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‘All out-nuclear war:’ a warning from Daniel Ellsberg

‘All out-nuclear war:’ The man who leaked the Pentagon Papers that exposed government lies during the Vietnam War warns that the US is close to a nuclear Armageddon. 

Daniel Ellsberg revealed in new book that US is close to nuclear Armageddon 
Ellsberg, 86, leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1969 exposing government lies 
In his new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Ellsberg details how easy nuclear bombs can be triggered on a false alarm
He also revealed that Donald Trump isn’t the only one who can order the use of nuclear weapons, but lower-level military commanders can too  

By Reporter, 18 December 2017   The man who leaked the Pentagon Papers that exposed government lies in 1969 has now revealed how close America is to a nuclear Armageddon.

Daniel Ellsberg’s 7,000-page report was the WikiLeaks disclosure of its time, a sensational breach of government confidentiality that shook Richard Nixon’s presidency and prompted a Supreme Court fight that advanced press freedom.

Now Ellsberg, 86, is back to warn America that a nuclear Armageddon may be on the horizon in his new book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.

‘All out-nuclear war — an irreversible, unprecedented and almost unimaginable calamity for civilization and most life on earth — has been, like the disasters of Chernobyl, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, Fukushima Daiichi, and before these, World War I, a catastrophe waiting to happen, on a scale infinitely greater than any of these,’ writes Ellsberg in his new book. 

North Korea is trying to build a nuclear arsenal capable of attacking the US. This has heightened fears about Armageddon. The North has also released maps of its targets, as exemplified by the infamous photo, published in March 2013, that shows Kim Jong-un with a target map corresponding to cities and bases in the US mainland.

Last month, President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that allows the US to impose more sanctions and risks inflaming tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

North Korea then denounced Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling the move a ‘serious provocation and violent infringement’.

In November, a report by the think-tank European Commission of Foreign Relations revealed a list of 15 North Korean targets.Manhattan, Guam, Kyoto and Tokyo are all earmarked by the North.

However, the report claims the nuclear threat carried by North Korea is a preemptive one, meaning Kim Jong-un would only launch nuclear war if he thought his nation was in danger.

But Ellsberg believes nuclear bombs can be triggered on a false alarm.

Nuclear bombs ‘are susceptible to being triggered on a false alarm, a terrorist action, unauthorized launch or a desperate decision to escalate,’ Ellsberg wrote.

‘They would kill billions of humans, perhaps ending complex life on earth. This is true even though the Cold War that rationalized their existence and hair-trigger status — and their supposed necessity to national security — ended 30 years ago.’

Many US citizens believe that only Trump can order the use of nuclear weapons. But Trump isn’t the only military commander authorized to launch nuclear weapons, according to the New York Post.Lower-level military commanders can act on their own if the US comes under attack and the president can’t respond in time.

‘There has to be delegation of authority and capability to launch retaliatory strikes, not only to officials outside the Oval Office but outside Washington too,’ Ellsberg wrote.

According to Ellsberg, the US nuclear plans at the time provided for all-out war.

For example, if the Soviet Union launched nuclear bombs against the US, American military officials would strike both the Soviet Union and China, because of an assumption the two countries were allies who would fight together.

A Marine general briefed on the plan at a government meeting in 1960 said it was immoral to kill 300 million Chinese in a war they did not start, according to the Post. But the plan stood.

‘It was my passion to change it,’ Ellsberg writes.

And Ellsberg did help write a new plan that allowed for the possibility of a more limited nuclear war during the Kennedy administration.

The US also adopted ‘fail-safe’ systems that allow the president to recall nuclear bombers in the event the White House wants to cancel a strike order.

But a president could mistakenly launch as many as 800 weapons in less than 10 minutes, according to the Arms Control Association.

And those warheads on missiles can not be called back.

Trump has added to the fear in the past few months with his rhetoric on Twitter and during press conferences. ………‘The risk that one city will be destroyed by a single (perhaps terrorist) weapon in the next year or the next decade cannot, unfortunately, be reduced to zero,’ Ellsberg writes.

‘But the danger of near-extinction of humanity — a continuous possibility for the past 65 years — can be reduced to zero by dismantlement of most existing weapons in both the United States and Russia.’The Pentagon Papers were prepared near the end of Lyndon Johnson’s term by the Defense Department and private foreign policy analysts, and was leaked primarily by Ellsberg, in a brash act of defiance that stands as one of the most dramatic episodes of whistleblowing in US history.

At the time, Ellsberg, who is a former Marine, gave secret government documents about the Vietnam War to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Those documents showed that the Johnson, Kennedy and prior administrations had been escalating the conflict in Vietnam while misleading Congress, the public and allies.

His leak to the newspapers also serves as the plot of the upcoming movie, The Post, which stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks………


December 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea says that North Korea is in ‘final stages of nuclear weaponisation’

North Korea is in ‘final stages of nuclear weaponisation’, says South Korea, The Independent 16 Dec 2017, South Korea’s vice foreign minister issued an urgent plea about the threat from Pyongyang, warning the United Nations Security Council that North Korea was “in the final stages of nuclear weaponization”.

“It will fundamentally alter the security landscape in the region and beyond” if the North is able to equip a missile with a nuclear warhead, Cho Hyun warned.
In the past few months, North Korea has rattled the world with a series of weapons tests. It detonated a hydrogen bomb and has launched multiple ballistic missiles, saying after the latest firing that it now has the capability to attack the US mainland and had devised a missile capable of carrying “super-large heavy nuclear warhead”.

The late-November launch soared higher than any previous test, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said, and illustrated North Korea’s determination to build missiles that can “threaten everywhere in the world”.

Continuing to defy international warnings, a top North Korean official said escalating pressure from the global community shows America is “terrified” by North Korea‘s nuclear capabilities.

The nation’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, called a meeting of the UN Security Council a “desperate measure plotted by the US” in response to North Korea’s displays of military might.

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals this week about its approach to North Korea’s belligerence………

December 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA and South Korea run drills practising expedition to snatch nuclear weapons from North Korea

North Korea: US military practises snatching nuclear weapons from rogue state
THE US and South Korea take part in yet another show of force against North Korea while Russia and China conduct air defence drills in response to the growing threat of the rogue state.  WASHINGTON and Seoul conducted another military drill designed to combat the growing threat from North Korea for the second time this month.

The latest joint training operation practised infiltrating North Korea and removing nuclear weapons in the event of war.

According to South Korea news agency Yonhap the “Warrior Strike” exercise held at Camp Stanley involved hundreds of troops from both sides and ran from Tuesday to Friday.

Camp Stanley is an army camp located north of Seoul and has around 5000 soldiers.

The display comes as North Korea’s neighbours China and Russia also carried out an antimissile drill in Beijing last week. The joint five-day drill, which finished on Saturday, included servicemen from both militaries and was headed by top brass in the Russian and Chinese air force, Newsweek reported.

The latest joint exercise between Washington and Seoul follow joint aerial drills Vigilant Ace in South Korea earlier this month.

The five-day drill was meant to improve the allies’ wartime capabilities and preparedness, according to South Korea’s defence ministry said.

The exercises were slammed by North Korea which warned the drills will “precipitate their self-destruction.”

The Vigilant Ace exercises, which lasted five days, involved more than 230 warplanes and 12,000 soldiers from both sides.

United States troops also used the hi-tech F-35 Lightning IIs and F-22 Raptors.

South Korea is a key US ally in the region and relies on US military assistance for security against the North.

Troops from the two countries routinely train together, each time prompting outbursts from Pyongyang.

Meanwhile Russia warned against fresh preconditions for any potential US and North Korea talks. Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday warned of a risk of escalation after Washington toughened its stance on North Korea nuclear talks and US President Donald Trump accused Moscow of failing to help.

“It’s sad that this powerful element of demands for further pressure on Pyongyang has once again appeared in the American position,” he told RIA Novosti news agency.

“It’s high time to stop this race of threats, pressure, blackmail and presentation of preconditions and shift to a real search for a political solution.”

Mr Ryabkov said that both Pyongyang and Washington are now putting forward preconditions for talks and there is a “risk of uncontrolled escalation”.

His comments came one day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson backed away from an earlier offer of unconditional talks to end the stand-off with Pyongyang following White House pressure.

December 18, 2017 Posted by | South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A China warning – preparing northeastern province’s residents for a possible nuclear attack

Why Chinese province is warning citizens of nuclear war, Nikkei Asian REviewChina up close, Newspaper’s what-to-do list hints that Beijing is running out of options, KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer , December 18, 2017  TOKYO — A Chinese Communist Party newspaper in Jilin, a northeastern province on the border with North Korea, has published a full-page instructional package warning residents to prepare for a possible nuclear strike.

 The Dec. 6 splash on page 5 of the Jilin Daily titled “Knowledge about and protection from nuclear weapons,” has since reverberated across China. It tells readers how they can shelter themselves in case of a nuclear attack or radiation exposure…..

There is no explicit mention of North Korea on the page. However, two historical events involving Japan and the U.S. are discussed, giving readers valuable insight into the current security situation surrounding Jilin and other parts of China. Reading the package, it would be easy to conclude that a crisis is imminent…….

December 18, 2017 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea working on tunnels, preparing for another underground nuclear bomb test?

North Korea May Soon Test Another Nuclear Weapon (The Only Question Is Where), National Interest, Dave Majumdar, 17 Dec 17,North Korea continues to work on tunnels it used for nuclear test, despite recent tremors according to imagery analysis by the 38 North project at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. That might mean that North Korea might test and another nuclear weapon at some point in the not so distant future.

“Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that despite the continuation of small tremors near Mt. Mantap since North Korea’s last nuclear test, tunnel work at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site is still underway,” reads new analysis by 38 North’s Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu. “These efforts continue to be concentrated at the West Portal, leaving the North Portal—where the last five tests were conducted—mostly dormant and likely abandoned, at least for the time being.”

December 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another radioactively contaminated Russian town

The Russian Villagers Living In The Shadow Of A Nuclear Tragedy, Radio Free Europe, 16 Dec 17Ramil Mukhamedyarov looks out at the placid waters of the Techa River in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

He says for kids in Novoye Muslyumovo, a mostly ethnic Tatar village, it serves as the local swimming hole. Cattle often lap at its waters and graze near its banks.

It sounds idyllic, but there’s a problem. For decades, radioactive waste has been dumped or seeped into the Techa.

Nearby is the Mayak nuclear installation, one of the largest nuclear complexes in the world, now run by Russian state nuclear regulator and operator Rosatom to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. In 1957, a nuclear accident at Mayak contaminated 20,000 square kilometers and affected an estimated 270,000 people.

It was one of history’s worst obscure nuclear tragedies. Since Mayak was a “secret site” and nearby Chelyabinsk a “closed town,” Soviet authorities didn’t flinch. They initially released no details of what would become known as the Kyshtym disaster, named after the nearest town actually listed on maps.

It was only in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the scale of the disaster emerged. And only in 2009, more than a half-century after the incident, were residents of Muslyumovo — the village worst-hit by the spillage at Mayak — relocated.

Mukhamedyarov and his neighbors were given a choice: a new home or a 1 million-ruble (about $30,000 at the time) payout. Announced in the wake of a visit to the area by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the program was riddled with corruption, however. Many of those who opted for the cash never saw most of it, and those who picked alternative housing were relocated just 2 kilometers down the road in what would become Noveye, or New, Muslyumovo, still well within the contamination zone.

Nice On The Surface…

Compared to other Russian villages of similar size, Noveye Muslyumovo has its appeal. The roads are smooth and paved. The rows of nearly identical, red-roofed, clapboard houses are tidy and clean. There’s a new school and other facilities. A poultry-processing facility, despite the smell wafting from it, provides locals with jobs.

Plus, living in an irradiated zone means residents receive some additional benefits from the federal government. Villagers get 500 rubles a month ($8.50) a month for living there, plus another 400 rubles ($6.80) for medicines……

According to the antinuclear group Bellona, those living near the Techa River suffer cancer rates 3.6 times higher than the national average and birth defects 25 times more frequently than in other parts of the country.

Buried Accident

Eventually details of the accident in the Ural Mountains seeped out. In the early hours of September 29, 1957, a tank containing nuclear-weapons waste exploded on the grounds of the Mayak Chemical Combine, Russia’s primary spent-nuclear-fuel-reprocessing center.

The fallout affected more than 200 towns and villages and exposed more than 240,000 people, a small portion of whom were quietly evacuated over the subsequent two years, to radiation.

Rashida Fattahova, 83, lived in Muslyumovo at the time. “It was horrible. [Ethnic] Russians were resettled right away after the catastrophe, but not the Tatars,” she says of those early Soviet attempts to cope with the accident.

In 2009, Rosatom was given a leading role in relocating villagers from Muslyumovo. Heavy earth-moving equipment was used by Rosatom to raze the village, literally leaving no trace behind. Deep pits were dug. Homes and other articles were demolished and dumped into them before being covered with earth.

“All the things around the house were buried. It was horrible, [the pit] was so deep. I left many things there that were buried,” Fattahova says.

A field of fir trees was planted in its place, but never took root and died.

Not all villagers were given a choice. Lacking documents, some still live in what remains of “Old” Muslyumovo, as the largely empty tract of land is now called……….

For those “lucky” enough to be resettled in Noveye Muslyumovo, life is constantly impacted by Mayak.

Radioactive wastewater is still dumped into ponds around and connected to the Techa River.

Enduring Legacy Of Pollution, Death

Mayak was the suspected source of a mysterious spike in radioactivity in September in the air over the Ural Mountains, although plant officials denied any role.

Greenpeace said it found highly elevated strontium-90 levels in all nearby villages its activists visited.

Rosatom no longer acknowledges spewing radioactive waste into the Techa or its tributaries. It says waste is deposited in “special industrial ponds” or “objects of nuclear energy use.” Whether that waste is seeping into the Techa is something Rosatom doesn’t address.

A visit to Noveye Muslyumovo by correspondents from RFE/RL’s Idel.Reality stirs the interest of local police, who ask why they are photographing before requesting their documents.

After the encounter with police, one woman, Nailya, pursues the reporters to tell them her story.

Unlike some who may be wary of making such remarks for fear of reprisals from local officials, she speaks openly about allegedly elevated risks of cancer. “People here die, several die a week. Most from tumors. Cancer. Edik was 42. Salavat 52. Just on this street, so many young people have died,” Nailya says…

December 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

International concern over Japan’s super expensive nuclear reprocessing project

Japan’s MOX program faces tough questions as recycling costs balloon for spent atomic fuel, DEC 17, 2017, Kyodo

 Japan is the only non-nuclear weapons state in the world that still engaged in a commercial spent-fuel reprocessing program. While it struggles to keep its nuclear power program sustainable by burning the recycled hybrid fuel called mixed oxide, or MOX, this has resulted in a stockpile of nearly 50 tons of plutonium.This stockpile, which can be used to make nuclear weapons, has caused international concern.

The MOX fuel is produced by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and reusing the extracted plutonium and uranium as fresh fuel. Japan’s utilities send their spent nuclear fuel to France for reprocessing. The problem is that only a few reactors in Japan are currently using MOX.

According to data from the Finance Ministry and other sources, the price of one MOX fuel unit imported in 1999 by Tokyo Electric (now Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.) was ¥230 million ($2 million).

The price of the recycled fuel that Kansai Electric Power Co. bought in September 2016, however, exceeded ¥1 billion.

While power firms do not disclose MOX costs, sources familiar with the fuel recycling business said the price includes the cost of transport, private security and insurance.

With many nuclear plants shut due to the safety concerns raised by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, only three plants — two Kansai Electric reactors and one Shikoku Electric Power Co. reactor — now use MOX in the so-called pluthermal power generation program.

Since the pluthermal project is the only way for the nation to consume its plutonium stockpile, it has declined only slightly since the three reactors were started.






December 18, 2017 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Cyclotrons now produce medical isotopes including Technetium-99m: no need for nuclear reactors

Significant Growth Foreseen by Medical Cyclotron Market During 2017-2027, 

Medical cyclotron is a machine used in the medical imaging and research field to make relatively short lived radioisotopes. Cyclotron is a particle accelerator. It is an electrically powered machine that produces a beam of charged that is then further used in medical, industrial and research processes. A cyclotron machine takes the hybrid atom (these are hydrogen that make up water except they have a negative charge) and accelerate it to very high speed. When this procedure has enough energy, the energy is spent into a target where the reaction is taken.

The new element that is produced with the strike of positive ion and neutron is radioactive element that is used for the treatment in medical research. The major isotope that is used for the cyclotron is fluorine-18. Its ability to decay itself to produce positrons, which is used around the world for Positron Emission Tomography and PET scans.

PET scans are used for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. With the product obtained from a cyclotron, we can produce a wide variety of isotopes of our interest for medical imaging such as iodine-123, Technetium-99m and Gallium-67.

The advantage of using cyclotron rather than buying isotopes for medical application is that as the isotopes have short half-life period. By the time an isotope reaches its destination it covers its half-life.

However, by having a cyclotron in the medical facility it not only reduces the cost but also, increase the number of scans to the patients in a given day. The medical facility that used cyclotron is required to be built with extensive safety such as multiple levels of shielding, monitoring and protection to ensure safe operations…….

December 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

America has only one nuclear power plant in construction, and its future is doubtful

The fate of America’s only nuclear plant under construction will be decided Thursday, Washington Examiner, by Josh Siegel |  The Georgia Public Service Commission on Thursday is set to decide the fate of Plant Vogtle, the only nuclear reactor under construction in the U.S., which is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

At Thursday’s hearing, a commission made of five elected officials, all Republicans, will vote on whether to permit Georgia Power’s new plan for the project, which includes an updated cost projection and construction timeline, or to cancel it.

 Georgia Power is estimating $12.2 billion in costs for its 45.7 percent share of the project, and for the reactors to be producing electricity by 2021 or 2022.

This cost estimate is nearly double the company’s original projection, and the timeline is five years behind schedule. The cost of the project for Georgia Power and its co-owners exceeds $20 billion.

The commission’s decision will come days after the embattled nuclear industry learned that House and Senate Republicans as part of a tax reform package would not grant the extension of a key tax credit for new nuclear production that could have benefited the Southern Co. plant…….

The public power companies building the plant have asked the Public Service Commission to allow Georgia Power to recoup Vogtle’s new costs from customers. But commission staff filed a document this month arguing that customers would incur too high of a cost to justify the economics of the project.

“Assuming the project is completed, ratepayers would incur significantly higher revenue requirements and a reduced economic benefit while the company’s profits would increase,” wrote PSC staff consultants Phil Hayet and Lane Kollen, and Tom Newsome, the PSC staff’s utilities finance director.

Kurt Ebersbach, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Atlanta, who is advocating the commission oppose the plan, said the company’s expectations are unfair to ratepayers.

“It’s a very lopsided, heavy-handed proposal for Georgia Power to say we want the commission to approve a revised cost schedule and additional years of delay, in addition to assurances we will recover every last penny from customers,” Ebersbach told the Washington Examiner. “It’s unreasonable.”……..

December 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Australia claims world first: fully solar-powered train

World-first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions, ABC North Coast , By Bruce Mackenzie, 17  Dec 17,  What is claimed to be the world’s first fully solar-powered train is operating on the New South Wales North Coast.

A refurbished 70-year-old ‘red rattler’ is running on a three-kilometre stretch of disused rail line at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay.

It made its maiden trip yesterday with almost 100 passengers on board.

Electric bus solar system

The $4-million project is the brainchild of multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, who owns a resort in the area.

“Hopefully it attracts people to Byron Bay,” Mr Flannery said.

“I think international tourists will come here to have a look at this world’s first solar train.

“So let’s see, in five years’ time they’ll probably still say I’m mad, but it’s a bit of fun.”

Tim Elderton, from the Lithgow Railway Workshop, was tasked with building curved solar panels and a battery system to power the train.

“Of course the major difference is it’s got solar panels on the roof so it can recharge itself.

“For those cloudy days we’ve also got 30 kilowatts of solar panels in this [station’s] roof here so we can also plug it in.

“On a sunny day like today we can do about four or five trips before we have to plug it in.”……..

Tram infrastructure a possibility

Longer trips than this one — 10 minutes to cover three kilometres or so — would require regular recharging stations along the route, but Mr Flannery said the technology might be suited to inner-city trams.

A lot of the tram networks of course have overhead wires and they’re electric but they’re powered off the grid from overhead,” he said.

“But in a case where you want to build a tramline without that infrastructure, I think you could.

“At various stations you could top the train [or tram] up.”

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes, decentralised, energy storage | Leave a comment

Should the Pew Charitable Trusts be funding a Climate Denial Group?

Why Has One of the World’s Biggest Funders of Environmental Conservation Also Given $4 Million to a Climate Denial Group? deSmog Blog By Graham Readfearn • Thursday, December 14, 2017 The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the world’s biggest funders of environmental conservation groups, has given almost $5 million since 2011 to an organization that rejects the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is dangerous, DeSmog has found.

Between 2011 and 2015, financial returns show the Pew Charitable Trusts gave $4.7 million to the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), while giving millions more to dozens of worthy conservation causes.

Kathleen Hartnett White, who is President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, heads TPPF’s Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment.

Hartnett White, who hopes to chair the influential federal council, also rejects the science linking fossil fuel burning to dangerous climate change.

Some of the groups that have received major grants from Pew have been outspoken in their criticisms of Hartnett White, describing her as a “climate change denier” who was unfit for the role. The Pew Charitable Trusts confirmed the grants, but said they were unrelated to work on climate change.

Senate Democrats are accusing Hartnett White of plagiarizing her responses to questions from the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Hartnett White was unable to answer basic questions about climate change during her nomination hearing.

Backing Texas Public Policy Foundation

In December 2016, TPPF co-hosted an energy summit where it gave a platform to several well-known climate science deniers.

Among them was Professor William Happer, who has said the “demonization of CO2 … really differs little from the Nazi persecution of the Jews.”

The TPPF was one of many conservative think tanks to have advocated for President Trump to leave the United Nations Paris agreement on climate change.

Hartnett White is also a member of the CO2 Coalition — a climate science denial group that claims adding CO2 to the atmosphere will be beneficial. She wrote a “study” into the “moral case for fossil fuels.”……..

December 18, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment