Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans say Israel’s military actions in Gaza are justified, with only four in 10 saying that Israel has used too much force, according to a new national poll:
~CNN Political Unit
Sources: Global Firepower, Center for Arms, Control and Non-Proliferation. By Amanda Macias, Jeremy Bender and Skye Gould. “Business Insider“.
Read more concerning the most recent stage of the above “spiral” https://opinions101.com/category/wars/
The Islamist extremist [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader] some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world … said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” … Rad more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/14/isis-leader-see-you-in-new-york.html
[ ISIS] Islamic State of Iraq and Syria just got got extremely rich. As insurgents rolled past the largest city in northern Iraq, an oil hub at the vital intersection of Syria, Iraq and Turkey, and into Tikrit, several gunmen stopped at Mosul’s central bank. An incredible amount of cash was reportedly on hand, and the group made off with 500 billion Iraqi dinars — $425 million. The provincial governor of Nineveh, Atheel al-Nujaifi, said that the radical Islamists had lifted additional millions from numerous banks across Mosul, as well as a “large quantity of gold bullion,” according to the International Business Times, which called ISIS the “World’s Richest Terror Force.” Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/12/isis-just-stole-425-million-and-became-the-worlds-richest-terrorist-group/
[For comparison]: Al-Qaeda spent $500,000 on the  event, while America, in the incident and its aftermath, lost — according to the lowest estimate — more than $500 billion, meaning that every dollar of al-Qaeda defeated a million dollars.” Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-nods-to-bin-ladens-stated-goal-2014-1
[President] Obama: I’m Concerned About a Nuke Being Detonated in Manhattan …
In a matter of a mere few weeks U.S. succeeded in smashing all the heretofore insurmountable obstacles in the way of the political and economic integration of Russia and China.
Take the agreement to supply Russian gas to China. For over ten years the two countries had been unable to resolve the differences that kept flaring up between them. After a mere month or two of hard work on the part of State Department and Secretary Kerry in person — as the leading performer of the regularly aired ultimata (John Kerry: Russia has until Monday to reverse course …) — bingo! All contradictions gone. The agreement has been announced: “Russia, China Sign $400 Billion Gas Deal After Decade of Talks” (Bloomberg News. May 21, 2014).
A day earlier, Chinese and Russian leaders formulated just as clearly their common foreign-policy stand in response to the mounting Western pressure: “A Russia-China Alliance Is Emerging, And It Will Be A Disaster For The West” (Forbes, 5/20/2014)
It seems to be just the beginning of by now accelerating development of a long-germinating trend. Especially since Secretary Kerry is still burgeoning with fresh ideas and creative energy that cannot be tamed.
Evidence collected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggests that cyber attacks on key energy infrastructure—and on the electricity system — are increasing, both in frequency and sophistication…
Read more: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/events/2014/02/cybersecurity-and-north-american-electric-grid-new-policy-approaches-address-evolving
Unfortunately, there were not only cyber “attacks on key energy infrastructure”:
Sniper Attack [in California] Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country’s Power Grid. The incident happened one day after the Boston bombings which is why there’s been little reporting on the incident. Now authorities say the damage is the work of a sniper and they are treating the shootings an act of terror. “It appears to be very well organized and very well planned,” said Steve Harrison of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. In just two hours in the middle of an April night last year, a militarystyle sniper attack took out 17 transformers powering the Silicon Valley… Security expert Norman Beasley says power stations can easy pickings for bad guys because they are out in the open… The FBI continues to investigate the attack, but no arrests have been made.
~California power station attack last April was “act of terror”.
Blackout a reminder of power grid vulnerabilities. Associated Press. SAN DIEGO — A blackout that swept across parts of the Southwest and Mexico apparently began with a single utility worker and a minor repair job. How it then rippled from that worker in the Arizona desert, to southern California and across the border, plunging millions of people into darkness, has authorities and experts puzzled, especially since the power grid is built to withstand such mishaps. However it … was a reminder that the nation’s transmission lines remain all too vulnerable to cascading power failures. “There are a lot of critical pieces of equipment on the system and we have less defense than we think,” said Rich Sedano at the Regulatory Assistance Project, a utility industry think tank based in Montpelier, Vt. … There have been several similar failures in recent years.
U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack. Federal Analysis Says Sabotage of Nine Key Substations Is Sufficient for Broad Outage. The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country’s 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis… “This would be an event of unprecedented proportions,” said Ross Baldick, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin… Sabotage could wreak worse havoc, experts said. “The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics.
National Research Council worried that a well-coordinated attack on the grid “could deny large regions of the country access to bulk system power for weeks or even months.
A top Chinese general Thursday strongly defended Beijing’s territorial claims over disputed islands in the South and East China Seas and charged that the U.S. rebalance of forces to the Pacific was encouraging unrest in the region. Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, said “the rebalancing strategy of the U.S. has stirred up some of the problems which make the South China Sea and the East China Sea not so calm as before” … Dempsey dismissed Fang’s objections to the so-called “Pacific pivot” and said the U.S. was committed to the policy. “We’ll go because we can and should, and we’ll go because we have to,” Dempsey said of the rebalance. Dempsey also told Fang “We will respond to threats.” However, Dempsey mostly stuck to his long-held position that the U.S. must build better military-to-military relations with China to avoid miscalculations that could lead to conflict in the region.
Read more: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/05/15/dempsey-clashes-with-chinese-general-on-pacific.html
The United States is halting all military engagement with Russia due to the crisis in Ukraine — including military exercises, meetings and port visits, the Pentagon said Monday. “Although the Department of Defense finds value in the military-to-military relationship with the Russian Federation we have developed over the past few years to increase transparency, build understanding, and reduce the risk of military miscalculation we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia. This includes exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/#/storyline/ukraine-crisis/u-s-suspends-military-relations-russia-n43631
- In both cases above, the main goal of the military-to-military relationship between the nuclear superpower countries is defined as to “reduce the risk of military miscalculation “. In other words, putting “on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia”, rather than falling under “sanctions”, appears to be more like a blindly taken step towards a nuclear Armageddon:
Data Source: Federation of American Scientists • http://www.fas.org
Source: Federation of American Scientists • http://www.fas.org
Source: Federation of American Scientists • http://www.fas.org
Data Source: Federation of American Scientists • http://www.fas.org
Source: Federation of American Scientists • http://www.fas.org
Obama warns Russia in tense call with Putin … President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a tense phone call on Monday that Moscow would face further costs for its actions in Ukraine and should use its influence to get separatists in the country to stand down. Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-ukraine-crisis-obama-idUSBREA3D1DH20140415
“Putin will not talk to Obama under pressure,” said Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Institute for Contemporary Development, a prominent Moscow think tank, and a close associate of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “It does not mean forever” … Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is also getting the cold shoulder from his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu. Pentagon officials have reached out to Russia on Mr. Hagel’s behalf within the past 24 hours but have not gotten any response, according to Pentagon Spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren…
Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/25/exclusive-putin-halts-all-talks-with-white-house.html
It’s a national security issue and it needs to be prioritized that way,” said retired Maj. Gen. D. Allen Youngman. He’s one of hundreds of former military officers who have gotten involved in Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit organization whose “Too Fat to Fight” reports attack junk food in schools… Current military officials agree that the nation’s obesity epidemic has created a serious problem, currently and for the next generation of soldiers.
Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101656954
Deep down in a secret computer network is an unclassified document named “CONOP8888,” reports Foreign Policy magazine. It’s a detailed synopsis for battling many kinds of zombies, including “chicken zombies,” who rise up after being euthanized by farmers, to “evil magic zombies” that are life forms created via some form of occult experimentation.” The 2011 report calls for U.S. Strategic Command to develop a strategy for protecting “non-zombie humans from threats posed by a zombie horde.” Military planners in Omaha, Neb., wanted a detailed scenario for dealing with a widespread national emergency. So they devised a zombie attack protocol that covered training civilians how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (including collecting rain for water consumption), as well as deploying and withdrawing military personnel.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/u-s-military-detailed-plan-dealing-zombie-apocalypse-article-1.1791957#ixzz31jwo4X9S
Here are a couple of most recent examples:
National Crisis: Nevada Ranch Stand-Off
Chinese energy giant ENN Energy Group wants to use federal land as part of its effort to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel-building plant in the southern Nevada desert. Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is representing ENN in their efforts to locate in Nevada. Part of the land ENN wants to use was purchased from Clark County at well below appraised value. Rory Reid is the former Clark County Commission chairman, and he persuaded the commission to sell 9,000 acres of county land to ENN on the promise it would provide jobs for the area, Reuters reported in 2012.
Read more: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/bundy-ranch-rory-reid-harry-reid/2014/04/13/id/565328
International: East-Europe Crisis
Hunter Biden, the youngest son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, has been appointed as head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, Burisma. The appointment comes just weeks after Vice President Biden visited Ukraine’s capital to show support for the country … He also warned of the dangers of government corruption. “Russia already regards the U.S. as meddling in Ukrainian affairs, so this news won’t change that perception,” said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and a director of the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative.
Read more: http://www.ibtimes.com/vice-president-joe-bidens-son-appointed-head-legal-affairs-ukrainian-energy-firm-1583858
PS. As it was concluded by Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, November 19, 2008: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
A leading member of the Syrian rebels … Kamal Labwani, who spent 11 years in Syrian prisons… arguing that Israel … should no longer be “blamed for everything. Israel is not our enemy anymore. We see how Israel opened its doors to our injured. We see how Syrian children are treated in Assad’s prisons and how they are treated in Israeli hospitals. Israel gave food while Assad starved his own people. Syria has only one enemy now: the Assad regime backed by Iran and Hezbollah. I meet with Syrian dissidents and military leaders daily and have seen how, after decades of brainwashing, their mentality has begun to change… I recently proposed a controversial idea: asking Israel to help our opposition get rid of the most brutal dictator alive today. I said that this is our joint challenge and one that is much more important than the Golan Heights. Golan in the future can remain a garden of peace for all. I believe that Israel is able to be a partner, not an enemy. After meeting with dozens of rebels in the majority of Syrian provinces, I believe that many would support such a plan“.
~ Syrian Opposition Calls for Partnership with Israel by Washington Free Beacon Staff.
The U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of waging nuclear war, will hold large-scale bomber exercises this week—days after Russia held what Moscow called “massive” war games simulating a U.S. and NATO nuclear attack.,, Ten U.S. B-52 bombers and up to six B-2 strategic bombers will take part in the war games called “Global Lightning 14” from Monday through May 16, the command said in a statement late Sunday… Moscow and Washington also have been battling over Russia’s plan to upgrade aircraft used in conducting permitted spy flights over the United States that intelligence officials say could undermine U.S. security. The flights are carried out under the Open Skies Treaty. Russia temporarily blocked a U.S. overflight of Russia and a spokesman mentioned the dispute over the new Russian aircraft in criticizing U.S. officials… ~ U.S. to Conduct Strategic Bomber Exercise by Bill Gertz
Defective signaling … when Russian foreign minister Lavrov spoke this week (in English) about the possible need to come to the aid of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, Washington had to guess whether he was stating the public rationale for an invasion, sending a warning signal to Kiev about its internal counter-terror campaign, or trying to accomplish some other purpose. Misinterpretation of such signals can become a reciprocal process that sends both sides up the “ladder of escalation” quickly, to a point where nuclear use seems like the logical next step… Command breakdown. … with nonstrategic nuclear weapons, which at some point in the course of an escalatory process need to be released to the control of local commanders if they are to have military utility. U.S. policy even envisions letting allies deliver tactical warheads against enemy targets… Russian doctrine endorses nuclear-weapons use in response to conventional aggression threatening the homeland, and obstacles to local initiative often break down once hostilities commence… And because Ukraine is so close to the Russian heartland (about 250 miles from Moscow) there’s no telling what might happen once the nuclear “firebreak” is crossed… ~ Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons by Loren Thompson.
Russian studies Professor [of Princeton university] Stephen Cohen told a CNN-TV audience March 9, “I think were two steps from a Cuban Missile Crisis and three steps from war with Russia for the first time.” Prof. Cohen was talking to host Fareed Zakaria, and insisted, “We need to get a negotiation going on…. Over the last 20 years we’ve moved NATO right to Russia’s borders. Ten years ago Putin announced very clearly, I don’t like NATO on my borders, but looking ahead, I have two red lines, one is Georgia, the former Soviet republic. We crossed that red line, he thinks. And we had a war. Now he thinks we’ve crossed the red line elsewhere in Ukraine.” ~ Russia Expert Stephen Cohen: ‘Two Steps From Cuban Missiles Crisis’.
These zombies, raising their crumbling limbs from the dank soil of think tanks, university departments and military alliances, are the Cold War hawks. Shaking off the loam of a quarter-century’s irrelevance, they … stagger en masse onto TV news shows and op-ed pages and, we fear, into ministers’ offices, where they foul the air with their very bad ideas. We need to “show strength” and deliver a “robust response,” lest the West appear to be “in retreat” and insufficiently “assertive,” making us “vulnerable” to attacks from those who see our weakness. We should send ground troops marching to the banks of the Dnieper, and aircraft carriers into the Black Sea, because “this is the only language Putin understands.” What these soldiers are meant to do, we’re never really told. It’s time to get the pitchforks. The Cold Warriors have a consistent record of being wrong. They’re wrong about military power… They’re wrong about Russia … They were wrong the last time around …
By Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail
Moscow’s support was essential in securing the most recent agreement between the P5 + 1 and Iran, and reaching a final agreement with Iran is contingent even more on Russian support. President Putin could pull support from these talks in response to the United States’ position on Ukraine. Near to the end of his term, Obama could then face the prospects of once again trying to prevent a potential scenario where Israel pursues a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program. In the cases of both Syria and Iran, President Obama runs the risk of the situation in Ukraine impacting negatively on his Middle East policy.
Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev summoned Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanayee for a meeting in Moscow to learn strategies for avoiding the brunt of U.S. sanctions. Iran has for years developed elaborate and illegal methods for skirting sanctions on its contested nuclear program, its military, and oil trade. Moiseev is reported to have told Sanayee Russia is “willing to make use of Iran’s experience in dealing with Western sanctions”… Iran also has set up an elaborate network of front companies and networks that have allowed it to procure everything from nuclear-related goods to weapons, and even cash… Moiseev called for closer financial ties with Iran and discussed boosting trade between the two countries. Both Sanayee and Moiseev “called for further coordination between Iran and Russia for the 11th meeting of their Joint Economic Commission” which is scheduled to be held in Tehran later this year. Other top Russian officials also have sought to boost ties with Iran in recent months.
~ Russia Asks Iran: Help Us Skirt U.S. Sanctions By Adam Kredo.
… an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack aimed at the nation’s electrical grid could leave the majority of Americans dead… An overload of radio waves to electric systems, an EMP could result from a natural disaster, such as a solar storm, or a terrorist attack. Franks said “every single facet of modern human life” would be “crippled” by such an event. “It strikes at my very core when I think of the men, women, and children in cities and rural towns across America with a possibility of no access to food, water, or transportation,” he said. “In a matter of weeks or months at most, a worst-case scenario could bring devastation beyond imagination” … Franks has introduced H.R. 3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, … to implement practical steps to protect the electric grid.
~ Hearing: Electric Grid Vulnerable to EMP By Elizabeth Harrington.
… Cyber Command, currently staffed by 1,100 people … The main concerns are cyber attacks from nation states such as China or Russia that could create massive power outages in the United States, or an attack on U.S. financial networks, such as stock exchanges and financial institutions, that could cripple the economy… U.S. military personnel also lack training and readiness needed to confront advanced cyber threats, Alexander added, and military commanders lack confidence about what levels of risk are acceptable in the cyber domain. They also lack a “reliable situational awareness”—military jargon for knowing what is in the battle space, globally or in U.S. military systems, he said… Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of Cyber Command, also testified at the hearing that cyber threats are increasing… Haney said plans call for creating 133 “cyber mission teams” staffed by over 6,000 people by the end of 2016. So far 17 teams are deployed in a variety of missions within combatant commands and at Cyber Command headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
~ Gen. Alexander tells Senate threat of major cyber attacks is growing By Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon.
Under normal operation (not the end of the world), I collect used engine oil and fuel from changed filters off Peterbilt trucks I service (roughly 120 trucks). I filter and blend this used oil with a setup at my house that I will detail later. However, in a SHTF scenario, the theory would be collecting the engine oil and automatic transmission fluid or even power steering fluid from abandoned vehicles, which will have run out of fuel on the road, to make a custom blend of usable emergency fuel for your diesel… The proper vehicle to run this fuel would be one with a mechanically-injected older diesel engine, pre-1997 would be safest. All older IDI Fords, 6.9 l and pre-powerstroke 7.3 l engines do well on it.
By Matt Conner
65 percent of Americans do not think the U.S. should provide military aid and equipment to Ukraine in response to Russia’s actions, while only 26 percent think the U.S. should. Majorities of Republicans (59 percent), Democrats (67 percent), and independents (69 percent) are opposed to providing military aid and equipment to Ukraine.
~ CBS News Polls