April 14, 2017
FLY THE FRIENDLY SKYS by M P Ramirez
"USA Drops MOAB on Islamic State Target in Afghanistan"
MOAB: massive ordnance air blast weapon aka GBU-43B,unleashes 11 tons of explosives
Washington (AP) and by Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan
U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13th struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with "the mother of all bombs," The largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said. The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives. When it was developed in the early 2000s, the Pentagon did a formal review of legal justification for its combat use.
President Donald Trump called a "very, very successful mission." The U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said in a statement that the bomb was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday on a tunnel complex in Achin district of Nangarhar province, where the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group has been operating. The target was close to the Pakistani border.
The U.S. estimates 600 to 800 IS fighters are present in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. The U.S. has concentrated heavily on combating them while also supporting Afghan forces battling the Taliban. Just last week a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland, was killed in action in Nangarhar.
The MOAB is a custom-made Air Force weapon that has been in the arsenal for more than a decade but never used on the battlefield, although it was available throughout the Iraq war. It is designed to hit softer targets such as surface facilities, tunnel entrances and troop concentrations. It is pushed out the rear of the launching aircraft, guided to its target by GPS and slowed by a parachute. A separate non-nuclear weapon known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, which is larger in its physical dimensions but carries a smaller load of conventional explosives, is designed to take out deeply buried targets like reinforced bunkers. The MOP has never been used in combat. In its 2003 review of the legality of using the MOAB, the Pentagon concluded that it could not be called an indiscriminate killer under the Law of Armed Conflict. "Although the MOAB weapon leaves a large footprint, it is discriminate and requires a deliberate launching toward the target," the review said. It added: "It is expected that the weapon will have a substantial psychological effect on those who witness its use."
Adam Stump, a Pentagon spokesman, said the bomb was dropped from a U.S. MC-130 special operations transport. He said the bomb had been brought to Afghanistan "some time ago" for potential use. Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a written statement that the strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the Achin area "while maximizing the destruction" of IS fighters and facilities. He said IS has been using improvised explosive devices, bunkers and tunnels to strengthen its defenses. "This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K," the acronym for the IS affiliate.
Ismail Shinwari, the governor of Achin district, said the U.S. attack was carried out in a remote mountainous area with no civilian homes nearby and that there had been no reports of injured civilians. He said there has been heavy fighting in the area in recent weeks between Afghan forces and IS militants. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said IS fighters had used the tunnels and caves in Achin to maneuver freely. Mr Spicer said, "The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did,"
TRUMP’S OPTIONS FOR NORTH KOREA INCLUDE PLACING NUKES IN SOUTH KOREA
Would significantly alter U.S. policy
The National Security Council has presented President Trump with options to respond to North Korea’s nuclear program, including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing dictator Kim Jong-un, multiple top-ranking intelligence and military officials told NBC News. Both scenarios are part of an accelerated review of North Korea policy prepared in advance of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.
The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions. But if that fails, and North Korea continues its development of nuclear weapons, there are other options on the table that would significantly alter U.S. policy. The first and most controversial course of action under consideration is placing U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea. The U.S. withdrew all nuclear weapons from South Korea 25 years ago. Bringing back bombs to Osan Air Base which is less than 50 miles south of Seoul, would mark the first overseas nuclear deployment since the end of the Cold War, an unquestionably provocative move.
NORTH KOREAN SHIPS HEAD HOME AFTER CHINA ORDERS COAL RETURNED
To curb coal traffic between the two countries
A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, the majority of it fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal from the isolated country, shipping data shows. Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product.
To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order.
CHINA WARNS NORTH KOREA AMID MASSIVE TROOP BUILD-UP ON BORDER
We we react strongly to nuclear threats, China says
China said it will “react strongly” to the rogue nation’s nuclear threats, reported China’s state-run Global Times. They said Beijing will not “remain indifferent”to North Korea’s warmongering and "Pyongyang’s aggravating violation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution." A powerful statement given that China has already put its troops on nationwide high alert over the situation.
“More and more Chinese support the view that the government should enhance sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear activities. If the North makes another provocative move this month, the Chinese society will be willing to see the UNSC adopt severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before, such as restricting oil imports to the North.”
“Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is intended for securing the regime, however, it is reaching a tipping point. Pyongyang hopes its gamble will work, but all signs point to the opposite direction.” This isn’t just rhetoric by China. The Chi-coms may have already deployed nearly 175,000 troops on its border with North Korea who are likely not just there to deal with refugees but also for a possible invasion combined with the US striking North Korea from the sea. China’s warning comes only days before North Korea’s April 15th, Day of the Sun, national holiday, a symbolic date Pyongyang may use to test another intercontinental ballistic missile.
It’s speculated that US Special Forces are already deploying to North Korea to sabotage some of the country’s military capabilities in advance of a potential sea-based strike by a US carrier group. And China is sending coal back to North Korea, which is North Korea’s biggest export to China. Additionally, some have said that North Korea’s Organization and Guidance Dept. has long been the power behind the throne and doesn’t necessarily back Kim Jong-un’s incessant saber rattling. The OGD may use China’s help to initiate a coup inside North Korea.
MARINE VETERAN WARNS TRUMP: “YOU’RE BEING DUPED” ON SYRIA
"You're falling for the dumbest thing I've ever seen"
Paul Joseph Watson
A Marine veteran told Donald Trump that he is being “duped” on Syria and that the vast majority of the president’s supporters will not endorse regime change. Trump said that he was considering military intervention in response to a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “steps are underway” to create an international coalition to topple Bashar Al-Assad.
Former Marine Angelo John Gage, who served two tours in Iraq, took to Twitter to warn Trump that he was being deceived. Asserting that Trump was cozying up to the same media and the deep state that has tried to destroy him at every turn, Gage said he voted for Trump “to make America great again, not make the Middle East great again. “We have no interest in Syria….we have to focus on our own country and you’re being distracted and duped – it’s so obvious – it’s blatantly obvious how ridiculous this narrative is and how fake it is,” said Gage.
“They lied about your taxes, they lied about Russian collusion, they lied about DNC rigging, they lied about everything and you’re falling for this – now they’re telling the truth about Syria, magically just for you,” he added. “A lot of us voted for you because you’re supposed to be the ‘no war’ candidate – Hillary would have gotten us to war, you know that – yet here you are four months into your administration and you want to consider military action?” asked Gage.
The vet went on to question why Trump immediately chose to trust the same intelligence sources who have repeatedly lied in the past about weapons of mass destruction. “You work for us, Mr. President – we voted for you because you were supposed to take care of us – none of us want to go to Syria…... even if it was true it has nothing to do with us,” added Gage, opining that the jihadist rebels were the likely culprits behind the gas attack. “You should know better, you’re supposed to be the strategic mastermind, but you’re falling for the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen – be smart, do the right thing and put America first,” he concluded.
Gage’s rant is in line with sympathies held by active duty and military veterans before Barack Obama’s 2013 threat to invade Syria when the United States came perilously close to embroiling itself in yet another disastrous attempt at regime change. Back then, servicemembers posted images on social media vowing that they would not act as “Al-Qaeda’s air force” to help jihadists capture the country.
PUTIN: SYRIA CHEMICAL ATTACK WAS ‘FALSE FLAG’, MORE COMING
"They plan to plant chemicals in Damascus and accuse the Syrian government of an attack”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the recent chemical attack in Idlib province in Syria was a false flag operation, and that more ‘provocations’ are being prepared. "We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus.” Putin said during a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow. Mr Putin added, “They plan to plant some chemicals there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack,” Putin told media representatives, that he has “trusted sources”.
Putin went on to compare the situation in Syria to Saddam Hussein’s non existent weapons of mass destruction, indicating that he may believe that the US is either behind the false flag, or at least actively pushing such propaganda, while anti-government rebels in Syria carried out the attack.
“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq.” Putin said. “The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage,” Putin added.
“All incidents reminiscent of the chemical attacks that took place in Idlib must be thoroughly investigated,” Putin concluded, also clarifying that he has no scheduled meeting with Rex Tillerson, who is on his way to Russia. In addition, the Russian general staff has said that Syrian forces posses no chemical weapons, and that further US Syria strikes will be viewed as unacceptable.
REX TILLERSON MEETS WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN IN MOSCOW
Met with the Russian president just hours into his trip to the country this week
Kaitlan Collins | Daily Caller
Rex Tillerson met "unexpectedly" with Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Kremlin in Moscow on Wednesday. A State Department official confirmed that Donald Trump’s secretary of state met with the Russian president. There has been tension between the two countries after the USA launched a missile attack against a Syrian air base last week. The White House senior administration officials said, it was clear that the Russian government is trying to cover up Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime’s culpability for the chemical attack in the country that left at least 80 people dead.
“This reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when U.S. representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq,” Putin said in response. “The exact same thing is happening now.”
RUSSIAN NUCLEAR-CAPABLE BOMBERS FLY NEAR JAPAN, US OFFICIALS SAY
Three Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers took off from a base in eastern Russia
For the first time in nearly three months, Russia flew nuclear-capable “Bear” bombers near Japan, Wednesday, the latest sign of increasing tensions in the region. The officials said three Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers took off from a base in eastern Russia flying in the Sea of Japan and remained in international airspace. One U.S. official described the Russian bomber flight as “clearly meant to send a message.” This latest provocation from Russia comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Moscow, Wednesday, the first visit by a cabinet member to Russia since President Trump assumed office.