Congress to have 60 Days to Study and Vote: Deadline falls on Feast of Trumpets!
GOP Hopefuls Sound Off Against Iranian Deal
Obama threatens Sure Veto if voted down!
ISRAELI PM- THE VOICE OF REASON- SPEAKS:
Iranian Pres Chants Death to America & Israel days before the Nuke Deal done!
Major Jewish Group Calls on Obama to Denounce Iran’s ‘Quds Day’ Rallies Featuring ‘Death to Israel’ Chants
Major Jewish human-rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to denounce marches in Iran marking the country’s aggressively anti-Zionist international Quds Day.
“The SWC is urging President Obama to denounce today’s al-Quds Day demonstrations in Iran where chants of ‘Death To America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ could be heard,” said the Wiesenthal Center.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Center, said despite negotiating with Iran, the U.S. remained one of the country’s core enemies, along with Israel.
“The burning in effigies of President Obama and Israeli [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu along with the burning of U.S. and Israeli flags sends a crystal clear signal to the world, that whatever the outcome of nuclear talks, the U.S. and Israel remain the Ayatollah’s top enemies,” charged Cooper.
The American Jewish Committee meanwhile said the massive Quds Day rallies — millions of marchers, according to Iranian media — sent a “chilling reminder of Iran’s worldview.”
These “mass demonstrations across Iran against Israel and the U.S. [are] a stark reminder that Tehran remains implacably wedded to a hateful, fanatical ideology that threatens the region and the world,” said the AJC.
AJC President David Harris said the Quds Day demonstrations were a reminder why the U.S. could not afford to let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.
Iranian officials and the military had called for massive representation for Friday’s rallies, where purported moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said demonstrators would declare their “hatred of Israel.” Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corp released a statement in the lead-up to Friday’s ceremonies saying the destruction of Israel was the Muslim World’s top priority.
Though the unabashedly anti-Israel Quds Day was started by Iran to show support for Palestinians in 1979, it is observed internationally on the last Friday of Ramadan in Muslim countries around the world.
More Wars and Rumors of Wars:
Reports that China may be on the verge of carrying out another anti-satellite test soon are ringing alarm bells among U.S. space policy and military analysts.
That “strong possibility” was noted by Gregory Kulacki, senior analyst and China project manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program, in a Jan. 4 posting on the UCS website blog, All Things Nuclear — Insights on Science and Security.
“It is not clear what kind of test may be planned, if indeed one is in the works,” Kulacki wrote.
Kulacki flagged the fact that, for several months, rumors have been circulating within the United States defense and intelligence communities that a Chinese anti-satellite test is imminent. It might be conducted on Jan. 11, the date on which China performed ASAT operations in both 2007 and 2010.
“Our hope is that getting this out in the open can facilitate a meaningful bilateral dialogue on space security, or, at the very least, get the Obama administration to explain why it refuses to talk to the Chinese about their plans to test,” Kulacki told Space.com.
If indeed a China ASAT test is on the horizon, what about potential U.S. reaction? Space.com asked several experts to comment on this prospect:
What type of target?
“The condemnation that accompanied China’s first ASAT test was more because of the debris it created, not because it was an ASAT test. The second ‘ASAT test’ hardly sparked a ripple,” said Marcia Smith, a respected space policy analyst and editor of SpacePolicyOnline.com. [10 Most Destructive Space Weapon Concepts]
“I think the reaction to the next one, whenever it is, will depend on what type of target (low-Earth orbit, medium-Earth orbit — e.g. Global Positioning System satellites) it threatens and whether it is conducted to avoid creating long-lived debris,” Smith said.
This all assumes that, if it is targeted against a satellite, it is one of China’s own satellites,” Smith said. “If there is any inkling that it is aimed at another country’s satellite … that, of course, would be an entirely different matter.”
Potential space catalyst
Smith said she continues to believe that China’s space activities are aimed more at regional than global leadership.
“Other countries in the region may react quite differently than the U.S., especially since they just experienced the North Korean missile/satellite launch,” Smith said.
“It is easy to imagine they would view this as an escalation of militaristic ambitions in space and a potential catalyst to development of their own ASAT capabilities,” Smith said.
Adding his voice to the discussion is James Clay Moltz, a national security affairs associate at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
“It seems that China’s military and political/scientific/commercial bodies have been at odds since 2007 about defining appropriate uses of space,” Moltz said.
The People’s Liberation Army, for example, Moltz said, “has largely ignored principles enunciated by its foreign ministry. But if China’s new political leadership fails to rein in the military on future space weapons tests, it is going to further stimulate military space activities among its neighbors — such as India and Japan — and foment tensions with the United States.”
If this occurs, Moltz said, “China will have itself to blame. It will also have a much harder time trying to convince others of its peaceful intentions in space.”
Discouraging ASAT tests
“If the intelligence communities have any real sense that the Chinese are thinking of testing an ASAT again, the U.S. ought to do everything it can to discourage them from doing so,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, a national security affairs professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.
Johnson-Freese told Space.com that Kulacki’s Internet posting points out several key elements, noting that the opinions she is expressing are her own and do not reflect the views of the U.S. government, the Department of the Navy or the Naval War College.
Johnson-Freese said that in 2007— though the U.S. was aware of precursor tests before the eventual test when impact occurred, creating dangerous amounts of space debris — the U.S. said nothing. By taking that action, she said, perhaps that gave a false signal of assent to Chinese decision-makers. “There should be no ambiguity regarding U.S. objections in the future.”
Technical and political calculations
Johnson-Freese said that if the Chinese do another test, they may again call it a missile defense test, as they did in 2010 — and the U.S. and India have done at other times — “because of basically symbiotic technologies involved, evidencing the challenges posed by dual-use technology and how those technologies can generate global security dilemmas.”
China — and all other countries — have become acutely aware of the dangers of space debris, especially since the reckless 2007 Chinese test, Johnson-Freese said.
NASA Orbital Debris Program Office
“China has had to maneuver some of its own space assets to avoid potential collisions with debris it created,” Johnson-Freese said. “Therefore, it might be hoped that whatever they do, they will consider the debris issues in their technical and political calculations.” [Growing Threat of Space Debris (Video)]
Needed: bilateral discussions
Johnson-Freese pointed out that China is weighing its options with regard to potentially signing a space Code of Conduct in the future, which would demonstrate that China is ready to be a responsible member of the family of spacefaring nations.
“An ASAT test that created more space debris would certainly go against their professed desire to be considered as such a responsible nation,” Johnson-Freese said.
“As long as Congress continues to block bilateral discussions between the U.S.-China on potential civilian space-cooperation projects, the likelihood of much needed U.S.-China discussions on space security issues will be small, or nonexistent. The counterproductive nature of those congressional bans should be reconsidered for a variety of geostrategic reasons,” Johnson-Freese said.
Space code of conduct
Also reacting to the possibility of a Chinese ASAT test is Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Stimson Center and director of the South Asia and Space Security programs.
Krepon’s work on space security centers on the promotion of a Code of Conduct for spacefaring nations
“A number of states, including China, the United States and India, have employed ballistic missile defense tests to become smarter about ASAT applications,” Krepon told Space.com. “Additional tests of this nature that do not have long-lasting debris consequences would be unwelcome, but not surprising. These tests would serve to ratchet up ASAT capabilities elsewhere,” he said.
Krepon said that another Chinese ASAT test that generates long-lasting debris, at whatever orbit, “would be irresponsible and dangerous for all spacefaring nations, raising the risk of catastrophic loss to satellites and human spaceflight.”
A second test of this kind by the People’s Liberation Army “would demonstrate that the Chinese leadership has learned nothing from the first one,” Krepon concluded.
Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and a past editor-in-chief of the National Space Society’s Ad Astra and Space World magazines. He has written for Space.com since 1999
© 2013 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.
Images show Chinese Airstrip on Man-made Spratly Island nearly Finished
China has almost finished building a 3,000-meter-long (10,000-foot) airstrip on one of its artificial islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea, new satellite photographs of the area show.
A U.S. military commander had told Reuters in May that the airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef could be operational by year-end, although the June 28 images suggest that could now be sooner.
The airstrip will be long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft, security experts have said, giving Beijing greater reach into the heart of maritime Southeast Asia.
China said on Tuesday some of its land reclamation in the Spratlys, where it’s building seven islands on top of coral reefs, had been completed, although it gave few details.
The latest photographs were taken by satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe and published by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. (amti.csis.org/)
AMTI said the airstrip was being paved and marked, while an apron and taxiway had been added adjacent to the runway.
Two helipads, up to 10 satellite communications antennas and one possible radar tower were visible on Fiery Cross Reef, it said. The images also showed a Chinese naval vessel moored in a port.
Recent images of Chinese-occupied South Johnson Reef also showed a large multi-level military facility in the center of the reef with two possible radar towers under construction, AMTI added. Two helipads and up to three satellite communications antennas were also visible, it said.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.
China stepped up its creation of artificial islands last year, alarming several countries in Asia and drawing criticism from Washington. Beijing says the outposts will have undefined military purposes, as well as help with maritime search and rescue, disaster relief and navigation.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry did not specify where land reclamation had been completed in the Spratlys. Recent images indicate there is still much reclamation continuing at Mischief Reef and Subi Reef.
The U.S. State Department’s number two diplomat last Friday compared China’s behavior in pursuit of territory in the South China Sea to that of Russia in eastern Ukraine.
A day later, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said changing position on China’s claims to the South China Sea would shame the country’s ancestors, while not facing up to infringements of Chinese sovereignty there would shame its children.
Japan Worries: China building platform in East China Sea
China has been constructing a new offshore platform near the median line between its shoreline and that of Japan in the East China Sea, where China is developing gas fields, according to the Japanese government.
At a Friday meeting of the House of Representatives’ special committee on security legislation, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the move could become a security concern.
China “could install a radar system on the platform, or use it as an operating base for helicopters or drones conducting air patrols,” he said.
China has been reclaiming rock reefs in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea to build an airfield and communications facilities, so this latest discovery could indicate progress toward creating a militarized base in the East China Sea.
The Japanese government is regularly monitoring this area of the sea via air patrols by the Self-Defense Forces and Coast Guard, though it did not offer information on how many new platforms are being built, their locations, their scale or other details. It became evident in June 2013 that China was building an offshore platform in the area.
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China Ramping Up Persecution of Christians
Issued orders to demolish more than 100 churches in the province
Home churches underground flourish!
Has China Doubled Its Gold Reserves? – IMF May Soon Find Out
By Kitco News
Thursday April 23, 2015 4:00 PM
(Kitco News) – Once again, speculation is cropping up regarding the size of China’s gold reserves and whether or not the People’s Bank of China has been bolstering its holdings in secret.
According to data from the International Monetary Fund, China’s official gold reserves have not changed since 2009, standing at 1,054 tonnes.
However, Marc Chandler, head of global strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, said in a report Thursday that the country could soon update its reserves. He noted China will be meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May to make a case of including the yuan in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR), a basket of currencies made of U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, pound sterling and euros.
“The cloak of secrecy may be lifted if China wants to bolster its case for being included in the SDR. We have previously made a similar point about the currency allocation of its currency reserves,” Chandler said.
However, Chandler added that because of the small size of the gold market, compared to foreign exchange markets, it is unlikely that China has significantly increased its gold reserves.
“The gold market is far too small to replace even a significant part of the paper money,” he said.
BBH is not the only firm speculating on China’s official holdings. Also on Thursday, French bank Natixis presented arguments for and against China buying more gold.
They noted that China could have doubled its gold holdings to 3,200 tonnes in 2013 by taking its entire domestic mine supply.
“As for local demand for gold, it could have been adequately satisfied by imports,” said Bernard Dahdah, precious metals specialist at the France-based bank.
Similar to BBH, the argument against China increasing its reserves is, as Dahdah agrees, that the gold market is too small to make a difference in a central bank’s total foreign reserves, and maybe not an efficient way to diversify its holdings.
They noted that if China did actually double its reserves to 3,200 tonnes, it would only increase its percentage as part of total holdings to 3.3% from 1.5%.
“While some would see this as a patient, long-term way to add gold reserves, others view it as an argument against attempting to accumulate significant volumes of gold, indeed some Chinese officials have voiced publicly their opposition to the idea of adding gold to FX reserves,” Dahdah said.
Dahdah added that it makes more sense for China to decrease its foreign currencies, thereby increasing gold’s role.