Sunday, October 16, 2016

The North Korean Nuclear Threat, Kremlin Prepares For Nuclear War, U.S. 'Plan B' In Syria, Europe Launches 'Cyber Wargame'

  • A careful technical reading of the DoD report clearly confirms that North Korea can strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear missiles right now. But the casual or non-expert reader can get the false impression that President Obama was right to assert that there is no nuclear missile threat from North Korea.

  • Given this overwhelming evidence of North Korea's ability to strike the U.S. mainland, how strange that most major news outlets have never reported that North Korea already has nuclear-armed missiles that can strike the U.S.

  • The DoD report was inexplicably silent about North Korea's current nuclear and missile capability, which could kill millions of Americans in an EMP attack -- as warned by both the 2004 and 2008 Congressional EMP Commission reports.

  • The EMP Commission and the authors of this article believe that North Korea tested what the Russians call a Super-EMP weapon.

  • It is time to stop wishful thinking -- that everything is fine, that diplomacy will work -- and to face reality.

  • Space-based missile defenses will offer a realistic prospect of rendering nuclear missile threats obsolete, thus neutralizing the growing nuclear missile threats to the U.S. from North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia. The mainstream media and their stable of "experts" consistently underestimate North Korea's missile and nuclear weapon capabilities. The gap between how the media report on the North Korean nuclear missile threat and the reality of the threat has become so wide as to be dangerous.

The bottom line is that North Korea and Iran are strategic partners who cooperate on missile technology and probably nuclear technology. As both receive help from Russia and China, it is time to stop wishful thinking -- that everything is fine, that diplomacy will work -- and to face reality.

North Korea has nuclear-armed missiles that threaten the U.S. mainland -- right now. Defending our homeland from that threat is an imperative, including protecting our full electrical grid, other critical infrastructures and of course our cities. And if North Korea has such a capability, how close is Iran to such weaponry?

The mainstream media must face these facts and start reporting that North Korea has nuclear-armed missiles that threaten the United States -- right now. Defending the homeland now, including its critical electrical grid, from a nuclear EMP attack is imperative.

What should the United States therefore do?

First, the President should declare that a nuclear EMP attack on the United States is an existential threat to the American people and would warrant an all-out retaliatory response.

The President should prevent North Korea from further developing its long-range nuclear missile capabilities and capabilities to perform EMP attacks. The U.S. could surgically destroy -- on the launchpad -- any North Korean space-launch vehicle (SLV) or long-range missile prior to launch, or shoot down any SLV or long-range missile launch, including North Korea's KSM-3 and KSM-4 satellites.

The administration should also provide support to, and work in close consultation with, the newly re-established Congressional EMP Commission. Their primary goal should be to protect DoD assets, military critical infrastructures, and the civilian electric grid that provides 99% of the electric power needed to sustain DoD power-projection capabilities.

The Congress also should immediately pass the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA), which passed the House unanimously and now awaits action in the Senate. CIPA empowers the Department of Homeland Security to work with the utilities, State governments and emergency planners at all levels of government, to develop plans to protect and recover the national electric grid and other civilian critical infrastructures from an EMP attack.

Finally, the next President should revive President Ronald Reagan's vision of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and develop and deploy space-based missile defenses. Space-based missile defenses will offer a realistic prospect of rendering nuclear missile threats obsolete, thus neutralizing the growing nuclear missile threats to the United States from North Korea, Iran, China, and Russia.

Russian media is warning citizens to prepare for war – specifically, nuclear war – and ordering officials to prepare the nation’s bomb shelters and ensure that citizens have reviewed proper use of their gas masks.
“If it should one day, happen, everyone one of you should know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” said one newscaster on the state-run NTV television news channel. “It’s best to find out now.”
This past week Russia also announced a move to transfer nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kalininigrad, between Poland and Lithuania, its northern European enclave. The transfer places the missiles within striking distance of western European capitals.
Russia also test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles, and earlier this month announced it would hold joint “anti-terror” military drills with Egypt “in a desert environment.” Moscow is moving in to train with Egypt in military strategies, equipment and personnel and build a closer relationship Cairo, in a way similar to that in which it began with Syria years ago.
The U.S., meanwhile, has said it is considering a cyber attack in retaliation for a Kremlin-backed cyber snoop into American elections, and an outright hack attack against electoral data banks and the Democratic National Headquarters. The Kremlin has warned that any such attack would be met with a “harsh response.”
According to ABC News, Russia has conducted a nationwide civil defense drill since September that has involved some 40 million citizens, preparing them for a panoply of disasters that run the gamut of war scenarios, including nuclear fallout, and announced who would run the nation should war break out. One of the simulations involved that specific scenario, in fact.
American logic dictates that Russia would not run a civil defense drill for 40 million people for the fun of it. But Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, quoted by ABC News, says that all this is part of the grand show that may be necessary to inspire Russian lawmakers to raise a little cash for a decent military budget – which is up for renewal – when the economy is slow.

The first glimpse of this particular policy as also that of the ‘Plan B’ came only a few days ago when the US warned that the Gulf countries may start arming the “rebel groups” with advanced missiles. However, it is quite obvious that the US is using Gulf countries only as a cover while it has itself maintained a large number of man-portable air defense systems around Syria since the beginning of the conflict, and particularly since the beginning of Russia’s military campaign against IS and other terror groups, acknowledged an unnamed US official in a recent interview.
A lot of propaganda of this sort as mentioned above can be observed in the corporate-funded mainstream Western media which, more often than not, engages in corroborating—as much as it creates them– the US policy makers’ vicious designs than report on the actual reason for the spread of terrorism in the Middle East and other regions.
As such, while advisors like Frederic C. Hof continue to advocate the use of military means to send Assad home, the big question they have not yet answered is: how will they make sure that these Gulf and US supported groups would not spread, after the end of the war, into other countries, such as Iran, who are clearly the in the hit list of Saudi Arabia and its allies? How sustainable and effective an administration, consisting largely of mercenaries, be built to manage the war-torn Syria?
Given the kind of experiencing Libya has had since Gaddafi’s collapse, the answer is not so difficult to grasp. Syria too will collapse into conflict and extremist violence will spread inevitably. Therefore, transition in Syria, followed by a victory march of terror groups, would only end up making Syria the worst place in the world to live. The ‘plan B’ against Assad, as also Russia and Iran, is therefore nothing but a sinister way of keeping the country embroiled in conflict on perennial basis. Hence, the minimum possibility of real co-operation between the US and Russia.

Just as the Obama administration announced plans to provoke a cyber war with Russia over their alleged ties to the hack of Hillary's emails, Europe is launching the biggest "cyber wargame" in history to prepare for emergency responses to power cuts, banking outages etc.  According to a press release posted by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the war games will include various scenarios including power outages and attacks on various national and governmental agencies.

Today marks the climax of this realistic scenario which thousands of experts from all 28 EU Member States, Switzerland and Norway are facing in Cyber Europe 2016 – a flagship activity organised every two years by ENISA, the EU Agency for Network and Information Security.

Cyber Europe 2016 (CE2016) is the largest and most comprehensive EU cyber-security exercise to date.This large-scale distributed technical and operational exercise started in April 2016, offering the opportunity for cybersecurity professionals across Europe to analyse complex, innovative and realistic cybersecurity incidents. On 13th and 14th of  October ICT and IT security industry experts  from more than 300 organisations, including but not limited to: national and governmental cybersecurity agencies, ministries, EU institutions as well as internet and cloud service providers and cybersecurity software and service providers will be called upon to mitigate the apex of this six-month long cyber crisis, to ensure business continuity and, ultimately, to safeguard the European Digital Single Market.  

Cyber Europe 2016 paints a very dark scenario, inspired by events such as the blackout in an European Country over Christmas period and the dependence on technologies manufactured outside the jurisdiction of the European Union. It also features the Internet of Things, drones, cloud computing, innovative exfiltration vectors, mobile malware, ransomware, etc. The exercise will focus on political and economic policies closely related to cybersecurity. This also takes into account new processes and cooperation mechanisms contained in the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. For the first time, a full scenario was developed with actors, media coverage, simulated companies and social media, bringing in the public affairs dimension associated with cyber crises, so as to increase realism to a level never seen before in cybersecurity exercises.

Depending on how far the Obama administration is willing to go with threats to launch a cyber attack against Russia we could have some very real data for ENISA to analyze in the not so distant future about how a country actually responds to a "cyber war."

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