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1:28 AM 10/19/2022 – Ukraine war: Mysterious defence secretary trip to Washington amid fears of Russian escalation | Ukraine Is a Drone War: UAVs Have Changed War Forever | Jury acquits Russian analyst of lying to FBI in Trump dossier case


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1:28 AM 10/19/2022 – Post Link

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is on a hastily-arranged visit to Washington to talk with his counterpart and White House officials about “shared security concerns” including Ukraine and Russia, a source and an official said.

The secretive, last-minute nature of the trip and a comment by a second defence minister, James Heappey – who said the conversations that Mr Wallace would be having on Tuesday were “beyond belief” – suggested particularly sensitive and serious issues would be discussed.

It comes as the UK, the US and other NATO allies watch Russia‘s war in Ukraine closely, amid concerns that President Vladimir Putin may escalate his attacks even further, possibly even resorting to a nuclear strike as his forces lose ground to western-armed Ukrainian troops.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Samara Region Governor Dmitry Azarov during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Image: Pic: AP

News blackout in southern Ukraine means ‘something big is going on’ – war latest

The UK defence source declined to offer any specific detail on the content of Mr Wallace’s trip other than to say: “The defence secretary is in Washington DC to discuss shared security concerns, including Ukraine.

“He will be visiting his counterpart at the Pentagon and senior figures at the White House.”

Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, the US Pentagon press secretary, offered a similar description: “He’s here today to discuss the Ukraine situation and the US and UK joint efforts to support Ukraine, as well as to, again, reaffirm the transatlantic ties and co-operation that our two countries share when it comes to issues like Russia.”

But Mr Heappey gave a sense that the discussions were particularly grave as he responded to questions on the UK political crisis during an interview on Kay Burley At Breakfast on Sky News.

“We here in the Ministry of Defence are doing a good job of keeping our nation safe at a time of incredible global insecurity,” he said.

“My boss, Ben Wallace, is in Washington this morning having the sort of conversations that… beyond belief really the fact we are a time when these sort of conversations are necessary.”

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Armed Forces minister James Heappey 13:20 

‘Truss can’t afford more mistakes’

Asked by Sky News about the “beyond belief” remarks, the Pentagon press secretary said: “Refer you back to the minister on that one.”

No guard of honour

In an indication that the visit had been planned in a rush and was being kept low-profile, there was no guard of honour to greet Mr Wallace at the Pentagon.

The defence secretary had been due to appear before a committee of MPs in London to discuss the UK, US and NATO on Tuesday but had to cancel.

The possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine featured at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels last week. Mr Wallace and Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, both attended and held a bilateral meeting there as well.

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Defence analyst Professor Clarke updates on the drone attacks across Ukraine and operations in the south-west of the country. 3:55 

News blackout ‘suggests big push’

Read more:

Russian airstrikes hit energy facilities as Ukraine faces power outages

If Truss is ousted, Wallace would be among leading candidates to replace her

Ben Wallace could resign if Jeremy Hunt scraps defence spending boost

Russia’s nuclear rhetoric is ‘dangerous’ and ‘reckless’

Asked if NATO would consider a nuclear response should Russia use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg, the head of the alliance, last Thursday told reporters: “The fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear deterrent is to preserve peace and deter aggression, and prevent coercion against NATO allies.

“The circumstances in which NATO might have to use nuclear weapons are extremely remote. Russia’s nuclear rhetoric is dangerous, reckless.

“And they know that if they use nuclear weapon against Ukraine, it will have severe consequences. And they also know that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.”

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Professor Michael Clarke 3:29 

Cities attacked by drone swarms

NATO allies are this week conducing an annual exercise to test their ability to launch nuclear strikes. The training, hosted this year by Belgium, is taking place over the UK, the North Sea and Belgium.

Russia is also set to carry out annual nuclear drills. The US has said the Russians have not informed them of their nuclear drills, information they would normally expect to receive.

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The Ukraine Drone War Changed Everything: During the Battle of Cerignola on April 28, 1503, the Spanish forces successfully defeated a superior-sized French army through the use of gunpowder weapons, which halted attacks by French cavalry and Swiss pikemen. Just over four centuries later, the machine gun truly changed warfare and led to the static trench lines employed during the First World War. It later took the development of the tank to essentially break those lines, and in the century that has followed, large armored vehicles have been the master of the battlefield.

For all these things must come to pass.

The war in Ukraine could again change how wars are fought, as Russia’s tanks are increasingly destroyed by relatively low-cost man-portable weapons including the FGM-148 Javelin and AT4 anti-tank missile launchers. These weapons have been credited with destroying hundreds of Russian vehicles, including tanks and armored personnel carriers.

And then there are the drones.

Though not new, drones have certainly come a long way since they were originally deployed as target aircraft during the First World War. Radio-controlled drones were used in the interwar era by both the U.S. and UK militaries for target practice and training.

During the Second World War, the first armed drones were used to destroy enemy targets. It was on September 27, 1944, that the U.S. military’s Special Task Air Groups (STAGs) deployed four TDR-1 unmanned, radio-controlled aircraft against a Japanese position at Bougainville in the South Pacific. Though one was lost at sea, and another missed the position entirely, two others struck the target with one of those hitting dead-center. It may have been the first time an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used in such a manner, but it wasn’t the last.

Drone Warfare

Even before the Global War on Terror (GWOT), unmanned aerial systems (UAS) showed their true potential to provide an eye-in-sky for friendly military personnel, while later drones were utilized to strike adversaries with deadly precision.

In Ukraine, the new “loitering munitions,” including the U.S.-made Switchblade drones, have also proven to be a serious game changer. Unlike large drones, these small weapons can be deployed close to the frontlines and require little infrastructure to launch. Moreover, unlike a missile, the small aerial craft can stay in the air for upwards of 40 minutes and find a target of opportunity. It also provides time to identify a target, get situational awareness and then strike with devastating accuracy.

Switchblade Drone

Switchblade Drone. Image Credit: Manufacturer Handout.

Switchblade Drone

Switchblade Drone. Image Credit: Industry Handout.

The Switchblade has successfully targeted tanks, armored vehicles, truck convoys, and artillery nests. There are currently two models and each has a different mission. The “300” is smaller and meant for anti-personnel attacks, whereas the “600” is a bit heavier with larger warheads and is capable to take out tanks and armored vehicles.

Ukraine has also begun to deploy the larger Phoenix Ghost, which has similar capabilities to the Switchblade. However, it reportedly can fly considerably longer – up to six hours – while it can operate at night with infrared sensors. This is a Ghost with the most, as it is even stated to be effective against medium-armored ground targets.

The drones have proven to be so successful that Russia has also been employing its own. However, its main unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Orlan-10, is a small reconnaissance and surveillance UAV made at the Center for Special Technology in St. Petersburg. It lacks the offensive capabilities of the Ukrainian drones.  As a result, Moscow has had to turn to de facto ally Iran to supply it with drones – a situation few could have anticipated when the war began eight months ago.

The conflict is now transitioning from the expected war with tanks to one where small but deadly drones are creating havoc on the battlefield. Though tanks will remain in the arsenals of most militaries, future military historians will most certainly describe this current conflict as the first true drone war.

A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

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ReutersThree children were among the 13 people killed in their own homes late Monday when Russia’s ’roided up war machine resulted in a military plane incinerating a residential building in the Krasnodar region. Russian officials say those affected by the catastrophe should focus on positive thinking, and head back to work Tuesday in “a good mood.”The questionable advice comes as ordinary Russians, perhaps for the first time since Moscow launched its full-scale war against Ukraine on Feb. 23, ar

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A jury on Tuesday acquitted a thinktank analyst accused of lying to the FBI about his role in the creation of a discredited dossier about Donald Trump.

The case against Igor Danchenko was the third and possibly final case brought by the special counsel John Durham as part of his investigation into how the FBI conducted its own inquiry into allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The first two cases ended in an acquittal and a guilty plea with a sentence of probation.

Danchenko betrayed no emotion as the verdict was read. His wife wiped away tears after the clerk read the final “not guilty” to the four counts he faced.

The jury reached its verdict after roughly nine hours of deliberations over two days.

The acquittal marked a significant setback for Durham. Despite hopes among Trump supporters that the prosecutor would uncover a sweeping conspiracy within the FBI and other agencies to derail his candidacy, the three-year investigation failed to produce evidence that met those expectations.

The Danchenko case was the first of the three to delve deeply into the origins of the “Steele dossier”, a compendium of allegations that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was colluding with the Kremlin.

Most famously, it alleged that the Russians could have blackmail material on Trump for his supposed interactions with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. Trump derided the dossier as fake news and a political witch-hunt when it became public in 2017.

Danchenko, by his own admission, was responsible for 80% of the raw intelligence in the dossier and half of the accompanying analysis, though trial testimony indicated that Danchenko was shocked and dismayed about how Steele presented the material and portrayed it as factual when Danchenko considered it more to be rumor and speculation.

Prosecutors said that if Danchenko had been more honest about his sources, the FBI might not have treated the dossier so credulously. As it turned out, the FBI used material from the dossier to support applications for warrantless surveillance of a Trump campaign official, Carter Page, even though the FBI never was able to corroborate a single allegation in the dossier.

Prosecutors said Danchenko lied about the identity of his own sources for the material he gave to Steele.

The jury began deliberations Monday afternoon after hearing closing arguments on four counts. On Friday, the US district judge Anthony Trenga threw out a fifth count, saying prosecutors had failed to prove it as a matter of law.

Trenga nearly threw out all of the charges before the trial began, citing the legal strength of Danchenko’s defense, but allowed the case to proceed in what he described as “an extremely close call”.

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It’s been a super crappy week for Donald Trump.

In addition to the January 6 committee subpoenaing him at the end of its final televised hearing yesterday (drama!), New York state attorney general Letitia James filed a junction to appoint an independent monitor to keep an extra close eye on the Trump Organization as her civil fraud case against the ex-president prepares to go to trial. And on top of all that, the Mar-a-Lago mole is making headlines again.

Related: Looks like another one of Trump’s lawyers has had to hire her own lawyer after the Mar-a-Lago mess

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that someone from within Trump’s inner circle told the feds that they were specifically ordered by the ex-president himself to move several boxes of documents into his private residence inside Mar-a-Lago.

The Post also reported that the FBI undercovered CCTV footage showing longtime Trump aide Walt Nauta carrying boxes out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department had already issued a subpoena demanding the ex-president immediately return of all classified documents.

Related: Everything keeps getting worse for Donald Trump and his Mar-a-Lago mess

39-year-old Nauta previously served as a White House valet before going to work for Trump at Mar-a-Lago after he left office. On August 8, FBI agents executed a search warrant on the Florida compound where they retrieved over 100 classified documents the ex-president still had not returned.

While we still don’t know exactly who the Mar-a-Lago mole is, it sure seems like it was Nauta. In addition to the information reported by Washington Post, the New York Times added:

As part of its investigation, the Justice Department has interviewed Mr. Nauta on several occasions, according to one of the people. Those interviews started before the F.B.I. executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 and carted off more than 11,000 documents, including about 100 that bore classification markings. Mr. Nauta has answered questions but is not formally cooperating with the investigation of Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents.

His lawyer, Stanley Woodward Jr., declined to comment. Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, accused the Biden administration of “colluding with the media through targeted leaks in an overt and illegal act of intimidation and tampering.”

Now, some tweets…

Walt Nauta is going to be famous.

— News Junky 📰💉 (@LaResistance01) October 13, 2022

I’m sure Trump will tell us this was a fake scene with hired actors and directed by the FBI. Or that Walt Nauta is low level and he never met him despite the 100 photos of them together and him moving boxes for him at MAL

— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) October 13, 2022

“Walt Nauta? Never heard of him. Must have been a coffee boy…” – Trump tomorrow

— GM ?? (@WasOnceLou) October 13, 2022

At this very moment, TDG loyalists are being interrogated in the basement of Mar a Lago, in a desperate attempt to uncover the “mole”. https://t.co/uiHDuOxdls

— James Wooten (@rantonstupidity) October 13, 2022

I wonder if Walt Nauta was the dude who had to clean the ketchup off the walls.

— watertigernyc ? (@watertigernyc) October 14, 2022

Old enough to remember Trump wanting to know who the “leaker” was — and now you’ve given him a name. Walt Nauta should do best to remain on a first floor.

— Outspoken™ (@Out5p0ken) October 13, 2022

I hope the DOJ is providing some protection for this Walt Nauta guy.

— Demotage (@Demotage) October 14, 2022

How soon before Donald Trump dismisses his longtime employee Walt Nauta as, “Someone who only moved a few boxes for me for a very brief period of time,” or something like that?

Protect this brave guy! Keep him away from windows and staircases, if you catch my drift! pic.twitter.com/x51d1KYv8p

— Russell Drew (@RussOnPolitics) October 13, 2022

If there was/is a mole at Mar-a-Lago, I hope it’s the omelette bar chef.

— Dextrosity (@thedextrosity) October 12, 2022

Related: Tiffany Trump celebrates 29th birthday by being left out of latest court filing against Trump Org

Acquittal of consultant for ‘Steele dossier’ marks second trial loss for John Durham’s inquiry into FBI probe of Russian interference in 2016 …

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This was the third case brought by special counsel John Durham in FBI’s own investigation into Russian collusion claims.

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Jury acquits Russian analyst of lying to FBI in Trump dossier case

posted on Oct 18 2022 22:36:10 UTC (updated on Wed Oct 19, 2022 02:13) by Associated Press via FBI | The Guardian

This was the third case brought by special counsel John Durham in FBI’s own investigation into Russian collusion claims

A jury on Tuesday acquitted a thinktank analyst accused of lying to the FBI about his role in the creation of a discredited dossier about Donald Trump.

The case against Igor Danchenko was the third and possibly final case brought by the special counsel John Durham as part of his investigation into how the FBI conducted its own inquiry into allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Continue reading…

During the third day of Special Counsel John Durham’s trial of Russian intelligence analyst Igor Danchenko, the defendant’s former FBI handler said that Danchenko didn’t know the rumors he compiled into reports for Christopher Steele would be presented as factual. As defense attorney Stuart Sears …

In 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr tasked Durham with reviewing the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Russia’s connection with the 2016 Trump …

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Obama Says He’s Open to Supreme Court Reform but Warns against ‘Explicit Political Games’. Brittany Bernstein. “Even raw intelligence from credible …

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