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Iran also announced this week that it had conducted a flight test of a long-range missile it calls Bina.

Meanwhile, the first of four U.S. missile defense warships arrived at Rota, Spain. The USS Donald Cook, a destroyer equipped with the Aegis SM-3 combat system, arrived in port Tuesday.

The warship is part of U.S. and NATO missile defenses that will include sea- and ground-based interceptors and radar.

“For the first time, a ship of the U.S. Navy equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile-defense system is permanently based in Europe,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

MARINE TIMES BLACKLISTED

The Marine Corps Times is persona non grata in, well, the Marine Corps.

The Gannett-owned outlet reported this week that Corps higher-ups ordered copies of the independent newspaper removed from newsstands at base exchanges around the world and shelved away from checkout lines.

The report said the decision was related to its coverage of a scandal at the top — allegations that Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos had illegally interfered with the prosecution of eight Marines in the infamous desecration of Taliban corpses in Afghanistan.

The Times said the commandant was aware of the decision to shun the paper.

“It’s a questionable move against the backdrop of my staff’s ongoing investigation into allegations the service’s top general abused his authority,” Managing Editor Andrew deGrandpre told Inside the Ring.

A Corps whistleblower who served as a judge advocate at the Marine combat development center in Quantico, Va., witnessed what he believed was unlawful command influence by Gen. Amos and his staff. He filed complaints with the Pentagon inspector general.

The IG has been investigating whether the officer, Maj. James Weirick, was a target of retaliation when he was removed from his job, ordered to undergo a mental evaluation (which he passed) and told to turn in his licensed firearms. Maj. Weirick had received excellent fitness reports and had been selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel.

Contact Bill Gertz at @BillGertz.