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Obama Admitting He Is Muslim (Transcript)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 4, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON A NEW BEGINNING
Cairo University
Cairo, Egypt
1:10 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I’m grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)

We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world — tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know there’s been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” (Applause.) That is what I will try to do today — to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Now part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I’m a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities — (applause) — it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. (Applause.)

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library. (Applause.)

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. (Applause.)

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. (Applause.) Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words — within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum — “Out of many, one.”

Now, much has been made of the fact that an African American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. (Applause.) But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores — and that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who, by the way, enjoy incomes and educational levels that are higher than the American average. (Applause.)

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. (Applause.)

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations — to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. When innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. (Applause.) That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

And this is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes — and, yes, religions — subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; our progress must be shared. (Applause.)

Now, that does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: We must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and as plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. (Applause.) We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security — because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice; we went because of necessity. I’m aware that there’s still some who would question or even justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Now, make no mistake: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military — we seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

And that’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths — but more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as — it is as if he has killed all mankind. (Applause.) And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. (Applause.) The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace.

Now, we also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who’ve been displaced. That’s why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend on.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. (Applause.) Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future — and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. And I have made it clear to the Iraqi people — (applause) — I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own. And that’s why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq’s democratically elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all of our troops from Iraq by 2012. (Applause.) We will help Iraq train its security forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. Nine-eleven was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year. (Applause.)

So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.
America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they’ve endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations — large and small — that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. (Applause.)

For decades then, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It’s easy to point fingers — for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. (Applause.)

That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. And that is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires. (Applause.) The obligations — the obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them — and all of us — to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That’s not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (Applause.)

And Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society. Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be a critical part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

And finally, the Arab states must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state, to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. (Applause.) We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have been shed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra — (applause) — as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer. (Applause.)

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I’ve made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It’s about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that’s why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. (Applause.) And any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I’m hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy. (Applause.)

I know — I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere. (Applause.)

Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments — provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they’re out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. (Applause.) So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power: You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Barack Obama, we love you!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it’s being challenged in many different ways.

Among some Muslims, there’s a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of somebody else’s faith. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld — whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. (Applause.) And if we are being honest, fault lines must be closed among Muslims, as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That’s why I’m committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We can’t disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

In fact, faith should bring us together. And that’s why we’re forging service projects in America to bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That’s why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action — whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue — the sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights. (Applause.) I know –- I know — and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. (Applause.) And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now, let me be clear: Issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we’ve seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons. (Applause.) Our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity — men and women — to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. And that is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams. (Applause.)

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence into the home. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and change in communities. In all nations — including America — this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we lose control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities — those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradictions between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies enormously while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.

And this is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf states have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century — (applause) — and in too many Muslim communities, there remains underinvestment in these areas. I’m emphasizing such investment within my own country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas when it comes to this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America. (Applause.) At the same time, we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in online learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs. We’ll open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new science envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, grow new crops. Today I’m announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world that we seek — a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.

I know there are many — Muslim and non-Muslim — who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort — that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There’s so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country — you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort — a sustained effort — to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward. It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There’s one rule that lies at the heart of every religion — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. (Applause.) This truth transcends nations and peoples — a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us: “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

The Holy Bible tells us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Applause.)

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

END
2:05 P.M. (Local)

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Obama’s Support Mosque At Ground Zero (Transcript)

Obama’s remarks for Friday night’s dinner at the White House, marking the breaking of the daily Ramadan feast, transcribed and distributed by the administration:

Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Please, have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House. To you, to Muslim Americans across our country, and to more than one billion Muslims around the world, I extend my best wishes on this holy month. Ramadan Kareem.

I want to welcome members of the diplomatic corps; members of my administration; and members of Congress, including Rush Holt, John Conyers, and Andre Carson, who is one of two Muslim American members of Congress, along with Keith Ellison. So welcome, all of you.

Here at the White House, we have a tradition of hosting iftars that goes back several years, just as we host Christmas parties and seders and Diwali celebrations. And these events celebrate the role of faith in the lives of the American people. They remind us of the basic truth that we are all children of God, and we all draw strength and a sense of purpose from our beliefs.

These events are also an affirmation of who we are as Americans. Our Founders understood that the best way to honor the place of faith in the lives of our people was to protect their freedom to practice religion. In the Virginia Act of Establishing Religion Freedom, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” The First Amendment of our Constitution established the freedom of religion as the law of the land. And that right has been upheld ever since.

Indeed, over the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose — including the right to believe in no religion at all. And it is a testament to the wisdom of our Founders that America remains deeply religious — a nation where the ability of peoples of different faiths to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect for one another stands in stark contrast to the religious conflict that persists elsewhere around the globe.

Now, that’s not to say that religion is without controversy. Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities — particularly New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who led the response to that attack — from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us also remember who we’re fighting against, and what we’re fighting for. Our enemies respect no religious freedom. Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam — it’s a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists who murder innocent men and women and children. In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.

So that’s who we’re fighting against. And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms — it is the strength of our values. The democracy that we uphold. The freedoms that we cherish. The laws that we apply without regard to race, or religion, or wealth, or status. Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us — and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.

In my inaugural address I said that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and every culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. And that diversity can bring difficult debates. This is not unique to our time. Past eras have seen controversies about the construction of synagogues or Catholic churches. But time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, and stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it. So it must be — and will be — today.

And tonight, we are reminded that Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity. And Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.

Like so many other immigrants, generations of Muslims came to forge their future here. They became farmers and merchants, worked in mills and factories. They helped lay the railroads. They helped to build America. They founded the first Islamic center in New York City in the 1890s. They built America’s first mosque on the prairie of North Dakota. And perhaps the oldest surviving mosque in America — still in use today — is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Today, our nation is strengthened by millions of Muslim Americans. They excel in every walk of life. Muslim American communities — including mosques in all 50 states — also serve their neighbors. Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders. Muslim American clerics have spoken out against terror and extremism, reaffirming that Islam teaches that one must save human life, not take it. And Muslim Americans serve with honor in our military. At next week’s iftar at the Pentagon, tribute will be paid to three soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and now rest among the heroes of Arlington National Cemetery.

These Muslim Americans died for the security that we depend on, and the freedoms that we cherish. They are part of an unbroken line of Americans that stretches back to our founding; Americans of all faiths who have served and sacrificed to extend the promise of America to new generations, and to ensure that what is exceptional about America is protected — our commitment to stay true to our core values, and our ability slowly but surely to perfect our union.

For in the end, we remain “one nation, under God, indivisible.” And we can only achieve “liberty and justice for all” if we live by that one rule at the heart of every great religion, including Islam — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

So thank you all for being here. I wish you a blessed Ramadan. And with that, let us eat.

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N. Korea Threatens “All-Out-War”

North Korea reacted to a South Korean anti-submarine exercise early Thursday by saying it would meet “confrontation with confrontation” and war with “all-out war.” Now that the group challenged the DPRK [North Korea] formally and blatantly, the DPRK will react to confrontation with confrontation, and to a war with an all-out war,” according the KCNA news agency. When a North Korean Submarine shot a torpedo that hit a south Korean ship and sunk 46 people. The South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak suspended all trade with North Korea for the attack. North Korea now has taken it’s own action by severing all links, escalating the standoff over accusations that the North sank a South Korean’s Ship.

South Korea fired artillery and dropped bombs in military exercises off the west coast of the divided Korean peninsula. The drills aim to help the military detect incursions by the north’s submarines, follow the findings of an international investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan on 26 March in which 46 sailors died. The navy said 10 vessels including a destroyer fired guns and launched anti-submarine bombs south of the capital, Seoul, in a one-day exercise. The exercises were conducted far from the disputed sea border with North Korea, in the Yellow Sea, the southern news agency Yonhap reported, citing military officials.

According to Choi Ju-hwal, who in 1995 defected from his post as Colonel and Chief of joint venture section of Yung-Seong Trading Company under the Ministry of People’s Army, as well as other defectors, missile production facilities include:

  • 7 Factory near Man’gyongdae-ri [Mankeyungdae]
  • 26 Factory in Kanggye of Chagangdo Province [Kangkye of Jakangdo]
  • 118 Factory in Kagamri, Kaecheon-kun in the southern province of Pyongahn
  • 125 Factory [also called the “Pyongyang Pig Factory”] in the Hyengjesan Area of Pyongyang
  • Yakjeon Machinery Factory in Man’gyongdae-ri [Mankeyungdae, also known as Man’gyongdae and Mankeidai]

According to Im Young-sun, a defector from North Korea and former leader of guard platoon in the Military Construction Bureau of the People’s Armed Forces Ministry, North Korea has deployed missiles at a number of facilities:

  • a missile base on Mayang Island, Mayang-ri, Shinpo City, South Hamgyong Province was completed in late 1980.
  • an intermediate-range missile base on Mt. Kanggamchan located on the opposite side of the Kane-po Fisheries Cooperatives in Jungsan County, South Pyongan Province was completed around 1985. A North Korean Navy surface-to-ship missile base was completed in early 1990 on the same site.
  • a long-range missile base in Paekun-ri, Kusong County, North Pyong-an Province was completed in 1986.
  • the No-dong missile base in Hwadae County, North Hamgyong Province was completed in 1988. The Taepo-Dong missile base in Hwadae County is an underground facility with surface-to-surface missiles designed to hit Japan. For security reasons, all inhabitants residing in the area within a radius of 80 Km of this base were reportedly ordered to move out.
  • a missile base in Chunggang-up [Chungganjin], Huchang County, Jagang Province was started in 1990 and completed in 1995. This base was targeted at Okinawa.
  • an underground missile base in Ok’pyong-nodongjagu [Ok-pyong Rodongja-ku], Munchon County, Kangwon Province was started in 1991, and scheduled for completion by 1997 or 1998. Missiles at the facility are targeted at Japan and US military bases in Japan.
  • a long-range surface-to-surface missile base in Doksong County [probably Toksong-gun 40�25’00″N 128�10’00″E] , South Hamgyong Province is currently under construction.

North Korea has a brigade-sized SCUD B/C surface-to-surface missile (SSM) unit about 50 kilometers north of the DMZ at Chiha-ri, which is the main technical support base for North Korea’s Scud missile brigade. In addition, several SCUD B/C facilities have also been noted in development near the DMZ. These facilities would provide North Korea with additional hardened sites that could double or triple the numbers of SSM launchers and support equipment in the forward area. There is also an intermediate range rocket basea in Sangwon-gun in Pyongyang.

Air transportation in North Korea is practically nonexistent. The North Korean air force maintains approximately seventy air fields, including jet and non-jet bases and emergency runways, and has stationed its aircraft in some twenty to thirty air bases. Primary tactical aircraft are stationed at front-line bases and at airbases in the Pyongyang area. North Korea has deployed about half of its fighters in the front area which makes a possible short-warning attack against all areas of South Korea.

North Korea has built dozens of reserve airstrips for emergency landing and takeoff for fighters along highways and ordinary roads across the country. These reserve airstrips built along highways and on stretches of national roads between Sinuiju and Uiju, between P”yongyang and Sangwon, between P”yongyang and Wonsan, P”yongyang and Kaesong, P”yongyang and Sunan, between P”yongyang, P”yongsong, and Hamhung, between Wonsan-Kosong, between Hamhung and Ch”ongjin, and between Huich”on and Solsan.

The three air combat commands are under the direct control of the Air Command at Chunghwa, and the Eighth Air Division is probably headquartered at Rang [Orang] in the northeast. Pyongyang can place almost all its military aircraft in hardened–mostly underground–shelters.

In 1990-91, North Korea activated four forward air bases near the DMZ, which increased its initial southward reach and decreased warning and reaction times for Seoul.

More than 420 fighters, bombers, transport planes, and helicopters were redeployed in October 1995, with more than 100 aircraft were moved forward to three air bases near the DMZ. More than 20 Il-28 bombers were moved to Taetan which shortened their arrival time to Seoul from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. Over 80 MiG-17s redeployed to Nuchonri and Kuupri are able to attack Seoul in 6 minutes. According to South Korean estimates, these redeployments suggested that North Korea intends to make a first strike with outdated MiG-17s and the second strike with primary fighters such as MiG-21s and Su-25s.

Air Ports – 7 total

NAME        DESIG. LATITUDE    LONGITUDE   AREA  UTM   JOG NO.  + Chongjin
AIRP  41�47’11″N  129�44’51″E  KN16  EB62  NK52-08 + Ihyon
AIRP  38�07’00″N  125�47’00″E  KN06  YN42  NJ51-08 + Kwail
AIRP  38�25’19″N  125�01’20″E  KN06  XN75  NJ51-08 + Onchon
AIRP  38�53’25″N  125�14’17″E  KN15  XP90  NJ51-08 + Pukch’ang
AIRP  39�29’40″N  125�58’44″E  KN15  YP57  NJ51-04 + Sunchon
AIRP  39�24’48″N  125�53’45″E  KN15  YP46  NJ51-04 + Unchon Up
AIRP  38�32’59″N  125�20’22″E  KN06  YN06  NJ51-08

Airfields – 60 total

NAME        DESIG. LATITUDE    LONGITUDE   AREA  UTM   JOG NO.  + Ayang Ni Highway Strip
AIRF  38�14’54″N  125�57’53″E  KN07  YN53  NJ51-08 + Changjin-up
AIRF  40�22’08″N  127�15’47″E  KN03  CX56  NK52-10 + Changyon
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�13’30″N  125�08’29″E  KN06  XN83  NJ51-08 + Chik-Tong
AIRF  38�43’24″N  126�40’52″E  KN07  BV98  NJ52-05 + Ch’o do
AIRF  38�33’02″N  124�50’04″E  KN06  XN66  NJ51-08 + Haeju
AIRF  38�00’09″N  125�46’50″E  KN06  YN40  NJ51-08 + Hoeyang Southeast
AIRF  38�39’42″N  127�38’56″E  KN09  CV87  NJ52-05 + Hwangju
AIRF  38�39’01″N  125�47’34″E  KN07  YN48  NJ51-08 + Hwangsuwon
AIRF  40�40’54″N  128�09’05″E  KN13  DA20  NK52-11 + Hyesan
AIRF  41�22’40″N  128�12’19″E  KN13  DA38  NK52-08 + Hyon-ni
AIRF  38�37’00″N  127�27’05″E  KN09  CV67  NJ52-05 + Ichon
AIRF  38�28’54″N  126�51’34″E  KN09  CV16  NJ52-05 + Ihyon
AIRF  38�07’42″N  125�51’00″E  KN07  YN42  NJ51-08 + Inchon Northeast
AIRF  38�40’19″N  126�55’34″E  KN09  CV18  NJ52-05 + Kaechon
AIRF  39�45’14″N  125�54’03″E  KN15  YQ40  NJ51-04 + Kang Da Ri
AIRF  39�05’43″N  127�24’18″E  KN09  CW62  NJ52-01 + Kangdong
AIRF  39�09’16″N  126�02’38″E  KN15  BW43  NJ52-01 + Kilchu Hwy
AIRF  40�55’00″N  129�18’49″E  KN16  EA22  NK52-11 + Kojo
AIRF  38�50’21″N  127�52’21″E  KN09  DV09  NJ52-06 + Koksan
AIRF  38�41’35″N  126�36’07″E  KN07  BV98  NJ52-05 + Koksan South Highway Strip
AIRF  38�44’07″N  126�39’40″E  KN07  BV98  NJ52-05 + Kuktong
AIRF  41�14’48″N  129�33’53″E  KN16  EA46  NK52-08 + Kuum-ni
AIRF  38�51’35″N  127�54’32″E  KN09  DW00  NJ52-06 + Kwaksan
AIRF  39�43’51″N  125�06’47″E  KN11  XP89  NJ51-04 + Kyongsong-Chuul
AIRF  41�33’39″N  129�37’44″E  KN16  EB50  NK52-08 + Maengsan
AIRF  39�39’04″N  126�40’23″E  KN15  CW09  NJ52-01 + Manpo
AIRF  41�08’20″N  126�21’19″E  KN01  BA75  NK52-07 + Mirim
AIRF  39�01’00″N  125�50’41″E  KN12  YP42  NJ51-04 + Nuchon Ni
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�13’46″N  126�16’05″E  KN06  BV63  NJ52-05 + Okpyong ni
AIRF  39�16’01″N  127�19’28″E  KN09  CW54  NJ52-01 + Ongjin
AIRF  37�55’39″N  125�25’11″E  KN06  YM19  NJ51-08 + Orang
AIRF  41�25’42″N  129�38’51″E  KN16  EA58  NK52-08 + Paegam
AIRF  41�56’41″N  128�51’35″E  KN13  DB84  NK52-08 + Panghyon
AIRF  39�55’43″N  125�12’29″E  KN11  XQ82  NJ51-04 + Panghyon South Highway Strip
AIRF  39�52’58″N  125�09’43″E  KN11  XQ81  NJ51-04 + Pyong Ni South Highway Strip
AIRF  39�19’24″N  125�53’57″E  KN15  YP55  NJ51-04 + Pyongsul Li
AIRF  38�42’46″N  126�43’29″E  KN07  CV08  NJ52-05 + Pyongyang
AIRF  38�56’14″N  125�37’47″E  KN12  YP21  NJ51-08 + Samjiyon
AIRF  41�54’20″N  128�24’31″E  KN13  DB53  NK52-08 + Sangwon
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�50’47″N  126�03’51″E  KN12  BW40  NJ52-05 + Sinhung
Highway Strip
AIRF  40�10’53″N  127�32’36″E  KN03  CX74  NK52-10 + Sinuiju
AIRF  40�05’01″N  124�24’28″E  KN11  XE23  NK51-12 + Sohung South
AIRF  38�21’36″N  126�13’14″E  KN07  BV54  NJ52-05 + Sonchon
AIRF  39�55’06″N  124�50’20″E  KN11  XQ51  NJ51-04 + Sondok
AIRF  39�44’45″N  127�28’37″E  KN03  CW69  NJ52-01 + Sunan
AIRF  39�12’05″N  125�40’21″E  KN15  YP34  NJ51-04 + Sunan-up North Highway Strip
AIRF  39�14’16″N  125�40’27″E  KN15  YP34  NJ51-04 + Sungam ni
AIRF  41�40’19″N  129�40’23″E  KN16  EB51  NK52-08 + Taebukpo Ri
AIRF  38�19’46″N  126�52’17″E  KN07  CV14  NJ52-05 + Taechon
AIRF  39�54’14″N  125�29’32″E  KN11  YQ11  NJ51-04 + Taechon Northwest
AIRF  39�59’32″N  125�21’36″E  KN11  YQ02  NJ51-04   Taetan: see T’aet’an-pihaengjang
AIRF  38�08’04″N  125�14’43″E  KN06  XN92  NJ51-08 + T’aet’an-pihaengjang
AIRF  38�08’04″N  125�14’43″E  KN06  XN92  NJ51-08 + Toha Ri North
AIRF  38�42’10″N  126�17’18″E  KN07  BV68  NJ52-05 + Toksan
AIRF  39�59’37″N  127�37’02″E  KN03  CX82  NJ52-02 + Uiju
AIRF  40�08’59″N  124�29’53″E  KN11  XE24  NK51-12 + Uthachi
AIRF  38�54’46″N  125�48’00″E  KN12  YP41  NJ51-08 + Wong Yo Ri Highway Strip
AIRF  38�35’47″N  126�31’38″E  KN07  BV87  NJ52-05 + Wonsan
AIRF  39�09’41″N  127�29’06″E  KN09  CW63  NJ52-01 + Yong Hung
AIRF  39�32’09″N  127�17’29″E  KN03  CW57  NJ52-01

Airfields – 60 total

The same list, sorted by geographical coordinates.
NAME        DESIG. LATITUDE    LONGITUDE   AREA  UTM   JOG NO.   + Ongjin
AIRF  37�55’39″N  125�25’11″E  KN06  YM19  NJ51-08 + Haeju
AIRF  38�00’09″N  125�46’50″E  KN06  YN40  NJ51-08 + Ihyon
AIRF  38�07’42″N  125�51’00″E  KN07  YN42  NJ51-08   Taetan: see T’aet’an-pihaengjang
AIRF  38�08’04″N  125�14’43″E  KN06  XN92  NJ51-08 + T’aet’an-pihaengjang
AIRF  38�08’04″N  125�14’43″E  KN06  XN92  NJ51-08 + Changyon
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�13’30″N  125�08’29″E  KN06  XN83  NJ51-08 + Nuchon Ni
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�13’46″N  126�16’05″E  KN06  BV63  NJ52-05 + Ayang Ni
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�14’54″N  125�57’53″E  KN07  YN53  NJ51-08 + Taebukpo Ri
AIRF  38�19’46″N  126�52’17″E  KN07  CV14  NJ52-05 + Sohung South
AIRF  38�21’36″N  126�13’14″E  KN07  BV54  NJ52-05 + Ichon
AIRF  38�28’54″N  126�51’34″E  KN09  CV16  NJ52-05 + Ch’o do
AIRF  38�33’02″N  124�50’04″E  KN06  XN66  NJ51-08 + Wong Yo Ri Highway Strip
AIRF  38�35’47″N  126�31’38″E  KN07  BV87  NJ52-05 + Hyon-ni
AIRF  38�37’00″N  127�27’05″E  KN09  CV67  NJ52-05 + Hwangju
AIRF  38�39’01″N  125�47’34″E  KN07  YN48  NJ51-08 + Hoeyang Southeast
AIRF  38�39’42″N  127�38’56″E  KN09  CV87  NJ52-05 + Inchon Northeast
AIRF  38�40’19″N  126�55’34″E  KN09  CV18  NJ52-05 + Koksan
AIRF  38�41’35″N  126�36’07″E  KN07  BV98  NJ52-05 + Toha Ri North
AIRF  38�42’10″N  126�17’18″E  KN07  BV68  NJ52-05 + Pyongsul Li
AIRF  38�42’46″N  126�43’29″E  KN07  CV08  NJ52-05 + Chik-Tong
AIRF  38�43’24″N  126�40’52″E  KN07  BV98  NJ52-05 + Koksan South Highway Strip
AIRF  38�44’07″N  126�39’40″E  KN07  BV98  NJ52-05 + Kojo
AIRF  38�50’21″N  127�52’21″E  KN09  DV09  NJ52-06 + Sangwon
Highway Strip
AIRF  38�50’47″N  126�03’51″E  KN12  BW40  NJ52-05 + Kuum-ni
AIRF  38�51’35″N  127�54’32″E  KN09  DW00  NJ52-06 + Uthachi
AIRF  38�54’46″N  125�48’00″E  KN12  YP41  NJ51-08 + Pyongyang
AIRF  38�56’14″N  125�37’47″E  KN12  YP21  NJ51-08 + Mirim
AIRF  39�01’00″N  125�50’41″E  KN12  YP42  NJ51-04 + Kang Da Ri
AIRF  39�05’43″N  127�24’18″E  KN09  CW62  NJ52-01 + Kangdong
AIRF  39�09’16″N  126�02’38″E  KN15  BW43  NJ52-01 + Wonsan
AIRF  39�09’41″N  127�29’06″E  KN09  CW63  NJ52-01 + Sunan
AIRF  39�12’05″N  125�40’21″E  KN15  YP34  NJ51-04 + Sunan-up North Highway Strip
AIRF  39�14’16″N  125�40’27″E  KN15  YP34  NJ51-04 + Okpyong ni
AIRF  39�16’01″N  127�19’28″E  KN09  CW54  NJ52-01 + Pyong Ni South Highway Strip
AIRF  39�19’24″N  125�53’57″E  KN15  YP55  NJ51-04 + Yong Hung
AIRF  39�32’09″N  127�17’29″E  KN03  CW57  NJ52-01 + Maengsan
AIRF  39�39’04″N  126�40’23″E  KN15  CW09  NJ52-01 + Kwaksan
AIRF  39�43’51″N  125�06’47″E  KN11  XP89  NJ51-04 + Sondok
AIRF  39�44’45″N  127�28’37″E  KN03  CW69  NJ52-01 + Kaechon
AIRF  39�45’14″N  125�54’03″E  KN15  YQ40  NJ51-04 + Panghyon South Highway Strip
AIRF  39�52’58″N  125�09’43″E  KN11  XQ81  NJ51-04 + Taechon
AIRF  39�54’14″N  125�29’32″E  KN11  YQ11  NJ51-04 + Sonchon
AIRF  39�55’06″N  124�50’20″E  KN11  XQ51  NJ51-04 + Panghyon
AIRF  39�55’43″N  125�12’29″E  KN11  XQ82  NJ51-04 + Taechon Northwest
AIRF  39�59’32″N  125�21’36″E  KN11  YQ02  NJ51-04 + Toksan
AIRF  39�59’37″N  127�37’02″E  KN03  CX82  NJ52-02 + Sinuiju
AIRF  40�05’01″N  124�24’28″E  KN11  XE23  NK51-12 + Uiju
AIRF  40�08’59″N  124�29’53″E  KN11  XE24  NK51-12 + Sinhung
Highway Strip
AIRF  40�10’53″N  127�32’36″E  KN03  CX74  NK52-10 + Changjin-up
AIRF  40�22’08″N  127�15’47″E  KN03  CX56  NK52-10 + Hwangsuwon
AIRF  40�40’54″N  128�09’05″E  KN13  DA20  NK52-11 + Kilchu Hwy
AIRF  40�55’00″N  129�18’49″E  KN16  EA22  NK52-11 + Manpo
AIRF  41�08’20″N  126�21’19″E  KN01  BA75  NK52-07 + Kuktong
AIRF  41�14’48″N  129�33’53″E  KN16  EA46  NK52-08 + Hyesan
AIRF  41�22’40″N  128�12’19″E  KN13  DA38  NK52-08 + Orang
AIRF  41�25’42″N  129�38’51″E  KN16  EA58  NK52-08 + Kyongsong-Chuul
AIRF  41�33’39″N  129�37’44″E  KN16  EB50  NK52-08 + Sungam ni
AIRF  41�40’19″N  129�40’23″E  KN16  EB51  NK52-08 + Samjiyon
AIRF  41�54’20″N  128�24’31″E  KN13  DB53  NK52-08 + Paegam
AIRF  41�56’41″N  128�51’35″E  KN13  DB84  NK52-08

North Korea has at least eight industrial facilities that can produce chemical agents, and probably nearly twice this many; however, the production rate and types of munitions are uncertain. Presumably, sarin, tabun, phosgene, adamsite, prussic acid and a family of mustard gases, comprising the basis of KPA chemical weapons, are produced here. North Korea has the capability to produce nerve gas, blood agents, and the mustard-gas family of chemical weapons.

There are at least five sources for the locations and characteristics of North Korean chemical weapons facilities:

  • LOCChemical Weapons North Korea Country Study Library of Congress, 1993 ” … by the late 1980s as many as eight industrial facilities capable of producing chemical agents had been identified; they were located at Anju, Aoji, Ch’ngjin, Hamhng, Manp’o, Sinhung, Siniju, and Sunch’n. There were three research institutes; they were located at Kanggye, Siniju, and near Hamhng”
  • UMA – Chemical, Biological Weapon Capabilities on Korean Peninsula : JPRS-UMA-94-045 : 2 November 1994 ” … there are at least eight industrial enterprises at which chemical agent production is possible. Mentioned among them are installations near the cities of Chongjin, Hamhung, Yonan, Hungnam, Kusong, Pyongyang, Sunchon and Nampo…”
  • TND “Weekly Assesses DPRK Nuclear War Preparations,” JPRS-TND-94-015 : 30 June 1994 “North Korea’s chemical weapons-related organizations include the Humhung branch of the Academy of Defense Science; Kim Il-song University; the Chemical Department of Pyongsong College of Science; the Chemical Research Institute under the Second Academy of Natural Science; the Central Analysis Center at Pyongsong Academy of Science; the 398th Research Center and the 279th plant under the Nuclear-Chemical Defense Bureau; the chemical plants in Kanggye, Sakchu, Hyesan, Wonsan, and Hamhung; the 8 February Vinalon Plant; Sunchon Vinalon Plant; and Sariwon Potash Fertilizer Plant.”
  • CJH North Korean Mass Destruction Weapons Choi Ju-hwal, OCTOBER 21 1997 “The Hamhung Branch and three other institutes under the Second Natural Science Academy are responsible for research … factories include the Kangye Chemical Factory in Jangang Province, the Sakju Chemical Factory in North Pyongan Province, the “February 8” Vinalon Factory in Hamhung, North Hamgyong Province, the Ilyong Branch of the Sunchon Vinalon Factory in South Pyongan Province, the Factory No. 297 in Pyongwon, South Pyongan Province. There are other chemical factories in Bongung, Hamhung City, South Hamgyong Province, Hyesan City Yanggang Province, and Kangye City, Jagang Province.”
  • ROK 96North Korean Military Posture ROK Defense White Paper 1996 ~ 1997
  • ROK 97North Korean Military Posture ROK Defense White Paper 1997 ~ 1998

North Korea’s military command, control, and communications system consists of extensive hardened wartime command facilities, supported by redundant communication systems, which are believed to be largely separate from systems supporting other sectors. A modernized telecommunications infrastructure will greatly increase the regime’s ability to perform both peacetime and wartime management tasks, and as in any country, could provide critical backup for military communication systems if necessary.

There are over 30 villas for Kim Jong-Il scattered at mountains and beaches of superb scenic beauty, known as “palaces.” It was Kim Il-sung who began building villas at places of scenic beauty. Those built in the ’50s and ’60s were exclusively for Kim Il-sung. In the ’70s, when Kim Jong-il began emerging as his successor, villas started being built exclusively for Kim Jong-il. Since the death of Kim Il-sung in ’94, both Kim Il-sung villas and Kim Jong-il villas have been used exclusively as Kim Jong-il “palaces.”

Facilities are impressive and include banquet halls, fishing sites, horse-riding grounds and hunting sites, on areas as large as many Western estates. Thousands of resident personnel are charged with their management and upkeep. It is estimated that more than US$2.5 billion was spent for the construction of the aforementioned facilities. “Kangdong Palace” and “Dukchun Palace” were built in the suburbs of Pyongyang after the death of Kim Il-sung, at a cost of over US$150 million. Kim Jong-Il spends about 10 days or more at the palaces in an average month. He uses them for rest with his family and enjoying luxurious parties with his close officials, and sometimes uses them as his office when conducting inspections of military units or industrial sites.

North Korea currently is modernizing its aged telecommunications infrastructure to improve the speed and quality and expand the capacity of both domestic and international communications. A fiber-optic cable linking Pyongyang and Hamhung was complete by early 1995, with construction from Pyongyang to Kangwon, North Hamgyong, and South Pyongan Provinces almost complete by midyear. In 1995, North Korea acquired digital Chinese switching equipment for Chongjin, Najin, and Hamhung. Large quantities of new and used telephones from a number of countries increased the number of telephones to 3.7 per 100 persons by 1993.

The current emphasis in the modernization program is on upgrading communications supporting the Najin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone in northeast North Korea. A large communications center at Najin will be the focal point; it will be equipped with digital switching and other modern equipment and will offer modern communication services to businesses operating in the zone. Vastly improved communications between the Free Trade Zone and other countries will include fiber-optic cable and a digital microwave relay link between Pyongyang, Najin, and Vladivostok, with a shorter link between Najin and Hunchun, China. Additional plans for the Free Trade Zone include construction of a satellite earth station, as well as communication center branches, in the zone.

The response comes amid high tensions on the Korean peninsula, after Seoul blamed Pyongyang for the sinking in March of a South Korean warship. An official South Korean report has accused the communist North of firing a torpedo at the ship, killing the 46 sailors. North Koreans news agency also reported that North Korea would expel all South Koreans from a joint-industrial zone in Kaesong, near the border.

Meanwhile, Obama will meet with the NCAA men’s basketball champion Duke Blue Devils at the White House to honor their 2009-2010 championship season in the Rose Garden. The vice president will take a photo with the U.S. World Cup soccer team and former President Bill Clinton, who is chairing the 2018 World Cup bid, on the North Portico. Afterward, Obama will a private have lunch with President Clinton in the Private Dining Room. In the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks on the BP oil spill, “Plug The DAME Hole!” Obama will then receive a briefing in the Situation Room on the 2010 hurricane season forecast and an overview of the federal government’s national hurricane preparedness. Later in the afternoon, the President, the Vice President and First Lady Michelle Obama will host a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room. Then, the First Family will travel to Chicago, Illinois for a four-day Memorial Day weekend vacation.

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N. Korea Warns Of War

The U.S. government echoed Seoul’s assertion that an international investigation had yielded proof that a North Korean submarine fired the torpedo that hit the South Korean ship in March, killing 46 sailors. Obama spoke by phone to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak two days ago, the statement said, and “made clear that the United States fully supports the Republic of Korea, both in the effort to secure justice for the 46 service members killed in this attack and in its defense against further acts of aggression.” North Korea has denied it was responsible for the ship sinking, accusing the South’s conservative government of using the incident for political gain and to worsen already chilly ties between the two Koreas.

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Iran Fires Missiles In Persian Gulf

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards fired five missiles on Sunday as part of ongoing war games in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The shore-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles struck at a single target simultaneously. Two of those tested were the Noor (Light) and Nasr (Victory) missiles. It said a third, having a range of over 300 kilometres was also fired.

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