Traders barely had time to enjoy the lull from the “Armageddon trade” – the rising possibility of a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea, which peaked over the weekend when various US officials said a nuclear war is not imminent, echoed by a statement by N. Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA, before a new set of worries promptly took over, chief among them the ongoing slow motion train wreck in Donald Trump’s administration coupled with yesterday’s double terrorist attacks in Spain. Alas, “nuclear war” risk is about to come back with a vengeance because on Monday US and South Korea are scheduled to begin joint military exercises, a massive show of force which every time in the past has infuriated North Korea, sometimes triggering a show of force. Held every fall in South Korea, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are the world’s largest computerized command and control exercise. Some 30,000 U. S. soldiers and more than 50,000 South Korean troops usually take part, along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians, some practicing for a potential chemical weapons attack. Scheduled long before the recent diplomatic fallout between Washington and Pyongyang, the U. S. and South Korean militaries will simulate warfare with North Korea from Aug. 21 to 31, well aware that North Korea could respond with another missile test, according to McClatchy. In light of this perceived provocation by North Korea, which will almost certainly prompt some reaction, Scott A. Snyder, a Korea specialist with the Council on Foreign Relations said ‘Over the course of the next two weeks I expect tensions to escalate. This is always a sensitive issue, but it is more hair-trigger as the North Koreans are very sensitive to the likely additional nuclear-capable aircraft flyovers.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 18, 2017.
While the storm over North Korea may appear to have passed, Bloomberg FX strategist David Finnerty warns that it’s possible we’re only in its eye. Investors may want to think twice before jumping back into risk assets… The good news is that it appears North Korea has, at least temporarily, backed down from plans to fire missiles toward Guam. But there hasn’t been any indication that the country plans to halt, let alone dismantle its nuclear program. The trend is not your friend when it comes to this Asian country’s behavior. The firing in July of an intercontinental ballistic missile had Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling it a ‘new escalation of the threat’. And that comes after the other launches this year.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 17, 2017.
While the focus on North Korea has been their improvement of missiles and a potential nuclear strike against the United States, many have missed an equally sinister weapon lingering in the rogue nation’s arsenal. And experts say that it’s time to take notice of it. Experts say there’s another weapon in Pyongyang’s arsenal the globe should keep a very close and watchful eye on. ‘Nuclear weapons are not the only threat,’ Kelsey Davenport, director of non-proliferation policy for the Arms Control Association told the McClatchy Washington Bureau. ‘North Korea could respond to a U. S. attack using chemical weapons. That would be devastating.’ And according to Fox News, Kim Jong Un’s military has been collecting large stockpiles of nerve agents, such as sarin and VX, which is the most dangerous and potent of all nerve gas agents. North Korea could always choose a chemical attack, rather than a nuclear one; one that could target U. S. military bases in the region and large cities like Seoul and Tokyo, according to a new report. Pyongyang denies that they have chemical agents, yet back in May, it was reported that the UN was helping North Korea obtain a patent for a banned nerve gas agent.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 17th, 2017.
While the international media remains concerned to the point of being fixated on the US-DPRK (North Korea) stand-off, in terms of sheer firepower, the much more pressing stand-off between China and India holds the potential to be far more destructive. Indian Nuclear Weapons While the best intelligence about North Korea’s weapons delivery capabilities indicates that North Korea is in possession of intermediate range ballistic missile systems which are incapable of hitting the US mainland, India’s intermediate range systems are not only more advanced but due to India’s proximity with China, these missiles could easily strike targets within China. Of course, China has a vastly more equipped army and nuclear capacity, but any war between China and India that would involve the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles would be a world-changing event. While many have focused on the possibility of a short land-based border war, similar to that which the two countries fought in 1962, due to the rapid advance of both the Chinese and Indian militaries in the decades since 1962, there is every possibility that such a war could escalate quickly.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 17, 2017.
Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation, By suggesting that he might order a U. S. regime-change invasion of Venezuela, President Trump has inadvertently shown why North Korea has been desperately trying to develop nuclear weapons – to serve as a deterrent or defense against one of the U. S. national-security state storied regime-change operations. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Venezuela and, for that matter, other Third World countries who stand up to the U. S. Empire, also seeking to put their hands on nuclear weapons. What better way to deter a U. S. regime-change operation against them? Think back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U. S. national-security establishment had initiated a military invasion of the Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, had exhorted President Kennedy to bomb Cuba during that invasion, and then had recommended that the president implement a fraudulent pretext (i.e., Operation Northwoods) for a full-scale military invasion of Cuba. That’s why Cuba, which had never initiated any acts of aggression against the United States, wanted Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba. Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro knew that there was no way that Cuba could defeat the United States in a regular, conventional war. Everyone knows that the military establishment in the United States is so large and so powerful that it can easily smash any Third World nation, including Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Venezuela.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is getting more confident in his nuclear weapon arsenal. And now some say Kim is showing signs of war, as he’s vanished from the public eye for two weeks. The last time Kim went days without being seen was prior to the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test launch in late July. At that time, Kim remained in hiding for two weeks before making another grandiose public appearance. But the timing of this disappearance is a little unsettling, as tensions between North Korea and the United States are almost at a breaking point. Nuclear war tensions continue to mount between Washington and Pyongyang, and on the heels of theleader’s threat to attack the U. S. island territory of Guam, analysts think the rogue dictator’s disappearance is a bad sign.
Two Guam radio stations terrified locals Monday night after accidentally broadcasting a missile warning klaxon developed by the island’s government – convincing a handful of residents that they were on the cusp of nuclear oblivion. The message was mistakenly broadcast because of ‘human error’ by both the KTWG and KSTO radio stations, according to the Sun, a UK tabloid. The paper neglected to explain how employees working independently at two different radio stations managed to make the same mistake at almost the exact same time. ‘The alarm read: ‘A broadcast station or cable system has issued a civil danger warning for the following countries/areas: Guam; at 12:25 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2017, effective until 12:40 a.m. Message from KTWGKSTO.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
A day after US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford promised him that the US would exhaust all diplomatic options, including another round of UN sanctions, before resorting to a ‘military solution’ in its simmering conflict with North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reminded Washington during a forceful Tuesday speech that the US would need to seek, and receive, South Korea’s consent before risking another armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, signaling his country will no longer stay quiet as tensions escalate with its northern neighbor. As Bloomberg summarizes, “Moon asserted the right to veto any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime, saying that decision should be made by ‘ourselves and not by anyone else.’ He vowed to prevent war at any cost – a statement that drew a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump, who has warned of ‘fire and fury’ if North Korea continues to threaten the U. S.” Some highlights from his speech: “Without South Korea’s consent no one can determine military actions on the Korean peninsula” South Korea govt will prevent war at any cost; “There will be no war repeated on the Korean peninsula” South Korea will work closely with U. S. to overcome security threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear missiles South Korea govt will “strengthen diplomatic efforts in order not to shake principles for a peaceful resolution” Sanctions and talks should go together; “Sanctions are not to heighten military tensions but to bring North Korea to talks” Moon’s speech coincided with the Korean independence-day holiday on Tuesday, which is celebrated in both the North and the South. The holiday commemorates the defeat of the Japanese during World War II. According to Yonhap news agency, Moon marked the occasion by visiting the graves of independence fighters. Meanwhile, Moon’s counterpart, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “”celebrated by backing off his threat to launch a nuclear strike against Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean that’s about 2,000 miles away from the Korean Peninsula – well within the range of the North’s missiles. According to KCNA, the North Korean news agency, Kim has received a report from the army about its plans to strike the area around Guam and said, “he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
The United States has several thousand operational nuclear missiles. It has a large fleet of strategic bombers, an enormous navy, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and marines. The US could bomb, blockade, and invade North Korea if it chose to incur the cost. Yet North Korea is threatening to fire missiles at Guam, a US island territory in the Western Pacific where a substantial portion of the American strategic forces are now stationed. The North Koreans have been unyielding in insisting that they intend to complete a force of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike the US. This seems to be irrational behavior. But if these are the deeds of an irrational regime, how has this same regime, founded by the current leader’s grandfather, survived since 1948? It survived a devastating war, managed to stay nimble during the Sino-Soviet confrontation, and endured the fall of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China, starvation in the 1990s, and confrontation with the United States. The regime should have collapsed many times. It didn’t. If survival is a measure of rationality, and it should be, then the leadership class (and it is of course more than just one person) could not have lasted for almost 70 years if it were irrational. North Korea may have bizarre values, but its leaders have not been stupid. So the question is, what are they seeing now?
United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees (C. B. – construction battalion), of the Naval Construction Force held a groundbreaking ceremony for a maritime operations center on Ochakov Naval Base, Ukraine, July 25. According to the Navy.mil, the official website of the US Navy, the maritime operations center is one of three projects that are currently planned to be executed by the Seabees in Ochakov and will serve as a major planning and operational hub during future military exercises hosted by Ukraine. The Seabees arrived in Ochakov in April to establish contracts, obtain construction permits and perform other logistical tasks for the maritime operations center project. *** Maritime operations centers are the operational-level warfare command and control organizations designed to deliver flexible maritime capabilities throughout the full range of military operations. The future Seabee projects in Ochakov include a boat maintenance facility and entry control points with perimeter fencing. Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance, and will ultimately improve host nation defense capacity and infrastructure, strengthen relations, and increase bilateral training capabilities, said Lt. j.g. Jason McGee, officer in charge of Det. Ukraine. In July, several US missile warships, including the USS Hue City Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and the USS Carney Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and a Navy SEALs team took part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 NATO naval exercise held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, near the port city of Odessa. 17 nations took part in the training event.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
While global stock markets breathed a sigh of dip-buying relief today that the world did not end, North Korea just ratcheted up the rhetoric one more time with state media reporting the North Korean leader is “being briefed on the Guam attack plan” today, adding that “if a second Korean War breaks out, it would inevitably be a nuclear war.” According to the state run KCNA news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “examined the plan for a long time” on Monday during his inspection to the command of the Strategic Force. North Korea said last week that it will finalize by mid-August its detailed plan to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles around Guam and report it to its leader for approval. As KCNA notes, the North Korean leader received a report from his army on its plans to strike the area around Guam and said “he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision.” According to the WSJ interpretation of this oddly-worded report, the “North Korean leader has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam” but warned that he could change his mind ‘if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.’ As a result, the report “could help dial back tensions that had spiraled last week following an exchange of threats between North Korea and U. S. President Donald Trump.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
Editor’s Note: Back in February of 2014 we published an interview and report from well known preparedness strategist and strategic relocation expert Joel Skousen in which he explained his assessment of how World War III would ‘go down.’ At the time, North Korea was considered by most to be nothing more than a small pest that posed no real threat to the United States. President Barrack Obama, like his predecessors, had maintained America’s policy of ‘strategic patience’ with the rogue state, while its leader, as he does today, often made threats about attacking the United States, Japan and South Korea. What’s different today is that North Korea has proven their capabilities with not only inter-continental ballistic missiles, but nuclear weapons as well. Moreover, they have threatened to launch nuclear attacks against specific U. S. targets and many in the intelligence community have argued that the North may already have the weapons systems in place to strike key population centers that include Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. Unlike 2014, today we have a different kind of President – one who believes strategic patience is a failed policy. Donald Trump has made it clear that North Korea will not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons and has backed his words with the might of Naval carrier strike groups off the Korean Peninsula and strategic bombers stationed in Guam. Trump and his national security team have essentially given Kim Jong Un two options. Either dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program, or war will be declared. On that note, we encourage you to consider the following assessment from Joel Skousen. If war is coming, this may well be how it’s triggered. And when it goes down, it’s going to be thermo-nuclear.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 14th, 2017.
When the US State Department supported Ukraine domestic forces and nationalist elements to stage a successful and deadly coup against then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, the outcome was supposed to be a nation that is a undisputed US ally and persistent threat, distraction and non-NATO opponent to bordering Russia. Instead, it now appears that it has been Ukraine which was, as the NYT writes, the secret behind the success of North Korea’s ballistic missile program. Specifically, in a blockbuster report this morning, the NYT alleges that North Korea has been making black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines from a Ukrainian factory citing “expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.” The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. According to the report, analysts who studied photographs of Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. “The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
A “stolen” 10 meter-long Soviet-era, anti-aircraft missile has exploded at a recycling centre in eastern Russia, killing two and injuring one, the Telegraph reports. Russian media were reportedly alerted to the explosion of the large-scale missile in the Siberian city of Chita after a YouTube user uploaded a car dashcam video showing the moment of the blast.
According to the Telegraph, a criminal investigation was opened into the “illegal acquisition and storage of explosive device” after two warheads from a S-200 Angara missile were found at the blast site. Local authorities said it appeared that the warhead had detonated while workers were cutting it down for scrap metal. The exploded missile was an S-200 Angara, also known as the SA-5 “Gammon” in NATO countries, a long rage, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile system. The SAM has been in service since 1967s, but has since been replaced by the S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air models. It is unknown how the missile came to be at a recycling plant. Local news website by24.org says that the seven tonne missile “had been stolen” from a military base by persons unknown and taken to the facility in exchange for cash. It had likely exploded while recycling workers were trying to dismantle it.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 13, 2017.
According to state run propaganda media, North Korea is on standby to launch a missile at the mainland United States. Responding to President Donald Trump’s recent warnings to the rogue regime in this manner has just flung tensions to heights never seen – not even during the Cold War. North Korea took its turn Saturday to raise tensions in the back-and-forth escalation toward war with President Trump and the United States. The state-run newspaper said that North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un’s revolutionary army is ‘capable of fighting any war the U. S. wants.’ The same newspaper also noted that the Paektusan army is now ‘on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack.’ Unfortunately, it is possible that we will witness World War 3 and these heightened tensions between the U. S. and North Korea could be the catalyst. The editorial also stated that the United States ‘finds itself in an ever worsening dilemma, being thrown into the grip of extreme security unrest by the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). This is tragi-comedy of its own making. … If the Trump administration does not want the American empire to meet its tragic doom in its tenure, they had better talk and act properly.’ Pretty big talk for a small country run by a chubby dictator. And unfortunately, it won’t help stop the progression toward war; it was simply yet another provocation.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 13th, 2017.
Growing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang escalated dramatically this week with North Korea laying out plans to target the American island territory of Guam in a missile strike. News reports have shown intercontinental ballistic missiles being tested that have the potential to reach the continental U. S. while intelligence sources believe the regime has now managed to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit one of those missiles.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 13, 2017.
The crisis with North Korea has hit a fever pitch with both, President Trump and Kim Jong Un, exchanging words on a nearly hourly basis. While North Korea has threatened to reduce the United States to ‘ash,’ Trump has responded by saying that the U. S. military is ‘locked and loaded’ for war. So serious is the concern that Guam, identified by Un as an initial target should war break out, has issued a nuclear war guide to its residents: Guam Homeland Security issued a new fact sheetFriday, which the agency says will help residents prepare for an imminent missile threat. The information was released following this week’s threat by North Korea to launch a missile attack against Guam. The advice includes tips such as: ‘Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you’ and ‘Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.’
This post was published at shtfplan on August 11th, 2017.
In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Mark Antony says in Act 3, Scene 1, line 273: ‘Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war’. What is truly astonishing is how the Democrats and CNN hate Trump so much they are praising Kim Jung-un and made him the hero while praising him as actually saying he is more responsible than Trump. This is really just unbelievable how partisan politics has come to this. The agenda of the Democrats and CNN is rather startling. They are supporting North Korea – not the United States. I do not think this has ever happened in the history of this nation. Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that Kim Jong Un is more responsible than Trump. ‘You have this guy making bellicose threats against somebody else who has very little to lose over there. Kim Jong-un, the world always thought he was not a responsible leader well he’s acting more responsible than this guy is. And what I’m telling you is once you start seeing missile launches, you’re going to see – the time for cranking up the anti-war machine is right now. So if you don’t want to get caught, deer-in-the-headlights, start calling for diplomacy in North Korea immediately.’
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation, “Looking at the recent North Korean testing of two intercontinental missiles, it may seem that Pyongyang wishes to increase tensions in the region. A more careful analysis, however, shows how the DPRK is implementing a strategy that will likely succeed in averting a disastrous war on the peninsula.” In the last four weeks, North Korea seems to have implemented the second phase of its strategy against South Korea, China and the United States. The North Korean nuclear program seems to have reached an important juncture, with two tests carried out at the beginning and end of July. Both missiles seem capable of hitting the American mainland, although doubts still remain over Pyongyang’s ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount it on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). However, the direction in which North Korea’s nuclear program is headed ensures an important regional deterrent against Japan and South Korea, and in some respects against the United States, which is the main reason for North Korea’s development of ICBMs. Recent history has repeatedly demonstrated the folly of trusting the West (the fate of Gaddafi remains fresh in our minds) and suggests instead the building up of an arsenal that poses a serious deterrence to US bellicosity. It is not a mystery that from 2009 to date, North Korea’s nuclear capacity has increased in direct proportion to the level of distrust visited on Pyongyang by the West. Since 2009, the six-party talks concluded, Kim Jong-un has come to realize that the continuing threats, practices, and arms sales of the United States to Japan and South Korea needed to be thwarted in some way in the interests of defending the sovereignty of the DPRK. Faced with infinitely lower spending capacity than the three nations mentioned, Pyongyang chose a twofold strategy: to pursue nuclear weapons as an explicit deterrence measure; and to strengthen its conventional forces, keeping in mind that Seoul is only a stone’s throw away from North Korean artillery.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.
There’s something very strange and disturbing about the hype around the White House and US media’s latest obsession with North Korea. It’s not just the usual war-mongering and hot air though. We’ve seen all that before. This goes beyond sabre-rattling. There’s something uncomfortably bipartisan about this new appetite for war.
Watching CNN this week, you got the impression we’ve entered a new comic book phase in the American experiment, driven by an 24 hour media environment where facts and analysis seem like a distant nostalgic hallucination. I asked myself, is it real? Where does the show finally end, and the war begin? We’re told that North Korea has now defied recent threats of ‘fire and fury’ from US President Donald Trump, and that the regime has announced its plan to launch missiles at the nearest US territory, the island of Guam in the Pacific. So that’s it. It’s war then, right? Trump’s generals wasted no time throwing petrol on the fire, led by Defense Secretary Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis who warned Kim Jung-Un that the US military ‘possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.’ Whatever your views might be of Trump, North Korea, US foreign policy, or ‘global security,’ at this point we’d all do well to hit the breaks.