Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): World – TIME: Foreign Consulates in Australia Have Been Evacuated Over Suspicious Packages

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(SYDNEY) — Several foreign consulates in Melbourne were evacuated Wednesday as Australian officials noted they were responding to multiple “hazardous material” events in the city.

The Australian Federal Police said that police and emergency services were examining suspicious packages delivered to the foreign consulates.

“The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated,” the police said in a statement.

The government Vic Emergency website noted at least 10 “hazardous material” incidents.

Police, fire crews and ambulances were seen at a number of diplomatic offices, including those of India, Italy, Spain and Germany.

The incidents come after a suspicious package was intercepted at the Argentine consulate in Sydney on Monday. Police there took away a sample of a substance for testing, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

World – TIME

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): World – TIME: Foreign Consulates in Australia Have Been Evacuated Over Suspicious Packages

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(SYDNEY) — Several foreign consulates in Melbourne were evacuated Wednesday as Australian officials noted they were responding to multiple “hazardous material” events in the city.

The Australian Federal Police said that police and emergency services were examining suspicious packages delivered to the foreign consulates.

“The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated,” the police said in a statement.

The government Vic Emergency website noted at least 10 “hazardous material” incidents.

Police, fire crews and ambulances were seen at a number of diplomatic offices, including those of India, Italy, Spain and Germany.

The incidents come after a suspicious package was intercepted at the Argentine consulate in Sydney on Monday. Police there took away a sample of a substance for testing, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

World – TIME

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): World – TIME: Foreign Consulates in Australia Have Been Evacuated Over Suspicious Packages

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(SYDNEY) — Several foreign consulates in Melbourne were evacuated Wednesday as Australian officials noted they were responding to multiple “hazardous material” events in the city.

The Australian Federal Police said that police and emergency services were examining suspicious packages delivered to the foreign consulates.

“The circumstances surrounding these incidents are being investigated,” the police said in a statement.

The government Vic Emergency website noted at least 10 “hazardous material” incidents.

Police, fire crews and ambulances were seen at a number of diplomatic offices, including those of India, Italy, Spain and Germany.

The incidents come after a suspicious package was intercepted at the Argentine consulate in Sydney on Monday. Police there took away a sample of a substance for testing, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

World – TIME

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Man tried to claim $10M prize after stealing roommate’s lottery ticket, police say

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A California man was arrested Monday after replacing his roommate’s winning lottery ticket with a fake one and trying to cash in what turned out to be a $10 million ticket, authorities said.

FOX News

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Man tried to claim $10M prize after stealing roommate’s lottery ticket, police say

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A California man was arrested Monday after replacing his roommate’s winning lottery ticket with a fake one and trying to cash in what turned out to be a $10 million ticket, authorities said.

FOX News

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Man tried to claim $10M prize after stealing roommate’s lottery ticket, police say

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A California man was arrested Monday after replacing his roommate’s winning lottery ticket with a fake one and trying to cash in what turned out to be a $10 million ticket, authorities said.

FOX News

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: California highway officer helps delivers baby along roadside

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A mother and her newborn daughter were in “excellent health” and resting at a local hospital Tuesday, one day after a California Highway Patrol officer helped deliver the baby along the side of a busy highway.

FOX News

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: California highway officer helps delivers baby along roadside

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A mother and her newborn daughter were in “excellent health” and resting at a local hospital Tuesday, one day after a California Highway Patrol officer helped deliver the baby along the side of a busy highway.

FOX News

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): World – TIME: Korea and Japan’s Wartime Forced Labor Dispute Heats Up as Seoul Freezes a Japanese Company’s Assets

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(SEOUL, South Korea) — A South Korean district court said Wednesday it has decided to freeze the local assets of a Japanese company involved in compensation disputes for wartime Korean laborers.

Last October, South Korea’s top court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay 100 million won ($88,000) each to four plaintiffs forced to work for the company when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.

The Daegu District Court’s branch office in the southeastern city of Pohang said Wednesday it had approved a request by lawyers for the plaintiffs to seize Korean assets held by the Japanese company as it was refusing to compensate the former laborers.

Japan maintains all colonial-era compensation issues were settled by a 1965 treaty between the governments.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that relevant ministers will meet later Wednesday to discuss how to respond to the issue, Kyodo News service said.

The Japanese company holds 2.34 million shares, or around $9.7 million, in its joint venture in Pohang with South Korean steelmaker POSCO.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing an unidentified official at the Pohang office, reported the district court decided to freeze 81,075 of the 2.34 million shares, not the whole shares. Yonhap said the asset freeze will become effective after a related court document is delivered to the joint venture.

The district court said it couldn’t immediately confirm the Yonhap report.

The asset freeze could further chill diplomatic ties between South Korea and Japan, which are both key U.S. allies in the region. Many South Koreans still harbor strong resentment against Japan’s colonial occupation.

In November, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered a second Japanese company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, to compensate 10 former Korean workers, drawing strong criticism from Japan.

World – TIME

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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): Reuters: World News: Vietnam says Facebook violated controversial cybersecurity law

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Facebook has violated Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law by allowing users to post anti-government comments on the platform, state media said on Wednesday, days after the controversial legislation took effect in the communist-ruled country.

Reuters: World News

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Stars and Stripes: ‘We’re all in the same boat’: Furloughed federal workers flock to local college for a day of classes and distraction

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Over 500 federal workers attended a free day of networking and skills training sessions Tuesday hosted by American University during one of the longest government shutdowns.

Stars and Stripes

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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Stars and Stripes: ‘We’re all in the same boat’: Furloughed federal workers flock to local college for a day of classes and distraction

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Over 500 federal workers attended a free day of networking and skills training sessions Tuesday hosted by American University during one of the longest government shutdowns.

Stars and Stripes

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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FBI News Review: “fbi surveillance” – Google News: Johnson City bank robber suspected in Middle Tennessee heist – Johnson City Press (subscription)

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Johnson City bank robber suspected in Middle Tennessee heist  Johnson City Press (subscription)

Authorities said the man who robbed a Middle Tennessee bank Tuesday is the same man who robbed a Johnson City bank, as well as one in Asheville, North …

“fbi surveillance” – Google News

FBI News Review


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Washington Free Beacon: Trump Calls on Democrats to ‘Rise Above Partisan Politics’ to Secure Border

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President Donald Trump called on Democrats in Congress to “rise above partisan politics” to secure the country’s border in a Tuesday night speech.

Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office for about nine minutes during a primetime address, where he addressed the “growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

He said U.S. border patrol agents are encountering thousands of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the country and that it’s difficult to “promptly remove them.”

“Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroine alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border,” Trump said. “More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War. In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.”

He went on to address how women and children were the biggest victims of the United State’s “broken system” before discussing how border security law enforcement officials wanted to tackle illegal immigration.

“Law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what professionals at the border want and need,” Trump said. “This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal made with Mexico.”

Trump then took a shot at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for previously supporting  a “physical barrier” in the past along with other Democrats, adding they changed their minds after he was elected president and they are the sole reason the “federal government remains shut down.”

“My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation, but the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government. This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting,” Trump said. “I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”

The post Trump Calls on Democrats to ‘Rise Above Partisan Politics’ to Secure Border appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Washington Free Beacon: Trump Calls on Democrats to ‘Rise Above Partisan Politics’ to Secure Border

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President Donald Trump called on Democrats in Congress to “rise above partisan politics” to secure the country’s border in a Tuesday night speech.

Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office for about nine minutes during a primetime address, where he addressed the “growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

He said U.S. border patrol agents are encountering thousands of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the country and that it’s difficult to “promptly remove them.”

“Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroine alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border,” Trump said. “More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War. In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.”

He went on to address how women and children were the biggest victims of the United State’s “broken system” before discussing how border security law enforcement officials wanted to tackle illegal immigration.

“Law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what professionals at the border want and need,” Trump said. “This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal made with Mexico.”

Trump then took a shot at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for previously supporting  a “physical barrier” in the past along with other Democrats, adding they changed their minds after he was elected president and they are the sole reason the “federal government remains shut down.”

“My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation, but the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government. This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting,” Trump said. “I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”

The post Trump Calls on Democrats to ‘Rise Above Partisan Politics’ to Secure Border appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Pelosi, Schumer respond to Trump speech on border security

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Transcript of remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in response to President Donald Trump’s address Tuesday on border security, as provided by Pelosi’s office:

PELOSI: Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Pelosi, Schumer respond to Trump speech on border security

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Transcript of remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in response to President Donald Trump’s address Tuesday on border security, as provided by Pelosi’s office:

PELOSI: Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Trump’s address about security on the US southern border

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A transcript of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night address about security along the U.S. southern border, as provided by the White House:

My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

Every day, Customs and Border Patrol …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Trump’s address about security on the US southern border

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A transcript of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night address about security along the U.S. southern border, as provided by the White House:

My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

Every day, Customs and Border Patrol …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): Top stories – Google News: The End Is Nigh – Deadspin

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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Why People Reject City Trees

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Trees are a hallmark of vibrant neighborhoods. So why did nearly
one-quarter of eligible residents in Detroit, Michigan, turn down free
street trees? That’s the mystery University of Vermont researcher
Christine Carmichael solves in one of the first studies to explore
opposition to city tree planting programs.

As cities from New York to L.A. embark on major tree planting
initiatives, the research helps to explain why more than 1,800 of 7,425
eligible Detroit residents – roughly 25% – submitted “no-tree requests”
between 2011 and 2014 alone. The study was published January 7 by Society and Natural Resources journal.

“This research shows how local government actions can cause residents to reject environmental efforts – in this case, street trees – that would otherwise be in people’s interests,” says Carmichael, a postdoctoral researcher at UVM’s Gund Institute for Environment and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Carmichael found that the opposition in Detroit resulted primarily
from negative past experiences with street trees, particularly in
low-income neighborhoods grappling with blight from vacant properties.
In 2014 alone, the city had an estimated 20,000 dead or hazardous trees,
following the contraction of Detroit’s once-massive tree maintenance
program from budget cuts and population decline.

For many long-term residents, wariness of the new trees was driven
by past experiences of caring for vacant properties in their
neighborhood. They believed responsibility for maintaining the trees
would eventually fall to them. “Even though it’s city property, we’re
gonna end up having to care for it and raking leaves and God knows
whatever else we might have to do,” said one woman interviewed for the
study.

Carmichael also found that skepticism of the program was tied to
wider distrust of the city government and outside groups in parts of
Detroit. As a result, residents wanted greater decision-making power in
selecting which trees to plant in particular locations, adds Carmichael
who completed the three-year study for her PhD with co-author Maureen
McDonough of Michigan State University.

Greening Detroit

Urban greening projects offer health benefits to residents, from
improved air quality to decreased crime, and seek to boost the typically
lower amount of tree cover in low-income neighborhoods, Carmichael
says.

For these reasons, many cities have launched major tree planting
initiatives in recent years, including MillionTreesNYC, Grow Boston
Greener, The Chicago Tree Initiative, and The Greening of Detroit.

To avoid past mistakes in the city’s tree planting and maintenance
approach, staff at The Greening of Detroit, a non-profit contracted by
the city to plant trees, selected tree species that could survive in
urban environments and guaranteed maintenance of trees for three years
after planting.

However, the group relied primarily on educating residents about the
benefits of trees and their program, which failed to address people’s
concerns. “By not giving residents a say in the tree planting program,
they were re-creating the same conflicts that had been happening in the
city for a long time,” says Carmichael.

Carmichael says simple steps, such as allowing residents a choice
over which kind of tree will be planted in front of their home, can
reduce tensions. Investing more effort in follow-up communication with
residents who receive trees would also help to ensure that trees are
cared for, and residents do not feel overburdened with tree maintenance.

One man interviewed for the study said, “I’ve left several messages.
My tree was planted last August. My wife loved it. I was told that they
would come back out and either water it or fertilize it. Haven’t seen
anyone. So, I’ve been doing the best that I can. Where do I go from
here?”

Lessons for non-profits

Monica Tabares of The Greening of Detroit says that increased
spending by the City of Detroit’s forestry department, as well as a
change in the organization’s leadership, has led the group to focus more
on community engagement.

Since Carmichael presented her findings to The Greening of Detroit,
the organization has instituted community engagement training for the
youth they hire to water street trees and interact with residents. “As a
result of our refined focus, [our program] has brought thousands of
residents together to not only plant trees, but gain a greater
understanding of the benefits of trees in their communities,” says
Tabares.

Carmichael’s study is gaining attention from city planners across
North America hoping to learn Detroit’s lessons. Local governments and
non-profits in Austin, Denver, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Toronto and
Vermont have reached out for help implementing her research.

The study also offers lessons for how non-profits and donors measure successful outcomes, Carmichael says.

With limited resources and watchful donors, some non-profits often
focus on narrow outcomes — such as the number of trees planted per year
– without also prioritizing deeper community engagement, which might
slow the immediate work of planting trees, but create more a sustainable
outcome.

“We need to broaden the measurable outcomes that we can gauge
success by,” says Carmichael. “Healthy urban forests cannot be measured
just by the number of trees planted. We also have to capture who is
involved, and how that involvement affects the well-being of people and
trees in the long-term.”

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Committee Appointed For Restructuring Of SriLankan Airlines

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Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a Committee headed by State Minister of Finance Eran Wickremaratne to obtain proposals aimed at restructuring SriLankan Airlines and make necessary recommendations to the President within two weeks.

This Committee has also been tasked to resolve existing issues in the airline. The President addressing the SriLankan Airlines senior management last Friday said that a Committee would be appointed to present recommendations on the restructuring of the National carrier.

Accordingly, any interested party will be able to forward their proposals and ideas on improving SriLankan Airlines service to the Committee which is to submit its recommendation to the President within two weeks. The SriLankan Airlines Board of Directors informed the President at this meeting last Friday that they have taken initial steps to make the service a profit making one.

The officials discussed with the President on the corruption that have allegedly taken place in the Airline for years, reasons for making losses and the present operations.Attention was focused on many agreements that the Sri Lankan Airline Service has arrived at, which are not profitable to the service.

President Maithripala Sirisena had a discussion with the members of the Committee after presenting them the appointment letters.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Gabon And Coup Mania – OpEd

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It starts with a presumption, makes its way through a discussion, and becomes a set, moulded stereotype: Africa is the continent of tin pot dictatorships, unstable leaderships, and coups. Latin America, attuned to brigandage and frontier mentalities, is not far behind. Such instances lend themselves to the inevitable opportunity to exploit the exception. Gabon, ruled by the same family without interruption since 1967, is being stated as a possible example.

The news so far, if one dares trust it, suggests that a coup was put down in the African state with the loss of two lives. Seven of the plotters were captured a mere five hours after they seized a radio station, during which Lieutenant Kelly Ondo Obiang broadcast a message claiming that President Ali Bongo’s New Year’s Eve message “reinforced doubts about the president’s ability to continue to carry out of the responsibilities of his office.” Bongo, for his part, had seemed indisposed, suffering a stroke in October and slurring his words in a speech during a December 31 television appearance.

As with other attempted coups, the plotters portrayed themselves as up-market planners in the Brutus mould. They were killing Caesar to save Rome. In this case, the men of the Patriotic Movement of the Defence and Security Forces of Gabon were keen to “restore democracy”. The attempt was put down with some speed. “The situation is under control,” came a government statement some hours after security forces regained control of the RTG state broadcasting headquarters. Guy-Betrand Mapangou, true to the sort of form shown by a regime unmoved, insisted that, “The government is in place. The institutions are in place.”

The coup fascination may not be healthy but is nonetheless fascinatingly morbid. Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne from the University of Central Florida and University of Kentucky cannot get enough of the business, and have compiled a register of failure. These political scientists insist on defining coups as “illegal and overt attempts by the military or other elites within the state apparatus to unseat the sitting executive”. But having to presumably stake some exceptional view to the field, the authors insist that those who go through with a coup have power for at least seven days. (Why not six or eight?)

This cottage industry invariably produces much smoke but a conspicuous lack of fire. In 2016, with the failed coup in Turkey unfolding, James McCarthy, writing for Wales Online, insisted on a guidebook approach, drawing from Thyne and Powell’s research. They, according to McCarthy, “found there were 457 coup attempts between 1950 and 2010. Of those, 227 were successful and 230 failed.” Invariably, the Americas and Africa feature as the prominent zones of coups.

The BBC has felt free to run with a map featuring African states “with the highest number of coups since 1952,” a kind of morbid horror show of instability. Sudan is a big league player in this regard with 14, followed by other states which seem to be in competition with each other (Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Benin and Nigeria come in with eight; Sierra Leone and Ghana sport ten).

Unmentioned in the show was the number of times conspirators, cabals and groups have been encouraged, courtesy of external powers, to sabotage fledgling democratic regimes and back counter-revolutionary agents. As important as the coup plotters are the coup backers, often to be found in Washington and European policy planning departments and company boardrooms. The story of stuttered, mutated revolutions in Africa and Latin America is very much one of externally directed coups as much as failed local experiments.

The issue, as if it matters much, about whether a coup is, or is not happening, is a constant theme. According to Powell, “Coup leaders almost invariably deny their action was a coup in an effort to appear legitimate.” This is banally leaden as an observation. All coups must, by definition, be asserted as acts of dissimulation, and not savage, all extirpating revolutions. To merely depose a leadership is, by definition, conservative. In a modern state, decapitation might create some initial chaos but leaves the structure, for the most part, intact. Coups often have the effect of shoring up the junta, in whatever form it takes.

The field of coup gazing also has a moral edge. There are coups with supposedly good import, and those that are not. Portugal’s “Carnation Revolution” ending the seemingly interminable rule of António de Oliveira Salazar, is cited as one example. A coup might engender fertile grounds for a democratic movement, or suffer entropic decline before authoritarian reassertion. A good coup, speculated the Washington Post, took place in Burkina Faso in 2015, with the end of Blaise Compaoré’s rule. The same paper does note the rather banal qualifier: that “policymakers and academics should not get too excited about the allegedly positive consequences of coups in Africa.” African armies, for instance, might propel democratic elections; they might just as well remain in power.

Scholars such as Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way argue that multiparty elections in the aftermath of change can just be a front. Democratic talk can be so much babble before manipulating strongmen. “Competitive authoritarian regimes,” argue the authors, can entrench themselves. All this seems beside the point in Gabon, a distant murmur to the academic discourse and policy ponderings that dazzle a good number of analysts. The obvious point tends to be same: coups tend to be rooted in evolutionary orthodoxy rather than earth shattering revolution. They are also often the work of unseen hands behind unstable thrones. Identify those hands, and you may well have some answers.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Washington Free Beacon: Trump Demands U.S. Border Wall, Sidesteps Declaring Emergency

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By Jeff Mason and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump urged Congress on Tuesday to give him $5.7 billion this year to help build a wall on the border with Mexico, but stopped short of declaring a national emergency that could have led to unilaterally funding the project.

Facing Democratic opposition in Congress to a wall, Trump said in a prime-time televised speech that there was a growing security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But after days of hinting that he might use his presidential powers to declare an emergency as a first step toward directing money for the wall without congressional approval, Trump appeared to be willing instead to continue seeking a solution to the impasse with Congress.

Trump is scheduled to visit the southwest border on Thursday and it was not clear whether he still might choose to make the national emergency declaration.

Trump‘s remarks came 18 days into a partial government shutdown precipitated by his demand for wall construction, which he has said is needed to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs.

Democrats and other opponents of a border wall had threatened to take legal action if Trump issued the order, arguing that he is manufacturing a crisis to carry out his 2016 presidential campaign promise for a wall that he said at the time would be paid for by Mexico. The Mexican government has refused to provide such funds.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Alex Alper, Ginger Gibson, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone in Washington, Richard Valdmanis in Boston and Kenneth Li and Mica Rosenberg in New York; Writing by Alistair Bell and Richard Cowan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

The post Trump Demands U.S. Border Wall, Sidesteps Declaring Emergency appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: The Indo-Pacific Thrust In the Indo-Strategic Partnership And New Delhi’s Afghan Concerns – Analysis

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Towards the end of 2018, the Trump administration’s reluctance to stay militarily entangled in Syria and Afghanistan became clearer. On the other hand, the concluding day of the last year witnessed the President Trump signing into Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) authorizing a spending of $1.5 billion toward developing “a long-term strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled United States policy for the Indo-Pacific region, and for other purposes” indicating a shifting of US focus to the Indo-Pacific region. https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/trump-signs-asia-reassurance-initiative-act-into-law/

The act recognized the vitality of Indo-US strategic partnership in the overall US strategy. For instance, Section 204 of the act calls for strengthening and broadening of economic, and security ties between India and the US in order to promote peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/hwnews+in-epaperhwnws/donald+trump+signs+legislation+enhancing+us+leadership+in+indo+pacific+region+into+law-newsid-105240594

The law apart from focusing on US ties with other powers such as Japan, Australia and Southeast Asian countries, reinforces Indo-US strategic partnership by reaffirming and endorsing existing bilateral instruments, such as the “New Framework for the United States-India Defense Relationship” of 2005 to the designating of India as a Major Defense Partner by a 2017. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/in-new-us-law-india-s-vital-role-in-indo-pacific-strategy-reaffirmed/story-a2wAoRpDCtJNBFBpBuhYqJ.html

Rising India and its relevance for American Outreach

India opened up its economy and showed quick signs of economic and military progress following a phase of economic crisis in the beginning of 1990s.  US considered the growing India instrumental in maintaining balance in Asia and a possible counterweight to China’s rise. The national security adviser to President Bush, Condoleezza Rice suggested in an article in Foreign Affairs in the very beginning of the 21st century that the US should pay closer attention to India’s role in the regional balance. Around the same time, the then Indian Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee referred to India and the US as ‘natural allies’ and underlined the shared values of democracy between the largest and the oldest democracy in the world during his trip to the US. President Bush in an effort to apprise the Indian leader Vajpayee of the changing power dynamics in the Asian continent said: “A strong India can help provide the balance of power in the entire Asian region.” http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/balancing-act-china-india-us-triangle

The Bush administration, realizing the importance of India’s economic and military clout emphasized on the de-hyphenation of India and Pakistan policy after decades of Pakistan-centricity which implied that US would improve relations with Islamabad as well as New Delhi rather than treating them in zero-sum terms. In the wake of ‘War on Terror’ in 2001, New Delhi expecting an all-out war against terrorism declared its immediate support and within a short time offered all logistic help to Washington. The US lifted nuclear sanctions against India and eased export controls on so-called dual-technologies, which could serve both civilian and military purposes.

However, Pakistan remained the key to the American Afghan strategies. In 2004, President Bush realizing Islamabad’s vitality to prosecute the Afghan war designated Pakistan as major non-Nato ally of US making Pakistan eligible for a series of benefits in the areas of foreign aid and defence co-operation, including priority delivery of defence items. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3814013.stm

On the other side, Indo-US strategic partnership was forged with the signing of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal in 2005. The deal poised to provide India with all benefits that the signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) receive although India had been refuting to sign the treaty even under the American pressure. The Obama administration, however, considered recalibrating the balancing strategy by adopting a policy of engaging China through Sino-American “G2” condominium and issuing a joint statement with the Chinese president Hu Jintao which persuaded China to lend its good offices to resolve conflicts in South Asia, at the November 2009 Beijing summit. However, perhaps realizing the futility of the policy of engagement, the administration harked back to the earlier US strategy of containing China and its announcement of “Asia Pivot” in late 2011 was geared toward this objective and India’s role was conceived vital in this US rebalancing strategy. https://nationalinterest.org/feature/sorry-obama-america-cant-contain-china-13097

India’s Afghan Concerns

Divergences in New Delhi’s concerns and strategic importance in the American perspective can be culled from the willingness expressed by the then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen who came alongside Richard Holbrooke Special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009–2010) to New Delhi in July 2010 who wanted India to focus on its military-to-military cooperation with America and, of course, to work hard with the US to counter China’s “assertive … territorial claims and aggressive approach to the near-sea area recently.”https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/The-politics-of-Taliban reconciliation/article16215673.ece

On the other side, Holbrooke advised India not to worry about the future of Afghanistan, where New Delhi would have a role to play.

Under President Bush as well as Obama, the US kept supplying a substantial amount of economic and military aid to Pakistan to prosecute the Afghan war. Obama administration’s plan to draw-down American troops in Afghanistan by fixing a timeline enhanced US dependence on Pakistani channels further in an effort to reconcile the ‘good Taliban’ and find a political solution to the Afghan conundrum. On the other hand, New Delhi maintained that there could not be good or bad terrorism.

Differences in the US and Indian position on terrorism became further apparent in their divergent perceptions while India considered ‘War on Terror’ as a comprehensive and all-out effort to eliminate terrorism, the US sought to address those threats that undermined American efforts in Afghanistan (Al Qaeda, hardliners within Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network) rather than mitigate the cross-border terrorism (perpetrated by groups such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba) concerning India.

Over the years, Pakistan became a recipient of massive war aid from US to combat terrorism which it allegedly used for other purposes contributing to Indian concerns. For instance, Azeem Ibrahim, a former Research Fellow, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, pointed to the facts how Pakistan bought much conventional military equipment such as F-16s, aircraft-mounted armaments, anti-ship and anti-missile defence systems, and an air defence radar system costing $200 million, despite the fact that the terrorists in FATA had no air attack capability. https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/us-aid-pakistan-us-taxpayers-have-funded-pakistani-corruption

Continuing Strategic Partnership

India’s centrality to the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia strategy and later Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific policy clearly exemplified the American vision of binding India into a close strategic partnership.  New Delhi and Washington issued the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region in January 2015. The US declared India as a Major Defence Partner in December, 2016. Both countries held new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue in April 2016 and signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) – one of the foundational agreements for strategic defence partnership allowing access to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/What-is-LEMOA/article15604647.ece

Defence trade between the two countries surged from $1 billion in 2008 to over $15 billion by the end of 2016. On September 6, 2018, both countries signed the second foundational agreement known as Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) during the 2+2 dialogue to facilitate Indian military platforms’ access to encrypted, cutting edge and high-end secured communication equipments from the US. Strengthening of Indo-US strategic ties on the Indo-Pacific front pointed to convergence of both powers’ interests in stemming Beijing’s overriding influence in the region.

Indo-US strategic partnership stands on Indian centrality to the American Indo-Pacific strategy and was never designed to allay New Delhi’s Afghan concerns. India has not only been over-dependent on America-led war efforts, it has also been excluded from the peace process in Afghanistan. For instance, it has been kept out of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group keeping Pakistani sensitivities to Indian role in mind.

As the recent developments point to, the Trump administration might be poised to end more than 17-year long Afghan entanglement as has been indicated by President’s Trump’s decision to halve the size of the American troops in Afghanistan. In the evolving circumstances, India may be forced to invigorate regional diplomacy to win Russian and Iranian support to defend its stakes in Afghanistan rather than be content with the strategic partnership with the US to safeguard its Indo-Pacific security stakes.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)


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