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Finnish Authorities Reportedly Raided The Russian Military's Secret Island Hideouts
Even with artificial islands cropping up in the South China Sea, it's not just Chinese isles that are worrying Western militaries: reports suggest that the Russian government has increasingly gobbled up tiny islands in Finland in recent years as secret staging areas for Russian military assets.
- In September, Finish law enforcement and military personnel conducted simultaneous raids on 17 properties in the Western part of the country "linked to Russia" through the "mysterious" Russian businessman Pavel Melnikov and his associates, the New York Times reports.
- The raids included an assault on the island of Sakkiluoto involving heavily-armed police and at least 100 members of Finland’s Keskusrikospoliisi (KRP), the country's equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- The Times account of Melnikov's business dealings is extremely comprehensive, but perhaps more interesting is his Sakkiluoto property, with "nine piers, a helipad, a swimming pool draped in camouflage netting and enough housing — all of it equipped with satellite dishes — to accommodate a small army," as the Times described it.
- "The seafront sauna, stacked with fresh towels, looked ready for use, as did the barbecue pits and other amenities on an island that seemed like the luxurious lair of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the fictional villain of James Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming."
- According to local media, Finnish military and intelligence agencies had been monitoring Melnikov's tourism company Airiston Helmi for years. As the War Zone reports, a state broadcaster alleged that the Russian government had made suspicious real estate purchases that "raised suspicions within the Finnish government and suggested that the Kremlin could be engaged in a 'hybrid warfare' campaign."
- Indeed, Russian special forces staged a mock invasion of an island in the Gulf of Finland just ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Although the target island of Gogland is technically part of Russia, its facilities mimic those uncovered on islands like Sakkiluoto.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.
Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.
The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.
After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.
But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.
That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.
After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.
"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."