Posts Tagged ‘LOW’

“Two Minutes To Midnight”: World As Dangerous As It Has Ever Been Since World War II

January 28, 2018

The idea of “LAUNCH ON WARNING” is that, should a nuclear strike look imminent, a warning would be ensued, and missiles would be launched, without waiting for impact(s) of incoming apparent warheads. We are living in a seriously, Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD world: several countries, or, at least the USA and Russia, maintain “Launch On Warning” (LOW) systems of nuclear bombs having the potential for killing 600 million people, or more, in 24 hours. Or more. From accident, short-circuit, wrong training tape, etc. That is, those systems can kill the equivalent of one hundred times more people than the much bemoaned holocaust of the Jews in WWII (it took four years to kill six million Jew). The elite bemoans Auschwitz, while having 100 Auschwitzes at the push of a button, and the ostriches out there see nothing wrong, deep in the sand they scrutinize every day.  

Not considering that hair-trigger, “Launch On Warning”, nuclear bomb systems are worthy even of a conversation, is a global moral and intellectual failure of the highest order ever seen. Advocating slavery, racism, dictatorship, Inquisition, theocracy, torture, pale in comparison!

There is no reason for those LOW, except as first strike. Even then, a first strike would cause a devastating counter-strike, a second strike, so, at first sight, it’s not clear what would be achieved (if one goes deep into nuclear war planning, though, debatable advantages of a first strike can be construed). 

Epic failure. After the rocket carried by a plane, an F4 Phantom, exploded, nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise caught fire, off Hawai’i. Had the fire extended to the main hangar, the carrier, carrying more than one hundred nuclear bombs and eight nuclear reactors, could have exploded. In several accidents with nuclear bombs, many safety mechanisms failed. At least in one case, only the last trigger didn’t trigger.., And those bombs were huge (one hundred times Hiroshima, or more…) Such incidents happened even inside the USA.

The intellectual and moral failure of preceding leaders has brought this situation: the USA and Russia should have dismantled the LOW systems. LOW nearly caused nuclear apocalypses several times, for reasons such as short-circuits, or the wrong training tape. Each time, nuclear catastrophe was avoided simply because officers on watch didn’t believe nuclear war had been launched, and acted forcefully, accordingly. So accidental nuclear war was avoided only because of the fortitude of a few individuals, some American, some Soviet.

The French Republic dismantled its LOW system (founded on dozens of ballistic missiles). French deterrence is now ensured with 300 thermonuclear nuclear warheads on four very silent nuclear ballistic submarines equipped with jet propulsion (with another 300 “tetes nucleaires oceaniques” ready as backup, should more strikes be needed in a prolonged nuclear war). France has also nuclear tipped supersonic cruise missiles launched from supersonic planes, and potentially nuclear tipped cruise missiles on board one hundred meter long Barracuda attack nuclear submarines. That’s enough firepower to destroy all Russian and Chinese cities. Plus ground hits on nuclear submarines pens (which presumably would come first, if the US or UK didn’t hit them yet). 

Because it didn’t happen yet, doesn’t mean it never will. Prime targets in a serious nuclear exchange would be thermonuclear ground bursts on submarine pens. Recently released Pentagon files show Finland was supposed to be annihilated by the fallout. Call that collateral damage.

The U.S. has 14 Ohio-class submarines carrying 24 Trident II SLBMs missiles. Each Trident, like the French missiles, have up to ten independent targetable nuclear warheads. The UK has three nuclear warhead equipped Trident subs. That’s a total of 21 Armageddon subs, which, all together, could terminate Russia and China several times over.

The subs are undetectable. A few years back, in 2009, French strategic sub Le Triomphant and British Trident sub HMS Vanguard collided in the Atlantic, “at very low speed”, while at great depth: they had detected nothing. That’s not very surprising as they are not only silent, but have anti-sonar devices. As the subs are undetectable (especially as they go hide in parts of the ocean where detection is especially hard), there is no reason to keep them on hair-trigger, ready to fire at the first alert..

So why does the USA keep 430 Minutemen Launch On Warning rockets at ready to launch within seconds, 24/7, at the first alert, in other words, ready to cause accidental nuclear war?   

Counter-intuitively (they are supposed by the “left” to be right-wing bastards), the two US president Bushes (I despise W), reduced nuclear weapons of the LOW type, considerably. Clinton and Obama did very little, aside from using their mouth parts in a way the gullible found admirable…

Here is what the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists think about the situation:

Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains. A printable PDF of this statement, complete with the President and CEO’s statement and Science and Security Board biographies, is available here.

To: Leaders and citizens of the world Re: Two minutes to midnight. Date: January 25, 2018

In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago—and as dangerous as it has been since World War II.

The greatest risks last year arose in the nuclear realm. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program made remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks to North Korea itself, other countries in the region, and the United States.Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.

But the dangers brewing on the Korean Peninsula were not the only nuclear risks evident in 2017: The United States and Russia remained at odds, continuing military exercises along the borders of NATO, undermining the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), upgrading their nuclear arsenals, and eschewing arms control negotiations.

In the Asia-Pacific region, tensions over the South China Sea have increased, with relations between the United States and China insufficient to re-establish a stable security situation.

In South Asia, Pakistan and India have continued to build ever-larger arsenals of nuclear weapons.

And in the Middle East, uncertainty about continued US support for the landmark Iranian nuclear deal adds to a bleak overall picture.

To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger—and its immediacy.

After colliding with the deck of aircraft carrier USS Kennedy, during a storm, this US cruiser caught fire, off Sicily. The nuclear magazine would have probably exploded, had the fire got there.

On the climate change front, the danger may seem less immediate, but avoiding catastrophic temperature increases in the long run requires urgent attention now. Global carbon dioxide emissions have not yet shown the beginnings of the sustained decline towards zero that must occur if ever-greater warming is to be avoided. The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge.

Beyond the nuclear and climate domains, technological change is disrupting democracies around the world as states seek and exploit opportunities to use information technologies as weapons, among them internet-based deception campaigns aimed at undermining elections and popular confidence in institutions essential to free thought and global security.

Did wars get started accidentally? Rarely so, but this was before. Now the technology has become faster, and immensely more powerful. A case in point is the explosion of the US battleship Maine in Havana’s harbor, in 1898. It was alleged at the time by the New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by plutocrats William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, that Spain did it. They gave the Maine destruction intense press coverage, but employed tactics that would later be labeled “yellow journalism“… Fake news! That brought a mood which led to war of the US with Spain.

US Admiral Rickover, father of nuclear submarine deterrence,  launched an inquiry, seventy years later, in the Maine destruction (it is easy to construe a scenario with a nuclear sub exploding next to Saint Petersburg, with possible detonation of nuclear bombs). It was found to have been probably accidental, from methane built-up, most explosive at 10% CH4.

The much admired nuclear Nobel peace prize Obama didn’t do anything about reducing the danger of nuclear war happening by accident. No more than the lunatic Putin. That made them accomplices of the potential holocaust they managed. Trump? A bit too early to judge. Trump inherited a potentially disastrous military situation, especially with North Korea, but not only. Sometimes, there are no more nice exits.

Thanks to our amoral, imbecilic “leaders”, we are all in the situation of the crew of the Maine. When the battleship exploded, three quarter of the crew died. Many officers survived, as their quarters were far removed from the explosion. Similarly, crafty plutocrats buy land in New Zealand, a fully autonomous mini-continent, far removed from potential nuclear explosions.

In any case, those who value the most correct intellectual and moral positions, should exert pressure for an immediate worldwide dismantlement of “Launch On Warning” nuclear bomb systems.

Patrice Aymé  

P/S: The preceding essay, although full of data, is philosophical in nature. It may be a bit unfair to Obama, as it doesn’t mention the new START Treaty signed under that president. However, that treaty was way too timid, and didn’t eliminate LOW. Right now the USA has 399 Minutemen missiles deployed, ready to launch. 70% of existing nuclear warheads are deployed on the 14 strategic submarines of the USA, most of them deployed in Washington state. That gives an estimated 945 thermonuclear warheads deployed on US submarines (France has officially 300). All the details in:

Doomsday World

January 26, 2017

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists came out with its own little piece of anti-Trump propaganda, advancing its famous clock (the committees behind the Bulletin is full establishment, full of Nobel Laureates, etc.)

This is a Doomsday world. The fact that thousands of thermonuclear warheads can be “launched on warning” by a burned out computer chip, has a lot to do with it. The CO2 catastrophe is another.

Obama did nothing about “Launch On Warning” (LOW; my acronym). He did not even try to make it an issue. Given enough time, LOW will kill us all, from a sheer accident.

Trump should be encouraged to do something about LOW..

The French discontinued LOW. The Chinese are moving towards LOW.

Trump should make a deal with Putin: no more LOW. The nuclear subs are deterrent enough. They are deep in the water, they can lurk for months, undetected, LOW is not a consideration with them.

We now have a trigger for thermonuclear war: Prince Kim of North Korea, who killed many around him in  atrocious, albeit picturesque, ways, has little choice, but keep on doing what he does best.

Megalopolis Destroying Man Made Sun

Megalopolis Destroying Man Made Sun

France and the US use missiles with “buses” which can target independently up to ten 250 kilotons independently maneuvering thermonuclear warheads (accompanied with lures and decoys). One such missile could kill up to 35 million people. They can’t be recalled. Undetectable French and American nuclear submarines carry up to 16 such missiles (the UK has bought 4 now aging such subs from the US; France makes its own, mot modern of them all).

Such a bomb equals one million tons of TNT. The bomb weighs 1000 pounds. It does not cost much to make: around a million dollars, once one has the Plutonium for the “pit”.  

Most nuclear weapons exploded in an attack on the U.S. will be “air” bursts high up, so that the blast overpressure will be spread out over a large areas, and start fires. The fireball is initially 50 million degrees Centigrades. Ten seconds after detonation the fireball is one mile across  and cools to 11 million degrees Centigrades (around 2,000, two-thousand, times the temperature of the surface of the Sun, Sol).

Four miles from detonation, winds reaches around 300 km/h (180 miles per hour). All standard houses and buildings “implode” from the overpressure wave, which is three times stronger than what is needed to crush a house, and then are swept away with the blast winds. At 7 kilometers distance, all ear drums are broken by the overpressure wave.

The “flash” of the explosion lasts 22 seconds. People 10 miles away receive 2nd degree burns, the winds reach hurricane force, shatter windows, and glass slivers will penetrate human flesh. Stay away from windows. At 80 kilometers, the fireball is brighter than the Sun.

Such weapons are in theory restricted to the fiver permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It’s a long story which started in January 1938, when the French Republic, faced with Hitler, and knowing, from Nobel Irene Curie, that nuclear explosions were possible, started a nuclear weapon program, which four years later migrated to… Manhattan.

North Korea’s very young, Western educated Kim has nothing to lose. if his choice is between being eaten, alive, by dogs, as he did to his uncle, and starting a nuclear confrontation, he will choose the latter. Unfortunately, some higher-ups in China has found Mr. Kim to be useful for a sort of Machiavellian blackmail. That’s a bad combination, all the more as Xi, China’s dictator, has decided to invade the sea between many other powers which are not China, south of China (the unfortunately named “South China Sea”).

In this context, to pretend that Mr. Trump is, all by himself, a problem, when all that’s in place are Obama, and preceding presidents’ policies, is disingenuous. Mr. Trump should be encouraged to take the correct positions, not berated for policies he did not start, and may well try to discontinue.

For example the hyper expensive expansion of the US nuclear arsenal was launched, as a law, by Obama, not Trump. Accusing Trump of it, is a lie.

Trump, after being asked by some interviewer called David if measures against Islamists would make Muslims angry: “Anger? There is plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?… The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets…. You think that’s going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened: we went into Iraq. We should not have gone into Iraq. We should not have got out the way we got out The world is a total mess. The world is a mess, David.”

Not just that, but it’s a thermonuclear mess, increasingly. So Trump is wrong here: the world could get much angrier. As I have argued, one thermonuclear bomb over a Western city would probably end democracy (for starters).

It’s a funny logic, by the way, our Muslim friends tend to use: measures against “sick and demented Islamists” are taken to be measures against all Muslims… by Muslim organizations, thus identifying Islamists and average Muslims. Not a good slope to slip on. President Donald Trump’ judgment on Islamists  (to be broadcasted later today): “Evil…Sneaky, dirty rats, which are sick and demented, and we are going to win”


Western Impotence Has Classical Precedents, So We Know What Not To Do:

A civilization under attack by some who are ready to die, to destroy it, has to exterminate its aggressors. Or it dies. Or it just lays there, doing nothing, as army ants crawl all over it, and devour it.

Against the insane, reason itself contends in vain. But nukes work.

Rome, Occidental and Oriental collapsed from military defeats (against Germans, Muslims). So did Athens.

Pretending Trump is the Devil for things he did not do, is exactly the same mindset which attributed the Peace Nobel Prize to Obama, for things he never did. In one case, as in the other, the plutocratic media decides that those who serve it well are saints, and those who threaten it, evil.

Making us all stupid in the process, hence easily manipulated into abject submission…

Patrice Ayme’