TOC Ready Room 23 Oct 2021: A ‘domestic terrorism’ retraction, and an emerging plan in Burma

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Tonight: a walk-back from the school board association on its claim of “terror” threats from concerned parents; and a military campaign being prepared in Myanmar/Burma.

Parents as “domestic terrorists”; or, Not So Much.  Possibly the most striking thing about this is that it was only yesterday (Thursday, 21 October) that I was in a rather extended exchange on Twitter on this topic.  (This Ready Room edition is actually going up on 23 October, but was started Friday evening.)

I was looking for details about the “threats” allegedly being made by parents to school board members across America, which the media assure us prompted the Department of Justice to issue the 4 October memo vowing DOJ attention to this growing problem of violence and domestic terrorism. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 23 Oct 2021: A ‘domestic terrorism’ retraction, and an emerging plan in Burma”

TOC Ready Room 19 Oct 2021; *UPDATE*

What’s wrong and right with the world today.

[Updates added at the bottom. – JED]

Greetings, readers.  This is the inaugural edition of the TOC Ready Room, which will be an open thread and drop-by briefing space in the spirit of the ready rooms used by military aviators.

My experience being with U.S. Navy ready rooms, the feature image is of a ready room on the carrier USS Constellation (CV64) used by a squadron from Carrier Air Wing 2.  The image is tagged as being from March 2003, when Constellation was on her final operational deployment supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  (The CVW-2 patch is visible on one of the flight jackets, incidentally.)  Constellation was decommissioned only a few months later, in August 2003.

On a carrier, the ready room is used for planning and squadron briefings, but also serves as a gathering space subject to availability.  It’s the center of squadron life during underway periods and deployment.

The Ready Room posts will be added at least once a week, Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 19 Oct 2021; *UPDATE*”

USS Connecticut: Close encounter in the South China Sea

Media reported a U.S. Navy statement Thursday that USS Connecticut (SSN-22), a nuclear-powered attack submarine, had suffered an underwater collision on 2 October 2021 while operating in the South China Sea, and was headed to Guam for inspection.  No sailors were killed in the collision; 11 were injured, but the Navy hasn’t indicated the injuries are life-threatening.

The statement, quoted at the U.S. Naval Institute website, is as follows:

“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries,” Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News.

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”

Subsequent reports in the mainstream media have indicated Connecticut was in the South China Sea. Continue reading “USS Connecticut: Close encounter in the South China Sea”

Provocation: Sailor seen with MANPAD on Russian warship transiting Bosporus

Peace in our time.

Shoulder-fired peace cruises in the Bosporus: Russian sailor on the deck of Russian landing ship Tsesar Kunikov, 4 Dec 2015. (Image: Emre Dagdeviren via Twitter, UK Express)
Shoulder-fired peace cruises in the Bosporus: Russian sailor on the deck of Russian landing ship Tsesar Kunikov, 4 Dec 2015. (Image: Emre Dagdeviren via Twitter, UK Express)

This incident reportedly occurred the morning of 4 December.

The Ropucha-class tank landing ship Tsesar Kunikov (BDK-158) was heading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, conducting a southbound transit of the Turkish Straits.  (As documented at the excellent Bosphorus Naval News blog, BDK-158 has been back and forth through the Turkish Straits several times over the last few months.  The ship was most recently off Syria in November, and returned to the Black Sea on 25 November before Friday’s southbound transit.)

Turkish media reported that a Russian sailor was photographed on the deck with a shoulder-fired missile launcher in the firing position during the transit. … Continue reading “Provocation: Sailor seen with MANPAD on Russian warship transiting Bosporus”

War comes home: Russia v. Turkey; Jet shootdown; Rebels attack Russian helos with U.S. TOW missiles

Peace in our time.

Shootdown porn. (Image via rebel video on YouTube)
Shootdown porn. (Image via rebel video on YouTube)

The war in Syria is metastasizing, as long predicted by this author and others.  It’s perilously close to a direct confrontation of Turkey and Russia in combat — a situation that didn’t start with the warplane shootdown today, but rather seems to have culminated in it.  The ground picture in the area of the shootdown is the key.

What we know for sure today is that Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft, which the Turks say was violating their air space.  The Turks report that an F-16 fighter pair took out the Russian aircraft.

It also appears that Russian helicopters sent on a rescue mission for the Su-24 air crew were destroyed.  If a video posted by Syrian rebels (below) is valid – assuming it shows something the rebels pulled off today (24 November) – it looks like the rebels used TOW missiles to attack the Russian helos while they were on the ground at the Su-24 crash site.

These rapid-fire events raise questions that will not be answered at a leisurely pace.  The basic question is what Russia and Turkey will do now.  But there is also the question of “why now?”  Turkey has been closely tracking Russian air activity for weeks.  The two air forces have interacted at dangerous levels before; the Aviationist has a good summary here.  But today, instead of warnings and sword-rattling, the Turks shot the Russian aircraft down. Continue reading “War comes home: Russia v. Turkey; Jet shootdown; Rebels attack Russian helos with U.S. TOW missiles”