President Warns of Nuclear Threat from N. Korea
February 3, 2018
On Jan 30th the following related Flash SMS message
was sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:
1/30 – President Trump in State of the Union Address: N. Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten the U.S. homeland.
What You Need To Know
On eight occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Most important for this report, on Tuesday, AlertsUSA subscribers were informed of a warning issued by President Trump during his State of the Union address within which he branded North Korea’s leadership as “depraved” and stated that Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear missiles could “very soon threaten our homeland.” The President vowed a continued campaign to prevent that from happening.
While most mainstream news coverage of N. Korea over the last few weeks has revolved around the hermit kingdom sending a limited number of athletes (along with hundreds of cheerleaders) to the upcoming Winter Olympics in S. Korea, behind the scenes, tensions are increasing as their nuclear and missile programs continue to advance.
According to the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) published late this week by the Department of Defense:
“North Korea has accelerated its provocative pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, and expressed explicit threats to use nuclear weapons against the United States and its allies in the region. North Korean officials insist that they will not give up nuclear weapons. Given North Korea’s current and emerging nuclear capabilities; existing chemical, biological, and conventional capabilities; and extremely provocative rhetoric and actions, it has come to pose an urgent and unpredictable threat to the United States, allies, and partners. Consequently, the United States reaffirms that North Korea’s illicit nuclear program must be completely, verifiably, and irreversibly eliminated, resulting in a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.“
Note the head-on conflict between the two emboldened statements above. As consecutive N. Korean regimes have literally destroyed their country (and caused significant pain and hardship for their citizens) in the pursuit of a strategic weapons capability, it is inconceivable that they would, under any circumstances, voluntarily give up these weapons now that the baseline goal has been achieved. Similarly, S. Korea, the U.S., Japan and other nations repeatedly threatened by N. Korea are equally unlikely to tolerate a nuclear-armed N. Korea for much longer. The risk is perceived as much too great.
The NPR document goes on::
“Our deterrence strategy for North Korea makes clear that any North Korean nuclear attack against the United States or its allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime. There is no scenario in which the Kim (Jong-un) regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive.”
Of equal importance is the threat of the proliferation of these weapons. The fact stands that N. Korea is financially in ruins and their situation is growing increasingly dire by the day. Their major benefactors are gone, numerous rounds of United Nations sanctions have reduced incoming revenue streams to a trickle, and the country is desperate for cold hard cash.
In this regard, the NPR also highlights the risk of North Korea selling its nuclear weapons and technology to other state and non-state actors, in turn increasing the pressure on still other nations to build their own nuclear arsenal in order to defend themselves from a nuclear attack.
One glaring example would be Iran, a very close ally of N. Korea. If Tehran were to acquire nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia (a historic enemy of Iran) would acquire their own, as would most other Gulf nations.
North Korea already has a troubling history of selling advanced military technology, including that used in nuclear weapons, to Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In the 1990s, North Korean scientists taught Pakistan how to make Krytrons (cold-cathode gas-filled tubes used in nuclear triggers), as well as provided them with low-enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) which was then transferred to Libya. It is widely believed that North Korea provided Iran with nuclear technology. Pyongyang also helped Syria build a nuclear reactor (which was destroyed by Israel in 2007).
Then there are the numerous terrorist organizations seeking access to the ultimate weapon of war, which could generate both a significant cash haul for North Korea, as well as help them strike the U.S., albeit indirectly.
In 1998, al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden declared in a religious edict that acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was his “Islamic duty.” In 2008, current al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a book titled Exoneration within which he uses key Quranic themes (as opposed to an outright religious edict) to justify the use of such weapons.
While N. Korea’s participation in the Olympics is a nice step in engagement, keep this situation in perspective as it has little bearing on a peaceful resolution to the overall crisis.
The 2018 Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is a sweeping analysis and reassessment of the U.S. nuclear weapons policy and doctrine. Thematically, the 2018 NPR shows a dramatic shift from that outlined in the 2010 version, including the loosening of the constraints on the use of nuclear weapons to cover significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. This includes, but is not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian populations or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.
Click here to visit the DoD Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) web page.
Click here to download the full Nuclear Posture Review (PDF).
Click here to download the Executive Summary (PDF).
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.
OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE
2/2 – Pro al-Qaeda and Islamic State social media chatter increasing w/ threats & calls for new attacks flwg POTUS action to keep Guantanamo Bay military prison open.
1/31 – Local authorities designate Amtrak crash site a HAZMAT scene based on contents of trash hauler involved in collision. Monitoring…
1/31 – At least one confirmed fatality and numerous injuries in Amtrak train crash. Check national media for latest info.
1/31 – AlertsUSA monitoring crash of charter Amtrak train carrying GOP members of Congress in Crozet, VA. Collision with truck on tracks. Add’l alerts as warranted.
1/30 – Multi-casualty shooting, Concord Plaza Shopping Ctr, S. St. Louis Co., MO. Minimal info available. Police urge avoiding the area. Add’l alerts as warranted.
1/30 – Security increasing around Capital complex for tonight’s State of the Union address. Expect road closures & restricted access to some areas of downtown DC.
1/29 – Wave of bomb threats targeting 25 buildings in Moscow, incl Parliament and the stock exchange, results in mass evacuations and searches. AlertsUSA monitoring…
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Security Tight for Super Bowl LII
February 3, 2018
What You Need To Know
The quarterback calling the plays for Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN is the U.S. government, and in particular, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, National Guard troops and law enforcement partners from across the country are patrolling festivities in the Twin Cities area until February 5th. Not so visible are the FBI hostage-rescue team, Tier 1 military counterterrorism assets, detection teams for nuclear, chemical, and biological hazards, as well as response and mitigation teams for those weapons of mass destruction.
Despite these assets, a cloud of concern covers the event, and most importantly, outside of the main security perimeter, given that Minneapolis-St. Paul, or “Little Mogadishu” as the locals call it, is home to the third highest number of terror prosecutions in the U.S. since 9/11.
Consider the following:
- 12 area residents have been charged with providing support to the Islamic State.
- 20 area residents have been arrested for alleged support of the Somali terror group al Shabab which pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012.
- Between 2011 – 2014, 13 area residents died fighting for the groups.
- In September of 2016, Somali refugee Dahir Adan walked into a Minneapolis shopping mall and started stabbing shoppers — after asking if they were Muslim — and shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
- In May of 2017, two local men were arrested after police searched their car and discovered a hand grenade, handgun, several assault rifles, a large quantity of ammunition, and devices capable of igniting bombs.
These are just a few of the ties between the Twin Cities area and Islamic terrorism.
Readers are reminded that as AlertsUSA has warned, almost weekly, over the past two years, the Islamic State and al Qaeda have repeatedly called for followers to carry out attacks in the U.S. and other Western nations using any means available.
Caution and vigilance are urged.
World News Roundup
February 3, 2018
Other Developments We Are Following
Ranking America’s enemies
Sea Cables in a Thawing Arctic
Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open
Pentagon ‘can’t afford the sustainment costs‘ on F-35
The Air Force Turned Off GPS To Rehearse a War Without It
New Army Precision-Guided 155m Round Destroys Targets Without GPS
Mattis seeking to ban cell phones from Pentagon
Tillerson: Latin America should not rely on China
Top Democrat questions US meeting with Russian spy chiefs
CIA Director Pompeo defends meetings with Russian spy chiefs
Trump grants 6,900 Syrians permission to stay in US
DoD Fears Rapid Adv. of Chinese, Russian Anti-Satellite Weapons
Castro freezes Cuban private sector, throws future in doubt
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya added to US ‘terror list’
Russia: If U.S. Navy pilots can’t handle buzzing, stay out of the Black Sea
Su-27 Buzzing: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4
Russia: Halt spy plane flights near our borders or agree on rules
The Last 48 Hours Have Been Good for Putin
Is the Czech Republic moving closer to China and Russia?
U.S., Russia likely to meet nuclear treaty obligations by Feb. 5
Brexit: UK and EU on collision course over residency rights
Auditors say Britain can’t afford its 10-year defense equipment plan
U.S., U.K. to upgrade ballistic missile guidance system
Europe’s Migration Crisis is Anything but over
Iran says Jerusalem ‘unchangeable’ capital of Palestine
Abbas to address U.N. Security Council on Feb. 20 amid U.S. tensions.
US troops arrive for drill simulating massive missile attack on Israel
US officials say Syria’s Assad may be making new chemical weapons
Ankara uses Afrin campaign to showcase Turkish-made weapons
Kurds in Syria call on US support to rein in Turkish operations
Israel threatens Lebanon with ‘full strength’ invasion in case of conflict.
Israel, Lebanon clash over offshore energy, raising tensions
France’s Macron warns Turkey over Syrian operation
Fears of US ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea on the rise
N. Korea would see blanket ban of oil supplies as declaration of war
China Wants New Nuclear Weapons to Keep Up With U.S. and Russia
Do the Americans know who they’re fighting in Afghanistan — or why?
Long Shadow of A.Q. Khan: How One Scientist Helped the World Go Nuclear
Australian Gov Secret ‘Cabinet Files’ Were Found In … An Old Cabinet
The Taliban is gaining strength and territory in Afghanistan
U.S. hails Olympics security plan; opposes North Korea military parade
Philippine guerrilla chief held after peace talks scrapped.
Duterte bent on rewriting Philippine constitution
Wanted: A Strategy to Limit China’s Plans for the S. China Sea
The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation well prior to departure.
Major USGOV Travel Notices
Europe Travel Alert
The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides several resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector abroad. Additional information can be found on OSAC.gov
Mariners and U.S. citizens considering maritime travel should also review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Portal, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally.
Additional Sources of Travel Guidance
Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs
Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
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