Posted: September 20, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Federal government of the United States, ICANN, Moscow, President of Russia, Republican Party (United States), RUSSIA, United States, Vladimir Putin
It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process.
There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle.
Theresa Payton reports: Changing who controls the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) so close to our presidential election will jeopardize the results of how you vote on Nov. 8 unless Congress stops this changeover. When the calendar hits Sept. 30, a mere 6 weeks before our election, the United States cannot be assured that if any web site is hacked, the responsible party will be held accountable. We cannot be sure if a web site is a valid. We cannot be sure if one country is being favored over another. These are all the things ICANN is responsible for and has worked perfectly since the Internet was created. Why change it now and so close to the election? Why does that matter to you as a voter?
Take a look at recent cyber activity as it relates to the election. The Democratic National Convention was breached comprising the entire party’s strategy, donor base, and indeed, national convention. Everything the DNC had done to prepare for a moment four years in the making (if not longer) was undermined by a hacker who had been in their system for some time but waited for the optimal moment to spring it on the DNC – opening day of the convention. The FBI and other U.S. agencies, as the headlines blare, suspect Russia is responsible for the hack. Recently, Vladimir Putin went so far as to say, “Does it matter who broke in? Surely what’s important is the content of what was released to the public.”
It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process. There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle. Russian hackers are suspected of breaching voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona. Arizona went so far as to shut down the state’s voter registration system for a week. No data was stolen but it was downloaded. As for Illinois, some voter data was stolen!
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 8, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Global, Russia, Terrorism | Tags: Dagestan, Federal Security Service (Russia), Investigative Committee of Russia, Islam, Islamic terrorism, Moscow, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, RUSSIA, Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin
56 Journalists Killed in Russia/Motive Confirmed
July 9, 2013, in Semender, Russia
April 8, 2013, in Khimki, Russia
December 5, 2012, in Nalchik, Russia
December 15, 2011, in Makhachkala, Russia
August 11, 2009, in Makhachkala , Russia
July 15, 2009, in between Grozny and Gazi-Yurt , Russia
January 19, 2009, in Moscow , Russia
September 2, 2008, in Makhachkala, Russia
August 31, 2008, in Nazran, Russia
March 2, 2007, in Moscow, Russia
November 30, 2006, in St. Petersburg, Russia
October 7, 2006, in Moscow, Russia
Vagif Kochetkov, Trud and Tulsky Molodoi Kommunar
January 8, 2006, in Tula, Russia
June 28, 2005, in Makhachkala, Russia
May 21, 2005, in Azov, Russia
July 9, 2004, in Moscow, Russia
May 9, 2004, in Grozny, Russia
October 9, 2003, in Togliatti, Russia
July 3, 2003, in Moscow, Russia
September 26, 2002, in Galashki Region, Ingushetia, Russia
April 29, 2002, in Togliatti, Russia
March 9, 2002, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia
September 18, 2001, in Reftinsky, Sverdlovsk Region, Russia
July 16, 2000, in Moscow, Russia
May 12, 2000, in Chechnya, Russia
February 20, 2000, in Chechnya, Russia
October 29, 1999, in Shaami Yurt, Russia
October 29, 1999, in Shaami Yurt, Russia
October 27, 1999, in Grozny, Russia
August 24, 1998, in St. Petersburg, Russia
Larisa Yudina, Sovietskaya Kalmykia Segodnya
June 8, 1998, in Elista, Russia
August 11, 1996, in Grozny, Russia
May 12, 1996, in Chita, Russia
May 9, 1996, in Grozny, Russia
March 30, 1996, in Gehki, Russia
March 11, 1996, in Grozny, Russia
February 26, 1996, in Moscow, Russia
December 27, 1995, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Shamkhan Kagirov, Rossiskaya Gazeta and Vozrozheniye
December 13, 1995, in near Grozny, Russia
June 17, 1995, in Budyonnovsk, Russia
May 29, 1995, in Chechnya, Russia
March 1, 1995, in Moscow, Russia
February 17, 1995, in Kaluga, Russia
January, 10, 1995, in Chervlyonna, Russia
January 1, 1995, in Grozny, Russia
December 22, 1994, in Grozny, Russia
October 17, 1994, in Moscow, Russia
June 12, 1994, in Moscow, Russia
October 4, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
October 4, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Igor Belozyorov, Ostankino State Broadcasting Company
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
Rory Peck, ARD Television Company
October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia
April 14, 1993, in Grozny, Russia Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 7, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, White House | Tags: Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Barack Obama, China, China–United States relations, Democratic Party (United States), East China, European Union, G20, Hangzhou, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, President of the United States, RUSSIA, Syria, United States, Xi Jinping, Zhejiang
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in Laos and delivers an adress to the people of Laos. He is the first US President to visit the country.
…He also accused Americans of being isolated and ignorant because the United States is such a big country.
“The United States is and can be a great force for good in the world. But because we’re such a big country, we haven’t always had to know about other parts of the world,” he said. “If you’re in the United States, sometimes you can feel lazy and think we’re so big we don’t have to really know anything about other people.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 30, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Breaking News, Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere | Tags: Campaign manager, CNN, Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Government of Russia, Hillary Clinton, Paul J. Manafort, RUSSIA, The New York Times, YouTube
Remy is back to highlight what CNN considers news.
Written and performed by Remy. Music Mastered by Ben Karlstrom. Shot and Edited by Austin Bragg.
About 2 minutes.
Finally, what has gotten into Russia’s top Olympian?
More on that later as we yield for Breaking News.
Ed? Thank You.
Breaking news that’s horribly tragic
and if your children are watching, we warn you, it’s graphic
our lead story tonight atop the report
was Donald Trump eating chicken with a knife and a fork?
Plus, this Trump supporter is 11 years old
so what are his thoughts on the–are you reading the scroll?
who he thinks is best fit to lead us
and would he have voted for Obamacare he was a fetus?
Look, I really don’t mean to step on your staging
but it seems like there’s war and some battles are raging
reporting the news–is that not our vow?
You know what, you’re right. I’ll cover it now
Well the war continues (yes!) on Twitter as planned (no…)
between Donald Trump and a Littleton man
The fighting is fierce, no sight of the end
follow it all on our app–you’re watching CNN
What I mean’s while we’re reading these trivial mysteries
people are dying, we’re losing our liberties
They’re inside our…wow…isn’t that banned?
Inside our hardware. I understand.
They could be in your phone at this very moment
Pokemons! This town is Pokemon Go-ing
Plus, this expensive beer–how hoppy’s the taste?
Fareed Zakaria is here to copy and paste.
Look, I really just think that there’s stuff that we missed
Like, holy crap, is that true? Does that list exist?
Cover the news. Shake up the ranks.
Yes! Do that. I’d lost my way. Thanks.
Well it’s a hidden document upon which fates swing
Fortune cookie fortunes–who’s writing those things!?
Plus, a man with no parachute just took a dive
in today’s most newsworthy instance of one flung from the sky
I know this is tough so forgive the belittling
Rome is engulfed and we’re sitting here fiddling
executive orders, economy stuttering
these are the stories we’re sitting here covering?
War in Afghanistan, hurt in Iraq
you’d need $5 foot-longs for Turkey this bad
Can we cut his mic?
Well, the war on whistleblowers continued today
we’ll update the condition of that Little League referee
Plus, it took the Olympics by storm, but what is it like to cup someone?
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 17, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Russia, Science & Technology, Self Defense, Terrorism, Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Barton Gellman, Democratic National Committee, Edward Snowden, Espionage, Fort Meade, James Bamford, Julian Assange, Maryland, National Security Agency, NSA electronic surveillance program, Oliver Stone, RUSSIA, Soviet Union, The Shadow, The Shadow Factory, United States, Whistleblower
Western intelligence bosses recently have become open about stating what they’ve known for years, that Snowden is a Kremlin pawn designed to inflict pain on Russia’s adversaries in the SpyWar.
John R. Schindler writes: The National Security Agency can’t catch a break. Over three years ago, Edward Snowden, an IT contractor for the agency, defected to Moscow with more than a million classified documents. Since then, Snowden’s vast trove has been used to embarrass NSA about the extent of its global espionage reach.
“Significant questions loom over this new scandal. In the first place, what really is The Shadow Brokers? They appear to be a transparent front for Russian intelligence. Indeed, they’re not really hiding that fact, given the broken English they used in their online auction notice asking for bitcoin in exchange for NSA information.”
I’ve been warning from Day One that the Snowden Operation was a Russian propaganda ploy aimed at inflicting pain on NSA, America’s most important spy agency, and its global alliance of espionage partnerships that’s been the backbone of the powerful Western intelligence system since it helped defeat the Nazis and Japan in World War II.
“From his Russian exile, even Snowden admitted on Twitter that this was pretty obviously a Kremlin spy game.”
Western intelligence bosses recently have become open about stating what they’ve known for years, that Snowden is a Kremlin pawn designed to inflict pain on Russia’s adversaries in the SpyWar. There’s no doubt that’s the case, especially since the Kremlin now has admitted that Snowden is their agent.
For more than three years NSA has been subjected to an unprecedented stream of leaks about myriad Top Secret intelligence programs. Although Snowden claimed his motivation was to protect the civil liberties of fellow Americans by exposing secrets, it’s impossible to miss that well over 95 percent of the programs he’s compromised are purely involved with foreign intelligence. The impact of all this on agency morale has been devastating and NSA is in a state of crisis thanks to Snowden.
[Read the full story here, at the Observer]
This week things took a marked turn for the worse, however, with the exposure of highly sensitive NSA hacking tools on the Internet by a murky group calling itself “The Shadow Brokers” which announced it planned to sell programs purloined from the agency. Like clockwork, NSA’s public website crashed and stayed down for almost a full day. Although there’s no indication this was linked to The Shadow Brokers, the optics for NSA were terrible.
First, some explanation is needed of what’s been compromised. The crown jewel here is a 300-megabyte file containing “exploits”—that is, specialized sophisticated cyber tools designed to burrow through firewalls to steal data. What The Shadow Brokers has, which it claims it stole from an alleged NSA front organization termed the Equation Group, appears to be legitimate.
Here we are, three years after Snowden, dealing with the consequences of allowing Russian moles to run amok inside NSA.
These exploits—or at least some of them—appear to come from NSA’s elite office of Tailored Access Operations, which is the agency’s hacking group. Arguably the world’s most proficient cyber-warriors, the shadowy TAO excels at gaining access to the computer systems of foreign adversaries. TAO veterans have confirmed that, from what they’ve seen of what The Shadow Brokers has revealed, they’re bona fide NSA exploits.
This represents a security disaster for an agency that really didn’t need another one. How this happened, given the enormous security that’s placed on all NSA Top Secret computer systems, raises troubling questions about what’s going on, since the agency instituted much more strenuous online security after Snowden’s defection, which revealed how slipshod NSA counterintelligence really was.
However, significant questions loom over this new scandal. In the first place, what really is The Shadow Brokers? They appear to be a transparent front for Russian intelligence. Indeed, they’re not really hiding that fact, given the broken English they used in their online auction notice asking for bitcoin in exchange for NSA information. From his Russian exile, even Snowden admitted on Twitter that this was pretty obviously a Kremlin spy game.
Pro-Russian sources have pointed to the Equation Group as an NSA front for more than a year. In early 2015, Kaspersky Labs, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, announced the discovery of the Equation Group and fingers were quickly pointed at NSA as being the culprit behind those hackers. It should be noted that Kaspersky Labs has a very cozy relationship with the Kremlin and is viewed by most espionage experts in the West as an extended arm of Russian intelligence. The firm’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was trained in codes and ciphers by the KGB in the waning days of the Soviet Union, even meeting his first wife at a KGB resort. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 11, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Diplomacy, Global, Think Tank | Tags: Activism, Ai Weiwei, Anti-Western, Army, Beijing, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Communist Party of China, Electoral Affairs Commission, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Basic Law, Hu Jintao, Human rights in China, Lawyer, Mainland China, Pan-democracy camp, propaganda, RUSSIA, Xi Jinping
This kind of propaganda is highly effective and gives licence to ordinary people to indulge their most primitive prejudices. By convincing its people that many of China’s ills are the work of foreign spies and conspiracies, Beijing could eventually be forced to hit back against such perceived enemies in order to placate popular outrage.
Across much of the world, fear-mongering and xenophobia are creeping into public and political discourse.
In liberal democracies with traditions of free speech, vociferous denunciations of these attitudes can act as a counterweight. But in authoritarian countries where alternative narratives are forbidden, official attempts to demonise foreigners and “others” can be especially dangerous. In the past week, the Chinese government has launched several viral online videos that blame “western hostile forces” for a host of ills and supposed conspiracies within China.
“In the past, most foreigners in China enjoyed a certain level of unstated protection and privilege. In business and in everyday life ‘foreign friends’ were welcomed and often treated with kid gloves by the authorities. Some of them undoubtedly took advantage of this to flout the rules or behave badly without fear of retribution.”
The videos are crude but exceptionally powerful in their simplicity and emotional appeal. One video promoted by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and Communist Youth League, two of the most powerful state bodies, begins with heartbreaking scenes of orphans and victims of the wars in Iraq and Syria, and then jumps to an assertion that the west, led by the US, is trying to subject China to the same fate.
“Today, that informal immunity seems to have vanished. In its place are hints of a backlash that many long-term foreign residents will tell you can be very ugly, ranging from casual discrimination and racial slurs, to physical altercations that take on a racist dimension.”
“Under the banner of ‘democracy, freedom and rule of law’ western forces are constantly trying to create societal contradictions in order to overthrow the [Chinese] government,” the subtitles read over pictures of democracy protesters in Hong Kong and President Barack Obama meeting the Dalai Lama.
[Read the full story here, at FT.com]
According to the video, western plots and the “dark shadow of the Stars and Stripes” are also to blame for everything from attacks on Chinese peacekeepers in Africa, to farmers’ riots in China’s hinterland, to the Tibetan independence movement. The effect is heightened by ominous music and juxtaposition of chaos elsewhere with heroic images of Chinese soldiers and weaponry.
“In the past week, the Chinese government has launched several viral online videos that blame ‘western hostile forces’ for a host of ills and supposed conspiracies within China. The videos are crude but exceptionally powerful in their simplicity and emotional appeal.”
In some ways this is a mirror of the populist, jingoistic tilts happening elsewhere in the world. While not a direct reaction to the assertive Trumpism emanating from the US or the rise of rightwing nationalism in Europe, some of the same collective animus is taking hold in China, partly at the instigation of the ruling Communist party.
“According to the video, western plots and the ‘dark shadow of the Stars and Stripes’ are also to blame for everything from attacks on Chinese peacekeepers in Africa, to farmers’ riots in China’s hinterland, to the Tibetan independence movement.“
Many of those propagating this message are the shallowest of nationalists — the kind of party apparatchiks who are diversifying their (often ill-gotten) assets abroad as fast as they can and sending their children to study in Australia, the US, Canada or the UK.
“The effect is heightened by ominous music and juxtaposition of chaos elsewhere with heroic images of Chinese soldiers and weaponry.”
Indeed, one of the main producers of the video on western plots is a 29-year-old PhD student from China now living in Canberra, Australia. Meanwhile, the party has called for the rejection of western values and concepts in favour of Marxism — an ideology named after a German living in London and refracted into China via Moscow. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 28, 2016 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics, Russia | Tags: Barack Obama, Barack Obama presidential campaign, Collective security, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Krauthammer, NATO, Republican Party (United States), RUSSIA, Vladimir Putin
Charles Krauthammer discusses Donald Trump’s call for Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, and how the Clinton campaign’s response belies a total contradiction.
Posted: July 27, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global, Politics, Russia, War Room | Tags: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Donald Trump, Embassy of the United States in Moscow, Evelyn Farkas, Federal Security Service (Russia), Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia), Moscow, Presnensky District, RUSSIA, Saint Petersburg, Soviet Union, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin
It’s a brand of information warfare, known as ‘dezinformatsiya,’ that has been used by the Russians since at least the Cold War. The disinformation campaigns are only one ‘active measure’ tool used by Russian intelligence to ‘sow discord among,’ and within, allies perceived hostile to Russia.
Natasha Bertrand reports: Russia’s troll factories were, at one point, likely being paid by the Kremlin to spread pro-Trump propaganda on social media.
That is what freelance journalist Adrian Chen, now a staff writer at The New Yorker, discovered as he was researching Russia’s “army of well-paid trolls” for an explosive New York Times Magazine exposé published in June 2015.
“The DNC hack and dump is what cyberwar looks like.”
— Dave Aitel, a cybersecurity specialist, a former NSA employee, and founder of cybersecurity firm Immunity Inc., wrote for Ars Technica last week.
“A very interesting thing happened,” Chen told Longform‘s Max Linsky in a podcast in December.
“I created this list of Russian trolls when I was researching. And I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff,” he said.
Linsky then asked Chen who he thought “was paying for that.”
“I don’t know,” Chen replied. “I feel like it’s some kind of really opaque strategy of electing Donald Trump to undermine the US or something. Like false-flag kind of thing. You know, that’s how I started thinking about all this stuff after being in Russia.”
St. Petersburg, Russia. Flickr/ranopamas
In his research from St. Petersburg, Chen discovered that Russian internet trolls — paid by the Kremlin to spread false information on the internet — have been behind a number of “highly coordinated campaigns” to deceive the American public.
“I created this list of Russian trolls when I was researching. And I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff.”
— Adrian Chen
It’s a brand of information warfare, known as “dezinformatsiya,” that has been used by the Russians since at least the Cold War. The disinformation campaigns are only one “active measure” tool used by Russian intelligence to “sow discord among,” and within, allies perceived hostile to Russia.
[Read the full story here, at Business Insider]
“An active measure is a time-honored KGB tactic for waging informational and psychological warfare,” Michael Weiss, a senior editor at The Daily Beast and editor-in-chief of The Interpreter — an online magazine that translates and analyzes political, social, and economic events inside the Russian Federation — wrote on Tuesday.
He continued (emphasis added):
“It is designed, as retired KGB General Oleg Kalugin once defined it, ‘to drive wedges in the Western community alliances of all sorts, particularly NATO, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs.’ The most common subcategory of active measures is dezinformatsiya, or disinformation: feverish, if believable lies cooked up by Moscow Centre and planted in friendly media outlets to make democratic nations look sinister.”
It is not surprising, then, that the Kremlin would pay internet trolls to pose as Trump supporters and build him up online. In fact, that would be the easy part. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 26, 2016 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics, Russia | Tags: Dmitry Peskov, Julian Assange, Kremlin, Moscow, Moscow Kremlin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, RUSSIA, Sukhoi Su-24, Vladimir Putin, WikiLeaks
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday his whistleblowing website might release “a lot more material” relevant to the US electoral campaign.
“Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward and that might be an interesting moment some people may have egg on their faces. But to exclude certain actors is to make it easier to find out who our sources are.”
Assange was speaking in a CNN interview following the release of nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee by suspected Russian hackers.
However, Assange refused to confirm or deny a Russian origin for the mass email leak, saying Wikileaks tries to create ambiguity to protect all its sources.
“It raises questions about the natural instincts of Clinton that when confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, she tries to blame the Russians, blame the Chinese, et cetera.”
“Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward and that might be an interesting moment some people may have egg on their faces. But to exclude certain actors is to make it easier to find out who our sources are,” Assange told CNN. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 18, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Censorship, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Associated Press, Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, Britain, China, Diplomat, France, Iran, Islamism, nuclear, Nukes, RUSSIA, Vienna
Breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double.
VIENNA (AP) — Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program imposed under an internationally negotiated deal will ease in slightly more than a decade, cutting the time Tehran would need to build a bomb to six months from present estimates of a year, according to a document obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
The document is the only part linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.
12 Times the Obama Administration Caved to Iran on Nuclear Deal
The diplomat who shared the document with the AP described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal. But while formally separate from that accord, he said that it was in effect an integral part of the deal and had been approved both by Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the six powers that negotiated the deal with Tehran.
[Read the full story here, at the Associated Press]
Details published earlier outline most restraints on Iran’s nuclear program meant to reduce the threat that Tehran will turn nuclear activities it says are peaceful to making weapons.
But while some of the constraints extend for 15 years, documents in the public domain are short on details of what happens with Iran’s most proliferation-prone nuclear activity – its uranium enrichment – beyond the first 10 years of the agreement.
The document obtained by the AP fills in the gap. It says that as of January 2027 – 11 years after the deal was implemented – Iran can start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.
Centrifuges churn out uranium to levels that can range from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research purposes to much higher levels for the core of a nuclear warhead. From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran can install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.
Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.
Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, at the State Department on Wednesday. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images
The U.S. says the Iran nuclear agreement is tailored to ensure that Iran would need at least 12 months to “break out” and make enough weapons grade uranium for at least one weapon.
But based on a comparison of outputs between the old and newer machines, if the enrichment rate doubles, that breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double, a possibility the document allows for.
The document also allows Iran to greatly expand its work with centrifuges that are even more advanced, including large-scale testing in preparation for the deal’s expiry 15 years after its implementation on Jan. 18. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 7, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Diplomacy, Space & Aviation, War Room | Tags: Boeing RC-135, Defence minister, Far East, Moscow, Platanus occidentalis, RUSSIA, Sea of Japan, United States, United States Air Force, United States Armed Forces
The Chinese jet was never closer than 100 feet to the U.S. aircraft, but it flew with a “high rate of speed as it closed in” on the U.S. aircraft, one official said. Because of that high speed, and the fact it was flying at the same altitude as the U.S. plane, the intercept is defined as unsafe.
The officials did not know if the U.S. plane took any evasive action to avoid the Chinese aircraft or at what point the J-10 broke away. It is also not yet clear if the U.S. will diplomatically protest the incident.
Officials said the RC-135 was on a routine mission.
The Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
>News of the intercept comes as Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are in Beijing for the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Lew is pressing China to lower barriers to foreign business and cut excess steel production, with limited success.
The intercept also occurred just days after Defense Secretary Ash Carter and top military officials returned from a regional security meeting in Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 27, 2016 Filed under: Asia, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War Room, White House | Tags: 1996 United States campaign finance controversy, ASIMO, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, China, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, RUSSIA, United States, World Trade Organization
Charles Krauthammer writes: How do you distinguish a foreign policy “idealist” from a “realist,” an optimist from a pessimist? Ask one question: Do you believe in the arrow of history? Or to put it another way, do you think history is cyclical or directional? Are we condemned to do the same damn thing over and over, generation after generation — or is there hope for some enduring progress in the world order?
“Barack Obama is a classic case study in foreign policy idealism. Indeed, one of his favorite quotations is about the arrow of history: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” He has spent nearly eight years trying to advance that arc of justice. Hence his initial “apology tour,” that burst of confessional soul-searching abroad about America and its sins, from slavery to the loss of our moral compass after 9/11. Friday’s trip to Hiroshima completes the arc.”
For realists, generally conservative, history is an endless cycle of clashing power politics. The same patterns repeat. Only the names and places change. The best we can do in our own time is to defend ourselves, managing instability and avoiding catastrophe. But expect nothing permanent, no essential alteration in the course of human affairs.
[Read the full story here, at telegraph.co.uk ]
The idealists believe otherwise. They believe that the international system can eventually evolve out of its Hobbesian state of nature into something more humane and hopeful. What is usually overlooked is that this hopefulness for achieving a higher plane of global comity comes in two flavors — one liberal, one conservative.
A Japanese patrol plane, pictured in 2011, flying over the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan Pool, via Jiji Press
The liberal variety (as practiced, for example, by the Bill Clinton administration) believes that the creation of a dense web of treaties, agreements, transnational institutions and international organizations (like the U.N., NGOs, the World Trade Organization) can give substance to a cohesive community of nations that would, in time, ensure order and stability.
The conservative view (often called neoconservative and dominant in the George W. Bush years) is that the better way to ensure order and stability is not through international institutions, which are flimsy and generally powerless, but through the spread of democracy. Because, in the end, democracies are inherently more inclined to live in peace.
Japan’s Self-Defense Force honor guards prepare for a welcoming ceremony of new Defence Minister Gen Nakatani in Tokyo on December 25, 2014. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
Liberal internationalists count on globalization, neoconservatives on democratization to get us to the sunny uplands of international harmony. But what unites them is the belief that such uplands exist and are achievable. Both believe in the perfectibility, if not of man, then of the international system. Both believe in the arrow of history. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 2, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Religion, U.S. News | Tags: Easter, Eastern Orthodox Church, Episcopal Church (United States), Father Djokan Majstorovic, Greece, Holy Week, Jerusalem, Josip Broz Tito, New York City Fire Department, RUSSIA, Serbia, Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was consecrated in 1855 as an Episcopal church called Trinity Chapel. It has been Serbian Orthodox since the 1940s.
“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad. I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”
“For this to happen on such a holy day, I don’t know what to say,” said Alex Velic, a 31-year-old churchgoer, as enormous fireballs erupted from the shattered windows of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava on West 25th Street.
“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad,” he said. “I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”
A force of 170 firefighters responded to the fire, which started shortly before 7 p.m., FDNY officials said. Church officials and the FDNY both said there were no reports of major injuries, though three firefighters and a church caretaker had minor smoke inhalation.
“Nobody is hurt, everyone is safe,” explained Father Djokan Majstorovic, dean of the cathedral.
Photo: Peter Gerber
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said there had been 700 people inside the church earlier in the day for the Orthodox Easter service. He added that the cause of the fire at the historic house of worship is still under investigation.
[Read the full story here, at the New York Post]
“It’s a very sad day today,” Nigro said. “They had their Mass at 10 a.m. and then a luncheon. The good news is that there was no one inside when the fire started and there are no injuries. One man is being checked out for smoke inhalation.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 4, 2016 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Religion, War Room | Tags: Anti-imperialism, Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Bashar al-Assad, International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran, Khuzestan, Obama administration, Photography, RUSSIA, Shalamcheh, Syria, Tank, Tehran
‘There are relics left along the Iran-Iraq boarders. A group of Iranian female students play around an abandoned tank [in Shalamcheh, Khuzestan, Iran]. Among them, one girl stands on the tank with her arms open.’ (Yanan Li / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest)
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Source: Winners of 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest
Posted: December 11, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Crimea, English Language, EUROPE, European Union, Government of Ukraine, KIEV, Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu, Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, RUSSIA, The Daily Beast, Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada
Brawl erupted in Ukraine’s upper house of parliament when a member of the legislature attempted to drag prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk from the floor’s podium.
From The Daily Beast:
The Ukrainian parliament on Friday broke out into a brawl after one member approached Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, handed him a bouquet of roses, and then forcefully picked him up by the crotch, and removed him from the podium. Mayhem ensued, with members rushing toward the two men. The prime minister had been defending his embattled government.
Posted: December 9, 2015 Filed under: Global, Guns and Gadgets, Russia, Self Defense, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: Agence France-Presse, Barack Obama, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin, Nukes, RUSSIA, Russian language, United Nations General Assembly, United States, Vladimir Putin
But hopes they ‘will never need’ them
Serina Sandhu reports: Vladimir Putin has said he hopes nuclear warheads will not be needed to deal with terrorists, after Russia launched cruise missiles from its submarine at Syria.
“With regard to strikes from a submarine. We certainly need to analyse everything that is happening on the battlefield, how the weapons work. Both the [Kalibr] missiles and the Kh-101 rockets are generally showing very good results. We now see that these are new, modern and highly effective high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads.”
— Vladimir Putin
During a meeting in the Kremlin, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told the President that Kalibr cruise missiles had been fired by the submerged Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea for the first time.
He said TU-22 bombers also took part in the latest raids and that “significant damage” had been done to a munitions depot, a factory manufacturing mortar rounds and oil facilities. Two major targets in Raqqa, the defacto capital of Isis, had been hit, said Mr Shoigu.
President Putin said the new cruise missiles could also be equipped with nuclear warheads – but that he hoped they would never need them.
He said: “With regard to strikes from a submarine. We certainly need to analyse everything that is happening on the battlefield, how the weapons work. Both the [Kalibr] missiles and the Kh-101 rockets are generally showing very good results. We now see that these are new, modern and highly effective high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads.”
President Putin said the new cruise missiles could also be equipped with nuclear warheads – but that he hoped they would never need them. Read the rest of this entry »