The Nuclear Winter (Rev 16:10)

Regional Nuclear War Could Cause a Global Famine

A detonation of less than 0.03% of the current global nuclear arsenal could cause fires that clog the air with soot. This soot could block solar radiation, leading to worldwide crop shortages.

Fires from regional nuclear war could release enough soot into the atmosphere to severely effect agricultural output across the globe. Credit: Erick Pleitez, CC BY 2.0

By Kate Wheeling 15 May 2015

Nuclear winter has captured the collective imagination of the world since the uneasy days of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. In this hypothetical climate scenario, smoke from the fires ignited by nuclear explosions blocks out the Sun, leaving the Earth’s surface dark, cold, and dry and the Earth’s inhabitants at the mercy of a global famine. Today, nuclear weapons are no longer the prerogative of a few select countries; a detonation of less than 1% of the global nuclear arsenal could alter climate at a scale and pace that are unprecedented, even for the Anthropocene.
To find out what effect those potential changes could have on China—the largest producer of grains in the world—Xia et al. used three climate model simulations that mimicked the effect of 100 atomic bomb explosions starting fires that release 5 teragrams of soot into the atmosphere above India and Pakistan. For comparison, the explosive power of these detonations is less than 0.03% of that of the global nuclear arsenal.

The models predicted changes in the air temperature, precipitation patterns, and the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. The researchers applied those climate simulations to crop models to simulate crop production at 51 locations across China during a 10-year cold period following this “small” nuclear war.

The simulations demonstrated that a regional nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan—or any conflict that infused the upper atmosphere with at least 5 teragrams of soot—could result in lower yields of rice, maize, and wheat at most of the locations across China. The authors conclude that reduction in agricultural production would have a profound impact on the more than 1 billion people living in poverty in the world.

Given that any climatic changes that affect crop production in China are likely to impact agriculture in countries at similar latitudes, including the United States, the authors speculate a regional nuclear war could lead to a global famine. (Earth’s Future, doi:10.1002/2014EF000283, 2015)

—Kate Wheeling, Freelance Writer
Citation: Wheeling, K. (2015), Regional nuclear war could cause a global famine, Eos, 96, doi:10.1o29/2015EO029691. Published on 15 May 2015.

Why The Holocaust Is Meant To Happen Now

When the Soviet nuclear warning system showed a U.S. missile strike, he just waited — and saved the world

Colin Freeman, The Telegraph
Friday, May 15, 2015

LONDON — Kevin Costner has done it, as has Robert De Niro and a delegation at the UN. But should you, too, feel like thanking the Man Who Saved the Worldin person, beware: it can be a difficult task. First, travel to Moscow and drive to a grimy village in the southern suburbs. Then, leaving nothing valuable in your car, head up the urine-stained stairwells of a crumbling, Soviet-era apartment block and look for a grouchy, stubbly pensioner.

This is Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, who, at the height of the Cold War in the 1980s, was in charge of the Soviet Union’s nuclear missile early warning system.As reporters who have tracked him down testify, he will often shout at visitors to go away, or — at best — grudgingly admit: “I was just in the right place at the right time.”

That he most certainly was. On the night of Sept. 26, 1983, Petrov was on duty at Serpukhov-15, a secret command station south of Moscow. His job was to analyze satellite data that would detect a pre-emptive nuclear first strike from the U.S. — a prospect that in Soviet minds, at least, was not unrealistic at that time. Just three weeks before, the Soviets had shot down a Korean jet carrying 269 passengers, including a U.S. Congressman and 60 other Americans, after wrongly suspecting it of being a spy plane. The incident pushed East-West tensions to their highest since the Cuban missile crisis and prompted Ronald Reagan’s infamous remark that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire.”
So when, at 12:15 a.m., the bright red warning lights started flashing and a loud horn began wailing, indicating a missile from the U.S., Petrov and his colleagues feared the worst. “I saw that a missile had been fired, aimed at us,” he recalls. “It was an adrenaline shock. I will never forget it.”

Could it be a false alarm? Petrov asked his colleagues manning the satellite telescopes for “visual confirmation.” But with the atmosphere cloudy, it was impossible to say. And besides, the computer said no. As the monitor showed first one, then two, and then eventually five missile blips, he was forced to make a decision. Either the U.S. was starting World War Three, in which case the USSR had to respond immediately and overwhelmingly, effectively wiping out the world, or he could tell his superiors that the Soviet Union’s early warning system was malfunctioning, and hope like hell that he was right. With the blips on the screen getting nearer to Soviet soil, he had 15 minutes to make up his mind. Seldom had the fate of the world hung more in the hands of one man.

Petrov decided to give the Americans the benefit of the doubt, making the largely educated guess that if they were going to attack pre-emptively, they would do so with more than just five missiles. It turned out to be the right call, and as the feared armaments failed to rain down on Soviet airspace, his sweating, terrified colleagues gathered around to proclaim him a hero. He drank half a litre of vodka “as if it were a glass,” slept for 28 hours, and went back to work, where grateful comrades bought him a Russian-made portable television as a reward.

In typical Soviet style, however, the story of how he single-handedly averted war remained secret for years. Petrov didn’t even tell his wife, who wasn’t allowed to know he worked at the facility.
Now, though, he is finally having his day, courtesy of The Man Who Saved the World, a documentary about his life by the Danish director Peter Anthony. Not that Petrov has exactly courted stardom. His story only became public in 1998, when his commanding officer, Yury Votintsev, revealed details of the incident in a memoir. By then, Petrov was drinking heavily and struggling to look after his wife, who was dying from cancer. She learned of his heroism when a Pravda reporter arrived to follow up Votintsev’s revelations and managed to blurt out a few details before Petrov shut the door in his face.
“I first read a small article about him in a Danish newspaper, and while it was an amazing story, nobody had really dug into it,” Anthony says. “I felt like I was meeting Jesus when he answered the door, yet he was living like a street person. He would make soup by boiling water with a leather belt in it to get flavour, while one of his old comrades was working as a security guard in a supermarket.
I felt like I was meeting Jesus when he answered the door, yet he was living like a street person
“He is quite difficult to work with — in his day, you could still go to the gulag for disclosing unauthorized information and, as an ex-soldier, he wasn’t really interested in discussing his personal feelings. That, though, is the beauty of the story.”
So began a long and often difficult process to get his subject to open up. An initial two-day filming session turned into three weeks, during which an angry Petrov ejected Anthony and his translator, Galina, from his apartment several times.
Indeed, the resulting film, which took Anthony a decade to complete, is as much about Petrov’s own reluctant embrace of fame. In a world increasingly full of people “famous for being famous,” the man who actually saved the world comes across as touchingly indifferent to celebrity. The early stages of the film show him being taken on a five-week road trip across America, including a visit to New York, where a group calling itself the Association of World Citizens presents him with an award. “What do these a–- expect from me, a speech?” Petrov mutters to the long-suffering Galina.
The only time he seems vaguely happy is when he meets Kevin Costner, who turns out to have sent fan mail to Petrov, after coming across his story while researching a film about the Cuban missile crisis. Petrov, in turn, proves to be a big fan of Costner. “Your talents shine out from beyond the realm of the ordinary,” Petrov gushes. He also meets Robert De Niro and poses for a picture with Matt Damon, wondering who he is. “A small, peculiar boy who is De Niro’s son, perhaps.”
The film also does a vivid re-creation of events in the bunker, which makes uncomfortable viewing for those who like to think that the people with their fingers on the world’s nuclear buttons are calm, sober types. When Petrov calls one of his superiors for advice, he turns out to be drunk and asks if “it can wait until tomorrow.”
Equally chilling, for anyone who doesn’t trust computers, is the way the monitor in front of Petrov insists that the strikes are confirmed to the highest level.
Whether nuclear war would have definitely ensued is debatable. When the incident became public, the Kremlin played down its significance, saying that a retaliatory strike would have been launched only after confirmation from multiple sources. Petrov, however, points out that the Soviet army did not have a culture that encouraged differences of opinion, and had he confirmed the attack, nobody would have dared contradict him. “All our military forces would be brought into combat readiness, with more than 11,000 missiles … complete overkill,” he says.
The real problem, of course, was that each side was convinced the other was the aggressor. During his U.S. road trip, Petrov also went to South Dakota to visit the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Petrov brands the museum’s tour guide a “brainless goat” when he suggests only the Soviets would have launched a pre-emptive strike.
“Where did you get the idea that we wanted to attack? We, too, only had weapons for defence,” Petrov tells him. “Damn the politicians — we all want to live without fear that this world can be destroyed.”
The film is being released Friday in Britain and two weeks later in the U.S. A Canadian release date has not been set.

Unfortunately The Bowls of Wrath Will Still Come (Rev 16)

Anti-nuclear activist nun Megan Rice to be freed from prison

Convictions for the 85-year-old Catholic nun and two fellow activists who vandalized a uranium facility were overturned

 May 16, 2015 11:01AM ET

A federal appeals court has ordered the immediate release of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic anti-nuclear proliferation activists who vandalized a uranium storage bunker, their attorney said Friday.

The order came a week after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, and ordered resentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property. The activists have spent two years in prison, and the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge.

On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that resentencing would take weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors on Friday afternoon responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met.

After the close of business on Friday, attorney Bill Quigley said the court had ordered the activists’ immediate release. He said he was working to get them out of prison and was hopeful they could be released overnight or on the weekend.

We would expect the Bureau of Prisons to follow the order of the court and release them as soon as possible,” he said.

Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed are part of a loose network of activists opposed to the spread of nuclear weapons. To further their cause, in July 2012 they cut through several fences to reach the most secure area of the Y-12 complex. Before they were arrested, they spent two hours outside a bunker that stores much of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium, hanging banners, praying and spray-painting slogans.

In the aftermath of the breach, federal officials implemented sweeping security changes, including a new defense security chief to oversee all of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s sites.

Rice was originally sentenced to nearly three years and Walli and Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to just over five years. In overturning the sabotage conviction, the Appeals Court ruled that the trio’s actions did not injure national security.

Boertje-Obed’s wife, Michele Naar-Obed, said in a phone interview from her home in Duluth, Minnesota, that she hopes her husband is out of prison by Monday, which will be his 60th birthday.

Naar-Obed previously served three years in prison herself for anti-nuclear protests. She said that if their protests open people’s minds to the possibility of life without nuclear weapons, then, “Yeah, it was worth it.”

Associated Press

Iranian horn extends its tentacles (Daniel 8:3)

Iran will protect Palestinians, other ‘oppressed’ people in Middle East, Khamenei says

MIDDLE EAST By REUTERS \ 05/16/2015 14:37

Iran will help oppressed people in the region, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday, days after Gulf Arab leaders met US President Barack Obama and expressed concern about Iranian expansionism.

Khamenei also denounced Saudi Arabia for its role leading a coalition of Sunni-ruled Arab states against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, comparing it to the pagans who ruled the Arabian Peninsula before the advent of Islam in the seventh century.

His speech to a meeting of Iranian leaders and diplomats from the Muslim world, reported by the state news agency IRNA, brought the issues of political and religious legitimacy squarely into the struggle between the two regional powers.

“Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine are oppressed, and we protect oppressed people as much as we can,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

“Those people who bring suffering to Yemeni families during sacred months are even worse than the ancient pagans of Mecca,” he said at the event for the holiday of Lailat al-Miraj, when Islam says the Prophet Mohammad visited heaven and met Jesus, Abraham, Moses and other prophets.

Gulf Arab leaders met with Obama on Thursday to express their concern that Iran is trying to expand its influence in the region aggressively, parallel to nuclear negotiations under way with world powers.

The US backs the Saudi-led Sunni coalition waging the military campaign against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels. Riyadh has accused Tehran of arming the Houthis.

By mentioning Bahrain, Khamenei’s comments will also raise suspicions that Iran plays a role in the small island nation whose Sunni royal family is accused by rights groups of repressing dissent among the majority Shi’ite population.

Iran denies playing a role in either country, but has consistently criticized the campaign in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s influence in Bahrain, where it sent armed forces to help put down popular protests in 2011.


The standoff has raised concerns for shipping in the Gulf, a transit route for millions of barrels of oil per day. In the past month, Iranian forces have twice tried to seize commercial ships to settle legal disputes.

“Security in the Persian Gulf is in the interests of everyone… If it is insecure, it will be insecure for all,” Khamenei said, indicating Iran’s apparent willingness to cause disruption if attacked.

Tensions have also reached the Gulf of Aden, another crucial choke point for oil shipments, after Iran on Monday dispatched a cargo ship towards Yemen under military escort.

Forces from the Saudi-led coalition have imposed inspections on all vessels entering Yemeni waters, raising the potential for a standoff with the Iranian flotilla which is due to arrive in the coming days.

MAD: mutually assured destruction (Rev 16)

Regular missile tests maintain India-Pakistan status quo

New Delhi, May 15 Abheet Singh Sethi IANS1 day ago

Last month, India tested its indigenously-developed 3,000-km Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni III, while Pakistan tested its 1,300-km Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) Ghauri.

Both missiles are part of an ever-growing arsenal capable of reaching every corner of rival territory (including India’s Andaman Islands) and carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. Ironically, these tests are also a good way of ensuring the two countries do not go to war.
“Such tests are considered routine exercises for the two arch-rivals since they developed nuclear weapons capabilities in 1998,” according to Foreign Policy.

Nuclear weapons carried by ballistic missiles are strategic weapons of mass destruction meant primarily to scare and deter, usually ending in strategic stalemates between countries that possess such arsenals.

The possibility of “mutually assured destruction“, or MAD, as it is commonly known, also prevents their use on the subcontinent.

India’s ballistic-missile programme is driven by the threat it perceives from its nuclear armed neighbours Pakistan and China.

On May 11, 1998, India’s then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared to the world that India had become a nuclear weapons state after successfully detonating three devices. Less than three weeks later, Pakistan also conducted nuclear weapons tests.

On the 17th year anniversary of India’s nuclear weapons test, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the efforts of Indian scientists with the following tweet.

“We salute efforts of our scientists & political leadership behind the success of Pokhran Tests on this day in 1998. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 11, 2015″

Almost 17 years later, the arch rivals each test fired ballistic missiles. These are strategic delivery systems capable of delivering either nuclear or conventional warheads deep inside each other’s territory, with the focus being predominantly on the former.

Land, fire and falcons

When it comes to Pakistan, India has developed/is developing the Prithvi and Agni series of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.

The Prithvi series comprises three short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) with a range of 150-350 km, capable of targeting major Pakistani cities, such as Lahore, Sialkot, the capital Islamabad and Rawalpindi according to an IndiaSpend analysis.

The Prithvi series are road mobile and deployed. Development of the Prithvi series began in 1983.
Agni I and II, with ranges of 700 km and 2,000 km respectively, are capable of targeting almost all major Pakistani cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta and Gwadar.

The development of the Agni I began in 1999, and it was first tested in January 2002. The Agni I fills the gap between the SRBM Prithvi series and medium-range Agni II missile. It has been in service since 2004.

The Agni II is a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), first tested in April 1999. It allows India to attack all of Pakistan, although it falls short of major targets within China. Like Agni I, it too is highly accurate and is road and rail mobile.

Agni III, IV and V, with their longer ranges, might be able to reach all of Pakistan, but it can be safely said that they are directed more towards China.

Pakistan’s Hatf (named after the sword of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh) series of ballistic missiles have been developed–and is still under development–keeping India in mind. These missiles have varying ranges starting from 70 km, and go up to 2750 km. Some of these missiles are variants of existing Chinese and North Korean ballistic missiles, according to a report on Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore.

Of these, the operational SRBM Ghaznavi (named after the 11th-century Afghan invader Mahmud Ghazni) is a shortened version of the Chinese M-11 missile and has a range of between 270 km to 350 km; this means it can target Ludhiana, Ahmedabad and the outer perimeter of Delhi.

The recently-tested Ghauri (named after 12th-century Afghan king Shahbuddin Ghauri, also known as Muhammad of Ghauri) is an MRBM, with a claimed range of 1,300 km and is “clearly and unambiguously North Korean in origin”, according to the NIAS report. The report adds that the missile is deployed and can target Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Bhopal and Lucknow.

The Shaheen-III, a road-mobile IRBM was tested this March and has a claimed range of 2,750 km.
Addressing the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference 2015 in Washington, Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai (retd), a former head of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons division, said Pakistan has developed the Shaheen III to prevent India from attaining a nuclear second-strike capability from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

(In arrangement with, a data-driven, non-profit, public-interest journalism platform, with which Abheet Singh Sethi is a policy analyst. The views expressed are personal. Additional inputs from Ramya Panuganty, junior research fellow, National Institute of Advanced Studies)