The German Horn Will Get THE BOMB

Should Germany get THE BOMB? The debate threatening to go nuclear in Merkel’s Germany

Joe Gamp| UPDATED: 16:24, Sat, Aug 4, 2018

GERMANY is debating whether it is time to become a nuclear nation. Donald Trump’s increasingly belligerent threats to withdraw NATO security is forcing Germans to think the unthinkable – unthinkable at least since the deadly V1 and V2 rockets of Werner Von Braun.


Theresa May reveals she WOULD use nuclear weapons

Political scientist Christian Hacke, who is a key figure in German foreign policy, said Germany can “only rely on itself” as relations within the European union and the wider world intensify.

Germany is an economic superpower with the means to create nuclear deterrent of its own but under international law, framed in the wake of World War II, was prevented from doing so.

During the Cold War, Protocol III of the Treaty of Brussels forbade the country from possessing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

In an essay published yesterday, Mr Hacke said that Germany needs nuclear weapons to meet the challenges of the current international climate.

He wrote: “National defence on the basis of a nuclear deterrent must be given priority in light of new transatlantic uncertainties and potential confrontations.”

The new debate in the country comes in light of Donald Trump’s attack on the EU and his subsequent trade tariffs.

It also follows fresh threats from North Korea and the ensuing dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

Speaking to POLITICO, Mr Hacke believes Mr Trump’s approach to German foreign policy – including his slating of NATO – has prompted the need for nuclear armament.

Mr Hacke said: “Since the American nuclear guarantee has become doubtful and presumably no European deterrent variable seems feasible, the conclusion follows that in extreme cases, Germany can only rely on itself.

“Germany can no longer rely 100 percent on the fact that an allied nuclear power would intervene atomically for its security in an emergency.

“With that, the gaze is turned to the white elephant in the room, about which nobody wants to speak in Germany.

“How do we think about a potential nuclear power Germany?”

Meanwhile lrike Franke, analyst for European Council on Foreign Relations, said it was “crucial’ for Germany to have the debate.

Germany is considering Nuclear weapons as foreign tensions grow – but do Germans want it? (Image: GETTY)

He said: “It’s crucial for Germany and Europe that we have a strategic debate.

“What Germany is slowly realizing is that the general structure of the European security system is not prepared for the future.”

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons (NPT) is an international treaty which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States make up the five nations under the NPT agreement.

Other nuclear armed countries outside the treaty include India, North Korea and Pakistan.

Why New York City Will Be Shut Down At The Sixth Seal

Indian Point tritium leak 80% worse than originally reported

Published time: 10 Feb, 2016 22:12Edited time: 11 Feb, 2016 01:51

New measurements at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in upstate New York show levels of radioactive tritium 80 percent higher than reported last week. Plant operator insists the spill is not dangerous, as state officials call for a safety probe.

Entergy, which operates the facility 25 miles (40 km) north of New York City, says the increased levels of tritium represent “fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates.”

“Even with the new readings, there is no impact to public health or safety, and although these values remain less than one-tenth of one percent of federal reporting guidelines,” Entergy said in a statement.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo raised an alarm last Saturday over the reports of groundwater contamination at Indian Point, noting that the company reported “alarming levels of radioactivity” at three monitoring wells, with “radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent” at one of them.

The groundwater wells have no contact with any drinking water supplies, and the spill will dissipate before it reaches the Hudson River, a senior Entergy executive argued Tuesday, suggesting the increased state scrutiny was driven by the company’s decision to shut down another nuclear power plant.

“There are a number of stakeholders, including the governor, who do not like the fact that we are having to close Fitzpatrick,” Michael Twomey, Entergy’s vice president of external affairs, said during an appearance on ‘The Capitol Pressroom,’ a show on WCNY public radio.

The James A. Fitzpatrick plant is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, near Oswego, New York. Entergy said it intended to close the plant once it runs out of fuel sometime this year, citing its continued operations as unprofitable.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson river ©

‘65,000% radioactivity spike’: New York Gov. orders probe into water leak at Indian Point

“We’re not satisfied with this event. This was not up to our expectations,” Twomey said, adding that the Indian Point spill should be seen in context.

Though it has never reported a reactor problem, the Indian Point facility has been plagued by issues with transformers, cooling systems, and other electrical components over the years. It currently operates two reactors, both brought on-line in the 1970s.

In December, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed Entergy to continue operating the reactors, pending license renewal. The facility’s initial 40-year license was set to expire on December 12, but the regulators are reportedly leaning towards recommending a 20-year extension.

By contrast, Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine was only three years old when it exploded in April 1986. To this day, an area of 1000 square miles around the power plant remains the “exclusion zone,” where human habitation is prohibited.

The tritium leak at Indian Point most likely took place in January, during the preparations to shut down Reactor 2 for refueling, according to Entergy. Water containing high levels of the hydrogen isotope reportedly overfilled the drains and spilled into the ground.

According to Entergy, tritium is a “low hazard radionuclide” because it emits low-energy beta particles, which do not penetrate the skin. “People could be harmed by tritium only through internal exposure caused by drinking water with high levels of tritium over many years,” an Entergy fact sheet says.

Environmentalist critics are not convinced, however.

“This plant isn’t safe anymore,” Paul Gallay, president of environmental watchdog group

Riverkeeper, told the New York Daily News. “Everybody knows it and only Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refuse to admit it.”

Pakistan is the First Nuclear Threat (Revelation 8)

August 2, 2018

Could Pakistan be more of a nuclear security threat to Israel than Iran?

by Daniel R. DePetris

Forget North Korea: Pakistan Might Be the Real Nuclear Threat

Despite all of the attempts from the nuclear non-proliferation community, Pakistan will continue to develop and strengthen its nuclear deterrent as long as the high brass in the Pakistani military continues to have an India-centric mindset in its defense policy.  India and Pakistan have fought three wars since Islamabad’s independence in 1947, and in each case, the Pakistanis were the either the losers are forced into a stalemate before acceding to a ceasefire (the 1971 breakaway of eastern Pakistan, which would later be named Bangladesh, was an especially embarrassing defeat for the Pakistanis).  Islamabad hasn’t forgotten these cases ever since.  And for the Pakistanis, the lessons of these past conflicts are all the same: we cannot repeat history.

Could Pakistan be more of a nuclear security threat to Israel than Iran? Conventional wisdom suggests that a nuclear-armed Iran is the most pressing potential nuclear threat to Israel. It’s a country run by a Shia theocracy espousing invective for Israel on a daily basis. Indeed, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ranted about the possibility of Israel’s forthcoming destruction as recently as this week. However, Azriel Bermant, a research associate at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, offered a different take earlier this year in a column he wrote for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: the real threat might come from Pakistan.

(This first appeared in 2015.)

Bermant postulated that despite the worries of both Israeli and American policymakers alike, Iran may not be the nuclear threat that Israel should focus on. After all, Tehran doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon at its disposal. Further, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in July will forestall the Iranians from the nuclear threshold for the next fifteen to twenty-five years.  Rather, Bermant argues, “one could argue that Islamabad poses more of a threat to Israel than Tehran does.”

It’s worth considering because the Pakistani government possesses a fairly large nuclear arsenal. Over the years, President Barack Obama has expressed reservations about the continuing growth and stability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Only three months into his first term in April 2009, President Obama voiced his concerns: “ We have huge …national-security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state.”

Here is why the United States likely continues to have those worries, nearly seven years later:

1.    Pakistan’s Growing Arsenal

There are thousands of nuclear weapons in the world today.  According to the latest count from the Federation of American Scientists, the five original nuclear powers have a combined 15,465 nuclear weapons between them, most of which are divided amongst the United States and Russia.  Yet the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world is not included in this number.  While Pakistan has a range of 100-120 nuclear weapons in its possession — a figure that pales in comparison to the United States or Russia — Islamabad has devoted a tremendous amount of its military budget to growing its arsenal and procuring the associated delivery systems that are needed to launch them.

More alarming than Pakistan’s current stockpile is the projected growth of its arsenal over the next decade.  In a wide-ranging report for the Council on Foreign Relations, professor Gregory D. Koblentz of George Mason University assessed that Pakistan had enough highly enriched uranium to increase its stockpile to 200 nuclear weapons by 2020 if fully utilized.  Percentage wise, this would mean that the Pakistani army would be projected to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal by roughly sixty-seven percent over the next five years.  In other words, Pakistan could have as many nuclear weapons as the United Kingdom by 2020. Moreover, Pakistan falls outside the purview of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

To guarantee that they the ability to rapidly expand their stockpile, the Pakistani military is investing in reprocessing plutonium in addition to enriching uranium.  In January 2015, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that the Pakistanis opened up their fourth plutonium facility at Khushab, which provides Islamabad with an additional channel to construct nuclear bomb material in a relatively short period of time.  “Its expansion appears to be part of an effort to increase the production of weapons-grade plutonium,” the ISIS report (not to be confused with the terrorist group) reads. “Allowing Pakistan to build a larger number of miniaturized plutonium-based nuclear weapons that can complement its existing highly enriched uranium nuclear weapons.”

2. Pakistani Nukes a Major U.S. Intelligence Priority

To say that the U.S. intelligence community is closely monitoring the development of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program would be an understatement.  The U.S. government is doing more than just monitoring: they are actively preparing for a terrible catastrophe and engaging Pakistani officials in the hopes that they will stop pouring resources into the expansion of their program. The last thing Washington wants or needs is a nuclear crisis flashpoint in a dangerous and unpredictable region filled with an alphabet soup of Islamist terrorist groups. The U.S. government under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama has been trying to prevent such a crisis scenario from occurring.

Thanks to the 2010 Wikileaks disclosures, we can glean how seriously the State Department took the problem.   In September 2009 , on the margins of a nuclear security meeting among the  five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Undersecretary for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher discussed with China’s foreign minister about how intransigent Islamabad had been in implementing the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).  In response to Tauscher’s concerns, China’s representative agreed to discuss the treaty problems with Islamabad directly.

The prospect of Pakistan losing control of its nuclear materials has been a persistent headache for the United States. It is a scenario that military planners and intelligence officials have been planning for even before the September 11, 2001 attacks.  NBC News ran a long investigative piece on U.S. plans to unilaterally secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if a situation erupted that would put U.S. interests at risk — whether it included nuclear materials being stolen by a terrorist group; extremists infiltrating the ranks of the Pakistani army or a quick escalation of violence between Pakistan and India.  The investigation found that “Pakistan’s weaponry has been the subject of continuing discussions, scenarios, war games and possibly even military exercises by U.S. intelligence and special operations forces regarding so-called ‘snatch-and-grab’ operations.”

The safety of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile remains a key action item for the U.S. intelligence community today — so much so that Pakistan-specific analytical cells were created in order to address the lack of information that America’s intelligence professionals were receiving about Islamabad’s proliferation activities.

3. Nukes Have Gotten Pakistan Into Trouble With the U.S.

Pakistan’s high enrichment of uranium is not a new problem — it has complicated the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship since the mid 1970’s, when U.S. lawmakers first enacted a strict set of economic sanctions on Islamabad’s nuclear weaponization activities.  The 1977 Glenn amendment added to the Foreign Assistance Act was the first of many congressional efforts to pressure Pakistan (and any other non-nuclear weapons state not party to the NPT) to refrain from conducting a nuclear explosive test.  That legislation came in handy in May 1998, when President Bill Clinton enacted sanctions on Pakistan in retaliation for a nuclear test that occurred two weeks after India’s own testing (New Delhi was also sanctioned at the time).  Those sanctions prevented the U.S. from sending any foreign assistance to Pakistan — a restriction that was eventually eased later in the year under a new statute.

President Clinton’s predecessor also had his run-ins with the Pakistanis when it came to nuclear proliferation.  In 1990, President George H.W. Bush was unable to certify to Congress that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device.  Because President Bush could not make the certification required under U.S. law, Washington was compelled to substantial cut off military and economic assistance to the Pakistani Government — a provision that was in effect until 1996, when the Brown amendment relaxed the restrictions on economic aid.

All of the country-wide sanctions were in addition to the numerous penalties on companies who violated U.S. arms control export policies, which forbid corporations around the world from delivering “material, equipment, or technology…to be used by Pakistan in the manufacture of a nuclear explosive device.”  Dealings between Washington and Islamabad were very tense over the nuclear issue throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.  That all changed after 9/11, when Washington enlisted Pakistan’s support against Al-Qaeda.

4.     Pakistan Needs Nukes for its Defense

Pakistan likes to fancy itself as a peer competitor to its historical rival India in the South Asia region.  But if we’re going to be perfectly honest, Islamabad cannot compete with India in conventional capabilities.  By virtue of New Delhi’s large population, impressive economic growth, and potential to continue improving its GDP in the years ahead, Pakistan will always be second-fiddle to its principal adversary in terms of army strength, battle tanks and combat jets.  India spent nearly $50 billion on modernizing and building up its armed forces in 2014; Pakistan spent slightly more than $10 billion.  The figures are not even close.

And that is why the Pakistani military views its nuclear weapons with such importance.  For Islamabad, ensuring that nuclear weapons of all types — from stand-alone strategic weapons to tactical battlefield nukes — are primed and ready for use in a short period of time is a way to keep a vastly more powerful India in check.  Unlike India, Islamabad has refused to accept a “no first use” doctrine, meaning that the Pakistani army is authorized to deploy nuclear weapons on the battlefield if the country’s national security is seriously at risk from an Indian incursion.   Keeping the nuclear stockpile on stand-by is a way for the Pakistani Government to deter an India that is more populated, wealthier and has more men in uniform.

5.    The Bottom Line

Despite all of the attempts from the nuclear non-proliferation community, Pakistan will continue to develop and strengthen its nuclear deterrent as long as the high brass in the Pakistani military continues to have an India-centric mindset in its defense policy.  India and Pakistan have fought three wars since Islamabad’s independence in 1947, and in each case, the Pakistanis were the either the losers are forced into a stalemate before acceding to a ceasefire (the 1971 breakaway of eastern Pakistan, which would later be named Bangladesh, was an especially embarrassing defeat for the Pakistanis).  Islamabad hasn’t forgotten these cases ever since.  And for the Pakistanis, the lessons of these past conflicts are all the same: we cannot repeat history.

India-Pakistan relations remain a sore spot for both nations, from the ongoing and never-ending Kashmir dispute to allegations of meddling in one another’s domestic affairs (India continues to strongly believe that the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate fosters a deep partnership with a number of anti-India terrorist groups, while Islamabad has levied accusations about India’s covert connections with the Pakistani Taliban).  With so much bad blood between the two, it’s unfathomable to believe that Pakistan would voluntary cap the number of nuclear warheads or agree to put its entire nuclear program under IAEA supervision.  President Obama recognized this dynamic early in his presidency, telling Joe Klein with Time magazine that the Kashmir conflict is a constant irritant to peace in South Asia and that a special U.S. envoy may need to be appointed in order to prod both sides to start negotiating a long-term solution in a serious way.  Progress on that front, however, has been nonexistent: violence in Kashmir still flares up occasionally, and with every death, the Indo-Pakistani relationship suffers another blow.

In the current environment, we all better get used to Pakistan becoming the third-largest nuclear weapons state in the world.

Trump Will Plunge US Into a World War

Ex-Diplomat to Sputnik: US Invasion of Iran Would Plunge Entire Region Into War

Canberra has dispelled rumors of “imminent” US strikes against Iran after government sources told Australian media that Washington may be preparing an attack. Meanwhile, the National Interest has published a piece considering a US invasion of Iran in 2026. Sputnik spoke to an Iranian ex-diplomat about what US aggression would mean for the region.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed the idea that Washington was preparing to strike Iranian nuclear facilities as “speculation” following a report by following a report citing senior security sources by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation saying that such strikes may come as soon as sometime in August.

The news comes after the appearance of a narrative-style article in the National Interest late last month speculating that the US may launch an Iraq-style “Operation Iranian Freedom” in 2026 after the US finds ‘irrefutable evidence’ that Iran is enriching weapons-grade uranium and launches a ground campaign from the former state of Iraq, which has split at this point into Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish-controlled statelets.

Welcome to 2026 (and the U.S. Is About to Invade Iran): Operation Iranian Freedom

— National Interest (@TheNatlInterest) 29 июля 2018 г.

Speaking to Sputnik Persian about these scenarios, Dr. Seyed Hadi Afghahi, Middle Eastern affairs expert and former official at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon, commented on their realism in light of recent events in the region.

“For starters, the scenario of a military invasion [described by the National Interest] is only a fantasy of its authors and is not backed by any documentary evidence,” Afghahi said. “Secondly, the conditions in the region for implementing such an invasion scenario by the Americans and their allies (be it the British, the French or even the Saudis) are not favorable,” he added. “Moreover, neither the Americans nor any European powers really believe that an attack on Iran would ‘tame it’ or ‘put it in its place’…”

According to the analyst, Washington currently faces a much more urgent problem. “When Donald Trump threatened to cut off the exports of Iranian oil, he received a threat in response. Our political and military leadership has indicated that even before the start of such an oil embargo, Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz,” i.e. the choke point between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman through which some 20 percent of the world’s crude oil supplies flow.

Some regional oil exporters are already facing problems related to security, Afghahi noted. “Saudi Arabia recently suspended oil exports through Bab-el-Mandeb,” (the strait situated between Yemen and Djibouti) “due to rocket attacks by Yemen against Saudi oil tankers. All this is taking place even before the coming US oil embargo against Iran and the closure of the Strait of Hormuz.”

Pointing to the increasingly hostile rhetoric coming from both sides, the former diplomat stressed that the fate of the Hormuz Strait was “a very sensitive issue which could plunge the whole region into a military conflict which would bring absolutely no benefit to the US. If this happens, the US would be to blame, given that they have come here from across the ocean and are trying to foment unrest in the Strait. If a clash does occur, it will not be limited to Iran and the US. Many countries and jihadist groups from various countries will enter into the fray,” Afghahi warned.

“Therefore, the actual date of the military conflict, be it tomorrow or in 2026, is of little importance. Iran is prepared, under any circumstances, to repel invading forces, even if they are numerically superior to our own,” the observer emphasized.

A Divided Iraq?

As far as the National Interest scenario’s assumption about the division of Iraq into several separate entities were concerned, Afghahi argued that these weren’t far off from Washington’s actual strategy.

“For the Americans, the division of Iraq is an important question. They have carefully sought to implement it, but have not succeeded so far. First they created Daesh (ISIS)*, which they wanted to use to create a Sunni quasi-state. In the space of just over two years, Daesh collapsed, having been defeated by the Iraqi government army, the Iranian military and the Popular Mobilization Forces [an umbrella group consisting of 40 Iraqi militias].”

Ralph Peters’ solution to the Middle East

Later Afghahi noted, “the Americans decided to take a chance and bet on the Kurds. Even before Daesh was defeated and Mosul freed, [Iraqi Kurdish leader] Masoud Barzani decided to declare Iraqi Kurdistan’s complete independence from the government in Baghdad, and a referendum was called. But the Iraqi central government, as well as Iran, Syria and Turkey, opposed such a scenario, given that it would signal the start of a series of complex and dangerous events affecting the territorial integrity of all four countries.”

“In the end, the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization Forces moved in the direction of autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan, and literally snatched Kirkuk, one of the largest oil and gas fields in the world, from Barzani. The Kurdish leader retreated. Therefore, today, the question of dividing Iraq into separate states has become impossible, despite American wishes,” Afghahi said.

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov

Banners calling for voting in a referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan independence from Baghdad in Erbil

According to the analyst, US pressure aimed at weakening and dividing Iraq will continue, as evidenced most recently by the Electoral Commission’s failure to declare an official winner to the May 2018 elections, which saw the victory of the forces of the so-called front of resistance opposing the US presence. “Without confirmation that the elections took place, a parliament composed of the winners cannot be created, and the country’s leaders – the president and the prime minister, cannot be chosen…The American plan for Iraq is to plunge the country into a ‘tunnel of darkness‘, with a paralyzed government without a president or ministers.”

Ultimately, Afghahi warned that should the US attempt to use Iraq as a jumping off point for an invasion of Iran, the Iraqi government army and the Popular Mobilization Forces would help to repulse it.

The views expressed by Dr. Seyed Hadi Afghahi are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

* A terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

Like Obama, Khamenei Refuses to Help the Green Movement

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected President Hassan Rouhani’s proposal to release the leaders of the Green Movement from house arrest, a website close to one of the detainees, Saham News, reported on August 2.

Saham News, a supporter of former parliamentary speakerMehdi Karroubi, says, “The Islamic Republic’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), presided by Rouhani, recently decided to enquire Khamenei’s position on the trio, who have been under house arrest since February 2011.”

Responding to the enquiry, Khamenei noted, “There are much more important national issues that should be addressed by the government and SNCC, than the case of house arrests,” SahamNews says.

On July 28, Karroubi’s son, Hossein, told a pro-Green Movement website, Kalemeh, “I have heard that the decision to lift the house arrest was endorsed by the Supreme National Security Council,” adding, “This decision will be presented to the [supreme] leader so that this case can be concluded.”

Though the comment made headlines, Tehran MP GholamrezaHaidari denied it a day later, citing current speaker Ali Larijani.

Meanwhile, according to Saham News, during the last SNSCsession, Rouhani tabled a proposal for releasing Karroubi, along with former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, from house arrest. Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Mohammad Ali Jafari and judicial head Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani opposed and argued that, in “Iran’s current situation [looming sactions and tensions with Washington], lifting the house arrest is not in the interest of the establishment.”

Ali Larijani suggested that, before making any decision, the SNSC should learn the supreme leader’s position on the case.

Rouhani raised the subject with Khamenei, and he rejected it, Saham News concluded.

Khamenei has repeatedly opposed releasing the trio in the past.

Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, 76, and Mehdi Karroubi, 80, were reformist candidates in the controversial presidential election of 2009, which was won by hard-liner incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

They claimed the vote was rigged, triggering months of mass protests, particularly in Tehran. Hundreds of thousands poured into the streets in the biggest challenge to the system since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

The pair were placed under house arrest without trial in February 2011, along with Rahnavard, Mousavi’s 66-year-old wife, after calling upon people to attend a rally in support of the Arab Spring.