News Updates from CLG
30 October 2015


Previous edition: F-16 Fighter Jets Scrambled to Track Military Blimp Drifting Over Pennsylvania

U.S. court will not halt NSA phone spy program before ban switchover to privatized bulk data collection | 29 Oct 2015 | A U.S. appeals court on Thursday refused to immediately halt the government’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records during a “transition” period to a new federal scheme that bans the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said it would not disturb Congress’ decision to provide a 180-day period for an “orderly transition” to a new, targeted surveillance system from the sweeping National Security Agency program that the court found illegal on May 7…The law reined in the government’s data collection authority and requires phone companies, not the NSA, to hold bulk phone records.

US boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq: Special forces to be dispatched –They will be tasked with advising so-called moderate Syrian rebels [aka I-CIA-SIS] | 30 Oct 2015 | The US is sharply stepping up its involvement in the [US-engendered] chaos in Syria – sending special forces to assist local forces and Syrian ‘rebels’ in the fight against Isis. In a potentially perilous step that will for the first time put a fixed number of troops on the ground in Syria, up to 60 special forces soldiers will assist Kurdish forces and local rebels. Reports said troops will also be dispatched to Erbil in northern Iraq and that President Barack Obama has also authorised deploying A-10s and F-15 aircraft to the Incirlik air base in Turkey. The US will also step up its military assistance to Jordan and Lebanon…

Obama expected to deploy US forces, attack warcraft to ‘assist’ in Syria | 30 Oct 2015 | Barack Obama has ordered up to 50 special operations troops to northern Syria, a senior administration official told the Guardian on Friday, in an apparent breach of his promise not to put US “boots on the ground” to fight Islamic State militants Russia in the country. The Pentagon has also been “consulting” with the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to establish a special operations taskforce, with an unspecified number of US forces aiming “to further enhance [US] ability to target Isil leaders and networks” across the Syria border in Iraq. The forces will be supported by an additional deployment of A-10 “Warthog” attack aircraft and F-15 jets to Nato’s Incirlik base in Turkey, in what amounts to a major escalation of US force levels in the region.

16 times Obama said there would be no boots on the ground in Syria | 30 Oct 2015 | Since 2013, President Obama has repeatedly vowed that there would be no “boots on the ground” in Syria. But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president’s decision Friday to send up to 50 special forces troops to Syria doesn’t change the fundamental strategy: “This is an important thing for the American people to understand. These forces do not have a combat mission.” Here’s a recap of Obama’s no-boots pledge…

Combat report: Over 1,600 terror targets destroyed in 1 month of Russia’s Syria op | 30 Oct 2015 | The Russian Air Force has conducted some 1,400 sorties in Syria since the start of Moscow’s anti-terror operation. [Awesome!] They have eliminated more than 1,600 terrorist targets in one month, the Ministry of Defense said. Among the destroyed targets are 249 command posts, 51 militants’ training camps, 131 ammunition and fuel depots and 786 field bases, Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov of Russia’s General Staff said on Friday.

US spokesman in Iraq: ‘Of course it’s combat’ | 28 Oct 2015 | U.S. troops in Iraq are in combat. That’s what the Baghdad-based spokesman for the American-led, anti-Islamic State coalition told reporters Wednesday. Pentagon officials have hesitated to label the role of U.S. forces against the militants in Iraq and Syria as combat in the week since Army Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler was killed in a firefight during a raid on an Islamic State prison compound outside of Hawijah in the Kirkuk province. But Army Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, was more direct Wednesday, speaking with reporters at the Pentagon through video conference. “We’re in combat,” Warren said of the roughly 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Iraq: We Didn’t Ask for U.S. Ground Operations | 28 Oct 2015 | The Iraqi government said Wednesday it didn’t ask for — and doesn’t need — the “direct action on the ground” promised by the Pentagon. The revelation came a day after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the U.S. may carry out more unilateral ground raids in Iraq to target ISIS [I-CIA-SIS] militants. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesman told NBC News that any military involvement in the country must be cleared through the Iraqi government, just as U.S.-led airstrikes are. “This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the U.S. Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations,” spokesman Sa’ad al-Hadithi told NBC News.

US fighter jets intercept Russian warplanes near US aircraft carrier | 29 Oct 2015 | US Navy officials scrambled four fighter jets on Tuesday to intercept two Russian TU-142 Bear warplanes flying within one mile of the SS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan, Stars and Stripes first reported. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told Reuters on Thursday afternoon that the incident was considered safe. “There was nothing to indicate they were posing a direct threat,” he said. At the time, US Navy officials were carrying out training exercises with South Korean ships.

Russian aircraft approach USS Ronald Reagan, prompting US fighter jet scramble | 29 Oct 2015 | The USS Ronald Reagan scrambled its fighter jets earlier this week after two Russian naval reconnaissance aircraft flew within one nautical mile of the U.S. aircraft carrier as it sailed in international waters east of the Korean Peninsula, according to 7th Fleet officials. In the latest in a series of incidents involving Russian aircraft, two Tupolev Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew as low as 500 feet Tuesday morning near the Reagan, which has been conducting scheduled maneuvers with South Korean navy ships. Four F/A-18 Super Hornets took off from the Reagan’s flight deck in response to the Russian advance, 7th Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Cole said Thursday.

China warns US it could spark war with ‘provocative acts’ in South China Sea | 29 Oct 2015 | China has warned the US that its “dangerous and provocative acts” in the South China Sea could lead to “a minor incident that sparks war”. China’s naval commander, Admiral Wu Shengli, issued the warning to his American counterpart Admiral John Richardson during video conference talks on Thursday aimed at defusing tension in the region, according to a Chinese naval statement. “If the United States continues with these kinds of dangerous, provocative acts, there could well be a seriously pressing situation between frontline forces from both sides on the sea and in the air, or even a minor incident that sparks war,” the statement paraphrased Wu as saying.

Shaker Aamer released from Guantánamo Bay –British man returning after 14-year detention without trial in US military camp where he was beaten | 30 Oct 2015 | Shaker Aamer has been released after 14 years of incarceration at Guantánamo Bay, where he was beaten by his American military jailers but never tried for any offence, the UK’s foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has confirmed. “The Americans announced some weeks ago that they were going to release Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo and I can confirm that he is on his way back to the UK now and he will arrive in Britain later today,” he said. According to the flight tracking firm FlightAware, a plane left Guantánamo Bay bound for London’s Biggin Hill airport at 11.30pm local time (4.30am GMT).

8-month-old dies from ‘tear gas shot by Israeli forces’ – Palestinian Health Ministry | 30 Oct 2015 | An eight-month-old Palestinian baby has died from tear gas inhalation near the city of Bethlehem where clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had been taking place, the Palestinian Ministry of Health claims. “Ramadan Thawabteh, eight months old, died from asphyxiation today after inhaling tear gas, fired by the Israeli army, that entered the house of his family,” a ministry spokesman said Friday, as cited by The Times of Israel. It remains unclear whether a tear gas grenade actually landed inside the house or whether it was the gas seeping from the outside which killed the baby.

Pentagon confirms massive Army surveillance blimp was actually shot down [Good! Now people will know how to take them down in the future, if this ‘research project’ runs amok!] | 29 Oct 2015 | The massive Army blimp that broke free from its mooring and drifted from Maryland to Pennsylvania is “actually still deflating,” a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday. Another Pentagon spokesman confirmed reports that the 240-foot blimp was shot down, but did not know how close to the ground the blimp was when it happened. It is not clear who shot down the blimp. The blimp, formally known as an aerostat, was part of a three-year research project for the JLENS program, which stands for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System.

Runaway U.S. military blimp causes havoc in Pennsylvania | 28 Oct 2015 | A high-tech U.S. military [JLENS, or Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System] blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania, dragging its 10,000-foot-long cable behind it and knocking out power to thousands. The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming loose shortly after mid-day from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Baltimore. It came down several hours later in two parts in Montour County, Pennsylvania, the U.S. military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) told reporters.

Scots nuclear power plant worker caught studying BOMB-MAKING websites at work | 27 Oct 2015 | A worker at a Scots nuclear power plant has been caught studying bomb-making websites at work. The staff member was marched off the premises at Hunterston B, West Kilbride, this morning after a shocked colleague raised the alarm. Police are now investigating the worker accessing “inappropriate material” while working at the nuclear facility…The contractor works as a ‘special entry assistant’ at the power station, and his role involves him going into the heart of the plant to assist tradesmen.

Edward Snowden: EU parliament votes to ‘drop any criminal charges’ against whistle-blower | 29 Oct 2015 | The European parliament voted to lift criminal charges against American whistle-blower Edward Snowden on Thursday. In an incredibly close vote, EU MEPs said he should be granted protection as a “human rights defender” in a move that was celebrated as a “chance to move forward” by Mr Snowden from Russia. The international whistle-blower was forced to flee to the former Soviet state after exposing massive surveillance by the US National Security Agency.

GOP Establishment’s Rick Wilson: Donor Class Must ‘Put a Bullet in Donald Trump’ | 28 Oct 2015 | On Tuesday evening, establishment Republican consultant [sociopath] Rick Wilson said the GOP establishment donor class must find a way to “put a bullet” in GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Wilson conceded that “Trump is still a very powerful force right now” because he appeals to part of the of the conservative base that Wilson said was activated by his “nativist” message. Wilson insisted that the donor class “can’t just sit back on the sidelines and say, ‘Oh well, don’t worry, this will all work itself out.’ They’re still going to have to go out and put a bullet in Donald Trump,” Wilson said. “And that’s a fact.” [Hello, U.S. Secret Service?]


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