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Pentagon unveils new weapon

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“This knife missile seems like something ACME Corporation would design to kill Road Runner.”

The U.S. military and the CIA reportedly have a new tool in their arsenal: a bomb that doesn’t explode, but deploys sword-like blades to kill or maim its human targets.

The R9X Hellfire Missile, which The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday has been used at least twice—once by the Pentagon and once by the CIA—is a new weapon that is intended to reduce civilian casualties. The missile does not have an explosive warhead, but rather uses its weight and “a halo of six long blades” that deploy before impact to shred through whatever is in its path.

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“To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky,” said the newspaper, citing an official familiar with the missile.

Nick Waters, an award-winning journalist and researcher, noted that while previous suspected drone strikes by U.S. forces overseas had produced mysterious results, perhaps the R9X—”a Hellfire missile with fucking swords attached to it,” he said—provided a possible explanation.

The Journal was able to identify two strikes that used the R9X.

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In January 2019, Jamal al-Badawi, accused of being behind the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 in a Yemeni port, killing 17 American sailors, was killed by an R9X fired by the Pentagon. The Pentagon has acknowledged the strike, which occurred in Yemen, though not the specific munition involved.

In February 2017, Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri, an Egyptian national who served as al Qaeda’s No. 2, was killed in Syria’s Idlib Province by an R9X fired by a U.S. aircraft operated by the CIA. The CIA doesn’t acknowledge airstrikes it carries out.

The new missile was apparently developed to fulfill an Obama-era directive to reduce civilian casualties from the American drone war.

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A U.S. official told the Journal that the bomb could, in theory, solve what the official described as “right seat, left seat” problem: killing a driver or passenger while letting the other person live.

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But, as the Journal pointed out, “Two militants reportedly were killed in the February 2017 strike.”

Security experts and observers were bemused at what Task and Purpose deputy editor Jared Keller called “an anvil covered in swords.”

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“This knife missile seems like something ACME Corporation would design to kill Road Runner,” said Defense News naval warfare reporter David Larter. “The payload would either be knives or it can deploy a goofy, over-sized white-gloved hand that bops you in the head with a hammer.”

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The new weapon is a “kinder, gentler hellfire missile,” said Aki Peritz, a professor at American University’s School of International Studies. “A precision sky-anvil.”

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Republicans are at each other’s throats about Gordon Sondland’s testimony

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday turned high-profile Republicans against each other.

His remarks sparked explosive reactions from both critics and defenders of President Donald Trump. Sondland detailed extensive evidence that he, in concert with the White House, administration officials, and with the president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, set up a quid pro quo both with Ukraine both for a meeting with Trump and for military aid in exchange for an announcement about investigations into his political rivals. But Republicans latched on to Sondland’s claim that he didn’t recall ever hearing from Trump directly that military aid was conditioned on an announcement and that late in the process — after the scheme was coming to light — the president denied asking for a “quid pro quo.”

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Ukrainians know all about Trump’s corruption — and even have a special word for it

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When Donald Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his opponent Joe Biden, it wasn’t just political dirt he was trying to import to the U.S., but a whole phenomenon.

It has a name in Ukraine which can be roughly translated as “problem-solving.” A whole class of people who provide that service. The local name for them is a “reshala.”

For example, if your business is being attacked by the government’s security service for no apparent reason, someone will offer you a solution. For a certain fee, of course. (In America, that’s known as a protection racket.)

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‘Don’t choke on the Kool-Aid of Trump’s presidency’: Eric Trump mocked for using impeachment hearings to hawk Trump Winery

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As U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, testified before the House Intelligence Committee this Wednesday, President Trump's second son took an opportunity to hawk his family's winery.

https://twitter.com/EricTrump/status/1197239512792997888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1197239512792997888&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheweek.com%2Fspeedreads%2F879787%2Feric-trump-uses-impeachment-hearing-hawk-trump-wine

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