David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

UPDATE: Official Says South Korea Attack One Step Closer to Brink of War

By: David Shepherd & News Sources [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photo: MSNBC

UPDATE: South Korea’s President, Lee Myung-bak, says “enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that [North Korea] cannot make provocations again,” after Tuesday’s military attack on the South. He said that an “indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated.”

Myung-bak called an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial shelling that killed 2 South Korean soldiers and wounded others and the death toll may climb, according to NBC News.

The White House said Tuesday, President Barrack Obama was awakened in the early morning hours and given an emergency briefing on the situation. A spokesman for the President says Mr. Obama plans to speak with the South Korean President.

The White House is strongly condemning the attack saying the United States will honor its alliance obligations to the South.

Peter Beck, a research fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations told NBC News, “[the attack] brings us one step closer to the brink of

South Korean TV showing images of homes burning in the wake of the most aggressive military action against the South since the Korean War ended in the 1950's

 war because I don’t think the North would seek war by intention, but war by accident, something spiraling out of control has always been my fear.”

ORIGIONAL STORY: The South Korean island was attacked Tuesday by North Korean artillery shells in one of the most aggressive attacks on the country since the Korean War, NBC News is reporting. The North’s military attack killed 2 South Korean soldiers, wounded 15 others, and set up to 70 houses ablaze, according to South Korean TV YTN.

The news agency is reporting at least 200 shells hit the island of Yeonpyeong. Most of the shells landed on a South Korean military base there. Now, both countries are ready for whatever may come next, vowing to continue to fight if the other doesn’t back down. In Seoul, the South Korean government called the action an “indisputable armed provocation against the Republic of Korea.  Making matters worse, it even indiscriminately fired against civilians. Such actions will never be tolerated.”

The statement says the country “immediately and strongly responded to the provocation in accordance with the rules of engagement”and vowed to “retaliate against any additional acts of provocation in a resolute manner.”

North Korea also issued a statement saying the attacks were in response to an incident that stemmed from South Korean military drills, calling them “war maneuvers for a war of aggression.”

AP / Tentions mounting in South Korea after the attack from the North, which claims to have a strong and growing nuclear weapons program.

In Washington, there are fears of escalation with a U.S. Defense official telling CNN that the “hope is that this is just one isolated incident, not an escalation into a different military posture.”

For decades, North Korea has been a concern on the global front for their nuclear program. North Korea possesses nuclear weapons that may be able to reach as far as the United States. Many fear escalation could bring the two nations closer to the brink of nuclear war.

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November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Names New National Intelligence Director

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]  –  Sunday, June 6, 2010

Courtesy: MSNBC

President Barack Obama nominated retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper to be the new director of national intelligence.

Clapper, who retired in 1995 after 32 years in the service, has been the top Pentagon intelligence official, will replace Dennis Blair, who resigned last month.

If confirmed, Clapper will be the fourth DNI in the last 5 years.  The position was created after the 9/11 attacks as a way to coordinate and oversee the 16 agencies in the nation’s intelligence community.

June 6, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

al-Qaida Leader’s Death Severe Setback For Terror Group

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]

The killing of al-Qaida’s “number three” leader, Mustafa al-Yazid (also known as Sheik Saeed al-Marsi) is being seen as a severe setback for the terror network, U.S. officials told NBC News Tuesday.

While it is a setback, officials say al-Yazid’s killing will likely be a short term blow as the group has multiple off-shoots continuing the fight.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution Saban Center and a former CIA officer, told NBC News al-Qaida is rapidly inspiring new recruits who are just as eager to attack and kill Americans.

“While we’re having some success in putting pressure on them, they’re also having a great deal of success radicalizing other parts of the global Islamic jihadist movement to join them in attacking the United States,” said Riedel.

Mustafa al-Yazid’s Role in al-Qaida

al-Yazid was al-Qaida’s top commander in Afghanistan.  Running the terror group’s day-to-day operations, he played a role in financing and is described as their prime conduit to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Al-Yazid’s death leaves a large hole in the terror network.  Men who’ve held that position in the past have all been key players in al-Qaida’s command, strategy, and execution.

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – Reputed mastermind of the September 11th terror attacks. [Being held at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center]
  • Mohammad Atef – Killed in U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan. [2001]
  • Abu Laith al-Libi – Killed in drone strike [Jan. 2008]
  • Abu Farraj al-Libbi – Captured and detained in Pakistan

June 2, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

al-Qaida Co-Founder and Network’s #3 Killed

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]

Courtesy: MSNBC

One of al-Qaida’s co-founders, and the number 3 in the terror group, was killed in a border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to NBC News.  A senior official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NBC News that Egyptian-born Sheikh Saeed was killed in an attack by a missile-carrying Predator Drone aircraft.

Intelligence officials say, in terms of counterterrorism this would be a “big victory.”  One official says Saeed was al-Qaida’s chief operating officer, playing a role in financial and operational planning,

June 1, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment