Showing posts with label nuclear war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nuclear war. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Elections have consequences


Wack and Wacker are having a d***-measuring contest with thermonuclear weapons. Who knew that voting for a bat-shit crazy fascist might result in nuclear war?

One must wonder whether life, death and posterity still matter to Americans -- particularly those who voted in favor of Götterdämmerung in November 2016. If you are among those in this accursed land who still value life, love your children and hold out hope for posterity, this tweet is what it's all about.

God help us, every one.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

What is the candidate's position on bodily fluids?

I could be mistaken (no, not really), but isn't nuclear annihilation a pro-life issue?

Because now it's on the table, thanks to the Republican presidential nominee.

On MSNBC's Morning Joe today -- and this followed several minutes of various iterations of "Oh, my God! Oh, my, God! Oh, my God!" in the subtle manner of the four-star Air Force general, CIA director and National Security Agency director that Michael Hayden used to be -- host (and former GOP congressman) Joe Scarborough related the following. Quote:

Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times, he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’ That’s one of the reasons why he has, he just doesn’t have foreign policy experts around him.

Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’
End quote.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Trump's Amerika . . . prophesied by ABC?

A fascistic American president goes rogue, decides to nuke Pakistan.

Just because. And does.

Sounds like great TV. (It was.) Sounds like a nightmare reality. (It could be.)

Now watch as prime-time TV of a few years ago meets a superpower that's going absolutely mad right now -- just in time to turn a roomful of television writers, circa 2012, into postmodern Nostradamuses, circa 2016.  

From Wikipedia:
When the crew of the U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the USS Colorado (SSBN-753), pick up a U.S. Navy SEAL team off Pakistan's coast, the Colorado receives an order to launch nuclear ballistic missiles at Pakistan.
Colorado's Commanding Officer, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher), asks for confirmation of the firing order because the orders were received through a legacy Cold War secondary communication channel, only to be used in the event that Washington, D.C. has already been destroyed. After confirming Washington's continued existence and refusing to fire the missiles until the command is sent through the proper system, Chaplin is relieved of command by the Deputy Secretary of Defense William Curry, and the Colorado's second in command, Lieutenant Commander Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman), is given command instead. When Kendal also questions the orders and asks for confirmation, the vessel is fired upon by the Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois (SSN-786). Two nuclear missile strikes are subsequently made on Pakistan by other U.S. forces.
Realizing they've been declared enemies of their own country, the Colorado seeks refuge on the island of Sainte Marina (a fictional French island located in the Indian Ocean) and commandeer a NATO communications and missile warning facility. When a pair of B-1 bombers is sent to attack the submarine and island, Chaplin launches a Trident nuclear missile towards Washington, D.C. to impress upon the national leadership that he's serious. The B-1s turn away at the last minute, but Chaplin (who has altered the missile's final target coordinates) allows the missile to visibly overfly Washington, D.C. and explode 200 miles beyond in the open Atlantic, the explosion clearly visible from both Washington and New York City. Via a television feed to the media, he then declares a 200-mile exclusion zone around Sainte Marina.
Now, the crew must find a way to prove their innocence and find out who in the U.S. government has set them up, so they can finally return home.
OURS IS an age of signs and wonders. Mostly signs, and prophecy can turn up in unlikely places. Like prime-time network TV.

Last Resort, which ran for just one season, was one of my favorite TV shows -- never missed it, and every episode kept you on the edge of your seat. And every episode, I kept thinking "This could happen. We are so close to this really happening."

Now that crypto-fascist, loose-cannon Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president, we are close enough to TV-show-as-prophetic-voice that I am getting nervous.

No, that's a lie.

I am scared s***less. Donald Trump is a racist, unhinged, authoritarian thug -- one who has repeatedly espoused violence at home and abroad, advocates torture and other war crimes, and who says he just might go nuclear in the Middle East and maybe even Europe -- and that's just fine by about half of America. The United States as a constitutional, democratic republic is dying before our eyes, and it is not shaping up to be a peaceful end.

We have enough nuclear warheads and bombs to end life on Earth several times over . . . and a petulant, unstable know-nothing has an even shot at winning the "nuclear briefcase." 

IF YOU want to do some election-year political research, buy the 13 episodes of Last Resort. They may well be one of the most prescient previews of a Trump administration that you'll find.

Make sure you have extra underwear.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ready for the end of the world

Summer had given way to fall in October 1962, and WAVA radio in Arlington, Va., rolled out its plan for dealing with The End of Everything.

In the Oct. 15 edition of Broadcasting magazine, the station's owner outlines how he and his staff will deal with a nuclear attack on the United States until everything got back to normal. In 1962, wild optimism and massive denial was as good a game plan as anything, particularly for WAVA owner Arthur W. Arundel.

"The announcer on duty will remain at his post," the Broadcasting article went, explaining that "all other employees are excused to follow individual or family civil defense plans and to report back to the station after the attack is over and there is no danger of radioactive fallout.

"Payday will be Friday as usual," Mr. Arundel states.

Halfway through October 1962, Arundel had no idea how close he would be in mere days to implementing WAVA's not-so-doomsday plan. On Oct. 16, the Cuban Missile Crisis began. And on Oct. 22, President Kennedy went on national television to give Americans the fright of their lives.

Don't you know? It's the end of the world. Payday's on Friday.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

From garbled to Gaga

One o'clock. Time for Wednesday's much-hyped national test of the Emergency Alert System.

If this had been an actual national emergency, fjoeifjwf oisjfeo wp pwidp qw of eoijr qyuqw wqlkd pt wot tjwaki JK ksdt jlsa bah fleekum.

A nuclear atta . . . O doeiujf wqi djk you gottqa OSIFD dke eommd ss woww jkdp . . . all going to die, according eo al jdsa j New York Times:

At 2 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, during the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, all television channels and radio stations in the United States were supposed to be interrupted by piercing emergency tones. Not a song by Lady Gaga.

But as tests often go, there were some failures, with viewers and listeners in many states saying they saw and heard the alerts at the scheduled time, while others did not. Some DirecTV subscribers said they heard Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” when the test was under way. Some Comcast subscribers in northern Virginia said their TV sets were switched over to QVC before the alert was shown.

The federal agencies charged with testing the alert system found that there were flaws, particularly in the system’s connections to cable and satellite distributors. In some cases, the test messages were delayed, perhaps because they were designed to trickle down from one place — the White House in this case — to thousands of stations and distributors.

In Los Angeles, some viewers said the alert, intended for 30 seconds, lasted for almost half an hour; in New York, some viewers didn’t see it at all. But many others reported that the alert arrived right on time and ended right away.

HERE IN OMAHA, otherwise known as Ground Zero with U.S. Strategic Command headquarters just south of town, the national EAS test started late and the audio was horribly garbled, like an aural Tower of Babel of static and overdubs. If this is technological progress in attack warning, perhaps it's time to resurrect Conelrad.

Conelrad, the nation's first broadcast-warning mechanism, at least passed several national tests, the first coming in 1953, shortly after its implementation. Here's a Sept. 21, 1953, Broadcasting-Telecasting account of the previous week's initial test of the warning system:

SURE, FM or TV stations couldn't stay on the air under the Conelrad system, but then again, the last sound you heard before being vaporized wouldn't be Lady Gaga, either.

That's not nothing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your Daily '80s: The year that was almost our last

Somewhere near Moscow.
Sept. 26, 1983.

Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant-colonel in the military intelligence section of the Soviet Union's secret service, reluctantly eased himself into the commander's seat in the underground early warning bunker south of Moscow.

It should have been his night off but another officer had gone sick and he had been summoned at the last minute.

Before him were screens showing photographs of underground missile silos in the Midwest prairies of America, relayed from spy satellites in the sky.

He and his men watched and listened on headphones for any sign of movement - anything unusual that might suggest the U.S. was launching a nuclear attack.

This was the height of the Cold War between the USSR and the U.S. Both sides packed a formidable punch - hundreds of rockets and thousands of nuclear warheads capable of reducing the other to rubble.

It was a game of nerves, of bluff and counterbluff. Who would fire first? Would the other have the chance to retaliate?

The flying time of an inter-continental ballistic missile, from the U.S. to the USSR, and vice-versa, was around 12 minutes. If the Cold War were ever to go 'hot', seconds could make the difference between life and death.

Everything would hinge on snap decisions. For now, though, as far as Petrov was concerned, more hinged on just getting through another boring night in which nothing ever happened.

Except then, suddenly, it did. A warning light flashed up, screaming red letters on a white background - 'LAUNCH. LAUNCH'. Deafening sirens wailed. The computer was telling him that the U.S. had just gone to war.

The blood drained from his face. He broke out in a cold sweat. But he kept his nerve. The computer had detected missiles being fired but the hazy screens were showing nothing untoward at all, no tell-tale flash of an missile roaring out of its silo into the sky. Could this be a computer glitch rather than Armageddon?

Instead of calling an alert that within minutes would have had Soviet missiles launched in a retaliatory strike, Petrov decided to wait.

The warning light flashed again - a second missile was, apparently, in the air. And then a third. Now the computer had stepped up the warning: 'Missile attack imminent!'

But this did not make sense. The computer had supposedly detected three, no, now it was four, and then five rockets, but the numbers were still peculiarly small. It was a basic tenet of Cold War strategy that, if one side ever did make a preemptive strike, it would do so with a mass launch, an overwhelming force, not this dribble.

Petrov stuck to his common-sense reasoning. This had to be a mistake.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nuke attack imminent. Story inside.

Apocalypse is now.

See Lee Benson, Utah section.

So -- wondering why the imminent death of millions and the end of the United States as we know it isn't worth the front page -- the curious reader turns to Benson's column in the Utah section of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

WHAT'S IN that column, an interview with "terrorism expert" Daniel J. Hill is enough to challenge one's continence:

The man who predicted 9/11 is worried that its sequel is imminent.

"Muslims that I talk to say things like, 'America thinks they're safe now. They've forgotten about 9/11. But watch, Daniel. Stay near your TV. It's going to be bigger than 9/11,' " he said.

Hill said the next terrorist attack will involve suitcase nuclear bombs that will be detonated in small, low-flying two-seater private airplanes manned by men hanging onto the belief that, like the 9/11 hijackers, they are about to die as martyrs and enter paradise.

He is not alone in suggesting such a scenario. A 2007 book, "The Day of Islam," spells out the details, as do any number of Internet sites about a plot called "American Hiroshima."

The nukes, he said, will be detonated over New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

I asked Hill, "Why now?"

"Eight years from 1993 to 2001, eight years from that 9/11 to this 9/11," he said. "Symbolism. They're big on symbolism."

"Ramadan started two weeks ago Saturday," he said, referring to the Muslim holy month of fasting. "It always hits around Ramadan."

Eight years ago, Hill predicted the attack would come on Oct. 16 — almost in the middle of that year's Ramadan (the timing of Ramadan varies from year to year). He was about a month off.

"I don't know the second, hour or day. I just know they have the means, will, motivation and desire to do it," he said, noting that it's believed that years ago the suitcase nukes, acquired from former USSR operatives, were smuggled into America across the Mexican border.
ANYWAY you cut it, what we have here is a staggering act not of terrorism, but instead of journalistic incompetence and irresponsibility. This goes double in an age when people are so gullible as to seriously believe Barack Obama is a card-carrying Muslim communist who isn't the real president because he really was born in Kenya, not Honolulu.

Let's look at this a second.

The Deseret News thinks it's sitting on a story, from a "credible" source, that a nuclear attack upon seven American cities may be days away, and it gets 17 column inches in a column in the freakin' Utah section? Really?

Not only that, the editors of the Deseret News, are going to go with a -- sorry -- "atom bomb" of a story about an imminent American apocalypse, and it's 17 single-sourced inches by your local columnist, who couldn't be bothered to spend a little Google time fact-checking the thing? Really?

THE EDITORS of the Deseret News are going to risk scaring the poo out of readers -- and especially the populations of New York, Washington, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami -- without even bothering to also interview a few terrorism and nuclear-weapons experts on the phone to see whether they've heard the same things? To see whether it would be possible for al Qaida to acquire "suitcase" nukes and smuggle them into the United States?


If you're a newspaper columnist or newspaper editor, you're going to herald the possible End of the World as We Know It -- or at least as New York, Washington, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami know it -- without even checking to see whether "suitcase" nukes even exist . . . especially ones that can fit into a two-seater Cessna?


The J-school grad in me looks at this kind of glow-in-the-dark yellow journalism and isn't surprised that the newspaper industry has about had it. Especially if one thinks the Deseret News is typical.

The cultural realist in me looks at the whole mess and wonders why the Deseret News isn't making more money.

And the Catholic in me is pretty sure he knows why Mormons don't drink. If this is what's turned out by stone-cold sober columnists for a newspaper published by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lord knows what they'd come up with drunk as a skunk.

(Hey! I know what you're thinking. Don't go there.)

OF COURSE, Benson's missive on the predicted hell bombing of the United States isn't even original. It's just more regurgitated paranoia and fear-mongering from the depths of the lunatic right. World Net Daily, otherwise known as Birther Central, has been all over this for years. And all the Art Bell types republish it.

Sad, because it doesn't take much Internet effort to track down some thorough debunking of this stuff. Like this 2005 piece by Richard Miniter on Opinion

A month after September 11, senior Bush administration officials were told that an al Qaeda terrorist cell had control of a 10-kiloton atomic bomb from Russia and was plotting to detonate it in New York City. CIA director George Tenet told President Bush that the source, code-named "Dragonfire," had said the nuclear device was already on American soil. After anxious weeks of investigation, including surreptitious tests for radioactive material in New York and other major cities, Dragonfire's report was found to be false. New York's mayor and police chief would not learn of the threat for another year.

The specter of the nuclear suitcase bomb is particularly potent because it fuses two kinds of terror: the horrible images of Hiroshima and the suicide bomber, the unseen shark amid the swimmers. The fear of a suitcase nuke, like the bomb itself, packs a powerful punch in a small package. It also has a sense of inevitability. A December 2001 article in the Boston Globe speculated that terrorists would explode suitcase nukes in Chicago, Sydney and Jerusalem . . . in 2004.

Every version of the nuclear suitcase bomb scare relies on one or more strands of evidence, two from different Russians and one from a former assistant secretary of defense. The scare started, in its current form, with Russian general Alexander Lebed, who told a U.S. congressional delegation visiting Moscow in 1997--and, later that year, CBS's series "60 Minutes"--that a number of Soviet-era nuclear suitcase bombs were missing.

It was amplified when Stanislav Lunev, the highest-ranking Soviet military intelligence officer ever to defect to the United States, told a congressional panel that same year that Soviet special forces might have smuggled a number of portable nuclear bombs onto the U.S. mainland to be detonated if the Cold War ever got hot. The scare grew when Graham Allison, a Harvard professor who served as an assistant secretary of defense under President Clinton, wrote a book called "Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe." In that slim volume, Mr. Allison worries about stolen warheads, self-made bombs and suitcase nukes. Published in 2004, the work has been widely cited by the press and across the blogosphere.

Let's walk back the cat, as they say in intelligence circles. The foundation of all main nuclear suitcase stories is a string of interviews given by Gen. Lebed in 1997. Lebed told a visiting congressional delegation in June 1997 that the Kremlin was concerned that its arsenal of 100 suitcase-size nuclear bombs would find their way to Chechen rebels or other Islamic terrorists. He said that he had tried to account for all 100 but could find only 48. That meant 52 were missing. He said the bombs would fit "in a 60-by-40-by-20 centimeter case"--in inches, roughly 24-by-16-by-8--and would be "an ideal weapon for nuclear terror. The warhead is activated by one person and easy to transport." It would later emerge that none of these statements were true.

Later that year, the Russian general sat down with Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes." The exchange could hardly have been more alarming.

Kroft: Are you confident that all of these weapons are secure and accounted for?

Lebed: (through a translator) Not at all. Not at all.

Kroft: How easy would it be to steal one?

Lebed: It's suitcase-sized.

Kroft: You could put it in a suitcase and carry it off?

Lebed: It is made in the form of a suitcase. It is a suitcase, actually. You can carry it. You can put it into another suitcase if you want to.

Kroft: But it's already in a suitcase.

Lebed: Yes.

I could walk down the streets of Moscow or Washington or New York, and people would think I'm carrying a suitcase?

Lebed: Yes, indeed.

Kroft: How easy is it to detonate?

Lebed: It would take twenty, thirty minutes to prepare.

Kroft: But you don't need secret codes from the Kremlin or anything like that.


Kroft: You are saying that there are a significant number that are missing and unaccounted for?

Lebed: Yes, there is. More than one hundred.

Kroft: Where are they?

Lebed: Somewhere in Georgia, somewhere in Ukraine, somewhere in the Baltic countries. Perhaps some of them are even outside those countries. One person is capable of actuating this nuclear weapon--one person.

Kroft: So you're saying these weapons are no longer under the control of the Russian military.

Lebed: I'm saying that more than one hundred weapons out of the supposed number of 250 are not under the control of the armed forces of Russia. I don't know their location. I don't know whether they have been destroyed or whether they are stored or whether they've been sold or stolen. I don't know.

Nearly everything Lebed told visiting congressmen and "60 Minutes" was later contradicted, sometimes by Lebed himself. In subsequent news accounts, he said 41 bombs were missing, at other times he pegged the number at 52 or 62, 84 or even 100. When asked about this disparity, he told the Washington Post that he "did not have time to find out how many such weapons there were." If this sounds breezy or cavalier, that is because it is.

Indeed, Lebed never seemed to have made a serious investigation at all. A Russian official later pointed out that Lebed never visited the facility that houses all of Russia's nuclear weapons or met with its staff. And Lebed--who died in a plane crash in 2002--had a history of telling tall tales.

As for the small size of the weapons and the notion that they can be detonated by one person, those claims also been authoritatively dismissed. The only U.S. government official to publicly admit seeing a suitcase-sized nuclear device is Rose Gottemoeller. As a Defense Department official, she visited Russia and Ukraine to monitor compliance with disarmament treaties in the early 1990s. The Soviet-era weapon "actually required three footlockers and a team of several people to detonate," she said. "It was not something you could toss in your shoulder bag and carry on a plane or bus"

Lebed's onetime deputy, Vladimir Denisov, said he headed a special investigation in July 1996--almost a year before Lebed made his charges--and found that no army field units had portable nuclear weapons of any kind. All portable nuclear devices--which are much bigger than a suitcase--were stored at a central facility under heavy guard. Lt. Gen. Igor Valynkin, chief of the Russian Defense Ministry's 12th Main Directorate, which oversees all nuclear weapons, denied that any weapons were missing. "Nuclear suitcases . . . were never produced and are not produced," he said. While he acknowledged that they were technically possible to make, he said the weapon would have "a lifespan of only several months" and would therefore be too costly to maintain.

Gen. Valynkin is referring to the fact that radioactive weapons require a lot of shielding. To fit the radioactive material and the appropriate shielding into a suitcase would mean that a very small amount of material would have to be used. Radioactive material decays at a steady, certain rate, expressed as "half-life," or the length of time it takes for half of the material to decay into harmless elements. The half-life of the most likely materials in the infinitesimal weights necessary to fit in a suitcase is a few months. So as a matter of physics and engineering, the nuclear suitcase is an impractical weapon. It would have to be rebuilt with new radioactive elements every few months.

THE WORST PART of the Deseret News' irresponsible, unvetted fear-mongering is that it really might happen some day -- maybe even as soon as Daniel Hill thinks . . . though the "suitcase nuke" thing strains credibility to its breaking point. At least for now.

Because al Qaida really is still out to get us, the subject deserves a thorough, sober examination. One quite unlike the single-source bit of hackery from a credulous local columnist buried inside a middling newspaper in Salt Lake City.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Apocalyptic is the new normal

If this doesn't scare you spitless, you're an idiot.

"THIS" WOULD BE the following dispatch from The Wall Street Journal:

Pakistan's Taliban seized control of another district in the country's northwest just 70 miles from the capital after consolidating their hold on the Swat Valley, according to local government officials and residents.

The latest Taliban advance into the Buner district has spurred fears that a controversial peace accord, which allows the militants to enforce sharia law in Swat, has emboldened them to expand their influence.

Militants have been moving into Buner since the Swat peace deal was signed with the government in February. But starting Tuesday night they seized control of the entire district, which has a population of more than one million people, local government officials and residents said. Heavily armed militants, streaming in from neighboring Swat, occupied government offices and set up their own checkposts. Terrified residents fled their homes.

Dozens of hooded fighters carrying rocket launchers and machine guns ransacked the offices of international aid and development agencies working in the district and took away their vehicles. Some employees of the agencies were also briefly taken hostage. The militants set up their headquarters in the town of Buner after driving out government officials.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the Taliban advance poses "an existential threat" to Pakistan and urged Pakistanis world-wide to oppose a government policy yielding to them. Pakistanis "need to speak out forcefully against a policy that is ceding more and more territory to the insurgents," Mrs. Clinton said in testimony before a House committee.
BEFORE YOU SHRUG and withdraw once more into your Wii cocoon, the significance of the Journal's report is found on The Daily Beast in a post by author Gerald Posner:
The Taliban advance should be causing high Richter-scale reactions inside the Obama White House. Counterterrorism officials have long warned that al Qaeda is desperate to obtain weapons WMD. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is in play if the Taliban insurgency should unseat the government of Asif Ali Zadari.

Pakistan has been a member of the nuclear club since in 1987. Intelligence estimates are that the country now has between 50 and 100 nuclear missiles that can travel 1,200 miles. That places much of India, Saudi Arabia and Eastern Iraq within range. With slight improvements in the rockets’ booster phase—not a difficult technological advance—Jerusalem could be hit.

Pakistan straddles a fault line between secularism and fundamentalism. Many Pakistani military and intelligence officers are markedly more radical than the centrist Zadari and openly supportive of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan’s equivalent of the CIA is still enraged by the central government’s abandonment of both the Taliban and the Kashmiri Jihadis. Fundamentalist religious schools—of which Pakistan has more than any other country—churn out thousands of radical Islamists, and outlawed militant parties regularly resurface with new names.


A Pakistani government led by Sunni fundamentalists could launch a nuclear attack on Iran's Shia provinces, long-time foe India and definitely Israel. Economic upheaval in the West would be assured by nuking oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. You think the stock market looks bad over the last two years? Let a Taliban spokesman announce that Mullah Omar has his finger on the Islamic Bomb.
LET US FERVENTLY PRAY the world's big international players -- Britain, the United States, Russia and China -- are at this moment planning a joint military operation to seize, if need be, and destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Because if they aren't, and if Pakistan falls to the Taliban, we can be pretty sure -- one way or another -- this is The End of Everything. At least Everything as we have come to know it.

Actually, a complete Wall Street meltdown would be only the half of it . . . particularly if the Taliban were to nuke the Saudi oil fields.

If the Taliban take over Pakistan, and its nuclear arsenal is still there . . . al Qaida will have The Bomb, and America could someday lose a major city. What's far more likely than that is the prospect of nuclear war on the Indian subcontinent, because India and Israel can't (and won't) live with the imminent threat of annihilation at the hand of nutwagon Islamist goons.

Jesus, mercy. Mary, pray.

HAT TIP: Crunchy Con.