Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder
High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . . Reagan’s Vision Lives!
E-Mail Message 140825
Wake-up The Dogs Not Barking!
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
August 19, 2014
“There is now an increasing likelihood that rogue nations such as North Korea (and before long, most likely, Iran) will soon match Russia and China in that they will have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as SCUDs that could be launched from a freighter near our shores; space launch vehicles able to launch low- earth-orbit satellites; and simple low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate gamma rays and fireballs. In 2004, the Russians told us that their “brain drain” had been helping the North Koreans develop EMP weapons . . .” ~Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey
The U.S. media is focused on the riots and tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri and the continuing Middle East disaster fostered by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS = ISIL = Islamic State = IS = Caliphate).
At least the administration has acknowledged the error of the President’s mistaken assessment a few months ago that ISIS was like a “JV” — or is it “jayvee?” — (Junior Varsity) wearing Lakers uniforms, as compared to a professional basketball team. Senior administration spokesman understand this problem can no longer be ignored and are speaking out. None too soon because the combination of ISIS and its fellow travelers, like a deadly cancer, is metastasizing and threatens events far worse than that caused by 19 hijackers with box-cutters on September 11,2001.
Would that this is our only problem, but there are other “dogs not barking” among the cacophony of discordant howling media hounds serenading the President’s golf game and vacation festivities. Those whimpering hounds should be howling about North Korea’s—and soon, Iran’s—capability to send the United States back to the 19th century without the modern world’s luxuries—and necessities—to which Americans are accustomed. At least there are hopeful signs of some stirring among the pack.
Consider these two problems . . . and their possible linkage with each other. (For the moment, ignore all other consequences of the President’s past policy of leading from behind—e.g., coupling to Russia via the implications of possible U.S. air strikes into Syria, Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine, threats to others including via its oil exports, etc.)
Importing ISIS . . . An Emerging Threat!
Not only are our interests in the Middle East threatened by ISIS (e.g. our access to Middle East Oil), but ISIS also can threaten Americans at home, as belatedly recognized by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel last Thursday (Click here.).
Remember, ISIS commander Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi told us, “We’ll see you in New York.” The legitimacy of this threat was reinforced by Secretary Hagel: ISIS is “beyond anything we have seen,” and we need to “get ready.”
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee obviously agrees—in an interview on Fox 25 TV station in Oklahoma City, he indicated that ISIS is attempting to develop a weapon to blow up a major U.S. city—and added that “We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation.”
“Get ready,” indeed—and certainly not just to take on a JV team. We’ll need more than “pinpricks” from intermittent air strikes to destroy the ISIS threat, which should be our objective if ever we develop a coherent strategy. Chairman of the joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey in last Thursday’s joint press conference with Secretary Hagel advocated a coalition in the region “to take on the task of defeating ISIS over time. It requires a variety of instruments. Only one small part of it is airstrikes.”
Sounds right to me . . . though even our extended “pinprick” air attacks have enabled the Kurds and Iraqis to retake Mosul and its important dam on the Tigris River. So, how do we get from here to there—and soon? And with the understanding effectively countering this threat is not just an “over there” activity.
That Al Baghdadi reportedly moved his headquarters from Mosul in Iraq to Syria may be a retreat in the face of U.S. airstrikes, but it does not diminish the intensity of his threat to us—especially when we consider that hundreds of passport-carrying Americans are reportedly involved in ISIS—along with thousands of Europeans who may travel freely to the U.S. . . . not to mention jihadis who may join the influx of illegal emigrants passing through our leaky southern border, as pointed out by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Brad Thor could write a gripping adventure based on connecting the dots of this unfolding true story. Perhaps a follow-on plot to his recently published Act of War?
Meanwhile, as Andy McCarthy cogently writes (Click here.), our policies appear to have reverted to the pre-9/11 status, so that our leaders foolishly do not recognize we are at war with all Islamic “true believers” who seek our total destruction, while we seek to deal with the threat as a law enforcement matter.
Presumably, we are seeking to identify who among the ISIS contingent (allegedly a British ex-rapper) beheaded James Foley and bring him to trial. As Charles Krauthammer observed, this is like President Roosevelt seeking to prosecute the Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor rather than declaring war on Japan.
We should abandon our “pinprick” attacks and engage with our allies in a coherent policy and consequent plans and operations to defeat ISIS and its allies.
Otherwise, we can expect consequences worse than 9/11, involving weapons of mass destruction—perhaps an initiative by Iran’s Ayatollah (or his jihadi surrogates) with nuclear weapons that influential “authorities” think are beyond Iran’s current reach. These folks are valiantly hoping that negotiations with Iran will prevent it getting from nukes—lots of luck on that.
And don’t forget that Pakistan reportedly has a hundred or so nuclear weapons—remember Osama bin Laden found safe haven there for years. One thing that all the jihadi factions agree upon is: “Death to the Great Satan America and the Little Satan Israel.” More food for thought for Brad Thor’s follow-on.
In any case, we should remember there is an Iranian short cut to nuclear weapons; Iran cooperates with North Korea, which probably already has a nuclear capability as their leaders have claimed and has demonstrated long-range delivery systems that can attack the U.S. The main stream media seems not to be paying much attention to that all too real possibility.
Indeed, the mainstream media seems not even to recognize North Korea’s potential, let alone how North Korea might transfer—or even already might have transferred—that knowledge and capability to Iran. And currently unfolding events lend credibility to that possibility.
So, North Korea Is An Existing Threat?
North Korea has threatened to attack the United States with nuclear weapons—and may have that capability, but if not it surely will. The media “dogs not barking” should wake up and alert Americans about a potentially existential, imminent threat. Happily, there are signs that some hounds are rousing. Consider what we know from recent pertinent press accounts.
A few weeks ago—on the 61st anniversary of the July 27, 1953 armistice that formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War, Vice Marshal of the Korean Peoples Army Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau spoke to a large military rally in Pyongyang, threatening: “If the U.S. imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival, our troops will fire nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon—the sources of all evil.”
Fits right in with the above suggested Iranian scenario, don’t you think?
This recent verbal threat is not new. It came on the heels of a joint U.S.-South Korean naval exercise amidst angry North Korean protests and warnings backed by additional rocket and missile tests beyond those of recent weeks—including Scuds that could carry appropriately designed nuclear weapons. But this threat of nuclear attack on America simply echoed threats from the early days of the Kim Jong Un regime, as illustrated by the figure below.
These previous threats of nuclear strikes on the continental United States and U.S. bases in the Pacific have not been taken seriously because most “experts” believe North Korea is still a long way from developing a viable intercontinental ballistic missile with the required range—and that three previous North Korean tests demonstrated only low yield explosions, presumed to be failures.
But, as known from public accounts, this perception is wrong-headed on at least two counts:
- North Korea has successfully launched satellites capable of carrying a low yield nuclear weapon that could be detonated over the United States—and at this moment they are reportedly preparing to launch another one with a much larger rocket (Click here for a detailed discussion of activities at their launch site as of August 22nd—and go on a Google search to get other related unfolding news reports—the hounds are stirring); and
- That low-yield weapon could be designed to produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to shut down our entire electric power grid indefinitely—that could within a year lead to the death of several hundred million Americans, as the Chairman of the congressionally chartered EMP Commission testified several years ago.
So, North Korea is preparing to test a larger space launcher which will give them extra margin to carry larger satellites and also to send intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to greater distances—on which most of the press seems focused. That’s important, to be sure.
But North Korea has already demonstrated the capability to carry a light satellite payload over the United States—indeed a satellite North Korea launched in 2012 is still orbiting a hundred miles or so over America every day. The Iranians were present to witness that launch as well as the North Korean tests of nuclear weapons that it might carry, by the way. These facts are also in the public domain.
President Obama has denied that North Korea can miniaturize nuclear warheads for missile or satellite delivery. But the DIA, CIA, NATO and independent experts warn otherwise. As noted above, North Korean authorities have also claimed otherwise—and over a year ago they may have practiced such a nuclear EMP attack, based on openly reported facts:
- North Korea’s third illegal nuclear test on February 12, 2013 was followed by increased international sanctions, which prompted escalating threats from North Korea to make nuclear missile strikes against U.S. allies, South Korea and Japan, and the U.S. mainland.
- Three months earlier—on December 12, 2012, North Korea successfully orbited a satellite over the South Polar region, the KSM-3, that could carry a small nuclear warhead and detonate it a couple of hundred miles above the United States. The Russians describe such small nuclear weapons, designed to maximize gamma ray production, as “Super-EMP” warheads.
- Thus, in launching the December 12, 2012 satellite, North Korea could have practiced a surprise nuclear EMP attack—disguised as a peaceful space launch vehicle that orbited over the U.S from over the South Polar regions repeatedly during the 2013 nuclear hostilities, at an altitude to accommodate an EMP covering the continental U.S.
- South Korean military intelligence and a Chinese military commentator in open sources credit North Korea with having such Super-EMP warheads, which could be small enough for delivery by North Korea’s Unha-3 space launch vehicle.
- In May 2013, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey testified that the cyber warfare doctrines of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea include sabotage and EMP. Indeed EMP is the ultimate cyber weapon that destroys the enemy by collapsing civilian critical infrastructure–communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water–and especially the electric grid, which sustains all the infrastructures, and modern civilization.
Even if we have definitive warning of an EMP attack, our current missile defense systems are not designed to shoot down satellites coming from over the south polar region, especially in their initial orbit. Nor are they designed and/or operated to defend against ballistic missiles launched from vessels off our coasts—especially from the Gulf of Mexico.
Current plans to improve our homeland defense are focused on deploying an additional ground based interceptor site to shoot down ballistic missiles that approach the U.S. from over the north polar region—primarily from Iran, which has long participated in North Korea’s tests of both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles—and also has launched satellites over the south polar regions. So, such an “east coast” U.S. defense interceptor site will not help to defend against this existential threat from either Iran or North Korea—nor from ballistic missiles launched from vessels off our coasts—especially from the Gulf of Mexico.
Near-Term Quick Fixes—If We But Apply Them!
Fortunately, we already have relatively inexpensive countermeasures that can be quickly applied, if we have the wit and will to do so. I discussed the above threat from North Korea and Iran, as well as possible near-term countermeasures, in my April 17, 2014 email message. (Click here.) My July 29th email message updated the “Quick Fix” aspects of these recommendations. (Click here.)
To repeat again, consider briefly what we can do almost immediately about the threat from North Korean satellites launched over the South Polar regions. See the figure below as you consider these recommendations. We can:
- Work with our Japanese partners who have been so important in the joint development of our sea-based Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities already operating in the region—because of our common concerns about North Korea. These U.S. and Japanese Aegis BMD ships can be quickly modified to shoot down North Korean satellites launched to the south—or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched to the north.
- Together with Japan, exploit Japan’s recent update of its postwar constitution to allow for “collective self-defense” activities for its military forces to join us in doing so.
- Include a complementary diplomatic initiative to inspect the North Korean payloads before they launch satellites to the south—otherwise we should shoot them down before they overfly the United States. We could use the same diplomatic initiative for their launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to the north. Technology developed years ago to verify the INF and START Treaties could be used by the IAEA to accomplish this relatively un-intrusive inspection.
- Back up these initiatives with capability, operations plans and training to empower the crews on U.S. and Japanese Aegis BMD ships in the region. Cooperation with Philippine authorities could be important. Note that the TPY2 radar could be deployed with either a THAAD or an Aegis Ashore ground-based missile defense site to support the defense of the Philippines as well as aiding the defense of the U.S. homeland.
The third recommendation for a diplomatic initiative is less intrusive than the unilateral approach advocated during the George W. Bush administration by former Defense Secretary William Perry and Ashton Carter, until recently, President Obama’s Deputy Secretary of Defense. They urged President Bush to destroy potentially nuclear armed North Korean ICBMs on their launch pads during—because it was too dangerous to allow North Korea the capability attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.
This was before North Korea obtained a nuclear capability. Now North Korea has nuclear weapons and ICBMs—and satellites, and still we dawdle. Then there’s Iran . . .
We need to Awaken the Dogs Not Barking!
Why doesn’t the main stream media tell this story? At least some press is beginning to get around to it, but it needs to reach more of the public who must demand action from their representatives in Washington. In particular there are several recent posts on the web worth highlighting.
- On July 31st, Forbes carried an excellent comprehensive article by Peter Kelly-Detwiler (Click here.) describing the overall EMP threat.
- The August 12th Wall Street Journal carried an excellent article by two of my colleagues (former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, who among other things served with the EMP Commission), covering the threat from North Korea and Iran in some detail. (Click here.)
- Voice of America carried an August 19th article by Kells Hetherington, reporting on last week’s Minneapolis conference of the National Council of State Legislators. (Click here.)
Hetherington liberally quotes Peter Pry on the North Korean threat (although there are a couple of errors—e.g., EMP will not damage trees—at least not directly, although fires generated by explosions at power plants and consequent fires in other infrastructure could cause considerable secondary physical damage—especially in the absence of viable fire departments.)
Hetherington also credited Representative Yvette Clark (D-NY), who co-chairs the House EMP Caucus, for valiantly trying to get the House of Representatives to pass legislation requiring that that the electric power grid be protected against the EMP threat. She and the rest of the caucus need help from an aroused public.
Particularly important is that her message is getting through to state legislators—as we have emphasized, members of the Washington establishment—both the Executive and Legislative Branches—are largely ignoring this existential threat and failing in their sworn duty to provide for the common defense.
Plenty to rouse the media “dogs not barking” . . . don’t you think?
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
We are renewing our efforts to inform the state and local authorities—and publics—in states around the Gulf of Mexico of the important role their states can play in defending all Americans against the existential EMP threat.
Given the lethargy in Washington, we will continue informing all who will listen about the existential EMP threat and expanding our work with the National Guard to help them gain knowledge and workable plans to help harden the electric power grid and counter the EMP threat. This work will go hand in hand with efforts of State legislators who are seeking to expand on the excellent work of those in Maine and Virginia, who have passed legislation requiring serious studies of the EMP threat and the needed countermeasures to protect the electric power grid. Virginia’s bill passed in record time without a single negative vote and can be used as a ready pattern.
We are working with South Carolina National Guard to plan tabletop exercises to help them understand how best to engage constructively with private citizens and their local and state representatives and other authorities to understand and respond to this serious threat. We also are supporting related activities in neighboring and other states.
We are working with members of the EMP Coalition and others who are seeking to take our message across the country—especially with Bob Newman, a former Adjutant General of Virginia, to help us link our SC plans more broadly and into Virginia and the National Capital region.
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage, www.highfrontier.org for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.
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