The Problem With Trump’s Big Mouth

Has there ever been a more indiscreet world leader than Donald Trump? We knew in the campaign that he had a big mouth when he was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women and getting away with it, but very few people would have predicted that this propensity to discuss private matters in wildly inappropriate contexts would extend to classified intelligence.

After all,  month after month he excoriated Hillary Clinton for allowing some confidential emails to be inadvertently sent over her personal email server when she was secretary of state. He said it disqualified her, in fact, and “she should not have been allowed” to run for president because of it.

Trump told Clinton to her face that if he were president she would be in jail:

Well, Donald Trump is the president now and several different government entities are investigating his campaign and administration. And he’s been shamelessly blurting out highly sensitive intelligence to foreign adversaries, unstable tyrants and even the press without a second thought.

Trump felt the need to meet with the Russian ambassador and the foreign minister at the behest of Vladimir Putin and in the course of their conversation he bragged that he had “great intel” and proceeded to expose a foreign ally’s asset by giving them  highly sensitive “code-word” intelligence without the ally’s permission. As former CIA chief John Brennan explained in testimony  before Congress this week, while it’s true that a president has the authority to declassify information, he is supposed to follow protocols:

The first [protocol] is that this kind of intelligence is not shared with visiting foreign ministers or local ambassadors. It’s shared through intelligence channels. The second is that, before sharing any classified intelligence with foreign partners, it has to go back to the originating agency to ensure that revealing it won’t compromise sources, methods and future collection capabilities.

There has never been a need for a protocol to guide a proudly ignorant, inexperienced president with a pathological need to brag to everyone he meets, since nobody anticipated such a thing before. Now we know.

And nobody anticipated that this same president would visit the foreign ally he exposed and confirm to reporters from all over the world that it had been the source of that intelligence. But Trump did that too.

And while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on a good face for the cameras, the effect on the relationship has been profound. After the breach was reported, BuzzFeed spoke to two Israeli intelligence officials who said that this was their worst fear confirmed. One explained, “There has to be trust for this sort of arrangement. I cannot speak for Israel’s entire security apparatus, but I would not trust a partner who shared intelligence without coordinating it with us first.”

Foreign Policy reported that the Israeli defense minister admitted that the two countries have since revised their “protocols” and when asked what they were he tartly replied, “Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms.” A certain president shouldn’t talk about such things in closed rooms either, since he is incapable of understanding protocols for anything.

But that wasn’t the only report we had this week of Donald Trump’s loose lips putting national security in danger. The Intercept released a transcript of the Trump’s recent phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (I wrote about it here.) The actual words were worse than we knew. Not only did the president effusively compliment Duterte on his murderous drug war, he also insulted former President Barack Obama for failing to be equally impressed.

The two leaders  discussed the threat from North Korea, mused about the mental state of Kim Jong-un and batted around the idea that nuclear war might end up being necessary. Trump said he hoped the Chinese would take care of it but promised that if they didn’t the U.S. would. Then he shared some military secrets with a foreign leader widely seen as unbalanced and untrustworthy:

We have two submarines – the best in the world – we have two nuclear submarines – not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but [Kim] could be crazy so we will see what happens.

According to BuzzFeed, the Pentagon was in shock:

“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movements secret is key to their mission.

While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that, in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of force. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

Trump, Duterte, Kim Jong-un and nuclear weapons. What could go wrong?

There are dozens of reasons why America’s allies and adversaries alike are starting to panic a little bit about Donald Trump serving as the supposed leader of the free world. Until now, despite major misgivings, it was not entirely clear whether Trump might grow into the job or whether American institutions and expertise would be able to guide his behavior. After four months it seems clear that’s not as easy as everyone hoped.

In this context, the fact that U.S. officials apparently leaked the identity of the accused Manchester bomber to the press before U.K. authorities were ready to do so was received with sharp irritation by the British government. If this had happened under any other administration, the misunderstanding between two close allies would likely have been handled quietly. But it’s obvious that the gusher of leaks throughout the government and at high levels of the White House has other countries spooked.

Along with the president’s ongoing inability to understand and respect the seriousness of classified intelligence, this lack of trust in the United States government’s basic competence and predictability is making the world order as we’ve known it for the last 60 years suddenly feel very unstable. It will be interesting to see whether the NATO meeting being held over the next few days can provide any sense of reassurance.

Iran is Controlled by Esau (Genesis 28)


Iran’s presidential election next week presents a false choice to their restive people. There are two main candidates in the race, both of whom are rubber-stamped by the mullahs in Tehran. They are fighting over a very narrow sliver of turf. No matter who wins, count on Iran remaining viciously repressive, destabilizing to the region and ever-eager to attain nuclear weapons.

In a recent survey of Iranians in 15 provinces, by the International American Council on the Middle East and North Africa, 79 percent of those asked said they don’t believe the outcome of the election will make any difference in their lives. Faces change, but policies remain the same.

The vitality and diversity of the Iranian people’s politics is well-known. There are religious conservatives of course, but the streets teem with young people who hold secular, democratic views. There are savvy entrepreneurs, environmentalists and everything in between. Much of the body politic remains disaffected and disenfranchised by the unrealized economic gains that were promised after the end of nuclear sanctions with the rush of cash that filled Tehran’s coffers.

According to U.S. intelligence estimates and the analysis of Iranian opposition groups, the “nuclear accord dividend” has been siphoned off by the state’s instruments of violence and repression, including a huge budget increase to the brutal Iranian Revolutionary Guard, massive expenditures in ballistic missile development and ongoing interference in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the lot of the Iranian people remains dire as wages stagnate, needed investments in infrastructure are deferred and corruption runs rampant. These grievances have no real outlet and no real hope for redress. The greatest danger in a theocracy is that all state actions are sanctified by an authority for whom there is no higher appeal. Democracy is but a mirage under the theocracy.

Still, the Iranian people have no alternative but to boycott the elections and call for genuine regime change. There is a real Iranian opposition; they are jailed, hunted and murdered by the score, or otherwise pushed into exile. So, the mullahs have stacked the deck, offering their own alternative: current President Hassan Rouhani, who, of course, played a key role in suppressing a 1999 uprising of the people and bragged about lying to U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors.

His rival, the midlevel cleric Ebrahim Raisi is a close ally of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The other notable candidate, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, who withdrew from the race in favor of Raisi, was a commander of the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps before becoming Tehran’s mayor.

The candidates are approved by the unelected watchdog body, the Guardian Council, as are all the candidates in the election. This includes a process that entails complete acceptance of the Supreme Leader’s ideology and policy “suggestions,” which explains why only six out of 1,636 candidates were allowed to run.

Given the sad reality that not much will change, no matter who is elected, what does the future look like?  Well, what is past is prologue. Rouhani, the “moderate” presided over a record number of state executions that far outpaced his predecessor, the firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Raisi has been part of the judiciary of the regime since its establishment and has made a reputation for himself as a brutal personality. As a member of a “death commission” in 1988, he authorized the execution of 30,000 political prisoners — men, women and even children, mostly belonging to the main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as “enemies” of the state. There is little differentiation between the whip and the hand that holds it.

Today, the regime is more vulnerable than ever, from its internal divisions, its failure to wipe out all of my fellow dissidents in Iraq (who were successfully transferred to Europe) and the Trump administration’s vow to review its Iran policy. All of these developments point to an unprecedented opportunity for the opposition to play a significant role in wresting control from the Mullahs and reshaping the country’s future.

Regardless of when that would happen, millions of disgruntled Iranians may prove to be a force to be reckoned with for the regime in the near future and the true partners of the United States.

Soona Samsami is the Representative in the United States for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is dedicated to the establishment of a democratic, secular republic in Iran.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill. 

Iran Continues To Build Its Nuclear Program (Daniel 8:4)

Iran Furiously Building Nuclear Program Because Obama Treaty Protects Them From Scrutiny

iran-increases-nuclear-buildup-violation-obama-treay
Daniel Coats, America’s top spymaster, informed Congress this week in an intelligence briefing that Iran’s ballistic missile work continues unimpeded and could be used by the Islamic Republic to launch a nuclear weapon, according to unclassified testimony.

Iran continues to make critical technological strides in its efforts to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons over great distances, efforts that violate international prohibitions, according to the director of national intelligence, who informed Congress this week that the Islamic Republic “would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons.”

The disclosure comes just days after Iranian leaders announced the upcoming launch of two new domestically produced satellites. Iran has long used its space program as cover for illicit missile work, as the know-how needed to launch such equipment can be applied to long-range ballistic missile technology.

Daniel Coats, America’s top spymaster, informed Congress this week in an intelligence briefing that Iran’s ballistic missile work continues unimpeded and could be used by the Islamic Republic to launch a nuclear weapon, according to unclassified testimony.

Turns out Obama’s “historic deal” was actually a cover for Iran to build nuclear weapons faster:

Iran’s ballistic missile work, particularly its focus on ICBMs, runs counter to United Nations resolutions barring such activity, though it remains unclear if the Trump administration plans to pursue new sanctions on Iran.

Iran continues to perform key research and development on nuclear missile capabilities despite the landmark nuclear agreement with Western powers, according to the last U.S. intelligence assessments.

“Iran is pursuing capabilities to meet its nuclear energy and technology goals and to give it the capability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so” Coats wrote in his written testimony to the Senate intelligence committee.

U.S. officials are unsure if Iran will build nuclear weapons, but it is likely this intention would dictate Tehran’s future adherence to the nuclear deal, which the administration of former President Barack Obama framed in such a way as to leave out the issue of ballistic missiles.

The reality of Obama’s Iranian Nuclear Deal:

The United States assesses that Iran remains about a year away from a functional nuclear missile if it decides to build one in violation of the nuclear deal.

Iranian military leaders claim their missile work is unrelated to the nuclear agreement and permissible under it. The country’s refusal to abandon this work has caused concern on Capitol Hill, as well as among U.S. national security insiders who view the work as related to Iran’s aspirations for regional dominance.

The U.S. intelligence community maintains that Iran—which has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East—likely would use this technology to launch a nuclear weapon.

“We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them,” according to Coats. “Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.”

“Tehran’s desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),” Coats wrote, referring to Iran’s covert missile work. “Progress on Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies.”

Iran “continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats—including against U.S. allies in the region,” Coats testified.

This includes cyber attacks “directly against the United States,” such as in 2013, when an Iranian hacker penetrated the computer systems of a U.S. dam.

Iran also is pursuing a massive buildup of its military, which observers have described as unprecedented.

The U.S. intelligence community has confirmed that Iran is developing “a range of new military capabilities to monitor and target U.S. and allied military assets in the region, including armed UAVs [drones], ballistic missiles, advanced naval mines, unmanned explosive boats, submarines and advanced torpedoes, and anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles,” according to Coats.

Iran Continues To Develop Nuclear Weapons (Daniel 8:4)

The annual report released Thursday notes that if Iran “chooses to do so its pursuit of these goals will influence its level of adherence to the JCPOA. We do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

The World Threat Assessment also notes that “Iran continues to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism and, with its primary terrorism partner, Lebanese Hizbailah, will pose a continuing threat to US interests and partners worldwide.”

The report states that U.S. intelligence believes “Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them.” Ballistic missiles are the delivery vehicle for a nuclear warhead.

Iran has violated international sanctions on a multitude of occasions by carrying out ballistic missiles tests.

“Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East,” the World Threat Assessment’s report states. “Tehran’s desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”

The report also notes that Iran’s progress in its space program could expedite its path to an ICBM since space launch vehicles use similar technologies.

Last year’s report similarly stated that while the United States does not know whether the Iranian government will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons, but added that “Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA, however, has extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon from a few months to about a year.”

It has been well over a year since the JCPOA was implemented. On July 14, the JCPOA will reach its two-year mark.

Last month, a report — which included alleged satellite imagery and intelligence said to be provided by informants working covertly inside the Iranian military — indicated the Iranian regime is secretly, and illegally, developing weapons at its “off-limits” Parchin nuclear site.

Also last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated, in a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, that Iran has remained compliant with the 2015 nuclear deal. In that same letter, Tillerson noted, “Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Facebook and Twitter.

Americans Are Wrong About North Korea

GettyImages-669024730Nuclear War With North Korea Is Highly Likely, Voters Say

By Juliana Rose Pignataro @julie_pignataro On 05/12/17 AT 2:09 PM
The United States’ tenuous relationship with North Korea is on the minds of most Americans, according to a new poll. A Rassmussen Reports poll released Thursday found that 57 percent of U.S. voters believe a nuclear war with North Korea will take place before the end of the century.

Twenty-four percent consider it very likely, while 32 percent said it is unlikely to occur within the next 80 years. Only five percent of voters said it was not at all likely.

Tensions have increased between North Korea and the U.S. in recent days, leading Vice President Mike Pence to declare that the country’s long-standing policy of “strategic patience” was over during a visit to South Korea in April. The policy of “strategic patience” is hard to pin down, but in general, refers to the U.S.’s decision to wait patiently for North Korea to denuclearize on its own.

“Since 1992, the United States and our allies have stood together for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Pence said during a news conference in Seoul. “We hope to achieve this objective through peaceable means, but all options are on the table.”

The U.S. and North Korea have been repeatedly lobbing warnings back and forth about impending military action. After reports emerged that North Korea was planning to conduct additional missile tests, the U.S. warned it would launch a pre-emptive strike if they got wind of any concrete plans. North Korea, for its part, said it would “hit the U.S. first” with nuclear artillery if it became aware of an imminent strike.

North Korea also fired back after the U.S. installed a missile defense system in South Korea. The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, would ideally intercept missiles launched by the North.

“By relentlessly bringing in a number of strategic nuclear assets to the Korean peninsula, the U.S. is gravely threatening the peace and safety and driving the situation to the brink of a nuclear war,” North Korean officials said in a statement, according to KCNA. “This has created a dangerous situation in which thermos-nuclear war may break out at any moment.”

Satellite images emerged of North Korean infrastructure being erected on artificial islands in the Yellow Sea. It was unclear what, exactly, the mysterious construction was for, but experts said it was likely going to be used for some sort of military purpose, including missile launches.

In perhaps one of the most heated moments yet, North Korea accused U.S. officials of plotting to kill Kim Jong Un with a biochemical weapon. In a report released by state news outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea alleged that the CIA, alongside a North Korean citizen and South Korean officials, attempted to kill the nation’s leader at a recent public event. No media outlets were able to verify the claims.

“This heinous crime, which was recently uncovered and smashed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a kind of terrorism against not only the DPRK but the justice and conscious of humankind and an act of mangling the future of mankind,” the ministry of state security said in a statement.

As relations between the two nations have become increasingly strained, President Donald Trump has voiced his own thoughts about a possible impending collision with North Korea.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” Trump told Reuters in April. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

Korea Plans On Sixth Nuclear Test

“I can say that the nuclear test will be conducted at the place and time as decided by our supreme leader, Kim Jong Un,” Choe told U.K.-based media agency Sky News.

Reports emerged last month claiming the reclusive, militarized state was planning a nuclear test on North Korea’s “Day of the Sun,” which commemorates the birthday of North Korea’s founder and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Jong Il. President Donald Trump responded by sending a naval strike group to the region alongside vows to prevent Pyongyang from going through with such a test. The nuclear weapons test never occurred, but North Korea has publicly disavowed any foreign opposition to its nuclear program, even from its traditional ally, China, which also has criticized North Korea’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.

As the U.S. continues to pressure China to bring its neighbor to the negotiating table, Choe said Wednesday that North Korea was unphased by Trump’s threats. He cited Pyongyang’s decision to conduct two ballistic missile launches as evidence of the nation’s resolve. The two tests ultimately failed, but were condemned by the U.N. Security Council, which passed a U.S.-drafted statement threatening further action if Pyongyang did not end its nuclear program. Choe dismissed the U.S.’s rhetoric as empty because of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, which he said would prevent the U.S. from intervening as it did “in weak countries, including Afghanistan and Libya.

“If the U.S. moves an inch, then we are ready to turn to ashes any available strategic assets of the U.S.,” Choe said.

“They cannot actually attack the strong countries, although they talk about it,” he later added. “We have to have nuclear power. We have shown our strong military power and nuclear power this April. Because of our strong military power, the U.S. could not attack us first.”

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Commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, which 38 North says indicates an apparent resumption of activity in North Korea, is seen in this image from April 25 released on May 3, 2017. Airbus Defense & Space/38 North/Reuters

Recent satellite imagery has indicated new activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, a development that U.N. International Atomic Energy chief Yukiya Amano said Thursday gave the agency “concrete information that the nuclear program is going ahead.” A report on the site provided by analysts Joseph Bermudez and Jack Liu to North Korea monitoring group 38 North determined that “it is unclear if this activity indicates that a nuclear test has been canceled, the facility is in stand-by mode or that a test is imminent.”

North Korea is believed to possess 10 to 20 nuclear weapons and an arsenal of around 1000 ballistic missiles. Kim announced earlier this year that the country was in the final phases of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S., however, analysts have raised doubts as to how close North Korea is to producing such a projectile and to developing the technology required to fit a nuclear warhead onto it. The nation’s current military capabilities, however, put nearby U.S. allies such as South Korea and Japan, both of which host U.S. military installations, at risk of attack.

Korea Continues To Threaten Trump

PYONGYANG North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed towards the western Pacific – a force U.S. President Donald Trump described as an “armada”.Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said in a Tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test and after Washington said at the weekend it was diverting the aircraft carrier strike group Carl Vinson towards the Korean peninsula in a show of force.”We are sending an Armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox Business Network, adding: “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said: “He is doing the wrong thing.” Asked if he thought Kim was mentally fit, Trump replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know him.”North Korea said earlier it was prepared to respond to any U.S. aggression.”Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focussed on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland,” its official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.In spite of the military rhetoric, U.S. officials have previously stressed that stronger sanctions are the most likely U.S. course to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme. At the same time, Washington has said all options – including military ones – are on the table and that a U.S. strike last week against Syria should serve as a warning to Pyongyang.The strike group heading towards Korea includes the nuclear-powered flagship aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two destroyers and a cruiser. Such a strike group is generally accompanied by submarines, although the Pentagon does not normally publicise this.White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump had put North Korea “clearly on notice” that he would not tolerate certain actions, but dismissed Pyongyang’s nuclear attack threat.”I think there is no evidence that North Korea has that capability at this time,” he said. “Threatening something that you don’t have the capability of isn’t really a threat.“North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries.However, North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, two of them last year, and is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States, presenting Trump with perhaps his most pressing security headache.

South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea, including a possible nuclear test, given a meeting of the country’s Supreme People’s Assembly and upcoming national anniversaries.He ordered the military to intensify monitoring and ensure close communication with Washington.North Korea convened a Supreme People’s Assembly session on Tuesday, one of twice-yearly sessions attended by leader Kim Jong Un, and reported a successful national budget execution and personnel appointments, the official KCNA news agency said.The agency made no mention of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme or being under threat from the United States.Saturday is the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founding father and grandfather of the current ruler.A military parade is expected in Pyongyang to mark the day and North Korea often marks important anniversaries with tests of its nuclear or missile capabilities.Men and women in colourful outfits were singing and dancing on the streets of Pyongyang, illuminated by better lighting than seen in previous years, apparently practising for the parade.

TRUMP PRESSES CHINA

Trump said in a Tweet that a trade deal between China and the United States would be “far better for them if they solved the North Korea problem“.”If China decides to help, that would be great,” he said. “If not, we will solve the problem without them!”Trump pressed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to do more on North Korea at a meeting in Florida last week.China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, called the Korean situation “tense” and repeated China’s call for a return to dialogue with North Korea.“We believe that it is highly important to move towards denuclearisation, to maintain peace and stability, and it’s time that different sides sit down to talk about achieving these objectives,” he told Reuters.

Asked about Trump linking a trade deal to China’s help with North Korea: “We need to look at the situation on the Korean Peninsula as something that we should work together on.” South Korean officials sought to quell social media talk of an impending crisis, and Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun urged people “not to get blinded by exaggerated assessment about the security situation”.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent congratulations to North Korea ahead of Kim Il Sung’s birthday and said the two countries were “conducting a war against big powers’ wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy,” North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.North Korea’s foreign ministry said the approach of the U.S. Navy strike group showed Washington’s “reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase”.”We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves,” an unidentified ministry spokesman said.U.S. officials said at the weekend the carrier group would take more than a week to reach waters near the Korean peninsula.A statement from U.S. forces in South Korea on Tuesday said General Vincent Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, would not attend a Congressional hearing expected this month because of the “security situation on the Korean Peninsula.” The statement said the step was not unprecedented.Russia’s Foreign Ministry, ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said it was concerned about many aspects of U.S. foreign policy, particularly North Korea.”We are really worried about what Washington has in mind for North Korea after it hinted at the possibility of a unilateral military scenario,” the ministry said in a statement.China and South Korea agreed on Monday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carried out nuclear or long-range missile tests, a senior official in Seoul said. On Tuesday, a fleet of North Korean cargo ships headed home, mostly fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal, sources with direct knowledge of the trade said.China banned all imports of North Korean coal, the country’s most important export, on Feb. 26, but Washington has questioned how well the sanction was being implemented. (Additional reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim in Seoul, Idrees Ali, David Brunnstrom, Ayesha Rascoe and Eric Beech in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Andrew Osborn in Moscow; Editing by Tom Heneghan and James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Published Date: Apr 12, 2017 04:15 am | Updated Date: Apr 12, 2017 04:15 am

Korea Could EMP the U.S. 

EMP Commission expert: North Korea preparing satellite launch of nuclear weapon that will wipe out U.S. electrical grid

Monday, May 08, 2017 by: JD Heyes

(Natural News) An expert in nuclear weapons design and delivery and member of the Congressional EMP Commission says it’s very likely North Korea is developing technology that would enable it to launch a small-yield nuclear weapon from a satellite that is capable of knocking much of the U.S. power grid.

Dr. Vincent P. Pry, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News radio host Aaron Kline over the weekend, noted that much of the international community and global news media are focused on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests and its nuclear weapons program. However, he said the real danger comes from the EMP – electromagnetic pulse – threat that has the potential to destroy most of our electric-powered infrastructure.

Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and chief of staff of the EMP commission, noted that North Korea has two satellites currently orbiting above the U.S. at trajectories that are prime for a surprise EMP attack. (RELATED: North Korea Ready To Nuke America … “World Should Be Ready” Warns High-Level Defector Who Confirms Nuke Launch Plans With NBC News)

Those satellites – the KMS 3-2 and KMS-4 – are earth observation vehicles that Pyongyang launched in April 2012 and February 2016 respectively.

“They are positioning themselves as sort of a nuclear missile age, cyberage version of the battleship diplomacy in my view,” he told Kline. “So that they can always have one of them (satellites) very close to being over the United States or over the United States.”

He said the plan is to essentially prevent any U.S. attack on North Korea, under threat of EMP retaliation.

“…[I]f a crisis comes up and if we decide to attack North Korea, [Leader] Kim Jong-un can threaten our president and say, ‘Well, don’t do that because we are going to burn your whole country down.’ Which is basically what he said. I mean, he has made threats about turning the United States into ashes and he connected the satellite program to this in public statements to deter us from attacking.”

Pry said the North Koreans may be mimicking a technology he said was developed during the Cold War by the Soviet Union, in which an attack via EMP was one element of a surprise assault against the U.S. aimed at destroying much of the U.S. military.

“During the Cold War, the Russians had a secret weapon they called a fractional orbital bombardment system,” Pry said, adding that the strategy involved a preemptive EMP attack using a warhead disguised as a satellite.

“The idea was to put a nuclear weapon on a satellite,” he said. “Launch it on a trajectory toward the south so it is also flying away from the United States. Orbit it over the South Pole and come up on the other side of the earth so that it approaches from the south.”

Earlier, a report co-authored by Pry and former CIA Director James Woolsey for the commission found that an EMP attack that destroyed a large swath of the power grid would result in a 90 percent death rate among Americans, from starvation, societal collapse and deprivation.

Interestingly, there are several skeptics, many from the Left, that believe this kind of technology and scenario could not possibly exist.

In an April column for Newsmax, Pry took on National Public Radio for its focus on interviewing “experts” on this topic who, frankly, are not:

[O]n April 27, NPR science editor Geoff Brunfield (who, according to his NPR bio, has a Master’s in science writing from Johns Hopkins University) interviewed EMP non-expert Jeffrey Lewis in a segment titled “The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof.”

Why Brunfield would interview Jeffrey Lewis about EMP, and not the vastly more knowledgeable former Director of Central Intelligence Jim Woolsey, is explicable only as a combination of incompetence and possible NPR bias against the “politically incorrect” EMP threat.

The technology has long existed, Pry argues, dating back to 1962-63 when the Soviets conducted successful EMP tests. (RELATED: If You Want To Know Which REAL Assets Will Survive War, Revolution And Financial Collapse, Listen To The Health Ranger’s Advice)

As for the what would happen to American society if the U.S power grid suffered major widespread damage, one need only to look at “disasters” on a much, much smaller scale to determine that outcome. What happens in major cities following flooding (New Orleans, 2005) or jury verdicts (Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., Rodney King) is a microcosm of what would occur in U.S. cities big and small all around the country if our power grid was largely destroyed.

Only a Left-wing kook would dismiss that reality.

Meantime, the Trump administration remains focused on the North Korean threat.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

The Korean Nuclear Situation

Image result for korea trumpNorth Korea and the Looming Nuclear Danger

Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion? Interview with Michel Chossudovsky. Global Research News Hour Episode 180

“As somebody said, this could be a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.”-U.S. Senator John McCain (April 30, 2017) [1]

Tensions between the U.S. and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) have heightened in recent weeks leading some to believe some sort of shooting war may be imminent.

On March 6, the DPRK fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan as part of a drill targeting American military assets. The test was soon followed by the arrival in South Korea of the US-built THAAD anti-ballistic missile system, which China vigorously opposes. A week later, US, South Korean and Japanese militaries would dispatch missile defense ships to the site of the previous ballistic missile firings. [2]

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Within weeks, the situation escalated with the DPRK firing more missiles, and the US dispatching a naval strike group, including the 97,000-ton carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. As if to prove he meant business, Trump authorized a missile strike in Syria, and later the dropping of the never before battle-tested Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) over an ISIS position in Afghanistan. [3]

By the end of April, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke to the UN Security Council calling on the 15 member body to take action to dismantle the country’s nuclear and missile capacity. Meanwhile, as of May 1st, the THAAD system in South Korea is deployed and operational. [4][5]

What is behind this jousting between nuclear powers, and what could be the consequences for the region and the world? These are the questions we hope to address in this week’s installment of the Global Research News Hour, featuring this week’s special guest Michel Chossudovsky.

Over the course of the hour, the discussion will delve into the true reasons for the Korean War, the intended target of the THAAD anti-missile system, the prospect of Trump’s unpredictable foreign policy as a Nixonian ‘Madman’ strategy, the disturbing normalization of the use of nuclear weapons within Washington’s civilian bureaucracy, and the necessary conditions for reversing the drift toward a third and final world war.

Michel Chossudovsky is founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is Professor (Emeritus) of Economics at the University of Ottawa and the award-winning author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), and The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015).

 

China has taken away Korea’s Nuclear Horn

Image result for china koreaIs China Taking Away Kim Jong-un’s Nuclear Option?

The innocuous-sounding Global Times is basically the id of the Chinese Communist party. A stridently nationalist tabloid newspaper with a flair for Breitbartian excess, the CCP-owned Times has, in recent weeks alone, referred to Australia as an “offshore prison,” warned of a “large-sale war” should the U.S. block China’s illegal expansion in the South China Sea, and written scathingly of the “Dalai Lama clique.” And now the newspaper’s editorialists have set their sights on an unusual target: North Korea.

In a staff editorial published Wednesday, the Global Times warns Pyongyang against conducting a widely predicted sixth nuclear test. (Experts suggest a detonation will likely come this month.) Citing a Trump administration “brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria,” the GT cautions the North Korean regime that a nuclear test will only anger a U.S. president who is “willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.”

But more striking is that the Global Times makes it clear that China will be quick to punish North Korea should it forge ahead with its nuclear program. “If the North makes another provocative move this month, the Chinese society will be willing to see the [United Nations Security Council] adopt severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before, such as restricting oil imports to the North,” says the paper. “Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is intended for securing the regime, however, it is reaching a tipping point. Pyongyang hopes its gamble will work, but all signs point to the opposite direction.”

The Global Times’s editor, Hu Xijin, has said that he spends a lot of time with Chinese foreign ministry and security officials and that his newspaper can speak “willfully” in a way that government officials can’t. There’s a good chance, therefore, that this editorial knows of what it speaks: Should Pyongyang launch another nuclear weapon, Beijing may finally put its foot down. Restricting oil exports from China into North Korea, for example, could be a truly significant blow to Kim Jong-un’s regime, which has no oil reserves of its own.

Hopefully, for the North Korean regime’s sake, that country’s notorious Internet filter doesn’t block the Global Times: The GT is sending it a message it should probably pay attention to. On the other hand, a North Korean nuclear test may actually be a good thing, if it convinces Beijing to take long overdue actions against its sort-of ally.