Donald Trump orders Pentagon to plan grand military parade

President reportedly tries parade in model of Frances Bastille Day celebration, prompting one veterans group to call him a wannabe banana republic strongman

Climate change threatens half of US bases worldwide, Pentagon report finds

Department of Defense says wild climate could endanger 1,700 sites in findings that run counter to White House views on climate

China vows action after US warship sails near South China Sea island

Beijing claims passage of destroyer USS Hopper in disputed water transgress sovereignty but Pentagon says operations are routine

US military to maintain open-ended presence in Syria, Tillerson says

US secretary of state says forces shall be kept in country in move against Isis, Bashar al-Assad and Iranian influence

Is whistleblowing worth prison or a life in exile?: Edward Snowden talks to Daniel Ellsberg

The two most well known whistleblowers in modern history discuss Steven Spielbergs new film, The Post, about Ellsbergs leaking of the Pentagon Papers and if theyd advise anybody to follow in their footsteps.

US believed it would ‘undoubtedly win’ war with North Korea in 1994 but with huge casualties

Declassified document predicted massive losses for US and South and Pyongyang has since made dramatic steps in nuclear and missile technology

Declassified documents published under Friday show that the United States believed its military and South Korea’s forces would” undoubtedly win” a conflict on the divided Korean peninsula, during a 1994 standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

But long before North Korea had developed nuclear weapons, the Pentagon estimated that some 490,000 South Korean service members and 52,000 US personnel would be killed or wounded in the first three months of any conflict.

The assessment does not mention North Korean and civilian casualties, but analysts say loss would be enormous.

Today, with North Korea almost able to directly threatened the US mainland with nuclear ten-strikes, the possibility of conflict looms as it did in 1994.

At that time, President Bill Clinton’s administration considered a cruise missile ten-strike on a Northern korean nuclear complex after it began defuelling a reactor that could offer fissile material for bombs for the first time. Former president Jimmy Carter headed off a conflict, meeting with the founding North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung, and helping seal an aid-for-disarmament arrangement. The pact suffered for nearly a decade, despite frequent disputes and periodic flare-ups on the peninsula.

” We had taken a very strong position that we would not permit North Korea to make a nuclear bomb ,” William Perry, who was defense secretary during the course of its crisis, said this week.” We have said that many times since then, but then we really meant it .”

A declassified transcript published by the National Security Archiveat George Washington University records Perry’s discussion on the standoff with South Korea’s president in 1998. Perry was by then Clinton’s special envoy for North Korea.

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Why does the North Korean regime pursue a nuclear programme?

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Much of the regime’s domestic legitimacy rests on portraying the country as under constant threat from the US and its regional friends, South Korea and Japan.

To support the claim that it is in Washington’s crosshairs, North Korea cites the tens of thousands of US troops lined up along the southern side of the demilitarised zone- the heavily fortified border dividing the Korean peninsula. Faced with what it says are US provocations, North Korea says it has as much right as any other state to develop a nuclear deterrent.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is also aware of the fate of other despots who lack nuclear weapons.

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Perry told the then chairwoman, Kim Dae-jung, that the US had planned for a military showdown and that” with the combined forces of the ROK and US, we can undoubtedly win the war “. ROK refers to the abbreviation of the South’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

Speaking to South Korea’s Kim, who pursued a “sunshine” policy of diplomatic outreach to North Korea, Perry said the” war involves many casualties in the process. As a former defense secretary, I am well aware of the negative aspects of war, and will do my best to avoid war .”

Since then, North Korea has made dramatic advances in its nuclear and weapon growth, particularly under its current young leader, Kim Jong-un. Last month, it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with a likely scope of more than 8,000 miles( 13,000 km ), moving it closer to perfecting a nuclear-tipped bullet that they are able strike all corners of the US mainland.

Trump has not ruled out using force to stop the North from achieving that capability if diplomacy fails. The US has stepped up members of the military drills with friends, which Pyongyang condemns as preparations for invasion. This week, the US and South Korea held air force drills involving more than 200 aircraft, including six US F-2 2 and 18 F-3 5 stealth fighters.

North Korea’s foreign ministry alerted this week:” The remaining topic now is: when will the war break out .”

Speaking at an Arms Control Association briefing in Washington, Perry exhorted a renewed attempt at diplomacy, which he said would not get North Korea to give up its nukes in short order, but could lower the likelihood of war.

He said that a nuclear-armed North Korea would not attack America but may be emboldened in military provocations against South Korea that could spiral into a wider conflict. The US could itself blunder into a nuclear war if it undertook a conventional military ten-strike on North Korea that inspired the North to assault the South, he said.

” An all-out war with North Korea, nuclear war, even if China and Russia did not enter ,” Perry said,” could still entail casualties approximating those of World War I or even World War II .”

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White House under fire for suggesting general’s remarks should not be questioned

Press secretary calls reporters question highly inappropriate as Frederica Wilson says Kelly lied about her during press provide information on Thursday

The White House has been condemned for attempting to stillnes the media by warning that it is” highly inappropriate” to challenge the veracity of remarks by a military general.

A reporter on Friday questioned a claim by the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, a retired four-star marine general, that the Democratic congresswoman Frederica Wilson had taken credit for securing funding for an FBI building in Florida.

Chip Reid, a CBS News correspondent, said during the daily press briefing:” He was wrong yesterday in talking about getting the money. The money was procured before she came into Congress .”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, replied coldly:” If you want to go after Gen Kelly, that’s up to you. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate .”

Reid’s follow-up topic was ignored and the implication- from a democratically elected civilian government- that a military general was beyond criticism was troubling to many.

Perry O’Brien, a former army medic who served in Afghanistan, said:” It’s just another example of the administration conceal behind the uniform of others. That’s why it’s so unfortunate to see someone like Gen Kelly enable that and jump on the grenade that Trump hurled .”

O’Brien, organising director of Common Defense, a group of veterans against Trump, added:” When “theyre saying”,’ How dare you criticise a general ?’, how about[ former Trump national security consultant] Gen Michael Flynn, who was the first to resign after we learned they were colluding with foreign powers? I don’t think most generals would say a star on your shoulder stimulates you immune from criticism .”

Kelly appeared at the White House podium on Thursday, to defend Trump against the charge that he caused offence during a bellow with the widow of Sgt La David Johnson, one of four US soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month by Islamic State fighters. Wilson heard the call and criticised Trump for disrespecting Johnson’s widow, Myeshia.

While defending the president, Kelly- whose son Robert was killed in Afghanistan in 2010- accused Wilson of “grandstanding” in a 2015 speech by saying she was instrumental in getting funding for an FBI building in Florida and took care of her constituents because she got the money. Wilson denied the charge and video evidence appeared to support her account.

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John Kelly rebukes Trump critics over military deaths- video

Kelly stood by his accusation, Sanders said on Friday.” Gen Kelly said he was stunned that Representative Wilson induced commentaries at a build dedication honouring slain FBI agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former president Obama on legislation ,” she said.

” As Gen Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honouring American heroes all about yourself, you’re an’ empty barrel ‘. If you don’t understand that reference, I’ll put it a bit more simply. As we say in the south: all hat , no cattle .”

Wilson regularly wears a cowboy hat.

Challenged over the video footage of the speech, in which Wilson praises FBI agents, Sanders insisted:” She also had quite a few comments that day that weren’t part of that speech and weren’t part of that video that were also witnessed by many people that were there .”

The press secretary also rejected criticism from Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, who supports the accounts of the Trump phone call given by her son’s widow and Wilson.

” Certainly, if the spirit of which those comments were intended were misunderstood, that’s very unfortunate ,” Sanders said.” But as the president has said, as Gen Kelly said- who I guess has a very deep understanding of what that individual would be going through – his comments were very sympathetic, very respectful. And that was the spirit in which the president intended them. If they were taken any other style, that’s certainly an unfortunate thing .”

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Trump: ‘I didn’t say what the congresswoman said’- video

According to Wilson, Trump told Johnson’s widow her late spouse” knew what he signed up for, but when it happens it hurts anyway “.

Kelly in effect corroborated that account, saying he had counseled Trump on how to induce the bellow by telling him of the morning he was told of his son’s death. Kelly remembered his close friend, Gen Joseph Dunford, telling him his son” was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed “.

” He knew what the possibilities were, because we’re at war ,” Kelly said.” That’s what the president tried to say to the four families the other day .”

Trump, however, continues to vehemently deny that he said such words.

” The fake news is going crazy with wacky congresswoman Wilson[ Democrat] who was secretly on a very personal call and dedicated a total lie on content ,” he tweeted late on Thursday.

Kelly also indicated Wilson had eavesdropped on a highly sensitive call. The congresswoman, a close friend of the Johnson family, pointed out she was in the car when Myeshia Johnson received the call, which was placed on speakerphone.

” I wasn’t listening in ,” she told CNN on Friday.” Please don’t characterize it as that .”

Wilson said Trump’s comments were” not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war “.

” You don’t sign on because you think you’re going to die ,” she said.” You sign up to serve your country. There’s nothing to misinterpret. He said what he said. I only don’t agree with it. I just don’t agree with that’s what you should say to grieving households .”

Regarding Kelly’s statements about the FBI field office speech, Wilson said she had not been a member of Congress in 2009, when the funding mentioned by Kelly was procured. “That’s a lie,” she said of Kelly’s characterization.” How dare he ?”

She added:” I feel sorry for Gen Kelly. He has my sympathy for the loss of his son. But he can’t just go on Tv and lie on me .”

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Transgender ban in US military would go into effect in six months, memo says

Trump administration has not sent directive but is calling for forbid on new recruits and seeks to give defense secretary power to remove those currently serving

New transgender recruits to the US military would be banned and the US defense secretary would have the power to remove those currently serving, under the terms of a new memo from the White House described to reporters.

The Trump administration has not yet sent the directive, which takes the form of a two-and-a-half page memo, to military leaders. But its outline calls for the Pentagon to implement the new forbid in six months.

The memo, which was described to reporter for the Wall Street Journal and confirmed to Reuters, would give the defense secretary, James Mattis, the power to decide whether current service members should be removed based on their ability to “deploy”- meaning serve in a war zone, participate in exercises or live for months on a ship. New recruits would be banned and the Pentagon instructed to stop covering transition-related medical care through its insurance programs.

Reports of the memo come one month after Donald Trump appeared to blindside top military officials by announcing that the US military” will not accept or allow … transgender individuals to serve in any capacity “.

After Trump’s announcement, which came in a series of three tweets, Pentagon leaders said they would not alter the current policy, which permits transgender individuals already in the military to serve openly, without formal instruction from the White House.

Backlash to Trump’s 26 July announcement was swift and bipartisan. Trans service members and their advocates declared themselves “ready to fight” a new forbidding in court, while Republican such as senators Orrin Hatch and John McCain called for Trump to leave the current policy alone.

” There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military- regardless of their gender identity ,” McCain said.

The military’s top brass developed the current policy under the instructions of the Obama administration. A scheme permitting the military to recruit transgender individuals was placed on hold for six months in June. The accumulated evidence showed that allowing trans people to serve and receive medical treatment related to their transition would not disrupt military preparedness.

A 2016 analyse by the Rand Corporation and commissioned by Obama’s defense secretary found that between 1,300 and 6,600 trans people were already serving in the military before the ban on open service was lifted, and that merely a few dozen someones each year might undergo transition surgery that would prevent them from being able to be deployed.

Those opposed to transgender service argued the Obama-era policy would weaken military readiness and prove too costly. Trump “ve called the” expense of transgender-related medical care “tremendous”, and the congresswoman Vicki Hartzler of Missouri said the costs of covering service members’ transition care was ” over a billion dollars “.

Both statements are contradicted by the 2016 Rand study, which estimated that transgender-related healthcare for active duty military would expense $2.4 m- $8.4 m. In coming fiscal year 2014, the Pentagon spent $6.27 bn on healthcare costs for all active-duty personnel.

Transgender service members who have spoken up against a banning used to say expulsion from the military could devastate their lives and careers. Certain types of discharge carry a stigma akin to being a former convict.

” Everybody is hurt. Everybody is scared ,” Rudy Akbarian, a 26 -year-old trans man and soldier, told reporters in July.” Person who enlisted nearly 20 years ago and now 18 or 19 years in , now that’s being taken away and they don’t get to retire?

” This is people’s lives we’re talking about .”

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US soldier admits killing unarmed Afghans for sport

Jeremy Morlock, 23, tells US military court he was part of a &# x27; kill team &# x27; that faked combat situations to murder Afghan civilians

An American soldier has pleaded guilty to being part of a “kill team” who deliberately murdered Afghan civilians for athletic last year.

Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, told a military court he had helped to kill three unarmed Afghans. “The plan was to kill people, sir, ” he told an army magistrate in Fort Lea, near Seattle, after his plea.

The case has caused outraged headlines around the world. In a series of videotaped confessions to investigators, some of which have been broadcast on American television, Morlock detailed how he and other members of his Stryker brigade set up and faked combat situations so that they could kill civilians who posed no menace to them. Four other soldiers are still to come to trial over the incidents.

The case is a PR disaster for America’s military and has been compared to the notorious incidents of torture that emerged from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This week the German publication Der Spiegel published three pictures that presented American soldiers, including Morlock, posing with the corpse of a young Afghan boy as if it were a hunting trophy.

Some soldiers apparently maintained body parts of their victims, including a skull, as keepsakes. In a statement issued in response to the publication of the photos the US army apologised to the families of the dead. “[ The photos are] repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States army, ” the statement said.

Morlock has told researchers that the assassination took place between January and May last year and were instigated by an officer in his unit, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs. He described how elaborate plans were made to pick out civilian targets, kill them and then make their deaths look like they were insurgents. In his confession Morlock described shooting a victim as Gibbs flung a grenade at him. “We identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment, like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy or not, ” Morlock said in the confession.

Morlock now stands to be sentenced to at the least 24 years in jail but with eligibility for parole after seven years. That has come about because Morlock struck a plea bargain that will see a lighter sentence in return for witnessing against his fellow soldiers.

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Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police

A growing group of military veterans are willing to set their bodies between Native American activists and the police trying to remove them

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