Overlooked Story of the Week: ‘Rot’ and ‘Crisis’ For Nuclear Missile Launch Crews, The Nation, Greg Mitchell on May 10, 2013 ”…..Sadly overlooked, however, was an exclusive from the Associated Press. Oh, no big deal. Just “rot” and “crisis” and a wave of firings in one program you especially don’t want to witness this in: Our nuclear missle launch program.
At Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota the commander confirmed, as the story put it, “the willful violation of safety rules—including a possible compromise of launch codes—was tolerated.” Seventeen members of launch crews have been fired, an unprecedented action in its scope……
As I’ve done for, oh, the past thirty years, in numeous articles and three books, this is where I remind readers that the US still has a first-strike nuclear policy, and thousands of nuclear weapons, more than two decades after the end of the Cold War—and that we have used nuclear weapons before, setting (and for most Americans, defending) a precedent.
Greg Mitchell’s new book is “Hollywood Bomb.” His previous books on this subject were “Atomic Cover-up” and, with Robert Jay Lifton, “Hiroshima in America.”
The New York Times is again pushing for war in the Middle East, while McClatchy news outlets are again advising caution, Greg Mitchell writes. http://www.thenation.com/blog/174272/overlooked-story-week-rot-and-crisis-nuclear-missile-launch-crews#
No, Iran does not posses nuclear weapons, The Spectator, Peter Oborne 1 May 2013 “…… two weeks ago I published a book, co-authored with David Morrison, A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran. Since then my co-author and I have been subject to a series of misrepresentations and innuendo on a scale and (in some cases) virulence that I have never encountered before…….
not one of our critics have even tried to deal with the central, factual points of our short book: that Iran isn’t in possession of nuclear weapons and isn’t building them; that the US and Israeli intelligence agencies don’t think they are; that Iran is entitled under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop peaceful nuclear power; that in 2005 it put proposals on the table to do this under full international scrutiny (including co-ownership).
We acknowledge that Iran’s human rights record – as Geoffrey Robertson has graphically portrayed in his recent book – is dreadful. We view President Ahmadinejad’s denials of the Holocaust as utterly odious. However, to judge Iran by Ahmadinejad alone would be a mistake. He steps down in a few weeks, and in any case the final decision on nuclear matters lies with the Supreme Leader, who has repeatedly denounced nuclear weapons as forbidden under Islam. It is in the best interest of the west, let alone ordinary Iranians whose lives are being made miserable by sanctions, to engage with Iran pragmatically rather than carry on with the current policy of isolation.
In the wake of June’s elections we hope and believe that a solution satisfactory to all parties can be agreed. We passionately believe that the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate. However, if an agreement is to be reached, we in the west need to recognize that Iran – with all its faults – is an independent nation with legitimate interests, and is a fully signed up member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, with every right to enrich uranium.
We also need to be clear about the facts. This is why in our book we have attempted to expose the myths, falsehoods and delusions that surround this grave and troubling subject. There is an argument of massive importance to be engaged in here. If my critics wish to challenge me to open debate about the thesis of our book, I would be delighted to engage. They know how to get hold of me: any time, any place. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/peter-oborne/2013/05/no-iran-is-an-independent-nation-with-legitimate-interests-that-does-not-posses-nuclear-weapons/
Book ‘A Short History of Nuclear Folly’ and the lasting effects of the nuclear arms race Jacob Margolis with Michelle Lanz | Take Two | April 30th, 2013, Though Russia and the U.S. are working together when it comes to investigating the bombing suspects in Boston – their relationship wasn’t always so amicable. Even today we have our problems.
Back in the 1980s there was always the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction. Many people probably remember a time when, as schoolchildren, they were trained to hide under their wooden desks during nuclear blast drills. Had a blast actually happened they’d essentially be hiding under kindling, but that’s beside the point.
Before the threat of World War III, however, countries at the forefront of the nuclear arms race had to test these new weapons of mass destruction. The United States in particular tested weapons across the West, and radiation is still found in places like Nevada and Utah today. They treated Earth as their own nuclear testing playground, but that process could have a nasty effect on the environment.
In Rudolph Herzog’s new book, “A Short History of Nuclear Folly: Mad Scientists, Dithering Nazis, Lost Nukes and Catastrophic Cover-ups,” he traces the history of the nuclear race and what effects it has on the world today.
Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters Kate Brown http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199855765/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0199855765&linkCode=as2&tag=slatmaga-20 While many transnational histories of the nuclear arms race have been written, Kate Brown provides the first definitive account of the great plutonium disasters of the United States and the Soviet Union.
In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias–communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Fully employed and medically monitored, the residents of Richland and Ozersk enjoyed all the pleasures of consumer society, while nearby, migrants, prisoners, and soldiers were banned from plutopia–they lived in temporary “staging grounds” and often performed the most dangerous work at the plant.
Brown shows that the plants’ segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted. In four decades, the Hanford plant near Richland and the Maiak plant near Ozersk each issued at least 200 million curies of radioactive isotopes into the surrounding environment–equaling four Chernobyls–laying waste to hundreds of square miles and contaminating rivers, fields, forests, and food supplies.
Because of the decades of secrecy, downwind and downriver neighbors of the plutonium plants had difficulty proving what they suspected, that the rash of illnesses, cancers, and birth defects in their communities were caused by the plants’ radioactive emissions. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today.
Book: Hijackers had airplane in nosedive heading for U.S. nuclear reactor — “A very, very scary situation” -Energy Official http://enenews.com/book-hijackers-had-airplane-in-nosedive-heading-for-u-s-nuclear-reactor-a-very-very-scary-situation-energy-official
Title: The odd side of Oak Ridge history
Source: Knoxville News
Author: Frank Munger
Date: April 16, 2013
On the morning of Nov. 11, 1972, Oak Ridge stood still — or nearly so — while a hijacked Southern Airways jetliner circled above.
“It was a very, very scary situation,” Jim Alexander, a retired public affairs officer at the Department of Energy, recalled in a 2001 interview.
The hijackers threatened to crash the airplane into the Oak Ridge nuclear facilities if their demands, including $10 million in cash, were not met. [...]
The threat was real, according to a 1977 book, “The Odyssey of Terror.”
The author, Ed Blair, wrote that the hijackers went berserk after placing a call to the White House and being shunned by John Ehrlichman, an aide to President Nixon, who apparently was unaware of the crisis. Blair reported that the hijackers held a grenade to the pilot’s head and ordered him to dive the plane toward the Oak Ridge reactor. The plane was actually in a nosedive when a report came over the radio that the money demands were being met [...]
Lawyer’s second book chronicles missing nuclear bombs Seacoastonline, By Elizabeth Dinan March 01, 2013 PORTSMOUTH — After the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Portsmouth attorney Bob Shaines was living in the post-communist country as a U. S. Defense Department consultant when he learned that 50 Russian, 10-kiloton, suitcase-sized, plutonium bombs were unaccounted for.
“The bombs, he said, “were small enough to be transported by diplomatic pouch and designed to give the Soviets a potential retaliatory weapon in the event of a nuclear war by placing them at various sites in Western cities.”
The missing bombs, and efforts by a global task force to find them, lays the foundation for Shaines’ new book, “Secrets In A Time of Peace.” He calls the book a memoir, but says it’s fiction, though based on actual events, real people, and personal experiences from his time living in Russia between 1991 and 1996…… http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20130301-NEWS-130309984
On the uselessness of nuclear weapons Scientific American By Ashutosh Jogalekar | January 13, 2013 Two foundational beliefs have colored our views of nuclear weapons since the end of World War 2; one, that they were essential or at least very significant for ending the war, and two, that they have been and will continue to be linchpins of deterrence. These beliefs have, in one way or another, guided all our thinking about these mythic creations. Ward Wilson who is at the Monterey Institute of International Studies wants to demolish these and other myths about nukes in a new book titled “5 Myths about Nuclear Weapons“, and I have seen few volumes which deliver their message so effectively in such few words. Below are Wilson’s thoughts about the two dominant nuclear myths interspersed with a few of my own.
“Nuclear weapons were paramount in ending World War 2″.
This is where it all begins. Read more »
Book Review Podcast: The State of the Nuclear World, January 11, 2013, Arts Beat, By JOHN WILLIAMS This week in The New York Times Book Review, Bill Keller reviews three new books that address the current thinking about nuclear weapons. Mr. Keller writes:
Fear of nuclear weapons spiked for a time after 9/11, when we confronted the possibility of fissile material in the hands of stateless enemies, and you can find a reservoir of existential fear today in Israel, as it contemplates a nuclear Iran. The nuclear weapons of fragile Pakistan and inscrutable North Korea preoccupy large sectors of our intelligence community. But for most of us anxiety has given way to a kind of complacency. The longer we have gone without seeing nuclear weapons used, the more we assume they will not be used. Three new books challenge that complacency, from three different directions.
This week, Mr. Keller discusses those books…. http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/book-review-podcast-the-state-of-the-nuclear-world/
Character before knowledge, Online Opinion, by Noel Wauchope 10 Jan 13, ” Brighter than a Thousand Suns”, A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists, by Robert Jungk, was first published in 1956. “Why are we interested only in what scientists do, and not in what they are? ” This opening question informs Jungk’s entire book. Jungk conversed with many of the scientists of the early days of atomic research, and through until 1954. With the earliest conversations, Jungk was struck by ”the arbitrary and unnatural separation of scientific research from the reality of the individual personality”. To Jungk, it was this division that ”allowed the creation of such monstrosities as the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb”.
To this day, many nuclear scientists think of their work as purely mathematical and technical. The human results of nuclear weapons are none of their business. Others, especially after Hiroshima, suffered “their great crisis of conscience”……..
From then on, it was a rush to test the bomb, and then use it, before the Japanese surrendered. Three atomic bombs were built. The first – tested: if the test was a failure – it would be reported as a “girl” – if successful a “boy”.
For the second and third bombs, 67 Scientists petitioned the government to warn the Japanese first – a petition that was prevented by General Groves from reaching the White House. Enrico Fermi commented “Don’t bother me with your conscientious scruples! After all, the thing is superb physics!”
The $2 billion Manhattan Project would be seen as a senseless waste of money, if Japan surrendered. Truman authorised the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer explained later that his Interim Committee’s recommendation was “a technical opinion”.
The reactions of the scientists were conflicted……
Robert Jungk’s account of the men, and some women, too, who developed atomic weapons , is set against the background of the big events of the time, with a sympathetic attitude to the pressures and problems that surrounded these people.
From 1951 to 1955 the general attitude of atomic scientists was one of enthusiasm for the hydrogen bomb (1000 times more powerful than the first atomic bomb). Jungk muses on this: “How is one to explain such macabre enthusiasm which had swept away all the earlier scruples and objections to the Super monster?” http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14554
Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story
In six decades the story behind the birth of the atomic
age has lost none of fascination, in equal parts because the power of
the nucleus was immediately put to such horrific use, and because its
risks have still not been fully contained, in conflict or in peace.
While Australian journalist Paul Ham’s book “Hiroshima Nagasaki”
appears to offer nothing new as claimed, it’s an enlightening analysis
of those dangerous early years, drawn into a modern context….. In
the end he comes firmly down on the side of those who say the bombing
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was utterly without justification, and these
voices include many wartime generals. Japan was blockaded, its supply
lines strangled, meaning that the Allies didn’t even need to launch a
dreaded, costly invasion of the mainland, let alone unleash nuclear
now a recently published book sheds light on dozens of those workers, including their real names and numerous quotes, and an account by the plant’s heroic operations chief, Masao Yoshida, who has largely avoided giving interviews despite intense public interest in
his role in the saga.
Book reveals human drama in Fukushima No. 1 crisis http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121211f2.html#.UMf-ohGksug.twitter By KAZUAKI NAGATA, 12 Dec 12 Experts and journalists have written a number of reports, some even running several hundred pages, about the cause of the triple meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and the chain of events that followed.
Behind the scenes: “Shino Fuchi wo Mita Otoko” (“A Man Who Was on the Brink of Death”) interviews the people involved in battling the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011 and takes the rare step of using their real names. YOSHIAKI MIURA
But little has come to light about the human drama of how the plant workers who came to be dubbed the “Fukushima 50,” fought against incredible odds to avert catastrophic reactor explosions that would have led to the contamination of all eastern Japan. Read more »
Julian Assange’s book an exercise in dystopian musings WikiLeaks founder’s Cypherpunks warns tool he relies on and used to make his name is ‘global surveillance industry’ target Esther Addley guardian.co.uk, 26 November 2012 Julian Assange‘s new book is not a manifesto, he writes in its introduction – “There is no time for that”. Instead the short volume,entitledCypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet and published on Monday, is intended to be what the Wikileaks founder calls “a watchman’s shout in the night”, warning of an imminent threat to all civilisation from “the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen” – the web……
Fukushima should warn us off nuclear power, says eco-theologian http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=21443 By: Ellen Teague, November 15, 2012 Columban priest Sean McDonagh takes the view that nuclear power should not be seen as the solution to global warming. He will be saying as much next Thursday when he launches his latest book, ‘FUKUSHIMA: THE DEATH KNELL FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY?’ at Heythrop College in London. More emphasis on energy efficiency and the promotion of green energy is preferable to any expansion of nuclear power, says the eco-theologian. Read more »
Fukushima Daiichi Worker: “We’re looking at a Chernobyl-type situation, maybe worse” -Book http://enenews.com/fukushima-daiichi-worker-were-looking-at-a-chernobyl-type-situation-maybe-worse
November 4th, 2012
Title: Chapter 4: Meltdown
Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal
Authors: Lucy Birmingham and David McNeill
Date: November 5, 2012
Strong in the Rain, a new book co-authored by Japan Focus coordinator David McNeill and Lucy Birmingham, Time magazine’s Tokyo correspondent, tells the story of Japan’s 2001 [sic] triple disaster through the eyes of six ordinary Japanese people. [...] In this except from Chapter Four, [a maintenance worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant] Watanabe Kai (a pseudonym) and Mayor Sakurai Katsunobu begin to realize the full scale of the triple meltdown at the Daiichi plant and what it will mean for their lives.
[...] It was just after 3:00 pm. Kai and thousands of workers had been allowed to leave to check on their families. [...]
Trying to put together what happened at the refugee center in Iwaki, Kai feared the worst. The center was crowded with people from his town who sat fearful and transfixed in front of the TV, but few were as qualified as he was to imagine how bad this could get. A professor from the elite University of Tokyo was saying that there was no cause for alarm but it was obvious that there was no water in the reactors and that the fuel was melting. Why were they saying it isn’t melting down?, he wondered. We’re looking at a Chernobyl-type situation, maybe worse. Eventually, he thought, the evacuation area could stretch to 100km or perhaps 200 km. [...]
Still, as soon as he saw the explosion on March 12, he began waiting for a call from his company, asking him to save the plant and clean up the mess. [...]
The call came later, about a week after the crisis began. “We have to go back,” said Kai’s manager. He used a military term; “final battle orders.” [...]
Even if you don’t live in Japan, “Fresh Currents” has something profound to offer. As the Kyoto Journal’s Einarsen notes, “The writings in ‘Fresh Currents’ explore Japan’s path forward from Fukushima to a renewable energy future — and why this is important, wherever you live.”
“Fresh Currents” can be downloaded free. It is also available from good bookstores, priced ¥2,000. For more details, including news updates, visit:www.freshcurrents.org. Stephen Hesse is a professor in the Law Faculty of Chuo University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
‘Fresh Currents’ charts the way to, and from, Fukushima, Japan Times, 28 Oct 12, By STEPHEN HESSE This month’s column is about a book that is very much more than just a book: It is a work of art, a labor of love and a realizable dream of a better future for Japan…..
Japan has limited options regarding its energy future: To accept the status quo and the cronyism that taints its government-industry relations, leaving energy policy in the hands of those who prioritize political gain; or to pursue national energy security that puts a priority on safety and on sharing the costs and benefits, financial and technological, across all of the nation’s regions and residents.
In a nutshell, Japan can either remain nuclear, with all the dangers that portends for these islands perched on the Pacific Rim of Fire — or it can pursue policies that foster and reward dramatic increases in energy conservation and efficiency and the development of alternative energies that are safe and widely decentralized. Read more »
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