November 27th, 2012
08:45 PM ET

Second North Korean missile launch would be unprecedented

By Jennifer Rizzo

While new satellite images show preparations for what is believed to be a coming long-range missile launch by North Korea, a second attempt in 2012 would be unprecedented, a top satellite image analyst told Security Clearance.

There have been four launches of this scale since 1998, including a failed attempt in April of this year. A second launch in 2012 would be the first time North Korea has launched two systems of this class, their largest missile class, in less than three years.

"The fact that they are now apparently preparing for a second launch in 2012 indicated that the decision to do this was made at the highest level," said DigitalGlobe analyst Joe Bermudez.

The North Koreans are looking for "maximum political impact" domestically, regionally and internationally with a test launch such as this, according to Bermudez, calling it a "very politically motivated event."

The timing of a launch at the end of this year would coincide with many consequential events, said Bermudez.

South Korea will be launching a rocket into space by the end of this week. North Korea and Japan will be holding another set of bilateral talks early in December and the South Korean presidential election will take place in less than a month. North Korea watchers say new leader Kim Jung Un may be responding to internal political pressure from hard-liners to send a message.

Source: DigitalGlobe

Details of a new satellite images released in the past few days, including one shot earlier this week, show increased activity at North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launch Station, suggesting a new launch could be possible in the next few weeks, according to DigitalGlobe. The United States has seen activity on the launch pad but does not believe a launch is imminent, U.S. military sources told CNN's Barbara Starr.

The newest image at North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launch Station was taken on November 26 and shows similar preparations as was witnessed ahead of the failed April 13th attempt to launch a satellite on top of a long-range missile, the DigitalGlobe analysis concludes

Trucks, people, and numerous portable fuel tanks are visible in the images. A new tent has also been erected, pointing to workers on multiple shifts.

"Because the North Korean ballistic missile and space program is small in nature, there is not a lot of normal everyday activity at these facilities, so when you see something that is different from that norm you tend to watch it with greater interest," said Bermudez.

The United States has yet to see a missile on the launch pad, said one of the sources, speaking on the condition no name be used because the source was not authorized to speak to the media about North Korea intelligence. The source added that if there was a launch, it would likely be a long-range missile such as the Taepodong-2 because the Sohae site is a long-range missile launch pad.

North Korea claims it is just trying to launch satellites into space during these tests, but the technology could be used for long-range strike capability.

"While it publicly is stating it is trying to launch a satellite for scientific reasons, we believe the underlying motivation is to develop a intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States," said Bermudez. "The same technology that you use to place an object into orbit is the same technology that you use for a ballistic missile."

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  10. TheSurvivalGuy

    Reblogged this on thesurvivalplaceblog.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  11. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  12. Yodude

    Did I just read this right???

    "The fact that they are now apparently preparing for a second launch in 2012 indicated that the decision to do this was made at the highest level,"

    Really????? So let me get this straight...I am to understand that it was NOT the janitors and kitchen help at Kim Jung Un's residence that made the decision to test another intercontinental ballistic missile? Well thanks for the update.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
  13. Bob Balderston

    some times i wonder if most of your comments here are just poking fun at the trolls or if sometimes your comments are dead on serious and you really don't have a real clue. these missile attempts, are NK's version of trying to poke a sleeping dog with a stick.look at me, i want to be acknowledged! i want to be a player! we can't grow enough food, but we can grow missiles. like the sleeping dog, we do need to peek and see just what the offenders are up to, once in a while. if they were able to get enough sparklers and m80's together and say, lob that pencil off the coast of seattle, why would we shoot it down? by doing so, we would send the wrong message, playing our hand early. our policy would be let them, as foolish as it may be, try to create a scene and let the court of the world see what fools they really are and then, if any military action is needed, it would be justified, as well as precise and quick. america, does not fight battles to overtake national governments or set up colonies in our own name. of course, we like to see our best interests come in to play, but we hope that our interests, are that, freedom and democracy can lead to a better enviroment for the delevopement of a firm foundation of government and to join the rest of the communities of the world as a equal partners.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:47 am | Reply
  14. bigot

    one would think FEEDING your population would be a priority

    November 29, 2012 at 6:42 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Feeding the population is NO priority for the government here in the US, why expect NK to do this?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:55 am | Reply
      • karlotious

        In a country of obese? There are starving people everywhere but a higher concentration in north Korea which could be directly corrected.

        November 29, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • trustscience

        you must be joking. the u.s. coddles it's fat, stupid population, while encouraging high birth rates among idiots. the only thing made here in america is fat globules. big stupid ones.

        November 29, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  15. rightospeak

    More propaganda from Imperial Press.The Koreas should have been united long ago. The division was created by Communists because Roosevelt gave not only China to the Communists, but anything they wanted.The Korean War was designed ,just like VietNam not to be won so that the 1% can get rich on armaments.A good book on Korea is Hoover's "Freedom Betrayed " in which he describes how China was given away and an impossible Korean War that the generals could not win took place. Now, it is just propaganda to keep the American public on Constant Alert and to keep them in fear so that the war profiteers can get richer. What would be best for most people and particularly Koreans ? A UNITED KOREA and peace. Why is that not being persued ?

    November 29, 2012 at 5:29 am | Reply
  16. RLTJ's

    States need not explain for their space program. And people need not listen to any of them.

    A missile is a missile. And a missle can do things. And that's the fact.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:10 am | Reply
  17. rory

    As soon as S.Korea set off her rocket,N.Korea will follow

    November 29, 2012 at 12:45 am | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      That appears to be it. There is a pressing need to show that they are more advanced than the other part of a divided nation. To be left behind means bye bye to any dream of a one Korea reunification, and being on top of it.

      NOKOR seems to be in the lagging side of the race.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:57 am | Reply
  18. Buzz

    Quit shooting your trash into the Pacific. Try feeding your people.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  19. Dr. Salah Sultan

    america military cannot defeat North Korea. They cannot even defeat ragtag rebels in Afghanistan or Iraq. america military would be devestated by North Korea.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Ironage

      Dr Salah. The US military could erase Afghanistan from the map if it felt it necessary. Not only that but it could do it remotely without endangering any of its citizens. Its something perhaps you forgot? or chose to forget.

      Same could easily be said for North Korea, Iran or anywhere else for that matter. The fact that it hasn't shows the deterrent works at least until somewhere ignorant or forgetful of the consequences goes too far.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • FIip

      They can neutralize NK's military bases in 3 hours and wipe out the whole country in 3 days. You got no idea how NK reacted when the US Pacific 7th fleet entered the West Sea and conducted joint military exercise with ROK navy.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      you're talking about the same country that overthrew the Taliban government and Saddam's government in 1 month. America could easily wipe out the Nork government.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • tnourie

      @ Salah – The US could easily, but it would take making your countries a lake of glass. That they do not do so, even though they can, should tell you who the good guys are. You know if some 1slamist had that power, they would use it over and over again, moral implications be damned. You know this. Admit it.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:07 am | Reply
    • George

      Those who foolishly underestimate the capabilities of the United State military do so at their own risk.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
  20. Bob Knippel

    The U.S. should take North Korea by the balls and just knock the stupid thing down as soon as it gets high enough to strike it. Repeat as necessary.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  21. Ed

    So, what do we know so far? North Korea is not going to attempt another missile launch?

    November 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  22. Dan

    This is a hoax by United Artist Studios to promote Red silly americans

    November 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  23. Rob

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  24. werewolf1

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    November 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  25. jusme101

    Look ma, target practice.

    November 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  26. karek40

    Shoot the missle down in its second stage with a laser, it will look like another failure and the North Koreans will lose face again. It might even cause the hard liners to become nervous.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • tnourie

      Who's to say that's not what happened the first time? You know we can't afford to have a potential nuke floating over the US, and the Brass know's it as well. . . .

      November 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  27. Patrick

    Herro, I am Kim Jong Un. I gonna nuke ar you peopre. Take down North Korea? IMPOSSIBRE and UNACCTEPTABRE!!!!

    November 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  28. Soican

    They gave up on missiles. This is a secret twinkie factory. Now that Hostess closed and Kim can not get anymore twinkies he has resorted to making his own.

    November 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • gen81465

      Ahh.. I see ... so the missile is really just a huge Twinkie, and it will orbit earth like the Moon and be a giant symbol of North Korea's newest export.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:28 am | Reply
  29. Missiles For Dummies

    They're launching more artificial reefs.

    November 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • Soican

      LMAO!!!!!!! !

      November 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  30. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I just hope this thing doesn't go off because if it does, I could just hear the GOP blaming Susan Rice!

    November 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  31. Araminta Ross

    The best thing that we could hope for is that Spokesperson George Little is on the receiving end of 'unprecedented access' and gets a chance to stand next to the thrusters when that thing goes off. Thanks George, you are remembered.

    November 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  32. Kim Jong No-dong

    They're going to try a higher grade of diesel fuel this time.

    November 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  33. Kim Jong Dud

    The pointy end goes up.

    November 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Missiles For Dummies

      NK rocket scientist to colleagues: "Anyone have a match?"

      November 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • chuck

      Best post yet!

      November 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  34. Johnna

    Wasn't there a movie made about the North Koreans missile program.....Oh, yeah.....I think it was called "Failure to launch" with Matthew Mcgounagy.

    November 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  35. Beerjerk

    That thing won't fly. Those North Korean scientists and rocket engineers have one foot in the gulag.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • tnourie

      The sad thing is their families will be 'punished' as well. (as if they are somehow culpable. . . )

      November 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  36. jimdog33

    The likelihood of them launching their dud missiles and hitting their own capital is far greater than hitting continental north america or even Hawaii. Let them proceed. Consider it 'comeuppance' when they nuke Pyongyang by accident.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
  37. Poseidons Son

    Even if N. Korea does develop the technology to successfully launch an ICBM it doesn't mean that they are intent on firing them at the US or any other country. We have them ...are we using them on other countries? Nope.... Russia has ICBM's as well ......are they using them on other countries ?? ...nope ... Maybe we should take a step back and not resort to fear-mongering just yet....

    November 28, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • mrktraganos0

      how about we do what we should of done in korea in the 50's and just go balls deep all the way into china and say this is gunna be what we say it is

      November 28, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
      • Go Ducks

        Don't stop with china keep rolling through the whole of the middle east.

        November 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • xdbro

      Maybe you should set standards as to what type of people can actually have these weapons? Clearly a country that provokes nuclear war to get food will use a missile to kill people at mass scale for any reason?

      Clearly your thinking cant be swayed by evidence of past behavior.

      November 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • tnourie

      They don't have a sociopath in charge. Well, mostly not. . .

      November 28, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Reply
  38. NNN

    North Korea has no credibility whatsoever, and they're not likely develop it. This story and others like it are a plant to encourage acceptance of the waste of hundreds of billions of dollars on the failed US missile defense system development.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • Freddie the Fez

      And who planted the story? The Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, or the Freemasons?

      November 28, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
      • NNN

        Friends of Boeing, Northrup, Raytheon et al ...

        November 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  39. Hahahahahahahaha

    Looks like Lil Donged One is trying to compensate for something!!!! Hahahahahaahaha

    November 28, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Looks like you are envious of what his got.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
    • Moss

      I guess you would know all about compensating for something small.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
  40. mnaseem


    November 28, 2012 at 5:03 am | Reply
    • Chucky Cheeze

      Yo, MNASEEM, believe it or not, most Americans prefer pizza and beer. Frankly, I've never met anyone here that drinks blood.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
    • You're on Candid Camera

      Oh my! Are we upset? LOL Back to your cave.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • Old Enough

      Fire one at us.... Your entire civilization dies, and your friends, and their friends etc. etc. We need to clean out those silos anyway....

      November 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • tnourie

      You 1slamists are SO predictable. Violence is your tool, and the threat of violence. 1slamists are like some spoiled bully.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:13 am | Reply
  41. mnaseem


    November 28, 2012 at 5:01 am | Reply
    • kloki duda

      up yours

      November 28, 2012 at 8:00 am | Reply
    • Nanny nanny boo boo

      Watch your blood pressure Abdul. (moons mnaseem)

      November 28, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • tnourie

      They stuffed Osama's mouth with bacon before he 'took the plunge'. Believe it. I know.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Reply
      • gen81465

        I don't know about bacon, but I hear he did get "porked"; and now he's full of (Navy) seamen.

        November 29, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  42. PhooBar

    If N. Korea launches another missile test, I predict that it will inexplicably fail in flight.
    Just like the last one.

    November 28, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
    • Joe

      This time it might fall on your thick skull.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
      • tnourie

        Hey Joe, like the Kim family, eh? Good choice. . . hehe

        November 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  43. Thee Time

    Charlie being a leader is no joke mate! To you Clinton might look very reckless on security, to us Men of his level in foreign countries he had a cooling effect on us when we felt like retaliating against USA's transgressions. Of course there are nut cases like al-qaeda and other God forsaken Peoples who are incapable of peace, as well as the debilitating individualism of permanent members of the security council, but all in all Bill helped the USA a lot against its enemies and those to be. Look here Charlie imagine how many enemies the USA could have been having if the USA had countinued in its path prior to the Obama government, maybe you would be having a terror attack weekly, even domestic raised terrorists. You see Charlie i reckon Obama is on his way of embedding his name amongst American icons coz he helped the whole world by reducing the capability for conflict in this very very turbulent and unpredictable time in the world in which People have access to knowledge on an unprecedented way.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:52 am | Reply
    • Go Ducks

      Umm, we did continue down the same path, and this is the result. The brink of WWIII in several corners of the world.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  44. paul martin foreign correspondent

    No...of course not.....they are just going through all those procedures for practice...what a ridiculous question...of course they are !

    November 28, 2012 at 3:44 am | Reply
  45. 200 TON HAMMER

    Theres a large complex under that place those roads are more like a guide there are tunnels like railroad systems and vehicles roads underground with military weapons systems this is where it leads too more connection sites all underground in theories

    November 28, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply
  46. CharlieSeattle

    Betrayal : How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security (Hardcover) @

    Bill Gertz has earned a great reputation as a hard nosed beat reporter covering defense and intelligence issue in the Nation's Capitol. In this book, he presents some shocking details about the Clinton administration's mismanagement, naivete, double dealing and outright betrayal of American interests. This stuff is much more disturbing to me than the Monica thing. While Clinton was busy finding new uses for cigars in the Oval Office, the Chinese were stealing the store. From what Gertz tells us, it wasn't just the Chinese, either. And our adversaries didn't even need to steal some of it. Clinton's appointees were busy giving it away, and turning a blind eye to some very serious breaches of national security. This book is a must read.

    November 28, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
  47. CharlieSeattle

    Betrayal : How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security (Hardcover) @

    After reading this book, the only two relevant questions remaining for the Clinton's and their minders should be:


    Those who voted, cheered, and applauded this pack of traitors into office share a portion of the complicity for the betrayal of our nation.

    November 28, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
    • alan fischer

      The Clintons have been busy giving Haiti money and building a 614-acre industrial park in Haiti.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • CharlieSeattle

        alan fisher

        Dump your irrelevant rants elsewhere.

        Comment on the article, my remark or not at all.

        November 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  48. CharlieSeattle

    Google this thread: China, Loral, Clinton, Betrayal

    November 28, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
  49. innocenttruth

    Here we go again. Let the North Korea bashing begins....

    November 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • tnourie

      Haha – yeah, like they don't bring it on themselves. . .

      November 29, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply

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