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NATO’s hostility to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty is in conflict with its true goal – to become a non-nuclear alliance .

NATO’s Nuclear Two-Step, An alliance that avows nuclear disarmament should not cling so dangerously to its weapons. https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2021/06/natos-nuclear-two-step/174703/  BY RICHARD LENNAN, EFORMER UN  DISARMAMENT OFFICIAL, JUNE 14, 2021 

NATO wants to become a non-nuclear alliance. That sentence might surprise many, but it’s true: when the organization achieves its long-standing goal of full implementation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, its members will no longer possess nuclear weapons.

Given the growing risks, it would be natural for NATO to be reinvigorating and accelerating its efforts on nuclear disarmament. Perversely, however, the alliance has been moving in the opposite direction.

Despite NPT commitments to work to reduce stockpiles and diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, the three nuclear-armed NATO members are all improving their nuclear arsenals. NATO rhetoric in favor of nuclear weapons is hardening, and the alliance is “circling the wagons” around nuclear deterrence. Although the North Atlantic Treaty makes no mention of nuclear weapons, NATO was officially dubbed a “nuclear alliance” in the 2010 Strategic Concept and this deliberate embedding of nuclear weapons in the alliance’s identity has steadily continued.

Political support by individual NATO members for retaining NATO’s nuclear weapons capability is increasingly seen as a test of loyalty and unity; discussion of alternatives is discouraged, even punished. Bizarrely, the NATO 2030 Reflection Group report recommended that “NATO should better communicate on the key role of its nuclear deterrence policy… so as to effectively counter hostile efforts to undermine this vital policy.” An uninitiated observer could be forgiven for thinking that NATO’s raison d’être is not “to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization” of its members, but rather to defend and protect their right to use weapons of mass destruction.

When much of the world is strengthening the norm against nuclear weapons by joining the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or TPNW, NATO is undermining its own security by encouraging proliferation of nuclear weapons, by provoking arms races with nuclear-armed rivals, and by constraining the ability of alliance members to pursue effective steps towards nuclear disarmament.

Nowhere is the harmful effect of this trend clearer than in NATO’s counterproductive hostility to the TPNW. The treaty’s objective is also one professed by NATO: ending the nuclear weapons threat by eliminating nuclear weapons. Any differences therefore come down to the means by which this objective is to be achieved. Yet NATO has reacted to the TPNW as if it were some kind of dangerous assault on its core values, if not a threat to its very existence.

The reasons given for NATO’s opposition have been described by Hans Blix as “strained” and by former Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy as “phoney baloney”. There is no legal reason that NATO allies cannot join the TPNW, and NATO’s obsessive focus on the treaty has prevented any consideration of what it can offer the alliance.

By supporting and joining the the treaty, individual NATO states can help to build a robust new global norm against nuclear weapons, strengthening barriers against proliferation, diminishing pressure for nuclear arms races, and reducing the overall reliance of NATO on nuclear weapons, opening up pathways for progress on disarmament. They will also demonstrate their commitment to fully discharging their disarmament obligations under the earlier Non-Proliferation Treaty, easing tensions among its signatories. 

Conversely, the approach of blanket dismissal of and hostile non-engagement with the TPNW will only constrain NATO’s options, alienate potential partners, and push the alliance’s nuclear disarmament goal further out of reach. 

Outside the alliance’s current leadership, there is growing support within a number of member states for joining the TPNW. A range of former leaders, including NATO secretaries general and defense and foreign ministers, have called on NATO states to join. Parliaments in NATO states have passed motions in support of the treaty; cities across the alliance have called on their governments to join it. Opinion polls in many NATO states consistently support, by a clear margin, accession to the treaty.

NATO as a non-nuclear alliance would be something to celebrate. Yet rather than openly aspiring to such status, and discussing how it might look and function, the alliance seems to be actively avoiding – even suppressing – any consideration of the possibility. This is a dangerously counterproductive and shortsighted approach. 

It is time for NATO members to shake off the restrictions of reactive, short-term thinking about nuclear weapons, and instead to re-embrace the vision of nuclear disarmament as a preventative tool for shaping NATO’s security environment. While total elimination of nuclear weapons may remain a distant goal, envisioning and planning for NATO as a non-nuclear alliance should begin now. Positive and constructive engagement with the TPNW, including joining the treaty for those NATO members willing and ready to do so, would be a logical place to start. 

Richard Lennane is a former Australian diplomat and UN disarmament official. He is a principal co-author of A Non-Nuclear Alliance: Why NATO Members Should Join the UN Ban on Nuclear Weapons, published on 10 June 2021 by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).   

June 15, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The military-industrial-media complex renders the American populus ill-informed in matters regarding war .

[and – it’s the same i Australia C.M.]

“How real is all this influence? Does the military-industrial-media complex (MIMC) actually affect the information we receive and our perception of war?”

The military-industrial-media complex renders the American populus ill-informed in matters regarding war — Rise Up Times


“The media has been a major player in ‘hyping up’ the sense of danger and need for military action in many situations.”  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/34005311/posts/3390423975

By HELEN JOHNSON  The Miscellany News, Vassar College  May 20, 2021

This is the fifth article in a five-part series about the military-industrial-media complex. The fourth article,“The (im)proper meshing of the corporate media and the military-industrial complex,” can be found here.
I have now examined the military-industrial complex (MIC) and the corporate media each individually; explained how the MIC has expanded to include not only the arms makers, Congress and the military, but also oil companies, service and equipment providers, surveillance and technology companies and think tanks; examined how the consolidation of corporate power within the media industry has resulted in a handful of companies controlling 90 percent of our media, and how these huge corporations hold incredible political power, not just to influence politicians and legislation directly, but to subtly shape entire ideologies. In this installment, I illustrated how the corporate media is linked in many ways to the MIC, including through outright ownership, interlocking directorates, revolving doors and overreliance on the government and the military for information and access to the battlefield during war.

But how real is all this influence? Does the military-industrial-media complex (MIMC) actually affect the information we receive and our perception of war? In this article I’ll explain that yes, because of its enormous reach, the extreme consolidation of its power and its entanglement with the gigantic machine that is the MIC, the media today has failed to properly inform the American citizenry on matters concerning war. The MIMC manufactures pro-military opinion among the public; suppresses information relevant to military activities; provides a sanitized coverage of war; fails to investigate, criticize, or thoroughly debate issues of military involvement; too easily bends to pressure from government and military officials and sometimes even spreads outright lies and false information.

This has resulted in an American populus that, in general terms, is ill-informed, uneducated and misled in matters regarding military involvement, as well as overly militaristic and pro-war. Americans are thus unable to hold their government accountable for unnecessary or inappropriate use of military force, and are complicit in the perpetuation of American imperialism, colossal defense budgets that strip the country of severely lacking social programs and never-ending wars that kill and destroy while a handful of corporations reap immense profits.

The media has been a major player in ‘hyping up’ the sense of danger and need for military action in many situations. Douglas Kellner—American academic and sociologist—explains in his bookMedia Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy: Terrorism, War and Election Battles, how Sept. 11 was a prime example of the media spreading hysteria and fear among an already panicked and traumatized nation. He notes how the media obsessively focused on terrorism, possible threats and retaliation in the weeks and months after Sept. 11. It also handed a megaphone to extremism and did little to weed out the potentially dangerous or incorrect information being spread on its platforms.

Spreading hysteria and panic throughout the population had two effects: First, it made Americans feel heavily reliant on the government for protection and, according to Kellner, made any disagreement with or questioning of the Bush administration seem “unpatriotic and even treasonous.” Second, it was extremely profitable for the media companies themselves; with millions of eyes glued to TVs, newspapers and other media platforms, media consumption spiked and profits went up. Thus, the corporate media and the military-industrial complex both benefited from this collaboration……………

An important note here is that this type of behavior is by no means limited to right-wing or conservative news outlets. In its analysis, FAIR cited The New York Times, The Hill, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post—in addition to Fox News—as all contributing to this culture of hysteria. A separate FAIR article’s headline directs a pointed accusation at CNN: “CNN’s Iran Fearmongering Would Make More Sense Coming Directly From Pentagon.” No mainstream media outlet is innocent of pro-war fear mongering.

The media has also suppressed or downplayed information relevant to military activity on multiple occasions. For example, although the media did everything in their power to vilify Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to and during the Iraq war, they completely ignored how the United States backed Hussein in the past. The United States played an integral role in Hussein’s rise to power and actively supported Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War—including going along with Hussein’s use of chemical weapons. However, this seemed to be irrelevant once Bush Jr. had made up his mind to invade Iraq.

Another instance of the U.S. media suppressing or failing to report information came during the middle of the Iraq War in 2004. On Jun. 28, 2004, the United States transferred sovereignty of Iraq in a secret ceremony, immediately after which Paul Bremer—who had been seen by Iraqis as a dictator—left the country. Bremer had heavily controlled Iraqi politics and privatized a huge portion of the economy, including handing out contracts to American firms like Halliburton. However, Bremer’s replacement wasn’t much better. The U.S. chose Ayad Allawi, who had ties to the CIA, to serve as interim prime minister until elections could be held, and the U.S. handpicked the rest of the Iraqi council as well. The two months following the transfer of power saw escalated violence and a continuation of the chaos that had been produced by Bremer.

But watching the news in the United States, you would think “we had turned a corner,” as President Bush repeated over and over again. If the media had thoroughly reported on the situation in Iraq, it could have led to a nationwide understanding that the war was doing more harm than good and serving the interests of huge corporations at the expense of American and Iraqi lives. A truly informed citizenry could have put public pressure on the Bush administration to end the war, or an electorate dissatisfied with the situation could have voted him out of office. Instead, it would be seven more years before the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

Suppressing or downplaying information isn’t the only way the mainstream media—in complicity with the MIC—has warped our understanding of war. The media also produces an extremely sanitized coverage of war: it avoids printing and broadcasting images of death and destruction; sidesteps discussions of American casualties and almost entirely refuses to mention casualties on the other side (which are usually much higher); and uses euphemisms like “collateral damage” and “air campaign” that hold very different connotations from what these phrases actually mean—i.e., innocent civilian death and continuous bombing.

Kellner notes that during the Iraq war, “Entire networks like Fox and the NBC cable networks provided little but propaganda and jingoism, as did for the most part CNN. All of the cable networks, as well as the big three U.S. broadcasting networks, tended to provide highly sanitized views of the war, rarely showing Iraqi casualties, thus producing a view of the war significantly different than that shown in other parts of the world.”……………….

Not only do reporters and news anchors oftentimes receive direct instructions from higher-ups on what to and what not to say, but there is also careful screening of experts and guests brought onto the TV networks during wartime. And, as noted in my previous article, many of these “experts” are former generals and Pentagon officials, whose talking points have been carefully scripted and who have been trained on how to speak about matters of war in order to paint the U.S. military and government in the best possible light.

The U.S. corporate media has also chronically failed to properly investigate, criticize and debate issues of war and military involvement. It tends to take the current administration’s account of the situation as fact, and during times of war or military tension, it is branded unpatriotic to criticize the government. Although there are many examples of the media’s failure to investigate and report the truth when it comes to war, the most egregious case was in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had planned from day one of their administration to invade Iraq. As explained in this article, Bush and Cheney—as well as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and others in and around the Bush administration—were either directly a part of or tangentially related to the neoconservative think tank PNAC, which was advocating for a regime change in Iraq as early as 1998. The fact that Bush planned to invade Iraq from the get-go has been confirmed by multiple officials close to the administration.

From the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 up until the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration waged a propaganda war to convince the nation that Saddam Hussein was linked to Al Qaeda and that he possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These claims turned out to be false. Not only did Saddam Hussein have nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, but Iraq was not in possession of WMD nor were they in the process of making any.

Even so, these allegations were widely circulated in the mainstream media. The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity documented a total of 935 false statements made by top administration officials regarding the threat from Iraq before the war, and the majority of these assertions “were broadcast widely by U.S. media with little or no investigation of their credibility, and few rebuttals from war skeptics or dissenters.”

Not only did the media outlets completely fail to properly investigate these claims before broadcasting them to the nation—even The Washington Post and The New York Times admitted that they had uncritically published information fed to them by the Bush administration—but they continued to circulate the misinformation long after it had been disproven. Even after ABC, NBC and The Washington Post reported that the claims were false, Fox Television and other U.S. cable networks continued to play the stories about Iraq’s alleged connection with Al Qaeda and supposedly threatening weapons program.

The Bush administration had accomplished its goal: to convince enough of the American population, still reeling and traumatized from Sept. 11, that Saddam Hussein was dangerous—so that they could have their war. The failure on the part of the corporate media to investigate and criticize the Bush administration’s claims, and the continued circulation of these claims even after they were proven false, would lead to a disastrous eight-year long conflict resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

There are many, many more instances of skewed reporting when it comes to war and military involvement. Not all of these instances involve outright lying to the American public or regurgitating government pro-war propaganda; many of the ways in which the corporate media influences our perception of war are small and relatively unnoticeable……….. more https://riseuptimes.org/2021/06/12/the-military-industrial-media-complex-renders-the-american-populus-ill-informed-in-matters-regarding-war/

June 14, 2021 Posted by | media, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Shattered remains — the fallout from the Trinity nuclear bomb test

Tularosa Basin Downwinders continue their fight for recognition

Shattered remains — Beyond Nuclear International The fight to right the injustices of Trinity  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3391600721 By Tina Cordova, 14 June 21, In a world searching for sustainable energy infrastructures, the US has still not rectified the injustices that came about with the earliest moments of the nuclear era. On July 16, 1945, when the US government detonated the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site in South Central New Mexico, officials had little to no concern for the people who lived in the adjacent area.

Most of them were people of color, Native Americans and also Hispanos who had emigrated north from Mexico (or their ancestors had likely done so). These people were warned neither before nor after the so-called “test” as to the dangers they were facing as a result of the bomb

As we know, this “test” would be the first of many from both Western and Eastern superpowers. Within the US context, other communities considered marginal to the US would be devastated; the atomic explosions on the Marshall Islands and their impacts on Indigenous communities are one of the best-known of these horrific accounts. Debates around nuclear power continue to have great international resonance today. 
 
As documented in written and oral histories recorded by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC), ash fell from the sky for days after the bomb was detonated and settled on everything—the people, the land, and the animals.  The TBDC was originally organized to bring attention to the negative health effects suffered by the people of New Mexico as a result of their overexposure to radiation as a result of the “test.”  Ultimately, the TBDC’S goals include raising awareness and attaining justice for impacted local communities and families.

Fallout
The bomb detonated at Trinity produced massive fallout that blanketed the earth and became part of the water and food supply that the people of the area rely on for sustenance. The bomb was incredibly inefficient, inasmuch as it was overpacked with plutonium: it incorporated 13 pounds of plutonium when only three pounds were necessary for the fission process.  The remaining 10 lbs. of plutonium—with a half-life of 24,000 years—was dispersed in the radioactive cloud that rose over eight miles above the atmosphere, penetrating the stratosphere.

The bomb was detonated on a platform at a height of 100 feet off the ground, the only time a device was ever detonated so close to the ground.  At this height the blast did not produce massive destruction—but it did produce massive fallout. In fact, Trinity produced more fallout than any of the atomic bombs detonated at the Nevada Site.  In Japan, the bombs were detonated at heights of 1600 (Nagasaki) and 1800 (Hiroshima) feet respectively, which produced massive destruction and the horrific images which we know too well. In contrast, the accounts of communities in southern New Mexico are best characterized by what Rob Nixon calls “slow violence.” Through this concept, Nixon wants us to focus on how environmental degradation that occurs at the hands of human actors can slowly accumulate and impact communities for years after an initial event. 

To understand the exposure received by New Mexicans in the area, it is important to understand the lifestyles of the people living there in the 1940s and ’50s. In rural parts of New Mexico in 1945 there was no running water, so people collected rainwater for the purpose of drinking, cooking, and the like. There was no refrigeration, so there were no grocery stores to buy produce, meat, or dairy products. Mercantile stores sold things like sugar, flour, coffee, rice, cereal, and other nonperishables, but all the meat, dairy, and produce that was consumed was grown, raised, hunted locally. Most if not all the food sources were negatively affected by the radioactive fallout that became part of almost everything that was consumed

The regional water infrastructures included cisterns, sometimes dug into the ground, to collect water directed off of rooftops. Once inside a cistern, radioactive debris would remain effectively forever (having no place else to go) so that water dipped out of a cistern for drinking or cooking would be replete with radioactive isotopes that were then consumed. Even one particle of plutonium inhaled or ingested would remain in the body giving off radiation and destroying cells, tissue, and organs.

Denial

People who have shared with the TBDC their stories of the blast that day have said that they thought it was the end of the world. Imagine: the bomb produced more heat and more light than the sun. It was detonated at about 5:30 a.m. and many reported that the explosion “knocked them out of bed.” They said first the sky lit up brighter than day, and then the blast followed. Many said that they were gathered up by their mothers and made to pray. The light is reported to have been seen all the way to California and the blast was felt as far north as Albuquerque. It was an unprecedented event that no one received warning about, and within days a lie was delivered and perpetuated by the US government: a munition dump at the Alamogordo Bombing Range had accidently exploded but no one was hurt, it claimed.

People who have shared with the TBDC their stories of the blast that day have said that they thought it was the end of the world. Imagine: the bomb produced more heat and more light than the sun. It was detonated at about 5:30 a.m. and many reported that the explosion “knocked them out of bed.” They said first the sky lit up brighter than day, and then the blast followed. Many said that they were gathered up by their mothers and made to pray. The light is reported to have been seen all the way to California and the blast was felt as far north as Albuquerque. It was an unprecedented event that no one received warning about, and within days a lie was delivered and perpetuated by the US government: a munition dump at the Alamogordo Bombing Range had accidently exploded but no one was hurt, it claimed.

The US government has never returned to conduct a full epidemiological study on the impacts of this exposure on the people of New Mexico. Yet in 1990, a bill was passed called the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which provided recognition, an apology, and reparations to the people living downwind of the Nevada Test Site and elsewhere in the Southwest not counting the region around the Trinity site. So while the people of New Mexico were the first to be exposed to this horrific form radiation anyplace in the world, while they lived much closer to the Trinity test site and were therefore exposed to much more higher doses of radiation, and while they were also documented as being downwind of the Nevada Test site, they have never been included in the RECA fund.   
 
Documentation

There has been a recent challenge by the National Cancer Institute to what we know to be true about the people’s use of cisterns in rural parts of New Mexico. To dispel the idea that people in the 1940s and ’50s didn’t use cisterns, the TBDC is now undertaking a process for collecting notarized affidavits in which people recount what they remember about how they acquired water for drinking and cooking purposes. Many of the statements are clear about how rainwater was collected mainly in cisterns and that this water was considered a precious commodity.

This archival work provides the TBDC with the opportunity to document, for the first time, the memories of local and elderly community members about the region’s water infrastructures and support their efforts for environmental justice. This ongoing archival work was even useful for TBDC’s March, 2021, presentation to the US Congress on the importance of expanding RECA.

The collection of affidavits is made public so that there is a record of what has been shared with the TBDC through this process. People who wrote the statements in these affidavits are from varying communities across New Mexico, and it is interesting to note that most of them were typically not familiar with each other, yet their statements have many common themes.   

The TBDC believes that there is an imperative to document the truth as told by those who experienced the Trinity bomb and know of their living conditions. It is hoped that the affidavits will inform the public as to the inaccuracies that are often told by the government and agencies that represent the government. All of this is especially crucial today as nuclear energy has continued to be of great importance globally. Numerous administrations have sought to expand US nuclear power abroad, yet as both the US and other governments around the world continue to look towards nuclear, its origins and those present during its origins must no longer be overlooked.

Tina Cordova is a seventh generation native New Mexican born and raised in the small town of Tularosa in south central New Mexico, and is past Vice President of the New Mexico Highlands University Foundation, her Alma Mater. A thyroid cancer survivor, in 2005 Tina co-founded the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | environment, health, history, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The world’s narrow escape from nuclear war

The world’s narrow escape from nuclear war  https://www.bigissue.com/culture/books/the-worlds-narrow-escape-from-nuclear-war/

Author Serhii Plokhy reflects on the world’s closest shave with nuclear war in 1962, and that fact that all that really saved us was ‘plain dumb luck.’    I
n October 1962 the world experienced the most dangerous crisis in its history. As the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ordered Soviet nuclear armed missiles to be placed in Cuba to protect the island from possible American invasion, and redress the imbalance in the missile power between the United States and his country, US President John F Kennedy declared the naval blockade of Cuba. In the tense days and weeks that followed that decision, Kennedy and Khrushchev managed to avoid nuclear confrontation thanks to the one feature they shared – the fear of nuclear war.


Numerous books have been written on the history of the crisis since its resolution. Almost all of them are focused on the decision-making process in Kennedy’s White House. What is often lost in that analysis is the understanding that Kennedy and Khrushchev had limited control over the actions of their military and more than once lost control over the situation on the ground, on the seas and in the sky.

On a number of occasions, the key decision on whether to start a shooting war that could eventually lead to the nuclear exchange lay not with them, but with their commanders in the theatre. It is not for nothing that a former US secretary of state, Dean Acheson, suggested that John Kennedy avoided war by “plain dumb luck”.

Few events in the history of the Cuban Missile Crisis demonstrate the degree of the danger caused by the actions of the individual commanders, and the importance of the “dumb luck,” in the avoidance of the nuclear war than the drama which played out in the late hours of October 27 and early morning of October 28 1962 when, in the Sargasso Sea, four Soviet nuclear-armed submarines approached the US quarantine line.1962, and that fact that all that really saved us was ‘plain dumb luck.’

June 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons numbers building up again.

Nuclear arms decline stalls as nations modernise arsenals, Johannes LEDELYahoo News, 14 June 2021, ·As nuclear nations commit to renewing and sometimes expanding their arsenals, a decline seen since the early 1990s seems to have stalled, with some signs of a numerical increase, researchers said Monday

“The reduction of nuclear arsenals that we have gotten used to since the end of the Cold War appears to be levelling out,” Hans Kristensen, associate senior fellow at SIPRI’s Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme, told AFP.

The amount of nukes among the nine nuclear-armed states — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — totalled 13,080 at the start of 2021, a slight decrease from 13,400 a year earlier, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated.

However, this includes retired warheads waiting to be dismantled, and without them the combined military stockpile of nuclear arms rose from 9,380 to 9,620.

Meanwhile, the number of nuclear weapons deployed with operational forces increased from 3,720 to 3,825, the report said.

Of these, some 2,000 were kept in a “kept in a state of high operational alert,” meaning for launch in a matter of minutes.

“We’re seeing very significant nuclear modernisation programmes all around the world and in all the nuclear weapons states,” Kristensen said.

He added that nuclear states also seem to be raising “the importance they attribute to the nuclear weapons in their military strategies.”

This change can be observed in both Russia and the United States, which together possess over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, Kristensen said, stressing it was too early to say if the new US administration under President Joe Biden would deviate from the strategy under his predecessor Donald Trump.

I think that the Biden administration is signalling quite clearly that it is going to continue the overwhelming main thrust of the nuclear modernisation programme that was underway during the Trump years,” the researcher said, noting the programme was started under Barack Obama………..

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) this month reported that nuclear nations increased spending on their arsenals by $1.4 billion (1.2 billon euros) to $72 billion in 2020, even as the pandemic raged………..https://au.news.yahoo.com/nuclear-arms-decline-stalls-nations-183906780.html

June 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy – Nuclear weapons – the inseparable link


Nuclear energy – Nuclear weapons – the inseparable link, Jonathon Porritt, 4 June 21 

whether we’re talking big reactors or small reactors, fission or fusion. The simple truth is this: we should see nuclear as another 20th century technology, with an ever-diminishing role through into the 21st century, incapable of overcoming its inherent problems of cost, construction delay, nuclear waste, decommissioning, security (both physical and cyber), let alone the small but still highly material risk of catastrophic accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. My ‘Net Zero Without Nuclear’ report goes into all these inherent problems in some detail.

So why are the UK’s politicians (in all three major parties) still in thrall to this superannuated technology? It’s here we have to go back to Amchitka! Some environmentalists may still be taken aback to discover that the Government’s principal case for nuclear power in the UK today is driven by the need to maintain the UK’s nuclear weapons capability – to ensure a ‘talent pool’ of nuclear engineers and to support a supply chain of engineering companies capable of providing component parts for the nuclear industry, both civilian and military. The indefatigable work of Andy Stirling and Phil Johnston at Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit has established the depth and intensity of these interdependencies, demonstrating how the UK’s military industrial base would become unaffordable in the absence of a nuclear energy programme.

”……….nuclear power plays no part in Greenpeace’s modelling of a rapid transition to a Net Zero carbon world. It’s been very supportive of my new report, ‘Net Zero Without Nuclear’.

I wrote this report partly because the nuclear industry itself is in full-on propaganda mode, and partly because that small caucus of pro-nuclear greens (that’s existed for as long as I can remember) seems to be winning new supporters.

And I can see why. The Net Zero journey we’re now starting out on for real (at long last!) is by far the most daunting challenge that humankind has ever faced. Writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books in June 2019, author and Army veteran Roy Scranton put it like this:

‘Climate change is bigger than the New Deal, bigger than the Marshall Plan, bigger than World War II, bigger than racism, sexism, inequality, slavery, the Holocaust, the end of nature, the Sixth Extinction, famine, war, and plague all put together, because the chaos it’s bringing is going to supercharge every other problem. Successfully meeting this crisis would require an abrupt, traumatic revolution in global human society; failing to meet it will be even worse.’

Not many people see it like that – as yet. But more and more will, as signals of that kind of chaos start to multiply. And we already know that the kind of radical decarbonisation on which our future depends is going to be incredibly hard. So why should we reject a potentially powerful contribution to that decarbonisation challenge?

………….. there is no longer any doubt about the viability of that [renewables] alternative. In 2020, Stanford University issued a collection of 56 peer-reviewed journal articles, from 18 independent research groups, supporting the idea that all the energy required for electricity, transport, heating and cooling, and all industrial purposes, can be supplied reliably with 100% (or near 100%) renewable energy.[i] The solutions involve transitioning ASAP to 100% renewable wind – water – solar (WWS), efficiency and storage.

The transition is already happening. To date, 11 countries have reached or exceeded 100% renewable electricity. And a further 12 countries are intent on reaching that threshold by 2030. In the UK, the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology says we can reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032. Last year, we crossed the 40% threshold.

Continue reading

June 12, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear politicians angry at suggestion of canceling sea-launched cruise missile.

Lawmakers Fume Over Acting Navy Secretary’s Call to Cancel Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile,  Military.com 11 Jun 2021Stars and Stripes | By Sarah Cammarata

I think we’re all shocked to have heard the news of the acting secretary of the Navy appearing to take action to zero out the sea-launched cruise missile. This is something that is incredibly important,” said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee subpanel on strategic forces. 

WASHINGTON — House and Senate lawmakers voiced concern Thursday over the acting Navy secretary’s move to cancel the service’s nuclear sea-launched cruise missile in fiscal 2023 as top defense leaders said they had not been briefed on the decision. 

“I think we’re all shocked to have heard the news of the acting secretary of the Navy appearing to take action to zero out the sea-launched cruise missile. This is something that is incredibly important,” said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee subpanel on strategic forces. 

“We know that the Nuclear Posture Review isn’t underway, and yet we have the first steps toward actions that would be unilateral disarmament,” Turner said during the committee’s hearing to review the fiscal 2022 budget proposal for nuclear forces.

Multiple media outlets reported this week that acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker directed the service in a June 4 memo to “defund [the] sea-launched cruise missile.”

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review — an examination of U.S. nuclear policy that occurs when a new administration takes office — supported pursuing this type of missile. The strategy under former President Donald Trump’s administration called for expanding the role and capability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Defense Department’s Melissa Dalton testified Thursday that the review by President Joe Biden’s administration is “on the cusp” of commencing. Biden has said he wants to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.

“The sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal should be deterring — and if necessary, retaliating against — a nuclear attack,” Biden’s campaign said in an online statement before the president’s election. …….. https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/06/11/lawmakers-fume-over-acting-navy-secretarys-call-cancel-nuclear-sea-launched-cruise-missile.html

June 12, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans,

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Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans, STUFF, Jimmy Ellingham , June 12 2021 

 More than 500 young Kiwi sailors were unwitting witnesses to British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the late 1950s. Jimmy Ellingham talks to three men who were there.

One by one they spoke of cancers and birth defects in their children.

Four decades after Operation Grapple, hydrogen-bomb tests off Christmas Island witnessed by New Zealanders on two frigates, HMNZS Rotoiti and Pukaki, the stories were harrowing and the suffering unbearable.


It was the early days of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, created through the efforts of navy veteran Roy Sefton, from Palmerston North.

At the city’s Returned and Services’ Association home, Grapple sailors shared their stories of the tests’ after-effects.

“I knew people were sick. I didn’t know how sick. I didn’t know about the generations,” says Pukaki veteran Clive Strickett.

“That really broke me up.”

Sefton told veterans to bring their wives and children. They told stories of miscarriages and, in extreme cases, babies born with missing limbs.

“There wasn’t a dry face in the place,” Strickett says, remembering the moment when the terrible effects of what they were exposed to hit them.

“Everyone cried. It was so terrible. We decided that we’ve got to do something about this.”

That gathering in the late-1990s was also when fellow Pukaki sailor John Purcell learned what his old mates and their families were going through.

“A person speaking had throat cancer. He was in terrible trouble.

“As I sat there and listened to all the other disabilities that our members and their families have had, I suddenly realised that I had a story to tell as well.”…………….

In the fallout zone

In August and September 1958, there were five nuclear tests off Christmas Island, south of Indonesia, as Britain looked to match the arsenals held by the United States and Soviet Union.

Strickett saw three, the second of which was huge, 20 times bigger than Hiroshima, he says.

“That’s a huge explosion. That created a huge vapour cloud across the Pacific we had to monitor. We had to monitor it until it evaporated.

“It took days and days to evaporate, so we were under that cloud for a long time.”

It rained. Hard. Pukaki had a problem with its salt water condenser, so an awning was put up to collect rain water for washing and drinking. This potentially exposed the crew to more radiation.


Strickett remembers the explosions as horrific, although they were an amazing sight. Beautiful, some said.

“It was picturesque, but it wasn’t for me. I can’t say I enjoyed it. I don’t think we were prepared for it.”

Sailors were told to tuck trousers into socks and cover their eyes. Those on deck sat with their backs to the detonation zone and waited.

“We did that and the bomb went off, and that was it for me. I could see the bones in my hand. It was scary.”

For that second, big bomb, after two minutes the men were told to open their eyes and look towards the blast.

“It was right in front of us… It was huge.”

Purcell saw four tests. Two smaller ones and two big ones, equivalent to 800,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes of TNT, respectively.

Protective clothing wasn’t up to much, he says – a pair of trousers, hat and gloves.

“It’s so archaic they thought this was the uniform that would assist us with the blast..

“The biggest blast was a huge mushroom that climbed. It took up the whole horizon.”

Purcell also remembers sitting with his back to the blasts, waiting for them to explode as naval officers counted from one to 40.

“The explosions were rumblings in the distance. Then you felt the heat on your back.”

He also saw the bones of his hands, a common memory of Grapple veterans. “That’s the biggest memory I had, really.”

Toomath was below deck for two or three explosions. In recent years he’s learned that may have been the worst place to be, as the boiler room sucked in air from outside.

“We had all the radiation coming down.”

But at the time he felt safe.

“I was in the boiler room for one of them. I think that was the biggest one. I know it got pretty hot down there. It was that hot I couldn’t even touch the handrails on the ladders.”

Above deck he saw the Pukaki steaming towards a huge mushroom cloud full of lightning and thunder, but was told not to worry.

“We were just young, innocent. We were up there for adventure.”

The aftermath

Purcell spent 8½ years in the navy before joining the prison service, including being in charge of Napier Prison.

His list of medical ailments is substantial. He doesn’t want to delve into the detail, but it includes cancer.

Purcell gets a war veterans’ pension because of his health, but such support, which was hard-won, does not extend to children or grandchildren of veterans.

In 1966, Purcell’s daughter Lynette was born with a hole in her heart and cerebral palsy. She was never able to sit up unsupported and died in her mid-40s……………………..

Waiting for an apology

Sefton, the Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association’s chairman, died in January, aged 82. Bulls Grapple veteran Tere Tahi, who was aboard the Rotoiti in 1957, has taken over his mate’s mantle and is determined to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He estimates about 60 veterans survive and the association wants an apology for the young men who were put in harm’s way and the effect the blasts had on their health.

It also wants research undertaken and medical help for children or grandchildren of veterans.

Association patron Al Rowland is a retired Massey academic involved in research that found there was long-term genetic damage to the veterans and their families, but this hasn’t been enough to convince the New Zealand or British Government.

Toomath says support for veterans’ children and grandchildren is crucial, as is understanding the effects of radiation exposure down the generations. He would like to see research into this.

Strickett says he doesn’t need money from a payout, but would like an apology.

Like Toomath he wants the Government to fund research into Grapple veterans’ descendants and for it to push the British Government into acknowledging it was wrong to risk the young sailors’ lives.

Purcell says he’ll write a letter to the latest Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Meka Whaitiri, as he has done to her predecessors.

“What I find hard to accept is the lack of recognition from the Crown that these young boys were handed over to the Government to be treated like guinea pigs.

“If the testing was so safe why didn’t the British carry it out on their own shores?

“All we want is simply a public apology for the treatment of all navel test veterans and their whānau. That’s not hard.”

Purcell and Toomath are featured in a photography exhibition at Te Manawa Art Gallery, Palmerston North, until August.   https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300330166/harrowing-stories-reveal-decades-of-fallout-for-nuclear-test-veterans

READ

June 12, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Growing support for the nuclear ban treaty in public opinion polls , voters and lawmakers in NATO’s 30 countries

 As President Biden and his NATO counterparts focus on nuclear-armed Russia
at their summit meeting on Monday, they may also face a different sort of
challenge: growing support, or at least openness, within their own
constituencies for the global treaty that bans nuclear weapons.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Geneva-based group
that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to achieve the
treaty, said in a report released on Thursday that it had seen increased
backing for the accord among voters and lawmakers in NATO’s 30 countries,
as reflected in public opinion polls, parliamentary resolutions, political
party declarations and statements from past leaders.

 New York Times 10th June 2021

June 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -5: Portfolio of Conflicts

“They ignored the real threat: The U.S. Armed Forces’ rampant carbon-based military activity contributes to anthropogenic climate change, which melts Arctic ice, which opens up northern sea lanes, into which the Pentagon projects its polluting arsenal, which puts more carbon in the atmosphere.”

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -5: Portfolio of Conflicts — Rise Up Times A PEOPLE’S GUIDE TO THE WAR INDUSTRY -5: PORTFOLIO OF CONFLICTS June 9, 2021 ·
When war is profit, death ensures a healthy bottom line, writes Christian Sorensen in this  final installment of his five-part series on the military-industrial-congressional complex.
Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 (also available on Rise Up Times)   

By Christian Sorensen  Special to Consortium News  June 2, 2021 Without looking at military adventurism through the lens of the corporation, analysts are bound to produce error-filled studies. For example, one analyst contended in an interview on The Real News Network, “Military force is almost never going to achieve your political aims. The Americans learned this in Vietnam. They’re learning it in Afghanistan. They’re learning it in Syria… So [President Barack] Obama supporting the Saudis and Emiratis in Yemen is a sign really of incoherence on the part of the United States.”

Far from incoherence, the behavior actually is quite rational. A variety of conflicts, disparate and some seemingly futile, is precisely the aim. Conflict itself — producing untold mountains of profit for war corporations and Wall Street — is the goal.

Recall that capital is money used to expand business in order to make more profit. Capital isn’t just building new factories to produce more goods from which to profit.

Capital is also putting money toward cultivating and promoting politicians who advocate for wars and broad military deployments; media and think tanks to propagandize and generate militant narratives; attaining through neoliberal economic policies a U.S. military establishment so rife with corporations that it becomes one bloated, self-sustaining, profitable entity; arranging industry pressure groups and think tanks to encourage and award high-ranking military officers who support and extend conflicts overseas; and marketing, pushing, and operating goods and services that harm populations and destabilize countries around the world, generating more profitable conflict.

The war industry pursues a portfolio of conflicts as any organized, dominant industry views the global marketplace, parses demographics, shapes consumer tastes, and pursues profit maximization at all costs. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Iraq, Iran, Korea, Libya, Mexico, Palestine, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, the Sahel, Ukraine, Yemen — each conflict has advantages and challenges, unique terrain and unique obstacles.

Industry’s products monitor, control and destroy populations. The particular goods and services selected are not the point here. The real rub is that from the eyes of the corporate suite, conflict must endure. Peace is not profitable. A strong portfolio of conflicts, which vary in intensity and scope, is what industry has achieved. Global capitalism demands infinite growth. War corporations’ portfolio approach demands endless, dispersed armed conflicts of varying intensity.

The U.S. war industry sells to capitalist regimes around the world through direct commercial sales and foreign military sales (FMS). FMS tend to deal with big-ticket items or goods and services of a sensitive nature. Through FMS, the U.S. government procures and transfers industry goods and services to allied governments and international organizations.

The U.S. war industry sells to capitalist regimes around the world through direct commercial sales and foreign military sales (FMS). FMS tend to deal with big-ticket items or goods and services of a sensitive nature. Through FMS, the U.S. government procures and transfers industry goods and services to allied governments and international organizations.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is the intermediary between the U.S. war industry and the FMS customer overseas. On any given day, DSCA is managing “14,000 open foreign military sales cases with 185 countries,” Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper explained at the Brookings Institution in 2019.

Violent and oppressive regimes are frequent customers, including London, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. The Leahy Law, which is intended to prevent U.S. military assistance from reaching militaries that have committed serious human rights violations, is almost never enforced when it comes to FMS. The Arms Export Control Act requires recipients of U.S. war industry goods and services to use them only in self-defense.

So, customers of the U.S. war industry typically affirm that they’re using the goods and services in self-defense, and the U.S. government doesn’t press them on the matter. After all, there is a lot of cash at stake. In fiscal year 2020 alone, the war industry sold $50.8 billion through FMS and $124.3 billion through direct commercial sales.

The Pentagon often cites industry’s claim that FMS reduces the cost of military systems to the U.S. Armed Forces. The Pentagon supports FMS because foreign militaries dependent on U.S. equipment, knowhow, training, parts, and software are more likely to listen to the U.S. government on military matters, the direction to take in regional conflicts, and international policy.

Without tensions, military provocations, and ongoing hot or cold wars (e.g. Japan v. China, South v. North Korea, Taiwan v. China, absolutist Arab regimes and Apartheid Israel v. Iran, Apartheid Israel v. Arab populations, the global war on drugs) to justify endless transactions, the U.S. war industry would lose billions in annual sales to allied regimes and sales to the U.S. military that is “responding” to such conflict.

Major war corporations place people in charge of selling to each Arab country in the Persian Gulf (e.g. Joe Rank, a career soldier who helped guide Middle East policy for the U.S. Secretary of War, now oversees Lockheed Martin’s business with Saudi Arabia). U.S. flag officers who work on FMS often doff the uniform and then join war corporations to help sell goods and services overseas.

For Profit, Against Democracy

From May 2015 through March 2016, U.S. war corporations sold over $30 billion of goods and services to anti-democratic Arab Gulf allies. Given the U.S. war industry’s long sales history to regimes like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it stands firmly on the side of profit, and firmly against democracy. Or, as Raytheon’s website puts it,

“With more than 50 years in the Middle East, Raytheon’s steadfast commitment and uninterrupted presence in the region is a testament to the tremendous value we place on being there for our customers.”

The 1945 Quincy Pact between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz al-Saud started it all: Washington would entrench bases in and around the Persian Gulf and protect the House of Saud, while the latter would keep the oil flowing and give preferential treatment to U.S. corporate interests.

The Saudi regime would later agree to use the dollar in international oil trading. Saudi Arabia purchases a lot of goods and services from U.S. industry, including the war industry. The Washington regime assented when in 2015 the Saudi and Emirati regimes turned U.S. weaponry on Yemen.

The U.S. war industry, in addition to U.S. military and intelligence assistance, has been the cornerstone of the UAE/Saudi destruction of Yemen. Yemenis now suffer from raging famine, disease outbreaks, and crippled infrastructure. The UAE-Saudi coalition has hit civilians (school field trips, funeral processions, weddings, markets) and prevented humanitarian aid from entering Yemen.

In autumn 2018, the head of the U.S. State Department’s legislative affairs team (a former Raytheon lobbyist) certified that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were taking steps to reduce civilian deaths in Yemen. Roughly 233,000 people have died in Yemen as a result of the war, according to the United Nations humanitarian office. Such destruction is evidence of the military-industrial-congressional triangle functioning as designed.

In early February 2021, the Biden administration announced it would halt support for Saudi-UAE “offensive” operations in Yemen. This claim is full of loopholes and is unlikely to substantially alter or end the myriad of ways the U.S. ruling class aids and abets anti-democratic Arab regimes.

Zionism is the ideology that justifies the colonization of Palestine and the maintenance and expansion of that colonization using brutal violence and espionage. Zionists declared independence when they set up a new state, Israel, in Palestine in May 1948, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Arabs from the land.

Each year, Washington gives roughly $3.8 billion to Israel, which then is supposed to use such monies to purchase from the U.S. war industry. The occupation of Palestine and Zionist aggression against neighboring countries provide the U.S. war industry with a valuable slice of its portfolio: an outsourced proving ground to test, evaluate, use, and improve weaponry.

When war is profit, death ensures a healthy bottom line.

The Advantages of Zionism The aggressive military posture inherent to Zionism is a commercial advantage from an industry perspective. Israel has killed Arabs quite effectively with a variety of aircraft and weaponry purchased from U.S. corporations. The U.S. State Department turns a blind eye, as it is once again doing in the current Israeli operation.  Of course, Israel claims self-defense when using U.S. and Israeli weaponry to kill Arabs……….

This is the final installment in the author’s five-part series.

Christian Sorensen is an independent journalist mainly focused on warprofiteering within the military-industrial complex. An Air Forceveteran, he is the author of the recently published book,Understanding the War Industry. He is also a senior fellow at theEisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of independent veteranmilitary and national security experts. His work is available atWar Industry Muster.   https://riseuptimes.org/2021/06/09/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-5-portfolio-of-conflicts/

June 10, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Great powers’competition – the war industry’s best tactic

”……………..Pretexts keep the military budget elevated, sustain the war industry’s profits, and incite a violent foreign policy. Manufactured fear is essential. After pumping the “War on Terror” for trillions of dollars — and with veterans and the U.S. public growing skeptical of such interventions — the war industry has returned to targeting Russia and China through “great power competition.  

A PEOPLE’S GUIDE TO THE WAR INDUSTRY -5: PORTFOLIO OF CONFLICTS,  By Christian Sorensen     by Rise Up Times · Great Power Competition , 9 June 21,

  ”……………..Pretexts keep the military budget elevated, sustain the war industry’s profits, and incite a violent foreign policy. Manufactured fear is essential. After pumping the “War on Terror” for trillions of dollars — and with veterans and the U.S. public growing skeptical of such interventions — the war industry has returned to targeting Russia and China through “great power competition.  

Facing off against Russia and China is more comfortable territory for war corporations. In the calculus of corporate suites, the big-ticket items inherent to competition with another major industrial nation are where the real money can be made. A war on terror was lucrative for a decade or two, and it will continue, but it is not enough to justify excessive spending on cyber, submarines, satellites, hypersonic propulsion, anti-ballistic missiles, nuclear weaponry, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and aircraft carriers.

Competition against Moscow and Beijing also continues the militarization of U.S. society, channeling anger (which might otherwise manifest itself as class awareness and/or physical protest against Washington’s corruption) into outrage against a stereotypical enemy that resides overseas — just as the War on Terror did.

Great power competition is fully entrenched in the Pentagon, as made clear by the 2018 National Defense Strategy, developed in 2017 by military and corporate personnel. It emphasized, “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”

Etching the National Defense Strategy into stone, the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford declared in November 2018, that great power competition was here to stay, demanding a shift in Pentagon funding priorities and weapons development. Dunford was speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum, sponsored by corporations (e.g. Boeing, CAE, United Technologies) and NATO, among other powerful groups, including energy and IT firms.

Four months later, the war industry pressure group NDIA presented General Dunford with its most prestigious award. Dunford soon retired and joined the board of Lockheed Martin.

Great power competition has enabled a high volume of war industry goods and services and U.S. military personnel to deploy to Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and eastern Europe, particularly in the Baltic States and Romania, as well as other clients surrounding China, particularly South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Guam. Large engineering and project management firms build and sustain the associated infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Beijing’s construction is framed as a threat. “I mean, this is insane. Look at all that crazy construction,” remarked a U.S. naval officer observing Chinese military construction projects in the South China Sea. Though a useful bogeyman, Beijing’s construction in the South China Sea does not hold a candle to what Washington has built up overseas.

Great power competition fills peaceful voids. At the Sea Air Space Forum of 2019 (sponsored by CACI, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls), MIC officials cited the “threat” of great power competitors in order to justify expansion of U.S. military power into the Arctic.

They ignored the real threat: The U.S. Armed Forces’ rampant carbon-based military activity contributes to anthropogenic climate change, which melts Arctic ice, which opens up northern sea lanes, into which the Pentagon projects its polluting arsenal, which puts more carbon in the atmosphere.

Great power competition’s consequences are terrifying: increased militarization of an already militarized U.S. economy and public life; greater likelihood of wars big and small; more pollution (notably toxic particulates, carbon emissions, and radiological contamination) in an era of climate catastrophe and mass extinction; nuclear weapons on a hair trigger; narrowing of permissible speech and assembly; and relentless corporatization of the U.S. Armed Forces, the world’s mightiest organization.

The pretext known as great power competition is off to an impressive start, financially, bureaucratically, and industrially. It is incumbent upon the workers of the world to stop it. ”https://riseuptimes.org/2021/06/09/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-5-portfolio-of-conflicts/

June 10, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. Navy to cancel development of super expensive nuclear missile

Navy eyes canceling nuclear missile

By BRYAN BENDER , 06/09/2021 NIXING A NUKE? PoliticoActing Navy Secretary Thomas Harker has issued a memo directing the service to cancel development of a nuclear-armed cruise missile in fiscal 2023, a potential signal that the Biden administration could dial back some nuclear modernization programs, Aerospace Daily scooped on Tuesday.

The June 4 memo, also obtained by POLITICO, is part of preparations to craft a five-year spending plan. The memo declares that the Navy may have to choose either a new fighter jet, destroyer or submarine and delay two of them.

“The Navy cannot afford to simultaneously develop the next generation of air, surface, and subsurface platforms and must prioritize these programs balancing the cost of developing next-generation capabilities against maintaining current capabilities,” Harker wrote.

It “makes clear that budgets aren’t expected to increase enough in the coming years to undertake all of the modernization efforts envisioned by the Navy,” as our colleague Paul McLeary writes for Pros………. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-defense/2021/06/09/navy-eyes-canceling-nuclear-missile-795839

June 10, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“IT’S VERY PROFITABLE to prepare for omnicide,”

NOT EVEN COVID-19 COULD SLOW DOWN NUCLEAR SPENDING  https://theintercept.com/2021/06/07/nuclear-weapons-spending-pandemic-ican/
A new report finds that nine countries collectively spent $72 billion in 2020 on nukes., Jon Schwarz
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June 7 2021, IT’S VERY PROFITABLE to prepare for omnicide,” Daniel Ellsberg, famed whistleblower and anti-nuclear weapons activist, said in a recent interview. “Northrop Grumman and Boeing and Lockheed and General Dynamics make a lot of money out of preparing for such a war. The congressmen get campaign contributions, they get votes in their district and almost every state for preparing for that.”

But don’t just take it from Ellsberg. At an investor conference in 2019, a managing director from the investment bank Cowen Inc. queried Raytheon’s CEO on this subject. “We’re about to exit the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty] with Russia,” said the Cowen executive. Did this mean, he asked, whether “we will really get a defense budget that will really benefit Raytheon?” Raytheon’s CEO happily responded that he was “pretty optimistic” about where things were headed.

There are currently nine countries that possess nuclear weapons: the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. ICAN calculated that they collectively spent $72.6 billion in 2020 on nukes. (picture below – a little out of date – 2019 )

The U.S. was responsible for just over half of this doomsday payout, at $37.4 billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, U.S. nuclear spending is anticipated to soon increase sharply due to plans for technological upgrades, rising to $41.2 billion next year and totaling $634 billion during the 10 years from 2021-2030.

China came in second in 2020 at an estimated $10.1 billion. Russia was third at $8 billion. Notably, in a year when the world economy was flattened by the coronavirus pandemic, nuclear spending continued on an upward trajectory without a hiccup.

Despite these hefty numbers, they’re probably an underestimate. “There’s always more [nuclear spending] out there … even more still lurking in the shadows,” said Susi Snyder, co-author of the report and managing director of the project Don’t Bank on the Bomb. Snyder points out that “governments, especially U.S., U.K., [and] France are always demanding ‘transparency’ … yet they do not hold themselves to the standards they demand of others.”

A great deal of U.S. nuclear spending consists of profitable contracts with private corporations.

The four companies Ellsberg said were raking in cash “preparing for war” indeed received the most money in 2020:

  • Northrop Grumman — $13.7 billion
  • General Dynamics — $10.8 billion
  • Lockheed Martin — $2.1 billion
  • Boeing — $105 million

These enormous contracts create obvious incentives for these companies to lobby for more government expenditures on Armageddon, and they assiduously do so. Indeed, lobbying unquestionably is the most profitable investment these companies make. According to ICAN’s report, for every $1 they spent on lobbying, they received $239 in nuclear weapon contracts.

The specifics are notable here. Northrop reported $13.3 million in lobbying expenses in 2020. Last year it was formally awarded the enormous initial contract to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile system called the “Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.” It will inevitably receive the contract for the entire program, estimated to be worth $85 billion over its life. In discussion on the GBSD, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition stated that he didn’t see the pandemic affecting nuclear spending.

There is also much more to lobbying than that which goes by the name. In the 2006 documentary “Why We Fight,” journalist Gwynne Dyer explained that President Dwight Eisenhower considered the military-industrial complex actually to have three components: the military, defense corporations, and Congress. But now, Dyer said, there’s a fourth: think tanks, which generally push their funders’ policies under a thin veneer of scholarship.

According to the report, companies profiting from nuclear weapons contributed $5-10 million to think tanks in 2020. Northrop alone spent at least $2 million funding nine of them, including the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, the Center for a New American Security, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

However, ICAN did not produce the report for passive consumption or as an inducement to despair. Instead, it is part of a sophisticated strategy to eventually make nuclear weapons as taboo worldwide as chemical and biological weapons are now.

ICAN was a key force behind the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted in 2017 at the United Nations. It makes illegal any activities related to nuclear weapons and has been signed by 86 countries and ratified by 54. It entered into force this past January.

None of the nuclear powers are signatories. Yet they need not be for the treaty to create a noose around those countries and their companies that should tighten over time. For instance, Airbus produces missiles for France’s nuclear weapons arsenal. But it is headquartered in the Netherlands, so if that country ratified the TPNW, it could no longer do so.

This financial threat has now attracted the attention of the stockholders of these nuclear corporations. Snyder notes that a 2020 Northrop shareholders resolution stated that the company “has at least $68.3 billion in outstanding nuclear weapons contracts, which are now illegal under international law,” and it received 22 percent support. A similar Lockheed resolution got over 30 percent support. The KBC Group, the 15th-largest bank in Europe, has announced that it will not fund any nuclear weapon-related activity because of the TPNW.

Success here will obviously require a long-term campaign and increased activism across the world. But the trajectory is headed in the right direction. “The days of spending with impunity on WMD,” believes Snyder, “are numbered.”

June 8, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have in 2021?

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have in 2021? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists . By Hans M. KristensenMatt Korda, March 15, 2021,  Russia is in the middle of a decades-long modernization of its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces to replace Soviet-era weapons with newer systems. In December 2020, President Vladimir Putin reported that modern weapons and equipment now make up 86 percent of Russia’s nuclear triad (Russian Federation 2020a), compared to the previous year’s 82 percent (Russian Federation 2019a). He additionally noted that he expects that number to rise to 88.3 percent in 2021. As in previous years, Putin’s remarks emphasized the need for Russia’s nuclear forces to keep pace with Russia’s competitors: It is absolutely unacceptable to stand idle. The pace of change in all areas that are critical for the Armed Forces is unusually fast today. It is not even Formula 1 fast—it is supersonic fast. You stop for one second and you start falling behind immediately” (Russian Federation 2020a).

Putin also noted his disappointment with the “deterioration” of the US-Russia arms control regime, and declared that the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty under “contrived pretexts.” He also addressed the “uncertainty” around New START: “We have repeatedly stated our readiness to extend the treaty but there has been no response” (Russian Federation 2020a).

As of early 2021, we estimate that Russia has a stockpile of nearly 4,500 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces……………….

Russia has significantly reduced the number of warheads deployed on its ballistic missiles to meet the New START limit of no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads. Russia achieved the required reduction by the February 5, 2018 deadline, when it declared 1,444 strategic warheads attributed to 527 launchers (Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Ministry 2018). The most recent data, declared on September 1, 2020, listed Russia with 1,447 deployed warheads attributed to 510 strategic launchers………….

Russia has significantly reduced the number of warheads deployed on its ballistic missiles to meet the New START limit of no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads. Russia achieved the required reduction by the February 5, 2018 deadline, when it declared 1,444 strategic warheads attributed to 527 launchers (Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Ministry 2018). The most recent data, declared on September 1, 2020, listed Russia with 1,447 deployed warheads attributed to 510 strategic launchers…………

Overall, Russia’s nuclear modernization effort will present the international arms control community with new challenges. Unless a new arms reduction agreement is reached in the future to replace New START, the shrinking of Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal that has characterized the past two decades will likely come to an end, …………………………………………. https://thebulletin.org/premium/2021-03/nuclear-notebook-russian-nuclear-weapons-2021/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=MondayNewsletter03152021&utm_content=Notebook_Russia_03152021

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK spent more than £8000 every minute on nuclear weapons in 2020,

UK spent more than £8000 every minute on nuclear weapons in 2020, report says, The National , By Kirsteen Paterson  @kapaterson 7 June 21,    THE UK spent more than £8300 a minute on nuclear weapons last year, a new report claims.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) estimates £4.38 billion was splurged on the defence systems in 2020, making the UK the fourth biggest spender behind the US, China and Russia.

The UK has around 200 nuclear weapons and is committed to replacing the ageing Trident submarine system, which is housed at HM Naval Base Clyde, near Scotland’s biggest population centre. However, it does not publish detailed accounts of its spending on this area.

In a report released today, analysis by Ican suggests that is equivalent to $11,769 per minute. The estimate is based on reports from the National Audit Office, the Ministry of Defence and more.

Janet Fenton, Ican’s Scottish liaison and the vice chair of Scottish CND, told The National: “Scotland has been forced to act as an involuntary host to the UK’s nuclear weapons, while the UK is one of the least transparent nuclear armed states about its expenditure and the technical difficulties it faces in upgrading and replacing its nuclear weapons system.

“All this is regardless of the complete democratic deficit in a Scotland that has just elected a parliament with a majority that supports independence and returned an even bigger number of parliamentarians who are committed to supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons than the number who support independence.”………………..

The Scottish Greens are vocal opponents of nuclear weapons. The party’s external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer MSP, who represents the West Scotland region, said: “Nuclear weapons are an abomination. The day the world is free of these weapons of mass slaughter can’t come soon enough. Not only do nuclear weapons present a real and immediate danger, this report shows that they put us at greater risk by diverting vast sums of public money which could otherwise be spent on what really keeps us safe, such as high quality health and care services during a pandemic.

“Spending such vast sums on these evil weapons can never be justified but for the UK Government to prioritise this expenditure at a time when it is slashing international aid budgets just sums up the mentality of this heartless Tory administration.”   https://www.thenational.scot/news/19353768.uk-spent-8000-every-minute-nuclear-weapons-2020-report-says/

June 8, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment