Southern Command News Archive | SOUTHCOM Or USSOUTHCOM Alerts For South America
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February 25, 2023 - MEXICO/US - Three different fires broke out on Thursday located at different Mexican state-owned facilities run by Pemex, one of the facilities located in the United States. Cause: "Undetermined". Read more
February 11, 2023 - Brazil has declined the two Iranian warships from docking at Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula sa Silva prepared to visit Washington for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. Read more
February 09, 2023 - Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder says that the Pentagon is aware of four previous balloons having gone over the United States, and that they are a part of a "larger Chinese surveillance balloon program". Read more
February 04, 2023 - Statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry regarding the balloon spotted above mainland United States. Read more
February 04, 2023 - A specialist in surveillance balloons says that balloons are difficult to shoot down and that the one over the United States flying over U.S. military sites looks to have been equipped with an advanced AI guidance system. Read more
February 04, 2023 - The Chinese "spy balloon" has altered its flight path and is now moving east at about 60,000 feet over the "central" United States, which demonstrates its ability to maneuver, according to a statement by the U.S. military Friday. Read more
January 27, 2023 - U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION- SAN DIEGO, – "San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents seized nearly 300 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of $4 million from three vehicle stops earlier this week. Read more
January 24, 2023 - A new Joint Resolution has been introduced by United States Representative Dan Crenshaw that would allow for the use of military force against Mexican drug cartels in order to fight against drug trafficking into the United States. Read more
January 14, 2023 - China is reportedly pressuring Argentina to allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to build a naval base in the Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego province within the country, allowing them a military base with close access to Antarctica. Read more
January 9, 2023 - Supporters of the former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have broke into the congress building and presidential palace in protest of the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last week. Read more
November 19, 2022 - Nassau, The Bahamas - Thursday 17 November 2022 - On 12 November 2022, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (“the Commission”), in the exercise of its powers as regulator acting under the authority of an Order made by the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, took the action of directing the transfer of all digital assets of FTX Digital Markets Ltd. (“FDM”) to a digital wallet controlled by the Commission, for safekeeping. Read more
November 14, 2022 - 11 countries have been placed on the travel advisory page in the last 30 days, including Trinidad and Tobago, Tonga, Ecuador, Moldova, Nigeria, China, Taiwan, Samoa, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Read more
October 30, 2022 - The Pentagon said that although Russia is an "acute threat", China "is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order, and increasingly the power to do so". Read more
September 18, 2022 - Puerto Rico’s Governor has reported that the power grid in Puerto Rico has gone black. The White House has declared an emergency. Read more
August 28, 2022 - The president of the BRICS International Forum, Purnima Anand told reporters on Thursday that both Russia and India no longer need the U.S. dollar, as they have turned to national currencies to conduct mutual settlements. Read more
August 18, 2022 - The Chinese Ministry of Defense has reported that their military is carrying out joint military exercises that are co-hosted by 12 countries, with 37 countries in total participating. Read more
August 04, 2022 - The U.S. Department of State has put out a worldwide travel alert, advising against traveling abroad after Sunday's drone strike where two R9X Hellfire missiles killed al-Qaeda leader, and Osama bin Laden successor, Ayman al-Zawahri. Read more
July 22, 2022 - Former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton publicly admitted that he has helped plan coups abroad. China took note of the interview and reported about it on their military website. Read more
June 30, 2022 - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 21st that the BRICS countries, which include Russia, China, Brazil, and South Africa (Iran and Argentina have applied but not yet accepted) are currently working on setting up a global reserve currency to cut their financial reliance on the West. Read more
June 28, 2022 - Iran has applied to become a member of the BRICS, a group of emerging world economies that include: Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil and India. Read more
June 28, 2022 - At least 47 migrants have been found dead inside a trailer in San Antonio, Texas with 18 others transported to hospitals in the area, in what appears to be a human smuggling accident. Read more
June 25, 2022 - List of travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State from June 1st, 2022 to June 24th, 2022. KEY: Level 1: Normal Precautions | Level 2: Increased Caution | Level 3: Reconsider Travel | Level 4: Do Not Travel. For a clickable list visit the OSLINT Advisories post. Read more
June 22, 2022 - Mexican drug cartels are using online games to recruit teenagers, paying them, often with a monthly income to act as full-time lookouts at the southern border, notifying the cartel of the presence of law enforcement, and promising to teach them how to move drugs and carry out hits for more cash. Read more
June 19, 2022 - So far this year there have been 50 people from the FBI terror watchlist arrested at the U.S. border with Mexico, which amounts to more than the last five years combined. There have also been more than 440,000 known 'gotaways'. Read more
June 8, 2022 - The World Bank put out a statement saying that less developed countries in the world face a major recession as a result of the war in Ukraine, as well as the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdowns as the cost of energy and food continue to rise globally. Read more
May 17, 2022 - United States anti-narcotics agents have found a drug-smuggling tunnel running underneath the U.S. border with Mexico that contains electricity, a ventilation and a railway system. Read more
May 6, 2022 - There has been a powerful explosion at the history Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba that has damaged the building. Read more
April 29, 2022 - There is an increased presence of Mexican security forces in the Puerto Vallarta area and the potential for confrontations between criminal groups and security forces in the Puerto Vallarta area and in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. Read more
April 7, 2022 - Confirmed: The entire island of Puerto Rico is without power due to a 'critical fault'. There have been reports of an issue with a power plant, and fires at two substations. Read more
April 5, 2022 - The U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador has issued a security alert regarding the Government of El Salvador’s enactment of emergency measures on March 27, violent encounters between law enforcement personnel and alleged gang members continue around the country. Read more
March 5, 2022 -The FBI has reportedly arrested the main suspect in the assassination of the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. Mario Antonio Palacios, who allegedly worked with a group of other Colombian citizens in the plotted kidnapping turned assassination of Jovenel Moise has been detained. Read more
February 7, 2022 - A woman shot and injured and her 9 month old infant was shot and killed by the Trinidad coast guard while they were traveling from Venezuelan waters. The Coast Guard says their boat attempted to ram their vessel and acted in self defense. Read more
February 5, 2022 - Mexican gangs are no longer merely using drones to drop bombs onto opposing cartels, but have upgraded their tactics to include laying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the roads to disable army vehicles. Read more
February 4, 2022 - After a classified congressional briefing on the situation between Russia and Ukraine a GOP lawmaker stated the briefing is 'top secret' but what he can say is "Americans need to get out of Ukraine". He also stated the importance of focusing on America's southern border. Read more
January 23, 2022 - A Russian Ambassador to Caracas, Venezuela says that deployment of Russian bases in Venezuela is impossible under its constitution. Read more
January 22, 2022 - Russia's ambassador to Caracas, Venezuela says that Venezuela is ready to offer military help to Moscow if relations with the United States exacerbate. Read more
January 21, 2022 - The Defense Department has agreed to pay $52.5 million for blimps that will be used to help surveil and patrol the U.S. border with Mexico. Read more
January 21, 2022 - Warships from Russia, China and Iran are all navigating to the Middle East for joint naval drills in the Persian Gulf. Syria, India and Venezuela will also be participating in the drills. Read more
January 13, 2022 - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov said that Russia will not rule out deploying its military to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States continue to mount. Read more
January 13, 2022 - The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, one of the deadliest cartels in Mexico is allegedly using drones as bombers to target rival gangs in a turf war. Read more
August 21, 2021 - Bolivia has charged ex president Jeanine Anez with both genocide and staging a coup after MAS (Movement For Socialism) candidate, Luis Arce was elected during 2020 Bolivian elections. Read more
August 17, 2021 - The United States is preparing to send an amphibious warship to Haiti to aid in earthquake relief after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the country and killed more than 1,419 people (Death count is still ongoing). Read more
July 24, 2021 - Venezuela has accused the United States of violating its airspace in what they call a 'flagrant provocation' and stated that they would 'respond forcefully' to any maneuver it saw as aggressive behavior. Read more
July 8, 2021 A United States citizen, along with over a dozen others have been arrested for the assassination of the Haitian president, along with the Haitian First Lady. Read more
July 7, 2021 The Haitian president has been assassinated, and the first lady is in the hospital after a group of Spanish speaking, but unknown armed men carried out an attack on his place of residence. Read more
June 18, 2021 The Iranian ships that had been sailing toward South America and presumed to be headed for Venezuela or Cuba have changed course and are now headed toward Syria, the Mediterranean Sea or to Russia although their exact destination is presently unknown. Read more
June 11, 2021 The United States has been watching two Iranian warships as they entered the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history and continue on a path toward South America, suspected to be shipping weapons to Venezuela. Full story
June 5, 2021 Two Iranian warships that have been heading toward the Atlantic ocean and believed to be headed for Venezuela have now rounded Africa's Cape Of God Hope and have almost entered the Atlantic. Read more
May 4, 2021 19 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Columbia as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest over skyrocketing poverty and unemployment rates. Read more
Fires Break Out In Three Different State-Owned Pemex Mexican Oil Facilities - MEXICO/US - Three different fires broke out on Thursday located at different Mexican state-owned facilities run by Pemex, one of the facilities located in the United States. Cause: "Undetermined". Read Pemex Statements
The fires have left five people missing and eight injured. Five people were missing after a fire at a storage facility in Veracruz, Mexico, with three people sent to the hospital, according to a statement released by Pemex. The fire has since been extinguished, with the cause yet undermined.
Another statement by Pemex said that another fire had broken out at its Minatitlan facility, which is also located in Veracruz, injuring five people. This has also been since extinguished. Pemex said that its operations at the refinery were not interrupted, and that "it is presumed that the possible cause of the fire was product runoff on a hot surface".
A third fire broke out on Thursday at Pemex's Deer Park oil refinery in Texas, USA. An all-clear notification was sent out after, indicating that the fire was brought under control.
Brazil Declines Iranian Warships From Docking At Its Port - RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil has declined the two Iranian warships from docking at Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula sa Silva prepared to visit Washington for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. Location Maps
The Iranian Navy had begun to operate in South American waters as two Iranian warships had the intention to dock at the port in the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a stay of one week, on a mission to the Panama Canal.
The refusal to allow the Iranian warships to dock at the port has been seen as a gesture by Brazil seeking closer ties with the United States.
The Financial Post cited a Brazilian military source as saying, “It’s true that there was a veto (from the government). The Iranian ships could not come during this period".
January 29th, 2023: Iranian Navy Begins Operations In South American Waters
TEHRAN - The Iranian Navy has begun to operate in South American waters as two Iranian warships sought to dock at the port in the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a stay of one week, on a mission to the Panama Canal.
Although there were initial reports that the Iranian vessels had docked at the port, reports came in later that they had not yet been allowed to dock, and that their docking was delayed by Brazil.
According to a Report by the Tehran Times and Fars News, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said, "Today, we have a great opportunity in the sea area for the development of the country, and we can turn this gift from an economic capacity into a civilizational capacity by using the maritime capacity properly. Today, the use of the sea is a geopolitical advantage for us, and those who do not have this capacity are suffering from geopolitical suffocation.”
He said that the Iranian Navy is planning on expanding its scope of operations.
“So far, we have been present in all the strategic straits of the world and we have not been present in only two straits, in one of which we will be present this year and we are planning to be present in the Panama Canal,” he said.
He added, "The actions taken today in the Navy would not have been possible without the support of the elite society, knowledge-based companies, and the Ministry of Defense. Today, this capacity is at the service of the country's progress".
“We started seafaring much earlier than the Europeans, and this maritime civilization can be revived. Today we need to strengthen our maritime presence and today we can say that there is no problem in the scientific field to grow in this field. But most of this capacity is used in the military field and other sectors should also make more efforts in this field."
“Today, if my comrades are approaching the shores of the American continent, they are showing signs of the authority of dear Iran. As a showcase for the dear people of our country, we appeared in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Of course, along this route, Australia and the French created threats for us and tried to violate the laws they had approved to cross their coasts. But we answered them with authority and according to the law.”
He also said that Iran now has command centers in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans.
“We have formed three oceanic commands, including the Indian Ocean Command, the Pacific Ocean Command, and the Atlantic Ocean Command. Today we are present in the Indian and Atlantic oceans and soon we will be present in the Pacific Ocean. The equipment that will join the Navy in the future is in line with the mission of these three commands,”
The two vessels that docked at the Brazilian port were the Iranian frigate Dena and the warship IRIS Makran,.
The IRIS Makran is Iran's only forward base ship of the Iranian Navy. It was converted from being an oil tanker and is Iran's largest warship.
Makran had been on its way to Venezuela in 2021 carrying seven missile boats onboard but was denied entry by Venezuela after intense diplomatic pressure at the time.
The Dena is a Moudge-class frigate, which according to Wikipedia has:
1 × 76 mm Fajr-27 naval gun, 1 × 40 mm Fath-40 AAA or 1x 30mm Kamand CIWS, 2 × 20 mm cannons Oerlikon, 2 × 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, 4 × Mehrab SAM surface-to-air missiles, 4 × Noor or Qader anti-ship missiles, 2 × triple 324 mm torpedoes
On January 11th, 2023 Iranian Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said, "So far, we have been present in all the strategic straits of the world. This year we are planning to be present in the Panama Canal.”
Iran and Venezuela signed a 20-year strategic cooperation agreement in January 2022.
January 12th Transcript Of Ned Price Addressing Claims By Iran Of Visiting Panama Canal
QUESTION: the Islamic Republic of Iran is sending warships to the Panama Canal. Do you have any reactions to that? Do you find it provocative?
MR PRICE: We are aware of this claim by Iran’s navy. We continue to monitor Iran’s attempts or at least its statements of its intent to develop a military presence in the Western Hemisphere.
QUESTION: And also one more about exporting arms to Russia. There are reports that Iran has delayed the delivery of arms to Russia, including ballistic missiles and launchers. Are you aware of these delays and these reports, and what’s your assessment?
MR PRICE: Our overarching assessment has not changed. Iran is and remains Russia’s most important source of security assistance. This is a burgeoning partnership between Russia and Iran that has deepened in recent months but even over the longer time horizon. We’ve released significant detail regarding the provision of UAV technology from Iran to Russia. We have also detailed our concerns that Russia may also seek ballistic missiles, and ballistic missile technology, that Iran has.
We are watching very carefully. We continue to speak out against the provision of these wares, knowing that this technology, despite what we might hear from Tehran or from Moscow, is intended to do one thing: it is intended to kill Ukrainians; it is intended to inflict damage on the country of Ukraine, targeting in many cases civilian infrastructure.
Pentagon: Chinese Balloons Part Of Larger Surveillance Program By China - Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder says that the Pentagon is aware of four previous balloons having gone over the United States, and that they are a part of a "larger Chinese surveillance balloon program".
Pentagon: Chinese Balloons Part Of Larger Surveillance Program By China [Video Transcript]
USNORTHCOM continues their recovery operations in support of the recent takedown of the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon. Brigadier General Pat Ryder, Pentagon Press Secretary: [Only Statements About Balloon Added]:
GENERAL RYDER: "As of today, recovery operations of the balloon and the payload continue without issue. Sea states Tuesday permitted divers and explosives ordnance technicians to conduct underwater salvage and recovery, and underwater survey activities continue using unmanned underwater vehicles. The USS Carter Hall remains in the vicinity of the debris field and is leading the recovery efforts. US Coast Guard cutters continue to provide security, and the FBI and NCIS agents continue their work cataloguing debris and transporting it for further processing.
Again, we remind members of the public, if you come across debris, please do not handle it, but call your local law enforcement to facilitate safe recovery. Additional information on recovery operations will be forthcoming.
QUESTION: Thank you. To go back to the balloon, does the Pentagon know with certainty now that the balloon actually came from China, i.e., it was launched from China? And if so, where?
And then the DOD has said that there have been at least three other balloon incidents during the previous administration and one other incident during this administration. Can you tell us a little bit about how you were able to discern that these balloons were the same, and they were also Chinese spy balloons?
GENERAL RYDER: GEN. RYDER: Sure. So let me address your second questions - well, your second question first. So again, I'm not able to go into the intelligence. As you highlight, we are aware that there have been four previous balloons that have gone over U.S. territory. This is what we assess as part of a larger Chinese surveillance balloon program. You've heard us talk in the past about the fact that this is a program that's been operated for several years. What we do know is that in some cases whereas some of these balloons previously had not been identified, subsequent analysis, subsequent intelligence analysis did enable us to indicate that these were Chinese balloons.
In terms of where they're coming from, I can't go into the specific location other than to say China, and the last thing I'll say is that this last week provided the United States with a unique opportunity to learn a lot more about the Chinese surveillance balloon program, all information that will help us to continue to strengthen our ability to track these kinds of objects.
QUESTION: Thank you. As you said, as it's part of a wider surveillance program, if four previous ones had transited the U.S., have there been others that maybe got near international U.S. military installations, but didn't actually cross U.S. soil?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, so again, for classification reasons, I'm not going to be able to go into a lot of details other than these four are the ones that we assess went over U.S. soil. And I'm not going to go over specifically what they tracked other than what we've acknowledged publicly -- that we know that they were looking to surveil strategic sites, to include some of our strategic bases in the continental United States.
And so when you look at the scope of this program and the fact that we know that these balloons have been spotted, and what we now can subsequently assess to be Chinese balloons operating over at least five continents in regions like Latin America, South America, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Europe, again, it demonstrates why, for the Department of Defense, that China remains the pacing challenge, and something that we'll continue to stay focused on. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thanks, Pat. Do these Chinese surveillance balloons somehow explain the UAP, some of the unidentified aerial phenomena that were reported in that report to Congress? Have you gone back to look? And are some of those UAP incidents perhaps those Chinese surveillance balloons? And also, did you start tracking this balloon when it left China on July 21st? Were you tracking it all over -- the way over the Pacific Ocean, or did you just start tracking it when it got close to Alaska?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Jennifer. So your first question, that's really a question best addressed by the Director of National Intelligence, that puts that report together. I will say, broadly speaking, that when it comes to our assessment of objects in air and space, you know, that's going to always be ongoing work, right?
So any time there's something that's unidentified, by default, we will track that information, and when new information can become available that we can apply, certainly we're going to do that, but to answer your direct question, the DNI would be the best folks to address that portion.
In terms of when we started tracking this, again, I'm not going to get into those kinds of specifics, other than to say we did see it approaching U.S. airspace. NORAD, NORTHCOM tracked it for the duration. Again, as it entered U.S. airspace, NORAD determined that it did not pose a physical or military threat, and in accordance with their procedures, monitored it.
When it did come over the continental United States, we began to develop options on how to take it down and address this threat, with the idea being that we wanted to wait until it was over water so that we could mitigate any potential civilian harm or property damage, and importantly, as I highlighted, use this as an opportunity to, again, better understand the Chinese surveillance balloon program and apply that information to increase our ability to track these kinds of objects. Thanks.
QUESTION: Can you clarify when the Chinese balloon -- the last surveillance balloon that went down near Hawaii went down? There are reports that it was four months ago and there's another report that it was in June. When did it go down?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, I've seen those press reports. Again, I'm not going to have any information to provide on the previous balloon flights that were out there. But again, appreciate your understanding on that.
QUESTION: Thank you. Could you just, in layman's terms, explains why there has been this -- what the General called "awareness gaps," why the U.S. was not able to detect these kinds of balloons previously?
And then given that, is there a kind of intelligence failure here? Did the military and the intelligence somehow fail to understand or grasp this threat or is it a failure of imagination? And how's that being addressed?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Dan. So to answer your last question there right up front, no, it was not an intelligence failure. You know, as we learn more about this type of capability and really, what General VanHerck was referring to was previously having a domain awareness gap -- but we've learned a lot about these balloons, we've learned a lot how to track them, as evidenced by the fact that, again, we were tracking it as it approached U.S. airspace. And so we're confident that what we've learned about this program enables us to be able to monitor and be on the lookout for these kinds of capabilities.
And when you think about the wide array of activities that we monitor globally, but most importantly when it comes to defense of the homeland along our coasts and our skies, by being able to identify the characteristics of things like this or other potential threats, it all gets put into a broader library, so to speak, of information that our analysts can monitor, track, and detect, and then respond appropriately.
QUESTION: And then in terms of this global program, are the balloons that are spotted elsewhere in the world essentially similar to the one that was flying across the U.S.? And is there reason to believe that those balloons were flying near or over U.S. military bases abroad in those countries?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, so beyond the fact that they share the common characteristic of being surveillance balloons, right, intelligence collection assets that the PRC is employing, the only other thing I'd say is that we do know there's variation in the various sizes and capabilities of balloon, but beyond that, I'm not going to go into specifics. In other words yeah, I'll just leave it at that.
In terms of what they're monitoring and what their flight paths are going to be, I'm not going to go into that level of information, but needless to say again it calls into question why China, the PRC, feel that it's okay to violate sovereign airspace of nations in a way that is inappropriate and unacceptable -- so combining this capability with the other intelligence assets that they have at their disposal.
And so again, as I highlighted earlier, this just demonstrates why the PRC continues to remain our pacing challenge and I think that they have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to conducting these types of programs and violating nations' airspace and sovereignty. Thank you.
QUESTION: First, did you guys assess that this was a fleet after this balloon was spotted or from what you've determined in previous UAP investigations?
And with that, are you planning to declassify any information about those 163 reports of balloon and balloon-like entities so that we could understand better how they compare and don't compare?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, so on your second question, I'd refer you to the DNI. Clearly, within the realms of operations security and protecting intelligence sources and methods, we are trying our best to provide the public with as much information as we can on this program, recognizing that we don't want to do anything that's going to compromise our sources and methods.
In terms of your question about assessments on the overall surveillance balloon fleet, yes, we were tracking this before this particular incident. As I mentioned, our awareness and understanding of this capability has increased over the last couple of years.
You know, as General VanHerck highlighted, this wasn't information that we necessarily had previously, but again, our analysts have been able to, over time, put the pieces together and learn a lot more about this program.
And the last thing I'd say on that, again, is this was a unique opportunity for us to observe this balloon and its characteristics very closely as it traveled over the United States, and needless to say -- and I won't go into details -- we gained a lot of information on this and I believe we'll continue to gain more information on this.
QUESTION: Following up on -- following up on Tara's question, I thought you said, about the other four previous ones, that they were over strategic sites.
GENERAL RYDER: Again, I'm not going to -- they were over sites that would be of interest to the Chinese but I'm not going to go into the specifics, David. Thank you.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up and then a separate question. You said a moment ago the awareness and understanding of the situation has increased. When did the U.S. come to the conclusion that these were in fact surveillance balloon? Because it seems like that was an incredibly recent conclusion, based on the understanding of the situation.
And then just a short time ago in a House Intel briefing, Representative Stewart said the balloon may be the Chinese testing the American people to see their reaction, while General Philip Breedlove suggests that it was the enemy conditioning the U.S. population. Does the Pentagon believe that was China was conditioning or testing the U.S. with these balloons in some way?
GENERAL RYDER: Yes, thanks, Oren. So, you'd really need to talk to China about what its motivations were. Again, the facts are that they sent a surveillance balloon into sovereign U.S. airspace. We responded quickly and appropriately, monitored it, tracked it and took it down as soon as it was safe to do so. And I'll just leave it at that.
GENERAL RYDER: I don't have a specific date to provide you in terms of when the intelligence community developed this other than to say it's been in the last couple of years that we've been able to do the analysis and look at these objects and determine which has built the body of knowledge available to us. So again, as I mentioned, as this object approached U.S. airspace, NORAD NORTHCOM knew what it was and tracked it.
QUESTION: Thank you. You mentioned these four previous incidents. Was this the first time that the U.S. military had the capability of shooting down one of these balloons or was this a consideration in any of those previous incidences as well? And I also have a question on Ukraine.
GENERAL RYDER: Yes. So, we always maintain a variety of options on how best to respond. So, in terms of being able to shoot down any object that violates or threatens the United States, or our airspace, or our people, certainly, that is an option that's available to us. But in each case we took what we consider appropriate action. So, just leave it that.
If anything enters into our airspace whether we know what it is or not, we will monitor and we'll take appropriate action. Luis’ question was, did you have the capability to take down a balloon? Yes. We maintain the capability to take down balloons.
QUESTION: Well, kind of. It was more like, were there discussion about shooting it down --
GENERAL RYDER: Yes, I'm not going to get into those discussions.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking my question. Also wanted to touch on the hearing on the Hill this morning, the former EUCOM commander calling the delay in shooting down the balloon a miscalculation and that it could be China trying to condition the U.S. to miscalculate in the future. Was this a miscalculation? And how confident are we that we'll be able to detect these kinds of balloons in the future?
GENERAL RYDER: GEN. RYDER: Yes, so I think we are very confident that we'll be able to detect these kinds of capabilities, as evidenced by the continuing body of knowledge that we've been able to build up on this. But, obviously, that is something that our intelligence community will continue to work very closely on for this and any other potential threats.
In terms of how others may characterize it, I'm going to allow them to speak for themselves. Again, we detected this balloon, tracked it very closely. When it went into the continental United States we evaluated options on how best to bring it down. As you know, once it was safe to do so, we brought it down over water and we continue to collect the debris to be able to exploit for further intelligence.
QUESTION: And if I could ask, what did China think that they could get at 60,000 feet that they couldn't get with a satellite? What do you think they were collecting?
GENERAL RYDER: Again, that's a question that's best addressed by China. Obviously, at a high altitude you're operating above civilian air traffic. As you've heard us say before, the collection capabilities of this balloon were not of more advantage to other capabilities that we know they maintain. But regardless, we took steps to mitigate the potential collection of information. But as I also mentioned, we learned a lot about this balloon program.
And you know, the last thing I'd say on that is that I would not be surprised that the PRC starts to reevaluate its dirigible collection program. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, General. Just first clarification, because I'm confused. With the previous four balloons, did you say they were not detected, but later intelligence assessment got your awareness? Would -- did this happen -- is this true, and did this happen with this administration, that assessment, or with the previous administration?
GENERAL RYDER: So what we know is that over the last several years, to include time during the previous administration, subsequent analysis determined that objects that had traversed over the United States, although not for the duration of this fifth balloon, were ultimately determined to be PRC surveillance balloons.
QUESTION: And the four previous balloons, they all happened during the last administration?
GENERAL RYDER: Three during the last administration, one during the Biden admin -- at the beginning of the Biden administration.
QUESTION: Well, this is the second balloon during the Biden administration?
GENERAL RYDER: Correct
QUESTION: Okay. And then did the technology you're able now to collect from the debris, did this lead you to think that this is actually part of a spy program, or are you leaving any room for maybe, no, actually, this was for civilian purposes?
GENERAL RYDER: I can assure you this was not for civilian purposes. We are 100 percent clear about that.
QUESTION: And are you willing in the future to share information with the public that confirms this assessment?
GENERAL RYDER: Well, what do you mean?
QUESTION: I mean, we have two narratives here, right? You referred us to the PRC before. The PRC maintains this is for civilian purposes strictly. The DOD and the administration is maintaining, no, this is actually spy balloon for military purposes, although it has no value added to what they have in terms of more than 400 satellites. So we have, as a press corps, we have two narratives here, competing narratives.
GENERAL RYDER: Okay. So I'll give you the facts. Again, based on what we know and have observed about this balloon, it is a surveillance balloon. It was an intelligence-collection capability. You know, a question that I would ask myself is if, in fact, it was a civilian balloon, a weather balloon, and it was approaching a sovereign nation, about to enter their airspace, a responsible nation would have put out some kind of public statement saying, "Hey, heads up. This is heading your way. We just want to let you know." The PRC did not do that. They didn't respond until after they were called out. I'll just leave it at that.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking my question, General. So on the balloon, I -- it -- have you shared the ID characteristics, now that we now have some better definition, with our other allies and partners so that they can watch over their own airspace and detect potential incursions?
GENERAL RYDER: So yes, so we are -- we are in the process of updating our international allies and partners. Not going to have more specifics to provide. Clearly, we maintain an intelligence-sharing relationship with many countries, and so as we have information to provide and as we currently are, we will share that information.
QUESTION: So I've heard multiple stories about the balloon in Hawaii. How exactly did it go down? Was it -- did it crash? Was it shot down? I just want to confirm.
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, again, I'm not going to be able to talk about what we know on those previous balloons.
QUESTION Second, once we found out that it did go down, however it went down, were we able to recover any information from it?
GENERAL RYDER: Again, I'm not going to have any specifics to provide. As I highlighted earlier, broadly speaking, we've learned a lot about this surveillance balloon program, and every piece of information that we gather contributes to that body of knowledge that enables us to detect them, track them, and take appropriate action.
QUESTION -- one in Guam, anything?
GENERAL RYDER: Again, I'm not going to be able to go into more details.
QUESTION: I just had a very quick follow-up. Is the unofficial U.S. policy now that you're not going to shoot down balloons over land, only over water, or in the way that you're scrutinizing this further information that you have, is that going to change the way you respond to future balloons since it's a fleet?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, so I think you need to take a step back and look at our policy has not changed. If something is about to enter our airspace, we're going to track it and monitor it and determine whether or not it's a threat. And in this particular case, as the balloon approached U.S. airspace, the NORAD NORTHCOM Commander determined that it did not present an imminent physical or military threat.
So we're always going to reserve the right to take appropriate action against any foreign objects, unexplained aerial phenomenon, whatever it is, to safeguard the American public, and that's exactly what we did in this case.
QUESTION: Pat, if there were four previous incidents were Chinese spy balloons were over U.S. airspace and they weren't reported, how is this not an intelligence failure?
GENERAL RYDER: So the idea here is that we're going to be tracking all kinds of objects on any given day, both in the air, on the sea. And so as we gain information and as we see the profile of those objects determining whether or not it's a threat -- and so in terms of our ability to collect on those, as I've highlighted, we have learned a lot about their program, we've been able to learn a lot about what they're doing and their intent.
We observe a lot of things every single day in a lot of different ways, from an intelligence collection standpoint, and those are things that we're not necessarily going to talk about publicly for obvious reasons. There's also benefit in us knowing what they're doing and not publicly talking about what they're doing.
But in terms of monitoring these and collecting on them, we have been able to put together a body of knowledge that enables us to be able to detect them and act appropriately.
QUESTION: But did you know they were Chinese spy craft at the time, those four incidents?
GENERAL RYDER: They were tracked and subsequently determined to be Chinese.
QUESTION: And lastly, J-21 Chinese aircraft that came very close to the U.S. surveillance plane on December 21st, was that related to the balloon program or observation of the balloon -
GENERAL RYDER: No, completely discounted.
QUESTION: Thanks very much for doing this. One follow-up on the question of communications with China. You said that responsible nations, if it was a civilian balloon, would have notified the U.S. in advance. Does the Pentagon then assess that China is acting recklessly on purpose, in the hopes of creating some sort of bigger incident?
And then separately on the balloons, how -- is there any evidence or any assessment that some of the balloons, whether the one that was tracked just over the U.S. or the others, had capabilities other than surveillance, perhaps transmission?
And are there any other countries that may be running similar balloon programs to that being run by the PRC?
GENERAL RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Jeff. So on your last question, I mean, obviously nations around the world maintain various degrees of intelligence programs, and I'm not going to get into those from here.
In terms of what message China was trying to send with this balloon, again, I'd refer you to the PRC. I'm going to deal with the facts. The facts are that the balloon went into and violated sovereign U.S. airspace. We tracked it very closely, we developed options, and when the time was right to minimize potential civilian harm, we took a shot and took the balloon down.
And again, this is contributing to our body of knowledge on this program, which we will apply to defending our skies and protecting our citizens well into the future. And I will say also that when it comes to learning about these kinds of programs, I think we all appreciate the fact that this is not static. You're constantly learning, you're constantly applying lessons learned in order to protect the American public and our allies and our partners, and this is no different in that case.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate your time today.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Statement On Balloon Over United States - Below is a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry regarding the balloon spotted above mainland United States.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Statement
"Q: On February 3, senior US State Department officials said at a briefing via teleconference that due to the entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace, US Secretary of State Blinken has decided to postpone his planned trip to China. Do you have any comment?
A: Regarding the unintended entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace due to force majeure, the Chinese side has verified it and communicated it to the US side. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes.
Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course. This is entirely an unexpected situation caused by force majeure and the facts are very clear.
China always acts in strict accordance with international law and respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.
We have no intention to violate and has never violated the territory or airspace of any sovereign country. Some politicians and media in the US have hyped it up to attack and smear China. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that.
Maintaining contact and communication at all levels is an important common understanding reached by the Chinese and US presidents at their meeting in Bali.
One of the tasks of the diplomatic teams on both sides is to properly manage bilateral relations, particularly to manage some unexpected situations in a cool-headed and prudent manner. In fact, neither side has ever announced that there would be a visit.
It is a matter for the US to make its latest announcement, and we respect that."
Surveillance Balloon May Be Guided By Artificial Intelligence - A specialist in surveillance balloons says that balloons are difficult to shoot down and that the one over the United States flying over U.S. military sites looks to have been equipped with an advanced AI guidance system. Read Full Article
A Second Chinese "Spy Balloon" Hovering Over Latin America - WASHINGTON - The Chinese "spy balloon" has altered its flight path and is now moving east at about 60,000 feet over the "central" United States, which demonstrates its ability to maneuver, according to a statement by the U.S. military Friday.
A second balloon has also been spotted hovering over Latin America, according to the Pentagon.
China claimed that the balloon was merely a civilian airship that accidentally got blown off course into U.S. airspace.
Pentagon spokesperson: "we are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon.”
Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder spoke at a news briefing and said, ""We know this is a Chinese (surveillance) balloon and that it has the ability to maneuver".
Ryder said that he expects that the balloon will continue on its path over U.S. airspace for a few more days.
He also refused to say where exactly the balloon is located currently, and when asked "Doesn't the public not have a right to know if the balloon is over their state?" he stated, "The public certainly has the ability to look up in the sky and see where the balloon is".
Ryder also said that the balloon "does not pose a physical threat to people on the ground".
Kansas Senator Roger Marshall said that the balloon is hovering over the northeastern portion of his own state, and said "I condemn any attempts the Chinese make to spy on Americans. President Biden must protect the sovereignty of the U.S.".
Ryder said, "We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America. We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon".
Border Patrol Seizes $4 Million in Narcotics in One Day - U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION- SAN DIEGO, – "San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents seized nearly 300 pounds of narcotics with an estimated street value of $4 million from three vehicle stops earlier this week.
The first seizure took place at approximately 5:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 24th. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Campo Station initiated a vehicle stop near the Crestwood Road exit on Interstate 8. A K-9 sniff of the vehicle led to the discovery of 57 packages containing blue pills. Tests confirmed the blue pills to be fentanyl with a total weight of 250 pounds with an estimated street value of $3,412,000. Border Patrol seized the vehicle and turned over the suspect and fentanyl to a partner law enforcement agency.
The second seizure took place at approximately 12:00 p.m. Agents from the Newton-Azrak Border Patrol Station conducted a vehicle stop just north of the Interstate 15 U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Murrieta, California. The subsequent investigation and search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of 33 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $448,500.
The third seizure took place at approximately 12:16 p.m. Agents assigned to the Newton-Azrak Border Patrol Station stopped a vehicle at the Murrieta, California Hot Springs Road off-ramp on Interstate 215. The subsequent investigation and search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of 9.4 pounds of fentanyl and 4.9 pounds of heroin, totaling an estimated street value of $178,000, and a 40-caliber handgun.
Joint Resolution Introduced To Use Military Force Against Mexican Drug Cartels - WASHINGTON - A new Joint Resolution has been introduced by United States Representative Dan Crenshaw that would allow for the use of military force against Mexican drug cartels in order to fight against drug trafficking into the United States.
The joint resolution would allow "all necessary and appropriate force" against nine Mexican drug cartels including: The Sinaloa Cartel. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, The Gulf Cartel, The Los Zetas Cartel, The Northeast Cartel, The Juarez Cartel, The Tijuana Cartel, The Beltran-Levya Cartel, The La Familia Michoacana, or Knight Templar Cartel.
Crenshaw was interviewed by Fox News and said, "We are at a point now where their resistance is not only hurting them, it’s killing our citizens. We have to say enough is enough. … You’d better work with us, because we don’t want to do this without you, but we will.”
He added, “They’re some of the most capable, most well-funded, most dangerous organizations on the planet, and they’re right there. And Mexico is at risk of becoming a failed state. We have to work together with their government to deal with this.”
What's In The Joint Resolution?
The joint resolution that was submitted states: "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for trafficking fentanyl or a fentanyl-related substance into the United States or carrying out other related activities that cause regional destabilization in the Western Hemisphere".
"Whereas armed cartels such as Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel are responsible for trafficking fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances into the United States;"
"Whereas fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances kill ap- proximately 80,000 Americans every year and is the lead-ing cause of death for American men between the ages of 18 and 45;"
"Whereas the Sinaloa Cartel and the Los Zetas Cartel, among others, consistently engage in violence against each other and other cartels, creating instability mere miles from the border of the United States;"
AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES1 ARMED FORCES
"IN GENERAL, The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those foreign nations, foreign organizations, or foreign persons affiliated with foreign organizations that the President determines"
China Trying To Establish Naval Base In Argentina, US Convincing UK To Approve F-16s To The Country - SOUTH AMERICA - China is reportedly pressuring Argentina to allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to build a naval base in the Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego province within the country, allowing them a military base with close access to Antarctica.
Although quite far from America's southern border, having a base in South America would also allow its naval forces close access to the United States.
A Report by Dialogo Americas said that a military base in that location would allow China to "control the passage between the Atlantic and Pacific," as well as "monitor communications throughout the hemisphere," citing French news agency Intelligence Online.
On November 28th, 2022 Alberto Rojas, director of the International Affairs Observatory at Chile’s Finis Terrae University, spoke to Diálogo and said, “A possible Chinese base in Ushuaia would allow Beijing to have a permanent enclave in the Southern Hemisphere, with projection toward the South Atlantic which, depending on the conditions negotiated with Argentina, could allow for the construction of facilities, as well as the presence of naval units and military contingents in this quadrant".
He added, “China could intercept all kinds of regional communications with a clear economic and strategic impact, in addition to gaining the potential to maintain permanent monitoring of maritime transit".
Intelligence Online reported that Chinese Communist Party official Shuiping Tu who is based in Argentina, as well as a state-owned HydroChina Corp representative in South America is leading negotiations.
The news site said that the Chinese Communist Party Official persuaded Tierra del Fuego Governor Gustavo Melella to change his mind on Chinese investment in Tierra del Fuego.
Rojas said, "In the geopolitical context, the presence of a Chinese base in South America could be interpreted as an important strategic move by Beijing. “The Belt and Road [BRI] project announced by China in 2013 seeks to have a clear projection toward this area of the continent".
He added, “And if this base in Ushuaia materializes, it could become the first of many others, both on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts or the Andean area".
He also said that the BRI was a “global infrastructure development and international cooperation strategy” and that it allows China to increase its dominance and control over developing countries.
China currently has three "operational enclaves" overseas, according to the report. One is located in Djibouti in East Africa, the Ream naval base in Cambodia, and a base in Tadjikistan, currently being constructed in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region.
On April 27th, U.S. Army General Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told Miami based newspaper Infobae, “I see it like this: They are facilities of an authoritarian government, which does not let Argentines access them, except if they go there to visit".
He added, “What are they up to? They [China] don’t have the same concerns we do in terms of freedom and a free, secure, and prosperous Western Hemisphere. I’m concerned about it. And it’s run by a state-owned enterprise and the People’s Liberation Army. What are they using that facility for?”.
Supporters Of Former Brazilian President Bolsonaro Break Into Congress Building - BRAZIL - Supporters of the former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have broke into the congress building and presidential palace in protest of the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last week.
Law enforcement dropped tear gas from a helicopter attempting to disperse the crowd that had formed outside of the building, and a mounted officer was pulled off of his horse by rioters.
Securities Commission of The Bahamas Assumes Control of Assets of FTX Digital Markets Ltd. - Nassau, The Bahamas - Thursday 17 November 2022 - On 12 November 2022, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (“the Commission”), in the exercise of its powers as regulator acting under the authority of an Order made by the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, took the action of directing the transfer of all digital assets of FTX Digital Markets Ltd. (“FDM”) to a digital wallet controlled by the Commission, for safekeeping. Read Official PDF
Urgent interim regulatory action was necessary to protect the interests of clients and creditors of FDM. Under the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Act, 2020 (“DARE Act”), the Commission has the authority to apply for a judicial order to protect the interests of clients or customers of a registrant of the Commission under the DARE Act.
It is not the understanding of the Commission that FDM is a party to the US Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings. Over the coming days and weeks, the Commission will engage with other regulators and authorities, in multiple jurisdictions, to address matters affecting the creditors, clients and stakeholders of FDM globally to obtain the best possible outcome.
11 Countries Placed On Travel Advisory Page In Last 30 Days - 11 countries have been placed on the travel advisory page in the last 30 days, including Trinidad and Tobago, Tonga, Ecuador, Moldova, Nigeria, China, Taiwan, Samoa, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Macau SAR, due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions. See specific risks and conditions in each jurisdiction below. Exercise increased caution in the PRC due to wrongful detentions.
Reissued with updates to health information. Exercise normal precautions in Taiwan.
Reconsider travel to Trinidad and Tobago due to crime. Exercise increased caution in Trinidad and Tobago due to terrorism and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Reissued with updates to health information and removal of natural disaster risk indicator. Exercise normal precautions in Tonga. Read the Country Information page.
Exercise increased caution while traveling to Moldova due to unresolved conflict between the breakaway region of Transnistria and the central government. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Reissued with updates to health information. Exercise normal precautions in Samoa.
Reissued from October 4, 2022 with updates to security information. Do not travel to Ukraine due to Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The Department of State continues to advise that U.S. citizens not travel to Ukraine due to active armed conflict. Those U.S citizens in Ukraine should depart if it is safe to do so using commercial or other privately available ground transportation options. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Reissued with updates to relocation, citizen services, and safety and security information. Do not travel to Afghanistan due to armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.
Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe and the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high. Given the serious risks, U.S. citizens should not travel to Afghanistan to accompany eligible family members for relocation.
Summary: Terrorist groups, lone-wolf terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza without warning. There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information. Exercise increased caution in Cameroon due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Level 4 Do Not Travel List
The Level 4: Do Not Travel list includes: Afghanistan, Belarus, Faso, Burma, CAR, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tonga, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
The month of October saw a large number of travel advisory alerts being released. View Travel Advisories
2022 National Defense Strategy Of The United States Of America - WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said that although Russia is an "acute threat", China "is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order, and increasingly the power to do so". Read Full Article
Puerto Rico Power Grid Fails, White House Declares Emergency - Puerto Rico’s Governor has reported that the power grid in Puerto Rico has gone black. The White House has declared an emergency. Governor Pierluisi: "Emergency incidents are being reported to consequence of Hurricane Fiona. LUMA Energy and the Electric Power Authority report that due to the effect of the hurricane, the electrical system it is currently out of service.Read Full Article
BRICS: Russia & India No Longer Need U.S. Dollar - The president of the BRICS International Forum, Purnima Anand told reporters on Thursday that both Russia and India no longer need the U.S. dollar, as they have turned to national currencies to conduct mutual settlements. Read Full Article
China Holds Joint 2022 International Military Exercises Co-Hosted By 12 Countries - The Chinese Ministry of Defense has reported that their military is carrying out joint military exercises that are co-hosted by 12 countries, with 37 countries in total participating. Read Full Article
U.S. Department Of State: Worldwide Travel Alert - The U.S. Department of State has put out a worldwide travel alert, advising against traveling abroad after Sunday's drone strike where two R9X Hellfire missiles killed al-Qaeda leader, and Osama bin Laden successor, Ayman al-Zawahri.
R9X Hellfire are "kinetic kill" missiles, meaning rather than cause an explosion that kills the target, these missiles deploy six metal blades that do the job.
"Following al-Zawahri's death, supporters of al- Qa'ida, or its affiliated terrorist organizations, may seek to attack U.S. facilities, personnel, or citizens," the State Department said.
A second worldwide travel alert was also put out for a "Global Level 3 Health Advisory" that said that citizens should "reconsider travel" abroad due to COVID-19.
The statement put out by the State Department was as follows:
Caution: August 2nd, 2022 - Worldwide Caution: Worldwide Cautions provide U.S. citizens with general information regarding terrorist activities, political violence, and criminal activity that occur abroad, as well as specific recommendations on how to prepare for possible contingencies, receive information on breaking security events and ensure that travelers can be contacted in an emergency. This version replaces the Worldwide Caution dated January 15, 2019.
The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. The Department of State believes there is a higher potential for anti-American violence given the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 31, 2022. Current information suggests that terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions across the globe. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.
As terrorist attacks, political violence (including demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad. U.S. government facilities worldwide actively monitor potential security threats and may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
When planning a trip and prior to departing the United States, U.S. citizens should consult country specific Travel Advisories and information pages on travel.state.gov. Travelers are also urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and to make it easier to locate them in an emergency. The Department uses these security messages to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate or call the following numbers: 1 (888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries.
Private U.S. citizens should not travel to any country to participate in armed conflict. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of, or providing other forms of support to, designated terrorist organizations can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a serious crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines.
Former US National Security Advisor Admits Plotting Coups, China, Venezuela Respond - Former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton publicly admitted that he has helped plan coups abroad. China took note of the interview and reported about it on their military website. Read Full Article
Putin: BRICS Countries Setting Up Global Reserve Currency To Cut Financial Reliance On West - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 21st that the BRICS countries, which include Russia, China, Brazil, and South Africa (Iran and Argentina have applied but not yet accepted) are currently working on setting up a global reserve currency to cut their financial reliance on the West.
Putin stated at the BRICS business forum, "The issue of creating an international reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of our countries is being worked out". The Russian President also said that the BRICS member states are in the process of developing reliable alternative mechanisms for making international payments.
The BRICS group had previously stated that it was working on setting up a payment network that would cut financial reliance on the West, and have been increasing using local currencies in mutual trade with one another, according to the Economic Times.
Iran Applies To Become A Member Of BRICS - Iran has applied to become a member of the BRICS, a group of emerging world economies that include: Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil and India.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said that the move "would result in added values for both sides".
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Argentina has also applied to join the BRICS group. Zakharova stated in Telegram "While the White House was thinking about what else to turn off in the world, ban or spoil, Argentina and Iran applied to join the BRICS".
At the moment the BRICS group has a combined population of about 3.2 Billion. Iran has a population of around 85 to 86 million people, while Argentina has a population of around 45 million people.
If both Iran and Argentina join BRICS , it would bring the total combined population of the group to around 3.3 billion.
47 Migrants Found Dead Inside Trailer In San Antonio Texas - At least 47 migrants have been found dead inside a trailer in San Antonio, Texas with 18 others transported to hospitals in the area, in what appears to be a human smuggling accident.
Officials say they found a tractor-trailer in southwest San Antonio near Interstate 35, on a back road. In total the trailer had around 60 migrants inside. ICE Homeland Security Investigations were called to the scene and have taken charge of the investigation, as well as border patrol agents.
The weather in San Antonio on Monday was high 90s up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit which can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke to occur.
Travel Advisories: June 1st - June 24th, 2022 - List of travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State from June 1st, 2022 to June 24th, 2022. KEY: Level 1: Normal Precautions | Level 2: Increased Caution | Level 3: Reconsider Travel | Level 4: Do Not Travel. For a clickable list visit the OSLINT Advisories post.
Cabo Verde Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 23, 2022
Hong Kong Travel Advisory Level 4 - June 22, 2022
Ecuador Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 22, 2022
Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 22, 2022
China Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 22, 2022
Republic of the Congo Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 22, 2022
Moldova Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 21, 2022
Ethiopia Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 21, 2022
El Salvador Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 21, 2022
Tanzania Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 21, 2022
Tanzania Travel Advisory Level 2 -June 21, 2022
Kenya Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 21, 2022
Guinea Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 21, 2022
Ghana Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 21, 2022
Bolivia Travel Advisory Level 2 -June 21, 2022
Sweden Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
Sint Eustatius Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
Romania Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
Fiji Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
Comoros Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
Botswana Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
Bhutan Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 21, 2022
United Arab Emirates Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 14, 2022
Mexico Travel Advisory Other -June 13, 2022
Iraq Travel Advisory Level 4 - June 13, 2022
Belarus Travel Advisory Level 4 - June 13, 2022
Honduras Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 13, 2022
Maldives Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 13, 2022
Cuba Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 13, 2022
Saba Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 13, 2022
Saba Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 13, 2022
Malawi Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 10, 2022
The Bahamas Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 8, 2022
Suriname Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 8, 2022
French Guiana Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 8, 2022
Denmark Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 7, 2022
Libya Travel Advisory Level 4 - June 6, 2022
Iran Travel Advisory Level 4 - June 6, 2022
Lebanon Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 6, 2022
Guyana Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 6, 2022
Guatemala Travel Advisory Level 3 - June 6, 2022
Zimbabwe Travel Advisory Level 2 - June 6, 2022
Saint Kitts and Nevis Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 6, 2022
Poland Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 6, 2022
Namibia Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 6, 2022
Mongolia Travel Advisory Level 1 - June 6, 2022
Russia Travel Advisory Level 4 -June 1, 2022
Mexican Drug Cartels Using Online Games To Recruit Teens - Mexican drug cartels are using online games to recruit teenagers, paying them, often with a monthly income to act as full-time lookouts at the southern border, notifying the cartel of the presence of law enforcement, and promising to teach them how to move drugs and carry out hits for more cash. Read Full Article
50 Migrants On FBI Terror Watch List Arrested This Year At Mexican Border - So far this year there have been 50 people from the FBI terror watchlist arrested at the U.S. border with Mexico, which amounts to more than the last five years combined. There have also been more than 440,000 known 'gotaways'.
Terror Watchlist Apprehensions: Fiscal Year 2022 - 50; Fiscal Year 2021 - 15; Fiscal Year 2020 - 3; Fiscal Year 2019 - 0; Fiscal Year 2018 - 6; Fiscal Year 2017 - 2
Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin reported that CBP sources tell him that since the month of October alone there have been about 440,000 known 'gotaways'. A gotaway is "an unlawful border crosser who is directly or indirectly observed making an unlawful entry into the United States" but who has not been apprehended and is known not to have returned to Mexico.
World Bank: Less Developed Countries Facing Major Recession - The World Bank put out a statement saying that less developed countries in the world face a major recession as a result of the war in Ukraine, as well as the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdowns as the cost of energy and food continue to rise globally.
David Malpass, the President of the World Bank says that there is also a major risk of high inflation and small growth, which is also called 'stagflation'.
Malpass said that "The war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China, supply-chain disruptions, and the risk of stagflation are hammering growth. For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid".
"Subdued growth will likely persist throughout the decade because of weak investment in most of the world. With inflation now running at multi-decade highs in many countries and supply expected to grow slowly, there is a risk that inflation will remain higher for longer".
Although the countries that will be immediately affected in 2022, according to a World Bank forecast are Russia and Ukraine, it warned of long term effects [from the war and COVID lockdowns] that will likely have much wider effects.
Malpass said "Even if a global recession is averted, the pain of stagflation could persist for several years - unless major supply increases are set in motion".
Drug Running Tunnel Found Running Through US/Mexican Border - United States anti-narcotics agents have found a drug-smuggling tunnel running underneath the U.S. border with Mexico that contains electricity, a ventilation and a railway system.
The drug running tunnel ran from Tijuana, Mexico to a warehouse in San Diego, California about 300 feet away from the border, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Six people were arrested by U.S. authorities in connection with alleged drug running crimes involving the tunnel that was discovered and have been accused of conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, among other crimes.
U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman put out a statement saying, "There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel".
The estimated length of the tunnel, which was partly located in Baja California is about 1,750 feet and had walls that were reinforced.
The attorney general's office for Baja California in Mexico told Reuters that he had notified U.S. authorities of the tunnel on Sunday, two days after they had discovered it. He also said that it is one of the longest tunnels that has been found in the region.
Powerful Explosion In Havana, Cuba Damages Building - There has been a powerful explosion at the history Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba that has damaged the building.
Large portions of the building wall were blown away in the blast. The office of the Cuban president has stated that the blast at the Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana was a result of a gas leak.
The Presidential office also said that eight people were killed in the blast and that there are currently efforts to rescue potentially trapped individuals underway.
Entire Island Of Puerto Rico Out Of Power Due To Critical Fault - There is an increased presence of Mexican security forces in the Puerto Vallarta area and the potential for confrontations between criminal groups and security forces in the Puerto Vallarta area and in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
Location: Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco; Nuevo Nayarit, Nayarit; and Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Past shooting incidents between criminal groups and authorities have occurred in public places and bystanders have been injured.
Actions to Take: Monitor local media for updates and in case of emergency, call 911. Be aware of your surroundings. Review your personal security plans.
Entire Island Of Puerto Rico Out Of Power Due To Critical Fault - Confirmed: The entire island of Puerto Rico is without power due to a 'critical fault'. There have been reports of an issue with a power plant, and fires at two substations.
U.S. Embassy Security Alert For San Salvador, Central America - The U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador has issued a security alert regarding the Government of El Salvador’s enactment of emergency measures on March 27, violent encounters between law enforcement personnel and alleged gang members continue around the country.
The security alert says, "Persons not directly involved in such events can still be at risk for arrest or injury. U.S. citizens should maintain heightened awareness of this risk as they consider any travel to or around El Salvador".
The advisory says that U.S. citizens located in San Salvador should avoid walking or driving after dark, remain aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile. Maintain a high-level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
The alert also advises U.S. citizens not to resist any robbery attempt and to Monitor local news for updates, including local events and pronouncements by the Government of El Salvador.
U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador address: Final Boulevard Santa Elena, Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, Telephone: 503-2501-2999 (24 hour phone line). U.S Department of State –Consular Affairs: 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444.
FBI Arrests Suspect In Haiti Presidential Assassination - The FBI has reportedly arrested the main suspect in the assassination of the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. Mario Antonio Palacios, who allegedly worked with a group of other Colombian citizens in the plotted kidnapping turned assassination of Jovenel Moise has been detained. Read more
Woman And Infant Shot By Trinidad Coast Guard, Infant Died - A woman shot and injured and her 9 month old infant was shot and killed by the Trinidad coast guard while they were traveling from Venezuelan waters. The Coast Guard says their boat attempted to ram their vessel and acted in self defense.
The Trinidad Coast Guard put out a statement saying that on Saturday February 5th, 2022 TTS Scarborough detected a vessel that crossed the border between the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. The vessel was pursued and attempted to evade TTS Scarborough who's ship boat was launched to aid in the interception.
All available methods were allegedly used by the Coast Guard to get the suspect vessel to stop, including the use of the loud hailer, ship's horn, searchlight and flares but the vessel would not stop and attempted to evade TTS Scarborough.
The Coast Guard stated that they fired warning shots ahead of the vessel which also 'proved futile'. TTS Scarborough attempted to intercept the vessel at this time but tit continued with 'aggressive manoeuvres' first coming into contact with the ship's boat and then making attempts to ram it.
The Coast Guard then allegedly fired at the engines of the suspects vessel in order to make it stop. The vessel eventually came to a stop and then it was allegedly discovered at that point that there were illegal migrants on board who were hiding and unseen.
Among the immigrants hiding was a woman and a young infant in her arms who had indicated that they were bleeding. The injured woman was stabilized and taken to a local health facility but the infant was found unresponsive.
Mexican Gangs Have Begun Using IEDs On Roads To Disable Army Vehicles - Mexican gangs are no longer merely using drones to drop bombs onto opposing cartels, but have upgraded their tactics to include laying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the roads to disable army vehicles.
This new tactic is especially dangerous for non combatants who may accidentally come upon the mines, especially children unaware that there may be an improvised explosive device hidden in various places on the ground.
In the town of Tepalcatepec, the self defense movement which is fighting the Jalisco cartel said that improvised land mines heavily damaged an army vehicle last week and showed photos of the army's armored vehicle and the damages that it had taken from what they claimed was a land mine.
The spokesman for the group said that the army vehicle came upon the land mine on Saturday in the town of Taixtan, which is near Tepalcatepec, a location where gun battles have been recently taken place with the Jalisco cartel. It's the first time such a device has been used by the cartel, though they have been using drones to drop bombs on rivals for some time now.
GOP Lawmaker: Americans Should Get Out Of Ukraine And Also Said We Should Be Focused On America's Southern Border - After a classified congressional briefing on the situation between Russia and Ukraine a GOP lawmaker stated the briefing is 'top secret' but what he can say is "Americans need to get out of Ukraine". He also stated the importance of focusing on America's southern border.
Representative Lee Zeldin told Martha MaCallum on 'The Story' that Americans should 'get out' of Ukraine and stated "What happened inside of that briefing was top secret. So there's a lot that I can't share. But what I would tell any Americans who are in Ukraine, they need to get out. It is an important [and] serious moment for their safety".
"Right now, there's commercial air traffic that is going to be capable now, and there's no way to guarantee the safety for them if this escalates" he said.
Zeldin also addressed issues on the Southern Border, saying that there are many people who are currently focused on the situation in Ukraine and their border and who aren't focused on the southern border of the United States.
"We have to make sure that we are putting the highest priority on our own border. And there's a whole lot of people that need to do some reflection because they're caring a lot more about Ukraine's border right now".
Russian Ambassador Says Deployment Of Russian Bases In Venezuela Impossible - A Russian Ambassador to Caracas, Venezuela says that deployment of Russian bases in Venezuela is impossible under its constitution.
Russia’s Ambassador to Caracas Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov stated, "As far as Russian military bases are concerned, it is obvious. Just look at Venezuela’s constitution, which unambiguously states that there cannot and must not be any military bases on its territory".
"Why were the Americans frightened by this answer [of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov that Russian military infrastructure could be deployed to Venezuela or Cuba] is not surprising"
The Russian Ambassador said that the biggest threat for the US is "to have independent countries here, close by, to the south of the Mexican border, which have the right to choose who they will cooperate with and how".
"The fact is that the Americans want to see here just those governments, and not only here, that obey them, but not those that make decisions on their own" he stated.
Russia's Ambassador To Caracas: Venezuela Is To Offer Military Help To Moscow If Relations With US Exacerbate - Russia's ambassador to Caracas, Venezuela says that Venezuela is ready to offer military help to Moscow if relations with the United States exacerbate.
Russia’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov on the YouTube channel Soloviev.Live on Saturday was asked whether Caracas would be able to provide 'military and technical' assistance to Russia if relations between the United States and Russia exacerbate sharply.
"Absolutely" he stated. "From the very first minutes of the hysteria, which was sparked by the words of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Alexeyevich Ryabkov [about the potential deployment of Russian military infrastructure to Venezuela or Cuba], in the West and the United States" he stated.
"I have been receiving calls from Venezuelan politicians and cabinet members. I have held meetings with them, and they pledged their unequivocal and, in general, unhesitating support, since they have gone through that and are going through it together with us" he added.
"It is this form of unprecedented pressure involving illegal restrictive measures, slander and persecution in the international arena, along with all the means of pressure available to our Western counterparts," the ambassador added. "They face it all in full, so they are well aware that the relations between our countries have the possibility of strengthening further on".
"Our specialists, who repair and maintain military hardware, are carrying on with their work here. We strenuously bolster Venezuela’s defense capabilities".
"Venezuela has quite a developed infrastructure of ports. It has deep-water ports and civilian ports. There is a wide range of the Venezuelan Navy’s bases. Another thing is that this is quite a sensitive topic, what is more, our aircraft carriers, guided missile cruisers have called here. And we see absolutely nothing extraordinary in that" he concluded.
DOD To Spend $52 Million On Blimps To Surveil U.S. Border With Mexico - The Defense Department has agreed to pay $52.5 million for blimps that will be used to help surveil and patrol the U.S. border with Mexico.
The blimps were originally requested in 2018 and called for an additional 1,500 troops to be deployed to the border mission.
Currently there are about 2,400 troops deployed along the U.S. border with Mexico with 3,000 troops being authorized to deploy through the end of September.
Russia Won't Rule Out Military Deployments To Cuba And Venezuela If Tensions Continue To Mount - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov said that Russia will not rule out deploying its military to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States continue to mount.
Ryabkov said that he could 'neither confirm nor exclude' the possibility that Russia may send military assets to South America if the United States persist their military activities near Russian borders.
"It all depends on the action by our U.S. counterparts" Ryabkov stated during an interview on the Russian television network RTVI.
Jalisco Cartel Using Drones As Bombers To Target Rivals - The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, one of the deadliest cartels in Mexico is allegedly using drones as bombers to target rival gangs in a turf war.
Online video footage shows the cartel allegedly dropping small C4 bombs from a drone onto a rival gang's camp in a wooded area. The video shows fleeing after the bombs began dropping.
Bolivia Has Charged Ex President Jeanine Anez With Genocide And Staging Coup - Bolivia has charged ex president Jeanine Anez with both genocide and staging a coup after MAS (Movement For Socialism) candidate, Luis Arce was elected during 2020 Bolivian elections.
Anez is being put on trial for the deaths of 20 protesters in 2019 with the charges "provisionally classified as genocide, serious and minor injury, and injury followed by death" according to attorney general Juan Lanchipa.
A report by the Organization of American States (OAS) stated that Bolivian security forces massacred 20 protesters when Anez took over leadership after Evo Morales resigned from office during the demonstrations that occurred after Evo Morales was elected for the fourth time in October of 2019.
US Preparing To Send Amphibious Warship To Haiti To Aid In Earthquake Relief - The United States is preparing to send an amphibious warship to Haiti to aid in earthquake relief after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the country and killed more than 1,419 people (Death count is still ongoing).
Venezuela Says US Military Jet Violated Airspace In Blatant Provocation - Venezuela has accused the United States of violating its airspace in what they call a 'flagrant provocation' and stated that they would 'respond forcefully' to any maneuver it saw as aggressive behavior. Full story
U.S. Citizen Arrested For Assassination Of Haitian President- A United States citizen, along with over a dozen others have been arrested for the assassination of the Haitian president, along with the Haitian First Lady.
James Solages, from Florida was arrested for being apart of a hit squad of over a dozen men who took part in the assassination, shooting President Jovenel Moïse 12 times in the head and body and shooting his wife three times. The daughter managed to escape by hiding in a room.
Protesters had been calling for him to resign after he continued to lead after his presidential term was over in February.
Haitian President Assassinated In His Home, First Lady In Hospital - The Haitian president has been assassinated, and the first lady is in the hospital after a group of Spanish speaking, but unknown armed men carried out an attack on his place of residence. The Prime minister says it was a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act."
Interim Premier Claude Joseph said, "The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti".
Iranian Ships Changing Course, Turning Away From South America - The Iranian ships that had been sailing toward South America and presumed to be headed for Venezuela or Cuba have changed course and are now headed toward Syria, the Mediterranean Sea or to Russia although their exact destination is presently unknown.
The reason for the change of course remains unclear, however there is speculation that the Iranian vessels decided to change course after Washington began strongly urging Venezuela to turn the ships away if they reached their port.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that although he won't speculate on their destination, the United States is ready to lodge sanctions against any country engaging in weapon exchanges with Iran.
Two Iranian Warships In Atlantic Suspected To Be Shipping Weapons To Venezuela. - The United States has been watching two Iranian warships as they entered the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history and continue on a path toward South America, suspected to be shipping weapons to Venezuela. Full story
Two Iranian Warships Have Rounded Africa's Cape Of Good Hope Looks To Be Headed For Atlantic And Venezuela - Two Iranian warships that have been heading toward the Atlantic ocean have now rounded Africa's Cape Of God Hope and have almost entered the Atlantic.
The United States has been tracking the Iranian ships, the Makran and Sahand new and modern warships. This would be the first time that Iranian ships have ever entered the Atlantic ocean. Reports suggest that the Iranian warships are likely wanting to offload weapon shipments to Venezuela.
19 Killed in 'pandemic' related protests in Columbia - 19 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Columbia as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest over skyrocketing poverty and unemployment rates as well as a new $6.4 billion dollar tax reform that would remove many deductions and put tax increases on businesses to cover 'pandemic', or rather 'lock-down' related losses.