Bill Gertz

Pompeo takes aim at ‘obscene’ Chinese propaganda meant to exploit civil strife in U.S

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday denounced Chinese Communist Party propaganda aimed at fueling U.S. civil unrest and seeking to further divide Americans. “The Chinese Communist Party’s callous exploitation of the tragic death of George Floyd to justify its authoritarian denial of basic human dignity exposes its true colors yet again,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement. “As with dictatorships throughout history, no lie is too obscene, so long as it serves the party’s lust for power. This laughable propaganda should not fool anyone.” Chinese diplomats and state-run media outlets in recent weeks have disseminated a steady stream of reports criticizing the U.S. government and Trump administration. Officials said the Chinese propaganda attacks are aimed at fueling racial and political tensions. The official Xinhua news agency and Global Times, the state-run hardline Communist Party newspaper, sent out numerous stories criticizing the Trump administration for its policies toward minorities. The propaganda is coming from the Chinese government that itself is under fire for imprisoning more than 1 million Uighurs in western China, along with other human rights abuses. Mr. Pompeo said in recent days Beijing “showcased its continuing contempt for the truth and scorn for law.” “The CCP’s propaganda efforts – seeking to conflate the United States’ actions in the wake of the death of George Floyd with the CCP’s continued denial of basic human rights and freedom – should be seen for the fraud that they are,” he said. “During the best of times, the PRC ruthlessly imposes communism,” he said. “Amid the most difficult challenges, the United States secures freedom.” Mr. Pompeo noted the stark contrast between the United States and communist-ruled China. “In China, when a church burns, the attack was almost certainly directed by the CCP,” he said, using the acronym for Chinese Communist Party. “In America, when a church burns, the arsonists are punished by the government, and it is the government that brings fire trucks, water, aid, and comfort to the faithful.” Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the officially-atheist government has cracked down on unofficial house churches that are frequently bulldozed to prevent gatherings of worshipers. Mr. Pompeo also said that peaceful protesters in China’s Tiananmen Square or in Hong Kong get clubbed by armed militiamen for simply speaking out, and reporters who cover the dissent are sentenced to long prison terms. In the United States, American law enforcement authorities bring rogue officer to justice. Peaceful protests are welcomed while looting and violence are shut down. “Our free press covers events wall to wall, for all the world to see,” he said. Also, doctors and journalists in China who warned of the dangers of the new coronavirus outbreak were silenced and imprisoned. The Beijing government also lied about death totals and the extent of the disease outbreak, Mr. Pompeo said. “In the United States, we value life and build transparent systems to treat, cure, and underwrite – more than any other nation – pandemic solutions for the globe,” he added. Chinese authorities imprison people who diverge from CCP ideology or place them in re-education camps, the secretary said. The secretary of state’s comment provide the first U.S. government acknowledgement that China is among the foreign actors seeking to further inflame racial tensions in the United States. Attorney General Bill Barr said earlier this week that he had evidence that among the protesters around the country there are “”foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.” FBI Director Christopher Wray also said foreign elements had “set out to sow discord and upheaval.” A U.S. official said videos posted online recently showed what appeared to be Chinese embassy and consulates personnel taking a direct role in riots in Washington and California.

Our thanks to veteran D.C. columnist, and best-selling author, Bill Gertz for that excellent piece!     🙂

China targeting U.S. Navy warships with electromagnetic weapons

China has called for using electromagnetic attacks on U.S. warships transiting the South China Sea, according to a state-run Chinese outlet. The Communist Party-affiliated organ Global Times, quoting a military expert, said the use of nonlethal electromagnetic and laser weapons should be used by the People’s Liberation Army to expel American warships from the disputed sea. The report followed China’s potentially dangerous use of a laser against a Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft near Guam last month, and an earlier lasing two years ago of C-130 aircraft near China’s military base in Djibouti on the coast of Africa. The article was published Tuesday, the same day the Pacific Fleet announced on Twitter that the aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the USS America, an amphibious assault carrier and leader of an expeditionary strike group, were conducting exercises in the South China Sea. The training exercise for both strike groups included flight maneuvers, air defense tests and surface-support mission exercises, the fleet said in a report on the exercises. At one point, Marines carried out a simulated visit, board, search and seizure exercise on the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, according to the report. “Training with multiple platforms really enhances the overall combat capability of the force,” said Capt. Kurt Sellerberg, commanding officer of the Bunker Hill. “Cruisers and destroyers, being multi-mission platforms, can complement and support strike operations with the Marine Air Wing (MAW) from the America [Expeditionary Strike Group].” The large-scale military maneuvers are a direct challenge to China’s claims to control 90% of the South China Sea, despite an international court ruling several years ago rejecting those claims. The Global Times report said the carrier operations marked the third time in the past week that U.S. warships have “trespassed” into the sea. The Pentagon has said repeatedly that it regards the sea as international waters and frequently conducts freedom of navigation operations through the sea. Other recent warship operations included the passage of the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell on March 10 to waters near the Paracel Islands in the northern part of the sea and maneuvers by the America and a littoral combat ship, the USS Gabrielle Giffords, on March 13.

For more, click on the text above.  Thanks to veteran Pentagon journalist, and author Bill Gertz for that excellent piece.

‘Alternate reality’: U.S. demands China halt coronavirus ‘disinformation’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China’s Communist Party to halt disinformation spread by propaganda outlets claiming the novel coronavirus was first spread in China by the U.S. Army. Mr. Pompeo made the comments in a phone call Monday to Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China. The secretary “conveyed strong U.S. objections to PRC efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States,” according to a statement issued by the State Department. “The secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat.” Mr. Yang, according to state-run Chinese television, told Mr. Pompeo that any attempt to smear China for its efforts to counter the coronavirus “will not succeed,” Reuters reported. The Chinese senior diplomat also threatened unspecified retaliation about what he said were efforts by U.S. politicians to denigrate China’s efforts to fight the virus. The exchange is the latest in Washington and Beijing’s growing war of words about the virus. White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien had harsh criticism in remarks last week to The Heritage Foundation for China’s early handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Mr. O’Brien said that instead of using best practices for handling new diseases, “this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up.” Doctors who sought to disclose the virus were imprisoned or silenced, he added.

The disinformation campaign about the Wuhan virus by communist China continues.  Kudos to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, and all the good folks at the State Dept, for putting pressure on those lying tools.  Again, when you need to buy a good or service, now more than ever BUY AMERICAN!!  Avoid “made in China” products if at all possible.  For more on this article by veteran journalist Bill Gertz, click on the text above.

China’s Intelligence Networks in United States Include 25,000 Spies

Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment. Guo Wengui, a billionaire businessman who broke with the regime several months ago, said in an interview that he has close ties to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the civilian intelligence service, and the military spy service of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). “I know the Chinese spy system very, very well,” Guo said, speaking through an interpreter, in his first American interview. “I have information about very minute details about how it operates.” Guo said he learned about Chinese spy activities from Ma Jian, a former MSS vice minister, and Ji Shengde, former PLA military intelligence chief. Ma was director of MSS’s No. 8 Bureau, in charge of counterintelligence against foreign targets—including diplomats, businessmen, and reporters—until he was swept up in a Beijing power struggle in December 2015. He was expelled from the Communist Party and imprisoned in January. Guo said Ma was imprisoned because he had uncovered details of corruption by China’s highest-ranking anti-corruption official, Wang Qishan. Ma said in a video made public by the Chinese government several weeks ago that he worked with Guo in assisting Chinese national security. Regarding, Ji, the military spy chief, Guo said he had close ties to him and turned down requests from Ji to work as a smuggler for 2PLA, as the military spy agency was known. Ji was implicated in the 1990s scandal involving Chinese funding of Bill Clinton’s presidential re-election campaign. In China, he was given a suspended death sentence by a military court in 2000 on charges of bribery and illegal fundraising. Ji and his wife currently reside in Los Angeles, and Guo said he paid money to Ji for 25 years as part of China’s use of businesses to support intelligence activities. “I know Ma Jian had been working state security system for over 30 years,” he said. “And he was responsible for sending out spies as well as for counter espionage, also vis a vis the U.S. So, Ma Jian knows everything about the United States.” Guo is a Chinese real estate investor who fled China in 2015. He currently resides in New York City and since January has become a target of a major Chinese government campaign to silence him. In May, two senior Chinese security officials traveled to the United States as part of a bid to pressure Guo into keeping silent, and not disclosing secrets about corruption among senior Chinese officials, as well as details of the intelligence activities. The two officials, Sun Lijun, vice minister of the Public Security Ministry, and an aide, Liu Yanpang, also tried to convince Trump administration officials to forcibly repatriate Guo back to China amid claims of corruption. Liu was arrested by the FBI for violating visa rules and his cell phone and laptop computer were confiscated before the Chinese official was allowed to leave the United States. The Chinese officials, during meetings in Washington and New York and by phone, threatened Guo, his family, and business associates and said that if he remained silent, the government would release assets of Guo’s that are frozen in China worth an estimated $17 billion. Over the past several months Guo, who also uses the name Miles Kwok, began posting lengthy videos on Twitter and YouTube disclosing what he knows about Chinese corruption and intelligence activities. One of the more explosive disclosures during an interview involve Wang, current head of the Chinese government’s anti-corruption campaign and a member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, the collective dictatorship that rules China. According to Guo, Wang secretly invested in California real estate since the late 1980s and has turned $30 million in purchases of 111 properties into an estimated $2 to $3 billion today. Guo says he plans to detail Wang’s U.S. investments in a video to be published next week. The residences include homes and apartments in Washington and Bethesda in the east, and in California in Los Angeles, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Carlos, and San Francisco. The video also shows a series of mansions owned by Wang family members in Saratoga, Calif. In total the residences cost $12 million and are worth some $30 million today.

Just think about that..  China has over twenty five THOUSAND spies here in the U.S.  Try to wrap your brain around that..  Anyway, to read the rest of this shocking article from veteran defense journalist and best-selling author Bill Gertz, click on the text above.  Wow..

US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites

U.S. special operations forces are set to conduct operations against North Korean nuclear, missile, and other weapons of mass destruction sites in any future conflict, the commander of Special Operations Command told Congress Tuesday. Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas stated in testimony to a House subcommittee that Army, Navy, and Air Force commandos are based both permanently and in rotations on the Korean peninsula in case conflict breaks out. The special operations training and preparation is a warfighting priority, Thomas said in prepared testimony. There are currently around 8,000 special operations troops deployed in more than 80 countries. “We are actively pursuing a training path to ensure readiness for the entire range of contingency operations in which [special operations forces], to include our exquisite [countering weapons of mass destruction] capabilities, may play a critical role,” he told the subcommittee on emerging threats. “We are looking comprehensively at our force structure and capabilities on the peninsula and across the region to maximize our support to U.S. [Pacific Command] and [U.S. Forces Korea]. This is my warfighting priority for planning and support.” Disclosure of the commander’s comments comes as tensions remain high on the peninsula. President Trump has vowed to deal harshly with North Korea should another underground nuclear test be carried out. Test preparations have been identified in recent weeks, U.S. officials have said. Trump said on Sunday that China appears to be pressuring North Korea but that he would be upset if North Korea carries out another nuclear test. “If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy,” he said on CBS Face the Nation. Asked if his unhappiness would translate into a U.S. military response, Trump said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.” Gen. Thomas’ testimony did not include details of what missions the commandos would carry out. A spokesman for the Special Operations Command referred questions about potential operations in Korea to the Pacific Command. Special forces troops would be responsible for locating and destroying North Korean nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, such as mobile missiles. They also would seek to prevent the movement of the weapons out of the country during a conflict. Additionally, special operations commandos could be used for operations to kill North Korean leaders, such as supreme leader Kim Jong Un and other senior regime figures. Special operations missions are said by military experts to include intelligence gathering on the location of nuclear and chemical weapons sites for targeting by bombers. They also are likely to include direct action assaults on facilities to sabotage the weapons, or to prevent the weapons from being stolen, or set off at the sites by the North Koreans. A defense official said U.S. commandos in the past have trained for covert operations against several types of nuclear facilities, including reactors and research centers. Scale models of some North Korean weapons facilities have been built in the United States for practice operations by commandos. The most secret direct action operations would be carried out by special units, such as the Navy’s Seal Team Six or the Army’s Delta Force.

Islamic State Threatens Terror Attacks in U.S., Europe – calls Ramadan ‘month of conquest and jihad’

The Islamic State is urging jihadists in the United States and Europe to carry out terror attacks during what a group spokesman promised would be “the month of conquest and jihad.” A U.S. government advisory warned that ISIS attacks, either directly sponsored or simply inspired by the group’s rhetoric, could be carried out during Islam’s month of Ramadan that begins June 5. The threatened attacks were announced in an ISIS video made public May 21. In the video, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani called on jihadists to “get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for nonbelievers…especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.” A report by the State Department-led Overseas Security Advisory Council said the threat could be credible because three deadly terror attacks took place last year shortly after Adnani issued a similar call to arms. “According to Islamic practice, sacrifice during Ramadan can be considered more valuable than that made at other times, so a call to martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some,” the report said. There is no information indicating a specific ISIS attack is being planned, although the threat of attacks remains significant, the report said. The report, produced by the State Department’s diplomatic security office, said there is no data to indicate Ramadan witnesses increased terrorism, “but as [ISIS] remains focused on expanding conflict, it is likely to continue to seek to carry out attacks during the holy month.” Ramadan includes a period of fasting for Muslims and is held each year during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. ISIS declared its so-called Islamic caliphate during Ramadan in 2014. After the broadcast provocation from ISIS, the State Department urged American businesses operating abroad to “remain aware of the persistent threat of [ISIS] attacks, both inspired and directed.” Adnani, in the video, did not say what targets should be attacked but stated that “the smallest action in their heartland is better and more.” He also urged jihadists to conduct lone-wolf attacks and said doing so would produce “the great reward of martyrdom.” “The terrorism risk at the moment is generally high,” the report said. Attacks merely inspired by the group pose a special threat because of the inability to track and counter jihadists not linked directly to ISIS, headquarted in Syria. “The lone-wolf threat is less likely to be bound by geographic boundaries, which may make it less difficult to identify higher-risk locations,” the report said. The Department of Homeland Security has not raised the terrorism alert level so far in response to the potential threat. The State Department has not issued a new warning to American travelers, although it updated a travel warning to those visiting Europe that terror attacks could be carried out at the European soccer championship scheduled to begin June 10, and a Catholic World Youth Day in Poland July 26. The State Department’s annual report on terrorism, made public this week, called ISIS “the greatest threat globally, maintaining a formidable force in Iraq and Syria, including a large number of foreign terrorist fighters.” Although the group has lost territory as a result of international counterterrorism operations, ISIS is expanding in Libya and other parts of the world. “Beyond affiliated groups, [ISIS] was able to inspire attacks in 2015 by individuals or small groups of self-radicalized individuals in several cities around the world,” the report said, noting that the group’s propaganda and social media efforts have challenged counterterrorism activities. A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the Ramadan threat. State Department and Department of Homeland Security spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment.

Of course not.. Anyway, you get the picture. To read the rest of this excellent piece by veteran defense columnist and author Bill Gertz, click on the text above.

China Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile

China successfully flight tested its new high-speed maneuvering warhead last week, days after Russia carried out its own hypersonic glider test, according to Pentagon officials. The test of the developmental DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was monitored after launch Friday atop a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai missile launch center in central China, said officials familiar with reports of the test. The maneuvering glider, traveling at several thousand miles per hour, was tracked by satellites as it flew west along the edge of the atmosphere to an impact area in the western part of the country. It was the seventh successful flight test of the revolutionary glider, which travels at speeds between 4,000 and 7,000 miles per hour. U.S. intelligence officials have assessed that China plans to use the glider to deliver nuclear weapons through increasingly sophisticated missile defenses. The DF-ZF also could be used as part of a conventional strategic strike weapon capable of hitting targets around the world within an hour. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban declined to comment on the latest DF-ZF flight test. “But we do monitor Chinese military modernization carefully,” Urban said. Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower, said China’s hypersonic missile tests are a concern. “China’s repeated test of a hypersonic glide vehicle demonstrates Beijing is committed to upending both the conventional military and nuclear balance, with grave implications for the stability of Asia,” Forbes said..

Definitely something to keep an eye on…  To read the rest of this article from veteran defense columnist and author Bill Gertz, click on the text above.

Iran Conducts Space Launch – Simorgh launcher part of long-range missile program

Iran this week conducted the first launch of a new rocket that the Pentagon views as a key element of Tehran’s effort to build long-range missiles. The launch of the Simorgh space launch vehicle on Tuesday was judged by U.S. intelligence agencies to be partly successful but did not reach orbit, said defense officials familiar with reports of the test. “It was either an unsuccessful launch, or a test of third stage” not meant to place a satellite in orbit, said a U.S. defense official familiar with reports of the test. No other details of the test launch could be learned. At the State Department, spokesman John Kirby said he could not confirm the missile launch. “Obviously we’re watching this as best we can,” Kirby said. “Certainly if it’s true and we’re talking about a ballistic missile launch or the testing of ballistic missile technologies, that’s obviously of concern to us. It’s not consistent, as we said before, with the Security Council resolution…” The large liquid-fueled rocket has been under close surveillance by U.S. satellites and other intelligence assets at a launch pad at Iran’s Semnan satellite launch center, located about 125 miles east of Tehran. The Simorgh launch had been anticipated since March and comes amid growing worries about Iran’s development of long-range missiles. Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said he is concerned about the latest Iranian missile development. “An Iranian Simorgh space launch vehicle test would be a provocation of the highest order and shows Iran’s true intentions,” Cotton told the Washington Free Beacon. “The intelligence community has said publicly that this [space launch vehicle] technology would aid an Iranian [intercontinental ballistic missile] program. And the only reason one develops ICBMs is the delivery of nuclear weapons,” Cotton added. The Simorgh is believed to be based on North Korean missile technology, used extensively in Iran’s medium-range Shahab-3 missiles. U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea supplied Iran with design data, stage separation technology, and booster equipment for the Simorgh and other rockets. During negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. intelligence agencies detected two shipments of large diameter rocket engines from North Korea to Iran. The Simorgh also is assessed as having enough lift to carry a nuclear warhead, a throw-weight greater than the 220-pound payload capacity claimed by Iranian officials. Senior U.S. military officials have voiced concerns about the Simorgh in recent congressional testimony and other public statements. Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, told a House hearing last week that Iran is continuing development of long-range missiles. “Iran’s continuing pursuit of long-range missile capabilities and ballistic missile and space launch programs, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, remains a serious concern,” Gortney said in prepared testimony. “Iran has successfully orbited satellites using a first-generation space launch vehicle and announced plans to orbit a larger satellite using its ICBM-class booster as early as this year. In light of these advances, we assess Iran may be able to deploy an operational ICBM by 2020 if the regime choses to do so.” Air Force Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, deputy chief of staff for operations, told reporters last month the Iranian space launcher is a “dual-use” system with applications for missiles. “The concerning part to me is that the rocket that they use, that launch satellite, could … [have] a dual-use purpose,” Raymond said March 24. “The ability to put a satellite into orbit is the same capability … as a harmful missile.”

Another outstanding analysis by veteran defense columnist Bill Gertz.  To read the rest of this eye-opening piece, click on the text above.

Russian Jet Threatened U.S. Recon Aircraft – Barrel rolls over plane in latest Baltic Sea provocation

A Russian fighter jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft on Thursday in the latest military provocation by Moscow over the Baltic Sea, the U.S. European Command said Saturday. “On April 14, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez. “This intercept comes shortly after the unsafe Russian encounters with USS Donald Cook,” he added. “There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior.” Hernandez said the U.S. aircraft, a militarized Boeing 707 jet, was operating in international airspace “and at no time crossed into Russian territory.” “This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved,” he said. “More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries.” According to Hernandez, the Su-27 carried out “erratic and aggressive maneuvers” by approaching the RC-135 at a high rate of speed from the side. The Russian jet “then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135U,” the spokesman said. “More specifically, the SU-27 closed within 50 feet of the wing-tip of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll starting from the left side of the aircraft, going over the top of the aircraft and ended up to the right of the aircraft,” he said. The U.S. government is protesting all the incidents this week to the Russian government through diplomatic channels, he said. The RC-135U, an electronic intelligence-gathering aircraft, is normally operated by five air crew and up to 16 electronic warfare officers and six or more regional specialists. The dangerous aerial incident came two days after a simulated Russian aerial assault against the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. Washington called the simulated assault a military provocation, and said it nearly caused an international shootout. Two Russian fighter-bombers, identified as Su-24s, made close passes over the Cook, including one jet that came within 30 feet of the warship. A Navy officer said the buzzing was the most reckless flyover of a U.S. warship by either a Russian or Chinese warplane since the Cold War. “I’ve been in a lot of those situations and I’ve never seen any plane come that close,” the officer said. The aerial harassment appears to be part of a Russian military campaign of intimidation against the United States and NATO. Moscow has adopted hostile military policies toward the United States over U.S. deployment of missile defenses in Europe, which Moscow says threaten its missile forces. The Russians also have been upset by Western sanctions against its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Strategically, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been seeking to regain control and influence over what Moscow calls the “near abroad”—former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc nations along the periphery of Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe. The policy has led to military aggression against the Republic of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, where Russian troops took over the Crimean peninsula and are continuing to fuel separatist activity in eastern Ukraine. In response, the United States and NATO are bolstering U.S. and allied military forces in Eastern Europe, with a specific emphasis of increasing military forces and troops near the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as in Poland. The recent Russian military provocations coincide with military activities by Moscow in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which remains a major subject of U.S. monitoring. Russia in the past has threatened to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander short-range missiles in the enclave on the Baltic Coast between Poland and Latvia. Earlier this week, Brian McKeon, principal undersecretary of defense for policy, told a House subcommittee hearing that Russia has prevented U.S. and allied flights over Kaliningrad that are allowed under the Open Skies Treaty. Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic forces analyst who specializes in Russian affairs, said the recent incidents over the Baltic Sea, including the simulated attack of a U.S. warship, are fundamentally different from past Russian provocations. “It is a major escalation of Russian aggressiveness although it fits into a pattern of Russian activity that goes back years,” Schneider said. “The Russian Defense Ministry reaction was blatantly dishonest.” Schneider said the likely U.S. response to these provocations are what former Pentagon official Richard Perle once dubbed “demarche-mellows,” or very weak, pro forma protests. “If so, incidents like this will probably continue to escalate,” Schneider said.

Agreed..  So, the next time some Russian fighter jet gets within feet of one of our aircraft or naval vessels, we need to blow it out of the sky.  That’s what the Turks did last year, and Russia didn’t do a thing.  It’s pretty sad when we won’t stand up to Vlad the bully…and yet Turkey will.  Anyway, to read the rest of this outstanding analysis by veteran defense columnist Bill Gertz, click on the text above.

Gertz: Russia Doubling Nuclear Warheads – New multiple-warhead missiles to break arms treaty limit

Russia is doubling the number of its strategic nuclear warheads on new missiles by deploying multiple reentry vehicles that have put Moscow over the limit set by the New START arms treaty, according to Pentagon officials. A recent intelligence assessment of the Russian strategic warhead buildup shows that the increase is the result of the addition of multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, on recently deployed road-mobile SS-27 and submarine-launched SS-N-32 missiles, said officials familiar with reports of the buildup. “The Russians are doubling their warhead output,” said one official. “They will be exceeding the New START [arms treaty] levels because of MIRVing these new systems.” The 2010 treaty requires the United States and Russia to reduce deployed warheads to 1,550 warheads by February 2018. The United States has cut its warhead stockpiles significantly in recent years. Moscow, however, has increased its numbers of deployed warheads and new weapons. The State Department revealed in January that Russia currently has exceeded the New START warhead limit by 98 warheads, deploying a total number of 1,648 warheads. The U.S. level currently is below the treaty level at 1,538 warheads. Officials said that in addition to adding warheads to the new missiles, Russian officials have sought to prevent U.S. weapons inspectors from checking warheads as part of the 2010 treaty. The State Department, however, said it can inspect the new MIRVed missiles. Disclosure of the doubling of Moscow’s warhead force comes as world leaders gather in Washington this week to discus nuclear security—but without Russian President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the conclave in an apparent snub of the United States. The Nuclear Security Summit is the latest meeting of world leaders seeking to pursue President Obama’s 2009 declaration of a world without nuclear arms. Russia, however, is embarked on a major strategic nuclear forces build-up under Putin. Moscow is building new road-mobile, rail-mobile, and silo-based intercontinental-range missiles, along with new submarines equipped with modernized missiles. A new long-range bomber is also being built. “Russia’s modernization program and their nuclear deterrent force is of concern,” Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of nuclear forces, told Congress March 10. “When you look at what they’ve been modernizing, it didn’t just start,” Haney said. “They’ve been doing this quite frankly for some time with a lot of crescendo of activity over the last decade and a half.” By contrast, the Pentagon is scrambling to find funds to pay for modernizing aging U.S. nuclear forces after seven years of sharp defense spending cuts under Obama. Earlier this month, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that Russia continues to pose the greatest threat to the United States. “The one that has the greatest capability and poses the greatest threat to the United States is Russia because of its capabilities—its nuclear capability, its cyber capability, and clearly because of some of the things we have seen in its leadership behavior over the last couple of years,” Dunford said. In addition to a large-scale nuclear buildup, Russia has upgraded its nuclear doctrine and its leaders and officials have issued numerous threats to use nuclear arms against the United States in recent months, compounding fears of a renewed Russian threat.

Gee…ya think?  Veteran defense journalist Bill Gertz is the author of this outstanding piece.  To read the rest, click on the text above.