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[VIDEO] MEET THE MOTHER: The MOAB GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United State military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory. At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.

The bomb was designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB pronounced /ˈm.æb/, commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United States military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory. At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed. The bomb was designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.

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Since then, Russia has tested its “Father of All Bombs“, which is claimed to be four times as powerful as the MOAB.

The U.S. military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday just days after a Green Beret was killed fighting ISIS there, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News.

The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was dropped in Nangarhar Province.

The MAOB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) is also known as the “Mother Of All bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn’t been used before Thursday.

For comparison, each Tomahawk cruise missile launched at Syria last week was 1,000-pounds each … (more)

Operational history

MOAB was first tested with the explosive tritonal on 11 March 2003, on Range 70 located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. It was again tested on 21 November 2003.[2]

Aside from two test articles, the only known production is of 15 units at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in 2003 in support of the Iraq War. As of early 2007, none of those were known to have been used, although a single MOAB was moved to the Persian Gulf area in April 2003.[4]

On April 13, 2017, a MOAB was dropped on a target in the Nangarhar Province inside Afghanistan. It was the first non-testing use of the bomb.

Evaluations

The basic operational concept bears some similarity to the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, which was used to clear heavily wooded areas in the Vietnam War and in Iraq to clear mines and later as a psychological weapon against the Iraqi military. After the psychological impact of the BLU-82 on enemy soldiers was witnessed, and no BLU-82 weapons remained, the MOAB was developed partly to continue the ability to intimidate Iraqi soldiers. Pentagon officials had suggested their intention to use MOAB as an anti-personnel weapon, as part of the “shock and awe” strategy integral to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Five Republicans Liberals May Grow to Love in the Trump Era 

Ever since the election, many Democrats have been desperately wondering how to slam the brakes on the Trump train. Well, one good way to start is by getting to know the conservatives who will be allies in that fight.

elephantweb

Here’s a list of five longtime Republicans liberals may grow to love in the Trump Era.

 

 


BREAKING: Russian Military Plane Carrying 91 ‘Disappears from Radar’

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Moscow (AFP) – A Russian military plane carrying 91 people has disappeared from radar after taking off from the southern city of Adler, local news agencies reported the defence ministry as saying Sunday.

The ministry said that there were 83 passengers and 8 crew members on board, and that search and rescue groups had been dispatched to locate the missing Tu-154Read the rest of this entry »


Syrian Regime Says it Has Taken Full Control of Aleppo

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The Syrian regime says it has taken full control of Aleppo, marking a major turning point in the nation’s five-year civil war. Syrian government forces and their allies are now in control of eastern Aleppo, ending more than four years of rebel rule in the area. The government made significant territorial gains in eastern Aleppo after forces backed by airstrikes entered rebel-held areas in late November. An estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed and more than 4.81 million have fled the country since the war began in 2011, according to the United Nations….(developing)

Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Diplomat is Shot Dead at his Home in Moscow Hours After the Assassination of Ambassador in Ankara

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A high ranking Russian diplomat has been found dead from gun shot wounds in Moscow, it was reported early today.

Petr Polshikov, 56, was found at his home in the capital city with a bullet wound to his head.

The shooting disclosed by Ren TV came soon after news broke of the assassination of Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrey Karlov.

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The circumstances of the shooting remained unclear, and it is understood police are examining all possible theories as to his death.

Two empty bullet shells were found in the flat on Balaklavsky Prospekt.

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A gun was discovered under the sink in the bathroom.

Ren TV showed footage from the crime scene. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Ambassador Gunned Down in Turkey; Shooter Ali Hashem Shouts ‘Allahu Akhbar’

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David French writes: The world just got more dangerous. A gunman shot and killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey and then stood over his body, shouted “Allahu Akhbar” and began ranting about Syria and Aleppo. I won’t embed video of the shooting, but you can see the entire thing here. Warning, the footage is extremely disturbing.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Early reports are often wrong, but it appears the shooter was a Turkish police officer:

We can’t forget that this incident comes just a little more than a year after Turkish forces shot down a Russian jet, and it comes after Erodgan has comprehensively purged Turkish security forces to allegedly leave only his loyalists on staff. Read the rest of this entry »


Garry Kasparov: The U.S.S.R. Fell—and the World Fell Asleep 

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25 years after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, plenty of repressive regimes live on. Today, the free world no longer cares.

Garry Kasparov writes: A quarter-century ago, on Dec. 25, 1991, as the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, resigned after a final attempt to keep the Communist state alive, I was so optimistic for the future. That year and the years leading up to that moment were a period when anything felt possible. The ideals of freedom and democracy seemed within the reach of the people of the Soviet Union.

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“It is difficult to describe what life in the U.S.S.R. was like to people in the free world today. This is not because repressive dictatorships are an anachronism people can’t imagine, like trying to tell your incredulous children that there was once a world without cellphones and the internet.”

I remember the December evening in 1988 when I was having dinner with friends and my mother in Paris. My family and I still lived in Baku, capital of the then-Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, where I was raised, but I had become accustomed to unusual freedoms since becoming the world chess champion in 1985. I was no longer accompanied by KGB minders everywhere I went, although my whereabouts were always tracked. Foreign travel still required special approval, which served to remind every Soviet citizen that this privilege could be withdrawn at any time.

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“The U.S.S.R. ceased to exist in 1991, but there are plenty of repressive, authoritarian regimes thriving in 2016. The difference, and I am sad to say it, is that the citizens of the free world don’t much care about dictatorships anymore, or about the 2.7 billion people who still live in them.”

My status protected me from many of the privations of life in the Soviet Union, but it did not tint my vision rose. Instead, my visits to Western Europe confirmed my suspicions that it was in the U.S.S.R. where life was distorted, as in a funhouse mirror.

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Miloš Forman

That night in Paris was a special one, and we were joined by the Czech-American director Miloš Forman via a mutual friend, the Czech-American grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

We were discussing politics, of course, and I was being optimistic as usual. I was sure that the Soviet Union would be forced to liberalize socially and economically to survive.

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“The words of John F. Kennedy in 1963 Berlin sound naive to most Americans today: “Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free,” he said. That for decades the U.S. government based effective foreign policy on such lofty ideals seems as distant as a world without iPhones.”

Mr. Forman played the elder voice of reason to my youthful exuberance. I was only 25, while he had lived through what he saw as a comparable moment in history. He cautioned that he had seen similar signs of a thaw after reformer Alexander Dubčekhad become president in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Eight months after Dubček’s election, his reforms 51e3z2ms3il-_sl250_ended abruptly as the U.S.S.R. sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia and occupied the country. Many prominent Czechs, like Messrs. Forman and Kavalek, fled abroad.

[Order Garry Kasparov’s book “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped” from Amazon.com]

“Gorbachev’s perestroika is another fake,” Mr. Forman warned us about the Soviet leader’s loosening of state controls, “and it will end up getting more hopeful people killed.” I insisted that Mr. Gorbachev would not be able to control the forces he was unleashing. Mr. Forman pressed me for specifics: “But how will it end, Garry?”

I replied—specifics not being my strong suit—that “one day, Miloš, you will wake up, open your window, and they’ll be gone.”

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“Ronald Reagan’s warning that ‘freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction’ was never meant to be put to the test, but it is being tested now. If anything, Reagan’s time frame of a generation was far too generous. The dramatic expansion of freedom that occurred 25 years ago may be coming undone in 25 months.”

It is difficult to describe what life in the U.S.S.R. was like to people in the free world today. This is not because repressive dictatorships are an anachronism people can’t imagine, like trying to tell your incredulous children that there was once a world without cellphones and the internet. The U.S.S.R. ceased to exist in 1991, but there are plenty of repressive, authoritarian regimes thriving in 2016. The difference, and I am sad to say it, is that the citizens of the free world don’t much care about dictatorships anymore, or about the 2.7 billion people who still live in them.

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov

The words of John F. Kennedy in 1963 Berlin sound naive to most Americans today: “Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free,” he said. That for decades the U.S. government based effective foreign policy on such lofty ideals seems as distant as a world without iPhones. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dana Perino on Obama’s Response to Crisis in Syria 

President Barack Obama pauses as he answers a question about the situation in Baltimore during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 1, 2015, with persecuted journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day. The president Barack Obama said it's "absolutely vital" that the truth about what happened to Freddie Gray comes out. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

 


[VIDEO]  ‘When you’ve Lost the Taliban…’ 

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[VIDEO] Star Trek: The Libertarian Edition

Their mission: to seek out new life and new civilizations, and leave them alone. Trade with them if they want, but mostly leave them the hell alone.

In honor of Star Trek‘s 50th Anniversary, Reason presents the Libertarian parody of the final frontier, with appearances by Gary Johnson and Remy. Read the rest of this entry »


CNN Wipes Israel Off The Map

TEL AVIV – An article published on CNN’s website featured a map ​that erased Israel and replaced it with “Palestina,” a Spanish or Portuguese translation of ​”​Palestine​”​ the HonestReporting media watchdog revealed​.

“Following the publication of this post and the complaints of many HonestReporting subscribers, CNN has removed the map in question and replaced it with an image of the aftermath of a Syrian airstrike in Aleppo.”

— HonestReporting

The map, taken from Getty Images, accompanied a CNN Money article titled, “Beyond ISIS: 2016’s scariest geopolitical hotspots.”After HonestReporting cited the error​, CNN too​k the map down​and replaced it.

“Following the publication of this post and the complaints of many HonestReporting subscribers, CNN has removed the map in question and replaced it with an image of the aftermath of a Syrian airstrike in Aleppo,” said HonestReporting.

HonestReporting managing editor Simon Plosker added:

​”Whether it was an oversight or something more…(read more)

Source: Breitbart.com


BREAKING: ISIS Kidnap at Least 90 People from Christian Villages in Syria

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Sources say at least 90 have been abducted – mainly women and children. Up to 3,000 people are said to have been ‘displaced’ as a result of the raid

Julian Robinson reporting for MailOnline: Islamic State militants have kidnapped at least 90 people from Christian villages in Syria, it has been revealed.

The abductions are said to have taken place after ISIS seized two Assyrian villages from Kurdish forces in the northeast province of Hassakeh.

ISIS parades 'Kurdish Peshmerga' fighters in cages before mob

ISIS parades ‘Kurdish Peshmerga’ fighters in cages before mob

Dawn raids are reported to have happened on Monday in villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near the town of Tel Hmar, a mainly Assyrian town, in the western countryside of the city.

The kidnappings were revealed by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The latest offensive coincides with a push by Syrian Kurds in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border since Sunday that had compounded losses for the militant group in Syria.

Brutal: The raid comes Isis murdered 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya

Brutal: The raid comes Isis murdered 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya

Sources are reported to have told the human rights watchdog that jihadists swooped to abduct dozens of civilians from the village of Tal Shamiram.

Initial reports put the figure at 56 – but others said the number was much higher.

The International Business Times quoted Nuri Kino, founder of A Demand for Action (ADFA), as saying the Syrian villages had been attacked at 5am with 3,000 people ‘displaced’. Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State: Dare to Play an Un-Islamic Electronic Keyboard? 90 Lashes For You!

The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be 'un-Islamic' by ISIS's fanatical religious police

ISIS police sentence musicians to 90 lashes because they were playing an ‘un-Islamic’ electronic keyboard

Chris Pleasance for Mail OnlineIslamic State religious police have been filmed beating musicians and destroying their instruments as punishment after they were discovered playing an ‘un-Islamic’ keyboard.

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The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be ‘un-Islamic’ by ISIS’s fanatical religious police

“The men were pictured being hit across the back and legs with a wooden stick in a public square after ISIS’s fanatical Islamic enforcers ruled their electric keyboard was ‘offensive to Muslims’.”

Another picture shows two keyboards and what appears to be a lute smashed to pieces after raids thought to have taken place in Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria.

According to text posted along with the images on a file sharing website, the musicians were punished with 90 lashes alongside a man caught impersonating a ‘hisbah’.

“Thieves are regularly pictured having their hands or arms amputated in public squares amid crowds of onlookers, while adulterers have been executed.”

The Arabic term generally refers to the obligation on Muslim leaders to uphold the law, but in this context likely refers to a local official or tribal elder.

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State's religious police playing an electric keyboard, which they deemed 'offensive to Muslims', according to pictures posted online

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State’s religious police playing an electric keyboard, which they deemed ‘offensive to Muslims’, according to pictures posted online

According to the online post, which claims to have come from ISIS’s information office in Aleppo, a man caught smuggling cigarettes was also punished with 50 lashes.

Since taking control of large parts of Syria and Iraq last year ISIS claims to have formed a Caliphate in the Middle East, and has taken to enforcing strict Sharia law within its borders.

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Thieves are regularly pictured having their hands or arms amputated in public squares amid crowds of onlookers, while adulterers have been executed.

After the men had been beaten the instruments were destroyed. ISIS has been enforcing a terrifying vision of Sharia law across its so-called Caliphate, including executing people for breeding pigeons.

Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Up to Twenty More Westerners Held Hostage by Isil

Up to 20 Western hostages are being held by the jihadi group that beheaded James Foley.

Greta Ramelli (L) and Vanessa Marzullo – kidnapped in Syria.     Photo: Facebook

The group which killed American journalist James Foley have many more hostages

For the Telegraph and David Chazan reporting: As well as the journalist Steven Sotloff, who was threatened with beheading by the same man who murdered Foley, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is holding a number of aid workers, thought to include Vanessa Marzullo, 21, and Greta Ramelli, 20, both Italian.ISIS-v-tall

“Can you go back on all the teaching and the values you have tried to instill for a lifetime?”

Three aid workers employed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are also being held hostage after they were abducted last October.

“Can you change your daughter, who has these values and has strong ideals about solidarity and human empathy?”

— Ramelli’s mother, Antonella

As fears grew that Isil could make good on its threat to murder more hostages, families of those being held defended their loved ones’ decisions to travel to Syria.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bishop Antoine Audo: ‘We Christians live in fear in Syria’

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Antoine Audo writes:  Today, the first Sunday of Lent, will see churches crowded across the globe. But here in Syria, where St Paul found his faith, many churches stand empty, targets for bombardment and desecration. Aleppo, where I have been bishop for 25 years, is devastated. We have become accustomed to the daily dose of death and destruction, but living in such uncertainty and fear exhausts the body and the mind.

“It is dangerous work. Five months ago, two rockets hit our offices, and it was truly a miracle that no one was killed.”

We hear the thunder of bombs and the rattle of gunfire, but we don’t always know what is happening. It’s hard to describe how chaotic, terrifying and psychologically difficult it is when you have no idea what will happen next, or where the next rocket will fall. Many Christians cope with the tension by being fatalistic: that whatever happens is God’s will.

Until the war began, Syria was one of the last remaining strongholds for Christianity in the Middle East. We have 45 churches in Aleppo. But now our faith is under mortal threat, in danger of being driven into extinction, the same pattern we have seen in neighbouring Iraq.

“…I have to be careful walking around the city because of the risk of snipers and kidnapping.”

Most Christians who could afford to leave Aleppo have already fled for Lebanon, so as to find schools for their children. Those who remain are mostly from poor families. Many can no longer put food on the table. Last year, even amid intense fighting, you could see people in the streets running around endlessly trying to find bread in one of the shops. Read the rest of this entry »


Beheading Error: The familiar Islamist rebel campaign slogan “If you like your head, you can keep your head” promise broken

 An ‘incorrect promise’, says the New York Times

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“Mistakes can happen while waging jihad. That’s on us. We fumbled.” 

Steven Emerson reports:  Members of the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham appear in a new online video apologizing for beheading a man they thought was fighting for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

It turns out the dead man was part of a Sunni rebel group fighting Assad’s forces. The dead man’s head was held up in a triumphant display in Aleppo.

Read the rest of this entry »


Syria’s Rebels Turn on Each Other (Like That’s a Bad Thing)

Molhem Barakat / Reuters Free Syrian Army fighters call out to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad, urging them to defect, as another fighter stands guard in the old city of Aleppo on Sept. 1, 2013

Molhem Barakat / Reuters

Aryn Baker writes: Ongoing clashes between rival groups within the armed opposition intensified in Syria’s Aleppo province this past week following protests against the heavy-handed tactics of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Infighting among rebels could spell trouble for an opposition movement seemingly on the wane, but it could also present an opportunity. If the moderate-leaning rebel groups can sever their symbiotic relationship with their al-Qaeda affiliates for good, they stand to get significantly more support from Western backers wary of inadvertently assisting old enemies. But it won’t be easy — even as the rivals battle for turf in Aleppo province, they have united to inflict a resounding defeat on government forces elsewhere in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Going Dark: Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet

The red line from Aleppo goes to Turk Telekom, whose Syrian service is currently disrupted. (Renesys)

The red line from Aleppo goes to Turk Telekom, whose Syrian service is currently disrupted. (Renesys)

While the U.S. government continues to weigh military intervention in Syria, it appears that Syria’s largest city has gone dark on the Internet. Aleppo, a city in Northern Syria that has been the site of intense fighting between rebel forces and the Assad regime, and the surrounding area appear to have lost connectivity to the Internet as of last night.

The Switch received a tip informing us that Internet was out in parts of Northern Syria. Following up on that lead, we contacted Doug Madory of Internet intelligence company Renesys. In a recent blog post, Madory explained that outages in the Aleppo area are strongly correlated to disruptions in Turk Telekom’s service to the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment. When Turk Telekom service drops out of Syria, Aleppo appears to experience a “last mile” outage, but other areas continue to have Internet access through PCCW and Deutsche Telekom.

According to Madory, Turk Telekom service to Syria dropped out at 17:48:42 UTC on Aug 29. This suggests that Internet service in the Aleppo area has been out since last night.

Read the rest of this entry »