NorKs, Nukes, Iran, and ICBMs

Via Reeko:

North Korea has successfully placed its second satellite into a polar orbit using their newer version of the UnHa-3 rocket to launch what they are calling the KwangMyungSong-4 satellite. The satellite and its third-stage rocket booster are both being tracked by NORAD which is showing a near prefect circular and polar orbit.

Since the first North Korean satellite launched in December 2012 tumbled uncontrollably, our collective think-tanks’ analysis had always been that North Korea was never able to communicate with that satellite. Yet it is humbly apparent that they did in fact learn from its failures. This second satellite is, for now, orbiting over the poles about every 94 minutes with its third stage booster somewhere near it.

There is fascinating video of the actual launch yesterday at the Sohae facility yesterday already uploaded by North Korea to Youtube. And yes, the rocket side is painted in very clearly Korean “Un Ha 3”:

Please note that the UnHa-3 rocket is a version of the TaePoDong-2 ICBM missile. Technically, what makes a satellite payload differ from a warhead payload is the ability to re-enter earth’s atmosphere downrange. Thus, whenever these so-called satellites turn into re-entry vehicles, without burning up their payloads, that is when they become true ICBMs. The only remaining obstacle for the North Koreans – and their partners the Iranians – to overcome and declare themselves nuclear states is to successfully re-enter an intact payload of any kind. Remember, a nuclear state does not have to test nuclear weapons to become a nuclear power. Israel didn’t test anything, but followed France’s testing of nukes. Iran is following Israel’s lead and helping North Korea to fully test and develop its nuclear weapons.

AND SO… is the North Korean orbiting object just a satellite? Or are they perfecting a re-entry vehicle? Some speculation persists that the tumbling of the first satellite was the result of it trying to re-enter instead of communicate. Speculating that further now in tandem with North Korea and their allies Iran having already developed a miniaturized nuclear bomb to feasibly put into any successful re-entry vehicle just last month, the remaining one question is really superfluous one: satellite or re-entry vehicle?

Could the North Korean Nuclear Test be a Game Changer for Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program?
http://freedmanreport.com/?p=2261

ICBMs don’t come cheap but since North Korea’s cooperation with Iran is most likely for Iran’s benefit instead of just having them there as interested observers, North Korea reaps the rewards also:

http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-nuclear-test-iran-deal-implications-2016-1

Which does beg the question, that if Iran can still get a 150 Billion dollar windfall by pretending to not be pursuing nuclear weapons that North Korea has already developed for them, then why can’t North Korea get some of that action also? A former US president, who is the undisputed sanctimonious king of understatement, Bill Clinton, said rather famously when he was asked about the wisdom of giving North Korea not one, but two nuclear reactors, which have since obviously been used to produce plenty of fissile material for bomb-making:  “That’s a no-brainer!” Well, duh.

Is North Korea Ready To Launch An ICBM? (UPDATED)

nk icbm

Via Reeko:

Apparently Japan thinks so, and so does the US. Both countries are actively countering any perceived missile threat from the regime in North Korea. For Japan, among other things, they have recently stood up Patriot anti-missile batteries scattered throughout metropolitan areas. So far, JASDF has admitted installing Patriot batteries near Tokyo and Okinawa as well as deploying ship-based Aegis anti-missile defenses.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missile-japan-idUSKCN0V70IB

For the US, one of the several things we have done is that we have pulled our latest radar range missile-tracking ship: the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen (hull designation T-AGM-25) from its primary patrol area off the Persian Gulf/Diego Garcia and sent it to the Far East US base at Sasebo, Japan about a month ago. Well, why not? The Iranians are our new best buds, right? They give us our sailors back and don’t blow up our ships. That is might friendly of them eh? So now, the Lorenzen is on station somewhere patrolling in the Sea of Japan between North Korea and Japan. We know it is “on station” because its transponder was shut off sometime after it left Sasebo.

Latest USNS Lorenzen tracking available:
http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:457683/mmsi:9416680/vessel:HOWARD%20O%20LORENZEN

The USNS Lorenzen is operated by the Military Sealift Command of the US Navy, and is the latest – and newest – purpose built missile tracking ship of the US fleet. Most folks didn’t know that there is a very long list of US Air Force ships that have been used – and sometimes crewed – by the Air Force since at least the 1950s. Specifically, it was this type of “range test” or “missile tracking” ship that was involved in our space efforts. At any given time an entire fleet of these ships would be on stations anywhere in the world for all of our Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle deployments as well as our entire missile testing research and development efforts. These ships most notably were involved with the tracking and recovering of our earliest manned space flights, and it was the USNS General H.H. Arnold (T-AGM 9) which tracked the very first Space Shuttle from the Indian Ocean. These Air Force ships have been loosely designated as East Coast (for the Cape Canaveral shots) and the West Coast for anything coming from Vandenberg AFB or elsewhere in the Pacific, and downrange at Kwajalein, US Marshall Islands. But also, these range ships kept track of our adversaries’ space operations and missile testing. That will have to be another story for another day.

I myself was a crewmember way back in the day onboard one of these range tracking ships a couple of times, and am very familiar with the protocols of the duty involved. But if I am allowed speculate now, I would opine that the long-range ICBM efforts being put forward by the North Koreans may in fact be just a prop, a deliberate and even if an obligatory prop non the less. It does seem this same opinion is shared by some very serious folks who make their careers studying such things: the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. Here is their esteemed take:

Suspicious Activity at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station
http://38north.org/2016/01/sohae012816/

 “If Pyongyang is preparing for a rocket launch, available imagery indicates that a launch is not imminent and that the North may be at an early stage of preparation.”

However, please note that both Japan and the US have taken this threat very seriously and at great cost. The North Koreans have already shot missiles over Japan, claimed to have put satellites up in orbit, and in general been an attention-seeking nuisance of the ICBM-threat variety. The North Koreans have successfully detonated nuclear devices, and to the rest of the world, that makes it only a step away from a delivery system and being a serious pain in the arse. In reality though, a long-range missile threat is not the real threat IF they can miniaturize a nuclear warhead enough to, say, the size that would fit into the trunk of a car, or smuggle it onto a cargo container ship or oil tanker? How close to a port of call would a half-full oil tanker with even a small nuke secreted into its hold with a remote detonation device have to be for it to be a disastrous threat?

No worries though. We got Patriots! Yea team! No matter that the North Koreans newest BFF just happens to be Iran who has had a nuclear development team in NK for oh, at least a dozen years or so. Imagine that. Who needs centrifuges when you got NorK Nukes? And Iran just secured a 150 billion dollar windfall, apparently for not killing US Navy sailors that drift into their coastal boundaries. Well, gee willikers, I wonder how much a small suitcase nuke costs these days, and if anybody out there knows how to make one?

On another note, I wonder if Dennis Rodman will be tapped by his good bud Barry Obama to be the go-between if any rather embarrassing USS Pueblo-type incident comes up. You know, shit happens. 😛

Reeko Forsazh

UPDATE:

The gantry tower at TongChang-ri is getting ready to launch a missile. This is not a small-time missile. It is huge, and it is on the East Coast of NK, where NK has posted an International Maritime Organization warning that it intends to put up a satellite with a trajectory traveling South by SW, directly over Okinawa and the Philippines. – reeko

Sebelius’ Testimony at ObamaCare Hearing Frustrates Republicans (Video)

At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing to access the progress of healthcare.gov, an evasive HHS Sec. Sebelius frustrated Republicans with non-answers, obfuscations, and ridiculous fibs.

She couldn’t tell Rep Pitts, the Chairman of the committee,  how many ObamaCare signups have actually paid for plans.

Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) asked  about the more than 5 million Americans who have lost their health insurance because of Obamacare. She responded, “I don’t know where the 5 million number comes from.”

Constituents from all across the nation have been sharing their ObamaCare horror stories at www.gop.gov/yourstory.

She couldn’t tell Rep Whitfield how many regulations ObamaCare has created.

She told Rep. Burgess (R-TX) Obamacare Enrollment Hub ‘Has Worked Beautifully from start to finish’:

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Il) got very frustrated with the HHS Sec because of her refusal to provide a national list of of insurance providers who cover and who don’t cover “abortion services,” after she promised to get him the list.  He said, we need that list today, because “folks are shopping, now.”

She told him that all the plans are mandated by law to list abortion services, but Shimkus reminded her that at the last hearing he “held up numerous policies that did not explain that..”

He got further frustrated when he tried to get her to admit that the mandates the law has imposed on insurance companies are causing premiums go up.

“When you mandate coverage it’s rolled directly on premiums; as the premiums increase, that’s paying for the services. You cannot say these are free of charge.”

Sebelius responded by saying that “consumers will not have a co-pay or a deductible…”

“Will you admit they will have a higher premium?” Shimkus interrupted.

Sebelius answered, “no, I will not,” despite the well known fact that millions of Americans have seen their health insurance premiums and deductibles skyrocket since Obamacare’s implementation.

Through Shimkus’ crosstalk, she continued,  “I think what a lot of actuaries will tell you is…if you have preventive care and prevent a costly hospital stay…cancer…down the line, then that cost actually lowers the premium – doesn’t raise it.”

Shimkus said, “we just going to agree to disagree,” then blurted, “It’s like talking to…the Republic of Korea, or something,” (meaning the People’s Republic of Korea.)

A shouting match between Shimkus and another congressman ensued until the committee chair shut it down: “The gentleman will suspend. The gentleman will suspend. Give the secretary time to answer the question.”

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers had no luck getting a straight answer from Sebelius when she asked her about Obama’s promise that everyone would be able to keep their doctors under ObamaCare.

“Why in the world did the president make that promise to the American people?” she asked as Sebelius obfuscated.

Meanwhile….Democrats shift strategy on ObamaCare ahead 2014 elections:

 House Republicans released this video, Wednesday ahead of Sebelius’ testimony: Broken promises. Canceled plans. Increased premiums. What’s next?

Bill Whittle: Reflections of Disaster (North Korea Edition)

Via PJ Media:

Tensions continue to rise on the Korean peninsula. Bill Whittle wonders why a poverty stricken totalitarian state like North Korea is setting the terms of debate, and not President Obama. Could the problem be that Obama and his security team fail to properly understand Kim Jong-un and his Stalinist regime? Is President Obama bumbling his way towards nuclear war?

Tokyo #1 On North Korea’s Attack List (Video)

North Korea is saying to Japan, YOU FIRST:

According to Debka:

US and Japanese sources reported Friday, April 12,  that North Korea has warned Japan that Tokyo would be the first target if Pyongyang decided to launch a nuclear attack. This was in response to Japan’s orders to its armed forces to shoot down any North Korean missile that heads toward its territory. Taking the threat seriously, Japan has deployed Patriot interceptors around its capital.
Japanese defense officials refused to confirm reports about their naval alert saying they do not want to “show their cards” to North Korea.
On arrival in Seoul Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “We will stand with South Korea and Japan against these threats. And we will defend ourselves,” he said. He rejected the Pentagon’s assessment that Pyongyang had probably developed nuclear weapons which could be mounted on ballistic missiles, saying that North Korea had still not developed or fully tested the nuclear capabilities needed for this step.

The White House again insisted Friday that North Korea had not demonstrated a capability to deploy a nuclear-armed missile, evidently intent on having the last word in the debate with the Pentagon on this matter.