~ Featuring ~  
Iran Pressured Onto a Precipice
Jordan Candler  
Moscow Sends Warships to 
Havana in Message to US
By Bill Gertz } ~ Russia has dispatched several warships, including one of its newer missile frigates, to Cuba in a bid to bolster the floundering regime of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro... according to a senior administration official. "Anytime any Russian military platform arrives in the Western Hemisphere, we're taking a very close look at it," the official told the Washington Free Beacon. U.S. intelligence agencies first identified the small Russian naval task force headed by the guided missile frigate  Admiral Gorshkov in the eastern Pacific around June 11 and followed the warships through the Panama Canal. The ships showed up in Havana harbor Monday and the official said it may conduct a passage near Venezuela, or make port there after it leaves Cuban waters. Support vessels included the logistics vessel Elbrus, medium sea tanker Kama, and rescue tug Nikolai Chiker, according to the Russian Navy. The official said the Gorshkov is one of the newer Russian warships but noted that "it's probably lucky it made it all the way across the Pacific Ocean." The dispatch of the naval group is "sending a signal by pulling into Havana at the same time that everything is going on in Venezuela." "There's no surprise that they would do that intentionally to kind of remind us they perceive they have some sort of leverage in the region," he said. Additionally, a Russian Air Force Il-62 transport brought in technicians to work on Russian military equipment used by the Venezuelans. "That sends a signal in its own right," the official said. "You've got millions of people starving in Venezuela. You've got no medicine, you've got no electricity, you've got gas shortages, lines for miles, and you're paying the Russians to come in and fix really old hardware, money that certainly should be used for humanitarian aid." The Il-62 brought both military personnel and equipment but no humanitarian aid. By contrast, the USS Comfort, a hospital ship, recently crossed through the Panama Canal on the way to Ecuador to provide medical relief...
U.S. Warship Shadowing 
High-End Russian Frigate Near Cuba
By Ben Werner } ~ A U.S. destroyer is off the coast of Havana, Cuba, shadowing a detachment of Russian naval ships that includes one of the country’s most advanced surface ships... USNI News has verified. As of Tuesday morning, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) was roughly 50 nautical miles north of Havana and about 72 miles from Key West, Fla., operating in the Straits of Florida, according to publicly available ship location data reviewed by USNI News. A day earlier, Russia’s first-in-class frigate Admiral Gorshkov arrived in Havana. Admiral Gorshkov was joined by support vessel Elbrus and salvage tug Nikolay Chiker, according to several media reports. Navy officials told USNI News they were aware of the Russian detachment’s arrival in Cuba and were monitoring its activities. The same officials referred USNI News to U.S. Northern Command for more information on Dunham. A request for additional information left with NORTHCOM on Tuesday was acknowledged, but a statement not immediately returned. The first-in-class Admiral Gorshkov departed its homeport of Severomorsk, on the Barents Sea, on Feb. 26. This around-the-world cruise is the ship’s first significant deployment, according to a Russian Navy statement.  Admiral Gorshkov made port calls to Djibouti, Sri Lanka and China. The frigate also visited Ecuador before passing through the Panama Canal, according to the Russian Navy. The Russian Navy did not release information about Admiral Gorshkov’s visit to Cuba, only stating that “the Russian ships will continue to perform tasks in accordance with the long-range cruise plan and make business calls to the ports of some island states in the region.” During the past decade, Russian naval ships have periodically visited Cuba, according to several media accounts, including a post from PBS News Hour.  In the last several years, the Russian signals intelligence ship Viktor Leonov also has visited Cuba...
New High-End Amphibious Warfare 
Tactics Tested at BALTOPS 2019
By Megan Eckstein } ~ Amphibious forces in BALTOPS 2019 tested out new, high-end tactics for the first time in a live exercise... working in a less-rigid structure that allows enablers like air-defense or anti-submarine ships, mine clearance teams and artillery units to flow through the operating area to where they can do the most good. Dozens of NATO flag officers over three years worked together to craft these new tactics through the NATO Amphibious Leaders Expeditionary Symposium (NALES) series. BALTOPS 2019, with the amphibious forces under the command of U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brad Skillman and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Stephen Neary, was the first opportunity to test out these tactics that deliver more combat power but take a lot more work to execute. Skillman, whose day job is commanding Expeditionary Strike Group 2, told USNI News during the exercise that a major exercise would typically have one amphibious task force, but BALTOPS fielded two full-sized amphibious task forces to try out the new tactics, which involve flowing forces between task forces as needed. “The power of it is, it’s designed to integrate forces,” Skillman said. “When I form an amphibious operating area and I bring in these separate multinational groups … historically they’ve all operated independently. We gave them their own beaches; we gave them their own land mass; we said, these are your objectives and these are all your escorts, don’t mix and match. Well, we’ve kind of broken barriers in the alliance to say, let’s mix and match.”“I have a force protection requirement to be able to enable the general to put his Marines ashore,” he continued. “There may be one location of all those landings that are going on that require more – I have submarine threats on this group, but they don’t have submarine ships assigned from the U.S. side. The French have great anti-submarine frigates, so I’ll put those over and apply them here. One group needs more mine warfare; I’ll move the mine warfare group that may be owned by the British over to do that beach. So I’ll distributed our relatively limited forces to be better than the sum of the parts. There’s a lot of power in that.” The BALTOPS command structure included two amphibious task forces. One was the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force Maritime unit, which was stood up last year and used BALTOPS 2019 as part of its inaugural deployment, along with a British landing force. Second was a task group formed for the exercise that included U.S. dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43); Spanish flagship ESPS Juan Carlos I (L-61) and air defense frigate ESPS Cristobol Colon (F-105); Polish landing ship ORP Gniezno (822); and others, along with a multinational landing force...   

Navy Tests New Mine Hunting
 Kit With European Allies
By Megan Eckstein } ~ ABOARD USS MOUNT WHITNEY, IN THE BALTIC SEA – As the U.S. Navy undergoes a major transition in how it conducts mine warfare... it had the chance to test out its newest tools during BALTOPS 2019 alongside European partners who are mine warfare experts. The excitement over new mine countermeasures (MCM) and offensive mining tools, as well as the expertise gained during this international exercise, comes as the U.S. Navy’s mine warfare (MIW) leaders are trying to further professionalize the community through the creation of MIW subject matter experts at the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) and the incorporation of realistic MIW events in training exercises at home, SMWDC commanding officer Rear Adm. Scott Robertson told USNI News during the BALTOPS exercise. “Mine warfare is incredibly important. Historically, mine warfare directly determines whether you’re able to achieve sea control – and the absence of having the ability to deal with that can have significant impacts on our overall objectives,” he said during an interview aboard command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20). Noting the transition from manned helicopters and ships to unmanned systems operating off a Littoral Combat Ship, Robertson said, “what better playground to be able to demonstrate that in than here during BALTOPS, where we are working with the allies and partners we will anticipate actually working with in a real-world event, in a very realistic environment, and having shapes in the water, in some challenging waters? There’s no better proving ground than here.” Robertson led the mine warfare task group in BALTOPS 2019, which was the largest task group in the exercise and included two existing task units – the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON) and Standing NATO MCM Group 1 – as well as a third unit formed for the exercise. In total, Robertson led a force of more than 15 MCM ships, 15 unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), five drone ships and more than 70 divers, the Navy stated. Eleven countries contributed to this force, including many that have deep expertise in hunting and neutralizing mines due to the large number of World War II-era mines still in the Baltic Sea and other European waters...
New U.S. Curbs on China Target Supercomputers
By Bill Gertz } ~ As President Donald Trump prepares to talk trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Commerce Department blacklisted five Chinese entities linked to Beijing's large-scale nuclear arms buildup... Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added five Chinese companies and institutes to its "entities list," which is used to block sales of U.S. products to the firms based on threats to American security. The action was announced June 18 and follows similar punitive action in May against Huawei Technologies, the telecommunications conglomerate facing federal charges for economic espionage and illegal financial dealings. National Security Adviser John Bolton told the Free Beacon earlier this month that Trump would be meeting Xi in Osaka, Japan, at the upcoming G-20 summit set to begin Friday. "Obviously the impasse in the trade talks will be a big issue," Bolton said of the meeting in Japan. "The president believes that China is under pressure and that Xi Jinping will want to make a deal. They need to do a lot in terms of structural reform in the economy. They need to stop pursuing mercantilist policies like stealing our intellectual property and forced technology transfer." The first action taken by Trump was to issue a presidential order last month blocking American companies from buying telecommunications gear from foreign adversaries. The order did not name Huawei, but the company was added to the entities list, a move that has caused severe problems for the company. Huawei is expected to lose $30 billion in revenue from the U.S. sanctions, CNBC reported. Another Chinese telecom, ZTE, was placed on the entities list last year and nearly went bankrupt but was rescued after an appeal to Trump by Xi to take ZTE off the list. The company was fined instead $1 billion for doing business with Iran...
Iran Pressured Onto a Precipice
Jordan Candler:  Iran was (narrowly) spared an airstrike last week in the aftermath of its recent oil-tanker and drone attacks, but retaliation is still happening in the form of beefed-up sanctions. According to the White House website, “President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order [Monday] morning that imposes tough sanctions to deprive the Supreme Leader of Iran and some of his closest associates of key financial resources.”

In the president’s words: “[Yesterday’s] action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks. The Supreme Leader of Iran is [the] one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. … His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi bellowed in rebuttal, “Imposing useless sanctions … is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy.” He added, “Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

Some hardcore interventionists disagree, but the leveling of additional sanctions is a balanced countermeasure. National Review’s David French explains one critical reason why that’s the case: “A small attack on three targets is a pinprick strike. The mullahs don’t care about [150] casualties, and a small attack does not materially impair Iranian striking power. Pinprick strikes are often seen as displays of weakness, not strength. A small attack would, however, grant the pretext for yet another Iranian escalation — perhaps one that would claim American lives, thus generating a much larger American response.”

Iran is no Libya or even Syria — its technology and military capabilities are far more sophisticated. So airstrikes should be reserved for extreme cases. Sanctions, on the other hand, are demonstrably effective. CNBC reports that the pressure placed on Iran’s oil exports from previous sanctions has pushed that nation’s economy onto a precipice. Any further reduction in this revenue source would likely result in a complete economic meltdown.

Columnist Ken Blackwell also suggests engaging the Iranian resistance. “The Iranian regime itself is clearly well aware of the potential for its own overthrow and is reacting with the expected sense of panic,” writes Blackwell, who concludes, “There is perhaps no greater threat to the Iranian regime’s hold on power than policies which make it clear that pressure from the international community and from Iran’s democratic resistance are one and the same.”

On that note, The Wall Street Journal observes, “Now would be a good moment for Europe to get off the fence and join the U.S. pressure campaign. … The same goes for the many Democratic presidential candidates who keep saying they’ll return without conditions to the 2015 nuclear deal.” Iran will continue to provoke, but its ability to do so without shooting itself in the foot is getting harder by the day — and will get even harder if global powers coalesce around the right pressure tactics.  

~The Patriot Post  

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Political Cartoons by AF Branco

Political Cartoons by AF Branco


Horrible: Democrats Set The Constitution On Fire With Fraudulent Impeachment

House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning after an investigation that violated fundamental provisions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The investigation of the president began with the complaint of a so-called “whistleblower” who turned out to be a rogue Central Intelligence Agency employee, protected by a lawyer who had called for a “coup” against Trump in early 2017.

Democrats first demanded that the “whistleblower” be allowed to testify. But after House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was found to have lied about his committee’s contact with the “whistleblower,” and after details of the “whistleblower’s” bias began to leak, Democrats reversed course. In violation of the President Trump’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser, Democrats refused to allow the “whistleblower” to testify. They argue the president’s procedural rights, even if they existed, would not apply until he was tried in the Senate — but they also invented a fraudulent “right to anonymity” that, they hope, might conceal the whistleblower even then.

Schiff began the “impeachment inquiry” in secret, behind the closed doors of the Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, even though none of the testimony was deemed classified. Few members of Congress were allowed access. Schiff allowed selective bits of testimony to leak to friendly media, while withholding transcripts of testimony.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), having allowed the secret process to unfold, legitimized it with a party-line vote authorizing the inquiry. The House resolution denied President Trump the procedural rights enjoyed by Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, and denied the minority party the traditional right to object to witnesses called by the majority.

Rather than the House Judiciary Committee, which traditionally handles impeachment, Pelosi also deputized the House Intelligence Committee to conduct fact-finding; the Judiciary Committee was turned into a rubber stamp. Schiff held a few public hearings, but often failed to release transcripts containing exculpatory evidence until after they had passed.

In the course of the Intelligence Committee’s investigation, Schiff quietly spied on the telephone records of his Republican counterpart, Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA). He also snooped on the phone records of a journalist, John Solomon; and on the phone records of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, acting as President Trump’s personal lawyer.

Schiff’s eavesdropping violated both the First Amendment right to press freedom and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Yet he proceeded undeterred by constitutional rights, publishing the phone logs in his committee’s report without warning, confirmation, or explanation, alleging that Nunes and the others were part of a conspiracy to assist the president’s allegedly impeachable conduct. When Republicans on the Judiciary Committee asked the Intelligence Committee’s majority counsel, Daniel Goldman, to explain the phone logs, he refused to answer,

Ironically, Schiff had done exactly what Democrats accuse Trump of doing: abused his power to dig up dirt on political opponents, then obstructed a congressional investigation into his party’s and his committee’s misconduct.

Democrats’ articles of impeachment include one for the dubious charge of “abuse of power,” which is not mentioned in the Constitution; and one for “obstruction of Congress,” which in this case is an abuse of power in itself.

Alexander Hamilton, writing about impeachment in Federalist 65, warned that “there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” Democrats have fulfilled Hamilton’s worst fears.

The Trump impeachment will soon replace the 1868 impeachment of President Andrew Johnson — which the House Judiciary Committee staff actually cited as a positive precedent — as the worst in American history.

In service of their “coup,” Democrats have trampled the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Republic has never been in greater danger.

You don't get to interrupt me

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