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Journal Archives

US Sends Regular Troops To Somalia For First Time Since Black Hawk Down

By Rob Crilly, New York
15 April 2017 • 10:25pm

US regular troops are returning to Somalia for the first time since 1993 when 18 special forces died fighting militias in Mogadishu, a battle dramatised in the film Black Hawk Down.

A US military spokeswoman yesterday(SAT) said several dozen soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division would train and equip Somalia’s army to better fight al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda linked extremist group. She offered no further details.'


Last month Donald Trump signed off on a Pentagon plan to step up operations against al-Shabaab, including additional air strikes, as part of an effort to give his commanders more autonomy in fighting wars around the world.

Deploying troops to Somalia is the latest sign of a more interventionist approach from a candidate who used the election campaign to criticise his predecessors for becoming bogged down in foreign wars.


Former Afghan President Calls Decision To Drop Massive U.S. Bomb 'Treason'

By Mirwais Harooni,Reuters 14 hours ago

KABUL (Reuters) - Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai accused his successor on Saturday of committing treason by allowing the U.S. military to drop the largest conventional bomb ever used in combat during an operation against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.

Karzai, who also vowed to "stand against America", retains considerable influence within Afghanistan's majority Pashtun ethnic group, to which President Ashraf Ghani also belongs. His strong words could signal a broader political backlash that may endanger the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.

Afghan defense officials have said the 21,600-pound (9,797-kg) GBU-43, dropped late on Thursday in the eastern province of Nangarhar, had killed nearly 100 suspected militants, though they acknowledged this was an estimate and not based on an actual body count.

"How could you permit Americans to bomb your country with a device equal to an atom bomb?" Karzai said at a public event in Kabul, questioning Ghani's decision. "If the government has permitted them to do this, that was wrong and it has committed a national treason."


Syria: US Coalition Admits Killing 18 Allied Kurdish Fighters In 'Misdirected' Air Strike

The incident is the latest in a string of recent US-led strikes in Syria and Iraq which have hit non-hostile targets

Bethan McKernan Beirut
Thursday 13 April 2017 13:30 BST

A US-led coalition air strike killed 18 of its allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) troops fighting against Isis in Syria, the US military has confirmed.

Coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates for a strike on 11 April, US Central Command said on Thursday, resulting in a strike on an SDF position and the deaths of 18 partnered fighters in the north of the country.

The inaccurate coordinates reportedly came from the SDF itself.
Read more

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In the last month, a predominately Kurdish alliance of several fighting groups has managed to surround the Isis stronghold of Tabqa with both air and ground support from the US-led coalition.


North Korea May Be Capable Of Sarin-Loaded Missiles, Japanese PM Warns

Satellite imagery also suggests Pyongyang could be ready for another nuclear test
The Associated Press Posted: Apr 13, 2017 5:22 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 13, 2017 1:56 PM ET

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned Thursday that North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas toward Japan, as international concern mounted that a missile or nuclear test by the authoritarian state could be imminent.

"There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of shooting missiles with sarin as warheads," Abe told a parliamentary panel on national security and diplomacy.

Abe was responding to a question about Japan's readiness at a time of increased regional tension. A U.S. navy aircraft carrier is heading toward the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang prepares for the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung this weekend. And with U.S.-South Korean war games ongoing, North Korean has intensified rhetoric warning it would retaliate strongly against any aggression.

South Korea has long said it believes the North can conduct its sixth nuclear test whenever it chooses. The 38 North website, which monitors North Korea, said that satellite imagery of the country's Pyunggye-ri nuclear test site suggests it is "primed and ready" for an explosion.


JUST IN: US Drops Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb(MOAB) In Afghanistan

April 13, 2017 12:24pm EDT
From CNN's Barbara Starr

The US military has dropped an enormous bomb in Afghanistan according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.

A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb — nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) — was dropped in at 7 p.m. local time Thursday, sources said.

This is the first time a MOAB has been used in the battlefield, according to the US officials.

Military sources said the target was ISIS tunnels and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province. The military is currently assessing the damage.



North Korea Preparing For Nuclear Test, Satellite Images Suggest

Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Thursday 13 April 2017 00.00 EDT

North Korea appears to be preparing to conduct a nuclear test in a show of defiance towards Donald Trump, who has not ruled out military action to pressure the regime into abandoning its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

The US-based monitoring group 38 North said on Thursday that the satellite images from the North’s Punggye-ri site showed it was “primed and ready” for what would be the country’s sixth nuclear test since 2006.
Japanese warships to join US fleet near North Korea as tensions rise
Read more

“Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site from April 12 shows continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the main administrative area, and a few personnel around the site’s Command Center,” 38 North said on its website.

“In the courtyards of the main administrative area are approximately 11 probable tarp-covered pallets of equipment or supplies, a formation of personnel, and several individuals walking about,” the site added.


Tensions Grow On Korean Peninsula Ahead Of 'Big And Important Event'

By Jack Kim and Sue-Lin Wong | SEOUL/PYONGYANG

South Korea said on Thursday it believed it would be consulted by the United States before any possible pre-emptive U.S. strike against Pyongyang, where foreign journalists gathered for "a big and important event".

With a U.S. aircraft carrier group steaming to the area, tensions on the Korean peninsula grew this week amid concern that the reclusive North could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of United Nations sanctions.


Anger And Denial: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign

Self-righteous Hillary was 'so mad she couldn't think straight' and Bill gave aides an 'a** chewing': Inside her doomed campaign's bickering and denial as she careened to defeat

By Daniel Bates For
Published: 14:13 EDT, 12 April 2017 | Updated: 17:28 EDT, 12 April 2017

Hillary Clinton was 'so mad she couldn't think straight' after being humiliated in the Michigan Democratic primary.

The failed Presidential candidate attacked her aides with a 'potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation' after the embarrassing loss to her rival Bernie Sanders in March last year.

Clinton's top staff said she was 'visibly, unflinchingly p***ed off at us' and blamed them for making her look 'vulnerable'.

During another tirade Bill Clinton took over and gave aides an 'a** chewing' on the phone and told them to 'do their d**n jobs'.

Read more:

US Intelligence Intercepted Communications Between Syrian Military And Chemical Experts

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Updated 10:46 PM ET, Wed April 12, 2017

(CNN)The US military and intelligence community has intercepted communications featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week, a senior US official tells CNN.

The intercepts were part of an immediate review of all intelligence in the hours after the attack to confirm responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in an attack in northwestern Syria, which killed at least 70 people.

US officials have said that there is "no doubt" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the attack.
The US did not know prior to the attack it was going to happen, the official emphasized. The US scoops up such a large volume of communications intercepts in areas like Syria and Iraq, the material often is not processed unless there is a particular event that requires analysts to go back and look for supporting intelligence material.

So far there are no intelligence intercepts that have been found directly confirming that Russian military or intelligence officials communicated about the attack. The official said the likelihood is the Russians are more careful in their communications to avoid being intercepted.


Supreme Court Retirement Talk Focuses on Pivotal Justice Kennedy

by Greg Stohr
April 11, 2017, 2:40 PM EDT '

Justice Anthony Kennedy reclaimed his position as the man in the middle of the U.S. Supreme Court when he swore in Neil Gorsuch, his former law clerk, as the newest justice.

The question is whether Kennedy wants to keep that pivotal role in close decisions for longer than a few more months.

Long before Gorsuch took his oath of office Monday, speculation was swirling that Kennedy might retire at the end of the term. President Donald Trump’s aides are preparing for the prospect of a new nomination while liberals brace for what could be a seismic shift on the court.
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Kennedy, 80, has been the court’s primary pivot point since 2006, generally aligning with the four conservatives on campaign finance and voting rights and with the four liberals on gay rights. By selecting Kennedy’s successor, Trump could finally create the five-member majority that legal conservatives have envisioned for decades -- one that might overturn long-standing precedents including the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling.


Space Station Crew Returns to Earth Safely on Soyuz Capsule

Three space fliers have safely touched down on Earth after almost six months aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko all arrived at the station together for Expedition 49/50 mission in October 2016, and they reached solid ground this morning (April 10) at 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT) in Kazakhstan. They spent 173 days in space during their flight.

"It was a textbook touchdown," NASA spokesperson Rob Navias said during live NASA TV commentary after the landing. "The Soyuz was pulled by its main parachute onto its side, but the crew was quickly extracted and are in good shape."

Those monitoring the launch at Mission Control, and on NASA TV, had "some of the most spectacular video we've ever seen" of the capsule's journey down and landing on the cloudless steppe, Navias said — about 14 minutes of footage, from just after the chutes deployed to touchdown.


]Well that damned ole Russian junk did it again...
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