Posted tagged ‘North korean EMP attack’

North Korean EMP Attack Would Cause Mass U.S. Starvation, Says Congressional Report

October 23, 2017

North Korean EMP Attack Would Cause Mass U.S. Starvation, Says Congressional Report, Forbes

(Please see also, How the electric grid has been compromised. — DM)

A new congressional report contends that a North Korean electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S. would ultimately wipe out 90 percent of the population.

To date, most discussion concerning the North Korean threat has been on whether the rogue state can accurately hit U.S. cities with its ICBMs. But in an EMP attack, such accuracy is not necessary because the pulse radius would be so large, says Peter Vincent Pry, who recently testified about the EMP threat before a congressional Homeland Security subcommittee. His conclusions are that such an EMP attack would wreak havoc across the whole of the continental U.S.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) inspecting a launching drill of the medium-and-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Unlike a conventional ICBM which launches and then goes into a suborbital flight before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, an EMP warhead need not re-enter Earth’s atmosphere before exploding hundreds of kilometers above its target. Super-EMP weapons are designed to produce a high level of gamma rays, which generate the sort of high-frequency electromagnetic pulse that is most damaging to the broadest range of electronics, the report concludes.

And if the EMP device just happens to be part onboard an orbiting satellite, North Korea need only detonate the device remotely via encoded signal. Pry, Chief of Staff of the now de-funded Congressional EMP Commission, told me that at an altitude of 300 kilometers, the resulting electromagnetic pulse would affect all 48 contiguous states.

A warhead fused for an EMP in a satellite or ICBM could work on a timer, via GPS, or using an altimeter, says Pry, a nuclear strategist formerly with the CIA, who has a certificate in nuclear weapons design from the U.S. Air Force nuclear weapons lab. He says North Korea could even rig the warhead to detonate in the event that it was intercepted by our own missile defenses.

The consequences of such a detonation would be dire.

“The U.S. can sustain a population of 320 million people only because of modern technology,” said Pry. “An EMP that blacks-out the electric grid for a year would [decimate] the critical infrastructure necessary to support such a large population.”

In three days, the food supply in local grocery stores would be consumed and the 30-day national food supply in regional warehouses would begin to spoil, says Pry. In one year, he contends that up to 90 percent of the population could perish from starvation, disease, and societal collapse.

After generating gamma-rays that interact with air molecules in Earth’s stratosphere, a so-called fast pulse EMP field of tens of kilovolts would only last a few hundred nanoseconds.

But in the event of such an attack, aircraft electronics would be fried, as well as electronics in air traffic control towers, and navigation systems says Pry. “Airliners would crash killing many of the 500,000 people flying over North America at any given moment,” he said.

Pry says electro-mechanical systems which regulate the flow of gas through pipelines would spark; causing the gas to ignite and result in massive firestorms in cities and large forest fires.

There would be no water; no communications; and mass transportation would be paralyzed, says Pry. In seven days, he contends that reactors in U.S.’ nuclear power plants would essentially melt down, spreading radioactivity across most of the nation.

What could be done to ensure a quick restoration of the grid?

Some 2000 extra-high voltage (EHV) transformers make up the foundation of the U.S. grid, says Pry. But as he notes, since they each weigh hundreds of tons, they are extraordinarily hard to transport. Thus, if most are destroyed, there’s no quick fix.

So, how do we best protect against an EMP?

The U.S. should be prepared to also include limited surgical strikes to destroy North Korea’s ICBMs, says Pry. But he says the best, safest, and least provocative solution is to EMP-harden the electric grid and other critical infrastructures.

But not everyone agrees that North Korea poses a real EMP threat.

“There are legitimate concerns about EMP effects, but a non-tested system by a country with limited missile experience lowers the immediate threat,” James Clay Moltz, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., told me.

The U.S. should work with China and South Korea on clear warnings against any such North Korean actions, says Moltz. That includes U.S. statements on the right to pre-empt or shoot down any suspected EMP weapons which, he says, would constitute nuclear attacks on the U.S.

“But predictions of mass U.S. casualties and demands for costly defenses against a [North Korean] EMP attack seem unjustified at this time,” said Moltz.

Our Rhineland moment

September 17, 2017

Our Rhineland moment, Israel National News, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, September 17, 2017

Just as the Neville Chamberlains of 1939 were so paralyzed by fear of a replay of World War I that they preferred to ignore or explain away Nazi Germany’s rearmament and Imperial Japan’s naval build-up, their U.S. counterparts in 2017 are so fearful of facing a nuclear-armed North Korea that some would like to pretend a nation that has the H-Bomb cannot build a simple reentry vehicle or make an EMP attack.

Our elites cling to the fantasy that China and economic sanctions can save us, that North Korean denuclearization can be achieved peacefully.  But the evidence is now overwhelming that China and Russia have helped build the North Korean nuclear threat as part of their New Cold War to force the United States out of the Pacific and out of its role as the world policeman.

When the U.S. and its allies must seek security from North Korea by appealing for help from Beijing and Moscow, as we are doing now, the world order is already being transformed.  The Nuclear Axis seeks our acquiescence to their domination, peacefully if possible, if necessary through war.

North Korea’s nuclear Hitler has entered the technological Rhineland of H-Bombs and ICBMs.  We must strike.


North Korea’s successful test of an H-Bomb on September 2 has been preceded by many years of denial behavior by U.S. statesmen, intelligence experts, academics and the press about the sophistication of Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program. Again?

Is the naivete and willful blindness that helped begin World War II on September 1, 1939, being repeated in the response of the U.S. and its allies to North Korea’s nuclear missile program, that apparently tested a thermonuclear H-Bomb warhead on September 2, 2017?

Parallels are striking between what psychiatrists describe as “denial behavior” by western elites that contributed to the Second World War, and “denial behavior” toward the North Korean nuclear threat.

As everyone used to know, when history was taught in schools, prior to 1939 Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan ruthlessly violated international treaties to arm themselves for a major war of conquest, that would become World War II.  Berlin and Tokyo were ineffectually opposed by the League of Nations and the western democracies, who would become their victims.

Less well known is that Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were helped, unwittingly, by western statesmen, military experts, academics and the press, who could not believe any rational actor would risk replaying the holocaust that was World War I, still recent in many memories.  Complex rationalizations were invented to explain away the words and deeds of Adolph Hitler and Imperial Japan, including their treaty violations and aggression.

Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan’s growing military strength, when it could no longer be denied, was dismissed by confidence that the horrors of a new world war would be sufficient to deter.  Mutual Assured Destruction was an article of faith before World War II, expressed in different words, as when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain opined, “The bomber will always get through.”

Underestimation of German and Japanese military capabilities set up the allies for near defeat when war came.

North Korea’s successful test of an H-Bomb on September 2 has been preceded by many years of denial behavior by U.S. statesmen, intelligence experts, academics and the press about the sophistication of Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program:

–Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was primitive and tiny, perhaps as few as 6 A-Bombs.  Now the intelligence community estimates North Korea has 60 nuclear weapons.

–Just six months ago, many experts thought North Korea’s ICBMs were fake missiles, only for show, and most experts thought, if they were real, they could not strike the U.S. mainland.  Now the intelligence community estimates North Korea’s ICBMs can strike at least as far as Chicago, and probably hit anywhere in the United States.

–Just six months ago, most experts thought North Korea was many years away from developing an H-Bomb.  Now the U.S. intelligence community assesses that North Korea has the H-Bomb, with a yield tested at 140 kilotons (Japan estimates160 kilotons), about 14-16 times more powerful than the A-Bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, comparable in power to sophisticated U.S. two-stage thermonuclear weapons.

–Just six months ago, most experts claimed North Korean ICBMs could not deliver a nuclear warhead, because Pyongyang had not yet “demonstrated” it could miniaturize an A-Bomb to fit inside a reentry vehicle, or design a reentry vehicle capable of penetrating the atmosphere.  Now the intelligence community assesses North Korea has miniaturized A-Bombs and H-Bombs, and reentry vehicles for missile delivery, including by ICBMs that can strike the United States.

Perhaps the most extreme denial behavior is over North Korea’s capability to make a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack-that could destroy the United States with a single weapon.  The blue ribbon Congressional EMP Commission has warned for years that North Korea probably has Super-EMP weapons.

North Korea confirmed the EMP Commission’s assessment by testing an H-Bomb that could make a devastating EMP attack, and in a public statement: “The H-Bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens of kilotons to hundreds of kilotons, is a multi-functional thermonuclear weapon with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.”

Pyongyang also released a technical report accurately describing a Super-EMP weapon.

Just six months ago, some academics dismissed EMP Commission warnings and even, literally, laughed on National Public Radio at the idea North Korea could make an EMP attack.

Amazingly, Sig Hecker, a respected scientist and former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, is still in denial about the North Korean EMP threat, claiming it must be disinformation.  But since their H-Bomb is undeniably real, so too is North Korea’s EMP threat.

Amazingly, some academics are still bending over backwards to deny North Korea has miniaturized warheads, reentry vehicles, and ICBMs that can strike the U.S., inventing preposterous theories to escape reality, just like their brethren who paved the way to World War II with denial.

Just as the Neville Chamberlains of 1939 were so paralyzed by fear of a replay of World War I that they preferred to ignore or explain away Nazi Germany’s rearmament and Imperial Japan’s naval build-up, their U.S. counterparts in 2017 are so fearful of facing a nuclear-armed North Korea that some would like to pretend a nation that has the H-Bomb cannot build a simple reentry vehicle or make an EMP attack.

Another factor that helped bring on World War II was the western democracies were undergoing a civilizational crisis, as we are today.

Elites and peoples lost faith in themselves and their institutions as a result of the Great Depression and World War I.  Many believed the false narrative that the First World War resulted from a conspiracy by “merchants of death” among the industrial and political elites to become wealthy by war profiteering.  Nationalism was condemned by many as the root of war.  Globalists of the 1920s and 1930s fantasized that a Kellogg-Briand Pact and League of Nations could outlaw war, just as globalists today fantasize that the United Nations, international treaties and sanctions can achieve a world without nuclear weapons, while doubting the nationalist values and institutions that made the United States, and the Free World, great and free.

Indeed, economic sanctions against Imperial Japan, viewed as a peaceful way to stop Tokyo’s aggression against China and Manchuria, instead resulted in Japan’s surprise attack against the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Most dangerous, the Neville Chamberlains of 1939 believed that because “the bomber will always get through” they could deter World War II.  The Neville Chamberlains of 2017 are so fearful of nuclear weapons that they are ready to surrender to the fantasy that we can learn to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea.

Those like Susan Rice, former national security advisor to President Obama, who are willing to make the world, in President Kennedy’s famous words about protecting freedom, “pay any price, bear any burden” to stop Global Warming, are all too eager to surrender our children to a future of Mutual Assured Destruction with Kim Jong-Un.

The new rationalization for doing nothing militarily is it is too late, would cost too many lives, and we can learn to live with nuclear North Korea as we did with the USSR during the Cold War.  But North Korea is not the USSR, and the nuclear-armed Caligula in Pyongyang is not  Moscow’s Politburo, dangerous as it was.  And the Cold War is no good paradigm for survival.  The world barely escaped a thermonuclear holocaust at least a dozen times. (See my book “War Scare: Russia and America on the Nuclear Brink.”)

The U.S. and allied elites have so educated themselves about the horrors of nuclear war that we are self-deterred, and will not act militarily to save ourselves.

Our elites cling to the fantasy that China and economic sanctions can save us, that North Korean denuclearization can be achieved peacefully.  But the evidence is now overwhelming that China and Russia have helped build the North Korean nuclear threat as part of their New Cold War to force the United States out of the Pacific and out of its role as the world policeman.

When the U.S. and its allies must seek security from North Korea by appealing for help from Beijing and Moscow, as we are doing now, the world order is already being transformed.  The Nuclear Axis seeks our acquiescence to their domination, peacefully if possible, if necessary through war.

If Russia and China’s North Korean nuclear gambit works in the Pacific, look next to Iran going nuclear, creating another nuclear crisis for the United States and its allies in the Middle East and Europe.  Iran’s nuclear missile program has been and is being helped by Moscow, Beijing, and Pyongyang, because Tehran is part of the Nuclear Axis waging the New Cold War against the still unwitting democracies of East and West.

U.S. abject surrender to a nuclear-armed North Korea by accepting Mutual Assured Destruction with Kim Jong-Un for ourselves and our allies, after proclaiming for 25 years that this is impossible, will destroy our credibility.  Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran will see such weakness as an invitation to aggression in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and against the United States.

Just as the Neville Chamberlains of 1939 brought World War II on themselves, the Neville Chamberlains of 2017 are on the verge of bringing on World War III.

Most historians agree that World War II could have been prevented and 60 million lives saved if the Allies had crushed Hitler when his military was still weak in 1936, but he seized the Rhineland anyway to test their political will.

Right now, North Korea has two satellites and fewer than a dozen ICBMs that could threaten the U.S. homeland.  These the U.S. could assuredly destroy in a very limited surgical strike using conventional weapons.

Kim Jong-Un would not likely retaliate massively as his regime would remain in power and retain nearly 1,000 short and medium-range missiles armed with conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear warheads.  Nonetheless, the U.S. should be prepared to promptly launch a large-scale disarming strike against North Korea using all means necessary-including nuclear weapons.

If Kim is so aggressive that he would bring on himself a nuclear holocaust over the loss of a dozen missiles and two satellites, we had better deal with him now, before he has 100 ICBMs.

North Korea’s nuclear Hitler has entered the technological Rhineland of H-Bombs and ICBMs.  We must strike.

Sent to Arutz Sheva by the author. A version of this piece also appeared on

Ryan Mauro: Iran / North Korea Meetings After H-Bomb Test & EMP Threat

September 6, 2017

Ryan Mauro: Iran / North Korea Meetings After H-Bomb Test & EMP Threat, Clarion Project via YouTube, September 5, 2017

(Regime change in both Iran and North Korea could be good. But it would take more time than we can afford. — DM)


Korea Nuclear Test Furthers EMP Bomb

September 6, 2017

Korea Nuclear Test Furthers EMP Bomb, Washington Free Beacon, , September 6, 2017

(Please see also, On a Quiet October Morning. — DM)

North Korea’s intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 lifts off / Getty Images

North Korea for the first time this week revealed plans for using its nuclear arms for space-based electronics-disrupting EMP attacks, in addition to direct warhead ground blasts.

The official communist party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, published a report Monday on “the EMP might of nuclear weapons,” outlining an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack produced by detonating a nuclear warhead in space.

“In general, the strong electromagnetic pulse generated from nuclear bomb explosions between 30 kilometers and 100 kilometers [18.6 miles and 62 miles] above the ground can severely impair electronic devices, electric machines, and electromagnetic grids, or destroy electric cables and safety devices,” said the article authored by Kim Songwon, dean of Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang.

“The discovery of the electromagnetic pulse as a source of high yield in the high-altitude nuclear explosion test process has given it recognition as an important strike method,” he stated.

The official discussion by North Korea of plans to conduct EMP strikes will likely fuel debate over the threat. Former CIA Director James Woolsey has said North Korea is capable of orbiting an EMP nuclear weapon in a satellite.

Some liberal arms control advocates have dismissed the EMP threat from Pyongyang as far-fetched, such as arms control advocate Jeffrey Lewis, who in April dismissed the threat of an EMP attack by laughing at a reporter’s question. “This is the favorite nightmare scenario of a small group of very dedicated people,” he told NPR.

Disclosure of North Korea’s intention to use its nuclear force for EMP attacks comes as U.S. intelligence agencies are continuing to analyze the latest underground nuclear test by North Korea on Sept. 3 that the regime said was its first hydrogen bomb explosion.

Senior administration officials said initial assessments of the nuclear blast in northeastern North Korea indicate it was the largest test detonation so far, and much larger than an underground test carried out last year. It was the regime’s sixth nuclear test.

U.S. nuclear technicians have not made a definitive conclusion about the specifics of the device. Specialists are trying to determine if the test involved a hydrogen bomb, as Pyongyang asserted, or a device designed for EMP attack. They are also assessing whether the test used boosted fission technology.

Hydrogen bombs are advanced devices that use a two-stage explosion process to produce a massive explosion. Boosted fission devices are less sophisticated technologically and require more nuclear fuel.

“We’re highly confident this was a test of an advanced nuclear device—and what we’ve seen so far is not inconsistent with North Korea’s claims,” a U.S. intelligence official said.

However, a final conclusion on the type and yield of the blast is not expected for several days. Data from the test is being analyzed by nuclear weapons experts at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Also, the large explosion—perhaps more than 100 kilotons, or the equivalent of 100 tons of TN—likely produced significant venting of radioactive particles into the air.

Special U.S. intelligence aircraft, including the WC-135 nuclear “sniffer” jets, are conducting flights near the test zone to gather samples of particles from the test.

Kim, the North Korean technical university dean, stated that high-altitude explosions can be conducted in the stratosphere or in space where the blast wave is limited by the lack of air or the thinness of air.

“In explosions occurring at such altitudes, large amounts of electrons are released as a result of ionization reactions of high-energy instant gamma rays and other radioactive rays,” he said. “These electrons form a strong electromagnetic pulse (EMP) through interaction with the geomagnetic field.”

“The detonation would create a strong electric field of 100,000 volts per meter when it approaches the ground and “that is how it destroys communications facilities and electricity grids,” the report said.

The EMP report was published Monday, a day after the same state-run outlet reported on a visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to a nuclear weapons facility that also mentioned plans for using nuclear weapons in EMP attacks.

“Our hydrogen bomb—whose power as a nuclear bomb can be adjusted at will from tens of kilotons to hundreds of kilotons according to the targets of strike—is a multifunctional thermonuclear warhead which not only has enormous lethality and destructibility, but also can even carry out super-powerful EMP attack over an expansive area through detonation at high altitudes according to strategic goals,” the report said.

EMP was discovered by the U.S. military during above ground nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean during the 1960s.

EMP waves produced from nuclear tests were found to disrupt electronics throughout areas up to 1,000 miles from the center of the blast.

Peter Pry, a former CIA analyst who has been active in urging greater defenses against EMP attack, said a congressional commission on EMP has been warning for years about the North Korean EMP threat.

“EMP attack, by blacking-out the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures, could kill far more people than nuclear blasting a city,” Pry said.

According to Pry, the Congressional EMP Commission warned that nationwide blackout and subsequent disruption from an EMP strike could kill 90 percent of the U.S. population through starvation, disease, and societal chaos.

“North Korea knows this, which is why state media describes their new nuclear warhead as capable of both blasting cities and EMP,” he said.

William R. Graham, chairman of the commission, also has warned that North Korea’s two satellites orbiting over the U.S. could be armed with EMP weapons and detonated over the United States or U.S. allies.

Pry said despite the increasing danger from EMP, the commission will cease functioning Sept. 20 unless its charter is renewed.

“No one at the Pentagon or DHS has asked for the EMP commission to be extended,” he said, adding that the commission has produced the best expertise on the threat.

The commission has urged the United States to harden the nation’s electric grid and other critical infrastructure against EMP attack. But those efforts have been thwarted as the result of lobbying from the electric power industry that opposes the cost of expensive upgrades and stockpiling of transformers and other equipment.

In other developments related to North Korea, U.S. officials also said there are signs North Korea is preparing to conduct another long-range missile test. Two earlier long-range missile tests demonstrated new strike capabilities.

South Korean press reports said the next ICBM test could be launched over the Pacific and timed to a North Korean anniversary marking the communist state’s founding on Sept. 9.

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that in response to the nuclear test the United States will sell advanced arms to both South Korea and Japan as part of its policy of seeking to pressure the Pyongyang regime into giving up its nuclear arms.

“I am allowing Japan and South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States,” Trump said.

The president also said tougher economic sanctions are being considered. “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” he said Sunday.

Trump also criticized China for failing to rein in its ally. “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success,” he said.

China maintains a defense alliance with North Korea that requires defending Pyongyang from any attack. China also provides some 90 percent of North Korea’s trade.

The Trump administration recently imposed sanctions on Chinese and Russian entities supporting North Korea’s arms programs. But the sanctions did not hit a Chinese company known to have supplied mobile missile launchers to the North Koreans for its long-range missiles.

Among the options being considered are an oil embargo on North Korea that would severely cripple the country’s ability to provide energy resources. Additional sanctions also could target Chinese banks that have been working covertly with North Korea.

South Korea also is considering requesting that the United States return stockpiles of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the country. The weapons were withdrawn in the early 1990s.

Another step announced by the administration is the loosening of restrictions on the payload weight of missile warheads, agreeing not to oppose Seoul’s plan to build bigger warheads for its short-range missiles.

South Korea had sought U.S. approval for exceeding both the range and payload limits for missiles under informal international Missile Technology Control Regime guidelines.

The MTCR limits signatories from building missiles with ranges greater than 186 miles and with warheads larger than 1,100 pounds.

In Japan, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday initial assessments indicate North Korea may have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, as the regime claimed.

Nuclear experts said the basis for early judgments about the nuclear test are based on seismic data.

Initial estimates of the blast registered the explosion as causing a tremor ranging from 5.8 magnitude to 6.1 magnitude on the earthquake scale. Later estimates put the blast at 6.3, indicating a much larger explosion.

David S. Maxwell, a North Korea expert and associate director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, said he did not think an underground test is a useful way to test an EMP bomb.

“An underground or ground burst has less EMP effects but as I understand it all nuclear explosions create EMP,” he said, noting that during Army training in Europe, troops took down antennas and turned off all electric devices to protect them from a Soviet nuclear strike.

“It was hard back then and it will be even harder now that we are so much more dependent on electrical devices for every aspect of war fighting, and life in general,” he said.

Maxwell said the rapid testing of North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles is likely designed to rapidly advance its programs in anticipation of a future negotiated freeze on the programs.

“I think the Kim family regime is banking on Russia and China being able to pressure the U.S. into a freeze, and the regime will agree to that if it believes it possesses a significant nuclear deterrent that it will not give up,” he said.

On a Quiet October Morning

September 5, 2017

On a Quiet October Morning, PJ MediaCharlie Martin, September 4, 2017

(Don’t worry. The UN is taking strong action by discussing the imposition of more sanctions. That’s always stopped North Korea in the past. Oh? It hasn’t? Well, this time it will work for sure. /sarc. — DM)

A submarine-launched ballistic missile is displayed in Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

It was early, very early in Los Angeles. Dawn was just beginning — the horizon was a pure clear blue, the sky still dark enough that the constellations could be seen. The freeways were full, but the traffic was flowing well, and people on the road were congratulating themselves for their early start, or grateful their night shift was over and thinking about home and bed. Most people, though, were still asleep.

Hardly anyone was worrying about North Korea — China and Russia had finally come around on greater sanctions, and the common opinion was that a military coup was coming and Kim Jong Un was about to join his ancestors.

Until a new, very temporary star appeared in the western sky. People looking at it had a moment to wonder about the flash before seeing what seemed to be the aurora, something very rare in southern California. Then they were distracted, as their phones failed, many of their cars stalled, and they heard echoing muffled booms as power transformers all over the city exploded simultaneously. The entire Los Angeles basin went dark.

Chaos reigned. On the freeways, tens of thousands of cars traveling at highway speeds became uncontrollable missiles — engines stalled, lights out, skidding and scraping across the pavement out of control. Random fires were breaking out across the city — flammable buildings near exploding transformers, mostly, to start. The fires went largely unfought — the phone systems were out so the fire departments didn’t know about them, and the fire engines and ambulances wouldn’t start anyway (their computer-controlled ignition and fuel systems were dead).

By the time the sun was up, people were on the streets, worried, starting to panic. More explosions, big ones, were happening in El Segundo, Torrance, Wilmington, and being followed by massive fires filling the sky with black smoke — oil refineries and chemical plants had lost their control systems.

By noon, uncontrolled fires were sweeping across the valley. And that was just the first day.

Along with Harvey the Hurricane, and Melania’s shoes, and the possibility that Trump might announce tomorrow that Congress had six months to find a legislative solution for the “Dreamers” was the news that North Korea had exploded a nuclear bomb in the 150-kiloton range. North Korea’s government media called it a “hydrogen bomb,” but the yield better fits a boosted fissionweapon, one in which a small fusion reaction provides neutrons to make the fissioning uranium or plutonium more efficient.

In this case, however, it’s not the explosive force of the bomb that’s the problem. Exploded at a high altitude, the pulse of gamma rays and charged particles from the bomb interacts with the upper atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field, producing a gigantic electromagnetic field — essentially a very intense burst of radio energy. Conductors — like power lines, transformer coils, phone lines, even the conducting paths in small electronic components — “see” this as a rapidly changing magnetic field, which in turn accelerates electrons in the conductor. The effect is a massive electrical surge; weak points in each system fail as the surge hits them.

This is the “nuclear electromagnetic pulse” or NEMPJohn Moore here at PJ Media has been all over the possibility that North Korea is preparing for an EMP attack. With a true ICBM and a bomb that can be mated with it, North Korea has everything needed to make such an attack.

What this means is, as Ambassador Nicki Haley just said at the UN:

Nikki Haley on North Korea: “We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.”

In some ways, the U.S. was lucky — by detonating their bomb off the west coast, much of the U.S. mainland was not directly affected.

The president and secretary of Defense ordered a massive response. North Korea was rapidly obliterated with conventional and low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. trying to limit the effects outside the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea wasn’t as lucky, as North Korea had attacked Seoul with their prodigious artillery forces simultaneously with the NEMP attack on the U.S. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, died; the destruction was so complete that a reliable count was never made. The South Korean military responded, attacking the artillery installations near the DMZ, while the U.S. and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces attacked Pyongyang itself, and every known location where the North Korean military might be protecting their high command. North Korea’s command and control infrastructure collapsed almost immediately, and rumors suggested Kim and his entire inner circle had been killed.

In the United States, military forces, National Guard, FEMA, and the Department of Homeland Security activated plans that suddenly seemed entirely inadequate. Reconnaissance aircraft and satellite imagery showed cities up and down the West Coast in flames, from Ensenada, Mexico, to Victoria, BC. The Air Transport Command was not far behind, as they delivered loads of fire equipment, military transport, and millions of bottles of water and MREs. In the Situation Room at the White House, no one was talking about the unfortunate arithmetic — fifty million people and not nearly enough supplies.

The possibilities of an EMP attack have been talked about for a long time, as John Moore’s articles show. It’s possible that the real risk is finally becoming clear to our politicians and our legacy press. The Boston Herald recently had an extended story on the danger of a North Korean NEMP attack, and Tucker Carlson recently showed interest in the problem.

Of course, there are others who don’t think it’s much of a risk, In that Boston Herald story, they quote Joshua Pollack, the editor of the Nonproliferation Review, as saying:

[A]n EMP attack doesn’t warrant more alarm than any other type of nuclear offensive because its efficacy is still uncertain — and it would have consequences for whichever nation launched it.

“It’s just an untested approach to trying to use a weapon, and just invites retaliation without doing a lot of damage,” Pollack said. “I’m much more concerned with blasting fire and radiation. Those will kill lots of people and destroy lots of stuff, and can do it very reliably.”

The problem here is that it’s based on a false assumption: that NEMP has not been tested. It’s never been applied as a weapon, but it has certainly been tested — and I don’t think my little fiction above is a worst-case scenario. So, how much damage from an inefficient NEMP attack should we plan on absorbing?

In 2015, Salon published an article pooh-poohing the notion of a NEMP attack, saying:

First, there’s Pry’s scenario. An EMP attack resulting from a high-altitude nuclear detonation seems a possible but not very plausible scenario. An adversary looking to carry out such an attack on the United States would need ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. The missiles either need to be capable of an intercontinental launch or have a platform that can both move within range of the U.S. homeland undetected and launch a missile.

Well, now North Korea has the missiles, and North Korea has the bombs. Is it more plausible now?

Spring is finally coming to Los Angeles. Trees that survived the fires are blooming, birds are chirping. Millions of refugees have been relocated east of the Rockies, millions more are living in improvised shelters while the nation tries to plan what to do. Telephones and electrical systems are being restored, slowly, in a few places, limited by the number of transformers, phone switches, and other equipment that can be built. The state government is effectively gone, and the federal government has imposed martial law — but martial law that’s ineffective over much of the state. There are only so many soldiers.

And Iran has given Europe an ultimatum.

The EMP Threat From North Korea Is Real, and Terrifying

April 26, 2017

The EMP Threat From North Korea Is Real, and Terrifying, PJ Media, John R. Moore, April 25, 2017

(“Hardening the grid” would be a good first step but would not prevent a massive disaster. Our civilization is largely based on computers — trucks and automobiles built during the last decade, aircraft, communications, medical equipment, the banking system and much more. Food delivery to stores would be very difficult and getting the little available food would be as well.  Paying for it? Credit cards could not be processed and ATMs would not function. What little food remained available would be stolen and massive rioting would likely ensue. The author states that “An EMP strike would be suicidal for North Korea. . . .” Why? How would we retaliate? Preventing an EMP attack will be very difficult, but is the only viable solution.– DM) 

North Korean military personnel visit Mansu Hill in Pyongyang to lay flowers at the bronze statues of the country’s two late leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, on April 25, 2017, the 85th anniversary of the founding of its armed forces. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Fifty-five years ago, the U.S. tested a nuclear weapon high above the atmosphere over the Pacific. At the time, my father — a nuclear weapons engineer — was listening on our ham radio.

When the device exploded, we heard nothing in Albuquerque. But, in Honolulu, 1000 miles from the detonation, the sky turned red as streetlights and telephones went out. EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) effects from the distant nuclear explosion had struck.

Today we hear concern that cities might be destroyed by North Korean nuclear tipped missiles, but Starfish Prime should alert us to a more imminent danger: EMP. North Korea can launch an EMP attack before it has developed nuclear missile technology, and EMP may be far more deadly.

An EMP disaster from a high-altitude blast seems like science fiction: There is a silent flash high in the sky, and everything using electricity just … stops. Cars stop, power goes out, the Internet dies, satellites quit working, landline and mobile phone systems go out, and computers are destroyed. In a moment, we are back to 1850, as was dramatized in William Forstchen’s 2009 novel One Second After.

While the total wipeout depicted in One Second After is probably exaggerated, the effects could knock out our power grid for months, and destroy critical communications and computer systems. As former CIA chief James Woolsey recently said:

If you look at the electric grid and what it’s susceptible to, we would be moving into a world with no food delivery, no water purification, no banking, no telecommunications, no medicine. All of these things depend on electricity in one way or another.

In such a situation, there simply is no way to rule out the possibility that hundreds of millions could die.

To nuke one of our cities, the North needs to master ICBM construction, nuclear weapons miniaturization, precision long-range guidance technology, atmospheric re-entry vehicles, and fusing to trigger detonation at the right time after the hazardous re-entry. In contrast, an EMP attack requires only a small, light nuclear weapon and the ability to launch it as a satellite. Once over the U.S., it is detonated.

Already, two satellites launched by North Korea cross the U.S. every day.

Do they contain nuclear weapons? Probably not, but how can we know? Nuclear weapons don’t emit much radiation until they go off, so they are hard to detect. I used to fly in a nuclear bomber with the weapon station just a few feet from my station with no shielding — no need.

Meanwhile, North Korea continues striving to miniaturize its nukes — and may have already succeeded. They have released pictures of a miniaturized bomb, although that may just be propaganda.

Starfish Prime used a thermonuclear weapon, a “hydrogen bomb,” which was very powerful but which the North is still striving to build — a difficult task. But only a fission weapon or “atomic bomb” is needed for an EMP, and North Korea has tested several. The yield would probably need to be increased over their latest test, but getting there is only a matter of time. Fusion boosting the weapon to higher yield is not a difficult step. The North recently restarted its Yongbyon reactor, which can produce the necessary tritium.

The EMP danger isn’t only from North Korea. Iran has the capability to launch missiles from ships at sea — the EMP attack depicted in Forstchen’s novel.

We currently have little defense against this threat. Our land based anti-ballistic missile systems are oriented towards warheads coming across the North Pacific, while North Korea launches satellites to the south, which later cross the U.S. from the south or north. The anti-satellite ability of the Navy’s AEGIS ships is unclear — one satellite in a very low orbit has been intercepted, and ships need to be positioned within range of the orbit. Shooting a satellite down before it reaches orbit is another possibility, but AEGIS has a very limited window for such a “boost phase” intercept.

A decision to intercept would have to be quick – within a few seconds after launch for boost phase, or before the first partial orbit is completed for a satellite intercept. Complicating the decision process is the difficulty in knowing that the launch is of a nuclear device — and any intercept is an act of war. Even if we have the capability, the knowledge, the decision time, and the will, our missile defense system is nowhere near foolproof.

If our infrastructure were better protected, at least we might survive an attack with few deaths. One estimate says $20 billion might be enough protect the power grid — a drop in the bucket of national spending. Hardening communications and computing systems would also be needed.

A recent Electric Power Research Institute study reported that the damage from the delayed “E-3” pulse of EMP probably would not be crippling, although they cannot be sure. Moreover, the “E-1” pulse was not addressed, but it would take out the control systems, and might destroy power transformers from flashover. Other critical systems — such as the internet and parts of the transportation system — are very vulnerable to both.

Because a modern state has never suffered an EMP attack, our knowledge is limited.

An EMP strike would be suicidal for North Korea, but they may see it differently, or in some crisis, not care. In any case, the threat of an EMP strike would be a powerful deterrent.

James Woolsey and Newt Gingrich are right and it is time to listen: we need a national program to counter this threat. And we need to defang North Korea and Iran — soon.