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U.S. Congress Unanimously passing Sanctions won’t stop North Korea from building Nuclear ICBMs

What a week it has been. No, we are not talking about the New Hampshire primary results or Saturday’s South Carolina debate, but rogue North Korea stealing the oxygen out of the international media’s lungs. It started with the second successful satellite launch since 2012 on Sunday, February 7, 2016 nearly over shadowing the Broncos victory in the 50th Super Bowl.  As we wrote in an NER Iconoclast post on February 8, 2016, this game changer demonstrating the rogue regime’s ICBM technology and America’s inadequate ballistic missile defense, especially on our vulnerable heartland coast on the Gulf of Mexico:

Launched in a southerly direction, the 200 kg observational satellite is in polar orbit. That means it passes over the US every 95 minutes, perhaps providing imagery and GPS coordinates for possible later use. Yesterday, it missed the window of opportunity, by an hour, to pass over the stadium for 50th Super Bowl Championship game with tens of thousands of fans intent on watching the Denver Broncos beat the North Carolina Panthers for the title

“it’s great that the US has THAAD and ship borne X band radar floating in the Pacific and both ship and shore based Aegis installations in Eastern Europe (Romania) protecting us from missiles fired towards the East Coast. However, we have nothing in place to provide missile defense our vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast.”  Ambassador Hank Cooper, the Reagan era SDI chief, warned about the absence of Aegis missile defense installations on our Gulf coast in November 2015 and most recently in a Feb.2, 2016 High Frontier alert.

He argues that that our ballistic missile defense shield  on the Gulf coast lacks the means to combat the threat of a possible North Korean bomb in a satellite (Fractal Orbital Bomb) or missiles launched from either ships in the Gulf or those silos that allegedly Iran has been building in the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela. Ex-CIA director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry discussed in a July 2015 article the threat from FOBS that could trigger an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect over the US sending us back to the dark ages of the 19th Century before the advent of electricity.

north korean missile distance chartOn Friday, February 12, 2015 CNN reported the rotund Kim Jong Un played another round of the Pyongyang version of the Games of Thrones with the dramatic execution of another high military officer, General Ri Yong-gil for, “factionalism, misuse of authority and corruption.”  The young Kim family successor may yet set the record for summary execution of North Korean military officials surpassing that of his father and grandfather.   The same day in Washington, the US Senate and House overwhelmingly passed a new round of North Korean sanctions. Reuters reported:

Lawmakers said they wanted to make Washington’s resolve clear to Pyongyang, but also to the United Nations and other governments, especially China, North Korea’s lone major ally and main business partner.

The package includes sanctions targeting North Korea and “secondary sanctions” against those who do business with it.

The vote was 408-2 in the House, following a 96-0 vote in the Senate on Wednesday.

Impatient with what they see as Obama’s failure to respond to North Korean provocations, many of his fellow Democrats as well as the Republicans who control Congress have been clamoring for a clampdown since Pyongyang tested a nuclear device in January.

Pressure for congressional action further intensified after last weekend’s satellite launch by North Korea.

Obama is not expected to veto the bill, given its huge support in Congress.

Earlier Fox News reported Gordon Chang expressing skepticism that more sanctions would not achieve the end of punishing North Korea for violating UN and US sanctions against missile development. We wrote:

Chang holds that sanctions don’t work with North Korea. Instead He suggested that we might control the aid to North Korea endeavoring to separate the people from the autocratic ruling Kim family. He also suggested that South Korea move 143 companies out of the Kaesong industrial shared with North Korea.  He noted that after the January 6, 2016 nuclear test, no further sanctions were proposed at the UN because China would effectively block them. China he pointed out does a fair amount of banking with North Korea.

North Korea must have paid attention to Chang’s comments, as they seized jointly owned companies in the Kaesong industrial park.  Deutsche Welle reported South Korea cutting off the power to the Kaesong complex on Friday, February 12, 2015.  Effectively it was shutting the cross border industrial park down in retaliation for the North’s nuclear and missile tests in January and February 2016.  South Korean News agency, Yonhap, reported on Sunday, February 14, 2014 the South Korean Unification Minister accusing the Hermit State of using funds to develop weapons systems:

In a television appearance, Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said “70 percent” of the money that flowed into the Kaesong Industrial Complex has been used by the ruling Workers’ Party to bankroll weapons development.

“Workers at Kaesong are paid in cash (U.S. dollars), but the money doesn’t go directly to these workers. It goes to the North Korean government instead,” Hong said.

“Any foreign currency earned in North Korea is transferred to the Workers’ Party, where the money is used to develop nuclear weapons or missiles, or to purchase luxury goods.”

Last week, South Korea shut down the industrial park in response to the North’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch. Opened in 2004, the complex had long been a big cash cow for North Korea.

North Korea, in turn, expelled all South Korean nationals on Thursday from the complex and froze factory assets by South Korean firms, further driving the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation to the brink.

For the last two weeks, the National Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) of the Lisa Benson Show has been running twitter rallies directed at the media and Republican Presidential hopefuls on one issue: our vulnerable Ballistic Missile Defense. The NSTFA sent out tweets and retweets at the rate of 400 to 600 an hour.   The first NSTFA twitter rally, occurred before the New Hampshire primary debates, caught the attention of a South Carolina supporter of Texas Senator Ted Cruz who relayed the information to his campaign staff.  Those NSTFA tweets focused on the most vulnerable area of the US exposed to a possible North Korean ICBM launch, the lack of any missile defense on our Gulf of Mexico.  The result was that Cruz raised the issue during the debates.  The second NSTFA twitter rally occurred Thursday, February 11th producing more than 6,000 twitter impressions.  One of those Republican hopefuls targeted by the NSTFA twitter rally was Florida Republican Senator Rubio. Rubio’s platform statement on rebuilding and modernizing our military noted his missile defense proposals:

  • Expand missile defense by speeding up deployment of interceptors in Europe, deploying a third site in the United States, and ensuring that advanced programs are adequately funded.
  • Work interoperably with allies on missile defense – we should encourage the spread of missile defense technology as a solution to the spread of ballistic and cruise missiles.
  • Increase the Missile Defense Agency’s Research & Development budget and create a rapid-fielding office to focus on fielding directed energy weapons, railguns, UAV-enabled defenses, and other means to defeat a threat missile across its entire flight trajectory.

The  Wall Street Journal  (WSJ) lead editorial in the  Presidents Weekend edition on February 13-14, 2016, “The Rogue-State Nuclear Missile Threat,“ resonated some of the Rubio and others concerns about the US vulnerability to North Korean  and possible Iranian missile strikes.   The WSJ editorial noted, “North Korea can now threatens most of the continental US:”

Americans have been focused on New Hampshire, Iowa [and South Carolina}, but spare a thought for Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago. Those are among the cities within range of the intercontinental ballistic missile tested Sunday by North Korea. Toledo and Pittsburgh are still slightly out of range, but at least 120 million Americans with the wrong zip codes could soon be targets of Kim Jong Un.

The WSJ editorial went on to contrast the Bush versus the Obama Administration actions on missile defense:

You can thank the George W. Bush Administration for the defenses that exist, including long-range missile interceptors in Alaska and California, Aegis systems aboard U.S. Navy warships and a diverse network of radar and satellite sensors. The U.S. was due to place interceptors in Poland and X-Band radar in the Czech Republic, but in 2009 President Obama and Hillary Clinton scrapped those plans as a “reset” gift to Vladimir Putin.

Team Obama also cut 14 of the 44 interceptors planned for Alaska and Hawaii, ceased development of the Multiple Kill Vehicle (an interceptor with multiple warheads) and defunded the two systems focused on destroying missiles in their early “boost” phase, when they are slowest and easier to hit. By 2013 even Mr. Obama partially realized his error, so the Administration expanded radar and short-range interceptors in Asia and recommitted to the 14 interceptors for the U.S. West Coast. It now appears poised to install sophisticated THAAD antimissile batteries in South Korea.

Yet the Administration has failed to support a third East Coast site (to protect against Iranian and Russian threats) and provide adequate funding. Budgets are down about 25% from the Bush Administration’s roughly $10 billion a year. Mr. Obama’s final budget proposal released Tuesday would cut another $800 million from the Missile Defense Agency, nearly 10% from last year’s total.

The WSJ editorial concluded:

The overarching lesson of North Korea is the folly of arms control, starting with the 1994 Agreed Framework that first tried to buy off Pyongyang with energy and food aid. The U.S. would be safer today if it had moved to topple the Kim regime before it got the bomb. But having failed to act when the costs were lower, it is now necessary to buttress defenses in East Asia and the U.S. in what is fast becoming a new age of nuclear and missile proliferation.

From last Sunday’s Super Bowl game in Denver to Valentine’s Day, the evidence is piling up that Chang presciently opined; unanimous sanctions passed by Congress this past week will not deter North Korea from building nuclear ICBMs.  Rather, it is the ironical proposal for a preemptive strike against North Korean missile launches by present Obama Pentagon chief Ashton Carter and former Clinton Era Secretary of Defense William Perry in a 2006 Time Magazine article.

The conclusion in our February 8, 2016 NER/Iconoclast post appears equally prescient:

The North Korean satellite launch coupled with the January 6, 2016 nuclear test exposes the vulnerability of the US to possible missile attack by rogue regimes like North Korea and ally Iran. The lack of a Ballistic Missile Defense demonstrated by this latest successful North Korean satellite launch now vaults the issue to the top of national security issues along with Islamic terrorism for serious discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

RELATED ARTICLE: North Korea Set to Deploy KN08 Ballistic Missile

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Is the North Korean Satellite Launch a Game Changer?

FoxNews reported these developments following the success of North Korea’s satellite launching confirmed by the Pentagon:

We’ve been able to determine that they were able to put a satellite or some space device into orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

He said the Pentagon will, in light of this, begin “formal consultations” with South Korea over improvements to their own missile defense systems.

“We’d like to see this move as quickly as possible, but we’re beginning the consultations now in the coming days with the South Koreans and we expect that this will move in an expeditious fashion,” Cook said.

The U.S. and other world powers have condemned the launch of a long-range rocket, describing it as a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

At an emergency meeting Sunday of the U.N. Security Council which includes the U.S., all 15 council members approved a statement condemning the launch and pledging to “expeditiously” adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said a new U.N. resolution targeting North Korea over its rocket launch and recent nuclear test must be adopted very quickly and include “unprecedented measures” that its leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn’t expect.

The United States and China have been trying to agree on a new sanctions resolution since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6.

Gordon Chang in a Fox News interview said the North Korean satellite launch is something to worry about. Chang is a veteran North Korea and China analyst, Forbes columnist  author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.  He said the Hermit State “demonstrated the mastery of missile technology.” He was referring to the three stage Unha-3 space vehicle launcher (SLV) that successfully placed a satellite in orbit. Chang further commented that the North Koreans demonstrated they have the means to successfully develop a true ICBM. An ICBM  , as we wrote in an NER/Iconoclast post, yesterday, that  both North Korea and its ready customer Iran could use at attack both coasts of this country. Where yesterday, we posted the news of the North Korean satellite launch with the question“is this a game changer?”  Chang’s comments and the reaction from the Obama White House suggest maybe it is.  US UN Ambassador Samantha Power, called it a missile launch because the SVL and a true ICBM she shared the same technology. That meant in the Administration’s view the successful satellite launch violated UN sanctions against missile testing. However, given the track record will the UN Security Council do anything about this latest North Korean action?

Chang holds that sanctions don’t work with North Korea. Instead He suggested that we might control the aid to North Korea endeavoring to separate the people from the autocratic ruling Kim family. He also suggested that South Korea move 143 companies out of the Kaesong industrial shared with North Korea.  He noted that after the January 6, 2016 nuclear test, no further sanctions were proposed at the UN because China would effectively block them. China he pointed out does a fair amount of banking with North Korea.

The success of the North Korean orbit prompted GOP hopeful Texas Senator Cruz at Saturday night’s to raise the question of whether we should pre-emptive attack North Korea’s missile launches.  Ironic, as this proposal was suggested by the current Administration Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former Clinton Pentagon Chief William Perry, a decade ago.

DS-north-korea-13000-km-769x1024

The Administration is scrambling now that the Pentagon confirmed that the North Koreans successfully launched a satellite. Launched in a southerly direction, the 200kg.observational satellite is in polar orbit. That means it passes over the US every 95 minutes, perhaps providing imagery and GPS coordinates for possible later use. Yesterday, it missed the window of opportunity, by an hour, to pass over the stadium for 50th Super Bowl Championship game with tens of thousands of fans intent on watching the Denver Broncos beat the North Carolina Panthers for the title.

The Pentagon is talking about providing South Korea with Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system to complete the shorter range missile defense umbrella that the Republic of Korea has in place.

As we said on the Sunday Lisa Benson Show yesterday “it’s great that the U.S. has THAAD and ship borne X band radar floating in the Pacific and both ship and shore based Aegis installations in Eastern Europe (Romania) protecting us from missiles fired towards the East Coast. However, we have nothing in place to provide missile defense our vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast.”  Ambassador Hank Cooper, the Reagan era SDI chief, warned about the absence of Aegis missile defense installations on our Gulf coast in November 2015 and most recently in a Feb.2, 2016 High Frontier alert. He argues that that our ballistic missile defense shield  on the Gulf coast lacks  the means  to combat the threat of a possible North Korean bomb in a satellite (Fractal Orbital Bomb) or missiles launched from either ships in the Gulf or those silos that allegedly Iran has been building in the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela. Ex- CIA director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry discussed  in a July 2015 article the threat from FOBS that could trigger an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect over the US sending us back to the dark ages of the 19th Century before the advent of electricity.

This issue came up in the ABC GOP New Hampshire debates, Saturday night. Sen. Cruz raised the matter of a preemptive attack against a future North Korean ICBM launch during those debates. We may have had a hand in prompting it. A twitter rally was held last week by the Nation Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) of the Lisa Benson Show on the missile defense issue. The twitter rally sent out messages at the rate of 400 an hour, one of which caught the attention of a South Carolinian with a close connection to the Senator’s campaign staff. Another NSTFA twitter rally is on deck this Thursday night on the same issue.

The irony is the preemptive attack proposal originated a decade ago in 2006 in a Time Magazine article co authored by then Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, now Pentagon Chief and former Clinton Pentagon chief William Perry. Four nuclear and several space launches and missile tests later, we have a President whose response is to hold more UN sanctions talks with China at the UN that North Korea continually violates.

Meanwhile the North Korean satellite launch coupled with the January 6, 2016 nuclear test exposes the vulnerability of the US to possible missile attack by rogue regimes like North Korea and ally Iran. The lack of a Ballistic Missile Defense demonstrated by this latest successful North Korean satellite launch now vaults the issue to the top of national security issues along with Islamic terrorism for serious discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Watch, the Fox News report with the Chang interview:

RELATED ARTICLE: In One Graphic, What Countries North Korea’s New Missile Could Hit

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

The Iranian Nuclear Threat in the Gulf of Mexico

On the November 1, 2015 Lisa Benson Show we asked ex- CIA director, Ambassador R. James Woolsey how easy was it for Iran to launch an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack on the US?  He responded with the astounding revelation that the entire Gulf Coast of the U.S. had no X-band radar to detect a possible launch of a precision guiding missile with a nuclear warhead. Moreover, given Iranian threats to send naval vessels to the Gulf of Mexico, there would also be the threat of a cruise missile with a nuclear warhead that the U.S. Northern Defense Commander said in Congressional testimony was challenged to defend. Just refer to the stunning surprise of Russian vessels launching cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea that hit targets in Syria.

If Iranian nuclear weapons  could be exploded at any altitude ranging from 30 to 300 miles, the EMP  effect could take out the unprotected national electrical grid and 16 of the important infrastructures critical for running a modern technical economy.  He suggested three means by which Iran could do this. One option was launching a weather balloon with a nuclear bomb in a gondola capable of exceeding the 30 mile altitude. The second was through the launch of a nuclear device in a satellite from a southerly direction that both North Korea and Iran are currently capable of doing. The third means is through a ship borne launch of a Scud missile with a nuclear warhead from a container vessel using the Russian K-Club system that our colleague Ilana Freedman has written about.

The question arises is does Iran, despite the U.S. acceptance of the JCPOA, allegedly have that capability, already.  An August 2015 Washington Times article co-authored by Ambassador Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry presented the view that Iran may already have several crude nuclear devices. Our colleagues Shoshana Bryen at the Jewish Policy Center and Ilana Freedman have also suggested that Iran could have evaded UN watchdog IAEA inspections by co-developing nuclear devices with North Korea.

emp attack gulf of mexicoAmbassador Woolsey in response to this question said that a nuclear detonation over the central US heartland would be a “hideous prospect.” He said it would put the US  back into the pre electrical agrarian era of the 1880s “with plowshares and seeds.”  It could  possibly resulting in millions of deaths from destruction of the electrical grid and disabling of our food production, distribution and  health care delivery infrastructure systems. Listen to Ambassador Woolsey’s responses to these questions on the November 1st, 2015, Lisa Benson Radio Show beginning at the 30 minute mark.

Ambassador Hank Cooper, a recognized expert in both EMP, and Missile Defense . He is the Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative program . Cooper confirmed the absence of radar and anti-missile defenses on the vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast in an email exchange with Lisa Benson, host of the National Security Radio Show.  He wrote:

Aegis BMD ships that are usually operating near the East Coast are inherently capable of defending against off-shore launched ballistic (and cruise) missiles—if the crews train to do so.  And if we had TPY-2 radar in Maine or somewhere in the Northeast, they also could defend against Iranian ICBMs—again if the crews were trained to do so.

Where we are absolutely naked is from launches from vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.  That could be fixed by deploying Aegis Ashore sites (like we are doing in Romania—operational this year–and Poland—operational in 2018) at bases around the Gulf.  I’d begin at Tyndall AFB near Panama City, the home for First Air Force, which is already responsible for the air defense of the entire continental USA and support for our TMD systems.

The difficulty of defending the Gulf Coast against a cruise missile threat followed from a 2013 missile defense exercise.  A Global Security Newswire March 2014 report, “Could the U.S. Face a Cruise Missile Threat from the Gulf of Mexico? noted US Senate Armed Services testimony of Gen. Charles Jacoby of the Northern Command:

A 2013 military exercise pitted systems such as Patriot interceptors, Aegis warships and combat aircraft against potential cruise-missile or short-range ballistic missiles fired from the Gulf. But the drill highlighted a particular vulnerability to cruise missiles lobbed from that region, U.S. Northern Command head Gen. Charles Jacoby indicated in congressional testimony.

He said the Pentagon has “some significant challenges” in countering these missiles, but is exploring “some opportunities to use existing systems more effectively to do that. Many detailed results of the Oct. 11th  drill conducted near Key West, Fla., remain classified, Jacoby said.

“The cruise-missile threat portion of that we are working on very hard,” the general added at the March 13, 2014  Senate Armed Service Committee hearing, in response to a question from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The Global Security Newswire report underlined the difficulties of combating the cruise missile threat from Russia and Iran noting:

Cruise missiles can be particularly challenging to defend against, as they can be more difficult than aircraft to detect on radar and are sometimes tricky to shoot down, according to military experts.

A 2013 U.S. military intelligence report forecasted that cruise missiles would spread into more hands over the coming decade. The document also hints at the ability to evade defenses designed against ballistic missiles.

“Cruise missiles can fly at low altitudes to stay below enemy radar and, in some cases, hide behind terrain features. Newer missiles are incorporating stealth features to make them even less visible to radars and infrared detectors,” says the 2013 assessment by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Lisa Benson during the November 1st Radio Show asked  Woolsey if states should sue President Obama and U.S. companies doing business with Iran under existing sanctions laws authorized by the Federal 2010 Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Law.  Woolsey said that if sanctions are illegally lifted by the President on Compliance Day, December 15, 2015, members of the plaintiffs bar might be “licking their chops “at the prospects of suing U.S. companies.  We have written extensively about the ability of States with enabling sanctions laws bringing such a cause of action in the Federal Courts based on the professional assessments of noted Constitutional litigator, David B. Rivkin, Jr. of the Washington Law Firm of Baker Hostetler. See: Can States Prevent Release of Iran Sanctions Through Federal Litigation?

We launched a twitter campaign directed at the 27 Attorneys General of the Republican Attorneys General Association headed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Ms. Bondi could file such an action with the Attorneys General of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas against the President. It could be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola, Florida presided over by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson.

The Dallas Chapter of the National Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) undertook a twitter campaign in October 2015  following the October 18th JCOPA Acceptance Date signing by President Obama.  Pam Brown and the Dallas Chapter NSTFA team tweeted information on the ability to sue the President Obama to Texas Governor Abbott, Attorney General Paxton and  125 members of the Texas Legislature.  She posted on the NSTFA Facebook this weekend of the continuing effort to contact Gov. Abbott at a meeting of the Texas Republican Women’s Conference in Lubbock:

Elena Blake, one of the team members, is in Lubbock at the Texas Republican Women Conference and Governor Abbott, our Texas governor, is in attendance. We produced a document that she hand carried with plans to present to Governor Abbott or his scheduler, whom she had just met at a meeting in Dallas on Wednesday. This is an example of jumping on opportunity that presents itself. The background story to our Twitter surge is that Governor Abbott and fourteen other governors signed a letter to President Obama [on September 8, 2015] about their opposition to the Iran Deal: “we intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions that are now in effect remain in effect. These state-level sanctions are critically important and must be maintained. “. The other governors who signed this letter are from the states of Oklahoma, S. Carolina, S. Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota and Ohio. The letter that Elena Blake took to Lubbock for Governor Abbott urges him to rally six other governors to sue Obama. (NSTFA has determined we only need six or seven to sue.)

An appeal to Gov. Abbott could be the spark to enlist Attorneys Generals in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida to file an action in the Northern District US Court in Florida to halt lifting of sanctions by Obama.   There is still time remaining to file such an action. The prod to do so are the revelations of Ambassadors Woolsey and  Cooper revealing how unprotected these Gulf Coast States and indeed all of America is against an EMP attack by a nuclear armed Iran.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Dr. Peter Pry: On Iran’s Nuclear and Electro-Magnetic-Pulse (EMP) Weapons

One of the world’s top experts on nuclear weaponry and Electro-Magnetic-Pulse (EMP) weapons is our in-studio guest as we discuss a variety of critical issues including President Obama’s failure to negotiate successfully with Iran.

Dr. Peter Pry, a former CIA analyst details many complex issues in a very simple manner so that non-experts can understand the importance of prohibiting Iran from getting nuclear weapons. BUT, Dr. Pry is of the intellectual school which believes Iran, like North Korea, already has nuclear weapons and is simply “playing” the West to increase their nuclear capability!

Sooner or later, whether by man or nature, an EMP will hit the United States and many of us will die.

Sound crazy, it is, but even more crazy, it’s TRUE!