February 8, 2017

Iron Dome intercepts three rockets from Sinai headed for Eilat

Five people treated for shock, but no other injuries or damage caused by projectiles fired from Egypt; incident comes hours after mortar shell strikes Golan Heights

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets headed for the southern city of Eilat late Wednesday night, while a fourth fell in an open area, the army said.

This fourth rocket was not shot down by the missile defense battery as it was headed towards an open field, a military spokesperson said.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iron-dome-intercepts-two-rockets-from-sinai-headed-for-eilat/

Pearl Harbor 2? China ‘has prepared for a preemptive strike against US military bases which would cripple American forces in the region’

  • An investigation of satellite imagery compares China’s missile testing grounds and US military bases
  • The images show that the test areas have been designed to look like the military bases, according to the report 
  • Earlier this week, a highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile capable of threatening US and Japan bases in Asia made its latest appearance 
  • The medium-range DF-16 featured in a video posted last week

The levels at which China appears to be planning a missile attack on US military bases in the Pacific have been detailed in a new report.

An investigation of satellite imagery comparing China’s missile testing grounds and US military bases shows a pattern – all of the missile tests have been aimed at destroying US carriers, destroyers and airfields in East Asia, the report said.

The images show that the test areas have been designed to look like the military bases, according to the report by Thomas Shugart on War on the Rocks.

Earlier this week, a highly accurate Chinese ballistic missile capable of threatening US and Japan bases in Asia made its latest appearance at recent Rocket Force drills

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4204262/China-prepared-pre-emptive-strike-against-US.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4204262/China-prepared-pre-emptive-strike-against-US.html#ixzz4Y8Y4RPV3
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EXCLUSIVE: Iranian Boat Had Guns Pointed at U.S. Ship, Commander Says

ABOARD THE USS MAHAN, ARABIAN GULF — Iranian forces in a fast-attack boat had their guns pointed right at a U.S. destroyer as it sped directly towards the ship, in a dangerous encounter in January, a U.S. Navy captain said.

Fearing collision, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Marc Davis was eventually forced to fire three warning shots from the ship’s .50 caliber guns, he said in a recent one-on-one interview with Breitbart News, where he shared new details about the incident.

The contact began early Sunday morning on January 8 when one of four Iranian boats harassing the Mahan began speeding straight towards the destroyer and its 330 sailors onboard, forcing a series of attempts to get it to stop.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/02/08/u-s-navy-commander-discusses-close-encounter-with-iranian-fast-attack-boat/

 

Russia sends Syria its largest missile delivery to date, US officials say

The shipment of 50 SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus along the Mediterranean Sea in the past two days, the officials said.

“For someone winding down a war, that’s a big missile shipment,” one official said.

Russia has fired two SS-21 missiles and four longer-range SS-26 Iskander missiles in the past two days into Syria’s Idlib province against “opposition” fighters, according to those officials. It was not immediately clear whether the U.S. was backing any of those fighters.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/08/russia-sends-syria-its-largest-missile-delivery-to-date-us-officials-say.html

 

French presidential contender François Fillon faces fresh claims over wife’s pay

Rightwing candidate disputes allegation that Penelope Fillon received €48,000 in severance payments

François Fillon, the rightwing French presidential candidate who has refused to quit over allegations he paid his wife from public funds for a fake job, has been hit with fresh claims that she was given generous severance payments.

The investigative and satirical weekly, the Canard Enchaîné, claimed British-born Penelope Fillon, who was highly paid from taxpayers’ money for 15 years as a parliamentary assistant, had received a total of €45,000 (£38,400) in severance payments at the end of two contracts

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/07/french-presidential-contender-francois-fillon-faces-fresh-claims-over-wifes-pay

Alexei Navalny: Russian opposition leader found guilty of embezzlement

Retrial conviction prevents anti-corruption activist and critic of Vladimir Putin from running in 2018 presidential election

in Moscow

A court has found Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement in a retrial, barring him from running in the 2018 presidential election.

As the judge read out the sentence on Wednesday, Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova told journalists the conviction would prevent him from taking part in the election, which he registered for in November.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power since the end of 1999, is widely expected to run for president again, and his approval ratings remain well above 80%.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/08/alexei-navalny-russian-opposition-leader-found-guilty-embezzlement

Most Europeans want to STOP migration from Muslim countries, study finds, as controversy rages over Donald Trump’s US travel ban

  • 55 per cent of people in 10 European nations want to curb immigration
  • Research was done by the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs
  • 10,000 respondents were asked if they wanted to stop migrants arriving from predominately Muslim countries
  • It was carried out before Donald Trump’s controversial immigration measures 

‘Sobering’ new figures reveal that more than half of Europeans favour banning immigration from predominately Muslim countries.

A survey carried out by London-based think-tank The Royal Institute of International Affairs found that 55 per cent of Europeans across 10 countries  think further immigration from mostly-Muslim countries should stop.

The research by the institute, based at Chatham House, was carried out before Donald Trump introduced his controversial immigration ban in the US.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4199918/Most-Europeans-want-end-migration-Muslim-countries.html#ixzz4Y6935Zgp

Taliban murder two of our UK hero interpreters: One man was shot after being branded a spy while second was killed when UK failed to answer his desperate call for help

  • MPs heard one was ‘dragged from his car and shot twice for being a spy’
  • Another was killed despite UK unit being set up to ‘answer his calls for help’
  • Defence Minister admitted UK considering sending more troops to Afghanistan

Interpreter Rafi Hottak told the Commons’ defence select committee that one translator was dragged from his car and shot twice by insurgents after being branded a spy.

The other translator who risked his life to help British soldiers was killed after a UK unit set up to help desperate interpreters failed to answer his calls for help.

Details of the horrific killings emerged as defence minister Mike Penning admitted Britain’s policy towards Afghan interpreters is not as ‘generous’ as the US.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4201906/Taliban-murder-two-hero-interpreters.html#ixzz4Y69tZIo2

Yemen reportedly withdraws permission to allow US ground missions

Yemen has withdrawn permission for U.S. forces to conduct antiterror ground missions in the country after a deadly commando raid last month that reportedly resulted in civilian casualties.

The New York Times, citing unnamed American officials, reported Tuesday that neither the White House nor the Yemenis have publically announced the suspension.  The report said  it is unclear if  the Yemenis  were influenced at all by President Trump’s travel ban order  that included Yemen on the list of banned countries.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/08/yemen-reportedly-withdraws-permission-to-allow-us-ground-missions.html

Yemen denies it has banned US commando raids

The Associated Press reported Yemen Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi said on Wednesday that reports that operations were suspended following a raid that killed multiple civilians and one Navy SEAL were not true.

“Yemen continues to cooperate with the United States and continues to abide by all the agreements, ” he said.

He added Yemen “is involved in talks with the U.S. administration on the latest raid.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/yemen-denies-it-has-banned-us-commando-raids/article/2614226

Trump to approve weapons packages to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain blocked by Obama

– The Washington Times

The Trump administration is poised to move quickly to approve major weapons packages for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that President Obama blocked during his final months in office over human rights concerns in both nations, U.S. officials and congressional sources say.

While the White House declined to discuss its plans, one U.S. official directly involved in the transfers told The Washington Times that a roughly $300 million precision-guided missile technology package for Riyadh and a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal for Bahrain are now in the pipeline ready for clearance from the new administration.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/7/trump-ready-to-approve-weapons-packages-to-saudi-a/

S-400 air defense systems mobilized near Moscow in snap exercise

Air defense systems around Moscow were put on high alert Wednesday as part of a surprise nationwide combat readiness drill for the Russian Air Force. The Russian capital is one of the best-prepared areas of the country in terms of nuclear strike defenses.

“Units of the air defense force responsible for defending Moscow and the central industrial region have been put on highest combat alert,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “The air defense mission involves fully-manned combat crews.”

The check involves the redeployment of batteries of S-300, S-400 and Pantsir-S air defense systems to backup positions in a simulation of area contamination, the ministry said. The guards of the batteries also conducted anti-saboteur maneuvers and trained to operate in hard terrain.

https://www.rt.com/news/376694-moscow-air-defense-drill/

‘Macedonia not a country – sorry’: Skopje furious after US Congressman suggests partitioning

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia has expressed its outrage to the US State Department after Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher suggested it was not a country, and should be partitioned by neighbors such as Kosovo and Bulgaria.

According to Rohrabacher, the creation of Macedonia itself was a failed project, and the atmosphere is ripe for a fresh redrawing of the borders.

“My inclination is Macedonia is not a country. I’m sorry – it’s not a country,” the California congressman told Albanian TV channel Vizion Plus.

https://www.rt.com/news/376657-macedonia-split-rohrabacher-republican/

CIA chief to visit Turkey, discuss Kurds, Gulen — officials

In first overseas trip, Mike Pompeo will review Ankara’s request to extradite cleric accused of plotting coup, US support of Syrian rebels

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo will visit Turkey on Thursday in his first overseas trip to discuss security issues, including Turkey’s fight against a movement led by a US-based cleric accused of orchestrating the failed military coup, Turkish officials said, in a sign of improving relations between the allies.

Pompeo’s visit was decided during a 45-minute telephone conversation between US President Donald Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Tuesday, according to officials from Erdogan’s office. They briefed a group of journalists Wednesday on condition of anonymity, in line with government regulations.

The officials said Pompeo would also discuss the issue of Syrian Kurdish fighters — backed by the United States — which Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their affiliation with outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey

http://www.timesofisrael.com/cia-chief-to-visit-turkey-discuss-kurds-gulen-report/

‘Islamic Bonnie and Clyde’ charged with Australia terror plot

19-year-olds Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa accused of planning Sydney stabbing attack, manufacturing homemade bomb

A self-described Australian “Islamic Bonnie and Clyde” couple were Wednesday charged with planning a terrorist act, which reportedly involved a Sydney stabbing attack.

The pair, Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa, both 19, were already in custody accused of collecting documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts.

“Today’s charges follow an extensive investigation by officers from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team and on-going consultation with the Commonwealth DPP,” New South Wales state police said in a statement.

“The charge carries a penalty of life imprisonment.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-bonnie-and-clyde-charged-with-australia-terror-plot/

Germany’s new frontrunner: The Schulz

In a zany political climate, the former president of the European Parliament sees his electoral fortunes rise.

BERLIN — That a small-town mayor turned MEP could be a serious contender for Germany’s chancellorship would rank as nothing less than a political earthquake — that is, if it weren’t for Brexit, Donald Trump or the sudden implosion of François Fillon in France.

But in this zany political climate, Martin Schulz’s sudden surge in popularity is more par for the course than a surprise, the latest example of the punditry’s conventional wisdom being turned on its head.

http://www.politico.eu/article/germanys-new-frontrunner-martin-schulz-angela-merkel-election-chancellor/

Leonardo enters solo T-X bid following break with Raytheon

Leonardo will compete on its own to build the Air Force’s next trainer after announcing last month that it would no longer participate in the bidding process with Raytheon.

Leonardo DRS, the U.S. piece of the Italian defense company, announced on Wednesday that it will compete its T-100 for the contract to build the Air Force’s two-seat jet trainer. The T-100 is a modified version of the company’s M-346 aircraft, a trainer aircraft operated by Italy, Israel, Singapore and Poland.

The Air Force is expected to award the $16.3 billion contract sometime this year.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/leonardo-enters-solo-t-x-bid-following-break-with-raytheon/article/2614244

Moldovan President Warns Against ‘Rush’ To Closer Ties With NATO

RFE/RL


Moldova’s pro-Russia President Igor Dodon has warned NATO against moving too quickly to seek closer ties with Moldova and opening a planned liaison office in Chisinau.

Speaking after talks with NATO deputy head Rose Gottermoeller on February 7, Dodon said the liaison office would be of no benefit to the majority of Moldovans and NATO should not “rush” to open it.

“For me, the opening of such an office is not helpful for the security of the people; it is a provocation set up by the previous government,” he told reporters at NATO headquarters during his first visit to Brussels.

http://www.rferl.org/a/moldovan-president-dodon-warns-against-rush-closer-ties-nato-eu/28297036.html

Strategy to ‘destroy’ North Korea missiles to be applied during exercises

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author  Feb. 7 (UPI) — A bilateral U.S.-South Korea strategy to detect, defend, disrupt and destroy North Korea missiles, also known as 4D, is to be applied to the upcoming Key Resolve joint military exercises.

The 4D operations, jointly approved in November 2015, were first employed in drills in 2016.

In March, the strategy is to become more “concrete,” according to Yonhap news agency.

The Command Post Exercises are to simulate a full-scale war scenario that assumes the deployment and readiness of THAAD, the U.S. missile defense system, at its designated location in central South Korea.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/07/Strategy-to-destroy-North-Korea-missiles-to-be-applied-during-exercises/1551486525158/

Mac malware, possibly made in Iran, targets US defense industry

The malware has also been found targeting a human rights activist

By

Just because you’re using a Mac doesn’t mean you’re safe from hackers. That’s what two security researchers are warning, after finding a Mac-based malware that may be an attempt by Iranian hackers to target the U.S. defense industry.

The malware, called MacDownloader, was found on a website impersonating the U.S. aerospace firm United Technologies, according to a report from Claudio Guarnieri and Collin Anderson, who are researching Iranian cyberespionage threats.

The fake site was previously used in a spear phishing email attack to spread Windows malware and is believed to be maintained by Iranian hackers, the researchers claimed.

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3166942/security/mac-malware-possibly-made-in-iran-targets-us-defense-industry.html

Russia completes S-300 missile systems supplies to Iran in 2016 – TASS

Moscow has completed supplies of S-300 missile systems to Tehran in 2016, TASS news agency quoted the Russian envoy to Iran as saying on Wednesday.

ISIS monsters burn 20 civilians ALIVE in ceremonial execution as crowd forced to watch

ISIS sickos have carried out a mass public execution on 20 civilians by burning them alive for treason.

Jihadis forced a crowd to watch as they tied up and burned the men and women to death in the occupied city of Mosul, Iraq.The stronghold remains in ISIS hands despite an ongoing siege from the Iraqi Army spearheaded by commando unit the Golden Division.

ISIS executions and torture methods in the city are becoming more brutal as the cult loses its grip – with their religious police Al-Khansa now armed with “metal jaws” to bite women to death.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/586411/ISIS-Mosul-Execution-Fire-Civilians-Burning-Spies-Iraq-Army-Siege-Battle-Liberation

Senators Recognize Reservist Cyber Skills in New Bill

[Editor’s Note: This is a very smart and positive move.  See our Defense News article on the subject at http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/commentary/2016/05/19/take-advantage-reserves-innovation/84587450/)

UK / EMEA News Reporter , Infosecurity Magazine

US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill designed to ensure the Department of Defense knows the exact cybersecurity capabilities of the National Guard and reserve forces, so that the government is better prepared to deal with a possible future incident.

The proposed DoD Emergency Response Capabilities Database Enhancement Act of 2017 will update current law, forcing the Pentagon to gain full visibility within a year.

The legislation follows a 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which highlighted the potentially significant cyber capabilities lying dormant in National Guard units.

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