Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why Are There Dump Trucks Filled With Sand At Trump Tower

Sanitation trucks filled with sand act as barricades along Fifth Avenue outside Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Business Insider: Why Trump Tower is surrounded by dump trucks filled with sand for Trump's visit to NYC

Protesters and ordinary New Yorkers noticed an odd sight in Midtown this week as President Donald Trump's Manhattan home of Trump Tower was surrounded by dump trucks filled with sand.

Some have complained about the inconvenience caused by the trucks taking up a lane on a busy street, but they serve a very practical role in protecting the president.

The massive trucks filled with sand provide a dense, protective barrier in the event of a bomb.

This is hardly the first time the trucks have come out for safety. On New Years Eve, the 20 ton trucks hauled another 15 tons of sand and lined the streets of Times Square where thousands would gather. During the November 8 election, both Trump Tower, and the Javits Center, where Hillary Clinton watched the election results, were lined with the heavy trucks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These dump trucks may not be aesthetically pleasing, but they would definitely help in blocking the impact of a bomb blast.

Are Russia And China Preparing To Go To War Against Each Other

© REUTERS/ Kim Kyung-Hoon

Eugene K. Chow, National Interest: Are Russia and China Preparing for War?

The frozen tundra along Russia’s far-eastern border with China is becoming a hot zone as both nations deploy nuclear-capable missiles to the area. Are two of the world’s most advanced militaries preparing for war with one another?

In June, Russia armed a fourth brigade in the far east with the deadly Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile system. There are now twice as many brigades equipped with these nuclear-capable missiles on the Chinese border than any other Russian military district. The Iskander-M has a range of 250–310 miles, which puts China squarely in its sights.

South of the border, China has reportedly moved the Dongfeng-41, an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads, to its northeastern-most province.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is no chance of war .... but this military buildup by both sides is raising eyebrows.

The Battle To Re-Take The ISIS Controlled Iraqi City Of Tal Afar Has Begun

Reuters: Iraq bombing Islamic State-held Tal Afar ahead of assault: Iraqi military spokesman

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi forces are carrying out air strikes on Tal Afar, a town held by Islamic State west of Mosul, in preparation for a ground assault, an Iraqi military spokesman said on Tuesday.

Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate effectively collapsed last month, when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces completed the recapture of Mosul, the militants' capital in northern Iraq, after a nine-month campaign.

Parts of Iraq and Syria remain however under Islamic State control, especially along the border.

Iraqi authorities had said Tal Afar, 80 km (50 miles) west of Mosul, will be the next target in the war on Islamic State, who swept through parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Read more ....

More News On The Battle To Re-Take The ISIS Controlled Iraqi City Of Tal Afar

Thousands flee as Iraq steps up airstrikes on Daesh-held town -- Daily Star/AP
Iraq army launches aerial offensive against IS-controlled Tal Afar -- DW
Iraqi forces, US coalition step up airstrikes ahead of Tal Afar ops -- RUDAW
Thousands flee as air strikes hit ISIL-held Tal Afar -- Al Jazeera
Iraq is preparing to take Tal Afar, here's why it matters -- The Jerusalem Post

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Afghan Taliban Send A Letter To President Trump

U.S. troops outside their base in Uruzgan Province in July

BBC: Taliban open letter to Trump urges Afghan withdrawal

As the White House mulls its next move in conflict-hit Afghanistan, the Taliban offer their advice in an open letter to the US president.

Donald Trump is, as the world knows, happy to talk about all sorts of things, but one area where he has maintained his silence is American policy in Afghanistan.

His military advisers concede that America's longest-ever war has reached a stalemate and have advised that he increase troop numbers to break it.

In the past, Mr Trump has hinted that his instinct is to cut America's losses and begin to pull back from the conflict. Meanwhile, the world awaits a decision.

We were told the White House would make its call by mid-July, but there has been silence. Then last week, Mr Trump announced he was "getting very close" to deciding on a strategy.

Read more ....

More News On The Afghan Taliban Sending A Letter To President Trump

Taliban tells Trump to leave Afghanistan -- The Hill
Taliban warn Trump against troop increase in open letter -- Digital Journal/AFP
Taliban's 'Open Letter' To Trump Urges U.S. To Leave Afghanistan -- RFE
Taliban to Trump: Withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan, foreign occupation is main driver of war -- RT
Taliban letter to Trump urges US to leave Afghanistan -- Al Jazeera
Analysis: Taliban propagandists release ‘open letter’ to President Trump -- Long War Journal

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis: Very Close To Announcing The New U.S. Strategy For Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. (DOD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

CNN: Mattis: Administration 'very, very close' to Afghanistan decision

Washington (CNN)Defense Secretary James Mattis said Monday that the Trump administration was "very, very close" to finalizing its new strategy in Afghanistan, but warned it had not been settled yet.

"The strategic decisions have not been made," Mattis said.

During comments at the Pentagon press area, Mattis insisted "all options" remained on the table for how to approach Afghanistan, and said those options included a full withdrawal as well as a proposal for the use of more contractors to manage the US effort there.

When asked if President Donald Trump had confidence in Gen. John Nicholson as the top US commander in Afghanistan, Mattis replied, "ask the President," and voiced his own support for the general.

"He is our commander in the field," Mattis said. "He has the confidence of NATO. He has the confidence of Afghanistan. He has the confidence of the United States, and the President again is looking at all aspects of our effort over there as he must in his responsibilities as the commander-in-chief."

Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster have been leading a review of US policy in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

WNU editor: Oh oh .... Mattis Mulls Plan to Privatize War in Afghanistan (DOD Buzz).

More News On Reports That The Pentagon Is Very Close To Announcing A New U.S. Strategy For Afghanistan

Private Security Firms Possibility in US Afghan Strategy -- VOA
Jim Mattis confirms Trump considering using security contractors in Afghanistan -- Washington Examiner
Full Withdrawal From Afghanistan Is An Option: Mattis -- TOLO News
Mattis is keeping all options on the table for Afghanistan -- We Are The Mighty

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized

Graffiti at the Lincoln Memorial, Tuesday. (National Park Service)

Washington Post: Lincoln Memorial vandalized with red spray paint

The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized with red spray paint early Tuesday, authorities said.

At about 4:30 a.m., graffiti was found on a column at the memorial, the National Park Service said in a statement. The graffiti was difficult to read, but appeared to say “[expletive] law,” the statement said.

Additional graffiti that couldn’t be read was found in silver spray paint on a Smithsonian wayfinding sign in the 1400 block of Constitution Avenue, according to the statement.

Read more ....

Update: Lincoln Memorial Sprayed With Paint, Profanity Days After Charlottesville Protests (Newsweek)

WNU Editor: As I had predicted after what had happened in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, the issue of race now predominates the news coverage. As to the destruction of historical monuments and the vandalism of memorials .... this is the fall-out, and here is an easy prediction .... this is going to get worse.

Should U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis Use The Word P***y?

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks with crew members from the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky at Naval Base Kitsap, in Bangor, Wash., Aug. 9, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)

Daily Mail: Mattis tells sailors they'll make a difference as military men because 'you're not some p***y sitting on the sidelines'

* Secretary of Defense James Mattis is known for salty language
* He told a submarine crew last week that they would never regret their military service because it means 'you're not some p***y sitting on the sidelines'
* Mattis believed he was addressing an all-male audience but it's unclear if any women serve aboard the USS Kentucky
* Gender politics are on the Pentagon's collective mind after President Donald Trump pledged to ban transgender recruits from serving in uniform

Secretary of Defense James Mattis praised a group of sailors last week by telling them they'll never regret military service because it's a sign they're 'not some p--y sitting on the sidelines.'

The Pentagon's official transcript of Mattis' August 9 remarks includes the line, which went unnoticed at the time.

'Thanks for sticking with the Navy,' he said at the Naval Base Kitsap in the state of Washington, adding that the experience would change them 'for the better for the rest of your life.'

Read more ....

WNU editor: Good grief!!!!

More News On U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis Using The Word P***y

In a meeting with sailors, Mattis lauds their service and vulgarly criticizes people ‘sitting on the sidelines’ -- Washington Post
Mattis praises sailors: 'You're not some p---- sitting on the sidelines' -- The Hill
Defense Secretary Mattis Uses Disparaging Term in Speech to Navy -- NBC
Mattis Praises Naval Officers: ‘You’re Not Some P***y Sitting on the Sidelines’ -- Washington Free Beacon

Soldiers From China And India Battle With Fists, Stones, And Iron Rods On Disputed Border

Reuters: India, China soldiers involved in border altercation: Indian sources

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in an altercation in the western Himalayas on Tuesday, Indian sources said, further raising tensions between the two countries which are already locked in a two-month standoff in another part of the disputed border.

A source in New Delhi, who had been briefed on the military situation on the border, said soldiers foiled a bid by a group of Chinese troops to enter Indian territory in Ladakh, near the Pangong lake.

Some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and in the melee there were minor injuries on both sides, the source said.

China's defense and foreign ministries did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The two sides have frequently accused each other of intrusions into each other's territories, but clashes are rare.

The Indian military declined to comment on the incident.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is becoming very predictable. Fists, rocks, and pipes are being used now .... it is only a matter of time before bullets are used. And after that .... expect heavy weapons.

More News On The Border Tensions Between China And India

India, China troops engage in stone pelting, fisticuffs in eastern Ladakh -- Tribune India
Doklam standoff: Indian, Chinese patrols clash on Ladakh lake, PLA skips Independence Day meets -- Indian Express
China, India in Another Border Skirmish 1,000 Miles From Standoff --
India and China 'preparing for armed conflict' if Bhutan solution not found -- The Independent
Squeezed by an India-China Standoff, Bhutan Holds Its Breath -- NYT

Iran Threatens To Restart its Nuclear Program Within Hours If The U.S. Passes New Sanctions

L.A. Times: In direct challenge to Trump, Iran's president says it could restart its nuclear program 'within hours'

Iran’s president on Tuesday warned it could restart its nuclear program “within hours or days” if the Trump administration continued its confrontational policies toward the Islamic Republic.

President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks were a direct response to Trump’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric toward Iran and his announcement of fresh sanctions on individuals and businesses connected to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Trump has also pledged to undo the 2015 agreement that Iran signed with the United States and five other world powers under which it suspended activities that could have led to the production of a nuclear bomb in exchange for a sharp reduction in international sanctions that had hammered its economy.

Read more ....

More News On Iran Threatening To Restart its Nuclear Program Within Hours If The U.S. Passes New Sanctions

Iran could quit nuclear deal in 'hours' if new U.S. sanctions imposed: Rouhani -- Reuters
Iran could restart nuclear programme within hours - Rouhani -- BBC
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Threatens to Back Out of Nuclear Deal -- Wall Street Journal
Iran's nuclear programme could restart ‘in hours’ if US impose new sanctions -- The Independent
Iran threatens to quit nuclear deal if new sanctions imposed -- The Hill
Rouhani says Iran could quit nuclear deal in 'hours' if new US sanctions imposed -- CNN
Iran could quit nuclear deal if new sanctions imposed -- Al Jazeera
Iran ready to scrap nuclear deal ‘within hours’ if US imposes new sanctions – Rouhani -- RT
U.S. envoy says Iran cannot 'hold world hostage' with nuclear deal -- Reuters
Iran's risky nuclear deal threat -- Matthias von Hein, DW

A-10 Pilot 'Belly Lands' His Plane After Major Malfunction

Capt. Brett DeVries, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot of the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, poses next to the aircraft he safely landed after a malfunction forced him to make an emergency landing July 20 at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. Photo courtesy US Air National Guard

Business Insider: A-10 pilot manages to 'belly land' his plane after gun malfunctions, canopy blows off, and landing gear fails

After a routine training run in Alpena County, Michigan in late July, US Air National Guard Capt. Brett DeVries survived the perfect storm of malfunctions to safely land his A-10 Thunderbolt II on its belly without the benefit of landing gear.

During a training exercise where A-10 pilots practice dropping inert bombs and ripping the planes' massive gun, DeVries' gun malfunctioned. Moments later, his canopy blew off his plane as he flew along at 375 miles an hour, according to a US Air National Guard write up of the event.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently this A-10 can be fixed to fly again. Another testament on the resilience of the A-10.

Marine Corps Vets With Combat Experience Are Leaving The U.S. Military

A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)

Jeff Schogol , Military Times: Where have all the combat vets gone?

The Marine Corps is facing a troubling drain of combat experience as thousands of battle-hardened Marines have left the Corps during the past several years.

The number of Marines on active-duty who have been awarded Combat Action Ribbons has dropped by more than half over the past five years — from a high of more than 40,000 at the time of the surge in Afghanistan in 2011 to fewer than 17,500 in 2016 — according to data obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In today’s Corps, fewer than one in five Marines has a single deployment under their belt and the number of Marines who have deployed twice is now less than one in 10, according to Marine Corps officials.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. Air Force is also having the same problem .... A 'quiet crisis' in the Air Force is sapping the service of manpower (Business Insider).

Amateur Drone Operator Was Able To Land His Drone On Britain's Newest Aircraft Carrier

Daily Mail: Big Lizzie outflanked by a £300 drone: Astonishing moment pilot is able to fly his tiny aircraft over the Royal Navy's most advanced warship before LANDING on the deck (and then taking off again!)

* Costing £3.1billion and weighing 65,000 tonnes, she's Britain's biggest and most advanced warship ever
* But HMS Queen Elizabeth has been outmanoevred by a £300 drone which landed on the deck unchallenged
* The drone pilot, who wanted to remain anonymous, made the daring flight while the carrier was docked
* The flight may now be discussed in Scotland's Parliament by MSPs who are concerned about security flaws

Costing £3.1billion and weighing 65,000 tonnes, she's Britain's biggest and most advanced warship ever built.

But HMS Queen Elizabeth has been outmanoevred by a £300 drone which landed on the deck completely unchallenged.

The drone pilot, who wanted to remain anonymous, made the daring flight while the aircraft carrier was docked at Invergordon, Scotland in July.

He flew over the carrier before touching down on the four-acre deck and then taking off again unchecked.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This security breach is probably not going to happen again.

More News On An Amateur Drone Operator Being Able To Land His Drone On Britain's Newest Aircraft Carrier

Tiny drone lands on Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier -- BBC
Drone enthusiast 'amazed' as he lands device on deck of £3bn HMS Queen Elizabeth without being detected -- The Telegraph
Amateur Drone Lands on the U.K.'s New Aircraft Carrier, No One Even Notices -- Popular Mechanics
An amateur drone pilot managed to land on the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier completely unnoticed -- Business Insider
Largest UK Navy carrier security under review after amateur lands drone on deck undetected -- RT
A drone landed on Britain's biggest warship and nobody cared -- Endgadget
Ministry of Defence ups security after drone lands on £3bn Queen Elizabeth warship -- International Business Times

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

U.S. Marine Corps' members launch a mortar during a joint exercise with Japan's Ground Self Defense Force, named Northern Viper 17 at Hokudaien exercise area in Eniwa, on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan August 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... U.S. and Japan hold joint military drills (Reuters).

Editor's Note

Some have asked me on why the irregular blogging schedule this past week. This is just temporary. Family and business have intersected and they have eaten up all of my free time .... time that I always use for blogging. Fortunately, everything will return to normal by this Monday. As for today, I will be posting some stuff tonight..

A Look At The U.S. Firepower That Is On Alert In The Western Pacific Because Of North Korea

US Department of Defesne

Alex Lockie, Task & Purpose/Business Insider: Here’s All The US Navy Firepower On Alert In The Pacific To Keep North Korea In Check

As tensions reach a fever pitch between the U.S. and North Korea, with Pyongyang announcing its intentions to fire missiles towards the U.S. territory of Guam, the U.S. Navy has continued to patrol and span the entire Pacific ocean with power and reach unparalleled on earth.

Near Japan, within a short steam of Guam and the Korean Peninsula, sits the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike and the guided-missile destroyers and cruisers in its strike group.

The Reagan’s strike group is the only forward-based aircraft carrier in the U.S.’s arsenal and trains specifically for Asia-Pacific-specific missions. One of the destroyers in the group recently conducted freedom of navigation operation against excessive Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is not what it can be .... the U.S. can deploy more .... but the hope is that it will be enough to dissuade North Korea from making a fatal mistake.

North Korea 'Blinks'

Wall Street Journal: North Korea Backs Off Guam Missile-Attack Threat

Kim Jong Un warns he could change his mind if the U.S. persists in ‘extremely dangerous reckless actions’.

SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Tuesday, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”

(For a deeper analysis of the issues in this story, please see “North Korea Backs Off Threat to Hit Guam”)

The report, published early Tuesday, could help dial back tensions that had spiraled last week following an exchange of threats between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump warned Pyongyang last week that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and could engulf the North in “fire and fury,” while North Korea, through its state media, had threatened to fire four missiles in a bid to surround the U.S. territory of Guam in “enveloping fire.”

North Korean state media said in its report Tuesday that Mr. Kim had made his decision not to fire on Guam after visiting a military command post and examining a military plan presented to him by his senior officers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Did China read Kim Jong-Un the "riot act" .... or did he decide on his own. My guess is a combination of both.

U.S. Marines Corps Embraces Virtual Reality To Train Snipers

U.S. Marine Corps

Sarah Sicard, Task & Purpose: Here’s How The Marine Corps Will Train Future Snipers

First-person shooter is one of the most popular perspectives among gamers, but these simulations can be used for much more than entertainment — specifically military training. And thanks to new the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer III, Marine Corps marksmen are about to take their sharpshooting skills to a whole new level.

Though the Corps has been using virtual reality to train Marines for two decades, the systems for marksmanship have become exponentially better.

With the ISMT III, Marines have access to multiple weapons: the M9 service pistol, M4 carbine, and wireless weapons, including the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, M32A1 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher and M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon.

This latest iteration, modeled off the Firearms Training Simulator (FATS), also boasts three-dimensional projections and features enhanced training modes, “giving Marines a better, more realistic training experience as they prepare for the complexities of modern warfare,” the release said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These virtual reality simulations have exploded in popularity and sophistication .... I can only imagine what these virtual reality simulations will look like 10 - 20 years from now.