NORTH KOREA SAYS IT WILL USE NUKES ONLY AGAINST U.S.
North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if militarily provoked and said it would “under no circumstances” negotiate on its nuclear and missile weapons programs.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday delivered the strongly worded statement to reporters on the sidelines of an Asian regional security conference hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed to implement the stiffest sanctions yet imposed on the Pyongyang regime.
If the U.S. attacks North Korea, the country “is ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force,” the statement said. Other countries were not being threatened unless they joined the U.S. in a military attack, it said. Wall Street Journal
, New York Times
A Majority of Americans Favor Deploying U.S. Troops if North Korea Attacks South Korea
How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire -- in North Korea
Trump’s political CIA chief:
The New York Times reports that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is increasingly seen as “the most openly political spy chief in a generation — and one of President Trump’s favorite cabinet members.” Yet the attributes that have endeared Pompeo to the president — his hawkish politics and eagerness to speak his mind — have been met with a more mixed reception at the CIA. The agency sees its role as delivering hard truths that are unvarnished by political preferences, and there are concerns in the intelligence community that Mr. Pompeo’s partisan instincts color his views of contentious issues, such as Russia’s interference in the election or Iran’s nuclear program. New York Times
Pentagon can shoot down consumer drones:
The Pentagon has given more than 130 U.S. military bases across the United States the green light to shoot down private and commercial drones that could endanger aviation safety or pose other threats. Reuters
, The Verge
Remains of 9/11 victim identified:
The remains of a man killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 have been identified nearly 16 years after the terror attacks. His name has been withheld at his family’s request. The announcement by the NYC Medical Examiner’s Office marked the first new identification made since March 2015 in the painstaking, ongoing effort. Guardian
REPORT: U.S. IS SENDING MORE MARINES TO AFGHANISTAN
The U.S. is reportedly sending dozens more Marines to Afghanistan. Officials told NBC News that dozens of Marines will be sent to Helmand Province to aid with internal force protection. The request is reportedly not part of an impending Trump administration strategy for Afghanistan. NBC News
ERIK PRINCE OFFERS PRIVATE MILITARY FORCE FOR AFGHANISTAN
Erik Prince, the world’s most infamous military contractor, wants to send a private military force to Afghanistan, reports the Financial Times. In a document dated August 2017, parts of which have been seen by the FT, Prince proposes a two-year plan for fewer than 5,000 global guns for hire and under 100 aircraft, bringing the total cost of the U.S. effort to turn round a failing war to less than $10 billion a year.
“We’re spending too much in Afghanistan and it’s making the insurgency worse, through corruption and leakage to the Taliban,” the former Navy Seal told the FT. On current spending, he said, the Afghan campaign would cost the US $45billion this year and $50billion next. “I then heard about a big troop surge [proposal] and I thought that was a dumb idea . . . I’m going to contract everything; I’m going to get down to some spending sanity.” Financial Times
New York Times:
Seesaw Conflict with Taliban Takes Toll in Fallen Afghan District
Pakistani Taliban starts magazine for women:
The Pakistani Taliban have published the first edition of a magazine aimed at convincing women to join them and practise jihad. The inaugural front cover of Sunnat-i-Khaula – which translates as “The Way of Khaula” and refers to a 7th-century female Muslim warrior – shows a woman veiled from head to toe. As well as an advice column for would-be female jihadists, the magazine contains an interview with the wife of Fazlullah Khorasani, the head of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Guardian
Pakistani militant group launches political party:
A Pakistani charity that the United States accuses of being a front for an anti-India militant group that staged the 2008 Mumbai attacks has entered politics by forming a new party, charity officials said on Monday. The new Milli Muslim League party will follow the ideology of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which the U.S. says is a front for banned militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and is run by Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks that killed 166 people. Reuters
, Al Jazeera
At least 22 wounded in Lahore bombing:
A bomb blast on Monday wounded at least 22 people in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, a government official said, with no one immediately claiming responsibility. Reuters
UK terror trial nearly derailed by crush:
A trial in which four men were convicted of planning a terror attack with bombs and knives in the UK was almost halted when a female juror kept asking about an “attractive” policeman. A woman “jokingly” asked an Old Bailey usher if the officer was spoken for at least three times, after he gave evidence about alleged terrorists accused of plotting a bomb and knife rampage between 25 May and 26 August last year. The judge faced calls from the defendants to abort the trial, after barristers claimed the love-struck juror could issue a guilty verdict just to please the officer. Independent
South Korea’s spy agency admits to election meddling:
South Korea's spy agency has admitted it tried to manipulate the result of the 2012 presidential election. In an attempt to keep a conservative in power, The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that the agency attempted to sway public opinion using internet experts and social media. An internal inquiry found 30 teams worked for more than two years on the effort. Park Geun-hye did beat liberal Moon Jae-in, but she is now facing trial for corruption and abuse of power and Mr Moon has replaced her. BBC News
, Foreign Policy