Big Bada Boom!
It has been an explosive week so I am putting out extra editions in order to keep the feverseason faithful up to speed on what is happening around the globe! Scan the headlines if you don’t have the time to read the whole kit and caboodle!
China explosions: Chemical experts assess Tianjin blast site
A CHINESE military team of nuclear and chemical experts has begun work at the site of two massive explosions in the city of Tianjin, as pressure grows for authorities to explain the cause of the blasts that left 50 dead.
Wednesday’s detonation at a chemical warehouse in the major Chinese port city also injured more than 700, according to official media, leaving a devastated landscape of incinerated cars, toppled shipping containers and burnt-out buildings.
The 217-strong group of military specialists tested the air around the site for toxic gases, with rescue teams ordered to wear protective clothing in the vicinity due to the ongoing risk of leaking poisonous chemicals, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace warned that substances from the site could be dangerous, saying it was “critical” that the potential toxins in the air were monitored closely.
Read more at http://www.trunews.com/china-explosions-chemical-experts-assess-tianjin-blast-site/#js6vZbYqDIkUQeQh.99
Iranian and Russian warships hold Joint War Games
Arutz Sheva by Ari Yashar August 12,2015
Iranian and Russian warships took part in joint “war games” training exercises on Tuesday in Iranian waters, giving clear expression to the military cooperation between the two states.
Commander of Iran’s fleet in the Northern Gilan province Admiral Ahmad Reza Baqeri told Fars News Agency ahead of the war games that the Iranian destroyer Damavand and missile ships Joshan and Peikan took part in the drills, manned by 200 Iranian naval forces members.
From the Russian side, the warships Volgodonsk and Makhachkala which docked in Anzali Port near the Caspian Sea on Sunday took part in the drills.
After the drills the Russian ships are to depart Iranian waters and head for Azerbaijan, according to Baqeri.
Russian backing has been a key source of support for Iran; late last month a senior Russian official said the advanced S-300 anti-missile system is being upgraded prior to delivery to Iran.
Western pressure has until now delayed the sale of the advanced system, which experts say could prevent an airstrike on Iran’s nuclear program, but Russia is showing signs it may transfer the weapon in any case – and Iran is preparing to unveil its own domestic version of the system in early September.
Iran’s attempts to expand its influence have seen it increasingly focus on its navy, most notably in a major naval drill last December. It has shown a hostile stance against American ships, and in early May fired upon and seized a foreign cargo ship in international shipping lanes.
The military buildup and aggression of the world’s leading state sponsor of terror comes as the controversial Iran nuclear deal is being studied by Congress, and even as the Islamic regime continues to threaten Israel with “annihilation.”
Kim Jong-un ‘could be boosting North Korea’s stockpile of nuclear weapons’
Kim Jong-un could be boosting his stockpile of nuclear weapons, according to an expert analysis of satellite images of North Korea.
Pyongsan, the secretive republic’s most important uranium plant, is getting a major refurbishment – which could mean it is set to produce more material for nuclear weapons.
Leading nuclear weapons expert Dr Jeffrey Lewis, director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in Washington DC, has concluded that the secretive republic “is expanding its capacity to mine and mill natural uranium” after studying images of the site.
The site is being kitted out with new buildings while existing buildings are being modernised, the images suggest.
The uranium mine and mill at Pyongsan can be used to extract the element and turn it into yellowcake, milled uranium oxide that can be enriched for use in either nuclear bombs or nuclear power.
Read more at http://www.trunews.com/kim-jong-un-could-be-boosting-north-koreas-stockpile-of-nuclear-weapons/#AIzCtLhkkysgz2h7.99
Russia to Engage US in Space Wars with New Electronic Warfare Technology
The Russian Defense Ministry has developed new technology to counter US battle stations in space, said Igor Nasenkov, the first deputy head of Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (RETC), according to Russian media sources.
“If the United States starts developing and launching its battle stations into space, Russia will have to respond in kind — namely with the development of high-performance Electronic Warfare (EW) tools on different types of bases; the use of these tools will be a distinct advantage [for Russia],” Nasenkov said, as quoted by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Defense industry enterprises already have the necessary scientific and technological foundation, including layout models for future EW tools, the high-ranking RETC official said.All Russia needs right now is a political decision and appropriate funding to kick start the project, Nasenkov said.
Last week, US media reported about Washington’s plans to militarize space, as in future conflicts between major superpowers Earth’s orbit will become a new battlefield.
Laser-armed satellites, long-range anti-aircraft missiles and other deadly weapons of destruction would attack and destroy enemy orbital forces.
China’s New Mystery Missile And Launcher
POPULAR SCIENCE reports: It’s much, much bigger
Chinese Launch Floating Fortresses Project
This project should not be confused with recent reports, which I have posted, in the South China Sea where the Chinese military has built up coral reefs and created islands to extend their military reach into that region. These are free-floating and presumably movable airstrips which would give their military unlimited range and should give everyone pause.
Floating fortresses, straight from the pages of George Orwell and favoured by evil geniuses with a penchant for white Angora cats, may soon exist outside the world of post-apocalyptic fiction and James Bond films.
Two Chinese companies say they are to build platforms as long as 3.2km that could host airstrips, docks, helipads, barracks or even “comprehensive security bases”, in the words of one company executive.
For now, the structures remain within the realm of computer graphics, plastic dioramas and PowerPoint presentations. The companies emphasise their more peaceful potential as duty-free shopping centres and exotic tourist destinations.
But executives are open about the fact that there are also military applications for their projects, known as very large floating structures, which could one day become part of China’s naval armada.
The structures are dual-use, said Feng Jun, chairman of Hainan Offshore Industry, a company developing the technology. “So far these are only in the design and research phase.” The technology, still being developed worldwide, has been used mainly in the area of oil and gas, by companies such as Shell.
Structures akin to the floating fortresses of Nineteen Eighty-Four could be a fearsome complement to half a dozen newly created islands that Beijing has dredged out of the floor in the South China Sea. With airstrips, harbours and other facilities, these are aimed at buttressing China’s claim to 90 per cent of the sea, which is disputed by its neighbours as well as the US.
While floating islands would be granted none of the sovereignty of real islands by international law, they could nonetheless be used to station aircraft or buttress the defences of the artificial islands.
Hainan Offshore’s website refers to the potentially strategic use of its wares. “Under the increasingly complicated South China Sea situation,” it says in a company introduction, “Hainan Offshore Industry adheres to the principle ‘when the sovereignty of the state is challenged, time and tide wait for no man’.”
Deployment of a VLFS could test already tense relations in the region. “Planting one of these in the middle of the South China Sea would be a terribly provocative act,” said Richard Bitzinger, an authority on maritime security.
China’s military appears to have shown interest in VFLS projects. Hainan Offshore showed plastic models of a VLFS oil-drilling rig at a closed-door conference for military industry in July, hosted in Beijing by China’s State Administration of Science Technology and Industry for National Defence. In April, a photo of a closed-door forum sponsored by the China National Defence University and Peking University showed a People’s Liberation Army officer speaking at a podium in front of a large poster of a VLFS featuring an airstrip, though no information could be found on who he was or what he said. A spokesman for China’s defence ministry this week said he had never heard of any plans for procuring or using such structures.
Latest news and comment on the escalating disputes over islands and territorial waters between an increasingly assertive China and its neighbours.
Jidong Development, a state-owned company listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, confirmed it was contributing most of the Rmb3.7bn in research funding to the joint project.
The first VFLS is being built at dry dock in Caofeidian near Beijing, Wang Shuyong, manager of a Jidong subsidiary, told local media. This VFLS would be used as a “deep sea comprehensive security base”. Mr Wang declined to comment when contacted by the FT.
The Caofeidian Industrial Zone mentions in its 2014 annual report that it is “helping the companies engaged in the VLFS project to file paperwork for factory planning and construction and use of the industrial coast, and promptly taking action to prepare for construction”.
Still, experts say the structures — if built — are more likely to be large oil drilling rigs. But even then, they could change the maritime power dynamic. Last year China parked an oil-drilling platform in a section of the sea claimed by Vietnam, sparking a heated confrontation at sea between Chinese and Vietnamese fishing boats. The rig was later withdrawn.
In any case, Mr Bitzinger doubts they would have much military value in a conflict. They would be “expensive and hard to move around”, he said, adding that China would be better off with more aircraft carriers.
Additional reporting by Ma Fangjing
Report: Israeli fuel tankers escorted Jordanian fighter jets en route to US
Israeli air force fuel tankers escorted Jordanian fighter jets across the Atlantic Ocean earlier this week to take part in exercises in the western United States, according to an American web site devoted to military aviation news.
The site, Foxtrot Alpha, reported that its sources noticed a group of five Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 flying alongside Israel Air Force KC-707 fuel tankers heading west toward Lajes Field, a common transit point in the mid-Atlantic Ocean for military aircraft.
The fleet of aircraft were heading to Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, where they were scheduled to take part in Red Flag. The US Air Force considers Red Flag the “premier air-to-air combat training exercise [that]…often includes both US and allied nations’ combat air forces.”
The rare sight of Israeli and Jordanian aircraft flying in tandem appears to indicate a new, stepped-up level of military and defense cooperation between Jerusalem and Amman.
Last month, Reuters quoted a US official as saying that Israel gave retired US-supplied Cobra combat helicopters to Jordan to help the Hashemite kingdom fend off insurgent threats on the Syrian and Iraqi borders.
The handover, initiated last year, was approved by Washington, which provided mechanical overhauls for the aircraft before they were incorporated free of charge in Jordan’s existing Cobra fleet, the official said.
“These choppers are for border security,” the official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, told Reuters.
Asked how many Cobras were transferred, the official said: “Around 16, though some may have been used by the Jordanians for spare parts” rather than kept intact.
According to Foxtrot Alpha, Jordan’s participation in the drill is significant in light of its continued aerial campaign against Islamic State.
The Hashemite kingdom is said to be eager to upgrade its fleet of second-hand F-16s, which lack precision guided munitions.
Foxtrot Alpha speculates that Jordan may absorb older Israeli F-16s that the IAF plans to retire in the months to come.
Russia and NATO Actively Preparing for War:
Rival War games by Russian armed forces and NATO represent greatest buildup of military tension in Europe since Cold War warns think tank
By Roland Oliphant,Moscow
12:01AM BST 12 Aug 2015
Rival exercises by the Russian armed forces and Nato have led to several near-miss incidents that could result in confrontation between the two sides, and leaders need to consider a new arms control treaty to avert the possibility of heightened tensions spilling into war.
The report by the European Leadership Network, a think tank, comes amid the most intense fighting for six months in eastern Ukraine and as Michael Fallon, the defence minister, pledged to expand a British army training mission to Ukraine.
“We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable, but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe,” the authors write.
The report outlines how both Nato and Russia have primed their forces to respond to an escalation since the Ukraine crisis erupted in early 2014.
The preparations include major military exercises by both Russia and Nato that appear designed exclusively to respond to one another’s capabilities and potential war plans.
”Whilst spokespeople may maintain that these operations are targeted against only hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of the operations indicate otherwise,” the report writers say.
In March 2015, Russian conducted “snap exercises” that saw 80,000 troops engaged in long-range deployments and simulate combat on a scale that made the United States or Nato the only possibly adversary.
Nato’s exercise “Allied Shield,” in June this year, saw 15,000 allied troops engaged in a series of mock operations including response to a Crimea-style infiltration of irregular forces.
In both cases, the report writers find, the exercises focused on what the two sides perceive to be their most vulnerable areas, with and Nato moving to defend the Baltic States and Russia rushing reinforcements to the Arctic, its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, occupied Crimea, and Sakhalin island in the far east.
Allied Shield also included the first deployment of the Very High Readiness Taskforce, a rapid-reaction unit established at the Nato summit in Wales in 2014 in response to the annexation of Crimea.
The exercise, called ‘Noble Jump’, deployed 2,100 troops in a simulated a response to ‘unattibutable infiltration by an ally by irregular or special forces’ – essentially the scenario seen in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine since Early 2014.
The report recommends improvements in Nato-Russian communication to avert near misses and suggests working on a new arms treaty to restrict the use of conventional forces in Europe.
“If Russia or NATO decides at some point that they want to reduce tensions, showing restraint in terms of size or scenarios used for the exercises might be a good place to start,” the report writers conclude.
Hey Folks that’s it for this time! Don’t forget that all this bad news means that the King is Coming Soon! Keep Looking Up! Luke 21:28