USA arming Ukraine likely to trigger Russia to sell thousands of surface to air missiles

The USA is moving towards sending weapons to Ukraine.Putin and the Russians may have intentionally shot down the Malaysian commercial jet. This would have been a warning that they could proliferate their missile technology to Al Qaeda or ISIS. The Russians may have shoulder launched missiles which can down commercial jets at cruising altitudes of 30,000 feet. Definitely 15000 feet is doable for shoulder launched. The Russians can compact the BUK missile system for smaller trucks and lower the costs. The Russian can flood the world with tens of thousands of such systems.

Military planes are designed to take on the threat of surface-to-air missiles. They are typically equipped with countermeasures that release one of two types of decoys: chaff, a cloud of metallic material that can confuse radar-guided missiles like the SA-11 Buk believed to have brought down MH17, or chemical flares to distract heat-seeking missiles.

These anti-missile systems can help save a plane — but they’re not infallible, and they’re not designed for the massive global fleet of commercial aircraft.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced in February that it successfully tested something called the Commercial Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasures (C-MUSIC) system, which uses laser technology and thermal imaging to jam incoming threats. The system, however, only protects against shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles and not the radar-guided missile that reportedly hit MH17.

Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).The neweset Russian MANPADS can reach commercial jet cruising altitude.

Russian have medium range Buk missiles

Russian have advanced beyond the 1980s style SA24 for shoulder launched

Current Russian models range from the SA-24 Igla-S – an advanced shoulder-launched system that’s easily as good as the latest models of the Stinger – to the long-range S-400, which is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles or bringing down aircraft over 250 miles away.

Wreckage of the Malaysian jet

Washington think tank hires ‘Call of Duty’ creator to advise Pentagon on future threats to US

Screenshot from "Call of Duty"

You would think war-themed video games copy real life, and not the other way around. Not this time. A Washington think tank has hired the maker of the acclaimed “Call of Duty” game to envision the kind of future wars the US could be fighting.

The key reason for this, according to the Atlantic Council think tank, is that, with all its money and capabilities, America really isn’t thinking creatively about the various threats it could face in the 21st century.

Dave Anthony, the creator of the billion-dollar Call of Duty franchise, will be joining other authors, screenwriters and entertainment figures in an initiative called ‘The Art of Future War Project,’ set to launch next week, according to AFP.

The idea came rather suddenly, when former Pentagon official Steven Grundman walked in on his son playing ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II,’ which depicts a 2025 cold war between China and the United States. In it, the two superpowers are vying for rare earth elements in secret missions.

“He was struck how realistic our portrayal in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ was of a future conflict,” Anthony told the news agency.

“It occurred to me that the perspective of artists on this question is compelling and insightful, and it’s also different,” Grundman was cited as saying by the Washington Post. “One feature that struck me was the combination of both familiar technologies and novel ones.”

“I didn’t want to satisfy myself with an approach everyone was doing,” he added. “It’s a crowded field of ideas,” Grundman said, explaining his belief why military think tanks alone aren’t up to the task.

According to Anthony, the game itself was the result of brainstorming by a number of creative professionals of all sorts, including Batman screenwriter David Goyer, as well as Oliver North, the former marine who later became a TV personality at the height of the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, when US officials secretly sold weapons to the Islamic state, despite there being an arms embargo.

“You get everybody in a room like that, and all the different perspectives come together,” Goyer said. “That combination was fascinating. What I would like to bring to Washington is that kind of thinking.”

Anthony himself also believes that the real-world Pentagon could benefit from fantasy-based thinking for the simple reason that the US isn’t preparing even for the scenarios it knows it might face, often on the pretext that there isn’t adequate funding, or that certain bridges can be crossed when reached.

Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn

Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn

So the project will attempt to “set up” the government to think of those sorts of danger. The Council admitted also that national security decision-makers could do with some “new voices” to give them a push, where imagining the mix of existing and future threats may be concerned.

“Writers, directors and producers and other artists bring to bear observations derived from wholly different experiences in the creative world,” it said in a statement.

“They can ask different kinds of questions that will challenge assumptions and status quo ways of tackling some of today’s toughest national security problems.”

Anthony is set to appear in Washington on Tuesday with the kind of presentation common to the entertainment sphere – stylish videos. One of them will be presenting a Las Vegas rendition of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when a series of coordinated bombings and shootings carried out by Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, allegedly with secret help from Pakistani intelligence elements.

Anthony went further, saying that he sees parallels between government work and running a multi-billion dollar entertainment venture, in the way that both are high-pressure environments with many players and idiosyncrasies in decision-making, all of which require overcoming.

He believes that US military thinking is somewhat stale, and that it streamlines when it comes to making brave and risky decisions, and that’s one other thing he hopes to combat.

“The way I like to think about it is the next attack has already happened, someone has already thought of it. How do you look at all the ideas that are out there?”

“The problem is the next attack is very unlikely to be the same as the previous attack,” Anthony said, adding that even today’s Islamic State campaign by the Obama administration is ill-equipped to predict how the Islamist terrorists will strike back.

“I think this is going to be the next 9/11,” he said.

Futuristic Chinese ‘supersonic’ sub could reach US shores in under two hours

Reuters / Guang Niu

Reuters / Guang Niu

Traveling from Shanghai to San Francisco in under two hours may sound like a fantasy, but China believes it’s figured out how to design an underwater vehicle that can make the idea a reality.

More worryingly, though, is the possibility that the technology will be used to develop even more dangerous weaponry.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the super-fast technology was developed by scientists at the Harbin Institute of Technology, and would allow underwater submarines or torpedoes to exceed the equivalent speed of sound under water – about 3,600 miles per hour.

The idea is based on the old Soviet concept of supercavitation, which involves creating a large air bubble around an object so that it could avoid facing too much friction and travel through water quickly.

Professor Li Fengchen said that when the vessel hits the water, one of its mechanisms continuously sprays a “special liquid membrane” all over the object’s surface. This membrane eventually wears off, but by the time the vessel reaches 46 miles per hour, it’s going fast enough to enter supercavitation state and generate an air bubble capable of helping it cover previously unknown distances.

“Our method is different from any other approach, such as vector propulsion,” Li told SCMP. “By combining liquid-membrane technology with supercavitation, we can significantly reduce the launch challenges and make cruising control easier.”

In theory, this means a trip across the Pacific Ocean would take only 100 minutes, while a transatlantic voyage could be undertaken in less than an hour.

Despite the claims of progress, Li added that there are still significant hurdles scientists have to overcome, such as creating precise steering controls and an engine strong enough to power the whole operation.

Many details surrounding the technology remain unknown, since the project is still categorized as a military secret. Supercavitation could still be used to create fast-moving torpedoes and other weapons, and the US, Russia, Germany, and Iran are all working on the same issue.

Still, Li said there could be ways to use the breakthrough to benefit more than just militaries. It could pave the way for fast underwater transportation, or help create swimsuits that allow for unprecedented mobility.

“If a swimsuit can create and hold many tiny bubbles in water,” he said, “it can significantly reduce the water drag; swimming in water could be as effortless as flying in the sky.”

Iran unveils new-generation drones and missiles 

New generation short-range anti-ship missiles and UAVs have been unveiled in Iran. Tehran’s revamped military doctrine is based on “deterrence and effective defense,” President Hassan Rouhani said at the presentation.

Ghadir cruise missiles with a range 100 kilometers are designed to engage ships, reported the IRNA news agency. Iran uses the Ghadir system to reinforce its destroyers and coastal batteries.

The range of another cruise missile, the Nasr-e Basir, has not been disclosed, although the agency announced it could “operate in silence,” without specifying exactly what this quality means.

The Iranian military also showed two new high-altitude drones, the Karrar-4 and the Mohajer-4. The latter is capable of mapping a territory for military or civilian use.

President Hassan Rouhani who attended the military hardware presentation stressed that while his country does not aim to possess a nuclear weapon, it cannot ignore external threats to the country.

“We do not sit idly by with regard to threats. We do not remain calm towards plots by the enemy,”Rouhani said, as cited by the AP. The president did not specify the adversary’s name in a speech broadcasted live by state TV.

“We have not been, we are not and we will not pursue weapons of mass destruction,” Rouhani said on Sunday. “For religious and humanitarian reasons we pursue neither nuclear nor microbial nor chemical weapons,” he said, calling for a nuclear-free Middle East, with an obvious reference to Israel’s undeclared atomic arsenal.

Ghadir missile cruising over sea. Screenshot from APTN video

Ghadir missile cruising over sea. Screenshot from APTN video

After relative moderate Rouhani succeeded hawkish President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, he promised to interact with the West diplomatically. He made positive advances, considerably lifting international sanctions against Iran and managing to stop “nuclear Iran” hysteria in the Western world.

Rouhani also made reports about the country’s military advances more discreet.

“Widespread publicity of major military exercises, previously the norm, has been minimal,” The Washington Free Beacon’s report acknowledged recently.

Iran adopted a program to develop the national defense industry and produce necessary military hardware, from tanks and mortars to missiles and submarines, domestically in 1992. Since then the country’s heavy weapons production, particularly rocket and missile engineering, has made tremendous progress. And not only in the military sphere – firm steps towards space exploration have also been taken, with Iran’s first space launch performed back in 2007.

Today, Iran has surface-to-surface missiles with a 2,000-kilometer range, capable of reaching any US military base in the region, and also Israel, Tehran’s long-lasting adversaries since the 1979 revolution.

Iran also regularly presents new drones and allegedly successful copycat technologies from American drones intercepted in national aerospace.

Libya’s Islamic militants ‘seize’ Benghazi, declare it ‘emirate’

 

Members of Ansar al-Sharia (Reuters / Stringer)

The Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia has declared Benghazi an ‘Islamic Emirate’ after claiming to have taken total control of Libya’s second largest city, seizing military barracks with rockets and ammunition.

The official spokesperson of the extremist group told local Radio Tawhid that “Benghazi has now become an Islamic emirate.”

The announcement has been denounced by pro-government militia forces.

The national Libyan army is in control of Benghazi and only withdrew from certain positions for tactical reasons. The claim that Benghazi is under the control of militias is a lie,” Khalifa Haftar, a former army general, who launched a self-declared offensive against militants in May, told Al Arabiya channel.

Ansar al-Sharia formed during the Libyan Revolution of 2011 that ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi. The group is blamed for the attack on the US consulate in 2012 killing the US ambassador and 3 more Americans. The group advocates the implementation of strict Sharia law.

In some of the worst fighting since the revolution, around 200 people have been killed as violent clashes between rival militias erupted two weeks ago in the capital Tripoli and the city of Benghazi.

On Wednesday, the Islamic militants announced they overran an army base in Benghazi seizing dozens of weapons and boxes of ammunition. Libya’s Red Crescent said it had recovered the bodies of 35 soldiers from the base adding that there are presumably more.

Members of the Libyan Salafi armed group Ansar al-Sharia (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)

Members of the Libyan Salafi armed group Ansar al-Sharia (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)

At least 75 people, mostly soldiers, were killed in the two days of fighting in the eastern city, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile in Tripoli, one hundred people have died in the battle for the airport, with 400 others believed to be wounded, the country’s health ministry announced on Saturday.

Over the past two weeks, rival militias have been fighting for the control of the airport in the southern part of the city. Zintan and Misrata militias have exchanged artillery fire and pounded the territory with Grad rockets.

Militia groups hit an oil storage tank with a rocket on Sunday night, causing a huge blaze which had been raging for over a day. Local firefighters couldn’t tackle the blaze as the interim government in Libya has called for international help.

As the chaos keeps spreading, UN Support Mission in Libya as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross have withdrawn their staff last week.

Foreign embassies have joined the missions evacuating its staff from the country. The UK has evacuated all “non-core” members of its diplomatic mission on Saturday after the mission’s cars were shelled at a militia checkpoint. The US embassy evacuated 150 of its personnel to bordering Tunisia.

Spain said on Thursday it was pulling its ambassador and embassy staff out of Libya temporarily, while one person was left to oversee the archives. Greece joined the same day saying it was sending vessels to Libya to evacuate embassy workers and a few hundred Chinese and European nationals.

Three years after the US and its NATO allies used air power to help the militants achieve victory over former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country has descended into a failed state without cohesive government and rival militias fighting for power.

Ukraine used phosphorous incendiaries, cluster bombs against cities – Russian military

Aftermath of an artillery attack by the Ukrainian army on the Artyom district in Slavyansk. (AFP Photo / Andrey Stenin)

Aftermath of an artillery attack by the Ukrainian army on the Artyom district in Slavyansk. (AFP Photo / Andrey Stenin)

Ukrainian troops have on many occasions used incendiary weapons and cluster bombs against militia-held cities, acts that are banned under the international law regulating warfare, the Russian military said.

The accusation was voiced on Friday by Major General Viktor Poznikhir, the deputy commander of the chief operations branch of the Russian General Staff. Earlier some media reports claimed that munitions, which are not allowed to be used against civilian targets, were used in eastern Ukraine by the Kiev troops in their assault on armed militias.

According to the general, the Russian military are certain of a number of such attacks by Ukrainian troops. Those include artillery shelling with incendiary shells on June 12 in Slavyansk, on June 24 and June 29 in Semyonovka and on July 7 in Lisichansk. There were also air strikes with incendiary bombs on June 21 in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk and on July 23 in Donetsk and shelling with cluster shells on June 24 in Semyonovka.

“We have sufficient proof that in the cities and villages of Ukraine I mentioned, ammunition based on phosphorus was used,” Poznikhir said. In all those instances characteristic fast-falling clusters of sparks were spotted in the air and massive fires on the ground were reported, proving that those were not illumination flares.

The evidence behind the ministry’s assessment includes eyewitness accounts, injuries sustained by the victims of the attacks and media reports from Ukraine, the Russian general said.

“The incendiaries were used against residential areas where only civilians were present at the time,”Poznikhir stressed. “We believe the Ukrainian side wanted to produce a demoralizing effect on the people and inflict serious damage to communal infrastructure, which would create the conditions for a humanitarian disaster.”

Most of the incidents mentioned by the general happened in or near Slavyansk, once the most defended strongholds of the Ukrainian militia, which for two months held out against the siege by Ukrainian troops. The city was eventually abandoned by militia forces, which regrouped and fortified other Ukrainian cities. Those are currently under Ukrainian attack.

The use of incendiary weapons against civilians or military objects located in civilian areas is forbidden by Protocol III of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons. Ukraine is a signatory to the protocol. Cluster munitions are prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but Ukraine did not ratify that agreement.

Events in E. Ukraine ‘beginning of ethnic cleansing campaign’

Published time: July 05, 2014 16:40

Any future peace talks between Kiev and the self-proclaimed eastern republics will be about their surrender, Daniel McAdams, the Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute, told RT, adding that Ukrainian authorities are carrying out ethnic cleansing.

RT: Do you agree with President Poroshenko that civilians are not being targeted and the army is liberating the east of the country?

Daniel McAdams: Well unless it is the most elaborate deception campaign in the history of propaganda, everything that I’ve seen has shown that the jets and the military from Kiev are decimating villages. And I think it should not be a surprise because the new president has already said, “We will attack, and liberate our land,” but the members of his administration have referred to the people in the east as sub-humans, insects and other things. So you first dehumanize the population and then you begin an ethnic campaign. And I think that is what you are seeing in the east now is the beginning of an ethnic cleansing campaign. We have already seen that 100,000-plus have fled to Russia. So this is the administration that has used deception and lies in the past and I think we’re seeing it again.

RT: But if you say it’s an ethnic cleansing campaign, then to what end? I mean, even though these people are living in the east of Ukraine and their tendencies and their sympathies may lie with Russia, they are still Ukrainian citizens.

DM: That is correct but they also are disconnected from Kiev. It is very ironic, today in the US we’re celebrating the 238th anniversary of our Independence Day where we broke away from an unelected tyrannical government far away. Yet, the same US government is now doing its very best to suppress the people in east Ukraine who want the very same thing – just the ability to secede from a government that they feel is oppressive and does not represent their views. So it is actually a sad irony sitting here in the US celebrating Independence Day.

AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply

AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply

RT: President Poroshenko is proposing a new time and place for the negotiations with these republics. How committed do you think he is to those talks?

DM: Well, he is committed but his position has already been clear: you have to surrender or be killed. So, I think the talks, unless I’m mistaken and it is very possible, I hope I am mistaken, but the talks will nearly be about the conditions of their surrender. So those are not really talks in the true sense of the word. So it is hard to be optimistic about it.

RT: So what kind of result do you think will come from them?

DM: I do not think much will come from them, again unless I’m terribly mistaken. If you look at this post-coup government in Kiev, this really is an Orange Revolution 2.0. Look down at the persons, to the people who have been appointed – they are all Yushchenko’s retreads, they are all cronies of Poroshenko, billionaire oligarchs. So this is nothing new. If this was a revolution to get rid of corruption and to start afresh, it is a remarkable way of doing it. So I think I do not expect anything different at all, except that this is way more violent than the Orange Revolution 1.0.