Why Fry the Planet? – 5G as Existential Threat [Updated]

By James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan – EON – September 27, 2018

This will be in addition to millions of ground-based cells.

“Unlike some countries, we do not believe we should spend the next couple of years studying what 5G should be, how it should operate, and how to allocate spectrum, based on those assumptions…. Turning innovators loose is far preferable to expecting committees and regulators to define the future.” – U.S. Federal Communications Commission  former Chairman Tom Wheeler (June, 2016)

“The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.”  –  International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space. (2018)

5G – A Wonderful, Wireless World… or, a Looming Global Public Health Conflagration?

“If the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are tens to hundreds of times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet. These 5G plans threaten to provoke serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems.”  So begins the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space.

Creeping Telecom Coup 

The attempted telecommunications industry take-over that began with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is now nearing completion as the industry-captured Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issues ever more rules restricting the rights of local elected bodies to regulate the build-out of public health-endangering and local authority-usurping 5G wireless technology – both ground- and space-based.

September 26, 2018, the FCC voted to ‘streamline’ the process for installation of their next generation technology, 5G.

From MDSafetech.org: “Far from being mobile, this technology will depend on thousands of  fixed “small cell” antennae throughout cities and residential neighborhoods, about 300 meters (~1000 feet) apart. In order to function, these short wavelength radiofrequencies (6-100 Gigahertz or GHz) will be pulsing at billions of times a second (1GHz=1 Billion cycles /sec) and will be continuously emitting radiation 24 hours a day.  In a addition, a newer technology which is used in the military for early warning missile radar systems, PAVE PAWS, is incorporated into these systems called phased arrays, whereby more powerful built in “beam steering” arrays scan back and forth from tower to device and from device to tower for easier connection with an individual’s movement, similar to the missile systems. Phased arrays are also used in AM and FM radio broadcast stations and proposed for automotive radar sensing.  The cell phones will operate with higher power and shielding for electrical interference but no apparent shielding for the user.  There has been no premarket testing for health or environmental harm. “

[ Download PDF ] (Developed by Paige Hutson)

Contrary to widespread misconception, 5G has nothing to do with better cell phone coverage or emergency response communication.  The ‘small cells’ are definitely not aimed just for personal wireless services, like phones. It’s aimed at providing the internet of things connectivity and HD video wirelessly to homes and offices.  And contrary to the claim that due to being blocked by trees, buildings, etc., the ‘small’ cells must be placed very close together (every 300 meters) and adjacent to homes, businesses, schools, parks, etc., Verizon’s CEO says they’ve “busted that myth.” 

“We busted the myth that foliage will shut it down. I mean that was back in the days when a pine needle would stop it. That does not happen. And these things — in the 200 feet from a home, we’re now designing the network for over 2,000 feet from transmitter to receiver, which has a huge impact on our capital need going forward. So those myths have disappeared. We’re charging ahead.” (May, 2018)

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Wargaming the Science on Cell Phones and Health

 

Reprinted from the Pt. Reyes Light:

War gaming the science on cell phones and health risks: A conversation with journalist Mark Dowie

We’ve been documenting the development of wireless microwave devices and the independent science on its effects for the past 20 years. So we were delighted by a recent confluence of events: the release of the National Toxicology Program peer-reviewed study and the publication of an article in The Nation, “How Big Wireless Convinced Us Our Cell Phones Are Safe,” focused on how industry war-gamed the science.Soon after, a major study was released in Italy that replicated the results of the National Toxicology Project study. Both found that the same rare cancers appeared in animal subjects exposed to both high and low levels of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation.We couldn’t resist interviewing Inverness resident Mark Dowie about all of it. Mark is a celebrated investigative reporter and historian, the author of many books, the winner of at least 19 journalism awards, a former publisher and editor of Mother Jones Magazine and the co-author with Mark Hertsgaard of the recent Nation article. Here is our conversation.

Jim: How did you decide to write this story?

Mark: [Mark] Hertsgaard, who’s the investigative editor of The Nation, asked me to do a big story on cell phones. I looked at the literature and found that cell phones have been beaten to death. It’s a shop-worn story, impossible to advance.

So I said, “I think the story is how industry has been war gaming science”—‘war gaming’ is their term, not mine—and gave him the history going back to military research that was done on microwaves during the Cold War, then up to the present, and how so much of it has been suppressed, classified, hidden and distorted by wireless defenders who tore pages from the playbooks of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, then used the same P.R. firms, the same law firms. All to do the same thing: manufacture doubt about the harmfulness of this technology. Hertsgaard said, “Okay. Let’s go with that.”

Jim:  Did you find anything surprising that you didn’t expect?

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We Almost Lost SoCal

Nuclear-Waste-Dump by-the-Sea

September 26, 2018

The controversial loading of high-level nuclear waste in thin-walled steel canisters into concrete silos just yards from the beach at Southern California Edison’s shutdown San Onofre nuclear plant has been temporarily halted by potentially game-changing events that happened early in August.  Some experts say the near accident could have been as serious as Chernobyl and Fukushima all rolled into one.

Here are background video reports and commentary from systems analyst Donna Gilmore.
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UN No Nukes Day – Envisioning a Peaceful, Post-Nuclear Planet

International Day for
the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons



Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon. The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles. UN Photo/Milton Grant

“The total elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.”
Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament

What better way to honor this day of planetarian intentioneering than with the eloquent statements of participants in the recent Hiroshima Day Commemoration at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, California, a key hub in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex ‘Doomsday Machine.’

Here is EON’s coverage of this spirited yearly event, featuring Key Note Speaker, celebrated Pentagon defense analyst-cum-whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg.
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Iowa Oil Train Spill Poses a Question

June 23, 2018

Silent drone footage from the Lyons County Sheriff Department:

On June 22, 2018 there was a 31-car derailment of an oil train in a flooded region of Iowa, leaking crude oil into the Rock River. The Lyon County sheriff admitted, “We don’t know how much is leaking or how bad it is.”

See also:

Two trains derail in SE New Mexico over the weekend

 ‘Chernobyl in a Can’
The previous month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a series of public meetings in New Mexico on a proposal moving through Congress – HR 3053 – that could result in thousands of metric tons of radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear reactors being shipped across country to that state for ‘temporary’ storage. (see previous post)

Public opinion ran consistently 5-1 in opposition.  Many speakers cited the serious transportation risks involved. Continue reading

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The California – New Mexico Nuclear Connection

Citizen Solidarity at Both Ends of a Proposed U.S. “Fukushima Freeway”

Californians learn that the two industries which most threaten human survival are facing off in New Mexico’s ‘Nuclear Alley.’

By James Heddle – EON  – June 7, 2018

[ Also posted on Counterpunch.  An earlier version of this article is posted on Reader Supported News in three parts:  here here   and  here. ]

Interstate solidarity against consolidated interim storage (CIS) – activists from New Mexico, Texas and California. (from left) Ace Hoffman(CA), Sharon Hoffman(CA), Rosemary Blanchard, Leona Morgan, Nick Maxwell, Noel Marquez, Hanh Nguyen, Sue Schuurman ( behind Hanh next to Torgen) Torgen Johnson(CA), Robin Seydel, Cal McManus, Cody Slama. Photo: Anon.

Target: ‘Nuclear Alley,’ New Mexico

Recently – un-reported in the scandal/crisis-pre-occupied American main stream media – New Mexico has become the epicenter of an on-going national controversy: how to responsibly manage the tons of radioactive waste accumulated at all the nuclear energy reactors around the country so far in the Nuclear Age.

Why, New Mexicans and others around the country are asking, has this region suddenly become the potential target destination for all of America’s radioactive waste? Continue reading

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New Mexico’s ‘Nuclear Alley’ just says “No!” to More Radioactive Waste – EON Reports

 

Nuclear Alley U.S.A.

June 4, 2018

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 2018, HR 3053, known as the Shimkus Bill, passed the House last month on its way to the Senate.

It calls for restarting the failed Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada, and establishing a system of Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) sites for radioactive waste around the country until Yucca is operational.

First on the list of possible ‘temporary’ CIS dumps is a site proposed by Holtec International and the local Eddy-Lea Alliance just outside Hobbs, New Mexico.

Its just over the border from Andrews, Co., Texas – where another high level nuke waste dump is also proposed.

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Rational Insanity – The Mad Logic of America’s Nuclear ‘Doomsday Machine’. [Updated]

DOOMSDAY MACHINE author Daniel Ellsberg addresses a nuclear abolition rally, August, 2017. EON photo

Why the combination of Fear, Uncertainty, and Humanitarian Idealism may destroy most life on earth… unless We the People say ‘NO,’ and make it stick.

By James Heddle – EON.      [ An earlier version of this article is on Counterpunch.org. ]

I want to say – and this is very important – in the end, we lucked out!  It was luck that prevented nuclear war.  Khrushchev was rational.  Kennedy was rational.  Castro was rational.   [Holding up his thumb and forefinger slightly apart.]  Rational individuals came that close to total devastation of their societies…and that danger exists today.

Former U.S. Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara – talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis – in ‘The Fog of War,” a documentary film by Errol Morris

“Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons.  Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over.  Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war.…  I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race.  It breaks my heart.  Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…” [read more=”Read more…” less=”Read less…”]

Former U.S. Sec. of Defense, William J. Perry, January, 2016

A nuclear war anywhere will disrupt—and possibly destroy—civilized life everywhere.

The Cuban Missile Crisis at 55 – James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang

There is such a thing as being too late…. We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation… Now let us begin… let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967

[ Editor’s’note: As this version goes to post, the Trump people have just issued a super-hawkish revised Nuclear Posture Review advocating ‘usable’ tactical nuclear weapons, and are considering a ‘tactical, Bloody Nose’ nuclear attack on North Korea.]

Present Threat Level: ‘High’

The current Silicon Valley meme is that Artificial Intelligence, or AI, may – someday – pose a danger to human existence.  But plain old human intelligence already does pose that threat.  And it has for some time. Some critic reportedly quipped that “NATO exists to deal with problems created by its own existence.” Whether or not you agree with that assessment of NATO, it’s hard to deny that this dictum accurately applies to the long much-celebrated geo-strategic system of so-called ‘nuclear deterrence.’

The creation of ‘command & control’ structures by nuclear weapons states – purportedly designed to reduce the threat of nuclear war – are more than likely to produce precisely the outcome they are allegedly created to prevent.

That’s the sobering wake-up call message of Daniel Ellsberg’s important new book THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE – Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.

Still at it, after all these years

At eighty-six years of age, Ellsberg – perhaps the world’s most celebrated whistleblower for his Viet Nam era Pentagon Papers revelations – is still going strong, and now working urgently to share even more crucial information, long kept secret from the American public and the world.

He is a man who walks his talk.  I last saw him on a hot day last August, lying on the tarmac with about a hundred other protestors at the gate of Livermore Laboratory, California’s nuclear weapons design shop, which bills itself as ‘The Smartest Place on Earth.’  Their bodies were outlined in chalk, commemorating the Atomic Shadows left by the vaporized victims of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Virtually every weapon in the U.S. Doomsday Machine’s arsenal has been at least partially designed at Livermore, under the aegis of the University of California, Berkeley.  For many years, a rally, march and ‘die-in’ [ video ] has been organized there every year on Hiroshima Day by a coalition of groups headed by TriValleyCARES and its Indefatigable Director, Marylia Kelly.  Ellsberg has been a long-time rally speaker and protest participant. [ video ]  On this occasion, he was lying there, chatting with his old friend Fr. Louis Vitale, as they waited to get arrested – the umpteenth time for both of them.

Daniel Ellsberg (center) waits to be arrested at the gate of Livermore Lab, Hiroshima Day protest, 2017. EON. photo

Evolution of a Nuclear War Planner – Into the ‘realm of madness’

It started in Detroit, Michigan, where his engineer father was a designer of the long, moving assembly lines then being initiated, first for motor cars, then – as WWII geared up – for war planes.  As a high school student at the up-scale Cranbrook boarding school, he was one of the first of his generation to learn about the then new concept of ‘cultural lag.’  Introduced by sociologist William Ogburn, the term drew attention to the fact that technological innovations advance faster than the cultural, moral and political systems needed to manage them.  It was a concept to be epitomized in spades in the coming Atomic Age.

Later, as a Harvard graduate economist with a focus on the then hot topics of  ‘decision theory’ and ‘game theory,’ as well as a former Marine officer with combat experience in Viet Nam, Ellsberg, in his late twenties, was recognized by those who notice such things as having a great set of qualification for a war planner.

Moving from an Honors Fellowship at Harvard to a consultant job at the RAND corporation, in an office with an ocean view in Santa Monica, and colleagues like the famous  (or infamous) Herman Kahn, was a natural transition.

This was in the early days of the now wide-spread practice of ‘contracting’ out government functions to private corporations.  RAND was one of the first of such firms, the number of which is now legion.

The young Ellsberg’s quickly demonstrated abilities soon put him into circulation as a trusted private consultant in the highest circles of the Washington national security establishment with eventually some of the highest ‘clearances’ and a unique breadth of access to information known only to a few. What he discovered horrified him.  With youthful idealism (and perhaps more than a dash of youthful hubris), he set out to change it.

This book tells the story of some of his impressive successes.  But it’s also the story – as the sub-title ‘confessions’ indicates – of some of the ways he now believes his efforts may have inadvertently helped to make things worse.

“RAND analysts, of whom I was one,” he writes, “sought to bring about less insane planning for nuclear war.  We failed.”   As he now sees it, the institutional systems in which they were embedded, “still held us prisoners within the realm of madness.”

His purpose now is to contribute to wide public knowledge beyond the myths, deceptions and cover-ups, which we have long been fed.

“We need,” he says, “a new understanding of the real history of the nuclear age.”

Lessons Learned

Eventually moving from RAND to the Defense Department, Ellsberg once briefed presidents and high officials, and – were he to do so again today – he says the item at the top of his list would be what is, in effect, Washington’s historically consistent first-strike policy:

The basic elements of American readiness for nuclear war remain today what they were almost sixty years ago. Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, aimed mainly at Russian military targets including command and control, many in or near cities. The declared official rationale for such a system has always been primarily the supposed need to deter – or if necessary respond to – an aggressive Russian nuclear first strike against the United States. That widely believed public rationale is a deliberate deception…

The required U.S. strategic capabilities have always been for a first-strike force: not, under any president, for a U.S. surprise attack, unprovoked or ‘a bolt out of the blue,’ but not, either, with an aim of striking ‘second’ under any circumstances, if that can be avoided by preemption. Though officially denied, preemptive ‘launch on warning (LOW) – either on tactical warning of an incoming attack or strategic warning that nuclear escalation is probably impending – has always been at the heart of our strategic alert. [Emphasis added.]

But it gets worse.

As an advisor to Kennedy, Ellsberg had the opportunity to query the Joint Chiefs of Staff  (over the President’s signature) if they had done estimates of how many human beings would be killed if U.S. nuclear war plans were carried out against the then Sino-Soviet Bloc.  He was stunned by the answers.

“The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs,” he was told, “from a U.S. first strike aimed at the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact satellites, and China, would be roughly six hundred million dead. A hundred Holocausts.

“From that day,” he writes, “I have had one overriding life purpose: to prevent the execution of any such plan.”

A Global Machine with no ‘Off’ Switch

As part of his unusual ‘go anywhere, ask anything, see everything’ mandate, Ellsberg was told of the existence of a plan that the military kept secret from the President, the Secretary of Defense and all other civilian authorities.  It was called JSCAP ( pronounced J-SCAP) for Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan.   Out of it had developed, by 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), the single strategic plan governing the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal including all Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombers, land-based ICBMs and all the Navy’s submarine based nuclear missiles.

In 1961, SAC alone had around seventeen hundred bombers, each carrying thermonuclear – i.e., hydrogen, bombs – many of them between five and twenty-five megatons in explosive power, or ‘yield.’

Each twenty-five megaton bomb – with 1,250 times the yield of the fission bomb that destroyed Nagasaki – was the equivalent of twenty-five million tons of TNT, or over twelve times the total bomb tonnage we dropped in World War II.  Within the arsenal there were some five hundred bombs with an explosive power of  twenty five megatons.  Each of these warheads had more firepower than all the bombs and shells exploded in all the wars of human history. [His italics. ]

In the event of a so-called ‘general war’ with the Soviet Union, the SIOP called for the simultaneous launch of all those world-wide systems.  The pre-determined targets, he learned, would not only include every major city in the Soviet Union and all its satellite allies, but all the cities in China and all its allies

Oh, and Then There’s Nuclear Winter

Two decades later, in 1983, it was discovered what none of them – Ellsberg, his RAND colleagues, the Joint Chiefs, the President, or his science advisors – had known about in the ‘60s: the phenomenon of ‘nuclear winter.’

In retrospect he realized,

It is the smoke, after all (not the fallout, which would remain mostly limited to the northern hemisphere), that would do it worldwide: smoke and soot lofted by the fierce firestorms in hundreds of burning cities into the stratosphere, where it would not rain out and would remain for a decade or more, enveloping the globe and blocking most sunlight, lowering annual global temperatures to the level of the last Ice Age, and killing all harvests worldwide, causing near-universal starvation within a year or two…. Which meant that a large nuclear war of the kind we prepared for then or later would kill nearly every human on earth (along with most other large species.)

But there was more.

The SIOP included no way to separate blanket attacks on both Russia and China once the ‘Go’ order has been given…and there was no desire to do so.

Ellsberg quotes a report from the memoir of colleague John Rubel about his experience at a 1960 briefing at SAC headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska.  It was attended by Defense Department officials, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military commanders from around the world, and presided over by SAC Commander General Thomas Power.  On a huge screen in the darkened command center, successive overlays portrayed the cumulative bombing of all the SIOP’s targets.  In conclusion, a briefer reported that fallout alone would eventually kill half the population of China, in addition to those killed in the initial blasts.

Rubel recalls,

A voice out of the gloom from somewhere behind me interrupted, saying, “May I ask a question?” General Power turned…in his front-row seat, stared into the darkness and said, “Yeah, what is it?” in a tone not likely to encourage the timid. “What if this isn’t China’s war?” the voice asked. “What if this is just a war with the Soviets? Can you change the plan?”

“Well, yeah,” said General Power resignedly, “we can, but I hope nobody thinks of it, because it would really screw up the plan.”

Ellsberg tells of leaving the Pentagon one afternoon with a colleague to do ‘operational research’ at a showing of the then just-released, now classic, Stanley Kubrick film ‘Dr. Strangelove.’  They were surprised at how accurately the film portrayed the impossibility of reversing the order, once the system has been triggered by a single, rogue commander.

Rewriting the War Plan

Ellsberg had set his sights on changing that plan, and, to some extent, he succeeded.

Under Kennedy and McNamara, he was assigned to redraft the general war section of the BSNP or Basic National Security Policy, civilian guidance for war planning.

In the late afternoon of April 7, 1961, he finished his first draft and realized it was his thirtieth birthday.  “I remember thinking: for the rest of my life, I won’t have done anything more important than this.”

Among many other significant changes, the re-draft he wrote called for

  • elimination of the SIOP as the single, automatic response
  • elimination of the automatic inclusion of China and Soviet Satellite states
  • creation of a command and control system for issuing reliable ‘stop’ or ‘recall’ orders.

A final version was sent to the Joint Chiefs on May 5, 1961.  He reports,

“My” revised guidance became the basis for the operational war plans under Kennedy – reviewed by me for Deputy Secretary Gilpatric in 1962, 1963, and again in the Johnson administration in 1964.  It has been reported by insiders and scholars to have been a critical influence on U.S. strategic war planning ever since.

[ For texts of related memos and drafts, see ellsberg.net/BNSP. ]

But, after all, it was still a nuclear war plan.  He notes, “In years to come, the memory of this accomplishment did not bring me the same satisfaction it brought when I was thirty.”

Delegation or Decapitation? – That is the question

Given POTUS Trump’s growing reputation as a ‘malignant narcissist’ running rogue in the Oval Office, there has been much media and Congressional concern expressed of late about the presumption that just one man, – whether rational or crazed – is the only one with access to the ‘nuclear football,’ its launch codes and ‘having his finger on The Button.’

Harvard Professor Elaine Scary has written a fascinating, in depth, scholarly analysis of this notion in her impressive THERMONUCLEAR MONARCHY – Choosing Between Democracy and Doom.

But it turns out, according to another alarming revelation in Ellsberg’s book, that, from the very beginning of U.S. nuclear war planning, One-Finger-on-The-Button has by no means been the case.

According to Ellsberg, “… the hand authorized to pull the trigger on U.S. nuclear forces has never been exclusively that of the president, nor even his highest military officials.” [His emphasis.]

The operative policy, from Eisenhower and Kennedy on down, has been to delegate ‘Execute’ authority to subordinate commanders,  – even, depending on circumstances, far down the chain of command – to avoid ‘decapitation’ – elimination of centralized authority.

“This delegation has been one of our highest national secrets,” writes Ellsberg.  “The same was true for the Soviet Union, now Russia.”

And, one can assume, to this day, for all other nuclear weapons powers.

Daniel Ellsberg addreses an abolition rally. EON photo

Three Hats

Ellsberg writes from three complementary perspectives:

— as an ‘insider’ with top level security clearances working to discover and mitigate what he sees as ill-conceived, omnicidal policies;

— as an analyst/historian striving to understand how such a system has come into being;

— and as a whistleblowing reformer working to alert and mobilize an informed public to dis-assemble the very system he spent much of his professional life helping create.

His is a rich and complex narrative.  Here are some of its key points.

Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis – ‘The most dangerous moment in recorded history’

Ellsberg, the insider, throws new light on the myths and misinformation surrounding this pivotal historical event.  It’s too complex a story – as Ellsberg’s narrative shows in depth – to do more than summarize here. [ See: Ellsberg.net/Doomsday/cubanmissilecrisis for his files. ] It happened in 1962, but it’s take-home lesson is as current as today’s headlines.

The essence of it is this: none of the participants at the time had a full and accurate picture of what was really going on.

It wasn’t until decades later that the full facts came into focus.  McNamara’s thumb and forefinger, held barely apart, tell the story.  Global nuclear Armageddon had been avoided by “that much.”

In retrospect, it was a tragi-comedy of errors, projections, and miscalculations on all sides – a microcosm of the Doomsday Machine Dilemma.

Yet, the fate of the earth hung in the balance…just as it does in the several nuclear confrontations emerging today.

On Monday, October 22, 1962 President Kennedy went on national TV to announce the discovery that Soviet ballistic missiles were being shipped to Cuba, and that, in response, he was imposing a naval ‘quarantine’ around the island nation.  He said that the launch of any missile from Cuba “against any nation in the Western Hemisphere” would trigger “a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

Watching Kennedy’s speech from his Malibu home, and knowing full well what “a full retaliatory response’ would mean, Ellsberg headed for Washington.

The global context was this:

In April, 1961, a CIA sponsored invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs had failed.

In August, 1961, the long-standing Berlin Crisis had ended with the partition of that German city between Soviet and Allied forces, and the erection of the Berlin Wall.

U.S. and Soviet forces were arrayed against each other across Europe, with American nuclear missiles stationed in Turkey.

The U.S. Joint Chiefs had long been itching to invade Cuba on any pretext.  Remembering the Bay of Pigs, both Cuban President Castro and Soviet Premiere Khrushchev knew this and took the threat very seriously.  Khrushchev had sent the missiles to prevent such an invasion.   U.S. intelligence thought there were thirty-eight.

On arrival in DC, Ellsberg was tasked to “Write a memo on what thirty-eight missiles could do to our strike-back ability.”  The conclusion was, given the balance of American and Soviet nuclear forces, not much.  The Soviet Union would still be turned into a large smoking hole from the U.S. ‘full retaliatory response.’

Throughout the next thirteen tension-filled days, Ellsberg and most of those around him believed that Khrushchev knew he was way out-gunned and would ultimately ‘blink,’ ‘back down’ and remove the missiles.   On October 27, 1962, he did.

It was the day afterward that Ellsberg discovered that Defense Secretary McNamara and others around Kennedy had put the chance of Armageddon happening much higher, like maybe 1 in 10.   Later, McNamara revealed, “the Saturday before the Sunday in which Khrushchev announced withdrawal of the missiles… and a  U-2 [U.S. spy plane ] was shot down…I remember leaving the White House at the end of that Saturday.  It was a beautiful fall day. And thinking that might well be the last sunset I saw. You couldn’t tell what was going to follow.”

Ellsberg was appalled.  “One in ten?!  Nuclear war…And we were doing what we were doing?!”

‘What they had been doing’ included:

  • the blockade itself, at the risk of armed conflict with Soviet warships;
  • forcing Soviet submarines to surface with depth grenades
  • a large-scale airborne bomber alert with significant risk of accidents involving nuclear weapons;
  • continuing reconnaissance, even after several spy planes were fired on over Cuba and one shot down on Saturday; and
  • full preparations(“if they were wholly a bluff,” he says, “they fooled us”) for invasion and airstrike

He thought, “Who were these people I was working for? Were they all insane?

Subsequent research by Ellsberg and others has now revealed that the real situation was much worse than any U.S. officials knew at the time.

In fact, there had been 162 Soviet missiles already in Cuba, not 38.  Some of them were tactical, short-range nuclear missiles to be aimed at invading U.S. forces and the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay.  Soviet submarines being bombarded with U.S. grenades were – unknown to Washington – equipped with nuclear torpedoes.

Neither Kennedy nor Khrushchev had any intention of triggering a nuclear war.  They were both bluffing, hoping to get a better deal.  No invasion of Cuba was planned. But none of their subordinates knew that.  Castro, believing a U.S. invasion to be inevitable and that Cuba would be made to ‘disappear,’ had written to Khrushchev urging a full Soviet nuclear response on the U.S. once the expected invasion was underway.

Finally, when Khrushchev and Kennedy both realized that their brinksmanship was spiraling out of their control, they worked urgently together to defuse it.  Contrary to popular myth, neither country ‘won’ or ‘lost.’

Global nuclear destruction had been averted by just ‘that much.’

A tiny country, previously attacked by the United States, believes another attack is imminent and contemplates ‘the nuclear suicide option.’  Sound familiar?

The Fire Every Time – Incinerating Civilians

Ellsberg, the historian, traces the growth of the omnicidal nuclear mindset from British and American bombing strategy evolved in WW II.

When the war began on September 1, 1939, with Hitler’s invasion of Poland, President Roosevelt issued an appeal to all of the states involved, to avoid the ‘human barbarism’ of targeting civilians, who he described as “innocent human beings who have no responsibility for,  and who are not even remotely participating in, the hostilities that have now broken out….”

With then recent historical atrocities in mind, no doubt like the one immortalized in Picasso’s famous painting ‘Guernica,’ he went on,

I am therefore directing this urgent appeal to every Government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities, upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents. I request an immediate reply.

Britain, then Germany, quickly agreed.  In fact, none of the countries involved saw this an unusual request, for Roosevelt was simply affirming what was then considered an accepted international norm of warfare: avoid harming non-combatants.

By war’s end, this supposed norm, violated first by Britain, then the U.S., had not only been abandoned, but completely reversed.

Militarists had come to regard war from the air as the one sure path to victory, and civilian officials had come to see cities – that is, civilians – as legitimate targets.

But that was not all.

It had been discovered that – given the right atmospheric and wind conditions – saturation bombing of a city could create ‘firestorms ’ – in effect altering local weather as what would come to be called a ‘force multiplier’ – incinerating entire urban populations and destroying all existing structures.

One such event, was the firebombing of the German city of Dresden, later portrayed by an American prisoner of war survivor, Kurt Vonnegut in his novel, Slaughterhouse Five.   But there were many others.  More than half a million German civilians were killed.  Creating intentional urban firestorms had become the principle objective of aerial warfare, under the rationale that ‘terror bombing’ would destroy moral and end hostilities sooner, thus ‘saving lives’ in the long run.

With the German defeat, U.S. attention shifted to Japan and ‘scientific’ firebombing of cities was honed to a fine art under General Curtis LeMay.  Using his new approach,  reports Ellsberg, “It would be possible, LeMay thought, ‘to knock out all of Japan’s major industrial cities during the next ten nights.’ And he set out to burn the next most populous seventeen cities in succession. After that, the next fifty.”

Creating firestorms, like the one that destroyed Tokyo, with ‘conventional’ explosives required many planes.  With atomic weapons like those used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you could do the job with just one bomber per city.  But, aside from subsequent deaths caused by exposure to radioactive fallout, the deadly results were basically the same.

Later, LeMay would boast, “we scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo on that night of March 9-10 than went up in vapor at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.”

Firebombing and mass murder from the air – with or without nukes – had become the American way of war.

In the early 1950s, in the Korean war, LeMay recalled in a 1988 interview, “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea….”

The legendary Gen. Douglas MacArthur – no stranger to mass slaughter – testified in a 1951 Congressional hearing, “The war in Korea has already almost destroyed that nation of 20,000,000 people. I have never seen such devastation.  I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach, the last time I was there.  After I looked at that wreckage and those thousands of women and children and everything, I vomited.”

Taking Bets on Atmospheric Ignition

The high risk attitude of what might be called – with a nod to C. Wright Mills – ‘crackpot nuclearism,’ was born in the New Mexico desert with the July 16, 1945 Trinity Test, the world first atomic bomb.  It has dominated nuclear policy ever since.

Some of the Manhattan Project scientists were doing calculations aimed at predicting whether or not the planned test would ignite the planet’s entire atmosphere thus ending life on earth.  There were arguments and conflicting conclusions.  Nobody was quite sure either way.

On the eve of the test, Enrico Fermi offered to take bets on if atmospheric ignition would occur.  “I am now in a position,” he said, “to make book on one of two contingencies: 1) that the explosion will burn New Mexico; 2) that it will ignite the whole world.”

The odds Fermi offered are not recorded, nor if anyone took his bet.   The consensus apparently was that both outcomes were unlikely…but possible.  The test went ahead anyway.

The Threat of Use is Use – a Terrorist Threat

The gun in the hand of the robber aimed at the victim’s head – whether or not the trigger is pulled – is being ‘used.’  The same is true of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

One often hears that The Bomb was only ‘used’ twice, by President Truman on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But, as Ellsberg documents, every president since – right down to the current occupant of the Oval Office – has used the Doomsday Machine in the same way the robber uses the gun, as a credible threat to impose his will.

Even one tactical nuclear weapon attacking a heavily populated area could kill hundreds of thousands of non-combatants.  “Thus,” Ellsberg concludes, “virtually any threat of first use of a nuclear weapon is a terrorist threat. Any nation making such threats is a terrorist nation. That means the United States and all its allies, including Israel, along with Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea.”

Dissent as a Family Trait

Ellsberg discloses many institutional secrets discovered in the course of his career.  But there is a personal one he saves until almost last.  As noted above, his father had been a distinguished engineer and factory designer involved in the war effort.  During the whistleblower days, when Kissinger had labeled him ‘the most dangerous man in America,’ Ellsberg says he had little contact with his father.  Much later the two had a conversation in which the son learned that the father, too, had not only had many of the same top security clearances, and had worked on building the A-bomb, but had also been a dissenter.

At the top of his career, the elder Ellsberg had been engaged to design a plant that would produce material for an H-bomb, the hydrogen bomb. It was to be a thousand times more powerful than the A-bombs used on Japan.  In fact, the A-bomb is now simply used as the detonation trigger for the H-bomb.

“That was it for me,” his father recalled at the age of 89. “I went back to my office and I said to my deputy, ‘These guys are crazy.’”

“There was another thing about it I couldn’t stand,” his father continued.  “Building these things generated a lot of radioactive waste…. That stuff was deadly for ever.”

Ellsberg recalls there were tears in his father’s eyes as he went on huskily, “I couldn’t stand the thought that I was working on a project that was poisoning parts of my country for forever, that might make parts of it uninhabitable for thousands of years.”

His father – unlike the many others engaged to make the H-bomb – resigned rather than participating in the project.

Asked what had made him feel so strongly, his father responded, “You did.”

Turns out that back in 1946 the young Ellsberg had come home crying, carrying a copy of John Hersey’s just-published book Hiroshima, a report on the horrors of atomic warfare.  Recalled his father, “You said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to read this. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever read.’  So I read it, and you were right.”

Non-Violent Co-existence or Violent Co-annihilation – That Is Still the Question

Being a nuclear war planner and risk analyst means developing the capacity of imagining the unthinkable.  It’s a great skill set to have.  Especially if, like Ellsberg (and others), you have awakened to the omnicidal danger of the doomsday machine you have participated in creating.

Now, when many despairing pessimists are concluding that the Doomsday Machine Syndrome has taken on an autonomous life of its own, and that it’s political, economic, and military institutionalization on a global level has made deconstructing it ‘realistically unthinkable,’ Ellsberg’s informed conviction that deconstruction IS not only possible, but doable within a year’s time, is invigorating to the soul.  Human ingenuity has created multiple doomsday machines; human ingenuity can take them down.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s erstwhile ‘brain,’ infamously described the prime agenda item of the Trump/GOP wrecking crew as ‘deconstruction of the administrative state.’  In fact, they’re doing it as we watch.  Proving precisely that, what humans have put together, humans can pull asunder.

Ellsberg’s bold, ‘unthinkable,’ essentially revolutionary agenda is nothing less than the deconstruction of the Doomsday Machine itself.

According to his vision, Truman’s proverbial ‘buck’ both stops and starts here, in America, the birthplace of the Doomsday Machinery, the only country to have not only actually dropped The Bomb, but to have ‘used’ The Bomb for the last seventy-plus years, in over two dozen credible international threats (which he documents), as a gun to the heads of other nations of the world.

He addresses the common argument that ‘You can’t uninvent nuclear weapons.’

That has been a widespread and effective argument against a total unilateral abolition over the past seventy years. True, you can’t eradicate the knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons and delivery systems. But you can dismantle a Doomsday Machine. And that, at minimum, is what we must hasten to do. There is no need or justification for us to wait for the Russians to do it to theirs first or in step with us, though that global imperative applies just well to them.

Here’s his Six-Step Program:

  • A U.S, no-first-use policy
  • Probing investigative hearings on our war plans in the light of nuclear winter
  • Eliminating our ICBMs
  • Forgoing the delusion of preemptive damage-limiting by our first-strike forces
  • Giving up the profits, jobs, and alliance hegemony based on maintaining that pretense
  • Otherwise dismantling the American Doomsday Machine.

Being a realist, he observes that, “Both parties as currently constituted oppose every one of these measures.”  Further, he admits, “the news is equally bad when it comes to the prospects of reversing American energy policy in time and on a scale to avert catastrophic climate change.”  He concludes,

The steps I have indicated are only a beginning toward the ultimate delegitimation of nuclear weapons and nuclear threats. But none of the necessary changes can occur without an informed public, suitably alarmed by a situation that properly evokes horror, fear, revulsion, and incredulity, accompanied, hopefully by the determination of the highest order and urgency to eliminate it.

The White House as Madhouse

At the time Ellsberg worked at RAND, U.S. war planners had long been obsessed by belief in a series of ‘gaps:’  a ‘bomber gap;’ a ‘missile gap;’ a ‘deterrent gap.’  Kennedy himself had campaigned and been elected on the fiction of a ‘missile gap,’ with the Soviet Union being erroneously claimed to possess ‘strategic superiority.’

Ellsberg found that none of these supposed ‘gaps’ had actually existed.  They were really claims cooked up by competing branches of the military aimed at securing a bigger share of the defense budget, and a more important role in the ‘Big Game.’  RAND’s whole program had been based on delusion.

He writes, “To recognize that was to face the conclusion that RAND had, in all good faith, been working obsessively and with a sense of frantic urgency on a wrong set of problems, an irrelevant pursuit in respect to national security.”  Yet RAND’s program continued for years after the gap concepts had been debunked.

Donald (My-Button-is-Bigger-than-Your-Button) Trump is not only continuing the trillion dollar nuclear weapons upgrade begun under Obama, but calling for 10 times as many thermonuclear devices as are already in the US arsenal.

In 2017, American Special Forces boots were on the ground in 146 countries.  A new study by the Costs of War Project maps 76 countries in which the U.S. is currently at war.  That’s a lot of flash points, any one of which could potentially trigger a nuclear exchange.

One wonders what delusional ‘risk assessments’ are currently being used by today’s generation of war planners to rationalize this level of institutionalized insanity.

Toward A New Nuclear Consciousness and Abolition Movement

The five ‘original’ nuclear powers – the US, UK, France, Russia and China – have since been joined by Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.  So now there are nine known national Doomsday Machines – one for every nuclear weapons state – all on hair trigger alert for some future wargasm, maybe just around the corner.

And then there are the other – presently operating – DNA-destroying radioactive, electro-magnetic and chemical pollution doomsday machines, as well as the carbonization-of-the-atmosphere doomsday machine already causing catastrophic climate change…not to mention the on-going Sixth Great Extinction.

I chose to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day immersed in Ellsberg’s book.  It may not have been the most pleasant holiday season I’ve experienced, but it was definitely the most informative and enlightening.

It’s my bad habit, with a read I like, to underline sentences, star paragraphs, and dog-ear pages that seem especially important.  I found myself doing that on almost every page.

Ellsberg’s website contains massive documentation supporting his book’s disclosures.

He is not alone among former nuclear war planners that have become nuclear abolitionists in their later years.  Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, here  and here has joined former Secretaries of State George Schultz and Henry Kissinger and Senator Sam Nunn to write a groundbreaking Wall Street Journal op-ed series on the issues.  They have also co-founded the Nuclear Security Project.

Toward the end of their lives, both McNamara and Castro also became ardent nuclear abolitionists.

These are good signs.  Crackpot nuclearism may yet be overcome.

The Doomsday Machine – my nominee for ‘the most important book of 2017’ – is at once an empowering, and a cautionary tale about the ‘power of one’ to catalyze change in a labyrinthine, entrenched, corporate/government bureaucracy … AND, about how the many paths to doomsday can be paved with good intentions.

Get it.  Read it.  And don’t mourn, organize and pass the word!  Spread awareness of both the risks and the mitigating possibilities.  Informed, concerted public action has made a huge difference throughout the Atomic Age, and it can again.

As the UN’s recent historic vote by more than 120 nations to ban the possession, use, or threatened use of nuclear weapons, and the Nobel Peace Prize award to ICAN make clear, the once powerful no nukes abolition movement is again resurgent.

Maybe, just maybe – as Reverend King was warning way back in 1967 – it’s still not too late…

 

============

These Jan. 14, 2018 weekend headlinies show the urgency:

Exclusive: Here Is A Draft Of Trump’s Nuclear Review. He Wants A Lot More Nukes.

His first Nuclear Posture Review: more nukes, more posturing.  By Ashley Feinberg – Huffpost

Global Zero Responds to Leaked Draft of Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review

Group Warns Implementation of Trump’s Plan Makes Nuclear War More Likely

Nuclear deterrence is a myth. And a lethal one at that

Nuclear deterrence continues to dominate international relations. Yet there is no proof it ever worked, nor that it ever will
by David P Barash – Guardian

Former nuclear launch officers implore Congress to rein in Trump’s ability to launch nukes first

Jen Heyden – Daily Kos

OOOPS: ‘Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii…This is Not a Drill’

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James Heddle is a filmmaker and writer who co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan.  Their forthcoming documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection is now in post-production.  He can be reached at jamesmheddle@gmail.com

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Democracy in Defense of DNA – EON’s 2017 Report to Supporters

Democracy in Defense of DNA 

Nuclear radiation and wireless electromagnetic pollution attack DNA.
Only informed democratic choice can defend it.
That’s what EON is all about.
Please help us continue our work with a tax deductible donation!
EON is a 501 (c) 3 organization

EON’s Mary Beth Brangan testifies against SB 649, a telecom industry take-over bid, in the CA Assembly. Gov. Brown agreed. He later vetoed the bill.

Recently we attended a pot-luck meeting of the Northern Bay Area Fukushima Response team. One of the members asked how to find information about all the important and interlinked nuclear, wireless radiation and election integrity issues. “It’s certainly not being reported on in the major media,” she complained. “This is really needed information.” We were happy to report to her that our work here at EON, through our blogs, YouTube videos and documentary production, is doing just that.    We thank all of you who’ve generously given us support and for wanting and acting on the news we share!  

EON reports on, supports and participates in three crucial movements of our time:

  • For cell phone and wireless radiation safety
  • For abolishing nuclear power and nuclear weapons and dealing responsibly with their radioactive waste
  • For Election Protection, or Electoral Integrity. Without repairing our corrupted and hijacked voting system, even an informed public can’t establish democratic policies on the other two issues, or on any issue.

EMR, electro-magnetic radiation (non-ionizing) from cell phones, wi-fi, etc.; and ionizing radiation from nuclear pollution can irreversibly damage the DNA of humans and all other living beings.

That’s why we say we work to support ‘democracy in defense of DNA.’


This year, despite Trumpism and overreaching corporate power, there’s been several successes and breakthroughs.  Amazing folks in both the EMR safety and awareness movement and in the anti-nuclear movement achieved wins. 
We’re still on the edge of the precipice with the telecommunications industry push to densify EMR in our neighborhoods and in the push to move lethal radioactive waste onto the beach at San Onofre and onto the highways, railways and waters towards New Mexico.  Not to mention Trump’s nuclear saber rattling against North Korea and Iran.
But, as we end 2017, we want to credit the intense efforts of some of the many people who’ve nevertheless achieved important accomplishments.

On the EMR front:

  • The VETO was signed by Gov. Brown of SB 649, a blatant attempt by the telecommunications industry to subvert state and local control of telecom technology. This bill would have given a rubber stamp for AT&T and Verizon to install powerful microwave emitting antennas every couple of hundred feet along streets on any light pole, telephone pole, etc.  In addition to holding meetings, giving radio interviews, writing articles and testifying in Sacramento, EON partnered with EMFSafetyNetwork and prize-winning cartoonist Brian Narelle to design and produce a postcard that many thousands of people sent to the Governor’s office.  A growing alliance of committed allies throughout the state worked ceaselessly to block this bill.
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    • The PUBLICATION finally was announced by the California Department of Public Health of its report on cell phone health risks, which it had withheld from public view for many years.  Our video report of a protest organized by the California Brain Tumor Association encouraging the Department to release its report received thousands of views. (see below)Dr. Joel Moscovitz was key to the release by suing the Department.  The judge agreed.  For more details:  SaferEMR.comAs of Dec. 17, more than 60 domestic news stories have been published regarding the cell phone radiation safety guidance released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The safety warnings have also received media coverage in 34 foreign countries.  This is a major step forward in raising public consciousness of EMR hazards!

Here is a report on the CDPH release by CBS News

Main points mentioned: – children should limit cell phone use – research has shown a link to increased risk of brain cancer, increased headaches, lowered sperm count – keep the phone at a distance, don’t sleep with it near the bed, or carry it in your pocket – don’t press the phone next to the head – use speakerphone or headset

On the Nuclear front:

  • PUBLIC DISCLOSURE by CPUC Administrative Judge Dr. Peter Lam that recent discoveries about risks of through-wall cracking in the radioactive waste canisters currently in use at the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear waste storage sites were not known when the design was approved by the NRC. “I would like to offer a disclosure. Twenty years ago I served as a federal administrative judge sitting on a licensing board [that] approved the dry cask storage system here at Diablo Canyon. At that time the chloride stress induced corrosion cracking was not known to the licensee, PG&E, was not known to the Licensing Board, was not known to Holtec [the manufacturer], so this is an evolving entirely new development.” – Dr. Peter Lam, Member of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee

Dr. Lam’s disclosure, based on Donna Gilmore’s research,  throws into serious question the validity of the design basis of all planned and existing nuclear waste storage systems in California and elsewhere. We have long been reporting on these risks uncovered by Donna Gilmore of SanOnofreSafety.org who Dr. Lam credited with raising awareness of this critical fact.  We reposted the video of Dr. Lam’s disclosure to support grassroots demands in both reactor communities for a rethinking of radioactive waste storage at the two seaside sites. Both California nuclear sites, Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, are in tsunami and earthquake zones, just like Fukushima.  Here’s a link to Donna speaking Oct. 17 at the Diablo Independent Safety Committee about the many safety gaps in current plans for storage of the lethal, long-lasting irradiated spent fuel rods.

Mothers for Peace   is working to make Diablo Canyon’s radioactive waste process a model of responsible management. They’re sponsoring a series of special events focusing on this all important waste issue.  The next evening is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

  • The FUNDAMENTAL LINK  between nuclear weapons and nuclear power is finally being openly admitted.  The civilian nuclear industry has adamantly denied any connection, though it has long been discussed within the military.  However, now the desperate attempts to maintain the nuclear industry is resulting in revealing the connection.  Read The Real Nuclear Triad: Weapons, Power and Waste for in depth analysis.
In addition…
  • We celebrate the 2017 Nobel Peace award given to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN. ICAN is the partnership of more than 400 groups in over 100 countries working to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. Their efforts to abolish nuclear weapons resulted in 122 countries, the majority of countries in the world, adopting in 2017 the “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” that outlaws nuclear weapons development, testing, possession, use, threat of use, transfer and/or providing assistance in any prohibited activity.

So as Trump threatens nuclear war, the majority of the countries in the world stand strong against any aspect of nuclear weapons.  We’re grateful for the hard work of our Bay area allies, Tri-Valley CARES and Western States Legal Foundation in making this happen.  Below is our EON video of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration and protest at the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Labs this year, which we circulated to public cable stations.  This year the short talks were particularly passionate and articulated the viewpoints of those who have been or might be victims of U.S. nuclear weapons.

On the Election Protection front:

Breakdowns & Breakthroughs – Given the undeniable dysfunctionality of the US electoral system, the investigative analysis and expose’ of the many ways it has been corrupted has to be seen as a breakthrough on the part of the grassroots Election Protection movement. The year began with publication by FreePress.org of Mind Fogged in the Nuclear Anthropocene   ,a report on our observations while covering the 2016 election from Columbus, Ohio, (as we have every presidential election since 2004) where a strong local election protection movement is led by the work of our friends and colleagues Suzanne Patzer, Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis at the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, or CICJ. Despite the current media obsession with ‘RussiaGate,’ its clear that – whatever effect (if any) alleged ‘Russian interference’ is ultimately found to have been on the 2016 election’s outcome – it is bound to be inconsequential compared to the widespread corruption caused by the combined systemic effects of:
  • Massive computer-assisted voter suppression of minorities and third parties
  • Computer-assisted gerrymandering of voting districts
  • Disenfranchising ‘voter ID laws’ in many states
  • Electronic vote fraud by privately owned ‘black box’ machines
  • Unlimited ‘dark money’ campaign funding by corporations and billionaires
  • ‘Adjusted’ exit polls altered to match fraudulent vote counts
  • An Electoral College designed to override the popular vote
Our video coverage of this year’s national Election Protection Conference helped spread the word of movement activists’ investigative findings and solution proposals. Laws of Statistics Suspended? Only in US Elections – Bob Fitrakis   Describing US Electoral Reality As We See It – Jonathan Simon What Exit Polls Show About US Elections – Peter Peckarsky

SHUTDOWN Moves Toward Completion

We are closing in on completion of Shutdown: The Case of San Onofre, the first three one-hour episodes of our six part documentary series, SHUTDOWN: The California – Fukushima Connection. Please check out our evolving SHUTDOWNdoc.tv website.

Our Popular Video Channel

This year we added 24 new video posts to EON’s YouTube Channel documenting the movements we serve. We now have 6,652 subscribers and millions of views. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t already.                        

Publications

Jim’s article, The Real Nuclear Triad, Weapons, Power and Waste , cross-posted on Counterpunch, ReaderSupportedNews and NoNukesCA.net provides more fascinating info and the all important fact of nuclear weapons link to nuclear power use. We published the following articles and blog posts in 2017 On Counterpunch: Ecocide and the Psychotic 0.5 Per Cent The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California On Reader Supported News: The REAL ‘Nuclear Triad’- Energy, Weapons and Waste On FreePress.org Mind Fogged in the Nuclear Anthropocene On our Blogs: NoNukesCA.netTwin ‘Cliff Hangers’ – California’s Nuclear Shutdown Saga ContinuesThe REAL ‘Nuclear Triad’ – Energy, Weapons and WasteBreaking – Dangerous cracks in CA’s radioactive waste storage plans!A National Nuclear Waste Shell Game? – Yucca Mtn. Redux PlanetarianPerspectives.netThe REAL ‘Nuclear Triad’ – Energy, Weapons and WasteRx for Democracy -Taking Back the VoteMind Fogged in the Nuclear Anthropocene EON3emfBlog.net

Please help us continue our work with a donation!

EON is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization
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The REAL ‘Nuclear Triad’ – Energy, Weapons and Waste

By James Heddle – EON, the Ecological Options Network

[ This article is also available on CounterPunchReaderSupportedNews  and NoNukesCA ]

Clear and Present Danger

Back in Presidential Debate days, candidate Trump revealed that he didn’t know that the term ‘Nuclear Triad’ refers to America’s three-legged nuclear arsenal of land-, sea- and air-launched nuclear missiles – of which he is now ominously in charge. But there is another, original ’nuclear triad’ now clearly in evidence.

Never before has the unbreakable connection between nuclear energy, weapons and waste been so blatantly obvious to the public eye…yet, with so little notice.

Although President Trump has threatened to obliterate North Korea and its 25 million people ‘with fire and fury the like of which the world has never seen,’ the NYT is reporting that America’s Asian allies doubt Washington’s ‘resolve’ to defend them with nuclear weapons and they want their own – an idea recently also floated by Trump himself.

In a new twist on the last century’s discredited ‘Atoms for Peace’ meme, the new nuclear delusion seems to be that the more countries that have nuclear weapons (Iran and North Korea excepted), the more ‘secure’ the world will become.

Speaking recently at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, Trump’s VP Mike Pence, a self-declared devout Christian who ‘gave my life to Jesus,’ declared “… there’s no greater force for peace in the world than the United States nuclear arsenal.”

Implication: every country should feel safer if they have a nuclear arsenal of their own. That seems precisely Kim Jong-Un’s own calculus, given his country’s previous horrific carpet-bombing experience with the US – “we… eventually burned down every town in North Korea,” Gen. Curtis LeMay told Congress – not to mention the recent history of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

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Nuclear Circular Firing Squad

As agitation reportedly builds in South Korea and Japan for building their own nuclear arsenals, the Times reveals that, as a result of the radioactive waste output of their already existing nuclear energy reactor fleets, each of these tiny countries has accumulated enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce – respectively – 4,600 and 6,000 nuclear bombs.

How about that? Nations without their own ‘commercial power’ nukes must certainly take note.

Never mind the fact that such a triangle of nuclear-armed, mutually hostile, neighboring states would be like, say, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut each having their own nuclear arsenals, all pointing at each other. Talk about a circular firing squad. It’s the very definition of an ‘everybody loses’ situation.

Nuclear Triplets Joined at the Hip

But, while this is clearly an illustration of a new epidemic of nuclear crackpot madness spreading around the world, it is also the latest of several clear illustrations – and blatant, though veiled, public admissions – that the DNA-destroying nuclear triplets of energy, weapons and radioactive waste are inseparably joined-at-the-hip.

In the UK:

Military Nuclear Industry to be Supported by Payments from Electricity Consumers”

In Britian, reports the Guardian, “The government is using the “extremely expensive” Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to cross-subsidize Britain’s nuclear weapon arsenal, according to senior scientists.”

The Guardian story continues,

In evidence submitted to the influential public accounts committee (PAC), which is currently investigating the nuclear plant deal, scientists from Sussex University state that the costs of the Trident programme could be “unsupportable” without “an effective subsidy from electricity consumers to military nuclear infrastructure.”

Prof Andy Stirling and Dr Phil Johnstone from the Science Policy Research Unit at the university write that the £19.6bn Hinkley Point project will “maintain a large-scale national base of nuclear-specific skills” without which there is concern “that the costs of UK nuclear submarine capabilities could be insupportable.”

Their evidence suggests that changes in the government’s policy on nuclear power in recent years will effectively allow Britain’s military nuclear industry to be supported by payments from electricity consumers.

Last June, MPs passed a motion in favour of replacing four submarines carrying Trident missiles at a cost of £40bn.

“What our research suggests is that British low-carbon energy strategies are more expensive than they need to be, in order to maintain UK military nuclear infrastructures,” said Stirling.

“And without assuming the continuation of an extremely expensive UK civil nuclear industry, it is likely that the costs of Trident would be significantly greater.”

The Hinkley Point project has been criticised for its huge cost.

… Johnstone said the decision-making process behind Hinkley raised questions about transparency and accountability, saying: “In this ever more networked world, both civil and military nuclear technologies are increasingly recognized as obsolete. Yet it seems UK policymaking is quietly trying to further entrench the two – in ways that have been escaping democratic accountability.”

In their report, entitled Some Queries over Neglected Strategic Factors in Public Accounting for UK Nuclear Power: evidence to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee Inquiry on Hinkley Point C (HPC), Stirling and Johnstone state that their “evidence submits that an undetermined part of the full costs of this expensive, controversial – but officially highly-prioritized – military infrastructure are in effect (without clear public acknowledgement or justification), being loaded into electricity prices. With costs of alternative large-scale domestic low-carbon energy resources like offshore wind power confirmed as significantly more favorable than HPC, it seems a hidden subsidy is being imposed on electricity consumers.”

They point out that, “If UK pursuit of uncompetitive nuclear power is partly justified as a means to sustain these shared civil-military specialized nuclear capacities, then availability of lower cost domestic low-carbon power means electricity prices are higher than would otherwise be the case…. It is this that would amount to an effective subsidy from electricity consumers to military nuclear infrastructures.”

They conclude, “Remarkably, this civil-military link is well documented in defense debates, but entirely neglected in energy policy discussion.” (emphasis added.)

In the US:

Chasing Nuclear Market Share

In a recent piece in Foreign Affairs, entitled Will the West Let Russia Dominate the Nuclear Market? – What the Westinghouse Bankruptcy Means for the Future, born-again ‘new environmentalists’ and new nukes enthusiasts Nick Gallucci and Michael Shellenberger argue that US taxpayers should bail out the once-powerful, now bankrupt and Japanese-owned nuclear giant Westinghouse, or risk losing both global commercial and military nuclear primacy.

In the face of documented world-wide nuclear industry collapse, these guys want to revive what they call Eisenhower’s ‘humanitarian dream’ of Atoms for Peace (which spread deadly US nuclear technology around the world in the first place ) in order to, as Ike promised, “provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world.”

Now, according to nuclear true-believers Nick and Mike, with the added benefit of saving civilization from climate change with new, ‘clean’ nuclear energy will be run on what they call ‘accident tolerant fuels’ – still a completely untested ‘nukes-for-ever’ concept.

The core element in their misguided pitch is that the decline of the civilian nuclear industry in the USA “would significantly undermine U.S. and Western national security interests.”

This, despite statistics showing that global investments in non-hydro renewables are now greater than the global investments in nuclear, hydro and fossil fuels combined.

Nuclear Policy Group-Think Adrift in a Sea of Delusion

Elsewhere in the news, a report by the pro-nuclear Energy Innovation Reform Project  on the future costs of new nuclear in the USA notes that: “A sustained decline in the commercial industry could also have a negative impact on the U.S. nuclear naval program.

A 2017 report entitled The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler by the Energy Futures Initiative – another pro-nuke shop established by former Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz – clearly highlights the risks posed by US civilian nuclear decline to US naval supply chains.

Nukes on the Dole – Radioactive Welfare Queens

All of which may help to explain some strange recent developments.

Nuclear utilities are in trouble, fighting for life against – as Amory Lovins once predicted – ‘a massive overdose of market forces’ and the surging economics of renewables.

But wait. Whatever happened to ‘”the wisdom of the ‘free market’?” Around the country, as aging reactors reach the end of their operational and economic lives, some states like Wisconsin, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Nebraska are letting them die a dignified natural death. But other states, like New York and Illinois are putting their moribund reactors on life support at public expense. Projections suggest that state-sponsored electric ratepayer handouts in the two states could total as much as $10 billion over 12 years.

Tim Judson, Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS),warns that if other states follow New York and Illinois, “The price would be outrageous. If reactor subsidies go nationwide, it could cost $130-$280 billion by 2030.”

Earlier this year NukeWatch.org Directpr John LaForge reported on Counterpunch, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/14/nuclear-power-bums-bailouts-and-bankruptcy/

“Bailout legislation for dilapidated reactors is now pending: in Connecticut, for Millstone 2 & 3; in New Jersey, for Salem 1 & 2 and Hope Creek; in Texas, for South Texas 1 & 2 and Comanche Peak 1 & 2; in Maryland, for Calvert Cliffs 1 & 2; and for nine reactors in Pennsylvania including Beaver Valley 1 & 2, Three Mile Island 1, Susquehanna 1 & 2, Limerick 1 & 2, and Peach Bottom 2 & 3.

Meanwhile America’s Trillion dollar nuclear arsenal upgrade goes forward, even as an overwhelming majority of United Nations states sign on to a treaty declaring the possession, use or threatened use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

In the face of the spreading renewed nuclear crackpotism noted above, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has been the driving force behind the UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. ICAN will receive the Nobel Peace Prize Dec 10.

Atoms for Peace War

All of which suggests, you can’t advocate for nuclear reactors without indirectly advocating for nuclear weapons and radioactive waste. That’s because nuclear reactors are producers of both weapons material and radioactive waste. Ike was a nuclear conman. ‘Atoms for Peace’ have always been Atoms for War.

And, as Bennett Ramberg showed conclusively in his prescient, but tragically ignored, 1984 book Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy: An Unrecognized Military Peril, its also because every nuclear reactor and radioactive waste storage site in the world are themselves nuclear-weapons-in-place for any enterprising terrorist.

Concluded Ramberg, “Because nuclear energy facilities contain such large inventories of biologically threatening radionuclides, they can make potentially useful radiological weapons when manipulated for strategic purposes.”

[ For more on this topic please see: The myth of the peaceful atom   &  Nuclear power, weapons and national security   both by Nuclear Monitor editor Jim Green;  The Nuclearization of Space ]

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James Heddle is a filmmaker and writer who co-directs EON – the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan, who contributed ideas for this article. Their forthcoming documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection is now in post-production. He can be reached at jamesmheddle@gmail.com




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