Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (86)


In Russia’s case, however: “When Russia is bad, it’s really bad.  When Russia tries to be good, it’s even worse.”

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia is seen at its worst when it’s trying to be its best. To paraphrase Mae West, “When Russia is bad, it’s really bad.  When Russia tries to be good, it’s even worse.”

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An unusually tumultuous week – developments in all theatres. Notable especially domestic developments in Russia, Iran playing its escalation game, Idlib escalation, DPRK nuke yield underestimated, Shangri-La summit and fallout, Japan and AUS developments, much on the Tiananmen anniversary, D-Day 75th anniversary, POTUS visits UK, German and EU politics, Venezuelan meltdown continues, quite a few reports on capability and WW2 history, big tech and cyber topics, and US domestic policy.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Brat Worst? Russian Firm To Produce ‘Delicious’ Sausages Named After Stalin

A meat-processing factory in the town of Shelanger in Russia’s Mari El Republic says it will soon start producing sausages named after Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
Russia Opposes ‘Any Foreign Intervention’ In Sudan, Says Senior Official
A senior Russian diplomat has said Moscow is against “any foreign intervention” in Sudan, where more than 100 protesters have been killed in a military crackdown this week.
Moscow University Cancels Student Talk Show After It Invites Opposition Activist
Students say the show has traditionally embraced an open and transparent approach, and imposed few restrictions on the aspiring journalists who produced it.
Putin Replaces Another Russian Regional Governor Ahead Of Elections
Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced another regional governor ahead of regional elections as waning support for the ruling United Russia party put its hold on power at risk.
Elton John Hits Back At Russian Decision To Cut Gay Scenes Out Of Biographical Film
Elton John has lashed out at the decision by a Russian distributor to remove intimate same-sex scenes from the domestic release of Rocketman, a new biographical film based on the life of the Britis…
Landing At Pushkin: Putin Decree Assigns Russian Airports The Names Of Cultural Figures
It’s already pretty hard to travel to Russia without hearing the name of the beloved 19th-century poet Aleksandr Pushkin. Now it may be impossible, if you fly into Moscow.
Thousands Rally In Russia’s Komi Republic Against New Landfill
Some 7,000 demonstrators have rallied in Russia’s northwestern Komi Republic against the construction of a new landfill in the neighboring Arkhangelsk region.
Moscow Court Upholds Pretrial House Arrest For Russian Actvist Udot
A court in Moscow has upheld pretrial house arrest for a board member of the independent election-monitoring group Golos (Voice) who is charged with threatening to kill two reporters of a state-aff…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Falling Incomes, Better Measurements Pushing Up Alcohol Consumption Figures, Marketing Specialist Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 31 – Two factors have come together to push up the percentage of Russians consuming alcohol, Maksim Chernigorvsky of the Club of Alcohol Market Professionals says, the falling standard of living which is driving more Russians to drink and shifts in the ways that Moscow measures how much alcohol they are consuming. According to the latest VTsIOM poll, the percentage of Russians who say they are drinking alcoholic beverages has risen seven percent over the last year and now stands at 67 percent, a reversal of the declines that that survey agency and others had been reporting and that Russian officials had been celebrating (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=9713). Officials have improved data collection, especially on beer, Chernigovsky tells Aleksandr Mavromatis of the MBK news agency. But the bigger reason for the increase in consumption is to be found in the economic crisis. As incomes have fallen, Russians have turned to drink (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/rossiyane-stali-bolshe-pit/). The structure of Russian alcohol consumption has not changed markedly in the last few years, the expert says. The market shares of vodka, beer, and other drinks remains about what it has been, following the decline in vodka consumption over the previous decade. But two things have changed: government policies and ease of access to illegal unregistered alcohol. The Russian government has raised taxes on beer by 700 percent over the last decade, pushing down consumption of that alternative to vodka from 80 liters per capita per year to 55. That increase in taxes on beer has not been paralleled by a rise in taxes on alcohol, and so price considerations have kept vodka consumption higher than it otherwise would be. At the same time, illegal unregistered alcohol has become far more accessible thanks to the Internet. Indeed, Chernigovsky says, there has been “a complete Bacchanalia” among Russians as a result. There are now “more than 3,000 sites” offering illegal alcohol, and as taxes and prices go up on registered kinds, ever more people are turning to them. According to the marketing specialist, “the growth in the alcoholization of Rusisans is occurring as a result of the producers” of such alcohol and alcohol surrogates. That is something the government has tried to combat both to save money and to protect public health, but its efforts have been far from sufficient, he says. To give but one example, Vladimir Putin has signaled that he would like to see Russians drink more wine, rather than vodka. But domestic producers now can satisfy only 40 percent of the wine Russians are already buying. That is because the country has not yet come back from Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign which saw large numbers of vineyards destroyed.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia has Four Times as Many Police Per Capita as UN Recommends
Paul Goble Staunton, June 2 – The United Nations recommends that countries on average have 222 policemen for ever 100,000 residents, but in 2015, the last year for which there is comprehensive data, Russia has 976 – and that number doesn’t include MVD troops, OMON units and FSB officers who often carry out police work, Yury Mukhin says. All this shows, the Russian commentator argues, that the Putin regime does not fear anything more than public protests and wants to be in a position to crack down hard whenever Russians come together to protest the deteriorating conditions under which they are forced to live (forum-msk.org/material/news/15678491.html). That imbalance makes it highly unlikely that the regime can be challenged by people in the streets: the Kremlin simply has too many resources at its disposal to crush any challenge. Perhaps the only hope, Mukhin suggests, is that some of the police are loyal only to those who pay their salaries and give them status and may change sides if they think that is best for them. At present, that may be a thin hope; and consequently, despite the rising tide of popular anger at the powers that be, the powers that be still have a police force unrivalled in size and equipment – and quite prepared to act if push comes to shove.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Young Russians Terrified by Prospect of Living on 200 Rubles a Day When They Retire
Paul Goble Staunton, June 2 – The Audit Chamber reports that after paying for housing, utilities, medicine, and good of first necessity, the average pensioner in Russia has only 200 rubles (3.30 US dollars) a day left over. Many older people are able to cope with this, experts say; but young people considering that prospect for themselves are horrified. Aleksandr Pozdeyev of the URA news agency reports that their negative reaction to this news has lit up Russian social networks; and polls confirm that young Russians don’t want their own pension years or those of their children to be like that, something that is leading many of them to think about emigration (ura.news/articles/1036278182). According to Yelena Grishina of the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, “a large segment” of Russia’s pensioners live below the poverty line, but the incomes of the majority of them remain 1.5 times the official minimum. If there are any economic shocks, however, many more could be pushed downward. Aleksandr Safonov of the Academy of Labor and Social Relations says that “pensions at the level of 6,000 rubles (95 US dollars) a month exist but most average out at 14,000 rubles (230 US dollars), a figure that he acknowledges is still low by world standards but one that allows them to keep their heads above water. Many young people, he and other analysts and political figures say, have a very different attitude toward money and income than their parents. If their parents are prepared to tighten their belts and make do, young people won’t. They don’t save as much as their parents did, and they live on credit, making the prospects of life in retirement much worse. Such attitudes among young people, of course, could prompt them to protest if indeed, as is likely, most of them decide to remain in Russia rather than seek their fortune abroad. Unless pensions are significantly raised, something possible only if the economy significantly improves, the view of the young about their future prospects could have ever more serious consequences.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Cities Outside Capitals have Changed Little Since 1991 for Four Reasons, Inozemtsev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 2 — Villages across the Russian Federation have disappeared over the last two decades, cities outside of the capitals haven’t significantly changed their faces since soviet times, and only Moscow and to a lesser extent St. Petersburg have modernized in a serious way, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. There are 23,000 fewer villages in Russia now than in 1990, the economist says; but what is especially striking given all the money that came into Russia during the “fat” years of the oil boom is how little an impact it has had on most Russian cities. They look much as they did at the end of Soviet times (gazeta.ru/column/vladislav_inozemcev/12373495.shtml). This prompts more questions than answers, Inozemtsev says. “Why in China over the last 20 years have there been constructed 1900 skyscrapers (buildings taller than 150 meters) in 88 cities, but in Russia over the same period, there have been only 38 built and those only in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg?” “Why in the country has there been taking place not only a reduction in the rural population but also a reduction in the number of residents of many oblasts and republics? Or in other words, why in the country have the appearance of the cities and the quality of life in them changed only in a few places but most regions look like they had simply ‘survived’?” Inozemtsev suggests there are four main reasons why this has happened. First of all, he says, incomes in most regions which aren’t involved in extracting petroleum rents are low, and even those which do make money that way have to send almost all of it directly to Moscow rather than to use it for their own development. Poverty among the population is “the main cause of the underdevelopment of a region,” he continues. Even in ordinary countries, the rate of development of public spaces depends almost exclusively on the level of incomes people in the region have. “No investments from the center can change” this pattern. In many Russian regions, poverty is staggeringly high. Second, it must be recognized that “regions in Russia long ago ceased to be ‘subjects of the federation.’” Their heads are responsible to Moscow rather than to the population, “and therefore they cannot arrange independent relationships with business” or act on the demand sof the population for economic development. Third, Inozemtsev argues, “the logic of the present-day Russian powers that be long ago became the logic of ‘projects’ and not of process. Projects presuppose simplicity of control” while “processes require constant involvement, the delegation of responsibility, the participation of business and of civil society.” Where Moscow decides to engage in projects such as Sochi for the Olympics or Vladivostok for a Pacific summit, money goes in and the city changes, but only for the duration of the projects. After that, in most cases, the regions fall back into the lethargy they had been in before the launch of “the project.” And fourth – and this may be the most significant of all, the economist suggests – anyone with money can construct a residence “worthy of a British aristocrat or an American investment banker even in Arkhangelsk or in Penza. But he will never be able to sell it for a price analogous to that of property in London or in Manhattan.” Because that is so, Inozemtsev continues, “the appearance in the provinces of something set apart from the masses cannot become the rule.” So new and more modern housing and public buildings aren’t built because those who might do so know that they can’t possibly recover the money they will invest in them. In Russia, wealth has come to be concentrated only in the capitals and in raw materials producing regions. And that is related to another development in which Russia is set apart from other countries. Since 2008, “no country whose growth has been effectively zero has given birth to such a quantity of super-rich and cosmopolitan citizens as Russia.” Only China and India have seen a greater increase in the number of billionaires since 2008 than Russia but they have had much greater economic growth, 2.4 and 3.1 times respectively. And as far as purchasing property in Europe, they compete with Arab sheiks and Indians. “Our ‘cosmonauts,’” Inozemtsev says, “fly ever higher, but below at the cosmodrome practically nothing is changing.” It should be that way, of course; and that way may not be sustainable for long.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Generational Change Makes Current Protests More Serious than Earlier Ones, Gontmakher Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 1 – Many people in the regime and beyond are not inclined to take the current wave of protests in Yekaterinburg, Yakutsk, Siyes, and Ingushetia seriously, Yevgeny Gontmakher says, assuming the causes are so varied and the solution to the demonstrations the same as it was in 2011-2012. The economist says that many think that a few arrests, a few expulsions from university, and a possible new foreign move will be sufficient to put everything back into the box as it was before. But they are wrong and wrong because of something they aren’t considering: generational change (mk.ru/politics/2019/05/31/molodoe-pokolenie-rossiyan-otkazalos-stat-obektom-massovykh-manipulyaciy-vlastey.html). The very oldest of those under 40 – and these are the people who predominate in these protests, Gontmakher suggests – were born in the 1980s when the Soviet Union was obvious falling apart and when they knew about stagnation only because of the stories their parents told them and because of the speeches the country’s leaders routinely gave. As they have grown up in post-Soviet Russia, they have been told by official propaganda that their country embodies true democracy, justice and respect for international law, even as they have been encouraged to adopt anti-Western views because the West in this narrative has “fake” examples of each. That message was effective in the first decade of this century, Gontmakher says, because rapid economic growth meant that almost everyone was doing better than he or she had earlier and could expect to do better yet. But that period gave birth to something that is now a problem: “European standards of consumption” among the younger age groups. It was no longer enough for them to gain one step up but to be able to see that they would rise still further. And if they couldn’t do so, they were more than ready to become angry. The economic crisis of 2008 called that into question, but then a certain stabilization and Crimea seemed to overcome these doubts. Since that time, however, the impact of generational change has become much greater, Gontmakher says. On the one hand, the economy did not recover but rather continued to decline; and ordinary people under 40 who expected to see their standard of living go up began to question whether that was going to be true. “The younger generations … suddenly understood that they wouldn’t be able, despite good educations … to ensure themselves a worthy level of life,” according to the standard that they had earlier come to expect. And on the other, official statements repeated again and again that things are going well no longer had the calming effect they had on older generations. Instead, they generated ever greater anger. Ever more young people began to feel that “’the bosses’ do not understand how Russia is living and even do not want to understand.” And they are ready to protest. Young people today, Gontmakher says, “go out to protest knowing that they may fall into the hands of the police and then in an isolator for 10 to 15 days, but consider this as something positive in the eyes of their age group and even part of their own parents.” Thus, they aren’t intimidated and can’t be suppressed by the same level of repression that worked earlier. “Of course,” the economist says, “such attitudes are still not typical for the majority of people younger than 40 but their spread is rapidly growing supported by the inexorable laws of demography.” And as more young people feel this way, more will be prepared to protest and demand change. Young people no longer view the state as sacred in the way that their parents did; instead, they place higher value on sincerity and respect for human dignity. And what is important to remember is that despite the lack of recognition many of them have now, it is out of that group that will come “the future ruling elite of Russia.” If the younger age groups retain the values they are displaying now, Gontmakher says, then the Russia they will eventually inherit will be “a humane and just society in which the state wil be transformed from its current ‘ruler of fates’ into ‘a servant of the people.’” Because that process is in train, the current demos showing these attitudes matter far more than many think.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s First Holocaust Monument Devoted Not to the Holocaust as Such but to Those Who Resisted, Orekh Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 4 – Finally, Russia has its own monument to the Holocaust, but while this is an important step and “better than nothing,” Moscow commentator Anton Orekh says, the new memorial “is devoted not to the victims of the Holocaust as such but in general to the heroes of the resistance in the concentration camps and ghettos.” The reason that is so, he argues, is the same as the one why no such memorial had appeared before: longstanding Russian anti-Semitism. While that is fortunately no longer state policy and Vladimir Putin is not an anti-Semite, many Russians are; and the powers that be don’t want to offend them (echo.msk.ru/blog/oreh/2438959-echo/). One indication of continuing Russian hostility to Jews, Orekh continues, is that the Museum of Tolerance where the new monument has been erected is guarded almost as seriously as the Diamond Fund in the Kremlin. “No one excludes provocations and even violence.” It is even that the memorial was to be made of glass but then built of “stronger materials.” In dedicating the memorial, Putin stressed this shift of focus and used the occasion to attack some of Moscow’s current opponents. There can be no justification for the crimes of Nazism or for “those who voluntarily became participants in these evil actions – Banderites, SS legions, and nationalist bands who sowed death in the Baltics, in Ukraine and in the countries of Europe (twitter.com/dimsmirnov175/status/1135892224208752640). But perhaps the clearest sign of the Kremlin view on this monument lay elsewhere: Alla Gerber, the president of the Holocaust Foundation in Russia and a long-time advocate of erecting a memorial to all the victims of that crime against humanity, was not invited to the ceremony. “Apparently,” she says, “they forgot us” (echo.msk.ru/news/2438947-echo.html). The Russian powers that be “do allow us to work, but I cannot say that they have helped us very actively. Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, we haven’t received a presidential grant” to support our work. For all these reasons, Orekh’s conclusion that the new monument is “better than nothing” but that unfortunately it is not the turning point that many had hoped for – and that some, unreflectively, are suggesting it already is.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Levada Poll on Protests Offers Something for Almost Every Point of View
Paul Goble Staunton, June 4 – A new Levada Center poll simultaneously suggests that the traditional breakdown between social and political protests is breaking down, that the share of Russians willing to take part in both is growing, and that the shares with direct experience of protests and closely following protests elsewhere is still relatively small. As a result, the poll results present something for everyone from those who believe that Russia now faces a new wave of protests that is growing into a revolutionary challenge to the regime to those who argue that the actual protests are far fewer but more mediagenic than the smaller but more numerous protests at the time of pension reform. That makes distinguishing between the numbers and the commentaries ever more important, something that is not always carefully done in the media, with those observers who have one position selecting out the results that agree with them and ignoring data from the same poll that don’t. The actual results, published by the Levada Center, are both complicated and interesting (levada.ru/2019/06/04/protestnyj-potentsial-9/). Among the most significant are the following: · Slightly more Russians now than in February say they are prepared to participate in protests about the decline in their standard of living (27 percent against 26 percent) and in protests with political agenda (22 percent against 20 percent). · The share considering mass protests on these two subjects likely has declined from 34 percent to 26 percent regarding living conditions and from 28 percent to 24 percent as far as political demonstrations are concerned. · Eighty-seven percent say they haven’t noted any protests nearby where they live anytime in the last two to three months, 69 percent say they consider such protests unlikely and don’t intend to take part if such meetings do occur on social issues. The corresponding figures for political protests are 71 percent and 74 percent. · Forty-two percent have heard about the Yekaterinburg protests and 17 percent say they are closely following events there. But 41 percent said that the first time they had heard about the demonstrations in the Urals city were when they were asked by the survey. Far fewer have knowledge of the protests in Shiyes or in Ingushetia, with 65 percent and 71 percent respectively saying they were hearing about them for the first time. · Sixty-three percent think that protests are becoming larger and more numerous, while 25 percent say the reverse is true. Fifty-one percent say the number of Russians satisfied with the authorities is falling, while 11 percent believe the reverse. Five commentaries are particularly instructive. First, Denis Volkov of the Levada Center says that he thinks the results show that Russians no longer strongly distinguish between economic and political protests and maintain that they are engaged only in the first for tactical reasons in order to get the authorities to speak with them (svpressa.ru/society/article/234549/). If the authorities do speak with the protesters, the situation remains more or less the same, but if the powers that be ignore them or simply repress them, the sociologist continues, politicization is inevitable regardless of where those taking part in the protests have begun. The authorities often lack the resources or power to do anything and that has the same result. Moreover, he says, protests feed upon themselves. Where there have been protests, there are thus likely to be more in the future. “Now, there are three regions which people more or less clearly distinguish: Yekaterinburg, Arkhangelsk Oblast and Ingushetia. But overall, there are not so many. There ere far more during the period of the adoption of the pension reform.” Then, Volkov points out, there were far more protests. They were smaller but far more widespread. For better or worse, the media have suggested the contrary. Second, political analyst Konstantin Kalachev says that the poll shows that the politicization of protest in Russia is inevitable because attitudes in society are changing. “According to Lenin, an economic crisis grows into a social one and social protest grows into political ones. That is the traditional history.” “But now we live already in a different society. Not everything depends on economics alone.” People may be tired of those in power and of elections that do not solve anything. There is a demand for change which perhaps will not be directly connected with the life situation people find themselves in. Thus, Kalachev continues, those who are still well-off in Russia are far more likely to be critics of the powers than are those with much lower incomes. He also points to the demands for local control over decisions. Many Russians who want that may not be familiar with federalism but that is what they want. As Kalachev puts it, this is like the situation Moliere described when he said that people often speak prose without even knowing they are doing so. Third, Valeriya Mikhaylova, a spokesperson for the Komi Republic KPRF organization, adds that people have to have some experience of protest against specific problems before they realize fully that the problems they face are the result of political decisions. When they do realize that, they begin to make political demands. Fourth, Lev Gudkov, the director of the Levada Center, points out that the better informed people are about protests locally or across the country, the more likely they are to be willing to take part in demonstrations, thus making control of reporting about them critical for the regime (vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2019/06/03/803258-rossiyan-gotovnost-protestnih). And five the Petersburg Politics Foundation says that whatever the polls show about the willingness of Russians to take part in demonstrations and protests, its own survey finds that there has been an increase in the number and size of such actions over the past month (newsru.com/russia/04jun2019/protest_rise.html).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Could the Internet be the Salvation of Non-Russians Living Beyond the Borders of Their Republics?
Paul Goble Staunton, June 3 – Non-Russians within the current borders of the Russian Federation have devoted enormous attention to the fate of their republics and languages and culture within those republics. But they have devoted far less to that of the large numbers of non-Russians who live beyond the borders of those ethnic territories. That is especially unfortunate because those who live outside the republics seldom have any state-funded support in the form of schools, media, or activities to support their languages, culture or identity and thus are far more subject to assimilatory pressures than are those within the republics, however much attention the latter do receive. And because in many cases, such as the Tatars of the Middle Volga, more of the members of the nationality live beyond the borders of their republics rather than within them, this lack of attention and support means that these peoples are increasingly at risk even if they manage to survive in the republics themselves. Moscow at present has no interest in supporting the linguistic or cultural needs of these groups. (In the first decades of Soviet power, it created numerous “national rural soviets” beyond the borders of the non-Russian republics but has since disbanded all of them.) And the non-Russian republics have neither the resources nor the permission of the center to act on their own. Indeed, many non-Russians in the republics have effectively written off their co-ethnics outside the republics, however much the former recognize the size and importance of the latter and however much they wish they could do something. Thus, Bashkirs worry about Bashkirs elsewhere and so on. But there now may be a means for the non-Russian republics to reach out and support their co-ethnics beyond their borders: the Internet. Non-Russians living outside the republics may not be able to have schools or traditional media in their own languages, but they can use the Internet to maintain their language and culture. As Internet use expands, ever more people can get the support of their languages and cultures via the world wide web – and do so at remarkably low cost. After all, once a program is put online, it matters little how many people turn to it. The Russian government is fully cognizant of these possibilities for Russians. Now some non-Russians are recognizing them. One recent example is from the Finno-Ugric Middle Volga republic of Mari El, a place known to be subject to enormous assimilatory pressures within its borders and whose co-ethnics beyond them are under even more enormous pressure to give up their national languages and cultures. In recent weeks, the Mari National-Cultural Center Maryi Ushem under the presidency of Raisiya Sungurova has been organizing online conferences to reach out to Maris across the republic and beyond, something an NGO like Maryi Ushem would have been able to do without the Internet (siapress.ru/conference/88100). Other non-Russian nations are doing the same, including in particular the Tatars, the Bashkirs, and the Circassians, to name but three. Most of this activity has remained below the radar screen: those engaged in its likely don’t want Moscow to focus on what they are doing and inevitably try to stop it. But it deserves the attention of analysts concerned about the future of the Russian Federation and especially about the future of non-Russians within it for two important reasons. On the one hand, there will be feedback from the audience beyond the republics – and nationalists in general emerge not at the center of where a nation lives but outside. And on the other, this new technology may be the salvation of peoples who have long been written off by Moscow, their co-ethnics inside the Russian Federation, and Western analysts focusing on the nationality question there.
Volga, Volga! Low-Water Crisis Raises Questions About Managing Russia’s Main Artery
In some Volga River reservoirs, the water has receded hundreds of meters from the normal shoreline and many tributaries have been reduced to muddy puddles, raising questions about how one of Russia…
Three former soldiers are suing Russia’s Defense Ministry for nearly killing them in a tank exercise — Meduza
Three former soldiers who were seriously injured at a training grounds outside St. Petersburg in 2017 are trying to sue Russia’s Defense Ministry for 6 million rubles ($91,925). Vadim Gabidulin, Arsen Osmanov, and Dmitry Pakhmutov seek compensation for psychological distress and medical bills, their attorney (“Zona Prava” human rights lawyer Dmitry Gerasimov) told Meduza.


Photo: Moscow residents line up to picket for Ivan Golunov — Meduza
‘Meduza’ correspondent Ivan Golunov arrested in Moscow A statement from CEO Galina Timchenko and editor-in-chief Ivan Kolpakov — Meduza
Our colleague and friend, Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, has been arrested in Moscow. Police supposedly found illegal drugs on his person and in his home, and detectives have claimed there was an “intent to distribute.” Golunov managed to say through friends that the officers planted two packages containing some unknown substance. He also stated that he wasn’t allowed to use a telephone and call a lawyer. Detectives only notified Golunov’s friend, BBC Russian Service correspondent Svetlana Reiter, approximately 14 hours later, in the middle of the night.
What we know, so far, about the arrest of ‘Meduza’ correspondent Ivan Golunov — Meduza
On June 6, around 2:40 pm.m, police arrested Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov on Tsvetnoy Boulevard in Moscow. At the time, Golunov was headed to a work meeting with other journalists. When he was questioned by police, Golunov said two men dressed in civilian clothes ran up behind him and told him that he was under arrest. When he asked the men to identify themselves, he says they answered, “What, you haven’t guessed? Criminal investigators!” The two men pinned his arms behind his back, handcuffed him, and then placed him in the back seat of a patrol car. The men only identified themselves (the arresting officers were Roman Filimonov and Dmitry Kozhanov, and an officer named Akbar was behind the wheel) after Golunov demanded a lawyer. The officers then removed Golunov’s mobile phone from the pocket of his jeans and ordered him to unlock it. He refused.
‘I don’t believe it for a second’ Russian investigative journalists on the drug charges against Meduza’s Ivan Golunov — Meduza
On June 6, Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov was arrested in Moscow. During a search of his clothing, officials found a packet containing a narcotic substance, and another packet was found afterward in his apartment. Golunov has argued that both packets were planted. Meduza’s editorial board believes he is innocent and that the persecution he is facing may be related to his journalistic work. We asked Russia’s leading investigative reporters to comment on Ivan Golunov’s arrest.
Russian police admit they published photos with no connection to Ivan Golunov while accusing him of dealing drugs — Meduza
The Russian Interior Ministry admitted that only one of a series of photos released by the agency in connection with the arrest of Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov was taken in his apartment.
Police resume arresting protesters during picket in support of ‘Meduza’ correspondent Ivan Golunov — Meduza
Meduza’s correspondent outside the Moscow branch of Russia’s Internal Affairs ministry has reported that arrests outside the building have resumed. Municipal legislator Viktor Kotov has been taken away in a police van.
Protesters supporting arrested ‘Meduza’ correspondent Ivan Golunov released from police custody — Meduza
Police officers have released protesters who had set up individual pickets on June 7 to demand the release of Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov. The police did not file reports against the protesters, wrote Grigory Tumanov, a journalst who was among those arrested.
Pickets begin across Russia in support of arrested ‘Meduza’ journalist Ivan Golunov — Meduza
Individual pickets have begun outside the Moscow division of Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry in support of Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, who has been arrested and accused of attempting to sell drugs.
What’s wrong with the fight against fake news ‘Meduza’ publishes an essay written by opposition activist Leonid Volkov in a Moscow jail — Meduza
Leonid Volkov, a former campaign manager for Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, is currently serving a 20-day jail sentence. He was charged this year for actions that supposedly took place during a September 2018 protest against Russia’s increased retirement age: police officers accused Volkov of “inspiring” protesters to scratch a car. The protest was organized by the Navalny-led Anti-Corruption Foundation.


After media executive accused of sexual assault wins defamation lawsuit, Russian social media users unleash mocking hashtag campaign — Meduza
On May 30, Vladivostok journalist Yekaterina Fedorova and her attorneys announced that a court had found against her in a defamation lawsuit brought by Alexey Migunov, the co-founder of the PrimaMedia conglomerate. In January of 2019, Fedorova publicly accused Migunov of beating, biting, and raping her in her apartment. Following public backlash that led Migunov to take a temporary leave of absence, the media executive sued Fedorova for the “protection of [his] honor and dignity” and denied her accusations. Court documents quoted by Fedorova, her attorneys, and her supporters on Facebook indicated that a judge sided with Migunov, reasoning that “The subjective opinion of E.A. Fedorova about the alleged rape was expressed in a negative manner that went beyond the acceptable bounds of her right to express her opinions and beliefs freely.”
Anti-Doping Watchdog Investigates Alleged Russian Cover-Up
Athletics’ anti-doping watchdog is investigating claims that Russian officials tried to cover up a doping case involving high jumper Danil Lysenko.
Russian Music Producer Alibasov Seriously Ill After Poisoning: Media Reports
A veteran Russian musician and music producer, Bari Alibasov, has reportedly been hospitalized with symptoms of poisoning and his condition is described as grave.
Russian Blogger Attacked In Krasnodar Amid ‘Climate Of Impunity’
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has voiced concern about the “climate of impunity” in Russia’s southwestern region of Krasnodar after a local blogger was violently assaulted by unknown attackers.
Luggage systems collapse at Sheremetyevo Moscow passengers spend hours waiting for bags after salary cuts led airport luggage loaders to quit en masse — Meduza
Over the weekend, the luggage transport systems in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport collapsed, and passengers found themselves waiting for hours to pick up their suitcases. Numerous departing flights also experienced substantial delays. Airport representatives said the holdup was caused by the start of the summer vacation season and that the problem would be solved by the end of the month. However, individual airline and airport employees have said that the luggage bottleneck actually stemmed from a labor shortage after porters quit en masse due to salary cuts.
Group Launches First Tourist Train Service Through Russia’s Arctic Region To Norway
A tour group has launched the first tourist train service traveling through Russia’s Arctic region to Norway.
Transgender Russian Seeks Freedom In Spain
Francis Savinovskikh made headlines in Russia when the authorities took two foster children away, citing concerns that their upbringing was not “traditional.” At the time, Savinovskikh had the name Yulia and didn’t accept being a man. Savinovskikh fled to Spain to seek political asylum — and was recognized by the authorities there as a man.
Prominent Investigative Journalist Detained On Drug Charges In Moscow
Prominent Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov from the Latvia-based independent Meduza news site has been detained and beaten in Moscow for allegedly attempting to sell illegal drugs, his…
Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Who Acted In Russian Comedies and American TV Series, Dies At 59
Aleksandr Kuznetsov, whose acting career spanned Soviet comedies, Russian thrillers, and American TV dramas, has died in Moscow. He was 59.
Heaps Of Trouble: Moscow Dumps Waste On Russia’s Provinces
Moscow’s garbage dumps are overflowing, but plans to transfer waste to Russia’s provinces have infuriated local residents. Some Muscovites are taking the trash troubles into their own hands.
Podcast: The Week Ahead In Russia
On this week’s show, host Steve Gutterman takes a look at the St. Petersburg economic forum and a case pitting Kyiv against Moscow in the International Court of Justice, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s absence from ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Belarus Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Will Mezentsev End Ties with Odious Activists? The Real Measure of Putin’s New Man in Minsk
Paul Goble Staunton, June 5 –Dmitry Mezentsev, Putin’s new ambassador in Minsk, brings a very different and much more diplomatic tone to Russian relations with Belarus; but the real test of what he is about will be whether he suspends ties with the odious people his predecessor established links, according to an iSANS expert, speaking on condition of anonymity. The expert at the International Strategic Action Network for Society, who helped draft a series of reports about Belarusian security Reform.by has been summarizing (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/isans-report-about-moscows-creeping.html), argues this is the only real test of Moscow’s intentions (reform.by/jekspert-isans-zahochet-li-mezencev-otstroitsja-ot-odioznyh-figur-i-iniciativ/). Everything else, including Mezentsev’s own statements and discussions in the Moscow media, he says, is so much eyewash, an indication of what the Russian side would like people to believe rather than an indication of what Moscow is actually about now that it has changed ambassadors in Minsk. In his days in office, Mezentsev has not moved to break the links between the embassy he heads and the most noxious pro-Moscow individuals or removed their statements from the embassy website (e.g., belarus.mid.ru/ru/press-centre/news/rezolyutsiya_khiii_respublikanskoy_konferentsii_belorusskikh_obshchestvennykh_obedineniy_rossiyskikh/). Nor has Mezentsev sent any signal that he will suspend ties with individuals like the national-communist Sergey Baburin, the Western Rus communist Lev Krishtanovich or others of their ilk like Sergey Lush, Aleksey Kochetkov or Stanislav Byshok despite their propensity for causing headaches for the Russian embassy in the Belarusian capital, the expert says. Indeed, the only sign that the new ambassador is prepared to rein in such people is that the group linked to the embassy intended to integrate Belarus into Russia now says that “we are the real guarantors of Belarusian sovereignty and protect it from Western encroachments” (teleskop-by.org/2019/05/31/uchastniki-rossijsko-belorusskogo-foruma-soyuznoe-gosudarstvo-garantiya-suvereniteta-belarusi/). But that language, cheap as it is for Moscow to deploy, means less than nothing unless Mezentsev takes steps signaling that he is going to break with those who are working to promote the absorption of Belarus by Russia. There is as yet, no sign that he plans to do that, the iSANS expert concludes.

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

Iran ‘used frogmen to plant mines on oil tankers’ | World | The Times
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of being responsible for a co-ordinated attack on four oil tankers last month after a commission of inquiry said that it was probably carried out by “a state actor”.“We believe the responsibility for this attack lies on the shoulders of Iran,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador
UAE tanker attacks blamed on ‘state actor’ – BBC News
A limpet mine raid on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was a “sophisticated operation”, the UN hears.
Multinational investigation says ‘state actor’ responsible for attacks on Gulf oil tankers – CNN
The initial findings of an international investigation into attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May has concluded that a “state actor” is the most likely culprit.
Trump Pulls Back in the Middle East | The National Interest
A trio of developments has smothered the administration’s previously hawkish approach.
U.S. Commander Says Mideast Buildup Forced Iran to ‘Step Back’
But Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie tells reporters he still believes the threat is “very real.”
Trump: ‘Iran failing as a nation’ after US sanctions | USA News | Al Jazeera
US President Donald Trump said he believes Iran wants to engage in negotiations and he is ready for talks.
What war with Iran could look like
Military Times interviewed more than a dozen military experts, including current and former U.S. military officials, about how a conflict might begin and how it could play out. This is what they said could happen:
What’s the end game in an armed conflict with Iran?
The U.S.-Iranian relationship is one of “mutual distrust…
U.S. Spent Two Weeks on Edge Over Iran’s Missile Boats – WSJ
For two weeks in May, the U.S. military shadowed two Iranian commercial boats sailing around the Persian Gulf as policy makers in Washington and Tehran traded threats and taunts. Here is how it played out day by day.
Is the United States Baiting Iran into a War? | The National Interest
The Trump team appears to have laid a trap for Iran, attempting to provoke it into an action that crosses an administration red line.
1st look at the US aircraft carrier rushed to the Middle East to deter Iran – ABC News
ABC News gets access to USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group deployed to Middle East to counter Iran.
US aircraft carrier deployed over Iran remains outside Gulf
The Abraham Lincoln on Monday was in the Arabian Sea some 200 miles off the coast of Oman.
US aircraft carrier yet to enter Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran: report | TheHill
The U.S.
US would talk with Iran ‘with no preconditions’: Pompeo | News | Al Jazeera
Rouhani says Tehran will not be ‘bullied’ into negotiations with tightened sanctions and threats by Washington.
Pompeo says U.S. ready to talk to Iran with ‘no preconditions’
The secretary of state repeated long-standing U.S. accusations that Iran is bent on destabilizing the region, but he also held out the possibility of talks.
Iran Rejects Pompeo’s Offer of Talks With ‘No Preconditions’ – WSJ
Tehran officials said the secretary of state’s suggestion amounted to “word play,” given the Trump administration’s escalating campaign of maximum pressure.
Iran calls U.S. sanctions ‘economic war’, says no talks until they are lifted – Reuters
Iran called U.S. sanctions “economic war” on Monday, and said there could be no talks with the United States until sanctions are lifted, a day after Washington suggested it could hold talks without pre-conditions if Iran changed its behavior.
Iranian president says talks possible only if Washington shows ‘respect’ – Reuters
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday suggested Iran may be willing to hold talks if the United States showed it respect, but said Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Rouhani says Iran will not be ‘bullied’ into US talks | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Iran’s president says Tehran may engage in talks if the US showed it respect, state media reported.
Pompeo Comes to Europe With a Tough Iran Message | RealClearPolitics
BERN, Switzerland (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the Trump administration’s campaign against Iran to Europe for the third time this month amid heightened Mideast tensions and…
Hezbollah’s chief says a US strike against Iran will spread across the region, leading American forces to be ‘annihilated’ – CNN
Hezbollah’s leader warned the United States against striking Iran, saying if it does “the entire region will burn.”
Pentagon Wary of Russia-Iran Cooperation – Foreign Policy
Top Defense Department official warns Middle East allies that Moscow is not a reliable partner.
Trump doesn’t want war with Iran: acting US Defense Secretary Shanahan
“When the president says he doesn’t want a war with Iran, I think that is pretty clear,” acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters traveling with him to Indonesia.
Iran stays within nuclear deal’s main limits while testing another – Reuters
Iran has stayed within the main restrictions of its nuclear deal, a quarterly report by the U.N. atomic watchdog indicated on Friday, at a time when Tehran is threatening to break the rules in future in response to new U.S. sanctions.
U.N. Watchdog Reports Iran’s Uranium Stockpiles are Growing | Time
The U.N. said that Iran is staying within the limitations set by the 2015 nuclear deal, but reported its stockpiles of uranium are growing
Saudi Arabia united the Arab world against Iran. That means conflict could be one step closer – CNN
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has pulled off in Mecca what many had thought unlikely — getting 20 or so disparate Arab nations to unite in a common position against Iran. It is a milepost on a road that may yet lead to regional conflict.
Iran rejects Saudi Arabia’s ‘baseless’ allegations at Arab summit | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson denounces Saudi King Salman’s accusations of Tehran meddling in the region.
Iran Might Not Be Able to Wait Trump Out – Foreign Policy
New negotiations could be Tehran’s only option.
Hezbollah chief warns war against Iran would ‘engulf region’ | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Hassan Nasrallah’s comments come as Arab leaders meet in Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran’s growing influence.
Why Is A Washington Reporter Enabling Iranian Propaganda? – To Inform is to Influence
The LobeLog, yesterday, published a piece titled “Is The State Department Funding Attacks On Activists?” An offending tweet was offered as evidence of “attacks” on “human rights organizations, Iranian-American activists, journalists, and others advocating against the escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran.” After examining the tweet, I do not see evidence of…
Ex-Military Brass Line Up Against War in Iran | The National Interest
A concerned cadre is sounding the alarm against an America on the edge in the Gulf.
B-52, aircraft carrier in Mideast over Iran conduct exercise | Fox News
The U.S. military says a B-52 bomber and an aircraft carrier dispatched to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran have conducted a joint exercise together in the Arabian Sea.
F/A-18E conducts impressive self-escort strike with B-52H bomber during joint exercises – Defence Blog
F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, embarked on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), conducted a self-escort strike with an Air Force B-52H bomber assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and part of the Bomber Task Force. Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, attached to the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG), and A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and part of the Global Strike Command Bomber Task Force, conducted joint operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, June 1. The operations emphasize Joint Force integration and interoperability within the U.S. Department of Defense. “The training we are doing with the Air Force showcases our ability to coordinate quickly amongst branches and results in an increase of our country’s lethality and agility to respond to threats if called upon,” said Capt. William Reed, commander, CVW-7. During the exercises, CVW-7 and the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conducted several joint training evolutions designed to improve operational tactics in several warfare areas. Exercises included air-to-air training, flying in formation, and simulated strike operations in defense of a national asset. “While the Air Force trains different assets together all the time, including Navy F-18s, we typically don’t have the opportunity to integrate with the surface fleet,” said Lt. Col. Scott Mills, 609th Air and Space Operations Center air and space strategist. “As we train together, it gives us the chance to examine the bias we each bring to the engagement. We each learn about the other’s domain by searching for areas where we operate differently.”
UAE fighter jets conduct joint operations with U.S. F-35A Lightning IIs – Defence Blog
The U.S. Air Force has announced that a United Arab Emirates Air Force Mirage 2000, F-16 Desert Falcon and a U.S. F-35A Lightning II conducted a partnering flight in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, May 29, 2019. According to a news release put out by U.S. Air Forces, the flight was conducted to continue building military-to-military relationships and interoperability with the UAE. “The U.S Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Air Force join together for a partnering flight in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility,” said in a statement. It should be stated, the UAE Air Force has plans to buy two squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. According to the Israeli news portal, the UAE seeks to purchase its own fleet of the advanced F-35 fighter jets, built by US defense giant Lockheed Martin, amid reports of a burgeoning Israeli-Gulf alliance against Iran. Previously, military sources with knowledge of the matter have reported that “the talks between the two parties are [focused on] sensitive systems in the aircraft that need export permit.” The sources refused to disclose the value of the deal but said it would be limited in the first phase to the purchase of two squadrons, or 24 aircraft. The U.S. Defense industry is developing and fielding F-35’s family of fifth-generation strike fighter aircraft integrating stealth technologies with advanced sensors and computer networking capabilities for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, eight international partners, and four foreign military sales customers. The family is comprised of three aircraft variants. The Air Force’s F-35A variant will complement its F-22A fleet and is expected to replace the air-to-ground attack capabilities of the F-16 and A-10. The Marine Corps’ F-35B variant will replace its F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft. The Navy’s F-35C variant will complement its F/A-18E/F aircraft.
Iran briefly detains 2 European diplomats at coed party | Fox News
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency is reporting that police in the capital, Tehran, briefly detained two European diplomats at a mixed-gender party, which are illegal under Iranian law.
Mecca summit supports Palestinians, backs Saudis in Iran standoff | News | Al Jazeera
Leaders of Islamic states call US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ‘illegal and irresponsible’.
Yemen’s Houthis launch drone attack on Saudi-led coalition military parade in Aden – Reuters
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement launched a drone attack on a military parade for Saudi-led coalition forces in the port city of Aden, the group’s Al Masirah TV said early on Monday.
U.S. lawmakers to push back against Trump on Saudi weapons sales – Reuters
Members of the U.S. Congress, including some of President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, are preparing legislation seeking to block his plan for $8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, congressional aides and lawmakers said on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia’s new ‘freedom’ gas
Saudi Arabia has partnered with a US company to export LNG from Texas, and is looking for more LNG deals.
Russia, China Voice Support for Iran After Xi Visit to Kremlin
China’s Xi called Putin his ‘close friend,’ noting that they have met nearly 30 times over the last six years
Hong Kong Rejects U.S. Warning on Ship Breaching Iran Sanctions – Bloomberg
Hong Kong dismissed U.S. warnings that it could face penalties if it it does business with an oil tanker headed for the city that allegedly violated sanctions on Iran.


Turkey, Russia face conflicts over Syria’s push into Idlib | Fox News
Ankara and Moscow are again facing an escalation of violence in Syria’s last rebel-held territory, a development that puts their cooperation to the test even as they support opposing sides in the eight-year war that has devastated Syria.
UAWire – Russia blocks UN Security Council Idlib ceasefire statement
Russia has blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for confirmation of the ceasefire in Idlib, Syria, a source in the council reported …
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians. The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!”
Trump accuses Russia, Syria, Iran of ‘bombing the hell’ of Idlib province | TheHill
President Trump on Sunday accused Russia, Syria and Iran of escalating violence in Syria’s Idlib region, calling on those countries to stop carrying out bombings in the province.
Trump tells Syria, Russia to stop bombing rebel-held Idlib | Syria News | Al Jazeera
His statement on Twitter comes as Israel launches more air raids against Syria, according to Syrian state media.
The Terrible Case for Staying in Syria
President Donald Trump was right to want to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and should not have let his advisers overrule him. The rationales the
UAWire – Russia urges Turkey to stop militant attacks coming from Idlib
“There is still a fairly high concentration of terrorists and militants in Idlib who, taking advantage of their numbers, attack civilian targets …
HRW Blasts Russia, Syria Over Banned Weapons Attacks
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Syrian-Russian “military alliance” of using a “cocktail of internationally banned and indiscriminate weapons” in attacks on civilians in northwestern Syria.
Idlib: For residents of Syria’s last rebel-held province, no place is safe – CNN
The Syrian government’s Idlib campaign has killed at least 160 civilians in recent weeks, according to the UN. No place is considered safe by the residents of the country’s last opposition-held province.
Breaking: Russian jets swarm Idlib after ceasefire talks with Turkey fail
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – Minutes ago, over five Russian fighter jets began launching airstrikes over the Idlib Governorate following the collapse of
Iraqi Court Sentences 2 French IS Members to Death
The new sentences raise the number of French citizens sentenced to death over the past two weeks to nine


Israel strikes Syria after rockets fired at Golan Heights
The Israeli military said its aircraft struck Syrian army targets on Sunday after rockets were fired at the Golan Heights.
Israel strikes Syria after rockets fired at Golan – Reuters
The Israeli military said its aircraft struck Syrian army targets on Sunday after rockets were fired at the Golan Heights, and Syria’s state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week.
Israeli forces and settlers enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compound | Palestine News | Al Jazeera
Hundreds of Jews enter the holy site on Israel’s Jerusalem Day as Israeli police allow access during the end of Ramadan.
Trump tells Israelis to ‘get their act together,’ as country gears up for second election this year – The Washington Post
Israel’s political crisis casts a shadow over Trump’s highly anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
UAWire – Media: Israel and the United States will put up with Assad if Putin ‘surrenders’ Iran
The US President’s advisor on national security John Bolton, head of the Israeli National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev will hold a meeting in Jerusalem in late June. According to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, one of the main topics discussed at the meeting will be Iran’s military presence in Syria. According to the article, Israel and the United States intend to offer Russia a deal in which Washington and Jerusalem will recognize the legitimacy of the Assad regime and subsequently abolish all restrictive measures imposed on Damascus in exchange for Moscow participating in joint actions to contain Tehran. As the newspaper notes, “the agenda of the meeting is based on” the mutual understanding reached between the two presidents, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, on the importance of ensuring Israel’s security and supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “
Clashes at Jerusalem holy site as Israel marks 1967 war win | Fox News
Israeli police say security forces have clashed with Muslim worshippers at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.
Kushner casts doubt on the ability of Palestinians to govern themselves | TheHill
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner cast doubt on the ability of Palestinians to govern themselves during an interview with Axios
Kushner Questions Whether Palestinians Can Govern Themselves – Bloomberg
Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview that the Palestinians aren’t yet able to govern themselves and declined to promise them an independent state in the White House’s long-awaited Mideast peace plan.
Trump Has Misdiagnosed the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Foreign Policy
The White House’s economic plan for Gaza and the West Bank should invite skepticism.
Palestinians say U.S. ‘deal of the century’ will finish off their state – Reuters
The U.S. blueprint to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, still in draft form after almost two years, is seen by Palestinians, and by some Arab officials and politicians, as a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.


Corpses pile up on worst day of battle for Tripoli | World | The Times
The doctor was talking to me when the bullet hit him in the head. His scrubs were clean; not a drop of blood had yet spattered his white surgical slip-ons.We were standing outside a private garage that had been converted into a frontline medical post when it happened. It was a cloudy Saturday aftern
After Centuries Of Neglect, Afghanistan’s Historic Minaret Under Threat From Taliban
Afghanistan’s 800-year-old Minaret of Jam is under threat from floods and militants.
China ‘helping Saudi Arabia to develop missile arsenal’ | World | The Times
Saudi Arabia has been accused of developing its ballistic-missile arsenal with the help of China behind the back of America, its traditional military ally and protector. Advances in Saudi-owned missile technology were reported recently to US senators by intelligence officials, CNN said overnight, af
ISIS supporter admits beheading Scandinavian hiker in Morocco: ‘I regret it’ | Fox News
An ISIS supporter suspected of leading a jihadist cell has told a court he regrets beheading one of two Scandinavian backpackers found murdered in their tent in Morocco.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

North Korea’s Nuclear Bomb Is Much Bigger than Previously Thought – Defense One
A new look at 2017 test data reveals an explosion 16 times as powerful than the one that leveled Hiroshima.
2017 North Korean nuclear test order of magnitude larger than previous tests, new study finds – AGU Newsroom
WASHINGTON— North Korea detonated a nuclear device in 2017 equivalent to about 250 kilotons of TNT, a new study estimates, creating an explosion 16 times the size of the bomb the United States detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. The new assessment of the 2017 explosion’s size is on the high end of previous estimate ranges. The 2017 test was an order of magnitude larger than the previous five underground tests at North Korea’s Punggye-ri test site, according to the new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. The new study took into account the geology of the test site to estimate the size of the explosions from distant seismic recordings of the blasts. Estimated explosive size of the six nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri test site on Mt. Mantap, North Korea in units equivalent to kilotons of TNT. Black lines mark the estimated yield of the bombs and blue boxes indicate the estimate range, factoring in uncertainty. Figure based on Table 8 of the new paper. Credit: AGU
‘Purged’ North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol appears in state media – CNN
High-ranking North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol was identified attending an art performance alongside leader Kim Jong Un in the country’s state media on Sunday — two days after one of South Korea’s biggest newspapers said he had been banished and sentenced to hard labor and his deputy executed.
Kim Jong-un unimpressed by latest ‘Mass Games’ as sister reappears | World | The Times
Kim Jong-un has lambasted the producers of North Korea’s “Mass Games” of music and gymnastics in an unprecedented public criticism of one of the country’s most famous cultural extravaganzas.According to the state media, the supreme leader attended the opening of the latest production of the games at
Kim Jong Un’s sister reappears at iconic mass games | Fox News
The powerful younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appeared in public for the first time in more than 50 days at Pyongyang’s iconic mass games, casting doubts on media speculation that she had been ordered by her brother to lay low over a failed nuclear summit with Washington.
Kim Hyok Chol, North Korean diplomat, is alive, sources say – CNN
The North Korean diplomat who South Korea’s largest newspaper said had been executed by firing squad is alive and in state custody, according to several sources familiar with the situation.
The Disturbing Logic of Trump’s Lovefest With Kim Jong Un – Defense One
“The cheapest concession you can make in a negotiation is to give the other fellow a little respect.”
US top North Korea diplomat ‘doesn’t know’ if Kim executed official over Trump summit – CNNPolitics
Stephen Biegun denied knowledge of reports that Kim Hyok Chol, North Korea’s special envoy to the US, was executed after Kim and US President Donald Trump failed to reach an agreement at their second summit in February.
Senior North Korea official thought imprisoned by Kim Jong Un pictured at concert with dictator | Fox News
A senior North Korean official who was involved in denuclearization talks with President Trump enjoyed a concert with dictator Kim Jong Un, state media reported.
Kim Jong Un’s Reported Purges Spell Disaster for Trump
Whether Kim Hyok Chol and four others are dead or alive, Trump can no longer claim Kim Jong Un will negotiate with Washington in good faith.
North Korea’s famed Mass Games put on pause – CNN
North Korea’s famed Mass Games is being put on pause, according to tour groups that organize visits to the country, two days after Kim Jong Un was reported to have criticized the creators of this year’s performance.
The insane North Korean propaganda display even Kim Jong Un didn’t like
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was treated to a massive art performance in Pyongyang as thousands of dancers took part in an elaborate propaganda display — but Kim was not a fan.


Xi and Putin, Best Friends Forever? – Foreign Policy
A transcript of the two leaders’ remarks in Moscow.
Russian, Chinese Leaders Meet In Kremlin Amid ‘New Era’ Of Relations
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the “unprecedented level” of ties with China as leaders from the two countries began three days of meetings to shore up cooperation amid rising tensions …
‘Best Friends’ Putin, Xi Head For St. Petersburg After A Bit Of ‘Panda Diplomacy’
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are heading off to an important economic summit in St. Petersburg after going to lengths to demonstrate what they called a great “friends…
Xi to meet ‘best and bosom friend’ Putin amid raging US trade war – CNN
Chinese President Xi Jinping will touch down in Russia Wednesday to meet his “best friend” President Vladimir Putin, cementing economic ties between Moscow and Beijing amid China’s heated trade war with the United States.
As Relations With U.S. Sour, Xi Describes Putin As ‘Best Friend’ At Moscow Meeting : NPR
The Chinese leader met with his Russian counterpart in the Kremlin on Wednesday. Former rivals Russia and China have drawn closer in recent years.
Chinese President To Arrive In Russia Amid ‘New Era’ Of Friendship
China’s president is headed for Moscow to mark what a Kremlin official said was a new era of friendship and economic ties.
The tech cold war just got a lot more intense after Russia signed a deal to build 5G internet with Huawei | Business Insider
Russia’s largest network provider signed a deal with Huawei to build 5G internet in the country, creating a further divide in the tech cold war rocking the US and China.
Russia’s Putin says Huawei is being unceremoniously pushed out of the global market
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the U.S. of “trying to extend its jurisdiction” across the world.
SPIEF 2019 MTS CEO defends Huawei decision but working with others
Russia’s top mobile operator MTS defended its decision to allow China’s Huawei to build out its 5G networks but will continue to work with other firms, the company’s CEO told CNBC Friday.
Huawei is building 5G in Russia and China. This could be the start of the internet breaking up – CNN
The United States used to look down on the Russian and Chinese internets.
‘We Don’t Need Them’: Russian Village Rejects Chinese Investment
A village in Russia’s Chuvashia region is angry at plans to hand over 100 hectares of land for a Chinese dairy farm.


Overconfident? China Thinks Its Military Can Win in Almost Any Scenario | The National Interest
At least accoring to some polls. Can they be right? 
China’s Military Technology Now Close to Parity With U.S., Report Warns
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has been patiently stalking the U.S. military for two decades,” the report explains.
Beating the Americans at Their Own Game | Center for a New American Security
During the Cold War, the U.S. military relied on technological superiority to “offset” the Soviet Union’s advantages in time, space, and force size. Our military-technical edge allowed the U.S. Joint Force to adopt force postures and operational concepts that largely compensated for the Soviet military’s numerical conventional advantage without needing to match it man-for-man or tank-for-tank. After the Cold War ended, this same military-technical advantage provided the U.S. military a decisive conventional overmatch against regional adversaries for over two decades.
Is the U.S. Military Ready for a Suprise Attack by China? | The National Interest
“China likely would aim to confine itself to the use of conventional weapons during any potential high-intensity conflict with the United States—particularly given that China already possesses a lethal array of long-range, conventional, theater-strike options,” Goldsmith wrote in “U.S. Conventional Access Strategy: Denying China a Conventional First-Strike Capability.”
Shangri-La: Shanahan Stresses Continued U.S. Role in Indo-Pacific – USNI News
Shangri-La Dialogue: US’ Shanahan urges allies, partners to play their part in building regional security, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times
SINGAPORE – United States Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan urged allies and partners to invest in their sovereign future, as he reiterated America’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, which he said remains its “priority theatre.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
Shanahan: ‘We’re Not Going To Ignore Chinese Behavior’ – Defense One
The speech at the Shangri-La conference was closely watched amid rising U.S.-China tensions over trade and security.
Trump defense chief says US won’t ‘tiptoe’ around Chinese behavior in Asia | TheHill
Acting Pentagon Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Saturday denounced China’s moves in the South China Sea and efforts to steal technology from other countries, saying the U.S. will no longer “tiptoe” around Beijing on a host of issues.
US will not ignore China’s behavior in South China Sea, Shanahan warns – CNNPolitics
The United States can’t fully trust China until Beijing starts playing by the rules. That was the overarching message delivered by acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at Asia’s premier defense forum Saturday morning in Singapore.
U.S. Will Face China’s Behavior in Asia Directly, Defense Secretary Says – WSJ
In his first major public appearance in Asia, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said the U.S. would no longer “ignore Chinese behavior” in the Asia-Pacific region, calling its activity a “tool kit of coercion.” SINGAPORE—In his first major public appearance in Asia, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said the U.S. would no longer “ignore Chinese behavior” in the Asia-Pacific region, calling its activity a “tool kit of coercion.” Speaking at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, Mr. Shanahan also said that, despite China’s militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea, its alleged attempts to conduct cyberattacks on other nations and its engagement in “predatory economics and debt-for-sovereignty…
Acting US Defense Secretary calls Asia allies to boost arms spending
“Our government is devoting significant resources to this mission. This is a massive effort,” Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said during his remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. “Every nation, independent of size, has an important role to play.”
Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan warns against Chinese aggression in first major speech
Official site of The Week Magazine, offering commentary and analysis of the day’s breaking news and current events as well as arts, entertainment, people and gossip, and political cartoons.
Acting Defense chief Shanahan vows U.S. will no longer ‘tiptoe’ around Chinese behavior in Asia
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan blasted China in a speech to national security leaders in Singapore on Saturday.
TODAYonline | Top US defence official at Singapore summit slams ‘actors’ who destabilise region
SINGAPORE — There are actors who seek to undermine the international order through activities such as influence operations and militarising disputed areas, and they present the “greatest long-term threat” to the region, Acting United States Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday (June 1).
Defense chief calls out China on tech theft, South China Sea | PBS NewsHour
U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Saturday denounced China’s efforts to steal technology from other nations and militarize man-made outposts in the South China Sea as a “toolkit of coercion,” saying activities by Beijing the U.S. perceives as hostile must end.
U.S.-China Trade War Tension: Pentagon Slams Chinese Tactics – Bloomberg
A Pentagon report slammed China for “eroding the values and principles of the rules-based order” just as acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was in Singapore attempting to downplay a spat between the world’s two largest economies.
Shangri-La Dialogue: China won’t be bullied by US, defense minister says – CNN
China’s defense minister on Sunday issued a stern rebuke to the United States amid the ongoing trade war and tension over the South China Sea and Taiwan, saying his country would “not let others prey on or divide us.”
Shanahan: Chinese relationship with Huawei, companies is a security risk for DoD
Speaking at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, Shanahan stressed that “no one nation can – or should – dominate the Indo-Pacific.”
China must stop eroding neighbours’ sovereignty: US – World – DAWN.COM
China Demands Respect as It Blames U.S. for Breakdown in Talks – Bloomberg
The U.S. bears the full responsibility for the collapse of trade talks, according to China’s government, adding that any further discussions need to be based on sincerity, mutual respect and equality.
Chinese defense minister says war with U.S. would be a disaster – The Japan News
SINGAPORE (Reuters) — Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe criticized the United States on Sunday for its support for self-ruled Taiwan and for naval operations in the disputed South China Sea, but said conflict or war between the two countries would be a disaster.
China vows military action if Taiwan, sea claims opposed | Fox News
China’s defense minister is warning its military will “resolutely take action” to defend Beijing’s claims over self-ruled Taiwan and disputed South China Sea waters.
Beijing will risk everything to annex Taiwan,… | Taiwan News
People’s Liberation Army will ‘fight at all costs’ and ‘to the end’ to capture Taiwan, says General Wei Fenghe.Chinese Defense Minister, Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和), spoke at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue and security summit on Sunday (June 2), declaring that China would “fight at all costs” to annex Taiwan.
China Invokes Abraham Lincoln in Justifying Push to Take Taiwan – Bloomberg
When it comes to Taiwan, China’s generals say they are simply following the example of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
China Says It Doesn’t Want to Replace U.S. as ‘Boss of World’
“China has no intention, no power, to be the boss of this world, and against the United States to fight for this status,” Wei said on Sunday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major regional security conference. Wei added at the event in Singapore that China still wants to resolve escalating tensions through
China says U.S. actions on Taiwan, South China Sea threaten stability – Breaking News – Jerusalem Post
The United States’ actions on Taiwan and the South China Sea are hardly conducive to maintaining stability in the region, a senior Chinese military official said on Saturday, responding to comments by acting U.S. Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
Asia Times | China’s Wei threatens ‘fight to the end’ with US | Article
Chinese defense chief Wei Fenghe reasserted his nation’s position in the South China Sea and vowed a ‘fight at all costs’ over Taiwan in a combative address in Singapore
China to ‘fight at all costs’ for ‘reunification’ with Taiwan: defense minister – Reuters
China will fight anyone who tries to interfere in its “reunification” with Taiwan, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said on Sunday in a combative speech peppered with threats against the United States over its military presence in Asia.
China army colonel says Beijing will defend South China Sea territory
A high-level colonel in the Chinese military admits there’s a possibility of a “miscalculation” in the South China Sea, but defended China’s “need” to protect what Beijing deems as its territory.
China and U.S. clash again on trade and regional security – Reuters
China and the United States clashed again this weekend on trade and security, accusing each other of destabilizing the region and potentially the world.
China Has a Head Start in the New Space Race | The Diplomat
The “Age of Apollo” is over and the Chang-e era has dawned.
Trump Seeks to Add China to New Arms Treaty
The Trump administration wants China included in arms control talks on extending the 2010 New START strategic arms treaty.
China paper cites drawn-out Korean War talks as reason not to bow to U.S. – Reuters
China’s determination to resist U.S. bullying in two years of negotiations to end the Korean War is a reason not to bow to Washington in bitter trade talks, a top Chinese newspaper suggested on Wednesday.
UAWire – China to test a new batch of Russian S-400 missile systems
After the destruction of Russian S-400 missiles that were damaged during transportation, China will test the new weapons that were delivered …


US-China trade war takes a dark turn after fury over Pompeo’s Tiananmen Square comments | Markets Insider
Progress toward a trade deal stalled last month after the US said China reneged on major commitments. Tensions between Beijing and Washington have steadil…
US officials respond to China blaming Trump admin for derailing trade negotiations | TheHill
U.S. officials said they were disappointed in the Chinese government playing a “blame game” amid a trade war between the two nations that has escalated in recent weeks.
China: US trade dispute needs to be solved with dialogue and respect
China Ministry of Commerce says the trade conflict with the U.S. will need to be resolved through further talks.
As US and China spar, rest of Asia risks being stuck in the middle – CNN
The US and Chinese defense chiefs were both at Asia’s premier defense forum at the weekend. Yet neither acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan nor Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe addressed increasing anxiety among smaller Asian states over the growing face-off between the world’s two largest economies.
China releases official document that blames America for the trade war
China on Sunday took a firm official stance against the U.S. on trade, issuing a paper that illustrates a widening gap between the two sides.
China warns students: Be careful if studying in the US – CNN
The Chinese Ministry of Education has warned students to be careful if studying in the United States — the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.
Trump’s Huawei Problem: Asia Doesn’t Want U.S. to Kneecap China – Bloomberg
Smoking cigarettes at Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel, the site of Asia’s most prominent annual defense forum, members of China’s military found themselves surprisingly upbeat this weekend.
China to release document laying out stance on negotiations with US amid escalating trade war
The trade war continued to escalate this week with no clear exit for China and the U.S.
China says it will blacklist US companies as trade fight heats up
China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Friday that it will soon publish a blacklist of “unreliable” foreign entities it claims have damaged its domestic industries, an apparent retaliation for the U.S. move to blacklist Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
Forcing ‘America First’ will lead to ‘America Alone:’ Chinese media
In wake of the new Mexican tariffs, Chinese state-run media said the U.S. is “bullying others for its own interests” and will end up “alone” in the global trading system.
Huawei: China’s State Hackers ‘Rigging 5G Tests’ Against Nokia And Ericsson
A Sunday newspaper has alleged that China’s state hackers are secretly testing security vulnerabilities in Nokia and Ericsson equipment and feeding the information to “independent” testers to cheat the results in favor of Huawei.
Rare earth minerals: What you need to know – CNN
Rare earths stocks surged after China signaled it could ban exports of the vital material to the United States.
Global stock markets sink as trade war escalates – CNN
Huawei’s PR Campaign Comes Straight From the Party’s Playbook – Foreign Policy
The trade war is showing how deep Beijing’s global influence runs.
Commentary: It’s the US that has miscalculated in this trade war – CNA
One can only hope that the US administration once again shows the vision and wisdom needed to renew cooperation with China, says Dean of the …
A ‘Bridge’ to China, and Her Family’s Business, in the Trump Cabinet – The New York Times
Elaine Chao has boosted the profile of her family’s shipping company, which benefits from industrial policies in China that are roiling the Trump administration.


Twitter Takes Down Accounts of China Dissidents Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary – The New York Times
The company said the suspensions were an accident. But the move showed starkly the global political ramifications of Silicon Valley slip-ups.
Tiananmen: China rebukes Pompeo on 30th anniversary of protests – BBC News
The US Secretary of State had called on China to say how many people died in the 1989 crackdown.
Taiwan urges China to ‘repent’ for Tiananmen, China paper says event is merely history – Reuters
China must “sincerely repent” for the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square three decades ago, Taiwan said on Monday, as a Chinese newspaper said nobody in China was interested in dragging up the past.
Tiananmen Square: China censors all mention as world marks 30 years – CNN
As commemorations for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre take place worldwide Tuesday, any coverage or discussion of the event will be tightly censored in China.
Opinion | After Tiananmen, China Conquers History Itself – The New York Times
Young people question the value of knowledge, a victory for Beijing 30 years after the crackdown on student protests.
Tiananmen at 30: How 1989 Shapes China Today
How 1989 Shapes China Today
On 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, China says crackdown was ‘correct’ policy | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP
Singer missing as China cracks down on Tiananmen anniversary – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
The New Tiananmen Papers
On the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crisis, previously unpublished speeches from a Politburo meeting shed new light on a moment that came to define modern China. 
Tiananmen Square 30 years on: ‘At 3am, I feared I might be killed’ | World news | The Guardian
The Observer’s China correspondent remembers the brutal events that people in the country are still afraid to talk openly about
Tiananmen Square: China minister defends 1989 crackdown – BBC News
The defence minister said the response by authorities was “correct”, in a rare acknowledgement of events.
As 30th Anniversary Of Tiananmen Protests Looms, China Says Crackdown Was Justified | HuffPost
The country’s defense minister said on Sunday that the government’s bloody crackdown on protesters in 1989 had been the “correct” decision.
Opinion | Thirty Years After Tiananmen: Someone Always Remembers – The New York Times
How people in China keep the memory of the massacre alive despite the government’s efforts to make them forget.
Thirty years after Tiananmen, protesters’ goals further away than ever – Reuters
Three decades after China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, increased government suppression of rights activism has pushed the demonstrators’ original goals further away than ever.
The Tiananmen Mothers Never Forget – WSJ
The Communist Party can’t erase their loved ones from history.
Grieving parents banned from Tiananmen Square | World | The Times
China placed heavy security around Tiananmen Square in Beijing today as the 3oth anniversary of the ruling Communist Party’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests triggered a fresh row with the United States. Relations between the superpowers are already fraught amid an increasingl
30 Years After Tiananmen, ‘Tank Man’ Remains an Icon and a Mystery – The New York Times
He is a global symbol of resistance. But who was “Tank Man” and how has he remained a mystery?
The story behind the iconic ‘Tank Man’ photo – CNN.com
At first, Jeff Widener was annoyed by the man entering his shot. Little did he know that he was about to make one of the most iconic photos in history.
Tiananmen: The image that China forgot – BBC News
The defining image of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest has been all but erased by Chinese censorship.
Rare Photos Of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests : The Picture Show : NPR
Rare photos and testimonies from 1989 portray a bold youth movement that helped shape where China is today and how the world sees it, in spite of authorities’ efforts to erase the memory.
Witnessing China’s 1989 Protests — 1,000 Miles From Tiananmen Square – The New York Times
As a student, Representative Andy Levin of Michigan experienced firsthand the bloody crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators.


Great Power Competition Spurs Arms Purchases By Smaller Asian Countries – Defense One
From sub-hunting planes to fighter jets, Asian nations are arming themselves in response to China’s buildup.
US-India trade: Why removing India from the GSP matters – CNN
The United States has been tightening the screws on several allies in an escalating global trade battle. India is its latest target.
Trump administration removes India special trade status – CNNPolitics
The Trump administration announced Friday that it’s ending special trade treatment for India, removing a status that exempts billions of dollars of the country’s products from US tariffs.
India plays down Trump decision to remove US trade privileges | India News | Al Jazeera
The Trump administration ended preferential trade treatment impacting Indian exports worth $5.6bn a year.
Taiwan lashes back at Chinese defense minister’s threats | Fox News
Taiwan is lashing out at the Chinese defense minister’s renewed threat to use force to assert China’s claim to the island, accusing Beijing of creating unease in the region and seeking to “expand its hegemony.”
U.S. Readies $2 Billion Taiwan Arms Package Over China Protests – Bloomberg
The Pentagon and State Department have informally notified Congress of a potential $2 billion deal with Taiwan that includes the first-time sale of one of the U.S. Army’s top tanks, according to an official familiar with the proposal, drawing protests from China.


Russian, Japanese Leaders to Meet on Sidelines of G-20 Summit
Russia’s Putin and Japan’s Abe have agreed to discuss joint economic ventures to resolve a dispute over four Russian-held islands seized at the end of WW2
UAWire – Japan: Russia’s deployment of weapons in the Kuril Islands is unacceptable
After the “2+2” meeting of the heads of diplomatic and defense departments of Russia and Japan, Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno said, that Tokyo considers the strengthening of Russia’s military presence in the Southern Kuriles unacceptable, reports RIA Novosti. “Speaking of missile launches and the deployment and other reinforcement of Russia’s military presence on the Northern Islands (the Islands of the southern part of the Kuril Chain), we told Russia that this is unacceptable from the legal point of view,” said Kōno at a press conference in Tokyo. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in turn said that the armed forces are working on Russian territory “based on international law.” In the summer of 2018 Russian Su-35S fighters were deployed on the Iturup island of the Kuril Chain. In 2016, Bastion and Bal coastal missile systems were deployed in Iturup and Kunashir islands.
Ryukyu Shimpo – Okinawa, Japanese newspaper, local news » Expert discovers JSDF training materials that claim missiles to be stored near residential areas in Miyakojima and Ishigaki have “2 minutes until explosion” in the event of a fire, making evacuation for residents almost impossible
June 4, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo By Manato Akira It was learned on June 2 that in a Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) training materials, there is a section that says that when a surface-to-ship guided missile is surrounded by flames, the time it takes for it to explode is about two minutes, and it is advised to take measures such as moving outside of a one kilometer perimeter or otherwise take shelter. Military commentator Makoto Konishi expressed concerns about such missiles which are stored in Miyakojima and Ishigaki, saying, “While certainly during an emergency, even in times of peace the possibility of a fire cannot be avoided. How will residents be able to evacuate outside the kilometer perimeter in only two minutes?” Since these ammunition depots contain missile with devastating destructive capability, they are generally located inside a mountain, and Konishi indicates, “The fact that these ammunition depots are placed close to where people live is in itself strange.” The training materials were obtained by Konishi via a right-to-know request. In the training material, it says that when there is fire surrounding the missiles, “Once the warhead is engulfed in flames, there are two minutes until it ignites, possibly causing an explosive reaction… evacuate to a distance of one kilometer, or take cover in a shelter.”
Japan’s Abe to Visit Iran Soon To Help Ease Tensions With U.S.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Iran in the near future, Japan’s government spokesman has said, as Tokyo hopes to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.

 


 

Canada `Extremely Disappointed’ in China, Defense Minister Says – Bloomberg
Canada is “extremely disappointed” that China continues to detain two of its citizens, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said, as tensions escalate over a case that has roiled ties between the nations for months.
Indian air force plane disappears near Chinese border | Fox News
An Indian air force plane has disappeared near India’s northeastern border with China with 13 people on board.
Trump administration considered placing tariffs on Australia: report | TheHill
The Trump administration considered placing tariffs on Australian imports last week, The New York Times reported Sunday.


Chinese Australians Are Not a Fifth Column – Foreign Policy
As tensions grow and Beijing seeks closer ties with the Chinese diaspora, Australians are becoming increasingly—and unnecessarily—suspicious of their fellow citizens.
The Australian Chinese granted residency after Tiananmen Square | Australia News | Al Jazeera
Thousands of Chinese studying in Australia at the time of the 1989 killings were allowed to stay and build new life.
Australia May Well Be the World’s Most Secretive Democracy – The New York Times
Raids targeting journalists this week are the latest examples of how far the country’s government will go to scare officials and reporters into submission, media experts say.
Why the raids on Australian media present a clear threat to democracy
This week’s raids on journalists and media outlets show not just the risk to those doing work in the public interest, but the potentially chilling effect it will have on more such journalism being brought to light.
ABC raid: Australia police search headquarters of public broadcaster – BBC News
The raid comes a day after police searched the home of another Australian journalist, sparking alarm.
Australian Police Raid Public Broadcaster Over Leaked Defense Documents : NPR
Federal authorities allege the ABC relied on classified material in its 2017 report detailing unlawful killings by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
Police raid Australian public broadcaster over Afghan leak
Australia’s Federal Police raided the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday in connection to a 2017 story based on leaked military documents.
Why blocking Huawei’s 5G roll-out in Australia makes no sense – Crikey
It’s not clear what Australia gains by blocking Huawei’s involvement in our 5G network, but it’s clear what we lose.
Blocking Huawei from Australia means slower and delayed 5G – and for what?
It’s not clear what we gain by blocking Huawei’s involvement in Australia’s 5G network.

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

European Election news: Could the Green agenda be best for Europe? | Politics | News | Express.co.uk
The Green Party’s success in Germany’s European Elections has been described as the “best thing for Europe”.
US Secretary of State Discusses Iran, China While Meeting German Officials
Mike Pompeo met in Berlin with Chancellor Merkel, Foreign Minister Maas
Pompeo Seeks Common Ground on Iran, Huawei in Europe
On a trip to Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seeking common ground with European allies, despite fundamental differences over the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and doing business with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more from Washington, as talks between Pompeo and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrapped Friday.
Pompeo Renews Warning to European Allies to Not Use Huawei for 5G
Top US diplomat’s push comes amid Dutch intelligence agency’s investigation over alleged hidden backdoors in software that could have given Huawei unauthorized access to users’ data
Secretive Bilderberg Meeting Draws Pompeo and Kushner – The New York Times
Top Trump administration officials are attending the annual Bilderberg Meeting, where political and business leaders swear never to publicly reveal what is discussed.
European leaders refine their approach to Trump – The Washington Post
Key allies appear to have decided it’s best to avoid confronting him unless utterly necessary while keeping expectations low that he can be swayed to compromise over any disagreements.
World Leaders When They Were Young
Future heads of state photographed before they took to the world stage.
VOA Interview: Freedom House Report
According to the report, press freedom is deteriorating worldwide
Freedom House Warns Of ‘New Forms Of Media Repression’
In its report, Freedom House said that in some fragile democracies, antidemocratic leaders are using financial and legal tools to silence independent journalists


Trump, May, World Leaders To Mark 75th Anniversary Of D-Day Invasion
The June 5 events will include other commemorative events in the port city of Portsmouth.
Donald Trump joins Queen for 75th D-Day anniversary – BBC News
World leaders gather in Portsmouth to honour those who fought in the D-Day landings 75 years ago.
President Donald Trump joins world leaders to pay tribute on 75th anniversary of D-Day – ABC News
Trump will join Queen Elizabeth II for a special D-Day anniversary program in England.
In pictures: D-Day landings commemorated – BBC News
President Donald Trump was among the world leaders attending D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth.
World War II Paratrooper Recounts Parachuting Into Normandy On D-Day : NPR
Leslie Cruise served as a paratrooper during the D-Day invasion, June 6, 1945. The 95-year-old veteran reflects on his survival often and believes he has an obligation to share his story.
Long Island D-Day survivor on 75th anniversary: ‘This is a great day’ | Newsday
The moment Charles Cino and his Navy brothers stormed the beaches of Normandy is still fresh in his mind 75 years later. “We liberated so many people,” said Cino, 93, during a ceremony Thursday at the
D-Day 75th Anniversary | C-47 Plane
On June 6, 1944, a lone C-47 led the main force of the Normandy invasion. Seventy-five years later, the plane will do it again. 
Would Americans support a modern D-Day?
Would the American public support a modern version of D-Day, an amphibious assault on a well-defended coastline to liberate foreign territory?


Surprise poll shows Liberal Democrats ahead in UK | TheHill
The centrist Liberal Democrats are the surprise leader in a new poll asking voters in Great Britain who should lead Parliament.
Donald Trump receives royal welcome at Buckingham Palace | News | The Times
The Donald has landed. President Trump’s three-day state visit, overshadowed by political controversy and protest, began at Buckingham Palace today with the sort of pomp and ceremony that is saved for the most honoured guests. The president, who arrived with his wife Melania on Air Force One at Stan
Trump calls London mayor Sadiq Khan a ‘stone cold loser’ before landing in UK | News | The Times
Many heads of state may choose to ignore local criticism of them before an official visit. The president of the United States, however, appears to have been stung by a newspaper article written by the Mayor of London.Donald Trump’s first public act, even before stepping onto the tarmac at Stansted a
Trump U.K. state visit: president calls Sadiq Khan a stone cold loser – The Washington Post
The state visit by Trump to Britain is expected to be unlike any previous visit by a U.S. leader.
Trump baby blimp: We’re flying it again because he doesn’t deserve our respect
Tomorrow, as Donald Trump proceeds with his state visit, I’ll be part of a team of people babysitting our Trump Baby blimp as he soars through the skies of London. Last year Trump Baby joined 250,000 people on the streets of London with a further 150,000 people around the UK to protest his visit. Upon seeing the balloon, Trump said “I guess when they put out blimps to make me
Trump administration wants UK to leave EU, says adviser John Bolton – BBC News
Brexit is a chance for the UK to become “strong and independent”, the US national security advisor says.
Donald Trump says Boris Johnson would be ‘excellent’ Tory leader – BBC News
The US president praises Conservative frontrunner Boris Johnson ahead of his UK state visit.
Corbyn accuses Trump of interfering in UK politics with Johnson comments – Reuters
UK Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments endorsing Conservative front-runner Boris Johnson as the next prime minister were an “unacceptable interference” in Britain’s affairs.
Trump snubs UK Labour leader, calls him a negative force – Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had decided not to meet opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on his trip to Britain, describing him as a “negative force”.
Trump Calls on Britain to ‘Walk Away’ if E.U. Does Not Concede to Its Demands – The New York Times
President Trump subverted diplomatic norms in a newspaper interview, also suggesting that the far-right populist Nigel Farage be sent in to negotiate.
Trump rips into British left-wing critics Khan, Corbyn in press conference | Fox News
President Trump on Tuesday, in a press conference with outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, blasted his British left-wing critics as a “negative force” — and confirmed that he snubbed the leader of the opposition Labour Party when he sought a sit-down. 
Trump calls Meghan Markle ‘nasty’ ahead of London visit
President Trump said Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was “nasty” ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom.
Douglas MacKinnon: President Trump, I hope you listen to the queen — You can have no better tutor | Fox News
There have been few presidents of late who value real-world experience and intelligence more than President Trump. With Queen Elizabeth II, President Trump is in the presence of the very personification of such real-world experience, resolve, judgment, and grace.
Trump, Melania at Queen Elizabeth banquet; Prince William, Kate attend
As she has done for hundreds of foreign visitors, Queen Elizabeth II will put on an impressive show for President Trump and Melania Trump’s visit.
Meghan Markle no-show at banquet for Trump after ‘nasty’ comment
Markle, who is married to Prince Harry, is on maternity leave after giving birth to their first child, Archie, earlier in May.
Trump: I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty’ | TheHill
President Trump in a tweet early Sunday pushed back on media reports that he called Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, “nasty.””I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty,'” he said.
After Day of Pomp, May Hosting Trump for Talks
Trump’s visit comes as Britain is in the midst of political turmoil, as May is scheduled to resign on Friday
Trump Gets Royal Treatment on Britain State Visit
Ahead of his visit, US president insults London mayor and comments on touchy subject of Britain’s divorce from EU
As Protests Rage, Trump Commits to ‘Phenomenal’ Deal with Britain
‘There is tremendous potential in that trade deal, probably two and even three times of what we’re doing right now,’ president says
UK security minister dismisses idea of spying on Trump campaign – CNNPolitics
United Kingdom Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace downplayed the possibility that British intelligence spied on the Trump campaign in 2016, largely dismissing the claim as he declined to issue a specific denial in line with longstanding UK practice.
Trump meets Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage in London | TheHill
President Trump met Tuesday with Nigel Farage, the controversial leader of the United Kingdom’s Brexit Party.
Boris Johnson snubs Trump saying he is too busy to meet him during state visit | Business Insider
LONDON – Boris Johnson has rejected a face-to-face meeting with Donald Trump in a significant snub for the president, who this week backed the former foreign secretary as an “excellent” candidate to replace Theresa May.
Melania Trump, Britain’s Philip May to Throw Garden Party at Downing Street
Britain rolled out the royal red carpet for President Trump and his wife on Monday laying on pomp and pageantry ahead of a formal banquet with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace
Tens Of Thousands Expected To Protest As Trump Meets With British PM
Trump’s talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May come on the second day of his three-day state visit to Britain.
Meghan Markle is ‘nasty,’ says Trump, and Boris Johnson would do a ‘very good job’ as Prime Minister – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump set the stage for his upcoming visit to the United Kingdom, Ireland and France next week during a wide-ranging interview with the British newspaper The Sun, weighing in on everything from outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit to the contenders vying to replace her to Meghan Markle’s dislike of his politics.
Trump says Markle will make ‘very good’ princess – Reuters
Meghan Markle, the wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, will make a “very good” princess, U.S. President Donald Trump said ahead of a state visit to Britain.
Britain braces as Donald Trump marches into political mayhem – CNN
When US President Donald Trump touches down in London on Monday morning, he sets foot in a nation living through its worst political crisis since the end of the Second World War.
Boris Johnson Is Back. Thank Donald Trump and Nigel Farage – Bloomberg
Brexit means British politics is about promising the undeliverable to the implacable.
Boris Johnson is the best-known candidate to be British PM. Which is not necessarily good – CNN
Even if you don’t pay much attention to what goes on in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll have heard the name Boris Johnson before.
Boris Johnson & Leave Campaign — U.K. Leader Prosecuted over a Campaign Slogan | National Review
Boris Johnson is facing prosecution for the official Leave campaign’s claim that the U.K. sent “the EU £350 million a week.”
There’s Nothing Behind Boris Johnson’s Clown Mask – Foreign Policy
A brief survey of the likely future U.K. prime minister’s very long—and very thin—resume.
Despite Animosity to Trump, Britons Still View US-UK Relationship as ‘Special’
Despite massive protests planned for US president’s state visit, polls show underlying cultural closeness is strong
The U.S.-U.K. Alliance Has Seen Better Days – Defense One
As President Trump arrives in Britain, the two partners are divided on how to deal with Iran, Huawei, and even Brexit.
Officials Hope for Strife-Free Trump Visit to London
British keen to contain differences over Iran, China, climate change, press for post-Brexit trade deal
Peterborough by-election: Antisemitism ‘is becoming normal’ for Labour Party | News | The Times
Labour’s victory in the Peterborough by-election shows that “antisemitism is becoming normal in the party”, one of its own MPs has said.In the run up to polling day Lisa Forbes, the new MP, was revealed to have “liked” an antisemitic Facebook post that said Theresa May was following a “Zionist slave
Swedish Court Rules Against Extraditing Assange — for Now
Assange, who is imprisoned in Britain, will still be questioned in England regarding Sweden’s rape charges against him
Julian Assange: Swedish judge rejects detention of Wikileaks founder – BBC News
A Swedish judge rejects a request to detain Julian Assange in absentia, complicating extradition hopes.


Pompeo: Germany ‘Great, Important Partner’ Of U.S.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described Germany as “a great, important partner and ally of the United States,” during talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on May 31.
SPD Andrea Nahles: Key Merkel Coalition Partner Quits After Vote – Bloomberg
The leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner stepped down in a surprise move that puts into question the survival of the government itself.
Angela Merkel’s best laid plans are falling apart in Germany – CNN
Angela Merkel may have been hoping for a smooth exit to her long tenure as German Chancellor. Instead, she could be in for a rough ride, after suffering two major political blows in the past week.
Germany’s Greens shoot into first place in poll, overtaking Merkel’s conservatives – Reuters
The Greens have overtaken Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives to become the most popular party in Germany, an opinion poll released on Saturday showed, while her Socialist SPD coalition partners fell to an all-time low.
Greens Are Now Germany’s Most Popular Party, Poll Finds
Survey finds Greens at 27% support in a national election, a point ahead of Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc
Angela Merkel rebukes Trump politics in Harvard commencement speech
Without saying the president by name, German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed the policies and worldview of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Harvard celebrates Angela Merkel as a liberal hero. Many left-wing Germans disagree. – The Washington Post
Merkel always rejected suggestions that she is now the “leader of the free world.” Maybe we should start taking her at her word.
German politician Lübcke shot in head at close range – BBC News
Police say Walter Lübcke was shot at close range but they have no idea of a motive.


EU says disciplinary action is warranted for Italy
The EU said it had concluded that when it comes to Italy “a debt-based EDP is warranted.”
Italy revoking lease for monastery that Stephen Bannon wanted for far-right training academy | TheHill
The Italian government announced Friday it will revoke the rights to a medieval monastery outside of Rome where former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon planned to use to train far-right nationalists.
Italy to evict Steve Bannon from his far-right training academy — Quartz
Arrivederci.
Steve Bannon’s alt-right “gladiator” school shut down by Italy – Vox
Bannon planned to teach the art of his brand of politics at the school.
‘No idea too lunatic’: how Trump’s shock troops attack US democracy | US news | The Guardian
An army of supporters amplify the president’s wildest claims, encouraging his conspiracy-minded tendencies
Pope Francis Apologizes to Roma for Mistreatment and Urges European Unity – The New York Times
“If Europe does not look carefully to future challenges, Europe will dry up,” the pontiff warned on a trip to Romania.
Pope Asks Roma to Forgive Catholic Church’s ‘Discrimination’
Making up around 10 percent of Romania’s 20 million people, many Roma are marginalized and live in poverty and have suffered centuries of discrimination and insults


Franco’s Exhumation Is Delayed by Spanish Court – The New York Times
The Supreme Court put the government’s plan on hold indefinitely to give his relatives more time to pursue their appeal.
Social Democrats Appear Headed Back into Power in Denmark
Preliminary results of Wednesday’s elections indicate gains for left-leaning parties and a big loss for populists
Hungarians protest over government overhaul of academic bodies – Reuters
Hungarians took to the streets of central Budapest on Sunday to protest plans to overhaul the country’s leading scientific research body, which they see as part of a wider government attempt to curb academic freedom.


Regional Bloc Calls On Russia, Other Venezuelan Allies To Help Oust Maduro
A regional bloc of countries in the Americas has called on the international community to put more pressure on Venezuela’s allies, including Russia, to resolve the growing crisis in the South Ameri…
What a Military Intervention in Venezuela Would Involve
Even if a military intervention began well, U.S. forces would likely find themselves bogged down in the messy work of keeping the peace for years to come.
‘The rats are abandoning the ship’: Lawmaker says Nicolás Maduro losing Russian support
Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro is losing allies as a political crisis in the country remains in a “stalemate,” according to a key Republican lawmaker.
Secretary of State Pompeo says uniting Venezuelan opposition ‘devilishly difficult’ – The Washington Post
‘The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and [say], “Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela,” ’ Pompeo said in an audio recording obtained by The Washington Post.
Venezuela Is Said to Default on Gold Swap With Deutsche Bank – Bloomberg
Venezuela has defaulted on a gold swap agreement valued at $750 million with Deutsche Bank AG, prompting the lender to take control of the precious metal used as collateral and close out the contract, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Venezuela’s military defectors backed Guaido. Now they’re lost – CNN
Fernando Díaz left his job, his family and his home to join a movement to bring down the government of Nicolás Maduro. Now, the former Venezuelan National Guard sergeant sounds hopeless — and angry. He’s fed up with waiting for the revolution to come, and there’s fatigue in his short, quick sentences.
Russia Confirms Military Forces Remain in Venezuela After Donald Trump Said They Were Removed
Donald Trump claimed that Russia had withdrawn “their people” from Venezuela.
UAWire – Russia has no plans to withdraw its military experts from Venezuela
The Wall Street Journal greatly exaggerated the number of Rostec staff present in Venezuela, reported RBC news agency with reference to the press service of the Russian defense conglomarte. “The make-up of the representative office has not changed in years,” the press service emphasized. The Rostec representative added that some technical experts periodically arrive in the country to repair and maintain equipment. A few days ago, maintenance work was carried out on several aircraft, according to the company. Earlier, the American newspaper wrote that Russia had significantly reduced the number of its military advisers in Venezuela. According to the WSJ, out of the 1,000 Russian specialists involved in training the Venezuelan military and securing weapons contracts Rostec, there are currently a few dozen remaining in the country. The newspaper’s source in the Russian Defense Ministry explained that the specialists were leaving because there were no new contracts or proposals. Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemsky would later deny the withdrawal of military experts from the country. He added that “all existing commitments are being met.”
UAWire – Kremlin demands tax concessions for Rosneft in Venezuela
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved a proposal drafted by the Ministry of Energy to make amendments to the Russian-Venezuelan agreement to cooperate in several joint strategic projects. The Prime Minister advised the president to authorize the signing of the document. The text of the proposal was published on Russia’s legal information portal. The document proposes to add a provision on Moscow’s and Caracas’s obligation to create “favorable and undiscriminating conditions” and to assist Rosneft and Grupo Rosneft in the development of the Patao and Mejillones gas fields on the Venezuelan shelf. In December 2017, Rosneft’s subsidiary obtained a license to develop the Patao and Mejillones gas field and export the gas for a period of 30 years. Rosneft’s report states that the field has an estimated 180 billion cubic meters of geological reserves, and that basic development of the site should be completed by the end of 2020. The new addendum states that the Venezuelan government must undertake to give tax concessions to Grupo Rosneft, including exemption from VAT for its suppliers and contractors, and from import tax and customs tariffs on the goods and services required to develop the shelf fields. The amendments also stipulate that any property of Rosneft or Grupo Rosneft used in Venezuela to realize the gas project may not be expropriated or nationalized by Venezuela without paying the fair market price. If the project is canceled, the Venezuelan government undertakes not to create obstacles to the withdrawal of this property from the country without the collection of any taxes, customs payments or duties. The agreement between Russia and Venezuela to cooperate in joint strategic projects came into force at the end of 2009. Initially the agreement concerned the development of the Junin-6 block of the Orinoco Oil Belt and the possible development of the Junin-3, Ayacucho-2 and Ayacucho-3 blocks. In 2013, the agreement was expanded to include a mutual undertaking to ensure long-term mutually beneficial collaboration in the development of fields in the Carabobo-2-North and Carabobo-4-West blocks with Rosneft’s involvement. In 2017, Rosneft announced that “PetroVictoria”, its joint enterprise with PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, had begun extraction at the Carabobo-2 block as part of a pilot operation. Full-scale development of the Carabobo project is scheduled to begin after 2020, Rosneft’s report states. In June 2019, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said that in 2018 the extraction volumes from the company’s fields in Venezuela had grown by 7%, and that the company did not expect a significant decrease in 2019.
Trump: Russia says it has removed ‘most of their people’ from Venezuela | TheHill
President Trump said Monday that Russia informed the U.S. that it had removed “most of their people from Venezuela,” a point of concern amid the ongoing unrest there.
Russia Pulls Military Personnel Out of Venezuela, Trump Says
Moscow action, if substantiated, seen as setback for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Trump: Russia Pulled ‘Most Of Their People’ From Venezuela
U.S. President Donald Trump says Russia has told the United States that it has removed “most of their people” from Venezuela.
Contradicting Trump, Russia Says Its Military Personnel Are Still In Venezuela
The Kremlin on June 4 contradicted a statement by U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that Russia has not officially informed him about activities of its military personnel in Venezuela, where it c…
In a Blow to Maduro, Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela – WSJ
Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for President Nicolás Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against growing U.S. pressure.
WSJ: Russia Withdraws Key Defense Advisers in Venezuela | Newsmax.com
Rostec, a Russian defense contractor that has trained Venezuelan troops, has cut its staff from about 1,000 several years ago to just a few dozen, a source told the Journal.
Russia withdraws key defense advisers support to Maduro, seen as major setback | Fox News
Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for President Nicolás Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against growing U.S. pressure.
Russia Slashes Number of Military Advisers in Venezuela, Reports Say – The Moscow Times
“They believe the fight is being lost,” a source close to the Russian government said. Russia’s defense conglomerate has withdrawn “key” defense advisers from Venezuela, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source close to the Russian Defense Ministry. The Kremlin previously said Russian military specialists are in Venezuela to service pre-existing contracts for the supply of Russian arms. Moscow, which has supplied Caracas with weapons and loans, accuses the United States of trying to advance a coup in the Latin American country.
Moscow SPEAKS OUT on Claim That It Withdrew Military Advisers From Venezuela – Sputnik International
On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed source said to be close to Russia’s Defence Ministry, that Russian defence conglomerate Rostec had withdrawn “key” defence advisers from Venezuela.
Rostec Says Media Overestimate Its Presence in Venezuela by ‘Dozens of Times’ – Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Media reports overestimate the number of Russian state-owned technology conglomerate Rostec staff working in Venezuela “by dozens [of] times,” the company’s press service said on Monday.
Venezuelan ex-oil workers go on hunger strike as desperation increases
A hunger strike by the oil workers, who were once the backbone of support for Venezuela’s late President Chavez, shows the level of desperation in the country.
The Case for Force in Venezuela – WSJ
How to back the regime’s opponents without sending in the Marines. Despite extreme repression under the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, the case for a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela remains unconvincing. Yet the case for the use of force by Venezuelans—with organizational and intelligence support from the U.S. and regional allies—has never been stronger. Venezuela is occupied by Cuba and Russia and by Iranian proxies. China is also a Maduro ally though it relies on commercial relations to sink its claws into the country. These imperialists may not share a common vision. But they have…
Opinion | One Way to Bring Down Maduro and His Cronies: Indictments – The New York Times
Legal cases would be a significant step in the efforts to remove the Venezuelan regime.
Norwegian Diplomat Pushes Venezuela Talks Against Odds
If a settlement is to be found, it will likely be thanks to Dag Nylander, a self-effacing Scandinavian diplomat with a fondness for distance running
Venezuela crisis: What happened to uprising against Maduro? – BBC News
A beleaguered people say they had hopes their misery would end but now they go back to one thing – survival.
Travel To Cuba Further Cut By U.S.; Cruise Ships Banned : NPR
The changes, which bar “people-to-people” tours, are intended to further squeeze the Cuban economy while keeping U.S. dollars “out of the hands” of the communist government.

 


 

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

Government seeks public help to take the quantum leap
The government has to develop a 10-year quantum computing plan, and is seeking public insight on how best to do so.
Humans should worry us more than machines, says founding father of AI | New Scientist
Yoshua Bengio is one of the pioneering developers of artificial intelligence and winner of computing’s “Nobel prize”. His optimism about machines doesn’t extend to humanity
If the Army doesn’t get the network right, is everything else a wasted effort?
All other Army modernization efforts are dependent on the success of its network development, the three-star in charge of Army resourcing and programming said at the C4ISRNET conference June 6.
Army cannot rely on the cloud at the end of the spectrum
Army and industry planners outlined how to build a functional network for dangerous places.


Mike Benitez | F-15EX: The Strategic Blind Spot in the Air Force’s Fighter Debate
The fallout from the U.S. Air Force’s request to buy F-15EX fighter jets to replace the aging F-15C/D Eagle has certainly been entertaining. Largely
House lawmakers have a list of demands before funding the F-15EX
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force may be unable to buy the eight F-15EX planes it plans to purchase in fiscal 2020 unless it submits a series of program details to Congress, according to provisions in proposed legislation. A draft version of the House Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill would permit the Air Force to procure two F-15EX prototypes in FY20. HASC staffers who spoke with reporters Monday would not confirm whether the committee had authorized the purchase of all eight fighter jets requested by the service. However, the bill proposal states that the remaining FY20 funding for the program will only be obligated after the Air Force submits details such as: The program acquisition strategy. A cost and schedule baseline for the program. A test and evaluation master plan. A life cycle sustainment plan. A post-production fielding strategy. HASC follows its Senate counterpart and the House Appropriations Committee in releasing its defense budget proposal, and its approach on the F-15EX differs from both committees, which recommended full funding to purchase eight jets made by Boeing. However, the limitations on the F-15EX are not set in stone. The House and Senate still must pass their respective versions of the defense authorization bill, and once that happens, lawmakers from both chambers will have to compromise on a final version of the legislation — which may not include this language. Even if kept in, HASC’s provisions indicate some support for buying new F-15EX planes, and thus do not pose an existential threat to the program.
F-35 Victory? Boeing’s F-15EX Eagle Fighters Just Hit a Big Snag | The National Interest
“Details about exactly what version of the plane the Air Force would buy remain murky, pending negotiations with Boeing,” Air Force magazine explained. “House authorizers want a clearer picture before they commit to spending the full amount.”
The Real Reason You Should Fear Stealth F-35s | The National Interest
Could they spark a Middle East arms race? 
The F-35 Could Bring This Nation’s Air Force Back from the Dead | The National Interest
But the stealth plane has some competition. 
Congress Unhappy With Ford-Class Inability to Deploy With F-35 Fighters – USNI News
The Navy’s newest aircraft carriers are being delivered without the capability to deploy with the service’s most advanced fighters, a situation lawmakers find unacceptable.
The U.S. Navy’s Latest Aircraft Carrier Won’t Have F-35s? | The National Interest
At least not at first, so says a new report. 
Japanese Air Self-Defense Force expects to resume flight of its grounded F-35A fighters – Defence Blog
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) expects to resume flight operation of a fleet of grounded F-35A fighters, according to NHK report. The JGSDF has grounded its entire fleet of all F-35As after the crash of fighter jet about 85 miles off the coast of northern Japan on Apr. 9. The F-35A aircraft that went missing on Apr. 9 flight from Misawa Air Base on the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu was is the first Japanese-assembled F-35A, and was rolled out in Nagoya on Jun. 5, 2017. According to NHK, the Japanese Defense Ministry plans to end a major search operation for an F-35 fighter jet that crashed off northern Japan, and prepare to resume flights of the same model.
F 35 Demonstration From Inside The Cockpit (Full length) – YouTube
F-35 Demo Team Premiered May 31, 2019 Watch from inside the cockpit as F-35 Demo pilot Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson performs the new demonstration over Miami Beach during the Hyundai Air & Sea Show May 26, 2019.
How The F-35 Demo Team Is Changing Minds About the Joint Strike Fighter Program. – The Aviationist
Media Team Combines State of the Art Imaging with Messaging to Shift Opinion. For nearly a decade the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program was fighting a dogfight it had to win against ill-informed public opinion of the Joint Strike Fighter program. Along with rightful and unbiased criticism from trusted and reputable sources (including those who regularly question the usual PR support and media hype that surrounds every F-35 achievement) we have observed analysts with little technical knowledge of the F-35 program’s goals, scope or capabilities railing against its costs and effectiveness, seizing every setback in the ambitious program to pile on the rising voice of armchair critics, defense “reporters” and social media pundits. But two men on the Air Force’s new F-35 Demo Team, Senior Airman Alexander Cook and Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham, are shifting the public opinion about the F-35A Lighting II. “First off, I think we honestly have some of greatest ambassadors in the Air Force who represent this team well”, Sgt. Stidham told TheAviationist.com in an interview. “They’re the best in their respective career fields and it shows when they’re out on the road engaging with the public. When you have a group of individuals who are all passionate about what they do, it makes our job of telling their stories that much easier. Also, the new F-35 demonstration profile that Capt. Olson and Maj. Stevens masterfully designed, tested and now performed has proven this jet is capable of more than people imagined. It’s just an incredible feeling to be able to witness and document history right from behind my lens every day.”
U.S. Navy Deactivates VFA-101 Grim Reapers and Consolidates F-35Cs at NAS Lemoore – The Aviationist
The US Navy deactivated one of its two F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadrons on May 23, 2019 in an effort to consolidate all its fifth-generation fighter activities at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. The VFA-101 “Grim Reapers” reactivated in 2012 as the very first F-35C squadron, based at Eglin AFB alongside the Air Force’s F-35As, and since then has trained more than 75 pilots and 1200 maintainers, flying nearly 11000 flight hours. The squadron will now join VFA-125, the other FRS squadron based in Lemoore. VFA-101 and VFA-125 already worked together last fall and winter, as their unification was in the works for about a year. “We integrated VFA-125 maintenance practices into what we were doing, and then vice versa, VFA-101 into 125. We kind of took the best of everything, figured out what worked for everybody, and then came up with the best process,” said Cmdr. Adan Covarrubias, commanding officer of VFA-101 who will take command of VFA-125 next month.


US military ‘doomsday plane’ can withstand aftermath of nuclear blast
The modified Boeing 747 is born and bred for battle, standing nearly six stories tall, equipped with four colossal engines and capable of enduring the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation.
B-1 Lancer readiness is in the toilet, here’s why
A House Armed Services subcommittee says the number of fully mission-capable B-1 bombers is now in single digits.
Fewer Than Ten U.S. B-1 Bombers Are Ready for Action
A lack of resources has grounded scores of the big bombers. 
UAE issues formal request to buy KC-46A tanker, says Boeing
The UAE now joins the list of potential markets for the KC-46A, alongside other interested parties such as Indonesia, Israel, Norway, Qatar and NATO.
U.S. Air Force demonstrates GBU-39 smart bomb capabilities – Defence Blog
The U.S. Air Combat Command has released footage of F-16 airstrikes featuring GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs at the Nevada Test and Training Range. In a video post published on the U.S. Air Combat Command’s Facebook page on Friday, showed capabilities of GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb or smart bomb with over 45 mile range. According to the Air Force officials, the GBU-39B Small Diameter Bomb, or SDB, is an extended range all-weather, day or night 250-pound class, guided munition. The SDB relies on the Global Positioning System to provide navigation to the target. Additionally, its small size allows increased aircraft loadout to achieve multiple kills per sortie and inherently reduces the probability of collateral damage. The original SDB is equipped with a GPS-aided inertial navigation system to attack fixed/stationary targets such as fuel depots, bunkers, etc. The SDB provides a transformational capability to the warfighter increasing smart weapon carriage by placing up to four smart weapons per 1760 store location. The weapon system is capable of standoff ranges in excess of 46 nautical miles. The system can be targeted and released against single or multiple targets. SDB target coordinates are loaded into the weapon before release either on the ground or in the air by the aircrew. Once the weapon is released, it relies on GPS/INS to self-navigate to the desired impact point. The GBU-39 SDB can go aboard the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 Lightning II, Panavia Tornado, JAS-39 Gripen, AC-130W gunship and even B-1 Lancer, B-52 Stratofortress bombers.
U.S. Air Force T-6 Texan II receives new paint schemes – Defence Blog
The new paint scheme of the T-6 Texan II assigned to the 37th Flying Training Squadron was unveiled during a ceremony at the fire department May 30 on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Members of the 37th Flying Training Squadron were able to see their freshly painted T-6 Texan II which represents the squadron’s patch, a Bengal tiger mother with a cub in her mouth. The T-6 is primarily yellow and its black stripes represent their lineage and heritage here. “This is about having pride in our unit and across the base as a whole,” said Lt. Col. William Free, 37th FTS commander. “Now that the plane is finished up and painted it will be an opportunity for people to come together to honor and celebrate the great traditions that we have at Columbus AFB and the squadrons that are represented.” Future generations of student pilots at Columbus AFB will have the opportunity fly specially designed flag ship planes. The new paint schemes will reflect the heritage of that aircraft’s squadron. The squadrons are responsible for designing the aircraft’s new look. “People take great pride in these planes so when all six planes are done they will be the showcase of flying operations on our base representing the history of our squadrons and the heritage that we bring,” said Col. Derek Stuart, 14th Operations Group commander. The 37th FTS has a strong line of heritage that dates back to the Army Air Corps in the 1940’s. It was initially a pursuit squadron assigned to the 55th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field, California. Air defense was their mission and they flew the P-43 Lancer, a U.S. Army Air Corps aircraft. Today this similar mission is owned by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and they’re responsible for controlling and defending airspace in the Alaska, Canada and the Continental United States.
U.S. Air Force’s newest refueling tanker made its first mid-air connection with B-2 Spirit – Defence Blog
The U.S. Air Force has announced on Wednesday that its newest refueling tanker completed yet another milestone. According to a statement released by the Air Force, the KC-46 Pegasus made its first mid-air connection with the B-2 Spirit in the skies over Edwards Air Force Base, California, recently. The Air Force took first delivery of the KC-46 earlier this year, the Global Reach Combined Test Force and the 418th Flight Test Squadron has been at the forefront of the platform’s developmental testing program. “Testing with the B-2 was a pretty big deal for us,” said Jamie Smith, 418th FLTS lead aerial refueling engineer. “It is the first aircraft that has such a dark paint scheme and it takes up quite a large portion of the Remote Vision System (RVS) screen. We were all really interested to see how the RVS would react with the B-2.” With the connection with the B-52 last summer, and now the B-2, the KC-46 has successfully connected with two of the three bombers in the Air Force inventory. The Global Reach CTF is working with the 419th FLTS, who is in charge of the 412th Test Wing’s bomber fleet. “This was a first flight of sorts for both of these aircraft,” said Maj. Matthew Gray, 419th FLTS test pilot and flight commander. “Never before has a flying wing refueled behind the KC-46 and as such, we tested unique aerodynamic influences while proving system capabilities.” Gray serves as the B-2 flight commander and said the mission presented unique challenges and important engineering data. The data gathered from the pairing during the developmental testing phase will impact how the KC-46 operates in the near future. Engineers are looking for information pertaining to flight characteristics as well as other data. “We are looking for data such as the bow-wave effect from the tanker on the receiver and how it affects receiver handling qualities, boom handling qualities, whether the visual reference indications are satisfactory to both aircrews, if the two aircraft are mechanically compatible: no nozzle binding during contacts, if the fuel systems are compatible with one another, and, determine the aerial refueling envelope; altitude and airspeed,” Smith said. The B-2’s distinctiveness combined with the new KC-46 platform offers unique challenges for flight crews and engineers. “The flying wing design of the B-2 poses unique challenges to the flying and handling qualities of the tanker-receiver pair,” Gray said. “The up-wash at the leading edge of the flying wing is dynamic compared to the bow wave at the nose of a conventional receiver aircraft. This dynamic airflow environment in close proximity to the horizontal stabilizer of the tanker is something we are looking to understand and characterize throughout all test missions.” To mitigate the inherent dangers of the mission, teams from both the 418th and 419th squadrons considered safety to be paramount. Both teams were able to openly communicate safety concerns with each other, said Maj. Dan Welch, 419th FLTS test pilot, and it started with, “in depth safety planning and using a well thought out test build up to ensure safety of aircrew and strategic assets, and fostering a culture where all feel comfortable speaking up if a safety concern presents itself.” “The entire team of engineers and test pilots from both the 418th and 419th collaborated to develop the safety plan and buildup test approach that was integral in the success of this mission,” Gray said. “The expertise from both organizations in their respective platforms and in-test conduct was apparent in planning and displayed in execution.” The testing follows a heritage safety-buildup process where the tanker-receiver pair build out from the center of an altitude/airspeed/configuration envelope, defined by legacy tanker and simulation data. Engineers then incrementally test the handling qualities of the individual aircraft and then build to the handling qualities of the pair, said Rachel Johnson, 418th FLTS flight test engineer for the KC-46/B-2 certification test program. “This process allows the test team to thoroughly evaluate the dynamics of the pair during aerial refueling and is our primary mitigation to most dangers; mid-air collision, boom strike outside the air-refueler receptacle, and fuel over pressurization, inherent to air-refueling testing,” Johnson said. “Additionally, the 418th FLTS tests using an airborne control room who are actively monitoring instrumented test parameters and are able to make real-time decisions.” The KC-46 further strengthens the Air Force’s bomber fleet by enhancing their capability providing improved support to the Warfighter. “The KC-46 provides significant added capability over the workhorse of the tanker fleet, the KC-135. It is configured all the time to configure both boom (U.S. Air Force) and drogue (U.S. Navy, foreign) receivers, whereas the KC-135 can generally only refuel one type or the other on a given sortie,” said Maj. Jacob Lambach, 418th FLTS flight test pilot. “It has the capability to carry up to 18 pallets of cargo, versus six for the KC-135, which is especially helpful when moving both aircraft and their support personnel and equipment across the ocean.” The KC-46 enhances the AF’s Global Reach and Strike capabilities by providing the reliability of a new aircraft coupled with a stable platform to fly behind and will reduce fatigue flying behind a tanker with a large boom envelope, Welch said. While the B-2 pairing tests are still ongoing, plans are now being developed to pair the KC-46 with the B-1, Johnson said. And according to the test pilots, the success of the first KC-46 and B-2 pairing adds to the history of firsts here at Edwards. “It’s very exciting to be part of a flight test first. But with the KC-46 program, nearly every sortie we do is a first in some way, shape, or form,” Lambach said. “Some, like the first contact with a B-2, are more exciting than others. To some degree we become numb to it, but each time we go fly, we realize that we’re going to do something that no one has ever done before. It is a privilege and an honor, and requires us to be on the top of our game.”
Boeing releases onboard footage of KC-46 tanker provides fuel in mid-air for EC-130H – Defence Blog
The aviation giant Boeing has released onboard footage showed its modern KC-46A Pegasus tanker that provides fuel in mid-air for EC-130H Compass Call electronic attack aircraft. In a video released by Boeing on its Twitter account, KC-46 tanker as the U.S. Air Force team completes EC-130H Compass Call receiver certification testing at Edwards Air Force Base. The EC-130H Compass Call is an electronic attack aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. Based on the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, Compass Call aircraft are responsible for a highly specialized, unique mission; electronic warfare. The aircraft is heavily modified to disrupt enemy command and control communications, perform offensive counterinformation operations, and do other kinds of electronic attack. As to KC-46, this is modern Boeing’s military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft. The KC-46 builds on the capabilities of other refuelers such as the KC-10 and KC-135. The KC-46 can be refueled mid-air, and has enhanced communication, self-protection and situational awareness capabilities. The KC-46A Pegasus is intended to start replacing the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet, which has been refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation aircraft.


A drone with a can-doom attitude
This canister-shaped 40mm loitering munition can be hand-tossed or fired from a grenade launcher, and is built on a highly adaptable platform.
BELARUSIAN WEAPONEERS ESTABLISHED A SYSTEM FOR COUNTER-DRONE COMBAT
Naviny.by reported on June 3 that the Trio antidronic anti-aircraft complex was first shown at the Milex-2019 international exhibition of weapons and military equipment in Minsk. The complex was developed by BSVT – New Technologies LLC. Such systems are a response to the rapid development of small-sized unmanned aircraft, with which the current air defense systems (air defense) is not able to effectively deal. This is evident from the fighting in the hot spots. One of the most resonant events in this regard was the defeat on the night of May 10, 2018 by the IAI Harpy “kamikaze” drone of the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile and cannon complex at the Syrian military base Mezze near Damascus. IAI Harpy UAV was created specifically for the destruction of air defense objects. In addition to the passive radar head, the drone has an optoelectronic guidance system. From the radiation of a radar of an air defense system, the drone detects a target, with the help of a homing head (GOS) it is aimed at it and then, self-destructing, hits the target of the attack with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead. According to the Goskomvoyenproma, the Trio complex is designed to protect military and industrial facilities, military units and ground forces against air strikes, defeat small air targets, and UAVs in particular. The complex includes a mobile command and control station with reconnaissance equipment, a modernized combat vehicle of the Strela-10 anti-aircraft missile system (ZRK), a modernized anti-aircraft self-propelled unit ZSU-23-4 Shilka, and the Berserk robotized machine-gun module. “The fire weapons of the anti-aircraft complex complement each other, which allows it to effectively destroy small-sized airborne targets of various classes, including mini-UAVs,” the State Committee for Military and Industry noted. Modernization of the “Strela” Although there is no mention in the information of the department about the program, according to which the Strela-10, used in the Trio, was upgraded, naviny.by suggests that this is a Belarusian version of the Strela-10BM2 air defense system. It provides the ability to work at night and with insufficient visibility, the detection of an air target is carried out at a distance of at least 15 km. When operating during the day, the detection range increases to 20 km. Target type recognition range – 7-10 km. The boundaries of the affected area: in range – 0.8-5 km; in height – 0.025-3.5 km. The complex is equipped with a four-channel thermal television optical-electronic station (OES) “Strizh-M”. The station allowed to exclude a radio range finder from the instrument complex of the combat vehicle and ensure its stealth for radio intelligence equipment. Digital radio station R-181-50TU “Bustard” significantly increased the noise immunity of the radio channel for the transmission of voice and digital information. Modern equipment for navigation and orientation of the combined type “Azimut-BM” reduced the preparation of the machine to work by more than 4.5 times and gave a gain in accuracy of determining the coordinates in two or three times. The main armament is a solid-fuel anti-aircraft missile (SAM) 9M37 (modifications 9М37М, 9М37МД) or 9М333. The homing head works in dual channel mode and provides guidance using the proportional navigation method. Zour 9M333 is equipped with an engine of increased efficiency and transport and launch container. Also, the rocket has a new GOS, autopilot and warhead. The GOS has three modes of operation: in addition to infrared and photocontrast, there is an interfering mode. As the main used photocontrast mode. As a backup, the infrared guidance mode is used, which ensures shelling targets at interferences, on oncoming and overtaking courses. The maximum missile launch range in the forward hemisphere is 5 km, the flight speed is 1.56 Mach numbers. Improvement “Shilka” At the end of the 90s, information about the Belarusian-Russian modernization program ZSU-23-4 Shilka to version M5 circulated in the media. She suggested improving the search capabilities of the complex, automating the process of command and control, and significantly improving the accuracy of shooting, including at maneuvering targets. It was also supposed to make the combat vehicle less visible in the optical and thermal ranges. However, the project of updating “Shilka” did not receive development, the matter was limited to the creation of several prototypes. Under which program ZSU-23-4 for the Trio complex has been upgraded is still unknown, but it is reasonable to assume that the ideas of the previous development will be used. Machine-gun “Berserk” The Berserk complex is intended for effective machine-gun fire from a place at a distance of up to 1000 m in manpower, unarmored ground equipment and UAVs flying at speeds of up to 300 km / h. “Berserk” is equipped with two high-speed aviation machine guns 7.62 mm GSHG-7.62. The weapon is made according to the Gatling scheme, has a rotating block of four barrels. The action of automatic machine guns is based on the use of the energy of powder gases. The machine gun has two rates of fire: the main one is 6000 rounds per minute and the additional one 3,500 rounds per minute. The power supply is carried out by means of a metal link band or with the help of a special device without a power supply, designed for ammunition of 1,700 cartridges. To detect, track and hit targets, the combat vehicle of the complex is equipped with an optical-electronic system, which is similar to that used on the Osa air defense system, with a heat finder and a laser range finder. This allows you to detect air targets at a distance of 15-20 km depending on the terrain. The developers are planning to finalize the Berserk, adding, in particular, the possibilities of acoustic target recognition. “Berserk” is located on a tracked chassis equipped with a hybrid power plant consisting of a diesel engine, aggregated with an electric generator. Drive wheels driven by electric motors. A combat vehicle is able to maneuver in a combat position using only an electric drive. That, among other things, allows a much lower visibility of the complex in the infrared range. “Berserk” is able to work autonomously during the day and has a range of up to 100 km. When driving on rough terrain, its speed may exceed 5 km / h. The complex can be remotely controlled at a distance of up to 5000 m. The analysis of the combat properties of the Trio complex allows, in general, to agree with the assessment of those Belarusian specialists who consider it a relatively inexpensive weapon with a high combat potential. opk.com.ua
Northrop Grumman wrapped up two-week testing of its new radar system – Defence Blog
U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman has just wrapped up two-week testing and demonstration of its full sector, 360-degree, GaN-based AESA solution for the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) program. Northrop Grumman demonstrated its in-production, innovative solution for the U.S. Army’s LTAMDS program during an open “Sense Off” competition at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico from May 16 – June 1. “Our mature, gallium nitride (GaN)-based design demonstrated an advanced system with our current capabilities aligned with the Army’s requirements,” said Christine Harbison, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman. “Our solution supports the need for rapid deployment with an architecture that allows for significant margin of capability growth to protect our warfighters today and in the rapidly changing threat environment.” Northrop Grumman’s LTAMDS solution demonstrated a mission capable system with growth potential leveraging advanced, affordable, low-risk, in-production and fielded technologies from across the company’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) portfolio. The system provides a 360-degree full-sector mission capability. Designed from the outset to meet the warfighters’ current and future needs, Northrop Grumman’s LTAMDS solution aligns with the Army’s top requirements, including speed to field. An embedded logistics capability enables quicker and more affordable modernization and better sustainability over the life-cycle of the program. Northrop Grumman’s LTAMDS solution builds upon the company’s decades of expertise in sea, land, air and space-based military radar technology and high-performance microelectronics. The company’s offering is the latest Northrop Grumman sensor product to incorporate and use GaN high power density radio frequency components for greater performance. Having successfully completed the demonstration phase, the company will deliver its final LTAMDS proposal to the Army in the coming weeks for evaluation.
The U.S. Army’s ‘New’ M-1A2C Abrams Tanks Will Enter Service Soon. Check Them Out. | The National Interest
The M-1A2C is the latest variant of Abrams to enter production. Congress in 2019 gave the Army $1.5 billion to buy 135 M-1s from General Dynamics, extending a program that began in the 1970s.
The Army wants to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere
Army leaders expressed the need for technologies to enable units’ communication from the tip of the spear down to systems in vehicles and at command units.
Rethinking the Army’s network means rethinking space
The Army’s emerging tactical network vision would make SATCOM virtually ubiquitous and easier to use.
BAE Systems releases new video of the Hammer of Thor – Defence Blog
British multinational defense, security and aerospace company BAE Systems has released a new video of its modern vehicle mounted mortar system, called the Hammer of Thor or Mjölner. Mjölner is the hammer of Thor in Norse mythology and is depicted as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of leveling mountains. The Mjölner mortar system, developed and produced by BAE Systems Hägglunds, will add indirect fire capability to any suitable vehicle, wheeled or tracked. It allows the user to field a capability well adapted for different vehicle platforms while enhancing the whole fleet’s firepower. Mjölner is a turret solution with two smoothbore 120 mm gun barrels mounted on the actual vehicle. The weapon is loaded via a robust mechanical system allowing rapid and reliable reload in all combat conditions. Mjölner gives a full 60 degrees of slew in azimuth without the complexity and costs of power-assisted turret solutions. With an effective elevation from 45 to 85 degrees, targets can be efficiently engaged over a wide range of distances. Also noted that the Hammer of Thor fires four rounds in less than 10 seconds. Mjölner is highly scalable with the possibility to integrate more advanced automated fire-control systems and the ability to handle a wide range of ammunition. Mjölner maximizes the space available in the vehicle by the basket-less design, resulting in an optimal ergonomics for the crew. In addition, the storage of the majority of the ammunition in the turret bustle provides rapid and easy access from both the inside and outside, during loading and firing as well as when resupplying the up to 56 grenades. Mjölner was designed from the very beginning to be intuitive and highly user-friendly.


It’s 2030, And These 5 Navies Will Totally Sink Your ‘Battleship’ | The National Interest
Will the U.S. Navy still dominate the world’s oceans in 2030?
Trump Tells U.S. Navy to Go Back to Steam Catapults
“We don’t need that extra speed,” the President said of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System.
As the President wades into aircraft carrier design, the Navy stands firm
Despite President Donald Trump saying that the Navy needs to ditch new electromagnetic catapults on aircraft carriers, the Navy says they’re committed to the system.
The Kennedy gets her island
Watch the massive island for the future USS John F Kennedy be lowered to the deck.
The U.S. Navy’s 3 Stealth Destroyers Are Joining an Experimental Drone Squadron | The National Interest
The squadron also will include at least two types of drone warship plus four early-production Littoral Combat Ships.
How the Navy Blew $30 Billion on 10 ‘Cheap’ Ships
Years late and riddled with crippling design flaws, the Littoral Combat Ship has consumed tens of billions while producing only a handful of ships capable of even leaving port.
The U.S. Navy’s New Secret Weapon: Heavily-Armed Missile Corvettes? | The National Interest
Could it happen? 


Pointe du Hoc: Was the D-Day assault by Army Rangers during the Normandy invasion necessary? – The Washington Post
Though no one questions the bravery of the Army Rangers who scaled Pointe du Hoc, the discovery of a massive German artillery installation three miles away threatens to alter the narrative.
Robin Olds’ P-51 Mustang Flies In A Heritage Formation With 52nd FW F-16C Jets – The Aviationist
The plane, named Scat VII, was flown by the iconic triple-ace fighter pilot during WW2. On May 28, 2019, the restored P-51 Mustang once flown by Brig. Gen. Robin Olds visited Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. The plane attended an event which saw also the participation of Robin Old’s daughter, Christina. Robin Olds (1922-2007) was a triple-ace fighter pilot that flew in both WWII and the Vietnam War, scoring a total of 16 air-to-air victories by the end of his career. The P-51 that arrived to Spangdahlem, named SCAT VII, was his seventh airplane and the last one he flew in World War II. It was restored and is still flying around Europe in the same color scheme it had nearly 75 years ago.
Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » How Allied Planes Got Their D-Day Invasion Stripes and other “Retro-High Tech” Secrets of the Normandy Invasion
Chicago Boyz


Boeing Built Deadly Assumptions Into 737 Max, Blind to a Late Design Change – The New York Times
A system that doomed two flights was expected to engage only rarely and originally used two sensors. Critical decisions were based on those factors even when they no longer applied, employees said.
Boeing 737 Max: Latest News from Airlines – Bloomberg
Airlines are calling on aviation regulators worldwide to work together to get Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max back in the skies and to prevent the regulatory response from splintering and slowing the jet’s return.
FAA Warns Some Boeing 737s May Have Faulty Wing Parts : NPR
More than 300 of the planes, including some of the grounded Max versions, may have flawed parts on their wings. The problem is not considered something that could lead to a crash.
FAA says more than 300 Boeing 737 jets may have faulty wing parts
The FAA plans to order airlines to replace the parts in question, a new wrinkle for carriers who are already grappling with grounded 737 Max planes.

 


 

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Silicon Valley in the crosshairs: Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple face bipartisan onslaught | Fox News
Big Tech’s moment of reckoning has finally arrived.
Google’s Dominance Is No Longer a Sure Thing – WSJ
Crackdown from regulators comes just as the internet giant’s vulnerability is showing up on its own.
How we think of bias at Knowhere – To Inform is to Influence
This is not an endorsement of Knowhere, but they do try to stay neutral.  Try is the operative word, because I often groan reading their products.  But, they do try, valiantly. </end editorial> How we think of bias at Knowhere By Dylan and Nathaniel, Knowhere Co-Founders Dear Subscriber, Fewer than half of Americans can name…


States Must Explain When a Cyber Attack Might Draw a Violent Reprisal – Defense One
Without clear explanations that affirm rules of the road, countries make it easier for conflicts to spiral out of control.
The US Needs an Industrial Policy for Cybersecurity – Defense One
Government intervention is needed to fend off the steady barrage of attacks on the digital infrastructure of U.S.-based companies and public agencies.
FireEye’s Cyber Defense Summit Is Laughingstock, Invites Hillary Clinton To Keynote – To Inform is to Influence
RT published a true story, Hillary Clinton to give keynote speech at cybersecurity summit (yes, really) I checked it out. Not only is it true but the FireEye Cyber Defense Summit webpage is highlighting that the former Presidential candidate is running. The Facebook response was hilarious. A few proposed titles for her speech: Proposed titles: “How to wipe your hard drive, like with a rag or something” “How 30,000 emails disappeared” “How to store classified materials on unclassified servers” “How to lie with a straight face” “How to avoid responsibility for everything” “How to collude with the Russian Government and Blame Someone else” Quite honestly, Hillary Clinton makes a mockery of Cyber Defense, Cybersecurity, and inviting her is shameful. </end editorial>
Inside the Forge: the Army’s new hive for defensive cyber operations
Representatives from the military, industry and academia are using a new center at Fort Belvoir known as the Forge to help improve Defensive Cyber Operations.
U.S. Judge Finds Alleged Russian Hacker Nikulin Competent To Stand Trial
Nikulin’s case has raised suspicions that his alleged hack of LinkedIn and DropBox may be linked to the 2016 breach of servers belonging to the Democratic National Committee.
ANU data breach: ‘Sophisticated operator’ stole staff, student and visitor data, says Vice-Chancellor
Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt says there appears to have been unauthorised access to significant amounts of personal staff, student and visitor data extending back 19 years.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Still ‘Acting’ Shanahan Faces Test With China Face-off and USS McCain Scandal – Defense One
Raising the stakes for the would-be SecDef, the White House has not yet sent formal nomination paperwork to the Senate.
Pentagon tells White House to stop politicizing military after McCain ship request – Los Angeles Times
Trump’s top aide scoffed at the idea that anyone working for the White House might be punished. “We think it’s much ado about nothing.”
Patrick Shanahan: After USS McCain, military apolitical – CNNPolitics
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, asked about the discussion between the White House and lower-level US Navy staffers about keeping the USS John McCain out of President Donald Trump’s sight during his visit to Japan, insisted the military will remain apolitical.
Patrick Shanahan: USS John McCain ask made to 7th Fleet – CNNPolitics
The White House Military Office coordinated directly with the Navy’s Seventh Fleet to have the USS John S. McCain hidden from view during President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Sunday, though that request was ultimately not carried out.
DoD bought phony military gear made in China, including counter-night vision clothing that didn’t actually work
The U.S. military, government agencies and other purchasers bought more than $20 million worth of Chinese-made counterfeit goods designed to look like domestically produced gear from a company that defrauded the government and helped to orchestrate the counterfeiting process between January 2013 and October 2018, Justice Department officials said last week. The counterfeit gear included 200 specialized parkas designed to counter night vision goggles that would have been used by U.S. Air Force personnel stationed in Afghanistan. But the Multicam APECS Parkas sold to an unnamed U.S. Air Force base supply center didn’t actually do that, which could have put troops’ lives at risk. Those types of parkas use a near-infrared technology woven into the fabric that is designed to make the wearer more difficult for enemy forces to detect with equipment such as night-vision goggles, justice officials said. The counterfeit versions, however, lacked the near-infrared technology, unbeknownst to the wearer. The sales were in violation of the Berry Amendment and the Trade Agreements Act, which require goods sold to the military and certain government buyers to be manufactured in either the United States or select countries. China is not one of those countries, justice officials said. Ramin Kohanbash, 49, and other associates, operated a Brooklyn, New York, clothing and goods wholesaler. He and his associates sent samples of legitimate U.S. military uniforms and gear to Chinese manufacturers, who then replicated the designs, according to a May 21 filing in U.S. District Court. Kohanbash instructed, via email, on what changes should be made to the counterfeit goods or their labels, helping to guide the process, according to justice officials.
Acting Defense chief Shanahan says he’ll ‘look into’ reported request to move USS McCain out of Trump’s sight
“I would not have moved the ship,” Pat Shanahan said, responding to a reported request by the White House to move the USS John S. McCain “out of sight.”
Lawmakers Want the Final Say on Air Force One Paint Job – Defense One
A House panel has drafted legislation that would require congressional approval if Trump wants to change the Kennedy-era livery.
Here’s what the first few years of US Space Command might look like
About 642 personnel from U.S. Strategic Command will be needed to establish U.S. Space Command, according to the four-star general nominated to lead it.
A New Industrial Base Is Taking Shape. Call It the Military-AI Complex. – Defense One
The most essential Pentagon suppliers will be the ones that master robotics and artificial intelligence.
Can the Army innovate on a traditional budget?
The technology sector embraces failure and iteration without crisis — skills Pentagon acquisitions might want to learn.
Cancer-causing foam could be banned in military training next year, off military bases entirely by 2029
Under a congressional plan, Navy officials would have to identify a non-toxic alternative in the next five years.
Two Decades of War Have Eroded the Morale of America’s Troops – Defense One
After nearly 17 years of war, service members have seen plenty of patriotic displays but little public debate about why they’re fighting.
Moe Berg risked his life against the Axis – Washington Times
Once upon a time in America baseball was not only the National Pastime, but the national obsession, an idyll of summer. Every town and city had a team. Abbott and Costello made their bones with their classic routine, “Who’s on First?” Baseball was the great equalizer on sandlot and ball park. Everybody knew the words to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and everybody shared in the enthusiasm for the “home team.”


Lawmakers Question FBI’s Facial Recognition Program – Defense One
The bureau for years ignored concerns about the accuracy and transparency of its facial recognition efforts, and the House Oversight Committee isn’t …
What are the benefits of commercial space?
Space is becoming an increasingly commercial domain, and the U.S. government has to figure out the right ways to engage with the commercial sector to enhance its missions.


Most Americans don’t approve of Trump’s trade policies, CNBC All-America Survey finds
President Donald Trump’s multifront trade war has not captured the hearts and minds of average Americans.
Trump’s surprise trade strategy threatens new NAFTA | TheHill
President Trump has imperiled his revised North American trade deal with two surprise decisions meant to increase pressure on Congress and the Mexican government.
President Trump says he was shocked by Meghan Markle’s ‘nasty’ comment about him | Fox News
President Donald Trump has revealed his shock at Meghan Markle’s “nasty” comments about him — but believes she will make a great American princess.
Russiagate, Seen From the Far Left | Power Line
Democrats Debate Merits Of Pushing Robert Mueller To Testify : NPR
Outgoing special counsel Robert Mueller says there is no more for him to say about the Russia investigation. House Democrats disagree, but the politics of pressing the matter are delicate.
Schiff says impeachment ‘is destined for failure,’ calls GOP ‘cult of the president’s personality’ | Fox News
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff blasted congressional Republicans as “the cult of the president’s personality,” claiming they will not “act consistent” with their constitutional duties should House Democrats begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Assange won’t be charged in CIA leak: report | TheHill
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not face charges in connection the 2017 publication of information relating to the CIA’s hacking capabilities,
We’re Now Paying Off Trump’s Vietnam Draft-Dodger Debt
In an interview with Piers Morgan, President Trump expressed regret for having missed the Vietnam War after getting a dubious medical exemption, but said he was making up for it now, suggesting U.S. taxpayers and troops could be paying off his debt.
Trump trashes ‘terrible’ Vietnam War and defends his failure to serve in military on anniversary of D-Day – New York Daily News
President Trump, who dodged the Vietnam War thanks to several dubious draft deferments, said Wednesday he was “never a fan” of the bloody 20-year conflict and defended his failure to serve by pointing to his administration’s massive defense budget.