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A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider’s Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy

A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider’s Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy
By Daniel Ellsberg | Truthdig

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of Daniel Ellsberg’s personal memoir of the nuclear era, “The American Doomsday Machine.” The online book will recount highlights of his six years of research and consulting for the Departments of Defense and State and the White House on issues of nuclear command and control, nuclear war planning and nuclear crises. It further draws on 34 subsequent years of research and activism largely on nuclear policy, which followed the intervening 11 years of his preoccupation with the Vietnam War. Subsequent installments also will appear on Truthdig. The author is a senior fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

American Planning for a Hundred Holocausts

One day in the spring of 1961, soon after my 30th birthday, I was shown how our world would end. Not the Earth, not—so far as I knew then—all humanity or life, but the destruction of most cities and people in the Northern Hemisphere.

What I was handed, in a White House office, was a single sheet of paper with some numbers and lines on it. It was headed “Top Secret—Sensitive”; under that, “For the President’s Eyes Only.”

The “Eyes Only” designation meant that, in principle, it was to be seen and read only by the person to whom it was explicitly addressed, in this case the president. In practice this usually meant that it would be seen by one or more secretaries and assistants as well: a handful of people, sometimes somewhat more, instead of the scores to hundreds who would normally see copies of a “Top Secret—Sensitive” document.

Later, working in the Pentagon as the special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense, I often found myself reading copies of cables and memos marked “Eyes Only” for someone, though I was not that addressee, nor for that matter was my boss. And already by the time I read this one, as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, it was routine for me to read “Top Secret” documents. But I had never before seen one marked “For the President’s Eyes Only,” and I never did again. Read more.

Hunger Strike a Daily Reminder of U.S.'s Forsaken Promise

Hunger Strike a Daily Reminder of U.S.'s Forsaken Promise
By Robert McCartney | Washington Post

On a sunny patch of Pennsylvania Avenue a half-block from the White House, middle-aged men and women recline on beach lounge chairs under four canopies festooned with colorful flags. They haven't eaten solid food in a month. Before them stands a row of large photographs of 11 men, each draped with a wreath of red flowers. A soft-spoken woman carrying a light-blue umbrella hands out leaflets....

The beach chair protest provides an especially interesting tale, including a troubling message about America's actions abroad. The demonstrators are ethnic Iranians, most of them U.S. citizens. They are pressing the Obama administration to intervene to protect about 3,400 Iranian exiles in Camp Ashraf outside Baghdad, which was stormed by Iraqi security forces July 28. The 11 men in the photographs were killed (plus one other), and hundreds of the camp's unarmed residents were injured. U.S. military forces stationed nearby, who once pledged solemnly to safeguard the camp's residents, stayed out of it.

"This is going to bring attention that people are getting beaten and killed in a place where you [the U.S. government] promised to protect them," said Zahra Rashidi, 51, of Chantilly....

The embarrassment for Washington is that it made a show earlier in the decade of assuring Ashraf's residents that they would be safe in exchange for their formal agreement to disarm and repudiate violence. The United States did so even though it has listed the MEK as a terrorist organization since 1997, mostly because of attacks that the group staged decades ago. America warmed to the MEK in part because the group provided valuable help monitoring Iran's nuclear program. In 2004, a U.S. Army general issued each Ashraf resident a written declaration with congratulations "on their recognition as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention." Read more.

U.S. Says Pakistan Made Changes to Missiles Sold for Defense

U.S. Says Pakistan Made Changes to Missiles Sold for Defense
By Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger | NY Times

The United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets, a potential threat to India, according to senior administration and Congressional officials.

The charge, which set off a new outbreak of tensions between the United States and Pakistan, was made in an unpublicized diplomatic protest in late June to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and other top Pakistani officials.

The accusation comes at a particularly delicate time, when the administration is asking Congress to approve $7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan over the next five years, and when Washington is pressing a reluctant Pakistani military to focus its attentions on fighting the Taliban, rather than expanding its nuclear and conventional forces aimed at India.

While American officials say that the weapon in the latest dispute is a conventional one — based on the Harpoon antiship missiles that were sold to Pakistan by the Reagan administration as a defensive weapon in the cold war — the subtext of the argument is growing concern about the speed with which Pakistan is developing new generations of both conventional and nuclear weapons.

“There’s a concerted effort to get these guys to slow down,” one senior administration official said. “Their energies are misdirected.” Read more.

ElBaradei Foes Leak Stories to Force His Hand on Iran

ElBaradei Foes Leak Stories to Force His Hand on Iran
Analysis by Gareth Porter | IPS News

Western officials leaked stories to the Associated Press and Reuters last week aimed at pressuring the outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, to include a summary of intelligence alleging that Iran has been actively pursuing work on nuclear weapons in the IAEA report due out this week.

The aim of the pressure for publication of the document appears to be to discredit the November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear programme, which concluded that Iran had ended work on nuclear weapons in 2003.

The story by Reuters United Nations correspondent Louis Charbonneau reported that "several" officials from those states had said the IAEA has "credible information" suggesting that the U.S. intelligence estimate was "incorrect".

The issue of credibility of the NIE is particularly sensitive right now because the United States, Britain, France and Germany are anticipating tough negotiations with Russia and China on Iran's nuclear programme in early September.

The two parallel stories by Charbonneau and Associated Press correspondent George Jahn in Vienna, both published Aug. 20, show how news stories based on leaks from officials with a decided agenda, without any serious effort to provide an objective historical text or investigation of their accuracy, can seriously distort an issue.

Reflecting the hostile attitude of the quartet of Western governments and Israel toward ElBaradei, the stories suggested that ElBaradei has been guilty of a cover-up in refusing to publish information he has had since last September alleging that Iran has continued to pursue research on developing nuclear weapons. Read more.

Walk for Peace In Wisconsin

WALK FOR PEACE IN WISCONSIN
By Jay Kvale (Minnesota Peace Project) for Voices for Creative Nonviolence

About 40 peace activists gathered at Mill Bluff Park in western Wisconsin on Thursday, August 6, for the Walk for Peace organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. The event began with a solemn ceremony commemorating the tragic atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago.

On Friday morning the Walk began from Camp Williams with leaders Jeff Leys and Dan Pearson holding a large banner proclaiming the objectives -- end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, keep the Wisconsin National Guard home, ban depleted uranium munitions, ban nuclear weapons, and provide compensation for war victims. Another large banner said, “Hiroshima – Never Again.” Despite a steady rain during the second half of the 13-mile leg, the walkers arrived in Tomah by early afternoon, led by 10-year old Kasey Ball.

My Book Is Now Available from Publisher Before Stores Get It

"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.

In Hiroshima on August 6, 2009

In Hiroshima on August 6, 2009
By Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat

I am in ancient Japanese city of Hiroshima, for annual ceremonies on August 6 for the souls of over 140,000 Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese who died instantly and over 300,000 who suffered serious wounds 64 years ago when the United States used weapons of mass destruction-- atomic bombs --on the people of Hiroshima and three days later, August 9, 1945 on the people of Nagasaki.

The rationale for dropping the atomic bombs was to force the Japanese government to surrender to end World War II—not by killing more of the Japanese military, but by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and putting fear of a similar fate in the remaining civilian population of Japan.

Hiroshima Day: America Has Been Asleep at the Wheel for 64 Years

By Daniel Ellsberg

It was a hot August day in Detroit. I was standing on a street corner downtown, looking at the front page of The Detroit News in a news rack. I remember a streetcar rattling by on the tracks as I read the headline: A single American bomb had destroyed a Japanese city. My first thought was that I knew exactly what that bomb was. It was the U-235 bomb we had discussed in school and written papers about, the previous fall.

I thought: “We got it first. And we used it. On a city.”

FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Subpoenaed, Set to 'Break' Gag Order Unless DoJ Intercedes

FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Subpoenaed, Set to 'Break' Gag Order Unless DoJ Intercedes
Former agency translator called to testify in Ohio election case this Saturday on Turkish infiltration of U.S. government...
By Brad Friedman | Brad Blog

Unless the Dept. of Justice re-invokes their twice-invoked "state secrets privilege" claim in order to once again gag former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, her attorneys have notified the department by hand-delivered, sworn letter of declaration [PDF] this week, that she intends to give a public deposition, open to the media, in response to a subpoena this Saturday in Washington D.C..

Edmonds has confirmed her intentions to answer any questions asked of her during the sworn proceedings, fully and publicly, during conversations with The BRAD BLOG this week. She notes that her agreement with her former employer, the FBI --- who fired her illegally after she filed whistleblower allegations about corruption and foreign infiltration in the linguistics department --- includes certain non-disclosure requirements. However, those requirements do not preclude her answering to a legally issued court subpoena.

The subpoena and request for sworn deposition is part of a case now pending before the Ohio Elections Commission in which Ohio's Republican U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-2nd District) has filed a complaint against her 2008 independent challenger, David Krikorian who Schmidt has charged distributed false statements about her during last year's campaign.

The resulting testimony, if it indeed occurs this weekend, could be far more explosive than either Schmidt or Krikorian might have ever guessed...

'Blood Money' Read more.

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, 64 Years Too Late and Not a Moment Too Soon

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, 64 Years Too Late and Not a Moment Too Soon

As another August 6th approaches, let me tell you a little story about Hiroshima and me:

As a young man, I was probably not completely atypical in having the Bomb (the 1950s was a great time for capitalizing what was important) on my brain, and not just while I was ducking under my school desk as sirens howled their nuclear warnings outside....I was invited by Japanese publishers to visit their country....The trip to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with its caramelized children's lunchbox and permanently imprinted human shadows was, to say the least, unspeakably horrifying. In fact, it left me literally speechless, so much so that, although I returned to New York babbling about Japan, I found, for a long time, I couldn't talk about what I had seen in Hiroshima.

For the Sixty-Fourth Time: No More Nuclear War
Reflections on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Our World
By Frida Berrigan

I can't help myself. I still think it's worth bringing up, even for the 64th time. I'm talking, of course, about the atomic obliteration, at the end of a terrible, world-rending war, of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and 9, 1945, whose anniversaries -- if that's even the appropriate word for it -- are once again upon us.

In this, at least, I know I'm not a typical American: Hiroshima and Nagasaki still seem all too real to me. As the child of anti-nuclear activists, I was raised to pay attention to two significant dates in American history -- the day when the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber named after the pilot's mother, dropped Little Boy, a five-ton uranium explosion bomb, on Hiroshima; and the moment, three days later, when another plane, jokingly named Bock's Car (after the plane's original pilot), dropped Fat Man (a moniker supposedly given it in honor of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill), a more complex plutonium implosion bomb, on Nagasaki. Read more.

Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program

Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program
By Tony Capaccio | Bloomberg

The U.S. Defense Department wants to accelerate by three years the deployment of a 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb, a request that reflects growing unease over nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea.

Comptroller Robert Hale, in a formal request to the four congressional defense committees earlier this month, asked permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s budget to this program to ensure the first four bombs could be mounted on stealthy B-2 bombers by July 2010.

Hale, in his July 8 request, said there was “an urgent operational need for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high-threat environments,” and top commanders of U.S. forces in Asia and the Middle East “recently identified the need to expedite” the bomb program.

The bomb would be the U.S. military’s largest and six times bigger than the 5,000-pound bunker buster that the Air Force now uses to attack deeply buried nuclear, biological or chemical sites.

Accelerating the program “is intended to, at the very least, give the president the option of conducting a strike to knock out Iran’s main uranium enrichment capabilities,” said Ken Katzman, Middle East military expert for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. Read more.

How US Missile Defense Plans Sabotaged Nuclear Disarmament Talks With Russia

How US Missile Defense Plans Sabotaged Nuclear Disarmament Talks With Russia
By Alice Slater | CounterPunch

Although Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to work for a nuclear weapons free world this spring, they failed to take meaningful steps at their July summit to put the world on the proper path to nuclear abolition. Disappointingly, they only agreed to minor cuts in their respective weapons arsenals due to US unwillingness to cancel its plans to put missile and radar bases in Poland and the Czech Republic which Russia views as a threat to its security. Essentially we have come full circle to the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit at Reykjavik, when negotiations for the total abolition of nuclear weapons tragically collapsed because Reagan wouldn't give up U.S. plans for a Strategic Defense Initiative to dominate space.Read more.

Obama-Medvedev Nuclear Stockpile Deal "Disappointing," Says Leading Disarmament Advocate

President Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on Monday and agreed to cut American and Russian nuclear stockpiles by at least one quarter and as much as one third. We speak with veteran journalist and leading nuclear disarmament advocate, Jonathan Schell.

Listen/Watch/Read
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/7/jonathan_schell_obama_medvedev_

* Vietnam War Architect Robert McNamara Dies at 93: A Look at His Legacy With Howard Zinn, Marilyn Young & Jonathan Schell *

Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara has died at the age of 93. McNamara was one of the key architects of the Vietnam war, which killed at least three million Vietnamese, around one million Cambodians and Laotians, and 58,000 American soldiers. We take a look at McNamara’s legacy with two pre-eminent historians: Howard Zinn and Marilyn Young. We also speak with Jonathan Schell, who covered Vietnam as a reporter in 1967 and met with McNamara in a secret Pentagon meeting.

Listen/Watch/Read
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/7/vietnam_war_architect_

U.S.-Russia nuclear deal: spin or deep cut?

By Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev on Monday agreed a target of cutting vast Cold War arsenals of deployed nuclear warheads by around a third from current levels to 1,500-1,675 each.

The pledge by Obama and Medvedev puts the world's two biggest nuclear powers further along the path to finding a replacement for the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) which expires on December 5.

But the cuts announced on Monday only take the United States and Russia 25 operationally deployed warheads below a range of 1,700-2,200, which both sides had already committed to reach by 2012 under the 2002 Moscow Treaty.

After the cuts -- which have to be made within seven years of a new treaty taking force -- the United States and Russia will still have enough firepower to destroy the world several times over. Many hurdles remain to finding a replacement to START by December.

Obama, Medvedev Agree to Reduce Nuclear Arsenals

By VOA News

The United States and Russia have signed an agreement committing the two countries to sharply reduce the number of their nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev had reset U.S.-Russian relations on the first day of their Moscow summit.

The two leaders signed a statement instructing negotiators to finalize a replacement for the Strategic Arms limitation treaty that expires in December. The agreement provides for a reduction of warheads from 2200 to a range of 1500 to 1675 and of launch vehicles from 1600 to a range of 500 to 1100.

Mr. Medvedev said the meeting covered all items on the agenda including a backlog of problems and called the discussions useful, open and sincere.

Blinded By The Hypocrisy

Blinded By The Hypocrisy
By Bruce Gagnon | Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

We lecture and threaten Iran and North Korea about the evils of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But the US routinely tests our own WMD's from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California. And there will soon be another "test firing" of a Minuteman III nuclear missile from that base.

A protest is planned at the time of the next launch of a Minuteman III from Vandenberg. The target of the rocket will be the Ronald Reagan missile test range, Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
By Stephen Lendman

For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Engdahl's two previous books include "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" explaining that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.

Report: NKorea May Fire Missile Toward Hawaii

Report: NKorea may fire missile toward Hawaii
By Associated Press | Google News

North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday, amid escalating tensions between the communist country and the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The missile, believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers), would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. The report cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.

The Yomiuri said the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, but that it would not be able to hit the main islands of Hawaii, which lie about 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) from the Korean peninsula.

The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said. It noted that North Korea had fired its first Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 2006. Also, July 8 is the anniversary of the 1994 death of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. Read more.

Better Relations with Iran Require Change in U.S. Thinking and Policy

Better Relations with Iran Require Change in U.S. Thinking and Policy
Ivan Eland | Independent Institute

The Iranian government would be unlikely to give any nuclear weapons to the militant groups it supports—Hamas and Hezbollah—because it paid much money to develop the warheads, and because if the groups used the weapons, it would invite sure catastrophic retaliation against Iran if traced back there. Like all autocratic rulers, Iran’s fundamentalist leadership’s most important objective is staying in power, and getting nuked into cinders does not facilitate that goal.

The real reason that the U.S. government is so concerned about Iran is not its threat to the United States but its threat to Israel—both nuclear and non-nuclear through support for the militant groups. But frankly, that should not be the U.S. taxpayer’s problem. The American Constitution allows for the U.S. government to “provide for the common defense” of the United States, not to provide a defense for Israel.

One election in Iran will not significantly change U.S.-Iran relations—only a change in U.S. thinking and policy will do so.

Historically, the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has painted relatively poor third world regimes that don’t toe the empire’s line as “evil”—Moammar El-Gadhafi’s Libya in the 1980s, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1990s, North Korea’s Hermit Kingdom since the 1950s, and Islamist Iran since the Iranian Revolution in 1978. Most of these faraway lands haven’t provided—or will be unlikely to provide—much of an actual threat to U.S. territory or Americans in it. But during and after the demise of the Soviet Union, to justify the bloated U.S. world-girdling empire and bloated military establishment, these minor autocratic regimes had to be demonized and their threats elevated.

Poll: Half of Israelis Back Bombing If Needed To Stop Iran Nukes

Poll: Half of Israelis back bombing if needed to stop Iran nukes | CNN

Roughly half of Israelis support bombing Iran's nuclear facilities if international efforts fail to stop the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons, according to a Hebrew University poll released Sunday.

Some 52 percent of Israelis say the country should bomb Iran's nuclear reactor, while 35 percent are against, the poll found. The margin of error in the poll of Israelis is 4.5 percentage points.

Palestinians are somewhat more evenly divided, with 43 percent saying a nuclear Iran would be good for the Arab world and 33 percent saying it would be bad, according to the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, which conducted the poll along with Hebrew University. The margin of error for the Palestinian sample is 3 percentage points. Read more.

Russia Military Says Needs 1,500 Warheads: Report

Russia military says needs 1,500 warheads: report

Russia must keep at least 1,500 nuclear warheads after talks with the United States on a new arms treaty, Interfax news agency quoted the commander of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces as saying Wednesday.

If Moscow's final position reflects Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov's view, it would mean Russia is not willing to cut its stockpiles by more than a few hundred strategic warheads - far less than some arms control bodies had hoped....

Russia and the United States are in talks on a new nuclear arms treaty that aims to reduce stockpiles below the 1,700-2,200 figure both sides already agree must be reached by 2012. Read more.

Obama Says Iran's Energy Concerns Legitimate

Obama says Iran's energy concerns legitimate
By Nancy Zuckerbrod | Associated Press

President Barack Obama reiterated that Iran may have some right to nuclear energy — provided it takes steps to prove its aspirations are peaceful.

In a BBC interview broadcast Tuesday, Obama also restated plans to pursue direct diplomacy with Tehran to encourage it to set aside any ambitions for nuclear weapons it might harbor.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. But the U.S. and other Western governments accuse Tehran of seeking atomic weapons.

"Without going into specifics, what I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations. On the other hand, the international community has a very real interest in preventing a nuclear arms race in the region," Obama said.

The comments echo remarks Obama made in Prague last month in which he said his administration would "support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections" if Iran proves it is no longer a nuclear threat.

Iranian state television described the news as Obama recognizing the "rights of the Iranian nation," a phrase typically used to refer to Iran's nuclear program. Read more.

U.S. Releases Secret List of Nuclear Sites Accidentally

U.S. Releases Secret List of Nuclear Sites Accidentally
By William J. Broad | NYTimes

The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons.

The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an online newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document had been made public.

On Tuesday evening, after inquiries from The New York Times, the document was withdrawn from a Government Printing Office Web site.

Several nuclear experts argued that any dangers from the disclosure were minimal, given that the general outlines of the most sensitive information were already known publicly.

“These screw-ups happen,” said John M. Deutch, a former director of central intelligence and deputy secretary of defense who is now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s going further than I would have gone but doesn’t look like a serious breach.”

But David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said information that shows where nuclear fuels are stored “can provide thieves or terrorists inside information that can help them seize the material, which is why that kind of data is not given out.” Read more.

U.S. Says Will Not Accept N.Korea As Nuclear State

U.S. says will not accept N.Korea as nuclear state
By Neil Chatterjee | Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Saturday the United States would not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea and he warned Pyongyang against transferring nuclear material overseas.

A South Korean newspaper reported that Pyongyang was preparing to move an intercontinental ballistic missile from a factory near the capital to a launch site on the east coast.

In a speech to the Asia Security Conference in Singapore, Gates said the threat from North Korea, which this week detonated a nuclear device and launched a series of missiles, could start an arms race in Asia.

"We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region or on us," he said. "We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state."

North Korea -- one of the world's last remaining Communist states -- has said it was no longer bound by the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. It threatened further actions in response to any U.N. censure. Read more.

The Aspiration of Global Zero

The Aspiration of Global Zero
President Obama seeks a world without nuclear weapons, but there are signs a key treaty is unraveling.
By Robert G. Gard | In These Times

On April 5, 2009, before a crowd gathered at Hradcany Square in Prague, President Barack Obama declared “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” With these words, Obama implicitly endorsed Global Zero—a movement founded in December 2008 by some 100 political leaders from around the world to ban nuclear weapons.

Obama’s speech calls to mind the warning of President John F. Kennedy almost half a century ago. Without international agreement on preventive action, he said, there could be 15 to 25 nuclear states in the world by the 1970s, resulting in “the greatest possible danger.” President Johnson, heeding Kennedy’s alert of a dangerous “tipping point,” provided strong U.S. support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, signed in 1968.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) classifies all signatories as either “nuclear weapons states”—those who tested a nuclear explosive before January 1, 1967—or “non-nuclear weapons states”—everyone else. Coincidentally, all the nuclear weapons states are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and the United States.

At the heart of the NPT is a bargain between these two categories of states. The non-nuclear states agreed not to acquire nuclear weapons. In return, to prevent a permanent disparity in military power, the nuclear states committed “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures” to work toward nuclear disarmament. Read more.

Have We Already Lost Iran?

Have We Already Lost Iran?
By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett | NYTimes | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S Iran policy has, in all likelihood, already failed. On its present course, the White House’s approach will not stop Tehran’s development of a nuclear fuel program — or, as Iran’s successful test of a medium-range, solid-fuel missile last week underscored, military capacities of other sorts. It will also not provide an alternative to continued antagonism between the United States and Iran — a posture that for 30 years has proved increasingly damaging to the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East.

This judgment may seem both premature and overly severe. We do not make it happily. We voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and we still want him to succeed in reversing the deterioration in America’s strategic position. But we also believe that successful diplomacy with Iran is essential to that end. Unless President Obama and his national security team take a fundamentally different approach to Tehran, they will not achieve a breakthrough. Read more.

U.S. Says Aid Won't Go To Pakistan Nuclear Program

U.S. says aid won't go to Pakistan nuclear program
By Arshad Mohammed and Susan Cornwell | Reuters India

The Obama administration is confident that Pakistan will not use a planned sharp increase in U.S. aid to strengthen its nuclear arsenal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.

The New York Times this week reported U.S. lawmakers were told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear capability while fighting a Taliban insurgency, stoking fears in Congress about diversion of U.S. funds.

Militant violence in Pakistan has surged over the past two years, raising doubts about its stability and anxieties about the security of its nuclear arsenal, which is believed to comprise at least 25 to 50 warheads. Read more.

Pakistan Races to Deal With 1.5 Million Refugees

Pakistan Races to Deal With 1.5 Million Refugees
Pakistan races to deal with 1.5 million refugees amid military campaign, nuclear concerns
By Munir Ahmad, Associated Press | ABCNews

Pakistan said Tuesday it was racing to help refugees fleeing a military offensive against the Taliban in its northwest — an exodus of some 1.5 million with a speed and size the U.N. said could rival the displacement caused by Rwanda's genocide.

The humanitarian challenge comes as the military said its troops are fighting street battles against insurgents in key towns in Pakistan's Swat Valley and amid government denials that the country is expanding its nuclear stockpile.

Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed, who leads a group tasked with dealing with the uprooted Pakistanis, told reporters that the government had enough flour and other food for the displaced but said it needed donations of fans and high energy biscuits. He also said the refugees would get money and free transport when it was safe enough to return.

A "camp is not a replacement for home," Ahmed said, adding there are at least 22 relief camps operating.

Read more.

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says

Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

“Yes,” he said quickly, adding nothing, clearly cognizant of Pakistan’s sensitivity to any discussion about the country’s nuclear strategy or security.

Inside the Obama administration, some officials say, Pakistan’s drive to spend heavily on new nuclear arms has been a source of growing concern, because the country is producing more nuclear material at a time when Washington is increasingly focused on trying to assure the security of an arsenal of 80 to 100 weapons so that they will never fall into the hands of Islamic insurgents.

Read more.

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