Tag Archives: United States

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.

In U.S. prisons, jihadists see Islam treated reverently

An eighteen-year-old Muslim named Zakaryia Abdin was arrested last Thursday at Charleston International Airport as he was about to board a plane to begin his journey to the Islamic State (ISIS). Instead, he is back in custody — where he has been before, for an earlier jihad plot.

The case of Zakaryia Abdin highlights a massive and largely unnoticed weakness in America’s efforts to combat jihad terror.

Abdin was arrested in 2015, when he was sixteen years old, and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. But he was no gang member or petty criminal. According to WBTV:

[Abdin] had been talking with a person in North Carolina and was planning to use one or two firearms to rob a gun shot to get larger weapons.

Those larger weapons would then be used to attack a North Carolina military installation, investigators said, adding the pair planned to leave the United States and go to the Middle East and join ISIS.

Since he was only sixteen, Abdin was ordered to be held in juvenile detention until he was 21. This was the maximum sentence he could be given as a juvenile, which Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett had argued for:

In court, we explained to judge the gravity of the offense. We were deeply concerned about the safety of the public if he got out.

Abdin, however, knew just the right tune to sing:

Brackett said Abdin told the court he was troubled, that his father had died, and swore this was an isolated incident, adding he had just been confused. He promised they wouldn’t hear from him again, Brackett said.

That was apparently good enough for the parole board, for Abdin was recently paroled, three years early and over the objections of York, South Carolina Police Chief Andy Robinson, who remarked:

I am disgruntled that the juvenile parole board would not heed our warning and that the federal government did not pursue terrorism-related charges when he was a juvenile, which forced us to charge him with a misdemeanor gun charge rather than with a more serious terrorism-related charge.

When Abdin was arrested again last week, Robinson said:

Given nature of allegations and the incident here, and evidence I saw in 2015, I’m not terribly surprised. I always thought these beliefs were much more deeply rooted. I’m grateful that the federal authorities were keeping close tabs on him and able to intervene before anyone got hurt.

But Robinson added that it was:

… just frustrating that we knew he was not reformed and that he would continue to pursue these sorts of activities.

Not only did Robinson and his colleagues know not to buy Abdin’s story that he was reformed, but they could also know that nothing whatsoever would be done in Abdin’s juvenile facility to change his views.

The U.S. pursues a peculiarly schizophrenic response to Islamic jihad terror. When Islamic jihadis, steeped in the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad regarding warfare against unbelievers, strike against the United States, or try to, and are caught, in our prison system the religion that motivated and incited them to attack us is treated with respect bordering on reverence. The jihadis are able to practice it without any encumbrance whatsoever.

Zakaryia Abdin, while he was in the juvenile justice facility in Columbia, South Carolina, was no doubt given a Qur’an and allowed to join other Muslim inmates for prayers. So were the jihadis at Guantanamo — where guards wore gloves to handle the Muslim holy book, acknowledging their unworthiness to touch it with their infidel hands.

Imagine if German prisoners of war had been given copies of Mein Kampf by their American jailors, and encouraged to engage in Nazi activities. The point here is not to compare the Qur’an to Mein Kampf (although that could be a fruitful line of inquiry), but to question the wisdom of reinforcing in prisoners the ideology that landed them in prison in the first place.

Of course, U.S. officials still officially deny that Islam has any role in motivating or inciting jihadis, so their position doesn’t seem schizophrenic to them. They doubtless hope that by taking the time actually to read the Qur’an, young would-be jihad killers such as Zakariya Abdin will realize that the Islamic State’s Islam is a twisted, hijacked version of the noble religion of peace.

Abdin himself has now proven that such a result is unlikely to come about. American authorities need to recognize that the Qur’an does indeed contain verses exhorting to hatred and violence, and think twice about reinforcing such tendencies in those who have already been moved by such verses to try to kill.

Instead, however, Zakariya Abdin, wherever he is in custody now, no doubt has a brand-new copy of the Qur’an in his cell, courtesy of the American prison system.

SYRIAN IN SOUTH CAROLINA BUSTED IN 2ND ISLAMIC TERROR PLOT

If at first you don’t succeed, the authorities will let you try, try again.

A South Carolina teenager plead guilty to gun charges after officials say he plotted to attack a US military base in hopes of joining ISIS.

“It wasn’t like some fantasy he was acting out and then was nothing to bear out,” says 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett. “This was a legitimate and sincere desire and effort on his part to accomplish these things.”

The 16-year-old boy, whose name is not being released, lived in York County but his family is originally from Syria.

Authorities said the investigation shows he was involved in “some radical Islamic activities” and associated with people in “radical Islamic groups.” They say the teen had expressed some of these thoughts publicly for a while, but no one came forward.

Of course they didn’t. It’s the Great Green Wall of Silence of Islam.

He was sentenced to be held by the Department of Juvenile Justice and was to attend counseling.

Brackett says the teen, in court, said he had changed his ways and no long believed the ideas he held before, but Brackett is skeptical. He says the teen appeared to hold the ideas fairly closely when he was first interviewed about them.

You can guess the sequel to the story two years later.

Brackett said Abdin told the court he was troubled, that his father had died, and swore this was an isolated incident, adding he had just been confused. He promised they wouldn’t hear from him again, Brackett said.

The judge sentenced Abdin to the maximum punishment, an indeterminate sentence that would keep him behind bars until his 21st birthday, Brackett said.

Abdin served time at the juvenile justice facility in Columbia but was paroled a few months ago, Brackett said. He said he and York Police Chief Andy Robinson had strong objections to Abdin’s parole.

“Given nature of allegations and the incident here, and evidence I saw in 2015, I’m not terribly surprised. I always thought these beliefs were much more deeply rooted,” Brackett said. “I’m grateful that the federal authorities were keeping close tabs on him and able to intervene before anyone got hurt.”

And he’s back…

An 18-year-old Ladson man appeared in federal court Friday following his arrest on charges he intended to join ISIS.

Zakaryia Abdin was arrested at the Charleston International Airport Thursday night, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Crick. Abdin was arrested by special agents of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force before he boarded an outbound flight.

He and his family should have been kept in Syria. It would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.