Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fw: TheList 4336

The List 4336
To All,
I hope your week has started well.
This Day In Naval History - December 13
1775: The Continental Congress provides for the construction of five ships of 32 guns, five ships of 28 guns, and three ships of 24 guns at an estimated cost of $866,666. The ships are Hancock, Randolph, Raleigh, Warren, Washington, Congress, Effingham, Providence, Trumbull, Virginia, Boston, Delaware, and Montgomery.
1941 - Commander William A. Sullivan designated the first Supervisor of Salvage with office in New York City.
December 13
The National Guard is created in France.
The last remnants of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand ArmeƩ reach the safety of Kovno, Poland, after the failed Russian campaign. Napoleon's costly retreat from Moscow
General Andrew Jackson announces martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana, as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, 40 miles east of the city. The Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of Fredericksburg ends with the bloody slaughter of onrushing Union troops at Marye's Heights. Maine's Colonel Chamberlain at Marye's Heights.
The Committee of Imperial Defense holds its first meeting in London.
The Dutch take two Venezuelan Coast Guard ships.
The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China. Boeing's Trailblazing P-26 Peashooters.
Adolf Hitler issues preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece.
British forces launch an offensive in Libya.
France and Britain agree to quit Syria and Lebanon.
After meeting with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Harry S Truman vows to purge all disloyal government workers.
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexico's President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz meet on a bridge at El Paso, Texas, to officiate at ceremonies returning the long-disputed El Chamizal area to the Mexican side of the border.
Astronaut Gene Cernan climbs into his lunar lander on the moon and prepares to lift off. He is the last man to set foot on the moon.
Great Britain cuts the work week to three days to save energy.
Polish labor leader Lech Walesa is arrested and the government decrees martial law, restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent trade union Solidarity.
France sues the United States over the discovery of an AIDS serum.
Terrorists attach the Parliament of India Sansad; 15 people are killed, including the terrorists
Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein captured; he is found hiding in near his home town of Tikrit.
Thanks to Dr. Rich
Virus Warning - not confirmed, but better safe than ...
Tell all contacts from your list not to accept a video called the "Dance of the Pope". It is a virus that formats your mobile device. 
Beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on the radio. Fwd this message  to as many as you can!
And one from Bird
Emails Disguised as Delivery Notices May Be Dangerous Scams, Experts Warn - Yahoo
As the holidays approach and many people turn to online shopping to buy gifts, experts warn against falling for scam emails -- disguised as delivery notices -- that often spike in popularity at this time of year.
These scam emails generally appear to be a message from an identifiable shipping service such as FedEx, DHL Express, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. The contents of the scam emails may vary slightly, but many will say that there was a failed delivery and ask you to follow a link or download an attachment for more information. Tech experts say that these links or attachments could contain a virus or other malware.
"These emails ask the receiver to open an attachment in order to obtain the airbill or invoice needed to pick up their package," the shipping giant FedEx wrote on its website. "The attachment in the email may contain a virus. Please do not open the attachment and delete the email immediately.
"The frequency of this email tends to increase close to the holiday season, presumably to exploit the growth in shipping volumes," FedEx added.
While this email scamming tactic has been around for years, it often is particularly popular during Christmastime, experts say. The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning for consumers about this in mid-December 2014, saying that when you receive one of these phony emails "if you download the attachment or click on a link, you're likely to end up with a virus or malware on your device."
"Con artists often use the names and logos of familiar organizations to get under your guard," the FTC warned.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) included fake shipping notifications this year on its annual list of "holiday scams." The BBB explained why the scam emails are dangerous.
"These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords," the BBB wrote on its website. "Don't be fooled by a holiday phishing scam."
DHL Express, an international shipping group, also warns consumers on its website that many scammers may be using the DHL name and brand in order to deceive users into clicking on links in the email. The shipping group cautioned, "If you received an email suggesting that DHL is attempting to deliver a package requesting that you open the email attachment in order to affect delivery, this email is fraudulent, the package does not exist and the attachment may be a computer virus.
"Please do not open the attachment. This email and attachment does not originate from DHL," the group added.
UPS also issued an advisory to its consumers, including a list of example scam emails, so that people can see what they look like.
The FTC said the best way to spot a phony email is to see if the email asks you to click on a link or download an attachment. Another red flag to look for is whether the email "urges you to take immediate action," according to the FTC. Lastly, if an email ever asks you to "'re-confirm' personal or financial information," it is likely not legitimate.
The FTC added that a "sure sign an email is a scam" is if you hover your mouse over a link in an email and it doesn't show the official website of the supposed sender.
Thanks to John and Dick These bring back lots of memories living on Air Force bases
Good Grief!  Was that really 60 years ago??
Subject: Fw: Military Aircraft from the 1950s
Thanks to Barrel
Very Thought Provoking about Gen Mattis
I have been there and done that as a stupid 20 year old in Vietnam in 1968 and 1970.  This is the best thing I've ever read about a military commander since Patton.  As they say in days long gone by I would have followed this guy into Hell it's self.
Dec. 7, 2016
By George Friedman

Trump's Mad Dog

It has become rare for top military officers to stand up to their civilian

I have received several emails, primarily from non-Americans, asking why
Donald Trump would select a man called "Mad Dog" to be secretary of defense.
They are aware that "mad dog" is a term denoting a dog with rabies and are
baffled why anyone normal would be given that name. I have decided to serve
as a guide to the perplexed.

First, you should bear in mind that James Mattis is not normal. He is a
United States Marine. As such, he is expected to go beyond the normal.
Within the American family of services, the Marines pride themselves on
going to extremes. Those who go beyond the extremes are rewarded with names
like Mad Dog. Mad dogs are said to be tenacious, unwilling to accept defeat
or to leave a teammate behind. This has little to do with rabies and
everything to do with honor. And one of the tenets of honor is never to lie
to others or yourself about war. War is about defeating your enemy, and that
means killing them. And in killing them you may kill innocents. This is
true, and you can't lie about that. If that is unacceptable, don't go to

The Mad Dog was fired by President Barack Obama, rumor has it, for asking
inconvenient questions. The question of bombing Iran had come up and Mattis
would not let go of the issue. He demanded answers to questions ranging from
how we will know if we destroyed the nuclear facilities to what we will do
if the Iranians respond with non-nuclear weapons like chemical weapons. Only
a mad dog would ask questions for which planners had no answers, so Mattis
was fired. Obama wanted an option and Mattis' questions made it clear the
president didn't have the option he wanted. That was intolerable.
The United States has been waging war in the in the Middle East for 15
years. It has been dishonest from the beginning. George W. Bush said the
U.S. was at war and would bring the perpetrators to justice. In a war you
kill your enemies, not arrest them. If you arrest them, you aren't at war.
Obama couldn't decide whether to leave or stay. As a result, he mostly left,
except for those that stayed. Donald Rumsfeld called the insurgency the last
gasp of a defeated enemy. He knew it wasn't, but he didn't want to admit
that he miscalculated in Iraq, and that defeating the Iraqi army was the
preface to the real war, not the end.

The greatest deception was in designating the enemy. The enemy is the one
you must defeat and must be clearly identified. If the enemy was all of
Islam, hang it up. There are 1.7 billion Muslims, and America won't win that
war. On the other hand, if you pretend that Islam is purely incidental to
terrorism, you are lying and you know it. Every Muslim is not a terrorist,
but almost all terrorists today are Muslims. Now if saying that will make
every Muslim a terrorist, that poses a serious problem. But there is a
secret that everyone knows: Muslims know that there are Muslim terrorists,
that they attack the West and that the Americans are at war with them.
Trying to pretend otherwise seems not to have a point. If the point is that
not all Muslims are terrorists, then say that if you wish and move on.
The enemy of victory or survival is wishful thinking. The U.S. did not wish
to be in World War II. The Germans wished to defeat the Soviets in three
months. The Japanese wished the Americans would sue for peace. The
handmaiden of wishful thinking is poor planning. First you wish, then you
pretend it's possible, then you believe it's certain, and then you plan
without thinking about reversals, defeats or the worst case.
In the war in the Middle East, wishful thinking ruled. That was coupled with
confidence, and that was married to careless planning. A few years into it
every enlisted man knew that even the definition of victory was unclear, and
that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. They couldn't even find
the tunnel. But pulling out of a war that was being lost was impossible. So
the pretense from the White House and Pentagon was that the war was being
won. They may have been far enough away from the war intellectually that
they might have thought the war was being won. I personally doubt it.
If the war was to be won, and I don't know that it could be, the key was to
identify the enemy. It was not al-Qaida, because when it was shattered the
Islamic State emerged. The enemy was that strain of Islam that provided
manpower to whatever organization arose. But that would require admitting
that the war was about Islam, and that wasn't what the political leadership
wished it to be about, or at least they didn't want to admit it.
The leadership of the American military does not challenge the authority of
the president. The president is commander in chief and the secretary of
defense is whom the senior leaders must report to. This is respected. But
the chain of command is not at stake. The senior commanders are as far from
the battlefield as the civilians, and their knowledge of the battlefield is
what they read in reports from the field. Some have heard a shot fired in
anger at some point. Many have never been in combat. They are part of the
same system of denial as are the civilians.

But a career's worth of effort has gotten you your stars. You don't throw
that away to tell a truth you may not know and for which your career will be
ended. But this is not new. It was true when Douglas MacArthur told Harry
Truman he couldn't win in Korea without using nukes. It was not what Truman
wanted to hear, nor did he want the public to hear it. So he fired
MacArthur, accepted a draw and portrayed MacArthur a madman. Mad he may have
been, but the U.S. couldn't and didn't win without nukes. The president is
free to do what he wants, but MacArthur insisted on telling the truth,
however unwanted it was and however inappropriately it was delivered.
William Westmoreland in Vietnam accepted the theory that attrition would
defeat the guerrillas, as eagerly produced reports showed body counts
mounting. The truth was that counting bodies in the jungle is harder to do
than you might think, and that the Ho Chi Minh trail was choked with fresh
troops entering Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson did not want to hear that, and God
knows if Westmoreland knew it, or if it mattered to him. The North
Vietnamese could absorb casualties more readily than the Americans. There
might have been ways to win the war, but it would have involved widening the
war, sending many more troops and accepting much higher casualties.
Westmoreland didn't say this to Johnson because he didn't want to hear it.
And Westmoreland had no intention of being fired like MacArthur had been.
The president is the commander in chief, but he must demand that he hear the
truth as his commanders see it. That truth may confirm the path he is on, it
may tell him that path is doomed, it may offer another path, or it might say
that the commanders are as baffled as anyone and see no path. The president
decides, but his commanders must speak and the president must not merely
listen, but hear. All owe their best to those they would send to war and
those they would subject to war.

The military is subordinate to civilians. But senior commanders in the
military are asking their troops to go to their death on the commanders'
orders. If they can ask soldiers to give their lives, they might be prepared
to accept the consequences of speaking the truth as they see it. It is not
insubordinate to insist to the civilians that they are lying to themselves
or to force them to do honest planning or to resign. This not about routine
matters but about the terrible decisions presidents must make. That might
not help, but a revolt of the generals against a policy decimating their
forces, to whom they are also responsible, is not unheard of. Dwight
Eisenhower told Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt that unless there
was a completely unified command under him, or whomever they chose, he would
refuse to take the command and resign. Churchill capitulated to the threat.
Eisenhower was a man who understood politics. That did not stop him, in
extremis, from asserting his position (which was the right one). During
World War II, generals fought tenaciously against civilian edicts they
thought were wrong.

That hasn't been true, at the critical points, in the United States since
World War II. MacArthur knew the Chinese couldn't be defeated once they came
in. Westmoreland didn't know, or didn't tell the truth to Johnson. When Eric
Shinseki told Rumsfeld that Iraq couldn't be pacified with less than 300,000
troops, Rumsfeld fired him. At least Shinseki had pointed out that the plan
was a fantasy.

If you are going to send troops to fight and die, the least you can put on
the line is your career. It's nothing compared to their lives. But the fact
is that most senior officers - and intelligence personnel - are bureaucrats
who got to where they are not because they mastered the arts of the warrior,
but because they were clever staff officers, doing the necessary work of
managing, but they were only incidentally warfighters. Nor were they
intellectuals, who steeped themselves deep in the complex texts written by
those who know war and Islam and the moral virtues of a soldier. They read
reports and memos. And so expecting them to confront the Roman Senate,
pointing out that they don't know what they are talking about, and being
self-satisfied, didn't want to learn - that isn't known to happen.
It may be apocryphal that Mad Dog Mattis carries a copy of Marcus Aurelius'
"Mediations" with him, but I have a feeling it is not. Mad Dog Mattis
assigns reading lists to his junior officers, pointing out that wisdom is in
them and will help them on the battlefield. And Mad Dog Mattis reads
constantly and intensely himself. And what is certain is that he allowed his
career to be destroyed rather than to go along with a very bad idea.
He is truly a mad dog. He cares more for his troops than his career. If he
can be fierce with his enemy he can be fierce with his president. And Mad
Dog knows three critical things. He knows how to kill. He knows that to kill
he must pursue wisdom in the tradition. And he know that with these two
things he can lead, and earn the name Mad Dog. He is the classic soldier

Whether he can dramatically reform the Department of Defense is unknown. It
is too big, too self-absorbed and far more concerned about the battles in
the Pentagon than the battles with the enemy. But if Mattis can force
Washington to say publicly what they already know - that this is the enemy,
that it cannot be all of Islam, but it is part of Islam, I fantasize that
the Pentagon will magically evaporate in the face of truth, replaced by a
few hundred people who have no personnel policy beyond finding the best and
placing them in harm's way.

I do not usually admire people, nor write about those I do. But I have
indulged myself in this. I am not making a political statement for or
against any politician. I am saying that the kind of civic virtue that has
become rare in the American military may well be found in this man. He
refused to save his job by falling silent so as not to irritate the
commander in chief. He insisted on having answers to reasonable questions.
Such soldiers are tragically rare, and nothing is more likely to prevent a
war than a general prepared to tell the truth or demand a truth. Nor is
anyone more likely to win a war at less cost. Having had two children serve
in the military, I understand the cost of pretending to my wife that all is
well, all the while wondering whether their commanders stay awake through
the night or are the type who ruthlessly deny themselves the comfort of

Mattis is simply a man worth admiring, and I will divert myself from my
regular course to admire him. I will return to more ascetic things after

Item Number:1 Date: 12/13/2016 BELARUS - RUSSIAN, BELARUSIAN SPECIAL OPS TROOPS CAN NOW BE USED IN EACH OTHER'S TERRITORIES (DEC 13/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- President Alexander Lukashenko has approved a draft treaty with Moscow that authorizes Belarusian special operations units to take part in counterterrorism missions in Russia, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   The accord also allows Russian special ops units to participate in Belarus, according to a decree issued Monday.   The text of the agreement, signed on Dec. 6, has not been made public, noted Tass (Russia
Item Number:2 Date: 12/13/2016 BURMA - RIGHTS GROUP HITS ARMY FOR RAZING ROHINGYA VILLAGES (DEC 13/TIM)  TIME MAGAZINE -- A human-rights group has accused the Burmese army for burning down hundreds of buildings in villages housing members of the Ronhingya Muslim minority group, reports Time magazine.   The military began a crackdown in October in Rakhine state after Rohingya militants attacked border security posts.   Satellite images and interviews with refugees implicated the army in the burning of more than 1,500 homes and other buildings in the village of Wa Peik in Rakhine state, according to a statement from New York-based Human Rights Watch.   The military has denied the allegations, blaming Rohingya jihadists of burning down their own communities.   The images show troops close to at least one major fire, said the group.   Burma's "unsubstantiated claims that the Rohingya are burning down their own villages have now finally been exposed as the fraud that we suspected all along," said one HRW official.   A government-appointed team is investigating the allegations in Rakhine state, said a government spokesman cited by the BBC. Those findings are expected to be published at the end of January.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 12/13/2016 CHINA - XI-LED COMMISSION SAID TO EYE LARGER ROLE IN NATIONAL SECURITY (DEC 13/SCMP)  SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST -- A researcher at a think-tank in Beijing says a little-known Communist Party commission led by President Xi Jinping may play a larger role in China's national security, reports the South China Morning Post.   The Communist Party's Politburo on Friday endorsed a directive for a "comprehensive approach to national security," a phrase first heard by Xi at the Central National Security Commission's first -- and so far only -- meeting in April 2014, more than a year after it was formed.   The commission's main task is protecting national sovereignty, security and developing interests, according to the Politburo, as cited by Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The only other known commission members are its vice chairmen: Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the National People's Congress.   The commission is considered a party organ that lacks the legal status to be a state body. The latest directive is aimed at the commission taking on a more important security role, said Li Wei, a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing.   Li says the Politburo does not want national security issues determined by separate decisions by various ministries overseeing foreign affairs, the military, public security and the economy.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 12/13/2016 EGYPT - NAVY TAKES DELIVERY OF 1ST GERMAN-BUILT SUB (DEC 13/TKMS)  THYSSENKRUPP MARINE SYSTEMS -- The Egyptian navy has accepted delivery of its first of four submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany, reports the German defense firm.   The S-41, which was officially named in December 2015, was handed over to the navy on Monday at the northern coastal German city.   The second boat in the class, S-42, was formally named at the same ceremony.   The Egyptian boats are being built to the Type 209/1400 configuration, noted TKMS
Item Number:5 Date: 12/13/2016 FRANCE - POLICE DETAIN 11 OVER NICE MASSACRE; SUSPECTS BELIEVED TO HAVE ARMED ISLAMIST ATTACKER (DEC 13/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Eleven people suspected of being linked to a Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France, have been arrested, reports Agence France-Presse.   On July 14, 2016, a Tunisian extremist drove a truck into a crowd celebrating the holiday, killing 86 people. The assailant was shot and killed after a firefight with police.   On Monday, police picked up 10 suspects in various parts of Nice and another in the western city of Nantes, said sources close to the investigation.   Prosecutors say the suspects were in contact with three people who were picked up shortly after the attack and charged with supplying weapons to the attacker.   The suspects were not believed to be aware of the attack, but were part of a criminal organization involved in arms-smuggling, said one source.   ISIS claimed responsibility for the July attack.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 12/13/2016 FRANCE - WITH UPGRADE, TEMERAIRE SUB WILL BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE M51 ICBM (DEC 13/DCNS)  DCNS -- An upgrade has started on the last of three French Le Triomphant-class ballistic-missile submarines, a move that will allow the boat to employ the new M51 intercontinental ballistic missile, reports French shipbuilder DCNS.   On Dec. 6, Le Temeraire transferred to a dock at the naval base in Brest to begin the modernization.   The refit is scheduled to last 18 months. It involves 87 miles (140 km) of cable and 1.3 million parts, according to DCNS.   In addition to the planned nine-year maintenance program and adaptation of the M51 missile, navigation and combat systems on the submarine will be updated, the company release said on Dec. 9.   The first three subs in the Le Triomphant class are being modified for the M51. The last, Le Terrible, was built to accommodate the new missile
Item Number:7 Date: 12/13/2016 ISRAEL - INITIAL 2 F-35S REACH NEVATIM AIR BASE (DEC 13/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- Israel's first two U.S.-builty F-35 fighter jets have arrived after a short weather-related delay, reports the Jerusalem Post.   A welcoming ceremony was held on Monday evening at Nevatim Air Base near the southern city of Beersheba. Attendees included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.   The jets were originally scheduled to arrive in the afternoon, but their trip was delayed for six hours due to fog in Italy, reported Globes (Israel).   Israel is the first non-U.S. country to receive the stealth jet.   The Israeli military plans to have two F-35 squadrons and has signed deals for 50 aircraft. The aircraft are priced at around US$100 million each, noted Reuters.  
Item Number:8 Date: 12/13/2016 PAKISTAN - NEW NAVAL TASK FORCE WILL PROTECT GWADAR'S PORT (DEC 13/DAWN)  DAWN -- The Pakistani navy has set up a new unit that will guard the deep-sea port of Gwadar and its sea lines of communication (SLOC), reports Dawn (Pakistan).   Task Force-88 (TF-88) was commissioned on Tuesday during an international maritime conference on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Gwadar.   The navy said TF-88 will protect the corridor, which has Gwadar as its central hub, from both conventional and non-traditional threats.   The unit will include navy ships, fast attack craft, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance assets, said a navy official.   Marines will also be deployed around the port and at sea for security operations, he said.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 12/13/2016 PAKISTAN - ONETIME COUNTERTERRORISM HEAD BECOMES CHIEF OF INTER-SERVICES INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (DEC 13/DAWN)  DAWN -- As part of a Pakistani army reshuffling, a senior army officer has been named the new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar will succeed Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar as the chief of the powerful military intelligence service. Akhtar has been named as the president of the National Defense University (NDU).   Mukhtar previously served as the corps commander in Karachi and earlier headed ISI's counterterrorism wing, noted the Hindustan Times (India).   Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed two weeks ago as the chief of army staff.   Among other changes, Lt. Gen. Bilal Akbar was named as chief of general staff, and Lt. Gen. Nazir Butt, who currently heads the NDU, has been named corps commander in Peshawar (11 Corps
Item Number:10 Date: 12/13/2016 SOUTH KOREA - GROWING THREAT FROM NORTH PROMPTS DEFENSE MINISTRY TO REQUEST MORE U.S. ISR ASSETS (DEC 13/YON)  YONHAP -- Seoul wants the United States to deploy more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to South Korea to help counter threats from North Korea, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The Defense Ministry told lawmakers in a report on Monday that it has increased its monitoring of the North.   There has been speculation that Pyongyang might increase military tensions to test incoming U.S. President Donald Trump and take advantage of power transitions in both Seoul and Washington.   Reacting to a corruption scandal, the South Korean Parliament last week voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye.   Separately, on Monday, the South Korean joint chiefs of staff said that it is creating a task force to deal with unmanned aircraft and cyberattacks from North Korea
  Item Number:11 Date: 12/13/2016 SOUTH KOREA - MORE THAN 20 HURT IN EXPLOSION AT ULSAN TRAINING BASE (DEC 13/YON)  YONHAP -- An unexplained explosion at a military base in South Korea's southeast has injured more than 20 soldiers, say authorities cited by the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The blast occurred Tuesday around 11:50 a.m., local time, at a reservist training camp in Ulsan, about 410 km (254 mi) southeast of Seoul.   The soldiers were moving from one place to another at the time, reported the Korea Herald.   Police and fire officials are investigating.  
ES TOLL NEAR PALMYRA (DEC 13/DAILYTEL)  DAILY TELEGRAPH -- A suspected poison gas attack near the Islamic State-controlled Syrian city of Palmyra has killed several dozen people, says a monitoring group cited by the Daily Telegraph (U.K.).   ISIS recaptured Palmyra over the weekend, seven months after it was ousted from the ancient city by government forces.   Monday's attack occurred near Uqairabat, an ISIS-held area northwest of Palmyra, killing at least 53 people, including 16 children, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.   The observatory did not say who was responsible. It earlier reported that 34 civilians had been killed and "dozens" injured. The head of the group said he could not tell if Syrian or Russian warplanes made the attack, noted AFP.   The ISIS-linked Amaq news agency said that 20 people were killed and around 200 injured in a "Russian air attack with sarin gas."   Other accounts gave a higher casualty count. The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) said about 86 people had died and 250 were injured.   Investigators from the United Nations have accused both ISIS and Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons since the start of the civil war in 2011
Item Number:13 Date: 12/13/2016 SYRIA - REPORTS OF ATROCITIES ABOUND AS GOVERNMENT ON VERGE OF TAKING ALL OF ALEPPO (DEC 13/REU)  REUTERS -- The Syrian army and its allies say they have taken almost complete control of the former rebel-held areas of Aleppo, reports Reuters.   Pro-government forces advanced into the last remaining rebel pocket of territory on Monday, forcing the opposition fighters to retreat to a few districts on the west bank of the Queig River, said a Syrian military source.   The U.N. human-rights office said on Tuesday there had been reports of abuses, including the summary execution of at least 82 civilians by the army and allied militias. There have been unconfirmed reports of government forces burning people alive, noted the Daily Beast.   The remaining rebel-held area encompass less than a square kilometer and facing imminent capture, said a spokesman for the human-rights office.   Russia says more than 8,000 civilians left Aleppo in 24 hours.   Russian and Turkish officials plan to meet on Wednesday to discuss a potential cease-fire and the opening of an evacuation corridor, said a Turkish official
Item Number:14 Date: 12/13/2016 TURKEY - F-16 CRASHES ON TRAINING MISSION; PILOT EJECTS SAFELY (DEC 13/HUR)  HURRIYET -- A Turkish pilot is safe after her fighter jet crashed in the country's southwest, reports the Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey).   The F-16 was headed to an air base in Diyarbakir during a training mission on Monday when it went down while trying to land, said the military.   The aircraft crashed about 3 miles from the base, reported AFP. Diyarbakir is about 80 miles north of the Syrian border.   The pilot ejected and was unharmed, the military said. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution, noted F-16.net.   An investigation has been opened into the cause of the crash
Item Number:15 Date: 12/13/2016 TURKEY - POLICE PICK UP 235 IN ANTI-TERROR RAIDS (DEC 13/WB)  WORLD BULLETIN -- Turkish authorities have arrested at least 235 people across the country on terror charges, reports the World Bulletin (Turkey).   The arrests followed suicide bombings near Istanbul over the weekend.   Counterterror raids were launched in 11 provinces on Monday directed at suspects allegedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), said the ministry.   The ministry did not clarify if the arrests were linked to the Istanbul bombings.   Dozens of members of the predominately Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) opposition party were also arrested in separate operations, said police. Party members have already been the target of a government crackdown, noted the Chicago Tribune.   The provincial leaders of the party in Istanbul, Ankara, Manisa, Adana and Mersin were among those detained.   The attack on Saturday in Istanbul killed 44 people and wounded 149. A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility
Item Number:16 Date: 12/13/2016 UGANDA - AUTHORITIES CHARGE REGIONAL KING WITH TERRORISM (DEC 13/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- A court in Uganda has charged a regional king with terrorism, reports the BBC.   Charles Mumbere, the king of the Rwenzururu area in eastern Uganda, initially faced charges over the murder of a police officer in March. He was detained last month in a government raid on his palace that left more than 80 people dead.   On Tuesday, Mumbere was charged with terrorism, aggravated robbery and attempted murder in addition to the original charges. He was remanded in custody until Dec. 28.   More than 100 people have been arrested since the raid in November. Twelve others, including royal guards and a witch doctor, were also charged, according to local officials.   The government has accused the small kingdom of recruiting and training militants to secede from Uganda.   As king, Mumbere's authority is limited to social and cultural matters. Before being crowned, he worked for many years in a Pennsylvania nursing home.  
  Item Number:17 Date: 12/13/2016 UNITED KINGDOM - MOD SIGNS CONTRACT FOR 2 MORE OFFSHORE PATROL VESSELS; STEEL CUT FOR TAMAR (DEC 13/UKMOD)  U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- The U.K. Ministry of Defense has finalized a contract with BAE Systems for two more River-class offshore patrol vessels.   The 287 million pound (US$363 million) deal covers the fourth and fifth ships in the class, the ministry said on Dec. 8. The new vessels will be named Tamar and Spey, respectively.   At the same event, Harriett Baldwin, the minister for defense procurement, cut the first steel for the Tamar, the ministry said.   The contract also includes support for all five River-class vessels.   The new ships are scheduled for delivery in 2019.  
  Item Number:18 Date: 12/13/2016 UNITED NATIONS - GUTERRES SWORN IN AS NEW SECRETARY-GENERAL (DEC 13/UNNS)  UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE -- A onetime Portuguese politician has taken the oath as the ninth United Nations secretary-general in 71 years, reports the U.N. News Service.   Antonio Guterres is succeeding South Korea's Ban Ki-moon, who will step down at the end of the month. Ban served two five-year terms in the post, noted Reuters.   Guterres served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and the U.N. high commissioner for refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.   The five-year post starts on Jan. 1.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 12/13/2016 USA - PENTAGON BOOSTS KURDISH ASSAULT ON RAQQA, SYRIA, WITH ANOTHER 200 AMERICAN TROOPS (DEC 13/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- More U.S. special operations forces are being sent to Syria to support a Syrian Kurd drive against Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital, says Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, as reported by Military.com.   Carter announced the deployment during a security conference on Saturday with Arab leaders in Bahrain.   The additional forces, totaling around 200, will include special operators, trainers, advisers and explosive ordnance disposal teams, Carter said.   They will join 300 Americans already working in Syria.   Working with the Kurdish militiamen creates potential problems with the Turks, who have launched an operation to clear areas near its border of rebels affiliated with ISIS and Kurdish groups, said a senior U.S. military official.   The Kurdish fighters have been trained and equipped by the U.S. and are widely considered the best rebel force in northeastern Syria.   U.S. officials are increasingly concerned about potential clashes between the Turkish forces and the Syrian government troops that are moving north with Russian support
Item Number:20 Date: 12/13/2016 USA - WITH TRUMP TEAM LOOKING AT RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, DOD DRAWS UP OPTIONS AGAINST ISIS (DEC 13/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- In anticipation of the new Trump administration, the Pentagon is preparing plans that would strengthen the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State, reports the Wall Street Journal.   Potential options include reducing White House oversight of operational decisions and returning tactical authority to the Pentagon, according to U.S. military and congressional officials.   President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team have called for a tougher military posture against the terrorist group.   The military might also propose reducing restrictions on the number of American troops for particular missions and easing the restrictions on the level of governmental review needed before an operation or airstrike can be conducted, said the officials.   Those close to the situation say the officials are not recommending positions, just preparing to answer questions for the new administration.   The transition team has reportedly sought a list of the "rules of engagement" on U.S. troops, reported the Hill. 


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