Monday 14 August 2017
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Tom Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; & Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: Threat to US and European allies: al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine (edition No. 17) recommends attacks on the rail systems of Europe and the US. Inspire is a clearinghouse for lone jihadists around the world. The Boston bombers at the April 2013 marathon based their deed on Inspire, as did the New Jersey bomber, In the last 36 hours, the magazine provided step-by-step advice on how to build and lay a derailing device for train tracks, with the advice to lay it ten minutes before the train passes by. Most of the routes they list are in the Northeast of the US — i.e., Boston to New York to Washington (called Bosnywash).
US MILITARY KILLS ISLAMIC STATE KHORASAN PROVINCE LEADER IN KUNAR The commander, known as Abdul Rahman, was a candidate to take control of Khorasan province after the US killed the previous emir last month. Gen Nicholson, commanding US forces in Afghanistan: “We will hunt them down.” Exact same statement is attributed to Gen Nicholson every time. These press releases are recycled copy; you stop looking at the real problem. Pres Trump signs a document designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. US govt plays a losing game by trying to designate a portion of a group as terrorist but not the rest. For Pete’s sake.
US KILLS THIRD EMIR OF ISLAMIC STATE’S KHORASAN PROVINCE The US announced that Abu Sayed, the emir of the Islamic State’s Wilayah Khorasan, died as result of an airstrike in Afghanistan’s Kunar province on July 11. He is the third emir of Wilayah Khorasan killed in the past year
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Tom Joscelyn, Long War Journal and FDD; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: Shebaab in Somalia: last week, two strikes against them. Mogadishu and he surrounding provinces; Trump Adm trying to roll back Shebaab gains of the last year – Burundian forces withdrew and left Somalia cut into two sections. “Due largely to lapses in counterterrorism operations in 2016.” Ouch. Certainly not due to a lack of targets – it’s easy to see what’s going on, and we have intell assets there, yet Shebaab has been allowed to take over large amts of territory. Same in Yemen, Afgh, Iraq. .
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Gordon Chang, Daily Beast and Forbes,com, in re: India: Modi face-off with Xi — the one and only head of PLA, army, air force; generals and troops swear allegiance to Xi, not to the state — is accelerating. Chinese troops endeavor to bully Indian (invited) troops in Bhutan. China also has dispatched a force to a Vietnamese drilling rig in the South China Sea. (“It's called the South China Sea, so it must be ours, right?”) China tried to build a road right in to Bhutanese sovereign territory, with Chinese troops along; India was invited to stop the impingement and its presence was a shock to China, which thought it could barge in with no push-back. . . . DPRK has recalled in ambassadors to Moscow, to the UN (ergo, to New York). We might, just might, be seeing the beginnings of a successful US policy toward North Korea. They don't know what Trump is capable of doing. Eke the Chinese. See WSJ op-ed today, Mattis and Tillerson laying out Trump Adm official line on North Korea policy. Beijing and Pyongyang are worrying, as they see that US may use trade as a tool. Kim said something amazing: he may pull back on his threats for a few days. First time we’ve seen that.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Josh Rogin, Washington Post column, Global Opinions, in re: “New York channel.” In July, conversations between Joseph Yun of State and Pak Song-il of DPRK Mission to the UN (No. 2 at the Mission) – both are upper-middle mgt, meaning they have expertise but no authority. Used to pass messages back and forth; 90% is on US hostages that DPRK is holding, Now that US and DPRK are escalating toward crisis, the channel has assumed more importance. At surface level, they’re just screaming at each other; secretly, they meet fairly regularly.
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Inside the ‘New York Channel’ between the United States and North Korea, by Josh Rogin
For many years, the North Korean mission at the United Nations has provided a quiet avenue of communication for Washington and Pyongyang, away from the eyes of the media and irrespective of the bombast and rhetoric coming from the leaders of both countries. In the coming weeks, it could have new importance as the one place the two countries can talk directly — to avoid military conflict.
As the current crisis deepens, the “New York Channel,” as it is known, is alive and well. Late last month, State Department official Joseph Yun and Pak Song Il, a top North Korean official at the United Nations, met in New York to discuss the fate of three American prisoners held by the Kim Jong Un regime, according to three sources briefed on the meeting. The Associated Press reported today that Yun and Pak have been using the channel regularly since President Trump’s inauguration to discuss the prisoners primarily, but also the overall U.S.-North Korea relationship.
My sources tell me that in July, Yun and Pak were also involved in planning what was to be the most extensive contact between senior North Korean officials and Americans since Trump’s inauguration. Pyongyang was ready to send a high-level delegation to New York to meet with senior U.S. experts on North Korea and former officials for a “track two” set of discussions in late August. The meetings were to be hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a small but influential think tank that has a long history of arranging such private interactions. The North Korean delegation was to be led by Choe Son Hui, deputy director general of the North Korean foreign ministry’s U.S. affairs department.
Some involved speculated that Yun would “unofficially” get a chance to meet with Choe while she was in town. If so, it would have been the U.S. government’s best chance to talk directly with a North Korean official who has more ability to negotiate than the lower-level U.N. diplomats do.
But the planning was canceled last month because the two sides could not come to terms. The U.S. side wanted North Korea to show some progress on the issue of the American prisoners before granting the high-level North Korean delegation visas to enter the United States. The North Korean side didn’t meet that condition. It was the second failed attempt; the think tank had previously tried to arrange the visit in March.
Only a few days after Yun and Park last met, the war of words between the Kim regime and President Trump erupted, with threats of military action coming from both sides. Theirs was the last direct contact between the two governments, sources confirmed.
The prisoner issue has been a precondition for negotiations on the Trump administration’s side since February. There’s evidence it could be where the two sides eventually break the ice. Yun used the New York Channel to arrange the release of Otto Warmbier in June, who died days after returning home.
Just this week, North Korea released a Canadian pastor they had imprisoned, after months of negotiations with the Canadian government. Some experts saw that as a signal from Pyongyang to Washington.
“The Canadians have sent people, a couple of times, government people, to talk to the North Koreans. We haven’t. And so, as far as the North Koreans are concerned, the Canadians are playing ball,” said Robert Carlin, a former State Department official who dealt extensively with North Korea. “It also is a demonstration to the Americans that by being tough and uncommunicative — in their view — it doesn’t benefit our own prisoners.”
Despite the differences in tone and tenor between what different U.S. officials are saying about North Korea in public, the messaging in private has been relatively consistent. The Trump team has told foreign interlocutors that they remain open to negotiations with Pyongyang under the right conditions but will meanwhile continue to increase pressure on the regime.
The conditions for talks are fairly straightforward and well understood. North Korea must freeze its nuclear and missile tests and agree to include the topic of eventual denuclearization in the agenda. The United States is not prepared to meet China’s proposed condition, a freeze on joint exercises near the Korean Peninsula.
Those exercises will kick into high gear later this month, and North Korea may unleash a provocation in that time frame as well. If and when that happens, Kim and Trump’s brinksmanship will be put to the test.
Even if the two sides can’t agree on terms for negotiating an end to the conflict, the New York Channel could be the best way to facilitate the communication needed in an emergency to avoid a miscalculation that could lead to war.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block A: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, and John Fund, NRO, in re: The Trump Adm is learning on the job from Charlottesville (stumble, recover, stumble, recover), which now is the scene of a federal investigation. Trump is still and always comms director; it took 48 hours longer than it should have for him to call out by name the malfeasants in Charlottesville, Virginia. This evening he tweeted, I said what you wanted me to say and it’s still not good enough. Proves the media are out to get me.
Poll: 71% of Dems think Trump is “fascist” by temperament. Hurts Trump’s feelings, as he doesn't see himself that way, at all. Over time, can the chief of staff, Kelly, [wrangle] this into shape? No. Trump is one of the most aggressive politicians we've ever seen (and I don’t say this pejoratively). Whenever there’s a deed of radical Islamic terror, Trump quickly names it. His issuing a bland statement about Charlottesville was neon-bright in comparison. He’s created a new standard for stubbornness. . . . Until today, Trump hasn't had a [grave] challenge; he’s failed this.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, and John Fund, NRO, in re:
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block C: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: MEMRI TV on Hamas training of 10,000 children to “liberate Jerusalem.”
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Harry Siegel, Daily Beast and New York Daily News, in re: NSC staffer fired. The Trump presidency. Higgins's bizarre document. Charlottesville
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, in re: Dealing with rogue nations.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Daniel Allott, Washington Examiner's deputy commentary editor, in re: Political trails: Iowa; Dems who voted for Trump.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block C: Robert Service, Hoover, in re: Islam and racism.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 3, Block D: Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: Charlottesville.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne, in re: Helmet sensors.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne, in re: Modern war technolgy and weaponry.
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: James M. Scott, Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor
Monday 14 August 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: James M. Scott, Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor