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ALERT The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East
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  1. #3281
    More on the Olympics. I'm harping on this because it's the canary in the coal mine for me.

    Back in Sept, France announced they may not send their team.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/f...-korea-n803751
    (fair use applies)

    French Olympic Team To Skip 2018 Winter Games if North Korea Tensions Continue
    Sep 22 2017, 10:51 am ET

    PARIS — The French Winter Olympics team will not travel to the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea if its security cannot be guaranteed, France's sports minister said Thursday — the first major doubts by a participating nation over the growing North Korean tensions.

    The games organizing body said it is closely monitoring the geopolitical situation with the South Korean government, adding that safety is the top priority.

    Tensions have escalated since North Korea conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3, prompting global condemnation.

    North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un said Friday the North will consider the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to destroy it.

    France's Sports Minister, Laura Flessel, told RTL radio that if the crisis deepened and "our security cannot be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home."

    But she added: "We're not there yet."


    Participants in the Games, the first Winter Olympics hosted by an Asian nation outside Japan, have not previously raised safety concerns publicly.

    The Feb. 9-25 games are being held just 50 miles from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily-armed border. The two countries remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

    "Safety and security is one of the most important aspects of Games preparations," Sung Baik-you, a spokesman for the organizing committee, said Friday in a statement to Reuters.

    South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said the country is pushing to ensure security at the event. In a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach Wednesday, Moon said South Korea is well aware of the concerns.

    The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) said it was working with all the relevant authorities to ensure its athletes would be safe.

    "Each host city presents a unique challenge from a security perspective, and, as is always the case, we are working with the organizers, the U.S. State Department and the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.

    The Chinese Olympic Committee said it had no immediate comment.

    The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), which has representatives in South Korea, said the safety of its team was always its main priority.

    "The safety of our entire Canadian Olympic Team is always our main priority, no matter where the Games are held," the COC said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

    "The Government of Canada does not currently have travel advisories in place for South Korea and recommends that Canadians exercise normal security precautions, which is the lowest of four risk levels."

    The chief of the International Ski Federation, Gian-Franco Kasper, dismissed any fears among athletes, saying the Pyeongchang Olympics would be the "safest in the world."

    He conceded, however, that ticket sales among overseas visitors could be affected.

    The IOC has said it is not contemplating any 'Plan B' for the Games.

    Bach, the IOC President, said last week that considering any scenario other than holding the Olympics in South Korea could hamper diplomatic efforts.

  2. #3282
    The latest news on the US team's participation:

    https://www.aol.com/article/news/201...orea/23300704/
    (fair use applies)

    White House: U.S. working with South Korea to protect Olympic athletes, Trump will weigh in on final decision
    Dec 7th 2017 3:21PM

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders spoke optimistically on Thursday about the plans to send U.S. athletes to the Olympics Winter Games in South Korea early next year, addressing mounting questions over whether or not North Korea's proximity to the event poses a significant security threat.

    Her comments come on the heels of Nikki Haley's admission in an interview on Wednesday that U.S. participation would be “open question” because of recent tension in the area, including a recent test of what North Korean officials claim is the country's most powerful ICBM yet.

    “I think those are conversations we’re going to have to have. But what have we always said? We don’t ever fear anything. We live our lives," Haley, who serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday.

    "The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea," Sanders wrote in a tweet sent on Thursday. "The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues."


    When asked at the regular White House press briefing about the issue, Sanders said "no official decision has been made" about participation and the decision would come closer to the games' start date in early February.

    Sanders also noted that President Donald Trump would "certainly weigh in" on the final decision, which would be reached with the participation of multiple government agencies after addressing security threats to athletes on the ground.

    The United States sent more than 200 athletes to the last Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

    The 2018 Olympics are set to kick off on February 9 in PyeongChang, which lies roughly 50 miles from border with North Korea.

    The United States and South Korea have been engaged in joint military drills this week amid rising tensions in the region. Those exercises come a week after North Korea tested its most powerful ICBM to date, which officials from the country claim is powerful enough to reach U.S. soil.

    North Korea's foreign ministry have said that the drills and "confrontational warmongering" has made war inevitable -- but those same officials have been known for using strong rhetoric in the past.

  3. #3283
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    Anyone else get a "vibe" regarding the Munich games from those two articles?

  4. #3284
    Steve Herman‏Verified account @W7VOA · 2h2 hours ago

    Congressional leaders today at the @White House “agreed on the need for eliminating the defense sequester to deal with the grave national security threats we face,” says @PressSec. – at The White House

  5. #3285
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    Quote Originally Posted by northern watch View Post
    Steve Herman‏Verified account @W7VOA · 2h2 hours ago

    Congressional leaders today at the @White House “agreed on the need for eliminating the defense sequester to deal with the grave national security threats we face,” says @PressSec. – at The White House
    November Sierra Batman...

  6. #3286
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    Quote Originally Posted by Housecarl View Post
    November Sierra Batman...
    No Such ?

    I’ve got Whiskey Tango Foxtrot down pat.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Razor sharpening while you wait - Occam
    If it works, it doesn't have enough features. - Windows 10 design philosophy.
    Forget the beer, I'm just here for the doom!
    Humans, just a tool for amino acids to make Swiss watches.

  7. #3287
    Join Date
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    In CLE again
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    "No Shinola" or rather "No $#!Г"...
    Mookie War Creed
    "I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."
    Welcome to dar al harab -dar al kufre.


    Gentle reminder: It is entirely possible to think that generalizations are true and to judge each real live person you meet as an individual

  8. #3288
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    S. Korea on alert for N. Korea's provocations

    2017/12/08 10:21

    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news...html?input=rss ALERT The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East

    SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense ministry said Friday North Korea will likely fire more missiles or conduct another nuclear test, as it regards the weapons program as a means of regime survival.

    The assessment came as Defense Minister Song Young-moo hosted a year-end meeting of more than 150 senior commanders nationwide.

    He pointed out that the South's armed forces have maintained a watertight defense posture throughout this year while the North carried out a sixth nuclear test and 15 ballistic missile launches.

    Song and the commanders predicted the North will stick to provocations in a hard-line approach toward the U.S. aimed at increasing its bargaining power, according to the ministry.

    They also took note of the possibility of a tactical provocation by the North such as trespassing across the NLL or another artillery attack as well as terrorism or hacking meant to obstruct an international event here.

    The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic games are scheduled to open in February in the eastern town of South Korea.

    The defense leaders agreed to make all-out efforts to support the successful hosting of the sports event.
    "Apres la Guerre."

  9. #3289
    https://www.nknews.org/2017/12/north...u-s-russian-fm
    (fair use applies)


    North Korea seeking direct talks with U.S.: Russian FM
    Sergey Lavrov says DPRK seeks dialogue with Washington on "security guarantees"

    Dagyum Ji
    December 8th, 2017

    Pyongyang is seeking direct talks with Washington, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday following a meeting with his U.S. counterpart.

    Russia’s top diplomat and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held discussions on the situation on the Korean peninsula at a meeting held on the sidelines of a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    “We know that North Korea wants, first of all, to speak with the United States about its security guarantees,” Lavrov said in a statement carried by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). “We are ready to support it. We are ready to help promote such talks.”

    “Our American colleague, U.S. Secretary of State R. Tillerson, has heard this,” Lavrov said.

    The Russian foreign minister told his U.S. counterpart that Moscow’s position on the issue of the Korean peninsula was “unchanged.”

    “We are confident that the vicious spiral of confrontation and provocations must be stopped,” he said.

    Lavrov also expressed his opposition to ongoing joint military drills by Washington and Seoul, urging the U.S. to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomatic channels.

    “Lavrov once again stressed that the escalation of tension, which is resulting from the U.S. military maneuvers conducting on the Korean peninsula and aggressive rhetoric, is unacceptable,” MOFA said in a separate statement on the talks between Lavrov and Tillerson.

    In response to Lavrov’s comments, the U.S. Department of State on Thursday reiterated Washington’s position that resuming talks with Pyongyang can only take place when Pyongyang is “willing to denuclearize,” spokesperson Heather Nauert told media during a press briefing.

    But other high-level officials from the U.S. State Department have in recent months suggested the possibility of resuming dialogue with the North.

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said in October that Washington did not “rule out the possibility of course of direct talks,” and Tillerson has also reaffirmed that U.S. diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue would continue, saying in September that Washington has “lines of communications to Pyongyang.”

    President Donald Trump, however, has said that dialogue with North Korea is not worthwhile and that Tillerson was “wasting his time.”

    Pyongyang’s reported overture comes days after Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov said that the North has “showed interest” in a freeze-for-freeze deal with the U.S. and South Korea, which would see the DPRK suspend nuclear and missile activities in exchange for an agreement by the U.S. and South Korea to pause joint military drills.

    The U.S. and South Korea have consistently rejected the proposal, and in October North Korean state media carried an editorial criticizing the “suspension for suspension” initiative proposed by Beijing as “irresponsible behavior.”

  10. #3290
    More on the Olympics. IOC is inviting NK to the Olympics. Great way to make sure they behave. This is going to be interesting to watch unfold. 1) Will Kim allow the IOC official into NK and meet with him? and 2) will NK send athletes to the Olympics?

    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/nort...002151315.html
    (fair use applies)


    (LEAD) IOC chief apparently seeks to visit N.K. over PyeongChang Olympics: sources
    2017/12/08 11:12


    SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is apparently seeking to visit North Korea to discuss its participation in the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Games, South Korean government sources said Friday.

    But it remains to be seen whether the North will accept his visit at a time when tensions have heightened over its nuclear and missile tests, they added.

    "The IOC is believed to be in talks with North Korea over President Bach's possible trip to Pyongyang for consultations over the North's participation in the PyeongChang Olympics," a source said.

    The IOC has said that it has invited North Korea to participate in the Winter Games, which will be held from Feb. 9-25 in South Korea and that it will offer support if necessary.

    "If Bach's trip is realized, it can be a positive sign for North Korea's participation in the games," another source said. There is also the possibility that a lower-ranking IOC official may visit the North instead of Bach, the official added.

    Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at Seoul's unification ministry, told a press briefing that it has no information about Bach's potential visit.

    North Korea's figure skating tandem Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the Winter Games in September.

    The North missed an Oct. 30 deadline to confirm whether it would send its figure skating pairs team, but the doors are still open for North Korea, as the IOC may grant select North Korean athletes wild-card entries.

    South Korea is also actively pushing for the North's participation as it believes that the move will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

    "The government will consistently make efforts to make the PyeongChang Games a 'Peace Olympics,' including its support provision to the North," Lee said. "We will continue to maintain communications through various channels, including the games' organizer and the global skating body (over the North's participation)."

    Some experts expect that the North may accept Bach's visit, given that it invited a senior U.N. official at the height of tensions sparked by its recent long-range missile test.

    "A visit by a sports official would not be burdensome for North Korea," said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Dongguk University. He said the North probably hopes to break the current stalemate at a time when Washington is sending strong rhetoric against the North.

  11. #3291
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    John Batchelor Show
    6 December 2017
    Taiwan Nuclear Arms Race in Asia is Already Here - Guest Arthur Waldron and Gordon Chang
    https://audioboom.com/posts/6542308-...rss&stitched=1
    https://audioboom.com/posts/6542308-...-thedailybeast
    (13:46)

    The John Batchelor Show

    Taiwan nuclear arms race in Asia is already here. Arthur Waldron @gordongchang @thedailybeast

    Dec 7, 6:13 PM

    12-07-2017

    (Photo: "Baker Shot", part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear test by the United States at Bikini Atoll in 1946)

    http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact

    http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules

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    Taiwan nuclear arms race in Asia is already here. Arthur Waldron @gordongchang @thedailybeast

    The Taiwanese bomb program began in 1967, using the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology’s Institute for Nuclear Energy Research as a cover. In 1969, Canada sold the country a heavy-water nuclear research reactor as a prelude to what it hoped were commercial energy-producing reactor sales—none too soon, as the Trudeau government recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1970. The reactor, known as the Taiwan Research Reactor [6], went critical in 1973, and Taiwan set about creating a stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium.

    Taiwan’s nuclear program was under careful surveillance by the United States, which recognized Taiwan as the rightful Chinese government and protected the country from the mainland. Still, Washington was afraid a Taiwanese bomb would unnecessarily enrage China, and by 1966 took steps to prevent the bomb from happening. Washington ensured that Taiwanese reactors fell under International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines, which would prevent diversion of nuclear fuel for the purposes of building a weapon.

    But the entire point of the program was to build a weapon, and it was inevitable that Taiwan would be caught in the act. In 1975, the CIA reported [7], “Taipei conducts its small nuclear program with a weapon option clearly in mind, and it will be in a position to fabricate a nuclear device after five years or so.” At this point, the United States, Germany, France, Norway and Israel had all supplied assistance. The program had procured heavy water from America and uranium from South Africa.

    In 1976–77, the IAEA inspected the activities at the military-run Institute for Nuclear Energy Research. The IAEA discovered discrepancies in the Taiwanese program, and in 1976, the United States protested the nuclear-weapons program. In response, the island government promised to “henceforth not engage in any activities relating to reprocessing [8].”

    Despite the promise, in 1977 the United States again detected suspicious activities at INER. The U.S. State Department demanded changes to Taiwan’s research program that were more in line with peaceful research than nuclear weapons, but stopped short of demanding Taiwan cease all nuclear research and development. In 1978 the United States yet again detected a covert program, this time a secret uranium-reprocessing program, and forced Taiwan to stop.

    After being caught in the act many times, Taiwan’s nuclear-weapons program went into a period of dormancy. In the mid-1980s, the program was started up again, and INER was detected building a uranium-reprocessing facility that violated the commitments Taiwan made in the 1970s. In December 1987, Col. Chang Hsien-yi, the deputy director of INER and a longtime CIA asset, defected to the United States [9] with proof of Taiwan’s nuclear program. The previously top-secret material was used to confront the Taiwanese government, which ended its nuclear program once and for all in 1988. At the time of Colonel Chang’s defection, Taiwan is thought to have been just one or two years away from a bomb.

    https://scout.com/military/warrior/A...ster-111788968
    =====

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.fpri.org/2017/11/spared-...ns-rearmament/

    Spared a War: Abe’s Victory and Japan’s Rearmament
    Author: Arthur Waldron
    November 28, 2017

    I made my genuine Thanksgiving on October 27. The occasion was Mr. Abe’s crushing victory in the Japanese election; the reason was a genuine, though perhaps erroneous, sense that we had been spared a potentially ghastly war in Asia, by the rebalancing of regional power that victory brought.

    Japan will now start deliberately rearming and aiding her neighbors, with the pace determined by China’s aggressiveness. If China does not abandon her current expansionist territorial policy, but rather attempts nuclear blackmail against her neighbors, at the end of the day, Japan will match that too, with her own nuclear force, checkmating China. This will bring an armed peace.

    Since at least 1995 when she occupied the Philippine Mischief Reef, China has been attempting to expand her territory to include Arunachal Pradesh (“South Tibet” in Beijing’s terminology) in India and islands held by South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and others, as well as to take control of the entire South China Sea, half again bigger than the Mediterranean.

    China calculated that no one would react seriously. She was emerging as the hegemon of Asia; others would recognize this fact (which may not be one) and doff their caps, no more. Certainly, the United States would continue to do nothing. The Obama administration had done effectively nothing while this attempt to transform the Indo-Pacific region was being carried out.

    China is also actively seeking bases in Africa and elsewhere, with a view to controlling the key choke points in the international maritime transport network. This is Griff nach der Weltmacht, with Chinese characteristics. A continuation of such aggressive behavior will almost certainly lead to conflict, escalation, and perhaps general war.

    In 2010, sparks flew at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, as Hillary Clinton delivered a strong verbal condemnation. Then, in 2014, the Philippines filed suit in The Hague, under The Law of the Sea, the authority of which China has ratified and accepted. In 2016, the International Court of Arbitration found that all of China’s actions were illegal. China, however, ignored the decision completely, continuing her expansive policy, assuming that she could divide her opponents, intimidating them above all with her immense military and nuclear capabilities.

    This seemed to work. Rodrigo Duterte, an erratic man, became president of the Philippines, and he began to come to terms with China. It became bad form to mention The Hague’s decision. Having torn up the international court’s decision, China looked set to create a fait accompli by flouting the law to use military intimidation instead.

    The United States began to take serious action with the new administration in office. When President Trump made his highly successful visit to Asia, he did not need to mention security, as an almost unprecedented three Carrier Strike Groups were exercising in the seas nearby, message enough.

    The United States is far away, though, and not trusted by anyone to use nuclear weapons to defend them. That is why the United Kingdom and France, both allies, maintain at great expense their own independent nuclear deterrents. But Japan? She foreswore war in her Constitution. Not only that, the United States presented herself as the “cork in the bottle” that would prevent Japanese armament. The drastic changes that China started unilaterally, assuming Japan would dither, in fact focused that country’s attention.

    With Abe’s victory, we may expect Japan to become normal, which is to say possess a self-sufficient military capability including, if so pressed, nuclear weapons that will deter China and freeze her current policy. A democracy, Japan can move only with the support of her people. China’s threats to her territory, as well as the firing of two North Korean ballistic missiles over the islands, contributed to Abe’s victory. Now, we can expect a carefully calibrated Japanese response that will match China at every stage.

    What does Japan have now? Her self-defense force numbers at about 250,000. At present, she lacks any but defensive armaments. Even so, her advanced technological capabilities mean that she can develop herself any weapon she needs, as good or better as the American systems on which she now largely relies. Japan does not steal technologies. She already has her technologies.

    The jewel in her crown is her small (19) submarine force. The Sōryū is a conventional submarine so stealthy that the highly skilled Japanese anti-submarine forces can find only 5% of them when under way. They regularly sink American carrier escorts (using lasers) in war games. More importantly, as retired Chinese General Liu Yazhou 劉亞洲, an adamant Japanophobe, has warned, in case of naval conflict today, the Japanese submarines could sink the entire Chinese East Sea fleet in four or so hours.[1] (Liu is also an outspoken advocate of democracy). As the Japanese ambassador remarked to this author, “We are a shadow nuclear power.” In other words, it might take them a week to create an arsenal.

    Otherwise, Japan has a slightly obsolescent air force to which U.S. F-35s are being added. More importantly, she has a prototype sixth generation stealth fighter the X-2 “Shinshin.” Cynics say she is building this to force American prices down. That may have been correct in the past, but today she is building it so as to be self-sufficient in aircraft. I believe this will be a superb jet: remember, not until 1943 did the United States field a fighter that could down the Japanese Zero.

    Japan has also been launching “Information Gathering Satellites” since 2003. The most recent, launched earlier this year, is thought to have resolving power far superior to any other nation’s. Japan has enlarged her intelligence service. Particularly in cooperation with Taiwan (below), Japan will achieve intelligence dominance in the region.

    What is missing?

    Japan has only very short-range missiles. Now, however, she has undertaken a program to build a maneuverable missile having sufficient range and payload to pose a severe problem to any adversary, and a 1,000 mile-range missile nicknamed the “Japanese Tomahawk” about which in fact we know very little.

    The Japanese speak of these as counter-strike missiles: in other words, to be used only after being attacked. Nothing, however, prevents their pre-emptive use. Likewise, they are intended to be conventional. Nothing, however, prevents the Japanese from unscrewing a conventional warhead and replacing it with a nuclear weapon.

    In other words, Japan is now on the threshold of becoming a regional great power, not capable of attacking or invading her adversaries, but of paralyzing them by means of her advanced military capabilities. This fact transforms the Asian strategic situation. No longer will China be able to intimidate without fearing retaliation. The Hague decision will be proclaimed as justification, and who can gainsay the legitimacy of that?

    Japan will become an Asian alliance focus in the emerging alliance—“The Quad”—of Australia, the United States, India, and Japan—hammered out, significantly, on the sidelines of this year’s ASEAN conference in Manila, so far China’s chief target. Also, she will become a non-U.S. source of advanced weaponry.

    This last point—weapons supply—is particularly significant with respect to Taiwan. United States policy has always been to keep Taiwan weak enough that China can imagine conquest, yet fulfill the letter of the Taiwan Relations Act which requires us to supply defensive armament, by selling mostly obsolete or unwanted systems at great profit to our defense contractors. In fact, the loss of Taiwan, while it would be a crime against humanity, would not affect American security.

    It would, however, mortally threaten Japan, whose main islands are 800 miles away, while her closest small island, Yonaguni, is less than 70 miles from the east coast of Taiwan. Japan and Taiwan are part of the same mostly submerged ocean mountain range. So we may expect Japan and Taiwan to cooperate in whatever ways are necessary to keep China at bay. If we continue to seek to please China even as we supply Taiwan with inadequate equipment, we may expect Japanese systems to fill the gap—submarines, naval vessels, state of the art aircraft. Not to mention close intelligence cooperation. Taiwan is often thought of as an American issue. Look at the map, though. It is a Japanese issue.

    Finally, we must speak of diplomacy. Japan is widely distrusted, though this is perhaps a myth. Even South Korea, which was tortured brutally by Japan during the period she was a colony (1910-1945), maintains a high level of day to day security interaction with Tokyo. Japan’s diplomatic prowess is often underestimated, in part because she conceals it. But, particularly if aided by the United States and other “Quad” powers, she will show great effectiveness. “The Quad,” which China never imagined but was instrumental in creating as a counterbalance to her aggression, is more than a sufficient counterweight.

    Note that China has created this situation for herself. She has no real allies: does anyone expect Russia or Pakistan to go to war on her behalf? Rather, by making such vast territorial claims from India to Japan (with the Russian Primorskii Krai, which controls the Pacific coast of Eurasia from Korea north on deck as the next), she has alienated, effectively, all her neighbors—here I include unstable Pakistan and opportunistic Russia—creating what political scientists would call a “countervailing coalition.”

    Our greatest 19th century general, Winfield Scott, might have called it “an anaconda” that China has created, but in the toils of which she now finds herself. This entanglement will render impossible China’s miscalculated policies.

    Note too that without China’s aid or at least acquiescence, North Korea would not be able to command the attention or elicit the fear that she does now. She is a dependent variable in this larger change, which will undermine and weaken her. South Korea is furthermore high on the list of nuclear capable states.

    Actions elicit equal and opposite reactions, so Newton states. Clausewitz notes that unlike physical reactions, those in conflict, being the product of the human mind, are entirely unpredictable. When she set out on her ill-conceived expansion program, China wrote off both Japan and the United States. Now, they are at the heart of the game.

    Of course, all of this could go wrong. The possibility of a war worse than any in history erupting in Asia remains with us. The developments outlined here, however, render that less and less likely, while a cold and peaceful standoff looks more realistic.

    If such should turn out to be the case, we may date its onset from the Japanese election that has brought Abe to complete power. Now, our task is to create an alliance with Japan such as the late Ambassador Hisahiko Okazaki always advocated—as close as ours with the United Kingdom.

    So let us celebrate a war that I believe has been averted!

    [1] 流亞洲 ”日本4 小時內 ‘清空’中國東海艦隊” in當代世界 October 2015, http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzA3...CUBEgPeO034#rd, p. 1.
    Last edited by Housecarl; 12-08-2017 at 01:34 AM. Reason: added time of podcast length and write-up from interview

  12. #3292
    UN's Feltman has left NK, didn't meet with Kim himself.


    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news...001451315.html
    (fair use applies)

    (LEAD) N. Korea agrees to communicate regularly with U.N. at various levels
    2017/12/09 12:54

    SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has agreed to communicate regularly with the United Nations at various levels, Pyongyang's state media said Saturday, following a visit by a senior U.N. official.

    North Korea said that the visit of Jeffrey Feltman, the undersecretary general for political affairs at the U.N., helped the communist nation and U.N. understand each other deeply, and the two sides agreed to have regular communications at various levels, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

    "Recognizing that the present visit of the UN under-secretary-general contributed to deepening the understanding between the DPRK and the UN Secretariat, both sides agreed on putting the communication through visits at different level on a regular basis in the future," the KCNA said. DPRK is the abbreviation for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Feltman arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a four-day visit. He met North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and visited U.N. project sites amid heightened tensions sparked by the North's Nov. 29 test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that it claims is capable of striking anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

    The KCNA reported that North Korea told U.N. officials that current situation on the Korean Peninsula is due to the United States' threat and its wish to launch a nuclear attack against North Korea first.

    The U.N. officials responded that they will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula by following the U.N. Charter, which states the organization's mission of maintaining international peace and security, the KCNA added.

    According to the KCNA, Feltman recognized international sanctions against North Korea are having a negative influence on humanitarian aid there. He visited a children's food factory and a hospital in Pyongyang on Thursday.

    "The U.N. undersecretary general expressed his intention to strive for cooperation in keeping with the humanitarian mission," the KCNA said.

    Feltman, meanwhile, left Pyongyang on a North Korean Air Koryo passenger jet and landed in Beijing on Saturday.

    Jeffrey Feltman (C), U.N. undersecretary general for political affairs, holds talks with North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong-guk in Pyongyang on Dec. 6, 2017, in this photo released by the Associated Press. (Yonhap)

    (END)

  13. #3293

    4

    https://www.nknews.org/2017/12/north...ypes-revealed/
    (fair use applies)

    North Korean plans for two new satellite types revealed
    DPRK space administration unveils desire to launch new satellites to Russian visitor

    Khrustalev Vladimir
    December 8th, 2017

    I visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for a one week period between the 13 and 20 November, during which I got a chance to do something truly amazing: to engage in discussions with representatives of the National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) of the DPRK on November 19.

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to immediately disclose information about these discussions after returning to Russia, but now I can officially tell readers about it.

    Korean representatives of the organization – which is responsible for the development of prospective programs in the fields of space exploration and space vehicle development – such as head of the department Kim Jong O and head of section Kim Chol, took part in this meeting.

    Kwangmyongsong satellites

    Currently, NADA’s plan for 2017 is being completed. The main purpose of this plan is to develop two new satellites. The first is an Earth remote exploration-satellite which weighs “over 100kg” and has a scanning resolution of “several meters.”

    Although this satellite belongs to the category of 100-1000 kg equipment, an interesting detail should be noted about it. It was stated that the weight of the Kwangmyongsong 3-2 satellite is 100 kg, while Kwangmyongsong 4 was stated to have a weight of “over 100 kg.”

    The second satellite is much more interesting. This is a communication satellite which works on a geostationary Earth orbit and weighs over 1000 kg.

    I asked twice, and I was given an affirmative answer: I was told that a geostationary orbit will be used, and that the satellite weight will comprise over 1000kg. As I understood things, this might mean that the satellite may weigh well over a ton, even as much as two or three tons.

    In any case, the proposed satellite weight and geostationary orbit will signify a completely different level of perspective to DPRK programs than the outside world is currently accustomed to thinking.

    This might also include programs related to space rockets. But when it came to my questions about missiles, I was given a simple answer: my partners in conversation have nothing to do with them.

    I also asked them about different past announcements regarding sending spacecraft into orbit or even to the surface of the moon. It seems that the main tasks for the years to come are so far related to the completion of application space programs for the practical needs of the country.

    Motivation, equipment and personnel

    It should, in particular, be noted that I was repeatedly told during the conversation that the space program is friendly in nature. Here I must agree with my partners in conversation as for when Pyongyang announced that it was going to be launching satellites, it really did so.

    The story surrounding the satellite launch in the spring of 2012 played a significant role in contributing to geopolitical turbulence surrounding the DPRK at that time. At that time the North Korean side announced a moratorium on the launch of military missiles, but reported plans to launch a space rocket.

    Foreign media were admitted to the space launch facility and significant information about the upcoming launch was made public. But in response to their openness and concessions, new bans and sanctions were received. The DPRK learned its lesson.

    Nevertheless, the DPRK greatly needs space services and information, including from a purely civilian perspective. At the same time, their space programs should not be viewed upon simply as some kind of whim. Even the USSR experience clearly shows that for each ruble invested in Earth remote sensing systems, which were at least partially related to civil needs, at least five to seven rubles worth of positive effects resulted for the Soviet economy.

    Land inventory, forecasting of crops and natural disasters, improving fishing efficiency, and a sustainable national space communication system are still to be achieved in the DPRK. But on the one hand, the country is deprived of normal free access to many commercial space services. And on the other hand, satellite launches are much cheaper for the country than Westerners think. Therefore, this is a cost-effective and expedient measure.

    When it also comes to equipment, I was able to clarify some things. I was told that the space industry is undergoing “juchefication.” This means maximum technological support for their own scientific and industrial base in terms of equipment and components. The systems for tracking space objects, including special radars, are designed and produced independently.

    Cadre Personnel are represented in the main educational institutions which train space industry specialists such as at the Kim II Sung University and Kim Chaek University of Technology. And I was told that there are already certain sections and departments, which directly train specialists to perform work in the field of space industry.

    Analysis of the success of both the military missile and nuclear programs of the DPRK unambiguously indicates that Pyongyang has every chance to successfully realize its space plans in the foreseeable future, no matter how unrealistic they would seem to foreign skeptics.

  14. #3294
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    For links, images and graphs, please see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://allthingsnuclear.org/dwright/...-of-hwasong-15

    Reentry of North Korea’s Hwasong-15 Missile

    David Wright, co-director and senior scientist | December 7, 2017, 2:53 pm EST

    Photos of the Hwasong-15 missile North Korea launched on its November 29 test suggest it is considerably more capable than the long-range missiles it tested in July. This missile’s length and diameter appear to be larger by about 10 percent than July’s Hwasong-14. It has a significantly larger second stage and a new engine in the first stage that appears to be much more powerful.

    While we are still working through the details, this strongly implies that North Korea could use this missile to carry a nuclear warhead to cities throughout the United States. A final possible barrier people are discussing is whether Pyongyang has been able to develop a reentry vehicle that can successfully carry a warhead through the atmosphere to its target, while protecting the warhead from the very high stresses and heat of reentry.

    Here are my general conclusions, which I discuss below:
    1. North Korea has not yet demonstrated a working reentry vehicle (RV) on a trajectory that its missiles would fly if used against the United States.
    2. However, there doesn’t appear to be a technical barrier to building a working RV, and doing so is not likely to be a significant challenge compared to what North Korea has already accomplished in its missile program.
    3. From its lofted tests, North Korea can learn significant information needed for this development, if it is able to collect this information.
    4. While the United States put very significant resources into developing sophisticated RVs and heatshields, as well as extensive monitoring equipment to test them, that effort was to develop highly accurate missiles, and is not indicative of the effort required by North Korea to develop an adequate RV to deliver a nuclear weapon to a city.

    The Hwasong-15 RV
    When the photos appeared after North Korea’s November 29 missile launch, I was particularly interested to see the shape of the front of the missile, which gives information about the reentry vehicle (RV). The RV contains the warhead and protects it on its way to the ground. It appears the Hwasong-15 is carrying an RV that is considerably wider and blunter than that on the Hwasong-14 (Fig. 1).


    Fig. 1. The RVs for the Hwasong-14 (left) and Hwasong-15 (right), roughly to scale. (Source: KCNA)

    This fact has several implications. A blunter RV can clearly accommodate a larger diameter warhead, and the warhead can sit farther forward toward the nose of the RV. This moves the center of mass forward and makes the RV more stable during reentry. (This drawing shows how the cylindrical nuclear weapon in the US Titan RV, which was roughly the same size and shape, although much heavier, than the Hwasong-15 RV may be.)

    A blunter nose on the Hwasong-15 RV also helps protect it from high atmospheric forces and heating during reentry. Here’s why:

    As the RV enters the atmosphere, drag due to the air acts as a braking force to slow it down, and that braking force puts stress on the warhead. At the same time, much of the kinetic energy the RV loses as it slows down shows up as heating of the air around the RV. Some of that heat is transferred from the air to the RV, and therefore heats up the warhead. If the stress and/or heating are too great they can damage the RV and the warhead inside it.

    A blunter RV has higher drag and slows down in the thin upper parts of the atmosphere more than does a slender RV, which continues at high speed into the thick lower parts of the atmosphere. This results in significantly less intense stress and heating on the blunter RV. In addition to that, a blunt nose creates a broad shock wave in front of the RV that also helps keep the hot air from transferring its heat to the RV.

    Fig. 2. This shows two low-drag RVs being placed on a Minuteman III missile, which can carry three RVs. (Source: US Air Force).

    A rough estimate shows that if the RVs had the same mass and flew on the same trajectory, the peak atmospheric forces and heating experienced by an RV similar in shape to the Hwasong-14 nosecone in Fig. 1 would be roughly four or more times as great as that experienced by a blunter Hwasong-15 RV; those on a modern US RV, like that on the Minuteman III missile (Fig. 2), might be 20 times as large as on the Hwasong-15 RV.

    The tradeoff of having a blunt warhead is that when the RV travels more slowly through the atmosphere it reduces its accuracy. In order to get very high accuracy with its missiles, the United States spent a tremendous amount of effort developing highly sophisticated heatshields that could withstand the heating experienced by a slender, low-drag RV.

    For North Korea, the decrease in accuracy due to a blunt RV is not particularly important. The accuracy of its long-range missiles will likely be tens of kilometers. That means that it would not use its missiles to strike small military targets, but would instead strike large targets like cities. For a large target like that, the reduction in accuracy due to a blunt RV is not significant.

    What could North Korea learn from its recent test?
    Press stories report US officials as saying that the reentry vehicle on North Korea’s November 29 test “had problems” and “likely broke up” during reentry. If true, this implies that the RV used on this flight could not withstand the strong drag forces as the RV reached low altitudes.

    It’s worth noting that the drag forces on the RV during reentry on the lofted trajectory would be more than twice as great as they would be on a standard trajectory of 13,000 km range flown by the same missile (Fig. 3). This is because on the flatter trajectory, the RV flies through a longer path of thin air and therefore slows down more gently than on the lofted trajectory. It is therefore possible the RV might survive if flown on a standard trajectory, but North Korea has not yet demonstrated that it would.

    However, given the estimated capability of the Hwasong-15 missile, North Korea appears to have the option of strengthening the RV, which would increase its mass somewhat, and still be able to deliver a warhead to long distances.

    Fig. 3. This figure shows the atmospheric forces on the RV with altitude as it reenters, for the highly lofted test on November 29 (black curve) compared to the same missile flying a 13,000 km standard trajectory (a minimum-energy trajectory, MET). The horizontal axis plots the product of the atmospheric density and square of the RV speed along its trajectory, which is proportional to the drag force on the RV. The calculations in all these figures assume a ballistic coefficient of the RV of 100 lb/ft2 (5 kN/m2). Increasing the ballistic coefficient will increase the magnitude of the forces and move the peaks to somewhat lower altitudes, but the comparative size of the curves will remain similar.

    The situation is similar with heating of the RV. The last three columns of Fig. 4 compare several measures of the heating experienced by the RV on the lofted November 29 test to what would be experienced by the same RV on a 13,000 km-range missile on a standard trajectory (MET).

    Fig. 4. A comparison of RV forces and heating on the November 29 test and on a 13,000 km-range trajectory, assuming both missiles have the same RV and payload. A discussion of these quantities is given in the “Details” section below.

    These estimates show that the maximum heating experienced on the lofted trajectory would be about twice that on a standard trajectory, but that total heat absorbed by the RV on the two trajectories would be roughly the same. Because the heating occurs earlier on the RV on the standard trajectory than on the lofted trajectory, that heat has about 130 seconds to diffuse through the insulation of the RV to the warhead, while the heat on the lofted trajectory diffuses for about 80 seconds (Fig. 5). This somewhat longer time for “heat soak” can increase the amount of heat reaching the warhead, but North Korea would put insulation around the warhead inside the RV, and the heat transfer through insulators that North Korea should have access to is low enough that this time difference is probably not significant.

    Fig. 5: This figure shows how the heating rate of the RV surface varies with time before impact on the lofted and standard trajectory. The areas under the curves are proportional to the total heat absorbed by the RV, and is only about 20% larger for the MET. The vertical axis plots the product of the atmospheric density and the cube of the RV speed along its trajectory, which is proportional to the heating rate on the RV.

    Fig. 6 shows heating on the two trajectories with altitude.

    Fig. 6. This figure shows the heating of the RV with altitude as it reenters.

    These results show that if North Korea were able to demonstrate that its RV could survive the peak drag forces and heating on a lofted trajectory, it should also be able to survive those on a standard trajectory. As noted above, the estimated capability of the Hwasong-15 missile suggests North Korea would be able to increase the structural strength of the RV and its heat shielding and still be able to deliver a warhead to long distances.

    There is still some question about what information North Korea may actually be getting from its tests. One advantage of testing on highly lofted trajectories that fall in the Sea of Japan is that the RV can presumably radio back data to antennae in North Korea for most of the flight. However, because of the curvature of the Earth, an antenna on the ground in North Korea would not be able to receive signals once the RV dropped below about 80 km altitude at a distance of 1000 km. To be able to track the missile down to low altitudes it would likely need a boat or plane in the vicinity of the reentry point.

    Some details
    The rate of heat transfer per area (q) is roughly proportional to ñV3, where ñ is the atmospheric density and V is the velocity of the RV through the atmosphere. Since longer range missiles reenter at higher speeds, the heating rate increases rapidly with missile range. The total heat absorbed (Q) is the integral of q over time during reentry. Similarly, forces due to atmospheric drag are proportional to ñV2, and also increase rapidly with missile range.

    The calculations above assume a ballistic coefficient of the RV equal to 100 lb/ft2 (5 kN/m2). The ballistic coefficient â = W/CdA (where W is the weight of the RV, Cd is its drag coefficient, and A is its cross-sectional area perpendicular to the air flow) is the combination of parameters that determines how atmospheric drag reduces the RV’s speed during reentry. The drag and heating values in the tables roughly scale with â. A large value of â means less atmospheric drag so the RV travels through the atmosphere at higher speed. That increases the accuracy of the missile but also increases the heating. The United States worked for many years to develop RVs with special coatings that allowed them to have high â and therefore high accuracy, but could also withstand the heating under these conditions.

    Based on the shape of the front of the Hwasong-15, I estimate that the drag coefficient Cd of its RV is 0.35-0.4. That value gives â in the range of 100-150 lb/ft2 (5-7 kN/m2) for an RV mass of 500-750 kg. The drag coefficient of an RV similar in shape to the front of the Hwasong-14 is about 0.15.
    Updated 12/8/17.

    Posted in: Missiles and Missile Defense Tags: hwasong-14, hwasong-15, missiles, North Korea, nuclear weapons

  15. #3295
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    Housecarl,

    Reading the comments is also interesting. But the bottom line is that it is very possible that NK has a fully operational ICBM with a warhead to put on it.

  16. #3296
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 1h1 hour ago

    Radio Pyongyang on 6400kHz sends out their weekend coded messages.

  17. #3297
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone_Hawk View Post
    Housecarl,

    Reading the comments is also interesting. But the bottom line is that it is very possible that NK has a fully operational ICBM with a warhead to put on it.
    That would explain a lot of the past and some of the future.
    I still see no signs that we are going to war in the short term, though the agreement to end the defense sequester is a step in the right direction.
    We are operating on a post WWIII set of diplomatic theories based on a unipolar world.
    To be credible, we need to activate selected reserves, pull our hostages out of SK, and Turkey, disperse our assets...etc.
    all of which we are not doing.
    We are spending way too much of our scarce money on ships and planes that work on paper and in dreams.
    SS
    “Then the creatures of the high air answered to the battle, .., and the woods trembled and the wind sobbed telling them, the earth shook,; the witches of the valley, and the wolves of the forests, howled from every quarter and on every side of the armies, urging them against one another.”
    ― Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

  18. #3298
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shacknasty Shagrat View Post
    That would explain a lot of the past and some of the future.
    I still see no signs that we are going to war in the short term, though the agreement to end the defense sequester is a step in the right direction.
    We are operating on a post WWIII set of diplomatic theories based on a unipolar world.
    To be credible, we need to activate selected reserves, pull our hostages out of SK, and Turkey, disperse our assets...etc.
    all of which we are not doing.
    We are spending way too much of our scarce money on ships and planes that work on paper and in dreams.
    SS
    The thing is everyone is assuming we're talking about "traditional" war, not true "total war" in the modern nuclear era (regardless of the military/government/industrial complex).

    Between the economic and diplomatic "pressure" if neither garners the desired results, the threat of changing things in "30 minutes or less" is hanging in the background like a pack of wolves hovering just out of the light of the camp fire. That all of the involved parties have their own "wolves" makes this whole thing more delicate than a butterfly's wings.

  19. #3299
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    Going to dig out that book, Unrestricted Warfare, China's Master Plan to Destroy America (1999, IIRC), after finishing Alas, Babylon. Read the latter some years back, maybe a decade. Now it reads totally differently, though. So much I missed the first time around.

    http://www.edparton.com/!!cc/alas-babylon.pdf

    A kind soul offered this link, which saved me having to turn on my old, rarely used, computer, where I had a copy. Have to admit, it's funnier than heck, although don't think it was meant to be. When you see the mistakes and missteps, you have to just laugh -- oh no !!!! Don't do that.

    If we had a crisis today, and it was novelized, I fear we would do worse than Randy and his friends and neighbors.

  20. #3300
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    Quote Originally Posted by almost ready View Post
    Going to dig out that book, Unrestricted Warfare, China's Master Plan to Destroy America (1999, IIRC), after finishing Alas, Babylon. Read the latter some years back, maybe a decade. Now it reads totally differently, though. So much I missed the first time around.

    http://www.edparton.com/!!cc/alas-babylon.pdf

    A kind soul offered this link, which saved me having to turn on my old, rarely used, computer, where I had a copy. Have to admit, it's funnier than heck, although don't think it was meant to be. When you see the mistakes and missteps, you have to just laugh -- oh no !!!! Don't do that.

    If we had a crisis today, and it was novelized, I fear we would do worse than Randy and his friends and neighbors.
    If you want to talk about “don’t do that”, I fear those of us who will follow the knowledge gained from watching Jericho and knowing no better. At the least they will know how to kill themselves while drinking liquid iodine to counteract fallout.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Razor sharpening while you wait - Occam
    If it works, it doesn't have enough features. - Windows 10 design philosophy.
    Forget the beer, I'm just here for the doom!
    Humans, just a tool for amino acids to make Swiss watches.

  21. #3301
    Posted without comment.

    https://kcnawatch.co/newstream/15127...mbs-mt-paektu/
    (fair use applies)

    Kim Jong Un Climbs Mt Paektu
    Date: 09/12/2017 | Source: KCNA.kp (En)

    Pyongyang, December 9 (KCNA) -- Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, climbed Mt Paektu, the sublime mountain of revolution.

    The ancestral mountain Paektu covered with white snow was displaying marvelous scene with glee at the reappearance of its great master.

    When Kim Jong Un ascended to the top of it, going through thick snow, it showed fine weather unprecedented in the blizzard of December winter, exposing its majestic figure.

    As if to give warm welcome to him who brought the "great November event" of the great Korea and show joy at the appearance of the peerlessly illustrious commander who controls the nature, the heart of the ever-changing Lake Chon on the top of Mt Paektu presented charming scenery showing magic peaks and dazzling sunshine on its clear and blue waves.

    Imposingly standing on Janggun Peak, the respected Supreme Leader gave a familiar look for a while at the dizzy cliffs and the sea of trees, recalling the emotion-charged days when he realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force without yielding even a moment and with the indomitable faith and will of Paektu.

    He said that he had often climbed Mt Paektu but this is the first time to have in mid-winter such nice weather, rare to be seen even in spring. The weather is so fine that we can see peaks on the shore of Lake Chon more clearly as if they are before our very eyes, he added.

    His eyes reflected the strong beams of the gifted great person seeing in the majestic spirit of Mt Paektu the appearance of a powerful socialist nation which dynamically advances full of vigor without vacillation at any raving dirty wind on the planet.

    He set forth the important tasks arising in better sprucing up into a center for education in the revolutionary traditions the sacred mountain of Paektu which is associated with the immoral revolutionary careers of the great leaders and serves as the mental mainstay of the invincible DPRK and the source of indomitable ideological strength.

    He said that the monument to Mt Paektu and education compound should be spruced up suited to the dignity of the holy mountain of revolution and "Mt Paektu, the holy mountain of revolution", an autograph of leader Kim Jong Il, should be displayed better heavily and politely to be seen most clearly anytime and anywhere.

    He stressed the need to build a new hotel well around the Paektu Station for the convenience of those who visit Mt Paektu as well as convenient facilities for making them have photos taken at several places where a bird's-eye view of the mountain can be obtained and have rests.

    Accompanying him were Choe Ryong Hae, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the C.C., WPK, vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and vice-chairman of the C.C., WPK, Kim Yong Su, department director of the WPK Central Committee, Jo Yong Won, vice department director of the C.C., WPK, Ri Sang Won, chairman of the Ryanggang Provincial Committee of the WPK, Yang Myong Chol, chairman of the Samjiyon County Committee of the WPK, and Ma Won Chun, department director of the State Affairs Commission. -

  22. #3302
    Some people were wondering if there was significance to him coming back to CONUS to do a briefing. According to this article - no.

    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/nort...01800315F.html
    (fair use applies)

    Gen. Brooks updates U.S. leaders on security conditions in Korea
    2017/12/10 13:39
    By Lee Chi-dong

    SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- The top U.S. military commander in South Korea traveled to Washington, D.C. and New York last week for briefings on North Korea and the allies' defense posture, his aides said Sunday amid growing attention to the Donald Trump administration's response to the communist regime's saber-rattling.

    The trip of Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who commands the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), came days after the North's launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, sparking considerable media speculation.

    "Gen. Brooks completed a short visit to Washington D.C. and New York where he provided a firsthand account of the situation in Korea and the quality of the ROK-U.S. Alliance" to U.S. leaders and experts, the USFK spokesman Army Col. Chad Carroll said in a statement emailed to Yonhap News Agency.

    They include Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force. Gen. Paul J. Selva, as well as members of the U.S. Congress and major think tanks.

    Carroll added the USFK chief, who doubles as the commanding general of the allies' Combined Forces Command, takes his role to educate U.S. leadership about the security situations on the Korean Peninsula "very seriously."

    In dealing with the North's continued provocations, Washington officials have stated that all options are on the table, although diplomacy is preferred.

    Many South Koreans are concerned that the U.S. may push for a pre-emptive strike on the North.

    U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said publicly that, "We're getting close to military conflict because North Korea is marching towards marrying the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America but deliver the weapon."

    The North announced earlier that it has completed its "nuclear force" with the development of the Hwasong-15 missile capable of reaching all of the United States loaded with a super-sized nuclear warhead.

    The USFK spokesman's statement is apparently aimed at cautioning news outlets here against reading too much into the commander's latest U.S. visit.

  23. #3303
    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/nort...01100315F.html
    (fair use applies)

    N. Korea slams U.S. over growing talk of maritime blockade

    2017/12/10 11:07

    SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea lashed out at the United States on Sunday over the possible use of a naval blockade in the wake of its recent missile provocation, warning that it would consider such a move as a "declaration of war."

    The condemnation came after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently mentioned the "right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods" to and from the North after its Nov. 29 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

    "We will regard the naval blockade of the United States and its followers as an act of violence against the sacred sovereignty and dignity of the Republic of Korea and as another public declaration of war,"
    the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's ruling communist party newspaper, said in a commentary.

    The paper added, "If we see a small movement to put the maritime containment into practice, we must be prepared to follow our immediate and ruthless self-defensive response."

    The Korean Central News Agency, the North's official newswire service, filed a similar report in English on Friday saying, "The U.S. moves for sea blockade can never be tolerated as they constitute a wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of an independent state."

    Talk of a possible maritime blockade has also emerged in academic circles though Seoul has reiterated its opposition to any military options, including a pre-emptive strike, to address the nuclear standoff.

  24. #3304
    Crabby Claus Retweeted

    People's Daily,China‏Verified account @PDChina · 1h1 hour ago

    Regular high-sea training: A group of Chinese military jets including the H-6K bomber on Saturday flew over the Miyako Strait during a training mission to enhance combat capability at sea

  25. #3305
    NorthKoreaRealTimeþ @BuckTurgidson79 · 5m5 minutes ago

    Russian Expert: North Korea Almost Completes 2 Satellites


  26. #3306
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 2h2 hours ago

    Japan to purchase extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM-ER), placing North Korean bases within strike range of the Japanese Air Force.

  27. #3307
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 3h3 hours ago

    Asia Times is speculating that a PLAAF J-20 violated #ROK airspace to gather intel on US-ROK wargames.

  28. #3308
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 15h15 hours ago

    Strategic Sentinel Retweeted Will Ripley

    US, ROK and Japan hold naval ballistic missile drills.

    Will Ripley‏Verified account
    @willripleyCNN

    Follow Follow @willripleyCNN

    US, South Korea & Japan to hold naval ballistic missile tracking drills this week. The exercises, in the waters off Japan, are to share information & defend against North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear & missile programs.

    11:25 PM - 9 Dec 2017
    from Minato-ku, Tokyo

  29. #3309
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 12m12 minutes ago

    A threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan the instant any U.S. warship visits the self-ruled island has sparked a war of words, with Taipei accusing Beijing of failing to understand what democracy means.

  30. #3310
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 3h3 hours ago

    China conducts DF-41 ICBM test launch.
    The DF-41 is China's newest ICBM, and is the longest (15,000 km) range missile on Earth
    -

  31. #3311
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    From the Iran's Revolutionary Guard Sends Formal Message To US Military: Leave Syria Or Else thread...http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...-Syria-Or-Else

    Posted by Shacknasty Shagrat....http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...15#post6697815

    A little more on the 3 Iranian nukes and Hezbollah dirty bomb.
    SS

    '
    US Intelligence Community Claims North Korea Transferred 3 Nuclear Warheads To Iran – OpEd
    December 10, 2017 Franklin Lamb 4 Comments

    By Franklin Lamb

    So just how and when did Iran acquire three North Korea nuclear weapons in addition to a suspected ‘dirty bomb’ freebee for Hezbollah?

    It is widely agreed that Pyongyang has dramatically deepened its partnership with Tehran’s ‘Axis of Resistance.’ This according to the 16 agency US Intelligence Community as well as some Asian powers. All are said to believe that the DRNK-IROI partnership seeks the ability to launch nuclear weapons into their perceived enemies. Another recent report has it that North Korea has been benefiting from technical assistance from Russia and Pakistan and sharing some of it with Iran while committing about 25 percent of North Korea’s entire gross domestic product to its nuclear weapons program and much of that to missiles.

    It’s likely not the case that either Pyongyang or Tehran is anxious to start a nuclear war which would pulverize both countries. Rather both seek ‘respect’ as a member of Iran’s Parliament recently explained to this observer. In practical terms ‘respect’ comes from the ability to launch nuclear weapons globally such that no country is able to challenge North Korean or Iranian geo-strategic goals, the key pillars of which are a united Korea administered from Pyongyang and a return to “Persian Empire” quality regional hegemony. The Parliamentarian from Tehran did not publicly agree with my definition of “respect.”

    The deliveries of the nuclear warheads have been a while coming. A brief overview:

    More than thirteen years ago, in January 2004, the director of North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center handed an American visitor from Oregon a sealed glass jar tightly packed with plutonium, apparently to convince the skeptical fellow that his country possessed a nuclear deterrent but only to be used if threatened.
    In December 2012, North Korea completed its first successful launch of a long-range ballistic missile, confirming American fears that the so-called hermit kingdom had finally acquired the technology to pose a threat to American shores. Critically, according to Asian policy experts, “North Korea’s sudden success on December 12th was not the result of good fortune but rather was the fruition of its increasing instructional cooperation with Iran.”

    In 2013, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Iranian missile technicians from the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group traveled to Pyongyang to work on an 80-ton rocket booster. According to the report, “The booster is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be intended for a new long-range missile or space launch vehicle that could be used to carry nuclear warheads, and could be exported to Iran in the future.” Were Iran to acquire this technology, its ballistic missile program would be transformed from a regional into a global threat.

    To make the same point last week, Pyongyang lofted a missile 2,800 miles into space and declared it had a nuclear-tipped missile that could destroy much of the United States so please back off and show us some “respect”. Within 90 minutes, countless Iranian basij and IRGC types surfaced in Tehran’s central Azadi Square and chanted, what else? “Death to America the Great Satan!”

    The Pentagon estimates that the DRNK has approximately 200 launchers able to fire on short notice a variety of short-, medium- and intermediate-range missiles. According to the Washington Post, citing the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Kim’s arsenal likely includes as 80 nuclear weapons. But other IC and Asian intelligence agencies believe his number of nuclear weapons is likely higher. But as of today, Kim cannot deliver them with the precision he seeks and is preassembly aware after the first one is fired that his country will largely cease to exist. Ditto Iran.

    Iran is currently in negotiations to acquire North Korea’s longest-range ICBM’s to counter Israeli and American threats. This, as pressure mounts given mixed signals emanating from other nuclear arsenals, which given the right cash incentive, may well cooperate with the growing number of Iranian detractors, Arabs, and Sunni Muslims globally among others. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has reportedly rejected DRNK offers to sell Iran older varieties like the SCUD missile, which have a range of 200 to 600 miles, or the No Dong missile which can reach as far as 800 miles.

    Rather, what Iran urgently wants to buy are the Musudan and KN-11, which have a range of approximately 2,000 miles. In addition, Iran wants Kim Joun Un sell it the intercontinental ballistic missile that was tested successfully twice last month, the Hwasong-14 and 15 (based on the Soviet Rd-250 missile) which western intelligence agencies including NATO specialists and Asian allies believe puts Israel in very close “we can’t miss” range.

    North Korea also claims that both intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Hwasong-14 and 15, when topped with a “super-large heavy warhead,” can strike the US mainland. The country’s state media made the announcement hours after leader Kim Jong Un last month ordered the launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile. State news agency KCNA called its newest missile “the most powerful ICBM” and said it “meets the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system development. After the launch, Kim announced that North Korea had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” The US IC reportedly agrees that the DRNK has reached a major milestone in its nuclear program by creating a miniaturized nuclear warhead which the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 can carry and accurately target selected localities.
    Any probative evidence of DRNK-IROI partnership to achieve nuclear arsenals?

    A few points. With respect to Iran’s continuing involvement with North Korea’s nuclear program, there is growing speculation based partly on the recent occurrences noted below. U.S. intelligence agencies, according to US Senate Intelligence sources, have photographs and tapes of scores of Iranian defense officials living for weeks at a time in Pyongyang. It is suspected that these Iranian visitors along with their hosts are jointly working on nuclear technological advances. These increasing contacts are cause for alarm according to a Senate Intelligence Committee because they suggest that Iran is indeed racing to develop nuclear weapons– but mainly inside Korea not in Iran– due to UN oversight of Iran.

    According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), it was back in the late 2000s, the CIA intensified its monitoring of North Korean cooperation with Iran’s ballistic missile programs labeling them, “ongoing and significant.” The CRS concluded that while Iran had likely exceeded North Korea’s ability to develop, test, and build ballistic missiles, Tehran still relies, despite its denials, on Pyongyang for certain materials for producing Iranian ballistic missiles despite Iran’s denials.

    Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander, in an interview on 12/17/2017, argued to AM 970 Radio host John Catsimtidis in New York that “North Korea is likely receiving outside help from Iran as it races to develop its weapons arsenal, given how fast it’s moving. “There is also much cooperation between Iran and North Korea, which we know has occurred in this nuclear warhead race.”

    The three DRNK Nuclear warheads and the ‘dirty bomb’ deliveries to Iran allegedly took place during the Spring of 2017. They were transported under heavy guard from Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport on four separate North Korean regularly scheduled passenger flights of its Air Koryo airline to Iran Air at Russia’s Vladivostok airport in Russia. Whether anyone in Russa knew what the cargo bays held is weak speculation. The U.S. Treasury Department had sanctioned Air Koryo in December 2016 for financially aiding the Kim regime and its ballistic missile program. According to the IC, the Nuclear warheads were then forwarded to Tehran via Russia’s state carrier, Aeroflot, flying through Chinese airspace. All events being egregious violation of U.N. sanctions that prohibited Iran at the time from “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” and North Korea from “exporting nuclear and missile technology.”

    After the claimed nuclear warheads transfer, reports have documented that both countries have increased the holding of “high-level meetings,” to expand the “depth” of their military ties and exploring further “military cooperation.” This August, Kim reiterated his support for working with Iran, stating, “Iran and North Korea share a mutual enemy, the United States. We firmly support Iran on its (Iran’s) stance on missile development.”

    Mr. Daniel Coats, US Director of National Intelligence testified before Congress on 5/11/2017, shortly after the claimed nuclear transfer, that “North Korea’s export of ballistic missiles and associated materials to Iran and Syria, and its assistance to Syria’s construction of a nuclear reactor, destroyed in 2007, illustrate its willingness to proliferate dangerous technologies.” Not long after, Iran’s President Rouhani threatened that Tehran could restart its nuclear program within a matter of hours. His statement was chimed in with the IRGC claim that it may “expand and continue with more speed” its ballistic missile program. Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran´s Supreme Leader, claims to have earlier set the maximum range of the Iran’s missiles as 2000 kilometers. This includes Israel as part of the Middle East region where Iran’s perceived enemies are located, including American military bases.

    Several of the 16-member US Intelligence agencies allege that senior Iranian regime officials have been flooding into North Korea to observe its six nuclear warhead tests. Chief among these officials, is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian general whom the UN has accused of working closely with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani on secret nuclear weapons research. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials say these accusations cannot be ruled out, so all known contacts between the two regimes need to be scrutinized closely.

    Many of the increasing numbers of North Koreans visiting Iran are from defense industries or secretive financial bodies that report directly to Kim Jong-un, including Offices 39 and 99 of the ruling Workers’ Party of North Korea.

    In late 2016 U.S. authorities reported that missile technicians from one of Iran’s largest defense companies, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, had traveled to North Korea to help develop an eighty-ton rocket booster for ballistic missiles. One of the company’s top officials, Sayyed Javad Musavi, has allegedly worked in tandem with the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. (KOMID), which the United States and UN have sanctioned for being a central player in procuring equipment for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. For example, Shahid Hemmat is claimed to have illegally shipped valves, electronics, and measuring equipment to KOMID for use in ground testing of space-launch vehicles and liquid-propellant ballistic missiles.

    Early last August, Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s number two political leader and head of its legislature, flew from Pyongyang to Tehran supposedly for a few days to attend the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani What alarmed Washington and NATO was the length of Kim Yong-nam’s visit. North Korean state media claimed he was only in Iran for three days, but Iranian state media claimed two weeks, and that Kim was accompanied by a large delegation of Korean scientists. Kim had last visited Tehran in 2012 to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Conference. But did not attend the events associated with that conference, instead focusing on signing a bilateral scientific cooperation agreement with Iran’s then President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    According to U.S. intelligence officials, that agreement was identical to the one Pyongyang inked with Syria in 2002. Israel bombed a building in eastern Syria that the United States and UN believe was a nearly operational North Korean-built nuclear reactor for Iran’s use. One of the Iranian officials who attended the 2012 gathering with Kim was Atomic Energy Organization chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who was sanctioned by Washington and the UN for his alleged role in nuclear weapons development. Kim also held a string of bilateral meetings with foreign leaders, many from countries that have been significant buyers of North Korean weapons in recent decades, including Zimbabwe, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia.

    This past September at the request of the CIA and key Congressional leaders, the White House ordered an urgent intensive search for any potential North Korea-Iran bilateral nuclear collaboration. This is years after officials in Washington, Asia, and the Middle East who track the relationship indicate that Pyongyang and Tehran already announced plans to jointly develop their ballistic missile systems and other military/scientific programs.

    Certain DRNK-IROI meetings that have gone unreported in state media are of even more concern to Washington and its allies. even more worrisome for allied governments. U.S. and South Korean intelligence have documented a study and increasing number of Iranian and North Korean officials visiting each other seeking to jointly develop their nuclear arsenal and ICBM delivery systems as quickly as possible.

    Over the same period, U.S. intelligence agencies have spotted dozens of Iranian defense officials spending weeks at a time in Pyongyang, raising the specter that they are sharing nuclear technological advances with each other. “All of these contacts need to be better understood” a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer opined that Iran is indeed reaching to develop nuclear weapons, but in Korea not in Iran due to NATO and UN oversight in the IROI.

    North Korea has become a critical partner in Iran’s “Axis of Resistance,” which Tehran developed to replace US influence in the Middle East. Pyongyang is also Iran’s main arms partner in Syria as an important supplier of arms and equipment to Iran’s most important Arab ally, Syria’s Assad regime. According to current and former U.S. officials, Iranian funded Houthi have also been supplied with weapons from North Korea as it seeks to replace the current government in Yemen.

    Several of the 16-member US Intelligence agencies allege that senior Iranian regime officials have frequently visited North Korea to observe and discuss with their counterparts, its six recent nuclear weapons tests. Chief among these officials, is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian general whom the UN has accused of working closely with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani on secret nuclear weapons research. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials say these accusations cannot be ruled out, so all known contacts between the two regimes need to be scrutinized closely.

    Meanwhile, this week, Mark S. Kirk, a former U.S. senator from Illinois, has joined in a new campaign by the pro-Israel group, United Against Nuclear Iran and is urging President Trump, whose ear he is said to have, to get tough with Iran and North Korea. Kirk and his friends are arguing to the White House and Congress that both must follow through on Trump’s promise to impose further sanctions on those found to have helped Iran and North Korea share military technology. According to United Against a Nuclear Iran, the administration must also order the Pentagon to intercept and destroy ICBMs fired from either country in the direction of the U.S. or our allies in the Western Hemisphere.

    Wrote Kirk recently, “It’s time for America to show that our rhetoric in response to rogue states is matched with concrete action.”

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/1012201...-to-iran-oped/
    As I asked in the following entry in that thread....

    Ok, 3 nukes, X-number of radio-logical weapons, but how many nuclear weapons assemblies (minus the "pits") and their manufacturing and assembly prints did North Korea send to Iran?

  32. #3312
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...=.c00bcb7b8f26

    National Security

    Microbes by the ton: Officials see weapons threat as North Korea gains biotech expertise

    By Joby Warrick December 10 at 6:38 PM

    Five months before North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, U.S. intelligence officials sent a report to Congress warning that secret work also was underway on a biological weapon. The communist regime, which had long ago acquired the pathogens that cause smallpox and anthrax, had assembled teams of scientists but seemed to be lacking in certain technical skills, the report said.

    “Pyongyang’s resources presently include a rudimentary biotechnology infrastructure,” the report by the director of national intelligence explained.

    A decade later, the technical hurdles appear to be falling away. North Korea is moving steadily to acquire the essential machinery that could potentially be used for an advanced bioweapons program, from factories that can produce microbes by the ton, to laboratories specializing in genetic modification, according to U.S. and Asian intelligence officials and weapons experts.

    Meanwhile, leader Kim Jong Un’s government also is dispatching its scientists abroad to seek advanced degrees in microbiology, while offering to sell biotechnology services to the developing world.

    The gains have alarmed U.S. analysts, who say North Korea — which has doggedly pursued weapons of mass destruction of every other variety — could quickly surge into industrial-scale production of biological pathogens if it chooses to do so. Such a move could give the regime yet another fearsome weapon with which to threaten neighbors or U.S. troops in a future conflict, officials and analysts say.

    Current and former U.S. officials with access to classified files say they have seen no hard evidence so far that Kim has ordered production of actual weapons, beyond samples and prototypes. And they can only speculate about the reasons.

    “That the North Koreans have [biological] agents is known, by various means,” said one senior U.S. official familiar with military preparations for a biological attack. The official, like several others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity regarding sensitive military assessments. “The lingering question is, why have they acquired the materials and developed the science, but not yet produced weapons?”

    [This North Korea ship was carrying illegal weapons — and a surprise]

    But the official, like others interviewed, also acknowledged that spy agencies might not detect a change in North Korea’s program, since the new capabilities are embedded within civilian factories ostensibly engaged in making agricultural and pharmaceutical products.

    “If it started tomorrow we might not know it,” the official said, “unless we’re lucky enough to have an informant who happens to be in just the right place.”

    Germ factory
    In a country that is famously secretive, it is perhaps the most carefully guarded secret of all. North Korea consistently denies having a biological warfare program of any kind, and it has worked diligently to keep all evidence of weapons research hidden from sight.

    Yet, in 2015, the country’s leader took it upon himself to partially pull back the curtain. On June 6 of that year, Kim commandeered a crew of North Korean cameramen for a visit to the newly named Pyongyang Biotechnical Institute, a sprawling, two-story facility on the grounds of what used to be a vitamin factory.

    State-run news media described the institute as a factory for making biological pesticides — mainly, live bacteria that can kill the worms and caterpillars that threaten North Korea’s cabbage crop. But to U.S. analysts studying the video, the images provided an unexpected jolt: On display inside the military-run facility were rooms jammed with expensive equipment, including industrial-scale fermenters used for growing bulk quantities of live microbes, and large dryers designed to turn billions of bacterial spores into a fine powder for easy dispersal.

    Many of the machines were banned from sale to North Korea under international sanctions because of their possible use in a bioweapons program. But Kim, wearing a white lab coat and trailed by a phalanx of scientists and military officers, appeared almost gleeful in showing them off, striking the same rapt pose as when he visits the country’s installations for nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

    [Assassination sheds light on North Korea’s chemical arsenal]

    It was the first public confirmation of the existence of such machines in North Korea, and some U.S. and Asian experts saw their presence as deeply ominous.

    “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the institute is intended to produce military-size batches of anthrax,” Melissa Hanham, a North Korea specialist at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., wrote in a blog post after the video was shown. “Regardless of whether the equipment is being used to produce anthrax today, it could be in the near future.”

    U.S. analysts now believe the timing of the visit was deliberate: The previous week, on May 28, the Pentagon had publicly acknowledged that live samples of U.S.-made anthrax bacteria had been accidentally shipped to a South Korean military base because of a lab mix-up. North Korea lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations on June 4, calling the incident proof of American “biological warfare schemes” against its citizens.

    Kim’s trip to the biotechnology institute came just two days later, and was clearly intended to send a message, Hanham said in an interview.

    “Responding by showing their own capability could be taken as a threat,” she said.

    Some weapons experts were skeptical, noting the absence of biohazard suits and protective gear typically found in laboratories that work with deadly pathogens. But since the release of the images, subsequent examinations have poked holes in the official story about the factory’s purpose. For one thing, some of the machines shown in the video were not visibly connected to any pipes, vents or ductwork. Experts also have questioned why North Korea would buy expensive industrial equipment at black-market rates, just to make a pesticide that can be purchased legally, at vastly cheaper rates, from China.

    “The real takeaway is that [North Korea] had the dual-use equipment necessary for bioweapons production,” said Andrew C. Weber, a former assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs. “What the photos show is a modern bio-production capability.”

    Waiting for orders
    That North Korea possesses the basic components for biological weapons is all but settled doctrine within U.S. and Asian military and intelligence establishments, and has been for years.

    Although overshadowed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and chemical weapons, the threat of biological attack from the North is regarded as sufficiently serious that the Pentagon routinely vaccinates all Korea-bound troops for exposure to anthrax and smallpox.

    “It’s a presumption that they have it and will use it,” said a retired military officer who oversaw troops on the peninsula. “We’ve had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to deal with some of the WMD.”

    But determining North Korea’s precise capabilities — and the regime’s intentions for using such weapons — has been among the toughest intelligence challenges for U.S. analysts. Official assessments by U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies have generally concluded that Pyongyang has experimented with a handful of bacterial strains, including the microbes that cause anthrax, cholera and plague. U.S. analysts also have believed since at least the mid-1990s that North Korea possesses the smallpox virus, a conclusion based in part on the discovery of antibodies in the bloodstreams of North Korean soldiers who escaped to the South in the 1980s and 1990s.

    [Amazing video show’s North Korean soldier’s flight across border]

    That assessment, while controversial, is buttressed by senior North Korean government and military defectors as well as foreign governments with special insight into the regime’s military secrets. In 1993, the head of the Russian intelligence agency’s foreign branch revealed in a report that North Korea was performing “applied military-biological research” on four pathogens, including microbes that cause anthrax and smallpox.

    But more recently, questions about North Korea’s capability have taken on a new urgency, as military planners prepare for the possibility that tensions with Pyongyang could lead to war. While U.S. and South Korean aircraft would seek to knock out suspected chemical and biological facilities from the air, the newest plans include a presumption that infantry divisions would have to face an array of chemical and biological hazards on the battlefield — hazards that may be invisible to fast-moving ground troops, current and former U.S. officials say.

    But germs as military weapons also have distinct disadvantages, as they are difficult to control and can take hours or days to kill or disable. A consensus view among military planners is that Kim is choosing to hold his bioweapons card in reserve for now, while his scientists build up a capacity to manufacture large quantities of pathogens quickly. Now that the North is equipped with state-of-the-art factories and teams of trained specialists, that shift could conceivably happen in weeks or even days, the senior official said.

    “The capabilities — the science and technology — all of that now exists,” the official said. “Kim has chosen not to deploy at this time. But ultimately it comes down to a political decision.”

    Unlocking DNA secrets
    In the waning years of the Cold War, Soviet weapons scientists labored in secret to build new super-germs more dangerous than those found in nature. With mixed success, using techniques still novel in the 1980s, they spliced together bits of DNA to increase virulence — so that microbes would kill more quickly — or to introduce stealthy features that would make them harder to detect.

    There is no known evidence that Pyongyang is working to engineer designer bugs, U.S. analysts say. But there are signs that North Korea is attempting to catapult itself into the 21st-century worlds of genetic research and biomedical science.

    In 2015, as North Korea’s new microbe-producing factory was coming online, North Korean scientists were teaming up with Chinese counterparts on a research project to identify previously unknown bacterial species discovered in the glacial ice in Svalbard, the Norway-owned island chain far north of the Arctic Circle. In a rare instance in which North Koreans took the lead on a peer-reviewed scientific paper, the scientists described using DNA sequencing techniques to isolate the novel strains.

    [New images show extensive network on North Korean ‘re-education camps’]

    The project was the most dramatic example of what private researchers describe as a surge of interest by North Koreans in genetic engineering and other biotech disciplines. Earlier this year, the Welsh artificial intelligence firm Amplyfi conducted a search of the “deep Web” — the parts of the Internet invisible to the public — for evidence of North Korean interest in biodefense topics. The company’s DataVoyant search tool produced hundreds of thousands of hits and showed a spike in interest in such terms as “gene expression” and “nucleic acid sequence,” beginning two years ago.

    A preliminary analysis suggested a pattern of behavior that U.S. and Asian officials have independently confirmed: a broad North Korean effort to obtain outside expertise from private companies, academic institutions and even nonprofits, company officials said. North Korea is believed to have used technical designs from a British agricultural nonprofit in building its microbe-producing Pyongyang Biotechnical Institute, and it has sought to enroll promising microbiology students in top research universities across Europe and Asia. In recent years, the North Koreans also have sought to sell medical services to the developing world, in one instance building and staffing an entire hospital in Zambia.

    “Every continent is represented,” Amplyfi co-founder Chris Ganje said in a phone interview from the company’s headquarters in Cardiff, Wales. He said the search turned up “worrying indicators of unintended support,” adding: “It is obvious that the international community and larger institutions need to be cautious in providing seemingly benign academic scientific education and training to North Korea.”

    A harder challenge is separating legitimate efforts to improve North Korea’s medical infrastructure with more sinister attempts to a create new varieties of killing machines, officials and experts acknowledge. Joseph DeTrani, a retired CIA veteran who oversaw intelligence collection for North Korea in the 2000s, noted that ambiguity has been a built-in feature of North Korean weapons programs for decades.

    “They talk openly about their ‘nuclear deterrent,’ but with chemical and biological weapons, it’s different,” DeTrani said. “They’ve always played it close to the vest. For them, it’s a real option. But they want to preserve the possibility of deniability.”

    192 Comments

  33. #3313
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone_Hawk View Post
    Housecarl,

    Reading the comments is also interesting. But the bottom line is that it is very possible that NK has a fully operational ICBM with a warhead to put on it.
    Ok was finally able to open the comments (on a different machine tonight...) for the All Things Nuclear article... http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...44#post6696044

    19 Comments
    All Things Nuclear

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    Simon Gunson • 4 hours ago
    This image taken earlier in the year appears to be a CRFP ablative nose cone. I am unsure if the dimensions match a Hwasong-15 however?
    Thumbnail

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    Renmiri Juliana Dutra • a day ago
    pardon the dumb question but with cubeSats like ASTERIA (tiny satellite that has a potent telescope inside) couldn't we get a better view of what the NK is doing? Or even cheaper, tiny flying drones, couldn't they be dropped by a jet and then get close enough to the missile to get some camera footage? Drop 1,000 of them in it's path and one of them is bound to get some good info, no ?

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    dannyR • 3 days ago
    Overlooked is the report by an aircrew of the explosion (as opposed to a streaking breakup) of the re-entering package. Explosions only occur naturally with things like bolides.

    This indicates either a dummy-detonation-implosion of a full working warhead with, say, a lead core, or else a destruct package (to confound forensic examination), in either case showing that they now have a business end with controlled, working, electronics package, that can significantly survive re-entry.

    I doubt if the pilots would have noticed anything at a height >25 km.

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    Simon Gunson dannyR • 5 hours ago
    A simple explanation is the warhead was designed to self destruct to prevent retrieval from the seabed?

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    JCDavis • 3 days ago
    The author is confusing the shroud of the H-15 missile with a reentry vehicle.

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    dwrightucsusa Mod JCDavis • 3 days ago
    I think what we are seeing on the front the Hwasong-15 is likely the RV.

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    JCDavis dwrightucsusa • 3 days ago
    No way. What you are seeing at the front of the H-14 is likely the tip of the warhead, but under the shroud of the H-15 is likely a similar sized warhead, and a bunch of decoys.

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    dwrightucsusa Mod JCDavis • 3 days ago
    You could be right, of course. I'm assuming this was designed like the US Titan II. Even if this is a shroud and the actual RV underneath is a similar size and shape, it doesn't change my results.
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    JCDavis dwrightucsusa • 3 days ago
    The writer makes a bad assumption and comes to a wrong conclusion that the warhead will be coming in more slowly and inaccurately. He also buys the press statements that the warhead (or RV, as he says) broke up on reentry, when it was very likely the far larger second stage breaking up that people saw.

    NK can't simply put a bigger bomb in there as they have weight limitations. So they would have used the space for lightweight decoys. Thus the H-15 will be far more dangerous than the H-14, not less so, and the Pentagon's assessment that they could take out an incoming warhead with 97% reliability is now a fantasy.

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    Simon Gunson JCDavis • 15 hours ago
    56% accuracy with eight GBI-Plus CE-II EKV missiles. That suggests they can stop four ICBMs

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    dannyR JCDavis • 3 days ago
    [I'm not sure what the 'bad assumption' is or whether the 'and' is conjunctive or consequential; at any rate the author's assessment of the two conditions of the warhead would likely be supported by most astro/aerodynamics experts.]

    What one set of pilots saw was an actual explosion which is easily distinguishable (with a lot of horizontal vector-component normal to the trajectory) from the fragmentation debris of a breakup.

    This indicates a dummy implosion test—or else a destruct package to foil evidence investigators—with ominous implications in either case, particularly the former. These guys now have, or are getting near to, a package that can function after considerable re-entry consequences.

    It is likely there is more information from direct high-resolution tracking by intelligence services; which would be classified however.

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    JCDavis dannyR • 2 days ago
    What they saw was surely the second stage. If it still contained fuel, it could have exploded, and it could have been intentionally detonated, as that produces more radar clutter and makes picking out the warhead much more difficult. Use decoys as well and it gets really messy.

    And even if the dummy warhead contained explosive, the resulting flash would have been small compared to the second stage. Take a look at pictures of NK's claimed H-bomb. The amount of explosive would be minimal and it would be almost impossible to make out at 60-70 miles, which was the reported distance from Cathay flight 893. A pinprick of light and it would be gone. The second stage would last much longer.

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    Simon Gunson JCDavis • 15 hours ago
    To me the saw tooth design fore and aft of the HW15 upper stage matches blow out panels to terminate the burn of a solid propellant motor, Thus I suggest the first stage is liquid UDMH with RD-250 engines and the upper stage is the 15D339 upper stage from the RT-23 Modlets.

    If it is the 2.4m diameter upper stage of the SS-24 / RT-23 Modlets then that also implies it uses RLG INS guidance and shares the same 150m CEP.

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    JCDavis Simon Gunson • 11 hours ago
    In at least one launch image, the upper stage appears to be emitting vapor.

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    Simon Gunson JCDavis • 5 hours ago
    Do you have a link to that image please?

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    Simon Gunson JCDavis • 15 hours ago
    Telemetry from the Hwasong-14 launch in July revealed the Yellow nosecap was ejected during boost phase. Ejection of a nosecap is a feature often associated with a MIRV shroud. Both Iran's Qadr H and Pakistan's Zulfiqar missile feature the same type of tipped nose cone and each of these systems have MIRV warheads. .

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    JCDavis Simon Gunson • 15 hours ago
    Thanks for that. I looked it up and there it was, a picture of the yellow nosecap falling away. It could be MIRV, but I doubt NK has enough nukes to make that reasonable. More likely it had one nuke and a dozen decoys.
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    Simon Gunson JCDavis • 6 hours ago
    North Korea does not use Plutonium as the fissile material for their warheads. Following the H-bomb test in September there were nine detections of Xenon-131 and a large cloud of Ruthenium-106 drifted west to Italy. Typical decay products from Uranium-235.

    All western estimates are predicated on how much Plutonium can be produced by known reactors and then re-processed. Dr AQ Khan provided P-1 (Aluminium) and P-2 (Hi-tensile steel) rotor centrifuges to North Korea.I have however come across claims they have P-4 (T-10) centrifuges. Given the fact they are now making their own reactor pressure vessels from Maraging steel, it is not implausible that they also have 12kg/SWU centrifuges.

    If they are developing nuclear warheads with Uranium, not Plutonium then they have an unlimited supply of WGU Warheads.

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    JCDavis Simon Gunson • 3 hours ago
    "drifted west to Italy"

    Seems unlikely given that the prevailing winds blow to the east

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  34. #3314
    Russia, China to hold joint anti-missile defence drills - RIA

    Reuters Staff
    December 11, 2017 / 11:09 AM / Updated 11 hours ago

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and China will hold joint anti-missile defence drills and work on cooperation against missile threats from other countries, RIA news agency cited the Russian Defence Ministry as saying on Monday.


    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ru...-idUKKBN1E51ZO

  35. #3315
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    49,019
    That is most certainly one of the most sobering discussions I've seen in a couple months from THOSE guys....recognizing who they are....


    ================================================== ================================================== ==

    On another note,in ref Munich, a college buddy of mine spent a couple years shooting All Army on the Army Competitive Marksmanship Team. Talked to him in the later 70's and he indicated that several of his teammates had been there in Munich and they were sitting, in their "dorms" with the perps completely dialed in but never got the go ahead to take them out. That was the first time (but FAR from the last) that I heard that.
    Mookie War Creed
    "I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."
    Welcome to dar al harab -dar al kufre.


    Gentle reminder: It is entirely possible to think that generalizations are true and to judge each real live person you meet as an individual

  36. #3316
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    43,060
    Crabby Claus‏ @IntelCrab
    2h2 hours ago

    Tunneling activity detected at the western portal of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in #NorthKorea.


    posted for fair use and discussion
    image at link

    http://www.38north.org/2017/12/pungg...m_medium=email

    North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Tunneling at the West Portal

    By: 38 North
    December 11, 2017Satellite Imagery

    A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu

    Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that despite the continuation of small tremors near Mt. Mantap since North Korea’s last nuclear test, tunnel work at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site is still underway. These efforts continue to be concentrated at the West Portal, leaving the North Portal—where the last five tests were conducted—mostly dormant and likely abandoned, at least for the time being.

    At the West Portal, there has been a consistently high level of activity since North Korea’s last nuclear test. This includes a routine presence of vehicles and personnel around the portal, movement of mining carts from the portal to the adjacent spoil pile and signs of fresh spoil being dumped onto the pile. These activities suggest that tunnel excavation is underway at the West Portal, as the North Koreans expand the site’s potential for future nuclear testing.

    Figures 1-4. High level of activity consistently observed at the West Portal.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one big "little bit" now several inches taller than me

  37. #3317
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    84,515
    Quote Originally Posted by northern watch View Post
    Strategic Sentinel‏Verified account @StratSentinel · 12m12 minutes ago

    A threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan the instant any U.S. warship visits the self-ruled island has sparked a war of words, with Taipei accusing Beijing of failing to understand what democracy means.
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.breitbart.com/national-se...iwan-invasion/

    Chinese Diplomat Threatens ‘Military Force’ if U.S. Navy Vessel Visits Taiwan

    by Frances Martel
    11 Dec 2017
    Comments 8

    Chinese embassy minister Li Kexin warned Taiwanese officials on Friday that Beijing would use “military force” if the island nation welcomed U.S. Navy ships to its ports, claiming any U.S. presence in Taiwan would violate China’s Anti-Secession Law.

    China views Taiwan, or the Republic of China, as a breakaway province, not a sovereign nation. The United States operates under Beijing’s “One China” policy, in which it enjoys separate diplomatic relations with Taiwan but does not recognize its sovereignty.

    Li issued the threat during remarks at the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, during a conversation about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CPC) Congress held in October. He referred to text in Congress’s 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that calls for “mutual visits by navy vessels between Taiwan and the United States,” according to Reuters.

    President Donald Trump has yet to sign the NDAA, but it has passed both houses of Congress. The Taiwanese government responded favorably to the news of the NDAA calling for furthering bilateral cooperation with the United States.

    China’s state-run propaganda outlet Global Times quotes Li as warning Washington that, if “you send military vessels over there, [you] will activate the Anti-Secession Law [of China].”

    “The day that a US Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force,” he stated, referring to a port city in southwestern Taiwan.

    The Taipei Times phrases Li’s comment as couched in the quip that he “may have to thank you American friends” for triggering the violent reunification of Taiwan.

    Asked about the remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Monday that China “always opposes official exchanges and military contact of any form between the United States and Taiwan.”

    “We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and three China-US joint communiqués and the US must prudentially and properly handle Taiwan-related issues,” he added.

    Lu also asserted that China was committed to “peaceful development of cross-straits relations” and preventing “the recurrence of the historical tragedy of national division.”

    The Global Times confirmed in a report on Li had not made a rogue remark at odds with Beijing, but that his threat “is expected to be an official warning from the mainland,” citing “experts.” The publication also posted a belligerent piece calling Taipei “obviously frightened” and calling officials on the island’s government under the anti-Beijing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “deficient of both direction and sense of security.”

    “The Chinese mainland has never given up the option of Taiwan reunification by force, which is clear to people across the Taiwan Straits,” the Times warned. “But Taiwan is not sure what will prompt the PLA’s actions while the DPP has been deceiving Taiwanese that the island will stay safe whatever it does.”

    “Li’s words are like warning bells on Taiwan authorities considering independence by a salami-slicing strategy,” it continued. “Taiwan is facing what Peking faced in 1949 – being encircled by mainland forces. Any move that oversteps the boundary will be in vain.”

    Taiwan’s current President Tsai Ing-wen ran a campaign promising to assert the island’s sovereignty, against a ruling Kuomintang (KMT) accused of becoming too complacent in keeping Beijing’s communist influence at arm’s length. Tsai has promised to boost defense spending and build stronger ties to allies like the United States. High on the list of defense requests Taipei has is more modern aircraft to help with surveillance, particularly as China illegally expands its military footprint in the South China Sea.

    Taiwanese officials have responded to Li’s threats by asserting that they have peaceful intentions and that the island “has long been pursuing the stable and peaceful development of cross-strait relations and will not go the route of resistance but neither will it cave under pressure.”

    The Taiwanese Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) also issued a statement Saturday stating that “the threat of military action only reflects negatively on China in the eyes of the world.”

    Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

  38. #3318
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    49,019
    Well, we have THREE CBG/CSGs in the same pond, and in this sort of thing Donny and I are of similar minds, now would be a SUPERIOR time to land a Carrier Escort as a provisions (thing B-double-E-double-R-U-N) and then offer to dance. (As a boss, if you come to me and tell me "If you don't (or if you DO) do 'X' will quit!!" my normal response is to do precisely (or NOT do precisely) what they ask for or against. "Fire this person or I quit!" "Bye." "Give me tomorrow off or I quit!" "Bye")
    Mookie War Creed
    "I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."
    Welcome to dar al harab -dar al kufre.


    Gentle reminder: It is entirely possible to think that generalizations are true and to judge each real live person you meet as an individual

  39. #3319
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    84,515
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilbitsnana View Post
    Crabby Clausþ @IntelCrab
    2h2 hours ago

    Tunneling activity detected at the western portal of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in #NorthKorea.


    posted for fair use and discussion
    image at link

    http://www.38north.org/2017/12/pungg...m_medium=email

    North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Tunneling at the West Portal

    By: 38 North
    December 11, 2017Satellite Imagery

    A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu

    Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that despite the continuation of small tremors near Mt. Mantap since North Korea’s last nuclear test, tunnel work at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site is still underway. These efforts continue to be concentrated at the West Portal, leaving the North Portal—where the last five tests were conducted—mostly dormant and likely abandoned, at least for the time being.

    At the West Portal, there has been a consistently high level of activity since North Korea’s last nuclear test. This includes a routine presence of vehicles and personnel around the portal, movement of mining carts from the portal to the adjacent spoil pile and signs of fresh spoil being dumped onto the pile. These activities suggest that tunnel excavation is underway at the West Portal, as the North Koreans expand the site’s potential for future nuclear testing.

    Figures 1-4. High level of activity consistently observed at the West Portal.
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/north-korea...gye-ri-1651082

    International Business Times UK

    North Korea readying for another nuclear test? Satellite images show hectic activity at Punggye-ri

    Over the weekend, Radio Pyongyang broadcast secret coded messages hinting at a possible impending weapons test.

    By India Ashok
    Updated December 12, 2017 14:54 GMT

    Sohae Satellite Launching Station is seen in Sohae, North Korea, in this satellite image taken on 17 September 2016 released by 38 North 38 North via Reuters
    North Korea appears to be pressing ahead with its nuclear programme. Satellite images recently detected hectic activity at the North Korean nuclear test site, Punggye-ri.

    Experts say that after North Korea's last nuclear test, minor tremors were detected near Mt Mantap, located close to the nuclear site. However, Pyongyang is now engaged in additional tunnel work at the site.

    North Korea gearing up for biological arms race with anthrax and smallpox samples, US warns
    Read more

    According to experts at 38North, a US-based think tank, the fresh activities were detected at the West Portal of the site – indicating that the site may be undergoing an expansion. Meanwhile, the North Portal, where the previous five tests were conducted, appears to have been temporarily abandoned.

    "At the West Portal, there has been a consistently high level of activity since North Korea's last nuclear test. This includes a routine presence of vehicles and personnel around the portal, movement of mining carts from the portal to the adjacent spoil pile and signs of fresh spoil being dumped onto the pile," 38North experts said in a blog. "These activities suggest that tunnel excavation is underway at the West Portal, as the North Koreans expand the site's potential for future nuclear testing."

    Ryan Barenklau, CEO and founder of Strategic Sentinel, a Washington-based nonpartisan geostrategic consulting agency, told IBTimes UK, "The tunneling is occurring at the West Portal and activity near that area has been relatively high for the last month. They are most likely digging deeper and expanding the complex underneath so they can continue their normal operations."

    "The complex is probably unstable seeing how many tremors have been recording, forcing new tunnels to be created. The West Portal area will probably be where the next nuclear tests will be conducted if there are anymore to come."

    Breanklau added that it might be a while before North Korea conducts its next nuclear test. "The last two tests were conducted one year apart. These mining operations take time and there is no telling just how badly the mountain has been damaged due to the previous tests."

    Over the weekend, Strategic Sentinel tweeted that Pyongyang Radio had broadcast secret coded messages over its 6400kHz radio station. Such transmissions have previously been observed preceding major weapons tests by North Korea.

    However, it remains unclear if the continuing activities at Punggye-ri and the sudden influx of coded messages being transmitted indicate that North Korea might be ready to conduct yet another major weapons test.

    "Pyongyang likes to send out coded messages on the weekend, especially Saturday morning US time, and does this regularly. December 9th was one of those weekend messages," Barenklau told IBTimes UK.

    "Rarely, Pyongyang will start to send them out at random times multiple times per week. That is usually indicative of a large provocation or diplomatic move, but not always. Again, we really don't know for sure what they are doing with those messages. We don't necessarily care to try and understand the messages themselves. We look for how often and when."

    Update: This article has been updated to include the comments of Strategic Sentinel CEO and founder Ryan Barenklau.

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