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NATO attack on Serbian state TV wiped from record

The NATO missile assault killed 16 people, yet there was no international outcry such as what followed the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015.

Shane Quinn

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On 23 April 1999, a NATO missile attack on Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) headquarters killed 16 employees of the state broadcaster. The forgotten war crime occurred during the Kosovo War (March 1998-June 1999), and was part of NATO’s aerial campaign alongside the US-backed Kosovo Liberation army, in opposition to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In the aftermath of the attack there were no great public campaigns launched for the 16 murdered journalists and employees, no outpouring of emotion for those killed, no calls for solidarity and togetherness in the face of aggression. On the contrary the West justified this grievous blow against freedom of expression, praised it even.

Tony Blair, Britain’s then Prime Minister, welcomed the killings when speaking at NATO’s 50th anniversary summit in Washington. Blair said the missile attack was “entirely justified… in damaging and attacking all these targets”, and that those murdered were part of the “apparatus of dictatorship and power of [Slobodan] Milosevic”.

Blair felt that, “the responsibility for every single part of this action lies with the man [Milosevic] who has engaged in this policy of ethnic cleansing and must be stopped”. Apparently Milosevic “must be stopped” by wiping out state journalists or what Blair describes as an “apparatus of dictatorship”.

According to one of the main leaders of the Western world, Milosevic must bear full responsibility for a NATO fighter plane firing a US-made missile on a state broadcasting service’s headquarters. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by Blair’s visions of justice, particularly when examining his key role in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the following decade.

Blair was not alone in praising this violation of international law. His Secretary of State for International development, Clare Short, said afterwards that, “the propaganda machine is prolonging the war and it’s a legitimate target”. Short is a Labour Party member and her official title today is The Right Honourable Clare Short. Defending these killings was neither right nor honourable one can assume.

NATO themselves commended the deliberate attack afterwards. NATO’s military spokesperson Air Commodore David Wilby declared RTS, “a legitimate target which filled the airways with hate and with lies over the years”. This followed on from a number of other NATO attacks on radio and television outlets in the country.

In the build up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, Cardiff University revealed that the BBC adopted the most pro-war stance of any British network. The official reasons for invading Iraq were based entirely on lies and misinformation. In this case was the BBC “the propaganda machine”, had it become “a legitimate target” too?

Pentagon spokesperson Kenneth Bacon also legitimised the war crime saying that, “Serb TV is as much a part of Milosevic’s murder machine as his military is”. Not to be outdone, the respected US diplomat and magazine editor Richard Holbrooke described the bombing of RTS as, “an enormously important and, I think, positive development”.

In the build up to the Iraq invasion American networks like Fox News were styling the illegal intervention as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, with its correspondents and news anchors compelled to repeat that phrase. In addition a permanent American flag was fluttering in the top corner of the screen, and during the invasion itself the banner “war on terrorism” was unfurled.

Did this make Fox News and others like it, “a legitimate target which filled the airways with hate and lies”? Judging by the standards of Western elites, one would have to suggest so.

Meanwhile, a single person was charged for the attack on RTS: Dragoljub Milanovic, the Serbian network’s general manager, who received a 10-year jail term for failing to evacuate the building in time. Yet the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia concluded that NATO’s bombing of RTS was not a crime, noting that deaths were “unfortunately high, they do not appear to be clearly disproportionate”. Clearly disproportionate to the overall number of civilian deaths inflicted by NATO perhaps.

However, in January 2015 the Western reaction was somewhat different when 12 journalists from the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper were murdered by Islamic extremists – along with four Jewish men killed at a kosher supermarket shortly afterwards.

The British Prime Minister on this occasion, David Cameron, did not justify the killing of journalists and said, “We stand absolutely united with the French people against terrorism and against this threat to our values – free speech, the rule of law, democracy”. Cameron went on, “we should never give up the values we believe in… a free press, in freedom of expression, in the right of people to write and say what they believe”.

About two weeks later Blair, now a Middle East peace envoy, said of the thinking behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks, “this extremism is not natural, it’s taught and it’s learned and you have to un-teach it in the school systems”. Blair seems further unaware of his own role in creating “this extremism” by playing the junior partner role in invading Iraq, a crucial factor in the rise of ISIS.

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, millions marched to honour the dead with the slogan “I am Charlie” becoming famous. When the Serbian journalists and employees were killed just over 15 years before, there was no international motto of “I am RTS”.

New York civil rights lawyer Floyd Abrams described the Charlie Hebdo shootings as, “the most threatening assault on journalism in living memory”. The perception of “living memory” appears to be a remarkably short one.

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my2CentsJetsVtranDarkEyesRADOMIR RISTIC Recent comment authors
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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

Western governments, and all those who support them, have long ago abandoned all civilised standards of honesty, legality, morality or even plain decency. They lie and lie and lie – blatantly and unblushingly, in accordance with the principle of the Big Lie (which Goebbels and Hitler learned from Edward Bernays and his chums on Madison Avenue).

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

The Western hypocrisy is sickening. Blair should be behind bars.

AriusArmenian
Guest
AriusArmenian

…with Bush and Obama.

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

……Clinton…..

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

……all on trial for capital murder…

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

Unlikly … some say he has Rottenchild blood (not pure)

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

And he converted into a Roman Catholic. To be in time for his protection by pope, Jesuits and The Banksters.
That is why Mr. Tony the Phoney is still a “free man” and untouchable.

Hi Vtran, long time, nothing heard. Are you OK?

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

DE … thank you for the information

have some issues … banned as you know on FR (will return under a new ID …. but sits behind a number of other computer related tasks) … and health … damn immune system has collapsed, so picking up any “bug” doing the rounds ,,, need some time to “recharge” …

DE thank you for asking

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

You’r welcome. If you live in a state where medical cannibis is allowed to be used may be that might be of benefit for your health?

About the issues … yes I suspected it would be something like that.
Keep save, take care and become healthy asap, you hear.

Vtran
Guest
Vtran

going for a specialized type of acupuncture very soon ….. have great hopes

Thank you …. you take care too

SVESAMSHVATIO
Guest
SVESAMSHVATIO

NATO was actually too soft! NATO had prevented genocide of serbian terrorists over armless Albanian people with the help of the JNA, which which was usurped by the great-serbian genocidal criminals and dictator Milosevic.

RADOMIR RISTIC
Guest
RADOMIR RISTIC

Yeah… and Your Ustashas preemptively massacred a million Serbs during World War II. And for the same reason, the Serbian people was decimated during the First one – the so-called The Great War. The Turks preventively killed, assimilated or displaced Serbs (especially from today’s Kosovo) for five centuries. But, what else to say about ‘unarmed Albanians’ ?! You could not have met such a thing for centuries. Ah, did you hear that? And what else to say about ‘unarmed Albanians’ ?! You could not have met such a thing for centuries. And did You hear about the weapons stolen from… Read more »

Peter Bozich
Guest
Peter Bozich

Tony Blair unfortunately walks the earth a free man, how can this be ?
Now he is a middle east envoy, makes it even more insulting.
Thank you Russia for stopping this criminality continuing on into Syria, the neoconservative lunatics thought this destruction of Yugoslavia was the template for countries like Syria.
How can Tony Blair even show his war criminal face in public, he is a shameful blight on world history, a criminal who should be hung.

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

The British SAS were shooting Serbian policemen in the back during 1998 before the war to elicit a response by the state, which would inevitably be labelled “excessive” and cause for internationalization, as it was, a prelude to NATO’s war of aggression after General William Walkers false-flag.
The Bombing of RTS was the work of a British pilot.

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Milosevic was fully exonerated of any wrongdoing..however this occurred posthumously to protect the reputations of his accusers.

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Don’t follow that logic….

Trauma2000
Guest
Trauma2000

Milosevic died in jail before being found innocent. He was denied medical treatment that most people would get in a maximum security jail. The findings of Milosevic’s trial found him INNOCENT. But those finding were buried on about page 1900 of a 2500 page report. A Spanish forensics team sent to Serbia to ‘exhume mass graves’ spent two years looking but said they ‘couldn’t find anything’ and then their statements were buried on 11pm nightly news and not follow up the next day. It was a whitewash. It was the first case that the International Criminal Court was supposed to… Read more »

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Holy cow….I’m responding to Terry Ross comment which is daft and now get a lecture…like I dont know…oh well

Jets
Guest
Jets

Hi there, long time no hear (I’m well by the way).

Your daughter has probably heard a lot of Western propaganda. My neighbors are from Yugoslavia and so are many of their friends (I know most of them). There were hardline Muslim terrorists who indiscriminately killed women, children and elderly people. That set the the war machine in motion as I told my co-workers.

Say “Hi” to your daughter :-))

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Hi YOU….Good to hear you’re ok!! :-)) Yes, she has. When she visited the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. She sat about 2 feet away from Milosevic…separated by Plexyglass wall. It was a very small room. She observed Milosovic so intensely that she expected him any time to give her “the evil eye” She found him to be extremely intelligent, far more so that the prosecutor and the judges combined. He had a wicked sense of humor and according to her would not be found guilty. She said that with a rather impish face as if to apologize for such a… Read more »

Jets
Guest
Jets

Hi G! My apologies for not replying to you any sooner. It has been a hectic year so far. Still a couple of months to go. Yes, our neighbors and friends are highly educated people and none of them is bloodthirsty (Slavic people!).I was working at the time as an IT-specialist at “the bank” in Diemen when the war broke out. All my co-workers were scolding on the people of Yugoslavia, but I set them straight. I told them about the Albanian people who were tolerated, but decided to have it their way and eat the cake too. That’s when… Read more »

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Hi my friend, Don’t you worry about a thing. As long as you’re ok. How many more “events” are scheduled? The whole situation was created by the U.S. to break up Yugoslavia. They paid these Muslims. The so-called Srebrenica massacre involving Dutchbat never took place. Dutchbat was sent by the U.N./and the Dutch Government as peace keepers, armed with small weapons…Instead it was a war zone. Dutchbat, as you know were taken hostage. They were accused of the massacre of 8000 Muslims. I was in Nederland during the hearings….2 members of Dutchbat committed suicide. So far no apologies to these… Read more »

Jets
Guest
Jets

3 events and counting down :-))

I will e-mail you this week.

Got to go :-))

my2Cents
Guest
my2Cents

Cool. Look forward to it😁

André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Blair was just meeting (kissing each other on the cheek) with Juncker: like all war criminals, whether from the UK, US or Israel, there will always be people who will defend them and find a few reasons to clear all wrongs. It all depends on which side the propaganda machine is working overtime. When Ben Gurion was asked if he was satisfied to have brought terrorism to the Middle East, he smiled and said:”…to the whole world”. Whole families were shot to smithereens in Operation Cast Lead in Israel and the people were cheering on the mountain to enjoy the… Read more »

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

I thought it was Menachem Begin. Ben Gurion just waved his hands.

spoint
Guest
spoint

Perhaps, US-made missile, but Jew sent missile.

AriusArmenian
Guest
AriusArmenian

NATO is a terrorist war criminal organization.
Note the NATO – OTAN displays.
NATO unconsciously shows its duplicity.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

After the end of WWII, the United States was one of the first states to sign the Geneva Convention on the rules of war, which prohibited the deliberate or indiscriminate attack of civilians and civilian objects, EVEN if the area contained military objectives. Failure to do so would cause a higher civilian death toll resulting from bombardment by the attacking force and the defenders would be held responsible, criminally liable for those deaths. The US sits its big a$$ on international law and spits on its own signature, when it fits it, but cry to heaven when it suits its… Read more »

samo war
Guest
samo war

NATO is wheeeeere ?

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

So then after doing the deed. If Serbia was to announce that their secret service had now executed Blair for war crimes against the Serbian people. That would then be seen as totally acceptable in the West? Now to be honest,yes,it would be for me. He should have been brought to that justice years ago. But in this case I’m just trying to mimic the West’s thinking on what is correct or not. I think I have it down now.

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

Blair is a frontman, he amongst others must be tried to expose his owners. The only ones who would benefit from his death are the UK deep state.

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

He can never be tried in a World Court. He and his supporters have far too much power for that to ever happen. Thinking about trying him,which I hear all the time,is purely “feel good” propaganda. It just allows him to escape justice while people daydream that he will be punished.

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

True, most courts, commissions exist to bury the truth. I was hoping for something more impartial, but it’s unlikely. Nevertheless, I’m certain the little weasel would spill the beans with just a few whacks across the chin – his owners are the ones that need to be hunted.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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Latest

BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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