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Member since: Wed Mar 30, 2016, 08:10 PM
Number of posts: 814

Journal Archives

Criminal charges brought in US Navy collisions

Washington Post
Five Navy officers involved in deadly ship collisions that killed a combined 17 sailors last year will face a variety of criminal charges, including negligent homicide, the service announced Tuesday night.
Wow. Criminal charges brought against the US officers in both collisions. There must have been some huge mistakes involved. If it was anything that could be attributed to bad luck or bad materials the Navy would put it under that and just kill the careers of those involved. If it was just run of the mill incompetence there would be a quiet court marshal and the responsible party kicked out.

Some of the senior officers of the 7th fleet have already been removed but that is expected. In a mess this big somebody was going to take the blame at fleet command. The Navy is going out of it's way to make a big public case of this and that pretty much means that they are not done with the 7th fleet. Expect some more people to be removed or retire suddenly and an extended bout of revised operating procedure.

US citizen held by military in uncertain situation

NY Times
NY Times

Interesting and ugly situation bubbling up. Saudi-American citizen held in Iraq by the US military. Very little information about the situation has been released. He has been held for several weeks now with no charges or legal advice. The ACLU is trying to jump into the case to maintain his constitutional right and provide him legal advice.

Apparently he is being held for supporting ISIS. It looks like his capture and detention violate US law to the point he can't be brought back to the US and charged with anything without it getting thrown out of court. So the military and the administration is trying to work out a way to transfer him to Saudi Arabia for prosecution without going through the US courts. Needless to say this brings up a number legal issues and has huge moral issues.

US changes course on North Korea

Rex Tillerson has said that the US is ready to begin exploratory talks with North Korea “without preconditions”, but only after a “period of quiet” without new nuclear or missile tests.

The secretary of state’s remarks appeared to mark a shift in state department policy, which had previously required Pyongyang to show it was “serious” about giving up its nuclear arsenal before contacts could start. And the language was a long way from repeated comments by Donald Trump that such contacts are a “waste of time”.
Fairly big reversal for the State Department, either Trump is changing course or Tillerson is going way out on a limb. I can't imagine Tillerson going this on his own unless he wants to be fired.

The whole thing is interesting. Apparently the US has given China assurances that the US/South Korea would not try to grab North Korean land in a conflict. Doubt that would hold up but it's certainly what China wants to hear. And China is preparing refuge camps in case of a conflict or collapse of the North Korean government.

Key person in Papadopolous case vanishes

Professor Joseph Misfud, one of the main subjects in the FBI affidavit against candidate Donald Trump's ex-foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous, has disappeared.
Speculation at this point because he isn't named in Mueller's investigation publicly so far but several people have pinned him as an unnamed person of interest in the connection between Papadopolous and Russia. He could have gone in hiding on his own or a country may have offered him protection. Either Russia or Trump may have hidden him or even taken him out. Even Mueller may have put him in hiding if he is a needed witness later.

Mueller investigation expands to Congress

NBC news
Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Mike Flynn, who later briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of policies that would help Russia, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.
This is going to get messy before it's over. Anybody who though only one side was tied up with Russian political manipulation was fooling themselves.

Botched invitation makes for embarrasing mistake

The chief of Indonesia's military was denied entry to the United States on Saturday, despite having an invitation from US General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Somebody made a huge mistake here and it probably isn't General Gatot Nurmantyo. Most likely somebody forgot to clear this with US Customs. It wouldn't surprise me if an Indonesian general has something shady in his past but that sort of thing is overlooked for diplomatic missions if cleared ahead of time.

Plans for US Space Force move forward

The Hill
The provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would create a separate military branch for space operations. The branch would be housed under the Air Force.
It would need done at some point but it's too early. Right now it's just creating another military bureaucracy to churn through money.

neo-Nazi Brandon Russell given bail

Tampa Bay Times
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun rejected the government's argument that Brandon Russell should be held in jail because he poses a threat to the community or is likely to flee if released.
WTF? This is the fourth guy in the Devon Arthurs shooting. Arhurs is the nutjob that switched from neo-Nazi to Islam, shot two of his room mates and eventually ended up in a public hostage situation. Brandon was the 4th guy living in the house. He happened to be away during the shooting but was picked up later. He is a neo-Nazi who admires Timothy McVeigh, has admitted to manufacturing explosives and was caught with guns and ammunition. I don't see how he can not be considered a public threat.

Another piece of the puzzle slips out

Washington Post
A secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake, according to people familiar with its contents.

In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received what was described as a Russian intelligence document claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

The Russian document cited a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter. If true, the revelation of such an understanding would have undermined the integrity of the FBI’s investigation.
Pretty complex situation so it's best to read the whole thing. Not entirely sure what to make of this but it's an important piece giving some idea why Comey held the press meeting last year.

Looks like it was an attempt by the Russians to play the FBI but it didn't exactly work. Building off some of the DNC leaked emails the Russians put together a document that said they had direct email from Lynch to the Hillary campaign saying that the investigation wouldn't go far. Realizing that the document could leaked at some point and wanting to avoid any problems with the suspect document Comey jumped out to publicly explain there would be no charges.

White House leaks reveal that president upset about leaks

More than a lack of momentum on major policy goals, Trump is said to be seething over the flood of leaks pouring out of the White House and into news reports. He’s viewed even senior advisers suspiciously, including Bannon and Priebus, when stories about internal White House drama land in the press.

A dozen White House officials and others close to Trump detailed the president’s decision-making and his mood on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations and deliberations.Must have been a hard bit to write without throwing in a joke.

On a more serious note this sort of stuff suggests that the White House is divided on several levels. Originally I thought it was a Bannon vs Kushner thing but now it looks more like a free for all. Every White House has gone through some of this from time to time but I don't recall any that leaked this much all the time.
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