WASHINGTON – Alarms once again are being sounded over North Korea’s capability to launch satellites that could carry a nuclear weapon and be detonated at a high altitude over America, creating an extremely powerful electromagnetic pulse that would knock out the nation’s vulnerable electrical grid system, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
It is on that grid system that the nation’s life-sustaining critical infrastructures, from food supplies and utility services to financial and even communications, depend.
Pyongyang already has demonstrated it can launch such satellites. Two already are in orbit, even though experts don’t know what the satellites are doing.
Peter Pry, who already has expressed concerns about Pyongyang’s satellite launches, has warned that North Korea would not need a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Instead, it could put a nuclear weapon on a satellite that could be detonated on command over the United States.
Pry, who is executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security and U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, has said Pyongyang has been testing smaller nuclear kiloton warhead that emit greater amounts of gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic energy, rather than devices with physical destructive capability.
Now Jim Oberg, who is one of the few American scientists to visit North Korea’s Sohae space launch site in the northwest corner of the country, has expressed similar concerns about the content of North Korean satellites.
Oberg is a retired space shuttle Mission Control specialist with NASA and worked for U.S. Space Command.
“There have been fears expressed that North Korea might use a satellite to carry a small nuclear warhead into orbit and then detonate it over the United States for an EMP strike,” Oberg said in a Space Review article. “These concerns seem extreme and require an astronomical scale of irrationality on the part of the regime.
“The most frightening aspect, I’ve come to realize,” he said, “is that exactly such a scale of insanity is now evident in the rest of this ‘space program.'”
In making his visit to the Sohae site in 2012, Oberg said the North Koreans tried to assure him that the satellite launches were for peaceful purposes. However, he was not convinced.
“The charade that Pyongyang’s satellite program was purely for peaceful space exploration and applications was pitifully transparent from the start,” Oberg said. “The real mystery was what was the true unseen purpose of the enormous expense that the government was pouring into the program.”
If the satellites were for peaceful purposes, Oberg said, Pyongyang would not have made “fabulous efforts into … rebuilding control facilities and museums and shrines to the Kim (Il-sung) dynasty at the space sites – and totally rebuilding the launch pad.”
“For mere satellite launches, that would have been extravagant even for a rich country.”
Oberg said the U.S. needs to take active measures to ensure that no North Korean satellite, “unless thoroughly inspected before launch, be allowed to reach orbit and ever overfly the United States.”