March 28th, 2013
06:50 PM ET

North Korea readying rockets to aim at U.S. targets

North Korea's leader has signed off on a plan to prepare rockets to be on standby for firing at U.S. targets, including the U.S. mainland and military bases in the Pacific and in South Korea, state media reported.

In a meeting with military leaders early Friday, Kim Jung Un "said he has judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation," the state-run KCNA news agency reported.

"If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, the KPA should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea, he said," KCNA said.

The U.S. decision to fly B-2 spirit bombers over South Korea in military exercises was "an ultimatum that they will ignite a nuclear war at any cost on the Korean Peninsula," the North Korean state news agency said.

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Filed under: North Korea • Security Brief
March 28th, 2013
06:28 PM ET

Ex U.S. soldier charged with helping terrorists in Syria

A former U.S. soldier has been arrested and charged with illegally using a weapon of behalf of an al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria.

Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested Tuesday night by the FBI at a hotel near Dulles Airport in Virginia. A justice official tells CNN that FBI agents questioned Harroun at the hotel, then took him into custody.

Harroun appeared Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and was charged in connection with his alleged use of a rocket-propelled grenade in Syria.

The law used to charge him states, "Any national of the United States who, without lawful authority, uses or threatens, attempts, or conspires to use a weapon of mass destruction outside of the U.S. shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or if death results, may be punished by death."

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Filed under: Syria
Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy
March 28th, 2013
12:39 PM ET

Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy

By Dan Merica

A group of rabbis, reverends and priests has a message for President Barack Obama: stop the drone war.

In a video produced by the Brave New Foundation, a group that uses video and social media to protest against drones, Jewish and Christian leaders describe the practice as "assassination by remote control," which violates religious principles.

“From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” the Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, the retired Episcopal rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences. The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions.

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Filed under: drones
U.S. says it sent B-2 stealth bombers over South Korea
March 28th, 2013
05:11 AM ET

U.S. says it sent B-2 stealth bombers over South Korea

By Jethro Mullen, CNN

The United States said Thursday it sent stealth bombers to South Korea to participate in annual military exercises amid spiking tensions with North Korea.

The B-2 Spirit bombers flew more than 6,500 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to South Korea, dropping inert munitions there as part of the exercises, before returning to the U.S. mainland, the U.S Forces in Korea said in a statement.

The mission by the planes, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, "demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will," the statement said.

The U.S. military's announcement earlier this month that it was flying B-52 bombers over South Korea to participate in the routine exercises prompted an angry reaction from the North, which has unleashed a torrent of threats in the past few weeks.

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Filed under: North Korea • South Korea