The Ultimate Weapon of War: Nuclear Land Mines? National Interest, Matthew Gault, 20 Sept 15 Land mines and nukes are two of the most terrifying weapons of war — for two very different reasons. Nuclear weapons can wipe out entire cities, and land mines wait buried in the earth, ready to harm anyone who wanders too close.
In the 1950s, Britain tried to combine the two into a nuclear mine … with chickens as a heating source. Yes, this was actually proposed. But we’ll get to the chickens in a moment. The Blue Peacock would have been one of the worst kinds of Cold War weapons — a nuke the enemy doesn’t know you have. The United Kingdom sought to develop and deploy 10 nuclear mines. Once completed, it would ship the nightmare weapons to the British Army of the Rhine — the U.K.’s occupation force in Germany.
The BAOR would then plant the landmines along the East German border in the north and detonate them should the Soviets ever try to cross the Iron Curtain. The project’s primary goal wasn’t to kill Soviet soldiers — though the blasts certainly could — but to irradiate and contaminate the North German Plain so Moscow’s troops couldn’t occupy it.
“A skillfully sited atomic mine would not only destroy facilities and installations over a large area, but would deny occupation of the area to an enemy for an appreciable time due to contamination,” explained a Cold War era policy paper unearthed by Discovery.
Scientists based the Blue Peacock’s design on Britain’s first atomic weapon — the Blue Danube. The Danubes were 10 to 12 kiloton bombs designed to free fall from planes. They looked cartoonish, like a bomb Wile E. Coyote might drop on the roadrunner.
The Blue Danubes packed less of a punch than Fat Man and Little Boy, so in 1954, the British Army decided to adapt that tiny nuclear punch into a land mine.
The War Office ordered development and the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment set to work converting the Danube into the Peacock. In a few years, the researchers had a prototype. The nuclear land mine used a plutonium core surrounded by conventional explosives with twin firing pins. Steel encased the entire contraption.
The project had several problems.
First, compared to a conventional land mine, the Blue Peacock was massive………
The U.S. Army developed and deployed nuclear bazookas — the Davy Crockett — in the ‘60s, but the tiny nuke was still a nuke. It takes miles for the fallout from even a small nuclear blast to dissipate. The Pentagon thought better and shelved the project.
Britain had a similar problem with its Blue Peacock. How could it detonate a nuclear land mine without being anywhere near the device? It came up with two solutions, one ingenious and the other bizarre……….
The British Army shelved the project. One of the prototype Blue Peacocks is currently on display at the Atomic Weapons Establishment Historical Collection in England.
Britain’s attempts to develop a nuclear land mine were crazy, but it wasn’t the only time a nuclear power attempted to develop mines and smaller, more tactical nuclear munitions. It was just one reflection of the mad logic that was 1950s atomic war planning.
This piece first appeared in WarIsBoring here. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-ultimate-weapon-war-nuclear-land-mines-13890
Born In The USA: How America Created Iran’s Nuclear Program, npr, STEVE INSKEEP, 18 Sept 15 “……..”The Iranian nuclear program has deep roots. In fact, it is four years older than President Obama,” says Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Iran. Vaez grew up in Iran, which means the nuclear program is a personal story for him.
“It started in 1957,” he says, “and ironically, it is a creation of the United States. The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor — a nuclear reactor, a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that is still functioning and still operational in Tehran.”
The U.S. built that nuclear reactor on the campus ofTehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
It was part of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peaceprogram, an initiative to provide countries with peaceful, civilian nuclear technologies in the hope that they wouldn’t pursue military nuclear programs.
Under the program, many countries received what Iran did: their own small reactors, their own dollops of fuel. But, says Vaez, “as a result of the oil boom of the 1970s, that [Iranian] nuclear program morphed into a full-fledged civilian nuclear program.”
The Iranians had money to exploit the knowledge they were given, and to develop scientific minds. Iran provided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a $20 million endowment in the 1970s to train Iranian nuclear scientists, Vaez says.
“The majority of people who returned to the country and started running the nuclear program were trained at MIT,” he notes.
The trainees have been central to Iran’s nuclear program ever since.
There was a moment in the 1970s when American officials thought they might be making a mistake. They feared Iran would become one of the nations seeking nuclear weapons.
U.S. diplomats began negotiating to limit Iran’s nuclear program. They ran into a problem familiar to diplomats today: Iran under the shah insisted it had the same right to nuclear power as any nation.
“The shah famously said that unless it was clear Iran was not being treated as a second-class country, he would look for alternative vendors and he would not work with U.S. companies to acquire nuclear technology for Iran.”
Iran bought nuclear plants from West Germany and France. The research reactor at Tehran University kept working. And then the campus became famous for something else.
After the shah was overthrown in 1979, under the new Islamist government led byAyatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of people gathered at the university every Friday and angled their prayer mats toward Mecca.
“Tehran University is at the epicenter of Friday prayer ceremonies,” Vaez says. “And [it] is also infamously known to be [the] epicenter of ‘Death to America’ chants that are heard every Friday during the prayer ceremonies.”
The clerics in power did not initially embrace the country’s existing nuclear infrastructure, Vaez says.
“In many ways, Iran’s nuclear program encapsulates Iran’s struggle with modernity,” he says. “During the shah’s time, it was the symbol of the country’s march towards modernity. After the revolution, it came to symbolize the kind of rapid modernization that was riddled with corruption and ‘West-toxification.'”
“West-toxification” was a term Iran created and used to denote pernicious Western influence that was to be rejected.
“Ayatollah Khomeni famously said the unfinished nuclear power plants in Bushehrshould be used as silos to store wheat,” says Vaez. Ultimately, “they were abandoned as a costly Western imposition on an oil-rich nation.”
This attitude lasted into the 1980’s. But by then, Iran was fighting a brutal war against neighboring Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein. As part of that war, Saddam repeatedly bombed the Bushehr nuclear facility, which was not operational at the time.
The war, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, also created severe power shortages in Iran.
Eventually, Iran’s leaders decided to revive the nuclear program, though the precise reason was not clear…….
Iran has consistently denied that it wants a weapon, though the U.S. and many others argue otherwise. In the early 2000s, Iran offered to discuss the future of its nuclear program. It even reached a deal with European powers. But the U.S. under Bush did not sign on. The efforts to reach a deal fell apart, and Iran began building thousands of centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium.
Ali Vaez says at this point, the meaning of Iran’s nuclear program was “mutating.” Iran under Khomeini had rejected the program as a symbol of the corrupt West — but now, more than a decade after his death, it was becoming a symbol of Iran’s defiance of the West……http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/18/440567960/born-in-the-u-s-a-how-america-created-irans-nuclear-program
‘I was only 50/50’: Russian who saved world from nuclear war, New York Post, 17 Sept 15 FRYAZINO, Russia — The elderly former Soviet military officer who answers the door is known in the West as “the man who saved the world.”
A movie with that title, which hits theaters in the United States on Friday, tells the harrowing story of Sept. 26, 1983, when Stanislav Petrov made a decision credited by many with averting a nuclear war.
An alarm had gone off that night, signaling the launch of US intercontinental ballistic missiles, and it was up to the 44-year-old lieutenant colonel to determine, quickly, whether the attack on the Soviet Union was real.
“I realized that I had to make some kind of decision, and I was only 50/50,” Petrov told the Associated Press. Despite the data coming in from the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellites over the United States, Petrov decided to consider it a false alarm. Had he done otherwise, the Soviet leadership could have responded by ordering a retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States.
What made this even more dangerous was that the Soviet Union appears genuinely to have feared a surprise US nuclear attack during what was an exceptionally tense period of the Cold War. That month, the Soviets had shot down a passenger plane flying to South Korea from the US, suspecting it of spying. The United States, after a series of provocative military maneuvers, was preparing for a major NATO exercise, called Able Archer, which simulated preparations for a nuclear attack……….
Petrov reported to his commander that the system was giving false information. He was not at all certain, but his decision was informed by the fact that Soviet ground radar could not confirm a launch. The radar system picked up incoming missiles only well after any launch, but he knew it to be more reliable than the satellites.
The false alarm was later found to have been caused by a malfunction of the satellite, which mistook the reflection of the sun off high clouds for a missile launch.
Petrov was not rewarded for his actions, most likely because doing so would have brought to light the failure of the Soviets’ early-warning satellites………….. http://nypost.com/2015/09/17/i-was-only-5050-russian-who-saved-world-from-nuclear-war/
US tried to conspire with Japan to dump nuclear waste into world’s oceans, reveal documents http://www.naturalnews.com/033768_nuclear_waste_oceans.html# (NaturalNews) When nuclear energy production technology first began to emerge in the US in the 1950s, neither scientists nor the US government considered what would be done with nuclear reactors once it was time for them to be put out of commission. And recently-released documents reveal that, in an effort to hastily deal with this problem after the fact, the US government actually tried to conspire with Japan to gain secret approval for dumping decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world’s oceans.
In 1972, the United Nations (UN) had proposed the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention, to deal with the growing, global pollution problem. The agreement’s provisions sought to specifically regulate the environmental pollution that signing nations could and could not dump into the oceans, which of course included nuclear production materials.
But since a finalized version of the agreement had not yet been fully established, the US government took advantage of the situation by seeking to insert an exemption cause permitting the dumping of decommissioned nuclear reactors into the ocean. And since Japan had also been involved in developing its own nuclear energy program, the US thought it could gain additional support for the exemption clause from its Asian ally.
Though the US made no mention of any long-term plans to utilize the ocean as its nuclear dumping ground during the proposal, it now appears as though the country had every intention of using the ocean as a nuclear disposal facility. And since the London Convention clause still exists to this day, all other signing countries are free to dump their nuclear waste in the ocean as well.
Russia, a signing member of the London Convention, openly admitted back in 1993, for instance, that it dumps nuclear reactors and fuel into the ocean because it allegedly has no other safe way to dispose of such materials (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/russ…).
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, claims the US stopped dumping nuclear reactors into the ocean a long time ago. And US officials claim that decommissioned nuclear reactors are today buried in the ground rather than dumped into the ocean: http://www.naturalnews.com/033768_nuclear_waste_oceans.html#ixzz3kvbRF6Bi
The Real Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan. It Was Not To End the War Or Save Lives. True Activist.com August 6, 2015 by True Activist Atomic Weapons Were Not Needed to End the War or Save Lives. By Washington’s Blog / globalresearch.ca
Like all Americans, I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives.
But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise.
The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56):
Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.
General (and later president) Dwight Eisenhower – then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan – said:
The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.
Newsweek, 11/11/63, Ike on Ike
Eisenhower also noted (pg. 380):……….
Why Were Bombs Dropped on Populated Cities Without Military Value?
Even military officers who favored use of nuclear weapons mainly favored using them on unpopulated areas or Japanese military targets … not cities.
For example, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss proposed to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal that a non-lethal demonstration of atomic weapons would be enough to convince the Japanese to surrender … and the Navy Secretary agreed (pg. 145, 325):……..
The Real Explanation?
In the years since the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, a number of historians have suggested that the weapons had a two-pronged objective …. It has been suggested that the second objective was to demonstrate the new weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union. By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.
These “first-strike” plans developed by the Pentagon were aimed at destroying the USSR without any damage to the United States.
The 1949 Dropshot plan envisaged that the US would attack Soviet Russia and drop at least 300 nuclear bombs and 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on 200 targets in 100 urban areas, including Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg)
the Kennedy administration introduced significant changes to the plan, insisting that the US military should avoid targeting Soviet cities and had to focus on the rival’s nuclear forces alone.
Post WW2 World Order: US Planned to Wipe USSR Out by Massive Nuclear Strike, Sputnik News. Ekaterina Blinova. 15 Aug 15, Was the US deterrence military doctrine aimed against the Soviet Union during the Cold War era really “defensive” and who actually started the nuclear arms race paranoia?
Interestingly enough, then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had ordered the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to develop a strategy targeting the USSR months before the end of the Second World War. The first edition of the plan was prepared on May 22, 1945. In accordance with the plan the invasion of Russia-held Europe by the Allied forces was scheduled on July 1, 1945.
Winston Churchill’s Operation Unthinkable The plan, dubbed Operation Unthinkable, stated that its primary goal was “to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire. Even though ‘the will’ of these two countries may be defined as no more than a square deal for Poland, that does not necessarily limit the military commitment.” Continue reading
Hiroshima survivor Keiko Ogura wants people to come and see for themselves.
“We have this incredible new weapon, we have a monopoly on it and we are going to emerge as the strongest superpower. In a sense, this was the opening salvo of the Cold War,” he said.
Hiroshima atomic bombing did not lead to Japanese surrender, historians argue nearing 70th anniversary http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/hiroshima-bombing-did-not-lead-japanese-surrender-anniversary/6672616 By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney The world changed forever when a US bomber dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima 70 years ago.
The Americans said they took the drastic step to put an early end to World War II and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of US soldiers, but this official narrative is now being overturned.
On August 6, 1945 the world’s first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, wiping out the city centre and killing about 140,000 people by the years’ end.
Keiko Ogura was eight-years-old at the time and only 2.4 kilometres from the hypocentre.
She remembers being engulfed in flames.
“A flash of light and the blast slammed me to the ground and I lost consciousness,” she said.
“I woke up, it was dark and everyone was crying.”
Keiko said the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and another at Nagasaki three days later, which killed 70,000 more, were war crimes.
Many historians say the bombings did not lead to the Japanese surrender, and the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later was a bigger shock.
It put an end to any hope the Soviets would negotiate a favourable surrender for Japan. Continue reading
What made things worse for Japanese doctors who tried to ease the suffering of atom-bomb victims is that information about the bomb and its effects was censored by the American administration occupying Japan
It was bad enough for the Americans to have killed so many people, and then hide the gruesome facts for many years after the war. To forget about the massacre now would be an added insult to the victims. Southard has helped to make sure that this will not happen yet.
‘Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,’ by Susan Southard, NYT, By IAN BURUMAJULY 28, 2015 “………..Susan Southard’s harrowing descriptions give us some idea of what it must have been like for people who were unlucky enough not to be killed instantly: “A woman who covered her eyes from the flash lowered her hands to find that the skin of her face had melted into her palms”; “Hundreds of field workers and others staggered by, moaning and crying. Some were missing body parts, and others were so badly burned that even though they were naked, Yoshida couldn’t tell if they were men or women. He saw one person whose eyeballs hung down his face, the sockets empty.”
Gen. Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, which had developed the atom bomb, testified before the United States Senate that death from high-dose radiation was “without undue suffering,” and indeed “a very pleasant way to die.”
Many survivors died later, always very unpleasantly, of radiation sickness. Their hair would fall out, they would be covered in purple spots, their skin would rot. And those who survived the first wave of sickness after the war had a much higher than average chance of dying of leukemia or other cancers even decades later. Continue reading
The nuclear age turns 70 today, Ars Technica On July 16th 1945, the US tested the world’s first atomic bomb. by Jonathan M. Gitlin – Jul 17, 2015 Seventy years ago this morning, the world fully entered the nuclear age with the detonation of the first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The bomb was the product of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret research program tasked with developing a bomb more powerful than any that had come before. The test, called Trinity, happened at 5:30am local time and yielded an explosion equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT (20kT).
Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist chosen to lead the bomb’s development, greeted the appearance of a second sun over the desert of New Mexico with a quote from a Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Trinity was the first human-made nuclear explosion on Earth, but far from the last. …….
Growing worries about the harmful effects of radioactive fallout drove nuclear tests underground in 1963 with the passage of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and in 1996 most of the world signed onto the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (while the US signed the latter, it has never been ratified by the Senate).http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/07/the-nuclear-age-turns-70-today/
damchodronma, 11 July 15 Address each one with reason and science ! “Radiophobia” plants, insects, animals and people… radiophobia is propaganda… all species have the same response… they fall apart from the atomic level on up.
“The evidence from the Chernobyl affected territories reveals the real-world consequences of a simple and terrible new discovery: that the effects of low dose internal irradiation cause subtle changes in the genome that result in an increase in the general mutation rate. … first seen in cells in the laboratory. The Chernobyl evidence, shows that this seems to be true for all species, for plants and animals and humans. It has profound implications that go beyond radiation protection and risk models.
“Krysanov …find that mice living in the high irradiation zone, 22 generations after the initial exposure, are MORE radiosensitive than mice living in lower exposure areas. The same effect is reported for plants by Grodzhinsky who wryly points out that plants cannot exhibit the ‘radiophobia’ that many of the Chernobyl effects have been blamed on. This flies in the face of current ideas about genetic selection.
“The effects of genomic instability are apparent in the evidence of massive harm to the organs and systems of living creatures at low doses of internal exposure, resulting in a kind of radiation ageing associated with random mutations in all cells….
“WHOLE BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS COLLAPSE; at the cell level, at the tissue level and at the population level. Burlakova and Nazarov describe these subtle effects at lower doses of internal irradiation in laboratory cell systems and also people, Grodzhinsky shows the effects in plants, – higher for internal exposures than external, Krysanov shows the effects in wild animals and Yablokov and the Nesterenkos in the children and adults living and continuing to live in the contaminated territories. The effects clearly operate at what are presently thought to be vanishingly low doses.”
“ECRR Chernobyl: 20 Years On” (2006) pg 2
ECRR = European Committee on Radiation Risk
Dr. Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary wrote Introduction.
co-edited with Dr. Alexey Yablokov
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West…………….
The West’s triple package of policies — NATO enlargement, EU expansion, and democracy promotion — added fuel to a fire waiting to ignite……….
To achieve this end, the United States and its allies should publicly rule out NATO’s expansion into both Georgia and Ukraine. The West should also help fashion an economic rescue plan for Ukraine funded jointly by the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Russia, and the United States — a proposal that Moscow should welcome, given its interest in having a prosperous and stable Ukraine on its western flank. And the West should considerably limit its social-engineering efforts inside Ukraine. It is time to put an end to Western support for another Orange Revolution. Nevertheless, U.S. and European leaders should encourage Ukraine to respect minority rights, especially the language rights of its Russian speakers.
Some may argue that changing policy toward Ukraine at this late date would seriously damage U.S. credibility around the world. There would undoubtedly be certain costs, but the costs of continuing a misguided strategy would be much greater. Furthermore, other countries are likely to respect a state that learns from its mistakes and ultimately devises a policy that deals effectively with the problem at hand. That option is clearly open to the United States…….
The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington, Gizmodo, 3 June 15 Sarah Zhang The physicists who invented the nuclear bomb worked out of Los Alamos in New Mexico, but the people who did the dirty work of making the bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.
Today, Hanford is the most contaminated radioactive site in America—the site of a massive (and troubled) cleanup effort. Radioactive material is still accidentally leaking into the ground. Though Hanford’s plants routinely released small doses of radioactive material into the air, most of this damage came from an event in 1949 called Green Run.
Green Run was a secret Air Force experiment that released Hanford’s largest single dose of radioactive iodine-131. On the night of December 2, 1949, at the behest of the military, scientists at Hanford let 7,000 to 12,000 curies of iodine-131 into the air, where it rode the wind as far as 200 miles. For a sense of scale, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident released an estimated 15 to 24 curies of iodine-131 and the Chernobyl accident 35 million to 49 million curies.
The Green Run stayed secret until the 1980s, when it was revealed by Freedom of Information Act requests from local newspapers. The military details are still classified. More than half a century later, suspicion and controversy continue to lurk around Green Run, especially among the residents who lived downwind of Hanford.
There’s still much that we don’t know about the Green Run, but here is what we do.
Hanford, Factory and Farm …….Hanford was always more than a production facility; it was also a research complex. Up to 1,000 animals were housed on a farm near reactor F for experiments on the effects of radiation. The animals included fish, dogs, pigs, sheep, and even alligators. Sheep, especially, were given feed with iodine-131, the same radioactive material that the reactors were discharging into the air…….http://gizmodo.com/the-secret-1949-radiation-experiment-that-contaminated-1707748721
Nazi Human Experimentation NMR’s Blog 29 May 2015 Nazi human experimentation was medical experimentation on large numbers of people by the German Nazi regime in its concentration camps during World War II. At Auschwitz, under the direction of Dr. Eduard Wirths, selected inmates were subjected to various experiments which were supposedly designed to help German military personnel in combat situations, to aid in the recovery of military personnel that had been injured, and to advance the racial ideology backed by the Third Reich.After the war, these crimes were tried at what became known as the Doctors’ Trial, and revulsion at the abuses perpetrated led to the development of the Nuremberg Code of medical ethics…………..
the weapons are found. Not entirely safe, but “…relatively intact…” according to the Air Force. It’s a scary sounding moderation to describe radioactive A-bombs lying around in the woods of the Eastern U.S. unattended.
This is true. And it’s terrifying. It reads like an Ian Fleming or Tom Clancy thriller. But it’s real. Continue reading
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