TBR News July 30, 2018

Jul 31 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. July 31, 2018: “The United States is running out of oil and their chief source, Saudi Arabia, is almost dry. Ergo, look for more, controlled, sources. Now the US has decided that the Arctic has a great deal of oil and that they must, therefore, sieze it and prevent Russia from interfering for invasion of their territory. Typical acts of the International Bully.

‘Last year, energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements such as tactical solar gear at combat outposts in Afghanistan saved roughly 20 million gallons of fuel – taking 7,000 truckloads worth of fuel off the battlefield.  Over the same period of time, U.S. Air Force innovations and more efficient route planning saved $1.5 billion.  By 2025, private-sector investments on DoD installations will be generating 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy.  That’s enough to power 750,000 homes – 50 percent more power than the Hoover Dam.  And because we know that climate change is taking place, we are assessing our coastal and desert installations to help ensure they will be resilient to its effects.  Planning for climate change and smarter energy investments not only make us a stronger military, they have many additional benefits – saving us money, reducing demand, and helping protect the environment.

As energy sources evolve, and the global demand for energy increases amid a changing climate, as nations see this and plan for this they will shift their strategic priorities, placing more and more emphasis on new sources of energy from new frontiers, including the Arctic. Climate change is shifting the landscape in the Arctic more rapidly than anywhere else in the world.  While the Arctic temperature rise is relatively small in absolute terms, its effects are significant – transforming what was a frozen desert into an evolving navigable ocean, giving rise to an unprecedented level of human activity.  Traffic in the Northern Sea Route is reportedly expected to increase tenfold this year compared to last year.’

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Halifax, Nova Scotia,

Friday, November 22, 2013


The Table of Contents

  • Conversations with the Crow
  • Lawmakers Want to Know if US Troops Are Ready for Arctic Warfare
  • The Arctic Theater
  • The US Navy Is Now Facing Its Greatest Fear: Obsolete Aircraft Carriers?
  • Russia Develops Mach Six Anti-Ship Missile
  • ‘Doomsday weapon’: How could the West respond to Russia’s nuclear underwater drone?
  • Арктика как предстоящий военный театр (The Arctic as a coming war theater)
  • Michael Cohen’s bombshell: What it means legally and why he probably isn’t cooperating… yet
  • Donald Trump is playing good cop/bad cop with Iran]

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy.

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired.

Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks.”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

One of Crowley’s first major assignments within the agency was to assist in the recruitment and management of prominent World War II Nazis, especially those with advanced intelligence experience. One of the CIA’s major recruitment coups was Heinrich Müller, once head of Hitler’s Gestapo who had fled to Switzerland after the collapse of the Third Reich and worked as an anti-Communist expert for Masson of Swiss counterintelligence. Müller was initially hired by Colonel James Critchfield of the CIA, who was running the Gehlen Organization out of Pullach in southern Germany. Crowley eventually came to despise Critchfield but the colonel was totally unaware of this, to his later dismay.

Crowley’s real expertise within the agency was the Soviet KGB. One of his main jobs throughout his career was acting as the agency liaison with corporations like ITT, which the CIA often used as fronts for moving large amounts of cash off their books. He was deeply involved in the efforts by the U.S. to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile, which eventually got him into legal problems with regard to investigations of the U.S. government’s grand jury where he has perjured himself in an agency cover-up

After his retirement, Crowley began to search for someone who might be able to write a competent history of his career. His first choice fell on British author John Costello (author of Ten Days to Destiny, The Pacific War and other works) but, discovering that Costello was a very aggressive homosexual, he dropped him and tentatively turned to Joseph Trento who had assisted Crowley and William Corson in writing a book on the KGB. When Crowley discovered that Trento had an ambiguous and probably cooperative relationship with the CIA, he began to distrust him and continued his search for an author.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

In 1998, when Crowley was slated to go into the hospital for exploratory surgery, he had his son, Greg, ship two large foot lockers of documents to Douglas in Wisconsin with the caveat that they were not to be opened until after Crowley’s death. These documents, totaled an astonishing 15,000 pages of CIA classified files involving many covert operations, both foreign and domestic, during the Cold War.

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Müller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

He has.



Conversation No. 6

Date: Sunday, March 31, 1996

Commenced: 8:35 AM CST

Concluded: 8:47 AM CST


GD: Hello, Robert. Did you get in touch…or did Corson get ahold of you?

RTC: No, actually, Gregory, I was in touch with him. What do you tell Bill to get him so rattled?

GD: Nothing particularly.

RTC: Did you mention drugs by any chance?

GD: Actually, no but he did.

RTC: He initiated the conversation on that subject?

GD: Yes. About three days ago. He asked me what I knew about allegations, get that, allegations, that the CIA has some involvement with drugs.

RTC: Keep going.

GD: I detect some unhappiness.

RTC: You do but it’s not aimed at you. Let me get this clear here. Bill initiated a conversation with you about drugs? Am I correct there?

GD: Absolutely. He wasn’t very subtle about it, either.

RTC: Try to remember exactly what he said.

GD: He started out…he said that there were rumors being spread that the CIA was connected in some way with large scale drug smuggling. He wanted to know if I had been talking about it and if I had, where had I gotten the information. I asked him to be specific and he got coy with me. He did say, and I recall this very clearly because it was only a few days ago, he asked me if you and I had talked about it.

RTC: And…?

GD: What do you think? What we say goes no place, not even a hint. I told him that you and I had never discussed this….

RTC: Thank you…

GD: Yes, and then I asked him if I should bring this up to you. I said I would tell you Bill was asking about this. He got very agitated then and told me not to say a word to you because he didn’t want to upset you.

RTC: (Laughter) Oh, well, you did a good job. But was he explicit in his comments about drugs? I mean the who-what-why and when?

GD: No, he actually told me nothing but he wanted to know what I personally knew and if I knew anything, where did I get it?

RTC: That figures.

GD: And I mentioned the KMT General and his flight to Switzerland. He jumped on that and asked me if I got that from you. I told him Kimmel told me.

RTC: (Laughter) Sweet Jesus. That’s putting the cat in the hen house. What did he say to that?

GD: He sounded like he was having an asthma attack.

RTC: I’ll bet he was. You turned it back on him, didn’t you?

GD: I think so. I wonder why he thinks I’m stupid?

RTC: People underestimate you.

GD: Yes, and at the same time they are overestimating themselves. What’s this all about, if I dare ask?

RTC: Drugs are a very sensitive issue with certain departments of the CIA. Very sensitive. It’s well known you and I talk and they are frantic to find out what we’re talking about. Of course if they tapped our phones, they might find out but by Bill asking you that, it’s obvious they have not tapped our phones. If I caught them playing their stupid games with either of us, they would be better off to move to Iceland and fish for flounder or whatever. No, that was a fishing expedition. That I know certain things is bad enough but that I talk to you, the author of the evil Müller books, is something else. No, they wouldn’t dare tap my phone. If they did, as I said, there would be blood running all over certain office floors when the hit men left. No, they’re guessing and the Kimmel business was a shrewd hit. I think he’s into this. He views you as an interesting but unstable person to whom one ought not to be at home when you call.

GD: I have always been civilized with Kimmel and, I think, very helpful in giving his family any papers that might help them about the Admiral.

RTC: Never expect gratitude from such as them, Gregory, and never turn your back on them either. Drugs? Fine. Tell me something, Gregory, where does heroin come from?

GD: The Salvation Army kitchens?

RTC: Be serious.

GD: Heroin comes from opium just as cocaine comes from coca plants.

RTC: Wonderful. And where do we find opium, or rather where does it come from?

GD: The sap of opium poppies. Found in Turkey in places but now getting under control there and mostly in Afghanistan.

RTC: You get a big ‘A’ on your card. Yes, Gregory, opium comes from Afghanistan. And who is very powerful in that country?

GD: The CIA?

RTC: Funny. Who?

GD: The Taliban.

RTC: Yes and do you know who founded that organization of cut throats and killers? We did so they could make trouble for the Soviets. And we trained them and armed them, Gregory which was a terrible mistake.

GD: You should read history, Robert. A poor, tribal area with savage guerrilla people who will fight any occupying power and when they kill them off, they will fight each other.

RTC: That was a first class mess there. Yes, they went after Ivan and then took our weapons and training methodology and took over the country. A nest of vipers.

GD: And all yours.

RTC: Don’t rub it in. There will be serious trouble there, mark my words.

GD: My bet is that they’ll go after Pakistan and when they take over that country…by the way, doesn’t Pakistan have nuclear weapons?

RTC: Oh God, I am so happy I’m retired. Ah, but the drugs. Yes, to be clear on it, I ask you another question. Where do all the drugs in the States come from?

GD: China white heroin comes to this country from, obviously, China. The Chinks smuggle it into Canada using cargo containers that dock on Vancouver Island. That’s one source I know about personally. The bulk of the rest comes up from Mexico.

RTC: Yes, but it isn’t processed there.

GD: No, in Columbia. And smuggled into Mexico via Chaipas and up to our border and the veins of the needy.

RTC: How do you know these things?

GD: Never mind.

RTC: And is there a question here, Gregory?

GD: Of course, Robert. We know about opium, or yen shee as the Chinks call it, being grown in Afghanistan and we know it’s processed into heroin in Columbia. The obvious question is how the stuff gets from a land-locked country to Columbia?  The answer is that someone, or some group, transports it there. By boat? By aircraft?

RTC: Both. Boat from Pakistan and plane from Afghanistan itself.

GD: Yes. And who does this? The Afghanistan navy?

RTC: No there is a special branch of the Company involved in this and has been for decades. A large part of our secret budget comes from this. Of course, we do not sell it but we do supply those who both refine it and eventually sell it.

GD: Where and when do you get your cut?

RTC: After it’s refined in Columbia. You see, we also own the refining facilities which we lease out.

GD: And cocaine?

RTC: Well, if we do one, we can always do the other.

GD: Jesus wept. And why would Bill get his withered balls into such an uproar?

RTC: They don’t want you to get your hands on this. It’s bad enough for you to talk about prominent Nazis working for us let alone this drug business. Be very careful where you put your feet, Gregory. You are dealing with a minefield and I will have to ring off now because I have to talk with Bill. No offense but he has to be told to go and lie down in the corner or I’ll lock him in his cage.

GD: Why I thought he was your friend.

RTC: Bill is useful but Bill has an exalted opinion of himself and it’s time I let the air out of his balloon. So I do appreciate this talk and even more your handling of the subject. We don’t need to discuss this and if Tom the Arrow shirt boy gets onto this with you, keep your mouth shut and change the subject. Oh and do tell me if he does.

GD: Absolutely. I hope I gave Bill the right answers.

RTC: In this business, Gregory, there are no right answers.

GD: Yes. We have only the quick and the dead.


(Concluded at 8:47 AM CST)


Lawmakers Want to Know if US Troops Are Ready for Arctic Warfare

July 30, 2018

by Matthew Cox


Lawmakers want Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to submit a report to Congress on whether the U.S. military services have the equipment and training they need to survive in cold-weather combat.

The proposal appeared in the House Armed Services Committee’s latest version of the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.”

Conferees want Mattis to submit a report to the congressional defense committees “not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act on current cold weather capabilities and readiness of the United States Armed Forces,” the document states.

The report should include:

  • A description of current cold weather capabilities and training to support United States military operations in cold climates across the joint force;
  • A description of anticipated requirements for United States military operations in cold and extreme cold weather in the Arctic, Northeast Asia, and Northern and Eastern Europe;
  • A description of the current cold weather readiness of the joint force, the ability to increase cold weather training across the joint force, and any equipment, infrastructure, personnel, or resource limitations or gaps that may exist;
  • An analysis of potential opportunities to expand cold weather training for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps and the resources or infrastructure required for such expansion;
  • An analysis of potential partnerships with state, local, tribal, and private entities to maximize training potential and to utilize local expertise, including traditional indigenous knowledge.

If the proposal makes it to President Donald Trump for approval, it could lead to improvements in cold-weather equipment and training U.S. troops receive.


The Arctic Theater

July 30, 2018

by Christian Jürs

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has provided the strongest impetus for a more assertive United States policy in the Arctic region. The United States focuses on numerous facets of the Arctic region in promoting and explaining their reasoning for a stronger policy position in the region. As an Arctic country with territory at stake, the United States is continuously pushing for a larger influence in the region to pursue industry and energy development considerations. One of the tenets of NSPD-66 is the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), this would provide clarity and the appropriate framework for the United States to submit a claim to some area of the Arctic as the sea ice continues to melt. In addition, new passageways in commercial shipping may become available due to the breaking of ice.

The population influx in the Arctic region is also predicted to coincide with more commercial shipping, marine tourism, and the transportation of large passenger vessels.This poses coverage gaps to the US Navy and US Coast Guard search and rescue functions. Due to the non-military nature of the Arctic Council, the United States will also need to pursue separate military agreements with other Arctic countries to ensure a protected and secure region.

The 25th Infantry Division (nicknamed “Tropic Lightning”, “Electric Strawberry”, and the C’ Chi National Guard during the Vietnam War) is a U.S. Army division based in Hawaii. The division, which was activated on 1 October 1941 in Hawaii, conducts military operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Its present deployment is composed of Stryker, light infantry, airborne, and aviation units. The division has been moved to Alaaska as part of a program to gain control of Arctic natural resources and territory and block Russian political and military moves in the Arctic areas.


1st Brigade Combat Team (Stryker) “Arctic Wolves” (under United States Army Alaska)

Headquarters & Headquarters Company

1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment

3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment

1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment

5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment (RSTA)

2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment

25th Support Battalion

Delta Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment (Anti-tank)

73rd Engineer Company

176th Signal Company

184th Military Intelligence Company

Task Force Couch (Deactivated in 2007)

2nd Brigade Combat Team (Stryker) “Warriors”

Headquarters & Headquarters Company

1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment

1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment

1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment

2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment (RSTA)

2nd Battalion 11th Field Artillery Regiment

225th Brigade Support Battalion

Bravo Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment (Anti-tank)

66th Engineer Company

556th Signal Company

185th Military Intelligence Company

3rd Brigade Combat Team (Infantry) “Broncos”

2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds”

2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment “Cacti”

3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment “Raider”

3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment “Steel”

325th Brigade Support Battalion “Mustangs”

Special Troops Battalion “Bayonet”

4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) “Spartan” (under United States Army Alaska)

1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment “1 Geronimo”

3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment “3 Geronimo”

1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment “Denali”

2nd Battalion (Airborne), 377th Field Artillery Regiment “Spartan Steel”

725th Brigade Support Battalion “Centurion”

Special Troops Battalion “Warrior”

Combat Aviation Brigade

Headquarters & Headquarters Company

1st Battalion (Attack Reconnaissance), 25th Aviation Regiment (AH-64 )”Gunfighters”

2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment (UH-60) “Diamond Head”

3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment (CH-47) “Hammerhead”

2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment (OH-58D) “Lightning Horse”

209th Aviation Support Battalion “Lobos”



The US Navy Is Now Facing Its Greatest Fear: Obsolete Aircraft Carriers?

Is the mighty aircraft carrier obsolete? Can the planes they fly be replaced to better fit the 21st century threat environment? Or is it time for more submarines?

August 3, 2016

by Dave Majumdar

Natonal Interest

If the United States Navy is either unwilling or unable to conceptualize a carrier air wing that can fight on the first day of a high-end conflict, then the question becomes: Why should the American taxpayer shell out $13 billion for a Ford-class carrier?

That’s the potent question being raised by naval analysts in Washington—noting that there are many options that the Navy could pursue including a stealthy new long-range, carrier-based unmanned combat aircraft or a much heavier investment in submarines. However, the current short-range Boeing F/A-18 Hornet-based air wing is not likely to be sufficient in the 2030s even with the addition of the longer ranged Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.

“If these carriers can’t do that first day lethal strike mission inside an A2/AD bubble, why are we paying $13 billion dollars for them?” asks Jerry Hendrix, director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security, during an interview with The National Interest . “There are people making that statement: ‘it’s not our job on day one’—they can say there are all these other missions—presence and show-the-flag—but if that’s where they fit, their price ought to be scaled to that.”

To justify the expense of the carrier, and to keep them relevant, the U.S. Navy needs to revamp the composition of the carrier air wing so that it can participate in countering anti-access/area denial bubbles on the first day of combat, Hendrix said. The Navy must develop a new, long-range, unmanned strike aircraft that can counter those emerging threats, “Otherwise, what’s the point?” Hendrix asked. “If you’re not willing to make the shift in investment to have an asset that can do long-range strike from the carrier, perhaps we need to look at investing elsewhere.”

Bryan McGrath, managing director of the naval consultancy FerryBridge Group, agreed with Hendrix. “The case for the carrier will suffer if the Navy drags its feet on what comes next in the air wing,” he told The National Interest —also advocating for the development of a new carrier-based long-range unmanned strike aircraft. “Always remember—the carrier doesn’t care what it launches and recovers. It is just a floating airport. The air wing is the key. Get the air wing wrong—or continue to—and yes, the CVN investment makes less sense.”

While many within senior Navy leadership know and understand the problem—the protracted and expensive development of the Lockheed Martin F-35 has left the Navy gun-shy. “The plain truth is that the F-35 acquisition has negatively reinforced learned behavior in naval aviation acquisition. There is real fear in what you hear acquisition officials saying in why they want to slow-roll UCLASS into a tanker/ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] platform rather than a rangy, semi-stealthy, striker,” McGrath said. “Of course the tanking and the ISR are important…  But they are additive to what is already in the Joint architecture. What the Joint architecture lacks is mobile, semi-stealthy, long-range strike. Utterly lacks it. But the technical challenges are judged to be more difficult than those associated with an ISR/Tanker bird, and there is no appetite or stomach—or any other appropriate noun—within the acquisition community to take on tough technical challenges.”

Not only has the F-35 experience scared the Navy away from developing an unmanned strike aircraft, it is also one of the major factors behind the sea service’s vision for a scaled-down F/A-XX that is little more than a ‘super’ Super Hornet. “They’ve been burned by F-35, and no one wants to get burned again. But this is exactly the wrong lesson to be taken from F-35,” McGrath said. “What should be taken from F-35 is how difficult it is to create a ‘one-size-fits all’ solution to a great variety of missions and conditions. We can, should, and must design and build a largely unmanned semi-stealthy long-range carrier strike aircraft purpose built for carrier aviation.”

However, if the Navy doesn’t embark on developing a long-range penetrating strike aircraft, at a bare minimum, the service needs a stealthy new air-launched cruise missile—ideally with supersonic terminal speeds—with a range of more than 500 nautical miles. That missile would have to fit onto pylons underneath either the Super Hornet or the F-35C—which would carry the weapon the first 600 or so miles before releasing it.  However, the problem would still be targeting. But Hendrix and McGrath also noted that the carrier needs an organic tanker to refuel those jets while they are enroute. “It should have 30,000 lbs of give,” Hendrix said “But it must be able give at least as much as the KA-6 (26,000 lbs).”

Indeed, if the U.S. Navy is adamant that its carriers will no longer play a role on the first day of war against a near-peer threat, then there is no justification for the cost of the $13 billion Ford-class carrier, Hendrix said. One potential alternative would be to scrap new the Ford-class design and return to the much less costly Nimitz-class design—the last and most expensive of which—USS  George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)—cost about half as much as the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), Hendrix suggested. Another alternative could be a smaller carrier design—perhaps about the size of the 60,000-ton Forrestal-class—with fewer catapults and other costly features. “We could build a carrier custom-fit for 70 aircraft,” Hendrix said—noting that the 100,000-ton displacement Nimitz and Ford designs were built for a larger air wing of more than 90 aircraft.

Yet another alternative is to stop building aircraft carriers and focus on building additional submarines—which are extremely stealthy and operate with all but impunity, Hendrix said. The Navy could buy two Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) ballistic missile submarines or four Virginia-class attack submarines for the price of a single Ford-class. That would address the Navy’s pressing need to replace the Ohio-class ballistic missile boomers and start to address the attack submarine shortfall much more quickly and without breaking the bank. Moreover, given the that future attack submarines will add the Virginia Payload Module, which would allow the vessels to carry 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles, those vessels are expected to deliver an enormous punch.

However, Hendrix suggested buying double the number of ORP submarines in block buys with half configured to as SSGNs—or cruise missile carriers. With 16 missile tubes that could each carry seven Tomahawks in multiple all-up-round canisters (MAC), each ORP could carry 112 cruise missiles. “If the carrier air wing cannot do precision strike from range on the first day of war, those SSGNs could bring that precision strike to bear,” Hendrix said.


Russia Develops Mach Six Anti-Ship Missile

July 30, 2018

by MarEx

Russians have developed an anti-ship missile capable of speeds in excess of 4,000 miles per hour, or about six times the speed of sound. That is as fast as the U.S. Navy’s prototype railgun projectile – but the new Zircon missile can travel more than twice as far, and with a guided flight path.

The Zircon’s speed exceeds the track-and-defeat abilities of some defensive anti-missile systems, and defense sources say that the scramjet-powered munition could pose a threat to the newest vessels of the Royal Navy. The service’s new carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will be fitted with the Sea Ceptor anti-missile system, which is only designed to intercept incoming projectiles with speeds of up to 2,300 mph.

“Hypersonic missiles are virtually unstoppable. The whole idea of the carrier is the ability to project power. But with no method of protecting themselves against missiles like the Zircon the carrier would have to stay out of range, hundreds of miles out at sea,” a naval source told the UK’s Sunday People. “Its planes would be useless and the whole basis of a carrier task force would be redundant.”

Defending against these missiles would be extremely challenging, requiring early detection, rapid response and – even if the missile were knocked out on its terminal approach – a way to mitigate damage from ultra-high-speed debris.

Sources told UK media that the new hypersonic missiles could be deployed as early as 2018 –after the Royal Navy’s new carriers are set to enter service. The service declined to comment, citing a policy that bans the discussion of force protection capabilities. A

The fears of an unstoppable Russian “carrier killer” mirror concerns about China’s DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missile, which is able to deliver a warhead with precision accuracy up to 2,500 miles from shore – putting Guam within range of a missile fired from mainland China. However, U.S. Navy chief of naval operations Adm. John Richardson notes that there is a substantial network of sensor systems and guidance required to make a precision-guided ballistic missile arrive on target. Disrupting that electronic command-and-control system could be an effective defense, even if shooting down the missile on its terminal approach would be unlikely. “Our response would be to inject a lot of friction into that [targeting] system,” Richardson said at a panel discussion last June.


‘Doomsday weapon’: How could the West respond to Russia’s nuclear underwater drone?

July 31, 2018


US and British navies could counter Russia’s nuclear-powered autonomous torpedo, Poseidon, by using undersea sensors and anti-submarine aircraft, writes Covert Shores website. But is this really a viable tactic?

The development of the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), originally known as ‘Status-6’, was first mentioned in November 2015. Western media later dubbed the submarine drone a doomsday weapon.

On March 1, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially confirmed the weapon’s existence in his annual address to the Federal Assembly.

“We have developed unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths – I would say extreme depths – intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels,” said Putin.

It is reported that the main goal of the torpedo is to deliver a thermonuclear warhead to enemy shores in order to destroy important coastal infrastructure and industrial objects, as well as ensure massive damage to the enemy’s territory by subjecting vast areas to radioactive tsunamis and other devastating consequences of a nuclear explosion.

Another potential use for the Poseidon torpedo is to strike US aircraft carrier battle groups.

On December 8, 2016, US intelligence reported that, on November 27, Russia had conducted a test of a nuclear-powered UUV, launched from a B-90 Sarov-class submarine. In February, the Pentagon officially added Status-6 to Russia’s nuclear triad by mentioning it in the US Nuclear Posture Review.

At present, the technical specifications of Poseidon torpedoes are classified information. So far, it is known that the UUV is over 19 meters in length and almost two meters in width. Earlier, it was assumed that Poseidon would be equipped with a 100-megaton thermonuclear warhead that could obliterate entire coastal cities and cause destruction further inland, triggering tsunamis laden with radioactive fallout.

However, according to the latest information, the power of the Poseidon’s warhead is just two megatons. But this does not change much. This amount of nuclear material is still enough to destroy large coastal cities, naval bases and cause a tsunami.

In addition, a warhead of this class could easily wipe out any carrier strike group of the US Navy.

According to some reports, Poseidon can develop speeds up to 70 knots, which is faster than any US nuclear submarine or anti-ship torpedo. The operational depth of the Poseidon is more than a thousand meters, which also significantly exceeds the capabilities of US submarines

According to Covert Shores, the new Russian UUV can be located with the help of Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV).

ACTUV drone is a DARPA-financed US project to develop an unmanned ship designed to detect and track enemy submarines with the help of sonars. It is assumed that the vessel will not be equipped with weapons of any kind and will be used solely for reconnaissance purposes – however, this may change in the future.

Sea floor sensor networks, including sonar buoys could also be deployed by maritime patrol aircraft, such as Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon, to locate the Russian UUV, according to Covert Shores.

“Strangely enough, Covert Shores doesn’t mention the SOSUS system,” Rear Admiral Arkady Syroezhko, ex-chief of the autonomous vehicles program of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, told Gazeta.ru.

SOSUS is the US sound surveillance system for detecting and identifying submarines. It should be noted, however, that this system will be deployed only on the frontiers – for example, in the GIUK (Greenland, Iceland, and the UK) gap, along the North Cape – Medvezhy Island line, in the Denmark Strait, and in a couple of other places. So it would be a mistake to believe that the SOSUS system is deployed in all parts of the global ocean. In the Pacific, for instance, it is hardly used at all.

Syroezhko believes that, when it comes to tracking underwater objects, the key thing is to select the right location for the tracking system. But it’s very difficult to determine where Poseidon might appear, given its almost unlimited range and high speed.

Also, according to Syroezhko, tracking Poseidon is only half the battle. To destroy the UUV, you need to have a permanent and combat-ready counter system, which means having forces and equipment on constant alert and ready for deployment. But the US doesn’t have such a system yet. To deploy such a system would require substantial financial resources — even for the US.

As for the capabilities of our hypothetical enemies to destroy the Poseidon, they are extremely limited.

“Today the MU90 Impact is the only NATO torpedo capable of reaching the depth of 1,000 meters,” Konstantin Makienko, deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Gazeta.ru.

The expert emphasizes that a single torpedo of this class costs over $2 million. Also, according to other military experts, even in a high-speed mode (92 km/h), which decreases its range significantly, this torpedo is still slower than the Poseidon.

Makienko says that the Mark 54, which is the fastest US Navy torpedo, operates at 74 km/h. He believes that it is not capable of catching up with Poseidon or reaching its operational depth.

“Until we see a live experiment, any claims about the potential detection or destruction of the Poseidon are completely groundless. Thus far, all we hear is just words,” says the former Chief of Staff of the Russian Navy Viktor Kravchenko.

Currently no hypothetical adversary has a weapon capable of overtaking the Poseidon UUV at its operational depth or reaching its speeds, says Syroezhko.

Mikhail Khodarenok, military commentator for Gazeta.ru


Арктика как предстоящий военный театр 

The Arctic as a coming war theater

Translated from the Russian

Ref: RSV 1801-02-115689//bd:g.81r


Investing nearly all funds in the naval strategic forces, Russia is spending resources on power fit for just one (and least likely) scenario of an armed conflict – the universal nuclear war. Meanwhile, solving the Fleet’s many other tasks of peaceful time and war time can be entrusted to the general-purpose non-nuclear forces only.


Strategic submarine missile-carriers are not necessary to solve a multitude of tasks like demonstrating the flag and the military presence, struggling against terrorism, participating in international and peacekeeping missions, evacuating civilians, transferring troops, guarding the coast, territorial waters and economic zone, protecting fishing and trade, securing the extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons. Just as strategic nuclear submarines will not be necessary in local conflicts. Meanwhile, the growing combat potential of the fleets of Russia’s neighbors and developing countries raises the question whether the reduced Russian general-purpose naval forces would be able enough to counteract limited aggressive actions, especially since Russia’s Naval Forces are so disconnected among the fronts.


The funds allocated to the Fleet for non-strategic components are not enough for complete new ship-building. Moreover, it is not enough even for repairing the existing vessels, which now rapidly become worthless, get removed from service, and become written off.

More than ten multi-role nuclear submarines will be added to the Russian Navy by 2020

Modernization envisions the installation of advanced life-support, hydro acoustic, navigation, control and communication systems.The service life of these types of submarines will increase two-fold, while better performance characteristics will considerably increase their combat effectiveness.


These nuclear submarines will join Russia’s Northern and Pacific Fleets. “The Russian Defence Ministry and the Navy HQ stated the modernization requirements; there is confidence that these requirements will be met,” the admiral said.


Two new atomic submarines, of the Akula II class, are now in service and alternate on duty stations in the Arctic positions. These units are attack-ready and armed with 20 long range missiles, targeted and with the capability of sequential launching upon receipt of the proper signals from Headquarters.

Targets include:


The Kremlin has formed a strategic military command to protect its interests in the Arctic. It’s part of a broader push to establish military superiority at the top of the world. (Severny Flot- Obedinyonnoye Strategicheskoye Komandovaniye, SF-OSK)

The command comprises the Northern Fleet, Arctic warfare brigades, air force and air defense units as well as additional administrative structures.

The Russian Air Force re-opened the Temp airfield on the Kotelny Island, in October 2013  the first in a chain of similar bases all along the northern coast of Russia. The military has initiated deployment of aerospace defense units in the Arctic and construction of an early warning missile radar in Russia’s extreme north

A December 2013 order from Russian President Vladimir Putin to ramp up Russia’s military presence in the Arctic. Putin said Russia was returning to the Arctic and “intensifying the development of this promising region” and that Russia needs to “have all the levers for the protection of its security and national interests. “The new command will comprise the Northern Fleet, Arctic warfare brigades, air force and air defense units as well as additional administrative structures,” the source in Russia’s General Staff said.

The military structure, dubbed the Northern Fleet-Unified Strategic Command, (Северная Объединенная флотом Стратегическая Команда,) is responsible for protecting Russia’s Arctic shipping and fishing, oil and gas fields on the Arctic shelf, and the country’s national borders in the north, the source said. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to boost its presence in the Arctic and complete the development of military infrastructure in the region with all urgent rapidity.

The Russian military has deployed aerospace defense units in the Arctic and construction of an early warning missile radar in Russia’s extreme north, according to the commander of the Aerospace Defense Forces.

Arctic territories are believed to hold vast untapped reserves of oil and gas. They have increasingly been at the center of disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice and make energy reserves more accessible. Russia has made claims to several Arctic shelf areas and plans to defend its bid at the United Nations.

As Arctic ice has melted, companies from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States — the five countries that have a border with the Arctic — have been rushing to secure rights to drill for oil and natural gas in places that are now accessible.

Under international law, no country currently owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding Arctic countries, the Russian Federation, the United States (via Alaska), Canada, Norway and Denmark (via Greenland), are limited to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) adjacent to their coasts. The waters beyond the territorial waters of the coastal states are considered the “high seas” (i.e. international waters). The sea bottom beyond the exclusive economic zones and confirmed extended continental shelf claims are considered to be the “heritage of all mankind” and administered by the UN International Seabed Authority.

Upon ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a country has a ten-year period to make claims to an extended continental shelf which, if validated, gives it exclusive rights to resources on or below the seabed of that extended shelf area. Norway (ratified the convention in 1996), Russia (ratified in 1997), Canada (ratified in 2003) and Denmark (ratified in 2004) launched projects to provide a basis for seabed claims on extended continental shelves beyond their exclusive economic zones. The United States has signed, but not yet ratified the UNCLOS.

The status of certain portions of the Arctic sea region is in dispute for various reasons. Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States all regard parts of the Arctic seas as “national waters” (territorial waters out to 12 nautical miles (22 km)) or “internal waters”. There also are disputes regarding what passages constitute “international seaways” and rights to passage along them .

As defined by the UNCLOS, states have ten years from the date of ratification to make claims to an extended continental shelf. On this basis the five states fronting the Arctic Ocean – Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation, and the U.S. – must make any desired claims by 2013, 2014, 2006, and 2007 respectively. Since the U.S. has yet to ratify the UNCLOS, the date for its submission is undetermined at this time.

Claims to extended continental shelves, if deemed valid, give the claimant state exclusive rights to the sea bottom and resources below the bottom. Valid extended continental shelf claims do not and cannot extend a state’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since the EEZ is determined solely by drawing a 200-nautical-mile (370 km) line using territorial sea baselines as their starting point. This point is made because press reports often confuse the facts and assert that extended continental shelf claims expand a state’s EEZ thereby giving a state exclusive rights to not only sea bottom and below resources but also to those in the water column. The Arctic chart prepared by Durham University clearly illustrates the extent of the uncontested Exclusive Economic Zones of the five states bordering the Arctic Ocean and also the relatively small expanse of remaining “high seas” or totally international waters at the very North of the planet.

Russia ratified the UNCLOS in 1997 and had through 2007 to make a claim to an extended continental shelf.

The Russian Federation claims  a large extended continental shelf as far as the North Pole based on the Lomonosov Ridge within their Arctic sector. Moscow believes the eastern Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of the Siberian continental shelf. The Russian claim does not cross the Russia-US Arctic sector demarcation line, nor does it extend into the Arctic sector of any other Arctic coastal state. Russia also considers its exclusive control over the Northern Sea Route connecting Asia and Europe to be a “core national interest.” The U.S., among others, considers the NSR to be an international shipping lane.


Michael Cohen’s bombshell: What it means legally and why he probably isn’t cooperating… yet

July 30, 2018

by Seth Waxman

The Hill

President Trump’s fixer-in-chief has reversed course, subjecting himself to potential perjury charges, to tell the world that Trump knew about, and approved, the now infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016. Having worked for thirteen years as a federal prosecutor in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, I can report that if true, Mueller is one giant step closer to proving that Trump knowingly and intentionally participated in an illegal quid pro quo (a “this” for “that” exchange); namely, accepting “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in exchange for the promise to reduce, eliminate, or withhold sanctions on Russian senior officials and oligarchs.

Critically important to this analysis is the fact that federal bribery law – 18 U.S.C. § 201 – criminalizes such conduct not as of the date a candidate is sworn into office as Trump was on January 20, 2017, but rather much earlier as of the date a candidate is “nominated’ for office or “officially informed” that he will be so nominated. Those dates are July 19, 2016 or earlier, making Cohen’s allegation extremely significant

President Trump and anyone who might have conspired with him to consummate a quid quo pro relationship or knowingly participated in acts to further such a scheme in the months that followed would be subject to stiff 15 year maximum prison terms, which could be supplemented with even more serious honest services fraud and RICO charges, each carrying prison terms of 20 years or more. These combined charges would dwarf the more commonly discussed campaign finance and conspiracy to defraud the United States charges, each of which carry relatively short 2 to 5 year maximum prison terms.

Indeed, the harsher charges are exactly the type of hammer Mueller needs to go after, and flip, those closest to the President: Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner

Lesser felonies won’t do it.  With credit for good behavior in jail for the lesser charges, Trump Jr. or Kushner could be out of minimum security prison camps in as little as one year or less. Conspirators don’t flip on their father or father-in-law, especially when he is the President of the United States, under such circumstances. However, their decision on whether to flip becomes much more difficult, especially for Kushner who is not a blood relative and has 3 young children, if they legitimately face 10 to 15 years in prison. That’s how federal prosecutors do business.

So, why isn’t Cohen cooperating? He appears desperate to do so. Unfortunately, for Cohen, the prosecutors’ hands may be tied due to the attorney-client privilege. If prosecutors were to interview Cohen and learn information that was ultimately deemed privileged, it could upend their investigation. The prosecutors and agents who heard any privileged statements might then have to be removed from the case, and any evidence that flowed from the privileged statements – called “derivative” evidence – may then have to be suppressed. Unwinding such a quagmire would be potentially devastating for the prosecution.

Make no mistake:  Mueller’s team wants to meet with Cohen. The assertion that Muller may have so much evidence that he does not need Cohen is bogus. Every prosecutor wants more evidence, or at the very least, an opportunity to hear such evidence. Obtaining a criminal conviction – convincing all 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt — is difficult under most circumstances. When the case involves the President of the United States, the stakes are that much higher.

A federal judge, special master, and multiple parties have debated potentially privileged documents for months to ensure that privileged material does not bleed into the mix; and those are documents that can be analyzed in a calm, static environment. Prosecutors have no idea what may come out of Cohen’s mouth during an interview. Statements that seem innocuous at first may later prove to be privileged. The risks are great.

That is not to say that prosecutors are happy Cohen is running his mouth in the media.  They are very likely wringing their hands. One explanation for Cohen’s seemingly counterproductive conduct may be that it is part of an effort to force Mueller into a cooperation agreement. But, Mueller’s seemingly masterful understanding of the endgame and risks involved makes it extremely unlikely he will be moved.

Quandaries such as this are where lawyers in high stakes criminal cases earn their keep. My suggestion – albeit somewhat radical – is for Mueller to ask Trump to waive the attorney-client privilege for all communications with Cohen in exchange for Mueller agreeing not to question or subpoena the President. Under such a deal, Mueller could freely question Cohen, Trump would avoid the giant pitfalls associated with testifying under oath, and Cohen could finally cooperate and be silent.

Relinquishing an opportunity to question the President would be a huge concession by Mueller – one that many prosecutors, including myself (as a former prosecutor), would not give up — but getting closer to charging and possibly flipping Trump Jr. or Kushner may be worth the price.

In this case, one quid pro quo may deserve another.


Donald Trump is playing good cop/bad cop with Iran

US President Donald Trump is applying his usual game of intimidation and concession in his dealings with Tehran. But unlike with North Korea, this approach will not bear fruit

July 30, 2018

by Matthias von Hein


Anyone familiar with crime flicks will be familiar with the good cop/bad cop tactic of extracting information and cooperation out of an informant. Now, the commander-in-chief has introduced it to the world of international politics, with a twist: Trump plays both the cops simultaneously.

The US president’s political schizophrenia — whether genuine or an act of calculated showmanship — has proven successful in that it, against all logic, led to a face-to-face meeting with the hereditary dictator of a long-isolated, rogue communist state. The summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un actually happened, even if it delivered few concrete results.

Moving goalposts

With regard to Iran, Trump seems to pursue a similar good cop/bad cop approach. He recently took to Twitter to warn the country’s leader not to threaten the US, promising severe consequences in future.

And these words are also matched by actions. Three months ago, the US abandoned the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) and imposed sanctions on the state. Now, Iran’s economy is feeling the consequences. Inside Iran, pressure is growing, with political protests occurring almost daily. US financial sanctions take effect next week. But already today, the value of Iran’s national currency, the rial, is plummeting. In the last two days alone, it lost 20 percent of its worth.

Representatives from the US State Department and the Treasury Department swarmed out to warn of buying Iranian oil. Now, orders are down and Iran, which depends on income generated from oil exports, is under intense pressure. It is getting ever clearer that these US measures are no longer merely aimed at changing Iran’s behavior but instead at regime change.

But now comes the good cop: Trump has also offered to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions and “whenever they want” — a conciliatory gesture that conspicuously diverges from his previously antagonistic stance. While switching back and forth from good cop to bad cop may work in the real estate sector, or may have proven successful vis-a-vis North Korea, it is not likely to land well in Tehran, and there are several reasons why.

Mixed signals

Firstly, Trump has sought to meet his Iranian counterpart numerous times in the past already, without success. Iran claims Trump tried on eight occasions to meet Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly last year.

Secondly, the US administration is speaking from both sides of its mouth: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for instance, has insisted that certain criteria be met before Trump and Rouhani could meet, completely contradicting Trump’s unconditional offers for a chat.

Thirdly, Iran is not nearly as politically isolated as North Korea, as Rouhani’s recent visit to Europe demonstrates. And, unlike the North Korean leader, the Iranian president has no need for a photo op with the US leader to use for propaganda purposes and as an ego boost.

Given Iran’s various centers of power and the skepticism about such a meeting on the part of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the country’s spiritual guide and most powerful man, it’s very unlikely to happen. So lastly, even if they were to meet, why would Rouhani want to negotiate a new nuclear deal with the US given that the Americans have turned their back on an already existing deal? Iran would make a summit conditional on America reaffirming its commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. That is, if the dealmaker-in-chief is even genuine about wanting to reach an accord at all.

Take talks seriously

Secretary Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, in contrast, seem more interested in forcing Iran to capitulate. Roughly one year ago, Bolton — not yet serving in his current post – unveiled a detailed plan on how the US should leave the Iran nuclear deal.

That plan contains the following sentence: “Iran is not likely to seek further negotiations once the JCPOA is abrogated, but the Administration may wish to consider rhetorically leaving that possibility open…”

At a basic level, it would just be a good idea if Washington and Tehran started speaking again. The toxic relationship between the two could lead to open conflict should either side make a mistake regarding Syria, Yemen, Iraq or the Strait of Hormuz. Perhaps the two countries should simply take the classic approach and initiate talks through diplomatic channels, which were severed in recent months — talks that should be ongoing, well-thought-out, and not just a footnote at the end of a press conference. Because like any other, this relationship will take time and careful consideration.


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