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Going Car Camping? Check Out the 20 Best Tips and Tricks for Your Next Adventure -

Going Car Camping? Check Out the 20 Best Tips and Tricks for Your Next Adventure


Mon, 20 May 2019 09:00:00 -0400

Kashmir group seeks UN probe into torture by India troops -

Kashmir group seeks UN probe into torture by India troopsSRINAGAR, India (AP) — A prominent rights group in Indian-controlled Kashmir is advocating for the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate what it calls the endemic use of torture by government forces amid a decades-long anti-India uprising in the disputed region.


Mon, 20 May 2019 06:58:29 -0400

'All out warfare': Hundreds take the streets in Alabama in abortion ban protest -

'All out warfare': Hundreds take the streets in Alabama in abortion ban protestAlabama Gov. Kay signed the near-total ban Wednesday, a day after lawmakers  declined to add exceptions into the ban for cases of rape or incest.


Mon, 20 May 2019 05:58:14 -0400

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? -

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf?Anne SpeckhardBAGHDAD—The sound of an explosion echoed through the Green Zone on Sunday night around 9:00 p.m., a reminder that this most secure part of the Iraqi capital is not, in fact, all that safe. The projectile appears to have been aimed at the United States embassy and, after the blast, embassy sirens went off, accompanied by repeated warnings blaring on loudspeakers instructing everyone to take immediate cover. Within the hour the missile was reported to have been fired from the Amana bridge in Baghdad, missing its likely intended target and landing in an empty field near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with no casualties reported.What the Last War With Iran Tells Us About the Next OneBut for a brief and highly fraught moment alarms were going off in Washington, as well, where the much-publicized threat of Iranian “proxy” attacks on U.S. interests and personnel, and the American response positioning bombers and aircraft carriers, have conjured the specter of a new Middle Eastern war. One breaking news service breathlessly reported National Security Adviser John Bolton “just seen arriving at the White House amid rocket attack possibly aimed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.”President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” It is not clear if he was responding to the rocket, a Katyusha that might have been fired by any number of players in Iraq, or to threatening rhetoric by some Iranian officials, or both.In any case, non-essential American personnel at the embassy had already been ordered to depart days earlier, many moving to posts in nearby countries to continue their work, and the U.S. embassy was already expecting a possible attack.Our team of researchers for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) landed in Baghdad on May 14, 2019, the day before the U.S. State Department issued the security alert to the “non-essentials” in Baghdad and Erbil, recommending they “depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible, avoid U.S. facilities within Iraq, monitor local media for updates, review personal security plans, remain aware of surroundings.” An earlier security alert on May 12 advised all U.S. citizens of heightened tensions in Iraq and the requirement to remain vigilant. It recommended not traveling to Iraq, avoiding places known as U.S. citizen gathering points, keeping a low profile and, once again, being aware of your surroundings.For those of use who have been visiting Iraq since 2006, this seems at once familiar and strange. Is the threat greater now than it was when the U.S. embassy was housed in Saddam’s former palace, and frequently underwent mortar fire? In those days none of the 5,000 embassy personnel were ordered home. Despite President Trump saying he does not want war, does this action signal that something more than just mortar fire is about to come? A former senior diplomat who served in Iraq following the 2003 invasion warned that if the U.S. or Israel had decided to launch air strikes on Iran, emptying the embassy might be a smart move.  Iran could strike back at a close and convenient target—the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad—and its ballistic missiles would be much more dangerous and difficult to withstand than mortars or Katyushas.According to a senior official in the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) the rocket Sunday night was launched by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah. If it came on Iranian orders, the lone, ineffectual projectile may have been intended as a pin-prick provocation testing reactions without triggering full-fledged war. Other recent incidents—a drone attack on a Saudi pipeline; minor explosions on Saudi and other oil tankers—could fall into the same category.Iraq, liberated from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein by the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, has come under increasing Iranian influence ever since, and the Iran-backed militias played a key role fighting the so-called Islamic State after the national army virtually imploded in 2014. They have since become a major element in the Iraqi defense apparatus, even though some 5,000 U.S. military personnel are on the ground training and working with other elements of the Iraqi military.The threat inside Iraq to U.S. personnel was revealed in part to Iraqi leaders during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s surprise visit here on May 7. The secretary is reported to have told Iraqi officials that U.S. intelligence detected that Iranian-backed militias moving missiles near bases housing American forces. Reuters reported that, according to a senior Iraqi official privy to the substance of the talks, Pompeo asked the Iraqi government to rein in the Shiite militias. Pompeo also expressed U.S. concern about these militias’ increased presence and influence in Iraq and warned that the U.S. would use force to tackle the security threats if necessary, without first consulting Baghdad. Iraq's pro-Iranian military factions have long been a concern for U.S. personnel deployed in the region. Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, a radical Shiite militia in Iraq has, for example, long been cooperating with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a group that was just declared by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. The newly appointed IRGC leader, Hossein Salami, replied that his people are proud to be called terrorists by President Trump while also threatening the U.S. and Israel.The Iraqi militia, Nujaba, also was added by the U.S. State Department to the U.S. list of global terrorist organizations on March 7 this year and its leader Akram Kaabi was sanctioned. Iran’s Qasem Soleimani is the Mastermind Preparing Proxy Armies for War With AmericaNujaba has been demanding that U.S. troops leave Iraq for quite some time. On May 12, Nujaba’s leaders proclaimed, "Confrontation with the United States will only stop once it is eliminated from the region, along with the Zionist entity,” while also stating that Iraqi resistance factions are ready to target U.S. interests in Iraq.The Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, which our source says was behind the Sunday night rocket attack, warned in February 2018 that it might engage in armed confrontation with US forces in Iraq at any moment. According to one Iraqi source, the Kataib Hezbollah is one of the militias that recently placed missiles near U.S. military bases. The New York Times reported the the U.S. government was picking up an increase in conversations between the Revolutionary Guards and foreign militias discussing attacks on American troops and diplomats in Iraq.The New York Times also reported that American officials cited intelligence from aerial photographs of fully assembled missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf as cause for the U.S. administration to escalate its warnings about a threat from Iran. This created concerns that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps would fire them at United States naval ships or American commercial ships.An Iraqi source confirmed on May 18 that ExxonMobil was evacuating its personnel of 30 to 50 employees from Basra, Iraq, and that the Bahrain embassy had also evacuated its employees from both Iraq and Iran. And U.S. embassies disseminated a warning from the Federal Aviation Agency that U.S. commercial airliners flying over the waters of the Persian Gulf risk being misidentified and by implication shot down amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.A potential conflict much larger than Iranian-backed Shia militias throwing mortar fire at the now fortress-like U.S. Embassy appears to be brewing amid credible intelligence coupled with heated anti-American rhetoric. Yet, security threats to U.S. personnel serving in Iraq are nothing out of the ordinary and date back to the 2003 U.S. invasion. At the height of its activities, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad had thousands of personnel, including contractors. They regularly suffered all sorts of threats from IED attacks when they ventured out on the road, RPG fire when they used helicopters, snipers when they were out in public view and intermittent but regular mortar fire that rained down on the temporary trailers that served as housing near the old Saddam palace where they worked. One mortar penetrated a window to the bathroom of the Deputy U.S. Ambassador’s office, situated inside the palace, destroying the brick wall around the window. It was later bricked up completely. The walkway from the trailers to the palace was mortared so often and so hard that it was nicknamed “death alley” by embassy personnel serving there.While embassy personnel received danger and hardship pay, none were ordered home during those years, and danger was considered a part of the assignment. IED’s and mortars occasionally killed embassy personnel, but that did not stop the mission. At present, the U.S. Embassy Baghdad is housed in a complex on a closed street that only badged officials can enter. The grounds are heavily walled walled and difficult to enter and inside, the buildings appear strongly built to withstand assault. In Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, which also fell under the non-essential personnel evacuation order, a restaurant nearby was attacked by a car bomb in 2015, killing three non-Americans. But, while less robustly built, the consulate also is behind a concrete walled-off security space.U.S. Embassy diplomatic personnel posted in both Baghdad and Erbil infrequently leave their fortresses and when they do travel around Iraq, their security requirements require using armored cars, wearing bullet proof vests and flack helmets and traveling with armed security guards, sometimes with chase and lead cars in a convoy.Likewise, U.S. Embassy Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil are not family postings—diplomatic personnel serve for one or two years, leaving their family members behind. The new embassy building, not far from the old one, was planned during the time of frequent attacks and was undoubtedly built to withstand mortar storms. Long and short-range ballistic missiles however constitute a whole different threat and it’s not publicly known if the new embassy has bomb-hardened resistant bunkers to protect embassy personnel.Whether U.S. embassy non-essential personnel will return to post anytime soon remains to be seen, and given the dangers such personnel have faced in the past and the fortress in which they currently serve, why they were really ordered home is also still an unanswered question. With ships coming to the region and troops readying for potential travel, serious troubles may well be on the horizon.While the saber rattling on both sides continues, Baghdad has also made clear that it doesn’t want to become the battlefield.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Mon, 20 May 2019 05:51:48 -0400

Exclusive: Google suspends some business with Huawei after Trump blacklist - source -

Exclusive: Google suspends some business with Huawei after Trump blacklist - sourceAlphabet Inc's Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world. Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps, however, will continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google, a Google spokesperson said, confirming earlier reporting by Reuters. "For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices," the spokesperson said, without giving further details.


Mon, 20 May 2019 04:31:34 -0400

Swedish prosecutor requests Assange's detention over rape allegation -

Swedish prosecutor requests Assange's detention over rape allegationSweden reopened the rape investigation last week. It was begun in 2010 but dropped in 2017 after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. "I request the District Court to detain Assange in his absence, on probable cause suspected for rape," Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement on Monday.


Mon, 20 May 2019 04:01:10 -0400

How Democrats can win the abortion war: Talk about Roe's restrictions as well as rights -

How Democrats can win the abortion war: Talk about Roe's restrictions as well as rightsRepublicans are lying when they paint us as the party of death and infanticide. Fight back by championing both the right to abortion and limits on it.


Mon, 20 May 2019 04:00:08 -0400

Trump tweets threat: 'If Iran wants to fight, that will be the end of Iran' -

Trump tweets threat: 'If Iran wants to fight, that will be the end of Iran'* Incendiary message follows disavowals of intent from both sides * Opinion: Trump supporters don’t want war with Iran In a picture released on Friday, the USS Abraham Lincoln sails in the Arabian Sea near the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge. Photograph: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M Wilbur/APDonald Trump has issued one of his most direct threats yet to Tehran, warning that “if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran”.The US president emerged from his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, on Sunday to tweet belligerently at around 4.30pm, thereby risking a quickening of tension that is already rising.“Never threaten the United States again!” he wrote.The tweet will do little to assuage jitters in the Middle East and in Washington about aggressive language coming out of the White House. Concern is already running high that Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, who played a key role in instigating the invasion of Iraq under George Bush, might be nudging the administration towards military action.In 2015, Bolton wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled “To stop Iran’s bomb, bomb Iran”. Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal last year.On the other hand, Trump has a way of blowing hot one minute and cold the next. As with so many of his social media missives, the precise import of his Sunday tweet was hard to read. It directly conflicted with reports of just three days ago that the president had been telling the Pentagon he did not want to go to war and wanted to find a way to wind down tensions.Those reports were also subject to qualification. In response to reports about a draft plan for the deployment of 120,000 troops, Trump said that though he did not want war, if it came to it he would send “a hell of a lot” more soldiers than that.Earlier on Sunday, the Utah senator and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had joined the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in dismissing the threat of war.“Going to war with Iran?” Romney asked on CNN’s State of the Union. “Not going to happen.”According to the Fars news agency, Major General Hossein Salami followed foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif by saying Iran was not pursuing war either.But both men offered caveats.Romney, a member of the Senate foreign relations committee, said the threat to US interests was “real” and added: “We’re going to make sure they understand that if they take action against our people, against our allies and against our friends, there will be consequence and it will be far more severe than the initial action taken by Iran.”Salami said Iran was ready to fight, as the difference “between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don’t have the will for it”.The White House has not said what is behind its claim of an increased threat. Romney said the “intelligence community says there’s a great deal of risk” but did not elaborate. It has been reported that US intelligence believes Iranian commercial vessels have carried missiles and ammunition, which some analysts say indicates preparations to defend against a US attack.Saudi Arabia is the major US ally in the region. Four oil tankers, two of them Saudi, were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran-allied rebels in Yemen claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, told reporters on Sunday his country also “does not want war … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination”.The US has sent an aircraft carrier strike group and cautionary moves include an evacuation of personnel by the oil firm ExxonMobil and a warning from the US to commercial air traffic of increased risk in the region.The Associated Press reported on Sunday that Democrats in Congress will be briefed by former CIA director John Brennan, a stringent Trump critic, and Wendy Sherman, a former state department official who helped negotiate the Iran deal. Among Democratic presidential hopefuls on Sunday, the presumption was that Trump either wanted war or was behaving irresponsibly.The Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a military veteran, told ABC’s This Week Trump was “leading us down this dangerous path towards a war in Iran”. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, another veteran, said war with Iran would be “exactly what John Bolton wants”.But David Petraeus, a retired general who led US troops in Iraq in 2003 and later led the CIA, told ABC it was “pretty clear” Trump “doesn’t want to go to war with Iran. He’s not after regime change”.Romney agreed.“I don’t believe for a minute,” he said, “that either the president or John Bolton or anyone else in a serious senior position of leadership in the White House has any interest in going to the Middle East and going to war. That’s just not going to happen … barring some kind of attack from Iran or something of that nature which I don’t think anyone anticipates.“Look, the president made it very clear that he thinks the greatest foreign policy mistake probably in the modern age was the decision by President Bush to go into Iraq. The idea that he would follow that by going after Iran, a more difficult enemy if you will, that’s just not going to happen.”Famously, Trump said at the time that he supported George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq. He has since vehemently denied that he did so.


Sun, 19 May 2019 17:46:52 -0400

Boeing's New Version of the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter Might Be a 'Re-Run' -

Boeing's New Version of the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter Might Be a 'Re-Run'This seems a little strange. Boeing has released concept footage of a high-speed Apache attack helicopter during the Vertical Flight Society’s 75th Annual Forum & Technology Display- and it looks awfully familiar.Known as the Advanced AH-64 Block 2 Compound, the concept will serve as an interim solution in the U.S. Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.Interestingly enough, the high-tech mode doesn’t seem so high-tech, when one looks back at the AH-56 Cheyenne, which first flew in 1967.Derived from the Army’s Advanced Aerial Fire Support System program, which ultimately ended in only ten being built.Advanced before its time, the Cheyenne was an impressive helicopter that was limited only by the technology of the era.While the AH-64 Apache technology partially came from the Cheyenne, the development has seemingly come full-circle. In addition to powerplant and control changes, the weapons “wings” and 30mm chain gun have also undergone changes.With a rear-mounted pusher propeller, a large vertical fin and a new engine exhaust setup, the new Block 2 Compounds are rather futuristic.According to Defence Blog, Boeing is dead set on keeping the Apache fleet “capable on the highly complex multi-domain battlefield of the future through 2060.”A wind tunnel test model was featured at the Vertical Flight Society’s 75th Annual Forum & Technology Display.


Sun, 19 May 2019 16:00:00 -0400

Rebels say Syrian army fails to retake Latakia mountain -

Rebels say Syrian army fails to retake Latakia mountainThe coastal province of Latakia is home to the Assad family's Alawite minority. The regime wants it to protect its coastal villages from rebel fire," said Major Youssef Hamoud, spokesman for the Turkey-backed group of mainstream rebels called the National Army. An official from Tahrir al-Sham, the latest incarnation of the former Nusra Front which was part of al Qaeda, said poison gas was used in the army's attack on their position on the mountain slopes in an attempt to regain control.


Sun, 19 May 2019 15:32:56 -0400


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