Tag Archives: military

US to evacuate 2,500 Afghans to US military base in Virginia

US to evacuate 2,500 Afghans to US military base in Virginia

The United States will begin evacuating Afghans who assisted US forces in Afghanistan to a military base in Virginia as they wait for a special visa process to be completed, the US State Department announced, Trend reports citing Al Jazeera.

About 2,500 Afghans who have already applied to emigrate to the US will take relocation flights out of Afghanistan to Fort Lee, a US Army base in the state of Virginia, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

“These are brave Afghans and their families … whose service to the United States has been certified by the embassy in Kabul and who have completed a thorough security vetting process,” Price told a State Department media briefing.

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This post originally posted here Trend – News from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey.

Australia on alert after ‘unusual’ military move from Chinese spy ships off its coast

Australia on alert after 'unusual' military move from Chinese spy ships off its coast

Australia is currently engaged in joint military exercises with the US military, ahead of a major missile launch on Sunday. However, the Australia Defence Force (ADF) has warned that a second Chinese spy ship is approaching Australia’s coast ahead of the joint exercises, known as Exercise Talisman Sabre. Defence officials are wary, claiming it is “unusual” that two Chinese high-tech surveillance ships monitor the country.

In fact, it marks the first time two intelligence ships have been deployed by Beijing.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted he is very wary of the vessels which appear to be watching the Talisman Sabre 2021 war games off the coast of Queensland.

According to released photographs, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general intelligence ship, the Haiwangxing, is approaching Australia’s east coast via the Solomon Sea.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the ADF had been monitoring the ship’s approach as part of a broader surveillance effort.

JUST IN: ‘End of the EU!’ Donald Tusk warns internal conflict will destroy bloc

He said: “Defence will continue to monitor the presence of these vessels.”

One military official said the Haiwanxing had been “on our radar for some time”.

As part of the fortnight-long joint exercises, the US has already fired a Patriot missile for the first time on Australian soil. 

The missile test saw a Patriot battery down a pair of drone aircraft on Friday. 

This comes as a recent poll suggested that more than four in 10 Australians are worried China may attack Australia. 

When the 603 people polled in Australia by the Australia Institute were asked whether they thought China would launch an armed attack on Australia, 6 percent said soon and 36 percent said some time – totalling 42 percent.

Earlier today, China responded to new US sanctions on Chinese officials following its crackdown in Hong Kong.

Beijing vowed to deal a “head-on blow” to the United States and slammed Washington DC for its “unprovoked smearing”. 

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

In a glimpse into Trump’s crazed final days in office, it emerged the top military officer was shaken by Trump’s refusal to concede and feared he may attempt a coup

In a glimpse into Trump's crazed final days in office, it emerged the top military officer was shaken by Trump's refusal to concede and feared he may attempt a coup
It’s the extreme danger that the US system of government, Constitution and cherished freedoms would face if an ex-President even now trying to revive his demagogic political career ever gets anywhere near the Oval Office again.
In the latest staggering glimpse into Trump’s crazed, final days in office from a flurry of new books, it emerged Wednesday that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley was so shaken by Trump’s refusal to concede defeat that he feared he might attempt a coup or other illegal gambit to stay in power.
Milley saw himself and the armed forces as a bulwark against any presidential mutiny against the Constitution and the nearly two-and-a-half centuries of democratic transfers of power.
“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to excerpts of the book “I Alone Can Fix It” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, which was obtained by CNN ahead of its release next Tuesday.
Milley saw Trump as the “classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” the authors wrote, but he told subordinates: “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”
In the end, Trump did not seek to turn the military on the American people or stage the most alarming showdown in living memory between a modern commander-in-chief and top military brass. But that seasoned military officers thought it was a real possibility and hatched a plan for rolling resignations to thwart Trump’s autocratic impulses underscores the ex-President’s extraordinary instability. Their preparations raised the specter that the uniformed military was ready to act to protect democracy and the rule of law from a civilian commander-in-chief in a reversal of normal Constitutional order — furthering an impression repeatedly left by Trump himself that he was unfit to ever be President.
There can be little doubt that if he is ever again in a position of supreme power, the twice-impeached former President would be similarly erratic and lawless as he was in office. His behavior since returning to private life proves it.
New details of his past malfeasance come as Trump and his supporters actively seek to whitewash the truth of the insurrection that he incited against the US Capitol as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory on January 6. The former President still has most of the Washington Republican Party — which acted to excuse his assault on democracy — in thrall to his personality cult. Millions of his voters believe his lies about non-existent voter fraud spread by propagandistic right-wing media networks.
Trump is, meanwhile, moving to tighten his grip over national elections by effectively installing acolytes in positions of power in state GOP parties as local Republican legislators pass laws making it harder for Democrats to vote that also weaken non-partisan control of elections, which could make them easier to steal in the future.
The new account also raises even more questions about senior Republican leaders’ attitude toward Trump. Given the close links between Capitol Hill and the top echelons of the military, it is impossible to believe that Milley’s testimony in the book will come as a surprise to congressional leaders or that they did not understand his fears in real time. Even if they didn’t know, the fact that the GOP is still protecting, elevating and preparing to follow Trump into the 2022 midterm elections suggests even greater complicity with his offenses against democracy.
If the 2024 GOP nominating contest were taking place now, Trump would be the favorite, and he is giving every sign that he may indeed run for the White House again, meaning the idea of a return to power is not out of the question — even if new evidence of a despotic temperament might harm his chances in a national election.

The inevitable Trump defense

The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours. But his allies are sure to accuse them and the media of lying about his record, and officers like Milley of grandstanding, polishing their place in history and bearing grudges against the former commander-in-chief.
The detail in the book leaves a strong impression that Milley cooperated with the authors. But it doesn’t follow that he is just seeking to burnish his own legend. Such accounts are often a way of making clear exactly what happened — with a thin veneer of deniability for non-partisan military officers. And the armed forces remain one of the few institutions in American life to retain broad public respect.
Furthermore, Trump’s behavior as depicted here is familiar from other new accounts of how a defeated President lashed out like a toppling dictator late last year. In those books, which back up contemporary reporting, including by CNN, Trump comes across as delusional, self-pitying, desperate, angry and vindictive, seeking to save his political skin while ignoring the democratic will of voters, all while negligently refusing to deal with the real emergency — the murderous and worsening coronavirus pandemic that would claim its 400,000th victim before he left office in January.
The books and media accounts are sketching the kind of historical record that Trump’s pliant Republican allies on Capitol Hill sought to prevent by killing off a bipartisan plan for an independent commission into the January 6 insurrection.
The new accounts add to a staggering anecdotal, journalistic, legal and political narrative — augmented by Trump’s own public inflammatory remarks and actions — of the most aberrant and dangerous presidency of modern times and maybe ever.
Still, if there is one reassuring aspect of the latest account, it is that the military was well aware of the potential danger posed by Trump and the compliant political aides he installed in the White House after systematically driving out professional civil servants, diplomats and former military and intelligence officers — the so-called adults who, early on, tried to contain his wild instincts. And as well as the military, other institutions — including the courts and even the Justice Department under an Attorney General William Barr, who often did Trump’s political bidding — stood firm against his attempts to steal the election. Their example casts a poor light on the democratically-elected Republican lawmakers who refused to do their duty to hold another branch of government to account and to protect the Constitution.

The plan of the Joint Chiefs

The most surprising revelation from Leonnig and Rucker, who cite friends, lawmakers and colleagues of Milley, was that the Joint Chiefs discussed a plan to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised.
Such a sequence would have precipitated the most serious civil-military crisis and chain-of-command disruption in decades, a fact that underscores how seriously the top brass took the possibility of a revolutionary moment.
Milley was concerned that personnel moves that put Trump acolytes in positions of power at the Pentagon and raised alarm in Washington at the time, including the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, were sinister omens.
“Milley told his staff that he believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military,” Leonnig and Rucker reported.
Rucker and Leonnig interviewed more than 140 sources for the book, though most were given anonymity to speak candidly. Milley is quoted extensively and comes off in a positive light as someone who tried to keep democracy alive after receiving a warning from an old friend who is not named.
“What they are trying to do here is overturn the government,” the friend said, according to the authors. “This is all real, man. You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff.”
Milley apologized after being seen as too close to Trump in June 2020, when, wearing military fatigues, he joined the President in a controversial photo-op after protesters were cleared from the square outside the White House.
But according to the new book, he feared that the President would try to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel in order to solidify his control over the intelligence services.
Such a scenario was widely feared late last year. Though it did not happen, Trump did have past form in this area, having fired former FBI Director James Comey, before going on television to say he did it because of the Russia investigation.
In retrospect, the period following the election — one of the most harrowing in the modern history of the United States given Trump’s trashing of democracy and the sacking of the US Capitol by his supporters — was even more terrifying behind the scenes.
But events since have shown that the danger did not pass when Trump left the White House on the morning of January 20. In fact, a new threat is rising given the still vast political influence of a modern American demagogue.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

New excerpts detail responses from the top US military officer and others in the final days of the Trump administration

The book, from Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, describes how Milley and the other Joint Chiefs discussed a plan to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised.
“It was a kind of Saturday Night Massacre in reverse,” Leonnig and Rucker write.
The book, “I Alone Can Fix It,” scheduled to be released next Tuesday, chronicles Trump’s final year as president, with a behind-the-scenes look at how senior administration officials and Trump’s inner circle navigated his increasingly unhinged behavior after losing the 2020 election. The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours.
The book recounts how for the first time in modern US history the nation’s top military officer, whose role is to advise the president, was preparing for a showdown with the commander in chief because he feared a coup attempt after Trump lost the November election.
The authors explain Milley’s growing concerns that personnel moves that put Trump acolytes in positions of power at the Pentagon after the November 2020 election, including the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the resignation of Attorney General William Barr, were the sign of something sinister to come.
Milley spoke to friends, lawmakers and colleagues about the threat of a coup, and the Joint Chiefs chairman felt he had to be “on guard” for what might come.
“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to the authors. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”
In the days leading up to January 6, Leonnig and Rucker write, Milley was worried about Trump’s call to action. “Milley told his staff that he believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military.”
Milley viewed Trump as “the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” the authors write, and he saw parallels between Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric as a victim and savior and Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides, according to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.”
Ahead of a November pro-Trump “Million MAGA March” to protest the election results, Milley told aides he feared it “could be the modern American equivalent of ‘brownshirts in the streets,'” referring to the pro-Nazi militia that fueled Hitler’s rise to power.

‘This is all real, man’

Rucker and Leonnig interviewed more than 140 sources for the book, though most were given anonymity to speak candidly to reconstruct events and dialogue. Milley is quoted extensively and comes off in a positive light as someone who tried to keep democracy alive because he believed it was on the brink of collapse after receiving a warning one week after the election from an old friend.
“What they are trying to do here is overturn the government,” said the friend, who is not named, according to the authors. “This is all real, man. You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff.”
Milley’s reputation took a major hit in June 2020, when he joined Trump during his controversial photo-op at St. John’s Church, after federal forces violently dispersed a peaceful crowd of social justice protesters at Lafayette Square outside the White House. To make matters worse, Milley wore camouflage military fatigues throughout the incident. He later apologized, saying, “I should not have been there.”
Mark Milley testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 4, 2020.
But behind the scenes, the book says Milley was on the frontlines of trying to protect the country, including an episode where he tried to stop Trump from firing FBI Director Chris Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
Leonnig and Rucker recount a scene when Milley was with Trump and his top aides in a suite at the Army-Navy football game in December, and publicly confronted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“What’s going on? Are you guys getting rid of Wray or Gina?” Milley asked. “Come on chief. What the hell is going on here? What are you guys doing?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Meadows said. “Just some personnel moves.”
“Just be careful,” Milley responded, which Leonnig and Rucker write was said as a warning that he was watching.

‘That doesn’t make any sense’

The book also sheds new light on Trump’s descent into a dark and isolated vacuum of conspiracy theories and self-serving delusions after he was declared the loser of the 2020 election.
After the January 6 insurrection, the book says Milley held a conference call each day with Meadows and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Leonnig and Rucker report the officials used the calls to compare notes and “collectively survey the horizon for trouble.”
“The general theme of these calls was, come hell or high water, there will be a peaceful transfer of power on January twentieth,” one senior official told the authors. “We’ve got an aircraft, our landing gear is stuck, we’ve got one engine, and we’re out of fuel. We’ve got to land this bad boy.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrive for a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony for retired four-star Army general Jack Keane in the East Room of the White House March 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Milley told aides he saw the calls as an opportunity to keep tabs on Trump, the authors write.
Leonnig and Rucker also recount a scene where Pompeo visited Milley at home in the weeks before the election, and the two had a heart-to-heart conversation sitting at the general’s table. Pompeo is quoted as saying, “You know the crazies are taking over,” according to people familiar with the conversation.
The authors write that Pompeo, through a person close to him, denied making the comments attributed to him and said they were not reflective of his views.
In recent weeks Trump has attacked Milley, who is still the Joint Chiefs chairman in the Biden administration, after he testified to Congress about January 6.

‘You f**king did this’

The book also contains several striking anecdotes about prominent women during the Trump presidency, including GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former first lady Michelle Obama.
The book details a phone call the day after the January 6 insurrection between Milley and Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who has close military ties. Cheney voted to impeach Trump and has been an outspoken critic of his election lies, leading to her ouster from House GOP leadership.
Milley asked Cheney how she was doing.
“That fucking guy Jim Jordan. That son of a b*tch,” Cheney said, according to the book.
Cheney bluntly relayed to Milley what she experienced on the House floor on January 6 while pro-Trump rioters overran police and breached the Capitol building, including a run-in with Jordan, a staunch Trump ally in the House who feverishly tried to overturn the election.
Cheney described to Milley her exchange with Jordan: “While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.’ I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You f**king did this.'”

‘Crazy,’ ‘dangerous,’ ‘maniac’

The book reveals Pelosi’s private conversations with Milley during this tenuous period. When Trump fired Esper in November, Pelosi was one of several lawmakers who called Milley. “We are all trusting you,” she said. “Remember your oath.”
After the January 6 insurrection, Pelosi told the general she was deeply concerned that a “crazy,” “dangerous” and “maniac” Trump might use nuclear weapons during his final days in office.
“Ma’am, I guarantee you these processes are very good,” Milley reassured her. “There’s not going to be an accidental firing of nuclear weapons.”
“How can you guarantee me?” Pelosi asked.
“Ma’am, there’s a process,” he said. “We will only follow legal orders. We’ll only do things that are legal, ethical, and moral.”
A week after the insurrection, Pelosi led House Democrats’ second impeachment of Trump for inciting the insurrection. In an interview with the authors, Pelosi said she fears another president could try to pick up where Trump left off.
“We might get somebody of his ilk who’s sane, and that would really be dangerous, because it could be somebody who’s smart, who’s strategic, and the rest,” Pelosi said. “This is a slob. He doesn’t believe in science. He doesn’t believe in governance. He’s a snake-oil salesman. And he’s shrewd. Give him credit for his shrewdness.”

‘That b*tch’

The book quotes Trump, who had a strained relationship with Merkel, as telling his advisers during an Oval Office meeting about NATO and the US relationship with Germany, “That b*tch Merkel.”
“‘I know the f**king krauts,’ the president added, using a derogatory term for German soldiers from World War I and World War II,” Leonnig and Rucker write. “Trump then pointed to a framed photograph of his father, Fred Trump, displayed on the table behind the Resolute Desk and said, ‘I was raised by the biggest kraut of them all.'”
Trump, through a spokesman, denied to the authors making these comments.

‘No one has a bigger smile’

After January 6, Milley participated in a drill with military and law enforcement leaders to prepare for the January 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden. Washington was on lockdown over fears that far-right groups like the Proud Boys might try to violently disrupt the transfer of power.
Milley told a group of senior leaders, “Here’s the deal, guys: These guys are Nazis, they’re boogaloo boys, they’re Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II. We’re going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren’t getting in.”
Trump did not attend the inauguration, in a notable break with tradition, and the event went off without incident.
As the inauguration ceremony ended, Kamala Harris, who had just been sworn in as vice president, paused to thank Milley. “We all know what you and some others did,” she said, according to the authors. “Thank you.”
The book ends with Milley describing his relief that there had not been a coup, thinking to himself, “Thank God Almighty, we landed the ship safely.”
Milley expressed his relief in the moments after Biden was sworn in, speaking to the Obamas sitting on the inauguration stage. Michelle Obama asked Milley how he was feeling.
“No one has a bigger smile today than I do,” Milley said, according to Leonnig and Rucker. “You can’t see it under my mask, but I do.”

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Prince Charles body language: Future king ‘humbled’ at historic military outing – pictures

Prince Charles body language: Future king 'humbled' at historic military outing - pictures

Judi said: “With his chest strung with medals and his face wreathed in smiles, Charles looks delighted but also rather bashful to be presenting the Parachute Regiment with new colours here, beaming with genuine pride but with his posture suggesting he might also be feeling humbled by the troops he was meeting.”

Charles looked notably more relaxed than the military men he met at the event, Judi claimed.

The analyst added: “As he stands beside and in front of men who are pulled up rigidly to attention with their shoulders broadened and their body power at chest level, Charles uses a much more relaxed pose, with his head down, his shoulders and chest slightly lowered and his stomach arched out comfortably rather than pulled in.”

The future king did not try to mimic the posture of those around him, Judi claimed.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Myanmar military adopts ‘four cuts’ to stamp out coup opponents

On May 24 in Myanmar’s Kachin State, 13-year-old Awng Di walked over to his aunt’s house about noontime to feed her chickens. Thirty minutes later, heavy artillery crashed through the chicken coop; Awng Di died before reaching the nearby clinic.

“Our family has never been involved in politics … We’re just trying to survive,” Awng Di’s mother told Al Jazeera. “Now, I want to curse [the military soldiers] every time I see them.”

Momauk township, where Awng Di was from, has been the site of clashes between the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military, and the Kachin Independence Army, the armed wing of an ethnic armed organisation, since April. The uptick in violence in Momauk and other parts of Kachin State has displaced more than 11,000 people, according to UN estimates.

The clashes in Momauk mark a broader escalation in fighting across the country since the February 1 military coup, as decades-long conflicts between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar’s border areas resume or accelerate, and civilian defence forces emerge in townships that had not previously seen fighting.

In response to the increase in armed resistance, the Tatmadaw has launched indiscriminate air and ground strikes on civilian areas, displacing 230,000 people since the coup. Security forces have also looted and burned homes, blocked aid access and the transport of relief items, restricted water supplies, cut telecommunications networks, shelled places of refuge, and killed and arrested volunteers seeking to deliver humanitarian assistance.

According to Naw Htoo Htoo, program director of the Karen Human Rights Group, the Tatmadaw’s patterns of violence since the coup mark the continuation of a strategy known as four cuts, which the military began using in Karen State in the 1960s and has since deployed against civilian populations in other ethnic minority areas.

“[The Tatmadaw] doesn’t use the words ‘four cuts’ any more, but the strategy is definitely the same as the four cuts that they used on ethnic people for over 70 years,” said Naw Htoo Htoo.

Through means including restricting access to food, funds, intelligence and recruits, the strategy seeks to starve the support base of armed resistance and turn civilians against resistance groups.

In addition to Karen State, the armed forces have also used the strategy in areas including Kachin and Rakhine states, most notoriously in northern Rakhine State in 2017 when its ‘clearance operations’ sent hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim Rohingya fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.

According to Kim Jolliffe, an independent researcher focused on security and conflict in Myanmar, the four cuts strategy “treats civilians not just as ‘collateral damage’ but as a central resource in the battlefield.

“They are targeted directly with extreme violence and see their livelihoods intentionally destroyed so that armed groups cannot find sanctuary and civilian support,” he told Al Jazeera.

Indiscriminate violence

Since the coup, the Tatmadaw appears to have expanded its use of four cuts across the country, including in areas predominantly populated by the ethnic Bamar majority. In late March, after security forces looted homes in central Magway Region’s Gangaw township, locals began fighting back with hunting rifles. The Tatmadaw responded with heavy explosives and machine guns that killed four people and left more than 10,000 fleeing to the forest, according to local media group Myanmar Now.

Magway Region’s Pauk township also saw indiscriminate violence on the night of June 15, when more than 200 houses in Kinma village burned to the ground, killing an elderly couple trapped inside their home. Two Kinma residents who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity said they did not know about any clashes leading up to the fire, but according to Myanmar Now, the incident occurred days after skirmishes between local resistance fighters and plainclothes police and soldiers.

One of the villagers told Al Jazeera that he saw at least nine people in plainclothes enter the village at about 11pm on June 15, setting homes on fire and shooting at the village’s cattle, pigs and buffaloes.

The Tatmadaw has blamed the incident on 40 “terrorists” and said that media who accused it of torching the village were trying to discredit it.

The military spokesperson did not answer repeated calls from Al Jazeera seeking comment on the incidents of violence or the use of the “four cuts” strategy.

Now, the residents of Kinma are scattered in nearby villages or staying in makeshift shelters in the jungle, where they are running low on food and supplies, according to Than Tun Aung, the pseudonym for one of the two villagers from Kinma interviewed by Al Jazeera. “Collecting aid is challenging because there might be police or soldiers along the way,” he said. “We are always alert and ready to run.”

‘All lives are threatened’

Kayah State and neighbouring southern Shan State, which had been peaceful before the coup, have also been the target of intense Tatmadaw attacks since May 23, when a group calling itself the Karenni People’s Defence Force overran a police station in the town of Moebye in Shan State’s Pekon township and fighting quickly spread across the region. While civilian defence fighters conducted targeted ambushes with homemade weapons, the Tatmadaw launched what the UN described as “indiscriminate attacks”, firing artillery and guns into civilian areas and displacing 100,000 people, most of whom are now living in nearby forests.

Churches, where some have sought shelter, have been repeatedly attacked, including the Sacred Heart Church in Kayah State’s Loikaw township, which was shelled on May 24, killing four people.

Aid delivery in Kayah and Shan is difficult and dangerous. The Tatmadaw has blocked the flow of goods into conflict-affected townships, killed and arrested aid volunteers, and killed two displaced people as they tried to fetch rice from their homes.

Myanmar military adopts ‘four cuts’ to stamp out coup opponentsThe Myanmar military has stepped up attacks on civilians and aid deliveries as opposition to its coup has grown. Residents in Loikaw say this church, where people had taken shelter, was shelled by the armed forces [File: Kantarawaddy Times via AFP]

Joseph Reh, a volunteer relief worker in Pekon township who preferred his real name not be disclosed for security reasons, told Al Jazeera that his group initially used white flags when delivering aid in the hope it would protect them, but that security forces shot at them anyway.

His group stockpiled food and relief items in a school, but was initially unable to distribute the goods due to the risk of being attacked. On the afternoon of June 8, when volunteers attempted to carry sacks of rice to displaced people hiding in the mountains, he said that security forces fired at the group’s van, forcing it to turn back.

“Because of that, they found out where we keep our food and supplies,” said Joseph Reh. “They came to the school, took all our supplies to a field, and burned them” that evening. In total, he said more than 80 sacks of rice were destroyed, as well as stockpiles of other dry food items, medical supplies, an ambulance and a car.

“They destroyed things they weren’t supposed to destroy and which weren’t related to the people’s defence forces they are fighting,” said Joseph Reh. “The food supplies they burned were purely for displaced people … The ambulance they burned was not related to the fight at all. It said RESCUE and had a red cross logo.”

According to Joseph Reh, security forces fired into the mountains for the next two days, further restricting aid delivery.

In addition to shortages of food and supplies, displaced people face insufficient shelter and medical care. In Chin State’s Mindat township, where civilian defence forces took up hunting rifles and homemade weapons in mid-May, the Tatmadaw launched heavy weapon attacks which displaced more than 20,000 people. At least six displaced people have since died from lack of access to healthcare, according to Radio Free Asia.

“Everything is under military control and all lives are threatened,” said Salai Shane, the pseudonym for the head of a volunteer emergency response group in Mindat. He described “extreme difficulties” when trying to access displaced people.

Myanmar military adopts ‘four cuts’ to stamp out coup opponentsDemonstrators in Mandalay prepare to burn a mock coffin for army ruler Min Aung Hlaing on July 3. The military’s use of extreme force against protesters is raising further anger at the regime [File: Time For Revolution via Reuters]

On June 13, one of his group’s vehicles was seized en route from Pakokku, Magway region, to Mindat, while transporting food and raincoats; Salai Shane has since lost contact with the driver. Security forces arrested another member of the group on June 19 and confiscated his motorbike and the relief supplies which he was transporting to displaced people. During a week in custody, he was beaten and interrogated, according to Salai Shane’s account.

With aid volunteers having been shot dead in Kayah State, Salai Shane says he is especially fearful of delivering aid on foot. “Sometimes there is no route for motorbikes and we have to carry items by ourselves over several trips,” he said. “If we are in the forest or the jungle, we can be killed and our bodies disappeared.”

Military fuels anger

According to independent researcher Kim Jolliffe, the Tatmadaw is willing to do “unfathomable things” to the general public in order to retain control. “It knows only one way to deal with opposition and that is to beat every dissenting element of society into submission through extreme force,” he said.

But while the four cuts strategy may seek to turn the public against armed resistance or weaken resolve, Naw Htoo Htoo of the Karen Human Rights Group says the approach is likely to backfire.

“In the short term, there might be some impact on armed resistance due to food and water shortages and limited access to resources, but for the long term, [the Tatmadaw] will not be able to govern anywhere,” she said. “The more they oppress the people, the more civilians become stronger, because when they deliberately attack everyone, the people hate them more.”

Victims of Tatmadaw violence since the coup told Al Jazeera that the experiences have cemented their hatred of the security forces and made them even more determined to ensure their downfall.

Myanmar military adopts ‘four cuts’ to stamp out coup opponentsThe burned-out remains of Kinma VIllage. Local residents say the military torched their homes. An elderly couple were unable to escape and died in the fire [File: Pauk Township News via AFP]

“It will never be possible for us to view the military positively,” Than Tun Aung of Kinma village told Al Jazeera. “We just want to continue living peacefully as farmers … We have to end this military regime or we will suffer for our entire lives.”

In Mindat, Salai Shane has come to a similar conclusion. “If civilian defence forces could defeat the military and remove them from the area, we would be able to freely resume business and agricultural activities and live better lives,” he said. “We cannot separate the two: armed resistance groups are made up of civilians, because we all hate the military regime and aim to abolish it. Restricting aid to civilians will only delay the armed resistance movement, but cannot stop it.”

Author: Emily Fishbein
Read more here >>> Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

17 killed in military plane crash in southern Philippines

17 killed in military plane crash in southern Philippines

A Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 Hercules transport plane with 92 people aboard crashed on Sunday while attempting to land on Jolo island in Sulu province in the southern Philippines, killing 17 and and injuring 40 others, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement that among the 92 personnel on board the plane, three are pilots and five are crew members, with the rest being “Army personnel reporting for duty.”

Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing, Lorenzana added.

Armed Forces of the Philippine chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana said earlier the plane was transporting troops from Cagayan de Oro City on Mindanao island when it crashed around 11:30 a.m. local time on Jolo island.


“The plane missed the runway and tried to regain power but failed,” Sobejana said.

“Responders are at the site now,” he said, expressing hope that more people on the plane will be saved from the wreckage.

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Military plane transporting troops crashes in the Philippines

Military plane transporting troops crashes in the Philippines

Rescue efforts underway after C-130 crashed on Jolo island, army chief says.

A military plane transporting troops has crashed in southern Philippines after missing the runway during landing on Sunday, the military chief said.

General Cirilito Sobejana told reporters that at least 40 people have been rescued from the burning wreckage of the C-130, which crashed as it tried to land on Jolo island, 1,000km (621 miles) south of the capital Manila.

“Responders are at the site now, we are praying we can save more lives,” Sobejana said.

“It’s very unfortunate. The plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed.”

More to follow

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US sanctions 22, including Myanmar ministers, for military coup

US sanctions 22, including Myanmar ministers, for military coup

Several government ministers, military coup leaders and adult members of their families are among those being targeted.

The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on 22 individuals including four Myanmar government ministers in response to the February military coup and attacks against the country’s pro-democracy movement.

In a two-pronged action, the Treasury and Commerce Departments announced on Friday the punishments as part of Washington’s continued response to the overthrow of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government in February.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the new sanctions were levied “in response to the brutal campaign of violence perpetrated by the Burmese military regime and to continue imposing costs in connection with the military coup.”

The sanctions do not target the Myanmar people, but are aimed at pressuring the military to “immediately restore Burma’s (Myanmar’s) path to democracy,” Blinken said.

The sanctions target Myanmar’s minister of information Chit Naing, minister for investment Aung Naing Oo, labour and immigration minister Myint Kyaing, and Thet Thet Khine, the minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement.

Three members of the powerful State Administrative Council were also hit with sanctions, as were 15 spouses and adult children of officials, in an expansion of US punishments imposed in February, March and May following the coup.

Under the sanctions, all US property in the name of the individuals are blocked, and Americans or people in the US are prohibited from conducting property or interest transactions with them.

Andrea Gacki, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement the action demonstrates Washington “will continue to impose increasing costs on Burma’s military and promote accountability for those responsible for the military coup and ongoing violence”.

The US and other western countries have already imposed several sanctions against individuals in Myanmar since the coup.

Death toll

The Department of Commerce meanwhile slapped sanctions on four business entities: King Royal Technologies Co, which provides satellite communications services supporting the military; and Wanbao Mining and its two subsidiaries, which have revenue-sharing agreements with a company that helps fund the country’s defence ministry.

The actions come as Myanmar rejected new figures released by the United Nations, which said there were reports from within the country that security forces have killed at least 883 unarmed people, including at least 40 who are believed to have died in custody.

At a Tuesday briefing, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that the global agency’s country team also determined that 5,202 people were in detention as a result of their opposition to the military takeover.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it “strongly objects” to the numbers presented by the United Nations.

“The United Nations is requested not to release one-sided remarks without verification and to verify sensitive information with relevant focal ministries before its release,” the statement added.

Authorities on Wednesday released more than 2,000 anti-coup protesters from prisons across Myanmar, including local journalists jailed after reporting critically on the military’s crackdown.

On Saturday, there have been reports of the possible release of more people from prison, as the country’s military leader Gen Min Aung Hlaing marks his birthday.

Meanwhile, protesters remained defiant of Min Aung Hlaing’s leadership, with several protests held across the nation on Saturday denouncing him. Many protesters also held a symbolic cremation of his image while laying funeral wreaths emblazoned with the general’s name.

Protests were even held in the country’s second city of Mandalay despite a lockdown order on Friday due to the spread of COVID. At least two million residents are covered by the order.

Myanmar’s creaking healthcare system has already been struggling to respond to the pandemic even before the February coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since the coup, thousands of doctors, volunteers and civil servants have joined a mass civil disobedience campaign to protest against the military regime.

Myanmar has reported 3,347 virus-related deaths, although true figures are likely to be higher.

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NATO Military Committee to visit Georgia in September

NATO Military Committee to visit Georgia in September

BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 2

Tamilla Mammadova – Trend:

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili discussed with the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai the visit of the Alliance Military Committee, which is scheduled for September, Trend reports referring to the press service of the Georgian government.

“At the meeting, the sides stressed the importance of the visit of the NATO Military Committee, which is planned for September, as well as the role of the Georgia-NATO joint exercises in strengthening the compatibility of the Georgian Defense Forces. According to the Prime Minister, despite the coronavirus pandemic, it is necessary to maintain positive dynamics in Georgia’s cooperation with NATO and the integration process,” the statement reads.

In addition, the parties discussed the issue of the Black Sea security and the results of the NATO summit held in Brussels in June.

“We discussed cooperation between Georgia and NATO, the security of the Black Sea, as well as significant achievements of Georgia on the Euro-Atlantic path and the need for further advancement in the political dimension of the integration process,” Garibashvili wrote on his Twitter following the meeting.


The NATO Military Committee is the supreme military body of the North Atlantic Alliance, which consists of the Chiefs of Staff of NATO countries. Its main role is to provide guidance on military policy and strategy. The committee discusses NATO’s operations and missions and makes recommendations to the North Atlantic Council on how to address security challenges around the world.

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