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3 American Doctors Killed in Kabul Hospital Shooting

ABC News reports: An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday, killing three American doctors and leaving two other people wounded, officials said. A father and son were among the victims, ABC News has learned.

An ambulance leaves Cure Hospital after three foreigners were killed in Kabul, April 24, 2014. Three foreigners were killed when a security guard opened fire at Cure Hospital, an international hospital, in the Afghan capital, Kabul, security sources said, in the latest of a series of attacks against foreign civilians. Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

An ambulance leaves Cure Hospital after three foreigners were killed in Kabul, April 24, 2014. Three foreigners were killed when a security guard opened fire at Cure Hospital, an international hospital, in the Afghan capital, Kabul, security sources said, in the latest of a series of attacks against foreign civilians.
Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

According to Kabul police, a female American nurse was also wounded in the attack.

The victims’ identities are not yet known, but the U.S. Embassy in Kabul confirmed that they are Americans. Read the rest of this entry »

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Superpowered Autopilot: Pentagon Plans to Replace Flight Crews with Full-Time Robots

For The Washington TimesDouglas Ernst reports: The Pentagon’s research agency tasked with developing breakthrough technologies for national security has come up with a plan for dealing with shrinking budgets: robotic flight crews..

ALIAS envisions a tailorable, drop‐in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew. (Image: DARPA)

ALIAS envisions a tailorable, drop‐in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew. (Image: DARPA)

[See WIRED: Pentagon’s Superpowered Autopilot Will Do the Work of 5 Crew Members]

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working on technology that will be able to replace up to five crew members on military aircraft, in effect making the lone human operator a “mission supervisor,” tech magazine Wired reported.

The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) would offer the military a “tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew,” DARPA said….(read more)

Washington Times

Read the rest of this entry »


120th Anniversary: Chinese Strategists Reflect on the First Sino-Japanese War

thediplomat-japan-china

A collection of essays on the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 has obvious implications for modern China.

For The Diplomat, Shannon Tiezzi writes;  China is gearing up for the 120th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War, which began in 1894 and ended with China’s defeat in 1895. The war was a devastating blow to China’s then-rulers, the Qing dynasty, as China had always considered Japan a ‘little brother’ rather than a serious competitor. The war is often seen as the defining point when power in East Asia shifted from China to Japan, as Tokyo claimed control of the Chinese territories of Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula (site of the port city of Dalian) as well as Korea (which changed from being a Chinese vassal to an officially independent state under Japanese influence).

” The war was a devastating blow to China’s then-rulers, the Qing dynasty, as China had always considered Japan a ‘little brother’ rather than a serious competitor.”

To commemorate the 120th anniversary of the war, Xinhua published a special supplement to its Reference News newspaper. The supplement consisted of 30 articles by members of the People’s Liberation Army “analyzing what China can learn from its defeat” in the Sino-Japanese war. Summing up the articles, Xinhuasaid that “the roots of China’s defeat lay not on military reasons, but the outdated and corrupt state system, as well as the ignorance of maritime strategy.” This conclusion has obvious modern-day applications, as China’s leadership is currently emphasizing both reform and a new focus on China’s navy.

“Japan’s victory proved that its westernization drive, the Meiji Restoration, was the right path, despite its militarist tendency.”

The PLA authors laid the bulk of the blame for China’s defeat on the Qing dynasty’s failure to effectively modernize. “Japan’s victory proved that its westernization drive, the Meiji Restoration, was the right path, despite its militarist tendency,” Xinhua summarized. Political commissar of China’s National Defense University Liu Yazhou compared Japan’s reforms to China’s: “One made reforms from its mind, while another only made changes on the surface.”

Though these comments are referencing a conflict from 120 years ago, it’s easy to see the relevance for today. Xi Jinping is trying to spearhead China’s most ambitious reform package since the days of Deng Xiaoping, including not only difficult economic rebalancing but also an overhaul of the way China’s bureaucracy (both civilian and military) is organized. In other words, China still needs to finish the modernization project that the Qing half-heartedly began in the 19th century. Westernization (what today China would call modernization) remains “the right path.” Read the rest of this entry »


Experts: Civilians Not Ready for EMP-Caused Blackout

The government testing electromagnetic pulses uses a simulator hanging over an airborne command post.

For Watchdog.orgJosh Peterson writes: The catastrophic effects of an electromagnetic pulse-caused blackout could be preventable, but experts warn the civilian world is still not ready.

Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, said the technology to avoid disaster from electromagnetic pulses exists, and upgrading the nation’s electrical grid is financially viable.

Heathkit-HamRadio

“The problem is not the technology,” Pry said. “We know how to protect against it. It’s not the money, it doesn’t cost that much. The problem is the politics. It always seems to be the politics that gets in the way.”

IT’S STOPPABLE: Peter Vincent Pry says technology exists to protect against the damage from electromagnetic pulses.

He said the more officials plan, the lower the estimated cost gets.

“If you do a smart plan — the Congressional EMP Commission estimated that you could protect the whole country for about $2 billion,” Pry told Watchdog.org. “That’s what we give away in foreign aid to Pakistan every year.”

In the first few minutes of an EMP, nearly half a million people would die. That’s the worst-case scenario that author William R. Forstchen estimated in 2011 would be the result of an EMP on the electric grid — whether by an act of God, or a nuclear missile detonating in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic energy strong enough to disable, and even destroy, nearby electronic devices.

The scenario sounds like something in a Hollywood film, but the U.S. military has been preparing its electronic systems for such an event since the Cold War. The protective measures taken to harden facilities against a nuclear attack also help in some cases to protect against EMPs.

The civilian world is another story. Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Putin’s Next Move

Vladimir Putin Wikimedia Commons_1

ForWorld Affairs JournalMichael Totten writes: If Vladimir Putin invades Poland, I’ll eat my hat.

It’s not going to happen.

Even so, American ground troops are being deployed there as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. This is the West telling him STOP. He’s not going to invade a European Union or NATO state either way, but we’d end up sending a crazy-weak signal if all we did was collectively shrug.

“Even an unspoken threat of invasion, occupation, and annexation is enough to make Ukraine act with tremendous caution toward Moscow, but if Putin pulls the trigger, Kiev would have nothing left to lose.”

Ukraine still isn’t in NATO, however, and probably never will be, so it’s still vulnerable. Putin can slice it and dice it all over again. The US won’t physically stop him for the same reason he won’t invade Poland. Nobody wants to blow up the world, especially not over this.

So Ukraine’s vulnerable. Pro-Russian militiamen are occupying dozens of government buildings, city halls, and police stations in the eastern part of the country where many ethnic Russians live. It’s hard to say for sure if Putin is egging these people on or if they’re acting on their own, envious of their cousins in Crimea who got to go “home” without moving. Either way, they’re serving Putin’s agenda.

By annexing Crimea, he proved to the world that he’s willing to mutilate Ukraine when it displeases him, which it very much did when it cast off his vassal, Viktor Yanukovych, in February. Read the rest of this entry »


Gunboat Economics: China Seizes Japanese Ship — As Payment for Pre-World War II Debt

chinese_frigate_reuters

(AFP) — Tokyo warned Monday that the seizure of a Japanese ship in Shanghai over pre-war debts threatened ties with China and could undermine the very basis of their diplomatic relationship.

Authorities in Shanghai seized the large freight vessel in a dispute over what the Chinese side says are unpaid bills relating to the 1930s, when Japan occupied large swathes of China.

[ALSO SEE: CHINA ECONOMIC REVIEW: "GUNBOAT ECONOMICS"]

The move is the latest to illustrate the bitter enmity at the heart of Tokyo-Beijing ties, with the two sides embroiled in a dispute over the ownership of a small archipelago and snapping at each other over differing interpretations of history.

Mr Suga said Japan was "deeply concerned" about the seizure of a cargo ship in China

Mr Suga said Japan was “deeply concerned” about the seizure of a cargo ship in China

Shanghai Maritime Court said Saturday it had seized “the vessel Baosteel Emotion owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines… for enforcement of an effective judgement” made in December 2007.

“The arrested vessel will be dealt with by the law if Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. still refuses to perform its obligations,” the court said.

Chinese and Hong Kong media said the seizure was related to a verdict by a court in Shanghai that said Mitsui must pay about 2.9 billion yen ($28 million) in relation to the leasing of two ships nearly 80 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »


The Tyranny of the Organic Mommy Mafia

JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

She had just come back from the park where two mothers were discussing a recent vacation to a resort in Puerto Rico. One told the other that there, for the first time, her toddler was given Jif peanut butter. He loved it. Prior to that he had only had Whole Foods peanut butter, which (one might guess) pales in comparison for a 3-year-old palate.

When the boy came home and asked for more Jif, his mother told him it wasn’t available — that it was “Puerto Rican peanut butter.”

mommy-mafia

Wrapped up in that phrase is all of the arrogance and class snobbery of the organic-food mafia. If these moms haven’t come to your neighborhood yet, just wait.

Another mom, a class parent at a preschool in Westchester, told me she was being harassed by one of the other mothers to issue a new rule: Only organic snacks would be allowed in the classroom.

A mom in Washington tells me that she was unable to participate in a number of nanny-share agreements she looked into because the other parents were so crazy about not having their children come into contact with anything non-organic. One mother she met was convinced her child’s ADD became worse when he was exposed to non-organic food. A stray Goldfish or Cheerio might set him off.

But sometimes these parents are not even worried about their own child’s well-being.

organicfoodThey’re worried about yours. The organic foodies are not satisfied with controlling their own family’s dietary habits, they want to “evangelize,” says Julie Gunlock, author of “From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back.

The pressure on parents to use only organic food is, she says, an “outgrowth of helicopter parenting. People need to be in control of everything when it comes to their kids — even the way food is grown and treated.”

Order From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back” by Julie Gunlock from Amazon.

“Moms feel guilty,” Gunlock adds. They can allow themselves to think that even if they’re not perfect at something else, at least they feed their kids the best food out there.

The organic-food industry is thrilled by this attitude. But let’s be clear. Organic food does not necessarily mean better. It’s a term that’s been co-opted and manipulated into a billion-dollar industry by some of the biggest food companies in America. Read the rest of this entry »


Holocaust Survivor Sam Pivnik Urges Jews Urge to Flee Ukraine

holocaust-survivor

Sam Pivnik, who was sent to a death camp aged just 14, has urged Jews in Ukraine to flee   [MARK KEHOE]

ALL Jewish people should leave Ukraine at once, a Holocaust survivor warned last night, after  anti-Semitic leaflets were handed out in the country.

Marco Giannangeli writes: The pamphlets and posters, distributed in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk, demanded that the Jewish population register, pay a new tax or leave.

They are a terrifying echo of the anti-Jewish atrocities carried out by Ukrainians under Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

“Jews have no place in Ukraine, because nothing has changed.”

– Sam Pivnik, Holocaust survivor

The leaflets, apparently signed by pro-Russian group the People’s Republic of Donetsk, have enraged the world.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week: “After all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it is grotesque.”

Jewish families in eastern Ukraine are allegedly seeking advice on repatriation to Israel [REUTERS]

Jewish families in eastern Ukraine are allegedly seeking advice on repatriation to Israel [REUTERS]

Sam Pivnik, 86, was only 14 when his family were rounded up in Bedzin, western Poland, and sent to the death camp at Auschwitz.

After his parents, brothers and a sister were chosen “with the flick of a glove” for extermination by “Angel of Death” Dr Josef Mengele, the teenager, tattooed with a prisoner number, was left to survive alone. Mr Pivnik, who now lives in Golders Green, north London, said he was not surprised by the literature’s anti-Semitism.

“Jews have no place in Ukraine, because nothing has changed,” he said last night, “and as long as Jews remain there, nothing will change. They had no business staying in that country after the atrocities of 1939-1945. Read the rest of this entry »


TV Reporter Wounded in Pakistan Gun Attack

Gunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan's best known television presenters in the city of Karachi.

Gunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan’s best known television presenters in the city of Karachi.

Police said the attackers opened fire on Hamid Mir‘s car near the airport.

The presenter for Geo TV received three bullets, but was in a stable condition, the officials added.

There have been previous attempts on the life of Mr Mir, the first journalist to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for the media.

The attack has been strongly condemned by Pakistani politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Last month, Mr Sharif pledged to do more to protect journalists in Pakistan.

Car chase

Mr Mir had just landed in Karachi and was on his way to the studios of Geo TV, a private Pakistani news channel, when unidentified gunmen in a car and on motorcycles reportedly tailed him before opening fire. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Sets Sights on Strengthening South China Sea Surveillance

japan-drill

Members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces during a drill

TOKYO — Jonathan Soble writes:  For years, the sole armed force protecting Japan’s westernmost inhabited territory – the sleepy island of Yonaguni, population 1,500 – has been two police officers.

That will soon change: a new military radar base is to be completed on the island in two years’ time, guarded by 100 members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, a development that has divided islanders while underscoring Tokyo’s increasingly tough-minded security policy.

On Saturday, Itsuki Onodera, defence minister, will travel to the island, which lies 2,000 miles southwest of Tokyo and a stone’s throw from Taiwan, to break ground on the base. When it is completed in 2016, its radar will give Japan a clearer view of Chinese ship and aircraft movements in the South China Sea, including around islands whose ownership is disputed by Tokyo and Beijing.

“We are determined to protect Yonaguni, which is part of the precious territory of Japan,” Mr Onodera told reporters this week, saying the SDF deployment belonged to a broader effort to “strengthen surveillance of the southwestern region”.

That effort has been under way for several years, as Japanese military planners shift their focus away from their cold war adversary Russia – just off Japan’s far north – to China, which has been rapidly modernising its military and challenging Japanese control of the disputed islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Daioyu in China.

Read the rest of this entry »


Military-Style Units From Government Agencies are Wreaking Havoc on Non-Violent Citizens

SWAT-color

The United States of SWAT?

John Fund writes: Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle’s grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy’s ranch.

“Since 9/11, the feds have issued a plethora of homeland-security grants that encourage local police departments to buy surplus military hardware and form their own SWAT units.”

They shouldn’t have been. Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.

“By 2005, at least 80 percent of towns with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 people had their own SWAT team.”

Law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier,” journalist Radley Balko writes in his 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop. “The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop — armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Re: CNN’s Dumbest Column Ever

cnn

CNN is irrelevant, and the SPLC should be recognized and branded in polite society as a “Hate group”

NRODavid French asks some good questions:

I’d like to thank Kevin Williamson for pointing us to perhaps the dumbest column I’ve ever read on CNN – an actual argument that allegedly “right-wing” extremists are more deadly than jihadists. In addition to Mr. Williamson’s spot-on critique, can we also say something else about jihad since 9/11? The death toll in the U.S. may be “only” 21, but the American toll overseas is at least 6,802 with well over 50,000 injuries, including 16,000 serious injuries. Peter Bergen evidently does not think this important enough to explore, but in the aftermath of the actual worst terrorist attack in American history we engaged in direct combat against jihadists in two separate countries, combat that continues in Afghanistan to this day. In that process, these jihadists not only killed thousands of Americans, they inflicted an unholy death toll on allied soldiers and civilians.

Are these American lives any less precious or important because they were lost overseas? Does the fact that jihadists have proven capable of killing thousands of the best-equipped and best-trained soldiers in the world tell him anything about the destructive potential of jihad compared to the allegedly “right-wing” Klan? (read more)

Unmentioned in some of these critiques of the discredited CNN column: Since when is a KKK member a “right wing” figure? Except in the imagination of dishonest journalists and political propagandists? The Klan was the military-terror arm of the Democratic party in the south, this is not exactly news. The accusation that the KKK is connected to conservative or right-wing ideology is pure fantasy. The famous white supremacist, anti-Semitic murderer Frazier Glenn Millerran for public office as a Democrat. 

On the other hand, Miller ran for office as both a Democrat and a Republican, making any effort to use his ideological profile to score political points a useless exercise, as the Daily Caller‘s Neil Munro reports:

The gunman who murdered three people in Kansas on Sunday was defeated in primary races in the Democratic and the Republican parties, which could complicate any partisan effort to associate either party with the unusual anti-Semitic attack.

Frazier Glenn Miller was reportedly arrested after the attacks in Kansas, which killed one Jewish woman, and two non-Jews, a grandfather and his 14 year-old grandson.

Read the rest of this entry »


Russia Withheld Key Information about the Boston Bombers Before the Attack

putin-obama

From the desk of Patrick Brennan, at the Corner:

The Times reports:

The Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack, according to an inspector general’s report.

Russian officials had told the F.B.I. in 2011 that the suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer” and that Mr. Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

But after an initial investigation by the F.B.I., the Russians declined several requests for additional information about Mr. Tsarnaev, according to the report, a review of how intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.

At the time, American law enforcement officials believed that Mr. Tsarnaev posed a far greater threat to Russia.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hayden: Pollard Release Would Signal Willingness to Negotiate on Snowden

“They would believe that this kind of behavior could actually be politically negotiated away, and that would be a very disturbing message for the people who provide America with intelligence.”

Eliana Johnson writes: The intelligence community would see the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard as a signal of the administration’s willingness grant clemency to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, according to former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden. “They would believe that this kind of behavior could actually be politically negotiated away, and that would be a very disturbing message for the people who provide America with intelligence,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.

“It’s almost a sign of desperation that you would throw this into the pot just to keep the Israelis talking with the Palestinians.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Michael McCaul: ‘Time for a Discussion About Firearms on Military Bases’

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Michael McCaul

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that our military that defends our freedoms abroad . . . when they come home to the military base, they are not allowed to carry weapons,” McCaul pointed out. “We need to talk to the commanders about whether it would make sense for some . . . of our senior leadership officers and enlisted men on the base [to] carry weapons for protection.”

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