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TBR News January 22, 2018

Jan 22 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 22, 2018:” Because of the growing, and serious, public discontent that had been manifested during the course of the Vietnamese War from 1950 through 1973, the American governmental establishment resolved to take steps to recognize, infiltrate and neutralize any significant future national anti-government actions.

Once the most powerful nation, the United States is rapidly losing its premier position in the international sphere while at the same time facing a potential serious anti-government political movement developing in that country. The number of unemployed in the United States today is approximately 97,000,000. Official American sources claim that employment is always improving but in fact it is not. Most official governmental releases reflect wishful thinking or are designed to placate the public

This situation is caused by the movement, by management, of manufacturing businesses to foreign labor markets. While these removals can indeed save the companies a great deal of expenditure on domestic labor, by sharply reducing their former worker bodies to a small number, the companies have reduced the number of prospective purchasers of expensive items like automobiles.

The U.S. government’s total revenue is estimated to be $3.654 trillion for fiscal year 2018.

  • Personal income taxes contribute $1.836 trillion, half of the total.
  • Another third ($1.224 trillion) comes from payroll taxes.

This includes $892 billion for Social Security, $270 billion for Medicare and $50 billion for unemployment insurance.

  • Corporate taxes add $355 billion, only 10 percent.
  • Customs excise taxes and tariffs on imports contribute $146 billion, just 4 percent
  • The Federal Reserve’s net income adds $70 billion.
  • The remaining $23 billion of federal income comes from estate taxes and miscellaneous receipts.
  • The use of secret offshore accounts by US citizens to evade U.S. federal taxes costs the U.S. Department of the Treasury well over $100 billion annually.

By moving from a producing to an importing entity, the United States has developed, and is developing, serious sociological and economic problems in a significant number of its citizens, and many suffer from serious health problems that are not treated.

It is estimated that over 500,000 American citizens are without any form of housing. Many of these people either are living on the streets, in public parks, living in cars or in charity shelters. There are at present over 200,000 family groups in America with over 300,000 individuals involved and 25% of the total are minor children.

Over 80,000 individuals are permanently without any residence. Many of these have physical disabilities such as chronic alcoholism or drug addiction. Many are classified as having severe mental disorders.

About 50,000 of these homeless individuals are military veterans, many of whom have serious physical or mental problems. One of the most common mental disorders is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Governmental treatment for these individuals is virtually non-existent.  Approximately half of this number are either black or Latin American (“Hispanics” in official designation.)

Of the total number of the homeless individuals, approximately 10% are female.

Official but private, estimates are that there over 500,000 youths below the age of 24 in current American society that find themselves homeless for periods lasting from one week to a permanent status.

Over 100,000 of this class are young people who are defined as being homosexual. Those in this class find themselves persecuted to a considerable degree by society in general and their peer groups in specific.

Approximately 50% of this homeless population are over the age of 50, many of whom suffer from chronic, debilitating physical illnesses that are not treated.

Drug deaths in the U.S. in 2017 exceeded 60,000.  Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involved prescriptions. Opioids are a class of strong painkillers drugs and include Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin which are synthetic drugs designed to resemble opiates such as opium derived morphine and heroin. The most dangerous opioid is Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. The increasing demand for these drugs is causing them to be manufactured outside the United States.

Suicide is the primary cause of “injury death” in the United States and more U.S. military personnel on active duty have killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.

The growing instability of American families is manifested by the fact that:

  • One out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.
  • More than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock for women under the age of 30 living in the United States
  • The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.
  • The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world although the numbers have declined in recent years due to the use of contraceptives.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world. The criminal justice system in the United States holds more than 4,166,000 people in 1,719 state prisons, 102,000 in federal prisons, 901,000 in juvenile correctional facilities, and 3,163,000 in local jails. Additionally, 5,203,400 adults are on probation or on parole.

The number of people on probation or parole has increased the population of the American corrections system to more than 9,369,400 in 2017. Corrections costs the American taxpayer $69 billion a year.”

 

 

Table of Contents

  • Senate moves to end government shutdown
  • Russsia-Gate Implodes
  • FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump FBI Agents
  • It’s Time We Saw Sanctions for What They Really Are – War Crimes
  • Blowback: How U.S. Drones, Coups, and Invasions Just Create More Violence
  • San Francisco or Mumbai? UN envoy encounters homeless life in California
  • An Insurgent Campaign Is Targeting the Very Heart of the Chicago Democratic Machine — and Just Might Win
  • ‘Legalized loan sharking’: payday loan customers recount their experiences
  • World’s richest 1% bagged 82% of global wealth in 2017, while poorest half got nothing – Oxfam
  • Merkel’s Got Some Explaining To Do
  • Catalan crisis rekindled as parliament proposes Puigdemont as leader

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TBR News January 21, 2018

Jan 21 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 21, 2018:” Here is a communication from an interested reader:

’ The truth must be made known about Planet X! The reason for not announcing it is due to religious beliefs it would cause the world to go into physiological panic. It was discovered by NASA probes Pioneer 10 and 11 and was announce on the Paul Harvey news cast as a possible 10th planet but when our government realized the implications of an incoming body which has its unique elliptical orbit around two suns.

It has turned into a national security issue, our government knows and is afraid of panic.  The whole story of planet X (Nibiru) one of many names for Planet X comes from ancient clay tablets 4000 BC describing a tenth planet and its life on it. They were called The Anunnaki which means in Summerian language they who came from heaven to Earth.  They taught us math, building techniques, farming and etc.

The Summerian land is where IRAQ is now.  The word NIBIRU means planet of crossing.  It has a history or else I would take this as all BS.  These Anunnaki were giants they were 8 to 10 feet tall.  They used the inhabitants to dig for gold they needed for there atmosphere.  I believe in UFOs and the possibility that these aliens was the cause of all religions. This is what our government is afraid of us finding out the real truth.’

          Response:There is no known Planet X or 10th planet in our solar system. Scientists have been looking for about a hundred years. It was believed that such a planet was required to explain the orbital characteristics of the outer planets Uranus and Neptune.

Many searches have been performed and, to date, no evidence of such a planet has emerged. In addition, better information about the masses of outer planets has also now shown that no other planets are necessary to explain the planetary orbits.”

 

 

Table of Contents

  • The Islamic State Is the God That Failed in the Middle East
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s risky gamble could quickly turn sour
  • Syria: Turkish ground troops enter Afrin enclave
  • Turkey: A Perennial Ememy
  • Amazon’s automated grocery store of the future opens Monday
  • ‘Don’t retweet Donald Trump and don’t use his language’
  • Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules
  • German city bans new refugees as anti-migrant mood increases
  • Fierce battle erupts over releasing intelligence report
  • Cancer blood test ‘enormously exciting’

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TBR News January 20, 2018

Jan 20 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 20, 2018:”Although Barnum and Baily circus has gone out of business, the Beltway Circus, starring the Federal Elephant Failures and the Presidential Clown Act is still going strong. These elegant buffoons view the voting public as nothing but money-trees due a nice pat on the head from time to time while they spend the money with great eagerness. And Facebook, the compendium of nonsense and trivia for legions of sheep wearing shoes, promises to print only significant news in the future. As filled as they are with degeneracy and hate mail, this might result in a reduction in readership and make it harder for Mr. Zuckerberg to achieve his goal of the Oval Office.”

 

 

Table of Contents

  • Trump’s year of foreign policy: How to lose allies and alienate nations
  • With government shutdown, Republicans reap what they sow
  • The Myth of Trump’s ‘Global Retreat’
  • Facebook Will Trust Its Untrustworthy Users to Rank the Trustworthiness of News
  • How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs
  • UK teen gained access to CIA chief’s accounts: court
  • Another Bloody American Century
  • Syrian govt condemns ‘Turkish aggression on Afrin’ as defiant Kurds vow to resist
  • Airstrikes pound Syria’s Afrin as Turkey launches ‘Operation Olive Branch’
  • Andreas and Bernhard: Successful Counterfeiting

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TBR News January 19, 2018

Jan 19 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 19, 2018:” Race Riots

1829 Cincinnati, Ohio

1863 New York: Draft Riots: 2,000 killed and 8,000 wounded

1866 Memphis, Tennessee

1868  New Orleans

9 Dec 1873 Clunes, Australia

14 Sep 1874 New Orleans: The Battle of Liberty Place (38 killed, 79 wounded).

1878 Grant Paris, Louisiana: Colfax Massacre (600+ dead)

10 Nov 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina: (8 killed, 30 wounded)

1900  New Orleans

1904 Springfield, Ohio

1906 Springfield, Ohio

13 Aug 1906 Brownsville, Texas

22 Sep 1906 Atlanta

14 Aug 1908  Springfield, Illinois

2 Jul 1917 East St. Louis, Illinois: (200 killed)

23 Aug 1917 Houston, Texas: 19 dead. Later, 13 members of the 24th Infantry Regiment are hanged.

25 Jul 1918 Chester, Pennsylvania: (5 killed)

26 Jul 1918 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: (4 killed, 60 wounded)

5 Jun 1919 Liverpool.

6 Jun 1919 Newport, England.

11 Jun 1919 Cardiff, Wales.

11 Jun 1919 Barry, England.

11 Jun 1919 Chicago: A riot erupts at the white-only 29th Street Beach.

14 Jun 1919 London.

Jul 1919 Gregg County, Texas

19 Jul 1919 Washington, DC: (40 killed, 150 wounded)

27 Jul 1919 Chicago: At the whites-only 29th Street bridge, a white man tosses rocks at a group of black boys floating in a raft. He manages to bean Eugene Williams in the forehead, who panics and drowns. Five days of rioting ensue. (38 killed, 291 wounded)

27 Jul 1919 Cardiff, Wales

Aug 1919  Knoxville, Tennessee: (7 killed)

31 May 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma: After a white woman claimed that a black man had grabbed her arm in an elevator, the largest race riot in U.S. history broke out. Marauding whites set fire to the exclusively-negro Greenwood district, leveling its 35 city blocks of black-owned businesses. Somebody even dropped explosives onto the buildings from an airplane. The official death toll is reported as 36, but later historians estimate it was more like 300.

1923 Rosewood, Florida: (8 killed, dozens wounded)

Feb 1942 Detroit, Michigan

1943 Beaumont, Texas

1943 Harlem, New York

1 Jun 1943 Los Angeles: Zootsuit riots, between zoot suiters and sailors. Time Magazine called it “the ugliest brand of mob action since the coolie race riot of the 1870’s.”

20 Jun 1943 Detroit, Michigan: Belle Island Riots (34 killed, 700 wounded)

1946 Columbia, Tennessee: (2 killed, 10 wounded)

1946 Athens, Alabama: (100 wounded)

1946 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1960 Chattanooga, Tennessee

1960 Biloxi, Mississippi

1960 Jacksonville, Florida

1 Oct 1962 Mississippi

1964 Harlem, New York: (1 killed, 100+ wounded)

1964 Rochester, New York: (4 killed, 350 wounded)

1964 Paterson, New Jersey: (100+ wounded)

1964 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

11 Aug 1965 Los Angeles: Watts Riots. (35 killed, 1000 wounded)

1966 Los Angeles: Watts again

Jul 1967 Newark, New Jersey: (23 killed)

23 Jul 1967 Detroit, Michigan: (43 killed)

Jul 1969 York, Pennsylvania: (2 deaths)

4 Jul 1970 Asbury Park, New Jersey: (100 wounded)

17 May 1980 A three-day race riot breaks out after an all-white jury acquitted four white Miami police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance salesman. The cops had beaten him with their flashlights and billyclubs, and he died in the hospital. 18 fatalities and more than $100 million in property damage are the final result.

16 Jan 1989 Three days of race riots begin in Overtown, Miami when a black man fleeing on motorcycle is killed by a hispanic police officer. 125 blocks are sealed off during the riots.

29 Apr 1992 Los Angeles: Rodney King Riot: (52 killed, 3000 wounded)

1995 Bradford, England

9 Apr 2001 Cincinnati, Ohio

26 May 2001 Three days of rioting begin in Oldham, England.

Jun 2001 London

7 Jul 2001 Bradford, England.

6 Nov 2002 Antwerp, Belgium

16 Feb 2004 Redfern, Australia (suburb of Sydney)

6 Aug 2011  race rioting broke out in north London and flared for four nights across the capital and other English cities as black street gangs and looters trashed shops and vehicles.”

 

 

Table of Contents

  • The ‘New Anti-Semitism’
  • Trump Administration Tells Puerto Rico It’s Too Rich for Aid Money
  • One year under Trump: ‘War of attrition’ on journalists
  • Finding Your Voice: Forget About Siri and Alexa — When It Comes to Voice Identification the “NSA Reigns Supreme”
  • A US-Turkish Clash in Syria?
  • Turkey launches offensive against Kurdish-held Afrin in Syria
  • Trump is ‘obsessed’ and ‘terrified’ of sharks – but his fears are excessive

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TBR News January 17, 2018

Jan 17 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

Washington, D.C. January 17, 2018:”One of our contributors apparently has managed to compile a long list of German citizens who are working for a foreign power.

He sent the list to various agencies in Germany with a threat to make the list public if action were not taken.

Outing an American CIA agent is one matter but exposing a foreign domestic traitor is entirely another.

The latter is better known as rodent control.

In the old days, the Gestapo would have taken such a person out into the woods for a one-way trip but these days, being influenced by beneficial American democracy, they merely have traitorous diplomats shipped to some remote area of the world where they can no longer steal state secrets and businessmen get arrested for aggressive jaywalking or overdue library books.

I personally am in favor for the Walk in the Woods solution but I have no say in the matter.

And yesterday, a foreign newspaperman asked me to tell him something really positive about Sub-Saharan Africa. I said ‘HIV’ and he laughed.’

 

Table of Contents

  • Our Potemkin Village
  • Why governments are broken – and how to fix them
  • President Trump’s ‘Friends’ in Saudi Arabia
  • Bitcoin slumps below $10,000, half its peak, as regulatory fears intensify
  • CIA rendition flights from rustic North Carolina called to account by citizens
  • CIA Rendition and Codes

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TBR News January 16, 2018

Jan 16 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 16, 2018:”In the Ukraine, the new Ukraine established by the machinations of the CIA, there exist a number of very unwholesome internet pornographic sites.

Among these are two really sick ones that deal with child pornography and child sado-machosim. These sites claim they have “protected use” devices which allow a viewer to remain anonymous.

Unfortunately for this concept, Russian computer hackers, working for Wikileaks, have cracked the barriers and fished around inside the sick sites, trolling for the real names and identities of the psychopathic viewers.

Perhaps it is not amazing to discover all manner of names of American legislators, politicians and prominent businessmen.

What do the Wikileaks people plan to do about this?

Publish.

As Republican viewers seem to be in the distinct majority, it is assumed that the leaks will emerge  before the mid-term elections this coming November.

There has been all kinds of trash put into office in America but the public will certainly not accept lecherous child pornographic addicts. Look what happened to Tim Wiener, the beard of Hillary Clinton’s lady friend.”

Table of Contents

  • Bitcoin, rival cryptocurrencies plunge on crackdown fears
  • The Blight House: Trump’s Presidency Sinks Below Rock Bottom
  • European Foreign Ministers Are Being Forced to Side with Iran
  • Christian Fascism: The Seizure of Power in America
  • Strange Evangelical View of Cro-Magnon Man
  • Neoconning the Trump White House
  • U.S. healthcare uninsured rises most in near decade: Gallup
  • OnePlus phone company investigates card fraud claims

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TBR News January 15, 2018

Jan 15 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 15, 2018:” I’m a little late this week because of what I just found out.

It seems that a person, or persons, currently unknown, poured molasses into the oil system of several of the Presidential helicopters!

It was discovered when a guard noticed traces of the molasses dripping on side of the craft and a through check disclosed that not one but two helicopters had been sabotaged.

The molasses would have heated up inside and gummed up the moving parts, causing a crash.

Very few staffers are aware of this which, according to the Marine source, must have happened within the past week.

I asked several mechanics I know (my car is always having engine trouble) about this and both told me that this is an old trick and guaranteed to freeze up the machinery.

Add to this the discovery of a bullet impact on one of the heavily bullet-proof windows of the Oval Office. Nothing was noticed for several days and then a man tending the grounds noticed it.

No one knows when it happened but a week is about the closest anyone can some. They were trying to figure out where the shooter was located but apparently since only one surface was damaged, there was no way to figure this out.

If the bullet had penetrated and hit the President or some object like a desk, figuring the trajectory would be relatively easy.

A Secret Service man told me that Trump has had more serious death threats than any other President since Abraham Lincoln but there is a total blackout on such comments.  Obviously, new security measures have to be taken but I have no idea what they are. I do note that there are more anti-aircraft weapons on the White House roof than on the battleship Iowa!”

 

Table of Contents

  • America’s Civil War
  • So you’re thinking about investing in bitcoin? Don’t
  • China to block cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralized trading: Bloomberg
  • Any rule on Bitcoin must be global, Germany’s central bank says
  • One year under Trump: A shrinking space for protest
  • Centrist Dems Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Trans Woman, All to Keep an Old Straight White Man in Power
  • America Last? EU says Trump is losing on trade
  • Drones keep entering no-fly zones over Washington, raising security concerns
  • US Launches New Spy Satellite on Secret Mission
  • Syria war: Turkey denounces US ‘terror army’ plan for border
  • Erdogan: we will ‘strangle’ U.S.-backed force in Syria “before it’s even born”
  • The Family: The Octopus of God

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TBR News January 13, 2018

Jan 13 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 13, 2018:”We are out of the office until January 15, 2017 ed.”

Table of Contents

 

Table of Contents

  • The Age of Fire and Fury: Humanity as a whole is being set back just because of one single Person.
  • Lost in space? Questions mount over fate of secret satellite as SpaceX pushes ahead
  • California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe
  • Crews ramp up effort to rescue live victims of California mudslide
  • The urban animal: population density and social pathology in rodents and humans
  • Ballistic missile warning sent in error by Hawaii authorities
  • Chelsea Manning files to run as Democrat for US Senate in Maryland
  • Trump’s Failed Coup in Iran
  • The Arctic

 

The Age of Fire and Fury: Humanity as a whole is being set back just because of one single Person.

Where is the world supposed to start again if it manages to survive Donald Trump?

January 12, 2018

by Der SPIEGEL’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief Susanne Beyer

“Fire and Fury” is the title of the new exposé of Donald Trump’s first year in the White House. The tome has only been out for a few days, and yet it has already established itself as one of the books of the year. Even we journalists find ourselves describing the book’s contents as “indescribable” and “unfathomable.” Can the world’s most powerful man really be dumb, senile and addicted to television as the book claims? He spends his early evenings watching three televisions in his bedroom? Eating a cheeseburger and tweeting all the while? An entire White House teetering between hysteria and chaos? And yet, it’s still the journalist’s job to describe the indescribable and fathom the unfathomable.

Our latest cover story explains how “Fire and Fury” came to be and whether, and the extent to which, it approaches the truth. Most importantly, however, it delves into the consequences for an America and a world that have been confronted with a nuclear-armed fool who is likely to remain in office for some time to come, who is neither mentally nor psychologically suited for the job – apparently also not physically, either, given how late he starts the working day and how early he ends it. That, unfortunately, is precisely the point: Humanity as a whole is being set back just because of one single person. The achievements of decades – the fight against a climate disaster, against the nuclear threat, for equality between men and women, between blacks and whites and so on and so on. Where is the world supposed to start again if it manages to survive Donald Trump?

 

 

Lost in space? Questions mount over fate of secret satellite as SpaceX pushes ahead

January 12, 2018

by Christian Davenport

Washington Post

The top-secret satellite known only by a code name, “Zuma,” was a mystery from the start. Its classified mission was intentionally inscrutable, whether to detect missile launches, spy on adversaries or track ships at sea with a space radar.

The satellite was so highly secretive that it was not publicly released which government agency — The National Reconnaissance Office? The CIA? — was responsible for it. During the launch on the evening of Jan. 7, SpaceX cut short its webcast so that it wouldn’t reveal details of where the satellite was going or what it looked like.

Now there’s another mystery: What happened to Zuma?

After reports Monday that the satellite suffered some sort of failure, SpaceX rushed to defend its reputation, denying that it had done anything wrong. Its Falcon 9 rocket “performed nominally,” it said.

Then, on Tuesday morning, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell issued a more strongly worded statement, saying: “For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately.”

Shotwell pushed back on reports that seemed to implicate SpaceX with the satellite’s demise, saying “information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.”

[The mystery behind the fate of a top-secret satellite comes at the height of one of Elon Musk’s biggest rivalries]

Northrop Grumman, the satellite’s manufacturer, said it could not comment on a classified mission. As members of Congress began requesting classified briefings about what, if anything, went wrong, Pentagon officials were also mum.

For SpaceX, the stakes are especially high — not just because a valuable national security asset valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, or more, that it was hired to launch was possibly lost. It had fought so hard for the right to compete for national security launches. After a bitter legal and lobbying battle, the Pentagon certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for the missions and now is relying on SpaceX to reliably fly its satellites to orbit.

Furthermore, NASA is counting on Elon Musk’s company to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, with test flights as early as this year.

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who said he received a “preliminary briefing,” had two concerns about the possible loss of the satellite.

“One is the loss of the intelligence that would have been available,” he said. “The second concern is the reliability of the delivery systems. And that issue is being debated between the contractors, SpaceX and the satellite manufacturer, Northrop.”

While he said he did not know who was to blame, he indicated that the dispute might lead to litigation. “Those two companies are going to have a long and, I suspect, very expensive discussion,” he said.

SpaceX’s resolve and relentless drive were unchanged by the mystery surrounding Zuma (which included the possibility that nothing went wrong and that the satellite was, indeed, in orbit). Last year, the company launched 18 times successfully, a record for SpaceX. This year, it plans to break that record, continuing its disruption of an industry Musk first targeted when he founded SpaceX in 2002.

As critics were quick to call SpaceX’s reliability into question, the company rolled its new powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, onto the same launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center that hoisted the Apollo astronauts to the moon. An engine test fire had been postponed earlier in the week and was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Despite the Zuma mystery, SpaceX vowed to continue with its manifest without delay.

That in itself was a statement: “They’re not going to launch again if they think there’s a chance it was their fault,” said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Matt Desch, the chief executive of Iridium, a communications satellite company that is one of SpaceX’s biggest customers, said in an interview that he “absolutely” had full confidence in SpaceX and that he had no qualms about proceeding with the four launches Iridium has on the Falcon 9 this year.

“We’re moving forward with plans for our next launch,” he said. “I know there are people who would love SpaceX to be taken down a few notches. And I’d be glad to hold them accountable for things they should be held accountable for. But this isn’t one. I believe they weren’t really responsible.”

Meanwhile, SpaceX’s chief rival made a statement of its own on Friday. After a couple-day delay, the United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, launched a Delta IV rocket carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

After a successful liftoff, the rocket was traveling at Mach 1, the speed of sound, within 49 seconds, as it burned through propellant at a rate of 1,950 pounds per second.

“Delta is ripping the sky at incredible speed,” Tory Bruno, the United Launch Alliance’s chief executive, wrote on Twitter.

‘What an incredible way to start off 2018’

On Jan. 7, the SpaceX launch appeared to go smoothly. The company cheered a successful liftoff and then the touchdown of its first-stage booster back on land so that it could be flown again, a practice designed to lower the cost of spaceflight.

Musk on Monday tweeted a long-exposure picture of the launch showing its fiery trail to space — and then the return of the booster, which has become routine for the company.

The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing congratulated SpaceX in a tweet: “What an incredible way to start off 2018 w/the world’s 1st successful launch and landing of this year!”

The launch was an important one for the California-based company founded nearly 16 years ago. Since its early days, Musk has waged war against the traditional contractors, namely the United Launch Alliance, in an attempt to compete for national security launch contracts, generally worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

For years, Musk proclaimed that SpaceX could save taxpayers millions by offering the Pentagon launches for far less than its rival. Meanwhile, the United Launch Alliance maintained that responsibility for vital national security satellites that cost hundreds of millions should not be decided on just price.

More than 10 years ago, even before it had flown a rocket to space successfully, SpaceX sued Boeing and Lockheed Martin in an attempt to block the formation of the United Launch Alliance, which it said was using “strong-armed tactics to demand that the Air Force grant them exclusive long-term contracts.” But SpaceX was derided as an “ankle biter” by its competitors, and the lawsuit went nowhere.

In 2014, SpaceX sued again in an attempt to end the nearly decade-long monopoly the United Launch Alliance held on national security launches, arguing that it should be able to compete for the launch contracts. By that point, SpaceX had been flying its Falcon 9 rocket successfully, and the Air Force settled the case with SpaceX, eventually granting it the certification required for it to compete.

Under mounting pressure from SpaceX, Bruno vowed to “literally transform” the company to compete — and he also continued to champion the firm’s track record of more than 100 successful launches in a row.

Since the contracts became competitively bid, SpaceX has won two of three contests.

‘Space is a risky business’

But it has also had its setbacks. In 2015, a Falcon 9 rocket blew up while carrying cargo to the space station. Then, in 2016, another rocket exploded while being fueled ahead of an engine test. No one was hurt in either explosion, but the payloads, worth millions of dollars, were lost.

In both cases, the company was grounded while it investigated the cause of the problems. As of now, SpaceX is moving ahead with its launch manifest.

“Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule,” Shotwell said.

As for Zuma’s fate, little is known.

This week, members of Congress began receiving briefings but were tight-lipped about the classified sessions.

U.S. Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said in a statement that while he couldn’t comment on classified matters, “space is a risky business.” He said his committee would provide “rigorous oversight that accounts for that risk and ensures that we can meet all of our national security space requirements as the Air Force looks to competitively procure space launch services in the future.”

Harrison, the defense analyst, said that SpaceX is in a frustrating position because it is limited in what it can say publicly about what happened.

“It’s a particular nightmare if nothing went wrong on their part and they can’t prove it because of the classified nature of the mission,” he said.

 

 

California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

A 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months, and it could happen again

January 1, 2013

by B. Lynn Ingram

Scientific American

Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years. Such floods are likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of kilometers.

The atmospheric river storms featured in a January 2013 article in Scientific American that I co-wrote with Michael Dettinger, The Coming Megafloods, are responsible for most of the largest historical floods in many western states. The only megaflood to strike the American West in recent history occurred during the winter of 1861-62. California bore the brunt of the damage. This disaster turned enormous regions of the state into inland seas for months, and took thousands of human lives. The costs were devastating: one quarter of California’s economy was destroyed, forcing the state into bankruptcy.

Today, the same regions that were submerged in 1861-62 are home to California’s fastest-growing cities. Although this flood is all but forgotten, important lessons from this catastrophe can be learned. Much of the insight can be gleaned from harrowing accounts in diary entries, letters and newspaper articles, as well as the book Up and Down California in 1860-1864, written by William Brewer, who surveyed the new state’s natural resources with state geologist Josiah Whitney.

In 1861, farmers and ranchers were praying for rain after two exceptionally dry decades. In December their prayers were answered with a vengeance, as a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed—one after another—into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. The storms produced the most violent flooding residents had ever seen, before or since.

Sixty-six inches of rain fell in Los Angeles that year, more than four times the normal annual amount, causing rivers to surge over their banks, spreading muddy water for miles across the arid landscape. Large brown lakes formed on the normally dry plains between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, even covering vast areas of the Mojave Desert. In and around Anaheim, , flooding of the Santa Ana River created an inland sea four feet deep, stretching up to four miles from the river and lasting four weeks.

Residents in northern California, where most of the state’s 500,000 people lived, were contending with devastation and suffering of their own. In early December, the Sierra Nevada experienced a series of cold arctic storms that dumped 10 to 15 feet of snow, and these were soon followed by warm atmospheric rivers storms. The series of warm storms swelled the rivers in the Sierra Nevada range so that they became raging torrents, sweeping away entire communities and mining settlements in the foothills—California’s famous “Gold Country.” A January 15, 1862, report from the Nelson Point Correspondence described the scene: “On Friday last, we were visited by the most destructive and devastating flood that has ever been the lot of ‘white’ men to see in this part of the country. Feather River reached the height of 9 feet more than was ever known by the ‘oldest inhabitant,’ carrying away bridges, camps, stores, saloon, restaurant, and much real-estate.” Drowning deaths occurred every day on the Feather, Yuba and American rivers. In one tragic account, an entire settlement of Chinese miners was drowned by floods on the Yuba River.

This enormous pulse of water from the rain flowed down the slopes and across the landscape, overwhelming streams and rivers, creating a huge inland sea in California’s enormous Central Valley—a region at least 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. Water covered farmlands and towns, drowning people, horses and cattle, and washing away houses, buildings, barns, fences and bridges. The water reached depths up to 30 feet, completely submerging telegraph poles that had just been installed between San Francisco and New York, causing transportation and communications to completely break down over much of the state for a month. William Brewer wrote a series of letters to his brother on the east coast describing the surreal scenes of tragedy that he witnessed during his travels in the region that winter and spring. In a description dated January 31, 1862, Brewer wrote:

Thousands of farms are entirely under water—cattle starving and drowning. All the roads in the middle of the state are impassable; so all mails are cut off. The telegraph also does not work clear through. In the Sacramento Valley for some distance the tops of the poles are under water. The entire valley was a lake extending from the mountains on one side to the coast range hills on the other. Steamers ran back over the ranches fourteen miles from the river, carrying stock, etc, to the hills. Nearly every house and farm over this immense region is gone. America has never before seen such desolation by flood as this has been, and seldom has the Old World seen the like.

Brewer describes a great sheet of brown rippling water extending from the Coast Range to the Sierra Nevada. One-quarter of the state’s estimated 800,000 cattle drowned in the flood, marking the beginning of the end of the cattle-based ranchero society in California. One-third of the state’s property was destroyed, and one home in eight was destroyed completely or carried away by the floodwaters.

Sacramento, 100 miles up the Sacramento River from San Francisco, was (and still is) precariously located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. In 1861, the city was in many ways a hub: the young state’s sparkling new capital, an important commercial and agricultural center, and the terminus for stagecoaches, wagon trains, the pony express and riverboats from San Francisco. Although floods in Sacramento were not unknown to the residents, nothing could have prepared them for the series of deluges and massive flooding that engulfed the city that winter. The levees built to protect Sacramento from catastrophic floods crumbled under the force of the rising waters of the American River. In early January the floodwaters submerged the entire city under 10 feet of brown, debris-laden water. The water was so deep and dirty that no one dared to move about the city except by boat. The floodwaters caused immense destruction of property and loss of life.

California’s new Governor, Leland Stanford, was to be inaugurated on January 10, but the floodwaters swept through Sacramento that day, submerging the city. Citizens fled by any means possible, yet the inauguration ceremony took place at the capital building anyway, despite the mounting catastrophe. Governor Stanford was forced to travel from his mansion to the capital building by rowboat. Following the expedited ceremony, with floodwaters rising at a rate of one foot per hour, Stanford rowed back to his mansion, where he was forced to steer his boat to a second story window in order to enter his home. Conditions did not improve in the following weeks. California’s legislature, unable to function in the submerged city, finally gave up and moved to San Francisco on January 22, to wait out the floods.

Sacramento remained underwater for months. Brewer visited the city on March 9, three months after the flooding began, and described the scene:

Such a desolate scene I hope to never see again. Most of the city is still under water, and has been there for three months. A part is out of the water, that is, the streets are above water, but every low place is full—cellars and yards are full, houses and walls wet, everything uncomfortable. No description that I can write will give you any adequate conception of the discomfort and wretchedness this must give rise to. I took a boat and two boys, and we rowed about for an hour or two. Houses, stores, stables, everything, were surrounded by water. Yards were ponds enclosed by dilapidated, muddy, slimy fences; household furniture, chairs, tables, sofas, the fragments of houses, were floating in the muddy waters or lodged in nooks and corners. I saw three sofas floating in different yards. The basements of the better class of houses were half full of water, and through the windows, one could see chairs, tables, bedsteads, etc., afloat. Through the windows of a schoolhouse I saw the benches and desks afloat. Over most of the city boats are still the only way of getting around.

The new Capital is far out in the water—the Governor’s house stands as in a lake—churches, public buildings, private buildings, everything, are wet or in the water. Not a road leading from the city is passable, business is at a dead standstill, everything looks forlorn and wretched. Many houses have partially toppled over; some have been carried from their foundations, several streets (now avenues of water) are blocked up with houses that have floated in them, dead animals lie about here and there—a dreadful picture. I don’t think the city will ever rise from the shock, I don’t see how it can.

The death and destruction of this flood caused such trauma that the city of Sacramento embarked on a long-term project of raising the downtown district by 10 to 15 feet in the seven years after the flood. Governor Stanford also raised his mansion from two to three stories, leaving empty the ground floor, to avoid damage from any future flooding events.

Downstream of Sacramento, towns and villages throughout the eastern San Francisco Bay Area were struggling with catastrophes of their own. Twenty miles northeast of San Francisco, four feet of water covered the entire town of Napa; to the east, the small town of Rio Vista on the Sacramento River was under six feet of water. The entire population of Alamo, at the foot of Mt. Diablo 50 miles east of San Francisco, was forced to flee rising floodwaters. People abandoned their homes in the middle of the night. Some found refuge, others drowned. The San Ramon Valley was one sheet of water from hill to hill as far as the eye could see. The destructive force of the floods was awesome: houses, otherwise intact and complete with their contents, were carried away in the rapids; horses, cattle, and barns were swept downstream for miles.

The heavy rains also triggered landslides and mud slides on California’s steep hillsides. For instance, in Knights Ferry and Mokelumne Hill, nearly every building was torn from its foundation and carried off by thundering landslides, and a major landslide also occurred at the town of Volcano in the Sierra foothills, killing seven people.

The 1861-62 floods extended far beyond the borders of California. They were the worst in recorded history over much of the American West, including northern Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and into British Columbia, as well as reaching inland into Nevada, Utah and Arizona. In Nevada, a normally arid state, twice its typical annual rainfall occurred in the two-month period of December 1861 to January 1862. All this excess water transformed the Carson Valley into a large lake, inundating Nevada City with nine feet of rain in 60 days.

In southern Utah, 1861-62 became known as the “year of the floods,” as homes, barns, a fiber and molasses mill and many forts were washed away, including the adobe home of a Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee. Lee had carefully recorded the weather throughout January 1862 in his diary, noting a solid period of alternating rain and snow with strong winds for most of that month. In Oregon, two and a half weeks of solid rain caused the worst flooding in this state’s history. Deluges covered huge portions of the lower Willamette Valley where Oregon City is located. Oregon City was the terminus of the Oregon Trail, and it was the state’s capital, where George Abernathy, an Oregon pioneer and the state’s first elected governor, lived and ran a thriving business. The flood destroyed his home, forcing him (and many others) to leave. Arizona was also impacted: floods occurred in the Gila, Verde, Bright Angel and Colorado River basins between January 19 and 23, 1862, and flooding was severe in Yuma, destroying the city.

Why so many people were caught off-guard by these floods remains a mystery, but clearly these immigrants did not recognize the climatic warning signs. They had never experienced such extreme flooding in the 12 years since the Gold Rush began, although lesser floods were not uncommon. It appears that the Native American populations, who had lived in the region for thousands of years, had deeper insights to the weather and hydrology, and recognized the patterns that result in devastating floods. A piece in the Nevada City Democrat described the Native American response on January 11, 1862:

We are informed that the Indians living in the vicinity of Marysville left their abodes a week or more ago for the foothills predicting an unprecedented overflow. They told the whites that the water would be higher than it has been for thirty years, and pointed high up on the trees and houses where it would come. The valley Indians have traditions that the water occasionally rises 15 or 20 feet higher than it has been at any time since the country was settled by whites, and as they live in the open air and watch closely all the weather indications, it is not improbable that they may have better means than the whites of anticipating a great storm.

The specific weather pattern that the Native Americans of the West recognized and knew would bring particularly severe flooding is once again understood today. The powerful storms originate in the warm and moist tropical Pacific Ocean. Recent research describes these storms more broadly as “atmospheric rivers,” and they often result in the worst floods in not only the American West, but across the globe.

The tragic 1861-62 floods may have temporarily served to wake-up the residents of California and the West to the possible perils of their region’s weather They saw nature at its most unpredictable and terrifying, turning in a day or an hour from benign to utterly destructive. But the costs to the state went beyond the loss of life, property and resources: California’s spirit and confidence was badly shaken.

The lessons of the 1861-62 floods should provide the impetus for flood disaster planning efforts in a region where housing developments and cities are spreading across many floodplains. A critical element of living in a place like California is an awareness of these natural disasters, which requires a deep understanding of the natural patterns and frequencies of these events. Today we have building codes for earthquake safety, but millions of new westerners are not aware of the region’s calamitous climate history. Most have never even heard of the 1861–62 floods, and those may not have been the worst that nature can regularly dish out to the region. In a forthcoming book I co-wrote with Frances Malamud-Roam, THE WEST WITHOUT WATER: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow (University of California Press, Spring 2013) we present evidence for similar if not larger floods that have occurred every one to two centuries over the past two millennia in California, as well as nature’s flip-side: deep and prolonged droughts.

 

Crews ramp up effort to rescue live victims of California mudslide

January 13, 2018

by Paula Lehman-Ewing

Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A massive influx of search and rescue crews scoured parts of California’s Santa Barbara County on Saturday for seven people still missing following mudslides that killed at least 18.

An additional 900 emergency personnel arrived in Montecito, north of Los Angeles, to join the relief effort underway by more than 2,100 personnel from local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the American Red Cross.

“They are hopeful that we will still recover live victims out there,” said Amber Anderson, public information officer for the multi-agency response team.

The ramped-up rescue effort is in response to urgent requests for additional manpower made earlier in the week.“We need that number to effectively meet our objectives,” Anderson said. “To get people here takes time and we’re finally getting that request for influx.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office made a plea for information on any of the missing residents, while acknowledging that finding anyone alive would be a “miracle.”

“The missing persons were reported by family and friends, and resided in areas that were heavily damaged during the storm and subsequent mudslides,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office listed the names of the missing, who range in age from two to 62, in a statement on Friday night.

The disaster struck on Tuesday after heavy rains soaked the area near Montecito, where vegetation had been denuded by the largest wildfire in California’s history.

Sodden hillsides gave way, unleashing a torrent of mud, water, uprooted trees and boulders onto the valley below and causing what the police described as “traumatic injuries” to the victims, who ranged in age from 3 to 89.

One of California’s most celebrated roads, coastal Highway 101, was partially closed, with mud that was two feet deep in places, while in Montecito, mud reached the roof lines of houses, as residents surveyed their damaged homes.

“We have a yard to redo and hopefully our insurance will help out with that, but the people across from me, newer homes, gone,” Garrett Speirs, a 54-year-old artist who has been living in Montecito for 20 years, said.

“Everybody down below gone, two girls gone … Two sixth-graders in the school our kids went to,” Speirs added.

Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Montecito, California, Keith Coffman in Denver, Chris Kenning in Chicago, Gina Cherelus and Peter Szekely in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Scott Malone and Jon Herskovitz; editing by Alexander Smith and Diane Craft

 

The urban animal: population density and social pathology in rodents and humans

February 2009

by Edmund Ramsden

World Health Organization

In a 1962 edition of Scientific American, the ecologist John B Calhoun presented the results of a macabre series of experiments conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).1 He had placed several rats in a laboratory in a converted barn where – protected from disease and predation and supplied with food, water and bedding – they bred rapidly. The one thing they were lacking was space, a fact that became increasingly problematic as what he liked to describe as his “rat city” and “rodent utopia” teemed with animals. Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression. Following the work of the physiologist, Hans Selye, it seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight.2 But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiralled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide followed. Males became hypersexual, pansexual and, an increasing proportion, homosexual. Calhoun called this vortex “a behavioural sink”. Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction. At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost: asexual and utterly withdrawn, they clustered in a vacant huddled mass. Even when reintroduced to normal rodent communities, these “socially autistic” animals remained isolated until death. In the words of one of Calhoun’s collaborators, rodent “utopia” had descended into “hell”.3

Calhoun’s experiments with rats and mice proved extremely influential. His findings resonated with a variety of concerns, including population growth, environmental degradation and urban violence. In the course of a project on the history of stress, Jon Adams of the London School of Economics and I have traced how evidence of crowding pathology, generated in the rodent laboratories of NIMH, travelled to an alternative setting: the buildings, institutions and cities of the social scientist, city planner, architect and medical specialist. While urban sociologists and social psychiatrists explored correlations between density and pathologies in their statistical studies, environmental psychologists moved to the laboratory and fields such as the prison, the school and the hospital. Social and medical scientists were attracted to the possibility of providing evidence of how a physical and measurable variable – density – had important consequences demanding policy response. Many had already begun using Calhoun’s rats to support family planning programmes or for improving the physical design of the city.4

However, results from human studies of crowding proved inconsistent. In an influential series of experiments by the psychologist Jonathan Freedman, individuals employed to carry out tasks under varying conditions of density displayed few pathologies.5 Focus now shifted away from simply identifying the pathological consequences of density and towards factors that mediated its effects. This was aided by a distinction between “density” as a physical measure and “crowding” as a subjective response.6 Feeling crowded was determined by a range of social and psychological factors: an individual’s desired level of privacy, their ability to control a situation or their social role. Increased density might be inevitable but human beings were capable of coping with crowding.

Yet this did not mean that Calhoun’s research was rejected. Researchers recognized that Calhoun’s work was not simply about density in a physical sense, as number of individuals-per-square-unit-area, but was about degrees of social interaction. By reducing unwanted interaction through improved design of space – providing prisoners with individual cells or patients with independent living areas – crowding stress could be avoided.7 This had been the focus of Calhoun’s later research. Through improved design and increased control, Calhoun attempted to develop more collaborative and adaptable rodent communities capable of withstanding greater degrees of density.8

Continued problems of prison overcrowding and transport congestion ensure that the subject of crowding stress remains pertinent, but the relevance of Calhoun’s experiments is less commonly acknowledged. Towards the end of his career, Calhoun, who died in 1995, would be increasingly dismayed that it was a simplified, negative message – population density equals pathology – that was more commonly associated with his work, making his contribution seem not only flawed in the human context, but dangerous. In the words of the sociologists Fischer & Baldassare: “A red-eyed, sharp-fanged obsession about urban life stalks contemporary thought.”9 In focusing upon crowding, not only were the benefits of dense city-living ignored, but other causes of urban pathology, such as poverty and inequality, were neglected. Yet Calhoun’s work considered many of these factors, suggested how they could be overcome, and as such, his role deserves reconsideration. ■

Ballistic missile warning sent in error by Hawaii authorities

January 13, 2018

by Jolyn Rosa

Reuters

HONOLULU (Reuters) – An emergency alert was sent mistakenly on Saturday to Hawaii’s residents warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack when an employee at the state emergency management agency pushed the “wrong button,” Hawaii’s governor said.

State officials and the U.S. military’s Pacific Command confirmed that there was no actual threat to the state. But for more than a half hour, before the agency retracted the warning, panicked Hawaiians scrambled to find shelter.

The mistaken alert stated: “EMERGENCY ALERT BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Governor David Ige, who apologized for the mistake, said in televised remarks that the alert was sent during a employee shift change at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Vern Miyagi, the agency’s administrator, called it “human error.”

“It was a procedure that occurs at the change of shift where they go through to make sure that the system, that it’s working. And an employee pushed the wrong button,” the Democratic governor said, adding that such shift changes occur three times a day every day of the year.

The alert, sent to mobile phones and aired on television and radio shortly after 8 a.m., was issued amid high international tensions over North Korea’s development of ballistic nuclear weapons.

“I was awakened by the alert like everyone else here in the state of Hawaii. It was unfortunate and regrettable. We will be looking at how we can improve the procedures so it doesn’t happen again,” Ige added.

Miyagi said, “It was an inadvertent mistake. The change of shift is about three people. That should have been caught. … It should not have happened.”

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which has jurisdiction over the emergency alert system, announced it was initiating a full investigation. Earlier this week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the agency would vote at its January meeting to enhance the effectiveness of wireless emergency alerts, which have been in place since 2012.

Stacey Bow, 56, of Honolulu, said she was awakened to the emergency alert on her smart phone. She awakened her 16-year-old daughter with the news. “She became hysterical, crying, you know, just lost it,” she said.

Bow said of the person responsible for issuing the alert, “I imagine that person is clearing out their desk right now. You don’t get a do-over for something like that.”

CHECK LIST

Miyagi said there was a “check list” that should have been followed. He said, “I think we have the process in place. It’s a matter of executing the process.” He added, “This will not happen again.”

Hawaii, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 1.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is home to Pacific Command, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and other elements of the American military.

In November, Hawaii said it would resume monthly statewide testing of Cold War-era nuclear attack warning sirens for the first time in at least a quarter of a century, in preparation for a possible missile strike from North Korea.

North Korean President Kim Jong-un has threatened to unleash his country’s growing missile weapon capability against the U.S. territory of Guam or U.S. states, prompting President Donald Trump to threaten tough action against Pyongyang, including “fire and fury.”

Trump was wrapping up a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida when the incident was unfolding. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Trump was briefed and that it “was purely a state exercise.”

Michael Sterling, 56, of Los Angeles, was in Waikiki when he received the alert.

“I was thinking what could we do? There is nothing we can do with a missile,” Sterling said.

School administrator Tamara Kong, 43, of Honolulu, said, “Today, the whole state of Hawaii experienced a collective moment of panic and relief.”

 

 Chelsea Manning files to run as Democrat for US Senate in Maryland

  • Federal election documents confirm Manning’s intention to run in November
  • Manning jailed in 2010 for passing files to WikiLeaks and was freed last year

January 13, 2018

by Martin Pengelly

The Guardian

Chelsea Manning, the former US army private who was imprisoned for passing information to WikiLeaks, has filed to run for a seat in the US Senate.

A federal election filing, made on Thursday, confirmed Manning’s intention to run in the November elections as a Democrat.

That would range her against Ben Cardin, the senior senator from Maryland who has served since 2007. The senior Democrat on the Senate foreign affairs committee, Cardin has emerged as a key party voice on investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In 2012, Cardin faced a primary challenge from an African American state senator and seven other candidates. Cardin won 74% of the vote.

A representative for Manning did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Manning, now 30, was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in jail, for her part in the 2010 leak of more than 700,000 documents and videos to news outlets including the Guardian and the New York Times.

Her sentence was commuted by President Obama, shortly before the end of his second term in office. Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas in May 2017, having spent seven years in custody.

Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley and who attempted suicide while in prison, is now a writer and activist who has been a columnist for the Guardian.

Donald Trump has criticised Manning. In January 2017, responding to the commutation of her sentence, he tweeted: “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!”

 

 

Trump’s Failed Coup in Iran

January 6, 2018

by Eric Margolis

The Unz Review

Listen to the state-‘guided’ US media this past week and you’d believe a series of spontaneous anti-government protests broke out across Iran. The protests, according to President Donald Trump and his Israeli allies, were caused by `anger over Iran’s spending billions on wars in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and helping the Palestinian movement Hamas.’ Trump tweeted that Iranians were finally rising up against what he called their hated, brutal regime.

Talk about manufactured news. Most Iranians were elated and proud of their nation’s role in thwarting US plans to occupy much of Syria and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the other side in this long proxy war – the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain – was smarting with defeat and seeking ways to exact revenge on the hateful trio, Syria, Iran and Russia.

Interestingly, the so-called news of protests over Iran’s military spending did not apparently originate in Iran but rather in Washington which spread it far and wide to our state-guided media. This was clumsy, but the US and Israel were so eager to get this piece of made-up good news out that they forget the basics of propaganda management: wait for the event before you proclaim it.

What in fact was going on in Iran where more than 21 demonstrators have died violent deaths? As a very long-time Iran watcher allow me to explain.

Restive minority groups in Iran’s Kurdish, Azeri and Sunni Arab regions, most far from the big cities, have been demonstrating and protesting severe economic problems. Iran is a big, resource-rich nation of 80 million people that should be booming. But it has been under economic siege warfare by the US and its allies ever since a popular uprising in 1979 overthrew the US-British backed monarchy that was raping the nation and keeping it a vassal of the western powers.

Iran’s new Islamic Republic was deemed a dire threat to Western and Israeli strategic and military interests (think Saudi Arabia). The very idea that the Islamic Republic would follow the tenets of Islam and share oil wealth with the needy was anathema to London and Washington. Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, ran Iran’s dreaded, brutal secret police, Savak. The crooked royal family looted the nation and stored their swag in California.

The West’s first act was to induce Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to invade Iran, in Sept 1980. The West (including the Gulf Arabs) armed, financed and supplied Iraq. As I discovered in Baghdad, Britain and the US supplied Iraq with poison gas and germ warfare toxins. After eight years, 250,000 Iraqis were killed and nearly one million Iranians died.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs have been trying to overthrow the Tehran government and mount a counter-revolution. CIA and Britain’s MI6 has ample practice: in 1953, the CIA and MI6 mounted an elaborate operation to overthrow Iran’s democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh who sought to nationalize Iran’s British-owned oil company. Mobs of specially trained anti-Mossadegh plotters poured into Tehran’s streets. Bombs went off. Army commanders were suborned, lavish bribes handed out.

The 1953 coup went perfectly. Mossadegh was ousted with backing from the Army and Savak. Iran’s oil remained safe in western hands. The successful Iran uprising became the template for future ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, Poland, and Romania.

But in 2009 a US-engineered ‘color revolution’ in Iran went badly wrong even though it used all the latest arts of social media to whip up protestors and deploy them in the streets. Something similar happened in Iran this past weekend where mobs of 20-somethings, agitated by US and British covert social media, poured into the streets of dingy provincial towns.

As of now, this medium-sized uprising in Iran looks to be over, though it could re-ignite at any time. Young Iranians, at least 40% of the population, suffer due to 50% unemployment. Iran’s $1 trillion economy is extremely fragile and in some cases barely functioning after decades of US-engineered economic warfare and boycotts. High unemployment is a result of US economic warfare and bullying other nations not to do business with Iran, producing 13% overall unemployment and a 40% inflation rate. The latter and wide-scale corruption were the spark that ignited the latest riots.

In two more weeks, President Trump, who makes no secret of his hatred and contempt for Muslims, must decide whether to reaffirm the multilateral nuclear energy deal with Iran or heed Israel’s demands and refuse to certify it. His cutoff this week of US military aid to Muslim Pakistan bodes ill for Iran.

Many Iranians observing the current US-North Korea nuclear standoff will wonder if their nation was not better off continuing its nuclear program and holding the Saudi oil fields at risk to deter a US attack. Trump’s wild, inconsistent and often infantile responses on this issue are making matters murkier…and ever more dangerous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • SECRETARY’S FOREWORD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Arctic is at a strategic inflection point as its ice cap is diminishing more rapidly than projected2 and human activity, driven by economic opportunity—ranging from oil, gas, and mineral exploration to fishing, shipping, and tourism—is increasing in response to the growing accessibility. Arctic and non-Arctic nations are establishing their strategies and positions on the future of the Arctic in a variety of international forums. Taken together, these changes present a compelling opportunity for the Department of Defense (DoD) to work collaboratively with allies and partners to promote a balanced approach to improving human and environmental security in the region in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region.3

Security in the Arctic encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, ranging from resource extraction and trade to activities supporting safe commercial and scientific operations to national defense. Security cooperation activities and other military-to-military forms of engagement establish, shape, and maintain international relations and the partnerships necessary to meet security challenges and reduce the potential for friction. The Department will continue to build cooperative strategic partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions, and burden-sharing in theArctic, and seek to increase opportunities with Arctic partners to enhance regional expertise andcold-weather operational experience.

The Department will continue to train and operate routinely in the region4 as it monitors the changing environment, revisiting assessments and taking appropriate action as conditions change.

This strategy identifies the Department’s desired end-state for the Arctic: a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges. It also articulates two main supporting objectives: Ensure security, support safety, and promote defense cooperation, and prepare to respond to a wide range of challenges and contingencies—operating in conjunction with other nations when possible, and independently if necessary—in order to maintain stability in the region. Finally, it identifies the ways and means the Department intends to use to achieve these objectives as it implements the National  Strategy for the Arctic Region.

1The DoD strategy uses a broad definition of the Arctic, codified in 15 U.S.C. 4111, that includes all U.S. and foreign territory north of the Arctic Circle and all U.S. territory north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers; all contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas, and the Aleutian islands chain.

2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists in J.E. Overland and M. Wang (2013), When will the summer Arctic be nearly sea ice free?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40 doi:10.1002/grl.50316.

3This strategy is nested under National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25, Arctic Region Policy, the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. It complements DoD’s Strategy for Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (HD&DSCA).

4For additional information on the Navy’s historic involvement in the Arctic, see The Impact of Climate Change on Naval Operations in the Arctic (Center for Naval Analysis, 2009).

  1. U.S. INTERESTS IN THE ARCTIC

U.S. national security interests in the Arctic are delineated in National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25, Arctic Region Policy. 5 This policy states that national security interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of the seas. Preserving freedom of the seas, which includes all of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the seas and adjacent airspace, including freedom of navigation and overflight, in the Arctic supports the nation’s ability to exercise these rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace throughout the world, including through strategic straits.

The 2013 National Strategy on the Arctic Region frames the whole-of-government approach that provides the overarching context for the Department’s efforts. It lays out three main lines of effort in the Arctic: advance U.S. security interests; pursue responsible Arctic region stewardship; and strengthen international cooperation. The goal of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region is “an Arctic region that is stable and free of conflict, where nations act responsibly in a spirit of trust and cooperation, and where economic and energy resources are developed in a sustainable manner that also respects the fragile environment and the interests and cultures of indigenous peoples.”

The DoD Arctic Strategy outlines how the Department will support the whole-of-government effort to promote security, stewardship, and international cooperation in the Arctic. The Department’s strategic approach to the Arctic reflects the relatively low level of military threat in a region bounded by nation States that have not only publicly committed to working within a common framework of international law and diplomatic engagement,6 but have also demonstrated the ability and commitment to do so. In consideration of enduring national interests in the Arctic and existing strategic guidance, the Department’s end-state for its strategic approach to the Arctic is: a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges.

5 The January 2009 National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-66, dual-titled as Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-25, or NSPD-66/HSPD-25, established the policy of the United States with respect to the Arctic and outlined national security and homeland security interests in the region. Homeland security interests include preventing terrorist attacks and mitigating those criminal or hostile acts that could increase the United States’ vulnerability to terrorism in the Arctic. The Department has a role to play in responding not only to traditional (e.g., military) threats, but also to a range of other potential national security challenges (e.g., smuggling, criminal trafficking, and terrorism as the lead agency or in support of other government agencies6In the Ilulissat Declaration (May 28, 2008), all five Arctic Ocean coastal States (United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway, and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) committed themselves to the orderly settlement of overlapping territorial claims through the established framework of the international law as reflected in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The Declaration affirmedthat the legal framework provided by the LOSC is sufficient for the management of the Arctic Ocean and that there is no need to develop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern this Ocean.

6 In the Ilulissat Declaration (May 28, 2008), all five Arctic Ocean coastal States (United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway,and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) committed themselves to the orderly settlement of overlapping territorial claims through theestablished framework of the international law as reflected in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The Declaration affirmedthat the legal framework provided by the LOSC is sufficient for the management of the Arctic Ocean and that there is no need todevelop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern this Ocean.

  1. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SUPPORTING OBJECTIVES

The Department’s two supporting objectives describe what is to be accomplished to achieve its desired end-state. These objectives are bounded by policy guidance, the changing nature of the strategic and physical environment, and the capabilities and limitations of the available instruments of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic). Actions taken to achieve these objectives will be informed by the Department’s global priorities and fiscal constraints. In order to achieve its strategic endstate, the Department’s supporting objectives are:

Ensure security, support safety, and promote defense cooperation .7

– Relationships with allies and partners are important enablers of cooperation in meeting security and defense commitments. These relationships also play an important role in conflict prevention, and, if prevention and deterrence fail, in coordinating an international response to security and defense challenges. Although the Department of State is the lead for regional diplomacy, DoD has a supporting role enhancing the region’s capability and capacity for multilateral security collaboration, and responding to requests for assistance from interagency and international partners both within and outside the Arctic. This collaborative approach helps prevent conflict and provides the stability needed to facilitate the sustainable economic development envisioned in the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Department of Defense will seek out areas of mutual interest to build strategic relationships and encourage operational-level partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions and enhance burdensharing in the Arctic. Science and technology (S&T) can provide non-contentious opportunities for cooperation, and DoD will coordinate research initiatives with the

Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC).

The Department has an important role supporting other Federal departments and agencies in safety-related missions in Alaska and in responding to requests from civil authorities to support them with disaster relief or humanitarian assistance at home or abroad. Although the Department has seldom been tasked to execute these missions in the Arctic, it may be asked to do more in the coming decades.

Prepare for a wide range of challenges and contingencies—operating in conjunction with other States when possible and independently if necessary—in order to maintain stability in the region.

– Future challenges in the Arctic may span the full range of national security interests.

These challenges and contingencies may take many forms, ranging from the need to support other Federal departments and agencies—or another nation—in responding to a natural or man-made disaster to responding to security concerns that may emerge in the

future.

7 Per the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, U.S. security in the Arctic encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, including national defense.

III. STRATEGIC APPROACH

The Department will pursue comprehensive engagement with allies and partners to protect the homeland and support civil authorities in preparing for increased human activity in the Arctic. Strategic partnerships are the center of gravity in ensuring a peaceful opening of the Arctic and achieving the Department’s desired end-state. Where possible, DoD will seek innovative, low-cost, smallfootprint approaches to achieve these objectives (e.g., by participating in multilateral exercises like the Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) hosted by Greenland, COLDRESPONSE hosted by Norway, and Canada’s Operation NANOOK, or through Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program-supported engagements on Arctic issues). The Department will also evolve its infrastructure and capabilities in step with the changing physical environment in order to ensure security, support safety, promote defense cooperation, and prepare to respond to a wide range of challenges and contingencies in the Arctic in the coming decades. The Department will accomplish its objectives through the following ways:

 

Exercise sovereignty and protect the homeland;

Engage public and private sector partners to improve domain awareness in the Arctic;

Preserve freedom of the seas in the Arctic;

Evolve Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions;

Support existing agreements with allies and partners while pursuing new ones to build confidence with key regional partners;

Provide support to civil authorities, as directed;

Partner with other departments and agencies and nations to support human and environmental safety; and

Support the development of the Arctic Council and otherinternational institutions that promote regional cooperation and the rule of law.

The Department will apply the four guiding principles from the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region as it pursues these eight ways.9 This means DoD will work with allies, partners, and other interested parties to safeguard peace and stability. It will make decisions using the best available scientific information, and will pursue innovative arrangements as it develops the capability and capacity needed in the Arctic over time. It will also follow established Federal tribal consultation policy. These four principles will underpin all of the Department’s activities as it implements this strategy through the means described in this section.

8 The Arctic Council’s charter states, “The Arctic Council should not deal with matters related to military security.” It could be argued that search and rescue is a (human) security interest, and oil spill response is an (environmental) security interest; thus, the Council has a demonstrated ability to address a range of “soft security” issues.

Protect the Homeland and Exercise Sovereignty

From the U.S. perspective, greater access afforded by the decreasing seasonal ice increases the Arctic’s viability as an avenue of approach to North America for those with hostile intent toward the U.S. homeland, and the Department will remain prepared to detect, deter, prevent, and defeat  threats to the homeland. Additionally, DoD will continue to support the exercise of U.S. sovereignty. In the near-term10, this will require some ability to operate in the Arctic, which the Department will maintain and enhance by continuing to conduct exercises and training in the region. In the mid- to far-term, this may require developing further capabilities and capacity to protect U.S. air, land, and maritime borders in the Arctic in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. As directed by the 2011 Unified Command Plan, Commander, U.S. Northern Command (CDRUSNORTHCOM) is responsible for advocating for Arctic capabilities. In execution of this responsibility, CDRUSNORTHCOM will collaborate with relevant Combatant Commands, the Joint Staff, the Military Departments and ServicesServices, and the Defense agencies to identify and prioritize emerging Arctic capability gaps and requirements. These efforts will be informed by the most authoritative scientific information on future Arctic conditions. For purposes of mission and infrastructure vulnerability assessments and adaptation to climate change, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)) will identify projections of future conditions to be used. The Department of Defense will collaborate with theDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure efficient use of resources to avoid duplication of effort in research, development, experimentation, testing, and acquisition. Forums such as the DoD-DHS Capabilities Development Working Group are among the means to facilitate this cooperation.

Engage public and private sector partners to improve all domain awareness in the Arctic.

Although NSPD-66/HSPD-25 focuses on maritime domain awareness, the Department has responsibilities for awareness across all domains: air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace. Adequate domain awareness is an essential component of protecting maritime commerce, critical infrastructure, and key resources. In the near-term, the Department will work through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to maintain air tracking capabilities in the Arctic. As the maritime domain becomes increasingly accessible, the Department will seek to improve its maritime detection and tracking in coordination with DHS and other departments and agencies as well as through public/private partnerships. The Department of the Navy, in its role as DoD Executive Agent for Maritime Domain Awareness, will lead DoD coordination on maritime detection and tracking. Where possible, DoD will also collaborate with international partners to employ, acquire, share, or develop the means required to improve sensing, data collection and fusion, analysis, and information-sharing to enhance domain awareness appropriately in the Arctic. Monitoring regional activity and analyzing emerging trends are key to informing future investments in Arctic capabilities and ensuring they keep pace with increasing human activity in the region over time.

9 Many of DoD’s ways align with what the National Strategy for the Arctic Region terms supporting objectives to its three lines of effort, but DoD’s strategy follows the classical “ways-ends-means” construction.

10 This strategy identifies three timeframes to be used for implementation planning: the near-term (present day-2020); mid-term (2020-2030); and far-term (beyond 2030). These timeframes are approximate due to uncertainty in climate change projections.

In the near- to mid-term, the primary means of improving domain awareness will be continued use of innovative, low-cost solutions for polar Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) needs as well as enhanced international collaboration. DoD will take steps to work with other Federal departments and agencies to improve nautical charts, enhance relevant atmospheric and oceanic models, improve accuracy of estimates of ice extent and thickness, and detect and monitor climate change indicators. In particular, the Department of the Navy will work in partnership with other Federal departments and agencies (e.g., DHS, the Department of Commerce) and international partners to improve hydrographic charting and oceanographic surveys in the Arctic.

The Department will continue to collaborate with other Federal departments and agencies and the State of Alaska to monitor and assess changes in the physical environment to inform the development of Arctic requirements and future capabilities. To that end, the Department will leverage work done by the scientific and academic communities and seek opportunities to contribute to the observation and modeling of the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice conditions, including acoustics conditions, to enhance military environmental forecasting capabilities. These collaborations will help inform the development and design of future ice-strengthened ship designs, when required.

Preserve freedom of the seas in the Arctic.

The United States has a national interest in preserving all of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace recognized under international law. The Department will preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic,11 including through the exercise of the Freedom of Navigation program to challenge excessive maritime claims asserted by other Arctic States when necessary. The Department will continue to support U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Lawof the Sea (hereafter referred to as the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC)) because it codifies the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace the Department seeks to preserve; provides a means for the peaceful resolution of disputes; and ensures international recognition of resources rights on the extended continental shelf.

Evolve Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions.

The Department will periodically re-evaluate requirements necessary to meet

national security objectives as conditions change and the Combatant Commandersidentify operational requirements for the Arctic in updates to their regional plans.Once operational requirements are defined, solutions for associated supporting infrastructure requirements should seek to leverage existing U.S. Government, commercial, and international facilities to the maximum extent possible in order to mitigate the high cost and extended timelines associated with the development of Arctic infrastructure. If no existing infrastructure is capable of sufficiently supporting the requirement, modifications to existing bases, such as the addition of a new hangar, will be made as part of the military construction or facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization processes.

Uphold existing agreements with allies and partners while building confidence with key regional partners.

Security cooperation activities and other military-to-military forms of engagement establish, shape, and maintain international relations and the partnerships necessary to meet security challenges and reduce the potential for friction. The 2012 and 2013 Northern Chiefs of Defense (CHoDs) meetings and the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable workshops and meetings are examples of means for promoting information-sharing and partnership-building necessary to develop cooperative approaches to common challenges. Therefore, in cooperation with the Department of State, DHS (in particular, the U.S. Coast Guard), and other relevant agencies, the Department will continue to build cooperative strategic partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions and burden-sharing in the Arctic. It will also seek to increase bilateral exchanges, including in science and technology, and take advantage of multilateral training opportunities with Arctic partners to enhance regional expertise and cold-weather operational experience.

Provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in Alaska and provide Foreign Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Disaster Relief (FHA/FDR) in other non-U.S. territorial areas of the Arctic.

When directed by the appropriate authority, the Department will be prepared to support civil authorities in response to natural or manmade disasters, or to conduct FHA/FDR operations in cooperation with allies and partners. Partner with other agencies and nations to support human and environmental safety.

Some of the near-term safety-related challenges include meeting international search and rescue obligations and responding to incidents such as oil spills in ice-covered waters, as reflected in the recently concluded Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and Agreement on Cooperation on

Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. The Department will leverage existing capabilities to respond to requests for support from civil authorities in coordination with other departments and agencies and nations. Where appropriate, the Department will support other departments and agencies in maintaining human health; promoting healthy, sustainable, and resilient ecosystems; and consulting and coordinating with Alaska Natives on policy and activities affecting them. Finally, the Department will continue to integrate environmental considerations into its planning and operations and to contribute to whole-of-government approaches in support of the second line of effort in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region

Support the development of the Arctic Council and other international institutions to promote regional cooperation and the rule of law.

The Department recognizes the value of the Arctic Council in efforts to understand the changing Arctic environment and developingcooperative approaches to regional challenges, and supports the Department of State in thecontinued development of the Council. Although the Department of State is the lead fordiplomacy, DoD has a role to play in enhancing the region’s multilateral security cooperationenvironment. Accordingly, DoD will work with allies and partners within the framework ofinternational institutions, ranging from the Arctic Council to the International MaritimeOrganization (IMO), to maintain stability and promote cooperation.

11As expressed by Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), and Commander, USNORTHCOM, in a May 2008 memorandum, the United States needs assured access to support U.S. national interests in the Arctic. Although this imperative could be met by regular U.S. Government ships in open water up to the marginal ice zone, only ice-capable ships provide assured sovereign presence throughout the region and throughout the year. Assured access in areas of pack ice could also be met by other means, including submarines and aircraft.

  1. CHALLENGES & RISKS TO THE STRATEGIC APPROACH

.This strategy furthers defense objectives while positioning the United States to take advantage of opportunities in the Arctic during the coming decades in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. It also addresses some of the risks inherent in the trade-offs and tensions among U.S. interests and objectives, including:

Projections about future access to and activity in the Arctic may be inaccurate.

Significant uncertainty remains about the rate and extent of the effects of climate change, including climate variability, in the Arctic. There is also uncertainty about future economic conditions, and the pace at which human activity will increase in the region. The challenge is to balance the risk of having inadequate capabilities or insufficient capacity when required to operate in the region with the opportunity cost of making premature and/or unnecessary investments. Premature investment may reduce the availability of resources for other pressing priorities, particularly in a time of fiscal austerity.

Fiscal constraints may delay or deny needed investment in Arctic capabilities, and may curtail Arctic trainingand operations.

As the Department downsizes to meet budgetary targets, it will have to prioritize engagements for the resulting smaller force. There is also a risk that desired investments in Arctic capabilities may not compete successfully against other requirements in the Department’s budgetary priorities. Where possible, DoD will mitigate this risk by

developing innovative ways to employ existing capabilities in coordination with otherdepartments and agencies and international partners, and by enhancing scientific, research, and development partnerships. CDRUSNORTHCOM plays a key role in mitigating this risk as the Arctic capability advocate within the Department’s planning and programming

activities. Commander, U.S. European Command (CDRUSEUCOM) and Commander, U.S.

Pacific Command (CDRUSPACOM) also play a role by fostering collaborative working

relationships with regional partners.

Political rhetoric and press reporting about boundary disputes and competition for resources may inflame regional tensions.

Efforts to manage disagreements diplomatically may be hindered if the public narrative becomes one of rivalry and conflict. The Department will mitigate this risk by ensuring its plans, actions, and words are coordinated, and when appropriate, by engaging the press to counter unhelpful narratives with facts. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy will monitor DoD activities, programs, and posture in the region to ensure the Department is sending a clear message to key audiences regarding the Department’s efforts to promote security, safety, and defense cooperation.

Being too aggressive in taking steps to address anticipated future security risks may create the conditions of mistrust and miscommunication under which such risks could materialize.

There is some risk that the perception that the Arctic is being militarized may lead to an “arms race” mentality that could lead to a breakdown of existing cooperative approaches to shared challenges. The Department will mitigate this risk by focusing on collaborative security approaches as outlined in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and by supporting other Federal departments and agencies where they have leadership roles. Building trust through transparency about the intent of our military activities and participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises and other engagements that facilitate information-sharing will be a key means of addressing this risk.

  1. CONCLUSION

The Department will work collaboratively with allies and partners through the ways and means outlined in this strategy to support the development of the Arctic as a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges. Priority will be given to addressing key near-term challenges primarily in key enablers, including: shortfalls in ice and weather reporting and forecasting; limitations in C4ISR due to lack of assets and harsh environmental conditions; and limited domain awareness. The key will be to address needs over time as activity in the Arctic increases, while balancing potential Arctic investments with other national priorities. This approach will help the United States achieve its objectives as outlined in the National Strategy for the Arctic Region while mitigating risks and overcoming challenges presented by the growing geostrategic importance of the Arctic.

 

 

 

 

 

The Age of Fire and Fury: Humanity as a whole is being set back just because of one single Person.

Where is the world supposed to start again if it manages to survive Donald Trump?

January 12, 2018

by Der SPIEGEL’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief Susanne Beyer

“Fire and Fury” is the title of the new exposé of Donald Trump’s first year in the White House. The tome has only been out for a few days, and yet it has already established itself as one of the books of the year. Even we journalists find ourselves describing the book’s contents as “indescribable” and “unfathomable.” Can the world’s most powerful man really be dumb, senile and addicted to television as the book claims? He spends his early evenings watching three televisions in his bedroom? Eating a cheeseburger and tweeting all the while? An entire White House teetering between hysteria and chaos? And yet, it’s still the journalist’s job to describe the indescribable and fathom the unfathomable.

Our latest cover story explains how “Fire and Fury” came to be and whether, and the extent to which, it approaches the truth. Most importantly, however, it delves into the consequences for an America and a world that have been confronted with a nuclear-armed fool who is likely to remain in office for some time to come, who is neither mentally nor psychologically suited for the job – apparently also not physically, either, given how late he starts the working day and how early he ends it. That, unfortunately, is precisely the point: Humanity as a whole is being set back just because of one single person. The achievements of decades – the fight against a climate disaster, against the nuclear threat, for equality between men and women, between blacks and whites and so on and so on. Where is the world supposed to start again if it manages to survive Donald Trump?

 

 

Lost in space? Questions mount over fate of secret satellite as SpaceX pushes ahead

January 12, 2018

by Christian Davenport

Washington Post

The top-secret satellite known only by a code name, “Zuma,” was a mystery from the start. Its classified mission was intentionally inscrutable, whether to detect missile launches, spy on adversaries or track ships at sea with a space radar.

The satellite was so highly secretive that it was not publicly released which government agency — The National Reconnaissance Office? The CIA? — was responsible for it. During the launch on the evening of Jan. 7, SpaceX cut short its webcast so that it wouldn’t reveal details of where the satellite was going or what it looked like.

Now there’s another mystery: What happened to Zuma?

After reports Monday that the satellite suffered some sort of failure, SpaceX rushed to defend its reputation, denying that it had done anything wrong. Its Falcon 9 rocket “performed nominally,” it said.

Then, on Tuesday morning, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell issued a more strongly worded statement, saying: “For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately.”

Shotwell pushed back on reports that seemed to implicate SpaceX with the satellite’s demise, saying “information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.”

[The mystery behind the fate of a top-secret satellite comes at the height of one of Elon Musk’s biggest rivalries]

Northrop Grumman, the satellite’s manufacturer, said it could not comment on a classified mission. As members of Congress began requesting classified briefings about what, if anything, went wrong, Pentagon officials were also mum.

For SpaceX, the stakes are especially high — not just because a valuable national security asset valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, or more, that it was hired to launch was possibly lost. It had fought so hard for the right to compete for national security launches. After a bitter legal and lobbying battle, the Pentagon certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for the missions and now is relying on SpaceX to reliably fly its satellites to orbit.

Furthermore, NASA is counting on Elon Musk’s company to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, with test flights as early as this year.

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who said he received a “preliminary briefing,” had two concerns about the possible loss of the satellite.

“One is the loss of the intelligence that would have been available,” he said. “The second concern is the reliability of the delivery systems. And that issue is being debated between the contractors, SpaceX and the satellite manufacturer, Northrop.”

While he said he did not know who was to blame, he indicated that the dispute might lead to litigation. “Those two companies are going to have a long and, I suspect, very expensive discussion,” he said.

SpaceX’s resolve and relentless drive were unchanged by the mystery surrounding Zuma (which included the possibility that nothing went wrong and that the satellite was, indeed, in orbit). Last year, the company launched 18 times successfully, a record for SpaceX. This year, it plans to break that record, continuing its disruption of an industry Musk first targeted

when he founded SpaceX in 2002.

As critics were quick to call SpaceX’s reliability into question, the company rolled its new powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, onto the same launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center that hoisted the Apollo astronauts to the moon. An engine test fire had been postponed earlier in the week and was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Despite the Zuma mystery, SpaceX vowed to continue with its manifest without delay.

That in itself was a statement: “They’re not going to launch again if they think there’s a chance it was their fault,” said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Matt Desch, the chief executive of Iridium, a communications satellite company that is one of SpaceX’s biggest customers, said in an interview that he “absolutely” had full confidence in SpaceX and that he had no qualms about proceeding with the four launches Iridium has on the Falcon 9 this year.

“We’re moving forward with plans for our next launch,” he said. “I know there are people who would love SpaceX to be taken down a few notches. And I’d be glad to hold them accountable for things they should be held accountable for. But this isn’t one. I believe they weren’t really responsible.”

Meanwhile, SpaceX’s chief rival made a statement of its own on Friday. After a couple-day delay, the United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, launched a Delta IV rocket carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

After a successful liftoff, the rocket was traveling at Mach 1, the speed of sound, within 49 seconds, as it burned through propellant at a rate of 1,950 pounds per second.

“Delta is ripping the sky at incredible speed,” Tory Bruno, the United Launch Alliance’s chief executive, wrote on Twitter.

‘What an incredible way to start off 2018’

On Jan. 7, the SpaceX launch appeared to go smoothly. The company cheered a successful liftoff and then the touchdown of its first-stage booster back on land so that it could be flown again, a practice designed to lower the cost of spaceflight.

Musk on Monday tweeted a long-exposure picture of the launch showing its fiery trail to space — and then the return of the booster, which has become routine for the company.

The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing congratulated SpaceX in a tweet: “What an incredible way to start off 2018 w/the world’s 1st successful launch and landing of this year!”

The launch was an important one for the California-based company founded nearly 16 years ago. Since its early days, Musk has waged war against the traditional contractors, namely the United Launch Alliance, in an attempt to compete for national security launch contracts, generally worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

For years, Musk proclaimed that SpaceX could save taxpayers millions by offering the Pentagon launches for far less than its rival. Meanwhile, the United Launch Alliance maintained that responsibility for vital national security satellites that cost hundreds of millions should not be decided on just price.

More than 10 years ago, even before it had flown a rocket to space successfully, SpaceX sued Boeing and Lockheed Martin in an attempt to block the formation of the United Launch Alliance, which it said was using “strong-armed tactics to demand that the Air Force grant them exclusive long-term contracts.” But SpaceX was derided as an “ankle biter” by its competitors, and the lawsuit went nowhere.

In 2014, SpaceX sued again in an attempt to end the nearly decade-long monopoly the United Launch Alliance held on national security launches, arguing that it should be able to compete for the launch contracts. By that point, SpaceX had been flying its Falcon 9 rocket successfully, and the Air Force settled the case with SpaceX, eventually granting it the certification required for it to compete.

Under mounting pressure from SpaceX, Bruno vowed to “literally transform” the company to compete — and he also continued to champion the firm’s track record of more than 100 successful launches in a row.

Since the contracts became competitively bid, SpaceX has won two of three contests.

‘Space is a risky business’

But it has also had its setbacks. In 2015, a Falcon 9 rocket blew up while carrying cargo to the space station. Then, in 2016, another rocket exploded while being fueled ahead of an engine test. No one was hurt in either explosion, but the payloads, worth millions of dollars, were lost.

In both cases, the company was grounded while it investigated the cause of the problems. As of now, SpaceX is moving ahead with its launch manifest.

“Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule,” Shotwell said.

As for Zuma’s fate, little is known.

This week, members of Congress began receiving briefings but were tight-lipped about the classified sessions.

U.S. Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said in a statement that while he couldn’t comment on classified matters, “space is a risky business.” He said his committee would provide “rigorous oversight that accounts for that risk and ensures that we can meet all of our national security space requirements as the Air Force looks to competitively procure space launch services in the future.”

Harrison, the defense analyst, said that SpaceX is in a frustrating position because it is limited in what it can say publicly about what happened.

“It’s a particular nightmare if nothing went wrong on their part and they can’t prove it because of the classified nature of the mission,” he said.

 

 

California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

A 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months, and it could happen again

January 1, 2013

by B. Lynn Ingram

Scientific American

Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years. Such floods are likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of kilometers.

The atmospheric river storms featured in a January 2013 article in Scientific American that I co-wrote with Michael Dettinger, The Coming Megafloods, are responsible for most of the largest historical floods in many western states. The only megaflood to strike the American West in recent history occurred during the winter of 1861-62. California bore the brunt of the damage. This disaster turned enormous regions of the state into inland seas for months, and took thousands of human lives. The costs were devastating: one quarter of California’s economy was destroyed, forcing the state into bankruptcy.

Today, the same regions that were submerged in 1861-62 are home to California’s fastest-growing cities. Although this flood is all but forgotten, important lessons from this catastrophe can be learned. Much of the insight can be gleaned from harrowing accounts in diary entries, letters and newspaper articles, as well as the book Up and Down California in 1860-1864, written by William Brewer, who surveyed the new state’s natural resources with state geologist Josiah Whitney.

In 1861, farmers and ranchers were praying for rain after two exceptionally dry decades. In December their prayers were answered with a vengeance, as a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed—one after another—into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. The storms produced the most violent flooding residents had ever seen, before or since.

Sixty-six inches of rain fell in Los Angeles that year, more than four times the normal annual amount, causing rivers to surge over their banks, spreading muddy water for miles across the arid landscape. Large brown lakes formed on the normally dry plains between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, even covering vast areas of the Mojave Desert. In and around Anaheim, , flooding of the Santa Ana River created an inland sea four feet deep, stretching up to four miles from the river and lasting four weeks.

Residents in northern California, where most of the state’s 500,000 people lived, were contending with devastation and suffering of their own. In early December, the Sierra Nevada experienced a series of cold arctic storms that dumped 10 to 15 feet of snow, and these were soon followed by warm atmospheric rivers storms. The series of warm storms swelled the rivers in the Sierra Nevada range so that they became raging torrents, sweeping away entire communities and mining settlements in the foothills—California’s famous “Gold Country.” A January 15, 1862, report from the Nelson Point Correspondence described the scene: “On Friday last, we were visited by the most destructive and devastating flood that has ever been the lot of ‘white’ men to see in this part of the country. Feather River reached the height of 9 feet more than was ever known by the ‘oldest inhabitant,’ carrying away bridges, camps, stores, saloon, restaurant, and much real-estate.” Drowning deaths occurred every day on the Feather, Yuba and American rivers. In one tragic account, an entire settlement of Chinese miners was drowned by floods on the Yuba River.

This enormous pulse of water from the rain flowed down the slopes and across the landscape, overwhelming streams and rivers, creating a huge inland sea in California’s enormous Central Valley—a region at least 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. Water covered farmlands and towns, drowning people, horses and cattle, and washing away houses, buildings, barns, fences and bridges. The water reached depths up to 30 feet, completely submerging telegraph poles that had just been installed between San Francisco and New York, causing transportation and communications to completely break down over much of the state for a month. William Brewer wrote a series of letters to his brother on the east coast describing the surreal scenes of tragedy that he witnessed during his travels in the region that winter and spring. In a description dated January 31, 1862, Brewer wrote:

Thousands of farms are entirely under water—cattle starving and drowning. All the roads in the middle of the state are impassable; so all mails are cut off. The telegraph also does not work clear through. In the Sacramento Valley for some distance the tops of the poles are under water. The entire valley was a lake extending from the mountains on one side to the coast range hills on the other. Steamers ran back over the ranches fourteen miles from the river, carrying stock, etc, to the hills. Nearly every house and farm over this immense region is gone. America has never before seen such desolation by flood as this has been, and seldom has the Old World seen the like.

Brewer describes a great sheet of brown rippling water extending from the Coast Range to the Sierra Nevada. One-quarter of the state’s estimated 800,000 cattle drowned in the flood, marking the beginning of the end of the cattle-based ranchero society in California. One-third of the state’s property was destroyed, and one home in eight was destroyed completely or carried away by the floodwaters.

Sacramento, 100 miles up the Sacramento River from San Francisco, was (and still is) precariously located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. In 1861, the city was in many ways a hub: the young state’s sparkling new capital, an important commercial and agricultural center, and the terminus for stagecoaches, wagon trains, the pony express and riverboats from San Francisco. Although floods in Sacramento were not unknown to the residents, nothing could have prepared them for the series of deluges and massive flooding that engulfed the city that winter. The levees built to protect Sacramento from catastrophic floods crumbled under the force of the rising waters of the American River. In early January the floodwaters submerged the entire city under 10 feet of brown, debris-laden water. The water was so deep and dirty that no one dared to move about the city except by boat. The floodwaters caused immense destruction of property and loss of life.

California’s new Governor, Leland Stanford, was to be inaugurated on January 10, but the floodwaters swept through Sacramento that day, submerging the city. Citizens fled by any means possible, yet the inauguration ceremony took place at the capital building anyway, despite the mounting catastrophe. Governor Stanford was forced to travel from his mansion to the capital building by rowboat. Following the expedited ceremony, with floodwaters rising at a rate of one foot per hour, Stanford rowed back to his mansion, where he was forced to steer his boat to a second story window in order to enter his home. Conditions did not improve in the following weeks. California’s legislature, unable to function in the submerged city, finally gave up and moved to San Francisco on January 22, to wait out the floods.

Sacramento remained underwater for months. Brewer visited the city on March 9, three months after the flooding began, and described the scene:

Such a desolate scene I hope to never see again. Most of the city is still under water, and has been there for three months. A part is out of the water, that is, the streets are above water, but every low place is full—cellars and yards are full, houses and walls wet, everything uncomfortable. No description that I can write will give you any adequate conception of the discomfort and wretchedness this must give rise to. I took a boat and two boys, and we rowed about for an hour or two. Houses, stores, stables, everything, were surrounded by water. Yards were ponds enclosed by dilapidated, muddy, slimy fences; household furniture, chairs, tables, sofas, the fragments of houses, were floating in the muddy waters or lodged in nooks and corners. I saw three sofas floating in different yards. The basements of the better class of houses were half full of water, and through the windows, one could see chairs, tables, bedsteads, etc., afloat. Through the windows of a schoolhouse I saw the benches and desks afloat. Over most of the city boats are still the only way of getting around.

The new Capital is far out in the water—the Governor’s house stands as in a lake—churches, public buildings, private buildings, everything, are wet or in the water. Not a road leading from the city is passable, business is at a dead standstill, everything looks forlorn and wretched. Many houses have partially toppled over; some have been carried from their foundations, several streets (now avenues of water) are blocked up with houses that have floated in them, dead animals lie about here and there—a dreadful picture. I don’t think the city will ever rise from the shock, I don’t see how it can.

The death and destruction of this flood caused such trauma that the city of Sacramento embarked on a long-term project of raising the downtown district by 10 to 15 feet in the seven years after the flood. Governor Stanford also raised his mansion from two to three stories, leaving empty the ground floor, to avoid damage from any future flooding events.

Downstream of Sacramento, towns and villages throughout the eastern San Francisco Bay Area were struggling with catastrophes of their own. Twenty miles northeast of San Francisco, four feet of water covered the entire town of Napa; to the east, the small town of Rio Vista on the Sacramento River was under six feet of water. The entire population of Alamo, at the foot of Mt. Diablo 50 miles east of San Francisco, was forced to flee rising floodwaters. People abandoned their homes in the middle of the night. Some found refuge, others drowned. The San Ramon Valley was one sheet of water from hill to hill as far as the eye could see. The destructive force of the floods was awesome: houses, otherwise intact and complete with their contents, were carried away in the rapids; horses, cattle, and barns were swept downstream for miles.

The heavy rains also triggered landslides and mud slides on California’s steep hillsides. For instance, in Knights Ferry and Mokelumne Hill, nearly every building was torn from its foundation and carried off by thundering landslides, and a major landslide also occurred at the town of Volcano in the Sierra foothills, killing seven people.

The 1861-62 floods extended far beyond the borders of California. They were the worst in recorded history over much of the American West, including northern Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and into British Columbia, as well as reaching inland into Nevada, Utah and Arizona. In Nevada, a normally arid state, twice its typical annual rainfall occurred in the two-month period of December 1861 to January 1862. All this excess water transformed the Carson Valley into a large lake, inundating Nevada City with nine feet of rain in 60 days.

In southern Utah, 1861-62 became known as the “year of the floods,” as homes, barns, a fiber and molasses mill and many forts were washed away, including the adobe home of a Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee. Lee had carefully recorded the weather throughout January 1862 in his diary, noting a solid period of alternating rain and snow with strong winds for most of that month. In Oregon, two and a half weeks of solid rain caused the worst flooding in this state’s history. Deluges covered huge portions of the lower Willamette Valley where Oregon City is located. Oregon City was the terminus of the Oregon Trail, and it was the state’s capital, where George Abernathy, an Oregon pioneer and the state’s first elected governor, lived and ran a thriving business. The flood destroyed his home, forcing him (and many others) to leave. Arizona was also impacted: floods occurred in the Gila, Verde, Bright Angel and Colorado River basins between January 19 and 23, 1862, and flooding was severe in Yuma, destroying the city.

Why so many people were caught off-guard by these floods remains a mystery, but clearly these immigrants did not recognize the climatic warning signs. They had never experienced such extreme flooding in the 12 years since the Gold Rush began, although lesser floods were not uncommon. It appears that the Native American populations, who had lived in the region for thousands of years, had deeper insights to the weather and hydrology, and recognized the patterns that result in devastating floods. A piece in the Nevada City Democrat described the Native American response on January 11, 1862:

We are informed that the Indians living in the vicinity of Marysville left their abodes a week or more ago for the foothills predicting an unprecedented overflow. They told the whites that the water would be higher than it has been for thirty years, and pointed high up on the trees and houses where it would come. The valley Indians have traditions that the water occasionally rises 15 or 20 feet higher than it has been at any time since the country was settled by whites, and as they live in the open air and watch closely all the weather indications, it is not improbable that they may have better means than the whites of anticipating a great storm.

The specific weather pattern that the Native Americans of the West recognized and knew would bring particularly severe flooding is once again understood today. The powerful storms originate in the warm and moist tropical Pacific Ocean. Recent research describes these storms more broadly as “atmospheric rivers,” and they often result in the worst floods in not only the American West, but across the globe.

The tragic 1861-62 floods may have temporarily served to wake-up the residents of California and the West to the possible perils of their region’s weather They saw nature at its most unpredictable and terrifying, turning in a day or an hour from benign to utterly destructive. But the costs to the state went beyond the loss of life, property and resources: California’s spirit and confidence was badly shaken.

The lessons of the 1861-62 floods should provide the impetus for flood disaster planning efforts in a region where housing developments and cities are spreading across many floodplains. A critical element of living in a place like California is an awareness of these natural disasters, which requires a deep understanding of the natural patterns and frequencies of these events. Today we have building codes for earthquake safety, but millions of new westerners are not aware of the region’s calamitous climate history. Most have never even heard of the 1861–62 floods, and those may not have been the worst that nature can regularly dish out to the region. In a forthcoming book I co-wrote with Frances Malamud-Roam, THE WEST WITHOUT WATER: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow (University of California Press, Spring 2013) we present evidence for similar if not larger floods that have occurred every one to two centuries over the past two millennia in California, as well as nature’s flip-side: deep and prolonged droughts.

 

Crews ramp up effort to rescue live victims of California mudslide

January 13, 2018

by Paula Lehman-Ewing

Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A massive influx of search and rescue crews scoured parts of California’s Santa Barbara County on Saturday for seven people still missing following mudslides that killed at least 18.

An additional 900 emergency personnel arrived in Montecito, north of Los Angeles, to join the relief effort underway by more than 2,100 personnel from local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the American Red Cross.

“They are hopeful that we will still recover live victims out there,” said Amber Anderson, public information officer for the multi-agency response team.

The ramped-up rescue effort is in response to urgent requests for additional manpower made earlier in the week.“We need that number to effectively meet our objectives,” Anderson said. “To get people here takes time and we’re finally getting that request for influx.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office made a plea for information on any of the missing residents, while acknowledging that finding anyone alive would be a “miracle.”

“The missing persons were reported by family and friends, and resided in areas that were heavily damaged during the storm and subsequent mudslides,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office listed the names of the missing, who range in age from two to 62, in a statement on Friday night.

The disaster struck on Tuesday after heavy rains soaked the area near Montecito, where vegetation had been denuded by the largest wildfire in California’s history.

Sodden hillsides gave way, unleashing a torrent of mud, water, uprooted trees and boulders onto the valley below and causing what the police described as “traumatic injuries” to the victims, who ranged in age from 3 to 89.

One of California’s most celebrated roads, coastal Highway 101, was partially closed, with mud that was two feet deep in places, while in Montecito, mud reached the roof lines of houses, as residents surveyed their damaged homes.

“We have a yard to redo and hopefully our insurance will help out with that, but the people across from me, newer homes, gone,” Garrett Speirs, a 54-year-old artist who has been living in Montecito for 20 years, said.

“Everybody down below gone, two girls gone … Two sixth-graders in the school our kids went to,” Speirs added.

Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Montecito, California, Keith Coffman in Denver, Chris Kenning in Chicago, Gina Cherelus and Peter Szekely in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Scott Malone and Jon Herskovitz; editing by Alexander Smith and Diane Craft

 

The urban animal: population density and social pathology in rodents and humans

February 2009

by Edmund Ramsden

World Health Organization

In a 1962 edition of Scientific American, the ecologist John B Calhoun presented the results of a macabre series of experiments conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).1 He had placed several rats in a laboratory in a converted barn where – protected from disease and predation and supplied with food, water and bedding – they bred rapidly. The one thing they were lacking was space, a fact that became increasingly problematic as what he liked to describe as his “rat city” and “rodent utopia” teemed with animals. Unwanted social contact occurred with increasing frequency, leading to increased stress and aggression. Following the work of the physiologist, Hans Selye, it seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight.2 But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiralled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide followed. Males became hypersexual, pansexual and, an increasing proportion, homosexual. Calhoun called this vortex “a behavioural sink”. Their numbers fell into terminal decline and the population tailed off to extinction. At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost: asexual and utterly withdrawn, they clustered in a vacant huddled mass. Even when reintroduced to normal rodent communities, these “socially autistic” animals remained isolated until death. In the words of one of Calhoun’s collaborators, rodent “utopia” had descended into “hell”.3

Calhoun’s experiments with rats and mice proved extremely influential. His findings resonated with a variety of concerns, including population growth, environmental degradation and urban violence. In the course of a project on the history of stress, Jon Adams of the London School of Economics and I have traced how evidence of crowding pathology, generated in the rodent laboratories of NIMH, travelled to an alternative setting: the buildings, institutions and cities of the social scientist, city planner, architect and medical specialist. While urban sociologists and social psychiatrists explored correlations between density and pathologies in their statistical studies, environmental psychologists moved to the laboratory and fields such as the prison, the school and the hospital. Social and medical scientists were attracted to the possibility of providing evidence of how a physical and measurable variable – density – had important consequences demanding policy response. Many had already begun using Calhoun’s rats to support family planning programmes or for improving the physical design of the city.4

However, results from human studies of crowding proved inconsistent. In an influential series of experiments by the psychologist Jonathan Freedman, individuals employed to carry out tasks under varying conditions of density displayed few pathologies.5 Focus now shifted away from simply identifying the pathological consequences of density and towards factors that mediated its effects. This was aided by a distinction between “density” as a physical measure and “crowding” as a subjective response.6 Feeling crowded was determined by a range of social and psychological factors: an individual’s desired level of privacy, their ability to control a situation or their social role. Increased density might be inevitable but human beings were capable of coping with crowding.

Yet this did not mean that Calhoun’s research was rejected. Researchers recognized that Calhoun’s work was not simply about density in a physical sense, as number of individuals-per-square-unit-area, but was about degrees of social interaction. By reducing unwanted interaction through improved design of space – providing prisoners with individual cells or patients with independent living areas – crowding stress could be avoided.7 This had been the focus of Calhoun’s later research. Through improved design and increased control, Calhoun attempted to develop more collaborative and adaptable rodent communities capable of withstanding greater degrees of density.8

Continued problems of prison overcrowding and transport congestion ensure that the subject of crowding stress remains pertinent, but the relevance of Calhoun’s experiments is less commonly acknowledged. Towards the end of his career, Calhoun, who died in 1995, would be increasingly dismayed that it was a simplified, negative message – population density equals pathology – that was more commonly associated with his work, making his contribution seem not only flawed in the human context, but dangerous. In the words of the sociologists Fischer & Baldassare: “A red-eyed, sharp-fanged obsession about urban life stalks contemporary thought.”9 In focusing upon crowding, not only were the benefits of dense city-living ignored, but other causes of urban pathology, such as poverty and inequality, were neglected. Yet Calhoun’s work considered many of these factors, suggested how they could be overcome, and as such, his role deserves reconsideration. ■

 

 

Ballistic missile warning sent in error by Hawaii authorities

January 13, 2018

by Jolyn Rosa

Reuters

HONOLULU (Reuters) – An emergency alert was sent mistakenly on Saturday to Hawaii’s residents warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack when an employee at the state emergency management agency pushed the “wrong button,” Hawaii’s governor said.

State officials and the U.S. military’s Pacific Command confirmed that there was no actual threat to the state. But for more than a half hour, before the agency retracted the warning, panicked Hawaiians scrambled to find shelter.

The mistaken alert stated: “EMERGENCY ALERT BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Governor David Ige, who apologized for the mistake, said in televised remarks that the alert was sent during a employee shift change at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Vern Miyagi, the agency’s administrator, called it “human error.”

“It was a procedure that occurs at the change of shift where they go through to make sure that the system, that it’s working. And an employee pushed the wrong button,” the Democratic governor said, adding that such shift changes occur three times a day every day of the year.

The alert, sent to mobile phones and aired on television and radio shortly after 8 a.m., was issued amid high international tensions over North Korea’s development of ballistic nuclear weapons.

“I was awakened by the alert like everyone else here in the state of Hawaii. It was unfortunate and regrettable. We will be looking at how we can improve the procedures so it doesn’t happen again,” Ige added.

Miyagi said, “It was an inadvertent mistake. The change of shift is about three people. That should have been caught. … It should not have happened.”

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which has jurisdiction over the emergency alert system, announced it was initiating a full investigation. Earlier this week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the agency would vote at its January meeting to enhance the effectiveness of wireless emergency alerts, which have been in place since 2012.

Stacey Bow, 56, of Honolulu, said she was awakened to the emergency alert on her smart phone. She awakened her 16-year-old daughter with the news. “She became hysterical, crying, you know, just lost it,” she said.

Bow said of the person responsible for issuing the alert, “I imagine that person is clearing out their desk right now. You don’t get a do-over for something like that.”

CHECK LIST

Miyagi said there was a “check list” that should have been followed. He said, “I think we have the process in place. It’s a matter of executing the process.” He added, “This will not happen again.”

Hawaii, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 1.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is home to Pacific Command, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and other elements of the American military.

In November, Hawaii said it would resume monthly statewide testing of Cold War-era nuclear attack warning sirens for the first time in at least a quarter of a century, in preparation for a possible missile strike from North Korea.

North Korean President Kim Jong-un has threatened to unleash his country’s growing missile weapon capability against the U.S. territory of Guam or U.S. states, prompting President Donald Trump to threaten tough action against Pyongyang, including “fire and fury.”

Trump was wrapping up a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida when the incident was unfolding. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Trump was briefed and that it “was purely a state exercise.”

Michael Sterling, 56, of Los Angeles, was in Waikiki when he received the alert.

“I was thinking what could we do? There is nothing we can do with a missile,” Sterling said.

School administrator Tamara Kong, 43, of Honolulu, said, “Today, the whole state of Hawaii experienced a collective moment of panic and relief.”

 

 

 

Chelsea Manning files to run as Democrat for US Senate in Maryland

  • Federal election documents confirm Manning’s intention to run in November
  • Manning jailed in 2010 for passing files to WikiLeaks and was freed last year

January 13, 2018

by Martin Pengelly

The Guardian

Chelsea Manning, the former US army private who was imprisoned for passing information to WikiLeaks, has filed to run for a seat in the US Senate.

A federal election filing, made on Thursday, confirmed Manning’s intention to run in the November elections as a Democrat.

That would range her against Ben Cardin, the senior senator from Maryland who has served since 2007. The senior Democrat on the Senate foreign affairs committee, Cardin has emerged as a key party voice on investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In 2012, Cardin faced a primary challenge from an African American state senator and seven other candidates. Cardin won 74% of the vote.

A representative for Manning did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Manning, now 30, was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in jail, for her part in the 2010 leak of more than 700,000 documents and videos to news outlets including the Guardian and the New York Times.

Her sentence was commuted by President Obama, shortly before the end of his second term in office. Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas in May 2017, having spent seven years in custody.

Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley and who attempted suicide while in prison, is now a writer and activist who has been a columnist for the Guardian.

Donald Trump has criticised Manning. In January 2017, responding to the commutation of her sentence, he tweeted: “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!”

 

 

Trump’s Failed Coup in Iran

January 6, 2018

by Eric Margolis

The Unz Review

Listen to the state-‘guided’ US media this past week and you’d believe a series of spontaneous anti-government protests broke out across Iran. The protests, according to President Donald Trump and his Israeli allies, were caused by `anger over Iran’s spending billions on wars in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and helping the Palestinian movement Hamas.’ Trump tweeted that Iranians were finally rising up against what he called their hated, brutal regime.

Talk about manufactured news. Most Iranians were elated and proud of their nation’s role in thwarting US plans to occupy much of Syria and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the other side in this long proxy war – the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain – was smarting with defeat and seeking ways to exact revenge on the hateful trio, Syria, Iran and Russia.

Interestingly, the so-called news of protests over Iran’s military spending did not apparently originate in Iran but rather in Washington which spread it far and wide to our state-guided media. This was clumsy, but the US and Israel were so eager to get this piece of made-up good news out that they forget the basics of propaganda management: wait for the event before you proclaim it.

What in fact was going on in Iran where more than 21 demonstrators have died violent deaths? As a very long-time Iran watcher allow me to explain.

Restive minority groups in Iran’s Kurdish, Azeri and Sunni Arab regions, most far from the big cities, have been demonstrating and protesting severe economic problems. Iran is a big, resource-rich nation of 80 million people that should be booming. But it has been under economic siege warfare by the US and its allies ever since a popular uprising in 1979 overthrew the US-British backed monarchy that was raping the nation and keeping it a vassal of the western powers.

Iran’s new Islamic Republic was deemed a dire threat to Western and Israeli strategic and military interests (think Saudi Arabia). The very idea that the Islamic Republic would follow the tenets of Islam and share oil wealth with the needy was anathema to London and Washington. Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, ran Iran’s dreaded, brutal secret police, Savak. The crooked royal family looted the nation and stored their swag in California.

The West’s first act was to induce Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to invade Iran, in Sept 1980. The West (including the Gulf Arabs) armed, financed and supplied Iraq. As I discovered in Baghdad, Britain and the US supplied Iraq with poison gas and germ warfare toxins. After eight years, 250,000 Iraqis were killed and nearly one million Iranians died.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs have been trying to overthrow the Tehran government and mount a counter-revolution. CIA and Britain’s MI6 has ample practice: in 1953, the CIA and MI6 mounted an elaborate operation to overthrow Iran’s democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh who sought to nationalize Iran’s British-owned oil company. Mobs of specially trained anti-Mossadegh plotters poured into Tehran’s streets. Bombs went off. Army commanders were suborned, lavish bribes handed out.

The 1953 coup went perfectly. Mossadegh was ousted with backing from the Army and Savak. Iran’s oil remained safe in western hands. The successful Iran uprising became the template for future ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, Poland, and Romania.

But in 2009 a US-engineered ‘color revolution’ in Iran went badly wrong even though it used all the latest arts of social media to whip up protestors and deploy them in the streets. Something similar happened in Iran this past weekend where mobs of 20-somethings, agitated by US and British covert social media, poured into the streets of dingy provincial towns.

As of now, this medium-sized uprising in Iran looks to be over, though it could re-ignite at any time. Young Iranians, at least 40% of the population, suffer due to 50% unemployment. Iran’s $1 trillion economy is extremely fragile and in some cases barely functioning after decades of US-engineered economic warfare and boycotts. High unemployment is a result of US economic warfare and bullying other nations not to do business with Iran, producing 13% overall unemployment and a 40% inflation rate. The latter and wide-scale corruption were the spark that ignited the latest riots.

In two more weeks, President Trump, who makes no secret of his hatred and contempt for Muslims, must decide whether to reaffirm the multilateral nuclear energy deal with Iran or heed Israel’s demands and refuse to certify it. His cutoff this week of US military aid to Muslim Pakistan bodes ill for Iran.

Many Iranians observing the current US-North Korea nuclear standoff will wonder if their nation was not better off continuing its nuclear program and holding the Saudi oil fields at risk to deter a US attack. Trump’s wild, inconsistent and often infantile responses on this issue are making matters murkier…and ever more dangerous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • SECRETARY’S FOREWORD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Arctic is at a strategic inflection point as its ice cap is diminishing more rapidly than projected2 and human activity, driven by economic opportunity—ranging from oil, gas, and mineral exploration to fishing, shipping, and tourism—is increasing in response to the growing accessibility. Arctic and non-Arctic nations are establishing their strategies and positions on the future of the Arctic in a variety of international forums. Taken together, these changes present a compelling opportunity for the Department of Defense (DoD) to work collaboratively with allies and partners to promote a balanced approach to improving human and environmental security in the region in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region.3

Security in the Arctic encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, ranging from resource extraction and trade to activities supporting safe commercial and scientific operations to national defense. Security cooperation activities and other military-to-military forms of engagement establish, shape, and maintain international relations and the partnerships necessary to meet security challenges and reduce the potential for friction. The Department will continue to build cooperative strategic partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions, and burden-sharing in theArctic, and seek to increase opportunities with Arctic partners to enhance regional expertise andcold-weather operational experience.

The Department will continue to train and operate routinely in the region4 as it monitors the changing environment, revisiting assessments and taking appropriate action as conditions change.

This strategy identifies the Department’s desired end-state for the Arctic: a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges. It also articulates two main supporting objectives: Ensure security, support safety, and promote defense cooperation, and prepare to respond to a wide range of challenges and contingencies—operating in conjunction with other nations when possible, and independently if necessary—in order to maintain stability in the region. Finally, it identifies the ways and means the Department intends to use to achieve these objectives as it implements the National  Strategy for the Arctic Region.

1The DoD strategy uses a broad definition of the Arctic, codified in 15 U.S.C. 4111, that includes all U.S. and foreign territory north of the Arctic Circle and all U.S. territory north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers; all contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas, and the Aleutian islands chain.

2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists in J.E. Overland and M. Wang (2013), When will the summer Arctic be nearly sea ice free?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40 doi:10.1002/grl.50316.

3This strategy is nested under National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25, Arctic Region Policy, the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. It complements DoD’s Strategy for Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (HD&DSCA).

4For additional information on the Navy’s historic involvement in the Arctic, see The Impact of Climate Change on Naval Operations in the Arctic (Center for Naval Analysis, 2009).

  1. U.S. INTERESTS IN THE ARCTIC

U.S. national security interests in the Arctic are delineated in National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25, Arctic Region Policy. 5 This policy states that national security interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of the seas. Preserving freedom of the seas, which includes all of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the seas and adjacent airspace, including freedom of navigation and overflight, in the Arctic supports the nation’s ability to exercise these rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace throughout the world, including through strategic straits.

The 2013 National Strategy on the Arctic Region frames the whole-of-government approach that provides the overarching context for the Department’s efforts. It lays out three main lines of effort in the Arctic: advance U.S. security interests; pursue responsible Arctic region stewardship; and strengthen international cooperation. The goal of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region is “an Arctic region that is stable and free of conflict, where nations act responsibly in a spirit of trust and cooperation, and where economic and energy resources are developed in a sustainable manner that also respects the fragile environment and the interests and cultures of indigenous peoples.”

The DoD Arctic Strategy outlines how the Department will support the whole-of-government effort to promote security, stewardship, and international cooperation in the Arctic. The Department’s strategic approach to the Arctic reflects the relatively low level of military threat in a region bounded by nation States that have not only publicly committed to working within a common framework of international law and diplomatic engagement,6 but have also demonstrated the ability and commitment to do so. In consideration of enduring national interests in the Arctic and existing strategic guidance, the Department’s end-state for its strategic approach to the Arctic is: a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges.

5 The January 2009 National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-66, dual-titled as Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-25, or NSPD-66/HSPD-25, established the policy of the United States with respect to the Arctic and outlined national security and homeland security interests in the region. Homeland security interests include preventing terrorist attacks and mitigating those criminal or hostile acts that could increase the United States’ vulnerability to terrorism in the Arctic. The Department has a role to play in responding not only to traditional (e.g., military) threats, but also to a range of other potential national security challenges (e.g., smuggling, criminal trafficking, and terrorism as the lead agency or in support of other government agencies6In the Ilulissat Declaration (May 28, 2008), all five Arctic Ocean coastal States (United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway, and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) committed themselves to the orderly settlement of overlapping territorial claims through the established framework of the international law as reflected in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The Declaration affirmedthat the legal framework provided by the LOSC is sufficient for the management of the Arctic Ocean and that there is no need to develop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern this Ocean.

6 In the Ilulissat Declaration (May 28, 2008), all five Arctic Ocean coastal States (United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway,and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) committed themselves to the orderly settlement of overlapping territorial claims through theestablished framework of the international law as reflected in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The Declaration affirmedthat the legal framework provided by the LOSC is sufficient for the management of the Arctic Ocean and that there is no need todevelop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern this Ocean.

  1. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SUPPORTING OBJECTIVES

The Department’s two supporting objectives describe what is to be accomplished to achieve its desired end-state. These objectives are bounded by policy guidance, the changing nature of the strategic and physical environment, and the capabilities and limitations of the available instruments of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic). Actions taken to achieve these objectives will be informed by the Department’s global priorities and fiscal constraints. In order to achieve its strategic endstate, the Department’s supporting objectives are:

Ensure security, support safety, and promote defense cooperation .7

– Relationships with allies and partners are important enablers of cooperation in meeting security and defense commitments. These relationships also play an important role in conflict prevention, and, if prevention and deterrence fail, in coordinating an international response to security and defense challenges. Although the Department of State is the lead for regional diplomacy, DoD has a supporting role enhancing the region’s capability and capacity for multilateral security collaboration, and responding to requests for assistance from interagency and international partners both within and outside the Arctic. This collaborative approach helps prevent conflict and provides the stability needed to facilitate the sustainable economic development envisioned in the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Department of Defense will seek out areas of mutual interest to build strategic relationships and encourage operational-level partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions and enhance burdensharing in the Arctic. Science and technology (S&T) can provide non-contentious opportunities for cooperation, and DoD will coordinate research initiatives with the

Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC).

The Department has an important role supporting other Federal departments and agencies in safety-related missions in Alaska and in responding to requests from civil authorities to support them with disaster relief or humanitarian assistance at home or abroad. Although the Department has seldom been tasked to execute these missions in the Arctic, it may be asked to do more in the coming decades.

Prepare for a wide range of challenges and contingencies—operating in conjunction with other States when possible and independently if necessary—in order to maintain stability in the region.

– Future challenges in the Arctic may span the full range of national security interests.

These challenges and contingencies may take many forms, ranging from the need to support other Federal departments and agencies—or another nation—in responding to a natural or man-made disaster to responding to security concerns that may emerge in the

future.

7 Per the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, U.S. security in the Arctic encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, including national defense.

III. STRATEGIC APPROACH

The Department will pursue comprehensive engagement with allies and partners to protect the homeland and support civil authorities in preparing for increased human activity in the Arctic. Strategic partnerships are the center of gravity in ensuring a peaceful opening of the Arctic and achieving the Department’s desired end-state. Where possible, DoD will seek innovative, low-cost, smallfootprint approaches to achieve these objectives (e.g., by participating in multilateral exercises like the Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) hosted by Greenland, COLDRESPONSE hosted by Norway, and Canada’s Operation NANOOK, or through Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program-supported engagements on Arctic issues). The Department will also evolve its infrastructure and capabilities in step with the changing physical environment in order to ensure security, support safety, promote defense cooperation, and prepare to respond to a wide range of challenges and contingencies in the Arctic in the coming decades. The Department will accomplish its objectives through the following ways:

 

Exercise sovereignty and protect the homeland;

Engage public and private sector partners to improve domain awareness in the Arctic;

Preserve freedom of the seas in the Arctic;

Evolve Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions;

Support existing agreements with allies and partners while pursuing new ones to build confidence with key regional partners;

Provide support to civil authorities, as directed;

Partner with other departments and agencies and nations to support human and environmental safety; and

Support the development of the Arctic Council and otherinternational institutions that promote regional cooperation and the rule of law.

The Department will apply the four guiding principles from the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region as it pursues these eight ways.9 This means DoD will work with allies, partners, and other interested parties to safeguard peace and stability. It will make decisions using the best available scientific information, and will pursue innovative arrangements as it develops the capability and capacity needed in the Arctic over time. It will also follow established Federal tribal consultation policy. These four principles will underpin all of the Department’s activities as it implements this strategy through the means described in this section.

8 The Arctic Council’s charter states, “The Arctic Council should not deal with matters related to military security.” It could be argued that search and rescue is a (human) security interest, and oil spill response is an (environmental) security interest; thus, the Council has a demonstrated ability to address a range of “soft security” issues.

Protect the Homeland and Exercise Sovereignty

From the U.S. perspective, greater access afforded by the decreasing seasonal ice increases the Arctic’s viability as an avenue of approach to North America for those with hostile intent toward the U.S. homeland, and the Department will remain prepared to detect, deter, prevent, and defeat  threats to the homeland. Additionally, DoD will continue to support the exercise of U.S. sovereignty. In the near-term10, this will require some ability to operate in the Arctic, which the Department will maintain and enhance by continuing to conduct exercises and training in the region. In the mid- to far-term, this may require developing further capabilities and capacity to protect U.S. air, land, and maritime borders in the Arctic in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. As directed by the 2011 Unified Command Plan, Commander, U.S. Northern Command (CDRUSNORTHCOM) is responsible for advocating for Arctic capabilities. In execution of this responsibility, CDRUSNORTHCOM will collaborate with relevant Combatant Commands, the Joint Staff, the Military Departments and ServicesServices, and the Defense agencies to identify and prioritize emerging Arctic capability gaps and requirements. These efforts will be informed by the most authoritative scientific information on future Arctic conditions. For purposes of mission and infrastructure vulnerability assessments and adaptation to climate change, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)) will identify projections of future conditions to be used. The Department of Defense will collaborate with theDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure efficient use of resources to avoid duplication of effort in research, development, experimentation, testing, and acquisition. Forums such as the DoD-DHS Capabilities Development Working Group are among the means to facilitate this cooperation.

Engage public and private sector partners to improve all domain awareness in the Arctic.

Although NSPD-66/HSPD-25 focuses on maritime domain awareness, the Department has responsibilities for awareness across all domains: air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace. Adequate domain awareness is an essential component of protecting maritime commerce, critical infrastructure, and key resources. In the near-term, the Department will work through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to maintain air tracking capabilities in the Arctic. As the maritime domain becomes increasingly accessible, the Department will seek to improve its maritime detection and tracking in coordination with DHS and other departments and agencies as well as through public/private partnerships. The Department of the Navy, in its role as DoD Executive Agent for Maritime Domain Awareness, will lead DoD coordination on maritime detection and tracking. Where possible, DoD will also collaborate with international partners to employ, acquire, share, or develop the means required to improve sensing, data collection and fusion, analysis, and information-sharing to enhance domain awareness appropriately in the Arctic. Monitoring regional activity and analyzing emerging trends are key to informing future investments in Arctic capabilities and ensuring they keep pace with increasing human activity in the region over time.

9 Many of DoD’s ways align with what the National Strategy for the Arctic Region terms supporting objectives to its three lines of effort, but DoD’s strategy follows the classical “ways-ends-means” construction.

10 This strategy identifies three timeframes to be used for implementation planning: the near-term (present day-2020); mid-term (2020-2030); and far-term (beyond 2030). These timeframes are approximate due to uncertainty in climate change projections.

In the near- to mid-term, the primary means of improving domain awareness will be continued use of innovative, low-cost solutions for polar Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) needs as well as enhanced international collaboration. DoD will take steps to work with other Federal departments and agencies to improve nautical charts, enhance relevant atmospheric and oceanic models, improve accuracy of estimates of ice extent and thickness, and detect and monitor climate change indicators. In particular, the Department of the Navy will work in partnership with other Federal departments and agencies (e.g., DHS, the Department of Commerce) and international partners to improve hydrographic charting and oceanographic surveys in the Arctic.

The Department will continue to collaborate with other Federal departments and agencies and the State of Alaska to monitor and assess changes in the physical environment to inform the development of Arctic requirements and future capabilities. To that end, the Department will leverage work done by the scientific and academic communities and seek opportunities to contribute to the observation and modeling of the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice conditions, including acoustics conditions, to enhance military environmental forecasting capabilities. These collaborations will help inform the development and design of future ice-strengthened ship designs, when required.

Preserve freedom of the seas in the Arctic.

The United States has a national interest in preserving all of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace recognized under international law. The Department will preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic,11 including through the exercise of the Freedom of Navigation program to challenge excessive maritime claims asserted by other Arctic States when necessary. The Department will continue to support U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Lawof the Sea (hereafter referred to as the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC)) because it codifies the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace the Department seeks to preserve; provides a means for the peaceful resolution of disputes; and ensures international recognition of resources rights on the extended continental shelf.

Evolve Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions.

The Department will periodically re-evaluate requirements necessary to meet

national security objectives as conditions change and the Combatant Commandersidentify operational requirements for the Arctic in updates to their regional plans.Once operational requirements are defined, solutions for associated supporting infrastructure requirements should seek to leverage existing U.S. Government, commercial, and international facilities to the maximum extent possible in order to mitigate the high cost and extended timelines associated with the development of Arctic infrastructure. If no existing infrastructure is capable of sufficiently supporting the requirement, modifications to existing bases, such as the addition of a new hangar, will be made as part of the military construction or facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization processes.

Uphold existing agreements with allies and partners while building confidence with key regional partners.

Security cooperation activities and other military-to-military forms of engagement establish, shape, and maintain international relations and the partnerships necessary to meet security challenges and reduce the potential for friction. The 2012 and 2013 Northern Chiefs of Defense (CHoDs) meetings and the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable workshops and meetings are examples of means for promoting information-sharing and partnership-building necessary to develop cooperative approaches to common challenges. Therefore, in cooperation with the Department of State, DHS (in particular, the U.S. Coast Guard), and other relevant agencies, the Department will continue to build cooperative strategic partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions and burden-sharing in the Arctic. It will also seek to increase bilateral exchanges, including in science and technology, and take advantage of multilateral training opportunities with Arctic partners to enhance regional expertise and cold-weather operational experience.

Provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in Alaska and provide Foreign Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Disaster Relief (FHA/FDR) in other non-U.S. territorial areas of the Arctic.

When directed by the appropriate authority, the Department will be prepared to support civil authorities in response to natural or manmade disasters, or to conduct FHA/FDR operations in cooperation with allies and partners. Partner with other agencies and nations to support human and environmental safety.

Some of the near-term safety-related challenges include meeting international search and rescue obligations and responding to incidents such as oil spills in ice-covered waters, as reflected in the recently concluded Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and Agreement on Cooperation on

Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. The Department will leverage existing capabilities to respond to requests for support from civil authorities in coordination with other departments and agencies and nations. Where appropriate, the Department will support other departments and agencies in maintaining human health; promoting healthy, sustainable, and resilient ecosystems; and consulting and coordinating with Alaska Natives on policy and activities affecting them. Finally, the Department will continue to integrate environmental considerations into its planning and operations and to contribute to whole-of-government approaches in support of the second line of effort in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region

Support the development of the Arctic Council and other international institutions to promote regional cooperation and the rule of law.

The Department recognizes the value of the Arctic Council in efforts to understand the changing Arctic environment and developingcooperative approaches to regional challenges, and supports the Department of State in thecontinued development of the Council. Although the Department of State is the lead fordiplomacy, DoD has a role to play in enhancing the region’s multilateral security cooperationenvironment. Accordingly, DoD will work with allies and partners within the framework ofinternational institutions, ranging from the Arctic Council to the International MaritimeOrganization (IMO), to maintain stability and promote cooperation.

11As expressed by Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), and Commander, USNORTHCOM, in a May 2008 memorandum, the United States needs assured access to support U.S. national interests in the Arctic. Although this imperative could be met by regular U.S. Government ships in open water up to the marginal ice zone, only ice-capable ships provide assured sovereign presence throughout the region and throughout the year. Assured access in areas of pack ice could also be met by other means, including submarines and aircraft.

  1. CHALLENGES & RISKS TO THE STRATEGIC APPROACH

.This strategy furthers defense objectives while positioning the United States to take advantage of opportunities in the Arctic during the coming decades in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. It also addresses some of the risks inherent in the trade-offs and tensions among U.S. interests and objectives, including:

Projections about future access to and activity in the Arctic may be inaccurate.

Significant uncertainty remains about the rate and extent of the effects of climate change, including climate variability, in the Arctic. There is also uncertainty about future economic conditions, and the pace at which human activity will increase in the region. The challenge is to balance the risk of having inadequate capabilities or insufficient capacity when required to operate in the region with the opportunity cost of making premature and/or unnecessary investments. Premature investment may reduce the availability of resources for other pressing priorities, particularly in a time of fiscal austerity.

Fiscal constraints may delay or deny needed investment in Arctic capabilities, and may curtail Arctic trainingand operations.

As the Department downsizes to meet budgetary targets, it will have to prioritize engagements for the resulting smaller force. There is also a risk that desired investments in Arctic capabilities may not compete successfully against other requirements in the Department’s budgetary priorities. Where possible, DoD will mitigate this risk by

developing innovative ways to employ existing capabilities in coordination with otherdepartments and agencies and international partners, and by enhancing scientific, research, and development partnerships. CDRUSNORTHCOM plays a key role in mitigating this risk as the Arctic capability advocate within the Department’s planning and programming

activities. Commander, U.S. European Command (CDRUSEUCOM) and Commander, U.S.

Pacific Command (CDRUSPACOM) also play a role by fostering collaborative working

relationships with regional partners.

Political rhetoric and press reporting about boundary disputes and competition for resources may inflame regional tensions.

Efforts to manage disagreements diplomatically may be hindered if the public narrative becomes one of rivalry and conflict. The Department will mitigate this risk by ensuring its plans, actions, and words are coordinated, and when appropriate, by engaging the press to counter unhelpful narratives with facts. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy will monitor DoD activities, programs, and posture in the region to ensure the Department is sending a clear message to key audiences regarding the Department’s efforts to promote security, safety, and defense cooperation.

Being too aggressive in taking steps to address anticipated future security risks may create the conditions of mistrust and miscommunication under which such risks could materialize.

There is some risk that the perception that the Arctic is being militarized may lead to an “arms race” mentality that could lead to a breakdown of existing cooperative approaches to shared challenges. The Department will mitigate this risk by focusing on collaborative security approaches as outlined in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and by supporting other Federal departments and agencies where they have leadership roles. Building trust through transparency about the intent of our military activities and participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises and other engagements that facilitate information-sharing will be a key means of addressing this risk.

  1. CONCLUSION

The Department will work collaboratively with allies and partners through the ways and means outlined in this strategy to support the development of the Arctic as a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges. Priority will be given to addressing key near-term challenges primarily in key enablers, including: shortfalls in ice and weather reporting and forecasting; limitations in C4ISR due to lack of assets and harsh environmental conditions; and limited domain awareness. The key will be to address needs over time as activity in the Arctic increases, while balancing potential Arctic investments with other national priorities. This approach will help the United States achieve its objectives as outlined in the National Strategy for the Arctic Region while mitigating risks and overcoming challenges presented by the growing geostrategic importance of the Arctic.

 

 

 

 

 

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TBR News January 12, 2018

Jan 12 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 12, 2018:”Given his recent performances, one can only wonder what Trump will do, or say, next.

Call the Pope a faggot and lose the Catholic vote?

It wouldn’t make any difference if Trump used the ‘nigger’ word because he and the Republicans have lost that vote some time ago.

Why not sponsor a bill to kill all the pet dogs in America?

Or perhaps encourage more Americans to drive on the left side of the road if they feel that want to.

Or better, suggest that anyone caught with more that two marijuana seeds be executed in public by being burnt at the stake.

All of these idea have no doubt crossed his mind but now we can see the real reason he cancelled his trip to London; no one wants him there and the Queen has categorically refused to see him.

Their good fortune is our loss.”

 

Table of Contents

  • Secrecy News
  • Donald Trump claims US sold Norway ‘F-52’ aircraft that doesn’t exist
  • U.S. ambassador to Panama resigns, says cannot serve Trump
  • Why federal cannabis crackdown may be a blessing in disguise for legal weed
  • Trump pans immigration proposal as bringing people from ‘shithole countries’
  • Democratic U.S. senator: Trump called African countries ‘shitholes’ in meeting
  • ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ – Norwegians reject Trump’s immigration offer
  • The Same Democrats Who Denounce Donald Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers
  • Political risk looms over Republicans’ welfare tinkering
  • Kentucky becomes first U.S. state to implement Medicaid work requirements
  • SPLC statement on President Trump’s effort to undermine Medicaid
  • Debunked: Trump reasons for cancelling London visit  
  • New security flaw detected in Intel hardware
  • Ski resorts cling on against climate change

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TBR News January 11, 2018

Jan 11 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 11, 2018:”The Wolff book on the inner workings of the Trump administration is relatively light-weight but Washington contacts who know what is going on say it is reasonably accurate in depicting the utter chaos in the White House.

The book is becoming a best seller, thanks to Trump’s fury and his subsequent bluster and no doubt he will want the author immediately arrested and executed.

I have read the book and for ambience and understanding it is well worth reading.”

 

Table of Contents

  • California in revolt: how the progressive state plans to foil the Trump agenda
  • Vermont to become 1st state to legalize marijuana via legislature
  • Dems to Sessions: ‘You can pry legal pot from our warm, interesting-to-look- at hands’
  • Steve Bannon’s demise is not the end of Trumpism
  • Beyond the gossip, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury reveals a president in crisis
  • Korea: Peace Breaks Out
  • Air Raids and Missile Attacks Show Israel Flexing Its Muscles in Syria
  • Armed Federal Agents Enter Warehouse in Puerto Rico to Seize Hoarded Electric Equipment

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