The Canadian and American nuclear horns join forces: Daniel 7

The statement from Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin would appear to represent a deepening of Canada-U.S. collaboration in protecting North America from missile threats.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Canada, U.S. vow stronger protection against ‘greater and more complex’ missile threat

Published 1 day ago

The Canadian and U.S. governments say they intend to proceed with “co-ordinated investments” that bolster their ability to protect North America from “a greater and more complex conventional missile threat” including gear that watches for incoming threats from “the sea floor to outer space.”

The joint announcement from Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and his American counterpart U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin was published Saturday night, on the eve of Sunday’s federal election call in Canada. There were no spending commitments.

The risk that Canada and the U.S. have in mind is missile technology advancements in Russia and China that can send non-nuclear warheads far greater distances with far more accuracy, said Dave Perry, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. These include hypersonic missiles, which travel extremely fast and can dodge and weave during flight to avoid interception, as well as next-generation cruise missiles. This evolution in conventional missiles’ power have made them an increasingly important tool to deter threats or project power without resorting to nuclear weapons.

“It’s the Chinese and Russians that are building really cutting-edge new stuff with three characteristics: very accurate, long range and maneuverable,” Mr. Perry said.

The Sajjan-Lloyd statement would appear to represent a deepening of Canada-U.S. collaboration in protecting North America from missile threats. Titled “Joint Statement on NORAD modernization,” it sets out priorities for the future of North American Aerospace Defense Command, the heart of the Canada-U.S. continental defence pact, saying the two countries must be able to “detect, identify [airborne] threats earlier and respond to them faster and more decisively.”

However the Liberal government insisted Sunday this does not represent a deviation from its policy to avoid participation in U.S. ballistic missile defence, announced in 2005. “[The] joint statement does not reflect any change in the Government of Canada’s position,” Daniel Minden, press secretary for Mr. Sajjan, said. “The statement will help guide our collaborative approach to security and NORAD renewal with our closest neighbour in the coming years.”

One of the most imminent spending decisions for Canada is rebuilding the soon-to-be obsolete North Warning System, a joint United States and Canadian radar system that includes dozens of radar sites from Yukon to Labrador. Its job is to detect airborne threats. The price tag has been estimated at more than $11-billion.

The statement said the North Warning System will be replaced with technology including “next-generation over-the-horizon radar systems,” which have the ability to detect targets at very long ranges. It’s technology that is being developed by Canada’s Department of National Defence. It also talks of building a network of American and Canadian sensors installed everywhere from the seabed to satellites in space.

Andrea Charron, director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba, said modernization of NORAD will comprise far more than North Warning System renewal and the statement helps prioritize where Canada can focus its efforts while the United States engages in a “wider rethink of homeland defence.”

“Certainly what you can read into this is the United States needs Canada to make certain commitments – and sooner than later – and so ‘Here we are prioritizing them for you’,” she said.

Prof. Charron said in her opinion the statement also underlines the need for Canada to proceed with buying new fighter jets. In 2010 Canada announced its intent to buy Lockheed Martin F-35s in 2010 but backed off amid controversy over the lack of a competitive bidding process. The government is now expected to announce later this year which fighter jet will replace Canada’s aging CF-18 aircraft.

She speculated one reason for the timing of this joint NORAD announcement with the United States, hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a federal election campaign, could have been political. “I am guessing but the Liberals are always accused, especially by the Conservatives, as being soft on defence, so here is something that they can point to and say ‘Look at what we are doing with the U.S. Here are the priorities,’” Prof. Charron said.

She also said the United States has been very eager to move forward on NORAD modernization.

Mr. Perry said that it’s considered likely now that if Russia were to launch conventional-warhead missiles at North America they would come straight over the North Pole through the Canadian Arctic or from the North Atlantic. Thirty years ago, the range of conventional missiles was so much shorter that the Russians would have had to fly relatively close to the U.S. mainland to strike a target there. “So there’s more pressure from the United States for us to make a big contribution here, as well a much more direct Canadian defence concern, given the geography is ours.”

Iran Closes In On A Nuclear Bomb: Daniel 8

Without a Nuclear Deal, How Close Is Iran to a Bomb?


Jonathan Tirone
May 20, 2021, 10:00 PM MDT
Three years after former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, Tehran’s government is closer to having the material needed for a nuclear weapon than if the deal had remained in place. Iranians have enriched more uranium to higher levels using more sophisticated technologies than they would otherwise have had access to under a strict monitoring regime. Those developments have led President Joe Biden’s administration to join diplomats from Europe, China and Russia in seeking to revive the 2015 agreement, which reined in Tehran’s atomic program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

  1. How close is Iran to making a bomb?

Iran has accumulated enough enriched uranium (meaning it has an increased concentration of the isotope uranium-235) to construct several bombs should its leaders choose to purify the heavy metal to the 90% level typically used in weapons. For the first time, the nation is producing small quantities of highly enriched uranium, purified to levels of 60%, demonstrating that its engineers could quickly move to weapons-grade. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors report the country has stockpiled more than 3,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which typically has 3%-5% concentration of U-235. That’s 10 times the volume allowed under the 2015 agreement.

Iran’s 5% Enriched Uranium Stockpile

Iran’s low-enriched inventory up 10 fold since Trump broke deal
Source: IAEA data compiled by Bloomberg

  1. Why is enrichment so important?

Obtaining the material necessary to induce atomic fission is the most difficult step in the process of making nuclear power or bombs. Countries need to develop an industrial infrastructure to produce uranium-235 isotopes, which comprise less than 1% of matter in uranium ore but are key to sustaining a fission chain reaction. Thousands of centrifuges spinning at supersonic speeds are used to separate the material. The IAEA keeps track of gram-level changes in uranium inventories worldwide to ensure the material isn’t being diverted for weapons. Whether or not Iran retains the right to enrich uranium has been at the heart of its nuclear conflict with the U.S. for two decades.

Iran’s History of War and Weapons

  1. Did the 2015 deal slow Iran’s progress?

The latest in global politicsGet insight from reporters around the world in the Balance of Power newsletter.
Yes. The deal was written to ensure that even if it was someday broken, Iran would need at least a year to restore weaponization capacity. Iran forfeited some 97% of its enriched uranium and mothballed three-quarters of the industrial capacity needed to refine the heavy metal. Before the accord, Iran had enough to potentially build more than a dozen bombs. Iran always maintained it was pursuing nuclear energy, not nuclear weapons, but world powers doubted that claim.

  1. Why did Iran break its part of the agreement?

President Hassan Rouhani waited a year after the Trump administration reimposed sanctions before giving the orders to break the nuclear covenants set out by the accord. Over the last 18 months, Iran has shown it could steadily lift its atomic capacity despite the best efforts of saboteurs and assassins to derail the program.

  1. Can the deal be revived?

Biden promised during his presidential campaign that if Iran returned to compliance with its obligations under the 2015 deal, the U.S. would also return to the deal and lift sanctions. Diplomats bunkered down in Vienna have conducted intensive talks over two months to revive the accord. As of mid-May, they’d made substantial progress and were close to reinstituting the safeguards needed to ensure Iran can’t construct a weapon. Envoys are under pressure to seal a return to the accord before Iran’s presidential election in June, when the outcome is expected to favor political hardliners.

  1. What happens if the agreement is revived?

To return to compliance with the deal’s limits, Iran would have to dramatically reduce uranium stockpiles and sideline much of its enrichment technology. International inspectors would again have full access to places where nuclear material is produced, an important consideration as monitors continue parsing information about the country’s alleged historical weapons-related activities. Iran would win reprieve from sanctions that hamstrung its exports of oil and other economic activities. While some of the nuclear limitations in the deal begin to expire in 2025, diplomats expect follow-on talks to take place that would focus on regional security and Iran’s production of ballistic missiles.

  1. What happens if there’s no deal?

After entering the original deal in 2015, then-President Barack Obama said the alternative might have been a military conflict with major disruptions to the global economy. Over the last three years, the dispute between Washington and Tehran has roiled the wider Middle East, fueling conflicts where Iran and American allies are on opposing sides, with Iran blamed for attacks on shipping in key waterways.

Canadian nuclear horn rises: Daniel 7

Uranium production to resume in Canada

13 April 2021

Canada’s Cameco and Orano Canada on 9 April both announced plans to resume uranium production. Cameco said that it plans to restart production at its Cigar Lake uranium mine located in northern Saskatchewan. Production at Cigar Lake was temporarily suspended in December 2020 due to increasing risks posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At that time, the availability of workers in critical areas was shrinking due to the pandemic, with more individuals screening out or residing in communities with pandemic-related travel restrictions.

“The safety of our workers, their families and communities is always our top priority,” said Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel. “In recent months we have implemented several enhanced safety protocols for Cigar Lake, including increased distancing between passengers on flights, mandatory medical-grade masks for all workers and increased sanitisation and physical barriers in our eating areas. We also worked with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and have established a licensed COVID-19 testing facility at the mine site. These further safety measures, along with the provincial vaccine rollout programme and increased confidence around our ability to manage our critical workforce, have given us greater certainty that Cigar Lake will be able to operate safely and sustainably.”

Cameco said the timing of production restart and the production rate at Cigar Lake will depend on how quickly it is possible to remobilise the workforce. “Cameco will not be in a position to provide updates to our outlook for 2021 until production has resumed and we understand the rate at which we will be able to sustainably operate the mine, it said.

Gitzel said Cameco always intended to resume production. “There are significant costs associated with having the mine in temporary care and maintenance, and we have a home in our contract portfolio for these low-cost pounds. We will also continue to purchase material, as needed, to meet our committed deliveries. Having said that, worker health and safety is our top priority, and we will not hesitate to take further action if we feel our ability to operate safely is compromised due to the pandemic.”

Cameco said its strong balance sheet has provided the company with the financial capacity to successfully manage the production disruption at Cigar Lake. As of 31 December 2020, Cameco had $943 million in cash and short-term investments and a $1 billion undrawn credit facility. The Cigar Lake operation is owned by Cameco (50.025%), Orano Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd (7.875%) and Tepco Resources (5.0%). It is operated by Cameco.

Orano Canada said it will resume production at its McClean Lake uranium mill over the coming weeks in tandem with the announced restart of production at the Cigar Lake uranium mine. Production has been paused at McClean Lake since late December, “but the operation has maintained its staffing levels to minimise disruption to our employees while performing maintenance, training and preparations to enable a smooth restart of the mill”, Orano said.

“I am pleased with the restart of production at the Cigar Lake mine and McClean Lake mill,” said Orano Canada President and CEO Jim Corman. “We are encouraged to see that the vaccine roll out in northern Saskatchewan specifically is having a real impact and that the pace of vaccinations throughout the Province is accelerating.

“Safety remains our utmost priority and we have been proud to continue to offer a safe workplace over this difficult year.”

Orano Canada accounted for the processing of 10 million pounds of uranium concentrate produced in Canada in 2020. Orano Canada has been exploring for uranium, mining and milling in Canada for more than 55 years. It is the operator of the McClean Lake uranium mill and a major partner in the Cigar Lake, McArthur River and Key Lake operations. The company employs over 450 people in Saskatchewan, including about 320 at the McClean Lake operation where over 46% of employees are self-declared Indigenous. Orano Canada is a subsidiary of the multinational Orano group.

The Australian and American Nuclear Horns Join Forces: Daniel 7

Australia, U.S. Teaming to Develop High-Tech Cruise Missiles

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

The United States and Australia have joined forces to build air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles that could shift the military balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region.

Defense officials see hypersonics as potentially game-changing weapons. Their ability to travel at speeds greater than Mach 5 with extraordinary maneuverability could provide U.S. and allied forces a new quick-strike option capable of overwhelming enemy defenses, experts say.

The new U.S.-Australian project known as the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment, or SCIFiRE, is an Allied Prototyping Initiative that was formally announced by the two nations in December. The aim is to advance air-breathing hypersonic technologies into full-size prototypes that are cost-effective and provide “a flexible, long-range capability, culminating in flight demonstrations in operationally relevant conditions.”

“This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the U.S. and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability,” Michael Kratsios, U.S. acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in a press release.

High-ranking Australian officials are also touting the bilateral effort.

“The SCIFiRE initiative is another opportunity to advance … our Air Combat Capability Program to support joint force effects to advance Australia’s security and prosperity,” said Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, chief of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“Working with our defense scientists here in Australia and our partners in the U.S. Air Force and across the U.S. Department of Defense … we are maximizing our learning during development to better define the capabilities and needs as the system matures,” he added.

While Pentagon officials have made no bones about the fact that developing and fielding hypersonics is a top priority to keep pace with China, Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update only went so far as to say that the government’s plans to acquire advanced strike capabilities would “potentially” include hypersonic weapons.

However, the technology is also a high priority for Canberra, even though the language in the document was “somewhat vague,” said Malcolm Davis, a senior defense analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a prominent think tank.

“The way Australia does policy, I think maybe it’s a little bit more cautious in its public pronouncements than the U.S. is,” he said. “But when you look beneath the surface and you speak to people in defense, it’s a very different picture. They are very focused on this. They are very clear in where they’re going.

“The very fact that we’ve now signed this agreement with the United States a mere few months after the release of the defense strategic update should tell you that we are very committed to developing hypersonic weapons,” he added.

Concerns about China are motivating Canberra’s push for new long-range strike capabilities.

Although the defense strategic update doesn’t explicitly name China as a threat, “everyone understands that’s what the document is about,” Davis said.

The Pentagon has a number of other hypersonics projects underway such as the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, also known as ARRW or “Arrow,” which would utilize rockets to boost the systems into their glide phase.

However, SCIFiRE’s pursuit of air-breathing propulsion technology could offer an advantage by enabling hypersonic missiles to be carried by a broader array of tactical aircraft than the rocket-propelled systems.

“Scramjet technology in cruise missiles allows us to make hypersonic weapons that are cheaper and smaller — small enough to be able to go onto our fighter inventory,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper told reporters during a Defense Writers Group event. “As we look to [aircraft] programs like F-15EX that can carry quite a lot of weapons externally, having something that can be a hypersonic strike platform closer in creates another conundrum for an adversary.”

Davis said the systems could be carried by Australia’s F/A-18F Super Hornets, and perhaps by robotic wingmen that are being designed to accompany fighter jets into battle.

Boeing Australia has already built an Airpower Teaming System drone, and the U.S. Air Force has its own robotic wingman program known as Skyborg.

Jim Faist, the Pentagon’s director of defense research and engineering for advanced capabilities, noted that digital engineering tools will be used to explore options.

“We’re trying to build digital twins of these systems,” he said in an interview. “The hope is that through digital twins, we can accelerate the transition onto many different types of platforms. … It’s part of the design work on SCIFiRE. We’ll be looking at that ease of integration on disparate platforms that we have in the services.”

While the new cruise missiles will initially be deployed on aircraft, Davis envisions the technology evolving over time into sea-launched or ground-launched systems.

“It’s an air-launched hypersonic strike weapon for attacking ground targets or maritime targets, but it also blazes the trail for much more capable, longer-range weapons systems down the track,” Davis said.

Notably, both countries intend for the weapons to remain conventional and not be armed with nuclear warheads.

Pentagon officials see a number of benefits in partnering with Australia.

The U.S. treaty ally was previously a major contributor to a long-running joint research initiative known as the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation, or HIFiRE, program, which explored the fundamental science of the technology and its potential for next-generation aeronautical systems.

Building the new prototypes and putting them through their paces will require complex infrastructure such as wind tunnels for the development cycle as well as ranges that can accommodate full-scale flight tests, Faist noted.

Australia has “world-class” flight-testing capabilities, he added, including a facility in Woomera.

The Australians also bring a lot of know-how to the table, U.S. officials say.

“They really are excellent in the science and technology of hypersonics and … they have worked closely with us for a long time. And we like working with them,” said Robert Joseph, the U.S. Air Force’s chief scientist.

Additionally, the Asia-Pacific ally will bear an “equitable” portion of the costs of the SCIFiRE project, Faist said. “They do have tremendous investment in this program.”

Canberra’s force structure plan released in 2020 allotted $9.3 billion for high-speed long-range strike and missile defense, including hypersonic development, test and evaluation. The Pentagon is also investing billions of dollars in its hypersonics portfolio.

Faist declined to say how much funding the two sides are allocating for SCIFiRE specifically, but noted that it will be a “larger budget” R&D effort.

There is also an intention to pursue co-production of the systems, which could help drive down costs.

When might the new weapons be battle ready?

“I expect over the next few months as we share our technical data we’ll have a better sense of how quickly we’ll be able to get to fielding, but I’m not predicting long,” Roper told reporters in December.

“Scramjet [propulsion technology development] is moving faster than I expected,” Roper said. “I predicted it would take longer to get those hypersonic engines matured. And thanks to some stellar approaches to manufacturing, the acceleration period is compelling us to go ahead and start thinking through future programs of record.”

The ARRW program started in 2017, and production could kick off as early as 2021, he noted. “I think we can go just as fast on scramjet.”

Faist said flight testing will be completed by 2025, but officials hope to accelerate that timeline.

For Australia, “the aim is to get this sort of capability operational in this decade, because this is the decade of danger where we are going to face the greatest risks from China,” Davis said.

It’s possible that a new weapon could be ready in the next few years, he said.

“We’ve been doing this research now for some time in the university sector,” he noted. “We’ve got that deep background, that foundation of scientific research and development and understanding, and I think that should hopefully accelerate the process of them taking that from essentially a science experiment to an operational piece of capability much more quickly than if we were starting afresh now.”

Steps are being taken to help the technology make it across the so-called “Valley of Death” between R&D and large-scale production.

Faist said there is a commitment by both nations to transition to a program of record if the project is successful.

Although Faist’s office launched the Allied Prototyping Initiative, the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center and program executive officer for weapons are responsible for executing SCIFiRE. The same office will also be responsible for overseeing the follow-on effort once the prototyping and flight testing wrap up, Faist noted.

“That was the other part of the decision on where to do this program,” he said. “It made sense to really build up on the Air Force program management side the internal ability to manage and execute on SCIFiRE, so that then the same team can move out on the program of record.”

Faist said source selection for SCIFiRE had not been completed, but generally speaking the Pentagon would like to have multiple suppliers. A follow-on program of record would be re-competed, he noted.

The weapons will likely be purchased in large quantities on par with other tactical air-launched cruise missiles, Faist said.

“Typically you’re going to get a higher number of production buys on these because of affordability,” he said. “This is a big game-changer for a lot of providers to get into the hypersonic business area, whether as a prime or a supplier.”

The Growing Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Australia, US to develop hypersonic missiles to counter China

Australia’s defence minister says ‘game-changing’ project with US will help deter aggression against its interests.

Australia and the United States will jointly develop hypersonic cruise missiles, the Australian defence minister announced on Tuesday, pledging to invest in “advanced capabilities” that will give the country’s military “more options to deter aggression” against its interests.

Both China and Russia are developing similar missiles.

The weapons are capable of travelling at more than five times the speed of sound and the combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude makes them difficult to track and intercept.

Linda Reynolds, the Australian defence minister, called the bilateral project with the US a “game-changing capability”, but did not reveal the cost of developing the missiles or when they would be operational.

“Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners,” she said.

“We remain committed to peace and stability in the region and an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

The United States’ Acting Under Secretary of Defense Michael Kratsios said the project, officially known as the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), builds on 15 years of collaboration between the US and Australian military.

“This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability,” he said in a statement.

 

Australia had set aside up to 9.3 billion Australian dollars ($6.8bn) this year for high-speed, long-range missile defence systems, including hypersonic research.

In July, Australia said it would boost defence spending by 40 percent over the next 10 years to acquire longer-range strike capabilities across air, sea and land as it broadens its military focus from the Pacific to the Indo-Pacific region.

 

Australia’s collaboration with the US on missile development, however, could inflame tensions with China.

The relationship between both countries has been tense after Australia discovered what it said were Chinese influence campaigns, and has deteriorated further this year after Canberra asked for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing has introduced a string of economic sanctions on Australian goods, and relations hit a new low on Monday after a senior Chinese official posted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a blood-covered knife to the throat of an Afghan child.

China has deployed, or is close to deploying, hypersonic systems armed with conventional warheads, according to defence analysts.

Russia deployed its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles last year, while the Pentagon, which tested a similar hypersonic missile in 2017, has a goal of fielding hypersonic war-fighting capabilities in the early to mid-2020s.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said on Tuesday that Australia hopes to begin testing prototypes of the air-launched, long-range missiles within months.

The hypersonic missiles will be designed to be carried by the Australian air force’s existing fleet of aircraft including Growlers, Super Hornets, Joint Strike Fighters as well as unmanned aircraft including drones, the newspaper reported.

The Australian nuclear horn: Daniel 7

315 nuclear bombs and ongoing suffering: the shameful history of nuclear testing in Australia and the Pacific

November 2, 2020 2.07pm EST

AP/AAP

November 2, 2020 2.07pm EST

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this article contains the name of a deceased person.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons received its 50th ratification on October 24, and will therefore come into force in January 2021. A historic development, this new international law will ban the possession, development, testing, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately the nuclear powers — the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Russia, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea — haven’t signed on to the treaty. As such, they are not immediately obliged to help victims and remediate contaminated environments, but others party to the treaty do have these obligations. The shifting norms around this will hopefully put ongoing pressure on nuclear testing countries to open records and to cooperate with accountability measures.

For the people of the Pacific region, particularly those who bore the brunt of nuclear weapons testing during the 20th century, it will bring a new opportunity for their voices to be heard on the long-term costs of nuclear violence. The treaty is the first to enshrine enduring commitments to addressing their needs.

From 1946, around 315 nuclear tests were carried out in the Pacific by the US, Britain and France. These nations’ largest ever nuclear tests took place on colonised lands and oceans, from Australia to the Marshall Islands, Kiribati to French Polynesia.

The impacts of these tests are still being felt today.

All nuclear tests cause harm

Studies of nuclear test workers and exposed nearby communities around the world consistently show adverse health effects, especially increased risks of cancer.

The total number of global cancer deaths as a result of atmospheric nuclear test explosions has been estimated at between 2 million and 2.4 million, even though these studies used radiation risk estimates that are now dated and likely underestimated the risk.

The number of additional non-fatal cancer cases caused by test explosions is similar. As confirmed in a large recent study of nuclear industry workers in France, the UK and US, the numbers of radiation-related deaths due to other diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, is also likely to be similar.

The British conducted seven nuclear test explosions in Maralinga, South Australia. But there they also did over 600 ‘minor’ trials for bomb development, responsible for most of the ongoing contamination. NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA/AAP

‘We all got crook’

Britain conducted 12 nuclear test explosions in Australia between 1952 and 1957, and hundreds of minor trials of radioactive and toxic materials for bomb development up to 1963. These caused untold health problems for local Aboriginal people who were at the highest risk of radiation. Many of them were not properly evacuated, and some were not informed at all.

We may never know the full impact of these explosions because in many cases, as the Royal Commission report on British Nuclear Tests in Australia found in 1985: “the resources allocated for Aboriginal welfare and safety were ludicrous, amounting to nothing more than a token gesture”. But we can listen to the survivors.

The late Yami Lester directly experienced the impacts of nuclear weapons. A Yankunytjatjara elder from South Australia, Yami was a child when the British tested at Emu Field in October 1953. He recalled the “Black Mist” after the bomb blast:

It wasn’t long after that a black smoke came through. A strange black smoke, it was shiny and oily. A few hours later we all got crook, every one of us. We were all vomiting; we had diarrhoea, skin rashes and sore eyes. I had really sore eyes. They were so sore I couldn’t open them for two or three weeks. Some of the older people, they died. They were too weak to survive all the sickness. The closest clinic was 400 miles away.

His daughter, Karina Lester, is an ambassador for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Australia, and continues to be driven by her family’s experience. She writes:

For decades now my family have campaigned and spoken up against the harms of nuclear weapons because of their firsthand experience of the British nuclear tests […] Many Aboriginal people suffered from the British nuclear tests that took place in the 1950s and 1960s and many are still suffering from the impacts today.

More than 16,000 Australian workers were also exposed. A key government-funded study belatedly followed these veterans over an 18-year period from 1982. Despite the difficulties of conducting a study decades later with incomplete data, it found they had 23% higher rates of cancer and 18% more deaths from cancers than the general population.

An additional health impact in Pacific island countries is the toxic disease “ciguatera”, caused by certain microscopic plankton at the base of the marine food chain, which thrive on damaged coral. Their toxins concentrate up the food chain, especially in fish, and cause illness and occasional deaths in people who eat them. In the Marshall Islands, Kiritimati and French Polynesia, outbreaks of the disease among locals have been associated with coral damage caused by nuclear test explosions and the extensive military and shipping infrastructure supporting them.

Pacific survivors of nuclear testing haven’t been focused solely on addressing their own considerable needs for justice and care; they’ve been powerful advocates that no one should suffer as they have ever again, and have worked tirelessly for the eradication of nuclear weapons. It’s no surprise independent Pacific island nations are strong supporters of the new treaty, accounting for ten of the first 50 ratifications.

Pacific island nations make up 10 of the first 50 countries to ratify the treaty. Laisa Nainoka/Youngsolwara, Author provided (No reuse)

Negligence and little accountability

Some nations that have undertaken nuclear tests have provided some care and compensation for their nuclear test workers; only the US has made some provisions for people exposed, though only for mainland US residents downwind of the Nevada Test Site. No testing nation has extended any such arrangement beyond its own shores to the colonised and minority peoples it put in harm’s way. Nor has any testing nation made fully publicly available its records of the history, conduct and effects of its nuclear tests on exposed populations and the environment.

These nations have also been negligent by quickly abandoning former test sites. There has been inadequate clean-up and little or none of the long-term environmental monitoring needed to detect radioactive leakage from underground test sites into groundwater, soil and air. One example among many is the Runit concrete dome in the Marshall Islands, which holds nuclear waste from US testing in the 1940s and 50s. It’s increasingly inundated by rising sea levels, and is leaking radioactive material.

Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is leaking nuclear waste from US testing in the 1940s and 50s. US Defense Special Weapons Agency/Wikimedia Commons

The treaty provides a light in a dark time. It contains the only internationally agreed framework for all nations to verifiably eliminate nuclear weapons.

It’s our fervent hope the treaty will mark the increasingly urgent beginning of the end of nuclear weapons. It is our determined expectation that our country will step up. Australia has not yet ratified the treaty, but the bitter legacy of nuclear testing across our country and region should spur us to join this new global effort.

Why Australia Will Go Nuclear (Daniel 7)

Defence update signals Australia’s waning faith in US extended deterrence | The Strategist

Rod Lyon

Australia’s defence strategic update is not recommended reading for the faint-hearted. It depicts a starkly divided world in which the prospects of conflict are growing. In this post, I’ll explore only one small part of the document, namely paragraph 2.22. It contains only three sentences. But those sentences carry weighty implications.

Let’s begin with the paragraph itself:

Only the nuclear and conventional capabilities of the United States can offer effective deterrence against the possibility of nuclear threats against Australia. But it is the Government’s intent that Australia take greater responsibility for our own security. It is therefore essential that the ADF grow its self-reliant ability to deliver deterrent effects.

If the first sentence sparks a sense of déjà vu, that’s because readers have—probably—seen it before. It’s a sentence lifted from the 2016 defence white paper. There it was part of paragraph 5.20, outlining the benefits which flowed to Australia from its close association with the US:

Australia’s security is underpinned by the ANZUS Treaty, United States extended deterrence and access to advanced United States technology and information. Only the nuclear and conventional military capabilities of the United States can offer effective deterrence against the possibility of nuclear threats against Australia. The presence of United States military forces plays a vital role in ensuring security across the Indo-Pacific and the global strategic and economic weight of the United States will be essential to the continued effective functioning of the rules-based global order. [Emphasis added.]

In its 2016 role, the sentence underlined the contribution made to Australia’s security by US extended nuclear deterrence.

The 2013 defence white paper, released by the Gillard Labor government, contained a similar reference, although not in exactly the same terms. Paragraph 3.41 of that document reads:

Finally, as long as nuclear weapons exist, we rely on the nuclear forces of the United States to deter nuclear attack on Australia. Australia is confident in the continuing viability of extended nuclear deterrence under the Alliance, while strongly supporting ongoing efforts towards global nuclear disarmament.

Similarly, the Rudd government’s 2009 defence white paper made clear the importance of US extended nuclear deterrence—and of its possible failure. See paragraph 6.34:

It also means that, for so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are able to rely on the nuclear forces of the United States to deter nuclear attack on Australia. Australian defence policy under successive governments has acknowledged the value to Australia of the protection afforded by extended nuclear deterrence under the US alliance. That protection provides a stable and reliable sense of assurance and has over the years removed the need for Australia to consider more significant and expensive defence options.

So the first sentence of paragraph 2.22 of the 2020 update seems to stand duty as a reference point for a long tradition of Australian acknowledgement of the importance to Australia of US extended deterrence. Remember the metric involved here: what offers ‘effective deterrence against the possibility of nuclear threats against Australia’? Unsurprisingly, only US conventional and nuclear capabilities offer such an assurance. So at this point the reader of the update might reasonably expect a form of words underlining the growing importance of US extended deterrence in more difficult times. Right?

Wrong. There’s nothing in the update about US extended deterrence—which is hard to interpret as anything other than signalling by omission. The update, in short, suggests a loss of faith in US extended deterrence among Australian policymakers. We might speculate about the causes of that. President Donald Trump’s eccentricities have undoubtedly been aggravated by a longer-term shifting global balance. But what matters is the outcome. In a document freighted with growing threats, extended deterrence is horribly absent.

Indeed, let’s go back to paragraph 2.22. The second and third sentences head off in a different direction. The second sentence even begins with the word ‘but’, one of those conjunctions that ties the subsequent thoughts to the previous judgement:

But it is the Government’s intent that Australia take greater responsibility for our own security. It is therefore essential that the ADF grow its self-reliant ability to deliver deterrent effects.

It’s hard to read those sentences as anything other than a claim for greater self-reliance in the deterrence of nuclear threats against Australia. Further, it’s hard to accept that the government believes that an Australia armed solely with conventional weapons can deter an adversarial nuclear-armed great power. After all, it has just said it doesn’t believe that even a US armed solely with conventional weapons can deter such threats: go back and read the first sentence again.

What’s the conclusion? A simple—and tempting—conclusion is that either there’s been some grievous infelicities of meaning in the drafting process, or the update is an attempt to signal the possibility of a future nuclear-armed Australia. But that conclusion places a great deal of weight on three sentences, and on what they don’t say as much as on what they do. The premise of a future Australian nuclear arsenal shouldn’t be based on words that aren’t there.

I suspect something more complex is happening. An Australian government, busily revalidating both the importance of deterrence in national strategic thinking, and the importance of offensive strike to deterrence, is probably arguing here that improving conventional technologies, allied to more capable missile defences, do offer some prospects for offsetting nuclear threats.

That’s a challenging argument to unpack—especially in circumstances where we’re uncertain about how much we can rely on US assistance. Still, those complexities seem to offer a more credible explanation for paragraph 2.22 than the simple, tempting one.

Trump Hits Oklahoma Before the Earthquake

Earthquake hits Oklahoma after Trump rally

FOX 5 NY1 day ago

A moderate earthquake hit Oklahoma in an area west of Tulsa a short time after President Trump held a campaign rally in the city.  The quake hit about 10:15 p.m. local time.

The magnitude 4.5 quake was centered near Perry, Oklahoma, which is about 80 miles west of Tulsa and is north of Oklahoma City.  The quake was felt across the north-central part of the state and even in Kansas.

Hundreds of people including some in Tulsa reported to the USGS that they felt shaking from the earthquake.  Protests were still going on in the streets of the city at the time of the quake.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

On Saturday night President Trump held his first campaign rally since the coronavirus hit the United States.  It ended before the earthquake hit the state.

It was the largest recorded earthquake in Oklahoma since a magnitude 4.4 quake in May 2019.

Thousands of earthquakes have been recorded in Oklahoma in recent years, with many linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and gas production. Regulators have directed producers to close some injection wells

The Blind Leading the Blind (Revelation 18:10)

Bolton books says Trump didn’t know Britain had nuclear weapons, thought Finland was in Russia

By Emily Goodin, Senior U.s. Political Reporter and Nikki Schwab, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com 00:01 18 Jun 2020, updated 12:59 18 Jun 2020

• John Bolton’s new book contains a number of anecdotes in which President Trump is caught not knowing basic information about American foreign policy 

• Bolton describes Trump reacting in surprise when informed during a meeting with Theresa May in 2018 that the UK possesses nuclear weapons

• The former national security adviser also said that the president once asked former Chief of Staff John Kelly if Finland was a part of Russia 

• Bolton said Russian President Vladimir Putin was able to change Trump’s mind on Venezuela by equating opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump did not know that Britain was a nuclear power, thought it would be ‘cool’ to invade Venezuela and thought Finland was in Russia, a new book by his former aide John Bolton claims.  

The US president allegedly reacted with surprise when informed during a meeting with Theresa May in 2018 that the UK possesses nuclear weapons. 

Bolton says Trump’s response was ‘not intended as a joke’ – and recalls another occasion where Trump asked his then-chief of staff John Kelly whether Finland was a part of Russia.  

Trump also suggested having journalists ‘executed’ and described them as ‘scumbags’ for refusing to reveal their sources, Bolton says.

The explosive claims have come to light in Bolton’s 592-page memoir The Room Where It Happened, published nine months after the former National Security Advisor left the White House last September.  

Trump has already lashed out at Bolton, calling him a ‘liar’ and a ‘washed up guy’ and telling his Fox News ally Sean Hannity that ‘everybody in the White House hated him’. 

The White House has tried to block publication of the book and Trump has even threatened Bolton with criminal charges for exposing ‘highly classified’ conversations. 

However, Trump has not denied Bolton’s claim that Trump ‘pleaded’ with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to buy more US crops to boost his re-election chances.  

President Trump didn’t know a number of basic things about American foreign policy and geography, according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new book, including that Britain, one of the country’s top allies, was a nuclear power

John Bolton (right) also wrote that President Trump (left) had asked former Chief of Staff John Kelly whether Finland was a part of Russia. He also shared an anecdote about Russian President Vladimir Putin changing Trump’s mind on Venezuela by equating opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump, pictured with Britain’s then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, did not know the country, one of America’s closest allies, was a nuclear power

According to just some of Bolton’s further revelations: 

• Trump agreed to ‘back off’ criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to dictators, seeing ‘obstruction of justice as a way of life’;

• Told Chinese President Xi Jinping he should go ahead with building alleged ‘concentration camps’ the regime was constructing for Chinese Uighurs;

• Spent part of an Osaka summit ‘pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win’ re-election by buying U.S. crops such as soybeans and wheat; 

• Was ‘largely persuaded’ by Vladimir Putin’s ‘propaganda’ trick of comparing Venezuela’s opposition leader to Hillary Clinton;  

• Made it a ‘high priority’ to get Mike Pompeo to hand a copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ to North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un;   

• Pompeo once referred to Trump as being ‘so full of s**t’ in a private note he passed to Bolton during the historic 2018 summit with Kim; 

• Trump defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using personal email. 

Early copies of John Bolton’s blockbuster memoir, ‘Where It Happened,’ were leaked to the media Wednesday

A copy of the book was obtained by DailyMail.com after first being obtained by The New York Times and The Washington Post on Wednesday. It is expected to hit bookshelves on Tuesday. 

Bolton’s book contains numerous private conversations Trump had about other world leaders that showed his knowledge of them and foreign policy was limited.

Trump asked his then-Chief of Staff John Kelly if Finland was a part of Russia, The Washington Post notes.

And in a meeting with then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, a British official referred to the UK as a ‘nuclear power,’ and Trump interjected: ‘Oh, are you a nuclear power?’

Britain has long been a nuclear power and Bolton writes he could tell the president’s question ‘was not intended as a joke.’

Trump also said invading Venezuela would be ‘cool’ and argued that the South American nation was ‘really part of the United States.’ 

Bolton also reveals how Russian President Vladimir Putin manipulated Trump to his point of view.  

He recalled a May 2019 phone call where Putin compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 rival.

Bolton called it a ‘brilliant display of Soviet style propaganda’ to shore up support for Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro. 

Putin’s claims, Bolton writes, ‘largely persuaded Trump’.

While much of Bolton’s book focuses on foreign policy, which is the aide’s forte, he more broadly characterized the president as someone who didn’t know a lot and wasn’t learning. 

 

John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, left the administration in September

President Trump says he fired Bolton, who claims he quit first. The Justice Department is seeking to stop publication of Bolton’s memoir

‘He second-guessed people’s motives, saw conspiracies behind rocks and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government,’ Bolton wrote about what he witnessed during his tenure, which was over in September 2019. 

Trump, he said, led by ‘personal instinct,’ and went looking for opportunities to show off his ‘reality TV showmanship.’ 

The book also contains revelations about Attorney General Bill Barr, saying he tried to block prosecution of a Turkish bank, in a move sought by President Recep Erdogan.

Barr’s Justice Department filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC filed suit seeking to suppress the book, arguing that Bolton was in breach of nondisclosure agreements he signed. 

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As Bolton’ fired up a publicity tour for the explosive book, he spoke about Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ABC News.

‘I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle,’ Bolton said of the world leader many policy experts consider the leading U.S. adversary. ‘It’s a very difficult position for America to be in,’ he said,’ Bolton said. 

An excerpt obtained by the New York Times contains the claim about the criminal probes. Bolton writes that in cases involving China and Turkey, Trump was willing to ‘in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked.’ 

‘The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept,’ Bolton writes. 

According to a February report, Attorney General Bill Barr tried to block U.S. prosecution of a Turkish bank after Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan asked Trump about it.  Barr personally got involved to try to stop the prosecution of Halkbank, according to a CNN report. 

In the case of China, Bolton describes Trump as begging the leader, with whom he regularly touts his good relationship. Trump was ‘pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,’ according to the book. 

Trump pleaded in Osaka with China’s President Xi Jinping to buy U.S. agriculture products, describing the pitch in electoral terms, Bolton writes

Trump implored Xi during a one-on-one meeting during their summit in Osaka, according to Bolton.  

Bolton’s new book is titled ‘The Room Where It Happened,’ and has already climbed to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. The Justice Department on Tuesday sued to try to stop publication, claiming Bolton was in breach of contract of his nondisclosure agreements. 

Bolton describes Trump’s meting with Xi, but says he must do so without benefit of his notes, due to a clash with the government during a security review.

Donald Trump defended Saudi prince over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to keep the spotlight off revelation Ivanka was using private email account, John Bolton claims 

President Trump backed Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the aftermath of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder to distract reporters from covering Ivanka Trump’s use of a private email server, a new book claims. 

Early copies of John Bolton’s ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,’ were obtained Wednesday by The New York Times and The Washington Post. 

In the book, Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, suggested that some of the president’s more erratic behavior was designed to serve as a diversion. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Washington Post opinion writer Jamal Khashoggi

Bolton recalled the November 2018 controversy over Khashoggi’s death. 

Khashoggi was a Washington Post op-ed writer and a resident of the U.S. 

He also was a critic of the Saudi regime.  

He went missing after walking into the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2. 

A month later, the CIA determined that the Crown Prince, who has a close relationship with White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, had given the order for Khashoggi’s assassination. 

On November 20, the president read an exclamation-mark-filled statement essentially letting the Crown Prince off the hook. 

‘Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!’ Trump had said. 

‘That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,’ Trump continued. ‘In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’ 

Behind-the-scenes, Bolton wrote, Trump decided to issue the statement because on November 19 the story broke that first daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails to government officials using a personal email account. 

Government officials are supposed to use government email accounts for government business, so the messages can be archived and proper security measures are in place.  

‘This will divert from Ivanka,’ Trump said of the statement, according to Bolton’s book. ‘If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.’   

Ivanka’s use of a private email account looked hypocritical after Trump paid great attention to rival Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server during her tenure as President Obama’s secretary of state.  

Xi complained about China critics in the U.S., and Trump immediately assumed he meant Demorats, according to another excerpt that appeared in the Washington Post.  

‘He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,’ according to Bolton. 

‘He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise. 

Trump cast the deal as a breakthrough when he described it from Osaka. 

‘For the time being we won’t be lifting tariffs on China,’ Trump told reporters. ‘We will work with China. They are going to negotiate and start spending money.’ 

‘Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,’ said Xi, prompting Trump to say: ‘It would be historic if we can do a fair trade deal.’

China had imposed retaliatory tariffs in a way that maximized pressure by focusing on key farm states including Iowa. When the ‘Phase One’ deal was finally inked in January of this year, China agreed to buy $12.5 billion in additional U.S. agriculture products.

Bolton describes a meeting in New Jersey in 2019 where Trump tears into journalists amid his ongoing consternation about leaks and says they should be forced to give up their sources. ‘These people should be executed. They are scumbags,’ Trump said, according to Bolton.

Guy Snodgrass, a speechwriter for former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis wrote ‘can confirm’ on Twitter. 

‘This sentiment expressed again during Trump’s meeting with Mattis in the Pentagon,’ Snodgrass wrote. 

In another episode, Bolton writes, Russian President in May last year compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton in a gambit to win Trump over. The U.S. recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader amid protests to the rule of Nicolas Maduro.  

 Bolton called it a ‘brilliant display of Soviet style propaganda’ to boost Maduro that  ‘largely persuaded Trump.’ 

‘I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,’ Bolton writes. 

Trump didn’t know that Finland is not part of Russia, according to the book. 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the book ‘full of classified information, which is inexcusable,’ although the comment could also suggest some of what Bolton claimed did in fact happen.

According to an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, Trump told Xi: ‘You’re the greatest Chinese leader in 300 years.’ Then later, in a nation that still reveres Mao Tse Tung, Trump called him ‘the greatest leader in Chinese history.’ 

One passage depicts Trump showing contempt for a persecuted religious minority that U.S. policy seeks to protect by calling out repression of mostly Muslim Uighurs.’

‘Trump asked me at the 2018 White House Christmas dinner why we were considering sanctioning China over its treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim people who live primarily in China’s northwest Xinjiang Province,’ Bolton writes.  

‘At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang,’ he continued. 

‘According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do. The National Security Council’s top Asia staffer, Matthew Pottinger, told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China.’

Another dark passage recounts one of Trump’s many defenses of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi as an effort to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using personal email. The president’s daughter, a White House advisor, was under fire for using the personal account for some government business – a sensitive matter given Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton.

‘This will divert from Ivanka,’ Trump said, according to the book. ‘If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.’ 

Trade negotiator Robert Lighhizer denied the charge that Trump pushed Beijing to help his own reelection through the agriculture purchases.

‘I was there. I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don’t believe it’s true,’ he told the Senate Finance Committee.  

Woven together, Bolton concludes Trump’s conduct was always about helping himself, often at the expense of the country or strategic objectives. 

‘The Trump presidency is not grounded in philosophy, grand strategy or policy. It is grounded in Trump,’ he wrote. 

Bolton minimizes his own controversial moves, however, including ending a directorate at the NSC dealing with pandemic response before the coronavirus that would throw the global economy into chaos and cause a global health crisis. He writes that he merely shifted most staffers over to another directorate. ‘At most, the internal NSC structure was the quiver of a butterfly’s wings in the tsunami of Trump’s chaos,’ he writes. 

Democrats noted Bolton’s revelations – but also blasted him for failing to participate in impeachment. Bolton resisted a Democratic request that he appear to testify in the House, then offered to do so in the Senate, where Republicans voted in lock-step not to call witnesses.

‘If John Bolton’s accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values,’ wrote former Vice President Joe Biden on Twitter.

Bolton ‘may be an author, but he’s no patriot,’ fumed Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman. 

‘Bolton’s staff were asked to testify before the House to Trump’s abuses, and did,’ Schiff tweeted, pointing to top NSC staffers who served as star witnesses. ‘They had a lot to lose and showed real courage. When Bolton was asked, he refused, and said he’d sue if subpoenaed. Instead, he saved it for a book.’

Said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: ‘It was clear then and could not be any clearer now: the vote to convict and remove Donald Trump from office was absolutely the right vote. The revelations in Mr. Bolton’s book make Senate Republicans’ craven actions on impeachment look even worse — and history will judge them for it,’ he added in a statement.

Democrats including Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon fired up new requests for information from Bolton based off the book. 

 

John Bolton says Donald Trump offered ‘personal favors to dictators’, begged China’s Xi to help him win in 2020 and gave him the go-ahead to build Muslim concentration camps – and that Putin ‘plays him like a fiddle

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For Dailymail.com  

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new memoir accuses President Donald Trump of ‘obstruction of justice as a way of life’ and carrying out a chaotic foreign policy not designed beyond any grand strategy other than to serve the president’s personal benefit. 

Bolton’s bombshell book contains startling new claims of alleged misconduct by President Trump – including agreeing to back off criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to certain dictators that make up a foreign policy characterized by ‘chaos’ and aimed at the president’s personal benefit.

The book also contains a claim that Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost U.S. food purchases, describing it in terms of his own election. Trump regularly touts a deal to pause the China trade war as one of his chief accomplishments.

The incidents are part of a pattern that Bolton describes as a ‘pattern of fundamentally unacceptable behavior that eroded the very legitimacy of the presidency,’ Bolton writes.  

The book also contains revelations about Attorney General Bill Barr, saying he tried to block prosecution of a Turkish bank, in a move sought by President Recep Erdogan.

Barr’s Justice Department filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC filed suit seeking to suppress the book, arguing that Bolton was in breach of nondisclosure agreements he signed. 

As Bolton’ fired up a publicity tour for the explosive book, he spoke about Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ABC News.

‘I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle,’ Bolton said of the world leader many policy experts consider the leading U.S. adversary. ‘It’s a very difficult position for America to be in,’ he said,’ Bolton said. 

Trump pleaded in Osaka with China’s President Xi Jinping to buy U.S. agriculture products, describing the pitch in electoral terms, Bolton writes

Former national security adviser John Bolton takes part in a discussion on global leadership at Vanderbilt University Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn

An excerpt obtained by the New York Times contains the claim about the criminal probes. Bolton writes that in cases involving China and Turkey, Trump was willing to ‘in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked.’ 

‘The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept,’ Bolton writes. 

According to a February report, Attorney General Bill Barr tried to block U.S. prosecution of a Turkish bank after Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan asked Trump about it.  Barr personally got involved to try to stop the prosecution of Halkbank, according to a CNN report. 

In the case of China, Bolton describes Trump as begging the leader, with whom he regularly touts his good relationship. Trump was ‘pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,’ according to the book. 

President Trump says he fired Bolton, who claims he quit first. The Justice Department is seeking to stop publication of Bolton’s memoir

China agreed to billions in purchases of U.S. agriculture product to end the trade war that began when Trump slapped on tariffs to protest China trade practices.

Trump implored Xi during a one-on-one meeting during their summit in Osaka, according to Bolton.  

Bolton’s new book is titled ‘The Room Where It Happened,’ and has already climbed to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. The Justice Department on Tuesday sued to try to stop publication, claiming Bolton was in breach of contract of his nondisclosure agreements. 

Trump sought to give ‘personal favors to dictators he liked,’ according to Bolton, who recounts a story about Turkish president Recep Erdogan

Bolton describes Trump’s meting with Xi, but says he must do so without benefit of his notes, due to a clash with the government during a security review.

Xi complained about China critics in the U.S., and Trump immediately assumed he meant Demorats, according to another excerpt that appeared in the Washington Post.  

‘He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,’ according to Bolton. 

‘He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise. 

Trump cast the deal as a breakthrough when he described it from Osaka. 

‘For the time being we won’t be lifting tariffs on China,’ Trump told reporters. ‘We will work with China. They are going to negotiate and start spending money.’ 

‘Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,’ said Xi, prompting Trump to say: ‘It would be historic if we can do a fair trade deal.’

China had imposed retaliatory tariffs in a way that maximized pressure by focusing on key farm states including Iowa. When the ‘Phase One’ deal was finally inked in January of this year, China agreed to buy $12.5 billion in additional U.S. agriculture products.

Bolton describes a meeting in New Jersey in 2019 where Trump tears into journalists amid his ongoing consternation about leaks and says they should be forced to give up their sources. ‘These people should be executed. They are scumbags,’ Trump said, according to Bolton.

Guy Snodgrass, a speechwriter for former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis wrote ‘can confirm’ on Twitter. 

‘This sentiment expressed again during Trump’s meeting with Mattis in the Pentagon,’ Snodgrass wrote. 

In another episode, Bolton writes, Russian President in May last year compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton in a gambit to win Trump over. The U.S. recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader amid protests to the rule of Nicolas Maduro.  

 Bolton called it a ‘brilliant display of Soviet style proganda’ to boost Maduro that  ‘largely persuaded Trump.’ 

‘I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,’ Bolton writes. 

Trump didn’t know that Finland is not part of Russia, according to the book. 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the book ‘full of classified information, which is inexcusable,’ although the comment could also suggest some of what Bolton claimed did in fact happen.

According to an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, Trump told Xi: ‘You’re the greatest Chinese leader in 300 years.’ Then later, in a nation that still reveres Mao Tse Tung, Trump called him ‘the greatest leader in Chinese history.’ 

One passage depicts Trump showing contempt for a persecuted religious minority that U.S. policy seeks to protect by calling out repression of mostly Muslim Uighurs.’

 

‘Trump asked me at the 2018 White House Christmas dinner why we were considering sanctioning China over its treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim people who live primarily in China’s northwest Xinjiang Province,’ Bolton writes.  

‘At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang,’ he continued. 

‘According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do. The National Security Council’s top Asia staffer, Matthew Pottinger, told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China.’

Another dark passage recounts one of Trump’s many defenses of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi as an effort to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using personal email. The president’s daughter, a White House advisor, was under fire for using the personal account for some government business – a sensitive matter given Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton.

‘This will divert from Ivanka,’ Trump said, according to the book. ‘If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.’ 

Trade negotiator Robert Lighhizer denied the charge that Trump pushed Beijing to help his own reelection through the agriculture purchases.

‘I was there. I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don’t believe it’s true,’ he told the Senate Finance Committee.  

Woven together, Bolton concludes Trump’s conduct was always about helping himself, often at the expense of the country or strategic objectives. 

‘The Trump presidency is not grounded in philosophy, grand strategy or policy. It is grounded in Trump,’ he wrote. 

Bolton minimizes his own controversial moves, however, including ending a directorate at the NSC dealing with pandemic response before the coronavirus that would throw the global economy into chaos and cause a global health crisis. He writes that he merely shifted most staffers over to another directorate. ‘At most, the internal NSC structure was the quiver of a butterfly’s wings in the tsunami of Trump’s chaos,’ he writes. 

China agreed to buy $12.5 billion in U.S. agriculture products to halt a trade war, in a move seen as a boon to Trump in farm state battlegrounds like Iowa

Democrats noted Bolton’s revelations – but also blasted him for failing to participate in impeachment. Bolton resisted a Democratic request that he appear to testify in the House, then offered to do so in the Senate, where Republicans voted in lock-step not to call witnesses.

‘If John Bolton’s accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values,’ wrote former Vice President Joe Biden on Twitter.

Bolton ‘may be an author, but he’s no patriot,’ fumed Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman. 

“Bolton’s staff were asked to testify before the House to Trump’s abuses, and did,” Schiff tweeted, pointing to top NSC staffers who served as star witnesses. ‘They had a lot to lose and showed real courage. When Bolton was asked, he refused, and said he’d sue if subpoenaed. Instead, he saved it for a book.’

Said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: ‘It was clear then and could not be any clearer now: the vote to convict and remove Donald Trump from office was absolutely the right vote. The revelations in Mr. Bolton’s book make Senate Republicans’ craven actions on impeachment look even worse — and history will judge them for it,’ he added in a statement.

Democrats including Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon fired up new requests for information from Bolton based off the book. 

 

Mike Pompeo mocked Donald Trump behind his back by slipping John Bolton a note saying ‘he is so full of s***’ – and Bill Barr said he was ‘worried’ about his conduct bombshell book claims

• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mocked President Trump behind his back, while Attorney General Bill Barr expressed concerns, according to John Bolton 

• The Washington Post and New York Times obtained copies of Bolton’s forthcoming book, ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir’ 

• The book will be released next Tuesday and largely characterizes Trump’s staff as knowing better than the president and talking behind his back 

• Bolton described Pompeo as writing a note to him amid the 2018 Singapore summit, saying of Trump, ‘He is so full of s***’ 

• Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, said Trump was ‘stunningly uninformed’ and was always looking for a way to show ‘reality TV showmanship’  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mocked President Trump behind his back and Attorney General Bill Barr shared his concerns, according to the blockbuster book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton. 

On Wednesday, both The New York Times and The Washington Post obtained copies of the tome, ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,’ which the Trump administration had tried to block from bookstores with a week to go before its release, filing a Tuesday lawsuit. 

The book largely characterizes Trump’s staff as knowing better than the president and talking behind his back, like the time Bolton was passed a note by Pompeo amid the June 2018 Singapore summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.  

‘He is so full of s***,’ the note read, Bolton wrote. 

In public, Pompeo has portrayed himself as the loyal servant – as has Barr. In private, when Bolton approached Barr to discuss the president’s behavior – especially toward autocratic rulers like China’s President Xi Jinping and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – the attorney general admitted he, too, was worried.  

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new book ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,’ reveals that President Trump’s advisers are talking behind his back, expressing shock and concern

PASSING NOTES: John Bolton (left) recalled that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (second from left) slipped him a note during the June 2018 Singapore summit with the North Korea delegation that said President Trump (center left) was ‘so full of s***’

The takeaway from Bolton’s book was that Trump, despite trying to convey strength, was a shallow, paranoid and indecisive leader. 

‘He second-guessed people’s motives, saw conspiracies behind rocks and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government,’ Bolton wrote. 

Trump led using ‘personal instinct,’ Bolton went on, and looked for opportunities for ‘reality TV showmanship.’ 

Bolton, the president’s third national security adviser, pointed to the president’s diplomacy with North Korea as a prime example. 

Bolton, who had worked for President Reagan and in both Bush administrations, called Trump’s first meeting with Kim in Singapore ‘an exercise in publicity.’ 

‘Trump told … me he was prepared to sign a substance-free communique, have his press conference to declare victory and then get out of town,’ Bolton wrote. 

Behind-the-scenes, Bolton captures Pompeo being appalled. 

He described a call between Trump and the president of South Korea as they prepared for the June 2018 summit. 

Both Bolton and Pompeo, according to Bolton, were upset with how Trump handled the conversation. 

Pompeo, Bolton described, said he was ‘having a cardia in Saudi Arabia,’ as he was listening to the call while traveling in the Middle East. 

Bolton, likewise, said the call was a ‘near death experience.’ 

After President Trump seemed to capitulate to the leaders of China and Turkey, John Bolton wrote that he met with Attorney General Bill Barr (pictured), who told Bolton that he was worried with how the president presented himself

After the summit, Bolton claimed Trump became transfixed with getting Kim a copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ CD, signed by the artist. 

Prior to their first meeting, Trump had called Kim ‘Little Rocket Man,’ when the North Korean leader would conduct unsanctioned nuclear experiments.  

Bolton criticized Trump for not being able to grasp that Pompeo wouldn’t be meeting with Kim during every trip he made to North Korea. 

After one Kim-less trip, Bolton recalled Trump asking Pompeo if he’d handed the North Korean leader the CD. 

‘Pompeo had not,’ Bolton wrote. ‘Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months.’