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Monday, June 26, 2017

The Sequence of End Times Events Hidden in Plain Sight

Italian Taxpayers To Foot €17 Billion Bill As Rome Bails Out Another Two Insolvent Banks

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Two weeks after the first, and biggest, European bank bail-in took place under the relatively new European bank resolution mechanism, the EBRD, when Spain's Banco Popular wiped out the holders of its most risky securities, including equity and AT bonds, and then selling what was left of the bank to Santander for €1 - a process that took place without a glitch -  Italy may have just killed any hope of a European banking union, when the bailout of two small banks made a "mockery" of Europe's new regulation. 
Late on Sunday, Italy passed a decree that will effectively sell the good part of the two banks to Intesa, Italy’s second-largest and best-capitalized bank. Intesa said last week that it would be willing to buy the best assets for a token price of €1 as long as the government assumed responsibility for liquidating the banks’ large portfolio of sour loans. As a result, Italy said it would commit as much as €17 billion in taxpayer funds to clean up the two failed "Veneto" banks in one of Italy's wealthiest regions and support the takeover of their good assets by Intesa Sanpaolo SpA for a token amount. After an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday, Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said the Italian government will provide Milan-based Intesa with about €5.2 billion euros to allow it to take on Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA and Veneto Banca SpA assets without hurting capital ratios, The European Commission, in a separate statement, said it approved the plan for the two banks and that it is in-line with state-aid rules. 
Unlike the Banco Popular bail-in by Santander, however, Intesa would only take on the good assets. PM Gentiloni said the lenders will be split into good and bad banks and that the firms, with taxpayers on the hook for the bad banks. The process was rushed to allow the failed banks to reopen on Monday and avoid a depositor panic and bank run. The intervention is necessary because depositors and savers were at risk, Gentiloni said. The northern region where they operate “is one of the most important for our economy, above all for small- and medium-size businesses.” 
In addition to the €5.2bn handed to Intesa, an additional €12bn will be available to cover potential further losses at the bad banks, Padoan said, while the Italian Treasury estimates the fair value of the losses at about €400 million. The final number will be far greater. 
Just like in the case of Banco Popular, the government tried for months to find a way to keep the banks afloat, including an appeal to wealthy businessmen in the region to contribute to a rescue according to Bloomberg. Those efforts ended on Friday when the European Central Bank said the two banks are failing or were likely to fail and turned the matter over to the Single Resolution Board in Brussels for disposal. The SRB, in turn, passed the issue back to Italian authorities to allow the banks to be wound down under local law. In the subsequent 48 hours, culminating with today's announcement by the prime minister, which also required a change to Italy's bankruptcy law, Italy rushed to assemble the measures to carry out the plan because a local regulatory framework was required to allow the banks to open on Monday.
Ultimately, the plan unveiled by the government is virtually the same as that suggested earlier in the week by Intesa, which "offered" to take on the assets of the two Veneto banks on the condition that it wouldn’t harm its own capital and dividends, in some ways mirroring an FDIC-backed bailout of a US bank, in which a safe lender assumes all the deposits and loans, which the insurer plugs the capital shortfall. Only in this case, the NPLs are spun off into a separate entity: Intesa's proposal excluded soured debt, higher-risk performing loans and subordinated bonds, along with shareholdings and other “legal relationships.” A purchase would only move forward if it didn’t lower Intesa’s common equity Tier 1 ratio, the bank said.
But where the rest of Europe will be infurated, is that unlike the recent bail-in of Popular in which billions in unsecured liabilities were wiped out, in the case of the Veneto banks the proposed bail out ensures that senior creditors and depositors of Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca would be protected in the wind-down under national insolvency law, and customers would see no interruption in service. Retail junior bondholders involved in the burden sharing - who can be reimbursed up to 80 percent according to rules - will be totally refunded because Intesa said it can fill the gap.
And, as the WSJ adds, "the decision over the weekend to spare two failed Italian lenders from the full force of those new rules raises questions about the effectiveness of the banking union."
* * * 
Some background:
The decision to create a banking union was the decisive moment in the eurozone's response to the global financial crisis. The establishment of common banking rules and oversight institutions were intended to help restore trust in a system badly shaken by concerns that weak national supervisors in thrall to local political pressures were colluding to hide from investors the full scale of bad debts. 

It also formed the centerpiece of a grand political bargain: By committing to sever the link between weak banks and over-indebted sovereigns, governments prepared the way for European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's 2012 promise to do "whatever it takes" to save the eurozone, including buying government bonds. 

The centerpiece of the new regime was the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive -- rules to ensure that no taxpayer money is used to bail out banks and that losses fall on private-sector creditors -- and the creation of the Single Resolution Board to oversee the process. 
There was relief last month when this new regime was tested for the first time by the failure of the Spanish lender Banco Popular, which was sold to Santander for one euro after its shareholders and junior bondholders had been wiped out, with no adverse effect on the market.  But Veneto Banca and Banco Populare di Vincenza will be spared the same treatment. Using a loophole in the BRRD, the Single Resolution Board has ruled that the two banks are not systemically important and therefore can be liquidated under Italian insolvency rules, which permit the use of government cash without the need for senior bondholders to take losses.
As noted above, the plan is that the good assets of the banks will be transferred to Intesa Sanpaulo for a euro, but the bad assets and the cost of redundancies will be left with the government, which faces losses of up to €10 billion.
* * *
As the WSJ's Deborah Ball observes, the case of the Veneto banks is yet another example of Italy wriggling out of strict EU rules built after the financial crisis to prevent taxpayers from footing the bill in the event of the collapse of such institutions as banks. When the EU authority in charge of winding down the bloc’s failing banks—the Single Resolution Board—decided it wouldn’t take the case, it handed all power over to Italian authorities. This was followed by a Friday announcement by the SRB that it wouldn’t take action because neither of the banks would have “a significant adverse impact on financial stability" which is ironic becauase the whole point of the bailout - and not bial in - is to avoid a bankrun at the two banks which could then spread to the rest of the Italy's banking system. 
So the two banks will be closed down under national insolvency procedures, and the painful process of EU bail-in—under which junior and senior bondholders absorb the losses—is averted. In Italy, a majority of bonds are in the hands of mom and pop investors
Ironically, the EU Commission which pushed hard for the BRRD insists this is not a loophole and that the possibility of using national as opposed to eurozone-level insolvency regimes was clearly envisaged under the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive. It points out that a number of failed banks have been liquidated using national insolvency regimes since 2015.
* * * 
Even so, the WSJ notes that this decision has taken most observers by surprise. The two Italian banks, though smaller than Banco Popular, were large enough to be supervised by the European Central Bank. It therefore was widely assumed that their resolution would also be handled at the European level. Instead, it now appears that the SRB has discretion as to whether to apply the BRRD rules. Meanwhile the eurozone finds itself in the paradoxical situation where systemically unimportant banks are eligible for state aid, while systemically important banks must be subject to full bail-in.
And, as the WSJ correctly adds, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the SRB's decision to spare senior bondholders in the two lenders is primarily political.
Adding insult to injury, and even more questions about whether the BRRD is even relevant any more, back in March Italian authorities tried in March to use another exception in EU rules to prop up the two Veneto banks. Under so-called precautionary recapitalization, Italy could have injected state money into the ailing lenders, but the commission didn’t approve the plans.  
More from the WSJ:
The Italian authorities have been fighting a rear-guard action to save the two banks from insolvency for two years, not least because they are major employers in the region and because many of the bondholders are retail customers of the banks who may not have known of the risks they were taking when they bought what were marketed as high interest savings products.  

Liquidating the banks under national rules at least removes the risk that 300, 000 retail investors might be hit by substantial losses less than a year before a general election is due. 

No one wants to reignite a new political crisis in the eurozone just as the economy, including that of Italy, appears to have finally turned a corner.
Maybe, but Berlin, Europea's paymaster who had pushed hard for a uniform bank resolution mechanism and now finds Italian banks abusing one after another loophole to get bailed out instead of in, is not happy. 
Speaking to Germany's Die Welt, Isabel Schnabel, a member of Germany’s Council of Economic Experts said that the wind-down of Italy’s Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare de Vicenza under national insolvency law is “a serious blow to the European settlement regime." and added that "the cases show that European settlement regime offers too many loopholes" as in the end bank senior creditors will be completely spared from losses while Italian taxpayers will foot the bill. According to Scnabel, the  Single Resolution Board’s authority should be expanded to include smaller banks in order to avoid situations where “creditors of banks are being spared from losses according to the convenience of the host countries.”
For now, however it is too late, and Rome has once again outsmarted Berlin.
* * *
So with yet another gross evasion of Europe's bank resolution mechanism, where does that lead the banking union?
As WSJ writes, "the decision to put the liquidation into the hands of the Italian authorities is not being questioned by Germany. From Berlin's perspective, it is enough that it has headed off a long-standing attempt by Rome to try to keep the banks alive by injecting government capital using another controversial BRRD loophole known as precautionary recapitalization."
The decision to spare senior bondholders represents a pragmatic compromise to a saga that has cast a shadow on the Italian and eurozone banking system for too long -- and which German officials believe should have been addressed years ago.  Nonetheless, Berlin wants reassurance that this deal doesn't set a precedent and that the state aid rules will be rigorously applied to minimize the use of taxpayers' money, according to German officials. 

In recent weeks, there has been much speculation about a fresh political push to strengthen the eurozone, including the creation of new mechanisms to pool banking risks via a common backstop to the eurozone's Single Resolution Fund and a common deposit-insurance scheme. 

But the Italian episode highlights that before any steps can be taken to complete the banking union, new measures may be needed to strengthen the rules already in place.
A much more harsh assessment was offered earlier over the weekend by Bloomberg commentator Ferdinando Giugliano who wrote that as a result of today's bailout, "Europe's Banking Union Is Dying in Italy"
and that "Italy's plan to rescue two small banks makes a mockery of Europe's new regulations."  
This plan is a slap in the face of Italian taxpayers, who according to some estimates could end up paying  around 10 billion euros ($11.1) for it. The government could have taken a less expensive route, involving the "bail in" of senior bondholders. It chose not to: Many of these instruments are in the hands of retail investors, who bought them without being fully aware of the risks involved. 

The government wants to avoid a political backlash and the risk of contagion spreading across the system. However, 10 billion euros is a whale of a premium to pay as an insurance against a contagion. And Rome may still face a backlash -- from taxpayers who will feel defrauded. 

Most importantly, this plan is a dagger in the heart of the euro zone banking union. This was one of Europe's main responses to the sovereign debt crisis, designed to limit the contribution of taxpayers to bank rescues and to ensure all euro zone lenders faced a coherent set of rules.... This means the European Commission must take a hard look at it and decide whether it really fits within existing laws. Intesa Sanpaolo is cherry-picking the assets it wants and leaving the bill to the government: It's hard to see how this doesn't involve state aid, which the EU forbids.
Ultimately, however, as the WSJ notes the decision to bail out the two banks and their stakeholders was entirely political (involving fears over a popular backlash of impaired senior bondholders), which means that Italy's government will continue bailing out those exposed to bank risk as long as Italy's taxpayers - and voters - keep silent; after all the risks from the alternative: depositors runs, contagion, bank crisis, are just too high and could remind Europe that 7 years after the first Greek bailout, absolutely nothing has been fixed in Europe, where the artificial sense of calm is only at the behest of a European central bank which now owns a record €4.2 trillion in assets and rising every week.

Credit to Zero Hedge



"It's A Virtual Bloodbath" - Cryptocurrency Carnage Continues



Early this morning, cryptocurrencies were all simultaneously hit by selling pressure and as the day has worn off, it has accelerated with one witty trader noting "it's a virtual bloodbath."
29 of the Top 30 cryptocurrencies (by market cap) are in the red and while there remains no immediat catalyst, chatter is focused on uncertainty surrounding SegWit (another potential fork in the codebase) and some looming large ICOs...
As a reminder SegWit (or Segragated Witness) is a proposed update to the Bitcoin software, designed to fix a range of serious issuesAs CoinTelegraph reports, originally, the update was aimed at solving transaction malleability, a well-known weak spot in Bitcoin software. Although this vector of attack is not the most damaging to the users, it has been exploited in several instances already, highlighting the need to patch it. However, SegWit offers a range of other advantages and by now the focus of attention has shifted from fixing the transaction malleability to solving the problem of Bitcoin scaling. As we have explained in the eponymous article, and in many others, Bitcoin is currently experiencing massive scaling problems, which are only getting worse with time.



However, some are noting today's moves are perhaps reflective of pre-positioning for some big Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) rumored to be on the horizon.
Still others have speculated that it's a technical move as Bitcoin broke below its 20-day moving average...
Either way, the biggest players are suffering but the drops are not the magnitude that some recent 20%-plus retreats have been...
Credit to Zero Hedge




Epic Pictures From Arizona's Heatwave: "Everything Is Literally Melting"


Ask any Arizonan whether their summers are more tolerable because "it's a dry heat" and you're likely to be asked to turn your oven to 150 degrees, stick your head inside for 20 minutes and report back as to whether or not the humidity within the oven ever crossed you mind. Probably not.

And while Arizonans have learned to cope with the "dry heat," this summer has been particularly brutal for people living in the Southwest as temperatures have already soared to over 120 degrees in certain areas. What's worse, it's only June.



And while the heatwave may not be that fun for the people living through it, it does making for some amazing pictures of stuff melting.

Perhaps that plastic mailbox post wasn't such a great idea in retrospect.





On the bright side, you can get all your baking done outside in mother nature's free oven.


Plastic fences...also not a great idea. Come on Arizona...you're better than this.




Meanwhile, this Tempe resident (undoubtedly an ASU student judging by all the cheap alcoholic beverages) was just trying to do his part to fight climate change by recycling his beer bottles...it seems that ManBearPig won this round.




Meanwhile, even the road signs are melting down...





...which is going to make it even harder for this guy to get around town...





Al Gore is going to have a field day with these pics.


Credit  to Zero Hedge








Old dog, old tricks: US begins arming Taliban [June 2017]

Sunday, June 25, 2017

More than 40 convicted terrorists have used human rights laws to remain in UK


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Robert Mendick,

More than 40 foreign terrorists have used human rights laws to remain in the UK, according to an unpublished report delayed by the Home Office.

The study highlights the near insurmountable problem for the Government in deporting dangerous jihadists and follows a series of Islamic State-inspired attacks in the UK.

In the court cases, lawyers - typically funded through legal aid - have successfully prevented foreign-born terror suspects from being sent back to their home countries.


At a time when Britain’s security services are fully stretched, the additional burden of monitoring so many foreign terrorist inevitably adds to the strain.

Details are contained in a report ordered by Theresa May when Home Secretary into a scheme called Deportation with Assurances (DWA).

 
Abu Qatada in 2012 CREDIT: AFP


The scheme - in theory - allows the UK to expel terror suspects with guarantees they will not be mistreated or even tortured in their home country.

But it appears to have broken down allowing terrorists to remain in the UK.

The report is potentially embarrassing for the prime minister because it is expected to highlight the collapse of an initiative she pushed hard for while in the Home Office.

The DWA scheme led to the removal of Abu Qatada, a notorious al-Qaeda-linked cleric who was sent back to Jordan in 2013 to stand trial on terrorist offences. Qatada was cleared but since his case, it is understood, that no other foreign terror suspects have been returned under the scheme.



The analysis of the Government’s practice of deportations with assurances was carried out by David Anderson QC, the then independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and co-written with Professor Clive Walker, an international law expert.

It was delivered to the Home Office in February.

Prof Walker said: “My research suggests there are more than 40 foreign terrorists convicted in the UK who have avoided deportation using the human rights act. The figure is much larger than was previously thought.”

Among those understood to have used the Human Rights Act to resist deportation including jihadists with links to the failed 21/7 bomb plot in 2005 who were jailed in the UK and subsequently released after serving their sentences.

Another is an Algerian terrorist imprisoned for funding al-Qaeda training camps but since free after serving his sentence.

 
Osama Bin Laden supporter Baghdad Meziane CREDIT: RAYMONDS


He added: “The report is finished. It is a substantial piece of work. David [Anderson] has produced other reports critical or not of the Government which have always been published.

“My role in it was to compile a detailed description of the rules and regulations about deportation with assurances. I still think the Home Office wish to pursue DWA.”

Thirty-five people have been killed in three separate Islamic-State inspired terrorist attacks since March - at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and at Manchester Arena. Another innocent victim died in a far-right attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park in the early hours of Monday.



Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, announced a review of Britain’s counter-terror strategy last week and put Mr Anderson in charge of it.

The intelligence agencies and counter terror police are under huge pressure after it emerged that in the three recent Islamist terror attacks, the perpetrators were known to security services.

Two of the attackers in the London Bridge atrocity were Moroccan born; one of them Youssef Zaghba had been on an international watch list having tried and failed to reach Syria from Italy in 2016. Zaghba was questioned on entering the UK but still allowed in.

The threat to the UK from foreign-born jihadists remains high in the wake of those attacks and the inability to deport known terrorists compounds those concerns.

Lord Carlile, Mr Anderson’s predecessor as the independent reviewer of terror legislation, said a shift was needed in the interpretation of the Human Rights Act to enable the deportation of more suspects.

“The attacks in recent months demonstrates the need to protect the public and that this should outweigh the human rights of terrorists,” said Lord Carlile.

Convicted terrorists who have avoided deportation include Siraj Yassin Abdullah Ali, who was released in 2011 after serving just half of his nine-year sentence for helping the July 21 bombers. The Government tried to deport him to his native Eritrea but was prevented from doing so because he faced “inhumane treatment or punishment” if returned.

Ali was convicted of helping a terror cell of five al-Qaeda suicide bombers in their bid to repeat the carnage of the attacks of July 7, 2005, two weeks later. The bombs failed to explode.

Credit to 
telegraph.co.uk
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/24/exclusive-40-convicted-terrorists-have-used-human-rights-laws/






Breaking News "Shocking Discovery Massive Planet Discovered In Kuiper Belt (Not Planet X)

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Paul Craig Roberts Warns "The World Is Going Down With Trump"


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On June 21 the editorial board of the Washington Post, long a propaganda instrument believed to be in cahoots with the CIA and the deep state, called for more sanctions and more pressure on Russia.
One second’s thought is sufficient to realize how bad this advice is. The orchestrated demonization of Russia and its president began in the late summer of 2013 when the British Parliament and Russian diplomacy blocked the neoconned Obama regime’s planned invasion of Syria. An example had to be made of Russia before other countries began standing up to Washington. While the Russians were focused on the Sochi Olympic Games, Washington staged a coup in Ukraine, replacing the elected democratic government with a gang of Banderite neo-nazi thugs whose forebears fought for Hitler in World War II. Washington claimed it had brought democracy to Ukraine by putting neo-nazi thugs in control of the government.
Washington’s thugs immediately began violent attacks on the Russian population in Ukraine. Soviet war memorials were destroyed. The Russian language was declared banned from official use. Instantly, separatist movements began in the Russian parts of Ukraine that had been administratively attached to Ukraine by Soviet leaders. Crimea, a Russian province since the 1700s, voted overwhelmingly to seperate from Ukraine and requested to be reunited with Russia. The same occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
These independent actions were misrepresented by Washington and the presstitutes who whore for Washington as a “Russian invasion.” Despite all facts to the contrary, this misrepresentation continues today. In US foreign policy, facts are not part of the analysis.
The most important fact that is overlooked by the Washington Post and the Russophobic members of the US government is that it is an act of insanity to call for more punishment and more pressure on a country with a powerful military and strategic nuclear capability whose military high command and government have already concluded that Washington is preparing a surprise nuclear attack.
Are the Washington Post editors trying to bring on nuclear armageddon? If there was any intelligence present in the Washington Post, the newspaper would be urging that President Trump immediately call President Putin with reassurances and arrange the necessary meetings to defuse the situation. Instead the utterly stupid editors urge actions that can only raise the level of tension. It should be obvious even to the Washington Post morons that Russia is not going to sit there, shaking in its boots, and wait for Washington’s attack. Putin has issued many warnings about the West’s rising threat to Russian security. He has said that Russia “will never again fight a war on its own territory.” He has said that the lesson he has learned is that “if a fight is unavoidable, strike first.” He has also said that the fact that no one hears his warnings makes the situation even more dangerous.
What explains the deafness of the West? The answer is arrogance and hubris.
As the presstitute media is incapable of reason, I will do their job for them. I call for an immediate face-to-face meeting between Trump and Putin at Reykjavik. Cold War II, begun by Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, must be ended now.
So, where is President Trump? Why is the President of the United States unable to rise to the challenge? Why isn’t he the man Ronald Reagan was? Is it, as David Stockman says, that Trump is incapable of anything except tweeting? 
Why hasn’t President Trump long ago ordered all intercepts of Russian chatter gathered, declassified, and made public? Why hasn’t Trump launched a criminal prosecution against John Brennan, Susan Rice, Comey, and the rest of the hit squad that is trying to destroy him?
Why has Trump disarmed himself with an administration chosen by Russiaphobes and Israel?
As David Stockman writes, Trump “is up against a Deep State/Dem/Neocon/mainstream media prosecution” and “has no chance of survival short of an aggressive offensive” against those working to destroy him. But there is no Trump offensive, “because the man is clueless about what he is doing in the White House and is being advised by a cacophonous coterie of amateurs and nincompoops. So he has no action plan except to impulsively reach for his Twitter account.”
Our president twitters while he and Earth itself are pushed toward destruction.

Credit to Zero Hedge


Scriptural Patterns with Perry Stone

Friday, June 23, 2017

US. Navy Test Of New Anti-ICBM Missile Fails

Three weeks ago, the US military conducted its first successful test of a ground-based anti-intercontinental ballistic missile system that had cost more than $40 billion to develop, with the Pentagon lauding the test as “an incredible accomplishment.”
But the Navy had no such luck on Wednesday following an unsuccessful test of a new ship-based anti-ICBM projectile. As the Missile Defense Agency announced in a press release, the test of the new SM-3 Block IIA missile - which was conducted jointly by the US and Japan's Ministry of Defense – had failed.
The test, conducted Wednesday, was the second intercept test of the SM-3, and the first to yield an unsuccessful result.  The previous test was conducted in February. The missile is being designed jointly by the US and Japan with the explicit intent of countering the threat posed by North Korea's increasingly sophisticated nuclear program, according to the MDA.
"The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Japan Ministry of Defense conducted a development flight test today of a new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile off the coast of Hawaii. A planned intercept was not achieved.

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. This is a new, developmental interceptor that is not yet fielded by either country.

At approximately 7:20 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, June 21 (1:20 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, June 22), a medium-range ballistic target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, but the missile did not intercept the target.

Program officials will conduct an extensive analysis of the test data. Until that review is complete, no additional details will be available."

This was the fourth development flight test using an SM-3 IIA missile, and the second intercept test. The previous intercept test, conducted in February 2017, was successful.

Though currently still in the development and test phase, the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is being designed to operate as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. Currently, the Aegis BMD system operates with the SM-3 Block 1A, SM-3 Block 1B, and SM-6 interceptors.


The Pentagon announced on May 31 that it had succeeded in thwarting a simulated ICBM attack using its Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, which the military hailed that as “an incredible accomplishment.”
Riki Ellison, founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, described the test as "vital" prior to launch. "We are replicating our ability to defend the United States of America from North Korea, today," Ellison said.
That test was the first of its kind in nearly three years, and the first test ever to target an intercontinental-range missile like North Korea is developing. Full text of the news release from the Pentagon can be found below:





HOMELAND MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM SUCCESSFULLY INTERCEPTS ICBM TARGET

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense and U.S. Northern Command, today successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile target during a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation's ballistic missile defense system.

This was the first live-fire test event against an ICBM-class target for GMD and the U.S. ballistic missile defense system.

During the test, an ICBM-class target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Multiple sensors provided target acquisition and tracking data to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) system. The Sea-Based X-band radar, positioned in the Pacific Ocean, also acquired and tracked the target. The GMD system received the target tracking data and developed a fire control solution to intercept the target.

The primary difference between the two anti-ICBM systems is that the SM-3 Block IIA missile is designed to be launched from a ship, providing the US with more flexibility when deploying it. The GMD system tested by the Pentagon last month is, as its name suggests, ground-based.

We now wait to see how the North will respond - specifically, whether the hermit kingdom will follow through with what would be its 10th ballistic missile test since the start of the year. The US anti-ICBM test follows the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who passed away earlier this week after being released to the US for medical reasons. Warmbier had reportedly been in a coma for a year after being arrested in North Korea. His crime? He was caught stealing a North Korean propaganda poster.


Credit toZero Hedge