The Pentagon Is Flubbing Its Pitch to Silicon Valley | Defense One


Gen. Joseph Dunford says American tech companies that do business with China hamper “U.S. ability to maintain a competitive military advantage and all that goes with it.”

Such companies, the Joint Chiefs chairman added, “are automatically going to be required to have a cell of the Communist Party in that company. And that is going to lead to that intellectual property from that company finding its way to the Chinese military. It is a distinction without a difference between the Chinese Communist Party, the government, and the Chinese military.”

Source: The Pentagon Is Flubbing Its Pitch to Silicon Valley – Defense One

How an Elaborate Plan to Topple Venezuela’s President Went Wrong | Defense One


.. This, it turned out, would be the high point of the day for Guaidó’s pro-democracy movement.

Bedlam, not freedom, ensued. Maduro officials accused Guaidó and fringe elements of the military of staging a coup, as opponents and supporters of Maduro clashed violently in the streets.

Within hours, dozens of people returned to the site to threaten a “complete embargo” and “highest-level sanctions” on Cuba if “Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations” in Venezuela.

As Operation Freedom went sideways, U.S. officials began divulging details of an effort that had gone spectacularly wrong.

Source: How an Elaborate Plan to Topple Venezuela’s President Went Wrong – Defense One

The International Criminal Court Is in Danger of Being Bullied Into Irrelevance


In mid-April, a panel of judges at the International Criminal Court rejected Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have been committed during the long U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Ahead of the decision, the Trump administration had waged an aggressive campaign against the case, which threatened to reveal atrocities committed by U.S. forces, including American troops and Central Intelligence Agency officials.

Though the ICC judges acknowledged that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan, they determined that a successful investigation was not feasible. Essentially, they acknowledged that ongoing U.S. intransigence was likely to derail the investigation.

Source: The International Criminal Court Is in Danger of Being Bullied Into Irrelevance

EU plans sharp hike in U.S. energy imports as trade lever | Reuters


The European Union will seek to double imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States by 2023, as part of its efforts to ease transatlantic trade tensions and reduce its reliance on Russian gas.

The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28-nation bloc, said on Thursday it plans to increase imports to 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, more than double the level of 2018.

Source: EU plans sharp hike in U.S. energy imports as trade lever – Reuters

PLA’s furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon


Recent visitors to the bay surrounding a submarine base on the southern coast of China’s Hainan Island describe a curious nocturnal phenomenon. Powerful spotlights are sometimes trained directly on the ocean frontages of neighboring hotels at night, making visibility out to sea virtually impossible. Some of the lights are mounted on land and others on passing naval patrol boats.

“The effect is incredible,” said one recent visitor. “The glare is so great you can hardly stand it on the balcony. You go inside and draw the curtains tight.”

The blinding lights cannot obscure something of intense interest to the world’s military intelligence agencies: evidence that China has made a breakthrough in its drive to rival America and Russia as a nuclear arms power.

Satellite imagery reveals the regular presence of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines at the strategic base near the resort city of Sanya.

Source: PLA’s furtive underwater nukes test the Pentagon

I’ve protected many, Assange tells UK court as he fights U.S. extradition warrant | Reuters


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a London court on Thursday his work had protected “many people” and refused to agree to be extradited to the United States to face trial for one of the largest compromises of classified information in history.

Asked at a preliminary hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court whether he agreed to be extradited to the United States, Assange, appearing via a video link from a British prison, said:

I do not wish to surrender for extradition. I’m a journalist winning many, many awards and protecting many people.

Source: I’ve protected many, Assange tells UK court as he fights U.S. extradition warrant – Reuters

Biden’s rise in 2020 race catches Trump’s eye, unnerves his allies | Reuters


Joe Biden’s rapid emergence as front-runner in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has caught the attention of President Donald Trump and unnerved some of his allies, who believe Biden is a potentially dangerous rival.

Biden soared from “will-he-or-won’t-he-run?” status to the head of the crowded Democratic field just days after announcing his candidacy last week, pulling away from Senator Bernie Sanders and a host of other rivals in opinion polls.

Source: Biden’s rise in 2020 race catches Trump’s eye, unnerves his allies – Reuters

Foreign government leases at Trump World Tower stir more emoluments concerns | Reuters


The U.S. State Department allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress, according to documents and people familiar with the leases, a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The 90-story Manhattan building, part of the real estate empire of Donald Trump, had housed diplomats and foreign officials before the property developer became president. But now that he is in the White House, such transactions must pass muster with federal lawmakers, some legal experts say.

The emoluments clause bans U.S. officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments without congressional consent.

Source: Exclusive: Foreign government leases at Trump World Tower stir more emoluments concerns – Reuters

Explainer: Can Trump use executive privilege to block congressional probes? | Reuters

null
Trump is stonewalling Congress on multiple probes of himself, his presidency and his businesses, blasting them as “presidential harassment.” In an unusual move, he is even suing to stop the release of some materials that lawmakers want.

Executive privilege is a legal principle that allows the president to refuse to comply with demands for information like congressional subpoenas or Freedom of Information Act requests.

The doctrine is generally used to keep private the nature of conversations the president has with advisers, or internal discussions among executive branch officials.

Executive privilege is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, the foundation of U.S. law.

The term “executive privilege” was not used until the 1950s.

Source: Explainer: Can Trump use executive privilege to block congressional probes? – Reuters

Barr cancels second day of testimony, escalating battle with U.S. Congress | Reuters


Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday canceled plans to testify before the House of Representatives about his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, further inflaming tensions between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress.

Barr was due to face the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but pulled out after the two sides were unable to agree on the format for the hearing.

Source: Barr cancels second day of testimony, escalating battle with U.S. Congress – Reuters