Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (90)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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  1. Russia updates – anything but a pretty sight;
  2. Belarus taking delivery of new FLANKER H fighters;
  3. Syria, Libya, and Turkey in Libya;
  4. POTUS visits the DMZ – in many ways analogous to Nixon and China, doing the unthinkable;
  5. PLA ASBM tests in SCS, much on HK protests and Beijing blames the UK, domestic repression, G20, trade war and Huawei, regional updates, and China in Europe;
  6. EU leadership reshuffle – German DEFMIN von der Leyen to take over Juncker’s role, Venezuela update – UN report on regime death squads;
  7. Capabilities – mostly air and naval updates; Boeing woes continue;
  8. Influence and cyber updates;
  9. US domestic reports – 4th July parade, policy and politics;



 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Russia Justice Ministry Classifies U.S.-Based Free Russia Foundation ‘Undesirable’
Russia’s Justice Ministry said it was classifying the Free Russia Foundation as an “undesirable” organization — a move that could lead to the Washington-based organization being shut down within…
Russian Rights NGO Declares Five Jailed Ingush Activists ‘Political Prisoners’
The Memorial Human Rights Center has declared that five jailed activists from Ingushetia are “political prisoners,” after they were jailed for participating in unsanctioned rallies in March against…
Russian Opposition Politician Navalny Gets 10 Days In Jail
Russian opposition politician and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny has been sentenced to 10 days in jail after being found guilty of breaking the law while attending an unsanctioned protest i…
Smiling Navalny Gets 10 Days Jail For ‘Unauthorized Protest’
Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny smiled as he was sentenced to 10 days in prison for organizing an unauthorized protest, at a court hearing in Moscow on July 1.
Fake Candidates, ‘Terrorist Threats,’ Detentions: In St. Petersburg, Kremlin Foes Face Minefield Just To Get On The Ballot
On each visit to his local election commission, Pavel Chuprunov says he’s met with intimidation, police incompetence, and a whole line of fake candidates blocking his way. Ahead of city elections i…
Managing To Win: Sagging Popularity Forces Russia’s Ruling Party To Dig Into Its Box Of Election Tricks
Russia’s United Russia party is going into September’s regional elections with a shockingly low approval rating and a badly tarnished brand, prompting governors and local lawmakers to step up effor…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Psychiatric Diagnosis in Putin’s Russia: ‘Symptoms of the Disease of Being a Dissident’
Paul Goble Staunton, June 27 – In Soviet times, government psychiatrists were often involved in the mistreatment of dissidents; but they generally hid their actions behind diagnoses like “creeping schizophrenia” that suggested they were at least acting within the canons of their profession. But thanks to the work of Western scholars, their true goals were exposed and condemned. Now, under Putin, psychiatrists in the penal system apparently feel no need to conceal what they are doing, with some even justifying the use of drugs, electroshock treatment and other means on healthy prisoners to address “symptoms of the disease of being a dissident” (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/06/27/81043-menya-nasilno-pytalis-kormit-cherez-zadniy-prohod). In a 5200-word article detailing the horrors to which several Muslim prisoners have been subjected in the last decade, Novaya gazeta provides what should be the basis of a new campaign against this perversion of psychiatry at the hands of an authoritarian state. Tragically, there appears to be far less interest in the West now than there was three and four decades ago. On the one hand, the Putin regime has chosen its victims with care. They are no longer Moscow dissidents with international names and contacts but often Muslims from the periphery who lack those resources and about whom many in the West are inclined to be less supportive than they were of dissidents from other communities. And on the other, the West is not what it was. Not only are many of its leaders less willing to focus on Moscow’s crimes against its own people than they were in Soviet times, they aren’t even willing to take a consistent stand against the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine and Georgia. In that environment, those in Russian psychiatric prisons can’t expect much; and the boldness of those “treating” them in speaking about the need to medicate and otherwise abuse those who object to what the Russian authorities are doing suggests that the door is now open to much worse in the future, something those now silent in the West should take into consideration.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Flooding in the Trans-Baikal has Cut Russia in Two as Far as Road Traffic is Concerned
Paul Goble Staunton, June 29 –The horrific flooding in the Trans-Baikal has inflicted enormous human suffering compounded by the incompetence, malfeasance and dishonesty of Russian officials, all of which have been widely recognized by the victims and their families and reported in the Russian media (sibreal.org/a/30027591.html). But one aspect of the situation, perhaps the most instructive of all, has attracted relatively little attention. The flooding has blocked all road traffic between Russia west of Lake Baikal and Russia east of that body of water, cutting the country in two as far as that form of transportation is concerned (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/06/29/81068-voda-pribyvaet-i-dostignet-15-metrov). This blockage is an indication of just how poorly developed Russia’s infrastructure is. In many countries, a flood of the dimensions of the one around Baikal would disrupt ground transport; but in most, there would be alternatives, routes that might take longer but that could still ensure the delivery of critical supplies of food and medicine. Unfortunately, in most of Russia outside of the ring road around Moscow there are no alternatives: there is one road, one pipeline, and one rail line; and if anything happens to any one of those arteries, the people who depend on it are going to suffer. That the Russian authorities have chosen to ignore this and spend money instead on super projects is thus the real crime. One can only hope and pray that the waters will recede soon and the survivors of this tragedy will begin the long road to recovery – and one can also only hope and pray that the Kremlin will change its approach to the Russians outside of its charmed circle, although hopes for that are far dimmer than hopes for the recovery of the people of the Trans-Baikal.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Moscow Becoming a Very Uncomfortable City for Those Over 45,’ Pryanikov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 30 – In an attempt to compensate for falling incomes, Muscovites of middle age and above are increasingly renting out their own apartments and living full time in their dachas outside of the city, Pavel Pryanikov says. As a result, now in summer months but soon over most of the year, the population of the city and of the oblast will be roughly the same. In fact, the Moscow commentator says, this is changing the nature of the city, with longtime residents living outside the city limits and their places taken by people from other parts of the Russian Federation or even the CIS (rusmonitor.com/pavel-pryanikov-moskva-stanovitsya-ochen-neuyutnym-gorodom-dlya-lyudejj-starshe-45-50-let.html and moskvichmag.ru/pouehavshie-realnoe-naselenie-moskvy-na-16-mln-menshe-ofitsialnoj-statistiki/). Ever more dacha owners, Pryanikov says, are becoming landlords, with a large share of their income derived not from work but rather from rents, a shift that changes their attitudes toward the city and toward other generations in ways that few have paid much attention to (https://t.me/proeconomics/2385 and https://t.me/proeconomics/320). Many parts of Moscow, he continues, are being developed specifically for young urban professionals; and some of this is leading to a situation in which those over 45 are no longer comfortable or welcome. In part, this is simply the result of development. But in part, it is actively promoted by those looking to make money. Whatever the cause, however, Pryanikov says, “Moscow is becoming an ever more uncomfortable city for people older than 45 or 50” (cf. facebook.com/ppryanikov/posts).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Massive Closing of Schools Forcing Some to Operate on Three Shifts, Audit Chamber Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 29 – Defenders of Vladimir Putin’s educational “optimization” program have defended this money-saving effort by saying that the rural schools involved had so few pupils that their continued existence could not be justified because they could not support the variety of courses the pupils needed. In the 19 years of Putin’s rule, the number of schools in the Russian federation has fallen from 46,000 in 2001 to 24,000 with rural areas and smaller urban centers hit particularly hard. Also closed under this program have been a small number of kindergartens: their number has fallen from 51,000 to 48,000. But in a report released yesterday, Svetlana Orlova, an investigator for the Russian Audit Chamber, says that the closings have clearly gone too far, with a one-size-fits-all approach meaning that in those areas with high birthrates (mostly Muslim), some schools are now forced to work two or even three shifts a day to accommodate all the children. She points out that Moscow is now spending less than three percent on education what it is spending on the high-profile national projects and that it is devoting a far smaller share of GDP to education than leading countries, 3.6 percent as opposed to five to seven percent for others (apn.ru/index.php?newsid=37903).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: People of Buryatia Must Lose Their Fear of Identifying as Buryad-Mongols, Bazarov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 1 – Since 1958, when Khrushchev decreed that the Buryat Mongol ASSR would be known as the Buryat ASSR and its titular nationality, the Buryad-Mongols, would have to call themselves Buryats, more than 60 years have passed, the communist system has disappeared, but Buryad-Mongols are still afraid to use their historic name, Sergey Bazarov says. They are also afraid in many cases to speak their national language when they are in the presence of Russian speakers, even though Buryat is a state language in the republic equal in status to Russian, unfortunate survivals of the Soviet past that are continued by the political authorities and the educational system, the commentator says (asiarussia.ru/blogs/22072/). “Unfortunately,” officials make a point that those who speak Russian will achieve more than those who speak Buryat, and teachers of Russian promote their subject in ways that give rise to Russian chauvinism and extremism, while teachers of Buryat avoid pushing their language forward fearful as a result of their own time in Russian classes of being denounced as nationalists. This is one of the bad survivals of the Soviet past, Bazarov says, and it like the others must be fought. Among other survivals that must be fought is the idea that everyone is exactly the same, the idea that one language is superior to another, and the notion that the political system in Moscow is better than any other. The people of Buryatia “mistakenly think that if they return the name of the republic then Outer Mongolia (Khalka Mongolia) will have pretensions to Buryad-Mongolia.” But that is nonsense: “small countries do not even begin to think about pretensions to gigantic countries. They have no such possibilities.” The Buryat commentator makes two additional proposals. On the one hand, he says, Buryad-Mongol should be written with a “d” not a “t” as many have if the Buryats are to recover their historical name. And on the other, they must stress their commonality not only with the Khalka Mongols but also with the Kazakhs and Kalmyks, both of whom are the Mongols. That image of an expansive Mongol community, especially in this year of the 750th anniversary of the Golden Horde, will spread even more terror among some Russians than the name change Bazarov wants to promote. That he is doing so suggests there is more interest in that community and in the old name than most analysts have allowed.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Approach to Cossacks Apes Stalin’s – Attack Real Ones and Create Substitutes
Paul Goble Staunton, July 2 – Over the last several years, Vladimir Putin has combined attacks on Cossacks as a distinctive national community with support for others, often with no links too that nation, who identify with and support his regime and are prepared to do its bidding (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/05/real-cossacks-are-to-putins-thugs-what.html). That policy like so many other Putin “innovations” has its roots in Stalin’s time when the Soviet dictator after pursuing the extermination of the Cossacks as a social stratum and ethnic community promoted the rise of “Soviet Cossacks,” a deracinated and largely folkloric group which in exchange for even this minimum recognition was ready to support the Soviet system. Stalin’s effort like Putin’s combined attacks on the history and traditions of the Cossacks with support for those who dressed up as Cossacks and were prepared to fight for the system. As such it was a clever policy that sowed confusion in the minds of many Cossacks and others about what was going on. But both that effort and Putin’s have had the unintended effect of causing those who descend from real Cossacks to seek to recover their past, and it is no surprise that even Stalin’s “Soviet Cossacks” contained within their ranks some who picked up on traditional Cossack interest in autonomy or even independence. These parallels are suggested by Aleksandr Dzikovitsky of the All-Cossack Social Center in an article devoted too the appearance of “Soviet Cossacks” in the late 1930s after almost all Cossacks had been killed or deported and Cossack institutions neutered or destroyed (voccentr.info/otkuda-vzyalos-sovetskoe-kazachestvo/). During the second half of the 1930s, Dzikovitsky points out, “the Soviet powers sensing the political situation promoted the establishment of a new identity, ‘the Soviet Cossacks,’” after they had succeeded in wiping out almost all real Cossacks. This was not an act of justice but rather a pragmatic move to enlist Cossack symbols to support Stalin. “The formation of the new attitude toward the Cossacks was directed at strengthening the social base of the powers that be under conditions of growing tensions internationally and the need to ensure social stability in the North Caucasus region,” he writes. That included allowing Cossacks to serve in the military again, something they had been denied since the revolution. The Soviet Cossacks who did so were even allowed to form their own units, but they were permitted to wear Cossack dress only on parade. While in active service, they were compelled to dress like all other Soviet soldiers. Dzikovitsky makes clear that “the campaign ‘for a Soviet Cossackry’ did not mean the rebirth of the Cossacks as a special social group within Soviet society. Soviet power did not want and could not re-establish the Cossacks as a social stratum for this would contradict its own policy” or give the Cossacks any autonomy. In the course of this campaign, the Soviet authorities were highly selective in choosing which Cossacks from the past to celebrate. Those who fought for the regime were praised; those who sought autonomy or even independence like Kondraty Bulavin were either ignored or attacked. Nonetheless, some of the new Cossacks did pick up on such ideas. Cossacks in emigration were very clear at the time that what Stalin was doing was not restoring the Cossacks but rather creating something new that only took Cossack decorations but not the Cossack essence and urged those Cossacks still alive in the USSR to have nothing to do with “the Soviet Cossacks.”
IS Group Claims Responsibility For Deadly Attack In Chechnya
The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility for an attack in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya in which a police officer was killed.
Russian Biologist Welcomes Backlash Over His Plan For Gene-Edited Babies
The international scientific community is aghast at plans by a Russian biologist who wants to tinker with the same gene that was modified by a Chinese scientist who announced the birth last year of…
The Week In Russia: Georgia, The G20, And ‘All This Fuss About Spies’
“Cynical, aggressive, daft” — that’s one of the damning reviews from critics who panned Vladimir Putin’s move to prevent Russians from traveling to Georgia this summer.
Russian-Czech Route Spat Leads To Flight Cancellations
Russian national carrier Aeroflot and two other Russian airlines say they have canceled several flights to and from the Czech Republic due to a decision by the Czech authorities to withdraw flight …
Official Death Count From Siberia Flooding Rises Amid Public Anger
Russian officials have raised the official number of dead from flooding in the Siberian region of Irkutsk to 14, although angry residents are claiming the actual death toll is much higher.
Death Toll From Siberia Floods Rises To Seven
Russian officials have raised the death toll from the flooding in the southern Siberian region of Irkutsk to seven, reports say.
Russia May Send Soldiers To Help Flood-Stricken Siberian Region
Russia may send soldiers to a southern Siberian region to help local emergency officials battle deadly floods.
Russian Man Sentenced To More Than 12 Years In ‘Krasnodar Cannibals’ Case
A court in Russia’s southern region of Krasnodar has sentenced a man to 12 years and two months in prison in connection with a murder case known as the “Krasnodar cannibals.”
The Onion Domes And Towers Of Pskov Vie For UNESCO Heritage
Pskov is one of the oldest cities in Russia and several of its historic buildings survived the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution when many churches were destroyed. Now Pskov hopes UNESCO will acknowledge its unique architectural history by including its medieval center on the latest World Heritage List.
Russian Scientists Say Whales Release From ‘Prison’ So Far Successful
Russian scientists defended methods used to return the first of some 100 illegally captured whales from their “prison” to open water, saying the release of the first batch was successful and fu…
British Pop Star Elton John Assails Putin Remarks On ‘Liberalism,’ LGBT Policies
British pop musician Elton John has criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for saying in an interview that liberalism is “obsolete” and for his contention that Russia has “no problem with LGBT…
UAWire – Gerard Depardieu’s Russian accounts frozen
The regional tax authorities in the Leninsky District of Novosibirsk, Russia, have frozen the bank accounts of French actor Gérard Depardieu, RBC reports, citing data from the Kontur.Focus portal. Depardieu, who obtained a Russian passport in 2013 after the French government introduced a 75% tax on income above € 1 million, has been unable to transact using his accounts at VTB, Gazprombank or KS Bank since 20 June. Exactly how much Depardieu, a Knight of the French Legion of Honor, winner of the Golden Globe award and of two César awards, supposedly owes the Novosibirsk tax authorities was not specified. Depardieu’s representative Yuri Mosman said that the partial restriction on spending operations is part of a standard procedure for all taxpayers who need to “check up” with the tax authorities, and if no outstanding amount is confirmed, the restriction will be lifted. However, Depardieu has been unable to have the restrictions on his accounts in Moscow lifted for more than six months already. In the middle of January, the Moscow tax authorities froze the account of the “Producer Center Gérard Depardieu” at VTB Bank, and it remains frozen to this day. The tax authority is demanding around 19,000 rubles ($300), but Depardieu has paid 26,000 – he has a surplus, and effectively nothing is owed, Mosman noted. Depardieu was registered in Saransk, Russia, in February 2013. He has an apartment in Grozny, but last year moved to Novosibirsk, citing the “favorable geographical location”. The actor said that he is planning to shoot a series of documentary films about Russia. In summer last year, the regional tax authorities of Saransk claimed that they had been unable to collect the 1,113 rubles (around $18) owed by Depardieu.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Gazprom Reaches Five-Year Gas Deal With Turkmenistan
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom says it has agreed to import gas from Turkmenistan until July 2024 as part of a deal with the state-owned Turkmengaz company.

Belarus Reports

 


 

UAWire – Belarus plans to buy Russian Su-30SM fighter jets
Belarussian Minister of Defense Andrei Ravkov said that Belarus plans to purchase several Su-30SM fighter jets from Russia, reports Interfax. “The contract is concluded, and it is confirmed. I know that these four aircraft are manufactured now, and are almost ready, so if President Lukashenko makes a decision, they will be purchased in the prescribed manner,” he said. The Minister noted that there are no specific delivery dates. “The contract was made on suspensive terms, linked to the availability of funding. As soon as the decision is made on financing, they will be purchased,” Ravkov stressed. In the summer of 2017, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus reported that Belarus signed a contract for the purchase of a batch of Su-30SM fighters from Russia to upgrade its combat aircraft fleet. The original plan was to buy 12 aircraft. The contract price was not specified. In early 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that Belarusian armed forces will receive the first batch of Su-30SM fighters this year.
Putin In Belarus To Attend European Games Closing Ceremony
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Belarusian capital to attend the closing ceremony of the second European Games.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

EXCLUSIVE: Countries May Begin Backfilling US Troops in Syria Within Weeks, Envoy Says – Defense One
In an exclusive interview, Amb. Jim Jeffrey also confirmed a breakthrough agreement that could restart the Geneva peace process.
Russia Completes Its OPEC Takeover With Japan Deal: Oil Strategy – Bloomberg
The trouble with bringing new people into your club, especially if they are bigger than you, is that they might just take over. OPEC is learning that lesson.
Russia, Saudis Agree to Extend OPEC+ Cuts by 6 to 9 Months – Bloomberg
Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a deal with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to extend the OPEC+ agreement at current production levels for the rest of this year and potentially into early 2020.
Russia, Saudis Agree To Extend OPEC+ Production Cuts To Bolster Global Prices
Leaders from Russia and Saudi Arabia say the so-called OPEC+ group has agreed to extend by six to nine months a deal to reduce oil output in an effort to bolster global crude prices in the face of …
Libyan government seizes US-made weapons from warlord’s forces
Libya’s internationally recognized government says it seized four pricey U.S.-made weapons from troops loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar.
Libyan fighters seize U.S. and Chinese missiles from Haftar’s forces – Reuters
Forces allied to Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli captured sophisticated U.S. and Chinese rockets as well as drones when they seized a town from eastern forces last week, officials said on Saturday.
Ankara warns Haftar over seized Turks as LNA ‘hits Turkish drone’ | News | Al Jazeera
Authorities order resumption of flights at Mitiga airport in Tripoli amid heightened tensions between Haftar and Turkey.
Turkey vows ‘heavy’ retaliation to Libya attacks, defence minister says – BBC News
Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops to target Turkish ships and businesses in Tripoli.
The US-Saudi Alliance Is on the Brink – Defense One
The relationship has survived for seven decades. A Democratic president could change that.
American Missiles Found in Libyan Rebel Compound – The New York Times
The powerful American missiles had fallen into the hands of rebels fighting a U.S.-backed government. The U.S. appears to have sold the missiles to the U.A.E.
Inside Libya’s Brutal Battle for Control of Tripoli – WSJ
When rogue Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar launched an attack on Tripoli in April, it plunged the North African country into one of its worst crises since Moammar Gadhafi’s death in 2011. The fight is taking a toll on the Libyan capital, where at least 739 people have been killed since April, according to the World Health Organization.
UN reports Libyan guards shot at migrants fleeing air raids | News | Al Jazeera
Security opened fire on migrants trying to flee bomb-hit Tajoura detention centre, allegations denied by guards.
Libyan migrants ‘fired upon after fleeing air strikes’ – BBC News
The UN says 500 people still at a detention centre hit by air strikes are vulnerable to new raids.
Wahhabism confronted: Sri Lanka curbs Saudi influence after bombings – Reuters
Sri Lanka is moving to curtail Saudi Arabian influence, after some politicians and Buddhist monks blamed the spread of the kingdom’s ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Islam for planting the seeds of militancy that culminated in deadly Easter bomb attacks.
Al-Qaeda Is Back and Stronger Than Ever | The National Interest
How is this possible?

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
 
Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “I am in South Korea now. President Moon and I have “toasted” our new Trade Deal, a far better one for us than that which it replaced. Today I will visit with, and speak to, our Troops – and also go to the the DMZ (long planned). My meeting with President Moon went very well!”
 
Trump, Kim hold historic DMZ meeting
The leaders of the two Koreas and the US gathered for the first time Sunday at the border village of Panmunjom, making history in Korean Peninsula issues. In a manner similar to President Moon Jae-in’s summit with Kim in April last year, Trump and Kim met at the Military Demarcation Line, respectively on the South Korean and North Korean side. After a brief greeting across the MDL, Trump and Kim walke…
As G-20 concludes, Trump tells reporters he ‘may or may not’ meet with Kim in North Korea | Fox News
President Trump in a news conference Saturday said he doesn’t plan to add new tariffs on Chinese imports but he won’t be lifting the existing tariffs.
Trump Becomes First Sitting President to Enter North Korea
With grins and handshakes, President Trump welcomed North Korea’s Kim Jong Un at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone Sunday, seeking to revive talks on the pariah nation’s nuclear program… World News Summaries. | Newser
Beyond ‘Freedom’s Frontier,’ Trump scores his biggest live show yet in North Korea – The Washington Post
A president who often thinks like a director and producer pulls off a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un that played out on live television.
Trump’s Offer to Say ‘Hello’ to Kim at DMZ Carries Risks and Rewards for Both – The New York Times
A meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un at the fortified border between North and South Korea could serve the political interests of both men, but is unlikely to further denuclearization.
Trump, Kim meet at Demilitarized Zone, face-to-face for first time since Hanoi | Fox News
After days of speculation — and optimistic statements by the two leaders — President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met and shook hands Sunday at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
‘This is a great friendship’: Trump invites Kim Jong Un to the White House after crossing North Korean border to shake hands | Business Insider
Donald Trump has invited Kim Jong Un to the White House, after he became the first serving American President to step over the North Korean border and shake hands with a North Korean leader.
Harry Kazianis: Surprise meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un could make progress on North Korea nuke dispute | Fox News
President Trump’s meeting Saturday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and surprise tweet raising the prospect of a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offer the perfect opportunity to jumpstart efforts to persuade Kim to abandon his growing arsenal of nuclear weapons.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham roughed up by North Korean security guards | Fox News
Stephanie Grisham replaced Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary only recently, but Grisham reportedly has already been injured on the job.
White House Press Secretary Grisham Injured in Stampede With N Korean Officials at DMZ – Reports – Sputnik International
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump made history when he became the first sitting US president to set foot on North Korean soil.
Trump feasts on American steak, hamburgers in South Korea
The official menu for a welcome dinner at the Blue House featured a Trump fave — sirloin steak of US beef — as the main course.
Trump tweets invitation to Kim Jong Un to meet in demilitarized zone – AOL News
President Donald Trump on Saturday invited North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to shake hands during a visit by Trump to the demilitarized zone with South Korea.
Trump says he wants to ‘shake hands’ with North Korea’s Kim at DMZ – BBC News
President Trump tweets he would like to “say hello”, a suggestion North Korea calls “very interesting”.
If Trump can negotiate with Kim Jong Un, why not Iran? (Opinion) – CNN
Aaron David Miller asks: If Donald Trump can summit, negotiate and send self-described love letters to Kim Jong Un, one of the word’s last true authoritarians, why can’t he sit down with senior Iranian officials to figure a way out of the current crisis?
Why Kim gets Trump’s love and Khamenei doesn’t | TheHill
Let’s compare the neighborhoods…
Donald Trump’s North Korea Visit with Kim Jong-Un Follows Ronald Reagan’s Example | Opinion
The correlation between the 40th and 45th U.S. presidents, especially on foreign policy, is deliberate and systematic, not simply coincidental.
North Korean media gushes over ‘amazing event’ | World | The Times
North Korea’s state media gave lavish coverage to Kim Jong-un’s meeting with President Trump at the border with South Korea, describing it as “amazing” and emphasising that it was the American leader who requested the meeting. The Rodong Sinmun (Workers’ Newspaper) covered its front page with colour
Ivanka Trump predicts ‘Golden Era’ for North Korea in nuke deal – The Economic Times
Ivanka Trump said she would “absolutely” enter North Korea with her father. “If I was invited I would,” she said.
Ivanka Trump joined in nuclear negotiations with Kim Jong Un after criticism over her role at G20, reports say | Business Insider
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took part in top-level nuclear negotiations with North Korea during President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Sunday,The Associated Press (AP) and The Daily Beast reported.
Even for a limited nuclear deal, North Korea may settle for nothing less than sanctions relief – Reuters
A new public broadside by North Korean officials against U.S.-backed sanctions highlights the tough road ahead as negotiators prepare for talks in the wake of Sunday’s meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
America will win even if North Korea diplomacy fails
It’s a frequent refrain that President Trump’s North Korean diplomacy is delusional — that by building a personal rapport with Kim Jong Un, Trump gives Kim greater space and time to manipulate him in North Korea’s interests.
North Korea: Trump tries to undermine peace with sanctions
Three days after the U.S. and North Korean leaders held a historic third meeting, North Korea's U.N. Mission accused the Trump administration Wednesday of talking about dialogue but being &quot;more and more hell bent&quot; on hostile acts. A press statement from the mission pointed a finger at
North Korea: US ‘hell-bent on hostile acts’ despite Trump-Kim meeting
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations has accused the U.S. of being “obsessed with sanctions” against Pyongyang.
‘Unidentified’ object reported over DMZ, South Korea says | Fox News
South Korea’s military say it has detected an “unidentified object” flying near the border with North Korea.
John Bolton on Twitter: “I read this NYT story with curiosity. Neither the NSC staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to “settle for a nuclear freeze by NK.” This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President. There should be consequences. https://t.co/TTRPQkksza”


Pentagon condemns ‘disturbing’ Chinese missile tests in South China Sea
Over the weekend, the Chinese carried out an anti-ship ballistic missile test and fired at least one missile into the South China Sea.
Pentagon calls missile test in South China Sea ‘disturbing,’ report says | Fox News
The Pentagon on Tuesday said China’s decision to test-fire missiles in the South China Sea was “disturbing” and a U.S. official told Reuters that multiple anti-ship ballistic missiles employed in the test.
China tests anti-ship missiles in South China Sea, Pentagon says – CNN
China has test-fired at least one anti-ship missile in recent days in the area around the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the United States military confirmed Tuesday.
China criticizes ‘negative content’ in US defense bill
BEIJING — Beijing on Friday criticized “negative content” about China in legislation before the US Congress, saying it would further damage relations already roiled by disputes over trade and technology.


Hong Kong: Cold War Battleground in the U.S.-China Standoff | Time
Hong Kong is a rebel enclave in a sea of totalitarianism, and the latest flashpoint in superpower rivalry. Welcome to the new West Berlin.
Hong Kong Protest Live Updates: Protesters Storm Hong Kong’s Legislature – The New York Times
After destroying the building’s facade, protesters entered the building, where riot police warned them not to breach the central chamber.
Hong Kong protests escalate as city marks handover to China
Combative protesters and marchers oppose a government attempt to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial.
Opinion | A Hong Kong Protester’s Tactic: Get the Police to Hit You – The New York Times
Using aggressive nonviolence to provoke the authorities and win over the public.
Hong Kong protests: Jeremy Hunt warns China against crackdown | News | The Times
Britain has warned China of “serious consequences” if Beijing breaks a joint declaration guaranteeing a high level of autonomy for Hong Kong after violent demonstrations by protesters demanding democratic reforms.China has condemned the demonstrations, including the storming of Hong Kong’s legislat
China calls Hong Kong protests an ‘undisguised challenge’ to legal arrangement | TheHill
Chinese officials on Tuesday denounced protests in Hong Kong, calling them an “undisguised challenge” to the formula under which the city is ruled.
Breakingviews – Hong Kong protesters score Pyrrhic victory – Reuters
(Reuters Breakingviews) – Hong Kong protesters triumphantly took over the city’s legislature, but there is little to celebrate. Amid another march against a controversial extradition plan, a furious faction broke into the empty building on Monday night and trashed it, deepening a crisis for Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The violence will weaken some of the movement’s support, spook big business and could give Beijing a pretext to dig in. 
Hong Kong Protests May Push Up Interbank Rates, Hurt Banks – Bloomberg
Monday’s unprecedented unrest may heap further trouble on a financial sector already suffering from soaring funding costs.
China condemns violent Hong Kong protests as ‘undisguised challenge’ to its rule – Reuters
China on Tuesday condemned violent protests in Hong Kong as an “undisguised challenge” to the formula under which the city is ruled, hours after police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who stormed and trashed the legislature.
Hong Kong: Beijing issues ominous warning after protests
Protests rocking Hong Kong were condemned by China’s mainland government as a challenge to Beijing’s authority, but activists were undeterred.
Hong Kong Protesters Take Stock After Arrests and China’s Condemnation – The New York Times
The question is whether the largely leaderless protest movement can maintain enough unity and public support to push its demands.
The Guardian view on Hong Kong’s protests: the mood hardens | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian
Editorial: The storming of the Legislative Council building may alienate ordinary residents, but reflects a growing sense of despair as Beijing tightens its grip
Opinion | Hong Kong Has Nothing Left to Lose – The New York Times
Inside the protests, I heard a collective roar of rage against a government that has failed, by design, to represent its people.
What to know about Hong Kong’s protests – The Washington Post
The city turns out to protest when China attempts to exert influence.
It isn’t just Carrie Lam who needs to listen to the people. So does the whole of Hong Kong’s civil service | South China Morning Post
The civil service needs to listen, not only to the younger generation, but to everyone in Hong Kong who cares enough to march. Officials all too often ignore public input rather than taking notice of what people say they need in their neighbourhoods.
Joseph Bosco | Hong Kong and Taiwan preview China’s future | TheHill
Beijing cannot win back hearts and minds in Hong Kong or Taiwan without fundamentally changing its anti-democratic mindset and behavior.
Sen. Ted Cruz: Trump should complain to Xi Jinping about China’s assault on Hong Kong | Fox News
When President Trump meets Saturday with Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan, the U.S. president should bring up China’s assault on the sovereignty and autonomy of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong crisis could not have come at a worse time for the UK | World news | The Guardian
Politics at home and spreading anti-China sentiment in US mean Britain has limited options in how it responds
As Protests Rock Hong Kong, Xi Jinping’s View of History Shows He Will Dig In – The New York Times
There are increasing signs that China’s patience toward the protests in Hong Kong is wearing thin.
Hong Kong police arrest at least 13 after renewed protests | Fox News
Hong Kong authorities said they have arrested at least 13 people for Monday’s pro-democracy protests.
Hong Kong protests: Jeremy Hunt ‘keeping options open’ over China – BBC News
The foreign secretary refuses to rule out sanctions against China over its treatment of Hong Kong protesters.
China and U.K. Escalate Their War of Words Over Hong Kong – Bloomberg
China and Britain’s war of words over Hong Kong escalated, with the two sides openly accusing each other of behaving inappropriately toward the former U.K. colony.
China accuses U.K. of ‘colonial mindset’ over Hong Kong protest comments
China accuses U.K. of “colonial mindset” over Hong Kong protest comments.
Britain denies supporting violent Hong Kong protests as China media slam ‘Western ideologues’ – Reuters
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that he had not backed violent protests in Hong Kong, after Chinese state media blamed “Western ideologues” for fomenting unrest in the former British colony.
Hong Kong mothers march in support of anti-extradition students – Reuters
Thousands of mothers marched in Hong Kong on Friday in support of students who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest against an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
How A.I. Helped Improve Crowd Counting in Hong Kong Protests – The New York Times
With the aid of new technology, a team estimated that more than 265,000 people participated in a protest on July 1.


China Snares Tourists’ Phones in Surveillance Dragnet by Adding Secret App – The New York Times
Border authorities routinely install the app on the phones of people entering the Xinjiang region by land from Central Asia, gathering personal data and scanning for material considered objectionable.
China is installing spyware on tourists’ phones | Fox News
Visitors to Xinjiang in northwest China are experiencing a nasty surprise in the form of a spyware app that’s being forcefully installed on their phones.
Chinese border guards put secret surveillance app on tourists’ phones | World news | The Guardian
Software extracts emails, texts and contacts and could be used to track movements
Repression stalks China’s Uighurs, 10 years after Urumqi riots | News | Al Jazeera
Analysts say lack of trust between Uighurs and majority Han Chinese persists a decade after riots that left 200 dead.
China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families – BBC News
Thousands of ethnic minority Muslim children undergo “cultural re-engineering” in giant boarding schools.


China warns of long road ahead for deal with U.S. after ice-breaking talks – Reuters
China and the United States will face a long road before they can reach a deal to end their bitter trade war, with more fights ahead likely, Chinese state media said after the two countries’ presidents held ice-breaking talks in Japan.
China says it hopes US can meet it halfway in trade talks | TheHill
China’s foreign ministry has indicated that it hopes the U.S. can meet it halfway on trade after the countries failed to reach an agreement earlier this year. 
Trade War: Donald Trump and Xi Jinping Restart Talks – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump said he eased restrictions on China’s most prominent technology company as part of a trade truce with Beijing, removing an immediate threat looming over the global economy even as a lasting peace remains elusive.
Huawei’s place in the global tech ecosystem may make it too big to fail – CNN
Huawei’s future isn’t the only one that could be harmed by continued US pressure or the failure of the US and China to strike a trade deal. American tech companies and the future of 5G are also on the line.
What Trump’s Huawei Reversal Means for the Future of 5G – The New York Times
Huawei is the top threat to American dominance in wireless technology. And the U.S. is woefully, even disgracefully, behind.
The Trump administration was savaged for loosening the leash on Huawei and is now scrambling to justify its tactics | Business Insider
President Trump has drawn fire after announcing that he was relaxing the ban on US companies doing business with Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Trump’s Trade Truce Shows Huawei Was Just a Political Pawn – Bloomberg
Easing restrictions on the Chinese company may offer relief to the trade spat, but it won’t do anything to stop the technology battle underway.
Top GOP senator says he’s concerned over Trump lifting Huawei ban | TheHill
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Sunday that President Trump lifting the ban on U.S.
US-China trade war: Trump and Xi meet at G-20 summit in Osaka
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on Saturday to proceed with trade negotiations after a series of escalations to their nations’ trade war threatened to disrupt the global economy.
Donald Trump Bows to Xi Jinping’s Huawei Demands at G20 in Osaka, Japan
Selling American chips to a company branded as a security risk was only one of the areas where Trump gave ground.
China Is Sticking to Its Demand That U.S. Lift All Tariffs – Bloomberg
China continues to stress that the U.S. must remove all the tariffs placed on Chinese goods as a condition for reaching a trade deal.
China says there will be no trade deal unless existing tariffs are stripped
The U.S. has to lift all the tariffs placed on Chinese goods if there is to be a trade deal, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
These are 4 winners of the US-China trade war – CNN
Vietnam, Taiwan, Bangladesh and South Korea are coming out as victors in the US-China trade war.


John Bolton on Twitter: “Delighted to be in Ulaanbaatar & looking forward to meeting with officials to find ways to harness Mongolia’s capabilities in support of our shared economic & security objectives. Thank you for the warm welcome Secretary of State @davaasuren_d… https://t.co/on1Ph5n1f2”
Putin, Abe Hail ‘Substantive Dialogue’ On Kurile Islands Standoff
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to expand bilateral economic ties but failed to make progress toward a peace agreement to formally end World War II.
Japan used a colourful chart with pictures and a map to explain its US investments to Trump | Business Insider
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday presented US President Donald Trump with a straightforward, colourful chart to explain Japanese investment in the US, a White House official told Axios.
Alek Sigley: Why Sweden helped free Australian student in N Korea – BBC News
The Scandinavian country has long acted as an intermediary for Western powers in the isolated dictatorship.
Australian student ‘safe and well’ after detention in North Korea: prime minister | Fox News
An Australian graduate student who went missing in North Korea last week has been released from detention and is now “safe and well” in China, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Time for a dose of Vladimir Putin’s realism in Australia
We must become a hard target. That demands much more be spent on defence and intelligence.
Hugh White’s plan for defending Australia simply isn’t viable | The Strategist
How to defend Australia sets out four strategic objectives for Australian forces: defending the continent, securing the neighbourhood, supporting maritime Southeast Asia and preserving the wider Asian balance. To achieve this, Hugh White proposes a maritime denial strategy to stop adversaries—including a great power like China—from being able to send military forces to attack Australia. The strategic objectives are all eerily familiar to Australian policymakers over the last 40 years—because they’re based on our geography. Australia, along with Southeast Asian and ‘wider Asian’ powers, now needs to factor America out of security calculations, according to White. And we have to pursue these key strategic objectives, some of which involve ‘substantial’ or ‘significant’ military contributions to regional coalitions, while allied to no one. Both are deeply flawed judgements. Worse than this, White says Australia must be able to ‘deter or repel a direct military attack against us by a major Asian power such as China, India, or perhaps Japan or Indonesia’. So, we need to simultaneously arm against India, Japan and Indonesia while seeking to work with them. Cobbling together ‘regional coalitions’ with partners of convenience who know you also consider them potential military threats is a poor basis for achieving security. Add to this the book’s assessment that China has the ‘necessary levers’ to prevent regional powers from acting collectively, and this seems a bizarre prescription for Australian leaders. The force structure that follows this assessment would see the air warfare destroyers retired, frigates cancelled, the two big landing ships sold off, and the purchase of lots more advanced fighters to bring the strike jet fleet to 200. White is open-minded about whether the fighters should all be F-35s or a mix including more F/A-18 Super Hornets. What’s left of the Royal Australian Navy would get more light frigates similar to the Anzac class for stabilisation missions in the South Pacific. The showcase item would be 24 new submarines more like an evolved Collins class than the Attack class now being designed by France’s Naval Group. The Attack class would be scrapped as too expensive, too late and with too much focus on operating further afield than the archipelago to Australia’s north. The submarines would have no anti-submarine role, but would attack an adversary’s ships beyond the range of land-based aircraft. The Australian Army would eschew heavy combat capabilities and become a light force for stabilisation operations in Papua New Guinea and the broader South Pacific. It would have no role in meeting the four outlined strategic objectives or being involved in wider conflicts in Asia. White argues that missile-equipped submarines and aircraft can make warships or troop transports indefensible. The idea that land forces could stop adversaries seizing bases and territories closer to Australia is missing from How to defend Australia. It should not be, particularly if our neighbours want more commitment from Australia than just using their territory as the place from which we defend against attacks on the mainland. Strategy is about more than fighting, it’s about shaping the environment so that war is prevented and if it has to be fought, it’s fought from the strongest position, with the strongest team on your side. The approach also neglects the threat environment that ‘light expeditionary forces’ may face in undertaking stabilisation operations. White makes strong points in his criticism of the small numbers of complex, expensive weapons that Australia is acquiring. It’s true that surface warships now need to use a lot of their systems for self-defence against missile and submarine attack, and so have less offensive firepower than would seem to give a good return on investment. And he’s right that value for money of spending $50 billion for the developmental and still-a-long-way-off Attack-class submarines, equipped with small numbers of torpedoes, is questionable. But his prescriptions don’t seem radically different on these value-for-money issues. He’s doubtful of the power of emerging capabilities like autonomous systems and, besides, they’ll be expensive. I think he undervalues the power of some of these new capabilities, and discounts the ability to acquire them much more cheaply than manned alternatives. The future Royal Australian Air Force would be broadly more of the same, supplemented by even more information and intelligence systems, and advanced missiles. Where the forces would differ to now is in giving up on anything other than sinking ships and shooting down aircraft on their way to Australia, supplemented, perhaps, by attacking bases that support such an endeavour—unless that will make the bases’ owner very unhappy. That leaves a big vulnerability in the plan. Maritime denial is all about preventing forces from attacking us. None of White’s proposed force structure seems well-placed to protect shipping and aircraft bringing what our economy would need to sustain a conflict lasting more than a couple of weeks. Fuel’s an obvious example. If we can’t protect shipping against submarine, surface ship, aircraft and missile attack, we’ll run out of fuel in around 25 days. Australia needs to be able to defend its long international supply chains. White argues the best path is to attack the adversary’s trade, and to stockpile loads of stuff. He pretends that this will be enough in the case of every adversary, as all have trade dependencies. But China could sustain a conflict longer than we could despite Australia’s best efforts to attack its supply lines. I think he knows his ‘solution’ here is no answer, as he volunteers that Australia ‘could not maintain its sea lines of communication with allies and suppliers’ and this ‘is a reality we have to live with’. It’s a reality to live with and lose by if we adopt these plans. I’m also not sure who these allies are in White’s world. White’s contention that his force structure proposals could be paid for by a defence budget amounting 3.5% or 4% of GDP is nonsensical. That’s partly because the cost of sustaining capabilities in the much deeper local way he proposes would require a radical re-engineering of the economy and workforce. And because of the considerably higher costs of sustaining and operating the myriad systems on his menu without the access to US data, logistics, capabilities and intelligence we now have. Our access through the alliance is uniquely deep and adds considerably to our defence capabilities. As an example, the F-35 and other high-technology US systems like the EA-18 Growler aircraft are software dependent, with Australian ability to sustain them reliant on updates from the US. Removing this dependency is probably not feasible from a technical or capability perspective. His calculations are wobbly on whole-of-life costs for major platforms, but this is a minor detail given the flawed conceptual architecture. My view is that the front-end strategic assessment that leads White to his conclusions is wrong (to be set out in a separate article). Australia needn’t live in an Asia without American power and we shouldn’t plan for powers like India, Indonesia and Japan to be both adversaries and partners. If we had to do so, we’d need a different plan to the one White proposes in How to defend Australia.
How Poland became a front in the cold war between the U.S. and China
An alleged spying case involves a Chinese businessman who worked for Huawei – the Chinese telecom-gear giant in the crosshairs of the Trump administration.
China Military Starts Work with France and Germany, Tells U.S. to Mind Its Business on ‘Missile Test’
China boosted military ties with two top nations in Europe as President Donald Trump accused both of “playing big currency manipulation game and pumping money into their system in order to compete

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen nominated to lead EU Commission – BBC News
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is picked for the top EU post after a marathon summit.
Lagarde and Von der Leyen: Europe taps first women for powerful roles
German Defense Minister Urusla von der Leyen was nominated by European leaders to head up the European Commission on Tuesday.
Ursula Von Der Leyen and Christine Lagarde win top EU jobs after marathon talks – CNN
Europe’s leaders have agreed to give two of the top four European Union jobs to women, but only after a marathon set of talks that exposed the continent’s simmering divisions.
1st woman — mother of 7 and Merkel disciple — is nominated to lead EU’s executive commission | Fox News
Ursula von der Leyen, a surprise choice to become the next head of the European Commission, is a strong supporter of closer European cooperation who has been Germany’s defense minister since 2013 and a fixture in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet over the longtime leader’s nearly 14 years in power.
Von der Leyen nomination: Germans criticise ‘backroom deal’ – BBC News
Political opponents are threatening to block Ursula von der Leyen’s nomination as Commission president.
Ursula Von Der Leyen, The First Woman Nominated For One Of Europe’s Top Jobs | TIME – YouTube
TIME Published on Jul 4, 2019 After days of difficult negotiations, European leaders have put forward their nominations for the EU’s top jobs on Wednesday, nominating two women for the leadership roles.
Naming of von der Leyen as EU executive chief not transparent: Juncker – Reuters
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the process to appoint his successor, Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, was not transparent and marked an unwelcome break with the practice of choosing parties’ lead candidates.
‘This is not democracy’: European parliament unites to condemn selection of new EU Commission president behind closed doors | The Independent
The European parliament’s political groups have united to condemn the selection of the next European Commission president, branding the process an undemocratic stitch-up by national governments.
David Sassoli elected European Parliament president – news world | UNIAN
Italian MEP David-Maria Sassoli was elected president of the European Parliament on Wednesday, propelled to victory thanks to a recommendation from EU leaders to put a socialist at the helm of the legislature. He is due to serve for two-and-a half years – half the parliamentary term – before passing the torch to a member of the center-right European People’s Party for the rest of the mandate.
Macron and Orbán are crushing democracy in Europe, blasts Weber | World | News | Express.co.uk
MANFRED Weber today accused Emmanuel Macron and Viktor Orban “damaging” Brussels and crushing democracy by teaming up to block his European Commission presidency bid.
New-look Europe is having a nightmare first week – CNN
Day one of Europe’s brave new future didn’t go terribly well.


Boris Johnson slumps in the polls as British public say he would make a bad prime minister | Business Insider
LONDON – Public perceptions of Boris Johnson have worsened in the past two weeks following revelations about his private life, with a clear majority of voters saying he would make a bad prime minister, according to a new poll.
Left-wing billionaire George Soros accused by Albania’s president of ‘conspiracy’ aimed at destabilizing country | Fox News
The president of Albania on Tuesday denounced municipal elections that took place on Sunday as a “farce”, accusing left-wing billionaire philanthropist George Soros of being involved in a “conspiracy”
DNA Study Reveals Philistines Were Originally From Europe : NPR
A DNA study of an archaeological site shows the biblical Philistines, long vanished and derided as primitive, were originally from Europe.


Venezuela Forces Killed Thousands, Then Covered It Up, U.N. Says – The New York Times
Special forces members engaged in extrajudicial killings and then altered crime scenes to make it look as if the victims had been resisting arrest, United Nations investigators said.
UN report: Venezuela death squads kill young men, stage scenes | News | Al Jazeera
Security forces conduct ‘shockingly high’ number of extrajudicial killings, new report by UN rights chief says.
Guaidó and Maduro to test their strength on Venezuelan Independence Day | Miami Herald
Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido is calling for a national protest Friday, Venezuelan Independence Day, as the country is reeling from news about the death of a Navy official in government custody. Nicolas Maduro will be leading a military parade.
Peru to host international talks on Venezuela in Lima next month – Reuters
Peru has invited China, Russia, Cuba, the United States and dozens of other countries to Lima on Aug. 6 to discuss the political crisis in Venezuela, Peru’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Disappointed Venezuelans lose patience with Guaido as Maduro hangs on – Reuters
Four days before Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido launched a military uprising in a bid to oust President Nicolas Maduro, he told supporters at a rally outside the capital, Caracas: “In the next few days, we’ll decide our destiny.”
Venezuela crisis: Outrage over navy captain’s death in custody – BBC News
His lawyer alleges Capt Rafael Acosta died as a result of torture inflicted in custody.
Venezuela: Death of a Navy captain in government custody sparks outcry
Maduro has intensified a crackdown on subversives and “coup plotters” in the weeks following a failed military uprising attempt on April 30.
Venezuelan Navy Captain Accused of Rebellion Dies After Signs of Torture – The New York Times
The death underlined President Nicolás Maduro’s increasingly ferocious repression campaign amid a spiraling economic crisis.
Venezuela sources: Talks to break deadlock set to resume – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
How a military overhaul in Venezuela keeps troops standing by Maduro
How Venezuela overhauled its military to jumble the chain of command, make its troops more partisan and keep the armed forces loyal to President Nicolás Maduro
US sanctions Maduro’s son for upholding ‘illegitimate regime’ in Venezuela | Fox News
The United States Department Treasury has issued a sanction against the son of Nicolas Maduro, Nicolas Maduro Guerra.
Venezuela crisis: US announces sanctions against Maduro’s son – BBC News
The socialist leader’s 29-year-old son “Nicolasito” becomes latest figure to be hit with US sanctions.
Venezuela’s Teachers And Students Skip School For Survival : NPR
Amid Venezuela’s catastrophic economic meltdown, education experts say that it’s getting much harder for children to get a good grasp of history, geography and their ABCs.
How Trump’s ‘weaponized’ use of foreign aid is backfiring – POLITICO
In Venezuela, some aid groups are asking U.S. officials if they can strip legally required U.S. branding from assistance sent to the country, three aid officials told POLITICO.

 


 

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

The Pentagon Can ID Your Heartbeat Using Laser Beams
The method is 95 percent accurate and works from 200 meters away.
Are enemies one heartbeat away from being found out?
New sensors for identifying individuals require more data than is in existing databases.
Putting a value on the 50x coder
The Pentagon’s best coders address problems unburdened by traditional thinking, in innovative ways, maximizing the dual-purpose of digital tools, and can generate decisive cyber effects. So how should the Pentagon protect them?


America’s Best Stealth Fighter Has One Big Problem That Can’t Be Solved | The National Interest
We won’t build any more of them. Why?
The U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor Stealth Fighters Have a Problem | The National Interest
Air Force stealth fighters won’t meet the 80-percent readiness goal that former defense secretary Jim Mattis decreed before quitting the Defense Department. 
All These F-22 Raptors Went into the Sky Simultaneously. The Reason Is China. | The National Interest
Billions of dollars in the sky.
The Stealth Sniper: The F-22 Raptor Has a New Job | The National Interest
And that means bad news for America’s enemies.
Stealth vs. Russia: U.S. F-22s and F-35s vs. Russia’s S-300 and S-400 (Who Wins?) | The National Interest
Any ideas?
Iran Could Never Counter This Move: America Gives Israel F-22s and B-52 Bombers | The National Interest
Tehran’s worst nightmare?
The U.S.’s New Missile Will Take On Russian and Chinese Fighters
The AIM-260 will “out stick” enemy fighters, shooting them down before they can shoot back.
electronic warfare (EW) aircraft jammer pod | Military & Aerospace Electronics
Navy to develop a low-band jammer as soon as possible in effort to replace the ALQ-99 jammer pod on the EA-18G Growler carrier electronic attack jet.


US Navy eyes new launchers on destroyers for hypersonic weapons
The Navy is eyeing a major upgrade to its Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to accommodate hypersonic missiles.
One of the Navy’s New Warships Just Crashed in Canada
USS Billings bumped into another ship in Montreal, causing damage.
A top US Navy engineer says the fleet needs to get out and bust the rust
The head of Naval Sea Systems Command says ships need to stay on top of rust if the Navy wants to keep the ships for 40-45 years each.
deep-ocean sonar anti-submarine warfare (ASW) | Military & Aerospace Electronics
Deep-ocean sonar — the maritime equivalent of a satellite — will have a large field of view to detect and track enemy submarines over large areas.
Check Out the Navy’s Shiny New Ballistic Missile Submarine | The National Interest
She’s a beauty.
Taking a Closer Look at Japan’s Futuristic Attack Submarine
The sleek underwater warship will ensure the country is defended by the best non-nuclear submarines around.
Russia Plans to Build Four Submarines Armed with Nuclear Drone-Torpedoes | The National Interest
Should America be worried?
submarine unmanned nuclear torpedo | Military & Aerospace Electronics
The Poseidon is an 80-foot nuclear-powered submersible robot that can detonate outside an enemy coastal city, and destroy it by generating a tsunami.
How AI Will Transform Anti-Submarine Warfare – Defense One
New Navy projects seek to capture more data about the oceans’ depths — then train computers to out-think human captains.
Northrop Grumman received $104M for the technical refresh of UH-1Y, AH-1Z, UH-60V mission computers – Defence Blog
U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp announced that it has received a $104 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) award for the technical refresh of UH-1Y, AH-1Z and UH-60V mission computers. The IDIQ contract covers delivery of production units, retrofit units and spare units for the Marine Corps, Defense Logistics Agency and the government of Bahrain under the Foreign Military Sales Act. This contract brings together multiple mission computer customers, driving greater value, cost efficiency and a reduced logistics footprint. Under the IDIQ, the Navy may issue task or delivery order awards up to the ceiling amount specified in the contract. Work under the contract is set to conclude in 2023. “Northrop Grumman’s mission computer delivers mission critical capability to the warfighter,” said James Conroy, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman. “The system provides improved situational understanding in the rapidly changing threat environment.” The mission computer integrates advanced mission, weapons and video processing capabilities into a high-performance airborne computer capable of driving independent, multi-function displays. Its trusted, open architecture provides centralized display and control of all integrated avionics system functions. The mission computer brings improved capability, commonality, reliability and maintainability to the warfighter.


U.S. Army expects to receive about 500 modern “light tanks” – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army seeks to receive as soon as possible the new combat vehicle, commonly known as a light tank, to provide the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) with a protected platform capable of delivering overwhelming precision firepower combined with the ability to move rapidly in a variety of terrain conditions. Under the Mobile Protected Firepower program, the U.S. Army will choose the newest combat vehicle which is one of the most critical needs for the Army, particularly for its IBCT who lack protected, long range, cyber resilient precision direct fire capability for early entry operations. IBCTs require this capability to be employed in austere and unpredictable locations allowing them to avoid the enemy’s strengths and rapidly transition to offensive operations and exploit the initiative. According to a recent report released by Army News Service, the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle, part of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicles suite, is currently in competition after two vendors were chosen in December to each build 12 prototypes for under $376 million. Beginning in March, those prototypes will be put through the wringer in a series of lethality, survivability and mobility tests. A light infantry unit at 82nd Airborne Division will also conduct an assessment later next year to gain Soldier input. “It will be the first time anybody really puts their hands on it,” said David Dopp, the vehicle’s project manager at Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems. “That’s a real key test.” The Army expects to receive about 500 MPFs, which it will start fielding in fiscal 2025. Each infantry brigade combat team will get their own 14-vehicle company for armor support. One vendor will be chosen to begin producing the vehicles in fiscal 2022. The “light tanks” would help infantry Soldiers blast through obstacles, take out machine-gun nests and defend against other armored vehicles. “Infantry would go out on foot or in a Humvee, but then if they ran into some fortification, a bunker or other vehicles, everything kind of stopped,” Dopp said Wednesday at the International Armored Vehicles USA conference. “With MPF, we can break through that.” The “light tank” will be a tracked vehicle with likely a 105 mm cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun for firepower, he said. At least two of them would need to fit on a C-17 cargo aircraft, and each vehicle would weigh less than 40 tons, much lighter than an M1 Abrams tank that can weigh 60 tons or more.
Army Helmet Evolution | History of the U.S. Army Helmet
The long march from a steel pot to a ballistic wonder of engineering.


Boeing 737 MAX Likely Grounded Until Late This Year – WSJ
Boeing troubled 737 MAX fleet is expected to stay grounded until late this year as a result of the latest flight-control problem flagged by U.S. air-safety regulators.
Boeing Has Troubles But Is Still a World-Beater – WSJ
Big menus may have fallen out of favor in restaurants, which now tend to rely on a few crowd-pleasers. But they are still the likely path to success for troubled plane maker Boeing.
Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers – Bloomberg
It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors.
Software used in 737 Max crashes linked to Indian software companies – The Online Citizen
Boeing dedicates $100 million to victims of 737 Max crashes – CNN
Boeing will pay out $100 million to help support the families and communities of people who died in two 737 Max crashes in the last year.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Germany fines Facebook for under-reporting complaints – Reuters
German authorities have fined Facebook 2 million euros ($2.3 million) for under-reporting complaints about illegal content on its social media platform in breach of the country’s law on internet transparency.
3 challenges facing the national security community in the information age
The current information environment is different than anything the intelligence community has faced before, and the United States will have to adapt in order to meet the changing threat.
Photo glitch hits Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – news world | UNIAN
Facebook, which owns all three apps, said it was aware of the issue and was “working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible”. Some Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users cannot upload photos, videos and files.
Civic honesty around the globe | Science
Abstract Civic honesty is essential to social capital and economic development, but is often in conflict with material self-interest. We examine the trade-off between honesty and self-interest using field experiments in 355 cities spanning 40 countries around the globe. We turned in over 17,000 lost wallets with varying amounts of money at public and private institutions, and measured whether recipients contacted the owner to return the wallets. In virtually all countries citizens were more likely to return wallets that contained more money. Both non-experts and professional economists were unable to predict this result. Additional data suggest our main findings can be explained by a combination of altruistic concerns and an aversion to viewing oneself as a thief, which increase with the material benefits of dishonesty.


Trump officials weigh encryption crackdown – POLITICO
The provocative step would reopen a long-running feud between federal authorities and Silicon Valley.
Report: Pentagon Should Assume US Satellites Are Already Hacked – Defense One
As U.S. and its allies tether more of their military operations to government and commercial satellites, they need to start taking cybersecurity more …
One Senate panel’s idea to prioritize cybersecurity spending
The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has ideas to improve federal cybersecurity.
Congress Wants DHS to Study Disruptive Deepfake Videos – Defense One
Bills introduced in the House and Senate aim to combat the forged media through comprehensive research and technological assessments.
Will hacked voting machines decide the 2020 election?
Experts are worried about vulnerabilities, but the government says it hasn’t yet seen evidence of hacking.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Pentagon facing possibility of third acting defense secretary in less than a month – CNNPolitics
With military tensions rising in the Middle East, more than a dozen of the most senior roles at the Pentagon lack permanent appointees and President Donald Trump is likely to be forced to name, at least temporarily, a third acting defense secretary in the coming weeks.


Trump strikes uncharacteristically apolitical tone in July 4th speech that was nearly rained out – New York Daily News
President Trump touted his militaristic Independence Day spectacle Thursday as the “biggest” celebration “in the history of our Country” — but critics say the costly affair is pointless and straight of a dictator’s playbook.
4th of July: Donald Trump’s DC event includes tanks, speech, protests
This year’s 4th of July festivities in Washington, D.C., will feature Army tanks on the Mall, protests and a speech by President Donald Trump.
Trump’s July 4th event gives military chiefs concerns about politicization – CNNPolitics
Military chiefs have concerns about the politicization of President Donald Trump’s July 4 event, a source with direct knowledge told CNN.
Love of country? Or a political stunt? Trump holiday speech divides Americans – Reuters
Jan Shairrick and two friends drove more than a thousand miles from southern Arkansas to join President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” Independence Day celebrations in Washington.
Trump asks Americans to ‘stay true to our cause’ | Miami Herald
Trump celebrates military and eclectic heroes in Lincoln Memorial July 4 speech.
With Flyovers and Flags, Trump Plays M.C. for the Fourth – The New York Times
The president began with a rare call for unity in his 45-minute speech, but mostly spent time recounting the history of the armed forces, planes punctuating his message.
Independence Day: Donald Trump trips up on Revolutionary War history
Donald Trump read most of his Independence Day speech from a prepared text, but stumbled on his history by talking about airplanes during the American Revolution.
Brand New Marine One Helicopter To Make Debut at Trump’s July 4th Parade – Defense One
Other aircraft slated to fly over include the B-2 stealth bomber, F-22 Raptor and Air Force One.
Trump wants to show tanks at Fourth of July event – media – news world | UNIAN
A small number of M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles will participate in President Donald Trump’s July Fourth celebrations in Washington on Thursday, U.S. defense officials have confirmed to CNN. The cost of using military assets in this year’s July Fourth celebration is estimated to be less than $1 million.


Despite ‘thug hugs,’ Trump is tougher on despots than Obama
During a single visit to Asia, President Trump embraced not one, not two, but three dictators. He became the first American president to set foot in North…
Marc Thiessen: Trump is tough on dictators, despite his kind words | Fox News
So long as Trump does not capitulate on substance, the president deserves some leeway when it comes to personal diplomacy.
Sanctions are everywhere, but how well do they work? – CNNPolitics
Imposing sanctions has become the Trump administration’s go-to move to signal to the country and the world that it’s doing something about a problem.
Here’s Undeniable Proof That the Media Despises Trump | The National Interest
What do you think?
Trump defends remark to Putin, says meddling came up again ‘after that’ – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump was asked to clarify his sentiments to Russian President Vladimir Putin when he appeared to make light of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Rather than defend democracy, Trump jokes with Putin – The Washington Post
The U.S. president should stand up for freedom, not joke with an authoritarian about election interference and the “problem” of a free press.
Trump slams ‘terrible’ Jimmy Carter as ‘forgotten president’ after suggestion 2016 win was ‘illegitimate’ | Fox News
President Trump fired back at former President Jimmy Carter’s comments that he’s illegitimate president, saying Carter is “the forgotten president” who’s not only “trashed” by his own party but also remembered only as being “terrible” for the country.
Bolton the hawk struggles to retain his influence with Trump
National Security adviser John Bolton has clashed with other officials and Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson over how to respond to North Korea and Iran.
U.S. Relative Of Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Sues Treasury Department
The U.S. cousin of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg is suing the U.S. Treasury Department for seizing his assets worth millions of dollars.


Trolls target online polls following first Democratic presidential debate
Users from pro-Trump communities on 4chan and Reddit implored fellow members to vote for lower-polling candidates in online polls, a sign that digital manipulation efforts related to U.S. politics and elections remain very much alive.
Top Diplomat Slams ‘Endless War’ Cries of Campaign Trail as ‘the Echo of the 1930s’ – Defense One
“I get terribly worried. Because this shows total ignorance of what’s going on in the world today,” Ambassador Jim Jeffrey says.
Holocaust survivor blasts AOC for comparing migrant detention centers to concentration camps | Daily Mail Online
Ed Mosberg (right), 93, of Morris Plains, New Jersey, blasted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left), the Democratic congresswoman representing Queens and the Bronx, on Saturday.
House Democrats approve bill to strengthen election security
The bill, known as Securing America’s Federal Elections, or SAFE, Act, is the first of several proposed by Democrats to boost election security as Congress belatedly moves to respond to Russian interference in the presidential election more than 2½ years ago.
Sanders hits back at AOC after Ivanka Trump dig | Fox News
Sarah Sanders, the former White House press secretary, fired back at freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who called out Ivanka Trump for accompanying her father to the G-20 summit.

 

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