Friday, December 13, 2013

Obama’s Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing

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Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing - Washington Times

....I’m sorry, congressman,” Mr. Dobbins said.

Mr. Rohrabacker called the lack of an answer “disheartening.”

“How many killed and wounded have we suffered in the last 12 months,” he asked.

Again, none of the three had an answer. Mr. Dumont said he would get back to him.

“We’re supposed to believe you fellows have a plan that is going to end up in a positive way in Afghanistan,” the congressman said. “Holy cow.”

Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said he was stunned.

“I say to the panel, Mr. Rohrabacker is right. How you can come to a congressional oversight hearing on this subject, with your titles and not know how much we”re spending every year and not know how many casualties we incur this last year, I will say to chairman of this committee, is actually a stunning, stunning development.”...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

World War II in Europe: Every Day

USAAF bombers damaged/shot down

Nightwatch - Non-Jihadist Syrian opposition has collapsed

NightWatch 20131211 - KGS

Syria: Today the non-jihadist opposition in Syria essentially collapsed. General Idris, the leader of the so-called moderates, fled to Turkey just before jihadists captured his offices. The US and UK announced the termination of their non-lethal military aid to the non-jihadists after they proved unable to prevent jihadists from capturing a warehouse of supplies. Late reports indicate all storehouses of US supplies are now controlled by the Islamic Front.

 

Turkey's Commerce Ministry announced it was closing all border crossing points into Syria because of the factional clashes among opposition forces....

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SkyJack: The drone that hijacks other drones in mid-air

SkyJack: The drone that hijacks other drones in mid-air

...For his latest project, Kamkar rigged a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 with a Raspberry Pi, a USB battery, and two wireless adapters, before uploading his custom programming. The SkyJack software is designed for Linux devices and runs a few supporting programs in sequence to effectively hijack any drones in the area.

Once activated, one of the wireless adapters will detect any nearby wireless connections in range and identify the ones associated with other UAVs. It then automatically disconnects these drones from their owners through raw packet injection, much like a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Meanwhile, the other adapter creates a wireless network of its own and connects to the disabled drones as if it were their original owners'....

Hamid Karzai heads to India waving wish list of military hardware

Hamid Karzai heads to India waving wish list of military hardware - Livemint

New Delhi: Afghanistan is pressing India to supply military helicopters, tanks and artillery as it tries to shore up security through regional alliances before the withdrawal of most NATO-led foreign troops by the end of 2014.
President Hamid Karzai will use a visit to India at the end of this week to push for progress on a “wish list” of military equipment he handed New Delhi in May.
India has invested $2 billion in aid and reconstruction and trained scores of Afghan officers, but has so far stopped short of arms transfers for fear of provoking Pakistan, as well as armed groups in Afghanistan....
 
-bth: his western supply lines are drying up so he heads to India

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Planes Parked in Weeds in Kabul After $486 Million Spent - Bloomberg

Planes Parked in Weeds in Kabul After $486 Million Spent - Bloomberg

Sixteen broken-down transport planes that cost U.S. taxpayers at least $486 million are languishing among the weeds, wooden cargo boxes and old tires at Kabul International Airport, waiting to be destroyed without ever being delivered to the Afghan Air Force.

The special inspector general for Afghanistan is investigating why the refurbished G222 turboprop aircraft from Finmeccanica SpA’s Alenia Aermacchi North America unit no longer can be flown after logging only 200 of 4,500 hours of U.S.-led training flights and missions required from January to September 2012 under a U.S Air Force contract because of persistent maintenance issues.

The unused transport planes are in addition to the billions of dollars in wasted U.S. funds documented by the inspector general’s office since American troops entered Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They also compound the doubts about the Afghan Air Force’s capability to operate independently after U.S. forces withdraw by the end of next year....

-bth: so we just pissed away 1/2 a billion on aircraft that the Afghans can't fly, can't be maintained and were unusable in the newly discovered heat and dust of Afghanistan.  And so our solution is to buy he Afghans new planes from Lockheed. What a 3 star cluster.  Unbelievable.

 

Former French fighter in Syria: 'We are all al-Qaeda' - BBC

BBC News - Former French fighter in Syria: 'We are all al-Qaeda'

The BBC has obtained an exclusive face-to-face interview with a 25-year-old student from France who travelled to Syria to fight as part of the biggest brigade of foreign jihadists.

He says he has now left the brigade because it recently pledged full allegiance to an organisation called the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria or ISIS - the most hardline group linked to al-Qaeda.

ISIS is now one of the dominant forces in northern Syria where it controls several towns....

-bth: an interview worth watching. Only two months ago the US was being led to war to support this group. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media

Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media | Reuters

(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia's media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow's image abroad.

The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin's hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.

Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin's concern about the president's ratings and image....

-bth: the consolidation of state power continues in Russia.

America's Place in the World

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Impending Japan-China war has the makings of a Clancy classic - Japan Times

Impending Japan-China war has the makings of a Clancy classic | The Japan Times

...“Unlike Japan, the U.S. military would immediately respond to a radar lock-on threat by shooting down the Chinese planes,” asserts military analyst Mitsuhiro Sera. “It would naturally regard an aircraft flying overhead as hostile. They would shoot at it even if that were to risk discrediting the Obama administration.”

“With the creation of Japan’s National Security Council on Dec. 4, Japan-U.S. solidarity meets a new era,” an unnamed diplomatic source told Shukan Gendai. “If a clash were to occur between the U.S. and China, it would be natural for the Self-Defense Forces to provide backup assistance. This was confirmed at the ‘two-plus-two’ meeting on Oct. 3.”

“China is bent on wresting the Senkakus away from Japan, and if Japan dispatches its Self-Defense Forces, China will respond with naval and air forces,” Saburo Takai predicts in Flash. “In the case of an incursion by irregular forces, that would make it more difficult for the U.S. to become involved. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs would protest through diplomatic channels, but China would attempt to present its takeover as a fait accompli.

“China fears a direct military confrontation with the U.S.,” Takai adds. “A few days ago, two U.S. B-52s transited the ADIZ claimed by China, but the flights were not for any vague purpose. I suppose the Chinese tracked the flights on their radar, but the B-52s have electronic detection functions that can identify radar frequencies, wavelength and source of the signals. These flights are able to lay bare China’s air defense systems. It really hits home to the Chinese that they can’t project their military power.”

Which side, wonders Shukan Gendai, will respond to a provocation by pulling the trigger? The game of chicken between two great superpowers is about to begin.

-bth: we need to be careful as both China and Japan's politicians may have domestic issues they want to resolve by causing a fight that draws the US into a pointless conflict between these two powers.  Think not?  The assassination of an unimportant Duke caused WWI to erupt.