war continues to rage on. For hezbollah .... this is one of those classic lose-lose situations.

Qatar Sends Shoulder Fired Missiles To Syria's Rebels

Qatar is punching above its weight, said one Western diplomat describing its aggressive foreign policy and arming of rebels. New York Times

Taking Outsize Role in Syria, Qatar Funnels Arms to Rebels -- New York Times

WASHINGTON — As an intermittent supply of arms to the Syrian opposition gathered momentum last year, the Obama administration repeatedly implored its Arab allies to keep one type of powerful weapon out of the rebels’ hands: heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles.

The missiles, American officials warned, could one day be used by terrorist groups, some of them affiliated with Al Qaeda, to shoot down civilian aircraft.

But one country ignored this admonition: Qatar, the tiny, oil- and gas-rich emirate that has made itself the indispensable nation to rebel forces battling calcified Arab governments and that has been shipping arms to the Syrian rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

Since the beginning of the year, according to four American and Middle Eastern officials with knowledge of intelligence reports on the weapons, Qatar has used a shadowy arms network to move at least two shipments of shoulder-fired missiles, one of them a batch of Chinese-made FN-6s, to Syrian rebels who have used them against Mr. Assad’s air force.

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My Comment: With a no-fly zone not in the cards, the Syrian rebels will need these shoulder fired missiles to offset the Syrian regime's advantage in the air. I also suspect that Saudi Arabia is playing a far bigger role behind the scenes on these weapon transfers.

Europe Will Not Get Involved in the Syrian Civil War

Europe Likely To Stay On Sidelines When U.S. Ships Arms To Syria Rebels -- McClatchy News

BERLIN — When the Obama administration begins arming Syrian rebels through the CIA, something news reports say will happen within the next month, it probably it will be acting without help from its European allies.

Despite the end of the European Union’s embargo on supplying weapons to the rebels, which expired May 30, experts see little will or appetite among European nations for adding more weapons to the bloody Syrian civil war. Not even the British, who were pressing just weeks ago for arming the rebels, are likely to do so.

In part, that sentiment is based on a deep concern that not enough is known about the groups that make up the rebel forces. In particular, the prominence of the Nusra Front, with strong ties to al Qaida and the al Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, raises concerns that any weapons sent into that conflict might be used eventually against international troops or interests, either in Syria or elsewhere.

Read more ....

My Comment: After demanding a more robust support of the Syrian rebel movement .... the Europeans are now changing their minds. This European position is in contrast to many Arab states who are having no problems or doubts when it comes to arming the Syrian rebels.

WNU Editor's Note

World News Briefs, Military And Intelligence News Briefs, etc. will return tomorrow.

U.S. Military Presence In Jordan Raising Concerns In The Middle East

The coastal city of Aqaba was the site of military exercises are said to be designed to promote military relationships and face terrorism

Assad-Busters: At A Secret Base In Jordan, U.S Special Forces Are Training Syrian Rebels For War...But Loads Fear Sleeper Cells In Their Nation Will Wreak A Terrible Revenge -- Daily Mail

* 8,000 military personnel are behind Operation Eager Lion training exercise
* Arms from the West would have to travel through Jordan to get to Syria
* It is believed this could enrage Assad, who may well seek revenge
* Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour insists that US forces are not preparing for a war in Syria

Flying low over the Jordanian desert, F-16 fighter jets flatten targets in the sand while tanks unleash their deadly firepower and paratroopers dot the late afternoon sky.

These were the scenes a fortnight ago in Operation Eager Lion, the United States-led exercise involving 8,000 service personnel that the military insists was only routine.

In Jordan, though, the war games now feel like a precursor to the invasion of neighbouring Syria. And not just because live rounds were fired.

Read more ....

Update: Jordanians 'suspicious' about US military deployment -- AFP

My Comment: These concerns are justified. Jordan's location makes it a natural conduit for any arms shipments to Syria's rebels.

Syrian Military Assault On The City Of Homs

Syrian Forces Pound Rebel-Held Areas Of Homs -- BBC

Syrian forces have launched a major offensive against rebel-held parts of the city of Homs.

Aircraft, tanks and mortar units attacked several areas, activists say. Unverified footage showed clouds of smoke from explosions across the city.

Syrian state TV said the army had achieved a "great success" in Homs after "killing many terrorists".

The attack follows gains in Homs province by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in recent weeks.

They captured the strategically important town of Qusair, between Homs and the Lebanese border, in early June.

Read more ....

More News On The Syrian Military Assault On The City Of Homs

Syrian army, backed by jets, launches assault on Homs -- Reuters
Syrian regime assaults rebel stronghold Homs -- Al Jazeera
Syrian troops launch wide offensive on Homs -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Syria air strikes on Homs 'kill woman, 2 children' -- FOX News/AFP
Syrian Jets Attack Rebel-Held Neighborhoods in Homs, Group Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Syrian army launches Homs offensive -- Washington Post
Syria army 'launches new Homs offensive' -- FOX News/AFP
Syrian army pounds Homs with airstrikes, kills three civilians -- Al Bawaba
Syrian government forces launch assault on Homs -- UPI
Syria Attacks Rebel-Held Area in New Push to Retake City -- New York Times
Syrian army attacks Homs with planes and mortar -- Deutsche Welle
Assault on Syria's Homs prompts opposition plea for help -- AFP

British PM Cameron And The Military Differ On When To Leave Afghanistan

Troops could stay three to five years longer than previously announced, the official said (file photo)

Our Troops Could Be In Afghanistan Until 2019: Astonishing Revelation From A Senior Military Source As Cameron Pays A Surprise Visit To British Forces -- Daily Mail

* Senior official says soldiers will be needed for extra three to five years
* Prime Minister visited frontline troops to mark British Armed Forces Day
* He has announced plans for a permanent Afghan war memorial in the UK
* UK plans to end combat operations in the country in December 2014
* Taliban prisoners to be released into the Afghan military under peace deal
* Cameron later flew on to Islamabad for talks with the Pakistani President

British soldiers will be in Afghanistan until the end of the decade – five years later than expected, a senior military source said last night.

Troops had been widely expected to withdraw at the conclusion of combat operations next year.

But as David Cameron paid a surprise visit to the country yesterday, the source warned that it would take ‘a further three to five years’ after 2014 to help the Afghans regain control of their country.

Read more ....

Update #1: Britain will have to support Afghan National Army 'long after' 2014 -- The Telegraph
Update #2: Afghan Army May Need NATO Support Until 2020, U.K. Official Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek

My Comment: British PM Cameron is still sticking to his pull-out date.

British PM Cameron Visits Afghanistan - A News Roundup

David Cameron And Army Divided Over Afghanistan Role After 2014 -- The Guardian

Despite military's fears, prime minister stands firm on security arrangements after British leave

Military commanders are pressing for international forces to be allowed to provide extensive logistical advice to Afghanistan until 2020, after concluding that local security forces will be unprepared for full operations when the Nato mission ends next year.

In a sign of tensions between Downing Street and the military, the prime minister used a visit to Afghanistan to rule out any British involvement in such a role after Nato concludes its combat operations at the end of 2014.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, David Cameron hailed the work of Afghan security forces, though he left open the possibility that other Nato countries could provide logistical support after 2014. He said: "There will be no British combat troops after the end of 2014. British troops are coming home. That is happening right now.

Read more ....

More News On British PM Cameron's Trip Afghanistan

Britain's Cameron Visits Afghanistan to Spur Taliban Peace Talks -- Voice of America
British PM backs Taliban peace talks on Afghan visit -- FOX News/AFP
Britain's Cameron in thwarted Afghan peace talks push -- Reuters
David Cameron flies into Afghanistan as army warns British troops will stay to support Afghan forces for up to five years -- The Independent
UK PM makes unannounced Afghan visit -- Herald SUN
Cam pledges extra support for troops on Armed Forces Day -- The SUN
Cameron arrives in Pakistan after visiting Afghanistan -- CNN

Protests Begin In Egypt

Egypt Protest: Thousands Stage Anti-Morsi Rallies -- BBC

Protests calling for the resignation of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi and early presidential elections have kicked off in the capital, Cairo, and around the country.

His opponents say he has failed to tackle economic and security problems.

Thousands spent the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square, focus of protests which brought down ex-leader Hosni Mubarak.

The protests come on the first anniversary of Mr Morsi's election as the country's first Islamist president.

Morsi critics also say he has put the Islamist agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood party ahead of the country's wider interests.

In Cairo, the anti-Morsi supporters are chanting: "Irhal! Irhal!" ("Leave! Leave!"), reports the BBC's Aleem Maqbool.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Egypt

Egypt's Mohamed Morsi faces mass protests: live updates -- The Guardian
Live: Egypt Protests -- Wall Street Journal
Massive protests in Egypt begin -- CBS/AP
Egyptian Protesters Call For Morsi’s Resignation -- Radio Free Europe
Thousands gather in Egypt for mass anti-Morsi rallies -- UPI
Egypt mass protests call on Morsi to step down -- CBC
Crowds Gather for Egypt Protest -- Voice of America
Egypt braces for storm of protest -- Reuters
Morsi arrives at Cairo to follow protests' developments -- YNet News
Egypt's Mohamed Morsi remains defiant as fears of civil war grow -- The Guardian
In pictures: Egypt protests -- BBC
Egypt: a revolution on the brink of self-destruction -- The Guardian/Observer editorial

If Egypt Turns Violent, US Marines Will Be Sent To Protect The US Emabssy And It's Citizens

Protesters destroy an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, in protests against US-made film insulting Prophet Mohamed, September 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Out Of Precaution, Marines On Ready To Go To Egypt To Protect U.S. Embassy, Citizens -- CNN

U.S. Marines stationed in southern Europe have been put on alert as a precaution in advance of expected large demonstrations and potential unrest in Egypt this weekend, CNN has learned.

About 200 combat capable Marines in Sigonella, Italy, and Moron, Spain, have been told to be ready to be airborne within 60 minutes of getting orders to deploy, according to two administration officials.

The units have several V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft that would carry troops and infantry weapons to Egypt to protect the U.S. Embassy and American government personnel and citizens if violence broke out against Americans.

The planned demonstrations are aimed against the Egyptian government.

Read more ....

More News On US Marines Being Prepared To Go To Egypt If The Situation Deteriorates

US Marines Put On Alert To Move Into Egypt Amid Violent Protests -- Business Insider
US moves to protect its citizens amid tensions in Egypt -- Ahram Online
Marines on Alert in Advance of Egypt Protests -- PJ Media
Marines on alert as Egypt ready to explode -- Rick Moran, American Thinker

My Comment:
It appears that the U.S. is expecting the worse.

Vice President Biden Asks Ecuador’s President To Not Give NSA Leaker Edward Snowden’s Asylum

Ecuador Leader Says Biden Called Him About Snowden -- New York Times

QUITO, Ecuador — President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said Saturday that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had asked him in a telephone call not to grant asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former security contractor wanted in the United States.

Mr. Correa, speaking on his weekly television broadcast, said that the two had a “cordial” conversation on Friday initiated by Mr. Biden, but said he could not decide on Mr. Snowden’s request until he entered Ecuador.

The fallout from Mr. Snowden’s disclosures widened Saturday, as the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the United States had eavesdropped on European Union offices in Washington, Brussels and at the United Nations in New York. Mr. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who revealed details about American surveillance programs, fled to Hong Kong last month and then left there in a bid to find a haven to escape charges of violating espionage laws in the United States. He arrived in Moscow last Sunday, where he has remained out of sight, apparently cloistered in a transit area of the airport there.

Read more ....

More News On Vice Presdient Biden Asking Ecuador’s President To Not Give NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Asylum

Biden asks Ecuador’s president to reject NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s asylum request -- Washington Post/AP
Biden Called Ecuador's President About Snowden -- Wall Street Journal
U.S. has asked Ecuador not to grant Edward Snowden asylum, President Rafael Correa confirmed -- Reuters
Vice President Biden asks Ecuador for “favor” — reject Snowden asylum -- Miami Herald
Ecuador president says spoke to US vice president about Snowden -- FOX News/AFP
VP Biden discussed Snowden with Ecuador's president, White House says -- NBC
US and Ecuador discuss Snowden's bid for asylum -- BBC
U.S. asks Ecuador to reject any asylum request from Edward Snowden -- CNN

My Comment: I know that President Obama labeled NSA leaker Edward Snowden as a young hacker. But to have the Vice President himself get personally involved on a diplomatic level to stop Eward Snowden tells me that they are very nervous on what will Edward Snowden be leaking next .... and more to the point .... they want him locked up before he leaks any more incriminating data.

FISA Court Judges Upset With Recent NSA Leaks That Portrays Them As Collaborators With The Government On Spying

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, the government is required to obtain a judicial warrant — similar to those issued in criminal investigations — before federal intelligence agencies can conduct electronic surveillance and gather intelligence within the United States in the interest of national security. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was established by Congress to approve or deny warrant applications related to national security investigations.

Secret-Court Judges Upset At Portrayal Of ‘Collaboration’ With Government -- Washington Post

Recent leaks of classified documents have pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government’s secret surveillance programs, but members of the court are chafing at the suggestion that they were collaborating with the executive branch.

A classified 2009 draft report by the National Security Agency’s inspector general relayed some details about the interaction between the court’s judges and the NSA, which sought approval for the Bush administration’s top-secret domestic surveillance programs. The report was described in The Washington Post on June 16 and released in full Thursday by The Post and the British newspaper the Guardian.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, took the highly unusual step Friday of voicing open frustration at the account in the report and court’s inability to explain its decisions.

Read more ....

My Comment: I suspect that these judges never thought in their wildest dreams that some young intelligence subcontractor would eventually leak some of the most important details and workings of this secret court to the public .... specifically at suggestions that they were/are collaborating with the executive branch.

Guardian Editors Discuss NSA Surveillance With Charlie Rose – video

WNU Editor: Chrlie Rose's first question is the one that is the most important .... "what does the Guardian know?" .... and the editor's from the Guardian give a response that is very clear .... they have more intel and news that they will be publishing soon.

The NSA Can Store A Billion Cell Phone Calls Every Day

Glenn Greenwald: NSA Can Store A Billion Cell Phone Calls Every Day -- Huffington Post

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald says he has another big scoop about the National Security Agency's surveillance practices up his sleeve.

Speaking over Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, Greenwald claimed that the NSA has the ability to store one billion phone calls each day.

Greenwald's reporting earlier this month sparked the scandal over NSA surveillance practices that is currently plaguing the Obama administration. The stories were based on classified documents leaked to him by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and Greenwald indicated Friday night that he's sitting on several more -- one of which he decided to talk about even though his story on it hasn't been published yet.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That The NSA Can Store A Billion Cell Phone Calls Every Day

Greenwald on ‘coming’ leak: NSA can obtain one billion cell phone calls a day, store them and listen -- RT
Greenwald: NSA Can Store ‘One Billion Cell Phone Calls Every Single Day’ -- The Blaze
Glenn Greenwald Previews the Guardian's Next NSA Surveillance Document Leak -- Slate

My Comment: Any doubts on Glenn Greenwald's political leanings were put to rest when he made this latest "NSA billion cell phone call" claim at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago. But aside his political leanings .... which I disagree with 101% .... the focus should be on the NSA story and not on Glenn Greenwald's personal life or political leanings. Unfortunately .... in today's highly politicized world .... many in the mainstream media are not following that rule. More here on Glenn Greenwald .... and Glenn Greenwald's response to this media focus on his personal life is here.

The Guardian Deletes It's Front Page Story That The NSA Has A Secret Data Collection Agreement With Several European Countries

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

The Guardian Revealed A Major NSA 'Scoop' Then Deleted It From Their Website -- Business Insider

The Guardian released another shocking NSA scoop on Saturday, revealing collusion and mass harvesting of personal communications among the United States and at least six European Union countries — only to delete it from their website hours after publication.

The article, titled "Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America," was written by Jamie Doward, who reported information from Wayne Madsen, a former Navy Lt. and NSA employee for 12 years.

Doward wrote:

Madsen said the countries had "formal second and third party status" under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.

Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships.

Read more ....

Update: Guardian/Observer pulls front-page NSA story after source turns out to be a fruitloop who thinks Obama is gay -- The Telegraph

WNU Editor: A cache copy of the deleted story is above (click on image to enlarge). Drudge and Salon are still running with the story .... but it will not surprise me if they pull it also.

U.S. Intelligence Bugged And Targeted EU Offices And Computer networks

Attacks From America: NSA Spied on European Union Offices -- Spiegel Online

America's NSA intelligence service allegedly targeted the European Union with its spying activities. According to SPIEGEL information, the US placed bugs in the EU representation in Washington and infiltrated its computer network. Cyber attacks were also perpetrated against Brussels in New York and Washington.

Information obtained by SPIEGEL shows that America's National Security Agency (NSA) not only conducted online surveillance of European citizens, but also appears to have specifically targeted buildings housing European Union institutions. The information appears in secret documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden that SPIEGEL has in part seen. A "top secret" 2010 document describes how the secret service attacked the EU's diplomatic representation in Washington.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That The NSA Spied On EU Diplomats And Officials

EU concern over Der Spiegel claim of US spying -- BBC
Washington 'bugged key EU offices' - German magazine -- BBC
Report: NSA spied on EU institutions -- Deutsche Welle
U.S. bugged EU offices, computer networks: German magazine -- Reuters
NSA reportedly spied on European Union offices --
EU diplomats in Washington, New York and Brussels spied on by NSA -- Digital Journal
EU officials 'targeted' in US spying programme -- FOX News/AFP
NSA suveillance: US 'bugged EU offices' -- The Telegraph
NSA reportedly bugged European Union offices in Washington DC, the UN, and abroad -- The Verge
Der Spiegel says US bugged EU offices in Washington -- Ars Technica
EU Presdient 'shocked' by alleged US eavesdropping on EU diplomats -- European Voice
New Snowden Leaks: US Bugged, Spied on EU Offices -- Newser

My Comment: If these reports are true .... it appears that the NSA is spying on everyone .... both friend and foe. On a side note .... when German Chancellor met President Obama a few weeks she brought up the NSA spying program. No reports on what was President Obama's answer .... but I suspect that these revelations are now making the White House very nervous. On a side note .... it is clear that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden still has a lot more information and secrets to make public.

New Released Slides On NSA's Prism Program Explicitly Mentions Real-Time Monitoring

NSA Slides Explain The PRISM Data-Collection Program -- Washington Post

The top-secret PRISM program allows the U.S. intelligence community to gain access from nine Internet companies to a wide range of digital information, including e-mails and stored data, on foreign targets operating outside the United States. The program is court-approved but does not require individual warrants. Instead, it operates under a broader authorization from federal judges who oversee the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Some documents describing the program were first released by The Washington Post on June 6. The newly released documents below give additional details about how the program operates, including the levels of review and supervisory control at the NSA and FBI. The documents also show how the program interacts with the Internet companies. These slides, annotated by The Post, represent a selection from the overall document, and certain portions are redacted.

Read more ....

More News On The Latest NSA Leaks Being Made Public

New PRISM slides: more than 100,000 'active surveillance targets,' explicit mention of real-time monitoring -- The Verge
Washington Post reveals new PRISM slides, offers greater clarity into the US' surveillance operation -- Edgadget
Newly released NSA slides explain mechanics of US surveillance -- RT
4 New Slides Of The NSA's PRISM Spying Program Have Been Published -- SFGate/Business Insider
Latest NSA leak details PRISM's bigger picture -- ZDNet
New PRISM slides say the program allows NSA to eavesdrop on live conversations -- Gigaom

My Comment: NSA officials and their political masters have .... for the past few weeks .... been blunt in stating that they do not conduct real-time monitoring. These slides completely contradict that narrative. In short .... we have been lied to.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Look At The Future Of US Army Aviation

US Army Aviation Into The 2050s -- DEW Line

The US Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) posted this video looking at future Army aviation concepts out to the 2050s. Frankly, a lot of these concepts look like they come out of the Halo series of video games or the movie Avatar--which is cool, but hopefully still technically feasible.

Dr Bill Lewis, director of the AMRDEC's Aviation Development Directorate, says he wants to encourage industry experts to view their video--conceived by their engineers and graphics artists--and to tell the Army if these ideas are feasible.

Some of the concepts include tilt-rotors that turn into jets...

Read more ....

My Comment: As the previous post reveals .... these may be great ideas but it all comes down to money .... money that the US Army certainly does not have in today's world .... let alone in the future.

The 'Grounding' Of The U.S. Air Force

Grounded: Budget Concerns Create “No-Fly Zone” for U.S. Military -- Heritage Foundation

As a result of defense budget instability, the Air Force is trying to figure out how to maintain current operations with fewer resources. It’s not possible, says retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, stressing that a failure to modernize aircraft will result in an Air Force that struggles to complete its missions or even get off the ground. He speaks from personal experience.

In 1977, Deptula flew an F-15 for the first time. In 2008, his son, Lt. David A. Deptula II, flew the same F-15 at Kadena Air Force Base in Japan. These planes are operating well beyond their expected service lives because successive Administrations and Congresses have failed to properly modernize the Air Force. With hundreds of billions cut from defense in recent years and sequestration’s effects still unclear, Congress needs to make a stronger commitment to the services to ensure they continue operating sufficiently.

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My Comment:
A case for not cutting the U.S. Air Force budget.

World News Briefs -- June 29, 2013

In Egypt, Clashes Rage On Between Morsy's Supporters, Foes -- CNN

Cairo (CNN) -- Supporters of Egypt's embattled president turned out at a protest venue in the Cairo neighborhood Nasr City again Saturday. They have said that they plan to demonstrate on Mohamed Morsy's behalf indefinitely.

His opponents are planning massive countrywide demonstrations on Sunday, the one year anniversary of his presidency, to call for his ouster.

Clashes between the two sides in the port city of Alexandria raged on until early Saturday, state media reported.

The violence between the two sides left behind casualties.

Read more ....


Syrian army, backed by jets, launch Homs assault. Syrian fighter jets hit central city of Homs.

Syria rebels seize key Deraa army post.

Lebanese army threatens media that depict Hezbollah in Sidon battle.

Bombs hit Iraq funeral and football stadium, killing 22.

Iran's Rouhani hints will balance hardline, reformist demands.

Jordanians 'suspicious' about US military deployment.

Kurdish mourners blast Turkish government after shootings.

Kerry steps up shuttle talks with Abbas and Netanyahu.

Iraq Premier Maliki to visit Moscow soon.


North Korea to discuss nuclear talks in Moscow - report.

Eight soldiers killed by roadside bomb in south Thailand.

Britain's Cameron in Afghanistan to push for peace talks.

Afghan army may need NATO support until 2020, U.K. official says.

UK forces begin transfer of Afghan detainees.

'Terrorists' attack police station in restive Chinese province.

Rudd comeback gives Australia's ruling Labor party a popularity boost.

America’s Pacific force structure takes shape.


Obama meets Mandela's family in South Africa. Barack Obama to visit Mandela family in South Africa tour. Obamas to meet Mandela family, not visit hospital.

Mandela family feud over where he should be buried.

Mandela's passing and the looming threat of a race war against South Africa's whites. As a widow mourns the latest murdered Afrikaner farmer, a chilling dispatch from a nation holding its breath.

Egypt prepares for worst ahead of Sunday protest.

US warns against Egypt travel after deadly clashes.

Nigeria cattle feud: Villagers killed in Plateau state.

Five dead in Somali port city as leadership dispute rages.

Senegal President asks Obama for more help against Islamists.

Court in Guinea charges notorious military commander Claude Pivi for 2009 stadium massacre.


EU set for Serbia membership talks.

Vatican accountant accused of smuggling $26 million in private jet with ex-Italian spy.

Bernard Tapie under investigation in France over organised fraud allegations.

Deputy PM expects sabotage attempts against Russia in Arctic.

Snowden’s stay in Moscow souring relations with US.

While N.S.A. leaker stays in hiding, Russian TV builds a pedestal for him.

Rumoured girlfriend of Vladimir Putin breaks silence.

German court blocks full release of Nazi Eichmann files.


Ecuador tells US to explain its spy programme.

Analysis: Brazil's mass protests peak, ball in politicians' court.

Colombia says closer than ever to peace with rebels.

Number of US federal wiretaps rose 71 percent in 2012.

Heat wave strikes western US as temps approach 120 in Phoenix, Las Vegas.

Boston Marathon bombing victims will split $60.9 million.

Who makes the most in Obama's White House?


Guantanamo criticized over inmate death.

Somalia's al-Shabab leader Aweys 'not surrendering'.

Online jihadists discuss fate of al Qaeda operative held by Saudi Arabia.

How not to identify terrorists (commentary).


Volatile quarter takes global shares down, gold plunges.

Gold crashes through production cost levels.

Facebook to remove ads from controversial pages after major companies boycott site.

Wall Street Week Ahead: Fed fears may be gone but brace for volatility.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 29, 2013

Russia's S-500 Air Defense System To Be Ready In 2016 - General Staff -- Russia Beyond The Headlines

Mass delivery of new armaments and military hardware for the forces will start in 2016, Russian General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov said.

"A new tank, an infantry combat vehicle and an armored personnel carrier will be ready in 2015; the Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation, the S-500 air defense system and a corvette will become available in 2016, and a new-generation destroyer will be created in 2018," he said at a meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry Board in Moscow on Thursday.

The work on these armaments "has been steady and uninterrupted," he said.

Read more ....


Japan lifts order to destroy DPRK's missiles -- China Daily

Russia to Deliver 10 Helicopter Gunships to Iraq -- RIA Novosti

All Russian Missile Brigades to Get Iskander Systems by 2018 -- RIA Novosti

Antonov An-148 Prospects Boosted by Russian Military Order -- AIN Online

Russian-US Warheads-for-Fuel Program to End in 2013 -- RIA Novosti

6 Sailors Charged with Mutiny in German Naval First -- Defense News/AFP

Fernandez shakes up Argentine military command -- Space War/UPI

Canadian Navy low on frigates to ship back HMCS Toronto crew -- CBC

Sea Harrier Jump Jet For Sale On eBay -- AVWeb

Agni-V to be tested twice this year, could be inducted by 2015 -- Times of India

SKorea extends $7.3 billion fighter jet bidding -- Stars and Stripes/AP

Italy’s F-35 Stealth Fighter Purchase Review Signals More Cuts Ahead -- Business Insider

Loading cargo out of Afghanistan takes special effort to prevent crashes -- Stars and Stripes

BAE Tests New Smart Munition -- Defense Tech

Lawmakers Protect Funding to Refurbish Humvees -- DoD Buzz

Photo Release -- HII Awarded $745 Million Contract to Inactivate USS Enterprise (CVN 65) -- Huntington Ingalls Industry

Boeing: Assembly begins on KC-46. -- Defense News

Additional F-35s coming to Luke AFB -- Luke Air Force Base

Marines Will Sacrifice Everything But ACV & Readiness To Sequester; Marine Personnel Carrier Dropped: Gen. Amos -- Breaking Defense

Hagel: Cuts have begun to hurt military readiness -- Army Times

The NSA Has Processed 1 TRILLION Pieces Of Internet Metadata — And That's Just The Start -- Business Insider

Senators Ask if NSA Collected Gun Data -- Washington Free Beacon

Senators accuse government of using 'secret law' to collect Americans' data -- The Guardian

Senators' letter to US director of national intelligence James Clapper -- The Guardian

Company allegedly misled government about security clearance checks -- Washington Post

DOD Contractors to Get New Whistleblower Protections
-- US Department of Defense

House passes bill to stop reprisals against military sexual assault victims -- Navy Times

2 Marines first Osprey pilots awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses -- Stars and Stripes

101st Airborne wants to save ‘Band of Brothers’ regiment of WWII fame from the chopping block -- Washington Post/AP

Did Four-Star Gen. James Cartwright Leak The Stuxnet Virus Story?

Gen. James E. Cartwright. Photo by Hyungwon Kang/Reuters

Who Leaked the Stuxnet Virus Story? -- Fred Kaplan

Why retired Gen. James Cartwright is facing allegations—and could be the first higher-up to go down.

In one way, it’s a big surprise that the Justice Department is investigating retired Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright for allegedly leaking classified information about the Stuxnet computer virus, which briefly disabled Iran’s nuclear program a few years back.

In another way, though, it’s not a surprise at all.

It’s surprising because four-star generals, active or retired, aren’t the usual targets of such probes. This is especially so of a general like Cartwright, who, from 2007–11, was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the U.S. military’s second-highest-ranking officer—and who, in his final years, was known as “Obama’s favorite general.” Officers of this stature tend to build layers of insulation around themselves.

Read more ....

Previous Post: The Obama Administration's Infighting Suddenly Goes Public

My Comment: It looks like he was someone who stepped on a lot of toes.

Britain's Top General: The West Should Have Negotiated With The Taliban A Decade Ago

Militants: Taliban fighters were on the run after they were toppled from power more than a decade ago

'We Should Have Talked To Taliban' Says Top British Officer In Afghanistan -- The Guardian

Exclusive: General Nick Carter says west could have struck a deal with Taliban leaders after they were toppled a decade ago

The west should have tried talking to the Taliban a decade ago, after they had just been toppled from power, the top British commander in Afghanistan has told the Guardian, barely a week after the latest attempt to bring the insurgent group to the negotiating table stuttered to a halt.

General Nick Carter, deputy commander of the Nato-led coalition, said Afghan forces would need western military and financial support for several years after western combat troops head home in 2014. And he said the Kabul government may have to accept that for some years it would have only shaky control over some remoter parts of the country.

Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, he said: "Back in 2002, the Taliban were on the run. I think that at that stage, if we had been very prescient, we might have spotted that a final political solution to what started in 2001, from our perspective, would have involved getting all Afghans to sit at the table and talk about their future,"

Read more ....

More News On Comments By Britain's Top General That The West Should Have Negotiated With The Taliban A Decade Ago

West should have talked to Taliban after toppling them a DECADE ago, says top UK general -- Daily Mail
West should have negotiated with Taliban a decade ago, says British general -- The Telegraph
West should have talked to Taliban: British general -- AFP
West should have talked to Taliban - British general -- BBC
Peace talks with Taliban Group needed decade ago -- Khaama Press

My Comment: I disagree with this argument. When US forces went into Afghanistan they quickly decimated much of the leadership of the Taliban, and those who were not killed quickly went underground in Pakistan. There was no one left to negotiate with. The institution that we should have talked to were the Pakistanis .... who even to this day are the ones who have the most leverage with the Taliban.

Update: Even British PM Cameron believes that such talks should have been done a decade ago.

The U.S. Air Force Is Still Formidable

Fifteen C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., fly over the city of Charleston, S.C.'s Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge Dec. 20, 2007, during a training exercise. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.

In Case You Forgot, America’s Got a Ton of Warplanes -- Is Boring

Way more than Russia and China put together

The U.S. military possesses 14,776 warplanes. That’s nearly triple what Russia and China have, combined.

The latest figures for America’s aerial arsenal come from the Pentagon’s annual aviation plan, submitted to Congress each year in order to justify long-term spending plans.

The latest air power plan, obtained early by Colin Clark from the Website Breaking Defense, shows the air fleets of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Army holding steady for the next decade, dropping only slightly to 14,645 in 2023.

The cost to buy, maintain and upgrade these thousands of aircraft is expected to increase to more than $100 billion annually by the mid-2020s.

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My Comment:
That is a lot of airplanes .... it also puts a lot of things into perspective.

Encryption Is Foiling U.S. Wiretaps For The First Time

Encryption Has Foiled Wiretaps for First Time Ever, Feds Say -- Threat Level

For the first time, encryption is thwarting government surveillance efforts through court-approved wiretaps, U.S. officials said today.

The disclosure, buried in a report by the U.S. agency that oversees federal courts, also showed that authorities armed with wiretap orders are encountering more encryption than before.

The revelation comes as encryption has come front and center in the wake of the NSA Spygate scandal, and as Americans consider looking for effective ways to scramble their communications from the government’s prying eyes.

According to today’s report from the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts:

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WNU Editor:
Here is an easy prediction .... the demand for encryption products will only increase with time. As for US wiretap requests .... this is not surprising ....  they are also increasing.

AFRICOM Commander During Libya Attack Speaks Out

My Comment: This meeting was conducted under closed doors .... and apparently raises more questions than answers.

Luke AFB F-16 Crash Caught On Video: Bird Strike Is Suspected

My Comment: An excellent explanation on the impact that bird strikes can have on an airplane.

America's Newest Aircraft Carrier Is Facing Serious Technical, Design And Construction Problems

Navy Should Delay Next Carrier Amid Troubles, GAO Audit Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek 

The U.S. Navy should delay the award of a multibillion-dollar contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII) to build the second aircraft carrier in a new class as the first one faces failings from its radar to the gear that launches planes, congressional investigators said.

 “Technical, design and construction challenges” with the first carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, have caused “significant cost increases and reduce the likelihood that a fully functional ship will be delivered on time,” the Government Accountability Office said in a draft report obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Ford, already the most expensive warship ever built, is projected to cost $12.8 billion, 22 percent more than estimated five years ago.

The report raises questions about the future of U.S. seapower in a time of reduced defense budgets and about whether new carriers are affordable as they assume greater importance in the Pentagon’s strategy to project U.S. power in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Update #1: Delay expected for USS Gerald R. Ford completion --  
Update #2: GAO recommends delay in ordering second carrier from Huntington Ingalls -- Sun Herald

My Comment: The USS Gerald Ford is already 20% over budget .... these problems will only mean greater costs and more delays.

Recent Iranian Rocket Tests Are Raising Concerns

Iran test fires a Fajr-3 missile [file photo] Photo: IRNA / Reuters

Iran ICBM Advances -- Washington Free Beacon

Iran conducts test of new rocket motor with ICBM capability.

U.S. intelligence agencies recently detected Iran conducting a static ground test of a large rocket motor that could be used for a future intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to U.S. officials.

Disclosure of the recent rocket engine test comes as Congress is prodding the Obama administration to deploy a third ground-based missile defense interceptor base on the U.S. East Coast.

“This engine could be used for an ICBM,” said one official familiar with the intelligence reports of the test.

No other details were available. A Defense Intelligence Agency spokesman declined to comment on the test.

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My Comment:
The Iranians have stated in the past that their goal was to deploy long-range missiles to deter their enemies .... these tests are just an indication that they are fulfilling their promises.

Picture Of The Day

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel conducts a news conference at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado Springs, Col., June 28, 2013. Hagel was on a two-day tour of military installations in Colorado. During the trip, Hagel met with Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

Russia's Navy Shows The Flag In the Mediterranean

Russian warships arrived at the Syrian port city of Tartus

Russia Flexes Its Muscles In The Mediterranean -- Deutsche Welle

Russia is in the midst of negotiations for a military presence on Cyprus. In addition to being part of a plan to build up its naval forces, analysts say Moscow needs to find an alternative to its base in Syria.

Reports that Russia is withdrawing all military personnel from its naval base in Syria and replacing them with civilian workers are wrong, the Russian Defense Ministry made announced on Thursday (27.06.2013) in Moscow. There is no need for the military to be based in Tartus, a city on Syria's Mediterranean coast, the press release said, "because maintenance of Russian warships was taken over by civilians long ago."

According to the ministry's statement, Tartus would remain Russia's naval base within the Mediterranean. But at the same time Moscow is clearly preparing for a loss. It has long been speculated that Russia, in the event of a regime change in Damascus, would give up the Tartus base. And now it seems they have found an alternative.

Read more ....

My Comment: They want to show the flag .... and to watch over the events that are unfolding in Syria.