Wednesday, November 25, 2020

CNN: CIA officer killed in combat in Somalia


CNN) A CIA officer was killed in Somalia last weekend, according to a former senior administration official with knowledge of the matter. The officer was wounded in an operation in the country and later died, the source said.

The identity of the officer has not been made public but the source said the officer was a former Navy SEAL.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Al Qaeda’s No. 2, Accused in U.S. Embassy Attacks, Is Secretly Killed in Iran

 By Adam Goldman, Eric Schmitt, 

Farnaz Fassihi and Ronen Bergman


Nov. 13, 2020Updated 9:19 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran three months ago, intelligence officials have confirmed.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down on the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.

The attack was carried out by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States, according to four of the officials. It is unclear what role if any was played by the United States, which had been tracking the movements of Mr. al-Masri and other Qaeda operatives in Iran for years.

The killing occurred in such a netherworld of geopolitical intrigue and counterterrorism spycraft that Mr. al-Masri’s death had been rumored but never confirmed until now. For reasons that are still obscure, Al Qaeda has not announced the death of one of its top leaders, Iranian officials covered it up, and no country has publicly claimed responsibility for it


READ MORE HERE 



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

What a shock USAF reveals it's built and flown a 6th Gen stealth fighter.

FROM MANY SOURCES: 


The U.S. Air Force revealed this week that it has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet. The fighter, about which we know virtually nothing, has already flown and “broken records.” (The image above is Air Force concept art from 2018). The Air Force must now consider how it will buy the new fighter as it struggles to acquire everything from intercontinental ballistic missiles to bombers.

The Air Force’s head of acquisition, Will Roper, made the announcement yesterday in an exclusive interview with Defense News, in conjunction with the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference.

according to Defense News, the Air Force developed the new fighter in about a year—a staggeringly short amount of time by modern standards. The Air Force first developed a virtual version of the jet, and then proceeded to build and fly a full-sized prototype, complete with mission systems. This is in stark contrast to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The X-35, an early technology demonstrator, first flew in 2000, four years after Lockheed Martin signed the contract to build it. It might be better, however to compare this new mystery jet to the first actual F-35 fighter, which flew in 2006.

The Air Force designed the NGAD to ensure the service’s “air dominance” in future conflicts versus the fighters of potential adversaries. The new fighter, then, is almost certainly optimized for air-to-air combat. It’s a safe bet the fighter uses off-the-shelf avionics, engines, and weapons borrowed from other aircraft, such as the F-35 and F/A-18E/F. In fact, NGAD may look a lot like one of these fighters, though if the Air Force wanted a stealthy design to riff off, there’s only one (F-35) currently in production.

Noteworthy the author of this blog, and another photographer photographed 3 aircraft looking remarkably like the NGAD concept flying south of Amarillo, Texas LINK in 2014.  A Kansas photographer also photographed a single jet in February of 2014. LINK

When asked the USAF said no B-2s were flying on the dates in question either from their home base at Whiteman AFB or at Edwards in California. 

After Aviation Week and Space Technology ran the photos and story on the unidentified aircraft, the USAF responded with a very expensive and open display on April9, of 2014 B-2s flying several B-2 sorties over Kansas and Texas,  LINK  and then later stating the mystery aircraft were B-2s - in an attempt to discredit the sightings and photographs. 

The most interesting thing the  Air Force has claimed that it had built and flown the NGAD prototype in just one year. The world hasn’t seen such a short development time since World War II. In fact, the trend has been for fighters to require longer, more expensive development times as technology becomes more complex—particularly with the adoption of stealth.

China’s Chengdu J-20 fighter, for example, broke cover in 2011 after at least 10 years of development time, while Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon” fighter still hasn't entered production, despite the fact that we first saw it in 2010.

The possibility that a 10-year development cycle has been shortened to just one year seems highly unlikely unless the NGAD  design is based on other unacknowledged secret aircraft that may have been the trio sighted in 2014. 



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Novichock nerve agent used as an assassination weapon






By Richard Pérez-Peña
Sept. 2, 2020Updated 3:36 p.m. ET
NEW YORK TIMES 

Few people had heard of the nerve agent Novichok until 2018, when Western officials accused Russia of having used it in the attempted assassination of a former spy in Britain. It returned abruptly to the headlines on Wednesday, when Germany said the poison had sickened the Russian dissident Alexei A. Navalny.
But for decades, scientists, spies and chemical weapons specialists have known about and feared Novichok. It is a potent neurotoxin, developed in the Soviet Union and Russia in the 1980s and 90s, that can be delivered as a liquid, powder or aerosol, and is said to be more lethal than nerve agents that are better known in the West, like VX and sarin.

The poison causes muscle spasms that can stop the heart, fluid buildup in the lungs that can also be deadly, and damage to other organs and nerve cells. Russia has produced several versions of Novichok, and it is anyone’s guess how often they have actually been used, experts say, because the resulting deaths can easily escape scrutiny, appearing like nothing more sinister than a fatal heart attack.

That may have been the plan in the case of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian spy living in Salisbury, England. When Mr. Skripal was found barely conscious in a park on March 4, 2018, there was no obvious reason to suspect poisoning — except that his daughter, who was visiting, was with him, suffering the same symptoms.

British intelligence agencies identified the toxin as Novichok and accused Russia. The attack became a major international scandal, further chilling relations between Moscow and the West. The British identified Russian agents who they said had flown into Britain, applied the toxin to the front door handle of Mr. Skripal’s house and left the country, leaving a trail of video and chemical evidence.

President Vladimir V. Putin’s government has consistently denied any involvement in the incident, spinning a series of alternative theories, and just months before the Salisbury attack, Mr. Putin declared that Russia had destroyed all of its chemical weapons.

READ MORE HERE

Monday, June 15, 2020

F-15C crashes off UK - pilot confirmed dead.


The pilot of an F-15C Eagle fighter jet that crashed into the sea east of the United Kingdom Monday morning has been found dead.

The F-15, from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, crashed into the North Sea at about 9:40 a.m. local time Monday, the Air Force said. The wing said the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board, but that the cause of the crash remained unknown.

Master Sgt. Matthew Plew, a spokesman for the 48th, said U.K. Search and Rescue had been called in to support the rescue effort.

But later on Monday, wing commander Col. Will Marshall said in a video posted online that the pilot had died. Marshall said the pilot’s name would not be released until after the next of kin had been notified.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm the pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle has been located, and confirmed deceased," Marshall said. “This is a tragic loss for the 48th Fighter Wing community, and our deepest condolences go out to the pilot’s family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron.”

The pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing has been located, and confirmed deceased.

This is a tragic loss for the 48th Fighter Wing community, and our deepest condolences go out to the pilot's family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron.


The 48th said in a previous tweet that a search effort by Her Majesty’s Coastguard had found the wreckage of the plane, and recovery efforts were under way.


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