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June 26, 2014
Notes from the Pentagon

North Korea on 'The Interview' Kill him? Die USA!
North Korea’s communist government on Wednesday threatened unspecified retaliation against the United States if an upcoming comedy depicting two journalists tasked by the CIA to assassinate leader Kim Jong-un is released.

In a statement issued by the North Korean Foreign Ministry, the film was called a “despicable maneuver” by enemies to tarnish the totalitarian state’s dignity.

The statement was issued in response to the release of a movie trailer for “The Interview,” in which Seth Rogen and James Franco are granted an interview with Mr. Kim and then are tasked by CIA to kill him. The trailer can be viewed on

Describing Mr. Kim as “our supreme nerve center,” the North Korean statement attacked the United States for insulting the supreme leader, who has continued a personality leadership cult modeled after those of his grandfather and father.

“The United States’ reckless frenzy of provocation — which is [seeking] to eliminate our supreme nerve center by using a gangster moviemaker as a front — is exploding the surging animosity and rage of our army and people,” the statement said.

The movie, according to the ministry, is a “blatant act of terrorism” and “an act of war.”

“Those who defamed our supreme leadership and committed the hostile acts against [North Korea] can never escape the stern punishment to be meted out according to a law, wherever they might be in the world,” the statement said. “If the U.S. administration connives at and patronizes the screening of the film, it will invite a strong and merciless countermeasure.”

North Korea recently produced several propaganda films showing nuclear missile attacks on New York.

Last year, North Korean propagandists used footage of the Hollywood movie “Olympus Has Fallen,” about a North Korean commando attack on the White House, in threatening an attack on the United States.

The al Qaeda offshoot that has taken over large parts of Iraq this month has launched a global propaganda campaign threatening attacks on Americans if the United States intervenes in the conflict.

The campaign, by backers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, launched Monday on Twitter.

The campaign, in both English and Arabic, is being watched closely by U.S. and allied intelligence agencies concerned about terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests related to the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

The effort will seek to sow fear and incite attacks and will use images of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center with its messaging.

The group is signaling that if the U.S. intervenes in Iraq, all U.S. citizens will become targets for Sunni jihadists. Any U.S. attack on Iraq will be the basis for the terrorist strikes, along with U.S. friends and allies who offer support or bases for American forces.

Other potential targets include U.S. embassies and companies that employ Americans. One jihadist promised “rivers of blood” in attacks that would include women and children.

A U.S. official said the campaign is being watched but so far has not gained traction among other large numbers of jihadists.

Meanwhile, ISIL this week published the fourth edition of its English-language magazine “Islamic State Report,” which includes photos of its invasion of central Iraq and of the mass executions of 1,700 Iraqis.

The Obama administration already has taken sides in the conflict by sending some 300 troops to Baghdad to bolster the pro-Shiite government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Tuesday that the first 110 troops have arrived in Baghdad as “initial assessment teams.”

“These teams will assess the cohesiveness and readiness of Iraqi security forces, hire headquarters in Baghdad, and examine the most effective and efficient way to introduce follow-on advisers,” Adm. Kirby said.

Reconnaissance aircraft are flying 30 to 35 missions a day to learn the locations of ISIL forces.

A U.S. official said the terrorist group has taken control of large areas of central Iraq but is not believed militarily strong enough to take over Baghdad.

A former member of SEAL Team Six has become the poster girl for a Pentagon effort to include transgenders — people who have undergone sex-change operations — in the ranks.

Kristin Beck, formerly Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beck, spoke recently at several high-profile events at intelligence agencies and the Pentagon to promote the integration of transgenders.

“Transgender service in the armed forces, yes it will happen soon,” she said on Twitter.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, among the most politically correct Pentagon chiefs of the past several decades, fueled the effort within the Pentagon to integrate transgenders in May when he said the policy of banning transgenders should be reviewed continually. The transgender drive is the latest element of the Obama administration’s social engineering within the U.S. military.

The Pentagon currently defines transgenders as sexual deviants.

Among Ms. Beck’s recent appearances were speeches at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to the DIA and her Twitter feed.

She also was scheduled to speak to the Multicultural Heritage Committee at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, although one defense official said it is not clear how transgenderism fits within the multicultural spectrum.

Ms. Beck, author of “Warrior Princess,” spoke to the DIA on June 18 as part of the intelligence agency’s annual “Pride Month” — formerly “Gay Pride Month” but now expanded to include a host of sexually related terms, including transgenders. She received an award from DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at the event.

According to DIA’s newsletter, Ms. Beck, in her remarks, pushed for allowing transgenders in uniform. She said the Pentagon should stop defining people by external appearances and accept what they say they are on the inside.

“We are all, all of us, created equal, and we all deserve equal justice,” she said, explaining how she hid her true sexual identity during her military career.

As a man, Ms. Beck was part of SEAL Teams One, Five and Six and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Since sex reassignment last year, Ms. Beck has sought to promote gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender acceptance in the military.

“The world is looking at us,” Ms. Beck told the DIA. “You can change the wallpaper, but I’m still right here. I can still do the job I was doing in uniform.”

The DIA said its homosexual-promotion event was designed to promote education and diversity in the workplace.

A Pentagon official critical of the sexual-diversity campaign said it was a waste of money.

“Who’s paying for this?” the official asked. “Especially in these trying fiscal times with reduction-in-force boards, selective early retirement boards and early terminations for our enlisted ranks, someone is wasting money by mainstreaming a transgendered veteran?”

Ms. Beck did not return emails seeking comment.

  • Contact Bill Gertz at @BillGertz.

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