US wants nuclear transparency, but not for its own bombs, The National Tony Karon March 29, 2015 Amid all of last week’s headlines parsing Iran’s nuclear infrastructure as the deadline for a potential deal with world powers drew near, it was easy to miss the item in the Science section of The New York Times. It was about the US hydrogen bomb programme.
The H-bomb, the paper reminded readers, is a thermonuclear device. Its destructive power is 1,000 times that of the bomb that instantly killed 80,000 people in Hiroshima in 1945. And it has long been a feature in the arsenals of nuclear-armed states.
The news peg was a memoir by one of the founders of the US H-bomb programme, Kenneth W Ford. But even though he cited publicly available material, US Department of Energy censors blocked the book.
Transparency, of course, has never been deemed a virtue in any nuclear weapons programme anywhere in the world. That said, Iran’s leaders might see the irony in being held to stringent transparency requirements while states with well-established nuclear-weapons capability are absolved of the equivalent accountability.
But the basic hypocrisy of the major world powers’ application of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is well-established. Five of the countries currently negotiating with Iran, which is an NPT signatory, are acknowledged to have nuclear weapons. The NPT requires signatories to submit their nuclear facilities to constant inspections to verify their commitment to refrain from building weapons. Meanwhile, the established nuclear weapons states are meant to negotiate their way to disarmament. But 45 years after they adopted the NPT, the established nuclear powers have not ended their addiction to nuclear weapons.
In that period, four non-signatories – India, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa – developed nuclear weapons, although post-apartheid South Africa signed the NPT and allowed the dismantling of its nukes. Meanwhile, a fifth country, North Korea, developed nuclear weapons after withdrawing from the NPT . So the negotiations with Iran are not aimed at keeping the Middle East free of nuclear weapons as much as to maintain America and Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region.
But the censoring of Ford’s book reveals a deeper peril in America’s national conversation about nuclear weapons – or, more accurately, the absence of a national conversation about nuclear weapons………
In April 2009, president Obama made a historic speech in Prague committing to pursue a “a world without nuclear weapons”and to reduce the number of warheads in the US arsenal. But he also pledged, in light of continued nuclear capability by rival powers, to ensure that the US maintains an “effective arsenal”.
That commitment has now translated, according to the budget he submitted to Congress last month, into a massive modernisation scheme, which would cost $348 billion (Dh 1.28 trillion) over the next 10 years and as much as $1 trillion over a 30-year period.
Still, don’t expect to see much public debate over just what the US is building, and the circumstances in which it might conceivably decide – once again – to destroy a civilian population centre in a matter of minutes.
The world would be a much safer place if, as the NPT intended, efforts to stop new countries acquiring nuclear weapons were matched by the attempt to hold accountable those that already have them.
Tony Karon teaches in the graduate programme at the New School in New York http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/us-wants-nuclear-transparency-but-not-for-its-own-bombs#page2
India and Pakistan Locked in a Nuclear Naval Arms Race A new report provides a useful summary of the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean. The Diplomat By Franz-Stefan Gady March 28, 2015 A while back, I reported on the murky detailssurrounding Pakistan’s sea-based nuclear deterrent. Much of it remains a mystery, including its future submarine force.
Conversely, the Indian Navy still does not have a capable ballistic missile with which to arm the INS Arihant – New Delhi’s only ballistic missile submarine (which only began sea trials in December). India’s submarine fleet is also experiencing difficulties in maintaining its readiness rate, which has dropped below 40 percent.
However, both India and Pakistan are set to continue to develop their naval nuclear forces, as a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace points out. Yet, this should not automatically be a cause for alarm, Iskander Rehman, the author of a newly released Carnegie policy paper, argues.
“By further institutionalizing relations between their navies and by insisting on stronger transparency with regard to naval nuclear developments, both countries may succeed in adding a greater degree of stability to what otherwise promises to be a dangerously volatile maritime environment,” he notes.
Rehman highlights a few other interesting points about the naval nuclear dynamics in the Indian Ocean:
- India’s pursuit of a sea-based nuclear strike force is the next logical step in its quest for an assured retaliatory capability.
- To enjoy an effective sea-based deterrent vis-à-vis China, India’s other prospective nuclear adversary, New Delhi has to develop larger SSBNs with greater missile carriage capacity and more powerful nuclear reactors.
- Pakistan’s naval nuclear ambitions are fueled primarily by the sense of a growing conventional, rather than strategic, imbalance between New Delhi and Islamabad.
- By dispersing low-yield nuclear weapons across a variety of naval platforms, Islamabad aims to acquire escalation dominance and greater strategic depth and to reduce the incentives for a preemptive strike on its nuclear assets.
Interestingly, Rehman also underlines that, “the submarine-based leg of India’s nuclear triad will have a major impact on the nation’s existing command-and-control arrangements.”…….http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/india-and-pakistan-locked-in-a-nuclear-naval-arms-race/
Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons, TKG News March 27, 2015 Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.
Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”. Pressed later on the subject he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”
The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.
Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.
The two countries maintain close relations and are sometimes said to have a special relationship; they currently have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.
The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force. In addition it has significant nuclear expertise in the form of a civilian nuclear programme of the kind Iran says it wants to develop.
In 2012 the Saudi Arabian government threatened to acquire nuclear weapons were neighbouring regional power Iran ever to do so……..http://www.tkgnews.com/saudi-arabia-says-it-wont-rule-out-building-nuclear-weapons/
An administration official who requested anonymity to discuss the plan said building the storage site probably will face fewer obstacles than establishing a repository for waste from nuclear power plants.
That’s in part because U.S. defense programs produce about 5 percent of all nuclear waste, the official said. Waste from generating electricity accounts for 85 percent of the total…http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/25/world/u-s-pursue-storage-nuclear-waste-defense-programs/#.VRR7wfyUcnk
Australia and India face a graver test than cricket Against the backdrop of Australia and India squaring up in the World Cup cricket, the two nations now face a test with much graver consequences, write Dave Sweeney and Jim Green. SBS News, 26 Mar 15 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed a uranium deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last September, he praised India’s “absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record”. This praise came despite the reality that India is actively expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal and its missile delivery capabilities.
Mr Abbott declined to answer serious questions about India’s nuclear weapons program or the inadequate safety standards in and inadequate regulation of its civil nuclear program. Instead, he offered a cricketing cliché, declaring that Australia and India trust each other on issues like uranium safeguards because of “the fundamentally ethical principle that every cricketer is supposed to assimilate – play by the rules and accept the umpire’s decision”.
Gaining comfort from clichés while ignoring inconvenient truths might work for those in Canberra and mining company boardrooms but it fails any real world test.
The proposed India uranium agreement is currently being considered by federal parliament’s treaties committee, and it has yet to be ratified by parliament. Submissions to the treaties committee have raised many serious concerns − and not just from the usual suspects.
Those raising concerns and objections include John Carlson, former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office; Ron Walker, former Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors; Prof. Lawrence Scheinman, former Assistant Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Princeton University physicist Dr M.V. Ramana; and nuclear arms control expert Crispin Rovere.
The uranium agreement with India weakens Australia’s nuclear safeguards standards, increases the chances of Australian uranium finding its way into Indian weapons and would lead to further undermining of nuclear checks and balances. If the uranium agreement is approved there will be sustained pressure for Australia to apply equally inadequate standards to other uranium customer countries. As John Carlson notes in his submission: “If the Government does compromise Australia’s safeguards conditions, inevitably this will lead to other agreement partners asking for similar treatment.”
Mr Carlson’s critique carries particular weight given that for over two decades he was the head of Australia’s nuclear safeguards office……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/26/comment-australia-and-india-face-graver-test-cricket
DoD leaders push back against move to limit nuclear spending, Air Force Times, 24 Mar 15 Military officials are pushing back against a move on Capitol Hill to reduce funding for the nuclear mission, including provisions to delay the Air Force’s next-generation bomber and cancel the nuclear capability of the F-35.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., on Monday introduced the Sane Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act, which aims to cut $100 billion from the nation’s nuclear weapons budget. The measure would cut the B-61 gravity bomb development and cancel the development of an air-launched cruise missile, delay the long-range strike bomber development, cancel the F-35’s ability to carry a nuclear weapon and defer development of new intercontinental ballistic missiles for the Air Force. The bill would also cut the number of nuclear submarines and cancel the construction of nuclear weapons processing facilities.
“We are robbing America’s future to pay for unneeded weapons of the past,” Markey said in a statement. “As we debate the budget and Republicans rally around devastating cuts to Medicare, Head Start and investments in research and science, it makes no sense to fund a bloated nuclear arsenal that does nothing to keep our nation safe in the 21st century.”
Congress instead should work to find savings in existing programs and the Pentagon needs to aim for a one-third reduction in its deployed weapons, Blumenauer said…….
A major part of this [air force] plan is the long-range strike bomber, which is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s. The service expects to award a contract for engineering, manufacturing and development within the next several months, James said. The bomber is expected to replace the B-52, which will fly until 2040 when it hits about 80 years of service, and the B-2 Spirit. The goal is a fleet of 80 to 100 new bombers. http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2015/03/24/dod-leaders-oppose-nuclear-funding-restrictions/70387158/
ISRAELI NUCLEAR WAR ON GAZA using Depleted Uranium weapons from USA NUCLEAR WAR ON THE WORLD, Beautiful Bloodless Revolution, by aRLeon, 25 Mar 15 Israel over the last 6 years during the 3 Gaza invasions of 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014 has dumped a huge amount of Depleted Uranium (DU) on the Palestinian territory of Gaza Strip. The 50 day 2014 operation dispersed the largest amount of DU by way of bunker buster bombs and other undisclosed DU armaments, such as DIME mini bomb-lets etc.
this surely is a nuclear war being used to genocide people worldwide by way of death by genetic alteration that is premeditated, deliberate and traceable to very many politicians, Generals , Bankers, and Philosophers.
The war is against all humanity as it destroys the Earths natural system that creates, supports, and sustains all biological life here on our only home , Earth……http://beautifulbloodlessrevolution.blogspot.com.au/
Note that the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is just to the west of the present combat zone in the eastern region of the Ukraine, and not far north of the Crimea, which is now part of the Russian Federation. It is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. It is also right on the banks of the Dnieper River, which empties into the Black Sea, which in turn empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Failure of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant will massively radioactively contaminate the Dnieper River, which will then flow into the Black Sea and radioactively contaminate the Black Sea, which then flows into the Mediterranean Sea, etc. You see the problem.
Just northeast of Odessa is another, the South Ukraine nuclear power plant.
Many armchair analysts, including commentators such as Paul Craig Roberts, have publicly advocated, or come very close to doing so, that Vladimir Putin send his military racing across the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, in a blitzkrieg from the Russian border all the way toTransnistria, on the border between Moldova and the Ukraine, in order to incorporate that swath of territory into the Russian Federation, and present NATO and the regime in Kiev with a military fait accompli.
In my view, Putin has not done that because no military operation is ever as simple as it appears on paper; what can go wrong frequently does go wrong. And there are always unexpected complications.
Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb HughPickens.com writes:http://slashdot.org/ 24 Mar 15, The atom bomb — leveler of Hiroshima and instant killer of some 80,000 people — is just a pale cousin compared to the hydrogen bomb, which easily packs the punch of a thousand Hiroshimas. That is why Washington has for decades done everything in its power to keep the details of its design out of the public domain. Now William J. Broad reports in the NY Times that Kenneth W. Ford has defied a federal order to cut material from his new book that the government says teems with thermonuclear secrets. Ford says he included the disputed material because it had already been disclosed elsewhere and helped him paint a fuller picture of an important chapter of American history. But after he volunteered the manuscript for a security review, federal officials told him to remove about 10 percent of the text, or roughly 5,000 words. “They wanted to eviscerate the book,” says Ford. “My first thought was, ‘This is so ridiculous I won’t even respond.'” For instance, the federal agency wanted him to strike a reference to the size of the first hydrogen test device — its base was seven feet wide and 20 feet high. Dr. Ford responded that public photographs of the device, with men, jeeps and a forklift nearby, gave a scale of comparison that clearly revealed its overall dimensions.
Russia: US Must remove Its Nuclear Weapons From Europe, NewsMax 24 Mar 2015 Russia called for a ban on American nuclear weapons in parts of Europe, saying the U.S. is breaking an international agreement by holding joint nuclear training missions with NATO allies that don’t possess such weapons.
Using ships and airfields as well as training crews from non-nuclear states from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in such exercises is “in direct contradiction to the letter and spirit” of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement on its website.
“There can be only one solution,” Lukashevich said. Russia is calling for “the return of all nonstrategic nuclear weapons” to U.S. territory as well as “a ban on stationing them abroad, elimination of infrastructure for their rapid deployment, and denial of training for the preparation and use of nuclear weapons” by the militaries of non-nuclear states…..http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/russia-nuclear-weapons-us/2015/03/24/id/634132/
Scottish Party May Prove Crucial to Future of Britain’s Nuclear Fleet NYT, By STEPHEN CASTLE MARCH 21, 2015 “…….Scotland’s growing political importance has made the future of the nuclear arsenal an issue in Britain’s general election campaign, intensifying debate over whether the country can afford its nuclear deterrent, a quarter-century after the end of the Cold War.
That question is being asked because of the surging popularity of the Scottish National Party, which stands to the left of the opposition Labour Party and has promised to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons, putting it at odds with both Labour and the Conservative-led government.
Despite losing its bid last year for Scotland to win independence from Britain, the Scottish National Party has gained strength in the polls and could tilt the balance of power if, as happened in the last national election in 2010, neither Labour nor the Conservatives win an outright majority in Parliament in the voting on May 7.
Should Labour win the opportunity to form a government and turn to the Scottish National Party for support — a prospect analysts say is very real despite a Labour promise not to enter a formal coalition with the party — the question of abandoning the Trident missile system, moving the fleet from Scotland, or at least delaying an expensive modernization program would be on the table……..
The politics of Scotland is now crucial to the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party’s defense spokesman, said that Faslane is a symbol of how Scottish views on Trident have been “totally ignored” and that “repeated British governments have made decisions over the heads of people in Scotland.”
Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield
COPENHAGEN Sun Mar 22, 2015 (Reuters) – Russia threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system, in comments Copenhagen called unacceptable and NATO said would not contribute to peace.
Denmark said in August it would contribute radar capacity on some of its warships to the missile shield, which the Western alliance says is designed to protect members from missile launches from countries like Iran.
Moscow opposes the system, arguing that it could reduce the effectiveness of its own nuclear arsenal, leading to a new Cold War-style arms race.
In an interview in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, said he did not think Danes fully understood the consequences of joining the program.
“If that happens, Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” Vanin told the newspaper…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/22/us-denmark-russia-idUSKBN0MI0ML20150322
Early last month the Department of Defense released a secret report done in 1987 by the Pentagon-funded Institute for Defense Analysis that essentially confirms the existence of Israel’s nukes. DOD was responding to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Grant Smith, an investigative reporter and author who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy. Smith said he thinks this is the first time the US government has ever provided official recognition of the long-standing reality.
It’s not exactly news. Policy elites and every president from LBJ to Obama have known that Israel has the bomb. But American authorities have cooperated in the secrecy and prohibited federal employees from sharing the truth with the people. When the White House reporter Helen Thomas asked the question of Barack Obama back in 2009, the president ducked. “With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I don’t want to speculate,” Obama said. That was an awkward fib. Obama certainly knows better, and so do nearly two-thirds of the American people, according to opinion polls.
In my previous blog, “What about Israel’s Nuclear Bomb?” I observed that the news media focused solely on Iran’s nuclear ambitions but generally failed to note that Israel already had nukes. That produced a tip about the Pentagon release in early February.
Yet the confirmation of this poorly kept secret opens a troublesome can of worms for both the US government and our closest ally in the Middle East. Official acknowledgement poses questions and contradictions that cry out for closer inspection. For many years, the United States collaborated with Israel’s development of critical technology needed for advanced armaments. Yet Washington pushed other nations to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires international inspections to discourage the spread of nuclear arms. Israel has never signed the NPT and therefore does not have to submit to inspections.
Washington knew all along what the inspectors would find in Israel. Furthermore, as far back as the 1960s, the US Foreign Assistance Act was amended by concerned senators to prohibit any foreign aid for countries developing their own nukes. Smith asserts that the exception made for Israel was a violation of the US law but it was shrouded by the official secrecy. Since Israel is a major recipient of US aid, American presidents had good reason not to reveal the truth.
The newly released report—“Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations”—describes Israel’s nuclear infrastructure in broad terms, but the dimensions are awesome. Israel’s nuclear research labs, the IDA researchers reported, “are equivalent to our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.” Indeed, the investigators observed that Israel’s facilities are “an almost exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories.”……..http://www.thenation.com/blog/202129/its-official-pentagon-finally-admitted-israel-has-nuclear-weapons-too#
North Korea says can fire nuclear missile at ‘any time’ (Reuters) 19 Mar 15 – North Korea has the ability to fire a nuclear weapon and would use a nuclear missile in retaliation if it is attacked, the country’s ambassador to Britain told Sky News on Friday.
“It is not the United States that has a monopoly on nuclear weapons strikes,” Ambassador Hyun Hak-bong told Sky at the isolated Asian country’s London embassy.
Asked if that meant North Korea, which quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993, had the capability to fire a nuclear missile now, he replied: “Any time, any time, yes.”
“If the United States strike us, we should strike back. We are ready for conventional war with conventional war, we are ready for nuclear war with nuclear war. We do not want war but we are not afraid of war,” he added.
In a speech on March 3, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said his country had the power to deter an “ever-increasing nuclear threat” by the United States with a pre-emptive strike if necessary.
He also denounced military exercises staged by South Korea and the United States as provocative. The United States has said it is seriously concerned about North Korea’s nuclear work, which it says breaches international agreements.
North Korea has conducted three nuclear detonations, the most recent in February 2013, and the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea said in October he believed Pyongyang had the capability to build a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a ballistic missile, although there had been no tests or other evidence to show it had taken that step. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/20/us-northkorea-crisis-idUSKBN0MG26Q20150320
Pakistan’s Nuclear programme prone to security risks: US Report By Manu Pubby, ET Bureau | 21 Mar, 2015 NEW DELHI: A report on Pakistan’s tactical nuclear programme by a prominent Washington-based think tank raises questions on the country’s ability to secure warheads even in peacetime, concluding that the introduction of mini nuclear weapons in the subcontinent has substantially increased the risk of a confrontation with India getting out of hand.
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