The US government says another Chinese spy balloon is traveling over Latin America.
“We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Fox News Friday night. “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon.”
Ryder said during a briefing Thursday the U.S. government detected a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental U.S. A senior defense official said during the briefing the U.S. government is “confident” the surveillance balloon is from the People’s Republic of China.
The balloon was recently over Montana, and the official said the government considered shooting it down but decided against using military force because of the potential risks. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday the balloon is a “civilian airship” being used for meteorological purposes and deviated from its planned course.
When President Biden was briefed on the situation, he asked for military options, the official said.
“You did see reports yesterday of a ground stop at Billings Airport and the mobilization of a number of assets, including F-22,” the official said. “The context for that was that we put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down while it was over Montana.”
* * *
Update (2143ET): The City of Billings is aware of a video circulating social media of what appears to be an explosion in the sky. However, city officials confirmed with the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services and Governor Greg Gianforte there have been no explosions in Montana airspace.
“They are aware of the video, and it can not be substantiated,” the City said.
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Here’s the clearest picture of the suspected Chinese spy balloon.
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A suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the US was spotted in the skies of north Kansas City on Friday afternoon.
The question people are asking: Where is the balloon headed?
To answer that, Capital Weather Gang said:
“Forward trajectory based on atmospheric steering currents would bring it close to St. Louis tonight & into North Carolina Saturday.”
A map of the balloon’s trajectory.
Others say the balloon could take a different path:
* * *
Bloomberg confirmed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would postpone his trip to Beijing amid spy balloon allegations.
The two-day trip was set to begin on Sunday. Even before Blinken postponed his trip, expectations were low to reset deteriorating Sino-US ties.
* * *
In response to some US officials accusing China of sending a spy balloon near ICBM fields in Montana, the Chinese foreign ministry said the balloon was for monitoring the ‘weather’ and veered off course and entered into US airspace due to force majeure.
The ministry “regrets the unintended entry” and said Chinese officials would continue communicating with the US about the balloon. They added the balloon is for meteorological and ‘other scientific research.’
Earlier, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning urged the US to act “calmly and prudently” after some US officials accused China of sending a spy balloon.
“I want to emphasize that before the facts are clear, any speculation and hype are not conducive to the solution of the problem,” Ning said.
So China states the balloon is for weather purposes only, while some US officials declare it a spy balloon. One thing is certain. The balloon mysteriously ended up near a highly sensitive area in Montana that is home to ICBM fields.
* * *
US military commanders have advised President Biden against shooting down a Chinese spy balloon flying over the US.
Reuters said the US military took “custody” of the “high-altitude surveillance balloon” and deployed military aircraft, including stealth fighter jets, to observe it.
Such balloons operate at an altitude of 15-22 miles, well above commercial air traffic. The balloon’s size is estimated to be equivalent to three buses.
“The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters Thursday.
“The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground,” Ryder continued.
Right now, the spy balloon appears to be occupying Montana airspace. This alarmed the state’s Republican Senator Steve Daines, who sent an alarming letter to the Department of Defense (DOD). He said the spy balloon is a “concerning event”: because Montana airspace includes “Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB) and the United State’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fields.”
Daines wrote that given “the serious nature of the event,” he is “requesting a full security briefing from the administration on this situation.”
“It is vital to establish the flight path of this balloon, any compromised US national security assets, and all telecom or IT infrastructure on the ground within the US that this spy balloon was utilizing,” he continued.
“As you know, Montana plays a vital national security role by housing nuclear missile silos at Malmstrom AFB,” the senator said.
Separately, Canada’s defense ministry is monitoring a “potential second incident” but declined to give further details.
News of the spy balloon followed CIA Director William Burns’ speech at a Georgetown University event, where he called China the “biggest geopolitical challenge” facing the West.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Sweden Turns To Military For Help Amid Daily Shootings, Bombings In Migrant Gangland Chaos
Last year Sweden witnessed its highest death toll from shootings on record, at more than 60 killed, with this year on track to possibly surpass that as the country’s gang violence continues spiraling out of control.
At a moment scenes of illegal migrants flooding southern Europe from across the Mediterranean continue unabated, even mainstream publications like FT haven’t hesitated to identify what’s fueling the crime and turning Sweden’s streets into war zones: “Police chiefs have said that Sweden is facing its most serious domestic security situation since the second world war as immigrant drug gangs engage in a bloody conflict,” FT writes.
And there’s even “child soldiers” in the heart of Scandinavian Europe: “Police believe the gangs are increasingly using children to commit the crimes, as those under 18 often go unpunished or receive low sentences from the courts.”
Headlines like this one days ago from the Associated Press have tragically become almost commonplace: A 13-year-old boy found shot in the woods was a victim of Sweden’s gang violence. Gangs also regularly commit bombings and arson, sometimes destroying whole city blocks and districts.
Sweden has for much of the last decade been the leading bastion of liberal immigration policies in Europe, having welcomed hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa. Simultaneously its third-largest city, Malmö, has for years been widely seen as Europe’s gun homicide capital.
And yet, the European Left tends to only emphasize talking points of “failure to integrate” and “racism” and “rightwing extremism” – which has led to “parallel societies”, serving to periodically unleash riots in places with large immigrant concentrations.
Now, after a dozen more lives were lost this month, which has included innocent bystanders and young gang members alike, government leaders are talking about ‘getting tough’ by calling in the military:
Sweden’s prime minister on Thursday said that he’s summoned the head of the military to discuss how the armed forces can help police deal with an unprecedented crime wave that has shocked the country with almost daily shootings and bombings.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is meeting with both the armed forces’ supreme commander and the national police commissioner on Friday to consider “how the armed forces can help police in their work against the criminal gangs.”
“Sweden has never before seen anything like this,” Kristersson said of soaring violent crime during a Thursday televised speech to the nation. “No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this.”
According to more from the AP:
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years, but the surge in shootings and bombings in September has been exceptional. Three people were killed overnight in separate attacks with suspected links to criminal gangs, which often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
One of the victims was a woman in her 20s who died in an explosion in Uppsala, north of Stockholm. Swedish media said she was likely not the intended target of the attack.
Addressing this week’s tragic bombing, Kristersson described that “A 25-year-old woman went to bed last night on a completely ordinary evening but never got to wake up.”
He added: “We will hunt the gangs, we will defeat the gangs.” The aforementioned powerful blast in a residential area had ripped the facades off multiple houses.
Below: Gang-related shootings and killings have been the bulk of overall confirmed homicides in the country…
You will find more infographics at Statista
Kristersson’s center-right government rose power last year largely on a platform of getting tough on crime. Kristersson has done a rare thing for a Swedish politician, placing blame squarely on “irresponsible migration policies and failed integration” under the previous government and years of failed policies.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Russian Mystery Plane That Landed In Pyongyang Making Washington Nervous
A Russian ‘mystery plane’ spotted in North Korea is making Washington nervous, after Kim Jong Un visited Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin this moth. The two leaders, deemed ‘rogue’ actors by the West, are believed to have discussed and possibly inked a weapons deal at a moment Moscow needs more ammunition for military operations in Ukraine.
Citing aviation tracking site FlightRadar24, Bloomberg described it as an an unscheduled Russian military VIP plane that landed in Pyongyang earlier this week.
The aircraft was in the North Korean capital for two days, however, both countries have kept mum as to its purpose. It could have been transporting another high-level Russian defense delegation.
“The tail number on the plane indicates it was the same aircraft Russia sent to North Korea in August, just days after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to Pyongyang and was guided by Kim through a collection of his country’s latest weaponry,” Bloomberg noted.
The West fears that that this was part of furthering agreements for technology and weapons transfers between the two countries, which are both heavily sanctioned by the US, also amid efforts to isolate them on the world stage.
Russian planes landing in the broader region might not normally be significant, but is very noticeable in the case of flights to North Korea in particular, given that—
North Korea has had almost no international air traffic since it closed its borders at the start of the pandemic in early 2020. The arrival of two flights in the space of less than two months highlights cooperation between the two countries, which have drawn closer as the US and its partners tried to isolate them with international sanctions.
Kim’s trip in Russia, which wrapped up only very recently, lasted two weeks. It included tours of Russian military technology plants, including an aircraft factory in the Russian city of Komsomolsk-na-Amure.
Washington has over the course of the Ukraine conflict at various points accused North Korea of supplying the Russian military with additional artillery ammo. US intelligence has in the recent past alleged that train shipments between the two countries included covert ammo supplies, but something which has not been proven.
The two countries actually share a small border. More recently, there have been accusations that Wagner Group, which is now on the outs with Moscow in the wake of the mutiny in June and after Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death, purchased large quantities of arms and equipment from the Kim Jong-Un government.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Canadian Speaker Of The House QUITS Following Nazi Scandal
Anthony Rota falls on his sword as Trudeau refused to take any responsibility
The Canadian Speaker of the House has resigned following the incident where a 98-year-old SS solider was cheered and honoured in Parliament, with Prime Minter Justin Trudeau refusing to take any responsibility, despite meeting with the Ukrainian Nazi beforehand.
As we noted earlier this week, Anthony Rota apologised for the scandal, but it wasn’t enough.
Trudeau through Rota under the bus:
Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre told parliament that “Canadians are sick and tired of a prime minister who never takes responsibility for things that happen under his watch,” adding “he always finds someone else to throw under the bus,” and asking the Speaker of the House “are you that person?”
Turns out he is:
“It’s with a heavy heart that I rise to inform members of my resignation as Speaker for the House of Commons,” Rota stated, adding “I reiterate my profound regret for my error in recognizing an individual in the House during the joint address to Parliament of President Zelensky.”
Rota further stated “that public recognition has caused pain to individuals and communities including the Jewish community in Canada and around the world, in addition to survivors of Nazi atrocities in Poland, among other nations.”
It seemingly didn’t matter that Trudeau personally met with the Nazi before the celebration in Parliament:
Trudeau didn’t show up in Parliament and his underlings attempted, but failed, to get all records of the Nazi scandal erased from history:
Spectator writer Brendan O’Neill notes that “This is the same Trudeau who fantasises that Nazism lurks everywhere. Who gleefully brands his critics as ‘far right’. Who has damned everyone from parents worried about LGBTQ education to truckers concerned about vaccine mandates as footsoldiers of a 1930s-style populism.”
“Welcome to Woke Canada, where moms and pops who would rather their kid wasn’t transitioned behind their backs are far right, while a literal former SS fighter gets a fulsome round of applause,” he adds.
O’Neill continues, “you don’t need a PhD in European history to think that a Ukrainian military man who fought against the Ruskies in the 1940s was probably linked with the Nazis,” adding “The cluelessness is off the scale.”
He concludes that “The Hunka scandal is a perfect snapshot of the liberal elite’s weird and delirious obsession with the far right. They marshall the horrors of the 1940s to condemn their critics in the here and now, as if every trucker protest and parental uprising were a harbinger of a new Fourth Reich. Yet when face to face with someone who was involved in the horrors of the 1940s, they smile and fawn.”
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