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Friday, April 26, 2013

Kingdom of the Antichrist - Walid Shoebat

White House to Congress: Assad has used chemical weapons

In a remarkable reversal, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in Abdu Dhabi Thursday afternoon, April 25, that the US intelligence community believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people, determining with "varying degrees of confidence" that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces have used the nerve agent sarin against civilians and forces fighting to remove Assad from power.

The White House is informing Congress about the chemical weapons use now, Hagel said, hours after he voiced reservations about the assessment Tuesday by senior Israeli military intelligence officer Brig. Gen. Itai Brun that the Assad regime had begun to practice chemical warfare.

Earlier Thursday, Israel Air Force F-16 warplanes downed a Hizballah drone 8 kilometers out at sea from the big port of Haifa. It flew south from the direction of Lebanon. Witnesses on Haifa’s Mt. Carmel watched the smoke trails of the Israeli jets and heard exploding rockets.
Israeli Navy ships are out searching for debris in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Israeli army spokesman issued a statement: An attempt by an unmanned aerial vehicle to enter Israel’s air space was thwarted. The UAV was identified flying from the north past the coast of southern Lebanon and continuing south. It was tracked continuously until it was downed by Israeli fighter planes and attack helicopters.

They went into action after the drone was identified as not coming from a friendly source. The Air Force gave the order to shoot it down.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “We take an extremely grave view of this attempt to violate our borders and will continue to guard them and keep our citizens safe.” He added, “We are watching events in Syria and Lebanon with extreme concern. Syria is breaking up and Lebanon is unstable. 

Both places pose not inconsiderable perils to Israel – two emanating directly from Syria. The first is the possible transfer of sophisticated weaponry to terrorist organizations and the second, attempts by terrorists to break through our borders and attack our towns and villages. Israel stands ready to counteract any threats from Syria or Lebanon by sea, air and land.”


China Successfully Sends First Gaofen Satellite into Space

The satellite was carried by a Long March 2D (Chang Zheng 2D) carrier rocket that blasted off from Northwest China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Xinhua reported, citing China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

The same rocket also deployed three satellites from Ecuador, Argentina and Turkey as well as two satellite splitters from the Netherlands.

Gaofen-1 is the first of up to six satellites China is to launch for the high-definition earth observation system (HDEOS) before 2016, the report added.

Chinese officials said that they will use the satellite's high-resolution tools for cartography, ocean surveys and urban transportation management.

Fars News

Total US Debt To Gross Domestic Product: 105%

Now that we have the first estimate of Q1 GDP growth in both rate of change and absolute current dollar terms ($16,010 billion), we can finally assign the appropriate debt number, which we know on a daily basis and which was $16,771.4 billion as of March 31, to the growth number. 

The end result: as of March 31, 2013, the US debt/GDP was 104.8%, up from 103% as of December 31, 2012 or a debt growth rate that would make the most insolvent Eurozone nation blush. There was a time when people were concerned about this unsustainable trajectory, but then there was an infamous excel error, and now nobody cares anymore.

In fact, moar debt is moar best-er.

Zero Hedge

Israel urges US action over Syrian chemical weapons

The U.S. should consider military action to curb Syrian chemical weapons after Washington went public with suspicions they have been used in the country's civil war, Israel's deputy foreign minister Ze'ev Elkin said Friday • Elkin: The Iranians are watching, the whole world is watching too.
Yoni Hirsch, News Agencies, and Israel Hayom Staff

The United States should consider military action to curb Syrian chemical weapons after Washington went public with suspicions they have been used in the country's civil war, Israel's deputy foreign minister said on Friday.

The challenge by Zev Elkin, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, underscored tension this week over the allies' assessments on Syria, as well as longer-running disputes about how aggressively to confront Iran's nuclear program.

The White House declared Thursday that U.S. intelligence indicates Syrian President Bashar Assad has twice used deadly chemical weapons in his country's fierce civil war, a provocative action that would cross President Barack Obama's "red line" for a significant military response. But the Obama administration said the revelation won't immediately change its stance on intervention.

The information, which has been known to the administration and some members of Congress for weeks, isn't solid enough to warrant quick U.S. involvement in the two-year-old conflict, the White House said. Officials said the assessments were made with "varying degrees of confidence" given the difficulty of information gathering in Syria, though there appeared to be little question within the intelligence community.

"The Iranians are watching, the whole world is watching too, and we should also see what happens," Elkin told Israel's Army Radio, when asked how U.S. strategy on Syria might unfold.

"There is a question here of when you set a red line, do you stand behind it?"

Commenting on the shift in Washington's stance on Syria's chemical weapons, Elkin said: "If, until today, there has been an effort to ignore our opinion, to a degree ... now that the Americans' red line has apparently been crossed, there is a test.

"It is clear that if the United States wants to and the international community wants to, it could act -- inter alia, militarily -- to take control of the chemical weapons, and then all the fears ... will not be relevant."

He did not elaborate on what U.S. tactics he envisaged.

Elkin called the U.S. confirmation of chemical weapons use by Assad a "victory for the Israeli position."

Elkin said he expected world powers to clarify their position on Syria "in the coming days."

"It could be that the moment the international community understands that indeed the red lines were crossed, and indeed the weaponry was used, they will understand that there is no avoiding this action -- that instead of leaving things in the fog, it is time to take control (of the arsenal)," he said.

As recently as Tuesday, when an Israeli general added to the growing chorus that Assad had used chemical weapons, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration was continuing to monitor and investigate but had "not come to the conclusion that there has been that use."

The Syrian civil war has persisted, with an estimated 70,000 dead. Obama has so far resisted pressure, both from Congress and from within his own administration, to arm the Syrian rebels or get involved militarily. He has, however, declared the use of chemical weapons a "game changer" that would have "enormous consequences."

The White House disclosed the new intelligence Thursday in letters to two senators, but had Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announce it to reporters traveling with him in the United Arab Emirates. The letters were sent in response to questions from senators of both parties who are pressing for more U.S. involvement, and it marked the first time the administration has publicly disclosed evidence of chemical weapons use.

"Our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin," the White House said in the letters, which were signed by Obama's legislative director, Miguel Rodriguez. He went on to write that "given the stakes involved," the U.S. was still seeking "credible and corroborated facts" before deciding how to proceed.

Two congressional officials said the administration has known for weeks -- and has briefed Congress -- that the CIA and other intelligence agencies have evidence of two incidents of sarin gas use.

A U.S. official said intelligence agencies have had indications of chemical weapons use since March and reached the conclusions made public Thursday about two weeks ago. The two incidents are believed to have occurred around March 19 in the Syrian city of Aleppo and suburbs of Damascus, the official said.

The officials commented only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly by name.

The White House described the attacks as "small scale," but the full extent of the chemical weapons use and resulting casualties was not immediately known.

A senior defense official said the White House letters were not an "automatic trigger" for policy decisions on the use of military force. The official alluded to past instances of policy decisions that were based on what turned out to be flawed intelligence, such as the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq after concluding that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

Lawmakers from both parties sounded less than patient.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a member of the Democratic leadership, was asked what should be done about Assad crossing the "red line." He said, "That's up to the commander in chief, but something has to be done."

And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, "I think it's pretty obvious that that red line has been crossed. Now I hope the administration will consider what we have been recommending now for over two years of this bloodletting and massacre and that is to provide a safe area for the opposition to operate, to establish a no-fly zone and provide weapons to people in the resistance who we trust."

Other lawmakers questioned whether a cautious U.S. response to the newly disclosed intelligence would only strengthen Assad's resolve to keep a grip on power.

"If Assad sees any equivocation on the red line, it will embolden his regime," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The White House disclosure put the U.S. in line with Britain, France, Israel and Qatar, key allies who have cited evidence of chemical weapons use. The four countries have also been pressing for a more robust response to the conflict.

U.S. commanders have laid out a range of possible options for military involvement in Syria, including establishing a "no-fly zone" or a secured area within Syria where citizens could be protected, launching airstrikes by drones and fighter jets or even sending in tens of thousands of ground forces to secure the chemical weapons caches. But the military has made it clear that any action would likely be either with NATO backing or with a coalition of nations similar to what was done in Libya in 2011.

Following the U.S. disclosure, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said, "There would doubtlessly be a very strong reaction from the international community if there were evidence that chemical weapons had been used."

Ahmad Ramadan, a member of the Syrian National Coalition opposition group's executive body, called the U.S. assertion an "important step," and said that America had a "moral duty" to follow it with action.

The White House said the current intelligence assessments of sarin use are based in part on "physiological samples." U.S. officials said that could include human tissue, blood or other body materials, in addition to soil samples.

Sarin is an odorless nerve agent that can be used as a gas or a liquid, poisoning people when they breathe it, absorb it through their skin or eyes, or take it in through food or water. In large doses, sarin can cause convulsions, paralysis and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people usually recover from small doses, which may cause confusion, drooling, excessive sweating, nausea and vomiting.


North Korea Issues Threat at Ceremony for Military

SEOUL, South Korea — On an anniversary known for military showmanship, North Korean generals on Thursday declared that their forces were ready to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles and kamikazelike nuclear attacks at the United States if threatened.

“Stalwart pilots, once given a sortie order, will load nuclear bombs, instead of fuel for return, and storm enemy strongholds to blow them up,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted its Air and Anti-Air Force commander, Ri Pyong-chol, as saying during a ceremony in observance of the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean People’s Army.

Another general, Kim Rak-gyom, the Strategic Rocket Force commander, reiterated the claim that the North is “one click away from pushing the launch button.”

“If the U.S. imperialists and their followers dare make a pre-emptive attack, they will be made to keenly realize what a real nuclear war and real retaliatory blows are like,” he said.

Threats to launch nuclear strikes and warnings of “nuclear holocaust” have become common since the country’s latest nuclear test, its third, in February. Although North Korea is believed to have a small nuclear weapons arsenal, most analysts doubt it could follow through on threats to deliver them to the United States by missile.

One American intelligence agency recently said it had “moderate confidence” that the North had mastered the technology of building a weapon that could fit on a missile warhead, but the Obama administration said that was not the consensus among the United States’ 15 other intelligence agencies. Most analysts believe that Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, is using the nuclear bluster to consolidate the support of his people and bolster his leverage in dealing with Washington and its allies.

The threatening statements come after days of relative quiet that followed weeks of warnings of dire consequences if the United States and South Korea provoked the North. Mr. Kim’s government was already angered by United Nations sanctions punishing it for the nuclear test in February and by particularly robust joint exercises by the American and South Korea militaries.

The timing of the latest threats appeared to be tied to the military anniversary. North Korea’s military, the backbone of Mr. Kim’s dynastic rule, has traditionally used the date to swear its loyalty to the Kim family and vent its anti-American vitriol.

During the military ceremony on Thursday, Mr. Kim saluted columns of soldiers marching past, and airplanes made demonstration flights, the North Korean news agency said.

Earlier Thursday, South Korea said it was giving the North until Friday to respond to its proposal for dialogue about the two countries’ joint industrial park or face a “grave measure” by the South. The statement by the Unification Ministry stopped short of saying whether South Korea was contemplating withdrawing 176 South Korean managers still remaining in the factory park in North Korea or even terminating the joint economic project, which has survived years of political tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The future of the project, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, located in the North Korean border town of the same name, has been in doubt ever since North Korea pulled out its 53,000 workers in early April. It also blocked supplies and South Korean managers who were south of the border from entering the economic zone.

The number of South Korean managers at Kaesong dwindled from the usual 900 to 176 as of Wednesday as supplies were running out. On Thursday, the South Korean government said that those who were still in Kaesong, hoping for the reopening of the complex, would not be able to remain much longer.

A spokesman for the government said that when it had tried Wednesday to send a letter to the North asking permission to send emergency food and medical supplies to the South Koreans in Kaesong, the North had not even accepted the document.

NY Times

Eurocrats' Cyprus cash grab a template for future stealing

'Growing evidence' of chemical weapons use in Syria

There is "limited but growing" evidence that Syrian government troops have used chemical weapons, UK Prime Minister David Cameron says.

"It is extremely serious, this is a war crime," Mr Cameron told the BBC.

On Thursday, the White House said that US intelligence agencies believed "with varying degrees of confidence" that Syria had used the nerve agent sarin on a "small scale".

Syrian officials have denounced the allegations as "lies".

Opposition activists and state media meanwhile report fierce fighting between government troops and rebels in a number of suburbs of the capital, Damascus.'Tested positive'

Mr Cameron said he agreed with the White House's warning that chemical weapons use would be a "red line" for possible intervention.

However, the US has said that this latest intelligence does not represent proof of chemical weapons use.

The White House's assessment was made in letters to lawmakers on Thursday signed by Miguel Rodriguez, White House director of the office of legislative affairs.

"Our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin," one of the letters said.

No details were given of where or when sarin had been used.
It is understood that Britain obtained samples from inside Syria that have been tested by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire.
"Material from inside Syria tested positive for sarin," a Foreign Office spokesman said.
On Friday, Syrian official Sharif Shehadeh told the Associated Press the US allegations were "lies", saying that similar US accusations about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction had proved untrue.


Joint US-S. Korea war games Video

Bush criminal library