Tag: Weapons

Leftist Congressional Candidate Says It’s Not ‘Sporting’ To Use Semi-Automatic Weapons For Self-Defense

This Democrat Says It Is Not ‘Sporting’ To Use Semi-Automatic Weapons For Self-Defense – Downtrend

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Dan Muroff is an anti-gun liberal nutcase who is running for Congress. He is hoping to unseat fellow anti-gun kook US Rep. Chaka Fattah for Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District by being an even bigger anti-gun kook. In a positively illuminating interview, Muroff explains how he wants to ban semi-automatic firearms because it is not “sporting” for people to use them in self-defense.

While speaking with aldianews.com about his campaign, Muroff laid out his street cred on gun control with liberal gems like these:

“Guns in the street are easier to find than healthy produce. They unravel the fabric of not just an individual’s future, but with it their family’s future,” said Muroff.

Sounds like “the streets” have more of fresh produce problem than a gun problem. Also, there’s that whole thing about how the Constitution doesn’t guarantee our right to keep and bear carrots, which I’m sure Muroff is aware of.

“The number of deaths, the number of families that are devastated. When I say remediable, I don’t been fixable. But you can remedy in part, and mitigate in part, the gun violence in cities and elsewhere by passing reasonable legislation,” he continued.

I don’t been fixable? I’m not sure if that is a typo or if Muroff just has some mild brain damage but either way, this is a great new liberal take on the ineffectiveness of gun control. He’s saying, “Sure, gun control won’t actually fix the problem of crime and violence, but it will make lefties feel better about it.”

And speaking of liberal creativity with words:

“We can’t allow those who see this as a single issue stand in the way of what reasonable people know what needs to be done,” said Muroff.

According to him the people that want to take away a Constitutional right are the reasonable ones and by implication, those who would fight to preserve that right are the unreasonable ones.

After laying out his plan to ban weapons, hold gun owners accountable if their firearms are stolen and used in a crime, and closing non-existent loopholes, Muroff assures us: “I’m not talking about taking away second amendment rights, but responsible ownership and responsible sales.”

I don’t think he meant that the way it came out, but he did just say that he is talking about taking away “reasonable ownership and responsible sales.” Then again, maybe that’s exactly what he meant to say.

Finally, we get to the single dumbest thing he said in an insanely unintelligent interview:

“It’s not sporting to use a semi-automatic weapon to go hunting, or frankly, self-defense,” said Muroff.

WTF!?! It’s not sporting to defend yourself using a semi-automatic weapon against a dangerous criminal? Does he honestly feel like we need to give the scumbags a sporting chance when they are trying to rape and murder? I guess so. Maybe he thinks we should all have muzzle-loading black powder muskets just to give the bad guys a reasonable chance of succeeding in their evil deeds.

In hunting there is a train of thought that says using a semi-automatic rifle makes the sport less challenging. No such thing exists in self-defense. You meet force with equal or greater force. Period. There is no sportsmanship in matters of life and death.

And again, Muroff’s misunderstanding of the 2nd Amendment shines through. There is nothing in the Constitution that ties gun ownership to hunting or even self-defense. We simply have the right to own guns and liberal douchebags like him don’t have a right to mess with that.

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Rebels Trained And Armed By Obama Regime Hand Weapons Over To Al-Qaeda Immediately After Entering Syria

Syrian Rebels Trained And Armed By U.S. Betray Obama By Handing Weapons Over To Al-Qaeda Immediately After Entering Syria – Weasel Zippers

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Nice job “vetting,” Barack.

Via Telegraph:

Pentagon-trained rebels are reported to have betrayed US and handed weapons over to an al-Qaeda affiliate immediately after entering Syria.

Fighters with Division 30 surrendered and handed over “all its weapons” to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, sources alleged on Monday.

The moderate rebel group was the first faction to graduate from a US-led training programme in Turkey which aims to forge a fighting force on the ground in Syria to fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

“A strong slap [in the face] for America… the new group from Division 30 that entered yesterday hands over all of its weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra after being granted safe passage,” tweeted Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, who purports to be a member of the al-Qaeda affiliate.

“They also handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups.”

Abu Khattab al-Maqdisi, who also claims to be a Nusra member, added that Anas Ibrahim Obaid, Division 30’s commander, had explained to al-Nusra’s leaders that he had tricked the coalition because he needed weapons.

“He promised to issue a statement… repudiating Division 30, the coalition, and those who trained him,” tweeted Maqdisi on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a pro-opposition UK-based watchdog, reported on Sunday that 75 Division 30 fighters had crossed into Syria from Turkey the previous morning with “12 four-wheel vehicles equipped with machine guns and ammunition”.

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Ship With “Aid” For Muslim “Refugees” Arrives In Greece Full Of Weapons

Ship With “Aid” For Refugees Arrives In Greece Full Of Weapons And Ammunition – Gateway Pundit

A container full of help for Muslim “refugees” arrived in Greece and guess what was in it?

It was full of weapons and ammunition.

Why isn’t media reporting about this?

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The cargo ship Haddad 1 was intercepted with a shipment of arms heading to ISIS. (IBT)

Greek officials intercepted a ship carrying weapons, including 5,000 shotguns, off Crete heading to the Islamic State of Libya.

Weapons for Islamists.

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Obama’s New BFFs In Iran Made Illegal Purchases Of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month

Iran Made Illegal Purchases Of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month – Weekly Standard

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The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?

Experience shows that unless Iran violates the deal egregiously, the temptation will be to ignore it. For instance, Iran got away with selling more oil than it should have under the interim agreement. More ominously, Tehran repeatedly pushed the envelope on technical aspects of the agreement – such as caps on its uranium stockpile – and got away with it. The Obama administration and other Western powers have so much invested in their diplomatic efforts that they’ll deny such violations ever occurred.

More evidence of Iranian violations has now surfaced. Two reports regarding Iran’s attempts to illicitly and clandestinely procure technology for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs have recently been published. They show that Iran’s procurement continues apace, if not faster than before the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. But fear of potentially embarrassing negotiators and derailing negotiations has made some states reluctant to report Tehran’s illegal efforts. If these countries have hesitated to expose Iran during the negotiations, it is more likely they will refrain from reporting after a deal is struck.

The first report was released last month by the U.N. panel of experts in charge of reporting compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iran. The panel noted that U.N. member states had not reported significant violations of U.N. sanctions and speculated as to why: either Iran was complying, or countries did not wish to interfere with negotiations.

The second report, released last week by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is less ambiguous. The agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed to us that Iran continues to seek illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

Iran has had a long history of trying to obtain nuclear technology from German companies, particularly by seeking ways to transport merchandise in circumvention of international sanctions. Since November 2013, Tehran has sought industry computers, high-speed cameras, cable fiber, and pumps for its nuclear and missile program. It appears that Iran’s readiness to negotiate does not reflect any substantive policy change. Rather, it is a diplomatic tactic retreat forced by economic distress, not a strategic rethinking of its priorities.

Iran’s cheating should give Western negotiators additional resolve to impose ironclad guarantees in the agreement. They should compel Iran to reveal its past activities, including its post-JPOA procurement efforts, and impose tough, intrusive, “anytime, anywhere” inspections before sanctions are suspended, let alone lifted.

Instead, the lack of reporting to the U.N. despite evidence of cheating suggests a lack of resolve on the part of Western nations, and their willingness to downplay all but the most egregious violations. This does not bode well for the future. If Western powers are reluctant to penalize Iran for trying to evade sanctions because they’re afraid of spoiling the negotiations, what will happen in the future when Western powers have even more invested in preserving an agreement?

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*VIDEO* Obama Lied About Benghazi Terrorist Attacks – Weapons Moved Through Benghazi To Syria


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Half A Billion Dollars Worth Of American Weapons Fall Into The Hands Of Islamo-Nazis… Again

$500,000,000 Worth Of American Weapons Fall Into The Hands Of Al Qaeda (Again) – Red Statements

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A half a billion in US weaponry has fallen into the hands of Islamic extremists in Yemen since the fall of that country’s government. The amount could be considerably higher as the Pentagon and the CIA have covert operations in the country. The number could go much much higher. This is becoming a habit under Obama. In Libya, we had a blockade set up but “somehow” ships got through the greatest Navy on earth and Islamic extremists got themselves half a billion (A coincidence?) dollars worth of weapons.

Those weapons were used in Benghazi, where this administration removed all the security just before the attack. The bad guys got even more weapons meant to go to radical Muslim extremists in Syria. Those weapons went with them to Algeria where they were used in a terror attack there.

Then, while Benjamin Netanyahu was here and Obama was unable to meet him, Obama took a little trip to visit the Emir of Qatar. The Emir is a big time sponsor of terrorism, supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. They also sponsor this little group in Syria called the Nusra Front. Coincidentally, Obama had sent entire warehouses of weapons to an insurgency group called Harakat Hazm. At about the same time as Obama’s visit to the Emir, Harakat Hazm decided to disband and hand over the warehouses full of US munitions to the Nusra Front.

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The Nusra Front has now decided to leave their affiliation with Al Qaeda behind and they intend to become competition for ISIS since they now outgun them.

I’m no military man but I’m not the dumbest person in the world (Mostly because I have a younger sister) but it seems to me if I wanted to provide weapons to a weak government, I would take precautions to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. But hey, that’s just me.

And we are to believe that all of these weapon seizures are coincidences. Frankly, I have my doubts.

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Over 600 U.S. Troops Claimed Exposure To Chemical Weapons In Iraq, But Military Failed To Treat Them

More Than 600 U.S. Troops Described Being Exposed To Chemical Eeapons In Iraq But Military Failed To Offer Them Medical Care, Pentagon Admits – Daily Mail

More than 600 American soldiers told military medical staff that they believe they were exposed to chemical warfare agents in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003, but the Pentagon failed to act on that information, it was revealed Thursday.

According to reporting by The New York Times, Pentagon officials said the department will now expand its outreach to veterans and establish a toll-free hotline for reporting potential exposures and seeking medical evaluation or care.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered an internal review of military records after the Times published an article in October about how US troops encountered degraded chemical weapons from the 1980s that had been hidden or used in makeshift bombs.

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Truth comes out: Pentagon acknowledged that more than 600 American soldiers told military medical staff that they believe they were exposed to chemical warfare agents in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003

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US forces came upon hidden caches of warheads, shells and aviation bombs in Iraq between 2004 and 2011. Pictured here are Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians working in Afghanistan in 2002

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The initial newspaper report disclosed that 17 service members had been injured by sarin or sulfur mustard agent, and several more came forward after the story appeared, the Times said Thursday.

The Army’s Public Health Command collects standardized medical-history surveys, known as post-deployment health assessments, which troops fill out as they complete combat tours.

Those who responded ‘yes’ to a question about exposure to such warfare agents – ‘Do you think you were exposed to any chemical, biological and radiological warfare agents during this deployment?’ – were asked to provide a brief explanation.

The review ordered by Hagel showed that 629 people answered ‘yes’ to that question and also filled in a block with information indicating chemical agent exposure, Col. Jerome Buller, a spokesman for the Army surgeon general, told the newspaper.

‘Secretary Hagel ordered the department to examine the medical records for all servicemembers assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Units where exposures were reported to have occurred, as well as the Post-Deployment Health Assessment data for all servicemembers who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘The review has determined thus far that 734 troops reported potential exposure. The actual extent of that exposure is not yet clear,’ Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement to Stars and Stripes.

About 5,000 chemical weapons were recovered or destroyed in Iraq following the 2003 invasion.

A Times investigation last month revealed that US forces came upon hidden caches of warheads, shells and aviation bombs between 2004 and 2011.

But the Bush administration reportedly covered up the existence of the 30-year-old weapons, some of them designed by the US, which did not fit into the narrative that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction.

Most of the warheads were mustard agents in 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets developed by Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war which raged between 1980 and 1988.

Many of the shells recovered by American troops after the 2003 invasion would leak liquid during transportation, exposing the soldiers to the potentially-lethal fumes.

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Hidden: Between 2004 and 2011, soldiers found thousands of rusty chemical munitions throughout Iraq, most of them buried. Pictured on the left are troops handling weapons in Kandahar, Afghanistan

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A U.S. Army Third Infantry Division soldier loads materials discovered in an explosives laboratory hidden in a home April 15, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq

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Symptoms ranged from disorientation and nausea to blindness and large blisters.

A Navy explosive-ordnance disposal technician, who was not named because he remains on active duty, told the Times this week that he was burned on his left forearm in 2006 when a mustard agent spilled on him as he was carrying shells outside Samarra.

After he went to an Army doctor seeking treatment, an officer in his battalion ordered him to stop talking about the chemical shells.

Cmdr Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman, told the newspaper that they do not condone the silencing of service members, adding the the sailor had reached out to the Navy about the 2006 chemical episode in recent days.

Each person who answered the health questionnaire would have received a medical consultation at the end of their combat tour, Buller said.

It was not clear why the military did not take further steps, such as including compiling the data as it accumulated over more than a decade, tracking veterans with related medical complaints, or circulating warnings about risks to soldiers and to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans who believe they were exposed can call a Pentagon hotline at 1-800-497-6261, which previously had been used for Gulf War veterans reporting illnesses.

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Dem Wants To Ban Importing Legal Firearms Because A Dem Was Busted Trying To Illegally Import Banned Weapons

Democrat Wants To Ban Importing Legal Firearms Because A Democrat Was Busted Trying To Illegally Import Banned Weapons – Downtrend

California State Rep. Jackie Speier, a democrat of course, is calling on President Obama to ban the importation of all foreign-made firearms, and her reason defies logic. Because of Leland Yee’s arrest last week, where her fellow democrat was accused of trying to import illegal machine guns and rocket launchers, Speier thinks we should stop the importation of legal semi-automatic rifles.

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Speier released a statement yesterday, blissfully unaware of her hypocrisy and apples-to-oranges comparison:

“This FBI investigation of Leland Yee reveals how easy it is to import lethal assault weapons that were previously banned. This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm. Since Congress can pass no meaningful gun-control laws, even after the mass killing in Newtown, President Obama should use his pen to slow the import of these weapons, which have no place in our homes.”

The FBI investigation had nothing to do with the import of weapons that were previously banned. Yee is accused of trying to bring in full-auto rifles and shoulder-fire rockets. These things have always been banned.

What she is confusing here is the Clinton-era ban on imported semi-auto rifles. Under George W. Bush that ban was allowed to expire. Military-grade weapons and consumer-level firearms are not the same thing. Speier is purposefully erasing the line to push further gun ownership limitations on the people.

In addition, the FBI investigation does not show how easy it is to import illegal guns. It was a complex criminal organization involved in this scheme. Your average Joe would not be able to get the Chinese Triads to ship him a case of M4 rifles or Javelin missiles. Even the legal importation of semi-auto rifles is beyond an average person’s ability. It requires a license and all kinds of hoops to jump through.

Best line in her rant: This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm.

What she must mean are that democrat gun grabbers can’t be trusted because I can’t think of one Republican that ever tried to raise campaign funds by selling illegal weapons. I fail to see how the dishonesty and hypocrisy of democrats should lead to a further erosion of the 2nd Amendment. Also, she should speak for herself; I never trusted Yee.

There is a subtle little twist in the gun grabber’s rhetoric included as well. Usually, the enemies of freedom like to say these guns don’t belong on our streets. Speier has switched it up and says they “have no place in our homes.” I sense this is a shift in strategy by the anti-gun crowd to convince us that not only don’t we not have a right to protect ourselves in public, but that we no longer enjoy that protection at home.

Lelenad Yee did a bad bad thing. He tried to illegally import weapons that themselves were illegal. Leave it to a democrat to use this situation as a reason to halt the legal importation of legal firearms.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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National Intelligence Director Clapper: Iran Can Now Build And Deliver Nuclear Weapons (Video)

Iran Can Now Build And Deliver Nukes, U.S. Intel Reports – Times Of Israel

Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.

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In the “U.S. Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.

“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas – including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles – from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

In the past year alone, the report states, Iran has enhanced its centrifuge designs, increased the number of centrifuges, and amassed a larger quantity of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. These advancements have placed Iran in a better position to produce weapons-grade uranium.

“Despite this progress, we assess that Iran would not be able to divert safeguarded material and produce enough WGU [weapons grade uranium] for a weapon before such activity would be discovered,” he wrote.

He said the increased supervision and other “transparency” to which Iran has agreed under the new interim deal, reached with the world powers in Geneva in November and finalized last week, could offer earlier warning of a breakout to the bomb. Should Iran cooperate with the interim deal, halt enrichment, and “provide transparency,” then “This transparency would provide earlier warning of a breakout using these facilities.”

Clapper told the Senate committee that the interim deal will have an impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program’s progress and “gets at the key thing we’re interested in and most concerned about,” namely, Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium.

Iran had also worked hard to advance its program at the Arak heavy water facility, wrote Clapper. Its ballistic missiles, he noted, of which it has “the largest inventory in the Middle East,” are “inherently capable of delivering WMD.” And its space program gives it the means to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. But he noted that Iran’s overarching “strategic goals” were leading it to pursue the capability to do so.

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The national intelligence director reiterated that imposing additional sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” and would “jeopardize the [interim] agreement.” He advised that additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic should only be kept “in reserve.”

The report was released a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the interim nuclear agreement only set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by six weeks.

“This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks – no more – according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of mischaracterizing the terms of an interim nuclear deal. “We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Zarif told CNN.

Zarif repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching [uranium] over 5%.”

The six-month deal freezes key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, while allowing limited enrichment to continue, in exchange for some economic sanctions relief. It went into effect on January 20.

The next round of international nuclear negotiations with Iran is expected to be held in New York next month, according to officials involved in the planning.

Israel has threatened to attack Iran should it not back off from its alleged pursuit of a military nuclear capability.

On Tuesday, UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran to visit Iran’s Gachin uranium mine for the first time in several years, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. The visit was part of the framework of a separate deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency in November.

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Saudi Nuclear Weapons ‘On Order’ From Pakistan

Saudi Nuclear Weapons ‘On Order’ From Pakistan – BBC

Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

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While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”

Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, “we will get nuclear weapons”, the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.

Gary Samore, until March 2013 President Barack Obama’s counter-proliferation adviser, has told Newsnight:

“I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan.”

The story of Saudi Arabia’s project – including the acquisition of missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads over long ranges – goes back decades.

In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.

These rockets, considered by many experts too inaccurate for use as conventional weapons, were deployed 20 years ago.

This summer experts at defence publishers Jane’s reported the completion of a new Saudi CSS-2 base with missile launch rails aligned with Israel and Iran.

It has also been clear for many years that Saudi Arabia has given generous financial assistance to Pakistan’s defence sector, including, western experts allege, to its missile and nuclear labs.

Visits by the then Saudi defence minister Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud to the Pakistani nuclear research centre in 1999 and 2002 underlined the closeness of the defence relationship.

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Obama Decides To Arm Al Qaeda-Loving “Rebels” In Syria After Concluding Assad Used Chemical Weapons

U.S.: Syria Used Chemical Weapons, Crossing “Red Line” – CBS News

The Obama administration has concluded that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against the rebels seeking to overthrow him and, in a major policy shift, President Obama has decided to supply military support to the rebels, the White House announced Thursday.

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“The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition that will involve providing direct support to the [Supreme Military Council]. That includes military support,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.

President Obama has repeatedly said that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” that, if crossed, would be a “game changer” for more U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.

“The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the United States,” said Rhodes in a separate written statement.

“The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” he continued.

In terms of further response, Rhodes said, “we will make decisions on our own timeline” and that Congress and the international community would be consulted. Mr. Obama is heading to Northern Ireland Sunday for a meeting of the G8 group of nations; Rhodes indicated the president will consult with leaders of those countries.

“Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity,” Rhodes said.

To date, the U.S. policy on Syria has primarily focused on offering the rebels nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with the rebels last month and has been a vocal critic of the president’s Syria policy said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: “We appreciate the President’s finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President’s red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions.”

“A decision to provide lethal assistance, especially ammunition and heavy weapons, to opposition forces in Syria is long overdue, and we hope the President will take this urgently needed step” they added. Former President Bill Clinton this week, at a private event with McCain, also ratcheted up pressure for the White House to increase its support to the rebels.

However, Rhodes would not detail the type of military support the administration intends on providing. He said helping the opposition improve their effectiveness as a fighting force means helping with “nonlethal assistance” such as communications equipment and transportation. “These are things that allow them to cohere as a unit,” he said.

He added, meanwhile, that no decision has been made about enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria. “A no-fly zone… would carry with it open-ended costs for the international community,” Rhodes said. “Furthermore, there’s not even a clear guarantee that it would dramatically improve the situation on the ground.”

Rhodes laid out the intelligence assessment that led to the president’s decision saying the U.S. intelligence community determined “that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”

Rhodes added that “the intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete.”

Although that is a small fraction of the more than 90,000 who have died in the civil war, Rhodes said “the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades.”

“We believe that the Assad regime maintains control of these weapons,” Rhodes continued. “We have no reliable, corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.”

The conflict in Syria has raged on since March 2011 when Assad began cracking down on protesters inspired by the Arab Spring. The war has fallen along ethnic lines, between the Sunni rebels and Assad’s Alawite-dominated regime. Rhodes said today that the use of chemical weapons adds an element of urgency to the situation, as does the influx of foreign pro-Assad fighters from Hezbollah and Iran.

While Mr. Obama has said unequivocally that Assad must go, the administration has said it’s still aiming for his regime to engage with the opposition to reach a political settlement. In the absence of a political settlement, Rhodes said Syria would be left with “for all intents and purposes, a civil war” that Hezbollah and Iran would jump into. Syria’s position in the heart of the Middle East makes the scenario particularly unpredictable.

Rhodes further added that the end of the Assad regime should not have to necessitate the disillusionment in all elements of the state. “There is a future for those in the Assad regime who are willing to accept the end of Bashar Assad’s reign but are willing to work for a better future for Syria,” he said.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Syrian Rebels Pledge Loyalty To Al-Qaeda – USA Today

A Syrian rebel group’s pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda’s replacement for Osama bin Laden suggests that the terrorist group’s influence is not waning and that it may take a greater role in the Western-backed fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The pledge of allegiance by Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri was coupled with an announcement by the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, that it would work with al Nusra as well.

Lebanese Sheik Omar Bakri, a Salafist who says states must be governed by Muslim religious law, says al-Qaeda has assisted al Nusra for some time.

“They provided them early on with technical, military and financial support , especially when it came to setting up networks of foreign jihadis who were brought into Syria,” Bakri says. “There will certainly be greater coordination between the two groups.”

The United States, which supports the overthrow of Assad, designated al Nusra a terrorist entity in December. The Obama administration has said it wants to support only those insurgent groups that are not terrorist organizations.

Al Nusra and groups like it have seen some of the most significant victories against Syrian government forces in the course of the 2-year-old uprising in which Assad’s forces have killed about 80,000 people. Rebels not affiliated with al-Qaeda have pressed Washington for months to send weaponry that will allow them to match the heavy weapons of the Syrian army. They’ve urged the West to mount an air campaign against Assad’s mechanized forces.

President Obama refuses to provide any direct military aid. Foreign radical Islamists streaming into the fight from the Middle East and Europe are making headway with the Syrian population by providing services and gaining ground in battles.

Tamer Mouhieddine, spokesman for the Syrian Free Army, a force made up of Syrian soldiers who have defected, said the recent announcements would not change his group’s attitude toward al Nusra.

“The rebels in Syria have one common enemy – Bashar Assad – and they will collaborate with any faction allowing them to topple his regime,” he said.

He confirmed that al Nusra is generating loyalty in Aleppo, a region battling for months with Assad, by providing financial support as well as setting up charities.

Aaron Zelin at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington says al Nusra’s ability to provide security and basic needs such as bread and fuel to Syrian civilians, as well as to reopen shops and restart bus services, has won gratitude from people who would not usually adhere to its strict ideology.

Zelin says some Syrian people have criticized al Nusra for banning alcohol, forcing women to wear a full veil and whipping men who are seen with women in public.

“This illustrates the need for American leadership in the Syrian conflict, particularly with regard to helping non-Qaeda-aligned rebels contain the growth of (al Nusra) and similar groups,” he said. “Washington should also try to take advantage of cleavages within the rebellion and civilian population, since al Nusra is outside the mainstream and more concerned with establishing a transnational caliphate than maintaining the Syrian state.”

Groups such as the Islamic Liwaa al Tawhid, which collaborates with al Nusra on military operations, worried that Assad would use the announcement from al Nusra as evidence for his claim that he is fighting terrorists, not Syrian citizens who wish an end to his dictatorship, Mouhieddine said.

“We are willing to fight alongside any faction targeting the Assad regime, as long as it does not have a foreign agenda, which seems now the case” of al Nusra, he said.

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Chinese Hackers Access Major U.S. Weapons Systems

Chinese Hackers Access Major U.S. Weapons Systems – Washington Free Beacon

Chinese hackers have gained access to designs of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems, a U.S. report said on Monday, as Australian media said Chinese hackers had stolen the blueprints for Australia’s new spy headquarters.

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Citing a report prepared for the Defense Department by the Defense Science Board, the Washington Post said the compromised U.S. designs included those for combat aircraft and ships, as well as missile defenses vital for Europe, Asia and the Gulf.

Among the weapons listed in the report were the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The report did not specify the extent or time of the cyber-thefts or indicate if they involved computer networks of the U.S. government, contractors or subcontractors.

But the espionage would give China knowledge that could be exploited in a conflict, such as the ability to knock out communications and corrupting data, the Post said. It also could speed China’s development of its defense technology.

In a report to Congress this month, the Pentagon said China was using espionage to modernize its military and its hacking was a serious concern. It said the U.S. government had been the target of hacking that appeared to be “attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.”

China dismissed the report as groundless.

China also dismissed as without foundation a February report by the U.S. computer security company Mandiant, which said a secretive Chinese military unit was probably behind a series of hacking attacks targeting the United States that had stolen data from 100 companies.

AUSTRALIAN “SECURITY BLUNDER”

In Australia, a news report said hackers linked to China stole the floor plans of a A$630 million headquarters for the Australia Security Intelligence Organization, the country’s domestic spy agency.

The attack through the computers of a construction contractor exposed not only building layouts, but also the location of communication and computer networks, it said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the Australian report, said China disapproved of hacking.

“China pays high attention to the cyber security issue and is firmly opposed to all forms of hacker attacks,” Hong said at a daily briefing.

“Since it is very difficult to find out the origin of hacker attacks, it is very difficult to find out who carried out such attacks,” Hong said. “I don’t know what the evidence is for media to make such kinds of reports.”

Repeating China’s position that every country was susceptible to cyber attacks, Hong said nations should make joint efforts towards a secure and open Internet.

Australia security analyst Des Ball told the ABC that such information about the yet to be completed spy headquarters made it vulnerable to cyber attacks.

“You can start constructing your own wiring diagrams, where the linkages are through telephone connections, through wi-fi connections, which rooms are likely to be the ones that are used for sensitive conversations, how to surreptitiously put devices into the walls of those rooms,” said Ball.

The building is designed to be part of an electronic intelligence gathering network that includes the United States and Britain. Its construction has been plagued by delays and cost over-runs with some builders blaming late design changes on cyber attacks.

The ABC report said the Chinese hacking was part of a wave of cyber attacks against business and military targets in the close U.S. ally.

It said the hackers also stole confidential information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which houses the overseas spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and had targeted companies, including steel-manufacturer Bluescope Steel, and military and civilian communications manufacturer Codan Ltd.

The influential Greens party said the hacking was a “security blunder of epic proportions” and called for an inquiry, but the government did not confirm the breach.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the reports were “inaccurate”, but declined to say how.

Despite being one of Beijing’s major trade partners, Australia is seen by China as the southern fulcrum of a U.S. military pivot to the Asia-Pacific. In 2011, it agreed to host thousands of U.S. Marines in near-permanent rotation.

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was last year barred from bidding for construction contracts on a new Australian high-speed broadband network amid fears of cyber espionage.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said in March that it had been targeted by cyber attacks, but no data had been lost or systems compromised amid reports the hackers had tried to access intelligence negotiations among a Group of 20 wealthy nations.

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Israeli Warplanes Strike Syrian Weapons Facility, U.S. Official Says (Video)

Israeli Warplanes Strike Syrian Weapons Facility, U.S. Official Says – Fox News

A Syrian weapons facility was struck early Friday by Israeli warplanes, a U.S. official told Fox News.

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A source told Fox News that it is not clear whether the warplanes crossed into Syrian airspace or whether the missiles were fired from across the border.

The strike was confirmed by Israeli officials who said the country’s air force targeted a shipment of “game changing” weapons bound for the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group.

One official told The Associated Press the target was a shipment of advanced, long-range ground-to-ground missiles but was not more specific.

They spoke to the news agency Saturday on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a secret military issue.

It was the second Israeli strike this year against Syria and the latest salvo in its long-running effort to disrupt Hezbollah’s quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel’s air force and spreading destruction inside the Jewish state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned in recent weeks that Israel would be prepared to take military action if chemical weapons or other arms were to reach Hezbollah.

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When Israeli planes fired on a weapons convoy inside Syria in January, they remained outside Syrian airspace. The convoy was believed to be carrying Russian SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.

“Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, specially to Hizbullah in Lebanon,” an official from the Israeli Embassy in Washington told Fox News.

Syria’s assistant information minister, Khalaf Muftah, told Hezbollah’s Manar TV that he has “no information about an aggression that was staged,” and said reports of an Israeli air raid “come in the framework of psychological war in preparation of an aggression against Syria.”

Israel has targeted weapons in the past that it believes are being delivered to the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. Earlier this week, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said his group would assist Syrian President Bashar Assad if needed in the effort to put down a 2-year-old uprising.

In 2007, Israeli jets bombed a suspected nuclear reactor site along the Euphrates River in northeastern Syria, an attack that embarrassed and jolted the Assad regime and led to a buildup of the Syrian air defense system. Russia provided the hardware for the defense systems upgrade and continues to be a reliable supplier of military equipment to the Assad regime.

The airstrike, first reported by CNN, came hours before President Barack Obama told reporters at a news conference in Costa Rica on Friday that he didn’t foresee a scenario in which the U.S. would send troops to Syria. More than 70,000 peoples have died and hundreds of thousands have fled the country as the Assad regime has battled rebels.

The Israeli strike also follows days of renewed concerns that Syria might be using chemical weapons against opposition forces. Obama has characterized evidence of the use of chemical weapons as a “game-changer” that would have “enormous consequences.”

While the U.S. has been providing nonlethal aide to opposition forces in Syria, even stepping up that form of support in recent days, the Obama administration has resisted calls from some American lawmakers to arm the rebels or to work to establish a no-fly zone to aid the insurgency.

On Thursday, however, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the administration is rethinking its opposition to providing arms to the rebels. He said it was one of several options as the U.S. consults with allies about steps to be taken to drive Assad from power. Officials in the administration who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss strategy said earlier this week that arming the opposition forces was seen as more likely than any other military option.

Obama followed Hagel’s comments by saying options will continue to be evaluated, though he did not cite providing arms specifically. Concerns that U.S. weapons could end up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked groups helping the Syrian opposition or other extremists, including Hezbollah, have stood in the way of that change in strategy.

“We want to make sure that we look before we leap and that what we’re doing is actually helpful to the situation as opposed to making it more deadly or more complex,” Obama said Thursday at a news conference in Mexico.

Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment on the report.

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