Even Stephen Hawking Is Talking About the Millennial Kingdom

(CNN)We’re all doomed. Unless we can figure out how to get the heck off this planet.
Don’t believe it? Then ask noted theoretical scientist and astronomer Stephen Hawking. He says humanity won’t survive another 1,000 years on Earth because of, you know, the usual suspects — climate change, nukes, robots.
Hawking, speaking earlier this week at Oxford University Union, says our best chance for survival as a species is to leave the only home we’ve ever known and establish colonies on other planets.
„Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years,“ Hawking said in the speech, according to the Christian Science Monitor. „By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.“
And the pace of space exploration seems to be ramping up. NASA is busy searching for „goldilocks“ — exoplanets that might be able sustain human life. Meanwhile, Space X CEO Elon Musk has already laid out his plans to colonize Mars within the next century.
Despite all of his gloom and doom, Hawking did end with some positive notes, according to British newspaper The Independent.
„Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist,“ he said. „Be curious. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.“

The increasing risk of nuclear war (Revelation 15)

OCTOBER 1, 2016
Norman Byrd
The United States announced this week that it would begin refurbishing its nuclear missile systems, an overhaul that is estimated to take roughly 20 years to complete, in a direct response to the upgrades made to the nuclear capabilities of Russia, China, and North Korea. And it did not push aside fears of a looming World War 3 when Defense Secretary Ash Carter made a speech at a nuclear missile silo this week where he called upon NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) members to “refresh their nuclear playbook.” In what looks to be nothing short of a re-establishment of the Cold War, events appear to signal a return to the days of nuclear weapons deterrence policies and the constant fear of some state player triggering World War 3.
As Agence France Presse (AFP) reported earlier in the week, the U.S. has plans to switch out over 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles in the next two decades, completely replacing the Minuteman III nuclear-tipped missiles now in secret silos across the U.S. with an as yet unnamed modern missile system. It is part of a refurbishing program of the military’s “nuclear triad (missiles, submarines, and bombs),” and its estimated cost is around $1 trillion, spent over the next 30 years.
“The Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans are upgrading all of their systems,” an Air Force official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP. He went on to say that since the other powers were “upgrading all of their legs of the triad,” he did not believe that “in that environment, I am not sure it makes sense” to do nothing.
The Minuteman III missile system has been in place since the 1960s (some of the missiles and silos since the 1950s). As another Air Force official noted, a number of the vendors who constructed and equipped the nuclear weapons silos have gone out of business over the years. Finding replacement parts have become extremely difficult, so some type of refurbishing operation was in order.
But the modernization of the nuclear weapons of the U.S. would not in itself prompt fears of World War 3 and a multinational war that could lead to a potential nuclear exchange. Proper maintenance of war ordnance is as much a nod to safety as it is to preparedness. The political rhetoric that followed did.
Speaking to a group of “missileers” — Air Force airmen who handle the operations of land-based nuclear weapons — at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stated, according to the Daily Star, that Russia was as much a “loose cannon” threat to global security as North Korea with regard to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s emphasis on a resurgent Russia.
Carter said that NATO should not only “refresh their nuclear playbook” but also “plan and train like we would fight to deter Russia from thinking it can benefit from nuclear use in a conflict with NATO.”
Talk of a limited nuclear exchange in a constrained or localized war setting has become a point of acceptability of late, a tone that sparks fears in the hearts of those who would avoid World War 3 scenarios at all costs. With think tanks like the Atlantic Council, as reported by the Inquisitr, warning that Russia could invade and take over the Baltic States in a matter of days “with no warning,” fears that Russian military officials might resort to such nuclear tactics have proliferated. And then there was recently retired NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Breedlove, who warned the NATO nations, according to a separate Inquisitr report, that they were woefully unprepared for a concentrated Russian attack, that a sustained military offensive, coupled with Russia’s air and naval superiority, could potentially see Russia in control of helpless Europe with the Atlantic Ocean as a patrolled buffer zone to keep the U.S. and Canada from providing assistance.
Carter told the missileers, “It is a sobering fact that the most likely use of nuclear weapons today is not the massive ‘nuclear exchange’ of the classic Cold War-type, but rather the unwise resorting to smaller but still unprecedentedly terrible attacks, for example by Russia or North Korea. We cannot allow that to happen, which is why we’re working with our allies in both regions to innovate and operate in new ways that sustain deterrence and continue to preserve strategic stability.”
World War 3 sabre-rattling is nothing new between Russia and the United States, of course. The two superpowers have played the game of nuclear brinkmanship since shortly after 1949, when Russia detonated its first atomic bomb. Although the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Russia-dominated Union of Soviet Socialist Republics saw a lessening of tensions between the world’s two foremost nuclear superpowers, the rise of the Russian Federation under the leadership of Vladimir Putin has brought all the militarization and political posturing back into play.
The United States has apparently decided that continued Russian military aggression in various parts of Europe and the Middle East over the past few years has reached a point where nuclear weapons deterrence rhetoric must now become part of dealing with Russia — again. And so, too, must a commitment be made to the modernization of its nuclear defense capabilities. But a nuclear stand-off, at least to a great many, is a far better alternative to limited nuclear exchanges, or worse, the nearly assured destruction of the planet should World War 3 be waged with nuclear weapons.

The End Draws Near (Revelation 9)

nuclear-explosionRisk of nuclear attack rises
DAVID MARTIN CBS NEWS
Sep 25, 2016 7:59 PM EDT
The following is a script from “The New Cold War” which aired on Sept. 25, 2016. David Martin is the correspondent. Mary Walsh and Tadd Lascari, producers.
President Obama’s nuclear strategy states that while the threat of all-out nuclear war is remote the risk of a nuclear attack somewhere in the world has actually increased. When that was written three years ago the risk came from a rogue nation like North Korea. Back then the U.S. and Russia were said to be partners but that was before Russia invaded Crimea, using military force to change the borders of Europe. And before its president, Vladimir Putin, and his generals began talking about nuclear weapons. For generations nuclear weapons have been seen as a last resort to be used only in extreme circumstances. But in this new Cold War the use of a nuclear weapon is not as unlikely to occur as you might think.
Air-launched cruise missiles being loaded onto a long range B-52 bomber at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
David Martin: When you see it close up, it’s, it’s even bigger than you think it is.
Richard Clark: It is an impressive machine. About 185,000 pounds empty. But it’s built to carry weapons and gas.
Major General Richard Clark commands all of this country’s nuclear bombers.
David Martin: And these are the weapons?
Richard Clark: Yes sir. These are air-launch cruise missiles. It is the nuclear primary weapon for the B-52.
Clark told us these are training missiles so they are not armed with nuclear warheads.
A B-52 can carry 20 cruise missiles, six under each wing and eight in the bomb bay.
Richard Clark: So this is the rotary launcher. And it holds eight air-launched cruise missiles within the internal bomb bay of the B-52. It’s a tight fit but the way it works is the launcher rotates, allows the weapon to release and send it on its way.
David Martin: It looks like the chamber of a revolver.
Richard Clark: Same idea. Just much bigger bullets.
As the most visible arm of the American nuclear arsenal these bombers are meant to send a message to an international audience.
Richard Clark: We can put this aircraft anywhere we want, anytime we want and both our allies and our adversaries take note.
David Martin: This is basically a nuclear show-and-tell?
Richard Clark: It’s not just a show-and-tell because it will deliver.
Within the last two years B-52s have begun sending that message directly to Russia, flying missions not seen since the Cold War. It started after Vladimir Putin changed history by invading an independent country, Ukraine, and seizing its Republic of Crimea.
Phillip Breedlove: The fact that military force would be used to change an internationally recognized border in the central part of Europe that was new.
Now retired, General Phillip Breedlove was the supreme Allied commander in Europe when Russia took over Crimea. The invasion was carried out by so-called little green men – Russian soliders wearing uniforms without insignia – but looming in the background were nuclear weapons.
David Martin: Was there ever any indication that Vladimir Putin was prepared to use his nuclear weapons in any way?
Phillip Breedlove: Vladimir Putin said himself that he would considered raising the alert status of his nuclear force.
David Martin: He had considered it?
Phillip Breedlove: He said it himself.
Putin said he had given an order to his military to be prepared to increase the readiness of his nuclear forces if the U.S. and NATO tried to block his takeover of Crimea. “We were not looking for a fight,” Putin said in this interview. But “we were ready for the worst-case scenario.”
Phillip Breedlove: They see nuclear weapons as a normal extension of a conventional conflict.
David Martin: So to them nuclear war is not unthinkable?
Phillip Breedlove: I think to them the use of nuclear weapons is not unthinkable.
It says so in their military doctrine, signed by Putin in 2014, Russia “…shall reserve the right to use nuclear weapons . . . In the event of aggression . . . When the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.”
Putin has personally directed nuclear exercises which have increased in both size and frequency, according to Breedlove.
David Martin: More threatening?
Phillip Breedlove: Certainly they get your attention.
David Martin: More aggressive?
Phillip Breedlove: Clearly.
And the U.S. responded with more aggressive exercises of its own. One year after Crimea four B-52s flew up over the North Pole and North Sea on an exercise called polar growl the B-52s were unarmed but that little fin on the side of the fuselage identified them as capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Hans Kristensen: What I plotted here are the two routes for these planes.
Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the federation of American scientists, used Google Earth to show us the message that sent Russia.
Hans Kristensen: Each bomber can carry 20 cruise missiles a maximum of them so we’re talking about potentially 80 cruise missiles that could have been launched against targets inside Russia at this particular time.
Using the cruise missiles range of 1500 miles, Kristensen plotted his own hypothetical lines showing how far they could potentially reach into Russia.
David Martin: And the end points of those red lines?
Hans Kristensen: Yes, each of them go to a facility in Russia that could be a potential target for nuclear weapons.
David Martin: The Russians would look at that and see it as a dry run for an attack on targets inside Russia.
Richard Clark: I guess they can draw the conclusions that they need to draw.
David Martin: Eighty cruise missiles in your face.
Richard Clark: It’s a lot of fire power.
David Martin: Was that the message?
Richard Clark: That’s a message for sure.
The last time American nuclear bombers flew a mission like that was during the Cold War.
Richard Clark: This was a significant exercise for us. We’re training the way we might have to fight.
It was an unmistakable warning — but Rear Admiral Steve Parode says there’s no indication the Russian military has changed its thinking about nuclear weapons.
Steve Parode: Disturbingly, in recent years there have been specific doctrinal and public statements made by other Russian leaders that indicate an evolved willingness to employ nuclear weapons in the course of conflict.
As director of intelligence for the U.S. Strategic Command, Parode spent the last two years gauging Russia’s nuclear intentions.
Steve Parode: I think that they feel that fundamentally the West is sociologically weaker and if they were to use a nuclear weapon in the course of a conflict between say NATO and Russia they might be able to shock the Western powers into de-escalating, freezing the conflict, into calling a cease fire.
David Martin: So they have a belief that they’re just tougher than us?
Steve Parode: Oh, that’s definitely true.
David Martin: And if they have to use nuclear weapons, we can’t, we can’t take it?
Steve Parode: I think that some people might think that.
Parode is not talking about the Armageddon of an all-out nuclear war which neither side could win. But the limited use of a few nuclear weapons which could convince the U.S. to back down.
David Martin: So, how would they shock us into surrender?
Steve Parode: They could strike a European target with a nuclear weapon, maybe an airfield they thought was vital to conflict between NATO and Russia.
David Shlapak: We’re looking at H-Hour. We’re looking at the, the moment before the conflict starts.
David Shlapak of the RAND Corporation directed a series of war games commissioned by the Pentagon in which Russia invaded the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia — two of the newer members of NATO and because of their location on the Russian border two of the most vulnerable.
David Shlapak: When the fight starts, the Russians have about 400 to 500 tanks on the battlefield. NATO has none.
The red chips represent Russian forces. The blue and white are NATO.
David Martin: The relative size of the stacks kind of says it all.
David Shlapak: It does, it does. This is not a happy picture for NATO.
As the scenario unfolds, Russian forces in red are storming the capitals of Estonia and Latvia.
David Shlapak: They can get there between a day and a half and two and a half days – 36 to 60 hours.
To retake Estonia and Latvia the U.S. and NATO would have to conduct a major build-up of military forces to drive the Russians out.
David Shlapak: One of the things you would expect Russia to do would be to begin rattling the nuclear sabre very aggressively, to say, “We’re here. This is our territory now. And if you come and try to take it away from us, we will escalate.”
David Martin: Escalate. Use nuclear weapons?
David Shlapak: Use nuclear weapons.
Russia has more than 1,000 short range nuclear weapons while the U.S. has less than 200 at air bases in Europe.
Hans Kristensen: There’s one in Germany…
The locations of American nuclear weapons are officially secret. But here’s what they look like. Hans Kristensen says he discovered this photo on a U.S. Air Force website showing the inside of a shelter where nuclear bombs would be loaded aboard American and NATO jet fighters.
Hans Kristensen: Each vault can have up to four nuclear bombs. They hang right next to each other.
Hans Kristensen: It can – it sinks into the ground with the weapons, levels completely with the surface.
David Martin: And just out of a doomsday movie the nuclear weapon rises out of the floor.
Hans Kristensen: Right.
The bomb is called the B-61 and it’s being upgraded by adding a new set of tail fins that give it greater accuracy. That would allow the B-61 to destroy its target using a lower-yield nuclear weapon which would decrease the number of civilian casualties.
The air-launched cruise missile, says Major General Clark, can also be turned into a low-yield nuclear weapon.
Richard Clark: There is a variable yield option on this weapon, so we can change that yield within the weapon.
David Martin: You can dial in a yield?
Richard Clark: That’s what we call it, actually. Dial a yield.
David Martin: Does that make a nuclear weapon easier to use?
Phillip Breedlove: We do not plan to go there. We do not want to go there.
David Martin: But if you have this option which allows you to keep civilian casualties to a minimum and you’re really up against it, isn’t it easier?
Phillip Breedlove: I don’t think that any decision to ever use a nuclear weapon could be categorized as easy.
David Martin: Less difficult?
Phillip Breedlove: Less difficult. We could say that.
Russia is also developing low-yield weapons which this declassified CIA document says could “…lower the threshold for first use of nuclear weapons…” “the development of low yield warheads that could be used on high-precision weapon systems would be consistent with Russia’s increasing reliance on nuclear weapons…”
But “increasing reliance on nuclear weapons,” says Rear Admiral Parode, doesn’t mean Russia is eager to use them.
Steve Parode: I don’t perceive that they are, have become madmen with their fingers on the button. But I do believe they are more interested in considering how nuclear weapons could be used in conflict to either close a gap or to sustain the opportunity for victory.
David Martin: So what’s the scenario? What situation would get them to seriously consider the use of nuclear weapons?
Steve Parode: That is probably the greatest question I’m trying to answer today for Admiral Haney.
infostrategic-command-center.jpg
CBS News
That’s Admiral Cecil Haney, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, the man who would carry out a presidential order to launch a nuclear weapon.
Cecil Haney: Thank you. I appreciate the update.
Low key and cerebral, Haney commands not only this country’s nuclear forces but its cyber weapons and space satellites as well.
David Martin: Is it riskier today?
Cecil Haney: Well I think today we’re at a time and place that I don’t think we’ve been to before.
It is Haney’s job to convince Vladimir Putin that resorting to nuclear weapons would be the worst mistake he could possibly make.
David Martin: When you look at what would work to deter Russia, do you have to get inside Putin’s head?
Cecil Haney: You have to have a deep, deep, deep understanding of any adversary you want to deter, including Mr. Putin.
David Martin: So how would you describe him psychologically?
Cecil Haney: Well, one I would say I’m not a psychologist. But I would just say he is clearly an individual that is an opportunist.
David Martin: Does it concern you that an opportunist has a nuclear arsenal?

Skidding Towards Prophecy (Revelation 15)

Head of PPP Media Cell
Pakistan is bound to respond in equal measure and according to Stephen Cohen as reported in New York Times recently, ‘the conflict could skid into a nuclear conflict,’ adding it would be devastating for both the countries. War hysteria in India this time is fuming with vengeance enough to cross the red-lines. Its probable eventuality gets credence in the wake of recent Uri attack in IHK, earlier Pathankot terrorist attack and Mumbai carnage, and Pakistan government’s inordinate delay to bring the culprits to justice.
It is hoped that better sense will prevail on Indian government led by Prime Minister Modi that has been desperately trying to build up its leadership mettles by bringing in economic prosperity in the country. They must not be carried away under the pressure of hawks who have increasingly taken the central stage in the corridors of power of India and in the country’s media alike.
Surprisingly, Indian prime minister’s last week’s Saturday public address opting for isolating Pakistan globally rather than crossing the swords, was a positive development to stem the tide of the possibility of the armed conflict between the two countries.
Overwhelming majority of people in Pakistan and India as well took the sigh of relief over the resultant shattering of war clouds as the unleashing of the of war instruments could have inevitably left the two countries crying mutual havoc afterwards exemplifying all pains no gains.
In this backdrop generated by India, Pakistan prime minister should immediately give heed to the sane proposal of ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali suggesting him to summon the joint session of Parliament to discuss the state of deteriorating relations, to the lowest ebb, between two neighbours for the formulation of a national response to ward off imminent threat that may lead to armed conflict.
Its indispensability cannot be overemphasised at a time when possibility of Indian retaliatory military action inside Pakistan is flying thick and fast.
The joint session of the Parliament will send a powerful and detrimental message to the bellicosity of India, and to the world community of Pakistan’s endeavours of averting the conflict in the face of India’s jingoism. Such message emanating from the Pakistan Parliament is bound to have desirable impact qualitatively both on India and the world at large.
The proposed session of the Parliament will also suggest to the government the road map of de-escalation of prevailing tension between the two countries leading to renewed efforts for normalisation. For this, an all parties’ parliamentary delegation may be constituted to activate diplomatic efforts assuring India of Pakistan’s commitment to bring terrorists of all hues to justice as a shared priority.
The Indian government should welcome such initiative. Its reluctance will be construed as having aggressive designs against Pakistan. The delegation should also urge the Indian government to resolve the outstanding issue of Kashmir as per commitment of India and Pakistan made before the UN Security Council. The security establishment must take the back seat because ‘it is too serious business.’
Pakistan’s crying horse as victim of terrorism has been increasingly losing its appeal in the world. Its incredible successes against terrorism are also subjected to the diminishing return because of the widely held perception that Pakistan’s ubiquitous security establishment has been playing on the both sides of the street so far as good and bad terrorists are concerned. It is no more plausible because the international community’s patience is brimming out with frustration as Haqqani network’s presence on Pakistani soil glaringly runs counter to the stated policy of Pakistan. This contradiction had invited all out opprobrium. Its fight to defeat terrorism in its all forms and manifestations is deemed as flawed. It is hard to find any taker of this covert policy of Pakistan notwithstanding colossal losses, both in blood and treasure, in the war of terror. It is ironical because the world is skeptical.
Two big and prominent proscribed outfits, also on the UN terrorist list, are big source of embarrassment for Pakistan as they take out processions in major cities in the full glare of media. The government’s inaction under NAP speaks volumes of its either double speak or lying in spine before them intimidated and terrified having no audacity to control them.
This display of outlawed organisations is under the scrutiny of the international organisations and the media. The state of affairs also explicitly points to the civil-military disparate because civilians consider them as delinquent liability and the military as its Trojan horse. It also purportedly implies that elected government cannot take them on in favour of paradigm shift fearing reprisal from their patron leading to destabilisation enough to endanger the longevity of the government of the day. The credibility of the government and its institution will not be restored till the bull is not taken by horns in front of the full gaze of the world.
Ironically, the establishment not presumably jettisoned, overt and covert, proclivity of controlling the security/foreign policy to the much exclusion of the civilians and their representatives, Parliament, notwithstanding the history of devastating denouements of this type of pursuit in the form of secession of the federation, sprawling of extremism and terrorism, Kargil debacle, Indian clandestine occupation of Siachin, privatisation of the security/foreign policy through proxies etc. Senator Farhatullha Babar has dwelled upon this self-defeating tendency at various public and parliamentary forums at number of times but no avail.
A combined article written by three former distinguished foreign secretaries and the security adviser, published on the front page in the local English daily, have blown the whistle urging the government to take immediate and bold initiatives to defuse the situation by improving relations with Afghanistan as its top priority followed by with other neighbours. Thanks for the immensely valuable and timely advice to the mandarins that should sink well with them. The opinion of such distinguished personalities should be taken with matching seriousness preceded by tangible steps in the direction as suggested by them.
Government in Kabul must be assured in absolute terms of not allowing Afghan Taliban in Pakistan to use its soil to perpetrate terrorism in the country. The drive against the Afghan Taliban network should not only be carried out by Pakistan but also be seen to be carried out. Pakistan has no choice but to abandon Taliban of all hues if it wants the world to believe in its commitment to defeat terrorism indiscriminately. The echoes of betrayal and duplicity, US Congress, are too loud now in the world capitals enough to shrill nation’s ears. The chances of getting benefit of doubt are almost nil, be aware.
Even man of ordinary prudence will conclude the grotesque aftermaths of proxy wars. The presence of Afghan Taliban on Pakistan soil gives credibility to the Indian allegations of the currency of cross-border terrorism. Afghanistan leadership blames Pakistan for all its predicaments attributed to this policy of good and bad terrorists.
Tragically, activities of the proscribed organisations under the open sky of Pakistan had also hurt the struggle of the Kashmiri people for independence as they flaunt their role in the uprising against the Indian occupation of the Valley. They were helping India who projected it as a terrorist movement rather than legitimate struggle focused to the right of self-determination. The Uri terrorist attack recently gave India much fodder to divert the attention of the international community at the expense of the freedom movement. It was enough to confuse the international community, and the Indian diplomacy was on the overdrive to put blame of cross-border terrorism on Pakistan. The incident overshadowed the Indian atrocities in held Kashmir at a time when UN General Assembly was in session.
No country can afford to endorse the presence of Afghan terrorists on Pakistani soil. The rest of the world is increasingly coming closer to tell Pakistan on its face ‘enough is enough.’ In the US, the Congressmen are raising their voice against Pakistan alleging the country has proved as unworthy ally and US money cannot be spent to reward ‘betrayal and duplicity’. President Obama had also candidly urged Pakistan, ‘to move pro-actively and sincerely to delegitimise and dismantle the Haqqani network.’ The US Security Adviser Susan Rice during her visit to Pakistan also made it quite clear that Haqqani network had to be dismantled if Pakistan wanted the US economic and military assistance. The rejection of US aid to Pakistan clearly suggested that there were no free lunches.
In the recent meeting of prime minister of Pakistan in New York with John Kerry, cross-border terrorism figured quite prominently. Pakistan stands no chance of standing on its feet in the diplomatic and economic fronts if US’ annoyance culminating into choking reprisal in myriad fronts. As such, the wheels of diplomacy should move swiftly based on paradigm shift and unflinching sincerity to turn the tide of looming disaster. The parliamentarians should display guts and take the charge of the foreign/a security domain which is their legitimate right conferred on them by the people of Pakistan. Their ambivalence in this regard will cast shadow of pusillanimous explicitly implying not worthy of representing the people. The imposition of institutional pontification in this regard should be relic of the past that is known for inflicting curdling nightmares.
muhammadshaheedi@yahoo.com

Some history before the bowls of wrath (Revelation 15)

Tropic Fallout: a look back at the Bikini nuclear tests, 70 years later

National Archives

A colorized photo of the Baker detonation from Operation Crossroads. The underwater detonation rained down unanticipated fallout over a large area, covering the entire target fleet.

In July of 1946, the US military conducted a pair of nuclear weapons tests on the previously inhabited island of Bikini, a coral atoll in the Marshall Islands chain. Advertised as a “defensive” test to see how ships would withstand a nuclear blast, the tests—code-named “Crossroads”—were described by the Manhattan Project team as “the most publicly advertised secret test ever conducted.”

The National Security Archive project at George Washington University has assembled a collection of documents and videos related to the Bikini tests—the second of which would be called “the world’s first nuclear disaster“by Atomic Energy Commission chairman Glenn T. Seaborg. The Baker explosion, detonated underwater, was the first to create significant fallout, as a “base surge” of irradiated water and debris washed over the entire fleet of target ships and Bikini’s lagoon itself.

Bikini was chosen for its deep, large lagoon, and because the island was far off international shipping routes. To prepare the site, the US Navy (which governed the Marshall Islands immediately following World War II) convinced the inhabitants of Bikini to relocate for the tests, which military governor Commodore Ben Wyatt told them was for “the good of all mankind and to end all world wars.”
A task force of over 42,000 people, including 38,000 from the Navy as well as over 3,000 from the Army and scientists and technicians from 15 universities and various defense contractors and other organizations, was organized for Operation Crossroads. A total of 94 vessels, ranging from aircraft carriers to landing craft, was moored in the lagoon of Bikini as a target fleet, carrying fuel and ammunition as well as a collection of tanks, trucks and other military equipment. Twenty-two of the ships were “crewed” by 109 mice, 146 pigs, 176 goats, 57 guinea pigs and 3,030 white rats (a fact that caused the tests to be widely protested by animal welfare organizations).

The fleet of target ships included aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and landing craft, among other ships. Some of the vessels had been declared excess inventory after the Navy had scaled down its forces, and others had been damaged during World War II. Three German and Japanese warships captured during the war were among the ships to be targeted.

The Able and Baker bombs were the same type of warheads used in the bombing of Nagasaki. But the results of the two tests were vastly different. Able was dropped from a B-29 Superfortress bomber, detonating in the air nearly a half mile from the intended target–the battleship USS Nevada. It sank five ships, and damaged another 40, many of them beyond potential repair. And while the Nevada survived the Able blast, neutron and gamma radiation penetrated the whole ship, killing the goats aboard standing in for its crew. Even in the deepest parts of the ship, radiation was measured at above a lethal dose. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist noted in its report on the test, that it showed “a large ship, about a mile away from the explosion, would escape sinking, but the crew would be killed by the deadly burst of radiations from the bomb, and only a ghost ship would remain, floating unattended in the vast waters of the ocean.”

But Able caused no significant contamination to the ships. While there was some metal aboard the ships rendered radioactive by the neutron bombardment, the ships were safely boarded within days of the Able blast, and there was little fallout.

Baker was detonated underwater, suspended 90 feet below a landing craft (of which no identifiable part was ever found after the test). Nine ships were sunk by the detonation, including the battleship USS Arkansas. Many others were damaged severely by the shockwave and the tsunami that followed the collapse of the gas bubble created by the detonation. But the entire target fleet was engulfed by a “base surge”–a cascade of radioactive flotsam that spread out from the detonation, engulfing most of the test area and contaminating everything in its path with fallout. The degree of fallout was far beyond anything the military had prepared for.

The Navy initially attempted to decontaminate many of the surviving ships from the Baker test. But nothing short of taking them down to bare metal worked, and the Navy crews were unprepared to deal with decontamination on such a large scale. Many were exposed to high levels of radiation. The radiological safety officer for Operation Crossroads, Army doctor Colonel Stafford Warren, lobbied hard to abandon the effort, and finally convinced the head of the task force, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William H. P. Blandy, by showing him an x-ray of a fish from the lagoon–an x-ray taken using only the radiation coming from plutonium in the fish itself.

At the End Shiism Will Prevail (Daniel 8:4)

Doyle McManusContact Reporter
To Americans, Iran’s actions over the last two weeks may have seemed not merely surprising, but also contradictory.
Iran rushed to meet its obligations under last year’s landmark nuclear agreement, dismantling the machinery it could have used to make atomic bombs. At the same time, officials insisted that they would continue to test ballistic missiles in apparent violation of another United Nations resolution.
Iran quickly released 10 American sailors whose boats had drifted into Iranian waters and said they had been treated with “Islamic hospitality.” Then the Revolutionary Guard released a video showing the sailors on their knees, and a general boasted: “The Americans humbly admitted our might and power.”
Iran’s intelligence agencies quietly negotiated a deal to swap five American prisoners for seven Iranians — then haggled over allowing the wife and mother of one of the Americans to leave the country. And a hardline official claimed that Washington’s $1.7-billion settlement of an Iranian legal claim was actually paid as ransom for the prisoners. (Not so, the White House said.)
The message from Iran-watchers is: Get used to it.
“Iran is a complicated country,” Abbas Milani of Stanford’s Hoover Institution told me last week. “On one level, they are simply using an old-fashioned good cop-bad cop strategy. On a deeper level, there’s a struggle under way over the future of the country, and we don’t know how that’s going to turn out.”
The underlying problem is that Iran still hasn’t made the choice Henry Kissinger described several years ago: whether it is a country or a cause — a normal state, or a revolutionary one.
In practical diplomacy, Iran has been behaving more like a normal state: complying with agreements, releasing sailors, resolving old disputes. But — strangely to us, perhaps — the Iranians find symbolic steps more difficult.
The hardline Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, grudgingly approved deals with the United States as the price of freeing the country from economic sanctions. (U.S. officials say Khamenei personally approved the release of the sailors and the prisoners as well as the nuclear deal.)
And Iran’s opening to the West has expanded well beyond the nuclear deal. U.S. officials say Tehran is supporting international efforts to arrange ceasefire talks in Yemen’s civil war (where Iran is backing Shia Muslim rebels against a government supported by its rival, Saudi Arabia). Iran has also endorsed a U.S.-led drive for peace talks in Syria’s civil war.
“There already has been a broad turn in Iranian foreign policy, at least in terms of dealing with the United States,” noted John Limbert, a former U.S. diplomat (and former hostage) in Iran. “Three years ago,” he added, “it was inconceivable that Iran and the United States would be talking directly with each other so often, and about so many issues.”
On the other hand, the Iranians have repeatedly rejected proposals for normal diplomatic relations with the U.S. (an offer floated by George W. Bush before Barack Obama). They even rejected a U.S. proposal for a hotline between the two countries’ armed forces, even though that could avert unnecessary clashes.
“Khamenei’s whole political platform has been based on anti-Americanism. He can’t admit that his basic idea has collapsed,” Milani said.
So even as he has authorized a de facto rapprochement with the United States, Khamenei has released an uninterrupted flow of statements denouncing the Great Satan and warning against Western subversion.
The resulting policy, said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, could best be described as “contained antagonism.”
The two-sided nature of Iranian foreign policy also reflects the political struggle between the hardliners and reformist president Hassan Rouhani, with Khamenei usually (but not always) backing the hardliners.
The nuclear deal, a victory for Rouhani, has sharpened that rivalry. Rouhani hoped the deal would give his reformist coalition a boost heading into parliamentary elections scheduled for Feb. 26. But last week, the country’s Guardian Council disqualified thousands of reformists from running — prompting an unusually sharp and public debate between Rouhani (who protested the order) and Khamenei.
Note to Americans: A lot of this isn’t about us. It’s about them. Just as in any other country — even ours — foreign policy is often a continuation of politics by other means.
Indeed, U.S. officials and Iran-watchers warn almost unanimously that they expect new U.S.-Iranian conflicts ahead — not only because the two countries still disagree on many issues, but also because Tehran’s hardliners want to reassert their influence.
It would be nice if Iran’s mullahs stopped leading chants of “Death to America.” But that’s not going to happen for a long time, and that’s OK.
There’s a historical precedent in U.S. foreign policy for how to deal peacefully with a hostile or threatening power.
American presidents managed their way through a half-century of global rivalry with the Soviet Union and almost a half-century of disagreements with China without going to war. We can manage conflict with Iran too.
doyle.mcmanus@latimes.com

Nuclear Weapons Are The Beginning To The End (Revelation 15:2)

Genocide Memorial Day 2016: Nuclear weapons are ‘an existential threat to humanity’

A mushroom cloud rises with ships below during Operation Crossroads nuclear weapons test on Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands in this 1946 handout provided by the U.S. Library of Congress.

Events are taking place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 January in London, Birmingham, Lisbon, Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Jerusalem to focus on the threat that Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), particularly nuclear weapons, pose to mankind.
“This year we continue to further our aim of ensuring that GMD [Genocide Memorial Day] is not merely a commemorative space but provides a platform to raise awareness of genocidal policies, so that we can truly embody the ‘Never Again’ ethos,” Raza Kazim of the Islamic Human Rights Commission said.
“The existence of nuclear weapons and over-emphasis on militarisation is a threat to the security of every human being, and thus in violation of basic principles of human rights. We therefore hope that community members and leaders from all backgrounds will join us in providing a unified response against the possession and use of genocidal weapons of mass destruction by all nations.”
This year’s theme for GMD is Genocidal Weapons of Mass Destruction. The keynote speaker is Dr Tadatoshi Akiba, former mayor of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Along with Nagasaki, Hiroshima carries the dubious distinction of being the only city to have ever been attacked with a nuclear weapon.
Also speaking at the event is Dr Enver Tohti, a prominent researcher on nuclear weapons testing in China. Tohti’s hometown is 200km north from a former nuclear test site in East Turkestan, which the Chinese call Xinjiang. When Enver was a school boy, nuclear testing was often talked about. “We heard it every day from Chinese children because their fathers were regular employees at the test site. These people left their children at the capital city of Urumqi.
“The children were proud that their fathers were working with the atomic bomb. The propaganda emphasised the achievements of the government to have its own nuclear weapons program. We were all brainwashed. Even me, a Uighur, I was proud of being a Chinese. We had the bomb! None of us had the slightest idea about radiation effects, resulting from nuclear weapons testing.”

History of nuclear arms

Four years after the United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear text explosion. The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed, according to the Arms Control Association. To prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other states negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968.
Since the inception of the NPT, several states have abandoned nuclear weapons programs, but others have defied the NPT. India, Israel, and Pakistan have never signed the treaty and possess nuclear arsenals. Iraq initiated a secret nuclear program under Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Iran and Libya have pursued secret nuclear activities in violation of the treaty’s terms, and Syria is suspected of doing the same.

An increasing nuclear programme

North Korea is the only country to have conducted a nuclear-test explosion in this century. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) claims to have conducted a fourth nuclear weapons test explosion and early readings from seismic stations in the region strongly suggest a relatively low-yield underground nuclear test was conducted.
“Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to humanity,” Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations said in an informal briefing to the UN General Assembly. “Countries that regard their security as a matter of retaining or attaining nuclear weapons are only increasing risk – their own and the world,” he said.
According to the Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), the “initial location estimate” of the seismic activity shows that the event took place in the area of North Korea’s nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, which is located in the north-east of the country.
A government statement aired by the North Korean Central News Agency stated that the nuclear test took place on 6 January at 10 pm North Korea Time. The North Korean government claimed the successful test “scientifically verified the power” of a small hydrogen bomb.
In December 2015, a report from the South Korean military’s Chemical, Biological and Radiological Command said it “did not rule out the possibility” of a boosted fission bomb test by North Korea, although it assessed that it “does not believe [North Korea] is yet capable of directly testing hydrogen bombs.”
Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Commission for the CTBTO said the fourth DPRK test should “serve as the final wake-up call to the international community to outlaw all nuclear testing.”

The Judgment: The Nuclear Holocaust Is Very Near (Rev 15:2)

Nuclear scientists: The end is near for humanity

1200px-Castle_Bravo_Blast-635x357
US group founded by creators of atomic bomb move ‘Doomsday Clock’ ahead two minutes; not so fast, other scientists say
By Seth Borenstein January 25, 2015
A US nuclear bomb test at the Marshall Islands, 1954 (photo credit: Wikicommons/United States Department of Energy)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says Earth is now closer to human-caused doomsday than it has been in more than 30 years because of global warming and nuclear weaponry. But other experts say that’s much too gloomy.
The US advocacy group founded by the creators of the atomic bomb moved their famed “Doomsday Clock” ahead two minutes on Thursday. It said the world is now three minutes from a catastrophic midnight, instead of five minutes.
This is about doomsday; this is about the end of civilization as we know it,” bulletin executive director Kennette Benedict said at a news conference in Washington.
She called both climate change and modernization of nuclear weaponry equal but undeniable threats to humanity’s continued existence that triggered the 20 scientists on the board to decide to move the clock closer to midnight.
The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon,” Benedict said.
But other scientists aren’t quite so pessimistic.
Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of both geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, said in an email: “I suspect that humans will ‘muddle through’ the climate situation much as we have muddled through the nuclear weapons situation — limiting the risk with cooperative international action and parallel domestic policies.”
The bulletin has included climate change in its doomsday clock since 2007.
“The fact that the Doomsday clock-setters changed their definition of ‘doomsday’ shows how profoundly the world has changed — they have to find a new source of doom because global thermonuclear war is now so unlikely,” Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wrote in an email. Pinker in his book “The Better Angels of our Nature” uses statistics to argue that the world has become less war-like, less violent and more tolerant in recent decades and centuries.
Richard Somerville, a member of the Bulletin’s board who is a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said the trend in heat-trapping emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will “lead to major climatic disruption globally. The urgency has nothing to do with politics or ideology. It arises from the laws of physics and biology and chemistry. These laws are non-negotiable.”
But Somerville agreed that the threat from climate change isn’t quite as all-or-nothing as it is with nuclear war.
Even with the end of the cold war, the lack of progress in the dismantling of nuclear weapons and countries like the United States and Russia spending hundreds of billions of dollars on modernizing nuclear weaponry makes an atomic bomb explosion — either accidental or on purpose — a continuing and more urgent threat, Benedict said.
But Benedict did acknowledge the group has been warning of imminent nuclear disaster with its clock since 1947 and it hasn’t happened yet.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.
Read more: Nuclear scientists: The end is near for humanity | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/nuclear-scientists-the-end-is-near-for-humanity/#ixzz3PnmYqaPT
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The Judgment: The Nuclear Holocaust Is Very Near (Rev 15:2)

Nuclear scientists: The end is near for humanity

1200px-Castle_Bravo_Blast-635x357
US group founded by creators of atomic bomb move ‘Doomsday Clock’ ahead two minutes; not so fast, other scientists say

By Seth Borenstein January 25, 2015

A US nuclear bomb test at the Marshall Islands, 1954 (photo credit: Wikicommons/United States Department of Energy)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says Earth is now closer to human-caused doomsday than it has been in more than 30 years because of global warming and nuclear weaponry. But other experts say that’s much too gloomy.
The US advocacy group founded by the creators of the atomic bomb moved their famed “Doomsday Clock” ahead two minutes on Thursday. It said the world is now three minutes from a catastrophic midnight, instead of five minutes.

This is about doomsday; this is about the end of civilization as we know it,” bulletin executive director Kennette Benedict said at a news conference in Washington.

She called both climate change and modernization of nuclear weaponry equal but undeniable threats to humanity’s continued existence that triggered the 20 scientists on the board to decide to move the clock closer to midnight.

The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon,” Benedict said.

But other scientists aren’t quite so pessimistic.

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of both geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, said in an email: “I suspect that humans will ‘muddle through’ the climate situation much as we have muddled through the nuclear weapons situation — limiting the risk with cooperative international action and parallel domestic policies.”

The bulletin has included climate change in its doomsday clock since 2007.

“The fact that the Doomsday clock-setters changed their definition of ‘doomsday’ shows how profoundly the world has changed — they have to find a new source of doom because global thermonuclear war is now so unlikely,” Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wrote in an email. Pinker in his book “The Better Angels of our Nature” uses statistics to argue that the world has become less war-like, less violent and more tolerant in recent decades and centuries.

Richard Somerville, a member of the Bulletin’s board who is a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said the trend in heat-trapping emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will “lead to major climatic disruption globally. The urgency has nothing to do with politics or ideology. It arises from the laws of physics and biology and chemistry. These laws are non-negotiable.”

But Somerville agreed that the threat from climate change isn’t quite as all-or-nothing as it is with nuclear war.

Even with the end of the cold war, the lack of progress in the dismantling of nuclear weapons and countries like the United States and Russia spending hundreds of billions of dollars on modernizing nuclear weaponry makes an atomic bomb explosion — either accidental or on purpose — a continuing and more urgent threat, Benedict said.

But Benedict did acknowledge the group has been warning of imminent nuclear disaster with its clock since 1947 and it hasn’t happened yet.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

Read more: Nuclear scientists: The end is near for humanity | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/nuclear-scientists-the-end-is-near-for-humanity/#ixzz3PnmYqaPT
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

The Bowls Of Wrath (Revelation 16)

Have We Stopped Fearing Nuclear War?

Have We Stopped Fearing Nuclear War?
It came up the other night as dinner conversation. “Where do you think the next nuclear war will break out?” I asked. Everybody had an opinion.
“Obviously on the Pakistan border,” said one person.
Another, known for his weird opinions, piped up: “In the arctic, of course. Either to protect new trade routes, melt the rest of the ice, or both.”
“What about China?” somebody mused.
“No, I think they’re more interested in economic power,” replied the person next to me, joining the conversation. “I don’t think they really want all-out war.”
What did I think? I was inclined to agree with the person who referred to Pakistan — and, by extension, India. I could also see it breaking out in the Middle East. Obvious places, where militaries have atomics and war is already tearing communities apart.
Let’s set aside the issues with who Sarah Connor is, and retcons and all that. What really busted my chops was the reason why the movie wouldn’t be focused on averting nuclear holocaust.
According to Entertainment Weekly:
The film also adapts to our current cultural anxieties. The threat of nuclear holocaust that freaked out ’80s audiences has been eclipsed by our fear of cyberattack. “Skynet no longer has to break down our front door because we line up in front of Apple stores to invite it in,” [producer David] Ellison says. “We’re constantly giving away our privacy.”
So worrying about global thermonuclear war is retro, like 80s teen flick Wargames.
Let’s just take what Ellison says at face value for a moment, and consider that people might find digital attacks scarier than nukes. Maybe that’s true, but one of the best-known cyberattacks in history was the Stuxnet worm, unleashed by the US government against — you guessed it — a uranium enrichment facility in Iran. (Enriched uranium is used both for making bombs and nuclear power facilities.) So “cyberattack” isn’t really something that we can separate out from “nuclear holocaust” very easily. The two things have become wedded, both in reality and in the public mind.
Even in cheesy pop culture stories about the deadly cybers, the usual fear at the bottom of the “stop that hacker” plot is that somehow an evil computery thing will be used to unleash a bomb. Indeed, that trope grows partly out of Cold War classics like Wargames and the original Terminator movies, where many audiences first because acquainted with the idea that we don’t need Soviets and Americans punching red buttons to start a war. With computers controlling our weapons systems, nuclear annihilation could happen because of a software bug — or because the weapons system itself became sentient (as so often happens in these situations).
Journalist George Johnson recently had a moving piece in the New York Times about visiting the site of the “Woodpecker” in Ukraine — a massive wall of radio towers designed to give distant early warning of a U.S. nuclear attack on the U.S.S.R. Though the place is slowly crumbling to rust, he ponders how the threat it monumentalized is far from over. He imagines the “next nuclear catastrophe — deliberate or accidental, and of a vastly more devastating scale.” These decaying defenses aren’t signs that nuclear war is no longer terrifying to us. They’re simply a previous generation’s way of dealing with a horror that still haunts the world.
I think probably the science fiction writer Maureen McHugh, in her short story collection After the Apocalypse, comes the closest to capturing our nuclear fears in this century.
Civilization-erasing weapons are part of our everyday background stress in the twenty-first century. We don’t fear nukes less than the idea that the NSA and Uber dipshits are tracking our movements through our phones. But we also don’t see a big distinction between controlling people’s computers and controlling a massive arsenal. It’s all connected.
I hope by now you understand that I’m not just talking about flaws in the new Terminator movie’s alleged plot. I am talking about how nuclear holocaust is still an almost incomprehensible horror to most of us. But now we know it is not the only way that the world might end. There are other ways, maybe slower or less obvious, that might come first.