Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tunnels reveal First World War sappers underground battle | Daily Mail Online

World War I Burials in Paris

Paris does not have a national military cemetery, but French veterans of the war are buried throughout Paris. Some have personal memorials and graves. The Pantheon, for instance, has several interesting interments connected with the war: former Poilu and Nobel Peace Prize recipient René Cassin, Marie Curie, who developed a mobile X-ray service for the French Army, and the assassinated socialist politician Jean Jaurès.

The American Battle Monument Commission maintains a Suresnes Cemetery on Mont Valerian just across the Seine, east of Bois de Boulogne. It contains 1,500 American burials from the war, mostly of soldiers who died in Paris hospitals. There is also a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery with about 100 British burials of men who died while being treated at hospitals in the Paris area. It is located at near the Porte de Pantin on the road to Le Bourget Airport.

Père Lachaise Cemetery located at Boulevard de Ménilmontant, 10th Arrondissement, is the largest cemetery in the city limits and is reputed to be the world's most visited cemetery. It holds the remains of numerous memorable and notable individuals, such as Great War writers Henri Barbusse, Jules Romains, and Guillaume Apollinaire, as well as the controversial minister of the period, Joseph Caillaux. It is also the site of multiple Great War memorials, two of which are shown above, monuments to the Italian (upper) and Belgian (lower) Fallen of the War.

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USCG Awards Polar Icebreaker Contracts

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded five firm fixed-price contracts for heavy polar icebreaker design studies and analysis Wednesday. The contracts were awarded to the following recipients: Bollinger Shipyards, LLC, Lockport, Louisiana; Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC, Washington, District of Columbia; General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California; Huntington Ingalls, Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi; and VT Halter Marine, Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi. The combined total value of the awards is approximately $20 million. 

The objective of the studies are to identify design and systems approaches to reduce acquisition cost and production timelines. In addition to a requirement to develop heavy polar icebreaker designs with expected cost and schedule figures, the contracts require: the awardees to examine major design cost drivers; approaches to address potential acquisition, technology, and production risks; and benefits associated with different types of production contract types. 

The heavy polar icebreaker integrated program office, staffed by Coast Guard and U.S. Navy personnel, will use the results of the studies to refine and validate the draft heavy polar icebreaker system specifications. The use of design studies is an acquisition best practice influenced by the Navy's acquisition experience with the Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) amphibious transport ship and T-AO(X) fleet oiler, which are being acquired under accelerated acquisition schedules.

"These contracts will provide invaluable data and insight as we seek to meet schedule and affordability objectives," said Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, the Coast Guard's Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer. "Our nation has an urgent need for heavy polar icebreaking capability. We formed an integrated program office with the Navy to take advantage of their shipbuilding experience. This puts us in the best possible position to succeed in this important endeavor," said Haycock. 

"The Navy is committed to the success of the heavy icebreaker program and is working collaboratively with our Coast Guard counterparts to develop a robust acquisition strategy that drives affordability and competition, while strengthening the industrial base," said Jay Stefany, Executive Director, Amphibious, Auxiliary and Sealift Office, Program Executive Office, Ships. "Our ability to engage early with our industry partners will be critical to delivering this capability to our nation," said Stefany. 

The studies are expected to take 12 months to complete, with study results provided incrementally during that time. The Coast Guard plans to release a draft request for proposals (RFP) for detail design and construction by the end of fiscal year 2017, followed by release of the final RFP in fiscal year 2018. The Integrated Program Office plans to award a single contract for design and construction of the lead heavy polar icebreaker in fiscal year 2019, subject to appropriations.  

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Chins Sells Ships Online

Image: Varada Marine Group

 Chinese Maritime Court has sold five vessels of bankrupt Wenzhou Shipping, subsidiary of Zhejiang Shipping Group,  through online auctions on  for a  a total price of $22.81m.

The auctioned ships include 2011-built 57,000-dwt supramax bulker Zhe Hai 167, 2009-built 33,400-dwt handysize bulker Zhe Hai 162, 2009-built 23,500-dwt handysize bulker Zhe Hai 156 , a tugboat  and an oil barge. 

Singapore-based company Varada One's vessel was auctioned off on online shopping platform Taobao  for $11.7,  Xinhua news agency reported.

The VLCC Varada Blessing is 1993-built, 300,000 dwt tanker. 

According to the Xinhua report, courts in China are now increasingly auctioning seized property online. More than 120 courts in Guangdong have registered on Taobao's judicial sales platform, with online auction sales by the sector in the province jumping from 100 million yuan in 2014 to 10 billion yuan in 2016. 

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Keel Laid for Future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr.

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- The keel of future guided-missile destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121) was ceremoniously laid Feb. 21 at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard. Although official construction of DDG 121 began April 2016, the keel laying symbolically recognizes the ceremonial beginning of the ship. The keel was said to be "fairly and truly laid" and was authenticated by D'Arcy Neller, the ship's sponsor, and Donald Brabston, a master Ingalls shipbuilder. "The keel laying is the symbolic first step in shaping our nation's newest destroyer," said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The ship will be a lasting tribute to Frank E. Petersen Jr., who made incredible contributions to naval and Marine Corps aviation, and DDG 121 will be an extremely capable destroyer for our Sailors." Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was the first African-American aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general. When he retired in 1988 after 38 years of service, he was, by date of designation, the senior-ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy. DDG 121 will be built in the Flight IIA configuration with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System which includes integrated air and missile defense capability. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare. These multi-mission surface combatants serve as integral assets in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense, as well as providing increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare. As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.

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Opinion Analysis: An acquittal of an offense does not necessarily disprove all supporting factual allegations in United States v. Rosario, No. 16-0424/MC

CAAF decided the Marine Corps case of United States v. Rosario, __ M.J. __, No. 16-0424/MC (CAAFlog case page) (link to slip op.), on Wednesday, February 22, 2017. The court affirms the Navy-Marine Corps CCA's consideration of facts supporting sexual assault allegations that resulted in acquittals in the court's review of a conviction of sexual harassment, concluding that the facts that form the basis for both acquittals and convictions are permissible considerations during a CCA's review of convictions.

Judge Sparks writes for a unanimous court.

Sergeant (E-5) Rosario was convicted contrary to his plea of not guilty, by a special court-martial composed of members with enlisted representation, of one specification of sexual harassment on divers occasions in violation of Article 92. Rosario was also charged with three unlawful touchings in violation of Articles 120 and 128, however he was acquitted of all of those offenses. The members sentenced Rosario to reduction to E-1 and a bad-conduct discharge.

The basis for the sexual harassment charge was, at least, a series of inappropriate comments that Rosario made to a female subordinate. On appeal Rosario asserted that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction of sexual harassment. The NMCCA rejected this challenge, concluding that the touchings forming the bases of the other charges (of which Rosario was acquitted) were evidence "offered in support of two separately charged offenses" – the sexual harassment offense and the 120/128 offense –  and that under such circumstances "an acquittal on one may not be pleaded as res judicata of the other." United States v. Rosario, No. 201500251, slip op. at 4 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Jan. 28, 2016) (link to slip op.) (marks and citation omitted).

CAAF then granted review of two issues:

I. Whether the lower court erred in conducting its Article 66(C), UCMJ, review by finding as fact allegations that supported charges of which Sgt Rosario was acquitted to affirm the findings and sentence.

II. Whether the military judge erred when he instructed the members, "If based on your consideration of the evidence, you are firmly convinced that the accused is guilty of the crime charged, you must find him guilty," where such an instruction is in violation of United States v. Martin Linen Supply Co., 430 U.S. 564, 572-73 (1977) and there is inconsistent application between the services of the instructions relating to when members must or should convict an accused.

Today's opinion makes relatively short work of the first issue, and summarily rejects the second in light of the court's opinion in United States v. McClour, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Jan. 24, 2017) (CAAFlog case page).

Judge Sparks explains that:

When the same evidence is offered at trial to support two different offenses, a Court of Criminal Appeals is not necessarily precluded from considering the evidence that was introduced in support of the charge for which the appellant was acquitted when conducting its Article 66(c), UCMJ, legal and factual sufficiency review of the charge for which the appellant was convicted. Defendants are generally acquitted of offenses, not of specific facts, and thus to the extent facts form the basis for other offenses, they remain permissible for appellate review.

Slip op. at 5-6 (emphasis added). The specific facts were outlined in the CCA's opinion as including:

[the alleged victim's] testimony that the appellant made unwanted sexual advances—touching her hand and kissing her cheek during the October 2013 incident, touching her neck and sticking his tongue in her ear during the January 2014 incident, and making numerous comments about his attraction to and desire for her throughout the course of several months. . .

Slip op. at 4 (quoting CCA op. at 8-9).

Judge Sparks then considers and rejects two arguments advanced by Rosario regarding the CCA's consideration of these facts: that it is in direct conflict with the acquittals and that it implicates principles of double jeopardy. Rejecting the first argument, Judge Sparks explains that there is no direct conflict in this case:

In [United States v. Smith, 39 M.J. 448, 451-52 (C.M.A. 1994)], the military judge excepted specific language in returning his finding of guilty, and the lower court subsequently relied upon that excepted language to affirm the findings. 39 M.J. at 449. This Court concluded that the lower court erroneously made findings of fact which were in direct conflict with the specific factual allegations excepted by the military judge. Id. The "direct conflict" language in Smith provides a useful dividing line between what the lower court is entitled to consider and what it should not. In the present case, unlike in Smith, the lower court did not consider any allegations explicitly excepted by the trier of fact so there is no direct conflict.

Slip op. at 6. Rejecting the second argument, Judge Sparks explains that double jeopardy is not implicated by appellate review where facts are the same but the offenses and elements are different:

We have stated that "[d]ouble jeopardy principles prohibit a reviewing court from rehearing any incidents for which the accused was found not guilty." United States v. Wilson, 67 M.J. 423, 428 (C.A.A.F. 2009). However, unlike our decisions in Walters and United States v. Stewart, in the instant case the lower court's consideration of facts underlying the assault and abusive sexual contact offenses in evaluating the sexual harassment offense did not violate double jeopardy principles because the offenses and elements were, quite simply, not the same. Walters, 58 M.J. at 397; Stewart, 71 M.J. 38, 43 (C.A.A.F. 2012).

Slip op. at 6-7.

The opinion concludes with the holding that "the lower court properly considered facts relevant to the abusive sexual contact and assault consummated by battery specifications of which Appellant was acquitted since those facts were also relevant to the sexual harassment specification of which he was convicted." Slip op. at 7.

Case Links:
NMCCA opinion
Appellant's brief
Appellee's (Government) brief
Appellant's reply brief
Blog post: Argument preview
Oral argument audio
CAAF opinion
Blog post: Opinion analysis

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Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Det Fallbrook Celebrates 75 Years of Fleet Support

FALLBROOOK, Calif. (NNS) -- Personnel from Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Det. Fallbrook celebrated the installation's 75th birthday during an all-hands lunch, Feb. 21. Commissioned as the Fallbrook Naval Ammunition Depot near the beginning of World War II, Feb. 2, 1942, the base has supported Navy and Marine Corps warfighters in both war and peace. Although initially constructed to provide Navy ships with ammunition for the war effort, the base gradually took on a larger role supplying Marine Corps forces deploying from the adjacent Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. "Detachment Fallbrook continues to be a very important asset supporting our military's ordnance logistics needs," said Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Commanding Officer, Capt. Noel Dahlke. "We are fortunate to have such a great relationship with our Fallbrook community and Camp Pendleton neighbors, and especially fortunate to have had such an outstanding workforce here supporting this critical mission." Today, base personnel not only store and provide munitions to deploying Marine Corps units, but also perform maintenance on Navy and Air Force air-launched missiles and conduct weapons system testing and evaluation. "Detachment Fallbrook has provided direct and efficient support for warriors deploying to every major conflict in the past 75 years," said Det. Director Tony Winicki. "I am so proud of my co-workers, many of whom have decades of experience working for the Department of Defense here." One of those staff members is Leslie Hawkins, a physical security specialist who has worked at the base for the last 31 years. "During my time, hundreds and hundreds of young Sailors were stationed here as part of the security force," said Hawkins. "I'm very proud to have had the opportunity to be a mentor to so many great people, and to pass along what I learned." Public Works employee Kevin Bourelle first came to work onboard the base as a student intern while attending Fallbrook High School. "Looking back, I've seen a lot of changes in my nearly 37-year career here," said Bourelle. "I've seen mission requirements change, facilities being built, wild land fires, winter floods, and many people coming and going. But what never fails to impress me is the caliber of people who have worked here over the years." Winicki agreed, saying, "As I think back on the enduring presence of Detachment Fallbrook, what is most striking to me is this base is far more than a series of bunkers, buildings and roadways. It is a community of people committed to serving our nation and doing so faithfully for many years."

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Japanese government ordered to pay record damages in U.S. base noise suit

Residents near the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture were awarded about ¥30.2 billion ($267 million) in a court ruling Thursday, marking the largest damages payment levied against the Japanese government in a suit over noise from a military installation.

But the Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court turned down a request by 22,000 residents to ban nighttime and early morning flights at the biggest U.S. air base in East Asia. The number of plaintiffs was the largest-ever for such a lawsuit, their lawyers said.

The ¥30.2 billion in compensation far exceeded the previous record of ¥8.2 billion in damages for noise suffered by people living near the U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo.

"The U.S. and Japanese governments have not taken fundamental prevention measures and illegal damage has been aimlessly left unresolved," the branch said in the ruling.

The plaintiffs in the Kadena lawsuit, who have complained of sleep disruptions and hearing disorders, sought a monthly ¥57,500 payment each for future damages, asking for a flight ban between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. at the base.

The state has argued that Japan "cannot restrict" flights of aircraft at the Kadena base because the authority belongs to the U.S. military.

The suit, filed in 2011, is the third in a series of legal battles over aircraft noise at the Kadena base. In the first, filed in 1982, some 900 residents took part, while some 5,500 took part in the second, which was filed in 2000.

Courts ordered the state to pay about ¥1.37 billion in the first suit finalized in 1998 and ¥5.63 billion in the second, in 2009, respectively.

The plaintiffs in the latest suit, living in 5 municipalities in Okinawa with noise at a level of 75 to 95 on the Weighted Equivalent Continuous Perceived Noise Level index, qualify for the government compensation.

The Kadena base encompasses 2,000 hectares of land on Okinawa's main island and has two 3,700-meter runways.

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Two Views of the Open Skies Treaty by Steven Aftergood - FAS

Russian surveillance of military facilities under the Open Skies Treaty is problematic for the security of U.S. nuclear forces, a U.S. Air Force general told Congress last year. No, it is not, a U.S. Navy admiral said.

Those two disparate views were offered in response to a question for the record from Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) following a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee last year.

“Several Defense officials have expressed concerns about Russia’s intent to use advanced digital sensors to collect imagery under the Open Skies Treaty,” Rep. Coffman said. “Is this a significant concern for our nuclear forces?”

“Intelligence collection against our nuclear forces is always a concern,” replied Gen. Robin Rand, commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.

“The imaging system to be placed on the Tu-214 and Tu-154 is already in use on Russian aircraft flying Open Skies missions over Europe. The new system possesses greater range and an advanced digital processing capability, providing a significant increase in the number of images that can be collected. This digital capability, through post mission image refinement of raw image data, could potentially enable the Russians to violate the treaty by keeping the raw image data and later using advanced digital image enhancement techniques to refine resolution beyond that allowed in the treaty,” Gen. Rand wrote (at p. 105).

But the same question from Rep. Coffman about the potential threat from improved Russian sensors elicited a substantially different response from VADM Terry Benedict, director of Navy Strategic Systems Programs.

“I do not believe this is a significant concern to our nuclear forces. The resolution of Open Skies imagery is similar to that available in commercial satellite imagery,” VADM Benedict wrote (at p. 106).

Moreover, he added, “All State Parties have the right under the Treaty to certify new sensors and aircraft. The United States and several of our Allies are in various stages of acquiring new digital sensors. The information Russia gleans from Open Skies is of only incremental value in addition to Russia’s other means of intelligence gathering.”

The two responses serve to illustrate the inconvenient reality that many questions of national security policy do not have simple, unequivocal answers. Views that would seem to be authoritative may be contradicted by other assessments that are equally authoritative. Reconciling the contradiction, or overcoming it, requires further investigation. And even that may not be sufficient.

Rep. Coffman’s exchange with Gen. Rand and VADM Benedict appeared in a hearing volume published last month on Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request for Department of Defense Nuclear Forces, March 2, 2016, which also contains material of interest on nuclear weapons modernization programs, projected costs, and other policy matters.

Related issues were also discussed in another House Armed Services Committee hearing volume that was published last month. See U.S. Strategic Forces Posture, February 24, 2016.

Dozens of nuclear alerts underreported by British MoD, new study reveals

Published time: 23 Feb, 2017 01:36

The UK Ministry of Defense has been accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the UK nuclear deterrent after the report by a safety watchdog put the number of accidents, involving British nukes, at 110, four times higher the official count.

Unveiled on Wednesday by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), an independent nuclear watchdog, the report sheds light onto dozens of mishaps involving British nuclear weapons, featuring previously unreported accidents with potentially disastrous consequences. The in-depth study, which traces back all 65 years of the British nuclear program, arranges accidents into seven sections in accordance with their place of origin.

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FILE PHOTO Crew from HMS Vengeance, a British Royal Navy Vanguard class Trident Ballistic Missile Submarine © David Moir

The report is based on the official findings, including  the report on nuclear weapons safety written by Professor Sir Ronald Oxburgh, information revealed during parliamentary questions, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as well as from whistleblowers, witnesses and other researchers.

The biggest group of all lists accidents that took place on nuclear-capable submarines, ships and aircraft. The causes for a total of 45 mishaps, including 24 that occurred with nuclear-armed submarines, range from collision and fires to the effects of lightning.

In one of the most notable accidents of that kind, Royal Navy submarine HMS Vanguard, which is capable of carrying up to 48 Trident nuclear warheads, collided with a French Le Triomphant submarine, which could be armed with about the same amount of TN75 nuclear warheads. The circumstances of the accident, which happened early February 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean, were hushed up at the time and still not known to the full.

Although the official investigation report into the collision came to the reassuring conclusion that "at no time was nuclear safety compromised and the Strategic Weapon System remained inside tolerable limits at all times", whistleblowers' accounts are far more daunting. An officer who was on board the UK submarine reportedly said "We thought, this it we're all going to die," while recalling the incident in the conversation with Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly.

Other case studies include a nuclear warhead carrier sliding off the rode into the ditch on January 10, 1987 in Wiltshire. The misfortune is described by the authors as "most visible" and "embarrassing" incident to date. Overall, 22 road transportation incidents, among them overturning of vehicles carrying nukes, have been cited in the report.

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Trident Nuclear Submarine, HMS Victorious © Andy Buchanan

While only 14 accidents, linked to the faults in manufacturing and production process, are listed in the report, the most severe nuclear accident in UK history also falls into this category. The fire at the Windscale plant in 1957 led to massive release of radiation from graphite-moderated reactor that triggered "around 100 fatal cancers and around 90 non-fatal cancers."

The report also lists 21 "security-related" incidents and eight incidents blamed onto the improper storage and handling of the nukes.

The comprehensive study, spanning over 100 pages under an awe-inspiring title "Playing with Fire," blames the defense ministry for attempting to sweep the issue of nuclear safety under the carpet by concealing essential details of the incidents and downplaying their impact.

READ MORE: Trident whistleblower calls out MoD's 'lame attempt' to excuse nuke malfunctions

The report argues that the official data released by the British Defense Ministry in 2003 which put the number of incidents at 27, is "far from a full list of all the accidents."

It is not the first time the British military has been accused of covering up major issues with its nuclear deterrent. News on a failed Trident missile test, carried out off Florida coast in June 2016, sparked a new round of heated debates on the British nuclear program. The routine test performed by the HMS Vengeance in June 2016 from Port Canaveral went horribly wrong with the missile heading back to the US mainland. However, the UK authorities did not issue any statement on the failed test, reportedly, advised to refrain from sharing unfavorable data by US colleagues.

READ MORE: Trident nukes useless against today's actual security problems – CND report

The Trident missile malfunction came just weeks before the UK parliament voted in favor of renewing controversial Britain's Trident deterrent, estimated to cost some £40 billion.

In January, McNeilly, who was first to leak the details about the serious fire issues aboard Trident submarine, told RT that he has witnessed Trident "fail 3 out of 3 WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests."

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Family of British IS bomber deny £1m compensation payout

Media captionUK bomber's path from Guantanamo Bay to Mosul

The family of a British IS fighter who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq deny he received £1m in compensation after being freed from Guantanamo Bay.

It has been reported by the Daily Mail that Jamal al-Harith received the payout from the UK government after being freed from captivity in 2004.

The family say that figure was "a group settlement including costs for four innocent people including Jamal".

The Daily Mail says it stands by its story.

Al-Harith, who was 50 and from Manchester, was originally known as Ronald Fiddler.

He took the name Jamal al-Harith when he converted to Islam, but was known most recently by the nom-de-guerre Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, given to him by so-called Islamic State.

Who are Britain's jihadists?

Al-Harith was seized by American forces in Pakistan in 2001, before being sent to Guantanamo Bay - a US prison in Cuba for terrorist suspects.

US interrogators found he provided useful information about the Taliban's methods, and he was released after two years.

He later joined IS and blew himself up at an Iraqi army base in Mosul this week.

Analysis, by Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

Media captionJamal al-Harith spoke in 2004 to the BBC's North West Tonight

In the light of how he chose to end his life, the case of Jamal al-Harith is certainly embarrassing for those in government in 2004 and 2010, and for those whose job it was to assess the security threat he posed between 2004 and 2014.

But his lawyer has told me that when al-Harith returned from his two years' imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay in March 2004, he had already been so extensively questioned that his interview with British special branch officers lasted just 20 minutes before charges were dropped and he was released.

He was assessed - correctly at the time - of being a low security risk to the British population and he spent the next 10 years living openly in and around Manchester with his young family, showing no signs of violent extremism.

At some stage, probably around 2013, he became sufficiently radicalised, or even re-radicalised, to go off to Syria to join IS. It was this that MI5 failed to pick up.

In a statement, al-Harith's family said they wished "to express their sorrow and distress at the news of his death", but were "concerned about the distorted and over-simplified reports they have seen in the news".

"The Jamal they knew up until 2001 when he was taken to Guantanamo Bay would not have become involved with a despicable organisation such as so-called Islamic State. He was a peaceful and gentle person," it continued.

"Whatever he may or may not have done since then they believe from their own experience he was utterly changed by the physical and mental cruelty and the inhuman treatment he endured for two years at Guantanamo."

His relatives insisted he did not receive £1m in compensation, adding: "The family last heard from him in 2014 and have since then been desperately worried about his fate."

Brother: 'None of us could have changed his mind'

Media captionThe brother of a British suicide bomber says his family were powerless to stop him

Leon Jameson, al-Harith's older brother, says they last spoke two years ago on the phone, before he went to Syria.

Mr Jameson described his sibling as "fun" when he was growing up and "always helping other people".

When asked about his brother's suicide bombing he said: "I can't actually commend him about it because it isn't right, but he's done it. It's something he believes in, so I'll leave that with him.

"He did what he could for other people, which is what he used to always be like.

And he said "it had been a struggle" for his brother ever since Guantanamo Bay. "If he didn't even listen to his wife, none of us could have really changed his mind."

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair released a statement accusing the Daily Mail of "utter hypocrisy" after it ran a story about al-Harith on Wednesday headlined: "Still Think He Wasn't A Danger, Mr Blair? Fury at Labour government's £1m compensation for innocent Brit".

Mr Blair said the man's release in 2004 had "followed a Parliamentary and massive media campaign led by the Daily Mail... and strongly supported by the then Conservative Opposition".

The former PM continued: "He was not paid compensation by my government. The compensation was agreed in 2010 by the [coalition] government..."

In response, the paper issued a statement saying Mr Blair was "utterly wrong to accuse the Daily Mail newspaper of inaccuracy over the Ronald Fiddler story".

"However, our sister organisation MailOnline, which is an independently edited website, did publish a misleading headline which said that Mr Blair's government was responsible for the £1m payout to Fiddler.

"This ran briefly and has since been removed and corrected. MailOnline apologises for this mistake."

It added: "The fact remains that the actions which led to this payment were all the responsibility of Tony Blair."

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The spy next door

Jack Barsky

It's no secret that the Russians have long tried to plant "sleeper agents" in the US - men and women indistinguishable from normal Americans, who live - on the surface - completely normal lives. But what happens when one of them doesn't want to go home?

Jack Barsky died in September 1955, at the age of 10, and was buried in the Mount Lebanon Cemetery in the suburbs of Washington DC.

His name is on the passport of the man sitting before me now - a youthful 67-year-old East German, born Albert Dittrich. The passport is not a fake. Albert Dittrich is Jack Barsky in the eyes of the US government.

The story of how this came to be is, by Barsky's own admission, "implausible" and "ridiculous", even by the standards of Cold War espionage. But as he explains in a new memoir, Deep Undercover, it has been thoroughly checked out by the FBI. As far as anyone can tell, it is all true.

It began in the mid-70s, when Dittrich, destined at the time to become a chemistry professor at an East German university, was talent-spotted by the KGB and sent to Moscow for training in how to behave like an American.

His mission was to live under a false identity in the heart of the capitalist enemy, as one of an elite band of undercover Soviet agents known as "illegals".

"I was sent to the United States to establish myself as a citizen and then make contact, to the extent possible, at the highest levels possible of decision makers - particularly political decision makers," he says.

This "idiotic adventure," as he now calls it, had "a lot of appeal to an arrogant young man, a smart young man" intoxicated by the idea of foreign travel and living "above the law".

Media caption"This kind of double life wears on you"

He arrived in New York in the Autumn of 1978, at the age of 29, posing as a Canadian national, William Dyson. Dyson, who had travelled via Belgrade, Rome, Mexico City and Chicago, "immediately vanished into thin air", having served his purpose. And Dittrich began his new life as Jack Barsky.

He was a man with no past and no identification papers - except for a birth certificate obtained by an employee of the Soviet embassy in Washington, who had kept his eyes open during a walk in the Mount Lebanon cemetery.

Barsky had supreme self-confidence, a near-flawless American accent, and $10,000 in cash.

He also had a "legend" to explain why he did not have a social security number. He told people he had had a "tough start in life" in New Jersey and had dropped out of high school. He had then worked on a remote farm for years before deciding "to give life another chance and move back to New York city".

He rented a room in a Manhattan hotel and set about the laborious task of building a fake identity. Over the next year, he parlayed Jack Barsky's birth certificate into a library card, then a driver's licence and, finally, a social security card.

But without qualifications in Barsky's name, or any employment history, his career options were limited. Rather than rubbing shoulders with the upper echelons of American society, as his KGB handlers had wanted, he initially found himself delivering parcels to them, as a cycle courier in the smarter parts of Manhattan.

Image caption The young KGB agent arrived in New York in the late 1970s

"By chance it turned out that the messenger job was actually really good for me to become Americanised because I was interacting with people who didn't care much where I came from, what my history was, where I was going," he says.

"Yet I was able to observe and listen and become more familiar with American customs. So for the first two, three years I had very few questions that I had to answer."

The advice from his handlers on blending in - gleaned from Soviet diplomats and resident agents in the US - "turned out to be, at minimum, weak but, at worst, totally false", he says.

"I'll give you an example. One of the things I was told explicitly was to stay away from the Jews. Now, obviously, there is anti-Semitism in there, but secondly, the stupidity of that statement is that they sent me to New York. There are more Jews in New York than in Israel, I think."

Barsky would later use his handlers' prejudices and ignorance of American society against them.

But as a "rookie" agent he was eager to please and threw himself into the undercover life. He spent much of his free time zig-zagging across New York on counter-surveillance missions designed to flush out any enemy agents who might be following him.

He would update Moscow Centre on his progress in weekly shortwave radio transmissions and deposit messages in secret writing at dead drop sites in various New York parks, where he would also periodically pick up canisters stuffed with cash or the fake passports he needed for his trips back to Moscow for debriefing.

He would return the to the East every two years, where he would be reunited with his German wife Gerlinde, and young son Matthias, who had no idea what he had been up to. They thought he was doing top secret but very well-paid work at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Barsky's handlers were delighted with his progress except for one thing - he could not get hold of an American passport. This failure weighed heavily on him.

On one early trip to the passport office in New York an official asked him to fill out a questionnaire which asked, among other things, the name of the high school he had attended.

"I had a legend but it could not be verified," he says. "So if somebody went to check on that they would have found out that I wasn't real."

Terrified that his cover might be blown, he scooped up any documents with his name on them and marched out of the office in a feigned temper at all this red tape.

Image caption The real Jack Barsky is buried in a Washington DC cemetery

Without a passport, Barsky was limited to low-level intelligence work and his achievements as a spy were, by his own account, "minimal".

He profiled potential recruits and compiled reports on the mood of the country during events such as the 1983 downing of a Korean Airlines flight by a Soviet fighter, which ratcheted up tensions between the US and the Soviet Union.

On one occasion, he flew to California to track down a defector (he later learned, to his immense relief, that the man, a psychology professor, had not been assassinated).

He also carried out some industrial espionage, stealing software from his office - all of it commercially available - which was spirited away on microfilm to aid the floundering Soviet economy.

But it often seemed the very fact of him being in the US, moving around freely without the knowledge of the authorities, was enough for Moscow.

"They were very much focused on having people on the other side just in case of a war. Which I think, in hindsight, was pretty stupid. That indicated very old thinking."

The myth of the "Great Illegals" - heroic undercover agents who had helped Russia defeat the Nazis and gather vital pre-war intelligence in hostile countries - loomed large over the Soviet intelligence agencies, who spent a lot of time and effort during the Cold War trying to recapture these former glories, with apparently limited success.

Barsky later found out that he was part of a "third wave" of Soviet illegals in the US - the first two waves having failed. And we now know that illegals continued to be infiltrated in the 1980s and beyond.

He believes about "10 to 12" agents were trained up at the same time as him. Some, he says, could still be out there, living undercover in the United States, though he finds it hard to believe that anyone exposed to life in the US would retain an unwavering communist faith for long.

He is scathing about his KGB handlers, who were "very smart" and the "cream of the crop" but who seemed chiefly concerned with making his mission appear a success to please their bosses.

"The expectations of us, of me - I didn't know anybody else - were far, far too high. It was just really wishful thinking," he now says of his mission.

On the other hand, the KGB's original plan for him might actually have worked, he says.

"I am glad it didn't work out because I could have done some damage.

"The idea was for me to get genuine American documentation and move to Europe, say to a German-speaking country, where the Russians were going to set me up with a flourishing business. And they knew how to do that.

"And so I would become quite wealthy and then go back to the United States without having to explain where the money came from. At that point, I would have been in a situation to socialise with people that were of value."

This plan fell through because of his failure to get a passport, so the KGB reverted to Plan B.

This was for Barsky was to study for a degree and gradually work his way up the social order to the point where he could gather useful intelligence - a mission he describes as "nearly impossible".

The degree part was relatively straightforward. He was, after all, a university professor in his former life. He graduated top of his class in computer science at New York City University, which enabled him to get a job as a programmer at Met Life insurance in New York.

Like many undercover agents before him, he began to realise that much of what he had been taught about the West - that it was an "evil" system on the brink of economic and social collapse - was a lie.

Image caption Barsky (fourth right) felt at home with co-workers at Met Life

"There was a way to rationalise that because we were taught that the West was doing so well because they took all the riches out of the Third World," he says.

But, he adds, "what eventually softened my attitude" was the "normal, nice people" he met in his daily life.

"[My] sense was that the enemy was not really evil. So I was always waiting to eventually find the real evil people and I didn't even find them in the insurance company."

Met Life almost felt like home, he says, "because it was a very paternalistic, 'we take care of you' kind of a culture".

"There was nothing like we were taught. Nothing that I expected. I wanted to really hate the people and the country and I couldn't bring myself to hate them. Not even dislike them."

But he was keeping a far bigger secret from his KGB bosses than his wavering commitment to communism.

In 1985, he had married an illegal immigrant from Guyana he had met through a personal ad in the Village Voice newspaper - and they now had a daughter together.

He now had two families to go with his two identities, and he knew the time would come when he had to choose between them.

It finally happened in 1988, when after 10 years undercover he was suddenly ordered to return home immediately. Moscow was in a panic, believing the FBI was on to him.

To do anything other than run as ordered - grab his emergency Canadian birth certificate and driver's licence and get out of the US - would be potentially suicidal.

He dithered and stalled for a week. Could he really leave his beloved baby daughter Chelsea behind forever?

But the KGB was losing patience. One morning, on a subway platform a resident agent delivered a chilling message: "You have got to come home or else you're dead."

Media captionThe Americans producers: 'Here was someone who lived it'

It was time for some lateral thinking.

From discussions with his handlers in Moscow, Barsky had come to believe the Soviet hierarchy feared three things about America.

He already knew about their anti-Semitism and their fear of Ronald Reagan, who they saw as an unpredictable religious zealot who might launch a nuclear strike to "accelerate" the Biblical "end times".

But he also remembered their "morally superior" attitude to the Aids epidemic - their belief that it "served the Americans right" and their determination to protect the motherland from infection.

Barsky stalled a bit more and then hatched a plan.

"I wrote this letter, in secret writing, that I wouldn't come back because I had contracted Aids, and the only way for me to get treatment would be in the United States.

"I also told the Russians in the same letter that I would not defect, I would not give up any secrets. I would just disappear and try to get healthy."

To begin with Barsky lived in constant fear for his life, remembering that threat on the subway platform. But after a few months, he began to breathe more easily.

"I started thinking 'I think I got away with this.' The FBI had not knocked on the door. The KGB had not done anything."

He gradually let his guard down and settled into the life of a typical middle-class American in a comfortable new home in upstate New York.

While he had fallen for the American Dream and the trappings of the consumer society, he still had some conflicting feelings.

"My loyalties to communism and the homeland and Russia, they were still pretty strong. My resignation, you can also call it a 'soft defection' - that was triggered by having this child here. It was not ideological. It would be easy to claim that. But it wasn't true."

Playing at the back of his mind was always the question of whether his past would catch up with him. And, finally, one day, it did.

The man who exposed him was a KGB archivist, Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin, who defected to the West in 1992 - after the fall of communism - with a vast trove of Soviet secrets, including the true identity of Jack Barsky.

The FBI watched him for more than three years, even buying the house next door to his as they tried to figure out whether he really was a KGB agent and, if so, whether he was still active.

The 'illegals' programme

  • The Soviet Union began using "illegal" agents, living in Europe under false identities, as early as 1919
  • Unlike "resident agents", who are in the country legally as diplomats, they are not immune from prosecution if caught
  • The first illegal was sent to the US in 1921, according to the Mitrokhin archive
  • Famous illegals include Rudolf Abel, unmasked as a Soviet spy in the US in 1957, and Richard Sorge, who posed as a Nazi journalist in Japan during the war
  • In 2010, 10 Russian "sleeper agents" on a long-term mission to spy on US policy makers were exposed - including Anna Chapman (pictured)

In the end, Barsky himself gave the game away, during an argument with his wife, Penelope, that was picked up by the FBI's bugs.

"I was trying to repair a marriage that was slowly falling apart. I was trying to tell my wife the 'sacrifice' I had made to stay with Chelsea and her. So in the kitchen I told her, 'By the way, this is what I did. I am a German. I used to work for the KGB and they told me to come home and I stayed here with you and it was quite dangerous for me. This is what I sacrificed.'

"And that completely backfired. Instead of bringing her over to my side, she said: 'What does that mean for me if they ever catch you?'"

It was the evidence the FBI needed to pick him up. In a meticulously planned operation, Barsky was pulled over by a Pennsylvania state trooper as he drove away from a toll booth on his way home from work one evening.

After stepping out of his car, he was approached by a man in civilian clothes, who held up a badge and said in a calm voice: "Special agent Reilly, FBI. We would like to talk with you."

The colour drained from Barsky's face. "I knew the gig was up," he says. But with characteristic bravado he asked the FBI man: "What took you so long?"

He kidded around with Joe Reilly and the other agents who interrogated him, and tried to give them as much information about the KGB's operations as he could. But inside he was panicking that he would be sent to jail and that his American family, which he had been trying to hold together, would be broken up.

In fact, luck was on his side. After passing a lie-detector test he was told that he was free to go and, even more remarkably, that the FBI would help him fulfil his dream of becoming an American citizen.

Reilly, who went on to become Barsky's best friend and golfing partner, even visited the elderly parents of the real Jack Barsky, who agreed not to reveal that their son's identity had been stolen.

"I was so lucky and so was my family that the decision-makers were nice enough to say, 'Well, you were so well-established, we don't want to disrupt your life,'" he says.

"It required some interesting gymnastics to make me legal because one thing I didn't have was proof of entry into the country. I came here on documentation that was fraudulently obtained, so it took 10-plus years to finally become a citizen. And when it did, it felt good."

Image caption Barsky's coveted American passport

Barsky is now married for a third time and has a young son. He has also found God, completing his journey from a hardline communist and atheist to a churchgoing, all-American patriot.

He has even managed to reconnect with the family he left behind in Germany, although his first wife, Gerlinde, is still not speaking to him.

"I have a very good relationship with Matthias, my son, and his wife. And I am now a grandfather. When we talk about things like Americans playing soccer against Germans, I say 'us'. I mean the Americans. I am not German any more. The metamorphosis is complete."

The final act in his story came two years ago when he revealed the secret of his extraordinary double life on the US current affairs programme, 60 Minutes.

He had long wanted to share his story with the world, but his bosses at the New York electricity company where he worked as a software developer were less than impressed to find they had a former KGB agent on the payroll, and promptly fired him.

Barsky says he has no regrets. He knows how fortunate he has been.

"This kind of double life wears on you. And most people can't handle it. I am not saying that I lived a charmed life but I got away with it.

"I am in good health. I have had some issues with alcohol that I have overcome and I got another chance to have a good family life. And another child. And I am finally getting to live the life that I should have lived a long time ago. I am really lucky."

Perhaps the supreme irony of Jack Barsky's story is that he was only able to complete the mission the KGB had set him - to obtain an American passport and citizenship - with the help of the FBI. He cannot resist a smile at the thought of telling his KGB handlers that he has not been such a failure after all.

"I wouldn't mind meeting one or two of those fellows I worked with and saying 'Hey, see I did it!'"

Deep Undercover - My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America, by Jack Barsky and Cindy Coloma, is published next month

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The McMaster Reading List

Back in November of last year, Lt. Gen. McMaster, USA spoke at VMI. In the Q&A portion, he answered a question that always gets my attention, "What do you recommend that we read."
If you want to get your head around what the man who will be our next National Security Advisor thinks is important, and I know you do, then you might want to consider the following.
Click the pics/links for more.



- Army Capabilities Integration Center's Professional Reading Section, updated weekly.
- Ft. Benning Maneuver Self-Study Program.
- Australian Army Reading List, "The Cove."
- Margaret MacMillin, "The Rhyme of History."
Take the time and watch the full video below.

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One Killed, 7 Abducted in Pirate Attack in Southern Philippines

File photo reportedly showing the Vietnamese-flagged MV Giang Hai.
File photo reportedly showing the Vietnamese-flagged MV Giang Hai.

ReutersMANILA, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Gunmen in southern Philippine waters killed one crewman of a Vietnamese vessel and abducted seven in what appeared to be the latest attack by pirates in the area, the Philippine coastguard said on Monday.

Coastguard and marine soldiers rescued 17 Vietnamese who were part of the 25-man crew of MV Giang Hai, which was attacked on Sunday evening near Baguan Island in Tawi-Tawi, an area close to the stronghold of the notorious Abu Sayyaf militant group.

An investigation was underway and the coastguard had launched a pursuit in coordination with the military and police, said coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo.

Well armed and equipped with fast boats and high-tech navigation devices, the Abu Sayyaf is a stubborn problem for the Philippine military, which has failed to curtail piracy and kidnappings in the area, despite major troop deployments in the in the Sulu Archipelago.

The Islamic State-linked group has been involved in frequent acts of piracy and has beheaded captives when ransom demands have not been met.

Before the latest attack, the militants were holding 27 hostages, according to a tally of reports about kidnappings and a few releases.

The captives are Indonesian, Malaysian and Vietnamese seamen, as well as Filipinos, a Dutchman, a German and a Japanese national.

A surge in piracy off parts of the Philippines is forcing ship-owners to divert vessels through other waters, pushing up costs and shipping times.

President Rodrigo Duterte said last month he had asked China for help in the fight against the militants by sending ships to patrol the dangerous waters. (Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.

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Italian Court Investigates Whether Smugglers Finance Rescue Boats

"We created our group to respond to the moral and legal obligation to save lives," said Sophie Beau, co-founder of SOS Mediterranee, which operates the MS Aquarius, pictured here, with donations. Photo: SOS Mediterranee
Co-founder of the humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee, which operates the MS Aquarius pictured here, said they created the group to respond to the moral and legal obligation to save lives. Photo: SOS Mediterranee

ReutersBy Antonella Cinelli and Steve Scherer

ROME (Reuters) – The chief prosecutor of a Sicilian court said on Friday that a task force is looking into whether people smugglers may be financing rescue boats run by humanitarian groups that operate off the coast of Libya.

A court task force is conducting "an analysis" – not a criminal investigation – into concerns that some boats may be working with smugglers, Carmelo Zuccaro, Catania's chief prosecutor, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"Last summer we saw something we'd never seen before: At times there were 13 boats operated by NGOs working at once," he said. Catania on the eastern coast of Sicily is the near the ports where most migrants are brought after they are rescued.

"Do these NGOs all have the same motivations? And who is financing them?" Zuccaro asked.

The court's concerns are based on the fact that they are conspicuously well-funded operations and on migrant testimony, Zuccaro said, that smugglers provided directions to where rescue boats would be located before they disembarked.

Humanitarian groups said that their boats can be located with free, real-time ship tracking on the Internet.

"This seems to be a notion based on incompetence," said Stefano Argenziano, head of search and rescue operations at Doctors without Borders.

"The problem isn't where rescue ships are, but that hundreds of thousands of people are putting themselves in the hands of traffickers and risking their lives."

A record 181,000 boat migrants came to Italy last year and most of them were rescued at sea. More than 90 percent departed from Libya, and some 5,000 died in the Mediterranean last year.

Not all rescues are carried out by humanitarian groups. Italy's coast guard and navy coordinate and participate in sea rescues, and private ships, vessels working with the European Union border agency Frontex and others with the EU anti-trafficking operation Sophia also frequently help with rescues.

Four groups contacted by Reuters that operated private rescue ships last year said they were funded by donations mainly from private citizens, with some contributions from foundations, companies, or through commercial partnerships and state grants.

All four denied any link with human traffickers.

"It's absolute nonsense," said Ruben Neugebauer, a spokesman for the German humanitarian group Sea-Watch. "We are funded entirely by donations," he said, adding that the average amount given was far less than 100 euros.

"We created our group to respond to the moral and legal obligation to save lives," said Sophie Beau, co-founder of SOS Mediterranee, which operates the Aquarius rescue vessel with donations, which averaged about 170 euros. (Editing by Dominic Evans)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.

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Carnival’s China JV to Order First Cruise Ships to Be Built in China

carnival cruise ship
Photo: gary yim /

Cruise giant Carnival Corporation has announced that its cruise joint venture in China has signed a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) to order the first-ever cruise ships built in China for the Chinese market.

The newly-signed agreement updates the terms of an initial shipbuilding MOA announced in September 2016, further expanding the cooperation between Carnival Corporation and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

The MOA was formalized during an official signing ceremony held Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Representatives of Carnival Corporation, CSSC and Fincantieri executed the agreement on behalf of Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture and the shipbuilding joint venture, respectively.

As part of the new MOA, Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture in China agreed to order two new cruise ships to be built by a China-based shipbuilding joint venture between CSSC, the largest shipbuilder in China, and Italy-based Fincantieri S.p.A. The MOA also gives Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture the option to order four additional China-built cruise ships.

Reuters reported that the deal for the new ships is valued at $1.5 billion. 

Carnival Corporation will operate and manage all cruise ships owned by the cruise joint venture as part of its plans to launch the first multi-ship cruise brand in China. The two new ships will be built with a design tailored for the cruise brand and the specific tastes of Chinese travelers. Under the agreement, Carnival Corporation will provide onsite supervision and support during ship construction. The first of these ships is expected for delivery in 2023.

Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture – a partnership announced in 2015 with CSSC in which Carnival Corporation holds a minority interest – plans to launch a cruise brand in China using ships that are purchased from Carnival Corporation's existing fleet. Based on Wednesday's agreement, however, the joint venture will add new China-built cruise ships starting in 2023 to further accelerate growth in the Chinese cruise market and serve increasing demand for cruising from Chinese and Asian travelers.

"We are proud to order the first China-built cruise ships and play a meaningful role in developing cruise shipbuilding capabilities for the first time in China," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "This represents another important milestone in building a sustainable and prosperous cruise industry, and demonstrates our commitment to contributing to China become a leading cruise market as part of its five-year economic development plan."

"Our cruise joint venture's agreement to order the first-ever cruise ships built in China and specifically designed for our cruise brand to serve Chinese guests is a tremendous opportunity to grow interest and demand for cruising as part of China's rapidly expanding tourism market," said Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia. "We are very committed to working closely with our partners to further develop the Chinese cruise industry and continue supporting China's efforts to become one of the leading cruise markets in the world, which will remain a key driver for cruise growth across Asia for many years to come."

"Following the five concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, CSSC is working closely with international partners like Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri to build the first cruise ships in China, which will significantly advance the rapid, sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese cruise industry," said Wu Qiang, president of CSSC. "Global economic integration is still an irresistible trend. Our close partnership with Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri, with the aim to build cruises addressing the additional demand from the Chinese and Asian market, will let more people enjoy the benefits of globalization and live a better life."

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: "Looking at the global scenario means trying to widen one's boundaries, laying the foundations to further boost business prospects and access more complex markets. It is not possible to maintain a competitive presence in the medium and long term without such a commitment. We therefore believe that today's agreement is an example of industrial partnership that not only reaffirms our leadership in the cruise industry, but also creates a virtuous system among the two countries."

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The Bonds of Liberty: a World War I Liberty Loan Poster February 22, 2017 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

When the second rotation of the exhibit, “World War I: American Artists View the Great War,” opened with a new set of objects from Prints & Photographs Division collections, one striking poster jumped out at me. It shows a pair of boots dripping with blood and emblazoned with the German eagle, and has the text “Keep these off the U.S.A” in large bold letters. Though possibly too graphic for some, it’s certainly eye catching and serves as a powerful piece of propaganda.

Keep these off the U.S.A. - Buy more Liberty Bonds. Poster by John Norton, 1917. //

Keep these off the U.S.A. – Buy more Liberty Bonds. Poster by John Norton, 1918. //

The poster was intended to be dramatic in order to encourage the American public to continue to support the war financially by buying liberty bonds. It suggests that buying liberty bonds will keep the Germans from invading the United States. In reality there was virtually no chance the Germans were going to invade the U.S. They had their hands full fighting in Europe, and their ships were unable to get past Great Britain. As with much war propaganda, however, the poster’s power lay partly in how successfully it tapped into the public’s biggest fears–an enemy at the doorstep is certainly a more tangible threat than one across the ocean. My colleague, looking at the pattern of red on the boots, wondered if it was meant to represent a map, perhaps suggesting territorial conquest. What do you think?

The artist who designed the poster, John Warner Norton, had some experience with war; a couple of decades earlier he trained as a soldier with Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.

Norton’s design was one of many that advertised liberty bonds during World War I. Here are two that took quite a different approach to persuasion.

Ring it again Buy U.S. Gov't Bonds, Third Liberty Loan. Poster by Sackett & Wilhelms Corp., N.Y. 1917. //

Ring it again Buy U.S. Gov’t Bonds, Third Liberty Loan. Poster by Sackett & Wilhelms Corp., N.Y. 1917. //

My daddy bought me a government bond of the Third Liberty Loan--Did yours? Poster by The United States Printing & Lithograph Co., New York, 1917. //

My daddy bought me a government bond of the Third Liberty Loan–Did yours? Poster by The United States Printing & Lithograph Co., New York, 1917. //

The public had an opportunity to see liberty bond posters on building exteriors and city streets, as shown in the photographs below. The booth selling bonds in the first photo features both the “Keep these off the U.S.A.” boots poster as well as another poster advertising the Fourth Liberty Loan in the Prints and Photographs Division’s collections.

Senators buying liberty bonds. Photo, copyrighted 1918. //

Senators buying liberty bonds. Photo, copyrighted 1918. //

Elise Robert & Dorothy Kohn. Photo by Bain News Service, 1917 Oct. //

Elise Robert & Dorothy Kohn. Photo by Bain News Service, 1917 Oct. //

Liberty Loans, 2nd Loan; Posters. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1917. //

Liberty Loans, 2nd Loan; Posters. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1917. //

The “Keep These Off the U.S.A.” poster was part of the Fourth Liberty Loan drive, which ran from September 28th, 1918 to October 19th, 1918. Whether because of the power of the poster or for other reasons, the loan drive was successful in raising funds, even at that late stage of the war and with a different kind of threat looming: a flu epidemic.

You can see this poster, along with many other items from the Prints & Photographs Division, on display in “World War I: American Artists View the Great War” through August 19th and online. Starting on April 4th,  visitors will have an opportunity to see to see a wonderful range of materials relating to the war in the new exhibit, “Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I,” which will display objects from across the Library of Congress collections (for more information, see the exhibition press release).

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