11.15.2017

Importance of Oil

Meghan O’Sullivan’s ‘Windfall’

Pacific War

Timeline

Guadalcanal – August 7th, 1942 – February 9th, 1943 – 7,100 American dead, ___ KIA, 7,789 wounded

Tarawa – Nov 20-23rd, 1943 – ___ American dead, ___ KIA, ___ wounded

Saipan – June 15th – July 9th, 1944 – 3,426 American dead, 10,364 wounded

Peleliu – Sept. 15th – November 27th, 1944 (73 days) – 2,336 American dead, 8,450 wounded

Iwo Jima – 19th February – March 26th, 1945 (35 days) – 6,821 American dead, 19,217 wounded

Okinawa – April 1st – June 22nd, 945 (82 days) – 20,195 American dead, 12520 KIA, 55,162 wounded
Hacksaw Ridge -77th infantry D, 307th regiment, April 29th-May7th; Desmond T. Doss

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News 11.13.2017

11.13.2017

Helmet link_https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4LxLkDAhUw

Tuesday,   Nov 14, 2017

Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Clinton Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a second special counsel after Republican lawmakers expressed concerns that Special Counsel Robert Mueller might not have a broad enough mandate to look into such issues as alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the actions of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has called for a second special counsel to investigate Democrats’ actions during last year’s election campaign. Brian Fallon, who was press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, called the news part of a Trump administration “fog machine to distract from the Mueller probe” into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. Source: The Washington Post

Under new guidelines, half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure More than a dozen medical groups have agreed to change the guidelines for what constitutes high blood pressure in adults, based on the findings of a major study conducted two years ago. For decades, the upper threshold for high blood pressure has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom number of 90; the new guidelines, announced Monday at the American Heart Association’s conference in California, drop the numbers to 130 over 80. That means an additional 30 million Americans now have the condition, and it affects half of all adults in the United States. The study found that when people tried to keep their top number at 120, it lowered their risk of having heart problems. Source: The Associated Press

 

Monday,  Nov 13, 2017

A Korean People’s Army soldier defects to South Korea via the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). He was shot and injured by fellow North Korean soldiers as he crossed to the South Korean side at Panmunjom, and has been taken to hospital. (BBC)

The BBC reveals that a secret deal allowed hundreds of ISIL fighters and their families, including some of their “most notorious members”, escape from Raqqa in a convoy that was between 6 to 7 km long. The United States government confirms that the deal with ISIL was made and that the evacuations took place. (BBC) The deal was previously reported here on Wikipedia on October 14th. (Rudaw) (The Guardian)

Twenty-three European Union countries sign a defence integration pact known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation. NATO members Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom (withdrawal from EU underway), and non-NATO members Malta and Ireland opt out. (Reuters)

RT America registers with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent in the United States. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump selects Eli Lilly’s American division president and former HHS deputy secretary Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, replacing Tom Price who resigned on September 29. (ABC News)

Italy fails to qualify—for the first time since 1958—for 2018 FIFA World Cup after being defeated by Sweden in the UEFA Second Round. (Independent)

 

END

Monday,  Nov 13, 2017

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/more-sports/legendary-daredevil-dies-while-attempting-22000-foot-base-jump/ar-BBEULre?li=BBnbfcL&ocid=mailsignout

Mitch McConnell calls on Roy Moore to ‘step aside’ from Alabama Senate race Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday called for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to “step aside” from the race, following a Washington Post report last week that alleged Moore had initiated intimate relationships with teenaged women while he was in his 30s. Moore, who is the Republican candidate in Alabama’s Dec. 12 special Senate election, has mostly denied the allegations, telling a Christian Citizen Task Force forum that the Post had printed false allegations “for which they will be sued.” McConnell said Republicans are exploring whether a write-in candidate could be “an option” and said he found the allegations against Moore to be credible: “I believe the women, yes,” he said. Four polls since Thursday show a dead heat between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Source: Axios

Trump nominates former pharmaceutical executive to head HHS President Trump announced Monday his nomination of Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. “He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” Trump tweeted. Azar formerly worked in the department under President George W. Bush. In 2007, he joined the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, eventually rising to head of U.S. operations in 2012. Azar, who backed Jeb Bush in the 2016 election and later donated to the Trump Victory fund, is an outspoken critic of ObamaCare and soaring drug costs. If confirmed, he will replace Price, who resigned in September following reports of expensive taxpayer-funded travel. Source:  Politico

Uber seals big investment by SoftBank Uber on Sunday approved SoftBank’s offer to invest billions in the ride-hailing company. The Japanese conglomerate will lead a consortium of investors to buy at least 14 percent of Uber. SoftBank reportedly plans to buy about $1 billion of fresh Uber stock at the ride-hailing service’s current valuation of about $68.5 billion, and purchase about $9 billion worth of existing shares from current Uber shareholders. The deal is expected to pave the way for sweeping governance changes at Uber, which has shaken up its leadership following complaints about sexual harassment and a toxic corporate culture, and a move to take the company public by 2019. Source: Bloomberg

 

Sunday,  Nov 12, 2017

 Hundreds of sexual abuse survivors and their supporters march in Hollywood, California. (Los Angeles Times)

Boeing announces at the Dubai Airshow that the airline Emirates will purchase forty 787 Dreamliners with a list value of US$15 billion. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Nov 11, 2017

The Iraqi Armed Forces launch an offensive to recapture the last ISIL stronghold in Iraq, Rawa. (BBC)

Mass graves containing at least 400 bodies have been found near Hawija, an Iraqi city that was occupied by ISIL until last month. (BBC)

ISIL regains control of Abu Kamal. (NDTV)

Trade ministers from 11 countries announce that they have agreed on “core elements” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and plan to move forward with approving the trade agreement. (Bangkok Post)

An estimated 60,000 Polish citizens, including a few hundred nationalists, some with banners “White Europe” and “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust”, march through Warsaw under an umbrella slogan of “We want God”, on the annual Independence March during the celebrations of Poland’s National Independence Day. (Radio Poland) (Fox13)

22 police agents are wounded in Brussels when celebrations for Morocco’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification turn violent. (VRT)

 

Friday,  Nov 10, 2017

France’s nuclear safety institute (IRSN) picks up traces of ruthenium-106, suggesting a nuclear accident took place in either Russia or Kazakhstan, in late September and early October. (The Telegraph)

Saudi Arabia, and subsequently the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, urge all citizens currently in Lebanon to leave the country immediately. Recently, Saudi Arabia declared that a missile attack on its airport from Yemen was “an act of war” by Lebanon. (Al-Jazeera)

French President Emmanuel Macron makes an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia amidst an escalating crisis between the kingdom and Lebanon. France is a close partner of Lebanon. (BBC)

Hezbollah declares the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri invalid. Hariri has been detained in Saudi Arabia (presumably in Riyadh) for several days. The Saudi government is accused of pressuring Hariri to resign in the first place. (Al-Jazeera)

 

Louis C.K. confesses to sexual misconduct On Friday, comedian Louis C.K. confirmed allegations by five women who said he masturbated in front of them. “These stories are true,” C.K. said in a statement. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay … [b]ut what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.” C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy, was canceled by its distributor on Friday following the reports of his sexual misconduct. “The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else,” C.K. said, adding: “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” Source: The New York Times

Trump touts America-first policies at Asia summit President Trump said at a regional summit in Vietnam that the U.S. “will not tolerate” trade abuses, saying only countries that “follow the rules” will get U.S. business. Trump said that the U.S. had removed trade barriers to let foreign goods into the U.S., but many countries have not reciprocated by opening their markets. “We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore,” the president said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Danang. “I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.” Source: NPR

Thursday, Nov 9,  2017

A senior UN official warns that Yemen faces the world’s largest famine in decades “with millions of victims” if aid deliveries do not resume. (BBC)

Five anonymous women accuse comedian Louis C.K. of sexually inappropriate behavior. The production company for C.K.’s new film I Love You, Daddycancels its New York premiere. (The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia’s attorney general says at least $100bn (£76bn) has been misused through systemic corruption and embezzlement in recent decades. (BBC)

Four women accuse Roy Moore, a former Alabama judge and U.S. Senate candidate, of sexual misconduct during the 1970s and early 1980s when they were between the ages of 14 and 18 and he was in his 30s. (The Guardian)

END

News 11.09.2017

 

Thursday, Nov 9, 2017

Trump says he doesn’t ‘blame’ China for ‘unfair’ trade relationship In front of Chinese business leaders and President Xi Jinping, President Trump on Thursday described the U.S. trade relationship with China as being “one-sided and unfair,” but said he doesn’t fault China for the deals it has made. “Who can blame a country that is able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens,” Trump said. “I give China great credit.” Trump is in Beijing as part of his 12-day tour of Asia, and said he has “great chemistry” with Xi and thinks they will do “tremendous things” together. Source: The Washington Post

Trump administration announces new travel restrictions for Cuba The Trump administration announced a new list of travel restrictions and sanctions on Cuba on Wednesday. The new restrictions mean that American tourists will need to primarily book a trip with organized tour groups in order to visit the country, as well as follow a blacklist of 180 businesses, including 83 hotels and 10 Havana boutiques. U.S. government officials told The Associated Press that the restrictions aim to decrease American trade and commerce with businesses backed by the Cuban military. The blacklist will go into effect Thursday. Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. Source: The Associated Press

 

 Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017

The Syrian Army and its allies capture Abu Kamal from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Deutsche Welle)

Former U.S. TV news anchor Heather Unruh accuses actor Kevin Spacey of sexually assaulting her son in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 2016, when her son was 18 years old. (CNN)

British politician Priti Patel resigns from her position as Secretary of State for International Development amid reports that she had had unauthorized meetings with senior Israeli officials. (The Guardian)

U.S. federal prosecutors subpoena Carl Icahn over his role as an adviser on biofuels in the Trump administration. (CNBC)

 

Tuesday, Nov 7, 2017

A blanket of thick grey smog covers the Indian capital, Delhi, with some areas 30 times more polluted than the World Health Organization’s recommended limit, one year after a similar smog. (BBC)

A North Korean defector claims children are being born with deformities near North Korea’s nuclear testing site. (Fox News)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman accuses Iran of an act of “direct military aggression” by supplying missiles to rebels in Yemen. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump visits South Korea amidst a crisis with North Korea. (CNN)

Syria signs the Paris Agreement. This will make the United States the only country not in the Paris Agreement, when they plan to leave on 4 November 2020. (The Guardian)

Former millionaire Chisako Kakehi (also known as Japan’s “Black Widow”) is sentenced to death for the murder of 3 men which included a husband. (AFP via MSN)(BBC)

Maine votes to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in the first ever referendum on the issue. (ABC News)

News 11.07.2017

 

Tuesday,   Nov 7, 2017

Trump urges North Korea to ‘come to the table’ President Trump started his visit to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday by calling for North Korea to “come to the table” and “make a deal” to curb its nuclear weapons program. The statement marked a shift from the tough stance reflected in other recent statements toward Pyongyang, including Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” on the North if it threatens the U.S. or its allies. “Ultimately, it’ll all work out,” Trump said, noting he had seen “a lot of progress” regarding North Korea lately. During Trump’s first day in South Korea, his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, said the two leaders had “agreed to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue in peaceful manner” to “bring permanent peace” to the peninsula. Source: The Associated Press

Harvey Weinstein reportedly hired investigators to spy on accusers Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein went to great lengths to keep allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against him under wraps, hiring private security firms to gather information on women and journalists who were attempting to write stories about the accusations, The New Yorker reports. Ronan Farrow read through dozens of pages of documents and spoke with seven people involved, who told him Weinstein started hiring firms in the fall of 2016, including Black Cube, which is run by former officers from Israeli intelligence agencies, to target people like actress Rose McGowan, who last month publicly accused Weinstein of rape. Journalists also interviewed women who made allegations against Weinstein, then reported back to the producer what they said, Farrow writes. A spokeswoman for Weinstein called the report “fiction.” Source: The New Yorker

 

2017 Monday,  Nov 6, 2017

Investors react poorly to the arrest of Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the world’s wealthiest men. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump visits Japan amidst the 2017 North Korea crisis. (CNN)

Saudi Arabia says Lebanon has declared war against it through acts of aggression. (Reuters)

Emmerson Mnangagwa is fired as Vice President by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. The public and the media widely perceives Mugabe’s wife Grace as his likely successor after his death with Mnangagwa having been seen as her rival. (The Guardian)

 

Sunday,  Nov 5, 2017

Journalists start reporting on the contents of 13.4 million documents leaked from the offshore law firm Appleby, along with business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions that reveal offshore financial activities of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung had previously obtained the documents and shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. (BBC) (The New York Times)

The documents include names of individuals and companies such as that of United States businessman and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, United Kingdom monarch Elizabeth II, Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Russian-Uzbek business magnate Alisher Usmanov, the social media companies Twitter and Facebook, and pop stars Bono and Madonna. (Quartz)

A helicopter crashes near Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, killing the son of former Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, and seven other Saudi officials. The cause of the crash is unknown. (NBC News)

A gunman opens fire at a Baptist church in the American town of Sutherland Springs, Texas in the San Antonio area, killing at least 26 people and injuring many others. The 26-year-old gunman is later found dead in his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (ABC News) (BBC) (CNN)

United States Senator Rand Paul is recovering from fractured ribs after being assaulted by a neighbor at his home. (NBC)

At least 260 people have been arrested while protesting against Vladimir Putin in Moscow while people in five other cities are also detained. The protests were organized by the Artpodgotovka movement founded by Vyacheslav Maltsev. (BBC)

Shalane Flanagan becomes the first American woman since 1977 to win the New York City Marathon. Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor wins the men’s marathon. (The New York Times)

 

Saturday,  Nov 4, 2017

Houthi rebels in Yemen fire a ballistic missile at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The missile was shot down, according to Saudi officials, with no resulting injuries or damage.(BBC News) (The New York Times)

The United States will end the temporary protected status program (TPS) for more than 300,000 refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Many of the refugees have already left for Canada, where it is easier to get asylum. (Newsweek) (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia announces the arrest of billionaire investor Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, plus at least 10 other princes, four government ministers and tens of former ministers by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s newly formed anti-corruption agency. (AFP via Yahoo!) (The New York Times)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports the discovery of several cases of fraud amounting to at least $6 million (£4.6 million) through overbilling and the “likely collusion” between a bank and former IFRC employees during the 2013–16 West African Ebola outbreak. (Voice of Africa) (The Guardian)

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigns, citing assassination threats. (BBC)

 

Friday,  Nov 3, 2017

The Syrian Army (SAA) and allies announce the complete liberation of Deir ez-Zor from ISIL. (Sputnik International)

At least nine people are killed and another 23 are injured in Hader, Quneitra Governorate, after a Tahrir al-Sham-operated car bomb detonates inside the town. (Reuters)

The Iraqi Armed Forces enter the town of Al-Qa’im, close to the border with Syria. Al-Qa’im is one of the last towns in Iraq still held by ISIL. (Reuters)

The United States launches airstrikes against Islamic State in Somalia for the first time. The United States Africa Command says “several terrorists” were killed in the strikes, which took place in coordination with Somalia’s government. (The Independent)

Netflix announces that it will no longer be working with American actor Kevin Spacey who plays Frank Underwood on the U.S. version of House of Cards(News Limited)

United States soldier Bowe Bergdahl is convicted of desertion and dishonorably discharged, but is not imprisoned. (The New York Times)

Zimbabwe accuses American citizen Martha O’Donovan of trying to overthrow the regime of Robert Mugabe. (The Los Angeles Times)

 

Thursday, Nov 2,  2017

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the city of Deir ez-Zor has largely been cleared of ISIS fighters by the Syrian Armed Forces. Deir ez-Zor was the scene of a three-year-long siege until it was broken in September 2017. (The Guardian)

A Bethlehem art installation (by anonymous artist Banksy) satirizes the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. (The Guardian)

Donald Trump nominates Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Chair of the Federal Reserve. (ABC News)

At least 22 people killed and 100 injured in boiler explosion at a coal-fired power plant in Uttar Pradesh state, India. (BBC)

Opposition leader Katrín Jakobsdóttir of the Left-Green Movement receives the mandate to form a government with its coalition partners: the Social Democratic Alliance, the Progressives and the Pirates. (Bloomberg)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s main social media account is suspended for 11 minutes. Twitter blames the incident on an employee and says it is “taking steps to prevent this from happening again.” (The Guardian)

The Tapanuli orangutan is identified as a new species of great ape. (The Guardian)

 

END

 

News 11.02.2017

https://www.unz.com/announcement/caching-javascript-and-open-thread-on-software-problems/#comment-2061113

Thursday, Nov 2,  2017

Trump expected to name Jerome Powell as Fed chair Thursday    President Trump is expected to name Federal Reserve board governor Jerome Powell as the next chair of the U.S. central bank on Thursday. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires in February 2018. Powell is largely considered to be a safe pick that “signal[s] continuity with the current low-interest rate environment and take-it-slow approach that Yellen has overseen,” Business Insider writes. Whoever Yellen’s successor, economists warn that the job ahead won’t be easy, as rate hikes could potentially swing the economy back into a recession if they keep inflation below the target. “Tightening too slowly could stoke asset values even further, creating trouble down the road,” Bloombergwrites. “Powell, and Trump by association, will own the outcome.” Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

 

Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a market in Sahar District in Yemen’s northern Saada Governorate, which is under Houthi control, kills at least 26 people, according to medics and local officials. (Reuters)

Citing “inappropriate behavior”, Michael Oreskes resigns from his position as senior vice president of news at NPR after three journalists accuse him of sexual harassment. (CNN)

Shinzō Abe is officially reinstated as Prime Minister of Japan following the election on 22 October 2017. (Reuters)

France declares the end of the country’s state of emergency which was enforced as a reaction to the November 2015 Paris attacks. The state of emergency gets replaced with a new counterterrorism law signed by President Emmanuel Macron. (The Independent)

Michael Fallon resigns as the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Defence amid controversy over reports he touched a female journalist inappropriately in 2002. (BBC)

In baseball, the Houston Astros defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5–1 in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series. It is the first World Series title for the Astros, who had lost 111 games just four seasons earlier. The Astros’ George Springer, who set records for most extra-base hits (8) and total bases (29) in a single World Series, and tied the record for most home runs in a single World Series (5), is named series MVP. (CNN) (CBS Sports)

 

 Tuesday, Oct 31, 2017

Eight people are killed and at least 11 others injured when a man in a rented pickup truck drives down a bike path along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan. The 29-year-old suspect, later identified as Uzbekistani immigrant Sayfullo Saipov, is shot and taken into custody by police. Police are treating this incident as an act of terrorism. (New York Post) (AP) (UPI) (NBC News)

A tunnel under construction at North Korea’s nuclear test site collapses, killing as many as 200 workers. (Yonhap News Agency)

A car accident on highway 400 involving 14 vehicles, including two tanker trucks, results in three deaths near Barrie, Ontario. Police suspect distracted driving to be the cause. (CBC)

U.S. senators question lawyers representing Facebook, Twitter and Google about Russian activity on their platforms during the 2016 United States presidential election. (BBC)

A Minotaur-C rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and deploys 10 commercial Earth-imaging satellites for Planet Labs. It is the first successful mission for the Minotaur-C, formerly known as Taurus, since 2004. (Spaceflight 101)

 

Monday, Oct 30, 2017

The IDF destroys a partly-completed tunnel from the Gaza Strip border near the town of Khan Yunis that crossed into Israeli territory, killing seven Hamas militants. Several more died in the rescue efforts. (Reuters)

A U.N. and Syrian Arab Red Crescent interagency convoy brings food and medical aid to 40,000 people on the verge of starvation in the towns of Kafr Batnaand Saqba in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus for the first time since June 2016. (Reuters)

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates surrender to the FBI after both are indicted on multiple charges stemming from the investigation into the Donald Trump presidential campaign’s possible associations with the Russian government. The two men—who respectively served as manager and deputy manager of the campaign from March to August 2016—are being charged on twelve counts, which include conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents. (USA Today)

George Papadopoulos, who worked as a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, is also revealed to have plead guilty on October 5 to making false statements to FBI agents about contacts that he had with the Russian government during the campaign. (Los Angeles Times)

Tony Podesta, brother of John Podesta, resigns from the Podesta Group lobbying firm. A spokesperson for the group says they are cooperating with the Special Counsel’s team. (Reuters)

Starting in 2018, women will be allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in Saudi Arabia for the first time in the country’s history, officials say. (BBC)

Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere surged by a record amount in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization. (BBC)

In coordination with Libya’s internationally recognized government, American special operations forces and FBI agents capture Mustafa al-Imam, a militant who allegedly was involved in theArchives from Hewlett-Packard founders William Hewlett and David Packard are among those destroyed by fires in a Santa Rosa neighborhood. (Quartz)

Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq since 2005, announces that he will step down after November 1. The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament now has to redistribute the authorities of the presidency. (AFP via SBS)

After a first-lap collision and a ninth-place finish in the Mexican Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton becomes the fifth driver to win four FIA Formula One World Championship titles. (The Guardian)

 

END

Pavel Felgenhauer

Pavel Felgenhauer

 

The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia

Page 162_163

Chapter 9
After August 7: The Escalation of the Russia-Georgia War

Pavel Felgenhauer

The sequence of events that led to the Russia-Georgia war is a matter of political contention and shifting blame, even though there is broad agreement on the narrative of the subsequent combat per se. Of course, the fog of war continues to obscure many details; staff documents are still secret on both the Russian and Georgian sides, as are figures on the exact number of men, tanks, and warplanes that were involved. However, there are good estimates on numbers and on the moves made by both sides in a short but eventful war.

The Strategic Mismatch

The Russians and their separatist allies in Abkhazia and South Ossetia prepared and executed in August 2008 a war which the Georgians did not predict or expect. The Georgians, until they were plunged headlong into the fighting, appear to have prepared only for a replay of previous confrontations in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in the early 1990s, which had resulted in a military standoff with the separatist forces, who were sup-ported to some extent by the Russian military and by so-called North Caucasian volunteers and Cossacks. But this time, the Russian military staged an all-out invasion, planning to totally decimate and destroy the Georgian military—in effect, a full demilitarization of Georgia, as well as to overthrow the hated pro-Western regime led by President Mikheil Saakashvili. For this purpose, the Russian staffs mobilized and prepared for action tens of thousands of servicemen from the Navy, Air Force, and Army. The Russian war plans also envisaged a possible escalation of the conflict with Georgia to involve the U.S. and NATO.

In the actual fighting in August 2008, the separatist forces that the Georgians had seen as their main adversary played only a supporting role as a vanguard to the Russians, to engage and draw the Georgian forces into combat. Subsequently their role shifted to that of an auxiliary infantry. This strategic mismatch in perceptions and planning produced a disastrous result for Georgia and threw Western policy-makers into disarray and created utter uncertainty over what to expect from Russia in the Caucasus or else-where. This confusion persists to the present.

In public testimony before a parliamentary commission investigating the war with Russia, the Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces during the war, General Zaza Gogava, disclosed that “military and foreign intelligence information coming before August was not comprehensive enough to indicate that such a large-scale Russian military intervention was to be expected. We were not expecting what started on August 9 – a full-scale military intervention with the goal to take over the capital city, Tbilisi.” Gogava, as well as other Georgian officials who testified before the commission, divided the Russian military intervention into two phases—the first from August 7-9, and the second starting from August 9, when Russia launched what the Georgians term a “full-scale aggression.” The Georgian failure to predict the Russian intervention was attributable in part to intelligence failure. Indeed, Gogava complained ruefully that “In 2005 the Intelligence unit in the Ministry of Defense had been disbanded.” [1]

The secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council during the war, Alexander Lomaia (appointed Georgian ambassador to the UN in December 2008), testified that Russia used about a third of its combat-capable land forces in the operation against Georgia (“over 80,000 Russian servicemen were involved in all operations”) and that “neither we nor any foreign intelligence service had any information about Russia’s expected full-scale invasion and occupation of a large part of our territory – it was a shock and a surprise.” According to Lomaia, it was known that several thousand Russian troops deployed during the Kavkaz-2008 military exercises on Georgia’s northern border and in the vicinity of South Ossetia in July 2008, began moving through the Roki tunnel into South Ossetia on August 7, but the Georgian leaders believed they had enough troops to deal with such a force. Apparently, the Georgians did not notice a statement by General Yuri Netkachev that the number of troops involved in the Kavkaz-2008 exercises (8,000) “was officially underestimated.”[2] According to Lomaia:

“We can suppose that a political decision [on full-scale military intervention] was made in Russia on August 9 when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Vladikavkaz; it seems that he was informed about the heavy damage inflicted on the Russian forces [already fighting in South Ossetia]

and it seems that the decision was taken, after that to put into operation the plan involving a full-scale intervention.” [3]

End page 163

Pg. 164

 

Georgian leaders did not fully understand Russian intentions, and made staggeringly erroneous assessments that led to strategically disastrous decisions. Georgian foreign intelligence service chief Gela Bezhuashvili, a former defense and foreign minister, in public testimony before the parliamentary commission stated that:

Our information suggested Russia was planning a military intervention. A decision was made in principle to carry out aggression against Georgia in the second half of 2007. Analysis of both open and secret sources indicated that provocations were being prepared in the conflict areas, involving training and arming of the separatists forces, as well as preparing Cossacks to intervene in the area of conflict. The mobilization of Russia’s air force started at the Mozdok airbase in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. Russia’s A-50 reconnaissance aircraft, which is an AWACS type spy-plane, landed in Mozdok on August 4 or 5th. It is capable of correcting [i.e. tracing] artillery fire. [4]

 

Bezhuashvili’s assessment seems to be accurate, though some mistakes in it have never been corrected. For example, the old Russian A-50 AWACS is equipped with ancient electronics, cannot “see” anything on the ground, and cannot possibly “correct artillery fire.” Such mistakes, apparently, led to disastrous misinterpretations. Bezhuashvili acknowledged that “an assessment of the expected scale of the aggression was not easy.” As a result, according to Bezhuashvili, Georgian foreign intelligence did not foresee that war might break out in August. “We were expecting that Russia would escalate tensions in September, October or in November 2008.” The Georgians did not foresee that Russia was planning an invasion on two fronts (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) at the same time. To quote Bezhuashvili again, “we had no intelligence information that Russia was planning to occupy western Georgia including Poti, Senaki and Zugdidi.”[5] Apparently, the Georgians did not take seriously a statement by Abkhazia’s foreign minister, Sergey Shamba, made in May 2008, that “it will take us two days to go on the offensive into Western Georgia and create a security buffer zone.” [6]

Georgia’s defense minister during the August war, Davit Kezerashvili, told this author in Tbilisi in November 2008 that, “if we would have known the scale of the Russian invasion, we would have prepared defensive positions, trenches and dugouts.” Several days later, Kezerashvili told the parliamentary commission that “Georgia’s army was not prepared for conventional warfare, as its training was mainly focused on lower-scale operations and anti-terrorist operations. In Principle, we knew Russia might attack, but I was not sure it would until August 7. Friendly Western nations all told us that it is impossible that in the twenty-first century Russia might initiate a direct intervention. We could have built fortified defense positions, dugouts and bunkers from Gori to Tbilisi and from Abkhazia to Kutaisi, but this could have led to panic [of the civilian population].” [7] Therefore, nothing was built.

The massive Russian invasion caught the Georgians off guard and unprepared both strategically and tactically. Russia, led by former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, managed to hide its preparations and intentions not only from the Georgians, but also from Western governments and intelligence services. The Georgian military was ready for a mobile, mostly offensive war either in Abkhazia or South Ossetia, but not for simultaneous large-scale combat with superior, heavily armed, and air-supported enemy forces invading from Abkhazia and Ossetia, in other words, on both fronts at the same time. As Georgian forces pushed north into South Ossetia during. August 8, they may have been prepared to fend off a limited Abkhaz assault against the heavily fortified upper Kodori Gorge, but a full-scale Russian invasion over the Inguri River to occupy western Georgia was surely a surprise. Because of this huge strategic blunder, from the very first shot in August 2008, the Georgians had no chance of successfully repelling the Russians. Political and military disaster was inevitable.

The Russian War Machine Goes into Action

Once the fighting was over, a Georgian parliamentary commission publicly scrutinized the events of the August war, though some of these proceedings in Tbilisi took place in secret. In Moscow, however, there were no public official hearings of any sort, or detailed official disclosures about the pre-war plan of combat or the actual course of the war. Moscow wanted its military action in Georgia in August 2008 to be seen merely as a reaction to “Georgian aggression” against Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, and against Russian peacekeepers in the region. However, this official Russian position ignores the simple fact that an invasion of such a magnitude would require long-term preparations involving the entire Russian military, including the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

In December 2008 President Dmitry Medvedev told Russian TV how Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov had reported that Georgian forces had begun an offensive in South Ossetia on August 7, and how he…

End page 165

News 10.30.2017

News Monday Oct 30th – Thurs Oct 26th

Monday,  Oct 30th, 2017

Paul Manafort surrenders to federal authorities   Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office served the first indictment in connection to the Russian election meddling investigation on Monday against President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s former business associate, Rick Gates. The pair were told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday morning. Manafort was under investigation before Mueller was appointed, and Mueller’s team absorbed those probes into Manafort’s actions in the election, as well as his real estate and financial dealings, including those in Ukraine, where he worked for a Russia-linked political party. Manafort and Gates face 12 counts on charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and unregistered agent of a foreign principal. Source: The New York Times, Politico

Manafort indictment kicks off long, complex legal process   President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, arrived at the FBI’s Washington Field Office on Monday morning, facing 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States. Extensive FBI investigations historically follow a similar pattern, which includes circling inward from “peripheral figures first,” Wired notes, and then encouraging them to cooperate in exchange for leniency. Trump’s lawyer has dismissed rumors that Manafort would or could offer damaging information on the president. Still, Wired explains Monday’s indictment is just the beginning of a “complex and deeply partisan process,” as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s task is to identify federal crimes, while Congress will be left to sort through “political problems.” Source: Wired, The New York Times

2 Navy SEALs under investigation in death of Green Beret in Mali   Two members of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six are under suspicion of being involved in the death of an Army Green Beret last June in Mali, U.S. officials told CNN Sunday. The New York Times reports Army Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar was found dead in his room at a U.S. government compound near the American embassy in Bamako, Mali. A military examiner has ruled his death a homicide, CNN says, and the Times reports he was strangled. Melgar was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group, which operates in northwest Africa. The four American service members killed in an ambush earlier this month in Niger were part of the same group. Source: CNN

 

Sunday,  Oct 29, 2017

Archives from Hewlett-Packard founders William Hewlett and David Packard are among those destroyed by fires in a Santa Rosa neighborhood. (Quartz)

Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq since 2005, announces that he steps down after November 1. The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament now has to redistribute the authorities of the presidency. (AFPvia SBS)

Hundreds of thousands of supporters for a unified Spain gather in Barcelona, the capital and largest city of Catalonia, in one of the biggest shows of force against Catalan independence. (The Washington Post) (Reuters)

 

Saturday,  Oct 28, 2017

A “White Lives Matter” gathering takes place in Shelbyville, Tennessee, with 200+ WLM protestors met by 700+ counter-protesters. (USA Today)

 

Friday,  Oct 27, 2017

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan announces that the Kazakh language will begin using a Latin script, rather than the current Cyrillic script. (Official site of the Kazakh presidency) (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

The United States releases a list of 39 Russian military companies and intelligence agencies targeted by economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. (CBS News)

A federal grand jury approves the first charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 federal elections. The charges are sealed by a court order. (CNN) (The Hill)

Catalonia declares independence from Spain as Catalan Republic. (CNN)

The Parliament of Catalonia votes and starts a “constituent” process towards independence from the Kingdom of Spain. The Senate of Spain votes to permit direct rule according to article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. (BBC)

The euro drops to a three-month low after the declaration is made. (Reuters)

Information brought to Trump Jr. at 2016 meeting had Kremlin ties     Information brought by a Russian lawyer to a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had previously been discussed with the prosecutor general of Russia, Yuri Chaika, The New York Times reported Friday. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, reportedly touted having compromising intelligence on Hillary Clinton to Trump Jr., although Trump’s eldest son was ultimately unimpressed by the information, which attempted to portray some of Clinton’s campaign donations as “stolen” Russian money. Russia experts told the Times that it was “inconceivable” that Veselnitskaya “would have bypassed her own government to deliver what are now unmistakably official allegations to an American presidential campaign,” saying she must have coordinated with the Kremlin somehow. Source: The New York Times

Trump declares opioid crisis a public health emergency   On Thursday, President Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. “We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it,” Trump said. He also said that the government would require a particular “truly evil” opioid to be removed from the market, as well as promote research for non-addictive pain management techniques. Trump had been heavily criticized for not triggering a federal response to the crisis sooner, after saying he would make an announcement back in early August. STAT estimated earlier this year that opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade. Source: CSPAN, STAT

 

 Thursday, Oct 26,  2017

Twitter bans all ads from Russian news agencies RT and Sputnik based on U.S. intelligence’s conclusion that both attempted to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of the Russian government. (Business Insider)

A Russian Mi-8 helicopter crashes into the sea off Svalbard with eight people reported missing. A search and rescue operation is underway. (BBC)

At least two Catalan officials defect from the ruling Junts pel Sí party as Catalan president Carles Puigdemont cancels a speech regarding snap elections. Puigdemont plans to draw back from declaring independence from Spain. (Bloomberg)

Nearly 3,000 files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 have been released, while U.S. President Donald Trump orders others to be withheld citing national security concerns. The documents were scheduled for release today in a 1992 law. (BBC)

Trump to declare opioid crisis a public health emergency today On Wednesday night, President Trump told reporters that he is “going to have a big meeting on opioids” Thursday, and White House officials tell USA Today that Trump will order the Health and Human Services department to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, a step short of the national emergency he promised to declare in August and again last week. Trump said the order would give the federal government the “power to do things that you can’t do right now,” and White House officials said the renewable 90-day order would give states more flexibility to spend the $1 billion for opioid treatment Congress approved last year, plus tap other funds. Trump’s opioid commission had recommended a more robust national emergency declaration. Source: USA Today

 

JFK assassination documents to be released today     Thursday is the deadline Congress set 25 years ago for the release of the remaining government files on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Trump, who can withhold some of the documents if he decides they compromise government sources or methods, teased the release again on Wednesday, tweeting: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!” The CIA has been urging Trump to withhold some information, while scholars and conspiracy theorists — including longtime adviser Roger Stone — are pushing Trump to release every scrap of information. Source: The Associated Press

 

Trump campaign data firm contacted Julian Assange about Clinton emails        Inan email last year, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics firm hired by President Trump’s campaign, told a third party he had contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about how he could help him release some of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, The Daily Beast reports, citing two people familiar with the congressional investigation into ties between Trump associates and the Russian government. Nix’s email indicates that Assange refused the offer, saying he worked alone. If Nix’s claims are true, this is the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Assange. Assange told The Daily Beast “an approach by Cambridge Analytica” was rejected. It is unclear if Assange or anyone else has access to Clinton’s deleted emails. Source: The Daily Beast

 

Wednesday,  Oct 25, 2017

A militant group affiliated with ISIL seizes the coastal town of Qandala in the autonomous Puntland region. (Reuters)

Ghor Province Governor’s spokesman claims ISIL insurgents killed 26-42 civilians in his governed province, Afghanistan. (Reuters)

Suspected Syrian or Russian warplanes conduct airstrikes on a residential area and a school in Haas village in rebel-held Idlib Governorate, killing at least 26 civilians, most of them children. (Reuters)

A research team led by an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona publishes a paper in Nature on the genetic history of HIV proving that Gaëtan Dugas, the Canadian flight attendant who had been identified for years as “Patient Zero” of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., did not spread the virus to the country. The study indicates that HIV first spread to the U.S. from the Caribbean around 1970. (BBC) (The New York Times)

Russia withdraws a request to refuel three of its warships, including the flagship of the Russian Navy, Admiral Kuznetsov, en route to Syria, at the Spanish port of Ceuta following NATO pressure on the Spanish government to not allow the warships to dock. (BBC)

 

Tuesday,   Oct 24, 2017

The European Commission scraps the draft legislation that would have permitted the EBA regulator to order “too big to fail” banks to split off their trading activities, citing “no foreseeable agreement” in sight on criteria. The draft was supposed to be the EU’s answer to the United States’ Volcker Rule. (Reuters)

Security researchers report on the outbreak of the ransomware nicknamed Bad Rabbit, which has affected computer networks throughout the world, with Russia and Ukraine being the worst affected. (International Business Times) (BBC)

The week-long Communist Party congress in Beijing draws to an end, with General Secretary Xi Jinping set to become its most influential leader since Party Chairman Mao Zedong. (BBC)

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives launch an investigation into the Obama administration’s decision in 2010 to allow Rosatom to purchase Uranium One. (Los Angeles Times)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/legal-aspects-of-war/russian-georgia-war.php

link_https://youtu.be/tLcLBR6hnNA

 

The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia

A Little War That Shook The World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West

Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Tretyakov_(intelligence_officer)