Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The EMP Threat, U.S. Military Options In N Korea - From Bad To Worse, N Korea A Distraction From Syria?

North Korea Could Already Be Ready To Use an EMP

Fifty-five years ago, the U.S. tested a nuclear weapon high above the atmosphere over the Pacific. At the time, my father -- a nuclear weapons engineer -- was listening on our ham radio.

When the device exploded, we heard nothing in Albuquerque. But, in Honolulu, 1000 miles from the detonation, the sky turned red as streetlights and telephones went out. EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) effects from the distant nuclear explosion had struck.
Today we hear concern that cities might be destroyed by North Korean nuclear tipped missiles, but Starfish Prime should alert us to a more imminent danger: EMP. North Korea can launch an EMP attack before it has developed nuclear missile technology, and EMP may be far more deadly.

An EMP disaster from a high-altitude blast seems like science fiction: There is a silent flash high in the sky, and everything using electricity just … stops. Cars stop, power goes out, the Internet dies, satellites quit working, landline and mobile phone systems go out, and computers are destroyed. In a moment, we are back to 1850, as was dramatized in William Forstchen's 2009 novel One Second After.

To nuke one of our cities, the North needs to master ICBM construction, nuclear weapons miniaturization, precision long-range guidance technology, atmospheric re-entry vehicles, and fusing to trigger detonation at the right time after the hazardous re-entry. In contrast, an EMP attack requires only a small, light nuclear weapon and the ability to launch it as a satellite. Once over the U.S., it is detonated.

Already, two satellites launched by North Korea cross the U.S. every day.
Do they contain nuclear weapons? Probably not, but how can we know? Nuclear weapons don't emit much radiation until they go off, so they are hard to detect. I used to fly in a nuclear bomber with the weapon station just a few feet from my station with no shielding -- no need.

The EMP danger isn’t only from North Korea. Iran has the capability to launch missiles from ships at sea -- the EMP attack depicted in Forstchen’s novel.

We currently have little defense against this threat. Our land based anti-ballistic missile systems are oriented towards warheads coming across the North Pacific, while North Korea launches satellites to the south, which later cross the U.S. from the south or north. The anti-satellite ability of the Navy’s AEGIS ships is unclear -- one satellite in a very low orbit has been intercepted, and ships need to be positioned within range of the orbit. Shooting a satellite down before it reaches orbit is another possibility, but AEGIS has a very limited window for such a “boost phase” intercept.

Michael Maloof, former senior security policy analyst in the office of the Secretary of Defense and the author of “A Nation Forsaken,” warns North Korea already has the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States.

“They have the capability, but not in the way the mainstream media talks about it,” he told WND.  “North Korea still doesn’t have a missile capable of reaching the United States, but it doesn’t need it.”
Maloof explained the North Koreans are known to be able to launch a missile with a satellite on it.
Pyongyang currently has two satellites in orbit.
“North Korea could orbit a satellite which would be the size of a nuclear bomb and detonate it upwards of 300 miles above Earth, on command, making North Korea a threat to any country as a result,” Maloof said.
A nuclear bomb launched from a satellite, he explained, could carry out an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse attack, capable of knocking out the U.S. power grid.
Maloof argues there are signs North Korea already has that capacity.
“A recent photo showing Kim Jung-un next to a sphere said to be a nuclear device is the size to orbit,” he explained. “It is known that recent nuclear underground tests were in the low kiloton range but high in gamma rays, the type of electromagnetic energy needed to create an electromagnetic pulse to destroy the vulnerable U.S. grid system and all unprotected electronics.
Maloof noted the U.S. doesn’t have an anti-missile system “to knock down such a satellite at that altitude, let alone know what the payload is.”

A successful EMP attack on the United States could knock out the critical, life-sustaining infrastructures that depend on the national grid, including telecommunications, banking and finance, automated control systems, petroleum and natural gas, transportation, food and water delivery and emergency services. Cascading failures of critical infrastructure could also lead to secondary disasters, including cataclysmic failure of nuclear plants. The economic and human costs would be devastating.
Maloof noted other nations, such as Russia, China, Iran and Israel, are hardening their infrastructure and preparing for such an attack, but the United States is largely defenseless. He urged President Trump to show leadership..

According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, the U.S. military has started moving equipments of the controversial THAAD anti-missile defense system into its planned deployment site in South Korea. 
The positioning began early Wednesday morning at the Sungju golf club in Sungju County of South Korea, where trailer trucks carrying parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system entered the site on what had been a golf course.

The THAAD has been a point of contention among not just residents and law enforcement. Beijing has been an outspoken critic of the THAAD system in South Korea. 
The US military is expected to move all of its vehicle-mounted mobile launchers, radars, interceptor missiles, and combat control stations that have been stored in Busan and Chilgok.
The United States and South Korea had agreed to deploy THAAD in response to threat of missile launches by North Korea but China has opposed the move saying it helps little to deter the North while destabilizing regional security balance, reuters notes.

War on the Korean peninsula may or may not be growing more likely. But it sure feels like it is.
Leaders in North Korea and the United States are rattling sabers at each other and conducting military exercises in the region. The entire Senate is set to visit the White House Wednesday for a briefing on the North Korean threat. The U.N. Security Council ambassadors came to the White House Monday and the United States is convening a special U.N. Security Council meeting to talk options on North Korea on Friday.

Arizona Republican John McCain, chairman of Senate Armed Services, dined with President Donald Trump Monday night along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and the three men talked about North Korea. McCain told reporters Tuesday a U.S. preemptive strike would be the last option Trump would consider.

But as North Korea edges closer to being able to threaten the United States with a missile, a preemptive U.S. strike will become more thinkable.

If it comes to war, it could be hell on Earth. Barring a fast surrender by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even a purportedly limited, preemptive U.S. strike could lead to deaths in that region numbering as high as the hundreds of thousands, experts say.

The best of the other bad options for the United States and its allies include everything from re-upping previously unsuccessful diplomacy and tightening sanctions, on the one hand, to murdering Kim Jong Un, on the other.

It’s even possible that the status quo — that is: North Korea moving gradually closer to the day when it can field reliable intercontinental missiles tipped with nuclear warheads—may continue for a while without a U.S. response, despite the sound of war drums today.

But the combination of mercurial leaders in both Washington and Pyongyang, coupled with stepped-up military maneuvers on both sides, suggests conflict may be drawing nearer. And it may happen even if neither country really wants it to, due to miscalculation.

“If we start something or North Korea starts something, we are in an all-out war on the Korean peninsula,” says Bruce Klingner, a former U.S. intelligence official who is now an analyst with the Heritage Foundation, in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call.

Even if both countries choose not to fight, it might happen anyway, with stepped-up military exercises and ramped-up rhetoric; with a demand for action from hardliners in both Pyongyang and Washington; and with mercurial leaders atop both nations.

Cronin said there are several possible scenarios for inadvertent escalation. North Korea could sink a ship, unleash a cyberattack, fire assault weapons into South Korea, launch artillery — or some combination of these.

It could also test a missile, whether an ICBM or shorter range, that hits a ship or plane or lands on or too close to Japan or South Korea, he said. Or North Korea could test an intercontinental missile in conjunction with other threatening actions or during a time of high tensions — then the test alone could be enough to tip the scales toward war, he said.

Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in South Korea, recently told CQ Roll Call that Kim Jong Un might trigger war by overplaying his hand.

“There is concern that the North Korean regime could miscalculate, believing that its increased capabilities provide it the capability to use military power below the threshold of major war, with its weapons of mass destruction serving to deter or limit South Korean and U.S. responses,” she said.

Sometimes, when is looking for trouble on the right, they get sucker punched from the left.
The world is focused on Korea. However, the real action is taking place in Syria. The Russians have quietly escalated the conflict and Turkey and Israel have responded in kind.
Temporarily, while the world is focused on Korea, we see slight of hand in Syria. The Russians, not to be upstaged by the new military and foreign policy alliance between China and the U.S., has managed to advance their own agenda.

The Russians have also announced that they are prepared militarize Syria with RUSSIAN troops.Further they have announced that they are continuing to beef up Syria’s air defenses in an obvious anticipation of U.S. air attacks against the Assad regime. Many will interpret this escalation by Russia as a line-in-the-sand move which pushes the world that much closer to World War III.

Even while Russia announces plans to futher escalate the conflict in Syria through the intended introduction of Russian ground troops, the Russians have still managed to maintain the moral high ground.

Russia is calling for a true and independent investigation into the chemical weapons attack in Syria. At the behest of the neocons, Trump jumped to an unqualfied position and unilaterally attacked Syria. On the surface, who appears to be pursuing the reasonable course of action here? This lessens the possibillity that international pressure can be brought on Russia to change course in Syria.

With the announcement that Russia plans to escalate tensions in Syria with a military buildup of their own, it is clear that Turkey and Israel have just responded.
It was announced on Monday that Turkey is sending F-35’s to Israel.  This move places Syria and Iran under considerably more danger and this clearly marks an escalation in preparations being made for World War III in the Middle East.
Can there be any question that war in Syria is imminent? Could there be a more ominous post than the following one from the Jerusalem Post with regard to the arriving F-35’s?
Although World War III may begin in Syria, can there be any question that the conflict would quickly spread to Korea.

According to Reuters, President Trump and his officials will hold an extremely unusual and rare briefing on Wednesday, April 26, at the White House. The invited guests are all 100 Senators. The topic is the highly volatile situaiton involving North Korea. the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea.
The meeting will be chaired by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is according to a White House spokesman Sean Spicer, who released a statement to this effect  on April 24, 2017. The briefing will be closed and the Senators, as well as Trump administration officials are bound by national security protocols because of the sensitivity of the data to be released.
The question remains, with regard to this briefing, is this an advisory meeting, a policy shift notification meeting, or is this a planned announcement about imminent action? Given the importance of the material to be covered, it is important to potentially note as to whether, or not, this will be the meeting that will lead to confict in Korea? Or will the events in Korea remain secondary to events in Syria?
I find it interesting that Trump chose to involve the Senate and leave out the House. Regardless of the motives at work, this is a very ominous development
If the coming war goes nuclear, there is only a limited amount of preparation that one can take. However, there are things that can be done. In the upcoming days, the CSS is going to put some much needed attention on what the average American should be focusing on as the world races toward the insanity of WW III. Your children picked a very difficult time to be born.

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