4-STAR ADMIRAL: IRAN PREPPING EMP ATTACK ON AMERICA, OBAMA AND KERRY ARE HANDING THEM THE WEAPON
The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s nuclear infrastructure and research and development, potentially allowing Iran to become a more robust threshold nuclear breakout state. A credible alternative to this dangerous deal with Iran is to maintain U.S. and U.N. sanctions (or unilateral U.S. sanctions if necessary), keep the military option on the table, and work with partners in the Middle East to force Tehran to accept much tighter restrictions on its nuclear plans.
A Risky Trade-Off
The Vienna Agreement represents a Faustian bargain in which the Obama Administration agreed to dismantle sanctions and legitimize Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary restrictions on uranium enrichment, greater (but still limited) access for U.N. inspectors and promises to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—promises that Tehran has repeatedly broken in the past. If Iran reneges on the agreement, as it could easily do since most of its concessions are quickly reversible, the international sanctions regime will be almost impossible to put back in place.
After 15 years, limitations on Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium are ended, and enrichment activities can be moved outside the Natanz facility and scaled up massively, making it easier and faster to stage a nuclear breakout. If Tehran bides its time it will be in a much better position to make a final sprint to a nuclear arsenal.
Iran’s nuclear expansion will be paid for with the huge financial windfall, estimated at up to $150 billion, which the regime will pocket in sanctions relief when its frozen assets are released, with tens of billions more dollars coming from expanded oil revenues after sanctions are ended. This enormous signing bonus also will be used to strengthen the ayatollahs’ brutal police state, build up its conventional military and ballistic missile forces, and escalate its export of terrorism and subversion.
A Danger to the World
The dangers posed by Iran’s enhanced ability to finance global terrorism will be compounded by the Administration’s last-minute capitulation on the U.N. arms embargo, which will be lifted in five years. This would allow Iran to upgrade its conventional weapons through imports from foreign suppliers and enable it to more easily arm its foreign allies and surrogates.
The reckless nuclear deal with Iran could lead nervous countries in the region to hedge their bets and seek their own nuclear weapons, fueling a cascade of nuclear proliferation that will undermine U.S. security interests in the volatile Middle East. Saudi Arabia has already let it be known that it will demand the same overly generous concessions on uranium enrichment that Iran received, and has begun negotiations to buy French, Russian, and South Korean nuclear reactors. Other Arab states, and Turkey, are likely to tee up their own nuclear programs as a prudent counterweight to offset Iran’s expanding nuclear potential, after some of the restrictions on its uranium-enrichment program automatically sunset.
The bottom line is that the Obama Administration has signed an agreement that will expand Iran’s power and influence, undermine confidence in the U.S. as an ally, strain U.S. relations with its regional friends, weaken long-standing nonproliferation goals on restricting access to sensitive nuclear technologies, and contribute to the evolution of a multipolar nuclear Middle East.
These ripple effects will elevate the immediate threat that Iran poses to Israel and the Arab world (especially in the Gulf), which are united in an unprecedented fashion in their opposition to the deal.
VIA vice.comWe Asked a Military Expert How Scared We Should Be of an EMP Attack
Electromagnetic pulses, or EMPs, usually show up in pop culture as a temporary way to disable electronics. In Ocean’s Eleven, one knocks out a casino’s power supplyduring a heist. In the Matrix movies, an EMP is a CGI energy blast that Morpheus uses to stop the Sentinels from attacking Zion.
In real life, however, EMPs are a potential threat to national security.
First imagined as a troubling after effect in the wake a nuclear attack, EMPs have recently reemerged as non-nuclear e-bombs that silently attack precious electricity. A burst of energy that fries electronic circuits within a blast radius, an EMP could theoretically knock out a power grid if it were large enough. That in turn could send a major city back to the Stone Age, or knock out a strategically significant military installation in an instant.
But is such a large EMP a plausible fear? Peter Pry, director of a bipartisan congressional commission called the EMP Task force, seems to think so. He went on Fox News this week to say that “nine out of ten Americans could die from starvation, disease, and societal collapse, if the blackout lasted a year.” Pry isn’t the only one worried: In a letter to investors last year, billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer warned that EMPs are now the “most significant threat” to American security.
EMP scaremongering has been a longtime staple for the tinfoil hat crowd, with popular conspiracy blog ZeroHedge claiming that an electromagnetic pulse attack would be “one of the fastest ways to cripple America and end the dominance of the United States in world affairs.”
But now, the US military is reportedly carting equipment into bunkers to shield it from EMPs. In April, some of the critical communications equipment at North American Aerospace Defense Command was moved into a bunker inside Cheyenne Mountain, a Cold War relic in Colorado that you might remember from the Matthew Broderick movieWar Games.This was after the government had already disclosed a plan about a year ago to build a similar $44 million facility in Alaska for housing interceptor missiles.
So how scared should we be? I wasn’t sure, so I contacted a military analyst at the global intelligence firm Stratfor, the exquisitely named Sim Tack, to find out if we all need to buy EMP-proof iPhone cases, or whether EMPs are something we can put off studying until Skynet comes online.
VICE: First thing’s first: Is an EMP a real weapon?
Sim Tack: It’s not a work of fiction. It’s an actual technology that exists. It’s being played with in some capacity, and will potentially play a much greater role in future warfare. With the increasing importance of electronic circuits on the battlefield… There’s only more and more reason to create weapons that specifically target networking ability and electronics dependence.
Has the US entertained the idea of making EMP weapons?
Yes. That’s definitely something the US has looked into. EMPs were recognized as an effect of using nuclear weapons during test launches in the sixties. As with any type of natural force that is discovered, it became, “Hey, we can actually try and harness this power for military means.”
And have other countries built them?
Different countries have experimented with EMPs. Russia has. There was some stuff in the media recently about North Korea getting some EMP technology from Russia, although that technology is somewhat limited. But the general idea of using EMPs in warfare? That’s not just limited to the US.
Will a real EMP weapon work like the ones in The Matrix?
Well, an EMP overloads whatever weak circuits it can manage to overload, and basically destroys them, requiring that they be replaced by new electronic components to make that system functional again.
Right. And meanwhile in The Matrix it seems like the systems come back after a while.
That could potentially be what happens with hardened systems. Those might have the capacity to absorb an EMP, or work their way through that surge, and be operational again.
“Placing some explosives on the power lines coming out of that power plant would be a lot easier, a lot less complex, and a lot cheaper than building that EMP weapon.“
How might someone do serious damage with one right now?
You might spend a ton of money and time generating an EMP near a power plant. But—for instance—placing some explosives on the power lines coming out of that power plant would be a lot easier, a lot less complex, and a lot cheaper than building that EMP weapon.
What would be an example of this “future warfare” you speak of, where EMPs might come into play?
The US has not really been focusing the development of its military capability on peer-to-peer conflict per se, so from that point of view, it hasn’t been the main priority. If you look at the conflict in Eastern Ukraine… One of the things that’s been interesting to see there was how the electronic element of warfare has played out.
So to be clear, the Ukraine-Russia conflict doesn’t involve EMPs, but it’s an example of a modern conflict that might have a use for them? How so?
[The Russians] started to jam Ukrainian communications, and tap into [them]. They started to jam the operations of drones that were observing the separatists and the Russians. Then as a countermovement, the Ukrainians have had to look into getting drones that are more hardened against jamming. At the same time they’ve had to try and restructure their communications, and tried to keep their combatants from using cell phones.
So EMPs might come into play when two very developed countries go to war?
Yes, and Eastern Ukraine is just a blip on the radar… Imagine the importance of that kind of time to disrupt the network-centric warfare of your enemy in actual warfare.
Do functioning standalone EMP weapons already exist?
I know that [the US has] built prototypes, and used those devices to test the hardening of other devices, so that they don’t have to set off a nuclear explosion to test circuits against EMPs. Of course, those prototypes and test devices aren’t in a format that you can simply drop over an enemy city tomorrow.
So I shouldn’t be worried about Al Qaeda using one to knock out the power grid? Paul Singer seems to think I should.
It’s not that EMPs are not a threat. It’s just that—although the effect would be massive—currently they’re not really a risk apart from nuclear strikes, so highlighting them as the greatest threat there is might not be entirely realistic.
But I’ve seen videos of people making them at home…
When we’re talking about realistic versus unrealistic threats, currently generating an EMP with a nuclear weapon is the most feasible way to do it. Homebuilt EMP weapons aren’t very feasible. The cost you would put into building such a system versus the benefit that you would actually gain is very, very impaired.
What’s the main challenge stopping small militaries from using them?
Besides the weight, and the cost of whatever you use to generate that kind of electricity—a capacitor, a large amount of batteries, or whatever power generation method—the cost would be so high, but the damage you can do with it would be so limited, that other much cheaper methods might be more efficient when it comes to damaging the area that you’re targeting.
OK, let’s talk about how to defend ourselves from these things. What’s “hardening”?
Hardening is designing electronic circuits to deal with the sudden power surge that comes from an EMP. That in some cases means using thicker, heavier conductors, or creating redundant circuits, or avoiding using sensitive elements within the circuit.
And how would I “harden” my electronics?
Basically, it’s the same as protecting a circuit from power surges, but you’re dealing with the fact that this kind of power surge affects every part of the circuit, rather than entering the circuit at one certain point.
EMP is a potentially devastating threat to every life in this great land. This is a scenario well-respected scientists have been predicting for some time and one that becomes more likely with increased global tension and our own technological dependence. If survivability were possible through simple disaster preparedness and basic understanding of the situation, how could you not justify taking those actions on behalf of your family and your country? You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to at least consider the threat.
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