Tag Archives: nuclear

Could North Korea Destroy the US?

As both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have stated, the Clinton-Obama era of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over. The usual suspects in the mainstream media have been warning that Trump is provoking Pyongyang into war on the Korean peninsula. The counter is that the administration isn’t willing to wait till North Korea has the operational capability to nuke an American city like Seattle or Honolulu.

What is not being discussed is a much bigger and more imminent threat that makes action imperative, an existential one for the United States.

The nightmare scenario of an America sent back centuries in time before electricity, refrigeration, and smart phones has grown unnervingly closer with the presence of two North Korean satellites with orbits over a blissfully unaware American populace and an Obama administration that was indifferent to the apocalyptic threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

On Feb. 7, 2016, North Korea launched a second satellite, the KMS-4, to join their KMS-3 satellite launched in December of 2012. In an article in the Washington Times on April 24, 2016, R. James Woolsey,  former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Peter Vincent Fry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security as well as director of the Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, warned of the dangers of an apocalyptic EMP attack that these and similar satellites pose:

Both satellites now are in south polar orbits, evading many U.S. missile defense radars and flying over the United States from the south, where our defenses are limited. Both satellites — if nuclear armed — could make an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could blackout the U.S. electric grid for months or years, thereby killing millions.

Technologically, such an EMP attack is easy — since the weapon detonates at high-altitude, in space, no shock absorbers, heat shield, or vehicle for atmospheric re-entry is necessary. Since the radius of the EMP is enormous, thousands of kilometers, accuracy matters little. Almost any nuclear weapon will do.

Moreover, North Korea probably has nuclear weapons specially designed, not to make a big explosion, but to emit lots of gamma rays to generate high-frequency EMP. Senior Russian generals warned EMP Commissioners in 2004 that their EMP nuclear warhead design leaked “accidentally” to North Korea, and unemployed Russian scientists found work in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Woolsey and Pry, along with former Reagan science adviser William R. Graham, chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission, Ambassador Henry Cooper, director of the Strategic Defense Initiative and chief negotiator at the Defense and Space Talks with the USSR; and Fritz Ermarth, chairman of the National Intelligence Council; warned of the North Korean EMP threat an article in the February 12, 2016, issue of National Review:

Naïve reliance on their transparent disavowals could end up costing millions of American lives.

North Korea launched its second satellite on Saturday, yet the national press continues to ignore this existential threat. The White House has not recognized that a nuclear-armed North Korea has demonstrated an ability to kill most Americans with an electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attack. And White House spokesmen and the media have misled the public with unjustified assurances that North Korea has not yet miniaturized nuclear warheads for missile or satellite delivery.

We, who have spent our professional lifetimes analyzing and defending against nuclear-missile threats, warned years ago that North Korea’s Unha-3 space launch vehicle could carry a small nuclear warhead and detonate it a hundred or so miles over the United States to create an EMP, leading to a protracted nationwide blackout. The resulting societal chaos could kill millions.

The image of an America gone dark, an America suddenly transported from an era of iPads to an era of horse and buggy travel, recently depicted in the NBC series “Revolution” is not science fiction but a very real possibility. As Investor’s Business Daily described the threat in an aptly titled April 2013 editorial, “How North Korea Could Destroy The United States”:

The three-stage missile North Korea launched last December that also orbited a “package,” which experts say could be a test to orbit a nuclear weapon that then would be de-orbited on command anywhere over the U.S. and exploded at a high altitude, releasing an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). That would fry electronic circuitry and the nation’s power grid.

This concern recently has been reinforced by a little-publicized study released in May 2011, titled “In the Dark: Military Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event,” by the U.S. Army War College that said a nuclear detonation at altitude above a U.S. city could wipe out the electrical grid for hundreds, possibly thousands, of miles around.

The satellite launched by Pyongyang coincided with a third round of nuclear tests described as a “nuclear test of a higher level,” most likely referring to a device made from highly enriched uranium, which is easier to miniaturize than the plutonium bombs North Korea tested in 2006 and 2009, said Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea.

Such an EMP device would not have to be particularly high yield. It would not be designed to create a big explosion, but to convert its energy into gamma rays, that generate the EMP effect.

Any nuclear weapon detonated above an altitude of 30 kilometers will generate an electromagnetic pulse that will destroy electronics and could collapse the electric power grid and other critical infrastructures — communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water — that sustain modern civilization and the lives of 300 million Americans…

Nobody is harmed or killed immediately by the blast. But life in the U.S., the world’s only superpower and the world’s largest economy, would come to a screeching halt as a country dependent on cutting-edge 21st century technology regresses in time almost a century instantaneously.

North Korea has also been working on a submarine launched ballistic missile, which would put the continental U.S. with striking distance. While North Korean submarines are not yet as sophisticated as our ballistic missile submarine fleet, it would only take a sub modified to launch a single missile, or even one launched from a disguised container cargo ship off our West Coast, to pose an apocalyptic threat.

As Woolsey and Pry note in the March 29 edition of The Hill, the threat of North Korean sending the U.S. back to the Stone Age is real and imminent:

The mainstream media, and some officials who should know better, continue to allege North Korea does not yet have capability to deliver on its repeated threats to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons. False reassurance is given to the American people that North Korea has not “demonstrated” that it can miniaturize a nuclear warhead small enough for missile delivery, or build a reentry vehicle for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of penetrating the atmosphere to blast a U.S. city.

Yet any nation that has built nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as North Korea has done, can easily overcome the relatively much simpler technological challenge of warhead miniaturization and reentry vehicle design….

…on October 7, 2015, (Admiral William) Gortney again warned the Atlantic Council: “I agree with the intelligence community that we assess that they [North Koreans] have the ability, they have the weapons, and they have the ability to miniaturize those weapons, and they have the ability to put them on a rocket that can range the [U.S.] homeland.”

In February and March of 2015, former senior national security officials of the Reagan and Clinton administrations warned that North Korea should be regarded as capable of delivering by satellite a small nuclear warhead, specially designed to make a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the United States. According to the Congressional EMP Commission, a single warhead delivered by North Korean satellite could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year — killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.

Deploying THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and and the GMD system in Alaska, developed under Republican administrations, is a start, but more force or other moves might be necessary. Fortunately, unlike President Obama, President Trump is unwilling to keep whistling past our own graveyard.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared inInvestor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the ChicagoSun-Times among other publications.

We Must Go to War With North Korea and Iran if Necessary

I know many of you will disagree. But there are two existential threats to our country that President Trump must deal with. Militarily if necessary, and it will not be pretty if it comes to that.

Secretary of State Tillerson warned Congress that Trump may pull out of the Iran deal. Now that’s welcome news. But I’d milk this one along for a time, while not letting the goal of ending the deal get out of sight.

From the Washington Examiner:

Tillerson certified that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama’s team in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that was released late Tuesday night. But he hastened to add that Iran’s role as “a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods” has the Trump team debating whether to stick with the agreement.

I am not an interventionist. We should not be in Syria except to fight ISIS. Abandoning Mubarak, our longtime ally, was a dumb idea. I supported the overthrow of Qaddafi, but it was a mistake, we should have left him right where he was. I think I let myself get carried away by the fact that he killed so many Americans in the skies over Lockerbie. And the brutal reality that he was set to slaughter thousands of his own people. But that, unfortunately, is how these countries work.

But a nuclear Iran or a nuclear North Korea is simply, as a previous president put it without understanding the term, a red line. We cannot be in a position where the insane, terrorism-supporting rulers of either of the countries are in a position to destroy us with nuclear weapons. And once they have the capability, we may never be able to rid them of it.

In short, we must do everything short of war to end their hopes of a first-strike capability against the United States. But if everything short of war comes up short, then there must be war. Our survival, and perhaps that of the world, depends on it.

The reason I say to “milk it” with Iran is that North Korea already has nuclear weapons and is developing ICBMs with which to strike us. That is, North Korea must be dealt with first. And if we have to strike North Korea, it might just convince Iran to make a verifiable deal to end its nuclear weapons program, and it may even encourage those in Iran who want to overthrow a regime hell-bent on confronting the United States with nukes.

But I doubt it.

This country has big problems, both domestic and foreign, courtesy of the previous administration. People don’t want to hear that we can’t pay for entitlements and the government must be massively cut, wiping out service many people depend on, or think they depend on. Or that we have obligations to defend ourselves that will result in grievous violence and loss of life.

But those are the facts.

What Iran shows us about the global jihadist movement

According to the very State Department that pushed so hard for the Obama administration’s Iran appeasement deal, that same nation upon whom we have lavished over $100 billion, lobbied on behalf of and promised protection of its nuclear infrastructure, remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.While many are aware of the pernicious activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard across the globe, and the Khameinist regime’s support of Shia jihadist groups like Hezbollah, lesser discussed is Iranian collaboration with Sunni jihadists.

For the latest evidence of an alliance that might surprise those who view Sunni and Shia Muslims as diametrically opposed mortal enemies, look no further than the recent news out of the U.S. Treasury Department.

As reported in the always-insightful Omri Ceren’s latest dispatch, Treasury announced that it was imposing sanctions on three senior Al Qaeda members stationed in Iran.

According to the Treasury press release, it took such action to “disrupt the operations, fundraising, and support networks that help al-Qaida move money and operatives from South Asia and across the Middle East.”

As Ceren highlights, one such Al Qaeda operative, Abu Bakr Muhammad Muhammad Ghumayn, controlled the financing and organization of Al Qaeda in Iran.

Another operative, Yisra Muhammad Ibrahim Bayumi, engaged in direct dialogue with the Iranian government, serving as a mediator. He was “reportedly involved in freeing al-Qaida members in Iran.”

It strains credulity to believe that a closed Shia nation like Iran, often competing against Sunni forces, would be unaware of Al Qaeda officers within its borders. And in this case we have clear evidence that it was comfortable with Al Qaeda operating on its soil because Iranian authorities were negotiating with the aforementioned Bayumi.

What are we to make of this revelation?

While Sunni and Shia Islamic supremacists may differ in terms of theology, strategies and tactics, their overarching goals are very much aligned – namely ensuring the dominance of Islam throughout the world by killing the infidel or forcing him to submit, with a focus on the “Great” and “Little Satans” of the United States and Israel.

The case of Israel, threatened by Sunni jihadists like Hamas on the one hand, and Shia jihadists like Hezbollah on the other, is most illustrative of this fact.

Another element of this story is relevant in light of the fact that 9/11 is again a live subject now that the federal government has finally released the 28 pages of its report regarding Saudi involvement in the attack.

Much though such ties have been ignored in our Ben Rhodes fantasy world, there is ample compelling evidence indicating Iranian support for the 9/11 attack as well.

In fact in 2011, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels held in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al. that “Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported Al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks,” holding the Islamic Republic responsible for damages to family members of the attack’s victims.

The facts and findings of that court case detail chapter and verse the extensive ties between Iran and its proxies and Sunni jihadists spanning multiple decades and covering all manner of operations and activities. Some of the key high-level findings from page 15 of the report are chronicled below:

Bridging the divide

Foreign policy necessarily involves dealing with hostile regimes, and sometimes making common cause with them in order to advance greater interests.

But there is little to indicate that as concerns the global jihadist threat, comprised of state and non-state actors Sunni and Shia each with competing but often overlapping interests and motivations, that America has the faintest clue as to how best to proceed in its national interest, whether in the form of the 9/11-tied Saudis or the 9/11-tied Iranians.

With great regularity we appear to be on every side of every conflict, evincing a lack of clarity about ourselves and our enemies.

For the jihadists are playing a game of “Heads I win, tails you lose.”

They know what they want and are doing everything in their power to achieve it. Does America?

– See more at: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/07/what-iran-shows-us-about-the-global-jihadist-movement#sthash.XRDi0Cjo.dpuf