Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Don't read just the headline...

I am a constant critic of reporters/"journal-list," etc., for getting basic information wrong, or just out and out lying to fit an agency. Classic example is when The Washington Post (and others are in the process) settled with a teenager who they liable, saying he charged an Indian while visiting the capital. That is an extreme examples (I have doubt their in office council was screaming "STOP! He's not a public figure, he can sue and win!"), but here is another great example. 

 

Reading the headline, it would be a bit extreme for operating on a man's teeth on a hoverboard. Well, it's not just for that.


Dentist who extracted tooth while riding hoverboard given 12-year prison sentence 


An Alaska dentist who extracted a patient’s tooth while riding a hoverboard has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his reckless stunt along with other crimes. 


Seth Lookhart was sentenced Monday in Anchorage Superior Court on dozens of charges that stemmed from his hoverboarding antics to Medicaid fraud and removing a patient’s teeth without permission, Newser reported. He was convicted on 46 counts back in January on charges, which included reckless endangerment, illegally practicing dentistry and medical assistance fraud, Law Officer reported. “ 


In reviewing all this over and over again, I have this visceral response — you darn near killed some people,” Judge Michael Wolverton said in handing down the sentence..."

OK, got it, if the jury got it right, he deserved long time in prison. But it's not just for the antics while conducting oral surgery. If reporters/media want to be respected (ask a certain former reporter for Rolling Stone), suggest you simply tell your readers/viewers the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

 

Officer Down


Correctional Officer Kenneth J. Moore
District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, District of Columbia
End of Watch Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Age 52
Tour 16 years
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Sunday, March 15, 2020

Correctional Officer Kenneth Moore died after contracting COVID-19 during a presumed exposure two weeks earlier while on duty at the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Officer Moore had served with the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services for 16 years. He is survived by his children, stepchildren, and grandchildren.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Jeff Hopkins
El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Colorado
End of Watch Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Age 41
Tour 20 years

Deputy Sheriff Jeff Hopkins died after contracting COVID-19 while on duty at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. He was serving at the jail's intake when he had confirmed exposure to other employees who were symptomatic and later confirmed to have COVID-19.

Deputy Hopkins had served with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and parents.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Sypraseuth "Bud" Phouangphrachanh
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Age 43
Tour 14 years
Badge 853
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Monday, March 23, 2020

Deputy Sheriff Sypraseuth Phouangphrachanh died as the result of contracting COVID-19 while on duty as a school resource officer. Deputy Phouangphrachanh contracted the virus at the beginning of a small outbreak of the virus affecting school employees.

Deputy Phouangphrachanh had served with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office for 14 years and was assigned as the school resource officer for the county's middle schools and high schools. He had previously served with the Candor Police Department. He is survived by his wife, five children, parents, and two brothers.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Manic Monday!

On a Finally Friday! A band I would love to see live, part of my bucket list, The Bangles. I know I was not the only 20 something with fantasies of Susanna Hoffs. I beautiful body, awesome hear, incredible face, perfect voice, and a set of eyes that said, "Come over here boy and..." 

Let's not go there! :) 

Written by the late Prince for another group who's name escapes me right now, Manic Monday was their first hit off of Different Light, a LP I've got somewhere in my record collection. But here is a live version from 2016.

  

Have a great weekend!

Barracuda Country!

I've loved Heart for ages, Ann and Nancy Wilson definitely kick ass and paved the way for many women in rock. And I've loved Gretchen Wilson since her first hit single Redneck Woman. And while checking on YouTube, I found this awesome cover of Barracuda from Gretchen Wilson. You have to appreciate a woman who drinks a beer while she is preforming, not water! While the video is a little shaky (likely from a smart phone), the audio is excellent. Enjoy one hell of a Redneck Woman, Gretchen Wilson.

Have a great weekend!

Officer Down


Detective Marylou Armer
Santa Rosa Police Department, California
End of Watch Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Age 43
Tour 20 years
Badge 442
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Sunday, March 15, 2020

Detective Marylou Armer died after contracting COVID-19 while on duty. It is presumed she contracted the illness during her duties as a domestic violence detective which required her to visit local hospitals, the county jail, confined interview rooms, and other high-risk locations.

Detective Armer had served with the Santa Rosa Police Department for 20 years. She is survived by her husband and daughter.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Officer Down


Sheriff Kirk A. Coker
Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office, Texas
End of Watch Sunday, March 29, 2020
Age 57
Tour 35 years
Badge 801

Sheriff Kirk Coker suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after responding to an unattended death near Fritch, Texas.

He had responded from his home to the scene of the death. While at the scene of the investigation he received numerous calls about gatherings in violations of the COVID-19 social distancing executive order. When cleared the death investigation and was en route to the scene of the reported gathering when he suffered a heart attack as he drove on State Highway 136, one mile east of Fritch. His vehicle left the roadway.

He was found by other deputies approximately two hours later.

Sheriff Coker had served with the Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office for 12-1/2 years and had served in law enforcement for 35 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

What's Going On In The World Today 200907

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL OR SUBSCRIPTION:

USA

USAF Errantly Reveals Research On ICBM-Range Hypersonic Glide Vehicle

The U.S. Air Force agency that manages the service’s nuclear arsenal has started research on enabling technology for an intercontinental-range hypersonic glide vehicle, according to a document that was briefly published in error on a public website.

Although the document shows that a U.S. nuclear weapons agency is researching hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) technology, senior Defense Department officials say there has been no change to a policy that “strictly” limits the emerging class of hypersonic gliders and cruise missiles to non-nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon remains committed to non-nuclear role for hypersonics

The Air Force removed the document from a public website

A request for information (RFI) published on Aug. 12 by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center asks companies to submit ideas across seven categories of potential upgrades for ICBMs designed with a “modular open architecture.” The Air Force often describes the future Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM as featuring a “modular systems architecture,” in contrast with the aging Minuteman III, which does not.

Among the seven items on the upgrade list, the Air Force called for a new “thermal protection system that can support [a] hypersonic glide to ICBM ranges,” according to the RFI, which is no longer publicly available on the government’s procurement website...
ASIA



AFRICA

Oops Sec. Photo captions posted on the Defense Department’s online content hub are shedding new light on how secretive U.S. counter-terrorism forces in Somalia operate, according to ace national security reporters Wesley Morgan and Chad Garland. The article posted late last week by the Pentagon’s top task force in the Horn of Africa reveals more clearly the structure of American forces in the war-torn country than previously known. The United States is using a military assistance group, office of security cooperation, and joint special operations task force that likely oversees the bulk of the Navy SEAL team operating there, Morgan said. The Pentagon statement indicated that the military assistance group works with United Nations-backed military forces in Somalia to develop their “capability to conduct combined operations.” (But as VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports this week, a new Pentagon watchdog assessment found that terrorist groups are gaining ground in Africa despite U.S. and international counter-terrorism efforts.)

EUROPE

Extinction Rebellion Is Back to Shut Down Central London

After a lockdown-enforced protest hiatus, the radical environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion is back at it again. Today, over 1,000 XR activists marched through central London towards Parliament Square, as the group begins another ten days of demonstrations aimed at forcing the British government to do something – anything – about the climate crisis. After four protest marches converged on Westminster, a number of activists sat in the middle of the road outside Parliament, blocking traffic, on the day MPs returned to work after a summer recess. At least five were arrested, with police taking them to nearby vans as crowds of people – the vast majority of whom were wearing face masks – cheered and chanted...

ASIS
India To Hold Naval Drills With Russia After Pulling-Out From Kavkaz 2020 Military Exercise

India will be hosting a bilateral naval exercise with the Russian Navy, in which at least three of its warships are expected to participate. The exercise will take place on 4-5 September at the Andaman Islands.... India, mindful that pulling out of Kavkaz would be upsetting for the Russians, has welcomed the Russian Navy for a maritime exercise in the Andaman Sea, near the Straits of Malacca. The exercise will interestingly take place in the same waters in which India will be hosting the Malabar -2020 Naval Exercise later this year....

NORTH/SOUTH AMERICA

Mexican Army Finds Unfinished Tunnel Under Rio Grande River

The Mexican army said Thursday that soldiers patrolling along the Rio Grande river have found an unfinished tunnel that was apparently dug under the river bed in a bid to reach U.S. territory. Predictably, the tunnel flooded and was found partly full of water. The army said a small pump was found at the mouth of the structure and was apparently used to clear water from it. Photos distributed by the army showed the builders had tried to shore up the walls of the shaft with timbers that appeared to be buckling. The army said the tunnel was found earlier this week near the city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas. The tunnel was apparently used for illegal activities...

AFGHANISTAN

Defying Peace Deal, Freed Taliban Return to Battlefield

A new confidential report concludes that a majority of fighters are resuming their “jihad” to overthrow the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Taliban prisoners released by the Afghan government as part of a deal brokered by the United States aimed at ending almost 20 years of war are returning to the battlefield as commanders and fighters, in direct contravention of pledges made by the insurgents to the White House.

Confidential research obtained by Foreign Policy shows that the majority of Taliban prisoners released under an agreement signed by insurgent leaders and the United States are taking up arms to fight Afghan forces and continue their “jihad” to overthrow the U.S.-backed Afghan government and replace it with an Islamic emirate.

In an unreleased paper written for the Afghan Peace Dialogue Project at Queen’s University in Belfast, Norther Ireland, the Taliban experts Michael Semple and Felix Kuehn found that former Taliban prisoners were “participating in combat, being killed fighting, being taken prisoner and one case of an ex-prisoner being involved with revenge assassinations.”

A majority, 68 percent, of the 108 former Taliban prisoners profiled for the research “have already been re-integrated into the Taliban and have resumed active roles in the conflict, or are in Taliban groups intent on resuming fighting, or are occupying military or political positions which are fundamentally linked to the Taliban war effort,” Semple and Kuehn write...

PERSONAL COMMENT: Not surprised.

3 Afghans accused of links to insider attacks that killed U.S. troops ... to be released

Three Afghans accused of involvement in the deaths of U.S. troops in so-called insider attacks are among more than 300 high-value Taliban prisoners that the Afghan government is set to release to facilitate direct talks with the militant group, according to a senior Afghan official and a Kabul-based diplomat briefed on the matter. The United States has not publicly objected to the expected release of the three prisoners; instead, negotiators are exploring other options, including temporarily placing the inmates under house arrest, the two officials said, both speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Taliban Violated Afghan Deal With Shelling of American Bases, U.S. Officials Say

Rockets launched at a U.S. military base and a joint U.S.-Afghan airfield in southern Afghanistan in recent weeks are believed to have been fired by the Taliban, according to three American military officials, in what would amount to a clear breach of the peace agreement between the United States and the insurgent group. Roughly a dozen rockets struck in late July around Camp Bastion, a sprawling air base used by Afghan and American forces in the southern province of Helmand. And several rockets were fired within the last week or so at Camp Dwyer, a large U.S. military base about 50 miles south of Bastion. A Taliban commander familiar with the region denied that the group had carried out any strikes on American bases in Helmand and said that the group would investigate. The rocket strikes may also have been carried out by a Taliban faction that is against the agreement, according to one military official who was briefed on the matter.

CHINA

US: China fires 4 missiles toward South China Sea

US military authorities say China launched four ballistic missiles toward the South China Sea on Wednesday. They say the missiles fell between Hainan Island and the Paracel Islands. The types of the missiles have not yet been determined. The test-launch comes one day after China denounced the United States for sending a surveillance aircraft over a no-fly zone the Chinese military set up for live-fire drills. China's defense ministry said in a statement that the U- 2 plane trespassed into the zone without notice on Tuesday...

Destroyer Conducts South China Sea FONOP Day After Chinese ‘Carrier Killer’ Missile Tests

A guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea past the Paracel Island chain on Thursday, one day after China launched missile tests in the South China Sea, U.S. 7th Fleet announced on Thursday. USS Mustin (DDG-89) operated past the islands that are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan. “This freedom of navigation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging the unlawful restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and also by challenging China’s claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands,” Cmdr. Reann Mommsen told USNI News...

China’s growing military might. China plans to transform its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a force that rivals the U.S. military within 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s new annual report on China’s military and security developments. Not only have China’s navy, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, and air defense systems recently surpassed those of the United States, but the country has also entirely restructured the PLA, forged closer ties to foreign militaries, and expanded its presence overseas. The modernization of the PLA is part of the government’s plans for “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049, and its ambitions are far from symbolic: The government’s goal, according to the report, is to use the PLA as a tool in its statecraft to bolster China’s place in the international order and help the country “lead the reform of the global governance system.”

IRAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

Israel Strikes Gaza Strip After Militants Fire Rockets

The Israeli military says it struck militant targets in Gaza, including a weapons manufacturing site, after six rockets were fired from the territory early Friday. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage on either side. But the U.N.'s Mideast envoy warned that the situation was “rapidly deteriorating" and that life inside the blockaded Palestinian territory had become “unbearable.”

KOREAN PENINSULA

IAEA concerned about N.Korea's nuclear activities

The International Atomic Energy Agency has expressed strong concern about North Korea in its latest report on the country's nuclear program.... The report says vehicle movements were detected at a uranium enrichment facility at the North's Nyongbyon nuclear complex. It says internal construction is likely continuing at an experimental light water reactor there. It says in Kangson, near Pyongyang, a group of buildings under observation appear to be a uranium enrichment facility. It says regular vehicle movements at the site suggest that activities are ongoing...

North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Significant Flooding of the Kuryong River

Commercial satellite imagery of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center from August 6 reveals significant flooding along the Kuryong River, perhaps the worst in the past several years. Despite ongoing efforts to improve the embankment along the river against annual flooding, they failed to meet the challenge of this year’s rising waters, which reached the pump houses. More importantly, the flooding exposed how vulnerable the nuclear reactors’ cooling systems are to extreme weather events, in this case, for the potential for damage to the pumps and their power systems, or for clogging of piping systems that draw water from the river. Although the 5 MWe Reactor does not appear to have been operating for quite some time and the Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) has yet to come online, both would need consistent water flow to operate. Therefore, if or when either of the reactors is operating, clogged intakes and/or broken or damaged pumps would necessitate a shutdown.

Partial coverage of the area from August 8 and 11 shows the waters have retreated, suggesting that the major facilities within the complex, such as the Uranium Enrichment Plant (UEP), have been spared...

RUSSIA

2 Russian aircraft make 'unsafe' intercept of US Air Force B-52 bomber

Two Russian aircraft made an "unsafe, unprofessional" intercept of a US Air Force B-52 bomber on Friday over the Black Sea and in international waters, according to a statement from US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs. The Russia pilots crossed within 100 feet of the nose of the B-52 multiple times and also caused turbulence to the B-52 restricting its ability to maneuver, according to the statement. Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules," said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, in the statement. "While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved. We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents," he said...

Russian navy conducts major maneuvers near Alaska

The Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said Friday, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times. Russia's navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about 40 aircraft were taking part in the exercise in the Bering Sea, which involved multiple practice missile launches. “We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever,” Yevmenov said in a statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry. It wasn't immediately clear when the exercises began or if they had finished...

Russia, China: Gazprom Begins Design of Power of Siberia 2 Pipeline

What Happened: Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller announced that the company has initiated the design phase of the future Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which will provide an additional route for Russian natural gas exports to China, Vedomosti reported Sept. 3. The pipeline is expected to run through Mongolia into China.

Why It Matters: Russia began deliveries of natural gas to China via the first Power of Siberia pipeline in December 2019, and the announcement of progress on Power of Siberia 2 highlights Beijing and Moscow’s continued desire to expand their energy trade.

Background: The latest statements on the pipeline design follow last week’s agreement between Gazprom and the government of Mongolia to establish a joint venture that will conduct feasibility studies for a transit pipeline.

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Multiple US troops injured in collision with a Russian military convoy in Syria

Multiple US troops were injured in a collision with a Russian military convoy in eastern Syria Tuesday, several US officials tell CNN. The official said that the injuries occurred when one of the Russian vehicles apparently deliberately collided with the American vehicle causing the crew to suffer "concussion-like injuries." Initial reports indicate as many as four Americans may have been injured. The officials said a Russian military helicopter flew low and fast over the area in a tactic that is often used by military forces to try to disperse personnel on the ground...

A New Brand of Nationalism Takes Root in the Middle East

Once the salve for crushed Middle Eastern empires, Pan-Islamism and its vision of a singular caliphate are now increasingly seen as a threat to stability in the region, with countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia turning toward nationalism to instead define their policies and behavior. Indeed, even the countries that still claim to embody the movement’s ideals, such as Qatar and Turkey, are only doing so as a means to a nationalist end, exploiting its preachings of Islamic unity to project their government’s strength at home and abroad. This trend has most recently been illuminated by the UAE-Israel normalization pact by dealing yet another blow to the idea that a global Muslim community, despite its many differences, could at the very least agree on issues such as the Palestinian question.

The Birth of a Movement

Pan-Islamism emerged after World War I as an ideological counter to the encroachment of the European ideals. As European imperialism shattered the Ottoman Empire and colonized the Muslim world, Muslim leaders sought new modes of political thought to turn back the tide of Western power. Some embraced the nation-state model of their colonizers; Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1923-1938) famously abolished the Sunni caliphate in his bid to transform the ashes of the Ottoman state into a modern, competitive Turkey. Beyond Turkey, some attempted Pan-Arabism, embodied by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1954-1970), who sought a politically unified Arab world. But after Egypt suffered repeated military defeats against Israel in 1967 and 1973, followed by Nasser’s death in 1970, pan-Arabism rapidly waned. This gave space for those who sought to update Islamist governance, borrowing aspects of the Western nation-state while not fully embracing Europe’s secular and often divisive brand of nationalism...

CYBER ISSUES

Global internet cables threatened.

Global internet traffic largely depends upon high-speed undersea cables, especially between continents. The U.S. Clean Network Initiative, launched by Pompeo, includes a Clean Cables section, amid fears that Chinese ownership or investment in those cables could be used for sabotage or espionage. The move has caused Google and Facebook to abandon major Asia-North America cable projects due to the involvement of Chinese investors.

INTEL/ESPIONAGE/SPYING GENERAL

Is Seoul Prepared to Join a Five Eyes Plus Framework?

Recently, there have been increased talks about expanding the Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence-sharing alliance between the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, to include Japan, Germany, France and South Korea. While Seoul is yet to officially commit to this “FVEY Plus” arrangement, this development is largely a welcome development, as it aims to track activities in North Korea and China.

Seoul’s participation in the FVEY January 2020 talks confirms its willingness to increase intelligence collaboration with this group. However, that may require South Korea to end its bilateral intelligence-sharing arrangement with Japan, which is set to expire on August 24. With the likelihood high that Seoul may terminate this pact, it is vital to look at the feasibility of Seoul’s inclusion in the FVEY Plus framework and its regional implications...

TERRORISM

Spy games in East Africa.
From the Daily Maverick, a must-read piece of investigative reporting that details the CIA and MI6’s secret counter-terrorism wars in Kenya.

MISC

FBI: Ring Smart Doorbells Could Sabotage Cops

The FBI is worried that Ring doorbell owners can use footage collected from their smart devices to keep tabs on police, newly uncovered documents show. The documents – a 2019 Technical Analysis Bulletin from the FBI – was spotted by The Intercept in the BlueLeaks database.... The FBI document outlines how Ring surveillance footage could present new “challenges” for law enforcement. Ring owners can get an early alert if police officers are approaching their house, for instance, or the footage could give away officer locations in a standoff...

You down with I-C-C? (Not U.S.G.)

On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced sanctions on top International Criminal Court officials who investigate or prosecute American service members and personnel without the consent of the U.S. government. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. sanctions first unveiled in June will be slapped on ICC’s top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and its head of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko, freezing their American assets and hitting them with harsh travel restrictions typically reserved for war criminals. One of just a few nations that have not signed up to the court, U.S. grievances against the Hague-based body come as it is investigating whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

Tour the Pentagon’s nuke museum. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, you can now tour the Pentagon’s own museum of nuclear weapons dating back to the Manhattan Project. Some of the highlights: rarely seen pictures of scuttled Cold War-era nukes and the Defense Department’s very own collection of Soviet missiles.

Officer Down


Reserve Captain Raymond Andrew Boseman
New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana
End of Watch Sunday, March 29, 2020
Age 78
Tour 35 years
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Reserve Captain Raymond Boseman died after contracting COVID-19 as the result of a presumed exposure during Mardi Gras.

Captain Boseman supervised the busy intersection of Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue, known as the "Cross-Over." He interacted with thousands of Mardi Gras participants during the detail from February 14th, 2020, to February 25th, 2020. He and two other officers assigned to the same location were diagnosed with COVID-19 following the conclusion of festivities.

Captain Boseman had served with the New Orleans Police Department's Reserve Division for 35 years. He is survived by his wife, two children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Happy Labor Day Comrades!

As we are heading into Labor Day, couldn't think of a better song for this three day weekend. I plan to not labor on Labor Day. Got the garage work mostly done, and now I'm going to start working on prep for my promotion test. Who knows, may break this video out for the weekend. The version is from The Hunt for Red October, what the hell, it's still a great movie after 30 years. Have a great long weekend Comrades!

Officer Down


Commander Greg Carnicle
Phoenix Police Department, Arizona
End of Watch Sunday, March 29, 2020
Age 56
Tour 31 years
Badge 5179

Commander Greg Carnicle was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call involving roommates at an apartment near 40th Drive and Pinnacle Peak Street.

He and two other officers were speaking to one of the occupants inside of the home when the man suddenly drew a weapon and opened fire, wounding all three officers. Commander Carnicle was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

The other two officers suffered non-life threatening wounds.

The subject was shot and killed by tactical units as they attempted to take him into custody.

Commander Carnicle had served with the Phoenix Police Department for 31 years and was scheduled to retire in two months. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Officer Down


Sergeant Ben Jenkins
Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada
End of Watch Friday, March 27, 2020
Age 47
Tour 12 years
Badge 4196

Sergeant Ben Jenkins was shot and killed when he stopped to assist a disabled motorist on US-93 near mile marker 106 in White Pine County shortly before 6:00 am.

During the encounter with the subject, the man fatally shot Sergeant Jenkins. The man then stole Sergeant Jenkins' uniform and patrol car and fled the area. He was apprehended several hours later following a massive manhunt involving numerous agencies.

Sergeant Jenkins was a veteran of both the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. He had served with the Nevada Highway Patrol for 12 years. He had previously served with the Nevada State Fire Marshal Division and with the Nevada Division of Forestry. He is survived by his wife, four children, five grandchildren, and mother.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Officer Down


Trooper Nolan James Sanders
North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina
End of Watch Friday, March 27, 2020
Age 28
Tour 5 years
Badge C240

Trooper Nolan Sanders was killed in a single-vehicle crash on I-795 near exit 22 at mile marker 19 in the Pikeville area of Wayne County, at 7:17 pm.

His patrol car left the roadway and struck a concrete culvert before landing on its side. Trooper Sanders suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.

Trooper Sanders had served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for five years and was assigned to Troop C, District 2. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

What's Going On In The World Today

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL OR SUBSCRIPTION:


USA

No US Icebreakers Working As USCGC Healy Limps Home

With one icebreaker down, the US has one left in port -- with no new ships scheduled to arrive for years.

WASHINGTON: The Coast Guard has lost its only deployed icebreaker after one of the ship’s main motors caught fire on August 18, an incident only reported by the service on Tuesday.

The USCGC Healy had just picked up a group of 11 scientists in Seward, Alaska to run experiments on ice flow patterns in the Arctic when the blaze struck. The ship is now sailing back home under its own power. It should arrive by Aug. 31, the Coast Guard confirms to Breaking Defense. As a result of the incident, the Coast Guard has canceled all Arctic operations at sea.

The Healy blaze means the US has no operational icebreakers capable of deploying, as the heavy icebreaker Polar Star just wrapped up a scheduled overhaul to prepare for a planned annual deployment to Antarctica in November. The Polar Star is currently in port in Seattle preparing for Operation Deep Freeze, which leads the breakout of McMurdo Sound to allow resupply of the McMurdo Station at Antarctica, the Coast Guard’s Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Brickey told me in an email...

Arson suspected in Bonhomme Richard fire, defense official says

SAN DIEGO — Arson is suspected as the cause of a July 12 fire that left extensive damage to the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard docked off San Diego, and a U.S. Navy sailor was being questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defense official said Wednesday.

The sailor was being questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the official said, adding that defense department leaders were notified of the development. The official, with knowledge of the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained.

The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.

The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage and its future remains uncertain...


Competition For U.S. Long-Range Strike Mission Heats Up

Lockheed Martin Precision-Strike Missile

Long-range strike as a sector of U.S. military investment has not been so popular since perhaps Gen. Curtis LeMay’s Strategic Air Command reigned supreme over the Air Force in the 1950s. Whether in terms of missiles—hypersonic, supersonic or subsonic—or a new platform such as the stand-in Northrop Grumman B-21 or reengining of the standoff Boeing B-52H, the Air Force has multiple, overlapping development programs in progress.

For the first time, however, the popularity of the conventional long-range strike mission is no longer reserved for the Air Force. Since the signing of the now-defunct Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987, which led to the retirement of the Army’s Pershing II missile system, the Army has depended solely on Air Force surveillance and striking power to hit any target more than 185 mi. away.

That division of responsibilities was partly intended to establish clear lines of authority for weapons release on a dynamic battlefield to minimize the chances of a friendly fire incident. The other services also appeared content to focus their limited fiscal resources on other areas while the Air Force shouldered the financial burden for maintaining the long-range strike mission...

AFRICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ASIA

China Is Taking Advantage of India’s Intelligence Failures

New Delhi has failed to learn from its mistakes.

In June, soldiers from India and China engaged in a violent skirmish along the two countries’ unmarked border in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed, along with an unspecified number of their Chinese counterparts, in what was the first such confrontation since 1975 that resulted in fatalities.

New Delhi and Beijing have now embarked on a fitful process of de-escalation. But even as the two parties seek to restore some semblance of normalcy along their shared border, a critical question lingers: Why was India’s security establishment seemingly blindsided by China? Local officials in Ladakh have in fact been sounding the alarm about Chinese forays into Indian territory for years, a fact that points to a complete breakdown in New Delhi’s intelligence gathering and risk assessment.

It wouldn’t be the first time. And India doesn’t seem to be learning crucial lessons from previous security failures...

EUROPE

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

NORTH/SOUTH AMERICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

AFGHANISTAN

Flash Floods Kill At Least 100 In Afghanistan

Flash floods caused by torrential rains in Afghanistan have killed at least 100 people and injured more than 300 others in Parwan Province just north of Kabul, Afghan officials say. ... Afghanistan's state minister for natural-disaster management, told RFE/RL on August 26 that the floods had also destroyed more than 1,000 houses in the province. ... the death toll was likely to rise as rescue teams continue to locate victims people buried beneath destroyed houses...

CHINA

China holds another round of naval drills in South China Sea

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. ... China is holding another round of military drills in the South China Sea amid an uptick in such activity in the area highlighting growing tensions. The Maritime Safety Administration said the exercises would run from Monday through Sunday. It warned outside vessels to steer 5 nautical miles (9.26 kilometers) clear of the drill area but otherwise gave no details...

US spy plane enters no-fly zone during Chinese live-fire naval drill

The US has sent spy planes over a live-fire Chinese military drill – including a U-2 which entered a declared no-fly zone – triggering a protest from Beijing and heightening the risk of an armed conflict.... The Beijing-based think tank South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative said a US Air Force RC-135S reconnaissance aircraft flew across the South China Sea on Wednesday, during the Chinese military drill. But it said it appeared the plane was on a transfer, rather than a reconnaissance mission. Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said a U-2 reconnaissance jet flew without permission over the no-fly zone in the PLA’s northern military region, where the live-fire drills were taking place...

Blanked-Out Spots On China's Maps Helped Us Uncover Xinjiang's Camps

This project was supported by the Open Technology Fund, the Pulitzer Center, and the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism.

In the summer of 2018, as it became even harder for journalists to work effectively in Xinjiang, a far-western region of China, we started to look at how we could use satellite imagery to investigate the camps where Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were being detained. At the time we began, it was believed that there were around 1,200 camps in existence, while only several dozen had been found. We wanted to try to find the rest.

Our breakthrough came when we noticed that there was some sort of issue with satellite imagery tiles loading in the vicinity of one of the known camps while using the Chinese mapping platform Baidu Maps. The satellite imagery was old, but otherwise fine when zoomed out — but at a certain point, plain light gray tiles would appear over the camp location. They disappeared as you zoomed in further, while the satellite imagery was replaced by the standard gray reference tiles, which showed features such as building outlines and roads.

At that time, Baidu only had satellite imagery at medium resolution in most parts of Xinjiang, which would be replaced by their general reference map tiles when you zoomed in closer. That wasn’t what was happening here — these light gray tiles at the camp location were a different color than the reference map tiles and lacked any drawn information, such as roads. We also knew that this wasn’t a failure to load tiles, or information that was missing from the map. Usually when a map platform can’t display a tile, it serves a standard blank tile, which is watermarked. These blank tiles are also a darker color than the tiles we had noticed over the camps...

IRAN

Iran announces locally made ballistic and cruise missiles amid U.S. tensions

Iran displayed a surface-to-surface ballistic missile on Thursday that Defence Minister Amir Hatami said had a range of 1,400 kilometres and a new cruise missile, ignoring U.S. demands that Tehran halt its missile programme. “The surface-to-surface missile, called martyr Qassem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 km and the cruise missile, called martyr Abu Mahdi, has a range of over 1,000 km,” Hatami said in a televised speech. Pictures of the missiles were shown on state TV, which it said was “the newest Iranian cruise missile that will further strengthen Iran’s deterrence power”...

Iran says 'sabotage' caused blast at Natanz nuclear site

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said on Sunday that “sabotage” was the cause of an explosion that damaged the Natanz nuclear facility last month. “Security investigations confirm this was sabotage and what is certain is that an explosion took place in Natanz,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA. “But how this explosion took place and with what materials ... will be announced by security officials in due course.” Iran said after the incident on 2 July that it had determined its cause but declined to release details due to “security concerns”.

Iran To Allow Access To Suspected Nuclear Sites

Iran has agreed to allow inspections of two sites where nuclear activities are suspected to have taken place in the past, easing diplomatic pressure on Tehran as the United States seeks to reimpose UN sanctions. The announcement was made on August 26 in a joint statement by Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Director-General Rafael Grossi was wrapping up his visit to Tehran...

IRAQ

U.S.-led troops withdraw from Iraq's Taji base

United States-led international coalition troops withdrew from Iraq’s Taji military base on Sunday and handed it over to Iraqi security forces, Reuters witnesses and the coalition said.
The base, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, had been the site of frequent rocket attacks by Iran-backed militias targeting U.S.-led troops in recent months. The movement of coalition military personnel is part of a long-range plan coordinated with the government of Iraq,” the coalition said in a statement, adding that Camp Taji has historically held up to 2,000 coalition members, most of whom have departed this summer. Remaining coalition troops will depart in the coming days after finalising the handing over of equipment to Iraqi security forces, it added...

ISRAEL

What's Driving Muslim Countries to Normalize Their Ties With Israel?

The waning influence of the pan-Islamism and pan-Arabism movements, combined with increasing U.S. pressure, will cause Oman, Bahrain and Morocco to soon join the United Arab Emirates in formalizing ties with Israel, accelerating a longer-term normalization trend that no longer hinges on the formation of a Palestinian state. The allure of Israel's technology and defense capabilities could also compel other Muslim states with covert ties and limited histories of overt conflict with Israel, such as Pakistan, to follow suit. Israel will, in turn, see expanding global economic ties that strengthen its post-pandemic recovery, as well as stronger regional allies that bolster its position against Iran should the upcoming U.S. election yield a less hawkish administration in Washington.

The major drivers that have traditionally kept Israel isolated in the Muslim world are changing, opening the door for states interested in enhanced trade and diplomatic ties to explore normalization.

Pan-Islamist and pan-Arabism movements once largely centered around anti-Israel narratives, which led many Muslims to support isolating from and even fighting wars with Israel. These movements, however, are weakening as a result of being partially discredited by their long records of fomenting unsuccessful conflicts with Israel, their history of governance that has not always improved living standards or delivered essential services, and their inspiration of radical extremists such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Pan-Islamist and pan-Arabism ideologies now remain most popular among older Muslim generations, who make up an increasingly small minority of the roughly 1.8 billion Muslims living around the world (the average age of Muslims worldwide was 24 in 2015)...

KOREAN PENINSULA

North Korea Doesn’t Trust China to Protect It

Pyongyang will never accept the shelter of another power’s nuclear umbrella.

When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for the first time in March 2018, the official topics of discussion were predictable: peace, denuclearization, industry, economic development, and deepening North Korea-China relations. That’s unsurprising for two countries that are each other’s only formal treaty allies and have been for decades. But the relationship is far more taut than public displays indicate. North Korea is happy to have Beijing on its side. But it’s never going to be willing to put its ultimate security in China’s hands. Nowhere is this more important than in denuclearization. The United States has been able to pressure allies, such as South Korea and Taiwan, out of the possibility of nuclear programs in the past, thanks to offers of protection—whether the ambiguous guarantees to Taiwan or the formal shelter of the U.S. nuclear umbrella offered to Japan and others. That makes the idea of a Chinese nuclear umbrella over North Korea an attractive and legitimate avenue for denuclearization—but one that Pyongyang itself will never agree to.

China and North Korea share ideological roots, and Beijing laid the foundation for an enduring alliance when it came to North Korea’s aid during the Korean War. But there are key differences between the North Korea-China alliance and the United States’ alliances with South Korea and Japan that make the creation of a Chinese nuclear umbrella over the North highly unlikely. Any offer would directly clash with three critical North Korean concerns in policymaking: adherence to the ideology of juche (“self-reliance”), economic entwinement with China, and maintaining nuclear leverage...

RUSSIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Despite a Rocky Start, UAE-Israeli Defense Ties Are Poised to Grow

The United Arab Emirates' desire to simultaneously upgrade its defense ties with Israel and the United States will probably create political controversy in both countries, though the benefits of deeper security cooperation with Abu Dhabi is more likely to earn greater support in Israel than Washington. On Aug. 25, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Emirati counterpart, Mohammed al-Bawardi, reportedly discussed possible security cooperation in their two countries' first publicly-known phone call since agreeing to normalize ties. The call came a day after the United Arab Emirates canceled a planned trilateral meeting with the United States and Israel in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public objection to the potential sale of the American F-35 stealth fighter jets to Abu Dhabi.

- The pending arms deal between the United States and the United Arab Emirates was reportedly part of the negotiation process for the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and Abu Dhabi.

- Israel's unity government has been divided on whether to grant Abu Dhabi access to such fighter jets and other advanced weaponry, with Netanyahu reportedly holding discussions about the U.S. sale of F-35 jets in particular without Gantz.

- Most of Israel's center-right politicians, such as those in Gantz's Resilience Party as well as his former Likud party, oppose advanced arms sales to even friendly Arab Gulf states for fear the weapons systems or technologies might fall into anti-Israeli hands — a policy commonly known as Israel's Qualitative Military Edge (QME).//

CYBER ISSUES

FBI, DHS expose North Korean government malware used in fake job posting campaign

The FBI and DHS’ cybersecurity agency exposed malware Wednesday that North Korean government hackers have been using this year to target defense contractors in the military and energy sectors. The hackers have been targeting contractors with fake job postings from other defense contracting entities to lure them to click through and install the data-gathering implant on their systems, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a joint Malware Analysis Report (MAR). The attacks leverage a remote access trojan (RAT), which the FBI and the CISA call “BLINDINGCAN,” to gain a foothold into networks and then maintain access for further network exploitation, the FBI and CISA said.

INTEL/ESPIONAGE/SPYING GENERAL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

TERRORISM

St. Pete protester caught with Molotov cocktail, loaded gun, police say [FL]

A St. Petersburg protester has been charged with terrorist activity after police discovered a Molotov cocktail in his car that was parked outside of police headquarters. ... Quraishi threw a round of ammunition at the direction of officers during the protest. Officers soon realized Quraishi was carrying a loaded firearm without a permit.
MISC

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

Sunday, August 30, 2020

We found it!

Friend of mine posted on FB, could not pass it up. This was a few years before me, I started off with Adam 12. But Steve finally found it!


But gotta love the song:
There's a holdup in the Bronx,
Brooklyn's broken out in fights.
There's a traffic jam in Harlem
That's backed up to Jackson Heights.
There's a scout troop short a child,
Khrushchev's due at Idlewild
Car 54, where Are You?

Here is the actual introduction.


Enjoy!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Rock you like a Hurricane!

Twice in a week.

Not every week during hurricane season we get two named storms in the Gulf at once. First time in my memory. Fortunately Houston was spared, although the Texas/Louisiana border got hit hard. But the people on those coast are a hardy group, and they are used to this. They will repair, rebuild, and go on. And I gotta get a few things set up myself this weekend. A house is never finished.

Can't think of a better song for the end of this week. From my senior year in high school, the Scorpions!

Here's to a great weekend!

Officer Down


Trooper Justin R. Schaffer
Washington State Patrol, Washington
End of Watch Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Age 28
Tour 7 years
Badge 646

Trooper Justin Schaffer was struck and killed by a fleeing vehicle while attempting to deploy stop sticks during a vehicle pursuit along I-5 in Chehalis.

The suspect driving the vehicle had stolen an item from a convenience store in Lacey the previous day. The man had threatened the clerk with a stun gun and threatened to run him over. Thurston County deputies spotted the truck the following day and attempted to stop it in Maytown. The vehicle fled into Lewis County with deputies pursuing it.

Trooper Schaffer was struck by the subject as he attempted to deploy stop sticks near mile marker 79. The man continued to flee until stopping and barricading himself inside his vehicle several miles later. He was taken into custody by Thurston County deputies.

Trooper Schaffer had served with the Washington State Patrol for six years. He is survived by his wife, parents, and brother.\
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Officer Down


Captain Jonathan Parnell
Detroit Police Department, Michigan
End of Watch Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Tour 31 years

Captain Jonathan Parnell died as the result of contracting COVID-19 while on duty.

Captain Parnell had served with the Detroit Police Department for 31 years and was assigned to the Homicide Unit. He is survived by three sons.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

What's Going On In The World Today 200824

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL OR SUBSCRIPTION:


USA

The Limits to a U.S.-China Financial Divorce

Political and regulatory risks of investing in Chinese companies are increasing as the United States ramps up efforts to "decouple" its financial system from Beijing, including the White House's latest push to delist Chinese firms from U.S. exchanges. But given the sheer size of the U.S.-China financial relationship, which totals as much as $4 trillion (or 11 percent of the two countries' combined GDP), such efforts will see only limited success — keeping the world's two biggest economies linked for the foreseeable future...

AFRICA

Nile dam: Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume African Union-led talks
The three nations agree to present proposals on management of Ethiopia's controversial $4bn dam within two days.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced early on Wednesday that he is resigning from his post saying that he does not wish blood to be shed following a military mutiny that plunged the country into a political crisis.

"Today, certain parts of the military have decided that intervention was necessary. Do I really have a choice? Because I do not wish blood to be shed," Keita said in a brief statement broadcast on national television.

Keita said that he has decided "to give up my duty from now on."

It is unclear if the military is now officially in charge of the country.

Earlier, Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were detained by soldiers in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis in the country...

ASIA

A More Assertive China Drives Japan to Respond in Kind

Japan has long operated beyond the pacifist constraints of its post-war constitution, but a growing and more assertive China is accelerating Tokyo's development of offensive its capabilities. Japan's core strategic imperatives are shaped by economic concerns — the islands are resource-poor and thus import-dependent. This shaped its post-World War II Yoshida Doctrine, in which Japan largely outsourced its national security to the United States while focusing its energy on economic development at home. With Japan less confident in its dependence on the United States, the same vulnerability is now driving Tokyo to take on a more active role in its neighborhood. Japan's increased economic and security engagement in the Indo-Pacific provides a regional alternative to China for Southeast Asian nations, but may raise tensions with neighboring South Korea.

Moving Beyond the Yoshida Doctrine

Just as Chinese President Xi Jinping has moved China past Deng Xiaoping's doctrine, which called for China to avoid showing its strength while it rebuilt internal power, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to move beyond the strategy Japan adopted under its postwar prime minister, Shigeru Yoshida. Though several factors have shaped Japan's defense evolution, today Tokyo is driven by the changes in Chinese international behavior and the growth of Chinese power. China's economy has far surpassed Japan's, leaving the island nation a distant third behind the United States and China in national GDP. China is rapidly increasing its technological capabilities, challenging Japan in traditional areas of strength, from semiconductors to high-speed rail. China has increased its investment and trade footprint throughout the region via its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), supplanting earlier Japanese soft power gains.

China's navy development over the past decade has outstripped Japan's, and the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) now operates freely in the East and South China Seas, as well as into the West Pacific. Chinese construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea, along with the Philippines' rebalance away from the United States toward China, raises the risk of interrupting vital Japanese maritime supply lines. Chinese port development and investment stretching through Southeast and South Asia and into East Africa also create additional areas where China could interfere with Japanese supply lines...

Carrier Ronald Reagan heads back into the South China Sea

The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and its strike group returned to the restive South China Sea Friday for a series of maritime air defense operations. The Japan-based carrier was last in the disputed waters in mid-July when it conducted dual-carrier ops with the carrier Nimitz. Earlier in July, the carrier strike groups and an Air Force B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana conducted a maritime integration exercise in the South China Sea. Training that began Friday also involved the guided-missile cruiser Antietam and the destroyers Mustin and Rafael Peralta, as well as Carrier Air Wing 5.

US finalizes sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan as China tensions escalate

Taiwan will receive 66 new American-made F-16 fighter jets in the biggest arms sale to the self-governing island in years. The deal finalized on Friday comes as China has been increasing pressure on the island, which Beijing considers to be an inseparable part of its territory. Friday's announcement was made on the website of United States Defense Department, under the contacts updated section. The posting said the US Air Force was awarding a contract to Lockheed Martin, the maker of the F-16, for 90 of the planes as part of US foreign military sales...

China Says Latest US Sailing Near Taiwan 'Extremely Dangerous'

China's military said on Wednesday the latest U.S. Navy sailing near Chinese-claimed Taiwan was "extremely dangerous" and stirring up such trouble was in neither country's interests. The U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin sailed through the narrow and sensitive Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, the U.S. navy said, in what have become relatively routine trips in recent months, though they always anger China. The Eastern Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army said its air and naval forces followed and monitored the U.S. ship throughout its voyage. "Any words or deeds that ... cause trouble in the Taiwan Strait are not in line with the fundamental interests of China and the United States, harm the well-being of compatriots on both sides of the strait, pose real threats to peace and stability in the region and are extremely dangerous," it said...

EUROPE

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

NORTH/SOUTH AMERICA

Jalisco cartel adopts new tactic: drones armed with C-4 explosive

More evidence has surfaced to indicate the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is using drones armed with C4 explosives to attack its enemies. A citizens’ militia group in Tepalcatepec, Michoacán, reports finding two drones inside an armored car that cartel hitmen had abandoned after an attempted raid on the city, which borders Jalisco, on July 25. The C4 was packed with ball bearings to serve as shrapnel in Tupperware-like containers that were equipped with a remote detonation system and duct-taped to the drones, militia members explained. The drones were found in a cardboard box that was soaked in blood, indicating to the militia members that whoever was intending to fly the drones was injured before they could be launched.

AFGHANISTAN

Afghans halt prisoner release, delaying talks with Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government said Monday it would not release the last 320 Taliban prisoners it is holding until the insurgents free more captured soldiers, defying a traditional council held last week and further delaying intra-Afghan talks sought by the United States.

The talks, which were laid out in a peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in February, were expected to begin on Thursday but are now postponed indefinitely.

The ruling by the traditional council, or jirga, which called for the immediate release of the Taliban prisoners, had raised hopes of a breakthrough in the process.

The U.S.-Taliban peace deal called on the Taliban to free 1,000 government and military personnel and for the government to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners. The prisoner releases were to be a goodwill gesture ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at devising a postwar roadmap...

CHINA

Don’t Discount the Dollar Yet

China may want to displace the dollar with the yuan as the global reserve currency, but its actions are leading to the opposite.

If some stories are easier to tell than others, the decline of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency is one of them. It’s not hard to see why. The cast of characters that avail themselves for the script includes international trade, financial architecture, great-power competition, cycles of history, and even parables from ancient Greece.

And on cue, the headlines are again churning out new versions of the familiar fable. New plot lines include the economic fallout of a global pandemic as well as a “capital war” between the United States and China, in which Washington usurps Beijing’s traditionally lonely role as the imposer of the restrictions on how capital can move between their two countries, frightening global investors, who then forsake the fallen dollar. Taken at face value, the headlines suggest that the dollar’s long-awaited dethroning may be here at last.

The Chinese Communist Party is the latest in a motley crew of conspirators serving, unwittingly, to prevent the dollar’s status.

But the economic forces that thwarted any demise of the dollar in the past persist. They continue to render any end to the dollar’s reserve status today unlikely. In fact, there is a new player keeping it on its throne: the Chinese Communist Party. It’s the latest arrival to the motley crew of conspirators serving, unwittingly, to prevent the currency from leaving its seat.

The dollar can’t be displaced with nothing, and mainland China’s currency, the yuan, was once the most-viable something. Global banks planned for it to “inevitably” replace the dollar. Economists speculated about the timing. The country’s growing economy, after all, is the world’s second largest. And Beijing is keen to take steps intended to promote its currency’s use in international trade. Officials in the world’s third-largest economy, the European Union, may voice similar intentions. But Beijing is not dealing in the currency of a monetary union that, according to research at its own central bank, maybe shouldn’t even exist. “Overall economic structures in euro area countries,” economists at the European Central Bank concluded in 2019, “are still not fully commensurate with the requirements of a monetary union...”

IRAN

US intelligence indicates Iran paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) — US intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group just last year alone, including a suicide bombing at a US air base in December, CNN has learned.

"Bounties" were paid by a foreign government, identified to CNN as Iran, to the Haqqani network -- a terrorist group that is led by the second highest ranking leader of the Taliban -- for their attack on Bagram Air Base on December 11, which killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others, including four US personnel, according to a Pentagon briefing document reviewed by CNN.

The name of the foreign government that made these payments remains classified but two sources familiar with the intelligence confirmed to CNN that it refers to Iran...

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

KOREAN PENINSULA

N.K. owns up to 60 nuclear bombs, world's third-largest amount of chemical agents...

North Korea is believed to have up to 60 nuclear bombs and the world's third-largest stockpile of chemical weapons totaling up to 5,000 tons, the U.S. Army has said. The U.S. Department of the Army headquarters made the assessment in its report, titled "North Korean tactics," which was published last month, saying Pyongyang is unlikely to give up these weapons to ensure the regime's survival. "Estimates for North Korean nuclear weapons range from 20-60 bombs, with the capability to produce 6 new devices each year," the U.S. military said, noting that some reports state that the regime could obtain as many as 100 by the end of this year...

RUSSIA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Israel, UAE: Flurry of Agreements Follows Normalization Announcement

What Happened: Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a series of agreements to allow phone calls between the two countries, unblock websites and collaborate on COVID-19 research, MiddleEastEye reported Aug. 17. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced that Israel is preparing for eventual direct flights to the United Arab Emirates.

Why It Matters: News of these agreements comes just days after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that they would normalize relations, and it is likely that further trade and investment deals will be signed in the coming weeks. The announcement of possible direct flights increases the focus on Saudi Arabia, as any agreement would require Saudi Arabia to open its airspace to Israeli airlines. So far, Saudi Arabia has neither issued a strident condemnation of the normalization process nor supported it, suggesting that Saudi Arabia may continue its tacit ties with Israel and facilitate certain ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, while not pursuing normalization itself. Saudi Arabia could also lean on Bahrain, a close ally, to facilitate ties with Israel.

Background: Beyond the Persian Gulf, other countries reportedly considering normalization with Israel include Morocco and Sudan. Oman and Bahrain are also close to Israel and may soon normalize some ties. Qatar has strong working ties with Israel, but its posture as a champion of the Palestinian cause may cause Doha to pursue a different path than full normalization.

In Syria, the Specter of an Expanded U.S. Mission Reemerges

A skirmish in northeast Syria indicates the United States remains willing to respond with proportional force to increased harassment from President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as Damascus and its Russian allies seek ways to incentivize the withdrawal of U.S. troops. On Aug. 17, U.S. forces reportedly engaged with Syrian troops at a Syrian-run checkpoint near the town of Qamishli in the country's far northeast. The U.S. military is investigating the cause of the skirmish, though the engagement happened amid escalating tensions between Syrian forces and the remaining U.S. patrols in the country following the White House's repeated attempts to reduce its military presence...

Trump Administration Pushes Arms Sale to U.A.E. Despite Israeli Worries

The Trump White House is quietly planning sales of F-35 stealth fighters and advanced drones to the Emiratis as part of a wider plan to realign the Middle East, but Israel and Congress may object.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has accelerated a push to sell the F-35 stealth fighter and advanced armed drones to the United Arab Emirates, at a time when the Gulf nation is working with the Trump administration on a historic plan to formalize diplomatic ties with Israel, according to American officials familiar with the discussions.

Administration officials in recent weeks gave a classified briefing about the F-35 to the Emirati military — despite some concerns among National Security Council staff about the wisdom of disclosing details on one of the Pentagon’s most advanced weapons to a foreign government before a decision about a potential arms sale has been completed.

American officials deny that the new push to sell the advanced weapons is a direct reward for the Emirati role in a diplomatic breakthrough, announced by President Trump last week, where the Emirates would become just the third Arab nation to recognize Israel. In exchange, Israel will suspend annexation of occupied West Bank territory...

CYBER ISSUES

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

INTEL/ESPIONAGE/SPYING GENERAL

Former CIA and FBI Employee Charged with Providing Government Secrets to China

A 67-year-old former CIA officer and FBI linguist was arrested Friday after allegedly selling U.S. government secrets to China for thousands of dollars spanning multiple years, court documents unsealed Monday reveal. Alexander Yuk Ching Ma was formally charged with conspiracy to communicate national defense information to assist a foreign government, the Justice Department said in a press release. If convicted, he’ll face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. “This serious act of espionage is another example in a long string of illicit activities that the People's Republic of China is conducting within and against the United States,” Alan Kohler Jr., assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division said in a statement, echoing recently increasing sentiments of government and Trump administration officials accusing China of national and trade secret theft...

TERRORISM

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MISC

US, Russia still at odds over new nuclear arms treaty

The United States and Russia concluded two days of arms control talks Tuesday with the two sides still at odds over the U.S. demand to include China in any new treaty but showing signs of a possible willingness to extend the existing New START deal, which expires next year. ... The U.S. argues that any new nuclear arms limitation treaty should cover all types of warheads, include better verification protocols and transparency measures, and be extended to include China, which has been increasing its own arsenal. China has rejected the idea as an American ploy to avoid a new deal and said that it would gladly participate if the U.S. would agree to nuclear parity among all nations. China was invited to participate in the Vienna talks but did not send a delegation. Russia, meanwhile, has said that if China is part of a new treaty, Britain and France should also be included...

Army Street Gang Activity Is Increasing, Internal Report Shows

The most recent report from the Army on street and outlaw motorcycle gang activity in the ranks shows both trending upward, while incidents of domestic extremism remain roughly constant. An internal report, obtained by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that gang members were tied to dozens of Army felony law enforcement reports and more than 100 criminal investigations in fiscal 2018, the latest year for which data is available. While these reports and investigations make up less than 1% of all Army law enforcement incidents, the new report shows that the little-discussed problem of military gang activity continues to be a headache for base commanders and other service leaders.... That increase holds true across categories: Street gang activity shows a 68% year-over-year increase, from 38 to 64 incidents, while outlaw motorcycle gangs had a 60% increase, from 10 to 16 incidents. Domestic extremist events remained few, increasing from 2 to 3 year over year.