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How North Korea Would Retaliate

How North Korea Would Retaliate

MAY 26, 2016 | 09:15 GMT

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Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a five-part series examining the measures that could be taken to inhibit North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The purpose of this series is not to consider political rhetoric or noninvasive means of coercion, such as sanctions. Rather, we are exploring the military options, however remote, that are open to the United States and its allies, and the expected response from Pyongyang.

North Korea is powerless to prevent a U.S. strike on its nuclear program, but retaliation is well within its means. The significant military capability that North Korea has built up against South Korea is not advanced by Western standards, but there are practical ways Pyongyang could respond to aggression.

The North Korean military’s most powerful tool is artillery. It cannot level Seoul as some reports have claimed, but it could do significant damage. Pyongyang risks deteriorating its forces by exposing them to return fire, however, which significantly restricts their use. Less conventional methods of retaliation, such as sabotage or cyber warfare, are less risky but also limit the shock that North Korea would desire.


After a strike, North Korea’s most immediate and expected method of retaliation would center around conventional artillery. Many of the North’s indirect fire systems are already located on or near the border with South Korea. By virtue of proximity and simplicity, these systems have a lower preparatory and response times than air assets, larger ballistic missiles or naval assets. Nevertheless, there are several critical limitations to their effectiveness.

Tube and Rocket Artillery

The biggest anticipated cost of a North Korean artillery barrage in response to an attack would be the at least partial destruction of Seoul. But the volume of fire that the North can direct against the South Korean capital is limited by some important factors. Of the vast artillery force deployed by the North along the border, only a small portion — Koksan 170-mm self-propelled guns, as well as 240-mm and 300-mm multiple launch rocket systems — are capable of actually reaching Seoul. Broadly speaking, the bulk of Pyongyang’s artillery can reach only into the northern border area of South Korea or the northern outskirts of Seoul.

All forms of North Korean artillery have problems with volume and effectiveness of fire, but those issues are often more pronounced for the longer-range systems. Problems include the high malfunction rate of indigenous ammunition, poorly trained artillery crews, and a reluctance to expend critical artillery assets by exposing their positions.

Based on the few artillery skirmishes that have occurred, roughly 25 percent of North Korean shells and rockets fail to detonate on target. Even allowing for improvements and assuming a massive counterstrike artillery volley would be more successful, a failure rate as high as 15 percent would take a significant bite out of the actual explosive power on target. The rate of fire and accuracy of North Korean artillery systems is also expected to be subpar. This belief is founded on the observably poor performance of North Korean artillery crews during past skirmishes and exercises. Though inaccuracy is less noticeable in a tactical sense — especially as part of a “countervalue attack,” where civilian areas are targeted — at the higher level an artillery retaliation rapidly becomes a numbers game.

Ineffective crews also rapidly curtail the potential for severe damage. Rate of fire is crucial to the survivability of artillery systems — the name of the game is to get the most rounds on target in the shortest period of time, lest your position be identified and destroyed before the fire mission is complete. Poor training translates to a greatly reduced volume of fire and a painfully limited duration of effectiveness.

The Barrage Principle

Although North Korea could technically open fire on South Korea with all of its artillery systems at once, this would open Pyongyang up to significant counter-battery fire and airstrikes that could rapidly reduce the artillery force it has so painstakingly built up. Instead, as other studies have shown, only a portion of North Korean artillery would be used at a time. This is particularly true for the advanced systems that are most important to Pyongyang: long-range artillery that is able to strike at Seoul. The heavier, more advanced systems are not only difficult to replace, but they are also priority targets for counter-battery fire and airstrikes. Even when firing, artillery systems would be able to do so only temporarily before relocating or otherwise trying to hide the system’s firing location to avoid destruction.

Aside from constraints on range and volume of fire, North Korea has to decide what targets to hit in South Korea. There are two realistic options: a counterforce attack or a countervalue attack. In a counterforce attack, North Korea would target South Korean and possibly even U.S. military facilities near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and north of Seoul. A countervalue attack, on the other hand, is intended to shock South Korea by causing significant civilian casualties and damage to economically critical infrastructure. If North Korea opted for a countervalue attack, the lack of focus on South Korean and U.S. military targets would reduce Pyongyang’s ability to limit any response. (Typically, the easiest way to counteract enemy artillery is to destroy it in place.) Engaging civilian targets and infrastructure would not only limit the effectiveness and sustainability of the North Korean artillery volley itself, but it would also open up Pyongyang to more significant counteraction targeting. A mix of both counterforce and countervalue responses may mitigate this risk but would in turn lower the overall effectiveness of the mission compared to full commitment.

Regardless of these considerations and constraints on the North Korean side, if Pyongyang embraces the worst-case scenario for Seoul — the indiscriminate targeting of the capital and its suburbs — the damage would still be significant. Some research claims that overall damage and casualties in Seoul would be minimal, but those studies have relied on very conservative data, especially regarding the effective range of North Korean artillery systems. Many findings do not take into account newly deployed, modernized 122-mm multiple launch rocket systems with extended range, or the much more capable 300-mm multiple rocket launchers. If projectile flight distances reach proven ranges (or commonly accepted ones) and involve these new systems, then the northern portion of Seoul could be saturated with fire. Even areas south of the Han River could be within range of 170-mm self-propelled guns, 240-mm multiple rocket launchers or 300-mm multiple rocket launchers, depending on their position on the North Korean side of the DMZ. If every one of Pyongyang’s 300-mm multiple rocket launcher systems were directed against Seoul, their range would be sufficient to rain fire across the city and beyond. A single volley could deliver more than 350 metric tons of explosives across the South Korean capital, roughly the same amount of ordnance dropped by 11 B-52 bombers.

This is an extreme scenario, however, and one in which North Korea chooses to expose all of its most advanced rocket artillery systems simultaneously, suffers no failures, and chooses to direct all of them against Seoul itself. Yet in northern parts of Seoul, well within range of Koksan 170-mm self-propelled guns and 240-mm multiple rocket launchers, a more intense volume of fire could be achieved even if North Korea is prudent enough not to expose all of its capable artillery pieces. Infrastructure damage in Seoul, particularly its northwestern areas, would be difficult to prevent in the event of an immediate saturation of artillery fire. That said, underground shelters and concerted evacuation efforts, which would be initiated immediately in the event of an attack, could greatly reduce civilian casualties. It is also unlikely that North Korean artillery fire would be sustained at great volume. Even an initial mass volley imposes great risk to the artillery systems themselves, making them vulnerable to counter-battery fire. This means casualty rates would drop significantly after the initial barrage, limiting potential civilian casualties to thousands of dead rather than tens of thousands, as has been speculated in some instances.

Ballistic Missiles

In addition to its conventional artillery capabilities, North Korea also has a large stockpile of ballistic missiles with much greater ranges. These missiles vary from older Scud variants to North Korean versions of the Russian-designed system. There are also a number of self-developed longer-range missiles in the North Korean arsenal. Even the lowest-range Scud ballistic missiles would be capable of striking anywhere in South Korea. The main factors constraining the use of these systems, therefore, are volume of fire, equipment failures and depletion of stockpiles.

Even subtracting the most dated portions of the North Korean stockpile — which may not be in operational condition — it still has more than 1,000 ballistic missiles that could strike across South Korea. These range from Scud-based Hwasong missiles to Nodong and Taepodong projectiles. The Hwasong and Nodong missiles are the most important for achieving volume of fire, especially considering North Korea’s limited ability to launch Taepodong missiles. The Taepodong is restrained by Pyongyang’s dependence on large surface infrastructure, found in only two locations in North Korea. The long preparation times before launch make the larger missiles extremely vulnerable to counterstrikes, and the Taepodong does not deliver significant advantages over the Nodong missiles.

When assessing the damage that could be done by North Korean ballistic missile strikes, much depends on how they would be used. In conjunction with conventional artillery strikes, ballistic missiles could provide significant extra firepower directed at Seoul and surrounding areas. North Korea could also use these weapons to expand the indirect fire threat to the entirety of South Korea. This means that there would be less concentration of firepower as a whole but that a diverse spread of locations throughout the country would be subject to infrastructure damage or casualties.

Moreover, ballistic missiles could strike U.S. military positions beyond the Korean Peninsula, specifically in Japan. Whatever the targets, Pyongyang’s existing ballistic missile stockpile could easily deliver approximately 1 kiloton (1,000 metric tons) of high explosives, as well as other nonconventional munitions — chemical, biological or even nuclear. Because of the inaccuracy of different North Korean missile systems, these strikes would most appropriately be used against urban centers or other wide-area targets. If employed against specific military facilities at longer ranges, a significant amount of misses would occur.

As with conventional artillery, North Korea will also be forced to show restraint in the use of these systems. Survivability may be less of a challenge because of the predominance of mobile launcher systems, but unlike conventional artillery munitions, ballistic stockpiles are limited — as is the ability to replenish them, which would draw on significant resources. Every missile spent by North Korea in an immediate retaliation scenario will diminish the leverage it maintains immediately after the retaliation. Furthermore, the high potential for failed launches, as demonstrated by frequent unsuccessful missile tests across a variety of platforms, could further damage Pyongyang’s ability to influence through its ballistic missile stockpile.

The most significant threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile stockpile is the potential for a nuclear strike. Some estimates indicate North Korea may have between two and five nuclear warheads at its disposal already, at least some of which could be made to fit on a Nodong missile. Even a single nuclear strike against a South Korean population center would result in catastrophic shock and incur an immense cost. Though a nuclear strike would not automatically guarantee Seoul’s capitulation, South Korea and the United States factor the possibility of such a strike heavily into their considerations of a strike on the North’s nuclear program.

In the final installment of this series, we will explore other, unconventional retaliatory options open to North Korea and conclude with an assessment of the likelihood and severity of military action against Pyongyang.



How To Defeat Right-Wing Populism

How to defeat rightwing populism
There is a widespread belief that the system is being exploited by disreputable insiders
Martin Wolf

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MAY 23, 2016
James Ferguson illustration, Trump plug pulled
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YESTERDAY by: Martin Wolf
The rise of Donald Trump is, as I argued last week, a symptom of the failings of elites, notably, but not exclusively, the Republican Party’s elite. Mr Trump is successfully channelling aggression and anger. That tactic is not new. Again and again, it has brought demagogues to power. But demagogues do not give answers. On the contrary, they make things worse.

Many seem to think that things could not get worse. Oh yes, they could. Things could get far worse, not just in the US, but across the world. This is why Mr Trump is so dangerous: he has no notion of the foundations of US success.

Mr Trump is a rightwing populist. Populists despise institutions and reject expertise. They offer, instead, charisma and ignorance. Rightwing populists also blame foreigners. Mr Trump adds to all this a zero-sum view of “the deal”.

In any country, embrace of the delusions of populism is disturbing. In Italy, for example, Silvio Berlusconi’s ability to play the pied piper to the misguided lost the country two decades of reform. Yet the US matters more: it has shaped the modern world by spreading enduring institutions built upon legally binding commitments.

Two results of what was a bipartisan achievement are noteworthy. The first is that the US has potent allies. Neither China nor Russia has such allies. They do not even trust each other.

The US has allies only partly because it is so powerful; it is still more because it has been trustworthy. The second is that the US has accepted enduring commitments. The obvious example is in its promotion of trade. Without that, the progress of many emerging economies in recent decades could not have happened.

With his transactional view of the world, Mr Trump could well discard both alliances and institutions. This would damage, perhaps destroy, today’s economic and political order. He and his supporters might believe that the US would escape unscathed if it tore up its commitments. They are wrong. If the word of the US proved worthless, everything would change, for the worse.

Mr Trump’s indifference to the credibility of the US goes deeper still. The country provides the world’s most important financial asset: US Treasuries. Since the fiscal position of the US has deteriorated, caution is necessary. So what does the presumptive nominee of the supposedly fiscally prudent party propose? According to the Tax Policy Centre, his (hugely regressive) tax proposals would raise federal debt by 39 per cent of gross domestic product, relative to the baseline. One response might be huge cuts to spending, which he has not explained to his gullible supporters.

Chart: Martin Wolf column data
Another would be a default. He “loves playing with” debt, he says. He even contemplates buying US debt back at a discount. Such “playing” would destroy the credit built up since Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury Secretary, devastating global finance.

Some claim Mr Trump feigns commitment to policies he knows would destroy US credibility and devastate global stability. Yet if he were really so dishonest, what might his limits be? Folly or cynicism — which would be worse?

It is still quite likely, albeit far from certain, that Mr Trump will be defeated. That might depend on whether Bernie Sanders decides to run as an independent. But if he were defeated, would that be the end of the matter? Arguably, not. Yes, the populist moment might pass. But it might also not do so. The domestic legitimacy of the US role in the world economy has understandably eroded.

Martin Wolf
Ferguson illustration
Failing elites are to blame for unleashing Trump
A healthy republic requires a degree of mutual sympathy rather than equality
This is partly because of the financial crisis, but also because many Americans have done poorly in recent decades. This is not just a US problem. Branko Milanovic has noted in his book Global Inequality that the upper-middle class — largely the middle and lower classes of high-income countries — has done relatively poorly in recent decades. Princeton professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton note, in addition, a sharp relative deterioration in mortality and morbidity among middle-aged white American men, due to suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse. This surely reflects the despair of these people. It is tough to fail in a culture that worships personal success. Support for Mr Trump among this group must express this despair. As their leader, he symbolises success. He also offers no coherent solutions. But he does provide scapegoats.

If rightwing populism is to be defeated, one must offer alternatives. In a forthcoming article Dartmouth College’s Douglas Irwin notes that protectionism is quack medicine. Productivity growth accounted for more than 85 per cent of the job losses in manufacturing between 2000 and 2010.

Chart: Martin Wolf column data
Effective policies would include generous earned-income tax credits, combined with higher minimum wages. The evidence from the UK is that this mixture can be highly effective. Anger over illegal immigration is also understandable. Employers of undocumented workers should surely suffer heavy penalties.

US banks have paid more than $200bn in fines. But almost nobody has gone to prison. Combined with the (necessary) rescue of the financial sector, this has generated a widespread belief that the system is being exploited by morally disreputable insiders.

More fundamentally, within the high-income countries, the gainers from globalisation and technology feel no apparent responsibility for losers. Lowering taxes should not be everything. Above all, the system’s legitimacy depends on elite performance, which has been poor.

The US commitment to both institutions and alliances was right. The creation of an open and dynamic world economy and broadly co-operative relations among the powers remains a great achievement. Yet the greed, incompetence and irresponsibility of elites has now brought forth great populist rage. Mr Trump’s rise is a symptom of a disease that he would undoubtedly exacerbate. If it is not too late, people must now find more effective ways to cure it.


Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.
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VIENNA, AUSTRIA – MAY 22: Norbert Hofer, presidential candidate of the right-wing populist Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Oesterreichs, or FPOe), greets supporters at the FPOe election party following initial poll results during Austrian presidential elections on May 22, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. The FPOe is facing off against the Austrian Green Party and its presidential candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen. The FPOe’s recent success is part of a larger trend across Europe in which right-wing parties have gained ground, in part due to public unease over the large influx of refugees and migrants over the past year and a half. (Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)
Rightwinger Norbert Hofer concedes defeat in Austrian election
Narrow win for Green politician Alexander Van der

A Great Act Of Kindness By Virgin America Airlines

I have been flying on jets for 48 years. I saw the greatest act of kindness by an airline in 48 years. I was up Friday morning at 03:00 (12:00 midnight Pacific time) East Coast time. At 04:25 East Coast time. a Super Shuttle came and picked me up for the ride to Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia. It was cold and dark. Several other passengers had to be picked up. I arrived at Dulles. My boarding pass on Virgin America was “TSA Prescreened.” I went right through security with no hassles. I arrived near my departure gate, Gate B-63 at 06:00 I noticed a flight leaving for San Francisco at 07:10 My flight went out three hours later at 10:10 East Coast time. I had breakfast at a restaurant nearby. I came by and took a seat at my gate preparing for a long three-hour delay to catch my flight home. All of a sudden a man appeared in the waiting area. He was a captain from Virgin America Airlines. He introduced himself and gave a nice and a brief talk. He then asked for questions. I raised my hand and he called on me. I asked him if he had any space on his flight. He responded that he did. I showed him my boarding pass. I asked if I could change my flight to his. He sent me to a lady in charge of the gate. I was warned to expect a $150+ fee for the flight change. My boarding pass came back rapidly with no change fee. I got an excellent aisle seat. Soon I was flying home. It was so nicer to be back in San Francisco at 10:00 in the morning instead of two in the afternoon. Virgin America you’re the best!!!!!!!!!!

Nelson Mandela-CIA Tip-Off Led To 1962 Durban Arrest

Nelson Mandela: CIA tip-off led to 1962 Durban arrest

  • 15 May 2016
  • From the sectionAfrica
Media captionNelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95

Nelson Mandela’s arrest in 1962 came as a result of a tip-off from an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a report says.

The revelations, made in the Sunday Times newspaper, are based on an interview with ex-CIA agent Donald Rickard shortly before he died.

Mandela served 27 years in jail for resisting white minority rule before being released in 1990.

He was subsequently elected as South Africa’s first black president.

Rickard, who died earlier this year, was never formally associated with the CIA but worked as a diplomat in South Africa before retiring in the late 70s.

The interview was conducted by British film director John Irvin, who has made a film, Mandela’s Gun, about his brief career as an armed rebel, the Sunday Times said.

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Murky events: Karen Allen, BBC Southern Africa Correspondent, Johannesburg

The events leading up the the arrest of Nelson Mandela, on a dark night near Durban in 1962, have always been murky. In the era of Cold War politics, Mandela, then leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was considered a terrorist and a threat to the West.

As Mr Rickard put it, he was “the most dangerous communist” outside of the Soviet Union, although Mandela always denied being a member of the party.

Rumours have circulated for years that the CIA trailed Mandela but the agency resisted previous attempts to shine a light on its alleged involvement in his arrest. Rickard’s admission will bring renewed pressure to declassify documents from the time.

The ANC’s spokesman Zizi Kodwa said he believed the CIA was still meddling in South African affairs and collaborating with those wanting “regime change”.

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The future president led the armed resistance movement of the banned ANC, and was one of the most wanted men in South Africa at the time of his arrest.

His ability to evade the security services had earned him the nickname “the black Pimpernel”.

He was posing as a chauffeur when his car was stopped at a roadblock by the police in the eastern city of Durban in 1962 and he was detained.

“I found out when he was coming down and how he was coming… that’s where I was involved and that’s where Mandela was caught,” Rickard is quoted as saying.

Nelson Mandela's fake passport under the alias of David MotsamayiImage copyrightNATIONAL ARCHIVES OF SOUTH AFRICA
Image captionA fake passport in the name of David Motsamayi used by Mr Mandela

ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said: “That revelation confirms what we have always known, that they are working against [us], even today.

“It’s not thumb sucked, it’s not a conspiracy [theory]. It is now confirmed that it did not only start now, there is a pattern in history.”

Mandela, president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, was on a US terror watch list until 2008.

Before that, along with other former ANC leaders, he was only able to visit the US with special permission from the secretary of state, because the ANC had been designated a terrorist organisation by the former apartheid government.

US President George W Bush (R) meets Nelson Mandela in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC on 17 May 2005Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMr Mandela needed special permission to enter the US until 2008

The bill scrapping the designation was introduced by Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who promised to “wipe away” the “indignity”.

President Ronald Reagan had originally placed the ANC on the list in the 1980s.

Related Topics

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

  • Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
  • Nelson Mandela’s Childrens Fund
  • Apartheid Museum
  • African National Congress

Cuba In The Vietnam War

I had never heard of this.

Very good information on their connection to the Vietnam War:   I have a name for these people—————-!!

              Cuba in the Vietnam War
    Have you noticed that our president has given Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea and China everything that they wanted in the negotiations we had with each country and the United States received nothing in return. As a matter of fact the only thing these negotiations did was weaken our position as a world power.
Americans visiting Cuba should remember, every dollar spent there supports the Castro’s and their failed Communist system.
 Most Americans are unaware that Cuba was deeply involved in the Vietnam War. In fact they had an engineering battalion called the “Girón Brigade,” that was maintaining Route Nine, a major enemy supply line into South Vietnam. Their facilities included a POW camp and field hospital very near the DMZ, just inside North Vietnam. Meanwhile Cuban interrogators worked in Hanoi at a prison known as the Zoo. We know of these operations and some of what happened to our servicemen after so managed to survive and be repatriated in the winter of 1973, during Operation Homecoming.
 Following his release Major Jack Bomar, a Zoo survivor, described the brutal beating of Captain Earl G. Cobeil, an F-105F electronics warfare officer, by Cuban Major Fernando Vecino Alegret, known by the POWs as “Fidel.” Regarding Captain Cobeil, Bomar related, “he was completely catatonic. … His body was ripped and torn everywhere…Hell cuffs appeared almost to have severed his wrists…Slivers of bamboo were imbedded in his bloodied shins, he was bleeding from everywhere, terribly swollen, a dirty yellowish black and purple [countenance] from head to toe.”
 In an effort to force Cobeil to talk “Fidel smashed a fist into the man’s face, driving him against the wall. Then he was brought to the center of the room and made to get down onto his knees. Screaming in rage, Fidel took a length of rubber hose from a guard and lashed it as hard as he could into the man’s face. The prisoner did not react; he did not cry out or even blink an eye. Again and again, a dozen times, [Fidel] smashed the man’s face with the hose.”
 Because of his grotesque physical condition Captain Cobeil was not repatriated but instead was listed as “died in captivity,” with his remains returned in 1974. (Miami Herald, August, 22 1999, and Benge, Michael D. “The Cuban Torture Program, Testimony before the House International Relations Committee, Chaired by the Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, November 4, 1999.) Incredibly, Fidel’s torture of Major James Kasler is well known as he somehow managed to survive the Cuban’s torture.
 Much less is known about our 17 captured airmen taken to Cuba for “experimentation in torture techniques.” They were held in Havana’s Los Maristas, a secret Cuban prison run by Castro’s G-2 Intelligence service. A few were held in the Mazorra (Psychiatric) Hospital and served as human guinea pigs used to develop improved methods of extracting information through “torture and drugs to induce [American] prisoners to cooperate.”
 After being shot down in April of 1972, U.S. Navy F-4 pilot, Lt. Clemmie McKinney, an African-American, was imprisoned near the Cuban compound called Work Site Five. His capture occurred while then-Cuban president Fidel Castro was visiting the nearby Cuban field hospital. Although listed as killed in the crash by DOD, his photograph standing with Castro, was later published in a classified CIA document.
 More than 13 years later, on August 14, 1985, the North Vietnamese returned Lt. McKinney’s remains, reporting that he died in November 1972. However, a U.S, Army forensic anthropologist established the “time of death as not earlier than 1975 and probably several years later.” The report speculated that he had been a guest at Havana’s Los Maristas prison, with his remains returned to Vietnam for repatriation. (We also paid big money for the remains—delivered in stacks of green dollars to Hanoi aboard an AF C-141 from Travis AFB, California.) Unfortunately, our servicemen held in the Cuban POW camp near Work Site Five (Cong Truong Five), along with those in two other Cuban run camps were never acknowledged nor accounted for and the prisoners simply disappeared.
 If our honor code of “Duty, Honor, Country,” and our national policy of “No man left behind,” are more than meaningless slogans, then before our relations with Cuba can be normalized, their murderous leadership must account for our POWs—especially the 17 airmen taken to Cuba. The civilized world and American veterans demand it.#
 Additional research on this topic, by John Lowery, is below: 
Cuba’s Vietnam War Involvement
Research by John Lowery
1.       “Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents,” Juan O. Tamayo, Miami Herald, August 22, 1999.
2.       “ Cuban War Crimes Against American POWs,” Michael D. Benge, Cuba Program Research Paper, October 4, 1999. www.vvof.org/cuba_res.htm
3.       “The Cuban Torture Program …Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents,” Testimony of Michael D. Benge, before the House International Relations Committee Chaired by the Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman. November 4, 1999. www.aiipowmia.com/testimony/cuba_benge.html.
4.       “Cuban War Crimes Against American POWs During the Vietnam War,” Mike Benge, National Alliance of Families,www.nationalalliance.org/cuba/benge2.htm (Undated)
5.       “The Evidence is Clear,” POW/MIA Freedom Fighters,www.powmiaff.org/evidence.htm, May 23, 2006.
6.       “ Benge, Michael Dennis, Bio” Loss/Capture report, 31 January 1968.

In Praise Of Cape Town’s Josie Borain ANd Leica Cameras

Josie Borain has had an incredible career in modeling and fashion. She has continued to grow with age. She is just like that saying: “You’re not getting older. You’re getting better.” Very few people own Leicas. (Josie and I are proud owners.) They are expensive. Few people know that Germany makes the best optical equipment on Planet Earth. Even fewer people know that in World War II Leica transferred over 1,200 Jewish employees to overseas places far from Germany. They effectively saved these people and their families from the Gestapo gas chambers. Oskar Shindler gets a lot of credit for saving his Jewish workers but Leica is forgotten for the brave and wonderful thing that they did.

Disillusioned Doctor Says “South Africa Go To Hell!”


Disillusioned doctor says “South Africa: Go to hell!”

I’m a northern European medical doctor. A senior surgeon, working in the public sector of South Africa. I have done so the last 5 years.

I do not want to speak outside my discipline, so this will be about the medical demise of SA. Most visitors to South Africa, who encounter the public health sector, do so by visiting a hospital or a clinic in or near the big cities. What they get to see is a hospital or a clinic, which is working, but not up to Western standards.

Before I came down here, I believed that pre-94 South Africa had a very good health care system for the white population, and nothing for the black. I soon discovered that was not the case. The Calvinistic white rulers of South Africa had built an elaborate network of public hospitals, reaching the outermost societies of this large country. We are talking about 5-600 beds hospitals far out in the rural areas.

Before 1994, they were well manned and equipped, and complicated procedures were carried out there. I know this. I’ve been to these hospitals and spoken to the people working there. I have gone through old patient files and surgical statistics.

These were hospitals that catered for the black population.
This web of hospitals as I can see must have covered more or less 100% of South Africa’s population, including the former Bantustans or homelands. I know that the same situation was present as to schools.

The ANC run a couple of campaigns like “Election before education” and “To make the country ungovernable”. As part of that, most rural schools were burnt down.

Keeping in mind the traditionally very violent African culture down here, one perfectly do understand why the hospitals built by the apartheid government, did not suffer the same fate.

This has left us with a window to the past; we can clearly see that the apartheid government did not only care for their white population, but in fact, also took great responsibility for the black, at something that must have been an enormous cost.

Back to visiting South African hospitals… When doing so, the visitor will be shown one of a few hospitals, where not too many windows are broken, not all the equipment has been vandalized and not all the electric supply has been cut off.

Now, go outside these hospitals, go to the former rural hospitals, and what do you find? You will find that the hospitals built for the black population, by the black ANC government, have been degraded and left unfunded. You will find hospitals with no doctors. Hospitals with no electricity. No X-ray equipment. No furniture..

You actually will find old rural hospital inhabited by squatters!
It is for me a huge paradox that the black government seems to have zero compassion for their own population, as long as they can get away with it and no one can or will see it.

The black population has not by magic become so much healthier after 1994 that these hospitals are not needed anymore. Au contraire, the black population is in dire need of these hospitals, but all they find are ghost hospitals. Many of whom I’ve visited, are beyond repair.

I am leaving South Africa now. I have paid my duties, and I am forever marked by Africa in the form of an entry and exit 9 mm bullet hole in my right upper leg. I got it because my robber was not happy with me handing over my 10 year old or something Nokia 6110 cell phone, and some small coins.
No wallet, no rings and only amalgam fillings… Now, what kind of doctor is that? My last word to South Africa: Go to hell!



Countries With No Extradition Treaty With The United States

The Best Countries for Your Escape Plan

by Nick Giambruno | May 11, 2016
Suppose you were NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, or fictional international spy Jason Bourne, and the most powerful intelligence agencies on the planet were hunting you.

Where would you go?

This is a farfetched scenario for most of us. That’s why it’s only a thought experiment.

On the other hand, for folks like the founder of Liberty Dollar (a gold/silver-backed private currency), whom the U.S. government has labeled a “domestic terrorist,” it might not be implausible.

Regardless of how likely the scenario, if you do need to escape, a crucial factor in deciding where to go is whether or not the country has an extradition treaty with the U.S.

An extradition treaty is the legal mechanism countries use to pull alleged criminals out of other countries. The terms and conditions vary. Some countries, like France and Brazil, won’t extradite their own citizens, no matter the circumstance.

Generally speaking, for an extradition to succeed, the alleged criminal act can’t be political in nature and must be a crime in both jurisdictions, and the suspect cannot be in danger of receiving the death penalty or torture if transferred.

Absent a formal treaty, extraditing a person is much more difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Countries with No U.S. Extradition Treaty

Afghanistan Ethiopia Nepal
Algeria Gabon Niger
Andorra Guinea North Korea
Angola Guinea-Bissau Oman
Armenia Indonesia Qatar
Bahrain Iran Russia
Bangladesh Kazakhstan Rwanda
Belarus Kosovo Samoa
Bhutan Kuwait São Tomé & Príncipe
Bosnia and Herzegovina Laos Saudi Arabia
Brunei Lebanon Senegal
Burkina Faso Libya Serbia
Burundi Macedonia Somalia
Cambodia Madagascar Sudan
Cameroon the Maldives Syria
Cape Verde Mali Taiwan
the Central African Republic the Marshall Islands Togo
Chad Mauritania Tunisia
China Micronesia Uganda
Comoros Moldova Ukraine
Dem. Republic of the Congo Mongolia United Arab Emirates
Cote d’ Ivoire Montenegro Uzbekistan
Cuba Morocco Vanuatu
Djibouti Mozambique the Vatican
Equatorial Guinea Myanmar Vietnam
Eritrea Namibia Yemen

The following countries have been known to refuse U.S. extradition requests, despite having treaties: Bolivia, Ecuador, Iceland, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

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The Bad Ending Of Seven Years Of The Good Wife

The Good Wife ended its seven-year run last night. I’ve been a loyal fan for the whole time. I feel that the finale was BAD!
Let us first look at the court action with Governor Peter Florrick. In most state courts a defendant can enter into a plea bargain with a prosecutor that includes a sentence. The judge still has to accept the deal. In state court most of the time they do accept plea bargains to keep the heavy dockets moving. A defendant gets the sentence that he or she agreed to with the prosecutor.
When one goes to a US District Court, it is an entirely different matter. An assistant US attorney can enter into a plea agreement with a defendant or defendants. Charges can be dropped. This limits the maximum sentence that a defendant is forced to serve. But this plea bargain does not guarantee a final sentence from a Federal judge. The best example of this is Jared Fogel. He was the Subway Sandwiches pitch man who plead guilty to child pornography and sex with underage minors. The prosecutor agreed to recommend a sentence not to exceed 12 years. Most people were sure that Fogel would get less than 12 years. The woman judge in the case sentenced Fogel to 15 years and 8 months in jail. This was almost 4 years above the recommendation and surprised many people. In reality it’s the standard sentence for such a crime in US District courts all over the USA.
The last Illinois governor to be convicted of corruption was Rob Blagoravitch. He got 14 years. Literally judges there are sick and tired of seeing public officials engage in corruption. Would Governor Peter Florrick get off with one-year probation-Hell no!!!!
Then we have the final scene where Alicia is left alone and rejected by man who she loved. Wrong!!! She is a wonderful lady and deserved a much better ending.