Five Minutes To The Judgment (1 Peter 4:17)

Doomsday clock, related to nuclear disarmament, is too close to midnight

 Judgment Day
By Ira Helfand
 
This Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will update their famous Doomsday Clock. Since 1947 the Bulletin has used the clock to illustrate the severity of the threat of nuclear war. During the worst years of the Cold War in the early 1980’s, the clock stood at 3 minutes to midnight. When the Cold War ended the clock was set back to 17 minutes to midnight. Despite the widespread inattention to the ongoing threat of nuclear war, the experts at the Bulletin feel the danger has grown substantially since that hopeful moment and the clock now stands at 5 minutes to midnight.

It is not clear how the clock will be reset this year.
 

On the one hand, there have been major increases in the risk of nuclear conflict over the past year. But we have also seen the emergence of a powerful, new international movement pressing for nuclear disarmament.

On the negative side, the most ominous development is the rise of tension between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine, best summed up by President Putin’s warning to the world not to mess with Russia because it has a powerful nuclear arsenal. The crisis has underlined the fact that the US and Russia still confront each other with a combined total of more than 14,000 nuclear weapons, more than 1500 of which are on hair trigger alert, able to be launched in less than 15 minutes.

A war involving the current nuclear forces of the US and Russia would kill hundreds of millions of people in the first 30 minutes and cause a full blown nuclear winter. The soot from the fires started by more than a thousand nuclear explosions would blot out the sun dropping temperatures around the globe to Ice Age levels. Ecosystems would collapse, food production would plummet, and the vast majority of the human race would starve.

But even a much smaller war would have catastrophic global consequences, and the possibility of limited nuclear war also grew this past year. There was a significant increase in fighting between India and Pakistan along their tense border in Kashmir. A war between India and Pakistan, involving just 100 small nuclear weapons, would not cause a full nuclear winter, but it would disrupt climate and food production enough to put 2 billion people across the globe at risk of starvation.

Incredibly, In the face of these terrible threats, the nuclear weapons states are all planning major upgrades of their nuclear forces. Here in the US the administration is considering a modernization plan that will cost over 300 billion dollars in the next 10 years, and nearly a trillion dollars over the next three decades.

On the positive side, a dynamic new movement for nuclear disarmament is forming around the world. In December 158 countries gathered in Vienna for the 3rd International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and affirmed the need to base nuclear weapons policy on the evolving data about the medical consequences of nuclear war. The Pope, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and 44 countries called for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. The Austrian government issued a pledge to build support for such a treaty in the New Year, and to lead efforts to pressure the nuclear weapons states to honor their existing commitments to negotiate the elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

A few days later, the Nobel Peace Laureates, meeting at their annual Summit, called on all nations to “commence negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time, and subsequently to conclude the negotiations within two years.”

In the realm of civil society, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons now involves more than 350 organizations around the world working to ban nuclear weapons.

Whatever the Bulletin decides to do about the time on the Doomsday Clock, we are clearly much too close to midnight.

For decades the nuclear weapons states have said that they are wise enough, and their technology perfect enough, for us to trust them with weapons that can destroy the world. When we say that they are wrong we are only stating the obvious: no human is wise enough, no human technology perfect enough to hold this power. The time has come to eliminate these weapons once and for all.

Ira Helfand, M.D., is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He lives in Northampton and practices at Family Care Medical Center in Springfield.

Babylon’s Lies Are Nothing New (Revelation 17:2)

Obama Straight Up Lied about Iran’s Nukes Tonight: Their Progress Hasn’t Been ‘Halted’

obama-state-of-the-union-2014
By Fred Fleitz
January 21, 2015 12:56 AM

By claiming in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that “for the first time in a decade” progress in the Iranian nuclear program has been halted and Iran’s enriched-uranium stockpile has been reduced, President Obama continued an unfortunate pattern of behavior by his administration on this issue: He outright lied.

President Obama’s claims aren’t even close to being true. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has surged since 2009 and has continued to increase since an interim nuclear agreement with Iran was agreed to in November 2013.

The number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency, rising from seven to at least eight over the last year.
The below chart from a recent Center for Security Policy analysis illustrates the increase in Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile and the number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium since Mr. Obama became president — no sign of the president’s proclaimed decline. (Click here to view the entire analysis.)

While it is true Iran stopped enriching uranium to the 20 percent uranium-235 level as required by the November 2013 interim agreement, and is diluting 20 percent–enriched uranium to reactor-grade, this concession has had a negligible effect in reducing the threat from Iran’s nuclear program.

Most of its enriched uranium stockpile happens to be at the reactor-grade level, and Iran can convert that material into enough weapons-grade fuel for one nuclear bomb in 2.2 to 3.5 months, only about two weeks longer than it would take to do so using 20 percent enriched uranium.

The United States has offered huge, one-sided concessions in its talks with Iran that will allow the country to continue to enriched uranium, will not force it to give up its enriched-uranium stockpile, and will not require a halt to construction of a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor.

Iran has failed to cooperate with the IAEA during the talks and cheated on the interim agreement by testing advanced centrifuges.

Based on these factors, I could only conclude in a November 21 NRO article that the Obama administration has no interest in an agreement to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and has instead quietly decided to contain an Iranian nuke program.

Congress must ignore the president’s ridiculous claim that new sanctions against Iran would set back progress made in the nuclear talks and alienate our allies. These talks were fatally flawed from the beginning and are certain to produce a weak, short-lived deal that will destabilize the Middle East.

This is why 14 national leaders signed a Center for Security Policy letter to congressional leaders last November calling on Congress to repudiate the nuclear talks and pass new sanctions against Iran until it complies with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Sanctions legislation in the House and Senate is reportedly close to obtaining veto-proof majorities. Even if President Obama vetoes new sanctions, passing legislation to impose them will send a clear message to Iran and the world that the American people do not support the nuclear talks and that a future U.S. administration is likely to ignore any agreement reached in them and start over.

— Fred Fleitz followed the Iranian nuclear program for the CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee. He is now a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy.

Saudi and Iranian Horns Face Off Over Oil & Blood (Rev 6:6)

 Iran says is ready for ‘straight talks’ with Saudi Arabia
 
sunni shia
DUBAI Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:30pm EST

(Reuters) – Iran said on Tuesday it was ready for “straight talks” with Saudi Arabia over contentious issues that have kept the rival Gulf powers at loggerheads for more than three decades.

Relations between Tehran and Riyadh soured after Iran’s 1979 revolution brought to power Shi’ite clerics opposed to the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom.

The two countries, struggling for regional influence and power, have backed opposite sides in the Syria and Yemen conflicts and argued over global oil prices.

An Iranian official said this week Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delayed a visit to Saudi Arabia in protest against Riyadh’s refusal to cut crude output and help lift prices.

But Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a top security aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said his country “is now quite ready to for straight, clear and continuous talks spanning the whole range of mutual interests with Saudi Arabia.”

“In light of unprecedented human and financial losses caused by sectarian conflicts, (we) need to stop further bloodshed and wage an earnest fight against extremism and terrorism that has found expression in Daesh (Islamic State)”, Shamkhani told Iran’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, according to state news agency IRNA.

(Reporting by Mehrdad Balali; Editing by Dominic Evans)

The Russian Nuclear Horn Tests More Nukes (Daniel 7:7)

Russia Orders Snap Test of Nuclear Missiles

RTR3OEAE
 
Russian mobile Topol-M missile launching units drive in formation during the Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square May 9, 2014. Russia celebrates the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany during World War Two on May 9. Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
 
“More than 1,200 servicemen have been drafted to take part in the test exercises,” Colonel Igor Yegorov from the RVSN said. “Throughout 2015, we have planned at least four similar such drills,” he added.
Last October, Yegorov said that by the start of 2015, up to 1,000 troops from the RVSN would be charged with what he called ‘particularly dangerous’ work with nuclear arms.
The drills, which Yegorov says aim to educate Russia’s missile unit in anti-terrorist combat, are due to take place in the Uzhurskoe rocket facilities, in Siberia, between the central Russian cities of Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk.
According to Yegorov, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Federal Security Service are all cooperating with Russia’s ballistic missile command in the drills, as some of the exercises will be dedicated to raising the RVSN’s responsiveness and effectiveness.
“Servicemen will go through over 20 exercises, focusing on missile-defence, suppressing attacks against land units, evacuation drills and bomb dismantling practice,” Yegorov said.
This will be the first drill of the year for Russia’s RVSN and comes after the Kremlin’s decision last summer, to add an extra 8,500 troops to its 18,000-strong missile unit by 2020.
According to the Moscow Times some $650 billion dollars will go into the overhaul of Russia’s entire armed forces in the next five years, with the modern replacements somewhat overdue for its aging, Soviet-standard nuclear arsenal.
The announcement of the drill also follows the Boston Globe’s reports yesterday that Russia had explicitly and abruptly ended its nuclear partnership with the US which has allowed Washington to monitor and help secure Russia’s military stockpile since 1992.
The newspaper based their reports on the accounts of three individuals who were present at the meeting, speaking on the condition of anonymity and the minutes from the meeting.
The decision was reportedly made by the Russian government behind closed doors in a meeting with US representatives in Moscow last month, coming into effective this year.
The Pentagon and the US Department of Energy were the US backers of the project which has already cost Washington $2 billion dollars since monitoring started 23 years ago.
The project had been envisioned to go on until 2018, with the US already having set aside $100 million towards this year’s spending, with 13 Russian facilities due to be put under US surveillance.
It was reported the straining of diplomatic relations between the two countries over Russia’s military presence in Ukraine contributed to the “unexpected” decision.
The Russian military has sought to pursue joint ventures with partners outside the West since the Ukraine crisis, most recently embarking on a military partnership with Iran, as Russian defence minister Sergey Shoygu announced the two countries would undergo joint training sessions and strengthen military cooperation at a conference in Tehran today.