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US tactical missile defenses remain a mess

US tactical missile defenses remain a mess

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This week an article in the Hebrew language newspaper Ha’aretz reported that Israel had agreed to the use of the Iron Dome missile defense system at US bases in the Persian Gulf.  Iron Dome is a joint Israel-US project, so both sides need to approve sales. However, it isn’t clear that this arrangement applies to the use of Iron Dome systems by the US military (it does not).  Ha’aretz may have been trying to stir up controversy; there is no evidence the US intends to deploy the two Iron Dome systems it purchased, except for testing.

But the Ha’aretz article has ironic importance because it illustrates that the US has a very limited, almost non-existent capability to protect US bases in the Middle East or elsewhere.

It is remarkable and distressing that despite China’s competently executed anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) program, which could shut down US air, naval and Marine abilities to strike China or Chinese assets, the US has done almost nothing to build a layered air defense system to counter Chinese or Iranian missiles.

The US invests hundreds of billions of dollars in stealth fighters that may not be able to get off the ground in the event of a swarm missile strike, which would undoubtedly happen if China was behind the attack. For example, US bases in Japan and Okinawa could be decimated by missile attacks as a number of simulations and war games consistently point out.

The responsibility for this failure falls on the Pentagon and Congress. The only country with a layered defense system worthy of the name is Israel, which aims to protect its military bases and critical infrastructure as well as its civilian population from missile attacks.
By contrast, the US cannot protect its military bases, critical infrastructure or civilian population.

The US has long taken the view that the most likely kind of missile attacks would come about in a nuclear exchange. The US Cold War strategy was based on a doctrine called MAD – mutually assured destruction, which meant that if an enemy (then the USSR) attacked the US with nuclear missiles, the US would decimate the USSR with its nuclear missiles. The MAD doctrine did not take into account other threats, such as China or North Korea.

Beyond the MAD doctrine, which only applied to a nuclear exchange (the US needed to survive a first strike to allow the launch of its ballistic missiles hidden in deep underground silos, of course leaving tens of millions of Americans incinerated), the US developed only a limited air defense capability. The old Nike and Nike-Zeus systems were dismantled 50 years ago; the MIM-23 Hawk air defense system (there were only a few in the US, one in Florida) became obsolete, so the US went with the Patriot Air Defense system MIM-104).

The original Patriot was not designed to deal with missiles – like its immediate predecessor Hawk, it was an anti-aircraft system. But the second broad iteration (known as PAC-2) had some ability to deal with missiles, and its successor PAC-3 was supposed to be better.  The first time they were used was in the first Iraq war (aka the Gulf War) where the Patriot system was supposed to defend Saudi Arabia and Israel. The main missile threat was Scud missiles, fired by Iraq at US and Israeli targets.

Here are the results from 1991: “After a 10-month investigation in 1992 by the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security, the subcommittee concluded there was little evidence to prove the Patriot hit more than a few Scud missiles launched by Iraq.”

Another 1992 investigation done by the General Accounting Office found that only 9% of the Patriot-Scud engagements “are supported by the strongest evidence that an engagement resulted in a warhead kill.” Except in 9% of the cases, the GAO report said the Army could prove only that “the Patriots came close to the Scuds, not that they destroyed them.”

That was 30 years ago. While the Patriot has steadily been modernized, with better radars and improved interceptor missiles, one would have thought that the US would have built up a tactical air defense system and positioned them at every vulnerable overseas base at minimum.

But no such thing happened.

Outside of the Patriot, the only US system positioned at a few US bases is called C-RAM, which has the impressive name of Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System. It is an Army-adapted version of the CIWS last resort gun system used on US Navy (and some foreign navy) ships. The idea for ships is that if its air defenses don’t work, CIWS can try and kill incoming threats at the last minute.

There are three problems with C-RAM (and with CIWS). Firstly, it has to hit the incoming threat. Anyone who has ever watched World War II film of the US Navy trying to shoot down Japanese Kamikaze pilots can plainly see that despite thousands of rounds fired, many of the Kamikaze planes hit their targets.  C-RAM is really no better and may be worse because it uses smaller rounds. In World War II the US had rapid firing 37mm and 40mm guns. By contrast, CIWS and C-RAM use only 20mm guns, suggesting that a single hit may not destroy an incoming missile. Secondly, a single hit on a high-speed missile may not stop it – the projectile has sufficient kinetic energy to continue on unless a precise hit manages to explode it. (A number of Patriot missiles with a much larger 90 kg warhead failed to destroy Scud, Houthi and other missiles). Thirdly, the effective range is only 1,486 meters.

Other than the Patriot (the few that are available) and the C-RAM (even fewer available, roughly 12 units), the US ability to protect its overseas bases, not to mention the US homeland, is unsatisfactory.

The US Army is working on an Interim Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system (SHORAD) system that will be mounted on the Stryker combat vehicle. The system will use Raytheon’s Stinger missile launcher. This is a vehicle-mounted version of the Stinger MANPADS, the missile the US once supplied to Afghan rebels who used it against Soviet fighter jets and helicopter gunships. It has no counter-missile capability.

The Army is also working on an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS), which will connect all of the service’s sensor and weapons systems into a single network. But the problem is that so far the Army will only be integrating what it has.

dispute has arisen between the US Department of Defense and Israel over the Iron Dome system which should be part of an integrated US system. The dispute has two components – the issue of source codes, which Israel has been reluctant to provide, and the ability to integrate Iron Dome into IAMD. The Army has been under pressure from Congress which has given bipartisan support to Iron Dome (and other Israeli missile defense systems such as Arrow).

Another way for the US to enhance its air defense capability is for the US Army to acquire MEADS – the Medium Extended Air Defense System – jointly developed by the US, Germany and Italy. The US originally planned to obtain 48 MEADS launchers with 1,528 missiles. However, in 2011, the Pentagon decided to cancel the procurement. The reason was political: MEADS is a Lockheed project in the United States; Patriot is built by Raytheon. The US Army has been joined at the hip to Raytheon and, after extensive in-fighting, Raytheon and the Army were able to block US procurement of MEADS, but not US participation in the program itself. Meanwhile, MEADS has been successfully integrated into NATO’s missile defense system.

Unfortunately, US prejudice against Patriot (with its spotty record) and failure to develop alternative and supplementary systems is not helping the US to fulfill its responsibilities in NATO, in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, and in countering China’s A2/AD significant missile forces.  As a result, the lack of US layered air defenses invites adversaries to attack US bases and cripple the US ability to strike back.

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Girlfriend’s ‘heart torn in two’ as ‘stuntman’ knifed to death while filming music video

Girlfriend’s ‘heart torn in two’ as ‘stuntman’ knifed to death while filming music video

A stuntman’s girlfriend has revealed her heartbreak after he was knifed to death while filming a music video.

Devastated Seleka Gathercole said “my heart’s been torn in two” after her partner Shane Jerome, 23, was attacked during a music video shoot.

Shane had been on Brixton High Street shooting the rap video with Lamborghini sports cars, people in balaclavas and a quad bike before a confrontation between two groups broke out.

The victim was rushed towards an ambulance clutching his chest following the savage attack, horrified witnesses said.

Police said Shane was found suffering from a stab wound but a post-mortem examination will be conducted in due course.

Girlfriend’s ‘heart torn in two’ as ‘stuntman’ knifed to death while filming music video
Seleka Gathercole was left devastated after her partner was stabbed to death
(Image: facebook/seleka.gathercole.1)

Paramedics worked to save Jerome, from Thornton Heath, but he was pronounced dead at the scene half an hour later.

Grief-stricken Seleka said: “My heart’s completely torn in two.

“I will never ever ever get over the loss of you – you mean more to me than I could ever explain.”

The bloke’s devastated pals also paid tribute to “one of the best guys they knew”.

shane on motorbike
Shane’s motorbike was left abandoned at the scene
(Image: Snapchat)

Courtney Young wrote: “RIP Shane. I honestly can’t believe it.

“Life is too short, it’s always the least expected. Fly high friend.”

Rebecca Newell added: “Rest in perfect peace to one of the best guys I knew.

“Was always there just a phone call away, forever and always in my heart.”

crime scene brixton stabbing
Shane was stabbed to death outside London Underground station
(Image: Reach plc)

A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm but was released with no further action.

Authorities have appealed for any information from people who were in the area at the time.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, leading the investigation said: “Brixton Road near to the tube station is a busy area of London and there were many people in the street, on buses and in cars yesterday evening.

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“We have spoken to a number of witnesses already and I am asking for anyone who was in the area and who may have seen anything, or have footage on their phone or dashcam, to please contact us.

“A young man has tragically lost his life in an attack on a busy high street, I am asking anyone with any information to call the police.”

They can be contacted via 101 quoting reference Cad 7056/21Jul, or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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‘Time traveller’ claims 7ft aliens will land on Earth next year and spark war

‘Time traveller’ claims 7ft aliens will land on Earth next year and spark war

A “time traveller” who claims to be from the year 2491 reckons there will be giant aliens with a”distorted appearance” arriving on Earth in 2022.

The adventurer, who goes by the name “futuretimetraveller” on TikTok, revealed some of the details of the “extraterrestrial species” and bizarrely claimed they will “spark war” with humans.

The video shows a blue sky in the background with large-font captions, which read: “What you call Aliens will make their first appearance on Earth next year.

“The exact date they are first sighted is May 24, 2022.”

The “traveller” then explains that in 2491, there are various types of aliens and the group that live on Earth “as citizens” are called “Nirons”.

Do you believe time travellers exist or are they complete nonsense? Let us know in the comments below

‘Time traveller’ claims 7ft aliens will land on Earth next year and spark war
The TikToker said the aliens will come next May and live as citizens on Earth
(Image: TikTok/futuretimetraveller

“[They] come in peace and don’t mean harm but the US attack them and begin in the first of many inter-dimensional wars,” they added.

“They are about 7ft 4in and have long shaped skulls, dark grey and distorted appearance. They do not come to be harmful but are extremely dangerous when provoked.”

As with all so-called time travellers, the TikToker provided absolutely zero evidence for his bombastic claims – but that didn’t stop the video being seen more than 94,000 times.

Many viewers were dubious about the theory and they tried to ask for more details about the alien’s arrival.

The event will turn into an inter-dimensional war at some point
The event will turn into an inter-dimensional war at some point
(Image: Getty)

One said: “So do humans and Nirons procreate and create a new race?”

A second added: “I’m so hooked on your account and scared at the same time.”

“I heard the government is already working with them,” another suggested and the adventurer replied: “I want to tell you because I know but am scared for my own safety.”

“Futuretimetraveller” is not the first TikTok influencer who posts bizarre warnings of events from the future. Another recently made a bonkers claim that there would be pyramids in the sky and warned viewers to “not look up at them” when, or if, his outrageous prediction occurs.

And TikTok account “Time Voyager”, who claims to have arrived in real-time Earth in December, 2020, posted on social media that there will be a great wave hitting in the summer of 2021.

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Delta variant of Covid one of the most infectious of all respiratory diseases, CDC director says

Delta variant of Covid one of the most infectious of all respiratory diseases, CDC director says

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is one of the most infectious of all respiratory diseases, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday.

“The delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains. It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of, and that I have seen in my 20-year career,” CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said.

Dr Walensky told reporters that “this virus has no incentive to let up, and it remains in search of the next vulnerable person to infect,” reported NBC News.

“We are at yet another pivotal moment in this pandemic, with cases rising again and some hospitals reaching their capacity in some areas, we need to come together as one nation,” she said.

The CDC, however, hasn’t changed its guidance that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks.

Dr William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases in the health policy department at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, said this delta (strain) at the moment is honing in on largely unvaccinated persons.

Delta variant has become the most dominant variant across the US and is accounting for over 80 percent of sequenced cases. The US has also witnessed a surge in the Covid-19 cases with close to 600,000 cases over the last four weeks.

Till 15 July, over 341.7 million doses of Covid-19 have been administered but scepticism against vaccines led to a slowdown. According to reports, over 95 per cent of people admitted to the hospital in the US with symptoms of Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

The scepticism, however, may soon change due to rising Covid-19 cases.

Jeff Zients, who is head of president Joe Biden’s Covid-19 team, on Thursday told media that several states with the highest proportions of new infections have seen residents get vaccinated at higher rates than the nation as a whole.

 

The officials cited Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada as examples.

Additional reporting by agencies

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Man rescued in Alaska after week-long bear attack ordeal

Man rescued in Alaska after week-long bear attack ordeal

US Coast Guard officials spotted an SOS sign on a remote shack where the man had been staying.

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Bournemouth beachgoer says ‘everyone was groping me in the water’ after teen girl raped

Bournemouth beachgoer says ‘everyone was groping me in the water’ after teen girl raped

A woman has claimed that she was sexually assaulted at the same part of a beach a teenage girl was allegedly raped at during the weekend.

Dorset Police confirmed on Wednesday that a 15-year-old girl reported she was raped while swimming in the sea at Bournemouth on Sunday, July 18.

And now following the shocking news of the incident, a woman reportedly posted on social media claiming she was a victim of being groped in the sea off Bournemouth a few weeks before.

According to the Daily Mail, she wrote: “I went a few weeks back and everyone was groping me in the water.

“There was hundreds of people and it was people passing me by in the water so I couldn’t really get a good look at them.

Bournemouth beachgoer says ‘everyone was groping me in the water’ after teen girl raped
A 15-year-old girl reported being raped on Sunday while in the sea
(Image: PA)

“I just kept swimming to other areas. It happened everywhere though and I’m fine.”

The police released an appeal for witnesses to the rape of the 15-year-old girl and revealed the victim was with her friends playing with a ball when it landed in front of a teenage boy on Sunday.

The boy eventually threw it back to one of the group and then began talking to the victim, before pulling her out deeper into the sea where it is reported that he raped her.

A release by Dorset Police said: “The offender told the victim that he was 17 years old and was travelling to Birmingham.

“He is described as possibly of Pakistani descent and with tanned skin, between five feet and five feet seven inches tall and of a thin but muscular build with short dark hair that was pushed back and looked freshly trimmed.”

Police are appealing for witness to the alleged incident
Police are appealing for witness to the alleged incident
(Image: PA)

He was wearing black or grey swimming shorts, the statement added.

Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “A full investigation is underway into this incident and we are continuing to support the victim while we carry out enquiries.

“I know that the beach was very busy on the day of the incident so I am appealing to anyone who was in the area and may have witnessed what happened to please come forward.

“Also, I would urge anyone who was on the beach in the vicinity of the Oceanarium to check any photographs or video footage taken to see if they have captured anything of relevance.

Police have asked those in the vicinity of the Oceanarium to check their photos and video
Police have asked those in the vicinity of the Oceanarium to check their photos and video
(Image: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who recognises the boy from the description given or may have seen him on the beach on Sunday 18 July.

“This incident will understandably cause concern for the wider community and we would like to remind the public that officers from the local neighbourhood policing team will be carrying out patrols in the area and can be approached with any concerns.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55210115587.

Alternatively, to stay 100 per cent anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or call Freephone 0800 555 111.

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Neglected dad, 83, was ‘not washed for days’ before dying in care home during lockdown

Neglected dad, 83, was ‘not washed for days’ before dying in care home during lockdown

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An elderly man who was placed in a care home after suffering from a stroke was “not washed for days” according to his daughter.

Joseph Ainsworth, 83, was taken into a care home on March 20 last year, three days before the country’s Covid lockdown began.

Just under two months later, on May 15, the pensioner passed away after suffering a second stroke.

His daughter, Lynne Carville, said that his final days were so bleak that his death came as somewhat of a “relief,” reports the Liverpool Echo.

When family members visited Rowan Garth Nursing Home in Lower Breck Road, Anfield they witnessed Joseph left for hours in his room with the door shut, sometimes unwashed, and at times dehydrated and shouting for a nurse.



Neglected dad, 83, was ‘not washed for days’ before dying in care home during lockdown
Joseph Ainsworth, 83, was admitted to Rowan Garth Nursing Home

Lynne said: “”It sounds strange but after he passed away there was a huge sense of relief that he wasn’t being tortured every second of the day.

“In the end we just wanted to forget about it and remember him how he was.”

This week the Care Quality Commission (CQC) remonstrated Rowan Garth after an inspection.

The state of the facility, run by Bloomcare, part of Wellington Healthcare (Ardern), was so dire CQC head of adult social care inspection, Hayley Moore, said: “This sort of care is absolutely unacceptable, and no person should ever have to live like this.”

Lynne said things became bad at the home after the first lockdown was introduced.



Joseph was a dad-of-two, grandad-of-three and great grandad-of-one
Joseph was a dad-of-two, grandad-of-three and great grandad-of-one

She said: “From lockdown when they knew nobody was able to come in it just went from bad to worse. They were horrible to us.

“We had to stand outside the window and talk to him and some days we could see he had not had his teeth cleaned for days, there was so much white stuff on his teeth.

“Because of the stroke he could only move one side of his body, but they kept putting the table with his water on the paralysed side so when we saw him he was completely parched.

“They never dressed him properly, or cleaned him properly. He had the same t-shirt on for three days with food on it.”



Joseph died after suffering a second stroke
Joseph died after suffering a second stroke

Lynne said her dad was stoic and would not raise a fuss about his treatment.

She said: “He would say to me ‘don’t explain, don’t complain’.”

Bloomcare did not reply to a request to comment on Joseph’s treatment.

However the firm previously gave a statement in response to the damning CQC inspection saying: “We acknowledge there were areas where we fell short of the high standards our residents and relatives rightfully expect and deserve, and we took immediate action and have a comprehensive action plan in place to address this.”

Liverpool Council has also said its adult social care team is reviewing each resident at Rowan Garth “to ensure their needs are being adequately met”.

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