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New Guam threat as North Korea still weighs powerful hydrogen test over Pacific

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New Guam threat as North Korea weighs powerful test over Pacific

Once again, North Korea on Friday raised the threat to launch a ballistic missile toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. It still hasn’t followed through on another threat: to conduct an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test.

The new Guam threat comes ahead of planned U.S.-South Korean joint maritime exercises scheduled to start next week in the Asia-Pacific region. A Navy statement issued Thursday indicated exercises will include the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and at least two destroyer vessels.

In August, the North’s state-run KCNA news agency said the regime was “seriously examining … an enveloping strike at Guam.” The same propaganda outlet renewed the threat Friday against Guam, home to U.S. military bases with an estimated 6,000 troops. 

Then, last month North Korea’s foreign minister told reporters the regime’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was considering “the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb” in the Pacific. It followed Trump’s first address to the United Nations general assembly Sept. 19 in which he said the U.S. and its allies were prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea.

“If North Korea puts a nuclear warhead on the tip of a missile and explodes it over the Pacific, that would be the most provocative action North Korea could take short of starting a war,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan disarmament group based in Washington.

Some experts see both the Guam and atmospheric hydrogen bomb test threats as bluster.

“I do not think the North Koreans now are going to make any provocative moves probably for the next month or so,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, a think tank founded by former President Richard Nixon. “Reason why is with President Trump putting so much pressure on Iran, the North Koreans are very smart to let the Iranians take the heat sort of in the international arena now.”

Students sit on the World War II remnants of a torpedo at Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 11, 2017.

Kazianis added, “They would be very foolish to do anything on Guam or anything else. They might make threats. But I don’t think they’ll do any missile or nuclear tests in the short to immediate future.”

For its part, the Pentagon remains steadfast in its commitment to handle any threats against Guam.

“U.S. Pacific Command forces always maintain a high state of readiness and have capabilities to counter any threat to Guam, to include those from North Korea,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told CNBC in an email statement Friday.

Meantime, if the North Korean leader does go ahead with the hydrogen bomb test above the Pacific some experts believe it would spur President Donald Trump to push for regime change in Pyongyang.

The U.S. conducted nuclear weapon testing in the Pacific from 1946 until 1962. The last such test, a 1.45 megaton weapon at high altitude some 900 miles from Honolulu, was dubbed Starfish Prime and roughly 70 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The 1962 blast produced a light flash seen throughout Hawaii, damaged power lines and generated enough intensity to trigger burglar alarms.

Still, the most powerful nuclear weapon test conducted by the U.S. was at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1954 and code-named Castle Bravo. Its yield was estimated at 15 megatons, about 1,000 times larger than the 1945 Hiroshima bomb.

Radioactive fallout from the 1954 test spread over 11,000 square kilometers, or nearly 4,300 square miles, according to Davenport. She said it’s unlikely North Korea would test a weapon with the scale of the Castle Bravo explosion, which had the force of 15 million tons of TNT.

In September, North Korea conducted its sixth underground nuclear test, which produced a magnitude 6.1 earthquake. Initial yield estimates of about 150 kilotons were later revised upward to 250 kilotons (or 250,000 tons of TNT).

“It’s been decades since the last explosion in the atmosphere,” said Davenport. “There’s a reason why there was a push to ban explosions in the atmosphere before the push to completely eliminate nuclear testing took off,” said Davenport. “And that’s because the effects are so much more dangerous than underground testing.”

The Partial Test Ban Treaty signed in 1963 between the U.S., Soviet Union and Britain prohibited nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. More than 100 countries joined the treaty as signatories but not North Korea nor its key ally China.

Experts point out that radioactive fallout from a North Korean atmospheric nuclear blast would depend on the size of the detonated device, the location where it explodes, wind patterns and a number of other environmental factors.

Regardless, there’s the potential for radioactive particles to be carried long distances in the air that could reach the U.S. West Coast.

“If radioactive particles became entrained in the jet stream winds, they could be transported toward the east quite quickly — the strongest winds in a jet stream can be over 200 miles per hour,” said Peter Jackson, an environmental science professor at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Jackson also explained that material from the nuclear blast could linger in the stratosphere for a long time similar to particle-size distributions from major volcano eruptions. Indeed, particles from significant volcanic events have been observed in the stratosphere for several years following eruptions.

“The fallout for a detonation in the atmosphere, or even on land, can move across the Pacific in a few days to a week,” said Ken Buesseler, marine radiochemist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts.

In the case of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility disaster in 2011, Buesseler said it took “less than a week” for winds to blow the radioactivity to California. “You could detect that in San Francisco and other West Coast monitoring stations,” he said.

To be clear, even Fukushima-related radiation detected in the Western U.S. was not deemed to be at levels posing a health risk.

Similarly, if North Korea goes ahead with the atmospheric test in the Pacific there likely will be radioactive particles detected from California to states in other regions.

“If they set something off as an airburst in the middle of the Pacific, we can detect it here in New York and probably in Europe,” said Andrew Karam, a radiation safety expert consultant who has advised corporations and government agencies. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s dangerous.”

Either way, it’s unclear if North Korea would provide advance notice of any nuclear test in the atmosphere to reduce the danger to aircraft and ships.

The communist state failed to alert the world before it launched a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on July 28 that splashed down in the Sea of Japan. The missile test reportedly had a close call with an Air France passenger jet that had just passed the splashdown location.

Previous ballistic missile tests by the regime didn’t use active nuclear bombs. So the threat to use such a weapon for a test over the Pacific raises the stakes and the possibility of a nightmare scenario if something goes wrong.

For example, the nuclear-armed missile fired from North Korea could veer off course into a neighboring country and cause the unthinkable: detonation in a populated area.

“The risks are astronomical,” said Kazianis. “We don’t know for certain the amount of safety measures that they’ve worked into these weapons. If you talk about the United States or Russia, there are safeguards. So you might have an accidental war start by the North Koreans actually trying to test one of these things.”

The USS Ronald Reagan Just Got Its Orders… “Rocket Man” Is Gonna Be Ticked


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The USS Ronald Reagan just got orders, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is not going to be happy about them.

The Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday that the Navy is moving the aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula, where it will conduct training drills with the USS Carl Vinson, according an unnamed defense official.

The joint drills carried out by the two carriers are to “detect, track and intercept the North’s ballistic missiles, in addition to anti-submarine warfare training,” the official told Yonhap.

“We are in consultations (with the U.S.) on a plan for the aircraft strike group led by the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan to operate in the East Sea around Oct. 15,” Yonhap reported.

“The Reagan will likely be accompanied by several other warships belonging to the strike group, such as an Aegis destroyer, a guided-missile cruiser and a nuclear-powered submarine,” the report continued.

A U.S. Forces Korea official said the training would occur around Oct. 20, adding that an exact schedule had not been set. The official also said that the joint drill was “prearranged” and not a response to the growing tensions with North Korea.

Rear Admiral Marc Dalton, commander of the Reagan’s strike group, told the South China Morning Post the development was to keep the military ready to defend U.S. allies as well as maintain stability in the area.

“The United States has been very clear about leveraging all options in order to get North Korea to change its path,” Dalton said.

Kim must be getting a little nervous with this latest show of military might. We will have to wait and see how he responds to a group of warships just outside his back door.

H/T American Military News

Here’s What Obama Demanded of Otto’s Family Months Before He Died


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In an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, the parents of Otto Warmbier — the American college student imprisoned in North Korea who died shortly after being released from North Korean custody — revealed that the Obama administration had told them they should keep quiet during their son’s captivity.

Warmbier, an American student who was detained during a visit to Pyongyang, died in June after being brought back to the United States. In the interview, Otto’s father Fred Warmbier credited the Trump administration with helping bring their son home by “aggressively” pursuing the young man’s release.

Warmbier was initially taken into custody back in January of 2016 for allegedly stealing a North Korean propaganda poster.

“When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release,” Warmbier told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday.

“We did so without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over,” he continued, referencing the former president’s policy of “strategic patience” with Pyongyang.

“We made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea and Japan) Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department.

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“It is my understanding that Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the president, aggressively pursued resolution of the situation,” Fred Warmbier added. “They have our thanks for bringing him home.”

His parents also said that Warmbier wasn’t in a coma when he returned to the United States, but that he’d still been brutally tortured by Kim Jong Un’s regime.

“We walked over to the plane, the engines are still humming, they had just landed … when we got halfway up the steps we heard this howling, involuntary, inhuman sound,” Fred said. “We weren’t really certain what it was.”

Sadly, it was their son, who was jerking violently on a stretcher.

“Otto had a shaved head, he had a feeding tube coming out of his nose, he was staring blankly into space, jerking violently,” Fred Warmbier said. “He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.” the latest video at <a href=””></a>Just days later, Otto Warmbier was dead.

“North Korea is not a victim, they are terrorists,” Fred Warmbier said. “They purposefully and intentionally injured Otto.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what “strategic patience” hath wrought. Otto Warmbier is dead, North Korea is emboldened, and there are even more Americans in North Korean custody.

For everyone on the left criticizing Donald Trump for his aggressive stance on North Korea, they ought to remember where the alternative has gotten us — and where an Obama-imposed silence got the Warmbiers.

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoons for Thursday September 28, 2017

Additional Politically INCORRECT Cartoons for Monday September 25, 2017

Trump announces new sanctions on North Korea


President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea as the U.S. and its allies sought to ramp up pressure on Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear ambitions.

Speaking at the United Nations before a working lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, two key allies in the region, Trump said the order would significantly expand the U.S. ability to crack down on individuals and companies that do business with North Korea.


The president said he had empowered the Treasury Department to “target any individual or entity that conducts trade in goods, services or technology” with the country. The order also includes measures designed to “disrupt critical North Korean shipping and trade networks.”

Flanked at a table by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, Trump expressed an urgency to curb North Korea’s nuclear and ballistics programs.

“North Korea’s missiles and weapons development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime,” Trump said. “The brutal North Korean regime does not respect its own citizens or the sovereignty of other nations. A new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to human kind.”

The announcement immediately raised questions about the impact on China, which is North Korea’s largest trading partner.

“I want to be clear the order targets only one country — that country is North Korea,” Trump said. 

The president announced that he had “heard moments ago” that the Chinese had told their central bank to “immediately stop doing business with North Korea.”

“I want to thank President Xi [Jinping] of China for the very bold move he made today,” Trump said. “It was a somewhat unexpected move, and we appreciate it.”

The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation. Haley has said those measures have “strangled their economic situation,” but acknowledged it will “take a little bit of time” for the impact to be felt. 

Trump has thanked the U.N. Security Council for voting unanimously on those sanctions, but also expressed frustration that the measures do not go far enough.

“The United Nations has had representatives working on this problem for over 25 years and they have done nothing,” Trump said Thursday. “That’s why we are in the problem we are in today, in addition to other countries not doing what they should have done. Tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now.”

In his first-ever speech to the U.N. general assembly this week, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it continued its provocations.

South Korean President Moon, who campaigned on the promise he would seek dialogue with North Korea and has sought to tamp down the possibility of military action, on Thursday praised Trump’s executive order.

“President Trump just talked about the executive order, through which the U.S. is going to be implementing sanctions against the DPRK,” Moon said. “That was a very major announcement made by China to take actions on the DPRK. I am very confident that such moves will contribute to complete denuclearization of DPRK.”

Japanese President Abe has taken a similar hardline approach as Trump, writing in The New York Times this week that “prioritizing diplomacy and emphasizing the importance of dialogue will not work with North Korea.” On Thursday, Abe offered “heartfelt support” for the new sanctions.

“We are going into the new stage of pressure from the viewpoint of exercising the stronger pressure, new pressures,” Abe said. “I welcome the new sanction measures of the United States.”

Before the event, there were questions about whether Trump, Moon and Abe would all be on the same page about North Korea.

This story was updated at 2:28 p.m.

Additional Politically INCORRECT Cartoons for Thursday September 21, 2017

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