Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump's speech "warning" North Korea evokes coming perils which Trump may not fully understand (hint: Milo)


NBC News has published Donald Trump’s first United Nations speech here. Trump also slammed Iran (the object of the movie "American Assassin" which I saw today) and Venezuela. The North Korean delegation walked out. 
   
Everybody is talking about the “Rocket Man” threat.  I guess we don’t need to run it further into the ground.  CNN calls this global Trumpism, shattering international norms.  Every country is for itself.  Remember history class in high school?  Remember that essay question on explaining mercantilism?  (I got 15 points off out of 20 in 11th grade on that.)

CNN reports that the "Rocket Man" metaphor has been added to the teleprompter, and that the phrase had come from the British periodical "The Economist". There is also a song by Elton John.
  
To put things bluntly, there are advanced “bunker buster” tactical weapons (including nuclear 4th Generation) that could take out most or all of Un’s missile silos very quickly.  The biggest danger to the US sounds like a level 1 EMP from a missile or maybe a satellite. South Korea could be bombarded with conventional artillery (for a few hours at least) and another level 1 EMP.  Does the US evacuate the South first? Maybe its own citizens? 
  

I think it pays to tweet “@realDonaldTrump” and urge caution.  He actually reads individual people even if he hates the establishment media.



We want diplomacy to work. But down the road (despite Fareed Zakaria’s claims about Un’s “rationality”) we could face the dominoes – demands that the US pull out of defending South Korea completely.  A grave sign would be a missile launch (or even a satellite) that actually does detonate something.  That would ratchet up the immediate risk to the continental U.S. very suddenly. The 2014 Sony hack shows that Un can lose his temper (as can Trump)  -- remember Google’s joke about defending free speech in Seth Rogen (and James Franco) movies?  What if Milo Yiannopoulos fat-shames Kim Jong Un on Breitbart or on his own site.  It sounds so perverse: Un actually gained weight to look like his grandfather, as if this would make his people worship him.  It seemed to work, more fully than any domestic religious cult here (even James Jones).  The idea of doing this sounds unthinkable in the West.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dream Act's paradox about "legality"; Army refusing to process immigrant recruits


In the wake of Trump’s waffling policies on DACA, Army recruiters have stopped trying to recruit well-qualified immigrants, writes Alex Horton in the Washington Post Saturday, p. A3, link here

Many existing tentative contracts have been cancelled.

Here's a copy of the proposed Dream Act (S. 1615) right now.  David Bier of Cato points out that the bill would actually favor “illegality”, as paradox.

Friday, September 15, 2017

No, our missile defense is not what it needs to be; Reuters mentions EMP; so does BBC


The “mainstream” media has finally mentioned EMP again, at least in relation to South Korea (as noted by “Resilient Societies) in this Reuters story about Thursday’s intermediate range missile test from Pyongyang that flew over northern Japan, link .  But there was no mention of E1 vs. E3. 



The BBC has a disturbing article by John Marcus from July 4 about the inadequacies of US missile defense today.  We gave up on Star Wars, which Reagan wanted, in the late 1980s with some treaties that ironically are credited for helping bring down the Soviet Union.  But that made us more vulnerable, eventually, to a rogue state like North Korea.  On the other hand, a perfect missile defense could make North Korea’s threats irrelevant. 

Update:  later today

One  more story about the implicit EMP and WMD, perhaps even saboteur threats:  BBC. (Marcus)  Here's another story about missile defense

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Israel ends draft exemption for ultra-orthodox group; transgender serves openly there


The New York Times reports (Isabel Kershner) that Israel’s Supreme Court voided the military conscription exemptions for an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group, p. A9 today, link. 

In Israel, the draft (which includes women) is part of national socialization.  Rand corporation (back in a 1993 study on lifting the ban on gays in the military)  had pointed out that Israel had gradually eliminated an older ban on gays by the early 1990s. 


But here the exemption reminds one of the divisive student deferments from the draft during the Vietnam era. 

Israel allows transgender people to serve openly in the military (and requires it), CNN 

Monday, September 11, 2017

An iPhone drop over North Korea?


Alex Lockie writes on AOL News about a former Navy Seal , Jocko Willnik,who tweeted a “final solution ” for North Korea. “Drop 25 Million iPhones on them, and put satellites over them with free will”'   They'd have to be parachuted in, given the acceleration of gravity. 

Lockie thinks this might work, if ordinary peasants learn they don’t have to eat grass so that Kim can have his nukes.

Here's a Foreign Affairs discussion about what the US can do about DPRK, with Gideon Rose, Ely Ratner, Shelia A. Smith, and Scott Snyder.

Update: Sept. 12

Joby Warrick writes in the Washington Post about how Russian smuggling from Vladivostok gets around the sanctions.  The mere sanctions are likely to lead to North Korean (EMP E1) threats.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wall Street Journal ponders regime change for DPRK while Washington Post publishes dire warning from former CIA official


The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 5 printed an editorial “Options for Removing Kim Jong Un”, link here.   The WSJ had previously explored the topic July 31.  William Cohen, former Defense Secretary under Clinton, has argued that this is the best outcome.

That is not the policy of the Trump administration, of course – despite the “we’ll see” and “fire and fury” rhetoric from Trump. “We are not your enemy” Tillerson says.
  
So then consider the warning from a former CIA acting director, Michael Morell, in the Washington Post this morning. “North Korea may already be able to launch a nuclear attack against the United States”, this morning.  Could a complete oil or trade embargo, if really effective, really tempt DPRK into a nuclear strike if it thinks it has nothing to lose anyway? 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Trump's proposed ban on trade with nations doing business with North Korea could be economically costly to Americans


Apparently President Donald J. Trump would have the power to stop any party in the US from doing business in any country trading with North Korea.

Alexander Smith has a provocative piece for NBC News indicating that this could throw the US economy into severe recession, wipe out many jobs (which Trump has been trying to save)  There might be no iPhone8.  Broken computers might get harder to fix.

Here is the link.

Of course, one wonders why American companies (Apple) can’t move more jobs back home or to more acceptable countries.


It’s not clear if this would just stop with China or move on to other countries.  Would China really bow to such pressure.

This sounds like demanding “sacrifice” from Americans to stop war.  But would it?  Kim Jong Un could feel he’s screwed, waiting until he has a deliverable H-bomb, and attack the US anyway, or try to demand that the US leave the Korean Peninsula by launching missiles that detonate over the Pacific.  This may indeed be the old Domino Theory at work.  Those of us who got drafted during the Vietnam era know this all too well.
  

I rather expect Trump to address the nation on this matter Tuesday. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

North Korea claims to have tested an ICBM ready hydrogen bomb; considerable doubts remain as to credibility of claim; EMP threat reinforced in social media already


Starting Saturday night EDT there have been several provocative reports from North Korea. One is that Kim Jung Un was photographed next to what was claimed by the DPRK to be a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb supposedly miniaturized to fit on a nuclear warhead.

The second was a 6.3 Richter artificial earthquake in North Korea, felt in the South and in northeastern China, which the DPRK intends to suggest as an underground hydrogen bomb test. CNN reports here. It is possible that the underground test was deliberately conducted in a less stable area geologically to create the impression of a bigger blast.  Some observers says that this could have been an enhanced fission device.  It is possible to make a homemade fusion device to generate power (a "garage sun" as Taylor Wilson made as a teen) but not very easy (fortunately) to make a nuclear weapon from it.  


Previously stated concerns need restating.  North Korea has yet to detonate a nuclear device from a missile anywhere.  A particularly dangerous development would be such a detonation over an uninhabited area of the Pacific, possibly at higher altitude (EMP effect for some distance) and then perhaps a demand of US withdrawal from protecting South Korea.  But it is not really proven that the DPRK is capable of such a detonation or is even as close to it as some reports (the DIA in early August) claim.  In the meantime, it sounds very unlikely that the DPRK would carry out its threat against Guam. 

The very best strategy would include making US missile defenses and NORAD as impenetrable as possible (including from submarine launch or clandestine ships that have been hijacked).  Media reports on the reliability of current missile defenses vary, but I worked on this back in 1972 for the Navy!  It has been written that the US-NATO is about a year away from a major technology upgrade
.
President Trump has not filled all his positions in the State Department, and needs to depend on Mattis, Pence, and Tillerson, as well as key Senators and Representatives.  McCain’s recent remarks apply. 

Trump should not be tweeting his response to this.  He may have more to say later Sunday after meetings. 

There are apt comparisons to Iran, which has not been threatening its neighbors the same way.

A Twitter account called "Resilient Societies" claims it will tweet much information about a North Korean EMP threat in the next 24 hours, and warns the established media not to deliberately hide or minimize the threat, Twitter handle.  It's well to remember that Hawaii experienced EMP effects from US hydrogen bomb tests in 1962. These were the Starfish Prime tests in July (article). This ought to be a subtle premonition. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Refugees from Somalia in Kenya camp compete for scholarship in Canada


The Washington Post has a feature story Sunday about Ayan Abdi, one of 5000 refugees from Somalia at a camp in Kenya.  She is competing for a scholarship that would enable her to migrate to Canada.

The heavily illustrated story is by Kevim Sieff, here
  
There is a picture of a blackboard naming the teachers in a secondary school. 
By The original uploader was Mkimemia at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Friday, August 25, 2017

North Korea fires three short range missile tests while Trump is distracted by many other problems.

CNN reports that North Korean spies were caught trying to steal plans and parts for DPRK’s long range missile program in a detailed story by Nick Paton Walsh et al Friday.  The story even shows life in a Ukrainian prison.
  

Today, at about the same time that Hurricane Harvey was exploding into Category 4 as it headed for the south Texas coast, and as Trump signed his transgender ban, and pardoned Sheriff Arpaio, Kim Jung Un took advantage of the distraction to fire three short range missiles into the sea of Japan (story).  All three blew up.  

All this played out on a CNN screen tonight as I was at a happy hour social in Washington DC near GWU.

Update: Aug 28

North Korea fired a single missile over northern Japan today. No info on payload.  Not sure if an ICBM.  CNN story.  If was fired from a populated area near Pyongyang to send the message that a US attack on North Korea would kill many civilians. Trump said "all options are on the table."  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Diplomats in Cuba injured by covert sonic device, a possible future terror threat?


There are disturbing reports of diplomats in Cuba being injured by covert “sonic attacks”, as in this CNN story

The associates showed symptoms of concussion and particularly hearing loss.  The device seems to have emitted a subsonic boom.


The incident is disturbing because it could be another way for a foreign agent to go after an enemy covertly in a western country or the US.  One thinks of Putin’s polonium incident.
  
In 1978, a man kidnapped by left wing radicals in Italy was deafened deliberately by being blasted with classical music through earphones.
  
There are other YouTube videos suggesting that Trump using sonic weapons against North Korea. 
By Jakub Szypulka - Own work, CC BY 4.0, Link

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Reslient Societies" twitter feed warns that Washington Post has broken media blackout on EMP


The Twitter handle Resilient Societies  “The Foundation for Resilient Societies” )  says that the Washington Post broke the unwritten media blackout on talking about EMP with a speculation that North Korea could cause a high altitude blast over Japan (high parabola) and cause temporary power disruption.  It might be more than temporary/    (Mark Fisher and David Nakamura). 

The twitter feed also noted a site “38North   saying Congress knows that a reentry survival is not essential to EMP.

By User:Photocopier - Wikipedia in english, page "High-altitude nuclear explosion", Public Domain, Link

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Terror attack in Spain comes to violent conclusion on in coastal town


NBC News has a detailed account so far of events in Barcelona, Spain and the town of Cambrils, to the south, link here

It appears that this was a complex and coordinated attack.  At least five attackers are dead as of now, as the coastal town was on lockdown.


The attack, like many others in Europe, shows the extreme nihilism of young men (and some women) radicalized into radical Islam and returning from ISIS.

It’s pretty obvious that, at a moral level, the KKK and ISIS are about on the same plane.  Trump could say that.

Wikipedia attribution link for Cambrls by Kuhn, CCSA 3.0 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Washington Post explains how Trump can use the nuclear football, and warns about August 15 particularly as North Korea's "Liberation Day"


The Washington Post has a speculative article, “Who Is Kin Jong Un, and What Will He Decide to Do?” There have been reports about his education in Switzerland, as a boy, where he looks more engaging.  His appearance now seems to be modeled after his grandfather, and does not appeal to me, and probably not to many westerners.  The Post piece by Anna Fifield discusses the speculations about his personality and apparent ruthlessness.  I have to admit that even an independent blogger making fun of him could start an incident.


The Post points out that Tuesday Aug. 15 is Liberation Day (from Japan).  This logically leads to speculation that Un could launch a missile over Japan two days from now.  Given the position of the International Date Line, that means that a volley could occur as early as perhaps 4 PM Monday Aug. 14 EDT. 

The other big date is Monday Aug. 21, when US military exercises start. 
  
It sounds likely that if there is an incident a missile(s) would land in the ocean much farther from Guam or any other populated location than North Korea warned.  There could be a risk that a nuclear detonation at sea could be attempted to make a statement, if the vehicle survives re-entry.  There could be a danger of an EMP strike over some areas, if an explosion at higher altitude was possible.  That idea has been mentioned “in passing” maybe twice on CNN by commentators, but former CIA director James Woolsey has warned that the DPRK can do this from a satellite now. 

Update: Aug 15

The Wall Street Journal reports Kim Jong Un has blinked, feeling pressure from China.  Trump, in NYC in his own suite now, can claim his tough talk worked.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Susan Rice: "It's not too late for North Korea"


Susan Rice, national security adviser from 2013 to 2017 under Obama, does have an op-ed in the New York Times, p. A21, “It’s not too late for North Korea”.  
But Bari Weiss retorts to this column with “Are We All Doomed?” and questions whether people on the East Coast need to be ready to house nuclear refugees (I asked that myself recently on Wordpress). 
  

Jimmy Kimmel keeps making fun of “Drunk Donald Trump’s” threats.