Tag Archives: missiles

IRAN: ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – New York Post

IRAN: ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – New York Post.

Last updated: 4:32 am
June 2, 2009
Posted: 3:02 am
June 2, 2009

UNFORTUNATELY, Presi dent Obama is likely to use this week’s visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt as stops on his Apology World Tour, repudiating Bush-era Middle East and War on Terror policies.

Instead of creating perceptions of weakness — which would only invite more provocations and attacks — he should rally Arab states to take a strong stand against the Iranian threat. It’s one thing on which we can all agree.

A Grovelpalooza

Israel: Bam Voyage’s ‘Missing Leg’

Just Don’t Apologize

Obama’s Iran policy has amounted to little more than rhetoric and wait-and-see diplomacy — all while Tehran launches missiles and enriches uranium.

If trends continue, a North Korean-style nuclear moment is in our future.

The Arab world is concerned not only about the prospect of nuclear-armed Iranian ballistic missiles but about how this could lead to Iranian hegemony in the Mideast.

Iran’s recent deployment of warships to the Arabian Sea for supposed anti-piracy operations was a message heard loud and clear by Tehran’s neighbors, especially rival Riyadh.

This trip gives Obama a bully pulpit, and he should make the most of it, pulling the Arabs together to deal with this common threat.

In fact, containing (or, even better, rolling back) the Iranian juggernaut would help the Palestinian-Israeli situation by removing Iran — and its henchmen Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria — as Israel’s short-term focus.

Israel, naturally, is drawing a bead on the wolf closest to the sled — the existential threat posed by Iranian nukes and missiles.

More of Obama’s feel-good, blame-America-first speechifying will do little to help dissuade Islamist terrorists from their deadly ways. Instead, it will make America look like a paper tiger — just like Osama bin Laden said.

It’d be better if the president focused on something on which we, the Arabs and the Israelis can agree — defanging the Iranian terrorist, nuclear and missile threat to the region and beyond.

Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

peterbrookes@heritage.org

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North Korea threatens South, restarts plutonium plant – Yahoo! News

North Korea threatens South, restarts plutonium plant – Yahoo! News.

 

Anti-North Korea protesters shout slogans as they hold portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and a North Korean flag during a rally denouncing Reuters – Anti-North Korea protesters shout slogans as they hold portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and …

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea, facing international sanction for this week’s nuclear test, threatened on Wednesday to attack the South after Seoul joined a U.S.-led initiative to check vessels suspected of carrying equipment for weapons of mass destruction.

The threat came after South Korean media reported Pyongyang had restarted a plant that makes weapons-grade plutonium.

President Barack Obama is working to form a united response to Monday’s nuclear test, widely denounced as a major threat to stability that violates U.N. resolutions and brings the reclusive North closer to having a reliable nuclear bomb.

A North Korean army spokesman reiterated that the country was no longer bound by the armistice signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War because Washington had ignored its responsibility as a signatory by drawing Seoul into the anti-proliferation effort.

“Any hostile act against our peaceful vessels including search and seizure will be considered an unpardonable infringement on our sovereignty and we will immediately respond with a powerful military strike,” the spokesman for the North’s army was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency.

South Korea announced on Tuesday it was joining the naval exercise, called the Proliferation Security Initiative.

An angry Pyongyang, which relies on arms sales for cash, had said it considered such a move an act of war.

The nuclear test has raised concern about Pyongyang spreading weapons to other countries or groups. Washington has accused it of trying try to sell nuclear know-how to Syria and others.

The rival Koreas have fought two deadly naval clashes in 1999 and 2002 near a disputed maritime border off their west coast and the North has threatened in the past year to strike South Korean vessels in those Yellow Sea waters.

Pyongyang also test-fired a third short-range missile late on Tuesday after it added to tensions with the launch of two others earlier in the day, the South’s Yonhap news agency quoted a unnamed government source as saying.

The secretive state appears to have made good on a threat issued in April of restarting a facility at its Yongbyon nuclear plant that extracts plutonium, South Korea’s largest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, reported.

“There are various indications that reprocessing facilities in Yongbyon resumed operation (and) have been detected by U.S. surveillance satellite, and these including steam coming out of the facility,” it quoted an unnamed government source as saying.

The Soviet-era Yongbyon plant was being taken apart under a six-country disarmament-for-aid deal and there were no signs yet that the North, which conducted its only prior nuclear test in October 2006, was again separating plutonium.

Seoul‘s financial markets, which had fallen in the wake of the nuclear test, rose on Wednesday though traders said investors were still nervous about when the North would try to be more provocative and ratchet up tension in the region.

KIM’S HEALTH, SUCCESSION IN FOCUS

Analysts say Pyongyang‘s military grandstanding is partly aimed at tightening leader Kim Jong-il‘s grip on power so he can better engineer his succession and divert attention from the country’s weak economy, which has fallen into near ruin since he took over in 1994.

Many speculate Kim’s suspected stroke in August raised concerns about succession and he wants his third son to be the next leader of Asia’s only communist dynasty.

The country, which has a history of using military threats to squeeze concessions out of global powers, may have ramped up its provocations early in Obama’s presidency in order to have more cards to play during his time in office.

There may be little the international community can do to deter the North, which has been punished for years by sanctions and is so poor it relies on aid to feed its 23 million people.

A Treasury Department official said it was weighing possible action to isolate the North financially.

A 2005 U.S. clampdown on a Macau bank suspected of laundering money for Pyongyang effectively cut the country off from the international banking system.

Japan’s upper house of parliament denounced the test and said in a resolution the government should step up its sanctions.

North Koreans celebrated, with a rally in the capital of top cadres, KCNA said.

“The nuclear test was a grand undertaking to protect the supreme interests of the DPRK (North Korea) and defend the dignity and sovereignty of the country and nation,” it quoted a communist party official as saying.

North Korea’s meager supply of fissile material is likely down to enough for five to seven bombs after Monday’s test, experts have said. It could probably extract enough plutonium from spent rods at the plant for another bomb’s worth of plutonium by the end of this year.

The North’s next step may to be resume operations at all of Yongbyon, with experts saying it could take the North up to a year to reverse disablement steps. Once running, it can produce enough plutonium for a bomb a year.

The hermit state has also threatened to launch a long-range ballistic missile if the Security Council does not apologize for tightening sanctions to punish it for an April launch widely seen as a missile test that violated U.N. measures.

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim, Rhee So-eui and Kim Junghyun in Seoul and Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo; Editing by Dean Yates)

Feds: NY suspects disappointed couldn’t attack WTC

Feds: NY suspects disappointed couldn’t attack WTC.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Four men arrested after planting what they thought were explosives near two New York City synagogues were disappointed that the World Trade Center wasn’t still around to attack, a federal prosecutor said Thursday as the men appeared in court for the first time.

The suspects were arrested Wednesday night, shortly after planting a 37-pound mock explosive device in the trunk of a car outside the Riverdale Temple and two mock bombs in the backseat of a car outside the Riverdale Jewish Center, another synagogue a few blocks away, authorities said. Police blocked their escape with an 18-wheel truck, smashing their tinted SUV windows and apprehending the unarmed suspects.

Authorities said the men also plotted to shoot down a military plane.

James Cromitie, 55; David Williams, 28; Onta Williams, 32; and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh, were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.

All the suspects except Payen appeared in federal court in White Plains on Thursday, their hands shackled to their waists. Payen was expected to appear in court later Thursday.

Lawyers for the defendants, all of whom are U.S. citizens, did not seek bail.

In arguing against bail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder told the judge “it’s hard to envision a more chilling plot” and described the men as “extremely violent.”

They were “disappointed…that the best target (the World Trade Center) was hit already,” he said, adding that the men were “eager to bring death to Jews.” He also said Cromitie wanted to see what he did on TV and be able to say, “I’m the one who did that.”

Earlier, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke at a news conference outside the Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx.

“They stated that they wanted to commit jihad,” Kelly said. “They were disturbed about what happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Muslims were being killed.”

Kelly said he believed the men knew each other through prison. They had long rap sheets for charges including drug possession and assault. During the hearing Cromitie told the judge he had used marijuana on Wednesday but was clear-headed enough to understand the proceedings.

An official told The Associated Press that three of the men are converts to Islam. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Payen, who officials said is of Haitian descent, occasionally attended a Newburgh mosque. His statements on Islam often had to be corrected, according to Assistant Imam Hamin Rashada, who met Payen through a program that helps prisoners re-enter society.

Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin said the defendants planned to shoot Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles at planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh, about 70 miles north of New York City.

The FBI and other agencies monitored the men and provided an inactive missile and inert C-4 to an informant for the defendants.

The confidential informant who broke the case told Cromitie that he was involved with Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistani terrorist group. It is one of several militant groups suspected of having links to Pakistani intelligence. Jaish set up training camps in Afghanistan under the Taliban and several senior operatives were close to Osama bin Laden.

Cromitie expressed interest in joining the group to “do jihad,” according to a criminal complaint.

According to state Department of Correctional Services records, Payen was released on parole in August 2005 after serving just more than a year in prison for attempted assault in Rockland County.

Onta Williams served just more than a year in state prison for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in Orange County. He was released on parole in August 2003.

Cromitie has been in prison at least three times under three different names, prison records show.

He served two years on a drug sale conviction and was released on parole in 1991. Then, under the name of David Anderson, he spent 2 1/2 years in prison for selling drugs in New York City before being paroled in 1996. Under the name James Crometie, he was convicted of selling drugs in a school zone in 2000 and spent almost four years in prison before being released on parole in 2004.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kelly met privately with congregants inside the Riverdale Jewish Center Thursday.

Nancy Harris Rouemy said she was alarmed when she learned the news from a neighbor and definitely paused before dropping off her 4-year-old son at the Riverdale Jewish Center, where he goes to school. “However, the assurance is that the perpetrators were caught and my son wouldn’t be in danger,” she said.

“It is so upsetting,” agreed her husband, Isaac. “If it was an actual bomb, it would be a disaster. It’s not just a synagogue. It’s a school and there are senior citizens who come here too.”

The arrests came after a nearly yearlong undercover operation that began in Newburgh. The defendants bought a digital camera at Wal-Mart to take pictures of targets, they spoke in code, and they expressed their hatred of Jews on several occasions, according to a criminal complaint.

In June 2008, the informant, who was acting under law enforcement supervision, met Cromitie in Newburgh and Cromitie complained that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and he was upset about the war there and that many Muslim people were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. military forces, officials said.

Cromitie also expressed an interest in doing “something to America,” they said in the complaint.

In October 2008, the informant began meeting with the defendants at a Newburgh house equipped with concealed video and audio equipment, the complaint said.

Beginning in April 2009, the four men selected the synagogues they intended to hit, it said. They also conducted surveillance of military planes at the Air National Guard Base, it said.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, issued a statement praising law enforcers “for their efforts in helping to prevent any harm to either Jewish institutions or to our nation’s military.”

“We repeat the American Muslim community’s repudiation of bias-motivated crimes and of anyone who would falsely claim religious justification for violent actions,” the statement said.

___

Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett in Washington, Michael Hill in Newburgh, N.Y., and Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains, N.Y., contributed to this report.

(This version CORRECTS UPDATES with court hearing, including appearances by 3 of 4 defendants, their ages, all U.S. citizens, appearing in shackles, other details; corrects quote attributed to Nancy Rouemy. Multimedia: A pdf of the criminal complaint against the accused temple bombing conspirators is in the _documents folder slugged temple_bomb_complaint.pdf. AP Video.)