Archive for the ‘Nuclear Guardianship’ Category

Gamma Radiation Only. Is your city on the List or close by?

In Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Radiation Standards on February 19, 2017 at 4:07 am

GAMMA RADIATION REPORT: YRTW SOL No 3 and 4 (Your Radiation This Week)
By Bob Nichols on February 11, 2017, Veterans Today

NOTICE: I have determined that it is necessary for Public Health and because the many nuclear reactors are Venting radioactive gases and Steam at nights and on weekends that all residents must stay inside at nights and on weekends. Especially hard hit are the cities listed in YRTW. See the latest Your Radiation This Week for the most recent list of contaminated cities.

Personal letter from Bob Nichols, Thursday, February 9, 2017
jeeeeez, all up and down the East Coast down to South Carolina the big gigawatt reactors turned on at about the same time this morning.
All of the East Coast graphs at Netc.com had the same straight up line on the 2nd Page Paid Graphs as the radioactive emissions climbed straight up for six hours. The graphs looked like the old oil burning junker cars like many of us have had at one time or another. Folks, this IS hell on a radioactive earth. This is horrible.

Bob Nichols
Veterans Today

(February 11, 2017) – Good Day, this is “Your Radiation This Week” for the past 2 weeks. These are the Recorded Total Gamma Radiation Highs that affected people around the United States. YRTW is published every two weeks on Saturday. The next publication dates are February 25 and March 11, 2017.

New York City more Radioactive than Tokyo, Japan

New Radiation Measurements just released by Bob Nichols, columnist for Veterans Today, show New York City is more radioactive than Tokyo, Japan.

San Diego, on the West Coast of America, far exceeds both beleaguered cities in the deadly radiation sweepstakes. The Race for the Rad is deadly precisely because there are no winners in this contest; only death and disillusionment.

Tokyo … 50 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
New York City … 68 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
San Diego … 108 Rad nanoSieverts per Hour
Tokyo hit 50, New York City reached 68 and San Diego, California was crippled by Nailing 108. The measurements are made in the widely accepted nanoSieverts per Hour, abbreviated world wide as nSv/Hour.

These numbers finally give normal people a way to compare like with like in the ever more dangerously radioactive world. You can easily compare New York City and Tokyo.

Eight Absorbed Sieverts per Hour and you are a dead duck; you are history; a Goner. Got it? Oh yea, remember that the Rad is cumulative.


ALERT: The Readings below are in CPM, NOT Sieverts. They are Very Different. It’s a matter of maiming, life and death; the usual stuff in the world of Rad; the only question is “What’s the magic cumulative number that kills or disables you.”

Listed in Counts per Minute, a Count is one Radioactive Decay Registered by the Instrument. CPM and Sieverts are used by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency,) to measure ionizing, deadly radiation.
The Top Reporting Radioactive Cities are listed. The highest radiation reporting cities are listed by their Radiation Reading and alphabetically.

Still, all reporting cities are above normal. The reporting Radioactive Cities are a few of the radioactive cities in the States. For 2017 YRTW SOL will list some America’s cities Total Gamma Radiation. Take all necessary precautions.
Total Gamma Radiation CPM * City State

See New Video: All Reactors Leak All Of The Time

11,139 CPM, 2227.8 Times Normal, Navajo Lake, NM. MIA
10,676 CPM, 2135.2 Times Normal, ColoradoSprings, CO. All Gamma Yes
10,564 CPM, 2112.8 Times Normal, Raleigh, NC. All Gamma Yes
9,852 CPM, 1970.4 Times Normal, Grand Junction, CO. All Gamma Yes
9,689 CPM, 1937.8 Times Normal, Spokane, WA. All Gamma Yes
9,439 CPM, 1887.8 Times Normal, Amarillo, TX. All Gamma Yes
9,385 CPM, 1877 Times Normal, Billings, MT. All Gamma Yes
9,255 CPM, 1851 Times Normal, Bakersfield, CA. All Gamma Yes
8,901 CPM, 1780.2 Times Normal, Little Rock, AR. All Gamma Yes
8,866 CPM, 1773.2 Times Normal, Fresno, CA. All Gamma Yes
8,583 CPM, 1716.6 Times Normal, Worcester, MA. All Gamma
8,535 CPM, 1707 Times Normal, Rochester, NY. All Gamma
8,308 CPM, 1661.6 Times Normal, Harrisonburg, VA. All Gamma Yes
8,189 CPM, 1637.8 Times Normal, Portland, ME. All Gamma Yes
8,183 CPM, 1636.6 Times Normal, Yuma, AZ. All Gamma Yes
8,074 CPM, 1614.8 Times Normal, Tucson, AZ. All Gamma
8,056 CPM 1611.2 Times Normal, Champaign, IL. All Gamma Yes
8,035 CPM, 1607 Times Normal, El Paso, TX. All Gamma
7,906 CPM, 1581.2 Times Normal, Riverside, CA. All Gamma
7,899 CPM, 1579.8 Times Normal, Louisville, KY. All Gamma Yes
7,871 CPM, 1574.2 Times Normal, San Diego, CA. All Gamma Yes
7,789 CPM, 1557.8 Times Normal, Rapid City, SD. All Gamma
7,704 CPM, 1540.8 Times Normal, Pittsburgh, PA, All Gamma Yes
7,582 CPM, 1516.4 Times Normal, Hartford, CT. All Gamma
7,300 CPM, 1460 Times Normal, Kansas City, KS. All Gamma Yes
7,299 CPM, 1459.8 Times Normal, Augusta, GA. All Gamma Yes
7,282 CPM, 1456.4 Times Normal, Cleveland, OH All Gamma
7,259 CPM, 1451.88 Times Normal, Reno, NV. All Gamma
7,015 CPM, 1403 Times Normal, Boston, MA. All Gamma Yes
7,007 CPM, 1401.4 Times Normal, Charleston, WV. MIA Yes
6,859 CPM, 1371.8 Times Normal, Tulsa, OK. All Gamma Yes
6,820 CPM, 1364 Times Normal, Idaho Falls, ID. All Gamma Yes
6,776 CPM, 1355.2 Times Normal, Los Angeles, CA. All Gamma Yes
6,774 CPM, 1354.8 Times Normal, Anaheim, CA All Gamma
6,754 CPM, 1350.8 Times Normal, Boise, ID All Gamma Yes
6,593 CPM, 1318.6 Times Normal, Albuquerque, NM. All Gamma Yes
6,559 CPM, 1311.8 Times Normal, San Bernardino Cty All Gamma
6,544 CPM, 1,308.80 Times Normal, Concord, NH. All Gamma Yes
6,450 CPM, 1290 Times Normal, Oklahoma City, OK All Gamma Yes
6,393 CPM, 1278.6 Times Normal, Casper WY. All Gamma Yes
6,144 CPM, 1228.8 Times Normal, Wichita, KS. All Gamma Yes
6,089 CPM, 1217.8 Times Normal, Phoenix, AZ All Gamma Yes
5,892 CPM, 1178.4 Times Normal, New York City, NY. All Gamma Yes
5,699 CPM, 1139.8 Times Normal, Bismarck, ND. All Gamma Yes
5,658 CPM, 1131.6 Times Normal, Shreveport, LA. All Gamma
5,553 CPM, 1110.6 Times Normal, Salt Lake City, UT. All Gamma Yes
5,329 CPM, 1065.8 Times Normal, Ft Worth, Tx. All Gamma
5,182 CPM, 1036.4 Times Normal, Mason City, IA. All Gamma Yes
4,769 CPM, 953.8 Times Normal, Carlsbad, NM. All Gamma Yes
4,725 CPM, 945 Times Normal, Knoxville, TN. All Gamma Yes
4,505 CPM, 901 Times Normal, Aurora, IL All Gamma Yes
4,382 CPM, 876.4 Times Normal, San Francisco, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,173 CPM, 834.6 Times Normal, San Jose, CA All Gamma Yes
4,104 CPM, 820.8 Times Normal, Eureka, CA. All Gamma
3,777 CPM, 755.4 Times Normal, Sacramento, CA. All Gamma Yes
3,214 CPM, 642.8 Times Normal, Yaphank, NY. All Gamma
2,849 CPM, 569.8 Times Normal, Washington, DC. All Gamma Yes
Count – 57 Cities

Rad Cities in Alphabetical Order

6,593 CPM, 1318.6 Times Normal, Albuquerque, NM. All Gamma Yes
9,439 CPM, 1887.8 Times Normal, Amarillo, TX. All Gamma Yes
6,774 CPM, 1354.8 Times Normal, Anaheim, CA All Gamma
7,299 CPM, 1459.8 Times Normal, Augusta, GA. All Gamma Yes
4,505 CPM, 901 Times Normal, Aurora, IL All Gamma Yes
9,255 CPM, 1851 Times Normal, Bakersfield, CA. All Gamma Yes
9,385 CPM, 1877 Times Normal, Billings, MT. All Gamma Yes
5,699 CPM, 1139.8 Times Normal, Bismarck, ND. All Gamma Yes
6,754 CPM, 1350.8 Times Normal, Boise, ID All Gamma Yes
7,015 CPM, 1403 Times Normal, Boston, MA. All Gamma Yes
4,769 CPM, 953.8 Times Normal, Carlsbad, NM. All Gamma Yes
6,393 CPM, 1278.6 Times Normal, Casper WY. All Gamma Yes
8,056 CPM 1611.2 Times Normal, Champaign, IL. All Gamma Yes
7,007 CPM, 1401.4 Times Normal, Charleston, WV. MIA Yes
7,282 CPM, 1456.4 Times Normal, Cleveland, OH All Gamma
10,676 CPM, 2135.2 Times Normal, ColoradoSprings, CO. All Gamma Yes
6,544 CPM, 1,308.80 Times Normal, Concord, NH. All Gamma Yes
8,035 CPM, 1607 Times Normal, El Paso, TX. All Gamma
4,104 CPM, 820.8 Times Normal, Eureka, CA. All Gamma
8,866 CPM, 1773.2 Times Normal, Fresno, CA. All Gamma Yes
5,329 CPM, 1065.8 Times Normal, Ft Worth, Tx. All Gamma
9,852 CPM, 1970.4 Times Normal, Grand Junction, CO. All Gamma Yes
8,308 CPM, 1661.6 Times Normal, Harrisonburg, VA. All Gamma Yes
7,582 CPM, 1516.4 Times Normal, Hartford, CT. All Gamma
6,820 CPM, 1364 Times Normal, Idaho Falls, ID. All Gamma Yes
7,300 CPM, 1460 Times Normal, Kansas City, KS. All Gamma Yes
4,725 CPM, 945 Times Normal, Knoxville, TN. All Gamma Yes
8,901 CPM, 1780.2 Times Normal, Little Rock, AR. All Gamma Yes
6,776 CPM, 1355.2 Times Normal, Los Angeles, CA. All Gamma Yes
7,899 CPM, 1579.8 Times Normal, Louisville, KY. All Gamma Yes
5,182 CPM, 1036.4 Times Normal, Mason City, IA. All Gamma Yes
11,139 CPM, 2227.8 Times Normal, Navajo Lake, NM. MIA Yes
5,892 CPM, 1178.4 Times Normal, New York City, NY. All Gamma Yes
6,450 CPM, 1290 Times Normal, Oklahoma City, OK All Gamma Yes
6,089 CPM, 1217.8 Times Normal, Phoenix, AZ All Gamma Yes
7,704 CPM, 1540.8 Times Normal, Pittsburgh, PA, All Gamma Yes
8,189 CPM, 1637.8 Times Normal, Portland, ME. All Gamma Yes
10,564 CPM, 2112.8 Times Normal, Raleigh, NC. All Gamma Yes
7,789 CPM, 1557.8 Times Normal, Rapid City, SD. All Gamma
7,259 CPM, 1451.88 Times Normal, Reno, NV. All Gamma
7,906 CPM, 1581.2 Times Normal, Riverside, CA. All Gamma
8,535 CPM, 1707 Times Normal, Rochester, NY. All Gamma
3,777 CPM, 755.4 Times Normal, Sacramento, CA. All Gamma Yes
5,553 CPM, 1110.6 Times Normal, Salt Lake City, UT. All Gamma Yes
6,559 CPM, 1311.8 Times Normal, San Bernardino Cty All Gamma
7,871 CPM, 1574.2 Times Normal, San Diego, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,382 CPM, 876.4 Times Normal, San Francisco, CA. All Gamma Yes
4,173 CPM, 834.6 Times Normal, San Jose, CA All Gamma Yes
5,658 CPM, 1131.6 Times Normal, Shreveport, LA. All Gamma
9,689 CPM, 1937.8 Times Normal, Spokane, WA. All Gamma Yes
8,074 CPM, 1614.8 Times Normal, Tucson, AZ. All Gamma
6,859 CPM, 1371.8 Times Normal, Tulsa, OK. All Gamma Yes
2,849 CPM, 569.8 Times Normal, Washington, DC. All Gamma Yes
6,144 CPM, 1228.8 Times Normal, Wichita, KS. All Gamma Yes
8,583 CPM, 1716.6 Times Normal, Worcester, MA. All Gamma
3,214 CPM, 642.8 Times Normal, Yaphank, NY. All Gamma
8,183 CPM, 1636.6 Times Normal, Yuma, AZ. All Gamma Yes
Count – 57 Cities

Radiation knocks out your Immunities
Everywhere we look – worldwide – old and new diseases are on the march. In its most basic kill attribute Ionizing Radiation is an all out attack on our Immune systems. As the immunities of the whole planet are taken down a notch, new and old diseases come roaring to life.

Oddly, it is not that the diseases are anything especially new or unusual. It is the Immunities of the human, animal and plant hosts that are destroyed and diseases rush in to feed on the newly unprotected food sources.

It is very likely that the new and old or mutated diseases will last much longer that the newly susceptible hosts – including humans. Here’s the big picture from Eco-Health Alliance on killer viruses:

Eco Health Alliance interactive map of killer viruses

Follow Bob Nichols on Blog, Twitter and YouTube now.

Have a wonderful radioactive weekend and remember to Dodge the Rads, it’s dangerous out there.

Copyright by Bob Nichols @ 2017: Reproduce and distribute. Give full attribution to Bob Nichols at duweapons@gmail.com
Notes and Sources
1. The Radiation charts and graphs of the EPA. Individual queries can be built at the EPA RadNet Query Builder.
2. The EPA based reporting of NETC, an LLC.
3. These stations’ Radiation equals Total Gamma Radiation. Gamma Radiation Monitors are reporting publicly at all these locations.
4. CPM. “Although we can’t see it, taste it, smell it or hear it we can measure radiation and observe its effects. One way to measure radiation which the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has chosen to use on its radiation websites is in Counts Per Minute or CPM. Each Count is One Radioactive Decay.” Quote from the ‘Your Radiation This Week’ Apr 3, 2015.
5. Radiation destruction of chitin, IAEA, by Ershov, B.G.; Sukhov, N.L.; Nud’ga, L.A.; Baklagina, Yu.G.; Kozhevnikova, L.G.; Petropavlovskii, G.A. (Institute of Physical Chemistry, Moscow (Russian Federation)
6. “Plutonium Air” by Dr Paolo Scampa, AIPRI Blog, Aug 19, 2016,
7. “Radioactive Fertilizer,” AIPRI by Dr Paolo Scampa, September 23, 2016, AIPRI: Les engrais radioactifs,
8. “Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds,” By ABBY GOODNOUGH OCT. 19, 2016,
EPA Proposal Allows Radiation Exposure in Drinking Water Equivalent to 250 Chest X-Rays a Year
9. “Forty-five (45) years later, the Nuclear States officially raise the amounts of “permitted radiation levels” by hundreds and sometimes thousands of times to maintain the utter and absolute dominance of the Nuclear State over everything, everywhere, for all time. No tolerance given.” [10] “In the never ending war between the suits (politicians) and the physicists, the suits win yet again; by changing the rules. It takes more than logic to fight these animals and win.”
10. US Gov: Walk Slow May 24, 2013
11. “Baghdad” by Dr. Paolo Scampa, AIPRI, Saturday 12 November 2016 http://aipri.blogspot.it/2016/11/bagdad.html
12. “News Release, New Aerial Survey Identifies More Than 100 Million Dead Trees in California,” USDA Office of Communications, “This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million,”
13. Caribou herd in Alaska suffering from mysterious decline, November 30, 2016, Noel Kirkpatrick, MNN Mother Nature Network, “The Central Arctic caribou herd in Alaska is experiencing a “steep decline” in its population, and scientists are researching the reasons why.”
14. “Facing a Dying Nation,” a line from the 1979 Tribal Rock Musical HAIR. A scene with “Facing a Dying Nation” starring Treat Williams from the movie is here: The character Pfc. Berger is KIA in Vietnam in 1968.
15. It is Eugen Wigner’s name as a Verb. It’s about all things Wignerized. See Notes on Your Radiation This Week No. 69 and 70
16. sie·vert, ˈsēvərt/, noun Physics, noun: sievert; plural noun: sieverts; symbol: Sv, the SI unit of dose equivalent (the biological effect of ionizing radiation), equal to an effective dose of a joule of energy per kilogram of recipient mass. Google: Sievert or https://www.google.com/search?q=sievert&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
17. Eco Health Alliance interactive map of killer viruses https://eidr.ecohealthalliance.org/event-map

Nuclear Arsenal

In Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

The Independent Newspaper
Thursday, February 16, 2017

I participated in the U.S. and international movements to ban nuclear weapons in the 1980’s. Progress was made at that time in the US/Russian commitment to decommission and destroy accumulated nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of a world without such weapons.
That commitment to disarm has deteriorated, and the world is now only two and one-half minutes from midnight according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They have moved the hands of their iconic Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to the nuclear hour that marks the end of humanity.
The Bulletin cited several reasons for the darkening of the global security landscape including deteriorating relations between the US and Russia (together possessing more than 90% of world’s nuclear weapons), North Korea’s continuing weapons development, the march of arsenal modernization programs in nuclear weapons states, and new doubt over the future of the Iran Nuclear Deal, (though it proved successful in meeting goals in year one.)
These are all matters President Trump has signaled that he would make worse due to “ill-considered comments about expanding and even deploying the US Nuclear arsenal, a troubling propensity to discount or outright reject expert advice about international security, including the conclusions of intelligence experts ,” according to the Bulletin. I would add to this list his condoning of fake news and alternative facts.
I think that no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. Stopping and reversing this ruinous nuclear race must be a priority. See trivalleycares.org or wagingpeace.org to take action.
Patricia Moore, MSW

The author of this artice is a member of Tri-Valley Cares of Livermore, CA, an affiliate of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

Report: U.S. nukes to cost $400B over next decade

In Cost, Nuclear Guardianship, Plutonium on February 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm


By Mark Oswald, Journal North, February 15, 2017

SANTA FE – The cost over the next decade of operating, maintaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal – including for work at national laboratories like Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico – is estimated to be $400 billion, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office.

That’s up from the last decade-long estimate of $348 billion that the budget office made in December 2013 for the years 2014 to 2023.

The new report says the expected average of $40 billion in nuclear weapons expenses per year through 2026 takes into account that programs are further along than when the previous estimate was made and some modernization efforts, particularly for a new bomber, have become better defined. Also, updates of intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles “have increased in scope or have been accelerated,” says the CBO report.

The $400 million estimate for the decade includes $87 million for the national laboratories around the country, including costs related to “maintaining current and future stockpiles of nuclear weapons.” In New Mexico, that work includes ramping up the production of plutonium “pits,” the grapefruit-size cores of nuclear bombs that serve as triggers, at Los Alamos. No new pits have been made since 2011, but LANL is under a mandate to make as many as 80 by 2030.

The huge nuclear arsenal modernization plan now underway was part of President Barack Obama’s deal with Congress over ratification of the New START Treaty on arms control that Obama signed in 2011.

Greg Mello of the local Los Alamos Study Group research and advocacy organization said the CBO’s report leaves out some big-ticket items, such cleanup for nuclear weapons work and disposing of old nuclear weapons buildings, which put the actual 10-year costs at more than $500 billion.

“No one can tell what these huge, multi-decade programs will cost but, over the next 30 years, the total cost will certainly be above a trillion dollars,” said Mello. “These modernization plans conflict with other DoD (Department of Defense) acquisition plans. Nobody has any politically realistic idea of where all this money will come from.”

Other projected costs for the next 10 years include: $189 billion for weapons delivery systems such as missiles, ballistic missile submarines and long-range bombers; $9 billion for “tactical” nuclear weapons delivery systems, such as shorter-range aircraft; and $58 billion for the DoD’s “command, control, communications and early warnings systems.

Another $56 billion was included as coverage in the event that the cost of nuclear programs exceed “planned amounts at roughly the same rates that costs for similar programs have grown in the past.”


Trump and the Doomsday Clock

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 13, 2017 at 11:06 pm

By Jeffrey D. Sachs FEBRUARY 12, 2017
The most chilling concern about Donald Trump is the worldwide fear that he puts our very survival at risk. This is not loose talk or partisanship. It was recently expressed by the most thoughtful experts who monitor the risks to our survival: The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who are the keepers of the Doomsday Clock. These experts have just told the world it is “Two and a half minutes to midnight,” where midnight signifies the end of civilization. This is the closest to doom since 1953, when both the United States and Russia first possessed thermonuclear weapons capable of destroying the world.

Let’s not panic. Instead, let’s think, plan, and act. As President John F. Kennedy famously declared, “Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man.” The problem of Donald Trump can be solved too, by the institutions of American democracy and the international rule of law.
The Doomsday Clock was created 70 years ago, in the early days of the Cold War and the nuclear weapons race between the United States and the Soviet Union. For the first time in human history, mankind possessed the means of causing not only great carnage and suffering, but also the very destruction of humanity. The early generation of atomic scientists recognized the profound and unprecedented dangers of the new weapons and sought to warn the world. In the first edition of the clock, in 1947, they set the it to seven minutes before midnight, nuclear Armageddon. As the Cold War intensified, and atomic bombs gave way to vastly more powerful thermonuclear bombs, the minute hand moved five minutes closer to midnight.

When JFK came into office he powerfully expressed the existential paradox of modernity. “For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” We never came closer to the end than in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, when mistakes by both the United States and the Soviet Union led the world to the very brink of nuclear war. In 1963, brilliant diplomacy by Kennedy, supported by the moral leadership of Pope John XXIII and the bold statesmanship of Nikita Khrushchev, led to the signing of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Humanity was spared. The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock moved back to 12 minutes before midnight, a margin of safety.

With America’s escalation of the Vietnam War under Lyndon Johnson, the minute hand began to move once again toward midnight, while Richard Nixon’s “detente” with the Soviet Union again reduced the tensions and put the minute hand back to 12 minutes before midnight. Then tensions escalated with Ronald Reagan’s new arms buildup, until Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev launched the process of political and economic reform, perestroika, that culminated in the end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union itself in 1991. Humanity had, it seemed, reached a moment of relative safety; the minute hand stood at 17 minutes before midnight that year.

Yet if ever a historic opportunity for safety was squandered, this was it. Every US president since then — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — has contributed to a decline of global safety, with the minute-hand moving from 17 minutes before midnight to just three minutes before midnight last year, even before Donald Trump became president. And after just a few days in office, Trump has contributed to another 30-second jump of the minute-hand toward midnight.

What went wrong between 1991 and now? Two grave mistakes. The first was the failure to capitalize on the end of the Cold War by establishing a trustworthy relationship between the United States and Russia. While most Americans would blame Vladimir Putin for that, they should follow the Gospel advice of Jesus: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Instead of working with Russia after 1991, the United States unilaterally asserted its military power, expanding NATO toward Russia’s borders and invading several countries in the Middle East. The Cold War was revived, not ended.
The second mistake was to turn a blind eye to the second existential threat: human-induced global warming. While the threat from nuclear weapons was easy enough to perceive (though also easy to forget day to day), the existential threat from human-induced climate change was far more difficult. To understand it requires at least a basic awareness of quantum physics, the Earth’s physical dynamics, and Earth’s climate and economic history. Our presidents and Congress have lacked that. They understand money from lobbyists — oil and gas companies — not quantum physics.

There are dire risks of our continued burning of coal, oil, and gas. When these fossil fuels are burned, they emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has the special quantum-mechanical property that it absorbs infrared radiation and thereby acts as a kind of atmospheric “greenhouse” for Earth, causing the planet to warm. This is of course clear to atmospheric chemists but not to most politicians. The science and Earth history also make clear that we are recklessly gambling with future survival. The ocean level could rise by 20 feet or more as a result of even slight further increases in temperature. Only a fool would say that since such an outcome is not completely certain, we should simply continue to burn fossil fuels at the maximum rate.

After just a few days as president, Trump induced the atomic scientists to move the minute-hand another 30 seconds toward midnight. They explained their unprecedented move as follows:

“The board’s decision to move the clock less than a full minute — something it has never before done — reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days. Many of his Cabinet nominations are not yet confirmed by the Senate or installed in government, and he has had little time to take official action. Just the same, words matter, and President Trump has had plenty to say over the last year. Both his statements and his actions as president-elect have broken with historical precedent in unsettling ways.’’

They then cite Trump’s recklessness both toward nuclear weapons and climate change. On nuclear weapons, Trump has casually suggested that Japan and Korea should become nuclear powers; that a new nuclear-arms race is welcome; and that the use of nuclear weapons (e.g., in regard to ISIS) is not “off the table.” Yes, for every statement such as these, there are equal and opposite statements as well. There is, in short, casualness, inconsistency, and incoherence.

On climate change, the inconsistencies are not the problem; denial is. Trump has completely turned his administration’s environmental policies over to the oil and gas industry. The State Department is now in the hands of ExxonMobil; the Environmental Protection Agency is in the hands of politicians like Scott Pruitt, long financed by the fossil-fuel industry. The word on Capitol Hill is simple: The mega-billionaire Koch brothers, who own the nation’s largest private fossil-fuel company, own Congress, or at least the Republican side.

Trump is a bully whose bluster is designed to intimidate and wrong-foot a foe, and in Trump’s worldview, just about everybody is a foe. As he has famously explained, in an attitude inherited from his father, there are “killers” and there are “losers.” The bluster is designed to put Killer Trump ahead of the losers. The key to survival in the Trump era is to look past the bluster, face down the bullying, and prevent Trump’s poorly controlled emotions from guiding the policies of the United States on these life-and-death issues.

Despite the bravado of the flood of executive orders, most of them are mere statements of intent, not legally binding instruments. The courts will have their say; and the regulatory agencies must follow rigorous procedures to change existing regulations, all of which are subject to court review and congressional supervision. This is not to say that bullies do not get their way; they can. But bullies only get their way when others back down.

Trump’s recklessness can be checked in five ways.

First, the courts will scrutinize these poorly prepared and ill-considered executive orders; many will be quashed. The Muslim ban on entry to the United States is now on hold, perhaps never to be implemented. Every one of Trump’s early executive orders is likely to face court challenges and prolonged litigation.

Second, it will just take a few patriotic Republican senators joining with the Democrats to put a stop to Trump’s mad rush of recklessness. Will Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, or Ron Paul, among others, really stand by if Trump acts recklessly brings us to the brink of nuclear war? Or would these and other senators allow the corruption and greed of the Senate to gut the Paris Climate Agreement? Of course, that’s possible, but these senators have children and grandchildren too, and most are not as stupid as their party’s official position on climate change.

Third, Trump is rapidly uniting the world — against the United States. Within just two weeks of office, Trump had the European Union president listing the Trump administration alongside Russia, China, and the Middle East as threats to the European Union. China’s President Xi Jinping has offered to take up the internationalist mantle that Trump is so eager to relinquish. Almost all of the world is also united in urging the handful of nuclear-weapons countries to honor their solemn obligations, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament, and not to instigate a renewed and dangerous arms race.

Fourth, while consumers have little sway over nuclear weapons, they have considerable sway over climate change. America’s brand names need to be put on notice: If you cower to the Koch Brothers, American Petroleum Institute, and Chamber of Commerce, you will pay a price. General Electric, are you with us or against us on saving the planet? How about you, Pepsi, Walmart, IBM, Walt Disney, GM, and other companies on Trump’s “strategic and policy forum”? Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has already walked out of the forum because of Trump’s Muslim travel ban. For those who remain, the millennial generation of consumers will soon walk out on you if you are accomplices to Trump’s attempt to gut the treaty agreements restricting global warming and the domestic regulations to implement them.

Fifth, of course, is electoral politics. In moments of pessimism, it may seem that Trump will trample American democracy, thereby preventing a course correction in 2020 or earlier. Yet Trump is no Caesar or Augustus, and America is no republican Rome on the verge of succumbing to dictatorship. No doubt Trump can do great damage; our institutional checks and balances have been gravely weakened by decades of rule by the military-industrial-intelligence complex. Presidents indeed have the power to launch wars, even secret ones run by the CIA and special ops units that can kill vast numbers of innocents. Yet the first days of Trump’s mayhem show that the American people, and our political institutions, are not ready to accede to bullies. I’m counting on the millennials to lead the way.


Jeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and author of “The Age of Sustainable Development.”

What Trump Doesn’t Get About Nukes

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 12, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Will Trump come to his senses in time to avert an arms race and a nuclear war?

By Bruce Blair, Politico, February 11, 2017

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet premier, warned in an extraordinary article late last month that the “increasingly belligerent” tone of geopolitical debates looked to him “as if the world is preparing for war.” He urged the United Nations Security Council to “adopt a resolution stating that nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought.”

To almost everyone, this call from a far-sighted leader may seem self-evident, but what about President Donald Trump?

Trump has suggested he is willing to launch a new nuclear arms race, despite the costs and the risks. In his phone call with Vladimir Putin last month, Trump reportedly rebuffed the Russian president’s apparent offer to extend the New START agreement that otherwise expires in 2021. This extension was a key aim of President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the arms deal. It would enable the United States to continue to closely monitor Russia’s strategic nuclear deployments and prevent Russia from uploading huge numbers of warheads onto those forces. Without the extension, the U.S. intelligence community would need to spend billions of additional dollars to monitor Russia. And the uncertainty and unpredictability of each side’s deployments would likely spark a costly nuclear arms race and increase the instability of a nuclear crisis and the likelihood of nuclear conflict.

After reportedly checking with his advisers to learn what treaty Putin was talking about (the White House says he was asking for an opinion), Trump apparently told the Russian leader the entire agreement was just another bad deal signed by his predecessor, even though its provisions impose identical obligations on both sides, and even though it was supported by the U.S. Senate and all the key national security players, including the U.S. Strategic Command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Instead of seizing upon a good offer (as well as an offer to convene talks on a range of other nuclear issues, including strategic stability, according to a former U.S. official familiar with the call) that would strengthen U.S. national security, Trump signaled a willingness to embark on an expensive, pointless new arms race that he boasts the United States would win.

This is a foolish, dangerous delusion. Trump seems to believe he can bend opponents to his will. And, although he evidently knows little about nuclear weapons, he seems to embrace the Dr. Strangelove view that they are for war-fighting and war-winning. During the presidential campaign, for instance, he refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons to fight the Islamic State, despite the absurdity of wielding them against a lightly armed terrorist group. Against a heavily armed nuclear state like Russia or China, the notion of nuclear war-fighting is beyond absurd. Once nuclear weapons are unleashed, a conflict would almost certainly escalate to all-out proportions and kill hundreds of millions of people.

Will Trump come to understand his folly in time to avert an arms race, a nuclear crisis and a nuclear war? His mindset recalls President Ronald Reagan, who also entered the White House intent on launching a nuclear buildup and believing that a nuclear war could be fought and won. Soon after taking office, Reagan signed a presidential directive calling upon the nuclear establishment to plan and prepare for prevailing in a nuclear conflict lasting as long as half a year.

Reagan intended to convince the Soviets that they would lose a nuclear war and therefore they had better not start one, but his aggressive rhetoric and nuclear build-up had the unintended effect of provoking the Soviets. The president was startled to learn from top secret reports based on intelligence from a KGB spy working for the British that the Soviet leadership so feared a U.S. nuclear first strike that it was seriously preparing to pre-emptively strike the United States. He also faced massive public pressure for a freeze on the arms race. Reagan quickly backpedaled. By the start of his second term, he sought arms-control talks with the Soviets and agreed with Gorbachev on the goal of banning nuclear weapons.

By then, Reagan and Gorbachev understood that the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won is the height of self-delusion. The whole point of nuclear weapons, rather, is to deter their use. Believing a nuclear war can yield victory only creates incentives to strike first while inviting a breakdown of command and control and the abandonment of all restraint.

This still holds today. In the case of wars with Russia or China, escalation culminating in a civilization-ending nuclear exchange seems the most plausible outcome. Practically every U.S. nuclear force exercise involving a Russia scenario ends exactly this way—in a full-scale nuclear exchange that kills tens of millions of civilians.

Nuclear crises involving coercion and threats meant to subdue an adversary are likewise fraught. Bullying the other side in a nuclear confrontation might succeed, but it just as easily could provoke escalation to the brink of war and possibly beyond. The definitive study of the effectiveness of nuclear blackmail during the Cold War finds it had mixed results, even when the United States enjoyed overwhelming nuclear superiority. In some cases, the United States forced the Soviet Union or China to back down, but in others the threats were counter-productive. Hubris in this arena today, too, threatens to fuel escalation and yield a nuclear war instead of a diplomatic victory.

By the end of the Cold War, both the United States and Soviet Union had learned that arms races are expensive and dangerous. Far better to stave them off through mutual agreements based on equal security. Thousands of nuclear weapons on each side have been disarmed and dismantled since the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty 30 years ago.

Trump needs a crash course on the probable consequences of a nuclear exchange with our nuclear rivals, especially Russia because of its vast arsenal. His education should include a thorough repudiation of the delusion of U.S. nuclear primacy. No matter what armchair strategists may claim, U.S. strategic nuclear forces and missile defenses are not capable of blocking Russian retaliation to a U.S. first strike. Not by a long shot.

Even if the United States could surreptitiously raise its nuclear readiness to a war footing and launch a surprise, full-scale nuclear strike that caught Russia flat-footed, the U.S. would suffer massive casualties. At least 145 Russian warheads could be delivered by surviving Russian mobile nuclear missiles alone, according to a new study by Global Zero. If those missiles were allocated one to every American city with a population above 172,000, nearly 150 cities would be utterly destroyed in retaliation. Twenty-two million people would die.

Trump’s hometown would suffer the most. Nearly 2 million people would be killed by a single nuclear detonation above Times Square in New York City. His newly adopted home of Washington, D.C., would suffer more than half a million fatalities.

After Trump received the nuclear codes, he described the experience as “very sobering” and “a very, very scary thing.” He could offer proof by announcing, together with Putin, that “nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought.”

Bruce G. Blair is a nuclear security expert and a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton and the co-founder of Global Zero.

Why Did Trump Pick a Fight with Putin Over the Nuclear Weapons Treaty?

In Nuclear Guardianship, Peace, War on February 11, 2017 at 12:23 am

Joe Cirincione, The Global Business Brief, February 9. 2017

President Trump took a hard line over New START with Russia. It’s an odd battle to choose — and a dangerous one.

President Donald Trump has already picked a fight with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over nuclear weapons and the New START treaty. It is a curious battle to choose. The treaty enjoys the overwhelming backing of America’s top national security leaders and military commanders. Trump reportedly didn’t know what the treaty was but seems to be adopting the rhetoric of the far-right and their losing battle to block it in the Senate since 2010. To back out now would uncap the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world, worsening a burgeoning new arms race. Even more worrying, it could leave Russia’s arsenal dangerously uncounted.

We learned Thursday, in yet another leak to the press from concerned White House staff, that Trump railed at Putin in their recent phone call, denouncing the 2010 New START nuclear arms limitation pact as a “bad deal.” It should have been a routine courtesy call. But according to Reuters, “When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty… Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was.” He then reprised campaign rhetoric about how one-sided the treaty is, claiming that it gave Russia a strategic nuclear advantage.

Approved by a vote of 71-26, New START is a modest arms reduction treaty that trims U.S. and Russian “operationally deployed strategic weapons” to 1,550 on each side and extends crucial inspection and verifications procedures, allowing each side to ensure that the other is complying with the limits. It expires in 2021. Putin’s effort to simply extend the agreement failed to get an answer from the irate Trump.

Here’s the reality: “The New START Treaty has the unanimous support of America’s military leadership — to include the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of the service chiefs, and the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, the organization responsible for our strategic nuclear deterrent,” said then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2010, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “This treaty deserves [to be ratified by the U.S. Senate] on account of the dangerous weapons it reduces, the critical defense capabilities it preserves, the strategic stability it maintains, and, above all, the security it provides to the American people.”

Then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen agreed, “I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security.”

Some Senate opponents of the treaty blocked it for purely political reasons; not wanting to give the Democratic president a victory is a crucial election year. But others took their cues from hardliners such as Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy, who warned that because of Russian aggression “the United States, its allies and interests are at greater risk by the day. New START would actually reward the Kremlin for such behavior, rather than end it.” They preferred an arms race to arms control, calling then, as now, for an increase in nuclear weapons with more “usable” designs and a broader range of potential targets.

Military leaders warned about the consequences of this approach. Former commander of STRATCOM Gen. Kevin Chilton, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “If we don’t get the treaty, the Russians are not constrained in their development of force structure and…we have no insight into what they’re doing. So it’s the worst of both possible worlds.”

Seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Air Command and Strategic Command backed up Chilton, writing the Senate Armed Services Committee, “Although the New START Treaty will require U.S. reductions, we believe that the post-treaty force will represent a survivable, robust and effective deterrent, one fully capable of deterring attack on both the United States and America’s allies and partners.”

Another reality check: Under New START the U.S. is still capable of deploying 240 nuclear missiles on America’s submarine-launched nuclear forces alone; each carrying up to 8 nuclear warheads for an estimated 900-1,000 warheads deployed at sea almost around the clock. We also keep 400 intercontinental ballistic missies, or ICBMs, ready to launch at a moment’s notice, and 60 strategic bombers capable of carrying 1,168 nuclear weapons.

This “bad deal” allows the United States to keep enough destructive force to destroy all of human civilization several times over. Forget deterrence, we are still well into Mad Max scenarios.

What if Trump backs out of this treaty?

“Without New START we will be compelled to waste military resources, not to mention tax dollars,” warned retired Lt. Gen. John Castellaw,a 36-year veteran of the Marine Corps “A precise accounting of the Russian arsenal and predictability going forward informs our strategic force structure. Frankly, it is to our advantage to verifiably reduce the Russian deployment because it allows us to use our resources more effectively.”

As former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell wrote in 2010, “Obviously, the United States does not sign arms control agreements just to make friends. Any treaty must be considered on its merits. But we have here an agreement that is clearly in our national interest, and we should consider the ramifications of not ratifying it.”

Nor does it seem that the president consulted either his secretary of state or secretary of defense prior to launching his diatribe. Both support the agreement. Before Trump turns his tweets about a new nuclear arms race into a terrifying new policy, the new president might want to listen to the people who actually know what they are talking about.


Joe Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund and the author of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.

The Dysmal Cartography of the Pre-Fascist State

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Peace, War on February 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

By Richard Falk

Points of Departure

Listening to Donald Trump’s inaugural speech on January 20th led me to muse about what it might mean to live in a pre-fascist state. After reflecting on key passages and conversations with friends, I came to the view that all the elements were in place, although set before us with the imprecision of a demagogue.

Yet I do not doubt that there are many ideologues waiting in the wings, perhaps now comfortably situated in the West Wing, ready to cover the conceptual rough spots, and supply an ideological overlay, and add the semblance of coherence.

Considering the daily outrages emanating from the White House since the inaugural jolt, the coming years will be rough riding for all of us, with many cruelties being readied for those most vulnerable.

Of course, the Woman’s March on January 21st was temporarily redemptive, and if such energy can be sustained potentially transformative. It is odd to contemplate, but there just may be tacit and effective cooperation between the national security deep state and a progressive populism converging around their divergent reasons for being deeply opposed to the shock and awe of the Trump presidency. Trump may invent ‘alternative facts’ to restore his narcissistic self-esteem, but when it comes to program he has sadly so far been true to his word! This alone should encourage a unified, energetic, and determined opposition. If the Tea Party could do it, why can’t we?

The Pre-Fascist Moment

First, it is necessary to set forth the case for viewing Trump’s Inaugural Address as a pre-fascist plea:

1) Locating power and legitimacy in the people, but only those whose support was instrumental in the election of the new president; the popular majority that were opposed are presumed irrelevant, or worse;

2) Denigrating the political class of both political parties as corrupt and responsible for the decline of the country and the hardships inflicted on his followers;

3) Presuming mass and unconditional trust in the great leader who promises a rupture with the past, and who alone will be able overcome the old established order, and produce needed changes at home and overseas;

4) Making the vision of change credible by the appointment of mainly white men, most with alt-right credentials, billionaires either blissfully ignorant about their assigned roles or a past record of opposition to the bureaucratic mission they are pledged to carry out (whether environment, energy, education, economy);

5) An endorsement of exclusionary nationalism that elevates ‘America First’ to the status of First Principle, erects a wall against its Latino neighbour, adopts a cruel and punitive stance toward Muslims and undocumented immigrants, hostility to womens’ rights, gay marriage, trans dignity, as well as posing threats to non-white minorities, inner city residents, and independent voices in the media and elsewhere;

6) Lauds the military and police as the backbone of national character, loosens protection from civilian or military abuse, which helps explain the selection of a series of generals to serve in sensitive civilian roles, as well as the revitalization of Guantanamo and the weakening of anti-torture policies.

7) The disturbing absence of a sufficiently mobilized anti-fascist opposition movement, leadership, and program. The Democratic Party has not seized the moment vigorously and creatively; progressive populist leadership has yet to emerge inspiring trust and hope; so far there are sparks but no fire.

Fortunately, there are some more encouraging tendencies that could mount anti-fascist challenges from within and below:

1) Trump lost the popular vote, casting a cloud over his claimed mandate to be the vehicle of ‘the people.’ Furthermore, his approval rating keeps falling, and is now below 40% according to reliable polls.

2) The signs of intense dissatisfaction are giving rise to protest activities that are massive and seem deeply rooted in beliefs and commitments of ordinary citizens, especially women and young people;

3) American society is not in crisis, and right-wing extremist appeals are forced to rely on a greatly exaggerated and misleading portrayal of distress in the American economy, the evils of economic globalization and unfair trade relations that are widely understood to be largely ‘fake’;

4) There are fissures within the Republican Party and governmental/think tank establishments, especially on international economic and security policy, that could produce escalating tensions within and challenges to the Trump leadership;

5) There is growing dissatisfaction within the bipartisan intelligence and national security bureaucracies as whether Trump and Trumpism can be tamed before it wrecks the post-1945 international order that rests on America’s global military presence, a global network of alliances, and a disposition toward a second cold war focused on hostility to Russia; if untamed, impeachment scenarios will soon surface, based not on the real concerns, but constructed around economic conflicts of interests, emoluments, and unlawful transactions.

Certainly in my lifetime, with the possible exception of the Great Depression, America has not been tested as it is now. Maybe not since the American Civil War has so much been at stake, and put at risk.

Traditional reliance on political parties and elections will not be helpful until the political climate is radically altered by forces from below and without or above and within. It is strange, but the two main forces of resistance to the pre-fascist reality menacing the country’s and the world’s future are progressive populism as evident in the widespread grassroots protest movement taking shape in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s ascension to the presidency, and the deep state as exhibited by the anti-Trump defection of intelligence and national security specialists from both Republican and Democratic ranks during and after the recent presidential campaign.

Finally, the depiction of the present political reality as ‘pre-fascist’ rather than ‘fascist’ is crucial to this effort to depict accurately the historical moment associated with Donald Trump’s formal induction as the 45th president of the United States.

To speak as if the United States is a fascist state is to falsify the nature of fascism, and to discredit critical discourse by making it seem hysterical. There is no doubt that the pieces are in place that might facilitate a horrifying transition from pre-fascism to fascism, and it could happen with lightning speed. It is also sadly true that the election of Donald Trump makes fascism a sword of Damocles hanging by a frayed thread over the American body politic.

Yet we should not overlook the quite different realities that pertain to pre-fascism.

It remains possible in the United States to organize, protest, and oppose without serious fears of reprisals or detentions. The media can expose, ridicule, and criticize without closures or punitive actions, facing only angered and insulting Trump tweets, although such a backlash should not be minimized as it could have a dangerous intimidating impact on how the news is reported.

We are in a situation where the essential political challenge is to muster the energy and creativity to construct a firewall around constitutional democracy as it now exists in the United States, and hope that a saner, more humane political mood leads quickly and decisively to repudiate those policies and attitudes that flow from this pre-fascist set of circumstances.


Richard Falk is an American professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University. He just completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Falk is an associate at the Transnational Foundation for Future Research, where this essay originally appeared.

Pentagon Panel Urges Trump Team to Expand Nuclear Options — Report suggests ‘tailored nuclear option for limited use’

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 10, 2017 at 10:51 am

John M. Donnelly, Roll Call

A blue-ribbon Pentagon panel has urged the Trump administration to make the U.S. arsenal more capable of “limited” atomic war.

The Defense Science Board, in an unpublished December report obtained by CQ Roll Call, urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a “tailored nuclear option for limited use.”

The recommendation is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it foreshadows a raging debate just over the horizon.
Fully one-third of the nuclear arsenal is already considered low-yield, defense analysts say, and almost all the newest warheads are being built with less destructive options. But experts on the Pentagon panel and elsewhere say the board’s goal is to further increase the number of smaller-scale nuclear weapons — and the ways they can be delivered — in order to deter adversaries, primarily Russia, from using nuclear weapons first.

Critics of such an expansion say that even these less explosive nuclear weapons, which pack only a fraction of the punch of the bombs America dropped on Japan in 1945, can still kill scores of thousands of people and lead to lasting environmental damage. They worry that expanding the inventory of lower-yield warheads — and the means for delivering them — could make atomic war more thinkable and could trigger a cycle of response from adversaries, possibly making nuclear conflict more likely. And, they say, such an expansion would cost a lot of money without necessarily increasing security.

The issue will gain greater prominence in the next several years as an up-to-$1 trillion update of the U.S. nuclear arsenal becomes the biggest Pentagon budget issue. That update, as now planned, mostly involves building new versions of the same submarines, bombers, missiles, bombs and warheads. Support for the modernization effort is bipartisan.

But any effort to create new weapons, or even to modify existing ones, in order to expand the arsenal of potentially usable nuclear weapons is likely to trigger opposition.

“There’s one role — and only one role — for nuclear weapons, and that’s deterrence. We cannot, must not, will not ever countenance their actual use,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “There’s no such thing as limited nuclear war, and for the Pentagon’s advisory board to even suggest such a thing is deeply troubling.”

“I have no doubt the proposal to research low-yield nuclear weapons is just the first step to actually building them,” she added. “I’ve fought against such reckless efforts in the past and will do so again, with every tool at my disposal.”
Conservatives on the congressional defense committees generally support exploring new nuclear options.

“We know from testimony that Russia, among others, are fielding new nuclear weapons with new capabilities for new employment doctrines,” said Alabama Republican Rep. Mike D. Rogers, the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. “We would be irresponsible not to evaluate what these developments mean for the U.S. and our modernization programs.”

Dustin Walker, a spokesman for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of Senate Armed Services, said, “It has been the policy of Republican and Democratic presidents since the end of the Cold War to retain a range of nuclear capabilities, both in terms of explosive yield and method of delivery. Such a range of capabilities strengthens deterrence by signaling to potential adversaries that we can respond to a wide range of scenarios.”

Worries about Trump
The Defense Science Board’s nuclear recommendation is buried inside a report titled “Seven Defense Priorities for the New Administration,” which also addresses homeland security, protecting information systems and more. The board has made similar nuclear recommendations before, but the new report adds volume to a growing chorus of hawkish experts calling for a nuclear arsenal they say is more “discriminate.”

The board’s latest statement comes at a pivotal time because Trump rattled many Americans with comments during the campaign about nuclear weapons. He suggested that atomic arms might be an appropriate response to an Islamic State attack and that it’s good for a president to be “unpredictable” about nuclear weapons. He also said, referring to nuclear weapons in general, that “the power, the destruction is very important to me.”

Thirty-four former nuclear launch control officers wrote an open letter during the campaign arguing that Trump “should not have his finger on the button.” And lawmakers are weighing legislation this year that, for the first time, would give Congress, not just the president, authority to launch a nuclear first strike, though those bills’ chances of passing either chamber are scant.

Last month, Trump mandated a new “nuclear posture review,” an assessment of the way forward aimed at ensuring the U.S. nuclear deterrent. The memorandum contained echoes of the Defense Science Board’s language. Trump said the review would ensure a nuclear arsenal that is “modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st century threats and reassure our allies.”

Lawmakers from both parties said last week that the debate over more lower-yield warheads should be part of the upcoming review.

New forms of deterrence
The Defense Science Board’s position is that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons first in a war in order to deter the United States from further escalating the conflict — a posture Moscow calls “escalate to de-escalate.” China, North Korea, Iran and other potential foes may take a similar tack, this group of experts fears.

The concern is that enemies may not perceive America’s massive nuclear arsenal as a credible threat, because neither foes nor friends believe the U.S. would use it. Moreover, the group says, if countries such as South Korea and Japan don’t believe America’s nuclear umbrella will protect them, they may consider building their own atomic arsenals.

The hawks also say the U.S. military’s conventional firepower is not sufficient to deter or respond to a growing Russian and Chinese nuclear threat, because those countries’ increasingly long-range air defenses and missiles have neutered much of America’s conventional clout.

The U.S. military has significantly scaled back its inventory of low-yield nuclear weapons but still retains about 1,500, said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear arms expert with the Federation of American Scientists. The explosive energy of low-yield warheads is generally 10 kilotons or less, which is two-thirds the power of the Hiroshima bomb that killed perhaps 150,000 people.

All current and future low-yield U.S. weapons would be delivered by aircraft. But more options are needed, the nuclear advocates say. America’s ballistic missiles — both ground-based and submarine-launched — are not equipped to carry lower-yield nuclear warheads, nor are drones, experts say. Missiles might be able to reach targets faster and without getting anywhere near an enemy’s territory. And drones would not risk pilots’ lives and can fly for long periods of time.

“The world has moved on from Cold War deterrence concepts, but alas, the U.S. debate has not,” said William Schneider, a defense expert at the Hudson Institute think tank and a veteran member of the Defense Science Board.

Fears of expanded arms race
Those who oppose development or production of more small-scale nuclear weapons argue that U.S. conventional capabilities are unmatched. They also say there’s no reason to believe that Russia, for all its bluster, would go nuclear in a conflict, because it would never assume the United States wouldn’t respond either with overwhelming conventional force or nuclear weapons.

Moreover, they say, the United States has or will have plenty of lower-yield nuclear bombs to drop if necessary. And, they add, there are few scenarios in which missiles would be needed to deliver such warheads, because aircraft will suffice, particularly if they can launch atomic-tipped cruise missiles from long distances.

There are potentially serious disadvantages to expanding the lower-yield arsenal, the critics also contend.

First, there’s the cost — expected to be in the billions. Then there’s the concern that any such U.S. moves would be matched by Russia and China in a new low-yield arms race that would increase tensions and heighten the risk of deadly miscalculation. What’s more, these analysts say, the U.S. military would need to present the president with options for using these weapons in a crisis, and those options may prove attractive. That’s because the president might believe he could use these weapons without necessarily starting a global nuclear war.

Kingston Reif, an expert on atomic weaponry with the Arms Control Association, fears that proponents of expanding the number and variety of lower-yield nuclear weapons may get the upper hand in the Trump administration.

“The pursuit of new types of nuclear warheads for limited-use scenarios is strategically and technically unwise,” Reif said. “We should be looking to strengthen the dividing line between nuclear and conventional, not blurring that line.”

It’s fair to say that a new nuclear arms race is already underway. But questions remain as to whether it will expand, in what ways and how dangerously.

“This was a game we played during the Cold War, and it took us a while to get out of it,” said Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, referring to America’s reduced reliance on tactical nuclear weapons in the 1980s.

In 1993, Congress enacted legislation that would ban development of new types of nuclear weapons. That ban was overturned about a decade later. But the defense board report notes that neither the Pentagon nor the Energy Department has actually begun such development work. That could change soon, if only via modifications to existing warheads.


EXCLUSIVE-In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty – sources

In Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on February 10, 2017 at 8:51 am

by Reuters
Thursday, 9 February 2017 17:05 GMT
By Jonathan Landay and David Rohde

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.

When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said.

The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.

It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed his doubt about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.

New START gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.

During a debate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Russia had “outsmarted” the United States with the treaty, which he called “START-Up.” He asserted incorrectly then that it had allowed Russia to continue to produce nuclear warheads while the United States could not.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he supported the treaty during his Senate confirmation hearings.

During the hearings Tillerson said it was important for the United States to “stay engaged with Russia, hold them accountable to commitments made under the New START and also ensure our accountability as well.”

Two of the people who described the conversation were briefed by current administration officials who read detailed notes taken during the call. One of the two was shown portions of the notes. A third source was also briefed on the call.

Reuters has not reviewed the notes taken of the call, which are classified.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


The phone call with Putin has added to concerns that Trump is not adequately prepared for discussions with foreign leaders.

Typically, before a telephone call with a foreign leader, a president receives a written in-depth briefing paper drafted by National Security Council staff after consultations with the relevant agencies, including the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies, two former senior officials said.

Just before the call, the president also usually receives an oral “pre-briefing” from his national security adviser and top subject-matter aide, they said.

Trump did not receive a briefing from Russia experts with the NSC and intelligence agencies before the Putin call, two of the sources said. Reuters was unable to determine if Trump received a briefing from his national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In the phone call, the Russian leader raised the possibility of reviving talks on a range of disputes and suggested extending New START, the sources said.

New START can be extended for another five years, beyond 2021, by mutual agreement. Unless they agree to do that or negotiate new cuts, the world’s two biggest nuclear powers would be freed from the treaty’s limits, potentially setting the stage for a new arms race.

New START was ratified by the U.S. Senate in December 2010 by a vote of 71 to 26. Thirteen Republican senators joined all of the Senate’s Democrats in voting for the treaty, although Republican opponents derided it as naive.

The call with Putin was one of several with foreign leaders where Trump has turned to denounce deals negotiated by previous administrations on trade, acceptance of refugees and arms control.

In a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump questioned an agreement reached by the Obama administration to accept 1,250 refugees now being held by Australia in offshore detention centers. (Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammad and John Walcott; Editing by John Walcott, Kevin Krolicki and Ross Colvin)

Flatlining: Exploring hidden toxic landscapes and the embodiment of contamination at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, USA.

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Public Health, Workplace exposure on February 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

Stephanie Malin, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University and Becky Alexis-Martin, Senior Research Fellow in Human Geography at The University of Southampton, February 8, 2017

Within the boundaries of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, black bears prowl, elk tussle, prairie dogs burrow and porcupines forage. A diverse array of wildlife, wedged between the cities of Boulder and Denver. Within this diverse habitat, small animals nestle into the grass and burrow into the dusty alluvial soil. Superficially, this site has been transformed from military industrial complex into an ordered wilderness. However, the heart of this refuge contains a burden of atomic mass, for this bleakly lovely space encircles a Superfund site with a startling and intrusive legacy of nuclear pollution. Welcome to Rocky Flats, a disquieting relic of the American military industrial complex.
Originally, Rocky Flats was occupied by swathes of pastoral farmland. It was selected for weapons manufacturing due to its underlying geological stability and its proximity to uranium sources and other nuclear installations, and was therefore purchased by the US Atomic Energy Committee. Beginning in 1952, Rocky Flats became an all-American home for manufacturing plutonium pits, which are the triggers that detonate nuclear weapons. Local residents were grateful to have well-paid jobs and production quietly ensued, the site itself wrapped in the furtiveness of Cold War industry. Within this culture of secrecy, little transgressions gradually emerged on-site at Rocky Flats. These grew in severity, and complete technological failure eventually occurred as human errors were silenced, accidents were hidden and toxicity was concealed.

Major fires occurred in 1957 and 1969, whilst unsealed barrels of radioactive waste leached and dispersed across the surrounding hinterland (Krey and Hardy, 1970). In 1972, US Congress authorised the purchase of a buffer zone of land around the site, when traces of plutonium and elevated levels of radioactive tritium were discovered within local reservoirs (Krey, 1976). Elevated levels of plutonium were identified within the topsoil beyond this zone, and so further land was purchased to expand this buffer zone. On-site regulation was used as a technology of control, to ensure that off-site contamination was never recognised.

Protests began when local residents became concerned about the safety of the facility. Activist mobilization escalated throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as several thousand people showed up to organized protests and sit-ins. Eventually, a large-scale protest occurred in August 1989, which attracted thousands of participants. This sustained public outcry was ignored by the nuclear sector. However, it was not possible to stifle the covert material that was provided by Rocky Flats workers to the Environmental Protection Agency, and a case was gradually built up through FBI agent Jon Lipsky’s extensive work with informants. The whistleblowing reached an apogee by June 6th 1989. Operation Desert Glow was implemented by the US Department of Justice to investigate the Rocky Flats plant. This raid issued a search warrant to the manager of Rocky Flats, and led to the discovery of multiple toxic violations of anti-pollution legislation.

An array of contaminants has been discovered at the Rocky Flats site, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chromic acid, beryllium and radionuclides. Whilst chromium metal has little toxicity, chromic acid and similar hexavalent chromium compounds are both toxic and mutagenic (Barnhart, 1997; Baruthio, 1992). Symptoms of human exposure to hexavalent chromium can include: dermatitis, allergic and eczematous skin reactions, skin and mucous membrane ulcerations, allergic asthmatic reactions, bronchial carcinomas, and gastro-enteritis (Baruthio, 1992). Hexavalent chromium compounds also have ecological impacts, due to toxicity to plant life (Singh et al., 2013). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are organochlorine compounds, and also have detrimental environmental and human health effects (Robertson and Hansen, 2015, Longnecker et al., 1997). PCB compounds are toxic and can cause abnormalities of liver function; skin and the nervous system; neonatal hypotonia or hyporeflexia; and increase the likelihood of exposed persons developing cancer. The detrimental effects of heavy radionuclides, including isotopes of plutonium, americium and curium, are also well documented within medical and environmental literature (Bair, 1974, Nénot and Stather, 2013, Newman, 2014). This includes genotoxic and stochastic effects that can increase the likelihood of the development of solid body tumours and blood cancers (Durakovic, 2016).
Unfortunately, it is not possible to access the final records of contamination for Rocky Flats. Like other places that have been squatted by the Cold War military-industrial complex, there is a notable absence of publically available information that documents the exact times, quantities and conditions of contaminant release. Even when the first special Grand Jury in Colorado’s history was convened in 1989 to hear the post-raid federal case against Rocky Flats’ corporate facility operators, Rockwell, the company paid fines amounting to less than they had earned in federal bonuses for operating the plant. The Grand Jury itself contested the trial and sentencing outcomes and felt that their recommendations had been illegally ignored (McKinley and Balkany 2004).

Rocky Flats has received relatively little international attention as a significant place of atomic and industrial toxicity. Somehow, its messy atomic history has been redacted, swallowed up alongside that of many other military nuclear installations and laboratories worldwide. Whilst the wildlife flourishes across Rocky Flats, despite a legacy of contamination, the local communities suffer invisibly.

A contaminated community?

Tiffany Hansen is a member of the down-winder community and founder of Rocky Flats Downwinders. She grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Flats plant. She remembers her father and brother working there. However, Tiffany did not realise the nuclear and covert nature of manufacturing, the military significance of the work that was undertaken, or the potential health effects that surrounded the site. She remained unaware of these risks until she developed ovarian and thyroid cancers as a young woman, and became acutely aware that her experience was not unique. She soon began organizing a community of people impacted by potential environmental health impacts of living near Rocky Flats. As Tiffany explains:

“It was a challenge to connect with former residents, there was no support, the research available was limited and difficult to find, and there was no organized advocacy… Since launching our website in 2015, I have heard from thousands of people, many like myself, who felt there was a strong connection between our health problems and the close proximity to the facility… I hear from people whose entire families are sickened, many lost loved ones, others are fighting or lost the fight for their lives.”
Tiffany’s observations echo the contested yet compelling evidence of cancers associated with toxic exposure, clustered within the communities that surround the site. These communities are the embodiment of their experiences of exposure (Brown, 2016).

It is challenging to design statistically significant epidemiological studies of the health effects of long-term, low-level toxic exposure to local communities due to confounding lifestyle factors, a neoliberalized, privatized healthcare system that cannot provide answers, and the economic migration of populations away from the plant after its closure. Whilst occupational health studies of exposure to Rocky Flats employees exist, they do not reflect community health, especially that of local women and children (Gilbert et al., 1989, Viet et al., 2000, Brown et al., 2004). Further, broader environmental and community health concerns highlight the related losses of livelihood, contamination concerns, anxieties, and somatic conditions associated with trauma such as those experienced by residents around Rocky Flats, steeped in uncertainty.

Thus, public health risks remain stressfully uncertain and undefined. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently released a study showing elevated rates of certain cancers in the communities surrounding Rocky Flats, but without the community-based component that people have requested. The study did not examine cancers such as thyroid, despite community-based requests to do so, and some critics assert that the agency works with large state-wide samples that dilute evidence of cancer clusters and hot spots due to the chosen methodological approach.

Access to information about the site has been difficult to acquire – particularly for people moving in to new homes on and around the former plant grounds. To some, this is the most significant concern. Dedicated community activist, Alesya Casse, who co-founded the group Candelas Glows, leads actions and community meetings to educate the community and speaks regularly about keeping new construction and the public off of the site and the Wildlife Refuge. Casse states:

“It’s disheartening to see government agencies continue with their legacy of turning ‘weapons into wildlife’ in the face of community opposition and concern. People have a right to know the history of the area and to make informed decisions for themselves and their families. What happened at Rocky Flats is both tragic and unfortunately common, but we have an opportunity to make it right by informing the public of the risks and doing comprehensive testing to address ongoing concerns and questions that continue to arise.”

The future is unwritten

It has been 28 years since the FBI first raided Rocky Flats, and eleven years since the US Environmental Protection Agency announced the completion of on-site remediation activities. Whilst some of its clandestine toxic secrets have been unveiled, many mysteries still surround the on-going and long-term effects of this multi-contaminant environmental and social disaster. It is impossible to say what the future holds for the local community of Rocky Flats in the face of landscape regeneration, contested diagnoses, unmedicalised conditions, and denial of people’s experiences. Importantly, the long-term outcomes for this community could still yet be affected by the presidency of Donald Trump, as he has already called for sites such as Rocky Flats to be repurposed yet again as repositories for nuclear waste or even revitalized nuclear production.

In response, collaborative social science and public health research by Metropolitan State University and Colorado State University aims to discern the social and cultural impacts to health of being a Rocky Flats downwinder. Already, the health survey component of this study has found that 46% of the reported cancers are defined as ‘rare’ and are often directly related to radiation exposure. Whilst we cannot anticipate if this unique community will ever truly gain environmental or social justice, we continue to develop our understanding of the significant influence that nuclear accidents and nuclear defence has had upon their lives. In the meantime, the Rocky Flats downwinders continue to exist, without a true understanding of the future implications of their toxic fate.


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