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Tulsi Gabbard dares to challenge Washington’s war machine

The former presidential candidate has shown that opposing regime-change policies is the one taboo that the ruling class won’t tolerate,, Tony Cox, a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. 15 Oct 22,

Tulsi Gabbard’s rapid transformation from rising Democratic star to demonized outcast –  culminating this week with her decision to leave the party – has exposed the one thing on which every powerful person in Washington can agree: war is good.

It’s the one thing, in fact, that everyone must agree on, if they expect to attain any power and have a long and prosperous career in American politics. Those who don’t will be kept on the fringes, at best. If they speak out too effectively, they’ll be branded a traitor. As former congressman Ron Paul and his son, Senator Rand Paul, have proved, they’ll never be taken seriously as a presidential candidate and won’t be allowed to contest, regardless of how many debates they win. 

Gabbard has illustrated this reality better than anyone. Consider how much she brought to the table when she entered Congress in 2013, how touted she was as the next big thing, then look at how seemingly little it took for her to be essentially excommunicated. Her fall from grace was astonishingly quick, and illuminating.

Then just 31, she came from one of the most reliably blue states, Hawaii, as the youngest lawmaker to ever represent her district. She’s non-white. In fact, she checked a couple of those identitarian boxes that the Democrats love so much, becoming the first Hindu member and the first Samoan-American voting member of Congress. She’s a war veteran. She’s articulate and comes across as a person who passionately believes in what she’s saying.

……………………………. CNN and other legacy media outlets began fawning over Gabbard as the “next superstar” and “the one to watch.” MSNBC suggested that Hollywood might want to make a movie about her, and CNN commentator Ana Navarro quipped, “I don’t know, but in a battle, I want her in my trench.” 

……………………………….. When Gabbard ran for president in the 2020 race, she brought her anti-war message to the primary debates

…………. With the media portraying her as an anti-LGBTQ bigot and a “Russian asset,” Gabbard’s career in Congress was also soon to end. She chose not to seek re-election …………

However, Gabbard continued to speak out against warmongering, especially after Russia began its military offensive against Ukraine in February, triggering rebukes from Democrats and Republicans alike. She became even more of a political pariah when she warned that Biden’s policy of fighting a proxy war against Russia was pushing Americans closer to nuclear disaster. After she raised concern about claims of US-funded biolabs in Ukraine, Senator Mitt Romney accused her of spouting “treasonous lies.”…………………..

 Gabbard’s effectiveness as a communicator makes her dangerous to the war machine. She makes clear that US policies have nothing to do with the real security and economic interests of the American people.

“We have too many people in Washington who are warmongers, subservient to the military industrial complex, and continuing to put their own selfish interests and the interests of their donors first, with no mind for the cost and consequence that their decisions have on the American people,” she said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

“That’s exactly what we’re seeing right now with President Biden and leaders in Congress, whose decisions are actively pushing us to the brink of a nuclear holocaust, of which they may have their bunkers where they’ll be safe, but we the American people will have no shelter, no place to go, no place to hide, and face the consequences that could destroy all of humanity and the world as we know it.”


October 16, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | 4 Comments

Ukraine Rises from Near Zero to Major Recipient of US Arms

regardless of the outcome of the conflict itself, the military contractors win. The Defense Department has already started ordering replacements for some of the weapons shipped to Ukraine. US weapons manufacturers are profiting from what appears to be an open-ended commitment to supply Ukrainian forces.

without an indication of when real peace negotiations will take place, the seemingly unending flow of weapons from the United States is likely to continue and US defense contractors will continue to increase their profits. At the same time, though, the risks of these transfers also increase as the quantity of weapons transferred grows,”

by Thalif Deen, UNITED NATIONS, Oct 14 2022 (IPS) – The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has resulted in a never-ending flow of arms to the battle-scarred country— elevating the besieged nation to the ranks of one of the major recipients of US weapons and American security assistance.

As of last week, the US has provided a hefty $17.5 billion in arms and military assistance to Ukraine.

The five biggest arms buyers from the US during 2017-2021 were Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 23.4 percent of all US arms exports –followed by Australia 9.4 percent, South Korea 6.8 percent, Japan 6.7 percent and Qatar 5.4 percent.

The figure for Ukraine during the same period was 0.1 percent, according to the latest statistics released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

But this measly figure is expected to skyrocket in 2022, judging by the uninterrupted flow of American weapons.

In a statement to reporters October 4, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said pursuant to a delegation of authority from the President, “I am authorizing our 22nd drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.”

This $625 million drawdown, he said, includes additional arms, munitions, and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories.

This drawdown will bring the total U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to more than $17.5 billion since the beginning of the Biden Administration in January 2021.

Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher, Arms Transfers Programme at SIPRI, told IPS arms supplies to Ukraine were very small compared to those of the top-15 recipients of US arms.

This will change in 2022 as Ukraine has received major weapon systems from the US, such as 20 HIMARS long range rocket launchers, close to 1000 older model used light armoured vehicles, radars and 142 M-777 towed guns, he said.

“These are most valuable systems per item which Ukraine has received from the US, but the numbers involved and the military or financial value of these weapons are modest compared to what certain other countries have received in major systems in recent years.”

He pointed out that Ukraine has not received other items that per piece or especially valuable such as modern tanks, combat aircraft, major ships and long-range air defense systems.

Dr. Natalie J. Goldring, a Visiting Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, told IPS these weapons transfers entail numerous risks.

One significant risk is that the weapons will be captured by Russian forces and potentially used against Western forces. Another is that weapons that remain when the conflict ends will be transferred to other areas of conflict, she warned.

One of the nightmare scenarios, she pointed out, is US weapons being used against US forces. Transferring vast quantities of weapons in such a short period of time increases this risk by making it more difficult to ensure accountability and prevent diversion of the weapons.

Perhaps the largest risk, she said, “is that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not accept the argument that these weapons are only being supplied to help Ukraine defend itself, particularly if we’re supplying weapons that can attack targets inside Russia.”

That may lead to an escalation and expansion of the conflict, and would likely produce even more threats of nuclear weapons use than President Putin has already made she noted.

“Escalating threats in turn increase the risk of actual use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or through accident or miscalculation”, said Dr Goldring, who also represents the Acronym Institute at the United Nations, on conventional weapons and arms trade issues.

In the end, she argued, regardless of the outcome of the conflict itself, the military contractors win. The Defense Department has already started ordering replacements for some of the weapons shipped to Ukraine. US weapons manufacturers are profiting from what appears to be an open-ended commitment to supply Ukrainian forces.

…………………………. without an indication of when real peace negotiations will take place, the seemingly unending flow of weapons from the United States is likely to continue and US defense contractors will continue to increase their profits. At the same time, though, the risks of these transfers also increase as the quantity of weapons transferred grows,” she declared………………………………….. more

October 16, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

60 years of luck -why did the nuclear arms race escalate?

Why didn’t the Cuban Missile Crisis save us?

60 years of luck — Beyond Nuclear International By Linda Pentz Gunter
When you are a medical professional, relying on luck is not the preferred option. But for 87-year old retired radiologist, Dr. Murray Watnick, there are some circumstances when, if luck comes your way, you readily embrace it.
One such moment was the Cuban Missile Crisis, 13 tense days in October 1962, now being remembered 60 years on. Watnick was serving as a medical officer at the time, assigned to the US Strategic Air Command base at High Wycombe in the UK, headquarters base for the 7th Air Division and also home to a “nuclear bunker”.
The Cuban Missile Crisis is still believed, today, to be the closest the world ever came to nuclear war between two superpowers.

 It lasted from October 16-28, 1962, although officially it was finally resolved on November 20. The phrase, ‘thirteen days in October’, remains synonymous with our narrowest of escapes from a nuclear apocalypse.

“We were on edge for 13 days,” recounted Watnick in a conversation last month as he recalled the rising tension among troops when the base was placed on DEFCON 2, the highest alert level before all-out war. 

“Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and war was averted,” he said. “We were very lucky to have Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy in charge. Theirs were measured responses and a careful analysis of the situation.”

That measured response included a letter written by Khrushchev to President Kennedy on October 26, 1962 that is hard to imagine being replicated today. In part, it said: 

“Mr. President, we and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose.

“Consequently, if there is no intention to tighten that knot and thereby to doom the world to the catastrophe of thermonuclear war, then let us not only relax the forces pulling on the ends of the rope, let us take measures to untie that knot. We are ready for this.”

And yet, despite that realization as the bullet of Armageddon was dodged, the Cold War continued and the nuclear arms race between the two super powers escalated to obscene heights. There was a failure to recognize then, and still now, that nuclear weapons are a madness and we need to get rid of them completely. Instead, the world’s collective atomic arsenal ballooned to a high of more than 64,000 by the late 1980s.

Part of the problem, contends Watnick, was once again one of leadership. He recalled a conversation with Dr. Helen Caldicott as she recounted her December 1982 meeting with then US president, Ronald Reagan. Watnick remembered Caldicott telling him how Reagan “was very uneducated about nuclear weapons,” and that “he believed that if you sent a missile towards Russia it could be called back.” 

Caldicott, a pediatrician, activist, author and leading light in the nuclear weapons abolition movement, had been invited to the meeting by the president’s activist daughter, Patti Davis. And Caldicott was indeed shocked by Reagan’s profound level of ignorance:

“I wanted to talk to him about the medical effects of nuclear war. He was not interested. He just wanted to talk about numbers of missiles,” Caldicott recounted in a later talk. “I was really shocked to find that everything he said to me was factually inaccurate. To give you an indication of his lack of knowledge, he said he thought submarine-launched ballistic missiles were recallable after they were launched. That’s analogous to recalling a bullet once you’ve shot it from a gun.”

As Caldicott concluded, Reagan “had no background knowledge to debate any point with me at all.”

Perhaps not uncoincidentally, however, what eventually followed was the famous meeting between the US president and then Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik in Iceland. That summit, on October 11 and 12, 1986, occurred almost exactly 24 years after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Once again, an opportunity for full nuclear disarmament was lost. While Gorbachev wanted to ban all ballistic missiles, Reagan clung on to his misguided obsession with the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as “Star Wars.” 

Nevertheless, points out Watnick, the Iceland summit still led to the signing, one year later by the US and the Soviet Union, of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and eventually, under subsequent US and Russian administrations, to START.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Dr. Caldicott,” Watnick said. “I think she started the educational process for Ronald Reagan.”

Today there are estimated to be around 13,000 nuclear warheads in the world, with Russia and the United States still in possession of the vast majority (approximately 6,257 and 5,550 respectively).

That’s still 13,000 too many, of course. And once again, averting disaster relies on luck.

“With so many nuclear devices in the world, the law of statistics dictates that these types of events will occur,” said Watnick, reflecting on the narrow escape in Cuba 60 years ago. “Lady Luck intervened,” he said. “Who can predict that this will be the situation for future events?”

Who, indeed.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | history, politics international, Women | Leave a comment

Vasily Arkhipov saved the world — Beyond Nuclear International

Russian refused a nuclear launch during Cuban Missile Crisis

Vasily Arkhipov saved the world — Beyond Nuclear International

Sixty years ago the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted and nuclear war came close

By Angelo Baracca 16 Oct 22,

On October 14, 1962, a U.S. U-2 spy plane flying over Cuba revealed that the Soviet Union was building ramps for the installation of missiles with nuclear warheads. President Kennedy immediately ordered a naval blockade of Cuba. The most serious crisis since the beginning of the Cold War began: for thirteen, endless, days the Soviet Union and the United States faced off against one another, coming close to war. The whole world waited with bated breath. And indeed, not only did we get close to World War III, but also to nuclear Armageddon! The reason that none of this came to pass was the cool-headedness of a Soviet captain, Vasily Arkhipov (and “perhaps” also, quite independently, of his American counterpart, William Bassett, although we have only a posthumous testimony).

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, comparisons have been made from many quarters with that crisis 60 years ago: indeed there are not only a few commonalities, but also many points of difference. History is a great teacher, in fact it is the only guide we have for the present, but it is necessary to put it in context.

At that time, 15 years after the end of World War II (and the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), there was no international agreement on arms control, much less on the nuclear arsenals that were becoming the focus of military confrontation between the two blocs. By about 1960, the U.S. had about 30,000 nuclear warheads, the USSR about 5,000, enough for total devastation: intercontinental missiles were in their infancy, and the USSR had only about 20 capable of reaching U.S. territory. Britain built their bomb in 1952; France in 1960 (in collaboration with Israel); China did not reach that point until 1964………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

another aspect to consider in assessing Washington’s behaviour back in 1962. Throughout the crisis, from October 14 to 28, the U.S. General Staff insisted on military action to eliminate the missile ramps before they became operational: little did they know that there were already 140 Soviet nuclear warheads in Cuba!…………………………………………………………………………………….

It was on that fateful day on October 27, 1962, that a U.S. naval team spotted the B-59 submarine in international waters and began an all-out hunt to force it to surface. Tensions on board were sky-high. The Arctic Fleet’s submarine ventilation system malfunctioned in the Atlantic; the temperature inside the submarine rose to 45-50 degrees. Carbon dioxide levels also rose; the crew (78 members) were hardly able to breathe.

It was impossible to contact Moscow, and under pursuit of the Americans, the captain of the B-59, Savitsky, was convinced that war had broken out. He didn’t want to sink without a fight, so he decided to launch a nuclear warhead at the aircraft carrier. We will die too, but we will take them with us. The political officer agreed with the captain, but on the flagship B-59, Arkhipov’s consent was also needed; World War III, nuclear war, hung on his decision. And Arkhipov objected to, reasoned with and convinced the commander.

On October 27, the crisis was at its height. A U.S. U-2 spy plane was shot down over Cuba and another, over Russia, was almost intercepted. Kennedy negotiated for the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise not to invade the island again (as the U.S. had done a year earlier by organizing the landing of Cuban counterrevolutionaries at the Bay of Pigs). The Soviet freighters turned back and on October 28 Khrushchev announced that he had ordered the removal of the missiles from Cuba.

Arkhipov convinced Commander Savitsky to surface the B-59; he refused U.S. fighter assistance and headed for Russia. His mission had failed.

Arkhipov continued to serve in the Soviet Navy; his role in having saved the world remaining unknown until shortly before his death in 1998 at age 72. His wife Olga recounted a few years later, “I was and always will be proud of my husband. He is the man who saved the world.” October 27 should be proclaimed Arkhipov day!

But there is another not insignificant aspect of the affair that became known only 50 years later. I pointed out that the deployment of nuclear missiles in foreign territories by Washington was being carried out secretly: and so they had also done in 1961 in Japan, in Okinawa, which Khrushchev clearly suspected, although their range could hit parts of China and not the USSR.

The Kennedy Tapes revealed that this was unknown to President Kennedy himself, elected in January 1961, and he was informed of it just as the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted. In any case, in his televised address on Oct. 22, 1962, a week after the crisis broke out, Kennedy had the impudence to say, “Our strategic missiles have never been transferred to the territory of another nation under a cloak of secrecy and deception.”

So it was not until 2015 that a testimony emerged from a serviceman named Bordne, serving in Okinawa, that on that very fateful night of October 27, his superior, William Bassett (deceased in 2011), received an order to launch the nuclear missiles, but he sensed something wrong in that order, stalled, asked for clarification, insisted twice, and finally received the counter order; stop everything!

So today we can tell this story. And it is very appropriate to remember it because things are no longer like that. With the objective of avoiding “human error” there has been a tendency to entrust nuclear weapons’ control to automation. The crucial problem is error, the high rate of false positives in predicting rare events. Unfortunately, the decision made by a machine will be irrevocable! Not only can machines make mistakes, but they can also be fooled by false signals. An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists last January commented, “If artificial intelligence controlled nuclear weapons we might all be dead!”

Today there can no longer be a man who has the authority, and the responsibility, to verify and contradict a nuclear alert, as even Colonel Stanislav Petrov did on 26 September 1983.

The parallel between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the resurgence of the nuclear nightmare is certainly evocative, but inadequate. With the 1962 agreement to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba, the U.S. granted in return something of fundamental importance to military balance: later on, in order to conceal the connection with the agreement reached with Moscow that October 28, 1962, the U.S. withdrew their missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy.

In recent years security in Europe has been compromised by NATO’s eastward extension: what concession could the US offer to restore it?

The parallel between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the resurgence of the nuclear nightmare is certainly evocative, but inadequate. With the 1962 agreement to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba, the U.S. granted in return something of fundamental importance to military balance: later on, in order to conceal the connection with the agreement reached with Moscow that October 28, 1962, the U.S. withdrew their missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy.

In recent years security in Europe has been compromised by NATO’s eastward extension: what concession could the US offer to restore it?

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The misconception about Putin’s big red nuclear button

Spectator, Mark Galeotti, 16 Oct 22, There is a common misconception that the leaders of nuclear states have a ‘red button’ that can unleash Armageddon. As Vladimir Putin continues to hint at the use of non-strategic (‘tactical’) nuclear weapons in Ukraine, there is some comfort in the knowledge that it is not so easy.

Ironically, launching the kind of strategic nuclear missiles whose use would likely spiral into global destruction is somewhat easier than deploying the smaller weapons which – however vastly unlikely – could conceivably be used in Ukraine. These lower-yield warheads would need to be reconditioned in one of the 12 ‘Object S’ arsenals across Russia holding them, and then transported to one of 34 ‘base-level storage depots’. From there they would need to be loaded onto a bomber or mated onto a suitable other delivery system.

Given that Russia has not even used them since 1990, no one knows for sure what state they would be in, and likely no one still in service has any practical experience. There would presumably be a group of wary engineers gingerly thumbing their way through faded instruction manuals long before Putin could even give a fire order.

If he ever did, though, the process is mercifully much more complex that simply mashing a button in a moment of pique. Like his US counterpart, Putin is accompanied everywhere by an aide carrying the ‘nuclear briefcase’. Called the Cheget, this actually contains special communications gear that is used to issue and authenticate the president’s orders relating to a nuclear launch.

Chegets, which connect to the Kazbek nuclear command and control network. Were Putin so minded, his aide would activate his Cheget, and he would issue an encrypted launch command, which would be transmitted to them. Although there are protocols to deal with the theoretical possibility that both were out of action, such as if there had already been some decapitating strike against the High Command, generally at least one of the other two would need to validate the command.

Then, the approved order goes to the General Staff, which issues authorisation codes and targeting details. This would usually happen through the Strategic Rocket Forces’ command bunker at Kuntsevo, west of Moscow, or else the backup one at Kosvirsky in the Ural Mountains.

Again, in extremis, the command staff in the bunkers could launch without the command codes, had the General Staff also been eliminated……………………

This may all sound rather cumbersome. It is, and deliberately so, both to make absolutely sure that any commands really have come from the president, and to introduce some friction and delay into the process………………………..

What this also means is that were Putin somehow to go full Dr Strangelove, there are many other human beings in the chain of command. …………………

 One of the secrets of command is never to give an order likely to be disobeyed. For Putin, it would be the beginning of the end, and he must know it.

However brutal Putin’s regime may be, this is not Stalinism. Although the Federal Security Service’s Military Counterintelligence Directorate is more concerned with watching the generals than hunting foreign spies, there are no hard-eyed political commissars waiting to put a bullet in the back of any officer’s head who disobeys an order. And that should be a comfort in these uncomfortable times.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Reference, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protests in 40+ US Cities Demand De-escalation as Poll Shows Surging Fear of Nuclear War

“Anyone paying attention should be worried about the rising dangers of nuclear war, but what we really need is action,” said one organizer.

Common Dreama, JULIA CONLEY, October 14, 2022,

As new polling showed this week that Americans’ fear of nuclear war has steadily grown since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, anti-nuclear campaigners on Friday called on federal lawmakers to take action to mitigate those fears and ensure the U.S. is doing all it can to deescalate tensions with other nuclear powers.

Anti-war groups including Peace Action and RootsAction organized picket lines at the offices of U.S. senators and representatives in more than 40 cities across 20 states, calling on lawmakers to push for a ceasefire in Ukraine, the revival of anti-nuclear treaties the U.S. has exited in recent years, and other legislative actions to prevent nuclear catastrophe.

“Anyone paying attention should be worried about the rising dangers of nuclear war, but what we really need is action,” Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction, told Common Dreams. “Picket lines at so many congressional offices across the country convey that more and more constituents are fed up with the timidity of elected officials, who’ve refused to acknowledge the extent of the current grave dangers of nuclear war, much less speak out and take action to mitigate those dangers.”

The most recent polling released by Reuters/Ipsos on Monday showed that 58% of Americans fear the U.S. is headed toward nuclear war.

……………….. “The level of anxiety is something that I haven’t seen since the Cuban missile crisis,” Peter Kuznick, a history professor and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, told The Hill. “And that was short-lived. This has gone on for months now.”

Campaigners at “Defuse Nuclear War” picket lines on Friday called on members of Congress to allay those concerns by:

  • Adopting a “no first use” policy regarding nuclear weapons, to restrict when the president of the United States can consider a nuclear strike and signal that the weapons are for deterrence rather than the fighting of wars;
  • Pushing for the U.S. to reenter the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which it withdrew from in 2002, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which it left in in 2019;
  • Passing H.R. 1185, which calls on the president “to embrace the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of U.S. national security policy;”
  • Redirecting military spending, which makes up half the country’s discretionary budget, to ensure Americans have “adequate healthcare, education, housing, and other basic needs” and that the U.S. is taking far-reaching climate action; and
  • Pushing the Biden administration to take nuclear weapons off “hair-trigger alert,” which enables their rapid launch and “increases the chance of a launch in response to a false alarm,” according to Defuse Nuclear War organizers.

…………………………… In addition to Friday’s pickets, campaigners are organizing a Day of Action on Sunday, with supporters holding demonstrations, handing out fliers, and prominently displaying banners calling for a deescalation of the nuclear threat.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

West prepping nuclear crisis plans – UK media

Officials are reportedly looking for ways to avert “chaos” at home in case of a nuclear event. 16 Oct 22,

Western governments are drawing up plans to avoid panic among their citizens should a nuclear weapon be used in Ukraine, two major UK media outlets have reported.

The alleged preparations come as NATO officials are fueling speculation about the possibility, and issuing repeated warnings that Moscow would face “severe consequences” if it deployed the bomb.

Asked whether options and crisis plans were in place to address the aftermath of a nuclear detonation in Eastern Europe, an unnamed Western official confirmed that such plans were underway, according to reports in the Times and the Guardian.

“As you would expect, the government is conducting prudent planning for a range of possible scenarios of which that is one,” the official told reporters on Friday, referring to a nuclear strike.

While the official offered few other details about what those options would entail, the reports speculated that leaflets could be distributed to inform citizens “how to survive a nuclear attack” or to avoid panic buying.

What The Telegraph described as a “nuclear war of words” between Russia and the West started last month, after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed that Moscow would use “all the means” at its disposal if Russia’s territorial integrity was threatened. The statement was interpreted by the US and its allies as a “veiled threat” to deploy nuclear weapons during the conflict in Ukraine.

“Putin knows that if he uses a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, it will have severe consequences for Russia,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace similarly said on Thursday that “if Russia were to use a nuclear weapon, there would be severe consequences,” while scolding French President Emmanuel Macron for revealing too much when he said Paris would not respond with its own arsenal of nukes.

Around the same time, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that any nuclear attack against Ukraine would prompt a powerful answer from the West, which would see the Russian army “annihilated” – but also acknowledged it would not be a “nuclear answer.” 

US President Joe Biden warned that the conflict in Ukraine could lead to “Armageddon” during a Democratic fundraiser last week, adding that nuclear tensions were at their highest level since the peak of Cold War brinkmanship in the 1960s. Biden’s comments triggered some alarm among Americans, but were quickly followed by clarifications from the White House and the Pentagon that, in fact, there was no intelligence or indication that “Putin has either made a decision to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, or has done anything to get closer to that decision making process.” 

In the meantime, Poland – a major supplier of weapons to Kiev in its battle against Russian forces – has suggested that Washington expand its nuclear-sharing program and deploy warheads on its territory to serve as a deterrent against Moscow. President Andrzej Duda and deputy PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski have both floated the proposal in recent months.

Russian officials have repeatedly stated that a nuclear war should never be fought, while Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in August made it clear that Moscow is not considering a nuclear strike on Ukraine, given that there are no targets warranting such drastic measures.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France should pay for study on genetic impact of its Pacific nuclear tests

RNZ, 16 Oct 22, The French state should pay for a study on the genetic impact of its nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific, the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch says.

Fritch was responding to a renewed call by the opposition Tavini Huiraatira party to follow up on reports dating back to 2016 that radiation caused disabilities in the atolls near the blast zones.

The president confirmed that since 2017 there had been a budget allocation of $US17,000 for such a study but said after careful consideration he was of the view that it should be funded by the French state.

Fritch added that the opposition’s French National Assembly members could raise the matter in Paris.

In 2018, the former head of child psychiatry in Tahiti Dr Christian Sueur reported pervasive developmental disorders in areas close to the Morurua test site…………………

In his assessment, Sueur noted that of the 271 children he treated for pervasive developmental disorders, 69 had intellectual disabilities or deformities which he attributed to genetic mutations.

He also reported that on Tureia atoll, a quarter of the children present during the 1971 blast had developed thyroid cancer.

Sueur said in 2012 among the atoll’s 300 residents there were about 20 conditions believed to be radiation-induced. He said the genetic conditions were found mainly in children whose parents and grandparents had been exposed to radiation from the atmospheric weapons tests in Moruroa between 1966 and 1974……………….

Until 2010, France said its tests were clean and had no effect on human health, but Paris has since adopted a law offering compensation for victims suffering poor health because of exposure to radiation.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘The Hell With It’: SpaceX CEO Musk Reverses Position On Funding Satellite Internet For Ukraine 16 Oct 22

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk now says that his company will continue to pay for the Starlink satellite Internet service for Ukraine, a day after suggesting SpaceX could no longer afford it.

“The hell with it,” Musk said on Twitter. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding ukraine govt for free.”

Musk activated Starlink, a network of more than 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth and thousands of terminals on the ground, in late February after Internet services were disrupted because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Starlink has cost SpaceX $80 million thus far and the cost will exceed $100 million by end of year, Musk said on Twitter on October 7.

He told his more than 108 million Twitter followers on October 14 that SpaceX cannot fund the network “indefinitely” amid reports that he has asked the Pentagon to step in.

He issued the statement after CNN reported that SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon last month saying it could not continue to fund the Starlink service in Ukraine and that it may have to stop funding it unless the U.S. military gives the company tens of millions of dollars a month.

The Defense Department later confirmed that it received a request from Musk to take over funding for the satellite network. The official said the issue has been discussed in meetings and senior leaders are weighing the matter.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Biden authorizes more weapons for Ukraine

The US will send $725 million in additional military aid to Kiev from the Pentagon’s stockpiles. 15 Oct 22,

US President Joe Biden ordered an additional $725 million in weapons shipments to Ukraine on Friday. The White House did not specify what the latest disbursement will consist of, only that it would be yet another drawdown of Defense Department “defense articles and services.”

The Pentagon later clarified that the aid package will include an unspecified quantity of “additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS),” thousands of 155mm artillery rounds and more than 200 additional Humvees.

Earlier this week, the US vowed to expedite the shipment of two of the eight NASAMS air defense systems it has long promised to Ukraine. The new package, however, will not include any additional anti-air capabilities.

Washington and its NATO allies pledged to boost Ukraine’s air defenses following heavy Russian missile strikes on Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday. Moscow said that they were in response to “terrorist tactics” employed by Kiev, which included sabotage attempts at the Kursk nuclear power plant and the TurkStream gas pipeline as well as the truck bombing of the Crimea Bridge.

he US has been the strongest supporter of Ukraine since the start of Russia’s military operation, providing the country with billions of dollars in military and financial aid, as well as intelligence data. Washington’s deliveries to Kiev have included  large quantities of heavy weapons, among them over 150 artillery pieces, 20 Mi-17 helicopters, 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, hundreds of Humvees and at least 16 HIMARS. The list includes more than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, over 8,500 Javelin anti-tank weapons and 32,000 other anti-armor platforms, as well as at least 700 Switchblade suicide drones and an undisclosed number of Claymore anti-personnel mines.

Biden has used his Presidential Drawdown Authority to authorize the transfer of “surplus” weapons from the Pentagon’s stocks for the 23rd time since August 2021. This year alone, the United States “has committed more than $17.5 billion in security assistance” to Kiev, the Department of Defense confirmed on October 4.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

October 16 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Electric Vehicle Phobia” • We will soon be going south into New South Wales and Victoria, on our first post-Covid roadtrip. We will visit old friends and relatives en route, and we expect some negative comments on our transportation. Some are wary of the Tesla Model 3 and fear for our safety. Some […]

October 16 Energy News — geoharvey

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Putin Says No Need For Further Massive Air Strikes On Ukraine, Foresees End To Mobilization

Nearly eight months into his war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be striking a softer tone, saying he sees no need for continued massive air strikes and that a mobilization of troops to support his military operation will end in two weeks.

Speaking to journalists in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, on October 14, Putin said that Russia was willing to hold talks on ending the war, although they would need to be held with an international mediator if Ukraine comes to the table as well………………………………………………..more

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear campaigners have raised fears about a plan to turn Trawsfynydd into a test-bed for a new generation of mini nuclear power plants.

  The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which owns the Trawsfynydd
nuclear power plant site has signed an agreement with the Welsh
government’s development company, Cwmni Egino, to share information on
how best to redevelop the site. Cwmni Egino chief executive Alan Raymant
has said that they are focused on installing one of a new generation of
mini nuclear reactors developed by Rolls-Royce, with an aim to start on the
work by 2027.

But anti-nuclear campaigners CND Cymru, Cymdeithas y Cymod,
CADNO, and PAWB have released a statement opposing the plans and backing
renewables instead. “Wales is already a net exporter of electricity, and
the investment into true renewables like wave, wind, tidal, and sun will be
much more effective than the billions washed down the nuclear drain,”
they said. “We jointly call on the NDA to reconsider its support of
nuclear development in Wales, and Trawsfynydd and Wylfa in particular, and
further call on the UK and Welsh Government to invest in the green, clean,
and renewable future of wave, wind, and sun that we all deserve.”

Last month anti-nuclear campaigners have protested against plans for new nuclear
power stations to be built in Wales with a 70-mile march across Gwynedd and
Anglesey. Plaid Cymru Gwynedd Council leader Dyfrig Siencyn is among those
to have backed the plans for a new reactor at the nuclear power plant,
which employed 500 people when in operation between 1967 and 1993.
“There’s quite a strong anti-nuclear lobby, and they have been
demonstrating recently; we received a petition from them as a council,”
he told the Telegraph newspaper. “But I think we need nuclear energy if
we are serious about addressing the climate change emergency.”

 Nation Cymru 14th Oct 2022

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Radioactive waste from WWII nuclear weapons found in Missouri school 16 Oct 22, FLORISSANT, Mo. (AP) – There is significant radioactive contamination at an elementary school in suburban St. Louis where nuclear weapons were produced during World War II, according to a new report by environmental investigation consultants.

The report by Boston Chemical Data Corp. confirmed fears about contamination at Jana Elementary School in the Hazelwood School District in Florissant raised by a previous Army Corps of Engineers study.

The new report is based on samples taken in August from the school, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Boston Chemical did not say who or what requested and funded the report.

“I was heartbroken,” said Ashley Bernaugh, president of the Jana parent-teacher association who has a son at the school. “It sounds so cliché, but it takes your breath from you.”

The school sits in the flood plain of Coldwater Creek, which was contaminated by nuclear waste from weapons production during World War II. The waste was dumped at sites near the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, next to the creek that flows to the Missouri River. The Corps has been cleaning up the creek for more than 20 years.

The Corps’ report also found contamination in the area but at much at lower levels, and it didn’t take any samples within 300 feet of the school. The most recent report included samples taken from Jana’s library, kitchen, classrooms, fields and playgrounds.

Levels of the radioactive isotope lead-210, polonium, radium and other toxins were “far in excess” of what Boston Chemical had expected. Dust samples taken inside the school were found to be contaminated.

Inhaling or ingesting these radioactive materials can cause significant injury, the report said.

“A significant remedial program will be required to bring conditions at the school in line with expectations,” the report said.

The new report is expected to be a major topic at Tuesday’s Hazelwood school board meeting. The district said in a statement that it will consult with its attorneys and experts to determine the next steps.

“Safety is absolutely our top priority for our staff and students,” board president Betsy Rachel said Saturday.

Christen Commuso with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment presented the results of the Corps’ study to the school board in June after obtaining a copy through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“I wouldn’t want my child in this school,” she said. “The effect of these toxins is cumulative.”

October 16, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Low operating costs make the case for investing in utility-scale renewable projects

 Renewables met 100% of global electricity demand growth during the first
half of 2022. So says the ‘Global Electricity Mid-Year Insights 2022’
from Ember, a global energy think tank. In fact, it says there was a 389
TWh increase in the demand for electricity in the first half of 2022
compared to the first half of 2021, whereas the rise in renewables supply
was actually a bit more – 416TWh.

That’s not surprising given that
renewables are getting so cheap- including in the UK, with wind and solar
the most prolificate new sources across world. However, that in turn may
create a bit of a problem for older renewables, set up under quite
lucrative subsidy schemes, based on now high gas prices, like the
Renewables Obligation in the UK. As I have noted in earlier posts, there is
pressure on them to switch to the more competitive CfD system. Certainly
the RO system is based on adding a subsidy to wholesale gas prices, so
something has to change, since gas prices are now so high. But there are
issues- will every supplier be happy to accept less earnings? They may drag
their feet.

The record-breaking run in power prices, particularly in
Europe, is creating a favorable investment case for solar and wind
projects, making it increasingly compelling to develop renewable assets
purely based on project economics. According to Norwegian consultancy
Rystad Energy, current spot prices in Germany, France, Italy, and the
United Kingdom would all result in payback of 12 months or less.
Considering the average monthly spot prices for August in these countries
were all well over €400/MWh and the relatively low operating costs of
renewables, investing in utility-scale projects appear to be a no-brainer.

 Renew Extra 15th Oct 2022

October 16, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, UK | Leave a comment