Graham's Radical Remarks Ignite Protests;New Boston's Alien-Themed July 4th Extravaganza;Drone Wars: US and China Prepare for Taiwan Standoff:Defense Briefing20240705

Welcome to our 《Defense Briefing》 program, I’m your host: Liang Jun. Today, we have a lineup of intriguing stories for you. First up, US Senator Lindsey Graham is under fire for his controversial social media posts about Palestinians, sparking protests outside his home. Next, let’s take a lighter turn to New Boston, where the 93rd annual Fourth of July parade dazzled with an alien space theme, featuring floats from Area 51 and the Boston Celtics’ championship duck boat. Finally, in a more serious tone, we delve into the escalating drone strategies between the US and China, as both nations prepare for potential conflict over Taiwan. Please stay tuned for the detailed coverage of these stories.

Al Jazeera: United States Senator Lindsey Graham ignited controversy with his recent social media post, labeling Palestinians in Gaza as “the most radicalized population on the planet.” He equated the phrase “from the river to the sea” with the Nazi “Final Solution,” further inflaming tensions. Graham’s remarks came in response to a small protest outside his home, where demonstrators held a Palestinian flag and chanted slogans. The senator’s comments, coinciding with the July 4th holiday, drew criticism for their timing and content, especially given his past support for extreme measures against Gaza. This incident is part of a broader pattern of anti-Palestinian rhetoric among some US politicians, which has contributed to a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes. The US continues to provide substantial military aid to Israel despite growing public disapproval and calls for humanitarian safeguards.

Yahoo US: The town of New Boston, with a population of about 6,000, celebrated its 93rd Fourth of July parade with a blend of Americana and science-fiction themes. Residents and visitors filled Central Square, enjoying floats inspired by Area 51, “The Wizard of Oz,” and local legends like the Molly Stark Cannon. Kris Jensen, riding on an alien-themed float, captured the spirit of the event, which featured fire trucks, mini-monster trucks, Girl Scouts, and giant water guns. Olivia Phillippy, dressed as Dorothy, reflected on the bittersweet nature of the day as she prepared to leave for college. The parade included elaborate floats like “Alien Abduction on McCurdy Road” and a large Kelly-green duck boat showcasing the Boston Celtics’ championships. The event, organized by Laura Bernard, highlighted the deep-rooted traditions and community spirit of New Boston, making it a magical experience for all involved.

South China Morning Post: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has revealed its capability to enforce a blockade on an island using drone swarms, according to a recent study. This strategy, aimed at a terrain similar to Taiwan, involves various types of drones launched from mainland bases and naval vessels to perform reconnaissance and strikes. The PLA’s simulation results suggest that a certain threshold of drone diversity and scale can effectively control an island and its surrounding waters. Concurrently, the US military has developed its own drone-centric strategy, “Hellscape,” to counter potential PLA actions in the Taiwan Strait. This plan, spearheaded by Admiral Samuel Paparo, aims to create an “unmanned hellscape” to delay PLA advances and minimize US casualties. The exchange of drone warfare strategies highlights the escalating military tensions and technological advancements between China and the US, with both nations preparing for potential conflicts in the region.


Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is on the brink of a historic victory in the UK general election, as projected by an official exit poll. Labour is anticipated to win 410 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons, marking their most significant triumph since Tony Blair’s landslide in 1997. This result would signify a dramatic shift in British politics, reflecting the downfall of Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives, who are expected to plummet to 131 seats, their worst performance ever. Starmer’s rise to power would be a remarkable turnaround from Labour’s dismal performance under Jeremy Corbyn five years ago. Starmer’s strategy of steering Labour towards the political center and presenting it as the party of economic stability, coupled with the Conservative Party’s internal chaos and scandals, has resonated with voters. Markets have remained calm, with little change in the pound against the dollar and euro, indicating confidence in Labour’s potential governance.

Yahoo US

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the idea of a ceasefire in Ukraine, arguing that it would only allow Kiev to rearm and prepare for further attacks. Putin emphasized the need for a sustainable solution to the conflict, referencing past agreements that failed to hold. At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Astana, he stressed that Russia cannot afford to let Ukraine use a ceasefire to strengthen its military position. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also rejected ceasefire proposals, demanding Russia’s complete withdrawal from occupied territories as a precondition for peace. Meanwhile, back in Russia, Dmitry Medvedev announced that the armed forces have been bolstered by 190,000 new volunteer recruits this year. On the ground, the Ukrainian army has been forced to retreat from parts of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region after intense fighting, with the town now resembling a lunar landscape due to bombardments.

Associated Press

Mexico’s incoming president, Claudia Sheinbaum, has announced her top appointees, but the new cabinet features many familiar faces from the outgoing administration. Rosa Icela Rodríguez, who led the previous government’s security strategy, will serve as the new interior secretary, a role critical for managing domestic political issues and negotiations. Omar García Harfuch, known for his tenure as Mexico City police chief, will head the Public Safety Department, although his control will be limited as the National Guard is set to be transferred to the Army. Rodríguez’s appointment has raised eyebrows due to her lack of political experience and association with the “hugs not bullets” strategy of the previous administration. Sheinbaum, who has pledged to continue Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s policies, has also retained several other officials from his cabinet, dampening hopes for a fresh approach. Notably, Sheinbaum has appointed experts in sustainable development and finance to key positions, signaling a data-driven policy approach.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Senator Fatima Payman, a young Muslim woman who wears a hijab, has made headlines by leaving the Labor Party to join the crossbench. Her decision reflects the growing diversity in Australian politics and the complex pressures within her party. Payman, born in Afghanistan and having fled the Taliban, has been vocal about her reasons, citing her inability to remain silent on atrocities she witnesses. Despite support from some Labor branches, she felt compelled to leave due to the party’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Payman’s departure highlights the internal strains within Labor and signals a new phase in Australian multiculturalism, where religious and ethnic communities are becoming more politically active. This shift raises concerns about the potential for political movements based on religion, which could disrupt traditional party dynamics and challenge social cohesion.

Al Jazeera

The recent presidential debate in the United States has intensified speculation about President Joe Biden’s future, especially given his faltering performance and the growing dissatisfaction within the Democratic Party over his unwavering support for Israel’s war in Gaza. Potential replacements like Vice President Kamala Harris, Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom, and others have varied stances on the conflict, ranging from calls for ceasefires to staunch support for Israel. Harris, for instance, has shown some willingness to call for a truce, while Whitmer and Newsom have expressed strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself. The war in Gaza, which has resulted in significant Palestinian casualties, has fractured the Democratic base, with young voters, progressives, Arabs, and Muslims expressing their discontent. This internal division poses a significant challenge for any new Democratic candidate who may replace Biden, as they will need to navigate these complex and emotionally charged issues to unify the party.

South China Morning Post

A significant development has occurred in the ongoing Gaza conflict, with Hamas showing flexibility in negotiations for a potential hostage release deal with Israel. This breakthrough, as described by a senior US official, has led to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sending a delegation to resume stalled talks with Hamas. The proposed deal includes the gradual release of hostages, a temporary ceasefire, and the reconstruction of Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza, weary from nearly nine months of war, hope for an end to the conflict that has claimed over 38,000 lives. Despite the cautious optimism, the situation remains tense, with continued Israeli strikes and Palestinian casualties. The war has created a severe humanitarian crisis, with medical facilities in Gaza struggling to operate. The international community watches closely, hoping for a resolution that could bring much-needed relief to the war-torn region.

BBC: Most people are familiar with the Salvation Army’s charitable endeavors, often recalling their bands playing at community events or performing Christmas carols. However, few know about the brief existence of the Salvation Navy, which began in Wales in 1884 when Salvation Army founder William Booth sought to extend his evangelism to the sea. Coincidentally, Welsh industrialist John Cory was looking to offload a steam yacht, the SS Iole, which his wife found too daunting to sail. Cory’s generous offer birthed the Salvation Navy. Despite Cory’s devout faith, his motivations included bolstering his reputation and promoting sobriety among his workers. In June 1885, the SS Iole, adorned with Salvation Army colors and evangelical flags, set sail from Cardiff’s Bute Dock. The yacht’s luxurious fittings drew mixed reactions, with the Salvation Army newspaper The War Cry noting the incongruity of such opulence for salvationists. Under Captain Sherrington Foster, the SS Iole embarked on a mission to bring salvation to fishermen and sailors along England’s south coast. However, the venture was plagued with misfortune. In June 1886, the SS Iole struck a sandbank in the Humber, leading to its abandonment. Undeterred, Cory provided a more formidable vessel, the Salvation Gun-Boat, equipped with a meeting room for over a hundred Salvationists. Despite their efforts, including a successful Christmas campaign in Cardiff, the new ship, The Vestal, also met a tragic end, colliding with another craft on the Thames. The idea of a Salvation Navy fleet was eventually abandoned, but the initiative inspired numerous private Christian missions for sailors, significantly contributing to maritime welfare in the 19th century and leaving a lasting legacy in seafarer support.

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