Military

Regional News • Middle East
NATO expands Iraq mission up to 4000 soldiers

NATO is expanding its mission in Iraq to about 4000 soldiers. This was decided by the Alliance's defence ministers, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced. The aim is to prevent the jihadist militia "Islamic State" from gaining strength again.

NATO has been training security forces in Iraq since 2017. So far, the training and advisory mission has a maximum strength of 500 soldiers, of which around 300 are currently in the country, according to the alliance. Iraqi soldiers are trained in particular in the defusing of explosive devices, maintenance and medical care. In addition, they are advising the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and other security authorities.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden overturns Trump's transgender military ban
Biden overturns Trump's transgender military ban
Credit: @POTUS via Twitter

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order on Monday, reversing a Trump-era ban prohibiting transgender Americans to join the military. The order states that the government "immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances related to gender identity."

"Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride," so Biden on Twitter.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Germany starts using new government jet Airbus A350-900

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) was allowed to use the Airbus A350-900 for the first time for a trip to Egypt.

The new jet is 67 meters long, can reach speeds of up to 960 kilometers per hour, flies more than 13,000 meters high and can reach any destination worldwide without a stopover.

Being the the first of three new acquisitions, the two other A350-900s are to be delivered for the Bundeswehr's "white fleet" by 2022.

Regional News • World
USA imposes sanctions on Turkey over purchase of Russian missile system
USA imposes sanctions on Turkey over purchase of Russian missile system
Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The U.S. is imposing sanctions on NATO ally Turkey over its deployment of Russia's S-400 missile defense system. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday in Washington that punitive measures would be imposed against the Defense Security Directorate (SSB). The directorate reports to the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The sanctions included a ban on all U.S. export licenses and permits for SSB, Pompeo announced.

Any assets of SSB chief Ismail Demir and other U.S. executives would be frozen. They would also be subject to entry restrictions. At the same time, Pompeo stressed that Turkey is a "valued ally" of the U.S. and an important security partner in the region, and that they would like to see continued cooperation in the defense sector.

Technology • Internet & Web
Report: The U.S. Military is buying user location data harvested from a Muslim prayer app that has been downloaded by 98 million people around the world
Report: The U.S. Military is buying user location data harvested from a Muslim prayer app that has been downloaded by 98 million people around the world
Credit: unsplash.com / Lianhao Qu

According to an article by Motherboard (Vice) the magazine has observed both the Android and iOS versions of the Muslim Pro app sending granular location data to the X-Mode endpoint multiple times.

X-Mode is a company that obtains location data directly from apps, then sells that data to contractors, and by extension, the military. Motherboard has used public records, interviews with developers, and technical analysis to discover the connection that the military uses data from X-Mode.

Regional News • Americas • South America
After nearly 40 years Falkland Islands celebrate being landmine free
After nearly 40 years Falkland Islands celebrate being landmine free
Credit: Petebutt / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The population of the Falkland Islands has been celebrating the removal of an estimated 13,000 mines that were planted by Argentine forces in the 1982 military conflict.

Barry Elsby, a member of the island's legislative assembly, has stated that "This will be another good bit of closure for people who were here when the invasion happened and lived through the horrors of that time" and added that "All the mine signposts were a constant reminder of what happened but now they are all away, it's another return to normality".

Regional News • Europe • European Union
German Social Democratic party proposes creation of independent EU army
German Social Democratic party proposes creation of independent  EU army
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Stub

According to a paper of the Working Group on Security and Defence Policy, quoted by "Welt am Sonntag", the SPD calls for the introduction of a "28th EU army". The force would be directly subordinated to the European Commission and would be under the responsibility of a newly appointed Commissioner for Defence.

"Our aim is to improve the EU's ability to act, regardless of the tiresome questions of sovereignty," Fritz Felgentreu, defence policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, told the newspaper.

Law
Former German Military Counterintelligence Service member acquitted of treason charges
Former German Military Counterintelligence Service member acquitted of treason charges
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Stub

A German former Military Counterintelligence Service member (MAD) has been acquitted of the charge of treason. The 44-year-old military member had been accused to have warned a KSK-soldier of a raid by the attorney general as part of a right-wing extremism investigation.

The suspect himself had stated this during his interrogations and publicly. The MAD employee had now testified in court that the information had come from a leak at the Attorney General. Thereupon the public prosecutor withdrew the appeal proceedings.

Regional News • Americas • United States
United States launch Pentagon's airborne nuclear command posts as Trump tests positive for Covid-19
United States launch Pentagon's airborne nuclear command posts as Trump tests positive for Covid-19
Credit: Courtesy Tim Hogan via Twitter

One E-6B Mercury plane has been launched on each the west and the east of the American coasts shortly before President Donald Trump announced that he has been tested positive for Covid-19.

The planes are airborne nuclear command posts for the Pentagon that carry special communication systems and crews that command the nuclear ballistic-missile submarine fleet of the United States.

Tim Hogan, an open-source intelligence practitioner from the United States has tweeted that he "would expect them to pup up if he [Trump] tests positive". The airplanes could be tracked via public software only because the military crews did not turn off the transponders.

Law
Spain: Eight members of Spanish Legion prosecuted for covering up the death of a soldier
Spain: Eight members of Spanish Legion prosecuted for covering up the death of a soldier
Credit: Oscar en el medio (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A military judge has tried a sergeant, a captain, two lieutenants, a corporal and three soldiers of the Spanish Legion for crimes such as concealment, disloyalty, disobedience and obstruction of justice. The Legion members had previously shot tried to cover up after the tried sergeant had shot another soldier.

In a 150-page ruling, the military judge details the accumulation of irregularities that surrounded the exercise in which 21-year-old Mallorcan Legionnaire Alejandro Jiménez Cruz lost his life, and the lies concocted to obstruct the investigation.

Regional News • World
US Space Comnmand warns of possible armed Russian satellite
Representative picture of a NASA satellite
Representative picture of a NASA satellite Credit: unsplash.com / Nasa

The US Space Command has stated that they have evidence of Russia testing an anti-satellite weapon in space. According to them "a projectile was launched from" the Cosmos 2543 Russian satellite, that has been tailing a US spy satellite.

Russia claims the object that has been dispatched from the satellite was an inspector satellite. Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, rejected that explanation and stated that "the behavior of that satellite looked nothing like an inspector satellite and looked like something much more concerning".

Regional News • Europe
Finland's air force quietly drops swastika symbol
F/A-18 from the Finnish Air Force
F/A-18 from the Finnish Air Force Credit: Airwolfhound (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Finnish Air Force Command removed the swastika from its emblem without making any announcement. The symbol had been in use since 1918 when Swedish Count Eric von Rosen gifted a plane to the nascent air force of Finland.

While the air force had stopped using the swastika on its planes after World War II, the symbol featured on unit emblems, unit flags and uniforms until recently.

Regional News • Europe • Russia
Russia stages military parade one day ahead of referendum to extend Putin's rule until 2036
2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade
2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade Credit: kremlin.ru (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Russia is showing it's military in a parade on Wednesday one day ahead of the constitutional referendum that would enable President Vladimir Putin to extend his reign until 2036. The military parade is happening in honour of the 75th anniversary of the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany. The annual parade was originally scheduled for the beginning of May but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year 14,000 soldiers and different kinds of weapons will be shown in it.

Science • Physics & Engineering
US Navy shoots down drone with high-energy laser during military test
Screenshot Youtube
Screenshot Youtube Credit: United States Naval Institute

The US Navy has announced that the test of a high-energy laser has been successful. The transport dock ship USS Portland manage to shoot down a drone from mid-air with a high-energy laser for the first time.

Regional News • Americas • United States
U.S. Navy dismisses Captain who sounded the alarm on Coronavirus

The U.S. Navy relieved Capt. Brett Crozier of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt of his command after he wrote a memo sounding the alarm on an exploding coronavirus infection on board the cramped quarters of the aircraft carrier.

Last week, the aircraft carrier was ordered to port in Guam after five sailors tested positive for Covid-19.