"Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman, and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness." -- John F. Kennedy
The long-awaited unclassified U.S. 2022 National Defense Strategy has finally appeared. As expected, much of it is devoted to describing how to counter the dire threats to U.S. interests posed by China’s military (the People’s Liberation Army).
While avoiding the kind of shrill, inflated rhetoric so common in Trump-era security documents, the 2022 NDS unsurprisingly continues past broad-brush characterizations of China as an aggressive nation working hard on all fronts to weaken the U.S. and refashion both the Indo-Pacific and the (undefined) international system to suit its authoritarian interests.
There is arguably a greater emphasis in this NDS on the threats to homeland defense, thus reinforcing the existing narrative of China as a comprehensive security challenge to the United States. And this, of course, is seen to require a comprehensive, heightened effort not only to prevent Chinese aggression but to counter Chinese influence virtually everywhere.
We should be deeply concerned that, in the midst of what US President Joe Biden has described as the greatest risk of Armageddon since the Cuban missile crisis, Russia and NATO are this week conducting virtually simultaneousexercises of their nuclear forces, including live (conventional) missile launches. Both Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin no doubt believe the risks involved in signalling their resolve this way are manageable, but experience during the Cold War suggests otherwise.
An “experienced” analyst working at the National Security Agency developed a surveillance project about a decade ago that resulted in the unauthorized targeting and collection of private communications of people or organizations in the US, newly unearthed documents show.
An investigation into the matter, which hasn’t been previously reported, found that the analyst “acted with reckless disregard” and violated numerous rules and possibly the law, according to a 2016 report by the NSA’s Office of Inspector General. The agency released the report in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The inspector general’s report sheds new light on unauthorized surveillance and lax oversight at a secretive agency whose global eavesdropping methods have faced intense scrutiny for vacuuming up massive amounts of data — including on Americans, who are protected by US law from being surveilled without authorization. The IG’s investigation unfolded as the first news stories were being published based on leaked classified documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The report said that Saudi officials have shared intelligence with Washington and in response to the warning, the US, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries in the region have put their militaries on higher alert.
At this point, there’s been no indication that Iran is planning to attack Saudi Arabia besides the Saudi claim. Riyadh often blames Tehran for Houthi attacks on the kingdom, but those operations are a response to the US-backed war the Saudis have been waging on Yemen since 2015.
Washington insists on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and will never accept Pyongyang as a nuclear weapons state, the State Department said. The US also repeated warnings that North Korea would soon test a nuclear weapon.
Asked if the United States would “eventually recognize North Korea as a nuclear state” during a Monday presser, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters “That is not our policy. I do not foresee that ever becoming our policy.”
“The complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been our objective since the conclusion of our DPRK policy review last year,” Price continued. “That has not changed. I don’t foresee that changing going forward.”
The U.S. is aiming to send Ukraine the “Vampire” counter-drone system by mid-2023, with a contract award expected within months, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
The Pentagon on Aug. 24 announced it would send the system, a laser-guided-missile launcher that can quickly be installed in a civilian truck bed, as part of a larger arms package. But despite Russia’s expanded use of Iranian-made kamikaze drones to target Ukraine’s power stations and other key infrastructure, the Pentagon hasn’t yet approved a contract to deliver the system.
A Palestinian woman holds an olive tree in the West Bank village of Qalandiya. (Photo: Anne Paq, ActiveStills)
Jewish settlers on Tuesday attacked Palestinian women harvesting their olive crops in the village of Qaryout, near Nablus, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Ghassan Daghlas, a local official, said that settlers attempted to steal the olive crops the women harvested as Israeli soldiers detained village residents who wanted to help the women ward off the settlers.
Over 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.
President Joe Biden railed off two false statements in two sentences during a speech in Florida on Tuesday.
The 79-year-old President first claimed that there’s a war ongoing in Iraq, confusing the nation with Ukraine as he outlined his excuse for crippling inflation and sky-high gas prices gutting Americans at the pump.
After correcting himself, followed up the misstatement by falsely taking on the mantle of a Gold Star father for himself.
The decorative candles Yaroslav Vedmid bought more than a year ago were never meant to be lit, but the dried wax that now clings to them attests to how they’ve been used almost nightly — a consequence of power cuts across Ukraine.
Seated at the dinner table with his wife in a village on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, the two can’t count the number of times they’ve eaten in the dark since Russian attacks triggered the blackouts beginning in early October. Moscow has openly declared its intention to target the country’s energy infrastructure and drive the nation into the cold.
“When you’re relying on electricity, the worst thing is that you can’t plan … Psychologically it’s very uncomfortable,” said Vedmid, a 44-year-old business owner in Bilohorodka. The cuts are getting longer — nearly 12 hours of outages a day, he said.
Fox News reports, “A Democratic prosecutor in the Chicago area sounds the alarm over a criminal justice reform law. The new reform law will tie the hands of prosecutors, effectively destroying Illinois’s criminal justice systems.”
The article explains, “The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today Act was signed by Illinois Governor Pritzker, D-Ill., in 2021 and is set to go into effect next year. It will implement sweeping reforms to Illinois’ criminal justice system. However, it has drawn massive criticism from law enforcement professionals across the political spectrum.”
Whether it’s a transgender ideology or going against the 2nd amendment, they are not stopping. One parent puts a school on blast for encouraging children to go against the 2nd amendment.
Fox News reports, “The concerned parent, Darcey Geissler, sent Fox News Digital the essay that made a case for gun control. Geissler called the assignment a poorly written and legally inaccurate essay in response to the principal. It was written by an adult parading as a child and is used to advance a political agenda once again.’”
The parent explained this wasn’t a great way to teach persuasive writing. Fox News says, “Geissler told the principal directly in an email, “When I was in law school, our first assignment on persuasive writing - a skill necessary to be a lawyer - was on whether or not a misspelling in a deed was sufficient to pass a title. Not exactly a sexy or emotional issue. We were not handed Roe v. Wade, the 2nd amendment, or climate change, even though we were law students with significant education and life experience.”
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday did not concede defeat in his first public remarks since losing Sunday's election, saying protests by his supporters were the fruit of "indignation and a sense of injustice" over the vote.
Brazil’s Supreme Court has ordered police to remove roadblocks erected by supporters of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who still has not publicly acknowledged his election defeat to left-wing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Justice Alexandre de Moraes on Tuesday called on the Federal Highway Police to disperse the blockades, which were organised primarily by truckers, a key Bolsonaro constituency.
The highway police said truckers had blocked highways at 271 points, partially or fully, as part of protests that have spread to 23 of Brazil’s 26 states in the wake of Bolsonaro’s loss to Lula in Sunday’s election.
The police force said another 192 roadblocks had been cleared.
Egypt’s sharp devaluation of the pound last week has left millions of impoverished citizens wondering how to make ends meet as prices of basic commodities continue to soar.
As Egypt gears up for hosting the Cop27 UN conference on climate change in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday, spending billions on logistical preparations, Mohamed Belal, 41, a railway worker who lives in an impoverished home on Warraq Island, Giza, is counting how his salary won’t be enough to cover his and his family’s expenses till the end of the year.
Israel will snatch swathes of Palestinian land near Nablus in the occupied West Bank for the expansion of an illegal Israeli settlement, an activist said.
A military order strips three Palestinian villages of around 616 dunams (152 acres) of land so the Eli settlement can be expanded, said Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank.
The impacted villages are Qaryout, As-Sawiya and Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
It comes as Nablus and surrounding areas came under a three-week Israeli blockade.
The Central Bank said that the banking system in the country is getting back to normal levels, and urged citizens to remain supportive of the banking sector in the country.
Haseebullah Noori, press director of Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank), said that the banking sector is out of the crisis now. The Central Bank instructed citizens to open their bank accounts and said they can withdraw their money without any restrictions.
“Those who want to open a new bank account, they can do so whenever, if they want to, without any restrictions. There has been further work done in this regard,” he said.
However, residents of Kabul expressed frustration and said that they are facing challenges in withdrawing their money from the banks.
“If the money is not withdrawn on time, and the client has a patient who is in a critical situation, the patient might die because they need money to be withdrawn,” said Jamal Nasir, a resident of Kabul.
“Those who want to have a business, they need more money, but the bank doesn’t provide more than 20,000 Afs,” said Fawad, a resident of Kabul.
Prominent jailed Egyptian activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah has begun a full hunger strike ahead of the COP27 climate summit, as supporters say he will be either dead or free when world leaders convene in Sharm el-Sheikh next week.
Abd el-Fattah said in a letter to his family that he would start a zero-calories hunger strike on Tuesday and stop drinking water from November 6, when global climate talks are set to kick off in the Red Sea town.
The government of Pakistan has approved a deal worth nearly $112m to import 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia to meet its domestic shortfall.
The deal endorsed by the Economic Cooperation Committee on Monday comes as Pakistan struggles to balance its fragile economy and manage the aftermath of devastating floods this summer that killed more than 1,700 people and affected some 33 million.
Early exit polls show former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to return to power in a Tuesday vote that reportedly had huge turnout - the largest the country has seen in over two decades.
Israel is on edge waiting for the results after five rounds of voting in three-and-a-half years, which still has yet to produce a clear winner and new government; instead there's been nothing but gridlock and power-sharing arrangements so far.
The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on Oct. 31, leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that allowed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require the wearing of masks on airplanes, trains, and buses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the TSA abandoned its mask mandate in April, the decision allows a Dec. 10, 2021, ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to remain on the books as a legal precedent that the government may rely upon in the future.