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Secret US spy satellite launches on classified mission

By space.com
September 14, 2012

A secret U.S. spy satellite launched into space atop a 19-story rocket Thursday (Sept. 13), ending a six-week delay for the latest clandestine space mission by the National Reconnaissance Office.

An Atlas 5 rocket launched the new NROL-36 satellite and 11 tiny research satellites into orbit from a pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The rocket lifted off at 2:39 p.m. PDT (5:39 p.m. EDT/2139 GMT) following weeks of delay due to launch range issues.

“Liftoff occurred right on time at the top of the window,” said launch commentator Don Spencer of United Launch Alliance (ULA), the company that oversaw the NROL-36 flight for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Because the NROL-36 satellite’s mission is classified, it entered a media blackout 4.5 minutes after liftoff.

The NROL-36 spacecraft’s national defense mission is the fourth and last flight of 2012 for the NRO, which builds and operates the United States’ spy satellites …

Read on: www.foxnews.com/science/2012/09/13/secret-us-spy-satellite-launches-into-space-after-6-week-delay

Problematic Interceptor Missile To Resume In-flight Testing

Space News
By Titus Ledbetter III
September 14, 2012

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) hopes to resume flight testing late this year of the nation’s primary missile shield after a two-year hiatus following consecutive failures in early and late 2010.

The upcoming flight test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system is unusual in that it will not involve an attempt to intercept a target missile. Rather, it is intended to validate fixes to a key interceptor component cited in the most recent test failure, in December 2010.

The component, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Capability Enhancement 2, is the business end of the missile shield, designed to home in on its target and destroy it via direct impact. It is an upgraded version of the EKV that tops the 20 U.S. missile interceptors deployed today at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Fort Greely, Alaska.

The upcoming nonintercept test had been scheduled for this past spring but was postponed because of continuing technical concerns with the upgraded EKV …

Read on: www.spacenews.com/military/120914-problematic-interceptor-missile-to-resume-in-flight-testing.html

U.S. urged to build interceptor site

The Vancouver Sun
By Ian MacLeod, Postmedia News
September 13, 2012

System needed to protect the northeast from Iranian threats, experts say

The United States is being urged to establish a major missile interceptor site two hours from Ottawa in upstate New York or in Maine to defend itself and Canada against potential future strikes from Iran.

The proposed site, “would protect the eastern United States and Canada, particularly against Iranian ICBM threats should they emerge,” says a blue-chip panel report delivered to Congress this week.

The U.S. has 30 long-range, ground-based interceptor missiles deployed at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in San Luis Obispo, Calif., to repel a limited nuclear or conventional missile strikes from North Korea. Smaller ship-based systems are aboard the U.S. navy’s Pacific and Atlantic fleets.

Now, future concerns about Iran are shifting continental defence concerns eastward.

“A third (ground) site would be added in the northeastern United States, e.g. Fort Drum, New York, or in northern Maine, to protect the eastern United States and Canada against any potential threats that are limited in nature,” says the report by an influential National Research Council panel.

It pinpoints Rome, N.Y., near Syracuse, and Caribou, in northern Maine, near the New Brunswick border, as the other potential sites …

Read on: www.vancouversun.com/news/urged+build+interceptor+site/7235449/story.html

Mass protest in Japan against deployment of US military aircraft (100,000 protested!!!)

Economic Times
September 9, 2012

Tens of thousands of people rallied on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa today against the deployment of US Osprey military aircraft after a series of accidents elsewhere involving the planes.

Protesters demanded the United States and Japan immediately scrap plans to deploy 12 MV-22 Ospreys at the Futenma US base on Okinawa and shut down the Futenma base in the crowded city of Ginowan.

The turnout at the main rally was estimated by organisers at more than 100,000. Okinawan media put the number at “tens of thousands”.

“We don’t want the Osprey, the world’s most dangerous aircraft” read a placard at the mass rally at a seaside park near the base, according to television footage. “Osprey. No!” said another.

Similar rallies were staged on two smaller islands in the Okinawa island chain and in Tokyo several thousand people circled the Japanese parliament building.

The Osprey has rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter. It can refuel in the air, allowing it to cover big distances in a region where concerns have mounted over the rise of China.

Ginowan mayor Atsushi Sakima told the rally the safety of the hybrid transport aircraft “has not been guaranteed”. …

Read on: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-09-09/news/33713702_1_futenma-ginowan-mv-22

DoD Says SEAL’s bin Laden Book Discloses Secrets

By Bryant Jordan
August 31, 2012

The Defense Department is readying to take legal action against the former Navy SEAL whose book on the mission to take down Osama bin Laden goes on sale next month.

The Pentagon’s senior attorney, in an Aug. 30 letter to “Mark Owen,” the pen name of former SEAL Matt Bissonnette, said DoD officials determined after reading an advance copy of “No Easy Day” that Bissonnette already has violated agreements he signed before leaving the Navy to “never divulge” classified information.

“Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements,” Pentagon senior counsel Jeh Johnson wrote. “I write to formally advise you [of this] and to inform you that the Department is considering pursuing against you, and all those acting in concert with you, all remedies legally available to us in light of this situation.”

Bissonnette’s pen name was blown by Fox News not long after word got out that “No Easy Day” was slated for a Sept. 11 release date.

The book reveals that bin Laden was shot not when SEALs entered his upstairs room at the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound, but when he opened the door as the SEALs were rushing up the stairs.

If Bissonnette’s first-hand account is accurate it suggests that the mission was to kill and not capture the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. …

Read on: www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/31/dod-says-seals-bin-laden-book-discloses-secrets.html

Nigeria: U.S. Forecloses Setting Up AFRICOM Headquarters in Africa

By Senator Iroegbu
7 September 2012

The United States has stated that it will no longer establish the headquarters of African Command (AFRICOM) in any part of the African continent henceforth due to its heavy financial demand.

The Commander, USAFRICOM, Gen. Carter Ham, disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at the just-concluded Military and Media Symposium organised by the Public Affairs Department of the USAFRICOM in Garmisch near Munich, Germany.

Ham explained that after due considerations, a decision was arrived at to situate AFRICOM Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany where US already had established large military base.

He also explained that Germany was considered because it was the headquarters of European Command (EUROCOM), which in its old formation supervises US military activities in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The USAFRICOM commander added that several African countries secretly approached the US government to express their willingness to offer AFRICOM a base should they wish to establish their headquarters in the continent while there were other countries as well, which resisted any attempt to bring the US military base to Africa.

The AFRICOM Commander however noted that the decision not to base the headquarters in Africa was taken based more on financial and logistic considerations than inability to secure approval by African countries.

He said: “You guessed right to say that when African command was formed there was a lot of discussion on where the headquarters, and specifically whether it should be located in the African continent. …

Read on: http://allafrica.com/stories/201209070198.html

US: Missile defense for NKorea threat, not China

August 24, 2012

The United States is in discussions with close ally Japan about expanding a missile defence system in Asia, the top US general said.

Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was yesterday commenting on a Wall Street Journal report that the US is discussing positioning an early warning radar in southern Japan, supplementing one already in place in the country’s north, to contain threats from North Korea and to counter China’s military.

The State Department, however, said the missile defense system is not directed against China. Dempsey said no decisions have been reached on expanding the radar.

“But it’s certainly a topic of conversation because missile defense is important to both of our nations,” Dempsey told reporters at the start of a meeting with his visiting Japanese counterpart, Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, at the Pentagon. Japan has worked closely with the US for several years on missile defense, and has both land- and sea-based missile launchers.

North Korea’s ballistic missiles are considered a threat to security in the Asia-Pacific region because of the risk of conflict erupting on the divided and heavily militarised Korean peninsula, and because of the secretive North’s nuclear weapons program. …

Read on: www.news24online.com/us-missile-defense-for-nkorea-threat-not-china_LatestNews24_1241.aspx

US nukes to stay in Germany

September 6, 2012

Berlin has decided to drop plans to remove remaining American nuclear weapons from German soil, local media say. The bombs and the German aircraft that can deploy them will be instead upgraded.


The plans would go against the promises Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made in 2009, when the coalition government was being formed, the report in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper says. At the time he pledged to seek the removal of the nuclear stockpile from Germany.

Germany is one of the European NATO members hosting US nuclear weapons as part of the nuclear sharing agreement. It is thought to have between 10 and 20 B61 nuclear bombs stored at the Büchel Air Base. They are a fraction of some 200 American nuclear weapons that were deployed in the country in the Cold War era.

The bombs are meant to be dropped by German Panavia Tornado IDS fighter-bomber jets in case of war. The Bundeswehr is expected to spend around 250 million euro to keep the fleet in service until 2024, the report says.

The bombs themselves are currently undergoing a multibillion refurbishment program. Initially priced at $2 billion, the upgrade is expected to be closer to $6 billion…

Read on: http://rt.com/news/germany-us-nukes-upgrade-519/

Rights Groups Denounce Dropping of CIA Torture Cases

By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service
September 2, 2012

U.S. human rights groups have roundly condemned Thursday’s announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department will not pursue prosecutions of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers who may have been responsible for the deaths of two prisoners in their custody.

The announcement appeared to mark the end of all efforts by the U.S. government to hold CIA interrogators accountable for torture and mistreating prisoners detained during the so-called “Global War on Terror” launched shortly after the Al Qaeda attacks on Sep. 11, 2001.

For rights activists and for supporters of President Barack Obama, it was the latest in a series of disappointing decisions, including the failure to close the detention facility at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba. They had hoped Obama would not only end the excesses of President George W. Bush’s prosecution of the war, but also conduct a full investigation of those excesses, if not prosecute those responsible.

“This is truly a disastrous development,” said Laura Pitter, counter-terrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “To now have no accountability whatsoever for any of the CIA abuses for which there are now mountains of evidence is just appalling.”

“It completely undermines the U.S.’s ability to have any credibility on any of these issues in other countries, even as it calls for other countries to account for abuses and prosecute cases of torture and mistreatment,” …

Read on: http://truth-out.org/news/item/11284-rights-groups-denounce-dropping-of-cia