News of the Force: Sunday, January 21, 2018 - Page 1

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                                            NEWS OF THE FORCE: Sunday, January 21, 2018 - Page 1


The case for using military force on North Korea
Flag of North Korea    
     See: http://thelead.com/case-using-military-force-north-korea/ .
    
Even before he was elected South Korea's president eight months ago, Moon Jae-in was vowing to take the "driver's seat" in global efforts to deal with North Korea.
     Rows of sewing machines in one Chinese garment factory on the border with North Korea are now silent and un- manned after UN sanctions sent home their seamstresses from the secretive country.
     And an advance team for North Korea arrived in Seoul today as Pyongyang reversed a decision to cancel the visit, a day after signing an agreement with the South to march under a unified flag at next month's Winter Olympics.

At least five killed in attack on Afghan hotel
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Five people were found dead in Kabul's largest hotel this morning as authorities hunted the surviving attackers of an armed group that stormed the hotel hours earlier, trapping hundreds of guests during fighting that raged outside.

Russia asks US president to counter 'Russo-phobic' intrigue'
     Russia's top diplomat has exhorted US President Donald Trump to counter “Russo-phobic” intrigues against him in the United States to improve ties between Washington and Moscow.

Turkey launches incursion on Syrian Kurds' stronghold
By Lisa Levine, News of the Force Tel Aviv
Centered menorah surrounded by two olive branches    
    
Turkey launched a ground offensive against Kurdish separatist fighters and Islamic State positions in northwest Syria today after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ignored calls from the US to stand down. The US' primary ally in Syria has come under attack from another partner, Turkey, putting the Pentagon in a difficult position as a new front opened violently between two friendly forces. Turkish warplanes carried out airstrikes against Kurdish fighters in Syria yesterday to open a long-anticipated offensive on Afrin, an enclave for the Kurdish militias backed by the United States.
     Russia is aiming to prevent the U.S. from undercutting Syrian President Bashar Assad through the new policies for the country outlined by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
    
Russian Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and his US counterpart Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford have discussed the situation in Syria by phone, the RIA news agency reported yesterday, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.
    
Jordan's al-Rad newspaper yesterday morning reported that Israel had transferred $5 million to the Jordanian government as compensation for the deaths of Mohammed Jawada and Bashir Hamarna, who were shot by an Israeli security guard, as well as for the death of Jordanian Judge Raed Zeiter.
     And
US Vice President Pence met with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Sisi yesterday in a 2-1/2 hour session that focused, in part, on Egypt's anger over President Trump's abrupt decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


     Couzin Gym's Thought for the Day: When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.


Homeland insecurity
Flag of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg    
     US military special forces and US Customs and Border Protection recently finished testing border wall prototypes - and the results couldn’t be more conclusive. According to The Associated Press, the commandos and CBP finished a three-week test this week and found the new walls "stop border crossers." Commandos and agents attempted "to breach and scale the eight models in San Diego, using jackhammers, saws, torches and other tools and climbing devices" but were unable to breach the walls each time, a US official anonymously told the AP. The testing was conducted on eight different wall proposals and was designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each design. The best design, the officials concluded, was a see-through steel barrier topped by concrete. The government prefers this design because it allows agents to see through the wall at ground level, while the concrete at the top makes scaling the wall exponentially more difficult. However, officials also believe pulling the strengths from each design will help produce the best final product.
     Immigration authorities have detained in recent weeks two prominent activists who are themselves illegal immigrants, demonstrating the Trump administration’s commitment to expand the pool of deportable aliens. The arrested men have openly lived in the US for years and have until recently enjoyed a de facto immunity from deportation, thanks to their status as high-profile immigrants’ rights activists. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have denied the arrests are politically motivated, but they clearly show that immigration agents are now emboldened to arrest even the most connected of illegal immigrants. Both men are leaders of the Mew Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, a network of religious and social organizations that works to prevent the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants. ICE officers first detained Jean Montrevil, a Haitian national who had lived in the US since 1986 despite having served a prison term for drug possession that resulted in a deportation order. Montrevil, who co-founded the New Sanctuary coalition, was taken into custody in early January near his home in Queens, touching off a firestorm of protest. Activists accused ICE of breaking an "understanding" that Montrevil would not be arrested while he appealed his order of removal. Despite the public outcry, ICE deported Montrevil to Haiti last Tuesday. The week before Montrevil’s removal, ICE arrested Ravidath Ragbir during his check-in with officials at the ICE office in New York. The executive director of New Sanctuary and the public face of immigration activism in New York City, Ragbir came to the US in 1991 as a legal permanent resident, but he was ordered deported in 2006 following a wire fraud conviction for which he served a two-and-a-half year prison sentence. In 2011, the New York field office of ICE granted Ragbir a stay of removal. Then, last April, the Trump administration granted an extension of that stay, but only until Jan. 19th, according to The New York Times. Ragbir’s fellow immigration activists have painted his arrest as an "arbitary and cruel" detention. Alina Das, Ragbir’s attorney, says he would not have been targeted under the Obama administration, which prioritized deportation of illegal immigrants who were public safety threats or who had committed "serious"crimes. The severity of Ragbir’s offense is debatable, but his conviction for wire fraud in a $400,000 mortgage embezzlement scheme was upheld in 2002 by 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, President Donald Trump’s sister. Since that ruling, Ragbir has used his prominence in the activist community to successfully obtain several stays of removal. But the Trump administration’s more expansive immigration enforcement priorities appear to have closed the door for good. Ragbir’s wife Amy Gottlieb, an immigration lawyer, has accused the Trump administration of singling out her husband because of his outspoken activism. "Like Jean Montrevil and thousands of other immigrants caught in ICE raids, Ravi threatens no one," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed published on Thursday. "On the contrary, he and other immigrant leaders have lead their communities with dignity and courage during a brutal time. That’s why they were snatched - and why ICE wants to deport them." Still, ICE appears to be set on deporting Ragbir to his native Trinidad, saying last week in a statement that he had "exhausted his petitions and appeals through the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration appeals, and the US District Court." On Thursday, ICE transferred Ragbir from a detention facility in Miami, Fla.,  to New York while he fights the order of removal.
     The Department of Homeland Security was "caught by surprise" by President Donald Trump's first travel ban executive order, issued a week after he took office, and violated two court orders in preventing some travelers from boarding US-bound flights, the department's inspector general has said.
     Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking the federal government to investigate St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for what he called illegal "sanctuary city" policies in their cities. Both mayors are Democrats, and Gillum has announced his candidacy for the governor's race that Corcoran may yet join. But even in the world of Florida politics, Corcoran's letter represented a bold step.
     Pennsylvania is under an enforcement extension from the Department of Homeland Security until Oct. 10th, a news release states. Homeland Security has stated that beginning tomorrow, travelers who have driver's licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with the REAL ID Act and have not received an extension will be prevented from boarding planes.
     After the federal spending authority expired at midnight on Saturday, federal workers deemed "non-essential" were furloughed, a temporary layoff. "Essential" federal workers are still on the job. Airports, national mail service, national security and law enforcement operations, among others, are still operating.
     In Minnesota, a former St. Catherine University student charged with setting fires on the college's St. Paul campus told police she did it because she'd "been reading about the US military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing," according to a criminal complaint.
     And in San Angelo, Texas, Angelo State University's online Master of Science in homeland security degree program has been ranked in the top 10 of the nation's "Best Online Master's in Homeland Security" for 2018 by the TheBestColleges.org's higher education resource guide.

VA news: Operations during the government shutdown
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The Department of Veterans Affairs has pursued a comprehensive approach to diminish the impact of a shutdown on veterans and their family members. In doing so, VA identified functions and programs for which there is a legal basis to designate exceptions, including those required by "necessary implication" and "for protection of life and property."
     Federal activities that are authorized to continue, during a funding lapse, are excepted activities. The two main categories of excepted activities are those authorized by law, and those involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.  In its shutdown contingency deliberations, VA identified those functions and programs that are legally excepted to facilitate services the department must provide to the nation’s veterans and their families. These essential services include providing consistent, high quality medical care; compensation and pension benefits; housing; and burial services.
     For full details, visit: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/43654/va-contingency-plan-2017/
.

US Air Force
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     The US Air Force says it has made contact with a new missile-warning satellite that was launched on Friday night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The Air Force's 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., reported late Friday it was “talking” with the satellite.
     Due to the government shutdown, all Air Force Academy home and away intercollegiate athletic events have been canceled until further notice.
     The Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, is closed due to the government shutdown.
     A judge in Warren, Ohio, has set a $10 million bond for a woman who fled Ohio for her native Brazil just days before the body of her husband was found more than 10 years ago. Friends and relatives of Karl Hoerig, a 43-year-old US Air Force Reserve and commercial pilot, filled the courtroom on Friday.
     Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James N. Stewart has been slated to become the assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, according to a release that announced President Trump's intent to nominate Stewart.
     Many aspects of everyday life involve the federal government, from the Everglades National Park in Homestead to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. In Florida, Head Start programs were suspended, National Guard employees endured furloughs, and disabled veterans had trouble filing claims.
     The Martinsburg Composite Squadron of the West Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol won first place in the 2017 Adopt-A-Highway litter cleanup program in Berkeley County. The nonprofit group, which is the official Auxiliary of the US Air Force, received a $500 prize from the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority on Thursday.
     And in Rincon, Ga., t
he wild blue yonder is filled with exciting opportunities for aviation enthusiasts in Effingham County. A local Civil Air Patrol cadet squadron is set to display its aerial offerings during an open house on Jan. 30th at 6:30 p.m. The organization meets in Building 200 at the Redeemer Baptist Church, 226 Goshen Road. Cadet activities include flying, leadership training, running obstacle courses, model rocketry, team building, hiking and camping, earning ranks and rewards, search-and-rescue missions, exploring aviation careers and making friends. Prospective cadets must be at least 12 years old and must not have reached their 19th birthday. Cadets can stay in the program until they turn 21 as long as they have not entered active duty and are enrolled in a school. Their is no military commitment after completion of the program, but many cadets choose that path. On average, Effingham County’s squadron meets two hours per week and one Saturday per month. Additional activities are slated during the summer. "It’s education and training," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Rogers, the squadron commander. "It’s not just coming in and sitting through classes every week. It’s hands-on." Since its beginnings in 1942, more than one million cadets have benefitted from the Civil Air Patrol’s leadership, character development, fitness and aerospace/STEM education curriculum.

NOAA news
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     Florida's first major hurricane in 12 years has spawned 78 recommendations from lawmakers seeking to improve the state's readiness before the next "big one." The committee was formed by Speaker Richard Corcoran after Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage from the Florida Keys to Jacksonville. The first major storm to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005, Irma knocked out power to much of the state, affecting millions, including a South Florida nursing home where 12 people died after electricity and air conditioning went out.
    
There were 16 different major weather disasters, exacting $306 billion in damages to the US, $100 billion more than any previous year (adjusted to today's dollars), reports The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
    
Of the 11,400 employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service, about 46 percent are considered necessary to protect life and property. NOAA services, such as weather forecasting, are considered "necessary."
     The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued its three month outlook for February, March and April 2018 and says the coming months will likely be much warmer overall compared to average than the first 19 days of 2018 were.
    
And according to NOAA, the hottest four years in history have been 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

US Army
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      A US Army Apache attack helicopter crashed in the predawn hours early yesterday while flying a routine training mission at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin in California. Two soldiers died in the crash.
      The work to aid those affected by hurricane damage continues, with eight Walla Walla (Wash.) District US Army Corps of Engineers volunteers currently deployed in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, said Gina Baltrusch, a USACE public affairs specialist.
      An article recently found on a blog site in the United States in profiling the top five young Ghanaians making Ghana proud featured a young Ghanaian in the US Army as number one. Born in Ghana, young Solomon Ennin is now a Ghanaian US soldier.
      "Duke," the Baltimore, Md., bulldog who gained national attention after being found abandoned at Patterson Park last weekend, has been adopted by a US Army soldier. Spc. Wallace White adopted Duke, which became official on Friday afternoon, according to the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter.
     The Frontenac High School boys' basketball team settled for fourth place in the Kansas Army National Guard Invitational after losing 78-69 against Webb City yesterday, while the girls' team took sixth following a 51-38 loss to Blue Springs.
     Senior Lt. Gen. Pham Ngoc Minh, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army, welcomed Maj. Gen. Michael Stencel, the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, in Hanoi on Jan. 19th.
    
In Iron Tears - America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775-1783, Professor Stanley Weintraub has written an excellent history of the American Revolution from the British point of view.
    
And t
he Mississippi Army National Guard yesterday promoted US Rep. Trent Kelly to the rank of brigadier general. Kelly, a Republican from Saltillo who represents Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District in the US House of Representatives and formerly served as a district attorney, has more than 30 years of military experience and most recently held the rank of colonel. "I’m so very proud of my friend, John Trent Kelly," said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, highlighting Kelly’s service in the armed forces, as well as Congress. "He has served with distinction and honor and dignity." Gov. Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves both spoke during yesterday's promotion ceremony, held in Jackson at the Mississippi National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. The two state leaders extolled the character, devotion and sacrifice of all in the armed forces and of Kelly in particular. Kelly becomes the first sitting congressman from Mississippi to simultaneously serve as a general-level officer in the Army National Guard since G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, who retired from military service with the National Guard in 1980 with the rank of major general and represented Mississippi in the US House of Representatives from 1967 to 1997. Speaking several minutes prior to the formal recognition of promotion, Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, who serves as adjutant general of Mississippi, underscored the elite status Kelly has attained. He noted that there are approximately one million soldiers in the US Army, including Guardsmen and reservists. Of that number, only 600 hold a rank at the level of general. "Do not discount what we are doing," Boyles said of Kelly’s promotion. "It is significant." During a series of remarks yesterday in which he visibly blinked back tears at times and paused for composure, Kelly reflected on his military career and thanked his family, friends and colleagues for their enduring support and guidance, offering credit as well to his Christian faith. "It’s just been a blessed life," Kelly said, later adding, "There’s not greater honor than to serve this nation." Speaking briefly to The Daily Journal before an anticipated return to Washington, D.C., Kelly described his leadership experience in the military as a key component informing his ongoing political service. A native of Union, Kelly enlisted in the ArmyNational Guard at the age of 19 in 1985. He mobilized for Desert Storm in 1990, and deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2009. He has held leadership roles at the company, battalion and brigade levels. Currently, he is director of the joint staff at the Mississippi National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters. His educational background includes an associate’s degree from East Central Community College and a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Mississippi, as well as a master’s degree in strategic studies from the US Army War College. Kelly’s family includes his wife of 27 years, Sheila Kelly, and children John Forrest, Morgan and Jackson. Following the death of Alan Nunnelee, Kelly won the 1st Congressional District seat in a 2015 special election and has served in Congress since. He faces his next re-election race this fall. In the US House, Kelly sits on the armed services, agriculture and small business committees.

Demorats' words about the 2013 government shutdown have come back to haunt them
Democratic Party logo    
     The Democrats are going out of their way to bash President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the wake of the government shutdown, pinning blame for the impasse squarely on the shoulders of the White House and the GOP. But now, the words of top Democratic leaders about the 2013 government shutdown are coming back to haunt them.
     One of the driving factors behind this government shutdown is the fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Democrats demanded the program be included in a funding bill to keep the government open, but Republicans believe it should be addressed in separate legislation. Because Democrats didn’t have their demands met, they voted against a continuing resolution to keep the government open. But using immigration reform as a crutch to shut down the government hasn’t always been a great idea. In fact, it’s one that Schumer once criticized.
     In the midst of the government shutdown in 2013, Schumer said on CNN’s The Lead: "I believe in immigration reform. What if I persuaded my caucus to say, 'I’m going to shut the government down, I am going to not pay our bills unless I get my way? It’s a politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis." Earlier in the shutdown, Schumer criticized holding Americans "hostage" over a single issue. "The basic line is: No matter how strongly one feels about an issue, you shouldn’t hold millions of people hostage. That’s what the other side is doing. That’s wrong and we can’t give in to that,” he said on ABC’s This Week. He further explained: "Then-House Speaker John Boehner comes in and he says, basically, it’s sorta like this. Someone goes into your house, takes your wife and children hostage, and then says ‘Let’s negotiate over the price of your house.’ You know, we could do the same thing on immigration. We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say, ‘We’re shutting down the government, we’re not gonna raise the debt ceiling, until you pass immigration reform.’ It would be governmental chaos."
      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also brutalized Republicans for the government shutdown in 2013. At the time, the GOP wanted to make changes to Obamacare, but Democrats refused to make compromises. At the time, Pelosi called the GOP "legislative arsonists. I call them ‘legislative arsonists.’ They’re there to burn down what we should be building up in terms of investments and education and scientific research, and all that it is that makes our country great and competitive," she said. According to The Washington Examiner, Pelosi later called the shutdown an "unthinkable tactic" employed by the GOP. "I join the American people in their disgust in what happened in terms of the shutdown of government. That’s an unthinkable tactic to use in a political debate," she said.
      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was also quick to demonize the GOP in 2013 for the shutdown. He accused Republicans of shutting down the government because they had lost the 2012 presidential election. Sanders was confronted about his words on Friday and he denied ever saying them. "I – that doesn’t sound like – I don’t recall saying anything like that," he said on MSNBC. MSNBC did not correct Sanders, according to The Washington Free Beacon, which found Sanders’ 2013 comments.
      And although the Democrats have found another thing to blame President Trump for - the Congress, not the President - provides the government's money. All the President can do is ask Congress for the money needed to operate the government. But as usual, the Democrats - who shut down the government this time, want to blame anybody but themselves.

US Navy and Marine Corps
Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg     
     A US  Navy destroyer sailed near a disputed shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea last week, US officials said yesterday, and Beijing vowed to take "necessary measures" to protect its sovereignty.
     The US Marine Corps has decided to increase its usage of the M27 automatic assault rifle and will begin issuing the upgraded weapon in place of the aging M4 Carbine. The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle will be given to Marines in combat-related operations. Almost all frontline Marines will get an M27.
     And the US Marine Corps has begun flight test operations on its newest generation fighter, the F-35B Lightning II, at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, N.C.

UFO news
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Two CNN correspondents are leading a fear-mongering report that claimed a large, undetected asteroid could place the Earth in peril if the government shutdown continues. CNN correspondent Tom Foreman noted that during a government shutdown in 2013, NASA was unable to monitor "potentially dangerous asteroids" for more than two weeks. "A big one, by the way, is expected to brush by Earth on Feb 4th," he added.
      And the idea of the existence of alien life, exploration of extra-terrestrial life and spotting of vague flying objects always enticed the scientific community. Fueling scientific passions, a genre of writers began producing a manifold variety of science fiction to whet the inherent curiosity and inquisitiveness of the science enthusiasts. Soon, flying saucers or flying discs/Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)s became extensively used terms in common parlance. Colloquially, references to UFOs became synonymous to an alien spacecraft. While there has always been a latent obsession towards UFOs, the issue started gaining more momentum ever since US Government’s public disclosure. On Dec. 16, 2017, the US Defense Department conceded that it funded a program on UFOs till 2012, which existed in various avatars. The $600 million Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which was shut down in 2012, started in 2007 at the behest of Nevada Senator Harry Reid. New revelations suggest the program was run by an aerospace company run by billionaire entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, a friend of Reid, who is currently working with NASA for developing an expandable raft for humans in space. Upon repeated questioning Senator Reid confided that black money was used to fund the program on UFOs, which was classified and designated as a "Restricted Special Access Program." Backing the program in 2009 the US Government argued that "what was considered as science fiction is now a science fact." The AATIP, which was started with much fanfare, was mysteriously terminated suddenly in 2012. Now hell broke loose with several Pentagon officials questioning government funding since earlier projects on UFOs were called off for negative conclusions. In the US, for long, scientific communities and defense personnel locked horns over the existence of UFOs. Scientists asserted that the overwhelming banner of UFO included not only rare sightings but an unusual phenomenon that are largely unexplained by science. Experts argued often certain unusual natural phenomenon which is categorized as UFOs merited serious investigation and should be taken up case by case. Debunking the myth of UFO researchers implored the government to exercise caution and not attribute everything to the existence of alien creatures. Post-World War II, US-initiated projects to extensively investigate UFOs on grounds of national security, which intensified during the Cold War era. In 1948, the US instituted the Project Sign, a highly classified program to probe the extraterrestrial origins of flying saucers and dismantled it within a year without making the details of study public. This was soon followed by Project Grudge, which was replaced by Project Blue Book that was officially closed in 1970 marking the end of the US Government’s official support to UFO programs. Ambiguous denouements of the projects frustrated defense personnel who soon withdrew from these projects. But nonetheless, enthusiastic astronomers and scientists soon formed private scientific consortiums and pursued investigations of UFOs with renewed vigor. Parallelly, bewitched by the mysteries of alien life, NASA started looking for signs of life in the Solar System. Currently, UFO investigations in the US are collectively taken up by SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) which searches for signs of life by monitoring electromagnetic radiation, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and the Mars Science Laboratory. Despite the overwhelming frenzy to reconnoitre and explore UFOs, focused investigations on the same are not discussed openly even now. UFO study is still considered a stigma by US defense personnel who questioned the justification behind the allotment of huge amounts of funds for UFO investigations. Interestingly though, the existence of UFOs is often dismissed as conspiracy theory, fib of occultism and fictitious, harrowing experiences of Naval personnel and sailors have prompted institutions and countries to investigate UFOs. Now countries like France, Sweden, Russia, China, the UK, Canada and Latin American countries are pursuing UFO investigations in a big way. Soon the study of UFOs has graduated into a neologism referred to as Ufology. In a major boost towards searching for extraterrestrial life, in 2015 Stephen Hawking spearheaded a new program, Breakthrough Initiatives, funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner to search for intelligent alien life. While contrarian views regarding UFOs - their relevance, existence and need for investigations - continue to trigger huge debate, a new sighting by sky observers is enthralling scientists. The team of Breakthrough Listen has identified a 260-foot long cigar-shaped spacecraft hurtling through the Solar system at speeds of 196,000 mph in October 2017. Ever since, scientists have been closely monitoring the interstellar object initially believed to be an asteroid or a comet. Discovered by the Pan-Starrs Project at the University of Hawaii, it was termed as "Oumuamua," a Hawaiian term meaning scout or messenger. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) designated this object as I1/2017U1 as in Interstellar 1 since it is first object to enter our Solar System from the outer confines. Scientists found that the object has been emitting electromagnetic radiation not produced in nature. Though scientists haven’t arrived at unanimity with regards to its origin they found that the interstellar object is unusual for a rock. Travelling at speeds several times more than light, it is unlikely to be bound by the gravitational force of the sun. Its architecture suggests that it was designed to minimize damage from interstellar dust and gases. Based on its speed and trajectory, scientists estimated that it will soon bypass Jupiter and exit our Solar System. Investigations contended the object to be first ever craft to have visited our Solar System suggesting the possibility of the existence of alien civilizations. This discovery added more heft to the claims of Stephen Hawking who unequivocally believed in the existence of advanced aliens and their colonization of planets whichever they can reach. This new celestial discovery can span out be a turning point in the study of UFOs. For decades, several scientific groups believed that UFOs are real and represent advanced technology. But none of the groups could convincingly authenticate their claims. Rapid advancements in science, synergistic cooperation between various institutions backed by financial resources are now offering new hope for UFO enthusiasts. While UFO investigation is still considered a taboo, the longing excitement to unravel vast expanses of the universe and alien civilizations continues to propel science zealots to relentlessly fathom the enchanting mysteries of unexplored realms.
     And t
he public rarely hears about interactions between military personnel and unexplained aircraft - especially during wartime. As time goes on, however, UFO stories stuck behind red tape begin to see the light of day. The Vietnam War saw its share of UFO activity in the 1960s. One close encounter, in 1968, involved the crew of a US Navy river patrol boat (PBR) that reported two glowing circular craft following them in the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam.

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       The crew aboard a second patrol boat later reported seeing the UFOs over the first boat and a flash of light, followed by an explosion that completely destroyed the boat. These Vietnam reports included close observation of the unknown aerial craft which appeared to house pilots. The military was interested in UFOs because they had capabilities far above anything that we had, and they wanted to find out what the technology was and, frankly, who they belonged to," according to former Air Force intelligence officer Capt. George Filer. While in Vietnam, Filer - who had a top secret clearance - gave daily briefings to Gen. George S. Brown, the deputy commander for air operations in Vietnam. "Frequently, the Vietcong or North Vietnamese would be attacking an outpost and I would explain that, and we would have ground-air support, particularly at night where we’d go in there with these gun ships, and I would give briefings on all of that," Filer told The Huffington Post. "Some of the time, there would be unidentified craft over the DMZ." Filer described a typical report that he’d received and which he included in his briefings to Brown: "You’d have an aircraft flying along, doing around 500 knots, and a UFO comes alongside and does some barrel rolls around the aircraft and then flies off at three times the speed of one of the fastest jets we have in the Air Force. So, obviously, it has a technology far in advance of anything we have. I would be told this unofficially. People tell you a lot of things that they don’t put in writing or sign their name to. There was always this part of UFOs that, if you got too interested, it could mess up your career. And this is true today even with commercial pilots. I’ve also heard from people serving in Afghanistan saying they’ve seen UFOs, and the Iranian news carries UFO reports pretty regularly." During a 1973 press conference, five years after the patrol boat UFO encounters, Brown - as the USAF's chief of staff - was asked about the Air Force’s position on UFOs:  "I don’t know whether this story has ever been told or not. They weren’t called UFOs. The were called enemy helicopters.' And they were only seen at night and they were only seen in certain places. They were seen up around the DMZ in the early summer of ‘68. And this resulted in quite a little battle. And in the course of this, an Australian destroyer took a hit and we never found any enemy, we only found ourselves when this had all been sorted out. And this caused some shooting there, and there was no enemy at all involved, but we always reacted. Always after dark, the same thing happened up at Pleiku at the Highlands in ‘69. Many stories about battling UFOs have emerged throughout history. One early account of UFO warfare was supposedly seen by the citizens of Nuremberg, Germany, in 1561. On a morning in April, The Nuremberg Gazette reportedly described an aerial battle between large "cylindrical shapes from which emerged black, red, orange and blue-white spheres that darted about. All these elements started to fight one against the other." During World War II, also in Germany, Allied aircraft pilots often reported mysterious glowing, fast-moving, circular lights, which were dubbed "Foo Fighters." The New York Times reported it as “military slang for flying saucers.” Filer - who documents his sightings and other UFO news at the National UFO Center site - was one of several military eyewitnesses to something extraordinary in the sky over England. It was 1962, and he was the navigator on a refueling tanker. "We were out over the North Sea when London Control called and asked if we would be willing to intercept an unidentified that was over Oxford and the Stonehenge area. We had just finished up our refueling mission, so we said sure, and they cleared all the traffic around us and gave us top priority as we descended towards the UFO. All they really had was a very large radar return, but it was much bigger than a normal aircraft." Filer recalled how his radar scope indicated the UFO was as big as the huge Firth of Forth Bridge in Scotland that he and his crew often used as a regular navigation point. "The 'thing' was at 1,000 feet and we were descending from 32,000 feet. We picked up this huge radar return while we were still about 30 miles out. It was dark out and when we got much closer to the object, we saw lights around it, outlining the shape of a cylinder, like a cruise ship. It then just quickly rose and went up into space. "We were pretty sure we’d just seen a UFO." Filer also told HuffPost that he has heard from air traffic controllers who claimed they were told to "always divert aircraft away from UFOs and deny that it existed. I think they want this whole situation to go away, and I think the policy is coming from the National Security Council - they’re at the highest level. It sounds funny, but presidents don’t always know what their National Security Council is doing."

                                                         

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