The Truth About Nuclear Weapons

Free Julian Assange rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 2019.

Kazi Salahuddin/PA. All rights reserved.

What we know about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry thanks to WikiLeaks

“The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Why I support the nomination of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.”

The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the prize again this year, as they have since 2010. As the first staffer of the campaign that won the Peace Prize in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), I support this nomination for a number of reasons.

The vast majority of governments on this planet want nuclear disarmament negotiations to occur and produce results. ICAN has been mobilising this willingness to push for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. From the outset, the campaign deployed accurate information to mobilise public opinion and reeducate a new generation. In facing the truth about nuclear dangers, answers became available and courageous action was taken. Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.

Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.

WikiLeaks and Assange have made a great deal of information available about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry. A search on the WikiLeaks site for the word ‘nuclear’ brings up 284, 493 results. These documents traverse the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to nuclear waste – with many thousands exposing nuclear energy industry giants, and nuclear weapon threat assessments, numbers, doctrines and negotiations.

Ten examples

Below are just ten examples of where WikiLeaks exposed wrongdoing on the part of governments and corporations that meant citizens could take action to protect themselves from harm, or governments were held to account:

– Chalk River nuclear reactor shut down – released 11 January 2008 – Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on Chalk River reactor

After the Chalk River nuclear reactor was shut down for routine maintenance on 18 November 2007, inspectors verified the reactor’s cooling systems had not been modified as required by an August 2006 licensing review. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) did not start the reactor but said upgrades could be done as part of maintenance while still operating safely. This impasse lasted a month, with the government intervening to grant an exemption to the reactor to allow its restart. The responsible Minister for Natural Resources, Gary Lunn MP, fired Linda Keen, the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission. Their exchange of letters revealed much about the safety standards and routine practices of the Canadian nuclear regulatory system, and particular problems with the ageing Chalk River reactor previously unknown to the public.

– Footage of the 1995 disaster at the Japanese Monju nuclear reactor – released 25 January 2008

Following the 2008 announcement that the Japanese Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor would be reopened, activists leaked the suppressed video footage of the sodium spill disaster that led to its closure in 1995. Named after the Buddhist divinity of wisdom, Monju, located in Japan’s Fukui prefecture, is Japan’s only fast-breeder reactor. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which “breed” plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. On December 8, 1995, 700 kg of molten sodium leaked from the secondary cooling circuit of the Monju reactor, resulting in a fire that did not result in a radiation leak, but the potential for catastrophe was played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. Further complicating the story, the deputy general manager of the general affairs department at the PNC, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference where he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up.

– Serious nuclear accident lay behind Iranian nuke chief’s mystery resignation – released 16 July 2009

WikiLeaks revealed that a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told the organisation of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of

Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and the site targeted with the Stuxnet worm that contained 4 zero days and was designed to slow down and speed up centrifuges enriching uranium. WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible, however contact with this source was lost.

180 confirmed US tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe – released 7 December 2010

In advance of the nuclear posture review, a briefing was provided by US Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller to NATO in July 2009. Federation of American Scientists nuclear weapons expert Hans Kristensen stated, “Whether Miller was providing certified U.S. intelligence numbers or simply referenced good-enough nonofficial public estimates is less clear. But his use of a specific number (180) for Europe rather than a range suggests that it might an official number.”

– Italian nuclear industry corruption – released 18 March 2011

American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks revealed how, “bribes could have a major impact on the future of the country’s energy industry,” in a four-year US campaign, which began in 2005, to encourage Italy to re-start a nuclear power program with a view to reducing its energy dependence on Russian gas and limiting the influence of the partnership between Italian energy company ENI and Russia’s Gazprom.

– Cash payments were made to Indian MPs for support of US India nuclear deal – released 18 March 2011

WikiLeaks revealed a cable by US Charge d’Affaires Steven White dated 17 July 2008 that indicated that the ruling Congress Party in India had bought MPs a vote on the 2008 India-US nuclear deal. Nachiketa Kapur, a political aide to Congress leader Satish Sharma showed a US Embassy employee “two chests containing cash” saying it was part of a bigger fund of Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 60 crore that the party had assembled to purchase the support of MPs.

– The IAEA warned Japan about safety issues at nuclear plants in 2009 – released 17 March 2011 In 2009, years before the Fukushima disaster, Japan was warned that its power plants could not withstand powerful earthquakes. The US was highly critical of Japan’s senior safety director at the International Atomic Energy Association “particularly with respect to confronting Japan’s own safety practices.”

Safety and security issues with the UK Trident nuclear weapon system – released 17 May 2015

In an exclusive report to WikiLeaks, Trident nuclear weapons submariner, Royal Navy Able Seaman William McNeilly, aged 25, stated, “Please make sure this information is released. I don’t want to be in prison without anyone knowing the truth,” about the detailed nuclear safety problems he says he has been “gathering for over a year… This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us. We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public… Our Nuclear weapon systems are the prime target and we are wide open to attack. We must unite globally in order to eliminate the biggest threat the world has ever seen.”

– Western and Chinese companies expose workers in African uranium grab – released 5 February 2016

WikiLeaks released a collection of documents that open up a corrupt multi-billion dollar war by Western and Chinese companies which grab uranium and other mining rights in the Central African Republic (CAR) and escape paying for the environmental consequences. French giant Areva failed to protect miners from high levels of radiation who processed soil samples with no radiation protection, and neglected local employees when pulling out of a financially and politically disastrous venture in the CAR.

Uranium One links with the Clinton Foundation – released 7 October 2016

As Russian Rosatom company Uranium One gained control of 1/5th of the US uranium production between 2009 – 2013, its chairman used his family foundation to make donations of over USD$ 2 million to the Clinton Foundation. Because uranium is a strategic asset, such a deal had to be approved by a Committee, whose decision was signed off by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Uranium One paid $20,000 to The Podesta Group to lobby the State Department for this deal, a lobbying firm founded by Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman, John Podesta.

Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing… an effective death sentence.

WikiLeaks and Assange have brought forward many truths that are hard to face, publishing well over 10 million documents since 2006. Often forgotten is that each one was provided by a whistleblower who trusted this platform to publish, and who sought reform of how political, corporate and media power elites operate. Each release has shared genuine official information about how governments, companies, banks, the UN, political parties, jailers, cults, private security firms, war planners and the media actually operate when they think no one is looking.

Assange is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of these many releases of information, used as evidence in court cases, freeing prisoners and exposing scandals, torture, murder and surveillance for which redress is only possible when the wrongdoing is dragged into the light. For publishing this true information, Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing extradition and charges attracting 175 years in a US jail, an effective death sentence.

The Real Risk of Nuclear War With Russia (Revelation 16)

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lael Huss

We’re More at Risk of Nuclear War With Russia Than We Think

U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to start addressing the danger.

By GEORGE BEEBE

10/07/2019 05:04 AM EDT

George Beebe is vice president and director of studies at the Center for the National Interest, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. He is also the former head of Russia analysis at the CIA, and the author of The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Americans genuinely and rightly feared the prospect of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Schoolchildren regularly participated in air raid drills. Federal, state and local governments prepared for operations in the event of a nuclear emergency. More than a few worried citizens built backyard bomb shelters and stockpiled provisions.

Today, that old dread of disaster has all but disappeared, as have the systems that helped preclude it. But the actual threat of nuclear catastrophe is much greater than we realize. Diplomacy and a desire for global peace have given way to complacency and a false sense of security that nuclear escalation is outside the realm of possibility. That leaves us unprepared for—and highly vulnerable to—a nuclear attack from Russia.

The most recent sign of American complacency was the death, a few weeks ago, of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty—a pivotal 1987 agreement that introduced intrusive on-site inspection provisions, destroyed an entire class of dangerous weaponry, and convinced both Washington and Moscow that the other wanted strategic stability more than strategic advantage. The New START treaty, put in place during the Obama administration, appears headed for a similar fate in 2021. In fact, nearly all the key U.S.-Russian arms control and confidence-building provisions of the Cold War era are dead or on life support, with little effort underway to update or replace them.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials from both parties are focused not on how we might avoid nuclear catastrophe but on showing how tough they can look against a revanchist Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin. Summit meetings between White House and Kremlin leaders, once viewed as opportunities for peace, are now seen as dangerous temptations to indulge in Munich-style appeasement, the cardinal sin of statecraft. American policymakers worry more about “going wobbly,” as Margaret Thatcher once put it, than about a march of folly into inadvertent war. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the United States and Russia might explore ways to manage their differences diplomatically has produced mostly head-scratching and condemnation.

In my more than 25 years of government experience working on Russia matters, I’ve seen that three misguided assumptions underlie how the United States got to this point.

The first is that American policymakers think that because neither side wants nuclear war, then such a war is very unlikely to occur. Russia would be foolish, we reason, to cross swords with the powerful U.S. military and risk its own self-destruction, and many Americans find it hard to imagine that modern cyber duels, proxy battles, information operations and economic warfare might somehow erupt into direct nuclear attacks. If the Cold War ended peacefully, the thinking goes, why should America worry that a new shadow war with a much less formidable Russia will end any differently?

But wars do not always begin by design. Just as they did in 1914, a vicious circle of clashing geopolitical ambitions, distorted perceptions of each other’s intent, new and poorly understood technologies, and disappearing rules of the game could combine to produce a disaster that neither side wants nor expects.

In fact, cyber technologies, artificial intelligence, advanced hypersonic weapons delivery systems and antisatellite weaponry are making the U.S.-Russian shadow war much more complex and dangerous than the old Cold War competition. They are blurring traditional lines between espionage and warfare, entangling nuclear and conventional weaponry, and erasing old distinctions between offensive and defensive operations. Whereas the development of nuclear weaponry in the Cold War produced the concept of mutually assured destruction and had a restraining effect, in the cyber arena, playing offense is increasingly seen as the best defense. And in a highly connected world in which financial networks, commercial operations, media platforms, and nuclear command and control systems are all linked in some way, escalation from the cyber world into the physical domain is a serious danger.

Cyber technology is also magnifying fears of our adversaries’ strategic intentions while prompting questions about whether warning systems can detect incoming attacks and whether weapons will fire when buttons are pushed. This makes containing a crisis that might arise between U.S. and Russian forces over Ukraine, Iran or anything else much more difficult. It is not hard to imagine a crisis scenario in which Russia cyber operators gain access to a satellite system that controls both U.S. conventional and nuclear weapons systems, leaving the American side uncertain about whether the intrusion is meant to gather information about U.S. war preparations or to disable our ability to conduct nuclear strikes. This could cause the U.S. president to wonder whether he faces an urgent “use it or lose it” nuclear launch decision. It doesn’t help that the lines of communication between the United States and Russia necessary for managing such situations are all but severed.

A related, second assumption American policymakers make is seeing the Russian threat as primarily a deterrence problem. The logic goes something like this: Wars often happen because the states that start them believe they can win, but the United States can disabuse a would-be aggressor of this belief through a show of force, thus deterring conflict. Indeed, Washington seems convinced that showing the Kremlin it will punish Russian transgressions—through toughened economic sanctions, an enhanced military posture in Europe and more aggressive cyber operations—is the best path to preserving peace.

But, when dealing with states that believe they are under some form of assault, focusing on deterrence can be counterproductive. Rather than averting aggression by demonstrating the will to fight back, America might be unintentionally increasing the odds of a war. To a great degree, this is the situation the United States already faces. Years of enlargement of NATO and perceived U.S. involvement in Russia’s internal affairs have convinced the Kremlin that America poses an existential threat. In turn, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, coupled with a string of aggressions against its neighbors, have convinced Washington that Moscow is going for the West’s jugular.

The United States experienced this spiral phenomenon with Georgia in 2008. Convinced that Russia harbored aggressive designs on its southern neighbor, Washington policymakers accelerated U.S. military training in Georgia, openly advocated bringing Tbilisi into the NATO alliance and issued multiple warnings to Moscow against military action, believing this firm resolve would deter Russian aggression. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Russia grew increasingly alarmed by the prospect of Georgian membership in NATO, while Tbilisi felt emboldened to launch a military operation in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, which yielded an immediate and massive Russian military response.

Lastly, the United States assumes that Russia’s anti-American hostility flows from the internal nature of its regime, and therefore is likely to diminish when a more enlightened leader with more liberal approaches succeeds Putin. Sooner or later, the unsatisfied longing for freedom will produce new leadership in Russia that will advance liberal reforms and seek cordial relations with Washington, just as Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin once did. Compromising with the Putin regime, American policymakers believe, is not only immoral, but also unnecessary and counterproductive.

But the notion that Moscow hates us for what we are—a democracy—rather than the ways we influence important Russian interests is inconsistent with Russia’s business-like, if not cordial, relations with democracies that it does not see as threatening, including Israel, India and Japan. Moreover, Putin’s domestic critics include not only the country’s narrow slice of liberal reformers but also its wider expanse of hard-liners on the left and right who think he has been too soft on Washington. The reality is that Russia’s differences with Washington flow from a deep mix of geopolitical, perceptual, historical and systemic factors that will not go away once Putin eventually does.

Managing and containing the combustive mixture of volatile factors in the U.S.-Russian relationship is a daunting, but far from impossible, challenge. Washington’s approach must dispassionately balance firmness with accommodation, military readiness with diplomatic outreach—all without skewing too far toward either concession or confrontation. It’s a difficult balance, but the United States is not even attempting it at the moment. It will require more robust U.S.-Russian communication, as well as new rules of the game to deal with new weapons systems, game-changing cyber technologies and the shifting geopolitical order.

None of this will be possible, however, absent a recognition that real danger is looming—not a modern variation of World War II-style planned aggression, but a nascent World War I-type escalatory spiral that few recognize is developing. That danger could end catastrophically if nothing changes.

***

All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the CIA or any other U.S. government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.

Trying to Survive Through the Fire (Revelation 16)

If a nuclear bomb is dropped on your city, here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do to stay alive

Aria Bendix

DO: Drop to the ground with your face down and your hands tucked under your body.

Reuters/Issei Kato

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this position because it will keep your hands, arms, and face away from any flying debris or sweltering heat that could burn your skin. Once the shockwaves have subsided, you can get up and look for shelter.

DON’T: Stare directly at the blast.

Depending on how close you are to a nuclear explosion, it might be impossible to avoid the initial burst of light, which can blind you for about 15 seconds to a minute. But for those farther away, it’s best to avert and cover your eyes, according to the CDC.

A 1-megaton bomb (that’s about 80 times larger than the “Little Boy” atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan) could temporarily blind people up to 13 miles away on a clear day, and up to 53 miles away on a clear night.

DO: Cover your face with a towel or article of clothing.

If you have a scarf or handkerchief nearby at the time of a nuclear explosion, it’s wise to cover your nose and mouth. Even before fallout reaches the ground, an explosion stirs up other debris that might be dangerous to breathe in.

DON’T: Seek shelter in your car.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises people not to take shelter in their vehicles. Cars’ glass windows and metal frames make them too flimsy to protect you from nuclear fallout. Driving away is also futile, since it’s tough to anticipate where radiation will travel.

The one exception to this rule is ducking inside your car in an underground parking garage, which could provide an added layer of protection.

DO: Find a brick or concrete building, such as a school or office.

FEMA identifies brick or concrete buildings as the safest forms of shelter after a nuclear attack. Ideally, the best shelter would have few to no windows and a basement for camping out.

Schools or offices usually meet these criteria. Mobile homes, however, are considered too fragile to offer enough protection.

If there aren’t any sturdy buildings within 15 minutes of where you’re standing, it’s better to find some form of shelter than stay outside. If you discover that there’s a safer building close by, wait at least an hour before attempting to move. By that time, the potential for radiation exposure would likely have decreased by around 55%.

DON’T: Stand near windows once you’re indoors.

If you take cover in multistory building, choose a central location and steer clear of the top and bottom floors.

If your structure has windows, FEMA advises standing far away from them, in the center of a room. That’s because shockwaves can shatter windows up to 10 miles away from an explosion, resulting in flying glass that could injure people who are too close.

DO: Shut off heaters and air conditioners.

Heating or air-conditioning units pull in air from the outside, so they could spread contaminated particles throughout your home or shelter.

DON’T: Search for your family members right away.

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends staying indoors for at least 24 hours in the event of a nuclear explosion. After 48 hours, the exposure rate from a 10-kiloton explosion (the type that might damage but not destroy a city) goes down to just 1%.

“While sheltering is a priority for protecting public health, it goes against natural instincts,” a collection of government agencies wrote in a 2010 report. “After a nuclear detonation, people will need to understand why they and their families are safest staying sheltered.”

DO: Take a shower as soon as possible.

People who were outside during an explosion should shower as soon as possible, making sure the water is warm and soap is applied gently. Scrubbing too hard could break your skin, which acts as a natural protective barrier.

You should also cover any cuts or abrasions while you’re rinsing off. For those without access to a shower, FEMA recommends using a sink or faucet. The next-best option is to clean your body with a wipe or wet cloth. Blowing your nose and wiping your ears and eyelids is also important, since debris could get stuck in these orifices.

DON’T: Use conditioner after you shampoo.

Rinsing your hair with shampoo is critical after being exposed to radiation, but conditioner is a major no-no, according to the CDC.

That’s because conditioners carry compounds called cationic surfactants, which bind to radioactive particles and can trap them in your hair. They’d essentially act like glue between your hair and radioactive material.

As a general rule, it’s best to only use products on your body that are designed to get rinsed off in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. Items like body lotion and face cream should wait until a second or third wish.

DO: Seal away contaminated clothes.

Because outer layers of clothing would likely be contaminated by fallout, the CDC recommends sealing them in a plastic bag that’s out of the reach of children and pets. You should also seal off any tissues or cloths used to wipe your body or face.

DON’T: Eat unpackaged food or food that was left outside.

Following any kind of nuclear explosion, the CDC says it’s alright to consume food from sealed containers such packages, bottles, or cans. You can also eat things from your pantry or refrigerator, as long as you wipe off food containers, cookware, counters, and utensils.

But anything that was left uncovered, especially if it was outdoors — such as fruits or veggies from a garden — would be unsafe to eat.

DO: Listen to the radio for instructions.

Nuclear explosions produce a powerful phenomenon called a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP), an invisible burst of energy that can slash power, phone, and internet lines. A nuclear EMP could also disrupt radio waves, but that’s less likely, since radios have a simpler circuitry.

So in the wake of an explosion, emergency-response officials will likely broadcast safety instructions over the radio. Unless these officials tell you it’s safe to go outside, it’s best to stay put until the risk of contamination has gone down.

Nuclear War Will End Humanity (Revelation 16)

Nuclear war warning: Threat remains the ‘biggest risk’ to humanity – claim (Image: GETTY)

NUCLEAR war is the “single most existential risk” humanity faces and they have the ability to “end our species”, an expert has warned.

By SEAN MARTIN

PUBLISHED: 16:45, Wed, Sep 25, 2019

UPDATED: 16:52, Wed, Sep 25, 2019

United States: Simulation shows possible nuclear war with Russia

Simulation from Science & Global Security shows the possible escalation of nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

In April this year, a report from the House of Lords’ International Relations Committee said that “the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater now than it has been since the Cold War.” The report cited “disintegrating relationships between nuclear possessor states, new capabilities and technologies” as the reason behind the escalated tensions, and one expert now believes it is the biggest risk humanity faces. Bryan Walsh, author of the existential risk book End Times, believes the threat of nuclear war far outweighs any natural disaster, such as a supervolcano eruption or an asteroid strike.

“Not asteroids, not disease, not artificial intelligence, but the old nuclear nightmare.

“There is no defence against them should they be used. They are weapons of war but primarily murder civilians.

There is no defence against them should they be used. They are weapons of war but primarily murder civilians” (Image: GETTY)

They have the capacity to ruin the entire planet, even end our species.

“And after years of hopeful progress, we now somehow find ourselves in a moment of renewed peril.”

However, Mr Walsh does offer a glimmer of hope and believes the fate of nuclear war is in our own hands.

He continued: “For just as the ability to end this world with nuclear weapons is in our power, so is the ability to save ourselves.”

The Doomsday Clock remains at two minutes to midnight (Image: GETTY)

When the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – the organisation behind the Doomsday Clock – made their annual announcement this year, they also cited the threat of nuclear was as one of the main reasons for keeping the clock at two minutes to midnight.

The threat of nuclear war among powerhouses including the US, China and Russia remained a huge threat, said the scientists, with climate change also being a major cause for concern.

The organisers wrote: “Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention.

European cities wiped out in US-Russia nuclear war revealed [STUDY]

Countries with nuclear weapons (Image: EXPRESS)

“These major threats—nuclear weapons and climate change—were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilisation in extraordinary danger.

“There is nothing normal about the complex and frightening reality just described.”

Preparing for World War 3 (Revelation 17)

Biggest Mistake Trump Can Make? Invade Iran.

Key Point: The only military action that can truly prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is for the United States to invade and occupy the country, potentially turning it over to a U.S.-friendly regime that would uphold Iran’s non-nuclear status. Despite the widespread support in the United States for preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon, this option is almost never proposed by any serious observer.

Part of this undoubtedly reflects America’s fatigue following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it goes much deeper than that—namely, while Iran’s military is greatly inferior to the U.S. armed forces, the U.S. military would not be able to conquer Iran swiftly and cheaply like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Tehran would be able to impose prohibitive costs against the U.S. military, even before the difficult occupation began.

Iran’s ability to defend itself against a U.S. invasion begins with its formidable geography. As Stratfor, a private intelligence firm, has explained, “Iran is a fortress. Surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the ocean, with a wasteland at its center, Iran is extremely difficult to conquer.”

While the “stopping power of water” has always made land invasions far more preferable for the invading party, the age of precision-guided munitions has made amphibious invasions particularly challenging. As such, the United States would strongly prefer to invade Iran through one of its land borders, just as it did when it invading Iraq in 2003.

Unfortunately, there are few options in this regard. On first glance, commencing an invasion from western Afghanistan would seem the most plausible route, given that the U.S. military already has troops stationed in that country. Alas, that would not be much of an option at all.

To begin with, from a logistical standpoint, building up a large invasion force in western Afghanistan would be a nightmare, especially now that America’s relationship with Russia has deteriorated so greatly.

More importantly, however, is the geography of the border region. First, there are some fairly small mountain ranges along the border region. More formidable, going from the Afghan border to most of Iran’s major cities would require traversing two large desert regions: Dasht-e Lut and Dasht-e Kavir.

Dasht-e Kavir is particularly fearsome, as its kavirs are similar to quicksand. As Stratfor notes, “The Dasht-e Kavir consists of a layer of salt covering thick mud, and it is easy to break through the salt layer and drown in the mud. It is one of the most miserable places on earth.” This would severely constrain America’s ability to use any mechanized and possibly motorized infantry in mounting the invasion.

Iran’s western borders are not any more inviting. While northwestern Iran borders Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, Ankara refused the United States permission to use its territory for the invasion of Iraq. Regardless, the Zagros Mountains that define Iran’s borders with Turkey, and most of Iraq, would make a large invasion through this route extremely difficult.

The one exception on Iran’s western borders is in the very south, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers collide to form the Shatt al-Arab waterway. This was the invasion route Saddam Hussein used in the 1980s. Unfortunately, as Saddam discovered, this territory is swampy and easy to defend. Furthermore, not long after crossing into Iranian territory, any invading force would run into the Zagros Mountains. Still, this area has long been a vulnerability of Iran’s, which is one of the reasons why Tehran has put so much effort into dominating Shia Iraq and the Iraqi government. Unfortunately for any U.S. president looking to invade Iran, Tehran has largely succeeded in this effort, closing it off as a potential base from which America could attack Iran.

Thus, the United States would have to invade Iran from its southern coastline, which stretches roughly 800 miles and is divided between waterfront adjoining the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Iran has been preparing for just such a contingency for the better part of a quarter of a century. Specifically, it has focused on acquiring the capabilities to execute an antiaccess/area denial strategy against the United States, utilizing a vast number of precision-guided and nonsmart missiles, swarm boats, drones, submarines and mines.

As always, Iran benefits in any A2/AD campaign from the geography of the Iranian coastline; in The Revenge of Geography, Robert Kaplan observed of Iran’s coastline, “its bays, inlets, coves, and islands [make] excellent places for hiding suicide, tanker-ramming speed-boats.” He might have added hiding ground-launched missile systems.

Michael Connell, director of the Iranian Studies Program at CNA, further reflected: “Geography is a key element in Iranian naval planning. The Gulf’s confined space, which is less than 100 nautical miles wide in many places, limits the maneuverability of large surface assets, such as aircraft carriers. But it plays to the strengths of Iran’s naval forces, especially the IRGCN. The Gulf’s northern coast is dotted with rocky coves ideally suited for terrain masking and small boat operations. The Iranians have also fortified numerous islands in the Gulf that sit astride major shipping lanes.”

All of this plays into an Iranian A2/AD strategy. Back in 2012, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) studied how Iran would use A2/AD against the United States, stating:

Iran… is developing an asymmetric strategy to counter U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf. This strategy may blend irregular tactics and improvised weapons with technologically advanced capabilities to deny or limit the U.S. military’s access to close-in bases and restrict its freedom of maneuver through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s ‘hybrid’ A2/AD strategy could exploit the geographic and political features of the Persian Gulf region to reduce the effectiveness of U.S. military operations. Such an approach may not, in itself, be a war-winning strategy for Iran. Significantly raising the costs or extending the timelines of a U.S. military intervention may, however, create a window of opportunity for Iran to conduct acts of aggression or coercion.”

As this implies, the United States would sustain significant damage and casualties trying to establish a beachhead in southern Iran. America’s challenges would not end with establishing this beachhead, however, as it would still have to conquer the rest of Iran.

Once again, geography would work to Iran’s advantage, as almost all of Iran’s major cities are located in the north of the country, and reaching them would be a herculean challenge under the best of circumstances. For starters, the terrain—as always—would be challenging to transverse with a large invading force. More importantly, Iran is enormous. As Stratfor notes, “Iran is the 17th largest country in world. It measures 1,684,000 square kilometers. That means that its territory is larger than the combined territories of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal—Western Europe.”

Of course, U.S. forces would not be operating under the best of circumstances. In fact, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has long planned on mounting an insurgent and guerrilla campaign against an invading force trying to reach Iran’s northern cities from its coastlines. Referred to by the IRGC as a “mosaic defense,” the plan would incorporate the joint efforts of the IRGC, Basij and regular armed forces. Connell describes it as follows:

The mosaic defense plan allows Iran to take advantage of its strategic depth and formidable geography to mount an insurgency against invading forces…. As enemy supply lines stretched into Iran’s interior, they would be vulnerable to interdiction by special stay-behind cells, which the IRGC has formed to harass enemy rear operations.

The Artesh, a mix of armored, infantry and mechanized units, would constitute Iran’s initial line of defense against invading forces. IRGC troops would support this effort, but they would also form the core of popular resistance, the bulk of which would be supplied by the Basij, the IRGC’s paramilitary volunteer force. The IRGC has developed a wartime mobilization plan for the Basij, called the Mo’in Plan, according to which Basij personnel would augment regular IRGC units in an invasion scenario.

IRGC and Basij exercises have featured simulated ambushes on enemy armored columns and helicopters. Much of this training has been conducted in an urban environment, suggesting that Iran intends to lure enemy forces into cities where they would be deprived of mobility and close air support. Iran has emphasized passive defense measures—techniques used to enhance the battlefield survivability —including camouflage, concealment and deception.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States found that conquering a country is the easy part. It’s the occupation that proves costly. While occupying Iran would be at least as difficult as the Iraqi and Afghan occupations, even invading Iran would prove enormously challenging. Consequently, while conquering Iran is the most sustainable way to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon, Washington is unlikely to attempt to do so anytime soon.

This first appeared in 2015 and is being reposted due to breaking news.

The Destruction of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17)

Russia’s New Nuclear Weapon Could Make America Uninhabitable

Key point: This is a weapon of last resort. Total overkill.

On May 22, 2018, the Russian submarine Yuri Dolgoruky slipped beneath the waves of the Arctic White Sea. Hatches along the submerged boat’s spine opened, flooding the capacious tubes beneath. Moments later, an undersea volcano seemingly erupted from the depths.

Amidst roiling smoke, four stubby-looking missiles measuring twelve-meters in length emerged one by one. Momentarily, they seemed on the verge of faltering backward into the sea before their solid-fuel rockets ignited, propelling them high into the stratosphere. The four missiles soared across Russia to land in a missile test range on the Kamchatka peninsula, roughly 3,500 miles away.

Like the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) operated by United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, and India, the primary purpose of Borei-class submarines is almost unimaginably grim: to bring ruin to an adversary’s cities, even should other nuclear forces be wiped out in a first strike. 

Each of the submarine’s sixteen R-30 Bulava (“Mace”) missiles typically carries six 150-kiloton nuclear warheads designed to split apart to hit separate targets. This means one Borei can rain seventy-two nuclear warheads ten times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on cities and military bases over 5,800 miles away.

The Borei is the most advanced SSBN in the Russian Navy, and is designed to replace its seven Soviet-era Delta-class SSBNs. Throughout most of the Cold War, Soviets submarines were noisier than their Western counterparts, and thus vulnerable to detection and attack by Western attack submarines.

This problem was finally appreciated by the 1980s, when the Soviets managed to import technologies from Japan and Norway to create the Akula-class attack submarine, which finally matched the U.S. Navy’s workhorse Los Angeles-class attack submarines in acoustic stealth.

Concept work on the Project 955 Borei began during the 1980s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1996 cash-strapped Russia decided to lower costs by taking three incomplete Akula hulls and convert them into a revised Borei design.

Construction proceeded at Severodvinsk, and lead ship Yury Dolgoruky (named after the Russian prince who founded the city of Moscow) launched in 2008 and was commissioned five years later in January 2013.

An SSBN’s primary purpose is to remain undetected long enough to unleash its terrifying firepower—a strategy made easier thanks to their nuclear reactors allowing them remain submerged for months at a time. Towards that end, the Borei is designed to higher standards of acoustic stealth than Soviet-era designs, and is more capable of evading enemies that do get an inkling of its position.

The Borei’s sleek 170-meter-long hull is considered more typical of Western-style submarine engineering, than the boxier Delta-class. Both the hull and the machinery inside the gargantuan 24,000-ton (submerged) submarine are coated in sound-dampening rubber.

The Borei’s OKF-650B 190-megawatt reactor powers a pump-jet propulsion system that allows it to remain unusually quiet while cruising near its maximum underwater speed of thirty knots. This probably makes the Borei quieter, and able to remain discrete at higher speeds, than the propeller-driven Ohio-class submarine. Russian media claims its acoustic signature is one-fifth that of the Typhoon and Delta-IV class SSBN and that the Borei was also uniquely suited to perform nuclear deterrence patrols in the southern hemisphere, though Russian SSBNs have historically remained close to friendly waters for protection.

For defense against enemy ships and submarines, the Borei also has eight 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and six countermeasure launchers atop its bow. Should things go terribly wrong for the relatively small crew of 107, the Russian SSBN has a pop-out escape pod on its back.

Troubled Missiles

The Borei was originally intended to carry twelve larger and more advanced R-39 “Bark” submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). But the R-39 was canceled in 1998 after failing in three test launches.

Thus, the Borei had to be redesigned to carry sixteen smaller Bulava missiles derived from the land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile. The Bulava also proved very troubled, however, failing in ten out of twenty-seven test launches due to manufacturing defects. Two failures occurred after the Bulava was operationally deployed on the Borei in 2013.

The Bulava has an unusually shallow flight trajectory, making it harder to intercept, and can be fired while the Borei is moving. The 40-ton missiles can deploy up to forty decoys to try to divert defensive missiles fire by anti-ballistic missiles systems like the Alaska-based Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

However, publicized specifications imply the R-30 may be nearly four times less accurate than the Trident D5 SLBMs on U.S. and British submarines, with only half of shots landing within 350 meters of a target. This implies the R-30 is a purely strategic weapon lacking the precision to reliably take out hardened military targets like nuclear silos in a first-strike scenario.

The New Generation Borei-A

Of the three active Boreis, the Yuri Dologoruky is based at Ghadzhievo (near Murmansk) assigned to the Northern Fleet, while the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh are part of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vilyuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Between 2012 and 2016, the Severomash shipyard laid down five new generation Project 955A Borei-II/Borei-A submarines. Lead boat Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) launched in 2017 and is due to be commissioned in 2019.

While retaining the same basic tear-drop profile, Knyaz Vladimir appears to be six meters longer based on satellite photos. The 955’s distinctive forward-slanted sail (conning tower) has been replaced with a more conventional tapered design in the 955A. As you can see in this diagram, 955A’s tail has a larger pump jet, an all-moving rudder and new end plates to its horizontal fins for improved maneuverability. A new long blister on the lower hull may house an improved flank-array sonar, or serve as a stowage hangar. You can see detailed imagery, deck plans and analysis of the Borei-A at the website Covert Shores.

Other upgrades include modernized combat, sensor and communications systems, improved acoustic stealth and crew habitability. One Russian source claims the new model is optimized “to decrease launch time to the minimum.”

All five Boreis-A are due to be commissioned by 2021, though Russian shipbuilding frequently falls behind schedule. Nonetheless, given the Russian Navy has had to cancel, downsize or downgrade numerous projects in the last few years, the money invested in completing the subs testifies to the importance Moscow places on submarine nuclear deterrence. The boats cost slightly less than half the cost of their American Ohio-class counterparts at $890 million, but Moscow’s defense budget is only one-twelfth that of the United States.

The eight Boreis would maintain, but not expand, on a standing force of eight Russian SSBNs evenly split between the Pacific and Northern fleets—enough for multiple submarines to perform deterrence patrols at the same time.

Russian media has variously indicated two or six more Boreis could be built in the mid to late 2020s, for a total of ten to fourteen Boreis of both types. Two of these could potentially be a cruise-missile-carrying Borei-K variant that would parallel the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class SSGN cruise missile submarines.

However, the Borei represents only half of the Russian Navy’s future sea-based nuclear deterrence force. The other half will come from a unique fleet of four Khaborovsk-class submarines each carrying six nuclear-powered Poseidon drone-torpedoes designed to swim across oceanic distances to blast coastal cities and naval bases with megaton-yield warheads. Moscow, it seems, would like a little more redundancy in its ability to end civilization as we know it in the event of a nuclear conflict.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This first appeared in June 2019 and is being republished due to reader interest..

The Destruction of the Human Race (Revelation 16)

More than 90 million people would be killed or injured in a nuclear war between the US and Russia if a conventional conflict went too far, according to a new simulation created by researchers.

Such a scenario has become “dramatically” more plausible in the last two years because the two countries have dropped support for arms-control measures, according to a team from Princeton University.

The simulation, the result of a study at Princeton‘s Science and Global Security programme (SGS), suggests 34 million people would be killed and 57 million injured in the first hours of an all-out nuclear conflagration – not counting those left ill by fallout and other long-term problems.

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In the animation, electronic trails of ballistic missiles arc across the screen, before blossoming into a carpet of white discs.

Worldwide destruction would include the nuclear incineration of Europe, which the Princeton scientists claimed could be brought about by the escalation of a conventional war between Russia and Nato.

 

They say: “In hopes of halting a US-Nato advance, Russia launches a nuclear warning shot from a base near the city of Kaliningrad. Nato retaliates with a single tactical nuclear air strike.

“As the nuclear threshold is crossed, fighting escalates to a tactical nuclear war in Europe. Russia sends 300 nuclear warheads via aircraft and short-range missiles to hit Nato bases and advancing troops. Nato responds with approximately 180 nuclear warheads via aircraft.”

After that, hundreds of further strikes are made on both sides against military nuclear forces. In the video, Russia’s red streaks lift away from the ground moments before America’s rain of blue obliterates swathes of the country; then, Moscow’s bombs crash into the US from coast to coast.

Later, Washington and Moscow would both target population centres, with up to 10 missiles per city from their remaining submarine arsenals.

SGS claims the video is “based on real force postures, targets and fatality estimates”. The first simulated nuclear blast appears to occur just inside Poland, near Wroclaw and the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic.

The Independent asked Princeton if there were any other scenarios modelled, such as one in which Nato launches the first nuclear weapon, and what if anything the researchers suggest may trigger the conventional war in the first place.

Zia Mian, a physicist from the SGS programme, said: “This scenario was developed on the basis of a conventional US/Nato-Russia conflict, with Russia launching a ‘de-escalatory’ nuclear weapon strike in accordance with its current policy.

“It was mapped out before the Trump administration announced as part of the Nuclear Posture Review US plans for development of a low-yield nuclear weapon and expanded the conditions under which the US might use nuclear weapons.”

Both the US Department of Defence and Russia’s UK embassy have been contacted for comment.

Sam Dudin, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told The Independent that the mutually-assured destruction scenario envisaged by SGS would be unlikely to take place because US policy since 1950 has been to avoid direct conventional war with Russia. Moscow also does not want a war with Nato, he said.

Mr Dudin added: “From an operational perspective, it also seems that integrated air defence systems have disappeared from Europe. These systems would have a major impact on nuclear strikes launched from aircraft. The casualty estimates also seem to be low.

“Furthermore, several likely targets seem to have been missed out. Considering that France is a nuclear power, and British nuclear-armed submarines operate out of Faslane in Scotland, this seems like an oversight which demonstrates the American tendency to ignore allies.

“The terminology is quite typical of how the US thinks about Nato. Whereas the UK would talk about a Nato operation, as opposed to a UK-Nato operation, the US typically views Nato as something separate from them.”

Secret locations of US nuclear weapons in Europe accidentally leaked

SGS’ simulation comes as Princeton physicists launch a project to persuade fellow scientists of the need to reduce the threat posed by nuclear armaments.

Earlier this year Vladimir Putin signed a bill suspending Russia’s role in a key nuclear pact with the US, after Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the treaty.

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty banned the production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310 to 3,410 miles.

A ’Tactical’ Simulation of the Tribulation and Fire

A terrifying new animation shows how 1 ‘tactical’ nuclear weapon could trigger a US-Russia war that kills 34 million people in 5 hours

Ellen Ioanes Dave Mosher Sep 14, 2019, 9:00 AM

“Plan A” is an audio-visual simulation that shows how so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons could lead to a highly fatal global conflict between the Russia, the US, and allies.Princeton University/Nuclear Futures Lab

• A new simulation called “Plan A,” by researchers at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, shows how the use of one so-called tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon could lead to a terrifying worldwide conflict.

• In the roughly four-minute video, a Russian “nuclear warning shot” at a US-NATO coalition leads to a global nuclear war that leads to 91.5 million deaths and injuries.

• Under President Trump, the US is ramping up production of tactical nuclear weapons, ostensibly to target troops and munitions supplies. While advocates say these weapons would keep wars from escalating, the simulation finds the opposite outcome.

• The dissolution of the INF treaty in August raised the stakes for nuclear war, as both the US and Russia were free to develop weapons previously banned under the treaty.

• “The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years,” the project states. Nuclear strikes are an extremely remote possibility, but their chances are rising experts warn.

More than 91 million people in Russia, the US, and NATO-allied countries might be killed or injured within three hours following a single “nuclear warning shot,” according to a terrifying new simulation.

The simulation is called “Plan A,” and it’s an audio-visual piece that was first posted to to YouTube on September 6. (You can watch the full video at the end of this story.) Researchers at the Science and Global Security lab at Princeton University created the animation, which shows how a battle between Russia and NATO allies that uses so-called low-yield or “tactical” nuclear weapons – which can pack a blast equivalent to those the US used to destroy Hiroshima or Nagasaki in World War II – might feasibly and quickly snowball into a global nuclear war.

“This project is motivated by the need to highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans. The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years,” the project states on its website.

The video has an ominous, droning soundtrack and a digital map design straight out of the 1983 movie “WarGames.” The Cold War-era movie, in which a young Matthew Broderick accidentally triggers a nuclear war, “was exactly the reference point,” simulation designer Alex Wellerstein told Insider.

But while simulations can be frightening, they can also be incredibly helpful: governments can use them to develop contingency plans to respond to nuclear disasters and attacks in the least escalatory way, and they can also help ordinary citizens learn how to survive a nuclear attack.

“Plan A” comes as tensions between Russia and NATO allies ratchet up. Both Russia and the US are testing weapons previously banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, often called INF. Russian bombers have also cruised into US airspace repeatedly, and the US recently sent its B-2 Spirit stealth bomber on a mission in the Arctic – right in Russia’s backyard.

This is how a NATO-Russian confrontation could quickly escalate into nuclear war.

The simulation starts with a conventional war between NATO and Russian troops.

Science and Global Security, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy

Conventional warfare – namely all conflict short of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons – escalates into nuclear warfare when Russia launches a nuclear “warning shot” from a base near Kaliningrad to stop NATO advancement. Russia doesn’t have a “no first use” policy – it dropped it in 1993. NATO forces respond by launching a tactical nuclear strike.

The US already has tactical nuclear weapons, such as B61-12 gravity bombs, and more planned under US President Donald Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. Included in the plan is a low-yield warhead intended for use in a submarine-launched ballistic missile, as well as a sea-launched cruise missile.

These kinds of weapons are designed for targets on the battlefield, like troops or munitions supplies, as opposed to long- or intermediate-range nuclear missiles that are fired from one country to another, for example, targeting an enemy’s bombers and ICBM silos – or even cities.

Tactical nuclear strikes up the ante.

Princeton Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

If the nuclear threshold is crossed, the simulation finds, then both the US and Russia would respond with tactical nuclear weapons. Russia would send 300 warheads to NATO targets, including advancing troops, in both aircraft and short-range missiles – overwhelming force that would obliterate tanks, fortified positions and soldiers unlike anything ever seen in battle before. Supporting forces and civilians not immediately killed would be susceptible to painful and even fatal radiation exposure.

NATO would respond by sending about 180 tactical nuclear weapons to Russia via aircraft in equally devastating retaliation.

The simulation was constructed using independent analysis of nuclear force postures in NATO countries and Russia, including the availability of nuclear weapons, their yields, and possible targets, according to the Science and Global Security lab.

The tactical phase of the simulation shows about 2.6 million casualties over three hours.

Instead of the tactical weapons de-escalating the conflict, as proponents claim they would, the simulation shows conflict spiraling out of control after the use of tactical weapons.

Princeton Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs

Russia’s tactical weapons would destroy much of Europe, the simulation posits. In response, NATO would launch submarine- and US-based strategic nuclear weapons toward Russia’s nuclear arsenals – 600 warheads in total.

Strategic nuclear weapons have a longer range, so Russia, knowing that NATO nukes are headed for its weapons cache, would throw all its weight behind missiles launched from silos, mobile launchers, and submarines.

The casualties during this phase would be 3.4 million in 45 minutes.

This leads to 85.3 million additional casualties in the final phase of the nuclear war simulation.

Princeton University Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

In the wake of previous attacks, both Russia and NATO would launch warheads toward each other’s 30 most populous cities in the final stage of of the scenario, using five to 10 warheads for each city depending on its size.

This phase would cause 85.3 million casualties – both deaths and injuries. But the total casualty count from the entire battle (of less than 5 hours) would be 34.1 million deaths and 57.4 million injuries, or a combined 91.3 million casualties overall.

But that’s just the immediate conflict: The entire world would be affected by nuclear disaster in the months, years, and decades to come.

The radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster would cause additional deaths and injuries. Studies also suggest that, even with a limited nuclear engagement, Earth’s atmosphere would cool dramatically, driving famine, refugee crises, additional conflicts, and more deaths.

 

The Truth About the Tribulation (Revelation)

Nuclear war between India and Pakistan can destroy world

New Delhi: After India and Pakistan became nuclear powers, many experts have expressed concerns that if any nuclear war takes between two countries, world will come to an end.

In an public address, an expert claimed that if two neighboring countries go for nuclear war, the smoke will cover entire earth within two weeks. It will rise to altitude between 20 and 50 miles above the earth surface, he added.

Crops which is located many miles away from two countries will die due to lack of light and cool temperature.

As per the estimate, 1-2 billion people will die after the war. The temperature will fall to the level below ice age.

He said that even countries that do not have nuclear weapons will not be save.

The Nuclear Cage (Revelation 16)

Photograph Source: Leslie Groves, Manhattan Project director, with a map of Japan – Public Domain

Rattling the Nuclear Cage: India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and the US

We like our anniversaries in blocks of 50 or 100 – at a push we’ll tolerate a 25. The 100th anniversary of the Somme (2016), the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (2015). Next year, we’ll remember the end of the Second World War, the first – and so far the only – nuclear war in history.

This week marks only the 74th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It doesn’t fit in to our journalistic scorecards and “timelines”. Over the past few days, I’ve had to look hard to find a headline about the two Japanese cities.

But, especially in the Middle East and what we like to call southeast Asia, we should be remembering these gruesome anniversaries every month. Hiroshima was atomic-bombed 74 years ago on Tuesday, Nagasaki 74 years ago on Friday. Given the extent of the casualty figures, you’d think they’d be unforgettable. But we don’t quite know (nor ever will) what they were.

The bombing of the two cities, we are told, left between 129,000 and 226,000 dead. The first US statistics suggested only 66,000 dead in Hiroshima, 39,000 in Nagasaki. But in later years, the Hiroshima authorities estimated their dead alone at 202,118 – taking account of those who later died of radiation sickness, rather than just the incinerated corpses and human shadows left in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

In the Middle East, where Aleppo and Mosul and Raqqa count the dead from conventional bombs – American, Russian, Syrian – in the tens of thousands, you might think the 1945 statistics would leave the folk who live there pretty cold. But the book of crises unfolding in the region – by the chapter, almost every month – is of critical importance to every soul who lives between the Mediterranean and India.

For India itself is a nuclear power. So is Pakistan. And so, of course, is Israel. None of them have signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT). All are threatening war, over Kashmir, or over Iran, the only nation under threat which has not (yet) got nuclear weapons.

Ayatollah Khomeini originally seized on America’s refusal to express its remorse at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings: “They’ve killed hundreds of thousands of people … many years have passed and they can’t even bring themselves to apologise,” he said, and the current Iranian leadership has continued Khomeini’s theme. The “only nuclear criminal in the world”, according to the “supreme leader’s” successor, Ali Khamanei, “is falsely claiming to fight the proliferation of nuclear weapons”.

Iran, it should be added, did sign the NPT, but was later found in non-compliance of the safeguard agreement. And Iran, of course, is the non-nuclear power now being constantly threatened with war by two nuclear powers – America and Israel – the first of which, under Donald Trump, tore up his country’s commitment to the only international agreement that ever existed to limit Iran’s nuclear programme.

As the US applies new sanctions to Iran – miserably supported by the ever-compliant banks and big businesses of Europe – Iran marginally breaks its side of the nuclear control agreement. And thus becomes the recipient of even more ferocious threats from Washington and Israel.

The word “nuclear” is not just a harmless adjective. Look at the old photographs of the blisters on the dying Japanese of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Iran itself suffered the horrors of gas warfare when Iraq – supported at the time by the US – used chemicals on Iranian soldiers and civilians. I saw their gas-gangrene wounds with my own eyes in the late 1980s and they reminded me of the Hiroshima snapshots. The Iranians really do know the effects of “weapons of mass destruction”.

Yet they, we are supposed to believe, are the nuclear “threat” in the Middle East. The Islamic republic is no saints’ paradise. Its corruption (within the government), its cruelty towards its own dissenters, its hangman’s noose justice against its own people and its prim disgust at even the most innocent demand for freedom scarcely qualify the immensely wealthy Revolutionary Guards Corps – “heroes” of a new “tanker war” and masters of Houthi drone technology – to give lectures on morality. And if we thought that the Iranians held in reserve – let us say – 200 nuclear warheads, we should be trembling in our boots. But they don’t. It’s Israel that conceals – but will not say so – perhaps 200 nuclear warheads.

Not only do we not complain about this. We regard any suggestion of their existence as akin to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Israel has never confirmed that their nuclear weapons exist: therefore we must not say that they do. Enquire about their exact number and you are treated by Israel’s supporters with deep suspicion. It’s a private matter, we are led to understand. Anyway the Israelis can be trusted with such vile weapons. Can’t they?

Which brings us to Saudi Arabia. Every nation in the Middle East which seeks nuclear power – and the list includes Egypt, by the way – insists, like Iran, that the technology is needed to build power plants.

Yet when Reuters – whose investigations of human rights and secret criminal activities in the region are first-class in both courage and detail – reports on the accurate leaks that US energy secretary Rick Perry approved six secret authorisations to give nuclear assistance to Saudi Arabia, few outside congress issued a murmur of concern. Not even Israel – which always rages when America’s arms manufacturers hoover up billions of dollars from Arab arms buyers, especially from Saudi Arabia.

South Koreans – those endangered people always under nuclear threat from the Rocket Man turned good guy further north – are also bidding for the Saudi nuclear deal. So are the Russians. So how come, now that the Saudi regime has talked of “cutting off the head of the snake” in Iran, we don’t regard Riyadh as a potential nuclear threat?

How soon will it be before we wonder if the Saudis aren’t going a bit too far down the nuclear path and we suggest a nuclear control agreement along the lines of Obama’s Iran deal? After all, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman – and let’s not bring up the little matter of the Saudi evisceration and chopping up of poor Jamal Khashoggi at this point – told CBS last year that his kingdom would develop nuclear weapons if Iran did.

And as we digest all this – although we really are not talking about it at all, are we? – India decides to tear up its own legal arrangements in Jammu and Kashmir. As the only Muslim-majority state in India, it is now to be split into two union territories, diminishing Muslim power and allowing non-Muslim Indians from other regions to move into this dangerous remnant of the old Raj. The Hindu-led government used a presidential order to revoke the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan, which holds the other bit of Kashmir – both claim the whole area as their own – is understandably infuriated by this change in the status quo.

And both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Indeed, there was nothing more pathetic, after Pakistan’s first nuclear tests in 1998, than to travel around this other “Islamic republic” and, amid the abject poverty of its villages, gaze at the awful commemorative papier-mache recreations of the granite mountains in which the explosions took place. There is, I suppose, no point in adding that there are more armed extremist Islamists on Islamabad’s payroll in both Pakistan and Afghanistan – coddled by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency – than there are in the whole of Iran.

So this is a very good week, as we typically ignore the commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for us to remember the nuclear threat in the Middle East. At least one nation in every potential conflict in the region is a nuclear power or a prospective one. India against Pakistan and vice versa, the US with Iran, the Israelis with Iran – or just about any other Levantine power – and the Saudis versus Iran, and Iran against almost anyone else except Syria.

Oh yes, and Donald Trump has just pulled out of the Cold War Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia – blaming Russia for violating the ban on missiles ranging up to 3,400 miles. All Russia’s fault, says Mike Pompeo. The treaty is now “dead”, the Russian foreign ministry confirms. So it’s time, perhaps, to rewatch those old documentaries of the the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and the bomb codenamed “Little Boy” and the brilliant mushroom cloud and all those scorched corpses at Hiroshima.