22 July 2017

AUS: Allied Forces Defeat Adversary In Major United States-Australia Military Exercise—Talisman Saber 2017

The United States (US) and Australian Defence Forces have proven their interoperability in a major land warfare scenario in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area last night with an intense final assault on the ‘enemy’.

More than 33,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from Australia,  the US, New Zealand, Japan and Canada have spent the past three weeks involved in the realistic, scenario-based military exercise TALISMAN SABER 2017 (TS17). The exercise took place in Central Queensland, with elements also supporting the mission in Brisbane, Townsville and Hawaii.

Following several weeks of lead in training TS17 ramped up last week when a 33-strong fleet of multi-national warships and submarines, including HMAS Canberra—an expeditionary strike group led by the USS Bonhomme Richard, and a carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan, moved into position off the coast of Rockhampton.

The Australian Defence Force’s Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Greg Bilton, said the participating nations demonstrated the ability to expertly land thousands of troops ashore by sea and air to support a complex ground warfare mission.

USA: Combined amphibious force launches Marines ashore for Talisman Saber

From Expeditionary Strike Group 7 Public Affairs

Marines offload gear from a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) during a Talisman Saber combined amphibious assault, July 19.(U.S. Navy/MC2 Sarah Villegas) >>

SHOALWATER BAY, Australia - “ATTENTION LANDING FORCE, stand by for call away!” The 1MC, the ship’s announcing system, booms through the hangar bay and berthing areas aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) to muster up Marines for departure to insertion points ashore.

Bonhomme Richard, landing craft from Naval Beach Unit (NBU 7), and ships of the combined amphibious force launched Australian soldiers and U.S. Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) ashore to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Townshend Island in several waves of landings, followed by support and resupply runs from July 12-20.

The landing craft air cushions (LCAC) splashed up on the beach, kicking up sand and a cloud of dust as the hovercraft drifted into the landing zone. Landing craft utility (LCU) coasted into the shoreline shortly after MV-22 B Ospreys chopped in overhead near the ridges of mountains lining the beach. CH-53E Super Stallions pumped in past the tree lines to a landing zone, shoving up dirt and debris. One after another, aircraft and landing craft alike continued to surface on the beach and station on the landing zones to ensure the Marines had the supplies, mobility, and artillery to complete objectives ashore.

News Report: US Intel Concludes N. Korea Leader Not Crazy, Actions Driven by Regime Survival

North Korean Dictator Kim Jung-un
Although North Korean leader Kim Jung-un has demonstrated concerning behavior he makes rational decisions to ensure the survival of his regime, according to US National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Although North Korean leader Kim Jung-un has demonstrated concerning behavior he makes rational decisions to ensure the survival of his regime, US National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats said at a security forum.

"He’s demonstrated behavior publicly that raises questions about who he is and how he thinks and how he acts and how his behavior is," Coats said on Friday. "Our assessment has resulted in the fact that, well, he’s a very unusual type of person, but he’s not crazy. There’s some rationale backing his actions which are survival."

Coats added that the North Korean leader weighs the survival of his regime and country in his decisions.

He added that the dictator is aware of the "deterrence" capabilities that exist as a result of having nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang said on July 4 that it had successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). US officials have also said the test marked North Korea's first successful firing of an ICBM.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Indian Army Raises Concern Over Targeting of Civilians in Jammu and Kashmir

India's Director General of Military Operations Lt General A K Bhatt took up the issue of civilians being targeted by Pakistani forces along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, for the second time in the last four days.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General A K Bhatt called on Pakistani DGMO Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and raised the matter.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani forces had fired on several schools in the Nowshera sector of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir in which more than 200 schoolchildren were trapped. India has also alleged that army vehicles which were carrying out the rescue mission came under heavy shelling from the Pakistani side.

“DGMO asked Pakistani DGMO to exercise strict control over his troops and instruct them to refrain from any nefarious activities,” the statement from the Defense Ministry said.

News Story: U.S. to ban Americans from travelling to DPRK

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department said on Friday that American citizens will soon be banned from travelling to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The ban on all U.S. citizens' use of a passport to travel to, through or in the DPRK resulted from "mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention" of Americans there, said State Department spokesman Heather Nauert in a statement to Xinhua.

According to Nauert, the ban was expected to be formally declared next week and would take effect 30 days after the formal declaration.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Japan's Okinawa gov't to file fresh lawsuit to block U.S. base relocation amid fears for ecosystem

TOKYO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Okinawa prefectural government will file a fresh lawsuit against Japan's central government on the relocation of a controversial U.S. Marine base within the southern island prefecture, local media said Friday.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed as early as Monday and the Okinawa government will once again try to halt the central government's plans to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal region of Nago.

The lawsuit will argue that the government has not secured permission from Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga for construction work that will damage rocks on the sea bed, where reclamation work has been going on, sources close to the matter said Friday.

Onaga himself is a staunch opponent of the U.S. base being relocated within Okinawa.

The prefectural government also believes that fishing rights have been granted in the Henoko region, meaning the central government's construction work is infringing on these too.

The Okinawa government has requested the central government to renew its permit to work in the area, which expired in March, although the central government maintains that it does not need permission as legal matters concerning fishing rights have already been dealt with.

The legal action to be taken is also partly based on the premise that the construction work will irrecoverably damage the region's delicate ecosystem by crushing rocks as part of the land reclamation work.

Prefectural opponents to the construction work fear that sediment to be poured inside the seawalls being constructed for the replacement facility in Oura Bay, which according to the central government's plans will eventually see 157 hectares of land reclaimed from waters off the Henoko area and the building of a V-shaped runway, will be extremely detrimental to the environment.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippines' Duterte says to halt peace talks with rebels

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that the government will stop peace talks with communist rebels, saying the government is just wasting money in negotiating peace with the insurgents.

In a speech in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said, "I believe you, Mr. Sison, We stop talking. We're wasting our time... Let us renew the fighting for another 50 years. It's what you want..."

Duterte was referring to Jose Ma. Sison, the exiled founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

"Let us stop talking. I'm tired. It's a great expense to send people there for nothing. Let's start fighting, stop talking," said the president.

Duterte's statement came a day after he threatened on Thursday to launch an offensive against the communist rebels after the ongoing war to liberate Marawi City from Islamist militant is over.

In his remarks to the troops in Marawi on Thursday, Duterte said he is no longer interested in peace talks with the rebels who are continuing to attack government security forces despite the ongoing peace talks.

"There is a resurgence of attacks. They (the communist rebels) owe us a lot. I no longer want to talk to them. They have killed many of my police and soldiers," Duterte said.

"Once the war in Marawi is finished off, we will reorient and go after the NPA."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 7 killed in clash between police, suspected rebels in southern Philippines

New People's Army (NPA) rebels/terrorists
MANILA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Six policemen, including a town police chief, and a civilian were killed and three other policemen injured in ambushes Friday staged by suspected New People's Army rebels in southern Philippines, the military said.

The first ambush, staged in barangay Magsaysay in Guihulngan town in the province of Negros Oriental, targetted town councilor Edison Delarita, said Capt. Ruel Llanes, spokesman of the Army's 303rd Brigade.

Delarita was on the way to his office when the armed group waylaid him and his driver, Michael Jambalus, who ended up dead.

Delarita survived the attack unscathed and was able to call for police help.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Chinese naval fleet arrives in Russia for joint drill

Chinese Navy Warships (File Photo)
KALININGRAD, Russia, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese naval fleet reached Russia's Baltic city of Kaliningrad Friday, ready for a joint drill with Russia scheduled in the Baltic Sea in late July.

The Chinese fleet consists of one destroyer, one frigate, one supply ship, ship-borne helicopters and marines. The Russian side includes one frigate, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and marines.

The two sides plan to conduct air-defense, maritime search and rescue, underway replenishment and other exercises.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Youth killed, another wounded in army firing on Indian-controlled Kashmir protesters

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A civilian was killed and another wounded Friday after Indian army troops fired upon protesters in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.

The civilian identified as Tanveer Ahmad Pala was killed in village Beerwah of Budgam district, 27 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Two youth were hit by bullets fired by army in Beerwah today and of them one succumbed to his wounds at hospital," a police official posted in Budgam told Xinhua.

"We heard some people hurl stones and brickbats on army, following which they fired towards them."

The killing triggered protests and panic in the area.

Read the full story at Xinhua