One has to wonder if the evidence that the U.S. is a paper tiger had anything to do with Israel taking the initiative.
The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the latest developments are a significant escalation in Israel’s involvement in the conflict.
The Syrian foreign ministry statement said three military sites had been hit - a research centre at Jamraya, a paragliding airport in the al-Dimas area of Damascus and a site in Maysaloun.
Well, that’s worrisome.
Posted by Owen at 0725 hrs
After the North Korean launch, U.S. Navy ships managed to recover the front section of the rocket used in it, according to three U.S. officials who work closely on North Korean proliferation. That part of the rocket in turn provided useful clues about North Korean warhead design, should the next payload be a warhead rather than a satellite.
The same basic engineering and science needed to launch a satellite into space is also used in the multi-stage rockets known as inter-continental ballistic missiles. The front of the satellite rocket, according to three U.S. officials who work closely on North Korean proliferation, gave tangible proof that North Korea was building the missile’s cone at dimensions for a nuclear warhead, durable enough to be placed on a long-range missile that could re-enter the earth’s atmosphere from space.
“Having access to the missile front was a critical insight we had not had before,” one U.S. non-proliferation official told The Daily Beast. “I have seen a lot of drawings, but we had not seen the piece of that missile at that time.” This official continued: “we looked at the wreckage from the launch and we put it together with other kinds of intelligence and came to this judgment that they had figured out the warhead piece.”
Heh. But… we must not underesimate them. Even armed with sticks, a million men crossing that border will create havok.
Posted by Owen at 0637 hrs
DANDONG, China (Reuters) - A single, ancient-looking North Korean helicopter dropped five paratroopers on their side of the Chinese border on Friday in a rather less-than-defiant, lonely show of force following weeks of angry war rhetoric from Pyongyang.
North Korea has ramped up its threats after being hit by new U.N. sanctions since carrying out a third nuclear test in February, prompting the United States to fly stealth jets over the peninsula and to prepare anti-missile systems for Guam and Alaska.
Early next year the Navy will place a laser weapon aboard a ship in the Persian Gulf where it could be used to fend off approaching unmanned aerial vehicles or speedboats.
The Navy calls its futuristic weapon LAWS, which stands for the Laser Weapon System. What looks like a small telescope is actually a weapon that can track a moving target and fire a steady laser beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel.
What a small world we live in sometimes. I am currently reading Colonel David Hackworth’s “About Face.”. I was on a plane from Nashville to Chicago today and a kindly gentleman noticed what I was reading. He was a vet who served in a unit adjacent to Hackworth’s in the battle of Dak To. We spent the flight, much to the dismay of our neighbors, with him talling stories from the war and of Hack. I didn’t get any readin done on my book, but I think I learned more and gained more perspective by listening.
A shipyard worker was sentenced to 17 years in prison by a Maine court on Friday after he admitted setting fire to a docked nuclear sub and causing $450 million in damage last year.
Casey James Fury, 25, was ordered to pay $400 million in restitution, the Associated Press reported.
Fury pleaded guilty to two arson counts in a plea agreement. He faced up to 19 years for setting the May 23 fire that damaged the USS Miami, a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.
Posted by Owen at 1559 hrs
The last American mounted tactical cavalry unit in combat was the 26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts) in Philippines, stationed at Ft Stotsenburg, Luzon, 1942, which fought both mounted and dismounted against Japanese invasion troops in 1942. On the Bataan Peninsula, the 26th Cavalry (PS) staged a mounted attack against the Japanese on 16 January 1942. The battered, exhausted men of the 26th Cavalry climbed astride their horses and flung themselves moments against the blazing gun muzzles of Japanese tanks. This last mounted pistol charge was led by Ed Ramsey in command of G troop, 26th Cavalry. It was the last mounted charge in America’s annals, and proved the climax of the 26th Cavalry’s magnificent but doomed horseback campaign against the Imperial Japanese Army during the fall of the Philippines in 1941-42. According to a Bataan survivor interviewed in the Washington Post (10 April 1977), starving US and Philippine troops ate all the regiment’s horses.
The last Cavalry charge in history took place on 23 August 1942, at Izbushensky on the River Don. The Italian Savoia Cavalry Regiment, and consisting of 600 mounted Italian troops, charged against 2,000 Soviet troops. The Italian Lancers destroyed a pair of Soviet Infantry armored vehicles before being forced to withdraw with thirty-two casualties. Reports of Polish cavalry charges against German tanks in 1939 are pure fiction. These stories were reported by the Italian press and used as propaganda by the Germans.
Posted by Owen at 2103 hrs
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — More than 150 years after the USS Monitor sank off North Carolina during the Civil War, two unknown crewmen found in the ironclad’s turret when it was raised a decade ago were buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.
The evening burial, which included a gun salute and a band playing “America the Beautiful,” may be the last time Civil War soldiers are buried at the cemetery overlooking Washington.
Wow. What a tribute.
Posted by Owen at 1704 hrs
The U.S. Navy veteran recorded the names of the military fallen from Afghanistan on a makeshift wall in downtown Fort Worth on Thursday. And he did it all from memory.
“I have pictures in my mind for each name,” said White, who served one tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2007.
He has been practicing since May, when he hatched the idea. But despite a growing group of onlookers, White said he isn’t doing it for the attention.
“I would have done this in a field by myself if no one showed up, just because it’s something I wanted to do,” he said.
Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama’s former press secretary, says that he was once instructed by the White House not to acknowledge the administration’s use of drones.
“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, you’re not even to acknowledge the drone program,” Gibbs said on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes” on Sunday. “You’re not even to discuss that it exists.”
Or, to paraphrase an oft-quoted line from David Fincher’s 1999 film “Fight Club”: The first rule of the drone program is you do not talk about the drone program.
Gibbs, who was recently hired by MSNBC as a contributor, called the proposition “inherently crazy.”
“You’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists,” Gibbs, who served as White House press secretary from 2009 to 2011, said. “So you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program—pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
That’s a pretty serious charge from a man holding office thanks to America. Can he back them up? And who is defining “innocent?”
Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has ordered that all U.S. special forces must leave Wardak province, just west of Kabul, within two weeks — citing allegations of disappearances and torture.
In a statement Sunday, a spokesman for Karzai said, “after a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as U.S. special force stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.”
Karzai’s office cited a “recent example” in which nine people were allegedly “disappeared” and a separate incident where a student was taken from his home in the middle of the night and whose tortured body was found two days later under a bridge with his throat cut.
In addition to demanding the U.S. pull out in two weeks, Karzai also demanded the immediate cessation of all international special forces operations in Wardak.
Fine. Let’s pull out completely. I’ll put money on Karzai’s head bouncing down the streets of Kabul within two months.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will lift a long-standing ban on women serving in combat, according to senior defense officials. The ensuing administrative process could mean women will serve in front line combat roles, but not until 2016.
U.S. Navy minesweeper, the USS Guardian, ran aground in the Sulu Sea off the Philippines on Thursday, and was stuck on a reef, the Navy said.
No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at 2:25 a.m. local time (1:25 p.m. Wednesday ET) on Tubbataha Reef about 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island, in the Philippines, the Navy said.
Posted by Owen at 0952 hrs
North Korea likely engaged in a deliberate campaign of deception before a December 12 long-range missile launch, catching the United States and its Asian allies “off guard,” according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of analysis of the incident conducted by U.S. military and intelligence agencies.
The official told CNN that American and Japanese military ships and missile defenses were fully operational and protecting land, sea and airspace on December 12, but that the launch was a surprise when it actually happened.
“We had our dukes up, operationally, but we were caught off guard,” the official said.
“The clues point to a concerted effort to deceive us,” the official said. The analysis was ordered in the wake of the launch to determine what exactly happened and how much the U.S. intelligence knew at the time.
Posted by Owen at 0720 hrs
By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The long-anticipated dig to unearth a cache of brand-new Spitfires that are believed to be buried in Burma is expected to start on Jan. 12, local press has reported. According to The Irrawaddy, archeologists first will spend about a week studying the site, then the digging can begin. Up to 36 pristine Spitfires, still in the packing crates they were delivered in near the end of World War II, are expected to be found. David Cundall, who located the burial site, said he has confirmed the airplanes are there by sending a camera through a borehole. “We went into a crate, you can see an object which resembles a Spitfire,” he said.