11/4/17

10 Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Bug out Plans and How to Avoid Them

By: Conrad Novak | Survivor’s Fortress

When making a bug out plan, everyone likes to focus on the bug out bag–and it is not difficult to see why. The bug out bag is fairly easy to get right if you put time and resources into it. Moreover, once you have finished organizing the perfect bug out bag, you have a real, tangible thing that you can look to for comfort and security.

However, all too often people get so wrapped up in focusing on their bug out bag that they overlook all of the many other parts of a successful bug out plan. This oversight can turn deadly if things do not go as expected. That is why we have provided a list of 10 mistakes you need to avoid when making a bug out plan.

  1. Of Mice and Men – One or No Plans

Much like cleaning out the garage, a number of well-intentioned people think they will get around to developing a bug out plan eventually. Of course, disaster often strikes with little or no warning. Moreover, by the time you do have a warning, everyone else is also thinking the same thing you are.

In this situation, you will be competing with frightened, potentially frenzied, masses for quickly diminishing resources. Then, once you grab whatever you can, you still have to get all packed and figure a way to leave wherever you are. In short, it is a recipe for disaster, and you are the main ingredient.

Still, you can have a plan that will ultimately fail, especially if you only have one. The specific response required for a natural disaster should likely differ in a number of important ways than a man-made disaster. For instance, in the event of nuclear attack, you should actually stay indoors for 48 hours to allow the most dangerous radiation to dissipate.

Other ways your plan may be lacking might otherwise not be related to the disaster at all. For example, a flash flood that occurs during the summer demands a different response and gear than a flash flood that occurs during autumn when the waters and temperature may be just above freezing.

  1. Packing Procrastination – Not Already Being Packed

Making a bug out plan can be a lot like cleaning the garage if you let it: something that you will get to eventually but are constantly putting off for another day. Of course, should that day come, having your bug out plan ready and waiting may be the only thing that saves your life. In this case, too late may end up being too little.

That is why you need to have your bug out bag already packed and waiting either at the central rally point or near the exits. In this instance, you can quickly organize your party, grab your gear, and head out the door. The alternative ultimately means that you spend precious minutes doing something that should have already been done.

Something to keep in mind, your bug out bag may not be the only one you need to pack. If your party includes children, chances are that they are less than diligent with their preparations. As such, it is incumbent upon you to regularly check everyone’s bug out bag to ensure that it is packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

  1. The Weight of the World – Bag Too Heavy

When prepping, one of the most important factors is the bug out bag. The overwhelming majority of information about prepping will generally be centered around this aspect of the process. However, placing too much of a focus on the bug out bag can carry its own issues that extend well-beyond simple myopia.

Even experienced preppers who have developed numerous plans, each agile enough to include healthy improvisation, can still fall victim to the oversight of being “too prepared.” Granted, there is no such thing as being too prepared, but there is definitely the possibility that you can inhibit your ability to bug out by trying to be prepared for everything all at once.

If you have a single pack designed to meet all challenges, chances are you have items in that pack that will not get used. Cold weather gear will not be of much use in the Summer. This additional weight will slow you down and sap your energy. Instead, it is better to have different packs for specific situations–even if you have to regularly rotate the gear you pack.

  1. Gas, Grass, or Highway – Relying on a Vehicle

This is a mistake you can make in a number of different ways, though all of them can be costly. Arguably the biggest issue with a vehicle is the likelihood that you may have to abandon it and not being prepared for that circumstance. Things happen quickly during a disaster, and your vehicle may not be the best mode of transportation.

For instance, if you live in a densely populated area, there is a good chance that the roads out of town will be far too congested with other people trying to flee to be useful. However, even if you do make it out of the urban areas, there is no guarantee that the rest of the region–and most importantly its roads–will be in any condition to allow safe passage.

Another major mistake concerning a vehicle is not having it gassed up and ready to go. Aside from the probable traffic jam that will inevitably develop, gas stations will likely be overloaded with unprepared people as well. Making sure that your bug out vehicle is already fueled and that you have additional fuel reserves is vital.

Finally, having the wrong bug out vehicle in the first place can be costly. A front engine, rear-wheel drive car might be fun and convenient in the city, but it cannot handle the needs of an off-road trip. Also, make sure your vehicle does not stand out or alert others to your presence.

  1. No Way Out – No Alternate Routes

Regardless of how you plan to reach your bug out shelter, there is simply no guarantee that you preferred route will be available. This consideration makes relying on a vehicle that much more risky. However, it can also be a major factor even if you plan to hike it the entire way. Granted, heading out on foot can actually be more effective, but that does not mean it is without forethought.

For instance, major road networks are liable to be packed with frantic people all trying to escape–even if a large number of the population simply attempts to bear down and bug in. Of course, most of those people will be doing it for lack of better options, but the point remains that the most common and well-maintained routes are liable to be crowded.

Still, other routes which are less likely to see traffic will also probably have their own issues. For instance, rural or farm roads may not have panicked peoples, but they are also liable to be in less sound conditions. This can make traversing them just as dangerous. Ultimately, the more routes you have to bug out, the better–each with a specified set of parameters defining when they are to be used.

  1. Not Enough Cache – No Extra Bug Out Bags

Once you have safely made it out of your starting location, you can feel confident that the first leg of the journey is over. Still, there is no time to celebrate, because any good bug out shelter will be located one or more handful of miles away from wherever you are fleeing. Now the bug out turns from a sprint to a marathon.

Of course, when traversing miles, likely in less than ideal conditions, you cannot count on your starting supplies to carry through to the finish line. That is why it is always a smart move to store numerous cache supplies along the various potential bug out routes. The reason for this is two-fold.

First, there may be some unforeseen event that forces one or more of your party members to either lose or ditch their bug out bag. Rather than rationing and trying to make do, additional caches can serve as a backup. However, if your bug out shelter is more than ten miles away, those caches may become necessary parts of your bug out plan instead of simply reassuring backups.

  1. Practice Makes Perfect – Not Doing Dry-Runs

Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach. While the aphorism may be a bit unfair to teachers, the salient point remains: it is a very different thing to do something in the real world than it is to consider it in theory. Even the best plan on paper will not be able to prepare you for all possible eventualities.

Knowing that a local national park has rarely used trails which can make travel both convenient and inconspicuous is one thing, but until you get there, you will not be able to properly plan for it. For instance, those rarely used trails might regularly be washed away by heavy rainstorms or need to be cleared of heavy brush.

In a similar vein, being aware that your bug out location is five miles away with a rough estimation of how long it will take you and your party to travel five miles does not account for the various issues that can crop up in real time while you are bugging out.

  1. Knowledge is Power – Not Practicing Skills

If the preppers purpose is to be prepared, then relying strictly on goods and items is a poor man’s substitute for genuine preparation. You can develop the best of plans for less than ideal conditions, but what happens if everything collapses and fails simultaneously. Are you prepared to survive without any of your gear?

A successful prepper does more than simply plan to account for the absence of modern life’s conveniences. Stockpiling food is a great idea in theory, but what if vermin find a way through an air ventilation duct into your food stores? You need to be capable of improvising with genuine survival skills to hunt, forage, and grow your own food should a stockpile be contaminated or destroyed.

An even greater risk would be if you lost your gear in transit to your bug out location. If your shelter is located more than a day’s hike, this can be a serious risk–especially if your party includes children or the elderly. Your skills must be honed to survive the wilds, at least long enough to reach your shelter, even if your gear is lost.

  1. Location, Location, Location – Bad Shelter

When disaster strikes, getting out of town is only half the battle. Then, you still have to traverse a significant distance to your shelter designed to withstand whatever disaster occurs. However, reaching your shelter may or may not guarantee your survival depending on where you built it and what kind it is.

The most likely potential issue with your shelter is its location. Sure, it is easy enough to figure out that you need to build your shelter away from other people, but that is not the only consideration which can spell tragedy if unaccounted. What types of resources are nearby and the potential environmental hazards are also a primary concern.

Still, beyond the location of the shelter is the shelter’s construction itself. A shelter for you and one other person can be fairly basic. However, the more people you have in your party, the more you need to consider cleanliness as a major potential hurdle. Untreated, porous materials can make a cozy shelter into a hotbed of disease if someone gets sick.

  1. Loose Lips Sink Ships – Telling Too Many People

When you develop a robust and comprehensive plan to ensure the survival of your family in the event of a catastrophe, it can, and should, give you a sense of pride. Through a little time and effort, you have done your first job as a person: make sure that you and your loved ones will carry on through the worst of situations.

However, all of that planning and preparation can be for naught if you let your pride take over your mouth before the need to bug out arises and tell everyone who listens how well prepared you are. Even worse, this can come back to bite you in a couple of different ways.

Easily the most likely problem with being too open about your prepping is that should disaster strike, everyone who knows your plans will immediately come to you seeking aid. Unless you have planned for half the neighborhood to also survive on your stores and gear, chances are you will have to turn them away–assuming they go.

That brings us to the other, far more dangerous, possible result of telling too many people about your plans. When SHTF, people will respond with panic and fear, and that fear can drive them to react with violence. Those people you told might not be willing to accept “sorry, I do not have enough to help you” for an answer.

Conclusion:

In truth, this list could go on even further. Not bringing enough water is a major potential issue. Though, in the same vein, bringing too much water can play into your pack being too heavy. Making sure you have the right clothing, paying attention to hygiene, and staying in shape could also easily make it onto this list.

Regardless, these 10 mistakes are liable to be some of the bigger ones and many are more easily overlooked. However, by properly accounting for these flaws, you bug out plan has a much greater chance of succeeding and will be able to adapt to rapidly shifting circumstances should it need to.

10/2/17

Irma, Maria and Corruption: Puerto Rico

By: Denise Simon | Political Vanguard

Irma, Maria and Corruption are a trifecta of issues for the island nation.

Over the years, Puerto Rico has voted for independence. It is a vote meant to set the stage for Pueto Rico to become the 51st state of the United States. It just won’t happen due to countless underlying issues.

Sadly, many civilians are suffering this very moment in Puerto Rico due to two catastrophic hurricanes. They have not only destroyed homes, they virtually destroyed Puerto Rico’s infrastructure as well. Even before the hurricanes, however, the tiny island was on life support.

Take electricity for example. No region can exist much less thrive without a stable and reliable power source. Puerto Rico has a long history of a failed power grid. As the LA Times noted, with little notice by Democrat members of Congress:

Hurricane Georges in 1998 left the island without power for three weeks. The tropical storm destroyed 30,000 houses and damaged at least another 60,000.

Last year, the island suffered a massive blackout after a fire broke out at one of the island’s main electricity plants, leaving half of the territory’s residents in the dark.

PREPA at the time said two transmission lines had failed.

While natural disasters have underscored the problems of the island’s electrical system, over the past few years the island’s and the power company’s money problems made the power grid particularly susceptible to crippling damage by storms.

As of 2014 the government-owned company was $9 billion in debt, and in July, it filed for bankruptcy under the provisions set by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, a law signed by President Obama in 2016.

Making matters worse, consider the FBI and cyber experts’ investigation regarding the power condition.

Sometime in 2009, an electric utility in Puerto Rico asked the FBI to help it investigate widespread incidents of power thefts that it believed was related to its smart meter deployment. In May 2010, the bureau distributed an intelligence alert about its findings to select industry personnel and law enforcement officials.

Citing confidential sources, the FBI said it believes former employees of the meter manufacturer and employees of the utility were altering the meters in exchange for cash and training others to do so. “These individuals are charging $300 to $1,000 to reprogram residential meters, and about $3,000 to reprogram commercial meters,” the alert states.

The FBI believes that miscreants hacked into the smart meters using an optical converter device — such as an infrared light — connected to a laptop that allows the smart meter to communicate with the computer. After making that connection, the thieves changed the settings for recording power consumption using software that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Then comes working with Puerto Rican government officials. That too is a challenge due to corruption. The NY Post offered in part this item:

Jorge Rodriguez, 49, is the Harvard-educated CEO of PACIV, an international engineering firm based in Puerto Rico that works with the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. The Puerto Rican-born engineer says he has dispatched 50 engineers to help FEMA rehabilitate the devastated island — a commonwealth of the United States — after Hurricane Maria. He refuses to work with the local government, which he called inept and riddled with corruption.

If a lack of electricity isn’t problem enough, there is the clean water issue. You know – the staff of life.

Ever wonder how an island nation does not have a desalination and water treatment system?  Singapore has become a world economic leader in part because it has embraced desalination.

The sophistication and technology is widely available for production of up to 50 million gallons per day. The high cost is always associated with the environmentalists who scream about algae, fish, marine life and other possible destructive consequences, but you can bet if there is no water, their voices run silent. Going back as far as 1998, Princeton University published a white paper explaining the benefits, costs and reliability of this technology.

What about law enforcement?

Glad you asked. Due to corruption and fraud within the ranks of law enforcement in Puerto Rico, James Tuller Cintrón was chosen as superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department. Cintron came from the NYPD.

There are 18,000-members in the PRPD. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department pledged in July $10 million to the Puerto Rican government to combat police corruption, extrajudicial killings and civil rights violations. The deal was the culmination of two years of tense negotiations that focused on reforming the territory’s plagued law enforcement agency.

The cash infusion followed a DOJ report, released in September 2011, which found evidence that the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) violated the Constitution and federal laws by using excess and unreasonable force, making unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests, and targeting individuals of Dominican descent, among other problems.

In 2017, seven people including some government officials were arrested for stealing $10 million in government funds mostly from the education division.

In 2010, the FBI launched a sting called Operation Guard Shack. 750 FBI undercover personnel were flown to Puerto Rico as part of this sting and it resulted in 89 law enforcement officers and 44 other people being arrested and indicted as part of a two-year undercover investigation into 125 drug transactions. Puerto Rico is a major shipping point for drugs between the East Coast and such South American countries as Colombia and Peru.

Now, of course, the American Media is focused on the President’s response to the latest two hurricanes. The biggest critic of the mainland response to the hurricane devastation has been Carmen Cruz. She is the mayor of San Juan.

So, where is she when it comes to FEMA coordination, conference calls and following all disaster planning? Incredibly, the answer is absolutely nowhere. Other mayors from the island participate and collaborate with FEMA, the military and the Red Cross, but lil miss Cruz seems to be notably absent. She literally has failed to attend the meetings. She has, however, found time to appear on televisions to complain.

For all the fears due to catastrophic disasters, including lack of communications, lack of power due to power grid destruction and fleeting supplies of water, there are major opportunities that have been overlooked and not exploited in Puerto Rico.  Now is an excellent opportunity to use the island as an incubation center for clever and resourceful solutions that include alternate forms of power including wind and solar.

Surely after all those taxpayer loan guarantees by the Obama administration for solar companies, there are some panels and battery systems sitting available. When it comes to communications, surely there are some U.S. naval ships that are out of commission and dry-docked that could have or should be converted to communications centers, floating hospitals and even housing for the most vulnerable.

As a result of hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017 and the lessons learned from hurricane Katrina, there are many regions of the United States that still need to be innovative, clever and insightful when it comes to disaster recovery and the responsibility does not always fall exclusively with FEMA. Individual preparedness is not only useful but required.

Taking corruption and fraud out of the mix remains however the most daunting challenge of all.

10/1/17

Al-Azhar Deep State Strikes At Egypt’s Constitutional Free Speech

By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts

In June this year, Justices Alito and Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in their separate opinions for Matal v. Tam that there is no “hate speech” exception to the first amendment of the constitution. In other words, “hate speech” is free speech. In that same month, Egypt’s parliament found a new hate speech bill placed before them for review. It is likely Egypt’s legislators will not take their lead from the United States but follow the footsteps of Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France and Denmark, to turn the bill entitled, “Combating Hatred and Violence” into law. The vote is scheduled to take place in the near future.

However, before any vote takes place, the Egyptian parliamentarians must address the origin (the writers) of the introduced bill. The bill — which has 16 articles in three sections — was not written by any member of the elected body but by an outside entity. Committing an unconstitutional and illegal action, the Al-Azhar Institute wrote and submitted to parliament the proposed “hatred” bill. Egypt’s parliament is currently aiding and abetting the illegality by considering the proposed bill. Next, they will buckle under the same pressure to rubber stamp it. Just watch.

To be clear, Al- Azhar Institute has no representation, honorary or otherwise, in the Egyptian parliament. This was enumerated a long time ago when Nasser allowed the Islamic religious institute to expand its teachings to the university level in science and technology. And before doing so, Nasser established Law No. 103 in 1961. Still current, Law No. 103 restricts Al- Azhar Institute’s role to a religious/cultural one (meaning not political) and defines it as “the renewal of Islamic culture, removing abstractions and impurities from it.”

A hate speech law crafted by Al- Azhar may, in its own view, be very effective in “renewing” Islamic culture for, rest assured, it will favor Islam above the others. The language of the drafted bill is generic and abstract with the intent to exact that favor. Vagueness is subject to interpretation by those in charge. For example, the proposed bill states it is, “Protecting the community from attempts to indoctrinate false concepts that may emerge among its members and affect the facts of their religion in a manner that incites hatred.” “Community” is not defined, and this makes non-Muslim segments jittery. Are the indoctrinated “false concepts” affecting the “facts of their religion” pertaining to truths spoken about Islam and Sharia? — Probably.

At a time when Al- Azhar Islamists are under much criticism, the ambiguity of the bill, if passed, will muzzle thinkers and intellectuals and stifle expression more so than now. With this maneuver, Al- Azhar ar shows that its aim is to govern behavior and gain more power over personal lives.

Nothing short of a move to reverse Egypt’s constitution regarding free speech, Article 4 of Al- Azhar’s “Combating Hatred and Violence” bill incorporates an end to any opposition to the proposed bill once made into law and, in this case gets very specific: “It’s not permitted to invoke freedom of opinion and expression, criticism, freedom of information, publication or creativity against any statement or action involving anything contrary to the provisions of this law.” To the contrary, Article 65 of the current 2014 Constitution states that “Freedom of opinion is guaranteed and everyone has the right to express his or her opinion by speech, writing, photography or other means of expression and publication.” The two are at odds.

A thousand years old, Al- Azhar has an institutional memory of the freedoms’ and rights’ environment for centuries in Egypt prior to Nasser’s decision to nationalize personal property and pour the proceeds into the coffers of Al-Ahzar. Tipping the scales in this way set up society for the battle against freedoms and human rights. In response to the negative popular reaction in May 1879 to the emerging abuses of political and religious powers, Egypt’s 1923 Constitution came about 45 years later. It stated that the Egyptian parliament is the only “legislative authority” and that no religious institution can have that same role — referring to Al- Azhar Institute and the Coptic Orthodox Pope. Although the 1923 Constitution is now expunged, this point, fortunately, carried over to the current 2014 Constitution.

With its aggressive overreach (an unsolicited and illegally proposed “hate” bill) to increase the presence of Islam throughout a diverse population (secularists, liberals, atheists, Christians of various denominations and Muslims), the Al- Azhar deep state unveiled its true intentions. Instead of reviewing its own internal policies regarding religious teachings and preaching, which would alleviate oppression in Egypt and around the world as well as pressure on the devout, it rides the trend rising in Europe to suppress free speech and ingrain 7th century doctrine.

The powerful Al- Azhar deep state is shoring up its position to hold and penetrate fundamentalism in many ways, building momentum over time. After rejecting Al-Sisi’s plea for reform of Islamic doctrine and ignoring the possibility of school textbooks revision, Al- Azhar Institute created the kiosk project to disseminate religious edits (“fatwas”). Shortly after, Al- Azhar vocalized its contempt for Tunisia’s modernization of ancient religious traditions, and most recently remained silent on the Egyptian state’s campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM). Furthermore, Al- Azhar has never condemned ISIS or any act of Muslim terrorism against Christians in or outside of Egypt.

09/16/17

Two Coptic churches re-open; two meetings held: Are they related?

By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts

On Sunday, September 10, two Coptic churches were re-opened by an executive order made by President Al-Sisi. One of them was the St. Mary Church of Al-Furn village in Al Minya diocese, which was illegally shut down by Egyptian police recently in the final days of the Virgin Mary fast.

Bishop Makariuos of Al Minya diocese issued a statement to announce this good news. He indicated that Al-Sisi issued an executive order to local law enforcement to re-open the two churches on the eve of the new Coptic year.

The bishop further added that Copts of Al Minya and Abu Kurkas are thankful to the Egyptian president for his response and the attention given to their petition concerning the shutting down of their churches.

Their gratitude goes to the Interior Minister, the Governor of Al Minya and the head of Al Minya security as well as the National Security Service.

Muslim neighbors are congratulatory

The bishop’s statement did not ignore that Muslim residents of the town seemed grateful for the re-openings. Muslim villagers had been used as scapegoats by police authorities for the closings. Concerning the latter, a Voice of the Copts’ member emphasized that many Muslims came to the church to congratulate the priest and congregation. A celebration entailed almost three hundred Christians in the first mass and took place with great joy and tears of happiness.

Two high level meetings took place

The Al Ahzar Grand Imam visited Germany, and Al-Sisi met in Cairo with the United States delegation of Anglican Churches – two events that took place within hours of the order given to re-open the churches. The re-openings could be seen as timed to serve the purpose of “substantiating” messaging.

In the same time frame, the executive level meetings immediately followed the order to re-open the churches. Therefore, the matter is subject to speculation. The future will tell. If this proves to be the beginning of more re-openings to come then we know this gesture by the Al-Sisi government is meant to be consistent with Article 46 of the Egyptian Constitution, which permits freedom of worship.

Why now and why only two churches when so many need to re-open?

Grand Imam 

Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Institute, was invited to participate in the Roads of Peace International Conference where he delivered a speech on Sunday, September 10. In his speech, the Imam condemned the recent aggression against Muslims in Myanmar ignoring the “plank in his own eye” regarding the plight of Coptic Christians his own country. Perhaps he thought he had a right to do so because of the church re-openings in Egypt preempting his critics.

President Al-Sisi

At the same time in Cairo, President Al-Sisi met with a delegation from the National Council of American Churches. The meeting’s agenda was about how to confront extremist thinking and terrorism. During that meeting, Al-Sisi confirmed that Egypt will uphold the concept of citizenship and consolidate the culture of pluralism (the acceptance of others). He further confirmed the absence of discrimination in Egypt on the basis of religion and that all citizens enjoy the same rights and all the same duties to the homeland – after all, “Egypt’s churches were now being re-opened.”

Voice of the Copts joins in the celebration with gratitude

Christian Copts are truly grateful for the return of two church properties no matter what the motive. It is not new that Coptic issues are exploited for political purposes.

If the Egyptian president is sincere in his talk to the American delegation, then we should expect to see an effort to restore more churches in the near future. This would include re-opening and returning all the remaining closed churches and reconstructing churches destroyed by terror attacks. The latter would benefit by a new law for the construction of all worship buildings with equality in mind.

The right to practice your faith is granted by the Egyptian constitution, and we at VOTC join Bishop Makarious and the Copts of Al Minya and Abu Kurkas in their joy and happiness!

We thank the Egyptian authorities for re-opening churches that were illegally closed down. We hope that more executive orders to restore remaining churches will be made sooner than later.

09/13/17

3 Guns You Need to Own If North Korea Starts a War

By: Mike Coffey

The world seems to crumble under so many natural disasters, but the darkest threat of our days comes from the East and more exactly North Korea. Are we going to fight them? Are they going to launch their missiles?

Nobody knows what is going to happen, but the current uncertainty makes you want to be prepared. People are gathering food, water and other vital supplies in different types of shelters that can withstand a nuclear blast. But is this really necessary

Is North Korea Going to Start a War?

In the last few months we learned with absolute certainty that North Korea is working on improving their nuclear arsenal. Voices in the western world say that the rogue state is working on extending their missiles’ range. So, even though right now they can’t hit important targets in Europe or the US, they might in the near future.

But what is North Korea looking to achieve? A nuclear war will affect the whole world and may put the survival of our very own race at risk. For now, nobody knows with absolute confidence or they don’t want to share with the public. In any case, our future is uncertain at best.

The main conflict is between the US and North Korea and specialists think this happened due to the changes in leadership in both states. Six years ago Kim Jong-Un assumed power and this year, Donald Trump took office. The two leaders seem to lock horns and this doesn’t sit well for the rest of us.

But is North Korea going to start a war? Specialists say we shouldn’t be worried – a war is not going to happen (at least not now). North Korea seems to use their nuclear arsenal as a bargaining chip to get recognition from the US as a nuclear power. So for now, it’s just a matter of pride for the Korean leader.

However, things can go south faster than you think and the only ones to survive such a confrontation will be the ones who prepared ahead.

3 Guns You Should Own

I am not going to talk about nuclear preparedness as it is a topic quite popular these days and information is readily available. Instead I am going to talk about the life after. What happens if you survive the blast?

We know that in any SHTF scenario, the life after will be complete anarchy. The law of the jungle will be dominant, so you need to be among the ones who can defend themselves. For this, you need weapons and below are the top 3 most specialists recommend.

Mossberg 500 Shotgun

Tommy from goog gun weapons swears by the power and efficiency of a shotgun. Even more, you can use different types of ammo in it to shoot anything from small game to big game. So, it is useful for both hunting and self-defense.

The Mossberg 500 is fast and reliable, but you must be careful with the recoil. If you’re not used to shooting with this type of weapon it can be a bit uncomfortable.

S&W .357 Magnum

Yes, this is a revolver, but before you dismiss it for an automatic pistol, let me tell you about reliability. This tiny fellow doesn’t jam too often and when it does, you only have to squeeze the trigger and it un-jams.

It is small, so it’s easy to carry on you regardless of where you go. A rifle or a shotgun attracts attention, but a revolver is easy to keep in your pocket.

The .357 Magnum is great for both self-defense and shooting small game. It is also corrosion resistant, which is great in times of doom.

Marlin Model 336

Number three on my list is a lever action rifle that most preppers like as a survival rifle. It is fast, accurate and lightweight, which makes it great for when you go hunting. It’s also a great weapon for beginners and the magazine is large enough for a ‘spray and pray’ tactic (although highly not recommended during dark times).

The rifle can be used as a backup for the shotgun or vice versa, but it is important to have it.

A Few Final Words…

North Korea may start a war or not, but we have a duty to ourselves and our families to be prepared! For this, I urge you to start practicing your shooting and make sure to keep up to date with the latest news and data from all over the world.

09/7/17

Sharia Crime Stoppers

American Justice for Sharia Crimes

The fundamental transformation enacted by the Red-Green Axis has been successful to the point where almost everything is the “new normal”, even the criminal components of Islamic Law, Sharia.

The criminal defense for Female Genital Mutilation being a “religious practice” is an example of the creeping “new normal”, as is the phenomenon of “no-fault rape of uncovered women” or the killing of young girls for being “too westernized”. These and other Shariah-mandated crimes must be prevented, prosecuted, and punished.

Shariah Crime Stoppers is a forthright campaign demanding that the American justice system effectively deal with the criminal aspects of Sharia. Police and prosecutors must be trained in Sharia, and citizens must demand that the full force of American law be applied once again within in their communities, despite political pressure to the contrary.

Sharia Crime Stoppers activities are underway in several states where sheriffs and police chiefs have taken action to train their officers in the specifics of Sharia. This certified training is provided by experts in the field; it is offered, without fanfare, at no charge other than travel and lodging expenses

Send Sharia Crime Stoppers an email [[email protected] with the Subject line = Cost-Effective Law Enforcement Training] to obtain the training course curriculum and to connect your local sheriff and/or police chief with one of the instructors.

Schedule the new Sharia Crime Stoppers presentation “What Women Should Know about Sharia” [in-person or via the Internet] to educate women and to encourage them to contact their local law enforcement agencies to discuss their need for the training that the federal government has withheld from them for the last decade. Use the above email to inquiry about scheduling a presentation with the Subject line = “What Women Should Know about Sharia”.

Links to video excerpts from the presentation will be posted here as they are developed:

  What Women Should Know about Sharia Presentation

  • Male Supremacy – Part 1
  • Rape Culture – Part 2
  • Honor Killings – Part 3
  • Child Marriages/Forced Marriages – Part 4
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – Part 5
  • Police Response – Part 6

http://securemichigan.org/
American Justice for Sharia Crimes

08/30/17

Egypt: “War on terror” shuts down churches and prayer

By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts

Mass in Al Furn street

Imagine walking through your village to church to pray during the final days of fasting for the Feast of Assumption. You find police barricades blocking all roads to the sanctuary. At a check point you see your priest petitioning the heavens. State police forbid your entrance and give the same reasons they always do – excuses well known to Christian Copts. You have no permit to pray and you must stop irritating Muslims with whom you share your village.

You are accustomed to it. You’ve always been told on the slightest whim that you need a government permit to pray in the church and even inside your home in the village of Al-Furn, and that goes for all other towns across Egypt. Yet no actual law or code exists requiring anyone anywhere in Egypt to have a permit for prayer. Meanwhile, Christians in this little town of four hundred Coptic families live with the familiar weekly scene of neighboring Muslims praying in the street — blocking public transportation and ceasing passage. Complaints are never lodged against them demanding the nebulous “permit.” They are free to do so.

It is not the only village to be targeted by the Sisi regime’s state police in the Upper Egypt area of the country which is heavily inhabited by Christian Copts. There was Ezbet Nakhla in Abu Qarqas, Qum Al-Loufi village in Basmalut and Taft Al-Kharsa at Al-Fashn Center in Beni Suef.  All received their share of obstruction to worship. Furthermore, when police take illegal actions to harass Christians and halt worship, Copts begin to fear it gives license to Muslim mobs.

In the case of the Virgin Mary Church, it is known that Muslim intolerance was not the motivation behind the police barricade even though so often their complaints cause such responses from law enforcement. Virgin Mary’s priest, Botrus Aziz, claimed that local Muslims said nothing this time and gave no objections to the planned celebrations for the end of the fast on Sunday, August 20.

The regime maintains the police were sent to protect Christians in religious practice from possible terror attacks.

Street prayer

However, two days later when the congregation gathered in the street, law enforcement disappeared. Men, women and children of the Virgin Mary Church, having no other recourse, entered the street on the eve of the Feast to celebrate mass. Christians were left wide open and vulnerable. Apparently the police were no longer concerned with potential infiltrators.

It is speculated that the state may have been retaliating against Bishop Makarius and his courageous remarks to the public two weeks earlier about the status of religious discrimination in Al Minya Diocese. He correctly stated that 15 more church doors are bolted, and 70 villages are not permitted to have a church at all. It seems that Virgin Mary Church may have been next on the hit list for the steady shut down of churches, a total of 58 so far that are inaccessible to Copts due to the regime’s concern for “security.”

Coptic priest watching barracades

With this in mind, some believe that the police barricade of the Virgin Mary Church was the state’s attempt to create a “vacancy” status for the church building. If so, the Church would not succeed in meeting the “grandfather” requirement of sound construction by deadline at the end of September in compliance with the state’s new Law 80-2016 (9/28/2016) governing church buildings. Virgin Mary Church could then be legally and permanently shut down by the state.

In the regime’s zeal for “protecting” Christians the state has expanded its harassment by demanding burdensome paperwork from the church. The church must submit a report in advance to state security with date, time and place of religious activities, listing its participants. After the bus attack and murder of Coptic Christians earlier this year by Egyptian Islamic-jihadists crossing Libyan borders Egypt is clamping down on Christian religious trips and conferences and requiring details upfront for security reasons. In addition to these controls, the previous terror attack brought about the closing of the Coptic Monastery to any future visitors, ending a long religious tradition.

One can’t help but feel that jihadists are winning here. State regulations and errant police follow through with controls over the jihadi targets to strip Christian Copts of religious freedoms. That’s one of the aims of terrorism. Already there are 58 churches inaccessible to parishioners due to the state’s requirements for security.

It is unconstitutional in Egypt for law enforcement to construct a barricade of churches and prayer on any basis other than intelligence of a planted bomb or other form of terror attack. Clearly, the latter was not the case in Al-Furn. Copts have decided not to accept the “irritating Muslims” excuse and the baseless “permit required” reason from the police. They have responded to this incident by petitioning President Al-Sisi, the prime minister, and the local governor, forcing them to confront the injustice. The petition signed by forty-four Christians from the village states,

“Are we required to stand on trial on the charges of praying after police officers insulted our dignity? On the morning of August 20, we were subjected to insults, and we were prevented from praying and performing religious services as usual. We were surprised by the presence of police forces in the village to prevent us from reaching our church. Furthermore, they later prevented us from leaving our homes. After our meeting we found that we were incriminated as criminals or outlaws.”

Despite hard evidence of the state’s guilt of harassment and discrimination using both legal and illegal means, Copts remain hopeful and convinced that Sisi is their champion bringing about the right change slowly. Impressions frozen in time on the day the military head consented to be the people’s man enable Copts to remain confident in Sisi doing what he promised. Copts trust the president.

From the onset of his political career, Sisi promised equality and freedom of worship. Viewing government through relativism — comparing Sisi to former President Morsi and the dreaded Muslim Brotherhood — blinds Christian Copts to Sisi’s record which is scant improvement, if any, over the Mubarak dictatorship.

08/11/17

The New York Channel to North Korea is in Play

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

His name is Joseph Yun, a U.S. diplomat at the United Nations, one that the North Korean regime has reached out to more than once. Most recently it was over the return of Otto Warmbier and his release.

Under the Obama administration, all talks were terminated during the time Sweden was the communications envoy of record. With the transfer of power and government to Donald Trump, Pyongyang opened up the back channel via the United Nations to Joseph Yun, who has long diplomatic experience in the region.

While preparations are in place according to President Trump should Kim launch his 4 missiles toward Guam, Pentagon Chief Mattis declares the United States and allies are ready. That still leaves North Korea with nuclear weapons, a condition every expert is omitting in talking points. Secretary of State Tillerson says his work is to get North Korea to stop with the missile program and that will not likely occur as it is a proxy operation of Iran.

The Kim regime is keeping his estimated 60 nuclear weapons for a bargaining tool and global legitimacy. That is the real problem. Many experts declare that North Korea always backs down in the end when they get food or sanctions relief, but we are dealing with a new Kim that is far more unpredictable than his father.

So, what can the U.S. and allies do going forward? Shall we continue to rely on China? They are anything but a friend or a cooperative partner stating in local Chinese news that China will remain neutral should Kim strike first. Further, China declared that if the United States went to a preemptive posture, China would stop us.

China has total ownership and power in the region and certainly when it comes to navigation, so any U.S. naval activity angers them.

The United States has other options and tools, where not one, but a combination of all, may also be deployed. That includes forcing a regime change, not always the best solution. Then there is the special forces deployment to covertly enter North Korea and work on a detonation of key command and control sites. Special operations has trained for this kind of operation for more than 20 years.

There is a cyber option, a tool that several experts declare has already been used so that Kim’s missiles miss targets or fail on re-entry.

Dealing with China to control North Korea is a fool’s errand as Russia and Iran are part of the total equation. There could still be wider consequences when the United States and allies prevail over North Korea on the missile side, again the nuclear inventory remains and is traded to other rogue nations such as Iran or Syria.

There are other allies included in the variables regarding North Korea. They include Australia, Japan and Britain, where Canada, Germany and France remain silent. Japan has just deployed a missile defense system in a defensive mode.

The media continues to declare that any military conflict will lead to millions dying. That is only true if North Korea is successful on a land based conflict hitting Seoul. The U.S. uses only precision guided munitions where collateral damage would not affect other regions of North Korea, hence millions would not escape across the Yalu river into China. China has a standing army at that border preventing such an event.

China and North Korea want the peninsula to be unified and under Chinese control which is much the case concerning the waterways in dispute along with the contested islands. China fears that the United States is working to unify the peninsula under S. Korean control, which has not been an objective.

In summary, while fear for days has been the media headlines, it cannot be fully dismissed that a near term conflict will likely be resolved, leaving North Korea with a viable nuclear weapons and missile program. The coordination between Iran and North Korea will continue in that same realm and Trump is left with the same festering issue of previous presidents.

Will there be a Chinese naval blockade if the United State and allies go for a preemptive strike? Perhaps that New York Channel to Pyongyang has the burden of finding out. Has someone sent an envoy to Tehran yet with these discussions? Nah… Russia meanwhile is keeping a keen eye on all of it.

08/9/17

Obama Blew All Opportunities with China and N. Korea

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Obama along with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry gave us trade deals and climate change stuff….Obama did not understand Thucydides Trap and chose to ignore it. Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster, along with General Mattis, are experts on it and President Trump is confused. Trump tells President Xi, he will honor the one China policy.

Obama launched an Asia Pivot, remember that? Others called it a ‘re-balance’. Well…

The “rebalance” policy not only aims to protect the region from unwanted security threats, but also to secure commercial sea lanes for American imports and exports flowing in and out of the region.

It is increasingly important for the U.S. to maintain freedom for navigation from the Arabian Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The economic aspects of the “rebalance” under the Obama Administration have been largely shaped by U.S. participation in the TPP talks aimed at institutionalizing regional free trade practices. The vision of the U.S. Trade Representative for the TPP is an FTA for the twelve negotiating parties –Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam – which will form the basis for a broader agreement that eventually could eventually include all the economies of the Asia -Pacific region, including China.

If successful, the TPP could provide the US with a number of benefits. It would include U.S. access to growing markets in Asia, help stimulate the growth in U.S. exports, generate export – related jobs, and foster an economic recovery, while enhancing measures to protect U.S. intellectual property rights, and ensuring that business competition occurs in a fair regional market.

The third major component of the U.S. “rebalance” policy falls in the “dignity basket” that seeks to uphold democratic and human rights and the rule of law. The Obama Administration’s emphasis on universal rights targets the credibility of the Chinese government in the midst of its rapid growth and intends to apply pressure on Beijing to adhere to right practices as a responsible stakeholder. In this way, China’s rise would be perceived as less of a threat to regional and global powers and more as a constructive member of the international community. The Administration’s “rebalance” to the Asia- Pacific region is in essence a hedging strategy towards China, one that combines engagement with Beijing with the creation of a network of bilateral military partnerships and alliances in the Asia-Pacific as a potential counterweight against the rise of China.

The U.S. “rebalance” has endowed smaller nations who are claimants of the South China Sea territories with more political capital without becoming directly involved in such territorial disputes.

As a result, Chinese and western analysts are concerned about the “rebalance” being an actual policy of containment against China. Obama Administration officials, in response, repeatedly make clear that “rebalance” to Asia is not a containment strategy, but a policy aimed at strategically placing the U.S. in a favorable position as the Asia-Pacific becomes one of the major centers of global activity. More here.

*** So, with all that early on, the Obama administration got a TPP agreement…okay swell…what came next…

Well, after all the Obama administration personnel changes and additional changes in region leaders including Japan, China and S. Korea….and the rise of the Islamic State, the best then Obama and John Kerry could do was a Paris Agreement.

The United States and China announced Saturday that they are formally joining the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, significantly increasing the likelihood that the accord will take effect this year.

The announcement, made by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping before the start of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, adds momentum to ongoing international discussions surrounding climate change. The accord requires 55 countries to join, representing 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, before it enters into force. Together the U.S. and China represent nearly 39% of the world’s emissions. They join 24 other countries that have already signed on to the agreement, according to a count from the World Resources Institute.

The announcement is the latest in an unlikely partnership on climate change between the two countries. Chinese opposition to strong global warming measures, at least in part, prevented efforts to reach a strong climate deal in Copenhagen in 2009. But climate became an area of cooperation when Xi took office in 2013. The alignment between Obama and Xi has been credited with building support from other countries in advance of the Paris conference in 2015 that yielded the world’s strongest agreement on climate change. More here.

Where the hell were those consequences Obama talked about in September of 2016?

In part from ABC: North Korea confirmed its fifth nuclear test explosion early Friday, its largest yet. The provocation brought instant condemnation from the country’s neighbors and a call from President Obama for “serious consequences.”

Pyongyang also said it has made strides that could bring it closer to mounting a warhead on one of its ballistic missiles and launching a long-distance nuclear strike.

“We successfully conducted a nuclear explosion test to determine the power of [the] nuclear warhead,” a female anchor announced on North Korea’s state television. “We will continue to strengthen our nuclear capabilities to protect our sovereignty. We have now standardized and minimized nuclear warheads … We can now produce small nuclear warheads any time we desire.”

“Today’s nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, if confirmed, is its second this year and the fifth since 2006,” said International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano. “This is in clear violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions and in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community. It is a deeply troubling and regrettable act.”

North Korea previously conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and most recently in January 2016.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the explosion an act of “fanatic recklessness.”

The White House said National Security Adviser Susan Rice briefed Obama on the incident.

“The president also consulted with President Park of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in separate phone calls,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told ABC News. “The president reiterated the unbreakable U.S. commitment to the security of our allies in Asia and around the world. The president indicated he would continue to consult our allies and partners in the days ahead to ensure provocative actions from North Korea are met with serious consequences.”

The U.S. State Department also told ABC News it was aware of the explosion.

“We are aware of seismic activity on the Korean Peninsula in the vicinity of a known North Korean nuclear test site,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “We are monitoring and continuing to assess the situation in close coordination with our regional partners. The Secretary has been briefed on this incident.”

China’s foreign ministry condemned North Korea’s nuclear test and said it will lodge a diplomatic protest with Pyongyang’s ambassador in Beijing. The foreign ministry issued a statement saying it “resolutely opposes” the test and “intensely urges” Pyongyang to abide by its non-proliferation promises.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the test explosion “could not be tolerated.”

So, now Guam is a target of North Korea due to fear of Thucydides Trap, there are 60 nuclear weapons in play, there are 10 hour trilateral air missions daily and the U.S. nuclear triad is in active deployment.

For a list of what the United States has at the ready, go here. It all sounds good and comforting until someone asks what is on the menu of strategies going forward….the time for talk is over or is it?

08/8/17

NoKo Crossed the Nuclear Power Threshold, 60?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The best defense is to take them out before they are fired…..we can and we know where they are.

We Know the Locations of N Korea Nuclear Sites

Primer: North Korean delegation wraps up Iran visit

Trip included opening of new embassy and meetings with foreign representatives

North Korea’s newly built embassy in Tehran opened Wednesday, according to the North’s state-run KCNA news agency. It said the new embassy was “built to boost exchanges, contacts and cooperation between the two countries for world peace and security and international justice.”

After the second ICBM test last month, defense experts said it appeared North Korea’s long-range ballistic missile had the range to reach half, if not most, of the continental United States. Iran could have an ICBM capability similar to North Korea within a few years, as just last week it successfully launched a satellite-carrying rocket that some see as a precursor to long-range ballistic missile weapon capability.

‘Extensive’ missile cooperation

“There’s been fairly extensive cooperation on missiles,” said Bunn. “And in fact, early generations of Iranian missiles were thought to be basically modestly adapted North Korean missiles.” More here.

North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.

While more than a decade has passed since North Korea’s first nuclear detonation, many analysts believed it would be years before the country’s weapons scientists could design a compact warhead that could be delivered by missile to distant targets. But the new assessment, a summary document dated July 28, concludes that this critical milestone has already been reached.

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. The assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document. It is not yet known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korean officially last year claimed to have done so.

The DIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

An assessment this week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense also concludes there is evidence to suggest that North Korea has achieved miniaturization.

Kim Jong Un is becoming increasingly confident in the reliability of his nuclear arsenal, analysts have concluded, explaining perhaps the dictator’s willingness to engage in defiant behavior, including missile tests that have drawn criticism even from North Korea’s closest ally, China. On Saturday, both China and Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving punishing new economic sanctions, including a ban on exports that supply up to a third of North Korea’s annual $3 billion earnings.

The nuclear progress further raises the stakes for President Trump, who has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with nuclear weapons. In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said. But McMaster said the administration would do everything short of war to “pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him, such that they conclude it is in their interest to denuclearize.” The options said to be under discussion ranged from new multilateral negotiations to reintroducing U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula, officials familiar with internal discussions said.

Determining the precise makeup of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has long been a difficult challenge for intelligence professionals because of the regime’s culture of extreme secrecy and insularity. The country’s weapons scientists have conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, the latest being a 20- to 30-kiloton detonation on Sept. 9, 2016, that produced a blast estimated to be up to twice that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

But producing a compact nuclear warhead that can fit inside a missile is a technically demanding feat, one that many analysts believed was still beyond North Korea’s grasp. Last year, state-run media in Pyongyang displayed a spherical device that government spokesmen described as a miniaturized nuclear warhead, but whether it was a real bomb remained unclear. North Korean officials described the September detonation as a successful test of a small warhead designed to fit on a missile, though many experts were skeptical of the claim.

Kim has repeatedly proclaimed his intention to field a fleet of nuclear-tipped ICBMs as a guarantor of his regime’s survival. His regime took a major step toward that goal last month with the first successful tests of a missile with intercontinental range. Video analysis of the latest test revealed that the missile caught fire and apparently disintegrated as it plunged back toward Earth’s surface, suggesting North Korea’s engineers are not yet capable of building a reentry vehicle that can carry the warhead safely through the upper atmosphere. But U.S. analysts and many independent experts believe that this hurdle will be overcome by late next year.

“What initially looked like a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis is now looking more like the Manhattan Project, just barreling along,” said Robert Litwak, a nonproliferation expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and author of “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout,” published by the center this year. “There’s a sense of urgency behind the program that is new to the Kim Jong Un era.”

While few discount North Korea’s progress, some prominent U.S. experts warned against the danger of overestimating the threat. Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the last known U.S. official to personally inspect North Korea’s nuclear facilities, has calculated the size of North Korea’s arsenal at no more than 20 to 25 bombs. Hecker warned of potential risks that can come from making Kim into a bigger menace than he actually is.

“Overselling is particularly dangerous,” said Hecker, who visited North Korea seven times between 2004 and 2010 and met with key leaders of the country’s weapons programs. “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy – a madman – and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable.”

“The real threat,” Hecker said, “is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”

In the past, U.S. intelligence agencies have occasionally overestimated the North Korean threat. In the early 2000s, the George W. Bush administration assessed that Pyongyang was close to developing an ICBM that could strike the U.S. mainland – a prediction that missed the mark by more than a decade. More recently, however, analysts and policymakers have been taken repeatedly by surprise as North Korea achieved key milestones months or years ahead of schedule, noted Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ East Asia Nonproliferation Program. There was similar skepticism about China’s capabilities in the early 1960s, said Lewis, who has studied that country’s pathway to a successful nuclear test in 1964.

“There is no reason to think that the North Koreans aren’t making the same progress after so many successful nuclear explosions,” Lewis said. “The big question is why do we hold the North Koreans to a different standard than we held [Joseph] Stalin’s Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China? North Korea is testing underground, so we’re always going to lack a lot of details. But it seems to me a lot of people are insisting on impossible levels of proof because they simply don’t want to accept what should be pretty obvious.”