Wednesday, July 8, 2015

U.S. Air Force Primed and Ready to Attack Iran’s Nuclear Sites - by Mark Thompson - Wednesday July 8th, 2015 at 7:26 PM

Jean-Marie Le Pen Beats Daughter in Court Again

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French court rules Marine Le Pen can’t strip her father of honorary chairmanship of far-right National Front party.

Islamic State Offshoot Entrenches in Egypt's Sinai

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In the strategic peninsula between Israel and mainland Egypt, Islamic State is exploiting lawlessness and the population’s deep-seated grievances against the government in Cairo.

Microsoft Axes 7,800 Jobs As Phone Sales Lag

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The restructure is in addition to 18,000 job cuts announced last year as the company struggles to take on Apple and Google.

Obama, Pentagon Send Mixed Messages on Syrian Rebels Training 

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The president and the Pentagon appear to be on different pages this week concerning the training of Syrian rebels. After meeting with his national security team, U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters Monday he “made it clear” to his team that the U.S. “will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria.” But on Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters the military’s training plan remains the same, because “it’s more important to us to get it...

U.S. Air Force Primed and Ready to Attack Iran’s Nuclear Sites

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U.S. and Iranian negotiators have been scrambling in Vienna to concoct an accord that will stay Tehran’s nuclear ambitions for at least a decade. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has spent the same amount of time plotting how to derail such an effort if it can’t be done at the negotiating table.
The U.S. has made it clear that it will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon to threaten Israel or its other neighbors in and around the Persian Gulf. If the atomic talks break down—and U.S. intelligence decides Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear-armed state—look for the Air Force’s Massive Ordnance Penetrator to get the assignment to try to destroy that capability.
Of course, the Obama Administration and its five negotiating allies—Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—are engaged as much in psychological gamesmanship as potential pyrotechnics. The U.S. has leaked just enough information about the MOP to let the Iranians know that the Americans believe its use could set back Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear weapon for years.
But the nation’s military leaders have made clear that a single strike with one or (more likely) more Massive Ordnance Penetrators may not halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Obviously anything like that can be reconstituted,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said July 1. “And so a military strike of that kind is a setback, but it doesn’t prevent the reconstitution over time.” It’s a hammer that might have to be used repeatedly if Iran refuses to back down and continues to work on its nuclear program. “The military option isn’t use once and set aside,” Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added. “It remains in place.”
While no one will say so, Iran’s nuclear facility at Fordow–buried up to 80 meters beneath a mountain near the Shiite holy city of Qom, at a former missile base controlled by Iran’s unpredictable Revolutionary Guards–is at the top of that target list. Iran has been conducting much of its suspected nuclear-weapons work for years in underground labs and research facilities thought to be able to survive attacks by earlier generations of U.S. military bunker-busters.
“In October 2014, the Air Force successfully completed one weapon drop from the B-2 aircraft on a representative target,” the Pentagon’s top weapons-tester reported earlier this year. “The test, conducted at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, demonstrated weapon behavior after planned enhancements were incorporated.” Several additional tests have been carried out in recent months, Pentagon officials say.
Nearly a decade ago, the Pentagon concluded that dropping its one-ton bombs on buried targets was like using a peashooter against an elephant. “Our past test experience has shown that 2,000-pound penetrators carrying 500 pounds of high explosive are relatively ineffective against tunnels, even when skipped directly into the tunnel entrance,” a 2004 report said. “Instead, several thousand pounds of high explosives coupled to the tunnel are needed to blow down blast doors and propagate a lethal air blast throughout a typical tunnel complex.”
In late 2009, the Air Force quietly circulated a solicitation seeking a “Quick Reaction Capability” to “defeat a specific set of Hard and/or Deeply Buried Targets.” The weapon, the service said, would “maximize effects against Hard and/or Deeply Buried Targets (HDBTs), while minimizing time over target.” The Air Force said it needed the weapon to meet “Urgent Operational Needs requirements”—generally a plea from a battlefield commander who doesn’t think he has the weapons he needs to accomplish a mission assigned to him.

DoDThe Massive Ordnance Penetrator hits its target during a test at White Sands.

“The system will hold at risk those highest priority assets essential to the enemy’s war-fighting ability, which are heavily defended and protected,” the Air Force elaborated in February 2011 budget documents, “providing a critical global strike capability not currently met by inventory conventional weapons.”
The $15 million MOP has six times the heft of existing GBU-28 bunker busters. Glided into its destination by GPS-guided lattice-type fins, its alloy steel hull – some 80% of its weight – is designed to remain intact as it drills through rock or reinforced concrete before setting off its 5,300-pound warhead. Air Force officials say it represents a “bridge” capability between existing bunker busters and nuclear weapons themselves.
The Pentagon doesn’t have an unlimited supply of MOPs: it initially bought 20, for $314 million. The Boeing-built weapon can only be carried by the Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber. It’s also extremely shy: there are few photographs of the real thing. But the Air Force has released a pair of photographs of a MOP mockup. It’s a safe bet the mockup has been tweaked from the actual weapon to avoid betraying its precise design and dimensions.
After several upgrades, the Air Force has let it been known that there’s an operational stockpile of the world’s most powerful non-nuclear bombs at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. They’re not far from the B-2 bombers, ready to carry them 7,000 miles to Iran. That much is certain. Whether Obama thinks dropping them is worth the risk isn’t.
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Tunisia Plans to Build Antiterrorism Wall Along Border With Libya 

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The 100-mile-long barrier is intended to stop Islamist militants from Libya from crossing into Tunisia, according to the prime minister.
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It’s a Stretch, but Putin Will Add Yoga to His Repertoire

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The Russian president, known for his skills in
judo and macho sports, said in a meeting with India’s leader that he will embrace yoga as well.

Berlusconi convicted of bribery

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Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi is found guilty of bribing a senator in 2006 in an attempt to bring down the then centre-left government.

In long-predicted shift, California Latinos outnumber whites

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The long-expected moment when Latinos surpassed whites as California's largest racial or ethnic group has come and gone....

Baltimore mayor fires police commissioner amid homicide rise

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BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore mayor fired the troubled city's police commissioner Wednesday, saying that a recent spike in homicide rates weeks after a black man died of injuries in police custody required a change in leadership....

Utah teen convicted in deputy's death going to prison

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18-year-old Meagan Grunwald was sentenced for a 50-mile crime spree that left one sheriff's deputy dead and another wounded

Moscow Brings Its Traditional Divide-and-Rule Approach Back to the Three Baltic Countries 

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Staunton, July 1  A call by some Duma members for the Russian government to review and declare illegal the Soviet government’s recognition of Baltic independence in September 1991 has attracted widespread attention and concern as an indication of Moscow’s intentions but ultimately ridiculed as otherwise meaningless grandstanding.
But there are other straws in the wind which suggest some in the Russian government are laying the groundwork for a more aggressive stance against the Baltic states, and two of them which have appeared this week, while they have received little notice internationally, may ultimately be a more important signal of the Kremlin’s plans.
That is because they reflect the longstanding Russian tactic of “divide-and-rule,” which in this case means the playing up of differences or even the creation of differences where they do not exist among the three Baltic countries in order to make it more difficult for these three NATO members to cooperate with each other and with the Western alliance as well.
The first involves a Latvian activist of the Association Against Nazism, a group that has often followed Moscow’s line. Janis Kruzinis has launched a petition campaign on the portal to seek “’the return of the territory of Palanga” from Lithuania.
Kruzinis says that such a return would resolve “a historical dispute about the sea border between Latvia and Lithuania and return Palanga Territory which historically was the territory of Latvia.” Latvia would benefit, he continues, because there are supposedly oil deposits in the region and because of new jobs for Latvians in the restored Latvian region.
He wants the Latvian parliament seek the help of the EU to review the agreement about the borders between Latvia and Lithuania. According to him, Latvia handed over Palanga Territory to Lithuania in 1921 because “Lithuania did not have an outlet to the Baltic Sea.” But in 1923, Lithuania obtained Klaipeda Territory which gave it one but did not return Palanga to Riga’s control.
In a little over two weeks, slightly more than 10,000 people have signed Kruzinis’ petition, although it is unclear what this will lead to except for the possibility of sparking tensions between Latvians and Lithuanians, something Moscow would be certain to exploit in the event of a crisis.
The second case is more curious but equally disturbing. It comes from the pen of Dimitry Klensky, notorious for his pro-Russian and anti-Estonian writings and activism. In “an appeal to compatriots,”the activist notes that five pro-Russian activists were arrested in Riga at the end of June but that Russians in Estonia have failed to react.
“The Union of Organizations of Russian Compatriots of Estonia and the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots of Estonia have remained silent. Social and cultural organizations and rights activists have as well, including the Russian School in Estonia, the Pushkin Institute, the Russian Academic Society of Estonia, the Assembly of National Minorities of Estonia, the local Russian press and intelligentsia,” Klensky says.
Moreover, he continues, “Russian-speaking and Russian social-political activists, representatives of political parties which consider themselves to be on the left, the Social Democrats and the Centrists have said nothing as well.” And the major Russian websites in Estonia have ignored what is going on in Riga.
“This creates the impression,” he continues, “that in Estonia, the local Security Police has already successfully dealt with the suppression of any dissent” much as their predecessors did in pre-war Estonia, albeit with more modern methods, including “easily falsified electronic elections” and buying off ethnic Russians with grants and high pay.
“Silence in such conditions,” Klensky says, “means approval of the existing situation when democratic institutions have become decorations in the form of democracy. The silence of the Russian and Russian-language population, almost a third of the population of the country, speaks to its moral-ethnic repression” by “an ethnocratic state.”
Klensky, of course, is not open to the possibility that the Baltic countries have treated the ethnic Russians sufficiently well that the overwhelming majority of them are loyal citizens even if they identify with Russian culture. But unfortunately, he is not the only one of whom that is true, and Moscow seems set to launch a new effort on the basis of its own misconception.
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Reports: US Army to Cut 40,000 Troops

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The U.S. Army is planning to reduce the size of its force by 40,000 soldiers over the next two years, according to U.S. media reports. The USA Today newspaper reported Tuesday that the Army also plans to cut 17,000 civilian employees. The cuts would reduce the active-duty Army to about 450,000, its smallest size since before the United States entered World War II. The Army had about 570,000 troops in 2012 at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cuts will take place by the end of the 2017 fiscal year and affect virtually every Army post at home and abroad, USA Today said. If the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, set to begin in October, take place, the Army would have to slash another 30,000 soldiers, according to a document obtained by the newspaper.

New Military Cyber Program Visualizes Invisible Attacks

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There is an old saying that goes, “You can not fight what you can not see.” “One of the things that’s very difficult about cyber space is that it’s invisible ... so the idea of operating in it is very difficult," said Dan Kaufman, former information innovation office director at the U.S. Defense Department's research wing, known as DARPA. But among the tech tools in the lab at DARPA is a new cyber security program called PLAN X that maps out the invisible realm of cyber space.  PLAN X developer and former Marine Frank Pound calls the space a cyber battlefield. “We treat this as a contested area," Pound said. "And so we need to start to reason about it in terms of that.” Without PLAN X, computer analysts must read thousands of data points gathered through hours of system monitoring to see a cyber attack. "So, we are detecting the attacks, but what happens is that a lot of times they get hidden in the noise of all this data,” Pound said. Typically, data monitoring is done in a spreadsheet format. It's difficult to read, and a user has to scroll through the information to identify any problems. PLAN X puts the data together in a way that makes it easier to spot trouble. "It is sort of like a Weather Channel for cyber,” Pound said. Hacked computers show up with a red alert and can be instantly quarantined, analyzed and even used to fire a cyber assault back at the attacker.  “So, militaries of the future in the United States will be able to conduct cyber the same as they do with kinetic operations,” Pound said. Kaufman said PLAN X is nearing the point where it can go out to military units stationed across the globe. "My bad day is that I did not get the soy milk in my latte. [Soldiers'] bad day is that they get shot at.  If you are sitting here and you can do something to make that better, I do not know how you can not go home every day, just excited," Kaufman said. The Defense Department debuted PLAN X in a military exercise last month.

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U.S.' Hilary Clinton Sees Hacking Threat From Russia, China

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Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton has said hacking by countries such as China and Russia posed a broad threat to U.S. security and business, and the federal government had not done enough to protect U.S. information.

Russia Can No Longer Afford to Be the Militarist and Expansionist Power It has Always Been, Shevtsova Says

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 8 – After a brief attempt to escape from its past in the 1990s, Russia under Vladimir Putin is “again returning to militarism … the model of existence in which Russia had existed for centuries” in order to prepare for war. No other such civilization exists in the world now, but Russia “cannot militarize as it did because it lacks the means,” Lilya Shevtsova says.

            In an interview to, portions of which have been published today, the Russian analyst points out that the Russian budget of 430 billion US dollars simply isn’t large enough to maintain the former kind of militarism (

            And that gap between aspiration and possibility explains why Putin is behaving as he is: “Militarism requires the consolidation of society on the basis of one idea: the enemy and a besieged fortress. But now there are very few people in Russia who are prepared to support militarization.”

            As a result, Shevtsova continues, “we find ourselves in a very complicated pause, when on the one hand, the system has not departed from militarism and the authorities want to return to militaristic patriotism and, on the other – and this is certainly the last gasp and agony of militarism -- the country no longer can militarize itself or conduct a continuing struggle with the entire world.”

            What that means, she says, is that “the Kremlin is capable of fake militarism, the imitation of war, and ‘an undeclared war.’ That is the kind of war Russia is conducting with Ukraine.” Most members of the Russian elite understand what is going on, she says; it is critically important that people in neighboring countries and the West do as well.

Former Georgia president shakes up Odessa

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The arrival of straight-speaking Mikheil Saakashvili has injected fresh energy into moribund region

Putin Arrives In Ufa To Host Summits Of BRICS, SCO

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 8 arrived in Ufa, the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, to host summits of the BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
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West Can Have a Dialogue with Russia Only If It Doesn’t ‘Indulge Moscow’s Madness,’ Portnikov Says

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 8 – Dialogue with Russia is possible only if the West approaches it as “a normal country” and refuses to “indulge [Moscow’s] madness” that Russia must have a veto over the actions of Russia’s neighbors, Vitaly Portnikov says. If instead, it indulges Moscow on that point, “Russia will instantly be transformed into a wild beast.”

            The Ukrainian commentator’s argument on that point grows out of his reflection of the recent statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic alliance does not depend on Russia’s position and “concerns only” Ukraine and current NATO members (

            That position, Portnikov points out, is nothing new and does not represent a promise that Ukraine will have an easy time of joining NATO. “But for the Russian leadership, even putting the issue in such a way is sedition.” It isn’t enough for the Kremlin that Ukraine be turned down for membership; it is absolutely necessary that “such a refusal be discussed with it.”

            “With [Russia] and not with Ukraine.”  That is “the essence of Russian policy on the post-Soviet space,” the Kyiv analyst says.  It isn’t just about Ukraine and it isn’t unique to Vladimir Putin. Moscow makes that demand of the West concerning all former Soviet republics, and it has been doing so since the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.

            Even the thought that the West might take into the Western alliance any former Soviet republics without discussing it all with Moscow has long been enough to “give Russian leaders fits.” Indeed, the Russian government even then “said aloud” that with regard to Polish membership in NATO, the West must talk not with Poland but with Russia.”

            At that time, Portnikov continues, the West showed both “courage and far-sightedness and was not mistaken in doing so. There are no Russian tanks near Warsaw and there won’t be any. But they are near Simferopol and near Donetsk as well.”  Consequently, the conclusions are “obvious: dialogue with Russia is possible only if you ignore its madness.”

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США предложили Ирану устно договориться о поставках оружия - Российская Газета

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Российская Газета

США предложили Ирану устно договориться о поставках оружия
Российская Газета
Насколько справедливы разговоры о том, что соглашение "шестерки" международных посредников с Ираном по ядерной проблеме в понедельник-вторник будет подписано? Многочисленные источники в делегациях подтверждают, что значительный объем приложений и формулировок ...

Как снятие санкций с Ирана может обрушить рубльГородской круглосуточный информационный телеканал >

Лавров: шесть мировых держав не собираются уступать Ирану в переговорах по ядерному соглашению РИА Свежий Ветер
Иран сделал западу новое предложение по ядерной сделкеНовое Время
"Нефтетранспортная территория"-HB Daily

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Russian Lawmakers Target U.S. Groups Under 'Undesirables' Law 

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Russian authorities have taken a step toward banning 12 foreign organizations, including several prominent U.S.-based democracy-promotion groups, under a new law meant to rid the country of "undesirable" outfits deemed a threat to its security.

Psyops, Mind Games, And Madmen

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Russia's mind games with the Baltics are designed to confuse, distract -- and make us wonder whether Putin has lost his mind.

After 'Foreign Agent' Label, Beloved Russian Science NGO Shuts Doors 

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