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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Campaign of Extreme Disinformation with the Boston Bombing Coverage

Japan to sign South Korea military agreement in light of North’s aggressions

Koro Bessho, the Japanese ambassador to Seoul, revealed on Wednesday that Japan is ready to sign a bilateral military intelligence agreement with South Korea “at any time”. The ambassador is urging the South Korean government to sign the pact to improve both countries’ security measures in light of the increasingly warlike threats coming from North Korea.

“Japan is willing to sign the military intelligence-sharing pact with South Korea at any time,” Bessho said during a press conference in Seoul, adding that the pact is sure to be “mutually beneficial to both South Korea and Japan.” Bessho said that North Korea’s threats should convince Seoul that there is a need for closer coordination between allies Japan, South Korea, and the United States. “While the South Korea-U.S. alliance and the Japan-U.S. alliance are solid, a defense cooperation between South Korea and Japan is still vulnerable,” Bessho said. The ambassador also pointed out that if ever a shooting war breaks out in the Korean peninsula, Japan could be of service to both Korean and U.S. forces. The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korea and about 50,000 American troops in Japan. “In case of emergency, most U.S. military personnel and assets should be en route to Japan to go to the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “I think Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. 7th Fleet would work together to secure sea routes.”

The signing of the intelligence-sharing treaty was postponed last July as the South Koreans showed discontent towards the agreement. “Although it is a sensitive issue, I hope the two nations to forge a close cooperation in the field of defense,” the Japanese ambassador said. If the treaty is signed, it will be the first-ever military pact between the two disputing nations. Bessho admitted that because of historical and territorial issues, there is “no simple solution” to improving relations between South Korea and Japan. Foremost on the list of these will be the Takeshima/Dokdo islands dispute, a territory that lies closer to South Korea but is also claimed by Japan. South Korea administers the territory, keeping a police force on the islets.


Exo-Vaticana with Tom Horn and Cris Putnam, Part 2

N.Korea Triggers Nuclear Arms Race in Northeast Asia

The U.S. Defense Department plans to assess the strategic value of deploying additional conventional and nuclear weapons to the West Pacific to submit a report to Congress in June as required under the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013. The west Pacific region covers South Korea, Japan and Guam.

Section 1046 of the act stipulates that the defense secretary in consultation with the secretary of state is to report on the issue "to ensure the presence" in the West Pacific "of a robust conventional and nuclear capability, including a forward-deployed nuclear capability... in response to the ballistic missile and nuclear weapons developments of North Korea and the other belligerent actions North Korea has made against allies" of the U.S.

It in short pressures the Obama administration to respond in kind to North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.

The U.S. had deployed so-called tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula since the late 1950s but pulled them all out following the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "Tactical" nuclear weapons refer to bombs with destructive capabilities ranging between 0.1 and several hundred kilotons of TNT to destroy enemy weapons, military positions and armed forces within reachable areas, while bigger "strategic" nuclear bombs can decimate entire cities.

Rep. Trent Franks, who spearheaded the legislation, plans to hold a congressional hearing once the Pentagon submits its report.

The U.S. agreed with the former Soviet Union in 1991 to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, and the Obama administration’s top international priority is to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. It is therefore unclear whether tactical nuclear weapons will really be redeployed on the Korean Peninsula.

Since its third nuclear test in February, North Korea has threatened to launch nuclear attacks against South Korea and the U.S. It has even devised a law legitimizing its use of nuclear weapons. These threats have played into the hands of Japanese attempts to bolster its military and raised calls within South Korea for Seoul to acquire its own nuclear weapons. North Korea's belligerence is threatening Northeast Asia into a nuclear tinderbox.


McGrath and Greg Hunter

US intercepts 'ricin' letter to Obama

A letter addressed to US President Barack Obama containing a "suspicious substance" has been intercepted.

Initial tests on the letter, identified at a remote facility, showed the presence of the lethal toxin ricin.

The letter, which arrived at the facility on 16 April, is related to another laced with ricin intended for a US senator, the FBI said.

Meanwhile, US Capitol Police are questioning a suspect in connection with the tainted letters, reports say.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said the letters addressed to the president and Republican Senator Roger Wicker were both were postmarked Memphis, Tennessee and dated 8 April.

The contents of the letter intended for President Obama are being sent to an accredited laboratory for further analysis, the FBI said, with results expected in 24 to 48 hours.

While there is a heightened sense of alert in the capital after Monday's deadly bomb attacks at the Boston marathon, the FBI said there was "no indication of a connection".

All congressional mail has been sorted and tested off-site since letters laced with anthrax were posted to two senators in 2001.

A spokesman for the Secret Service, which protects the US president and his family, said it was liaising with the US Capitol Police and the FBI to trace the origins of the letters.

Ricin, extracted from castor beans, is 1,000 times more toxic than cyanide.

It can be fatal when inhaled, swallowed or injected, although it is possible to recover from exposure.


Envelope Sent To Senator’s Office Tests Positive For Ricin Poison

CNN is reporting that an envelope sent to the office of Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) has tested positive for a poison called ricin, a highly toxic white, protein powder derived from castor beans.

From CNN:

An envelope that tested positive for the deadly poison ricin was intercepted Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol’s off-site mail facility in Washington, congressional and law enforcement sources tell CNN.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was told the letter was addressed to the office of Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. After the envelope tested positive in a first routine test, it was retested two more times, each time coming up positive, the law enforcement source said. The package was then sent to a Maryland lab for further testing.

Senators were briefed on the matter Tuesday evening and told the congressional post offices would be temporarily shut down.

“It was caught in the screening facility. That’s why we have an off-site screening facility for mail,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.

Further in the article, ricin is linked to “suspect extremists:”

It can be produced easily and cheaply, and authorities in several countries have investigated links between suspect extremists and ricin. But experts say it is more effective on individuals than as a weapon of mass destruction.

According to the CDC, the inhalation of ricin can cause cough and respiratory distress and can lead to “pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, and multi-system organ dysfunction.”

Ricin was also the poison used in 1978 to assassinate Georgi Markov, Bulgarian author and dissident writer.


Nigel Farage: "This EU is the New Communism. It is Power without Limits."

Iran triples nuke technology

Diplomats say Iran has tripled installations of high-tech machines at its main enrichment facility to more than 600 in three months — machines that could be used in a nuclear weapons program.

They say the machines are not yet producing enriched uranium and some may be only partially installed. Still the move is the latest sign that 10 years of diplomatic efforts have failed to persuade Tehran to curb its uranium enrichment program.

It also suggests that Iran possesses the technology and the raw materials to mass-produce centrifuges that can enrich much faster than its present centrifuges.

Tehran says it is enriching uranium only for nuclear energy, not weapons.

The two diplomats demanded anonymity Wednesday because they are not authorized to disclose their knowledge of International Atomic Energy Agency inspections.

The Times of Israel

People Running To Buy Gold Bullion

There are reports of very strong demand for coins and bars from buyers internationally who believe that the sell off that saw gold fall to a two-year low is overdone.

Very significant demand is being seen throughout the world for physical bullion – in Japan, India, Australia, the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. The speculative raid by one or two banks which led to the price crash is being seen as a gift by eager buyers internationally.

Gold sales from Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines nearly all of the nation’s bullion, surged after prices plunged, adding to signs that gold’s slump to a two-year low is spurring increased demand.

“The volume of business that we’re putting through is way in excess of double what we did last week,” Treasurer Nigel Moffatt said by phone, without giving precise figures. “There’s been people running through the gate.”

The Perth Mint’s sales of gold coins climbed 49 percent to 97,541 ounces in the three months ended March 31 from a year earlier, according to data from the facility in Western Australia that was founded in 1899.

“There’s been significant sales made as people see this as great value,” Moffatt said yesterday. “Gold owners are very reactive to significant market movements.”

We are the Perth Mint’s Approved Dealer in the European Union and have experienced a similar jump in demand yesterday and this morning. We saw massive selling on Monday as speculative buyers dumped positions in panic but yesterday came stabilization and there were more buyers than sellers. As the day progressed the demand for bullion increased and prices stabilised.

Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/people-running-through-the-gate-to-buy-gold-bullion/#H5PfcFydg6VfphwO.99

Israeli military in prep for solo attack on Iran

Israeli military and political heads are holding intense discussions on how best to launch an independent attack on Iran, should the need arise, the nation’s defense force chief said Tuesday.

“The Iranian challenge is very significant and we must approach it with a responsible long-term strategy,” IDF chief Benny Gantz said, The Times of Israel reported. “We will do what is necessary when it is necessary.

Mr. Gantz specified that Israel had the ability to hit Iran’s nuclear targets on its own — absent aid from any other country, including the United States. And ongoing military-political talks were focusing on that scenario, he said, in The Times of Israel.

Mr. Gantz include a warning to Hamas in his remarks, which were broadcast by various radio stations in Israel.

If peace from Hamas in Gaza did not continue, he said, then it would be Gaza residents — not Israelis — who “would hurt,” he said in the The Times of Israel report.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/16/israeli-military-politicos-prep-solo-attack-iran/#ixzz2Qj340tFa

What Gold's Drop Signals for America's Future

U.S. Senate passes resolution to back Israel in conflict with Iran

While Israel was marking 65 years of independence on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to endorse Resolution 65, affirming that the U.S. will fully back Israel should it be drawn into a conflict with Iran.

The resolution, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and which has 79 co-sponsors, is expected to pass in the Senate.

According to the text of the resolution on the U.S. Congress' website, the goal of the resolution is that: "If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."

The text of the resolution includes several clauses relating to the U.S. government's positions on Iran: "The Department of State has designated the Islamic Republic of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984 and has characterized the Islamic Republic of Iran as the 'most active state sponsor of terrorism' in the world.

"The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has provided weapons,training, and funding to the regime of Bashar al Assad that has been used to suppress and murder its own people."