China’s hypersonic development part of leaked Pentagon documents; leaker arrested

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Leaked Pentagon documents reveal China successfully tested a new hypersonic nuclear-capable missile in February – with a ‘high probability of penetrating’ US defenses
  • Among the classified documents leaked by Jack Teixeira was a February 28 top-secret report by the Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence directorate
  • Teixeira, 21, was arrested on Thursday at his home in Massachusetts. He is believed to have shared hundreds of classified documents with friends on a Discord chat room between the fall and mid March
  • The document said that on February 25, China had successfully tested a new hypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile called the DF-27
  • The DF-27 ‘possesses a high probability of penetrating US’ missile defenses, the secret report said
  • The February 28 memo also revealed that last year the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, deployed versions of the new missile that can attack land targets and ships.
  • The DF-27 flew for 12 minutes and traveled 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles), the leaked document revealed.
  • ‘The DF-27 is designed to enhance [China’s] ability to hold targets at risk beyond the Second Island Chain and possesses a high probability of penetrating U.S.’ ballistic missile defense, the report stated.
  • The Second Island Chain references the area stretching from central Japan through the Marianas and Micronesia.
  • The third is centered on Hawaii. The first is closer to China, and runs from the far south of Japan through the South China Sea.

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DOD opens investigation into leak source showing western special forces on the ground in Ukraine

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Ukraine war: Leak shows Western special forces on the ground
  • The UK is among a number of countries with military special forces operating inside Ukraine, according to one of dozens of documents leaked online.
  • It confirms what has been the subject of quiet speculation for over a year.
  • The leaked files, some marked “top secret”, paint a detailed picture of the war in Ukraine, including sensitive details of Ukraine’s preparations for a spring counter-offensive.
  • The US government says it is investigating the source of the leak.
  • According to the document, dated 23 March, the UK has the largest contingent of special forces in Ukraine (50), followed by fellow Nato states Latvia (17), France (15), the US (14) and the Netherlands (1).
  • The document does not say where the forces are located or what they are doing.
  • US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Department of Justice had opened a criminal investigation and he was determined to find the source of the leak.
  • “We will continue to investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it,” he said.

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Donald Trump Jr. wants ‘leak’ probe, as Congress’ Russia probes press on

Donald Trump Jr. wants 'leak' probe, as Congress' Russia probes press on

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s eldest son asked a House of Representatives committee on Tuesday to investigate possible leaks of information about his Dec. 6 interview with lawmakers, as congressional probes of Russia and the 2016 election picked up steam ahead of the New Year.

Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Donald Trump Jr., asked Representative Michael Conaway, the Republican leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the election, to look into comments he said came from committee members and staff that were included in media reports.

“To maintain the credibility of the Investigation, this Committee should determine whether any member or staff member violated the Rules,” he said in a letter to Conaway.

A spokeswoman for Conaway declined comment.

Separately, the Associated Press reported that Trump Jr. was due to appear in Congress again on Wednesday, this time before the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, the committee’s chairman, would not confirm the report. Other committee members and their aides declined comment. Futerfas also declined comment.

The Senate and House Intelligence panels are conducting the main congressional investigations after U.S. intelligence agencies found that Moscow attempted to influence the campaign to help the Republican Trump defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

They are also working to determine whether Trump associates colluded with Russia.

Moscow denies seeking to influence the election, and Trump has dismissed any talk of collusion.

The two committees, sometimes members and sometimes staff, have been conducting frequent interviews with a variety of witnesses, seeking to wrap up their investigations well before the U.S. congressional elections in November 2018.

Burr said he felt “some urgency” related to election security related to next year’s vote. He said he expected the Senate committee’s investigation would last into 2018, and that there were dozens more people still to be interviewed.

“So it’s going to carry over (into next year), but it’s not going to carry over far unless the basket of people (to be interviewed) changes, and the only way that changes is if we learn of individuals that we didn’t know about today,” Burr told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.

He said the committee did not now plan any more public hearings in its Russia probe.

Separately, Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign official, was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee for more than four hours on Tuesday. He came to the attention of investigators after a report that he encouraged George Papadopoulos, a one-time Trump foreign policy campaign adviser, to improve relations between the United States and Russia.

Clovis’ attorney denied those reports. She did not respond immediately to a request for comment about his House testimony on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Highest levels of radiation reported by TEPCO from Fukushima power plant

A worker puts up new logo of TEPCO Holdings and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Group on the wall ahead of the transition to a holding company system through a compan

By Kami Klein

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced the highest documented radiation levels ever recorded in reactor 2 of the damaged Fukushima  No. 1 power plant.  Based on its analysis of measurements and pictures taken by a remote controlled sensor and camera instrument, radiation levels recorded were the highest ever documented since the triple core meltdown in March 2011. TEPCO also reported close to a 3 foot hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel of reactor 2 of the damaged Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

According to the Japan Times the power plant has reached a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour.  At 530 sieverts, a person could die from even the briefest exposure.  This highlights the difficulties that lie ahead for TEPCO and the Japanese Government as they try to figure out a way to dismantle all three reactors that were damaged by the March, 2011 9.0 earthquake and giant tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people.

Officials had never taken into account for the “unimaginable” radiation levels that are being seen.  Experts say that 1 sievert could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts.  Cancer risks increase substantially with any radiation levels above the 100 millisieverts or 1 sievert mark.

In a report by the Washington Post, TEPCO recorded radiation near the reactor core using a stick-like robot equipped with a camera and a device designed to measure radiation levels and has suggested that some melted fuel escaped.  Officials state that this was the first time this kind of device has been able to get into this part of the reactor, which explains the unprecedented amount of radiation recorded.  TEPCO said that at this level of radiation, a robot would only operate for less than two hours before it was destroyed.

If deposits that have been seen on portions of the grating are proven to be melted fuel, it would be the first time they have found even a trace of any sign of the fuel rods since the core meltdowns occurred. Levels of radiation are too high to check the actual condition of the fuel, which they believe has melted through their pressure vessels and is pooled at the bottom of their containment units.  This fuel MUST be discovered and removed before the plants can be decommissioned.

Reuters reports that TEPCO has been developing robots that can swim under water and navigate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods.  But as soon as the robots get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring and renders them useless.  TEPCO does plan to send this robot into Reactor 1 but are still unsure regarding Reactor 2 because of the very intense radiation levels.

Officials still state that these levels may not actually be rising but because they have not been tested so closely to the reactor, they are just now getting a better idea of the true levels recorded. TEPCO does report a 30% margin of error in the tests.

The effects of the radiation on the rest of the world have been in constant discussion and arguments among government officials and environmental scientists.  One year ago, PBS reported that more than 80 percent of the radioactivity from the damaged reactors ended up in the Pacific, far more than ever reached the ocean from Chernobyl or Three Mile Island.  A small fraction is currently on the seafloor, but the rest was swept up by the Kuroshio current, a western Pacific version of the Gulf Stream, and carried out to sea.  Recently, radioactive contamination has been documented near British Columbia and California.