Report: Two Top Military Officials Threaten to Resign If Trump Allows Disgraced Naval Officer to Stay in SEALs
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Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, denied the report. “Contrary to popular belief, I am still here,” he said. “I did not threaten to resign. But let us just say we are here to talk about external threats, and Eddie Gallagher is not one of them.”The Times also reported that military higher-ups are looking for a “face-saving compromise” with the president regarding the matter and are looking to convince Trump to change his mind.Gallagher was accused of shooting and killing an unarmed Muslim girl and elderly man from a sniper position and unloading machine gun fire “indiscriminately” into neighborhoods. He also allegedly killed a 15-year-old Islamic State fighter with a knife. Gallagher was convicted on only one charge, however: bringing discredit to the military by posing for a photo with the fighter’s dead corpse.
Vice President Mike Pence makes surprise visit to Iraq, slams ‘endless investigations’•‘Anonymous’ author claims President Trump discussed dropping Mike Pence from 2020 ticket Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise secret visit to Iraq Saturday to visit American service members before Thanksgiving and bolster support among American allies in the region. Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence arrived on a C-17 cargo jet at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq at 11:27 local time. The trip was kept so secret that some of Pence’s staff and White House staff were not told about the trip in advance. He received a classified intelligence briefing and then spoke on the phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Pence told Adil Abdul-Mahdi it was a „great privilege” to be able to travel to Iraq and „send the gratitude of the American people” to all of the American service members in the country.Pence then went and served a Thanksgiving lunch of turkey, dinner rolls, cranberries, and other Thanksgiving staples to about 150 soldiers along with the Second Lady.
Happy Thanksgiving from Iraq. @SecondLady and I are so honored to be with our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines here in Iraq! We are so proud of you and thankful for you all! pic.twitter.com/bzcM1fGgiG
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) November 23, 2019
He also spoke to about 200 soldiers, thanking them for their service, calling on Congress to finish the appropriations process, and railing against „partisan politics and endless investigations.”
„We need Congress to do their job,” Pence said. „The truth is, Congress should have finished their business on defense appropriations months ago. But you all know partisan politics and endless investigations have slowed things down in Washington, D.C.”Vice President Mike Pence arrives at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.
•Key point: The U.S. Marines would be the tip of America’s spear.In the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. and South Korean forces will root and and destroy the regime of Kim Jong-un. The need to properly secure the country’s weapons of mass destruction will necessitate an invasion of North Korea, much of which will come by sea. Leading the way will be the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). Here are five USMC weapon systems necessary in Korean War II.1 – Amphibious Assault Vehicle Any seaborne landing by the Marine infantry will involve Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs). First introduced in the early 1970s, AAVs carry up to twenty-one marine infantry and their equipment. Their amphibious nature means they can float out of the well deck of a U.S. Navy ship such as Wasp-class assault ships, swim to shore on their own power and disgorge troops on the beachhead. Alternately, it can use its tracks to transport infantry farther inland.Recommended: Could Iran Sink a U.S. Aircraft Carrier? AAVs are capable of traveling up to eight miles an hour in the water and up to forty-five miles an hour on land. They are lightly armed, typically carrying both a 40mm grenade launcher or .50 caliber machine gun. AAVs are lightly armored, at best capable of repelling 14.5mm machine gun fire or artillery shrapnel. This, combined with their large troop carrying capacity makes them vulnerable on the modern battlefield.Recommended: 5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with Israel2 – MV-22 Osprey Modern amphibious assaults move marines as much by air as by sea. Aircraft can move faster and farther than AAVs and landing craft, even landing miles away from the nearest beachhead. This vastly increases the amount of terrain enemy forces must actively defend.
This Is How U.S. Navy SEALs Would Go To War Against Iran
American VP avoids Baghdad leaders on surprise Iraq visit by Maya Gebeily•
US Vice President Mike Pence (L) meets Iraqi Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region, on November 23, 2019 during a visit to Iraq that avoided talks with Baghdad government officials for security reasons (AFP Photo/-)Baghdad (AFP) – US Vice President Mike Pence met Iraqi Kurdish leaders during a surprise visit to Iraq Saturday but avoided travelling to Baghdad for security reasons, as deadly anti-government protests have highlighted Washington’s diminished influence.In his first visit as vice president, Pence visited American troops at Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq’s Anbar province and also travelled to Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region, for talks with officials there.But Pence „couldn’t go to Baghdad for security reasons”, a US official accompanying him on the trip told reporters.The trip came after weeks of anti-government rallies across Baghdad and the south.Iraqi officials told AFP that Pence spoke to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi by telephone.”There won’t be a meeting as they had a phone call. The prime minister isn’t going to Anbar” to meet Pence, one source said.President Barham Saleh’s office told AFP it had not been aware Pence was coming to Iraq and had no meeting planned. The US embassy said it had no details to share.The US official said Pence „encouraged the Iraqi government to disassociate itself with Iran”, which holds tremendous sway in Baghdad but which Iraqi protesters accuse of overreach.From Ain Al-Asad, Pence travelled to the capital of the Kurdish region Arbil to meet its President Nechirvan Barzani and prime minister Masrour Barzani.He later tweeted that the visit to President Barzani was „on behalf” of Trump, and another US official said it was meant to „affirm our gratitude and resolve to continue to stand with our Kurdish allies”.Syrian Kurds had felt betrayed last month after the United States, allies in the fight against the Islamic State group, announced a troop pullout that paved the way for a Turkish offensive against them.Pence tweeted images of himself and his wife speaking to US forces and carrying a roast turkey, traditionally served during the American Thanksgiving holiday celebrated next week.”Happy Thanksgiving from Iraq. @SecondLady and I are so honoured to be with our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines here in Iraq!” he tweeted.- Two protesters killed –
The visit echoed President Donald Trump’s own surprise trip to Ain al-Asad a year ago, where he briefly met troops just after Christmas but controversially did not see officials in Baghdad.
Trump’s visit was veiled in such secrecy that there was speculation most Iraqi authorities had not been told he was coming.
Pence’s trip came as the death toll from weeks of anti-government rallies across Iraq’s capital and the south rose even further.
Two protesters were killed and dozens were wounded in clashes with security forces Saturday on the Al-Ahrar bridge in Baghdad, a medical source said.
Demonstrators have massed on three main bridges leading from their protest camp in Tahrir (Liberation) Square to the western bank of the river Tigris, where government offices and foreign embassies are based.
Around 350 people have been killed and 15,000 wounded since protests erupted on October 1 amid outrage over rampant government corruption and lack of jobs.
Protesters are demanding an overhaul of the ruling system in place since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled then-dictator Saddam Hussein.
The US then dismantled Iraq’s security forces and tried to rebuild the country’s institutions by working closely with a newfound political class.
But ties are now at their „coldest” since 2003, American and Iraqi officials have told AFP.
Abdel Mahdi, in office for the past year, has yet to visit Washington amid frustrations in the White House that his office was „too close” to Tehran.
Tensions between the US and Iran have spiralled since Washington unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 deal over Tehran’s nuclear programme and began imposing a series of crushing sanctions.
Baghdad, which has close ties with both countries, has feared being caught in the middle.
Washington has already slapped sanctions on Iraqi officials, military factions and institutions with ties to blacklisted Iranian organisations.
– ‘Not welcome in Iraq’ –
In July, the US singled out the leaders of two paramilitary groups in Iraq that Pence accused of being tied to Iran.
Rayan al-Kildani and Waad Qado — the former a Christian and the latter a member of the Shabak minority — were both sanctioned over „serious human rights abuse” by them or their organisations.
Kildani reacted to Pence’s visit on Saturday, tweeting: „To the American vice president who came to Iraq stealthily… You are not welcome on Iraqi territory.”
Kildani and Qado’s factions belong to the Hashed al-Shaabi, a powerful Shiite-majority paramilitary network that includes many groups with close ties to Tehran.
Hashed al-Shaabi leaders and Iran have been widely criticised in the recent protests, accused of defending the very government the demonstrators want to bring down.
Many of their offices have been burned in Iraq’s restive south, the scene of new protests on Saturday.
Parliament’s lower House of Commons contains 650 MPs.Farage had been accused of risking splitting the pro-Brexit vote and allowing anti-Brexit candidates to win seats, under Britain’s first-past-the-post constituencies system.Despite the poll lead, the election outcome remains uncertain and commentators call for caution, mindful that May had a huge poll lead in the 2017 general election which rapidly melted.
– ‘Oven-ready’ Brexit deal -The main plank of the Conservative manifesto is the Brexit deal Johnson negotiated with Brussels in October. He claims the treaty is „oven-ready” and good to go — as long as he can get a majority.
He insists the deal will allow Britain to regain control over its laws, money and immigration policy.
Johnson’s chief rival, left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, wants to renegotiate a new, softer Brexit agreement within three months and then put that to a referendum alongside remaining in the EU by the end of June. Corbyn would stay neutral during the process.
Johnson has blasted Corbyn for his strategy in refusing to recommend either his own proposed Brexit deal or staying in the EU.
However, Johnson has his own weak spots, especially after the years of austerity imposed by Conservative governments since 2010.
He promises to end the years of reining in the budget deficit by pumping billions of pounds into public services.
Johnson has pledged to make the streets safer by recruiting 20,000 police officers.
He is also committed to increasing the National Health Service (NHS) budget by £33.9 billion ($43.5 billion, 39.5 billion euros) by 2023-24, and has pledged to upgrade 20 hospitals and rebuild 40 over the next decade.
The Conservatives have also said 50 million more appointments in family doctors’ surgeries will be created every year if they win a majority.
Johnson was criticised by members of the public during a televised questions session on Friday over the Conservatives’ handling of the NHS — but he insisted progress could only be made once the Brexit impasse is resolved.
Johnson has announced a three-year plan to increase state-school spending in England by £7.1 billion by 2022-23.
On immigration, he wants to end freedom of movement for EU citizens and introduce an Australian-style points-based system.
The scale of eastern European immigration since 2004 was one of the key factors behind the Brexit vote in 2016.
First-aid workers slam medic arrests at Hong Kong campus•
„Usually you don’t want your first-aid providers to leave. In our proud tradition, we are the last people to leave.”It was unclear how many medical workers were detained on rioting allegations, but police said they had arrested 51 people at the campus who had claimed to be medics or reporters.Around 700 people in total were arrested at PolyU.The university remained under siege on Friday, with a dwindling cohort of perhaps dozens of holdouts still hiding in university buildings.A registered nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP he had led a team of eight volunteers, but was arrested after complying with a police order to leave Tuesday night.”I followed the police instructions to leave the campus, but I didn’t know that they will go back on their word and arrest us,” said the 30-year-old, who is out on bail.He and around ten other volunteers were forced to kneel on the ground while their hands were zip-tied.
His hands remained restrained the entire night, leaving bruises on his wrists, and police accused him and others of being „fake paramedics”.
„I felt very helpless and angry. I did not do anything illegal,” he said.
Hong Kong’s months of protest began with a now-shelved bill to allow extraditions to mainland China, which revived fears that Beijing was slicing into the city’s freedoms.
Millions of angry citizens have taken to the streets in giant marches, and protesters have repeatedly clashed with police in a movement that has widened to include calls for democracy and an inquiry into alleged police brutality.
Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leaders have rebuffed the demands.