FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 19 through 21 August 2017

A Great Solar Eclipse

Friends of FOD – How did you observe the solar eclipse?  All the best photos are on the internet, but I enjoyed seeing the solar eclipse in Boise, ID, thanks to Friends of FOD Roger and Glorie.  Thanks to both of you!  And I also got to do some fishing on the Boise River.  Notice I said fishing and not catching.  But a good time was had by all. Good stories appreciated.

 

 

 

Another Collision At Sea

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (below left) suffered “significant damage” to the hull after it was involved in a collision at sea with the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC (below right) off the coast of Malaysia east of the Strait of MalaccaTen sailors were missing and five were injured following the collision, which happened at 5:24 a.m. Singapore time (5:24 p.m. ET Sunday), according to the Navy’s latest update issued around nine-and-a-half hours later. And the search continues as of August 21st.  After the collision the ship, which sustained damage to her port side aft, was able to return to port under her own power. According to United States Navy press release, the breach “resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms.  Initial casualty reports indicate ten sailors missing and five sailors injured.  Admiral John M. Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations (below left) has ordered an “operational pause” or safety stand down for a day to “include,

but not be limited to, looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment.”

120212-N-AT895-703 WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2012) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson, the 31st CNO. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nathan Laird/Released to archive)

The Strait of Malacca is one of the most heavily transited bodies of water in the world, with more than 80,000 vessels moving through it annually, roughly one third of all oceanic transits.  US Naval vessels usually have their best bridge team on duty for the transit.  I noted in the 11 through 15 August edition of FOD that a military band is standard for that all important change of command.  I would venture to say the yet unannounced, change of command for the McCain and perhaps even Commander of Destroyer Squadron 15 will not need a band.  As you’ll recall, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was involved in the June 17 with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal, a container ship, off the coast of Japan resulted in the death of seven sailors.  Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief have been relieved of their duties aboard Fitzgerald.  I’m thinking the commanding officer of Destroyer Squadron 15, CAPT Jeffrey A. Bennett II might be looking for another job.

  Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 19 through 21 August 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 08 through 10 August 2017

North Korea Ready to Give US a “Severe Lesson”

Just two days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved sanctions against the isolated regime for its escalating nuclear and missile programs, North Korea has responded.  In a statement from Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, distributed to media in Manila at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit, North Korea reiterated its position that it would not put its nuclear program or its missiles on the negotiating table.  The Pyongyang government also said, North Korea is ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” with nuclear force if Washington takes military action against it, Pyongyang said in a statement to a regional meeting on Monday.  Pyongyang also called the new U.N. sanctions “fabricated” and warned there would be “strong follow-up measures” and acts of justice. It said the resolution showed the United Nations had abused its authority.  And the stakes are increasing as of 09 August 2017, when North Korea says it is “seriously reviewing” a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles — just hours after President Donald Trump told the regime that any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury.”  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson   reasserted the US will be monitoring implementation of the sanctions to ensure they are enforced by all countries.  The US, could for instance, bring pressure to bear on China by imposing fines on banks that do business with North Korea in areas prohibited by the past the present sanctions, essentially money laundering for Kim Jong Un.  Only recently have we imposed a fine on only one Chinese bank.  That sends a message to both China and North Korea.  As I’ve said here before, there is likely no dealing with Kim Jong Un in a direct manner so as to distract him from his goal of developing and deploying nuclear weapons that could reach the United States.  He has admitted one of his personal heroes is Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who he saw removed from power and eventually killed once he gave into foreign government pressures and economic sanctions (including the US) to give up his aspirations for the development of nuclear weapons.  Kim Jong Un will not give up this position.  See my comments in the 25 -27 Jul edition of FOD.  It’s either the long way or move toward a military option.  And the second path has many drawbacks.  Your comments and thoughts appreciated.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 08 through 10 August 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 4th thorough 7th 2017

Additional Sanctions Imposed on North Korea

The UN Security Council is credited with imposing ‘tough new’ economic sanctions on North Korea.  Good.  It’s also important to note the Security Council was unanimous in approving these sanctions including support from both China and Russia.  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson currently at the ASEAN summit in the Philippines indicated, “The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches. Those sanctions; they will take time to have an impact. Secretary Tillerson said the US will be monitoring implementation of the sanctions to ensure they are enforced by all countries.  Will they at last bring Pyongyang to the realization that a nuclear ICBM capable will not be tolerated?  I doubt it.  In the 25 through 27 July edition of FOD, I noted I don’t believe Kim Jong Un will be persuaded, as he is still able to control all aspects of his government’s supply and demand systems.

He allowed his people to suffer widespread famine and all previous attempts to isolate he and his “family business” government have neither deterred nor abated the progress of his nuclear development program.  For him, this is just more of the same and he can point to outside nations as responsible for his people’s further hardships.  The only way he will discuss any change of direction of his nuclear program is if he is assured regime change and the reunification of the Korean peninsula is somehow not a long term goal.  Then of course we would be supporting another dictator with an abysmal record on human rights.  What you think Friends of FOD?

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 4th thorough 7th 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 28th through 31st 2017

Some Baseball Congrats

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre became the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club on Sunday while facing the Orioles. With his team trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, he hit a 3-0 fastball off of Wade Miley for a double, putting runners on second and third with one out. He’s the first Dominican-born player to reach 3,000 career hits.  And then a rookie who just came up to the LA Dodgers, Klye Farmer, in his very first at bat against the San Francisco Giants Sunday night hit the walk-off hit in the bottom of the eleventh inning to beat the Giants 3-2.  Kyle will never forget that first hit and only has 2999 hits to go before he can join the likes of future Hall of Famer Beltre.

 

 

Russian President Putin Orders US Diplomatic Staff Reduction

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that he was ordering the United States to reduce its diplomatic staff in the country by 755.  In an interview with the state-owned broadcaster Russia 24, Putin said the move was in response to “illegal restrictions” imposed by the United States. Putin (left) claimed that more than a “thousand” U.S. diplomatic employees are in Russia, but “755 will have to cease their activities in the Russian Federation.”  Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he didn’t believe Putin’s order targeted only U.S. diplomats. “When I was U.S. ambassador, we didn’t have that many Americans in Russia,” he said.  But McFaul called the move a “major escalation” far out of proportion with the Obama administration’s decision to expel 35 suspected Russian spies in December.  The Russian order came days after Congress passed a new round of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the United States’ presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.  The bill, which also included sanctions against Iran and North Korea, passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate, with only five dissenting votes between them.  A provision in the veto-proof legislation would limit President Donald Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift the sanctions. On Friday, the White House said that Trump intended to sign the legislation into law.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 28th through 31st 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 21st through 24th 2017

ISIS Potential Dirty Bomb Story Published by The Washington Post

When the city Mosul, Iraq fell to ISIS back in 2014, they laid claim to a huge stockpile of weapons including small arms, bombs, rockets and some additional heavy weapons such as artillery pieces and even tanks.  Banks were overrun and millions of dollars in hard currency were lost.  Mosel’s college was also overrun during that same time frame.  The college supported two radiotherapy machines used to kill cancer cells.  And contained within the heavy shielding of the radiotherapy machines is cobalt-60, a metallic substance with high levels of radiation and which is highly lethal.  One of the goals of Isis leaders in the field has been to develop a dirty bomb or Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD).  An RDD is a radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the dispersal agent/conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians. It is however not to be confused with a nuclear explosion, such as a fission bomb, which by releasing nuclear energy produces blast effects far in excess of what is achievable by the use of conventional explosives.  Dirty bombs are admittedly difficult to construct as the radioactive material must be sufficiently radioactive so as create radiological damage.  It must also be transportable with enough shielding to protect those transporting the device but not so heavy as to make it unmaneuverable.  And then of course the radioactive material must be dispersible over a large area so as to contaminate the area around the explosion.  If you had highly radioactive material and the ability to disperse it you could create an incident comparable to the Chernobyl disaster .  In any event you would create a psychological event, mass panic and terror requiring considerable time and expense to clean up rendering areas of a city perhaps unusable.  Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt-60’s presence and watched to see if the militants would attempt to use it.  The obligatory studies were conducted and our troops and Iraqi military commanders were appraised of the potential threat.  When the Mosel campus was retaken (above right) by Iraqi forces, the radiotherapy were found to be intact.  Good news, except the fact The Washington Post has now published a story on the entire incident.  Whether the Islamic State has a subscription to The Washington Post is unknown, but they have provided the enemy with knowledge of a source of radioactive materials available in hundreds of cities around the world, some of which ISIS has control over.  Additionally there is the potential for US troops or our allies to be directly harmed by this information.  The Washington Post’s tagline is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” but they should remember another line from an earlier conflict, “Loose lips sink ships.”

 

  Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 21st through 24th 2017”