MAD DOG TO SYRIA: DON’T RATTLE OUR CHAIN; MATTIS WARNS SYRIA ON ‘CONSEQUENCES’ OF FUTURE ACTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis warned the Syrian government on Tuesday that it will pay a “very, very stiff price” for future chemical attacks.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Army Gen. Joseph Votel at the Pentagon, Mattis said there is “no doubt” that the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was behind last week’s gas attack that killed dozens of Syrian civilians.

“Last Tuesday, on the 4th of April, the Syrian regime attacked its own people using chemical weapons,” Mattis said. “I have personally reviewed the intelligence and there is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself.

“In response to the attack, our government began a deliberate process led by the National Security Council to recommend diplomatic and military options to the president,” Mattis said. “We met over several days and I spoke with some of our allies. The National Security Council considered the near century-old international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons.”

Referencing the air attack upon a Syrian airbase last week at the order of president Trump, Mattis said the United States is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that such atrocities do not occur again.

“The Syrian regime’s repeated violation of that international law and inexplicably ruthless murders the regime had committed, we determined that a measured military response could best deter the regime from doing this again,” he said.

“This military action demonstrates that the United States will not passively stand by while Assad blithely ignores international law and employs chemical weapons he had declared destroyed,” said Mattis. “The Syrian regime should think long and hard before it again acts so recklessly in violation of international law against the use of chemical weapons.”

When asked about Russian president Vladimir Putin’s angry response over the airstrike, said the United States was deliberate in their maneuver and “took appropriate actions to ensure no Russians were injured in the attack.” When pressed by a reporter who asked more specifically what, if any, involvement Russia may have had in helping it’s ally in planning the chemical assault, Mattis was evasive.

“We have gone back through and looked at all the evidence we can and it’s very clear who planned this attack, who authorized this attack and who conducted this attack itself.” he said. “The Assad regime planned it, orchestrated it and executed it. And beyond that, we can’t say right now. We know what I just told you. We don’t know anything beyond that.”

Mattis said that, despite Russia’s insistence that there is no proof that Assad ordered the chemical strike upon his own people, the strike ordered by Trump was necessary to “stop the cycle of violence into an area”.

“Even in World War II chemical weapons were not used on battlefields. Even in the Korean War, they were not used on battlefields,” he said.

How much advanced knowledge Russia had of the chemical attack in Syria remains a subject of debate. On Monday, the Associated Press quoted a senior U.S. official who asserted that Russia knew of the chemical attack before it occurred (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/19772be1238e49fbb62c509a5b659b3d/official-us-military-takes-extra-precautions-syria). However, during a daily press briefing from the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer said there is no evidence to back up the official’s claim.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Army Gen. Joseph Votel, brief the media at the Pentagon

TILLERSON SNUBBED: ANGRY VLADIMIR PUTIN REFUSES TO MEET WITH SECRETARY OF STATE FOLLOWING TRUMP ORDERED STRIKE ON SYRIA

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian president Vladimir Putin has refused to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as tensions over last week’s U.S. missile attack on a Syrian air base reach a fever pitch.

The snub is further evidence of growing hostilities between the United States in Russia as Putin has granted several audiences to Tillerson in the past, once even going so far as personally awarding Tillerson a top Russian state award — the Order of Friendship — in 2013.

“We have not announced any such meetings and right now there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president’s diary,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

Putin has condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s ordered missile strike on a Syrian military base last week in retaliation for what intelligence officials say was a poisonous gas attack in which dozens of civilians, including 27 children, were killed.

In a statement issued shortly after American bombers struck the Syrian base, Putin said there is no proof that the Syria was responsible for the chemical attack, and called the U.S. missile strike an act of aggression and violation of international law.

Russia, a staunch ally of Syria, has said it will do “whatever it takes” to ensure that Syria has the military power necessary to protect itself from further U.S. attacks.

In light of Putin’s refusal to meet with Tillerson, the Secretary of State will instead meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

According to sources, Tillerson is expected to present an “it’s either them or us” scenario to the Russian dipolmat.

“Russia has really aligned itself with the Assad regime, the Iranians and Hezbollah,” Tillerson said Tuesday. “Is that a long-term alliance that serves the Russians’ interest? Or would Russia prefer to realign with the United States, with other Western countries, and Middle East countries who are seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis?”

Russia has warned the United States that any further attacks on Syria will result in serious” consequences. Despite the warning, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Friday the Trump administration was “ready and willing” to take further steps if needed.

REPORT: U.S. PLANNING PREEMPTIVE STRIKE ON NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR FACILITY; KIM JONG- UN “READY FOR WAR”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a bid to take out North Korea before it can attack the United States, U.S. officials are planning a preemptive strike upon the rogue nation’s main nuclear reactor, according to a leading expert.

Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korean military expert at South Korea’s Sejong Institute, told the Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/04/103_227326.html) that Pyongyang is likely planning a 6th nuclear test that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants carried out before April 25th. The urgency is reportedly in response to the escalating war of words between Jong-un and American president Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop the dictator before he can launch a nuclear strike against the United States.

“The U.S. could also throw a precision strike at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center to prevent North Korea’s further advancement of nuclear capability,” said Seong-chang.

The Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, located 90km north of Pyongyang, is North Korea’s main nuclear facility and has long been the concern of U.S. military officials.

“If the U.S. attacks the Yongbyon facility, it will open the curtains to the worst-case scenario — nuclear war — as North Korea could attack South Korea’s nuclear plants or Seoul using nuclear weapons,” said said Seong-chang. “China would certainly disagree with the U.S. attacking North Korea. China would withhold its engagement in the military conflict as long as the Kim Jong-un regime does not collapse so that it does not have to clash with the U.S. Japan will support the U.S. in attacking North Korea because it needs American support as it tries to beef up its imperial military force.”

On Tuesday, North Korea warned U.S. officials that they are prepared to launch a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression as a U.S. Navy strike group barreled toward the Korean peninsula on the orders of president Donald Trump.

“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland,” read a statement from Jong-un in the nation’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

Also on Tuesday, Trump, who met late last week with China’s president Xi Jinping, tweeted that if North Korea was “looking for trouble” the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help. North Korea has long been known as one of China’s strongest and most loyal allies.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent well wishes to North Korea in recognition of Kim Il Sung’s birthday and said the two countries were “conducting a war against big powers’ wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy,” North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.

Trump, during his summit with Jinping, ordered a military strike upon a Syrian airbase following a gas attack on Syrian civilians that intelligence indicated was done on the order of Assad.

In a separate release by the North Korean government on Tuesday, a KCNA statement read: “We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions. The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”

North Korea’s foreign ministry said of the approaching U.S. Navy strike group that the order to enter the Korean peninsula showcased Washington’s “reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase”.

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ON THE BRINK: TENSIONS WITH RUSSIA MOUNT AS U.S. DISCOVERS PUTIN HAD ADVANCE KNOWLEDGE OF CHEMICAL ATTACK

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tensions between the United States and Russia reached a peak on Monday after U.S. officials discovered that Russia may have had advance knowledge of a deadly gas attack upon Syrian civilians which killed more than 80 people, 27 of which were children.

According to a senior U.S. official who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/19772be1238e49fbb62c509a5b659b3d/official-us-military-takes-extra-precautions-syria), Russia not only knew of Syria’s chemical weapons attack in advance, but bombed a Syrian hospital as the injured were obtaining treatment in an effort to cover up their ally’s use of chemical weapons.

The official said a drone operated by Russians was captured on surveillance footage flying over the hospital as doctors fought to save the victims’ lives. Hours after the drone left, he said, a Russian jet began dropping bombs on the facility.

The official says it remains unclear as to whether a Russian pilot or Syrian pilot was flying the bomber, but that the bombing came from a Russian jet proves that the Russian government was complicit in the attack. Until Monday U.S. officials said it remained unclear what, if any, knowledge Russia had of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s apparent plan to gas his own people.

The allegation strikes another devastating blow to the already crumbling relations between the United States and Russia, who publicly slammed president Donald Trump’s decision to launch a military strike against Syria in response to the gassing.

Last week, after Trump ordered military jets to bomb a Syrian airbase, Russian president Vladimir Putin angrily withdrew from a joint agreement with the U.S. that was designed to ensure military peace.

So far, there has been no Syrian retaliation for the airstrike, which destroyed more than 20 Syria air force planes, but Russia said in a statement over the weekend that it will do whatever is takes to ensure that their ally has the military capacity necessary to protect itself from future American strikes.

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HORROR IN CALIFORNIA: 2 DEAD, 2 CRITICALLY INJURED AFTER GUNMAN OPENS FIRE INSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

SAN BERNARDINO, CA — Two adults are dead and two students were injured on Monday in what police are calling an apparent murder suicide.

The incident took place Monday morning at around 10:30 a.m. at North Park Elementary school in the city of San Bernardino as police responded to reports of an active shooter.

One of the victims is believed to be a teacher, said Maria Garcia, communications officer at San Bernardino Unified School District in a statement to Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/04/10/san-bernardino-elementary-school-shooting-2-reported-dead-in-suspected-murder-suicide.html). The other deceased victim has not yet been identified. Two students were also transported to a local hospital after the shooting, which took place inside one of the school’s classrooms.

“We have two students who have been flown by MediVac helicopter to a local trauma center,” Garcia said. “We do not know the age of the students. We do not know the grade that the teacher taught,” she said. The school has about 600 students and teaches children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.

Both children are listed in critical condition.

It is not yet known how the suspect gained entry to the school, which is typically on lock down during the day.

“Our school campuses are obviously closed campuses during the school day … the time of 10:28 a.m. would have been well into the school day. We do not know how that suspect gained access into our school,” Garcia said.

Although police have said the suspect is “down” they would not confirm whether or not the suspect was one of the two deceased adults.

Garcia said the shooting is believed to have occurred as a result of a domestic dispute, but refused to elaborate further.

State and local law enforcement officials are investigating.

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WORLD WAR THREE FEARS DEEPEN AS TRUMP SENDS WARSHIPS TO KOREAN PENINSULA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Concerns of a global war have intensified in recent days after president Donald Trump ordered U.S. warships dispatched to waters around the Korean peninsula over the weekend.

The move follows Trump’s order to strike a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical attack launched upon Syrian civilians, reportedly by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and growing threats of nuclear attack upon the United States by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

According to a statement from the U.S. Navy, the Carl Vinson strike group, comprising an aircraft carrier, cruisers, and destroyers armed with guided missiles, were dispatched to the region to maintain “readiness”.

“The number-one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” according to U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham.

President Trump ordered the strike against Syria during his Mar-a-Lago summit with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. During the same meeting Trump declared that the U.S. would “solve” the North Korea issue on its own if China did not take designated action to do so. North Korea is considered on China’s staunchest allies.

Seemingly struck by Trump’s firm stance and swift action on the Syrian issue, Jinping agreed that something must be done in regard to North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation”(http://www.cbsnews.com/news/full-transcript-rex-tillerson-on-face-the-nation-april-9/). China, said Tillerson, has “no disagreement as to how dangerous the situation has become.”

Russia, however, denies the Syrian leader’s involvement in the attack upon his own people and condemned the strike to the Syrian airbase by Trump as a blow to U.S. /Russia relations.

In response, Russia said it would suspend its channel for communicating military action in Syria with Washington, which was an agreement developed between the two superpowers to ensure peace.

“Russia suspends the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring the Safety of Aviation Operations during Operations in Syria with the US,” a spokesperson for Russian leader Vladimir Putin said as he called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the matter.

The spokesperson said the U.S had staged a show of force, “not bothering to sort out anything”, and “moved military against a country which is fighting international terrorism”.

Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, says it will do whatever is necessary to ensure that Syria has the military force it needs to defend itself from future U.S. attacks.

Tillerson was expected to visit Moscow this week for a pre-arranged meeting with Russian military leaders where was is expected to push for a make or break deal on the Syrian matter. That meeting has now been cancelled as officials ponder their next steps.

“I think the Russians have played now for some time the role of providing cover for Bashar al-Assad’s behavior,” Tillerson told CBS. “The alternative explanation that the Russians put forth (that the Syrians were not the parties behind the gas attack upon the Syrian people) is simply not plausible.”

The U.S., weakened by a reduced nuclear program under former president Barack Obama, may be vulnerable to a nuclear attack if struck by North Korea first, according to a report by The Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-na-qa-missile-strike-20170405-htmlstory.html).

According to the report, The Pentagon has spent more than $40 billion on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system to thwart a nuclear strike by North Korea or Iran, but there are grave doubts about whether it’s up to the task.

When asked if a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea was being considered, a military spokesperson replied: “Everything is on the table at this point”.

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BREAKING: U.S. MOVES FIGHTER AIRCRAFT INTO KOREAN PENINSULA AS GLOBAL TENSIONS MOUNT

The U.S. is moving a Navy strike group, including a fighter aircraft carrier, to the Korean peninsula as tensions mount between the United States, Syria, Russia and North Korea, a military official has confirmed.

The move comes just two days after president Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian air base and less than one week after North Korea launched another test missile amid vows to strike the United States.

“We feel the increased presence is necessary,” the official said, citing North Korea’s recent hostile behavior.

In a statement made just moments ago, the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet said the strike group had been ordered to sail north, but did not specify an exact destination.

On Friday, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Florida, where Trump urged the Chinese leader to calm his North Korean ally.

Trump spoke with South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Friday, although it is not yet known whether the intelligence obtained during that conversation led to the decision to launch the strike group.

…STORY DEVELOPING

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