Friday, February 22, 2019

TheList 4932

The List 4932     TGB

To All,
I hope that your week has been going well.
This day in Naval History
Feb. 21
1942USS Triton (SS 201) sinks Japanese merchant cargo vessel Shokyu Maru in the East China Sea, 60 miles south of Quelpart Island.
1944SBDs and TBFs bomb anti-aircraft positions at Lakunai airfield and shore installations at Rabaul and sink Japanese guard boat No.2 Yawata Maru.
1945Japanese kamikazes sink escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea (CVE 95) while off Iwo Jima with 318 men killed or wounded. USS Saratoga (CV 3) is struck by five kamikazes but survives, although 123 men are killed.
1991During Operation Desert Storm, AV-8B aircraft from Marine Attack Squadron 331 conduct the first of 243 sorties off the deck of USS Nassau (LHA 4).
1952During the Korean War, USS Symbol (AM 123), is conducting a routine check sweep in the vicinity of Mayang-do in company with USS Murrelet (AM 372), when she observes four splashes from an estimated 75mm shore battery. The ships return fire, which silences the enemy guns. 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Headlines leading today's national news include reports that the U.S. and Chinese negotiators are working on multiple memorandums of understanding that would form the basis of a final trade deal, and reports that a Coast Guard lieutenant is in federal custody and faces domestic terrorism charges. West 2019 multiple admirals detailed how the Navy is updating its tactics and weapons with lethality and a potential high-end conflict in mind reports USNI News. "We've dramatically improved the number of ships that are out there with [AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 undersea warfare suites]; we're over half now, which is really an aggressive move for us, we put a lot of money into it," said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall. USNI News detailed the Navy's efforts to develop new technologies and tactics through Advanced Naval Technology Exercises. Additionally, Adm. James Foggo warned both Russia and China that the Arctic is "nobody's lake" reports the Washington Examiner.
This Day In Naval History – February 21, 2018
Feb. 21
1942—USS Triton (SS 201) sinks Japanese merchant cargo vessel Shokyu Maru in the East China Sea, 60 miles south of Quelpart Island.
1944—SBDs and TBFs bomb anti-aircraft positions at Lakunai airfield and shore installations at Rabaul and sink Japanese guard boat No.2 Yawata Maru.
1944 - Marines with support of naval bombardment and carrier aircraft secure Eniwetok atoll
1945—Japanese kamikazes sink escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea (CVE 95) while off Iwo Jima with 318 men killed or wounded. USS Saratoga (CV 3) is struck by five kamikazes but survives, although 123 men are killed.
1991—During Operation Desert Storm, AV-8B aircraft from Marine Attack Squadron 331 conduct the first of 243 sorties off the deck of USS Nassau (LHA 4).
1952—During the Korean War, USS Symbol (AM 123), is conducting a routine check sweep in the vicinity of Mayang-do in company with USS Murrelet (AM 372), when she observes four splashes from an estimated 75mm shore battery. The ships return fire, which silences the enemy guns. 
Son of Quote of the Day
On this day in history (February 21):
1878: The first telephone directories issued in the U.S. were distributed
to residents in New Haven, CT.
1947: Edwin H. Land first demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which used
self-developing film that produced a black-and-white photograph in 60
seconds. Wildman Fischer sang about taking a picture of you with his
camera. It became an "instant" success.
1950: The first International Pancake Race was held in Liberal, Kansas.
In the annual event, contestants wearing dresses, aprons and head scarves
must run a 415-yard, "S" shaped course while flipping a pancake in a
skillet three times.
National Sticky Bun Day
February 21
The Jesuit poet Robert Southwell is hanged for "treason," being a Catholic.
Michael Romanov, son of the Patriarch of Moscow, is elected Russian Tsar.
The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships.
As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.
Trinidad, West Indies surrenders to the British.
The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is printed, both in English and in the newly invented Cherokee alphabet.
In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Gough's well placed guns win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size of his at Gujerat on the Chenab River, assuring British control of the Punjab for years to come.
The Texas Rangers win a Confederate victory in the Battle of Val Verde, New Mexico.
The world's first telephone book is issued by the New Haven Connecticut Telephone Company containing the names of its 50 subscribers.
The Washington Monument is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
The Mukden campaign of the Russo-Japanese War, begins.
The Battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery barrage of the French lines.
The Germans begin construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.
Nicaragua and Costa Rica sign a friendship treaty ending hostilities over their borders.
The U. S. Eighth Army launches Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea.
A grand jury in Montgomery, Alabama indicts 115 in a Negro bus boycott.
Havana places all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcom X) is assassinated in front of 400 people.
Richard Nixon arrives in Beijing, China, becoming the first U.S. president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the U.S.
A report claims that the use of defoliants by the U.S. has scarred Vietnam for a century.
Thanks to Micro and others
This is well worth the read.  I've long admired Victor Davis Hanson (for a time, not when I was there, he was a visiting professor at the Naval Academy).  He has summed things up magnificently:
It is online at this link, but I've copied it below for your convenience:
Autopsy of a Dead Coup
By Victor Davis Hanson| February 17th, 2019
The illegal effort to destroy the 2016 Trump campaign by Hillary Clinton campaign's use of funds to create, disseminate among court media, and then salt among high Obama administration officials, a fabricated, opposition smear dossier failed.
So has the second special prosecutor phase of the coup to abort the Trump presidency failed. There are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history, marking the first occasion in which U.S. government bureaucrats sought to overturn an election and to remove a sitting U.S. president.
Preparing the Battlefield
No palace coup can take place without the perception of popular anger at a president.
The deep state is by nature cowardly. It does not move unless it feels it can disguise its subterranean efforts or that, if revealed, those efforts will be seen as popular and necessary—as expressed in tell-all book titles such as fired FBI Directors James Comey's Higher Loyalty or in disgraced Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe's psychodramatic The Threat.
In candidate and President Trump's case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.
All through the 2016 campaign and during the first two years of the Trump presidency the media's treatment, according to liberal adjudicators of press coverage, ran about 90 percent negative toward Trump—a landmark bias that continues today.
Journalists themselves consulted with the Clinton campaign to coordinate attacks. From the Wikileaks trove, journalistic grandees such as John Harwood, Mark Leibovich, Dana Milbank, and Glenn Thrush often communicated (and even post factum were unapologetic about doing so) with John Podesta's staff to construct various anti-Trump themes and have the Clinton campaign review or even audit them in advance.
Some contract "journalists" apparently were paid directly by Fusion GPS—created by former reporters Glen Simpson of the Wall Street Journal and Susan Schmidt of the Washington Post—to spread lurid stories from the dossier. Others more refined like Christiane Amanpour and James Rutenberg had argued for a new journalistic ethos that partisan coverage was certainly justified in the age of Trump, given his assumed existential threat to The Truth. Or as Rutenberg put it in 2016: "If you view a Trump presidency as something that's potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you've ever been to being oppositional. That's uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I've ever known, and by normal standards, untenable. But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don't, what should take their place?"
I suppose Rutenberg never considered that half the country might have considered the Hillary Clinton presidency "potentially dangerous," and yet did not expect the evening news, in 90 percent of its coverage, to reflect such suspicions.
The Democratic National Committee's appendages often helped to massage CNN news coverage—such as Donna Brazile's primary debate tip-off to the Clinton campaign or CNN's consultation with the DNC about forming talking points for a scheduled Trump interview.
So-called "bombshell," "watershed," "turning-point," and "walls closing in" fake news aired in 24-hour news bulletin cycles. The media went from fabrications about Trump's supposed removal of the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office, to the mythologies in the Steele dossier, to lies about the Trump Tower meeting, to assurances that Michael Cohen would testify to Trump's suborning perjury, and on and on.
CNN soon proved that it is no longer a news organization at all—as reporters like Gloria Borger, Chris Cuomo, Eric Lichtblau, Manu Raju, Brian Rokus, Jake Tapper, Jeff Zeleny, and teams such as Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen as well as Thomas Frank, and Lex Harris all trafficked in false rumors and unproven gossip detrimental to Trump, while hosts and guest hosts such as Reza Aslan, the late Anthony Bourdain, and Anderson Cooper stooped to obscenity and grossness to attack Trump.
Both politicos and celebrities tried to drive Trump's numbers down to facilitate some sort of popular ratification for his removal. Hollywood and the coastal corridor punditry exhausted public expressions of assassinating or injuring the president, as the likes of Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Robert de Niro, Peter Fonda, Kathy Griffin, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and a host of others vied rhetorically to slice apart, shoot, beat up, cage, behead, and blow up the president.
Left wing social media and mainstream journalism spread sensational lies about supposed maniacal Trump supporters in MAGA hats. They constructed fantasies that veritable white racists were now liberated to run amuck insulting and beating up people of color as they taunted the poor and victimized minorities with vicious Trump sloganeering—even as the Covington farce and now the even more embarrassing Jussie Smollett charade evaporated without apologies from the media and progressive merchants of such hate.
At the same time, liberal attorneys, foundations, Democratic politicians, and progressive activists variously sued to overturn the election on false charges of rigged voting machines. They sought to subvert the Electoral College. They introduced articles of impeachment. They sued to remove Trump under the Emoluments Clause. They attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment. And they even resurrected the ossified Logan Act—before focusing on the appointment of a special counsel to discredit the Trump presidency. Waiting for the 2020 election was seen as too quaint.
Weaponizing the Deep State
During the 2016 election, the Obama Department of Justice warped the Clinton email scandal investigation, from Bill Clinton's secret meeting on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to unethical immunity given to the unveracious Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to James Comey's convoluted predetermined treatment of "likely winner" Clinton, and to DOJ's Bruce Ohr's flagrant conflict of interests in relation to Fusion GPS.
About a dozen FBI and DOJ grandees have now resigned, retired, been fired, or reassigned for unethical and likely illegal behavior—and yet have not faced criminal indictments. The reputation of the FBI as venerable agency is all but wrecked. Its administrators variously have libeled the Trump voters, expressed hatred for Trump, talked of "insurance policies" in ending the Trump candidacy, and inserted informants into the Trump campaign.
The former Obama directors of the CIA and National Intelligence, with security clearances intact, hit the television airways as paid "consultants" and almost daily accused the sitting president of Russian collusion and treason—without cross-examination or notice that both previously had lied under oath to Congress (and did so without subsequent legal exposure), and both were likely knee-deep in the dissemination of the Steele dossier among Obama administration officials.
John Brennan's CIA likely helped to spread the Fusion GPS dossier among elected and administrative state officials. Some in the NSC in massive and unprecedented fashion requested the unmasking of surveilled names of Trump subordinates, and then illegally leaked them to the press.
The FISA courts, fairly or not, are now mostly discredited, given they either were willingly or naively hoodwinked by FBI and DOJ officials who submitted as chief evidence for surveillance on American citizens, an unverified dossier—without disclosure that the bought campaign hit-piece was paid for by Hillary Clinton, authored by a discredited has-been British agent, relied on murky purchased Russian sources, and used in circular fashion to seed news accounts of supposed Trump misbehavior.
The Mueller Investigation
The Crown Jewel in the coup was the appointment of special counsel Robert Muller to discover supposed 2016 Trump-Russian election collusion. Never has any special investigation been so ill-starred from its conception.
Mueller's appointment was a result of his own friend James Comey's bitter stunt of releasing secret, confidential and even classified memos of presidential conversations. Acting DOJ Attorney Rod Rosenstein appointed a former colleague Mueller—although as a veteran himself of the Clinton email scandal investigations and the FISA fraudulent writ requests, Rosenstein was far more conflicted than was the recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Mueller then packed his investigative team with lots of Clinton donors and partisans, some of whom had legally represented Clinton subordinates and even the Clinton Foundation or voiced support for anti-Trump movements.
Mueller himself and Andrew Weissmann have had a long record of investigatory and prosecutorial overreach that had on occasion resulted in government liability and court mandated federal restitution. In such polarized times, neither should have involved in such an investigation. Two subordinate FBI investigators were caught earlier on conducting an affair over their FBI-issued cell phones, and during the election cycle they slurred the object of their subsequent investigation, ridiculed Trump voters, and bragged that Trump would never be elected. Mueller later staggered, and then hid for weeks the reasons for, their respective firings.
The team soon discovered there was no Trump-Russian 2016 election collusion—and yet went ahead to leverage Trump campaign subordinates on process crimes in hopes of finding some culpability in Trump's past 50-year business, legal, and tax records. The point was not to find who colluded with whom (if it had been, then Hillary Clinton would be now indicted for illegally hiring with campaign funds a foreign national to buy foreign fabrications to discredit her opponent), but to find the proper mechanism to destroy the presumed guilty Donald Trump.
The Mueller probe has now failed in that gambit of proving "collusion" (as even progressive investigative reporters and some FBI investigators had predicted), but succeeded brilliantly in two ways.
The "counterintelligence" investigation subverted two years of the Trump presidency by constant leaks that Trump soon would be indicted, jailed, disgraced, or impeached. As a result, Trump's stellar economic and foreign policy record would never earn fifty percent of public support.
Second, Mueller's preemptive attacks offered an effective offensive defense for the likely felonious behavior of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, and a host of others. While the Mueller lawyers threatened to destroy the lives of bit players like Jerome Corsi, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone, they de facto provided exemption to a host of the Washington hierarchy who had lied under oath, obstructed justice, illegally leaked to the press, unmasked and leaked names of surveilled Americans, and misled federal courts under the guise of a "higher loyalty" to the cause of destroying Donald J. Trump.
The Palace Coup
All of the above came to a head with the firing of the chronic leaker FBI Director James Comey (who would lie to the president about his not being a target of an FBI investigation, lie to House investigatory committees by pleading amnesia and ignorance on 245 occasions, and repeatedly lie to his own FBI bureaucrats).
In May 2017, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe took over from the fired Comey. His candidate wife recently had been a recipient of huge Clinton-related campaign PAC donations shortly before he began investigating the Clinton email scandal. McCabe would soon be cited by the Inspector General for lying to federal investigators on numerous occasions—cynically stooping even to lie to his own New York FBI subordinates to invest scarce resources to hunt for their own nonexistent leaks as a mechanism for disguising his own quite real and illegal leaking.
The newly promoted McCabe apparently felt that it was his moment to become famous for taking out a now President Trump. Thus, he assembled a FBI and DOJ cadre to open a counterintelligence investigation of the sitting president on no other grounds but the fumes of an evaporating Clinton opposition dossier and perceived anger among the FBI that their director had just been fired. In addition, apparently now posing as Andrew McCabe, MD, he informally head counted how many of Trump's own cabinet members could be convinced by McCabe's own apparent medical expertise to help remove the president on grounds of physical and mental incapacity under the 25th Amendment. This was an attempted, albeit pathetic, coup against an elected president and the first really in the history of the United States.
At one point, McCabe claims that the acting Attorney General of the United States Rod Rosenstein volunteered to wear a wire to entrap his boss President Trump—in the manner of Trump's own attorney Michael Cohen's entrapment of Trump, in the manner of James Comey taking entrapment notes on confidential Trump one-on-one meetings and leaking them to the press, and in the manner of the Department of Justice surveilling Trump subordinates through FISA and other court authorizations.
McCabe was iconic of an utterly corrupt FBI Washington hierarchy, which we now know from the behavior of its disgraced and departed leadership. They posed as patriotic scouts, but in reality proved themselves arrogant, smug, and incompetent. They harbored such a sense of superiority that they were convinced they could act outside the law in reifying an "insurance policy" that would end the Trump presidency.
The thinking of the conspirators initially had been predicated on three assumptions thematic during this three-year long government effort to destroy Trump:
One, during 2016, Hillary Clinton would certainly win the election and FBI and DOJ unethical and illegal behavior would be forgotten if not rewarded, given the Clintons' own signature transgressions and proven indifference to the law;
Two, Trump was so controversial and the fabricated dossier was so vile and salacious, that seeded rumors of Trump's faked perversity gave them de facto exemptions to do whatever they damned pleased;
Three, Trump's low polls, his controversial reset of American policy, and the general contempt in which he was held by the bipartisan coastal elite, celebrities, and the deep state, meant that even illegal means to continue the campaign-era effort to destroy Trump and now abort his presidency were felt to be moral and heroic acts without legal consequences, and the media would see the conspirators as heroes.
In sum, the Left and the administrative state, in concert with the media, after failing to stop the Trump campaign, regrouped. They ginned up a media-induced public hysteria, with the residue of the Hillary Clinton campaign's illegal opposition research, and manipulated it to put in place a special counsel, stocked with partisans.
Then, not thugs in sunglasses and epaulettes, not oligarchs in private jets, not shaggy would-be Marxists, but sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.
Shame on all these failed conspirators and their abettors, and may these immoral people finally earn a long deserved legal and moral reckoning.
About the Author: Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won (Basic Books).
Thanks to Clyde
: The Saufley Screamer w/photos
This is funny IMHO.
USN Flight Training in the 50s.
  Occurred 1953 it says, but they still played it in the hanger at Saufley years later on bad weather days...
I think that everyone that took formation flying at NAS Saufley has heard of this story but I never heard the tapes until today.  I could only hear a minute or so at at time because I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.  When I went through Saufley, it was both formation and night flying.  When it was time for the night syllabus I drew the night flying screamer, Delmanowski.  One night he told me that most people that died night flying were victims of an accident.  He told me that I didn't fall into that category because I was doing everything possible to kill myself. 
Screaming Formation Flight Instructor (1953 Naval Aviation Classic) 
This has to be the greatest "practical joke" in the history of Naval Aviation.  It involves the classic 1953 Saufley Field "screaming instructor" tape.   Saufley, near Pensacola, was where formation flight instruction then occurred.  The key characters were apparently WW ll veteran pilots bred in the pre-NATOPS environment far less encumbered by prohibitions than today.  Their equipment (SNJ airplane) was also the WW ll "advanced" trainer. 
In 1963 one of the pilots I worked with on a staff in San Diego asked me if I had ever heard the famous tape of the screaming flight instructor at Saufley Field in Pensacola. That tape was played for every class before they started their formation flight instruction. I said yes, I had heard the tape and that instructor had to be some kind of an irrational idiot. The name of the pilot I worked with was Monty Nichol and Monty told me that he was that instructor. I was amazed as Monty was a good staff safety officer and we became friends. Perhaps he mellowed out after this incident because I never detected any abrasiveness in him nor did I ever hear him scream.
 Cdr. Bill Richards (Ret.)
 The recording captures radio transmissions of a flight in which four instructor pilots replaced  four (unsuspecting) student pilots who were dutifully heading to their airplanes for their formation flight check ride ("final exam" in formation flight).  Lieutenant Nichol, their assigned check ride instructor, was renowned for his abrasiveness such as the way he screamed at his students on the radio.  Thus his fellows singled him out for a little "life lesson."
On this occasion his fellow instructors drove him "nuts" while the proceedings were taped by the Saufley Field tower (note background laughter).  It seems LT Nichol may have been the ONLY person in the Basic Naval Air Training Command NOT in on the joke, as his four fellow instructors royally screwed up everything imaginable.   Note it takes LT Nichol only about 3 minutes to correctly diagnose his problem as hopeless and order the "students" back to base.  That's when the "fun" begins and it takes over 15 minutes to get them back.
Legend maintains that LT Nichol, an officer of considerable administrative skill, later exacted retribution on the "ringleader" of this caper, a Marine major.  In revenge, he created fake orders transferring the major to a west coast assignment, thus causing the major to put his house up for sale.
After listening, you'll realize this is a unique classic from a bygone era, which many younger Naval Aviators have never even heard about it.  Maybe you'll want to pass it around.
It's in two parts since it's the entire flight and is therefore quite lengthy.  (9 minutes each segment)
A bit of news from around the world
Syria—Evacuations Continue As SDF Readies For Final Assault  Agence France-Presse | 02/21/2019 Hundreds of people have been evacuated from Baghouz, the last ISIS-held town in Syria, reports Agence France-Presse.  On Wednesday, at least 15 trucks brought civilians out of ISIS territory, said a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).  The evacuation is expected to wrap up on Thursday, said the spokesman.  The SDF and the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS have worked to remove civilians from the ISIS-held town to stop the terror group from using them as human shields. About 300 fighters remain in the town, reported Fox News.   Following the evacuation, the SDF transferred more than 150 captured ISIS fighters to Iraqi custody, reported Reuters.  The handover was part of an agreement that covers 502 ISIS fighters, said two Iraqi military sources.  The SDF holds thousands of suspected ISIS fighters.  Most of the fighters covered under the deal are Iraqi, said the sources. Some of their families were transferred with them to the Jazeera and Badiya military headquarters in Iraq's western Anbar province.  The SDF and U.S.-led coalition are preparing for a final assault to dislodge ISIS fighters from Baghouz, The militant group still holds territory in the Badia desert and is believed to retain numerous sleeper cells in the region.  
China—Large-Scale Joint Exercise Tests Command, Missile Defense Capabilities   South China Morning Post | 02/21/2019 The Chinese military has wrapped up one of its most ambitious exercises to date, reports the South China Morning Post.  The 34-day joint exercise, which began on Jan. 16, brought together units from the navy, air force and rocket forces in the South China Sea and western and central Pacific region.  The exercise did not include pre-planned scenarios and no advance notice was given to better simulate combat, said the South Sea Fleet.  The training covered surface warfare, rescue and weapon live-firings.  Several new warships took part in the drills, including the guided-missile destroyer Hefei, guided-missile frigate Yuncheng, landing dock Changbaishan and oiler Honghu.  The rocket forces sent a communications team to participate in the missile defense component of the exercise, said a military source.  Troops stationed on disputed, Chinese-held islands in the South China Sea also took part.  The rocket forces would like to see HQ-9 anti-air missiles and anti-ship missiles permanently deployed to Woody Island, said the source. The island is the largest in the disputed Paracel chain. The drills demonstrate China's desire to improve its naval combat capabilities and better integrate rocket forces units with the Southern Theater Command, said experts. 
Nigeria—Fatalities Reported In Latest Violence In Southeast   News Agency Of Nigeria | 02/21/2019 Unknown bandits have reportedly attacked a village in Nigeria's southeastern Benue state, reports the News Agency of Nigeria.On Wednesday, suspected armed bandits attacked the community of Agatu, killing several people. The number of casualties was not immediately known, although it was believed to be less than 16, said Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, the commander of a special military task force in the region.  The force, known as Operation Whirl Stroke, is deployed in the Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states to combat armed groups and restore peace.  
United Arab Emirates—Modified Challenger 650 Jet To Perform Range Of Missions   Defense News | 02/21/2019 Aquila Aerospace in the United Arab Emirates has received a contract to modify a Bombardier Challenger 650 business jet for the Emirati air force, reports Defense News.The Challenger 650 will be reconfigured for a range of military missions in cooperation with the Bombardier Specialized Aircraft Division at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi, said a company release.  The aircraft is scheduled to arrive in a ready-for-modification state in late summer and enter service once work is completed, reported IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.  
Modifications will include air-operable doors, mission operator stations, observation windows and unspecified sensor systems, reported Trade Arabia. The Challenger 650 will be used for maritime surveillance; search-and-rescue; command-and-control; VIP transportation; medical evacuation; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the release said. 
The deal includes an option for a second aircraft.  
 Russia—Agreement Planned With China to Develop New Heavy-Lift Helo    Tass | 02/21/2019 The governments of Russia and China are expected to sign an agreement to develop a new-generation heavy-lift helicopter later this year, reports the Tass news agency (Russia). A contract will be signed in the next two months following nearly four years of negotiations, a top official from Rostec, Russia's state-owned defense firm, said on Wednesday.  The helicopter will be smaller than the Russian Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopter, with a payload of 15 metric tons, the official said. 
India—Approval Given For Production Of Indigenous Dhanush Howitzer  Indian Ministry Of Defense | 02/21/2019 The Indian army and defense ministry have authorized the Ordnance Factory Board to begin production of an indigenous towed howitzer, reports the Indian Ministry of Defense.On Monday, Ordnance Factory Board received clearance to launch production of 114 Dhanush howitzers, said a ministry release on Tuesday.  The Dhanush is a reverse-engineered variant of the Bofors (now BAE Systems) FH77 155-mm/39-caliber towed howitzer, which has been in Indian service since the 1980s, noted the Diplomat (Tokyo).   The Dhanush, which has been modified with a 45-caliber barrel, has a range of 24 miles (38 km); can fire eight rounds per minute; and is equipped with an inertial navigation-based sighting system. It is also provided with an auto-laying function; onboard ballistic computer; and an advanced day and night direct-firing system, the release said.   The Indian army plans to procure up to 414 Dhanush howitzers.   
An upgraded variant of the Dhanush, designated Dhanush V2, is currently under development by India's Defense Research and Development Organization. The new howitzer has a 52-caliber barrel, increasing its range to 26 miles (42 km).   
Democratic Republic of the Congo—Police Executed At least 27 People During Operations Last Year, Says Human-Rights Group  Reuters | 02/21/2019 Congolese police summarily executed at least 27 people in anti-gang operations last year, according to a Human Rights Watch report cited by Reuters.  Between May and December 2018, police rounded up suspects during late-night raids in Kinshasa, the capital, according to the report. Their bodies were later discovered near their homes in an effort to disguise the attacks as ordinary crimes.  Some of the victims had marks indicating that their arms had been bound behind their backs and at least three had their genitals amputated, the report says.  At least seven people taken during Operation Likofi are still missing, said Human Rights Watch.  The Kinshasa police chief denied that his officers engaged in killings.  President Felix Tshisekedi, who was sworn in last month, has vowed to address accusations of brutality among the security services.  
Philippines—2 Abu Sayyaf Fighters Killed During Operations In Sulu Province  Manila Bulletin | 02/21/2019 Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) fighters have been killed and two more wounded during military operations in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, reports the Manila Bulletin.  On Thursday, troops from the 41st Infantry Battalion engaged at least eight ASG fighters in terrorists in Sitio Tubig Amu in the Patikul municipality. Witnesses said two ASG militants were killed and two wounded in the fight.  Philippine troops pursued the retreating fighters, said Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayothe, the commander of Joint Task Force Sulu. The military is slowly gaining the upper hand against ASG, said the head of the Western Mindanao Command.  President Rodrigo Duterte launched an offensive against the ISIS-aligned group after a deadly bombing on a cathedral in late January.  On Wednesday, the terror group released a video threatening to behead three hostages if no ransom was paid, reported the Star Online (Philippines).   
Algeria—Su-24 Goes Down During Night Training, Killing Crew  Anadolu News Agency | 02/21/2019 An Algerian force strike jet has crashed during a training flight, killing the pilot and co-pilot, reports Turkey's Anadolu Agency.  The Su-24 went down on Thursday in the north-central Tiaret province during a planned night-training flight, reported the Algerian newspaper El-Bilad. The aircraft crashed in an agricultural area, reported Reuters.  An investigation into the incident has been opened.  
Israel—Military Hits Gaza As Hamas Renews Airborne Fire Bomb Attacks  Haaretz | 02/21/2019 The Israeli military has conducted an airstrike against a Hamas position in the Gaza Strip in response to an airborne fire bomb, reports Haaretz (Israel).  The attack on Wednesday targeted a Hamas outpost east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp, according to Palestinian officials.  
On Tuesday, a balloon incendiary device sent from the Gaza Strip started a small fire in the Kissufim Forest near the border. The fire was quickly extinguished.  The fire bomb, the first since November, comes days after Hamas decided to renew such attacks due to stalled talks on the reopening of the Gaza Strip. 

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