What Antiballistic System?

As North Korea claims missile progress, Pentagon plans ICBM interceptor test

As North Korea makes headway in developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the US mainland, the Pentagon is preparing to test its missile interceptor – which has a very inconsistent record, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

First developed during the Cold War as part of former US President Ronald Reagan’s multi-billion dollar “Star Wars” effort to counter Soviet ballistic missiles, the US missile interceptor has only had nine successful tests among the 17 conducted since 1999.

After a recent successful missile test, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the US mainland was in “sighting range for a strike,” and claimed that they have missiles capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead, though this has not been verified.

Earlier this week, US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart warned a Senate hearing that if Pyongyang’s activities aren’t reined in, “the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland,” calling such an event “inevitable” if action isn’t taken.

Though the Pentagon has a number of missile defense systems, only one of them, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, is designed to counter a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This system is also the least reliable, according to critics.

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency has scheduled the test for Tuesday, when a target will be launched from the Kwajalein Atoll test range in the Pacific. The intention is that the missile will be met by an interceptor launched from an underground chamber at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Missile Defense Agency spokesman Christopher Johnson explained that the target will be custom made to resemble an ICBM, meaning it will travel at a quicker pace than test missiles used in the past.

“We conduct increasingly complex test scenarios as the program matures and advances,” Johnson said on Friday. “Testing against an ICBM-type threat is the next step in that process.”

There has been much saber rattling between Washington and Pyongyang, with the two countries trading barbs and shows of force. North Korea refuses to halt its nuclear weapons and missile testing despite international calls for denuclearization and sanctions from the United Nations.

The US has riled Pyongyang by sending a Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson along with the USS Michigan, a Tomahawk missile-armed nuclear powered submarine, near its waters.

Trump Is Already Too Late (Daniel 8:4)

President Trump insisted Monday that Iran must “never, ever” come close to acquiring nuclear weapons, and called on Israel to join the U.S. in resisting a nuclear Iran shortly after his arrival in Jerusalem for his first visit to Israel as president.
“The United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon, never ever, and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately,” Trump said during a joint appearance with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem.”There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran, and it is indeed a threat, there is no question about that,” Trump added.Israel strongly opposed the nuclear agreement that the Obama administration negotiated with Iran. The finalization of that deal in 2015 dealt a blow to U.S.-Israeli relations.

Trump has already delivered harsh criticism to Iran and its destabilizing activities throughout the region on the first few days of his trip. On Monday, he told Rivlin that Iran’s aggression has caused other countries in the Middle East to gravitate toward Israel.

After his joint appearance with Rivlin, Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, headed to a visit at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a historic church in the Old City of Jerusalem. Trump is also slated on Monday to visit the Western Wall, a Jewish holy site that is also located in the Old City.

The Korean Horns Will Unify

South Korea’s new president promises to help end nuclear crisis

Clifford Coonan in Seoul
Updated: Wed, May 10, 2017, 15:10

South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in has pledged to do everything in his power to bring peace to the region and, in his first act as commander-in-chief, called the country’s top general for a briefing on the nuclear crisis.

A former commando and human rights lawyer, Mr Moon of the Democratic Party secured 41 per cent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, according to the National Election Committee. Although not quite a landslide, it is a strong mandate for the liberal’s conciliatory approach to North Korea and his pledge to rejuvenate the economy.

His election comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme. The country is believed to be preparing a sixth nuclear test.

In his inaugural address, Mr Moon pledged to end the Korean nuclear crisis by establishing a northeast Asia peace regime.

I will solve the security crisis promptly. I will go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. If necessary, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and under the right circumstances go to Pyongyang as well,” he said.

After a phone call with South Korean general Lee Sun-jin, Mr Moon visited Seoul’s national cemetery to pay his respects to his late predecessors and war heroes, Yonhap news agency reported.

The White House was quick to send a message of congratulation to Mr Moon. His conciliatory attitude to North Korea runs counter to the more robust approach favoured by US president Donald Trump, who favours increasing pressure on North Korea with tougher sanctions.

Informal talks

There were reports from Oslo that North Korean officials began informal talks with a group of American experts, amid speculation that Washington may seek dialogue with Pyongyang.

Mr Moon’s election to the presidential residence, the Blue House, ends months of turmoil in South Korea following the impeachment and detention of conservative former president Park Geun-hye over an influence peddling and corruption scandal. Conservatives have been in power in South Korea for the past decade.

“I sense a heavy responsibility endowed by the people. My heart is full of passion for building a country that we have never had,” he said in his speech.

Mr Moon will need to build coalitions and alliances with the other political parties to get legislation through the single-chamber, 299-seat National Assembly.

He has promised a more open style of government, with direct press briefings on major issues, and also efforts to meet and greet the citizens in the markets and squares.

He was due to meet with the leaders of all five parliamentary parties, starting with the conservative party, Liberal Korea Party, which is now the main opposition party. Later he will attend a scaled-down inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly.

“The conflict between conservatives and liberals should end. I will talk directly with you. Opposition parties are my companions in the administration of state affairs. I will regularly talk and frequently meet with them,” he said.

He has appointed Lee Nak-yon, governor of South Jeolla province, as the new prime minister and Im Jong-seok, his top secretary during his election campaign, as his first chief of staff.

Why North Korea Is Not A Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

Image result for north south korea unifySouth Korea’s new president wants to reverse its North Korea…
5-6 minutes

SEOUL (CNN) – Seoul’s policy on North Korea is about to get a major overhaul.

Liberal reformer Moon Jae-in was sworn in Wednesday after winning a snap election to replace impeached President Park Geun-hye.

Moon has advocated dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in stark contrast to Park’s approach of tough sanctions and aggressive rhetoric.

Speaking at his swearing in ceremony, Moon promised to “resolve the security crisis as soon as possible.”

“If it is necessary, I will fly immediately to Washington and also visit Beijing and Tokyo,” he said.

“Under the right conditions, I will also go to Pyongyang. For peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do.”

Moon also vowed to further strengthen the alliance between South Korea and the US.

While he was elected largely on concerns about corruption and the economy, North Korea loomed large after weeks of rising tensions in the region.

Return to sunshine?

A former special forces soldier and human rights lawyer, Moon came in for criticism during the campaign from hardline conservatives who saw him as weak on North Korea.

He has called for a combination of negotiations and economic cooperation alongside military and security measures.

“I am confident to lead the diplomatic efforts involving multiple parties, which will lead to the complete abandonment of the North Korean nuclear program, and bring the relationship between South and North to peace, economic cooperation and mutual prosperity,” Moon said in an April 25 debate.

His stance has been compared to the so-called “Sunshine Policy” of the liberal governments of 1998 to 2008. By no coincidence, he was a key adviser to those administrations.

During the Sunshine Policy, Seoul actively engaged Pyongyang, which led to closer relations on both sides of the border and saw two South Korean Presidents visit the North Korean capital. However, the approach ultimately failed to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Weapons testing

Moon, who takes office Wednesday, is unlikely to get a long honeymoon when it comes to North Korea.

Experts have been predicting an imminent nuclear test, North Korea’s sixth, for weeks now, as the country ramps up missile testing and saber rattling.

On Sunday, Pyongyang announced it had detained a US citizen on suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime, days after it accused Seoul and Washington of plotting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un using “biochemical weapons.”

During the campaign, Moon advocated for engagement with North Korea — particularly on the economic front — as the best method to work towards a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Such measures have not historically been popular with conservative administrations in the US, however President Donald Trump has vacillated between tough, militaristic talk on the North Korea issue and suggesting he could sit down with Kim himself.
Washington ties

The US and South Korea have a decades-long military and political alliance and Washington is by far Seoul’s most important bilateral partner.

Facing criticism from the right that his party is anti-American, Moon has played up Trump’s apparent willingness to meet with Kim, saying he is on the “same page” as the US leader.

However, one area where they firmly not in agreement is over the deployment in South Korea of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.

The caretaker administration which took over after Park’s impeachment accelerated the THAAD roll-out, despite widespread criticism from Moon and others on the left, who have argued its deployment should be contingent on a vote in the country’s National Assembly.

Last week, Washington and Seoul announced that THAAD was partially up and running, and analysts have warned Moon may be able to do little to prevent its full deployment.

But analysts warn perceptions that the US ignored South Korean input on its own security issues — compounded when Trump called both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss North Korea, but the caretaker government in Seoul — have left a key relationship strained before it has even begun.

Washington was left in a delicate position after Park’s ouster, with several high-ranking administration officials — including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence — visiting Seoul to shore up the alliance amid tensions with North Korea.

During their visits however, the US officials only met with caretaker President Hwang Kyo-ahn, who had already declared he would not stand to replace Park, and avoided any of her potential successors.

Copyright 2017 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Win a Nuclear War? Really?

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Neocons Firmly Believe They Can Win a Nuclear War against Russia and China

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, May 05, 2017

“The problem is that the world has listened to Americans for far too bloody long.” — Dr. Julian Osborne, from the 2000 film version of Nevil Shute’s 1957 book, On the BeacTheir insane plan is as follows: Washington will ring Russia and China with anti-ballistic missile bases in order to provide a shield against a retaliatory strike from Russia and China. Moreover, these US anti-ABM bases also can deploy nuclear attack missiles unknown to Russia and China, thus reducing the warning time to five minutes, leaving Washington’s victims little or no time in which to make a decision.

The neoconservatives think that Washington’s first strike will so badly damage the Russian and Chinese retaliatory capabilities that both governments will surrender rather than launch a response. The Russian and Chinese leaderships would conclude that their diminished forces leave little chance that many of their ICBMs will be able to get past Washington’s ABM shield, leaving the US largely intact. A feeble retaliation by Russia and China would simply invite a second wave US nuclear attack that would obliterate Russian and Chinese cities, killing millions and leaving both countries in ruins.

In short, the American warmongers are betting that the Russian and Chinese leaderships would submit rather than risk total destruction.

There is no question that neoconservatives are sufficiently evil to launch a preemptive nuclear attack, but possibly the plan aims to put Russia and China into a situation in which their leaders conclude that the deck is stacked against them and, therefore, they must accept Washington’s hegemony.

To feel secure in its hegemony, Washington would have to order Russia and China to disarm.

This plan is full of risks. Miscalculations are a feature of war. It is reckless and irresponsible to risk the life of the planet for nothing more than Washington’s hegemony.

The neoconservative plan puts Europe, the UK, Japan, S. Korea, and Australia at high risk were Russia and China to retaliate. Washington’s ABM shield cannot protect Europe from Russia’s nuclear cruise missiles or from the Russian Air Force, so Europe would cease to exist. China’s response would hit Japan, S. Korea, and Australia.

The Russian hope and that of all sane people is that Washington’s vassals will understand that it is they that are at risk, a risk from which they have nothing to gain and everything to lose, repudiate their vassalage to Washington and remove the US bases. It must be clear to European politicians that they are being dragged into conflict with Russia. This week the NATO commander told the US Congress that he needed funding for a larger military presence in Europe in order to counter “a resurgent Russia.”

Let us examine what is meant by “a resurgent Russia.” It means a Russia that is strong and confident enough to defend its interests and those of its allies. In other words, Russia was able to block Obama’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran and to enable the Syrian armed forces to defeat the ISIS force sent by Obama and Hillary to overthrow Assad.

Russia is “resurgent” because Russia is able to block US unilateral actions against some other countries.

This capability flies in the face of the neoconservative Wolfowitz doctrine, which says that the principal goal of US foreign policy is to prevent the rise of any country that can serve as a check on Washington’s unilateral action.

While the neocons were absorbed in their “cakewalk” wars that have now lasted 16 years, Russia and China emerged as checks on the unilateralism that Washington had enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. What Washington is trying to do is to recapture its ability to act worldwide without any constraint from any other country. This requires Russia and China to stand down.

Are Russia and China going to stand down? It is possible, but I would not bet the life of the planet on it. Both governments have a moral conscience that is totally missing in Washington. Neither government is intimidated by the Western propaganda. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said yesterday that we hear endless hysterical charges against Russia, but the charges are always vacant of any evidence.

Conceiveably, Russia and China could sacrifice their sovereignty for the sake of life on earth. But this same moral conscience will propel them to oppose the evil that is Washington in order not to succumb to evil themselves. Therefore, I think that the evil that rules in Washington is leading the United States and its vassal states to total destruction.

Having convinced the Russian and Chinese leaderships that Washington intends to nuke their countries in a suprise attack (see, for example, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/us-forces-preparing-sudden-nuclear.html ), the question is how do Russia and China respond? Do they sit there and await an attack, or do they preempt Washington’s attack with an attack of their own?

What would you do? Would you preserve your life by submitting to evil, or would you destroy the evil?

Writing truthfully results in my name being put on lists (financed by who?) as a “Russian dupe/agent.” Actually, I am an agent of all people who disapprove of Washington’s willingness to use nuclear war in order to establish Washington’s hegemony over the world, but let us understand what it means to be a “Russian agent.”

It means to respect international law, which Washington does not. It means to respect life, which Washington does not. It means to respect the national interests of other countries, which Washington does not. It means to respond to provocations with diplomacy and requests for cooperation, which Washington does not. But Russia does. Clearly, a “Russian agent” is a moral person who wants to preserve life and the national identity and dignity of other peoples.

It is Washington that wants to snuff out human morality and beome the master of the planet. As I have previously written, Washington without any question is Sauron. The only important question is whether there is sufficient good left in the world to resist and overcome Washington’s evil.

Why Nuclear Missile Shields Are A Misnomer

U.S. Missile Defense Program Costly, Unreliable, And Exempt From Oversight, Report Finds

Follow Elliott Negin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ElliottNegin

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Congress is currently considering expanding the U.S. national missile defense system, despite the fact that — nearly 15 years after the Bush administration began deploying it — it has not been demonstrated to work under real-world conditions and is not on a path to do so.

What’s the problem? According to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), it’s that old adage, “haste makes waste.” Lack of accountability, UCS found, doesn’t help, either.

In its rush to get the system up and running, the George W. Bush administration exempted the program from standard Pentagon oversight protocols. That ill-advised decision has not only run up a $40-billion price tag for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program, it also has produced a system that is incapable of defending the United States from a limited nuclear attack.

“The missile defense system is one of the most expensive and complex military systems in history, yet it is the only major defense program not subject to standard ‘fly before you buy’ performance standards,” said UCS Senior Scientist Laura Grego, the report’s lead author. “Fifteen years of this misguided, hands-off approach has resulted in a costly system that won’t protect the homeland.”

A Record of Failure

The goal of the GMD system is to defend all 50 states from an attack by a limited number of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. The presumed culprit? Iran or North Korea.

Testing began at a methodical pace at the tail end of the Clinton administration, but in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there was a greater sense of urgency to deploy a system. Using North Korea’s embryonic ballistic missile program as a pretext, the Bush administration withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, which prohibited each side from fielding a missile defense system to protect its entire territory. That opened the door for then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to exempt the Missile Defense Agency from customary procurement rules and testing standards to field a system within two years.

The results have been abysmal. Since the system was initially fielded in 2004, the Missile Defense Agency has conducted nine tests pitting an interceptor against a target. The system failed to destroy its target in six of them, even though operators knew ahead of time when and where the target missile would be launched, its expected trajectory, and what it would look like to sensors. Despite that record of failure — which has worsened over time — the Missile Defense Agency currently fields 26 interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California, and plans to install 14 more at Fort Greely.

That less-than-reassuring 33 percent success rate, however, doesn’t tell the whole story. Not only would U.S. missile defense operators not know the coordinates of an incoming missile in the event of a real attack, but any country capable of launching a long-range missile also would be able to outfit it with decoys and other countermeasures that could fool the GMD system’s sensors and interceptors. Analysts at UCS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pointed out that inconvenient fact in a joint report they published back in 2000.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration insists on continuing this charade. It has not reinstituted normal oversight and accountability standards, and continues to claim the GMD system could destroy future, hypothetical long-range missiles from Iran or North Korea. Earlier this year, for example, Brian P. McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the “U.S. homeland is currently protected” against such attacks.

Likewise, as the UCS report points out, a number of Pentagon officials have made “unsubstantiated claims about the system’s effectiveness,” but at least one insider — Pentagon chief weapons tester J. Michael Gilmore — has acknowledged the program’s serious limitations. His 2015 report on the GMD system concluded that that the tests have been “insufficient to demonstrate that an operationally useful defense capability exists.”

In plain English, there’s no proof the system would work against a real attack.

Making a Bad Situation Worse

Instead of demanding better performance, some members of Congress want to broaden the dysfunctional program’s scope. Among other things, they want to build a third missile defense installation, which the Pentagon has not requested. They also want to develop a space-based defense system, despite the fact that a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that one with only a limited capability would still cost at least $300 billion.

Some even want to resurrect the idea of a building a missile shield that would defend the nation from a massive attack. The 1999 National Missile Defense Act called for deploying an “effective” system that would protect the United States from a “limited” nuclear attack. It was purposely defined that way to avoid provoking Russia or China into expanding their nuclear forces as a counterweight. The current fiscal 2017 draft defense authorization bill in the Senate includes an amendment proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would delete the word “limited” from the legislation. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) went even further in the House version of the 2017 authorization bill, tacking on an amendment that would strip both “limited” and “effective” from the 1999 law.

“Given the missile defense system’s sorry track record, it would be reckless to expand it,” said Grego, “not to mention the fact that it would only serve to exacerbate tensions with China and Russia. What Congress needs to do now is demand accountability, not promote a technologically and economically unrealistic pipe dream. And that means putting the missile defense system back under rigorous oversight. We still have serious doubts it would ever work in a real-world situation, but until there’s some accountability, we will never know.”

Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Babylon the Great Continues Her Nuclear Posturing

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U.S. Nuclear Posturing Continues to Escalate

Rose Blanchard, Meghan McCall and Geoff Wilson

THAAD stirs up tensions –The U.S. military started installing a controversial antimissile defense system in South Korea overnight Tuesday, triggering protests and sparking criticism that it was rushing to get the battery in place before the likely election of a president who opposes it,” writes Anna Fifield for The Washington Post. “The sudden and unannounced move came only six days after the U.S. military command in South Korea secured the land to deploy the system, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.”

–“Beijing has vehemently protested the deployment, apparently concerned that the system’s powerful radar could be used to keep tabs on China, and it has imposed painful economic boycotts on South Korean companies in response. ‘The deployment of THAAD in South Korea will destroy the strategic balance in the region and bring about a further increase in tensions,’ Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters Wednesday in Beijing. ‘The Chinese side strongly urges the U.S. and South Korea to cancel the deployment and withdraw the equipment.’” Full article here.

Tweet – @38NorthNK: “Hey, US! Are you friends or occupying troops?” protests against THAAD continue in South Korea via @YonhapNews english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/…

See also – “Nuclear Mad Men” by Daryl Kimball for Arms Control Today here.

US Minuteman III test in Pacific – “An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched just after midnight Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of an operational test to show the country’s nuclear deterrent capability, according to the U.S. Air Force,” writes Veronica Rocha for the Los Angeles Times. “The missile, which was equipped with a non-explosive payload that recorded flight data, traveled 4,200 miles to a test range in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to the Air Force.”

Take action – Ready to restore checks and balances to the nuclear codes? Inspired by the legislation proposed by Rep. Ted Lieu and Sen. Ed Markey, Ploughshares Fund, along with sixteen other public interest groups, has created a new petition urging Congress to keep America safe by preventing any U.S. President from unilaterally launching a nuclear weapon. Sign and share the petition today.

–“Col. Chris Moss, Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing commander, said the test launch was ‘an important demonstration of our nation’s nuclear deterrent capability.’” For the full article, click here.

Sec. Perry’s Cold War redux – I lived most of my adult life during the Cold War, and, throughout, I never lost sight of one overwhelming reality — at any time, the Cold War could turn hot, resulting in the extinction of our civilization. Now, inexplicably, we are recreating many of the conditions of the Cold War. In fact, I believe that, today, the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe is actually greater than it was during the Cold War,” writes William Perry for The Hill. “We seem determined to replay the Cold War arms race, with costs estimated at more than $1 trillion — with predictably terrible dangers. Have we simply forgotten the immense dangers of the Cold War?”

–“A chilling return to Cold War nuclear dangers in addition to the more recent possibilities of nuclear terrorism and regional nuclear conflicts lead me to conclude that the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War. One thing is very clear: our policies are totally inadequate for dealing with these existential dangers. It should be the highest priority for this administration to develop policies that recognize this new reality, and then to devise new, robust programs that can mitigate them.” For the full article, click here.

Calm the beat – “The drums of war are threatening to drown out the whispers of diplomacy with North Korea. Lost in the reverberations is the fact that Pyongyang is willing to negotiate — though not on US terms,” writes Leon V. Sigal for The Boston Globe. He argues that Pyongyang’s strategy has always been to play superpowers off of each other to minimize dependence on any single country.

–“An improvement in US relations to reduce dependence on China remains Kim’s strategy. As initial steps, he may be willing to suspend his missile and nuclear programs in return for a scaling down of US joint exercises with South Korea and other reciprocal measures to address their security concerns. The only way out of this predicament is for Washington to resume talks with Pyongyang. And meanwhile, muffle those war drums.” For the full article, click here.

Tweet – @Cirincione: There are no military options in Korea. We should stop pretending that there are. http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/north-korea-u-s-military-options

Still not the time to invest in blast doors – “North Korea will soon have the capability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the contiguous United States, foreign-policy analysts and government insiders say,” writes Evan Bush for The Seattle Times. “Seattle is viewed as a logical target because of the city’s dense population, booming high-tech industry, nearby military bases and relative proximity to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.”

–But Joe Cirincione reassures: “‘Deterrence works for North Korea, like it does any country… You drop a bomb on Seattle, North Korea’s toast… “What would they gain by hitting Seattle? Why would they do this? The only thing you can come up with is madness. Is North Korea mad? … Ruthless, brutal, immoral … [but] all this crazy stuff Kim Jong Un is doing is serving his interest,’ Cirincione said of the North Korean autocrat and his desire to stay in power.” Full article here.

Tweet – @ColinKahl: As Trump uses tough talk & brinksmanship to pressure NK, it could produce leverage…or lead to miscalculation & war http://cnn.it/2pk7YZ5

Watch: Director of Programs at Ploughshares on DPRK discuss Trump’s approach on North Korea here.

See also – “The ‘axis of evil’ is back” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky for CNN here.

Shackling Iranian nukes requires JCPOA “By undermining implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — a viable, verified, and sound agreement that blocks Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — President Trump risks removing the shackles from Tehran’s nuclear efforts,” writes Jon Wolfsthal for Defense One. “We’ve been down that road before; instead of preserving and strengthening the Agreed Framework with North Korea, Bush freed Pyongyang to keep working on nuclear weapons that could eventually reach American territory.”

–“If the Trump administration is to challenge Iran’s dangerous actions, it has to prioritize those steps it most wants to prevent Iran from taking. Going nuclear should rise to the top of that list, and that priority should inform both the tone and substance of the Iran policy review now underway. By keeping the JCPOA on track, the Trump administration can both take on Iran more effectively and prevent some future administration from dealing with a more dangerous nuclear-armed adversary, something many wish had happened under George W. Bush with respect to North Korea.” Full article here.

See also – “Iran Deal Is More Popular Than Ever, Poll Shows” by Cameron Easley for Morning Consult here.

Job Announcement – Ploughshares Fund seeks applicants for a competitive, one-year paid position as a Roger L. Hale Fellow. The Fellow works primarily with the policy (analysis/advocacy) team to conduct research on current nuclear weapons-related topics, monitor government policy, and write for publication on the Ploughshares Fund website and other venues. The Fellow will be based in the Washington, DC office of Ploughshares Fund. For details, click here.

Quick Hits

–“Trump administration talks tough on North Korea, but frustrated lawmakers want details” by David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe for the Washington Post here.

–Listen: “Special North Korea Briefing for US Senators” ft. Jon Wolfsthal for BBC Newshour here.

–“A Paradigm Shift in North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Development?” by Young-Keun Chang for 38North here.

–“Iran’s top diplomat says you should ignore Trump’s comments on the nuke deal” by Adam Taylor for The Washington Post here.

–“White House Intervened to Toughen Letter on Iran Nuclear Deal” by Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee for The Wall Street Journal here.

Events

–“Toward a Fundamental Change in Nuclear Weapons Policy” Soka Gakkai International-USA. Thursday April 27, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the United States Capitol Visitor Center – Congressional Meeting Room South (CVC-217). Details here.

–Markey-Lieu Press Conference on the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons” Bill. Wednesday May 3, 2017 from 12:00p.m.-1:00p.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562. Details and RSVP here.

–“Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War.” Featuring: Joe Cirincione, William Hartung, Elaine Scarry, and others. Massachusetts Peace Action. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Saturday May 6, 2017, 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m. MIT Room 34-101, 50 Vassar St, Cambridge, MA 02139. Details here.

–“Debate: Modernization of Nuclear Missiles.” Hosted by Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and Ploughshares Fund. Featuring: Jon Wolfsthal, Christine Parthemore, General C. Robert Kehler (Ret.) and Heather Williams. Tuesday May 23, 2017, 4:30p.m.-7:00p.m. at CSIS Headquarters 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. Details here.

–“The Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Saturday, June 17, 2017, 12:00p.m.-4:00p.m. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Greenmarket, 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Details here.

–“PONI 2017 Summer Conference.” The first conference of the 2017-2018 PONI Conference Series will be held June 21-22 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Center for Global Security Research in Livermore, California. The two-day conference will feature a series presentations from emerging nuclear experts, a keynote address, tours of facilities at Lawrence Livermore, and a breakout discussion on nuclear terrorism adapted from a ministerial-level scenario that will led by Corey Hinderstein and Heather Looney from NNSA. The conference will be off-the-record

America Prepares For Nuclear War

An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been launched from a US Air Force base in California to ensure its “effectiveness, readiness and accuracy,” and demonstrate “national nuclear capabilities,” according to the US military.

The Minuteman III missile test comes amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with a carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson approaching North Korean waters. However, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Global Strike Command says the test was planned in advance and is not connected with the situation in North Korea, and the launches happen on regular basis, according to the Washington Examiner.

The launch is scheduled on Wednesday between 12:01am to 6:01am (0701GMT to 1301GMT) from North Vandenberg Air Force Base, according to the 30th Space Wing, which is conducting the test.

“These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities,” the commander of the unit, Colonel John Moss, said in a statement.

The test launch is aimed at validating and verifying “the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system,” according to the Air Force Global Strike Command.

Despite the fact that the US military denied all connections of the launch with the tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, the drills have raised concerns and received criticism from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. The organization accused the US of a “clear double standard,” and advocated for “diplomacy rather than military provocations,” said the foundation president, David Krieger, as cited by the Los Angeles Times.

“It views its own tests as justified and useful, while it views the tests of North Korea as threatening and destabilizing,” Krieger said, also warning of increasing danger of such moves.

He also tweeted that nuclear-capable missile tests are simply a waste of money.

 

 

However, the “lethal and ready” capability of the ICBM was praised as a signal for the US enemies following its successful simulated electronic firing on April 11.

“The Simulated Electronic Launch of a Minuteman III ICBM is a signal to the American people, our allies, and our adversaries that our ICBM capability is safe, secure, lethal and ready,” the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Deane Konowicz, said in a statement.

Minuteman III ballistic missiles were initially deployed in 1970 and are approaching the end of their useful lifespan of 60 years. Washington has recently launched a massive trillion-dollar program to modernize, support, and maintain its nuclear air-land-sea triad, which also includes Ohio-class submarines and B-52 strategic bombers, over the next 30 years.

Babylon The Great To Show Her Might

Air Force to test intercontinental missile Wednesday: report

The Air Force will test launch a nuclear-tip capable intercontinental ballistic missile from California on Wednesday, according to a new report.

The scheduled trial of the Minuteman III comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, The Washington Examiner said Tuesday. Though an Air Force Global Strike Command spokeswoman told The Examiner the event was planned roughly a year in advance and has no link with North Korea.

The Air Force said the launch would come from Vandenberg Air Force base in California.

Air Force Global Strike Command will oversee the test, the Examiner added, which is meant to illustrate America’s nuclear capabilities.

“These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities,” Col. John Moss, the 30th Space Wing Commander who will order the launch, said in a statement.

The Minuteman was last tested in February, Air Force Global Strike Command added, with the weapon typically getting four trials annually.

The U.S. and North Korea are increasingly at odds over the latter’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing.

Reports emerged Monday that a nuclear-powered U.S. Navy submarine would arrive in South Korea Tuesday.

The USS Michigan reportedly docked in the port city of Busan in a movement one U.S. defense official on Monday described as a show of force.

North Korea attempted but failed to launch a ballistic missile from its east coast earlier this month, stoking fears from its neighbors in the Pacific.

President Trump has repeatedly urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to help settle tensions in the region.

The Cost of Obama’s Nuclear Deal

Obama Lied, Americans Died: Released Iranians Tied to Terror, Nuclear Proliferation

“Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal,” Politico’s Josh Meyer reports.

The seven men released on that day as a “humanitarian” gesture were deeply tied to Iran’s nuclear arms efforts, and one was connected with procurement for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that killed American soldiers in Iraq.

“They didn’t just dismiss a bunch of innocent business guys,” a former federal law enforcement supervisor who was centrally involved in the hunt for Iranian arms traffickers and nuclear smugglers told Politico. “And then they didn’t give a full story of it.”

Politico noted that federal prosecutors and agents were shocked and furious when they learned of the release; many of them had reportedly spent years, others decades, “working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders both to obtain crucial materials for Tehran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs and, in some cases, to provide dangerous materials to other countries.”

Politico wrote:

Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran.

But that was not all.

Politico also noted that “in a series of unpublicized court filings, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other men, all of them fugitives.”

Those fugitives had allegedly sought to lease Boeing aircraft for an Iranian airline that authorities believe supported Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

Another, Behrouz Dolatzadeh, was reportedly charged with conspiring to buy thousands of U.S.-made assault rifles and illegally import them into Iran.

Amin Ravan was charged with smuggling U.S. military antennas to Hong Kong and Singapore for use in Iran. According to Politico, he was also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans. “U.S. authorities also believe he was part of a procurement network providing Iran with high-tech components for an especially deadly type of IED used by Shiite militias to kill hundreds of American troops in Iraq,” Politico wrote.

The report also found that Obama’s Iran deal destroyed counter-proliferation efforts that ultimately made Iran’s path to nuclear arms easier.

Breitbart News has reported on new findings out of Iran indicating that the Iranian regime is violating the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the formal name for the nuclear deal, by covertly developing nuclear material near the “off-limits” Parchin military site.

According to the Politico investigation, some current and former officials believe Loretta Lynch, who served as the nation’s top law enforcement official at the time, “failed in her responsibility as attorney general to protect the integrity of the Justice Department’s investigations and prosecutions from any political interference.”

At the same time, Lynch was allegedly also protecting then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from an email scandal that contributed to her devastating loss on Election Day 2016.

President Donald Trump has called the Iran deal the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

As it turns out, he may have been right.

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