(Aug 25, 2017: Saturn in Sagittarius stations direct. USA hit by Hurricane Harvey)
Aug 28: North Korea’s launch Tuesday, Aug 28 2017, of an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan.
Aug 31 2017: four US F-35B fighter jets joined two US B-1B bombers and four South Korean F-15 fighter jets in a joint US-South Korean drill, which simulated a surgical strike on key enemy facilities, over the Pilsung Range in the eastern province of Gangwon, South Korea.
Pyongyang denounced the drill Thursday, with state news agency KCNA described as “wild military acts.”
“The US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces do not hide their bellicose nature, claiming that the exercises are to ‘counter’ (North Korea’s) ballistic rocket launches and nuclear weapons development,” KCNA said.
The agency added that the US and South Korea were “taken aback” by North Korea’s recent missile launch, the country’s “first military operation in the Pacific.”
That launch sparked some panic in Japan, with air sirens sounding in the northern part of the country and residents there receiving a text message urging them to seek shelter in a strong structure or a basement.
Show of force
In the wake of Tuesday’s missile launch, Pyongyang said it would stage future military operations directed at the USA territory of Guam.
Guam has long been a focal point of North Korea’s anger against the US and is often a target of North Korean saber-rattling.
It was threatened specifically by North Korea in 2013 and again in August 2017, following a fiery exchange of threats and insults between Trump and the North Korean regime.
Sept 3 2017, Mercury retrograde/Mars in Leo conjunct (re-stimulates degree of total solar eclipse of Aug 21):
N. Korean Earthquake Size Upgraded to 6.3 Magnitude
An earthquake measuring 5.2 struck North Korea on Sunday, suggesting the reclusive country may have conducted a sixth nuclear test. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck 55 km north northwest of Kimchaek. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Previous recent tremors in the region have been caused by nuclear tests.
North Korea said it successfully tested an advanced hydrogen bomb on Sunday, marking a dramatic escalation in the isolated state’s stand-off with the United States over its nuclear weapons program.
Japanese and South Korean officials said an earthquake detected near the North’s test site was around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations, and concluded the North had conducted its sixth nuclear test.
There was no independent confirmation that the detonation was a hydrogen bomb.
It was the North’s first nuclear test since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, and marked a direct challenge to Trump, who hours earlier had talked by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the “escalating” nuclear crisis in the region.
The bomb was designed to be mounted on its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) the North said in the announcement, which came hours after the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a 6.3 magnitude quake.
The latest nuclear test comes amid heightened regional tension following Pyongyang’s two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July that potentially could fly about 10,000 km (6,200 miles), putting many parts of the mainland United States within range.
Japan immediately raised the prospect of further sanctions against the isolated North, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga saying that curbs on its oil trade would be on the table.
North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile, without affecting its range and making it capable of surviving re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
One expert said the size of Sunday’s detonation meant it was possible it could be a hydrogen bomb test.
“The power is 10 or 20 times or even more than previous ones,” Said Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University. “That scale is to the level where anyone can say a hydrogen bomb test.”
Witnesses in the Chinese city of Yanji, on the border with North Korea, said they felt a tremor that lasted roughly 10 seconds, followed by an aftershock. China said it had detected a second, 4.6 magnitude quake with near identical coordinates eight minutes later.
South Korea’s military said the first earthquake “appeared to be manmade”. A meeting of Seoul’s National Security Council has been convened, national news agency Yonhap reported.
Earthquakes triggered by North Korean nuclear tests have gradually increased in magnitude since Pyongyang’s first test in 2006, indicating the isolated country is steadily improving the destructive power of its nuclear technology.
After the fifth nuclear test in September, USGS measured a magnitude of 5.3, while South Korean monitors said the blast caused a 5.0 magnitude earthquake.
North Korea, which carries out its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions, “recently succeeded” in making a more advanced hydrogen bomb that will be loaded on to an ICBM, state news agency KCNA reported hours before Sunday’s test.
“All components of the H-bomb were homemade and all the processes … were put on the Juche basis, thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as many as it wants,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
Juche is North Korea’s homegrown ideology of self-reliance that is a mix of Marxism and extreme nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather. It says its weapons programs are needed to counter U.S. aggression.
A hydrogen bomb can achieve thousands of kilotons of explosive yield – massively more powerful than some 10 to 15 kilotons that North Korea’s last nuclear test in September was estimated to have produced, similar to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high since last month when North Korea threatened to launch missiles into the sea near the strategically located U.S. Pacific territory of Guam after Trump said Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
North Korea further raised regional tensions on Tuesday by launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, drawing international condemnation.
Trump and Abe spoke by phone and said that in face of an “escalating” situation with North Korea that close cooperation between their countries and with South Korea was needed, Abe told reporters.
Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Sept 5 2017: full moon in Pisces building; Mars into Virgo; Mercury stations direct
Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged North Korea to learn from the demise of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and warned it could face a similar fate unless it turns away from its nuclear program.
Putin, speaking at the close of the BRICs summit in China on Tuesday, warned against “military hysteria” in solving the crisis on the Korean peninsula, claiming it could lead to a “global catastrophe with a lot of victims.”
North Korea has come under increased pressure since launching its sixth test of a nuclear weapon on Sunday with seismological data indicating the weapon was the most powerful ever to be detonated by Pyongyang, according to nuclear experts.
Putin says Pyongyang should take a lesson from history, invoking the tale of Hussein’s demise as dictator of Iraq in 2006 and the military onslaught that ravaged the country in the aftermath of his death.
“Saddam Hussein rejected the production of weapons of mass destruction, but even under that pretense, he was destroyed and members of his family were killed,” Putin said.
“The country was demolished and Saddam Hussein was hanged. Everyone knows that and everyone in North Korea knows that.
“Do you really think due to some sanctions that North Korea will turn away from the path they’ve undertaken to create weapons of mass destruction?
“Russia condemns this action from North Korea. We think these actions take a provocative character, but we should not forget and North Koreans should not forget what happened in Iraq.”
‘Begging for war’
North Korea has test-fired a number of missles this summer, including two long-range ones in July and an intermediate-range one in August that overflew the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
On Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley sais Kim was “begging for war” and urged the UN Security Council to adopt the strongest sanctions measures possible to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
But Putin told reporters Tuesday that imposing any kind of sanctions on North Korea would be “useless and ineffective,” adding Kim would rather starve his people than see regime change.
“They will eat grass but they will not turn away from the path that will provide for their security,” he said.
“We know that North Korea has nukes, we also know that North Korea has long range artillery and it has other types of weapons and there are no weapons against long range artillery — and these weapons can be difficult to locate.
“So we think that this military hysteria will not lead to good results. It could lead to global catastrophe with lots of victims.”
Sept 5 2017 (Mars into Virgo; Mercury stations direct) “More Gift Packages on the way”
GENEVA, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Amid international uproar over North Korea’s latest and biggest nuclear weapons test, one of its top diplomats said on Tuesday it was ready to send “more gift packages” to the United States.
Han Tae Song, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the U.N. in Geneva, was addressing the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after his country detonated its sixth nuclear test explosion.
“I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the 3rd of September, DPRK succcessfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force,” Han told the Geneva forum.
“The recent self-defence measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the U.S.,” Han said.
“The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he added without elaborating.
Military measures being taken by North Korea were “an exercise of restraint and justified self-defence right” to counter “the ever-growing and decade-long U.S. nuclear threat and hostile policy aimed at isolating my country”.
“Pressure or sanctions will never work on my country,” Han declared, adding: “The DPRK will never under any circumstances put its nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.”
Sept 6 2017: (Full moon in Pisces; a reveal; subject of EMP onslaught: Solar eclipse of Aug 21 2017: Uranus trine the eclipse; Sept 6 – 8 Mercury, now direct re-stimulates the degree of the solar eclipse)
Sept 6 2017: (full moon in Pisces; subject of EMP onslaught: Solar eclipse of Aug 21 2017: Uranus trine the eclipse; Sept 6 – 8 Mercury, now direct re-stimulates the degree of the solar eclipse)
North Korea may very well have the ability to kill millions of Americans, without directly firing on U.S. soil. For the first time, the pariah country’s state news agency warned it could hit the U.S. with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) onslaught, a threat that experts contend is both very real and comes with catastrophic consequences.
“The biggest danger would be shorting out of the power grid, especially on the East Coast. Imagine a situation where large sections of the U.S. had no power. Imagine New York or Washington D.C. with no power for just a week. The implications would be hard to fathom,” Harry Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, told Fox News. “The casualty rates would be off the charts.”
“That in it of itself is going to kill thousands if not millions depending on the size of it and where it is dropped. Also, nuclear weapons carry radioactive fallout that would be spread thousands of miles through the atmosphere and oceans,” he continued. “We would be adding to such a casualty count sadly for decades thanks to cancer cases that would arise many years later.”
So how could North Korea pull off an EMP attack? A hydrogen bomb detonated at a high altitude would create an electromagnetic pulse that would knock out key infrastructure – namely prominent parts of the U.S. electrical grid.
The higher the bomb’s detonation, the wider the range of destruction. An altitude of just under 250 miles – around the orbit of the International Space Station – would annihilate electronics in majority of the mainland, including parts of neighboring Canada and Mexico, analysts have said. North Korea exhibited its capacity to reach such altitudes in satellite launches in both 2012 and 2016.
An EMP attack, experts warn, doesn’t require definitive guidance systems as the area affected is so widespread.
“An EMP is similar to a lightning strike in some respects, but it acts over a wide area – hundreds of miles,” explained John Gilbert, retired Air Force colonel and senior science fellow with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington, D.C. “There would be widespread and probably long-lasting power outages and wire-line telecommunications systems such as telephone and TV/internet cable would suffer serious damage. Individual items such as cars and trucks could also be damaged or disabled and damage could occur to electronic devices in homes and businesses.”
An attack could cut power to health care facilities and cripple municipal facilities and utilities.
“North Korea consistently exceeds our estimates of what we think they can do, so prudence might indicate we take them at their word,” noted Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson (USMC, Ret.), the former assistant defense secretary, now Senior Director of China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest. “The aim is to shut down our electrical grid and all the distribution networks – water, waste, financial, traffic management, air control, radio, computer, others – we depend upon.”
Scientists first discovered the EMP fallout of a hydrogen bomb during a test in 1962, in which lights were burned out in Honolulu – some 1,000 miles from the test location.
Experts have long warned of the plausibility of an EMP attack from the likes of North Korea or Iran. A special task force appointed by Congress and known as the EMP Commission cautioned in 2008 that the largely digitized U.S. could be left black for up to a year as a result of an EMP disruption. They say that even the sensors and monitors that function to re-start electronics after a power outage would be wiped out.
Yet apparently little was done to address the potential crisis.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported last year that the federal government had failed to implement an array of recommendations they had made eight years earlier to prevent calamitous outages triggered by an EMP incursion, noting that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) had not “established a coordinated approach to identifying and implementing key risk management activities to address EMP risks” and that securing the grid was far from the top priority.
Chart below: Announcement outer wheel – note 5th house Mercury in Leo re-stimulates Aug total solar eclipse (inner wheel).