100 Too Many

How awesome is it that a country with a weak, unstable central government, teetering on the brink of falling into the hands of radical Islamists, has 100 nuclear warheads, and keeps building more?

At 100, Pak ahead in N-arsenal

How many nuclear weapons does Pakistan need to feel secure? Not enough. Islamabad has doubled its nuclear weapons to more than 100 in the last few years, overtaking India’s tally in the process, and is adding more bombs to its arsenal, according to new estimates by proliferation gurus.

Four years ago, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was estimated to contain between 30 to 60 weapons, about the same as India’s. Since then, the country has rapidly accelerated its program. Current estimates by western nuclear pundits cited in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and other journals put the number between 100 and 110 — and growing.

See also:
Pakistan doubles its nuclear arsenal
Pakistani Nuke Stockpile Tops 100, Experts Say
Pakistan has 100 nuclear weapons, doubled its arsenal: Post
Report Says Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal Tops 100
At 110, Pak N-stock shoots past India’s: Report
‘Rapidly expanding’ Pak arsenal now possesses over 100 deployed nuke weapons: Expert
Pak has 110 N-weapons to edge ahead of India: US Report
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal tops 100: report
Pakistan Doubles Its Nuclear Arsenal
Don’t worry, India’s deterrence is robust: Pokhran II scientist

Do we really need this headache too? These yahoos can’t even control a significant chunk of their own territory, what the [expletive deleted] do they need 100 nuclear warheads for? God help us all if even one of these warheads falls into the hands of the Taliban or al Qaeda with the proper arming codes. And if the Islamists eventually manage to topple the unpopular, current secular government, they’ll probably have all the arming codes.

/I’d be extremely surprised if the United States didn’t have contingency plans to seize or spike these warheads if the Pakistani government were to fall to Islamic terrorists, however, every additional warhead they produce makes that task that much more difficult

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How Are Those Sanctions Working Out?

Apparently, the West’s sanctions regime doesn’t seem to be slowing down North Korea’s nuclear program.

Why We’re Always Fooled by North Korea

According to Siegfried Hecker, the former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, North Korea is working on two new nuclear facilities, a light water power reactor in early stages of construction, and a “modern, clean centrifuge plant” for uranium enrichment. Mr. Hecker visited the facility over the weekend and says it appears nearly complete.

The centrifuge plant is particularly significant because it could produce more than enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon every year—and it may not be the North’s only such facility. North Korea’s artillery bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on Tuesday makes it doubly clear that Pyongyang intends to leverage its new nuclear breakthrough for maximum concessions from the international community.

This nuclear revelation is not an intelligence failure. Over the past decade, intelligence analysts have consistently predicted North Korea’s path to nuclear weapons and noted the increasing evidence of its missile and nuclear proliferation. The failure has been that of policy makers and pundits who denigrated the analysis, ignored it, or clung to the fallacy that North Korea would abide by a denuclearization deal.

See also:
A Return Trip to North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Complex
North Korean Uranium Plant Stokes Proliferation Worries
North Korea’s ‘Stunning’ Secret Nuclear Plant
Uranium Enrichment ‘Long Suspected’
N.Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Facility ‘a Ploy’
Pyongyang’s New Nuclear Facility Tests World Resolve
U.S. Calls North Korea’s Nuclear Revelation a ‘Publicity Stunt’
N. Korea uranium claim condemned
North Korean uranium enrichment no surprise (Rep. Pete Hoekstra)
U.S. scientist amazed by N. Korean nuclear facility
North Korea unveils sophisticated facility for enriching uranium

So, how are we responding to North Korea’s latest nuclear revelation? We’re not responding at all, as far as I can tell, not even a strongly worded letter.

/I guess we’re just going to let North Korea assemble all the nuclear weapons they want and hope they never use or sell them. not a particularly good strategy in my opinion

Time For More Talks Or Another Strongly Worded Letter

How many more times are we going to let North Korea urinate on our leg with impunity?

N Korea ‘in final uranium phase’

North Korea has entered the final phase of uranium enrichment, the North’s state media are reported as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“Uranium enrichment tests have been successfully carried out and that process is in the concluding stage,” state media were quoted as saying.

If confirmed, the move would be in defiance of international pressure for the North to abandon its nuclear work.

The UN passed tougher sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang in May.

Both that test and an earlier nuclear test by North Korea in 2006 were understood to have been plutonium-based warheads.

Defiance

The North’s KCNA news agency reported that North Korea’s delegation at the United Nations had written to the Security Council, saying Pyongyang was now ready “for both sanctions and dialogue”.

“Reprocessing of spent fuel rods is at its final phase and extracted plutonium is being weaponised,” the AFP news agency reported the delegation as saying.

“If some permanent members of the UN Security Council wish to put sanctions first before dialogue, we would respond with bolstering our nuclear deterrence first before we meet them in a dialogue,” the delegation said.

South Korea’s defence minister had warned in June that the North was going ahead with plans to enrich uranium, a step towards making nuclear weapons.

Observers say the US has long suspected the existence of a secret uranium enrichment programme in the North, though experts say it remains little-developed.

In the past few months, North Korea has fired a long-range rocket over Japanese territory and conducted an underground, plutonium-based nuclear test.

Renewed tensions

But more recently, the secretive communist nation has made more conciliatory gestures on the world stage.

Two US reporters and a South Korean worker were released from detention and Pyongyang said it was interested in resuming cross-border tourismand industrial projects with the South.

Less than two weeks ago, the first meeting between officials from the North and South for nearly two years took place unexpectedly in the southern capital, Seoul.

However, the latest communique indicated that the North was unhappy that the UN allowed South Korea to launch a satellite last month, after having condemned its own rocket launch in April, Reuters reported.

Correspondents said Pyongyang’s latest remarks appeared to seek once again to ratchet up tensions on the Korean peninsula.

See also:
N. Korea Says It’s in Last Stage of Uranium Enrichment
North Korea says in final phase of uranium enrichment
N. Korea Reports Advances in Enriching Uranium
N.Korea says in last stage of enriching uranium
UAE seizes North Korean weapons. Now what?
Why Are We Not Stomping North Korea’s Guts Out?

Between Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan, it’s just a matter of time before a working nuclear device ends up in the hands of some rogue state or non-state actor with a strong desire to detonate it at a time a place that is contrary to U.S. national interests.

/talks, letters, lots of whistling past the graveyard

Why Are We Not Stomping North Korea’s Guts Out?

Just how much does Kim Jong-il have to taunt and torment us before we say enough is enough and obliterate the North Korean regional and world menace once and for all? Is there anything we won’t let them get away with, a line somewhere we’ll defend that they haven’t already crossed yet? After recently sentencing two U.S. journalists to 12 years hard labor, how much more in our face does North Korea have to get before we do something about it? What else does Kim Jong-il have to do before we finally push back, provide the fireworks for our Independence Day?

Japan warns that North Korea may fire missile at U.S. on Independence Day

North Korea may launch a long-range ballistic missile towards Hawaii on American Independence Day, according to Japanese intelligence officials.

The missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles, would be launched in early July from the Dongchang-ni site on the north-western coast of the secretive country.

Intelligence analysts do not believe the device would be capable of hitting Hawaii’s main islands, which are 4,500 miles from North Korea.

Details of the launch came from the Japan’s best-selling newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun.
Both Japanese intelligence and U.S. reconnaissance satellites have collated information pointing to the launch, according to the report.

It is understood the communist state is likely to fire the missile between July 4 and 8. A launch on July 4 would coincide with Independence Day in the States.It would also be the 15th anniversary of North Korean president Kim Il-Sung’s death.

The Japanese newspaper also noted that North Korea had fired its first Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 2006.

See also:
Report: NKorea may fire missile toward Hawaii
Report: N. Korea May Fire ICBM Toward Hawaii
Pentagon: North Korea Missiles Threaten US Homeland
Gates: Missile interceptors on way to Hawaii ahead of North Korea test
U.S. boosts missile defense amid reports of planned N. Korea test

Oh boy, we’re moving missile interceptors to Hawaii, just like we have for every North Korean missile launch so far. Will we intercept their missile? Probably not, we haven’t so far. Hey, I know, since we know exactly where their missile is, sitting on a launch pad, why don’t we really send a message to stop launching missiles and destroy it on the ground with a cruise missile strike, or would that be too provocative? God knows we wouldn’t want to upset Kim Jong-il.

Gee, looky here, after telling North Korea umpteen times that they’re not supposed to be proliferating weapons of mass destruction, they’re at it again. Why won’t they listen to us, aren’t they scared of what we might do in response? Apparently not.

U.S. Military Tracking North Korean Ship Suspected of Proliferating Missiles, Nukes

The U.S. military is tracking a flagged North Korean ship suspected of proliferating weapons material in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last Friday, FOX News has learned.

The ship, Kang Nam, left a port in North Korea Wednesday and appears to be heading toward Singapore, according to a senior U.S. military source. The vessel, which the military has been tracking since its departure, could be carrying weaponry, missile parts or nuclear materials.

“It is believed to be ‘of interest,'” a senior U.S. official told FOX News.

This is the first suspected “proliferator” that the U.S. and its allies have tracked from North Korea since the United Nations authorized the world’s navies to enforce compliance with a variety of U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

The ship is currently along the coast of China and being monitored around-the-clock by air.

The apparent violation raises the question of how the United States and its allies will respond, particularly since the U.N. resolution does not have a lot of teeth to it.

The resolution would not allow the United States to board the ship forcibly. Rather, U.S. military would have to request permission to board — a request North Korea is unlikely to grant.

See also:
U.S. Navy tracks North Korean ship
Navy monitoring North Korean ship: U.S. officials
Navy monitoring North Korean ship: U.S. officials
N. Korean ship under U.S. watch
Source: Military watching suspicious NKorea ship
Navy Pursues N. Korea Ship; Tensions Rise
N.K.: Searching ships would be ‘act of war’

Well, it would be rude of us to board North Korea’s ship, probably carrying a cargo of WMD, without North Korea’s permission. Besides, the U.N. sanctions resolution, that we argued over for two weeks, doesn’t allow us to board North Korean ships anyway. So, I guess we’ll just follow it instead. I have another idea. where are the SEALs? You know, it’d be a real shame if the Kang Nam were to take on water and sink under mysterious circumstances.

And how does Kim Jong-il pay for all his nefarious activities that irritate us so and yet we do nothing about? He robs and scams us blind!

Warning: Counterfeit dollars from N. Korea

The Treasury Department warned U.S. financial institutions Thursday that the North Korean government may resort to “deceptive financial practices” to get around economic sanctions.

The advisory from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network comes as the Obama Administration steps up its efforts to prevent North Korea from furthering its nuclear weapons program.

The government said it remains concerned about “high-quality” counterfeit U.S. currency being passed from North Korea and urged banks to scrutinize attempts by North Korean customers to make large cash transactions.

Banks should be wary of attempts to suppress the identity or origin of transactions made by North Korean clients, the advisory said. Money transfers made via third parties, and repeated transfers that appear to have “no legitimate purpose” should also raise red flags.

Global Insurance Fraud By North Korea Outlined

For Kim Jong Il’s birthday, North Korean insurance managers prepared a special gift.

In Singapore, they stuffed $20 million in cash into two heavy-duty bags and sent them, via Beijing, to their leader in Pyongyang, said Kim Kwang Jin, who worked as a manager for Korea National Insurance Corp., a state-owned monopoly.

Kim said he helped arrange the shipment and watched in February 2003 as the cash was packed. After the money arrived, Kim Jong Il sent a letter of thanks to the managers and arranged for some of them to receive gifts that included oranges, apples, DVD players and blankets, Kim said.

“It was a great celebration,” he said.

The $20 million birthday present and the gratitude of its recipient, who is known as the Dear Leader, were annual highlights of a sophisticated global insurance fraud that North Korea has concocted to provide its communist leadership with hard currency, said Kim, who spent five years as an executive of the state insurance company in Pyongyang and worked for a year at its banking subsidiary in Singapore before defecting to South Korea.

“This money helps keep Kim Jong Il in power at a time he is engaged in nuclear brinksmanship,” said David L. Asher, who supervised a State Department unit that attempted to track various illegal activities by North Korea during the Bush administration. “This is the gift that keeps on giving. It has become one of the North’s largest illicit revenue generators.”

In interviews and court documents, Western insurers, U.S. officials and defectors such as Kim said the impoverished and isolated North Korean government has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the world’s largest insurance companies on large and suspicious claims for transportation accidents, factory fires, flood damage and other alleged disasters. Still, recent attempts by international insurers to overturn North Korea’s claims have failed in British courts.

For years, the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies around the world have documented what they describe as state-sponsored criminality in North Korea. They have linked the North to illegal manufacturing and trafficking of drugs ranging from heroin to Viagra, as well as to expert counterfeiting of $100 bills and the production of high-quality counterfeit cigarettes.

Much less has been disclosed about North Korea’s international insurance claims, in part because they have been cloaked in legal settlements by firms with no interest in highlighting their losses.

“The exact scale of the fraud is hard to determine . . . because the insurance industry has been so gullible,” Asher said. North Korean insurance fraud “was absolutely something I should have been looking into more when I was running the [State Department’s] illicit activities initiative,” he added.

See also:
US warns banks about North Korea
U.S. Treasury warns on North Korea cash transactions
US Treasury Advises Vigilance By Banks Over N Korea
N Korea Insurance Scam Funds Weapons, Enriches Kim -Report
North Korea in global insurance scam: report
North Korea accused of massive state-sponsored insurance fraud
N.Korea ‘Made Millions from Insurance Scam’

We know what they’re doing to scam us and we can’t stop them. How do I know? Because they’re still doing it. The laugh at us and just ramp up their belligerence knowing full well there will be no consequences for their international outlaw behavior. They know that all they have to do is threaten us or our allies in the region and we’ll back down and do absolutely nothing to reign them in.

N. Korea Warns U.S. of ‘Thousand-Fold’ Military Action

North Korea warned Wednesday of a “thousand-fold” military retaliation against the U.S. and its allies if provoked, the latest threat in a drumbeat of rhetoric in defense of its rogue nuclear program.

Japanese and South Korean news reports said North Korea is preparing an additional site for test-firing a long-range missile capable of striking the U.S.

The warning of a military strike, carried by the North’s state media, came hours after President Barack Obama declared North Korea a “grave threat” to the world, and pledged that recent U.N. sanctions on the communist regime will be aggressively enforced.

North Korea chemical weapons threaten region – report

North Korea has several thousand tons of chemical weapons it can mount on missiles that could be used on a rapid strike against the South, said a report released on Thursday by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

North Korea in recent weeks has raised tensions in North Asia, responsible for one-sixth of the global economy, with missile launches, threats to attack the South and a May 25 nuclear test that led to U.N. sanctions.

The report from the prestigious non-governmental organisation said the consensus view is the North’s army possess about 2,500-5,000 tons of chemical weapons that include mustard gas, sarin and other deadly nerve agents.

“If there is an escalation of conflict and if military hostilities break out, there is a risk that they could be used. In conventional terms, North Korea is weak and they feel they might have to resort to using those,” said Daniel Pinkston, the ICG’s representative on Seoul.

The North has been working on chemical weapons for decades and can deliver them through long-range artillery trained on the Seoul area — home to about half of South Korea’s 49 million people — and via missiles that could hit all of the country.

“The stockpile does not appear to be increasing but is already sufficient to inflict massive civilian casualties on South Korea,” the ICG report said.

After decades of conditioning, North Korea has learned that the phrase “actions have consequences” doesn’t apply to them. They have steadfastly refused to negotiate or, when they have, they’ve broken every single agreement they’ve ever made. The only recourse left that will have any chance of changing their behavior is the use of force, in one form or another. How long will we let this oozing pus sac on the world’s ass continue to fester, hold us virtually hostage, and generally contaminate the concept of civilization?

/why are we not stomping North Korea’s guts out?

Do They Or Don’t They?

Iran “not close” to nuclear weapon: Gates

Iran is not close to having a nuclear weapon, which gives the United States and others time to try to persuade Tehran to abandon its suspected atomic arms program, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday.

“They’re not close to a stockpile, they’re not close to a weapon at this point, and so there is some time,” Gates said on NBC television’s “Meet The Press.”

Mullen: Iran has fissile materials for bomb

The top U.S. military official said Sunday that Iran has sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon, declaring it would be a “very, very bad outcome” should Tehran move forward with a bomb.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered the assessment when questioned in a broadcast interview about a recent report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on the state of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which can create nuclear fuel and may be sufficiently advanced to produce the core of warheads.

Mullen was asked if Iran now had enough fissile material to make a bomb. He responded, “We think they do, quite frankly. And Iran having a nuclear weapon I’ve believed for a long time is a very, very bad outcome for the region and for the world.”

See also:
Mullen, Gates divided on nukes
Nuclear Weapons – Iran
Nuclear Weapons – Iran
Iran’s Nuclear Program
Iran’s Nuclear Program: Recent Developments

/well, glad we got that minor detail cleared up

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, If He Hollers, Let Him Go

Pakistan releases ‘father’ of nuclear bomb from house arrest

High court rules Abdul Qadeer Khan was not involved in selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist accused of selling nuclear secrets, was today freed from five years of house arrest by a court and immediately declared that he can now “lead a normal life”.

Khan, lionised as the “father” of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, confessed in 2004 to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya. He was immediately pardoned but detained in his home.

See also:
Pakistan nuclear scientist ‘free’
Pakistan Nuclear Weapons
Proliferation in South Asia: Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
A.Q. Khan

/may his freedom be short lived, whatever it takes